The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement
A Short Study of the Life of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
Chapter 10: Charge of attacking Jesus
Vituperative Christian Propaganda against Islam:
Another charge against the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement is that he makes slanderous attacks on the blessed person of Christ. This again is a gross misrepresentation of what he wrote. How can a man who professes the faith of Islam abuse a prophet of God, when he is required to believe in that prophet? Jesus Christ is expressly mentioned in the Holy Quran as a prophet, and every Muslim must honour him as such.
In order to understand the nature of the writings to which objection is taken, two points must be clearly borne in mind. The first is the nature of the controversy which was carried on by the Christian missionaries in India, in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The preaching of the Christian missionary until a short time ago was of a quite different character from what it is today. In those days, the Christian missionary was under the impression that the darker the picture he drew of the Prophet of Islam, the greater would be his success in winning over converts from among the Muslims; and this impression became stronger as the missionary reviewed the results. Not only some well-to-do people from among the Muslims but even some Maulvis of great repute went over to the Christian camp, and to win the favour of their European masters these new disciples carried the vituperative propaganda against Islam to an extreme which made the Muslim blood boil. Some of the Christian controversial books of those days must indeed be ranked as the filthiest religious literature that has ever been produced, apart from the fact that the founder of the Arya Samaj and some of his blind votaries imitated the Christian missionary, and, later on, the Arya Samajist preacher even surpassed the Christian missionary in the art of vituperation.
It is difficult even to conceive today how all those things could be written in the name of religion. Al-Masih al-Dajjal by Ramchand (1873), Sirat-ul-Masih wal Muhammad by Rev. Thakurdas (1882), Andruna Bible by Abdullah Atham, in which an attempt has been made to show that our Holy Prophet was the Anti-Christ and the Dragon of the Revelation, Muhammad Ki Tawarikh Ka Ijmal by Rev. William (1891), Taftish-ul-Islam by Rev. Rodgers (1870), Nabiyy Mathum published by the American Mission Press of Ludhiana (1884), and dozens of other books and hundreds of tracts, are all strings of abusive epithets heaped upon the Holy Prophet and his companions, each writer trying to outdo the others in scurrility. To call the Holy Prophet an impostor, Dajjal or Anti-Christ, a deceiver, a robber, the slave of his sensual passions whose lust knew no bounds, and to attribute every conceivable crime to him became a habit with these Christian controversialists. Page after page of the writings named above and of others of the same type are full of such descriptions as the following:
“If he [the Prophet of Islam] abrogated the Gospels there is no wonder, for all those who are bent low on the world and are worshippers of lust do like this.”
“Sensual lust … is to be met with in Muhammad to an excessive degree so that he was always its slave. Muhammad, like other Arabs, from his very appearance seems to be a lover of women.”
“The occasion of the law relating to marriage with an adopted son’s wife was the flaming of the lust of Muhammad on seeing Zainab naked.”
“The religion of the Pope and the religion of Muhammad are two jaws of the Dragon.”
“Ring-leader of thieves, a robber, a killer of people by secret conspiracies.”
“When by chance his eye caught glance of her beauty, sinful love took possession of his heart, and to have his wicked desire fulfilled he arranged to get permission from Heaven.”
“We cannot give any name to his claim to prophethood except fraud or cunning.”
“All this is the fabrication of Muhammad; he was a slave of his passions.”
“His character in no way befits the office of a prophet; he was a slave of his passions, full of the spirit of revenge and a selfish man, an extreme follower of his low desires. The Quran is a falsehood, his own fabrication, which encouraged his slavery to passion and his lust.”
“His speech and his ways increased in wickedness with his age.”
This is only a sample of the writings of the Christian missionaries of those days. In fact, so scurrilous was this literature growing that, when Rev. Imad-ud-Din, a Maulvi who had become a convert to Christianity, published his writings, they were found to be so grossly abusive that even Christians began to complain of them, and the Shams-ul-Akbar of Lucknow, itself a Christian missionary paper, was compelled to give a warning against the offensiveness of Imad-ud-Din’s writings, saying that
“if there was again a mutiny like that of 1857, it would be due to the abusive and scurrilous language of his writings”.
Muslims’ Love for the Prophet:
There was not the least exaggeration in the warning given by this Christian paper. The Muslim is never so offended as when his Prophet is abused. He can submit to the greatest insult, but the one thing to which he will not submit is the abuse of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Recent years have brought before us many instances of this deep-rooted love of the Muslim for his Prophet. How many young Muslims have lost their mental balance and turned a revolver against the reviler of the Prophet, knowing fully well that they must pay for this with their lives? Nobody can gauge the depth of the love of a Muslim for his Prophet. It is a fact that the sting of the Prophet’s abuse affects the Muslim’s heart so deeply that he gets excited beyond all measure, and cognisance of this fact should be taken by the highest executive authority, even if the High Courts of Justice cannot give a more liberal interpretation to the law of the land and must inflict a death penalty on youths who have become mentally unbalanced by such excitement.
Criticism directed at the “Imaginary Messiah”:
It would have been no wonder if the highly scurrilous tenor of Christian controversialists had excited a Muslim defender of the Faith like the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement to such an extent that he made remarks unworthy of himself and of the cause which he supported. Nevertheless, he kept his mental balance and adopted a method of controversy which, within a very short time, made the Christian missionaries realise that their methods needed changing, and this is the second point which must be borne in mind. It was a simple method. What would be the picture of Jesus Christ if he were criticised and found fault with in the manner in which the Christian missionaries criticised and found fault with the Holy Prophet of Islam? In fact, nothing short of this could make the Christian missionary realise how deeply he was offending the Muslim feeling. Therefore, when Ahmad first adopted this method, he wrote in plain words:
“As the Rev. Fateh Masih of Fatehgarh in the Gurdaspur district has written to us a very scurrilous letter, and in it he has accused our Lord and Master, the Holy Prophet Muhammad, of adultery, and has used about him many other scurrilous words by the way of abuse, it is, therefore, advisable that a reply to his letter should be published. This pamphlet has therefore been written. I hope that Christian missionaries will read it carefully and will not be offended by its words, for this method is entirely the result of the harsh words and filthy abuse of Fateh Masih. Still, we have every regard for the sacred glory of Jesus Christ, and in return for the abusive words of Fateh Masih, only an imaginary Messiah (farzi Masih) has been spoken of, and even that is out of dire necessity.”1
This position was again and again made clear by Ahmad in his writings, but interested persons carry on false propaganda, ignoring the explanation. Thus M. Zafar Ali Khan of Zamindar attributes the following words to Ahmad:
“Jesus Christ was evil-minded and overbearing. He was the enemy of the righteous. We cannot call him even a gentleman, much less a prophet (Anjam Atham, p. 9).”
Anyone who refers to page 9 of the book referred to will find that the writer is guilty of making a false allegation. The passage as met with in the book runs thus:
“In the same way, the impious Fateh Masih has, in his letter to me, called our Holy Prophet adulterer and has abused him in many other ways. Thus this filthy section … compel us to write something about their Yasu [Jesus], and let the Muslims know that God has not made any mention of this Yasu in the Holy Quran. The Christian missionaries say that Yasu was that person who claimed to be God and called Holy Moses a thief and a cheat, and disbelieved in the advent of the Holy Prophet, and said that after him only false prophets would come. We cannot call such an evil-minded, overbearing person, and the enemy of the righteous, a gentleman — still less a prophet.”
Between the quotation given by M. Zafar Ali Khan and the passage actually found in the book, there is the difference between heaven and earth. The founder of the Ahmadiyya movement never wrote that Jesus Christ was evil-minded and overbearing. On the other hand, adhering to the principle which he had made clear in Nur-ul-Quran, as quoted above, he merely tells his opponent, Fateh Masih, that the imaginary Messiah of the Christians (farzi Masih), who is not the same as the Messiah of the Holy Quran (the real Messiah), may, on the basis of the Christian writings, be described as an evil-minded and overbearing person, if the method of criticism adopted by the Christians in the case of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, whom they called an adulterer, was to be followed in the case of their Christ. It is the imaginary picture of the Messiah which the Christian missionary has drawn that is condemned by the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement, and not the Messiah himself. Now, according to the Muslim faith, if a man calls himself God and also denounces the righteous servants of God as being thieves and cheats, he is undoubtedly an overbearing and evil-minded man. The Muslims believe, and so did the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement, that Jesus Christ never said he was God, and he never denounced the other righteous servants of God; therefore they hold that the picture of the Messiah drawn by the Christians is not the picture of a man who actually lived, but that of one who exists only in the Christian imagination. It is this imaginary picture which Ahmad denounces, and that, too, he did merely because the Christian missionaries would not refrain from abusing the Holy Prophet of Islam.
It should be borne in mind that this method of paying back the Christian missionaries in their own coin was adopted by other recognised Muslim leaders before the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement. Thus, Maulana Rahmatullah writes in the introduction to his book, Izalat-ul-Auham:
“As the Christian missionaries are disrespectful in their speeches and writings towards the best of men, our Holy Prophet, and towards the Holy Quran and Hadith of the Prophet … so we have been compelled to pay them back in the same coin … By no means is it my belief that I should speak of a prophet in disparaging terms.”2
Very recently, even the official organ of the Jamiat-ul-Ulama of Delhi, al-Jamiiyya, dated 20th November 1932, wrote in reply to certain Christian missionaries:
“The person whom the Christians erroneously take for the Messiah was really the enemy of the Messiah and he has nothing to do with Islam and the Quran. Nor does any Muslim believe in him.”
Further False Propaganda:
Another example of how false propaganda is being carried on against the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement is the statement published very widely by M. Zafar Ali Khan in his paper, the Zamindar, bearing the heading, “An open letter to the King of England”, in which he states that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad accused Mary of adultery and called Christ a bastard. When he was challenged to produce a single quotation in support of this statement, he remained silent, though he continued to repeat the false allegation. It is clear on the face of it that a Muslim who believed in the Holy Quran could not make such a wild statement as that attributed to the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement, but the public is being fed on these lies by the sworn enemies of the movement. Far from accusing Mary of adultery and calling Jesus a bastard, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad again and again speaks of the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ. The following three quotations will suffice for this purpose:
“One of the doctrines we hold is that Jesus Christ and John the Baptist were both born miraculously … And the secret in creating Jesus and John in this manner was the manifestation of a great sign … And the first thing He [God] did to bring this about was the creation of Jesus without a father through the manifestation of Divine power only.”3
“The ground on which this is based is his [Jesus Christ’s] creation without the agency of a human father, and the detail of this is that a certain section of the Jews, i.e., the Sadducees, were deniers of the Resurrection, so God informed them through some of His prophets that a son from among their community would be born without a father, and this would be a sign of the truth of the Resurrection.”4
“The [Arya Samajist] lecturer also objected to Mary bearing a child by the Holy Spirit and to Jesus being born from Mary alone. The reply is that this was done by the same God who, according to the Arya Samaj teachings, creates millions of people in the beginning of every new creation, just as vegetables grow out of the earth. If, according to the Vedic teachings, God has created the world millions of times, nay times without number, in this manner, and there was no need that men and women should unite together in order that a child should be born, where is the harm if Jesus Christ was born similarly?”5
The above quotations should be sufficient to convince even the greatest enemy of the movement that its founder sincerely believed that Jesus Christ was born of Mary without her coming into union with a male. Ahmad not only states his own belief on this matter, but he replies to the objections of the Arya Samaj, and lays stress on the point that Jesus Christ was born without a human father. How could he then accuse Mary of adultery when he states again and again that she had not even a lawful union with a man before the birth of Jesus Christ? In the face of these clear statements, to say that he regarded Mary as having committed adultery or that he called Jesus Christ a bastard is a bare-faced lie, yet it is stuff such as this that the public is expected to take, and actually takes, for literal truth.
- Nur-ul-Quran No. 2, p. 1. ↩
- Izalat-ul-Auham, Preface, p. 5. ↩
- Mawahib-ur-Rahman, pp. 70–72. ↩
- Hamamat-ul-Bushra, p. 90. ↩
- Chashma Marifat, p. 217. ↩