‘Change of claim in 1901’ theory collapses under its own contradictions
Compiled by Dr Zahid Aziz
When the Qadiani Khalifa Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad
started trying to prove that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had claimed
to be a prophet, he and his followers were faced with the great difficulty that Hazrat
Mirza had denied claiming to be a prophet in his writings.
To overcome this difficulty, they invented the theory
that Hazrat Mirza had realized after a certain date that
he was indeed a prophet, and therefore all his denials of prophethood
before that date must be regarded as having been cancelled
and no longer applicable.
Here we show the various bizarre turns and twists taken by the Qadiani Jama‘at upholders of this theory, which have led to its complete collapse.
Date of change set at October 1902
In his book Al-Qaul-ul-Fasl, published on 30th January
1915, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad set this date at October 1902,
alleging that Hazrat Mirza has changed his claim to prophet subsequent
to the publication of his book Tiryaq-ul-Qulub in October 1902.
So Mirza Mahmud Ahmad writes:
The translation of the above extract
is as follows:
In short, the reference quoted above proves that until
the publication of Tiryaq-ul-Qulub — [the writing of] which began in August
1899 and ended on 25 October 1902 — his belief was that he has
partial excellence over Jesus and that his being called prophet
means a kind of partial prophethood and deficient prophethood. But afterwards, as is shown by the first and third sentences of the quoted writing, he received information from God that he excels the Messiah in all qualities and is not the recipient of any partial prophethood, but is a prophet, athough a prophet who received prophethood from the grace of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Thus it is absolutely unallowable to use any writing before
1902 as evidence because the Promised Messiah has given the decision
that, as regards his belief about prophethood which he expressed
in Tiryaq-ul-Qulub, later revelation made him change it.
(p. 24 of the original edition. This book is
available on the Qadiani website www.alislam.org in the collection
Anwar-ul-‘ulum, vol. 2, book no. 8. See page 285
for this extract.)
(Note: Mirza Mahmud Ahmad misinterpreted an answer to a question given by
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in his book Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, published in May 1907, and took it to mean that he had
changed his earlier standpoint expressed in the book Tiryaq-ul-
Qulub, published in October 1902 — that he is a “non-prophet”
and only excels Jesus in some limited respects as a non-prophet — and subsequently realised that he was, in fact, a prophet. We discuss this point elsewhere.)
However, in this same book Al-Qaul-ul-Fasl, Mirza Mahmud
Ahmad had given quotations from Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala to show
that in this booklet Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had claimed to be a prophet (see, for example, the very
next page of Al-Qaul-ul-Fasl in Anwar-ul-ulum, v. 2, book
no. 8, p. 286). Now this pamphlet was published on 5 November 1901,
almost one year before 25 October 1902. Thereupon, Maulana Muhammad
Ali raised the objection that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, by quoting from
Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala, was violating his own rule
that it is absolutely unallowable to use any writing before
1902 as evidence.
Date changed to November 1901
Two months later, when Mirza Mahmud Ahmad published another
book on this subject in March 1915, entitled Haqiqat-un-Nubuwwat,
he wrote in it:
This shows that the issue of prophethood became clear to him in 1900
or 1901, and as Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala was published in 1901,
in which he has proclaimed his prophethood most forcefully, this
proves that he made a change in his belief in 1901.
proved that the references dating prior to the year 1901 in which
he has denied being a prophet, are now abrogated and it is an
error to use them as evidence.
(p. 121 of the original edition. This book is
available on the Qadiani website www.alislam.org in the collection
Anwar-ul-‘ulum, vol. 2, book no. 10. See pages
444445 for this extract.)
First Mirza Mahmud Ahmad set the date of change of claim as being
after October 1902 because Hazrat Mirza was denying being a prophet
in the book Tiryaq-ul-Qulub published in October 1902. Then
when it was pointed out that he was using Ayk Ghalati ka Izala,
published in November 1901, to prove that Hazrat Mirza claimed to
be a prophet, he altered the date of change of claim to 1900
The very fact that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad changed this date is conclusive
proof that it was his own invention and that Hazrat Mirza never
mentioned any date after which his claim changed from non-prophet
Moving back date of writing of Tiryaq-ul-Qulub
The question then arises, if the issue of prophethood
became clear to him in 1900 or 1901, how is it that
in Tiryaq-ul-Qulub, which is dated by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam
Ahmad as 25 October 1902 at the end of the book,
and whose title page bears the date 28 October 1902, he has stated
his claim and rank to be that of a non-prophet?
In explanation of this, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad and his Jamaat
have taken great pains to try to prove that the book Tiryaq-ul-Qulub
was in fact written in 1899, and thus pre-dates Ayk Ghalati
Ka Izala. (See Haqiqat-un-Nubuwwat in Anwar-ul-ulum,
v. 2, book no. 10, p. 365 onwards, and also the introduction in
Ruhani Khazain volume 15, by Maulana Jalal-ud-Din
Shams, the volume containing Tiryaq-ul-Qulub.)
However, it is simply untenable and incredible that, if Hazrat
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had announced the changing of his claim in November
1901 to that of being a prophet, he would have published a book in October 1902 which, being
written in 1899, expressed his former claim, and yet he did not
add a note to it,
to caution the reader that the book contained his old claim which
had been superceded by a new claim.
According to the Qadiani Jama‘at explanation, the book Tiryaq-ul-Qulub up to page 158 had been written in 1899, and Hazrat Mirza merely finished it off in October 1902 by writing the last two pages, 159 and 160, and published it. However, it so happens that his statement which they declare as cancelled, that is to say, the statement that he is a non-prophet (ghair nabi), occurs at the very end of page 157. This makes it all the more necessary, and expected, that on pages 159 to 160 he should have told the readers that his statement on page 157 was now outdated.
We find that he begins a new topic on page 154 which continues unbroken till the end of the book. (In the Ruhani Khaza’in collection, this page range of Tiryaq-ul-Qulub corresponds to volume 15, pages 475–486.) This makes it absolutely certain that his statement on page 157, that he is a non-prophet, was still his claim when he finished writing this book on 25th October 1902.
Confirmation of pre-1901 belief in Haqiqat-ul-Wahy in 1907
In his book Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, published in May 1907, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad recounts an incident in a courtroom that occurred in 1904:
“Sign no. 118. Once when I was in Gurdaspur due to a court case which Karam Din of Jhelum had instituted against me, I received the revelation … meaning, ‘they will ask you about your rank, as to what is your rank and status; tell them: It is God Who has bestowed this status upon me; then leave them sporting in their idle talk’. So I related this revelation to the members of my Jama‘at who were accompanying me in Gurdaspur, who were not less than forty men, including Maulvi Muhammad Ali, M.A., and Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, B.A., Pleader. Then after this, when we went into the courtroom, the lawyer for the opposite party asked me this same question: Is your rank and status as stated in the book Tiryaq-ul-Qulub? I replied: Yes, by the grace of God this is my status, and He has bestowed it upon me. Then this revelation which had come from God in the morning was fulfilled at nearly the time of asr prayers, and strengthened the faith of all our Jama‘at.” (Bolding is ours; Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, pages 265–266. Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 22, pages 277–278.)
His rank and status as stated in the book Tiryaq-ul-Qulub is that he is a non-prophet and a muhaddas (i.e., a Muslim saint who receives revelation in the manner that non-prophets can receive revelation).
Changing name of book fails to work
To undo this powerful argument, the Qadiani Jama‘at publishers of Ruhani Khaza’in have added a footnote in Haqiqat-ul-Wahy at this point to say that his mention of the book Tiryaq-ul-Qulub is an error of memory by him and that he was actually asked about the book Tuhfa Golarwiyya, published in September 1902.
However, it turns out that the Qadiani Jama‘at publishers, discussing in the same collection Ruhani Khaza’in as to when the book Tuhfa Golarwiyya was written, say:
“Therefore it has to be accepted with certainty that the time of writing of Tuhfa Golarwiyya was the year 1900, though its printing and publication were delayed. Just as Tiryaq-ul-Qulub remained printed and was later published in 1902 after the addition of one or two pages, the same took place with Tuhfa Golarwiyya.” (Introduction to vol. 17 of Ruhani Khaza’in, p. xxvi of 2008 edition)
Thus the book Tuhfa Golarwiyya, according to Qadiani Jama‘at scholars, belongs to the same period of writing as Tiryaq-ul-Qulub, the period about which they admit that during it Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to be a non-prophet and denied claiming to be a prophet. Therefore, it makes no difference if he was asked in court about Tuhfa Golarwiyya and not Tiryaq-ul-Qulub. In either event, the facts are that:
- He affirmed in court in 1904 that his rank and status was as he had described it in a book which was written at a time when, as the Qadiani Jama‘at admits, he was not claiming to be a prophet.
- He then went on to record this 1904 event in his book Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, which was published May 1907.
If he had changed his claim to that of being a prophet in 1901, he could not have done either of these two things.
Thus the attempts by the Qadiani Jama‘at to prove its theory of ‘change of claim in 1901’ only caused this theory to collapse even more. This is why there are now hardly any members of the Qadiani Jama‘at who know of even the existence of this theory.