Zikr-e-Habib: Dedication to hard work and passion for tabligh


This series, Zikr-e-Habib, explores the life of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, and his sayings, shedding light on his noble character and the impact of his teachings on his followers and the world at large.

M Adam Ahmad, Al Hakam

From the beginning of time, God’s prophets have shown absolute commitment and perseverance in conveying His message. From Adamas to Abrahamas, Mosesas to Jesusas, and Muhammadsa to Ahmadas; every messenger of Allah the Almighty has fulfilled the responsibility entrusted to them and directed mankind towards Tawhid [Unity of God]. They endure great opposition and persecution in achieving their mission but nothing hinders them from guiding humanity.

As Jesusas came to restore the law of Mosesas, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, was sent by God Almighty to revive Islam and reestablish the true mission of the Holy Prophetsa.

Prophet Ahmadas, through his insightful writings, profound lectures, and meaningful discussions, spread the message of God Almighty to every corner of the world within his lifetime. Many scholars and religious leaders were drawn towards the Promised Messiahas owing to divine wisdom. His deep understanding of the Holy Quran attracted countless Muslim clerics to the new and insightful meanings of the Holy Quran.

Defence of Islam at a very young age

Even before the foundation of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, young Prophet Ahmadas was known as the defender of Islam and a preacher of Allah’s message. During his stay in Sialkot for work, the Promised Messiahas found himself in great demand for discourses with Hindus, Christians, and Muslims.

In Sialkot, Prophet Ahmadas had detailed discussions with Reverend Taylor, a Christian clergyman of the Scotch mission. Regarding his encounters with Rev. Taylor, Iain Adamson narrates:

“A Scot missionary, the Rev [Taylor] MA, however, became a firm friend and, once or twice a week, he began to time his evening walk so that he met [Prophet] Ahmad[as] when he was leaving the court. They would return to Ahmad’s[as] lodgings and discuss and debate together for hours. […]

“When Mr [Taylor] was due to return to Britain he came to the offices in Sialkot to say goodbye to Ahmad[as]. The British at that time, had a very strong belief that they were the governing class and nothing should be done which would lessen the people’s respect for them. Mr [Taylor] happened to meet the commissioner on his visit to the office and he presumed that Mr [Taylor] had come to see him.  Well, no, confessed Mr [Taylor]. He had come to say goodbye to Ahmad[as]. […]

“[Prophet] Ahmad[as] was a great religious thinker, Mr [Taylor] explained later, and he was proud to have known him.

“They had clashed many times on religious points. Once, Mr [Taylor] said that the reason why Jesus[as] was born from a virgin was so that he should remain free of the taint of sin transmitted by Adam to all his progeny. Ahmad[as] asked how that could be since Mary herself was descended from Adam. And was it not Eve who had tempted Adam to take the fruit of the forbidden tree so turning him into a sinner? Mr [Taylor] was unable to answer.” (Ahmad[as], The Guided One, pp. 43-45)

The Promised Messiahas also had a debate with Reverend Elisha P Swift. Hazrat Maulana Abdur Rahim Dardra states:

“At Sialkot, [Prophet] Ahmadas came in touch with Christian missionaries. He held several debates with them. Elisha, a native Christian missionary, who lived to the south of Hajipura, once had a discussion with [Prophet] Ahmadas. He asserted that salvation was impossible outside the fold of Christianity. [Prophet] Ahmadas asked him to define the word ‘salvation’ and explain what he meant by it. The missionary failed to do so and concluded by saying that he had not studied logic.” (Life of Ahmadas, pp. 48-49)

Another acquaintance of the Promised Messiah at Sialkot was a Hindu named Lala Bhim Sen. They used to have discussions on religious matters as well as medicine. However, “mostly they discussed religion. Mere observance of prayer was not enough, said [Prophet] Ahmad[as] during a discussion about prayer [with Lala Bhim Sen], it is recalled. Nor was it sufficient to attach yourself to a spiritual leader. Each man must strive for himself. And he quoted the verse from the Quran: ‘And indeed those who strive in Our ways verily We shall guide them to the paths which bring them to Us.’ [29:70]” (Ahmad[as], The Guided One, pp. 42-43)

What was the Promised Messiahas like as a defender of Islam?

“One description was, ‘There was a special kind of shine and quality in his eyes. His nature is humble but commanding. His temperament is cool but heart-warming. His ability to withstand harshness has brought balance to his humility. He talks so softly that he appears to be smiling.’

“This aspect of his character, his ready smile, was mentioned again and again throughout his life by both friends and opponents. One friend described him as having ‘a halo of spiritual radiance and serenity and a glow of supernatural glory.’ There was ‘a loving tenderness’ that emanated from him, which was ‘a natural manifestation of his self and soul.’ It was combined with ‘a beaming smile and everlasting calmness.’ Other mellifluous descriptions talked of his ‘spiritual glow and serenity’, of his ‘sparkling glow of spiritual light’ and ‘his serene and peaceful brilliance.’” (Ibid., p. 45)

Commitment to religious work and preaching

Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahibra Sialkoti narrates:

“The Promised Messiahas said, ‘My state is that I even feel regret when answering the call of nature, for all the time that is wasted. This time too could be better spent in some religious work.’ He also stated, ‘Any occupation or engagement which prevents me from religious work and takes up my time is completely unacceptable to me.’

“His Holinessas once said, ‘When an important task of religious nature arises, I deem food and drink, and sleep to be forbidden on me, until I have completed the task at hand.’

“The Promised Messiahas also stated, ‘I am devoted to the cause of religion, in fact, I live for the sake of religion. Therefore, all I desire is that nothing obstructs my way in this path.’” (Life of the Promised Messiahas, p. 65)

The Promised Messiahas had such passion to spread the message of Allah the Almighty and so much concern about the moral and spiritual well-being of the people of the world that he was ready to sacrifice his very life for it. Owing to this, God Almighty sent the following revelation to Prophet Ahmadas:

لَعَلَّکَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفۡسَکَ اَلَّا يَکُوۡنُوۡا مُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ

“Will you grieve yourself to death because they believe not.” (Tadhkirah [English], pp. 106-7)

The above revelation clearly manifests his sheer dedication to guiding humanity and going to extreme limits to achieve this divine goal.

Hazrat Bhai Abdur Rahman Sahibra Qadianisaid:

“It is beyond human power to describe the dedication and devotion of the Promised Messiahas to the preaching and spreading of the message of God.

اَللّٰہُ اَعۡلَمُ حَيۡثُ يَجۡعَلُ رِسَالَتَہٗ

“‘Allah knows best where to place His Message.’ (Surah an-An‘am, Ch.6: V.125)

“The Lord of the worlds appointed the Promised Messiahas for the purpose of making Islam prevail over all other religions. The chosen ones of God who are assigned this work come under the following command of Allah the Almighty:

بَلِّغۡ مَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ اِلَيۡکَ مِنۡ رَّبِّکَ ؕ وَاِنۡ لَّمۡ تَفۡعَلۡ فَمَا بَلَّغۡتَ رِسَالَتَہٗ

“‘O Messenger! convey to the people what has been revealed to thee from thy Lord; and if thou do it not, thou hast not conveyed His Message at all.’ (Surah al-Ma’idah, Ch.5: V.68)

“Huzooras did not spare any effort in fulfilling the responsibility of tabligh [preaching] and left no stone unturned. Whether it was day or night, the Promised Messiahas was always occupied and would never miss any opportunity to preach. In every state, i.e., sitting, standing, walking, in solitude, or in gathering, the Promised Messiahas would always be concentrated and committed [to tabligh]. Hence, every chapter of his biography and every moment of his blessed life is a practical manifestation and testament to this statement [that the Promised Messiahas fulfilled his duty of preaching]. […]

“It was the result of this true yearning and sincere approach of the Promised Messiahas that Allah the Almighty also supported him in every way. God lent him extraordinary help and succour, and provided for him means out of nowhere. The Promised Messiahas often used to mention this blessing and favour of God Almighty in the following words:

“‘It is the sheer grace and kindness of Allah the Almighty that the moment a desire comes in my heart or a need arises, God immediately provides the means to fulfil it.’” (Tatimma [appendix] Sirat-ul-Mahdi, pp. 347-348)

Duty of preaching

Regarding the duty of preaching, the Promised Messiahas said:

“There is no doubt that many people have turned the enjoining of good and the forbidding of evil into a means of livelihood, but everyone is not of this nature. There are pure-hearted individuals as well who convey the words of God and His Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, to the people only because they are commissioned to enjoin goodness and forbid evil, and they consider this task to be an obligation, and through this they desire to seek the pleasure of Allah Almighty.

“The duty of preaching is a position of lofty stature, and as it were, possesses within it the nature and grandeur of prophethood, provided that one does not neglect the fear of God. A person who exhorts others receives an opportunity to particularly reform their own selves as well, because in the least, it is necessary for a person to show others that they practice what they preach.” (Malfuzat [English], Vol. 2, p. 276)

Bishop Lefroy of Lahore

Prophet Ahmadas had a great command of the Bible as well, and Christian missionaries were advised not to get involved in debates with him. Though Christian clergy had a huge impact on the people of the subcontinent and even Muslims were converting to Christianity, Rt Rev GA Lefroy did not gather the courage to have a public discussion with the Promised Messiahas. Muslims signed a letter of invitation, and many famous newspapers published it, but George Lefroy declined to have a debate with the Messiahas of Muhammadsa and retreated. The complete account of this endeavour can be read in the book, Ahmad[as], the Guided One, under the heading, The Bishop Retreats.

Different methods of tabligh

Once, His Highness, Prince Muhammad Ibrahim Khan met the Promised Messiahas. The prince suggested that instead of always staying in Qadian, touring various towns of Punjab and India and preaching and speaking to the people would be more beneficial. The Promised Messiahas gave a detailed reply and explained his method of preaching in the following words:

“The methods of preaching are different in every age in accordance with the time and circumstances. Although the freedom of the present era is a good thing, it also has some drawbacks. I have employed the method of preaching that you have suggested, and I have also made journeys to some places for this purpose. However, I have seen, through experience, that the real objective cannot be fully achieved this way. Some people interrupt and start speaking during the speech. Some even hurl a few abuses and cause disorder by raising a clamour.

“Once, right here in Lahore, a person stood up during the course of my speech and hurled abuses right in my face, even though it was my own residence and there was an arrangement of the police, etc. The late Mian Muhammad Khan, who was very sincere and loving towards me, became angry, but I stopped him as it is against my moral principles to react in that same way.

“In short, I have had enough experience in Lahore, Amritsar, Delhi, Sialkot, etc. to know that this method is not free from mischief, and has a greater risk of violence. We were pelted with stones in Amritsar, and one stone even hit my son. Some of my friends were hit with shoes. لَا يُلْدَغُ المُؤْمِنُ مِن جُحْرٍ واحِدٍ مَرَّتَيْنِ [‘A believer is not bitten from the same hole twice’ (Sahih Bukhari, Kitab al-adab)], so how can I try the previously tested method again?

“The second big flaw is that in oral discussion, the transcribers can do whatever they like. They have the pen in their hands; they can make a mountain out of a molehill if they so choose. Then, there are some evil-natured people of the type who are explained things for hours, but because they do not have much opportunity to ponder during the course of an oral discourse and since the oral conversations are spontaneous and reactive, they do not leave a lasting impact. Therefore, I was forced to eschew this approach.

“In the course of my writing, I have penned seventy to seventy-five detailed books in order to communicate the arguments comprehensively. Each one of them is so comprehensive in its own right that it is not possible that if any seeker of truth or seeker of research reads them carefully, he would not find enough material to decide between  truth and falsehood. In my lifetime, I have collected a mighty treasure of knowledge and I have disseminated it as far as it was possible. They have also been read by both, my friends and foes alike. The spoken word has a short lifespan.

“One does not get a chance to deliberate in its course. Rather, some excitable people do not even have a chance to comprehend, as they become furious as soon as they hear something against their views and start to fume at their mouths. On the other hand, if one can sit with a book in an isolated room, he gets the opportunity to deliberate. As there is no opponent at that time, one gets a good opportunity to ponder with a clear mind. However, I have not given up the other method. I have travelled to many cities for this purpose and have preached there. In some places, we were even confronted with bricks and stones. Yet, in your opinion, I have not preached my message.

“I have not had any worldly pursuits in my life. Whether I am in Qadian or Lahore, my every breath is in the way of Allah. I have now completed my work through reason and by citing the written record. There is no aspect left that I have not completed. Now it is only the prayers from my end that are left.” (Malfuzat [English], Vol. 10, p. 379-381)

Preaching to Queen Victoria

The Promised Messiahas presented the peaceful message of Islam to Queen Victoria on more than one occasion.

In the Arabic part of his book, Aina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, “[Prophet] Ahmadas has, first of all, preached his mission to the Muslims of all other countries. Then is added a short historical note concerning his family by way of an introduction, after which is given an appreciation of the British in India followed by an invitation to Queen Victoria to accept Islam.” (Life of Ahmadas, p. 342)

Then, in his books, Tuhfa-e-Qaisariyyah (A Gift for the Queen), published on her Diamond Jubilee, and Sitara-e-Qaisarah (The Star of Victoria), the Promised Messiahas again invited Queen Victoria to Islam and explained his claim of Messiahship as well.

Passion for tabligh

The Promised Messiahas said:

“If it was within my power, I would go door to door like beggars and preach the true religion of Allah the Almighty and thereby rescue humanity from the destructive shirk [polytheism] and kufr [disbelief] spread across the globe. If God would grant me the knowledge of the English language, I would personally embark on tabligh expeditions and spend my entire life in this pursuit even if I were to die in this cause.” (Malfuzat [1988], Vol. 2, pp. 219)

Beyond geographical boundaries

The Promised Messiahas employed various means to fulfil his responsibility of tabligh which knew no geographical boundaries. He published countless announcements, challenged famous religious figures of diverse faiths, wrote open letters and held public debates. Apart from the local press, global newspapers circulated Prophet Ahmad’sas prophecies and victories over his opponents. Owing to his efforts, a great number of people denounced Christianity and reverted to Islam. Many foreigners, including Alexander Russell Webb, attributed their conversion to Islam to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian.


The Jamaat established by the Promised Messiahas continues to carry on his mission with the same fervour and sincerity. The standards of tabligh set by Prophet Ahmadas oblige members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to spread the message of Islam to all and save humanity from the clutches of rising irreligiousness. As the Promised Messiahas put it, “The actual mission for which God has appointed me is to remove the estrangement that has come between man and his Creator and re-establish a relationship of love and sincerity between him and his Lord. He has also appointed me to put a stop to religious wars by proclaiming the truth, to create religious harmony, to reveal the religious truths that have long remained hidden from mortal eyes, and to display the true spirituality that lies submerged under the darkness of selfish passions.” (Lecture Lahore, p. 42)

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