Supplement to The Light, No. 12 [Donations for the Propagation of Islam]
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
The Light (Pakistan), 1st June 1922 Issue (Vol. 1, No. 12, pp. 2, 5–6)
With this issue we publish an open letter of Maulvi Muhammad Ali, M.A., which deserves the serious attention of the whole Muslim community, as the propagation of Islam is the sacred duty of every Muslim.
Dear brother- in-Islam,
While not ignoring the fact that the welfare of Islam requires the united exertions of the whole community of Islam in numerous directions, I wish to draw your attention to a question of vital importance for the very life of Islam. It is the menace of the Christian Missionary movement.
A widespread movement had for centuries existed among the Christian nations of the world for the attainment of political dominance in the world, and the spirit of the Crusaders has all along been working in one direction or another. Islam was considered by Christendom as its chief adversary for the mastery of the world politically, but the subjugation of the Muslim nations has ultimately been brought about not so much by the forces of Christendom as by the indifference of, and dissensions among, the Muslims themselves.
Political dominance is, however, a transitory thing, as the Holy Quran says:
“And we bring these days to men by turns” [The Holy Quran, 3:140].
Christianly is not, and ought not to have been, satisfied with its political dominance; it is nothing but a passing phase. The trend of the world-thought is that every nation shall be its own master in the future and the achievement of that result in the near future is as certain as anything, notwithstanding all the physical forces arrayed against it.
Spiritual predominance is however a lasting thing, and it is for this that Christianity is now making a hard struggle. Its Missionaries are spread all over the world, and a great campaign is being carried on, especially in Muslim countries, for converting the world to Christianity. The resources of Christianity are unlimited, and it commands worldly power to an extent unknown in the previous history of the world.
Yet, notwithstanding all this, Christianity dreads the spiritual forces of Islam. It regards Islam as the only anti-Christian religion of the world, all other religions being simply looked upon as non-Christian. This is not due to any special inimicality displayed by Islam towards Christianity, for Islam recognises the Divine origin of all the great religions of the world and honours all religious leaders. It even expresses its own special goodwill towards Christianity by pronouncing the Christians to be
“nearest in friendship to those who believe” (Al-Quran, 5:82).
It is due simply to the fact that Christianity is aware that the spiritual forces of Islam are too great for it and that Islam must ultimately predominate in the world.
Christianity has now at its back all the material forces of the world while Islam depends today only on the spiritual forces that it commands. And Islam shall win in the end. Thus, says the Holy Quran:
“That He may make it triumph over all the religions” [The Holy Quran, 9:33].
But the Muslims are today neglecting the cause of Islam in the great spiritual struggle just as they neglected its cause in the physical struggle.
It is in this connection that I wish to bring to the notice of every well-wisher of Islam the important work that is being done by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman-Ishaat-i-Islam, Lahore. A perusal of its annual report, which can be sent if needed, will show that the Anjuman spent during the last year over a lac of rupees [Rs. 100,000] on the preparation of Islamic religious literature and missionary activities in England and elsewhere.
Large as this sum may appear, it is nothing compared with the huge sum that Christian missions are spending. The Church Missionary Society of London alone spent a sum of over eighty-one lacs [Rs. 8,100,000] in the year 1920. Add to this nearly 57 lacs [Rs. 5,700,000] expenditure of the Society for the propagation of the Gospel; nearly 44 lacs [Rs. 4,400,000] of the Baptist Missionary Society; over 29 lacs [2,900,000] of the London Missionary Society; over 45 lacs [Rs. 4,500,000] of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society; and over 67 lacs [Rs. 6,700,000] of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and you will get a total of 323 lacs [Rs, 32,300,000] for only a few of the Societies carrying on the Christian propaganda. Even this huge sum would dwindle into insignificance before the enormous total of the Missionary finances of the whole Christian world.
We know that as regards material resources, Islam will not be able to muster a hundredth part of the strength of Christianity, even if the whole Muslim world were awake to this vital need of Islam which, unfortunately, it is not; but there is no reason why the Muslims should lose heart and not put what strength they have into the movement started by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman-Ishaat-i-Islam.
I may here briefly note the three different heads of the work that is being done by the Anjuman:
1. The sending of Muslim Missionaries to Christian countries, especially Europe and America. Under this head, the work done by the Woking Mission under Khwaja Kamal-ud Din and Maulvi Sadr-ud Din is too well-known to need any mention. But, besides that, the Anjuman has resolved to establish in the present year two more Missions, one in Germany and another in America, one of which will be in the charge of Maulvi Sadr-ud Din. A sum has already been collected for the purpose but the large initial expenses on these two Missions require the helping hand of every Muslim brother who has the welfare of Islam at heart.
The Muslim Missions in Europe and America do not, will not, only secure converts from among the Christians, though there is no doubt that a very good beginning has been made in this direction by the conversion of such important men as Lord Headley, Marmaduke Pickthall, and other learned and highly placed men, but the still more important work that we have in view in establishing these missions is the presenting of a true picture of the religion of Islam and removing the misconceptions prevailing in the West with regard to the pure doctrines of the faith and the holy life of its Founder; misconceptions that are one of the chief causes of the hatred of the Christian populations of the West towards everything that is connected with Islam.
This work is in itself so important that even if there were no question of the preaching of Islam, it would have been necessary to keep up the Muslim national honour.
2. The combating of the growing influence of Christianity among the Muslims is the second main point in the activities of our Anjuman. The Muslims have hitherto neglected this essential duty and the result is that large numbers of their co-religionists have been converted to Christianity. Four-fifths of the once-Muslim population of the Philippines are now Christians; in Jawa [Java], twenty-four thousand have gone over to the cross, and the process is still going on at the rate of three hundred annually.
The influence of Christianity was similarly growing in Trinidad (British West Indies), where the Anjuman sent a Missionary two years ago and a great awakening has there been brought about by his efforts. Other places stand in need of similar help and the question is one of life and death to many of the isolated Muslim communities. But only the united efforts of the whole Muslim community can save the honour of Islam against the onrush of Christianity, which is penetrating every Muslim land, with thousands of Missionaries, heaps of money and vast literature at its back.
3. Not the least important work of the Anjuman is the disseminating of Islamic literature among the Muslims themselves. Here we have to produce the literature and then to devise means for spreading its broadcast.
As regards the first part, the society has not only been able to do the highly valuable work, at an immense cost, of bringing out an English translation with commentary of the Holy Quran but has also produced some other very important works.
But there are greater difficulties in the achievement of the other end. Our rising generation, the Muslim student world, stands in special need of having healthy Islamic literature brought to its very doors. The Christian religious societies are in a position to distribute their literature, sometimes quite free, among Muslim students.
We lack funds for similar work, but even now the Anjuman is giving away such a valuable book as the English Translation of the Holy Quran and other books at half-price to students.
A fortnightly paper, The Light, has also been issued at the nominal price of Re. 1 [1 Rupee], which is reduced to eight annas in the case of students, an amount only covering the packing and posting expenses of the paper.
To breathe the true Islamic spirit into our young men is the most useful, constructive work in the building up of the Muslim nation, and the sooner the Muslims are awake to this need, the better.
These are bare facts and simple reasons which must appeal to every Muslim heart. The political power of Islam has almost departed, its very Khilafat has been shattered, but these are the sufferings of Islam from which it can rise with greater glory. It is in the Christian Missionary movement that there is a greater danger to Islam; danger to its very existence. If we are not up now against this danger, we may suffer irretrievable loss. Every Muslim can help the cause in all or any of the following ways:
- By sending liberal donations.
- By specifying a part of the Zakat for the propagation of Islam and remitting the same to the treasury of the Anjuman.
- By undertaking to pay a monthly subscription in accordance with his means.
- By leaving a part of his property by will for the spread of Islam and Islamic literature in favour of the Anjuman.
- There are many Muslims who deposit money in banks or post offices for the sake of safe custody. The Holy Quran forbids the taking of interest, but the amount of interest can be spent on such charitable purposes as the preaching of Islam. It is therefore requested that all interest on such deposits may be remitted to the Anjuman.
- By circulating the subject matter of this letter among his acquaintances.
Note: All subscriptions to be remitted to the Financial Secretary to the Ahmadiyya Anjuman-Ishaat-i-Islam, Ahmadiyya Buildings, Lahore.