refuted in Internet exchange
Our success in proving
that Hazrat Mirza did not claim to be a prophet
by the Editor (Dr. Zahid Aziz)
(The Light & Islamic Review: Vol.73, No.
1; January -February 1996; p. 13-15)
Introduction / Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala.
In the last issue of The
Light, I described the use of the world-wide Internet computer network
for discussions, and my participation in the group by the name of soc.religion.islam,
in which issues and questions relating in any way to Islam are aired.
Recently, a discussion has been taking place regarding the belief that
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to be a prophet. It began when a Qadiani
sent a series of articles under the title "Prophet(s) after
the Prophet Muhammad", attempting to show that, according
to Islam and Islamic authorities, prophets will continue to arise after
the Holy Prophet Muhammad. I recall seeing the same series appearing
previously at various times.
The point at which I first noticed this discussion, a Qadiani from
Queen's University, Canada, had challenged a statement by a Sunni contributor,
Mr. Abdur-Rahman Daniel Lomax from Asheville, North Carolina, who
had said that Hazrat Mirza had called anyone who claims prophethood
after the Holy Prophet Muhammad as an apostate. In response, Mr. Lomax
quoted some such statements of Hazrat Mirza from the book Founder
of the Ahmadiyya Movement by Maulana Muhammad Ali.
Seeing this, I backed up Mr. Lomax's article by sending further statements
from Hazrat Mirza's writings in which he has denied claiming prophethood
and denounced any claimant to prophethood after the Holy Prophet Muhammad,
and also repeatedly expressed his belief that no prophet, new or old,
can come after the Holy Prophet.
In response, another Qadiani from Canada (I will refer to him by his
intitial, and call him Dr. I.R.) sent a long article which I recognised
as being one of their pre-prepared writings which other Qadianis have
sent to me before in personal discussions. Much of it is devoted to
claiming that Maulana Muhammad Ali and some other Lahore Ahmadi spokesmen
had at one time believed Hazrat Mirza to be a prophet. I responded that
these arguments were irrelevant to the point under debate. The question
being discussed was: if Hazrat Mirza claimed to be a prophet, as asserted
by the Qadianis, then why did he deny claiming to be a prophet so frequently
and so vehemently? The Qadiani reply also contained some brief extracts
in which Hazrat Mirza had used words such as nabi and rasul
for himself, and I was asked how I could reconcile the statements denying
prophethood with these. I replied that Hazrat Mirza had made it clear
that wherever these words had been used it was in a metaphorical sense,
and not as meaning an actual prophet.
In subsequent articles, Dr. I.R. raised several objections to
our stand-point. I summarise these below with my replies:
you saying that he never claimed prophethood?
A. In reply
I quoted a passage in which Hazrat Mirza says: "I have never,
at any time, claimed prophethood in the real sense."
did he not use the word saint (wali or muhaddas) if that
was what he meant? Did he not know the meanings of the word prophet
or the later two words? Did he not know the difference between prophet
A. I quoted extracts where Hazrat
Mirza had stated his claim to be that of being a muhaddas, at
the same time denying that he was a prophet. However, it is most ironic
that a Qadiani should be raising this objection for it is their belief
that for ten years after claiming to be the Promised Messiah (the period
1891 to 1901) Hazrat Mirza wrongly considered himself to be a muhaddas
because he "did not know the difference between prophet and muhaddas"!
Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, the Qadiani Head, wrote as follows:
". . . previously he considered his prophethood
as being sainthood (muhaddas) . . . 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." (Haqiqat-un-Nubuwwat,
published March 1915, pages 120 and 122)
So the official Qadiani belief is that Hazrat Mirza denied being a
prophet when he actually was a prophet because he did not know
the right definition of 'prophet'!
Mirza never denied that he received prophethood through obedience to
the Holy Prophet. He claimed to be an ummati nabi (a follower
who is a prophet), did he not?
A. I quoted
various extracts from Izala Auham where Hazrat Mirza has explained
that the concepts of being a 'follower' (ummati) and of being
a 'prophet' are opposite in meaning, and therefore a person can
never be both a follower as well as a prophet. There is simply no
such thing. However, he has further added that the description 'follower
as well as prophet' does fit a muhaddas because while he is no
more than a follower (of the Holy Prophet Muhammad), he does possess
some characteristics of a prophet in an imperfect manner.
And this is the sense in which, says Hazrat Mirza, God has called him
"follower as well as prophet". The very presence of the word
'follower' in this expression rules out absolutely that he could be a
The two Qadiani writers in this debate both posted articles in which
they included the Qadiani translation of Hazrat Mirza's pamphlet Ayk
Ghalati Ka Izala, entitled A Misunderstanding Removed. They
were attempting to prove that Hazrat Mirza published this to clear the
misunderstanding of some of his followers who wrongly believed that
he did not claim prophethood. With supreme confidence, Dr. I.R.
thundered at me:
"Just answer this one question and read my words: What
was the misunderstanding Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was trying to remove
in that pamphlet? Can you enlighten us this time?
I have not addressed anything else for your convenience."
I replied that this was obvious from the very opening words of this
pamphlet. A follower of Hazrat Mirza had mistakenly told an opponent
that the words nabi and rasul had never even been used
in his writings for himself. So Hazrat Mirza wrote this pamphlet explaining,
exactly as he always did, that these words undoubtedly occur in his
writings but are used metaphorically, or according to their basic, root
meaning, not in the sense which they bear in Islamic terminology
as meaning a real prophet.
Then Mr. Lomax said regarding my submissions that, despite the other
information which I had provided about Hazrat Mirza's denials of claiming
prophethood, it would be better if I "would directly confront the
problem that there are numerous statements which have been presented
here [by Qadianis], clearly claiming prophethood, and not particularly
susceptible to clarification as merely metaphorical."
In response, I explained that up to that point I was trying to establish
the general principle that Hazrat Mirza did not claim to be a prophet,
which was essential in order to properly clarify the meaning of the
statements referred to by Mr. Lomax. I then took up several such
statements as found in the Qadiani translation A Misunderstanding
Removed, which are used to mislead people. In each case I showed
that the same statement may be found in other works of Hazrat Mirza
in a more detailed form, from where it is absolutely clear that those
words are a claim of being a saint or muhaddas, and not of being
I also pointed out some errors in the Qadiani translation, most notably
the following words:
". . . my ignorant opponents
accuse me of having laid claim to an independent
prophethood and messengership. I had made no such claim.
. . "
The word independent does not exist in the original Urdu. By
inserting it, the intention is to convey that Hazrat Mirza only denied
claiming to be an "independent" prophet, whereas he is in
fact denying claiming to be a prophet at all.
After I had posted my last submission to the newsgroup, Mr. Lomax sent
the following contribution:
"Once again I thank brother Zahid Aziz for his cogent
and able defense of Ghulam Ahmed's position on the sealing of prophecy,
as well as his exposition of the distortion in translation of some
of his writings by his erstwhile supporters among the Qadianis. To
my mind, he has cleared Ghulam Ahmed of the stink of false claim on
this matter, at least. I remain clear as to his station being beneath
that of the genuine Messiah or Mahdi; how far beneath is a matter
which is unclear to me.
"It is apparent that whatever Ghulam Ahmed may have done
for good or evil, he did not claim prophecy in such a way as to leave
Islam, and allegations that he did are based on quotes out of context
and an incomplete knowledge of the sum of his writings. I have no
essential objection (based in principle rather than detailed facts)
to a claim that he was, metaphorically, Jesus, for example, and I
have already pointed out one very clear parallel.
"Jesus did not claim to be God, but certain of his statements,
taken out of context, coupled with an ignorance of what else he said
- or a twisting of its meaning - can make it seem that he did.
"In fact, Ghulam Ahmed also made some statements like
this too, such that some of his enemies have said that he claimed
to be a prophet. With Jesus, it was the Sanhedrin which accused him
of a claim to be God; thus the claim originally came from enemies;
as with the Qadian section of the Ahmediyya, later Christians adopted
the claim as their own."
It is very pleasing for us to see that Mr. Lomax has drawn the same
parallel between Hazrat Mirza and Jesus, as regards the claims attributed
to them, which the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement has been presenting for
over eighty years. It is an evidence of the fact that Hazrat Mirza's
life and mission bear great resemblance to those of Jesus.
In an earlier article, Mr. Lomax had responded to a Qadiani who had
asked him why he was seeking the views of Lahore Ahmadis on these questions.
Mr. Lomax wrote:
"Rather, I have looked to the Lahoris
for response to Qadiani claims; after all, they get tarred with the
same brush, and have an interest in dispelling the rumors about Ghulam
Ahmed; further, they are far more familiar with the literature than
"Plus, I am very fond of their founder,
Muhammad Ali, for the work he did in translating and presenting the
Quran in a form which has yet to be equalled in utility. I have no
such fondness for the Qadian section, for I have seen little but controversy
and argument from them, and the arguments are endless, going nowhere."
This opinion is an evidence that the very great service rendered to
Islam by Maulana Muhammad Ali, especially by means of his translation
and commentary of the Holy Quran, has not only helped the cause of Islam
as such, but also made many people recognise that it is the Lahore Ahmadiyya
Movement which is the right and true representative of the beliefs and
claims of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.