The Great Reformer (Vol. 2) [‘Mujaddid-e-Azam’]

Biography of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian

by Dr. Basharat Ahmad

Translated by Akram Ahmad

Chapter 7: Foundation of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam (Ahmadiyya Organization for the Propagation of Islam) and the Magazine ‘The Review of Religions’

An Important Suggestion:

On January 15, 1901, Hazrat Mirza published an announcement titled An Important Suggestion, in which he proposed the publication of a religious journal in the English language with the English-speaking people of India and Europe as the target audience. The objective of the magazine would be to create awareness of all the pure truths and the robust arguments in favor of the Islamic faith, and to disseminate the soul-satisfying truths that had been made manifest to Hazrat Mirza so that the English-speaking people could fully benefit from them.

Since there was neither an organization nor capital to undertake such an enterprise, Hazrat Mirza invited his disciples on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha (one of the two great religious festivals in Islam) to gather in the town of Qadian to consider ways to fund this project. Hazrat Mirza put forward two proposals for consideration. One was to organize the publication of the magazine as a commercial venture, and the other was to establish it as a charitable undertaking funded primarily by donations.

Consequently, Hazrat Mirza’s disciples gathered in Qadian on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha. On March 31, 1901, they collectively decided that publishing the proposed magazine on a commercial basis would not be proper, and the charitable basis was preferable. It was decided to form an organization called the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam (the Ahmadiyya Organization for the Propagation of Islam) for the financial and organizational management of the magazine. Hazrat Mirza would be the patron of the proposed organization. The other office bearers of the organization would be:

  • Maulana Nur-ud-Din, President
  • Maulvi Abdul Karim, Vice President
  • Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, Secretary
  • Maulvi Muhammad Ali, Assistant Secretary.

On the following day, April 1, 1901, a meeting of the Anjuman (the newly created organization) was held wherein the proposed magazine was named The Review of Religions, and the city of Lahore was declared as the venue for its publication. It was also decided that the office of the Anjuman would be in Lahore. Maulvi Muhammad Ali and Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din were chosen as the magazine’s editors. Although Maulvi Muhammad Ali was appointed as editor on April 1, it was decided to commence the publication of the magazine only from October 1, 1901.

In the interim period, Maulvi Muhammad Ali was asked to prepare articles for publication on a regular basis, and to translate into English essays that Hazrat Mirza would write for the magazine. Because of other pressing issues, the scheduled publication date of The Review of Religions had to be postponed. On November 24, 1901, the board of directors of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam met in Qadian and made some important decisions.

The magazine would be published from Qadian instead of Lahore, and all office bearers would be residents of Qadian. Accordingly, Maulvi Muhammad Ali was appointed as the Secretary. The revised publication date of the magazine was set as no later than January of 1902. An Urdu edition of The Review of Religions would be published as well provided there were three hundred subscribers for the edition.