Claims of other Mujaddids
To belie the claim of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of being Mujaddid
of the fourteenth century Hijra, it is often asserted that
no one previous to him ever claimed to be mujaddid, and
that even those great personalities who are generally considered
as mujaddids of their times never made this claim themselves
but were recognised as such by others after their death. We show
below that mujaddids before the time of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam
Ahmad did make such claims.
1. Imam Al-Ghazali (d. 1111 C.E.)
He was mujaddid of the 6th century hijra. A translation
of his book al-Munqidh min al-Dalal (Deliverance from Error),
by W. Montgomery Watt, was published under the title The Faith
and Practice of Al-Ghazali (London: Allen & Unwin, 1953).
It can be read at
this link. We have also saved it locally
In the section entitled V. THE REASON FOR TEACHING AGAIN AFTER
MY WITHDRAWAL FROM IT, Al-Ghazali writes:
On this matter I consulted a number of men skilled in the
science of the heart and with experience of contemplation. They
unanimously advised me to abandon my retirement and leave the
zawiyah (hospice) My resolution was further strengthened by numerous
visions of good men in all of which alike I was given the assurance
that this impulse was a source of good, was genuine guidance,
and had been determined by God most high for the beginning
of this century; for God most high has promised to revive His
religion at the beginning of each century. My hope became
strong, and all these considerations caused the favourable view
of the project to prevail.
God most high facilitated my move to Naysabur to deal with this
serious problem in Dhu’l-Qa’dah, the eleventh month
of 499 (=July, 1106 A.D.). I had originally left Baghdad in Dhu’l-Qa`dah,
488, (= November, 1095), so that my period of retirement had extended
to eleven years. It was God most high who determined this move,
and it is an example of the wonderful way in which He determines
events, since there was not a whisper of it in my heart while
I was living in retirement. In the same way my departure from
Baghdad and withdrawal from my, position there had not even occurred
to my mind as a possibility. But God is the upsetter of hearts
and positions. As the Tradition has it, The heart of the
believer is between two of the fingers of the Merciful’.
In myself I know that, even if I went back to the work of disseminating
knowledge, yet I did not go back. To go back is to return to the
previous state of things. Previously, however, I had been disseminating
the knowledge by which worldly success is attained; by word and
deed I had called men to it; and that had been my aim and intention.
But now I am calling men to the knowledge whereby worldly success
is given up and its low position in the scale of real worth is
recognized. This is now my intention, my aim, my desire; God knows
that this is so. It is my earnest longing that I may make myself
and others better. I do not know whether I shall reach my goal
or whether I shall be taken away while short of my object. I believe,
however, both by certain faith and by intuition that there is
no power and no might save with God, the high, the mighty, and
that I do not move of myself but am moved by Him, I do not
work of myself but am used by Him. I ask Him first of all to reform
me and then to reform through me, to guide me and then to guide
through me, to show me the truth of what is true and to grant
of His bounty that I may follow it, and to show me the falsity
of what is false and to grant of His bounty that I may turn away
(Underlining is ours.)
Al-Ghazali has clearly referred here to being appointed by God
as mujaddid at the head of the century in accordance with
the hadith about mujaddids, and to have been given a mission
of reform and guidance of people from God.
Note that in the Introduction, the translator refers to Al-Ghazlai
in the following words:
Al-Ghazali has sometimes been acclaimed in both East and
West as the greatest Muslim after Muhammad, and he is by no means
unworthy of that dignity.
2. Shaikh Ahmad of Sirhind (d. 1624)
He is commonly known as Mujaddid Alif-i Sani, meaning
mujaddid of the second millennium of Islam.
1. There is a well known book about some aspects
of the thought of Shaikh Ahmad, entitled The Mujaddids
Conception of Tawhid by Burhan Ahmad Faruqi (Sh. Muhammad Ashraf,
this link we provide a few pages from the Preliminary
discussion in this book. Please refer to pages numbered 1, 2 and
The Shaikh himself had the inspired belief that he was
a Mujaddid. (p. 2)
The footnote on page 2 quotes two hadith reports specifically prophesying
In footnote 1 starting on page 2 and continuing on page 3, it is
The Mujaddid keenly realises the need of a great Reformer
in a letter to his son Khwaja Muhammad Sadiq (1000-1025 A.H.).
Further he expressly claims for himself the dignity of
References to his Maktubat (Collection of Letters) are
given by the author for these statements.
2. We further show the claims of Shaikh Ahmad
from the study Sufism and Shariah A Study of
Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindis effort to reform Sufism, by Muhammad
Abdul Haq Ansari (The Islamic Foundation, Leicester, UK, 1986).
The Islamic Foundation was set up by admirers of Maulana Maudoodi
in the 1970s.
At this link
we display pages 94 to 99 of this book, and mark certain passages
by a red line in the left margin, which we refer to below.
It is clearly stated (p. 94 and over to p. 95) that Shaikh Ahmad
claimed to be mujaddid, who would purify the prevailing
concepts about Islam to the Islam of the Holy Prophets time.
We are also told:
his claim that he is the renovator of Islam at the
end of its first and beginning of the second millennium, high-sounding
though it is, is nevertheless substantially true. (p. 95)
Then there is a discussion of allegations against him, based on
a vision of his, of claiming superiority over the Companions of
the Holy Prophet (p. 95).
On page 96, he gives as example a vision of Shah Waliullah
and explains that his dream meant that he was being
commissioned by the Prophet to revive his Islam. (We discuss
the claims of Shah Waliullah separately below.)
On pages 97 to 98, he quotes extracts from a letter by Shaikh Ahmad,
containing the following words:
I am a direct disciple of God, and my hand is a substitute
for the hand of God. I am a disciple of Muhammad through a number
but I am a direct disciple of God with no links
in between. Hence I am a disciple of Muhammad as well as his colleague
Though I am a dependant, I have a kind of independence.
The author comments after these extracts that: When he was
questioned about this letter and his claim of partial independence
from the Prophet, he explained the point at length.
He further states on p. 98:
The other point which Sirhindi hints at here and has stated
elsewhere more clearly, is that his walayat is not an
ordinary kind of walayat, but one which in orientation
and results is very close to the walayat of the Prophet.
3. In court of Emperor
Shaikh Ahmad writes in one of his letters, written while he was
staying in the court of the Mughal emperor Jahangir, that on the
night of 17th Ramadan he was teaching the king about Islam, and
among the teachings he explained to Jahangir was the finality
of prophethood and the coming of a mujaddid in every century.
the image of the page from his collection of letters,
Maktubat, Part 6, vol. 3, p. 128, Letter number 43. The
text we refer to is indicated by a red line under it.
3. Shah Waliullah of Delhi (d. 1763)
Shah Waliullah is regarded as the next mujaddid after
Shaikh Ahmad, being the mujaddid of the 12th century Hijra.
His claim has already been mentioned incidentally in the book quoted
In the book Saints and Saviours of Islam by Dr Hamid Naseem
Rafiabadi, Reader at the Shar-i-Hamdam Institute of Islamic Studies,
University of Kashmir, India, published 2005, the following evaluation
of Shah Waliullah is given:
He was conscious of his importance and role. He has claimed
in Tafhimat that he is the Mujadid of twelfth century
after he completed the mission of propagating the secrets of Shariah
and religion and started the reconciliation between the controversial
At another place he says that he is the Mujadid, wasi and
Qutb of the present times and God willing his endeavours
will usher into a new life for the Muslims. (p. 133)
(This book is online in Google
Books at this link.)
We hope in future to quote some of Shah Waliullahs visions
from his book Fuyuz-ul-Haramain.
Views of Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maudoodi
Maulana Maudoodi, while he does not agree that mujaddids
made it obligatory upon Muslims to accept them, nonetheless writes:
some revered men of the past have no doubt claimed
that as inspired by Allah they were the mujaddids of
(A Short History of the Revivalist Movement in Islam,
Islamic Publications Ltd., Lahore, 1979, p. 127)
He also expresses the following opinion about Shaikh Ahmad of Sirhind
and Shah Waliullah:
Now let us consider the claims put forth by Shah Waliullah
and the Mujaddid of Sirhind. I am too well known for my conviction
that I do not regard our great men of the past as innocent and
infallible. While I give them full credit for their good work,
I do not spare them for their failings.
people say what they like but I cannot help saying that asserting
themselves to be the mujaddids and referring time and
again to their Divine inspirations was one of the
few mistakes committed by these great men. (ibid.,
Whatever may be Maulana Maudoodis views as to their mistakes,
he has admitted that these great men such as Shah Waliullah and
Shaikh Ahmad of Sirhind did themselves claim to be mujaddids
and referred to their Divine inspirations in this connection.