The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement

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

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Preface by Dr. Zahid Aziz

This book on the life of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad by Maulana Muhammad Ali was first published in 1937. It was an expansion by him of his earlier short work published in 1918 as the first tract in a series entitled The Ahmadiyya Movement: 1 – The Founder. This tract was itself partly based on an article written by Maulana Muhammad Ali in the Review of Religions in 1906 during the life of the Founder. This was the monthly English periodical of the Ahmadiyya Movement, of which the Maulana was Editor at the time.

As this concise book was found to be of great utility, a new edition was produced in 1984, re-typeset in the U.K. and published from the U.S.A. In that edition I added a Foreword covering the topic of the close association between Maulana Muhammad Ali and Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad during the last eight years of the latter’s life. A small appendix was also added citing the opinions of some later Western scholars of Islam on the Founder and his Movement. This supplemented extracts from earlier such scholars quoted by the author in the 1937 publication. In the presentation of the 1984 edition, major and minor subheadings were introduced within the body of the book, being based on the running page head­lines used in the 1937 edition.

It is with great pleasure that this new edition is now presented on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the death of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, in an entirely re-typeset, redesigned form. The original 1918 short treatise by the author contained some details which were not included in the expanded book of 1937. In preparing this edition I have incorporated some of that extra information by inserting, at appropriate points, some extracts from the 1918 booklet, with minor editing of the text. Appendix 1 has been added consist­ing of some obituaries of the Founder that appeared in the Muslim press at the time of his death. The opinions of later Western writers, from the 1984 edition, are now in Appendix 2. The treat­ment of the association between the bio­grapher and his subject has been moved to form Appendix 3. An Index has also been added in this edition.

Quotations and citations given by the Maulana have been checked as far as possible, and where necessary the reference is now indicated more precisely. In a few cases, some further quotations have been added to supplement those included by the Maulana.

As I wrote in the Foreword to the 1984 edition, it is a terrible tragedy that the life and teachings of this great Muslim Reformer and thinker have been misunderstood and misrepre­sented beyond all reasonable limits. It is extremely fortunate, therefore, that Maulana Muhammad Ali recorded this concise biography of his master which is highly authoritative, not only because of the Maulana’s world­wide reputation as a scholar of the highest calibre and integrity, but also because he was a close associate of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in the last eight years of the Founder’s life, living and working closely with him in Qadian as one of the most prominent men in the Movement. Please refer to Appendix 3 for further details.

No doubt Maulana Muhammad Ali, with his direct know­ledge and experiences, was in a unique position of authority to give an accurate and authentic account of the life, mission and teachings of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement.

Zahid Aziz, Dr.
January 2008