Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi
Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi (1888 1977), who bore the title
vidyarthi due to his extensive knowledge of the Hindu Vedas,
was a scholar of the major religions of the world and their languages,
and a missionary of Islam of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement. The
environment of multi-faith debate, polemic and discussion, prevailing
in the Indian subcontinent in the early 20th century, greatly influenced
and interested him. This was one reason why, in 1907, he joined
the Ahmadiyya Movement at the hands of its Founder, Hazrat Mirza
Ghulam Ahmad, as this Movement had a broad, universalistic outlook
towards other religions, regarding all of them as originally revealed,
a fact first disclosed by Islam.
In 1914, when the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam
was founded in Lahore by Maulana Muhammad Ali and his associates,
Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi joined this Muslim missionary society,
in which he worked for the rest of his life as missionary, journalist,
lecturer, writer and scholar. First he mastered the Hindu scriptures
and studied the Sanskrit language. Later on, he studied Hebrew and
other ancient languages of world scriptures. His purpose was two-fold:
(1) to be better equipped to refute the storm of criticism and vituperative
allegations against Islam and the Prophet Muhammad by the Hindu
Arya Samaj sect as well as Christian proselytisers; (2) to unearth
prophecies about the coming of the Holy Prophet Muhammad which,
according to Islam, are to be found in previously-revealed scriptures.
In the period 1918 to the 1940s, the Maulana was frequently called
upon, by various Muslim bodies throughout India, to represent Islam
in public debates against Arya Samaj Hindus and Christian missionaries.
He achieved supreme triumph in these debates, and his name became
renowned and legendary. He also wrote several Urdu books in response
to the Arya and Christian objections against Islam. On a purely
scholarly front, he published an Urdu translation of part of a Hindu
scripture, the Yajur Veda.
After the founding of Pakistan and the ending of the multi-faith
environment, the Maulana toured the countries of Trinidad, Guyana,
Suriname, and Fiji during the 1950s at the invitation of the local
Muslim communities, and gave lectures to large multi-faith audiences,
achieving fame and renown for his knowledge and noble character
in those countries as well. He also spent time in the U.S.A. during
1959-1962, collecting further material for the present book from
reference works in libraries.
He originally wrote Muhammad in World Scriptures in Urdu
as Mithaq-un-nabiyyin, published in 1936. Then he had it
translated into English and it appeared under the present title
in 1940. A little later he published a second part in Urdu. He then
went on to expand the English version considerably, which was published
in 3 volumes between 1966 and 1975.
Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi was renowned and respected not only
as a man of the highest learning and scholarship, but also as one
who was thoroughly upright and saintly, and a recipient of extensive
spiritual experiences. Having a humble and unassuming nature, and
well-known for his good humour, Maulana Vidyarthi served the cause
of Islam by pen, speech and personal example for more than sixty
years in a unique and rare way which will have its own place in
the history of religion.