True Conception of the Ahmadiyya Movement
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
The Tenth Distinction: Faith in the Dominance of Islam
Besides what has been mentioned above there are also other matters in which Ahmadiyyat has differed from other Muslims but none of these differences is related to problems of jurisprudence (Fiqh). It is evident from the foregoing remarks that wheresoever Ahmadiyyat has differed from other Muslims it is only in its efforts to restore the original beauty and simplicity of Islam, to make Islam a rational, scientific and progressive religion once again so that its influence may penetrate deep into the hearts of men and so that Islam may rise once more in the world. The Christian scholars have laboured to show that the Ahmadiyya Movement is the result of the contact of European civilization with Islam. But in the history of modern India we find two separate movements among Muslims. The one started by Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan of Aligarh and the other by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. The work done by Sir Sayyid towards educating Muslims is unique in its own way and nobody should deny its manifold advantages to Muslims. But as far as his religious views are concerned, which are sometimes stigmatized as naturiyyat, they mark a clear distinction between the two movements. Sir Sayyid and Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad both tried to solve problems facing Islam today in a rational way. But the religious movement of Sir Sayyid very often took the turn of slavish imitation of the European thought while the movement initiated by Hazrat Mirza had in view the conquest of Europe for Islam. The object of the former movement was also to save Islam from the onslaughts of the West but in this effort Islam was subjected to modern trends. But the latter Movement not only wanted to save Islam but also wanted to see it a triumphant religion of the world. This is not a mere presumption. The late ‘Allamah Shibli Numani, who was one of the great admirers of Sir Sayyid, writes about him:
“This new thought is of two kinds. Either we find the same rotten stuff or far-fetched problems and arguments originated by the later Asharites, or every European belief or thought is regarded to be the only right standard of judgment. The Holy Quran and the Hadith is later on dragged in to harmonize with these ideas.”1
In the writings of Sir Sayyid, the Quran is ipso facto subjected to the European ideology but Hazrat Mirza wants Europe to kneel down before the Quran. Sir Sayyid’s movement may be regarded a result of the impact of European thought on Islam in India but this is not true about the Ahmadiyya Movement. It has, on the contrary, helped to remove the effects of European thought on Muslims’ minds. It is in fact a panacea for the poison which the materialistic civilization has brought to the world of Islam. The Founder had a great passion for seeing the cause of Islam dominant in the world. Before his advent, Islam in Indian Sub-continent was attacked from three sides. The attack of atheism and materialism in the form of European thought, the attack of Christian missionaries and the attack of the new Hindu sect Arya Samaj. Whatever Muslims were doing in their defence was quite ineffective. Sir Sayyid came forward to save Muslims from the influence of modern education but he was himself swayed by it and thus he wanted to make an apologetic compromise with it. One or two other persons also stood against the onslaught of Christian missionary activities, but on the whole Muslims remained passive and the Christian missionaries became more severe and menacing in their attacks against Islam. And as to the attack of the Arya Samaj nobody seemed to care for the defence of Islam.
It was at this time that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad came to the forefront to uphold the cause of Islam. He not only defended Islam but also took an offensive against all these hostile forces within a short time. This made a great change in the circumstances and the invaders themselves were put to their defence. In short, every Ahmadi harbours a feeling in his heart to see Islam a dominant religion in the world. He is fully convinced that, however slender the outward chance may be, Islam will flourish and dominate the world. It is because of this faith and enthusiasm that he is ready to sacrifice his all for this object. There lies the secret of the success of Ahmadiyya Movement in its preaching of Islam.
In brief, Ahmadiyyat is not a sect distinguished on minor differences of Shariah from other Muslim sects. It is rather above all these petty differences. It is a movement for the spread of Islam and towards this its whole efforts are directed. It has done its best to remove all misconceptions about Islam which were a hindrance in the way of its propagation and progress. For this the Ahmadiyya Movement has sometimes differed from the current thought of Muslims and only this makes it differ from other Muslim sects. Such differences are not in fact internal but they only relate to those matters which are connected with the propagation and progress of Islam in the world. The Holy Prophet has himself described this age as the “age of corruption” when Islam will be set on a wrong track by its followers and its advancement will come to a standstill, and people will begin to despise this polluted form of Islam. By removing misunderstandings of this age of corruption the Ahmadiyya Movement has opened new vistas for the success and glory of Islam. Islam is, thus, once again on the march and is arresting the attention of the entire world.
- Ilm al-Kalam, p.8. ↩