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Iqbal and the Ahmadiyya Movement

3: Time of Maulana Nur-ud-Din
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Chapter 3

Time of Maulana Nur-ud-din

Shortly after his meeting with Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Dr. Iqbal went to Europe for higher education. By the time he returned, Hazrat Mirza had passed away and, under the leadership of Maulana Nur-ud- Din, Qadian had come to be recognised as the centre of a truly Islamic way of life.

1. Dr. Iqbal sent his elder son, Aftab Iqbal, to be educated at the Ahmadiyya community’s school known as the Taleem-ul-Islam High School in Qadian.

2. In the same period, in the year 1910, Iqbal delivered a lecture in the famous Muslim University town of Aligarh, during the course of which he referred to the Ahmadiyya community in the following words:

    "In order to be a dynamic member of the Muslim community, a person must not only repose unconditional faith in the religion of Islam but also imbue himself thoroughly in the colouring of the Islamic civilisation. The object of diving into this jar of the ‘colouring of Allah’ is that Muslims should give up duality and become of one hue. … In my opinion the aspect of national life represented by Aurangzeb is a model of pure Islamic life, and it should be the purpose of our education to develop this model and to make Muslims keep it in view all the time. … In the Punjab a true model of Islamic life has arisen in the form of that community which is known as the Qadiani sect.”
    (Millat Baiza Per Ayk ‘Imrani Nazar, published by Aeenah Adab, Lahore, 1970 edition, pp. 84 – 85.)

Dr. Iqbal expressed these views two years after the death of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, fully knowing about his claims and teachings. There was no way that Hazrat Mirza could now make different claims which would lead Dr. Iqbal to change his views about the Ahmadiyya Movement. If by the year 1910, in the period of leadership of Maulana Nur-ud-Din, there had prevailed in the Ahmadiyya Movement the beliefs that Hazrat Mirza was a prophet and that his deniers were kafir, then Dr. Iqbal certainly would not have recommended to his audience in Aligarh to look to Qadian to find “a true model of Islamic life”. This is no ordinary matter. It shows that Dr. Iqbal was himself deeply impressed by this “model”. Besides, this opinion expressed by Dr. Iqbal caused no commotion among the audience; on the contrary, his hearers listened to him with attention and calm. This shows that in those days Muslims in general held the Ahmadiyya Movement in very high regard and honour. If a Muslim public figure today were to express such views, one shudders to think of the hostility and adverse reaction which would result. It is, however, a solid fact that in the time of Maulana Nur-ud-Din the opposition to the Ahmadiyya Movement had all but disappeared, and a wonderful era of general acceptance was on the rise day by day. 

First phase of opposition.

The first obstacle in the continuance of this popularity came when, in April 1911, Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad wrote and published a magazine article entitled A Muslim is one who accepts all those appointed by God. In this article, contrary to the clear pronouncements of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement and the unanimous stand-point of the Community, M. Mahmud Ahmad condemned as kafir all the Muslims of the world who had not taken the bai‘at to join the Movement of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. This caused a certain amount of unease, both within the Ahmadiyya Movement and Muslims in general. However, the true position was made clear very quickly when Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din published a Notice entitled My beliefs about non-Ahmadi Muslims, dated 18 August 1911, bearing Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s endorsement in the words: “I approve it, you may publish it.” At around the same time, Maulana Nur-ud-Din made an observation in the presence of several people about M. Mahmud Ahmad’s beliefs as follows:

    “The question of kufr and Islam is a very subtle matter. Even our Mian [M. Mahmud Ahmad] has not understood it.”

As these statements cleared up the misconceptions caused by M. Mahmud Ahmad’s article, there arose no difference of view between Dr. Iqbal and the Ahmadiyya Movement. In fact, he used to have recourse to Maulana Nur-ud-Din for advice on matters of Islamic law. As an example, we mention one incident related by Maulana Abdul Majid Salik: 

    “At last the Allama (Iqbal) agreed to take his wife back. However, as he had intended to divorce her, he suspected that in Islamic law divorce had taken place. So he sent Mirza Jalal- ud-Din to Maulana Hakim Nur-ud-Din in Qadian to enquire about the Islamic position. The Maulana said that no divorce had taken place according to Islamic law, but if he was uncertain in his mind he could hold the marriage ceremony again. So a maulvi was called, and the Allama was re-married to this lady. He then took her to Sialkot. This happened in the year 1913.”
    (Zikr-i Iqbal, p. 70.)

Public Meeting in Lahore as Lord Headley accepts Islam.

At the same time, Dr. Iqbal was a fervent supporter of the work of the propagation of Islam being done by the Ahmadiyya Movement. In 1913 Lord Headley, a British nobleman, embraced Islam in England through the work of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, the famous Ahmadiyya missionary to the West. To celebrate this, a big gathering of the Muslims of Lahore was held at Ahmadiyya Buildings, the centre of the Movement in Lahore. We reproduce below the report of this meeting as published at the time (Paigham Sulh, Lahore, 25 November 1913):

Report from
Paigham Sulh:

In accordance with the announcement, a meeting of the Muslims of Lahore was held on 23rd November 1913 at 3:30 p.m. in Ahmadiyya Buildings, Lahore. Even before the appointed time, Muslim brethren started arriving in crowds, and by the time of the opening of the proceedings the Ahmadiyya mosque and the adjoining marquee were entirely full. Besides Muslims of all sections of society, followers of other religions were also present in large numbers. Khan sahib Shaikh Khair-ud-Din, pensioner, District Traffic Superintendent of the Railways Department, who takes a keen interest in Muslim national affairs, was chosen as President of the meeting. First of all, Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig (A prominent Lahore Ahmadi and friend of Iqbal) recited the Holy Quran. He was followed by Sufi Ghulam Muhammad who recited the poetry of the Promised Messiah in praise of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. After this, Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Husain Shah (Another prominent Lahore Ahmadi and friend of Iqbal) delivered a speech for nearly an hour, which derived its force from his sincerity.

After him, Dr. Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal, whose heart is full of love for the Muslim nation, made a profound and meaningful speech on the propagation of Islam. He said:

    “The allegation against Islam that it was propagated by the sword is proved to be utterly baseless when we look at world history. Taking India as an example, history shows that Muslims never established any permanent or lengthy rule in Bengal, yet the proportion of Muslims there is greater than in other provinces. Similarly, in the Balkan states, Islam first spread from a Muslim prisoner to his Christian fellow-inmates, and then further afield. In Java Islam spread at a time when Muslim political power in Asia was declining fast. At the present time, the downfall of Muslim political power is complete but the progress of Islam is such that in the island of Madagascar Christian clergymen have held a conference which passed the resolution that, as the daily advance of Islam on the island poses a threat to the French government, it should take measures to stop the spread of Islam. The same is the situation in Africa where Islam is expanding rapidly even though Muslims have no political power worth mentioning in those countries, and that too is due solely to individual efforts. The biggest cause of the decline of the Muslims is the neglect of the task of the propagation of Islam. Thank God that the man who first recognised this shortcoming is Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, who has sacrificed all worldly interests to take this great work upon himself. It is, therefore, our duty not to neglect to help him in any way, and we must not let the question of Ahmadiyyat stand in the way of this noble work, for our God, our Prophet and our Scripture is the same.”

In short, his speech was praiseworthy from every angle, and was full of concern for Islam from beginning to end. Afterwards, the following resolutions were passed unanimously:

Resolution no. 1, moved by Dr. Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal:

    "A telegram of congratulations should be sent on behalf of the Muslims of Lahore to the Right Honourable Lord Headley, through Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din of the Woking Mosque, England, on his acceptance of Islam. This resolution was passed unanimously by all present."

Resolution no. 3, presented by Nawab Muhammad Salim Khan, Raees of Taitri:

    "This meeting proposes that a campaign for funds be launched among the Indian Muslim population for the Islamic mission of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din. A trust should be created, having Ahmadis and other Muslims as members, to receive the contributions, and the funds should be spent to support Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din. This resolution was seconded by Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig and Mr. Abdul Majid, and passed unanimously by those present." 

Resolution no. 4: At the proposal of the President of the meeting, and with the unanimous agreement of those present, the following persons were elected as members of the trust:

1. Dr. Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal, M.A., Ph.D., Barrister at law.

2. Khan Bahadur Mirza Sultan Ahmad Khan, E.A.C., Member of the Council of Regency, Bahawalpur.

3. Shaikh Rahmat-ullah, proprietor, English Ware House, Lahore.

4. Nawab Muhammad Salim Khan, Raees of Taitri, the Frontier.

5. Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Husain Shah, L.M.S., Lahore.

6. Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig, L.M.S., Lahore.

7. Mian Charagh-ud-Din, Raees, Government Pensioner.

The Joint Secretaries were declared to be Shaikh Rahmat-ullah and Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig. The meeting closed with a prayer.

From Paigham Sulh, Lahore, 25 November 1913


News of the activities of this trust appeared some months later in Paigham Sulh of 5 July 1914:

Report from
Paigham Sulh:

Report of the Isha'at Islam (Western countries) Trust

This trust was created on 23rd November 1913, at the proposal of some friends, on the occasion of the magnificent gathering in Ahmadiyya Buildings to mark the embracing of Islam by Lord Headley, and had the object of helping the Islamic mission of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din in England. The following members were appointed to the trust: …

Afterwards the following were added:

8. Maulvi Muhammad Ali, M.A., Ll.B., editor Review of Religions, Qadian.

9. Maulvi Ghulam Muhiy-ud-Din, B.A., Ll.B., lawyer, Qasur.

The Secretary Shaikh Rahmat-ullah and Sayyid Muhammad Husain Shah toured various places in the Punjab to collect funds. At the annual meeting of the Muhammadan Educational Conference held in Agra, a large meeting was convened at the suggestion of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad for the support of this Islamic propagation mission of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din. Many speeches were made and great interest was expressed by those attending. The following dignitaries were also appointed members of the trust:

1. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

2. Maulana Maulvi Abdul Qadir Azad Subhani.

3. The honourable Khwaja Ghulam Asqalain.

4. The honourable Sahibzada Aftab Ahmad Khan.

5. Maulvi Ali Ahmad, M.A., Allahabad.

6. Qazi Kabir-ud-Din Ahmad, Lucknow.

7. Mr. Shaukat Ali, B.A. (Aligarh).

8. Nawab Imad-ul-Mulk Sayyid Hasan Ali Balgrami.

9. Sayyid Mazhar-ul-Haq, Bar-at-law.

10. Haziq-ul-Mulk Hakim Muhammad Ajmal Khan.

Besides these the following were appointed patrons of the trust by unanimous agreement:

1. Maulana Hakim Haji Hafiz Nur-ud-Din.

2. Maulana Maulvi Shibli Numani.

3. Waqqar-ul-Mulk Maulvi Mushtaq Husain Bahadur.

On 14th May 1914 a meeting of the Isha'at Islam Trust (Western countries) was held with Dr. Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal as President, which was attended by the following prominent persons:

1. Maulana Muhammad Ali.

2. Dr. Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal.

3. Shaikh Rahmat-ullah.

4. Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Husain Shah.

5. Maulvi Ghulam Muhiy-ud-Din Qasoori.

6. The Secretary.

From Paigham Sulh, Lahore, 5 July 1914

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