The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement

A Short Study of the Life of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Appendix 2: Western Views on the Ahmadiyya Movement (Compiled by Dr. Zahid Aziz)

Near the close of this book Maulana Muhammad Ali has quoted extracts from the writings of Western scholars on the Ahmadiyya movement and its founder. This Appendix gives some further extracts from more recent Western opinion.

1. Prof. Wilfred Cantwell Smith in Encyclopaedia of Islam:

In the “New Edition” of the Encyclopaedia of Islam, Professor Wilfred Cantwell Smith says of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore:

“It has been active in a systematic and effective fashion, chiefly in three overlapping fields: publishing, organised foreign missionary work, and leadership in intellectual modernism (liberalism) in Islam, especially of English-reading Islam. It has produced and circulated throughout the world (chiefly in English and Urdu, but also in a half-dozen and more other European and well over a dozen Asian languages) translations of the Quran, lives of Muhammad, impressive expositions of Islam, many monographs and essays, and innumerable pamphlets. Its foreign missions, in London, Berlin, Indonesia, have been influential…”1

2. James Robson in Religion in the Middle East:

In the voluminous scholarly work Religion in the Middle East,2 the author of the chapter The Ahmadis,3 James Robson, Emeritus Professor of Arabic at the University of Manchester, includes the following observations about Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad:

“[in his youth] he spent most of his time studying his own and other religions, showing great distaste for the legal disputes about property which his father urged him to undertake. He was an ardent Muslim who longed for the regeneration of Islam…” — p. 349

“Muslims commonly believe that a reformer is sent at the beginning of each century, and Ghulam Ahmad appeared to some to be the reformer (mujaddid) of the fourteenth century. He began to write a voluminous work, Barahin Ahmadiyya (Ahmadi proofs), the early parts of which were welcomed by Muslims who read them…” — p. 351

“…to many he was an attractive personality, a persuasive speaker and writer with an appealing message. He held that he had been sent to recall mankind to orthodox Islam … He held that the Quran was unique, much superior to the Bible … He insisted that revelation has not ceased with Muhammad, but was careful to explain that his inspiration was not like that of the Quran.” — p. 352

Regarding the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore, the chapter continues:

“This party has conducted a vigorous missionary and literary programme. (Khwaja) Kamal-ud-Din came to England and was imam of the Woking mosque, editor of the Islamic Review and author of many books in which he waged a vigorous propaganda against Christianity…

The ideals of the party are stated to be the service of Islam, the unity, defence and propagation of Islam … Its beliefs are the finality of prophethood in Muhammad, the Quran as God’s final and perfect book … that all who profess belief in God and His Messenger, whatever their school of thought in Islam, are Muslims, that Ghulam Ahmad is the mujaddid of the fourteenth century, and that he stated he laid no claim to prophethood…” — p. 362

3. Freeland Abbott in Islam and Pakistan:

Freeland Abbott, in his study of the modern history of Islam in Pakistan and in pre-partition India, entitled Islam and Pakistan,4 makes the following comments:

“In the third part [of Barahin Ahmadiyya], published in 1882, Ghulam Ahmad claimed to have received a revelation from God that he was the great reformer of Islam’s fourteenth century — the mujaddid of his time… Even this does not seem to have disturbed the traditionalist theologians — an indication, perhaps, of the respect with which they accepted his book.” — p. 150

“Ghulam Ahmad’s efforts were not only defensive; he took the offensive as well, and established an extensive, highly organised missionary enterprise to carry the truths of Islam as he understood them to all parts of the world.” — p. 152

“The primary significance of the Ahmadiyya movement lay in its missionary emphasis… The Ahmadiyyas made it part of their principles… to proselytise energetically for Islam…

In the course of time the Ahmadiyya arguments against other religions were wholeheartedly accepted by even their most vociferous [Muslim] critics… Through the vigour of their proselytising and their incessant and highly publicised attacks on Christianity, they instilled a stronger faith in many Muslims. They developed a confident belief that Christianity does not explain the strength of Europe, and that the true religion remained Islam… This is the essential significance of the Ahmadiyya Movement. It is somewhat ironic that the sect most attacked by Muslims in India and Pakistan has also been that which has worked the hardest, in both its branches, to defend and extend Islam against the competition offered by other faiths.” — pp. 160, 161



  1. Encyclopaedia of Islam, Luzac & Co., London, 1960; under entry Ahmadiyya, p. 302, column 2.
  2. General Editor, Professor A.J. Arberry, published by Cambridge University Press, 1968.
  3. Chapter 19 in vol. 2, pp. 349–362.
  4. Published by Cornell University Press, U.S.A., 1968.