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The prophecy about Muhammadi Begum

compiled by Dr. Zahid Aziz


The article below has been compiled to present the actual facts relating to the prophecy made by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad about the lady Muhammadi Begum, and to refute the widespread, false allegations and mockery directed against him on this score by his opponents.

The charges against Hazrat Mirza are that: (1) he tried to marry this lady by threatening her relatives with prophecies of their destruction if they didn't agree, and (2) in any case, the prophecy that she would be married to him turned out to be false.

Before the article, we may briefly explain that the people involved in this episode were close relatives of Hazrat Mirza who were openly cynical, derisive and mocking about the truth of Islam. He was trying to bring about their religious reform in accordance with the injunction of the Holy Quran: "And warn your close relations" (26:214). To bring about this reform, he followed exactly in the footsteps of those who are commissioned and directed by Allah for the reform of humankind.

The persons who were his adversaries in this matter were his first cousins through his paternal uncle (Muhammadi Begum being the daughter of such a female first cousin) and other near relations connected with them. It stands very greatly to his credit that, despite the close blood relationship, he put the defence of Islam and truth above kinship.

I have based the compilation below on an English article entitled The Story of Muhammadi Begum by Mirza Masum Beg (editor of The Light at one time), published in 1951, which I have considerably expanded, in particular by adding more material from the writings of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Besides his writings, other sources I have used are the Urdu books: (1) Mujaddid-i Azam by Dr. Basharat Ahmad and (2) A'eenah-i Ahmadiyyat by Maulana Dost Muhammad, one-time editor of Paigham Sulh.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, was one night sitting in his room when a man entered weeping and wailing violently as if he bore the sad news of a dreadful demise or something still worse. He had been, he said to the Founder, to those people, who had recanted from and renounced the Religion of God. One of them, the crying man, went on to say, had uttered such a filthy abuse to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, as had never been heard even from the mouth of the most wicked unbeliever. The Holy Quran they trampled under their foul feet contemptuously and spoke such vile words which the tongue trembles to reproduce. They disbelieved and denied disdainfully the existence of the Most High God, and blasphemed Him with contempt and scorn. (This account is recorded by Hazrat Mirza sahib in his book A'inah Kamalat Islam, p. 568.)

These perverted people — Mirza Ahmad Beg and his family — were from among the near relatives of the Founder. Hindu culture and Hindu rites and rituals had a strong sway upon their minds. Like the Hindus, they had also come to look upon marrying in one's own family or "gotra" as foul and flagitious. They had also written a very bitter book terribly traducing the Holy Prophet for marrying Zainab, the daughter of his aunt, and distributed it very widely to strengthen the hands of the opponents of Islam.

Prays for Allah's help after seeing abusive book against Islam

When the Founder proclaimed himself as the man commissioned by God, these impious people gibed and jeered at him, and challenged him insolently to show a sign if there was a God Who had sent him. Says the Founder about the book these people had written:

"When the scurrilous book came to my hands I read therein such a grossly abusive language against the Most High God and His Holy Prophet as would lacerate the hearts of the believers and rip open and rend the Muslims' minds. The profane words, it appeared to me, would tear asunder the very heavens. So I shut myself in a room and prostrated before the Great God of the heavens and the earth and prayed most humbly: O my Lord, O my Lord, help Your servant and disgrace Your enemy." (A'inah Kamalat Islam, page 569)

His prayer was answered and the Most High God revealed to him:

"We have seen their wickedness and transgression, because of which a grievous punishment shall come upon their heads. Their women, We shall make them widows, and orphan their children. Their places of residence We shall destroy and demolish, so that they may bear the fruit of their deeds. But We shall not strike them with a single blow, but slowly that they may turn to the truth and become repentant." (ibid., page 569-570)

The Founder conveyed to them the awful message of the All-Powerful God, but they instead of paying heed to his voice, abused him and did not care for nor fear the Divine word of warning. Their hearts, it was obvious, had been hopelessly hardened; and they sank deeper in their wickedness and abomination. The Most Beneficent God then chastened them with want and worry and baneful bereavements that they might incline to Him. But rather than repent and return to the right path, from which they had strayed away, the stubborn people continued to persist in their evil course.

One last chance offered to opponents of truth

When a people reach this stage, they deserve to be punished adequately for their hard-heartedness and evil deeds. The Most Merciful God, however, before sending upon them His punishment, addresses them a simple bidding to make their conviction final and complete. The commandment itself is generally of a very ordinary nature, but its violation acts as the last straw upon the camel's back and draws utter destruction upon their heads. Such indeed is the Divine law of chastisement as propounded by the Holy Quran. Turn over to chapter 17 verse 16 and read:

"When We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to its people who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein. Thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction."

To quote an instance, the Thamud were an ancient people who lived in the north of Makka. In their impiety they rejected the message of the Most High God and persecuted their prophet Salih. Then came to them the last sign of the Lord, an ordinary bidding, to make their conviction final and complete. Prophet Salih gave them a she-camel saying, "This is as the Lord's she-camel, for you a sign, therefore leave her alone to pasture on God's earth, and do not do her harm, otherwise painful chastisement will overtake you". But they cut the hamstrings of the camel, and killed her and revolted against their Lord's commandment. The Most High God was highly displeased with them and struck them with an earthquake "so they became motionless bodies in their abodes" (see chapter 7, verses 73 to 77).

Prophecy regarding marriage of Ahmad Beg's daughter

In like manner, the last sign which came to Mirza Ahmad Beg was in the form of an ordinary bidding, namely, that he should marry his eldest daughter Muhammadi Begum to the Founder. Hazrat Mirza writes in his well-known book A'ina kamalat Islam on page 286:

"It was revealed to me by the Most High God that I should seek the hand of Ahmad Beg's eldest daughter and to tell them that a kindly treatment shall be dealt out to them if they accept the proposal, and that this marriage shall bring to them blessings and blissful beatitude. But if they should refuse to do so, the end of the girl shall be very sad, and the man who shall marry her shall die within two and a half years, and her father within three years from the date of marriage. ... God the Most High will remove every obstacle and in the end bring her into marriage with me, and turn the irreligious people into Muslims and bring to guidance those who have lost the right path."

The All-Wise God had chosen this point particularly for the reason that Ahmad Beg and his kinsmen had been, as stated above, under the influence of Hindu law and customs, and regarded marrying in one's own family as unlawful and bad, and this was evidently un-Islamic. Moreover, physical relationship with a man sent by God has many a time brought about and accomplished the reform of the girl's family. For instance, Abu Sufyan was an inveterate opponent of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, but the great family embraced Islam when his daughter Umm Habiba came into the Holy Prophet's wedlock. In the same way, the family of Hazrat Sauda, when she married the Holy Prophet, came into the fold of Islam.

We have highlighted the closing words in the above quotation to show the real aim and object of the prophecy.

Such was indeed the Divine purpose behind the marriage of Muhammadi Begum: the reclamation of Ahmad Beg and his family. Coming into close contact with the man of God they might, it was expected, reform themselves and return to the right path of Islam. But if they should reject it, and revolt against the Lord's commandment the proposed punishment shall fall upon their heads. Reclamation or retribution of Ahmad Beg and his kinsmen was, therefore, the prime purpose of the prophecy, and Muhammadi Begum's marriage was the last bidding of the Lord which shall, like the commandment of Prophet Salih's she-camel, turn the table this way or that, and determine their fate.

Opponents publicise prophecy in anti-Muslim press

The vicious people, however, had been, by their own excesses, corrupted beyond redemption. Upon hearing this bidding of God, they bent their brows with an overwhelming pride and attacked the Promised Messiah furiously. They published his letter in the anti-Muslim, Christian paper Noor Afshan of 10 May 1888, so as to give ammunition to the opponents of Islam to revile him. While Hazrat Mirza had been conveying this prophecy to them in private, in order to bring about their reform by personal dealing, they made the matter public in order to ridicule him.

Hazrat Mirza published an announcement in which he wrote:

"The letter [of mine] which the party opposed to me has got published in Nur Afshan of 10 May 1888 was written merely at the instance of God. For a long time some prominent and near relatives of the man to whom my letter was addressed, persons whose sister's daughter is the girl about whom the marriage proposal was made, were demanding a heavenly sign. They had departed from, and begrudged, the ways of Islam and still do so. ... They bear enmity not only towards me but towards God and the Messenger. ...

At this place, another objection raised by Nur Afshan deserves to be cleared, and that is that if this revelation was from God and I had full faith in it, then why was it kept confidential and why did I instruct in my letter that it should be kept confidential. The answer is that this was a family matter, and those for whom the sign was intended, it was conveyed to them, and I was sure that the girl's father [Ahmad Beg] would be hurt by its publication. Therefore, I refrained from breaking his heart and hurting him, and indeed I did not even want them to publish it in case of their denial and rejection [of the marriage proposal]. Though I was entitled to publish it, I purposely waited for some other time, until this girl's maternal uncle Mirza Nizam-ud-Din who is the blood brother of Mirza Imam-ud-Din, out of extreme fury and anger, published it himself, and published it in such a way that within perhaps one or two weeks some ten thousand men and women must have learnt fully about my marriage proposal and my revelation ... Now that through the efforts of Mirza Nizam-ud-Din my letter has even been printed in Nur Afshan and the Christians, in accordance with their nature, have started making unjustified fabrications, I was obliged to make known the facts by my own pen."

(Public Announcement dated July 1888; Majmu`a Ishtiharat, 1986 edition, vol. 1, pages 156-159)

He further writes about the purpose of the prophecy:

"For a long time these people who are from my family and are my relations, both men and women, have considered me to be an imposter and a deceiver in my claim to receive Divine revelation, and have not been convinced even after seeing certain signs. Their own condition is that they have not one iota of love left for the religion of Islam, and they ignore the commands of the Holy Quran so lightly like someone who picks up a little twig and casts it away. They consider their innovations, customs and concept of honour and prestige to be a thousand times better than the commands of God and the Messenger. Therefore, for their own welfare, because of their own demand, and because of their own request, God the Most High made known the revealed prophecy which is written down in this published Announcement, so that they may realize that God really does exist, and everything apart from Him is utterly insignificant.

"I wish that they would have regarded the earlier signs as being sufficient, and they certainly would not have thought ill of me even for a moment if they had any light of faith and conscience. I had no need to ask for this marriage. All my needs had been fulfilled by God the Most High. ... Therefore, the marriage connection that has been requested is merely as a sign, so that God the Most High may show the wonders of His power to this family of deniers. If they accept, then He would send down blessings and mercy on them and avert those calamities which are near at hand. But if they reject, then He would send down punishment upon them to warn them."

(ibid., pages 161-162)

They marry Muhammadi Begum to Sultan Muhammad

Now Ahmad Beg along with these relatives of Hazrat Mirza who were opposed to him tried to defy the Divine decree and exerted themselves hard in finding a husband for Muhammadi Begum. They believed that they could give a direct lie to the prophecy and hold up Hazrat Mirza to public ridicule. Full five years passed in this struggle, but no man, for fear of the portentous prophecy, dared to marry the girl. For, the man who shall marry Muhammadi Begum, the word of God grimly warned, shall die within two and a half years and her father within three years from the date of marriage, and the widow girl shall enter the Promised Messiah's wedlock.

At last, on 7 April 1892, one Sultan Muhammad of Patti came forward, and setting all considerations at defiance married Muhammadi Begum. That they would transgress the Divine decree and marry the girl elsewhere, the Founder had been apprised of in the revelation:

"They charged Our signs with falsehood and mocked at them with insolence. But God shall suffice you against them and bring the girl back to you."

Ahmad Beg dies according to prophecy

At this effrontery of Ahmad Beg, the wrath of Heaven now waxed hot, and three months had hardly passed after the marriage when he was seized with Divine displeasure. He first beheld the heart-rending and deeply afflictive deaths of his own son and two sisters, and was then himself stricken with a dreadful disease which demented his brain and drove him mad. On 30 September 1892, only five months and twenty-four days after the marriage, the unfortunate Ahmad Beg, having suffered a tortuous trouble, was laid low in his earthly grave, fulfilling thereby a part of the prophecy which he had so audaciously sought to set at naught.

Repentance of the others

The dreadful doom of Ahmad Beg, which came about as had been foretold by the Promised Messiah, naturally struck a terrible consternation in the minds of his relatives, Sultan Muhammad in particular, for it was his turn next. They humbled themselves before God the Most High, calling for pardon, and sincerely repenting of their past wickedness. They also wrote a couple of letters from Lahore to the Founder assuring him that they had turned away from their evil ways and from the violence that was in their hearts, and requested him to pray for their deliverance.

The real object of the prophecy was, in this way, fulfilled. The perverted people had returned to the right path of Islam from which they had fallen away. It was, therefore, necessary in accordance with the laws of prophecy that the chastisement of Sultan Muhammad be withdrawn and withheld, as he was sorrowful and repentant for having offended God the Most High.

In September 1894, when the period of two and a half years expired within which whoever married Muhammadi Begum was to have died according to the prophecy, Hazrat Mirza sahib wrote in a published announcement:

"See all this evidence [i.e. their repentance] I became sure that the date of death of Sultan Muhammad could not be maintained because such dates, which are among the type of signs which convey fear and warning, are always an avertable fate. Sultan Muhammad and his relatives were guilty of committing the sin that, although I let them know very clearly through other persons and through letters that this prophecy was from God the Most High for a rebellious people, and they should not take their side and needlessly become deservant of punishment, but because they also were hardhearted and materialistic they did not accept this, and they mocked and ridiculed and through their audacity they did not turn away from entering into the marriage. ... But the death of Ahmad Beg broke their backs, and this was why they sent me letters of apology and regret. As they were struck by fear and terror in their hearts, it was essential that God the Most High, according to His ancient way, pospone the date of punishment to some later time, that is, to the time when those people again turn back fully to their state of audacity, arrogance and neglect, because the date of punishment is an avertable fate which is moved to another time if fear and turning to God is displayed, as is proved by the whole of the Quran."

(Public Announcement dated 6 September 1894; Majmu`a Ishtiharat, 1986 edition, vol. 2, pages 42-43)

It is true that in this announcement Hazrat Mirza sahib goes on to say:

"But the essence of the prophecy, that this woman will enter into marriage with me, is an absolute fate which cannot at all be averted ... So after these days, when God the Most High sees that these people's hearts have hardened, and they have not valued the few days of respite and relaxation given to them, then He will turn to the fulfilment of the prophecy of His holy word." (ibid., page 43)

However, those people's repentance was permanent and complete, as will be shown below a little later.

One part of prophecy fulfilled, the other averted due to repentance

Sultan Muhammad ruefully regretted having acted in the way of Divine displeasure. Hence he was delivered from a painful chastisement. Ahmad Beg, on the contrary, persisted in his perversion and perished. The original words of the prophecy were:

"I saw in a vision this woman [grandmother of Muhammadi Begum], having signs of weeping on her face. I said: O woman! repent, repent, for a calamity and disaster will befall your descendants and you. He will die, and there will remain behind dogs to bark."

Muhammadi Begum was, according to the prophecy, to be married to Hazrat Mirza after the death of Sultan Muhammad. But Sultan Muhammad did not die, as he benefitted from the condition in the prophecy, the condition which is inherent in every prophecy of the destruction of wrong-doers that if they repent then their doom will be averted. Hence Muhammadi Begum did not become a widow and the question of her marriage with Hazrat Mirza could not arise.

Nevertheless, the malicious opponents of Hazrat Mirza were left behind to "bark" at him, alleging that the prophecy had not been fulfilled. Thereupon, he issued a notice in 1896 challenging them to induce Sultan Muhammad to declare if he had not repented. He wrote:

"I have in earlier announcements mentioned some of the letters which reached me from these people [relatives of Muhammadi Begum], expressing repentance, fear and turning to truth. If this principle is not true according to the Quran and the Bible that the period specified in a prophecy of threatened punishment can be delayed, then the objection of every critic is right and justified. But if from the Quran and the Bible it is repeatedly proved that the time of punishment can be postponed if repentance and fear is shown then it is the height of dishonesty for anyone calling himself a Muslim or a Christian to object to this which is proved from the Holy Quran and earlier scriptures. ...

"The matter can be easily decided. Persuade Sultan Muhammad to publish an announcement charging me with falsehood. Then if he should survive whatever term is appointed by God the Most High, I may be condemned as a liar. ... It is essential that the threatened death be withheld from him until that time comes which makes him bold and audacious. If you want to make it come quickly, then go and embolden him and make him a denier and bring an announcement from him, and then see the spectacle of Divine power."

(Anjam Atham, page 29 and 32)

Hazrat Mirza lived twelve years more after this challenge but no amount of effort on the part of his opponents could impel Sultan Muhammad to take up the gauntlet. He had sincerely repented of his past attitude.

In one of his last books, published in 1907, one year before his death, Hazrat Mirza sahib wrote as follows about this prophecy:

"As to the affair of Ahmad Beg's son-in-law, I have written many times that that prophecy consisted of two branches. One was about the death of Ahmad Beg, the other was about the death of his son-in-law, and the prophecy was conditional. Therefore Ahmad Beg, because of not fulfilling the condition, died within the term, and his son-in-law, and likewise his relatives, benefitted from the condition by fulfilling it. It was a natural consequence that the death of Ahmad Beg strike their hearts with terror because both of them were included in the prophecy ... So the death of Ahmad Beg cast such fear upon the other named man and his relatives that they became like dead with fear. The result was that the head of the family, who was the main instigator in this affair [of getting Muhammadi Begum married to Sultan Muhammad], took the Pledge to join my movement.

"It is true that the revelation also said that this woman had been given in marriage to me in heaven. But as I have explained, for this marriage to take place, which had been ordained in heaven, there was a condition from God which was published at that time, that: O woman! repent, repent, for a calamity and disaster will befall your descendants and you. So when these people fulfilled that condition [of repentance], the marriage was cancelled or put in abeyance. Are you not aware that: 'Allah effaces what He pleases and establishes what He pleases' [the Holy Quran, 13:39]? Whether the marriage was conducted in heaven or on the Divine throne, it was all conditional. One should think, clearing one's mind of doubts cast by the devil, as to whether the prophecy of Jonah was any the less than this marriage, in which it was conveyed that it had been ordained in heaven that punishment shall befall this people within forty days. But punishment did not descend, even though the prophecy contained no clear condition. So the God Who set aside such a firm decision, it was not hard for Him to cancel this marriage or postpone it.

"In brief, these shameless people do not realize, when they raise these objections, that this criticism applies to all the prophets. ... It is a pity that they learn no lesson from the history of Jonah. He, being a prophet, had to bear much trouble because he thought how could the absolute will of God, which had been decided in heaven, be cancelled?

"How unwise are those who believe that God can never change His plans, and cannot cancel a prophecy of threatened punishment. ... All prophets are unanimously agreed that the prophecy of threatened punishment can be averted. As to the prophecy containing a promise, regarding which it is stated: 'Surely Allah will not fail in His promise' [the Holy Quran, 3:9], I believe that God does not go against the promise which is in His knowledge. But if a man by his own mistake considers something to be a promise of God, as Noah considered it [the saving of his son], then it is allowable that that promise be broken because it is not in fact the promise of God but, rather, human error declared it unjustifiably to be the promise of God. Regarding this, Sayyid Abdul Qadir Jilani says: 'Sometimes God makes a promise but does not fulfil it'. The meaning of this statement is that a promise is subject to many unknown conditions, and it is not binding on God the Most High to make known all the conditions. Here a man of half-baked knowledge stumbles and denies, but a perfect man declares his ignorance. This was the reason that the Holy Prophet Muhammad, at the time of the battle of Badr, despite having been promised victory, prayed crying very much and made this humble supplication before Almighty God: 'O Allah, if You destroy this party, then there will be none left on earth to serve You'. He was afraid in case the promise [of victory] was subject to some hidden conditions which might not be fulfilled."

(Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, pages 132-134)

Sultan Muhammad's reverence for Hazrat Mirza sahib

It is established beyond the least vestige of doubt that Sultan Muhammad not only repented of his past foolhardiness, but also came to hold a high opinion of the Promised Messiah and to repose full faith in him. Just read his statement which he published several years after the death of Hazrat Mirza sahib:

"My father-in-law, Mirza Ahmad Beg, in fact died precisely in accordance with the prophecy. But God the Most High is also the most merciful. He listens to other men also, and showers His mercy on them. ... I state upon my conscience that the prophecy relating to the marriage has not left any doubt whatsoever in my mind. As for the bai`at [i.e. taking the Pledge to join the Movement], I declare upon solemn oath that the trust and faith which I repose in Hazrat Mirza sahib is, I think, not possessed even by you who have entered the bai`at. Of what is in my mind you can form an idea from the fact that at the time of the prophecy, the Aryas because of Lekh Ram and the Christians because of Atham each offered me one hundred thousand rupees if only I should file a suit against Mirza sahib. I could have certainly become a wealthy man if I had accepted their money. But it was again the same faith and trust in Hazrat Mirza sahib that deterred me from doing so." (Al-Fazl, 9 June 1921)

Here is a letter which he had written with his own pen only five years after the death of Hazrat Mirza sahib. The image of the handwritten letter is shown below, followed by the translation:

Ambala Cantonment
21 March 1913

Dear brother,

Your letter was to hand. Thanks for the remembrance. As for the late Hazrat Mirza sahib marhum, I have always considered him to be, and still consider him to be, a good and righteous man, a servant of Islam, noble-hearted and one who remembers God. With his followers I have no antagonism whatever. Rather, I am very sorry that, due to certain reasons, I could not have the honour of seeing him during his life.

Sultan Muhammad

Close family members enter into Hazrat Mirza sahib's following

Since that time many members of this family actually took the Pledge (bai`at) to become followers of Hazrat Mirza sahib. These are as below:

  1. The mother of Muhammadi Begum, Umar-un-Nisa, whose husband Ahmad Beg died in accordance with the prophecy.
  2. Son of Sultan Muhammad and Muhammadi Begum: Mirza Muhammad Ishaq.
  3. Three sisters of Muhammadi Begum (Inayat Begum, Mahmud Begum, and a third).
  4. A son-in-law of Ahmad Beg: Mirza Muhammad Ahsan Beg.
  5. Son of Ahmad Beg: Mirza Muhammad Beg.
  6. Grandson of Ahmad Beg: Mirza Mahmud Beg.
  7. A son and a daughter of Mirza Nizam-ud-Din. Mirza Nizam-ud-Din was one of the maternal uncles of Muhammadi Begum and a bitter opponent (and first cousin) of Hazrat Mirza sahib. He is mentioned in the quote we have given above from Hazrat Mirza sahib's Public Announcement dated July 1888.
  8. Mirza Mahmud Beg, the head of this family, as mentioned above in Haqiqat-ul-Wahy by Hazrat Mirza sahib.

These are the persons most closely affected by the prophecy. They knew, more than anyone else, whether it had been fulfilled or not. Of all people, it is they who could ridicule the prophecy or complain about it, feel bitter and hold a grudge against Hazrat Mirza sahib. Yet they became his followers, while the ulama opposed to Hazrat Mirza sahib continue to object to the prophecy. The hard and solid fact that so many of these people eventually accepted Hazrat Mirza sahib's truth, settles conclusively that there was nothing inappropriate in the prophecy and that it was fulfilled.

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