100 Years Ago… – The case of nikah and hostility against Ahmadis, Malabar

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Al Hakam, 21 October 1920

On 7, 8 and 9 October [1920], the nikah case [of Ahmadis] was heard by Mr VP Rao, a Hindu district judge of North Malabar, Tellicherry [now Thalassery]. A detailed letter in English has been sent to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih by our secretary and another letter has been written to the nazir of umur-e-ama.

The defendants claimed that the plaintiff had given divorce and to prove this, they presented three testimonies which all went awry. On the other hand, their second claim was that since [the plaintiff ] Ahmadi had become a kafir [disbeliever] and an apostate, a second nikah [marriage of his wife] could take place without any divorce.

Five testimonies were given by them to substantiate this claim, out of which four witnesses appeared except for Maulvi Kanji Pangari. Below are the names of those four men:

1. Qazi Assistant Mr Muhammad Ghaus Madrasi

2. M Husainar Clerk Walkart Office, Kannur

3. Maulvi Bawa of Punanai, successor of Makhdoom of Punanai

4. Maulvi Kapat Omar Shazli

The witness M Husainar submitted a fatwa of Madrasi Qazi al-Quzat in the court and also presented a letter from the government lawyer of Madras High Court.

When the third and fourth witnesses were about to appear, there was such laughter in the court that no one could control it. I do not want to write anything in detail because Ahmadis of Malabar are facing great trouble. All of the above witnesses were questioned by our lawyer, i.e. the government’s lawyer, and after cross-examining, all the testimonies were proved false.

The lawyer was of the opinion that the dispute of kufr [disbelief] and Islam could not take place in that court. If the opposing party wants to prove that, then the judgement of the Patna High Court alone is complete and decisive. There is a saying in English, “Man proposes [and] God disposes.”

Thereafter, the case swung in another direction. On the last day, i.e. 9 [October 1920], the defense debate began. The opposing party’s lawyer did not emphasise on divorce as much as he stressed on kufr and Islam. He tried to prove us as kafir by presenting excerpts of the Promised Messiahas from the book, [The Philosophy of the] Teachings of [Islam] Ahmadiyya [sic]. Then, he began to highlight the righteousness of Qazi Madrasi, etc.

Our public prosecutor responded to the opposing party’s objections through the same book. The judge then asked the assessors [an official who is called upon for advice, typically by a judge] to give their opinion. The assessors, who were Hindus, said, “There is no proof regarding the claim of divorce, but as the [plaintiff ] Ahmadi has renounced Islam, the second nikah [remarriage of his wife without divorce] is valid and the accused are not guilty.”

The verdict was to be announced on 12 [October 1920], and we have heard that the [plaintiff ] Ahmadi was declared kafir according to the judgement passed on the said date and the accused have been acquitted.

Our people did not go to Tellicherry that day because the lawyer had advised us so [due to the hostile situation over there]. We were mocked in many ways for several days and if we had gone there on the day of verdict, we would have be killed.

Such is the condition of opposition of the people of that place. Surely, Allah is the protector of everything.

Humbly yours, Hamid, Kannur

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