True Conception of the Ahmadiyya Movement
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
The Fifth Distinction: Revival of Islamic Brotherhood
From the beginning the message of Islam was meant for the whole of mankind. Arabs or non-Arabs, Iranians or Abyssinians, were addressed by Islam. All these nations and religions, Christians or Jews, in short, all nations and religions who had deep-rooted enmity for one another were given a message of peace, brotherhood and tolerance. No religion can be universal in its teachings unless it is based on broad principles. In this respect, no other religion can stand in comparison with Islam. Muslims were required not only to believe that truth was found in the other religions of the world, that the religious savants and the sacred scriptures of other nations were to be respected, that prophets and messengers were sent to every nation and country with Divine directions and revelations, and that there was light and guidance in the previous scriptures but also faith in the prophets and the sacred scriptures was made obligatory on every Muslim like faith in the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran. This liberal attitude attracted men’s hearts towards Islam. It was not only a theory but Islam in fact wanted to develop amongst its followers an outlook that all humanity should be considered one family, all mankind as one nation. The Quran thus laid the foundation-stone of the unity of mankind when it declared:
“All people are a single nation.”1
They are, however, not a nation in name only but their Lord is also one:
“All praise is due to Allah, the Lord (Rabb) of the worlds or nations.”2
And Rabb is He Who fosters, brings up and nourishes things gradually to make them attain perfection. Thus, to make different nations to attain perfection He sent His messengers in every age for their spiritual and moral upliftment. Every community had a Messenger, every nation had a guide and a prophet,3 there is not a single nation where a warner has not appeared,4 such are the teachings of the Quran not met with in any other scripture. Then amongst its followers Islam created such a spirit of brotherhood that after accepting Islam a monarch and a slave were treated alike in their capacity as Muslims. It was the result of this spirit of equality and fraternity that wherever Islam went, it attracted millions of people under its fold, because after accepting Islam nobody was asked to renounce the prophet or the sacred scripture in which he formerly believed. Thus, every Muslim was enjoined to respect the spiritual leaders of every nation and country.
This basic aspect of the Islamic teachings was unfortunately lost sight of by the Muslim ‘ulama’ who started declaring their own brethren-in-faith infidels on minor differences. When narrow-mindedness takes such a strong hold on a nation, that its members fail to tolerate difference of opinion among themselves, how can they be tolerant towards other nations? In short, this mutual takfir (denouncing one another as heretics) destroyed the spirit of Islamic tolerance and liberty which was a source of bringing other people under its fold. Ahmadiyyat, however, revived once again this lost speciality of Islam. As far as other nations were concerned, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement took another bold step and declared that Ramachandra and Krishna were also prophets of God raised in India according to the Quranic verse:
“And (We sent) messengers We have mentioned to thee before and messengers We have not mentioned to thee.”5
and the Vedas were also the revealed books of India.
Obviously, when the Quran has declared it as a matter of principle that prophets have been raised in every nation and country, how is it possible that the Hindu nation which had a great civilization of its own should have also lately remained neglected by God, and no prophet should have been raised in that nation? At the time of the conquest of Iran, the Companions of the Holy Prophet, under the same principle, treated the Fire-worshippers (Zoroastrians) as the People of the Book. The extension of this Islamic principle harbours the secret of the success of Islam.
- The Holy Quran, 2:213. ↩
- The Holy Quran, 1:1. ↩
- The Holy Quran, 10:47. ↩
- The Holy Quran, 35:24; 16:63. ↩
- The Holy Quran, 4:164. ↩