In 1916, British courts in the state of Bihar (Patna) declared Ahmadi’s to be Muslims. The ROR of Aug-1917 reports that in Patna, Bihar State, British-India, Ahmadi’s were declared as Muslim. Courts in Amritsar and Bahawalpur have followed this judgement and have announced the same.
From H.A. Walters book about ahmadiyyat, pg. 154, Appendix VI
AHMADIYAS DECLARED TO BE MUHAMMADANS
Ruling of the High Court, 21st December, 1916.
Hakim Khalil Ahmad vs. Malik Israfi, and Malik Israfi vs. Hakim Khalil Ahmad
The facts of the case were as follows:—
The plaintiff alleged that they were Muhammadans and followers of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad; that they used to offer up their prayer with other followers of their own sect in a mosque in Dillawarpur, Monghyr; that they did so up to the 2nd December, 1911, when they were illegally and maliciously interfered with and prevented from entering the mosque by the defendants’ 1st party, at the instigation of the defendants’ 2nd party. The plaintiffs used for declaration that they had a right to offer prayers in the said mosque, collectively and individually. The court of first instance held that the plaintiffs were Muhammadans, and that they were entitled to offer prayers individually behind the Hanafi Imam of the mosque, but that they were not entitled to form a separate congregation for prayer in the mosque. The suit was dismissed. An appeal to the District Judge was dismissed, but he ordered it to be declared that the plaintiffs are at liberty to worship in the disputed mosque behind the recognized imam of the mosque, in the same congregation with the defendants and other Sunnis. Both sides appealed to the high court.
Chamier. C.J.—There are cross appeals against a decree of the District Judge of Monghyr, modifying a decree of the subordinate judge of Monghyr, which dismissed the plaintiffs’ suit.
The plaintiffs are professed followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Khadian (qadian) in the Punjab, who acquired considerable notoriety as a preacher about 35 years ago, and attracted a considerable following in the Punjab, and elsewhere. The followers of Ghulam Ahmad are known generally as Ahmadis or Khadianis (qadianis). The plaintiffs case was that, thought dissenters from what is generally regarded as orthodox Muhammadan faith, they are true Muhammadans. They say that till December, 1911, they were in the habit of offering up their prayers, both individually and as a congregation , in a certain mosque in Mahalla Dilawarpur, in the town of Monghyr, but were prevented by the defendants from doing so. They claimed a declaration of their right to offer prayers in the mosque, both individually and as a congregation, and also an injunction restraining the defendants from interfering with them. The defendants resisted the suit on various grounds, and inter alia pleaded that the plaintiffs were not Muhammadans at all. The subordinate judge held that the plaintiffs were Muhammadans, but were not entitled to form a separate congregation for prayer in the mosque. He held that they were entitled to offer prayers individually behind the Hanafi Imam of the mosque, but as they did not desire to do so he dismissed the suit. On appeal, the district judge agreed that the plaintiffs must be regarded as Muhammadans, and that they could not be allowed to form a separate for prayers in the mosque, but gave them a declaration that they were entitled to worship in the mosque behind the recognized Imam, and in the same congregation as the defendants.
In the second appeal the plaintiffs contend that their claim should have been decreed as laid, and the defendants contend that the suit should have been dismissed altogether.
Some attempt was made on behalf of the defendants to controvert the concurrent findings of the Courts below, that the plaintiffs were Muhammadans, but it was not seriously pressed. The courts below have given convincing reasons for holding that the plaintiffs are Muhammadans, notwithstanding their pronounced dissent from orthodox opinion on several important articles of faith. The plaintiffs, as Muhammadans, appear to be entitled to enter the mosque if they please, and to offer up prayers with the regular congregation behind the recognized Imam, but as they profess to regard orthodox Muhammadans as infidels, it is unlikely that they will take advantage of the decree made by the district judge.
The important question in the case is, whether the plaintiffs are entitled to pray as a separate congregation in the mosque, i.e., behind an Imam of their own. The claim is an extravagant one, and there can be little doubt that if it is allowed there will be serious trouble in the mosque. The plaintiffs contend that every mosque is dedicated to the worship of God, and is open to any Muhammadan, to whatever sect he may belong, who chooses to pray in it. The cases of Queen-Empress vs. Ramzan (1), Atuallah vs. Azim-ullah (2) and Jnaga vs. Ahmad-ullah (3), and other authorities on which the plaintiffs rely, certainly support this contention, but they lend no support to the further contention advanced by the plaintiffs, namely, that the members of any and every sect are entitled to pray in every mosque as a separate congregation behind an Imam chosen by themselves. The mosque in question has been in existence for about 200 years, and appears to have been used all along by the orthodox Sunni Muhammadans. In all probability it was established for the benefit of Sunni Muhammadans, although it may be that other Muhammadans are entitled to pray in it individually, or join in the congregation worship which is conducted there. No authority whatever has been cited for the proposition that half a dozen members of a new sect (it is said that there are only so many ahmadis in Monghyr) are entitled to thrust themselves into a mosque which has been used by orthodox Sunni Muhammadans for generations, form a separate congregation there, and disturb the old standing arrangements for the conduct of worship in the mosque. It is suggested that certain times might be allotted to the plaintiffs for congregational worship with their own Imam. Such an arrangement appears to be unknown to Muhammadan law. It would curtail the time available for the orthodox sunnis who have used the mosque mosque for so many years. As already stated, the plaintiffs regard sunnis as infidels, and have we are told, formally denounced them as such. There would almost inevitably be serious trouble in the mosque. It appears that what the plaintiffs wish to do is like to cause acute friction (if not worse), if they actually disturb the orthodox in their prayers in the mosque. As there is no authority for the contention advanced by the plaintiffs, and it is clear that the rights enjoyed by the orthodox for generations would be seriously impaired by the intrusion of the plaintiffs as a separate congregation, and it is certain that admission of their claims could result in unseemly conflicts in the mosque, I am of the opinion that their claim should be rejected.
I would dismiss both appeals with costs.
Roe. J—I agree that this appeal should be dismissed, the sole object of the case is to secure a decree that the appellants are entitled to deliberately abstain from joining in the ordinary worship of the mosque, and to appoint an Imam of their own to read prayers for them after the ordinary worship has been concluded. The learned Subordinate judge, who tried the case, is himself a Muhammadan gentleman, and he quotes it in his judgement as a well known rule of worship, that where people deliberately come late to prayers they will not be allowed to have a second service of their own. This seems to me to be in accordance with an extract from B—7 and B—13 of volume of the chapter relating to Azan of Zadul Maad, which runs, “Even if he waits for the Imam of his own sect, having removed himself from the midst of the men of different sect, while offering up prayers with the congregation, this act of his will not be considered as his turning away from the congregation with abhorrence when it is known that he is waiting for a congregation which is most perfect.” This seems to imply that if he does turn away from regular prayers with abhorrence he cannot be allowed to have special Imam of his own. In the case before us the plaintiffs state clearly that they will not under any circumstances worship behind an Imam who does not recognize Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Having made the statement of fact, it seems to me clear that they are not permitted to have subsequent services and worship under an Imam of their own. I agree, therefore, that the appeals should be dismissed with costs.
Some other notes
On page 115 Walter uses this incident to elaborate a point…
Here is what Walter wrote:
Further, they declared that since only those are true muslims who believe in the prophets of God, those who do not so accept Mirza Ghulam Ahmad are “kafirs” (unbelievers), with whom no true believer may worship, no matter how many other points of belief they may share with Muslims. (2)
(2) Appendix VI for a ruling of the High Court of Patna, Bengal, by which ahmadis were declared to be Muslims, at liberty to worship behind any recognized Imam, but not entitled to form a seperate congregation in the mosque.
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