Another objection that is often raised concerns the Mubahalah Challenge with Maulvi Sanaullah. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be upon him, made this prayer challenge that one of the two, the one who was in the wrong, should die in the lifetime of the one who is in the right. As Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be upon him, died before Maulvi Sanaullah therefore he lost the Mubahalah Challenge and Allah proved him to be false!
It is true that Maulvi Sanaullah did outlive Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be upon him, but did he accept the Mubahalah prayer challenge? Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be upon him, named many opponents for a Mubahalah prayer challenge in his book Anjam Aatham, Maulvi Sanaullah being one of them, but for the challenge to be complete, they need to accept it. If it is not accepted then it is not counted as a challenge. Maulvi Sanaullah was afraid to accept this challenge, but it seems that under pressure he relented and challenged the Promised Messiah to a prayer duel (Mubahalah) in his paper the Ahle Hadees, dated 29th March 1907. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be upon him, accepted the challenge and wrote in his book Ijaz Ahmadi:
I have seen the announcement of Maulvi Sanaullah of Amritsar in which he claims that he has a sincere desire that he and I should pray that the one of us who is in the wrong should die in the lifetime of the one who is right… He has made a good proposal, I trust he will keep to it.
Ijaz Ahmadi, pg. 14
When Maulvi Sanaullah found that the Promised Messiah had accepted his challenge to the Mubahalah, he was overcome by fear and began to make excuses. He wrote:
I neither am nor do I claim like you that I am a prophet, or a messenger, or a son of God, or a recipient of revelation. I cannot, therefore, dare to enter into such a contest. Your purpose is that if I should die before you, you will proclaim that as a proof of your righteousness and if you pass on before me (a good riddance), then who will go to your grave to call you to account? That is why you put forward such a stupid proposals. I regret, however, that I dare not enter into such controversy and this lack of courage is a source of honour for me and is not a source of humiliation.
Ilhamat Mirza, pg. 116
This declaration by Maulvi Sanaullah came as a great shock to his followers and he was subjected to heavy adverse criticism, whereby he was moved to proclaim:
Followers of the Mirza, if you are truthful, come forward and bring your leader with you. The same place, namely, the Eid Gah of Amritsar, where you have previously experienced heavenly humiliation in a prayer duel with Sufi Abdul Haq Ghaznavi, is still there. So bring him who has challenged us to a prayer duel in his book ‘Anjam Aatham’ and confront him with me, for so long as there is no final decision with the prophet nothing can bind all his followers.
Ahl-i-Hadees, 29th March 1907
Maulvi Sanaullah might have hoped that the Promised Messiah would pay no attention to this and would get out of this unpleasant situation, but Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be upon him, responded in Badar and announced:
In reply to his challenge I wish to convey to Maulvi Sanaullah Sahib the good news that Hadhrat Mirza Sahib (the Promised Messiah) has accepted his challenge.
Badar, 4th April 1907
But surprisingly this announcement upset Maulvi Sanaullah and being frightened he announced:
I have not challenged you to a Mubahalah, I have only declared my willingness to take an oath, but you call it a Mubahalah, whereas a Mubahalah involves the parties taking oaths in a contest against each other. I have declared my readiness to take an oath and have not issued a challenge to a Mubahalah. Taking an unilateral oath is one thing and Mubahalah is quite another.
Ahle Hadees, 19th April 1907
Perceiving that Maulvi Sanaullah was not prepared to take a definite stand, the Promised Messiah published an announcement under the heading:
Final decision concerning Maulvi Sanaullah sahib
And concluded it with the statement:
Now Maulvi Sanaullah Sahib may write in response whatever he pleases. In case he accepts the challenge to a Mubahalah he should record his acceptance of it over his signature.
In answer to this, Maulvi Sanaullah wrote as follows:
The Qur’an says that the evil-doers are granted respite by God. For instance, it is said: ‘The Gracious One grants respite to those who are in error’ (19:76) and ‘We grant them respite so that they might multiply their sins’ (3:97) ‘God will leave them to flounder on in their transgression’ (2:16) and ‘The fact is that We provided for them and their fathers and they remained in enjoyment of Our provision fro a long time’ (21:45). All these clearly mean that God Almighty, grants respite and bestows long life on liars, deceivers, disturbers of the peace and disobedient ones, so that during the period of respite they should add to their evil deeds.
Ahle Hadees, 26th April 1907
Thus Maulvi Sanaullah Sahib not only rejected the challenge of the Promised Messiah to a Mubahalah, but also put forward a principle that liars, deceivers, disorderly people and disobedient ones are granted long life.
Thereupon God Almighty granted long life to Maulvi Sanaullah Sahib (40 years more) according to the principle which he had put forward and brought about the death of the Promised Messiah, thus confirming that according to his own declaration Maulvi Sanaullah Sahib was a disorderly and disobedient person and was a liar and a deceiver.
Concerning the Mubahalah with Abdul Haq Ghaznavi which was mentioned above, this did take place in May 1893, although Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be upon him, reluctantly accepted it as he had great respect for Maulana Abdullah Ghaznavi, to whom Abdul Haq was a disciple, but as Abdul Haq insisted, therefore he accepted and it took place on 30th May 1893 at the Eid Gah at Amristar.
There was no real outcome (nobody died), but Hadhrat Ahmad seemed to have received more blessings from Allah than Abdul Haq and certainly didn’t suffer any ‘heavenly humiliation’. Instead his name and reputation spread throughout the world, he was blessed with more children, more followers and wrote several books in Arabic and thus put to shame the mullahs, who couldn’t produce anything of the kind, in spite of their boasts of learning.
Another similar sort of allegation is made regarding Rev. John Hugh Smyth-Pigott.
Rev. John Hugh Smyth-Pigott lived in Britain in 1902. Rev. Smyth-Pigott claimed to be the Messiah – Jesus incarnate –“God, not man.” When the news reached Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be on him, he took notice of his deceitful claims and said that similar false claimants had emerged at the time of the Messenger of Allah, may peace and blessings be on him, but were quickly annihilated. He predicted that the same would be the case of Rev. Smyth-Pigott. A revelation “Allah is severe in punishing!” (in Arabic: annallāha shadīdul-‘iqāb) was made public to be applicable on Rev. Smyth-Pigott (Al-Badr, February 20, 1903).
Because Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be on him, had written “If I die before Mr Pigott, I am not true nor am I from God” so his opponents object that as Mr Pigott out-lived the Promised Messiah and didn’t die until 1927, therefore it means that he is not true or from God!
First of all, this was not a Mubahalah Challenge, the Promised Messiah never invited him to such a challenge nor did Mr Pigott accept such a challenge. This was just the Promised Messiah pointing out that as he claimed to be Jesus and therefore God (according to Christian dogma), then such a claim, when false, will be punished by God! But we must always bear in mind that ultimately God wants the person to repent and change his ways. Allah never wants to punish anyone, this is the whole purpose of this life, to reform ourselves and turn to Allah. It is up to Allah to decide how He will punish a person, if need be. We see the example of Hadhrat Jonah (Yunus), may peace be upon him, who warned his people that they were about to be punished by Allah and left his people, certain that they were going to be punished. Unknown to him, his people repented and changed their ways, and so Allah did not punish them as this is what he wants from His servants.
In this case what happened? Rev. Smyth-Pigott was viciously bold to announce his Godhead. Soon after, the prophecy concerning him started to unfold, bringing him to manifest disgrace! On discovering the immoral and disgraceful relationship of Rev. Smyth-Pigott with one of his unmarried disciples, the Church of England took stern action against him, and he was defrocked and thus utterly humiliated. But Rev. Smyth-Pigott persisted in his arrogance and announced: ‘I am God. It does not matter what they do.’ After some time, more immoral behaviour came to light and the membership of his church steadily declined. The public got extremely angry and became violent towards the remaining members of his church. Many times rowdy crowds demonstrated outside the gates of the ‘Love of Abode’ (their meeting place). Once, the mob mistook one male member for Rev. Smyth-Pigott and he was brutally beaten up and tortured to death. Rev. Smyth-Pigott’s notoriety was widely publicised by the press and thus he was put to shame in the eyes of the entire world in the lifetime of the Promised Messiah, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be on him. Later, his health and prosperity also began to dwindle and eventually ‘the immortal God’ died in March 1927.
Now according to the Holy Qur’an, it states:
And if he had forged and attributed any saying to us, We would surely have seized him by the right hand and then surely we would have severed his life-artery and not one of you could have held us off from him
Therefore if anyone makes a claim to be a Prophet and is false, then Allah will punish him.
How Allah punishes him is up to Allah. If our opponents are objecting to Rev. Smyth-Pigott not dying in the life-time of the Promised Messiah, then they are also accusing Allah of not ‘seizing this false claimant by the right hand and severing his life-artery’. But the fact was that Rev. Smyth-Pigott made his bold claim in 1902 and before 1908 Allah had brought about his complete disgrace. Therefore Allah has shown His judgement that this man is false and within six years it became clear that he had been punished by Allah. But Allah is Merciful and wants the people to change and repent. His spiritual death took place. He was disowned by the Church, by his own community and by the general public during the lifetime of the Promised Messiah. If Allah feels that it is sufficient for the person to realise his wrong and repent, then Allah decides to give him that chance to change his ways and turn to Allah, then that is up to Allah.
The Promised Messiah warned him that by making such claims ‘he would be punished’ and that is what happened. The Promised Messiah witnessed his downfall in his own lifetime. The Promised Messiah said:
There is also an indication that his claiming to be God is an evil thing and that he will be afflicted with God’s chastisement. It is a very daring thing to claim to be a God
Badr Vol 1. Nos. 5 and 6, Nov 8th and Dec 5th 1902 p.4This prophecy was correct and God’s chastisement is very clear for everyone to see, but it is up to God how far He wants to punish a person or whether He wants him to die. The Promised Messiah gave a clear warning to everyone that ‘it is a very daring thing to claim to be a God’ and such claims could be that Allah will decide to kill the person, but that remains with Allah and in this case a spiritual death and disgrace was considered to be enough to warn mankind the dangers of making such claims.