Dr. John Alexander Dowie was an American who proclaimed that God has in the ‘Spirit and Power of Elijah’ sent him. He set forth to spread Christianity. He also stated that he intended to wipe out Islam. He made insulting remarks about the Prophet of Islam(saw) and hurled invective at Hazrat Ahmad(as). When Hazart Ahmad(as) came to know of this, he challenged him to a prayer duel.
“The best way to determine whether Dowie’s God is true or ours, is that Mr. Dowie should stop making prophecies about the destruction of all Muslims. Instead he should keep me alone in his mind and pray that if one of us is fabricating a lie, he should die before the other.” Review of Religions, Sept. 1902, Vol I, No 9
Huzoor(as) further observed:
“If Dowie runs away from this challenge, be sure that a great catastrophe is about to befall on Zion”. (Haqiqat al-Wahee, page 71)
When Dr. Dowie was told of this challenge, he boasted:
“Can you imagine me answering to these gnats, and flies. If I were to put my foot on them, I could crush them to Death.” (Leaves of Healing, December 27th, 1903)
Eventually he was punished for his arrogance and was chastised according to the prophecy of the Promised Messiah, peace be on him. His wife and son turned against him and did not attend his funeral. He could not speak because of a stroke of paralysis on December 19th, 1905 while giving a speech.
His followers deserted him after finding out that he had embezzled $2,529,766. That he led a lustful life and was an alcoholic. His newly built city Zion (70km north of Chicago) was torn by internal dissension. In the first week of March 1907 he died in utter grief, misery and helplessness.
The world press took special interest in this Mubahila (prayer duel); over 30 newspapers in the US published the news story. The Boston Herald in its issue of June 23, 1907 observed:
“Dowie died with his friends away from him and his fortune dwindled. He suffered from paralysis and insanity. He died a miserable death, with Zion city torn and frayed by internal dissension. Mirza comes forward frankly and states that he has won his challenge”.