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Ahmad Qadian Ahmadiyya

Introduction

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was born on 20 February 1835 at Qadian, an outlying small town about 70 miles to the north east of
Lahore. His family was of Persian origin and had been settled at Samarkand in Central Asia. In the first half of the 16th century, his ancestor, Mirza Hadi Beg, moved from Samarkand into India together with a couple of hundred retainers and settled in the Eastern Punjab, where he founded the township which eventually became known as Qadian. As Mirza Hadi Beg was, at third or fourth remove, a cousin of Emperor Babar, he was appointed Judge (Qazi) and administrator of a sizeable tract of land which comprised over 100 villages around Qadian. The town was named Islampur Qazian. In course of time, Islampur was dropped and Qazian, by easy transition, became Qadian.

The descendants of Mirza Hadi Beg continued to flourish at Qadian, and maintained a semi-royal state under the Moghul emperors. The decline of the Moghul imperial authority, which started towards the middle of the 18th century, began to affect the fortunes of the chieftains of Qadian also. Mirza Gul Muhammad, the great-grandfather of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was an enlightened personage, learned and pious, who made Qadian a centre of learning and a resort of scholarly divines. He had a very generous disposition and gave away several villages to smaller Muslim chief tains who had lost their own estates to the Sikhs whose power was on the increase at the cost of the central Moghul authority.

Mirza Gul Muhammad was succeeded by his son, Mirza Ata Muhammad, during whose time Sikh depredations pro gressively reduced the area comprised within the Qadian estate. Finally, the Ram Garhia Sikhs obtained possession of Qadian itself through trickery and Mirza Ata Muhammad and the members of his family had to move from Qadian and took refuge in the neighbouring state of Kapurthala. Mirza Ata Muhammad died in exile in Kapurthala, but his body was carried by his son, Mirza Ghulam Murtaza to Qadian, and was given decent burial in the ancestral graveyard.

When Maharaja Ranjit Singh established his power over the Punjab, he permitted Mirza Ghulam Murtaza, father of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, to return to Qadian and restored to him a few of the villages that had been originally comprised in the Qadian estate.

With the birth of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the fortunes of the family improved in some degree and the intervening period of poverty and privation came to an end.

Mirza Ghulam Murtaza took up military service under Maharaja Ranjit Singh and won distinction in some campaigns. Later, he and his elder son, Mirza Ghulam Qadir, rendered meritorious service to the British, which was duly appreciated by the authorities. Throughout his remaining life, Mirza Ghulam Murtaza continued to spend money, time and effort in the useless and profitless attempt to recover at least some of the villages that had originally been comprised within the Qadian estate. The futility of his attempt embittered his days and he died a disappointed man.

His eldest son, Mirza Ghulam Qadir, who now became head of the family, had in the meantime been appointed to a minor post in the civil administration of the district at Gurdaspur, at a distance of approximately eighteen miles from Qadian.

From his childhood, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad exhibited a religious bent, which became more and more marked with the passage of the years. As he grew up he began to devote more and more time to religious exercises and the study of religion, more particularly of the Holy Quran. His father arranged for his tuition at home and he never went to school. When he grew up, his father became anxious to divert his attention to secular pursuits which might prove of benefit to him in later life, but without much success. Out of a feeling of filial obedience and respect for his father, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad would undertake and carry out such particular missions, pertaining to his father's attempts to recover a portion of the patrimony, which his father assigned to him, but he did this with reluctance, as his heart was not engaged in worldly affairs which had no appeal for him.

At one time, his father procured his appointment to a minor administrative post at
Sialkot, which he also took up out of a spirit of obedience to his father, and which he readily resigned as soon as his father's attitude permitted him to do so.

He has described his situation at his father's death in the following words:

I was 34 or 35 years of age when my father died. In a dream I had been warned that his death was approaching. He was then in
Lahore and hastened to Qadian. He was then suffering from dysentery but I had no apprehension that he would die the following day. In fact, there had been some change for the better in his condition and he appeared quite steadfast. The following day, we were all with him at noon when he kindly suggested that I should go and have some rest, for it was the month of June and the heat was intense. I retired into an upper room and a servant began to massage my feet. Presently I fell into a light slumber and the revelation came to me (Arabic): 'We call to witness heaven where all decrees originate and We call to witness that which will happen after sunset.' I was given to understand that what was to happen after sunset was my father's death, and that this revelation was by way of condolence on behalf of God Almighty. Holy is Allah! How glorious is He that He conveyed His condolence on the death of a person who had died sorrowing over the waste of his life. Most people would be surprised at this interpretation of mine that God Almighty condoled with me. It should, however, be remembered that when God, glorified be His name, treats someone mercifully, He deals with him like a friend. We read in the traditions that on certain occasions God Almighty laughed. This also is an expression of the same type.

When I received this revelation, which presaged the death of my father, the thought passed through my mind, due to my humanity, that some of the means of income which were available to my father would now be closed and we might be confronted with difficulties. Thereupon I received another revelation: (Arabic): 'Is not Allah sufficient for His servant?' This revelation conveyed great comfort and satisfaction to me and it found its firm place in my heart. I swear by God Almighty in Whose hand is my life that He has fulfilled this comforting revelation in a manner which I could not have imagined. He has provided for me as no father could have provided for anyone. I have been the recipient of His continuous bounties which I find impossible to count.

My father died the same day after sunset. This was the first day on which I experienced a sign of divine mercy through revelation concerning which I cannot imagine that it would ever cease to have effect during my lifetime. I had the words of the revelation carved on a semi-precious stone and set in a ring which I have with me securely. Nearly 40 years of my life passed under the care of my father, and with his departure from this life I began to receive divine revelation continuously [Kitabul Bariyyah, (Qadian, Ziaul Islam Press 1898); Now printed in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 13, pp. 189-195, footnote].

This was Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's first experience of Divine revelation. As he has himself observed, he was 34 or 35 years of age at that time.

As time passed, this experience multiplied progressively and gained in volume and scope, comprising Divine assurances of security, progress, support and success, and became studded with grand prophecies and Divine signs.

On his father's death, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad became entitled to half of his father's property, but he left the management of the whole of it in the hands of his elder brother and was content with the meagre and austere provision that his brother made for his maintenance. The world was not his major concern and all his interest and attention were concentrated on communion with the Divine and winning His pleasure.

His father had arranged his marriage at an early age, but even the responsibilities thereby entailed failed to wean him away from the pursuit of that which he had made the purpose of his life. From his first wife, he had two sons, Mirza Sultan Ahmad and Mirza Fazal Ahmad. Under divine direction, he married a second time, in 1884, into a noble Syed family of
Delhi. His second wife bore him several children of whom he was survived by three sons and two daughters. The eldest of these was a son born on 12 January 1889, who was named Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad. In his birth was fulfilled a grand multi-faceted prophecy of his father which had been published on 20 February 1886.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's study of religion was not confined to Islam. At an early age he entered upon a study of the principal faiths then current in
India which deepened his appreciation of the teachings of Islam, till he emerged as a champion of Islam. He was greatly depressed by the feeling that there was little understanding of true Islamic values even among the Muslim divines and that the common run of Muslims were a prey to ignorance and superstition and had little regard for Islamic teachings.

The collateral branches of his own family were sunk in superstition and made a mockery of religion and religious practices. Some of them openly denounced Islam, gloried in their disbelief, even reviled the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and held the Holy Quran in contempt. This occasioned great distress to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and, though he made repeated efforts to win them back to sincere allegiance to Islam, God Almighty, the Holy Prophet and the Holy Quran, they had little effect upon the attitude, conduct and behaviour of his collaterals. He was further depressed by the Divine revelation:

He (God) will cut asunder thy collaterals and will begin (His favours) with thee.

By the time he had arrived at forty years of age, his mind was possessed by a strong urge to undertake the championship of Islam vis-a-vis all other faiths, and he finally announced that he had resolved to set forth the truth of Islam and the utter beneficence of its teachings in an epoch-making book which he designated Braheen Ahmadiyyah. In the preface of the book he announced that if anyone, professing a faith other than Islam, would set forth a convincing refutation of the proofs and arguments expounded in the Braheen Ahmadiyyah and would furnish in support of his own faith even a quarter of the proofs he had adduced in support of Islam, he would be rewarded with 10,000 rupees, at which figure Mirza Ghulam Ahmad valued his entire property at the time. This challenge has not been seriously taken up over a whole century.

While he was still occupied with the compilation of Braheen Ahmadiyyah, of which only four parts had yet been published, he received the revelation that God had commissioned him as the Reformer of the Fourteenth Century of the Hijra, and had entrusted the revival of Islam to him. In pursuance of this commission, he laid the foundation of the Ahmadiyya Movement on 23 March 1889. Soon thereafter, it was revealed to him that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent in the latter days had been prophesied by the Holy Prophet of Islam, on whom be the peace and blessings of Allah.

The publication of the very first volume of Braheen Ahmadiyyah was acclaimed by the Muslims as an outstanding and matchless performance, and leading Muslim divines and newspapers and journals published appreciations of the great work in highly laudatory terms. In consequence of the publication of the successive parts of Braheen Ahmadiyyah, its revered author had become the most renowned and honoured personage in the contemporary world of Islam. With the announcement of his claim that he had been appointed the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, a storm of bitter and abusive opposition was let loose against him from all directions. He was condemned as an apostate from Islam, who had put himself outside the pale of Islam and all sorts of opprobrious epithets were applied to him. He was called Anti-Christ and it was declared that his life was forfeit. In the estimation of the Muslim divines, he fell utterly from grace and no protestation or explanation on his part served to soften the bitterness of their hostility towards him. This continued all through the rest of his life, and though seventy years have passed since his demise, he and his daily expanding Movement continue to be the sharpest thorns in the sides of the Muslim divines. Bitter persecution breaks out from time to time against the members of his Movement, but this only serves to furnish greater publicity to the Movement, in consequence of which increasing numbers of reasonable and reflecting people continue to identify themselves with the Movement.

One of the earliest revelations vouchsafed to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was:

I shall carry thy message to the ends of the earth.

At the time of the revelation, he was not widely known even in his own home town and he lacked altogether all normal means of publicity and propaganda. At that time Qadian had not yet found a place on the maps and did not even possess a telegraph office, and was not connected with the railway system of the province, and could not be reached by a metalled road. The nearest railway station and telegraph office were at a distance of 11 miles, a journey to which occupied the better part of three hours. Despite all this lack of normal facilities, the Ahmadiyya Movement has, during the last seven decades, spread to the farthest corners of the earth and the prophecy just mentioned has been, and continues to be, fulfilled in an astonishing manner.

The main thrust of the opposition to the claim of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has been, and continues to be, that he claimed to be a prophet in contradiction of the Holy Prophet being the Seal of the Prophets as mentioned in the Holy Quran (33:41). This objection derives from deliberate misrepresentation of his claim. His opponents first wrongly defined prophethood as confined to law-bearing prophets and then turned round and condemned him on the ground that he virtually claimed to be such a prophet, and this in the face of his repeated and emphatic denial of such a claim. Times out of number he has affirmed that he believes that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was the Seal of the Prophets in its highest and widest meaning and that his own claim of prophethood means only that he was favoured with frequent converse with God, but that he had brought no new law, was completely subject to the Holy Quran and that he had been favoured with frequent converse by God on account of his utter devotion to the Holy Prophet, peace be on him, and as his perfect reflection. This is put beyond doubt by the following extracts from his writings.

The summary and essence of our faith is that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Our belief that we profess in this life and with which, through the favour of God Almighty, we shall pass on to the next life, is that our lord and master, Muhammad, the chosen one, peace be on him, is the Seal of the Prophets and best of Messengers, at whose hands the faith was perfected and the bounty was completed through which by treading the straight path, a person can reach God Almighty. We believe with absolute certainty that the Holy Quran is the last of the heavenly books and that not a word or vowel point of its laws and limits and commandments can be added to or subtracted from. No revelation can now be received from God which can have the effect of modifying or abrogating the commandments of the Holy Quran, or of changing any single one of its directions. Anyone who thinks otherwise is, according to us, not a believer, and is a heretic and kafir. We also believe that even the lowest stage of the straight path cannot become available to a person without following the Holy Prophet, peace be on him, let alone the higher stages of that path. We cannot attain to any stage of honour and perfection or of nearness to God except through the true and perfect following of the Holy Prophet, peace be on him. Whatever is bestowed upon us is by way of reflection and through the Holy Prophet [Izalai Auhan, (
Amritsar, Riyaz Hind Press 1308 A.H.); Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 3, pp. 69-70].

The five pillars on which Islam is based are part of our faith. We hold fast to the word of God, the Holy Quran, to which we are commanded to hold fast. Like Farooq, may Allah be pleased with him, we announce that the Book of Allah suffices us, and like Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, when there is a difference between the Quran and hadith, we give priority to the Quran. We believe that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah and that our lord and master, Muhammad, the chosen one, peace be on him, is His Mcssenger and is Khatamul Anbiya. We believe in angels, the resurrection of the body, the day of judgment, heaven and hell. We believe that whatever the Holy Prophet, peace be on him, has said, is true. We believe that whoever subtracts the smallest particle from the law of Islam or adds to it, or lays the foundation of neglecting obligations and of indifference towards them, is without faith and is turned away from Islam. I admonish the members of my community that they should have true faith in the credo that there is no God beside Allah, and that Muhammadis the Messenger of Allah, and that they should die in this faith. They should believe in all prophets and all books, the truth of which is affirmed by the Holy Quran. They should observe the fast and perform the salat and pay the zakat and perform the pilgrimage and carry out all that God Almighty and His Messenger have prescribed and should abstain from all that they have forbidden and thus conform in every respect to Islamic commandments. We consider it our duty to accept all that is supported by the consensus of the righteous ones who have passed away and all that is considered as part of Islam by the consensus of the Ahl-i-Sunnat. We call to witness the heaven and earth that this is our religion [Ayyamus Solh, (Qadian, Ziaul Islam Press 1899); Now printed in Ruhani Khazain (
London, 1984), Vol. 14, pp. 86-87].

No part of my doctrine is contrary to the commandments of Allah and His Messenger. If anyone thinks so, it must be due to his misunderstanding. Anyone who still considers me a kafir, and does not desist from calling me one, should remember that he will be called to account for it after his death. I call God, the Glorious, to witness that I have such firm faith in God and His Messenger that if the faith of all the people of this age were placed on one side of the scale and my faith is placed on the other side, then, by Allah's grace, my faith would prove to be the heavier (Karamat-us-Sadiqeen, p. 25).

The purport of my teaching is: Believe in God as One without associate, and have sympathy with God's creatures and be of good conduct and think no ill. Be such that no disorderliness or mischief should approach your heart. Utter no falsehood, invent no lies and cause no hurt to anyone whether by your tongue or your hands.

Avoid all manner of sin and restrain your passions. Try to become pure hearted, without vice. It should be your principle to have sympathy for all human beings. Safeguard your hands and your tongues and your thoughts against all impure objects and disorderly ways and all kinds of deceit. Fear God and worship Him with pure hearts. Refrain from committing wrong or trespass or embezzlement or taking bribes or unfair partisanship and keep away from evil companions. Safeguard your eyes against treachery and your ears against listening to backbiting. Entertain no ill designs against the members of any religion or any tribe or group. Be sincere counsellors for every one. Let no mischief-maker or one given to bad behaviour be ever of your company. Shun every vice and try to acquire every virtue. Your hearts should be free from deceit, your hands should be innocent of wrong and your eyes should be free from impurity. Take no part in any evil or transgression. Put forth your utmost efforts to recognize God, finding Whom is salvation and meeting Whom is deliverance. He manifests Himself to him who seeks Him with love and sincerity of heart, and He reveals Himself to him who becomes truly His. Pure hearts are His thrones and the tongues that are free from falsehood, abuse and vain talk are the places of His revelation. He who loses himself in seeking His Pleasure becomes a manifestation of His miraculous power [Kashful Ghita, (Qadian, Ziaul Islam Press 1898); Now printed in Ruhani Khazain (
London, 1984), Vol. 14, pp. 8-9].

It is our faith that the last book and last law is the Holy Quran and that thereafter till the day of judgment, there is no law-bearing prophet nor any recipient of revelation who is not a follower of the Holy Prophet, peace be on him. This door is closed till the Day of Judgment, but the door of revelation, through following the Holy Prophet, is ever open. Such revelation will never be cut off, but law-bearing prophethood, or independent prophethood, have been put an end to and will not be open till the day of judgment. He who says he is not a follower of the Holy Prophet Muhammad peace be on him, and claims that he is a law-bearing prophet, or is a prophet without bearing a law, is like one who has been carried away by a fierce flood and is thrown aside and cannot recover himself till he dies [Review on the Debate Between Batalwi and Chakrhalvi, (Qadian, 1902); Now printed in Ruhani Khazain, Vol.19].

It is an attractive principle that promotes peace and lays down the foundations of good accord and helps moral conditions that we should accept as true all the prophets, whether they appeared in India or Persia or China or in any other country, and God established their honour and greatness in millions of hearts and made firm the roots of their religions and let them flourish for centuries. This is the principle that the Quran has taught us and according to this principle, we honour the founder of every religion which has become well established, whether of the Hindus or of the Persians or of the Chinese or of the Jews or of the Christians [Tohfa Qaisariyyah, (Qadian, Ziaul Islam Press 1897); Now printed in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 12, p. 6].

The truth of a prophet might be known in three ways. First, through reason. It needs to be considered whether reason affirms that a Prophet or reformer should appear at the time when a Prophet or a Messenger claims to have come, and whether the condition of mankind demands such a reformer. Secondly, the prophecies of previous prophets should be studied whether any of them had prophesied concerning his appearance or concerning . . . . the appearance of a prophet at the time of his advent. Thirdly, it should be considered whether there is divine help or heavenly support for his claim. These three conditions have been laid down from ancient times for testing the claim of a truce commissioned one of God. God has had mercy upon you and has established all three conditions in my support and it is up to you to accept me or not [Lecture Sialkoat entitled "Islam", (Sialkoat, Mufid Aam Press, 1904); Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 20, p. 49].

From the beginning I have been of the view that no one becomes Kafir or dajjal by rejecting my claim. Such a one would certainly be in error and astray from the right path. I do not call him faithless but he who rejects the truth which God Almighty has disclosed to me would be in error and astray from the straight path. I do not designate anyone who believes in the Kalimah as a kafir, unless by rejecting me and calling me a kafir, he himself becomes a kafir. In this matter my opponents have always taken the lead. They called me kafir and prepared fatwas against me. I did not take the lead in preparing fatwas against them. They would be prepared to confess that if I am a Muslim in the estimation of God Almighty, then by calling me Kafir they themselves become kafirs according to the fatwa of the Holy Prophet, peace be on him. Thus I do not call them kafir they themselves fall within the purview of the fatwa of the Holy Prophet [Tiryaqul Qulub, Now printed in Ruhani Khazain (
London, 1984), Vol. 15, pp. 258-260].

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, peace be on him, devoted the whole of his life to the service of Islam. He died at
Lahore on 26 May 1908. Till the evening of the previous day he was occupied with the composition of a paper designed to furnish a peaceful modus vivendi between the Muslim and non-Muslim sections of the people of the sub-continent, which he designated The Mess age of Peace.

He wrote and published more than eighty books in Urdu, Arabic and Persian, in which he presented a true exposition of the teachings of Islam, based on the Holy Quran and the practice of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, shorn of all the innovations and encrustations that had been grafted upon them during the centuries of decline. He also set forth in his writings and speeches the life-inspiring philosophy that permeates every Commandment, direction and prohibition comprised in the Holy Quran, which constitutes the guidance that mankind would need in the epoch that was opened with his advent.

This volume, the first of a series, sets out, in the words of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad himself, a summary of his exposition of four outstanding topics, namely, ISLAM; ALLAH, THE EXALTED; THE HOLY PROPHET, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him; and THE HOLY QURAN. The original compilation, in Urdu, from which these extracts have been translated into English, was collated with great care and diligence by Syed Daud Ahmad, may Allah have mercy on him and may He reward him graciously for his great labour of love.

All references throughout, unless otherwise specifically mentioned, are from the Holy Quran.

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