Mirza Tahir Ahmad (Born 18 December 1928 in Qadian, died 19 April 2003 in London) was Khalifatul Masih IV. Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. He was elected to this post in 1982, the day after the death of his predecessor, Mirza Nasir Ahmad. He was the youngest son of Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad, the second Caliph and half-brother of Mirza Nasir Ahmad, the third Caliph. He graduated from Jamia Ahmadiyya (Theological Academy) at Rabwah, followed by higher studies in London, UK. In 1974 he was also nominated the member of the Ahmadiyya delegation which appeared in the Parliament of Pakistan to defend the beliefs of Ahmadiyya Community. The Parliament after thorough investigation by their leading scholars, declared Ahmadi's to be non-Muslims.
Mirza Tahir Ahmad returned to Qadian (the original centre of the community) in 1991 for the 100th annual gathering of the community; which was the first time an Ahmadiyya Khalifa had returned to Qadian since the second Khalifa left in 1947. He is perhaps best known for his Question & Answers Sessions. The community experienced structural and financial growth during his time. He launched, in 1994, the first Muslim satellite television network by the name of Muslim Television Ahmadiyya.
In 1955, he visited England for the first time with his father, who advised him to remain there to improve his knowledge of the English language and acquaint him with European social habits. He studied for 2 and a half years at SOAS, University of London. He returned in December 1957 without achieving any degree. Instead, during his stay in London, he visited different parts of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and also some parts of Western Europe.
Upon his return in 1957 he married Asifa Begum, and was appointed the vice president of the newly founded Waqf-e-Jadid foundation. The main task of the Waqf-e-Jadid was to educate the community members living in rural areas of Pakistan. Due to his work in this foundation, Mirza Tahir Ahmad acquired vast experience with Ahmadies from various fields of life across the Indian sub-continent. It was as part of his work in Waqf-e-Jadid that he also started treating poor people with homeopathic medicines (see Homeopathy) and acquired a lot of experience in this field.
During the parliamentary investigations regarding the status of the community a delegation comprising of 5 members was sent under the leadership of the third Caliph Mirza Nasir Ahmad. This delegation included the Caliph, Abu-al-Atta Jalandhari, a well known Ahmadi scholar, Dost Mohammad Shahid, official historian of the community, Mohammad Ahmad Mazhar, a well known lawyer, and Mirza Tahir Ahmad. After several days of discussions, the Ahmadiyya Community was declared Non-Muslim by the Pakistani National Assembly. This has remained their constitutional and legal position in Pakistan to this day.
After taking office, Mirza Tahir Ahmad worked to restore the Community with a new passion. The Anti-Ahmadiyya ordinance, passed by General Zia ul Haq's government on 26 April 1984, compelled him to leave Pakistan immediately, details of this journey can be found in the book A man of God by Ian Adamson. He decided to come to England where he established his base during his years of exile.
Mirza Tahir Ahmad died from heart failure in 2003. He was buried at community property "Islamabad" in Tilford, Surrey. After his death, Mirza Masroor Ahmad was elected as the fifth Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
In 1991 Mirza Tahir Ahmad returned to India to attend the hundredth Annual Gathering of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, India. This was the first time that a Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community had visited Indian since partition and exile to Pakistan in 1947.
In this magnum opus Mirza Tahir Ahmad argued that Socrates was a prophet of the ancient. The apparent prophetic qualities of Socrates are indeed a subject for debate. The constant reference to the oracle and how it performs the active function of a moral compass by preventing him from unseemly acts could easily be taken as a reference to - or substitute for revelation. Similarly, Socrates often refers to God in the singular as opposed to the plural. He used reason, among other things to prove that Jesus did not go to heaven physically.
He covered a variety of topics with the main aim in every discussion being to assess the role of revelation, rationality and the interplay of the two, as sources of knowledge throughout human history and with a view to looking towards the future.
Mirza Tahir Ahmad was the Grandson of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and the son of Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad, the second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Community, from his wife Syeda Maryam Begum. His mother was daughter of Syed Abdul Sattar Shah, a companion of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
Mirza Tahir Ahmad married Asifa Begum in 1957. Asifa Begum died on April 3, 1992. His marriage bestowed him 5 daughters, one of whom died in infancy. His daughters are Shaukat Jehan, Faiza, Yasmin Rehman Mona, Tooba and one who died in infancy. He had no sons but later he took the upbringing and educational training of a boy, Bashir.