Mirza Ghulam’s Knowledge and Practice of Islam

(In light of Qadiani own Writings)

Qadianis (Ahmadis) exalt the founder of their movement, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, as a religious leader, a Saint, the Promised Mahdi, the Promised Messiah, the second improved reincarnation of hazrat Muhammad(SAW), and a Prophet of God.  They revere the Mirza of Qadian as the source of their religious knowledge and the greatest scholar of all time!  However, the high honor they project upon Mirza is built on a house of cards ready to fall apart upon the simplest of scrutiny. Allow us to review some of the material available on the subject to see if the Mirza of Qadian did indeed posses any of the qualities attributed to him.

1.Mirza’s Aptitude to Acquire Knowledge
2.Mirza Ghulam’s Early Education
3.Mirza’s Extent of Knowledge of Quran
4.Mirza’s General Knowledge of Islam
5.Mirza’s Knowledge of the Rules of Shariat
6.Mirza did not Lead the Prayers
 7.Mirza’s Lethargy in Worship
8.Mirza offers no ‘Qadha’ for missed Fasts
9.No Haj, No Zakat, No Etikaf, No Tasbih for Mirza
10.Nightly Massages by Unrelated Women is a Blessing
11.Adultery by the Prophet/Saint was Acceptable
12.Who Wrote Mirza’s Books

Mirza’s Aptitude to Acquire Knowledge

The family and close associates of Mirza Ghulam have recorded a great deal on this subject. Mirza Ghulam appears not to have been particularly bright or attentive all his life. Additionally, by the time he claimed to have received revelations to be Mahdi and Messiah (about 1891), he had suffered from severely weakened mental faculties.  Let us review some of the evidence attesting to these facts.

  • “Mia Abdullah Sinnori narrated to me that once Hazrat Saheb (Mirza Ghulam) was given a gift of a pocket watch. Hazrat Saheb wrapped the watch in a handkerchief and put it in his pocket; he did not use the chain (to hang it from his vest). When he wanted to tell the time, he used to take the watch out (unwrap it) and count aloud starting from one, while pointing to each digit by finger (counting clockwise). He was unable to tell time by just looking at the watch.�
    (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, P. 180; by Mirza Bashir Ahmad)
  • “Once someone brought for him (Mirza) gurgabi (a kind of shoes used in Punjab).  He put them on, but could not distinguish between the right and the left shoe.  Often, he used to wear them on the wrong foot, and then feel uncomfortable.  Sometimes, feeling pain after walking in the wrong shoe, he used to get irritated and say that nothing of those people was good.  Mother said that she had marked the right and left shoes for his convenience and yet he used to put the shoes on the wrong foot.  Hence, she took the markings off.”
    (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, P. 67; by Mirza Bashir Ahmad)
  • “His holiness, the Promised Messiah, suffered from hypochondria on account of weakness of the brain.”
    (Published in Review of Religion, August 1926)

Mirza Ghulam himself wrote:

  • “I have a very bad memory.  I meet a person many times, but after sometimes I forget that I ever met him.  This condition has reached a stage beyond description.”
    (Maktoobat-e-Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, No. 3)
  • “I do not consider you have reached the state of weakness of brain that I have reached.”
    (Makatoob-e-Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, No. 13; written in a letter to Hakim Nuruddin in 1891)

Mirza Ghulam’s Early Education

The Mirza of Qadian writes about his own formal education in the following passages:

  • “When I grew out of boyhood and reached adolescence, I read a little Persian and fragments of pamphlets on accidence and syntax and some other branches of knowledge and a little of the books of medicine. (Mirza learned medicine from his father and was somewhat of an expert in that field)”
    (Tabligh-ila-Mashshaikh-ul-Hind, P. 59)
  • “I learnt the Quran and Persian books from my teacher Fazal Elahi and I learnt accidence and syntax from Ustad Fazal Ahmad.”
    (Kitab-ul-Barriah, P. 135)
  • “During his (Mirza’s) stay in Sialkot, an English night school opened for Government employees.  Amir Shah Tabib was appointed a teacher of this school.  His holiness (Mirza) started learning English in this school and read a book or two there.”
    (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, P. 155; by Mirza Bashir Ahmad)

The individual Qadianis (Ahmadis) tout as the most learned scholar of all time knew no more than what he had learnt from these middle-school level courses.  His own son attributed the confusion and misinformation so prevalent in his father’s speeches and earlier works (Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyyah 1-4) to the poor quality of education he had received:

  • “The truth is that the Promised Messiah himself did not claim that he learnt the manifest sciences from anyone.  He (Mirza) used to say that his teacher was an opium addict who smoked Huqqa as well.  Sometimes, on account of intoxication, he used to spill the contents of the bottles on the ground.  What could one expect from such teachers?”
    (Al-Fadl, February 5, 1929; by Mirza Mahmood Ahmad Qadiani)

Mirza’s Extent of Knowledge of Quran

  • “Doctor Mir Muhammad Ismail Saheb told me that hazrat Promised Messiah had not memorized continuous portions of the Holy Quran or its longer Suras. But, he certainly grasped the diverse plurality of Quranic meanings. However, he could not recall most of the Quran in the style of a hafiz (from memory).”
    (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 3, P. 44; by Mirza Bashir Ahmad)

How could Mirza have claimed to be (God forbid) the improved second advent of the holy Prophet(SAW) and stated to have received the Holy Quran, when he was not even a hafiz?

Mirza’s General Knowledge of Islam

Mirza Ghulam himself confesses that his knowledge of Hadith and Shariat was very elementary:

  • “My father was an expert diviner. He had great skill in this art. He helped me in attaining perfection in the art of divining through books and discussions; as the result, I could not absorb a deeper knowledge of Hadith and principles of jurisprudence and my knowledge in these fields was like the mere sprinkling of a shower.”
    (Tabligh-ila-Mashshaikh-ul-Hind, P. 59)

Indeed, the only strong qualities of Mirza were those of perseverance, diligence, and insistence on his own view points.  This enabled him to be a good debater against the unlearned Christian and Hindu missionaries who used to blindly and carelessly attack Islam. However, without a deep understanding of Islam, Mirza could not have ever claimed to be a Muslim Scholar.  Not only Mirza was uninformed about the more scholarly issues, his knowledge of the Seerah, simple facts, and historic events also left a lot to be desired.  For instance, he has written:

  • “The Apostle of God, peace be upon him, was born a few days before the death of his father.” (He(SAW) was actually born after the death of his father.)
    (Paigham-e-Sulh, P. 19)
  • “To the Apostle of God were born eleven sons all of whom died.”  (Historic accounts point to only four sons.)
    (Ain-ul-Marifa, P. 286)
  • “The Promised son was born in the fourth Islamic month, that is, he was born in Safar.” (Safar is actually the second month of Islamic calendar)
    (Tiryaq-ul-Qulub, P. 43)

Mirza’s Knowledge of the Rules of Shariat

  • “Once Moulvi Abdul Hakim was leading the prayers. After the second rakat when everyone rose from the sitting position to standing position at the start of the third rakat, hazrat Saheb (Mirza) kept sitting unaware in the At-Tahiyat. When the Moulvi Saheb said Takbir for going into Rukoo, it was then that he realized the matter. Huzoor (Mirza) got up (straight away) and joined in the Rukoo.

    After the prayers, honorable Sire called Moulvi Nuruddin and Moulvi Muhammad Ahsan and presented the situation before them, saying that he had joined straight away in the Rukoo without reciting Fateha. What was the precept of the Shariat in that eventuality?”
    (Al-Fadl, Vol. 12, P. 77, Jan 17, 1925; by Mufti Muhammad Sadiq Qadiani)

Isn’t it extremely strange for a self-proclaimed Prophet and religious leader to have to ask his associates on elementary matters of faith and religion?  The extent of his ignorance of Islam becomes even more evident, when we read his own close supporters and family members repeatedly criticizes his actions and approvals:

  • “Doctor Mir Muhammad Ismail related to me that once during the summer, Peer Siraj-ul-Haq led Maghrib prayers in Masjid Mubarak. The honorable Sire, peace be on him, was also a muqtadi (follower) in this prayer. In the third rakat after rukoo, instead of the prescribed Arabic hymn Sam-e-Allah-o-Leman Hamadah, he recited a Persian poem of the honorable Sire (Mirza) beginning with the couplet ‘O God, The Assuager of our troubles’! This humble self submits that although this Persian poem is a high-class salvation commune which is full of spiritualism, the well-known precept is to recite only the masnoon invocations in prayer.”
    (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 3, P. 138; by Mirza Bashir Ahmad)

Mirza did not Lead the Prayers

Mirza Ghulam does indeed represent a nontraditional claimant to being a religious leader, Mahdi and Prophet!  For instance, he avoided leading the congregational prayers!  Once, he resorted to the following ruling to avoid reciting the verses of Quran aloud:

  • “Doctor Mir Muhammad Ismail told me that once Moulvi Abdul Karim could not lead prayers for some reason. The first Khalifah-ul-Masih (Hakim Nuruddin) was not present either. Then, Hazrat Saheb asked late Hakim Fazal Din Saheb to lead the prayers. Hakim Fazal Din submitted: ‘Your honor knows that I suffer from the disease of piles and every now and then my wind escapes. How can I lead the prayers?’

    The honorable Sire asked him whether his prayer was duly accomplished despite that trouble? Hakim Fazal Din replied in the affirmative. The honorable Sire said: ‘Then, ours will also be duly accomplished. You lead’.”
    (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 3, P. 111; by Mirza Bashir Ahmad)

Mirza’s Lethargy in Worship

While all the Prophets, saints, and true scholars enjoy worshipping Allah(SWT) day and night, Mirza Ghulam was somewhat lax in his worship.  When asked for an explanation, he claimed to be a superior type of saint who did not need to worship the Lord devoutly!

  • “Moulvi Rahim Bux Saheb resident of Talaundi, District Gurdaspur, informed me in writing that when hazrat Promised Messiah (Mirza) went to Amristar to visit the printing of Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyyah, after seeing the printing, he (Mirza) asked: ‘Moulvi Rahim Bux, come, let’s go for a walk.’

    ‘While he was strolling in the garden, this humble self submitted: ‘Hazrat, while you are busy yourself in a stroll, Allah’s saints busy themselves day and night in prayers.’

    ‘He replied: ‘Saints are of two types: the painstaking like Hazrat Baba Fareed Shakargunj and the God-inspired such as Abul Hassan Kharqani, Muhammad Akram Multani, and Mujaddid Alf-e-Shani, etc. Saints of the second type are of a higher rank. Allah talks to them abundantly; and I am of those.’ At that time, he had claimed to be only inspired by God.”
    (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 3, P. 214; by Mirza Bashir Ahmad)

  • “Doctor Meer Muhammad Ismail informed me in writing that he disagreed with me regarding some of the year-wise recorded narration of Seerat-ul-Mahdi under serial number 467. He wrote: ‘(13) You did not mention (Mirza) having offered accumulated prayers for two months continuously in 1901.’ This humble self submits that this is correct that he did combine his prayers for a long time.”
    (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 3, P. 202; By Mirza Bashir Ahmad)

Mirza offers no ‘Qadha’ for missed Fasts

This is another example of how Mirza Ghulam had excused himself from following the rules of Sharia.  He did not feel it was necessary to make up any missed fasts.

  • “Related to me by my mother that hazrat Promised Messiah did not keep Ramadan fasts in the year when he had fits and gave propitiatory alms in lieu… Thereafter, he fasted regularly in all the months of Ramadan (but never made up for the missed ones). However, two or three years before his death he could not keep any fast. He compensated for the missed fasts with propitiatory alms.  This humble self asked mother whether he kept any compensatory fasts in lieu of the missed ones. She replied in the negative and added that he only paid the propitiatory money.”
    (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, P. 65; by Mirza Bashir Ahmad)

No Haj, No Zakat, No Etikaf, No Tasbih for Mirza

Mirza Ghulam was indeed a strange claimant to Prophethood and sainthood.  How could he have made such outlandish claims, when he did not even faithfully fulfill the pillars of Islam. Let’s review what his own son has written:

  • “Doctor Mir Muhammad Ismail Saheb narrated to me that hazrat Promised Messiah never performed Hajj, never gave Zakat, never sat in Etikaf (extra worship during the last 10 nights of the month of Ramadhan), never kept a Tasbih and in my presence he refused to eat tropical sand lizard…  This humble self submits… he probably sat in Etikaf before his commissioning. Later on, he did not do Etikaf because of the pen crusades he waged and other engagements… And he did not give Zakat because it never accrued to him.”
    (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 3, P. 119; by Mirza Bashir Ahmad)

Yet, the Holy Prophet(SAW) and his companions never shrunk from engaging in Etikaf and Tasbih and took every opportunity to help the needy.  Mirza Bashir Ahmad tried to provide an excuse to discount his father’s reluctance to give zakat. Yet, historical records show that Mirza Ghulam was living a life of comfort and had claimed to have owned 300,000 rupees (would be equivalent to millions of dollars by today’s standards); he also owned some rental property which his uncle was managing.  Mirza Ghulam himself admitted to this fact:

Still, he never paid zakat!  Furthermore, the Mirza of Qadian did not feel that performing Hajj was a primary duty of a claimant to Prophethood.  The reason he provided for his unwillingness to undertake the demanding and arduous (by the standard of the 19th century) journey to Mekkah is indeed very weak.

  • “A letter from Moulvi Muhammad Hussain Batalvi was read out in the presence of hazrat Promised Messiah in which he had objected: ‘Why do you not perform Hajj?’ In reply, hazrat Promised Messiah said: ‘My First priority is to kill swine and break the Cross. At the moment, I am killing swine – many of them have died but some hard souls are still alive. Let me be free from this first’.”
    (Malfoozat-e-Ahmadiya, Vol. 5, P. 264; by Manzoor Ilahi Qadiani)

Mirza neither succeeded in his attempt to “kill the swine and break the Cross”, nor did he perform Hajj. After his death, his followers tried to justify this shortcoming with the following statements:

  • “This humble self submits: there were of course some special reasons for not performing Hajj. In the beginning, there was no financial arrangement for him because all properties were, from the outset, in the hands of our grandfather and later on my elder uncle managed them. After that, such circumstances arose that on the one hand he (Mirza) remained preoccupied with Jihad (author: abolishing it!) and secondly, the passage to Hajj was dangerous. However, he did desire to perform Hajj.”
    (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 3, P. 119; by Mirza Bashir Ahmad)
  • Hajj did not become obligatory on Hazrat Saheb because of his poor health. He always remained ill. Also, the Ruler of Hejaz was against him because the Muslims of India had obtained a Shariat Decree (a Fatwa) from Mekkah for his (Mirza’s) execution. Therefore, the government of Hejaz had turned against him.”
    (Al-Fadl, Sept. 10, 1929)

In our opinion, it was divine prudence which deprived Mirza from performing Hajj, since one of the signs of Mahdi and Messiah is that they will perform Hajj in the holy city of Mekkah.

Nightly Massages by Unrelated Women is a Blessing

Mirza Ghulam enjoyed having unrelated women serve him in seclusion, during the night hours. Although many of his own followers objected to this practice, this habit went on up to his dying days. We provide here a few references:

  • “My late wife… went to hazrat Promised Messiah at the age of fifteen in Dar-ul-Aman (Mirza’s room)… The Sire very much liked her service of massage his legs.”
    (Al-Fadl, March 20, 1928, P. 6-7; by Ghulam Muhammad Qadiani)
  • “Question No. 6: (from Muhammad Hussain Saheb Qadiani)

    Why does the pious Hazrat (Mirza) get his legs and arms massaged by unrelated stranger women?

    Answer: (from Hakim Fazal Din Qadiani) He is an innocent prophet and caress with him is not prohibited; it is rather a source of suspiciousness and blessing’.”
    (Al-Hakm, April 17, 1907, P. 13)

Unknowingly, his own son rejected this practice of Mirza Ghulam as being contrary to the Shariat of Islam and not befitting a claimant to sainthood:

  • “This humble self submits that the Holy Prophet(SAW), as per Hadith, did not touch the womenfolk at the time of Baiat. The Holy Quran states that a woman should not display her embellishments to a stranger or unrelated person. This prohibition includes touching by hand, because womanly embellishment can be known by coming into contact with the body.”
    (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 3, P. 15; by Mirza Bashir Ahmad)

Adultery by the Prophet/Saint was Acceptable

The following passage, read by the second Caliph of Qadianism (Ahmadiyyah), exemplifies the true legacy of Mirza Ghulam:

  • “In his Friday sermon, Mirza Mahmood read out a letter from a Lahori Mirzai. Its contents were as follows:

    ‘Hazrat Promised Messiah (Mirza) was a saint, Allah’s friend; and saints do commit adultery occasionally. Therefore, if he (Mirza) committed adultery now and then, what is the harm in that?

    We have no objection against hazrat Promised Messiah  (Mirza) because he committed adultery only at times. We have objection against the present Khalifa (Mirza Mahmood Ahmad) because he indulges in adulterous intercourse all the time.’

    After reading the letter, Mirza Mahmood (the Khalifa in question) made the following statement:

    ‘From this objection, it appears that this person is of Paighami (Lahori) creed because our belief regarding the Promised Messiah is that he was Allah’s Prophet, but the Paighamis don’t believe in this. They consider him only to be a saint.”
    (Al-Fadl, August 31, 1938, P. 6; Friday Sermon by Mian Mahmud Ahmad;
    As reported in Qadiyaniat-An Analytical Survey)

Apparently, both Lahoris and Qadianis of the time believed that Mirza Ghulam had engaged in seriously questionable practices unbecoming of a Muslim; yet, they did not seem to mind!  What had Mirza taught his own son  and his followers so that their first comment was not the rejection of this accusation?

Who Wrote Mirza’s Books

During a sermon, Mirza Mahmood Ahmad Qadiani repeated what many who had heard Mirza Ghulam’s speeches had suspected:

  • “Many people used to say that his holiness, the Promised Messiah, did not know even Urdu and someone else wrote the books which were attributed to him.  The others held even a worse opinion about his writing potentialities.  They believed that Shaikh Nuruddin was the person who wrote the books for him.”
    (Al-Fadl, February 5, 1929; by Mirza Mahmood Ahmad Qadiani)

Indeed, Mirza Ghulam had an unusual rapport with Hakim Nuruddin and others in his organization. While, Mirza’s knowledge of Islamic matters was elementary, his associates were traditionally schooled and enjoyed a broad understanding of Islam, as well the Arabic and Persian languages. Mirza Ghulam Qadiani, who had claimed to be a Prophet, often referred to Hakim Nuruddin as his master:

  • “My respected master, my brother Shaikh Hakim Nuruddin, may God keep you safe:  your revered letter reached me.  I wonder why the prescribed medicine did not do good to my master.
    The Servant
    Ghulam Ahmad”
    (Maktoobat-e-Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, P. 14, Letter No. 2;
    As reported in Qadiyaniat-An Analytical Survey)
  • “To his holiness, the revered master, Shaikh Hakim Nuruddin, the trusted one – may God keep him safe.
    The Servant
    Ghulam Ahmad”
    (Maktoobat-e-Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, P. 14, Letter No. 14;
    As reported in Qadiyaniat-An Analytical Survey)

Despite his claim of being a prophet of God and receiving divine revelations, Mirza Ghulam seldom put anything on paper without first consulting his learned followers.  Even after that, the material was heavily edited by others to improve its content and format.  We read in Qadiani books:

  • “His holiness, the Promised Messiah, wrote his book of Tabligh, which is included in his book Aina-e-Kalamat-e-Islam in Arabic.  During the course of its writing, he used to send the manuscript to the philosopher of the community, Nuruddin, for proof reading. After this, he used to send it to ustad Abdul Karim so that he may shape it out in Persian.”
    (Al-Fadl, January 15, 1929)
  • “His holiness used to send manuscripts of his Arabic books to his first Caliph (Nuruddin) and also to Ustad Mohammad Ahsan. The first caliph used to return the manuscripts after reading them, mostly as he took them.  As for Ustad Muhammad Ahsan, he exerted his utmost effort and at some places used to change words for correction.”
    (Seerat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, P. 91; by Mirza Bashir Ahmad)

Mirza Ghulam even asked others to submit articles to be included in his book. Here is a letter Mirza composed to Chiragh Ali:

  • “I have been much pleased to receive your letter.  From the very beginning, it has been my desire to serve Islam.  Your book has encouraged me tremendously…  If you have any articles, send them over to me…  Your article about confirmation of prophethood has not reached me so far, although I have waited for it long.  Therefore, I bother you once again to send me your article without delay.  I would like you to write another article for me about affirmation of the reality of Quran, so that I may be able to include it in my book Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyyah.”
    (Seyar-ul-Musannifin, Letter to Chiragh Ali;
    As reported in Qadiyaniat-An Analytical Survey)

Yet, Mirza Ghulam has never acknowledged the original authors of any of the papers included in his books and allowed everyone to assume he was solely responsible for their form and content. The Qadiani newspaper Al-Fadl admitted that Mirza Ghulam routinely sought advice on elementary matters of religion from his associates:

  • “His holiness, despite being the Promised Messiah and the covenanted Mahdi, used to consult and question me about the manifest science (Shariat and Hadith).”
    (Al-Fadl, December 22, 1916; by Mohammad Ashan Amrohi Qadiani)

The fact remains that by this time in his life (after his various claims), Mirza Ghulam was physically incapable to author so many books.  Indeed, several years before many of the publication attributed to him were completed, Mirza Ghulam confessed this fact to his close associate, Hakim Nuruddin:

  • “Now my health can no longer bear the rigors of supererogatory devotion and even a little bit of severe devotion and meditation or contemplation causes illness.”
    (Maktoobat-e-Ahmadiya, Vol. 5, No. 2, P. 103, dated March 31, 1891)

By now, the the true nature of Mirza Ghulam’s claims should have become evident.  An individual who possessed no more than an elementary knowledge of Islam, who was lax about adhering to the pillars of religion, and whose speeches and first books were confused and error ridden, could not have been the sole author of all the books attributed to him – particularly when his health and mental capacity had been reduced and he had shown dependency on others, even on elementary matters.

Does Qadiani (Ahmadi) leadership have any basis for claiming that Mirza Ghulam was a learned religious leader?

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