Death of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
The Death of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, was a significant event in the history of the Community. On 26 May 1908, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, died as a result of weaknesses of the body and complications arising from severe diarrhoea. He died in Lahore, at around 10:30 am, whilst lying on his bed, unconscious, surrounded by his family members and a number of physicians. His death, and its precise cause and circumstances, has been a cause of contention among a number of non-Ahmadi Muslims, mainly arising from Anti-Ahmadi propaganda, claiming that he died as a result of Cholera, or that he died in the toilet. However, there is no evidence to support either of these claims.
During later period of his life, Ahmad had complaints of diarrhoea. On the days before his death, Ahmad arrived in Lahore from Qadian with his close family and companions in order to deliver a number of speeches and meet his followers residing in Lahore. Whilst in Lahore he received a revelation "The time for departure has arrived, again the time for departure has arrived." Despite this revelation and bad health, he continued with the plan and proposed to deliver a lecture to promote peace and harmony among the rising tensions between the Hindus and Muslims of India. This lecture was entitled Paigham-e-Sulah or A Message of Peace. Reportedly, this had a negative impact on his heath. In the meantime he received another revelation "Do not trust the mortal age". The night he completed his lecture his condition declined. He had further complaints of diarrhoea and became physically weak. He summoned his family members and a number of physicians from whom he received medications. He later went to sleep and then woke up in the morning for his regular prayers, although he was still very weak and was unable to speak or write. Afterwards, he lied down on his bed and in the meantime became unconscious. Later, he died at around 10:30 am on his bed, surrounded by his family members and physicians.
The news of his death spread all over India and a number of newspapers wrote obituaries mourning his death. On the other hand, there were some who celebrated it. When the news of his death spread in Lahore, a crowd of Muslims gathered outside the house. It is reported that there was great jubilation and a mock funeral was arranged for the entertainment of the crowd.
The recorded cause of death on the death certificate was "complications arising from diarrhoea". However, as part of the Anti-Ahmadi propaganda, the death of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has taken a highly controversial role among a number of non-Ahmadi Muslims. It is alleged that he died as a result of Cholera and that he died in the toilet. The latter is a product of over-stretched propaganda, for which no evidence exists. The former is concerned with a passage of Ahmad's writing, from which it is alleged that he claimed that to die from Cholera in certain circumstances is a sign of wrath of God. Notwithstanding, that Cholera is only one of multitude of causes of diarrhoea, Ahmad's body was medically examined to ensure that no infectious diseases were being carried. This was done so, because Ahmad's followers wished to bury him in Qadian which required transportation via train, and in the early 1900s, it was not permissible to take an infectious body on trains.
There are a number of prophecies that relate to the death of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, although not directly related to the cause of his death:
His critics say that his death proved some of his prophecies false:
- He prophesied that he would live to be 80 or so years old, but his opponents assert he lived 73 years. His followers disagree with this contention and point out that the said prophecy (made in 1865 or about 43 years before his actual death) was for “..eighty years or a few years less or more….” (Tadhkira, page 6, emphasis by editor), and that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was 73 years old at the time of his death (b: 1835 – d: 1908). Ahmadis assert that in accordance with the Islamic calendar, he lived 76 years, which accords with the prophecy (80 or so).
- He prophesied that he would marry Muhammadi Begum before his death, but his opponents point out that he never did. Followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, however, claim that the prophecy regarding Mohammadi Begum was multi-faceted, not confined to marriage with Muhammadi Begum only and "conditional", i.e., did not require absolute fulfillment. They point out that because part of the prophecy (the death of Muhammadi Begum’s father) was fulfilled, after which conditions changed on account of their repentance, the remaining prophecy did not come to pass.
- His opponents assert that he made a prayer that Moulvi Sanaullah of Amritsar, his arch opponent, who had openly called him a liar and an impostor, should die before him. His opponents point out that Mirza died first. His followers however contend that the issue was not single-faceted, and was part of a Mubahila (Prayer-Duel) or challenge, which was conditional upon the acceptance of the same by Maulvi Sanaullah. As Maulvi Sanaullah publicly refused to accept the challenge posed by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, his prior death did not occur. Hence the question of who died first became immaterial and inconsequential.
- His opponents assert that a doctor, Abdul Hakim, prophesied that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad would die within a certain time period and that he did die within that time. However, Ahmadis assert he was not only plagiarizing Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's own prophecy of his demise but also that he repeatedly kept changing it until it became a specific date, which was then wrong by many months from Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's actual date of death.
- His opponents assert that Mirza prophesied that Abdullah Atham, a Christian, who had debated with Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, would die before him, within a limited time frame. However, some of his opponents assert that he died first, but especially that Atham died after the fifteen months prophesied period had passed.
Ahmadiyya Muslims see this episode as reminiscent of the prophecy of the Biblical Prophet Jonah to the city of Nineveh. They answer the critics by claiming that the original prophecy, which was published in the book Jang e Muqaddas, was conditional upon Atham not inclining towards 'truth', as was stated: provided he does not incline towards truth. They argue that Atham was in constant fear and backed out of his Anti-Islamic stance for the 15 months of the prophecy. Ahmadiyya Muslims say that, after much jubilation was shown by the opponents of Ahmad, upon Atham being alive once the time limit of the original prophecy expired, Ghulam Ahmad invited him to swear on oath that he did not entertain the least thought of the truth of Islam and the falsehood of Christianity. His refusal to do so is sufficient proof of his inclining towards truth. They point out that Abdullah Atham eventually died on July 27, 1896, within the lifetime of Ghulam Ahmad, after he had made the prophecy of his death on September 30, 1895.
- He declared that Allah would bestow upon him a great son, but his opponents assert that he didn't have another son. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believe that the prophecy was fulfilled, in the person of Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad, who was born in the time of the Prophecy, while the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement believe that the prophecies related to the "promised son" are allegorical in nature.
- He prophesied that he would die in Mecca or in Medina but he died in Lahore and never saw either city. His followers state that the prophecy was not about where he would die, but about predicted great victories, like those Muhammad had over Mecca and Medina. They often quote what he himself wrote about the revelation that stated that he would die in Mecca or Medina:
|“||This sentence ‘I shall die in Mecca or in Medina’ means that before my death I shall be bestowed a victory like that of Mecca. That is to say as the Holy Prophet had vanquished his enemies through the manifestation of the majestic Signs of Allah, so will it happen now. The second meaning is that, before my death, I shall be bestowed a victory like that of Medina which means that people’s hearts will of their own be inclined towards me.||”|
- Death of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani?, qadiani.org
- Ahmad The Guided One by Ian Adamson Pages 333-334
- "He died in the toilet", whyahmadi.org
- Maulana Hafiz Sher Muhammad Sahib,True Facts about the Ahmadiyya Movement. In Reply to S.P. Tayo's Facts about the Ahmadiyya Movement, pp. 47-50
- "A Spiritual Challenge", alislam.org
- "True Facts about the Ahmadiyya Movement" (pp. 47-50) by Maulana Hafiz Sher Muhammad Sahib
- The Death of Mirza Ghulam Qadiani, irshad.org
- Muhammad, Maulana Hafiz Sher, True Facts about the Ahmadiyya Movement, Ahmadiyya Anjumah Ishaat Islam Delhi, page 59 
- The Prophecy about Muhammadi Begum Compiled by Dr. Zahid Aziz
- 'True Facts about the Ahmadiyya Movement.' (pp. 44-47) by Maulana Hafiz Sher Muhammad Sahib. Web Link
- "Some prophecies of Hadhrat Ahmad: A Critical Study" (pgs. 45-52) by Naeem Osman Memon. 
- Jung-e-Muqaddas, P. 189.
- Divine Manifestations
- Prayer Services led by a non-Ahmadi Muslim
- Beg, Mirza Masum, Prophecies of the Promised Messiah, Ahmadiyyah Anjuman Isha'at-i-Islam, page 53)" 
- "Some prophecies of Hadhrat Ahmad: A Critical Study" (pgs. 53-62) by Naeem Osman Memon. 
- The Truth of Hazrat Mirza Sahib's Prophecy Concerning the Appearance of the Musleh Mauood
- Al-Hakam, Vol. X, No. 2, January 17, 1906, p. 3; Tadhkirah (pg. 784)
- Ahmadiyya links
Official Ahmadiyya Sites:
- Some Basic Issues Resolved
- Official Website of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
- Biography of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
- Islamic Books Library @ Alislam.org - Alislam.org