falsifies the Promised Messiah
Says that a Messiah
who denies being a prophet is "definitely a liar"
Reply given by the Editor
(Dr. Zahid Aziz)
(The Light & Islamic Review: Vol.72, No.
1; January-February 1995; p. 16-17)
Introduction / Mirza Mahmud Ahmad's
Last November, a follower
of Mirza Tahir Ahmad posted to the Internet world-wide computer network
a statement which was introduced as follows:
"The following is part of
a question answered by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV at the London Mosque
during a question/answer session some time ago."
As it was posted by an ardent Qadiani, I am bound to assume that Mirza
Tahir Ahmad is indeed the author of this statement bearing his name,
which his disciple has typed and circulated on the computer network
for the world to read.
In this statement, Mirza Tahir Ahmad has attempted to show that in
view of the belief which the general Muslims hold about the Mahdi and
Messiah to come, whom they are still awaiting, it can only be concluded
that he must come as a prophet. He says:
"All Muslims believe that
Imam Mahdi is going to be appointed by Allah. . . . The other part
of the belief is that whoever refuses to accept Imam Mahdi will become
From this he draws the following conclusion:
"Now, bearing these two beliefs in mind, quote me one
example of any person having these two attributes who was a 'non-prophet'.
Not a single man on earth appeared in history with these two qualities
who was not a prophet. . . . If someone enjoys the two qualities of
Imam Mahdi, he will remain a prophet, whatever you call him."
Then Mirza Tahir Ahmad refers to the general Muslim belief about the
return of Jesus to this world, and says that Muslims believe that he
will come as a prophet. So highly essential is it for him to be a prophet
that Mirza Tahir Ahmad says :
"If the Promised Messiah
is true, he had to be a prophet because the Holy Prophet himself said
that the Messiah that is to come will be a prophet."
He then asks why, in view of the Muslims' own belief, they condemn
Ahmadis [i.e. Qadianis] for believing in the Founder of the Ahmadiyya
Movement as a prophet? He goes on to say:
"So if anybody claims that he is
a Messiah, and not a prophet, he is definitely a liar, you cannot
prove him otherwise."
Ignoring the other errors in Mirza Tahir Ahmad's argument here, I will
for the present simply focus on the words highlighted above. According
to this statement, if anyone ever arose among the Muslims claiming to
be the Messiah he must also claim to be a prophet otherwise he would
be "definitely a liar".
The vast majority of the present-day Qadianis will be unaware of the
fact that their own acknowledged belief about Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
is that, having proclaimed himself the Promised Messiah in 1891 C.E.,
he vigorously denied claiming to be a prophet till the year 1901 C.E.,
when he finally laid claim to be a prophet. Our belief is, of
course, that Hazrat Mirza continued to deny claiming to be a prophet
all his life, which ended in May 1908. However, the point to which we
wish to draw attention is the Qadianis' own belief, which they
repeatedly published and argued since 1914, that the Promised Messiah
denied claiming to be a prophet for a period of more than ten years
after proclaiming himself, throughout India and even in other countries,
to be the Promised Messiah.
Now Mirza Tahir Ahmad says that if someone claimed to be the Promised
Messiah but denied that he was a prophet, he would be proved to be "definitely
a liar". We ask him:
What do you think Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
was during that period of ten years when, as you acknowledge, he was claiming
to be the Promised Messiah but denying being a prophet?
Mahmud Ahmad's 1901 theory.
To show that the Qadianis do indeed believe that the Promised Messiah
denied claiming to be a prophet till 1901, we quote below from the book
Haqiqat-un-Nubuwwat by Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, the
second Khalifa of the Qadianis, published in March 1915.
"The books in which he has
denied being a prophet in clear words, and has called his prophethood
as partial and imperfect, and as the prophethood of saints (muhaddas),
are all without exception books from before the year 1901 C.E. . .
. It is clear that in 1901 C.E. the Promised Messiah certainly made
a change in his belief, that is to say, previously he considered his
prophethood as being sainthood (muhaddas)."
- p. 120
" . . . It is proved that
the references dating prior to the year 1901 C.E. in which he has
denied being a prophet, are now abrogated and it is an error to use
them as evidence." p. 121
"The Promised Messiah during
two different periods defined 'prophet' in two different ways. Before
the year 1901 C.E. he used one definition of 'prophet.' Afterwards,
when he pondered over the repeated revelation he had received from
God, and looked in the Quran, he discovered a different definition
of 'prophet.' According to the previous definition of 'prophet' in
his mind, he was not a prophet, and therefore while all the characteristics
of prophethood were found in him, he refrained from calling himself
a prophet. And whenever he met the word 'prophet' in his revelation
he would interpret it in another sense, different from its real meaning,
because he did not find in himself all those qualities which he thought
must be found in prophets." - p. 122
According to the belief expressed in these extracts, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam
Ahmad, having become the Promised Messiah in 1891, did not know what
makes a man into a prophet. Therefore, while being a prophet he did
not consider or call himself a prophet; indeed he denied being a prophet.
This state of affairs, according to the Qadiani belief, lasted for over
ten years. In the year 1901, they assert, he discovered the right definition
of a prophet, and realised that he had been a prophet all along!
At least in the view of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, the second Khalifa,
the Promised Messiah was only under a misconception for ten years. But
now according to Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the fourth Khalifa, such
a claimant to Messiahship who denies being a prophet is "definitely