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Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was considered a Kafir in 1884, before his wild claims

Ahmadis will be seen running around making many false arguments.  They are brainwashed to learn these arguments, so thus, they never listen or seek to understand why people don’t believe in Ahmadiyya, aka the Mirza family business.

New research from Upal (2017) proves that MGA was called a Kafir even before his wild claims!
All of the research work on Ahmadiyya up to 2016 indicated that MGA was only called a Kafir in 1891, as he claimed to be the second coming of Esa (as).  However, new research from Upal proves that MGA was called a Kafir as early as the 1880–1884 era (see page 126).  This was during the time that MGA was affiliated with the Ahle-Hadith aka Wahhabis of India.  However, it should be noted that in 1891, MGA also did Takfir on any and all Muslims who believe in Abrogation or that Muhammad (Saw) isn’t the final prophet.  MGA was denying a claim to prophethood in this era, in fact, he kept on denying it until Nov. of 1901, when he finally claimed prophethood and in a round about way.

Batalvi’s comments from 1884 on MGA being called a Kafir
As we know, the Ahle-hadith circles in British-India donated heavily towards MGA’s Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya.  They were not impressed, in fact, the husband of the Queen of Bhopal tore up the Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya (we are not sure what year or which volume) and sent it back to Qadian in disgust.  They were offended!!!  MGA’s denied all the miracles of Esa (As) and was disrespecting a high-ranking Messenger of Allah.

Upal (2017) writes
Page 126

“””While Nawab Sidiq Khan had criticized Braheen because of its anti-Christian
views, a number of other Muslim leaders saw in it claims that ran counter to their
understanding of Islamic doctrine. These included Amritsar and Ludhiana’s Muslim
leaders who issued a fatwa of kufr against Ahmad and went around India to collect
signatures from other Muslims to the same effect (Batalavi, 1884: 170). Ahmad’s friend,
Muhammad Hussain Batalavi, took upon himself to reply to this criticism through
his Ishat-us-Sunnah magazine. He devoted a whopping one hundred and fifty three
pages of Issue Nine and Ten to respond to each of these criticisms with well researched
arguments. The amount of time, effort, money, and his personal capital, Batalavi spent
on defending Ahmad reveals the extent of their ideological and social connections.
The review also reveals Batalavi’s perceptions of Ahmad. Batalavi clearly identifies
with Ahmad as a fellow Punjabi Ahl-e-Hadith who is willing to spend considerable
resources to defend Islam. He also sees Ahmad as more rural, less educated, less
sophisticated, and less successful than himself. He sees Ahmad as “a Punjabi who has
never had the opportunity” to live in the cosmopolitan cultural centers of Hindustan,
“who hasn’t had the occasion to read Urdu literature” and therefore is not able to write
“refined Urdu vernacular” (Batalavi, 1884: 346). There are also hints of a noble savage in
Batalavi’s perceptions of Ahmad as he sees Ahmad as someone who is so overcome with
religious fervor and zeal that “he’s unable to hold back” from including his unrelated
revelations in the Braheen (thereby lengthening it and “increasing publication
costs”), and someone who doesn’t understand that the “current civilization” demands
refraining from crudely attacking one’s enemies (Batalavi, 1884: 346).
Batalavi touts his personal knowledge of Ahmad’s beliefs beyond the words
written in Braheen to defend Ahmad. Answering the accusation that some of Ahmad’s
English revelations are grammatically incorrect, Batalavi says, “When I met the
author who visited the city of Batala, where I am now, I asked him, ‘when you receive
revelations in English, are you shown English alphabets or Persian alphabets?’ He
responded that he is shown English sentences written in Farsi script. That’s when
I became sure of my suggestion that the mistake lies in the author’s perception…
and not the divine revelation” (Batalavi, 1884: 291). Ahmad’s ignorance of English
and his miracle of English revelations will attract English speaking Christians and
Hindus to Islam argues Batalavi. It’s clear that Batalavi sees the younger Ahmad as
his junior, albeit more zealous, friend in need of assistance. Batalavi sees himself
as heroically defending Ahmad with his superior knowledge of Quran, Hadith, and
Islamic traditions. Since Batalavi does not see Ahmad as his competitor, he holds
nothing back in defending him.”””

In the Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya, vol. 3, 1883, MGA claimed that 9:32 was revealed to himself
In this era, MGA began faking revelations onto himself in great abundance.  In fact, he applied 9:32 onto himself and without a commentary, later on in 1901, he would claim that the word Messenger in this verse and subsequently to the revelation of MGA in 1883, was an indication of MGA’s prophethood.

In 1884, before his wildest claims, MGA defined Inni-Mutawafeeka, wa Raffa as I shall give you full reward and shall raise you towards Me


Most Ahmadis on social media have no idea what MGA wrote, this is evident when we give counter-arguments and they quickly deflect to other topics or other lines of argumentation. They deflect for a number of reasons.  #1–they lack the ability to think independently, aka critical thinking, Ahmadis rely on their Mullah’s to give them interpretations of MGA writings and the Quran, no other sources are even trusted.  #2–they know that they are lying and choose to be argumentative and defensive, not open and clear.

When Ahmadis argue that Esa (As) is dead, and its clear in the quran
We mention that if it’s so clear, why did MGA have the opposite belief until he was roughly 50 years old, aka 1891.  We continue to argue, if it is so clear in the Quran, why did MGA not understand sooner?  Per Ahmadiyya sources, MGA was reading the quran most likely everyday from at least age 10 to age 50.  Most Ahmadi’s freeze up at this point and deflect to other silly arguments.

Per MGA, by 1884, and per the quranic verse 3:55, muta-wafeeka doesn’t mean death and Raffa, in this context means to physically raise someone to heaven, i.e. towards Allah.

In the Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya vol. 4, while published in his own revelations and explaining them:

“””I shall give you full reward and shall raise you towards Me. I shall place those who follow you—that is, truly enter into the fold of the followers of Allah and the Messenger—above those who deny you until the Day of Judgment.””” Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya vol. 4, online english edition, page 398.

Mutawafeeka in 3:55 doesn’t mean FULL reward either
Another point to take notice of is the fact that MGA was already taking up the Sir Syed position as he wrote BA 1–4.  MGA claims to have written all 4 volumes of BA as early as 1879, the delay was only in publishing.  Nonetheless, we can see how MGA was slowly changing his claims, he was already asserting Mutawafeeka means something other then “capturing in fully, body and soul”.

This very same reference as recorded in Tadhkirah, 2009 online edition
Under a lengthy Arabic revelation, which starts off with “Inni-Mutawafeeka, wa rafia o ka…”

“””I shall give you full reward and shall raise you towards Me…”””

Tadhkirah, 2009 online edition refers to the Urdu version of BA-4
Barahin-e-Ahmadiyyah, part 4, pp. 510–521 sub-footnote 3,—Urdu
Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 1, pp. 608–623 sub-footnote 3]—Urdu

MGA refers to this issue in 1898, in his book Ayyam us Sulah
“””In the Barahin-e-Ahmadiyyah I had mistakenly interpreted tawaffa as meaning ‘full reward’, which some of the maulavis cite as a criticism against me. They are not justified in this as I confess that I was mistaken in this. But there is no mistake in the revelation. I am a human being and am subject to human frailties such as mistake and forgetfulness like other human beings, though I know that God does not leave me under the influence of a mistake. I do not,
however, claim that I cannot be mistaken in an interpretation Divine revelation is free from mistake but man’s words are not free from the possibility of mistake, because forgetfulness and mistake are essential human characteristics.

[Ayyamus-Sulah, p. 41, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 14, pp. 271–272
See also Barahin-e-Ahmadiyyah, vol. 5, p. 73 footnote,
Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 21, p. 93 footnote]
^^Taken from Tadhkirah, 2009 online edition, pages 118-119

The full Arabic revelation from BA-4, online english edition
اني متوفیك ورافعك اليَّ وجاعل الذین اتبعوك فوق الذین کفروا الی یوم القیٰمۃ ولا تھنوا ولا
تحزنوا و کان الّٰل بکم رءُوفًا رحیما۔ الا ان اولیاء الّٰل لا خوف علیھم ولا ھم یحزنون۔ تموت
وانا راض منك فادخلوا الجنۃ ان شاء الّٰل اٰمنین۔ سلام علیکم طبتم فادخلوھا اٰمنین۔ سلام
علیك جعلت مبارکا۔ سمع الّٰل انہ سمیع الدعاء انت مبارك في الدنیا والاخرۃ۔ امراض
الناس وبرکاتہ ان ربك فعال لما یرید۔ اذکر نعمتي التي انعمت علیك وانی فضلتك
علی العلمین۔ یاایتھا النفس المطمئنۃ ارجعی الی ربك راضیۃ مرضیۃً فادخلی فی عبادی
وادخلی جنتی۔ منَّ ربکم علیکم و احسن الی احبابکم وعلمکم مالم تکونوا تعلمون۔ وان
تعدوا نعمۃ الّٰل لا تحصوھا۔

Tafsir Ibn Kathir on 3:55
(55. And (remember) when Allah said: “O `Isa! I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify ﴿save﴾ you from those who disbelieve, and I will make those who follow you superior to those who disbelieve till the Day of Resurrection. Then you will return to Me and I will judge between you in the matters in which you used to dispute.”

Ibn Kathir goes on to write

“””I will take you) is in reference to sleep, for Allah raised `Isa while he was asleep.””

“””(For surely; they killed him not But Allah raised him up unto Himself. And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise. And there is none of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) but must believe in him before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection, he ﴿`Isa﴾ will be a witness against them.) ﴿4:156-159﴾

`His death’ refers to `Isa, and the Ayah means that the People of the Book will believe in `Isa, before `Isa dies. This will occur when `Isa comes back to this world before the Day of Resurrection, as we will explain. By that time, all the People of the Book will believe in `Isa, for he will annul the Jizyah and he will only accept Islam from people. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Al-Hasan said that Allah’s statement,””””

MGA stole Sir Syed’s position on the death of Esa (As) in the 1889-1891 era

In 1893, MGA was called a Kafir by a scholar from Baghdad, whilst in India

When MGA made his wild claims (1889 –1891), he also claimed to have been accepted in Arabia, Egypt and other arab lands.  However, these were all the exaggerations of MGA and his team, they did this in terms of marketing, since no one could verify this support.  Nevertheless, we have found a contemporary scholar from Baghdad, Al Syed Abdul Razzaq Qadri , who was staying at Hyderabad Deccan India, he seems to have read the book Aina Kamalat e Islam by MGA, but then gave the book back to its owner. The heretic expressions and false claims of MGA as mentioned in the book made him angry and shocked.  In June 1893 he wrote letters to MGA calling him a liar, heretic and liable to be put to death with a sharp sword or killed by burning in the fire, a punishment for heretics. He asked MGA to send him a copy of the book so that he may write a comprehensive reply to what has been stated by MGA in AKI.  In response to his letters, MGA did not send the book to him but wrote him a detailed reply comprising mostly of irrelevant personal glorification tall claims and flattery in arabic language. Most parts of arabic text include Quraanic verses and ahadis not having much relevance to the topic. Later on, in 1893 this reply of MGA was published in the shape of a 75 paged book titled as TOHFA E BAGHDAD.  In the opening lines Mirza states he would respond to Abdul Razzaq Baghdadi in a civilized manner. However, towards the end of his letter his abusive language overpowered him and he used foul and obnoxious language.  This is a short 33 page booklet in Arabic by MGA and his team.

He states that:

“Remember when my nails are pricked into the body of opponent it make him worst example of regret.”

“Very soon my Noor, (light) would shine and whole world would follow it except shameless peoples. When the day of punishment from my god would approach no dogs would remain alive nor their barking would be heard at that time”.

Another quote from Hidden Treasures, pages 115-116
(Arabic): I shall humiliate him who designs to humiliate you. We shall suffice against your scoffers. O Ahmad, God has blessed you. You did not let loose but it was Allah who let loose so that you should warn a people whose ancestors have not been warned and that the way of the
guilty ones might become manifest. Say: I have been commissioned and I am the first of believers. Proclaim: The truth has arrived and falsehood has vanished, falsehood always vanishes away. Every blessing is from Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, then blessed is he who taught and he who has been taught. Say: If I have invented it, the sin of it is on me. They plan and Allah plans and Allah is the Best of planners. He it is who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth so as to make it prevail over every religion. There is no changing the words of Allah. I am with you so be you with Me wherever you might be. Be with Allah wherever you might be. Whatever direction might face there is the countenance of
Allah. You are the best people raised for the good of mankind and a source of pride for the believers. Despair not of the mercy of Allah. Hearken, the mercy of Allah is near. Hearken, the help of Allah is near. It will come to you from every distant track. Allah will help you from Himself. Men will help you whom We shall direct from heaven. There is no changing the words of Allah. Today you are in a position of high standing and trust with Us. They will say: ‘This is all his own invention’. Say: Allah is the Source of all this; and then leave them being beguiled by their sport. And who is more unjust than one who invents a lie against Allah? My mercy is on you in matters of the world as well as of faith. You are of those who are helped. (Tuhfa-e-Baghdad,
pp. 17-20, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 7, p. 21-23)


Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed that his coming to Earth was revealed in Surah Fatiha!!! Review of Religions, Feb 1924


My team and I have written about the wild claims of MGA many times.  We have written how MGA was most likely planning on claiming to be a law-bearing prophet if he had lived to 1911.  Further, in the era of 1900 to possibly 1935, Ahmadi’s considered MGA to be equal to Muhammad (saw) (nauzobillah) and vice versa.  This article is a translation of some arabic writings of MGA, that seem to have been recovered in this era, and then translated by M. Rahim Baksh.  The Review of Religions, was edited by the Khalifa’s younger brother, Mirza Bashir Ahmad, who was the only college educated child of the mirza family by 1924.

Highlights of this article
1—MGA claims that his coming was actually revealed to Muhammad (saw) in Surah Fatiha.
2—MGA claims to be the final brick, in the house of prophets, not Muhammad (saw).
3—MGA claims that the Jews are an accursed people and that Muslims have become just like the Jews.

The article
Prophecy Contained in The Opening Chapter of The Quran

MGA only wanted peoples money, like a peer

MGA was nothing more then a peer from the Punjab, people would go to him and ask for prayers for a son or other worldly prosperity like good health, and MGA would take their money without thinking twice.  Here is a reference that proves the point.

The Quote

“”A person who was rich and requested Molvi Abdul Aziz to pray so that he can get son . Molvi sb told him to go to Qadyian and ask Mirza Qadyiani .Person went to Qadyian and requested Mirza for prayers (through Abdullah Sanori ).Mirza said that prayers are not made in casual way that only by lifting hands .It is done by special conditions in heart .It is necessary that either i should had some special relation with him or he should do some service for religion , that from Mirza sb heart prayers come out .For Prayers , Mirza Qadyani (set a condition for his prayers towards a person )said he will only pray for a person if he pay or promise one lack Rs 1,00,000 Rs for islam .Then he will pray for him , then God sure will give him son. Mian Abdullah sanori said that he informed (mirza sb message) to him. On this person kept quite . That person died without having any children . His property got divided from fights and law cases ( as quoted by Mirza Bashir ahamed son of Mirza qadyani . in Serrtul Mahdi Quotation no.264 – new edition urdu”””

14980838_678994502261526_7371490755383521624_n 14907045_678994732261503_2992861547019571654_n

MGA was a peer from the Punjab who got rich praying for people to have children or prosperity, he took it too far with the wild claims, and the money laundering.  His children perfected the family business model and have been living off it for a long time.

GRISWOLD, H.D. – “Mirza Ghulam Ahmad: The Mehdi Messiah of Qadian.” Lodiana, India, American Tract Society. 1902.

Dr. Griswold wrote extensively about Ahmadiyya, he even confirmed that it was called Qadianat.  He wrote in 1902, 1905 and 1911 about Ahmadiyya.  Walter then followed with his work on Ahmadiyya wherein he heavily referenced Griswold.

The Full Book

Griswold, The Mehdi Messiah of Qadian (1902)

The full text

Much of this article relates to the apocryphal Ahmadiyya claim that Christ did not die on the cross but came to Kashmir and died in Srinagar. The collection of Griswold Papers at Cornell University does not include this article and it is not mentioned in the catalogues of the American Bible Society, British Library, Library of Congress, New York Public Library or OCLC. It is mentioned in the “Ahmadiya Bibliography” in H.A. Walter’s The Ahmadiya Movement (Calcutta: Association Press/Oxford University Press, 1918). Walters indicates that Griswold was personally acquainted with Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and cites quotations from conversations with Ahmad at Qadian. He notes in the Preface that Dr. Griswold, who was Secretary of the Council of American Presbyterian Missions in India, and Rev. Thakur Dass, had in their pamphlets answered from the Christian viewpoint the claim of Mirza Ghulam Ahmadto be the “Promised Messiah” who has come “in the spirit and power” of Christ.

review by James Hurley, New Jersey, USA


The Mahdi Messiah of Qadian,

H. D. Griswold.

The American Tract Society

Lodiana, 1902

In the Village Of Qadian, [Gurdaspur] District, [Punjab], there lives an old man about Sixty four years of age, venerable in appearance, Magnetic in personality, and active in intellect. This is the Mirza Ghulam Ahmed, Chief of the village of Qadian, and hence popularly known as the “Qadiani” founder of the Ahmadiyah Sect: a new Sect in Islam named after himself. His family is of Moghal descent, having emigrated from Samarkand, Turkistan, in the reign of Babar. Following the example of his father [Mirza Ghulam Murtaza] Khan, who was an hakim or Yunani Physician, he himself professes to be expert in medicine, (witness his [plague pamphlets]). He claims to be enthusiastically loyal to the British Government, and he cites as proof of the loyalty of his family the services rendered to Government by his father and elder brother(or Cousin) during the mutiny of 1857, on account of which the letter (sic) received honourable mention in Sir Lepel Griffin’s book, “The Punjab Chiefs“(Vol II.PP.49—50, new edition by Massy). Religious enthusiasm, if not ambition, seems to run in the family. Mirza Imam-ud-Din1 a first cousin of Mirza Ghulam Ahmed, became the Guru of the chuhra or sweeper community and claims to be the successor of Lal Beg. In like manner, Mirza Ghulam Ahmed himself glories in being the founder of a new Sect, end claims to be the present day successor and representative of Jesus Christ. So much for the man. We now cone to his claims.

The Mirza Sahib claims to be at once the promised Mahdi and the promised Messiah. This is against the ordinary Mohammedan belief that these will be not one person, but two seperate (sic) persons. That is, the Mahdi will be a descendant of Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad and mother of Hussain, and the Messiah will be the Lord Jesus Christ at his second coming. Both the Mahdi and the Messiah will be men of blood, who together will fight against the Kafirs until they are over come. Such is the orthodox view. From this description of the premised Mahdi one might conclude a priori that many Soi disant Mahdis would be likely to appear in the course of the history of Islam, and, as a matter of fact, several have appeared, the Sudanese Mahdi being the most notable.

He and his successor were wild fanatics, who wought to fulfil to the letter the expectation of a bloody-witness the fanatical heroism of the letter on the field of Omdurman. But so far as I am aware, among Mohammedans, with the exception of [Biha Ullah] the successor of the Ban (sic) and one or two mad man, the mirza sahib alone has had the boldness to claim to be the promised Messiah. Through his claim to be at once the promised Mahdi and the promised Messiah the Mirza Sahib desires, it would seem, to focus all the Messianic expectations of Islam upon his own person. Thus in two respects the Qadiani doctrine of the Mahdi is heretical as tried by the standard of Muslim orthodoxy. First, the promised Mahdi and the promised Messiah are to be one person – not two – and that person has already come and lives at Qadian. Secondly, the Mahdi is to be a man of peace, not a man of blood, The Lord Jesus Christ was a man of peace, and so the Mirza Sahib – in his assumed character as the “[Masil-i-Masih]” or the analogue and representative of Christ for this generation, must also be a man of peace. Of the two ideas, the idea of the Messiah and the idea of the Mahdi, the former is determinative and the later subordinate and so when they are fused together and applied to one person, the idea of the [Mahdi] will add nothing to the idea of the Messiah, except, perhaps to emphasize the notion of spirtual warfare. This then is the theory which underlies the Mirza Sahib’s polemic against the doctrines of a bloody Mahdi and the kindred doctrine of Jihad. As he says: “To believe in me as the promised Messiah and Mehdi is to disbelieve in the popular doctrine of jihad” (Memorial to Sir William Mackworth Young, March 5th,1898).

But the Mirze 5ahib’s most important claim is that he is The Promised Messiah. By this he does not mean that he is the very person of Jesus Christ reincarnsted in India, for he does not accept the doctrine of Transmigration. His meaning simply this that just as, according to the interpretation of Jesus, John the Baptist was the Elijah which was to come (Matt: XI 14.), because he came “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke i, 17), so he, the Mirza Sahib, is the Messiah which is to come, because he was come in the “spirit and power” of Christ. The grounds of his claim to be the promised Messiah may be summarised under three heads, namely Critical, prophetic and historical.

Critical Ground

First, then, the critical ground. Briefly stated, it is this that on the basis of all the evidences available, the Mirza Sahib concludes that Jesus Christ did not die on the cross. His reasons for this conclusion are as follows:-

  1. Certain, inferences based upon the Gospel narratives, to the effect that Jesus when He was removed from the Cross was not really dead, but only unconscious through loss of blood and the pain of the wounds in his hands, feet and side. He remained on the cross only a few hours, and his legs were not broken. Moreover, the women who came to anoint His body were asked: “why seek ye the living among the died?” (Luke xxic.5) And finally the Post Crucifixion appearances of Jesus to his disciples were those of the body of a living man and not of a disembodied spirit; Since He ate and drank with His disciples and allowed them to touch him. In short, this is a revival of the “Swoon theory”.
  2. The Marham-i-Isa or “ointment of Jesus” otherwise called the “ointment of the disciples” is refered to as “the first” clue to this all important discovery.” According to the Mirza Sahib, this ointment is spoken of by Jewish, Christian, Parsee, and Muhammaden physicians alike, and over a thousand books on medicine contain a description of it” ([Kashful Ghita] P. 25). The Mirza Sahib’s theory is that after three days Jesus recovered from the swoon and that than the disciples applied this wonderful ointment to his wounds with such success that within the space of forty days He was entirely healed and ready for foreign travel. It is unnecessary to say that we have here the “fraud theory” of the resurrection, the disciples of Jesus being represented as acquainted with the facts and yet solemnly declaring that Jesus rose from the died.
  3. The Mirza Sahib refers to the Russian traveller, Jesus Died in Kashmir‘s “[Unknown Life of Christ]” in proof of this his thesis that Jesus actually visited India after his escape from the Cross. That is, the forty days which, according to the New Testament narrative, are followed by the Ascension, are, according to the assertion of the Mirza Sahib, followed by Jesus’ separation from His disciples, in order to visit India,Tibet, and Cashmere. It is nudless (sic) to say that the “[Unknown Life of Christ]” ie accepted as anthentic by no competent scholar. But even granting for the sake of argument it is authenticity, it contradicts the conclusion of the Mirza Sahib in two important particulars: (a) It makes Christ visit India not after his crucifixion, but in the interval of sixteen or seventeen years between his visit to Jerusalem at the age of twelve and His public appearance at the age of thirty; and (b) it asserts in unequivocal language the actual death of Jesus Christ on the Gross.(pp.l33,195).
  4. The Mirza Sahib claims that there is archaeological evidence that Jesus visited India and died in Cashmere at the advance age of 120. The tomb of a certain Yus-ASAF is situated in Khan Yar Street, Srinagar. It is asserted that the keepers of this tomb regard it as the tomb of a Shahzada-Nabi or Prince-Prophet. But Muhammad was the last of the Prophets. Therefore it must have been one of the Hebrew Prophets. Whose tomb could it be but that of Jesus? Besides, the first part of the name Yus-Asaf is clearly a corruption of Yasu(1) or Jesus, and Asaf (from Hebrew asaf together) means gatherer. Hence according to the Qadiani interpretation Yus Asaf means Jesus the Gatherer of the lost sheep (i.e., the ten lost tribes) of the house of Israel.
  5. The Mirza Sahib cites the testimony of the apacryphet (sic) Gospel of Barnabas, which he regards as genuine, in support of his contention that Christ died did not die on the cross.
  6. In “A Prospectus of the Review of Religions” the Mirza Sahib writes: “The spiritual death of Christianity is important evidence of the death of its founder; for if Jesus is living, why does not his influence work?”
  7. Jesus’ interpretation of “the Sign of Jonah the prophet” is regarded by the Mirza Sahib as a confirmation of the same view. Jesus said: “As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the fish; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matt xii.40). But, says the prophet of Qadian, Jonah entered the belly of the fish alive, remained there alive, and came out alive. So must Jesus have entered the tomb alive, remained there alive, and come out alive, in order to make the analogy complete.

It will be observed that the Mirza Sahib’s theory of the death of Christ may be summed up in two theses: (a) Negatively, Jesus did not die on the cross in Jerusalem; and (b) positively, he did die in Srinagar, Cashmere. For the first thesis the proof is found

  1. In certain inferences from the Gospel narratives which contradict their uniform tenor,
  2. In the testimony of the spurious Gospel of Barnabas
  3. In the unfounded statements concerning the MARHAM-i-ISA and
  4. in the asserted spiritual death of Christianity.

In like manner, the second thesis depends for its proof upon the unauthenticated testimony of a Russian adventure, together with the imaginary archaelogy of a poor little tomb in Srinagar, clearly that of a Muhammaden Pir (SAINT).

From all this, it is manifest that the Mirza Sahib is at once very clever at the manipulation and manufacture of evidence and very ignorant of the principles which govern historical research and determine the comparative value of historical sources. The adventure of the Mirza Sahib in the field of literary and historical criticism can not be pronounced a success. But the Qadiani Savant demonstrates, to his own satisfaction at least, that Jesus did not die on the cross at Jerusalem, but died in Cashmere. This theory of the death of Christ is given great emphasis, because in the view of the Mirza Sahib it is absolutely fundamental to his claim to be the promised Messiah. In a verbatim report of a discussion between the Mirza Sahib and the Delhi Maulvis, which took place Oct 5,1891, the Mirza Sahib says: “If Christ was in reality exalted in body form alive to heaven, then there is no need of further controversy, and my claim to be the promised Messiah is in vain. The reason is that my claim is based upon the natural death(Wafat) of the Son of Mary.” That is, if the Christian belief that Jesus Christ died on the cross, rose again the third day, and ascended into Heaven, be true, then the predicted second coming of Jesus Christ will be the second coming of “this same Jesus” (Acts I.11) and not of one who comes merely in His “spirit and power.” Hence the Mirza Sahib tries to break down the Christian belief that Jesus passed by the way of death and resurrection into the glory of His Father, and also the Muhammadan belief that Jesus Christ without death was “taken up” to God. His conclusion is that “Christ died like ordinary mortals” ([Kashful Ghita], P.l3) and the consequences which he would draw from this conclusion areas are as follows:-

(A) Negatively,(1) the over throw of the doctrine of Christ’s sacrificial death, resurrection, ascension and second coming as accepted by Christians and (2) the overthrow of the belief that Christ was “taken up” to God and will come again to the help of the Mahdi as accepted by Muhammadans; and (B) positively, the leaving of the way open for the coming of one who will come in “the spirit and power” of Christ, yea who has already come in the person of the Moghul Messiah, Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian.

So much for the first ground of the Mirza Sahib’s claim to be the promised Messiah, namely his Critical theory of the death of Christ. We now come to the second or prophetic basis of his claim.

Prophetic Ground

In the first number of “[The Review of Religions]”(Jan 1902,P.1) it is formulated thus: “Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, whom God has chosen to be his Messiah, has come in fulfilment of the prophecies given to Jews, Christians and Muhammadans.” First, then, as to the alleged Jewish prophecies concerning the Mirza Sahib and his Mission. It is chiefly by resorting to typology that the Mirza Sahib finds in the old testament material suited to his purpose. He has a doctrine of “Parallelism”, which l heard from his own lips at Qadian. Briefly stated it is this:- There are two tribes of fundamental importance in divine revelation namely, the children of Israel and the children of Ishmael.

The great prophet of the former were Moses and Christ. Christ was the final prophet of the Jews, the last brick in their national and religious structure. Their rejectiono f Christ involved their own rejection and the loss of their nationality. Then came the turn of the children of the children of Ishmael. According to Deut:XVIII.18, a prophet was raised ‘Like Unto’ Moses from among the ‘brethren’ of the Israelites in the person of the great law-giver “Muhammad” (Rev of Rel. May 1902 P. 206). Muhammad therefore was the first Ishmaelitish prophet, as it were the Moses of Islam. But Moses and Christ were separated by an interval of twelve or fourteen centuries. Hence, in order to preserve the parallelism, another prophet must arise twelve or fourteen centuries after Muhammad, who will be, as it were, the Christ of Islam. Who can this be but Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian? The relation between these great prophets may be set forth in the form of a proportion. Thus, as Moses is to Christ, so Muhammad is to Ghulam Ahmad; or again, as Muhammad is to Moses, so the Mirza Sahib is to Jesus Christ. In a word, as Moses is a type of Muhammad, so Jesus of Nazareth is a type of Ahmad of Qadian.

But the Mirza Sahib, on the basis of Jewish prophecy, claims to be not only the Messiah of Islam, but also the Second Adam. Here, too, a theory of parallelism or resemblance is determinative. At the close of the sixth day, God created the first Adam. But one day is with the Lord as a thousand years. Therefore at the lose of sixth millennium or the beginning of the seventh, the second Adam is to appear. But we are now at the beginning of the seventh millennium, if we reckon according to the Lunar year, which his the inspired mode of reckoning; and so the time is fulfilled for the Second Adam to be manifested. Where is the second Adam to appear? “In the East and not in the West,” says the Mirza Sahib, “for from Gen.ii.8, we learn, that God had put the first Adam in a garden eastward. It is therefore necessary that the Second Adam should appear in the East, in order to have a resemblance with the first in respect of his locality” (Rev. of Rel. Jan. 1902, P. 15). It may not be out of place to remark here, for the benefit of those who practice an extremely literalistic interpretation of the chronological and geographical details of Scripture, that people like the Qadiani Sahib can use the same methods.

We now come to the alleged Christian prophecies concerning the Mirza Sahib, i.e., those found in the New Testament. It is absolutely essential to the Mirza Sahib’s position to show that by the second coming of Christ is meant, not a personal coming of the same Jesus who suffered on the Cross, but only the advent of one coming in His “Spirit and power.” This he attempts to prove in two ways, (1) through a comparison between Ellijah and Jesus, and (2) through his theory of the death of Christ. As regards the first point, the Mirza Sahib refers (Tauzih-i-Maram, pp.1-4) to the fact that in the Bible only two persons are said to have gone to Heaven alive and to be expected tus to return, namely Elijah and Jesus. But according to the interpretation of Jesus, the second coming of Elijah (Mal. iv.5) was fulfilled in the coming of another person in his “spirit and power”, namely John the Baptist. But by analogy, the second coming of Jesus must be fulfilled in the same way, i.e., by the coming of another person in His “spirit and power”. This interpretation is further strengthened by the Mirza Sahibs’ View of the death of Christ. He did not die on the Cross and so the doctrine of a literal resurrection and ascension, which is bound up with the doctrine of His Sacrificial death on the Cross, is a myth. Jesus died in Cashmere like any ordinary man, and this resurrection will be at the time of the resurrection of all men. He is not risen. How then can He return in person? Hence His second coming must be the coming of another person in His “Spirit and Power”. This is the ground on which the Mirza Sahib refers all New Testament prophecies of the second coming of Christ to himself. As he says: “The promised one has come and is among you” (Kashf-ul-Ghita, p.26).

The Mirza Sahib has an interesting doctrine of the Millennium, which is based largely upon the twentieth chapter of the Apocalypse. In fact, be teaches three millenniums: (a) the millennium of the Devil’s imprisonment (A-D. 1—1000), during which time the prophet Muhammad appeared; (b) the millennium of the Devils’ freedom and renewed activity marked by the declension of Islam and a terrible growth of evil; and (c) the millennium of Gods’ reign, the down of which has already appeared, since the promised Messiah has come.

As usual the lunar year is the basis of reckoning. Thus, according to the Mirza Sahib, “the days in which we are living mark the termination of the respite granted to Satan,**** , but as he does not like that his freedom should be restrained and his authority taken away, a struggle between the good and evil attractions must naturally be the result” (the ‘good attraction’ being the Mirza Sahib and the ‘evil attraction’ those who oppose him). Note, that, according to the Mirza Sahib, both advents are followed by a millennium, —–the advent of Jesus of Nazareth by the negative millennium of the Devils’ imprisonment, and the advent of Ahmad of Qadian by the positive millennium of the Kingdom of God.

The passages in Muhammadan literature which the Mirza Sahib refers to himself are found in the Quran and in the Ahadis. From the Quran there is the well-known prediction of a coming one whose name is Ahmad, which runs as follows: “And (remember) when Jesus the son of Mary said. O Children of Israel, of a truth I am God’s apostle to you to confirm the law which was given before me, and to announce an Apostle that shall come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad”. * 2 
This is the Quranic Version of Christ’s prediction of the Holy spirit, the comforter parakletos John xiv.2, xvi.7), in which, according to the orthodox Muhammadan interpretation, Jesus prophecied the coming of Muhammad (h2. Ahmad ‘the praised’ Periklutos). The Mirza Sahib refers this prophecy to himself, because he professes to have come in the “spirit and power” of Muhammad (Rev. of Rel. Aug 1902. pp. 331-332) and because he bears the name Ahmad (Vid. Izala-i-Auham.p.673). Dr. Imad-ud-Din points out (Tanzin-ul-Aqwal, pp. 11-17) that from the 15th century on no less than four bearing the name of Ahmad have appeared in India and made extraordinary claims. Their names are, (1) Shaikh Ahmad of Sirhind, (2) Saiyad Ahmad Ghazi of Rae Bareilly, who in his assumed character as the Imam Mehdi unstituted a Jihad against the Sikhs (A.D.1826-1827), (3) Syed Ahmad Khan, and (4) the subject of our sketch Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian.

In all of these cases the possession of the name ‘Ahmad’ seems to have exerted a fatal fascination. The Sudanese Mahdi, Muhammad Ahmad of Gondola, who from A.D. 1881 to 1885 was a cause of riot and ruin in the Sudan, bore also the same fateful name., or take the case of Mirza Ali Muhammad the Persian “Bab” Mohammad the prophet of Arabia is reported to have said: “I am the city of Knowledge and Ali is the Gate of the city.” Hence the possession of the name ‘Ali’ on the part of Ali Muhammad, the name of the first of the Twelve Imamas and the name of the gate of the city of knowledge, was in its probable ‘Ahmad’ in the case of the above-mentioned five. In the light of these facts let no one say: “Whats’ in a name?”

But the Mirza Sahibs’ name is not Ahmad simply, but Ghulam Ahmad, i.e. Servant of Ahmad (Muhammad). In his assumed character as the promised Ahmad the Mirza Sahib would doubtless be glad to drop the name ‘Ghulam’, if he could. He virtually does this; for the name of his first important work is “Brahin-i-Ahmadiyyah,” i.e., Ahmadiyya proofs, and the name of his sect is The Ahmadiyyah, or the society of the promised Ahmad.

There is no certain reference to the second coming of the Messiah in the Quran. Hence the Mirza Sahib can find no support in Islam for his claim to be the promised Messiah, except in the pages of the Hadis, or sayings ascribed by tradition to Muhammad. For example, the folowing from the SAHIH OF BUKHARI on the authority of Abu Hurairah*3 : “what will be your condition when the son of Mary shall descend among you, and your Imam from you?” Clearly here is a reference both the messiah who will descend from heaven and to the Imam Mehdi who will come from the people of islam. But the Mirza Sahib translates it as follows: “what will be your condition when the Son of Mary shall descend among you? Who is he? He will be your Imam, who will be born from among you.” (Tauzih-i-Maram,p). This is interpretation in the interests of the theory that the Messiah and the Mahdi are one person, and that that person is to be born of a Muhammadan family, a condition which renders possible the Mirza Sahib’s candidacy for the honours of Messiah ship.

The appelation “Son of Mary” is explained metaphorically (Istiaritan) as referring to some body coming in his “Spirit and Power”, another tradition, cited by the Mirza Sahib, is to the effect that when Christ comes, He will break in pieces the Cross. This the Mirza Sahib interprets as a prediction of the destruction of the Religion of the Cross by himself as the promised Messiah and Mahdi through a spiritual Jihad, in which the weapons of war will be goodly arguments and heavenly signs (Vid. Tauzih-i-Maram, p. 7, and Zarurat-ul-Imam,p.24).

It is not necessary to refer to other traditional sayings. Before leaving this point, however, it might be well to ask once for all, “what is the nature and value of the prophetic basis of the Mirza Sahib’s claim to be the promised Messiah?” We have already seen that predictions and allusions are cited for this purpose from the Jewish Scriptures, the Christian scriptures and the Muhammadan Hadis. The prophetic basis, then, is threefold, Jewish, Christian and Muhammadan. The Muhammadan basis consists of sayings ascribed by tradition to Muhammad, — sayings often of very uncertain historical value. What of the Jewish and Christian basis? The Mirza Sahib has a way of regarding any verse in either the old testament or the New testament, which fits in with his purpose and doctrine, as authentic and reliable; while, at the same time he holds that the Scriptures have been tampered with and changed.* 4 
The Mirza Sahib lays it down as axiomatic that no Christian has a right to appeal to the testimony of the Quran concerning the supernatural in the life of Christ, because “the revelation of the Quran is not with him a divine Revelation, but the fabrication of a man” (Rev. of Rel, April 1902, p. 144). It is a poor rule which will not work both ways. What right has the Mirza Sahib to quote, as the inspired witnesses of this Mission, books which have undergone the extensive “alterations and corruptions” which he claims have taken place? In fact, for the Mirza Sahib the Bill (Bible?) can logically have only the value of a collection of Jewish and Christian traditions.

Historical Ground

We now come to the last and in some respects the most important basis of the Mirza Sahib’s claim to be the promised Messiah, which I have ventured to call for lack of a better term the historical basis.

In short, it is this that the historical appearance of the Mirza Sahib himself in the likeness of Christ is the supreme proof of his claim to have come in the “spirit and power” of Christ. In his character and personality, in the purity of his heart the wideness of his sympathy, in the peaceful character of his mission, in the signs which accompany his appearance such as miracles and prophecies, and in the political circumstances and moral needs of his age, —– in a word, as regards his whole character and environment, he claims to be the “Masil-i-Masih” or the one “like unto” Christ. If we analyse these asserted points of resemblance, we shall find that they resolve themselves into two classes: (1) those having to do with the Mirza Sahib’s environment, political, moral, and religious, and (2) those touching his Mission, Signs, work, and character. We shall take up these points briefly in the above order.

  1. A. Parallel between the environment of Jesus of Nazareth and the environment of Ahmad of Qadian.
    1. As regards political circumstances, the parallel is summed up in the statement that just as the Jewish Messiah appeared in Palestine when it as subject to the Roman Government, so the Moghal Messiah has appeared in India while it is subject to the British Government (Vid. Rev. of Rel., May 1902, p. 206). The question naturally arises at this point, Has the Mirza Sahib any Mission to fulfil toward the people of India as a deliverer from foreign domination? He denies this most emphatically. Moreover we know that Jesus Christ had no such Mission. Hence, the Mirza Sahib in his character as the Masil-i-masih can properly entertain no such ambition. We know too that his family remained loyal to the Government in the trying days of the mutiny. His only political Mission toward the people of india, as he tells us over and over again, is to teach them to be loyal and obedient to the British Government. Nevertheless, the following point is to be noted. In the five articles of faith which the Mirza Sahib published as his “Five principal doctrines” in a memorial to Sir William Mackworth Young, dated March 5th 1898, the third article reads thus: “To preach Islamic truths with reasoning and heavenly signs and to regard GHAZA or JEHAD as prohibited under present circumstances” (italic mine). This reminds us of the papal attitude towards Queen Elizabeth, which is well known to all students of her region. In 1569 Pope Pius V. issued a bull against Elizabeth, absolving her Roman Catholic subjects from their allegiance and Commanding them to wage a Papal Jehad against the Protestant queen. But this absolute command was soon qualified by the bull of Pope Gregory XIII, issued in 1580, which released the English Catholics from the obligation to resist Queen Elizabeth and allowed them to continue their allegiance to her until they should be powerful enough to rebel openly. In other words, the bull of pope Gregory XIII, declared a Papal Jehad against Elizabeth to be impracticable and prohibed under present circumstances.” Likewise, according to the Mirza Sahib’s article of faith, a Jihad against the non-muslim world is prohibited, not absolutely, but “under present circumstances.” If the phrase “under present circumstances” means anything, it must mean this or something like it. It is possible however, that the phrase is meaningless, being used for the sake of literary padding with an inadequate sense of its implication. We will give the Mirza Sahib the benefit of the doubt, especially since the phrase occurs no where else, so far as I know, in his writings.
    2. As regards conditions, the Mirza Sahib draws a rather impressive parallel between th emoral and religious needs, which nineteen hundred three years ago required the presence of Jesus Christ and the same needs today both in Islam and in Christianity, which will equal insistence, according to the Mirza Sahib, call for the promised Messiah. Morally, the times are out of joint. “Society is rotten to its very core” (Rev. of Rel., p.60) The special sins of Christendom are drunkenness, prostitution, and gambling; and those of Islam are the ghazi spirit, immorality, lack of love, etc., and such evils “call for a reformer.” The Mirza Sahib’s principle is that necessity itself is proof (Zarurat-ul-Imam) p.25) i.e., since the true reformer has appeared at Qadian, the very necessity which called for him may be cited s proof of the reality of his claims. Religiously, the condition of things is no better. The fear of God has vanished from before the eyes of men. Islam is cursed with the doctrines of Jihad, a bloody Mehdi, and tomb-worship, and besides there is no unity of belief on such important doctrines as the death of Christ and his second coming (Vid. Zarurat-ul-Imam. p. 24-25) and as regards christianity, it is cursed with false doctrines such as the deification of Jesus Christ and belief in His atoning death, of the Jews in the time of Christ, the Pharisees believed too much the sadducees too little, and the whole religious life of the time was marked by formalism in worship and unrighteousness of life. So it is today in Islam. Muhammadens of the old school, who are under the guidance of the ignorant Mullahs, outstrip Roman Catholics and Buddhists in their reverence for Saints and devotion to tomb-worship. In short, they are superstitious and believe too much. On the other hand, Muhammadens of the new school, e.g. the followers of Sir Syed Ahmad, hold very loose views on the subject of revelation and resurrection. They are rationalistic and believe too little. A divinely-appointed Umpire is necessary, in order to arbitrate between the various positions and to restore “the golden mean” such is the Mission which the Mirza Sahib claims for himself. He is Hakam*5 or umpire in religious matters for the present age.
  2. B. The parallel between the Mission of Jesus of Nazareth and the Mission of Ahmad of Qadian.
    1. The special claims which the Mirza Sahib makes in respect of his Mission are as follows:
      1. He claims to be, like Jesus Christ, a divinely appointed Mediator between God and Man, and so a true intercessor with God for man. His doctrine of mediation may be summarised almost in his own words:- The very nature of man calls for a mediator. In order to fulfil his high office, a mediator must have at once a close connection with the divine being and a deep sympathy with mankind; in fact, he must share in the attributes of both. Thus he may be called metaphorically an image of the divine being, the Son of God, or the representative, manifestation, or incarnation of God upon earth (Rev of Rel. Jan. 1902, p.5.). As such he is at once a perfect manifestation of humanity. If the question be raised, why, is it not allowable that every one should suk deliverance for himself by directly repenting before God and asking for protection and support, the answer is that it is the spiritual connection of an imperfect being with a perfect man, by which the former gets a remedy for the weakness of his soul and a deliverance from the passions of the flesh. Those who undergo a perfect regeneration, through such a spiritual connection, acquire all the blessings and morals of the intercessor and become his perfect images. (Ved Rev. of Rel. may 1902, pp. 165-187). Thus as the mediator is the spiritual image of God, so the disciple is in duty bound to become the spiritual image of the mediator. This is the ethical principle of the Ahmadiyya movement. The Christian has little or no fault to find with the abstract doctrine of mediation, as formulated by the Mirza Sahib, since it is taken almost word for word from the New Testament. It is to be noted, however, that the Mirza Sahib teaches the doctrine of mediators many, in apposition to the Christian doctrine that there is one mediator between God and men, the Lord Jesus Christ.

He says; “It is unreasonable to assert that in the whole world and during all ages there has been but a single manifestation of God. Every age stands in need of new light and a new representative” (Rev. of Rel., Jan. 1902, pp.5-6). In this emphasis on the need of an Imam in every generation (Zarurat-ul-Imam,1898) the affinities of the sage of Qadian are with the Shiahs. The doctrine of an inspired succession of Imams among the Shiahs is the analogue of the doctrine of repeated incarnation among the Hindus.

      1. The Mirza Sahib claims, in the second place, that he is the divinely appointed UMPIRE (Al-Hakam) to arbitrate among the warring sects and jangling creeds, and the divinily sent Mahdi to wage, with the weapons of second reasoning and clear demonstration, a spiritual Jihad against all enemies of the truth such as Aryas, Christians and Mullah-guided Muhammadans, and especially to destroy from off the earth the mischievous doctrine of the Cross.
      2. Thirdly, the Mirza Sahib claims that the spirit of his mission is identical with that of the Mission of Jesus Christ. Like Jesus he claims to be a man of peace. There is to be no appeal to the sword. If at times the Mirza Sahib has felt constrained to smite with the sword of his mouth such men as Pandit-Lekh-Ram, Deputy Abdullah Atham, Dr: Henry Martin ClarkMaulvi Muhammad Hussain and Mullah Muhammad Bakhsh, it is because in his opinion these men are like unto the ancient “Scribes, pharisees and hypocrites” which the Lord Jesus denounced.
    1. : To sum up, the Mirza Sahib claims to be the Imam-uz-Zaman or spiritual leader of his time, the mediator between God and man, the promised Mahdi or spiritual warrior of God, Hakam or divinely-sent Arbitrator, the second Adam, the true Ahmad or spiritual manifestation (بروز) of the prophet Muhammad, the promised Messiah, and metaphorically a manifestation of Deity.

In the light of these titles we need not be surprised to learn that a man who began by regarding himself as the Masil-i-Masih, or the one ‘like unto’ Christ has discovered at least that he is ‘greater’ than Christ. Listen to the following: “I wonder** what peculiarities there are in the Son of Mary, which make him a God. Do these consist in his miracles? But mine are greater than his. Were his prophecies very clear and true? But I shall be guilty of concealing a truth., if I do not assert that the prophecies which almighty God has granted me are of a far better quality in clearness, force and truth, than the ambiguous predictions of Jesus. Can we conclude his divinity from the words used of him in the Gospels? But I swear by the Lord* that the words expressing my dignity revealed from God* are for more weighty and glorious than the words of the Gospels relating to Jesus. But notwithstanding all this superiority, I cannot assert divinity or sonship of God*** My Superiority lies in being the Messiah of Muhammad, as Jesus was the Messiah of Moses” (Rev. of Rel., May 1902, p. 206). And note the following: “The word of God revealed to me contains expressions on whose strength I could establish, such more easily than Jesus, my claim to DIVINITY”(J.J.P. 205). Such expressions, occur, for instance in one of the latest inspirations of the Mirza Sahib(DAFI-UL-BALA, April 1902, p.7), where we read, in Arabic of course, words of which the following is a literal translation. “Those are to me as a son. Thou are from me and I from Thee” (انت منی بمنزلتی اولادی انت منی وا انا منک )

Thus the way is open for the Mirza Sahib to make still large claims. He may yet spell Ahmad without the letter m(Ahad, the unity of deity) as Dr: Imad-ud-Din surmised.

    1. So much for the claims of the Prophet of Qadian. We now come to the credentials by which the supports his claims. These consist of “Signs” both natural and supernatural. Under the head of the Natural Signs which accompany the Mirza Sahib’s Mission are mentioned his eloquence in the Arabic tongue, profound understanding of the Quran, the growth in the number of his disciples, (the number given last year ranging from 10,000 to 50,000 Rev of Rel. Aug:1902, p.336). The magnetism of his personality, the good effect of his teaching on the lives of his disciples, etc., etc. Under the head of “supernatural signs” may be reckoned answers to prayer, miracles, and prophecies. The statistics for this head are as follows: Answers to prayer 30,000 (Zarurat-ul-Imam, 1898, p. 24), or is it 10,000? (Rev. of Rel. May 1902, p. 205), and supernatural signs 150 (J.J. P. 205). It is quite likely that the Mirza Sahib confines his strictly supernatural signs to prophecies alone, since of his chief disciples, Maulvi Abdul Karim, declares, evidently with the approbation of the Master, that “the only species of miracle to which reason, science and the laws of nature are perfectly reconciled is prophecy” (Rev. of Rel. Aug,1902, p.317). So that when the Mirza Sahib claims to have “restored the dead to life in the manner in which Divine Law has allowed it” (J.J.P. 205) his meaning is probably only this that through the living water of his teaching he has, metaphorically speaking, quickened those who were dead in sin. Prophecy, then, is the supreme evidence of the Mission of the Qadiani Sahib. We may divide his so called prophecies into three classes: (a) those relating to the death or disgrace of definitely mentioned individuals, (b) those pertaining to natural events such as plague, eclipse, etc, and (c) those declaring the victory of the Ahmadiyya cause and the defeat of all opponents.


Maulvi Muhammad Hussain, the Editor of the ISHAAT-US-SUNNAT, declares (reply to the KASHFUL-GHITA. P.17) that “the prophet of Qadian has predicted the death & O., of no less than 121 persons.” Of thse it will be sufficient to mention only two, namely, Pandit Lekh Ram and Deputy Abdullah Atham. The Mirza Sahib predicted the death of Pandit Lekh Ram, his chief antagonist in the Arya Samaj, and soon he was murdered by somebody or other under circumstances which gave rise to the strong suspicion that it was the deed of a pretended Muhammadan inquirer. Again, during the Amritsar controversy (May 22 to June 5, 1893), the Mirza Sahib predicted the death of his Christian antagonist Deputy Abdullah Atham, which was to take place within the space of fifteen months, i.e., before Sept: 5, 1894. It was believed at the time that the life of Mr. Atham was in danger, and precautions were taken by his friends, in order to guard him from possible assassination. He himself in an upon letter to the Mirza Sahib, which appeared in the NUR AFSHAN, uttered words to this effect: I am afraid not of your prophecy, but of your followers: Mr. Abdullah Atham, however, survived the Mirza Sahib’s prophecy, i.e., the period of time covered by his prediction. Of course the Mirza Sahib had to justify the failure of his prophecy by a new revelation, to the effect that the life of Abdullah Atham was prolonged, because he had to some extent acknowledged the majesty of Islam, — to this extent at least that he was filled with perturbation and fear on account of this Islamic or rather Ahmadiyyah prophecy (FATAH ISLAM) dated 5th Sept, 1894, pp.1-6). The reasoning of the Mirza Sahib is essentially as follows: If Mr. Atham had been as persistent in his hatred and contempt of Islam as before, he would have died within the fifteen months. He did not die within this time. Therefore his attitude towards Islam must have changed, and as proof of this he instances his removed from place to place, perturbation of spirit, fear of snakes, etc. But the original prophecy of Abdullah Atham’s death, like all prophecies of punishment, was conditional. It contained the proviso, “unless he turn toward the truth” (BASHARTE KI HAQQ KI TARAF RUJU NA KARE). But since the predicted death did not take place within the time specified, the conclusion is inevitable, says the Mirza Sahib, that the condition of escaping death was fulfilled, namely that Abdullah Atham to some extent softened in his attitude towards Islam. Hence, according to the Mirza Sahib, the prophecy was fulfilled within the time specified. This is a classic instance of the Qadiani Sahib’s special pleading. About eighteen months after, Mr. Atham, already an old man, died at Firozpur. Such is the nature of the fulfillment of the Mirza Sahib’s predictions in two test cases. The reader may judge for himself as to the truth and holiness of such a prophet and his likeness to Jesus Christ, and yet Maulvi Abdul Karim one of the Mirza Sahib’s prominent disciples, has lately had the face to write as follows: “Coming two individuals** the representatives of the worshippers of falsehood, Almighty God recealed to him (i.e. to the Mirza Sahib) prophecies of their death, which were made public. THE FULFILMENT OF THESE PROPHECIES BY THE WRATH OF GOD CONSUMING ATHAM AND LEKH RAM has at least sealed the truth of Islam and its founder” (Rev. of Rel., Aug 1892, p. 533). Rather let us say, it has sealed the falsity of the Ahmadiyyah and its founder, for it is a slander of the genuine Islam to represent its cause as in any way dependent on the fulfilment of the malicious and ungodly predictions of the prophet of Qadian. That Maulvi Muhammad Hussain was right in calling the Mirza Sahib’s prophecies “dangerous” and “mischievous6 has already been recognised by Government in an order prohibiting the Mirza Sahib from publishing alarming and mischievous prophecies, challenges, and inspirations, and exacting an agreement from him to that effect. (In the case of Maulvi Abu Said Muhammad Hussain versus Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, in an [order dated Feb 24th, 1899], effected a settlement by exacting a promise from both parties. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, solemnly promised

  1. To refrain from publishing any prediction involving the disgrace of any person, or in which any one should be re-represented as an object of God’s displeasure.
  2. To refrain from publishing any challenge to appeal to God to indicate the signs of His displeasure, such as disgrace, etc., the party in a religious controversy which is in the wrong.
  3. To refrain from publishing any writing purporting to be an inspiration, the object of which can be reasonably taken to be the disgrace of any person, or the representing of him as an object of the divine wrath.

Vid the NUR AFSHAN Ludhiana Sept: 14th 1900, and the AKHBAR-I-AMM LAHORE, March 17th 1899.)

It must be admitted, however, in justice to the Mirza Sahib, that he has uttered not only malicious prophecies announcing the death or disgrace of his enemies., but also benevolent prophecies announcing to himself, or to his friends, the birth of Sons. But these prophecies have not always been remarkable for the exactness of their fulfilment. Sometimes the predicted Sons do not appear at all; and sometimes, when they do appear, they turn out to be daughters, to the immense disgust of all concerned. The prophetic trade is not without its humours: (Vid [‘ASAI MUSA], p. 40, and [Gul Shigufta]p.30).

The plague has furnished the Mirza Sahib an occasion for various prophecies (vid. DAFI-UL-BALA April 1892), and in due time he will doubtless have something prophetic to say about the destruction of St: Pierre in Martinique and with reference to the illness of King Edward VII. In 1898 he published “A Revealed cure for the Bubonic Plague” in which a quack medicine known as the Marham-i-Isa or “Ointment of Jesus” is declared to be “the specific remedy” for the plague, since it has been “prepared sobly under the influence of Divine Inspiration”. In 1902, he published the Dafi-ul-Bala, in which the cause of the plague is traced to the world’s refusal to accept him, the prophet of Qadian, and to its ill treatment of him, and in which accordingly the the remedy prescribed is, that “people with sincere heart accept him as the promised Messiah;” or at the very best cease from reviling and persecuting him. In this, his latest plague pamphlet, there is no mention of the “Revealed Cure” of 1898. Can it be that the MARHAM-I-ISA is already Mansukh or abrogated? It appears, however, that the action of Government in the case of Hakim Muhammad Hussain, MARHAM-I-ISA manufacturer, Lahore has deterred the Mirza Sahib from the public exploitation of the history and virtues of this ointment in the Panjab. (see the order issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Lahore, dated 19th Oct: 1899, and also the decision of the Chief Court of the Panjab in the appealed case, dated 8th June 1900).

The Mirza Sahib’s plague prophecies illustrate well the delphic ambiguity of his oracles, and also the way in which the indefinite is made definite Post Evetum. For example, in the BARAHIN-I-AHMADIYYA(1880) occurs a revelation, in imitation of the style of the Quran, thus: “Say, with me is a testimony from God; will ye them believe? Say, with me is a testimony from God; will ye then submit?” (Arabic text). According to the Mirza Sahib’s interpretation (DAFI-UL-Bala, April 1902,p. 9), the first ‘Testimony’ refers to the testimony of heaven through a solar eclipse in the month of Ramzan; and the second ‘testimony’, to the testimony of the earth through the plague. Again, in the DAFI-UL-Bala, p. 6, foot note, he refers to a revelation given ten years ago (in 1892), the literal translation of which is: “Build a slip before my eyes and according to my command.” (Arabic text). Note that in the translation of Arabic revelation the Mirza Sahib adds POST EVENTUM the words, “which shall deliver from the coming plague” (Jo Anewali Mari Se Bachaegi). Again in Feb: 6th, 1898 the Mirza Sahib announced the following revelation: “God has revealed to me that an outburst of the disease in this country, and especially in the Punjab, is yet to be feared, which may take place in the coming winter or in the winter following it (A Revealed Cure, p.1). How delightfully clear and definite this prophecy is. And what unique information it provides. Lastly, in April 1892 the Mirza Sahib issued the following oracle: “As long as the plague continues in the world, even if for seventy years, God will protect Qadian from its fearful devastation, because this is the seat of His Apostle” (Dafi-ul-Bala, p. 10). Note the ambiguity of this prophecy. It may mean either absolute protection from the plague or protection from such a devastation as shall be ‘fearful’. The Mirza Sahib has provided carefully for the latter alternative by making the original prophecy more explicite: “God said, I will protect Qadian from this devastation, especially from such a devastation that people will die like dogs of the plague” (Dafi-ul-Bala p. 17). The literal translation of the original prophecy reads thus: “God is not such a one that He will afflict them, in as much as thou art in the midst of them. He has had compassion on the village:” (Arabic text). Such is the original revelation, of which the above-mentioned passages are very free renderings on the part of the Mirza Sahib, with editorial additions as well, which are not found in the original Arabic. It is well for the Mirza Sahib that he thus provided for unpleasant possibilities, if the report be true that before the end of May, 1902 seven people had already died of the plague in Qadian (Vid Nur Afshan, May 23, 1902).

The reason why the village of Qadian enjoys such unique protection from the plague is to be noticed. It is because it is the seat of God’s Apostle, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. In harmony with this is the fact that on the front page of the Mirza’s publications, Qadian is called Dar-ul-Aman or “Place of Peace”, a title usually applied only to Mecca. It is clear from many indications that the village of Qadian is to be converted, if possible, into a twentieth century Mecca. (In fact the village of Qadian has a double honour. It is the home of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and so the centre of the Ahmadiyyah Sect. It is also the home of his cousin Mirza Imam-ud-Din, the spiritual preceptor of the sweeper community, who arranges for a yearly mela of his brother Lal Begis at Qadian. Every thing is to be new, fresh and upto date — a new apostle, a new revelation, a new pilgrimage, etc., etc., The Mirza Sahib, began with the claim to be the Masil-i-Masih or the one ‘like unto’ Christ; but he soon discovered that he is ‘greater’ than Christ, and in the new capacity he arrogates to himself the right to revile Christ. (“He taught one thing and did anther.” Rev. of Re., p. 42; Christ sadly lacked the quality of philanthropy.” Id.p.106; “In the Life Of Jesus There Is The Confession Of Sin, Repentance Like That Of Sinners, And Deeds Similar To Those Of The Guilty” Id p. 113; “Jesus was addicted to the habit of drinking” Id. p. 114 under the heading “The DRUNKENNESS OF JESUS*” 7 ; Id. p. 300. see also the NUR AFSHAN, Sept 12, 1902. And yet, strange to say, the Mirza Sahib claims to be the “perfect image” (Rev. of Rel June 1902, p. 251) of such a character.

Likewise, the Mirza Sahib claims to be the Ahmad promised in the Quran, since he has come as the BURUS ( ) or ‘spiritual reappearance’ of the prophet Muhammad. How long will it take the Masil-i-Muhammad to become ‘greater’ than Muhammad? The Mirza Sahib claims to be reformer of Islam. He is in reality a DESTROYER OF ISLAM, and as such he is recognised by the great mass of Indian Muhammadans, as the numerous FATWAS issued against him abundantly testify. Even his own cousin and fellow townsman, Mirza Imam-ud-Din, says concerning him: “If he were a follower of Muhammad, he would not abuse the family of the prophet, nor would he so amend (Tarmim) the Quran as virtually to abrogate (Tansikh) it” (Gul Shigufta, 1899, p. 19).

It is not necessary to do more than mention the third class of the Mirza Sahib’s prophecies: Viz, those which declare in general terms the victory of the Ahmadiyyah cause and the overthrow of all opponents. These prophecies are very numerous. A good example is found in the Dafi-ul-Bala (p.8): “The time is coming when I shall exalt thee to such a high position that the world shall praise thee. Success is with thee and failure with thine enemies” (vid Rev of Rel., June 1902, p. 247).


We now come to the methods which the Mirza Sahib employes in making known his mission to the world. There are four: namely, literature, public disputation, the challenge and educational work. The Mirza Sahib fully appreciates the value of the press. He has his own printing press and book depot at Qadian. He publishes two papers —- “Al-Hakam” in Urdu, and “the Review of Religions” in English. He pours forth a constant stream of notices, open letters, memorials to Government, handbills etc., etc., it is claimed that “during the last twenty two years he has written about fifty books in Arabic, Persian and Urdu” (Rev. of Rel., Feb 1902, p.63), and that “these books**** have been circulated not only in India, but in distant countries like Persia, Arabia, Kabul, Syria and Egypt” (Kashf-ul-Ghita p. 4). He has an ambition to exploit his doctrines in the west. I have in my possession an open letter, dated June 16th 1902, addressed to The Editor of (Name to be supplied). It begins thus: “Sir I beg to inform the western world through the best medium of your esteemed Journal, of a new discovery.” And then follows a description of “the greater discovery” of the age, namely that Jesus Christ dies in Cashmere and that his tomb exists there ‘unto this day’.

Public disputation is another favourite method of making known the Ahmadiyya ‘Gospal’. The prophet of Qadian thrives on notoriety. Whatever the result of a controversy may be, the Mirza Sahib is sure to score an advantage, since every such encounter is made to furnish material for new books, notices and pamphlets in bewildering abundance; and by such means he keeps himself before the attention of the public.

The ‘challenge’ plays an important part in the tactics of the Mirza Sahib. Sometimes it is a challenge to a discussion. Again, it is a challenge to prove some point historical or doctrinal, as e.g. that the miracles of Jesus were greater in number and congency than the miracles of the Mirza Sahib, success to carry with a reward of one thousand rupees: Vid. Siraj-i-Munir, (advertisement on the back cover). Or again, it is a challenge to a literary contest in Arabic composition, addressed to Christian Maulvis and commanding them to justify their title of Maulvi by producing within two months a work in Arabic rivalling the style of an Arabic book written by the Mirza Sahib, and at the same time to earn the promised reward of Rs. 5000// or else to drop the title of Maulvi: (see “A Criterion to test the Righteous and the wicked,” 1894). Or again, it may be a challenge to a prophetic contest, as e.g. in the Dafi-ul-Bala,p.10 where Aryas, Sanatan Dharmis, Christians, and Mulla-guided Muhammadans are challenged in turn to predict the safety from plague of some particular city. If they refuse to accept the challenge, then the inference, which must be drawn, according to the Mirza Sahib, is tht “the true God is that God, who has caused His Apostle to appear in Qadian.” This is a good instance of the Qadiani “bluff.” or yet again, it may be challenge to a Mubahala, or contest in mutual cursing, with appeals to God for judgment, (Comp, Kashful Ghita, p. 29, and the Ishtihar of Mullah Muhammad Bakhsh Nov: 3rd 1898). Or again, it is a challenge to Almighty God to grant an “extraordinary heavenly sign.” In his “prayer,” dated Nov: 5th 1899, the Mirza Sahib says: “If thou dost not show within the three years, that shall be computed from January 1900 to December 1902, some heavenly sign to support and confirm my claims,***** be thou witness that I shall never again look upon myself as a righteous being.” Lastly, it is reported that the Mirza Sahib is preparing a challenge to be sent to Dr. John Alexander Dowie of Chicago. A passage at arms between the faith-healer of the West and the another of an “inspired” plague remedy in the East would certainly be entertaining. The Mirza Sahib evidently intends in this way to bring his claim, to the attention of the Western world. He has the dream of a world-wide propaganda.

The educational work under the care of the Ahmadiyyah movement is still in its infancy, there is a school at Qadian, with primary, Middle and High school department, where the sons of Mirza Sahib’s followers may receive instruction. A noticeable feature of the school is the encouragement given to the study of Hebrew. Two candidates for the Entrance Examination appeared last year from his school, with Hebrew as one of their subjects, and one of the two passed it. So far as I know, the first attempt to acquire a knowledge of Hebrew on the part of the Indian Muhammadans has been among the followers of the prophet of Qadian.


Our sketch of the Ahmadiyyah movement is about finished. From this rapid survey, what conclusion must we draw concerning the character, intellectual, moral, and religious, of the founder of the Ahmadiyyah sect? Intellectually, he possesses as certain cleverness in manipulating his materials and in advertising his claims in a highly sensational manner. He is a master of the art of ‘posing’ before the public. He now and then displays a certain acuteness in attacking the christian position. For example, the following on Mark XVI. 17.18: “If we are told to take these verses metaphorically and not literally, to take the ‘swallowing of poison’ for subduing violence, and ‘snakes’ for mischievous persons, for instance, then without losing our right of objecting ot this foolish straining of the meaning of plain words, we may ask why the miracles which are ascribed to Jesus should not be read in the same light as the signs which he said his followers will show. Jesus repeatedly said that his followers shall show the same signs, and even greater than those, which he showed**** If there si any truth in the statement that the signs promised to be shown by the followers are only metaphorical descriptions of excellent moral qualities, the conclusion cannot be avoided that the miracles of the master must have the same reality.” (Rev. of Rel., May 1902, pp. 195-196). As regards his linguistic training in Arabic and Persian, it is considerable as to extent, but entirely traditional as to quality. He has no knowledge of critical methods of research in either history or philology. His lack of acquaintance with critical methods of investigation in the field of history has already has already been sufficiently exposed in connection with the statement of his theories concerning the death of Christ. There is no criticism of the sources. There is no examination of rival theories. Sweeping statements about the Marham-i-Isa are made, e.g. that “Over a thousand books refer to it,” and yet detailed references to these books are not given, etc. In fact, one wonders why the Mirza Sahib has stooped to historical investigation at all. Why did he not cut the “GORDIAN KNOT” at once by giving to the world a “revealed” history of the life and death of Christ, Just as he has given it a “revealed cure” for the bubonic plague?

In the field of philogy his ignorance and presumption are simply amazing, for example, the Arabic word خنزیر Khinzir. ‘Pig’, is explained as a compound of خنز Khinz ‘very Foul’ and ار ar ‘I see’. Literally, then (‘I see it is very foul.’ and then he goes on to say: “But what is till more wonderful is that in Hindi this animal is known by the name of سؤر Suar, which is composed of two words سؤ su and ار ar; the latter part of the Arabic word: and the former, being the exact equivalent of the first part of the first part of the Arabic from*** Suar is therefore an Arabic world.” (Rev. of Rel. March 1902, pp.99-100). On evidence such as this, is based the Mirza Sahibs greatest philological “discovery” that “Arabic is the mother of all languages,” (Id,p.100). The veriest tyro in comparative philology will recognize from this at once that the Mirza Sahib’s so-called philology bears about the same relation to a sound critical philology as astrology bears to astronomy, or alchemy to chemistry. The Mirza Sahib has made known to the world no less that three great discoveries – one “a revealed care for the Bubonic Plague.” another that Jesus Christ died in Cashmere and was buried there. “a new discovery which is one of the most important events in all annals of discoveries”, and the third that “Arabic is the mother of all languages.” this last being “one of the greatest discoveries of the age.” Verily the achievements of the Qadiani Savant are wonderful. In the matter of propounding startling theories, he has all the facility of a German scholar; and in the way in which he has advertised and pressed his claims, he has the push of a Nebraska ‘hustler’.”

Two interesting points of contact are manifest between Mirza Ghulam Ahmad the founder of the Ahmadiyyah and Pandit Dayanand Sarasvati the founder of the Arya Samaj. The founder of the Arya Samaj held that the Vedas contain hints, ‘germs’, prophecies of all the great scientific discoveries of modern times. Likewise the founder of the Ahmadiyyah declares, concerning the Arabic language, that “the descriptive words of ignorant Bedouins disclose treasures of scientific facts which, we know not how many thousands of years afterwards, were discovered by the world” (Rev: of Rel, Feb 1902.p.80). The second point of resemblance in that both the sage of Qadian and the sage of Gujrat are patrons of the ‘twofold sense’. Thus the Mirza Qadiani can be a literalist of the literalists when it suits his purpose so to be., and with equal readiness he can allegorize any passage he pleases, when the literal meaning is obnoxious to him. Thus by means of an allegorical interpretation (استعارف) he is even able to find a certain truth in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Divine love and human love being, as it were, two persons of the Trinity, and the enthusiasm which results from the union of these two being the third. In like manner, it requires only a limited knowledge of Pandit Dayanand’s commentary on the Riq Veda to assure one that he too was an uncritical patron of the twofold sense.

In gathering materials for his system, the Mirza Sahib is eclectic, so that his theology is a syncretism derived from many different sources. In his doctrine of the “heavenly light,” or “light of the spirit of God,” (Rev. of Rel., May 1902, p. 188), and in his teaching concerning the annihilation of self, mystic union with Muhammad, and ‘imitation’ of him, he is a Sufi (id.p.189). In his emphasis on the necessity of an Imam, he is a SHIAH. In his relationalistic theory of the death of Christ, he is a M’utazilite. In his abstract doctrine of a mediator, he is a Christian. And in his emphasis on ‘natural law’, he is a rationalist (naichri). Furthermore, in his assumed character as the MASIL-I-MASIH, or the one ‘like unto’ Christ, he continually uses New Testament phraseology, such as the Holy Spirit, son of God, regeneration, etc., etc.

It may cheerful be admitted that the Mirza Sahib sometimes says good things. For example: “The very nature of man calls for a mediator” (Rev. of Rel.,p. 165), “unless a man has seen His beauty and tasted of His goodness, he cannot love the Almighty Being” (Id. p. 177); “The system of prophets that rose among the Israelites after Moses and Walked in the footsteps of their great predecessor, is without a parallel in the history of the world” (Id.p.69); “The object of man’s life in this world is that the window of his heart should be opened towards God” (Id. p.294). Moreover, the Mirza Sahib’s crusade against Jihad and the Ghazi spirit, if sincere, is commendable. So, too, in his rejection of tomb-worship, and the emphasis which he puts on the necessity of a manifestation of the power of God in every age.

So much for the intellectual character of the Mirza Sahib. What of his moral and religious character? He himself as the representative of God on earth and the mediator between God and man, claims to be smiless and morally perfect. For the mediator is described as “a perfect manifestation of Divinity and a perfect manifestation of humanity” (Rev. Rel: May 1902,p. 173). The perfection of the mediator is not to be constructed, however, as the independent and absolute perfection of the Creator, but only as the dependent perfection of a creature. For, as the Mirza Sahib tells us. (Id. p.182). “He only is perfectly sinless, who strengthens his soul by drawing the Divine power by means of ISTIGHFAR and does not cease for a single movement to ddraw it by his supplications, prayers, and cries,” (the implication being of course that the Mirza Sahib does this). The followers of the prophet of Qadian show great reverence for their master and are enthusiastic over the winsomeness of his character.

As regards those who are outside the Qadiani Camp, all, so far as I know, whether Hindus, Aryas, Muhammadans or Christian, are at one in regarding the Mirza Sahib as a deceiver; but they do not agree as to the nature of his deception, whether it is conscious or unconscious. The opinions, on this point, concerning him may be summed up under three judgments: (1) that he is a conscious deceiver, (2) that he is insane, (3) that he is self-deluded. The opinion of the late Dr: Imad-ud-Din is that the Mirza Sahib is an out and out fraud. He pronounces him a cunning schemer (chalak). He writes: “It looks to me as if a number of men in the same secret had formed a Committee, with the Mirza Sahib as Chairman, the purpose of which is to secure, by making Messianic claims, a large Muhammadan following, and then when the time is ripe, to make a political demonstration against the peace of the country” (Tauzin-ul-Aqwal, p.5).

In the numerous FATWAS, which Muhammadan Associations all over India have issued against the Mirza Sahib, the strongest words of denunciation are used. Thus he is called KAFIR ‘unbeliever’; DAJJAL ‘Anti-Christ’, mulhid ‘heretic’, murtadd ‘apostate’, KAZZAB ‘LIAR’, Be-Iman ‘Faithless’, Daghabaz ‘Deceitful’ etc; etc; with such epithets as these is the ‘certificate’ filled, with which Muhammadan orthodoxy has dismissed the Mirza Sahib from its fellowship and service.

The second judgment concerning the Mirza Qadiani is voiced in the quaint words of an old Afghani boxwala, uttered in my hearing, to the effect that the Mirza Sahib’s brain has become maddled “US KA DIMAGH BAITH GAYA”). This opinion concerning the Mirza Sahib is similar to the opinion of Festus concerning Paul that “much learning” has made him “mad” the following reflections of the old AFGHANI on the subject are too good to go unmentioned: “If the Amir of Kabul were only in authority here, how soon the Mirza Sahib would lose his head. Every body says what he pleases under the British Government. The lion and the goat drink from the same spring.” In connection with the theory of the Mirza Sahib’s insanity, it may not be without interest to mention that at least tow persons in the PANJAB, who are acknowledged to be insane, have lately claimed to be Jesus Christ, one a weaver of Ludhiana, and the other a former student of the Forman Christian College, Lahore. The madness of the latter takes the shape of writing periodical letters to the Principal of the College and urging that his claim to be the Messiah be spudily admitted. In the light of these facts, the theory that the Mirza Sahib himself is insane is certainly a possible one.

On the whole, however, it seems to me that the third judgment is the safest one, namely that the Mirza Sahib is honest, but self deceived. So far as I am able to judge, his writings everywhere have the ring of sincerity. His persistency in affirming his claims in the face of the most intense and bitter opposition is magnificant. He is willing to suffer on behalf of his claims. And besides this, if, in the sober and matter-of-fact West, Dr. John Alexander Dowie of Chicago can claim to be the promised Elijah, we ought not to be surprised if in the warmer and more imaginative East Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian has claimed to be the promised Messiah. To both alike may be granted a measure of pity on the ground that they are the probable victims of unconscious self-deception.

But whether the Mirza Sahb be consciously a deceiver or only self-deceived, one thing is pretty certain on the basis of all the evidence, and that is that he is an impostor. Malicious predictions of the death of people and scandalous insinuations against the character of Jesus Christ in the very spirit of a Celsus and Julian are not the works of one who has been sent from God. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” We need not altogether deny to the Mirza Sahib the possession of certain signs and the honour of fulfilling prophecy. For he and such as help to swell the fulfilment of the prediction found in the Apocalypse of Jesus (Matt. XXIV. 24), to wit that “there shall arise FALSE CHRISTS and FALSE PROPHETS, and shall show great signs and wonders; so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect;” and also the prediction found in the Apocalypse of Paul (2 Thess. ii.9), where there is mention of one. “Whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all powers and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceit of unrighteousness for them that are perishing.”

What about the future of the Ahmadiyyah movement? Last year Maulvi Abdul Karim, one of the disciples of the Mirza Sahib, asserted that “over 50,000 persons have accepted the messenger of God” (Rev of Rel, Aug: 1902. p. 336). And this year (Aug 1902) a prominent follower of the Mirza Sahib, told me that the number of adherents of the Ahmadiyyah movement, including men, women, and children, had already reached 70,000. I known not on what calculations these figures are based, nor am I able to check them, since the new Census Returns are not yet accessible but, however exaggerated these figures may be, it is pretty clear that the numbers of the new sect are increasing.

The Ahmadiyyah movement in India may in several respects, be compared with the BABI movement in Persia. Though the public career of Mirza ‘Ali Mohammad the BAB was very short, only six years, A.D. 1844-1850, and these mostly spent in prison and terminated by his execution, and though his followers suffered unspeakable persecution from the Persian Government, nevertheless (or possibly on account of this) the BABI movement has grown until the number of Persian BABIS is reckoned at from 500,000 to 1,000,000, Lord Curzon inclining to the latter figure. (Persia, Vol 1.p. 499). The Ahmadiyyah movement is still in its infancy. It may attract a large following from the ranks of orthodox Muhammadanism, very much in the same way that the ARYA SAMAJ is preying upon orthodox Hinduism, or Christian science upon orthodox christianity, if circumstances prove favourable. Circumstances unfavourable to the growth and perpetuity of the new sect would be, the speedy death of the founder without a strong and capable successor, or conflict with ‘the powers that be,’ or such a development of doctrine on the part of the Mirza Sahib as might scandalize his followers.

But the most important point of contact between Babism and Qadianism lies in the similar claims of their respective founders. The persian Mirza,’Ali Muhammad, at first claimed to be only the Bab, or gateway of approach, to the IMAM MAHDI, the twelfth or ‘concealed’ Imam, who was expected to come again, but afterwards he put in a claim to be the IMAM MAHDI himelf (Vid. The Episode of the Bab by Edward G. Browne M.A., Vol. ii.p. 290). Of the two rival successors of the Bab, namely Mirza Yahya Subh-i-Azak and Nurza Hussain ‘Ali Biha Ullah, the latter anticipated the former by claiming for himself, or at least allowing his followers to claim for him, that he was the promised Messiah. Thus the BIHAIS say that “Biha is Christ returned again, even as he promised,” and that “as each incarnation is superior to preceding one, Biha is greater than Christ.” (Vid.sell, Essays on Islam,p.79,83,97). Biha Ullah died at ACRE in 1892 and was succeeded by his son ‘Abbas Effendi Abdul Biha who is the present head of the movement. Abdul Biha “the servant of the Glory (of God)” claims to be in some mystical sense the same being as his father and therefore hear to all his titles and perfections (see THE MORNING STAR July 1, 1902,pp. 76-77). He is at once Abdul Biha and Biha Ullah. What a perfect parallel to the Mirza Qadianis claim to be both the servant of Ahmad (Ghulam Ahmad) and the promised Ahmad himself. Thus the Persian Mirza ‘Ali Muhammad and his self-appointed successor Biha Ullah divided between themselves the titles of ‘promised Mahdi’ and ‘promised Messiah,’ the one assuming the first title, and the other the second. But the Indian Mirza Ghulam Ahmad arrogates to himself Both Titles. Similarities cannot be pursued further in detail. Suffice it to say that in the Sufi type of doctrine taught, in the emphasis on the necessity of a permanent succession of Imams, in the employment of the allegorical method of interpretation, and in the general nature of the reforms inculcated, such as the abolition of religious warfare and the promulgation of the sentiment of loyalty toward the Government under which one lives, there is a striking resemblance between the Babi movement in Persian and the Ahmadiyya movement in India. In fact, the resemblance is so close as almost to suggest imitation. It is true that between these two movements, which have so many points of contact, there are also important differences, notably in their attitudes towards Christianity, the Babis being friendly and even fraternal, which the Ahmadiyyah movement rivals the Arya Samaj in the bitterness of its attacks on Christianity.

An interesting parallel may also be drawn between the Ahmadiyyah movement and the Arya Samaj. Both are distinctly Panjabi movement, the Ahmadiyyah being native to this province, while the Arya Samaj though as an organization born in Bombay, has yet become thoroughly naturalized in the Punjab and finds its greated triumphs here. In this respect they differ from the Aligharh movement and the Brahmo Samaj, which have arisen and flourished in the United Provinces and Bengal. It is remarkable that just as two reform movements have sprung up within the bounds of orthodox Muhammadanism, the Aligarh movement being marked by liberal and rationalistic tendencies and the Ahmadiyyah movement by a conservative temper; so two reform movements have grown up in the bosom of orthodox Hinduism, the Brahmo Samaj representing a very rationalistic form of Hinduism, while the Arya Samaj, on the other hand, represents a far more conservative type.

What should be the attitude of Christian apologist toward the Mirza Sahib? Hitherto the practice has been to largely to ignore him, the only important exception being found in the Nur-Afshan, and in the Amritsar controversy, together with the literature which has grown out of it. The theory has been that it would be almost Infra Dig to give to his wild statements and absurd claims the honour of a serious examination. And besides it has been felt that since the Mirza Sahib loves notoriety and thrives on it, the proper thing to do is to defeat this desire by refusing to notice him. The proverb has also been applied to him: “Give him rope enough and he will hang himself,” the belief being that in his “Vaulting ambition” he will overdo the matter and defeat his own purpose. But it seems to me that the policy of ignoring the Mirza Sahib is in danger of being misunderstood. The refusal to answer him may be interpreted by thousands of ignorant Muhammadans as inability of his followers. Prof J.N. Farquhar of Calcutta condescended to answer an adventurer like Thakur Khan Chandra ji Verma, lest a refusal to answer him should be misinterpreted. The same reason holds good in the case of the Mirza Sahib. Public disputation of course is rarely to be commended. But in my opinion there is a decided need of carefully prepared pamphlets and handbills to be widely distributed among Muhammadans, exposing the baselessness of the Mirza Sahib’s views concerning the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Other points may be safely left to be dealt with the Vigorous polemic of Muslim orthodoxy.

Lastly, what thoughts suggest themselves in connection with the Qadiani movement?

  1. The Ahmadiyyah represents a revolt from orthodox Islam in the direction of a more mystical and emotional type of piety. In this respect, too, it is akin to the Babi movement. It hungers after a personal manifestation of God, and it professes to have found this in the person of the Mirza Sahib. It reveals a longing more or less sincere for a revival of religion in the world. In these respects, it is a good illustration of the ferment and unrest, the groping after something that will satisfy, which characterizes the religious life of India today.
  2. The Ahmadiyyah is thus a kind of half way house between Islam and Christianity. Muhammadan converts, who relapse, have already shown a tendency to find their resting place in the Ahmadiyyah; and, on the other hand, some who were for time under the influence of the Mirza Sahib have become decided christians. (Vid. Mukhtasar Kawaif-i-Yusafi, 1894, for an account of such an experiment). All the more is the latter a possibility, since the Mirza Sahib’s assumed character as the promised Messiah makes it inevitable that his followers will become more or less familiar with the ideas and phraseology of the Bible, and such knowledge will doubtless in God’s providence contribute sooner or later to coming of His Kingdom in the hearts of many.
  3. The vigour and enthusiasm with which the Messiah of Qadian, in season and out season publishes, his own name and sounds forth his own praises, puts us to shame whose only mission it is to make known the more of Jesus Christ, the true Messiah and the Saviour of the world.

The hope of the world is not in the Messiah of Qadian, so notorious for malevolent predictions; but in Jesus Christ of Nazareth who loved His enemies and gave His life for them.

  1. The Mirza Sahib’s claim to be the promised Messiah has stirred up endless discussion within the ranks of Indian Muhammadanism. His very claim has by contrast forced to the front the person and claim of Him whom christians and Muhammadans alike recognize as the Messiah sent of God.
  2. And finally the Mirza Sahib’s own impressive diagnosis of the moral and spiritual evils of the day both in Islam and in Christianity ought to help to constrain us, not indud to give thanks that the promised deliverer has already come and is in our midst, but rather to lift up our eyes with longing and prayer to God that soon, whether through a personal appearing in glory to rule the earth in righteousness, or through a widespread and powerful outpouring of His spirit, the Christ of God may come.

POSTSCRIPT ——- According to the Report of the Census of India for 1901, Vol. Xvii, p. 143 “the sect return shows 1,113 followers, males over 15, of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian.” Mr. H. A. Rose, the editor of the Report, says that “the return is probably a complete one” for the Panjab and North-West Frontier Provinces. Ten thousand would probably be a liberal estimate for all India of the Mirza Sahib’s following including man, women, and children.


Ref Notes
1 See his writings [Didi-Haqq], [Gul Shigufta] and [Hidayat Name].
2 Arabic Text in original footnote: (Sura LXI.6.)
3 Arabic Text
4 (Vid. Ref: of Rel., Feb 1902, n 66 My attitude towards the British Government”, 1895, p.7: “Jesus Christ had impaired pure and simple teachings to his disciples in the shape of Injil, which was deliberately corrupted by his subsequent so called followers to such an extent that the present God of Christians can in no way be identified with the God of the Son of Mary.”).
5 Zarurat-ul-Imam, p, 24.
6 Reply to the Kashf-ul-Ghita p.1.
7 “A man who drinks wine so long as he lives and likes the company of women of dubious character, sinners and drunkards, does not present an example worthy of emulation”


Muslim Encounters with Nazism and the Holocaust: The Ahmadi of Berlin and Jewish Convert to Islam Hugo Marcus

We found this article today.  It has lots of good info about Ahmadiyya in it.  Read our related essays here:

The official reference

The American Historical Review, Volume 120, Issue 1, 1 February 2015, Pages 140–171,

09 February 2015

Taken from here:

#ahmadiyya #ahmadiyyatrueislam #ahmadiapartheid #Ahmadiyyat #rabwah #qadian #meetthekhalifa #ahmadiyyat #muslimsforpeace #ahmadiyyafactcheckblog #nolifewithoutkhalifa #drsalam  


The full paper
FROM 1923 TO 1935, DR. HUGO MARCUS (1880–1966) was among the leading German Muslims in Berlin. The son of a Jewish industrialist, and a homosexual, Marcus studied at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin in the first decade of the twentieth century. To support his family after financial reverses caused by World War I, he tutored foreign Muslim doctoral students in German. This led to his conversion to Islam, and for a dozen years, under the adopted name Hamid, he was the most important German in Berlin’s mosque community. Nevertheless, he did not terminate his membership in the Jewish community, nor his ties to friends in the homosexual rights movement.

The Nazis incarcerated Marcus in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp as a Jew in 1938, and he claimed to have remained there until a delegation led by his imam, Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah (1889–1956), gained his release. Abdullah obtained a visa for Marcus to travel to British India, where a sinecure at a Muslim organization awaited him. Just before the outbreak of World War II, using travel documents secured by the imam, Marcus was able to escape to Switzerland instead, where he intended to establish an Islamic cultural center.


Hugo Marcus with fellow German and South Asian Muslims in front of the mission house attached to the Berlin mosque, ca. 1930. Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah (1889–1956), the imam of the mosque, sits on Marcus's left. Others in the photo include convert Fatima Beyer, the future wife of convert Hikmet (Fritz) Beyer; Conrad Giesel, who converted to Islam on October 1, 1924 (top row, right); and assistant imam Dr. Azeez Mirza (1906–1937) (top row, with turban). Photographer unknown. Copyright MJB-Verlag & Mehr.

Hugo Marcus with fellow German and South Asian Muslims in front of the mission house attached to the Berlin mosque, ca. 1930. Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah (1889–1956), the imam of the mosque, sits on Marcus’s left. Others in the photo include convert Fatima Beyer, the future wife of convert Hikmet (Fritz) Beyer; Conrad Giesel, who converted to Islam on October 1, 1924 (top row, right); and assistant imam Dr. Azeez Mirza (1906–1937) (top row, with turban). Photographer unknown. Copyright MJB-Verlag & Mehr.

Hugo Marcus with fellow German and South Asian Muslims in front of the mission house attached to the Berlin mosque, ca. 1930. Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah (1889–1956), the imam of the mosque, sits on Marcus's left. Others in the photo include convert Fatima Beyer, the future wife of convert Hikmet (Fritz) Beyer; Conrad Giesel, who converted to Islam on October 1, 1924 (top row, right); and assistant imam Dr. Azeez Mirza (1906–1937) (top row, with turban). Photographer unknown. Copyright MJB-Verlag & Mehr.

These facts alone challenge many deeply ingrained preconceptions about Muslim attitudes toward Jews, and even toward homosexuals. Who were these tolerant Muslims who created an intellectual and spiritual home for Marcus and allowed him to rise to be the representative of their community? What was their understanding of Islam and religious conversion that attracted German intellectuals yet offended the Nazis? Why did they risk the standing of their community in Nazi Germany to save Marcus’s life? Hugo Marcus and Muhammad Abdullah do not figure in academic and popular narratives of Muslims during World War II. Why is their extraordinary story of Jewish-Muslim interaction practically unknown? What are its implications for the history of Muslims in Europe?

The history of the Berlin mosque community and the life of its leading convert shed light on two interconnected topics: Muslim responses to Nazism and Muslim-Jewish relations. Largely because of the tendentious politics of history and memory produced by the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, we do not yet have a complete answer to the question of how Muslims responded to Nazism and the persecution of Jews. Until recently, few academic and popular responses to this question have focused on Muslims who came from Germany or had resided there for decades; most look at Muslims in the Middle East or those who were temporarily located in Berlin during World War II. In fact, research on Muslims in Nazi Germany has overwhelmingly focused on Arabs, and for that matter on a single Palestinian, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Al-Hajj Amin al-Husayni (1897–1974), who was the guest of Hitler in Berlin and whose notoriety for working closely with the Nazi regime has overshadowed the activities of all other Muslims in Germany, and indeed elsewhere as well.1

For seven decades, scholarship on Muslim-Jewish relations has been seen as part of Middle Eastern history, shaped by the conflict in Palestine.2 Immediately after World War II, supporters of the establishment of a Jewish state began campaigning to delegitimize the competing Palestinian national movement by claiming that al-Husayni’s antisemitic views and collaboration with the Nazis were representative of the sentiment of all Palestinians, and consequently of all Arabs.3 Referring to the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem’s Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Peter Novick notes, “The article on the Mufti is more than twice as long as the articles on Goebbels and Göring, longer than the articles on Himmler and Heydrich combined, longer than the article on Eichmann—of all the biographical articles, it is exceeded in length, but only slightly, by the entry for Hitler.”4 After recognizing nearly 25,000 people over fifty years, only in 2013 did Yad Vashem accept its first Arab “righteous gentile,” Dr. Muhammad Helmy, an Egyptian physician who saved the lives of several Jews in Berlin.5 Such preconceptions about Arabs—and Muslims—still prevail even in academic circles today. A recent study uses Al-Husayni’s actions to implicate all Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims in the perpetuation of the Shoah. Its author depicts Arabs as uniformly pro-Nazi and antisemitic, citing the “fateful collaboration” of Arab exiles in Berlin with the Nazis and the alleged widespread acceptance of Nazi ideology in the Middle East, then and even now.6 The appetite for biographies of the Mufti of Jerusalem and conspiracy theories about ties between Nazis and Islamists appears insatiable.7

Other scholars have rejected such a one-sided depiction, finding that Arab intellectual elites—Christian, Jewish, and Muslim—overwhelmingly rejected fascism and Nazism as ideology and practice and condemned the persecution of European Jewry, and that al-Husayni’s views were peripheral in Palestine, Egypt, Syria, and North Africa.8 Moreover, they have presented evidence that Arabs—especially Jewish Arabs—were also victims of the Nazis.9 Yet by focusing on the Arab Middle East, and Arabs in Germany, this scholarship, too, implicitly takes the Arab experience to represent the Muslim experience more generally.

In fact, al-Husayni did not reach Berlin until 1941, eight years after the Nazi seizure of power. Pro-Nazi Muslim exiles did not take over the Berlin mosque and leadership of the only recognized Muslim organization in the Third Reich until 1942, twenty years after Muslims had first established Islamic institutions in the city. Few have yet asked how those who built the mosque responded to the Nazis and antisemitism.10For what has been largely missing from the debate until now is a “pre-history” of al-Husayni’s collaboration, an introduction to the diverse Muslim groups present in the city beginning in the 1920s, a discussion of how their rivalries affected their responses to the Nazi takeover, and a narrative of the spectrum of Muslim responses to Nazism in Germany from 1933 until al-Husayni’s arrival, including that of German converts to Islam.

The Muslim encounter with the Holocaust is not just a Middle Eastern story, nor one that concerns only Middle Easterners in wartime Europe.11 It also is not limited to Muslims of the majority Sunni denomination. After World War I, the Muslim population of Berlin included Afghans, Arabs, Persians, Tatars, Turks, and South Asians, Germans and other Europeans, Sunnis and members of other Islamic confessions, secularists and Islamists, nationalists, and socialist revolutionaries.12Too little attention has been paid to the non-Arab Muslims who first established Islam in Germany, especially South Asians, including those of a minority Islamic confession, the Ahmadi. That they were not Arab, Sunni, or Middle Eastern, not connected to any nation-state’s politics of memory, and not in conflict with Israel are among the many possible reasons for that neglect. Moreover, South Asia is not the usual focus of research into the relations between Muslims and Jews.13 None have yet asked whether they were victims, resisters, accommodators, or collaborators during the Nazi era. Also obscured in the debate is the crucial role played by German converts in the establishment of Islam. Just as not all Muslims in Germany were Arabs, nor were they all foreign. And not all German Muslims were former Christians. A question previously unexplored is the fate of German Muslims of Jewish background during the Nazi reign of terror, and how other Muslims responded to their persecution. Answering this final question enables us to simultaneously explore both Muslims and the Holocaust and Muslims in the Holocaust.14

An analysis based on an examination of the publications and archival records of the first German Muslim communities and the personal documents and private correspondence of their leading members can address these lacunae and add something new to the literature on Muslims in Germany. As the most prominent German Muslim, Hugo Marcus played a leading role in Berlin’s mosque community. The city’s first and only mosque established by Muslims was built and, from 1923 to 1939, controlled by the Ahmadi, made up of South Asians of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaʿat-e-Islam (Ahmadi Movement for the Propagation of Islam), an Islamic confessional minority based in British India, and German converts. From its establishment, the Ahmadi mission in Berlin attracted German avant-garde intellectuals, partly by promoting conversion as a kind of double consciousness, preaching interreligious tolerance, practicing inclusion of homosexuals, and speaking out against racism, nationalism, and war. When German society was Nazified, the Ahmadi—like the other Muslims in Berlin—found themselves needing to make accommodationist overtures to the regime. Yet in helping Marcus to escape from Germany, they managed to thwart the Nazi reign of violence. Their actions in saving the life of their formerly Jewish co-religionist call into question the claim that Muslims shared the Nazis’ deep-rooted antisemitism.

A close examination of Marcus and his mosque community thus moves the debate away from the Sunni Arab al-Husayni, sheds light on the history of the diverse Muslims of prewar Germany, and contributes to a growing body of literature focusing on the “lost stories” of European Muslims and Muslims of Europe who saved Jews from Nazi persecution.15 By acknowledging Marcus’s life, we can help change not only how the Muslim encounter with Nazism is depicted, but also how the history of the Muslims in Europe is portrayed—when it begins, and who it includes.16

A focus on Marcus also provides insights into two broader issues. First, it offers historians a methodological approach to the broader issue of relations between Muslims and Jews. Scholars have been inclined to examine the Muslim-Jewish encounter in terms of “cultural interaction” and “religious exchange,” and the impact of that exchange across the border between different faiths. Positing clear-cut religious borders but nonexistent cultural boundaries, they have often focused on the ideas, practices, innovations, and “goods”—the secular and religious culture—that passed back and forth between the two groups.17 Studying religious texts, language, law, ritual, sacred spaces, intellectual and spiritual movements, art, architecture, and literature, many scholars have concluded that the Muslim-Jewish relationship can be characterized as “creative coexistence,” “cultural symbiosis,” or even a common “Judeo-Islamic civilization.”18 The most recent example of this approach is the impressive collection of state-of-the-art research edited by Abdelwahab Meddeb and Benjamin Stora, who present “points of intersection and mutual influence” between Jews and Muslims.19 Their aim is to enable readers to figuratively cross borders, to break free of communitarianism and nationalism and think about Jews and Muslims not in isolation but as two peoples engaged in an intimate historical relationship. Such an aim raises the question, however, of why historians should visualize Jews and Muslims crossing imaginary borders when we can look at the actual experiences of those originally of one faith who converted to the other. The liminal space between religions is also a “crossing point for people.”20

By examining the post-conversion lives of formerly Jewish Muslims instead of framing the interrelated histories of Jews and Muslims as an encounter between two distinct groups or civilizations, we can contribute to an emerging field of scholarship that renders more complex the lines that have traditionally shaped historiographical accounts of the nature of their interaction.21 Studying religious conversion and its aftermath is a useful strategy for moving “beyond religious borders,” seeing the history of Jewish-Muslim relations from within, and recognizing the literal points of convergence between these two faiths, as well as the unexpected outcomes of that encounter.22 Conversion opens a window into the historical experience of individuals and groups of men and women within the larger framework of intercommunal relations.

Including Jewish converts to Islam and their descendants within the history of Muslim communities helps break down the reified frameworks of “Muslim” and “Jew” in two ways. First, recognizing the significant role these individuals could play despite their background brings the diverse creative forces that forged Islam and Islamic history into focus, making it possible for us to recognize the full participation of Jewish converts in Muslim political, intellectual, and religious life. Studying them also helps us move beyond borders because converts played a historical role out of proportion to their limited numbers. As leading Muslims, they formulated Islamic thought and practice through lectures and publications on Islam. Through their Qurʾan translations and commentaries—still in wide use today—they have had an impact on successive generations of Muslims.23

Second, exploration of the new spiritual and social lives that converts created changes how we think about religious, cultural, and national boundaries. The fact that converts adopted a mix of Jewish and Muslim beliefs, practices, and identities challenges their conventional depiction. This historical approach addresses issues that cut across disciplines, illuminating the complex social and historical processes behind ontological classifications.24 Hugo Marcus, who was one of the most prominent German Muslims in interwar Europe yet remains largely unknown to historians, can be used to illustrate both of these points. Marcus was not an isolated case. Other Jewish intellectuals, including Muhammad Essad Bey alias Kurban Said (Lev Nussimbaum, 1905–1942) and Muhammad Asad (Leopold Weiss, 1900–1992), converted to Sunni Islam in Berlin in the 1920s.25 Unlike these men, however, Marcus became a prominent Muslim in Germany while retaining membership in the Jewish community.26 His religious identity should give us cause to rethink where the boundary between “Muslim” and “Jew” lies, especially in historical eras when the definition of belonging was a matter of life and death.27

AFTER WORLD WAR I, DURING WHICH millions of Muslims fought for the European powers and Germany launched a “jihad” together with the Ottoman sultan, Muslims established their first institutions in Europe, including mosques in London, Paris, and Berlin.28 Muslims—especially Bosnians and Tatars—had lived in Germany and given their lives in Prussian wars since the eighteenth century; Ottoman diplomats, soldiers, and war college students had likewise had a presence for two centuries, concentrated in Berlin and Potsdam.29 What was new was Berlin’s non-diplomatic civilian Muslim population, numbering two to three thousand Germans and foreigners—businessmen, physicians, doctoral students, anticolonial activists, intellectuals, and university lecturers.30 Despite constituting only a tiny percentage of the population—less than 1 percent of the four million residents of the metropolitan region known as Greater Berlin—Muslims became visible in the early 1920s. They established Muslim institutes, libraries, publishing houses, schools, and clubs, and more than a dozen Muslim journals and newspapers, published in German, appeared.31 Nile Green describes Muslims as making German into “a new Islamic language,” with Germany becoming “a Muslim publishing center,” and parts of Berlin transformed into “Muslim space” through the establishment of a mosque.32While Green is correct in noting Islam’s new linguistic, spatial, and geographical configurations, he flattens diverse interpretations of Islam into one generic category, and fails to consider the confessional diversity and political differences of Muslims in Berlin.

The Muslims who established themselves in Berlin after World War I were highly heterogeneous and divided into a number of camps, most prominently the two self-described as Ahmadi and Sunni. They competed to build and then control the Berlin mosque, to gain public recognition as the single group representing Muslims, to disseminate their interpretation of Islam through preaching and publishing journals and a Qurʾan translation and commentary in German, and to gain converts. Their disputes and differences spilled from the street into the courtroom and forced the reluctant involvement of German authorities.

The messianic missionaries of the Ahmadi and their German converts were the most significant group, yet they are the least-remembered. The Ahmadi believed that Muslim reformer Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1839–1908) of Qadian, near Lahore, Punjab, in British India, was Jesus Christ reincarnate and a prophet.33 After his death, followers took his message to the colonial metropole, where they established a mission at the mosque at Woking, near London, in 1913.34 In 1914 the movement split into two branches. The leader of the branch of the Ahmadi that rejected Ahmad’s claims to prophecy, Muhammad Ali (1879–1951), sent Sadr-ud-Din (1881–1981), who had been imam at the Woking mosque during World War I, to Berlin as a missionary in 1922.35 Within two years of his arrival, he laid the foundation stone of the city’s first mosque, completed in 1927 in a well-to-do district.

The year of Sadr-ud-Din’s arrival also witnessed the establishment of the Islamische Gemeinde zu Berlin (Islamic Community of Berlin), founded by Abdul Jabbar Kheiri (1880–1958) and Abdul Sattar Kheiri (1885–1953), who were also Muslims from British India.36 The Kheiri brothers were Sunni Muslim socialist revolutionaries who, while earning Ph.D.’s at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin during World War I and introducing Islamic studies there, worked with the German government to promote independence for the Muslims of British India.37 Archenemies of the Ahmadi, they used their German-language journal, Islam (1922–1923), to attack the legitimacy of the group’s mission and its right to build a mosque.38 The Kheiris and their organization, which was led from its founding to 1930 by one or the other of the brothers, and which never had a building constructed specifically for prayers, promoted normative Sunni Islam.39 They challenged the Ahmadi’s Islamic credentials, considering them sectarians who sowed discord among Muslims by promoting heretical beliefs. As anticolonial activists, the Kheiri brothers labeled the Ahmadi British agents.40 In campaigning to have Muslims in Berlin boycott the Ahmadi mosque, or to have other Muslims take possession of it, they were joined by Egyptian nationalist Mansur Rifat, who quoted from the Qurʾan (9:107–110) in condemning “those who build a mosque to cause harm and for unbelief and to cause disunion among the believers,” urging Muslims “never to stand in it.”41 The Ahmadi rejected these charges, noting that such differences did not prevent individual Sunni Muslims from praying at their mosque and celebrating the major Muslim holidays in it, or from publishing in their journal.

The Ahmadi had their sights set on larger goals, seeing themselves as “missionaries” devoted to propagating Islam around the globe. This modern religious movement is an example of conversion emerging out of the colonial encounter not as “a unidirectional process of cultural influence and adaptation,” but rather “as resistance to ideological domination,” for its members viewed it as a counter-response to Christian missionizing.42 The first of their missionaries to Europe was the barrister Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din (1870–1932), a leading disciple of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who claimed to have been on the verge of converting to Christianity before he joined the Ahmadi. After arriving in England in 1912, he established the mission and began to publish its journal, the Islamic Review. He also took over the Woking mosque. Built in 1880 by Dr. Gottlieb Wilhelm Leither (1840–1899), a Hungarian Jew who taught Arabic and Sharia at King’s College, London, and served as principal of Government College in Lahore, Britain’s first purpose-built mosque had fallen into disuse before being converted into the headquarters of the Muslim Woking Mission in 1913. The mission had many influential converts, and used its journal “not only to spread the message of Islam but also to inform and encourage the converts in their new religion.” As of 1924, of the estimated 10,000 Muslims in England, 1,000 were converts—all of Christian background, they claimed.43

Interested primarily in encouraging conversion, and seeking the same success elsewhere in Europe, the leader of the Ahmadi, Muhammad Ali, “resolved to extend its work of the propagation of Islam to Germany,” and accordingly “sent two missionaries to Berlin.” One of them was Sadr-ud-Din; born in Sialkot, Punjab, British India, and companion of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, he was a member of the first Ahmadi council (1914), the second missionary to England, and editor of the Islamic Review (1914–1917) and the Ahmadi English translation of the Qurʾan (1918).44 Sadr-ud-Din explains how Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s “enthusiasm for Islam and its propagation lit a fire in the souls of those who followed him,” such that his disciples “aimed to spread knowledge of Islam to the whole world.”45

The Ahmadi missionaries in Germany followed the same strategy they had followed in England: establish a mosque and a journal in the local language, win over high-profile converts, set up an organization headed by converts to propagate their vision of Islam, and translate the Qurʾan into the local language. They built their mosque in the well-to-do Wilmersdorf district of Berlin, and it remained the only mosque built by and for Muslims not just in Berlin, but indeed in all of Germany.46 In 1924, Sadr-ud-Din established the Moslemische Revue, modeled on the Islamic Review, with the express aim of “explaining the teachings of Islam to Germans” in German.47 Many articles in both journals were written by converts, including the Qurʾan translator Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall (1875–1936, conversion 1917) in the Islamic Review, and Professor and Baron Omar (Rolf) von Ehrenfels (1901–1980, conversion 1931) in the Moslemische Revue. Converts played a leading role in the Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft (German Muslim Society), a mosque-based organization whose aim was “to promote understanding of Islam through educational work, lectures, and intensive community life in Germany.”48 For the entire eight years of its existence, converts were always in the majority on its board.49 Since the society “mostly consisted of new German Muslims,” it “played an effective role in making the activities of the mission vibrant and known to Berlin’s literary circles.”50

All of these efforts served to proselytize. In 1925, the Islamic Review boasted that in the new “mission field” in Berlin, “twenty-five converts have already turned to Islam.”51 By 1932, the missionaries claimed that one hundred Germans had converted, all of whom except Hugo Marcus were apparently of Christian background.52 Just as significant is the Ahmadi understanding of religious conversion, something that has largely escaped scholarly analysis.

Borrowing Christian proselytizing techniques—especially autobiographical conversion narratives—the Ahmadi deployed double consciousness as a strategy to win over converts in Europe.53 Sadr-ud-Din did not demand that converts make a clean break from their former religious beliefs and practices. On the contrary, he asserted: “No ceremony is required in order to become Muslim. Islam is not only a rational, widespread, and practical religion, it is also fully harmonious with the natural human disposition. Every child is born with this disposition. This is why no one needs to convert to become a Muslim. One can be a Muslim without telling anybody. Committing to Islam is merely an organizational formality.”54 At the same time, however, using a technique favored by British missionaries in India, the Ahmadi boasted of the new converts the community had won, splashing their photos and conversion narratives across the opening pages of the same journal that declared in every issue from its founding in 1924 through 1929 that one did not need to convert to become Muslim.

The autobiographical conversion narratives of these new Muslims, which promote the self-identity they and the missionaries aimed to create, reveal this understanding of conversion.55 For example, the founder of the Ahmadi Mission Vienna, the Austrian convert von Ehrenfels, was described by the Ahmadi as a “great success achieved,” inasmuch as he and his wife were “members of an aristocratic family.” According to von Ehrenfels,

The Islamic teaching of successive revelation implies in my opinion the following: The source from which all the great world religions sprang as one. The founders of these great paths, prepared for peace-seeking mankind, gave witness to one and the same basic divine teaching. Acceptance of one of these paths means searching for Truth in Love, but it does not imply the rejection of any other path, i.e., another religion … The acceptance of Islam and the path of the Muslims by a member of an older religion thus means as little rejection of his former religion as, for instance, the acceptance of Buddha’s teaching meant the rejection of Hinduism to Buddha’s Indian compatriots … The differences of religion are man-made. The unity is divine.56

Similarly, Marcus wrote: “Islam is the only religion that recognizes all prior revelations of all other peoples likewise as divine. For example, for a Muslim, the Vedas, the teachings of Buddha and Zoroaster, the Old and the New Testament are likewise holy and binding books. And for a Muslim, Buddha, Zoroaster, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus are also prophets sent on a divine mission.”57 “In the Berlin mosque,” he confirmed, “adding the Muslim religion which I embraced to my Judaism was permitted … since there are no fundamental doctrinal differences between the two confessions.”58The foreign Muslims in Berlin formed an “Islamic middle class.”59 Most of them were university students financially supported by their homelands, professors, diplomats, businessmen, journalists, doctors, and other professionals.60 The leaders of the Ahmadi and the Islamic Community—South Asian Muslims with Ph.D.’s—used German middle-class values such as simplicity, practicality, a thirst for knowledge, reason, and intellect to attract members of the middle class and intellectuals, who were facing severe financial and spiritual distress.61 As a result, German converts who came from the same educated middle class as the missionaries made up a significant proportion of the Muslim population.62 Natalie Clayer and Eric Germain claim that a third of Germany’s Muslim population in the 1930s consisted of converts, despite the fact that the exact numbers of Muslims and converts cannot be determined, since Islam was not a recognized religion in Germany given community status.63 As Germain notes, the social status of the aristocrats, professionals, and scientists who did convert was of greater importance than the number of converts.64For as Humayun Ansari points out, they were best able to establish “consonance” between Islam and the “native” religions (Christianity and Judaism), making Islam “indigenous.”65

Hugo Marcus, referred to by the Ahmadi as “the most valued prize of our Mission in Berlin,” was one of those converts.66 A poet, philosopher, political activist, and writer, Marcus committed to several communities, movements, and ideologies over the course of his eighty-six years. His choices speak to a desire to find a utopia, or to join universal “brotherhoods.” After completing Gymnasium in 1898, he migrated to Berlin, and around that time—before his parents arrived in 1901—he joined the first organization in the world to campaign for the rights of homosexuals, the Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee (Scientific Humanitarian Committee), founded by his friend Magnus Hirschfeld (1868–1935), who was also of Jewish background.67 Like many other scions of German Jewish provincial families in imperial Germany, Marcus then studied philosophy at Berlin’s university, where he befriended Kurt Hiller (1885–1972), another leading homosexual rights activist of Jewish background, whose 1922 book § 175: Die Schmach des Jahrhunderts! (Paragraph 175: The Disgrace of the Century!) is a seminal work in the homosexual rights struggle, aimed at winning “the liberation of a human minority that, although harmless,” is “oppressed, persecuted, and tormented.”68 Their academic mentors included Georg Simmel (1858–1918), himself the son of Jewish converts to Christianity, who, although renowned today as the founder of sociology, in his day was known as “the philosopher of the avant-garde” and played a leading role in the left-wing, pacifist, feminist, and homosexual rights movements.69 A countercultural iconoclast, Simmel “sought to undermine the status quo by social critique, opposing accepted tastes, hierarchies and conventions”; “believing there was no such thing as self-evident and universal Truth,” he sought “to construct a new morality and spirituality.”70Marcus first joined the George-Kreis (George Circle), a quasi-religious group composed of the rapturous disciples of the poet and “prophet” Stefan George (1868–1933), who thought of themselves as an avant-garde waging a cultural and spiritual war of redemption to renew Germany. He was probably inspired to do this by Simmel, who was George’s close friend. Then, however, he went on to join the Ahmadi, apparently becoming the only Jewish member.71 Prior to World War I, Marcus earned some renown with a half-dozen well-received philosophical works.72In one of these, Meditationen (Meditations)—written while the precocious twenty-four-year-old was still a doctoral student, and whose major themes, like those of George’s works, include pederasty and the master-disciple relationship and a search for a new utopia—we catch a hint of his openness to joining a new spiritual community.73 Marcus’s utopia includes “a new, lay priest order devoted to the purpose of spreading a uniform worldview and a truthful social doctrine.”74

Marcus did not have the luxury of being able to devote himself to philosophical and poetic pursuits alone. Like other Jewish youths sent to the capital to seek higher education to facilitate their families’ social climbing, he was expected to work in the family business. The First World War would change that. During the war, Marcus worked with Hiller in the latter’s pacifist organization, the Aktivistenbund, and served on the staff of his pacifist-socialist journal, Das Ziel: Jahrbuch für geistige Politik (1916–1924).75 After the war, Marcus’s family lost their home and factories when Prussian Posen became Polish Poznán, freeing him from the burden of having to follow in his father’s footsteps.

It was also as a result of this that he found Islam, presented to him as a universal brotherhood that united men of all nations and races, and that, as he quickly discovered, promotes homosocial bonds. To support his family, he began working as a German tutor to young Muslim men from the Ahmadi mission, a community not unlike the George Circle, in that both consisted of disciples who were devoted to the teachings of a charismatic master originally seen as a prophet, and who perceived themselves as waging a war to redeem the soul of Germany. In 1923, the Ahmadi community hired him as editor of all of its German-language publications. He formed an especially close bond with the chic, handsome bachelor Sadr-ud-Din. Inspired by the imam, Marcus converted to Islam in 1925. As the Ahmadi boasted, “The West is destined sooner or later to witness the sunrise of Islam, and we hasten to congratulate Dr. Marcus on his being one of the few chosen ones who are the harbingers of that sunrise.”76 That same year, he helped craft and signed a petition that was organized by Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Science and sent to the justice minister urging repeal of Paragraph 175 of the criminal code, which penalized, in the law’s language, “unnatural sexual acts” between men.77

Marcus shared the intellectual reasons for his conversion, stating that he was drawn to Islam by “the absolutely rational and at the same time lofty construction of Islamic doctrine.” At the same time, we see in his conversion narrative, as in that of von Ehrenfels, conversion as a kind of double consciousness. Converting to Islam “deprived me of nothing,” Marcus wrote, “for it allowed me to preserve the worldview that I had formed for myself. But in addition it gave me several of the most pathbreaking human thoughts that have ever been conceived.”78 This interpretation may explain why Marcus did not leave the Jewish community of Berlin for nearly a dozen years after his conversion, and then did so only when he thought it might save his life.79 Nor did he sever ties with Hiller and Hirschfeld, accompanying the latter to an art exhibition six months after his conversion in 1925 to show the famous sexologist a portrait of Marcus done in the mission house of the Berlin mosque by the Jewish feminist painter Julie Wolfthorn (1864–1944 [Theresienstadt concentration camp]).80 It is also significant that being of Jewish background, and retaining membership in the Jewish community, did not hinder Marcus from becoming the leading German in the Ahmadi mosque community’s intellectual and administrative life.

Marcus’s impact was significant throughout the time the missionaries were active in the city. For over a decade and a half, he helped shape the expression of Islam and presented it to the German public. He edited all of the mosque’s German-language publications and served as the chief editor of and the major contributor to the Moslemische Revue (1924–1940), which had a circulation of at least 1,000, and in which he published nineteen articles between 1924 and 1933, the most by far by any German author.81 He was also the editor of the Ahmadi German Qurʾan translation and commentary, published in 1939 in several thousand copies. Marcus was the chairman of the German Muslim Society from its founding in 1930 to 1935.82 He gave dozens of lectures at the society’s “Islam Evenings” at the mosque, which attracted between 250 and 400 attendees, including two of his acquaintances from homosexual rights and literary circles, Thomas Mann and Hermann Hesse, and other German intellectuals.83 The “Islam Evenings” were, along with Muslim holidays, not for Muslims to celebrate alone, but mass media events as well; the Eid al-Fitr sermon in 1931 was broadcast live on radio. The mosque was an “in” place to see and be seen, and the events it hosted were frequently written up in the German press, including the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung, which had a circulation of nearly two million, and in society papers.84 Marcus introduced foreign Muslim dignitaries at the mosque to crowds of German guests and embassy officials from Muslim-majority lands.85 He was on good terms with politicians of the Weimar Coalition—Social Democrat, Liberal, and Catholic—as well as with Protestant and Catholic clergy and German royalty.86 According to the last imam of the mosque, Sheikh Abdullah, Marcus “made our community life bloom through many new endeavors and his broad initiative.”87

Marcus and the Ahmadi consistently presented Islam as a tolerant religion that allowed its members to rise above national and racial sentiment.88 From the founding of the mission, the Ahmadi used their public message to stress interreligious tolerance, emphasizing the unity of humankind—based on the idea that all people, no matter their race or nationality, are created by the same God—and pointing out the similarities between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and the affinities between members of the three religions.89 The Ahmadi claimed that as progeny of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad were related by blood—in the language of the day, Christians, Jews, and Muslims were all “Semites.” Displaying a complete lack of anti-Jewish sentiment, they appealed directly to Jews to convert to Islam and join their community.90

Throughout the Weimar era, the Ahmadi spoke out against nationalism and racism, condemning Europeans for being blinded by hatred and prejudice. According to Sadr-ud-Din, when people accepted that the same God is lord of all people, that no one people is favored or preferred by God, they would be freed of the curse of national pride and prejudice and promote the international brotherhood of man.91Asserting that the world had seen enough of “the bitter consequences of national hatred and religious prejudice,” Sadr-ud-Din condemned Christians’ persecution of Jews and antisemitism.92 He argued that Europeans should heed the suffering that hate begets, as witnessed in the misery of World War I. In a report on the mosque’s opening ceremony on Eid al-Fitr in 1925, an Ahmadi newspaper proclaimed: “It is on such occasions that you see Muslims from all parts of the world, of all shades of complexion from the white European to the dark African, embrace one another like members of the same family. It is such scenes that in these days of racial hatred present a broad silver-lining to an otherwise dark over-clouded horizon.”93 If these were their values, how did Ahmadi respond to the rise of the Nazi regime of violence and its targeting of “racial mixing” and Jews? If “tolerance is the main feature of Islam,” as Sadr-ud-Din claimed at the groundbreaking ceremony for the mosque in 1925, and if the mosque was open to all, then what happened to it while it was controlled by the Ahmadi between 1933 and 1939, as the Nazis consolidated their power?94 Did the society remain “equally open to members of all confessions and races”?95 It was easy for these Muslims to practice what they preached in Weimar Germany, but how did they act after the Nazi takeover, and how did they respond to the persecution of one of their own?

DESPITE THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF conversion and religious belonging, Marcus and the Ahmadi were compelled by the Nazi takeover to rethink this Muslim’s membership in the Jewish community and his relationship to homosexual activists. In 1922, Hiller had written that “a German Kaiser” “had named antisemitism as the shame of his century. Yet when were the Jews in Germany ever as persecuted as the homoerotics? Does the criminal law contain an exceptional provision against that racial minority as with the notorious exceptional provision against this sexual minority? The shame of the century is anti-homoeroticism; the shame of the century is Paragraph 175.”96 Hiller could not have foreseen what would occur after 1933: he was beaten nearly to death in the Oranienburg (Sachsenhausen) concentration camp and then took refuge in England. Hirschfeld fled to France; his Institute for Sexual Science was looted and plundered, and its library, as he related, was “thrown into an auto-da-fé and burnt to cinders.”97 Marcus lost one of his two brothers, who was hounded by Nazis and driven to suicide in 1933; his other brother would be murdered by the Nazis a decade later.98 He also had to confront the new reality in his mosque community.

The tone and content of the Moslemische Revue changed. For the first time, articles expressed antisemitic sentiment, claiming that Islam and Nazism shared basic principles.99 In an article that was published in 1934, convert Faruq Fischer argued that National Socialism and Islam shared the same “modern” values.100 He wrote that Islam rejected Judaism’s claim that there is “a chosen people,” which had “created much bad blood and made Jews unjustifiably egotistical and conceited.”101He asked how Islam could be considered “arrogant” when “it is the Jews who repudiated and libeled Jesus and crucified him for being a false prophet,” whereas Muhammad declared him a prophet sent by God. He concluded by arguing that “Islam recognizes the Führer of each nation.” And “just as the Qurʾan declares, ‘For every nation there is a messenger’ (10:47), one can also claim that the political Führer of a nation is chosen by God.”102 That issue also included a congratulatory letter from Muhammad Ali, the Ahmadi world leader based in Lahore. Ali welcomed “the new regime in Germany” because “it encourages the same simple life principles that Islam emphasizes.”103 He claimed that “the new Germany” and Islam were of the same mind, and he predicted that someday all of Europe would follow the German model.

German converts who belonged to the Nazi Party also became more visible in the mosque community. In 1934, Fischer attended the German Muslim Society’s annual meeting for the first time and was also elected to the board.104 That same year, Nazi Party member and convert Hikmet Beyer (b. 1907) received the second-highest number of votes for chairman, initially receiving only one vote less than Marcus, who had been chairman of the society since its founding.105 Marcus obviously still had the support of society members, despite his Jewish background, but there was significant and increasing preference for converts who were Party members.

The Gestapo reported that rather than being closed down due to “subversive activities,” as was rumored, the mosque actually featured an imam (Deputy Imam Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah) who, while conducting tours of the mosque, spoke “only glowingly” about the Nazi seizure of power and expressed goodwill toward the regime.106 Abdullah also made a crucial change in Sadr-ud-Din’s 1925 lecture “What Has Islam Given to Humanity?” when he presented it at the mosque after the Nazis came to power: he replaced the word “democracy” with “Volksgemeinschaft” (national community).107

As the mosque community began to succumb to the Nazification of society and then to the new antisemitic legislation, Marcus resigned as chairman and member of the board of the German Muslim Society.108 Before the election was held for a new president in 1935, the prominent members of the organization were summoned “to renounce their membership in a society that still tolerated Jews, or bear the consequences, for their careers and political lives, if they remained.” So Marcus relinquished his positions “to save the Society from further troubles.”109

Despite an atmosphere in which “antisemitism became a principle governing private life as well as public,” Marcus participated in the society’s annual meeting barely a week after the notorious 1935 Nazi Party Rally, where the Nuremberg Laws were proclaimed.110 The board needed a new member. Disregarding the antisemitic laws, another non-German member of the society, Assistant Imam Dr. Azeez Mirza (1906–1937) of British India, proposed that Marcus again play a leadership role.111The board also proposed that Marcus give two of the monthly “Islam Evenings” lectures to be held at the mosque the following year. Were they not aware of the laws separating Jews from other Germans? Were they defying them?

It is unlikely that Marcus actually gave any lectures at the mosque in 1936, since Jews were being attacked both in print and in person.112 In March, at the behest of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, a Nazi press release declared that the German Muslim Society “should not be acknowledged, as first and foremost it is made up of Jews.”113

As Jews were increasingly isolated and made to feel like unwelcome guests in their own land, Marcus, having converted to Islam eleven years earlier, finally gave notice in May of his withdrawal from membership in the Jewish community of Berlin, effective that summer.114 Having officially renounced his connection to the Jewish community, Marcus appeared at the society’s annual meeting in autumn 1936.115Attendees included senior civil servants of the Third Reich. It is remarkable that he participated in the event, for a recent decree for civil servants had prohibited them from “consorting with Jews.”116 Even more astounding, one vote was cast for Marcus as chairman.117 Did he vote for himself? Or was it another member? Was it a silent act of resistance?

The fellow convert whom Marcus had chosen to succeed him as chairman died suddenly in September 1936.118 He was replaced instead by convinced Nazi and convert Hikmet (Fritz) Beyer.119 During his two years as the society’s head officer, Beyer used National Socialist racist principles to reinterpret a crucial Islamic tenet that promotes interracial harmony. Muslims had always endorsed the idea that what matters to God is not one’s origins but one’s piety. Qurʾan 49:13 states that God divided humankind into different peoples so that they might know one another, not because any is better than the rest; the best are those who are most pious. Referring to this verse, Beyer proclaimed instead that “the sign of a truly advanced culture is not its interbreeding, but rather its recognition of [different] peoples!,” pledging that “the German Muslim Society will act in the coming year with this in mind.”120

In 1936, the society “had to redouble its efforts to prove its right to exist anew” and control the only mosque in Germany in the face of a sustained campaign by the Islamic Community of Berlin, which continued to challenge the Ahmadi’s Islamic credentials.121 After 1933, the Islamic Community was led by supporters of the Third Reich: by 1934 its executive director was Habibur Rahman, a Sunni Muslim journalist from India who later became a major figure in Nazi broadcast propaganda.122 In the new climate, the Islamic Community reframed its attacks against the Ahmadi, attempting to convince Nazi authorities that the society was a Jewish Communist organization, unworthy of any claim to the mosque.

Unfortunately for the society, the ensuing period brought continued conflict with the Islamic Community and scrutiny by the police, the Nazi Party, and the Gestapo.123The Berlin police reported on the society to “special representatives” charged with “monitor[ing] the spiritual and cultural activities of Jews in the German Reich.”124The Nazi Party reported to the chief of police in spring 1937 that “the Society is made up of members from the most varied races and nations,” claiming that at their gatherings, “when the participants believe they are among comrades, they have apparently made derogatory comments about National Socialism and its Führer.” In addition, “quite a few Jews belong to the Society. Most notably, the Society became a lair and flophouse for Kurfürstendamm Jews, especially in the years 1933–4.”125 The Kurfürstendamm, where Jews made up a quarter of the population, and Berlin West, where the mosque was located, had long been targets of Nazi rhetoric.126

Since only members and Muslims could attend the German Muslim Society’s functions at the time, it is apparent that German converts or Muslim members were reporting to the Party or the Gestapo. Fischer? Beyer? The Nazis seem to have believed that many Jews were members of the society, although the only known one, Marcus, had ceased playing any public role in the organization, and even attending its meetings, the previous year. He does not appear in a photo taken on the front steps of the mosque on the occasion of Eid al-Adha in 1936.127 Perhaps he continued to show up at the mosque out of the public eye; we know that he maintained a relationship with the imam. Whether or not Marcus surreptitiously continued to visit the mosque, the report that it was a flophouse for Jews has been misinterpreted by Muslims in Germany, who claim that, like the members of the Grand Mosque in Paris, Muslims at the Berlin mosque saved Jews during the Shoah. But Nazi rhetoric should not be mistaken for fact. Nor were Jews in mortal danger in 1933–1934 such that they would have sought refuge.128 During this period of scrutiny, Sadr-ud-Din, the founder of the mosque and community and the architect of its tolerant interreligious and interracial message, left Berlin.129

The new head imam was Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. Born in British India, in Rasul Nagar, Punjab, he had earned a B.Sc. and a M.Sc. at Forman Christian College in Lahore.130 After serving as joint secretary of the Ahmadi in Lahore in 1927, he was appointed deputy imam of the Berlin mosque in 1928, and subsequently earned a Ph.D. in chemistry at Berlin University in 1932.131 Imam Abdullah praised the regime while leading public tours of the mosque, and he made important changes to stock lectures, incorporating Nazi neologisms. He made further overtures to the Nazi regime in the summer of 1938. He offered to give lectures sponsored by the Kulturpolitisches Archiv of self-proclaimed Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg (1892–1946 [executed at Nuremberg]), proving that there were “numerous points of contact between the Islamic and National Socialist worldviews.”132 This attracted the agency’s attention.133 The Reich Foreign Ministry certified that he posed no danger to the state, and the Public Education Agency approved him as a lecturer for winter 1939.134 But the Kulturpolitisches Archiv was tipped off by a Gestapo agent that Abdullah “in his capacity as leader of the Muslim Society had been under Communist influence until the Nazi takeover, and until recently under Jewish influence,” specifically “the Jew Dr. Hugo Markus [sic],” who “had founded the society, and who had played a not insignificant role in society life until 1936.”135

Abdullah’s overtures may reflect a change in philosophical orientation, or a strategy for survival in the face of a totalitarian regime that brooked no dissent. At any rate, in those years the Moslemische Revue published articles that reflected the former, such as “The New Germany According to a Muslim: Hitler Is the Appointed One,” which appeared in the August 1938 issue and was written by Dr. Zeki Kiram (1886–1946), a member of the rival Islamic Community.136 Kiram was a former Ottoman army officer and a longtime Berlin resident.137 A Turkish citizen who maintained close relations with the Turkish embassy, he was employed as an interpreter of Turkish in the Reich Foreign Ministry and worked for the Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS (the SS Intelligence Agency) for years, but his main job was dealing German arms.138 In 1936 he wrote an ecstatic letter to Adolf Hitler, his “highly esteemed Führer.”139 In the 1938 article, Kiram asks, “Is this man not sent by God to save the German people from the trap that the Jews and their various organizations, established ostensibly in the name of humanity, have set? These Jewish organizations, which appear to bring benefits, in fact pursue destructive ends.”140

Reflecting this sentiment, on November 9, 1938, the Nazis unleashed the nationwide pogrom, signaling the beginning of the Shoah. Fellow Jewish convert to Islam Essad Bey had fled to Italy earlier in the year, but Marcus, defined as a Jew according to the Nuremberg Laws, was among the six thousand Jewish men from Berlin and northern and eastern Germany who were subsequently imprisoned at Berlin’s main concentration camp, Sachsenhausen.141 After arriving, the fifty-eight-year-old was forced by the SS to stand absolutely still on the roll-call ground for twenty-four hours. He and the others were “crammed into the ‘small camp,’” recently built to handle the influx of Jewish prisoners, “where they suffered continual mistreatment.”142 Marcus was held in prison block 18, an overcrowded wooden barrack.143

Fortunately, he did not have to remain there long. Most Jews arrested following the November pogrom were released by spring 1939, although two thousand died in detainment. They were freed on condition that they would leave the country immediately. Marcus was slated for release on November 19, 1938, and inmates with release orders were typically let go the following day.144 Like other former detainees, he was given a stern warning about the horror that awaited him should he remain in Germany. As he recalled after the war, “On the day of their release, former detainees were urged to leave Germany posthaste, because otherwise they would disappear forever in a concentration camp.”145

Facing this reality, Marcus asked Imam Abdullah to defend him, which might seem an odd choice, as Abdullah had earlier praised the regime and promoted the idea of the consonance between Nazism and Islam. But to whom else could Marcus turn? Abdullah, probably responding to the shock of the November 9 pogrom—when the flames of burning synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses would have been visible from his residence in the mission house at the mosque—and Marcus’s incarceration, worked on an exit plan.146 It quickly bore fruit. Within a week of his release from Sachsenhausen, Marcus was informed by the Albanian consul in Bern, Switzerland, that he could obtain an entry visa for the Muslim-majority yet secularizing kingdom, still an independent monarchy at that time, if he submitted a valid passport to Albanian authorities in Switzerland.147 British India, the headquarters of the Ahmadi, for whom Marcus had worked for fifteen years, was a better option. Abdullah sought to help Marcus obtain a visa for India. On December 1, 1938, he wrote the British passport control officer in Berlin, assuring him that Marcus “is known to us personally and intimately.”148

By January 1939, the Nazi Party was “increasingly and ever more openly” emphasizing that its principal duty was “the solution of the Jewish question.”149German news reports broadcast Hitler’s Reichstag speech of January 30, in which he “threatened the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.”150 In February, a Gestapo agent repeated a claim he had been making for years: that the society was “without a doubt an international organization wholly under Jewish-Communist influence.”151Moreover, according to the agent, “even today the Muslim Society, and especially Dr. Abdullah, maintain close relations with various followers who due to their political views have had to leave Germany.” Accordingly, he opposed any “domestic recognition” of the society.152

In this atmosphere, new rivals to the society emerged. Foremost among them was the Maʿhad al-Islam (Islam Institute).153 Unlike the German Muslim Society, the Islam Institute was outspoken in its Nazi sentiment. Its board members included a variety of Muslims who served as Nazi propagandists and agents.154 And while the society had never included such language in its constitution, despite having had the opportunity to do so, the Islam Institute’s constitution contained the following provision: “A German who applies to be a member must present documentation that he is not a Jew, in accordance with the fifth decree of the Nuremberg Laws (of 30.11.1938).”155 The organization was on such good terms with authorities that in summer 1939, the Nazi Party’s foreign policy office informed the Berlin police that it had no objections to the Islam Institute, or to its board members.156 Its chairman would soon be Habibur Rahman, one of the Islamic Community’s earliest members, and its leading member after the departure of the Kheiri brothers.157 Rahman continually urged Nazi authorities to view the Ahmadi as false Muslims and the German Muslim Society as a Jewish organization, in part motivated by a desire to take over their mosque.158

The situation worsened for Marcus. Having already surrendered his German passport, on March 16, 1939, he was fingerprinted like a criminal and given a new identity card under the name “Hugo Israel,” marked with a large “J” for Jude(Jew).159 And with an earlier decree having declared that Jews who converted to Christianity were still Jewish by race—from which one could infer that the same would be true for conversion to other religions—he would no longer be able to escape the consequences of his origins.160 Remarkably, however, in spite of the fact that his life was in danger, that same day Abdullah asked the British to postpone the date of Marcus’s Indian entry visa, so that he could stay in Berlin to finish editing the German translation of the Qurʾan: “Mr. Hugo Marcus has been indispensable for this work and thus his presence here in Berlin has been unavoidable. The climatic conditions in India combined with the above mentioned work entrusted to him here in Berlin, necessitated his departure to be postponed.”161

Was it better to remain in the eye of the storm in Berlin and avoid the heat of India? Was this Marcus’s wish, or Abdullah’s? Abdullah may have been aware that others who employed Jews on similar projects were able to save their colleagues from deportation at that time.162 But why would Marcus choose to remain in Berlin at a time when talk of impending war filled the air, war measures were already being taken, and converted Jewish contemporaries were wondering, “Will they beat us to death … Will they come for me tonight? Will I be shot, will I be put in a concentration camp?”163 Was Marcus so single-mindedly determined to edit the Qurʾan that he considered nothing else, that he was able to look past the violence and humiliation to which he had already been subjected? As a Jew, he was completely isolated from the rest of society. He would have had no interest in attending the segregated Jewish cultural activities, for he had renounced his attachment to the Jewish community. He was forced to surrender all assets, cash, securities, and valuables.164 Had it not been for his salary from the mosque community, which he received until August 1939, and for the one-time fee he was paid for editing the Qurʾan, he would have been destitute.165

We can gain insight into Marcus’s seemingly irresponsible decision to stay when we compare him to other German Jews of his generation. A majority of the Jews who remained in Germany at that time were over the age of fifty and—like Marcus, who was fifty-nine—could not imagine leaving their homeland, for despite everything they had experienced in the past five years, they remained German patriots and still considered themselves Germans.166 In any case, even if they had wanted to flee, there were few countries willing to take them in, especially since they would arrive penniless, as Jews had to forfeit all their wealth and property when they left Germany.167 Like other German Jewish men of his age, Marcus had been honored as a veteran of World War I, despite having served in only an honorary capacity at a desk job for nine months in the heart of Berlin and offering his services in the city as a voluntary nurse.168 In recognition of this minimal wartime effort, in April 1936 the Wilmersdorf police personally delivered a swastika-stamped document to his home: he had been awarded the Honor Cross for War Veterans by Reich president and war hero Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, “in the name of the Führer,” while he was still officially a member of the Jewish community.169 Perhaps thinking that such recognition could protect him, Marcus sat in his room and improved the Qurʾan translation, delaying his departure by six months. Yet even remaining in his home was no guarantee of safety: as of the end of April 1939, Jews were “stripped of their rights as tenants, thus paving the way for their forcible ghettoization. They could now be evicted without appeal.”170 Marcus was most likely forced to vacate his apartment and move into a “Jews’ House,” denied access to radio, telephone, and typewriter.

In April the Ahmadi invited Marcus “to stay permanently” at their headquarters in Lahore, India, offering to be responsible for his maintenance and defraying all expenses.171 Assured that he would be gainfully employed translating Ahmadi literature into German, several weeks later the British Government of India granted him a visa.172 But he remained in Berlin, working on the Qurʾan translation, which was finally published a month before World War II broke out. In its foreword, Sadr-ud-Din wrote, “Throughout the entire duration of my work on the translation, a great German friend exerted himself working for me, bestowing upon me the greatest help imaginable. His assistance was both indispensable and invaluable. His love of Islam is boundless. And accordingly the labor was his sacrifice and duty. May God bless and reward him.”173 That “great German friend” was Marcus.174

Marcus may not have been mentioned by name in the Qurʾan translation, yet in light of the context in which it was published, it was a remarkable accomplishment. The commentary that accompanies the Qurʾanic text often takes up to 90 percent of a given page, with one line of Arabic text and German translation accompanied by more than fifty lines of commentary. The commentary for the verse “there shall be no compulsion in religion,” for example, expresses the conviction that one should not be persecuted for confessing a particular religion, including having one’s wealth and property confiscated and being targeted for belonging to a particular faith.175Moreover, explaining the verse that refers to people protecting churches, monasteries, and synagogues from destruction by others, the editors state their hope that Europe will take this verse to heart and act upon it, to protect the houses of worship of all believers in which prayers are made to God.176 This is an astonishing statement in the wake of the November 9 pogrom and the persecution of Jews. Such commentary passages and others that condemn racism and blind submission to leaders show the Ahmadi’s perseverance in articulating their core beliefs despite living in the Nazi metropolis: “Goodness and excellence must be promoted, in whatever race and community they are found; on the other hand, evil and maliciousness must be combated, wherever they are found. Help the one who does good, even if he is a non-Muslim! And whoever proves himself evil, refuse to assist him, even if he is a Muslim!” and “Even if you are led astray by a Führer, you will also be punished, for you have followed him blindly.”177

Ten days before the outbreak of war, the imam submitted a certification of Marcus’s good character.178 With this testimony, Marcus was permitted to leave Germany, just one week before the Nazi invasion of Poland. He left not on the long and precarious journey by ship to India, however, which may have been a life-saving decision, but rather for Switzerland.179 The plan was for him to open an Ahmadi “cultural center” in Lausanne and publish the Moslemische Revue there, serving as the editor. He accomplished neither of those objectives, however; nor did he continue on to India.180Had he traveled there, he would have been arrested as an enemy alien and spent the war in a British internment camp, sharing the fate of fellow converts von Ehrenfels and Asad.181 His entry into Switzerland was facilitated by the intervention of a German convert to Catholicism, wartime European director of U.S. radio station NBC and postwar monk Dr. Max Jordan (1896–1977).182 Jordan and Marcus were acquaintances from the homosexual rights movement and the early years of the mosque, when Jordan, who like Marcus wrote for the Berliner Tageblatt, covered the German Muslim Society’s “Islam Evenings” as a journalist.

After World War II erupted, Abdullah, who was a British citizen and thus an “enemy national,” had to leave the country or face incarceration.183 In October he traveled to Copenhagen, and a month later to India.184 Even in mid-November, after his departure, the mosque community was still promoting the brotherhood of man, regardless of race or religion, as in the Eid al-Fitr sermon given by the imam appointed by Abdullah before he left the country, the Egyptian Dr. Ahmed Galwash.185Refuting the 1936 lecture by Nazi Party member and German Muslim Society chairman Beyer, Galwash gave the traditional Islamic interpretation appreciating human diversity, based on Qurʾan 49:13, which states that if any people can claim to be superior to others, it is only by virtue of their piety. Galwash concluded by beseeching “the God of all people and nations” to fill the hearts of all people “with respect toward one another so that peace and well-being for all will yet remain on earth.”186

“SLICES OF LIVES” CAN BE USED “as tracers, to illuminate aspects of the past that would otherwise remain obscure, hidden, or even misunderstood,” just as the histories of individuals, no matter how unique, can “yield global stories that challenge conventional narratives.”187 Hugo Marcus may have been an idiosyncratic historical character—homosexual, Jewish, and Muslim—yet the questions raised by his life are salient for understanding the interrelated issues of Muslim responses to Nazism in Germany and the history of Muslim-Jewish relations.188 Like Christians, Muslims responded to Nazism and its persecution of Jews in a variety of ways. They expressed opinions ranging “from outright refusal to fascination [with Nazism], with sympathy and scepticism often being voiced by one and the same person.” Everywhere Muslim responses were conditioned by local conditions and conflicts.189

The religious and political rivalries that dominated Muslim life in Berlin contributed to German Muslims’ response to the Nazis in the 1930s. Ahmadi beliefs about prophecy and the messiah were condemned by Sunni Muslims centered in the Islamic Community of Berlin, who challenged the Ahmadi’s Islamic credentials and labeled its members British agents. Throughout the 1920s, the Islamic Community of Berlin tried to wrest control of the city’s only mosque from the Ahmadi for these two reasons. When the Nazis rose to power and presented themselves as liberators of Muslim-majority lands, protectors of Islam, and enemies of British, French, and Soviet imperialism, they found a natural ally in the Islamic Community, just as the Ahmadi, seen as too pro-British and too cosmopolitan to fit Nazi aims, began to voice alleged affinities between Islam and Nazism in order to survive as an organization.190 The Islamic Community, which was founded by socialist revolutionaries and had once boasted Jewish converts among its ranks, appealed to the Nazis by portraying the Ahmadi as a Jewish Bolshevist organization.

The Ahmadi’s accommodationist statements and actions after 1933 demonstrate that the mission failed to live up to many of its Weimar-era promises. Most of these actions were meant to curry favor with the regime by adopting its terminology so that the organization could continue to exist and hold on to the mosque. Yet even if not based on ideological rapprochement, such actions as publishing antisemitic material and dismissing a Jewish officeholder did subject them to “personal liability for the interaction with a totalitarian and racist regime” and for crimes of the era, for they facilitated the Nazi project of separating “Jews” from “Germans.”191 Moreover, they betrayed their own principles by distinguishing between Muslims based on “racial” categories.

Yet like other foreigners in Nazi Germany, the Ahmadi responded in contradictory ways, for other actions they took successfully opposed Nazi racism. Marcus continued to head the German Muslim Society and remained editor of the mosque’s publications for several years after he was prohibited from doing so by Nazi law. Some members of the community supported his continuing role in the organization and, astonishing in the face of the new racial statutes, the public life of the mosque. They maintained social relations with him long after they were forbidden to do so, and they supported him financially until 1939; otherwise he would have been destitute. The society and mosque resisted pressure to merge with pro-regime organizations and withstood Gestapo and Nazi Party inquiries. Sermons at the mosque—republished in its journal—continued to call for interreligious and interracial harmony until the end of 1939. The Qurʾan translation published that same year condemns religious persecution and racism and offers rejoinders to those wishing to escape culpability for following leaders such as Hitler. These actions in context and the choices made by other Muslims stand as proof of Ahmadi open-mindedness.

When it mattered most, the Ahmadi, Imam Abdullah, and the international leader of the organization, Muhammad Ali, converted their profession of interreligious harmony and condemnation of persecution of Jews into life-saving action. Even as their accommodation to Nazi ideology helped contribute to the antisemitic atmosphere in Berlin, they ultimately frustrated the Nazis’ attempt to annihilate the Jews of Europe, if only by saving one life. They brought together a diverse group of men—one Protestant, one Catholic, and one Muslim, a “Weimar coalition” that had formed interconfessional affinities at the mosque during the 1920s—to save Hugo Marcus from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1938. As Marcus revealed after the war, “The united efforts of Superintendent Joachim Ungnad and Father Georg, Crown Prince of Saxony—both men had visited our ‘Islam Evenings’—and our Imam Dr. Abdullah managed to free me.”192 The Ahmadi created a sinecure for Marcus in Lahore, and the imam got him a visa to India, testifying to Marcus’s good character and obtaining certification that he was not a danger to the state. As a result, he was granted an exit permit that enabled him to leave Germany just one week before the outbreak of World War II, and thus to escape the brutal end meted out to his brothers. The story of Hugo Marcus sheds light on relations between Muslims and Jews as part of world history, of a history connecting Europe and South Asia.193

Research for this article was carried out during extended periods of research leave granted by Carolyn Boyd, Robert Moeller, and Jeffrey Wasserstrom, successive chairs of the History Department at the University of California, Irvine. I conducted research in Berlin and Zurich initially under the auspices of a Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2006 and 2007, thanks to my academic hosts, Maurus Reinkowski at the University of Freiburg and Gudrun Krämer at the Free University, Berlin, and subsequently thanks to a fellowship at the Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), Berlin, directed by Ulrike Freitag, from 2009 to 2011. A follow-up visit to Berlin in 2013 and 2014, thanks again to the Humboldt Foundation and renewed affiliation with the ZMO, allowed me to complete the research and write the article. I am especially indebted to Bekim Agai, Umar Ryad, and Mehdi Sajid for including me in the International Symposium on Islam in Inter-War Europe and European Cultural History at Leiden University, the Netherlands; to Jasmin Khosravie, who invited me to participate in the International Research Colloquium, Institut für Orient- und Asienwissenschaften, University of Bonn, BMBF Research Group “Europe from the Outside”; to the participants at these workshops as well as audiences at the University of Bonn and the University of Tübingen in Germany and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. The following colleagues based in Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. offered insightful critiques of this article at various stages of its development: Corry Guttstadt, Heike Liebau, Nils Riecken, Peter Wien, Dietrich Reetz, Ulrike Freitag, Gerdien Jonker, Mehdi Sajid, Stephan Conermann, Jasmin Khosravie, Şevket Küçükhüseyin, Manfred Backhausen, Stefan Heidemann, Umar Ryad, David Motadel, Moez Khalfaoui, Robert Moeller, Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Matthias Lehmann, Rachel O’Toole, and Winston James. I am grateful for the assistance of Muhammad Ali, Imam of the Berlin Mosque; Dr. Zahid Aziz, webmaster of the Berlin and Woking Ahmadi missions; Father Placidus Kuhlkamp, Order of Saint Benedict, Librarian at Beuron Abbey, Germany; Robert Parzer, archivist, Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten, Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen; Thomas Ripper, Librarian, Bibliothek ZMO; and the directors and staffs of the Handschriftenabteilung, Zentralbibliothek Zürich; the Landesarchiv Berlin; and the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. I am especially indebted to the AHR‘s Editor and Editorial Board members and the anonymous reviewers commissioned by the journal for their critical reading of several revisions of the article.

1On the Mufti’s collaboration with Hitler, espousal of Nazi antisemitism, and support of the genocide of the Jews of Europe and the Middle East, see Gerhard Höpp, ed., Mufti-Papiere: Briefe, Memoranden, Reden und Aufrufe Amin al-Husainis aus dem Exil, 1940–1945(Berlin, 2001); Bernd Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland von 1920 bis 1945 (Cologne, 2001), 117–126; René Wildangel, Zwischen Achse und Mandatsmacht: Palästina und der Nationalsozialismus (Berlin, 2007), 331–332, 336–343; Gilbert Achcar, The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives (London, 2011), 150–158. As Philip Mattar has observed, most accounts of al-Husayni either vilify or glorify him, which tells us more about the politics of the biographers than about the Palestinian leader. Mattar, The Mufti of Jerusalem: Al-Hajj Amin Al-Husayni and the Palestinian National Movement, revised ed. (New York, 1988), xiii–xiv.
2To see how it has impacted the historiography of the Jewish past in Islamic history in general, and that of Egypt, Iraq, and Morocco in particular, see Mark R. Cohen, Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages (Princeton, N.J., 1994), chap. 1; Joel Beinin, The Dispersion of Egyptian Jewry: Culture, Politics, and the Formation of the Modern Diaspora (Berkeley, Calif., 1998); Orit Bashkin, New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern Iraq (Stanford, Calif., 2012); Aomar Boum, Memories of Absence: How Muslims Remember Jews in Morocco (Stanford, Calif., 2013).
3As an example, see Simon Wiesenthal, Grossmufti: Grossagent der Achse (Vienna, 1947). See Gerhard Höpp, “The Suppressed Discourse: Arab Victims of National Socialism,” with a prologue and epilogue by Peter Wien, in Heike Liebau, Katrin Bromber, Katharina Lange, Dyala Hamzah, and Ravi Ahuja, eds., The World in World Wars: Experiences, Perceptions and Perspectives from Africa and Asia (Leiden, 2010), 167–216, here 213–216.
4Peter Novick, The Holocaust in American Life (Boston, 1999), 158.
5Ofer Aderet, “Yad Vashem Names Egyptian First Arab Righteous among the Nations,” Haaretz, September 30, 2013,; and the Yad Vashem website,
6Jeffrey Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World (New Haven, Conn., 2009). For a similar view, see Klaus Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis: The Berlin Years, 1941–1945, trans. Alexander Fraser Gunn (Edgware, 2010); and Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cüppers, Halbmond und Hakenkreuz: Das Dritte Reich, die Araber und Palästina(Darmstadt, 2006), translated into English with the redundant and extreme title Nazi Palestine: The Plans for the Extermination of the Jews in Palestine (New York, 2010). But see Gudrun Krämer, “Anti-Semitism in the Muslim World: A Critical Review,” Anti-Semitism in the Arab World, Special Issue, Die Welt des Islams: International Journal for the Study of Modern Islam, new series, 46, no. 3 (2006): 243–276; Peter Wien, “Coming to Terms with the Past: German Academia and Historical Relations between the Arab Lands and Nazi Germany,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 42, no. 2 (May 2010): 311–321; Götz Nordbruch, “‘Cultural Fusion’ of Thought and Ambitions? Memory, Politics and the History of Arab–Nazi German Encounters,” Middle Eastern Studies 47, no. 1 (January 2011): 183–194; Donald M. McKale, review of Jeffrey Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab WorldHolocaust and Genocide Studies 25, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 149–152. More nuanced studies that focus on French North Africa, such as Raffael Scheck, “Nazi Propaganda toward French Muslim Prisoners of War,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 26, no. 3 (Winter 2012): 447–477, demonstrate that Nazi propaganda was largely ineffective in inciting Muslims to commit violence against Jews.
7See now Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East (New Haven, Conn., 2014); and Tom Boggioni, “Anti-Muslim Long Island Blogger to Run Ads Linking Hitler to Islam on DC Area Buses,” The Raw Story, May 17, 2014,
8Moreover, “In the majority of instances, fascination with fascist ideas (and elements of fascist politics, not all of them symbolic) did not stretch to include racism and anti-Semitism.” Krämer, “Anti-Semitism in the Muslim World,” 260. See also Wildangel, Zwischen Achse und Mandatsmacht, 143–157, 181–189; Israel Gershoni and James Jankowski, Confronting Fascism in Egypt: Dictatorship versus Democracy in the 1930s(Stanford, Calif., 2009), 281–282; Israel Gershoni and Götz Nordbruch, Sympathie und Schrecken: Begegnungen mit Faschismus und Nationalsozialismus in Ägypten, 1922–1937(Berlin, 2011); Götz Nordbruch, Nazism in Syria and Lebanon: The Ambivalence of the German Option, 1933–1945 (New York, 2009), 135–136; Bashkin, New Babylonians, chap. 5; Israel Gershoni, “Confronting Nazism in Egypt: Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Anti-Totalitarianism, 1938–1945,” Deutschlandbilder: Tel Aviver Jahrbuch für deutsche Geschichte 26 (1997): 121–150; Gershoni, “Egyptian Liberalism in an Age of ‘Crisis of Orientation’: Al-Risāla‘s Reaction to Fascism and Nazism, 1933–39,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 31 (1999): 551–576; Gershoni, “‘Der verfolgte Jude’: Al-Hilals Reaktionen auf den Antisemitismus in Europa und Hitlers Machtergreifung,” in Gerhard Höpp, Peter Wien, and René Wildangel, eds., Blind für die Geschichte? Arabische Begegnungen mit dem Nationalsozialismus (Berlin, 2004), 39–72; René Wildangel, “‘Der größte Feind der Menschheit’: Der Nationalsozialismus in der arabischen öffentlichen Meinung in Palästina während des Zweiten Weltkrieges,” ibid., 115–154; Peter Wien, Iraqi Arab Nationalism: Authoritarian, Totalitarian, and Pro-Fascist Inclinations, 1932–1941 (New York, 2006); Orit Bashkin, The Other Iraq: Pluralism and Culture in Hashemite Iraq (Stanford, Calif., 2008).
9Gerhard Höpp complains, “There is a discourse about Arab perpetrators, but none about Arab victims”; “The Suppressed Discourse,” 170. Peter Wien, “The Culpability of Exile: Arabs in Nazi Germany,” Geschichte und Gesellschaft 37 (2011): 332–358, here 332.
10For an exception, see Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 58–99.
11For an analysis of Muslim encounters with Nazism in the Balkans, the Soviet Union, and other regions, see David Motadel, Islam and Nazi Germany’s War (Cambridge, Mass., 2014).
12For this era, see Gerhard Höpp, “Zwischen Moschee und Demonstration: Muslime in Berlin, 1922–1930,” pts. 1–3, Moslemische Revue 10, no. 3 (1990): 135–146; 10, no. 4 (1990): 230–238; and 11, no. 1 (1991): 13–19; Höpp, “Zwischen Entente und Mittelmächten: Arabische Nationalisten und Panislamisten in Deutschland (1914 bis 1918),” Asien, Afrika, Lateinamerika 19, no. 5 (1991): 827–845; Höpp, “Zwischen Universität und Straße: Ägyptische Studenten in Deutschland, 1849–1945,” in Konrad Schliephake and Ghazi Shanneik, eds., Die Beziehungen zwischen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Republik Ägypten (Würzburg, 2002), 31–42; Goetz Nordbruch, “Arab Students in Weimar Germany: Politics and Thought beyond Borders,” Journal of Contemporary History 49, no. 2 (2014): 275–295; Sebastian Cwiklinski, Die Wolga an der Spree: Tataren und Baschkiren in Berlin (Berlin, 2000); Cwiklinski, “Between National and Religious Solidarities: The Tatars in Germany and Poland in the Inter-War Period,” in Nathalie Clayer and Eric Germain, eds., Islam in Inter-War Europe (New York, 2008), 64–88; Corry Guttstadt, Turkey, the Jews, and the Holocaust (Cambridge, 2013); Marc David Baer, “Turk and Jew in Berlin: The First Turkish Migration to Berlin and the Shoah,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 55, no. 2 (April 2013): 330–355.
13An intriguing example of what is possible is found in Amitav Ghosh, In an Antique Land: History in the Guise of a Traveler’s Tale (New York, 1994). On the study of Jews in India, see Yulia Egorova, Jews and India: Perceptions and Image (London, 2006), 1–8.
14Gerhard Höpp, “In the Shadow of the Moon: Arab Inmates in Nazi Concentration Camps,” Germany and the Middle East, 1871–1945, Special Double Issue, Princeton Papers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 10–11 (2001): 217–240.
15See Robert Satloff, Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust’s Long Reach into Arab Lands (New York, 2006), chaps. 5–7; Norman H. Gershman, Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II (Syracuse, N.Y., 2008); Ethan Katz, “Did the Paris Mosque Save Jews? A Mystery and Its Memory,” Jewish Quarterly Review 102, no. 2 (Spring 2012): 256–287. See also Mohammed Kenbib, “Mohammed V, Protector of Moroccan Jews,” in Abdelwahab Meddeb and Benjamin Stora, eds., A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations: From the Origins to the Present Day, trans. Jane Marie Todd and Michael B. Smith (Princeton, N.J., 2013), 362–364; Benjamin Stora, “Messali Hadj, the Refusal to Collaborate,” ibid., 365–366; Habib Kazdaghli, “The Tunisian Jews in the German Occupation,” ibid., 367–369; Irena Steinfeldt, “Muslim Righteous among the Nations,” ibid., 372–374.
16Most studies focus on the mass migration of “guest workers” from Muslim-majority lands after World War II. See Ulrich Herbert, Geschichte der Ausländerpolitik in Deutschland: Saisonarbeiter, Zwangsarbeiter, Gastarbeiter, Flüchtlinge (Munich, 2001); Betigül Ercan Argun, Turkey in Germany: The Transnational Sphere of Deutschkei (New York, 2003); Deniz Göktürk, David Gramling, and Anton Kaes, eds., Germany in Transit: Nation and Migration, 1955–2005 (Berkeley, Calif., 2007); Kira Kosnick, Migrant Media: Turkish Broadcasting and Multicultural Politics in Berlin (Bloomington, Ind., 2007); Gökçe Yurdakul, From Guest Workers into Muslims: The Transformation of Turkish Immigrant Associations in Germany (Cambridge, 2008); Rita Chin, The Guest Worker Question in Postwar Germany (Cambridge, 2009).
17For a recent example, see Miriam Goldstein, “Introduction,” in David M. Freidenreich and Miriam Goldstein, eds., Beyond Religious Borders: Interaction and Intellectual Exchange in the Medieval Islamic World (Philadelphia, 2012), 1–12.
18On friendship between Jews and people of other faiths, especially Christians, see Daniel Jütte, “Interfaith Encounters between Jews and Christians in the Early Modern Period and Beyond: Toward a Framework,” American Historical Review 118, no. 2 (April 2013): 378–400. For examples from this rich literature, see Bernard Dov Cooperman and Tsevi Zohar, eds., Jews and Muslims in the Islamic World (Bethesda, Md., 2013); Jacob Lassner, Jews, Christians, and the Abode of Islam: Modern Scholarship, Medieval Realities(Chicago, 2012); Joseph V. Montville, ed., History as Prelude: Muslims and Jews in the Medieval Mediterranean (New York, 2011); Emily Benichou Gottreich and Daniel J. Schroeter, eds., Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa (Bloomington, Ind., 2011); Mark Mazower, Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews, 1430–1950 (New York, 2006); F. E. Peters, The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, new ed. (Princeton, N.J., 2006); Emily Gottreich, The Mellah of Marrakesh: Jewish and Muslim Space in Morocco’s Red City (Bloomington, Ind., 2006); María Rosa Menocal, The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Christians, and Jews Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain (New York, 2003); Ross Brann and Adam Sutcliffe, eds., Renewing the Past, Reconfiguring Jewish Culture: From al-Andalus to the Haskalah (Philadelphia, 2003); Avigdor Levy, ed., Jews, Turks, Ottomans: A Shared History, Fifteenth through the Twentieth Century (Syracuse, N.Y., 2003); Raymond P. Scheindlin, Wine, Women and Death: Medieval Hebrew Poems on the Good Life (1986; repr., Oxford, 1999); Scheindlin, The Gazelle: Medieval Hebrew Poems on God, Israel and the Soul (1991; repr., Oxford, 1999); Steven M. Wasserstrom, Between Muslim and Jew: The Problem of Symbiosis under Early Islam(Princeton, N.J., 1995); Cohen, Under Crescent and Cross; Ross Brann, The Compunctious Poet: Cultural Ambiguity and Hebrew Poetry in Muslim Spain (Baltimore, 1991); Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam (Princeton, N.J., 1984); S. D. Goitein, A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza, 6 vols., new ed. (Berkeley, Calif., 1999); Goitein, Jews and Arabs: A Concise History of Their Social and Cultural Relations (1954; repr., Mineola, N.Y., 2005).
19Abdelwahab Meddeb and Benjamin Stora, “Introduction,” in Meddeb and Stora, A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations, 13–23, here 16.
20Daniel Boyarin, Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity (Philadelphia, 2006), 1–2.
21My thanks to an anonymous reader for formulating this contribution in this way.
22Freidenreich and Goldstein, Beyond Religious Borders. Despite its title, the volume does not contain a single essay concerning religious converts.
23This includes the Ahmadi translation and commentary in German, and Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qurʾān (Gibraltar, 1980).
24See Marc David Baer, The Dönme: Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks (Stanford, Calif., 2010).
25Gerhard Höpp, “Mohammed Essad Bey: Nur Orient für Europäer?,” Asien, Afrika, Lateinamerika 25, no. 1 (1997): 75–97; Tom Reiss, The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life (New York, 2005); Muhammad Asad, The Road to Mecca (New York, 1954); M. Ikram Chaghatai, ed., Muhammad Asad: Europe’s Gift to Islam (Lahore, 2006); Abroo Aman Andrabi, Muhammad Asad: His Contribution to Islamic Learning (New Delhi, 2007); Martin Kramer, “The Road From Mecca: Muhammad Asad (born Leopold Weiss),” in Kramer, ed., The Jewish Discovery of Islam: Studies in Honor of Bernard Lewis(Tel Aviv, 1999), 225–247; Günter Windhager, Leopold Weiss alias Muhammad Asad: Von Galizien nach Arabien, 1900–1927 (Vienna, 2002); Ismāʿīl Ibrāhīm Nawwāb, “A Matter of Love: Mu˙hammad Asad and Islam,” Islamic Studies 39, no. 2 (Summer 2000): 155–231; Murad Hofmann, “Muhammad Asad: Europe’s Gift to Islam,” ibid., 233–245; Talal Asad, “Muhammad Asad between Religion and Politics,” Road to Mecca: The Journey of Muhammad Asad (documentary film, dir. Georg Misch, Mischief Films, 2008).
26For an overview of his life, see “Der deutsche Muslim Dr. Hamid Hugo Marcus,” in Manfred Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung in Europa: Geschichte, Gegenwart und Zukunft der als “Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung zur Verbreitung islamischen Wissens” bekannten internationalen islamischen Gemeinschaft (Wembley, 2008), 110–119.
27For another example, see Baer, “Turk and Jew in Berlin.”
28Gerhard Höpp, Muslime in der Mark: Als Kriegsgefangene und Internierte in Wünsdorf und Zossen, 1914–1924 (Berlin, 1997), chap. 2; David Motadel, “The Making of Muslim Communities in Western Europe, 1914–1939,” in Götz Nordbruch and Umar Ryad, eds., Transnational Islam in Interwar Europe: Muslim Activists and Thinkers (New York, 2014), 13–43; Eric Germain, “The First Muslim Missions on a European Scale: Ahmadi-Lahori Networks in the Inter-War Period,” in Clayer and Germain, Islam in Inter-War Europe, 89–118, here 102.
29M. S. Abdullah, Geschichte des Islams in Deutschland (Graz, 1981); Höpp, Muslime in der Mark, 9–18; Alexandra Schäfer-Borrmann, Vom “Waffenbruder” zum “türkisch-deutschen Faktotum” Ekrem Rüştü Akömer (1892–1984), eine bemerkenswerte Randfigur der Geschichte (Würzburg, 1998); Gültekin Emre, 300 Jahre Türken an der Spree: Ein vergessenes Kapitel Berliner Kulturgeschichte (Berlin, 1983); Ingeborg Böer, Ruth Haerkötter, and Petra Kappert, eds., Türken in Berlin, 1871–1945: Eine Metropole in den Erinnerungen osmanischer und türkischer Zeitzeugen (Berlin, 2002).
30While small numbers of Muslims—especially Turkish doctoral students, laborers, and craftsmen—lived elsewhere in Germany, Berlin is unique, for it was home to the overwhelming majority of Muslim residents in Germany and their institutions. See Börte Sagaster, Achmed Talib: Stationen des Lebens eines türkischen Schuhmachermeisters in Deutschland von 1917 bis 1983. Kaiserreich—Weimarer Republik—Drittes Reich—DDR(Cologne, 1997).
31David Motadel, “Islamische Bürgerlichkeit: Das soziokulturelle milieu der muslimischen Minderheit in Berlin, 1918–1939,” in José Brunner und Shai Lavi, eds., Juden und Muslime in Deutschland: Recht, Religion, Identität (Göttingen, 2009), 103–121, here 104.
32Nile Green, “Spacetime and the Muslim Journey West: Industrial Communication in the Making of the ‘Muslim World,’” American Historical Review 118, no. 2 (April 2013): 401–429, here 418–423. See also Green, “Journeymen, Middlemen: Travel, Trans-Culture and Technology in the Origins of Muslim Printing,” International Journal of Middle East Studies41, no. 2 (2009): 203–224; and Gerdien Jonker, “A Laboratory of Modernity: The Ahmadiyya Mission in Inter-War Europe,” Journal of Muslims in Europe 3, no. 1 (2014): 1–25.
33“Kurze Geschichte der Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung,” in Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung in Europa, 9–17; “Wer war Mirza Ghulam Ahmad?,” ibid., 18–24; Dietrich Reetz, Islam in the Public Sphere: Religious Groups in India, 1900–1947 (Oxford, 2006), 76–77, 97–98, 100–101, 139–142; Yohanan Friedmann, Prophecy Continuous: Aspects of Ahmadi Religious Thought and Its Medieval Background (Berkeley, Calif., 1989), especially 105–118.
34Shah Jahan Mosque,; Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung, 25–39. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community retains a belief that Ahmad is the promised messiah and mahdi, and a prophet. See the organization’s homepage, This branch established a mission in the United States in 1920, the first Muslim American organization, and a journal to propagate its view, the Muslim Sunrise. It is led by an infallible caliph, to whom all members owe absolute obedience. It is not the subject of this article. The second, based in Lahore, maintains that Ahmad is the promised messiah and mahdi but a mujaddid (renewer of Islam) rather than a prophet, and rejects the idea of a caliphate. See the group’s homepage, This is the group referred to in this article with the term “Ahmadi.”
35Muhammad Ali, “Correspondence: Mosque in Berlin,” The Light 2, no. 3 (February 1, 1923): 2–3. See also “Brief History of the Woking Muslim Mission,”
36Anmeldung zur Eintragung der Islamischen Gemeinde zu Berlin, e.V., an das Preussische Amtsgericht Berlin, November 4, 1922, Akten vom Amtsgericht Charlottenburg betreffend die Islamische Gemeinde zu Berlin, e.V., Landesarchiv Berlin, Rep. 42, Acc. 2147 [hereafter Akten Islamische Gemeinde], in Bibliothek Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin, Nachlass Professor Dr. Gerhard Höpp [hereafter Nachlass Höpp], 07.05.002.
37Majid Hayat Siddiqi, “Bluff, Doubt and Fear: The Kheiri Brothers and the Colonial State, 1904–45,” Indian Economic and Social History Review 24, no. 3 (1987): 233–263; Heike Liebau, “The Kheiri Brothers and the Question of World Order after World War I,” Orient Bulletin: History and Cultures in Asia, the Middle East and Africa 13 (2007): 3–4.
38Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung, 51–57.
39Hassan (Walter) Hoffmann, Islamische Gemeinde zu Berlin, an das Amtsgericht, Berlin Mitte, Berlin, April 17, 1929, Akten Islamische Gemeinde, Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.002; Prof. Sattar Kheiri, Berlin, an Amtsgericht Berlin Mitte, Geschäftsstelle, Abteilung 94, August 7, 1930 ibid.; Statuten der Islamischen Gemeinde zu Berlin, e.V. 1922, Berlin, February 21, 1934, ibid.
40Höpp, “Zwischen Moschee und Demonstration,” pt. 1, 142–146; Nathanael Kuck, “Anti-Colonialism in a Post-Imperial Environment: The Case of Berlin, 1914–33,” Journal of Contemporary History 49, no. 1 (January 2014): 134–159.
41Mansur M. Rifat, Der Verrat der Ahmadis an Heimat und Religion: Ein Anhang zu der Schrift “Die Ahmadia-Sekte” ein Vorkämpfer für den englischen Imperialismus (Ahmadis’ Betrayal of Country and Religion: A Supplement to the Pamphlet “The Ahmadia Sect,” Vanguard of British Imperialism and the Greatest Danger to Islam) (Berlin, 1923), 7. He also penned Vollständiger Zusammenbruch der Ahmadia-Sekte: Weitere Beiweise für ihre Tätigkeit als englische Agenten. Mirza Ghulam—Der geisteskranke Mirza—ausgesprochene Paranoiac (Berlin, 1924). See Gerhard Höpp, “Zwischen alle Fronten: Der ägyptische Nationalist Mansur Mustafa Rif’at (1883–1926) in Deutschland,” in Wajih ʿAbd as-Sādiq ʿAtīq and Wolfgang Schwanitz, eds., Ägypten und Deutschland im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert im Spiegel von Archivalien (Cairo, 1998), 263–273.
42Dennis Washburn and A. Kevin Reinhart, “Introduction,” in Washburn and Reinhart, eds., Converting Cultures: Religion, Ideology, and Transformations of Modernity (Leiden, 2007), ix–xxii, here xiii; Gauri Viswanathan, Outside the Fold: Conversion, Modernity, and Belief (Princeton, N.J., 1998); Peter van der Veer, Imperial Encounters: Religion and Modernity in India and Britain (Princeton, N.J., 2001).
43See; Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung in Europa, 25–39. See also Humayun Ansari, “The Infidel Within”: Muslims in Britain since 1800 (London, 2004); and Ron Greaves, Islam in Victorian Britain: The Life and Times of Abdullah Quilliam (London, 2010).
44Ali, “Correspondence: Mosque in Berlin”; “Brief History of the Woking Muslim Mission.”
45Der Koran Arabisch-Deutsch: Uebersetzung, Einleitung und Erklärung von Maulana Sadr-ud-Din, 2nd ed. (1939; repr., Berlin, 1964, 2005), xi.
46Gerhard Höpp, “Islam in Berlin und Brandenburg: Steinerne Erinnerungen,” in Gerhard Höpp and Norbert Mattes, eds., Berlin für Orientalisten: Ein Stadtführer (Berlin, 2001), 7–23, here 16–20. The only purpose-built mosque in Germany at that time was constructed during the war for the use of Allied POWs interned at the “Crescent” camp at Wünsdorf, an hour and a half by train from Berlin. Paid for by the German General Staff, as War Ministry and Foreign Ministry sources concede, the well-publicized construction of the mosque was nothing more than wartime propaganda and instrumentalization of Islam and Muslims, although it was used for a decade after the war by Berlin Muslims. Margot Kahleyss, Muslime in Brandenburg—Kriegsgefangene im 1. Weltkrieg: Ansichten und Absichten (Berlin, 1998); Höpp, Muslime in der Mark, chaps. 4 and 8; Cwiklinski, “Between National and Religious Solidarities,” 65–66.
47Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 61.
48Protokoll of the 1930 annual meeting, March 22, 1930, Satzungen, “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft Berlin,” Landesarchiv Berlin, B Rep. 42, Nr. 27515, “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft, Berlin e.V.” [hereafter “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft”].
49Annual meeting Protokolls: March 22, 1930; September 19, 1931; September 24, 1932; September 22, 1934; September 19, 1936; August 14, 1937; October 1, 1938, ibid.
50Nasir Ahmad, comp. and ed., Eid Sermons at the Shah Jehan Mosque, Woking, England, 1931–1940 (Lahore, 2002), xxix.
51“Notes: The Berlin Mosque,” Islamic Review 13 (March 1925): 82.
52Thus according to Nasir Ahmad, “A Brief History of the Berlin Muslim Mission (Germany) (1922–1988),”
53Peter G. Stromberg, “The Role of Language in Religious Conversion,” in Lewis R. Rambo and Charles E. Farhadian, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Religious Conversion (Oxford, 2014), 117–139; Bruce Hindmarsh, “Religious Conversion as Narrative and Autobiography,” ibid., 343–368.
54Sadr-ud-Din, “Das Glaubensbekenntnis des Islams,” Moslemische Revue 1, no. 2 (July 1924): 91. The article was republished verbatim in every subsequent issue from 1924 to 1926. It later appeared as F. K. Khan Durrani, “Was ist Islam?,” such as in Moslemische Revue 4, no. 1 (January 1929): 41–45.
55Hindmarsh, “Religious Conversion as Narrative and Autobiography.”
56Ahmad, Eid Sermons at the Shah Jehan Mosque, xxix; Dr. S. A. Khulusi, comp., Islam Our Choice (1961; repr., Woking, 1963), 234–235. See also Germain, “The First Muslim Missions on a European Scale,” 99; Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung in Europa, 85.
57Hugo Marcus, “Was ist der Islam?,” 1–10, here 4, Vorträge, Nachlass Hugo Marcus, in Nachlass Walter Robert Corti, Handschriftenabteilung, Zentralbibliothek Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland [hereafter Nachlass Hugo Marcus].
58Hugo Marcus, Brief an Eidgenössische Fremdenpolizei (Swiss Federal Aliens’ Police), Bern, Switzerland, January 23, 1957, Korrespondenz von Hugo Marcus an Institutionen, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
59Motadel, “Islamische Bürgerlichkeit,” 106.
60For examples of Muslim students in Berlin serving as mediators of conversion, see “Drei Europäerinnen bekennen sich zum Islam,” Moslemische Revue 7, no. 2–3 (April–July 1931): 53–59.
61Bernd Widdig, “Cultural Capital in Decline: Inflation and the Distress of Intellectuals,” in Kathleen Canning, Kerstin Barndt, and Kristin McGuire, eds., Weimar Publics/Weimar Subjects: Rethinking the Political Culture of Germany in the 1920s (New York, 2010), 302–317.
62Motadel, “Islamische Bürgerlichkeit,” 111; Höpp, “Islam in Berlin und Brandenburg,” 19.
63Clayer and Germain, “Introduction,” 15.
64Germain, “The First Muslim Missions on a European Scale,” 105; Umar Ryad, “Among the Believers in the Land of the Colonizer: Mohammed Ali van Beetem’s Role among the Indonesian Community in the Netherlands in the Interwar Period,” Journal of Religion in Europe 5, no. 2 (2012): 273–310.
65Humayun Ansari, “Making Transnational Connections: Muslim Networks in Early Twentieth-Century Britain,” in Clayer and Germain, Islam in Inter-War Europe, 31–63, here 48.
66Editor’s note, Hugo Marcus, “Muhammad’s Personality: The First Democrat-Prophet, the First Cavalier-Prophet,” The Light 4, no. 17 (September 1, 1925): 1–6. The Ahmadi boasted of converting this “scion of a high German family, a Ph.D. of Berlin University, a scholar of distinction and author of [a] good many books.” “Islam in Germany: Great German Scholar Won, First Eid Celebrated,” The Light 4, no. 10 (May 16, 1925): 1.
67Hugo Marcus, “Lebenslauf,” undated but ca. 1956, Zürich, Nachlass Hugo Marcus. Hirschfeld founded the organization in 1897 and led it until 1929. For Marcus’s relationship with Hirschfeld, see Hans Alienus (pseudonym for Hugo Marcus), “Erinnerung an Magnus Hirschfeld. Zum 30. Todestag—14. Mai 1935,” Der Kreis 33, no. 5 (1965): 6–7, here 6. On Hirschfeld, see Charlotte Wolff, Magnus Hirschfeld: A Portrait of a Pioneer in Sexology (New York, 1986); Manfred Herzer, Magnus Hirschfeld: Leben und Werk eines jüdischen, schwulen und sozialistischen Sexologen, 2nd ed. (Hamburg, 2001); Rainer Herrn, 100 Years of the Gay Rights Movement in Germany (New York, 1997); Ralf Dose, Magnus Hirschfeld: Deutscher—Jude—Weltbürger (Teetz, 2005); Dagmar Herzog, Sex after Fascism: Memory and Morality in Twentieth-Century Germany (Princeton, N.J., 2005), 19–25; Elena Mancini, Magnus Hirschfeld and the Quest for Sexual Freedom: A History of the First International Sexual Freedom Movement (New York, 2010); Ralf Dose, Magnus Hirschfeld: The Origins of the Gay Liberation Movement (New York, 2014).
68Kurt Hiller, § 175: Die Schmach des Jahrhunderts! (Hannover, 1922), 1. See especially “Recht und sexuelle Minderheiten,” 105–118. Hiller led the Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee from 1929 until its closure in 1933. On Marcus’s relationship with Hiller, see Hiller, Leben gegen die Zeit, vol. 1: Logos (Hamburg, 1969), 74, 107, 408.
69Ralph M. Leck, Georg Simmel and Avant-Garde Sociology: The Birth of Modernity, 1880–1920 (Amherst, N.Y., 2000), 13.
70Ibid., 15–16.
71Robert E. Norton, Secret Germany: Stefan George and His Circle (Ithaca, N.Y., 2002); Martin A. Ruehl, “Aesthetic Fundamentalism in Weimar Poetry: Stefan George and His Circle, 1918–1933,” in Peter E. Gordon and John P. McCormick, eds., Weimar Thought: A Contested Legacy (Princeton, N.J., 2013), 240–272.
72Die Allgemeine Bildung in Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft: Eine historische-kritische-dogmatische Grundlegung (Berlin, 1903); Meditationen (Berlin, 1904); Musikästhetische Probleme auf vergleichend-ästhetischer Grundlage nebst Bemerkungen über die grossen Figuren in der Musikgeschichte (Berlin, 1906); Die Philosophie des Monopluralismus: Grundzüge einer analytischen Naturphilosophie u. eines ABC der Begriffe im Versuch (Berlin, 1907); Die ornamentale Schönheit der Landschaft und der Natur als Beitrag zu einer allgemeinen Ästhetik der Landschaft und der Natur (Munich, 1912); Vom Zeichnerischen, Malerischen, Plastischen und Architektonischen in der Winterlandschaft: Zugl. e. Beitrag z. Klassifikation dieser Begriffe (Berlin, 1914).
73Marcus, Meditationen, 107, 199–200.
74Ibid., 79.
75Hiller, Leben gegen die Zeit, 1: 107; Leck, Georg Simmel and Avant-Garde Sociology, 171.
76“Islam in Germany.”
77The text can be found online at On the history of the petition, see Robert G. Moeller, “The Regulation of Male Homosexuality in Postwar East and West Germany: An Introduction,” Feminist Studies 36, no. 3 (Fall 2010): 521–527; Moeller, “Private Acts, Public Anxieties, and the Fight to Decriminalize Male Homosexuality in West Germany,” ibid., 528–552.
78Hugo Marcus, “Warum ich Moslem wurde” (1951), Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
79Compare with other conversion narratives: M. A. Rahman, “Why I Became a Muslim,” Islamic Review 29 (February 1941): 50; John Fisher, “Why Islam Appeals to Me,” Islamic Review 22 (March 1934): 61–63; David Omar Nicholson, “Some Reasons for Accepting Islam,” Islamic Review 23 (March 1935): 106–108; ʿUmar Rolf Baron von Ehrenfels, “The How and Why of Conversion to Islam,” Islamic Review 49 (June 1961): 23–24; Abdullah Robert, “Warum ich aus der römisch-katholichen Kirche austrat,” Moslemische Revue 6, no. 4 (October 1930): 106–109.
80Hans Alienus, “Erinnerung an Magnus Hirschfeld,” 7; Heike Carstensen, Leben und Werk der Malerin und Graphikerin Julie Wolfthorn (1864–1944): Rekonstruktion eines Künstlerinnenleben (Marburg, 2011), 130–131, 331.
81Sheikh Muhammad Din Jan, comp., Annual Report for the Year 1928–29 of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman-i-Ishaʿat-i-Islam Lahore, 17,
82There is no explanation why the journal and the society used different spellings for “Muslim.”
83For Marcus’s lectures, see Vorträge, Nachlass Hugo Marcus; Motadel, “Islamische Bürgerlichkeit,” 114.
84The 1937 visit to the mosque of the Agha Khan was written up in the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung. “Aus Unserer Arbeit,” Moslemische Revue 13, no. 3 (November 1937): 69–71, here 70. The circulation figure of 1.85 million is from 1930. Eric Weitz, Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy (Princeton, N.J., 2009), 211. For a Berlin society write-up of the mosque and its imam, see “Ein Gespräch mit Professor Abdullah am Fehrbelliner Platz,” Rumpelstilzchen 9, no. 14 (December 13, 1928), quoted in Höpp, “Islam in Berlin und Brandenburg,” 20. For other accounts in the contemporary German press, see Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 65–69.
85Such as Geneva-based Lebanese pan-Islamist Shakib Arslan (1869–1946) in 1931. See “Empfang in der Deutsch-Muslimischen Gesellschaft,” Der Tag, January 16, 1931, 1, Beiblatt, Höpp Nachlass, 07.05.035.
86The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), German People’s Party (DDP), and Catholic Center Party (BVP). Hugo Marcus, Oberwil, Basel, Brief an Eidgenössenische Fremdenpolizei, Bern, July 1, 1947, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
87Bestätigung vom 21.8.1939, Der Imam der Moschee Berlin-Wilmersdorf, S. M. Abdullah, Persönliches, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
88Both groups offered Islam as a panacea for Germany in crisis, presenting it as a roadmap to perpetual peace, security, and prosperity, and for the rebuilding of a shattered world. Abdul Jabbar Kheiri, “Der Untergang und die Rettung: Eine Untersuchung über Islam die Heilmittel mit aufbauender Kraft,” Islam 1, no. 1 (1922): 2, cited in Höpp, “Zwischen Moschee und Demonstration,” pt. 1, 138.
89See the first Ahmadi publication in Germany, the first issue of Moslemische Revue, volume 1, no. 1 (April 1924), including “Der Zweck der Zeitschrift,” 1–2; Sadr-ud-Din, “Die internationale Religion,” 3–10; and Sadr-ud-Din, “Moses, Jesus, und Mohammed sind Brüder,” 14–22.
90Sadr-ud-Din, “Eine Botschaft an die Juden,” Moslemische Revue 2, no. 3–4 (July–October 1925): 4–7.
91Sadr-ud-Din, “Die internationale Religion,” 7.
92Sadr-ud-Din, “Die Christen und die Juden,” Moslemische Revue 1, no. 1 (April 1924): 41–42.
93“Islam in Germany.”
94“Die Eröffnung der Moschee,” Moslemische Revue 2, no. 2 (April 1925): 2.
95“Monatliche Zusammenkünfte in der Moschee,” Moslemische Revue 2, no. 3–4 (July–October 1925): 2.
96Hiller, § 175, 118.
97Wolff, Magnus Hirschfeld, 379; Herzer, Magnus Hirschfeld, 230–233; Dose, Magnus Hirschfeld, 89–90.
98His brothers were Dr. Richard Marcus of Leipzig and attorney Dr. Alfred Marcus of Berlin-Charlottenburg, the latter of whom was deported from Berlin to the Theresienstadt ghetto on May 19, 1943, and died January 29, 1944. Das Gedenkbuch des Bundesarchivs für die Opfer der nationalsozialistischen Judenverfolgung in Deutschland (1933–1945)
99Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 83.
100Faruq H. Fischer, “Ist der Islam ‘unmodern’? Eine Parallele zwischen der alten Religion und dem heutigen Europa,” Moslemische Revue 10, no. 2–3 (April–July 1934): 62–73.
101Ibid., 67; Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 87.
102Fischer, “Ist der Islam ‘unmodern’?,” 67.
103Muhammad Ali, “Der Beitrag des Islams zur Zivilisation,” Moslemische Revue 10, no. 2–3 (April–July 1934): 44–46, here 45; Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 88.
104Protokoll, September 22, 1934, “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft.”
105He joined the Nazi Party on May 1, 1932. On his position on the board, see Landesarchiv Berlin, A Pr. Br. Rep. 030-04, Nr. 1350; for his membership in the Nazi Party, see A3340, MFOK Series (Master File, Ortsgruppenkartei, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), Roll No. A068, Frame 770, National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized (Record Group 242), National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.; Protokoll, March 22, 1930, and September 22, 1934, “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft.” In the 1934 election, Marcus received thirteen votes at the meeting to Beyer’s twelve; write-in-ballots from converts Huda Schneider and von Ehrenfels gave him a more comfortable margin of victory.
106Brief, Deutsches Generalkonsulat, Kalkutta, an das Auswärtige Amt, Berlin, May 14, 1935, PArch AAB, R 78242, Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.032; Brief, Geheimes Staatspolizeiamt Berlin, an das Auswärtige Amt, Berlin, June 26, 1935, ibid.
107“Die Moschee aus der Vogelschau: Dr. Abdullah vom Fehrbelliner Platz,” Rumpelstilzchen 38 (May 31, 1934), Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.028.
108Protokoll, July 20, 1935, “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft.”
109Marcus, “Lebenslauf.”
110Protokoll, September 21, 1935, “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft.”
111Ibid. Azeez had served as assistant imam in 1933, and earned a Ph.D. in chemistry at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität. The other was Iraqi Yussuf Aboud al-Ibrahim.
112Victor Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years, 1933–1941 (New York, 1999), 186.
113ZSg. 101/7/169/Nr. 250, March 6, 1936, in NS-Presseanweisungen der Vorkriegszeit: Edition und Dokumentation, ed. Hans Bohrmann, revised by Gabriele Toepser-Ziegert, vol. 4/I: 1936 (Munich, 1993), 249.
114Hugo Marcus, Austritt aus der Synagogengemeinde Berlin, Bescheinigung vom 18.5.1936, Persönliches, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
115Protokoll, September 19, 1936, “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft.”
116Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness, 161.
117The Nazi Beyer, by contrast, received fifteen votes. Dr. Klopp vom Hofe was elected chairman with twenty votes.
118Amin (Fritz) Boosfeld (b. 1888) had converted to Islam in 1932. “Nachruf auf Amin Boosfeld,” Moslemische Revue 12, no. 3 (November 1936): 67–72.
119A 1933 wedding photo of Beyer posing on the steps of the mosque with his new wife, Fatima, a fellow convert, appeared in Moslemische Revue 10, no. 1 (January 1934): iii.
120“Nachruf auf Amin Boosfeld,” 72.
121Protokoll, September 19, 1936, “Deutsch-Muslimische Gesellschaft.”
122Protokoll der konstituierenden Generalversammlung der Islamischen Gemeinde zu Berlin, February 21, 1934, in Humboldhaus Berlin, Akten Islamische Gemeinde, Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.002.
123Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, Reichsleitung, Amt für Schulung, Abteilung Verbände, Berlin, an Polizeipräsidenten in Berlin, Abteilung V, Vereine, November 24, 1936, Landesarchiv Berlin, A Pr. Br. Rep. 030-04, Nr. 1350.
124Sonderbeauftragten zur überwachung der geistig und kulturell tätigen Juden im deutschen Reichsgebiet, December 15, 1936, ibid.
125Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, Reichsleitung, Abteilung Verbände an den Herrn Polizeipräsidenten in Berlin, Abteilung V, Vereine, April 13, 1937, ibid.; Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung, 123; Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 96–97.
126Joseph Goebbels, “Around the Gedächtniskirche,” in Anton Kaes, Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg, eds., The Weimar Republic Sourcebook (Berkeley, Calif., 1994), 560–562, originally published as “Rund um die Gedächtniskirche,” Der Angriff, January 23, 1928; Cornelia Hecht, Deutsche Juden und Antisemitismus in der Weimarer Republik(Bonn, 2003).
127Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung, 100.
128Ibid., 124–127.
129“Maulana Sadr-ud-Din verläßt Berlin,” Moslemische Revue 13, no. 3 (November 1937): 71–75. Sadr-ud-Din would succeed Muhammad Ali as the amir (leader) of the Ahmadi movement upon the death of the latter in 1951, and serve in that position until his own death thirty years later.
130Originally known as the Lahore Mission College, Forman Christian College was founded in 1864 by Dr. Charles W. Forman, a Presbyterian missionary from the United States. See the university’s website,
131Ahmad, “A Brief History of the Berlin Muslim Mission.”
132Hauptstelle Kulturpolitisches Archiv an die Deutsche Arbeitsfront, Amt Deutsches Volksbildungswerk, Abt. II/Vortrag, Berlin, September 27, 1938, Bundesarchiv, NJ 15, Nr. 27, Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.033.
133Hauptstelle Kulturpolitisches Archiv an das Sicherheitshauptamt, Berlin, September 27, 1938, Bundesarchiv, NJ 15, Nr. 35, ibid.
134Hauptstelle Kulturpolitisches Archiv an das Sicherheitshauptamt, Berlin, October 10, 1938, ibid.
135Hauptstelle Kulturpolitisches Archiv an die Deutsche Arbeitsfront, Amt Deutsches Volksbildungswerk, Abt. II/Vortrag, Berlin, March 31, 1939, Bundesarchiv, NJ 15, Nr. 28, ibid; Film 15205, Brief der Geheimen Staatspolizei an den Reichsminister für die kirchlichen Angelegenheiten, February 11, 1939, Bundesarchiv Berlin, Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.039.
136Protokoll, July 21, 1923, Akten Islamische Gemeinde, Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.002.
137Umar Ryad, “From an Officer in the Ottoman Army to a Muslim Publicist and Armament Agent in Berlin: Zekî Hishmat-Bey Kirâm (1886–1946),” Bibliotheca Orientalis63, no. 3–4 (2006): 235–268.
138Brief, Der Chef der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD, Berlin, an das Auswärtige Amt, z.Hd.d. Hernn Gesandten Luther, Berlin, December 10, 1940, Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amts, R 101196, Nachlass Höpp, 01.21.013; Umar Ryad, Wathʾiq Tijarat al-Silah al-Almani fi Shibh al-jazira al-ʿArabiyya: Qiraʾa fi Arshif Zeki Kiram (Documents on the German Arms Trade in the Arabian Peninsula: Readings in the Archive of Zeki Kiram) (Cairo, 2011).
139Brief, Dr. Zeki Kiram, Sanaa, Yemen, an Führer und Reichskanzler Herrn Adolf Hitler, Berlin, May 19, 1936, Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amts, R 101196, Nachlass Höpp, 01.21.013.
140Dr. Zeki Kiram, “Ein Moslem über das neue Deutschland: Hitler ist der berufene Mann,” Moslemische Revue 14, no. 2 (August 1938): 59–60, here 60; Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 88–89.
141Günter Morsch and Astrid Ley, eds., Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, 1936–1945: Events and Developments, 4th ed. (Berlin, 2011), 52, 55; 1367/1/15, Bl. 080, Russian State Military Archive, Moscow; D1 A/1015, Bl. 080, formerly R 203/M 10, Bl. 147, Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten, Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen.
142Morsch and Ley, Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, 50.
1431367/1/15, Bl. 080, Russian State Military Archive, Moscow; D1 A/1015, Bl. 080, formerly R 203/M 10, Bl. 147, Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten, Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen.
145Marcus, “Lebenslauf.”
146Jews had owned businesses on the largest nearby avenue, Hohenzollerndamm, and a Jewish family had lived on the same street as the mosque. The nearest synagogue was located at Prinzregentenstrasse 69, although the Berlin West skyline would have been marked by smoke and flames. See Jüdisches Adressbuch für Gross-Berlin 1931 (Berlin, 1931), 20–21, 316,
147Albania was to be occupied by Fascist Italy in April 1939, and by Nazi Germany thereafter. Hugo Marcus, Erteilung eines Einreisevisums für das Königreich Albanien, November 26, 1938, Persönliches, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
148S. M. Abdullah to British Passport Officer, Berlin, December 1, 1938, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
149Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness, 292.
150Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power (New York, 2006), 604; Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness, 293.
151Quoted in Höpp, “Islam in Berlin und Brandenburg,” 21.
152Anmeldung zur Eintragung der Islamischen Gemeinde zu Berlin, Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.039.
153Gerhard Höpp, “Muslime unterm Hakenkreuz: Zur Entstehungsgeschichte des Islamischen Zentralinstituts zu Berlin e.V.,” Moslemische Revue 70, no. 1 (1994): 16–27.
154ʾA˙tā ˙Tāheri, Deutsche Agenten bei iranische Stämmen, 1942–1944: Ein Augenzeugenbericht (Berlin, 2008).
155Islam-Institut (Maʿhad al-Islam) zu Berlin an Polizeipräsident, Abteilung V, March 21, 1939, Satzungen, “Islam Institut,” Landesarchiv Berlin, A Pr. Br. Rep. 030-04, Nr. 2314.
156Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, Aussenpolitisches Amt an Herrn Polizeipräsidenten in Berlin, August 8, 1939, ibid.
157Vorstandsmitglieder, October 30, 1940, ibid.; Protokoll, July 21, 1923, Akten Islamische Gemeinde, Nachlass Höpp, 07.05.002. Rahman was executive director from 1934 to 1936, general secretary in 1936 and 1937, and chairman in 1941 and 1942. Protokoll, Generalversammlung der Islamischen Gemeinde zu Berlin e.V., January 18, 1936, ibid.; Habibur Rahman, Islamische Gemeinde zu Berlin, an Amtsgericht Berlin, June 3, 1942, ibid. See also Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 110–111.
158Despite pro-Nazi actions and pronouncements, during World War II, both Habibur Rahman and Zeki Kiram were accused by other Arabs in Europe of being British agents.
159Hugo Marcus, Kennkarte Deutsches Reich, ausgestellt: Berlin, March 16, 1939, Persönliches, Nachlass Hugo Marcus; Evans, The Third Reich in Power, 575.
160The decree was promulgated in October 1937. More than three hundred baptized Christians of Jewish background in Berlin were murdered in death camps. Hildegard Frisius, Marianne Kälberer, Wolfgang G. Krogel, and Gerlind Lachenicht, eds., Evangelisch getauft—als Juden verfolgt: Spurensuche Berliner Kirchengemeinden (Berlin, 2008).
161S. M. Abdullah to British Passport Officer, Berlin, March 16, 1939, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
162For example, Hans Wehr employed the German Jewish Arabist Hedwig Klein (1911–1942) from 1939 to 1942 to assist him with his German-Arabic Dictionary project, deemed essential for the German army and Nazi propaganda. It prolonged her life; at one point she was spared from a deportation thanks to the efforts of her Hamburg University employers. Peter Freimark, “Promotion Hedwig Klein—zugleich ein Beitrag zum Seminar für Geschichte und Kultur des Vorderen Orients,” in Eckart Krause, Ludwig Huber, and Holger Fischer, eds., Hochschulalltag im “Dritten Reich”: Die Hamburger Universität, 1933–1945, vol. 2: Philosophische Fakultät (Berlin, 1991), 851–864.
163Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness, 299, 307. Klemperer (1881–1960) had converted to Christianity.
164Ibid., 596.
165Sadr-ud-Din, Head of the Ahmadia Anjuman, Lahore, India, to Hugo Marcus, Basel, Switzerland, August 20, 1957, Nachlass Hugo Marcus. The Ahmadi gave Marcus financial support into the 1950s.
166Evans, The Third Reich in Power, 565. In spring 1941, Klemperer could still assert his commitment to Germanness. Ibid., 343, 385.
167Although Marcus had family in the United States, there is no evidence that he attempted—nor that relatives assisted him—to seek refuge there. See Else Th. Marcus, M.D., St. George, Staten Island, N.Y., to Hugo Marcus, September 23, 1939, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
168Danksagung vom 30.9.1919, Kriegsministerium Berlin, Persönliches, Nachlass Hugo Marcus; Verleihung der Roten Kreuz-Medaille 3. Klasse, der Kommissar und Militär-Inspektor der freiwilligen Krankenpflege, Berlin, April 10, 1920, ibid.
169Verleihung “Ehrenkreuz für Kriegsteilnehmer” Berlin, April 9, 1936, ibid. He left the Jewish community in May. Hugo Marcus, Austritt aus der Synagogengemeinde Berlin, Bescheinigung vom 18.5.1936, ibid.
170Evans, The Third Reich in Power, 595.
171Secretary, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaʿat-e-Islam, Lahore, India, to Herr Hamid Marcus, c/o Dr. S. M. Abdullah, Der Imam der Moschee, Berlin-Wilmersdorf, Germany, April 19, 1939, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
172J. G. Simms, Under-Secretary of the Government of India, Home Department, Simla, to British Passport Control Officer, Berlin, May 12, 1939, ibid.
173Der Koran Arabisch-Deutsch, Vorwort, x.
174Backhausen, Die Lahore-Ahmadiyya-Bewegung, 128–131, 146–151. Marcus was not credited by name in the 1964 or 2005 editions, either. Ibid., 77.
175Der Koran Arabisch-Deutsch, Sura 2:256, 77.
176Ibid., Sura 22:40, 557.
177Ibid., Sura 5:2, 184; ibid., Sura 7:38, 260.
178Bestätigung vom 21.8.1939, Der Imam der Moschee Berlin-Wilmersdorf, Persönliches, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
179Hedwig Klein was denied her Ph.D. in 1938 due to antisemitic legislation, and sought to flee to British India thanks to contacts through her Oriental Studies Department in Hamburg. She obtained a visa in June 1939 and was set to sail from Hamburg to Antwerp, and from there on to India, on August 18, 1939. But as the German trade ship sat in the harbor in Antwerp, it was warned to return to Hamburg because an international voyage would be too dangerous at the time. Accordingly, on August 27 it returned to Germany. As of September 3, 1939, India was at war with Germany. As a result, Klein was eventually deported to her death in July 1942 on the first direct train from Hamburg to Auschwitz. Freimark, “Promotion Hedwig Klein.”
180Hugo Marcus, Zürich, Brief an Eidgenössische Fremdenpolizei, Bern, Switzerland, January 23, 1957, Nachlass Hugo Marcus; S. M. Abdullah, The Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaʿat-e-Islam, Lahore, India, to Hugo Marcus, Oberwil, Baselland, Switzerland, June 3, 1940, ibid.
181On von Ehrenfels’s internment, see S. M. Abdullah, The Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaʿat-e-Islam, Lahore, India, to Hugo Marcus, Oberwil, Baselland, Switzerland, December 1, 1940, ibid.
182Chronik der Erzabtei Beuron: Advent 1977–Advent 1978 (Beuron, 1978), 4–5; Marcus, “Lebenslauf”; Max Jordan, Washington, D.C., to Hugo Marcus, Basel, Switzerland, September 1, 1941, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
183He returned to British India, where he served as general secretary of the Ahmadi in Lahore from 1940 to the end of the war, and from 1946 as imam at the Woking Mission. He revised the English translation of the Qurʾan in 1952, before passing away in England in 1956.
184Brief von Sadr-ud-Din, Lahore, an Hugo Marcus, October 24, 1939, Nachlass Hugo Marcus.
185“Id-ul-Fitr in Berlin,” Moslemische Revue 15, no. 3 (December 1939): 73–76.
186Ibid., 76; Bauknecht, Muslime in Deutschland, 89–90.
187Introduction, “AHR Forum: Transnational Lives in the Twentieth Century,” American Historical Review 118, no. 1 (February 2013): 45.
188For another idiosyncratic Jewish character whose life provides insight into larger historiographical issues, see Sarah Abrevaya Stein, “Protected Persons? The Baghdadi Jewish Diaspora, the British State, and the Persistence of Empire,” American Historical Review 116, no. 1 (February 2011): 80–108.
189Götz Nordbruch, “The Arab World and National Socialism: Some Reflections on an Ambiguous Relationship,” in Rethinking Totalitarianism and Its Arab Readings, Orient-Institut Studies 1 (2012), 2–7, here 3,
190On Nazi efforts to recruit Arab Muslims to serve their aims, see Nordbruch, Nazism in Syria and Lebanon; Wildangel, Zwischen Achse und Mandatsmacht; Bernd Philipp Schröder, ed., Deutschland und der Mittlere Osten im Zweiten Weltkrieg (Göttingen, 1975). For efforts to recruit other Muslims from southeastern Europe and the Soviet Union to fight in the Wehrmacht and SS, see David Motadel, “The ‘Muslim Question’ in Hitler’s Balkans,” Historical Journal 56, no. 4 (December 2013): 1007–1039; Motadel, “Islam and Germany’s War in the Soviet Borderlands, 1941–5,” Journal of Contemporary History 48, no. 4 (2013): 784–820; George Lepre, Himmler’s Bosnian Division: The Waffen-SS Handschar Division, 1943–1945 (Atglen, Pa., 1997); Peter Heine, “Die Imam-Kurse der deutschen Wehrmacht im Jahre 1944,” in Gerhard Höpp, ed., Fremde Erfahrungen: Asiaten und Afrikaner in Deutschland, Österreich und in der Schweiz bis 1945 (Berlin, 1996), 229–238; the speech of al-Husayni before the imams of the Bosnian SS division on October 4, 1944, in Höpp, Mufti-Papiere, 219; letters from al-Husayni to Heinrich Himmler, ibid., 212, 213, 229; Abdullah, Geschichte des Islams in Deutschland, 34–42.
191On the question of the culpability of foreigners in Nazi Germany, see Wien, “The Culpability of Exile”; quote from 1.
192Marcus, “Lebenslauf.” Joachim Ungnad (1873–1942) was a member of the “Confessing Christians” (Bekennende Kirche) who opposed the Nazification of the Church and the persecution of baptized Jews, although they, too, discriminated against Christians of Jewish background and had an ambivalent relationship to Nazi antisemitism. Father Georg was the last crown prince of Saxony (1893–1943). Both men promoted ecumenism and interreligious dialogue and opposed the Nazis; the latter is credited with protecting Jews during the war. Evans, The Third Reich in Power, 220–230; Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness, 431. On the German Christian churches and Nazism, see Victoria Barnett, For the Soul of the People: Protestant Protest against Hitler (Oxford, 1992); Doris L. Bergen, Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1996); Robert P. Ericksen and Susannah Heschel, eds., Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust (Minneapolis, 1999); Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience (Cambridge, Mass., 2003); Matthew D. Hockenos, A Church Divided: German Protestants Confront the Nazi Past(Bloomington, Ind., 2004); Susannah Heschel, The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany (Princeton, N.J., 2008); Robert P. Ericksen, Complicity in the Holocaust: Churches and Universities in Nazi Germany (Cambridge, 2012).
193On the concept of connected histories, see the following works by Sanjay Subrahmanyam: “Turning the Stones Over: Sixteenth-Century Millenarianism from the Tagus to the Ganges,” Indian Economic and Social History Review 40, no. 2 (2003): 129–161; “A Tale of Three Empires: Mughals, Ottomans, and Habsburgs in a Comparative Context,” Common Knowledge 12, no. 1 (Winter 2006): 66–92; Mughal and Franks: Explorations in Connected History (Oxford, 2011); and From the Tagus to the Ganges: Explorations in Connected History (2005; repr., Oxford, 2011).


Mirza Ghulam Ahmad quoted and commented on 17:8 in 1884 in the Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya, vol. 4, he then connected 17:8 with the return of the Messiah

My team and I have across some interesting information in terms of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and 17:8 of the Quran.  The urdu reference for this is RK, vol. 1, page 601.

All throughout the Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya (1–4), MGA was quoting and attributing verses of the Quran onto himself
In this particular section of Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya, vol. 4,  MGA is quoting his own revelations (ilham), many of which are in Arabic. Many of these use and contain words and verses that occur in the Holy Quran. He writes this on p. 577: “I receive most revelations (ilham) in Arabic, particularly verses of the Quran … these are given below with translation.” This continues much beyond p. 601.

The quotation from Barahin-i Ahmadiyya, vol. 4, is as follows:

See, Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya, vol. 4, online edition, page 382

‘asā rabbu-kum an yarḥama ‘alai-kum wa in ‘ud-tum ‘ud-nā wa ja‘al-nā jahannama lil-kāfirīna ḥaṣīra.

MGA was trying to quote 17:8 as he projected it onto himself
17:8 actually says: 

‘asā rabbu-kum an yarḥama-kum wa in ‘ud-tum ‘ud-nā wa ja‘al-nā jahannama lil-kāfirīna ḥaṣīra (17:8)

What are the difference between the two?
Just that the quotation in Barahin-i Ahmadiyya reads yarḥama ‘alai-kum while the verse in the Quran reads yarḥama-kum. The extra ‘alai in Barahin-i Ahmadiyya means ‘on’, while in the verse of the Quran the same ‘on’ is understood. Every English translation of the Quran renders the first part of this verse using “on”, as in : “It may be that your Lord will have mercy on you” (Pickthall).

The same verse, (17:8) quoted by MGA in his later books
It may be added that the same ilham has been written by MGA sahib in two later books. In both of these its wording is exactly that of the verse of the Quran (‘asā rabbu-kum an yarḥama-kum …). See the book Arba‘in number 2, published 1900 (Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 17, p. 352, lines 7-8) and the book Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, published 1907 (Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 22, p. 85, lines 11-16).

MGA connected 17:8 with the return of the Messiah
Just beneath the revelation, MGA gives his commentary:

“””This verse here indicates the glorious coming of Hadrat Masih. That is to say that if [people] would not accept [the divine message] through mildness, gentleness, kindness, and graciousness and would rebel against the truth that has been made manifest through conclusive arguments and manifest Signs, then a time is about to come when God Almighty would treat the sinners with severity, sternness, wrath, and harshness. And Hadrat Masih, may peace be on him, would descend in the world with great glory and would cleanse all paths and roads of rubbish, and no trace of the perverted and the crooked would remain [in the world], and divine glory would obliterate the seed of misguidance through its severe manifestation.”””

In the same book, 60 pages forward, MGA asserts that Esa (as) is dead

Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya, Vol-4, page 434
MGA writes out a revelation that he claims came from his GOD to him, this revelation that MGA received is actually 3:55 of the Quran.  MGA claimed over 30+ revelations from his God which were actually verses of the Quran, this behavior of MGA caused him to be declared as a Kafir by the ulema.

یا عیسٰی انی متوفیك و رافعك اليَّ )و مطھرك من الذین كفروا( 2۔ وجاعل الذین اتبعوك
فوق الذین كفروا الٰی یوم القیٰمة۔ ثلۃ من الاولین و ثلۃ من الاٰخرين۔

“”O ‘Isa, I shall give you full reward or cause you to die and shall raise you towards Me, meaning that I shall raise your status or will raise you from the life on earth towards Me, and I shall
grant predominance to your followers over those who disbelieve, until the Day of Judgment.””

See Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya, vol. 4, online english, page 434, edition,


The scan with the referencing error
This quote is from BA4, not BA1.

Read additional essays on the BA here:

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad promised 300 arguments for his Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya, but only delivered one argument

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was the classic punjabi fraudster.  He had promised the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent 300 arguments in favor of Islam in roughly 1878.  However, he only delivered one argument, and that argument was his claim of prophethood, which immediately got him declared as a Kafir by the ulema in India.

A summary of the quotation of Seeratul Mahdi- Number 123
It says that 300 arguments were Written on 2500 pages but in fact Only One Incomplete argument could be printed in Braheenay Ahmadia in total of 4 volumes . He says he heard that earlier writings were burned.

The scans

MGA made lots of excuses for the delay

MGA claims to write 300 arguments in support of Islam
“We wrote Braheen e Ahmadiyya after observing hundreds of defects and evils in the society. In the mentioned book, the truth of Islam was shinning in fact more than the sun because of 300 strong and sound arguments.” (Braheen e Ahmadiyya 2, Roohani Khazien 1, page 62)

MGA claims that he has instead written millions of arguments
“People said that the promise of giving arguments mentioned in Braheen is not fulfilled. Though there are millions of arguments in Braheen for the truth of Islam.”
(Badar,volume 6, No. 17, page 7-8, 25 April 1907) (Malfoozat volume 5 page 206, new edition)

MGA on the delay of the Braheen and other people’s investment money

In 1900, MGA and his team wrote: 

[RK, v 17, pp. 448-458; Arba`een Number 4]. The article is dated
December 1900. In this he censures his critics and claims that he has Divine support etc. Toward the end of the article is the following:

“””If I have received from you the payment for the price of Baraaheen-e-Ahmadiyya then I invoke the oath of God Almighty upon you, in Whose presence you will be made to appear, that [you should] return all those four parts of Baraaheen-e-Ahmadiyya to my custody and take your money back. Look, I make this open announcement that after this if you demand the price [refund] of Baraaheen-e-Ahmadiyya and, having shown [those parts] to some friend of mine, send [return] all four parts to me, as value payable, and if I, after receiving the four parts, do not pay their price, then [may] the curse of God [be] upon me. … And prior to this I have published three announcements, regarding the price [refund] of Baraaheen, which had the same content that I am prepared to return the price. [These people] should return all the four parts of my book and receive from me the few paltry coins that they are dying for. … [Dated] December 15, 1900 AD [RK, v 17, pp. 457-458; starts at last line of p. 457, above the marginal note; Arba`een Number 4].”””

In 1900, MGA promised 40 parts for his books Arbaeen, however, he only gives 4 calls it even
“Just as God had initially fixed 50 prayers then reduced it to 5 in place of 50, similarly according to the Sunnah of Rabb-e-Kareem, I reduce for the sake of viewers and pronounce number 4 as 40.” (Roohani Khazain vol.17, Arba’een No. 4, Page 442,…uhani-Khazain-Vol-17.pdf, PDF 477)


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