Lost in translation: Deconstructing a misperception of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s so-called takfir

Iftekhar Ahmed, Ahmadiyya Archive and Research Centre (ARC)

Recently, the Israeli orientalist, Yohanan Friedmann, Professor Emeritus of Islamic Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem – known in his field as an authority on the Ahmadiyya Movement through his work Prophecy Continuous – published his latest monograph entitled Messianic Ideas and Movements in Sunnī Islam. As expected, he devotes a chapter to the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, alongside three other claimants to mahdihood. As an avid student of all things academic regarding Islam in general and Ahmadiyya in particular, I naturally set out to explore this recent publication. Friedmann’s monograph can undoubtedly be described as a meticulous and profound work of serious scholarship.

Unfortunately, however, he made a material mistake in one of his assessments, which, after Prophecy Continuous (1989) and a book chapter entitled Conversion, Apostasy and Excommunication in the Islamic Tradition (2016), is now repeated uncorrected for at least the third time in this most recent work, Messianic Ideas and Movements in Sunnī Islam (2022), which I would like to address and elaborate on here.

In the present article, however, for the sake of brevity, I will, unfortunately, have to limit myself to examining the one quotation that Friedmann repeatedly cites in all three publications. Nevertheless, in due course, Friedmann’s other quotes and arguments, especially in his main work Prophecy Continuous, will also be examined in detail to show their lack of validity for the conclusions drawn.

Let me first reproduce verbatim the statements at issue from his publication this year before analysing them. Friedmann writes:

“When discussing the three mahdīs in the previous chapters, we said that each one of them considered those who did not acknowledge their messianic claims and did not join their movements as infidels. The idea that Muslims who do not acknowledge Ghulām Aḥmad’s messianic status are unbelievers does exist in his works, but not in his early ones. Then he maintained that nobody can become an infidel by rejecting his messianic claim. This was his view despite the fact that Sunnī Muslims issued fatāwā declaring him an infidel soon after he made his claim to spiritual eminence in 1889. However, in his later years Ghulām Aḥmad’s views developed in an exclusionary direction. In the last years before his death in 1908, he stated that anybody who rejected his claim to spiritual eminence was an infidel. The most unequivocal statement of this attitude is found in the fifth volume of the Barāhīn-i Amadiyya, written in 1905. It reads: “He who denies this mission, will be declared infidel” (jō shakh is daʿwē sē munkir hay wuh bi-har āl kāfir t́herāʾēgā). It is thus clear that all four messianic claimants discussed in this work eventually developed an exclusionary attitude to Muslims who did not join their movements. It is, however, noteworthy that in recent decades the Aḥmadī movement seems to have distanced itself from the stringent views of its founder in the last years of his life.” (Yohanan Friedmann, 2022, Messianic Ideas and Movements in Sunnī Islam, London: Oneworld Publications, 5, III)

A few passages further, he continues:

“The case of Ghulām Aḥmad is more complex. He is the only mahdī discussed in this book whose attitudes to his opponents changed during his lifetime. As we have seen in Chapter 5, he started with a rather ecumenical stance, refusing to anathemize anyone who utters the Muslim declaration of faith (kalima-gū). Only later he declared those who rejected his claim to be a mahdī as infidels.” (Ibid.)

Although, as mentioned, Friedmann provides further quotations and arguments in his other publications, which will be examined separately at a later stage, he only gives one single quotation here, which, as mentioned above, he calls “[t]he most unequivocal statement”. In Prophecy Continuous, he also referred to this quote as one of the “clearest statements declaring the non-Aḥmadīs to be infidels” by Ghulam Ahmadas.

First, it must be clear that this quoted statement is part of an explanatory footnote to an Arabic word of a divine revelation that cannot be understood independently of this context. Friedmann also omits to cite the sentences in the footnote preceding his quotation, which could also have shed light on the matter. For the sake of clarity, the original Urdu text is reproduced in its entirety here:

یہ‭ ‬لفظ‭ ‬كفّر‭ ‬اور‭ ‬كفر‭ ‬دونوں‭ ‬قراءتیں‭ ‬ہیں۔‭ ‬كیونكہ‭ ‬كافر‭ ‬كہنے‭ ‬والا‭ ‬بہر‭ ‬حال‭ ‬منكر‭ ‬بھى‭ ‬ہو‭ ‬گا‭ ‬اور‭ ‬جو‭ ‬شخص‭ ‬اس‭ ‬دعوے‭ ‬سے‭ ‬منكر‭ ‬ہے‭ ‬وہ‭ ‬بہر‭ ‬حال‭ ‬كافر‭ ‬ٹھہرائے‭ ‬گا۔‭ ‬اور‭ ‬ھامان‭ ‬كا‭ ‬لفظ‭ ‬ھیمان‭ ‬كے‭ ‬لفظ‭ ‬كى‭ ‬طرف‭ ‬اشارہ‭ ‬كرتا‭ ‬ہے‭ ‬اور‭ ‬ھیمان‭ ‬اس‭ ‬كو‭ ‬كہتے‭ ‬ہىں‭ ‬جو‭ ‬كسى‭ ‬وادى‭ ‬مىں‭ ‬اكیلا‭ ‬سرگردان‭ ‬پھرے۔‭ ‬منہ


“This word [kfr] has both variant readings, ‘to declare someone to be an infidel’ (kaffara) and ‘to deny’ (kafara), for he who declares himself to be an infidel will anyhow also be a denier, and he who denies this claim will anyhow declare himself to be an infidel. Also, the word haman alludes to the word haiman, and haiman is said of one who wanders alone and aimlessly in the wilderness. (Author)” (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, 1905, Barahin-e Ahmadiyya V, In: Idem, 2021, Ruhani Khaza’in, Farnham: Islam International Publications, Vol. 21, p. 82)

Here, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas explains why, according to his reasoning, it is correct to adopt both variant readings, i.e., not only kafara but also kaffara. He who uses the label of infidel for the claimant, i.e., for Hazrat Ahmadas, will anyhow be a denier of him, and one who denies his claim will no doubt declare him an infidel. So, it is not the one who denies Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s claim that is declared an infidel by him, but rather it is the one who denies his claim who then also goes on to declare Hazrat Ahmadas to be an infidel. The one denying (munkir) and the one declaring infidel (mukaffir) are, for all intents and purposes, one and the same person.

Friedmann, unfortunately, makes a mistake in understanding the subtleties of the Urdu language when translating the passage he quoted. The Urdu verb ٹھہرائے‭ ‬گا (t́hehrā’ē gā), conjugated from the infinitive ٹھہرانا, also ٹھىرانا, is a transitive verb, but Friedmann mistakenly translates it intransitively. The intransitive counterpart of t́hehrā’ē gā is ٹھہرے‭ ‬گا (t́hehrē gā). So, if it had been t́hehrē gā, Friedmann’s translation of “will be declared infidel” would have been correct. With t́hehrā’ē gā, as it is, however, the meaning has to be “will declare infidel”.

This insight turns Friedmann’s understanding of this sentence completely on its head and it can thus in no way be that the one who denies the mission of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas is declared infidel. Rather, the question then arises as to who the grammatical agent is and who the grammatical patient is, i.e., who declares whom infidel? The answer to this becomes clearest if we look more closely at other instances where Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas notes and comments on this very revelation, as he does here.

The revelation in question, which was first mentioned in Barahin-e Ahmadiyya IV in 1884, and to which this sentence is a clarifying footnote, is as follows:

وإذ يمكر بك الذي كفر. أوقد لي يا هامان لعلي أطلع إلى إله موسى، وإني لأظنه من الكاذبين.


“And (remember the time) when the one who denied (or declared infidel) plotted against you: Set fire for me, o Haman, that I may have a look at the God of Moses, for I think that he is a liar.”

If only Friedmann had taken the trouble to read the translation of this revelation, which Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas himself gave only a few pages further on, he would not have made this mistake. Hazrat Ahmadas writes in unequivocal terms in his Urdu translation of this Arabic revelation:

اس‭ ‬مكر‭ ‬كرنے‭ ‬والے‭ ‬كے‭ ‬مكر‭ ‬كو‭ ‬یاد‭ ‬كر‭ ‬جو‭ ‬تجھے‭ ‬كافر‭ ‬ٹھہرائے‭ ‬گا۔‭ ‬اور‭ ‬تیرے‭ ‬دعوے‭ ‬سے‭ ‬منكر‭ ‬ہوگا‭ ‬وہ‭ ‬ایك‭ ‬اپنے‭ ‬رفیق‭ ‬سے‭ ‬استفتاء‭ ‬پر‭ ‬فتوىٰ‭ ‬لے‭ ‬گا‭ ‬تا‭ ‬عوام‭ ‬كو‭ ‬اس‭ ‬سے‭ ‬افروختہ‭ ‬كرے۔


“Remember the deceit of the deceiver, who will declare you infidel and will deny your claim. He will get a companion of his to make out a fatwa in reply to a requisition for a fatwa, in order to incite the people against him [i.e., Ghulām Aḥmadas].” (Ibid, p. 84)

After the first mention in the 1884 work Barahin-e Ahmadiyya IV, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas translates the Arabic text of this revelation into Urdu as follows:

یاد‭ ‬كر‭ ‬جب‭ ‬منكر‭ ‬نے‭ ‬بغرض‭ ‬كسى‭ ‬مكر‭ ‬كے‭ ‬اپنے‭ ‬رفیق‭ ‬كو‭ ‬كہا‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬كسى‭ ‬فتنہ‭ ‬یا‭ ‬آزمائش‭ ‬كى‭ ‬آگ‭ ‬بھڑكا تا‭ ‬میں‭ ‬موسىٰ‭ ‬كے‭ ‬خدا‭ ‬پر‭ ‬یعنى‭ ‬اس‭ ‬شخص‭ ‬كے‭ ‬خدا‭ ‬پر‭ ‬مطلع‭ ‬ہو‭ ‬جاؤں‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬كیونكر‭ ‬وہ‭ ‬اس‭ ‬كى‭ ‬مدد‭ ‬كرتا‭ ‬ہے‭ ‬اور‭ ‬اس‭ ‬كے‭ ‬ساتھ‭ ‬ہے‭ ‬یا‭ ‬نہیں۔‭ ‬كیونكہ‭ ‬میں‭ ‬سمجھتا‭ ‬ہوں‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬یہ‭ ‬جھوٹا‭ ‬ہے۔


“Remember when the denier, out of a deceit, said to his companion, ‘Prepare a fire of some mischief or tribulation, so that I might find out about the God of Moses – that is, the God of this man – how He helps him, and whether He is with him or not, because I consider him to be a liar.’” (Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, 1884, Barahin-e Ahmadiyya IV, In: Idem. 2021, Ruhani Khaza’in, Farnham: Islam International Publications, Vol. 1, p. 609)

Here the word kfr was read in Arabic as kafara and thus translated as deny.

However, in at least two places, once in the sentence preceding the passage quoted by Friedmann, as quoted above, and once in Haqiqatu l-wahy, Hazrat Ahmadas states about this revelation that the word kfr has two variant readings: kafara and kaffara, i.e., to commit kufr, that is, to deny, as well as to commit takfir, that is, to declare infidel.

The passage from Haqiqatu l-wahy, also an explanatory footnote, reads as follows:

یاد‭ ‬رہے‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬اس‭ ‬وحى‭ ‬الٰہى‭ ‬میں‭ ‬دونوں‭ ‬قراءتیں‭ ‬ہیں‭ ‬كَفَر‭ ‬بھى‭ ‬اور‭ ‬كَفّر‭ ‬بھى۔‭ ‬اور‭ ‬اگر‭ ‬كفركى‭ ‬قراءت‭ ‬كى‭ ‬رو‭ ‬سے‭ ‬معنے‭ ‬كئے‭ ‬جائیں‭ ‬تو‭ ‬یہ‭ ‬معنى‭ ‬ہوں‭ ‬گے‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬پہلے‭ ‬شخص‭ ‬مستفتى‭ ‬میرے‭ ‬پر‭ ‬اعتقاد‭ ‬ركھتا‭ ‬ہو‭ ‬گا‭ ‬اور‭ ‬معتقدین‭ ‬میں‭ ‬داخل‭ ‬ہو‭ ‬گا۔‭ ‬اور‭ ‬پھر‭ ‬بعد‭ ‬میں‭ ‬برگشتہ‭ ‬اور‭ ‬منكر‭ ‬ہو‭ ‬جائے‭ ‬گا۔‭ ‬اور‭ ‬یہ‭ ‬معنى‭ ‬مولوى‭ ‬محمد‭ ‬حسین‭ ‬بٹالوى‭ ‬پر‭ ‬بہت‭ ‬چسپاں‭ ‬ہیں‭ ‬جنہوں‭ ‬نے‭ ‬براہین‭ ‬احمدیہ‭ ‬كے‭ ‬ریویو‭ ‬میں‭ ‬میرى‭ ‬نسبت‭ ‬ایسا‭ ‬اعتقاد‭ ‬ظاہر‭ ‬كیا‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬اپنے‭ ‬ماں‭ ‬باپ‭ ‬بھى‭ ‬میرے‭ ‬پر‭ ‬فدا‭ ‬كر‭ ‬دىئے۔‭ ‬منہ

“It should be remembered that in this divine revelation there are both variant readings, ‘to deny’ (kafara) as well as ‘to declare infidel’ (kaffara). And if the meaning is interpreted according to the variant reading kafara, then that meaning will be that the petitioning person will have first believed in me and will have joined the believers and then later will become a rejecter and a denier. And this meaning is very true with Mawlawi Muhammad Husayn of Batala, who in the review of Barahin-e Ahmadiyya evinced such faith in me that he was even willing to sacrifice his parents for me. (Author)” (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, 1906, Haqiqatu l-wahy, In: Idem. 2021, Ruhani Khaza’in, Farnham: Islam International Publications, Vol. 22, p. 368, Sub-footnote)

In a footnote in Haqiqatu l-wahy, to which the above quotation is a sub-footnote, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas again translates this revelation himself. Here is the Urdu original:

ترجمہ‭: ‬یاد‭ ‬كرو‭ ‬وہ‭ ‬زمانہ‭ ‬جبكہ‭ ‬ایك‭ ‬فرعون‭ ‬تجھے‭ ‬كافر‭ ‬ٹھہرائے‭ ‬گا‭ ‬اور‭ ‬اپنے‭ ‬رفیق‭ ‬ہامان‭ ‬كو‭ ‬كہے‭ ‬گا‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬تو‭ ‬تكفیر‭ ‬كى‭ ‬آگ‭ ‬بھڑكا‭ ‬دے‭ ‬یعنى‭ ‬ایسا‭ ‬تیز‭ ‬فتوىٰ‭ ‬لكھ‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬لوگ‭ ‬اُس‭ ‬فتوے‭ ‬كو‭ ‬دیكھ‭ ‬كر‭ ‬اُس‭ ‬شخص‭ ‬كے‭ ‬دشمن‭ ‬جانى‭ ‬ہو‭ ‬جائیں‭ ‬اور‭ ‬كافر‭ ‬سمجھنے‭ ‬لگیں‭ ‬تاكہ‭ ‬میں‭ ‬دیكھوں‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬اس‭ ‬موسىٰ‭ ‬كا‭ ‬خدا‭ ‬اس‭ ‬كى‭ ‬كچھ‭ ‬مدد‭ ‬كرتا‭ ‬ہے‭ ‬ىا‭ ‬نہیں‭ ‬اور‭ ‬میں‭ ‬تو‭ ‬اس‭ ‬كو‭ ‬جھوٹا‭ ‬خیال‭ ‬كرتا‭ ‬ہوں۔


“Translation: Recall the time when a Pharaoh would declare you infidel and ask his companion Haman, ‘Set ablaze the fire of declaring infidel; namely, compose such a fiery edict the sight of which would turn people into deadly enemies of this man and believe him to be an infidel so that I may see whether the God of this Moses assists him or not. For my part, I consider him a perjurer.’” (Ibid, Footnote)

Again, from this instance alone, it could have become clear that it is Hazrat Ahmadas who was to be declared infidel according to this prophetic revelation.

Even in a passage in the first part of Haqiqatu l-wahy, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas notes the Arabic text of this revelation and again translates it into Urdu. He writes:

اور‭ ‬یاد‭ ‬كر‭ ‬وہ‭ ‬وقت‭ ‬جب‭ ‬تجھ‭ ‬سے‭ ‬وہ‭ ‬شخص‭ ‬مَكر‭ ‬كرنے‭ ‬لگا‭ ‬جس‭ ‬نے‭ ‬تیرى‭ ‬تكفیر‭ ‬كى‭ ‬اور‭ ‬تجھے‭ ‬كافر‭ ‬ٹھیرایا‭ ‬اور‭ ‬كہا‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬اے‭ ‬ہامان‭ ‬میرے‭ ‬لئے‭ ‬آگ‭ ‬بھڑكا‭ ‬تا‭ ‬مَیں‭ ‬موسىٰ‭ ‬كے‭ ‬خدا‭ ‬پر‭ ‬اطلاع‭ ‬پاؤں‭ ‬اور‭ ‬مَیں‭ ‬اُس‭ ‬كو‭ ‬جھُوٹا‭ ‬سمجھتا‭ ‬ہوں۔


“And call to mind the time when the one declared you infidel devised a plan against you and said, ‘O Haman, prepare a fire for me, so that I might find out about the God of Moses because I consider him to be a liar.’” (Ibid, p 83)

In a footnote to this repeated record of this revelation, Hazrat Ahmadas explains:

مكفّر‭ ‬سے‭ ‬مراد‭ ‬مولوى‭ ‬ابو‭ ‬سعید‭ ‬محمد‭ ‬حسین‭ ‬بٹالوى‭ ‬ہے‭ ‬كیونكہ‭ ‬اُس‭ ‬نے‭ ‬استفتاء‭ ‬لكھ‭ ‬كر‭ ‬نذیر‭ ‬حسین‭ ‬كے‭ ‬سامنے‭ ‬پىش‭ ‬كیا‭ ‬اور‭ ‬اس‭ ‬ملك‭ ‬میں‭ ‬تكفیر‭ ‬كى‭ ‬آگ‭ ‬بھڑكانے‭ ‬والا‭ ‬نذیر‭ ‬حسین‭ ‬ہى‭ ‬تھا۔‭ ‬علیہ‭ ‬ما‭ ‬یستحقّہ۔‭ ‬منہ


“With the one declaring infidel (mukaffir) is meant Abu Sa‘id Muhammad Ḥusayn of Batala, for he wrote the petition (istifta’) and presented it to Nadhir Husayn, and the one who kindled the fire of declaring infidel (takfir) in this country was indeed Nadhir Husayn. He received what he deserved. (Author)” (Ibid, Footnote)

These are by far not all instances in which Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas himself noted down this revelation time and time again and clarified who actually declared whom infidel. For example, he did so, inter alia, in Siraj-e Munir (1897), Istifta’ (1897), Tiryaqu l-qulub (1899), Tohfa-yi Golarviyya (1900), Arba‘in (1900), Nuzulu l-Masih (1902), etc.

I would like to end this short article by citing only two of the many quotations from the last period of Hazrat Ahmad’s life that disprove Friedmann’s misconception that “later he declared those who rejected his claim to be a mahdī as infidels”.

In Haqiqatu l-wahy, which was written in 1906 and published in 1907, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas writes:

پھر‭ ‬اس‭ ‬جھوٹ‭ ‬كو‭ ‬تو‭ ‬دیكھو‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬ہمارے‭ ‬ذمہ‭ ‬یہ‭ ‬الزام‭ ‬لگاتے‭ ‬ہىں‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬گویا‭ ‬ہم‭ ‬نے‭ ‬بیس‭ ‬كروڑ‭ ‬مسلمان‭ ‬اور‭ ‬كلمہ‭ ‬گو‭ ‬كو‭ ‬كافر‭ ‬ٹھہراىا۔‭ ‬حالانكہ‭ ‬ہمارى‭ ‬طرف‭ ‬سے‭ ‬تكفیر‭ ‬مىں‭ ‬كوئى‭ ‬سبقت‭ ‬نہیں‭ ‬ہوئى۔‭ ‬خود‭ ‬ہى‭ ‬ان‭ ‬كے‭ ‬علماء‭ ‬نے‭ ‬ہم‭ ‬پر‭ ‬كفر‭ ‬كے‭ ‬فتوے‭ ‬لكھے‭ ‬اور‭ ‬پنجاب‭ ‬اور‭ ‬ہندوستان‭ ‬مىں‭ ‬شور‭ ‬ڈالا‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬یہ‭ ‬لوگ‭ ‬كافر‭ ‬ہیں‭ ‬اور‭ ‬نادان‭ ‬لوگ‭ ‬ان‭ ‬فتووں‭ ‬سے‭ ‬ایسے‭ ‬ہم‭ ‬سے‭ ‬متنفر‭ ‬ہو‭ ‬گئے‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬ہم‭ ‬سے‭ ‬سیدھے‭ ‬مُنہ‭ ‬سے‭ ‬كوئى‭ ‬نرم‭ ‬بات‭ ‬كرنا‭ ‬بھى‭ ‬اُن‭ ‬كے‭ ‬نزدیك‭ ‬گناہ‭ ‬ہو‭ ‬گیا۔كیا‭ ‬كوئى‭ ‬مولوى‭ ‬یا‭ ‬كوئى‭ ‬اور‭ ‬مخالف‭ ‬یا‭ ‬كوئى‭ ‬سجادہ‭ ‬نشین‭ ‬یہ‭ ‬ثبوت‭ ‬دے‭ ‬سكتا‭ ‬ہے‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬پہلے‭ ‬ہم‭ ‬نے‭ ‬ان‭ ‬لوگوں‭ ‬كو‭ ‬كافر‭ ‬ٹھہرایا‭ ‬تھا۔‭ ‬اگر‭ ‬كوئى‭ ‬ایسا‭ ‬كاغذ‭ ‬یا‭ ‬اشتہار‭ ‬یا‭ ‬رسالہ‭ ‬ہمارى‭ ‬طرف‭ ‬سے‭ ‬ان‭ ‬لوگوں‭ ‬كے‭ ‬فتوائے‭ ‬كفر‭ ‬سے‭ ‬پہلے‭ ‬شائع‭ ‬ہوا‭ ‬ہے‭ ‬جس‭ ‬میں‭ ‬ہم‭ ‬نے‭ ‬مخالف‭ ‬مسلمانوں‭ ‬كو‭ ‬كافر‭ ‬ٹھہرایا‭ ‬ہو‭ ‬تو‭ ‬وہ‭ ‬پىش‭ ‬كریں‭ ‬ورنہ‭ ‬خود‭ ‬سوچ‭ ‬لیں‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬یہ‭ ‬كس‭ ‬قدر‭ ‬خیانت‭ ‬ہے‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬كافر‭ ‬تو‭ ‬ٹھہراویں‭ ‬آپ‭ ‬اور‭ ‬پھر‭ ‬ہم‭ ‬پر‭ ‬یہ‭ ‬الزام‭ ‬لگاویں‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬گویا‭ ‬ہم‭ ‬نے‭ ‬تمام‭ ‬مسلمانوں‭ ‬كو‭ ‬كافر‭ ‬ٹھہرایا‭ ‬ہے‭ ‬اس‭ ‬قدر‭ ‬خیانت‭ ‬اور‭ ‬جھوٹ‭ ‬اور‭ ‬خلاف‭ ‬واقعہ‭ ‬تہمت‭ ‬كس‭ ‬قدر‭ ‬د‬ل‭ ‬آزار‭ ‬ہے۔‭ ‬ہر‭ ‬ایك‭ ‬عقلمند‭ ‬سوچ‭ ‬سكتا‭ ‬ہے؟‭ ‬اور‭ ‬پھر‭ ‬جبكہ‭ ‬ہمیں‭ ‬اپنے‭ ‬فتووں‭ ‬كے‭ ‬ذریعہ‭ ‬سے‭ ‬كافر‭ ‬ٹھہرا‭ ‬چكے‭ ‬اور‭ ‬آپ‭ ‬ہى‭ ‬اس‭ ‬بات‭ ‬كے‭ ‬قائل‭ ‬بھى‭ ‬ہو‭ ‬گئے۔‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬جو‭ ‬شخص‭ ‬مسلمان‭ ‬كو‭ ‬كافر‭ ‬كہے‭ ‬تو‭ ‬كفر‭ ‬اُلٹ‭ ‬كر‭ ‬اُسى‭ ‬پر‭ ‬پڑتا‭ ‬ہے‭ ‬تو‭ ‬اِس‭ ‬صورت‭ ‬مىں‭ ‬كیا‭ ‬ہمارا‭ ‬حق‭ ‬نہ‭ ‬تھا‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬بموجب‭ ‬اُنہیں‭ ‬كے‭ ‬اقرار‭ ‬كے‭ ‬ہم‭ ‬اُن‭ ‬كو‭ ‬كافر‭ ‬كہتے۔


“Moreover, look at their lie that they accuse me of declaring 200,000,000 Muslims who recite the declaration of faith in Islam (kalima) as infidels, whereas we did not take any initiative in this matter. Their scholars issued edicts of infidelity (kufr) against us on their own and caused a furore in the Punjab and India that these people [Ahmadis] are infidels. Because of these edicts, the ignorant people began to hate us to such an extent that they started considering it sinful to even address us politely. Can any maulawi, or any other opponent, or any custodian of a shrine prove that we were the first to declare them infidel? Let them produce any document, announcement, or treatise published by me prior to their own edicts of kufr against us, in which I had pronounced my Muslim antagonists to be infidels; otherwise, they should consider how dishonest it is that they are the ones who declared us to be infidels, yet accuse us of denouncing all Muslims as infidels. How hurtful is such dishonesty, falsehood, and obfuscation of the facts. Any reasonable person can understand that now that they have declared us to be infidels through their edicts—and are themselves agreed that if any person declares a Muslim to be an infidel, then this [false charge of] kufr reverts to him—was it not our right to call them infidel in accordance with their own admission?” (Ibid., p. 123)

On his last visit to Lahore, Hazrat Ahmadas was visited by Sir Mian Fazl-i Husayn in May 1908. During their conversation, Hazrat Ahmadas said to him in response to his questions:

ہم كسى كلمہ گو كو اسلام سے خارج نہیں كہتے جب تك كہ وہ ہمیں كافر كہہ كر خود كافر نہ بن جائے۔ آپ كو شاید معلوم نہ ہو جب میں نے مامور ہونے كا دعوىٰ كیا۔ تو اس كے بعد بٹالہ كے محمد حسین مولوى ابو سعید صاحب نے بڑى محنت سے ایك فتوىٰ تیار كیا۔ جس میں لكھا تھا كہ یہ شخص كافر ہے، دجّال ہے، ضالّ ہے۔ اس كا جنازہ نہ پڑھا جائے جو اُن سے السلام علیكم كرے یا مصافحہ یا انہیں مسلمان كہے وہ بھى كافر۔ اب سُنو یہ ایك متفق علیہ مسئلہ ہے كہ جو مومن كو كافر كہے وہ كافر ہوتا ہے۔ پس اس مسئلہ سے ہم كس طرح انكار كر سكتے ہیں۔ […] جو ہمیں كافر نہیں كہتا ہم اسے ہر گز كافر نہیں كہتے لیكن جو ہمیں كافر كہتا ہے اسے كافر نہ سمجھیں تو اس میں حدیث اور متفق علیہ مسئلہ كى مخالفت لازم آتى ہے اور یہ ہم سے نہیں ہو سكتا۔


“We do not deem any person who recites the declaration of faith (kalima) as a person outside the pale of Islam until such a one calls us an infidel (kafir) and [in doing so] himself becomes a kafir. You may not be aware, when I claimed to be appointed [by Allah], then Muhammad Husayn of Batala, Maulawi Abu Sa‘id prepared a religious edict (fatwa) with great effort in which it was written [alluding to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas] that ‘this person is an infidel (kafir), an imposter (dajjal), a misguided one (dall); his funeral prayer should not be offered; whoever says ‘Peace be upon you!” (as-salamu ‘alaykum), greets him, or calls him Muslim also becomes a kafir’. You see, it is a matter of consensus that whoever calls a person a kafir, he himself, becomes a kafir. So how can we deny this matter? […] Such a one who does not call us a kafir, we do not call them a kafir at all. However, if those who call us kafir, [and in doing so] we should not consider them as kafir, then that is to oppose the hadith and the agreed-upon issue, and this we cannot do.” (Badr, Lahore, Vol. 7, No. 19-20, 24 May 1908, p. 6.)

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