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Qadian, a municipal council in Gurdaspur District is situated north-east of Amritsar. The fourth largest town of the district, Qadian is famous not only in India but all over the world as the birth place of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a religious leader who founded the Ahmadiyya Muslim sect. Qadian holds a special place in the heart of over 10 million Ahmadiyya Muslims spread all over the five continents of the world.

Historical Significance of the Site

The town Qadian was established by Mirza Hadi Baig in the year 1530. Mirza Hadi Baig, the first Qazi within the area was a religious scholar dedicated to the study of Islam. Belonging to a royal family that was a part of the Mughal Empire, he was gifted 80 villages by Emperor Babur. In honour of his religious beliefs, Baig named the center of these villages “Islam Pur Qazi”, the seat of his administration. Over a long period of time, this village came to be known as Qazi Maji – because of the bulls or “maji”s found in abundance in the area. Eventually, this name changed to Qadi and finally came to be known by its current name, Qadian.

In the later years, Qadian came to be the territory of Sikhs along with the surrounding areas. Under the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, five adjoining villages along with Qadian were gifted to Mirza Ghulam Murtaza Ahmad in the year 1834. This was an offer made in exchange for military assistance in Kashmir, Mahadi, Kullu, Peshawar and Hazara.

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, son of Mirza Ghulam Murtaza Ahmad established Qadian as a center of religious learning in the year 1889. From being a remote and unknown village, Qadian came into sharp focus as Mirza Ghulam Ahmad established the Ahmadiyya Muslim community here. Qadian continued to be the administrative headquarters and the capital of the Ahmadiyya Caliphate until 1947, when India was partitioned. After the partition however, large portions of the community migrated to Pakistan.

Other Religious Communities

Among other religious communities that gained prominence in the town was Arya Samaj, pioneered in Qadian by Amar Shaheed Pandit Lekh Ram. Pandit Lekh Ram played a significant role in saving people practicing Hindu religion as well as cows, the sacred animal of Hindus in the contemporary society. Three major organisations continue to function in Qadiyan under his name, apart from an Arya Samaj Temple and an educational college for higher studies of girls run by the Arya Samaj community. The town is also known as Amar Shaheed Pandit Lekh Ram Nagar in Pandit Lekh Ram’s honour.

Places to See

A white marble minaret known as the Minarul Masih stands next to the Mubarak Mosque in the town. Though the construction of the minaret was started by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad who lay down the foundation stone on March 13, 1903, the construction remained incomplete due to lack of funds. The construction of the building was only resumed in November 1914 underMirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad and completed in the year 1916. The minaret is approximately 105 feet high and has three stages and nearly a hundred steps.

As per Ghulam Ahmad, the association of descent of Jesus with a white minaret was symbolic of the spread of the light of Islam. It represented the revival of Islam, its supremacy, and the beginning of a new age for humanity. The clock and light fixed on the top of the minaret signify the spread of the teachings of Islam and remind man of his mortality and place in time. The white minaret stands for peace. This minaret has now become an emblem of the Ahmadiyya Islam community.

How to Reach the City

The nearest railway station is at Gurdaspur about 15km by road from Qadian. The nearest airport is at Amritsar which is about 60km away. Other nearby areas of interest is Amritsar, Pathankot and Kapurthala. Qadian is a popular pilgrimage site among the Muslim community.

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