Mirza the Linguist

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad made some wild claims and there were several occasions on which he really overstretched himself and left himself vulnerable to ridicule. One of those occasions was his patently absurd claim that “Arabic is the mother of all languages”. Rather than write about this at length, I’ll allow you to read the thoughts of one of his contemporaries, Griswold.

In the field of philology his ignorance and presumption are simply amazing, for example, the Arabic word خنزیر Khinzir. ‘Pig’, is explained as a compound of خنز Khinz ‘very foul’ and ار ar ‘I see’. Literally, then (‘I see it is very foul.’ and then he goes on to say: “But what is still more wonderful is that in Hindi this animal is known by the name of سؤر Suar, which is composed of two words سؤ su and ار ar; the latter part of the Arabic word: and the former, being the exact equivalent of the first part of the Arabic form. “Suar” is therefore an Arabic world.” (Rev. of Rel. March 1902, pp.99-100). On evidence such as this, is based the Mirza Sahibs greatest philological “discovery” that “Arabic is the mother of all languages,” (Id,p.100). The veriest tyro in comparative philology will recognize from this at once that the Mirza Sahib’s so-called philology bears about the same relation to a sound critical philology as astrology bears to astronomy, or alchemy to chemistry. The Mirza Sahib has made known to the world no less that three great discoveries – one “a revealed care for the Bubonic Plague.” another that Jesus Christ died in Cashmere and was buried there. “a new discovery which is one of the most important events in all annals of discoveries”, and the third that “Arabic is the mother of all languages.” this last being “one of the greatest discoveries of the age.” Verily the achievements of the Qadiani Savant are wonderful. In the matter of propounding startling theories, he has all the facility of a German scholar; and in the way in which he has advertised and pressed his claims, he has the push of a Nebraska ‘hustler’.”

The sarcasm literally bristles from the page. One wonders how anyone can believe that this man was anything less than an opportunist.

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23 thoughts on “Mirza the Linguist

  1. It seems that you find the esteemed Missionary, professor of philosophy, Presbyterian minister Hervey DeWitt Griswold to be a worthy sources of anti-ahmadiyya arguments.

    Arabic is the mother of all languages. It is a valid claim. Nowadays, scientists discuss the idea of “universal grammar”, a skill encoded in our genes to learn languages. These genes obviously were created by God, and God as you will agree, prefers Arabic.

  2. I would rather you see the jokes in my writing, then appreciating an Islamophobe for his “cutting” sarcasm. There is a long list of muslim authors who have written volumes against the Jamaat. Christian missionaries had to resort to arrogance to counter Ahmadiyya arguments. Despite writing a long tract, Griswold still advises his colleagues to ignore Ahmadiyya Jamaat, something that has been really difficult to do for all anti-ahmadis.

    • Hang on a minute, isn’t your motto “Love for All, Hatred for None”?

      1) I don’t appreciate an Islamophobe, but when a contemporary of Mirza speaks the truth, I have to respect that. It was embarrassing for Muslims that your founder, through his ignorance and bluster, left all Muslims vulnerable to ridicule by Christians, you can’t blame us for pointing that out.

      2) You lump “anti-Ahmadis” together, tarring everybody with the same brush, the tactic of the Islamophobes, whilst we are ordinary Muslims, protecting our deen from impostors and charlatans like Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.

      3) The Ahmadiyya are amongst the biggest Islamophobes around. You never miss an opportunity to delight in our misfortune or tar all of our `ulama as “dirty mullahs”, or imagine that Muslim children are murdered because they didn’t believe in Mirza.

      4) Christian missionaries resorted to arrogance, while you in another message, having run out of ideas, resort to petty insinuation. That is not the behaviour of a Muslim. Qur’an explicitly warns you to avoid backbiting, slander and suspicion, but it seems that denying finality of prophethood is not the only Qur’anic verse you ignore.

  3. Shahid,

    If you agree with the judeo-christian argument against the universality and perfection of God’s own language than I will leave you to it.

    • Standard Mirza Argumentation Technique Alert: First you were caught playing the man and not the ball, now you shift to the classic “widen the parameter of debate and smear through association” gambit. Who said I agree with Griswold on everything? If Griswold says white is white and black is black, I will agree with him. I might not like him, or agree with the rest of his pronouncements, but I won’t disagree with him on the truth. And whilst I don’t believe in your “prophet”, or with your style of defending him in the face of overwhelming evidence of his falsehood, there is a lot about you that I do like, despite your occasional and unbecoming foray into personal smear and gossip-mongering.

  4. Brother Shahid,

    If you enjoy the sarcasm of the respected Reverend, it is indeed a matter of your personal taste. But important thing is to analyze the factual content of his writing. In this writing the respected Reverend has chastised Mirza Sahib for three things. We need to look into that:

    1) Mirza Sahib did publish an advertisement in 1898 about plague. However, contrary to the respected Reverend’s claim, Mirza Sahib was not asserting that it was “the cure” for plague. The advertisement told people that the ointment Marham-e-Esa and another medicine were very useful in many symptoms of the plague. Mirza Sahib, before and after this advertisement, was always urging everyone to use all the help that was being offered by the government (including the vaccination that the government was offering). My feeling is that the respected Reverend did not like it because whenever Mirza Sahib would mention “Marham-e-Esa”, he would slip a sentence or two alluding to the fact that Jesus did not die on the cross and his wounds were treated with an ointment similar to that “Marham-e-Esa” .

    2) The story about Jesus’s travel to Kashmir is now getting attention. The secular researchers, who believe that Jesus did not die on the cross, do consider it as one of the many plausible theories. Indeed there are also many secular researcher who believe that Jesus died on the cross. I am sure if the respected Reverend was alive today, he would not have been as arrogant and dismissive about the Kashmir story as he seems in this writing.

    Brother Shahid, what is the opinion of the respected Reverend about the theory that when romans and jews were looking for Jesus, they actually caught an innocent man whose face was very much similar to Jesus and put him on the cross while the real Jesus was ascended to safety in heavens ? Probably not very sarcastic, i guess.

    3) The sound philology is not the only tool at the disposal of the linguists. The field of linguistics has gone through a revolution since the work of Chomsky. Chomskyan grammar and hierarchy has opened doors for new theories. As brother Lutf suggested, the linguists are indeed debating about the “universal grammar”.

    In my humble opinion, the jury is still out on this. The linguists are always working on interesting research ideas.


    I think tragedy is that like always there are not many muslim scholars in this field of research.

    • You started your comment with a silly assumption. It discredits the whole of your comment.

      Regardless of your odd assumption, the jury is not out – according to the consensus of linguists and philologists, Arabic was not the mother of all languages. Far from it.

      It’s odd don’t you think, that when it comes to completing the chain of prophet-hood, you ignore the primary, temporal meaning of the word, but when it comes to confirming your fake prophet Mirza’s weird claims about Arabic being the mother of all languages, with his embarrassingly amateurish reasoning, you are quick to attach importance to the temporal position of Arabic.

      Both you and Lutf are worried about Griswold. Why? Because he, a Christian Missionary, the very creature your Mirza allegedly came to destroy (whilst worshipping the Crown that brought that plague of imperialism there in the first place) destroys Mirza’s credibility in a cogent booklet. (Mirza would have called it a book, but then he called pamphlets as short as Seerat al-Abdaal a book – how many pages did that run to? Less than 16? Hmmm…Not as much of a scholar as you thought?) And Mirza’s patent absurdities left Muslim scholars all over India guilty by association with him. Griswold did have the grace it appears, to distinguish Mirza’s panegyrics for Queen Victoria from the prevalent Muslim position.

      Doesn’t it ever occur to you that Mirzaism is utterly bogus and ridiculous?

  5. It sounds bogus to me! Their whole family is a bunch of rich kids who have dupped over a million innocent punjabees.

  6. Shahid,

    Again you have jumpted to an assumption without doing proper research. If you think that by saying Arabic was the mother of all tongues, I believe that the first human being in Africa started speaking fluent Arabic than you are wrong.

    Humans were taught the skill to speak by God (Allamahul Bayaan) and this faculty developed over a long period of time, culminating in Arabic through the process of evolution. This “proto-semitic” language was around thousands of years ago.

    Languages evolve all the time, and Arabic is no exception. But its qualities and influence on all modern languages is very clear. I don’t know why you are so unimpressed by the Language of the Quran?

    • Now you’re using Mirzai debater tactic #78: When caught stealing, point at the person who caught you and cry “thief!”

    • This is getting boring Lutf. You are back to Mirzai debater tactic #78: ‘When caught stealing, point at the person who caught you and cry “thief!”‘

      You don’t respond to any substantial point. You make weak attempts to address peripheral issues. You steer the discussion to obscure areas. When you realise you are losing, you resort to ad hominem. This has ever been your style. How can I respond to some of your cheap tactics? You say I support Griswold. I answered that. You say I am unimpressed with Arabic. That’s a silly thing to say and takes the discussion nowhere. You indulge in petty insinuation. Why should I sink to that level? You confuse grammar with language and yet elsewhere, unbelievably, still defend “we can what we will do” despite my having proven it wrong grammatically. Well, English is not your first language, so that’s not a surprise. Don’t get me wrong, your English is about as good as mine, but a native speaker would just get it. So many places you take arguments to dead ends using debating gimmicks. I usually trusted you in the past and gave you the benefit of the doubt. In all these years you have not returned the sincerity. Why?

      You’re a good man. I know you are. I respect you, despite your odd lapse. I just don’t get it. Why are you clinging so irrationally to this really quite obviously false person in the face of a mountain of evidence? Is it family? Social ties? Or is it the fortress you’ve built to shield your ego? What?

      Why do you stay silent on all the tricky subjects? Please don’t answer these questions publicly. They’re rhetorical. I’m asking because I care about you. Because I know you could be an asset to the ummah and I know that if you drop the hubris, you have the capacity to be a leader.

      Look into your soul and face some of the tricky subjects, squarely. You know, the ones you’ve been avoiding. Quit with your debating devices and engage properly. Use a different nickname for all I care.

  7. Shahid, I am not playing a game here. You bring forward a “proof” that Ahmadiyya beliefs are wrong, and I try to answer you. Its simple. Now tell me one thing. When you posted the excerpt from the tract by Griswold, did you think that just the fact that a Christian scholar wrote it will qualify it as a “proof”. Or, yu thought that the arguments within the text had some truth in them?

    I mistakenly took this post as an invitation to discuss the text itself and not some imaginary game you seem to be playing here.

    • Erm, no, it wasn’t a “proof”. “Proof” has been given long before I was born my friend.

      The Griswold quote shows two things:
      1) That Mirza’s spurious claim based on schoolboy reasoning caused him to be an embarrassment to all Indians in the face of the Christian missionary onslaught. It could potentially have been embarrassing to Muslims too, but as I said, Griswold is gracious enough to accept that Mirza was seen by his Muslim peers as a heretic. In this case, Muslims escaped the backlash, but in other cases, especially before Mirza became an out and out heretic, this was not the case. I hope you now realise through your studies that the missionary onslaught was met with far less vitriol and much more intelligence by Mirza’s superior Muslim predecessors?

      2) That in spite of my differences with Griswold on Islam, his observations on Mirza were for the most part, spot on. I’m not so much holding up Mirza’s claim to scrutiny as I am his methodology. I think you can see that, but you keep insisting on attacking the strawman. Mirza was out of his depth here, reasoning like a schoolboy. This was his style. On the one hand he would claim prophecy, but on the other, he would try to use his limited reason to back that all up. Nonsense and a giveaway clue to the fact that he was a charlatan.

      One cannot read Mirza’s “reasoning” on Arabic being the “mother of all tongues” and your (more intellectual) contortions to justify a potential universal grammar as proof for Mirza’s claim.

      Your scrambling about trying to equate an evolved language, which you admit now was not the first, therefore not the root, with an innate universal grammar is just fallacious and disingenuous.

      Now, can I see you address some other points too please?

  8. Since you have just equated universal grammar with the grammar taught in schools, I must ask you to read up on this idea a bit further.

    And you have yet to answer my question about the origin of languages.

    If God taught Adam all the nouns, and Bayan, then what language was it?

    Of you can come clean and say that you don’t believe God taught man how to speak.

    Besides, your colleagues on this website have expressed doubts about the quality of Arabic used in Quran..

    • It’s no use Lutf. You are using shallow debating techniques without addressing the issue. You have answered none of my questions and you have singularly failed to defend your prophet’s schoolboy reasoning. Look at the passage by Griswold. Address that. Stop playing games, it’s a waste of time and Allah will ask you on the day of judgement why you were so keen on leading people astray and so disinterested in holding Mirza’s nonsense to the light of reason.

  9. Well done Shahid Kamal, you are doing a great job. Qadianis are being held in a dark cave by their crooked leadership, all they need to do is turn around and look at the light behind them at the entrance of the cave and find their way out.
    But their leaders who are uneducated in islamic sciences and are led by the shaytan, prevent the followers from studying and learning about true Islam.
    because they are bleeding them dry of their money.
    wake up qadianis, you are in a cult and if you stay in it you will probably go to hell!
    go on you tube and watch some really scholars like Shaykh Hamza Yusuf or Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad you will see what real islamic scholars are, instead of that leader of your mafia.

  10. @ lutf, you are a very clever man… you have made it a habit to avoid the issues, did Masroor teach you that?

    The arabic that was employed in the Quran is perfect. Is that what you wanted to hear? Does that solve the equation if MGA is true or not? Is that the most important reason that you post here?

    Can you answer as to if Mahmud Ahmad actually raped the son of Misri? Can you answer as to why Mahmud altered the rules of the anjuman just 1 month into his khilafat? Can you answer as to why Mahmud married for the second time just month into his khilafat?

    • He’s clever, sure, but he’s only using his cleverness to deceive. He’s just using the bag of stock debating tricks from the Ahmadiyya pocket book. He dare not focus on Mirza, because his prophet is indefensible by any standard.

  11. Arabic is no doubt the mother of all languages but i think Mr Shahid you are anti Isalmic thats why you support a chrstian. Carry on with your foolishness you only write absurd articles based on your personal hate for us.

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