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Reply to Mirza Tahir Ahmad’s mubahila challenge

by Maulana Hafiz Sher Mohammad


(Note: When in 1987 or 1988 the Qadiani Head Mirza Tahir Ahmad issued a challenge of mubahila to the Muslim leaders opposed to the Ahmadiyya Movement, the late Maulana Hafiz Sher Mohammad, the distinguished missionary and scholar of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, responded by an Open Letter addressed to Mirza Tahir Ahmad. The Urdu letter was also translated into English by Dr. Zahid Aziz and published at that time. It is reproduced below.)

Open Letter

To: Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Head of the Rabwah Ahmadiyya Community

From: Hafiz Sher Mohammad, Ahmadiyya Anjuman, Lahore

I have before me your pamphlet, in which you have issued the challenge for a mubahila. Before commenting on it, I give below a summary of the beliefs held by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad:

God is One, without partner. Muhammad of Arabia, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, is the Khatam an-nabiyyin and the Last Prophet of God, and after him no new prophet or old prophet can come. Wahy nubuwwat (revelation granted to prophets) terminated after the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Now only wahy wilayat (type of revelation granted to saints) continues, and is received by the saints of God. After the Holy Prophet Muhammad, there continued to appear mujaddids, and the mujaddid of the 14th century hijra is Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. He is also, in accordance with the Sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, a muhaddas (non-prophet who receives revelation) and the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. He did not claim prophethood, nor did he declare those Muslims who denied him as being kafirs and expelled from Islam. These are also the beliefs held by the Lahore Ahmadiyya community.

Sometime after the death of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, however, Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad proclaimed certain beliefs which were absolutely against the beliefs held by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. So Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali, a trusted and beloved disciple of Hazrat Mirza, made a sworn statement, along with a total of seventy men, which is summarised below:

We took the bai‘at at the hand of the Promised Messiah before November 1901, and we declare that he neither claimed prophethood, nor did he change his beliefs about this in 1901. {See full statement.}

To save Mirza Mahmud Ahmad from the error into which he had fallen, Maulana Muhammad Ali made strenous efforts in a most loving and sympathetic manner. He addressed Mirza Mahmud Ahmad as follows:

“I am not your enemy. It is out of love and sympathy for you that I am trying to save you from the mistake you are making.” (Mir’at al-Haqiqat, page 3)

Not only this, but the Maulana stated on oath:

“I am so deeply indebted to the Promised Messiah that however wrong his son may be, I will not curse him, but instead I will pray that God may deliver him from his error and exaggeration, and establish him on the real teachings of the Promised Messiah.” (ibid., page 9)

After this, for years Maulana Muhammad Ali gave argument upon argument on these issues. He wrote books and pamphlets, and issued open letters, but Mirza Mahmud Ahmad paid no attention. At last, Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote in his book Tahrik Ahmadiyyat:

“The Qadian Jamaat is trying to sail in two boats at the same time. On the one hand, they declare the 400 million Kalima-professing people to be kafir, and do not accept that a person becomes a Muslim by professing the words: ‘There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’, but rather they regard such a one as a kafir. On the other hand, they include themselves among the Muslims, refusing to make a separate religion or Kalima for themselves. But this situation cannot last long. Either the repugnant nature of this doctrine will ultimately create an aversion in most of them and they will cease to ascribe the claim of prophethood to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Or, the necessary consequence of this doctrine will follow, namely, that the Kalima ‘There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’ will be declared abrogated, and they will accept a new Kalima in its place.”

After so much exhortation and pleading, when Mirza Mahmud Ahmad continued to be stubborn and obdurate, Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote:

“We know that if today, with your system of absolute obedience to the leader, you have blind-folded your followers, tomorrow this blind-fold is bound to come off, and your Jamaat will have to return to the right belief. Exaggerated beliefs have no firm foundation, and the structure which rests on exaggeration will fall, if not today then tomorrow.”

Glory be to God! Shortly after the death of Maulana Muhammad Ali, there arises an anti-Ahmadiyya campaign in Pakistan (in 1952-53) which leads to martial law being imposed in Lahore and a judicial Court of Enquiry being set up afterwards. In that court, amongst other Ulama, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad is also questioned before Mr Justice Munir and Mr Justice Kayani, and he retracts from his previous beliefs about the general body of Muslims as being kafir! {See quotation.}

Some twenty-five years later, the then Head, Mirza Nasir Ahmad, is questioned by a journalist during his tour of Europe, and in reply he declares his opponents to be Muslims, and turns away completely from his father’s beliefs. {See quotation.}

Now Mirza Tahir Ahmad too has departed from the beliefs of his father, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, and has sought refuge in those very beliefs of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad which were constantly repeated by Maulana Muhammad Ali till his death. In his mubahila challenge to his opponents, Mirza Tahir Ahmad has relied on Hazrat Mirza sahib’s book Ayyam-us-Sulh, which used to be declared by their Jamaat as abrogated because it was written before the year 1901. {See quotations from Ayyam-us-Sulh.}

If Mirza Tahir Ahmad wanted to address his opponents, he should first of all have publicly rejected all those beliefs coined by his father which are against Hazrat Mirza sahib’s teachings, and which the Qadiani Jamaat still adheres to. And it was his duty to refute various charges which the opponents have been levelling against them from time to time. Instead of this course, by challenging the opponents to mubahila at a highly critical time for the Muslims of Pakistan, he has increased the problems of his own followers.

If you wanted to refute the allegations of the opponents, there were many other ways of doing this. If your view is that those other ways would not have worked, then these misconceptions cannot be removed by mubahila either.

In the end, you are requested to make clear whether you now accept those teachings of the Promised Messiah which Maulana Muhammad Ali invited your father to, for a period of 37 years, or you still consider your father’s beliefs to be correct (and are seeking refuge in the Promised Messiah’s beliefs for the purposes of the mubahila). Please make your position clear and evident, so that no misunderstanding remains.

Hafiz Sher Mohammad.


Appendix

by the Translator

We give below some quotations arising out of the points made by the learned Hafiz Sher Mohammad.

1. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad’s beliefs around time of Split

The following extracts are from the book The Truth about the Split, written by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, which is the English version of his Urdu book Ainah Sadaqat, and was first published in 1924.

“(3) The belief that all those so-called Muslims who have not entered into his [Promised Messiah'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.” (pages 55-56)

Explaining the purpose of an article he had written earlier in 1911, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad writes in this book:

“The article was elaborately entitled — A Muslim is one who believes in all the messengers of God. The title itself is sufficient to show that the article was not meant to prove merely that ‘those who did not accept the Promised Messiah were deniers of the Promised Messiah’. Its object rather was to demonstrate that those who did not believe in the Promised Messiah were not Muslims.” (pages 135-136)

2. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad’s retraction at Munir Enquiry

The Report of the Enquiry gives the following as the belief the Qadianis expressed before the Court in 1954:

“On the question whether the Ahmadis [i.e. Qadianis] consider the other Musalmans to be Kafirs in the sense of their being outside the pale of Islam, the position taken before us is that such persons are not Kafirs and that the word Kufr, when used in the literature of the Ahmadis [i.e. Qadianis] in respect of such persons, is used in the sense of a minor heresy and that it was never intended to convey that such persons were outside the pale of Islam.” (page 199 of the Report)

The position taken before the Court is clearly contradictory to the views expressed by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad in The Truth about the Split.

3. Mirza Nasir Ahmad’s retraction during his 1980 Western tour

Mirza Nasir Ahmad, the third Khalifa of the Qadianis, made the following statement to a press correspondent in Norway, as quoted in the Qadianis’ Urdu publication Daura Maghrib:

“No one has the right to say to a person who calls himself a Muslim that ‘you are not a Muslim’. To act on the Quran, he must be accepted as a Muslim. Those people who do not accept us as Muslims are acting against the Quran. But we accept their right to call themselves Muslims, and we consider them to be a part of the Islamic community.” (page 217)

The book then records:

“At this, the correspondent asked: Will you call them Muslims even though they do not consider you to be Muslims? Huzoor replied: Yes, despite this, we believe them to be Muslims.” (page 217)

These statements can be contrasted with the views expressed by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad in his books as quoted above. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad wrote in another of his books:

“It is our duty that we must not consider non-Ahmadis as Muslims, and we must not pray following them, because we believe that they are denying a prophet of Almighty God.” (Anwar-i Khilafat, p. 90, published 1916).

4. Promised Messiah’s beliefs in his book Ayyam-us-Sulh

Mirza Tahir Ahmad has quoted from the book Ayyam-us-Sulh by the Promised Messiah to show what beliefs he held. So we put before them the following extracts from the same book:

  1. “How can it be allowed that, despite the fact that our Holy Prophet Muhammad is the Khatam al-anbiya, another prophet should come at some time and the wahy nubuwwat begin ?” (p. 47)
  2. “If any prophet, new or old, were to come, how could our Holy Prophet Muhammad remain the Khatam al-anbiya? But the door of wahy wilayat and Divine revelation is not closed.” (p. 74)
  3. “The Holy Quran does not mention anywhere the return of Jesus, but it mentions the finality of prophethood perfectly clearly. To make a distinction between a new and an old prophet is mischievous. There is no such distinction made in the Hadith or the Quran. And the denial contained in the hadith ‘There is no prophet after me’ is all-inclusive.” (p. 146)
  4. “By saying ‘There is no prophet after me’, the Holy Prophet Muhammad closed the door absolutely to a new prophet or a returning prophet.” (p. 152)
  5. “Objection: Only a prophet can be the like of a prophet.
    Answer: The entire Muslim Umma is agreed that a non-prophet becomes the substitute for a prophet by way of burooz.” (pages 163, 164)

Do the Qadianis accept the above meanings (as given by the Promised Messiah in Ayyam-us-Sulh) of the term Khatam al-anbiya, the hadith ‘There is to be no prophet after me’, and the term burooz?

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