Nature of Religious Prejudice

by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian

The Muslim Thinker, October/November/December 1989 Issue (Issue 1, pp. 22–23)

It should be remembered that indulging in mere squabbles, abusive language, harsh words and foul talk which, out of one’s low desires, is claimed to be done in the name of religion, while one does not correct one’s own evils nor create a true connection with the Real Beloved, and the attacks of one group upon another in the manner of beasts, without human decency, displaying every kind of viciousness under the guise of supporting the faith — this foul technique is not worthy of the name religion. Lamentably, such people do not know why they came into the world, and what is the real and chief object of this brief life. Rather, they remain ever blind and of an impure mind, and call their bigoted feelings as religion.

In support of their imaginary god, of whose existence they have no proof, they show rudeness and impudence in the world. What use is that religion which does not worship a living God. Such a god is like the dead body carried in a funeral, only moving by the support of others; if the support is removed, it falls to the ground.

If the followers gain anything from such a faith, it is only bigotry. They entirely lose feelings of true love for God and real sympathy for mankind, which are the best of qualities. When they meet a person who disagrees with their religion and creed, taking this difference to heart they become inimical to his life, property and honour. If a person of another faith stands in need of them in some matter, they abandon justice and fear of God, and want to destroy him utterly. The mercy, justice and sympathy, which is the highest quality of human nature, is entirely eliminated from their nature, and the fire of bigotry kindles a wicked savagery in them. They know not what is the real purpose of religion. These are the evil people who care not at all for truth or true knowledge of God or purity, and give the name religion to their own low urges.  They spend all their while in futile disputes and controversies and foul talk, while not finding the time, even in their dreams, which must be spent in solitude with God.

Their work is to denigrate, insult and defame the righteous, while their own inner selves are totally and obnoxiously unclean. On their tongues are many tall claims, but their hearts are far from God. Wallowing in the muck of the world, they claim to be reformers of the people. They cannot listen to anyone with a fearful heart, nor bear to give a reply patiently. They consider everything in Islam to be objectionable, without even one good thing. Curiously enough, they are happy in this state, and when they do harm to a person of a different faith, they consider it to be a work of great virtue or a display of courage and manfulness.

It is a pity that in this age most nations believe this prejudice to constitute religion. We do not exclude Muslims in general from this reprehensible behaviour. They will be called to account more in the sight of God because they were given the religion called Islam whose meaning God Almighty has Himself disclosed in the Holy Quran as follows:

بَلٰی ٭ مَنۡ اَسۡلَمَ وَجۡہَہٗ لِلّٰہِ وَ ہُوَ مُحۡسِنٌ

“Nay, whoever submits himself whole-heartedly to God, and does good to others” (The Holy Quran, 2:112).

That is, there are two parts of Islam. The first is to be so engrossed in seeking the pleasure of God that, discarding your desires, you place your head at the Divine threshold to attain His pleasure, and the second is to do good to all mankind. What an admirable religion, based on good and virtuous principles from whose teachings they have deviated so very far. This ruination came about when there was a departure from the teachings of the Holy Quran, intentionally or by mistake, because any departure whether from the text or the sense deprives one of the grace of God. By departing from the text we mean that a man is an open denier of the word of God, and by departure from the sense is meant that although he is not a denier outwardly, yet is so overwhelmed by the weight of custom, tradition, self-interest and alien teachings that he cares not at all for the word of God.

From the work Barahin Ahmadiyya (Part V) — Pages 19–20 of the first edition, published 1908.