Coming from every distant track: Founder of Zamindar newspaper, Maulvi Sirajuddin’s meeting with Hazrat Ahmad


A series looking at the high standard of morals of the Promised Messiahas and his Khulafa when receiving visitors

Awwab Saad Hayat, Al Hakam
Sialkot, British India

A study of various sources on the history of Ahmadiyyat detail that in 1877, when Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas was still leading a quiet life in Qadian and had not yet made his claim of being the Messiah, a famous journalist of the subcontinent, a political leader, father of the poet Zafar Ali Khan and founder of the Zamindar newspaper, Maulvi Sirajuddin visited Qadian. Mirza Muwahid Baig Sahib Jalandhari was also with him. 

Maulvi Sirajuddin Sahib’s stay was very brief; however, the deep and profound impression Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian had on him in the short meeting lasted for the rest of Maulvi Sirajuddin Sahib’s life. In fact, Maulvi Sirajuddin used to meet Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas while he lived in Sialkot, where Hazrat Ahmadas spent some time in his youth. Hazrat Ahmad’sas life was very selfless and pure, and it was appreciated and remembered even by those individuals who, for some reason, later did not accept his claim. For example, Maulvi Sirajuddin published his personal experience of meeting with Hazrat Ahmadas in the Zamindar newspaper after the demise of Hazrat Ahmadas. Maulvi Sirajuddin wrote:

“Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib was a official record keeper in Sialkot district around 1860 or 1861. At that time, he would have been around 22-23 years old. And we can say with eyewitness testimony that even in his youth he was a very righteous and pious person. After office hours, he spent his time studying theology. He rarely met people.” (Zamindar, May 1908)

When Hazrat Ahmadas left Sialkot and returned to Qadian, Maulvi Sirajuddin recorded the impression his meeting had on him in the following words:

“One evening, in 1877, we received the honour of his [Hazrat Ahmadas] hospitality in Qadian. Even in those days, he was so engrossed in worship and supplication that he rarely talked to guests.” (Ibid.)

Maulvi Sirajuddin was a well-known writer of his time and he started publishing a weekly newspaper from Lahore in January 1903 called Zamindar. A few months later, due to necessity, he transferred this newspaper from Lahore to Wazirabad.

The purpose of launching this newspaper was to represent the problems of farmers and landlords, to monitor their interests and to reform. That is why it was named Zamindar. Maulvi Sirajuddin Ahmad ran this 12-page newspaper for six years and when he died on 6 December 1909, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan took over the editorship of the newspaper and made it a well-known newspaper in the Indian subcontinent. It closed permanently in 1954 after half a century. 

Though Maulvi Sirajuddin Sahib did not believe in Hazrat Ahmad’sas claim, on the basis of his eyewitness account, he once said that Hazrat Ahmad’sas claims were “free from exaggeration and fabrication”. (Zamindar, May 1908)

As he was not a follower of Hazrat Ahmadas, it is not a trivial matter for such a well-known person to give the above testimony on the basis of his personal experience during his visit to Qadian.

It should be remembered that Maulvi Sirajuddin himself was a follower of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and he had written an elaborate article on the claim of the Promised Messiahas (which was answered by Hazrat Syed Mir Hamid Shahra by the name Al-Jawab). 

Thus, even before the establishment of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, those who visited Qadian used to fall in love with the mannerism and theological standpoint of the Promised Messiahas.

In Hayat-e-Ahmad, Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira writes that Mirza Murad Baig (mentioned as Mirza Muwahid Baig Sahib) was a resident of Jalandhar. His pseudonym was initially Mirza Shikastah, but later when he expanded his discussions with Christians, and when he started writing articles rebutting Christianity, he changed it to Mirza Muwahid.

Since the discussions and debates of the Promised Messiahas with Christians were viewed with respect and dignity in Sialkot, people used to admire his method of reasoning and even the clergyman themselves respected Hazrat Ahmad’s intellectual prowess and moral strength.

Mirza Muwahid Sahib also became interested in forging a tie with Hazrat Ahmadas. He would often visit Hazrat Ahmad and present objections raised by Christians. He would listen to the answers Hazrat Ahmadas would give and then publish them in his own words through newspapers. As the Promised Messiahas, by nature, was a zealous defender of Islam against the beliefs of Christianity, Hazrat Ahmadas would help and encourage in every possible way. It is evident from his conduct that he did not miss any opportunity to invalidate the false belief of atonement and trinity and divinity of Christ. Later, when the Hazrat Ahmadas left Sialkot and came to Qadian, Mirza Muwahid Sahib used to visit Qadian to meet him often. (Hayat-e-Ahmad, Vol. 1, pp. 372-373)

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