Some of my foolish opponents were much aggrieved and frustrated by their failure in the lawsuit started by Dr. Clark. Despite their every endeavour, they had to suffer a great defeat in a case in which my life and honour were at stake. This was not all. The prophecy, revealed to me regarding the case—that had been communicated to more than two hundred honourable and respectable people and had been publicised widely beforehand—also came to be fulfilled. But, unfortunately for my opponents, there was yet another defeat in store for them on account of their suspicious nature and their undue haste. Thus when, recently, in a summary action and without any regular inquiry by any court, this writer was assessed to and notified with a demand to pay income tax to the amount of Rs.187.5, these people, whom it is not necessary to name (the wise will know), greatly rejoiced in their hearts, and thought that though their earlier shot had misfired, they will be compensated for in this case. But evil-minded and selfish people can never triumph. No success can be achieved through one’s own cunning or conniving, for there is One Who watches the hearts of men, judges their inner thoughts, and, corresponding to their intentions, issues orders from heaven. God, therefore, did not allow even this desire of these evil-minded people to be fulfilled. After a thorough inquiry, the tax was remitted on 17th September, 1898. The wisdom that lay behind the sudden appearance of this law-suit was that God wished to manifest His support for me in three things and in three aspects, viz. my life, my honour and my property. As far as life and honour were concerned, Divine help had been demonstrated in the case of Dr. Clark, but Divine succour remained to be demonstrated with regard to property. God Almighty, therefore, willed that His support in regard to property should also be demonstrated to the people. This He did, and in so doing He completed the three forms of succour. This is the secret behind this lawsuit. Just as God had not caused Dr. Clark’s case to put an end to my life or to disgrace me—the purpose was to manifest the signs of the Mighty and Benevolent God—the same was the case here. And just as in the case involving my life and honour, God had foretold through revelation that I would be acquitted and that the opponents would be humiliated, so did He inform me in advance that I would be victorious in this case as well and the envious will be put to shame. And this Divinely revealed prophecy had become well-known in our Jama’at before the final orders had been pronounced. Just as our Jama’at had witnessed a heavenly sign in the case involving my life and honour, so did they witness another heavenly sign in this case, which further reinforced their faith. 4
I am very much surprised that although sign after sign continues to appear, the Maulawis are least concerned with the truth. They do not realize that God Almighty causes them to suffer defeat in every field. How they wish that Divine support of some sort or other should appear in their favour also, but, instead of support, their failure and frustration continues to become apparent with each passing day.
For example, during the days when the almanacs were widely reporting that both the sun and the moon would be eclipsed in the coming month of Ramadan, many people had began to think that perhaps this was the sign of the advent of the Promised Imam. This caused the Maulawis to fear lest people should incline towards me, for I was the only one claiming to be the Mahdi and the Messiah. In order to conceal this sign, some of them began to proclaim that the eclipse of the sun and the moon would not take place in the coming month of Ramadan, and that it would only take place when their Imam Mahdi appeared. But when the eclipses of the sun and the moon did take place in the month of Ramadan, they started making excuses and saying that these eclipses were not in conformity with the words of Hadith, because the Hadith says that the lunar eclipse would take place on the first night and the solar eclipse on the middle of the month, while in my case, the lunar eclipse took place on the 13th night and the solar eclipse on the 28th of the month. But when it was explained to them that the Hadith did not mean the first night of the moon, as the moon of the first night was not called Qamar, but Hilal, and the Hadith contained the word Qamar and not Hilal. Therefore, what the Hadith meant was that the moon would be eclipsed on the first of the nights during which lunar eclipse can possibly take place, i.e., 13th night of the moon, and the sun would be eclipsed on the middle one of the days in which it can possibly take place, i.e., the 28th.5
After hearing the correct meaning of the Hadith, the ignorant Maulawis were greatly embarrassed, and came up with yet another excuse saying that one of the narrators of this Hadith was unreliable. It was then pointed out to them that since the prophecy contained in the Hadith had already been fulfilled, any criticism based on mere presumption was of no consequence against the actual facts, which provide a strong proof in favour of the authenticity of the Hadith. In other words, the fulfilment of the prophecy testifies that it is the word of the truthful one. To allege now that he is not truthful but a liar amounts to denying selfevident truths. Scholars of Hadith have always upheld the principle that doubt cannot negate certainty. The fact that this prophecy has been fulfilled literally in the time of the one who claims to be the Mahdi, is a sure testimony that he who spoke these words spoke nothing but the truth. To say that one is not sure of the character [of the narrator] is only a conjecture, for sometimes even liars speak the truth. Since the prophecy has also been borne out in other ways and some leading Hanafite scholars have also testified to it, it will not only be unfair, but it will be sheer obstinacy to deny it. After this incontrovertible rejoinder, they were left with no choice but to admit that the Hadith was true, and that it was correctly understood to signify the appearance of the Promised Imam in the near future; but, they said, this man is not the Promised Imam, he will be some other person. But this reply of theirs also proved to be flimsy and false, for had there been some other Imam, he should have appeared at the turn of the fourteenth century,6 as mentioned in Hadith. But fifteen years of the century have already passed and no Imam of theirs has yet appeared. The final excuse they have now come up with is, ‘These people are infidels, don’t read their books, and do not have any social relations with them. Do not listen to them, for what they say moves the hearts.’ It should serve as a warning for them that the heaven has turned against them and so has the earth at the present time. How shameful it is that while the heaven is testifying against them on the one hand, the earth too has turned against them on account of the dominance of the Cross. The testimony of the heavens—the prophecy regarding the solar and lunar eclipses during Ramadan—is recorded in books such as Dar Qutni. And the testimony of the earth is the supremacy of the Cross, during which the Promised Messiah was destined to come, and this Hadith figures in Sahih Bukhari. Both these testimonies favour us and reject them.
The death of Lekhram7 was also a sign that caused them no less mortification.
My paper that was read out at the Mahutsu8 convention—the conference of religions—was acclaimed as a great sign, and caused my opponents no little embarrassment. It was not just that my paper prevailed over all others, but this victory had been foretold in a prophecy that had been published earlier in an announcement.
If only Atham9 had lived, Miyan Muhammad Husain Batalvi and his ilk would have some reason to indulge in some false interpretations, but Atham, with his hasty death, was the undoing of these people. He lived as long as he kept quiet, but the moment he opened his mouth he was overtaken by the condition stipulated in the revelation. God Almighty granted him respite in keeping with the conditions laid down in the revelation, but the moment he violate this condition, he was seized with terrible illness and it quickly put an end to his life. But since some of the ignorant Maulawis remained impervious to this humiliation, and, out of sheer mischief, regarded the conditional prophecy as if it was wholly unconditional, they did not draw any honest conclusion from the obvious panic and silence which had taken hold of Atham during the time specified in the prophecy. Nor did they draw any lesson from the fact that I invited Atham to take an oath, and he was also incited [by his supporters] to file a suit against me, but he would not hear of these things. Since, God does not wish to let His signs to languish in ambiguity, He caused the prophecy about Lekhram to be fulfilled with unmistakable clarity. The prophecy was unconditional, and contained all the details about the date, the day and the manner of his death. But alas! the enemies of truth did not profit even from this manifest sign of God. It is evident that if I was a liar, the prophecy about Lekhram would have been a great occasion to humiliate me, for it had no condition attached to it, and I had published a written statement along with the prophecy that if it turned out to be false, I should be considered a liar deserving every punishment and humiliation. On this occasion, if I had been a liar, God Almighty would surely have disgraced me and wiped out every trace of me and my Jama’at. But He did not do so. Rather, He manifested my honour and enlightened the hearts of those who, on account of their ignorance, had not understood the prophecy about Atham. Is it not a point to ponder as to why God supported me in the matter of a prophecy that had no condition attached to it, and non fulfilment of which would have meant my total ruin? Why did He fulfil this prophecy and thereby fill hundreds of hearts with my love—so much so that some of my sworn enemies came to me crying and entered into my Bai’at? Had this prophecy not been fulfilled, Miyan Batalvi Sahib may well imagine what forceful articles he would have published in Isha‘atus Sunna against me, and what effect they would have had on the people. Can anyone understand why God should have heaped shame and disgrace on Batalvi and his ilk, and has it not been decreed in the Holy Quran that God shall always grant victory to the believers? And what would have been left of me, if this prophecy—which was not accompanied by any condition whatsoever, and related to an opponent who would gnash his teeth at me—had turned out to be false? Is it not true that if this prophecy had turned out to be false, Shaikh Muhammad Husain Batalvi would have leapt with joy? He would have written gleeful articles in his paper, poking ridicule and fun at me, and would have held public celebrations. But, what has he done now that the prophecy has been fulfilled? Is it not true that he has thrown away a great Divine sign as though it was rubbish, and has insinuated in his blighted paper that I am the murderer of Lekhram! Yes, I am a killer, but I do not kill with man-made weapons, rather I kill with a heavenly weapon—i.e., prayer, and I had to resort to this only due to his insistence and repeated requests. I did not wish to pray against him, but he himself desired it. I can be accused of murder in the same way as the Holy Prophet(sa) was accused in the case of Khusro Parvez, the King of Persia.
Thus, Lekhram’s case clinched the Divine argument against Muhammad Husain and others like him.
Thereafter came the Divine sign relating to the lawsuit initiated by Dr. Clark, and the prophecy, which had been publicised widely among hundreds of people before the judgement was announced, was fulfilled. Shaikh Batalvi suffered such disgrace in this case that, had he been fortunate enough, he would have repented at once, for it had become evident to him as to who enjoyed Divine support.
Remember that in Clark’s case, Muhammad Husain in collusion with the Christians, had spared no effort to disgrace me. My God acquitted me, but he suffered such humiliation when he asked for a chair in the court, that any decent person in his place could have died of shame. This is what comes of trying to humiliate a truthful person. On his demand for a chair, the Deputy Commissioner rebuked him and said, ‘Neither you nor your father have ever been entitled to a chair.’ He ordered him to move back and stand straight. What was even worse, as he was being snubbed, I, whose disgrace he had come to witness, was seated on a chair close to the Deputy Commissioner. I will not keep repeating this incident. If anyone wants, he can go and confirm it from the officials of the court and their staff.
Now the question is, while God Almighty promises in the Holy Quran that He supports the believers and gives them honour, and that He disgraces the liars, then why is there this contradiction that in every field, disgrace, notoriety and dishonour have been the lot of Muhammad Husain? Is this the way God treats those whom He loves? As to the income tax case, it was Shaikh Batalvi’s earnest wish that tax should somehow be imposed on me, so that he could embellish the pages of his magazine Isha‘atus Sunna by writing about it, and thus cover up, at least to some extent, his earlier humiliations. However, in this too he failed miserably and the tax was remitted. God had placed the case in the hands of officials who were going to do justice in all truth and fairness. Thus the unlucky ill-wishers were frustrated in this case as well. God be thanked a thousand times that He revealed the truth to the authorities. Here, I should thank Mr. T. Dixon, Deputy Commissioner, District Gurdaspur, to whom God Almighty disclosed the facts. This is the reason why, from the very beginning, I have been grateful to the British Government and its officials, and have been all praise for them because they always uphold justice. Both Captain Douglas, the former Commissioner, [in Dr. Clarke’s case], and Mr. T. Dixon [in the income tax case], have provided us with two examples of British justice and fairness that I can’t forget as long as I live. For instance, the case before Captain Douglas was a very sensitive one, in which the complainant was a venerable Christian, and he was supported by almost all the Christian clergy in the Punjab. But the aforesaid Commissioner did not care, who had initiated the case. Instead he acted with justice and acquitted me. The case heard by Mr. T. Dixon was also very sensitive, for the government suffers loss in remitting a tax. But Mr. Dixon acted with the utmost regard for fairness, justice and equity. To my mind, such officials are a shining example of the government’s concern for its citizens, and of its honesty and adherence to the principles of justice. And that which was comprehended by Mr. T. Dixon’s enlightened sense of justice was indeed the truth. I am, therefore full of gratitude and prayer. The hard work and investigation done by Munshi Taj-ud-Din, Tehsildar Batala, also deserves mention here. It was he who, in his spirit of justice and earnest investigation, presented a true picture of the facts before the higher officials, and this helped them to arrive at the truth. Here I reproduce the Tehsildar’s report and the final order issued by the Deputy Commissioner:
Copy of the Report by Munshi Taj-ud-Din Sahib, Tehsildar, Pargana Batala, District Gurdaspur, in Tax Objection case.
Attached to file in the court of Mr. T. Dixon, Deputy Commissioner. Date of institution: 20th June, 1898. Decided: 17th September, 1898. Basta No from Department: Case No. 55/46.
Income Tax Objection filed by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, son of Ghulam Murtaza, caste Mughal, resident of Qadian, Tehsil Batala, District Gurdaspur.
To The Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian was assessed this year to pay income tax to the amount of Rs. 187.5. No tax has ever been imposed upon Mirza Ghulam Ahmad before. Since it was a new tax, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad filed objections in your court which were referred to this department for inquiry. Before referring to the inquiry regarding the income tax, it would be appropriate to say something about Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, to find out who and of what status is the petitioner.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad belongs to an old and noble Mughal family which has been residing in the village of Qadian for a long time. His father, Mirza Ghulam Murtaza was a respectable landlord and the Chief of Qadian. On his death, he left an estate of quite sizeable proportions, a part of which is still in the possession of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and a part thereof is with Mirza Sultan Ahmad, son of Ghulam Ahmad, which he has inherited through the wife of the late Mirza Ghulam Qadir. This estate is largely agricultural. It consists, for example, of an orchard, cultivated land, and Ta’alluqadari of a few villages. As Mirza Ghulam Murtaza was a respectable and affluent person, it is possible, and in my opinion quite probable, that he left a large amount of cash and jewellery, but satisfying evidence in regard to this kind of immovable10 property is not available. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad himself has been in service in his early days, and, in view of his lifestyle, it cannot be expected that he might have squandered away his own income or his father’s estate, cash, or ornaments. Immovable property, which he inherited from his father, is still intact, but regarding immovable11 assets, sufficient evidence could not be procured. In any case, taking into consideration Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s circumstances, it can be safely said that he has not wasted these assets either. Some time ago, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad relinquished his post and devoted his attention to religion, consistently endeavouring to have himself recognized as head of a religious Jama’at. He has published several religious books, written pamphlets and given publicity to his views through announcements. The result of all this is that for some time now, a sect consisting of a number of individuals, of whom a list (in English) is attached herewith, has come to believe in him as their leader, and they have established themselves as a separate sect which, according to the list attached, comprises 318 persons. Some of them, though not many, belong to the nobility and are highly educated. When his Jama’at grew in number, he made an appeal for subscription to his followers in his books entitled Fath-e-Islam and Taudih-e-Maram in order to provide means to achieve his objectives, mentioning five items for which funds were required. As his followers reposed their full trust in him, they gradually started sending subscriptions, at times specifying in their letters the particular item, out of the five, towards which they wished their subscription to be spent. Sometimes they left it to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s discretion to spend on whichever item he thought proper. The statement of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the complainant, and the evidence of other witnesses shows that the money is being spent in the aforesaid manner. In short, this Jama’at at present exists as a religious society whose head is Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. All the rest are his followers who fulfil the objectives of the Jama’at on a cooperative basis through their subscriptions. The five items mentioned above are as follows:
The Guest house: All who come to Qadian to meet Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, whether they are his followers or not, but who have come for religious enquiry are provided food from this guest house. According to the written statement of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s attorney, the funds allocated for this purpose are also spent for the welfare of travellers, orphans and widows.
The Press: Religious books and handbills are printed here, which are at times distributed free to the public.
The School: The followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad have established a school, which is still in its early stages. Its management is under Maulawi Nurud-din who is a prominent follower of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
Annual Conventions: The Jama’at holds annual conventions, and subscriptions are collected for organizing them.
Correspondence: According to the written statement of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s attorney and the evidence of witnesses, a considerable amount of money is spent for this purpose. Members of the Jama’at contribute towards the cost of all correspondence in connection with religious enquiries.
In short, according to the statements of witnesses, subscriptions are expended on these five items. These are the ways and means by which Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, along with his followers, disseminates his religious views. This society is a religious denomination, and since your honour already knows about it, this brief outline should suffice.
I now proceed to the actual petition.
The annual income of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad this year, having been assessed at Rs.7200/-, was taxed to the amount of Rs. 187.5.12 On his request, his statement was taken at Qadian, while I was on tour in that area. Statements of 13 witnesses were recorded. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad deposed in his affidavit that he had income from his Ta’alluqadari, from his land and from his orchard: Ta’alluqadari income being about 82 rupees and 10 annas per annum; income from land about 300 rupees per annum, and from the orchard about two, three, four or, at the most, five hundred rupees per annum. He has no other income of any kind apart from this. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad also deposed that this year he had received about Rs. 5200/- from his followers, whereas the average income is about Rs. 4000/- which is spent solely on the five above mentioned items, and not on his person. No regular income and expenditure account has been kept and the approximate estimate as stated is only given from memory. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad further stated that his personal income from the orchard, the land and Ta’alluqadari was sufficient for his personal expenses and that he had no need to expend his followers’ money on his own person. Statements of witnesses also support Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s deposition. It is stated that his followers send money to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad by way of charitable donations to be spent on the five above mentioned heads and is accordingly expended. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has no personal income that might be taxable except that from Ta’alluqadari, his land and his orchard. Of the witnesses, six are reliable, but they are his followers who live with him most of the time. Seven other witnesses are shopkeepers who have no relation of any kind with Mirza Sahib. All these witnesses generally support Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s statement. They affirm that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has no other personal income except from Ta’alluqadari, his land and his orchard. I also inquired secretly from some of people in that place regarding the personal income of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Although some of them did say that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s personal income was considerable and that it was taxable, no one was able to provide any clear evidence. I also visited the school and the guest house in Qadian. The school is still in an early stage and is largely built of mud. Some houses have also been built for the followers. There were guests in the guest house, and I noted that all the followers who were present in Qadian on that day had their meals in the guest house.
In my humble opinion, if Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s personal income is taken to derive from Ta’alluqadari and his orchard alone—as is clear form the evidence, and the income from his followers is regarded as charitable contribution, then the tax imposed on Mirza Ghulam Ahmad cannot be upheld. On the other hand, when we consider that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad comes of a respected and influential family and his ancestors have been important chiefs with substantial incomes, and that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad himself has been in service and in comfortable circumstances, one tends to imagine that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is a rich person and is, therefore, liable to tax. According to Mirza Sahib’s own statement, he has recently mortgaged his garden to his wife and has received in return ornaments worth Rs. 4000/- and Rs 1000/- in cash. A man whose wife can afford to spare such an amount can be thought of as being rich. The whole record of the inquiry conducted by me is enclosed with this file. I beg leave to submit this report in compliance with your orders. Dated: 31st August, 1898.
The humble one, Taj-ud-Din, Tehsildar, Batala, submits that the attorney for Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has been directed to appear in your court on 3rd September, 1898. Dated as above, under official signature.
Copy of interim order on Tax Objection, filed in the court of T. Dixon, Deputy Commissioner, Distt. Gurdaspur.
File Income Tax Objection : Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, son of Ghulam Murtaza, caste Mughal, resident of Qadian, Tehsil Batala, Distt. Gurdaspur.
Papers seen and report of the Tehsildar heard today. For the time being this file is to be kept under consideration. Shaikh Ali Ahmad, pleader and attorney for the appellant are present and are informed. Dated: 3rd September, 1898. Under official signature.
Here I reproduce the original copy of the final orders [English] along with the Urdu translation:
In the court of F.T. Dixon Esquire, Collector of the District of Gurdaspur.
Income Tax objection case No. 46 of 1898. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad son of Mirza Ghulam Murtaza, caste Mughal, resident of mauda Qadian Mughlan, Tehsil Batala, Distt. of Gurdaspur objector.
This tax is a newly imposed one and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claims that all his income is applied not to his personal but to the expenses of sect he has founded. He admits that he has other property but he stated to the Tehsildar that even the proceeds of that which is classed as land and the proceeds of agriculture and is exempt under 5 (b) go to his religious expenses. I see no reason to doubt the bona fides of this man, whose sect is well known, and I exempt his income from subscriptions which he states as 5200/- Under Sec 5(c) as being solely employed in religious purposes.
Sd T. Dixon
1 In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. [Publishers]
2 We praise Him and invoke blessings upon His noble Prophet(sa). [Publishers]
3 Persian couplet: Truth is helped every moment by God, the Sustainer of all the worlds; The truthful have the Hand of the True God concealed in their sleeves. Every calamity that descends from the heavens upon a truthful person, Eventually becomes a sign for the seekers. [Publishers]
4 Allah be praised for it. [Publishers]
5 According to the laws of nature, lunar eclipse takes place on one of the three appointed nights: The 13th, 14th and 15th [night of the moon]. Eclipse of the moon always takes place on one of these three nights. Thus, in keeping this sequence, the 13th is the first night of the lunar eclipse, to which the Hadith points. As for solar eclipse, the dates are the 27th, 28th and 29th of the [lunar] month. And by this sequence the 28th is the middle one of the dates, and the eclipses took place on these very dates. [Author]
6 According to Islamic calendar known as Hijri calendar. [Publishers]
7 Pundit Lekhram: An Arya Samaj leader from Peshawar. [Publishers]
8 Mahutsu: Conference held in Lahore Dec. 1896, in which the Promised Messiah’s(as) paper was universally acclaimed. [Publishers]
9 Abdullah Atham: A prominent Christian cleric and preacher, who in his book Andruna-e-Bible used vile language against the Holy Prophet(sa). [Publishers]
10 It seems to be a misprint. To be read as moveable [Publishers]
12 187 rupees and 8 annas, or 187.5 rupees. [Publishers]