Islam and the Present War
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
This book was published during World War II (the Second World War). It discusses the peace-promoting teachings of Islam and implores Muslims to assist the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-e-Islam Lahore in the propagation of Islam to the Western world which was absorbed in material gain to the detriment of their spiritual wellbeing.
The catastrophe which has overtaken the world in the form of the present war is not without a deep significance. To those who do not believe in the existence of God, as well as to those who are men of faith, it has got a message and a meaning. Even a man without faith in God can see in it the harbinger of a mighty revolution. In his heart of hearts, he feels that the present calamities are certainly paving the way to a new and a better world order. To the man of faith, however, it has a significance deeper still. He feels that all this is happening according to a set Divine plan calculated to take humanity to a better and higher stage of life. God is Rabbul-Alamin, that is, He takes His creatures by gradual stages to their destined goal of perfection and at times it is necessary to go through an ordeal of pains and severe sufferings in order to obtain that perfection.
Whoever may be responsible for the present European conflagration there can be no denying the fact that it is the outcome of man’s own misdeeds. It is no new thing that Providence appoints some people to punish another people for their misdeeds. The destruction of Jerusalem is a historical instance in point. The chosen people were punished for their transgressions at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. The Muslims were visited with Divine punishment at the hands of Helagu, when Baghdad, the centre of Muslim civilisation, was razed to the ground. The conflagration in which Europe is enveloped today is not only the product of her own civilisation; she is made to suffer this unprecedented torture at her own hands. Yet there is no doubt about the fact that in this very affliction lies the cure of her ailments. God Almighty thus enunciates His immutable law in the Quran:
وَ لَقَدۡ اَرۡسَلۡنَاۤ اِلٰۤی اُمَمٍ مِّنۡ قَبۡلِکَ فَاَخَذۡنٰہُمۡ بِالۡبَاۡسَآءِ وَ الضَّرَّآءِ لَعَلَّہُمۡ یَتَضَرَّعُوۡنَ
“And We sent apostles to nations before thee, then We seized them with distress and affliction so that they might humble themselves” (The Holy Quran, 6:42).
Thus, according to profound Divine wisdom, the purpose underlying these calamities is that the powerful nations of Europe should learn to turn to God, chastened and humble in spirit.
Today the Western world stands unparalleled for her material-mindedness and the pursuit of things of the flesh. In this, she excels by far all other similar nations of old that have been mentioned in the Quran. Consequently, the calamity also with which she has been visited is far more dreadful than those visited upon former nations. In olden times, a particular territory was visited with a calamity: a flood, an earthquake or a volcanic eruption, and was wiped off in the twinkling of an eye. This was a dreadful sight indeed, which shook the heart of man. But by far the more dreadful and heart-rending is the calamity which has overtaken the Western world at the present day. Magnificent cities have been reduced to ruins by bombardment from the air. Millions of people at the dead of night are seen running about in consternation seeking refuge in underground shelters from the hellish flames of fire that keep raining on them from above all through the night. Every minute there is the dread of a new earthquake, a new volcanic eruption.
The question is where to look for the origin of this horrible fire. An observant eye will at once see that the flames of this fire have been fanned by man’s own greed and lust for power. To excel each other in the acquisition of wealth, a passion that is consuming every nation of the West, is the real thing that supplies the fuel for this fire. The material civilisation of the West has made the acquisition of wealth the highest purpose of human life. It has robbed man’s heart of that true calm and content which is born of communion with the Creator. Love of wealth has been installed in the place which should have been reserved for God in the heart of man. Wealth and wealth alone now reigns supreme over human heart in the West. It is these flames of the love of wealth, flames that were first fanned in the hearts of men, that have now assumed the form of war flames which are consuming the Western people. The horrible dimensions these flames have assumed may be judged from the fact that they may be seen rising to the skies or falling on earth in miles of fiery flaming columns. How apt is the Quranic description of these columns of fire:
الَّذِیۡ جَمَعَ مَالًا وَّ عَدَّدَہٗ ۙ﴿۲﴾ یَحۡسَبُ اَنَّ مَالَہٗۤ اَخۡلَدَہٗ ۚ﴿۳﴾ کَلَّا لَیُنۡۢبَذَنَّ فِی الۡحُطَمَۃِ ۫﴿ۖ۴﴾ وَ مَاۤ اَدۡرٰىکَ مَا الۡحُطَمَۃُ ؕ﴿۵﴾ نَارُ اللّٰہِ الۡمُوۡقَدَۃُ ۙ﴿۶﴾ الَّتِیۡ تَطَّلِعُ عَلَی الۡاَفۡـِٕدَۃِ ؕ﴿۷﴾ اِنَّہَا عَلَیۡہِمۡ مُّؤۡصَدَۃٌ ۙ﴿۸﴾ فِیۡ عَمَدٍ مُّمَدَّدَۃٍ ٪﴿۹﴾
“Who amasses wealth and considers it provision against mishap; he thinks that his wealth will make him abide. Nay! He shall certainly be hurled into the crushing disaster, and what will make thee realise what the crushing disaster is? It is the fire kindled by God, which rises from the hearts, it shall envelop them, in extended columns” (The Holy Quran, 104:2–9).
This hellish scene as hinted at by the Quran may actually be seen now in the Western world by a man who runs. It seems as if to those who doubt the reality of hell in the life to come has been demonstrated a scene from that hell in this very life.
This is, however, not the only way in which the majesty of the Holy Quran is driven home to us by this war. What is more, one finds the whole scene of this war depicted there. First of all, it calls attention to the rise of certain nations in the words:
حَتّٰۤی اِذَا فُتِحَتۡ یَاۡجُوۡجُ وَ مَاۡجُوۡجُ وَ ہُمۡ مِّنۡ کُلِّ حَدَبٍ یَّنۡسِلُوۡنَ
“Till the time comes when Gog and Magog are let loose and they shall sally forth from every point of eminence” (The Holy Quran, 21:96).
Perhaps this is no place to describe who Gog and Magog are. It will be a discussion too lengthy for a brief tract like this. We may, however, take note of some of their characteristics as mentioned here. It has been said of them that for a long time they will be confined to their own territorial bounds. Thereafter, they will be released — that is to say, they will expand all over the world till they will attain to every point of eminence. In plain language, there will be no exalted position, physically or intellectually, which will be outside the domain of these people. Just take this picture of Gog and Magog as drawn in the Quran on the one hand and put it side by side with the hard realities of the present-day. History of the world can point to no other people except the Western nations which may have so thoroughly prevailed over all the heights of the world. Their sway extends over all the countries of the world, physically as well as intellectually. In the realm of science as well they have attained the highest possible eminence and subjugated the forces of nature as never before. There is hardly an observant eye, therefore, that can miss to detect that the Quranic description of Gog and Magog so aptly fits in with the Western people of today. Iqbal gives expression to the same interpretation in his famous line:
کھل گئے یاجوج اور ماجوج کے لشکر تمام
چشمِ مسلم دیکھ لے تفسیر حرفِ ینسلون
“The hosts of Gog and Magog have all been unchained; the Muslim’s eye may behold the interpretation of the (Quranic) word yansiloon.”1
The picture that was depicted on the pages of the Holy Quran 1300 years ago may now be seen drawn on the page of life by everyone who has the eye to see.
Whereas the Quran uses the simile of “eminence” to hint at the world domination of the Western people of our day, the Hadith [Sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)], after referring to them, has an expression of its own to signify the same phenomenon. The words of Muslim, one of the most authentic Hadith collections, are:
لَا يَدَانِ لِأَحَدٍ بِقِتَالِهِمْ
“No people of the world will have the power to fight with them.”
These words point only to the physical domination of the West. The Quranic description includes their physical as well as intellectual predominance.
The Bible also has a prophecy about the rise of a people known as Gog and Magog:
“Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, Thus saith the Lord God; behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the Chief Prince of Meshech and Tubal” (Ezekiel 38:2, 3).
“And I will send a fire on Magog and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 59:6).
Gog is here spoken of as the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and north of the Caucasus we still find two rivers bearing names corresponding to the Biblical names, that is, Moskoa and Tubal, on the former of which is situated the ancient city of Moscow and on the latter the more recent town of Tobolsk. The prophecies of the Bible thus point to Europe as the threatened land. In the Urdu, Arabic and Persian versions, translated from Hebrew, the words of Ezekiel 38:2 are: “Gog, who is of the land of Magog and chief prince of Rus, Meshech and Tubal.” Rus is the Arabic and Persian form of Russia.
After depicting them as attaining to every point of eminence, the Quran goes on to say that these people would then rise in waves, one against another:
وَ تَرَکۡنَا بَعۡضَہُمۡ یَوۡمَئِذٍ یَّمُوۡجُ فِیۡ بَعۡضٍ
“And We will on that day leave a part of them rising in waves against another part” (The Holy Quran, 18:99).
And this is what we actually find. European people first fell upon foreign lands and subjugated them. No people had the might to withstand them. After having subjugated the entire world, however, they rushed at one another’s throats and fell in deadly grips with one another.
This, however, does not complete the picture. The finishing stroke which follows this portrait introduces a silver lining in this dark picture. After their coming to deadly grips with one another, there would follow a mighty Revolution which would drive them to one common faith. These are the significant words of the prophetic picture:
وَّ نُفِخَ فِی الصُّوۡرِ فَجَمَعۡنٰہُمۡ جَمۡعًا
“And then the trumpet will be blown and We shall gather them together as one gathering” (The Holy Quran, 18:99).
The “blowing of trumpet” is used in the Quran to indicate the coming of a mighty Revolution. The great Revolution of the Doomsday has also been described in these words. Their formation into one nation is a broad enough hint at the nation of Islam, for there is but one faith, Islam, which has been able to weld diverse people into one homogeneous whole. No other religion has been able to accomplish this.
That the Revolution foretold in the above words is to be an event of this very world is obvious from the words that follow:
وَّ عَرَضۡنَا جَہَنَّمَ یَوۡمَئِذٍ لِّلۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ عَرۡضَۨا
“And We will bring forth hell, exposed to view, on that day before the unbelievers” (The Holy Quran, 18:100).
In other words, those who do not believe in the life to come or heaven and hell, will witness something of hell in this very life. Europe in these days is actually going through that hell which it, owing to its material-mindedness, refused to believe in. Not a day dawns but it finds the daily papers of the West blaze their front pages with words declaring how such and such a place witnessed a hellish scene. This is how people who are far from the hellish bombardment feel about it. The feelings of those who fall victims to it may well be imagined. They actually find themselves thrown into hellfire.
Then comes the explanation that it is not for nothing that these people have been overtaken by these calamities:
الَّذِیۡنَ کَانَتۡ اَعۡیُنُہُمۡ فِیۡ غِطَـآءٍ عَنۡ ذِکۡرِیۡ وَ کَانُوۡا لَا یَسۡتَطِیۡعُوۡنَ سَمۡعًا
“These are the people whose eyes were under a cover from My Reminder and they could not even bear to hear” (The Holy Quran, 18:101).
There is no room in the Western civilisation for God. So thoroughly has the lust and greed of worldly things engrossed it. To say nothing of a thought of God, bare mention of God in a decent society is considered bad manners.
Further on follows a clearer explanation as to the identity of these people:
اَلَّذِیۡنَ ضَلَّ سَعۡیُہُمۡ فِی الۡحَیٰوۃِ الدُّنۡیَا وَ ہُمۡ یَحۡسَبُوۡنَ اَنَّہُمۡ یُحۡسِنُوۡنَ صُنۡعًا
“These are the people all of whose effort has gone astray in the pursuit of this worldly life and they think that they are well-versed in skill of the work of hands” (The Holy Quran, 18:104).
This portrait of the West attains to most vivid clearness in these words. Manufacture is the one speciality and pride of the West, and the above verse points to this distinction of the nations of the West. But it says that since they have lost all vision of God in the pursuit of these things, their achievements in the sphere of manufacture would all come to nought. They would be so engrossed in the race of manufacturing goods that they would have no thought of God left in their minds. They would thus lose that peace of mind which God-vision alone can give. They would have too thick scales on their eyes to see beyond their little manufactures and have a glimpse of the blissful glory of God. Even when presented with the Word of God and reminded that man’s true happiness does not lie in the physical amenities of life alone, that true peace comes to a mind in which is enshrined the goodness and glory of God — when such things are talked to them they would dismiss these as all rot. They would be impatient even of lending ear to such talk. The passion for production and possession would so seize upon them that it would make them oblivious of all higher values of life. Production and more production, possession and more possession — this would be the be-all and end-all of life with them. Whole nations would be engrossed in these pursuits and in these would strive to outstrip one another. At long last, however, these very manufactures of theirs would prove their undoing. Their hearts would get filled with mutual jealousy and hatred and they would be out day and night, planning and counter-planning, to encompass the destruction of one another.
And last of all — the final scene — when this picture has become pitch dark, lo, there would appear a bright, silver lining to these dark clouds. God would so move things as to bring these warring and jarring elements of the Western body politic into one harmonious whole.
Now the question is: How is it possible for this new World Order to take birth? Worldly-ridden people again turn towards worldly means to create the new order. They think that a Conference of the representatives of all the nations will be able to construct that new order founded on international justice, peace and good will, with no room for oppression or exploitation. This is all an empty dream. The representatives who will constitute the proposed Conference will after all be from among those very nations and as such they will be swayed by the same mentality. And that mentality is that every nation is striving after self-aggrandisement at the expense of other nations. The victory of one party in the present war and the defeat of the other will bring in its wake many changes. If, however, one thing will remain unchanged it will be this very mental frame.
It is too much to expect of the victors that after seeing their lovely cities reduced to ruins at the hands of their foes and their children and dear ones done to death, they will turn round as soon as victory has been won, forget and forgive the past and extend a hand of friendly fellowship to the vanquished. On the other hand, the games of revenge will rage all the more violently in them and they will do everything in their power to crush their opponents, so that never again they may be able to rise. The same will be the case with the vanquished. They will have but one passion consuming their hearts — the passion to wreak vengeance on the victors. The fire of revenge will keep smouldering in their hearts.
One would only wish that the leader of one of the parties were that embodiment of love and mercy, the Prophet of Islam, who suffered all imaginable tortures at the hands of his foes for twenty-one long years, who saw the blood of his dear ones flow in streams, but had his heart free of all grudge towards his foes when at the fall of Mecca he overpowered them. Passion for revenge was nowhere to be found in his heart, nor in the hearts of his holy band of ten thousand. Revenge had given place to sympathy and affection. The erstwhile blood-thirsty enemies, when defeated, were greeted with the message:
لَا تَثۡرِیۡبَ عَلَیۡکُمُ الۡیَوۡمَ
“This day, there shall be no reproach against you.”
To say nothing of revenge, there was to be not even a word of reproach for their oppressions!
That was a war between a man of God and the worshippers of idols, whereas here are ranged on both sides people wedded to the worship of worldly gain. They are poles asunder from that eminent position where one can forgive those who have subjected him to persecutions for years. Are there in Europe today any people capable of giving the enemy, after defeating him, the message: “There shall this day be no reproach against you”? Had there been just a spark of that human sympathy anywhere in the heart of Europe, it would not have witnessed this war!
Then, the experiment of a new World Order through a conference was tried twenty years ago, at the termination of the last World War, raged for five long years, visiting ruin and desolation on populous cities and towns, killing hundreds of thousands of human beings, destroying the happiness of millions of homes and plunging vast sections of humanity into misery and affliction. After accomplishing all this, one party at last won a complete victory and the other was utterly vanquished. Then were summoned together the best brains from all the nations of the world and a great international conference was convened, so as to lay the foundations of a New World Order. The League of Nations was created. The map of Europe was redrawn. New territorial bounds were demarcated. The fallen peoples were so cut up into pieces that never again should they regain the strength to raise their heads. A New World Order was inaugurated.
Where is that New Order today? It all proved a farce. All the travail that humanity had to go through ended in smoke. How can it be expected that a New World Order this time constructed on the same old lines will bring humanity any good? How will the mutual hatred and grudge be eliminated? How will a change of heart be brought about? How will the flames of greed to acquire more and more of worldly pelf and power be extinguished? How will the hearts of those consumed with the love of worldly possessions be welded in unity? How will the head of the worshippers of Mammon bow before God? How will the Kingdom of God be proclaimed on earth?
These are the questions that have got to be tackled. But for these, this new offering at the altar of the god of war in the shape of untold human woe and misery and the devastation of civilisation will, as before, all go in vain. This New World Order that the hands of worldly-wedded people may fashion will go the way of its predecessor of twenty years ago. It will only pave the way for another and perhaps more terrific world cataclysm, as did that of 1921.
Thirteen centuries ago, the peninsula of Arabia presented exactly a similar scene. Tribes and clans that inhabited that desert land were in the grip of unending feuds. The smallest things served as a matchstick to set ablaze the flames of war which lasted for years. All the tribes plunged into the conflagration, some ranging themselves on one side, some on the other. There was wholesale bloodshed and destruction. After exhausting themselves, they concluded peace. Hardly had the ink of the treaty dried up when old grudges which kept smouldering burst up and once more the country found itself enveloped in the flames of war. Thus went on things for long generations from sire to son and from son to grandson. The whole people were on the verge of being consumed to ashes by these flames of warfare when, lo, God in His mercy poured down from above the cooling waters which once for all extinguished the last ambers of those age-long enmities and grudges, replacing them by mutual sympathy and affection. These were the waters that showered down in the shape of the Quran — waters that not only put down the flames that enveloped the people but converted that arid desert into a veritable Garden of Eden. This is how the Quran depicts the scene:
وَ اذۡکُرُوۡا نِعۡمَتَ اللّٰہِ عَلَیۡکُمۡ اِذۡ کُنۡتُمۡ اَعۡدَآءً فَاَلَّفَ بَیۡنَ قُلُوۡبِکُمۡ فَاَصۡبَحۡتُمۡ بِنِعۡمَتِہٖۤ اِخۡوَانًا ۚ وَ کُنۡتُمۡ عَلٰی شَفَا حُفۡرَۃٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَاَنۡقَذَکُمۡ مِّنۡہَا ؕ
“And remember the favour of Allah on you when you were enemies and He united your hearts, so by His grace, you became brethren. And you were on the brink of an abyss of fire but He saved you from it” (The Holy Quran, 3:103).
This exactly is the state of things obtaining in the Europe of today, and this alone is the remedy that can prove effective there. No conference of worldly-ridden people, no league of that make, can bring salvation from these flames. Nor can any superficial makeshift peace provide the cure. The hand of man, whatever the order it may work out, can never save Europe. What is needed is a transformation of the entire outlook on life. The Hand of God alone can bring about that transformation.
There are but two religions in these times which may be called international as they embrace various nations in their folds. These are Christianity and Islam. Other religions are confined either to a particular country or a particular race. Of these two universal religions Christianity has, so far as practical life goes, banished the Kingdom of God and, turning man’s vision towards worldly things, has made acquisition of wealth the sole purpose of human life, thereby fanning the flames of mutual enmity and hatred. Islam, on the other hand, has given birth to a World Order of Universal Brotherhood which the worst enemies of Islam cannot deny. True, there have been quarrels and enmity between Muslims as well. Nevertheless, God-idea has ever had such a hold on their hearts as to make those quarrels and enmity as no more than a mere passing phase. History records no instance where two Muslim nations have been so bent upon each other’s destruction as the present-day people of the West. The root cause of this is that it has become a trait of Muslim character that, in practical life, he bows his head before God and God alone. And the more men bow before God, the more the feelings of mutual affection and fraternity foster in their hearts. Love of lucre kindles the fire of jealousy and enmity whereas love of God serves as a cooling water to extinguish that fire. Islam gave a demonstration of this magic power in Arabia in the early history of Islam, wiping off age-long hatred and enmity and fostering instead mutual affection and a sense of unity. History may repeat itself today, should Europe, while reconstructing its social structure, base that New Order on Islam. By learning to bow before God — an attitude which Islam alone can inculcate — her enmities may yet be cooled down and replaced by feelings of a common brotherhood.
That such a revolution may come to pass and Europe may feel driven to turn to Islam for her salvation is no wishful thinking. The Quran actually gives a broad hint about it when it says, as mentioned above, that after their mutual jealousies and enmities have reached their climax and the fire of mutual destruction has reached an extent beyond the control of man, God will bring these warring people together as one people. Needless to say, this scene cannot be presented but by one religion — Islam. Islam alone makes a man’s head bow before God and without this a sense of common humanity can never dawn on man’s heart. Islam alone has made and is capable of making the diverse sections of humanity as one people.
In addition to this the happy tidings that Islam will prevail over the West is given in several places in the Quran. Once the triumph of Islam is promised against the unbelievers of Mecca who left no stone unturned to wipe it off. In two places (The Holy Quran, 9:33and 61:9), triumph of Islam has been foretold against the Christians. In both places it is clearly said that Christendom will do her worst to put out the light of God with the breath of her mouth but Islam will prevail in the long run. History records how phenomenal was the fulfilment that the first prophecy saw and how the mountains of opposition set up before Islam by the united power of the whole of Arabia vanished. The time for the fulfilment of the second prophecy, the triumph of Islam against the forces of Christendom, has already come. Some portions of that prophecy as to the rise of Gog and Magog, their attaining to every eminence of the world, in the physical as well as intellectual realms, and ultimately their working their destruction at their own hands and through their own handicrafts of which they are so proud — all these events, as mentioned in the prophetic picture of this epoch of European civilisation have already come to pass. And all these point that the Great Event which has been mentioned to cope all these, viz., the unification of the European nations under the Flag of God, as kept flying by Islam alone in these days, cannot be far off.
One great fact which must be noted by every Muslim in this connection is how the Prophet’s [Muhammad (pbuh)] heart yearned for the day when these people should see the light of Islam. While introducing the subject of the triumph of Islam against Christendom, this is how the Quran draws a picture of the Prophet’s heart:
فَلَعَلَّکَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفۡسَکَ عَلٰۤی اٰثَارِہِمۡ اِنۡ لَّمۡ یُؤۡمِنُوۡا بِہٰذَا الۡحَدِیۡثِ اَسَفًا
“Then maybe thou wilt kill thyself with grief, sorrowing after them, if they do not believe in this announcement” (The Holy Quran, 18:6).
I wish to call special attention to this because I find this has ceased to be the yearning of a Muslim’s heart today. In fact, if there is any yearning which is conspicuous by its absence from the Muslim’s heart it is exactly this yearning of the Prophet to see that the light of Islam is shown to the world at large. The Muslim’s faith in the spiritual power of Islam has become so feeble that he has lost all enthusiasm to carry that message of human bliss to other people. The vast majority of them are under the influence of narrow-minded Ulama [Muslim clerics] who are frittering away their energies in unending disputes over petty details, and so they have neither the thought nor the strength left to spare for this purpose. As regards the section of Muslims who have received the enlightenment of education and shaken off the hold of the Mullahs [clerics], they have fallen a victim to the same poison of Westernism to which Islam is to supply an antidote — viz., worldly mindedness. To them propagation of Islam is a waste of time. They consider it an empty dream that the world could be brought back towards God. In practical life they find humanity utterly lost in the pursuit of things of the flesh. They see no room for God. God, they feel in their heart of hearts, is a spent force. This mental frame is on a par with the despair of one who, seeing too many patients, should exclaim that the disease is past cure and there is no use of a physician now. The fact in that it is this very atheistic outlook of life which the modern materialistic civilisation of the West has given birth to that Islam has a mission to cure.
Occasionally one does find the word God on the lips of people in the West. But the fact is that it is confined to the lips. The heart of man is there in the grips of atheism. This, in itself, is the product of the Western civilisation which is rooted in materialism. It is this that is the root cause of all the ills of Europe and which is dragging her towards destruction. Europe can never see peace unless it submits to the rule of God. And only one force can make her submit to that rule — the force of Islam. No conference of materially-minded people can bring the sovereignty of God to the heart of man. From among the religions, Islam alone is the religion which contains the practical programme to plant the rule of God in the heart of man. Five times a day it makes humanity stand shoulder to shoulder and bow together before one common Creator. This has proved a wonderful psychological force to drive home to the heart of man the authority of God and a common humanity. Thirteen centuries ago, the world actually saw such a kingdom of God and brotherhood of man reign on earth. The force that did it then can alone do it now.
The flames of war may now be not very far from us here in India. We must do everything we can to avert those flames. There is, however, a yet higher duty that awaits the Muslim, which no other people are capable of. That duty is to lay the foundations of a lasting peace in the world. That duty is to found a new World Order based on the sovereignty of God and the brotherhood of man. That World Order was for the first time founded by Islam which literally means peace. Islam alone can found it now. This, however, pre-supposes a yearning in the Muslim’s own heart to do this great service to fellow-men. It pre-supposes a burning faith in him, a faith that knows no shaking that Islam is destined by the Hand of God to play this historical role. And last but not least, it requires some sacrifice on our part.
This is the faith and yearning which a man of God, whom God made the Mujaddid [Reformer] of this century, created in a handful of men and what is the net result? With this flame of faith burning within them, they took the flag of Islam to Europe and planted it on the soil of several countries there. They laid the foundation stone of this New World Order for which Europe is crying, in several countries. They built mosques there. They rendered the Quran into the languages of those lands, so that they may see for themselves that message of Divine bliss and peace among men. They produced first-class literature on Islam which not only unveiled the fair face of Islam to the non-Muslims but clearing all doubts relating to the truth of religion strengthened the faith of the Muslims themselves. In this tract, I would quote only two recent Western writers of repute, one a Muslim and the other a Christian, as showing how a very small community inspired by faith in the ultimate triumph of Islam through the Mujaddid of this century has laid down strong foundations of the spread of Islam in Europe, that great stronghold of Christianity and materialism.
The name of the late Mr. Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, a well-known English writer and convert to Islam, is not quite unknown to the Indian Muslims as he spent a considerable portion of his life in Hyderabad Deccan, and also translated the Holy Quran into English. In 1936, I published a book called The Religion of Islam, which was reviewed at length by Mr. Pickthall in the Islamic Culture for April 1936. He begins his review with the following words:
“Probably no man living has done longer or more valuable service for the cause of Islamic revival than Maulana Muhammad Ali of Lahore. … In my opinion the present volume is his finest work. It is a description of Al-Islam by one well-versed in the Quran and the Sunnah [Actions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)], who has in his mind the shame of the Muslim decadence of the past five centuries and in his heart the hope of the revival of which signs may now be seen on every side. Without moving a hair’s breadth from the traditional position with regard to worship and religious duties, the author shows a wide field in which changes are lawful and may be desirable because here the rules and practices are not based on an injunction of the Quran or edict of the Prophet and should be altered when they cease to meet the needs of the community. Such a book is greatly needed at the present day when in many Muslim countries we see persons eager for the reformation and revival of Islam making mistakes through lack of just this knowledge.”
Mr. W. J. Milburn, an American writer, has quite recently prepared a book on the religions of the world entitled Religions of Every Land. The discussion on Islam contained in this book is taken entirely from my Islam — The Religion of Humanity, and the bigger work, The Religion of Islam. This author has expressed the following opinion about my two publications — the Translation of the Holy Quran and The Religion of Islam:
“Perhaps no man, living or dead, has done more than Maulana Muhammad Ali to lead people to see the good side of Muhammadanism and certainly no two books have done more than his two monumental works, the English Translation of Koran and The Religion of Islam to make people understand the teachings of the Founder of the said religion. This great scholar and leader spent eight years translating the Koran into English and this and his The Religion of Islam are considered the greatest treasures of Islamic learning. With these books no student of world religions would find any excuse for failing to understand Muhammadanism.”
This valuable literary service to the cause of Islamic revival has been rendered by a very small community which organised itself in 1914 under the name Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-e-Islam. But the production of this literature is not its only service. It furthered the cause of carrying the message of Islam to the West by getting this literature translated into many of the European languages. The total number of languages in which this literature has been rendered is thirty, including non-European languages. The Holy Prophet’s life has been rendered into six European languages — English, Dutch, Turkish, Albanian, Polish and Italian — and eleven Asiatic languages. The Holy Quran has been translated into three European languages — English, Dutch and German — and published with text and commentary.
There is yet another aspect of this service. A considerable portion of this literature has been distributed free of cost. Only one pamphlet, Islam — The Religion of Humanity, in different languages, has reached a free distribution of nearly fifty thousand copies. About fifteen thousand copies about the Prophet’s life have also been distributed free, while no less than ten thousand copies of the English Translation of the Holy Quran have been thus given away, and two thousand copies of the German translation have been reserved for a similar distribution. The result is that hundreds of libraries in Europe, America, Japan and on board the sailing ships can supply the best Islamic literature to their readers.
The great efforts that the Ahmadiyya community has been putting in for the last forty years towards painting a true picture of Islam have resulted in changing the European point of view towards Islam. Europe which only fifty years ago knew nothing except depicting the darkest picture of Islam is today not only able to see its better side but even to feel an attraction for it. A man like G. B. Shaw thinks it possible that Islam may be the prevailing religion of Europe within the next hundred years, and a man like Gibb is of the opinion that Europe needs the helping hand of Islam for its reconstruction. The following extracts are taken from the latter’s book, Whither Islam?
“And it may be that the sequel will be the same, that we must wait upon the Islamic society to restore the balance of Western civilisation upset by the one-sided nature of that progress” (Whither Islam?, p. 377).
“For the fullest development of its own cultural and economic life Islam cannot do without the co-operation of European society; for the fullest development of its cultural life, particularly of its spiritual life, Europe cannot do without the forces and capacities which lie within Islamic society” (Whither Islam?, p. 378).
“But Islam has yet a further service to render to the cause of humanity. No other society has such a record of success in uniting in an equality of status, of opportunity, and of endeavour so many and so various races of mankind. The great Muslim communities of Africa, India and Indonesia, perhaps also the small Muslim communities in China and the still smaller community in Japan show that Islam has still the power to reconcile apparently irreconcilable elements of race and tradition. If ever the opposition of the great societies of the East and the West is to be replaced by cooperation, the mediation of Islam is an indispensable condition” (Whither Islam?, p. 379).
If the concluding words of the above passage had to be re-written today, the author would perhaps say:
“If ever the enmity and mutual jealousies of the great European nations of the West are to be replaced by love and common fraternity, the medium of Islam is an indispensable condition.”
Muslim brethren! Have you never felt the desire in you that you should see Islam as the paramount religion in the world? Do you not want that Europe which has out-pharaohed Pharaoh in arrogating Divine authority should bow before Islam and the God of Islam?
Do you not desire that there should be peace instead of bloodshed and anarchy and common fraternity and love instead of rending jealousies and bad blood in the world? Do you not see that God has brought about in the world conditions which proclaim that the time of the supremacy of Islam is at hand? Do you not realise that a negligibly small community whom the enemy naturally considered unworthy of notice and whom even the Muslims treated contemptuously and more than that tried their level best to root out, has within a few years succeeded in changing the viewpoint of Europe about Islam? With this spirit permeating all Muslims would it not be possible to bring the whole of Europe into the fold of Islam? But the Muslims, instead of strengthening this movement, did not spare any effort to crush it.
Have you ever considered whom it was that the Muslims tried to crush? It was a people who rose in the service of Islam, to spread Islam in the far and distant corners of the world; who, by the grace of God, have achieved what Muslims could not do for centuries past; who hoisted the banner of Islam in the strongholds of Christianity and Materialism; who built a mosque in the heart of Europe and raised the cry of اللہ اکبر “God is Great” in the centre of Trinity; who translated the Holy Quran into European languages and made accessible the true message of Islam to the people who had not known it for thirteen centuries; who brought light to a people that had been groping in the darkness of unbelief for thirteen hundred years; who brought into the fold of Islam hundreds of Europeans of every class, among whom were counts, lords, authors and other people of knowledge and learning; who changed the viewpoint of Europe about Islam and paved the way for that mighty Revolution which is in the near future to make all Europe bow before the grand truths of Islam. Yes, it was this community whom the Muslims considered to be enemies of Islam! Did it ever occur to them that the Christians who are engaged in propagating Christianity in the world are enemies of Christianity? Or, that the Hindus preaching the cause of their religion are enemies of Hinduism? If even a shadow of such a thought has never crossed their minds, how is it that they look upon a community that has made wonderful sacrifices and done immense work of the service of Islam as its enemies? Pause and see what the enemies of Islam have to say. What do the people of Europe, against whom the Ahmadiyya Movement is directed, say? Here are a few extracts from recent writings of distinguished writers:
“By far the most striking and the most sustained development of this method has been carried on for over a quarter of a century by the organisers of the Ahmadiyya sect, who have copied the machinery and emulated the vigour of the West in the furtherance of their propaganda. This religious movement through its own dynamic force has attracted wide attention” (Whither Islam?, p. 214).
“Thence, perhaps, new powers might be born amongst Oriental peoples, which would check the present decay of Islam or even turn it into new growth, if Europe were to continue along the line which it is following just now. Who would deny the possibility at least of such a new development, after seeing, for instance, how movements like the Ahmadiyya, with its strong ethical powers and its no doubt deep religious feelings, are able to exercise a certain influence far beyond what has so far been considered to be the frontier of Muslim territory?” (Whither Islam?, p. 309).
“The Ahmadiyya Movement … has become essentially a Muslim propagandist society, though still looked upon with suspicion by the orthodox ulema. To it belongs also the credit for the development of a modern Muslim apologetic which though not yet fully able to handle the Western technique of argumentation, is far from negligible …” (Whither Islam?, p. 353).
“The Ahmadiyya split into two camps…. The Lahore branch, being the more active, resolved to see what might be achieved in the direction of commending Islam to the Western world” (The Influence of Islam, p. 109).
“A quite different history stands behind the sect known as Ahmadiyya which arose in the Punjab, partly perhaps as a reaction against Christian missionary activity there. As the one section of Islam which has made efforts to gain converts in England it is particularly interesting. In its general tendencies, the Ahmadiyya takes a middle path between orthodoxy and the rationalism of the Necharis” (Islam at the Crossroads, pp. 99, 100).
“Taken out of this environment the Movement resolves itself mainly into liberal Islam with the peculiarity that it has a definitely propagandist spirit and feels confident that it can make an appeal to Western nations, an appeal which has already been made with some measure of success. If it be thought that this success be insignificant it must be remembered that missionary progress in India, where the Muslim community is now the largest in the world, was slow” (Islam at the Crossroads, p. 106).
“The Ahmadiyya are an interesting exception to the generally prevailing communal spirit of Islam. They concentrate on religious propaganda and abstain from all politics. In this respect they are a very remarkable group in modern Islam, the only group that has purely missionary aims. They are marked by a devotion, zeal and self-sacrifice that call for genuine admiration, notwithstanding their harassing and bitterly aggressive tactics. Their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, must have been a powerful personality.
“The Lahore group, who have seceded from the original community on the ground that they venerate the founder as a Mujaddid (Renewer) of religion and not as a Nabi [Prophet], are therefore more acceptable to public opinion in Islam. They have the same spirit of opposition against Christianity as the Qadianis, but their activity is more exclusively concentrated on the proclamation of Islam as the only religion that is in conformity with reason and nature. … Their influence is far wider than the number of their adherents would suggest. Their vindication and defence of Islam is accepted by many educated Moslems as the form in which they can remain intellectually loyal to Islam” (Rev. H. Kraemer in The Moslem World, Vol. XXI, pp. 170, 171).
“The movement represents a reaction to the naturalistic interpretation of Islam as set forth by the Aligarh reformers, while at the same time repudiating the authority of the orthodox Mullah. The Ahmadis are at present the most active propagandists of Islam in the world” (Indian Islam, p. 217).
“On the other hand, here we find the newest and most aggressive forms of propaganda against Christianity which have ever originated, and from here a world-wide programme of Muslim Foreign Missions is being maintained. This, after all, is the logical issue of the spirit and teaching of Islam under the influence of modern conditions” (Indian Islam, p. 229).
These are facts which even the non-Muslims have had to admit. For the Muslims to close their eyes towards them is no wisdom. It is self-deception. It amounts to hostility to the great and noble cause of the spread of Islam. If the Muslims join hands with this community, they will strengthen the cause of the spread of Islam and thus help to make Islam dominant in the world. If they oppose it, they oppose the noble cause of Islam. The Ahmadiyya Movement took its start fifty years ago. The success achieved by it is so great that even the enemies of Islam have nothing but words of praise for its achievements. The importance of these achievements becomes the greater when it is considered that this success is attained in quite a new direction. Islam is already on the road to conquer Europe.
The Holy Quran enjoins the Muslims to
وَ تَعَاوَنُوۡا عَلَی الۡبِرِّ وَ التَّقۡوٰی ۪ وَ لَا تَعَاوَنُوۡا عَلَی الۡاِثۡمِ وَ الۡعُدۡوَانِ ۪
“And help one another in goodness and piety and not to help one another in sin and aggression” (The Holy Quran, 5:2).
Is the carrying of the message of Islam to the far and distant corners of the world a deed of goodness or is it sin or aggression? Place it in whatever category you like, and then do what the Quran asks you to do. Every Muslim must bear in mind that the future of Islam even in India is dark unless the Muslims devote their whole energy to the cause of the spread of Islam.
There are people who would offhand say that though we may be doing good service to the cause of Islam, yet our beliefs are anti-Islamic. Is not belief the seed and the deed its fruit? If a false belief has taken root in our hearts, whence this zeal and these sacrifices for the spread of Islam? Zeal and sacrifices which are conspicuous by their absence among those who attribute false beliefs to us. A conviction that the Holy Quran is bound to subjugate the great minds of the world; a devotion for Muhammad [pbuh], the Prophet of God; a faith in the spiritual powers of Islam; can these things spring from false beliefs? If, however, it is meant that we differ in some minor points, such differences existed among the companions of the Holy Prophet and the Imams. But just cast a glance at our beliefs and try to lay your finger on what you consider our weak point:
1. We believe in the finality of prophethood in Muhammad [pbuh]. In the words of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement,
“No prophet, old or new, will come after our Holy Prophet”;
“the man who denies the finality of prophethood must be considered as having no faith in, and outside the pale of Islam.”
2. We believe the Holy Quran to be the final and perfect Book of God, no portion of which has ever been or shall ever be abrogated.
3. We look upon everyone as a Muslim who professes faith in the Kalimah, لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّااللّٰھُ مُحَمَّدٌرَّسُوْلُ اللّٰھِ “La ilaha ill-Allah Muhammad ur Rasul ullah,” to whatever sect or school of thought in Islam he may belong.
4. We accept Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, as the Mujaddid of the fourteenth century, and we affirm that he never claimed to be a prophet, as he himself writes:
“I lay no claim to prophethood, but claim only to be a Muhaddath (a non-prophet, to whom God speaks)”;
“I am not a claimant to prophethood; on the other hand, I regard such a claimant as outside the pale of Islam”;
“They have devised a lie against me who say that I claim to be a prophet.”
The doctrines held by the Qadian section that the Founder of the Movement is a prophet and that all non-Ahmadis are kafirs [non-Muslims], have been repeatedly refuted by us.
We have time and again put our beliefs before the Ulama and we do it now again for them to single out any of our beliefs and show it to be against the Quran or Hadith. The utmost that can be said against us is that we accept the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement to be a Mujaddid (Reformer) at the beginning of the fourteenth century; but then we do believe that Mujaddids appeared at the beginning of every century of Hijrah in accordance with the Prophet’s hadith relating to the appearance of Mujaddids. The question is: Is the acceptance of Mujaddids or their rejection against the Quran and the Hadith? The Hadith says in clear words that Mujaddids shall appear at the beginning of every century:
اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یَبْعَثُ لِھٰذِہِ الْاُمَّۃِ عَلیٰ رَأْسِ کُلِّ مِائَۃِ سَنَۃٍ مَنْ یُّجَدِّدُ لَہَا دِیْنَہَا
“Allah will raise for this Ummah [Muslim nation] at the beginning of every century one who shall revive its faith.”
In accordance with this hadith, Mujaddids appeared at the commencement of every century; why not one at the beginning of the fourteenth? It could be argued that the Mujaddid of the fourteenth century was some other person, not Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, but no one who accepts the Quran and the Hadith to be sources of Islam could say that there was no Mujaddid for the fourteenth century.
The genuineness of the hadith of Mujaddid has never been questioned by anyone having knowledge of Hadith. On the other hand, it has been said about it that those who memorised Hadith are agreed about the genuineness of this particular hadith. This is Imam Sayuti’s verdict. More than this, the Ummah has always accepted someone to be a Mujaddid at the beginning of every century, and Syed Ahmad of Sirhind, who is generally accepted by the whole of India and Afghanistan to be a Mujaddid for the eleventh century of Hijrah [Islamic Era], and whose name as Mujaddid Alf Thani is known to every Muslim, expressly claimed to have come in accordance with this hadith. If the hadith is rejected, there is no escape from the conclusion that this great saint whose name as Mujaddid has become a household word made a false claim, an idea which no Muslim will entertain for an instant. Now consider who goes against the Quran and the Hadith — a people who do not believe in a Mujaddid at the beginning of this century or the Ahmadis who believe in a Mujaddid for every century.
Some people argue that since the religion of Islam is a perfect religion it needs no Mujaddids or reformers. But if God has promised us through the Prophet that Mujaddids will come, our denying the need of reformers is tantamount to going against God and His Messenger. And then if the former sages did claim to be Mujaddids and the Muslim community accepted their claim as such, and every century or every generation of Muslims has recognised a Mujaddid, it is this whole community from the beginning till now that forms the Sawad Azam, the main or the Collective Body of Islam. It is this Collective Body of the Muslims of all ages which the Muslims are forbidden to slight. It is this Collective Body of Islam, the real Sawad Azam, that is being treated indifferently by those Muslims who do not care to find out the Mujaddid for the fourteenth century.
Islam is undoubtedly perfect, but it must be remembered that Mujaddids do not come to add anything to religion or to make any changes in it; they come to re-establish the faith in the hearts of people in its original purity. They come to serve the cause of this religion. They come to revive peoples’ faith in God and reconcile mankind with its Creator. To believe in the advent of a prophet in this community is of course a denial of the perfection of Islam, no matter if it be an old prophet, like Jesus Christ, as generally supposed by the orthodox, or a new prophet, as the Qadianis believe. To accept a Mujaddid for the fourteenth century as is done by the Lahore Ahmadiyya community, is in fact to believe in the perfection of the religion of Islam.
There are many people who say that if the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement had claimed only to be a Mujaddid there would have been no difficulty in accepting him as such, but he made a further claim to be the Promised Messiah. The question, however, is: Do the most reliable hadith of the Prophet not foretell the advent of the Messiah among the Muslims? The hadith relating this prophecy are met with in the Sahih Bukhari [most authentic collection of the Sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)] which is “the most authentic book after the Book of God” by the unanimous verdict of the Muslim community. They are also met with in the Sahih Muslim, which comes next to Bukhari. Nay, they are met within every one of the Sihah Sitta, the six reliable collections of Hadith accepted by the Ahl-e-Sunnah. They are also met with in all collections of Hadith accepted by the Shias.
The prophecies of the advent of the Messiah have thus been unanimously accepted by the Muslim community, by every generation of Islam from beginning till now. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, therefore, introduced no innovation into Islam when he claimed to be the Messiah that was promised to appear. It is true that the Muslims generally thought that Jesus Christ had been taken up alive to heaven and that he himself would come down again. But on the basis of the clearest verdict of the Quran the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement held that Jesus Christ died just as all other prophets had died, so that the Christ-to-come will be a Mujaddid (Reformer) who would come in the spirit and power of Christ. It is in this sense that the Ahmadiyya, community accepts him as the Promised Messiah, that is, it accepts that all the prophecies in connection with the Christ-to-come have been fulfilled in him.
Now there are only two alternatives: either Christ is sitting alive somewhere in the heavens or the prophecies with regard to the advent of the Messiah must apply to a Mujaddid of this community. The first alternative is now not accepted by a majority of the Ulama. In India, scholars like Maulvi Abul Kalam Azad and Syed Suleman Nadvi hold the view that Jesus Christ died as other prophets had died. In Egypt, the late Mufti Muhammad Abduh and his pupil, Syed Rashid Raza, held the same view. So there is no help accepting the second alternative — that the Messiah will be a reformer of this community.
The only other course open to a Muslim is to deny the vast number of hadith relating to the advent of the Messiah and thus to discredit Hadith itself. The only fault that lies with the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement is that having found the death of Christ as an established fact, he gave a true expression to the spirit of Islam and a true lead to the Muslims by explaining the natural conclusions thereof. The rest of the Ulama who admit the death of Christ — and a very large number of them belong to this category — do not lead the Muslims anywhere; they keep quiet and leave the Ummah in utter darkness.
The position of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement is thus clear. He accepted the hadith relating to the appearance of the Messiah as authentic, and on the other hand he found that the Holy Quran did not lend the least support to the idea that Jesus Christ was alive; it rather stated in clear and definite words that he was dead. The coming back of Jesus Christ to this earth was therefore impossible on this ground, as well as on the equally good ground that no prophet could come after the Holy Prophet Muhammad who was the Last Prophet. He, therefore, under Divine guidance interpreted the advent of the Messiah as meaning that someone from among the Muslims themselves will appear in the spirit and power of Christ, and that he himself was that man and that reformer. Other Ulama, in spite of their belief in the death of Jesus, are not prepared to offer any solution of this problem. They do not state clearly whether the hadith concerned are to be accepted as authentic as they undoubtedly are and as the Muslims have hitherto held them to be, or they must be rejected.
Another difficulty is that the prophecy relating to the advent of the Messiah is clearly connected with the prophecies relating to the appearance of Dajjal (Anti-Christ) and Gog and Magog, and this last-mentioned prophecy finds clear mention in the Holy Quran. Nay, this particular prophecy has seen its fulfilment in a very tangible manner. Hence even if the hadith speaking of the advent of the Messiah and Gog and Magog be discarded as spurious, it is impossible to reject the Holy Quran and that in face of palpable facts which have brought about the fulfilment of these prophecies in an undeniable manner. The Quran says in very clear language that Gog and Magog shall appear and after having prevailed over all nations of the world will start fighting among themselves. The Holy Prophet has said that the appearance of Gog and Magog and Dajjal will take place at the same time as the advent of the Messiah. If the Messiah is rejected, with him will have to be rejected not only the Hadith but also those parts of the Holy Quran which speak of Gog and Magog. What is more, all those patent facts which have taken place in confirmation of these prophecies will have to be rejected as well. Is that position acceptable to any Muslim?
I appeal to my Muslim brethren not to slight any injunction of the Holy Quran or Hadith, as that will be tantamount to a disregard to the author of the injunction in question. If the appearance of Mujaddids is a recognised principle of authentic Hadith; if the authorities on Hadith literature have pronounced the Prophet’s saying relating to the appearance of Mujaddids to be an authentic one; if, from the very beginning of the history of Islam, the spiritual leaders of this community have been considered as fulfilling the prophecy contained in this saying; if, further, Umar ibn Abdul Aziz has been considered as the Mujaddid of the second century of the Islamic era and Imam Shafi’i that of the third; if, again, in an age nearer our own, the epithet of Mujaddid Alf Thani (that is, the Mujaddid of the eleventh century) for Hazrat Sayyid Ahmad of Sirhind has become a household word in the Muslim community and this age, it must be remembered, claimed very explicitly to have been raised as a Mujaddid on the basis of this very hadith, which clearly proves that in the structure of Islamic religious life reformation and revival are indispensable factors; if all these are established facts, as they really are, then to refuse to recognise any Mujaddid at the beginning of the fourteenth century, nay, to reject the claims of the only claimant to that office, is, in fact, disregarding the injunction of the Holy Prophet and a rejection of all those leaders of spirituality who have been regarded as Mujaddids in the community, or who have themselves claimed to have been such. After all, it is a matter worth considering very carefully why a hadith which has been proving itself true throughout the past thirteen centuries should become null and void in the fourteenth century.
But the matter does not end even here. The work of the Mujaddid is before us. Is there any other person in the whole Muslim world who may be regarded as having done an equal amount of effective work in the way of reviving Islam, or as having championed the cause of Islam against Christianity, Arya Samaj, and similar militant religious movements, with an equal amount of courage inspiring confidence, or as having replied to the charges that have been levelled against Islam, with an equal promptness, or as having laid equally strong foundations for the preaching of Islam or finally as having applied himself to the stupendous task of conquering Europe, the most formidable stronghold of Christianity, for Islam?
The exalted position of the Mujaddid apart, even his humble disciples were privileged to do works that have drawn glorious tributes from such learned English Muslims as Mr. Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, whose knowledge of Islamic religious literature was very extensive. He expressed his confirmed opinion that in the matter of reviving Islam, the long and valuable service rendered by the members of this Movement has not fallen to the lot of any other person in this age. If his humble disciples can be credited with such remarkable services in connection with the revival of Islam, what objection can there be in recognising the master as Mujaddid? I should like to remind my co-religionists that it is a very serious thing to fight with facts. There might have been some grounds for indecision in the beginning; but today when the fruits of this tree have been noticed even by the enemies of Islam, it leaves no excuse for Muslims to shut their eyes any longer over it. Almost all European authors of high scholarship who have had the opportunity of studying the Ahmadiyya Movement have unanimously admitted that the important work that has been done by the followers of this Mujaddid in connection with the propagation and revival of Islam, has not fallen to the lot of any other person. I have already quoted these observations. Let me quote a few of those remarks again, even at the expense of repetition:
“The Ahmadis are at present the most active propagandists of Islam in the world.”
“Here we find the newest and most aggressive forms of propaganda against Christianity.”
“From here a world-wide programme of Muslim foreign missions is being maintained.”
“Thence perhaps new powers might be born amongst Oriental peoples which would check the present decay of Islam or even turn it into new growth.”
“The Ahmadiyya Movement has become essentially a propagandist society.”
“As the one section of Islam which has made efforts to gain converts in England, it is particularly interesting.”
“The movement resolves itself mainly into liberal Islam with the peculiarity that it has a definite propagandist spirit.”
“(It) feels confident that it can make an appeal to Western nations, an appeal which has already been made with some measure of success.”
Our Ulama of the old school are blinded by prejudice, while the enlightened Muslims are indifferent towards religion and its injunctions. It is these two regrettable facts that are preventing them from seeing things in their own house, which even outsiders have not failed to notice. The non-Muslim world is increasingly bowing before facts, while the Muslims are not prepared, either to recognise these patent facts, or to bow before the Quran and the Hadith. The word Islam as we all know also means submission. But can such an attitude as this be regarded as submission to God, or to the Prophet? Can it at all be called Islam? It is the narrow-mindedness of the religious leaders and the indifference of enlightened Muslims towards their religion that has unanimously made a tangle of the claim of the Promised Messiah. The question was a simple one. The Holy Quran states that the faith of Islam was to receive a formidable opposition at the hands of the Arab idolaters in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, and prophesies in clear words that this opposition was to melt away and the religion of Islam was to become the dominant religion in Arabia during the Prophet’s own life. This prophecy was fulfilled before his very eyes. Similarly, the Book speaks of another great opposition which the faith of Islam was to encounter at the hands of the Christian nations, and which was to come later, and prophesies in a similar clear language that in the end this opposition will also collapse and the world in general will be drawn towards Islam. As has been shown above, out of the three occasions on which the ultimate prevalence of Islam over the religions of the world is prophesied, two relate to the contest with Christianity.
I give here only one of these quotations:
اِتَّخَذُوۡۤا اَحۡبَارَہُمۡ وَ رُہۡبَانَہُمۡ اَرۡبَابًا مِّنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ وَ الۡمَسِیۡحَ ابۡنَ مَرۡیَمَ ۚ وَ مَاۤ اُمِرُوۡۤا اِلَّا لِیَعۡبُدُوۡۤا اِلٰـہًا وَّاحِدًا ۚ لَاۤ اِلٰہَ اِلَّا ہُوَ ؕ سُبۡحٰنَہٗ عَمَّا یُشۡرِکُوۡنَ ﴿۳۱﴾ یُرِیۡدُوۡنَ اَنۡ یُّطۡفِـُٔوۡا نُوۡرَ اللّٰہِ بِاَفۡوَاہِہِمۡ وَ یَاۡبَی اللّٰہُ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ یُّتِمَّ نُوۡرَہٗ وَ لَوۡ کَرِہَ الۡکٰفِرُوۡنَ ﴿۳۲﴾ ہُوَ الَّذِیۡۤ اَرۡسَلَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ بِالۡہُدٰی وَ دِیۡنِ الۡحَقِّ لِیُظۡہِرَہٗ عَلَی الدِّیۡنِ کُلِّہٖ ۙ وَ لَوۡ کَرِہَ الۡمُشۡرِکُوۡنَ ﴿۳۳﴾
“They have taken their doctors of law and their monks for lords besides Allah and the Messiah, Son of Mary, and they were enjoined that they should serve one God only. They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths, and Allah will not consent save to perfect His light though the unbelievers are averse. He it is who sent His Apostle with guidance and the religion of truth that He might cause it to prevail overall religions” (The Holy Quran, 9:31–33).
This prophecy of the ultimate prevalence Islam finds, however, a more detailed mention in the Holy Quran. I have already quoted the verses relevant to these details of the prophecy, and may briefly refer to them again. The nations at whose hands the progress of Islam would receive a setback are spoken of as holding to the doctrine of a Son of God2 but they are at the same time spoken of as being entirely materialistic in their outlook of life and as applying themselves entirely to things mundane, carrying worldly arts and crafts to their perfection3; due to their pre-occupation with worldly gains and wealth, they will forget God, so much so that they will not even hear the mention of God, their real object of worship being the god of wealth4; they will acquire possession of every eminence of the world5; but having subjugated all will, in the end, come in conflict with one another6; this strife of theirs will assume such proportions that they will experience a veritable hell in this world7; but ultimately their eyes will open and they shall perceive that there can be no peace in the world without accepting the sovereignty of the One God8; and then they will unite in one single religion9.
In the Hadith there is a prophecy about this, their ultimate acceptance of one single religion, the religion of Divine Unity, saying that a Messiah will appear among the Muslims, who will invite these Western nations to the religion of Islam, so much so that with his appearance the sun of Islam will rise from the West. The reality of all these prophecies remained almost clothed in mystery for the Muslims in general till the appearance of the Mujaddid of the fourteenth century took place. When this Mujaddid was engaged in replying to the charges levelled against Islam by the Christians, Arya Samajists, Brahmo Samajists, atheists and others, the truth was revealed to him that the time had come for laying the foundations of the propagation of Islam in Europe, that this was the real work of the Messiah who was to appear in this community; that the Israelite Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, could not come back to this world, as firstly, according to the Quran he was dead, and secondly, the Holy Prophet was the last of the prophets and no prophet could follow him; and that the prophecies that spoke of the coming of the Messiah and the dawning of the glory of Islam, were fulfilled in his advent. Thus in the very first book which was published under the name of Izala Auham in the year 1891, in which he had proved the death of Jesus and advanced his own claims to be the Promised Messiah, he also threw light on the reality of Gog and Magog (Yajuj and Majuj) and laid the basis of the propagation of Islam in Europe. I will quote here only a few such passages that are relevant to this subject:
“In short, Dajjal will be devoid of spiritual wisdom and though he will be sharp in worldly wisdom and will make great inventions and show great wonders as if he were claiming Godhead, yet he will have no spiritual eye, just as we find today is the case with the people of Europe and America that they have gone to the utmost extent in worldly scheming” (Izala Auham, p. 501).
“And as for Gog and Magog (Yajuj and Majuj), they are decidedly two very prosperous nations of the world. Both of them are directing their attacks from a height towards what is beneath their feet, that is, they are winning victories by dint of their God-given powers … there is a mention of them even in the Bible” (Izala Auham, p. 502).
“Take the condition of Gog and Magog in the same light. These are two old nations, who could not openly prevail upon others in former ages on account of their weak condition. But God says that in the latter age both these nations will emerge out in the world, that is, will appear in their glorious power. And as stated by the Quran in its chapter Al-Kahf (The Cave): ‘And We shall leave one part of them rising in waves against another,’ these nations having vanquished others will come in conflict with one another” (Izala Auham, p. 508).
“The rising of the sun from the West means that the Western countries which have been from very early times wallowing in the darkness of unbelief and misguidance, will be illuminated by the sun of truth, and will have a share in Islam” (Izala Auham, p. 516).
The Mujaddid was, however, not only made aware of the reality of Dajjal and Gog and Magog; he was not only made to conceive the grand idea of carrying the message of Islam to the West but even laid the basis of this great work with his own hands, in spite of utter want of material resources for the same. Thus he says:
“Then as far as it lies in my power I intend to spread through literature this knowledge and blessing that the holy spirit of God has given me, to the countries of Asia and Europe. In my opinion, rather than sending preachers to these countries we should send some of our best literature to them. Provided the Muslim community gives me its wholehearted support, it is also my intention to have a commentary written of the Holy Quran, have it rendered into English and sent to these people” (Izala Auham, p. 773).
Now, only a cursory glance will show that the prophecy about the Promised Messiah is not a solitary and detached prophecy which can be applied to any one at random. It is rather a link in the chain of those mighty prophecies wherein it has been made clear that Islam will have to face in a later age an opposition similar to the one which it had to experience in its early history and which the powerful hand of God brought to naught and thereby made Islam victorious in the world; that when that opposition will have reached its climax, it will also be smashed in the same way so as to make Islam predominant in the world; and that the foundation of this victory will be laid by the person, who will appear in this community under the title of Messiah. It would thus appear that the prophecies about the appearance of Dajjal and Gog and Magog, about their attempts to overthrow Islam, their mutual animosity and eventual conflict, and their being given a foretaste of hell in this very world, about the appearance of the Messiah and his laying the foundations of the preaching of Islam among these people, in order that the sun of Islam may shine in this latter age in the West in the same way as it did in the East in a previous age, and that ultimately these people, bowing their head before the sovereignty of the One God of the universe, may unite in that religion of which the basic principle is “Your God is One God” — all these prophecies together form a chain, so that none of them can be detached from the other. Conjointly fulfilled they add to the glory of Islam. And if anyone of them be regarded a fairy tale, all the rest have to be so regarded. No Muslim who knows Islam to be the destiny of the human race can for a moment entertain such an idea.
Notwithstanding the apparent apathy of the Muslims to take a serious view of these grand prophecies, the conviction is gradually gaining ground that we are in fact witnessing their fulfilment. In fact, the fulfilment of the major portion of this chain of prophecies is now a fact admitted on all hands. This admission finds expression in one of our great poet’s couplet. Thus did Iqbal sing:
“The armies of Gog and Magog have been let loose. Let the eyes of Muslims perceive the meaning of the phrase ‘they shall sally forth.’”
So Gog and Magog have made their appearance and the emergence of Dajjal has also taken place. And let us remember that it is not that Dajjal or Gog and Magog which was in the imagination of the Ulama and the laity of the Muslims. It is, on the contrary, a race of people whose whereabouts have been traced for us by the very man who claimed to be the Promised Messiah. Next to this comes the fact that the prophecy about these people coming to grips with one another after having established their supremacy in the world is being fulfilled today before our very eyes. Thirdly, the truth of the statement that this conflict and war is due to these peoples’ greed for wealth and regarding the acquisition of worldly gain as the sole object of life and thus refusing to submit to the sovereignty of God is so clear that even the West cannot deny it. Fourthly, no one can deny that it was Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian who revealed this truth to the world, and no one can suggest the name of any other person who might have said these things before Hazrat Mirza Sahib. And lastly, Europe itself admits that the Muslims were totally indifferent towards the preaching of Islam in that continent and that it was the blessed hands of Hazrat Mirza that laid the foundations of this neglected task.
It will follow as an inevitable conclusion from these established facts that none but the person to whom was revealed the real significance of these prophecies and whose hands laid the foundations of that preaching of Islam which is destined to bring about the predominance of Islam in the world — none but he can be the Promised Messiah of the prophecies. Is there, after all, any good in refusing to recognise the tenth link of a chain while recognising the other nine preceding it, just the one which relates to the title of Messiah, even though the work which the Messiah was to have done be in display before our very eyes?
If this great man has actually given a cure to the ailments of Islam, where lies the harm in accepting him as the Messiah?
It is a question demanding a careful investigation. Why is it that no interest is taken in this matter by any other Islamic Association or by any Muslim state or kingdom? Is the idea of the predominance of Islam in the world one that is not based on the Holy Quran? The fact is that the reference is there in all clearness and hence forms a part of a Muslim’s faith. Is there a Muslim in the world who is not aware that the Holy Quran enjoins upon every Muslim the conveying of the message of truth to the world? Not only is this fact known to Muslims themselves, but even those outside the pale of Islam know that every Muslim is a born missionary. In fact, it was this peculiarity of the Muslims that made it possible for Islam to reach the extreme ends of the world, as a result of which we find 40 to 50 crores [400 to 500 million; a crore is equivalent to ten million] of Muslims in the world today.
It will be no exaggeration to say that the greatest service to humanity at this hour will be to bring it over to a recognition of the authority of One God Who is really the supreme Ruler of this universe, so that recognising His rule and sovereignty it may live a life of peace and love. Every Muslim knows it fully well that there is no other way of averting this great danger which threatens the world at the moment, when nations are bent upon destroying one another. Is not Europe itself crying aloud that its material civilization cannot maintain itself any longer without some spirituality to support it — a spirituality which can be found only in Islam? It is, indeed, well worth finding out why is it that we do not find any anxiety in any Muslim Association or any Muslim state or kingdom for the performance of this glorious task? It is worth noting in this connection that the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, while outlining the plan of Islamic preaching activities in the West, wrote the following as well:
“It is my desire that a commentary of the Quran be prepared, an English translation of which should be sent to these people, and I cannot help stating it quite clearly that it is a work which is exclusively mine and no one else can do it in the way I can or he can who is a branch of mine and is included in me” (Izala Auham, p. 773).
The fact is that carrying the message of truth to the world needs a living faith to sustain it — faith in the existence of God, faith in His Book the Holy Quran, and faith in the truth of its promises, the greatest of which is that Islam will ultimately prevail against all the other religions of the world. It is this faith which the Mujaddid revives in the Muslim mind. It is this faith which the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement created in the minds of those who sat in his company, and thus caught a spark from his flaming enthusiasm for the propagation of Islam in the world. It is from this faith that those sacrifices spring, without which no success can be achieved in the propagation of Islam.
It is, indeed, worth pondering why is it that despite the regrettable fact that even the Muslims have declared the Ahmadis to be Kafirs, have cut off their social relations with its members, have persecuted them in every possible way so much so that some foolish people have prevented their dead bodies from being buried in the Muslim cemetery, and have offered persistent opposition in the way of their preaching work, this community has been persistently advancing in the field of the propagation of Islam, of carrying the Quran to the nations of the world, of disseminating the true teachings of Islam and of replying to those charges which are levelled against Islam and the Holy Prophet? And why is it that other Muslims do not feel in the least inspired to perform this great task which was the real work of the Holy Prophet Muhammad [pbuh]? Why is it that they on the contrary remain absolutely unmoved at the sight of Islam being trampled under the feet of its enemies?
It is evident that if they had the same glowing faith in their hearts as animates those who have joined the movement of the Mujaddid, we must have found the same inspiration in them as we find in these latter, and they would have made similar sacrifices to forward the cause of the religion of God in the world. And there is nothing to prevent the faith which animates the Ahmadis inundating the Muslim world, excepting that people being blinded by prejudice are reluctant to come to a person who alone can infuse this spirit in them. It is through the infusion of this spirit that the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-e-Islam, Lahore, with a membership of only a few thousand people, have, in the course of a quarter of a century (from 1914 A.C. to 1940 A.C.) performed a task, the like of which cannot be seen anywhere in the whole Muslim world.
- It has had the Holy Quran translated, besides Urdu, into three European languages viz., English, German and Dutch, and has about 50,000 copies of these distributed throughout the world. Of these about 12,000 copies have been presented free.
- A biography of the Prophet [Muhammad (pbuh)], which deals with all the charges framed against this holy life by European writers, has been published in seventeen different languages and sent out in thousands all over the world. Of these, some 15,000 or more copies have been distributed free.
- Various books and pamphlets on the teachings of Islam, translated into thirty different languages, have been published. Some fifty thousand copies of these have been distributed free.
- Three missions have been established in Europe and a fourth one designed for Spain is ripe for inauguration. There are also preaching activities carried on within India itself.
- A mosque has been built in Berlin, the capital of Germany, at a cost of a lakh and a half rupees [Rs. 1.5 million; a lakh is equivalent to a hundred thousand].
But this is a short sketch of the missionary effort alone of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Anjuman- Ishaat-e-Islam. In addition to this it has, during this period, established two English high schools and a school for missionary training. It has also laid the basis of an orphanage and has given higher education to many students through stipends.
Think of the benefits of responding to the call of the Mujaddid. If instead of the ten thousand people that have joined this Movement, there were ten lakhs [1 million] of them, the work done would have been a hundred times more. And if forty crore [400 million] Muslims had joined hands with us, it would have been forty thousand times more. Just think what this forty thousand times of the present work would mean? It would have meant the carrying of Islam’s message of mercy to all the four corners of the world — there would have been no language in which the Holy Quran, the life of the Prophet and the teachings of Islam would not have been translated there would have been no town of importance where a Muslim Mission would not be working and Islamic religious literature would not be in circulation. And if today through the efforts of a few people about fifteen hundred Europeans have entered the fold of Islam, with this united effort of the Muslims of the world we could have seen hundreds of thousands of converts to Islam in every Western country, and perhaps these could have saved their respective countries from the great calamity which has befallen the world.
If, however, we have failed to do this work in the past let us show our anxiety for it even now. At a time like this when the material civilisation of Europe has brought it on the verge of a pit of fire, let us try to save it by carrying the mercy message of our spiritual civilisation to that region of danger. Europe has undoubtedly given us material benefits. “Can the recompense of good be anything but good?” says the Holy Quran [6:160]. Let us give them spiritual benefits to enjoy, and make sacrifices to strengthen the work of Islamic preaching, the strong foundations of which have already been laid by a small community. Your very first step in this process should be to banish that meaningless prejudice from your mind which has created a barrier between you and this splendidly active community. After this you have to sacrifice your worldly desires and join this noble band of workers. Then so strengthen this work through your monetary sacrifices that as soon as the flames of the fire of war in Europe subside — this fire cannot altogether go out so long as the water of the mercy message of Islam is not poured on it — we are found ready to carry this message to every soul in that continent. After all you are a son of Islam, and you can be true to that glorious sonship only when you raise aloft the banner of Islam and carry it forward with your utmost strength to the four corners of the world.
Perhaps it acts as a stumbling block in the way of some people that the Qadian section of the Movement regards the Founder as a prophet, looks upon the whole Muslim world as outside the pale of Islam, and considers the funeral prayers for their dead to be as unlawful as funeral prayers for Jews and Christians. That the beliefs of the Founder of the Movement stand opposed to these pernicious beliefs is shown by the fact that there are no less than four fatwas (religious verdicts) issuing from him that clearly permit the funeral prayers for other Muslims. During his own lifetime and also during the lifetime of Maulvi Nur-ud-Din, who followed him in the leadership of the community, the Ahmadiyya community everywhere offered funeral prayers for their non-Ahmadiyya friends. The Founder himself offered such prayers, and this shows clearly that he is in no way responsible for the Qadiani error of dubbing other Muslims as unbelievers or for the claims of prophethood ascribed to him. On the contrary, with regard to the latter point, he explained it clearly that the word Nabi as used in connection with the Promised Messiah in the Hadith or in his own writings, was used simply in a metaphorical sense, in the wider sense of a prophesier, and it simply connoted a person in communication with God; and that in the language of Shariah such a person is not called a Nabi but a Muhaddath. Accordingly, while discussing this question with an opponent he gave a written undertaking, saying
“Read Muhaddath in place of Nabi wherever the word occurs (in my writing).”
There is nothing strange in the followers of a righteous man exaggerating his claims. Was not Jesus Christ raised to Godhead from the mere position of a prophet? If the first Messiah’s claims were exaggerated by his followers to such an extent that from a prophet he was raised to the dignity of God-head simply because he used the phrase ‘son of God’ in a metaphorical sense, we can easily imagine a similar exaggeration in the case of the second Messiah, who, being a Mujaddid, has been raised to the dignity of prophethood by a section of his followers, simply because he used the word ‘prophet’ in a metaphorical sense. What would strike one as strange is the fact that the Qadiani community is throwing dust into the eyes of the public by declaring that whatever the Founder of the Movement wrote about the finality of prophethood was abrogated in 1901, that for twelve long years he did not know what a prophet was and wherein he differed from a Mujaddid. They have, in fact, out-christianed the Christians themselves by basing their exaggeration on the abrogation of two-thirds of the Founder’s writings. But, I ask, if indeed the previous twelve years’ writings were abrogated in the year 1901 as is claimed by the Qadiani section, how was it that he wrote the following under the caption Our Beliefs in the year 1903 in his book Mawahib-ur-Rahman?
“And Allah communicates with and addresses His auliya (saints) from among the members of this religious Community and they are imparted a semblance of prophethood, but they are not in reality prophets; for the Holy Quran has fulfilled the necessity of shariah [Islamic Law] to the degree of perfection” (Mawahib-ur-Rahman, p. 66).
Does it not show clearly that even in 1903 he held prophethood to have come to a close in the person of our Holy Prophet [Muhammad (pbuh)], and laid it down in clear words that those with whom God communicated in this ummah were imparted only a semblance of prophethood (that is, they were prophets only in a metaphorical sense) and that they were not in reality prophets? These words written in 1903 sound the death-knell of the pernicious Qadiani doctrine.
In the presence of such clarifications from the Founder of the Movement, one should not permit the misleading arguments of Qadian Ahmadis to create any hindrance in the way of this great constructive work, of which the foundations have been laid by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-e-Islam. The idea of converting the Western world to the faith of Islam is so superbly grand that Muslims should be grateful to the person who was not only the first to discover it, but who, further, planted it so firmly on the minds of a whole community — that that idea has today been brought into the realm of reality with all necessary sacrifices. Nay more than that, Europe itself has been made conscious of the fact that it is in need of co-operation and help from Islam.
Thus, the initial difficulties have been removed to a great extent. The foundations have been laid. The work of construction is already in progress. It should be no matter of shame for even the greatest among the Muslims to accept the position of a labourer in this holiest of enterprises. There can be no greater honour than to be a labourer in the reconstruction of Islam. The chief and last of the prophets himself and his blessed band of companions were labourers in this great cause. Do pray to God that He may grant you also the requisite courage to join that holy band.
- Yansiloon is the concluding word of the verse quoted above speaking of Gog and Magog, and stands for the whole verse quoted above. The poet says that Gog and Magog’s overcoming the world and occupying every place of eminence is a patent fact which can be seen by every eye. ↩
- “(That he might) warn those who say: God has taken a son” (The Holy Quran, 18:4). ↩
- “All their efforts are gone astray in this world’s life and they think that they are well-versed in skill of the work of hands” (The Holy Quran, 18:104). ↩
- “They whose eyes were under a cover from My Reminder, and they could not even bear to hear” (The Holy Quran, 18:101). ↩
- “They shall sally forth from every elevated place” (The Holy Quran, 21:96). ↩
- “And on that day We will leave a part of them in conflict with another part” (The Holy Quran, 18:99). ↩
- “And We will bring forth hell exposed to view, on that day, before the unbelievers” (The Holy Quran, 18:100). ↩
- “That your God is One God” (The Holy Quran, 18:110). ↩
- “And the trumpet will be blown, so We will gather them all together” (The Holy Quran, 18:99). ↩