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Ahmadi meets Maulana Shibli and presents Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as Mujaddid, and denies he claims to be a prophet

In Al-Hakam, 10 March 1906, starting on p. 7 there is an article by an Ahmadi entitled Maulvi Muhammad Husain Batalvi aur aik Ahmadi (‘Maulvi Muhammad Husain Batalvi and an Ahmadi’), in the course of which the writer mentions to Maulvi Muhammad Husain Batalvi a conversation he had with the famous Muslim scholar Maulana Shibli Naumani.

We translate that conversation below, and have placed some text in bold in order to draw the reader attention to it.

The image of the text of this conversation from the original newspaper is shown at this link.

Last year in July 1905 Shams-ul-Ulama Maulana Shibli and Maulana Qari Shah Sulaiman visited Shimla on behalf of the Nadwat-ul-Ulama. They gave lectures and speeches at different occasions, in which Maulana emphasised two points. The first was that in the present times religious conditions have have deteriorated to a state never before experienced in 1300 years [of the history of Islam], and the second was that there is the greatest need for reform. Hearing this, it occurred to me to go and ask him that since this deteriorated condition [of the Muslims] is in need of reform, is there a reformer [muslih] in existence or not? I thought that he would accept Mirza sahib as Mujaddid of the time because he had said in his lecture that once in the past, when Islam was in confrontation with science and philosophy, Imam Ghazali studied that philosophy and refuted it. As Imam Ghazali was needed at that time, I would think that at this time also another Imam is required who should be a very great Imam because at present a greater work of reform is required than during the time of Imam Ghazali. Bearing this point in mind, I went to the Maulana asked him only this:

“As you yourself believe in the need of a reformer, and at an earlier time of need you accept that Ghazali was an Imam, then why at this time Mirza sahib should not be accepted as Imam?”

To this the Maulana replied:

“There is no harm in believing Mirza sahib to be the Imam. In fact, it is commendable to do so. I would also say that you should make others join you, and try as far as you can. But don’t force me to take the bai‘at.

I replied:

“This is a case of the [Persian] adage: ‘Not doing it yourself, but advising others to do it.’ What I am asking is why should not Mirza sahib be accepted as Imam when this age is loudly proclaiming the need?”

The Maulana replied:

“You can accept Mirza sahib. It is fine to do so because we see that those who have entered into his bai‘at have a much higher regard for the Shariah than the general public. However, people say that he claims to be a prophet (nabi), which cannot at all be right.”

To this I replied:

I will recite to you a verse of poetry by Mirza sahib, from which you can conclude yourself what his claim is. What does it matter what people say? They even say that God has a wife and children. We cannot leave God because of that. That verse of poetry is this:

‘I am neither a messenger (rasul) nor have I brought a scripture

Of course, I am a Divinely-inspired one (mulham) and a warner (munzir) sent by God.’ ”

Upon this the Maulana said:

“In this sense his claim is acceptable and there is no harm in acknowleging it.”

I asked: “What is your opinion about Jesus being alive?”

He replied:

“He has died, and the proof of it is the verse falamma tawaffaita-ni because Jesus says in it that ‘when You caused me to die You were the Watcher over them’ Therefore if we believe him to be alive, it implies that he would still be a witness over his followers, but he is negating that. Hence, what the Quran says is that Jesus died.”

Upon this I asked: “The Ulama are saying that he is alive.”

He replied: “They are foolish. They are not knowledgeable.”

I put to him that most of the Ulama of the earlier times held that Jesus is alive.

He replied:

“This is true, but it is not their fault. The Holy Quran is an ocean without limits. Much of what it says will be disclosed in the future. At present the issue of the death of Jesus has been resolved. Whoever now denies it is ignorant, and all these are liars.”

This conversation shows that:
  1. The Ahmadi writer of this article in 1906 believed Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be a Mujaddid.
  2. The writer mentions the example of Imam Ghazali as an earlier mujaddid and says to Maulana Shibli that another Imam like Ghazali is required who would do greater work than Ghazali. This makes it perfectly clear that the writer regards Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as a Mujaddid like earlier mujaddids in Islamic history.
  3. In reply to Maulana Shibli’s point that “people say that he claims to be a prophet (nabi)” the writer says: “What does it matter what people say? They even say that God has a wife and children. We cannot leave God because of that.”

    He then quotes a verse of poetry by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad denying claiming to be a messenger (rasul). That poem was from his book Izala Auham, published in 1891 (see p. 178 of that book for this verse). This shows that the writer did not believe that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad changed his claim in 1901 from that of an inspired saint to that of prophet.
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