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The Great Mujahid: Life Story of Maulana Muhammad Ali

Part 3: Life at Lahore,
From April 1914 to October 1951.


6c. From 1939 to June 1947: Relations with the Qadian Jama‘at
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Part 3
Life at Lahore
April 1914 to October 1951

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6c. From 1939 to June 1947

(Third of three sections)

Relations with the Qadian Jama‘at (1939–1946)

It has been mentioned before that Maulana Muhammad Ali was always concerned that if the Jama‘at devoted too much attention to the issues of the differences between the two parties, this might detract from its task of the propagation of Islam. Accordingly, on many occasions he would ignore attacks from the Qadian Jama‘at and its paper Al-Fazl. However, at times some events would happen, making it unavoidable to engage in argument. The greatest problem was that, due to the publicising and propagation of those beliefs of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad that were contrary to the beliefs of the Promised Messiah, misconceptions arose among the general Muslim community regarding the Promised Messiah’s own position and views. The exaggerations of the Qadiani Jama‘at were becoming a hindrance in the path of the propagation of Islam because they made other Muslims hesitant to join or assist the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement as they could not be sure that the Founder of the Movement held the beliefs that the Lahore Jama‘at was presenting.

In December 1939 Maulana Ghulam Hasan took the bai‘at (pledge) at the hand of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, and with that the Qadian Jama‘at launched an aggressive campaign against the Lahore Jama‘at. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad instructed his Jama‘at to make special efforts to preach to the “Paighamis”.{footnote 1} It became imperative to take steps to counteract this assault. So, during 1941 and 1942, much of Maulana Muhammad Ali’s attention was taken up in presenting conclusive arguments to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad and trying to bring about rectification in this matter.

Maulana Ghulam Hasan was the man who had refused to take the bai‘at at the hand of Maulana Nur-ud-Din after the Promised Messiah’s death because he believed that the Anjuman was the Promised Messiah’s successor and that it was an error to re-take the bai‘at at the hand of another individual. Maulana Ghulam Hasan was one of the fourteen members of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya and despite having family connections in Qadian he was one of six members who, at the time of the Split, rose to oppose openly the khilafat of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad and his reducing the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya to a subservient body. As to why, after adhering strictly to this standpoint for almost 32 years, he took the bai‘at at Mirza Mahmud Ahmad’s hand, there is no need to go into the details of that. Anyhow, after he had taken this step Maulana Muhammad Ali, through Paigham Sulh, drew his attention to his previous beliefs and writings and asked him repeatedly on what basis he had taken the bai‘at, which he had been opposing for 32 years, and on what grounds he had joined the Jama‘at which he had labelled in his Quran commentary Husn-i Bayan as “a group of extremists” and “followers of falsehood”. However, in the answers that Maulana Ghulam Hasan published, he nowhere gave the arguments that had made him change his standpoint. In this connection Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote many articles in Paigham Sulh from March to June 1940, addressed to Maulana Ghulam Hasan, in which he compared the beliefs and the practical work of the two groups and clarified the issues of khilafat and of ‘unbelief and Islam’.

Appeal to Qadian Jama‘at, 1939

Along with that, Maulana Muhammad Ali repeatedly addressed Mirza Mahmud Ahmad in an effort to settle these differences. At the annual gathering of 1939, he addressed the Qadiani Jama‘at by means of a pamphlet entitled Ahbab-i Qadian say appeal (‘An Appeal to Friends of Qadian’). In this pamphlet he did not elaborate upon the issues of disagreement, which had been discussed exhaustively on many previous occasions, but only dealt with the heart-felt wishes of the Promised Messiah and the work of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama‘at over the past twenty-five years, and drew the attention of the Qadian Jama‘at to facts about what the Promised Messiah had wanted his followers to accomplish, and what we had achieved in the twenty-five years of our existence starting from scratch, as contrasted with what the much larger Jama‘at of Qadian had done in the same period.

Invitation and challenge to debate, 1940

Then in April 1940 Maulana Muhammad Ali issued a challenge to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad to enter into a debate on the following three issues, whether with or without judges as he wished, as to which party was holding beliefs contrary to the beliefs of the Promised Messiah:

  1. Unbelief and Islam (whether a person must believe in the Promised Messiah in order to be a Muslim).
  2. Prophethood (whether the Promised Messiah claimed to be a prophet).
  3. Khilafat (whether the kind of headship instituted in the Qadiani Jama‘at is in conformity with, or contrary to, the teachings of Islam and the Promised Messiah).
The condition was that the debate must be in writing. On our side Maulana Muhammad Ali alone would write, while Mirza Mahmud Ahmad would be free to write by himself or with as many supporters as he wished. In May 1940 Maulana Muhammad Ali repeated this proposal and in this connection he announced:

“Remember well that it is on the issue of kufr and Islam that the Qadianis will flounder. Their position on this issue is entirely weak and unsound, beyond all limits. The ground has been cut away from under their feet. No Qadiani knows what is his belief about this. They say by word of mouth: ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’, but in practice they have cancelled this Kalima. It is obvious that if the Kalima is not abrogated, then those who proclaim and profess it cannot be called kafir and outside the pale of Islam. And if those who do not accept Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, while professing the Kalima, are kafir then this Kalima is abrogated. But the Qadianis do not take either of these positions clearly, or declare it plainly and boldly. The reason is that they have no belief on this question. Whenever they have occasion to discuss this issue with anyone, they express a belief depending on the views and thinking of that person. On this question, and also on the question of khilafat, the Qadianis cannot make a stand.

Remember, we will not let them get away. Either they have to enter the field of combat and prove that all those on earth who profess the Kalima are kafir and expelled from Islam, or they have to admit defeat, and acknowledge that according to the Quran, Hadith, and the teachings of the Promised Messiah every person professing the Kalima is a Muslim — and this latter is what we want because our aim is reform. The root of the difference between us is, in fact, this issue of kufr and Islam. Once that is settled, the issue of prophethood [the belief that Hazrat Mirza sahib claimed to be a prophet] can be solved in one instant.”


Still in May 1940 Maulana Muhammad Ali put forth another proposal before Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, in a letter published in Paigham Sulh in its issue of 12 May, that both sides would specify a certain number of questions or objections to be answered, to which the answers would be published in the newspapers of both the parties. After that every person could draw his own conclusions. No further debates would take place, and the energy and time saved thereby would be spent on doing constructive work. He also proposed that if Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was prepared to have a written debate in the presence of judges, then Maulana Muhammad Ali would appoint five such judges from the Qadiani Jama‘at itself. However, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was not willing even to have judges from among his own followers. When there was no response to all his proposals and challenges, Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote an open letter addressed to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, published in Paigham Sulh of 10 June 1940, in which, after repeating those proposals, he wrote:

“I implore you for the sake of the Holy Quran, for whose propagation in the world we have been established, for the sake of the Holy Prophet, to make whose religion triumphant in the world our Jama‘at was created, and lastly for the sake of the Promised Messiah, who in this age assigned this magnificent task to us, that you accept any one of these three proposals that you wish to, and take a step towards ending these disputes. If you pay a little attention, the two communities, instead of indulging in mud-slinging against one another, can be instrumental in acquiring and spreading the knowledge of the Holy Quran in the world, for which the way was paved by the Imam of the Age.”

There was still no response whatsoever from Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, except that in his khutba published in Al-Fazl on 12 July 1940, he said that first Maulana Muhammad Ali should point out proof of acceptance of his prayers in comparison with the Qadian Jama‘at. Then he put forward a bizarre sign to prove acceptance of his own prayers. He said that the suffering Britain was undergoing at that time in the Second World War was the result of the heart-felt crying of the Qadian Jama‘at before Allah during 1935 to 1937, after two local British officials had created some difficulties for Mirza Mahmud Ahmad. According to his statement it would appear that his Jama‘at lost all sense of balance and they cried before Allah with so much pain, forgetting that their vociferous pleas were entirely out of proportion with the severity of the injustice they had suffered. The result according to them was that God struck all the British Empire with a terrible calamity, but in order to remove these dreadful effects of the heart-felt cries of the Qadiani Jama‘at if the British government were to officially request Mirza Mahmud Ahmad for prayer then Hitler’s forces would be repulsed.{footnote 2}

In reply to this, Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote that we also believe in the acceptance of prayers but we do not want to turn prayer into a childish antic as Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has done. The greatest proof of the acceptance of our prayers is that our Jama‘at, which was created by a few men lacking all resources, and whose disintegration was prophesied by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, has in 25 years made such tremendous progress that the outside world admits it. The service to His religion that God has enabled us to render is the result of His acceptance of our prayers, for our principal prayer with which we have been constantly imploring the Almighty over the years is just that Allah may choose us for the service of His religion.

What Mirza Mahmud Ahmad said about the actual point under discussion was as follows, in a Friday khutba published in Al-Fazl on 24 July 1940:

“As far as I remember, he [Maulana Muhammad Ali] has been putting forward this method since probably 1915, and so 23 years have elapsed over his proposal. During all this time I have not accepted it.”

And he gave the following reason for it:

“In the matter of religious beliefs, I am not even prepared to accept the verdict of my wife, my sons or my brothers. … My beliefs are a matter for me. Why should I accept someone else’s decision about them?”

The fact is that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was not at all being asked to adopt the judges’ decision as his personal beliefs. But as he had determined the beliefs of an entire community in his capacity as its Head, and had misled it, he was being asked to produce arguments to support his beliefs. The demand was for a written discussion before some judges, who would then simply decide whose arguments were stronger. After that an end would be put to all such discussions, and henceforth both communities would be able to concentrate entirely on the propagation of Islam.

Finding Mirza Mahmud Ahmad avoiding the real issues, Maulana Muhammad Ali again addressed him in August by means of a direct letter, stressing his demand as to why he was unwilling to debate the beliefs of the Promised Messiah and the question whether other Muslims were to be regarded as unbelievers. Similarly on various other occasions, through his Friday khutbas and the newspaper Paigham Sulh, Maulana Muhammad Ali did everything possible to convey the most conclusive arguments to prove his standpoint to the Qadiani leader. At the annual gathering in 1940, he published a leaflet entitled Jama‘at Qadian kay aik aik adami ko salis ban nay ki da‘wat (‘Each and Every member of the Qadiani Jama‘at invited to be judge’), clarifying the standpoint of the Promised Messiah that he allowed his followers to say the funeral prayers of other Muslims, and did so himself as well, thus showing that he regarded them as Muslims.

Efforts in 1941

Again during 1941, on many occasions, he addressed the Qadian Jama‘at and Mirza Mahmud Ahmad. In Paigham Sulh dated 21 April 1941 he clarified the misconception spread about him from Qadian that in his early writings he had regarded the Promised Messiah as prophet. Maulana Muhammad Ali explained that he had never even imagined at any time that the Founder of the Movement was claiming to be a prophet. However, sometimes following the style of the Promised Messiah, he too had used the word ‘prophet’ about him metaphorically and figuratively, or in its linguistic sense of meaning a person who makes prophecies. Moreover, this style of writing was not exclusive to the Promised Messiah or to him, but is found in the writings of many renowned Muslim saints in history. He repeated his challenge to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad that he would never be able to provide any quotation from his writings in which he had declared other Muslims as being kafirs. In the Review of Religions itself, from which Mirza Mahmud Ahmad had put forward some quotations in which Maulana Muhammad Ali had used the word ‘prophet’ about the Promised Messiah, the explanation of the use of this word can be found several times. After giving some examples of such explanation from the Review of Religions, Maulana Muhammad Ali writes in his above statement:

“The above examples are from 1904. Then in 1914, there was an occasion where a misunderstanding could arise, when there appeared an article in the Review of Religions entitled ‘Ahmad as a Prophet’, which was not written by me. I added to it the following note:
‘The word prophet is used here not in the strict terminology of the Muslim Law, the holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, being the last of the prophets in that sense, but in the broad sense of one endowed with the gift of prophecy by Divine inspiration, a gift which is promised to every true Muslim by the holy Quran, and one which was possessed in an eminent degree by the late Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian.’ ”{footnote 3}

After this he writes in this same reply:

“This interpretation was not an invention of  mine. At that time the Qadiani religious scholars were assuring all people that they were not using the word nabi according to its meaning in the terminology of the Shari‘ah but taking it only in its linguistic sense of one who makes prophecies.”

Accordingly, he gave quotations from the early writings of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad and the Qadiani religious scholars Maulvi Sarwar Shah and Mufti Muhammad Sadiq.{footnote 4}

Similarly, Maulana Muhammad Ali made other efforts of the same kind repeatedly, which we do not fully detail here for the sake of brevity. Anyone who wants further information can consult the archives of Paigham Sulh for those years. However, all these efforts proved fruitless. Prior to the annual gathering of 1941, Maulana Muhammad Ali invited Mirza Mahmud Ahmad to come to Lahore for a day and make a speech to the gathering of the Lahore Jama‘at, and reciprocate by allowing Maulana Muhammad Ali to address the gathering in Qadian on the last day of their annual gathering, giving each party the opportunity at least to hear the arguments of the other side. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad first responded by saying that Maulana Muhammad Ali could come to Qadian for two days after the annual gathering on the condition that he paid Rs. 3000 per day to meet the expenses of the other people present there. Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote in reply that to ask a guest to pay not only his own expenses but also the host’s expenses was entirely against Islamic etiquette. Secondly, after the annual gathering people attending from outside Qadian would have departed, so who would the Maulana be addressing? Therefore he insisted that he should be given time to speak during the annual gathering itself. However, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad did not accept it. Then Maulana Muhammad Ali offered that even if he was not to be allowed to make a speech to the Jama‘at in Qadian, his own invitation to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was still open. He should come to Lahore and make a speech on the first day of our annual gathering; all his expenses would be paid by us. There was no response to this.

Challenge to take oath on beliefs, 1944

When these sustained efforts of two years failed to achieve any result, Maulana Muhammad Ali put before Mirza Mahmud Ahmad in 1944 another easy mode of reaching a decision. He said:

“They believe that before the year 1901 Hazrat Mirza sahib denied claiming prophethood and believed other Muslims to be Muslims, but that in 1901 he made a change by acknowledging his prophethood and calling those who professed the Kalima as kafir. This can be decided on the following one basis. Let just one man from the whole of the Qadiani Jama‘at make a statement on oath as follows:
In the year 1901 my belief regarding the prophethood of Hazrat Mirza sahib changed.
From our side, seventy men made a statement on oath [in 1915] that in the year 1901 the idea never even entered their minds that Hazrat Mirza sahib had changed his claim. If the Qadianis cannot find anyone else, let Mirza Mahmud Ahmad himself make this statement under oath.”

The Maulana went one step further and invited Mirza Mahmud Ahmad to make the statement under oath that his beliefs, as expressed on page 35 of his book A’inah-i Sadaqat, were the beliefs held by Hazrat Mirza sahib. The Maulana himself would state under oath that those beliefs of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad were contrary to the beliefs of Hazrat Mirza sahib. The Maulana added that if Mirza Mahmud Ahmad took an oath in which he invoked God’s punishment upon himself in case of making a false statement, the Maulana would also take a similar oath, invoking God’s punishment upon his own self.

Those beliefs of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad are as follows:

  1. The belief that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was actually a Nabi;
  2. The belief that he was ‘the Ahmad’ spoken of in the prophecy of Jesus referred to in the Holy Quran in 61:6;
  3. The belief that all those so-called Muslims who have not entered into his [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’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.{footnote 5}

On none of these points did Mirza Mahmud Ahmad dare come forward to meet the challenge. However, when Maulana Muhammad Ali, in a Friday khutba published on 31 May 1944, stated that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad had made the Kalima null and void, and that this was a pollution with which he had contaminated the teachings of the Promised Messiah, there was a furious and wrathful response by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad in an article published in Al-Fazl of 7 July 1944 which ended with the following words:

“Maulana Muhammad Ali is both a coward and a liar … but if he does not desist from his calumnies …  then a day will come when he will be overtaken by God’s noose and the curse of God will strangle him as it chokes liars. …  He will see the curse of his fabrications descend in front of his residence and will die the death of a liar.”

All this wrath and fury erupted because this belief was ascribed to him that he does not consider that a person can now become a Muslim by professing the Kalima, although the same had been stated for the past thirty years. In answer to this, Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote that since the beginning in 1914 Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has predicted the destruction of our Jama‘at, and he asked Mirza Mahmud Ahmad what fabrication had been made against him which led to this incensed outburst, since Mirza Mahmud Ahmad had himself written in his book A’inah-i Sadaqat on page 35:

“… all those so-called Muslims who have not entered into his [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’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.”

So Maulana Muhammad Ali once again, in an article published in Paigham Sulh on 26 July 1944, exposed these wrong beliefs which Mirza Mahmud Ahmad had attributed to the Promised Messiah.

Open publication of charge of falsehood

After the publication of this article Maulana Muhammad Ali made the following demands upon Mirza Mahmud Ahmad which were published in the form of a highlighted block in every issue of Paigham Sulh from August to October 1944:



Let Mirza Mahmud Ahmad answer!

The fabrications that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has committed against the Promised Messiah, I call them nothing but fabrications and will continue to do so. If he considers me to be a liar, then he must accept my invitation to make a statement on oath invoking Divine punishment upon himself in case of being false, and I will also take a similar oath invoking Divine punishment upon myself in case of being false. Otherwise, my allegations against him will prove to be established facts.

I again repeat my allegations in clear words:

1. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has made a false statement and committed a fabrication against the Promised Messiah that in 1901 he changed his claim in this way that, while previously denying a claim to prophethood and sending curses upon anyone who would claim to be a prophet, he now made a claim to prophethood himself, and cancelled his former writings of several years containing denials of a claim to prophethood.

2. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has made a false statement and committed a fabrication against the Promised Messiah that he (Hazrat Mirza sahib) himself used to say that prior to 1901 he was misinterpreting the word ‘prophet’.

3. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has made a false statement and committed a fabrication against the Promised Messiah that around the year 1901 it used to be said in the gatherings of the Promised Messiah that his previous interpretation of prophethood was not correct.

If Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has the courage, he can hold a debate with me about these allegations. I will appoint persons from among his own followers as the judges. If he wishes, he can hold a mubahila after the debate, that is to say, he would take an oath, invoking Divine punishment upon himself in case of making a false statement, testifying that his beliefs as given on page 35 of A’inah-i Sadaqat are in agreement with the beliefs of the Promised Messiah; and I will take a similar oath, invoking Divine punishment upon myself in case of making a false statement, testifying that his beliefs are entirely opposed to the beliefs of the Promised Messiah. However, a debate will be necessary before the mubahila.

If Mirza Mahmud Ahmad remains silent even now, I will continue to repeat these accusations until his followers are moved to ask him to clear himself of these charges.


This statement was printed in the form of a block in Paigham Sulh in every issue from 2 August to the end of October 1944, but Mirza Mahmud Ahmad could not pluck up the courage to reply. During this time Maulana Muhammad Ali suggested Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan as judge and demanded of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad to show Zafrullah Khan the references from the Promised Messiah on the basis of which he had imputed those beliefs to the Promised Messiah. If Zafrullah Khan wrote in judgment that those beliefs have been established from the records of the time of the Promised Messiah then Maulana Muhammad Ali would admit his own error and make a public apology to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad.

However, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad’s lips were sealed. In the Friday khutba on 20 October Maulana Muhammad Ali informed the Jama‘at that God had now shown us the sign during our lives that the wrong beliefs and the falsehood attributed to the Promised Messiah had been proved to be lies. He asked the Jama‘at to keep up these demands and continue asking the Qadianis for proof of their wrong beliefs.

After this, at the annual gathering in Qadian in 1944, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad in a speech appeared to express his willingness to participate in a debate. So Maulana Muhammad Ali, in his Friday khutba on 5 January 1945, again invited Mirza Mahmud Ahmad to a debate on the three points of contention, which have been mentioned above, whether with judges or without judges as he wished. But after this there was again complete and utter silence from Qadian.

Challenge to debate and mubahila, 1945

In his Friday khutba on 9 March 1945 Maulana Muhammad Ali invited Mirza Mahmud Ahmad to a mubahila on the question whether the Promised Messiah ever said that before 1901 he was misinterpreting the word nabi. The mubahila would have to be preceded by a debate on this issue. After six months had elapsed upon this invitation, Maulana Muhammad Ali reminded Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, on 8 August 1945, and asked if he was prepared to hold the mubahila. He drew his attention to the announcements he had repeatedly made for one year, in which he had declared that “Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has made a false statement and committed a fabrication against the Promised Messiah that he (Hazrat Mirza sahib) himself used to say that prior to 1901 he was misinterpreting the word prophet”, and asked him why he was not showing his proofs to Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan (whom the Maulana had suggested as judge). If he could not agree to have Zafrullah Khan as judge, then Mirza Mahmud Ahmad can himself choose someone else from his Jama‘at as judge. Otherwise, he should take legal action against Maulana Muhammad Ali for falsely accusing him of fabrication and defaming his name.

Maulana Muhammad Ali said that he had already declared under oath that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad had made this fabrication and he invited Mirza Mahmud Ahmad also to take an oath. He declared:

“I have no wish whatsoever to humiliate Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, nor am I at all seeking to ruin him. But I cannot tolerate the humiliation of the religion of Islam or the ruination of the true teachings of the Promised Messiah. My demand is not a difficult one. It is that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad make a sworn statement that in the year 1901 he changed his own belief as to whether or not the Promised Messiah was a prophet, or else he should desist from this fabrication against the Promised Messiah that he changed his belief in 1901.”

Summary of efforts

However, matters continued in the same vein. Then in Paigham Sulh on 21 August 1946, in boldly printed words, Maulana Muhammad Ali again repeated his demand for a debate and mubahila. The heading of this article was as follows:

“I am prepared to hold with the leader of the Qadian Jama‘at:
(1) a debate, (2) a mubahila,
on the question: Did the Promised Messiah change his belief in the year 1901 about whether he himself claimed prophethood or about prophethood ending with the Holy Prophet Muhammad.”

As the accompanying announcement issued by him was a summary of all the preceding events, it is reproduced below:


1. We and the Qadian Jama‘at both agree that when Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to be the Promised Messiah in 1891, he denied claiming to be a prophet. He announced his claim as that of being a muhaddas, declared prophethood as having ended with the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and denounced as an imposter and liar anyone claiming prophethood after the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The disagreement between us and the head of the Qadian Jama‘at is that we hold that the Promised Messiah adhered to this position for the rest of his life, but the head of the Qadian Jama‘at writes that the Promised Messiah changed his belief in 1901 by laying claim to be a prophet himself and opening the door of prophethood after the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

2. It is obvious that the burden of proof regarding the change in claim in 1901 lies upon the Qadiani leader. I have invited Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, again and again, to a debate on this issue. I went so far as to say that I would nominate some five or seven judges all from among his own followers. But he does not respond.

3. Seventy men from among us, including myself, made a sworn declaration [in 1915] that we had taken the bai‘at of Hazrat Mirza sahib before 1901, and the belief which we held at the time of our pledge, namely, that prophethood ended with the Holy Prophet Muhammad, was the belief we held unchangingly for the rest of his life. He did not change his belief about prophethood in 1901.

4. Today more than thirty years have elapsed that we have been demanding that seventy members of the Qadian Jama‘at make the sworn statement that they took the bai‘at before 1901 believing that Hazrat Mirza sahib claimed to be a muhaddas, but that in 1901 they changed their belief and started to believe that he was a prophet because in that year they came to know that he had changed his belief. But the entire Qadian Jama‘at has been silent upon this demand for thirty years.

5. I then had recourse to the last resort allowed in Islam, namely, that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad should undertake a mubahila with me, on the question whether Hazrat Mirza sahib changed his belief in 1901 about claiming prophethood. But he still remained silent.

6. However, some followers of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad keep on demanding from me if I am prepared to enter into a mubahila with Mirza Mahmud Ahmad. To dispel all doubts, I announce again the following.

7. On the question whether the Promised Messiah changed his belief in 1901, I am prepared to hold a debate with Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, and I am willing to appoint as judges only persons from among his own followers, one of whom would be Sir Zafrullah Khan.

8. By having judges, it does not imply that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad must personally accept their verdict and change his own beliefs. But the misconception in people’s minds will be cleared. If he considers it beneath his dignity to have judges, I will withdraw this condition, and hold an unconditional debate with him, whether it is in a public gathering or in writing. He can set any other conditions as he wishes. My only proviso is that the topic of the debate will be restricted to the question whether Hazrat Mirza sahib changed his belief in 1901 or not.

9. I am prepared to hold a mubahila on this issue with Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, if he so wishes. The mubahila can be between just himself and me, or other people from both sides can be included who joined the Movement before 1901.

If Mirza Mahmud Ahmad does not regard 1901 as the date of change of claim, then whatever other date he proposes for this change I am prepared to hold a debate and mubahila with reference to that date. I ask Mirza Mahmud Ahmad himself to reply to this announcement.


Challenge by a Qadiani for oath

However, there was no response from Mirza Mahmud Ahmad himself to this announcement and demand, but one of his followers, Seth Abdullah Allahdin of Sikanderabad, who had been spreading misconceptions earlier by announcing challenges with offers of great rewards, made the following announcement in Al-Fazl, dated 26 October:

“Maulvi Muhammad Ali sahib believes that Hazrat Mirza sahib was a mujaddid and the Promised Messiah but not a prophet, nor can any person become a kafir by denying him, and this was also the belief of Hazrat Mirza sahib. We have challenged him that if he announces his belief in a public meeting under oath, then we will pay him Rs. 5000 in cash in the same meeting, and if within a year there does not befall him some examplary wrath from God, in which human hands play no part, then a sum of Rs. 50,000 will be paid in addition. Anyone who can persuade him to accept this challenge will also receive Rs. 5000 in cash.”

After that Seth Allahdin wrote to Shaikh Muhammad Inam-ul-Haq, the Anjuman’s missionary there, that if he would have this announcement published in Paigham Sulh, then he (Seth Allahdin) was prepared to deposit the total of Rs. 60,000 with Abdul Karim Babu Khan of Sikanderabad.

Upon this, Shaikh Inam-ul-Haq wrote to Maulana Muhammad Ali, and he responded by announcing in Paigham Sulh of 11 December 1946 that he would take the required oath during the forthcoming annual gathering and therefore Seth Allahdin should deposit the promised sum with Abdul Karim Babu Khan. But Seth Allahdin never fulfilled his promise.

M. Muhammad Ali takes oath in speech, December 1946

On 25 December 1946, which was the first day of the annual gathering, Maulana Muhammad Ali delivered a speech on the topic ‘The demand for oath by the Jama‘at of Qadian’. In this speech he fully expounded the issues of prophethood and of unbelief (kufr) and Islam, and went over all the events which have been mentioned above. He said that when he invited Mirza Mahmud Ahmad for the last time in August 1946 to hold a debate or a mubahila, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad gave no reply directly, but his private secretary wrote letters to some of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad’s followers in which it was said:

“Let him quote any writing in which I have said that the Promised Messiah had changed his belief (‘aqída) about prophethood. I only wrote that the Promised Messiah changed the definition (ta‘ríf) of prophethood.”

At this, Maulana Muhammad Ali had immediately published in Paigham Sulh examples of quotations from Mirza Mahmud Ahmad in which he had written many times that the Promised Messiah, either in 1901 or in 1902, had changed his belief about prophethood.{footnote 6} But there was no answer from Mirza Mahmud Ahmad. Then Maulana Muhammad Ali, mentioning in detail the demands of the khalifa of Qadian and his adherent Seth Abdullah Allahdin, related the following history.

He said that he had already declared under oath in 1915, as one of a group of seventy members of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama‘at, that the Promised Messiah did not change his belief in 1901. In response, not even one member of the Qadian Jama‘at had dared take an oath stating the contrary to this. The second time, in 1944, when the Lahore and Qadian communities of the village of Data (District Hazara) came to an agreement that each would ask its head to take an oath about his beliefs, he had again taken the oath, with wording formulated by them, as follows:

“I, Muhammad Ali, head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama‘at, knowing Allah the Most High to be witness to this, Who holds my life in His hands, do swear that to my knowledge the belief of the Promised Messiah from 1901 to 1908 was that a person not believing in him is still a Muslim and within the fold of Islam, and his denier is not a kafir or excluded from the fold of Islam. The same has also been my belief, from 1901 till this day, on the basis of the belief of the Promised Messiah.”{footnote 7}

But Mirza Mahmud Ahmad had not responded to the same demand upon him by that branch of his Jama‘at to take a corresponding oath about his beliefs. Then his follower Seth Abdullah Allahdin started publishing, again and again, demands for an oath with offer of financial reward. Now that Maulana Muhammad Ali had published in the paper that he was prepared to accept the challenge to take the oath, Seth Allahdin became silent and did not deposit the reward-money as he had promised to do. In short, concluded Maulana Muhammad Ali, as Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was not willing to take part in a debate or a mubahila, it must have become clear to everyone that those who attribute this change of claim to the Promised Messiah are making a fabrication.

In this speech Maulana Muhammad Ali took the oath in the words demanded by Seth Allahdin as follows:

“I, Muhammad Ali, head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama‘at, do swear that my belief is that Hazrat Mirza [Ghulam Ahmad] sahib of Qadian is a mujaddid and the Promised Messiah, but not a prophet, nor can any person become a kafir or excluded from the fold of Islam by denying him. This was also the belief of Hazrat Mirza sahib.

O God, if I have uttered falsehood in this oath taken in Thy name, then send upon me from Thyself such exemplary punishment as has no human hand in it, and from which the world would learn how stern and terrible is God’s retribution for one who deceives His creatures by swearing falsely in His name.”{footnote 8}

These events have been recorded here in some detail to make it abundantly clear that Maulana Muhammad Ali, within his lifetime, established his arguments comprehensively and conclusively upon the leader of the Qadian Jama‘at, proving the utter falsity of the Qadiani beliefs, but the other side never had the courage to confront him.

Epilogue 1954: Mirza Mahmud Ahmad retracts his extremist beliefs in court

Before closing this section it is also essential to refer to Maulana Muhammad Ali’s prophetic-like statement which has been published many times before:

“They (the Qadianis) would either, at last, give up the belief in the prophethood of the Promised Messiah or formulate a separate kalima and a separate religion for themselves.”{footnote 9}

This prediction, which Maulana Muhammad Ali made based on his complete trust in Allah’s support and full faith in the truth of his beliefs, was fulfilled after his death in a most remarkable manner that is now a part of history. In March and April 1953 there erupted a strong wave of opposition against the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan, leading to serious disturbances and rioting. By the middle of April the situation had became so dangerous that the Central Government imposed martial law in Lahore. After that, not only did the Provincial Government of the Punjab fall but a group of anti-Ahmadiyya religious leaders was arrested and put behind bars. To investigate the causes of these disturbances, Chief Justice Muhammad Munir was appointed to head a Court of Inquiry. The report of this court was published, and is commonly known as the Munir Report.{footnote 10}

To change one’s beliefs while testifying in court is a matter of much disgrace and humiliation, as the Promised Messiah has written about his opponent Maulvi Muhammad Husain Batalvi in his book Tiryaq-ul-Qulub. It was the plan of Allah the Most High that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad’s extremist beliefs be exposed in court. Previously he used to claim that:

“all those so-called Muslims who have not entered into his [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’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.” (See his books: A’inah-i Sadaqat, p. 35; The Truth About the Split, pages 55–56).

But now in court he stated:

“No one who does not believe in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib can be taken as out of the pale of Islam.”{footnote 11}

 The conclusions of the Court of Inquiry on this matter are given in its Report in the following words:

“The question, therefore, is reduced to this whether Mirza Ghulam Ahmad ever claimed to be the receiver of such wahi as amounted to wahi-i-nubuwwat. … whether he claimed for his wahi the status of wahi-i-nubuwwat, omission to believe in which involves certain spiritual and ultramundane consequences. Before us the Ahmadis and their present head{footnote 12} have, after careful consideration, taken the stand that he did not … and that an omission to believe in Mirza Sahib’s wahi does not take a person outside the pale of Islam.” (Pages 188, 189)

“On the question whether the Ahmadis 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.” (Page 199)

Similarly, regarding the question of saying funeral prayers for non-Ahmadi Muslims the Report says:

“The position finally adopted by the Ahmadis before us on the question of funeral prayers is that an opinion of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has now been discovered which permits the Ahmadis to join the funeral prayers of the other Muslims who are not mukazzibs and mukaffirs of Mirza Sahib.” (Page 199)

As regards the statement of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad before the Inquiry mentioned in the above extract, that “an opinion of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has now been discovered which permits the Ahmadis to join the funeral prayers of the other Muslims”, it must be pointed out that Maulana Muhammad Ali had been putting forward this opinion of the Promised Messiah, and many references like it, to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad ever since the Split took place in 1914, but he had never given any satisfactory response.

Likewise, previously the Qadian Jama‘at had declared that the differences of belief between Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis are fundamental.{footnote 13} But when this question was asked of him in the Court of Inquiry Mirza Mahmud Ahmad replied: “The differences are not fundamental but secondary”.{footnote 14}

To conclude, Maulana Muhammad Ali’s pronouncement that the Qadianis will either have to create a different religion and separate themselves from the Muslim community, or they will have to change their beliefs, was fulfilled word for word, after his death.


Footnotes

(To return to the referring text for any footnote, click on the footnote number.)

[1]. This was a term they used for members of the Lahore Jama‘at, coining it from the name of the Anjuman’s Urdu organ Paigham Sulh.

[2]. It appears that while the fault was of two local British officials of the Punjab Government, yet destruction was wrought not only upon Britain but also upon countless innocent men, women and children of Poland, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, and other European countries!

[3]. We have reproduced here the original English wording of this note as it appeared in the Review of Religions, February 1914 issue.

[4]. These have been quoted earlier in this book in the closing section of Chapter 3.1.

[5]. We have quoted the wording of these three beliefs from the Qadiani group’s own English translation of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad’s book A’inah-i Sadaqat, entitled The Truth About the Split, pages 55–56.

[6]. For example, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad wrote: “…as regards his belief (‘aqída) about prophethood which he expressed in Tiryaq-ul-Qulub, later revelation made him change it” (Al-Qaul-ul-Fasl, p. 24), and “…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 shows that he made a change in his belief (‘aqída) in 1901” (Haqiqat-un-Nubuwwat, p. 121).

[7]. This oath was published in Paigham Sulh, 21 September 1944.

[8]. This speech was published in Paigham Sulh, dated 15 January 1947. The oath had also appeared earlier in Paigham Sulh dated 11 December 1946.

[9]. See Maulana Muhammad Ali’s Urdu book Tahrik-i Ahmadiyyat, chapter 4, pages 165–166, and the English translation of this chapter published as True Conception of the Ahmadiyya Movement.

[10]. Its full title is: Report of the Court of Inquiry constituted under Punjab Act II of 1954 to enquire into the Punjab Disturbances of 1953, published in Lahore by the Superintendent, Government Printing, Punjab, 1954.

[11]. Statement of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad before the Court of Inquiry, 14 January 1954. It is reproduced in Urdu in the Qadiani publication Tahqiqi ‘adalat main Hazrat Imam Jama‘at Ahmadiyya ka Bayan (‘Testimony of the Head of the Ahmadiyya Community at the Court of Inquiry’), published by Dar-ut-Tajleed, page 28.

[12]. The Qadiani Jama‘at and Mirza Mahmud Ahmad are meant.

[13]. Al-Fazl, 21 August 1917.

[14]. The Qadiani publication Tahqiqi ‘adalat main Hazrat Imam Jama‘at Ahmadiyya ka Bayan, p. 16.

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