Syed Muhammad Hussain Batalvi (1840-1920) was a contemporary of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in the Punjab.  They were both born during the the last 8-9 years of Sikh rule and were under the Ramgharia Misl, which was annexed into the greater Sikh Empire in roughly 1816 by Ranjit Singh.  They were both educated by the same teachers as British rule began in roughly 1850.  Their parents also knew each other, when MGA’s family went to Batala, they always stayed at the ancestoral home of Syed Muhammad Hussain Batalvi.  They were both Ahl-e-Hadith Muslims aka Wahabis.  In 1878 Batalvi started the Ishaat us Sunnah magazine and gave MGA space to market his new book-series, the Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya.  In 1881, Batalvi gave MGA an exhaustive review and supported MGA’s work via the Ahl-e-Hadith.  In 1884, when MGA wanted to get married, Batalvi had a list of young girls with him and shared it with MGA, this is how they found out about the daughter of Mir Nasir Nawab.  The Ahl-e-Hadith grew weary of MGA in late 1884 and some even called MGA a Kafir, since MGA was boasting about divine revelations in his book series (the Braheen), neverthless, Batalvi stuck up for MGA yet again.  By 1889 they became enemies, since MGA claimed to be the second coming of Esa (as).  They organized debates with each other and jousted from their magazines until 1899, when the British government stepped in and absolved MGA and forced Batalvi to never insult MGA ever again (by calling him kafir or otherwise).  His disputes with Ahmadiyya seem to have ended here.  However, he did have a famous debate with a Quranist in 1902 and his sons were found at Qadian in 1910, later on they recanted and left Ahmadiyya.

The 1850’s
MGA and Batalvi used some of the same teachers and were classmates at many times, most likely in Batala.

Batalvi studied Hadith, logic and grammar from Molvi Syed Nazeer Husain (1805-1901).  The same Maulvi that read MGA’s nikkah in 1884.

After his mother died, and MGA completed his punishment, MGA returned to Qadian from Sialkot.  MGA abruptly visits Batala and almost has a debate with Batalvi, however, MGA comments that he agrees with everything Batalvi is saying (see BA4, pages 399-400).  Batalvi  had finished his studies on islam and as now an imam-proper.  This entire scenario happened in a mosque in Batala (see Dard, page 54).

He starts his newspaper, Ishaat us Sunnah, which runs until 1900 and then goes missing.  It seems to have been replaced with a new newspaper, the “Ahl-i-Hadis”.  Which was edited by Maulvi Sanaullah.

MGA mentions batalvi in BA3, on page 7 of the online english edition.  They seem to be very good friends.  MGA claims that Batalvi works as a secretary of the Anjuman-i-Hamdardi Islamia, Lahore.  Which is most likely the Anjuman Himayat-i Islam.  Maybe out of respect, MGA wrote it the way he did.

1884-MGA mentioned Batalvi in BA4
On pages 399-400, MGA remembers his debate with Batalvi that never happened.

Batalvi gives MGA’s Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya series a glowing review, however, after the 4th volume is published, the Ahl-e-Hadith Muslims call MGA a Kafir.  Batalvi sticks up for MGA in this era and claims that MGA is not claiming prophethood, only divine revelations.

The magazine became quite popular and was recognized by notable scholars and Government Officials. When Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison, Governor of the Punjab from 1882-1887, left the area in April 1887, he gave Muhammad Hussain, a certificate testifying to his ability and learning. Muhammad Hussain proudly records this fact (See ‘ Isha‘atus Sunnah’ Vol. 20, No. 3).

MGA mentions Batalvi on page 20 of “The Green Announcement”.  They seem to still be friends up to this point.  MGA even refers to him an “eminent person”, we are not sure what the Urdu word is here for “eminent person”.

Batalvi begins to question MGA and his claims of being the second coming of Esa (as).  This spills over into the early part of 1890.

A full blown war breaks out between MGA and Batalvi.  They arrange to debate each other in Ludhiana, however, MGA requests the British government to intervene and save him.  This debate lasted for twelve days, from 20 July – 31 July 1891.  The venue was the ‘Masjid Awanan’ (Awana’s Mosque) at Ludhiana.  This was a written debate, wherein someone other then MGA read out MGA’s (alleged) writings.  The written papers of both sides were later published by MGA as Al-Haq Mubahathah Ludhiana (Urdu). [i.e. Truth: the Ludhiana Debate].  Batalvi goes around the Punjab and gets the majority of the Ulema to pass a Fatwa of Kufr on MGA.

MGA mentions Batalvi extensively in his book, ‘Nishan Asmani’ in english as “Heavenly Signs”.

March 17th, 1892
On roughly March 17th, 1891, MGA predicts that Batalvi would die in 40 days time or would suffer a major tragedy.  It expires on April 27th and Batalvi is fine, Batalvi then writes about it in his newspaper, this prediction isn’t published by MGA until 1893, in a book called, Aina Kamalat e Islam at page 601-604.

May 4th, 1893
MGA publishes a prophecy about Batalvi, that would he repent and stop calling MGA a Kafir and etc (see page 39).  Ahmadi’s claim that this was fulfilled when the British Government ordered him to never call MGA or Ahmadi’s as Kafirs ever again in 1899 and it was manifested in 1911-1913 era, when he was called to court to testify about Ahmadi’s.

Oct-Dec 1898
He claims that MGA broke the law and conducted a prophecy vs. himself.  Even though MGA is guilty, the British government absolves MGA.  MGA issues another prophecy against Batalvi, MGA claims that Batalvi will be disgraced by Feb 1900.

Ahmadiyya sources tell us that In November of 1902 a debate took place between Muhammad
Hussain Batalavi and ‘Abdullah Chakrhalavi on the importance and position of the Holy Quran and the hadith.  Chakrhalavi was the founder of the Ahl-e-Quran sect of North India, he died in 1931.

In Lecture Ludhiana, MGA mentions Batalvi, and even says that he visited Qadian often from roughly 1855–1889.  MGA also mentions the case of 1898 wherein Capt. Le Marchand saved MGA from going to jail.

MGA and his team publish a dream of MGA wherein it seems that Batalvi will convert to Ahmadiyya. It seems that MGA was still hoping that Batalvi would eventually accept MGA as the Messiah (See 2009 Online edition of Tadhkirah, pages 949-950).

2 of his children seem to have been taken to Qadian by Ahmadi’s and forcibly converted to Ahmadiyya.  Later on they recanted.  He also appears as a witness in some Ahmadiyya related cases.

Batalvi dies.

Ahmadi’s publish: “Batalvi Ka Anjam” by Mir Qasim Ali.

The son of Batalvi writes a book about MGA called “The useless Prophet”.

Via twitter, Ahmadi’s share info that some of the great grandsons of Batalvi have become Ahmadi.

Links and Related Essays

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