Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had given the tidings of the advent of a spiritual, pious and Promised son of Mahdi at a time when Islam would be at a stage of decline and depression. He had prophesied he would come with a mission to revive and strengthen the Islamic theology and, through him, Islam, would resurge on the surface of the Earth. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) called this Holy Spiritual son as the Musleh (Reformer), and the Promised one, and said about him:
In context of this prophecy of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), some of his eminent followers had also prophesied that, on completion of the Promised Messiah’s tenure, one of his sons would be bestowed with unique splendour and glory and shall ascend the throne of Khilafat. Hazrat Nematullah Shah Wali, a prominent Muslim saint, prophesied in his famous poem that the coming one shall be the Promised Mahdi and also the Promised Messiah. He also mentioned that this Promised One’s name shall be Ahmad and that when his tenure would end, one son of his, shall be his true spiritual inheritor and would carry out his mission. In Talmud, the authentic book of Jewish diction – the advent of two Messiahs is mentioned and that the latter one shall be greater the former and, after him, his son and grandson shall be his successors.
And thus, when came the time of the Promised Messiah and the advent of the Promised son, Allah revealed, to the Promised Messiah, further details of this prophecy with happy tidings of his ascendance, advancement and achievements.
Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (Allah be pleased with him) received his education in the District Board Primary School and, later in 1898, in Taleemul Islam High School when it was started. Nevertheless, in his student life he was never interested in routine book knowledge, and could not succeed in the Government Entrance Examination. This was the end of his formal education, which was not merely incidental, but a great miracle of the Divine Destiny. Incidents later proved that the Lord Almighty Himself wanted to be his teacher. Thus the world witnessed that he not only had intrinsic and spiritual knowledge but his insight into basic wisdom was so vast and deep that, however, learned a scholar, armed with whatever worldly knowledge attacked Islam he would prove to be a mere academic novice. Thus the fulfilment of the divine revelation became manifest. “Would abound in the Wisdom of the Explicit and the Intrinsic”
During the lifetime of the Promised Messiah he had developed a strong desire for religious services, hence when the Promised Messiah, during the last days of his life, appealed to the youth to come forward to serve Islam, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad offered himself and soon formed Anjuman Tashheezul Azhaan and under its supervision, started a magazine by the same name, through which the work of religious preaching was carried out. At the time of the Promised Messiah’s demise he was only 19 years of age, even at that time, highly convincing and silencing replies to the criticism flowed from his august pen. On 26th May 1908, the Promised Messiah (peace be on him) passed away at Lahore. At that moment this promised son stood by the bed of the Promised Messiah and vowed:
“Even if all the people leave you and I am left alone I would stand by you and would face all opposition to and onslaughts on your Mission.”
He very well kept up his covenant, and, all through his life, never cared for anyone’s enmity or opposition and, always actively endeavoured towards the progress of Islam and Ahmadiyyat.
Early in 1911, with the permission of Hazrat Maulana Nooruddin, Khalifatul Masih I, founded the Anjuman Ansaarullah, whose members were required to donate some of their time for religious service, propagation of Islam and Ahmadiyyat and to promote mutual amity, love and universal fraternity. This proved to be a great success in generating great zeal and interest in the Missionary and Reformatory work.
In September 1912, he travelled to Egypt, thence to Mecca and performed the Hajj and remained active in preaching Islam and Ahmadiyyat during his sojourn.
In June 1913, he started, “The Al Fazl” a news paper for the Jamaat in which, apart from the national news, educative, informative, historical, preaching and reformatory articles were published. In a very short time this paper gained popularity not only among our own people but amongst others as well. After the demise of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (may God be pleased with him), this very newspaper became the central organ of Jamaat.
On 27th May, 1908, on the demise of the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him), when Hakim Maulana Nooruddin (may God be pleased with him) was elected the Jamaat’s first Khalifa, the first man to take the oath of allegiance was Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I, was very happy with him and used to look upon him with love and respect. During his illness he always used to appoint him as Imam-ul-Salat (to lead the prayers) and, often, in his public speeches and sermons, used to praise the spirit of his obedience, religious service and his intellectual ability. At times, indicating expressed that he shall be the successor after him.
On Friday the 13th of March 1914, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (may God be pleased with him), passed away. And on the 14th of March, 1914, at the time of Asr Prayer, in Masjid Noor Qadian, the Ahmadis gathered, where Hazrat Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan, who was a Sahabi (companion) and son-in-law of the Promised Messiah, read out the “will” of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I and requested the people to act accordingly and elect someone as his successor. On this Maulana Syed Ahsan Amrohvi proposed the name of Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad. He was hesitant and refused at first, but on the fervid persistence of the people, realised that it was the verdict of Allah and accepted the oath of Allegiance of the Ahmadis and thus became the Second Successor to the Promised Messiah (peace be on him).
The Golden Era of His Khilafat and His Magnificent Achievements
From 14th March 1914 to the 7th of November, 1965, a period of about fifty two (52) years, he led the Jamaat, which took great strides some of which could be enumerated as under:
Propagation of Islam
One of his most important achievements was the founding of a strong system for propagation and preaching of Islam within the country and abroad. Soon after his ascension to Khilafat he announced that his first task shall be the propagation of Islam.
According to his mandate of 12th April, 1914, delegates from all over the country were invited to a Majlis-e-Shoora to discuss about propagation of Islam. In this he expressed his desire that amongst them there should be a band of men who should know various languages so that they could easily propagate Islam the world over. He stressed:
“I would like to see the truth of Ahmadiyyat shine far and wide in the world. This was not difficult for our Lord to be achieved.”
For the fulfilment of this task he established Nazarat Dawato Tabligh in 1919, and the Madrasa Ahmadiyya as the basic centre and made efforts for its advancement and steered it from the status of a mere Seminary to a University, and all these efforts were aimed to provide learned religious missionaries. He opened various missions abroad for the propagation of Islam. In 46 Islamic countries Missions were solidly established when he departed from this world. And around them active and sincere Jamaats exist till now.
Allah had granted him a deep encyclopaedic intrinsic spiritual knowledge and understanding of the Holy Quran, thus fulfilling the prophecy that through him the glory of Islam and the dignity of Quran would be convincingly established. He had said that there were hundreds and thousands of truthful realities of the Holy Quran which Allah has disclosed on him with His special grace through intuition and revelation. (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 6, pg. 483)
He had also declared that he was bestowed with such a meaningful wisdom of the Holy Quran that, if anyone, with whatever knowledge and following whatever religion, criticised the Holy Quran, by the grace of Allah, he would convincingly silence and satisfy him through Quran alone. He had many a time, thrown challenges to others about writing commentaries on Quranic Wisdom. Though he was not a Prophet, yet none became ready to accept his challenge. It was his claim that he would interpret new wisdom from the Holy Quran.
In a public gathering in Delhi in 1944, claiming himself to be the “Musleh Maoud” (Promised Reformer) and reiterating his challenge about the interpretation of the truths and wisdom of the Holy Quran, he declared:
“I do claim now again that even if thousands of scholars assembled to compete with me in writing commentaries of Quran, yet the world would accept and acknowledge that my commentary was unique in wisdom of divine truths in depth.”
The new definition of the wisdom of the Holy Quran, written in his Tafsir-e-Kabir, bears undeniable evidence of the truth and validity of the aforesaid claim. The age became convinced of the superiority of his Quranic knowledge. Maulvi Zafar Ali Khan, Editor of “Daily Zamindar” Lahore, himself an eminent Muslim leader, writer and a bitter opponent of Ahmadiyyat, while addressing other opponent groups and to concede:
“Listen with your ears wide open, you and your accomplices could never compete with Mirza Mahmood till resurrection. Mirza Mahmood has Quran with him, and a deep knowledge of Quran, What have you got? … You have never read Quran in dream.” [Ek Khofnak Saazish, by Moulvi Mazher Ali Azhar, pg. 196]
On his death, in a condolence note written in Sidq-e-Jadid, Lucknow, it was mentioned:
“May Allah reward the Imam Jamaat Ahmadiyya’s effort towards world-wide publication of The Holy Quran and its wisdom and also for the propagation of Islam in all the corners of the Earth and in lieu of this let us overlook all other matters. The learned manner in which he has interpreted in detail, the truth and wisdom of the Holy Quran was real unique.” [Sidq-e-Jadid Lucknow, Vol. 51, Nov. 18th 1965]
Translation and Publication of the Holy Quran in Various Languages
It was also one of his great achievements that he got the Holy Quran translated in various important languages of the world so that, those who did not know Arabic, the glory and wisdom of the divine book could be made available to them in their own languages. This work was continued in Khilafat-e-Salisa and further in Khilafat-e-Rabia. First of all the English translation of the Holy Quran was published, then its commentary. During his Khilafat, translations in 14 other languages were in progress.
Establishment of Mosques in foreign countries
The main aim of Jamaat Ahmadiyya was to spread the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and by practising it, lead the humanity to the heights of spiritualism and purity. In order to attain this, wherever the Jamaat is formed, Missions and later Mosques are built. And the mosques also serve as academics for spiritual knowledge and training. During his Khilafat many mosques were constructed in foreign countries as well.
Imparting of moral training
Along with the missionary work he did a great deal towards imparting moral training to the Jamaat. Some of his achievements in this direction were as under.
- He affirmed the Divine System of Khilafat on solid foundations and declared, “Khilafat is a source and beacon of Divine Light. So hold on firmly to Khilafat.” Once again he declared,
“Friends, my last advice would be that all blessings are in Khilafat. Prophethood is a seed after which the Khilafat spreads its benevolence in the world around. Hold on firmly to true Khilafat and spread its blessings in the world. Allah would be merciful to you and would bless you in this world and in the hereafter.”
- In order to consolidate and organise the Jamaat he established the central and regional Anjumans and, for better functioning various important Nazarats were established under the aegis of Sadar Anjuman Ahmadiyya Qadian.
- Nazarat Dawato Tabligh
- Nazarat Taleem
- Nazarat Umoor-e-Aamma
- Nazarat Bait-ul-Mal and
- Nazarat Ulia above them to oversee,
guide and direct all sections of the Jamaat. In order to make them capable of successfully shouldering the important assignments and responsibilities of the future, separate organisations were formed in Jamaat:
- The Organisation of Ansaarullah for men above 40 years of age.
- The organisation of Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya for youth below 40.
- The Organisation of Atfal-ul-Ahmadiyya for boys of below 15 years.
- The organisation of Lajna Imaullah for women.
- The Organisation of Nasirat-ul-Ahmadiyya for girls.
Through all these organisation, essential moral and organisation training was imparted on firm grounds.
Migration of Jamaat from India
In 1947, when the country was divided, along with other Muslims, the Ahmadis also left for Pakistan. In order to ensure their unity, integrity and cohesiveness, a great city Rabwah was built, wherein, offices, schools, colleges and various departments were re-established and re-organised. All the necessities of life were also made available. Hazrat Musleh Maoud himself spoke thus of Rabwah: “I am astonished, as to what was the force that brought and habilitated you in a place which even the Governemt had failed to habitat. Seeing Rabwah one is reminded of the times when Allah had re-laid the foundation of Mecca through Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and his son Hazrat Ismail (peace be upon him). [Al-Fazal Nov. 26th 1961]
Mobilisation of the Jamaat for Sacrifices
Hazrat Musleh Maoud planned, re-organised and consolidated the financial structure of the Jamaat on very sound footings by initiating various schemes and appeals for donation and contribution. Some of them were as under:
- On 12th April 1914 he appealed for financial donations for Anjuman Taraqqi-e-Islam in order to send his missionaries to all the cities and towns of India for the preaching of Islam. For this he foreset an expenditure of Rs. 12,000 a year. The Jamaat willingly responded to the call.
- The scheme for the completion of Minaratul Masih – On November 1914, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih-II (peace be upon him) called on the Jamaat for financial contribution for the completion of the Minaratul Masih. As a result the Minaret was completed in December, 1916. [Al Fazl, 28th December, 1916]
- Call to women to mobilise funds for preaching – In December, 1916, he appealed to the ladies of the movement for donation stating that till now only the men were bearing the expenses of around Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 10,000 a month from which various religious requirements were met. But since the expenditure on propagation were met. But since the expenditure on propagation in foreign countries was rising a further sum of Rs. 500 per month was estimated to be required. [Supplement Al Fazl, December 16th, 1916]Allah, gracefully, enabled the ladies of the Jamaat to respond to Huzur’s call, and they readily took upon themselves, the responsibility of meeting the extra expenditure.
- Call to donate for the London Mosque – On 7th February 1920, he called upon the Jamaat to contribute towards the building of a mosque in London and the Ahmadis responded overwhelmingly and willingly. [Taarikhe Ahmadiyyat, Vol. 5, pg. 258]
- Call for the publication of “A Present to the Prince of Wales” – Prince of Wales who later became King Edward the VIII, came to visit India in December, 1921. Hazrat Musleh Maoud (may God be pleased with him) proposed that a befitting gift be presented to His Highness, the Prince of Wales. After this call Huzur wrote a book “A present to the Prince of Wales”, which conveyed to the Prince the Islamic teachings. Through individual per head contribution of one Anna by more than 20,000 members of Jamaat this book was printed. On the 27th of February 1922, an Ahmadiyya delegation presented the book in a studded Silver Tray to the Prince.
- Participation in the Wembley Conference London – Huzur, along with a few Khuddam himself went to England to participate in the Wembley Conference. All the Expenses were borne by the Jamaat. [Al Fazl 16th July, 1925]
Through this important scheme many Ahmadiyya Muslim Missions were established the world over. In 1934, the Majlis-e- Ahrar, according to a well laid conspiracy, sent some of its volunteers to create mischief by organising conferences at Qadian. And, with great uproar and drum-beat announced that they would destroy Qadian itself. The atmosphere in the rest of the country was also vitiated for the Jamaat. Government was also backing these elements. It seemed all the forces had combined against Ahmadiyyat. However, the foundations of this holy Jamaat were laid by the Lord of Heavens Himself, in the face of the strong and piercing winds of opposition, provision to safeguard the meek and delicate plant of Ahmadiyya was to be made by God Himself. As the nefarious intentions of the Majlis-e-Ahrar unfold, Allah through His chosen Servant, initiated a great Universal Scheme of Tehrik-e-Jadid, which not only brought to naught, the plans of the opponents, in a very short time the truth of Ahmadiyyat also became manifest and the flags of its Spiritual Conquest and Supremacy were pitched firmly and high. This scheme was based on 27 demands and contained comprehensive and all embracing provisions by which every member of the Jamaat was convinced that in order to establish the Oneness of God, to restore the dignity of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), and to prove the truth of Islam and to establish a righteous society one had to first bring about a palpable and manifest change in his own life and conduct as well.
Hazrat Musleh Maoud (may God be pleased with him), in the beginning, demanded only 27,500 rupees from the Jamaat. The Jamaat in only one and a half month made a cash contribution of 29,712 rupees. And in the first year 103,000 rupees and in the second year 110,000 rupees and in the third year 140,000 rupees were presented. Initially this scheme was optional and for three years only. Later it was extended to seven years, again to ten years. On completion of the ten year period this scheme was further extended by Huzur to 19 years and in 1953, when the 19 year term ended Huzur made it a permanent scheme. Under it the preaching activities were extended to many other foreign countries.
Similarly the scheme of Waqf-e-Jadid was initiated so as to promote missionary and reformative activities of the Jamaat in every city, town and village in India and Pakistan by appointing Teachers everywhere. This scheme was introduced on 27th September, 1957.
Though Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (may God be pleased with him) was over busy shouldering the responsibilities of Khilafat, yet Huzur visited Europe twice. First in 1924, to participate in the Wembley Conference along with 12 companions, breaking journey at Damascus, Palestine and Egypt halting briefly at each of these places Huzur reached England passing through Italy and France. He met Mussolini in Italy enroute. On reaching London his visit was much publicised by the media. In many of them his photographs also appeared, and the Britishers welcomed Huzur with extra-ordinary warmth and zeal. On 23rd, September 1924, Chaudhary Muhammad Zafarullah Khan read out Huzur’s article in the conference, which was published in the form of a book titled “Ahmadiyyat the true Islam”. At the conclusion of the reading the hall reverberated with cheers and applause. The chairman praised the success of the article in glowing terms.
During his stay in England, Huzur laid the foundation of the Ahmadiyya Mosque on the 19th of October, 1924. On this occasion, apart from British elite, prominent citizens including ministers, ambassadors, diplomats and other dignitaries of Japan, Syria, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, Egypt, America, Italy, Australia and Hungary also participated. Huzur after an absence of 4 months, returned home with unique and tremendous success.
The second journey Huzur undertook was in the first week of April 1955. In this tour, passing through Damascus and Lebanon, Huzur visited Geneva, and thereon via Zurich, Hamburg and Hague reached London. This tour was mainly for the treatment of Huzur’s ailment which he suffered after a murderous attempt on his life. But Huzur, despite his illness, opened various missions in Europe. Wherever he went he met people individually and in groups. In Damascus he delivered the Friday Sermon in Arabic and in European countries in English. During his stay in London Huzur convened a historic conference on the Missionaries working in all countries. This was held on 22nd, 23rd and 24th of July, 1955. In this conference Huzur emphasised the urgent necessity of expanding the activities of Tabligh-e-Islam, publication and translation of the Holy Quran, construction of mosques, establishment of schools and seminaries to train new missionaries. Huzur himself attended all sittings. This tour extended for six months.
In the long 52 year span of his Khilafat, various other achievements are credited to him. He guided the Muslims in Politics especially during the Non-Co-operation Movement of the Congress, devoted his attention towards the scheduled classes and Harijans and countered the “Shuddhi” movement in Malkanas. During the Simon Commission and the Round Table conferences he guided the nation through his valuable writings and speeches.
In order to establish peace, understanding and good-will among the communities he laid the foundation of regular and frequent holding of “Founders of Religions Day” meetings, in which speakers from various faiths were invited to speak about the teachings of their own religion and founders from one platform.
During the first year of his Khilafat, he wrote a book “Haqeeqat- ul-Nabuwwat” in which he said:
“Ignorant men blame us that by believing in the Promised Messiah as a Prophet we insulted the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). What do they know about the state of One’s heart? How could they fathom the great love, deep affection and high reverence we have for the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). And what do they understand, how did the love of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) penetrate in my heart. He is my life, my heart, my desire. In his slavery is my honour and his shoe-bearing, is more valuable to me than the Imperial throne. The control of Seven Continents is nothing in comparison to sweeping in his house. He is the beloved of the Lord – why should I then not love him? He is the intimate of God so why should I not search for his intimacy? My condition corresponds to the spirit in the couplet of the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him):
“Next to God, intoxicated with Muhammad love, I am and if this be infidelity, by God I am the greatest Infidel.”
This is only the love of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) which compels me to falsify the belief of the total closure of the Chapter of Prophethood. This is an insult and affront to the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
“Allah sends down His blessings on the Prophet and His angels pray for him. O ye who believe, you too should invoke His blessings on him and salute him with the salutation of peace.” Holy Quran 33:57