Abdullah Khan Athim was an Ex-Muslim turned Christian who lived in British-India during the colonial era. Mr Abdullah Athim (also Abaidyah) was born in Ambala about the year 1828. Baptised on March 28th, 1853, in Karachi and on this occasion took the name of ‘Athim’ or the ‘sinner’. Appointed Tahsildar and served in Ajnala, Taran Taran and Batala. Served as E.A.C. in Sialkot, Ambala and Karnal (See Dard). MGA began beefing with Christian missionaries in roughly 1885-1886, this was where he came into contact with Rev. Imam-ud-Din, Rev. Thakar Das and Rev. Abdullah Athim. At age 65 (MGA was 53)(the year was 1893), Abdullah Athim agreed to have a written debate with MGA and MGA’s team of writers.
Dr. Clark wrote about this written debate here. He offers the other side of the story, he notes that MGA didn’t predict any death in 15 months, MGA had asked for a Mubahila, however, a Mubahila had never happened in Islam and thus, the Christians refused. MGA seems to have had another Mubahila as soon as he left the house of Dr. Clark (see the Punjab Mission News).
The biggest issue here is that this is mostly a one-sided story, Ahmadi’s are telling the story and thus, it is biased and dubious. Nevertheless, we have went through the facts and explained the story from a neutral perspective.
It seems to us that the only reason that MGA allegedly blurted out that Athim would die in 15 months was because Athim and his team had brought into the debate 3 persons who were deaf, dumb and blind. They asked MGA to heal them, MGA blew a gasket, he was upset. This is when MGA yelled out that Athim would die.
On July 27th, 1896, Athim died of natural causes at Ferozepur where he was buried (See dard).
Per Ahmadiyya sources only, Athim wrote a book entitled: Al-Jawahirul Quran (Chashma’-e-Nur Press, Amritsar, 1884, p. 108). Athim had written that the description of the First Woe given
in Revelation 9:2,3,10,11 applied, word for word, exactly to Muhammad(sa):
“”Therein it is said that Satan ‘opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit,
as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power… And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon’ (the Destroyer).””
Per Ahmadiyya sources, Rev. Imam-ud-Din, Rev. Thakar Das and Rev. Abdullah Athim had
exposed MGA through the pages of the Nur Afshan, dated March 19th, 1885, April 2nd, 1885, and April 16th, 1885 (See Dard).
Per Dard, Christianity appeared to be making some headway in a small village known as Jandiyala. Nowadays, there are barely any Muslims living there. The Rev. Dr. Henry Martyn Clark M. D., C. M. (Edinburgh), M.R. A.S., C.M.S., medical missionary in charge of the Amritsar district, wrote a letter to Muhammad Bakhsh Pahnda, Maktab Desi, Jandiyala, in which he suggested that decisive action should be taken in the form of a public debate between accredited representatives of the two faiths. As soon as Pahnda received this registered letter, he wrote, on April 11th, 1893, to MGA enclosing a copy of the letter and asking for instructions. MGA wrote directly to the Christians of Jandiyala on April 13th, 1893, expressing his pleasure and intimating his acceptance of the invitation. But they refused to have any direct dealing
with MGA and wanted an answer from the Muslims of Jandiyala. MGA again addressed a
letter to Dr. Martyn Clark on April 23rd, pointing out to him that the Muslims of Jandiyala had no learned person among them and that, therefore, it would be better if the matter was decided with him directly.
This letter was presented to the Reverend gentleman at Amritsar by a deputation consisting of Mirza Khuda Bakhshra, Munshi Abdul Haqra, Hafiz Muhammad Yusufra, Sh. Rahmatullahra, Maulawi Abdul Karimra, Munshi Ghulam Qadir Fasihra, Miyan Muhammad Yusuf Khanra, Sh. Nur Ahmadra, Miyan Muhammad Akbarra, Hakim Muhammad Ashrafra, Hakim N‘imatullahra, Maulawi Ghulam Ahmad engineer, Miyan Muhammad Bakhshra, Kh. Nur Din and Miyan Muhammad Ismael. These persons were appointed by MGA as his plenipotentiaries to
decide all matters of detail. The reverend missionary accepted the proposal and the following
understanding was arrived at:
1. The debate will take place at Amritsar.
2. Only 20 persons of each party will be admitted, Muslim tickets being collected by Christians and vice versa.
3. MGA will represent Islam and Abdullah Athim will stand for Christianity.
4. No one else will be allowed to speak. Each advocate may select three assistants but they will not speak.
5. Each party will take due notes of the proceedings for publication.
6. The time limit for a speech will be one hour.
7. The presidents will be the final authority in making all necessary arrangements.
8. There shall be two presidents, one from each side. They shall be appointed on the spot.
9. Dr. Henry Martyn Clark will fix the venue.
10. The debate will be held from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.
11. The whole time will be divided into two parts. From May 22 to May 27, MGA will put forward his claim according to his letter dated April 4th to Dr. Clark i.e. every religion should prove its truth with living signs.
12. The second question shall then be discussed i.e. the divinity of Jesusas, and then MGA will have the right to ask any other question. But this should take only six days.
13. The second part will also take six days. Abdullah Athim will put forward the following questions, if necessary, from May 29 to June 3:
(a) Mercy without any consideration, (b) Freedom of will and predestination, (c) Compulsion in religion. (d) Proof of the Quran being the Word of God. (e) Proof of Muhammadsa being a Messenger of God. Any other question can also be asked by Abdullah Athim but he shall be allowed only six days.
14. Admission tickets shall be issued by May 15th. They shall conform to the prescribed form.
15. These conditions shall be binding upon the Christians and Abdullah Athim.
The following was accepted as true:
‘I the undersigned as a witness sign on behalf of Abdullah Athim. If any of the above conditions
is violated by any party that shall be deemed to have been defeated.’
16. All papers read in the meeting will be signed by the spokesmen of each party and by the presidents.
(Signed) Henry Clark, M.D.
Dated 24-4-1893. Amritsar.
This agreement was signed by Dr. Clark and Maulawi Abdul Karim. It was also decided that the agreement should be published by May 15th. MGA intimated his acceptance to Dr. Clark by means of a registered letter dated April 25th.
MGA wants to do a Mubahila with Abdullah Athim after the debate, however, Athim and Dr. Clark refuse since Christians don’t believe in Mubahila, in fact, Muslims don’t either. In the history of Islam, Muslims never engaged in Mubahila challenged like MGA was asserting. Even Muhammad’s Mubahila never happened.
Dr. Clark issued a leaflet printed at the American Mission Press, Ludhiana, on May 12th; it was also published in a supplement of the Nur Afshan of the same day. It was addressed to the Muslims of Jandiyala, pointing out to them that MGA was not a Muslim at all. Muhammad Husain Batalvi’s fatwas were also referred to. The whole correspondence was published in a
booklet entitled Hujjatul Islam. (May 8th, 1893, Riyad-e-Hind Press, Amritsar).
May 22nd, 1893
This debate, which The Rev. Robert Clark called ‘the great controversy’ in his book The
Missions of the C.M.S. in the Punjab and Sindh. C.M.S. London, 1904. began at 6-15 a.m. on Monday, May 22nd, 1893, at the bungalow of Dr. Henry Martyn Clark. Munshi Ghulam Qadir Fasih and Dr. Clark were appointed as presidents. MGA was assisted by Maulawi Nur-ud-Din, Sayyid Muhammad Ahsan and Shaikh Aladiyya. Abdullah Athim was assisted by the Rev. Ihsanullah, the Rev. Abdullah and the Rev. Thomas Howell. Ahmadas dictated his paper for one hour, at the conculsion of which it was read out in the meeting. Athim spoke for five minutes in answer to MGA, who began to dictate again when the Christians raised a point of order.
According to the terms of the agreement, the first question to be discussed was the divinity of Jesus, while MGA had started a comparison of the Holy Quran with the New Testament. The actual terms of the agreement, which were in English, were referred to and Ahmadi’s cried it was wrong, thus MGA made a mistake. Therefore MGA began to dictate his paper on the subject of the divinity of Jesusas at 8:26 a.m. and finished it at 9:15, after which it was read out to the meeting. Athim began his paper at 9:30 a.m. but could not finish it within the time allowed. Five more minutes were given to him with the consent of Ahmadas in which it was completed. The papers were signed by the presidents and certified copies were handed over to the parties.
9 days of this written debate had passed. Ahmadiyya sources tell us that Dr. Clark took Athim’s place for a few days, since Athim was sick.
One day, the Christians, brought three men, one of whom was lame, the second was blind and the third dumb, and while the debate was in full swing, presented them to MGA saying that since he had claimed to be Jesus (as), and since the first Messiah (Jesusas) used to cure the maimed and the blind, therefore his claim to be the Promised Messiah could be accepted only if he could effect a similar cure. This caused MGA to rage.
On June 5th, 1893, after 15 days had elapsed, MGA blurted out that Athim would die in 15 months. Which would correspond to September 4th, 1894.
There were present that day about 70 men when MGA blurted out his death chant. The names of a few of the audience are: Maulawi Nur-ud-Din, Maulawi Abdul Karim, Sh. Rahmatullah, Kh. Nur Din, Munshi Zafar Ahmad, (born 1862, died 20-8-1941), Kh. Kamal-ud-Din, Kh. Rajab Din, Miyan Muhammad Chattu, Munshi Taj Din, Maulawi Alla Diya, Munshi Muhammad Arura, Miyan Muhammad Khan (born 1862, died 2-1-1904), Sh. Nur Ahmad, Miyan Nabi Bakhsh, Miyan Qutbuddin, Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, Pir Sirajul Haq, Q. Ziya’uddin, M. Abdullah Sanauri, Sh. Charagh Ali, Abdul ‘Aziz Khan and about thirty Christians, including Dr. Henry Martyn Clark.
A few Ahmadi’s seem to have left Ahmadiyya since MGA lost this debate.
The Rev. G. L. Thakar Das of the American Mission, Sialkot, reviewed this debate in the pages of the Nur Afshan (September 1893—April 1894). It was then produced in book-form (Tanqih Mubahala, Punjab Religious Book Society, Lahore, 1895).
September 4th, the night of….
Sirat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. I, P.159/178, by Bashir Ahmad Qadiani
“Miyan Abdullah Sinnuari has reported to me that when only one day was left for the expiration of the prophecy (September 4, 1894), the Promised Messiah (Mirza Ghulam) summoned Miyan Hamdi Ali and I and ordered us to take a particular number of beans and recite on them a particular chapter of the Holy Quran so many times. I have forgotten the verse, but I remember it was a short surah, probably as short as “Al-Fil”. We spent the entire night reciting the chapter and, after completing the assignment, we took the beans to His Holiness (Mirza Ghulam). He lead us to the northern part of Qadian and told us: ‘I shall soon throw these beans in a deserted well. When I throw these, do not look behind but turn back on your heels and hasten back home.’ He did so and we ran back home without looking behind.”
Yaqub Ali Qadiani in his book titled the Life of the Promised Messiah recounted:
“When the last day of the period appointed for Athim dawned, the faces of the Qadianis were pale white and their hearts were perturbed. Some of us had laid bets with the opponents on the death of Abdullah Athim. A sense of dismay and depression prevailed….”
(Sirat-ul-Mehdi, P. 7)
Muhammad Ali Khan, the son-in-law of Mirza Ghulam, in a letter to Mirza Ghulam expressed his dismay and concern for the clear loss and failure of all the prophecies:
“Respected Maulana, May God keep you safe!
Peace and Mercy of Allah on you.
Today, is the 7th of September, while the last day of the fulfillment of the grand prophecy was the 5th of September. I shall not repeat the words of the prophecy. I shall, however, mention the words of your revelation – ‘Now I promise before God that if my prophecy is proved to be a false one and the liar does not die within the period of fifteen months and is not plunged into Hell, I am prepared for my punishment By God, it will so happen. The earth and the heavens might be shaken from their place but the promise of God is unshakable.’ Was this prophecy fulfilled according to Mirza Sahib’s description? No – Never. Abdullah Atham is safe, sound, and alive and is not punished by dead to be flung into Hell. I do not consider any other interpretation is possible for this prophecy than what it clearly meant to be. It, however, sounds very ugly that every prophecy is misunderstood and had to be elaborately interpreted to be rightly understood. At the birth of a child, for instance, it was named Bashir (harbinger of good tidings) for good omen, and when it died, you said the matter was misunderstood. As for the prophecy concerning Atham, it has given birth to the very master piece of distortion and interpretation.”
(Aina-e-Haq Numa, P. 100-101, Published by Yaqub Ali Qadiani)
MGA’s book Anwar ul Islam is published, MGA claims that Athim has turned towards the truth, that’s why he didn’t die.
Anwarul Islam, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 9, p. 2.
“Indeed, as far as I understood the meaning of the revelation, it was that the person for the opposing party who is debating in support of falsehood, the meaning of Hawiya for him is the punishment of death. However, the revealed word is only Hawiya, and is subject to a condition that the person does not turn to the truth. And this condition of not inclining to the truth is a revealed condition as I had clearly written this in the revealed text. It is absolutely true and is according to the revelation that if Mr Abdullah Atham’s heart, as it was prior to the prophecy, intended to degrade Islam and did not take any part in turning to the truth by accepting the greatness of Islam, then he would have died within this time period. However, God Almighty’s revelation has told me that Abdullah Atham has, by admitting the awe and might of Islam, to an extent turned towards the truth, which has resulted in delaying the fulfillment of the prophecy of his death and a complete entry into the Hawiya.”.
Dard tells us that MGA published
Wafadar, Lahore, September 15, 1894
“I invite your attention to the prophecy of Ghulam Ahmad about my death. I inform you that, by the grace of God, I am safe and sound. I have heard Ghulam Ahmad alleging that I have turned my back on Christianity. I proclaim that this is a lie. I was a Christian and I ever remained a Christian and I thank God that He made me a Christian…”
Athim replied by a letter which was published in the Nur Afshan, dated September 2lst, 1894, on page 10. In this he said that he was still a Christian and that he did not believe in Islam (See Dard).
Jung e Muqaddas is published.
The Nur Afshan, dated September 13th, 1895, published an article in which it was said that 12
months had passed and Athim was still alive (See Dard).
On July 27th, 1896, Athim died of natural causes at Ferozepur where he was buried (See Dard).
Anjam-e-Athim is published. It was completed and published in the beginning of 1897. It covered 284 pages with 64 pages of supplement. Most of this book is in Arabic, having a Persian translation running underneath.
MGA’s nasty poetry vs. Athim
In a poetic reply to Molvi Abdul Haq Ghaznavi regarding the failure of the prophecy of Atham, he says
“And in the case of Atham you are mentioning the curse of people
Make sure people have always cursed the pious ones
And people are blind that they start abusing quickly
thus their curse O Ibne Ahmaq (Son of Stupid) is nothing
O the one who is afflicted with cursed, leave the mentioning of curse
did you not see that after BAKWAAS (useless talk) what has happened to you
You cursed me and God curse you on your face
and curse is God’s curse
And I do not see in you knowledge and intelligence
and you attack like a pig and make noise like a donkey
And you danced like a prostitute dances in a gathering
and declared me Faasiq although you are the most faasiq”
Lekh Ram is stabbed and dies in front of an Ahmadi Doctor in Lahore, Dr. Mirza Yacub Baig.
Dr. Henry Martyn Clark, a Christian missionary working in Amritsar, brought a charge, under section 107 I.P.C., against MGA on August 1st, 1897, in the court of Mr. A.E. Martineau, District Magistrate of Amritsar. Dr. Clark stated that MGA had sent a youth, Abdul Hamid, to murder him. Abdul Hamid’s statement was also recorded. The Magistrate immediately issued a warrant for the arrest of MGA.
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