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Theory of change in 1901 invented by Maulana Sana-ullah
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Theory of change in claim in 1901 — invented by Maulana Sana-ullah of Amritsar

by Abid Aziz, Lahore

While thinking about the Qadiani beliefs one thing that puzzles many people is from where the Qadianis took this idea that the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, changed his claim regarding prophethood in the year 1901. We cannot find even a single word in his writings where he has said that he changed his claim to that of prophethood at any time.

It seems that the original inventor of this theory was Maulana
Sana-ullah of Amritsar, one of the worst enemies of the Promised
Messiah. The two key Qadiani beliefs in this respect are that:

  • The Promised Messiah changed his claim from that of muhaddas, a non-prophet, to that of being a prophet in 1901.
  • The books that the Promised Messiah wrote before
    1901 do not represent his later claim, and that there is
    a difference of claim in the books from November 1901 onwards from the books written before this.

Both these views were originally put forward by Maulana Sana-ullah of Amritsar.

Background to why he invented this theory

The Promised Messiah forwarded an irrefutable argument to prove the truth of his claim. This argument was that since he lived for more than 23 years after his claim, so he is proved as true in his claim. This argument based on a Quranic verse. We do not want to get into the details of this argument for the purpose of this article. For Maulana Sana-ullah of Amritsar it was quite necessary to refute this argument and it was this purpose that prompted him towards inventing the above mentioned two beliefs. This is why he put forward the argument that the Promised Messiah did not lay a claim to prophethood before 1901 but that he made the claim to being a prophet in November 1901 by writing the pamphlet Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala.


The proof of this is contained in an article which was published in Al-Hakam dated August 6, 1908, just two months after the sad death of the Promised Messiah. It is a long article written by one Hakim Dr. Ahmad Husain of Lyallpur. The whole article is devoted towards the refutation of different allegations that Maulana Sana-ullah made against the Promised Messiah. The issue mentioned above is also discussed there and the writer of the article has refuted this allegation
too. Below the relevant part of the said article is translated. Notes in brackets, thus [ ], are provided by the translator.

“He [Sana-ullah] writes that Mirza sahib has written in Hamamat-ul-Bushra [published 1893-1894]: ‘How is it possible for me to claim prophethood and thereby become a kafir.’ After saying this, he [Sana-ullah] himself draws the conclusion that Mirza sahib did not claim prophethood at that time [in 1893-1894] but he claimed prophethood in 1901. So in this way from November 1901 till May 1908 is 6 years and 7 months, and not 23 years.

We answer this from his own same magazine. He writes on page 5 that Mirza sahib claimed to be a Mujaddid in 1880 by publishing his first advertisement [ishtihar]. Then he wrote Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya in the same year which is a good book to some extent but in most of it he has mentioned his prophecies, revelations and claims. Maulana Sana-ullah accepts here that Mirza sahib laid his claim in 1880 and that all his claims are mentioned in the Barahin. It is true to say: Darogh Go ra hafiz naba shood [Persian saying meaning that the memory of a liar is not good]. Since 1880 till now, 28 years have passed.

As to the fact that he [Promised Messiah] has called a claimant to prophethood as kafir in Hamamat-ul-Bushra, the answer to this is that it is true that, even after writing it, he has not claimed the prophethood which is mentioned in Hamamat-ul-Bushra. In fact, he has denied such kind of prophethood just three or four days before [his death]. See Badr, 24 May 1908. He himself and also his jamaat consider the claimant of such prophethood, which is against the finality of prophethood, as kafir. However, an ummati who is spoken to by God in abundance can be called as subordinate-prophet or mujaddid or muhaddas or fana-fir-rasul. And such kind of prophethood does not go against the prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad; rather it displays its light. Since this ummah is the best of all ummahs so it has all the ranks of previous ummahs: Al-ulama warasat-al-Anbia [the righteous ulama are the heirs of the prophets].”

Al-Hakam, 6 August 1908, p. 8, col. 1

This answer clearly shows that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad did not later claim any kind of prophethood which he had been denying in the 1890s. Moreover, the term muhaddas is appropriate to describe his status, even at his death.

Scanned image of Urdu original of above extract from Al-Hakam

Al-Hakam, 6 August 1908

Related links:

70 senior Ahmadis take oath that Hazrat Mirza did not change his claim in 1901

Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala — translation and notes