On February 13th, 1835, in the small Indian village of Qadian, a man named Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) was born. He belonged to a well-known and noble family.
All religions contain prophecies that foretell the advent of a special individual, who will come as a reformer in the latter days. In Islam, Muslims await a promised Mahdi and Messiah. The advent of the Promised Messiah(as) was prophesized by the Holy Prophet(sa) himself. According to a tradition, the Holy Prophet(sa) was sitting among his companions, two verses from Surah al Jum’uah were revealed,
“He it is Who has raised among the unlettered people a Messenger from among themselves who recites unto them His Signs, and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and Wisdom though before that they were in manifest error; And He will raise him among others of them who have not yet joined them. He is the Mighty, the Wise.” (62:3-4)
One of the companions of the Holy Prophet(sa) questioned to who this verse relates to, and the Prophet of Islam(sa) replied while putting his hand on Salman(ra), a Persian man,
“If faith were to go up to the Pleiades, a man from among these would surely find it.” (Bukhari).
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) is that Promised Reformer of the later age.
Starting from his childhood, the Promised Messiah(as)’s unusual interest in religion was noticed by many, including his father, who nicknamed him ’Maseetar’ meaning ‘one who spends most of his time in a mosque observing prayer’.
At an early age, he began to receive revelations from God, as well as visions and true dreams. In the years 1864 or 1865, the Promised Messiah(as) had a vision where he saw the Holy Prophet(sa). This verified further, that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) had a strong connection with the Prophet of Islam(sa). Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) was shown that he would have a fruitful spiritual future.
The Promised Messiah’s father wanted for his son to pursue government service, which would allow him a handsome means to support his family financially. However, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) felt his time pursuing his worldly occupation was like a “prison sentence” as he was deeply attached to spirituality and enhancing his religious knowledge. Therefore, during his spare time, he continued to study the Holy Qur’an, and always strove to serve humanity, often helping those who were in need. He also spent his time debating with Christian missionaries who lived in his neighborhood, defending his beloved faith, Islam.
The June of 1876 was a tragic time for the Promised Messiah(as) as his father passed away. Earlier, on the same day, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) had received a revelation from God revealing about his father’s death. The Promised Messiah(as) was quite saddened by the death, and was worried about the troubles his family would now face, with limited financial means. However, since Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) was an individual loved by God, Allah Almighty sent another revelation,
“Is Allah not sufficient for his servant?” (39:37)
This assurance filled the Promised Messiah(as) with contentment that Allah Almighty would always provide for him. In 1868 or 1869, the Promised Messiah(as) received the revelation,
“Thy God is well pleased with what thou hast done. He will bless thee greatly, so much so that Kings shall seek blessing from your garments.”
This seemed a strange revelation at the time–why would kings seek blessings from the clothes of someone hardly known outside this small remote village in India? But, history bears witness, that this revelation became reality, as the legacy of the Promised Messiah(as) unfolded and reached people from all over the world, from all walks of life, rich and poor, till today.
The flow of revelations and visions continued, until in 1882 he received the revelation which made it clear that he, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) , was to be the appointed one, the one commissioned by God to serve His cause; he was the Promised Messiah(as).
In January of 1886, he received a prophecy that foretold of a handsome and spiritually purified son, who would be born to the Promised Messiah(as). This prophecy was followed by one other. The second prophecy specified the context within which the Promised Messiah(as) would be granted his promised son. Both of these prophecies were indeed fulfilled on the 12th of January, 1889 when God blessed the Promised Messiah(as) with a son who was named Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad(as). This Promised Son also became the second Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Khilafat.
The publication of the Promised Messiah(as)’s first book ‘Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya’, was a huge step in the Ahmadiyya movement. This book not only helped pave the way for Ahmadiyya, but also helped Islam at the time of need. At the time of the publication, Islam was facing religious attacks from various religious movements, including Christianity. Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya helped provide readers with convincing arguments against other religious movements. This book contained arguments, proving the superiority of Holy Qur’an over other Holy Scriptures. It also proved the truthfulness of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa).
In 1889 Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) received the Divine revelation:
“When thou hast determined, put thine trust in Allah. And build the Ark under Our eyes, as commanded by our revelation. Verily, those who swear allegiance to thee indeed swear allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hand.”
After this revelation Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) published a public announcement, that read:
‘I have been ordained to announce that those who are seekers after truth should swear allegiance to me so that they may be enabled to find a way to the true faith, true purity and the love of God.’
The call for Initiation or “Bai’at” was answered immediately by those who had already recognised that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) was indeed the Promised Messiah, and was appointed by God Almighty himself. The first Initiation ceremony took place in Ludhiana on 23rd March 1889, laying the foundation for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Hazrat Maulvi Nurudin(ra), became the first person to be initiated at his hand.
In 1891 in Qadian, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) received repeated revelations that Jesus(as) of Nazareth, in whose second advent both the Muslims and Christians believed, had died a natural death and that what was meant by his second advent was that a person should appear in the spirit of Jesus and that he himself was that person, the Promised Messiah(as).
After writing over 80 books and tens of thousands of letters, delivering hundreds of lectures, and engaging in scores of public debates, the Promised Messiah(as) passed away on May 26, 1908. Yet his legacy as the founder of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, continues to prevail throughout the world today. He was a man, deeply in love with and treaded on the footsteps of his beloved master, the Holy Prophet(sa), with every breath of his life. He was man beloved by Allah Almighty, and was vouchsafed a revelation, “Kings shall seek blessing from your garments”, which rings true to this very day.
To learn more about the life of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi(as) please read the following books: