There is lots of data on this. I wanted to present the Lahori-Ahmadi response to this. Iqbal seems to have friendly with Ahmadi’s until the “All India Kashmir Committee” in roughly 1934.  Iqbal was a Quranist after he left Ahmadiyya. He denied the return of the Messiah and the arrival of the Mahdi.  Also read here: Allama Muhammad Iqbal.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________ The link
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1. When Allama Iqbal was ill in 1934, Maulana Muhammad Ali went to visit him. Dr. Iqbal related to him an incident showing the real beliefs of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Maulana Muhammad Ali refers to this in an English booklet entitled Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s Statement re. the Qadianis, as follows:

      • “But I would refer Sir Muhammad Iqbal to an incident which he himself so recently related to me when I paid him a visit during his sickness in October 1934. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, he told me, was then in Sialkot — he did not remember the year, but it was the year 1904 as the facts related by him show. Mian (now Sir) Fazl-i-Husain was then practising as a lawyer in Sialkot, and one day while he (the Mian Sahib) was going to see the Mirza Sahib, he (Sir Muhammad Iqbal) met him in the way, and after inquiring whither he was going he also accompanied him. During the conversation that ensued with the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Mian Sir Fazl-i-Husain asked him if he looked upon those who did not believe in him as


    • , and the Mirza sahib without a moment’s hesitation replied that he did not.

“This fact which Sir Muhammad Iqbal himself related to me last year is a clear evidence that the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement is not responsible for the present Qadiani doctrine.”

2. Maulana Muhammad Ali also reported the following opinion expressed by Iqbal:

    • “Once a very eminent man, namely Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal, said that one finds [in Islamic history] many people who love the Holy Prophet Muhammad, but the only person who loves the Quran is Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.”


      • , 10 May 1935.)
        • (

      Paigham Sulh

3. Maulana Yaqub Khan, editor of The Light, gave the following account of a meeting he had with a prominent admirer and friend of Iqbal:

      • “I spoke to Maulana Sayyid Nazir Niazi. During the conversation he said that he had mentioned my reference (i.e. the incident related by Maulana Muhammad Ali in

Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s Statement re. the Qadianis

      • , given above) to Allama Iqbal. The Allama said that he had undoubtedly heard Mirza sahib say that he did not consider those who do not believe in him as being


    • . He [Iqbal] was prepared to testify to this before a gathering of thousands of people. The Allama also said that his statement published in the press related to the present controversy going on between the Qadiani Jama’at and the general Muslims. It was not directed against the Lahore Jama’at, nor did it comment on the beliefs of Mirza sahib. “Before this, our honoured friend Raja Hasan Akhtar had also told me that he had spoken to Allama Iqbal, and the Allama had said to him that his statement was not related to the Lahore Jama’at nor to the person of Mirza sahib. He had before him the picture of Ahmadiyyat being presented to the world today in the form of Qadianism.”


      • (

Paigham Sulh

    • , 19 November 1935)

Dr. Iqbal lived for more than two and a half years after the publication of these testimonies, and he read them. But he did not contradict them, nor did his followers ever do so, even though they lived on for a further thirty years or so.

Further views expressed by Iqbal in this period.1. Iqbal was reported as having said:

    •  “So far as I have understood the objective of this movement, the belief of the Ahmadis is that Jesus died like any other human mortal, and that the return of the Messiah refers to the coming of a man who bears a spiritual resemblance to him. This belief gives this movement a rationalist colouring.”


      • (Newspaper


      • , 13 February 1935.

Khutbat Madras

    • )

2. When Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote his book The Religion of Islam, Dr. Iqbal expressed the following view on it in a letter dated 6th February 1936:

    • “Thank you so much for your kind present to me of your new book

The Religion of Islam

    . I very much appreciate the gift. I have glanced through parts of it, and find it an extremely useful work, almost indispensable to the students of Islam. You have already written a number of books; one cannot but admire your energy and power of sustained work.”

3. Sayyid Nazir Niazi published a compilation of the daily conversations of Iqbal which took place in his presence. For the date 17 March 1938, shortly before the death of Iqbal, it is recorded:

    • “The Allama said: On the subject of prayer Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan and Mirza sahib went to opposite extremes. … Sir Sayyid held the view that one did not gain anything from prayer except inner consolation. On the opposite side was Mirza sahib who said that everything is possible by means of prayer: you keep on praying, and what you want to happen shall come about. … Mirza sahib went to an extreme. He prayed about every matter, and he received requests for prayer on every matter. So much so that, besides other things such as propagation of Islam, debates with other religions, insistence on the truth of Islam, this was another factor which attracted the hearts towards Mirza sahib. In any case, prayer is a part of faith.”


      • (

Iqbal kay huzur nashistain aur goftaguain

    • , vol 1, p. 360.)

It is undoubtedly true that the Imam of the age, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, considered prayer to be the chief means of establishing a closer connection with God. His followers also believe that only through prayer can any end be achieved. Prayer is one of the questions on which Hazrat Mirza has revived the original teachings of Islam, as he did in case of numerous other questions. What Allama Iqbal has said is entirely true.

Iqbal’s opposition was against Qadiani doctrines.Iqbal’s statements against the Ahmadiyya Movement near the end of his life were prompted by a conflict between the Qadiani Jama’at and the Ahrar movement, known as the Ahrari-Qadiani controversy, which raged during the 1930s. Sayyid Nazir Niazi, an admirer of Iqbal who has been quoted earlier, wrote in an article about the last illness of Iqbal:

    • “The views which the Allama expressed from time to time as a result of the Qadiani-Ahrari controversy now meant that he had to publish a detailed statement about the whole affair.”


      • (


    • , new edition. Magazine Urdu, ‘Iqbal’ Number, October 1938. Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu, Hyderabad Deccan, p. 312.)

Despite such intense opposition, when Iqbal’s attention was drawn to his speech in 1910 (in which he had described the Ahmadiyya Jama’at as a “true model of Islamic life”), the answer he gave is worth pondering over. He replied:

      • “I regret that I do not have that speech, neither the original English version nor its Urdu translation which was done by Maulana Zafar Ali Khan. As far as I remember I made that speech in 1911 or earlier, and I have no hesitation in admitting that a quarter of a century ago I expected good results to flow from this movement.… However, the true spirit of a religious movement is not revealed in a day, but takes years to be manifested properly. The mutual controversies between the two parties within the movement show that even those people who had personal connections with the founder did not know the direction the movement would take in the future. Personally, I became disillusioned with this movement when a new prophethood was claimed, a prophethood superior even to the prophethood of the Founder of Islam, and all Muslims were declared as


    • . Later my disillusionment developed to the stage of open opposition.”
      • (

Harf-i Iqbal

    • , pp. 122 – 123.)

This statement exonerates Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad because he died in 1908. In fact, it is directed against those who ascribe a prophethood to Hazrat Mirza superior to the prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Dr. Iqbal’s statement in his speech in 1910 at the Aligarh College, in favour of the Ahmadiyya Movement, was made two years after Hazrat Mirza’s death, and the split in the Movement on the issue of declaring Muslims as kafir took place in 1914, six years after his death. All these erroneous doctrines were coined by the khalifa of Qadian, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, after the death of Hazrat Mirza, and had not the least connection with his beliefs. On the contrary, Hazrat Mirza battled against such doctrines throughout his life.

It will have become clear to the readers from the various statements of Iqbal quoted above that, before Mirza Mahmud Ahmad declared other Muslims as kafir, the Allama held highly favourable views about the Ahmadiyya Movement and its Founder, and was deeply influenced by them. But cursed be political wrangles! A man even of Iqbal’s stature was so carried away by the Ahrari controversy as to be prepared to make statements denouncing the Ahmadiyya Movement and its Founder. On the other hand, it is not only proved from his extract quoted above, but all knowledgeable persons are also aware, that Dr. Iqbal began to be disillusioned with the Ahmadiyya Jama’at in 1914 when Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din died and Mirza Mahmud Ahmad ascribed a claim of prophethood to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, declaring that those who had not entered into his bai‘at were k r and outside the fold of Islam, thus dividing the Movement into two.

Previously, Allama Sir Muhammad Iqbal was not only an admirer of Hazrat Mirza and the Ahmadiyya Movement, but like his elder brother Shaikh Ata Muhammad he had formally taken the bai‘at. With all this evidence, every fair-minded, God-fearing person can see that, until the Ahmadiyya Jama’at split on the issue of calling Muslims as kafir, the Allama did not oppose the Movement. Moreover, no one can deny that despite his later intense opposition, he never severed his friendship and personal ties with the prominent members of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at Islam Lahore. Indeed, on the occasions he made statements against the Ahmadis he also made it clear that his criticism was not directed against Hazrat Mirza or the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama’at.

The views he expressed about the leaders of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama’at in the last years of his life are instructive for those who think. He wrote the following words:

    “As to the Ahmadiyya Movement, there are many members of the Lahore Jama’at whom I consider to be Muslims who have a sense of honour, and I sympathise with their efforts to propa gate Islam. … But indeed, the passion for the propagation of Islam that is to be found in most members of this Jama’at is worthy of praise.”

All lovers of Iqbal, who celebrate ‘Iqbal Day’ every year, should ponder over these words. While he considered that most members of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama’at were “Muslims who have a sense of honour,” possessing a “passion for the propagation of Islam,” with whom he “sympathised,” his admirers condemn this Jama’at. Can this be called love for this great man?

Links and Related Essays

Who is Allama Muhammad Iqbal?

Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal and Ahmadiyya

Allama Iqbal wrote extensively vs. Ahmadis


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