Qadianis flee Maulana Muhammad Alis
challenges to debate
From the beginning of the Split in 1914, Maulana Muhammad Ali repeatedly
tried to get the Qadiani leader Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad to agree
to a debate with him over the issues of disagreement. These issues are
summarised in the table below:
| Lahore Ahmadiyya Beliefs
(coined by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad,
today represented by Mirza Tahir Ahmad)
|Every person professing the Kalima Shahada is a Muslim.
||Anyone who does not believe in Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is a
|Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad never claimed to be a prophet.
||Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a prophet.
But the Qadiani leader always evaded entering a debate or discussion
of any kind.
In the last decade of his life, Maulana Muhammad Ali made his most
strenous and sustained final attempts, for six years, to bring the Qadianis
into debate. He presented the differences between the two parties in
a crystal clear way, putting them in sharp contrast against each other.
But the evasion of the Qadianis proved conclusively that their beliefs
have no foundation whatsoever. Below we give details of these events.
In April 1940, Maulana Muhammad Ali challenged the Qadianis to a written
debate, with or without judges, on the issues under dispute. In May
1940 he announced:
"Remember well that it is on the issue of kufr and
Islam that the Qadianis will flounder. Their position on this issue
is entirely weak and unsound. The ground has been cut away from under
their feet. No Qadiani knows what is his belief about this. They say:
`There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah',
but in practice they have cancelled this Kalima. It is obvious
that if the Kalima is not abrogated, how can those who profess
it be called kafir and outside the pale of Islam? And if
those who do not accept Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, while professing
the Kalima, are kafir then this Kalima
is abrogated. But the Qadianis do not take either of these positions
clearly, or proclaim it plainly and boldly. The reason is that they
have no belief on this question. When talking to anyone, they express
that belief which suits the listener. On this question, and on the
question of the khilafat, the Qadianis cannot take any stand.
"Remember, we will not let them get away. Either they have to
enter the field of combat and prove that all Muslims on earth are
kafir and expelled from Islam, or they have to admit defeat,
and acknowledge that according to the Quran, Hadith, and the teachings
of the Promised Messiah every person professing the Kalima
is a Muslim ... and this is what we want because our aim is reform.
The root of the difference between us is the issue of kufr and
Islam. Once that is settled, the issue of prophethood [whether Hazrat
Mirza claimed to be a prophet or not] can be solved in one instant."
Proposals for written debate
The Maulana proposed, at that same time, that each side would put to
the other an agreed number of questions or objections, and the replies
to these would be published in the newspapers of both sides. The readers
would then make up their own minds, and there would be no further time-wasting
debates between the two groups.
He added that if Mirza Mahmud Ahmad wishes to have judges to the debate,
then the Maulana would nominate five judges all of them from among
the Qadianis. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad rejected this offer, and dared
not accept having even his own followers as judges, as nominated by
the Maulana. He said:
"In the matter of religious beliefs, I am not prepared to accept
the verdict of my own wife or sons or brothers. The question of my
beliefs is for me. Why should I accept someone else's judgment?"
But he was not being asked to adopt the decision of the judges
as his personal beliefs. The debate and the ruling of the judges would
show to the general public which side's case was proved true. Any individual
was free to adopt whatever belief he liked.
Every Qadiani invited to judge
As Mirza Mahmud Ahmad refused to accept this proposal, Maulana Muhammad
Ali wrote a leaflet in December 1940 entitled Each and Every Qadiani
invited to become judge. In this, he explained to them the standpoint
taken by Hazrat Mirza sahib, in allowing his followers to say the funeral
prayers for other Muslims, and challenged any Qadiani to deny these
plain facts. He writes:
"I repeat these points regarding which I am prepared to make
each and every Qadiani an arbiter:
(1) There are four rulings of the Promised Messiah, two from the
years 1907 and 1908, allowing us to say the funeral prayers of a
(2) Hazrat Mirza sahib never ruled that funeral prayers for non-Ahmadis
(3) Hazrat Mirza sahib's practice was not contrary to his rulings,
but according to them.
(4) Till the split in 1914, all Ahmadi communities used to hold
funeral prayers for non-Ahmadis when required.
If there is not even a single Qadiani who can deny these four facts,
then no one can deny that the present position of the Qadianis is
opposed to the position of the Promised Messiah."
This and other efforts to bring the Qadianis into debate were all rejected
Leaders to address each other's gathering
Prior to the annual gathering (Jalsa) of December 1941, Maulana
Muhammad Ali invited Mirza Mahmud Ahmad to address the Lahore Ahmadiyya
community at its gathering, in return for the Maulana addressing the
annual gathering of the Qadianis, so that each community could hear
the arguments presented by the leader of the other. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad
replied that he could only allow the Maulana to speak on the days after
the Qadiani Jalsa, and not during it. The Maulana rejected
this, as the gathering would have dispersed by then, and he would not
be able to address the whole Jama`at. But he still left open his invitation
to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad to speak at the Lahore Jalsa. There was
no response to this.
Qadianis challenged to take oath
When these efforts lasting two years did not bear fruit, in 1944 Maulana
Muhammad Ali proposed another means of resolving the dispute. He wrote:
"The Qadianis believe that before the year 1901 Hazrat Mirza
Ghulam Ahmad denied claiming to be a prophet, and believed Muslims
to be Muslims, but that in 1901 he changed his claim to prophethood
and started calling Muslims as kafir. Let us decide whether
Hazrat Mirza sahib changed his claim or not. Let
just one man from the whole of the Qadiani community make a statement
on oath as follows: `In the year 1901, my belief regarding
the prophethood of Hazrat Mirza sahib changed'. From our side,
seventy men made a statement on oath (in 1915) that in the year 1901
the idea never even entered their minds that Hazrat Mirza sahib had
changed his claim.
"If the Qadianis cannot find anyone else, let Mirza Mahmud Ahmad
himself make this statement under oath."
The Maulana went one step further and invited Mirza
Mahmud Ahmad to make the statement under oath that his beliefs, as expressed
on page 35 of his book A'inah Sadaqat, were the beliefs held
by Hazrat Mirza sahib. The scanned image of that page from the original
Urdu book is shown below, along with the English translation of the
relevant passage as published by the Qadianis themselves:
of A'inah-i Sadaqat,
View of entire Urdu page.
|Qadianis' own English translation of relevant
extract as given in their book The Truth about the Split,
Rabwah, 1965, pages 55-56.
||"(1) ... the belief that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam
Ahmad was actually a Nabi; (2) the belief that he was the
Ahmad spoken of in the prophecy of Jesus referred to in
the Holy Quran in 61:6; and (3) the belief that all those so-called
Muslims who have not entered into his [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's]
bai`at 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. That
these beliefs have my full concurrence, I readily admit."
The Maulana himself would state under oath that those beliefs of Mirza
Mahmud Ahmad were opposed to the beliefs of Hazrat Mirza sahib.
The Maulana added that if, in his oath, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad invoked God's
punishment upon himself in case of making a false statement, the Maulana
would also say the same thing about himself in his oath. But there was
no response to this.
Shortly afterwards, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad wrote an article denouncing
Maulana Muhammad Ali as "a coward and a liar" and predicting
that the curse of God would "strangle him like a liar" and
that "the curse of his fabrication will descend upon him and he
will die the death of liars". In reply, the Maulana prepared a
statement for Mirza Mahmud Ahmad to answer, which was as follows:
"I repeat my allegations in clear words:
(1) Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has made a false statement
and committed a fabrication against the Promised Messiah
that in 1901 he changed his claim in this way that, while previously
denying a claim to prophethood, he now made a claim to prophethood
himself, and cancelled his former writings of several years containing
denials of a claim to prophethood.
(2) Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has made a false statement
and committed a fabrication against the Promised Messiah
that he (Hazrat Mirza sahib) used to say that he did not know the
correct meaning of the term 'prophet' until the year 1901.
(3) Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has made a false statement
and committed a fabrication against the Promised Messiah
that around the year 1901 it used to be said among the circle of
followers of the Promised Messiah that his previous beliefs about
prophethood (i.e. his denials of claiming to be a prophet) were
If Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has the courage, he can hold a debate with
me about these allegations. I will appoint persons from among his
own followers as the arbiters. If he wishes, he can hold a mubahila
after the debate, that is to say, he would take an oath, invoking
Divine punishment upon himself in case of making a false statement,
testifying that his beliefs as given on page 35 of A'inah Sadaqat
are in agreement with the beliefs of the Promised Messiah; and I
will take a similar oath, testifying that his beliefs are entirely
opposed to the beliefs of the Promised Messiah. However, a debate
will be necessary before the mubahila.
"If Mirza Mahmud Ahmad remains silent even now, I will continue
to repeat these accusations until his followers are moved to ask him
to clear himself from these charges."
This statement was printed in the form of a block in Paigham Sulh
in every issue from 2 August to the end of October 1944, but Mirza Mahmud
Ahmad could not pluck up the courage to reply.
On 9 March 1945, and again on 8 August 1945, Maulana Muhammad Ali reminded
Mirza Mahmud Ahmad of his invitation to hold a mubahila. He told
him that he had been announcing for one year that "Mirza
Mahmud Ahmad has made a false statement and committed a fabrication
against the Promised Messiah". The Maulana called on him
to appoint Sir Zafrullah Khan, or anyone else from among his own followers,
as a judge and to give him proof that his beliefs were the same as those
of Hazrat Mirza sahib. The Maulana also challenged him to take legal
action against him for defamation. He wrote:
"I have no wish whatsoever to humiliate Mirza Mahmud Ahmad,
nor am I at all seeking to ruin him. But I cannot tolerate the humiliation
of the religion of Islam or the ruination of the true teachings of
the Promised Messiah. My demand is not a difficult one. It is that
Mirza Mahmud Ahmad make a sworn statement that in the year 1901 he
changed his belief as to whether or not the Promised Messiah was a
prophet, or else he should desist from this fabrication against the
Promised Messiah that he changed his belief in 1901."
However, things continued unchanged, and in August 1946 Maulana Muhammad
Ali issued an announcement which summarised the preceding events:
"1. We and the Qadianis both agree that when Hazrat Mirza Ghulam
Ahmad claimed to be the Promised Messiah in 1891, he denied claiming
to be a prophet. He gave his claim as that of being a muhaddas
(non-prophet who receives revelation), declared prophethood as having
ended with the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and denounced as an imposter
and liar anyone claiming prophethood after the Holy Prophet. The disagreement
between us and the head of the Qadianis is that we hold that the Promised
Messiah adhered to this position till he died (in 1908), but the Qadiani
head writes that the Promised Messiah changed his belief in 1901,
laying claim to be a prophet and opening the door of prophethood after
the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
"2. It is obvious that the burden of proof regarding the change
in claim in 1901 lies upon the Qadiani leader. I have invited Mirza
Mahmud Ahmad, again and again, to a debate on this issue. I went so
far as to say that I would nominate some of his own followers as judges
of the debate. But he does not respond.
"3. Seventy of us, including myself, made a sworn declaration
(in 1915) that we had taken the pledge to join the Movement before
1901, and the belief which we held at the time of our pledge, namely,
that prophethood ended with the Holy Prophet Muhammad, was the belief
we unchangingly held till death of Hazrat Mirza sahib. He did not
change his belief about prophethood in 1901.
"4. For more than thirty years we have been demanding that seventy
members of the Qadiani community make the sworn statement that they
took the pledge before 1901 believing that Hazrat Mirza sahib claimed
to be a muhaddas, but that in 1901 they changed their belief
and started to believe that he was a prophet because in that year
they discovered that he had changed his belief. But the entire Qadiani
community has been silent for thirty years.
"5. I then had recourse to the last resort allowed in Islam,
namely, that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad should undertake a mubahila
with me, as to whether Hazrat Mirza sahib changed his belief about
prophethood in 1901. But he still remained silent.
"6. However, some followers of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad keep on asking
if I am prepared to enter into a mubahila with Mirza Mahmud
Ahmad. To dispel all doubts, I announce again the following.
"7. I am prepared to hold a debate with Mirza Mahmud Ahmad on
the question whether the Promised Messiah changed his belief in 1901,
and I am prepared to appoint as judges persons from among his own
followers only, one of them being Sir Zafrullah Khan.
"8. By having judges, it will not imply that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad
must personally accept their verdict and change his own beliefs. But
the misconception in people's minds will be cleared. If he considers
it beneath his dignity to have judges, I will withdraw this condition,
and hold an unconditional debate with him, whether it is in a public
gathering or by written papers. He can impose any condition. My only
proviso is that the topic of the debate will be restricted to the
question whether Hazrat Mirza sahib changed his belief in 1901 or
"9. I am prepared to hold a mubahila on this issue with
Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, if he so wishes. The Mubahila can be between
just himself and me, or other people from both sides can be included
who joined the Movement before 1901.
"If Mirza Mahmud Ahmad wants to propose a different date than
1901 as the time of the alleged change of claim, I am ready to hold
a debate and mubahila with reference to that date.
"I want Mirza Mahmud Ahmad to reply to this announcement personally."
There was no reply from Mirza Mahmud Ahmad. However, one of his followers,
Seth Abdullah Ala-Din of Secandarabad challenged Maulana Muhammad
Ali to take an oath about his beliefs, and call for Divine retribution
upon himself in case of making a false declaration. The Seth
demanded that the oath be taken in the words he proposed, and he predicted
that if the Maulana took the oath then within a year he would
be punished by the hand of God Himself, in a manner entirely above human
Maulana Muhammad Ali took the oath, in exactly the words formulated
by the Seth, in his speech to the annual gathering of the Ahmadiyya
Anjuman Isha`at Islam Lahore on 25 December 1946:
"I, Muhammad Ali, head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya
Jamaat, do swear that my belief is that Hazrat Mirza [Ghulam Ahmad]
sahib of Qadian is a Mujaddid and the Promised Messiah, but
not a prophet, nor can any person become a kafir or excluded
from the fold of Islam by denying him. This was also the belief of
Hazrat Mirza sahib.
"O God, if I have uttered falsehood in
this oath taken in Thy name, then send upon me from Thyself such exemplary
punishment as has no human hand in it, and from which the world would
learn how stern and terrible is God's retribution for one who deceives
His creatures by swearing falsely in His name."
(Paigham Sulh, 11 December 1946 and 15 January 1947)
Having taken this oath, the Maulana lived till October 1951, continuing
his service of Islam as before. During this period, he thoroughly revised
the first edition of his premier work, the English translation and commentary
of the Holy Quran, and died shortly after finishing the proof reading
of the new edition.
Earlier, in 1944 the Qadiani and Lahore-Ahmadi communities of Data,
in the district of Hazara (the North West Frontier Province), came to
a mutual agreement to ask their respective leaders, i.e. Mirza Mahmud
Ahmad and Maulana Muhammad Ali, to make sworn declarations, both using
the same form of wording, to affirm their respective stand-points about
Hazrat Mirza sahib's beliefs. Maulana Muhammad Ali accepted the demand,
and published the following statement:
"I, Muhammad Ali, head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jamaat, knowing
Allah Almighty to be witness to this, Who holds my life in His hands,
do swear that to my knowledge the belief of the Promised Messiah from
1901 to 1908 was that a person not believing in him is still a
Muslim and within the fold of Islam, and his denier is not a kafir
or excluded from the fold of Islam. The same has also been my
belief, from 1901 till this day, on the basis of the belief of the
(Paigham Sulh, 21 September 1944)
Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was required to take the same oath, but substituting
the following words to express his stand-point: " that to my knowledge
the belief of the Promised Messiah from 1901 to 1908 was that a person
not believing in him is a kafir and excluded from the fold of Islam."
He refused to make this sworn statement, yet the Qadianis kept on repeating