in the eyes of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
The Maulana selected
by Hazrat Mirza to carry forward his mission
From The Light and Islamic
(Issues for July-August 1998 and November-December 1998)
Compiled by the Editor,
We show in this article that the Founder of the Ahmadiyya
Movement, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, entrusted the task of carrying
forward the mission and the work of his Movement to Maulana Muhammad
Ali, and that he pronounced the Maulana to be the fit and capable
man of performing this task.
1. Hazrat Mirzas first
assessments of the Maulana
Shortly after the young Muhammad Ali joined the
Ahmadiyya Movement, Hazrat Mirza wrote and published the following
opinion about him in an announcement:
"Among the most sincere friends in our community
is Maulvi Muhammad Ali, M.A., who, besides his other qualifications,
has also just now passed his law examination. For the past few
months, at much loss to his own work, he has been staying with
me in Qadian to perform a service to religion by translating some
of my writings into English.
"During this period in which he has been
with me, I have been observing him, both openly and discreetly,
to assess his moral character, observance of religion and goodness
of behaviour. So, thanks be to God, that I have found him to be
a most excellent man as regards religion and good behaviour in
all ways. He is unassuming, modest, of a righteous nature, and
pious. He is to be envied for many of his qualities. … It is obvious
that such promising young men possessing these qualities, who
are able and honourable, cannot be found by searching."
(Announcement dated 9 August 1899, Majmua
Ishtiharat, vol. 3, p. 137, number 206)
Two months later, in another announcement in which
Hazrat Mirza mentioned several of the prominent men who had joined
the Movement, he writes:
"I am very happy that another good young
man, having found the grace of God, has joined our community,
that is Maulvi Muhammad Ali, M.A., Pleader. I have very good expectations
of him. For a long time he has borne a worldly loss in order to
stay in Qadian to serve the religion, and is learning the deep
knowledge of the Holy Quran from Hazrat Maulvi Nur-ud-Din.
"I am sure that my foresight will not go
wrong in this, that this young man will make progress in the path
of God, and I am sure that by the grace of God he will prove to
be so firm in righteousness and love of religion that he will
set an example worthy to be followed by his peers. O God, let
it be so! Amen, again Amen."
(Announcement dated 4 October 1899, Majmua
Ishtiharat, vol. 3, p. 157158, number 208)
In this announcement, Hazrat Mirza has added here
a footnote as follows:
"All those books of mine which are published
after translation into English are translated by Maulvi Muhammad
2. Expresses deepest love for
In a letter to the Maulana in this early period,
Hazrat Mirza wrote:
"I hold an extremely favourable opinion about
you. This is why I have a special love for you. If your nature
had not been pure in the sight of God, I could not possibly have
thought so well of you, never. I love you fervently from the bottom
of my heart, and often pray for you in the five daily prayers.
I hope that at some future time these prayers will show their
I am busy praying, with heart-felt passion, for
your welfare in this world and the hereafter, and your body and
soul, and I am awaiting the effects and results of the prayer."
(Facsimile of letter published in Mujahid-i
Kabir, page 50)
3. Hazrat Mirza wishes to divide
Movement into two!
In another early letter to the Maulana, Hazrat Mirza
"It has long been my intention to divide
my community into two groups. One group consists of those who
are partly for this world and partly for religion, and are not
able to withstand great trials, nor can they render important
services to religion. The other group consists of those who enter
through this door with full sincerity and faithfulness and in
reality sell themselves in this path. I wish that God would include
you in the latter group."
(Letter dated 8 May 1899; facsimile in Mujahid-i
Kabir, page 32)
In these words Hazrat Mirza has presaged the division
of his following into two groups indeed he has called it
his "intention" one tainted by worldly motives
and the other purely devoted to religion, and indicated that Maulana
Muhammad Ali will be in the latter group.
4. Appoints Maulana editor
of Review of Religions
When the Maulana decided to devote his life to the
cause of the religion, Islam and the Ahmadiyya Movement, and for
that purpose came to settle in Qadian in 1899, Hazrat Mirza announced
his proposal to start a magazine in English. He wrote:
"It was always a matter of sadness and anxiety
for me that all those truths, the spiritual knowledge, the sound
arguments in support of the religion of Islam, and the teachings
giving satisfaction to the human soul, which have been disclosed
to me and are still being made known to me, have not yet benefited
the English-educated people of this country or the seekers-after-truth
of Europe. This pain was so intense that it was no longer bearable.
But God Almighty intends that, before I pass away from this temporary
abode, all my aims should be fulfilled so that my last journey
is not one of disappointment.
"So to fulfil this object, which is the real
purpose of my life, there is a suggestion that
in English be published for the fulfillment of the objectives
(15 January 1901, Majmua Ishtiharat,
vol. 3, pages 393394, number 234)
This magazine was started under the title The
Review of Religions and Hazrat Mirza appointed Maulana Muhammad
Ali as its editor. Most of the articles in the magazine were from
the pen of the Maulana, many of them being translations of writings
of the Promised Messiah. In a very short time this magazine acquired
renown, not only in India but abroad as well.
It should be noted that what Hazrat Mirza has called
above as "the real purpose of my life", he appointed
the Maulana for its fulfillment.
The following incident was also recorded and published
in Hazrat Mirzas lifetime:
"The Review of Religions was being
mentioned. A man praised it and said that its articles were of
high quality. Hazrat Mirza said:
Its editor Maulvi Muhammad Ali is an able
and learned man. He has the M.A. degree, and along with it a religious
bent of mind. He always passed with top marks and his name had
gone forward for E.A.C. But leaving all this he has settled here.
This is why God Almighty has blessed his writing. "
(7 November 1906, Ruhani Khazain No.
2, vol. 9, page 90)
5. Maulana to correct errors
There were two Ahmadiyya community newspapers published
in Urdu, Al-Hakam and Al-Badr (later called just Badr),
which reported what Hazrat Mirza said during his daily conversations
in gatherings of friends and visitors. An incident is recorded as
follows concerning the publication of his speeches and spoken statements
in these newspapers:
"Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad called in the
editors of Al-Hakam and Al-Badr and emphasized to
them that they must be very careful in writing down his speeches,
in case something got misreported by mistake, which would then
be used by the critics in their support.
So (added Hazrat
Mirza) it is proper that before publishing such articles
in your newspapers you should show them to Maulvi Muhammad Ali.
You will benefit by this, and also people will be saved from error.
(2 November 1902, Ruhani Khazain No.
2, vol. 4, page 159)
This shows that the Promised Messiah had the fullest
confidence in Maulana Muhammad Ali as correctly understanding his
views and teachings, so much so that he could check if some statement
or belief was being wrongly ascribed to the Promised Messiah.
6. Wants people like Muhammad
Ali to be produced!
The Promised Messiah highly valued the services
of Maulana Muhammad Ali and regarded them as unique, so much so
that once he said:
"I wish that such people could be produced
who would do the kind of work that Maulvi Muhammad Ali is doing.
There is no certainty of life, and he is all alone. One cannot
see anyone who can assist him or take his place."
(Ruhani Khazain No. 2, vol. 8, page
7. Appoints him secretary of
the Anjumans executive
In 1906, by means of his will, Hazrat Mirza created
an executive body, called the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, to
be the supreme ruling body in the Ahmadiyya Movement after him.
He described this body as his "successor" and wrote that:
"after me, the decision of this Anjuman in every matter will
be final". He appointed the Maulana as the Secretary of the
Anjuman, its chief administrative officer.
According to the rules of the Anjuman, as prescribed
by Hazrat Mirza, it would have full control over all the finances
of the Movement. He wrote in his booklet Al-Wasiyya (The
"The Anjuman, which is to hold these funds,
shall not be entitled to spend the monies for any purpose except
the objects of the Ahmadiyya Movement, and among these objects
the propagation of Islam shall have the highest priority."
This shows the sovereign power that Hazrat Mirza
gave to the body whose secretary he appointed Maulana Muhammad Ali.
8. Gives pen to the Maulana
The Promised Messiah also regarded the Maulana as
the inheritor of his knowledge, who would spread in the world the
spiritual truths taught by Hazrat Mirza. A dream was related by
Hazrat Mirza in which Maulvi Abdul Karim, one of his top-most followers
who had died sometime earlier, gave him a pen which had a modern
device attached to it that was shaped like a tube, making the pen
work very easily without effort. Hazrat Mirza then relates that
the following took place in the dream:
"I said: I did not send for this pen.
Maulvi [Abdul Karim] sahib replied: Maulvi Muhammad
Ali must have sent for it. I said I would give it to him."
This pen came from heaven, as it was brought by
a great disciple of Hazrat Mirza who had died, and Hazrat Mirza
passed it on to Maulana Muhammad Ali. This signifies that Hazrat
Mirza passed on to the Maulana the religious knowledge that he received
from God and handed to him the task of broadcasting it to the world.
Hazrat Mirzas saying "I did not send for this pen"
signifies that he himself would not be wielding this pen personally
in his lifetime. And so it was that Maulana Muhammad Ali wielded
this pen to produce legendary writings such as his English and Urdu
commentaries of the Holy Quran. The feature of the pen mentioned
in the dream, that it could write very easily without effort, was
also clearly fulfilled in the prolific nature of the writings authored
by the Maulana.
9. Directs the Maulana to write
a book about Islam
It was reported in the Ahmadiyya newspaper Badr
during the life of Hazrat Mirza that on 13 February 1907 Hazrat
Mirza called in Maulvi Muhammad Ali and said to him:
"I want to fulfil the duty of the propagation
of Islam to the Western people by having an English book written,
and this is your work. The reason why Islam today is not spreading
in those countries, and if someone does become a Muslim he is
very weak, is that those people do not know the truth about Islam,
nor has it been presented to them. It is their right that they
should be shown the true Islam which God has made manifest to
All those arguments that God has taught me to prove
Islam to be true should be collected together in one place. If
a comprehensive book along these lines is compiled it is hoped
that people would benefit from it greatly."
(Ruhani Khazain No. 2, vol. 9, pages
The Maulana eventually performed the great service
of writing such a book in the form of The Religion of Islam,
first published in 1936. In the preface of this book he mentions
that Hazrat Mirza had asked him to write such a book:
the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement,
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, had charged me with the writing
of an English book which should contain all that was necessary
for a Muslim, or a non-Muslim, to know about the religion of Islam,
and to give a true picture of the religion which was largely misrepresented."
This book was received with acclaim by many famous
Islamic writers and reviewers; it prompted the following opening
words in his review by Marmaduke Pickthall:
"Probably no man living has done longer or
more valuable service for the cause of Islamic revival than Maulana
Muhammad Ali of Lahore."
(Islamic Culture, Hyderabad, India, October
1936, page 659)
Further on in this review, Pickthall wrote:
"Such a book is greatly needed at the present
day when in many Muslim countries we see persons eager for the
reformation and revival of Islam, making mistakes through lack
of just this knowledge."
This is independent confirmation that the Maulanas
book corrected the generally prevailing misconceptions about Islam,
which was a chief objective laid down by Hazrat Mirza when he directed
the Maulana to write such a book.
It can be seen that Hazrat Mirza handed to the Maulana
one of the most important duties of his mission the presentation
of Islam to the West in English in one comprehensive book
telling him "this is your work," and the Maulana
was able to fulfil this duty to the highest standard.
10. English translation of
the Holy Quran
In 1891, some five or six years before Hazrat Mirza
Ghulam Ahmad and Maulana Muhammad Ali had first met, Hazrat Mirza
had published his book Izala Auham, in which he had expressed
his heart-felt desire to prepare and send an English translation
of the Quran to Western countries. He wrote:
"I wish to prepare a commentary of the Quran
which should be sent to them [the Western nations] after it has
been rendered into the English language. I cannot refrain from
stating clearly that this is my work, and that definitely no one
else can do it as I can, or as he can who is an offshoot of mine
and thus is included in me."
(Izala Auham, page 773)
Here he declares that the person who does this work
would be "an offshoot of mine and thus included in me".
It was Maulana Muhammad Ali who did this work, starting it in 1909,
one year after the death of Hazrat Mirza, and publishing it eight
years later. Not only was it hailed by many independent reviewers
at that time as a marvellous, unequalled work, but even up to today,
after the appearance of other translations by Muslims, this translation
and commentary is still considered as surpassing all others in scholarship
Another respect in which the Maulanas English
work excels all others is that it has spawned translations in other
languages so that we have this same production available (or to
be shortly available) in Dutch, French, Spanish, Russian, German
and Polish. This distinction is most unlikely to fall to any other
translation of the Holy Quran.
Therefore the Maulanas translation and commentary
has quite clearly fulfilled Hazrat Mirzas bold prediction
in the above quotation that it would be entirely impossible for
anyone else to do this work as he could or one who was his branch.
It follows that Maulana Muhammad Ali clearly fulfils the description
"my branch and a part of me". The Maulanas life
and work was thus a continuation of the life and work of Hazrat
Mirza, and this is what constitutes true successorship. Real and
true successorship is not based on physical descent from ones
spiritual guide, or on merely making fanciful claims, but on carrying
forward his mission and aims and proving yourself as a worthy successor
by virtue of hard work to attain the objectives set by him.
11. Sign of the plague
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had prophesied the appearance
of the terrible epidemic of the plague in his time and country.
He also announced that, as a sign of his truth, he had been informed
through Divine revelation of the protection that would be granted
to his true followers from this deadly disease. One such revelation
was as follows: I will safeguard everyone who is in this house
except those who are rebellious and arrogant. So Hazrat Mirza
declared that, while there may be plague all around in the Punjab,
and some cases even in his home village of Qadian, yet those living
inside his house would be safe from it. In those days of March and
April 1902, an incident took place which is recounted as follows
by Hazrat Mirza himself:
"Sign number 103. Once, during the
days when the plague was raging and it was even in Qadian, Maulvi
Muhammad Ali, M.A., got a high temperature and he thought that
it was the plague. So he made his last will like a dying man
and he was living within my house, with regard to which there
is the revelation of God: I will safeguard everyone who is
in this house. Then I went to see him and finding him worried
and anxious I said to him: If you have got the plague then I am
a liar and my claim to receive Divine revelation is wrong. Having
said this, I felt his pulse and saw this wonder of Divine power
that his body became so cold that there was no sign or trace of
(Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, page 253)
This shows not only the perfect faith that Hazrat
Mirza had in his revelation being from God, but also his complete
conviction that Maulana Muhammad Ali was a true follower of his,
without any rebelliousness or arrogance in him. The revelation contained
an exception which excluded, from the promise of protection, those
who may be rebellious or arrogant. But Hazrat Mirza did not say:
If you have got the plague then you must be rebellious and arrogant,
for such people are excluded from the promise of being safeguarded!
No, Hazrat Mirza was absolutely certain that Maulana Muhammad Ali
was a true and sincere follower of his, and therefore if he did
have the plague then the revelation itself was false and Hazrat
Mirza was not from God.
11.1 Hazrat Mirzas brother-in-law
The conclusion above is further reinforced by another
incident recorded only a little later in the same book by Hazrat
Mirza. The two people referred to in this incident, i.e. Mir Nasir
Nawab who was father-in-law of Hazrat Mirza, and Mir Muhammad Ishaq,
the son of Mir Nasir Nawab, later on played a prominent role in
creating the heretical Qadiani sect, based on entirely un-Islamic
beliefs, thereby splitting the Ahmadiyya Movement into two. These
two men are among the leading founders of the Qadianis. Hazrat Mirza
"Sign number 143:
It so happened
that I saw frightening dreams many times clearly telling of some
tribulation to befall regarding the family of my father-in-law
Mir Nasir Nawab."
Then Hazrat Mirza describes one such dream in which
he saw that one of his most bitter enemies, by the name of Dr. Abdul
Hakim Khan, had been invited into his house by Mir Nasir Nawabs
wife. Interpreting this dream, Hazrat Mirza writes:
"If an enemy enters into your house, it means
that some disaster or death is to come to that house. As Abdul
Hakim Khan is these days my bitter, mortal enemy and is expecting
my destruction day and night, this is why God showed him in the
dream as wanting to enter my house, and Ishaqs mother, that
is Mir Nasir Nawabs wife, is inviting him. The interpretation
of inviting is that the inviter, due only to certain weaknesses
of faith which are known to God, invites disaster into his house.
To sum up, when I received so many revelations which made
it absolutely clear to me that some disaster was to befall the
family of Mir Nasir Nawab I engaged myself in prayer
He then describes the disaster which struck and
how it was averted by his special prayers:
"The following morning Mir sahibs
son Ishaq got a high temperature and severe agitation, and tumours
appeared at the top of both thighs. It was certain that it was
plague because in some parts of this district this disease was
spreading. Then I realized that this was the fulfillment of the
dreams mentioned above, and I became desperately worried. I told
the family of Mir Nasir Nawab that although I was praying, they
must repent greatly and seek forgiveness of God because I had
seen in a dream that they had invited an enemy into the house
and this pointed to some failing on their part.
"Although I know that death is, from eternity,
a law of nature, but it occurred to me that if someone died of
plague in my house then the biggest storm would arise in my falsification.
Then if I were to put forward even a thousand signs of my truth,
it would have no effect against that criticism because I have
written scores of times, and published it and told it to thousands
of people, that all the residents of my house will be safe from
death by plague. I cannot describe the state of my heart at that
time. So I immediately had recourse to prayer, and after the prayer
I saw the wonder of the power of God that in two or three hours
his temperature came down in an extraordinary manner, no sign
of the tumours remained, and he sat up, and not only that, but
the boy started moving about, playing and running, as if he had
never been ill."
(Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, pages 327329)
Hazrat Mirza has plainly written here that his father-in-laws
family suffered from weakness of faith, and as a result they let
a calamity enter into the house. He told them to repent because
his dream indicated some failing on their part, which had led to
the striking of the plague, and he himself engaged in special prayers
so that he may not be falsified in the world because of someone
dying of plague in his house.
We notice the complete and utter contrast between
what happened in this case and the incident of Maulana Muhammad
Ali described by Hazrat Mirza a few pages earlier. In the Maulanas
case, Hazrat Mirza did not say to the Maulana: if you have
got plague, it means that there must be some weakness of faith in
you, and so you must repent of your sins while I will say special
prayers to prevent disgrace befalling my name! Entirely the contrary,
Hazrat Mirza was absolutely certain with no doubt whatsoever
that it could not be plague because the Maulana was a true and sincere
follower of his.
11.2 Further significance of letting
enemy into the house
The dream in which Hazrat Mirza saw his father-in-laws
family letting a bitter enemy like Dr. Abdul Hakim Khan into the
house has another significance as well. Dr. Abdul Hakim Khan had
made various false allegations about certain teachings and beliefs
of Hazrat Mirza, one of which is referred to elsewhere by Hazrat
Mirza in the same book from which we have been quoting above, as
"In his booklet, Al-Masih al-Dajjal,
Dr. Abdul Hakim Khan levels the allegation against me of having
written in a book that a man who does not believe in me, even
though he may not have heard of my name, and even though he may
live in a country to which my call has not reached, he shall nonetheless
be a kafir and enter hell. This is a complete fabrication
of the aforementioned doctor. I have not written this in any book
or announcement. He ought to produce any book of mine in which
this is written."
(Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, page 178)
Exactly the same claim was made by the Qadiani leadership
in regard to Hazrat Mirzas beliefs, as their head Mirza Mahmud
"all those so-called Muslims who have not
entered into his baiat formally, wherever they may
be, are Kafirs and outside the pale of Islam, even though
they may not have heard the name of the Promised Messiah."
(The Truth about the Split, by Mirza Mahmud
Ahmad, page 55)
By introducing this doctrine into the Ahmadiyya
Movement, the Qadiani leadership, which included Mir Nasir Nawab
and his son Ishaq among its prominent men at the time of the Split,
let the mortal enemy Abdul Hakim Khan enter into the Movement. This
was how the Promised Messiahs dream was fulfilled: due to
their weakness of faith these people fell prey to the temptation
of setting up a family dynasty, and for this purpose they did not
hesitate to bring in un-Islamic beliefs into the Movement.
12. The Maulana to be with
Hazrat Mirza in after-life
In the life to come, also, the position of Maulana
Muhammad Ali is alongside Hazrat Mirza, as he has described in a
vision related by him as follows:
"Saw Maulvi Muhammad Ali in a dream. You
also were righteous and sincere. Come and sit by me."
(Tazkira, page 518; June 1904)
This vision refers to what is promised in verse
4:69 of the Holy Quran to those who obey Allah and the Messenger:
that they shall be in the company of the righteous of the highest
grade (i.e. the saints and the prophets) in the next life.