Ahmadiyyat and the British

An objection that is raised is that the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement described himself as a tree planted by the British and that he flattered the British and praised them unduly, which shows that his claim to prophethood had been sponsored by the British.

This charge is entirely false. The Promised Messiah, peace be on him, used the expression 'a tree planted by the British' concerning his forebears with reference to the services rendered by them to the British. He has not employed this expression anywhere concerning his claim, or his status. He wrote:

It is quite clear that the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, did not describe his claim as 'a tree planted by the Government', but has used this expression concerning the services rendered by the members of his family and himself in the past. Concerning his claim, he had recorded in the same letter addressed to the Lieutenant Governor:

With regard to his own advent he announced emphatically that he was a tree planted by the hand of God Almighty. He wrote:

In a Persian verse he has said:

It can be asked why did he in any case express his loyalty and praised the British repeatedly in his books? The answer is that some people continuously reported to the Government that he was a dangerous person, even more dangerous than the Sudanese Mahdi. For instance, Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Sahib of Batala wrote concerning him:

To counter this propaganda, he had to state time after time in books that his community was loyal to the British Government.

Regarding the charge that he flattered the British, attention might be drawn to some of his writings. For instance, he says:

He states further:

He also states:

Another statement of his is:

Thus, whenever he praised the British, it was not out of flattery but was out of obedience to the direction of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, that he who is not grateful to man is not grateful to Allah. To call a justice-loving government a just government is an Islamic quality and is not open to objection.

It is surprising that when the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, pointed out some of the good qualities of the British he was charged with flattering them, but when numberless Muslin divines, both those who were his contemporaries and those who came after him, praised the British in exaggerated terms, no one raised a voice against it. Is that Islamic justice?

We set out below, by way of illustration, some of the declarations of Muslim divines and leaders who described the British Government as a divine blessing.

(i) Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Sahib of Batala, who was one of the divines and leaders of the Ahle Hadees, wrote:

He has also stated:

(ii) Syed Ali-al-Hairi Sahib, the well-known Shia mujtahid, has stated:

(iii) Hazrat Syed Sahib Brelvi declared:

(iv) An-Nadwah, the organ of the Nadwatul Ulama, wrote:

Again, the same organ wrote:

It is against this background that the Promised Messiah expressed his gratitude to the British Government. He set forth his reasons thus:

Many of the Muslim divines and leaders obtained grants and awards from the British Government in return for their praise of the Government and their service to it. The Promised Messiah, peace be on him, did all this for the purpose of the propagation of the true Islamic teaching and sought or obtained no advantage of any kind from the British Government. Can the opposing Muslim divines point to a single instance in which the British Government conferred any benefit upon him in return for his praise of the Government? There is no such instance. He was a resident of Qadian and during his lifetime no facility, like the telegraph, or telephone, or railways, was provided by the Government. He lived in perpetual danger on account of the provocative writings and speeches of the opposing divines, but the Government never took any step towards his security, nor rendered him any financial assistance. There was no police or military unit in Qadian. He was repeatedly prosecuted on false charges but the Government showed him no favor. Would that be the attitude of a government towards one who, as has been alleged, was put up by government and was its spy?

When the Promised Messiah, peace be upon him, put forward his claim, the opposing divines for many years continued to charge him with being the agent of the Government and on the other hand reported to the Government that he was disloyal and intended to bring about a rebellion.

On one occasion he received a revelation in Persian to the effect that the British Empire would last only for eight years and that thereafter a period of weakness and disorder and decline would set in. He communicated this revelation only to some members of his Movement. When Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Sahib of Batala, who was always in search for something on the basis of which he might be able to establish that the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, was disloyal to and a rebel against the British Government, learnt of this revelation from a member of the Movement, he at once wrote an article justifying his assertion that he was a rebel who desired to bring about the end of the British Government and Empire.

In any case, is it not surprising that a person who, according to his opponents, had been put up by the British Government should convey to his followers that the days of that Government had been numbered? Had he been put up by the British he would have propagated in support of the strength and permanence of the Government rather than make a prophecy that the Government would not last for much longer.

Another matter that is worthy of note is that the British Government spent millions of pounds in the effort to establish Christianity in its colonial possessions. They published a vast literature in support of this effort and helped to train thousands of missionaries for that purpose. Under the auspices of the Bible Religious Society millions of copies of the Bible were printed in local languages and were published freely and nothing was left untried for the propagation of Christianity and its firm establishment. Then does it stand to reason that on the one hand an intelligent Government should carry on such a tremendous effort for the propagation of its religion and on the other hand should put up a person who applied the ax to the roots of Christianity? Christianity is founded on the death of Jesus upon the cross whereby, it is alleged, he atoned for the sins of mankind. The Promised Messiah, peace be upon him, proved that Jesus did not die upon the cross and thus demolished the very foundation of Christianity. He challenged the principal Christian missionaries in India and established their falsehood. Can such a person be the agent of a Christian government?

All Christian missionaries were united in their opposition to the Promised Messiah, peace be on him. If they knew that he was one of their own men, why should they have opposed him so strenuously? One of his well-known Christian opponents was Padre Thakurdas, He wrote and published books like the Review of Braheen Ahmadiyya, Izalatul Mirza Qadiani, Zunub Muhammadjyya, against the Ahmadiyya Movement. Padre S. P. Jacob wrote and published a book against him called The Promised Messiah. The Rev. Dr. Griswold wrote and published a book titled Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani against him. Leading missionaries like Fateh Masih, Waris Masih, Imadud-din, Sirajuddin, Abdullah Atham, and Henry Martyn Clark, worked their utmost in their Opposition to him. Abdullah Atham was an Extra Assistant Commissioner. If the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, had been put up by the British, was it for them to instruct one of their senior officers to oppose him? Dr. Henry Martyn Clark instituted a false prosecution against him charging him with conspiracy to murder. Was this the type of treatment which was to be expected from the Christians against an agent of the Government?

Till two years before his death the name of every visitor to Qadian was noted down by police agents. Most of the leading British officials looked upon the Ahmadiyya Community with suspicion and were opposed to it. The Governor of the Punjab, Sir Herbert Emerson, was well-known for his hostility towards the Ahmadiyya Movement. He encouraged the Ahrar in their Opposition to the Movement and backed them up. Does all this show whether the British officials were the friends of the Ahmadis or were opposed to them?

The Opponents of the Ahmadiyya Movement describe as an agent of the Christian British Government, one who dubbed Christian missionaries as Anti-Christ (Chashmai-Maarifat), and who proclaimed:

Can one who wrote this be an agent of the British Government? The Promised Messiah, peace be on him, was the person who blocked the advance of Christianity, who proved the death of the god of the Christians, who established the truth of the Holy Quran in contrast with the Bible, whose missionaries are busy demolishing Christian citadels around the globe and who invited the Queen of Great Britain, who was the greatest sovereign of her age, to give up Christianity and to accept Islam. Addressing her he said:

Can any reasonable person accept that one who had been put up, as alleged by his opponents, by a Christian Government to uproot Islam, should stand up and invite the mightiest sovereign of his time, Her Majesty Queen Victoria, to accept Islam?