MGA’s confrontation with Pir Mehr Ali Shah started in 1899. Pir Mehr Ali Shah had a book vs. MGA published in May of 1899. It was printed at the Mustafa’i Press, Lahore in Ramadan 1317 A.H. Maulawi Nur-ud-Din read a few pages of this book on February 17th, 1900, and wrote a letter to Pir Mihr Ali Shah the next day. It was written in this book that if any one wanted to say
anything about this book he must refer to authentic commentaries such as Ibni Jarir and Ibni Kathir and also to the true Hadith or he must base his arguments upon the Holy Quran, which should be acceptable to the great and learned people who are masters of language and rhetorics (page 8). Though the book is written in Urdu, yet the writer has occasionally
employed Arabic also to show his learning. So Maulawi Nur-ud-Din asked the Pir eleven questions in his letter (see Dard).
April 24th, 1900
Maulawi Abdul Karim wrote a response in the Al-Hakam, dated April 24th, 1900, and pressed Mihr Ali Shah in vain for an answer to the eleven questions put to him (see Dard).
July 9th 1900
Maulawi Sayyid Muhammad Ahsan reminded Mihr Ali Shah and also challenged him to
hold a debate with him about the life or death of Jesusas, the subject of Mihr Ali Shah’s book (see Dard).
On July 20th, 1900
MGA issued an announcement in which he invited Mihr Ali Shah to a contest. On page 81, Mihr Ali Shah had insinuated that MGA did not know the Quran, so he suggested that a meeting be held at Lahore and forty verses of the Quran should be selected by casting lots. MGA and Mihr Ali Shah should then pray that God might enable the truthful of the two to write in fluent Arabic a commentary of the verses in that very meeting with the help of the Holy Spirit. The commentary should be not less than 43 pages. The parties should have no book with them, nor should there be any assistant. Seven hours should be given for this purpose. The parties should then sign the papers which would be read out to three learned men selected by Mihr Ali Shah. They should neither be the followers of MGA nor of Mihr Ali Shah. These three men should then give their decision under oath as to which of the papers was superior in language as well as in commentary. MGA also said he was prepared to entrust the decision to his enemies like Maulawi Muhammad Husain, Maulawi Abdul Jabbar Ghaznavi and Professor Maulawi Abdullah. This Ishtihar was signed by 20 men as witnesses (see Dard). MGA gave Pir Mehr Ali Shah a deadline of August 22nd to respond.
July 23rd, 1900
MGA issued an Urdu leaflet (Arba‘in No. 1) on July 23rd, 1900. He declared that it was not a Mubahala nor was it meant to be a dreadful prophecy for any opponent. He also announced that he would go on publishing leaflets until the limit of 40 was reached or until an opponent came out in good faith in the field of contest (see Dard).
August 25th, 1900
Pir Mehr Ali Shah arrived in Lahore for his contest with MGA, however, MGA was a no-show.
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|The background to Hazrat’s entry into the struggle against Qadianism is that during his visit to the Hijaz for Hajj in 1890 AD (1307 A.H.), the chaste atmosphere of the Holy Land had touched him so deeply that he had thought of permanently settling down there. However, Haji Imdad-ullah Muhajir of Makkah had advised him to return home in the following words:
“In the near future, a dangerous and evil movement is likely to raise its head in India, and you are destined to play a key role in combating it. Even if you do nothing actively against this movement, your mere presence in the country would help shield the country’s ulama against its pernicious effects”. The truth of these words was proved barely a year later, i.e., in 1891, when Mirza of Qadian announced his (initial) claim to be the Promised Massiah (Jesus Christ) – an announcement that was to culminate about ten years later in his claim to be a full-fledged prophet of God in his own right.
Two spiritual visions experienced by Hazrat around this time also deserve a mention in this context. According to one of these, quoted in Malfuzat-e-Mihriya, the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) had appeared to Hazrat (R.A) in a dream and had commanded him to effectively refute Mirza of Qadian, who was “tearing to pieces his (i.e., the Prophet’s) ahadith through distortion and misinterpretation”.
According to the other vision, which is described in a manuscript in Hazrat’s own handwriting discovered later in his personal papers, and which occurred when Mirza challenged Hazrat to an open debate in 1900A.D, Hazrat had seen himself seated in a most respectful posture before the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) in his prayer cell, in the manner of a disciple sitting before his Shaikh (spiritual guide), while Mirza of Qadian was sitting a good distance away with his back turned to the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H).
Hazrat construed this as a clear indication of Mirza’s defiance of the Prophet’s teachings, and this prompted him to accept Mirza’s challenge for a debate in Lahore. In Hazrat’s celebrated book Saif-e-Chishtiyai (The Chishtia Sword), which Hazrat wrote later in refutation of Qadianism, he has also described a dream which he had seen in his youth, and according to which he had successfully repulsed a sword attack by the one-eyed Dajjal (Antichrist) in three consecutive thrusts. This dream, too, he interpreted as symbolically forecasting his victorious fight against the heretical Qadyani creed later in his life.
Qadyani request to Hazrat (R.A) for support and Hazrat’s response
Hazrat’s first direct contact with the Qadyani movement occurred when Maulvi Abdul Karim of Sialkot, one of Mirza’s followers, sent to Hazrat a copy of Mirza’s published letter of invitation in which he had claimed to be the Promised Messiah and had been assigned by God with the task of reviving the din and working for the ascendancy of Islam. The letter requested Hazrat’s support in this task. In reply, Hazrat wrote that he did not accept Mirza as the “Promised Messiah”, and advised him to continue to confine his activities to the holding of debates with non-Muslims and the propagation of Islam as before, instead of making such odd claims.
Mirza’s challenge to the Mashaikh (spiritual leaders)
Recognizing the powerful influence which the mashaikh wielded on the minds of the Muslims of India in general, Mirza made every possible effort to enlist the backing of some of them for furthering his mission. However, these efforts met with no success whatsoever. In frustration, therefore, he threw out an open challenge to the entire Mashaikh community in the following words in his Ayyam-us-Sulh:
“There is no one under the sun at present who could claim to be my equal. I say to the Muslims openly and without fear: Let all those who lay loud claims to be muhaddith (master of Hadith) and mufassir (commentators of the Quran), who profess to know God, and call themselves Chishti, Naqshbandi, Suharwardi and what not, come before me (if they dare)”.
Hazrat’s book “Shams-ul-Hidayah”
Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah Sahib wrote a book titled “ Shams-ul-Hidayah Fi Isbat-e-Hayatul Masih” in 1899. In this book written in the form of questions and answers on the various relevant issued, Hazrat confirmed as unanimous the Muslim belief concerning the raising alive of Jesus Christ to Heaven, in both body and spirit, and his expected future descent in physical person to earth some time before the Day of Judgment. He did so with powerful arguments based on Quran and authentic ahadith. He showed the Qadyani beliefs regarding the “ death “ of Christ on the Cross, and coming of the Masil as the promised messiah (in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad), to be utterly false. In reply to Mirza’s challenge to the country’s mashaikh reproduced above, Hazrat invited him to first explain him the real meanings of the Kalma (Translation: There is No God but Allah, and Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) is Allah’s Messenger) before his challenge would be accepted.
Commotion in Qadian
The strength of Hazrat’s arguments in Shamsul Hidayah, written in scholarly style and language, can be fully appreciated only by the truly learned reader. The book was, therefore acclaimed by ulama of all schools of thought. Among other, Maulvi Abdul Jabbar Ghaznavi, a leading scholar of the Ahl-e-Hadith school, expressed his appreciation in a personal letter addressed to Hazrat. Understandably, the book caused a stir in Qadian, where the preparation of replies to the various points raised in it was taken immediately in hand. In the reply of the above mentioned book, Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah Sahib was then asked a dozen counter-questions by Hakim Nurrudin, Mirza’s closest and most trusted associate of his own which were totally unrelated to the main point at issue, viz., the “death” and “life” of Jesus Christ, such as Wahdat-ul-Wajood, Awlia (saints), ilham, Kashf, correctness of ahadith etc.
All the questions were answered in detail with the related Hadith and Quranic verses. At the end of his reply, Hazrat posed just one counter question to Hakim Nurrudin, asking him to explain “the reality of miracles”. This question was, however, never answered.
The aforesaid correspondence was published in the form of a leaflet by Maulana Muhammad Ghazi, senior teacher in the madressah at Golra Sharif, and distributed to ulama in different parts of the country. All ulama paid glowing tributes (both written and oral) to the force of Hazrat’s arguments and the deep learning which they exhibited. The publication of the leaflet led to a widespread demand for Mirza to reply to the questions listed in Hazrat’s Shamsul Hidayah.
Mirza’s challenge to Hazrat for a written debating contest
Nettled by the aforesaid demand, Mirza threw a challenge to Hazrat, in a poster issued on 20 July 1900 and witnessed by twenty persons, to engage in an open debate with him. Curiously, however, the challenge was not for a debate on the specific disputed issue (viz., the “death” of Christ, or on Mirza’s own claims to be the masil of Christ, the Promised Messiah and a zilli nabi, i.e., shadow prophet), but for a contest in the writing of an Arabic language commentary on selected Quranic verses.
According to the poster, the proposed contest was to take place at Lahore, the capital city of Punjab Province (and at no other place), at a venue to be selected and arranged by Hazrat, or failing this by Mirza himself. A maximum of 40 Quranic verses were to be selected by ballot, all of them from one particular Surah of the Quran, and commentaries thereon were to be completed within a period of seven hours on the same day and in the presence of witnesses, without the help of any book or other assistance. A maximum of one hour would be given to each party to prepare himself for writing the commentary. The commentaries, each of which was to span at least 20 leaves (40 pages) of normal-sized paper and writing, would, after their completion and signatures by the respective contestants, be read out to three learned persons for adjudication. These persons would be nominated, and arrangement for their presence made, by Hazrat Meher Ali Shah. Mirza indicated that the names of Maulvi Muhammad Hussain of Batala, Maulvi Abdul Jabbar Ghaznavi, and Prof. Maulvi Abdullah of Lahore, or some other three neutral Maulvis would be acceptable to him for this purpose. After listening to the two commentaries, the judges would pronounce on solemn triple oath as to which one was considered by them to be superior and written “with Divine endorsement”. In the event of Hazrat’s commentary being adjudged better or even equal in merit to that of Mirza, the latter pledged to admit that the truth was on the side of Pir Meher Ali Shah. He would then burn all books containing his claims to messiah-ship and prophet-hood, and acknowledge himself to be “the damned and the disgraced one”. On the other hand, if Mirza were to be adjudged the victor, or if Pir Meher Ali Shah were to refuse to enter the contest, he would repent and pledge allegiance to Mirza and announce this through a published poster.
Hazrat was asked in the poster to convey acceptance of the challenge, along with an assurance that he would pledge allegiance to Mirza in the event of his defeat in the contest, within ten days, through a printed poster witnessed (like the poster of Mirza) by twenty respectable persons. Five thousand (5,000) copies of this poster were to be prepared and distributed by Hazrat to the interested quarters.
Mirza’s poster was accompanied by a supplement, which inter alia emphasized categorically that the commentaries to be written by the contestants would be wholly in Arabic language and would not include any portion in Urdu. It further spelt out some of the conditions mentioned in the main poster, set out arrangements for the contest in greater detail, and also made a few additional proposals. One such proposal was that the participation of Hazrat Pir Sahib in the contest would be essential in any event since he had the reputation of being superior to all other maulvis (Muslim clergy) in the knowledge of Arabic and the Quran. At the same time, however, he felt it was necessary to widen the purview of the contest and to include in it as many other ulama as possible, on the express condition that these ulama would sit at some distance from each other and from the two main contestants so that they could not provide any written or oral assistance to one another or to see what others were writing. This would help avoid the possibility of some ulama regarding themselves as superior to the Pir Sahib in the knowledge of Arabic and the Quran, and on that basis refusing to accept the defeat of Pir Sahib as binding on them. It would also ensure that the “Sign of God” was manifested with the maximum strength and glory. Mirza suggested, therefore, that the Pir Sahib should furnish a list of at least forty ulama (besides himself) who would also take part in the contest. Furthermore, he asked Hazrat to suggest a date for the contest not earlier than one month hence, in order to allow enough time to the other participating ulama to make the necessary preparations and arrangement to be present in Lahore on the date of the contest. A notice of one week was to be given by Hazrat to Mirza, through a registered letter, after fixing the date of the contest. At the end of the supplement, Mirza gave his own list of 86 eminent ulama and mashaikh from all over the country, from among whom the forty ulama other than the Pir Sahib should preferably be selected, and invited them all to be present at the contest.
Hazrat’s reply accepting the challenge
Mirza’s poster and its supplement were received in Golra Sharif on 25 July 1900. Hazrat immediately prepared a poster in reply and had it printed and published the very next day in all leading newspapers of the country. As desired by Mirza, 5,000 copies of this poster were prepared and some copies were sent to Mirza at Qadian by registered post. Copies were also mailed or sent by hand to ulama in all parts of India, including the 86 ulama listed at the end of the supplement to Mirza’s poster, and also to ulama in adjoining Afghanistan. All this generated widespread interest among the people.
In his reply, Hazrat wrote that he whole-heartedly accepted the invitation for a public contest extended by Mirza as well as the conditions listed by him, including the venue proposed for the contest (viz., Lahore). He also accepted the three ulama named by him as prospective judges. He suggested, however, as an additional condition from his side, that the two contestants should first engage in an oral debate elaborating their respective points of view. In this debate, Mirza Sahib should first try to convince the audience, through oral arguments, about the validity of his professed claims to be the Promised Massiah, the Mahdi, and a prophet of Allah. Hazrat, in his turn, should try to effectively refute those claims. The judges should then give their verdict in the light of these presentations, and the written contest in commentary proposed by Mirza should take place only after the judges and the audience had expressed their judgment about the oral debate. Furthermore, as far as written presentation was concerned, the many books written by Mirza were filled with his various claims and views, and these had already been read and commented upon in detail by various ulama and also by other fair-minded intellectuals from time to time. Because of all this Hazrat concluded, it seemed but appropriate to give first priority to an oral debate and a secondary one to a written contest.
As desired by Mirza, the 25th of August 1900,i.e exactly one month after the date of Hazrat’s answering poster, was proposed by Hazrat as the date for the contest, and Mirza was asked to reach Lahore on that date. Also as desired by Mirza, Hazrat’s poster was witnessed by twenty respectable persons, mostly ulama.
A reply to the supplement to Mirza’s poster was written, on Hazrat’s behalf and with his approval, by Maulana Muhammad Ghazi, head teacher of the madressah at Golra Sharif, and was appended to the main poster. It reaffirmed Hazrat’s readiness, as expressed in the main poster, to undertake the contest proposed by Mirza on the latter’s own conditions, with the additional condition to have an oral contest before the written one. It also added a few auxiliary observations. For example, it reproduced a selected sampling of the many absurd interpretations that had been placed on verses of the Quran by Mirza Sahib, to suit his own ends and to establish his claims to prophet-hood etc.
Qadiani’s objection to Hazrat’s proposal
Mirza had been asked from Hazrat’s side to give timely intimation about any changes that he desired to be made in the conditions of the proposed contest. However, no such intimation was received until just four days before the scheduled date of the contest (i.e.25 August 1900), when a copy of the printed letter was delivered in Golra Sharif. This letter had been written, not by Mirza Sahib himself but by Syed Muhammad Ahsan Amrohi, one of his close associates. The letter rejected, on Mirza’s behalf, the proposal made by Hazrat for an oral debate and insisted on a written contest in commentary writing only. In reply, Mirza was promptly informed through a poster issued on Hazrat’s behalf on 21-22 August 1900 by Hakim Sultan Mahmood of Rawalpindi (one of Hazrat’s devotees), that although Hazrat still considered an oral debate to be the best method of deciding the issue, he was ready for only a written contest also on Mirza’s own conditions and was therefore leaving for Lahore to participate in such a contest. A copy of the poster was sent by registered post to Mirza at Qadian. All other interested quarters, which could be contacted within the very short time then left until the date of the contest, were also notified accordingly, although the poster could not be published as widely as would have been desirable.
In their various subsequent writings and statements, Mirza Sahib and other Qadyani writers have contended that in the poster published by Hakim Sultan Mehmood, the condition for oral debate, which was unacceptable to Mirza, had been allowed to stand and had not been withdrawn by Hazrat. Because of this, they say, Mirza Sahib could not have participated in the contest under any circumstances.
Huge Muslim assemblage at Lahore, venue of the contest
As the appointed date approached, hundreds of Muslims belonging to all schools of religious thought (Shi’ah, Sunni, Ahl-e-Hadith, etc.) and all walks of life started arriving in Lahore from various parts of the country. Major Islamic Madressahs and centers of learning (e.g., those in Delhi, Saharanpur, Deoband, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Multan etc.) sent their representatives and even some public servants from far-flung areas took leave of absence and came to Lahore to witness the historic contest. From the other side, members of the Qadyani community also came in sizeable numbers. In a period when people as a rule took keen interest in religious matters, the participation of Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A) a renowned scholar and an eminent spiritual personality , along with the large group of distinguished ulama, in the historic debate which was to decide the fate of the leading imposter of the 19th / 20th century, generated unprecedented enthusiasm.
Nomination of Hazrat as leader of Ulama
In this moment of destiny, ulama of various shades of thought sank their traditional differences, and unanimously declared Hazrat (R.A) to be their sole spokesman and leader. They thus displayed once again that all-pervading Islamic spirit of brotherhood which has helped unify the Muslim Ummah at every critical turn of history against its common enemies, and of which no parallel can be found in any other religion or creed.
The fact that the group of ulama which elected Hazrat as their undisputed leader on this occasion included many who were far senior to Hazrat – then only 42 years of age and barely in the tenth year of his mission of teaching and spiritual guidance-underscores the high esteem in which he had come to be held in the religious circles even at that early stage.
Hazrat’s arrival in Lahore
On leaving Golra Sharif for Lahore by train on 24th August 1900, Hazrat had two telegrams sent to Mirza at Qadian, first from Rawalpindi and then from Lala-Musa railway station situated on the rail route to Lahore. This was meant to ensure that he was duly informed about Hazrat’s expected arrival in Lahore. About 50 eminent ulama accompanied Hazrat from Golra railway station, and many more from other areas either joined him at various points en route or reached Lahore directly to join the group of welcomers. A very large gathering of people received Hazrat on his arrival to Lahore, at the railway station. They proposed to take Hazrat in a procession to the venue of the contest, but Hazrat vetoed the suggestion. Hazrat was indeed so convinced about that when Mirza finally refused to come to Lahore for the contest, Hazrat even thought of going personally to Qadian, along with a selected band of ulama, to meet Mirza in his own stronghold. He was, however, dissuaded from doing so by a majority of the Muslims, on the ground that such a course was inadvisable for various reasons.
Mirza’s failure to reach Lahore
Hazrat and his associates, as well as all others who had assembled in Lahore in large numbers to witness this epoch-making contest, waited for two full days, i.e. 25 and 26 August 1900, for Mirza to arrive. Meanwhile, the Qadianis kept giving assurances that Mirza Sahib’s arrival was being delayed only due to negotiations about the applicable terms and conditions, and that he would come as soon as these were finalized. However, Mirza failed to turn up. Many influential Ahmadis of the Lahori faction reportedly tried hard to induce Mirza to come to Lahore, but did not succeed. His main objection was that withdrawal of the condition of oral debate should have been announced by Hazrat personally instead of through his associate Hakim Sultan Mehmood. It was pointed out to him that withdrawal had been done so because Mirza’s own rejection of Hazrat’s suggestion for oral debate had been conveyed through the same procedure, i.e., through the associate Muhammad Ahsan Amrohi a proxy and not by Mirza personally. Nevertheless, Hazrat even then showed his readiness to withdraw his condition under his own signature provided Mirza did the same in respect of his rejection of that condition. Mirza, however, not only declined to do so but also refused point-blank to come to Lahore. According to him, the maulvis had conspired to have him assassinated under cover of engaging him in a debate to disprove his claim to prophet-hood. (In making this allegation, he conveniently ignored the fact that the contest had been arranged at his own initiative and not at the insistence of the maulvis! )
Reaction among Mirza’s followers
When the Qadyani representatives eventually failed to persuade their leader to come to Lahore for the debate, a wave of dismay swept through the community. Many disillusioned Qadianis deserted the party, while some others went into despaired seclusion. Many more (e.g., Babu Ilahi Bukhsh, who had previously been a long-time and zealous Qadyani activist but had later repented and rejoined the ranks of orthodox Muslims) even published posters and pamphlets lauding Hazrat’s learning and erudition and acclaiming his victory in the contest. The diehards, however, not only refused to accept defeat but in fact declared the episode to be a resounding victory for their side. Posters were splashed all over Lahore announcing “the flight of the Pir Sahib of Golra” against the latter-day Imam (i.e., Mirza), “the crushing defeat of the maulvis and the Pir by the heavenly sign”, and “the inspired tidings of the Promised Massiah being proved correct”. All this despite the fact that the entire city was witness to the prolonged presence of Hazrat Meher Ali Shah Sahib in Lahore, and to the fact that Mirza of Qadian was refusing to come there notwithstanding repeated calls to do so.
As a diversionary tactic, a delegation of the Qadyani community met Hazrat following the cancellation of the debating contest due to Mirza’s crying off, and suggested a Mubahilah (i.e., a contest of supplication to Allah between Hazrat and Mirza). According to this proposal, either of the person whose prayer was answered positively would be acknowledged as the victor. Hazrat readily accepted even this suggestion, but the Qadyani side did not pursue it further.
Qadyani preachers and orators offered a variety of far-fetched rationalization to justify the course of action adopted by Mirza. Far from producing any favourable impact, however, such rationalization merely helped to make a laughing stock of these Qadyani preachers as well as their beleaguered leaders. The upshot of all this was that neither Mirza Sahib nor his party ventured to openly face the forces of truth ever again and relied instead on clandestine and underhand tactics to promote their cause.
In still another poster, which was dated 25 August 1900 and was later published in the collection of his posters titled “Tabligh-e-Risalat” , Mirza indicated, with reference to Hazrat’s proposal for an oral debate, that in order to break the Pir Sahib’s false notions about his own prowess in this sphere, he had first thought of sending his friend and eminent scholar Syed Muhammad Ahsan Amrohi for such a debate. However, the latter had declined to do so because he had come to know through revelation that the Pir Sahib’s camp included people who had a habit of indulging in obscene abuses. While his earlier claims had been that he had the endorsement of Archangel Gabriel for his cause, and that “Allah would protect him from (the evil designs) the people”, he was now afraid of the Pathans of N.W.F.P. In the circumstances, Mirza said he had now himself compiled a booklet on the subject as a “gift” for Pir Meher Ali Shah, titled Tohfa-e-Golraviyah (The Golravi Gift). If and when the Pir Sahib replied to the contents of the booklet, the people would automatically come to know about their respective arguments and their answers.
Mirza’s new proposal
Accordingly, he sought to revive the issue once again on 15 December 1900 (4 months after the previous abortive contest) by publishing yet another poster. He said in order to settle the matter once and for all; he had been inspired by God with the fresh proposal. Under this proposal, he would, sitting in Qadian, write a commentary in chaste Arabic on the opening Surah of the Holy Quran, Al-Fateha. In this commentary, he would prove his various claims in the light of Surah alone, besides describing other truths and facts stated in Surah. Similarly Hazrat, sitting in Golra Sharif, would do the same. The two commentaries should be printed and published in book form within 70 days after 15th December 1900, so that everyone can compare them and form his judgment about their respective merits. A price of Rs.500 would be paid to Hazrat if his commentary was adjudged by three scholars to be superior to that of Mirza. The party failing to write and publish the proposed commentary within the stated period would be regarded as a liar, and no further proof for that purpose would be needed.
Hazrat’s reaction to this proposal
This new challenge had not the slightest impression on Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah Sahib (R.A). Devoted as every moment of his life was to the remembrance of Allah, spiritual contemplations, and providing guidance to knowledge thirsty humanity, fruitless activities like this had no place in a sober scheme of things. Under compulsion of circumstances, and on the insistence of other ulama, he had already spent what he thought to be more than enough attention to this matter, even disregarding the oppositions to this voiced by some Mashaikh (including Hazrat Khwaja Allah Bukhsh Sahib of Taunsa Sharif). He thus had no more time to waste on such futile exercises. While, therefore, Mirza did prepare and publish his planned commentary on Al-Fateha, under the title Ijaz-ul-Masih, (Miracle of the Massiah) within 70 days as stipulated by himself, no such thing was done by Hazrat.
As expected, Mirza’s book was found, not only by scholars but even by students, to be full of glaring errors of Arabic language, grammar and diction, and replete with plagiarized ideas and content. In one place, for example the month of Ramadan had been said to consist of 70 days; at another, yowm-ud-din (Day of Judgment) was termed as the period of the Promised Massiah (Mirza himself). Because of this, the book failed to cut any ice with the concerned circles.
Hazrat’s book “Saif-e-Chishtiyai”
In reply to Mirza’s two books, Ijaz-ul-Masih and Shams-e-Bazighah, Hazrat wrote his now-renowned book Saif-e-Chishtiyai (The Chishtia Sword), and had it distributed free of cost to the sub-continent’s ulama and mashaikh as well as among religious schools and other institutions.
Saif-e-Chishtiyai further elaborated the arguments contained in Hazrat’s earlier book Shams-ul-Hidayah. In addition, it made nearly one hundred critical comments on the incorrect meaning and logic, errors of grammar, diction and idiom, plagiarisms and distortions in respect of Surah Al-Fateha (the opening Surah of the Holy Quran) as contained in Mirza’s Ijaz-ul-Masih. Similar criticism were made of the contents of Shams-e-Bazighah, in which an effort had been made by Mirza to spell out the meaning of the Kalimah (There is no god but Allah and Muhammad (P.B.U.H) is Allah’s Messenger) as demanded by Hazrat in Shams-ul-Hidayah and objections had also been raised to the various points made in that book (Ijaz-ul-Masih, written by Mirza Qadyani).
In Saif-e-Chishtiyai, Hazrat had inter alia predicted that since Mirza was an impostor, he would never have the privilege of visiting Madina Munawwara and paying his respects at the tomb of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H), which, according to a hadith was one of the things which Jesus Christ (the real Promised Massiah) was destined to do, along with the performance of Hajj, after his future descent to earth. This prediction was proved correct when Mirza died a few years later neither performing Hajj nor visiting Madina.
Mirza passes way
The publication of Saif-e-Chishtiyai took the sails decisively out of the Qadyani movement. It helped thousands of wavering Muslims regain firm faith in the real truth. Even many Qadianis repented and discarded Qadianism after reading the book. However, Mirza and many of his diehard followers still failed to learn any lesson. In 1907, as part of his continuing vendetta against Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah Sahib (R.A), Mirza made yet another of his long chain of unfulfilled predictions-one that proved to be the last that he was destined to make ever again. He predicted that Hazrat would pass away during the coming month of Jaith of the Bikrami calendar. Instead, however, he himself breathed his last during the same month of the following year!
A summing up
Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah Sahib (R.A) was no doubt in the forefront of all those ulama and Mashaikh who waged a heroic struggle to nip the evil of Qadianism in the bud. He occupied a leading position among those who laid down the foundation of what developed in course of time into a nation-wide “ Khatm-e-Nabuwwat” (P.B.U.H) (Finality of Prophet-hood), and that resulted three quarters of the century later in the Qadyani community being unanimously declared to be outside the pale of Islam by the elected legislature of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on 7th September 1974. To those pioneering crusades must, therefore, go the ultimate credit for showing the real face of the Qadyani creed to the world.
Following the verdict of Pakistan’s Parliament, the Ahmadiyat community’s missions are now reported to be working under covers mainly in some European, African and other countries in the name of Islam. They present themselves and Mirza Sahib as an orthodox Muslim by placing before their audience only the writings belonging to the early period of Mirza Sahib’s life when his beliefs were still those of an orthodox Muslim. They expunge the portion of Mirza’s writings that contain his claims to prophet-hood and other related claims and deny that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad ever made a claim to prophet-hood or any other claims contrary to Islam.
It is hoped that the facts about the Qadyani movement presented, in the context of Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah’s (R.A) struggle against it and on the basis of authentic original sources, would help to see the Qadyani (Ahmadi) movement in its true colours, and to understand that enrollment in the Qadyani (Ahmadiya) community would not amount to embracing Islam but to adopting a creed that is totally antithetical to that great faith.