Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din’s announcement on Mirza Mahmud Ahmad’s 1911 article calling other Muslims as kafir
In 1954 the Qadiani Khalifa had to fall back on Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din’s interpretation
Compiler’s Note: Elsewhere in this section of this website, we have shown in detail that the Qadianis declare other Muslims as kafir and excluded from the fold of Islam, and their second Khalifa Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad
proclaimed this doctrine of their Jamaat plainly and openly (see link). In that discussion, we mentioned an article written by him and published in April 1911,
which he later summarised in his book
A’inah-i Sadaqat, available
in English under the title
The Truth about the Split (first published in 1924). In this summary, he affirmed 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.”
At the time when that article was published, which was three years before the Split in the Ahmadiyya Movement, Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din used to deliver lectures on Islam in different cities of India and their fame and popularity had spread throughout the country. In these public meetings he used to state that Ahmadis consider all those who profess the Kalima of Islam (‘There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’) as being Muslims. After this article by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad appeared, people who met Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din at his lectures questioned him as to whether the standpoint expressed therein was the real teaching of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. To clarify the matter, Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din issued an announcement in Urdu, the English translation of which is given below.
At this link the original Urdu text is provided.
A demand has been made from me in some newspapers that I should explain my
belief in respect of the Islam of non-Ahmadi friends. I had discussed this point in detail in one of my lectures held in the Habibiyyah Hall of the Islamiyah College at the (funds-raising) ceremony of the Muslim University and had expressed the view that I do not declare any believer in the Kalima to be an unbeliever (kafir). This is my very belief even today. I do not call any reciter of the Kalima as kafir. However, a person who declares our Imam (peace be upon him) to be a kafir becomes a kafir himself according to a hadith. In this connection I deem it appropriate that I should quote the following pure words of the late Holy Hazrat (Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib) which he uttered at my house on 15th May 1908 at an inquiry made by some respectable persons of Lahore. And as far as I know, this was the last speech by Hazrat Mirza sahib on this subject.
Thirteen days before the death of the Promised Messiah, two reputed barristers-at-law, viz., Mian Fazl-i Husain and Mian Muhammad Shah Nawaz accompanied by some other honoured guests came to my place to pay him a visit. During the course of conversation Mian Fazl-i Husain asked his opinion on two points. One of these was this very subject, that is to say, whether those who did not accept his claim were kafirs or not. And the other was as to why do Ahmadis refrain from joining non-Ahmadis in prayer? I shall quote that part of the conversation which is related to the point under discussion and which was published during his life in the newspaper Badr dated 24th May 1908 C.E.
This part is quoted below verbatim:
“Then this honoured guest (Mian Fazl-i Husain, barrister-at-law) said that if all non-Ahmadis were called kafirs, there remained nothing in Islam.
He (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) said: We do not declare any reciter of the Kalima to be outside the pale of Islam unless he himself becomes a kafir by calling us a kafir. It is not perhaps known to you that when I first claimed to be a mamur (an appointed one of God), Maulawi Abu Sa‘id Muhammad Husain of Batala prepared a fatwa with great effort in which it was written that I am a kafir, Dajjāl (Antichrist) and ḍāll (misguided) and that funeral service for me should not be held, and that anyone who offered assalamu alaikum to Ahmadis or shook hands with them was also a kafir. Now listen! it is accepted on all hands that anyone who calls a believer a kafir himself becomes a kafir. Thus how can we reject this teaching? Now tell me yourself: what is the way out for us in these circumstances? We did not make any pronouncement against them first and now if they are called kafirs it is only the consequence of their declaring us kafirs. A person requested me once to enter into mubahila with him. I told him that mubahila between two Muslims was not permissible. He wrote me in reply that he considered me to be a confirmed kafir.
He (Mian Fazl-i Husain) said: If they declare you to be a kafir, let them do so, but what harm is there if you keep yourself away from it?
He replied: We do not declare any such person to be kafir at all who does not call us kafir. But if a person does so and we do not consider him to be a kafir this would amount to contravening the hadith and something which is unanimously agreed. This we cannot do.”
These pure words make this point abundantly clear, that in the sight of my leader
and master Hazrat Mirza sahib only that non-Ahmadi is a kafir who has taken the initiative in declaring him to be a kafir. Otherwise he has called even that person Muslim who challenged him to a mubahila. This is my belief and this is what I practise. Anyone who calls my leader or me or any Ahmadi or any believer to be kafir, according to me he becomes a kafir by the word of his own mouth. And again according to me he who does not consider a reciter of the Kalima to be kafir, he does not go out of the fold of Islam.
As to the point that my leader’s son, Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, has declared in his journal Tashhiz-ul-Azhan that the deniers of the Promised Messiah are kafirs, as far as I have read this journal there is no reason why such a hue and cry should be raised against it. The word kufr in fact in the Arabic language means denial, and kafir is used in the sense of denier. The believer in a thing in the Arabic language is called its mu’min and the denier its kafir. If we have believed in Mirza sahib we are his mu’min and if we do not accept him we are kafir-i Mirza (deniers of Mirza).
Hazrat Mirza sahib according to us is the appointed one of God (mamur min Allah). He who believes him to be true will be called mu’min bil-mamur (i.e. believer in the appointed one of God) and, his denier as kafir bil-mamur (i.e:, denier of an appointed one of God), because the denier of mamur and kafir of mamur are expressions of identical meaning.
According to me Sahibzadah Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud has used the word kafir in his writing in the sense of denier. Otherwise if by kafir is meant one who is outside the fold of Islam like a Hindu or a Chirstian then what value is there in his or my opinion when Hazrat Mirza sahib himself does not call his deniers as kafirs in the sense of being outside the fold of Islam. We have no right to say anything against it.
Important Information: Before printing or publishing this poster sent it exactly in its present form to my master Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din for his approval and he returned it by writing the following words in his own hand:
I approve of it. Send it for publication.
Signed: Nur-ud-Din, 18th August 1911.
PUBLISHER: Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, Advocate, Ahmadiyyah Buildings, Lahore.
Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad did not accept this interpretation of his Tashhiz-ul-Azhan article given by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din and insisted on his view that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had declared all other Muslims, outside his circle of followers, as being non-Muslims. As Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote about Mirza Mahmud Ahmad in his English booklet, The Ahmadiyya Movement — The Split, published in 1918:
“…he openly declared in a meeting of his friends convened in
December 1913 that he would rather die than forsake the
preaching of the doctrine which taught that all those who were not Ahmadis were kafirs pure and simple, absolute unbelievers outside the circle of Islam, with whom all relations such as saying their funeral prayers, intermarriages, etc., were to be shunned in the same manner as in the case of non-Muslims. In other words, the duties which a Muslim owes to a Muslim according to the plain teachings of the Holy Quran and the reports of the Holy Prophet, an Ahmadi Muslim does not owe to
his Muslim brother.” (See Section: Are all non-Ahmadis unbelievers?; p. 79 of the 1994 edition)
It was this which led to the split in the Ahmadiyya Movement in March 1914, when those such as Maulana Muhammad Ali and Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din who opposed this doctrine, refused to accept the leadership of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad for this reason.
Mirza Mahmud Ahmad’s own explanation of his article and his fury at Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din for interpreting it
In 1921 Mirza Mahmud Ahmad published a book in Urdu, entitled A’inah-i Sadaqat (Mirror of Truth) in reply to Maulana Muhammad Ali’s English booklet mentioned above. While dealing with the history of the split, he has rejected Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din’s interpretation of his article and given a summary of it to highlight what he says he meant. The book A’inah-i Sadaqat was translated into English by the Qadiani Jama‘at and this translation was first published in 1924 under the title The Truth about the Split. Its revised edition published in 2007 is available on the Qadiani Jama‘at website www.alislam.org.
Dealing with his article in this book, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad writes that its interpretation given by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din:
“is so devoid of sense that it can hardly fail to surprise the intelligent reader. What sense can there be in the statement that those who did not accept the Promised Messiah were deniers of the Promised Messiah?” (p. 135)
A few pages later he writes:
“I shall now proceed to give here a summary of the article in question and to quote fully a few passages, in order to enable every reader to judge for himself whether it was possible to read into my article any meaning other than the one it really conveyed. 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.” (p. 144)
And two pages later:
“Regarding the main subject of my article, I wrote that as we believed the Promised Messiah to be one of the prophets of God, we could not possibly regard his deniers as Muslims.” (p. 146)
And concluding his summary two pages later, he writes:
“And lastly, it was argued from a verse of the Holy Quran that such people as had failed to recognise the Promised Messiah as a Rasul even if they called him a righteous person with their tongues, were yet veritable Kafirs.” (p. 148)
This English translation in the above quotations is the authorised translation published by the Qadiani Jama‘at itself.
After finishing his summary of the article, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad expresses fury at Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din as follows:
“He had no business to try and interpret my article while I was alive and was well able to interpret it myself. If any doubt really existed regarding its intention, he ought to have referred the matter to me.” (p. 150)
Mirza Mahmud Ahmad later forced to seek shelter behind Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din’s interpretation
More than thirty passed over the above condemnation of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad. Pakistan came into existence and in 1953 there was agitation against the Ahmadiyya Movement which led to serious public disturbances in the Punjab. A Court of Inquiry was appointed by the provincial government to investigate the causes of the rioting. The report produced by this Court of Inquiry in July 1954 is commonly known as the Munir report, after the name of the presiding judge, Justice Mohammad Munir.
The Inquiry sent a set of seven questions to the Qadiani Jama‘at central body, the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, to answer in writing. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was called to appear at this Inquiry, where he was questioned about his beliefs and other matters on 13–15 January 1954. Referring to their standpoint at the Inquiry, its report says:
“On the question whether the Ahmadis [i.e., the Qadiani Jama‘at] 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 in respect of such persons, is used in the sense of minor heresy and that it was never intended to convey that such persons were outside the pale of Islam.” (p. 199)
This position is exactly the interpretation which Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din suggested in 1911 that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad should give to his article.
The actual questions that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was asked when he appeared at the Inquiry and his replies were published by the Qadiani Jama‘at itself in an Urdu booklet entitled Tahqiqati ‘adalat main Hazrat Imam Jama‘at Ahmadiyya ka Bayan (‘Testimony of the Head of the Ahmadiyya Community at the Court of Inquiry’). Below we translate some of the questions and his replies thereto:
“Question: Who is known as a kafir?
Answer: The words kafir and mu’min are in relation to something, and connected with each other. They have no significance on their own. In the Holy Quran the word kafir has been used in relation to Allah and in relation also to the devil (taghut). Similarly, the word mu’min has been used in connection with taghut.” (p. 8–9).
This is exactly what Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din wrote in his announcement above: “The believer in a thing in the Arabic language is called its mu’min and the denier its kafir.”
Two other questions and the answers to them were as follows:
“Question: If a person, after considering the claims of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib, honestly comes to the conclusion that his claim was wrong, would he still remain a Muslim?
Answer: Yes. In common terminology he would still be considered a Muslim.” (p. 10)
“Question: Is it not kufr to deny a true prophet?
Answer: Yes it is kufr, but kufr is of two kinds: One by which a person leaves the millat (the religion of Islam), and the other by which he does not leave the millat. The denial of the Kalima Tayyiba is the first kind of kufr. The second kind of kufr arises from wrong beliefs of a lesser degree.” (p. 11)
Again, the above is very similar to the explanation Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din gave to show the sense in which the use of the word kafir by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad in his 1911 article could be reconciled with Islamic teachings and the views of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. He explained that by calling other Muslims as kafir Mirza Mahmud Ahmad must have merely meant that they are deniers of Hazrat Mirza sahib, and not that they are such kafirs who are excluded from the fold of Islam. Otherwise, his calling other Muslims as kafir is opposed to the teachings of Hazrat Mirza sahib.
Some of the Inquiry’s questions related to the earlier pronouncements of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad:
“Question: Do you still hold the belief which you expressed in the book A’inah-i Sadaqat in the first chapter on page 35, namely, that all those Muslims who have not entered into the Bai’at of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib, even though they may not have heard his name are Kafirs and outside the pale of Islam?
Answer: These very words show that I am considering the people whom I have in mind as Muslims. So when I use the word kafir I have in mind the second kind of kafir who, as I have explained, are not outside the religion of Islam. When I say that they are outside the pale of Islam I have in my mind the concept explained in the Dictionary of Raghib on page 240, where two kinds of Islam have been mentioned: one which is below the level of faith (iman) and the other is above the level of faith (iman). … Therefore, when I said that certain people are outside the pale of Islam, I had in mind, by Muslims, those who are above the level of faith.
Question: Before the start of the present agitation, did you not call those Muslims who do not believe in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib as kafir and outside the pale of Islam?
Answer: Yes, I did say that, but alongside that I also made clear the meanings of the terms “kafir” and “outside the pale of Islam” according to which these terms were used.” (p. 14–15)
It was, in fact, Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din who made clear the meanings of these terms in his 1911 announcement, given above. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad had all along furiously rejected Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din’s explanation and insisted most strongly that he had certainly and definitely used those terms to mean that other Muslims are not Muslims.
Another question and his answer to it are as follows:
“Question: Do you include Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib in the category of those sent by God (mamur) whose acceptance is essential for a person to be called a Muslim?
Answer: I have earlier answered this question. A person who does not believe in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib cannot be declared as outside the pale of Islam.” (p. 28)
This is in flat contradiction to what Mirza Mahmud Ahmad wrote in The Truth about the Split about his 1911 article:
“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.”
Thus the so-called mighty Khalifa, already humbled in 1947 by losing Qadian as his headquarters, was brought further down in 1954 when, to save himself in a public inquiry, he had no choice but to fall back on exactly what Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din had wisely advised him to do in 1911, the advice which he arrogantly rejected.