Early life of the Founder of Qadianism, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadyani

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Qadyani movement, was born in the village of Qadian in the Gurdaspur District of Punjab (India) in 1839 or 1840. His father, Ghulam Murtaza, was a physician-cum-landowner of Mughal descent. After completing his education in the Arabic and Persian languages (as was customary in orthodox Muslim families of the day) and in Tibb (Eastern medicine), Mirza Ghulam Ahmad served for about four years beginning 1864 as a clerk in the office of Deputy Commissioner (District Officer) of Sialkot District. He then gave up this job to join his fatherís practice of medicine. Simultaneously, he continued his somewhat irregular study of religious literature and also participated in religious debates. As far as is known, his ancestors had been orthodox Sunni (Hanafi) Muslims, and Mirza also subscribed to the same school of thought in his early years. In fact in 1879, at the age of about 40, he publicly announced his intention to write a fifty-volume book titled Barahin-e-Ahmadiyah (The Ahmadi Proofs), seeking to expound in strong and irrefutable terms, but on the basis of solid logic and reasoning, the truth of Islam vis-ŗ-vis other religions. He also appealed to the Sub-continentís Muslim community to provide material help to him in this noble task. In response to this call, the Muslims in general extended generous financial support to him in what they viewed as a laudable venture. After publishing only four volumes (out of the 50 initially promised) in the years between 1880 and 1884, however, Mirza abandoned the project, and stopped publication of subsequent volumes of the book. He did this on the plea that since he was the mujaddid of the century, he had been commanded by Allah to propagate Islam through divine inspiration rather than through intellectual effort and the written word. (More than 23 years later, Mirza wrote and published the fifth and last volume of the Barahin in 1905, i.e., three years before his death).

In 1886, Mirza wrote his second book, titled Aryah Dharm (The Aryah Creed), and also held a debate in Hoshiarpur (Punjab) with the Hindu Aryah Samaji sect. This enabled him to make some name for himself as an Islamic debater, and also helped him build up a group of disciples around him. Hakim Nurrudin (1841-1914), then personal physician of the Maharajah of the Jammu and Kashmir princely State and a relation of Mirza through his wife, was a prominent member of this influential band of advisors and helpers.