Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of
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Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of
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The second coming of Christ is a belief that is common to the two largest religions of the world -- Christianity and Islam. Most Muslims, like Christians, believe that the prophecies regarding the second coming of Christ refer to the physical reappearance of the original Christ. However, in the nineteenth century India, there was a religious saint by the name of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), who claimed to be the Promised Messiah of the prophecies. He proved from the Quran and other scriptures that Jesus had died, and declared, based on revealed knowledge from God, that the tomb known as the tomb of Yuz Asaf in Srinagar, Kashmir, is in reality that of Jesus [See, for example, Jesus in Heaven on Earth by Khwaja Nazir Ahmad, 1952, and Jesus died in Kashmir by A. Faber Kaiser, 1977.]. He argued that the prophecies about the second coming of Christ were not to be taken literally, but only referred to the advent of a person in the spiritual likeness and excellence of Jesus Christ. He claimed that God had revealed to him that he was that person -- the Promised Messiah. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad founded a Movement for the propagation of Islam which is represented by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam, Lahore.
As soon as Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to be the Promised Messiah, the floodgates of opposition and persecution opened against him and his followers. The majority of the Muslims, who had been waiting for the original Jesus, charged that he was laying claim to prophethood, an anathema to Muslims who believe that Prophet Muhammad (may peace and the blessings of Allah be on him) is the last and final Prophet. All his life, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad denied that he claimed prophethood and repeatedly reaffirmed his firm belief in the finality of prophethood with Prophet Muhammad. He pointed out to other Muslims the inconsistency of their belief in the finality of the Holy Prophet Muhammad's prophethood while at the same time waiting for Prophet Jesus to return.
Several years after Hazrat Mirza died, his son, Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, affirmed the accusation of his father's opponents by claiming that his father was, indeed, a prophet. This was an attack on the pure principles of Islam and a desertion from the teachings of Hazrat Mirza. On this basis, the Movement founded by Hazrat Mirza split into two. One group under the leadership of Hazrat Mirza's son, who was nineteen years old when his venerable father died and twenty-five at the time of the split in 1914, stayed on in Qadian, the ancestral town of Hazrat Mirza. They came to be known as Qadianis. The other group comprised Hazrat Mirza's closest companions, who had spent a lifetime under his tutelage, and knew fully well the beliefs of their spiritual mentor. They could not put up with the heretical claims of Hazrat Mirza's son, and left Qadian for Lahore, where they founded the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, to continue the work of their Master.
Throughout his adult life, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad wrote profusely on religious subjects in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu. His literary skills and knowledge of religions was admitted by even those who opposed him. In the India of those days, there was an onslaught against Islam by the Christian missionaries who sought to gain converts by attacking Islam and Prophet Muhammad. Hazrat Mirza's heart bled on hearing these false charges. Consequently, many of Hazrat Mirza's writings defended Islam against these charges and took the battle into the Christian missionaries' territory by showing the irrationality of Christian beliefs.
In 1897, a Christian convert from Islam by the name of Robert Sirajuddin, who later became prominent as a professor in Forman Christian College, Lahore, addressed four questions to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. These questions covered the topics of salvation, monotheism, love of God and God's love of humanity, and the light of the founders of Christianity and Islam. Hazrat Mirza's replies were published in a small book in Urdu called Sirajuddin 'Isa'i key char swalon ka jawab, (The Four Questions of the Christian Sirajuddin Answered). An English rendering of the original Urdu text is presented in this book.
Prior English translations of this book exist. I have an English translation by an unnamed translator. His translation style, as he states in the introduction, is to give, "as literal a translation as possible, the intention being to present to the reader the idiom and the working of a great master mind." I found the reading difficult and decided to translate from the Urdu text anew. Although I have relied in a few places on the existing translation, this work is my own, and I alone am responsible for any errors or shortcomings in the translation.
I would like to thank my spiritual mentor, the Amir (Head) of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, Hazrat Dr. Saeed Ahmad Khan, whose encouragement has given me the motivation to work for the religion of Allah.