As everyone knows, MGA left Qadian for Lahore in late April of 1908. We have found some data which corroborates this fact. This was the first time that MGA left Qadian since November of 1905, thats 30 months or so.
Ahmadiyya sources tell us that after the Fajr prayer on 27 April 1908, MGA along with his family and a delegation of his companions, decided to travel to Lahore. Preparations started immediately; bags were packed and horse-carriages arranged. Accompanying MGA and his immediate family were Muhammad Ahsan Amrohi, Maulana Nuruddin and some house maids and servants. MGA called Mufti Muhammad Sadiq later to join him in Lahore.
They (MGA and his entourage) arrived in Batala on roughly the 28th of April, 1908
They stayed at a roadside inn, Sarai Mai Ichra Devi, near the railway station. It took some time for the seats to be reserved and the entourage spent the next day and the day after in this inn at Batala. After a few days in Batala, MGA’s delegation departed for Lahore by the morning train and arrived at Lahore in the afternoon. MGA decided to stay at Khawaja Kamaluddin Sahib’s house on Killianwali Road, adjacent to Islamia College Lahore. Bhai Ji narrates that MGA later moved to Dr Syed Hussain Shah Sahib’s house, which was opposite Khawaja Sahib’s house, and a makeshift wooden bridge was prepared to join the rooftops of the two houses. Congregational prayers would be offered on the rooftop of Khawaja Sahib’s house.
It is reported in Badr, 30th April 1908 (p. 6), that an Eid Milad-un-Nabi function was held at Ahmadiyya Buildings, Lahore, on 14th April. (This was close to the end of the life of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and a few days before he arrived in Lahore from Qadian.)
The function is not called Eid Milad-un-Nabi in this report but Bara Wafat.This was the term used by Muslims in India in those days, meaning “death on the 12th”, referring to the death of the Holy Prophet Muhammad on this day, 12th Rabi-ul-awwal.
Below I translate the report, which is entitled Life of the Holy Prophet:
“A respected friend reports from Lahore that, on the previous day, a Tuesday, on the occasion of Bara Wafat, and for the benefit of the residents of Lahore, a grandly organised lecture was held at Ahmadiyya Buildings, where houses of our Khwaja [Kamal-ud-Din] sahib are located. The ground was very large and was decked with a marque and other necessities. It had been widely advertised in the city.
The poem in praise of the Holy Prophet written by Huzoor [presumably meaning the Promised Messiah] was read out by brothers Abdul Aziz, son of Mian Chiragh Din, and Ghulam Muhammad. Maulvi Sadr-ud-Din gave an explanation of the Surah Fatiha with great zeal and pure sincerity, and went over the events of the life of the Messenger of God, may peace and the blessing of Allah be upon him. Then brother Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig spoke on the life of the Holy Prophet in a fine speech. The audience included Hindus, Muslims and members of the Brahmo Samaj. All the leading men of Lahore who could come were in attendance. The whole gathering listened patiently and attentively to the highly effective speeches of these young men, who were preaching using this new technique and method, and they went away expressing much praise.
This meeting was also reported in other newspapers and was generally much liked. Hence the newspaper Watan wrote:
“Just as there was great regret that there were no arrangements in Lahore for holding this great occasion of remembrance, there was equal pleasure that on 14th April, corresponding to 12th Rabi-ul-awwal 1326 A.H., on behalf of the Anjuman-i Ahmadiyya Lahore a magnificent meeting was organised by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, lawyer, High Court. Capable speakers delighted the audience by telling them about the life of the Holy Prophet and his excellent and praise-worthy qualities. It is hoped that in future many people in Lahore will organise events for such a sacred remembrance.”
The newspaper Sada-i-Hind expressed a similar opinion
Comment by Editor Badr: It is indeed essential that the general public should be fully informed about the life of the Holy Prophet. We cannot complain about non-Muslims when most Muslims themselves are utterly unaware of the life of their beloved master. When such ignorant people realise how much we owe to the Holy Prophet, they will themselves want to recite the Darood spontaneously. This is in fact the philosophy of Darood. But I do not consider it right to fix one particular day forever, like Bara Wafat, for this purpose.”
This idea was then taken up by other Muslims and led to the development of the Eid Milad-un-Nabi function. Note the report in the Muslim newspaper Watan quoted above which says:
“Just as there was great regret that there were no arrangements in Lahore for holding this great occasion of remembrance, there was equal pleasure that on 14th April, corresponding to 12th Rabi-ul-awwal 1326 A.H., on behalf of the Anjuman-i Ahmadiyya Lahore a magnificent meeting was organised by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, lawyer, High Court.”
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