The Bane of Mirzaiyat
by Al-Hafiz B.A. Masri
Retired Imaam of the Shah Jehan Mosque, Woking, England.
|"... as I grew up, I found around me a society which was, by and large,
insidiously fraudulent. Of course, there were a few elderly people among
them who had joined the (Qadianie) movement during the early period of its
inception in good faith, under the misconception that it was a genuine 'Reform
Movement' within, Islam."
Young Menís Muslim Association
P.O. Box 5036, Benoni South 1502. (South Africa).
Al-Hafiz Basheer Ahmad Masri was born in 1914 in India where he graduated
with a B.A. (Hons.) degree in Arabic. He also attended the Faculty of Arabic
in Cairo and qualified in Journalism in England.
During his 20 years stay in East Africa, he was the Headmaster of the largest
Secondary school there, and also held secretarial and presidential posts
on religious, social and educational organizations among African, Asian and
In 1961 he settled in England and for six years was Joint-Editor of the monthly
magazine - The Islamic Review. In 1964, he was the first Sunni Muslim
to be appointed as the Imaam of the Shah Jehan Mosque in Woking. This was
a Qadiani/Ahmadi controlled mosque whose present status is not known to us.
Brother Basheer Ahmad is well-known in the U.K. for his lectures, radio
broadcasts and published articles, and it is hoped that his views and personal
experiences set out in the following pages will serve as an eye-opener for
all Muslims - especially those who are prone to be allured into such religious
frauds as Qadianees or Mirzaees.
||29 Rajab 1408
||18 March 1988
The Bane of
by Al-Hafiz B.A. Masri
Many of my friends have requested me repeatedly to express my views about
Mirzaies (Qadianies) in the light of my personal experiences, just to bring
the matter on record. It is not possible here to go into details. A full
account would need a book of great volume. This short article, therefore,
contains only a synoptic record of the events which led to my denunciation
of this heterodoxical and hypocritical creed.
I was born in Qadian in 1914 - an unfortunate accident of birth which has
been hanging round my neck like an albatross throughout the 73 years of my
life. As a child, I was indoctrinated into believing that the rest of the
Muslims were non-believers (kaafirs) - so much so that even belief
in God and in Islam was conditional to belief in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (the
founder of this Movement) as a prophet and, after him, belief in his successors
as the so-called Khalifahs of Islam.
However, as I grew up, I found around me a society which was, by and large,
insidiously fraudulent. Of course, there were a few elderly people among
them who had joined the Movement during the early period of its inception
in good faith, under the misconception that it was a genuine 'Reform Movement'
within Islam. Such sincere and faithful few, however, were either too
simple-minded to notice what was going on around them or were totally helpless
to do anything about it.
As a teenager, I was not capable of grasping mentally the significance of
the theological sabotage which this movement had started committing on Islam.
My initial reaction against these people was on moral and ethical grounds.
It was at this stage of mental and spiritual immaturity that fate decided
to throw me into the furnace of infernal fire, as if to test my metal.
I was a healthy and athletic young man of about 18 when I received a message
from the then Head (Khalifah) that he wanted to see me for some confidential
matter. That was the period when I held this man as a demigod and, naturally,
felt greatly honored by the invitation. I just guessed that he wanted to
assign to me some religious errand of a confidential nature.
This first meeting remained very formal - the Khalifah asked me various personal
questions and I answered them with all the due respect. I was 'commanded'
not to tell any one about our meeting and was given an appointment for the
next. The subsequent meetings however became informal, leading up to an
invitation to join an 'Inner Circle.'
This 'demigod' was in reality running a secret circle of fornication, adultery,
incest and general debauchery. For this, he had organized a clique of pimps
and procuresses. Most of the young men and women who were seduced were selected
from such families which were economically dependent or fanatically brain-washed
and, for various other reasons, were incapable of putting up any resistance.
There were occasional cases of defiance, but they were easily silenced by
the weapons of boycott, excommunication, systematic vilification and ostracism.
The Mirza family was not only the spiritual head of the community but was
also the owner of most of the land in and around the town of Qadian, as the
Feudal Lords. Apart from religious allegiance, there was no security of the
tenure of land for those families who had burned their boats to settle in
the so-called 'sacred precincts' of Qadian. Under such circumstances, it
was unthinkable in those days for anyone to fight back. Quite a few of those
who did try to revolt met with apparently accidental deaths or simply vanished
in thin air without trace. While all this was going on, Muslim theologians,
in their naivety, thought that they could defeat Mirzaiyat on the debating
platforms and only by doctrinal arguments.
The first effect on me, after coming in contact with these dregs of vice,
was that of stuporous helplessness. I still remember many a wakeful night
when I used to wet my pillow with silent tears. I could not tell my parents,
not being sure whether they would believe me. Neither could I discuss it
with my friends for fear of being betrayed. One easy way out for me could
have been to leave Qadian and disappear. This would have, however, meant
discontinuation of my studies in the University. Also, there was the sense
of responsibility that I should not desert my parents, leaving them in ignorance
of this filth.
There were times when the idea of putting an end to all this by murdering
the perpetrator of this pious fraud would become very tempting. However,
even at that immature age, logic prevailed. Firstly, I reasoned that it would
be misunderstood by the society at large as an act of a religious fanatic
and this man will go down in history as a martyr. Secondly, I thought, a
quick sudden death for a man like him would be a boon instead of a chastisement
which he deserved, not only for committing these atrocities but for committing
them in the name of God and religion. The subsequent events proved my reasoning
right. He was later crippled by paralysis and died a miserably lingering
death. A doctor who attended him during his protracted illness told me that,
during the last stages, he had become a mental imbecile, babbling filthy
In addition to all these considerations, there was another reason why I thought
any direct action would be futile. I had come to realize that this corruption
would not end by this man's death. It was not only this one man who had turned
into a sex maniac. His brothers and most of the other members of the Mirza
family were no better. Even the elite order in this community's religious
hierarchy, holding responsible positions under the camouflage of flowing
beards, had their own 'enclaves of depravity', with the tacit understanding
among them: "you don't ruffle my beard, and I won't yours". As a matter of
fact, in the establishment of this organization, only those were promoted
to high positions who had fallen in line with this family's lifestyle - the
family who they have the audacity of calling 'the prophet's family'. It was
not surprising that the news of such amorous licentiousness spread around
from mouth to mouth and playboys from rich families started joining this
'Reform Movement' to seek freedom from the strictures of the then sexual
discipline of the Asian culture, and so on....
Since my alienation from the Khalifah's 'inner circle', my life had been
constantly in danger. His Mafia-like thugs started shadowing me. In desperation,
I decided to take the bull by the horns, went to the Khalifah and showed
him a long letter in which I had recorded all the details of his private
life with names, dates, facts and figures. I told him that sealed copies
of that letter had been deposited with some persons in authority, instructing
them to open the letters only in case of my death or disappearance. From
then on, I felt safe and walked about freely in the streets of Qadian.
The more I saw of this corruption the more I became sick of religion, one
and all, till ultimately I ended up as an atheist. This morbid phase of my
life, however, left a spiritual vacuum with which I could not cope on my
own, and I had to tell my father. It came to him as a great shock. Naturally,
he could not accept the word of a young boy without corroboration and started
making discreet inquiries. It did not take him long to be convinced that
I was telling the truth.
My father wrote a very long letter to this so-called Khalifah, asking him
for an explanation of his conduct and demanding his abdication. There was
no reply, but two reminders afterwards, the Khalifah declared that Sheikh
Abdul-Rahman Misri (my father) and all members of his family had been expelled
and excommunicated. These three letters were later published in India.
This excommunication in practice meant complete boycott and social dissociation.
Our lives were so much in danger that the Government had to detail twenty-four
hours guard of military police around our house. No member of our family
could go out without a police escort. In spite of all such precautions, I
and two of my companions were attacked in broad daylight in the main bazaar.
One elderly companion was stabbed in the chest and died. The other was stabbed
in the neck and shoulder and had to remain-in hospital for quite a long period.
I managed to fight back and succeeded in giving such a blow on the skull
of my assailant with the cudgel I was carrying that he started bleeding.
The wounded assailant was whisked away to a hiding place by his accomplices,
but the police caught up with him by following the blood drops from his skull.
He was later found guilty of murder and hanged. Such was the flagrant disdain
of law and order in Qadian that the murderer's funeral service was held with
great pomp and show; the Khalifah himself lead the prayer.
After this incident a Muslim Organization, known as 'Majlis-e
Ahrar-ul-Islam', started sending squads of volunteers to guard our house,
in addition to the military police. They pitched their tents in the open
fields around our bungalow, which started looking like a besieged fortress.
The Mirzai Administration started involving my father in trumped up court
cases to discredit his high repute for uprightness, as well as to drain his
meager savings. In short, all sorts of dirty tricks were played to make life
impossible for him. To support his family with eleven children, he had to
sell the family jewelry and cattle. The most unfortunate of these disasters
which befell our family during this period was the set back to the education
of children. All the details of these attacks and persecution used to be
published in the Indian Press.
There was a great pressure on our family, both from the Government and others
to leave Qadian and we ultimately migrated to Lahore. My father joined the
Lahori Party. Although there is not much difference between their beliefs
and those of the Qadianies, at least their society was not riddled with moral
corruption. I, however kept myself unattached. As I have said earlier, I
had lost faith in the very institution of religion. However, during this
period I started coming in close contact with the leaders of Ahrar, who had
a profound effect on me. Among them were: Sayed Ata-ullah Shah Bukhari, Maulana
Habibur-Rahman Ludhianavi, Chaudhri Afzal Haque, Maulana Mazhar Ali Azhar
- I found these people devout Muslims and very sincere friends.
My father had accepted my atheism only with ostensible resignation, while
at heart he was very unhappy about it. He told me that he prayed for me regularly
and used to ask me to seek God's guidance through prayer. My answer to that
used to be that he was asking me to pray to a Being who did not exist. Finally,
after lengthy discussions, he started advising me to make my prayers conditional
and I started to pray in words such as: "God, if You exist, give me some
indication of it; otherwise, if per chance, You do exist, don't blame me
for not believing in You. . .".
Although this kind of prayer might sound blasphemous to the real believers,
it produced esoteric results for me within about a year of praying. I saw
two dreams in quick succession. Since they are very much of a personal and
subjective nature, I dare not relate them here. Suffice it to say that they,
especially the second dream,, were of long duration, very explicit and coherent.
Even for a sinful man like me, there remained no room for doubt that there
did exist a Supreme Being whom we call God or Allah. I may mention, though,
that in the concluding part of the dream I was shown the Mirzai Khalifah
as a depraved miscreant with a hideously tarred face.
After these dreams I felt much relieved. It seemed as if my spiritual crisis
was over. I decided to turn a new leaf and become a Muslim formally. The
late Sayyed Ata-ullah Shah Bukhari took me along to Maulana Mohammad Ilyas
(the founder of the Tablighi Jama'at) in a village called Mehroli, a few
miles from Delhi. There, in 1940, 1 took my oath of fealty to Islam
(Bai'at) at his hand. It was a blissful coincidence that the Sheikh
al-Hadith of India, Maulana Muhammad Zakariyah, also happened to be present.
After the sunset (Maghrib) prayer, led by Maulana Ilyas, all the congregation
of about 40 worshippers said a special prayer for me.
In 1941, I migrated to East Africa with the mixed feelings of relief and
guilt. Standing on the deck of the steamer in the Bombay harbor, I started
reciting under my breath the following Quranic verse:
"And what reason have you not to fight for the cause of Allah to help
those weak men and women who are crying out: 'Our Lord, take us out of this
town whose people are oppressors'." (Al-Nisa - 4:75).
After 20 years' stay in Africa, I migrated to England in 1961.
THE IMAMATE IN WOKING
In 1964, I was appointed as the Imam of the Shah Jehan Mosque in Woking,
England. This appointment calls for some explanation for record. This Mosque
was built by an Orientalist, Dr. Leitner, in 1889 with funds from Muslims
in India and, later, a Trust was formed to run it. That was the period when
Mirzaiyat had not shown itself fully in its true colors and the Trust readily
agreed to hand over the management of the Mosque to the Lahori section of
By nineteen-sixties quite a few Muslim organizations had established themselves
in the United Kingdom and the pressure started increasing for this Mosque
to be reverted to its originally intended position of an Islamic Center.
I was approached by the Secretary and the Treasurer of the Trust to accept
the Imamate. I made it clear to them that I was a Sunni Muslim and showed
them copies of some published articles which I had written against Mirzaiyat.
They told me that they were aware of my views and that they considered it
as an asset. They also assured me that the High Commissioner of Pakistan,
who was the ex-officio Chairman of the Trust and who would sign the letter
of my appointment, had given his blessings.
After taking charge of the Mosque, it soon became obvious to me that I was
being branded by the general Muslims as a Mirzai. For the last about three
quarters of a century there had been a successive line of Mirzai Imams. Muslims
could not believe that all of a sudden, a Sunni Imam would appear out of
the blue. I found myself falling between two stools. My theological differences
with both the Lahori and the Qadiani sections were irreconcilable; while
the Muslims took it for granted that I must be a Mirzai, otherwise I would
not have been appointed. It took me long to win over the trust of some Muslim
religious leaders in the U.K.
It had been my life-long ambition to tour the Islamic countries by car, so
that I could travel even into the rural areas and study at first-hand how
they were transacting their religious affairs in practice. (This tour took
me about three years, covering 45,000 miles in more than 40 countries). Before
leaving the Mosque, however, I wanted to make sure that this far-famed Mosque
and the Islamic Center remained in the Muslim hands permanently. There were
only two or three Mirzai members on the Board of Trustees, but they were
very active and wielded a great influence. They were leaving no stone unturned
to bring back a Mirzai Imam, after I had left.
After long discussions and consultations with my Muslim friends, I called
a meeting of all the Muslim Organizations in the U.K. and Eire, on the 20th
July 1 968, at the East London Mosque. It was attended by more than a hundred
delegates. I explained the situation to them that I was due to start on my
tour by the end of the year and that the Mirzaies were trying their best
to have their own Imam installed.
There was one very important legal point which was to prove helpful to us
in the tug-of-war which ensued. According to a clause of the Trust Deed,
the legal status of the Mirzaies, from the very beginning, had been that
of Tenants of the Trust which could be terminated. This clause had remained
unnoticed by the Muslims until I pointed it out to them.
At this meeting, it was decided unanimously to form a "Woking Mosque-Regeneration
Committee" which should take over the Physical possession of the Mosque under
protest, and appoint an ad hoc Muslim Imam after my departure. It was further
resolved that the Mosque Trust should be asked to expel all its Mirzai members
on the Board and never to appoint a Mirzai Imam again. It was in these
circumstances that, in November 1968, I handed over the Mosque to Muslims
and left England on my tour.
It must be acknowledged here that I could not have been able to perform this
almost impossible task without the help of my Muslim friends. Naming all
of them would make a long list. However, three of them deserve a special
mention: The late Maulana Lal Husain Akhtar who was the President of an
international Organization to uphold the concept of the 'Finality of Prophethood'
- a belief which has served as the fulcrum of Islamic homogeneity and brotherhood
for the last more than fourteen centuries. Maulana Akhtar, like me in his
early life, had had personal experiences with Mirzaiyat. The second name
I would like to mention is that of Haji Muhammad Ashraf Gondal, President
of International Tablighi Mission. The third was Mr. N. M Lodhi who worked
very hard on the Mosque Regeneration Committee.
Lastly, a few words of advice - if I may - to my Muslim brethren, in the
light of my life-long conflict with the Qadiani cult, and in the hope that
Muslim leaders and governments will take it seriously. The Mirzai religionism
and schism is, no longer a threat to Islam. The ugly face of this pious fraud
has long been exposed. Islam as a religion is quite capable of defending
itself against such heterodoxies. The new danger, however, lies in the role
which the Qadiani leaders have started playing in the sphere of international
politics by offering their clandestine services to anti-Muslim countries
and cabals. Espionage is a very lucrative business and becomes much easier
and safer when secret agencies are opened up in foreign countries with the
facade of 'Missionary Posts'.
The general impression among the non-Muslims is that our opposition to Mirzaiyat
stems from religious intolerance. They fail to appreciate the fact that,
apart from doctrinal differences, this clique is being used by the anti-Islamic
powers as collaborators in the promotion of their political and economic
interests throughout the Muslim world. On top of all this, there is a growing
apprehension among the Muslims that the pattern of Oadiani libertinism is
liable to corrode the moral fabric of Muslim youth.
"Russia offered tolerance to Babism and allowed the Babis to open their first
missionary center in lshqabad. England showed Ahmadis the same tolerance
in allowing them to open their first missionary center in Woking. Whether
Russia and England showed this tolerance on the ground of imperial expediency
or pure broadmindedness is difficult for us to decide. This much is absolutely
clear that this tolerance has created difficult problems for Islam in Asia.
In view of the structure of Islam, as I understand it, I have not the least
doubt in my mind that Islam will emerge purer out of the difficulties thus
created for her. Times are changing. Things in India have already taken a
new turn. The new spirit of democracy which is coming to India is sure to
disillusion the Ahmadis and to convince them of the absolute futility of
their theological inventions.....
The solidarity of Islam, as I have explained before, consists in a uniform
belief in the two structural principles of Islam supplemented by the five
well known "practices of the Faith." These are the first essentials of Islamic
solidarity which has, in this sense, existed ever since the days of the Holy
Prophet until it was recently disturbed by the Bahais in Persia and the Qadianis
From: "Islam and Ahmadism" by Dr. Sir Muhammad lqbal. (1934,)
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