Islamization of Europe and America
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
This booklet discusses the vision of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian regarding the propagation of Islam in the West and the interpretation of the prophecies of the Antichrist & Gog and Magog. It concludes with a report on the missionary works being undertaken by Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-e-Islam Lahore.
The famous English writer, G. B. Shaw, wrote in 1929 in his book Getting Married the memorable words which have been quoted so often that
“the whole of the British Empire will adopt a reformed Mohammadanism [Islam] before the end of the century.”
Nearly forty years before this in 1891, the great Muslim reformer of this century, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, wrote in his book, Izala Auham, that he had seen in a vision that he was converting Englishmen to Islam. I quote his own words:
“I saw that I was standing on a pulpit in the city of London and explaining the truth of Islam in a strongly-argumented speech in the English language; and after this I caught a large number of birds that were sitting on small trees and in colour they were white and their size was probably the size of the partridge. So, I interpreted this dream as meaning that, though I may not personally go there, yet my writings would spread among these people, and many righteous Englishmen would accept the truth” (Izala Auham, p. 515).
History is repeating itself. The great saint of Ajmer, Khwaja Muin-ud-Din Chishti, saw in a dream, while in Madina, that he was preaching Islam in India and on the basis of this vision he came to India and took up his abode among a people who were sunk deep in idolatry and ignorance, and today we find millions of people bowing their heads before the truth of Islam. And now the great saint of Qadian sees in a vision that he was preaching the truth of Islam in England, and he also sets to work in right earnest for the Islamization of Europe. In the same book in which he published his vision, he also tells us how he intended to plant the banner of Islam on the soil of Europe:
“Then so far as it lies in my power I intend to broadcast, in all the countries of Europe and Asia, the knowledge and blessings which the Holy Spirit of God has granted me. … It is undoubtedly true that Europe and America have a large collection of objections against Islam, inculcated through those engaged in mission work, and that their philosophy and natural sciences give rise to another sort of criticism. My enquiries have led me to the conclusion that there are nearly three thousand points which have been raised as objections against Islam. … To meet these objections a chosen man is needed who should have a river of knowledge flowing in his vast breast and whose knowledge should have been specially broadened and deepened by Divine inspiration. … So, my advice is that … writings of a good type should be sent into these countries. If my people help me heart and soul, I wish to prepare a commentary of the Holy Quran which should be sent to them after it has been rendered into the English language. I cannot refrain from stating clearly that this is my work, and that no one else can do it so well as I or he who is an offshoot of mine and is thus included in me” (Izala Auham, pp. 771–773).
“In this critical time a man has been raised up by God and he desires that he may show the beautiful face of Islam to the whole world and open its ways to the Western countries” (Izala Auham, p. 769).
Yet his vision was not the only basis for undertaking the project of the Islamization of Europe, a project of unimaginable magnitude. There were earlier prophecies both in the Holy Quran and the Hadith, but these prophecies had up to this time been interpreted wrongly. The appearance of the Messiah among the Muslims was inseparably connected with the appearance of the Dajjal [Antichrist], and the supremacy of certain nations given the name of Gog and Magog in sacred history. Long before the Quran, the Bible had spoken of these nations prophetically:
“Son of man! Set thy face against Gog who is of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech1 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” (Ezkekiel 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” (Ezkekiel 39:6).
The Holy Quran speaks of Gog and Magog as overcoming the whole world:
حَتّٰۤی اِذَا فُتِحَتۡ یَاۡجُوۡجُ وَ مَاۡجُوۡجُ وَ ہُمۡ مِّنۡ کُلِّ حَدَبٍ یَّنۡسِلُوۡنَ ﴿۹۶﴾
“Till the time comes when Gog and Magog are let loose and they shall break forth from every point of eminence” (The Holy Quran, 21:96).
And the Holy Book predicts their end in the following words:
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).
Neither the commentators of the Bible, nor those of the Holy Quran and Hadith could, however, agree as to who Gog and Magog were, until the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement put forth the suggestion that by Gog and Magog were meant the materialistic nations of the West who had overcome the whole world, as plainly stated in the Holy Quran. He says:
“As regards Gog and Magog, it is now unquestionable that these are two prosperous nations of the world, one of them being the English and the other the Russians. Both these nations are directing their attacks from a height towards what is beneath their feet; i.e., they are becoming victorious with their God-given powers” (Izala Auham, p. 502).
Again after stating that by the Dajjal [Antichrist] is meant the “Propaganda of Christian Missions,” he goes on to say:
“The same may be said of Gog and Magog. These are two ancient races2 who could not overcome others in earlier days and they were in a weak condition, but according to the word of God they were to sally forth in the latter days, i.e., they would come forth with mighty power. As it is said in the chapter entitled The Cave [Chapter 18 of the Holy Quran], these two nations after overcoming others would attack one another, and God will give victory to whom He pleases.”
Starting on this basis, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement set himself to the task of delivering the message of Islam to the spiritually benighted Europe. He was full of conviction that Europe will ultimately bow its head before Islam. He thus interpreted another prophecy met with in Hadith:
“As regards the rising of the sun from the West, we do believe in it; but what has been shown to me in a vision is this — that the rising of the sun from the West signifies that the Western world which has been involved of old in the darkness of unbelief and error shall be made to shine with the sun of Truth, and these people shall have their share of Islam. … In reality, the Western countries have up to this time shown very little aptitude for religious truths, as if spiritual wisdom had in its entirety been granted to Asia and material wisdom to Europe and America … how Almighty God intends to cast on them the look of mercy.” (Izala Auham, p. 516).
What this great Seer [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian] saw in 1891 is now almost an admitted fact. His interpretation that by Gog and Magog were meant the European nations who, after overcoming the whole world would, fall among themselves and attack and destroy each other, was derided at first, but before many years had passed the whole Muslim world bowed its head before this great truth. In India, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and the late Dr. Muhammad Iqbal hold the same view. The great poet gave expression to this truth in the following couplet:
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 see the truth of the interpretation of yansiloon.”3
The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement wrote in 1891 that
“spiritual wisdom has in its entirety been granted to Asia and material wisdom to Europe and America,”
and Europe today admits this truth. Prof. C. C. Berg in his survey of Islam in Indonesia says:
“At the other end, Europe too is experiencing a spiritual crisis which is by no means a purely temporary phenomenon, but is indeed in the last resort the inevitable outcome of that force since Europe’s estrangement from Islam after the Crusades, has dominated its development: exaggerated individualism. This spiritual crisis might possibly lead to the elimination of the greatest of the dangers which are now threatening the Muslim world. … Thence, perhaps, new powers might be born amongst the Oriental people, which would check the present decay of Islam, or even turn it into new growth, if Europe were to continue along the lines 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, pp. 308, 309).
This view is endorsed by H. A. R. Gibb when, after admitting the one-sided nature, purely material, technical and economic, of the growth of European civilization, he adds:
“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.”
It would seem that Europe has awakened to the great truth which is becoming clear day by day that the material civilization of the West is doomed to destruction unless it is supplemented by the spiritual civilization of Islam, but the Muslims are still asleep. This grand truth first shone upon the mind of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in 1891. He had not only visions of the great future of Islam in Europe and America; he had not only a clear insight into the grand prophecies of the Bible and the Holy Quran; but he also chalked out the programme to be followed for transfusing the spiritual blood of Islam into the decaying body of the material civilization of the West. He knew that Islam had been misrepresented to these people by the over-zealous Christian missionaries, and that the great need of the time was Islamic literature which should reveal the true light of Islam to Europe.
Nor did he stop there. He set to work in all earnestness, and the first step in this direction was the bringing out of a magazine in English, called the Review of Religions, arrangements for which were made towards the end of 1900, the periodical itself seeing the light of day in January, 1902. At the same time men who were destined for this great work were gathering together around him. In 1909, a few months after his death, the project of preparing a commentary of the Holy Quran in English, for which he was so anxious, was taken in hand; and in 1912, the late Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din proceeded to England to establish the first Islamic mission in Europe. He started his missionary work in London but soon shifted to Woking where a Mosque had been built in 1891. This was the very year in which Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad saw that he was preaching Islam in England and the idea of Islamization of Europe dawned on his mind.
The work has since been carried on with unabated zeal in the midst of many adverse circumstances by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-e-Islam Lahore, a body which came into life in 1914 as a protest against the erroneous doctrines of the Qadian section which claimed that the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement was a prophet and that those Muslims who did not believe in his prophethood were kafirs [non-Muslims] and outside the pale of Islam. The English Translation of the Holy Quran came out in 1918 ; a mission was established in Berlin in 1922; a life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad was published in English in 1923; a mission was established in Java [Indonesia] in 1924; a commentary of the Holy Quran in Urdu was published in 1925; a Mosque was built in Berlin in 1928; translation and commentary of the Sahih Bukhari in Urdu was published in 1932; History of Early Caliphate in 1934; Dutch Translation of the Holy Quran in 1935; The Religion of Islam,4 a comprehensive work on the sources, doctrines and ordinances of Islam in 1936; Dutch translation of the same in 1938; a mission was established in Holland in 1939; German Translation of the Holy Quran with commentary was published in 1940; and A Manual of Hadith in English is the latest addition. Besides this literary work, the Anjuman established two High Schools, one in 1917, and the other in 1923.
The production of healthy Islamic literature was indeed the first item in the programme which the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement had set before himself for the Islamization of Europe, and the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-e-Islam Lahore, has faithfully carried out that programme. All these books are in fact the weapons for the spiritual warfare which has to be carried on in Europe to bring about a change of mentality in the materialistic West. Most of this literature is yet in English, but translations have been rendered into many other languages. Thus, the Life of the Holy Prophet has been translated into seventeen other languages, six of which are European languages. And crowning all these activities is the latest one of establishing a fund of two lacs of rupees [Rs. 200,000] for expediting the work of translating the Holy Quran into other languages and making it accessible to the different people of the earth with such explanations and commentary as may enable them to see the true light of Islam. As a result of this venture, translation of the Holy Quran into five more languages has been taken in hand during the past year.
Side by side with increasing its activity in the literary field by translations of the Holy Quran, the Anjuman has decided to give impetus to the work of establishing centres in different countries for the propagation of the teachings of Islam. Besides the Muslim missions already established in England, Germany and U.S.A., missions in Hong Kong, Dutch East Indies [Indonesia], Fiji Islands and Spain are under contemplation. In addition to this, a few more missionaries are being prepared for work in different countries of Europe and the British Empire. The year 1945 and 1946 have been devoted to the preparation of the missionaries and to securing funds sufficient to carry on work for five years at least, and the Anjuman has therefore arranged to establish a separate fund of ten lacs of rupees [Rs. 1,000,000]. It is hoped that in the near future there will be ten Islamic missions working in different countries of Europe and America.
But that will only be the beginning of the Islamization of the West. The Anjuman feels confident that it has got both the men who can carry on the great work, and the literature which will make their efforts fruitful. It is now a question of funds only. If the Muslim community as a whole rises to this occasion, it will soon see the fulfilment of the august Divine promise repeated thrice in the Holy Quran:
ہُوَ الَّذِیۡۤ اَرۡسَلَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ بِالۡہُدٰی وَ دِیۡنِ الۡحَقِّ لِیُظۡہِرَہٗ عَلَی الدِّیۡنِ کُلِّہٖ
“He it is who sent His Messenger with guidance and the true religion that He may make it prevail over all other religions” (The Holy Quran, 9:33; 48:28; 61:9).
The Holy Prophet also gave the good tidings of Islam spreading to Western lands in the following words:
“My Lord contracted the earth, for me (i.e., showed me a plan of it), so that I saw its Eastern lands and its Western lands, and I was told that the Kingdom of my followers will reach the lands which were shown to me.”
The Eastern lands are mentioned first in the hadith, and Islam spread to the East first; the Western lands are mentioned afterwards, and they will as surely see the light of Islam as they see the light of day.
- In the Urdu, Arabic and Persian versions, the words are “Prince of Rus, Meshech and Tubal”. Rus is the Arabic and Persian form of Russia, and Meshech (Moskoa) and Tubal are the names of two rivers in Russia, on which are situated Moscow and Tobolsk, respectively. ↩
- The Slave and the Teutons. ↩
- Yansiloon is the concluding word of the verse quoted above, speaking of Gog and Magog (The Holy Quran, 21:96), and stands here for the whole verse. The poet says that Gog and Magog’s overcoming the whole world and occupying every place of eminence is a patent fact which can be seen by every eye. ↩
- Reviewing this book, the late Mr. Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall wrote: “Probably no man living has done longer or more valuable service for the cause of Islamic Revival than Maulana Muhammad Ali of Lahore. … The present volume is his finest work. … It is a description of Al-Islam by one well-versed in the Quran and the Sunna. … Such a book is greatly needed at the present day when in many Muslim countries there are persons eager for the reformation and revival of Islam making mistakes through lack of just this knowledge.” An American writer of fame, Mr. W. G. Milburn, is even stronger in his praise for the literature published by the Anjuman. He writes: “Perhaps no man, living or dead, has done more than Maulana Muhammad Ali to lead people to see the good side of Muhammadanism [Islam] and certainly no two books have done more than his two monumental work, the English Translation of Koran [Quran] 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 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.” ↩