Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

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.


















Lineage and Family


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.

Life


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.

The Muslims of the era were awaiting a prophecy of Muhammadsa on the advent of the Imam Mahdi and the second coming of Jesus to be fulfilled. Ahmad explained Jesus had in fact died a natural death - like all men - and these prophecies were metaphors referring to the advent of a great religious reformer. These explanations were first made in 1891, when Ahmad claimed to be the fulfillment of these prophecies. 

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. 

Death


In April 1908, Ahmad travelled to Lahore to meet members of his Community and various dignitaries. While there, he also penned Paygham-e-Sulah (A Message of Peace) to promote peace between Hindus and Muslims. Soon thereafter, on May 25 1908 he fell ill. He passed away on May 26, 1908. He was buried in Qadian, India. His final words were: "Allah, my beloved Allah".

Claims of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad


Overview

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.

Ahmad's advent in the Quran

He it is Who has raised among the Unlettered people a Messenger from among themselves who recites unto them His Signs, and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and wisdom, although they had been, before, in manifest misguidance; And among others from among them who have not yet joined them. 

- Quran 62:3-4

Regarding the revelation of this passage we read the following tradition:

Abu Huraira reported: We were sitting in the company of Allah's Apostlesa that Surah Al Juma was revealed to him and when he recited (these words): "Others from among them who have not yet joined them," a person amongst them (those who were sitting there) said: Allah's Messenger! But Allah's Apostlesa made no reply, until he questioned him once, twice or thrice. And there was amongst us Salman the Persian. The Apostle of Allahsa placed his hand on Salman and then said: Even if faith were near the Pleiades, a man from among these would surely find it. 

- Muslim

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:

He has power to send punishment upon you from above you or from beneath your feet, or to confound you by splitting you into sects and make you taste the violence of one another

- Quran 6:66

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:

It was narrated from Awf bin Malik that the Messenger of Allahsa said: “...I swear by the One Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, my nation will split into 73 sects, one of which will be in Paradise and 72 in Hell.” It was said: “O Messenger of Allah, who are they?” He said: “The Jamaat.”


- Ibn Majah

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 special importance of this decision has been that on it the consensus of community has been in a substantially correct manner. Throughout the history of Islam, such an overwhelming, complete consensus has never been reached on any important topic. Other than the great religious scholars, holders of shariah, all the political leaders have agreed on this consensus. Other than these, all people of religious knowledge, the leaders of spirituality and practices had complete agreement. Excluding Qadianis [Ahmadis] all the rest of 72 sects, which are considered to be of Muslims, agreed and are happy on the solution of this affair. Among the leaders of the nation there does not appear to be any group which does not have a joyous attitude towards this decision.

Nawa-e-Waqt, October 1974

One saying of Muhammadsa adds:

There are five things with which you will be tested, and I seek refuge with Allah lest you live to see them: Immorality never appears among a people to such an extent that they commit it openly, but plagues and diseases that were never known among the predecessors will spread among them. They do not cheat in weights and measures but they will be stricken with famine, severe calamity and the oppression of their rulers. They do not withhold the Zakah of their wealth, but rain will be withheld from the sky, and were it not for the animals, no rain would fall on them. They do not break their covenant with Allah and His Messenger, but Allah will enable their enemies to overpower them and take some of what is in their hands. Unless their leaders rule according to the Book of Allah and seek all good from that which Allah has revealed, Allah will cause them to fight one another.’

- Ibn Majah

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. 

Ahmad's advent in the Bible

I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them...

- Bible, Revelation 11:3

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:

O Prophet, truly We have sent thee as a Witness, and Bearer of glad tidings, and a Warner, And as a Summoner unto Allah by His command, and as a Lamp that gives bright light.

- Quran 33:46-47


Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is as a lustrous niche, wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a glittering star. It is lit from a blessed tree — an olive — neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would well-nigh glow forth even though fire touched it not. Light upon light! Allah guides to His light whomsoever He will. And Allah sets forth parables to men, and Allah knows all things full well.

- Quran 224:36

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:

I have appointed thee each day for a year.

- Bible, Ezekiel 4:6


Each day for a year.

- Bibe, Numbers 14:34

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. 


Prophecies


During the course of his lifetime, Ahmad made a number of prophecies which Ahmadis believe have been fulfilled.

Criticism


Ahmad faced a great deal of criticism from hostile religious leaders within his own lifetime and the trend has continued to this day. In recent years, the criticism has mostly emanated from non-Ahmadi Muslim leaders. Much of this amounts to little more than defamatory abuse and decontextualised misquotes, but some of the more serious differences are aired in the form of theological debates - most notably the claim Muhammadsa was definitively the last prophet of God and therefore both Ahmad and his followers are heretics. 

Works


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: