The Ahmadiyya Movement

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya movement, was in a category all by himself in Imam Ahmad Raza Khan’s (may Allah be pleased with him) Husam al-Haramain. Condemned as the Antichrist [dajjal] inspired by Satan, his kufr was believed to be greater than the other ulema mentioned. Imam Ahmad Raza’s opinion was based on a large number of claims made by Ghulam Ahmad, among them the fact that he was ‘like the Messiah’ [Jesus Christ], and that, having received revelations from Almighty Allah, he was a kind of prophet:

In the beginning, he claimed to be ‘like a Messiah’. Allah, in this he spoke the truth, because he is like the Antichrist, the lair. Then he began to elevate himself still more, and claimed to have received revelation. And Allah, in this too he is truthful, because Allah says that in the assembly of devils there is one among them who is inspired by Satan, whose inspiration is false and deceptive…Then he made an unambiguous claim to prophecy [nabuwwat] and messengership [risalat], writing that Allah is He who sent His messenger to Qadiyan, and asserted that a verse had been revealed to him that says, ‘We sent him to Qadiyan, and sent him with the truth.’ He also asserted that he was the Ahmad whom Jesus had predicted would come [after him as the next prophet]…Then he began to say that he was better than all other prophets and messengers: forget about Ibn-e Maryam [Jesus], Ghulam Ahmad is better than he. [Ahmad Raza Khan, Husam al-Haramain, p.12]

Of all the claims made by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad [and there were others, such as his declaration that he was the Mujaddid or renewer of the 14th Hijri century], the one that infuriated Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Qadiri (may Allah be pleased with him) and other Indian ulama the most was his assertion that he was a ‘shadowy’ [zilli] prophet. This appeared to a large number of Sunni ulama to directly deny the Muslim belief that Muhammad Mustapha (Allah bless him and give him peace) was the ‘seal of prophets’ [khatm al-nabiyyin]. Much later, it was on the basis of this alleged denial that under the terms of a constitutional amendment in Pakistan in 1973, Ahmadis were declared as non-Muslims.

In addition to his prophetic claim, Ghulam Ahmad had also angered Imam Ahmad Raza [and other ulama] by offering an interpretation of Jesus, which was at variance with Sunni mainstream. He denied the prevailing belief Islamic belief that Jesus was alive in heaven and would return to earth at the end of days to assist Mahdi to defeat the Antichrist [dajjal], thereby inaugurating a kingdom of justice on earth. Against this Ghulam Ahmad maintained that Jesus was dead, and that it was he, Ghulam Ahmad, who had been sent by Allah and Jesus’ spirit to restore the Muslim community to its former glory. [Friedman, pp. 111-18]

For Ghulam Ahmad, to believe in Jesus’ second coming was to comply in Christianity’s claimed superiority to Islam, which it was one of his principal aims to deny. Ironically, the image he evoked to describe Christianity – ‘the most perfect manifestation of Satan’ – was the same one called up by Imam Ahmad Raza in Husam al-Haramain to describe Ghulam Ahmad: the Antichrist inspired by Satan.