International Convention in Indonesia,
2427th September 2003
The Convention in Indonesia started on 24th September 2003 with
a one-day International Symposium at Yogyakarta on the theme of
Islam and Civil Society. The keynote speech was delivered by the
Head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Anjuman, Hazrat Ameer Professor
Dr Abdul Karim Saeed Pasha.
The text of the speech is given below.
Ahmadiyyat A Spreading and Defending
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
And from among you there should be a party who invite
to good and enjoin the right and forbid the wrong. And these are
they who are successful.
And be not like those who became divided and disagreed after
clear arguments and come to them. And for them is a grievous chastisement.
(Holy Quran, 3:104-105)
The three key words used in the title
are Ahmadiyyat, defence and spreading. In my
talk, I will give an introduction of the Ahmadiyya Movement and
highlight the role it has played in defending and spreading Islam.
Right in the beginning, I would like to clarify that Ahmadiyyat
is neither a new religion nor a new sect in Islam. It indeed is
Islam in its purest and original form. As its Founder (Hazrat Mirza
Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian) writes and I quote:
Our religion is the same Islam. It is not new.
There are the same prayers, the same fasts, the same pilgrimage
and the same zakat. But the difference is that these duties are
now performed in outward form only, without any true spirit in them;
we want to infuse in them the spirit of sincerity. We want these
duties to be performed in such a way and manner that they are effective.
(Talk on 12th July 1907, reproduced in Malfoozat, vol.
9, p. 312.)
In this context, I would like to draw your attention to the fact
that as Muslims and Ahmadis we firmly believe that Allah Almighty
has sent prophets for the guidance of mankind through all ages.
With the Finality of Prophethood, no prophet will come after the
Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon
him. There will, however, remain the need to remove any deviations
that have occurred in the religion as a result of misinterpretations
or introduction of wrong traditions into Islam, especially those
that are against its basic concepts and teachings. The Holy Prophet
Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be on him, foretold this.
We believe that the person who was chosen by Allah to present to
the world the true picture of Islam, to defend it against the onslaught
of propaganda, misrepresentations and misinterpretations; to rouse
it from slumber and spread it again as a living religion was Mirza
Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. He did not bring any new religion or a new
sect in Islam. This is apparent from the fact that Mirza Sahib did
not give his Movement any name for about twelve years after it was
founded. However, by this time many people had started referring
to his followers as "Mirzaees". Since he had no desire to have any
group of Muslims to be associated with his personal name, Hazrat
Mirza Sahib issued an announcement giving his Movement the name
‘Muslims of the Ahmadiyya Section’. The rationale for this name,
he explained, was that ‘Ahmad’ was one of the two names of the Holy
Prophet (the other name being Muhammad). The names ‘Ahmad’ and ‘Muhammad’
symbolised the inner and outward glory of Islam, respectively. Therefore,
it was appropriate that the Movement, which believed that Islam’s
mission in the present age was to show the beauty of its teachings
by gentle preaching, should be given the name Ahmadiyya. Founding
of a Jamaat [Movement] also fulfilled the requirement of the
Quranic verses I recited at the beginning. Ahmadiyya Movement are
the party from among the Muslims who invite to good and enjoin
the right and forbid the wrong.
Ahmadiyyat is a spiritual movement that believes that spiritual
experiences are actual, objective realities and it stresses the
necessity of man attaining nearness to God. Yet, it is also a rational
movement, which applies the test of reason in understanding belief,
and does not accept blind faith nor accounts of miracles and supernatural
occurrences when these are unsubstantiated and without purpose.
It is a liberal movement in the interpretation of Islamic teachings
and law, but it derives its liberal stance from the Holy Quran and
the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah
be upon him.
Ahmadis firmly and totally adhere to the injunctions of the Quran
and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings
of Allah be upon him.
It is a modern movement in that it believes that Muslims must accept
all the good that the modern world has to offer and adjust to the
new times and not to retreat into a closed world of their own. Yet
it also preaches most emphatically that the modern world cannot
survive unless it accepts Islamic principles for its moral and spiritual
It is a tolerant movement, which believes that Islam allows full
freedom of thought, belief, religion and expression to all, non-Muslims
as well as Muslims. It believes in developing dialogue, understanding
and co-operation both between Muslims and non-Muslims and among
Muslims belonging to different sects. At the same time, the Movement
strives to the utmost to convince others that the truth, in its
whole form, is to be found in Islam only, and that the mission of
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the most effective and appropriate
way for the progress of Islam in this age.
Having presented to you a brief introduction to the Ahmadiyya Movement
I will move on to the second key word I have used and that
is defence. I have used this word in the sense
of protecting, guarding and securing. The question arises, was Islam
ever in danger from any force or was there any danger to its existence
and so needed to be protected. If that was true then did the Ahmadiyya
Movement play any role in its defence?
To answer this question, let me take you back in time to around
1876 when Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj and Christianity, the three great
movements of the time joined hands to annihilate Islam. Following
their lead other minor forces of the time both religious and political
launched a full out attack on Islam.
Arya Samaj was an offshoot of the Hindus. This movement was formed
to wipe out Islam and in accordance with its manifesto it leashed
out malicious propaganda against Islam and the person of the Holy
Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
The world was flooded with books, pamphlets and missionaries under
the instructions of Swami Dayanand, the founder of Arya Samaj.
This was a time when the Muslims of the world in general and those
of India in particular, were caught in great turmoil. The political
condition of Muslims had hit an all-time low. All Muslim states
were falling like dominoes to foreign occupation forces. The Muslim
rule in India, Sudan and Egypt was lost to the British; that in
Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco was lost to France. Spain had occupied
parts of North Africa; Tripoli (Libya) was taken by Italy; Zanzibar
had been divided between the Germans and the British. Turkistan
was taken by Russia and Afghanistan was reduced to the status of
a native princely state of India, and was completely under British
influence. The Arabian Peninsula had no life left in it. The defeat
of Tipu Sultan (1750-1799), Muslim Ruler of Mysore, India, who battled
against the British rule in India, was the last nail in the coffin
of Muslim hopes.
The religious position of Muslims was even weaker than their political
one owing to their illiteracy and inability to cope with the challenges
of the developing world. As they were not able to defend their religion
logically, the scholars and preachers of other religions found them
an easy target. They raised false accusations about Islam, the Holy
Prophet (pbuh) and the Holy Quran. Millions of Muslims embraced
other religions in shear frustration. Such was the desperation of
the Muslims that many poets had started lamenting the hopelessness
of the Muslims in their poetry. The most renowned Muslim poet of
the period, Maulana Altaf Hussain Hali very accurately depicted
this condition of the Muslims in a long poem titled ‘Mussadas-i-Hali’.
The state of his desperation can be gauged from the very opening
verses in which he says:
If you want to see how the nations fall,
See the falling of a tree that stood tall.
Witness Islam in its declining days,
It is unable to see the distant rays.
It is convinced there will be no rise,
After the sun has set from the skies.
In a few more verses, that I have further translated for you, he
goes on to say:
You may liken this sleeping Nation,
To a sinking ship; in an ocean deep.
The shore is far; the storm is raging,
Those aboard see waves high and steep.
They make no effort to save their ship,
For they hate to wake from their sleep.
The dark clouds cover them from all sides,
Wrath of God is descending from the sky.
Death is approaching from all around them,
The calls of warning are approaching nigh,
‘Why have you forgotten the glory of yester-years,
‘Why this slumber, when will you open your eye.’
This Nation, takes no heed,
This Nation has accepted its fall.
This Nation, has fallen to the ground,
This Nation does not heed the call,
This Nation, has neither shame for its decline,
Nor envy for those that now stand tall.
The crusades that the Christian missionaries had started against
Islam, at that time, were not like the crusades of the middle ages,
waged with arms. These were waged with the pen. Their attack on
Islam was four-pronged:
Firstly, it was based on exploiting the ascendant
position ascribed to Jesus through the wrong interpretations of
the Quran and the Hadith [Sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad
(pbuh)] by the Muslim ‘ulama’ [clerics]. This made Jesus
not only look superior to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and
blessings of Allah be upon him, but also endowed him with a touch
Secondly, they collected a horde of mythical and fabricated
sayings and wrong interpretations by the Muslim clergymen of the
allegorical verses of the Quran.
Thirdly, they used objections raised by the atheists and
the materialists against, religion in general, and Islam in particular.
Fourthly, they published numerous books based on fabrications
implicating the Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon
him. Many pictures like the one showing the Holy Prophet worshipping
the sun and another showing him holding the Quran in one hand
and a sword in the other were distributed to defame Islam.
The ‘ulama’ of the time were unacquainted with the English
language, sciences and the Western philosophy, so they were unable
to respond to the allegations. They responded by issuing fatwas
or decrees of kufr [heresy] on those who challenged Islam.
As Maulana Hali says, and I translate for you his verse:
Once they declare the day to be night,
They insist on it with all their might,
Till everyone agrees they are right.
This then was the situation when Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian
claimed to be a Mujaddid [Reformer in Islam] and stood up
to defend Islam. He wrote eighty-three books in order to show the
real face of Islam to the world. The first and the most renowned
of these books, Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya was published in 1884.
In this work the truth of the teachings of Islam was established
by forceful arguments, and the objections against Islam by Arya
Samaj, Brahmo Samaj and Christians were powerfully refuted. This
book was widely lauded and Mirza Sahib was acclaimed as the defender
of Islam. For example, after going through this book, Maulvi Muhammad
Hussain Batalavi, a top scholar and a leading figure of the Ahl-i-Hadith
party of the Punjab, wrote the following review and I quote:
In our opinion this book, at this time and in
view of the present circumstances, is such that the like of it has
not appeared in Islam up to now, while nothing can be said about
the future. Its author, too, has been so constant in the service
of Islam, with his money, life, pen and tongue, and personal experience
that very few parallels can be found in the Muslims. If anyone considers
our words to be an Asian exaggeration, let him show us at least
one such book which so vigorously fights all the opponents of Islam,
especially the Arya and Brahamo Samaj, and let him name two or three
persons who have supported Islam, not only with their wealth, lives,
pen and tongue, but also by personal spiritual experience, and who
have boldly thrown the challenge to all the opponents of Islam and
the deniers of Divine revelation, that whoever doubts the truth
of God speaking to man, he may come and observe it for himself,
thus giving other religions a taste of this experience (Isha'at
as-Sunnah, vol. vii, no. 6, pp.169-170).
All the books that followed were filled with irrefutable arguments
in favour of Islam and also contained answers to the questions and
objections raised by opponents of Islam. He delivered lectures,
entered into debates and wrote and published thousands of pages
in support of Islam. He created a Jamaat, the sole purpose
of which was to propagate and defend Islam. He firmly believed that
the Quran is not dependent on the reason of anyone, but it contains
its own reasoning within its covers. So he declared that the reasons
presented by him are no other than the reasoning and arguments of
the Holy Quran. Any philosophy, which agrees with the Quranic philosophy,
is true, and any philosophy that is opposed to the Quranic philosophy
is false, whether it be the philosophy of Aristotle or Plato, or
whether it be the philosophy of Europe or America.
He was highly successful in fulfilling his holy mission within
a period of less than thirty years. The Muslims now had in their
hands valuable literature and solid arguments contributed by the
Reformer and Defender of Islam, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani. This
reversed the situation and the Muslims not only started coming back
to their religion but also started converting people to it.
Having thrown light on how the Ahmadiyya Jamaat has defended
Islam, I come to the third key word of my speech and that is ‘spreading’.
I have used this word in the sense of propagation, increasing
in number and presenting it anew in its true beauty and grandeur.
Having had success in India he turned his attention to carry the
message of Islam to the other countries of the world, especially
the West. He was convinced that the sun of Islam would rise from
the West as was foretold by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace
and blessings of Allah be upon him.
Born, brought up and educated in a small village, Qadian, in Punjab,
India, he had no formal education in English and had no access to
the modern books on philosophy.
He was in communion with Allah and was chosen by Him to defend
the religion and reform the Muslims and defend them against the
onslaught on their religion. As he wrote:
God has illuminated my heart with His Light and
He talks to me and has appointed me so that I should declare to
the world on the basis of my own observation and experience, that
God exists and He is a Living God. Even today He discloses Himself
to His chosen servants and answers their prayers and converses with
The Lahore Ahmadiyya Anjuman undertook this Jihad [religious
strive] of spreading and defending Islam. His able disciples like
Hazrat Maulana Noor-ud-din, Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali, Khawaja
Kamal-ud-Din, Maulana Sadr-ud-Din, Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig, and many
other revered and knowledgeable members of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat
fulfilled his belief and carried out the Jihad to propagate
Much is heard these days of jihad and of militant Islamic
parties in Muslim countries, and elsewhere, calling on the faithful
to put this teaching of Islam into practice in order to overthrow
"man-made" or "satanic" systems of government and replace these
with what is called Islamic rule and government. What is less in
the public eye is the jihad which the Ahmadiyya Movement
has been engaged in throughout the twentieth century, of peacefully
disseminating knowledge of Islam in the world and striving to prove
its truth, doing so particularly in Western countries. The battlefield
of this jihad is not any territory on earth but the hearts
and minds of human beings, and the weapons with which it is fought
are not the guns and the bombs but arguments and evidence. This
form of jihad is not merely a metaphorical or secondary interpretation
of this well-known Islamic teaching, but it is, in fact, the real,
the permanent and the greatest form of jihad. The repeated
exhortations of the Holy Quran to the believers, to strive (do jihad)
with their lives and property, all apply to the jihad of
the peaceful propagation of Islam as much as they did to the battles
which the Muslims had to fight in self-defence during the life of
the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
When in today’s materialistic environment it is held, by non-Muslims
and Muslims alike, that success can only be achieved by means of
political, military or some other worldly form of power, how can
one believe that Islam, of all religions and ideologies, shall spread
in the world without the support and backing of some power or state?
This is the question we now explore.
The task was carried out through the strategy of translation of
the Holy Quran into several languages including English, Urdu, French,
German, Spanish, Dutch, Russian and Javanese. Translation into several
other languages is presently under progress. The Jamaat has
also produced a treasure of Islamic literature, which has attracted
thousands of truth seekers to the fold of Islam. Added to this is
the creation of missions and mosques in several countries of the
The Jamaat has kept pace with modernisation and has fully
used the electronic media. The Jamaat and its branches are
operating several websites in many international languages to provide
access to users all over the world. Most of our literature is now
In my address to you today, I have given you information about
Ahmadiyya Jamaat and thrown light on its role in defence and
propagation of Islam. I have also told you how Hazrat Mirza Ghulam
Ahmad gave back Islam its strength and identity and made it a religion
of the global village he envisaged in the future.
I would like to conclude by asking myself a question and then trying
to answer it. The question is, ‘Why the rejection of a man who defended
Islam when it was facing pangs of death and presented it as a religion
In the brief time at my disposal if I was to choose one reason
only, it would be the claim of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib that
the Promised Messiah and the Mahdi were to be raised from
amongst the Muslim Ummah and their mission would be to spread
Islam by knowledge, reason, argument and spirituality; the only
way open being the pen and the personal example of a practising
Muslim. This disappointed and disgusted the Muslims who were under
the mistaken notion that the mission of the Promised Messiah and
the Mahdi was to convert infidels at the point of the sword
and establish an Islamic kingdom. This wrong notion was a major
reason why the Muslims at large saw no great benefit in accepting
a Messiah and Mahdi who was not going to fight and win them
a kingdom. Thus the Promised Messiah had the same fate as the Messiah
who was crucified because he could not deliver the Kingdom of God
to the Jews in the sense they had perceived it.
Let us pray together for the progress and success of Islam and
spread of its teachings in their true form and spirit as envisaged
by the reformer of the time. Amen!