A British traveler by the name of Mr. D. D. Dickson, who had journeyed through Arabia and Karbala to India, arrived unannounced in Qadian on November 17, 1901. Hazrat Mirza was sitting with his followers when he suddenly entered, greeted them with,
and joined the gathering.
Upon inquiry, it was learned that he was a native of England, a traveler and a free-thinking person, and that he did not subscribe to any faith. Hazrat Mirza conversed with him for a while and invited him to stay in Qadian for some time. But Mr. Dickson expressed his intention to leave the following day. Hazrat Mirza appointed Masih Ullah, the cook, to attend to the guest’s needs, and special quarters were allocated for him.
Mr. Dickson was shown around the Madrasah Talim-ul-Islam school by Maulvi Muhammad Ali, and they were accompanied on this tour by a few others as well. While they were in the library, Mr. Dickson saw the book The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ by the Russian author Nicolas Notovich. He expressed a wish to read the book, and the book was taken out and given to him immediately. Following that, he returned to his quarters.
During his stay, Mr. Dickson held several conversations at different times with Maulvi Muhammad Ali, Mufti Muhammad Sadiq and others upon a variety of subjects. In particular, the topics in which he showed special interest included:
- The grave of Jesus in Kashmir
- Arabic as being the mother of all tongues
- The excellence of the Ahmadi nation’s morals and spiritual progress, as compared to other Muslims
Mr. Dickson personally acknowledged the truthfulness of the observations made in regard to the last of the aforementioned topics. He also expressed his singular amazement at the fact that an obscure little town like Qadian, which ordinarily should not have been of much interest to anyone, had attracted so many accomplished and intelligent people because of the presence of Hazrat Mirza. Mr. Dickson was very impressed when he learned that in this obscure town were present all kinds of scholarly people, as well as linguists in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, English and other languages.
In the course of discussing the subject of the grave of Jesus in Kashmir, Mr. Dickson stated that when he was visiting Kashmir, he had come across a coin on which were inscribed the words:
“I am the emperor and savior.”
He also related that he had met a pundit in Kashmir who had told him that he possessed a book in the Sanskrit language that detailed the events of Jesus’ life. In the course of discussing the people of Kashmir as actually being the nation of Israel, Mr. Dickson stated that in the Paali language spoken by some Buddhists, the word Palestine was used for the Jews. At the end of the Asr (late afternoon) prayer, Mr. Dickson took three photographs of Hazrat Mirza, two were group photographs and one was an individual photograph.
November 18 was the scheduled departure date of Mr. Dickson from Qadian. On that day, Hazrat Mirza met him at 8:30 A.M. and preached to him for an extended period of time.