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Iqbal and the Ahmadiyya Movement

5. Good Relations with Lahore Jama'at Continue
5. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
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Chapter 5

Good relations with Lahore Jama'at continue after Split

Despite his disillusionment with the Qadianis, Dr. Iqbal maintained his good, friendly relations with the leading figures in the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama'at, and regular visits between them continued. One such Lahore Ahmadi was Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Husain Shah, a well- known physician and philanthropist of Lahore. It is recorded in a compilation of Iqbal’s letters:

    “Dr. Muhammad Husain was a renowned physician of Lahore. He was originally from Shakar Garh and was a friend of Iqbal. Colonel Dr. Bashir Husain, retired Director, Health Services, West Pakistan, is his son. He was a very wealthy and generous man, and gave thousands of Rupees for the propagation of Islam [to the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama'at]. He built the Samli Sanatorium and then handed it over to the government. Whenever Dr. Muhammad Husain Shah paid a visit to Iqbal, the Allama would stand up to greet him, and show him the same respect when seeing him off. The love and sincerity between them can be gauged from this.”
    (Makatib Iqbal binam Garami sahib, Iqbal Academy, Macleod Road, Lahore, compiled by Muhammad Abdullah Quraishi, second edition, June 1981, p. 159.) 

Co-operation in Muslim national affairs.

In defending and promoting the national interests of the Muslims of India, Dr. Iqbal worked jointly with the leaders of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama'at. The following instance is recorded in the general Muslim press of the time:

The [Indian National] Congress decided to boycott the Simon Commission [set up by the British government] on the grounds that it did not have any Indian member on it. The reply they received was that factional differences among the Indians are so many that it is impossible to include their representatives in the Commission. At this point, Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal, and Maulana Muhammad Ali, head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama'at, issued a joint statement which said:

    “Factional differences compel us to accept, with an unwilling heart, the reasons given by Lord Birkenhead for not appointing Indian members to the Royal Commission. Before presenting a common Hindu-Muslim programme, factional differences must be resolved. We inform our fellow countrymen and the Muslims that boycotting the Commission will lead to the destruction of the Muslims’.” 
    (Paisa Akhbar, 10 December 1927. Zikr-i Iqbal, p. 137)

Lord Headley’s visit to Lahore and Iqbal’s speech at the Lahore Ahmadiyya annual gathering.

In 1927 Lord Headley, the famous British convert to Islam who had embraced Islam in 1913 at the hand of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, came to India. During his visit he presided over one of the sessions of the annual conference of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam in Lahore. Large numbers of the general Muslim public, as well as many famous Muslim leaders, attended the session. Given below are some extracts from the report of the proceedings:

Report from
Paigham Sulh:
Proceedings on 28th December 1927. The venue for the annual Jalsa [conference] was, as usual, the Ahmadiyya Buildings mosque. However, as today an address was to be presented to Lord Headley, and such large numbers of people were expected to attend to hear his reply that the space in the conference marque would not have sufficed, it was deemed suitable to hold today’s proceedings in the grounds of the Islamia College.

His Lordship arrived at about 3.30 p.m. and took his seat on the podium amidst resounding cries of Allahu Akbar. As soon as he sat down, the Hazrat Amir Maulana Muhammad Ali gave a short address, proposing him for the chair, in which he said …. After Hazrat Amir, Sir Mian Muhammad Shafi rose to support the motion, and said …. He was followed by Maulvi Zafar Ali Khan, who said …. Then Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din spoke …. After him, Dr. Shaikh Sir Muhammad Iqbal rose and said:

    “Sometime ago I wrote the following verse about Europe: Europe has polluted the fountains of knowledge. They say that poetry is a part of prophethood. It may be that God, by means of the efforts of our friend Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din and his supporters, will cause Europe to make these fountains pure and clean again through Islam. At least the time has come when Europe is starting to feel that its salvation lies in Islam, and only in Islam. The movement which began in 1400 c.e., and which led Europe to make many advances in so-called civilization, has been shown to be unsuitable by the people of Europe themselves. Western civilization has been shaken to its foundations. For the last two centuries, it has striven to establish peace in the world, but has met with utter failure. Its well-being now depends on Islam only, and it is our good fortune that we see among us today a member of the British nobility. On the one side, there is a British nobleman, and on the other (pointing towards Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din) a commoner from among us.”

Dr. Iqbal continued: 

    “Muslims must be united in the face of their enemies who are on the attack from all sides. In our own country, on the one hand the Hindus are our enemies, bent on extirpating Muslims from India, and believing that they have no right to live in India as Muslims. Those who think thus are foolish. They are under a misconception: Islam can never be driven out of India. It has ruled India for centuries, and shall rule the hearts of the Indians forever.

    “Besides this, the Muslims face an internal danger at this time. A party has arisen among us, asserting that Muslims are not a separate entity in India. Such people are destroying Islam with their own hands. Islam is a distinct entity in this country, and Islam has resolved to maintain its separate identity in this country. Islam shall never be overcome, it shall triumph in the end.”

Someone objected at this point, as to how Islam could triumph while it was under the rule of the British. Sir Muhammad Iqbal said in reply: 

    “Do you not know that the example of the Tartars is being revived today? The very nation to which we are subject shall itself become Muslim. A living proof of this fact is Lord Headley who is among us. The powers of Islam are not limited. One age was that of the sword, today is the age of the pen (applause!). It attacks from within and without, and compels you to accept it in all ways.”
From Paigham Sulh, Lahore, 4 January 1928


Calls Lahore Ahmadis “Muslims with a sense of honour”.

In 1932 one Chaudhary Muhammad Ahsan wrote a letter to Iqbal because his brother, Hafiz Muhammad Hasan Cheema, who was a member of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama'at, had asked him to join this Jama'at and had given him some of its literature. After studying the literature, the letter writer asked Iqbal to clarify certain religious questions and to give his opinion about the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama'at. Iqbal wrote in his reply:

    “Lahore, 7 April 1932. Dear sir, Assalamu Alaikum:

    “I know your brother quite well. He is a very pious soul. You should put to a learned divine the questions which you have asked me. I can do no more than tell you what I believe, that is all. I consider all the Hadith reports relating to the Mahdi and the concepts of Messiahship and Mujaddids to be the result of Persian and other non-Arab philosophies. They have nothing to do with Arab thought or the true spirit of the Quran.…

    “As to the Ahmadiyya Movement, there are many members of the Lahore Jama'at whom I consider to be Muslims who have a sense of honour, and I sympathise with their efforts to propagate Islam. To join a movement or not depends very much on one’s personal inclination. You should decide for yourself whether to join the movement or not … But indeed, the passion for the propagation of Islam that is to be found in most members of this Jama'at is worthy of praise.”
    (Iqbal Nama, Part II, Makatib Iqbal, compiled by Shaikh Ata-ullah, (Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1951), pp. 230 – 232, Letter no. 87.) 

Attends Hindu’s acceptance of Islam at Ahmadiyya Buildings.

When a well-known Hindu of Lahore embraced Islam in 1933, the following report of the ceremony appeared in Paigham Sulh

    “1st March 1933, corresponding to 4 Ziqa‘da 1353 A.H., Wednesday, Ahmadiyya Buildings, Lahore. Mr. Kunya Lal Gaba, barrister and son of a wealthy Hindu Lala Hari Kishan Lal Gaba, embraced Islam. Hazrat Amir [Maulana Muhammad Ali] gave the convert the name Khalid Latif Gaba. This auspicious ceremony of acceptance of Islam was attended by many leading Muslim figures of Lahore. Among these may be mentioned: Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Allama Abdullah Yusuf Ali, the Nawab of Mamdot, Malik Feroz Khan Noon, and Maulana Sayyid Mumtaz Ali.”

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