A Sacred Place of Spiritual Birth and Brotherhood for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Qadian is a town and a municipal council in Gurdaspur district, north-east of Amritsar, situated 18 kilometers north-east of Batala city in the state of Punjab, India.
Qadian is a town and a municipal council in Gurdaspur District, north-east of Amritsar, situated 18 kilometres north-east of Batala city in the state of Punjab, India.
Foundations of Qadian were raised in 1530 during the reign of Babar (1483-1530), a Muslim ruler of India, when Mirza Hadi Beg, a chief of Barlas Mughals coming from Samarqand, entered India with his family and 200 companions. After a sojourn to Delhi, he settled in the uninhabited and desolate area of Majha in Punjab, about 70 miles east of Lahore (which is located at the eastern edge of today’s Pakistan). He was appointed as Qazi over a jurisdiction covering about 200 villages, over the centuries which followed, the name of the town changed from Majha (related to Majh, water buffalo) to Islampur, to Islampur Qazi Majhi, to Qazi Majhi, to Qazi and finally to Qadian, a town of Qazis (legalists/Jurists).
The town served as the capital of the semistate of about 200 villages. The mini-state weakened over time and was reduced to 80-85 villages under its jurisdiction by the time of Mirza Gul Muhammad, the great grandfather of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah(as)
Later on, Ram Gariha Sikhs occupied the town in 1802, and the family of the founders of the town was evicted of the town and sought refuge in a state in Punjab.
Ranjit Singh defeated Ram Garhis and occupied the area sometime after 1816. He brought back around 1833-35 and restored some villages to the family.
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) was born in the family in 1835 and grew up spending most of his time in the worship of Almighty Allah and self-learning of Islam.
He lived during a time when not only Muslims but all the great religions of the world were looking towards heaven for the advent of a great saviour promised to them centuries ago. Muslims were waiting for the return of Hadhrat Isa(as) and Mahdi to join their hands to uplift Islam and bring to it the lost glory of yesteryear. The followers of the most populous and politically most powerful religion of that time, Christianity, were waiting for the return of Jesus to live the believers up in the rapture and destroy the non-believers. So were Hindus waiting for their Krishna. Surprisingly, all these opposing religions had determined the same time for the advent of their saviour from their respective scriptures.
Allah the Almighty fulfilled his promise He had made in the major known scriptures by selecting the devoted servant of the holy prophet Muhammad(sa) to lead the world spiritually through the last millennia of world history.
Qadian, being the birthplace of the founder of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, has an extraordinary spiritual significance which attracts pilgrims from all across the Muslim world and beyond, annually for paying a visit to its holy sites where the Promised Messiah(as) spent every moment of his life in worship and remembrance of the Almighty and where his grace has shone with particular splendour and produced rich fruits of conversion.
The sites especially buildings in the House of the Messiah (Darul-Masih) were built with high-quality bricks and materials, and still stand mostly in their original shape and condition, except for minor upgrade, repair, and upkeep. A large part of the early history of the Ahmadiyya Community, the trials and tribulations, the memories of the moments of joys and jubilations, and the truth of the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, revolves around these buildings which include Dar-ul-Masih (Residence of the Messiah), Masjid Aqsa, Masjid Mubarak, Dār-ur-Riyāḍat (Abode of Worship) and Bait-ud-Du‘a, the house of prayers, etc.
Moreover, the hadith of the founder of Islam Hazrat Muhammad(sa) adds to the importance of this holy city of Qadian in which its name was mention, as it was prophesied:
“Said the Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings of Allah be on him, Mahdi will rise from a town named Kar‘ah” (Baharul-Anwar, Vol. 13, p 33).
The Promised Messiah (as) while describing the five branches for the propagation of Islam in his book, Fateh Islam, writes about the third branch as follows:
“The third branch of this movement is those people who travel and visit in search of truth and other different reasons, and those who after getting the news of this Heavenly movement come to meet me. This branch is also continuously developing. Although on some days less, but on the other days a large number of people start coming. For example, during the past seven years, slightly more than 60,000 guests may have come. How many of these active people may have spiritually benefited from the speeches, and how many of them may have found a solution for difficulties and may have overcome their weaknesses, only God knows.”
The great object for which “Darul Ziafat” was established was that there is proper boarding and lodging arrangement for those who travel in search of truth and the others who visit Qadian due to some other reasons, and they do not feel uncomfortable in any way. The Promised Messiah(as) had a great love for hospitality. Accordingly, he laid down the foundation of Langar Khana which accommodates the guests and provides free hospitality to them. At the same time, free food is also provided to a number of poor people. Even today in Qadian Darul Ziafat welcomes thousands of guests every year.
The Promised Messiah(as) has emphasized so much on hospitality. So as the community widely spread throughout the world, most of its mission established also had a small community kitchen that hosts the guests of the community.
At the end of 1905, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi(as) started receiving a large number of revelations indicating that his demise is near. The Promised Messiah and Mahdi(as) published a ‘Will’ entitled, ‘Al-Wasiyyat‘ ‘ and also published all of the revelations about his demise. In this ‘Will’, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi(as), under Divine guidance, also proposed the establishment of a special graveyard, which he named as ‘Bahishti Maqbarah’ (The Heavenly Graveyard).
In fact, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi(as) had seen a dream regarding this graveyard several years ago in which God Almighty had told the Promised Messiah and Mahdi(as) that a separate graveyard should be established for the especially sincere and righteous people of the Jama’at who are blessed in the sight of God Almighty so that it is a memorial for the new generations of Ahmadis to refresh their faith. The Promised Messiah and Mahdi(as) had been thinking for a long time about the land and location of the graveyard. However, when Hadrat Maulvi ‘Abdul Karim Sahib Sialkoti passed away and at the same time he received several revelations about his own demise, then Promised Messiah and Mahdi(as) took practical steps to implement the Heavenly Graveyard proposal. The Promised Messiah and Mahdi(as) selected a piece of land adjacent to his garden in the south of Qadian and laid the foundation of the ‘Bahishti Maqbarah”. At that time, the body of Hadrat Maulvi ‘Abdul Karim Sahib which was temporarily buried in a box at another place was moved to the Bahishti Maqbarah. Thus, Bahishti Maqbarah (Heavenly Graveyard) was started in Qadian during the life of the Promised Messiah and Mahdi(as).
Funeral prayer of the Promised Messiah and Mahdi(as) took place on the grounds of the Bahishti Maqbarah and he was buried in this graveyard. Many of the companions of the Promised Messiah and Mahdi(as) and others are buried in this Heavenly Musian Graveyard.
Qadian serves as the national headquarters for Ahmadis of India also. Several annual conventions are being held at the national level for the spiritual as well as physical upliftment of members of Jamaat.
Moreover, Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya which is the Central Ahmadiyya Council to look after the national administrative affairs of the Jamaat, along with the councils of Tahrike Jadid Ahmadiyya and Waqfe Jadid Ahmadiyya also locates in Qadian including national administrative setup of all other auxiliary organizations within the Jamaat.
Most significantly, the annual gathering of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community initiated by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (as) is also worth mentioning, Usually, the gathering spans over three days, beginning on Friday after the Friday Sermon. Which is intended to enable Ahmadi Muslims in specific and foreign masses, in general, to use the Jalsa Salana as an event for spiritual and moral advancement, beneficial social interaction and most importantly to increase the personal relationship with God.