One of the objections of the opponents of Ahmadiyyat is that the Founder of the Movement had made a prophecy that Muhammadi Begum, daughter of Mirza Ahmad Beg, would be married to him, but that the marriage did not take place and this prophecy was proved false.
The background of this prophecy was that some of the relatives of the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, were atheists and mocked at Islam. God Almighty designed to show them a sign so that those who might take advantage of it may be saved and those who might reject it may be punished. Their condition is depicted by him as follows:
God Almighty found my cousins and other relatives a prey to irreligious thinking and given to misconduct. They were held in the grip of their passions, denied the existence of God and were disorderly. (Ayenah Kamalat Islam, p. 566)
He states further:
It so happened that one evening a person came to me weeping and I became apprehensive and asked him whether he had received the news of the death of anyone. To this he replied in the negative and said that the matter was graver than that. He explained that he had been sitting with those people who have become apostates from the divine faith and one of them uttered vile abuse against the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, such as has not been heard even from the mouth of a disbeliever. He mentioned that these people dishonor the Holy Quran and utter things that one dare not repeat. They assert that there is no God and that the concept of God is an imposture. Having heard him I reminded him that I had already warned him against keeping company with such people. (Ayenah Kamalat Islam, p. 568)
The Promised Messiah, peace be on him, further states:
These people wrote a letter to me in which they reviled the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and denied the existence of God and demanded proofs of my truth and of the existence of God. They published this letter and supported the non-Muslims of India and exhibited extreme wickedness. (Ayenah Kamalat Islam, p. 568)
On their demanding a sign, the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, turned to prayer and supplicated earnestly for a Divine sign to be exhibited in respect of them. God Almighty responded to him and he received the revelation:
I have observed their misconduct and wickedness and I shall soon destroy them under heaven through different types of calamities and you will soon see how I shall deal with them. I have power to do all that I will, I shall make their women widows and their children orphans and shall ruin their homes so that they might be punished for their misdeeds. I shall not destroy them at one stroke but gradually so that they might turn back and repent. My curse will descend upon the walls of their homes, on their elders and their young ones, on their women and on their men and on their guests. All of them will be accursed except those who believe and cut asunder from them and keep away from their company. They will be under divine mercy. (Ayenah Kamalat Islam, p. 569)
About that time the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, was approached by one of these relatives of his to procure his consent on deed of gift, the details of which are set out by him as follows:
At that time Mirza Ahmad Beg, father of Muhammadi Begum, made up his mind to procure from his sister, whose husband had not been heard of for several years, a gift of her land in favor of his son. The husband of his sister was a cousin of ours and under the customary law she could not transfer her land without our consent as we were the collateral’s of her husband. Mirza Ahmad Beg, therefore, turned to me and humbly and respectfully requested me to indicate my consent to the transfer proposed by him and I became inclined to put my signature to the deed of gift. But, as was my habit, I prayed for guidance, whereupon, I received a revelation to the following effect:
‘Tell him to establish a relationship with you by giving his elder daughter in marriage to you and thus to obtain light from your light. Tell him that you would agree to the transfer of the land as he has requested and show him other favors in the event of this marriage taking place. Tell him that this would be a covenant between you and that if he accepts it he will find you the best acceptor on your side and that if he 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 any 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 he does not expect it. The husband of his daughter will also die within two years and a half. This is a divine decree.’
I told him that he could now proceed to do whatever he might wish and that I had warned him. (Ayenah Kamalat Islam, p.572)
This was the prophecy, which was conditional upon repentance. In fact every prophecy that warns of punishment is conditioned with repentance. That this was so in this case also is clear from the revelation that the Promised Messiah received on seeing Muhammadi Begum’s maternal grandmother in a vision and in which he addressed her:
Woman, do thou repent. Repent, for misfortune is about to overtake thee and thy progeny and their progeny. A person wilt die but many critics will remain who will indulge in wild language. (Announcement of 10 July 1888)
The real purpose of the prophecy appears from the following statement of the Promised Messiah, peace be on him:
I had no need to request this relationship. God Almighty had fulfilled all my needs. He had bestowed children upon me and had promised that He would bestow upon me, within a short period, a son who would serve as a lamp for the faith and would be named Mahmud Ahmad. He would prove to be of high resolve in his endeavors. The request for this relationship is merely as a sign so that God Almighty might demonstrate His wonderful power to the dissidents of this family; so that if they accept, God might bestow signs of blessings and mercy upon them and might avert the misfortunes that are approaching and that if they reject it He might warn them through His wrathful signs. (Announcement of 15 July 1888)
It is clear, therefore, that the misfortune that threatened Muhammadi Begum’s maternal grandmother and Muhammadi Begum herself could be averted by repentance, as is indicated by the opening words of the revelation: Repent, Repent.
So it happened that Muhammadi Begum’s father gave her in marriage to another person and in accordance with the prophecy died within six months of the marriage and his death deeply affected the other members of the family. Muhammadi Begum’s husband repented and turned to God and thus his death was averted. As the prophecy was conditioned with repentance and on his repenting, the death of Muhammadi Begum’s husband was averted, her marriage to the Promised Messiah was canceled and did not take place.
It might be asked what is there to show that Muhammadi Begum’s husband, Mirza Sultan Muhammad, had really repented and had turned to God. In reply to this the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, states:
The determination of this is quite easy. Ask Sultan Muhammad, the son-in-law of Ahmad Beg, that he should publish a denial. Thereafter, if he should not die within a period that God Almighty might specify, I would be proved false… Such death would be withheld from him till he becomes defiant. Thus if you are in a hurry then arise and make him announce his denial and then witness the power of God Almighty. (Anjam Aatham, p.32)
If, after this challenge Mirza Sultan Muhammad had exhibited any defiance or had, at the urging of others, announced his denial, his death within the period that might have been appointed would have been absolutely inescapable and Muhammadi Begum’s marriage to the Promised Messiah would have taken place.
On the publication of the challenge of the Promised Messiah set out in Anjam Aatham, some Christians approached Mirza Sultan Muhammad and promised to pay him a large amount of money so that he might prosecute the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, in respect of his challenge. But they were unable to persuade him to take any such step, despite the tempting offer made to him.
In 1912 Mirza Sultan Muhammad wrote in a letter, a photostat of which has been published several times by the Ahmadiyya Community:
I have always held the late Mirza Sahib, and still hold him, as a righteous and respected person who was a servant of Islam, had a noble spirit and 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 honor of meeting him in his lifetime.
Hafiz Jamal Ahmad Sahib, a missionary of the Ahmadiyya Movement had, on one occasion, an interview with Mirza Sultan Muhammad, husband of Muhammadi Begum, which was published in the AI-Fazal of 9-13 June 1921, in the lifetime of Mirza Sultan Muhammad. Hafiz Ahmad Sahib states as follows:
If you would not mind, I would like to ask you about the prophecy of Hazrat Mirza Sahib concerning his marriage. He replied: ‘You can ask me freely’; and on my putting the question to him he stated: ‘My father-in-law, Mirza Ahmad Beg Sahib, died in accordance with the prophecy, but God Almighty is Forgiving and Merciful and hears the supplications of His servants and has mercy on them.’
He was asked: ‘Have you any comments on the prophecy of Mirza Sahib, or did it raise any doubts in your mind?’ to which he replied:
‘The prophecy raised no doubts in my mind. I state on oath that the faith and belief that I have in Hazrat Sahib are, I conceive, stronger than that of those of you who have entered into a covenant of allegiance with him.’
Thus the turning back of Mirza Sultan Muhammad Sahib is clear and obvious. As the prophecy was conditional, its remaining portions were averted through repentance after the death of Mirza Ahmad Beg. These included Muhammadi Begum’s marriage to the Promised Messiah after the death of Mirza Sultan Muhammad. As his death was deferred, the question of any other marriage did not arise. As the Promised Messiah has stated:
When these people fulfilled the condition and the son-in-law of Ahmad Beg became afraid and repented, the marriage was canceled or postponed. (Tatimmah Haqeeqatul Wahi, p.32)
He has stated further:
Everyone is aware of the events of the people of Jonah where there was no condition and yet the punishment decreed for them was averted by repentance and asking of forgiveness. In the present case there was the clear admonition: ‘Repent, repent, for the calamity is on thy heels’; which meant that everything would be averted through repentance. They were put in fear and thus a part of the prophecy was averted. (Badar, 13 April 1908)
The effect of the prophecy was that God Almighty delivered a large number of the members of that family and brought them into the Ahmadiyya Movement and made them devoted Muslims. Out of a long list of those members of this family who have joined the Movement, we call attention to a statement made in a letter by Mirza Ishaq Beg, son of Muhammadi Begum, who, by God’s grace, is a member of the Ahmadiyya Movement. He has said:
In accordance with this prophecy, my maternal grandfather, Mirza Ahmad Beg, died and the rest of the family was put in fear and became inclined towards reform, the irrefutable proof of which is that most of them joined the Ahmadiyya Movement in consequence of which God Almighty, being Forgiving and Merciful, changed His wrath into mercy. (Al-Fazal, 26 February 1923)
One objection that is raised in connection with this prophecy is that the Promised Messiah stated in Izalah Auham in 1891:
God Almighty will in any event bring Muhammadi Begum to me as a virgin or a widow and will remove all obstructions. He will certainly fulfill this and no one can obstruct Him. (Izalah Auham, p.296)
Then how is it possible that God Almighty did not remove the intervening obstructions and the marriage did not take place? The answer is that this statement was an interpretation of the prophecy, though it does not mention the condition to which the prophecy was subject. This condition was expressly laid down as has already been pointed out, If after his repentance Mirza Sultan Muhammad had rescinded from it then all intervening obstructions would have been removed. But, as in the event, Mirza Sultan Muhammad fulfilled the condition of repentance and adhered to it throughout, the remaining portions of the prophecy could not come into operation.