Mirza Ghulam Murtaza was a regular Sunni-Muslim and a heavy smoker, we are not sure if this was opium or tobacco. His father was Mirza Ata Muhammad, and uncles lost all of their land to the Ramgharia Sikhs. The entire Mirza family was thus forced into exile. Then Ranjit Singh came to power, he thus confiscated all the misl’s in the Punjab and gave it governmental ownership, except the Ahluwalia Misl, and this is where Mirza Ghulam Murtaza lived. Mirza Ata Muhammad died in 1814, Mirza Ghulam Murtaza was allowed to bury him in Qadian. Mirza Ghulam Murtaza was barely 22 years old and he entered the Sikh military, while still exiled from Qadian, he helped killed the Muslims in battle of Peshawar. MGA tells us that his father awaited the arrival of the British monarchy like a very thirsty person looks forward to water” [RK, v. 15, p. 113; a little below the middle of the page]. What Mirza Ghulam Ahmad fails to tell us is that his father was fighting on the side of the Sikhs when they were fighting Sayyad Ahmad Baraylvee. Murtaza eventually married Charagh Bibi in roughly 1830, the sister of Mirza Jami‘at Baig of Aima, a village in Hoshiarpur district, we are not sure if the Mirza family ever married into this family ever again, nevertheless, they had 3 children that lived, Murad Bibi (1830), Mirza Ghulam Qadir (1833) and MGA. MGA was thus born in early 1840 in Qadian, whereas his cousins Imam ud Din, Nizam ud Din and his older brother Mirza Ghulam Qadir were not, (Ahmadiyya sources dispute this and claim that the Mirza moved back to Qadian as early as the 1820’s). He was mentioned in some detail by Sir Lepel Griffin in The Punjab Chiefs, a survey of the Punjab’s aristocracy. Ghulam Murtaza was married to Chiragh Bibi and had three surviving children and was known to be a heavy smoker (see ROR of 1939 and ROR of 2009). It is important to note that MGA incorrectly wrote the death of his father in a book published in 1909, Nuzul ul Masih, MGA and his team of ghost writers wrote 1875, instead of 1876.
He is barely 11-12 years old and is forced into exile with his 5 brothers and other extended family in Begowal, India.
His father, Mirza Ata Muhammad dies and his body is carried to Qadian for burial. Murtaza and all of his brothers thus enter the Sikh military.
1819, the takeover of Kashmir
Ahmadiyya sources tell us that he was in the Sikh military. We disagree however, he may have been in the Sikh military but he wasn’t living in Qadian.
He was married to Chiragh Bibi (Lady of the Light), he had one daughter that lived and 2 sons that lived, Mirza Ghulam Qadir and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1840). His entire family lived outside of Qadian at this time, however, Ahmadiyya sources from 1939 assert that the family moved back to Qadian in 1818. However, this is disproved since we know that MGA’s older brother and older cousins weren’t born in Qadian.
Its unclear what the Mirza family was doing in this time frame.
Mirza Ghulam Qadir is born.
After the death of Ranjit Singh, Mirza Ghulam Murtaza along with his brothers, uncles and other extended family are allowed to move back to Qadian. MGA even wrote the same in Kitab-Al-Barriya (See Page 9, Kitab al Barriyya, 1898).
The quote—“Return to Qadian in father’s time. Then, during the last days of the rule of Ranjit Singh, my late father, Mirza Ghulam Murtaza, returned to Qadian. The said Mirza sahib received back ﬁve villages out of the villages of his father.”
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is born.
Ahmadiyya sources tell us that Mirza Ghulam Murtaza was serving (see Dard) under Jean-Baptiste Ventura, who was an italian that was working with the Sikh empire in terms of armaments and leading armies. It seems that this Italian was ran out of India when Mahārājā Sher Siṅgh’s assassination happened in September 1843.
During the last days of the Sikh rule an abortive effort was made by some Sikhs to kill Ghulam Murtaza and his brother Mirza Ghulam Muhyuddin in Basrawan, near Qadian, where the two had been confined by them, but they were eventually rescued by their younger brother Mirza Ghulam Haidar (see Dard). This was the person who’s son went missing and his land was thus in dispute, MGA agreed to transfer the land to Ahmad Beg, however, MGA wanted his daughter to be married to him, the famous case of Muhammadi Begum.
See Dard, pages 17-18. This proves that the Mirza family turned on the Sikh Empire and was to be awarded.
On June the 11th, 1849, Mr. J. M. Wilson, Financial Commissioner, Lahore, wrote from Lahore to Mirza Ghulam Murtaza:
“””I have perused your application reminding me of you and your family’s past services and rights. I am well aware that since the introduction of the British Government you and your family have certainly remained devoted, faithful and steady subjects and that your rights are really worthy of regard. In every respect you may rest assured and satisfied that the British Government will never forget your family’s rights and services which will receive due consideration when a favourable oppor-tunity offers itself. You must continue to be faithful and devoted subjects as in it lies the satisfaction of the Government as well as your own welfare.“””
This seems to be a time of great prosperity for the Mirza family. MGA is between ages 9-17. His father arranges for MGA to have tutors, who co-incidentally smoke opium. MGA’s father was a “heavy smoker” also, hence, he probably didn’t care. (Adapted from The Review of Religions, April 1939, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 4).
Mirza Ghulam Murtaza and his brothers, sons and nephews, except MGA served in the British military and helped kill the Sepoy mutineers. MGA stays at home, most likely because of his broken right arm. Mirza Sultan Ahmad is just an infant. Mirza Ghulam Murtaza provided the British government with 50 horses and 50+ soldiers and thus were able to help the British at their most vulnerable time (see Dard page 19).
Mirza Ghulam Murtaza was awarded a pension of 200 rupees per year by the British government in 1858. See Dard, page 18. This remained the same in 1865, as the rest of the family was included in the pension. In 1865, the settlement is as follows: That the pension was for 700 rupees, and it was given to the entire family, the 4 mirza brothers, not simply to MGA’s father, who was the leader of the entire family, the settlement of 1865, wherein 2/5th’s of the 700 rupee pension was divided. The Mirza estate was divided into five parts; two-fifths belonged to the descendants of Mirza Tasadduq Jilani, two fifths to those of Mirza Gul Muhammad, and one-fifth to Mirza Ghulam Murtaza as the managing proprietor (see Dard page 68).
Mirza Sultan Ahmad is born.
Mirza Fazl Ahmad is born.
Mirza Ghulam Murtaza would introduce MGA to people as a “girlie-man”. MGA was not allowed to take part in any part of his 2 sons’ lives. In fact, as long as MGA’s dad was alive, he kept MGA in-check and thus wouldn’t allow MGA display his “religious fervour”.
Mirza Ghulam Murtaza stops MGA from trying to teach his religion to Mirza Sultan Ahmad and Mirza Fazl Ahmad, who are both under 10 years old. MGA was considered a “backwards-mullah” by his own father and was thus shunned.
According to the Settlement of 1865 (with the British govt. see Punjab Chiefs), the Mirza estate was divided into five parts; two-fifths belonged to the descendants of Mirza Tasadduq Jilani, two fifths to those of Mirza Gul Muhammad, and one-fifth to Mirza Ghulam Murtaza as the managing proprietor (see Dard page 68). In fact, Mirza Ghulam Murtaza was the “head of the family”, even the Punjab Chiefs, his name is listed under the header. That the pension was for 700 rupees, and it was given to the entire family, the 4 mirza brothers, not simply to MGA’s father, who was the leader of the entire family, the settlement of 1865, wherein 2/5th’s of the 700 rupee pension was divided. The Mirza estate was divided into five parts; two-fifths belonged to the descendants of Mirza Tasadduq Jilani, two fifths to those of Mirza Gul Muhammad, and one-fifth to Mirza Ghulam Murtaza as the managing proprietor (see Dard page 68).
1865, MGA and Imam ud Din go to pickup their families pension money, the first payment
MGA and his cousin Imam ud Din go to Delhi to pickup their respective monies. A 3rd cousin must have also went along to get his part of the pension. MGA never returned how and squandered all the money. Ahmadiyya sources blame MGA’s cousin, however, this is a blatant lie. MGA was punished by his father by making MGA work in Sialkot and MGA was never able to see his mother again.
The Mirza family sues each other over land disputes (see dard page, 714). Mirza Ghulam Murtaza is also a party to a law-suit between Ghulam Jeelani (also spelled Jilani) and Imam Din. Jeelani was given 2/5 of the 700 rupees as well as many parcels of land. Imam Din won the case with Mirza Ghulam Murtaza also an owner. This would play out later in the case of the wall.
For 5 years, there is nothing to report from Qadian.
Dard tells us that Mirza Sultan Ahmad wrote articles in defense of Islam and had them published by a newspaper, the Mushur-e-Muhammadi. See Dard, page 57. Mirza Sultan Ahmad’s essays were published in these editions, Manshur-e-Muhammadi (Vol. 3, No. 23; Vol. 5, No. 1; Vol. 5, No. 4; Vol. 5, No. 13; Vol. 6, Nos. 2 &. 30). Later on, Mirza Sultan Ahmad never accepted any of MGA’s claims of divine revelation or etc.
He has the Masjid Aqsa built. The piece of land on which it stands belonged at that time to the Sikhs, and he bought it at an auction at the very high bid of Rs. 700. He had made up his mind to buy it at any cost, as he wanted to make amends for the worldly pursuits in which he had spent his life. People taunted him for building such a big mosque while there were no worshippers for it. Little did they know that it was to be crowded with devotees, and that the sincerity with which it was built was to be reflected in the necessity to extend it again and again. He also tried to regain possession of the mosque which was converted into a temple; but the legal proceedings he instituted did not meet with any success. The mosque is situated inside the compound of the family house of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad which now serves as the centre of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in India located close to the White Minaret and important offices of the community
He died in 1876, per Griffin and the 1890 edition of the Punjab Chiefs. In Kitab ul Barriyya, MGA wrote that when his father died he was 34 or 35 years old, he also said that his father died at age 85, which is totally accurate per my timeline. However, in 1909, “Nuzul ul Masih” was published and MGA said (RK 18, P 495) today is 10 august 1902 (RK 18, P 495) He says from today 28 years ago my father died. 1902-28= 1874 so mga´s Father died in 1874. There seems to be an error here, we blame MGA. MGA was terrible at math.
After his death
After the death of Mirza Ghulam Murtaza, his nephews took Mirza Ghulam Qadir and his MGA to court over the land that was given to Mirza Ghulam Murtaza. Since he was given 1/5th separately. MGA’s cousins won the case, thus, when Mirza Sultan Ahmad came into power (1883) he immediately transferred the land to his cousins (see Dard, page 69-70). This would come to play out in the case of the wall in 1901.
MGA boasting about his father’s military service
- “My father was a well-known landlord in this country and he enjoyed great eminence in the Government’s offices. He was a true devotee and well wisher of the British Government. In the mutiny of 1857 (the Muslim independence movement against colonialism is called ‘mutiny’ by Mirza), my father supplied fifty horses and riders to aid the British Government. For this favor to the Government, he was very popular among the officials.” (Izala-e-Auham, P. 58, footnote)
- “The benevolent Government is aware of the fact that we are from among their servants, their sympathizers and well wishers. We have come to their aid with a firm mind in every hour of need. My father was held in close and high esteem by the Government; and our services to this Government held clear distinction. I do not think that the Government has forgotten these services of ours. My father, Mirza Ghulam Murtaza, son of Mirza Ata Muhammad Al-Qadian, was a great well wisher and friend of this government and enjoyed great respect from among them. Our loyalty has been proven beyond doubt. Rather our fidelity was proven among the people and became clear to the government officials. The Government may confirm this from the officers who came to this side and lived among us; so that they may tell what sort of life we lived, and how faithful we have been in serving their Government.” (Noor-ul-Haq, Roohany Khazaen, Vol. 8, P. 36–37; Noor-ul-Haq, Vol. 1, P. 27-28)
- “I come from a family which is out and out loyal to this government. My father, Mir Ghulam Murtaza, who was considered its well-wisher, used to be granted a chair in the Governor’s Darbar (cabinet) and has been mentioned by Mr. Griffin in his ‘History of the Princes of Punjab’. In 1857, he helped the British government beyond his means, that is he procured fifty (50) cavaliers and horses right during the time of the mutiny. He was considered by the government to be its loyal supporter and well-wisher. A number of testimonials of appreciation received by him from the officers have unfortunately been lost. Copies of three of them, however, which had been published a long time ago, are reproduced in the margin (in English). Then, after the death of my grandfather, my elder brother Mirza Ghulam Qadir remained occupied with service to the government and when the evil-doers encountered the forces of the British government on the highway of Tanmmun, he participated in the battle on the side of the British Government (under General Nicholson he killed several freedom fighters). At the time of the death of my father and brother, I was sitting in the sidelines; but, since then, I have been helping the British for seventeen years with my pen.” (Kitab-ul-Barriah, Roohany Khazaen, Vol. 13, P. 4, 5, 6, 7; Shahadat-ul-Quran, Roohany Khazaen, Vol. 6, P. 385-387; Ishtihar Wajib al-Izhar, Sept. 20, 1897, P. 3-7; appended with Kitab-ul-Barriah)
- “I am scion of a family which the English Government acknowledges to be faithful to it. British officers have also admitted that my father and my people are amongst those who served the Government in all sincerity and with heart and soul. I can not find the words to express my homage and gratitude to the beneficent Government on account of the peace and composure which we have found as subjects of the Government. For this reason, we – myself, my father and my brother – have girded up our loins that we will exhibit the favors and advantages of this Government, make obedience to it incumbent on the people and embed it in their hearts.“ (Tabligh-e-Risalat, Vol. 7, P. 8-9)
The urdu scans from Nuzul ul Masih and Kitab al Bariyya
Links and Related Essays
Sir Lepel H. Griffin (1865), The Panjab Chiefs, Online: apnaorg.com. pp.381-2
- Adamson, Iain (1989). Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. Elite International Publications. ISBN 1-85372-294-4.
- Dard, A.R. (2008). Life of Ahmad: Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement (PDF). Tilford: Islam International. ISBN 1-85372-977-9.
- Khan, Adil Hussain (2015). From Sufism to Ahmadiyya: A Muslim Minority Movement in South Asia. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-01529-7.
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