HISTORY OF THE MOVEMENT
The Ahmadiyya Movement was founded by Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as (1835-1908), in March 1889, when he was about 54 years of age. Ahmad as belonged to a noble and ancient Mughal family of the Punjab which had migrated to India from Samarkand in or about the reign of the Emperor Babar. The first ancestor of Ahmad as to come to India was Mirza Hadi Baig who, says Sir Lepel Griffin in his Punjab Chiefs,
‘was appointed Qazi or Magistrate over seventy villages in the neighbourhood of Qadian which town he is said to have founded, naming it Islampur Qazi from which Qadian has, by a natural change, arisen. For several generations the family held offices of respectability under the Imperial Government and it was only when the Sikhs became powerful that it fell into poverty.’
The headquarters of the Movement were established by Ahmadas at Qadian, a small town in the Punjab (India), to which he belonged, and which is situated at a distance of about 11 miles to the north east of Batala, a railway station on the N. W. R. system. In spite of the violent opposition offered to him by the followers of every religion in India and the unsympathetic attitude of the Government officials towards him in the beginning, the Movement founded by him continued to make steady progress in all parts of India, so that at the time of his death, which occurred in May 1908, his followers could be counted by hundreds of thousands, and the Movement had spread into the neighbouring countries of Arabia, Afghanistan, etc.
After the death of Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as, my revered teacher Hadrat Maulawi Nur-ud-Dinra was elected the spiritual head of the Movement, and on his death, which occurred in March 1914, Hadrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (ra) was elected to succeed him.
By this time the Movement has spread to almost all parts of the world and its members number over half a million, the majority of whom are to be found in India (and Pakistan) and the countries adjacent to it. Owing, however, to the violent opposition and persecution to which the members of the Movement are subjected, many people, who have accepted it at heart, are unable to join it openly, and such persons are to be found in large numbers among the Sikhs, the Hindus and the various sects of Islam.
Several people in the Philippines and Sumatra have also joined the Movement.
Of the countries to the north and west of Pakistan members of the Movement are to be found in Bokhara, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
In Africa, regular communities have been formed in Egypt, Zanzibar, Natal, Sierra Leone, Gold Coast, Nigeria and Morocco, and also in the island of Mauritius.
A paper in the French language is issued by the Movement from Mauritius.
In Europe the Movement has so far found adherents only in England and France.2 The English mission was established about ten years ago.
In America a mission was established only three years ago where hundreds of Americans have accepted and are continuing to accept Ahmadiyyat. A quarterly journal is issued by the Movement from Chicago. The Movement has also spread to Trinidad, Brazil, and Costa Rica in South America.
Australia also shares this great blessing.