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Articles Section > Sir Muhammad Iqbal and the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement by Shahid Aziz Sahib

Sir Muhammad Iqbal and the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement:
by Shahid Aziz Sahib

Some people have expressed doubts about the authenticity of the incidents which this jamaat has related to show that Iqbal did not regard members of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement as heretics. I give below what Justice Javed Iqbal, his son, says in his biography of Iqbal. This book is written in Urdu under the name Zinda Rood and published by Sheikh Ghulam Ali and Sons in Pakistan. Some of the quotations were originally in English and were translated into Urdu for the book. I have retranslated them back into English. This may mean that, for some such quotations, there is a difference between the actual English text and what I have quoted.

Javed Iqbal does not Dispute the Following Incidents:

"1: In 1900 C.E., Iqbal wrote a research article in English under the title ‘The Concept of Absolute Divine Unity put Forward by Sheikh Abdul Karim al-Jili’ which was published in the Bombay journal Indian Antiquary in which, speaking of the founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, he said that, from among the Indian Muslims of the present age, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani was probably the greatest religious thinker."

"2: In 1909 C.E., for solution of some problems of Islamic law, Iqbal turned to Maulana Hakim Nur-ud-Din and Iqbal’s questions, together with Maulana Hakim Nur-ud-Din’s answers were published in the paper Al-Hakm dated 21st December 1909 C.E."

"3: In 1910 C.E., he read a research paper in English titled ‘Muslim Community’, a large part of which was translated into Urdu by Maulana Zafar Ali Khan under the heading Millat bayza pay ik imrani nazar, in the M.A.O. College Aligarh’s Strachey Hall. In that paper, speaking of the Jamaat-i Ahmadiyya, he had said that, in Punjab, the pure example of Islamic characteristics has appeared in form of the jamaat which is called the Qadiani sect."

[Note by the Webmaster: As this incident occurred in 1910, 4 years before the split of the Ahmadiyya Movement into the Qadiani and Lahori groups, thus when Iqbal uses the term 'Qadiani sect' in the above reference, he is referring to the Ahmadiyya Movement which was located at Qadian at that time, and not the Qadiani branch of the Ahmadiyya Movement established in 1914.]

"4: In 1911 C.E., Iqbal sent his son Aftab Ahmad, who was getting his education in a missionary school in Sialkot, to Qadian and had him admitted to the Talim-ul-Islam school, there."

"5: In 1913 C.E., Iqbal needed a decision from Islamic law in relation to some personal matter ... He sent Mirza Jallal-ud-Din to Maulana Hakim Nur-ud-Din in Qadian to ask ..."

"6: On 7th April 1932 C.E., he wrote to Chaudry Muhammad Ahsan: ‘As for the Ahmadiyya Movement, so far as I am concerned, there are many people in the Lahore jamaat whom I regard as honourable Muslims and I sympathise with their efforts to propagate Islam ..."

(Pages 920–923.)

Javed Iqbal accepts that these incidents are true.

Evidence that Iqbal did not Consider Lahori Ahmadis to be Kafirs:

The First Incident:
On 8th November 1927 C.E., the British Government announced the appointment of a constitutional commission under Sir John Simon. The commission did not have any Indians as its member. The question whether Muslims should co-operate with such a body split the Muslim League in two. Iqbal held meetings with many Muslim leaders to discuss and to try and resolve the situation. Javed Iqbal refers to a joint statement issued by Iqbal on 8th December 1927 C.E. on page 522 saying:

"But Iqbal, together with some other Muslim leaders, issued on 8th December 1927 C.E., the following statement ..."

Muhammad Hanif Shahid gives the names of these "other leaders" in his book Allama Iqbal aur Quaid-i Azam kay siyasi nazriyat. He says:

"Allama Iqbal was in favour of co-operating with the commission. In support of co-operation with the commission, he published a statement with five Muslim leaders, Nawab Sir Zulfiqar Ali — member of Majlis-i Hind, Allama Iqbal — member of Punjab Majlis, Nawab Sir Abdul Qayyum Khan — member of Majlis-i Hind, Mian Abdul Hai — member of Majlis-i Hind, Syed Rajan Shah — member of Majlis-i Hind, Maulvi Muhammad Ali, Amir of Jamaat Ahmadiyya, on 8th December 1927 C.E. ..." (Page 113.)

The Second Incident:
The fact that Iqbal did not include members of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement in his demand that Qadianis should be declared to be heretics is proven by the fact that Lahori Ahmadis, such as Hazrat Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig, who was also the honorary Secretary General of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, were not asked to resign from the management committee of the Anjuman Himayat-i Islam. However, on 2nd February 1936 C.E., on a proposal by Iqbal, the General Council of the Anjuman Himayat-i Islam put forward a resolution that Finality of Prophethood is a fundamental principle of Islam and that all its members believe in it. Hazrat Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig supported this motion. Upon this some members then tried to add further conditions to this motion. This led to angry arguments and Hazrat Dr. sahib walked out in protest. This led to his suffering a stroke and passing away a few days later. On Dr. sahib’s death The Light wrote an editorial in which Dr. Iqbal was accused of calling Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig a kafir. In reply, the weekly Himayat-i Islam wrote: "Read the proceedings and be reasonable … where and when did our respected President demand that Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig was a kafir and his expulsion from the Anjuman is extremely necessary ..." (Pages 895–898.) Thus until this time Iqbal did not call Lahori Ahmadis kafirs. Indeed, when The Light, the organ of Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-i-Islam accuses him of so doing, Himayat-i Islam, the organ of the organisation of which Iqbal was the President, denied this charge.

The Third Incident:
This is further supported by the following facts. Quaid-i Azam visited Lahore on 29th April 1936 C.E. to set up the Muslim League’s Parliamentary Board in the Punjab. He met Dr. Iqbal, leaders of the Ahrar movement and those of Itihad-i Millat. Ahrar told Quaid-i Azam that they would only agree to join the Muslim League’s Parliamentary Board on condition that Qadianis were barred from joining the Muslim League. Quaid-i Azam made no such promise (Allama Iqbal aur Quaid-i Azam kay Siyasi Nazriyat by Muhammad Hanif Shahid, pages 213–226.) There is no evidence to show that Iqbal tried to persuade him to do so.

An Interesting Conclusion from Iqbal’s Writings:
On page 886 of Zinda Rood it is said: "In Tuluh-i Islam dated October 1935 C.E., Nazir Niazi, putting light on this problem, gave extracts from some of Iqbal’s writings where he had discussed the two parts of prophethood. That is, prophethood as a special status of spirituality and prophethood as an institution which, by creating a new atmosphere, becomes the cause of political and social change in mankind. According to Iqbal, if both parts are present then it is prophethood and if only the first part is present then it is tasawwuf or sainthood. Iqbal wrote: ‘The Finality of Prophethood means that if some person, after Islam, claims that both parts of prophethood are found in me, that is that I receive revelation and one not entering my jamaat is a heretic, that person is a liar.’"

On 15th May 1908 C.E., a few days before Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad passed away, he said: "We believe that the Divine Converse with the people of this ummah shall continue till the Last Day ..." (Malfuzat, vol. 10, page 373.) Then, in answer to a direct question regarding those reciters of the Kalima who had not joined his jamaat, he clearly said: "We do not say that any reciter of the Kalima is excluded from Islam." (Malfuzat, vol. 10, page 376.)

This shows that according to Iqbal’s own definition Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a saint.

A New Objection and its Answer:
Our critics tell us that only an Islamic religious court can take decisions in matters related to the religion of Islam. The question then arises: If this is correct, why did Iqbal appeal to the British Government of India to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims? When members of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam point to this contradiction, we are told that if Muslims living under non-Muslim rule unanimously decide on a matter they can approach the government and request it to give their decision legal force.

The first statement Iqbal made against the Ahmadiyya Movement was printed in the newspapers in 1935 C.E. The Statesman published it on 14th May 1935 C.E. In it, Iqbal concluded that the best way forward for the rulers of India is to declare Ahmadis a separate religious sect.

There was much criticism of Iqbal throughout India for making such a statement. The Statesman wrote a long article against this. In reply to this article Iqbal wrote a letter to the newspaper and said that it was "the duty of the British Government to take note of fundamental differences between Muslims and Ahmadis without waiting for a formal request from Muslims." (Pages 883–884.)

Here Iqbal is demanding that, contrary to the claim by our critics, the British Government of India should take the initiative and declare Ahmadis as a separate religious sect without waiting for a formal request from the Muslims. Iqbal is thus asking a non-Muslim government to decide who is, and who is not, a Muslim!

This page was printed from the 'Official Website of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at-e-Islam Lahore (Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam)'
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