[The following information was taken mostly from John Gilchrist's book, Muhammad and the Religion of Islam, chapter 9: A Study of the Ahmadiyya Movement, and Steven Masood's Jesus and the Indian Messiah. Compiled by Sam Shamoun.]
The Ahmaddiyya Sect of Islam was founded in 1882 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of India. At first, Ahmad had no intention of starting a new religious sect, but focused instead on refuting Christianity and Christian Missionaries throughout India. From there, he wrote a book in 1879/80 titled Baraheen Ahmadiyya. In this two-volume work, Ahmad promoted the Orthodox Islamic conception of Christ, Muhammad, Prophets, revelation, etc. while attempting to present a case against Christianity.
By the time his third volume was published in 1882, he claimed to have received revelations from God, eventually proclaiming himself to be God's reformer and chosen Messiah for this age. This caused an uproar amongst the Orthodox Muslims since it is an article of faith for all Muslims to believe that Muhammad was the last messenger of God and the seal of revelation. (S. 33:40).
Thus, for Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (MGA) to make such claims was apostasy. MGA eventually died in 1908, leaving behind a group of dedicated followers who have since that time increased dramatically.
After his death, MGA's first disciple Hakim Noor-ud-din led the movement until the latter's demise in 1914.
The group eventually split into two with the newly formed sect settling in Lahore, calling itself Anjuman Ishaate Islam (also known as the Lahori Party). This group tried to play down MGA's self-styled prophetic claims, stating that he was nothing more than a reformer. The other group, calling itself Qadiani, continued to emphasize MGA's prophethood.
Unfortunately for both groups, they have been labeled heretics by conservative Muslims such as Sunnis and Shiites.
This has led to their persecution and to a denial of the Ahmadiyya's rights in Pakistan and in Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia. For instance, Ahmadis are not allowed to enter Mecca to make Hajj, a required tenet of Islam. Further, in 1974 the National Assembly of Pakistan declared them non-Muslims.
In spite of this all, many Muslims have adopted their approach and polemics in defending Islam from Christianization and Evangelization.
It will be our intention to contrast some of the Ahmadiyya claims and teachings with that of the Bible and even the Quran in order to see for ourselves whether Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was indeed the Messiah of this age, or simply one of many false Christs that were prophesied to come before the great and terrible day of the Lord.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's Claims
Mirza claimed to be a Mujaddid, a kind of prophet. Although a Mujaddid is, in the words of MGA, a partial Prophet, this nonetheless contradicts the Quran (S. 33:40) (Tawzih Maram, p. 18; Trans. "Explanation of Objectives", p. 11)
His claims outraged many, branding him a heretic. To avoid controversy he publicly denied prophethood, suggesting that his usage of the title "Prophet" was for the sake of simplicity. (Tabligh-i-Risalat, Vol. II, p. 95).
Yet, shortly afterwards he would go on to say that he had been given the names and attributes of all the prophets:
"No prophets came into this world whose name was not given to me. In Burahin-i-Ahmadiya God has affirmed me as Adam, Noah, Ibrahim, Ishaque, Yaqub, Ismail, Moses, Dawud, Isa, son of Mary, and Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). I am the incarnation of all those Prophets. (Maududi, The Qadiani Problem, p. 119).
He later declared:
Wherever I have denied being a prophet (Nubuwat), I have denied it in the sense that I am no independent bearer of a Law or Shariah nor am I an independent prophet in my own right... I am a Rasul (Apostle, messenger) and Nabi (Prophet) without a new Shariah. (Ek Ghalati Ka Tzala - A Misunderstanding Removed, pp. 11-12)
Thus in one sense, MGA denies prophethood and in another he affirms it.
B. Krishna of Hinduism
MGA believed that he was Krishna as recorded in the Haqiqat-ul-Wahi: "I am Krishna whose advent the Aryans are waiting for in these days. I do not make this claim on my own. God Almighty has conveyed to me repeatedly that I am Krishna, King of the Aryans, who was to appear in the latter days." (Appendix, p. 85)
C. God and Son of God
MGA claimed to have a vision in which God is supposed to have told him: "You are to me in the position of offspring. You have a relation with me which the world does not know..."
(1) "You are to me like my unity and uniqueness..."
(2) "To me you are like my son..."
(3) "God addressed me with these words: ‘Listen! O my Son.’"
(4) "In a vision I saw that I was God and believed myself to be such... Divinity coursed through my veins and muscles... I then created the heavens and the earth... then I said: ‘We shall now create man.’"
D. MGA is both Mary and Jesus
"In the third Vol. of Baraheen Ahmadiyya he (God) named me as Mariam. Then, as is evident from Baraheen... I was reared in the image of Mary for two years... Then I was filled with the soul of Christ and I became pregnant in a metaphorical sense. At last after a period of many months - I was delivered from Mary into the form of Christ... Hence in this way I became the Son of Mary." (Kashti-Noh, pp. 46-47)
MGA stated that God told him, "I created you from the same essence as Jesus was." (Hamamit-il-Bushra, p. 14)
Some other incredible claims either made by MGA or his followers include the following:
"Heaven and earth can move away but it is not possible that his (MGA's) promise may not be fulfilled." (Zafrulla Khan, Ahmadiyyat: The Renaissance of Islam, p. 38)
"I am the water that has descended from heaven at its due time. I am the divine light that has illuminated the day." (Ahmad, Baraheen Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, p. 115)
"He who does not accept me, does not disobey me, but disobeys him who has prophesied my coming." (Ahmad, Haqiqat-ul-Wahi, p. 178)
"We gave thee glad tiding of a gentle son, a manifestation of the true and high as if Allah had descended from heaven. His name is Emmanuel. A son will be born to thee and grace will come close to thee." (Ahmad, Anjam Athem, p. 62)
The claims of Ahmad and his followers leaves little imagination as for the reason why Muslims consider the Ahmadiyyas heretics.
E. Denial of the Miraculous
Ahmadiyya's founder denied the miracles of Jesus and the prophets. His reason for denying the miraculous nature of the Prophets' lives becomes obvious from his own words:
A matter which is not possible for the Holy prophet [Muhammad] - the best of prophets... how can it be so for the Messiah! [Jesus]? It would be so derogatory to the Holy prophet to think that what is impossible for him to attain, is possible for the Messiah. (Tawzih Miram, English tr. pp. 6-77)
Thus, MGA denies both the Biblical and the Quranic evidence for Jesus' miracles (cf. S.5: 110, 3:50; John 10:25, 32, Matthew 11:20-24)
F. Denial of Jesus' Death, Resurrection and Ascension
Although the Bible and Quran disagree on the crucifixion of Christ, both books confirm the bodily ascension of Christ into heaven. (cf. Acts 1:9-11; S. 3:55)
The Bible states that Christ was crucified and killed for our sins and that he arose on the third day, never to die again (cf. Luke 24:36-48; Rev. 1:17-18). The Quran, however, declares that Christ was neither crucified nor killed but it so appeared to his enemies (S. 4:157-158)
Ahmadiyyas on the other hand accept Jesus' crucifixion on the cross, but deny he ever died. Instead, Christ swooned, only to resuscitate three days later. From there he went to India where he lived to a ripe old age and died in Kashmir.
There is a difference of opinion as to when Jesus actually died. According to MGA, Muhammad said: "Jesus was 125 years of age when he died." (Ahmad, Jesus in India, p. 53)
Yet Shams, MGA'a follower, states that Muhammad claimed that "Jesus died at the age of one hundred twenty years." (Shams, Where did Jesus Die?, p. 153)
This is further complicated by the fact that in one of his earlier writings, Azala Auham, MGA stated that Jesus died in Galilee shortly after escaping death on the cross at the age of sixty or seventy. (pp. 473-474, 623-625)
MGA confuses his readers even more by stating in Atman-ul-Hujjat that Imam Malik (One of the founders of Islamic Jurisprudence) believed that Jesus died at the age of 33, alleging that Jesus was buried in Syria sometime later. (pp. 17-19)
To make matters worse than what they already are, MGA abandons the early age and Galilean death theory for Kashmir India. (Jesus in India, pp. 15-16)
The reader might be wondering as to the reason for such confusion and contradiction surrounding the Ahmadiyya theory on Jesus' final days on earth. The answer is simple; Ahmaddiys are committed to disproving Jesus' bodily resurrection and Ascension since this would destroy their faith and position:
"It is impossible for us to think that Jesus the Messiah, is alive in Heaven while Muhammad, our Holy Prophet, lies buried in the earth. We cannot think so... If it is true that Jesus is alive in Heaven, we cannot feel more dead. We cannot tolerate the thought that our Master is dead and buried, while Jesus is alive and in Heaven. We feel humiliated before Christians." (Bashir-ud-din, Invitation to Ahmadiyyat, p. 15 )
"Prove to Christians that Christ in reality is forever dead. Through the victory to be gained by this argument you will be able to wipe the Christian religion off the face of the earth... Do not entangle with other ideas to talk about with Christians. Just concentrate upon the arguments regarding the death of Jesus Christ, and by the use of powerful arguments put the Christians to silence. The day you will imprint this fact on the minds of Christians, you will know that the Christian religion has made its exit from the world." (Ghulam, Azala Auham, pp. 560-61 )
G. The Return of Christ
Another point where Christians and Muslims agree upon is on the return of Jesus Christ to the earth as Judge and Executioner. This fact is documented in nearly every book of the New Testament and alluded to in the Quran (cf. Matthew 25:31-45; Mark 13:26-27; Acts 1:10-11: S. 43:54,61). This is further elaborated in the authentic Traditions of Muhammad:
Abu Huraira reported God's messenger as saying, "By him in whose hand my soul is, the son of Mary will soon descend among you as a just judge. He will break crosses, kill swine and abolish the jizya (polltax), and wealth will pour forth to such an extent that no one will accept it..." (Sahih Muslim, Vol. 1, p.92 )
After his descension, the Muslims believe that Christ will marry, have children, die and be buried next to Muhammad in between Abu Bakr and Umar b. Al-Kattab, the first two Caliphs.
Since Ahmadiyyas do not believe in Jesus' Ascension it comes as no surprise that they also deny his Second Coming. They believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has replaced Jesus as the Messiah and that all must turn to this Indian Messiah for hope. Claiming to be the answer to the anti-Islamic attacks he states:
"No wonder, therefore, God Almighty has chosen from amongst the true Muslims of our time this humble one and blessed him with his revealed word and with other divine favors that this vicious magic may be undone." (Ahmad, Victory of Islam, p. 4)
Addressing the West, MGA declared:
"Ye Christians of Europe and America, and ye seekers after truth know for certain that the Messiah who was to come has come and it is he who is speaking to you at this moment." (Ahmad, A Review of Christianity, pp. 40-41)
H. False Prophecies
Believing himself to be Al-Masih Mawud (The promised Messiah) and a Prophet it is not surprising to find MGA attempting to prophecy future events. Unfortunately, none of these prophecies came to pass, exposing him as a false prophet. Embarrassed by this fact, Ahmadiyyas have tried desperately to explain away these false predictions but to no avail as the following examples prove:
(1) Maulvi Sana-Ullah
Fierce opposition broke out between MGA and one Maulvi Sana-Ullah over Mirza's claim. In 1907 MGA advertised a prayer he made against the Maulvi:
"O, my beloved Master!... If my claim to being the Christ is my own innovation then I am a liar... I pray to thee to kill me in Maulvi Sana-Ullah's lifetime and... if Sana-Ullah is not truthful in his allegations against me then I pray to annihilate him in my lifetime... not through human hands but through bubonic plague and cholera..." (Advert 15 April, 1907, Majmua Ishtiharat, Vol. 3, p. 579)
Exactly one year and twenty-one days later, MGA died, whereas Sana-Ullah lived on for an additional forty years.
(2) A former Disciple
Dr. Abdul Hakim had been MGA's pupil for nearly twenty years when he soon thereafter rebelled against his mentor, writing two books, Al-Masih Ad Dajjal and Kana Masih. On July 12, 1906 Hakim published an advertisement stating that MGA would die within three years. MGA retaliated by warning Hakim that calamity would soon befall and that the angels were ready to take his life with swords. (Advert 16 August 1906, Majmua Ishtiharat, Vol. 3, p. 559)
Intending to put fear into MGA's heart, Abdul predicted that MGA would die by August 4, 1908. In response to this, MGA predicted that God would increase his age while decreasing the age of his enemy. (Chashma Marifat, p. 321ff.)
Yet on May 1908 MGA died unexpectedly, unlike Hakim who continued to live on for several more years after that.
(3) Marriage Made in Heaven
MGA prophesied that he was going to marry a young Muslim woman named Muhammadi Begum. Although the father refused, MGA claimed that like Muhammad's marriage to Zainab, Muhammadi was given to him in wedlock by God Almighty Himself:
"God Almighty will bring Muhammadi Begum to you as a virgin or a widow... He will certainly fulfill this and no one can stop him." (Azala Auham, p. 396)
After discovering that Begum was to marry someone else, another revelation from the Lord was given to warn the girl's father:
"Tell him to establish a relationship with you by giving his elder daughter in marriage to you and thus obtain light from light... Tell him that if he persists in carrying out any different design, his household will become subject to some serious misfortunes, the last of which would be his death within three years of the marriage of his daughter to someone else... the husband of his daughter will also die within two years and a half. This is a divine decree." (Ayenah Kamalat Islam, pp. 572-573)
In spite of all these threats, the marriage never materialized and the father did not die as stated in the prediction, nor did the husband suffer any harm.
(4) The Great Debate
In 1893, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad engaged in a series of debates with a Muslim convert to Christianity named Abdullah Atham lasting several weeks.
On the last day of the debate, MGA prophesied that whichever debater was lying would die within fifteen months unless that individual were to recant and accept the truth. (Advert 5 June 1893, Majmua Ishtiharat, Vol. 1, p. 434)
Keeping in mind that Atham was an elderly man of sixty-five years and in poor health, the probabilities of him dying within fifteen months was surely high. Yet, fifteen months passed and nothing ever happened to Atham.
This embarrassment led Mirza to state that although appearing alive, Abdullah was in fact spiritually dead, being afflicted with inner fear and guilt. (Anjam Atham, pp. 10-11)
MGA's son Bashir-ud-din boldly claimed that Atham, "stopped all his work in support of Christianity. He started doubting Jesus' divinity and began to realize the truth of Islam, thus escaping death." (Invitation to Ahmaddiyat, pp. 249-251)
Yet these statements were simply untrue since within those fifteen months Atham completed his book, Khulasa Mubahisa, in which he presented solid evidence for the doctrine of the Trinity and for Jesus' divinity. In a letter which Atham wrote to a local newspaper, he publicly stated that he was still a Christian and praising God for it. (Prof. M.E. Burney, Qadiani Madhab ka Elmi Muhasabah, Ed. 9th, p. 325)
Hence, in briefly examining MGA's predictions one thing is certain, MGA is not the Messiah nor a divinely sanctioned Prophet of the True God since God would never allow any of his Prophets to make false predictions. (Deuteronomy 18:20-23)
After reviewing the claims made by Ahmadiyyas in regard to their founder and reading MGA's own writings we are reminded of the Lord Jesus' warning to his disciples:
"And Jesus answered them, ‘Take heed that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, "I am the Christ!" and they will lead many astray... and many false prophets will arise and lead many astray... Then if anyone says to you, "Lo, here is the Christ!" or "There he is!" Do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Lo, I have told you beforehand... So, if they say, 'Lo, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out; if they say, 'Lo, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together." Matthew 24:5, 11, 23-28
We submit in love that MGA was not another Messiah, but one of the many pretenders that our Lord Jesus foretold who were coming into the world. The Bible and the Quran know of only one Messiah, Jesus the Lord (cf. Matthew 16:16; S. 3:45 ). There shall be none after him, for "there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) That name being Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, King of kings.
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