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ahzarnama—the Memorandum—is an important historical document which was presented by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at in 1974, to the Special Committee of the National Assembly of Pakistan, comprising the entire house. The purpose of this document was to establish that the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at are Muslims and to explain its basic tenets, as well as refute the baseless allegations levelled against it. It was declared at the outset that, according to Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at, no Assembly or court in this world had any right to determine, or specify, the religion of any individual or a community; because this can be done only by God who knows the innermost thoughts of our hearts. Similarly, an impassioned warning was also put on record to the effect that this Assembly might become instrumental in creating dissention among the ranks of the followers of the Holy Prophetsa Muhammadsa by declaring Ahmadis to be non-Muslim, because this act would set such a wrong and horrible precedent which might engulf other sects in the future.
The backdrop of this sad episode was a preconceived scheme (for the details of which there is no room here) of the then government. Due to the dictates of political expediency, it declared Ahmadis to be outside the pail of Islam, in order to win support of the extremist Muslim clerics. Since a large number of these hardline clerics had already penetrated the ranks of the official Government Opposition, which, also fully supported the government in this matter. When this preconceived political plan reached its logical conclusion, an internecine tussle broke out between the Government and the Opposition for the credit to have resolved this so‑called “ninety-year old problem”.
As a matter of fact this marked a great tragedy in the history of Pakistan, enabling politics to impinge on religion and allowing religion, in turn, to interfere with politics. This indeed was the most serious blunder the outcome of which mars the contemporary Pakistani political scene that seems to find no way out of the mess. After this tragic mistake, the influence of extremist divines continued to plague national politics, culiminating in the imposition of a sinister eleven‑year stint of martial law which proved much more macabre than the earlier martial law episodes, and whose gruesomeness continues to eclipse the future of our nation. The country continues to be deprived of discipline, unity, tolerance, and national purpose. The seeds of dissension sowed by selfishly motivated politics have resulted in a crop of multifarious hatreds, and have fragmented Pakistan into factions, sects, clans, and provincialism.
It is plainly obvious to the intelligentsia that the foundations of our country's present misery were in fact laid in 1974. We pray that Allah may enlighten the nation and help adopt the noble charter which the Quaid-e-Azam prescribed for the nation, and which reflected his vision for this country. He said:
The exposition of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at’s position, in the form of Mahzarnama—the Memorandum, which was submitted as a historical document, is being reproduced verbatim in the following pages. After the submission of this document, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at was subjected to a grilling inquisition, for eleven days, in the National Assembly of Pakistan, by the Attorney General of Pakistan and clerics. The then Supreme Head of the worldwide Muslim Jama‘at Ahmadiyya, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih III, personally answered all the allegations that were made, and provided their solid, well‑reasoned and conclusive rebuttal. The entire proceedings were recorded by the government but unfortunately, for unknown reasons, the government has so far kept this record a secret. Despite the fact that a long time has elapsed, and several governments have come and gone, the record of these proceedings has, to this day, not been made public. May God bring the day closer when a government of the country may have the ability and courage to publish these proceedings verbatim, so that the entire nation may learn about the reality of the situation: the fact that the position taken by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at was based on truth alone and nothing but the truth.
The government of Pakistan required the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at, Hadhrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih III, to present himself personally before the aforesaid Committee of the National Assembly to enunciate his standpoint, and to answer all the questions that may be asked of him on that occasion. He was allowed to have four self-selected representatives to assist him. The five‑member delegation of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘;at consisted of the following four who assisted him:
Prior to the commencement of its aforesaid session, the Special Committee of the National Assembly sifted through thousands of objections and allegations against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at and selected a few hundred of them to pointedly direct those at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at. This Committee, as pointed out before, consisted of the entire House, and was fully aided by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and the Attorney General who represented the Ministry of Law, in preparation of the questionnaire which was then put forth by the Attorney General. In addition to this, selected religious scholars were also allowed by the government to subsequently direct their questions to the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at.
This document—Mahzarnama—was prepared in advance and distributed among the members of the National Assembly. Some members of the Assembly made their personal copies of it available to their Ahmadi friends. One such copy which reached the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at, United Kingdom, is being published by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at, United Kingdom, in the hope that after reading it the seekers after truth may decide for themselves, as to how far the decision to declare the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at to be non‑Muslim was based on justice and the teachings of Islam.
The English rendering from Urdu was done by Dr. Saleem-ur-Rehman of Canada. The present edition has been revised by Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at Ghana and Vakalat Tasneef, Rabwah.