Notes and Comments: Hindu-Muhammadan [Hindu-Muslim] Union

The Review of Religions (English), July 1908 Issue (Vol. 7, No. 7, pp. 287–289)

Attempts have long been made by the leading patriots to bring about better relations between the Hindus and the Muhammadans [Muslims], but practically nothing has been done up to this time. The proposals contained in the Message of Peace, published elsewhere in this magazine, are worthy of consideration of all well-wishers of the country. These proposals, it should be borne in mind, are made with a view to bring about the union of Hindus and Muhammadans on a religious and not on a political basis. The strong hatred and ill-feeling between the two communities which so often is the occasion of disturbing public peace is really the outcome of religious animosity and not political differences, and hence we must go to the root of the disease in applying the remedy.

The political views of the Ahmadiyya Movement are well-known, and in seeking a union with the Hindus on a religious basis it does not wish to make the slightest departure from its peaceful political principles. It is true that even the vast majority of the respectable Hindu public has nothing to do with the extremists and the agitators, but still the Ahmadiyya Movement is not prepared to associate itself with movements whose political views have directly or indirectly led a section of the public to adopt violent methods and violent language. It sticks to the principles in which it has been brought up for over eighteen years, and to which, upon an exhortation by its late founder, it strongly adhered during the agitation and political unrest of the last year.

The separation of the Ahmadiyya Movement from the orthodox Muhammadans is due in a large measure to its plain and forcible disavowal of certain doctrines which are politically dangerous, such as the doctrine of jihad which was lately preached by the Frontier and Afghan mullahs [clerics] with such success that nothing short of an expensive expedition against the fanatics could undo its evil effect, and the doctrine relating to the advent of a Mahdi who should wage war against and put to the sword all non-Muslims, and it cannot be expected that the Ahmadis should now go against the very principles which cut them off from their own co-religionists by joining in a political jihad against a government against which they consider a religious jihad to be illegal.

We thus separate ourselves from both the Hindus and the Muhammadans, on account of the views of these two people as regards a political or a religious jihad against the government, not because we think that the entire Hindu and Muhammadan population is given over to these views — nay, we know that such views are only entertained by the fanatics among the two people, call them extremists or ghazis [warriors] — but because only entire separation can keep the movement free from any contamination of similar ideas. On the other hand, we are as willing to join hands with the Hindus who declare openly their entire severance from the extremist and swarajya [self-governance; independence] views as with the Muhammadans who reject the doctrine of jihad and the doctrine of the advent of a ghazi Mahdi in unequivocal and forcible terms. But so long as there is not a plain disavowal of such doctrines the Ahmadiyya Movement will keep aloof from both in so far as they adhere to these extreme and fanatical doctrines.

The founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement was eminently a messenger of peace. As against the popular Muhammadan doctrine that the Mahdi and the Messiah would establish the dominance of Islam by the sword, he taught that he had come to establish the superiority of Islam by signs and arguments, by peaceful teachings as against the use of the sword. Thus, peace was the fundamental principle of his teachings. His attempt to bring about a union between the Hindus and the Muhammadans on a religious basis was founded upon the same principle of peace, and this anyone who reads A Message of Peace will be able to see for himself. Though the movement is separated from the orthodox body of the Muhammadans in certain points, yet the teachings of its founder are really calculated to unite the jarring Muhammadan sects into one body. The founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, however, desired to bring about a union, not only between the various Muslim sects, but also between the different religions, but years, perhaps centuries, are required to realize the fulfilment of these desires.