The following article was written by Brother Shakeel Virk and was posted in response to Anti-Ahmadiyya Allegation on the USENET about Muhammadi Begum. The views expressed in this article are strictly of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at.
Muhammadi Begum was the daughter of one of Hazrat Ahmad’s distant paternal relatives, Mirza Ahmad Beg, who had not only renounced his faith in Islam but along with some of his other relatives, he ‘reviled the Holy Prophet of Islam, Hazrat Muhammad Mustapha (pbuh), doubted the truth of the Glorious Quran and also denied the very existence of God Almighty’ [Ayenae Kamalat e Islam: p 566]
Hazrat Ahmad was naturally perturbed at the defiant stance of these relatives whom he often counselled to ‘desist from denying the existence of God Almighty, insulting His noble Prophet and also reviling His Divine Word’ but his counsel always fell on deaf ears. In fact, the only response by these people was to increase further in their transgression and tread Hazrat Ahmad’s advice with contempt.
Hazrat Ahmad later observed that these people became bolder in their denunciation of everything sacred in Islam. He stated:
“They advanced daily in their error and arrogance till they decided to propagate their evil thoughts and mislead the ignorant ones with their delusions. They published a document in which they abused the Holy Prophet (pbuh), reviled the word of God and denied the existence of God, hallowed be His name.’ [Ibid p 567]
This document, which some dissident members of the family published was given wide publicity in the Christian press. [Chashm e Noor, Amritsar: 13th August, 1885] It was also demanded that those who believed in the truth of Islam, show some Sign to verify the truth of their belief. When it reached Hazrat Ahmad, he declared that he: “found it full of such abusive language which could rend the bosom of heaven asunder. Thereupon, I bolted my doors and supplicated my Lord, the Bountiful, prostrating myself before Him and saying: My Lord help Thy servant and humiliate Thy enemies. Respond to me, O Lord, respond to me. How long will they mock Thee and Thy Messenger (pbuh)? How long will they call Thy Book false and abuse Thy Messenger (pbuh)? I beseech Thee of Thine Mercy, O Ever Living, Self Subsisting Helper!”
[Ayenae Kamalat e Islam p 569]
It should be evident from this supplication that Hazrat Ahmad’s dispute with Muhammadi Begum’s family did not, as is asserted by anti-Ahmadi types, have a personal motive. On the contrary, he supplicated God Almighty to respond to him and humiliate these enemies of Islam who ‘denied the existence of God Almighty, reviled His noble Messenger, Hazrat Muhammad Mustapha (pbuh)’ and ‘abused His sacred Word, the Holy Quran.’ [Ibid p 569]
Consequently, when God responded to Hazrat Ahmad’s earnest supplication with the declaration:
“I have observed their misconduct and wickedness and I shall soon destroy them through different kinds of calamities and you will see how I deal with them,” [Ibid: p 569]
He did so, in response to Hazrat Ahmad’s supplication that God Almighty save, not Hazrat Ahmad’s honour, but, the honour of his Lord, God Almighty, His noble Messenger, Hazrat Muhammad Mustapha (pbuh) and also His sacred Word, the Glorious Quran.
It is is an established practice of God Almighty that He does not suffer His Creatures without first sending a warning unto them [Quran 5:40] so as to afford the transgressors an opportunity to repent and make amends. If they heed to these warnings and consequently, repent and reform, the Most Forgiving and Merciful Lord looks upon them with mercy in accordance with His promise:
“Whoso repents after his transgression and reforms, God will surely turn to him in mercy; verily, God is Most Forgiving and Merciful” [Al Quran 6:132/134]
The dissident members of Muhammadi Begum’s family were not an exception to this established rule. Hence, although God Almighty forewarned their impending chastisement on account of their misdeeds, He would not punish them without first giving them an opportunity to repent and make amends. This is indicated by many a Divine revelations vouchsafed to Hazrat Ahmad. For instance, Hazrat Ahmad warned this branch of the family that God Almighty had informed him:
“I shall not destroy them at one stroke but gradually so that they might turn back. My curse will descend upon the walls of their homes; on their elders and their young ones; on their men and their women and on their guests. All of them will be accursed except those who believe and keep away from their company. They would be under Divine Mercy.” [Ayenae Kamalat e Islam p 569]
In another announcement, Hazrat Ahmad warned that God Almighty had decreed:
“Every branch of thy cousins will be cut off and it will soon come to an end remaining childless. If they will not repent, God will send calamity after calamity until they are destroyed. Their houses will be filled with widows and His anger will descend upon their walls. But if they turn, God will turn will mercy.” [20th February, 1886: Supplement, Riyaz Hind, Amritsar: March 1886]
On yet another occasion, Hazrat Ahmad warned an uncle of Muhammadi Begum, Mirza Imamud Din, that God Almighty had decreed punishment upon him if he did not repent. However, Hazrat Ahmad also stated that God had disclosed to him:
“Should he repent, his end will be good. After a warning he would win back to comfort.” [Surma Chashm Arya: p 191]
As regards to Muhammadi Begum’s own parents, Mirza Ahmad Beg and Omrun Nisa in particular, Hazrat Ahmad prophesied:
“It was conveyed to me by the Most Gracious One by revelation that if they did not repent, they will be chatised. My Lord said to me: If they do not turn back from their misconduct, I shall fill their homes with widows but if they repent and reform, We shall turn to them with mercy and shall give up the design of their punishment. Thus will they experience whatever they choose.”[Anjam e Athim: p 211/213]
These revelation to Hazrat Ahmad established the fact that the impending misfortunes decreed upon the dissident members of this branch of the family were ‘entirely conditional and subject to the future attitude’ of the individuals against whom these decrees had been issued. If they desired, they could save themselves the decreed chastisement through repentance. On the other hand, if they persisted and continued in their transgression, they would then remain subject to the wrath decreed against them.
In fact, when one studies this entire controversy with a detached mind and a sense of honesty, one finds that during this entire period when Muhammadi Begum’s family lived under the shadow of God Almighty’s wrath, Hazrat Ahmad (pbuh) besought them repeatedly to repent and save themselves from the decree against them. He, out of compassion, counselled them:
“Seek forgiveness from the Lord of forgivers”[Anjam e Athim: p 213]
In yet another announcement, Hazrat Ahmad stated that in one of his visions, he saw a weeping woman from amongst the family of Mirza Ahmad Beg. He counselled the maternal grandmother of Muhammadi Begum:
“Woman! repent and turn back for misfortune is pursuing thee.” [Tablish e Risalat: p 162]
Unfortunately, this branch of an otherwise noble family was too arrogant to take counsel. It flirted with Christianity for a while [Chashma e Nor, Amritsar: August 1885 & Noor Afshan: 10th May, 1888] and some of its prominent members apostatised and joined the Arya Samaj [Riyaz Hind Vol.1: No. 16] a Vedantic organisation dedicated to the destruction of Islamic values in the subcontinent of India. Some years later, a considerable number of its members became atheists and openly declared:
“We have no need of Allah or His Book or His Messenger, the Seal of the Prophets. They said: We shall not accept any Sign unless we are shown a Sign in our own lives. We do not believe in the Quran and we do not know what prophethood is and what faith is and we deny that all.” [Karamat us Sadiqeen]
Nevertheless, since God Almighty had decreed that He would ‘not destroy them at one stroke but gradually so that they might turn back’, He began to fulfil His word and Muhammadi Begum’s family was subjected to a series of misfortunes as had been decreed.
In the first of a series of calamities, Muhammadi Begum’s uncle, Mirza Nizamud Din suffered a colossal tragedy when precisely in the 31st month of the prophecy against the family, his ‘daughter, aged twenty five, died, leaving behind an infant child.’[Tabligh e Risalat: Vol 1]
This sorrow which visited the family should have weighed heavy upon their heart and soul. But, regrettably, Hazrat Ahmad found that these people ‘increased in rebellion and went on mocking Islam, like the enemies of faith.’ Consequently, Mirza Nizamud Din died, leaving behind two survivors, a son, Mirza Gul Muhammed and daughter, both of whom had the wisdom and piety to accept Islam at the hands of Hazrat Ahmad.
Mirza Nizamud Din’s brother, Mirza Imamud Din was also survived by one child only, Khurshid Begum, who, like her cousins Mirza Gul Muhammed and his sister, swore allegiance to Hazrat Ahmad. Consequently, Khurshid Begum was married to Hazrat Ahmad’s son and her grand daughter was married to one of Hazrat Ahmad’s grandson.
Another brother of Mirza Imamud Din and Nizamud Din, Mirza Kamalud Din left Qadian to become a recluse and spend the rest of his days in the grave yards of India. He had himself castrated and later repented his action for the rest of his life. Mirza Kamalud Din suffered a miserable end and died without issue.
Muhammadi Begum’s own parents, as fate would have, required assistance of Hazrat Ahmad in matters of estate. Hence, her father, Mirza Ahmad Beg turned to Hazrat Ahmad for assistance with great humility and meekness. Hazrat Ahmad although inclined to bestow the favour sought to him, informed Mirza Ahmad Beg that as was customary with him to supplicate God Almighty by way of Istikharah on all important matters, he would do the same on this occasion and return to Mirza Ahmad Beg later. Hazrat Ahmad stated:
“Thereafter, on account of his persistence, I supplicate in the form of Istikharah and that became the occasion for God to display a Sign” [Announcement: 10th July, 1888]
Hazrat Ahmad informed Mirza Ahmad Beg that he has been directed by God Almighty to advise Mirza Ahmad Beg ‘to establish a relationship with Hazrat Ahmad by giving his elder daughter, Muhammadi Begum, in marriage to Hazrat Ahmad and thus obtain light from his light’ [Ayenae Kamalat e Islam p 572]
I do not know if you are familiar with the traditions of family customs in India or not. But those who are aware will bear out that to publicly demand the hand of a daughter of an enemy, particularly of feudal stock, is probably the most potent way to chagrin and humiliate an adversary. Hence, God Almighty, in His Infinite wisdom, decided to hit this branch of a traditionally noble family in a manner as would hit the hardest where it hurts. Otherwise, it is inconceivable to imagine that Hazrat Ahmad would, on his own accord think of seeking a matrimonial union into a family so far removed from Islam.
At that point in time, Hazrat Ahmad was 53 years of age and happily married to a pious lady of noble stock, Hazrat Nusrat Jahan Begum, descendant of Nawab Mir Dard. It is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that Hazrat Ahmad was not given to worldly pleasures. This is indicated by the fact that although his first marriage to Hurmat Bibi had broken down when he was only 21, yet for then next 28 years of his life, he did not remarry.
On the contrary, he lead a life of celibacy and devoted these youthful years of his life to the service of Islam and remained content with his religious and literary pursuits. Hence, any man with a sense of justice and fair play, would not even remotely, think of attributing to Hazrat Ahmad, profane desires in relation to this episode of Hazrat Ahmad’s life. He himself, irrespective of what anti-Ahmadi groups allege, had no desire to seek this marriage with Muhammadi Begum and he declared quite categorically that he ‘stood in no need of seeking this match since God had provided for all his needs’ [Announcement: 15th July, 1888]
In fact, in a private letter addressed to one of his sincere friends and confidants, Hazrat Maulana Nurud Din, Hazrat Ahmad declared that
‘since the time he had received this divine revelation to marry, he had been reluctant by nature and wished that this Divine decree might remain inoperative’
He also stated:
“I have made up my mind that how ever seriously such an occasion arises, I will eschew it unless and until I am forced to it by an express command from God because the burden and the disagreeable responsibilities of polygamy are too many. There are also lots of evils in it and only those can guard against these who are commissioned to bear the heavy burden by God – with His special decree and for a special purpose of His – and also through His special communication and revelation.” [Letter dated: 20/6/1886]
If, despite these evidences, these salacious minded perverts, the anti-Ahmadi groups, insist on insulting such a pious and innocent servant of God by projecting their own depraved personalities and attitudes into the background of the holy intentions of a pious servant of God, then one can only remind them that even the holy of the holiest and the Khataman Nabyieen (pbuh) was not spared such lecherous criticism. One wonders if the source is unaware how for centuries now the lewd Freudians of the western world have mocked and jeered our Holy Prophet, the Khataml Anbiyya for marrying Hazrat Zainab, of blessed memory, the divorced wife of his erstwhile ‘adopted’ son, Hazrat Zaid?
Would it, hence, not be highly essential and prudent that God fearing and wise people exercise caution where such sacred personages are concerned whose lives and characters are entirely without blemish. Or would these critics of God Almighty’s emissaries prefer to identify themselves with those of who it is said, ‘fools rush forth, where angels fear to tread.’
As has been stated earlier, God Almighty instructed Hazrat Ahmad to advise Muhammadi Begum’s father, Mirza Ahmad Beg to ‘establish a relationship with him and thus obtain enlightenment from it.’ Hence, Hazrat Ahmad was obliged to obey the command of his Lord and admonished the father of Muhammedi Begum which he did in conveying the Divine message to the effect that if Mirza Ahmad Beg:
“does not accept it and his daughter is married to someone else, that marriage would not prove a blessing either for his daughter or for himself. Tell him that if he persists in carrying out a different design, he will become subject to a series of misfortunes, the last of which would be his death within three years of the marriage of his daughter to someone else. Warn him that his death is near and will occur at a time when does not expect it. The husband of the daughter will die within two years and a half. This is Divine decree.” [Ayenae Kamalat e Islam: p 572]
Regrettably, Mirza Ahmad Beg, the father of Muhammadi Begum remained defiant. He treated Hazrat Ahmad’s counsel with contempt and made every effort to publicly ridicule Hazrat Ahmad. Mirza Ahmad Beg and his family joined forces with Christian missionaries and published Hazrat Ahmad’s letter in a Christian newspaper which in turn resulted in great deal of adverse criticism, not so much of Hazrat Ahmad but of Islam itself. [Arya Patrika, Lahore: 12th June 1888]
Hence in this atmosphere. Mirza Ahmad Beg’s own family finally invoked the wrath of God upon itself and the wheels of Divine wrath began to grind. In the first of a series of tragedies, Mirza Ahmad Beg lost his son, Mirza Mahmud Beg in July 1890 at which time Hazrat Ahmad offered his condolences and assured the aggrieved father of his sincerity and sympathy by stating:
“You might be feeling ruffled at heart on account of me, but the Omniscient knows that the heart of this humble one is absolutely pure and I wish you well in every way.” [Dard. A.R Life of Ahmad: p 245]
During this fatal period , Muhammadi Begum’s grandmother and one of her sisters also, became victims of the prophecy. However, Mirza Ahmad Beg chose to persist in his arrogance. In April 1892, he married his daughter to Mirza Sultan Muhammad and within six months of Muhammadi Begum’s marriage, Mirza Ahmad Beg died of typhoid in September 1892, hence fulfilling the prophecy issued on the 10 of July 1888, to the effect that he would:
“die within three years of the marriage of his daughter” [Ayenae Kamalat e Islam: p 572]
Historical facts record that the death of Mirza Ahmad Beg, the family ceased to be abusive toward ‘God Almighty, His noble Prophet, Hazrat Muhammad Mustapha (pbuh), and also His sacred Book, the Holy Quran.’ In fact, as events turned out, the family began to turn to Islam for solace and its members sought forgiveness for their misdeeds. They even supplicated Hazrat Ahmad to intercede on their behalf so that God Almighty, in His Infinite Mercy, save them further torment and remove the curse decreed upon them – a fact admitted by no less an enemy of Hazrat Ahmad, Maulvi Sanaullah Amritsari himself. [Amritsari, Maulvi Sanaullah: Illhamat Mirza: p 69]
Hence, a generation which at one time ‘denied the existence of God, which reviled His noble Messenger, and which insulted His Glorious Book,’ returned to accept Islam at the hands of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Thus it did because of the conviction that Hazrat Ahmad’s prophecy against their family had been clearly fulfilled and the only recourse open to them, was to repent and seek forgiveness.
Amongst those who repented and pledged their allegiance to Islam at the hands of Hazrat Ahmad were: Omrun Nisa Bibi, widow of the deceased Mirza Ahmad Beg and mother of Muhammadi Begum; Muhammadi Begum’s sisters, Inayat Begum and Mahmooda Begum and their brother, Mirza Muhammad Beg; Mirza Ishaq Beg, son of Muhammadi Begum; Mirza Ahmad Hussan, son in law of Mirza Ahmad Beg; Mirza Gul Muhammad and her sister, the only surviving children of Mirza Nizam Din; Hurmat Bibi, sister of Muhammadi Begum’s mother and her daughter; Tai Saheba and Khurshid Begum. [Anjam e Athim 211/213]
In view of the established practice of God Almighty, as has been one would expect that at this point in time, when Muhammadi Begum’s dissident family began to repent and seek God Almighty’s forgiveness, He, in His Infinite Mercy, would recall the decree of punishment issued against them since He had no further case to chastise them. And this, as subsequent events proved, is exactly what God Almighty did, in accordance with His Divine promise:
“If they repent and reform, We shall turn to them with mercy and shall give up Our design of their punishment. Thus will they experience whatever they choose.”[Anjam e Athim: 211/213]
It would be the height of dishonesty to now argue that Muhammadi Begum’s family should have been chastised further, if Hazrat Ahmad’s prophecy was to be considered to have been fulfilled. It has been shown that after receiving such punishment, the dissident family ceased to transgress and sought forgiveness. It also proved its good intent by pledging fidelity at the hand of God Almighty’s elect, His vicegerent the Promised Messiah and the Imam Mahdi, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. What manner of God would now continue chastisement of these people despite His promise: “I will inflict My punishment on whom I will; but My mercy encompasses all things; so I will ordain it for those who act righteously.” [Al Quran 7:157] Has the Master of Destiny and the Lord of Mercy, God Almighty not, in His Infinite Mercy promised mankind:
“Whoso repents after his transgression and amends, then will God surely turn to him with mercy, verily, God is Most Forgiving Merciful.” [Al Quran 5:40]
It is however ironic that while the family, directly affected by the prophecy, admitted its fulfilment and turned to Hazrat Ahmad, the anti-Ahmadi groups continue to argue otherwise on the grounds that Muhammadi Begum was not married to Hazrat Ahmad. This they do tenaciously despite the fact that at no stage had her marriage to another person been ruled out by the prophecy nor was her marriage to Hazrat Ahmad, the primary purpose of the prophecy. On the contrary, it was a proposed mean to an ultimate end, that being, the prophecy itself indicated, ‘the return of the faithless and the erring back to guidance’, as is sufficiently proved by the text of the prophecies against the dissident family. [Ayenae Kamalat e Islam p 566/74]
And once the ultimate purpose of the prophecy had been achieved with the repentance of the family and its conversion to Islam immediately after the death of Ahmad Beg, Divine justice demanded that the second part of the prophecy, that of forgiveness, be also fulfilled – the part which hinged on the condition that in case the dissident members of the family repented, God would certainly turn to them in mercy and forgiveness. Hence, forgiveness by God Almighty of Mirza Sultan Muhammad and Muhammadi Begum, instead of giving a lie to this prophecy, is in fact, further proof that the prophecy was fulfilled in its entirety.
The anti-Ahmadi groups may continue to deny the fulfilment of the prophecy but historical records show that the family which had to bear the brunt of God’s wrath was itself thoroughly convinced, that Hazrat Ahmad’s prophecy about them had been fulfilled to the extent of God Almighty’s will. Hence, Mirza Ishaq Beg, son of Muhammadi Begum, admitted his grandfather’s ignoble death and stated:
“My grandfather, Mirza Ahmad Beg died as a result of the prophecy and the rest of the family became frightened and hence reformed themselves. An undeniable proof of this is that most of them joined Ahmadiyyat.”[Al Fazal: 26th February, 1923]
Do the anti-Ahmadi groups claim to know more about the fulfilment of this prophecy than those who were directly concerned with it and who witnessed every phase of its fulfilment?
Mirza Sultan Muhammad, the husband of Muhammadi Begum, gave evidence of his goodwill towards Hazrat Ahmad of Qadian. I posses a camera photocopy of Mirza Sultan Muhammad’s hand written letter with the following declaration:
“I have always, and still consider the late Mirza Saheb, a righteous and respected person who was a servant of Islam; who had a noble spirit and who was constant in his remembrance of God. I entertain no opposition to his followers and regret that for certain reasons, I was not able to have the honour of meeting him during his lifetime.” [Tashizul Azhan: May 1913]
This recorded testimony bears witness that Mirza Sultan Muhammad was also convinced that Hazrat Ahmad’s prophecy had been fulfilled to the extent of God Almighty’s will. In fact, in a interview, the details of which are published during Mirza Sultan Muhammad’s lifetime, he stated:
“At the time of the prophecy, the Arya Hindus, because of Lekh Ram and the Christians, because of Athim offered me a hundred thousand rupees to file a case against Mirza Saheb. If I had taken the amount I would have become rich but it was my great faith in him that prevented me from doing so.” [Al Fazl: 9th June 1921]
This statement by Mirza Sultan Muhammad, published in columns of the Al Fazl also indicates that Mirza Sultan Muhammad was thoroughly convinced of the truth of Hazrat Ahmad’s claims – a fact verified by his other declaration:
“I declare on oath that I have such firm faith in Hazrat Mirza Saheb which I think even you, who profess to be his followers, cannot claim” [Ibid]
However, Mirza Sultan Muhammad was not the only person who believed that Hazrat Ahmad’s prophecy against Muhammadi Begum’s family had been fulfilled in the spirit in which it had been decreed by God Almighty.
Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Batalvi, the then leader of the Ahle Hadith Jamaat in India, held in high regard by most anti Ahmadiyya Muslim organisations, was a committed opponent of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. He personally witnessed the entire controversy between Hazrat Ahmad and Muhammadi Begum’s family and he was also thoroughly aware of the prophecy pronounced against these people.
Yet despite the fact that he considered it his ‘duty to bring Hazrat Ahmad’s fame to dust, a mission to which he had vowed himself,’ [Ishaatus Sunnah] Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Batalvi witnessed the ignoble fate of Mirza Ahmad Beg and stated:
“though the prophecy was fulfilled, yet it was due to astrology” [Ishaatus Sunnah, Vol V]