The Anjuman himayt-e-islam was founded against the backdrop of Christian missionary activity in the Punjab. It was not a policy of the British Raj to convert the natives to Christianity, but missionaries, mostly European, were engaged in converting the poorer section of society.
Another challenge came from the Arya samaj who had made it their mission to reconvert to Hinduism the descendants of those who had converted to Islam. The anjuman represented a beleaguered minority when it was formed. The initiative to find a society to support Islam and prevent conversion was taken by Qazi Khalifa hameed ud din, scion of a noble family of Lahore. The anjuman was founded on 24 September 1884.
The other office bearers were maulvi ghulam ullah qasuri munshi chiragh din and munshi pir bakhsh and munshi abdur Rahim khan.
By the end of December 1885, there were 600 members. Their office was set up in the haveli of sikander khan. The anjuman raised its funds in a novel manner, every member would collect this flour and go from door to door selling the flour for one and a half rupees. In this way the anjuman raised Rs. 754 per month but spent only Rs. 344.
There were four aims of the anjuman as determined by the founders, to counter the propagation of christain missionaries and Arya samajists, to preserve Islamic values, to spread religious and modern education to the youth of the community, and to further social and cultural development. The last aim was taken very seriously. The anjuman not only founded educational institutions for boys and girls but also for adults. It founded orphanages and shelters for women. It founded seven boys schools, two girls schools and also the famous islamia College which became no less an arsenal than Aligarh during the Pakistan movement.
Muslim politics in the Punjab took many turns, but it was the anjuman Himayt-e-islam which gave the Muslim cause its constant attention.