Criticism of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

From WikiAhmadiyya, the free encyclopedia on Islam and Ahmadiyyat

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has faced fierce criticism from his religious opponents. While some criticism has focused on theological debate, many non-Ahmadi Muslim clerics have directed their attention to personal attacks on Ahmad's character. 

British Agent

Ahmad lived in British India, praised the ruler's advocacy of religious freedom and promoted peaceful tolerance. These traits have led to some accusing him of being a British agent. Against this, Ahmadis make the following points:

  • British government records from the era have now been made public and show various Muslim leaders including the Saudi royal family were receiving payment and patronage from the British government during the early 1900s which directly led to their rise and success. No such records have been found in relation to Ahmad.
  • While the British rewarded notable Muslim leaders of India who acted in the government's interests with land and knighthoods (for example Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal) Ahmad and his family received no such rewards. Instead, the British stripped Ahmad and his family of their right to custodianship of five villages surrounding Qadian and repeatedly ruled against Ahmad's father in civil cases.
  • Much of Ahmad's writings - amounting to numerous books - were directed at proving the superiority of Islam over Christianity, the national faith of the British government and their missionaries who were preaching in India at the time.
  • Ahmad introduced a system whereby all earning Ahmadi Muslims made financial donations towards the administrative system of his community. Were the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community being financed by the British, there would be no need to have established such a scheme. Rather it would have been counterproductive - requesting donations potentially reduced the "agent's" following and influence. 

Response from Muslims


    Ahmad has not been accepted by the majority of Muslims and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community continues to face hostile opposition in much of the Muslim world. Some allege this shows Ahmad failed. Ahmadis point to the fact the Quran illustrates how every divinely-appointed religious leader through history has faced severe opposition and that this is a means by which God establishes only a divinely ordained message could withstand such an onslought:

    There never came to them any Messenger but they mocked at him.

    - Quran 15:12

    View of Muslim scholars

    Some critics have claimed Ahmad was 'unanimously' rejected by the Muslim scholarship of his age. In fact, several notable scholars accepted him and became Ahmadi Muslims:
    • Hazrat Al-Hajj Hafiz Nooruddin - direct descendant of Umar (the second Caliph of Muhammadsa) who trained under Islamic scholars in Mecca and Medina for many years, becoming an expert in the Quran and ahadith. His renown as a religious scholar was so great, his accepting Ahmad resulted in numerous admirers of his authoritative religious knowledge and good character to immediately follow. Authored a four-volume commentary of the Quran. Succeeded Ahmad as the first Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
    • Syed Abdul Lateef Shaheed - direct descendant of Muhammadsa, a master of Arabic and the chief Islamic scholar in Afghanistan at the time, who had thousands of students. Martyred at the order of the king for accepting Ahmad. 
    • Maulvi Sher Ali - translated the Quran from Arabic to English, published with Arabic text and English translation side-by-side and still widely used today
    • Al-Hajj Hafiz Rawshan Ali - prominent Sufi Muslim prior to accepting Ahmadiyya
    • Maulvi Abdur Rehman - student of Syed Abdul Lateef Shaheed (see above)
    • Al-Hajj Hafiz Fazal Din - a scholarly person who had memorised the entire Quran and travelled to Mecca for pilgrimage. 
    In addition, several of Ahmad's companions and students went on to become notable scholars in their own rights:
    • Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad - son of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad who studied under him. After his father's demise, continued his Quran and ahadith studies under Hazrat Al-Hajj Hafiz Nooruddin. Went on to become the second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and published numerous works including a ten-volume commentary of the Quran. 
    • Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad - Younger brother of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad. Completed a Masters degree in Arabic and went on to publish numerous works, including his scholarly biography of the prophet of Islam, Muhammadsa as well as a commentary on forty notable ahadith.  
    • Malik Ghulam Farid - Student of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Authored a highly-praised dictionary of the Quran, defining 1400 Arabic words in English.
    • Fateh Muhammad Sial - Companion of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad who completed a Masters degree in Arabic before becoming the first Ahmadi Muslim missionary sent to preach outside of India. Instrumental in building London's first mosque. 
    A small but steady stream of scholars and imams from the Sunni and Shia sects continue to enter the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Nonetheless, the majority have rejected and even condemned Ahmad's beliefs. Ahmadi Muslim point out previous divinely-ordained messengers have been rejected by the prevailing religious order and scholars of their age, including Jesus who was rejected by the religious scholars of the nation to whom he was sent and the Quran and Bible both record their efforts to have him crucified.


      Ahmad has been accused of copying work originally found in Maqamat-al-Hariri in his own work Hujjatullah. In fact, Ahmad prefaced the supposed example of 'plagiarism' by stating he would respond to critics of his Arabic by presenting an example of his own writing mixed with the writing of a renowned author, to examine whether a critic could discern any change in literary standard: 

      We present to him paragraphs from our writing and some other paragraphs from the writings of a great Arab writer while concealing the names of the authors, and then call upon him to tell us which paragraph out of this is ours and which is theirs, if you are truthful. Then if he recognizes my sayings and theirs and distinguishes between them as between a shell and its kernel, then we shall give him fifty rupees as a reward.

      - Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Hujjatullah

      Qadian in the Quran

        Critics state Ahmad lied by claiming his hometown, Qadian, is mentioned in the Quran. This criticism is leveled by decontextualising a quote from Ahmad, the full version of which shows he dreamt of Qadian appearing in the Quran and did not claim it actually did:

        I saw my brother Mirza Ghulam Qadir in a vision reciting the Holy Quran aloud. In the course of recitation he recited: "We have sent it down close to Qadian". I expressed my surprise that the name of Qadian should be mentioned in the Holy Quran.

        - Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Izala-e-Auham


          Various complaints are made against Ahmad's claim to have received divinely-revealed dreams and visions. Ahmadi Muslims counter that God has spoken to prophets and saints through the ages and retains the power to do so; God has not become mute but communicates as He always has and this communication is necessary for continuing humankind's relationship with Him. The primary, supreme and unmatched religious text for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community eternally remains the Quran and Ahmad's works and writings are viewed as commentaries and explanations of the scripture. 

          Relationship with adversaries

            Strong language

            Ahmad always advocated polite debate and mutual respect. However to those who would cross all boundaries in abuse, at times he would respond in a firm manner, no different to how earlier prophets including Moses spoke:

            They said, ‘O Moses, make for us a god just as they have gods.’ He said, ‘Surely, you are an ignorant people.'

            - Quran 7:139

            Cursing opponents 1,000 times (Lanah)

            Ahmad wrote the word 'Lanah' or 'curse' 1,000 times against a group who had taken to publishing excessively foul abuse against Islam, in accordance with the teachings of the Quran:

            How shall Allah guide a people who have disbelieved after believing and who had borne witness that the Messenger was true and to whom clear proofs had come? And Allah guides not the wrongdoing people. Of such the reward is that on them shall be the curse of Allah and of angels and of men, all together.

            - Quran 3:87-88

            Those amongst the children of Israel who disbelieved were cursed by the tongue of David, and of Jesus, son of Mary.

            - Quran 5:79 

            Foretelling the death of opponents

            Ahmad entered into prayer duels with certain notable adversaries such as John Alexander Dowie, in which each participant prayed for the death of the other within their own lifetime. While some have objected to this practice, Ahmadi Muslims state opponents of prophets have been punished by God through history:

            We sent a storm of stones upon them except the family of Lot, whom We delivered by early dawn, As a favour from Us. Thus do We reward him who is grateful. And he indeed had warned them of Our punishment, but they doubted the warning.

            - Quran 54:35-37

            Noah said, ‘My Lord, leave not in the land a single one of the disbelievers; for, if Thou dost leave them, they will only lead astray Thy servants and will not give birth but to a sinner and a disbeliever.'

            - Quran 71:27-28