Rev. Ahmad Masih debates Maulvi Abdul Majeed
Rev. Ahmad Masih, a blind clergyman associated with the SPG Mission in Delhi, was a very interesting character. He was extremely fond of debating, and because previously he had been a Muslim and had memorized the Quran, he could quote Quranic verses at will.
Sensing a weakness among the Muslim clerics of Delhi on the issue of whether Jesus is alive or dead, he began debating them onthis issue. Maulvi Abdul Majeed, a well-known cleric of Delhi took the field against him.
The most remarkable aspect of this debatewas that Rev. Ahmad Masih, a Christian, espoused that Jesus had died while Maulvi Abdul Majeed, a Muslim, took the opposite view that Jesus was alive. The debate continued during the month of February 1905 and Maulvi Abdul Majeed received a crushing defeat. Mirza Herat of Delhi confessed before several people that he had not reported the debate in his newspaper, The Curzon Gazette, because Maulvi Abdul Majeed had been utterly crushed in the debate.
However, Rev. Ahmad Masih did not stop at this. In a public announcement on May 22, 1905, he challenged Maulvi Abdul Majeed to a prayer duel (mubahalah), and demanded that he state onoath the following statement:
I swear by that Omnipotent God Who raised Muhammad as a prophet and Who sent the Quran as His revelation, and state with complete conviction and profound belief that the death of Messiah, son of Mary, is definitely not proven from the Quran andHadith. It is my belief that the Quran and Hadith prove that the Messiah is alive in heaven with his physical earthly mortal body, and the testimony that Ahmad Masih has presented regarding the death of the Messiah is totally incorrect and against the Quran and Hadith. The testimony in fact proves that the Messiah is alive and not dead.
Remarkably, Maulvi Abdul Majeed ran away from the prayer duel (mubahalah) because Rev. Ahmad Masih had presented the exact same testimony from the Quran and Hadith that Hazrat Mirza used to present. Rev. Ahmad Masih had learned those arguments well. Maulvi Abdul Majeed could neither reply to those arguments nor pick up the courage to accept the prayer-duel.
Rev. Ahmad Masih debates Mir Qasim Ali
Rev. Ahmad Masih was quite used to debating. In March of 1906, he began debating with an Ahmadi Muslim, Mir Qasim Ali, who was employed in Delhi during those days.
The general topic of the debate was the same as the one in the previous year with MaulviAbdul Majeed but the specific issues were different. The reverend wanted to prove that the Messiah had died on the Cross, while Mir Qasim Ali wanted to show that the Messiah had not died on the Cross, was taken down alive, and later died a natural death.
The residents of Delhi took a keen interest in this debate and partici- pated enthusiastically. The debate continued for several days, and finally on March 28, 1906, the audience gave a unanimous verdict on oath that Rev. Ahmad Masih had lost, and Mir Qasim Ali had won. Rev. Ahmad Masih himself acknowledged his defeat by stating, “It matters not that I lost; my nation did not lose.” Later, in a public gathering on April 4, 1906, Rev. Ahmad Masih acknowledged his defeat openly in the following words:
Gentlemen, I am not agonized at all by your decision against me and in favor of the Ahmadi in the earlier public gathering. Rather, the decision affords me a sort of satisfaction in that you hastily and without thinking gave the decree in favor of Syed Sahib (Mir Qasim Ali) but you did not realize that, in doing so, it has become incumbent upon you to accept the religion and beliefs of Syed Sahib.
So I too confer the accolade of winner to Syed Sahib who has made a large number of people submit to thebeliefs of the Ahmadiyya teachings.1
Thereafter, Mir Qasim Ali invited Rev. Ahmad Masih to a prayer duel (mubahalah), but he declined. Later however, Rev Ahmad Masih put out a public announcement in which he stated: “I am ready to engage in a prayer duel (mubahalah) with Hazrat Mirza, the spiritual mentor of Mir Qasim Ali.” This announcement was forwarded to Hazrat Mirza for his attention.
Request for a prayer duel (mubahalah) is accepted
In response, Hazrat Mirza published an announcement on May 5, 1906, titled “Request for a Prayer Duel (mubahalah) Accepted.” Hazrat Mirza stated in the announcement:
At approximately 10 A.M. on May 2, 1906, I received a postal packet sent from Delhi which contained an announcement fromAhmad Masih, a clergyman with the SPG mission, requesting a prayer duel (mubahalah) with me. A long period has elapsed since the time when, in accordance with Divine revelation and Allah’s suggestion, I used this method to convincingly prove my contention against Christian clergymen and other opponents of Islam; no one came forward to accept my offer of a prayer duel (mubahalah).
The Christian clergy always excused themselves from participating by saying that this was not permissible in their religion. I do not know from where Ahmad Masih has now obtained a religious decree for its legality. In any case, this is not a matter that I need to take issue with.
I have carefully read this request for a prayer duel (mubahalah) that the Christian Ahmad Masih has published on his own volitionwithout any request for the same from me.
Outside of Delhi, people are perhaps not even aware of Ahmad Masih’s existence. I donot understand, therefore, what purpose would be served in having a prayer duel (mubahalah) with an obscure person. He considers the outcome of his debate to be confined to his own person; then how can the result of the prayer duel (mubahalah)have any kind of impact on his coreligionists…
And Ahmad Masih does not state any reason in his request why he will not have aprayer duel with Mir Qasim Ali when Mir Qasim Ali is the person he debated. When our lord and master Imam Muhammad Mustafa (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had invited the Christians of Najran for a prayer duel (mubahalah), the prayer duel (mubahalah) was with a nation which included two bishops as well. Hence engaging in a prayer duel (mubahalah) witha single person is to make a mockery of this heavenly decision.
As stated earlier, I have previously used the prayer duel(mubahalah) to settle matters conclusively with the Christian clergy; see The Fate of Atham (Anjam Atham) (page 34) and AMirror of the Excellence of Islam (Ainah Kamalat Islam) (page 272).
If Ahmad Masih wants to have a prayer duel (mubahalah), he can have it with my disciple Mir Qasim Ali, who has already extended an invitation to him for the same.
However, if it is necessary to have the prayer duel (mubahalah) only with me, I can accept his request provided the bishops of Lahore, Calcutta, Madras and Bombay, who by virtue of their rank, reputation, influence and authority are more deserving of respect, make this request. In that case, the impact of the prayer duel will be on the whole Christian community rather than an individual alone who has no standing within his community.
The prayer duel (mubahalah) should be between equals and when on one side is a per- son who is the leader and spiritual guide of a very large organization then his opponent should be a person of similar standing. So if Ahmad Masih is really zealous about having a prayer duel (mubahalah) with me, as can be inferred from his letter, then it is incumbent on him to send me a request signed by the aforementioned bishops. God willing, I shall not turn down their request.
If the consideration is that the four bishops cannotcongregate in one place, then I would like to clarify that their congregation in one place is not a requirement because the prayer duel (mubahalah) can be conducted in writing.
When I receive their request, the statements of the parties to the prayer duel (mubahalah) shall be published in newspapers, and the result of the prayer duel (mubahalah) shall be conclusive. Out of a consideration to see truth prevail, I also agree that in case all four bishops refuse, I will be willing to conduct a prayer duel with any one of them acting as an attorney on behalf of the rest. But this request must be made from their side. I will allow a sufficient time for a response in this matter, and will wait for three months for their reply.
Prayer duel with Rev. Ahmad Masih is accepted
Following the preceding announcement, Hazrat Mirza published another proclamation on May 11, 1906 in which he agreed to have a prayer duel (mubahalah) with Ahmad Masih subject to certain conditions. Accordingly, Hazrat Mirza stated in theproclamation:
The thought crossed my mind today that the Christian community should be provided further facility in the prayer duel (mubahalah) so that no specious excuse may remain with them in the matter. For this reason, I announce that I am personally ready to engage in a prayer duel (mubahalah) with Ahmad Masih.
If the bishops do not like to present their names as the opponent, they may not do so. Instead, they may only publish a written statement in the newspapers Pioneer or Civil to the effect that if Ahmad Masih is vanquished then it will be considered that the four bishops have been vanquished.
We say this only because Ahmad Masih is an obscure person and unless the bishops make him their representative, there will be no effect on thenation. The matter has now been made very clear and it is hoped that after due deliberation and consideration, the bishops will accept the prayer duel (mubahalah). Finally, if the four bishops do not agree, a statement by the Bishop of Lahore alone would beconsidered sufficient.
Rev. Ahmad Masih flees
In response, not a word was heard from Rev. Ahmad Masih, who con- sidered silence as his salvation. Thus, although a seal was placed on the falsehood of Christianity, Rev. Ahmad Masih escaped with his life.2
- Excerpt from the April 17, 1906 issue of the newspaper Al-Hakam
- Sometime back, I had an opportunity to meet Rev. Ahmad Masih. He talked about Hazrat Mirza with great reverence. I felt that the truth had permeated his heart and that secretly he had become an Ahmadi Muslim. This is just my opinion, and Allah knows best.