1983 was a historic year for the Detroit, Michigan Chapter of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community when it was selected to host the 35th USA Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention), to be held August 12-14, 1983, at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. In the months leading up to August, all members of the Detroit Chapter had been working selflessly to make that a historic Jalsa Salana.
At that time, I was serving as the President of the Detroit Chapter, and closely serving with me was the Detroit Chapter General Secretary, Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed. Dr. Ahmed was also serving as the Qaid Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya (Leader of the male Youth Auxiliary Organization of the Detroit Chapter)).
During one of our Jalsa Salana Planning meetings at the Detroit Mission House, located at 8218 Wyoming Avenue, we received a phone call from a stranger inquiring about Ahmadiyyat. Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed, always eager to introduce and invite people to Islam Ahmadiyyat, volunteered to take that call. After a brief conversation, he invited the caller (who turned out to be William Kane) to his home for dinner and further conversation.
Thus, Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed hosted Kane at his home for dinner and a lengthy conversation about Ahmadiyyat. He also presented Kane with a copy of the Holy Qur’an and invited him to the upcoming Jalsa Salana. Unbeknownst to Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed, Kane left his cap at his host’s residence.
Monday, August 8, 1983, was a typical summer day in the Detroit Metropolitan Area. But it turned out to be no ordinary day. Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed, who had meticulous handwriting, had been working on a banner for the Jalsa Salana at my home that day. Missionary Mirza Afzal also arrived from Chicago on that day to assist us with the SalanaSalana preparations and was planning to stay with Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed. In the afternoon, Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed took Missionary Afzal home for dinner.
Shortly after they reached home, Kane showed up unannounced at Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed’s home, to pick up his cap. Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed invited him in and introduced him to Missionary Afzal as someone who was interested in learning about Islam Ahmadiyyat and asked the missionary to pray for him. Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed gave Kane his cap and walked him to the door to see him off. As they reached the foyer, Kane suddenly turned around and fired several shots at Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed in cold blood, hitting him once in his face and as he fell, once in the back of his neck. Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed passed away on the spot (1). Inna lillahe wa inna elaihi raje’oon. To Allāh we belong and to Him shall we return.
After serving dinner to her husband and Missionary Mirza Afzal, Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed’s wife, Asiya, stepped out on her front lawn to walk with her 4-year-old son, Ghazanfar. She heard the shots as some firecrackers but then saw the assassin run out of her home towards his getaway car being driven by his accomplice (who was later discovered to be Calvin Jones). Alarmed, she ran back to the house with her son and saw her beloved husband in a pool of blood (2).
Around 6:00 PM, I received a phone call from Missionary Afzal, informing me that Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed had been shot. Stunned and shocked, I rushed to Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed’s residence with my mother, only to find that he had already passed away and his body had been removed by Emergency Medical Services.
I began calling our National Amir (President), Maulana Ataullah Kaleem, and the Detroit Chapter members about the atrocious murder. As we were trying to figure out the situation, I received a call that the house of Laeeq Butt, a prominent member of the Detroit Chapter, in Mount Clemens (an eastern suburb of Detroit) had been attacked with firebombs (thankfully, the firebombs failed to inflict any lethal damage). Late at night, I received a call from Hasan Abdullah, a senior member of the Detroit Chapter, that the Detroit Mission House had been found aflame by the neighbors. Later, two bodies were discovered in the gutted building.
As the Police and FBI investigations discovered (3), after murdering Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed, the assassin and his accomplice drove to Laeeq Butt’s house to firebomb it and then drove to the Mission House. They entered the building through the back door, poured gasoline inside, and set it ablaze. However, they could not escape the building because the back door had no functional handle on the inside. They fired several shots at the door to open it but to no avail. Both of them were found asphyxiated in the restroom of the building. Thus, they met their ignominious fate within hours of murdering Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed, Allah’s Swift Justice.
The investigations discovered the depth and gravity of the assassins’ heinous plan; in the car was a list of the Detroit Chapter’s prominent members, along with firearms and gasoline. The enemies of Ahmadiyyat had been working secretly on their nefarious plan to disrupt our Jalsa Salana and the progress of Islam Ahmadiyyat. Little did they know that Allah also had a plan and that He is the Best of Planners (4).
In addition to the fire in the Mission House sealing the fate of the assassins, the fire also manifested Almighty Allah’s power and protection in another way. Although the Mission House was gutted, hundreds of copies of the Holy Qur’an in the building were not touched by the fire,
Alhamdulillah. Some of these same copies of Allah’s Book remain on display in our Mahmood Mosque in Rochester Hills, Michigan.
The news of Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed’s martyrdom and the Mission House fire circulated very rapidly universally within the world of Aḥmadiyyat, as well as locally in the Michigan news media. The worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community responded with solidarity, support, prayers, and spiritual rejuvenation. In addition, the local public developed a genuine curiosity and awareness about Islam Ahmadiyyat, Alhamdulillah.
Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed was the son of Rashid Ahmed. He was born in 1946 in Mahilpur, District Hoshiarpur, India. After the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, Rashid Ahmed and his family migrated to Pakistan and settled in the town of Rabwah. Dr. Ahmed completed his intermediate studies (F.Sc.) at Ta’limul Islam College in Rabwah, where he achieved first position in the District. He earned a merit scholarship and completed his medical studies at the King Edward Medical College in Lahore. He then served in the Pakistan Army Medical Corps as a Captain and later worked at the Mayo Hospital in Lahore. In 1976, Dr. Ahmed migrated to the United States, first to Kansas City and then to Chicago, where he completed his medical training at Michael Reese Hospital and passed his American Board of Anesthesia Examination. In 1979, he moved to Michigan and started working as an anesthesiologist at the Wayne Medical Center in Westland.
At his martyrdom, Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed was only 37 years old; his second son, Jaffar Mansoor, was born about two months after his demise. He was a pious and devout Ahmadi Muslim who was regular in his worship and financial sacrifices. He had a deep passion for serving Islam-Ahmadiyyat and spreading its message. He was both a good physician and an enthusiastic Da’i Ilallah (Caller To Allah).
Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed’s body was flown to Pakistan, where Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih IV (rh) led his funeral prayer on Tuesday, August 16, 1983, in Rabwah. He was buried in Qita-e-Shohada (Section of Martyrs) in Bahishti Maqbara (The Heavenly Graveyard).
Memorializing the martyrdom of Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed, Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih IV (rh) said in his Friday sermon on August 12, 1983, in Rabwah: “Do not refer to this martyr as dead; he is alive” (5). “Do not step backward even an inch from the path which this faithful man traversed and advanced so far ahead. O Muzzafar, Peace be on you; there are thousands of Muzaffars who are willing to take your place” (6). “O those who have extinguished this light, understand that you have given him eternal life” (7).
Note: Nasir Mahmood Malik served as President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Detroit Chapter, from 1977 to 1991, and from 2000 to 2006.
- Narrated by Missionary Mirza Afzal and concluded by the police investigation
- Narrated by Asiya Ahmed, wife of Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed
- Fuqra Files (https://fuqrafiles.com/knowledgebase/michigan/)
- The Holy Qur’an (3:55, 8:31)
- Mirza Tahir Ahmad (1983), Friday Sermon of August 12, 1983, Kutbat-e-Tahir (Urdu), Vol 2, P. 421, Tahir Foundation, India, 2007.
- Mirza Tahir Ahmad (1983), Friday Sermon of August 12, 1983, Kutbat-e-Tahir (Urdu), Vol 2, P. 422, Tahir Foundation, India, 2007.
- Mirza Tahir Ahmad (1983), Friday Sermon of August 12, 1983, Kutbat-e-Tahir (Urdu), Vol 2, P. 423, Tahir Foundation, India, 2007.
Last modified: October 2023