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The Great Mujahid: Life Story of Maulana Muhammad Ali

Part 3: Life at Lahore,
From April 1914 to October 1951.

1. Founding of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam Lahore
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Part 3

Life at Lahore
From April 1914 to October 1951

1. Founding of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam Lahore

Brief history of Ahmadiyya Buildings

After migrating from Qadian, Maulana Muhammad Ali settled in Ahmadiyya Buildings, Brandreth Road, Lahore, where Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig and Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah, who were members of the Sadr Anjuman’s executive from Lahore, lived and had their houses. Here the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam was founded. The nearly fifty years of the Anjuman’s life till today, first during Maulana Muhammad Ali’s life up to 1951 and after that till now, is connected with this place,{footnote 1} and so it seems appropriate to relate a brief history of Ahmadiyya Buildings.

The foundations of the Ahmadiyya Buildings were laid in 1906. The land on which it is situated was owned by Chaudhry Allah Yar, who was the father of the respected elder of the Movement Chaudhry Zahur Ahmad. At the beginning, it was taken on a very long lease from him by Dr. Syed Muhmmad Husain Shah, Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig and Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din. First the Shah sahib and the Khwaja sahib had their houses built by the main road side, and sometime after that Dr. Mirza sahib and Babu Manzur Ilahi had their houses built as well. At that time the whole of the area was not densely populated, though Islamia College had already been built on the other side of the road. In 1908 the Promised Messiah first stayed at Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din’s house and after a few days went to stay with Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah. On 22 May 1908 Friday prayers (Jumu‘a) were held for the first time at Ahmadiyya Buildings. Before that, the Friday prayers were held at Mian Chirag-ud-Din’s house outside the Delhi Gate. After Friday prayers on 22 May, Hazrat Mirza sahib made a speech which was published afterwards under the title of Hujjat-ullah. Hazrat Mirza sahib also produced his last writing, Paigham-i Sulh, while staying at Ahmadiyya Buildings. On 26 May 1908, the Promised Messiah breathed his last in the house of Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah.

At that time the present mosque in Ahmadiyya Buildings had not been built. Some time later a terrace was built, upon which the daytime prayers were held, and sometimes lectures and classes were given. The Friday prayers were held in a large room in the house of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din. Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din visited Lahore two or three times while he was head of the Movement and stayed in Ahmadiyya Buildings. Once he addressed a large gathering on this terrace, where the mosque stands today. Later on Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din started a series of lectures every Sunday from the same spot. His delivery of speech was so attractive that the general public, members of the nobility, learned people and government officers used to come from far and wide to attend. After a short while, a mosque was built upon this terrace, though in the beginning it was very small.

After the death of Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din, Maulana Muhammad Ali came to Lahore and settled in Ahmadiyya Buildings, as will be explained in full detail later. The first consultative council (Majlis-i Shura) was held on 22 March 1914 on the courtyard of the upper storey of the house of Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah; and when there remained no hope of a reconciliation with Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, as he violated the Will of the Promised Messiah by reducing the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya to a powerless body, the foundation of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam was laid here on 3 May 1914.

Though the Anjuman had been founded in name, the position was that it had no funds, offices or assets. Missionaries and workers were all in the opposite camp. The founders of this Anjuman had used up their life earnings in Qadian by spending them on having buildings and property built for the Anjuman of Qadian and had come to Lahore empty handed. Here there were very few houses. The offices of the Anjuman and the guest house were set up in the houses of various members. The construction of the house adjacent to the mosque, which was later Maulana Muhammad Ali’s residence for a long time, was started at that time by Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah for the offices of the Anjuman. Later, however, the offices were moved to the house which is to the west of the present offices. After that the offices were shifted to the houses of Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig, and that is where they have been located till today. Later on, at the annual gathering of 1920, when Maulana Muhammad Ali appealed for donations of one hundred thousand Rupees, the Shah sahib and the Mirza sahib, who were always among the major contributors on such occasions, donated these properties to the Anjuman. In the same way another respected elder, Babu Ahmad Din, gave the Anjuman his house which was in the western part of the present Muslim High school. In the beginning the guest house was located in it, but later on it was demolished and incorporated into the school building.

This is a brief history of the houses at Ahmadiyya Buildings, but the most important house is the one which became the House of God, from where sounds of Allahu Akbar rose and echoed as far as Europe and most parts of Asia, and which illuminated countless hearts with the light of faith. For 37 years Maulana Muhammad Ali delivered his spiritually uplifting sermons in this mosque, exhorting and urging the community to spread the name of God, the message of Islam, in the world. For years he taught here the meanings of the Holy Quran, and after him other elders continued this work. The Maulana lived for 22 years in the house adjacent to it and here he penned those renowned books which were published in large numbers, translated into many languages and spread throughout the world. Thus, not only was a wealth of invaluable knowledge created here for the Movement but also the name Ahmadiyya Buildings became famous all over the world.

Newspaper and journal Paigham Sulh

The newspaper Paigham Sulh{footnote 2} had been started before Maulana Muhammad Ali came to Lahore. In July 1913, by when much friction and disagreement had arisen within the Movement, and Mirza Mahmud Ahmad and his faction were spreading false propaganda against the members from Lahore, trying to turn Maulana Nur-ud-Din against Maulana Muhammad Ali, Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din and the Lahore members, at that time the Ahmadiyya community newspapers Al-Hakam and Badr in Qadian were largely under the influence of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad. There was an urgent need to counter this propaganda. Also, Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din had gone to England a year earlier and issued from there a monthly magazine entitled Islamic Review and Muslim India, and there was a great need to publish in Urdu selected material from this English magazine for the benefit of Indian readership, as well as inform people in India about the activities of the Woking Muslim Mission founded by the Khwaja sahib.

In view of these needs, Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah floated a company by the name of the Paigham Sulh Society, and under its auspices the paper Paigham Sulh was started in July 1913. Maulana Nur-ud-Din approved of its publication and purchased a five Rupee share as a token of his blessing. Its first editor was one Ahmad Husain of Faridabad, who was secretly connected with Mirza Mahmud Ahmad’s Ansarullah party. In its first few issues he tried to use Paigham Sulh for expressing the views of that faction. So he was dismissed in November 1913 after he published some statements fabricated by himself, and Maulvi Dost Muhammad was appointed editor. In those early days the persons who played a special role in the development of this newspaper were, firstly, Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah himself, secondly Babu Manzur Ilahi, and thirdly Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi.

When, following the death of Maulana Nur-ud-Din, the khilafat was taken over by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, with pre-arranged help from his supporters, who became an autocratic head by altering the regulations of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, and it became necessary to set up the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam, then the Paigham Sulh became the property and the organ of this Anjuman and the Paigham Sulh Society ceased to exist.

Establishment of Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam, Lahore

After the deplorable events in Qadian which have been mentioned earlier, Maulana Muhammad Ali called a meeting of Ahmadis at Lahore on 22 March 1914. A few members attended this at the house of Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah and after giving careful consideration to the prevailing state of affairs the following decisions were taken:

  1. According to the Will (Al-Wasiyyat) of the Promised Messiah the decisions of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Qadian, should be regarded as final and binding, and no individual head should have the power to revoke them.
  2. It should not be obligatory for people who have previously taken the bai‘at to renew their pledge at the hand of the new head of the Movement.
  3. As forty persons or more have already taken the bai‘at at the hand of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, he is entitled to take the bai‘at from new entrants to admit them into the Ahmadiyya Movement.
  4. If Mirza Mahmud Ahmad accepts the decisions of the Anjuman as being final and binding, and does not consider it obligatory for existing Ahmadis to renew their bai‘at at his hand, then he should be accepted as the President of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya and Head of the entire community (jama‘at).

These decisions were exactly according to the following directions of the Promised Messiah — that “you must all work together after me”, that after him the decisions of the Anjuman were to be final and no individual would have the power to alter them, that the Anjuman was to be his successor, and that to admit new entrants into the Movement, any elders upon whom forty members agree would be entitled to administer the bai‘at in the name of the Promised Messiah.

Although all those who attended this meeting disagreed in principle with Mirza Mahmud Ahmad’s doctrine of calling other Muslims as kafir, they were prepared in order to preserve the unity of the community to accept him as head if he worked according to the conditions of Al-Wasiyyat. They intended to put the issue of takfir before the entire community and believed that the Jama‘at would accept the right belief.

Copies of this decision were sent to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad  in Qadian and also published in Paigham Sulh, dated 24 and 26 March 1914. A deputation of fifteen men was proposed to go and meet Mirza Mahmud Ahmad on 28 March in order to seek his acceptance of these terms. However, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, in his response, refused to talk to the deputation about these proposals. As a result, on 28 March once again a meeting was held in Lahore and Maulana Muhammad Ali put to it the question as to how to proceed. He made a very well reasoned, detailed speech to the effect that the question was whether we should give priority to Hazrat Mirza sahib’s writings or not. He placed before the meeting the handwritten note of Hazrat Mirza sahib dated 27 October 1907 which stated in plain words that the Anjuman was to be his successor and all its decisions were to be final. He also proved that Hazrat Mirza sahib never envisaged a khalifa as his successor who would rule over the Anjuman.

He also related all the past events when during Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s time efforts were made to expel him and the Lahore members from the Sadr Anjuman, and how these efforts had failed. After his speech, others gave expression to their views. Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah described the conditions in Qadian, explaining that it had now become impossible for Maulana Muhammad Ali to continue working in Qadian.

Accordingly, the following decisions were taken:

  1. As Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has refused to meet the deputation to discuss the proposals of 22 March, the delegation need not now go to Qadian.
  2. The resolutions passed previously still remain in force (i.e., the door for reconciliation with Mirza Mahmud Ahmad would remain open).
  3. According to the Will of the Promised Messiah, the propagation of Islam is the real aim of the Movement and it is obligatory to carry out this service so far as it is within our power. As, due to the dissension, it would be troublesome to do this work from Qadian, so it is appropriate as a matter of necessity that an Anjuman be created by the name of Isha‘at-i Islam which should have its head office in Lahore.
  4. There shall be at least forty trustees of this Anjuman. The following office holders were agreed upon:
President: Maulana Muhammad Ali, editor Review of Religions.
Vice-Presidents: Maulvi Ghulam Hasan Khan of Peshawar, Shaikh Niaz Ahmad of Wazirabad, Khan Ajab Khan of North-West Frontier Province.
Secretary: Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig.
Assistant Secretary: Hakim Muhammad Husain (‘Marham-i Isa’).
Treasurer: Shaikh Rahmatullah.

To draft the rules and regulations a committee was set up having the following as its members: Maulana Muhammad Ali, Maulvi Alam Din Wakeel, Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig, Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah, Shaikh Rahmatullah, Chishti Abdur Rahman and Khalifa Rajab Din. An appeal for funds was made there and then and a sum of 325 rupees was collected.

Twenty-nine members were present in this meeting. The names of some of them are: Maulana Muhammad Ali, Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah, Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig, Shaikh Rahmatullah, Shaikh Niaz Ahmad (Wazirabad), Shaikh Muhammad Jan (Wazirabad), Syed Hamid Shah, Hakim Muhammad Husain (‘Marham-i Isa’), Chaudhry Muhammad Sarfraz (Baddomalhi), Maulvi Alam Din Wakeel (Shaikhupura), Chishti Abdur Rahman, Master Ghulam Muhammad (Sialkot), Shaikh Faiz-ur-Rahman (Amritsar), Sufi Ahmad Din, Abdul Hanan Khan (Peshawar) and Mirza Abdul Ghani.

The position at that time was that all these people had not severed their ties with the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Qadian. However, as it had become impossible for Maulana Muhammad Ali and his associates to work and serve religion in Qadian, this was why they wanted to continue their work from Lahore through an Anjuman. To divide the community in two was a step they were forced to take after very careful consideration, but their first offer was still open, namely, that within the limits specified by the Promised Messiah in his Al-Wasiyyat and in his other rules, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad could be the head of the community.

Mirza Mahmud Ahmad strictly forbade his followers to read any writing from Lahore. Members in Lahore had no other means to express their views except Paigham Sulh, and even this did not reach all members. Anyhow Maulana Muhammad Ali started to put the facts before the community through this paper. A long article by him entitled Chand Khuli Khuli Baten (‘Some Plain Truths’) was published as an appendix in the issue of Paigham Sulh for 2 April 1914, in which Hazrat Mirza sahib’s writing dated 27 October 1907 was printed and practical examples from the time of Maulana Nur-ud-Din were put forward. Then after mentioning the proposals of the consultative meeting of 22 March and Mirza Mahmud Ahmad’s rejection of them, Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote:

“Having in mind that the energies of the community should be channelled towards its real objective, and considering that the doctrine of calling other Muslims as kafir poses a danger to the work of the propagation of Islam and the progress of the Movement, and in order to prevent damage to the work of spreading Islam in Europe that has just now been started,{footnote 3} it has been deemed advisable that in addition to the work that members of the Movement are carrying on under the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, an Anjuman be created in Lahore for the purpose of the propagation of Islam whose main aim should be to strengthen the real objective of this Movement, which is the propagation of Islam. A firm foundation should be laid for this work and all friends who do not call the general Muslims, the ahl-i Qibla and the reciters of the Kalima as being kafir should join it with renewed fervour. … Accordingly it is on this basis that the foundation of an Anjuman has been laid, with trust in Allah. …

The real objective of our Movement, as the Promised Messiah has stated again and again, is the propagation of Islam. Therefore, however much effort we devote to it, and however much of our own possessions and lives we give for this work, it would still be insufficient. My friends, Islam is in greatly troubled waters and its propagation is such a grand and mighty task that whatever you have done so far in this way is really only the first step. If you are firm in your belief of giving preference to the cause of religion over worldly ambitions then come and support this cause with all your strength. … Worry not that you are small in numbers. It is determination that matters and not numbers: ‘How often has a small party vanquished a numerous host by Allah’s permission!’ [the Quran, 2:249] Allah’s permission will come when you spare no effort on your part. … Make all practical efforts, and also spiritual efforts, in other words, by prayer. ‘Our Lord, accept our prayer. You are the Hearer and the Knower’.”

On 10 April 1914 was held the first meeting of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Qadian, after the death of Maulana Nur-ud-Din, and was attended by Maulana Muhammad Ali, Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig, Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah and Shaikh Rahmatullah. However, they soon found that dictatorship prevailed in the meeting and matters that were not on the agenda were being approved. When those members who disagreed with the motions insisted that their dissenting views should be noted in writing, this was rejected. Besides other matters, it was also decided by the casting vote of the president of the meeting, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, that Maulvi Sher Ali should not be sent to England to help Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din even though in Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s time a firm decision had been taken to this effect. After this, these four members left the meeting: Maulana Muhammad Ali, Shaikh Rahmatullah, Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig and Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah.

Two days after this, on 12 April 1914, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad called a meeting of a few select persons and made an attack on the powers of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya which destroyed its very foundations. Regarding Rule number 18 of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya which read:

“In every matter, for the Majlis-i Mu‘timidin [Council of Trustees] and its subordinate branches if any, and for the Sadr Anjuman and all its branches, the order of the Promised Messiah shall be absolute and final”

it was proposed that it should be amended by replacing the words “the Promised Messiah” by the words: “Hazrat Khalifat-ul-Masih Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad the second Khalifa”, so that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad would gain absolute power over the Anjuman. When the news of this proposal reached Maulana Muhammad Ali he published an announcement in Paigham Sulh of 21 April entitled:

Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Qadian,
Inna li-llahi wa inna ilai-hi raji‘un.{footnote 4}

He warned that if this amendment were made, the Sadr Anjuman as founded by Hazrat Mirza sahib would in effect cease to exist. However, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was undeterred and got this motion passed in a meeting of the Council of Trustees on 26 April due to the majority of the members having taken the bai‘at at his hand. When this happened, an announcement was published in Paigham Sulh of 5 May 1914 from Maulana Muhammad Ali, Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig, Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah and others, in which they clarified again the whole matter. This announcement ended with the words:

“That Anjuman now ceases to exist in practice whose regulations have been so flouted, and a man who is not appointed by God has been given the status of one sent by God. Moreover, the zakat fund and the fund for the propagation of Islam, which even during the life of the Promised Messiah himself were entirely in the control of the Anjuman, have been placed in the hands of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad.{footnote 5} We do not wish to waste the Movement’s energy and money on litigation. So we issue this declaration of our repugnance, and by this declaration we discharge our duty and absolve ourselves of responsibility in the eyes of God, for it appears that taking legal action will do more harm than good.”
It was under these circumstances that the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam Lahore came into existence formally on 3 May 1914, and on the same day the first meeting of its Council of Trustees was held. Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig presented the rules and regulations of the Anjuman, which were approved. Maulana Muhammad Ali was elected as the Head (amir) of the community and President, and the other office bearers retained their positions as mentioned earlier except that in Shaikh Rahmatullah’s place Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah became Financial Secretary. In all 59 members were elected as trustees, of which fourteen were permanent life members. The names of these 59 members are as follows:


  1. Maulana Muhammad Ali.
  2. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din.
  3. Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig.
  4. Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah.
  5. Shaikh Rahmatullah.
  6. Shaikh Niaz Ahmad (Wazirabad).
  7. Shaikh Muhammad Jan (Wazirabad).
  8. Dr. Basharat Ahmad.
  9. Maulvi Ghulam Hasan Khan  (Peshawar).
  10. Maulana Aziz Bakhsh.
  11. Babu Manzur Ilahi.
  12. Maulvi Sadr-ud-Din.
  13. Malik Ghulam Muhammad.
  14. Shaikh Faiz-ur-Rahman (Amritsar).
  15. Chaudhry Muhammad Sarfraz Khan (Baddomalhi).
  16. Maulvi Alam Din (Shaikhupura).
  17. Master Ghulam Muhammad (Sialkot).
  18. Babu Ali Bakhsh (Gujranwala).
  19. Syed Amir Ali Shah (Sialkot).
  20. Sufi Ahmad Din (Lahore).
  21. Khan Ajab Khan (Frontier).
  22. Shaikh Abdur Rahman (Sialkot).
  23. Hafiz Ghulam Rasul (Wazirabad).
  24. Khwaja Jamal-ud-Din (Jammu).
  25. Mirza Hakim Baig (Sialkot).
  26. Khalifa Rajab-ud-Din (Lahore).
  27. Dr. Muhammad Umar (Lucknow).
  28. Babu Muhammad Isa (Jhelum).
  29. Shaikh Nur Ahmad (Abbottabad).
  30. Shaikh Shah Nawaz (Rawalpindi).
  1. Babu Ata Ilahi (Wazirabad).
  2. Shaikh Maula Bakhsh (Sialkot).
  3. Shaikh Abdur Razak (Gujranwala).
  4. Babu Muhammad (Ludhiana).
  5. Maulvi Nazar Ali (Peshawar).
  6. Malik Sher Ali Khan (Kashmir).
  7. Mir Hayat Ali Shah (Hazara).
  8. Dr. Muhammad Sharif (Muzaffargarh).
  9. Dr. Ghulam Muhammad, Assitant Surgeon (Peshawar).
  10. Dr. Ataullah.
  11. Babu Muhammad Ilahi (Haripur).
  12. Babu Ali Gohar (Sialkot).
  13. Dr. Hasan Ali (Gujranwala).
  14. Maulvi Rukan Din (Gujranwala).
  15. Babu Muhammad Husain (Lahore Cantonment).
  16. Qazi Muhammad Yusuf (Peshawar).
  17. Maulvi Mustafa Khan (Patiala).
  18. Mr. M.A. Maulvi (Shikarpur).
  19. Dr. Nabi Bakhsh (Lahore).
  20. Shaikh Muzaffar-ud-Din (Abbottabad).
  21. Maulvi Mubarak Ali (Sialkot).
  22. Muhammad Wilayatullah Khan (Ajmer).
  23. Dr. Khaliq Dad (Hungo).
  24. Chaudhry Muhammad Bakhsh (Sialkot).
  25. Babu Ghulam Rasul (Peshawar).
  26. Babu Imam Din (Jhelum).
  27. Shaikh Nizam Din (Mianwali).
  28. Shaikh Mian Muhammad Ismail (Lyallpur).
  29. Shaikh Maula Bakhsh (Lyallpur).

It will have become clear from all these events that for one and a half months after the dispute Maulana Muhammad Ali and his associates kept on trying to maintain the unity of the community if at all possible. They even offered to accept Mirza Mahmud Ahmad as Head on condition that he would not become an autocratic leader in violation of the directions of the Promised Messiah because, firstly, this was against Al-Wasiyyat and, secondly, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad had invented the dangerous belief of calling all other Muslims as kafir. However, when Mirza Mahmud Ahmad went ahead to change the regulations of the Anjuman and assume all power himself, then it became unavoidable to separate from the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya and create the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam. A question remains that, as Hazrat Mirza sahib had declared the decisions of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya to be final, so if that Anjuman made Mirza Mahmud Ahmad an autocratic khalifa, then was it not binding to accept him? The answer to this has been given very clearly in the announcement dated 5 May 1914 and it has been proved that Hazrat Mirza sahib had created the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya with the limitation that no individual would be his successor. Therefore the Anjuman according to its own regulations did not have the power to violate the decision of the Promised Messiah and break the limitations imposed by him.

Expulsion of Maulana Muhammad Ali and his comrades from the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Qadian

On 12 May 1916 a resolution was presented in the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Qadian, to expel Maulana Muhammad Ali and five other members. Then, by Resolution 213 dated 22 June 1916, the following six members were served notice as to why they should not be expelled from the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya:

  1. Maulana Muhammad Ali
  2. Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig
  3. Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah
  4. Shaikh Rahmatullah
  5. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din
  6. Maulana Ghulam Hasan Khan.
Quoted below are some extracts from the reply to this notice given by these six members:

“1. The basis of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Qadian, founded 1906 is Al-Wasiyyat of the Promised Messiah. Its regulations were formulated during Hazrat Mirza sahib’s life and published with his permission and approval, and the Anjuman operated according to them. Hazrat Mirza sahib wrote a codicil to this Will in 1907 as a warning when Mir Nasir Nawab went against the Anjuman, in which he gave the clear verdict that the decisions of the Anjuman taken by majority of opinion were to be final, and after him no individual will have the power to issue or annul its decisions.

“2. You have forsaken this basic principle, and in Rule 18 formulated by the Promised Messiah you have deleted his name and replaced it by the name of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, making Mirza Mahmud Ahmad supreme over the Anjuman, against the wishes of Hazrat Mirza sahib. So after this action of yours, this does not remain the Anjuman based on Hazrat Mirza sahib’s Al-Wasiyyat and his codicil added to it. We being Ahmadis, and regarding it as our duty to honour the words of Hazrat Mirza sahib, consider it an insult to the Ahmadiyya Movement to participate in the activities of this Anjuman.

“3. It is a misconception that this authority has been given to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad by majority vote in a meeting of the Anjuman and so the conditions laid by Hazrat Mirza sahib have been fulfilled. In the first place the whole procedure is riddled with legal flaws which render the proceedings null and void. Moreover, no executor can violate the aims and principles of a will. In this Will the executors by majority can enforce its aims but they cannot by majority nullify its objectives. The majority cannot make a valid decision that in future all matters concerning the propagation of Islam shall not be decided by majority but imposed by a single person. As the Founder of the Anjuman, the Promised Messiah, has handed his conclusive writing to the Anjuman, penned in his own hand, that after him no individual has the right to overturn the decisions of the Anjuman taken by majority of its opinion, then for you to give this authority to one person among you constitutes nullifying the terms of the Will.”

The concluding part of this reply is as follows:

“So we waited for a long time, hoping that you might find a way to rectify the situation, but when it became apparent that the income of the Sadr Anjuman and its duties are gradually being transferred to another body and matters are deteriorating day by day, we did not wish to leave the enforcement of our wills in your hands. So we cancelled the wills, and to fulfil the objective for which Hazrat Mirza sahib created the Sadr Anjuman we formed an Anjuman by the name of Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam and made our wills in its favour.”

It is signed as follows:

Ghulam Hasan, Sub-Registrar, Peshawar, 30 July 1916.
Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din.
Syed Muhammad Husain.
Rahmatullah.
Mirza Yaqub Baig, 3 August 1916
Muhammad Ali, 3 August 1916.

In this concluding part, the mention of the income of the Sadr Anjuman being transferred to another Anjuman refers to the fact that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad had formed a new Anjuman by the name of Taraqqi-i Islam (‘Progress of Islam’) and was receiving donations in its name. This was probably done under legal advice so that the Lahore members would not be able to take legal action over the funds of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya.

Anyhow the Qadian Anjuman was not concerned with the merits of this reply and the arguments put forward in it. They did what they intended to all along, and after a short while these six members were expelled from the Qadian Anjuman. It should be made clear that at this time the Qadian Anjuman was no longer the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya because from the day this Anjuman amended a basic regulation, in breach of the limits imposed by the Promised Messiah, the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Qadian ceased to exist.

It is also noteworthy that out of the original fourteen members appointed by the Promised Messiah to the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Qadian, seven were with the Lahore side after the Split. As Maulana Nur-ud-Din had died, there remained six other members who were in Qadian. One was Mirza Mahmud Ahmad himself and three others were his close relations: Dr. Mir Muhammad Ismail,  (maternal uncle), Dr. Khalifa Rashid-ud-Din (father-in-law) and Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan (brother-in-law). The only two members who were not related were Mir Hamid  Shah and Seth Abdur Rahman of Madras. This means that in practice too the true successor of the Promised Messiah’s Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Qadian was the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam Lahore whose leader and Amir was Maulana Muhammad Ali. A writing of that occasion, from August 1916, penned in the hand of Maulana Muhammad Ali and signed by eleven elders, is as follows:

“We, the undersigned, seeking the pleasure of Allah, solemnly affirm that:

1. We are, and shall remain, bound to the ten conditions of the bai‘at laid down by the Promised Messiah.

2. We affirm that we will completely obey the injunctions of the Holy Quran and remain bound by the commands of Allah and the Holy Prophet Muhammad in all matters.

3. We affirm that we will make all efforts to read and teach the Holy Quran and to act upon it and urge others to do the same.

4. We affirm that we shall consider our wealth and property as belonging to Allah, and shall donate at least one-tenth of our income for the propagation of Islam to the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam.

5. We affirm that we shall treat our time as being devoted to the propagation of Islam, and whenever required we will aid the work of the preaching of Islam in all ways. ‘There is  no granting of strength except from Allah. O Allah, Thee do we serve, and Thee do we ask for help.”

It bears the following signatures: Muhammad Ali, Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, Rahmatullah, Syed Muhammad Husain Shah, Mirza Yaqub Baig, Nur Ahmad, Basharat Ahmad, Hayat Ali Shah, Abdur Rahim, Asmatullah, and Muhammad Ajab.

When was the Qadiani doctrine of the prophethood of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad  invented

It seems appropriate to explain here briefly as to when the Qadiani belief in the prophethood of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was invented. Detailed discussions have been published on this issue, the most  comprehensive book on this topic being written by Maulana Muhammad Ali under the title An-Nubuwwat fil-Islam (‘Prophethood in Islam’), to which the Qadian community has not produced any response. As in this account of the life of Maulana Muhammad Ali there will be mention, later on, of arguments with the Qadiani community and calls to debate with them, so a brief treatment of this topic is given here for those who cannot read the books on this question.

In 1891 when the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement claimed to be the Promised Messiah, along with that claim he also denied that he was claiming prophethood. He went so far as to declare:

“We also curse the person who claims prophethood.”
(Majmu‘a Ishtiharat, 1986 edition, vol. 2, pages 297–298)

In his writings certain words had occurred which were misinterpreted by the opponent Muslim religious leaders as a claim to prophethood, and on that basis they had declared him a kafir. In reply, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad  gave very clear and repeated answers to their accusations, some examples of which are as follows:

  1. “There is no claim of prophethood. On the contrary, the claim is of sainthood (muhaddasiyyat) which has been advanced by the command of God.”
    (Izala Auham, pages 421–422. Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 3, p. 320)
  2. “Those people have fabricated a lie against me who say that this man claims to be a prophet.”
    (Hamamat-ul-Bushra, p. 8. Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 7, p. 184)
  3. “I make no claim to prophethood. This is your mistake.”
    (Jang Muqaddas, p. 67. Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 6, p. 156)
  4. “If the objection is that I have made a claim to prophethood, and such a thing is heresy, what else can I say except that may the curse of Allah be upon liars and fabricators.”
    (Anwar-ul-Islam, p. 34.  Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 9, p. 35)
  5. “By way of a fabrication, they slander me by saying that I have made a claim to prophethood. But it should be remembered that all this is a fabrication.”
    (Kitab-ul-Bariyya, p. 182, footnote. Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 13, p. 215)

So why did the opponents fall into the misconception that he claimed to be a prophet? The answer to it will be found in the writings of leading Qadianis themselves from the time before the Split, as quoted below. These writings also show that until Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, for his own ends, coined the doctrine that other Muslims are kafir, no member of the Ahmadiyya community even entertained the idea that Hazrat Mirza sahib claimed to be a prophet. They believed that the word nabi (‘prophet’) used on occasion in Hazrat Mirza sahib’s writings about himself was, according to Hazrat Mirza sahib’s own explanation, meant in its literal sense of ‘one with whom God speaks’, and that Hazrat Mirza sahib himself made it clear that it meant a muhaddas, not a prophet.

Here are some testimonies of leading figures of the Qadiani community, made before the Split in 1914.

1. Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, editor newspaper Badr, Qadian, who after the Split become one of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad’s topmost disciples, wrote an account of a tour of various cities of India that he undertook, in which he was accompanied by Maulvi Sarwar Shah (another topmost disciple of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad). In this account, published in Badr dated 27 October 1910, he mentions their meeting with the famous Muslim historian and scholar Maulana Shibli and writes in this connection on page 9:

“Shibli asked if we believe the late Mirza sahib to be a prophet. I replied that our belief in this respect was the same as that of other Muslims, namely, that the Holy Prophet Muhammad is the Khatam-un-nabiyyin. After him, no other prophet can come, neither new nor old. However, the phenomenon of Divine revelation still continues, but even that is through the agency of the Holy Prophet. By receiving spiritual benefit from him, there have been men among the Muslims who had the privilege of Divine revelation, and in future too there shall be such. As Hazrat Mirza sahib was also privileged with Divine revelation, and in his revelations God gave him many news of the future as prophecies, which were fulfilled, for this reason Mirza sahib was one who made prophecies. Such a one is called nabi in Arabic lexicology, and in Hadith too the coming Promised Messiah is called nabi.

To this, Shibli replied that certainly according to the dictionary meanings this can be so, and in the Arabic language this word does have this meaning, but the ordinary people become perturbed because they do not know this significance, and they raise objections. I responded that, with us, the question of Mirza sahib’s prophethood is not such that it is included in the conditions of the pledge (bai‘at), nor is it required to be acknowledged when taking the pledge, nor do we go about preaching it. Our belief is what we have explained above.”

Mufti Muhammad Sadiq then goes on to write:

“It seems appropriate at this point that I should include in this newspaper a recent letter by Hazrat Khalifat-ul-Masih [Maulana Nur-ud-Din] which he has written in reply to Sardar Muhammad Ajab Khan, and made it a sworn statement. The Sardar sahib had had a discussion with someone on this topic. The answer which the Sardar sahib gave to that man, he also sent it in writing to Hazrat [Maulana Nur-ud-Din] sahib, enquiring if his answer was correct or not. Hazrat sahib agreed with his answer and wrote a further clarification in his own hand which is reproduced below.”

So Mufti Muhammad Sadiq then quotes the letter by Maulana Nur-ud-Din, which is as follows:

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu. To cut open the heart and look into it, or make others look into it, is beyond human power. If one relies on oaths, I see no oath equal to: By Allah, the Great. Neither you nor anyone else will accompany me after my death, except my faith and deeds. As this matter will be presented before Allah the Most High, I swear by Allah, the Great, by Whose leave heaven and earth exist, I believe Mirza sahib to be the Mujaddid of this century. I believe him to be righteous. I believe him to be a slave of Hazrat Muhammad, Messenger of Allah, the Arabian Prophet, of Makka and Madina, the Khatam-un-nabiyyin, and to be a sincere servant of his Shari‘ah. And Mirza too considered himself to be a life-sacrificing slave of the Arabian Prophet, Muhammad ibn Abdullah.

The dictionary meaning of the word nabi, we believe, is one who gives news, having received knowledge beforehand from Allah the Most High, not one who brings a shari‘ah. Both Mirza sahib and I consider any person who rejects even an iota of the Holy Quran or the Shari‘ah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad to be a kafir and an accursed one. This is my belief, and this was also I consider the belief of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib. If anyone rejects this, refuses to accept it, or calls us hypocrites, his affair is with God.
Nur-ud-Din, by own hand, 22 October 1910.”

Note: This letter is preserved in the papers of Maulana Muhammad Ali.

2. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad’s teacher, Syed Sarwar Shah,  writes:

“The word nabi, according to its origins, has two meanings: firstly, one who receives news of matters unseen from God; secondly, a man of a high status, to whom God grants the distinction of abundant revelation, and informs him of news of the unseen, he is a nabi. In this sense I believe that all the previous mujaddids were prophets of various grades.”

(Badr, 16 February 1911)

Here it is clearly acknowledged that any of the previous mujaddids may have the word ‘prophet’ applied to him in its literal sense. They do not become prophets thereby.

3. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad himself states:

“Allah the Most High, by granting him [the Holy Prophet Muhammad] the status of Khatam-un-nabiyyin, ended with him every kind of prophethood.”

(Al-Hakam, 11 March 1911)

“Thus God has said that the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s prophethood was meant not only for his times, but that in future too no prophet would come. …

The fact is that the Holy Prophet’s being the Khatam-un-nabiyyin contains a prophecy. This is that before the Holy Prophet Muhammad there arose hundreds of prophets in the world who had great success. … But thirteen hundred years have now passed since the Holy Prophet’s claim, and no one has ever attained success by claiming prophethood. After all, prior to his time people used to claim prophethood, and many of them were successful, whom we believe to be true. But why has this arrangement stopped with his advent? Obviously because of the prophecy that he is the Khatam-un-nabiyyin. Now we ask the opponents of Islam, what greater sign can there be than the fact that, after the Holy Prophet, no person who claimed prophethood was successful.”

(Tashhiz-ul-Azhan, April 1910, vol. v, no. 4, pp. 151–152)

4. Mir Muhammad Saeed, leader of the Ahmadiyya community in Hyderabad Deccan, wrote in a book published in 1914:

“To sum up, Hazrat Mirza sahib has only claimed to be a muhaddas — and not an actual prophet which negatives the Khatam-un-nabiyyin, and is against [the hadith report] ‘There is no prophet after me’.”

(Anwarullah, p. 269)

So it is obvious that neither did Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claim to be a prophet nor did this notion ever occur to any member of his Movement for many years after his death. All his followers clearly understood that the word nabi which occurred occasionally in his revelations or writings was used in a metaphorical and figurative sense according to its literal meaning.

After the death of Hazrat Mirza sahib, when Maulana Nur-ud-Din was known as Khalifat-ul-Masih and the bai‘at was taken at his hand, it was not in compliance with any Divine commandment because he was not a khalifa in terms of the istikhlaf verse of the Quran (ch. 24, v. 55). That verse was revealed as a promise to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, so after him there began a series of khalifas, the Promised Messiah being one of them. Secondly, this bai‘at with Maulana Nur-ud-Din was not taken in compliance with any instruction of the Promised Messiah because according to his Al-Wasiyyat existing Ahmadis were not obliged to take the bai‘at at anyone’s hand after him. So the taking of the bai‘at at the hand of Maulana Nur-ud-Din was people’s own choice and it was a pledge of obedience. Maulana Muhammad Ali had raised the objection at that very time that there was no need for Ahmadis to take the bai‘at again with Maulana Nur-ud-Din. But Khwaja  Kamal-ud-Din said that there was no harm in renewing the pledge as at that critical moment it would unite the community. Maulana Nur-ud-Din was called khalifa in the literal sense of this word, meaning a successor, not as being khalifa in terms of the promise given in the istikhlaf verse of the Quran. It is conclusively proved from the events of his time and his practice that he never overrode any decision of the Anjuman, nor did he amend any of its regulations to assume all power himself, as Mirza Mahmud Ahmad  did.

When Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was making preparations and plans to become khalifa, he realized that as everyone was aware of the views of Maulana Muhammad Ali and his associates about khilafat, the question would arise that, as the Promised Messiah himself was a khalifa of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, how could there be a khalifa of a khalifa? So, to get over this objection, what he did first was to invent the doctrine of takfir, that every Muslim who had not taken the bai‘at of the Promised Messiah was a kafir and outside the pale of Islam. Then he alleged that in the year 1901 the Promised Messiah, by altering his previous definition of prophethood, had changed his claim to that of being a prophet. Thus Mirza Mahmud Ahmad declared the Promised Messiah’s writings before the year 1901 to be abrogated in the matter of prophethood, and by ascribing to him the claim of prophethood he laid the basis for his own khilafat.

This allegation, that the Promised Messiah made a change in his claim in 1901 announcing it through his pamphlet Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala published in November 1901, was such a dangerous accusation that Maulana Muhammad Ali and other elders challenged it at once. We will see later how the Maulana repeatedly addressed Mirza Mahmud Ahmad on this issue, but the Qadiani head did not have the courage to face him. Here we reproduce the sworn statement, issued again and again in 1915, signed by seventy members of the community who had taken the bai‘at before November 1901, that neither did Hazrat Mirza sahib make a claim of prophethood at the start in 1891 nor did he change his claim in 1901 to that of prophethood:

“We, the undersigned, declare on oath that when Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, announced in 1891, that the prophet Jesus was dead according to the Holy Quran, and that the ‘son of Mary’ whose advent among the Muslims was spoken of in Hadith was he [Hazrat Mirza] himself, he did not lay claim to prophethood. However, the Maulvis misled the public, and issued a fatwa of kufr against him by alleging that he claimed prophethood. After this, the Promised Messiah declared time after time in plain words, as his writings show, that to ascribe to him a claim of prophethood was a fabrication against him, that he considered prophethood to have come to a close with the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and that he looked upon a claimant to prophethood, after the Holy Prophet, as a liar and a kafir. And that the words mursal, rasul, and nabi which had occurred in some of his revelations, or the word nabi which had been used about the coming Messiah in Hadith, do not denote a prophet in actual fact, but rather a metaphorical, partial or zilli prophet who is known as a muhaddas. After the Khatam-un-nabiyyin the Holy Prophet Muhammad, no prophet can come, neither new nor old.

We also declare on oath that we entered into the bai‘at of the Promised Messiah before November 1901, and that the statements of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, the head of the Qadian section, that though in the beginning Hazrat Mirza Sahib did not claim prophethood, but that he changed his claim in November 1901, and laid claim to prophethood on that date, and that his previous writings of ten or eleven years denying prophethood are abrogated — all this is entirely wrong and absolutely opposed to facts. We do swear by Allah that the idea never even entered our minds that the Promised Messiah made a change in his claim in 1901 or that his previous writings, which are full of denials of a claim to prophethood, were ever abrogated; nor, to our knowledge, did we ever hear such words from the mouth of even a single person until Mirza Mahmud Ahmad made these statements. And Allah is witness to what we have said.”

The original document, bearing the signatures of seventy members including that of Maulana Muhammad Ali, is preserved in the papers of the Maulana.

Along with the publication of this sworn statement, Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din and Maulana Muhammad Ali issued vigorous and repeated challenges to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad to produce a similar sworn declaration from companions of Hazrat Mirza sahib who had taken the bai‘at before 1901 to the effect that while before 1901 they believed Hazrat Mirza sahib to be a mujaddid, in 1901 they came to know that he changed his belief about prophethood so that from then on they believed him to be a prophet. When Mirza Mahmud Ahmad failed to respond to this demand, they challenged him to produce even one single witness to testify to this effect, but he never had the courage to accept the challenge. The only response was an announcement in the Qadiani newspaper Al-Fazl, dated 20 July 1915, which stated:

“Our members should not reply individually to the Khwaja sahib. As regards the sworn testimonies demanded by him, there is no need to verify them separately. One single, combined reply to all the demands will be sent from the centre of the Movement and the seat of the khilafat.”

Some forty years passed after this announcement but despite Maulana Muhammad Ali’s repeated demands not even one such sworn testimony came out of Qadian.

This, then, was the background to the development of the Qadiani belief that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a prophet and that non-Ahmadi Muslims are kafir. The history of the relations between the Lahore Ahmadiyya community and the Qadiani community during the life of Maulana Muhammad Ali will be recounted at appropriate places in this book later on. Here it must be added that immediately after the Split Mirza Mahmud Ahmad started giving vent to his boiling rage and fury against the Lahore Ahmadis, and this always remained his technique. Derogatory and scornful epithets were applied to Maulana Muhammad Ali and his associates, and they were called “the living fire of hell”, “like rotten, decaying skins of vegetables” and “a worse people than them have never existed in the history of the world”.

Besides applying these abusive epithets, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad also claimed to receive revelation that the Lahore Ahmadis would be “shattered into pieces” and he prophesied accordingly. Then whenever any internal disagreement arose among Lahore Ahmadis this was pointed out as fulfilment of the prophecy. However, history itself proclaimed the great progress made by the Lahore Ahmadiyya community under the leadership of Maulana Muhammad Ali and testified to the achievements of his time.

On one occasion Maulana Muhammad Ali mentioned a revelation of his in this connection as follows:

“When we separated I also had a revelation: wa lal-akhiratu khair-un la-ka min al-ula (‘The latter state is better for you than the former’) and events have proved today that this revelation has been fulfilled and how God has made this community to progress and enabled it to do the most magnificent work for the victory of His religion which the Qadiani community could not do.”{footnote 6}

(Friday khutba, 5 January 1945; Paigham Sulh, 17 January 1945)


Footnotes

(To return to the referring text for any footnote, click on the footnote number.)

[1]. This was written in 1962. In the early 1970s the Anjuman’s headquarters moved from Ahmadiyya Buildings in the centre of Lahore to the suburb of New Garden Town about six or seven miles away. Ahmadiyya Buildings is still maintained by the Anjuman.

[2]. The word Sulh is spelt here according to its Arabic form. Its pronunciation in Urdu is like Sulah or Sula.

[3]. The reference is to the Woking Mission and the work of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din in England.

[4]. Meaning “Surely we are Allah’s and to Him do we return”. This is the Islamic expression uttered upon receiving the news of a loss such as a death.

[5]. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad had directed that donations for the propagation of Islam as well as all other donations should be sent to him and would be spent only as determined by him.

[6]. Maulana Muhammad Ali never publicly referred to any of his revelations, and this is probably the only instance that he directly mentioned a revelation of his in a publication. Privately too, he scarcely used to talk about his revelations even to his near relations. Towards the end of his life, however, and particularly during his critical illness, he made mention of certain of his dreams in the paper Paigham Sulh.

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