From WikiAhmadiyya, the free encyclopedia on Islam and Ahmadiyyat
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (1835-1908) founded the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community having claimed to be the Imam Mahdi and promised messiah whose advent was awaited by Muslims around the world.
Main article: Family of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
Ahmad’s lineage through his forefathers can be traced back to Mirza Hadi Beg, a descendant of the Mughal Barlas tribe. In 1530 Beg migrated from Samarkand along with an entourage of two hundred persons consisting of his family, servants and followers. Travelling through Samarkand, they finally settled in the Punjab, India, where Beg founded the town known today as Qadian. Beg became the chief of several hundred villages and was appointed the judge of Qadian and the surrounding district. The descendants of Mirza Hadi held important positions within the Mughal empire and remained chieftains of Qadian.
Ahmad was born in 1835 in Qadian, India. Qadian was a small town falling into disrepair - malaria was common, no functioning sewage system existed, wild animals were rampant and there was virtually no economy.
Ahmad spent his youth studying comparative religions, logic, philosophy, various sciences, medicine, and learning languages. He became skilled in Arabic, Urdu, Persian and Punjabi. Ahmad would retire to the mosque to spend his days in study, contemplation and prayer. At the behest of his father, he learnt law to address some legal issues the family was facing.
Despite his reclusiveness, Ahmad’s contemporaries found him affable, hospitable and extremely intelligent. He was particularly interested in Islam. As a result of this zeal, he would often engage in polemics with commoners and scholars alike - gaining a reputation as a fierce, yet dignified and affable, defender of Islam.
Ahmad's popularity and renown as a religious leader increased across India during the 1880s. His famous five-volume defence of Islam, Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyya had its first volumes published at the start of the decade. Ahmad continued writing and debating in favour of the faith through the years and a small but devoted group of followers became attached to him.
In December 1888, Ahmad announced that God had ordained that his followers should enter into a bayah (pledge of religious allegiance) with him. In January 1889, he published a pamphlet in which he laid out ten conditions or issues to which the initiate would abide by for the rest of his life. Later the same year, he founded the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community by taking a pledge from forty followers.
Several prominent Muslim scholars accepted Ahmad's claim, including Hazrat Al-Hajj Hafiz Nooruddin (who later became the first Caliph of the community) and Syed Abdul Latif Shaheed, the foremost scholar of Afghanistan at the time. However, the majority of Muslims united in hostility against Ahmad's claim and declared him a heretic. The Muslim masses united with India's Christians and Hindus in often violent opposition towards Ahmad and even brought lawsuits against him. Despite this, Ahmad continued to preach his message through lectures and numerous written works. Within his lifetime his message spread around the world with hundreds of thousands had accepted his claim by the time of his death in 1908.
Main article: Death of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to be the Imam Mahdi and the messiah awaited by the Muslims of the age. As evidence, Ahmad presented numerous signs including his truthful character, his exceptional divinely-guided religious knowledge as well as the fulfillment of prophecies he made.
Ahmad claimed his advent was foretold in previous scriptures. Aside from direct prophecies on the Imam Mahdi and the second-coming of Jesus, Ahmad referred to several passages from the Quran, ahadith and the Bible, including those presented below.
Regarding the revelation of this passage we read the following tradition:
Among a group of Arabs, it was a Persian who Muhammadsa said the words 'others from among them who have not yet joined them' referred to. Ahmadis believe this prophecy refers to Ahmad, who was of Persian descent.
The Quran also states:
Ahmadis argue the division of Muslims into sects who are engaged in fighting one another is a sign they have become misguided and are facing the punishment of Allah. Islamic tradition expands on the subject of sects:
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community claims to be the rightly guided sect mentioned in this tradition. Notably, when the Pakistan government legislated against Ahmadi Muslims for the first time in 1974, one non-Ahmadi national Islamic newspaper - perhaps unaware of the full connotations of the tradition - also inadvertently named Ahmadis as the 73rd sect:
One saying of Muhammadsa adds:
In recent centuries, each of these signs appears to have befallen the Muslim world, with new sexually-transmitted diseases spreading openly, Muslim lands being conquered repeatedly and the Muslims fighting among themselves. Ahmadis hold these are all evidence of misguidance having befallen the Muslims and that no nation has ever returned to being rightly-guided of its own volition. Rather, throughout history, at all such junctures it has required a prophet or great religious reformer to return to the original teachings of God. Therefore, it is this age that requires the advent of a promised reformer and this has been fulfilled in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
The prophecy describes two 'witnesses' who are candlesticks (ie omit light) and are like 'olive trees. The Quran identifies the first of these witnesses was Muhammadsa:
The prophecy adds the two witnesses will prophesy for one thousand two hundred and three score days. 'Three-score' being a term for 60, this amounts to 1260 days. Elsewhere the Bible states prophecies symbolise each year by a day:
In other words, the two witnesses were to prophecy for 1260 years. The revelation of the Quran to Muhammadsa began in 610 AD, while 1260 years later in 1870 Ahmad was beginning his career as a prolific and renowned religious writer. The Bible adds the two witnesses will be accompanied by 'plague' and will make war with the 'beast'. Plague struck Ahmad's home nation of India during his lifetime and killed millions, although notably not a single Ahmadi was harmed. The 'beast' is known to be the Biblical term for the Islamic concept of Dajjal - a latter day phenomena that tradition holds the Islamic messiah will combat.
Main article: Prophecies by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
Main article: Criticism of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
Ahmad wrote over 80 books in Arabic, Urdu and Persian. Below are a list of links to major works which have been translated in English and made available for download: