The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement
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Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
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Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

The Ahmadiyya movement was founded in 1889 in the Punjab, India, by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (d. 1908), a renowned scholar and champion of Islam, and an inspired holy man of great repute. At that time, Islam and the Holy Prophet Muhammad were being heavily attacked and denounced, on a world-wide scale, notably by Western writers and Christian missionaries. Religion as such was also facing the critical assault of the modern thought and science of the times. The traditional Muslim religious leaders, with their out-dated knowledge and preoccupation with trivial controversies, were utterly failing to defend the faith. In fact, several of their own notions were erroneous and damaging to the cause of Islam. The religion followed by most Muslims had come to consist of just empty rituals, performed mechanically, and blind obedience rendered to religious leaders. Much of the Quran was interpreted and presented in terms of incredible fables and stories, which appeared ridiculous to the thinking mind. Since intelligent Muslims saw this as the only image of Islam before them, they were rapidly becoming disillusioned with their faith, and many were deserting it for other creeds.

It was at this time of darkness, defeat and helplessness for the Muslim world that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad came forward to defend Islam, by means of knowledge he received from God, and to disclose its true, original spirit which had been forgotten over the ages. Through his books, lectures and public debates, over a period of about thirty years, he refuted the mass of charges against Islam, and carried forward the fight into the opponents' own camps by demonstrating the excellence of Islamic teachings over the opposing creeds. Muslims rejoiced at this turn-about, and upon his death glowing tributes were paid to him by prominent Muslims of the time.

In an age when Muslims had slumped to their worst decline, Hazrat Mirza received intimation from God indicating that the time for the final, world-wide triumph of the faith of Islam, as prophesied in the Quran, had now arrived. But this would be a victory of the arguments, principles and beauty of Islam, which will capture the hearts and minds of people all over the world.

Hazrat Mirza formed a Movement and community of Muslims to carry the defence and propagation of Islam to the whole world, and to revive the forgotten Islamic values of peace, forgiveness, and sympathy for all mankind. He aptly named it Ahmadiyya, after the Holy Prophet Muhammad's other name Ahmad which symbolises the qualities of tenderness, gentleness, love and mercy displayed by the Holy Prophet.

Some of the leading Muslim intellectuals and religious scholars of the time joined the movement.


See further: Tributes by leading Muslims from outside the Ahmadiyya Movement
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