A Brief Sketch of My Life

From the book ‘Kitab al-Bariyya’

by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian

Publisher’s Preface

In this book we present an English translation of a complete section of the book Kitab al-Bariyya written by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. He has devoted this section,1 which constitutes about one-third of the volume of the entire book Kitab al-Bariyya, to an account of his life, mission, claims and work.

The first draft of the translation of the complete book was prepared painstakingly by a highly learned, senior member of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement in Lahore, Pakistan. It was then passed to me for revision and finalization. Due to the length of the book, it was decided to publish this particular section first, as it also happens to constitute a separate, self-contained study. While I was carrying out the revision work, it was also serialized in The Light & Islamic Review, the journal of the publishers of this volume.

In the translation we have tried to be as close and faithful to the original as possible, while also adhering to the important requirement of using simple, clear and modern English idiom.

In a few places where additional words were required in the translation to make clear the meaning of the original, these words have been given within square brackets, thus: [ ]. In some cases it was necessary to show the actual words used in the original text, along with their translation. At such places we have employed round brackets, thus: ( ), to enclose either the original text or the translation, as appropriate in a particular case.

When transcribing Arabic terms in English letters, diacritical marks of transliteration (for example, as in ā or ī) have not been used in familiar words such as Quran, Hadith, etc. Their use is restricted to lesser-known words, other necessary cases, or when quoting longer expressions. In a non-reference work of this kind, full transliteration is not essential for all Arabic terms, and may even be confusing for most readers.

The division of this book into chapters and the insertion of chapter headings and other sub-headings has been done in this translation for the facility of readers. The original work does not contain these divisions or headings.

In this translation, those footnotes which we have labelled as Author’s Note are the footnotes occurring in the original work. All other footnotes have been added in this translation. Some of these additional footnotes merely provide references to exact places in source works such as the Holy Quran that the author has referred to in the text. Other footnotes consist of short explanatory comments by the translator, and these are clearly signed with the word Publisher.

In this book the reader will find Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s own account of his early life and experiences, and the effect of these upon him, giving this writing a ‘human interest’ element. There is, moreover, his own explanation of his claims and mission. We hope that readers will benefit from and enjoy the authenticity, conviction and flavour which can only be conveyed by this great saint’s own writing.

Zahid Aziz, Dr.

November 1996


  1. In the original Urdu book this section runs from page 129 to 272, occupying the lower part of each page. ↩︎