The Scholarship of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad al-Qadiani

Guest Contribution by Muhammed Khan

There is a lively debate happening on the internet, between Muslims and Ahmadis, on the important topic of the finality of prophethood. The Muslim position is that there is no nabi (prophet) or rasul (messenger) after the Prophet Muhammed صلى الله عليه و سلم. This belief is held by Muslims throughout the world, from Morocco to Indonesia, from Bosnia to South Africa. The Ahmadis on the other hand tell us that we have got it wrong- that we are misguided. Ahmadis tell us that the Prophet Muhammed (saw) is not the last prophet. Muslim ‘mullahs,’ say the Ahmadis, are ignorant, insincere, misguided, backward and corrupt. Therefore they cannot or will not arrive at the right conclusion, but the evidence is there for all to see.

So who is right? The entire Muslim world or the murabbis? There is one way we can decide. Let us take someone who Ahmadis believe to be sincere, righteous, upright and the most learned man of his time, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. That’s right, let us use the research and conclusion of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani to arbitrate between Muslims and Ahmadis.

Ahmadis believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the most learned man of the 14th century, they believe that he was so righteous and so learned that he achieved what no other human being in history achieved: He became a prophet through his personal rigorous effort.

So what did Mirza Ghulam Ahmad have to say after he examined the evidences stated in the Qur’an, hadith and Ijma‘ (scholarly consensus) about the subject of finality of prophethood?

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani made the following two statements which summarise his conclusions:

  • “I believe in all the items of faith as prescribed by the Sunni School of Islam and I accept everything that is according to the Quran and Hadith.  I fully subscribe to the doctrine that Muhammad is the last of all Prophets, and that any claimant to Prophethood after him is an impostor and a Kafir. It is my belief that the revelations of Prophethood started with Adam and closed with the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)”.
    (Majmuha-Estaharet, P. 230-231; Tableegh-i-Risalat, Vol 2, Page 20 –
  • Also appeared in a Qadiani poster dated Oct 2, 1891; 20 Shaaban, 1313 A.H.)
    “I consider that man who rejects the doctrine of Last Prophethood is a disbeliever and outside the pale of Islam.”
    (Tableegh-i-Risalat, Vol 2, Page 44 – Also read out in Congregation of Jama Masjid, Dehli, Oct. 23, 1891)

As you can quite clearly see that after years of learning and study, the most sincere, pious and learned man, according to Ahmadiyya, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani studied the Qur’an and hadith and came to the exact same conclusion as the rest of the Muslim world, that anyone who claims prophethood after the Prophet Muhammed صلى الله عليه و سلم is a liar and apostate.

It is worth pointing out that both Lahori and Qadiani Ahmadis do not dispute these statements but the two groups present us with two interpretations. The Lahori Ahmadis claim that these statements prove that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani did not claim to be a prophet and therefore these statements support their position very clearly. Unfortunately the Lahori Ahmadi position is not very credible in light of all Mirza’s other statements, where he describes himself as being a prophet. Even if this was merely a metaphor, as the Lahoris claim, this was an extremely irresponsible thing to do.

Are Lahori Ahmadis happy to accept that Mirza’s statements are directly responsible for the misguidance of thousands of Qadiani Ahmadis who believe he was a prophet and therefore removing themselves from the fold of Iman? That would be quite an achievement, given that Lahori Ahmadis are tiny in number compared to Qadiani Ahmadis. It means that Mirza sahib has misguided a larger number of his own followers away from Islam than towards a correct understanding of Islam, which is nothing short of a spectacular failure.

Now we turn our attention to the second party, the Qadiani Ahmadis who believe that when Mirza sahib made the above statements, (that he adhered to the Sunni beliefs, that there was no prophet after Prophet Muhammed صلى الله عليه و سلم and whoever held such beliefs was an apostate) he was unaware that he was going to be appointed a prophet in the future. The Qadiani Ahmadis tell us that since he was not aware that he was going to be appointed a prophet by God in the future his statements are not unreasonable.

At this point we ask Qadiani Ahmadis some questions;

  • Do you believe that Mirza sahib was a sane and intelligent man when he made those statements?
  • Do you believe that he was the most learned scholar on the earth not just in his life time but in the fourteenth century?
  • Do you believe that he had a firm grasp of the sciences, beliefs and principles of the Islamic faith?

The response from Ahmadi lay people, Jamia students, Murabbis and Khalifas to these questions is a resounding, “YES!” Ahmadis tell us “Mirza sahib was and is the most learned man in the fourteenth century, and the Muslim scholars (mullahs) who were his contemporaries and those after, are ignorant and insignificant in learning compared to the ‘Promised Messiah’ Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani.”

So we ask Ahmadis, how is it possible that a man with such immense learning, religious worship and devotion to God could arrive at the exact same (‘deviated and erroneous’) belief as the entire orthodox muslim world held?

How can a man, whose learning is so great that he is endowed with prophethood, not reach the ‘correct’ conclusion that there are going to be prophets after Prophet Muhammed صلى الله عليه و سلم? He had the intelligence, the devotion, insight and access to all the primary sources of Islam law yet arrived at a position of complete ‘error and misguidance’.

You see it is immaterial to the argument that Mirza sahib at that point was unaware that he was going to be a prophet, the point is that given his deep learning, insight, sincerity and the ‘overwhelming proofs’ from the Quran and hadith that Ahmadis tell us exist, he should have still arrived at the conclusion that THERE WILL BE prophets after the Prophet Muhammed صلى الله عليه و سلم and the fact of the matter is that he did not arrive at this conclusion.

We can understand that he would have been unaware that he himself was going to be appointed a prophet in the future, BUT, that does not prevent him arriving at the conclusion from his research that prophets WILL come after the Prophet Muhammed صلى الله عليه و سلم.

If he could not reach that conclusion, that there will be prophets after Prophet Muhammed صلى الله عليه و سلم what was the reason? Did he have a lack of intelligence? Or was he Ignorant? Or was he insincere?

In fact Mirza sahib’s fatwa demonstrates that the entire Muslim world (including Mirza sahib) held the belief that there is no prophet or messenger after Muhammed صلى الله عليه و سلم because that is exactly what the evidences, the primary sources of Islam (Quran, hadith and Ijma) demonstrate.

Ahmadis keep telling us that Sunni Islamic scholars are misguided from the true understanding of Islam, they dismiss them as ignorant and backward and they believe that it is because of these reasons that they have arrived at the wrong conclusions and fatwas. Yet if we take Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani as a litmus test, then we find that his conclusion was exactly the same as Orthodox Muslim scholars,  that there is no Prophet after Sayiddina Muhammed صلى الله عليه و سلم and whoever rejects this, has left the fold of Islam.

Ahmadis, how is that possible?

The truth is that the primary sources of Islam are unambiguous there are no Prophets or Messengers after Sayyidina Muhammed صلى الله عليه و سلم and you don’t need ‘mullahs’ to tell you that!