Maulvi Rahmat Ali was a missionary for the Qadiani-Ahmadi’s and was sent to Indonesia in a quest to start an Ahmadiyya mission. He worked the Ahmadiyya mission for 10 years, then he goes missing in the history of Ahmadiyya.
In the summer of 1925, under the directive of the caliph, Rahmat Ali, a missionary of the Ahmadiyya movement, arrived in Tapaktuan, Aceh, the northern province of the Sumatra Island. With this, the foundation of the Ahmadiyya movement in Indonesia was laid. In the history of the Community, the three aforementioned students are renowned as the early pioneers of the Ahmadiyya movement in Indonesia. Through their pioneering efforts, and various missionaries of the Community, Ahmadiyya was to spread across Indonesia.
On October 2, 1925, with 13 members, under the leadership of Rahmat Ali, the first branch of the movement was established in Tapaktuan, the ROR of October-1925 reports that there are indonesian men already at Qadian getting training. The Dec-1925 edition of the ROR reports that their missionary is working in Sumatra.
Discussions, lectures, and debates played a crucial role in the early progress of the Ahmadiyya movement in Indonesia. As soon as Rahmat Ali arrived in Tapaktuan, the first lecture he organized was on the death of Jesus, concerning which Ahmadi Muslims hold a distinctive theological perspective from mainstream Muslims and Christians. Many early converts to the Ahmadiyya movement are attributed to theological debates, including, but not limited to the death of Jesus. However, many conversions required more than satisfactory arguments, and it was not solely debates that attracted people. The charisma, attitude and the ‘spiritual power’ of the missionaries appealed to the public. The patience exemplified by the Ahmadi debaters in face of abusive criticisms and humiliation played an important role (See Burhani).
A few months later, in 1926, Rahmat Ali moved to Padang, in the west coast of Sumatra and established the second branch of the movement. Following this, several branches of the movement were established all over the Island.
The ROR of September-1926 reported that Maulvi Rahmat Ali had converted many people to Ahmadiyya. A letter of his also appears in this edition of the ROR.
In the April edition of the ROR, his picture is there along with many new indonesian Ahmadi’s.
In 1931, Rahmat Ali moved to Batavia (known today as Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia), in the northwest coast of Java Island.
The ROR of Feb-1933 has this photo of Maulvi Rahmat Ali.
The ROR of Aug-1933 reports that Maulvi Rahmat Ali and his newspapers, “Islam” and “sinar Islam” have stirred a controversy with the local Muslim Community (The Anjuman Himayat-i-Islam of Java) and their newspaper “Pembala Islam”. A debate was setup for April 13-14th. The controversy lasted for 3 days, Maulvi Abu Bakr also helped. Ahmadi’s claimed victory in the ROR.
The ROR of Dec-1933 mentions the missionary work of Maulvi Rahmat Ali in modern day Indonesia. Maulvi Rahmat Ali has been aggressively debating the Muslim of Batavia (Java and Sumatra). A Maulvi Abdul Wahid is also mentioned, he gives details of the debates, in one instance, he explains how Maulvi Rahmat Ali gave a lecture on the death of Jesus. On the second day of the debate, Maulana Abu Bakr gave a speech on “The Truth of the Claims of the Promised Messiah”. The “Benting Taimur” newspaper (Of Batavia) was quoted.
The ROR of Jan-Feb-1934 reports that Maulvi Muhammad Sadiq is working out of Sumatra (his letter is from Dec-1933). Maulana Rahmat Ali was also there and was in Java.
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