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Mirza Ghulam Qadiani: From Rags to Riches

(In light of Qadiani own Writings)

Mirza Ghulam Qadiani made a number of outlandish claims, from being the Promised Mahdi and the Promised Messiah to a Reincarnation of hazrat Muhammad(SAW) and a prophet with new Shariat.  In this article we will examine one of the motives for his claims.

Mirza Ghulam was born to a family of substantial influence but little wealth and depended on the meager income of his father during his youth (Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, Roohany Khazaen, Vol. 22, P. 220).  When he was twenty five years old, he committed an act for which he became detached from his family for four years.  The son of Mirza Ghulam Qadiani recounts:

"My mother told me that his holiness, the Promised Messiah, one day, during his youth, went to collect the pension of his grandfather (700 rupees - Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, P. 131). Following him was a person by the name of Imamuddin. When he received the pension, Imamuddin mislead him and took him outside Qadian. They roamed about from place to place. When his holiness had squandered all he had, Imamuddin deserted him leaving him alone and left for some other place. However, his holiness, the Promised Messiah, did not return home for shame and for fear of infamy. And since his grandfather's desire was that he be employed somewhere, he went to Sialkot and got himself employed for a miserably low salary (ten rupees a month)."
  (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, P. 43; by Mirza Bashir Ahmad)

In Sialkot, Mirza Ghulam worked as a British Government court clerk on a meager salary of ten rupees a month, for four years.  During this period, he took  the entrance exams to law school (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, P. 137; by Mirza Bashir Ahmad), but he flunked and lost every hope of advancement in that field.  Toward the end of this period, in 1868, he held several closed door discussions with Christian missionaries, particularly Mr. Reverend Butler.  Within a few days of these meetings, he terminated his employment and returned to Qadian (Seerat Maseeh Moud, P. 15) to live as a guest of his father.

This was the time of great discussion and debates between Muslims and non-Muslims. The Muslim Ummah, tired of the constant abuses launched against them by unbelievers were willing to finance and support anyone who appeared to champion the cause of Islam. Mirza Ghulam commenced reading some of the literature published by Muslim Ulama about Hinduism and issued a few articles and challenges against Hindus in the local papers. Uninformed villagers, who had lived under the oppressive rule of the unbelievers for a few centuries, took special interest in an individual who was not afraid of taking their enemies head on and use their own strong tone and language in answering their attacks.

Shortly thereafter, Mirza Ghulam declared that he was in need of funds to author fifty books in which he would present three hundred arguments refuting every objection Hindus and Christians had raised against Islam.  This work, he promised, would make Islam once again victorious! Muslims from the neighboring villages met the challenge and sent in advances and donations to help in this worthy cause; Mirza thus became a wealthy and somewhat recognized character. (Tabligh-e-Risalat, Vol. 1, P. 13, 25)

Mirza Ghulam recounts the difference this claim made in his life:

"No one knew me.  Nor were my means of livelihood such that I could live in comfort and ease. All that I owned was a little inheritance from my father. Then Allah placed the world at my disposal, while I did not expect to obtain ten rupees a month. God, however, changed my condition and held my hand. Now, I have more than three hundred thousand rupees."
  (Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, Roohany Khazaen, Vol. 22, P. 220-221; Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, P. 211-212)

Mirza Ghulam commenced publishing the volumes of  his book, Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyyah, the first appeared in 1880, the second in 1882, and the third in early 1884. These books were no more than a collection of announcements, statements, strongly worded challenges to other religions, and boastful narration of Mirza's own superiority over others - ridden with linguistic errors and devoid of scholarly research, for the most part. Ulama became suspicious of him and were appalled when the fourth volume was released.  This book consisted of little more than excessive bragging, arguments for the possibility of revelations after hazrat Muhammad(SAW), confusing statements of alleged divine revelations, and a lengthy homage to the British Imperialism. Mirza had also urged all Muslim scholars to submit a join statement of loyalty to the British government and had stressed the impermissibility of Jihad.  

Thus, the promise Mirza had made to the public came to an end.  Twenty five years later, after publishing the fifth volume of Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyyah, Mirza Ghulam declared:

"This is the same Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyyah, which had already been published in four volumes. The fifth volume has been now published. It was earlier promised to publish fifty volumes, but they are to be content with only five, instead of the fifty we promised. Since there is only a dot difference between five and fifty, with these five our promise has been fulfilled."
  (Preface, Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyya, Roohany Khazaen, Vol. 21, P. 9;
  Preface, Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, P. 7)

However, these books were a far cry from Mirza's earlier promises.  His son admitted:

  • "Now that five volumes of Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyya have come out in print, its preface and notes all related to the time of publication and it contains very little of the original work, that is, not more than a few pages.  This can be gauged from the fact that out of the 300 arguments which he had promised, the Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyya contains only one argument and that too not in a complete form."
      (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, P. 7; by Mirza Bashir Ahmad)

When some Muslims demanded for the return of their advances, Mirza Ghulam announced:

"This money was given me by God. I shall not return it to anyone - not even a penny, as I am not accountable to anyone. Anyone who asks me to render account should not give me anything in the future."
  (Al-Hakm, March 21, 1905)

With his newly found wealth and the backing of the British government and those loyal to its rule, Mirza Ghulam was able to create a new organization of people planted at visible and respectable positions. He proudly wrote:

"The majority of people who have joined my sect are those who are either holding eminent posts with the British Court, or the goodly rich men, their servants and friends or businessmen, lawyers or those educated in the modern way or such famous scholars, servants and noblemen who have either served the British Government in the past or are serving it at present or their relations or friends who accepted the influence of their elders and the weekly holders of the office of the caretakers of some religious orders. In short, this is a party which is the protege of the British Government from whom it has earned good name and who is worthy of the Government's favors. Or it consists of people who are related to me or are among my servants."
  (Tabligh-e-Risalat, Vol. 7, P. 18)

At this time, traditionally educated individuals like Hakim Nuruddin and Moulvi Muhammad Ali joined this new organization.  By relying on the services of these and other educated individuals, Mirza Ghulam was able to produce works that could impress the uninformed.  Mirza gathered around himself a core group of loyal supporters who helped to improve his image, provided him with advise on religious matters, helped publish statements on behalf of the movement, and recruited people to this new organization.  The first goal of this new movement was to serve the interest of the British Government and receive favors and compensation in return.  In a letter to the British Lieutenant Governor, Mirza Ghulam wrote:

"I have filled shelves with books which I wrote in praise of the British, especially about the abrogation of Jihad in which many Muslims believe. This is a big service to the Government. So I hope for an appropriate and good reward."
  (Tabligh-e-Risalat, Vol. 7, P. 19)

Mirza Ghulam remained partially dependent on collections from his followers to fund his own livelihood. He ordained his followers make mandatory monthly contributions and squandered the funds on himself and his family.  He went so far as to threaten those who did not make the contribution with excommunication from his influential and powerful organization, which virtually ran all aspects of life in the village of Qadian.  He declared:

"It is the duty of all my followers to remit some amount out of their earnings. After this announcement, we shall wait for three months. We shall remove from the list of devotees the name of anyone who does not remit a portion of his earnings during these three months."
  (Lauh-ul-Mahdi, P. 1;  As reported in Qadiyaniat-An Analytical Survey)

Khwaja Kamaluddin, one of the top recruiters of Qadianism, was suspicious of the luxurious and carefree life that Mirza Ghulam, his family, and close companions were basking in. On one occasion, he demanded action from Moulvi Muhammad Ali and Moulvi Sarwar Shah Qadiani (both leaders of the Qadiani movement) by stating:

"I have a question for which I have no answer. Please provide me with one. Formerly, we used to tell our wives that we should live the lives of the Companions who ate meager and coarse food and wore rough cloth and donated whatever they could save to the cause of Allah. We urged them to do the same. By means of these admonitions, we used to collect money from people and from our wives and send it to Qadian. But, when our wives themselves visited Qadian and came to know of the state of affair first hand, they angrily returned and told us that we were untruthful. They said they had seen the manner in which the wives of the Prophets and Companions were living in Qadian! Not even a fraction of the comfort and luxury enjoyed by their wives was experienced by those outside (Qadian). This is despite the fact that the money is not remitted to them (for their personal use) but for expenditure in the cause of Allah. We shall spend on ourselves whatever we have as it is our money earned through lawful means. Hence, they said, we were liars who had been deceiving them for long and that they would never again be deceived by us. Thus, they refused to give us any money to send to Qadian... There is a favorite reply which you provide people; this can not hold in my case, as I know the truth personally."
  (Kashf-ul-Ikhtilaf, P. 13, by Sawar Shah Qadiani)

On another occasion, Khwaja Kamaluddin reprimanded Moulvi Muhammad Ali in the following way:

"What a shame! You are aware how arduously the money of the people is collected; and then this money is not spent for the national purposes for which people donate it, after shaving off their expenditures for their bare necessities. Instead, the money is spent to gratify personal desires; and then, the amount of money is also quite large. It is so large that only if the money specified for public kitchen was managed properly, it alone would suffice to meet the requirements of those projects which have been started but are now in suspense due to the shortage of funds."
  (Kashf-ul-Ikhtilaf, P. 15, by Sawar Shah Qadiani)

When this was brought to the attention of Mirza Ghulam, he responded:

"My God will help me, and those will help me who will be inspired by God and by myself. Those who raise objections, they are to me no more than dead insects..."
  (Al-Hakm, March 31, 1905)

"I am not a merchant to keep accounts with me nor am I a treasurer of the community to be asked to render account. I am God's vicegerent on earth. It is not proper to ask me where I spent the money. Those are truly the believers who gift me their money and afterwards do not question me. It is all the same whether they understand or not. They understand that an objection of this sort will result in the bankruptcy of their faith."
  (Published in Al-Fadl, Sept. 19, 1936)

One of his close associates, put it more diplomatically when he wrote:

"I have reliably come to know that the Promised Messiah (upon him be the salutation and peace of God) has expressed great sorrow that despite his declaration that it is the desire of God that the management of the public kitchen remain in his hands (Mirza was appropriating and directing the funds) and otherwise the public kitchen would come to an end, persons like Khwaja are constantly asking him to entrust the management of the kitchen to them and have invidious doubts about him."
  (Kashf-ul-Ikhtilaf, P. 14-15, by Sawar Shah Qadiani)

Mirza Bashiruddin, the son of Mirza Ghulam, in a letter to Moulvi Hakim Nuruddin, stated:

"The Hazrat (Mirza) ... shortly before his (fatal) illness said that the Khwaja (Kamaluddin) and Moulvi Muhammad Ali and others cast aspersions about me that I misappropriate public money.  They should not do so, or else it will not have good consequences for them. He said that Khwaja had brought a letter from Moulvi Muhammad Ali the same day in which he had asked about the balance of the thousands of rupees which had been received, particularly since the expenditure on the kitchen had been so meager. When he (Mirza) came home, he flew into a rage and said: 'They say that we eat Haram - What do these people have to do with this money? If I were to sever my association with them, the inflow of all the income would cease'...

On another occasion, when a deputy had gone to collect construction funds, Khwaja had told Moulvi Muhammad Ali: 'The Hazrat (Mirza) himself lives in a life of great comfort and luxury and teaches us to donate by reducing our expenses.' To this, Moulvi Muhammad Ali replied that although this could not be denied, this was an element of human shortcomings in him; and it in not essential for us to follow the element of human shortcoming in the Prophet."
  (Haqiqat-ul-Ikhtilaf, P. 50, Mirza Mahmood Ahmad; Letter of Mirza Ghulam to Shaikh Nuruddin)

The son of Mirza Ghulam indirectly admitted to all these accusations in a Friday speech in Qadian:

"Once a man from Lughiana said that we sent donations to Qadian after bearing hardships and misfortunes. These amounts are spent on ornaments and dresses of the wife of Ghulam Ahmad. So what is the use of these donations? When this news reached his holiness, the Promised Messiah, he said it is unlawful for him to send anything to us after what he has said. Then, we shall see what harm it does to us."
  (Al-Fadl, August 31, 1938)

Qadiani founders resorted to other creative ways of extracting money from their followers. They purchased a piece of land and sold burial plots at exorbitant prices to their followers. Mirza Ghulam made it incumbent upon his followers to be buried at the cemetery by stating:

"I saw a vision that I have purchased a plot of land, and I was asked to bury the members of my community there: and was asked to name it as 'Heavenly Graveyard'."
  (Mukashaf, P. 23)

Indeed, the Qadiani Graveyard became a source of great income to the movement. The Qadiani mouthpiece, Al-Fadl newspaper, expressed its importance in the following way:

"The 'Heavenly Graveyard' is such a central point of this movement and an institution or department of such dimensions that it excels in importance all other departments."
  (Al-Fadl, Vol. 24, No. 65, Sept. 15, 1936)

During his life, Mirza Ghulam falely claimed to have received three hundred thousand revelations, sixty thousand of these dealt with financial issues and money!  This large number proves the subject that was foremost on his mind and the mind of his associates.  The outlandish claims of Mirza, his mannerism, and the lavish life style he and his close associate conducted are all indicators of the falsehood of their claim.  Their actions should resonate the following verses of the Holy Quran in the heart of every believer:

O ye who believe! there are indeed many among the priests and anchorites, who in Falsehood devour the substance of men and hinder (them) from the way of Allah...
(The Holy Quran, Al-Tawba, 9:34)

The Signs of Allah have they sold for a miserable price, and (many) have they hindered from His way: evil indeed are the deeds they have done.
(The Holy Quran, Al-Tawba, 9:9)

After knowing these facts, would anyone do a great injustice against his soul and accept the claims of Mirza Ghulam Qadiani?

 

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