The allegation Adnan Rashid and Muhammad Imtiaz have raised is on the following passage which is Al Hakam 24 August 1907 and also translated in the Review of Religions:
Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) writes:
“The Government of India consider the evacuation of infected houses as the best plan to minimise chances of infection from the plague, and the correspondence which has just been published on this subject directs that as soon as the plague makes its appearance in a village or in any mohalla of a town, the residents of the infected quarter should take the earliest opportunity to evacuate their houses and should live in sheds in the open at sufficient distance from the infected place. I am fully confident that this plan is a most efficient one as a remedy against the plague. Our Holy Prophet, upon whom be peace and blessings of Allah, also directed that when the plague made its appearance in any town the people living at the infected place should immediately evacuate it and that otherwise they would be fighting with God. To fly from the place which is under the wrath of God is an act of wisdom.”
Now this is proven from Qur’an, Ahadith and revelation. We believe Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) receives revelation and muhadithin know that the best way to authenticate a hadith is through a person who receives revelation. The general principle on authenticating Ahadith are merely a sort of science but when someone directly authenticates a hadith, this is the best way. For example, Hadrat Shah Waliullah Muhadith Dehlvi and Hadrat Ibn Arabi have authenticated Ahadith through their visions. Hadrat Ahmad (as) is also saying this based on his revelation as he says I have dilli yaqeen, I know of this from my heart. He (sa) says I have knowledge that Hadrat Muhammad (sa) said this. You must leave that place with the plague and go into jungles, otherwise you are fighting against Allah. The reference is on the same page as well. It is written on the same page:
“In the Islamic history an incident is related with regard to the second Khalifa, Umar, which also shows that a place visited with the plague should be avoided. It is stated that when Umar undertook a journey to Syria after the conquest of that country, it was brought to his knowledge on the way to it that the plague raged there. On hearing this, he at once made up his mind to go back and not advance any further. Some people remonstrated with him on his postponing his journey saying that it was not proper to fly from the decree of God. But Umar said that he was only flying from one decree of God to another decree and they were satisfied. “
This shows that man should not go towards any area with destruction. The anti-Ahmadis misquote. We now go to the references Hadrat Ahmad (as) is referring to. The first reference is Musnad Ahmad, a statement of Hadrat Amr bin al-Aas (ra):
لَمَّا وَقَعَ الطَّاعُونُ بِالشَّامِ خَطَبَ عَمْرُو بْنُ الْعَاصِ النَّاسَ، فَقَالَ: إِنَّ هَذَا الطَّاعُونَ رِجْسٌ، فَتَفَرَّقُوا عَنْهُ فِى هَذِهِ الشِّعَابِ، وَفِى هَذِهِ الأَوْدِيَةِ
“When the plague occurred in Syria, Amr bin al-Aas addressed the people and said: ‘This plague is a punishment, so disperse from it into the jungles and valleys” (Musnad Ahmad, vol. 13, p. 483)
Now look at the words of the companion of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) during a major trial and difficulty. What is the teaching he gives? He says that the people should go into jungles and valleys. When the Prophet Muhammad (sa) asked the companions how they would decide regarding a matter, they said Qur’an and Ahadith and after that our understanding.
Such an important decision and command must be based on the teaching of Hadrat Muhammad (sa). It is true that there was a difference of opinion on this amongst the sahaba. Shurahbeel bin Hassanah (ra) would say that the plague is a mercy from Allah and many religious people died in the plague before you. This shows us there are two views. Now who does the Qur’anic revelation support? Allah States:
لَا تُلْقُوا بِأَيْدِيكُمْ إِلَى التَّهْلُكَةِ
“Do not cast yourselves into ruin with your own hands” (Chapter 2, Verse 197)
Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) said the same that if you stay there, then you are fighting Allah, which is suicide. Qur’an says do not commit suicide. Allah States:
وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ
“And kill not yourselves” (Chapter 4, verse 30)
Once a companion made a fire and said if you obey your amir, then jump into the fire. A companion stopped him and this reached the Prophet Muhammad (sa) who said that if he jumped into the fire, he would be in the fire on the Day of Judgement. The companion followed the same verse:
لَا تُلْقُوا بِأَيْدِيكُمْ إِلَى التَّهْلُكَةِ
“Do not cast yourselves into ruin with your own hands” (Chapter 2, Verse 197)
Hadrat Amr bin al-Aas (ra) is correct and Shurahbeel bin Hasanah (ra) decision is not in line with the Qur’an and Ahadith. He himself ended up being martyred because of the plague. This is further evidence that he was wrong in this decision. We have other testimonies as well from the companions. Hadrat Usama bin Zaid (ra) who is called Hibb-e-Rasul (sa), stated:
حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي مَالِكٌ، عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ الْمُنْكَدِرِ، وَعَنْ أَبِي النَّضْرِ، مَوْلَى عُمَرَ بْنِ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ عَنْ عَامِرِ بْنِ سَعْدِ بْنِ أَبِي وَقَّاصٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَهُ يَسْأَلُ، أُسَامَةَ بْنَ زَيْدٍ مَاذَا سَمِعْتَ مِنْ، رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي الطَّاعُونِ فَقَالَ أُسَامَةُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ” الطَّاعُونُ رِجْسٌ أُرْسِلَ عَلَى طَائِفَةٍ مِنْ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَوْ عَلَى مَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ، فَإِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ بِهِ بِأَرْضٍ فَلاَ تَقْدَمُوا عَلَيْهِ، وَإِذَا وَقَعَ بِأَرْضٍ وَأَنْتُمْ بِهَا فَلاَ تَخْرُجُوا فِرَارًا مِنْهُ ”. قَالَ أَبُو النَّضْرِ ” لاَ يُخْرِجُكُمْ إِلاَّ فِرَارًا مِنْهُ
Narrated Usama bin Zaid: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Plague was a means of torture sent on a group of Israelis (or on some people before you). So if you hear of its spread in a land, don’t approach it, and if a plague should appear in a land where you are present, then don’t leave that land in order to run away from it (i.e. plague). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith #3473)
He (ra) also said it was a punishment while Shurahbeel said it was a mercy. This is a companion who was called the one whom Rasulullah (sa) loved. Qur’an, and sahaba support this view. The actions of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) also support this view. During the journey of Tabuk, he (sa) passed by Thamud. It is narrated:
حَدَّثَنِي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ، حَدَّثَنَا وَهْبٌ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي، سَمِعْتُ يُونُسَ، عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ، عَنْ سَالِمٍ، أَنَّ ابْنَ عُمَرَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ لاَ تَدْخُلُوا مَسَاكِنَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ إِلاَّ أَنْ تَكُونُوا بَاكِينَ، أَنْ يُصِيبَكُمْ مِثْلُ مَا أَصَابَهُمْ ”.
Narrated Ibn `Umar: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Do not enter the ruined dwellings of those who were unjust to themselves unless (you enter) weeping, lest you should suffer the same punishment as was inflicted upon them.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith #3381)
Then it is narrated:
حَدَّثَنَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ الْمُنْذِرِ، حَدَّثَنَا أَنَسُ بْنُ عِيَاضٍ، عَنْ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، أَنَّ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ أَخْبَرَهُ أَنَّ النَّاسَ نَزَلُوا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَرْضَ ثَمُودَ الْحِجْرَ، فَاسْتَقَوْا مِنْ بِئْرِهَا، وَاعْتَجَنُوا بِهِ، فَأَمَرَهُمْ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنْ يُهَرِيقُوا مَا اسْتَقَوْا مِنْ بِئْرِهَا، وَأَنْ يَعْلِفُوا الإِبِلَ الْعَجِينَ، وَأَمَرَهُمْ أَنْ يَسْتَقُوا مِنَ الْبِئْرِ الَّتِي كَانَ تَرِدُهَا النَّاقَةُ. تَابَعَهُ أُسَامَةُ عَنْ نَافِعٍ.
Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar: The people landed at the land of Thamud called Al-Hijr along with Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and they took water from its well for drinking and kneading the dough with it as well. (When Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) heard about it) he ordered them to pour out the water they had taken from its wells and feed the camels with the dough, and ordered them to take water from the well whence the she-camel (of Prophet Salih) used to drink. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith #3379)
This also shows that one must leave where there is a punishment of Allah. In a narration of Musnad Ahmad, the Prophet Muhammad (sa) said that they must run away from this place.
There is also a hadith in Sunan Abi Dawud in which it is narrated:
The Muhadithin spoke on this difference of opinion and they said that those narrations which say one should not leave meant you should not leave thinking you will be saved. The wisdom was don’t go to another country because this will make the others ill. Only this was forbidden. Going to jungles and valleys was never forbidden.
For example, it is written :
حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ يَحْيَى، قَالَ قَرَأْتُ عَلَى مَالِكٍ عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ الْمُنْكَدِرِ، وَأَبِي النَّضْرِ، مَوْلَى عُمَرَ بْنِ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ عَنْ عَامِرِ بْنِ سَعْدِ بْنِ أَبِي وَقَّاصٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَهُ يَسْأَلُ، أُسَامَةَ بْنَ زَيْدٍ مَاذَا سَمِعْتَ مِنْ، رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي الطَّاعُونِ فَقَالَ أُسَامَةُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ” الطَّاعُونُ رِجْزٌ أَوْ عَذَابٌ أُرْسِلَ عَلَى بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَوْ عَلَى مَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ فَإِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ بِهِ بِأَرْضٍ فَلاَ تَقْدَمُوا عَلَيْهِ وَإِذَا وَقَعَ بِأَرْضٍ وَأَنْتُمْ بِهَا فَلاَ تَخْرُجُوا فِرَارًا مِنْهُ ” . وَقَالَ أَبُو النَّضْرِ ” لاَ يُخْرِجُكُمْ إِلاَّ فِرَارٌ مِنْهُ ” .
‘Amir b. Sa’d b. Abu Waqqas reported on the authority of his father that he asked Usama b. Zaid: What have you heard from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) about plague? Thereupon Usama said: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: Plague is a calamity which was sent to Bani Isra’il or upon those who were before you. So when you hear that it has broken out in a land, don’t go to it, and when it has broken out in the land where you are, don’t run out of it. In the narration transmitted on the authority of Abu Nadr there is a slight variation of wording. (Sahih Muslim, Hadith 2218a)
وَحَدَّثَنِي عَنْ مَالِكٍ، عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ الْمُنْكَدِرِ، وَعَنْ سَالِمٍ أَبِي النَّضْرِ، مَوْلَى عُمَرَ بْنِ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ عَنْ عَامِرِ بْنِ سَعْدِ بْنِ أَبِي وَقَّاصٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَهُ يَسْأَلُ، أُسَامَةَ بْنَ زَيْدٍ مَا سَمِعْتَ مِنْ، رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي الطَّاعُونِ فَقَالَ أُسَامَةُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ الطَّاعُونُ رِجْزٌ أُرْسِلَ عَلَى طَائِفَةٍ مِنْ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَوْ عَلَى مَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ فَإِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ بِهِ بِأَرْضٍ فَلاَ تَدْخُلُوا عَلَيْهِ وَإِذَا وَقَعَ بِأَرْضٍ وَأَنْتُمْ بِهَا فَلاَ تَخْرُجُوا فِرَارًا مِنْهُ ” . قَالَ مَالِكٌ قَالَ أَبُو النَّضْرِ لاَ يُخْرِجُكُمْ إِلاَّ فِرَارٌ مِنْهُ .
Yahya related to me from Malik from Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir and from Salim ibn Abi’n-Nadr, the mawla of Umar ibn Ubaydullah that Amir ibn Sad ibn Abi Waqqas heard his father ask Usama ibn Zayd, “Have you heard anything from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, about the plague?” Usama said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘The plague is a punishment that was sent down on a party of the Banu Israil or whoever was before them. When you hear of it in a land, do not enter it. If it comes upon a land and you are in it, do not depart in flight from it.’ ”
Malik said that Abu’n-Nadr said, “That is, do not depart with no other intention but flight.” (Muwatta Imam Malik, Book 45, Hadith #22)
As for leaving the place with a disease, despite it being forbidden in the Ahadith, there is a consensus that for wisdom you can leave it but what is forbidden is running from it thinking you can save yourself. This is why Hadrat Umar (ra) said man goes from one taqdir of Allah to another taqdir. Imam al-Nawawi (rh) writes:
وَاتَّفَقُوا عَلَى جَوَازِ الْخُرُوجِ بِشُغْلٍ وَغَرَضٍ غَيْرِ الْفِرَارِ وَدَلِيلُهُ صَرِيحُ الْأَحَادِيثِ قَوْلُهُ فِي رِوَايَةِ أَبِي النَّضْرِ (لَا يُخْرِجُكُمْ إِلَّا فِرَارٌ مِنْهُ)
“And the scholars are agreed upon the permissibility of going out for a purpose other than fleeing and the evidence for it are the clear Ahadith which are from Abi al-Nadr that do not depart with no other intention but flight”
This means that you can go and it is not forbidden but running away from it thinking you can save yourself from the taqdir of Allah is forbidden.
The words of Hadrat Ahmad (as) say that I have knowledge of this, it is not based on zann and as a Mulhim, he is the one upon the true understanding and his view is proven from Qur’an, Ahadith and the sahaba.
The other writings of Hadrat Ahmad (as) also prove what he was referring to and that he never went against the hadith of Bukhari, rather believed in it wholeheartedly. In Majmua-e-Ishtiharat, he (as) writes:
“Because it is forbidden in the shariah that the people of an area where the plague has spread leave it and go to another place, for this reason I forbid all of the members of my Jamaat living in areas where the plague has spread from leaving those areas and coming to Qadian or any other area and I also tell them that as far as possible, they should stop others as well. Do not leave your areas and focus on taubah and istigfaar and wake up during the nights and pray, this is what is important”
Hadrat Ahmad (as) only told members to go into the open areas which was proven from the sahaba as well. In Malfuzat, it is written:
“One friend mentioned that our town has been affected by the plague. He (as) stated: Leave the town right away and live in the open areas. Do not think that leaving the areas with the plague is the thought of the British and for this reason, it is not obligatory on us. Leaving such an area is what the shariah demands of us. Protect yourselves from dirty air. Do not throw yourselves into destructions knowingly and wake up during the nights and pray and ask Allah to forgive your sins. Allah is all Powerful and everything is in His Hands. Despite all of this, if the Taqdir-e-Elahi happens, have patience” (Malfuzat, vol. 9, p. 109-111)
Then it is written: “ember our rule that when the plague overtakes an area near you, or mouses die in your house, change your house right away and leave the town to go into open areas and make your residence there. Even when you go out, you should take precautions that too many people are not gathered because the air may then become dirty like it was in the town. The sunnah of the Prophets is this that you should run from such an area. It is not good to fight against Allah” (Malfuzat, vol. 9, p. 292)