100 Years Ago… – Khan Bahadur Sher Jang testifies to the spread of Ahmadiyyat


Al Fazl, 14 March 1924

Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIra mentioned a letter of a non-Ahmadi British official in his Friday Sermon of 29 February 1924, as published in the 15 March 2024 issue of Al Hakam.

This letter was sent by a soldier-surveyor in the British Indian Army, Khan Bahadur Sher Jang Khan. He narrated some of his personal accounts about the global spread of Ahmadiyyat to Syed Abdul Haye Sahib. Sometime later, Maulvi Rahim Bakhsh Sahib went to Mansoori, Iran, and Syed Abdul Haye Sahib shared the testimony of Sher Jang Khan with him. Hearing those profound chronicles, Rahim Baksh Sahib suggested to Syed Abdul Haye Sahib that Sher Jang Khan put in writing the incidents he had spoken about.

Upon the request of Syed Abdul Haye Sahib, Khan Bahadur Sher Jang Khan, stationed at Masjed Soleyman, Iran, wrote some of his first-hand narratives about the progress of Ahmadiyyat in foreign countries. The summary of this letter is presented below for the information of our readers. — (Editor, Al Hakam)

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During the years 1900–1902, Khan Bahadur Sher Jang Khan travelled to Iran and visited towns Bushehr, Bandar Abbas, Shiraz, etc. He came across Shia and Babi adherents. He also encountered followers of Ahl-e-Sunnat wal Jama‘ah. By then, he was unaware of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. Later on, he learned about Ahmadiyyat but did not convert.

Sher Jang Khan regretted hearing exaggerated religious tales and learning that certain Babis abandoned the Holy Quran. He also observed that the Iranian Shiites, as well as many other Muslims worldwide, were oblivious to the fundamental principles of Islam.

Khan Bahadur Sher Jang went to Iran again in 1906-07. He journeyed to Sistan, Kerman, Shahrebabak, Shiraz, etc. During this trip, the people of Shiraz enquired a lot about the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, but unfortunately, as he was not well-acquainted with the Jamaat by then, he could not give a comprehensive answer.


In 1902, Sher Jang Khan journeyed to Abyssinia and met a king there, who was curious about his origin. The people there were largely of the ancient Christian faith, with few Muslims, completely unaware of their religion. During his journey through the jungles of Abyssinia, Sher Jang and his team were assisted by the brother of a king there, who professed admiration for him. A conversation with him shifted to a lost book, handed to them by their late spiritual leader, but devoured by a cow. Sher Jang Khan was also informed about a prophecy of their saint regarding the discovery of their lost teachings in a distant city named “Qudi”, situated to the northeast. Sher Jang assessed that India was located to the northeast of where he was positioned. Later, he understood that “Qudi” alluded to Qadian.


Towards the end of 1903 and through the year 1904, Khan Bahadur Sher Jang journeyed to Tibet. He visited Gyantse, Paryang, and Lhasa. There were few Muslims in that region, but the majority of the people were Buddhists, and there were a lot of idolaters as well. In Lhasa, Sher Jang met some Muslims; they were merchants by profession, who traded goods in China and Kashmir.

Some Chinese Muslims also met Sher Jang Khan. One day, they enquired of him about Hazrat Ahmadas. On another occasion, a captain of the Chinese [ship] asked him about Hazrat Ahmad’sas age, wisdom, lineage and claims. Sher Jang replied with annoyance, expressing why they kept mentioning Hazrat Ahmad[as] when the clerics criticised him and called him a disbeliever. The Chinese captain accused Sher Jang Khan of being prejudiced and enquired whether their Imam Mahdi would be human or take on another shape upon arrival, clarifying the nature of the Promised Messiah’s claim. Soon after, their conversation came to an end.

Arab states

In the year 1905 and later part of 1906, Sher Jang travelled to Iraq, Muscat, Oman, and a part of Najd. He disembarked in Bushehr and went to Kuwait. Sher Jang travelled from Kuwait to Bahrain, then Muscat. The Sultan of Muscat granted him permission to see the interior of Oman.

Scholar of Arabic

One day, a person of saintly appearance came to Sher Jang Khan and asked him through an interpreter, “Where are you from?” Sher Jang replied that he was a resident of Afghanistan. The said person had a small magazine in his hand, and he said, “Have you seen Mirza Ahmad[as]? How far does he live from you?” Sher Jang said he had not seen him and that he lived far away from him. Then, the noble elder said, “I am a scholar of Arabic, but it is not within the power of a human being to write such words as Mirza Ahmad[as] has written in this magazine. Rather, it has been written with special help and succour from God. I have read the words of great Arab scholars, but I have not witnessed such an impactful writing. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough wealth and don’t know the Hindi language, and my feeble mother will not allow me to go. Otherwise, I would surely have visited Mirza Ahmad[as]. If Allah the Almighty grants me the opportunity, I intend to visit him.” Sher Jang Khan narrates that the people kept talking to this saintly man about Hazrat Ahmad[as] for a long time.

Khan Bahadur Sher Jang suggested that it would be better for the people there if Arabic literature of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat was distributed among them, and he regretted that only a few scholars of the Arabic language were left in that region.


In 1907, Sher Jang Khan received an order to reach the military office in Shimla. After leaving his luggage at the company lodges, he proceeded to the office and enquired if any Indians lived there. Sher Khan was informed about Maulvi Khuda Baksh Sahib. He met Maulvi Sahib, who welcomed him cordially and asked him, “How are you, Sher Jang?” He was curious as to how Maulvi Sahib knew his name. He later learned that before his arrival, Allah the Almighty had shown him Sher Jang’s face in a dream, and Khuda Baksh Sahib had already told people about his arrival. Sher Jang Khan narrates that he felt welcomed in their company and they showed great hospitality. By then, he was unaware that he was in the company of Ahmadis. Later on, some Muslims cautioned him to stay away from Ahmadis, but his regard for Ahmadis grew even stronger after their warning.


In 1909-10, Khan Bahadur Sher Jang travelled to the Kurram Valley in Afghanistan. One day, he camped in a village of the Mangal tribe, close to the Afghan border. An ignorant Mangal came to him at night and enquired if he was an Ahmadi. Sher Khan became worried that if they found out he was an Ahmadi, they could hurt him. However, the Mangal relieved him of his worry, telling him not to worry as Ahmadis made up the majority of his village’s population. However, a large number of them were ignorant of how to pray, and they were also reluctant to make the call for prayer, fearing that the said practice might spread diseases to their animals.

When asked how they converted to Ahmadiyyat, he told Sher Khan that a Syed, who was stoned to death, preached to them and convinced them to become Ahmadis. Sher Jang Khan narrated that the Mangal also told him the Syed’s name; “Maybe it was ‘Latif’.”

Third visit to Iran

From 1913 to 1915, Khan Bahadur Sher Jang Khan travelled across several countries, including Iran. After travelling through several cities, including Urmia, Lahijan, etc., Sher Jang finally crossed Mount Qaf and reached Mount Ararat.

During the religious discussions he had with Arabs, Iranians and Turks on this trip, Sher Jang Khan was frequently asked about the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. However, he was unable to offer specific details since he did not have a thorough knowledge and insight on the teaching of Ahmadiyyat.


In the city of Beyazid, the head jurist and other locals expressed interest in learning about Indian Muslims, particularly regarding Hazrat Ahmad’s[as] claims. They wanted to know if Ahmadis followed the Islamic sharia and how they offered prayers. Sher Khan clarified misunderstandings over Ahmadis being classified as non-believers. Then, the qazi of the city asked for a book of Ahmad[as], but Sher Jang Khan expressed regret for not being able to present any.

Russian General

In Baku, Khan Bahadur Sher Jang met a Russian Muslim who was a colonel. He was a resident of the Caucasus. The Russian colonel started speaking via an interpreter and wanted to know all the details about Hazrat Ahmad[as]. He enquired of Sher Jang if he knew Ahmad[as] or not. He was of the view that the entire Afghanistan and India had joined the Jamaat of Ahmad[as]. When Sher Khan expressed obliviousness, the Colonel was surprised and stated it was odd that someone from a nation where a spiritual leader of Islam appeared was so ill-informed. Sher Jang questioned him about the source of his knowledge. He belonged to the Caucasus state of Dagestan. Some Bukharan traders came there and imparted Hazrat Ahmad’s[as] teachings to him.


Sher Jang Khan then met [a Turk, Arsalan] Silat Pasha, who was a very charismatic person and considered as the leader of Kurdistan. Silat Pasha exchanged views, manifesting great knowledge and profound acquaintance with Ahmadiyyat. Silat Pasha also enquired keenly about Hazrat Ahamd[as]. Sher Jang expressed his ignorance on the subject, but Pasha Sahib asked a lot of questions and showed strong interest. Silat Pasha also shared that he was imprisoned by the Turks at an early age and then by the Russians later on.

Soon after the meeting with Sher Khan, rumours circulated that Silat Pasha had been brought to Moscow and placed under arrest by the Russians once again.

Second meeting with Silat Pasha

Khan Bahadur Sher Jang then travelled extensively before returning to India. He was ordered to proceed to Mosul and subsequently, Urmia to meet Silat Pasha, who had just been freed from Russian custody.

At first, Sher Jang Khan was unable to recognise Silat Pasha due to the impact of hardships he faced during imprisonment. Upon confirmation, the two had a great time sitting and conversing all evening. Sher Khan spent a month with him, and Silat Pasha brought up the subject of Ahmadiyyat multiple times, and he even reprimanded him for not bringing any book [of the Promised Messiahas]. Sher Jang Khan replied, “I had not the slightest idea that I would meet you again.” He had some distinguished elders sitting in his company one day, including religious jurists. On this occasion, Silat Pasha gave a speech in praise of Hazrat Ahmadas.

Visits to various cities

After that, Khan Bahadur Sher Jang went to Baghdad and made his way to Aman. He then crossed the border and travelled to Taweelah Sharif to visit Syed Hussam al-Din’s sacred court. Syed Hussam asked Sher Jang about the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat.

After some days, Sher Jang was ordered to survey the Iranian border. He travelled with a well-respected official who had been assigned by the Iranian government. During their work, they stopped at a number of locations, including, Basra, Qasreshirin, Sendal, etc., and the distinguished officer frequently talked about Hazrat Ahmad[as]. Finally, they travelled to Tehran. Sher Khan told him that though he was not an Ahmadi, he respected their devotion to the teachings of Islam and that, Ahmadis were humble Muslims without an iota of arrogance. The official was delighted to hear that and expressed that he knew some Iranian merchants who visited India often, and he got information about Hazrat Ahmad[as] from them.

Later, on his way back, Sher Jang Khan made another visit to the honourable Syed Hussam al-Din’s sacred place. There, he had the privilege of meeting a great elder, Syed Ahmad Afghani. Syed Ahmad also enquired of him about Hazrat Ahmadas.

Turk revenue officer

Sher Jang Khan travelled to Panjwai and stayed at the residence of a revenue officer, who was an ex-Major of Turkey. He frequently enquired of Sher Khan about the Ahmadiyya Jamaat.

Khan Bahadur Sher Jang then went to Sardasht and met a person named Humayun Mirza at the residence of a customs officer. On more than one occasion, Humayun Mirza asked Sher Khan about Hazrat Ahmad[as] but he could not give much information because of his busy schedule.

Third meeting with Silat Pasha

Khan Bahadur Sher Jang Khan received a letter from the leader of Kurdistan, Silat Pasha, requesting that he visit his place. Silat Pasha expressed his eagerness to meet him. Sher Khan went there and met him. After the formal greetings, Silat Pasha asked, “What have you brought for me?” Sher Khan’s response was, “I have brought musk [fragrance] for you.” “Have you brought any books of Hazrat Ahmad[as] or not?” Silat Pasha asked. Sher Jang Khan became silent, and then Silat Pasha went on to enquire of him if he went to the markaz [centre] of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat in India.


Sher Jang Khan was ordered to visit Rajputana in 1922 and 1923; he travelled to places where no British surveyor had gone before and there was little chance that they could visit such places.

Khan Bahadur Sher Jang reached Jaisalmer and travelled across the desert. He stopped at different water reservoirs and met people who knew nothing about Islam but called themselves Muslims. Most of the people there sought information and enquired of him about the Ahmadiyya Jamaat.

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