‘Holy Prophet Muhammad Day’, marked only by Ahmadis in Lahore, in April 1908
I am repeating, with some revisions, an item I posted here in April 2008, on the centenary of the function that it refers to.
It is reported in Badr, 30th April 1908 (p. 6) that an Eid Milad-un-Nabi function was held at Ahmadiyya Buildings, Lahore. (This was close to the end of the life of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and a few days before he arrived in Lahore from Qadian.)
The function is not called Eid Milad-un-Nabi in this report but Bara Wafat. This was the term used by Muslims in India in those days, meaning “death on the 12th”, referring to the death of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s) on this day.
Below I translate the report, which is entitled Life of the Holy Prophet:
A respected friend reports from Lahore that, on the previous day, a Tuesday, on the occasion of Bara Wafat, and for the benefit of the residents of Lahore, a grandly organised lecture was held at Ahmadiyya Buildings, where houses of our Khwaja [Kamal-ud-Din] sahib are located. The ground was very large and was decked with a marque and other necessities. It had been widely advertised in the city.
The poem in praise of the Holy Prophet written by Huzoor [presumably meaning the Promised Messiah] was read out by brothers Abdul Aziz, son of Mian Chiragh Din, and Ghulam Muhammad. Maulvi Sadr-ud-Din gave an explanation of the Surah Fatiha with great zeal and pure sincerity, and went over the events of the life of the Messenger of God, may peace and the blessing of Allah be upon him. Then brother Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig spoke on the life of the Holy Prophet in a fine speech. The audience included Hindus, Muslims and members of the Brahmo Samaj. All the leading men of Lahore who could come were in attendance. The whole gathering listened patiently and attentively to the highly effective speeches of these young men, who were preaching using this new technique and method, and they went away expressing much praise.”
This meeting was also reported in other newspapers and was generally much liked. Hence the newspaper Watan wrote:
Just as there was great regret that there were no arrangements in Lahore for holding this great occasion of remembrance, there was equal pleasure that on 14th April, corresponding to 12th Rabi-ul-awwal 1326 A.H., on behalf of the Anjuman-i Ahmadiyya Lahore a magnificent meeting was organised by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, lawyer, High Court. Capable speakers delighted the audience by telling them about the life of the Holy Prophet and his excellent and praise-worthy qualities. It is hoped that in future many people in Lahore will organise events for such a sacred remembrance.”
The newspaper Sada-i-Hind expressed a similar opinion.
Comment by Editor Badr: It is indeed essential that the general public should be fully informed about the life of the Holy Prophet. We cannot complain about non-Muslims when most Muslims themselves are utterly unaware of the life of their beloved master. When such ignorant people realise how much we owe to the Holy Prophet, they will themselves want to recite the Darood spontaneously. This is in fact the philosophy of Darood. But I do not consider it right to fix one particular day forever, like Bara Wafat, for this purpose.”
This idea was then taken up by other Muslims and led to the development of the Eid Milad-un-Nabi function.
This article was written by Dr Zahid Aziz and appears on the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement blog