In 1893 Huzoor(as) held a written debate from May 22nd to June 5th, in Amritsar against the famous Christian missionary Abdullah Atham. This debate was later on published under the title Jange Muqaddas (The Holy War). God Almighty showered him with so much success during the debate that many people took the pledge of allegiance and joined the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at.
An amusing incident took place during the course of the debate. The Christians brought forth three lame, blind and dumb persons and argued that since our Messiah used to cure the lame and the blind, let this Messiah do the same.
The Christians were confident that they had him nailed. When the handicap people were brought before Huzoor, he pointed out that only the Gospels had mentioned such miracles of Jesus, not the Quran, therefore we did not believe in this. Huzoor(as) continued that the New Testament also states that if your faith is as much as a grain of mustard, you could perform such miracles or even greater wonders. Therefore he presented those invalids back to them, and said “ if you possess little faith then cure them with your touch of hand. If you can cure them then we will believe that you are on the right path, if you do not then we must conclude that you do not possess faith as much as a grain of mustard”.
Hazrat Ahmad’s reply made them speechless. They thought that they had succeeded in their planning to humiliate him, but it only brought shame on them. During the course of the debate Huzoor(as) made the following prophecy:
“that out of the two parties in this debate the one who was deliberately following a falsehood and abandoning the true God and transforming a weak mortal into a God shall, within the days since the debate, i.e. one month since this day till fifteen months thereafter, be thrown into hawiya (hell) and will be greatly disgraced provided it is not inclined towards the truth.” Proceedings of the debate, June 5th, 1893. Jange Muqaddis pages 291-292.
The above prophecy made it clear that if Atham did not repent then he will be thrown into hell. Upon hearing the wording of the prophecy, Atham was deeply alarmed and scared. He started shaking, and turned pale. Contrary to his habit, he refrained from uttering anything objectionable against Islam or the Holy Prophet (SAS). He was restless and moved from town to town in absolute terror. It seemed he had recanted. God Almighty granted him respite in the face of his changed attitude, but the opponents alleged that the prophecy was false.
Huzoor(as) announced that if Mr. Atham would declare on oath that he had not inclined towards the truth, he would pay him a sum of Rs. 1000/- provided he survived for one year after taking the oath. Later the sum was increased to Rs. 4000/-. Atham did not take the oath, had he taken a false oath, he would have been punished within one year. Furthermore, Huzoor emphasized that even if he did not swear on oath, God Almighty will not leave him unpunished as he had tried to deceive the world by concealing the truth.
Since Atham refused to swear on oath, he died on July 27th, 1896 exactly as foretold by the prophecy. This was indeed a glorious sign on the truthfulness of Hazrat Ahmad(as).