The Outset of Dissension in Islam


Author: (Lecture by) Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra

Publishers: Islam International Publications, UK

The month of Muharram, with all its sanctity and reverence, reminds us of the tragic incidents that the progeny of the Holy Prophetsa had to endure. It is a reminder of the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussainra – the pinnacle of gross misunderstanding between two Muslim schools of thought. To see where all this schism had started, we introduce this book to our readers: The Outset of Dissension in Islam.

This book is an English rendering of a lecture delivered by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra, Khalifatul Masih II, in Urdu, entitled, Islam Mein Ikhtilafat Ka Aghaz. Huzoorra delivered this lecture at the Islamiyyah College Lahore, on 26 February 1919. The primary purpose of this lecture was to provide a correct and accurate historical account of the conflicts which arose most prominently during the Khilafat of Hazrat Uthmanra.

The lecture is an academic masterpiece of scholarship and explains the events of the era of the third Khilafat in a manner that no other historian has been able to match, be it Muslim or non-Muslim.

It is an extremely significant lecture because it deals with a very important era in the history of Islam. Furthermore, the narrations which detail the actual historical account of that era are hidden from the eyes of most people. Some historians have claimed that these conflicts arose due to the incapability of Hazrat Uthmanra – God forbid – while others assert that this was the doing of various companions of the Holy Prophetsa due to their greed for power and political control. The lecture, however, refutes both of these two notions with ample proof, and categorically establishes that conflicts arose due to the conspiracies of the enemies of Islam.

In this lecture, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra has shed light on the life of Hazrat Uthmanra, his piety and righteousness and his status in the eyes of the Holy Prophetsa. Moreover, he has expounded upon the virtues of the Companions of the Holy Prophetsa and has explained how these conflicts actually arose and the causes behind them. Furthermore, contrary to the belief of some historians, he has also explained that the Companions of the Holy Prophetsa did not dislike the leadership of Hazrat Uthmanra, rather, they all loved him dearly and demonstrated an unparalleled degree of loyalty until his last breath.

It was imperative that an English translation of this lecture be rendered for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, because it deals with a significant and tragic era in the history of Islam. Furthermore, since a lot of obscurity and ambiguity surrounds the events of that era, it was necessary that the true events be brought to light. 

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra has explained these events in a beautiful, eloquent and simple manner. It is also worthy of note that when this lecture was delivered, the attendees were college students; therefore, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra has taken great care to explain these events in the form of a simple and interesting narrative.

When this lecture was revised by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra for print in Urdu, Huzoorra added certain footnotes throughout the text of the lecture as explanatory notes. These have been included as endnotes in the original Urdu text, in the fourth volume of Anwarul-Ulum published by the Fazl-e-Umar Foundation. All such endnotes as footnotes have being included throughout the text in this English rendering. 

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra, explaining the reason behind delivering this lecture, stated:

“A short while ago I received the news, with great pleasure, that a society has been established in the Lahore Islamiyyah College in which those who are acquainted with historical facts will present their research. I was overjoyed by this, as familiarisation with history acts as a great stimulant in the progress of nations. A nation that is unacquainted with its historical accounts can never advance towards progress. Knowledge of the circumstances of one’s forefathers guides a person to many higher objectives. Thus, when I came to know of the establishment of this society, I was pleased by the thought that lectures on Islamic history would be delivered alongside other lectures on various historical topics. These lectures would enable college students to understand the kinds of challenging tasks their forefathers were confronted with and the exceptional ability and perseverance with which they carried them out. They will come to know of the ancestors they have descended from and the obligations that fall upon them in their capacity as their children and representatives. They will aspire to be like their forefathers upon witnessing their magnificent deeds and their lofty splendour. Truly, I am overjoyed by the establishment of this society. Now that I have been asked to deliver a lecture on this forum regarding an aspect of Islamic history, I most delightedly postponed my departure and accepted to present my research before you on this occasion, with respect to certain subjects of historical importance.

“I was asked to speak on a few historical issues concerning Islam. Undoubtedly, the most significant era in Islamic history is that in which the Holy Prophetsa, under the command of God the Exalted, presented the religion of Islam to the world. He imprinted its reflection upon the hearts of hundreds of thousands of men through twenty-three years of arduous labour, and created a community of thousands of men whose thoughts, speech and actions became [an embodiment of] Islam itself. However, the foundation for dissension in Islam was laid fifteen years after the demise of the Holy Prophetsa. After this time, the cracks of schism between the Muslims continued to widen. The history of this very era is concealed in heavy veils of darkness. According to the opponents of Islam, this is a hideous blemish upon Islam and even to its friends, serving as a perplexing question. Only a few have sought to cross the swamp of the history of that era safe and sound, and who were able to succeed in their objective. It is for this reason that I have decided to speak to you on this very topic.”

This translation was done by Attaur Rehman Khalid Sahib as his final project for Shahid Degree at Jamia Ahmadiyya UK. It was then revised by Additional Wakalat-e-Tasneef (London) for publication and it is now available in print at most Jamaat book stalls and is also more easily accessible at

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