Mirza Nasir Ahmad was the oldest surviving child of Mirza Basheer ud Din Mahmud Ahmad, the 2nd Khalifa. His father married his mother (Mahmooda Begum) in 1902, their eldest child seems to have died in 1906. Nevertheless, Mirza Nasir Ahmad was born in 11-16-1909 at Qadian. Ahmadiyya sources claim that Mirza Nasir Ahmad was a Hafiz of the Quran, however, this is unverified. He famously married a women 50 years younger than him in 1982 and died of heart attack in less than 2 months. He had 9 blood siblings and 15+ step siblings, they are posted in the below.
Continue reading “Who is Mirza Nasir Ahmad? The 3rd Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Community”
This was a fanatical Ahmadi, who’s father was a close companion of MGA. The family of Major Dr. M. Shah Nawaz Khan seems to have made a website dedicated to their grandfathers and etc, here is the link: https://shahnawazkhan.weebly.com/. He was born on Friday the 29th of December 1899 a son was born to Hadhrat Chaudhry Maula Bakhsh Bhatti Sialkoti, a famous companion of the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. His historic name is “Muhammad Taqdees Khan” with the Arabic gematrical value of 1317 A.H. (After Hijra). He vividly remembered his meeting with the holy founder ofAhmadiyya Muslim Community at age 7. He had his early education in Sialkot. He finished his F.Sc. pre-medical diploma from the Government College, Lahore in 1918 as a distinguished student. He graduated with honors in the subject of Pathology from King Edward Medical College, Lahore in 1923. He was among the five Muslims in that graduating class. In 1925 he offered to devote his life for the service of Islam to his holy master, Hadhrat Mirza Bashir-ud-din Mahmood Ahmad, the second successor to the promised messiah. At that time he was advised to pursue his career and serve his faith in whatever capacity he was in. He got married to a very noble soul, Maryam Begum, daughter of Hadhrat Mian Abdur Razzaq sahib Sialkoti, another companion of the Promised Messiah (AS). She was a simple, contented, compassionate, generous and an extremely prayerful lady who provided him the peace of mind necessary to accomplish his literary pursuits and life goals. Through her he was blessed with six sons and three daughters.
His children also served in the Pakistani military
Son––Lt. Col. (R) Dr. Rafique Ahmad Bhatti T.I, he was married to one of the earliest female-Ahmadi doctors, Dr. Tayyaba Rafique was appointed to head the Ahmadi Lady Doctors.
She played a very active part in health check-up of Waqf-e-Nau children as well as establishing free medical camps in the poor neighborhoods around Rawalpindi. Her sister was also a female-Ahmadi doctor, Dr. Zakia Shameem. The father of these girls also served in the British military.
Son–-Air Cdre. (R) Rashid Ahmad Bhatti (pilot). He was married to Shahida Latif sahiba daughter of Commander. Dr. Abdul Latif.
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Ahmadiyya-Mullahs are fond of lying on behalf of the Mirza family. They have the habit of editing all of their books and then destroying the original copies. In this specific case, Seeratul Mahdi-1st edition, published on 12-10-1923, is totally missing. My reference is to the Muslim Herald of 1971 (see page 9) and the writings of the official historian of the Ahmadiyya Movement giving his statements.
Continue reading “Seeratul-Mahdi’s 1st edition is missing, it was published on Dec 10th-1923”
Ahmadiyya mullahs have been lying on behalf of the Mirza family for over 100 years. In this specific case, they themselves cant figure out the exact date for the first ever Bait ceremony in 1889. The reference is to the Muslim Herald magazine, which was an Ahmadiyya magazine. Its from Aug–1971. Obviously, Ahmadis made many errors in their writings, and then attempted a clean up for the next 50 years. And they continue to do so…Ahmadis engage in cleanup work all over social media as they defend the Mirza family and live their lives simply for the betterment of the Mirza family.
Continue reading “Ahmadiyya leadership lied about the First Bait ceremony in 1889”
Freedom of the press in British India or freedom of the press in pre-independence India refers to the censorship on print media during the period of British rule by the British Crown on the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to 1947. The British Indian press was legally protected by the set of laws such as Vernacular Press Act, Censorship of Press Act, 1799, Metcalfe Act and Indian Press Act, 1910, while the media outlets were regulated by the Licensing Regulations, 1823, Licensing Act, 1857 and Registration Act, 1867. The British administrators in the India subcontinent (in modern-day Republic of India, Islamic Republic of Pakistan and People’s Republic of Bangladesh) brought a set of rules and regulations into effect designed to prevent circulating claimed inaccurate, media bias and disinformation across the subcontinent.
In pre-independence, the government formulated several legal actions, including Gagging Act, comprised a set of rules for publishing, distributing and circulating news stories and operating media organizations working independently or running in the subcontinent. These rules primarily compelled regional and English-language newspapers to express their concerns under the selected provisions. During the period, government allowed a journalist or media industries to cover any story and brought it to the audiences without impacting sovereignty of British Empire in subcontinent.
The British administrators are often credited for introducing the “independent journalism” (English press) in the subcontinent. During the period, the press became an instrumental for leaders, activists and the government itself. James Augustus Hicky, also referred to as “father of Indian press”, a British citizen known for introducing first newspaper during the reign, and hence India’s press foundation was originally led by the British administration despite the self-censorship by the imperialism. Hicky wrote articles independently on corruption and other scandals without naming the officials. To avoid lawsuits, he used multiple nicknames while referring to the authorities throughout his articles. In 1807, Hicky’s Bengal Gazette was seized by the authorities for publishing anti-government articles.
The history of the press in pre and modern India is covered by a book titled War over Words: Censorship in India, 1930-1960 by Devika Sethi. It was published by the Cambridge University Press in 2019.
Censorship on press
During the reign, administration was claimed to have involved in direct and self-censorship, leading some newspapers to stop publishing articles after licenses were revoked. Prior to the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the press was actively involved in independence movement and in demonstration coverages, leading the government to get involved in self-censorship on the press freedom. Later, Lord Lytton enacted Gagging Act to control the publications in the subcontinent, and while it compelled every newspaper, particularly English-language publications, the media organizations had to apply for a license upon ensuring “nothing was written against the government”. The Gagging Act didn’t affected the media, and it continued working until the new measures were taken. During 1870s, the regional newspapers, including Amrita Bazar Patrika published vernacular language were also involved in encouraging people against the rule. Amrita Bazar Patrika, 1868’s Bengali weekly newspaper caught government attention after it published about Indigo revolt.
In the 1880s, the government formulated several new laws following the role of the press in freedom movement, and later the government. However, after formation of the Indian National Congress, the government enacted numerous sections in 1898 such as section 565, 124A and 153A of the Indian Penal Code. The government later enacted four new laws, comprised a comprehensive set of rules for media organizations. Among those were the Newspapers (Incitement to Offences) Act 1908, the Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act 1911, the Indian Press Act, 1910, the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1908, and the Secrets Act 1903.
The Press Act 1910 impacted almost all newspapers. It is believed around 1,000 publications were prosecuted under the Act, and government collected ₹500,000 of securities and forfeitures from the papers during the period of first five years the Act was enacted. Several journalists and publications, including the Amrita Bazar Patrika were charged under sedition law for publishing anti-government articles. In the later period, the Press Emergency Act 1931 was actively exercised amid Satyagraha, a nonviolent resistance or press advocacy (rally the masses) against the British rule.
Following the Salt March, the Act played significantly in Bombay, Uttar Pradesh, Bengal, Madras, Delhi and Punjab for British administration to maintain a self-censorship on speech, public communication, or other information, on such material was considered objectionable. It is claimed the rule was involved in propaganda, while international news was also filtered. In November 1939, the authorities restricted newspapers from writing about the hunger strikes, which were held by prisoners across the country.
The editors later raised concerns regarding the freedom of expression and safeguard of the press. The All-India Newspapers Editors’ Conference also emerged during the period. It demanded the government to lift the restrictions on the press. In 1941, Mahatma Gandhi criticised the authorities for restricting media, citing “In the name of the war effort, all expression of opinion is effectively suppressed”. Despite varieties of criticism, the government continued to prohibit the press. The government subsequently asked The Hitavada newspaper to reveal the name of its reporter. The authorities also conducted investigations at the office of Hindustan Times. It restricted the press and rebellion activities under the Defence of India Act 1915 from making announcements to the masses. It also extended imprisonment to five years, while the Official Secrets Act was passed to provide death sentence to those involved in anti-government editorials.
In 1942 following the Quit India Movement, the press was instructed not cover any news about political parties. The All-India Newspaper Editors’ Conference subsequently compiled the government order stating the newspapers will observe caution and refrain from publishing on Quit India Movement.
In 1919, the government introduced Rowlatt Act to indefinitely detain people without trial involved in anti-government activities. The Act was also designed to restrict writing, speech and movements carried out amid civil disobedience policies. The Rowlatt resulted in hundreds of killings.
In 1780, James Augustus Hickey launched Hicky’s Bengal Gazette in Kolkata, which was later banned in 1872 following the anti-government editorials. In the later period, more newspaper and journals were launched such as the Bengal Journal, the Bombay Herald, The Calcutta Chronicle and General Advertiser and Madras Courier. The subcontinent saw numerous publications such as Samachar Sudha Varashan, Payam-e-Azadi, Sultan-ul-Akhbar and Doorbeen. All newspapers played significant role in Indian independence movement, while numerous publications, including Payam-e-Azadi were banned or seized by the government over spreading information which was considered “objectionable”.
The British Indian journalists experienced difficult situation due to comprehensive set of rules.Bal Gangadhar Tilak, was the founder of two newspapers such as Kesari and Mahratta. He used to run the both to criticise the rule and also defended Shivaji VI when government declared him “mad”. Later, government arrested Tilak and charged him with sedition. G. Subramania Iyer, a social reformer and journalist created two newspapers such as The Hindu and Swadesamitran. He used to encourage Tamils through his writings to participate in the resistance movement. The government arrested and charged him with defamation law, leading him to serve in jail.
During the 1910s, a Malayalam publication and journalist Swadeshabhimani Ramakrishna Pillai, used to wrote for a journal owned by Vakkom Moulavi. Pillai was actively involved in writing against P. Rajagopalachari, and later he was arrested and displaced by the government, leading him to spent his last days in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.
During the period of British rule and resistance movement, the freedom activists and leaders illegally shared information through secret radio messages and cyclostyled sheets, and also graffitied on the walls. Some underground publications were working secretly after authorities imposed restrictions on major publications.
During the period of British rule, the local media covered major events in newspapers and magazines. The regional language newspapers wrote on numerous subjects such as speeches of Gandhi, freedom activists, leaders, including the speeches of Indian National Congress and the trial of Bhagat Singh were the main topics among others. Major newspapers and magazines were banned following the Quit India Movement, Purna Swaraj and Salt March. When Shivaram Rajguru and Bhagat Singh threw a pamphlet and bomb on the Parliament House, the Hindustan Times wrote extensively on the subject, which became the main reason for the government to ban publishing photographs of Bhagat Singh and Rajguru in the media.
Rise of the press
The first printing press was established in 18th century when the first newspaper The Bengal Gazette was launched in 1780 by James Augustus Hicky, which later became known as Hicky’s Gazette. Prior to this, the British residents in the subcontinent initially started producing the weeklies and then dailies newspapers. In the mid-19th century, newspapers begun circulate in few cities, and later they started publishing in major provinces such as Madras, Bombay and Delhi, which later becam the centres of publishing. Initially, the media used to wrote only in English language, however the regional language editorials also increased gradually. The first newspaper published in Indian language was the Samachar Darpan, a Bengali language newspaper which started around 1818. Later, the subcontinent saw a range of newspapers, including Bombay Samachar, the first Gujarati language newspaper was launched around 1822. At that time, Hindi language newspapers were not running until Samachar Sudha Varshan came into existence around 1854, the first Hindi language newspaper. Later, the more newspapers and magazines were launched in different regional language such as Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Telugu, accompanied by other journals. The British Indian government banned all publications written in regional languages citing “vernaculars”. It is believed political leaders, reformers and underground resistance groups produced numerous newspapers and magazines following the Indian Rebellion of 1857. They spread their opinions through pamphlets, printed books, journals and newsletters. The government regarded regional language editorials “worried”, and hence they enforced Vernacular Press Act 1878 in an attempt to stop local language editorials, which later became known as “Gagging Act”. In 1909, Newspaper Act was introduced before the Indian Press Act 1910 was brought into effect, designed to add had all features of Vernacular Press Act 1878.
- Sethi, Devika (2019). War Over Words: Censorship in India, 1930-1960. Cambridge University Press. p. 325. ISBN 978-1-1084-8424-4. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
- “Development of Indian Press during British Rule in India”. Jagranjosh.com. 16 February 2018.
- The Hans India (13 March 2015). “Pre-independence regulation of Indian newspapers”. The Hans India. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
- Gady, Franz-Stefan. “Should India Thank British Rule For a Free Press?”. thediplomat.com.
- “Development of Indian Press and Press Acts”. eRewise.
- Otis, Andrew. “India’s first newspaper covered corruption and scandal (and sexual practices) fearlessly”. Scroll.in.
- India, Press Trust of (7 July 2019). “Book explores censorship in pre and post-colonial India”. Business Standard News. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
- “A pre-Independence history of press freedom in India”. 3 May 2017.
- Mishra, Pankaj (4 May 2019). “India & Pakistan have established ‘English rule without the Englishman‘“.
- “How the Press fought for India’s freedom”. Deccan Herald. 15 August 2019.
- “5 Fearless Journalists Who Rose Against the British Raj”. 24 January 2018.
- “Changing role of Mass Media”. National Herald.
We found this data online. This is the history of the Lahori-Ahmadi mission in Germany since 1922.
Compiled by Nasir Ahmad B.A., LL.B.
01. Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din, Founder and Imam (1922)
02. Maulana Abdul Majid, Asstt. Imam (1921)
03. Maulana Fazal Karim Durrani, Imam (1925)
04. Dr. S. Muhammad Abdullah, Imam (1928)
05. Dr. Mirza Aziz-ur-Rahman, Asstt. Imam (1933)
06. Dr. Nazir-ul-Islam, Asstt. Imam (1938)
07. Mrs. Amina Mosler, Caretaker (1937)
08. Bro. Muhammad Aman Hobohm, Imam (1949)
09. Mr. Abdul Aziz Khan, Acting Imam (February 1959)
10. Maulana Muhammad Yahya Butt, Imam (Nov.1959)
11. Ch. Saeed Ahmad, Imam (1989)
12. Ch. Riaz Ahmad, Imam (2004)
13. Mr. Amir Aziz, Imam (2016)
Before I proceed to give a brief history about how the Berlin Muslim Mission and the Mosque came into existence, it is necessary to give a brief historical background of the need to propagate Islam in Germany. This will enable the reader to assess the prospects available for the propagation of Islam on the eve of the birth of the Berlin Mission. It will also give a review of the individual efforts which were going on in the country and how the Ahmadiyya Movement, Lahore, organised the propagation of Islam in Germany through the Berlin Muslim Mission.
It was in May 1922, that a well-known English daily of India, the Mohammadan, published an article captioned “The Need for the Propagation of Islam in Germany”. Here we quote some of the ideas of the writer of this article:
“Among all the countries of Europe, there does not appear to be as much scope for the propagation of Islam as there is in Germany. She suffered defeat in the War (that is, the First World War), and now she is seriously thinking of re-building her future course in order to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity. Everyone here is convinced that rebirth is not possible without following true religion. Christianity has met with complete failure. Germany is in a much better position to reach to the core of the veritable reality underlying false and baseless propaganda…. Germany is the centre of Europe and to achieve success here will have very healthy influence on the neighbouring countries…
Many people cast a disdainful eye and mock at me because of my assessment of the situation. Many more would consider the present times ill-suited to embark on such a venture….
The writer has pondered over all the pros and cons of this Mission. He is not oblivious of the state of affairs prevalent in the motherland. In spite of sitting so far away from India, he is very well aware of what is going on there. But, he is confident that this venture will not adversely affect the Indian struggle for independence. Instead, it will have a wholesome effect. It will serve as a great impetus to the Caliphate Movement in achieving its real objective and would definitely tend to remove the heinous accusations of bloodshed and destruction levelled against Islam … I am writing my observations after studying current events in Germany. And thus I feel that I would be disloyal to Islam if I did not inform the Indian Muslims of this great opportunity for propagating Islam in this country.”
These ideas very explicitly plead that:
1. Germany was the most appropriate country in Europe for the propagation of Islam.
2. Through the propagation of Islam in Europe, the effect of the propaganda perpetrated against Islam could be neutralised and this could have a direct influence on the struggle for independence of the Muslims in India.
3. The preaching and propagation of Islam was the dire need of the hour in Europe, and especially in Germany.
Here I must give a brief introduction of the writer of the article, Professor Abdus Sattar Kheri, and his brother, Professor Abdul Jabbar. The Kheri brothers will be mentioned frequently in this report; firstly, for the initial interest they showed in the setting up of the Berlin Muslim Mission, and secondly, for the hostility they later developed towards it.
Professor Abdul Jabbar, in his individual capacity, cherished hopes for the propagation of Islam even before the Berlin Muslim Mission was set up. It was in February 1920 that he happened to meet a German Muslim, Dr. Khalid Banning, and seriously pondered on the prospects of setting up a mission in Berlin. Meanwhile, he got some letters written to Woking by a German lady, strongly suggesting for the opening of a mission in Berlin on the pattern of the Woking Muslim Mission in England. At that time Maulana Mustafa Khan was the Imam of the Mosque at Woking. Then Professor Abdul Jabbar worked out a plan to set up a mission in Berlin with the assistance of the German lady. He sent this plan to Woking and from there it reached Lahore. The Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at-i Islam, Lahore carefully considered the scope and feasibility of the plan and accepted it. Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali, the then Head of the Lahore Section, made a special appeal for donations during the Annual Conference in December 1921 for the opening of missions both in America and Germany.
In March 1922, the Anjuman decided to send Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din and Maulvi Abdul Majid M.A. (of Hyderabad Deccan), a teacher in the Muslim High School, Lahore, to Germany. Later on Maulvi Abdul Majid was appointed Imam of the Mosque at Woking (England).
Maulvi Abdul Majid left for Germany with Mian Ghulam Abbas on June 7, 1922. The latter stayed on in England for higher Studies in Audit and Accounts. Later he rose to the status of first Auditor General of Pakistan. After retirement he was given an assignment at the UNO. For initial eight or nine months, Maulvi Abdul Majid worked in Germany single-handedly. During this period, Hazrat Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din (Founder of the Woking Muslim Mission, England) visited Berlin in July/August 1922 in order to assess the situation for the setting up of the Mission. He sent to the Central Anjuman in Lahore his detailed report which also contained a proposal for the construction of a mosque. The following is an extract from his report:
“As compared to England, there is far greater educational taste and liking over here…. Educational institutions of this country are well-known throughout the world for their high standard of knowledge and research. Keeping in view the advanced knowledge in the fields of economics, philosophy of ethics, philosophy of civilisation and culture and various other fields, we have to establish that teachings of Islam not only provide basic guidance about these fields of knowledge, but it is much more sublime.”
According to Hazrat Khwaja, the effective way to approach the students in this country was through lectures and discussions. Meanwhile, Maulana Sadr-ud-Din arrived in Berlin and the search for a suitable site for constructing the Mission House and the Mosque was started. From October 1922 onward, Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali started his fund-raising campaign for the Berlin Mosque through lectures and appeals published in the weekly Paigham-i Sulh, Lahore. Meanwhile Maulana Sadr-ud-Din and Maulvi Abdul Majid carried on their Islamic activities from Gotesbacht Street, 5/111 Garbortenberg, Berlin.
On the other hand, the Kheri brothers, who had so far been persuading the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at-i Islam, Lahore to set up a mission in Berlin on the pattern of that in Woking for the preaching of Islam in Germany, took up cudgels from December 1922 to oppose the project tooth and nail. Their third brother, Abdul Ghaffar Kheri, through the daily Khilafat, Bombay and Ahl-i Hadith, Amritsar and Delhi, expressed resentment and accused the Ahmadiyya Anjuman in Lahore of foiling the efforts of their brother, Professor Abdul Jabbar Kheri by setting up of a mission themselves. So, he tried to mislead the Muslims by writing:
“Any assistance given to this Ahmadiyya sect which has made an appeal for a mosque, would result in discord and division among the Muslims because this sect would present Islam according to its own faith and ideology.”
Likewise, Mr. Abdul Ghaffar Kheri published articles against the Mission in the daily Zamindar of Lahore. Not content with this, Mr. Rashid-ul-Kheri even went to the extent of labelling the proposed mosque as Masjid-i Zarrar, which meant that this mosque was being built to cause disruption among the Muslims. With scant regard for this opposition, Maulana Sadr-ud-Din and Maulvi Abdul Majid continued their search for a suitable site. They also met the Muslim ambassadors and delegates in Berlin in this connection. The Ambassador of Turkey highly encouraged the Maulana and assured him of all possible help for the construction and continued to support him up to the stage of the completion of the Mosque.
In January 1923, the Maulana also met the Ambassador of Turkey in Rome in this connection. The meeting proved to be fruitful in many respects. At the time of the meeting, the English translation of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali was lying on the table. In the course of conversation, the Ambassador spoke highly of the English translation and also lauded the work being done in England through the Woking Muslim Mission.
During this period, Maulana Sadr-ud-Din and Maulvi Abdul Majid started learning the German language from a new German Muslim , Mr. Muhammad Brokash. The missionary work continued from the temporary office in Garborstenberg. In May 1923, tarawih prayers were offered at this place during the month of Ramadan.
The Eid al-Fitr prayer was offered at the mosque in Winsterdof, which was ninety minutes journey from Berlin by rail. This mosque was built by the German Government for prisoners of war. It could accommodate as many as 3000 people The Imam of this mosque, Hafiz Shukari Amandi, strongly favoured the construction of the proposed mosque in Berlin. The Imam delivered the sermon in Turkish. Most of the people who offered prayers were from Bokhara and Turkey.
In July 1923, a two-acre parcel of land belonging to the local Municipal Committee was purchased. The land was situated in a posh area. Its importance can be judged from the fact that the construction of a church was first proposed on this land, but as God Almighty would have it, the proposal could not materialise and the same land was purchased for the construction of the Mosque. It was Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din’s earnest desire to construct the Mosque on this particular piece of land and he strove hard for it so that the Mosque and the Mission could benefit from the importance of the site. The site was surrounded on three sides by roads, while there were lush green gardens on its fourth side. The land was, in all respects, best-suited and ideal for the Mosque.
Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din now started to think about the construction plan for the Mission House and the Mosque. Keeping in view the Mogul architecture exhibited by the Taj Mahal at Agra and the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, work on the plan made steady progress. At this juncture, Maulana Sadr-ud-Din met a Russian scholar, Mr. Lutfe Bey.
The building plan of the mosque was completed in September 1923 and was sent to Lahore so that Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali could bless it with his formal approval.
Earlier, in October of the same year, the Maulana had delivered a comprehensive and thought-provoking lecture on “Philosophy of Islam” at a convention held at Darum Straat presided over by a renowned German philosopher, Count Newling.
In November 1924, preparations for the stone-laying ceremony of the Mosque were in progress. The Ambassador of Turkey was to be the chief guest. An unknown Egyptian student, on the instigation of the Kheri Brothers, created mischief by accusing Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din, through a handbill, of being a spy of the British Government. The Ambassador of Turkey therefore expressed his inability to preside over the ceremony. It had to be postponed, but the construction work on the Mosque continued without interruption.
In order to counteract this malicious insinuation, a meeting was held at the temporary Mission House in which it was resolved to send a delegation to His Excellency Sami Pasha, the Turkish Ambassador. But afterwards, Dr. Abdul Hassan Mansur, who was a scholar in the Turkish, Russian and English languages, was deputed to wait upon the said Ambassador. He apprised His Excellency of the true facts underlying the false propaganda regarding the Berlin Mosque and dispelled the latter’s reservations. Dr. Nasirbuk of the Turkish Club, too, played an important role in clearing the baseless doubts lurking in the mind of the Turkish Ambassador.
The efforts for the propagation of Islam through the Woking Muslim Mission and then by the Berlin Muslim Mission, coupled with the construction of a grand mosque in Berlin, went a long way in highlighting the services rendered to Islam by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at-i Islam, Lahore. The Muslim Outlook, of Lahore in its issue of February 4, 1925, published a lengthy editorial note in appreciation of the services rendered by the Anjuman. Some excerpts from it are reproduced below:
“Besides this, another Anjuman which is working fervently on a higher scale is the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at-i Islam, Lahore which is associated with the Ahmadiyya Sect…. But there is not a single instance to our knowledge that a resolution passed by Jami‘at-i ‘Ulama Hind brought a non-Muslim into the fold of Islam, whereas, on the other side, the marvellous English rendering of the Holy Quran done and published by the President of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at-i Islam has gone so far as to open the doors of Islam to many of the non-Muslim critics and atheists.
Muslims firmly believe that Islam was never spread by the sword nor will it ever be done so. Hence if Islam is to be propagated throughout the world, it would be better if it is propagated with potential reasoning and publishing of veritable truths which should be free from sectarianism …. We can say with courage that Islam should have a strong appeal for the English people who are practical men…. The mental outlook and the character of the English people, as also of their maternal brothers, the Germans, are such that they are disposed to accept Islam… and the Islamic Centres at Woking (London) and Berlin (we dislike the word “Mission” because its meanings are synonymous with hypocrisy), vindicate the truth in this respect. Both these centres have been set up by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at-i Islam by dint of all those workers of the Anjuman who are working in the West selflessly and with Islamic zeal. They do not propagate sectarianism but present the very Islam which the Holy Quran has epitomised. In all reality, therefore, this Anjuman is doing a great service for the religion in this age which many other associations and institutions would not have even thought of so far.”
The construction work of the Mosque was in progress. Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din received invitations to deliver lectures on various aspects of Islam from different organisations. In February and March 1925, two very remarkable lectures were delivered near Berlin in the village of Postram on the subjects, “Islam and Christianity” and “Equality and Democracy in Islam”. The new German Muslim, Dr. Griffelt, and Dr. Zakir Hussain of Jami‘ah Milliyyah, Aligarh took active part in the discussions of these meetings. Detailed reports of these lectures, with photographs of the Berlin Mosque, were published in the local newspapers.
In April 1925, a reception was arranged in honour of a well-known Muslim preacher, Professor Barkat Ullah so that the effects of the vicious propaganda launched by the Kheri brothers and other opponents against the Mission and the Mosque could be dispelled. The said Professor was well-versed in the Arabic, Persian, Turkish and German languages. He had toured China, Japan and America a number of times. Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din had been introduced to him in Switzerland during the Lausanne Conference. This conference was attended by many German Muslims such as Dr. Khalid Banning, Dr. Hamid Marcus, Dr. Griffelt, Dr. Muhammad Brackish and also by Dr. Mumtaz Ali Khan Bhatti. The latter used to publish a magazine in Persian and German. Because of this conference, the construction of the Mosque and the activities of the Mission were amply highlighted in the Press.
The cost of the construction of the Mosque rose higher than the original estimate and it was becoming hard to meet the excess through donations. Hence urgent payments were made by disposing off a portion of the land.
Before the construction of the Mosque was completed, a top-ranking Geman scholar, Dr. Hamid Marcus had embraced Islam. He had a good command over the English language. The well-known poet and philosopher of Indo-Pakistan fame Dr. Muhammad Iqbal had also spoken highly of this German scholar.
In April 1925 main work of the Mosque was nearing completion. By now the vile propaganda of the opponents had completely failed. False and malicious reports sent to the Government were thoroughly examined through its embassy in Calcutta and were found to be baseless and malicious. Finally suspicion created in the minds of the Government authorities was dispelled. The German Government consequently issued orders for the deportation of the Egyptian student. A German citizen was issued stern warning and action was taken against other miscreants. All this on the part of the Government went a long way in removing many of the hurdles and created a wholesome atmosphere in favour of the Mission.
By the grace of Allah, the auspicious moment arrived. The opening ceremony of the Berlin Mosque was held on April 26, 1925. The event started with the recitation from the Holy Quran by Khwaja Abdul Hamid, a student of the Berlin University. Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din delivered a brief speech in German. The Russian Muslim scholar, Luferbe Qasmi, threw light on the Ahmadiyya Movement in Turkish. He had already witnessed the activities of the Woking Muslim Mission in London and was convinced that the name of Islam was being raised high in England through the Mission. Dr. Idris Bokhari then stressed upon the importance of “Islamic Brotherhood” in Turkish. Another learned brother from Iran Hassan Bey, speaking in Persian, condemned sectarianism as a curse and laid stress on the necessity of strengthening bonds of mutual tolerance and brotherhood. Professor Abdul Hakim of Hyderabad Deccan read out a beautiful poem. An Iranian Prince explained Islamic teachings in German. At the end, Hazrat Maulana paid tribute to the honesty and integrity of the German architects and contractors. Thus the historic event came to an end with prayers. The Turkish Ambassador and his staff took a keen interest and actively participated in organising the opening ceremony.
It was Eid al-Fitr on the following Friday, but it was feared that Mr. Abdul Jabbar Kheri would try to forcibly lead the prayer which would result in disorder and disturb the atmosphere of cohesion created among the Muslims with the setting up of the Mission and the construction of the Mosque. Hence, the Turkish Ambassador and other well-wishers mutually agreed that the Eid congregation should be held at the Turkish Embassy. The Police appreciated the wise step and Mr. Abdul Jabbar’s entry into the Mosque was forbidden. Thus by the Grace of Allah and with the co-operation of the Turkish Embassy and other right-thinking Muslims, an untoward event was averted and the sanctity of the mosque was preserved. After this, detailed information and photographs relating to the Mosque started appearing in the local press and cinemas.
An outstanding personality of Turkey, the Hon’ble Amir Shakieb Arsalan, on returning home made a vigorous public speech introducing the Berlin Muslim Mission and lauded its efforts directed towards the propagation of Islam. On the front page of the daily Tawhid-i Afkar of Istanbul, Turkey appeared details of the activities of the Mission along with photographs of the Mosque and an introduction of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at-i Islam, Lahore. The achievements made by Maulana Sadr-ud-Din in the field of preaching Islam in England were also greatly appreciated. A copy of this newspaper was left by a Turkish brother in the Mission House in the absence of the Imam. On this paper he wrote the following three lines in his own hand:
1. Sadaqa al-laahul ‘Azim (Allah, the Great, spoke the truth).
2. Innamal mu’minuna ikhwatun (The believers are brothers).
3. Ma‘bad Islamia wa jami’ul akhwand nazar (I greet the Islamic house of worship and all the brothers).
Ahmadiyya Berlin dar Hindustan nazar (I greet all the brother Ahmadis in Berlin and India). 1343 Hijrah (The words of the couplet probably represent alphabetical calculation of the year of the completion of the Mosque).
Towards the end of May 1925, the Maulana left Berlin for his homeland. On the eve of his departure, the German Muslim Society gave a farewell party in his honour. On his way back, he met Hakim Muhammad Ajmal Khan in Paris and apprised him of the activities of the Mission and the Mosque and sought his help in raising funds for them. Maulana Sadr-ud-Din was accorded a rousing welcome on his arrival at the Lahore railway station. A reception was also arranged at the Ahmadiyya Buildings. Maulana Muhammad Ali, Sheikh Niaz Ahmad (Barrister-at-Law) and Syed Sardar Shah (Ex-Professor, Veterinary College, Lahore) addressed the gathering. The excitement of the German Muslim converts on the construction of the Mosque was inspiring. An old lady, named Gardowas, who had embraced Islam, saw in a dream that the Mosque had been completed and light was being diffused from it in all directions. She particularly appealed to the womenfolk to fervently take part in this sacred task. Maulana Muhammad Ali, in his appeal in Lahore, made a special mention of the letter written by this German lady.
The daily Shafaq-i Surkh of Tehran carried an editorial note on the efforts made by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at-i Islam, Lahore, for the preaching of Islam. The translation of some of its excerpts is given below:
“The centre of the “Anjuman Isha’at-i Islam” is in Lahore (India) and for the propagation of Islam its branches are spread over India, Burma and other Eastern countries. The Anjuman is making strides day by day…. The Anjuman has appointed many of its preachers in Europe and America for the propagation of Islam. All those who are associated with the Anjuman and its supporters are mostly religious people of the Ahmadiyya ideology. It is the result of their high spirit and enthusiasm that a mosque at Woking (near London) has become vibrant centre for the preaching of Islam whose photographs and activities are published in the English papers. Now under the auspices of the same Anjuman, a mosque has been built in the city of Berlin, which is so grand that it is considered among the best worship places in Berlin. Five million liras have been spent on its construction so far.
The first and foremost task of this Anjuman is to set up mosques and places of worship in the capital cities of America and Europe for the propagation of Islam.”
Quarterly Magazine in German, Muslimisch Revue:
In January 1924, Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din started the publication of a quarterly magazine in German called Muslimisch Revue in the style of The Islamic Review, the monthly magazine of the Woking Muslim Mission, England. Most of the articles were contributed by newly converted German Muslim scholars such as Dr. Hamid Marcus, Dr. Khalid Banning and Dr. Arif Griffelt. The magazine also featured translations of articles written by Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali and Maulvi Abdul Majid. The periodical soon became popular not only in Germany but also in Yugoslavia, Hungary, Albania and other neighbouring countries. Its articles, translated into Croatian and other local languages, carried the message of Islam to a wider section of people in the region. More than half of the German Muslim converts entered the fold of Islam after reading its articles. Due to certain financial difficulties its publication remained suspended for two years, but by the efforts of Dr. S. Muhammad Abdullah it was re-started in 1929 and it continued its publication till 1939, when the Second World War began and it had to be stopped.
Structural Details about the Mosque:
Length 46.5 feet Breadth 46.5 feet Height of main gate 30 feet Dome 75 feet 2 minarets 90 feet Two minarets flanked on both sides of the Mosque 25 feet Four feet wide gallery all around the main floor of the Mosque
The main structure of the Mosque was nearing completion, but still some work remained to be done on the minarets, the dome and other ornamental works to enhance the beauty of the Mosque. At this stage, Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din sent the following telegraphic message to the Jama‘at:
“Our Community should be proud of this remarkable achievement. I congratulate you all – the old and the young, the rich and the poor – for it is due to your concerted efforts, sacrifices and fervent prayers, that such a milestone has been accomplished about which some had doubts and at times, insurmountable difficulties created dismay and hopelessness. But by the grace of Almighty Allah, the major task of the plan has been accomplished today. All of us should be grateful to Allah for blessing our humble efforts in His cause.”
In this connection, the following letter of the Maulana from Berlin was read out on December 27, 1924, on the occasion of the Annual Conference in Lahore:
“The purpose of this Mosque is not only to serve Muslims as a house of worship but also to invite non-Muslims of Berlin to attend its lectures and sermons. Thus, it was essential to plan quite a spacious mosque. All praise be to Allah that the plan has been accomplished and a very suitable and beautiful Mosque has been built in Berlin. It is ideal as far as its size, structural beauty and location is concerned.”
As has already been mentioned, the initial estimate of the construction of the Berlin Mosque was fifty to sixty thousand Rupees, but afterwards, due to unforeseen circumstances, the cost rose to one hundred thousand Rupees. So, in early 1924, when the minarets of the Mosque had not yet been completed, Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali sent a message to Maulana Sadr-ud-Din to postpone the work on the minarets for the time being. Meanwhile, vigorous efforts were made to raise funds for the Berlin Mosque. Special appeals by Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali were sent to the members of the Jama‘at throughout India.
At the Annual Conference held in Lahore in December 1924, special efforts were made to collect funds for the Mosque. In his speech on the first day of the Conference – which was for ladies – Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali mentioned with much concern that the work on the minarets of the Berlin Mosque had to be suspended due to shortage of funds. In his passionate speech he addressed the ladies in these words:
“Many of our sisters in the Jama‘at may think that the fact that their husbands or elders take part in religious service also suffices for them. But this is not correct. Just as the good deeds of the husband will not be of any use to the wife, similarly his voluntary contributions will not be of any good to the wife. In the Holy Quran where there is a mention of the alms-giving men, the women who give alms are also mentioned …. Allah has imposed the duty of religious service on women as well as on men. The women of our Jama‘at should bear in mind that no matter how much their husbands serve the religion, if they do not take any part in it themselves they are as unfortunate as any other woman who does not help.”
As a result of this appeal, all the women present took off their jewellery and presented them for the propagation of Islam and their men-folk contributed the rest of the required sum of money. And thus completion of the remaining work of the Berlin Mosque became possible.
The names of the ladies and gentlemen who made generous contributions towards the construction of the Berlin Mosque on this occasion are mentioned below as a matter of record for future generations to know how zealous their elders were in serving the cause of Islam.
Contribution by Ladies:
Major contribution in the form of ornaments and cash came from the following ladies of Lahore and they also made special efforts in collecting funds for this noble cause:
Mrs. Maulana Muhammad Ali, Mother and wife of Dr. Mirza Yakub Beg, Mrs. Dr. Syed Muhammad Hussain Shah, Mrs. Dr. Ghulam Muhammad, Mrs. Dr. Syed Tufail Hussain Shah, Mrs. K. S. Babu Manzoor Ilahi, Mrs. Ch. Zahoor Ahmad and Mrs. Khwaja Jalal-ud-Din. The total value of the collection made on this occasion was Rs. 7300.00, of which Rs. 2500 was received in cash while Rs. 4800 was in the form of jewellery
In this regard the following ladies from other parts of the country also made significant contributions: Mrs. Ch. Muhammad Ismail (Revenue Officer), his daughter and sister-in-law (Montgomery), Mrs. Dr. Jalal-ud-Din (Gojra), Mrs. Sh. Maula Bakhsh (Sialkot), Master Muhammad Ismail (Sialkot), Mrs. Qazi Samiullah (Sargodha), Mrs. Sh. Abdul Wahid (Police Officer) (Abuhr), Daughter of Munshi Muhammad Bakhsh (Chak No. 355, Sargodha), Mrs. Sh. Maqbul Ilahi (Sheikhupura), Mrs. Syed Ahmad Hussain Shah (Hoshiarpur), Mrs. Babu Dilawar Khan (Peshawar) and Mrs. Mistri Yakub Ali (Jammu).
The ladies of the following Jama‘ats contributed collectively towards the fund: Lyallpur, Chak No. 81 (Sargodha), Qasur, Lahore Cantt., Gujrat, Chak 2 and 4 L (Okara), Mardan, Kunjah, Wazirabad and Charsaddah. A non-Ahmadi lady sister of Muhammad Umar Barumi from Atman Zai contributed Rs. 400.00.
Contribution by Men:
Collections made through the sale of one-rupee coupons and other means was Rs. 8600.00. In this connection the services of the following members deserve appreciation: Mian Muhammad Zaman (Charsaddah), Ch. Muhammad Ismail, (Revenue Officer, Associate member, Montgomery), Mian Muhammad Siddiq, Police Officer (Indore), Dr. Ismat Ullah (Darband), Maulvi Aziz Bakhsh and Sh. Fazal Ilahi (Jhang), Ch. Allah Ditta (Srinagar), Mr. Fazal Haq (Peshawar Cantt.), Master Inamullah Khan (Fort Sandeman), Sh. Maula Bakhsh, shoe merchant (Sialkot), Maulvi Alam Din, Advocate (Sheikhupura), Dr. Jalal-ud-Din (Gojra), Ch. Muhammad Hussain Numberdar (Chak 81 S., Sargodha), Sheikh Mian Maula Bakhsh, mill-owner (Lyallpur), Dr. Hassan Ali (Kunjah), Sh. Niaz Ahmad (Wazirabad) and Headmaster Muslim High School, Lahore.
Collections made by delegates sent to various parts of the country: Qazi Sami Ullah (Rs.5501), Mehr Khan Muhammad Khan, Inspector police (Rs. 100), Sh. Abdul Wahid, Sub-Inspector police (Rs.2400), Malik Ghulam Muhammad, Central Flour Mills, Qasur (Rs.500).
Contributions made by non-Ahmadi supporters: Nawab Ahmad Yar, Rais Luddon (Rs.1000), Ch. Shahab-ud-Din, Rais Lahore (Rs. 1000), Sardar Mir Dost Muhammad Mazari, Jahaniyan, Distt. Dera Ghazi Khan (Rs.800), Hon’ble Sir Muzammil Khan, Rais, Distt. Aligarh (Rs.500).
Maulana Fazal Karim Durrani:
Maulana Fazal Karim Durrani belonged to the district of Hoshiarpur. He did his B.A. at Islamia College, Lahore. He joined the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam, Lahore in 1920 and was sent to Trinidad as a missionary in the same year. On his way he stayed at Woking (England) for two months. He served as a missionary in Trinidad till the end of 1924. Afterwards he spent a few months in New York with the object of setting up a mission, but he did not succeed. He was then sent to Berlin.
In May 1925, he took charge of the Berlin Muslim Mission after Maulana Sadr-ud-Din returned to Lahore, India. Meetings of the German Muslim Society were held regularly, in which Dr. Hamid Marcus and other new German Muslims gave learned discourses on various aspects of Islam and the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Some of the topics were “Materialism and Spirituality”, “The Importance of the Excellent Example of the Holy Prophet in the Present Age” etc.
The Mission House in Berlin was not yet complete when a notice was issued by the City Corporation to complete the construction work. Thus further funds were immediately required for this urgent work. As a result, Maulana Muhammad Ali again made the following fervent appeal in the Paigham-i Sulh of November 1925:
“Rise for the Berlin Mosque
An Appeal for Forty Thousand Rupees at the Annual Conference:
The problems of the Berlin Mosque are not yet over. A further sum of around twenty thousand German Marks is needed, partly because the work has been extended and partly because costs have increased . . . The bare fact is that a sum of twenty to twenty-one thousand Marks is required. It was felt that the snowfall and heavy rains of the winter would damage the Mosque so the work has already been started. Maulana Sadr-ud-Din returned from Germany in a very weak state and it would have been advisable for him to remain at work in one place for some time so that he could benefit from the comforts of his home. But I have been forced to send him on a tour for the collection of funds. He was able to collect a sum of around Rs.2500-3000 in a few days time but he fell ill again. I was most concerned when I saw his condition but there was no option other than to send him on another tour. So he left again yesterday. My own health is such that it does not permit me to leave the house. I hope and believe that on reading these few lines of my fervent appeal our members will extend a helping hand to Maulana Sadr-ud-Din without any delay. Individuals should also make efforts on their own, and each Jama‘at should distribute this letter among their members when they get together on Fridays.”
For this purpose, a special list of the persons, to whom this letter was to be sent, was prepared, so that the required sum of money could be collected as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Maulana Sadr-ud-Din, Dr. Syed Muhammad Hussain Shah and Dr. Mirza Yaqub Beg continued to tour various parts of the country for the collection of funds to cover the cost of the immediate construction work at the Berlin Mosque and other expenses. As a result of their efforts, the Begum of the state of Bhopal donated a sum of five thousand Rupees. Strong appeals by Dr. Syed Muhammad Hussain Shah were also published in the weekly Paigham-i Sulh.
As a result of the activities of the Berlin Muslim Mission, the message of Islam was effectively conveyed to the intellectual circles in Germany and, one by one, people entered the fold of Islam. The Hiedel University of Germany is almost as famous as the University of Cambridge in England. One of its learned directors, Hans Loba, accepted Islam.
Maulana Fazal Karim Durrani kept receiving invitations from different quarters to deliver lectures about the Ahmadiyya Movement which were followed by question-answer discussions. Afterwards, he wrote a series of articles on the Ahmadiyya Movement in the Muslimisch Revue. These were later published in English in the form of a book entitled The Ahmadiyya Movement. Two thousand copies of this book were printed in December 1926.
The services of the Berlin Mission and the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at-i Islam, Lahore, for the cause of Islam were being appreciated in Muslim countries. In one of its editorial notes in December 1928, the daily Iqdam of Tehran, the following tributes were paid to the Berlin Mission:
“The Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam, Lahore has constructed a magnificent mosque in the city of Berlin, Germany, which holds an eminent position among the buildings of the city. It was constructed two or three years ago and the work of preaching and propagating the teachings of Islam is done here. More than a hundred people from different walks of life have entered the fold of Islam, of which the most famous is Dr. Hamid Marcus. An Islamic periodical, Muslimisch Revue, is also published in German.”
One million zealous Slav Muslims were living in Yugoslavia. Due to the endeavours of the Mission, they started getting Croatian translation of the articles of the Muslimisch Revue and excerpts from the English translation and commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali.
In June 1927, Maulana Fazal Karim Durrani expressed his thought-provoking views in an article entitled “Islam in Europe” on the method to be employed in propagating Islam in Europe and the need of understanding intellectual inclinations of the European people. Some excerpts from it are given below:
“In political terms, we, in the East, may describe Europe as a continent which is determined to keep the rest of the continents under its control, but when a person becomes acquainted with the various nations of Europe he comes to the conclusion that people of different races and nations live here: united Europe has no existence. So the methods which were successfully employed for the propagation of Islam in England cannot necessarily be successful here.
We must bear in mind that of all the nations of Europe, this nation has the firmest belief in Christianity. Although they believe that the Gospels are not authentic nor are they the Word of God and that the beliefs of the Church are irrational, yet in order to make others accept Christianity, they have presented it in a completely different garb – a garb of fine example and high ideals. The German nation is the leader of these high ideals in this age. Their research work and advancement in knowledge in various fields soon become the property of the whole world. Thus, in order to meet this challenge it is necessary to be familiar with the new thoughts and outlook of the German nation.”
In August 1927, Maulana Durrani, in his reports sent to Lahore, expressed his views on two important aspects of the Ahmadiyya Movement:
1. Why did the Reformer of the Age Appear in India?
2. The Propagation of Islam and the Ahmadiyya Movement.
He highlighted different aspects of the preaching of Islam in Europe with special emphasis on the importance of the following points:
- The need for moral and intellectual unity in the Islamic world.
- To prove the excellence of Islam in the religious world.
- Exposition of the distinguishing features of the world-wide Islamic brotherhood.
- The fundamental principles of Islam and their comparison with other religions.
During the same period, Maulana Durrani wrote strong and pithy articles in the Muslimisch Revue in reply to the objections raised against Islam by a well-known German scholar and Minister of Education, Prof. Pecker.
Translation of the Holy Quran into German:
In 1926, on the suggestion of Malik Ghulam Muhammad of Qasur, a respected elder of the Jama‘at, the Anjuman agreed to undertake translation of the Holy Quran into German language. Keeping in view the importance of the project and huge expenses to be incurred, Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali published the following appeal in the weekly Paigham-i Sulh:
“I am fully conscious of the fact that there are already a great many burdens on this small Jama’at. But I also believe that Divine assistance is only granted when some difficult task is undertaken. So I am happy that through the fervent encouragement of a respected friend of ours, a concerted move to get the Holy Quran translated into German has begun. The establishment of a mission in Germany, the publication of a quarterly magazine and the construction of a mosque at the cost of around a hundred thousand Rupees – all these have been possible due to His special grace and blessings. When our Jama’at started this work, Allah, Most High, opened the doors of His Help in many ways. Obviously all that has been done over there so far is incomplete until we provide those people with the Holy Quran in their own language.”
Hence, efforts were made to find a suitable person for the translation work. Finally Dr. Abul Hassan Mansoor, Ph.D., of the Berlin University was selected. He was editor of a magazine, Deutsch Muslimisch Girschaft, published from Berlin. He arrived in Lahore in March 1928.
Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din used to prepare translation and commentary of the Holy Quran in English. Then Dr. Mansoor would translate them into German. In this manner the translation of the Holy Qur’an in German was completed under the supervision of Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din in February 1934. While the translation work was being done, Syed Mustafa Ahmad, a zealous member of the Jama’at, donated four hundred Rupees every month for the translation work, for a period of two years. In this manner, in all, he donated a sum of ten thousand Rupees. Some financial difficulties were encountered during the last stages of the work. However, Maulana Sadr-ud-Din’s appeal and generous contributions of certain members of the Jama`at enabled him to get it published in Berlin.
Members of the Jama‘at contributed generously towards the German translation of the Holy Qur’an. Several people outside the Jama‘at also gave financial support towards this important religious publication, among which a donation of Rs. 500 by the Princess of Manavar is worthy of mention.
In connection with the printing of the German translation, Maulana Sadr-ud-Din went to Berlin again in April 1937. He completed all the arrangements for the printing in a period of nine months and returned in December 1937. The supervision of proof reading and printing was done very diligently by Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. At the end of 1937, for about six months, during the absence of Dr. Abdullah, Dr. Nazeer-ul-Islam served as Acting Imam of the Mosque and also looked after the proof-reading and printing of the Translation. Finally, in June 1939, by the Grace and Mercy of Allah, this Translation was printed at a cost of Rs. 15,000 and came out of press in August 1939.
The Translation was greatly appreciated in German circles. One German scholar expressed his opinion in the following words:
“This Translation has not only fulfilled a long-felt educational and religious need but it has also ensured that its dissemination will greatly spread and popularise the knowledge of the Quran and the teachings of Islam.”
Unfortunately, only a month after the publication of this Translation, on September 3, 1939, the Second World War broke out and the bombing of Berlin by the planes of the Allied forces not only damaged the dome and minarets of the Mosque but also destroyed the entire stock of the German translation of the Holy Quran, except for a few copies. After almost twenty-five years, in 1965, two thousand copies of its off-set edition were published in Pakistan. A sum of Rs. 20,000 was donated for it by a generous lady of Multan. Mrs. Sheikh Ataullah. The stock of this edition was also soon exhausted. In 1982, a famous German publishing firm, Sea Benztryn, decided to reprint the German Translation of the Quran. For this purpose, it obtained the opinions of several scholars of the Al-Azhar University and also of some German scholars about the authenticity and the standard of the translation and commentary and received their satisfactory opinion on all counts. Then the firm contacted the Central Ahmadiyya Anjuman in Lahore through the Imam of the Berlin Mosque, Maulana Yahya Butt to obtain its formal approval. Unfortunately, for certain reasons, agreement could not be reached.
Sadly, Maulana Fazal Karim Durrani spent fairly large sums of money on the Mosque without the prior consent of the Central Anjuman. When the Anjuman questioned his unilateral decision, he decided to return home and, without awaiting the arrival of funds from the Anjuman, on May 16, 1928, he mortgaged the Mission House and the courtyard of the Mosque for sixteen thousand German Marks with the Theoranx Lands High Perthen Bank. Afterwards, he became annoyed and published several articles in the newspaper, Paisa Akhbar of Lahore, under the title “Letters from Germany” presenting uterly wrong and misleading information about his unwise act and tried to defame the Anjuman. Maulana Dost Muhammad, editor of the weekly paper Paigham-i Sulh, replied to it under the title Kashaf al-Ghita in its issues of the 8th, 12th, 15th and 19th of June, 1928. The dispute was taken to the court and finally, in February 1933, Maulana Durrani admitted his mistake and subitted his written apology.
In October 1928, Maulana Durrani returned to Lahore and joined the editorial staff of the Muslim Outlook. Then he started a monthly by the name of Muslim India. In 1928, he wrote a throught-provoking book, The Future of Islam in India. In 1930, he founded Tablighi Literature Society and published a weekly called The Truth. During the same period Quaid-i ‘Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah came to Lahore. A meeting was arranged to resolve the differences between him and Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal. Maulana Durrani played a pivotal role in removing the misunderstandings which had existed between the two since 1928. (Creation of Pakistan by Justice Shamim Hussain Qadri, published by the Army Book Club,1983, p.90.)
After this, in 1937, Maulana Durrani published a booklet of 16 pages entitled Muslim National Ideal. The well-known writer and research scholar, K.K.Aziz in his book, A History of the Idea of Pakistan, (1987) has devoted six pages to Maulana Durrani’s contribution in expounding the idea of Pakistan. He has even remarked that Maulana Durrani’s book, The Future of Islam in India, influenced the thinking of the Quaid-i Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal. The latter, in his Allahabad Address of 1930, expounded the same ideas which were expressed by Maulana Durrani in his book in 1929. (pp.160-167)
While commending the ideas of Maulana Durrani, the author, K.K. Aziz, paid tribute to him in the following words:
“The Muslim League and the Muslim Conference . . . neither supported Durrani Sahib’s views nor did they adopt them, one possible reason for which was that he belonged to the Ahmadiyya Jama‘at (Lahore). In today’s Pakistan, these views would be considered as the views of a non-Muslim because, constitutionally, the members of the Ahmadiyya Movement have been thrown out of the fold of Islam … But, he (Mr.Durrani) most successfully directed the attention of the people towards the need of saving Muslims from the domination of the Hindus … This was a great service to the Muslims of India. It must be said with deep regret that his service has not been acknowledged at all.”
As has been mentioned earlier, the Mission incurred a debt of twenty thousand German Marks during the tenure of Maulana Durrani. To take his place, Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah set off for Berlin on March 28, 1928. In January 1930, various efforts were undertaken to pay off the mortgage against the Berlin Mosque. In September 1930, Dr. K.A. Khan, a devoted member of the Jama‘at made 88 shares of Rs.125 each, that is, the sum of money for which the Berlin Mosque was mortgaged, and appealed to the people to buy these shares. After hard struggle and great monetary sacrifices of the members and supporters of the Jama`at for nearly two years, and the tireless efforts of Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, the mortgage was finally paid off in November 1932.
Dr. S. Muhammad Abdullah:
Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was born on November 2, 1898 in the town of Rasoolnagar, District Gujranwala. He passed his Matriculation with flying colours from the Government High School, Lyallpur. At this stage, his parents moved to Sialkot. He passed his B.Sc examination at the Forman Christian College, Lahore and came first in the whole of the Punjab. In 1922, he passed his M.Sc examination at the same college. He taught at the Islamia College, Lahore for some time. Then in April 1927 he was appointed as the Joint Secretary of the Central Anjuman. He left for Berlin in March 1928. He completed his doctorate at the Berlin University in 1932. In 1935, his thesis was printed in the periodicals of the Chemical Societies of Berlin and Calcutta. On the outbreak of the Second World War, he returned to Lahore and was appointed as the General Secretary of the Central Anjuman. In October 1946 he was appointed as the Imam of the Shah Jehan Mosque in Woking, where he died in May 1956.
The German Muslim Society was formed on March 22, 1930. Its officers were:
President: Dr. Hamid Marcus General Secretary: Professor Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah (M.Sc., Ph.D) Assistant Secretary: Mr. Umar Shoebert Muslim Members: Muhammad Tufail Ahmad (Engineer)
Dr. Abul Hassan Mansur Ph.D.
Non-Muslim Members: Mrs. Rodgez
After arriving in Berlin, Dr. Muhammad Abdullah organised the Islamic activities of the Mission and reactivated the German Muslim Society which played an effective role in making the activities of the Mission known to Berlin’s educated circles. In the meetings arranged by this Society, Dr. Hamid Marcus and other new German Muslims delivered scholarly discourses on various topics. From time to time, Professor Mirza Hassan, a lecturer of Persian in the Berlin University, Dr. Mumtaz Ali Khan Bhatti and Dr. Abul Hassan Mansur also delivered talks and took part in the discussions. Some of the subjects which were discussed at these meetings were:
- Islam and War
- The Treatment of Prisoners and Slaves
- The Killing of Apostates
- The Relationship between Man and Woman
- Fighting in the Way of Allah (Jihad fi sabil al-Allah)
- The Teachings of the Holy Quran and the Bible
Apart from this, on Fridays and Sundays, there was an arrangement for explaining the meaning of the Holy Quran to the new German Muslims and teaching them how to offer their ritual prayers. In January 1931, a well-known Egyptian periodical, Al-Lataif al-Musawwara published pictures of Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali, the Mosque in Berlin and Babu Manzoor Ilahi, incharge of Foreign Correspondence Department at the Central Anjuman in Lahore along with the following remarks of the well-known scholar, Amir Shakieb Arsalan:
“This is a Mission of the Jama‘at Ahmadiyya, Lahore, which has established a centre for its preaching in Germany. The Lahore Jama‘at is distinct from the Qadian Jama‘at.”
Later on in the year 1931, the German Muslim Society arranged a tea party in honour of Allama Shakieb Arsalan on his visit to the Mosque. Among the distinguished guests who attended the party were the Afghan and Iranian ambassadors and the Minister of Education, Berlin, who appreciated the activities of the Jama‘at for the propagation of Islam. This year, for the first time, an hour-long programme about Eid al-Fitr was broadcast on radio all over Germany. On this occasion, a Ph.D. student at the Munich University accepted Islam; she was given the Islamic name Safia. In June, Dr. Abdullah delivered lectures at the Theosophical Society and the American Church. In July, a meeting was held to celebrate the birthday of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. In September, Dr. Abdullah attended the meeting of the executive committee of World Religions Conference at Geneva. The objective of the Conference was to arrange a special convention in 1932 on the subject, “The Spiritual Power of Religion can produce True Happiness and Peace in the World”. The special feature of the Conference was that participants who could not attend it, would have their papers on the subject read out. Dr. Abdullah proposed the names of Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali and Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal. On his way back, Dr. Abdullah met Allama Shakieb Arsalan.
This year, the Princes of Hyderabad Deccan were the guests of honour on the occasion of Eid al-Adha.
In July 1932, the German Muslim Society held a reception in honour of Dr. Mirza Aziz-ur-Rahman who obtained doctorate from the Berlin University. On this occasion, Dr. Hamid Marcus delivered a very illuminating lecture on “The Message of the Arabian Prophet Muhammad (SAW) for the People of Europe”, in both German and English.
On 15th September, Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah delivered a remarkable lecture on the subject, “Women in Islam”, at the Mission House. Entry was by ticket. Besides a large audience, the lecture was also attended by representatives of the local newspapers. The following report about the lecture was published in the local press:
“The Western woman has always wanted to know more about the Eastern woman. In order to fulfil this need, Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, the Imam of the Berlin Mosque (who was also a professor in Lahore for five years) delivered an enlightened lecture, well-supported by logical arguments, in compliance with the wishes of the Ladies’ Organisation of Berlin. He began with the verses of the chapter, An-Nisa (The Women) of the Qur’an. The learned doctor explained that Islam gives married life precedence over celibacy and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has declared the nikah or marriage to be a Sunnah (Practice of the Holy Prophet Muhammad). Then he emphasised that polygamy is conditional and is allowed only for specific reasons. He also cleared various misconceptions which prevail about pardah (or seclusion of woman), divorce etc. A large audience was present and the lecture was greatly appreciated.”
The greatest success was achieved at the end of the year when the members of an aristocratic house of Austria, the Baron Umar Ehrenfels and his wife entered the fold of Islam. The Baron’s father was a Professor in the Berlin University. He himself was a journalist and lived in Hungary. By this time, a hundred people had accepted Islam and the following booklets had been published in the German language:
- The Muslim Prayer with translation by Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din.
- A Brief Biography of the Holy Prophet Muhammad by Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. (The expenses were borne by Mr. Muhammad Aslam Khan (5000 copies).
- The Position of Women in Islam by Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah (5000 copies).
On the occasion of the Annual Conference of the Central Ahmadiyya Anjuman in Lahore in 1932, the Austrian Muslim, Baron Umar Ehrenfels, who had accepted Islam at the hand of Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in the beginning of the year, came to Lahore. He was accorded a splendid welcome at the Lahore Railway Station on December 24. The following people were present at the Railway Station:
01. Justice Sir Abdul Qadir (Judge of the Lahore High Court)
02. Nawab Shah Nawaz Khan of Mamdot
03. Khan Bahadur Fazal Elahi (Director, Information Bureau)
04. Mian Abdul Aziz (Deputy Director, Agriculture)
05. Dr. Abul Hassan Mansur
06. Chaudhry Fateh Sher Khan (Municipal Commissioner and Honorary Magistrate)
07. Maulana Ghulam Mohy-ud-Din Qasuri (Advocate and Secretary of the Anjuman Hamayat-i Islam, Lahore)
08. Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali
09. Syed Abdul Qadir (Professor, Islamia College, Lahore)
10. Mr. Fazal Haq (Professor, Government College, Lahore)
11. Chaudhry Rahim Bakhsh (Vice Principal, Law College, Lahore)
12. Khan Bahadur Chaudhry Rahim Bakhsh (Retired Session Judge)
13. Representatives of newspapers
The honoured guest, accompanied by Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah and Mian Ghulam Rasool Tamim, were taken to the Ahmadiyya Buildings in a motorcade. The honoured guest accompanied by Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah and Mian Ghulam Rasool Tamim, arrived in was taken to the Ahmadiyya Buildings in a motor car.,
A short while after the arrival at the Ahmadiyya Buildings, the proceedings of the first session of the Conference were begun under the presidentship of Nawab Shah Nawaz Khan of Mamdot. After recitation from the Holy Quran, the well-known poet Abul ‘Asar Hafeez Jalindhari. recited, in his characteristic lyrical style, his poem entitled “Welcome” (Khair Maqdam). His collection of poems Shahnama-i Islam, is a popular poetry book which highlights the glory of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the golden deeds of the early Muslim stalwarts.
In the prelude, he said that he had composed the poem the night before in great haste while tears were streaming from his eyes.
The Poem “Welcome” (Khair Maqdam):
The English translation of the Urdu poem is as follows:
Congratulations to you for entering the fold of Islam.
Congratulations on getting a new life after imbibing the intoxicating drink of Unity.
You are in intense love with this poor nation,
Love for its brotherhood has driven you to traverse oceans to arrive here.
I admire very much the depth of your sincerity,
But when I look at my own state, I feel ashamed.
You have grown up in the atmosphere of freedom,
Whilst we have been enmeshed in the tribulations of slavery for a long time.
Alas! We have accepted this bitter state of life as our fate,
We have forgotten the sweet memories of our forefathers.
We have forsaken the life of struggle and sacrifice in the way of Allah, and
We have gone against our ancient vows to accept martyrdom and to fight for the cause of Allah.
Our calls to prayer, our congregational prayers and our supplications,
Are just outward rituals and gestures of show.
With our tongues we deliver sermons and forceful speeches,
But in fact our self-esteem has gone into slumber.
There is no trace of love left in our hearts for the Holy Prophet Muhammad,
No zeal of faith, no pious gatherings, no people drunk with the love of Allah.
We have lost the enthusiasm for our faith and are suffering from despondency,
Dear brother! How sad it is to see us in this (abject) condition.
Your visit is a source of great honour for us.
It is also a source of pride and an occasion for celebrations.
But O friend! Please keep away from us,
And do not exhort us about high morals nor seek to instil in us a sense of freedom.
I am afraid your message may re-awaken in us our lost pride,
And your name may fail to remind us of the lofty character of the great ‘Umar.
The name of ‘Umar reminds us of the fearless soldiers of Islam,
It reminds us of those righteous champions who unsheathed their swords (in defence of Islam).
The images of those dauntless people come before our eyes,
Whose very names caused the hearts of lion-hearted (enemies) to quiver.
Events written in the pages of history about victorious soldiers with swords enliven in our hearts memories
Of those who were defenders of noble people and slayers of evil ones.
Those were the people who offered prayers in the mosques
But they were also soldiers who were victorious on the battlefields.
The name of Hazrat ‘Umar may serve as a whip to awaken our self-esteem,
But self-esteem has lost its value in these precarious times.
I am afraid I have spoken the truth openly,
But you are my dear brother and I welcome you with a very warm heart.
When the recitation of the poem started, all those present were mesmerised by it and seemed to be transported into another world. There was complete silence all around, which was occasionally broken unintentionally by voices raised in adulation. Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din, seated on the stage, swayed in appreciation, while tears streamed from Sir Abdul Qadir’s eyes. The enchantment of the poem broke through the barriers of language, so that the Baron Umar also appeared to be impressed. Then Address of Welcome was delivered by the editor of The Light, Maulana Muhammad Yakub Khan.
On December 25, 1932, in the third session of the day, which was presided over by Sir Abdul Qadir, the honoured guest, Baron Umar Ehrenfels gave a brief history of the city of Berlin and described the background of its importance as the birth-place and nucleus of the Protestant faith. During his speech he mentioned that he had learnt about the Berlin Muslim Mission from the Grand Mufti of Yugoslavia, while travelling through the country.
The Young Men’s Ahmadiyya Association, Lahore, arranged a tea-party in honour of the learned Austrian Muslim in the Habibia Hall of Islamia College, Lahore, on the evening of December 26. It was presided by Dr. Allah Bakhsh. The address of welcome was delivered by Dr. Aizad Bakhsh Sheikh M.A. Hakeem Ahmad Shuja, B.A. (Aligarh), Assistant Secretary of the Punjab Council, recited his poem entitled Tariq bin Ziyad” (The Conqueror of Spain).
Baron Umar was extended invitations by all the important organisations and elites of Lahore. After fulfilling his engagements in Lahore, he toured Delhi, Aligarh, Hyderabad and other big cities of India, in the company of Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. He was accorded warm welcome and great honour at many functions. In May 1933, Baron Umar returned to his homeland and established the Vienna Muslim Mission in Vienna – the capital of Austria, of which he remained in charge for some time.
Dr. Mirza Aziz-ur-Rahman:
In the absence of Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, Dr. Aziz-ur-Rahman carried on the activities of the Mission. Reports sent by him in Urdu appeared regularly in the weekly organ of the Central Anjuman, Paigham-i Sulh. Dr. Aziz-ur-Rahman was a highly qualified talented young man of our Jama‘at. He was the son of Hazrat Mirza Hakim Khuda Bakhsh, a learned disciple of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam. Hazrat Khuda Bakhsh is well-known for his extremely comprehensive research work, Asl-i Musaffah in two volumes, which contain details about the advent of the Promised Messiah and the prophecies and signs foretold about the last age, in the light of the Holy Quran and the Tradition of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, planned to send a delegation to Syria and Palestine to investigate the events which followed the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Hakim Khuda Bakhsh was selected as the leader of that delegation.
Dr. Mirza Aziz-ur-Rahman did his B.Sc. in Chemistry at the Islamia College, Lahore and his M.Sc at the Aligarh University. Afterwards, he completed his Ph.D at the Berlin University. Just about that time, the President of the German Sufi Society, Allama Kazim Zada, visited the Berlin Mosque and appreciated the activities of the Mission. The same year, in July, a meeting was organised to celebrate the Birthday of the Holy Prophet Muhammad under the auspices of the German Muslim Society. For the first time, the Mosque and the Mission House were illuminated with candles in the traditional fashion. Meanwhile, the dars (lessons) of the Holy Qur’an continued on a regular basis.
Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah returned to Berlin in September 1933. In order to promote the bonds of unity love and fraternity among Muslim brothers living in Gernmany, Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations were held jointly under the auspices of Mu`tamar-i Islami. In Jauary 1934, for the first time, the Imam of the Berlin Mosque performed the marriage ceremondy of a German couple, who had already embraced Islam at his hand. They were named Abdullah Dayer and Fatima Adaresh. Justice Abdul Qadir of the Lahore High Court visited the Berlin Mosque along with his wife and stayed there for a few days. During their stay, a German gentleman accepted Islam and he was named Abdul Qadir.
For the first time in July 1934, the Imam of the Berlin Mosque appealed for funds for the repairs of the Mosque. A very generous response to this appeal came from Sheikh Aziz Ahmad, son of Al-Hajj Sheikh Niaz Ahmad, a wealthy leather merchant of Wazirabad and a devoted companion of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement.. Sheikh Aziz Ahmad had come to Germany to get advanced training in leather tanning. He was the owner of the well-known Punjab Tannery of Wazirabad. During his stay he frequently visited the Berlin Mosque.
In the beginning of this report, the opposition of the Kheri Brothers against the Berlin Mission, especially that of Abdul Jabbar Kheri, was mentioned. They had formed an organisation in Berlin by the name of Jama‘at-i Islamia. Its secretary, Mr. Habib-ur-Rahman, started opposing the Berlin Mission by publishing several articles in the newspapers of Punjab such as daily Zamindar and Ihsan of Lahore. However, when Dr. Muhammad Abdullah sent a legal notice of defamation to the writer, he stopped his malicious propaganda.
In August 1934, a press in Lahore printed a beautiful calendar bearing a photograph of the Berlin Mosque with the English caption: “Light out of Darkness”. During the same month, in a meeting organised by the German Muslim Society, Mr. Alan Bosfeld, a German Muslim, delivered a lecture entitled “Islam and National Socialism”. By means of inspiring speeches delivered at the meetings of the German Muslim Society and learned articles published in the periodical Muslimisch Revue, the message of Islam was delivered to wider circle of people and more awareness about it spread in Europe.
In March 1937, Dr. Mirza Aziz-ur-Rahman, who had completed his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Berlin University, started preparations to return to his homeland. He delivered an extremely scholarly lecture on “The Future of Islam in Europe” in a meeting. On the 23rd March, the German Muslim Society held a farewell party in his honour, at which Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, Dr. Devor Stunt, Mr. Abud Ibrahim Iraqi and Professor Tara Chand Roy Dehlavi greatly appreciated his learned contributions and services to the Berlin Mission.
On April 12, 1937, Maulana Sadr-ud-Din left for Berlin in order to finalise arrangement for the publication of the German translation of the Holy Quran.
On May 6, 1937, a reception was hosted by the German Muslim Society in honour of Maulana Sadr-ud-Din, in which Mr.Hikmat Bayar, Dr. Hamid Marcus and Professor Mirza Hassan Mu‘allam praised his services to the religion of Islam. In the same month, the Birthday of the Holy Prophet Muhammad was celebrated in which Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din explained distinguishing features of the personality of the Holy Prophet Muhammad in a very impressive manner. In the month of July, in a meeting of the German Muslim Society, an excellent lecture on the topic “The Revelations of Prophets” was delivered by Baron Faun Horest, a new German Muslim. He explained how the teachings of the prophets instil a new life into their adherents. In this meeting, Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din read out some sections of the German translation of the Holy Quran. The participants became inspired at the news of the forth-coming German translation of the Qur’an and highly appreciated it. In September, Dr. Muhammad Abdullah went to India for six months. In his absence, the responsibilities of running the Mission were borne by Professor Dr. Nazeer-ul-Islam, Ph.D.
In October 1937, Baron Foltanec delivered a very interesting and informative lecture about the archaeological relics of Islam at the meeting of the German Muslim Society. On October 17, 1937, Sir Aga Khan came to visit the Berlin Mosque and expressed great pleasure when he saw the German translation of the Holy Qur’an. On October 22, the German Muslim Society called a special meeting to laud the great religious services of Maulana Sadr-ud-Din for the cause of Islam in Germany.
On January 17, 1938, a meeting was held under the presidentship of Sir Abdul Qadir at the Y.M.C.A Hall, Lahore, in which Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah delivered a splendid lecture on the subject “The Future of Islam in Europe”. On January 20, Dr. Abdullah left for Makkah to perform the Hajj. After discharging this holy duty, he had two meetings with Syed Jamil Daud, the Foreign Secretary of Saudi Arabia, and informed him of the activities of the Berlin Mission. He also had a meeting with Shah Ibn Saud which was arranged by Maulana Ismail Ghaznavi.
In February 1938, the Eid al-Azha sermon was delivered by Dr. Nazeer-ul-Islam. A meeting of the German Muslim Society under the presidentship of Mr. Khalid Zuyler was held in the same month, in which Mr. R. H. Goltmaz, a secretary in the German Government, delivered a remarkable lecture on “The Influence of the Religions of the World on the Nations of the World”. In April 1938, when Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah returned to Berlin, Dr. Nazeer-ul-Islam returned to his homeland.
On June 22, 1939, by the Grace and Blessings of Allah, the publication of the German translation of the Holy Quran was completed. On this occasion, in a special meeting, new German Muslims and others paid glowing tributes to the religious services rendered by Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din and Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in Germany.
Separate meetings for women were also held at that time under the auspices of the Mission, in which new German Muslim women took an active part. Most of the credit for organising these meetings went to Mrs. Mahmudah Abdullah.
The Second World War:
The German translation of the Holy Quran was published in August 1937. However, in September, unfortunately, the Second World War broke out and Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was forced to leave Berlin. He went first to Copenhagen (Denmark) and then returned to his homeland from there.
As the clouds of the Second World War loomed on the horizon, Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah became anxious about the future of the Mission because, being a British citizen, he would be compelled to leave Germany in case of war. At first, a German doctor and his wife volunteered to look after the Mosque and the Mission House and to bear their expenses, but soon the doctor had to join the armed forces and was killed in action and his wife also left the city. Finally, the responsibility of the Mosque and Mission House was entrusted to an energetic German Muslim lady, Mrs. Amina Mosler . In the past, she, too, had participated in the activities of the Society. She had already founded the Women’s League through which she had done commendable welfare work in various fields of the society. This pious lady faithfully and courageously looked after the Mission during the War and kept the Mosque alive in the most difficult conditions.
The contact between Berlin and the Anjuman at Lahore was severed until the end of the War. At first Germany occupied almost the whole of Europe, but then she was gradually repulsed. The Allied and American aircraft launched vicious air-attacks on Berlin and most of the city was destroyed. The Mission House, the dome and minarets of the Mosque were badly damaged. Mrs. Amina Mosler’s residence was completely destroyed but she and her son stayed in Berlin and obtained help from different quarters in clearing the rubble from the area of the Mosque after the fighting ceased. For a few months Berlin was completely under the control of Russian troops. On Mrs. Amina Mosler’s call for help in cleaning and doing necessary repairs to the Mission House and the Mosque, the Russian representative sent twenty men for the job. But soon this part of Berlin came under the control of the British army. The determination, courage and sincerity with which Mrs. Amina Mosler selflessly worked for the Mosque, throughout this period, are reflected in this report by Reuters which was published on August 12, 1945, in the daily Dawn of Karachi. The Urdu translation of this report was published in the weekly Paigham-i Sulh of August 22, 1945 and is as follows:
Reuters News about the Berlin Mosque:
“Berlin, August 12. Reuters’ correspondent writes from Berlin: The Berlin Mosque, which was built by Indian Muslim missionaries in 1927, has survived the war although it has suffered substantial damage and the dome has also received several blows.
The Mosque is situated in the part of Berlin which is under the occupation of the British Government. The minarets from which the muezzin calls the faithful to prayer are absolutely safe.
Six sincere and dedicated women have managed to repair the Mosque after five weeks of effort and hard work so that the Mosque is now fit for the offering of prayers. Amina Mosler a middle-aged German Muslim lady who has been looking after the Mosque during this time said:
‘The Mosque suffered little damage from the bombing and until the end of April when the fighting in the market-places and streets of Berlin started it was in a quite satisfactory condition. Then the men of the S.S dug a trench in the garden of the Mosque and the Russian soldiers kept launching attacks from the graveyard of Wilmersdorfen. Many of the bombs hit the Mosque. When the fighting ceased, the corpses of fourteen men of the S.S lay in the Mosque.’
Amina described how she was engaged in the repair of the Mosque for five weeks and said:
‘The greatest constraint we faced was the lack of capital because the Russian officials froze our bank account and we have not succeeded in drawing any money from the bank so far. During the War, there were six thousand members in our Jama‘at. Most of them went away and only a few hundred remain now. We gather in the Mosque on Saturday evenings and on Sundays because Friday is a working day, and also, due to transportation problems, the people cannot get together on Friday. Until the Mosque was repaired we made arrangements for prayers in a room of our house.
When the fighting around the Mosque stopped we put a huge red flag on the Mosque and wrote in bold letters that the Mosque was the property of British India so we did not have to face any trouble. Our printing press, where we used to publish religious literature, was completely destroyed by the bombing.’
Speaking of the German Muslims, Amina Mosler said:
‘We have lost around a dozen of our young people in this War, most of whom were killed on the Russian Front. I would like to especially mention a pious Muslim, Amin Wolf who was killed in Italy. He wrote a pamphlet only a few days before his death.’
In August 1945, when the news that the Berlin Mosque was safe was heard for the first time through Reuters, the President of the Anjuman in Lahore, Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali, made an passionate appeal for funds for the repair of the Mosque in Paigham-i Sulh under the title “Congratulations to the Jama‘at“. Every single word of this appeal reflects the depth of Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali’s zeal for the propagation of Islam. The pain and heart-felt anguish with which he pleads the members of the Jama‘at to spend their wealth for the cause of elevating the name of God in the world is worth reading. The English translation of the text of the appeal is given below :
Congratulations to the Jama‘at:
“Berlin has been destroyed – so utterly destroyed that the destruction of London and Warsaw and Stalingrad seem insignificant in comparison. Fire raged from its skies day and night. Hundreds of thousands of tons of bombs were dropped on it in succession for two or three years. At the end of this period, a vengeful nation who had suffered countless losses at the hands of Germany, whose towns and industries and agriculture had been turned into a barren waste by the German forces assailed Berlin and razed its buildings to the ground so that the on-lookers said that London was not ruined; it was Berlin that was destroyed. But today, Reuters’ correspondent reports that in this ravaged city the Berlin Mosque stands alive.
An impoverished Jama‘at erected a House of God in the city of Berlin. This Jama‘at desired no publicity because no body bothered to see what it had constructed? It kept on contributing its wealth for the construction of the House of God and kept praying with humility: ‘O our Lord, accept this humble effort on our behalf.’ I still remember the spectacle. A handful of women was present at the Annual Conference. An appeal came from our missionary in Berlin that there were no funds left for the minarets. When I appealed to that handful of women, Allah opened their hearts and several thousand rupees were collected from the few women of a small Jama‘at. So I congratulate my Jama‘at today that Allah, the Most High, has shown a clear sign that their sacrifice has been accepted and today Reuters’ correspondent has announced to the whole world, something which was beyond our power, that in this devastated city, Allah has saved His House.
And the amazing thing is that the report also tells that although the dome and minarets have suffered some damage, the minaret which the muezzin climbed to call the azaan (the call for prayer) is unscathed. God’s Name was raised from there. God has indeed shown a great sign. Today we are not happy just because of this though it is a very good news that we will not have to spend large sums of money on its reconstruction we are happy because Allah has shown a tremendous sign in saving His House and has given remarkable evidence of His Power and His Existence as He showed the world in the past the sight of Divine protection for Prophet Abraham. The Holy Qur’an says: O fire, be coolness and peace for Abrahma (21:69). He has once again displayed to the world that whom He wants to save, is safeguarded even In a raging fire.
The most surprising part is that when the Russian assault began, the Germans chose this very Mosque to impede the onslaught in that part of the city. Such a spot comes in for the most deadly attack, and so it happened. When the Russian forces captured it, the bodies of fourteen German soldiers lay in the Mosque, but the custodian of the Mosque was safe. This caretaker then revealed that during the War it was the centre for six thousand Muslims. All praise be to Allah. Where are those Muslims, or those who had instigated the Muslims to destroy the Berlin Mosque because it was built by the members of the Ahmadiyya Movement. O Muslims! Look at your intentions and look at the will of God. You wanted to destroy it because it was constructed by a Jama‘at which was imbued with the spirit of serving Islam; God showed, by protecting it in the midst of blazing fire, that His Hand is with this Jama‘at, and with the person who entrusted the Jama‘at with this holy mission.
Come, my friends, and prostrate yourselves before God with humility, for having made manifested such a great sign of His Power and His Omnipotence for such sinful and useless people as us. It is His Mercy; we did nothing to deserve it, but there are no bounds to His appreciation. He has awarded so much recognition to such a trifling endeavour. Come, let us, too, thank Him for His mercy in displaying a miraculous sign, by taking a practical step forward. O those, who doubt! Cast out doubts from your hearts on observing this remarkable sign from God, and be assured now that it has become God’s Will that His Name should spread in the world, and if your wealth is spent today in the cause of elevating the Name of God and spreading the Word of God in the world, this defiled wealth will also be purified and gain an eternal life, and nobody can envisage the blessings that God has reserved for those who spend their riches thus. The Qur’an says: No soul knows what refreshment of the eyes is hidden for them (32:17). This sign has been shown to the world in the month of Ramadan so that we are able to appreciate its true significance in this month. The month of Ramadan began on August 10 and on its third day, that is, August 12, an infidel news agency proclaimed this sign to the whole world, and it was for this month that I had asked you to resolve to set up ten more missions in the world and to give between one-tenth to one-third of your accumulated wealth which you are to leave behind in the world to perish for this cause, so that all your riches may gain an eternal and ever-lasting life and that they may be multiplied for you ten times, a thousand times, a hundred thousand times yielding boundless profit in your after-life. God has granted so much appreciation to your first effort; now increase the pace of your steps in the way of God. If you first stood up from a sitting posture, now set your feet into motion. If you had first started walking from a standing position, now break into a run. Bring forth whatever you can so that we can all raise the Name of God in the world, and in the coming year we can establish ten more missions for the propagation of Islam and the spread of the Holy Quran in ten major cities of the world. Your God is with you. You have only to make a resolution, and He will infuse the strength into you.
O affluent people! If you do not bring forth your wealth at my call, remember that you will regret it one day. Give your riches in the way of God; for elevating the Name of God in the world; for conveying the last message of God as a sustenance for the world dying of spiritual hunger; and if all my entreaties do not move your hearts and I am aware of what little power there can be in the voice of a useless and sinful person then my last appeal is that you kneel down before God in this month of Ramadan and pray to Him with tears: ‘O God, make some other arrangements for the ascendancy of your religion!’ He is able to do this, too. And pray for the triumph of the religion of God with so much pain and anguish that your cries may reach the heavens. Only about fifteen days of Ramadan will remain after you get this appeal. These days will also include the last ten blessed days. Do not forget my last request that if you cannot give your wealth, then help me with prayers which reach the heavens.”
7, Ramadan al-Mubarak
For a few years after the end of the Second World War, the Anjuman could not send an Imam from Pakistan. Mrs. Amina Mosler continued to perform the duties of looking after the Mosque and the Mission House. During the War, the duties of the Imam were temporarily performed by Abdul Ghani Usman – a Tartar Muslim. The residence of the Imam was rented out to a German and the income from it was used to meet the expenditures of the Mosque. Meetings of Yugoslavian Muslim volunteers and other gatherings were held at Mrs. Amina Mosler’s house. During this period, around eight thousand Turks, Yugoslavians and Tartars were associated with the Berlin Mosque, of which six thousand were Yugoslavian Muslims. Friday congregational prayers and weekly gatherings on Sundays also took place regularly.
In 1941, the former Mufti of Palestine, Amin al-Hussaini, and the Prime Minister of Iraq fled to Berlin along with their Arab supporters and they, too, attended the Eid congregations.
Muhammad Aman Hobohm:
In May 1949, Muhammad Aman Hobohm ¾ a zealous German Muslim belonging to the northern German city of Leubec, was appointed as the Assistant Imam. Since his youth, he was interested in the comparative study of the teachings, history and culture of other religions. He had just started to form an organisation to promote this object when the Second World War broke out and he could not keep in touch with people. Immediately after the War, he happened to read Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali’s booklet, Islam the Religion of Humanity, and this booklet guided him towards the truth of Islam. Then he studied other books by Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali and finally he accepted Islam. In October 1947, he joined the Jama‘at after corresponding with Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali. Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali’s renowned book, The New World Order, was published in October, 1948. When Bro. Muhammad Aman Hobohm read it, he immediately sought permission to translate it into German. In this way, he was engaged in religious service on his own. Then he was selected for the Berlin Mission. For some time he remained under the training of Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in Woking, after which, in May 1949, he started his work as the Assistant Imam of the Berlin Mosque.
On May 14, 1949, a special reception was held in Berlin presided over by Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, who was at that time in charge of the Woking Muslim Mission and was also responsible for the Berlin Mission. At this function, Bro. Muhammad Aman Hobohm’s appointment as the Assistant Imam was officially announced and he was introduced to the local German Muslims and other notables of the city. The reception was attended by more than two hundred Muslims. Details of the reception were broadcast through the world-renowned news agency, Reuters. A report about the function along with a brief history of the Mosque was also published by Pakistani newspapers.
Bro. Muhammad Aman Hobohm was proficient both in German and English. He also knew Arabic, French and Latin. Hence, during his term he started publication of a magazine called The Orient Post in three languages ¾ Arabic, English and German ¾ but due to financial difficulties it could not be continued for long. For the first time in the history of the Berlin Mosque and Mission, a German Muslim was made the Imam, but in spite of being a German he had to face bitter opposition.
In 1948, some Muslims gathered around a Pakistani journalist, Hafiz Manzar-ud-Din Ahmad. The attitude of this journalist was regrettable in many ways. He had cherished hopes that he would be appointed as the Imam of the Mosque, but when Bro.Muhammad Aman Hobohm became the Assistant Imam, his hopes were shattered and he started to oppose him.. He and his associates started incitinging the people against Imam Hobohm, saying that he was not a true Muslim. As a result of their instigation, he was attacked outside the Mosque one day. However, he kept on performing his duties with utmost courage, steadfastness, sincerity and intelligence. As a result Eid congregations and lectures continued to be regularly arranged with success.
In 1953, Imam Hobohm came to Pakistan and visited all the Jama‘ats. He delivered a wonderful lecture at the Peshawar University. He got married to the daughter of Mr. Azimullah, a renowned advocate of Lahore and the General Secretary of the Anjuman Hamayat Islam. On his return he served the Mission for one more year, after which he was forced to leave the Mission due to its financial constraints and his own domestic circumstances. He entered the Government service in 1954. At present, probably, he is working as the Cultural Attaché of the German Embassy in Saudi Arabia. During the four-year term of Imam Hobohm, eighty-two Germans entered the fold of Islam. On his departure, the responsibility of looking after the Mosque and Mission once again fell upon the shoulders of Mrs. Amina Mosler and that courageous and dedicated lady fulfilled this responsibility with utmost sincerity, devotion and faithfulness for five years.
Mr. Abdul Aziz Khan:
In the beginning of 1959, Mr. Abdul Aziz Khan, a well-known personality of the Mardan district and a respected member of the Jama’at, was designated Imam of the Berlin Mosque. Before Partition, he was the DSP of the CID in Bombay and he also worked as the General Secretary of the Central Anjuman, Lahore for a few years. He stayed in Berlin for a short period of barely nine months, during which the financial condition of the Mission did not improve, in spite of his efforts. The hostile propaganda of Muslims from other countries added to his woes. In these critical circumstances, Maulana Muhammad Yahya Butt was immediately sent to Berlin to take charge of the Mission. Maulana Butt had been working as the Assistant Imam of the Shah Jehan Mosque, Woking since August 1956.
Maulana Muhammad Yahya Butt:
Maulana Muhammad Yahya Butt was born into a religious and educated family of Sialkot on February 24, 1924. After completing his High School education, he joined government service. The religious atmosphere of his childhood left an indelible impact upon his personality and this became more pronounced as he grew older. His grandfather, Mian Muhammad Abdullah was reputed in the city for his conscientiousness and piety. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement was well known in every house of Sialkot. Mian Muhammad Abdullah went to meet him and, impressed by the saintly light on his face and his speech, enquired if he was the Promised Imam whose arrival had been foretold by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Hazrat Mirza replied in the affirmative and was going to give proof of his claim but Mian Muhammad Abdullah said there was no need for that; he only wanted to assure himself that he was the Promised Imam and desired the acceptance of his bai’at.
In 1941, Maulana Butt joined government service in Sialkot. After three years he was transferred to Lahore where he took up his residence at the Delhi Gate. He regularly attended the Fajr prayers at the Ahmadiyya Buildings and Maulana Sadr-ud-Din’s dars of the Holy Quran.
In 1945 when Maulana Muhammad Ali appealed to the young men to dedicate their lives to the propagation of Islam, Maulana Butt left his government job to devote his life to the service of the faith. In1946, he became student of the training class for missionaries. For two years, he acquired knowledge of the Holy Quran, Tradition, Islamic Jurisprudence and the works of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah from Hazrat Maulana Abdul Rahman Misri. After completing the training course, he was appointed as the Assistant Editor of the weekly Paigham-i Sulh for some time. In 1951, Maulana Butt passed the examinations of Arabic and Bachelor of Arts at the University of the Punjab. He also served as Hazrat Ameer Maulana Sadr-ud-Din’s personal assistant for some time, and assisted him in writing and printing two of his renowned books, Ghalba-i Quran (The Triumph of the Holy Quran) and Zuroorat-i Hadith (The Importance of the Tradition). In August 1956, the Central Anjuman sent him to Woking, England as the Assistant Imam of the Shah Jehan Mosque. He also delivered the Friday sermons and led the congregational prayers on behalf of the Mission at the Pakistan High Commission, at the request of His Excellency Muhammad. Ikramullah, Pakistan’s High Commissioner in London. Maulana Butt stayed in England for three years during which he also attended the sessions of the World Congress of Faiths. In 1958, he met the Archbishop of Canterbury on the occasion of the Independence Day of India and had an interesting conversation with him.
Sir Aga Khan, the Third, had a long-standing and close association with the Woking Muslim Mission and the Shah Jehan Mosque. On account of this, he said in his will that his memorial service should be held at the Shah Jehan Mosque, Woking. Thus a dignified and solemn service was held at the Mosque. It was attended by Prince Karim Aga Khan, prominent members of the Ismaili community, the ambassadors of many Muslim states and the representative of Queen Elizabeth II. Maulana Butt led the funeral service.
Prayer House, London:
18 Eccleston Square, London was the Prayer House of the Woking Muslim Mission, from where the monthly The Islamic Review was published. Lectures were held on every Sunday. Maulana Butt also had the opportunity to deliver lectures there on several subjects. Some of these were also published in The Islamic Review.
Some of the important topics were:
- The need for co-operation amongst religions.
- The Prophet Muhammad’s treatment of the Jews.
- The truth about the Ascension of the Holy Prophet and its importance.
Maulana Butt’s article, “The Holy Prophet’s Kind Treatment of the Jews”, was published by the well-known magazine, The Islamic Culture, published from Hyderabad Deccan. In November 1959, Maulana Butt took charge of the Berlin Mission. Since no proper Imam had been sent to Berlin for a long time after Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, the headlines of the local newspapers heralded the arrival of Maulana Butt.
The annual reports of the Berlin Mission, which were published in Urdu from time to time, show that Maulana Butt carried out the work of propagating Islam in Germany in a very organised manner and adopted the following means of conveying the teachings of Islam:
- Talks were given at the Berlin Mosque after Friday prayers.
- Lectures were held at the Mission House on every Saturday.
- German Christian families were sent invitations.
- Discussions were regularly arranged with Christian students at the Berlin University.
- The Islamic point of view on different issues was presented at the meetings of The All Churches Religious Organisation.
- Speeches were made on different topics in the Elphen Gelshey Academy of Berlin.
- Lectures were delivered at different gatherings organised by Muslim circles.
- A series of talks was broadcast on Radio Reis, Berlin. This afforded an opportunity to present the Islamic significance of these important Islamic occasions like Lailat al-Qadr (Night of Majesty), the Night of Ascension of the Holy Prophet, and other subjects in German to a wider circle of listeners. Some of the speeches aired on the radio and delivered at meetings were afterwards published in the form of booklets which are as follows:
- The Islamic Concept of Life after Death
- The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, his life and Mission.
- Five Speeches about Islam on Radio Berlin
- The Basic Principles of Islam
- A Glance at the Birthday Celebration of the Holy Prophet
- A Call to the Truth
- The Status of Jesus Christ ¾ in the Light of the Holy Quran and the Bible
- The Path to Peace
- The Message of Islam
- The Concept of the Advent of Reformers in Islam
- Discussions were held with the people visiting the Berlin Mosque and they were provided with literature and other essential information about Islam.
Maulana Muhammad Yahya Butt served as the Imam of the Berlin Mosque for twenty-seven years and four months ¾ a considerably long period of time. Through his efforts, one hundred and seventy-five people entered the fold of Islam, among them were a judge of the Berlin Court and several German scholars. .
The German Information Bulletin published by the German Government in 1962 published brief history of the Mosque and some details about the activities of the Mission and its influence under the title The Beautiful Mosque of Berlin. Some excerpts from it are given below:
“Muslim tourists are awed by the spectacle of the beautiful Mosque in Berlin, the metropolis of ancient Germany. It is the pleasure of every citizen to take every newcomer to the city in his first leisure time to visit this large and most magnificent Mosque. Muslims coming from Muslim states experience a spiritual contentment at this place as, standing shoulder to shoulder, they prostrate themselves before the Almighty. Its foundation stone was laid thirty years ago by a pious person, Maulana Sadr-ud-Din, who succeeded in completing it by his tireless efforts. This Mosque contributes to the repute and prestige of the city. It affords a practical example of the majesty and tolerance of Islam. When Germans visit the Mosque and talk about Christianity and ask the Imam’s opinion about their views and ideas, the astonishing result has been that most of those who come to the Mosque with confused and prejudiced concepts about Islam, bid farewell to Christianity after they have had a talk with the Imam and return to their homes after entering the fold of Islam.”
In the same year, the German Muslim Society was revived after a long time by the efforts of Maulana Butt. A princess of the Iranian royal family was chosen as its first president, but later Maulana Butt was made the president. From 1982 to 1987 Maulana Butt’s daughter Mansura Butt remained its secretary and Syed Tanfus of Tunis was its treasurer. Mansura Butt did her M.Sc. in Economics at the Berlin University and her thesis on the topic, “Interest-free Banking in Pakistan”, was accepted by the University.
When Maulana Butt came to Pakistan in the same year, the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Lahore sent a delegation under him to East Pakistan to elucidate the importance of the propagation of Islam in the West.
Burial Ground for Muslims in Berlin:
During the monarchy, William Caesar had given a piece of land in Berlin to the Turkish Government for the purpose of a graveyard for Muslims. It was under the control of the Turkish Consul General in Berlin: permission from him had to be specially sought in order to bury a dead in the graveyard. On several occasions, bodies of Muslims had to be buried in Christian cemeteries since permission was not granted in time. Hence, at the insistence of the people, Maulana Butt started corresponding with the Mayor of Berlin on this issue, as a result of which the Federal Government allocated a separate piece of government land for the burial of non-Turk Muslim inhabitants, and the difficulty faced by the Muslims for many years was thus removed. In the new graveyard, the relatives of the deceased have to pay the cost of the piece of land for the grave, which is usually covered by the insurance of the deceased. In this context, Maulana Butt drew the Mayor’s attention towards another problem if the relatives of the deceased are unable to pay the cost of the land, what is to be done in that case? The solution that the Mayor found to this problem was that if the Imam of the Berlin Mosque testified that the relatives of the deceased were indeed unable to bear the cost, then they would be exempted from paying the cost of land for a grave.
The Birthday of Jesus Christ:
With the object of promoting an atmosphere of religious tolerance and mutual understanding between the Muslims and Christians, the day of the birth of Jesus Christ was celebrated for the first time in the Berlin Mosque on December 26, 1964. It was presided over by the Mayor of Berlin, Mr. William D. Jamseroy . After the recitation of the Holy Quran the following views about Islamic tolerance were expressed by Mr. Kurt Aberhart, the secretary of the All Churches Religious Organisation:
“I have been invited by the Imam of the Mosque to read a passage from the Bible on the occasion of the birth of Christ. I am thankful to him for this and see it as gesture of tolerance towards Christianity. This attitude is made even more admirable by the fact that Islam has a different belief about Jesus Christ than that of Christianity. Muslims believe that Jesus was only a prophet, equal in status to the other prophets, such as Moses and Elias, mentioned in the Bible, and do not believe that he possessed any Divine attributes. In spite of this, the fact that Jesus and Mary have been mentioned in the Holy Quran more than once is noteworthy. But this still does not provide sufficient reason to celebrate the Birthday of Jesus in a Mosque. In this context, some other things are also thought provoking. For instance, Islam counts Christianity among the religions of the world. I think that the Imam of the Mosque has set for us a good example by organising this gathering and it is my wish that Christianity should reciprocate by showing a much greater degree of tolerance for Islam than has been displayed up to the present time. A good beginning was made by the Protestants and Catholics in the near past. This healthy start should be built upon. In Berlin, through different Churches and the organisations of various Christian factions, we have provided an opportunity to the followers of different religions to get together and try to understand one another’s views. I have mentioned these few facts in order to explain in detail the background of this inter-religious gathering which is being held in a mosque in connection with the birth of Jesus Christ.”
In 1965, the present Pope, John Paul, declared that the Muslims are not infidals but they believe in one God. He instructed the priests to improve their relations with Muslims and to exchange views with them upon religious issues. In order to spread this declaration of the Pope, the All Churches Religious Organisation of Berlin held a special meeting. A brief report about it is given below :
“The All Churches Religious Organisation celebrated its twentieth anniversary. On this occasion, the Secretary of the Organisation, Rev. Aberhart , invited Dr. Benz , a Christian Professor at the University of Bonn to speak. In his speech, the Professor mentioned the Papal announcement made in 1965. Commenting upon this announcement, the Professor highlighted in detail the causes which had forced the Pope to change the long-standing attitude of the Church towards the Muslims. He said that a phenomenal change has appeared in the Muslim world in this century. Such religious organisations have emerged among the Muslims which are producing translations of the Holy Quran and its commentary, and literature about the life of the Prophet Muhammad. These are being disseminated on a large scale in Europe. They are also exerting their influence on the minds of the people by opening missions and sending missionaries to Europe. (By mentioning these facts, the Professor has actually admitted in an indirect manner the positive results of the missionary activity of the Ahmadiyya Movement.) The Professor said that now many Muslim states were heading towards political independence after throwing off the rulership of the Western nations; the Gulf states were beginning to grow in oil wealth. These three facts have forced the Vatican to change its old perspective about Islam and hence the Papal appeal for closer relations with the Muslim World.”
In 1973 Maulana Sadr-ud-Din the founder of the German Muslim Mission ¾ visited Berlin during a month-long tour of South America for missionary and organisational purposes.
In June 1977, Maulana Butt met the Muslim prisoners in the prisons of Berlin at the request of the Minister of the Judiciary of the Government. He spoke with them on different issues and presented a few copies of the German translation of the Holy Quran by Maulana Sadr-ud-Din to the Prison library.
Pope John Paul and Islamic Tolerance:
In September 1978, Maulana Butt met the Cardinal Secretary of Pope John Paul in a religious conference in Rome. One of the objects of this conference was to propagate the Pope’s important announcement of 1965 in which he had directed the priests to modify their past attitude towards the Muslims, to cultivate closer relations with them and to exchange views with them on religious issues. In the conference, the Cardinal Secretary of the Pope, first expressed his views on the subject of religious tolerance. Then, Maulana Butt was invited to present the Islamic outlook on tolerance. The summary of Maulana Butt’s speech in English is given below:
“We welcome this announcement of Pope John Paul about religious tolerance and will like to take this opportunity to state with great pleasure that Islam has been practising religious tolerance for the past fourteen hundred years. Islam does not restrict itself to preaching tolerance only in words; it presents a practical example of tolerance which no religion has taught to this day. Tolerance is not just a policy in Islam; it is declared to be a part of faith to believe that all religions and their founders are from God. It even goes a step further than this to state that not only is it essential to believe in all the messengers of God; if even a single messenger is denied, a Muslim becomes an infidel. This concept of Islamic tolerance not only links the followers of all religions in a spiritual relationship; it also provides a firm basis for bringing them closer and promoting better understanding among them.
“There is so much respect and veneration among the Muslims for Jesus Christ and Mary that even in a remote village of the Muslim World, whose people are not even educated, when the names of these two personalities are mentioned, people bow down their heads in respect. But on the contrary, the state of the Christian World is such that once a student of the Free Berlin University came to the Mission House and we began to talk about Islam and when there was a mention of swine being forbidden in Islam, the student said that he knew that we abhorred the flesh of this animal because it had eaten the body of our Prophet.”
Maulana Butt laid great emphasis on this point before the audiance ¾ the respect of an illiterate Muslim in a remote village for Jesus and Mary in contrast with the extreme ignorance and revulsion of an educated student of the Free Berlin University for the Prophet of Islam.
The effect of this speech was that the Cardinal Secretary of the Pope admitted before the audience the greatmess of the Prophet Muhammad and the errors in Christian literature. The Mufti of Cyprus, Dr. Riffat Mustafa Usalene, was also present at the conference. At the end of the session he expressed his intense happiness and the other Muslim participants also embraced Maulana Butt and commended his courage with which he had presented Islam at the centre of a Catholic Church.
The Reports of German Newspapers:
Some German newspapers and periodicals such as The Velt and Der Tagas Peegal publish reports about the Mosque and the activities of the Mission, from time to time. The latter newspaper appreciated the work of the Mission and its ideals in its issue of July 8, 1979, in the following words:
“Imam Muhammad Yahya Butt comes from Lahore, Pakistan. He has been in charge of the Mission for the last twenty years. Officials of the Berlin Government hold his views on Islamic issues in high esteem and believe them to be authentic. His style of exercising his judgement and reasoning has always been appreciated. Some of the Muslims residing in Berlin uphold those views about the rights of women which have been held by Maulana Maudoodi in Pakistan. But the truth is that the views and exposition which the Pakistani Imam of the Berlin Mosque present here in Germany are logical and practical.”
In 1980, the Imam of the Berlin Mosque was invited to Tehran by the Revolutionary Council of Iran to participate in the celebrations of the anniversary of the Revolution.
On January 14, a documentary film entitled Muslims in Germany was prepared, and shown on television on May 7 of the same year. In this film, the Berlin Mosque and the endeavours of the Mission were briefly introduced and a few new German Muslims were also interviewed, some of whom said that they had obtained information about Islam from the Imam of the Berlin Mosque.
During the same year, a renowned German publishing firm, Zie Benztryn compiled articles written by Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian, Bahai and Sufi religious leaders and scholars on the subject “What will Happen after Death?” Twenty-four articles were written in all, of which eighteen were by Christian scholars. The Islamic point of view on this subject was presented by the Imam of the Berlin Mosque, Maulana Muhammad Yahya Butt. This was later printed in the form of a book.
And now some excerpts from the reports and comments published in newspapers about the Berlin Mosque and the activities of the Mission, which highlight its work and impact:
“The Imam of the Mosque these days is Muhammad Yahya Butt. He is a Pakistani and is the religious leader of over a thousand Muslims, most of whom are university students from Arab states, Iran, India, Pakistan and Indonesia. The doors of the Berlin Mosque are open to all Muslims, irrespective of the country to which they belong. This Mosque is not just a place of worship for Muslims from foreign lands. Indeed, the Imam of the Mosque makes earnest efforts so that the people of Germany may believe in the message of the Prophet Muhammad and he has been quite successful in this regard. Over seventy new German Muslims are included in his circle…. Every Saturday evening new Muslim brothers and Christian friends meet the Imam at the Mission House and listen to his talk on religious issues. There is a wonderful display of forbearance during the question-answer sessions. It is this very attitude of tolerance of the Imam which is crowning his efforts to preach Islam with an astonishing amount of success. A German is entering the fold of Islam every month.
The citizens of Berlin are well acquainted with this Mosque, located in the 7th and 8th streets of Wilmersdorfen. They must have a strange idea of the Muslim way of worship. However, the reason for this unfamiliarity is not that we, Christians and non-Muslims, do not want to learn about the Muslim way of prayer; it is because in most Muslim countries the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad are not propagated in a broadminded way. In the Arab states, even today, a non-Muslim is not permitted to enter a Mosque. So it is out of question for Christians to come to a mosque to observe how Muslims pray. But Imam Muhammad Yahya Butt has a completely different attitude. He invites Christian friends to visit the Mosque. The Imam is the religious leader of the Muslim community in Berlin. He considers it to be one of his most important duties to remove the misunderstandings and prejudiced ideas about Islam from the minds of Christians.”
The writer ends his long essay by writing:
“This is a good opportunity for the citizens of Berlin to learn and understand the teachings of Islam. Admission to the Mosque is open to all. Christians are allowed to enter the Mosque on Fridays when prayers are being offered, or on Saturday evenings when lectures on different subjects are being delivered from the Holy Quran, or when talks are going on. Great respect is shown towards Christian friends and visitors to the Mosque. One hundred and twenty-five chairs have been laid out in the Mosque for visitors. A person who is anywhere near the Mosque on Friday, the time of the zuhr prayer, and hears the call of the muezzin, he can enter the Mosque without any hesitation passing through its doorway, and will see nothing odd during the prayer in the Mosque. The good that will come out of seeing Muslims pray in the Mosque will be that we will able to deal more tolerantly with those living in our city and our country, whose religion is not Christianity.”
The writer further says:
“Since the last fifteen or sixteen years the Berlin Mosque has become such a centre where not only can the Muslims of different sects gather together and offer prayers, but the Christians can also participate in the meetings held in the Mosque. In this way, this Mosque of Berlin has become a unique model, a living testimony that Islam is the religion of universal principles.
“Muslims have different organisations in Germany today. Some are prejudiced and intolerant, some are extremists and there are some that are imbued with missionary zeal and they attach great importance to themselves at times, but the truth is that in the presence of all these Muslim organisations in Germany, the Berlin Mosque is the only centre in this country which has become the symbol of true loyalty to the spirit of Islam and the only one which demonstrates sincerity and devotion to its cause.”
Visitors to the Mosque:
People keep coming to visit the Mosque. These include tourists, students, teachers, ambassadors of Muslim states, political leaders and heads of states. The names of some of the notable personalities who paid a visit to the Mosque while Maulana Butt was its Imam are listed below:
- The President of Somalia, His Excellency, Mr. Adil Abdullah Usman
- The Foreign Minister of Pakistan. Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto
- The Prime Minister of Malaysia, His Excellency Tunku Abdur Rahman
- Renowned Muslim scholar of the Soviet Union, Al-Hajj Adil Renalov
- A delegation of the members of the National Assembly of Bangladesh
- A group of professors of the Al-Azhar University
- The President of the International Court of Justice, The Hague, Holland, Chaudhri Sir Muhammad Zafarullah Khan
Official Aid for the Berlin Mosque:
The dome and minarets of the Berlin Mosque suffered severe damage during the Second World War. Up to 1951, the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Lahore spent nearly 61,000 German Marks from its own resources on the necessary repairs to the Mosque and the Mission House but the Mosque was still not fit to be used during the winter. It could only be used for a few months in the summer. By Maulana Butt’s efforts the following sums of money were received from the Berlin Corporation and other Government departments for the repairs of the Mosque:
April 21, 1975 215,000 Marks November 14, 1975 50,000 Marks 1976 60,000 Marks
We have found a book, which seems to have simply been an essay that was published in the Muslim Herald in the issue of May–1976. This is a rare glimpse at Mirza Tahir Ahmad before he became Khalifa. This essay was in Urdu and by Mirza Tahir Ahmad was in response to a book entitled, “From Rabwah to Tel Aviv” which was published, circulated and sold at the “World Festival of Islam” which was held in the UK in 1976, it seems to have put together per the order of Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri. The Muslims who wrote the original book seem to have been working on connecting the Zionist movement with the Ahmadiyya Movement, specifically in terms of their work with the British and U.S. Goverments, it is likely that even Wahhabism are agents of the USA and the Britsh. We have attached what seems to have been an english translation of Mirza Tahir Ahmad’s response. Bashir Ahmad Rafiq (the long time imam at the Ahmadiyya mosque in London) wrote the foreward/preface. Furthermore, the politics of Ahmadiyya and western power and the Mirza families quest for their own country is discussed.
What did Mirza Tahir Ahmad object to?
Firstly, he seems to take exception to Muslims calling Ahmadi’s as Qadiani’s. Ever since Ahmadi’s moved out of Qadian, they have taken exception to being called Qadiani’s, since most Ahmadi’s don’t live there anymore.
The full PDF
From Rabwah to Tel Aviv (1976) Mirza Tahir Ahmad
The book review
Mirza Tahir Ahmad starts off with quoting many verse of the Quran out of context. He asserts that all people who have opposed prophets have died miserably and etc. He responds to the parallels that Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri makes between Judaism and Ahmadiyyat. Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri seems to have argued, that like the Jews, Ahmadi’s have explained prophethood so that anyone could reach it, specifically any astrologer. Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri seems to be correct, since Nostradamus made many predictions, and per MGA’s definition of a prophet, even Nostradamus fits. Mirza Tahir Ahmad goes on to quote many verses of the Quran, he even quotes 69:44, which we have thoroughly refuted in the past. Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri seems to make a parallel with the Jewish belief’s about Jesus and the Ahmadiyya belief’s, he calls it “continuation of the soul of Jesus”. This most likely means that Jews believe that Jesus died and so do the Qadiani-Ahmadi’s. Mirza Tahir Ahmad is confused, he pivots and argues that Sunni/Shia-Muslims in-fact believe just like the Jews that a Messiah will physically ascend from the sky and thus they are the ones that are similar, Ahmadi’s believe that Jesus died in India and will never physically return, thus, contradicting the beliefs of Jews. Christians and Muslims. Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri also seems to argue that MGA claimed to be a descendant of Jews and etc. Mirza Tahir Ahmad tells us that Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri wrote that just like the Jews, Ahmadi’s denied all the miracles of Jesus (as), which is actually a valid assertion.
The reference work Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri’s book
Mirza Tahir Ahmad tells us that Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri quoted Anjam-e-Athim, the Al-Fazl of 1-3-1952. Again, in this quotation, Ahmadi’s accuse all of their opponents to be like Abu Jahl. This is a common Ahmadi tactic. Ahmadi’s see all of these discussions as a lying competition and thus never engage honestly. Instead Ahmadi’s do death duels (Mubahila’s) and pray for their enemies to die. In this specific quote, Ahmadi’s claim that they don’t care if they are living in Pakistan and 99% of the country is against them, when Ahmadi’s will win, they will force their opponents to show their face and be humiliated. Mirza Tahir Ahmad responds by saying that when Ahmadi’s do takeover Pakistan, they will show sympathy to their opponents, however, the purport of the essay in Al-Fazl was much different, Mirza Tahir Ahmad was simply watering down the statement from the Al-Fazl.
Mirza Tahir Ahmad direct quotes Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri
Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri wrote on Page 6 of his pamphlet:
“Under the auspices of the British and the Jews, Qadianiat is determined to swallow the whole world. The Khalifa of Qadian has openly announced: ‘We do not know when God will commit the charge of the world to us but on our side, but we will be ready”.
Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri also quoted the Al-Fazl of 1-10-1952
Mirza Tahir Ahmad tells us that “Director of Propagation of MKA wrote this article and does in-fact have to do with the aggressive nature of tabligh in Ahmadi’s.
Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri also quoted the Al-Fazl of 2-14-1922
Mirza Tahir Ahmad claims that this is a false reference, instead he says that it is really referring to the Al-Fazl of 2-27-1922. Mirza Tahir Ahmad admits that this quote is true, however, brief. His father, Mirza Basheer ud Din Mahmud Ahmad did say that Ahmadi’s are looking to take over the world, however, its per the Quran that Islam would take over the world, Mirza Tahir Ahmad argues, he quotes 9:33.
Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri claims that Rabwah was created in the same vein as Israel, a favor from the USA and British
Mirza Tahir Ahmad claims that the acquisition of Rabwah had nothing to do with British help. However, at that time, the governor of the Punjab was British and he made the final decision to sell 1034 acres of land to Mirza Basheer ud DIn Mahmud for dirt cheap. Mirza Tahir Ahmad also fails to mention that Zafullah Khan was working behind the scenes and helped make this sale a final deal. In those days (1947–1953), Ahmadi’s had lots of political power and were unapologetically aggressive towards the Muslims of Pakistan. When his sale was in-progress, the press noted how Ahmadi’s were getting a sweet deal and the government was taking a loss. MIrza Basheer ud Did Mahmud Ahmad became the leader and then he leased out land to Ahmadi’s and thus became a millionaire. For the first time ever, Ahmadi’s were handed over a headquarters, a state within a state, which allowed the Ahmadi’s to organize and get advantage over all the Muslims of Pakistan. It should be noted that no other minority was given any tract of land as such, not the Christians, Hindus or Sikhs of Pakistan. Mirza Tahir Ahmad even quotes the Inqilab of 8-31-1948, page 6, columns 2&3, wherein an announcement of the pending sale was posted. However, this is normal when an auction is happening, a public notice must be published in the press.
Mirza Tahir Ahmad gives the Ahmadi opinion that only Muslims should be allowed in Israel/Palestine
Mirza Tahir Ahmad claims that this is the Ahmadi position. He claims that Ahmadi’s have always supported the Arabs and have been opposed to Zionism. He goes on and claims that Israel should come to an end. Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri argued that ever since the end of WW-1 and the fall of the Ottoman empire, the Ahmadi’s were given access to Syria and Palestine in attempt to get converts and sway public opinion. Mirza Tahir Ahmad admits that Maulvi Jalal-ud Din Shams had been working in Syria since 1924, conflicting dates on his arrival in Syria, the ROR of 1931 tells us that he arrived in Damascus, Syria in July of 1925. However, Mirza Tahir Ahmad claims that it was late in 1924 (See “From Rabwah to Tel Aviv (1976)). However, Shams was stabbed in December of 1927, as part of civil unrest which swept the country, a few months later, the French asked Maulvi Jalal ud Din Shams to leave, but his Khalifa refused, the Khalifa argued that Shams should be allowed to stay, hence, Shams stayed in protest of the French (see Khan for extensive details and the ROR of 1931). Nevertheless, on 3-9-1928, they demanded that he leave in 24 hours, which he did. Maulvi Jalal ud Din Shams was ordered by his Khalifa to move to Haifa, he arrived 8 days later on 3-17-1928. Khan writes extensively about Ahmadiyya in Syria and modern day Israel and gives new references from Britsh government documents, see Adil Hussain Khan (2015). From Sufism to Ahmadiyya: A Muslim Minority Movement in South Asia. Indiana University Press. p. 134. In the ROR of 1932, Jalal-uddin Shams mentions hows Jews are taking over Palestine, firstly, the British Government was administering these lands and was allowing Jews to move in and buy land. The same British Government had helped Ahmadi’s in Israel and most likely led them to Kababir. Cement of Superior quality? From Kababir? Jalal-uddin Shams also mentions how there was a huge family business in Kababir in cement work. This seems to have been a multi-million dollar enterprise (by today’s standards). Register mentions this fact also, it seems that the family that owned this business was totally converted to Ahmadiyya before Shams left. However, Shams tells us that some Jewish people had bought and taken over this business.
Did the British fund Ahmadiyya missions via Tehrik-e-Jadid?
Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri claims that the entire Ahmadiyya global mission was secretly funded by the British. Mirza Tahir Ahmad calls this as ridiculous. He claims that the Kababir Jamaat had only donated a few shillings for Tehrik-e-Jadid, and thus this entire argument is false, he quotes the Al-Fazl of 2-7-1935.
Zafrullah Khan’s role in sabotaging the Muslim world
Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri argued in his book that Zafrullah Khan was an agent of the British and the USA. He worked directly for them as he sabotaged the advances of the Muslim world post-colonialism. Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri is absolutely correct. The colonist developed a new strategy to subjigate the world, i.e. puppet states and puppet dictators, see the life of Saddam Hussein, Khadafi, and many many others. The USA and British were jockeying for position vs. the Russians and have operated as such since the end of WW-2 (1945-48). Naturally, Mirza Tahir Ahmad rejects this notion altogether. Mirza Tahir Ahmad claims argues that Jinnah should be considered a traitor as well. This is true, Jinnah was also a puppet of the West, they planted him in Pakistan and controlled his life. When he died, another puppet dictator was chosen, when they got tired of Liaquat Ali Khan, he was mysteriously assassinated (shot dead). Uptil the 1970’s, Ahmadi’s controlled the Muslim world via the British and the USA. King Faisal began to oppose Ahmadiyya in 1972-1973, he was shot dead soon thereafter. However, he exposed the Ahmadi’s as agents of the West. He stopped Ahmadi’s from coming to Mecca for Hajj and had even urged the entire Muslim world to follow his lead on the Ahmadi-issue. As we know, western powers have always looked for minority groups and propped them up as puppet leaders.
Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri mistakenly confused the data on Ahmadi’s and the Israeli military, he claimed that there were 600 Pakistani-Ahmadi’s
On this topic, Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousef Bannauri is mistaken. The truth is, the Arab-Ahmadi’s of Kababir are allowed to serve in the Israeli military, whereas the Muslims of Israel are not. The newspaper reports on this topic were totally wrong, they asserted something that was incorrect, it was an honest mistake nevertheless. Bannuari quoted the Nawai-i-Waqt magazine of 9-29-1975, that newspaper was quoting, “Israel: A Profile” (published in 1972), by a renowned Jewish Professor, I.T Naomi. Bannauri also quotes an interview of Maulana Zafar Ahmad Ansari which was published in a newspaper called the weekly “Tahir” of Lahore in its issue of December 22-28, 1975, which simply stated that the same, i.e., that there were roughly 600 Ahmadi’s in Israel and they were all eligible for duty in the Israeli military. Mirza Tahir Ahmad eventually agrees that the data is simply incorrect and wrong only in the idea that there are Pakistani’s in Israel. Factually, Israel had banned Pakistani’s from Israel since at least 1955.
Ahmadi’s in West Germany in the 1968?
Mirza Tahir Ahmad tells us that Bannauri claims that there are upwards of 4000 Ahmadi’s in Germany who are working with the government in some capacity to hurt Muslims.
Bannauri claims that Ahmadi’s in Pakistan were busy writing reports of the activities of the Pakistani government and sending them abroad (1957)
This allegation is technically true. Ahmadi’s have been in-fact busy writing reports, this is what they are ordered to do via the Mirza family. Interestingly enough, Bannauri also mentioned the “Haqiqat Pasand Party of Ahmadi’s”, these were rogue Ahmadi’s in Rabwah and other places in Pakistan who were working on exposing the Mirza family. In response to this, Mirza Tahir Ahmad accuses Bannauri of being a spy.
Did Mirza Basheer ud Din Mahmud Ahmad oppose the creation of Israel?
Mirza Tahir Ahmad goes on to argue that his father, the 2nd Khalifa, Mirza Basheer ud Din Mahmud Ahmad opposed the creation of Israel. Mirza Tahir Ahmad tells us that his father was quoted by an Arab newspaper, “The Annazha” under the caption, “Alkufro Millatun Wahida”, under the date of 7-12-1948. It seems that some Ahmadi’s sent a speech of Mirza Basheer ud Din Mahmud Ahmad from Lahore, in this speech, the Ahmadi Khalifa told Muslims to oppose the creation of Israel and Zionism by any means necessary, he accused the USA of supporting Zionism. There was another newspaper that also quoted the Ahmadi Khalifa, it was the “Al-Shura” of Baghdad, in its magazine of 6-18-1948, the caption was “An Address by Hazrat Mirza Mahmud Ahmad”.
Mirza Tahir Ahmad goes on to argue that Zafrullah Khan was a shining star of the Muslim World
This is a total lie. Zafrullah Khan sabotaged the Muslim world and was a puppet of the western powers. He quotes many leaders of Muslim countries in the 1950’s as they praised Zafrullah Khan.
Links and Related Essays
Adil Hussain Khan (2015). From Sufism to Ahmadiyya: A Muslim Minority Movement in South Asia. Indiana University Press. p. 134.
#ahmadiyya #ahmadiyyatrueislam #ahmadiapartheid #Ahmadiyyat #rabwah #qadian #meetthekhalifa #ahmadiyyat #muslimsforpeace #ahmadiyyafactcheckblog #nolifewithoutkhalifa #Ahmadiyyainisrael #ahmadiyyainpalestine #ahmadiyyainhaifa #ahmadiyyainkababir #haifa #kababir
Dear readers, we have recently covered some of the non-pakistani-imams that were rushed through Jamia and even though they failed, were made imam’s by the Ahmadi Khalifa. Bashir Ahmad Orchard, previously known as John Bren Orchard (April 26th, 1920 – July 8th, 2002), seems to be their first ever indigenous European Ahmadiyya Missionary, he was born in Torquay, England and thus became the first ever English-Ahmadi-missionary. His brother was a Roman Catholic priest. But to the astonishment of his fellow officers, he began to take instruction in Ahmadiyya. For Bashir Orchard, after the war, there were no prospects, things were bad and rationing of the basic food, Britain was devastated by the german bombing and overall war effort, there was rubble everywhere, things were not looking good for him. Joining Ahmadiyya was a good situation, where he got a super-young desi- woman, employment and comfy life.
He was sent off as a missionary by the 2nd Khalifa, however, he didn’t pass Jamia or any other islamic school, the Khalifa waived all of that and made Bashir Ahmad Orchard a Murrabi nevertheless. He was given an important young Ahmadi woman, in fact, Orchard became a brother-in-law of the Khalifa since he married the only sibling of the Khalifa’s first wife.
His preaching was very unsuccessful, his son even admitted as much, both in Scotland and Guyana. He seems to have been specifically used as the token English-Ahmadi and was marketed as such. He also claimed to be a recipient of divine revelations and true dreams.
When he died in 2002, the ROR wrote the story of his life and conversion. Bashir Ahmad Orchard interviewed. His children interviewed.
Continue reading “Bashir Ahmad Orchard, the first non-desi-Ahmadi-imam”
I wanted to copy and paste an interesting “cover-up” job as given by the Ahmadi mullah, Asif basit. It is taken from here:
Copy and Paste
ASIF M. BASIT, LONDON, UK
Translated from the Urdu by
Shehzad Ahmad and Farhaad Ahmad
The Holy War
One of the signs foretold by the Prophet Muhammadsa regarding the advent of the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdias was that he would “break the cross.1 However, the manner in which this has been interpreted by contemporary Muslim scholars not only appears to be quite inappropriate and comical, but even insulting. They seem to have misunderstood the role and character of a person who alone was destined to be the saviour of the followers of all faiths. The literal interpretation that prevailed the literature of the majority of the contemporary scholars of Islam was that the Imam Mahdi and Messiah would spend his time physically breaking any cross that he would come across anywhere in the world, whilst in his remaining time he would literally kill all the swine. To believe that the Imam Mahdi would go around every village and town with a tool in his hand trying to literally break every cross, would not only trivialise the imminence and stature of the Messiah and Mahdi, whose advent was to serve as a reformer for all Muslims, but would belittle the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa who had referred to him as a reformer and Prophet of God.
The True Meaning of “Breaking the Cross”
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, stated:
“It begs the question as to what is meant by referring to the Messiah as the “breaker of the cross?” Will he break a wooden cross? Of what benefit will that be? It is quite obvious that if he was to go around breaking wooden crosses it could not be deemed to be a very noble task and no benefit would come out of it. If he was to break wooden crosses, the Christians would instead make crosses out of gold, silver or steel…It certainly does not mean that the Messiah would go around breaking wooden crosses hung up by Christians…In fact, the statement is profound and full of meaning…One must ponder and question whether our claim is supported clearly or not in that the breaking of the cross does not mean breaking wooden or steel crosses physically (which Christians dangle around their necks as shirk), but instead symbolises a great truth which I have come with. I have announced completely transparently that Jihad is forbidden in this day and age, because just as the Messiah is charged with breaking the cross in spirit, so too is he charged with abolishing all religious wars, thereby necessitating the Fatwa [edict] against Jihad. Thus, we say that to take up the sword or any weapon in the name of religion is a great sin.
“What does “breaking the cross” really mean? Pay great heed to this fact that the time of the advent of the Messiah has been associated with the time of the triumph over the cross, and it was the Messiah that was to come for this purpose. It is, therefore, very clear that the purpose of the advent of the Messiah was to completely falsify the Christian ideology with arguments and proofs that were to be strengthened by heavenly succour and miracles. He would show how the religion of the cross is completely false and would make this manifestly clear to the whole world, and millions of souls would come to know and admit that Christianity in reality cannot be a means of mercy for mankind. It is for this reason that all our focus is on the cross – is there any stone left unturned for defeating the cross? The death of Jesusas itself has shattered the cross into pieces and when the fact is proven that Jesusas did not die on the cross, but in fact died a natural death in Kashmir, anyone from among the intellectuals should come forward and tell us that what is then left of the cross?
“Thus, it is very clear that God Almighty was going to send the Messiah when the “cross” was going to be dominant, meaning the false ideology of Christianity [i.e. the Christian ideology no longer in it is original form, having strayed far away from its original teachings by introducing concepts such as the Trinity and Atonement] was going to be at large and for its spread and propagation every type of method would be deployed, and darkness and falsehood (which in other words is shirk or idolatry), and the worship of the dead would be spread all over the world. At such time, the person God Almighty would send would be charged with purifying the world from its state of darkness and falsehood, and save them from the curse of worshipping the dead. In this manner, he would break the cross. Although, it may appear that the task of abolishing all religious wars on the one hand and that of breaking the cross (the latter possibly compelling such wars) on the other are contradictory; however, this only appears as a contradiction to those who lack insight and have not truly understood the purpose of the Messiah’s advent. In fact, the very words Yadha ul Harb explain the reality of the meaning of “breaking the cross,” which as already noted, does not mean literally breaking crosses made out of wood or other materials, but in fact connotes the defeat of Christianity, achieved purely through present unassailable and rational arguments and clear proofs, as God Almighty states, ‘so that he, who had already perished by a clear proof, should perish, and he, who had already come to life by a clear proof, should live.’ (Ch.8, V.43).”2
At the time of the advent of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas, Christianity was at its peak. The Promised Messiahas once described the situation in the following words:
“Never has there been a greater period of such a dangerous trial for Islam, in fact since the inception of Prophethood, there has never been so. Apart from philosophical and scientific arguments anyone with expertise in any field employs it as a means to try and attack Islam. Both men and women are preaching and through various schemes are trying to detach people from Islam and want them to incline towards Christianity. If one goes into clinics, one would see how alongside giving medicines to patients, the Christian faith is being proselytised, and at times women and children who are admitted into the hospital, are refused care until they became Christians. Christians were also preaching disguised as religious mendicants. In short, they adopted every possible means for this purpose. One single Christian newsletter or article is published in thousands…if all the literature that has been written against Islam was to be put together, its pile would be a mile high. In fact, without exaggeration, I say that if it was piled up, it would be taller than some of the mountains, and if they were put in a line, it would exceed many miles.
“Today the situation of Islam is like the martyrs of Karbala, and is surrounded by a horde of enemies. You should ponder and see for yourselves the extent to which they are making efforts in order to defeat Islam. It is also clear from the speech delivered by the bishop from Calcutta in London [who said] that no one can be truly loyal to the British government unless he is a Christian. From these speeches and discussions it is quite evident how much effort is being made to convert the masses into Christianity and what their intentions are. They clearly want there to be no more Muslims. The Christian clerics have admitted the fact that no other religion is a hindrance for them than Islam. But remember, God has great pride for his faith, and He states that, ‘surely we have revealed the Qur’an and we shall protect it.’ (Ch.15.V.10). According to this promise, He has safeguarded the Holy Qur’an and sent me. The Holy Prophetsa also prophesised that a reformer would appear at the head of every century, I have been sent as the reformer for the fourteenth century, who was going to be known as the one who was to break the cross.”3
The Onslaught of Christian Clerics in India
At the time of the advent of the Promised Messiahas, the Muslims had proved their superiority in every aspect – be it religion, politics or the military, and had made India their fortress. The Christian clerics knew full well that if they were able to gain the stronghold of this fortress, it would become very easy for them to defeat Islam. Another reason why India was at the centre of their attention was because a quarter of the total Muslim population at the time was living in India, making it the country with the highest Muslim population.4 During the course of researching for MTA International’s programme Rahe Huda, this author had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Jonathan Ingleby, who worked as the Head of the Mission Studies department at Radcliffe College. When asked what the real intention behind the Christian clerics incursion of India was, he responded that they wanted to relocate the headquarters of the Church to India.5 The Christian clerics who travelled to India for the spread of Christianity and for ensuring its dominance over other religions, would openly express this desire in their sermons and speeches. One of them was Henry Martyn (not Henry Martyn Clark, well-known for participating in the debate, “The Holy War,” and who will be referred to in greater detail later in the article). Henry Martyn, in one of his sermons, stated:
“The evangelisation of India is a more important object than preaching to the European inhabitants of Calcutta.”6
The British Government initially did not allow the Christian clerics to openly proselytise for fear of causing disruption in society. In one reported incident, General Warren Hastings (1732–1818) dismissed a Christian cleric on the grounds that he was distributing Christian literature in the local area. It is said that General Warren Hasting’s reason for the dismissal was that distributing Christian literature in the local area was synonymous to shooting at explosives. Despite this strict warning, Christian clerics hastened in their efforts to spread Christianity, Henry Martyn Clark being one of the most notable.7Therefore, the rapidly growing influence of Christian clerics in India highlights the close connection of India to the one who was prophesised to “break the cross.” Thus, this was not an ordinary incursion but one that astonished the Muslim population, marking the end of their reign, and challenged the parameters of their faith.
The Response of Muslims in India to the Growing Christian Influence
During this period of great anguish and distress, the Muslims began many schemes and initiatives in an attempt to defend Islam in India. One of these included the Aligarh Movement of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan that tried to present a version of Islam compatible with the West, but which lost the soul of Islam in the process. For example, in an attempt to westernise Islam, Khan declared that prayers had no real influence on human life apart from a cathartic effect or an emotional relief.8 Yet this was contrary to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an that clearly state that Allah listens and responds to prayers.9 Another movement was Jamal ud Din Afghani’s intellectual movement. Similarly, we also find traces of Abdullah Sindhi’s uprising, and Allama Anayatullah Mashriqi’s Khaksar movement. The world of literature saw efforts to restore the Muslim identity and to take them out of their state of darkness and ignorance. Notably, some of the reformist literature included Deputy Nazir Ahmad’s novels Miraat ul Aroos, Ibn ul Waqt and Taubahtul Nasooh. Many educational institutions for women were established – Hasan Ali Aafandi started the Sindh Madrasat ul Ilm and Mumtaz Ali, who was linked with the Aligarh movement, wrote numerous books which purported to free women from the “shackles” of wearing a veil and to apparently empower them to compete with men in society. In response to Sir Syed Ahmad’s impudent ideas, many magazines such as Oudh Punch were published that tried to mitigate the effect of his ideas by mocking and ridiculing him. Akbar Ala Abadi’s famous poetry was widely published in order to enhance the Muslims’ sense of identity. Not only was he enraged by Sir Syed Ahmad’s views, he also criticised the existence of extremist elements that tainted the name of Islam. Although Kiramat Ali Jonpuri and Syed Ameer Ali had received western educations, they always tried to present the true teachings of Islam. Shah Wali Ullah’s son, Shah Abdul Aziz, and his student Syed Ahmed Shaheed, coupled with their fellow colleague Shah Ismaeel Shaheed, were ever ready for defending Islam.
In short, their intentions behind forming such movements and their efforts can only be assumed to be sincere, however evidently the movements lacked direction and were unable to achieve their desired results. They may have succeeded with respect to a few individuals, but as successful national movements they were not fruitful. Each movement attempted to make an impact in its own way, but with little success. However, the real success, according to the Holy Prophetsa, was to be achieved by the Reformer and Messiah who would appear in the latter days. The advent of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas came at a time when Islam was locked in a fierce battle, ironically waged against themselves by their existing beliefs. Muslims in their millions were leaving Islam and embracing Christianity. One of the reports published in The Times newspaper on the 24th of January 1893, stated that the in the Missionary Conference held in Bombay extraordinary results of the efforts of the Christian Missionaries over the last decade were announced. Within a space of nine years, between 1881 and 1890, the total number of local Christians had increased from 492,882 to 648,843. The increase in the number of contacts was even greater, rising from 138,254 to 215,759. It was also stated that with the increase in the number of people accepting Christianity, significant effort was being invested in their education and learning. In 1881, the number of Christian boys and girls attending Protestant Mission Schools was 196,360 and by 1890 it had risen to 299,051.10Such was the success of a religion that had vowed to dominate Islam.
Interestingly, the year (1835) that the Christian Missionaries openly declared their plans, was also the year of the birth of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas. The Promised Messiahas was born on 13th February 1835, and on 25th May 1835, the first missionary to be sent by the Free Church of Scotland, Rev. Alexander Duff, addressed the Free Church of Scotland’s General Assembly. He started his speech by saying that if time permitted, he desired to describe the situation prevailing in India at the time, which he believed was the capital of Satan’s empire.11 Thus, it would appear that in the year that the Christians openly declared their plans to infiltrate Islam, God had destined for the Messiah to appear to halt their efforts and present the true Islam. Not only is the time of the advent of the Promised Messiahas significant, the place of his advent is also of great significance. The Promised Messiahas was born in the province of Punjab in India, the same place the Christian clerics had made the centre of their missionary activities. As Professor Arvil Ann Powell writes:
“The central region of the Punjab chosen by the Christian missionaries as the heartland for their evangelistic activities was also the catchment area for Ahmadi initiation. The two adjoining districts of Amritsar and Gurdaspur, the former the hinterland of the sacred city of Sikhs and the Anglican missionary headquarters, and the latter the homeland of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, were by the early 1890s at the centre of competition between rival religious minorities.”12
The Promised Messiahas, recognising the serious danger posed by Christianity, began the uphill task of reviving Islam by writing one of his seminal works (and the first to get published), Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya. In five-volumes, the Promised Messiahas addressed the issue of the influx of Christianity and its possible consequences, as follows:
“Take the Christians, for instance, whose principles appear absurd even at a cursory glance, and yet the consistent efforts of their missionaries have resulted in the growing popularity of their faith, so much so that each year they proudly publish reports of four to eight thousand people joining their ranks. The latest estimates of Christian conversions given by Father Hacker of Calcutta are worrying, to say the least. He writes that whereas there were only 27,000 Christians in India fifty years ago, the number has now risen to 500,000 – [To Allah we belong and to Him shall we return]. Elders of Islam! Do you wait for a time of greater spread of misguidance? There was a time when Islam was the living illustration of the Qur’anic verse: [Men] entering the religion of Allah in troops [110:3]. And look at what is happening today! Do your hearts not bleed at this calamity and are you not overwhelmed by anguish?”13
In these delicate circumstances, what did Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas and Imam Mahdi actually do for the defence of Islam? This is a fundamental question and requires a detailed response.
The Promised Messiahas as the “Breaker of the Cross”
To curb the influx of Christianity was no easy task, let alone to give a sound response to it. What were the circumstances that led to the achievement of the Promised Messiahas of defeating the Christians? Before venturing to answer this question, it is instructive to outline some of the Promised Messiah’sas contemporaries, acknowledged as such by his opponents. One of the foremost was Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, who had received the privilege of receiving a knighthood, had also excelled in his higher education. After his father’s demise, he worked for the East India Company as a “trustworthy leader.” Syed Ameer Ali and Maulawi Chiragh Ali are some other names that are also referred to alongside Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s. Syed Ameer Ali trained as a barrister at Inner Temple in London. He resided in London between 1869 and 1873, where he learnt the traditions and customs of the English elite and also became proficient in the English language. Upon his return from England in 1873, he started his career as a lawyer at the Calcutta High Court, publishing, A Critical Examination of the Life and Teachings of Mohammed that same year. A famous orientalist, Maj. R. D. Osborn, commented that the book was the first of its kind in substantive content from within the intellectuals of India. Initially, Maulawi Chiragh Ali was involved with Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’sas efforts for the revival of the Muslim population. However, following Ahmad’sas claim to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, he aligned himself with Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s Aligarh Movement. The following excerpt from a well-known orientalist, Bishop Kenneth Cragg, summarises the efforts being made by Muslim intellectuals of the time:
“… an attempt to chart an Anglophile future for the Muslim community…”14
These were Muslims who possessed great worldly status, were highly qualified, renowned for the achievements and well-known for their affluence. The response from these revered intellectuals to the Christian infiltration was merely an effort to make the Muslims incline towards the English. However, the real solution had been placed in the hands of God’s chosen servant, one who lacked even the resources to publish his book, Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya. Amongst the Muslims, the Deobandis, Barelvis and Wahabis had their own subjective perceptions with respect to the British reign. At a cursory level, while the reign caused some anxiety to these sects, however, their failure to delineate between the political stature of the British and their ideological beliefs meant that the reign was perceived in an ambivalent and misinformed manner. Even where these factions made attempts to grapple with arguments advanced by the Christians, the lack of depth of their own understanding of the Holy Qur’an meant that these efforts were of little or no avail. The commonly held belief that Jesusas is still alive in the heavens was not aligned with that of the Holy Prophet’ssa or his companions, and was a consequence of historical misconceptions.
The Concept of Jesusas Being Alive in Heaven
Some of the historical roots of the mainstream Muslim belief that Jesusas is still alive can be traced to Abdullah bin Sabaa, an enemy of Islam in the very early period who travelled through various countries in the Muslim empire, disguised as a Muslim and attempted to force a rebellion and uprising within the Muslim population. In order to fulfil these underhand objectives, he searched for two categories of people; firstly, those being punished for their wrongdoing and secondly, those deprived of Islamic teachings because of their disengagement with the Islamic centre. However, these attempts were in vain, and compelled Abdullah bin Sabaa to turn towards Egypt, where many Christians had converted to Islam. Owing to their distance from the Islamic centre, their knowledge of Islamic beliefs remained inherently weak. Abdullah bin Sabaa provoked the converts into questioning their newly acquired faith, inciting them against believing in a prophet who was not to return after his demise. Moreover, he roused them against the Khulafa—rightly guided successors—by quoting the following verse from the Holy Qur’an, “He Who has made the teaching of the Qur’an binding on thee will most surely bring thee back to thy ordained place of return” (Ch.28:V.86). This verse was also cited by Abdullah bin Sabaa to disprove the need for Khilafat and he would describe the status of Hazrat Alira in such a way that it seemed as if he had taken over his Khilafat.15 With time, as Islam spread far and wide, many Christians entered the fold of Islam. However, there existed no concrete mechanisms of teaching Islamic theology to the new converts, therefore, Christians who firmly believed in the return of Jesusas, continued to adhere to this belief even after their conversion to Islam. Moreover, Muslims were taken as prisoners of war in predominantly Christian countries and were influenced by the Christian faith as a consequence. In this manner, the concept that Jesusas will return, despite being antithetical to the views held by the Holy Prophetsa, slowly made its way into Islam.
Thus, it is a tragic irony that a concept formulated by detractors and opponents to Islam in order to disengage Muslims from the Islamic faith, was accepted so wholeheartedly by the Muslims, and one which would ultimately become their biggest challenge in proselytising. Not only did the Muslims remain firmly adhered to this belief, they also failed to recognise its complications. Even prominent scholars of the time remained oblivious to its flaws, thereby demonstrating that the weaknesses inherent thereto were not to be resolved through worldly efforts, and required divine intervention. Thus, all temporal efforts of an intellectual, spiritual, political or social nature failed to offer a plausible resolution. It was during this time that the Promised Messiahas uttered the following words:
“I am the water that descended down so promptly from the heavens
I am God’s spiritual light by which the day has brightened.”
An Exposition of Jesus’as Demise by the Promised Messiahas
The Promised Messiahas prepared a detailed exposition of thirty verses from the Holy Qur’an in order to disprove that Jesusas was still alive. Cautioning the Muslims against the perils of such a belief, he stated, “Let Jesus die, for in this lies the life of Islam.” The Promised Messiahas drew support for his argument from a variety of sources including, inter alia, the Holy Qur’an, Ahadith, sayings of past Muslim saints, and rational, intellectual, medical and historical evidence.16 The sole basis for Christian proselytisation was the belief that Jesusas is still alive, which was used to convert thousands of Muslims to Christianity. A well-known Pakistani researcher and writer, Fazl ul Rehman (1918-1988), has acknowledged the depth and accuracy of the Promised Messiah’sas response to the Christians.17 C. G. Pfander, a priest and author of Mizan ul Haq, has written about the widely held belief that the space between the graves of the Holy Prophetsa and Hazrat Abu Bakrra in Madinah has been reserved for Jesusas, and serves as a reminder of the second coming of Jesusas and that the Holy Prophetsa has passed away.18 Dr. Jan Slomp, a well-known researcher who has studied the relationship between the Muslim and Christian faiths, has acknowledged that C. G. Pfander’s analysis would spur Christian clerics. The Promised Messiahas refuted these arguments which were causing many Muslims to embrace Christianity by announcing the discovery of the tomb of Jesus in Kashmir.19 C. G. Pfander’s book Mizan ul Haq was the biggest weapon in the hands of Christian clerics, which has been acknowledged by German researcher and writer Christine Schirmacher in the following words:
“Mizan ul Haq was used by generations of Christian missionaries as an apologetic tool to refute Islam, and for this reason it was reprinted many times up until present…and these reprints are still used today for missionary activities among Muslims.”20
Thus, C. G. Pfander’s efforts to prove that Jesusas is still alive were an exploitative tool used by Christian clerics. The Promised Messiah’sas words, “Let Jesus die for in this lies the life of Islam”, epitomise that he was the Holy Prophet’ssa vicegerent as the “breaker of the cross,” and it was this statement which laid the foundations for this great task. Christian clerics and orientalists are predominantly interested in establishing that Jesusasis still alive through the Holy Qur’an. However, Bishop Kenneth Cragg has acknowledged that the Promised Messiahas negated the mainstream Muslim belief of the literal second coming of Jesusas, stating that this belief was based on hearsay evidence and was not proven by the Holy Qur’an.21
Opposition from the Christian Clergy
As soon as the Promised Messiahas established through the Holy Qur’an that Jesusas had passed away, he began to face opposition from Christians and Muslims alike. The Promised Messiahas thereby spent every living moment in a state of Jihad–the “Jihad of the Pen”–refuting and negating false ideologies. A well-known orientalist, Wilfred Cantwell Smith, writing in, Modern Islam in India, has acknowledged that the advent of Ahmadiyyat took place in the 19th century when Islam was in a weak position and in contrast many new cultures were gaining ascendancy. However, the dawn of Ahmadiyyat, which rose against the Christian dogma and Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s Aligarh Movement, brought a refreshing new perspective to the existing theological demographic. Thus, the Promised Messiahas was able to establish the superiority of Islam through the strength of the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and Ahadith.
It is pertinent to note that the Promised Messiahas received no formal education, was not an affiliate of any public or private organisation, had very limited experience of employment and his financial standing remained inherently weak. From an objective perspective, he appeared to be living the life of a complete recluse, but with the strength of his Holy Master by his side, he was able to produce exemplary religious literature and proved to be source of profound wisdom and insight. Through his example, he won widespread sympathy for Islam. He maintained a courteous relationship with the Crown and acknowledged and appreciated their protection of religious freedom, which allowed Muslims to live in accordance to their faith and proselytise unhindered. Therefore, the purpose of the Promised Messiahas was not to exert any worldly influence. He chose to live away from major metropolises such as Delhi, Calcutta and Bombay, and resided in a small village, known only to people who had friends or family there or who were familiar with its local market. While the Promised Messiahas was unable to fund even a mere pamphlet through personal funds, his faith never waned and held steadfast to the belief that God’s Help was always near, as exemplified by the Qur’anic revelation, “Is Allah not sufficient for His servant?” While the Promised Messiah’sas contemporaries were associated with various prominent movements, maintained close ties with the British elite and had received formal education abroad, they were unable to succeed in their goal to revive Islam. If anyone did, it was Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi, and this provides further proof of his truthfulness.
The Reaction of the Christian Clergy
The Promised Messiahas stood alone as a representative of Islam in his battle against Christian dogma. He was the first intellectual who had been able to challenge the Christian clergy, who were forced to re-think the theological basis of their belief that Jesusas is still alive. Further on, how the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was perceived as a great threat to Christian doctrines will be discussed, the issue being addressed by conventions of the Protestant Church worldwide. But just how did the Christian clergy receive the arguments advanced by Muslim intellectuals, and which arguments were deemed to have any impact? A German priest and researcher, Julius Richter, noted that if any hope remained to save Islam in India, it was to be found in U.P and Punjab and their central figures, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas.22 Julius Richter has referred to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in a mere paragraph, while he devotes an entire section to the Promised Messiahas. Therefore, it would seem that while the Christians perceived Sir Syed Ahmad Khan as a potential threat, it was the Promised Messiahas who shook them to their core. Notwithstanding the ill-will Richter harboured against the Promised Messiahas, he has paid tribute to his character and teachings. He writes:
“Ghulam is a remarkable man. He writes clever books, and in such elegant Urdu, Persian and Arabic that he is able to challenge his opponents in the most graceful Arabic literary articles to admit or to disprove his divine mission; besides this he has also inaugurated an English Magazine, The Review of Religions, the lengthy pages of which he fills almost singlehandedly. He has not only read the Old and New Testaments thoroughly, but is likewise acquainted with certain apocryphal works such as The Gospel According to St. Barnabas and with novels such as that of the Russian author, Nicholas Notovitch, the The Unknown Life of Christ.”
The only other notable intellectual with respect to challenging the Christians other than the Promised Messiahas was Rehmatullah Keranvi (1818-1891), who in 1854 in Agra, had a debate with C. G. Pfander, a priest representing the Church Mission Society. The debate, which lasted only two days, was on the concept of the Trinity, the authenticity of the Holy Qur’an as one of the revealed scriptures and the Holy Prophet’ssa life. However, both days were spent debating the interpolations in the New Testament. Doctrines of Islam and Christianity were not discussed and both parties claimed victory. It is perhaps interesting to note that Rehmatullah Keranvi was the only person before the Promised Messiahas who considered the Christian clergy as a great trial for the Muslims, emphasising that the time was nigh for the Messiah’s advent.
Advent of the Promised Messiahas
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas first made his claim to being the Promised Messiah between 1889 and 1891, and while he continued his efforts to “break the cross,” it was not until 1893 that Islam and Christianity were at loggerheads. This era in history had been prophesised by the Holy Prophetsa, and the Christian clergy openly called the Muslims to challenge. The Muslims made every effort to invite Muslim scholars and intellectuals to assume the responsibility of defending Islam, but to no avail. In this state of despair, it was only the Promised Messiahas who was anxious and concerned about the fate of Islam, as he poignantly writes in one Urdu couplet:
“The sun has arisen for our enemy yet night befalls us – O sun! Rise upon us for I am too anxious.”
The great pain and agony with which this was written are epitomised by the tireless efforts and prayers of the Promised Messiahas for the revival of Islam.
An Invitation by the Christians to the Muslims for a Debate in Amritsar
In 1854 Rehmatullah Kiranwi and Father Pfander had a debate in Agra. In the same year, the Christian Mission also laid their foundations in Jindiala District, Amritsar. In 1882 Dr. Henry Martyn Clark M.D. (Edinburgh) also laid the foundations of the Medical Mission in Jindiala, which proved to be a new milestone in spreading the message of Christianity. Christian missionaries would walk through the streets proclaiming the message of Christianity, and in this manner attempt to convert Muslims to the Christian faith. These attempts were often successful and soon devout Muslims began to feel wary of these circumstances.
A Muslim from Jandiala, Muhammad Bakhsh Paanda, despite his limited knowledge, would often try to reply to the Christian missionaries and would also invite other Muslims to do so. On becoming aware of this, Dr. Henry Martyn Clark invited the Muslims of Jandiala to either come forward themselves or bring forth any Muslim scholar for a debate with the Christians. He also said that if the Muslims could not do so, they should consider their beliefs to be false and should consequently remain silent. The Muslims, in a difficult predicament, pleaded with many Muslim councils and scholars to come forward and defend Islam, but almost no one heeded their call. The few who did respond were more worried about who would be responsible for taking care of their food, travel and accommodation expenses. The Christians were well-aware of the Muslims’ helplessness and in the Church Missionary Intelligencer a report was published by Dr. Henry Martyn Clark who referred to the vulnerability of the Muslims in the following words:
“The gauntlet thrown down produced the greatest consternation. The Mohammedans were aghast. What could they do? And yet, something must be done. They addressed themselves to various Societies for the Aid of Islam, and bestirred themselves to find a champion, but none appeared. Three weeks went by, the wager of battle still lay unaccepted. Jandiala Mohammedans were in dire straits, when, to their intense relief, they found a defender in a certain Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. This man is a somewhat remarkable personage, and one of great interest to the missionary.”23
The Missionary Herald of Boston, USA, echoed the sentiments of the Muslims in similar words:
“There was much doubt in regard to the expediency of this challenge, but after it was done it was found that the Mohammedans were in great fear lest they should be unable to find an able champion.”
“This Man, Ghulam Ahmed…was deemed superior in ability, was chosen and consented to represent Islam against Christianity.”24
What was discussed in the debate? What was the outcome and whom did God appear to help? These are all issues that will of course be discussed. However, the fact that a person came forward when Muslims were facing dejection and despondency, and went on to disprove the Christian beliefs, not only with the help of the Qur’an, but using the Christians’ own scriptures, would add strength to his truth as the “breaker of the cross.” The Promised Messiahas not only agreed to defend Islam, he offered to pay for his own travel expenses along with his companions’ and made arrangements for his own and his companions’ food during their stay in Jandiala. The main objective of the debate was that the Christians would try to prove the divinity of Jesusas whilst the Promised Messiahaswould prove the unity of God through the Holy Qur’an. The debate began on the 22nd of May 1893 and lasted for 15 days.
Historically, one of the reasons why the debate was significant was because Islam and Christianity would be embroiled in public confrontation, a fact evident from the special place given to the coverage of the debate in newspapers of the time–those that published the proceedings were rapidly sold out. Another reason for its historical significance was the condition that the entire proceedings of the debate were to be recorded and published verbatim. Previously, it had been customary for each party to declare itself as the victor, leaving the listeners with no plausible basis to come to any conclusions.
The Importance of the Debate
The importance of this debate could be gauged from the fact that many influential Islamic scholars would be part of the audience throughout the proceedings, as one Christian newspaper wrote:
“In addition to the disciples of the Mirza, there was a very large attendance of orthodox Mohammedans, men mostly of affluence and position, and, as such, not usually reached by existing methods of work. Herein lay one delightful feature of the controversy. There they were, influential wealthy men, Government servants and what not – men, as a whole, quite beyond ordinary reach sitting hour after hour for a couple of weeks, listening most attentively…”25
The influence the debate exerted much beyond the subcontinent can be seen from this extract from the Missionary Herald:
“The discussion was held in Amritsar, on the veranda of Dr. Clark’s house; admission was by ticket and hundreds who could not obtain them had to be turned away. A surging mob filled the road but was quiet and orderly…”26
The importance of the debate in the eyes of the Muslims is evident from the following extract also from the Missionary Herald:
“The Mohammedans came from Lahore, Peshawar and other parts of India.”
The debate was no longer confined to the Muslims of Jindiala – it became a decisive debate for all Christians and Muslims. Dr. Henry Martyn Clark writes in his report:
“In the weeks that followed the adjustment of preliminaries and the beginning of the controversy, the subject excited the most extraordinary interest near and far. It was in the air everywhere. In railway carriages, by the well, on highways and byways, in the quiet village and the crowded town, it was the one absorbing theme of conversation. Gradually it dawned on us that, all unknown, the projected one-day talk at Jandiala had developed into something much more far-reaching and important than we had imagined possible.”27
In another report Dr. Henry Martyn Clark described the far-reaching effects of this debate in the following words:
“…it sent a thrill through the whole heart of Islam in India.”28
Edicts of Disbelief Against the Promised Messiahas Yet he Represents Islam
It is also worth noting here that from the time the claim was made by the Promised Messiahas until 1892, all the “great” leaders of Islam had issued approximately 200 edicts of disbelief against the Promised Messiahas. However, the very people who issued the edicts, the supposed scholars and leaders of the Muslims, were so utterly helpless in front of Christian priests that the person (i.e. Hazrat Mirza Ghluam Ahmad) who they had previously called the Anti-Christ, disbeliever, kafir (God forbid) and God knows what else, were compelled to accept him as their champion and become his vigilant audience when it came to defending Islam. What else could they have possibly done? For, if they had presented their own commentaries on the Qur’anic verses pertaining to Jesusas, rather than defending Islam they would have ironically strengthened the Christians’ standpoint on the divinity of Jesusas. Therefore, it could have been nobody other than the “breaker of the cross” himself who championed the cause of Islam in its true spirit and falsified Christian beliefs. The following excerpt highlights how Muslim scholars of the time confessed that the Promised Messiahas was the only one who could truly champion the cause of Islam:
“Mohammedans, as a whole, were full of glee. Though a heretic as regards Islam, they held he was perfectly sound in his attitude towards Christianity, and they frankly said: ‘We have no one his equal for language and eloquence. However much he may differ from us on points of our own faith, he will nobly represent us against Christianity.’”29
While the acknowledgement of the opponents was forthcoming, God’s decision to choose the Promised Messiahas as the “breaker of the cross” was manifested through his actions and is also proven from the analysis hereunder:
The editor of the newspaper of the Church Mission Society, Eugene Stock, wrote about Father Pfander as follows:
“… the greatest of all missionaries to Mohammedinism…”30
Father Pfander was considered the most effective priest against the Muslims because his belief was directly expressed in terms that lent support to the claim that Jesusas was still alive. Speaking to the Muslims near the end of his book Mizan ul Haq, he writes that the Muslims needed to decide whether they wanted to be affiliated with a prophet who is dead or one who is alive. It may be noted that this is the same Pfander whose book, Mizan ul Haq was considered to be a handbook for Christian preachers. Therefore, if the person whose belief is premised on the fact that Jesusas is still alive is considered to be the greatest threat to the Muslims, then surely, the person who said, “…let Jesus die, for in that lies the life of Islam,” would appear to be the best suited for defending Islam against Christianity.
From the very beginning of this debate, the Promised Messiahas emphasised that a living religion is recognised by the Heavenly Signs that support it and he argued that Islam has the power to show such Heavenly Signs. However, when invited to compete with the Muslims in this regard, the Christians issued no response.
To be continued in the next Edition with the final part.
Asif M. Basit is a writer, researcher and broadcaster with special interests in Islamic and Christian history of the subcontinent in the 19th and 20th centuries. He is the producer and presenter of Rahe Huda, a weekly discussion programme covering contemporary and historical debates pertaining to Islam. He is also the Director of Programming at MTA International, the first 24-hour Muslim satellite television station.
1. Sahih Bukhari, Kitabul-Anbiya, Baab Nuzuul Isa bin Maryam
2. Malfoozat Vol. 2 pp. 367 – 369, 2003 edition, published in Rabwah
3. Malfoozat, Vol. 2 pp. 369-370, 2003 edition, printed in Rabwah
4. Christian Mission to Muslims, The Record, by Lyle L. Weriff, published by The William Carey Library 1977, Chapter 1, n. 1 p. 7
5. Visit: http://www.youtube.com/rahehudaarchives1 and search for “Jonathan Ingleby”
6. Henry Martyn, ‘The Comprehensive Biography by George Smith’, London, 1892, p. 218
7. See Five Sermons Never Before Published, edited by G. T. Fox, London 1862, p. 4
8. Ad-Dua wa Istajaba (translated as ‘Prayer and its Acceptance’ by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Mufeed-e-Aam Press, Agra, India, 1892, online source: http://www.sirsyedtoday.org/books/?cid=64 as viewed on April 4th, 2013)
9. The Holy Quran, Ch.2:V.187
10. Church Missionary Intelligencer, 1894
11. The Church of Scotland’s India Mission, or, A Brief Exposition of the Principles on Which That Mission Has Been Conducted in Calcutta, Being The Substance of An address Delivered Before The General Assembly of the Church, On Monday, 25th May, 1835 by Rev. Alexander Duff A.M., Printed by John Waugh, Printer to the Church of Scotland
12. Avril Powell (1995): Contested gods and prophets: discourse among minorities in late nineteenth-century Punjab, Renaissance and Modern Studies, 38:1, pp. 38-59
13. Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Part 2, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1, p. 68
14. Call of the Minaret, Bishop Kenneth Cragg, One World Publications, Oxford, 2008
15. For a more detailed exposition of this subject see, Islam Mein Ikhtalafaat ka Aghaaz, by Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra
16. For a detailed discussion of this subject, the following books of the Promised Messiahas may be consulted: Izal e Auham, Aina e kamalaat e Islam, The Heavenly Decree, Jesus in India, Raaz e Haqeeqat, Haqeeqatul Mahdi, Anjam e Atham, Chashma e Masihy, Kitaab ul Bariya: http://www.alislam.org/library/
17. See Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition entitled “Ahmadiyya”, Vol. 1, p. 301, W.S Smith, Brill, 1960
18. See C. G. Pfander, Mizan ul Haq, The Religious Tract Society, London, 1910
19. Debates on Jesus and Muhammad in Europe, India and Pakistan by Dr Jan Slomp, David Kerr, World Christianity in Muslim Encounter, Continuum Publishing House 2009
20. The Islamic View of Major Christian Teachings, by Christine Shirmacher, World Evangelical Alliance, 2008
21. Call of the Minaret, Bishop Kenneth Cragg, One World Publications Oxford, 2008, p. 224
22. Julius Richter D. Theo. D.D., “A History of Missions in India”, Translated into English by Sydney H. Moore, Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier, Edinburgh and London 1908
23. The Church Missionary Intelligencer, p. 96, Vol. XLV, 1894, Church Missionary Society, London
24. Missionary Herald: Containing The Proceedings of The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, Vol. XC, p.167, Published: Press of Samuel Usher, Boston, 1894
25. CMI, February 1894, p. 98
26. Missionary Herald: Containing The Proceedings of The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, Vol. XC, p. 167, Published: Press of Samuel Usher, Boston, 1894
27. CMI, February 1894, p. 98
28. CMI, November 1894, p. 813
29. CMI, February 1894, p. 97
30. Beginnings in India, by Eugene Stock, Central Board of Missions, 1917
Introduction to Dr. Henry Martyn Clark
Before proceeding further, an introduction of Dr. Henry Martyn Clark is imperative. As noted earlier, Dr. Henry Martyn Clark was the chairperson of this debate. He was the one who challenged the Muslims and chose Mr. Abdullah Atham to represent Christianity. There were three apparent reasons for choosing Abdullah Atham: (1) Atham was from among the local Indians and his conversion to Christianity could have proven more helpful in converting the locals to Christianity. (2) Atham had been a Muslim before embracing Christianity; his name was ‘Aathim’, which developed into ‘Atham’ due to variations in accents. He possessed a deep knowledge of Islamic fundamentals and was also well-acquainted with Christianity. (3) He held a high post in Public Service that could be leveraged to impress the locals. The proof for these three reasons is found in the following statement by Dr. Henry Martyn Clark:
“We chose as our champion Mr. Abdullah Atham, who is amongst the earliest of living converts from Mohammedanism, with whom Mohammaden controversy is a life’s study, and who after many years of honourable service as an Extra Assistant Commissioner under Government, has now retired and is spending the evening of his days in Amritsar.”1
The introductory note about Atham in the Missionary Herald also demonstrates that Atham was considered to be the toughest opponent against Islam:
“The Christians chose as their leader one who was among the earliest living converts from Mohammedanism, and who had made the subject a life study.”2
Dr. Henry Martyn Clark was appointed as a medical doctor under the Church Mission Society in the Indian city of Amritsar. He was the adopted son of the famous Christian priest, Robert Clark. Dr. Clark was born into an Afghan family. When he was two and a half years old and an orphan, he was adopted by Robert Clark and his wife in the North West Frontier Province. For the sake of his upbringing and higher education he was sent to Edinburgh, Scotland, where he qualified as an MD and after receiving missionary training, he was sent to India. Here, like other missionaries, Dr. Clark also sent reports regarding all his activities to the Church Mission Society. These were published along with other important reports in the Intelligencer. He also sent Robert Clark updates of his activities in India. A discovery of important documents amongst these records will be discussed later on in the article, which is significant in light of the aftermath of the debate.
An Invitation to Show Heavenly Signs and the Subsequent Reaction
Heavenly signs identify a living religion, which are not works of magic, but rather serve to prove the power of prayer. Despite this, the Christian representative Abdullah Atham and his companions persistently desisted from an invitation to prove that their faith is a living religion. Eventually, the Christians realised that the more they continued to avoid this invitation, the more it would hint towards their defeat. Thus, on the fourth day of the debate, which was the 26th of May 1893, Abdullah Atham had the following excerpt written in his exposition of the debate:
“Sir, the answer to yesterday’s mubahila [prayer duel] is this that as Christians, we do not see the need for new miracles in support of the old teachings and neither do we see ourselves fit to do so…And nor are we claimants to this. However you [the Promised Messiah] are very proud of being a claimant as such. We do not refuse to see miracles…Therefore we bring forth three people amongst whom one is blind, one has a leg cut off and the other is mute. Cure therefore whosoever you can from among them… and therefore live up to your challenge now in the presence of all these Christian and Muslim fellows.”3
Upon hearing this, the Christians were overjoyed as they were sure that Hazrat Ahmadaswould now be silenced. However, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who claimed to be the awaited Promised Messiahas mentioned in religious scriptures, was given the Divine Promise that he would be bestowed success in every field. The promise of Divine help for the Promised Messiahas was a promise made by God Almighty Himself. Hazrat Ahmadasresponded in the following words:
“In your religion there are signs mentioned by Jesusas of such people who have attained salvation, that is, the true believers. Can those signs be witnessed in you? For example, Mark 16:17-18 states:
‘And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.’
“Therefore, I now make a polite request, and pardon me if my words seem harsh; cure these three incapacitated people that you have brought forward by laying your hands on them and bring forth the experience of the signs prophesied to true believers. Therefore, excuse me if I am being impolite, but if you are claiming to be the true believers, then three sick people are here before you whom you yourselves have brought – lay your hands on them. If they are cured, we will surely accept that you are true believers and have attained salvation. There is no other way we shall accept this, for Jesusas claimed that if any of you were to have even an iota of belief in him, and you were to tell a mountain to move, it would do so. However, I am not requesting for mountains to be moved because they are quite far from where we are. Thus, it is indeed helpful that you have brought here these three sick people, so lay your hands upon them and cure them, or you shall not be able to claim that you possess even an iota’s worth of belief.”
The Promised Messiahas thus stated:
“Let it be clear that this challenge cannot apply to us because Allah the Almighty has not made it a sign of ours in the Qur’an, that it is a specific sign of yours that you shall put your hands on the sick and they shall be cured. Yes, He does say that He shall according to His Will, accept your prayers, and at least if your prayers are not worthy of acceptance and go against God’s policies, then you shall be informed about it. He does not say anywhere that you shall be given the power to miraculously do whatever you wish…”4
This is but one example of how convincingly the Promised Messiahas overcame the Christians using their own Biblical scriptures. Using the Bible, the Promised Messiahaswent on to falsify their belief in the divinity of Jesusas.5 The following is just one example of how even his opponents were compelled to pay tribute to the Promised Messiahas.
The Promised Messiahas put forth this reference from the New Testament to refute the divinity of Jesusas:
‘The Jews answered him, ‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods?’ (Psalms: 82:6) If he called them gods to whom the word of God came – and Scripture cannot be broken – do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming’, because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?’’6
Dr. Henry Martyn Clark, hailed as the champion of the Christians, responded to the aforesaid verses in the following manner:
“Of course we had, ‘Why callest thou me good?’ adduced against the Divinity of our Lord, but the argument on which the Mirza rested this portion of his case was John X:35. This is a novel argument in my experience of Mohammedans.” [Emphasis added]7
Thus was the acknowledgment of the renowned Christian priest who made the challenge to debate in the first place.
Victory or Defeat in the Debate?
The debate concluded in the same manner most public debates ended – both parties claimed to have achieved victory. For this reason, the Promised Messiahas chose to desist from further debates. However, there was an extraordinary power in this debate. When the doctrines of Christianity were disproven with clear proofs and arguments and yet the Christians did not accept defeat, the Promised Messiahas with the permission of God, made an announcement:
“What opened unto me tonight is that when I prayed to Almighty God with much humility and passion that ‘O Allah decide this matter between us and we are humble people and we cannot do anything without Your decision,’ He gave me the sign as a glad tiding that the party out of the two groups who is intentionally lying and is rejecting the True God and is making a humble man into god, shall be thrown in to the Hawiya in fifteen months time. He shall face great disgrace (the term fifteen months is according to the number of days of the debate, each day equalling a month). This is subject to him not reverting to the truth. And for the one who is upon the truth and is following the True God, this sign shall manifest his honour. And when this prophecy is fulfilled, some blind people shall begin to see and some lame people shall begin to walk and some deaf people shall begin to hear…”8
As it happened, Abdullah Atham did not die in the foretold time period of the aforementioned proclamation. This has become one of the major allegations against the truth of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas by opponents of the Ahmadiyya Community. However, like all other allegations, this is also the consequence of hasty judgments without proper research, misunderstandings, prejudices or simply bad intentions. It is quite sad that hours upon hours can be exhausted on solving equations to understand concepts in mathematics, physics and chemistry, yet when it comes to religious matters, often people are not willing to progress beyond the equivalent of “two plus two equals four”, so to speak. In this case, an academic confrontation between two great religions has been reduced to the likes of a childish conflict.
The aforementioned prophecy contains the following words, “And when this prophecy is fulfilled, some blind people shall begin to see.” These words are proof that although some ignorant people shall begin to “see,” many will still remain devoid of insight. Thus, sincere and open-minded people are shown the light of truth, however those harbouring jealousy and rancour remain stranded in their stubbornness.
In order to hide their humiliation, the Christian missionaries began proclaiming that many Muslims had converted to Christianity as a result of the debate. Although some Muslims did steer away from Islam temporarily, the fact that they came back to Islam upon receiving guidance from God, was completely concealed by the Christian missionaries. Suffering from shame, the Christian priests did not confess this at any point. After some research, only one reference was found which contains the truth of the matter, yet even that is riddled with lies. Eugene Stock, the historian for the Church Mission Society, has written concerning the result of the debate:
“Several Mohammedans of good position embraced Christianity and were baptised; and it seemed as if no such victory over Islam had ever been won. But it has to be mournfully confessed that most of these were overcome by the terrible temptations that beset them, the enticements on the one hand, the persecution on the other.”9
The embarrassment the Christians suffered is apparent from this statement. Still, the dishonesties are quite clear, for it begs the question as to what enticements could the Promised Messiahas have offered. How could he have persecuted anybody? The Government at the time was of the British; British Law was governing the country and the British owned all land and property. Thus, offering any enticements would only have been possible for the Christian missionaries, not for the Promised Messiahas. Moreover, the Christians admitted that the Muslims being converted to Christianity enjoyed an affluent position in society. Therefore, what enticements could the Promised Messiahas have offered to such people who were already well-off? And what could he have used to threaten them, when they were already people of good standing in society? Leaving these questions aside for now, in the following section we turn to the prophecy regarding Abdullah Atham.
Lack of Understanding Underlies Allegations Concerning the Prophecy Regarding Abdullah Atham
With God’s Permission, the Promised Messiahas made a prophecy regarding Abdullah Atham and the fulfillment of the 15-month period mentioned therein, was awaited by Muslims and Christians alike. Dr. Henry Martyn Clark explains this in his report to the Church Mission Society:
“It has been the theme of converse, of close attention during the past year. From Madras to Peshawar, through the length and breadth of broad India, thousands upon thousands of men have been watching with thoughts intent on the far northern city where Islam had thrown down the wager of battle, and where God Himself would decide.”10
Whereas the rest of the world was awaiting the result of the prophecy with the intention to mock at it, the Promised Messiahas and his companions were spending this 15-month period in prayers. Naturally these prayers were for the fulfillment of the prophecy. However, we must remember here that there were two ways the prophecy could have been fulfilled: (1) Abdullah Atham could have decided not to turn to the truth and entered Hawiya i.e. a great torment, and (2) Abdullah Atham could have turned to the truth and saved himself from the torment of Hawiya.
A true believer’s job is to pray. The Holy Qur’an guides believers on how their prayers are to be accepted:
“And Allah has full power over His decree, but most men know it not.” (Ch.12:V.22).
It is true that Abdullah Atham did not die within 15 months of the prophecy. However, before considering this further, we must look at how the word Hawiya which was used in the prophecy, has been explained by the Promised Messiahas. The Promised Messiahassays:
“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.”11
Hence, the conclusion that may be derived from the aforesaid is that because Atham turned towards the truth, he was saved from the punishment foretold in this prophecy. The fulfillment of this prophecy was therefore conditional upon Atham’s acceptance of the truth. (The gist of the prophecy has been discussed herein as above. The original text thereof can be found in the Promised Messiah’sas book, The Holy War). However, notwithstanding this condition, it is the practice of God that the fulfillment of prophecies containing a warning, is always conditional upon those being warned not turning to God. Allama Aloosi writes in his famous commentary of the Holy Qur’an, Roohul Ma’aani:
“The verses consisting of a promise are unconditional. And the revelation consisting of a warning, although may not mention a condition, however are subject to conditions. Their conditions are not mentioned in order to instill more fear into the heart.”12
Henry Martyn Clark Admits Defeat
Before we undertake an analysis of Atham’s state of turning towards the truth, it is expedient to consider a statement by Dr. Henry Martyn Clark written in a report about the debate. It was obligatory on every missionary to send reports relating to work being done in his region, the purpose whereof was to keep the Church Mission Society abreast with different activities being undertaken by missionaries worldwide. These reports known as the ‘Intelligencer’ were not for the consumption of the general public, but were only written for the record of the Mission Society to make the Mission Society aware of the situation of the missionaries and the difficulties they were facing in different areas. In the report published by Dr. Henry Martyn Clark after the debate, he wrote about Atham as follows:
“When our turn came, I must candidly confess our champion did not make the best of our case against Mohammedanism. Despite much advice…Mr. Atham pursued a course of his own…It was scarcely the type of war required.”13
This statement was also published in America in the Missionary Herald. This magazine was a special issue on the works of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. It conceded to Atham’s defeat in these words:
“Dr. Clark affirms that…the presentation of the Christian side was not [at] all that could have been asked for…”14
This statement proves two things: (1) Although the Christians were claiming victory during the debate, secretly they were compelled to admit defeat, and (2) The main purpose of the debate was to distinguish the true religion between Islam and Christianity, with proofs from their Holy Books. Atham’s end was another issue. However, Islam’s victory was ensured through the person who came as the “Breaker of the Cross.” The admission by the leader of the missionaries that the cross had “broken into two,” epitomises the fact that nobody other than Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadianas was deemed suitable for this task. This inevitably lends support to the conclusion that the Promised Messiahas was the victor of the debate, “The Holy War.”
Letter from Dr. Martyn Clark
At the time of the Promised Messiahas, the head office of the Church Mission Society was in Salisbury Square, London. Later, this was moved to the city of Oxford, where it is still located today. The Archives of the Society are also in Oxford, however, most are in the Department of Special Collections in the University of Birmingham. Whilst searching for material through the archives in the University of Birmingham, a letter written by Dr. Henry Martyn Clark was discovered. He wrote this letter to his father Robert Clark on 4thSeptember 1894. This is the same date on which the period of the prophecy regarding Abdullah Atham was to come to an end. Dr. Henry Martyn Clark had written to his father about his activities in this letter. In the end he mentioned that he had gone to meet Abdullah Atham in Ferozepur and how there had been an apparent improvement in his health, although his mental health was in poor condition. It is evident from Dr. Henry Martyn Clark’s letter that Abdullah Atham was spending his final days permanently residing in Amritsar. The signs of the fulfillment of this prophecy manifested themselves as Atham began to feel bewildered and gradually lost control of his senses. As a consequence, he would see snakes and at times would see a sword dangling over his head. He started suffering from many other similar hallucinations. Becoming scared of his fate, he fled from one place to another. He eventually became so overwhelmed that he never returned to Amritsar until the term of the fulfillment of the prophecy came to an end. Dr. Henry Martyn Clark’s letter is a testament to this fact:
“At 6 pm I left for Ferozepur where Atham is. I wanted to settle the details of the home coming on the 6th…. I had a couple of hours with Atham…The crisis just now is intense beyond words.”15
This statement yields clear proof that Atham had migrated from Amritsar to Ferozepur. Moreover, in stating that Atham wished to return to Amritsar straight away after the period of the fulfillment of the prophecy had ended, it also provides evidence of the fact that the migration was due to the overbearing effects of Atham’s fear of the fulfillment of the prophecy. The Promised Messiahas referring to Atham’s own statement writes:
“Who does not know that Mr. Atham published a clear statement in the Noor Afshan Paper(which was a Christian newspaper) that ‘definitely during the term of the prophecy I became scared of blood thirsty angels?’ Who does not know that there were so many signs which pointed towards Atham being scared that it is impossible to cover them up?”16
The Truth Behind Atham’s Allegation of Attempted Murder
The reason given by critics for why Atham migrated is that attempts were being made to murder Atham, and that he was sure that these attempts were (God forbid) by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas in order to bring about Atham’s death and in turn fulfil the prophecy. Since he was unable to hide the loss of control over his senses brought about by his state of bewilderment and fear, Atham became the victim of yet another dilemma. The Judge and Arbiter of the age, the Promised Messiahas, has exquisitely analysed and issued judgement on this. He writes:
“…then he understood that it was not right of him to show so much agitation due to an Islamic prophecy. It was then that the excuses of attempts to poison and three attempts to murder were made. Because of the level of fear that had been shown by Atham due to his bewilderment, it required that if they were to prove that the cause of this was not the revealed prophecy, then there should be some other reason which was so strong and powerful, that it could instil the fear of death in one’s heart. Therefore, with the support of lies they forged these causes of fear…”
“Who finds it difficult to understand that he faced abasement due to his false and baseless allegations? And there was no way to rid himself of this disgrace other than to have proven the false claims in court or to have brought forward some witnesses or to have sworn to the truth of the claims in a public gathering. However, Mr. Atham did not adopt any of these means”17
It is pertinent to point out that the Promised Messiahas wrote Anjam-e-Atham after Atham’s death and while analysing the context of the situation he detailed the stages the prophecy was fulfilled in. However, if Atham considered his hallucinations to be (God forbid) attempts of murder by the Promised Messiahas, then the Promised Messiahas had during Atham’s lifetime, suggested that Atham should take the support of the law and submit a court case against the Promised Messiahas. The proof for this can be found in the Promised Messiah’s books, Anwarul Islam and Dhia-ul-Haq. The Promised Messiahas wrote the aforementioned books straight after the term of the prophecy came to an end on 5thSeptember 1894. However, neither did Atham raise a court case nor did he swear to the truth of his claims in a public gathering. The answer that the critics contrive here is that Atham spoke in Amritsar to a cortege, which was organised in celebration of the term of the prophecy coming to an end. There, he expressed his association with Christianity, and as per usual, used foul language against Islam in order to emphasise that he had not turned to the truth and remained fully adhered to his Christian beliefs and enmity towards Islam. Quite ludicrously, the statement was intended to prove that if the prophecy was not fulfilled due to the non-fulfilment of the condition of turning to the truth, then Atham’s speech at the cortege was enough proof that Atham never turned to the truth.
A Secret Inclination to the Truth
It is important to bear in mind the fact that inclining to the truth is a matter of the heart. It begs the question that during the whole term of the prophecy, Atham fleeing from one place to the other, seeking shelter in various places owing to unexplained causes of fear, making allegations of attempted murder against the Promised Messiahas and yet not taking the matter to court, not raising a voice or pen against Islam for the duration of the term of the prophecy, not using foul language against the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa, desisting from announcing his state of mind, – if all this is not proof of Atham turning to the truth then what does this all mean? Although as already noted, while a verbal declaration is not necessary for turning to the truth, it is necessary for a person of faith to affirm the truth when he is questioned regarding it. To the contrary, Abdullah Atham who hesitated not once but many times in affirming the truth and did not swear that he had turned to the truth. It is imperative to ask critics that if punishment is withdrawn because of a temporary turn towards the truth, does the inclination towards the truth not count? In The Holy Qur’an there are many verses that bear testimony to the fact that Allah withdraws punishment for even a temporary inclination towards the truth. The people of Pharaoh turned to the truth eight times, each time the promised punishment was withdrawn.
Abdullah Atham Announces His Beliefs in an Open Gathering
A consideration of the announcement that Abdullah Atham made at the completion of the designated period of the Promised Messiah’s prophecy is instructive. It is noteworthy that this announcement in fact was not Abdullah Atham’s own, a fact that can be proven by Dr. Henry Martyn Clark’s letter found in the Department of Special Collections at the University of Birmingham (discussed earlier). In this letter, Dr. Henry Martyn Clark writes:
“We propose a thanksgiving service on the 6th D.V. I am sending my own message to Atham.”18
What greater evidence may be rendered in support of Atham’s inclination towards the truth than the fact that the announcement Abdullah Atham read out at this convention was not even his own? The overall situation of Atham may be assessed in the following manner:
The prophecy was conditional on the basis that if Atham did not repent he would be cast into hell.
Atham, in awe and fear of this prophecy, went into a state of confusion.
He began to hallucinate that attempts were being made to attack him. To prove that these were only hallucinations, we find that no one from Atham’s family (his daughters or sons-in-law) made any formal complaint to the police.
During the fifteen months set as the time period for this prophecy, he did not utter or write anything against Islam.
After the completion of the time period set for the prophecy, he reaffirmed his belief in Christianity and his enmity towards Islam.
Thus, Atham’s short-term repentance prevented him from being subjected to the fulfilment of the prophecy, which was conditional upon him repenting.
Even then, this announcement that he made was not written himself but by Dr. Henry Martyn Clark who wrote as noted above, “…my own message…” Therefore, it is clear that Atham still remained in a state of repentance at the time of the announcement and thus read out someone else’s written message, or that he considered that message as a reflection of his own feelings.
Whatever the case may be, Atham’s failure to openly declare on oath that he did not repent, that he did not experience any fear as a result of this prophecy and the fact that he did not approach the authorities over the alleged plots to murder him (despite the Promised Messiah as having urged him to do so), are clear proofs that the representative of Christianity, Abdullah Atham, was not the victor, – Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah as and Imam Mahdi had triumphed.
Actual Time Period of the Prophecy Regarding Abdullah Atham
The time period of this prophecy is generally thought to have commenced on 5th June 1893, ending fifteen months later on 6th September 1894. However, although the prophecy is deemed to have started on 5th June 1893, its actual running period was not fifteen months per se. During this fifteen-month period, while there is evidence to suggest that Atham repented (discussed above), he failed to accept the Promised Messiah’saschallenge of making a declaration on oath to that effect. Atham exhausted almost a year in this state of uncertainty and although Divine Will granted him another twelve months to live, ironically his death was also prophesied during this period – Atham met his end seven months later, on 27th July 1896. Therefore, the actual time period of this prophecy runs from 5th June 1893 till 30th September 1896 – Abdullah Atham passing away within the time period prophesised. The news of Atham’s death in the Church Missionary Intelligencer came in the following words:
“Another native worker, Mr Abdullah Atham – whose name will be remembered as the leading advocate on the Christian side in the public controversy with Mohammedans at Amritsar in 1893 – dies at Ferozepore on July 27th, after ten days’ illness. Mr. Clark says of him, ‘He was a true and faithful servant of Christ, and the Punjab will miss him now that he has gone.’”19
It is noteworthy that the news of the demise of a notable Christian preacher who took part in the infamous debate and whose death was already prophesied should be reported in such a nonchalant manner. This was the same newsletter that wrote generously about the debate and also wrote about the prophecy concerning Atham. If the prophecy as is claimed by critics, was not fulfilled, the news story of Atham’s demise would have certainly mentioned, perhaps even sensationalised this fact. Therefore, it begs the question why the same newsletter, which deemed this debate to be a theological battle between truth and falsehood (the outcome resting squarely on Atham), speaks of his death in such an immaterial manner? This should leave no doubt with respect to the fulfilment of the prophecy.
Ironically, it was the same Church Mission Society that merely wrote five lines for Abdullah Atham’s death in an attempt to cover up the fulfilment of a grand prophecy, that now took up one and half pages to cover the Promised Messiah’sas demise. While the Intelligencer had reported about the debate in great detail, highlighting its significance and proclaiming that the prophecy against Atham had failed – it now wrote a great tribute to the Promised Messiahas, paradoxically strengthening the grounds to establish its own defeat. The report begins by referring to the census which was conducted in 1901, wherein the followers of the Promised Messiahas were entered as Ahmadis, and concludes in the following words:
“…it will be interesting to see whether future census reports have occasion to mention the name of the Qadiani leader, and for how long!”20
The Promised Messiah’sas Community was made to succeed by measuring up to the very standards the opponents had stipulated themselves. A renowned scholar of Indian history, Avril Ann Powell writes:
“In the 1890’s, at the time of the Amritsar debate, these two minority communities numbered their initiates merely in thousands. The Ahmadis subsequently created a very successful world missionary movement, numbering at least half a million by the 1940s. While the Punjab remained the Ahmadi ‘homeland,’ there were various new foci of migration and subsequent conversion in other parts of the world, notably in Africa and Indonesia, but also in Britain and North America.”21
In comparison, Powell wrote about the state of the Christians in the following words:
“Until the early 1920s the Punjabi Christians also continued to expand their numbers… During the next two decades their gains were relatively small…”22
Furthermore, Powell renders a captive analysis of the census stating that:
“The total number of Punjabi ‘native Christians’ was recorded in the census of 1941 as nearly half a million, similar to the estimated global total of Ahmadis, only half of whom by then resided in Punjab.”23
A few definitive conclusions may be drawn from the aforesaid analysis. Firstly, that not only did the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community come to be considered as a separate community for the next three decades, but has since been fundamentally perceived as a growing community. Secondly, and quite ironically, the Christians are increasingly being perceived as a minority. What a great sign this is of the “cross” being broken. Even if one were to turn a blind eye to this reality, its resolute force would compel one to acknowledge it.
The British conducted censuses of this nature after every ten years, a practice which was also customary in India at the time. The aforementioned census that took place in 1941 was the last census to be conducted before the partition. Following partition, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community multiplied in numbers not just in India and Pakistan, but in hundreds of countries worldwide. If anyone disappeared, it was those who mocked and ridiculed the Promised Messiahas and boasted that the followers of this “Qadiani leader” would soon be eliminated from future censuses.
Dr. Henry Martyn Clark’s Great Grandson Meets with Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba
It has been almost one hundred and twenty years since the debate “The Holy War,” and while Dr. Henry Martyn Clark was lost somewhere in the past, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas, and his Community, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, under the guidance of his Successors has continued to flourish. Some time ago, through the guidance of the worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and 5thSuccessor (Khalifah) to the Promised Messiahas, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V, I had the opportunity to undertake research on the debate “The Holy War.” During this process, I studied various records and archives in Britain, and a wealth of information was discovered from the Oxford Church Mission Society’s library and from the Department of Special Collections at the University of Birmingham. The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London was also very helpful in obtaining material on the subject.
Moreover, during the course of this research, Dr. Henry Martyn Clark’s residential home, his grave and his progeny were also traced, and proved instrumental in collecting further crucial information. Dr. Clark’s cemetery records helped in locating his residential home and the links therefrom were used to trace his progeny. One of Dr. Clark’s great grandsons, Mr. Jolyn Martyn Clark, was found to be residing in the north of Britain. When he learnt that someone was conducting research on the life of his great grandfather, he was intrigued – after all, why would someone be researching about him? However, when he learnt more about the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, he realised why such research was being undertaken. I met with Mr. Jolyn Martyn Clark at his home, who shared many details of his family history. What was profoundly interesting was a beautifully framed document that Mr. Jolyn Martyn Clark maintained, and one that he could not read as it was written in a language foreign to him. Amazingly, the document was in fact, written in Urdu, and had been presented to Dr. Henry Martyn Clark on the occasion of a farewell address when he was leaving India. The document listed his achievements – interestingly, one of them being that he had endured many difficulties during the days of the debate, “The Holy War.” The debate has therefore been recognised as a significant event in history, transcending ordinary discourse.
Mr. Jolyn Martyn Clark, great grandson of Dr Henry Martyn Clark, came across as a very respectful and dignified person. As he learnt about the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, he became increasingly interested in it. He was invited to come to London, an invitation he happily accepted, and when he discovered that the Fifth Successor of the Promised Messiahas is the Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, he expressed his desire to meet him. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaba graciously accepted to meet Mr. Jolyn Martyn Clark and the meeting took place on 3rd December 2011 in London. Before his meeting with His Holiness, he was shown the Makhazan-e-Tasaweer (Central Photo Exhibition of the Ahmadiyya Community in London) at Tahir House, which provided him with an overview of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s history and progress through historical and also present-day photographs. He was surprised to learn about the Community’s representation all over the world, its mosques, colleges, schools, hospitals and annual conventions held globally. Upon learning all this, Mr. Jolyn Martyn Clark remarked that while people do not even know the name of Dr. Henry Martyn Clark and other missionaries of his time, the Promised Messiahas and his community, who initially faced so much opposition, have succeeded in attaining such great heights. After viewing the Photo Exhibition, Mr. Jolyn Martyn Clark went to meet Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba – 5th Successor to the Promised Messiahas.
The meeting took place at 3:30pm that afternoon. Upon entering the office of His Holiness he shook his hand and then took a seat in front of him. He first thanked His Holiness for kindly taken time out to meet him. His Holiness engaged Mr. Clark in a discussion on various subjects and during this conversation enquired from Mr. Clark what he knew about the debate known as “The Holy War.” Mr. Clark replied that he had only recently undertaken some research into the subject, however, he realised today that while Dr. Henry Martyn Clark had been lost in the folds of history, his opponent has succeeded all over the world.24
To witness this meeting was truly a faith-inspiring experience, – to think that there was a time when Dr. Henry Martyn Clark had left no stone unturned to oppose the Promised Messiahas, creating obstacles in his way, and yet today a member of his own progeny had come to visit the Promised Messiah’sas successor and was overcome by his spiritual enlightenment. May thousands of blessings descend upon the one who came to “break the cross” and by walking in the footsteps prescribed by his Holy Master, he adhered to the Qur’anic verse:
“And that it may warn those who say ‘Allah has taken Unto Himself a son.’”25
How beautifully the Promised Messiahas followed this commandment and how thoroughly was he blessed in undertaking this task. He succeeded in disproving Christian beliefs in a manner synonymous to “breaking the cross.” All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds.
1. CMI, February 1894, p. 97
2. Missionary Herald: Containing The Proceedings of The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, Vol. XC, Published: Press of Samuel Usher, Boston 1894
3. The Holy War, Ruhani Khaza’in Vol. 6 p. 150
4. The Holy War, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 6, pp. 153-154
5. For a more detailed discussion of this subject, the Promised Messiah’sas book, The Holy War may be referred to.
6. John: 10: 33-36
7. CMI, February 1894, p. 99
8. The Holy War, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 6 p. 292
9. The History of the Church Mission Society: Its Environment, Its Men and Its Work, by Eugene Stock, Church Mission Society, London, 1899
10. Some Results of the Late Mohammedan Controversy, by Henry Martyn Clark, Church Missionary Intelligencer Vol. XLV, Nov 1894, p. 813
11. Anwarul Islam, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 9, p. 2
12. Roohul Ma’aani, Vol. 4 p.190
13. CMI, February 1894, p. 99
14. Missionary Herald: Containing The Proceedings of The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, Vol. XC, Published: Press of Samuel Usher, Boston 1894
15. CMS/C Special Collections, University of Birmingham
16. Anjam-e-Atham, Ruhani Khaza’in Vol. 11, p.17
17. Anjam-e-Atham, Ruhani Khaza’in Vol. 11, pp. 17-19
18. Letter written by hand, from Dr. Henry Martyn Clark to Robert Clark, dated 4 September 1894, taken from the Special Collections, University of Birmingham, ref. CMS/C
19. Church Missionary Intelligencer, October 1896, p. 781
20. Church Missionary Review Vol. LIX, Oct 1908, pp. 620-62, London
21. Avril Powell (1995): Contested gods and prophets: discourse among minorities in late nineteenth-century Punjab, Renaissance and Modern Studies, 381:1, 38-59
22. Avril Powell (1995): Contested gods and prophets: discourse among minorities in late nineteenth-century Punjab, Renaissance and Modern Studies, 381:1, 38-59
23. Powell, 1995
24. The details of this meeting were reported in Al Fazl International, dated 6th January 2012
25. The Holy Qur’an, Ch.18:V.5