The Ahmadiyya Movement was founded by Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (1835-1908), in March 1889. Ahmad (as) belonged to a noble Mughal family of the Punjab which had migrated to India from Samarkand during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Babar. The first ancestor of Ahmad (as) who migrated to India was Mirza Hadi Baig and according to Sir Lepel Griffin in his Punjab Chiefs he was appointed Qazi or Magistrate over seventy villages in the neighborhoods of Qadian which he is said to have founded, naming it Islampur Qazi. Later on it became abrogated and formed into the name Qadian. For several generations the family held noble ranks under the Imperial Government.
The headquarters of the Movement was established by Ahmad (as) in Qadian, a small town in the Punjab (India) which is situated at a distance of about 11 miles to the north east of Batala. In spite of the fierce opposition, the Movement founded by him continued to make steady progress. At the time of his demise, which occurred in May 1908, his followers numbered hundreds of thousands, and the Movement had spread to Arabia, Europe, Africa, Australia, America and so on. This was dually in accordance to one of the revelations that was vouchsafed to him, in which God Almighty had informed him that “I shall cause thy message to reach the corners of the world.”
After the demise of Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), the system of spiritual successor-ship known as Khilafat or Caliphate was divinely established. Hadrat Maulawi Nur-ud-Din (ra), was elected as the first spiritual head of the Movement.
At present the Movement has spread to all four corners of the world and its members number over half a million. In spite of ongoing persecution and opposition, people of all creed, colour and race worldwide are entering into the Movement’s fold.