The Lahore Ahmadiyya Islamic Movement
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1. Islam
2. Ahmadiyya Movement

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

His biography: Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement



1: The First Forty Years
2: Religious Dedication
3: Mujaddid of the Fourteenth Century
4: Mahdi and Messiah
5: Opposition
6: Further Work
7: Final Days
8: Contribution to Islam
9: Not a Prophet
10: Jihad
11: Christian assault on Islam
12: Disservice of ‘Ulama
13: The Ahmadiyya Movement
Appendix: The Ahmadiyya Movement as the West sees it

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Chapter 13

The Ahmadiyya Movement


The Ahmadiyya movement as the West sees it / Well-organised, intellectual movement /
The Ahmadiyya movement as the West sees it

I will bring to a close this short study of the life of the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement by considering two more questions - Was he mad? Was he insincere? I have read a book recently written by an anonymous Shi’a writer which ends with the considered view that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a madman. A madman could not build a house or design a plan of the building of a house, and yet we are asked in all seriousness to accept it as a fact that the man who founded a movement and built up such an important community as the Ahmadiyya, was a madman. To call such a man mad is nothing but madness. I give a few brief quotations from recent Western writers showing what the Ahmadiyya movement is:

"They are a very remarkable group in modern Islam, the only group that has purely missionary aims. They are marked by a devotion, zeal and sacrifice that call for genuine admiration . . . Their founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad must have powerful personality." (The Moslem World, vol. xxi, p. 170)

"Their mental energy is concentrated on painting Islam as upholder of broad, social and moral ideals." (Ibid)

"Their vindication and defence of Islam is accepted by many educated Muslims as the form in which they can remain intellectually loyal to Islam." (Op. cit., vol. xxi, p. 171)

"The Ahmadis are at present the most active propagandists of Islam in the world." (Indian Islam, p. 217)

"The movement initiated by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad occupies a unique position in relation to both the orthodox party and the rationalistic reformers represented by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and his Neo-Mutazilite followers. Ahmad himself declaimed bitterly against the professional Mullas of Islam who kept people in darkness, who had allowed Islam to die of formalism, who had not prevented the division into sects . . . At the same time he could not tolerate the rationalising expositors of Islam such as Syed Amir Ali and Prof. S. Khuda Bakhsh, who were beginning to throw doubt on the Quran, as a perfect work of Divine revelation." (Indian Islam, p. 222)

"Here we find the newest and most aggressive forms of propaganda against Christianity which have ever originated, and from here a world-wide programme of Muslim Foreign Missions is being maintained and financed. (Op. cit., p. 229)

"This religious movement through its own dynamic force has attracted wide attention and secured followers all over the world." (Whither Islam?, p. 214)

"What is of more interest to the outside world than the beliefs of either branch and their relations with the orthodox is the vigorous life and the fervent missionising character of the movement." (Op. cit., p. 217)

"The doctrine of the Ahmadiyya is of a highly ethical character, and it directs itself particularly towards the intellectuals." (Whither Islam?, p. 288)

"How movements like the Ahmadiyya with its strong ethical powers and its no doubt deep religious feelings are able to exercise a certain influence beyond what are so far considered to be the frontiers of Muslim territory." (Op. cit., p. 309)

"To it also belongs the credit for the development of a modern Moslem apologetic which . . . is far from negligible." (Op. cit., p. 353)

"The movement resolved itself mainly into liberal Islam with the peculiarity that it has definitely propagandist spirit and feels confident that it can make an appeal to Western nations, an appeal which has already been made with some measure of success." (Islam at the Cross-roads, p. 99)

Well-organised, intellectual movement

Can any sane person for a moment entertain the idea that a madman could bring to life such a strongly-organised, vigorous and rational movement?

The second question is - was he insincere? Here again I ask the reader to consider if an insincere man could produce such devoted and sincere followers? Insincerity could give birth only to insincerity, and it is the height of folly to call a man insincere who gathers about himself not only devoted and sincere but also intelligent men who are admittedly the best Muslim missionaries today, and who are leading an admittedly intellectual movement. Moreover, the whole course of Ahmad’s life from early youth shows that he was devoted to the cause of the propagation of Islam. Again, an insincere man could not but have some ulterior motive, but the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement cannot be shown to have any such motive. After all, what did he gain by this so-called insincerity? He was at the height of his fame when he laid claim to Promised Messiahship, and he sacrificed by this claim the reputation which he had built for himself during half a century. An insincere man would have done his best to retain the fame which he had acquired and the honour in which he was held. Nor did he make any estate for himself. On the other hand, when he was informed that his end was nigh, he at once constituted a society to which he entrusted complete control of management and of finances. He did not care for the acquisition of either wealth or honour, and sincerity marks every step that he took for the building up of the cause of the propagation of Islam, even every word that he wrote. If such a man could be insincere, truly the world must have become devoid of sincere men!