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
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