Facts From Fiction

Was the Promised Messiah (as) an Agent of the British Government? Distinguishing Facts from Fiction

Portrait of the Promised Messiah (as) & Imam Mahdi (Guided One), Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as)

The Promised Messiah & Imam Mahdi, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian (1835-1908)

Raziullah Noman, Canada

The main task of the Prophets and Messengers of Allah is to convey the message of Allah the Almighty to all of mankind. They reform the society and bring them back to the worship of Allah. They help the people establish a relationship with Allah and purify them through prayer. Regarding the task he was sent for, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi writes:

‘The task for which God has appointed me is that I should remove the malaise that afflicts the relationship between God and His creatures and restore the relationship of love and sincerity between them. Through the proclamation of truth and by putting an end to religious conflicts, I should bring about peace and manifest the Divine verities that have become hidden from the eyes of the world. I am called upon to demonstrate spirituality which lies buried under egoistic darkness. It is for me to demonstrate by practise, and not by words alone, the Divine powers which penetrate into a human being and are manifested through prayer or attention. Above all, it is my task to re-establish in people’s hearts the eternal plant of the pure and shining Unity of God which is free from every impurity of polytheism, and which has now completely disappeared. All this will be accomplished, not through my power, but through the power of the Almighty God, Who is the God of heaven and earth.’ [1]

Allegations Raised Against All Prophets

One of the false allegations raised against the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi (as), is that he was, God-forbid, an agent of the British, and that he was chosen to harm Islam. Firstly, similar allegations were raised against the other Prophets as well. 

Allah states:

مَا يُقَالُ لَكَ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ قِيلَ لِلرُّسُلِ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَذُو مَغْفِرَةٍ وَذُو عِقَابٍ أَلِيمٍ

‘Nothing is said to thee but what was said to the Messengers before thee. Thy Lord is indeed the Master of forgiveness; and also the Master of painful chastisement.’ [2]

Then regarding the Prophet Shu’aib (as), Allah tates:

قَالُوا يَا شُعَيْبُ مَا نَفْقَهُ كَثِيرًا مِمَّا تَقُولُ وَإِنَّا لَنَرَاكَ فِينَا ضَعِيفًا ۖ وَلَوْلَا رَهْطُكَ لَرَجَمْنَاكَ ۖ وَمَا أَنْتَ عَلَيْنَا بِعَزِيزٍ  قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ أَرَهْطِي أَعَزُّ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَاتَّخَذْتُمُوهُ وَرَاءَكُمْ ظِهْرِيًّا ۖ إِنَّ رَبِّي بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ

They replied, ‘O Shu‘aib, we do not understand much of that which thou sayest, and surely, we see that thou art weak among us. And were it not for thy tribe, we would surely stone thee. And thou holdest no strong position among us.’ He said, ‘O my people, is my tribe mightier with you than Allah? And you have cast Him behind your backs as neglected. Surely, my Lord encompasses all that you do.’ [3]

Then a similar allegation was raised against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa). Allah states:

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنْ هَٰذَا إِلَّا إِفْكٌ افْتَرَاهُ وَأَعَانَهُ عَلَيْهِ قَوْمٌ آخَرُونَ ۖ فَقَدْ جَاءُوا ظُلْمًا وَزُورًا وَقَالُوا أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ اكْتَتَبَهَا فَهِيَ تُمْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا

‘And those who disbelieve say, ‘It is naught but a lie which he has forged, and other people have helped him with it.’ Indeed, they have brought forth an injustice and an untruth. And they say, ‘These are fables of the ancients; and he has got them written down, and they are dictated to him morning and evening.’’ [4]

The truth is that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) was not planted by the British, rather it was Allah Almighty who Chose him. The Promised Messiah (as) writes:

‘The world does not recognize me, but He Who has sent me does know me. It is an error on the part of those – indeed it is their misfortune – who wish to see my destruction. I am the tree which has been planted by the Lord God with His own hands… O, ye People! You must understand this for sure that I am accompanied by that Hand which shall remain faithful to me till the end of time. If your men and your women, and your young and your old, and your insignificant ones and your notables all commit themselves to praying for my destruction – so much so that your noses get withered and wasted away due to your endless prostrations, and your hands become numb, even then God would certainly not accept your prayers, and he would not stop until He fulfills His decree…So, do not wrong your souls. The faces of liars can be discerned as something different altogether, and the countenances of the truthful ones are quite distinguishable. God does not leave any matter undecided…Just as God eventually decided at one time to another, between the previous Divinely appointed ones and the false claimants, similarly He will decide upon this matter presently at hand. There are seasons apposite to the advent of the Divinely appointed ones, and there are seasons apposite to their departure: do mark it for sure, that I have neither made an appearance out of season, nor shall my exit be out of season. Do not be pitted against God! It is not in your mettle to compass my ruin.’ [5]

An Agent of the British Government

As for this allegation of the Promised Messiah (as) being an agent of the British Government, it is based on complete falsehood. In fact, when we look at history, the opponents of the Promised Messiah (as) would accuse him of being an enemy of the British government; the complete opposite of the allegations that opponents raise today. They would preach that he was a traitor to the government and that he has plans of waging jihad of the sword against them. During the 1890s, the Ahle Hadith scholar named Muhammad Husain Batalvi became an active opponent of the Promised Messiah (as) and spent his time trying to misguide the British government regarding the Promised Messiah (as) and to impress on it that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) was disloyal to the British government and a rebel against it. 

The fact that their allegation has contradictions is enough to prove the falsehood of it. 

As for Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) praising the British government, this was solely done on account of the religious freedom they had given to the Muslims. The Muslims faced severe persecution before the British had come into power. The Promised Messiah (as) writes:

‘Why do their maulvis [clerics] not stop them from these awful actions which bring Islam into disrepute? One cannot enumerate the comforts which the Muslims have under this British Government. Many who lived under Sikh rule are still with us today. They should come forward and tell others about the circumstances of Islam and the Muslims at that time. The adhan[Call for Prayer], which is a mandatory tenet of Islam, was considered a crime. No one who called the adhan could survive the hatchets and spears of the Sikhs. Did God err in freeing the Muslims from the Sikhs’ transgressions and in delivering them to the sanctuary of British rule? As soon as this government took power, the Muslims of Punjab were, for all practical purposes, granted their faith anew. Since a good deed demands a good deed in return, we should not renounce the blessing that God has granted us in place of Sikh rule as an answer to our many tears and prayers.’ [6]

Allah states in the Holy Qur’an:

هَلْ جَزَاءُ الْإِحْسَانِ إِلَّا الْإِحْسَانُ

‘The reward of goodness is nothing but goodness’ [7]

Therefore, if the British did such a favour for the Muslims, they deserved to be thanked and the Muslims should have been taught to be respectful to them. The Holy Prophet (sa) once  stated:

‏ لاَ يَشْكُرُ اللهَ مَنْ لاَ يَشْكُرُ النَّاسَ‏

‘He who does not thank the people is not thankful to Allah.’ [8]

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) stated:

‘You who are unenlightened! Heed what I say. I have never sought to gratify the government. The fact of the matter is that the Holy Quran forbids religious war against such a government which freely allows Muslims to engage in religious practices and traditions and does not take up the sword against us to propagate their religion. After all the government does not wage a religious war against us.’ [9]


Quotes Taken Out of Context

We now turn to the specific allegations which were raised. The first allegation is raised based on a quote from Kitabul Bariyyah. The Promised Messiah (as) writes:

‘From my writings over a period of seventeen years, it has been proven that I am faithful and devoted to the British government, with heart and soul. I am the son of a father who was also a friend of this government. My faith is to obey the government and love the people; these are the conditions set for my disciples and followers who pledge allegiance to me.’ [10]

This quote is taken out of context. The opponent, Muhammad Hussain Batalvi, was trying to convince the government that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) was an enemy of theirs and planned to rule over Britain. This passage was in response to that allegation, and the Promised Messiah (as) explained that he and his followers are not enemies of the government and this is exactly what the Qur’an teaches, as Allah states:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ ۖ فَإِنْ تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا

‘O ye who believe! obey Allah, and obey His Messenger and those who are in authority among you. And if you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger if you are believers in Allah and the Last Day. That is best and most commendable in the end.’ [11]

We see the same was done by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) and his Companions (ra). For example, when the Holy Prophet (sa) and his Companions (ra) were being persecuted in Makkah, many migrated to Abyssinia, where King Negus ruled. Negus helped the Muslims in every way possible and during this difficult time, the Muslims did not disobey him. Nor was this the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad (sa).

The second quote which the anti-Ahmadis mentioned is as follows:

‘Undoubtedly, my faith and doctrine – that which I emphasize, is that Islam comprises of two parts. One is obedience to Allah and the other is obedience to the government which has created peace and under whose protection we are safe from the oppressors – that is the British government.’ [12]

Once again, this quotation is also out of context. The context is that Muhammad Hussain Batalvi and his followers believed that when the Mahdi comes he would kill the disbelievers. Because of this, they decided to spread the lie that the Promised Messiah (as) plans to do this as well. In response to this, the Promised Messiah (as) explained that the British were not waging war and had given them complete freedom. Thus, It was not at all permissible to raise the sword against a just government. 

In the third quote against which allegations are raised, the Promised Messiah (as) stated:

‘The greater part of my life has been spent in supporting and favouring the British government. I have written and published so many books against the theory of Jihad and the need for obedience to the British that if all these tracts and books were put together, it would cover fifty volumes.’ [13]

This passage is also taken out of context. Here the Promised Messiah (as) is responding to the opponents who were spreading the lie that he was a traitor of the government. 

The life of the Promised Messiah (as) is sufficient to prove the falsehood of the allegation. The Messiah (as) writes:

‘Certain ignorant persons, such as the editor of Al-Manar, level the allegation that I have only declared Jihad to be unlawful as I live under the rule of the British. What these foolish people fail to realise is that if it had been my desire to falsely please the government, why would I have stated time and again that Jesus son of Mary survived the crucifixion and died a natural death in Srinagar, Kashmir; and that neither was he God, nor the son of God? Would those from among the British who were passionate about their faith not turn away from me?’ [14]

The Promised Messiah (as) was sending out the most powerful challenges to the Christians and was always busy in the defence of the faith. In fact, on one occasion he challenged all of the Christians that if they were able to prove the superiority of Jesus (as) over the Prophet Muhammad (sa) he would be ready for crucifixion. This was his love for Allah and His Messenger (sa). There was no one of any other faith that could ever raise any allegations to him (as) regarding Islam.

The truth of the matter is that even the non-Ahmadi Muslim scholars had similar beliefs. The only difference was that they believed in a blood-thirsty Mahdi and Messiah who would wage war against the disbelievers. We deny all such traditions and do not believe in such violent teachings.

Muhammad Hussain of Batala wrote:

‘It is not permissible for Muslim subjects to fight, or to help with men and money those who fight, against a government, whether Christian, or Jewish, or of some other faith, under whom the Muslims carry out their religious duties and obligations freely. For the Muslims of India it is forbidden to oppose or rebel against the British Government.’ [15]

Hazrat Syed Barelvi stated:

‘Our true purpose is the propagation of the Unity of God and the revival of the practice of the Chiefs of the Prophets, and that we carry out without hindrance in this country. Then why should we fight the British Government and shed the blood of both sides contrary to the principles of our religion.’ [16]

An Nadwah, which was a famous paper of the Nadwatul Ulama wrote:

‘The true purpose of this institute of learning is to produce clear-minded divines and it is the duty of such divines that they should be familiar with the blessings of the Government and should propagate loyalty to the Government in the country.’ [17]

There are many such quotations which show us that the scholars of that time agreed that it was not permissible to raise the sword against the British government. They realized that such would be against the teachings of Islam.


[1] Lecture Lahore, Ruhani Khazain, vol. 20, p. 188

[2] The Holy Qur’an 41:44

[3] The Holy Qur’an 11:92-93

[4] The Holy Qur’an 25:5-6

[5] Tohfa-e-Golarviyyah, Ruhani Khazain Volume 17 page 12-13

[6] The British Government and Jihad, Pages 15-16

[7] The Holy Qur’an 55:61

[8] Sunan Abi Dawud Hadith #4811

[9] Noah’s Ark, Page 120

[10] Kitabul Bariyah, Ruhani Khazain Volume 13, Page 10

[11] The Holy Qur’an 4:60

[12] Shahadatul Quran, Ruhani Khazain Vol. 6, Page 371

[13] Taryaqul Qulub, Page 15

[14] Noah’s Ark, Page 119

[15] Ishaatus Sunnah, Vol. VI, No. 10

[16] Biography of Hazrat Syed Ahmed by Maulana Muhammad Jaafar Thanesar

[17] An-Nadwah, Vol. V, July 1908