We found this write-up on an old ahmadiyya reddit archive. We haven’t double checked all the sources yet. In 1904, in Lecture Lahore, MGA and his team mentioned how while going through the 27th August, 1904, edition of Paisa Akhbar, I learned that a gentleman named Hakim Mirza Mahmood Ahmad Irani, who is a follower of someone claiming to be the Messiah, is presently in Lahore and desires to have a Mubahala [prayer-duel] with me. The ROR (english) also discussed the Bahai’s, more info to come. Finally, in the 1990’s a bunch of Ahmadi’s left Ahmadiyya and became Bahai.
In my conversations with Baha’i friends who do not reside in the Indian subcontinent, I often feel that the friends are not sufficiently aware of the Ahmadiyya Movement and its relationship to the Baha’i Faith. Till date, I haven’t seen any non-Urdu Baha’i book that deals with this subject. Although I don’t believe that this awareness is of too much importance either but I do believe that, for times of need, this information should be available online for the friends. Especially for the times when they come in contact with Ahmedi missionaries. First off, my Baha’i fellows who think that Mirza Ghulam Ahmed was somehow spiritually inspired should know that Mirza Ghulam Ahmed’s claim of being both the Mehdi and the second coming of Christ were made after 1889, i.e. after The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh had declared to be the Mehdi and Christ respectively. We know from The Kitáb-i-Aqdas that:
“Whoso layeth claim to a Revelation direct from God, ere the expiration of a full thousand years, such a man is assuredly a lying impostor.”
My major source of information is the book The Bahá’í Faith and Ahmadiyyat: A Comparative Analysis (دین بہائی اور احمدیت: ایک تقابلی جائزہ). This book is a work of apologia that was written in response to an Ahmedi magazine that published a series of articles targeting the Baha’i Faith. The relevant pages of the book from which the following historical information is extracted can be found here.
— Sulaymán Khan Ilyas Tankabni, popularly known as Jamál Effendi, came to the Indian subcontinent on the instruction of Bahá’u’lláh. He spread the message of the Baha’i Faith from 1872-1898 in areas including the Indian subcontinent, Burma, Kashmir, Afghanistan and Turkey. Jamál Effendi had a comprehensive meeting with Mirza Ghulam Ahmed in which he gave Mirza Ghulam Ahmed the glad-tidings of the appearance of The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh. He also granted him with a trunk filled with Baha’i Writings for him to study them. Mirza Ghulam Ahmed in his book Al-Balagh (also known as Faryad-e-Dard) mentions a detailed list of his academic studies where he also mentions The Bábi literature. Before claiming to be the Mehdi and the second coming of the Christ, he had read the Bábi and Baha’i literature. (Personal opinion: It is apparent that Mirza Ghulam Ahmed took help from the Bábi and Baha’i literature in trying to justify his later claims. It also gives me hints as to why some of the reformative teachings of Ahmadiyya Movement are similar to the Baha’i Writings for example the forbiddance of physical Jihad, ignoring for a moment that Ahmedis did not follow it faithfully. It is also of mention here that some views of Mirza Ghulam Ahmed were exactly in accordance with the conventionally held Islamic beliefs and later on they came in accordance with the Baha’I Faith. For example, Mirza Ghulam Ahmed first had the belief that Jesus Christ was taken up in the skies with his bodily existence and did not die on the cross. But, later on, when he made the claim to be the symbolic second coming of the Christ, he changed his view and brought it in alignment with the Baha’i view that Christ had died on the cross and that the second coming is spiritual and not physical.)
— In the year 1900, Hakeem Noor-ud-Din, the Chief Secretary of Mirza Ghualm Ahmed, established a connection with Mirza Abu’l-Fadl-i-Gulpaygani through letters. Mirza Abu’l-Fadl-i-Gulpaygani was in Cairo during that time. Hakeem Noor-ud-Din asked him complex religious questions to which Abu’l-Fadl responded in the form of a book (name mentioned on page 140 of the aforementioned source book).
— In the year 1904, Mehmood Zarkani – a distinguished Baha’i scholar – welcomed Mirza Ghulam Ahmed (through a local Lahore newspaper) to arrange a public gathering whose audience should consist of thinkers and academics who are neither Baha’i nor Ahmedi. Both Mehmood Zarkani and Ghulam Ahmed would put forth their respective arguments and then the audience will decide whose arguments have more gravity. Ghulam Ahmed refused by saying that he is unable to do so because he is busy. His refusal is mentioned on the second page of his book Lecture Lahore (first published on 3rd September 1904). Mehmood Zarkani once again welcomed him for a public discussion but did not receive any response.
— On 3rd September 1907, Syed Mustafa Rumi published an extensive article for Mirza Ghulam Ahmed in a local newspaper of Lahore in which he argued that on one hand Ghulam Ahmed admits that The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh hold precedence of time over him and then moves on to claim that he himself is the first claimant of being the Mehdi and Christ without negating and refuting the claim of The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh. Moreover, in his book Al-Badar which was published on 1st August 1907, he himself describes his criterion for the truthfulness of a claimant of revelation and wrote that in the time of Muhammad there were many others who claimed to be Messengers but all of them made their claims after Muhammad did. Likewise, no one before me can say that he has claimed to the Messiah after receiving revelation from God. (By his own standard he is not the rightful claimant). Ghulam Ahmed did not respond to the article.
Ghulam Ahmed wrote more than 80 books and did not shy away from writing against anyone or any relevant religion (or even sects) except The Bábi and Baha’i Faith. Mirza Ghulam Ahmed is popular among his followers for his numerous live debates (locally known as munazra) during his lifetime. But he did not accept any invitation of any public discussion from Baha’i scholars in his entire lifespan. This silence of Mirza Ghulam Ahmed is suspicious to say the least.
The successors of Ghulam Ahmed say that Bahá’u’lláh claimed to be God (اہلویت) and therefore was not relevant to Ghulam Ahmed. According to them Ghulam Ahmed addressed the claimants of being Mehdi and Messiah and not those who claimed to be God. This is wrong on so many levels. First, Bahá’u’lláh did not claim to be God. Second, Ghulam Ahmed did address those who made the claim of being God. For instance, an Indian priest with the name Picket claimed to be God and Ghulam Ahmed addressed the claim of this priest in the 4rd February’s issue of the Sunday Circle London newspaper, 1903. Lastly, why was the claim of The Báb not addressed? Even Ahmadiyya authors admit that the claim of The Báb was of being Mehdi. At least, The Báb’s claim should have been addressed by Ghulam Ahmed given the fact that he admittedly even benefited from the Writings of The Báb.
Some commonalities between Ahmadis and Bahais.
1- Their Mahdi was born in the 19th Century, and died on a Tuesday.
2- Their Mahdi claimed that he is from Persian origins.
3- Their Mahdi claimed that he is also a descendant of Fatimah (ra) and Ahlulbait.
4- Their Mahdi wrote many Arabic books, one of these books was Tafseer of Surat-ul-Fatiha.
5- Their Mahdi plagiarized parts of some verses and Maqamat in his Arabic writings.
6- A double eclipse happened in Ramadhan during the lifetime of their Mahdi.
7- Their Mahdi was brought to a local court for trial.
8- Their Mahdi used Hisab Al-Jummal (numerical values of the words / Arabic alphanumeric coding) to prove that he is the true Mahdi.
9- Their Promised One was a Mirza who claimed that the signs mentioned by all Hadeeths and holy books about the Promised Messiah have been fulfilled by him.
10- Their Promised One, the Mirza, was born in the 13th Hijri century and died in the 14th Hijri century during the last week of May.
11- Their Promised One, the Mirza, sent a letter to Queen Victoria asking her to accept him and to follow his teachings.
12- Their Promised One claimed that he did not study Arabic language, however he could write dozens of Arabic and Persian books. His followers consider this as a great sign that proves his truthfulness.
13- They consider the prophecies of their Promised One as another sign that proves his truthfulness.
14- Their Promised One said that Jihad is not allowed anymore.
15- Their Promised One praised Mohammad (SAAW) many time in his writings.
16- Their Promised One was considered – by his own followers only – to be the greatest writer ever (“Sultan Al-Qalam” or “Faris Al-Maani”)
17- Their Promised One used Hisab Al-Jummal (numerical values of the words) to prove that Islam had died for 1000 years until the 19th century.
18- Their Promised One claimed that he himself is the manifestation/appearance of God. However the official position of his followers today is that manifestation of God does not mean that he himself is a God.
19- Their Promised One challenged all scholars to write a book that is equivalent to his book.
20- Their Promised One claimed that he is an Avatar, i.e. the “reincarnation of Krishna”.
21- Their Promised One claimed that he was sent by Allah (SWT) to the people of the world.
22- Their Mujaddid claimed that upon the death of a human being, his soul will immediately be given a special body that has had special nature.
23- Their Promised One claimed that sometimes the divine revelations do not follow human idiom and sometime does not even follow the rules of grammar.
24- Their Promised One claimed that he had been given the qualities of many prophets: e.g. Mohammad (SAAW), Isa (as), Musa (as), etc.
25- Their Promised One claimed that Yawm Al-Qiyamah will come after around 1000 years.
26- Their Mujaddid believed that the Heaven and the Hell are spiritual places and not physical places.
27- Their Promised One claimed that he had been receiving secret revelations for 10 years confirming that he is the promised one, however he waited 10 years before revealing this secret.
28- Their Promised One had invented new names of God.
29- They consider Quran as a Holy Book, however they also consider the Arabic Wahi of their Promised One as holy, divine and sacred.
30- Their holy Arabic revelation said that their Promised One does not speak out of his own desire, it is all Wahi vouchsafed to him
31- Their holy Arabic revelation instructed them not to worship any god but Allah.
32- Many of their Promised One’s Arabic revelations are just meaningless distortion of some Quranic verses.
33- Their promised Reformer was also a Mirza like his father, the Promised One
34- Their promised Reformer died in the month of November at an age of around 77 years.
35- Their promised Reformer introduced some interpretations that are different from the original teachings of the Promised One.
36- One of their Mirzas introduced a new special solar calendar. The months of the new calendar have had new Arabic names.
37- Their message to the world is that ‘Glory not in love for your country, but in love for all mankind’.
38- It is obligatory for them to pay to their leadership a specific amount of money that had been decided by their Promised One.
39- They believe that the antichrist is not a specific evil individual or entity.
40- Their leader claimed that the most important role for his followers is to show the true good image of Islam and the true Islamic teachings to the western people and the whole world.
41- Their Mujaddid believed that the promised one should not descend from heaven but he would appear in the body of another person.
42- They interpret many of the words “Jinn” mentioned in Quran to mean “human beings who are fiery natured”.
43- Their Mujaddid did not believe that the moon was split up literally into two parts during the lifetime of Mohammad (SAAW).
44- They teach that everyone must be loyal to the government that rules his country, whatever that government is.
45- They believe that divine revelations have not been stopped and will always continue to descend.
46- Their main center in the Middle East is located near to the city of Haifa, Palestine.
47- The followers of their Promised One in Palestine receive very special treatment from the Israeli government. However, they face a sort of persecution in some Muslim countries.
48- They are not allowed by the Saudi government to enter Mecca or Madinah.
49- They believe that Mohammad (SAAW) is “Khatam-un-Nabiyyean”, however they claim that it does not mean “the last prophet”.
50- Their women are not allowed to marry Muslims who do not believe in their Promised One.
51- They use the Quranic verses 69:45/46 ((And if he had fabricated against Us some of the sayings * We would certainly have seized him by the right hand)) to prove that their Promised One was truthful as he was not killed.
52- They claim that some kings/presidents had accepted the teachings of their Promised One.
53- They consider most of the miracles – which were shown by the prophets in Quran and the holy books – as sort of metaphor.
54- They believe that the body of Isa (as) was put on the cross.
55- They believe that Isa (as) had died.
56- They believe that Miraaj did not happen to the body of Rasulullah (saaw) but to his soul only.
57- They believe that Surat At-Takweer mentions the signs of their Promised One, and not the signs of Yawm Al-Qiyamah.
58- They translated some of the books of their Mahdi to some languages; however they still did not translate many of his Arabic books to any other language. Apparently they could not understand many of his odd, irrelevant and meaningless Arabic sentences
59- They claim that they have millions of followers in more than 200 countries. However, my own estimation about their total number worldwide is less than 2 millions.
60- Their promised Reformer caused the movement to split into two sects. Each sect says that the other sect is not on the right path.
However I would summarize the main differences between Ahmadis and Bahais as follows:
1- The Mujaddid according to Ahmadis was Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani. The Mujaddid according to Bahais was Shaykh Ahmad bin Zayn-ud-Deen al-Ahsaai.
2- The Mahdi according to Ahmadis was Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani. The Mahdi according to Bahais was Ali Mohammad Shirazi.
3- The Promised One according to Ahmadis was Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani. The Promised One according to Bahais was Mirza Hussain Ali Nuri.
4- The Promised Reformer according to Ahmadis was Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood. The Promised Reformer according to Bahais was Mirza Abbas Effendi “Abdul-Baha”.
5- The Ahmadi solar calendar was invented by Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood. The Bahai solar calendar was invented by Ali Mohammad Shirazi.
Can you find any other difference?
Dost Muhammad Shahid the official historian of Jamaat Qadianiya also mentions this in his Tareekh ahmadiat Volume 3 page 370 onward in the year 1904, Mirza Ghulam Qadiani was in Lahore. Mirza Mehmood Zarkani, a Baha’i scholar, who came from Tehran, challenged him for a debate in a public gathering with impartial scholars and academics to be the Judge to decide who is right. But Ghulam Ahmed refused by saying that he is unable to do so because he is busy. His refusal is mentioned on the second page of his book Lecture Lahore (first published on 3rd September 1904). Mehmood Zarkani again invited him for a public discussion but did not receive any response.
Scans from Tareekh ahmadiat Volume 3 page 370
Links and Related Essay’s
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