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Home Critical Analysis/Archives Report on Punjab Disturbances of 1953
Report of The Court of Inquiry

PART I
FROM PARTITION TO
LAHORE CONVENTION

THE CONTROVERSY

The genesis of the controversy that led to the disturbances is to be found in what has been described in official documents as ‘the Ahrar-Ahmadiya controversy’, which had existed since long before the Partition. But this description was objected to, in fact resented, before us by all non-Ahmadi parties, on the ground that differences with the Ahmadis are not confined to the Ahrar and are common to all sects of Musalmans. Similarly the use of the word ‘Ahmadi’ exclusively in respect of the followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was resented by non-Ahmadis for the reason that all Musalmans are Ahmadis, being the followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, whose other name was Ahmad, and that it has been wrongly usurped by the followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. We have decided to use the word ‘ Musalman ’ to distinguish the general body of Muslims who do not believe in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad from those who believe in him and the word ‘Ahmadi’, ‘Qadiani’ or ‘Mirzai’ for the Qadiani section of Ahmadis who believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a prophet (nabi).

AHMADIS

In Part V we will deal in greater detail with the doctrinal and social differences between the Qadianis and Musalmans. Here we content ourselves with only giving a brief account of the Ahmadiya movement, which was founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a grandson of Mirza Ghulam Murtaza who was a General in the Sikh Darbar. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was born on 13th February 1835, at Qadian, a village in the district of Gurdaspur, which exclusively belonged to his family in proprietary rights. He learned Persian and Arabic languages at home but does not appear to have received any Western education. In 1864 he got some employment in the District Courts, Sialkot, where he served for four years. On his father’s death he devoted himself whole-heartedly to the study of religious literature, and between 1880 and 1884 wrote his famous ‘Buraheen-i-Ahmadiya’ in four volumes. Later he wrote some more books. Acute religious controversies were going on in those days and there were repeated attacks on Islam, not only by Christian missionaries but also by preachers of Arya Samaj, a liberal Hindu movement which was becoming very popular.

In March 1882 Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed, to have had a revelation (ilham) to the effect that he had been entrusted by God with a special mission, in other words, that he was a ‘mamoor-min-Allah’.  In 1888, again under an ilham, he demanded homage (bai’at) from his adherents. Near the end of 1890, Mirza Sahib again received an ilham that Jesus of Nazareth (Isa Ibn-i-Maryam) had not died on the Cross, nor lifted up to the Heavens but that he was taken off the Cross in a wounded condition by his disciples and cured of his wounds, that thereafter he escaped to Kashmir where he died a natural death, that the belief that he will reappear in his original bodily form near the Day of Resurrection was wrong, that the promise relating to his appearance merely meant that another man with the attributes of Isa Ibn-i-Maryam would appear in the ummat of the Holy Prophet of Islam and that this promise had been fulfilled in the person of Mirza Sahib himself who was Maseel-i-Isa, and thus the promised Messiah. The publicity given, to this doctrine created a stir among the Musalmans because this was contrary to the generally accepted belief that Isa Ibn-i-Maryam was to descend from Heaven in his bodily form, and gave rise to strong opposition among the Muslim theologians. Subsequently. Mirza Sahib also claimed to be the promised Mahdi, not the Mahdi who was to engage himself in conquest and bloodshed but the reasoning Mahdi who would vanquish his opponents by argument. This new claim gave further impetus to the opposition to Mirza Sahib and theologians began to pronounce fatwas of kufr against him. In 1900 he expounded another doctrine that thereafter there was to be no jihad bis-saif and that jihad was to be confined to efforts to convince the opponent by argument. In 1901 Mirza Sahib claimed to be a ‘zilli nabi’ and by an advertisement ‘Ek ghalati ka izala’, explained the doctrine of khatm-i-nubuwwat to mean that after the death of the Holy Prophet of Islam no nabi would appear with a new shari’at but that the appearance of a new prophet without a shara’a was not contrary to the doctrine of khatm-i-nubuwwat. In a public lecture in Sialkot in November 1904, Mirza Sahib also claimed to be a Maseel-i-Krishan.

The Jama’at-i-Ahmadiya was founded in 1901 and at Mirza Sahib’s own request was shown as a separate Muslim sect in the census records of that year. The present number of the jama’at is stated to be in the neighbourhood of 2,00,000 in Pakistan, Ahmadis are also to be found in other Muslim countries and in India, Europe and America.

The new movement had attracted substantial support in Mirza Sahib’s own lifetime, including several men of consequence and influence. On Mirza Sahib’s death in 1908 Maulvi Nur-ud-Din became the first khalifa of Jama'at-i-Ahmadiya. On Khalifa Nur-ud-Din's death in 1914, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's son Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, the present head of the Ahmadiya community, became the second khalifa. His succession as a khalifa caused a split in the jama’at and a section of the jama'at led by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din and Maulvi Muhammad Ali, seceded and formed a separate party, called the Lahore party, the difference between the two being that whereas the Qadiani party believes Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to have been a prophet, the Lahore party deny this status for Mirza Sahib and hold that he was no more than a mujaddid or muhaddas.  The seceders set up in Lahore an organisation called ‘Ahmadiya Anjuman-i-Isha'at-i-IsIam’. Both parties are engaged in extensive missionary work in foreign countries.

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