Opening speech by Hazrat Amir Dr A. K. Saeed Pasha
at the Annual Prayer Congregation, December 2002, Lahore, Pakistan
[The new Head of the Community Dr Saeed Pasha gave this speech at the opening of this Gathering. The translation from Urdu is mainly by Athar Rasool, M.A., Pakistan.]
“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent,
the Merciful. By the time! Surely man is in loss, except those who believe and
do good, and exhort one another to Truth, and exhort one another to patience”
(The Holy Quran, 103:1-3).
My dear respected elders, brothers and sisters,
Assalamo alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh
I dedicate this address to our respected elder Mr. Malik Saeed Ahmad and to young Nurullah Mohsin Saqib as well. Mr. Malik Saeed Ahmad is the person who, based on his visions, has been asking me continuously through correspondence to take the responsibility of leading the Jama‘at but I had been reluctant to do so. The young Nurullah is the grandson of our esteemed Uncle Mr. Abdul Ghafur Saqib. The reason I am addressing him is that I envisage a day when this child will grow up and see the Ahmadiyya Movement free from the fetters of current legal and constitutional restrictions. And it will be then that Nurullah and other children like him will be able to grow up in a free atmosphere. I am also addressing the girls and ladies of the Jama‘at who are bringing up our Ahmadiyya treasure. They should educate them properly and look after them with full care and attention. They should present the Ahmadiyya Movement to their offspring with conviction and with a sense of pride.
I have recited surah al-‘Asr before you. All of you know its translation and commentary very well. There are several meanings of the word ‘asr which include: age, time, day and night, the time for ‘Asr prayer and any moment in point of time. Recently while studying Hazrat Allama Hakim Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s commentary of the Quran, I found out that ‘Asr also means essence. Allah solemnly puts forward Islam as an essence of all the religions and also alluded to the phenomenon of the fleeting time. ‘Asr can include any span of time, ranging from centuries to a smallest fraction of a moment.
Allah always provides man with an opportunity to take a decision. And if he takes a wrong decision at a particular moment, he suffers gravely. I was also going to take a wrong decision and I am still wondering whether the decision I have made is a correct one. But it gives me great satisfaction when I see that this decision was not mine but of the General Council which has the trust and confidence of the whole Jama‘at. If a single hand out of the fifty members had been raised against me, then I might have had an excuse that there are more able persons than me who should be given the chance. But that was the moment of ‘Asr as all the members present gave a unanimous decision in my favour and there was no hesitation at all in anyone’s mind.
I thought that, may be, I would be rejected or would escape from assuming this responsibility if the request of relieving me was turned down by the employing authorities. But nothing happened. The officers concerned said that they would not like to become a hindrance. If Allah had decided it for you, then we are with you, they said. Before attending the General Council meeting, I had decided that if the members of the Council selected me, I would certainly leave my job even if I don’t get a single penny as pension or any other benefits and that would not be a loss for me in any sense.
I did not take this decision for any monetary benefits. This deal is between myself and Allah. Hazrat Allama Maulana Hakim Nur-ud-Din had done the same deal and had not been wasted by Allah. The same was the case with Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali, Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din, Hazrat Dr. Saeed Ahmad Khan, and Hazrat Dr. Asghar Hameed. That is why I have complete trust in Allah that He will never waste me. I need your cooperation and support. You are my strength. A single person can never do wonders alone.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, was the Last prophet and the most perfect model for mankind. We firmly believe in the Finality of prophethood and that no prophet neither new or of old will come after him. This message should be conveyed to every one, that the Lahore Jama‘at considers him as the Last prophet. The chain of Mujaddids (ordained Reformers) will continue. Elders of the Jama‘at carried on the work of defending and propagating Islam entrusted to them by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Mujaddid of the 14th century and Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam. They have fulfilled their responsibility with conviction, sincerity, wisdom and zeal. They are respected and remembered by us in the choicest words. These honourable personalities had not received religious education at any recognized theological institution. Instead they had obtained their knowledge and deep understanding of Islam through the grace of Allah and love for the Holy Prophet Muhammad. They had open minds and broad vision. Their hearts had been imbued with the spiritual insight blessed by Allah. I also pray to Allah to provide me with the essential knowledge so that I may be able to guide you to the best of my ability.
There are numerous varieties of plants in this world. Our Jama‘at is one such blessed plant which had been planted by our Imam in accordance with the will of Allah. It will continue growing whether we do something for it or not. In my view, its growth resembles that of a Chinese bamboo tree. It is said that during its first year, the stem and roots of this tree grow at the same rate. During the second, third and fourth years, the roots go on growing deeper and deeper, but the stem remains at the same height. Then at the 5th year the stem suddenly attains an astonishing height of 80 feet. I hope this plant of the Ahmadiyya Movement which apparently looks small now, due to adverse circumstances, will grow like the Chinese bamboo tree in the not far distant future. What is required is your full cooperation and devotion. To express to you my feelings of responsibility regarding the leadership that you have bestowed upon me, and my state of seeking of help from Allah, I would like to quote some verses of poetry of the Promised Messiah:
“O Allah help me now with Your blessings
So that the ship of Islam may survive this violent storm.
Overlook my weaknesses and shortcomings
So that the enemy who is accursed may not be happy over this state.
O Allah! Shower Your blessings on Islam and come to its rescue
Hear the supplications of servants on this wrecked ship.
It is You alone, my Beloved, Who can do something about it,
Otherwise the tribulation is increasing day by day.
This cool breeze has started blowing now after a long time
Who knows when this will blow again and spring come.
Weak are we, O Allah, lift us up with Your hands,
Feeble are we, so remove all the burden from us.”
(Foreword in Urdu to the Arabic book, I‘jaz al-Masih, 20 February 1901)
Allah has Himself laid down the foundation of this Movement. Communities are ready to join its ranks. These people will be with you soon. The good news may come from U.S.A., from Egypt, the Middle East and from other parts of the world. You will see that people in great numbers are ready to join us as it has been destined by Allah. Nothing is impossible for Him.
Listen to how the Promised Messiah fervently prays for the devoted members of the Jama‘at:
“May Allah be with every devotee who bears hardship for undertaking a journey to join this annual spiritual gathering. May Allah bless him with great rewards and blessings, and have mercy on him. May the Beneficent Allah solve his problems and remove his difficulties. May Allah guard him from sorrows and cure his illnesses and fulfil his noble wishes. Such a person on the Day of Judgment will be among persons who shall be blessed and rewarded. O Merciful and Gracious Allah accept our submissions and grant us resounding dominance over the opponents with clear signs as it is You alone Who has the authority to bestow every honour and ability.”
As far as my personal background is concerned, I am not a student of religion. I am a doctor by profession. When I applied for admission, only holders of at least second division could apply. I had hardly managed to secure this minimum required standard as I had spent most of my time in activities like body building, drama, college elections etc. Therefore the outcome was not against expectations. I could have missed my admission in case I had secured even one number short of second division; or if I had not been the son of a doctor as I got my admission on seats reserved for doctors’ children.
I started off my medical studies in this manner. However at that moment, I did make a firm commitment to myself to work hard. And by dint of this commitment, I graduated from Medical College, became a professor, was made head of my Department, and obtained a degree of higher studies of MRCP from the United Kingdom and was also conferred honorary fellowship of College of Physicians, London and College of Physicians and Surgeons, Pakistan. I also became Examiner of post graduate examinations in Pakistan and abroad. I was also selected as principal of my College but could not continue the post because of my affiliation to the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement.
You can see how Allah has been kind to me in various ways and bestowed upon me His mercies and blessings. Though I had to face hardships being an Ahmadi, yet Allah specially blessed me with patience and firmness. I can compare my present appointment with my admission to the medical college and hope to shoulder the heavy responsibility put upon me by the General Council. I promise that I will try to succeed in obtaining ‘fellowship’ for the Jama‘at as well with the same commitment and hard work which I had made at the start of my medical career. Your prayers and active cooperation will surely help me in discharging my responsibilities to the best of my ability.
Many people had asked me to become Amir of the Jama‘at but I refused as I loved my profession, and worldly allurements and prospects of promotions in this profession and a bright future ahead. I had my professorship, chances of obtaining a high post in international organizations such as the World Health Organization and also chances of obtaining high grades and various other lucrative distinctions and privileges. These were the hurdles in the way of my decision. But when I prayed to Allah for guidance and steadfastness during the blessed nights of the month of Ramadan, I saw a dream in which I saw myself sitting on a huge rock which was rocking violently and it was becoming difficult for me to keep myself steady on it. In the meanwhile a person approached me from a distance. I thought that he would also request me to become Amir. He asked me angrily as to why I propose others to take the responsibility and do not take it myself. Some other persons followed him and kept on getting on to the rock and suddenly the shaking rock became steady. Then (during the same dream) I related to the people accompanying me a childhood story of a shepherd who took all wise and correct decisions while sitting on a specific rock but the moment he stepped down from it he became like an ordinary shepherd. Then I recited the opening words of verse 26 of chapter 3 of the Holy Quran — “O Allah, Owner of the Kingdom, Thou givest the kingdom to whom Thou pleasest.” At this point I started weeping profusely. Before I could complete the recitation of the verse, I woke up and completed the remaining part of the verse.
When I consulted persons having knowledge about dreams and their interpretation, it was revealed that rock symbolizes a nation or a movement, and sitting on it signifies to hold an important post. The person narrating a story to others indicates that he is likely to get some sort of leadership. The one who recites this particular verse in a dream, he shall be rewarded with the blessings promised in it. So in a way it was a directive given to me that I should accept the responsibility and consequently the state of weakness in my mind had gone away and it provided courage to accept the challenge. Next morning when I woke up, I changed my earlier decision of not accepting the responsibility and here I am standing before you just because of that heavenly guidance given to me through that dream. I request all of you to remember me in your daily prayers, and to have faith that the above prayer really refers to the entire Jama‘at. I asked a pious lady who observed I‘tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadan, for whom did she pray most during those blessed days? She replied that she prayed most for me as I had become the Amir of the Jama‘at. I hope and am confident that all of you will pray for me like she did.
As a teacher I know that first an objective is determined, then a plan is prepared to achieve it. And then adequate resources and competent persons to implement the plan are selected. The objectives of our Movement have already been outlined by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, in his books, speeches and exhortations and he has impressed upon his followers with full conviction, strong arguments and prophecies that the propagation and preaching of true Islam is our first and foremost objective. Another important objective is to inculcate deep love and devotion for Allah in our daily prayers and to live a life in complete accord with the Sunna of the Holy Prophet. We should set a noble example for others. Every individual and each Jama‘at should be a source of inspiration for others in conveying the message of the Ahmadiyya Movement. Therefore there is a great need that we should pay special attention towards reforming our own selves and consolidating the Jama‘at and putting into action plans for its welfare.
Once we have determined our objectives, the next step is to prepare a viable strategy. In educational language, it is known as Instructural Strategy. All the Jama‘ats both inside and outside of Pakistan will be part of this strategy. We will assess their needs and problems and will try to plan according to the means available. We should consider the Central Anjuman as the Master gland which provides nourishment and strength to smaller glands in the body to keep the body working and in healthy condition to undertake and accomplish future plans in life. The current situation must be evaluated afresh so that deficiencies in attaining our objectives may be taken note of and steps are taken to remove them.
The task of planning and gathering information has become easier these days through computers and the Internet. During the last one month, I have received numerous e-mails from various Jama‘ats and individuals from all over the world. I could not have managed to attend to them all. My youngest son helped me by reading them out to me every morning and replied to them according to my instructions, for which I am thankful to him. In this way my contact has been established with Jama‘ats in South Africa, Fiji, Indonesia, New Zealand, U.S.A., Canada, U.K., Australia, Holland, Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname etc.
On the eve of Eid al-Fitr, I dispatched greetings to all the Jama‘ats through the Internet. A number of people replied to my greetings and some even sent their suggestions and also asked for help. For instance, the Auckland Jama‘at in New Zealand requested for help to make arrangements for Dars-i Quran and said that they are waiting for Brother Shaukat Ali of Bangkok to come and do something about it. I suggested to them that instead of waiting for Brother Shaukat Ali, some people should volunteer to do it themselves. They should study the English translation of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali, commentary of part 30 of the Quran by Dr. Basharat Ahmad and Dars-i Quran by Mr. Naseer Ahmad Faruqui which have now been translated into English, and give Dars based on these sources. We will help in this connection as well.
These days knowledge and information on different subjects are available on the Internet. All our important books, booklets and articles both in English and Urdu are available on our two websites run by the A.A.I.I.L. of U.S.A. (www.muslim.org) and the Holland Jama‘at (www.aaiil.org). They keep on adding material and information with regularity. These sources should be made use of. Computers are now available in most of our homes. So I will request parents to spend at least 15 to 20 minutes of their time everyday at the computer with their children and take advantage of the on-going material available at these websites. In this way they will be able to keep themselves and their children abreast of matters relating to Islam and the Ahmadiyya Movement.
More attention is also needed towards imparting religious education to our women and children and also to bring closer ties between members of the Jama‘at through marriage and other social activities. The initial work has been started in this regard. A proforma has been issued which will collect the following data of each person and members of the family: name, age, education, status of service and other details. I request all of you who are present here to please fill this form and hand it over to the office. Similarly all members living throughout Pakistan should make it a point to fill the form and send it to the Central office in Lahore. We will try our best to tabulate all the data thus collected and chalk out plans accordingly.
Another important task is to computerize all the Arabic, Urdu and English books available in the Saliha Zahur Ahmad Memorial Library of the Central Anjuman in Darus Salaam. The treasure of knowledge lying in this Library can be made available not only to our members here but also in other cities and countries. The present librarian, our worthy elder Qazi Abdul Ahad, has a computer-like brain and he knows all the books and their details. He helps people with his knowledge. All this information needs to be put into the computer so that whenever anyone anywhere in the world requires a reference we can supply it to them through the Internet in a very short time. Though most of our important publications are already on the website, yet there are still many books not scanned so far, which we can supply to people by photocopy.
I have deputed some young men to prepare a list of frequently-asked questions and objections about the Ahmadiyya Movement. Detailed answers with references, when prepared, will be made available on the website as well.
Similarly, there is a great need to develop close contact and frequent communication with members of the Jama‘at within Pakistan and abroad. This year two of my sons are in the U.K. for higher studies. We remember them every day and wish to contact them through the phone or the Internet or to know about their welfare through some letter or otherwise. Why don’t we have similar concern and anxiety for our Ahmadi brothers and sisters scattered throughout the world, that we should be in touch with them, and be thinking about how we can help them? Similarly, they should also be anxious to keep in touch with us, to know of our plans and to help us in them. We should seriously think about this and adopt immediate steps to develop close contact through frequent communications.
We should establish our identity as Ahmadis and should feel pride that we have recognized the Imam of the age who had been prophesied by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him. It gave me great satisfaction when I saw our youth taking active part in the Annual Prayer Congregation. We should utilize fully their capabilities and zeal for the Movement.
We should make special efforts for organising Dars-i Quran, the five daily prayers and religious instruction and education in all Jama‘ats. Today the mosque was full at the Fajr prayer which is a commendable thing. In future if we see rows even outside the main hall, then that would be a sign of progress. Similar progress should be visible in all aspects of the activities of the Jama‘at. Mere tall talk or written reports are not enough, some concrete results must be visible. We must see progress with our own eyes. This will give encouragement to the members and workers of the Jama‘at to go forward even further.
At the start of my speech I had mentioned Malik Saeed Ahmad sahib by name. We should pay due respect to such pious personalities who through devotion and sincere prayers have attained close relationship with Allah. I had met him last year at this very place and had asked him how to attain nearness to Allah. In reply Malik sahib had told me to stick to Tahajjud prayers and repeat the Darud Sharif in them. I followed his advice all year and saw the results in my life. His advice benefitted me very greatly and I hope I will find its blessings in the next life as well.
Now I am going to relate another dream of mine, although I do not like relating my dreams to others. However, sometimes it is useful to do so when it concerns others. In my dream I saw that I am sitting in a beautiful, bright, well-decorated office in Darus Salaam Colony. A number of beautiful evergreen plants are placed all around it, which are of different sizes. Some are big, some average and the remaining are very small. I am watering these plants with a big pot and saying to myself: How cruel are people who do not fear Allah and want to see these plants die which have been planted by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him. Among the plants I saw some very tiny plants and I was afraid even to sprinkle water over them lest I damage them. Then during my dream I thought that I should consult my wife, who is fond of plants and has experience of looking after them, as to how to take care of these small plants so as not to damage them. This means there is need to nurture the young and we need the whole family especially women to make an effort to save these small saplings from withering away.
The point is that among the followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, there are some people of strong faith, some have average faith, while the remaining are weak. Among them are also youths and children who will grow in their faith and will in future serve the cause of Islam with greater zeal and devotion. We should plan for their spiritual training. We should also spend all our resources on their proper upbringing in every respect. We will have to save these plants of the Holy Prophet Muhammad from the unrighteous, anti-faith powers who want these plants to wither.
Sinlessness of the Prophets
by Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi
[In answer to a question asked by a Christian who is in discussion with one of our friends, we reproduce this article from volume 3 of ‘Muhammad in World Scriptures’. In this book quotations from the Bible were taken from the King James translation. We have replaced these by the more modern translation in the Revised Standard Version. — Editor ]
It is regrettable indeed that Christians have tried, most audaciously, to bring against the holy prophets of God heinous charges of having committed sinful deeds. But in the Old Testament, as will be shown, the prophets have been held to be sinless and pure, and this finds support also in the New Testament.
The first arrow of sinful accusation from the quiver of the Christian missionaries is darted at Adam, the progenitor of the human race. Sin, it is alleged, came into the human race through the fault of Adam, of whom God the Most High has laid it down as a principle that He created him in His (God’s) own image:
“Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. … So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him.” — Genesis, 1:26–27
“When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. Male and female He created them, and blessed them, and named them Man when they were created.” — Genesis, 5:1–2
“When Adam had lived a hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, after his image.” — Genesis, 5:3
“For God made man in His own image.” — Genesis, 9:6
“For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God.” — 1 Corinthians, 11:7
“With it we bless the Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so.” — James 3:9,10
“For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet woman will be saved through bearing children.” — 1 Timothy, 2:14; Genesis, 3:1–6, 13; 2 Corinthians, 11:3.
In the above-quoted texts it has been stated categorically that not only Adam was made in the image of God, but his son, too, was created in the same image.
After that, Enoch, called Idrees in the Quran, was born among their children; and it is said of him:
“Enoch walked with God … 300 years, … Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” — Genesis, 5:22–24
After Enoch, Prophet Noah was the next great personality of the world. Of him it is written:
“Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God.” — Genesis, 6:9
“Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation’.” — Genesis, 7:1
It was revealed to Prophet Ezekiel in respect of Noah:
“…even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, says the Lord God.” — Ezekiel, 14:14, 16, 18
“Noah … became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith.” — Hebrews, 11:7
The Most High God Himself said to Abraham:
“Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” — Genesis, 15:1
“I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless.” — Genesis, 17:1
“By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, … and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves.” — Genesis, 22:16, 18
“… and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.” — Genesis 24:1
“… Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” — Genesis, 26:5
In the terminology of sacred scriptures, “Abraham’s bosom” is the holy place in heaven whereto will be taken the souls of the good and righteous people after death on account of their nice and noble deeds. We read in the Gospels :
“The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades (hell), being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom.” — Luke, 16:22–23
“I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.” — Matthew, 8:11–12; Luke, 13:28–30
Abraham has been called siddiq, i.e. the truthful, in the sacred scriptures. The Holy Quran, too, speaks of him as a truthful man, a prophet. In the holy book of the Jews, Maqabayan, the term siddiq has been defined to denote that person who lays down his life for the sake of his faith, or sets a seal of his blood on the truthfulness of his religion (Maqabayan, IV, 13, 17). In the Sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad also, the significance of small children sitting in Abraham’s bosom is that in the matter of sinlessness and purity of heart Abraham had been given the exalted rank of a high degree.
Sinlessness of Moses
The Old Testament speaks in highly dignified terms of the greatness, excellence and purity of Moses:
“You shall do My ordinances and keep My statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My ordinances, by doing which a man shall live: I am the Lord.” — Leviticus, 18:4–5
When Jesus was baptized with the water of Jordan, the Holy Ghost descended upon him (Matthew, 3:16; Mark, 1:9–10; Luke, 3:21–22). But Moses’ spirit was given to the seventy elders, and “when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied” (See Numbers, 11:17, 24–25, 29).
“Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all men that were on the face of the earth.” — Numbers, 12:3
“Not so with My servant Moses; he is entrusted with all My house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in dark speech; and he beholds the form of the Lord. ” — Numbers, 12:7, 8
“Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” — Exodus, 33:11
“Moses said to the Lord, See, Thou sayest to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but Thou hast not let me know whom Thou wilt send with me. Yet Thou hast said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favour in My sight’ … For how shall it be known that I have found favour in Thy sight, I and Thy people? Is it not in Thy going with us, so that we are distinct, I and Thy people, from all other people that are upon the face of the earth. And the Lord said to Moses, This very thing that you have spoken I will do; for you have found favour in My sight, and I know you by name.” — Exodus, 33:12, 16 , 17
“And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” — Deuteronomy, 34:10
Sinlessness and purity of other Prophets
Solomon thus addressed God:
“And Solomon said, Thou hast shown great and steadfast love to Thy servant David my father, because he walked before Thee in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart towards Thee.” — 1 Kings, 3:6
God said to Solomon:
“And if you will walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” — 1 Kings, 3:14
“David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life.” — 1 Kings, 15:5
It is written in respect of David :
“… and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you; and yet you have not been like My servant David, who kept My commandments, and followed Me with all his heart, doing only that which was right in My eyes.” — 1 Kings, 14:8; 11:33, 38; 15:5
Of Prophet Samuel it is written in the Old Testament:
“And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.” — 1 Samuel, 3:19
“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God, and turned away from evil.” — Job, 1:1, 8; 2:3
“But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed Me fully…” — Numbers, 14:24; and 32:12
“Remember now, O Lord, I beseech Thee, how I have walked before Thee in faithfulness and with a whole heart; and have done what is good in Thy sight. And Hezekiah wept bitterly.” — 2 Kings, 20:3
“Behold, the Lord God helps me (Isaiah); who will declare me guilty?” — Isaiah, 50:9
“And he (Josiah) did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.” — 2 Kings, 22:2
“Nevertheless the heart of Asa was blameless all his days.” — 2 Chronicles, 15:17
“And they (Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth) were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” — Luke, 1:6
In the face of all these clear and categorical scriptural statements on the sinlessness and purity of the prophets, the filthy stories imputed to them in the Old Testament are, beyond the least shadow of doubt, foul forgeries of a later date; and the findings of modern research, too, in the case of two or three such stories, have corroborated and proved to some extent the Quranic principle of the Sinlessness of Prophets.
Marmaduke Pickthall — his conversion to Islam as related by
His work for Woking Mission and his tribute to Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din
Compiled by the Editor
Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall (1875–1936) is well-known as one of the translators of the Holy Quran into English and a British convert to Islam. He is regarded as an orthodox, mainstream, Sunni Muslim. When Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din established the Woking Muslim Mission in England in 1913, Marmaduke Pickthall was not yet a Muslim but had become attracted to Islam. He was already well-known as a scholar and novelist. He began to take part in the activities organized by the Woking Muslim Mission. His subsequent acceptance of Islam is described in a brief report written by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din for Paigham Sulh, the Urdu periodical of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam Lahore.
Below we give an English translation of this report which was published in Paigham Sulh dated 16 January 1918 on page 4:
A Great, Good News
Acceptance of Islam by a famous English scholar and orientalist
Recent letter by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din
Brothers, assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh!
Readers of The Islamic Review will this year have been reading those invaluable articles in its pages which are a result of the high intellect of Mr Marmaduke Pickthall. Our friends will also remember his brilliantly unique speech which he made at the last function marking the birthday of the Holy Prophet Muhammad held at the Cecil Hotel, London. Its translation [in Urdu] was also published in book form from the office of the magazine Ishaat Islam, Aziz Manzil, Lahore. Reading that speech, and seeing the love that its author is seen to have in his heart for the Holy Prophet Muhammad, I received many letters asking whether there remained any obstacle to this learned orientalist accepting Islam? I knew well that no preaching or effort on my part could further increase this venerable man’s faith in Islam. However, for certain reasons, we did not reach the occasion for full rejoicing.
Eventually, many kinds of veils began to be lifted from the path of the light of Islam. Frequent meetings, socialising, correspondence and conversation did their work. It began to be said that this gentleman appears to be a Muslim. There can hardly be any week when he does not have occasion to make a speech somewhere or preside over a meeting. He is president of many associations. His speeches are full of the light of Islam and of great eloquence. What a blessed day was yesterday when I had to deliver a lecture in a fashionable part of London, Old Bond Street, on the Spirit of Worship. Mr Pickthall was chosen by the meeting to preside. My rejoicing knew no bounds when, while introducing me, he said the following words:
“Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din will speak on the Islamic spirit of worship. Although he and I belong to the same religion, and we are believers in the same scripture, but if I were to be asked to speak on this topic I would turn to him …”
What he said after this, only God knows. I cannot remember because I was so overcome by happiness. It is a favour of Allah that He has granted me the same ability and power of delivering speeches in this country with which my friends are familiar from my lectures in India. This lecture was itself on a spiritual topic and then this great news had worked magic on me. I rose, charged with enthusiasm and intoxicated with the love of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and thanked God a million times. The effect on my audience was so deep that I have not seen it in my lectures in India. Today I have received a letter from Kishab Chandar Sen, the son of the founder of the Brahmo Samaj [a sect of Hinduism] as follows:
“I am thankful to you for the very great spiritual and intellectual hospitality that you offered us. Permit me to say that it is the first time I have heard such spiritual talk from a Muslim. Never before have I felt such enjoyment. I congratulate you on how simply and yet effectively you shed light on this topic.”
By summarising this letter here I do not intend to prove how well I made the speech. The diction that God has granted me out of His grace, whether it is good or bad, is known to all. I want only to show that we Muslims have up to now not fulfilled our duty of the propagation of Islam. It is after coming to England that I today come to know of the great glory of Islam, and that too of its spiritual aspect of tasawwuf, about which I cannot claim to have comprehensive knowledge. Alas, we Muslims did not value Islam nor did we fulfil our obligation of propagating it.
I also quote here a letter from Mr Pickthall which I received today:
“A friend who has become a Muslim by his own study, and who has been in correspondence with me for some time, asks me if there is available a Quran that has the English translation in between the lines of Arabic text, the English rendering opposite the Arabic words …”
Mr Pickthall writes to me in this letter: ‘This man is a scholar’.
I ask Muslims, What reply can I give to this letter? That we have not done this service for you? So God bless Maulvi Muhammad Ali, M.A., who, after nine years of hard work, has made us able to say that we can give you a translation which, while being idiomatic, adheres most strictly to the original words. The worthy Maulana has shown immense wisdom in making his translation, as far as was possible, correspond closely to the original words. This is the commendable example which was first followed in India by the family of Shah Waliullah. This is integrity. The Maulvi sahib’s English translation follows the same principle as the Urdu translation of Shah Abdul Aziz and Shah Abdul Qadir.
It would be untrue for us to say that Mr Pickthall’s acceptance of Islam is due to our efforts. What we did was to establish a centre [at Woking, England] and presented Islam in its pristine purity, with the strength that God gave us. When we presented the philosophy, wisdom and rationality of Islam to this thinking world, it did not result in embarrassment for us. In this short time, at least wherever our writings and spoken words reached, it was conceded that Islam excels all other religions in terms of its simplicity, spirituality, depth of wisdom, thought, morality, civilization and theology. God granted us a community here which, although small in number, consists of persons of respectability, members of the nobility and those belonging to high lineage, scholars and people of excellent rank. Because of the existence of this centre, its acquiring this fame, and the creation of such a group of converts, many admirers of the beauty of Islam have come out from behind closed doors. Just now one Pickthall has emerged, but there are plenty of other shining stars like him hidden behind the clouds in the West. Arise, awaken, give up this negligence, and make the bright rays of the light of Islam to shine on the walls of the West. Then you will see that the time is near when you will hear other similar voices saying: This is our religion. But let us look at ourselves and see how inadequate our efforts are.
For the information of my friends, I quote here from the entry about Mr Pickthall given in the British book which lists famous people:
“Marmaduke William Pickthall, son of the late Rev. Charles Pickthall, rector of Chillesford [Suffolk], Educated at Harrow and various European countries. Travels: Spent several years in journey and study of places in the Ottoman empire and other countries of the East. Writings: Said The Fisherman, With the Turk in Wartime during the Balkan wars, Knights of Araby, …”
This shows the pedigree of this bright jewel. He is author of scores of books. If his early writings are compared with his present writings, one’s hearts becomes filled with the praise of Allah at the fact that the man who took up his pen on Islam in order to ridicule Islam became, in the end, captivated by its beauty. May Allah be praised for it.
— End of article by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din
. The function mentioned here by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din
was held on 6 January 1917 and Pickthall’s speech was published
in The Islamic Review, February–March 1917, pages 53–59.
. The name of the book is left blank in Paigham Sulh but presumably Who’s Who is meant.
. In the Urdu text in Paigham Sulh this name seems to read Visech or Wisech which presumably is a misprint for William.
Pickthall’s work with Woking Muslim Mission
A background of Pickthall and his association with the Woking Muslim Mission is given in The Islamic Review, February 1922, pages 42–43, in the section Notes. This is quoted below.
Mr Muhammad Pickthall, whose name is not unfamiliar to our readers, was born in 1875; educated at Harrow; and, at the impressionable age when most young men are contemplating a University career, was already in Palestine, laying, as it were, the foundation of that intimate understanding of the Near East and its conditions — religious, political, social and economic — which has made him, perhaps, the foremost English authority on the subject.
As a novelist he sprang to fame with the publication, in 1903, of Said the Fisherman, a Syrian romance which stamped its author as a literary individuality and a seeing observer. Other works from his pen include Enid (1904), Brendle (1905), The House of Islam (1906), The Myopes (1907), Children of the Nile (1908), The Valley of the Kings (1909), Pot an Feu (1911), Larkmeadow (1912), The House at War (1913), With the Turk in Wartime (1914), Tales from Five Chimneys (1915), Veiled Women (1916), Knights of Araby (1917), Oriental Encounters (1918), Sir Limpidus (1919), and The Early Hours (1921). He has been a frequent contributor to, among other journals, the Athenoeum, the Saturday Review, the New Age and the Near East, and is, at present, editor of the Bombay Chronicle.
Mr. Pickthall declared his faith in Islam in 1918, and has since taken a prominent part in Muslim activity in this country. During the period between the departure for India (owing to urgent reasons of health) of the Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din in the early spring of 1919, and the arrival of the Khwaja’s assistant in the autumn of that year, Mr. Pickthall conducted the Friday Prayers and delivered the sermons at the London Muslim Prayer House; led the Eid prayer and delivered the Sermon, and during the month of Ramadan in 1919 conducted the traveeh prayers at the London Prayer House, while throughout the whole period he was largely responsible for the editing of the [Islamic] Review. It is noteworthy that on his conversion to Islam, Mr. Pickthall, in the spirit of a true Muslim, refrained scrupulously from any thought of influencing his wife, and the fact that Mrs. Pickthall has now of her own free volition embraced the faith is but one of many indications of the modern trend of intelligent religious thought.
— End of quote.
On the next page in the same issue of The Islamic Review, a notice is given of the programme of Sunday Lectures for February 1922 as follows:
The following lectures will be delivered during the month of February at the London Muslim Prayer House, 111, Campden Hill Road, Notting Hill Gate, W. 8, at 5.30 p.m.:
February 5. — “Soul in Woman, and Islam,” by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din.
February 12. — “Islam and Socialism,” by Khwaja Nazir Ahmad.
February 19. — “A Fallen Idol,” by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall.
February 26. — “Three Stages of Human Mind,” by Muhammad Yakub Khan.
The three other lecturers mentioned, apart from Mr. Pickthall, were prominent members of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement who also worked for the Woking Muslim Mission. This again shows the close association of Pickthall with the Woking Mission.
Pickthall contributed regularly to The Islamic Review, a few examples being the following articles: A Sermon, February 1920; Women’s Rights in Islam, November 1920; Fasting in Islam, December 1920.
Pickthall’s tribute to Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din
Following the death of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din in December 1932, Pickthall wrote a letter to Khwaja Nazir Ahmad, son of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, which was published in the special issue of The Islamic Review devoted to his life, dated April–May 1933, on pages 140–141. Pickthall’s letter is reproduced below:
My dear Nazir Ahmad,
I heard of your sad loss some days ago and meant to write to you; but in the Ramadan mental seclusion I lost count of time and perhaps thought also that my remembrance of your father and thought of you at such a time might be understood, so that the formal letter seemed less urgent.
I have had a very clear remembrance of your father in these days as I saw him first in England in his prime, and of the impression which he made upon all who had the pleasure of meeting him. It is less as a missionary that I like to think of him — the word ‘missionary’ has mean associations — than as an ambassador of Islam. His return to India owing to ill-health was a blow to the cause in England from which it has hardly yet recovered.
I differed from him on some matters, as you know — relatively unimportant matters, they seem now — but my personal regard for him remained the same. And now, looking back upon his life-work, I think that there is no one living who has done such splendid and enduring service to Islam. The work in England is the least part of it. Not until I came to India did I realise the immense good that his writings have done in spreading knowledge of religion and reviving the Islamic spirit in lethargic Muslims; not only here, but wherever there are Muslims in the world his writings penetrated, and have aroused new zeal and energy and hope. It is a wonderful record of work, which could have been planned and carried out only by a man of high intelligence inspired by faith and great sincerity of purpose. Allah will reward him! To you I will only say, as the Arabs say to the survivor of a great worker, “The remainder is in your life.”
Accept the assurance of my deep and sincere sympathy.
On Maulana Muhammad Ali
The tribute paid by Pickthall to Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din quoted above brings to mind his review of Maulana Muhammad Ali’s book The Religion of Islam some three years later in 1936. It opens as follows:
“Probably no man living has done longer or more valuable service for the cause of Islamic revival than Maulana Muhammad Ali of Lahore. His literary works, with those of the late Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, have given fame and distinction to the Ahmadiyya Movement.”
Further on, he writes about the book The Religion of Islam:
“It is a description of Al-Islam by one well-versed in the Sunna who has on his mind the shame of the Muslim decadence of the past five centuries and in his heart the hope of the revival, of which signs can now be seen on every side. Such a book is greatly needed at the present day when in many Muslim countries we see persons eager for the reformation and revival of Islam making mistakes through lack of just this knowledge. …
“We do not always agree with Maulana Muhammad Ali’s conclusions upon minor points — sometimes they appear to us eccentric — but his premises are always sound, we are always conscious of his deep sincerity; and his reverence for the holy Quran is sufficient in itself to guarantee his work in all essentials. There are some, no doubt, who will disagree with his general findings, but they will not be those from whom Al-Islam has anything to hope in the future.”
— Islamic Culture, quarterly review published from Hyderabad Deccan, India, October 1936, pp. 659–660.
Such is the high regard in which Marmaduke Pickthall held these two foremost figures of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement. He viewed their services to Islam as unequalled by any other man living at that time, and he considered their work as reviving the true spirit of Islam at a time when Muslims were overcome by lethargy and decadence.
A response to the book ‘Unveiling Islam’ by Ergun Mehmet Caner and Emir Fethi Caner
compiled by directors of the AAIIL Inc., USA
[A book under the above title is being compiled by the Board members of the AAIIL Inc. U.S.A. The Preface to it is reproduced below.]
Misrepresentation of Islam
The tragic events of September 11, 2001 and the anti-Islamic propaganda being carried out by Christian evangelistic groups, have clearly spelled out the need for projecting the true picture of Islam. We have witnessed the horrific consequences of the erroneous interpretation of Islam by the religious zealots behind the events of nine eleven. We are also now experiencing the anti-Islamic campaign of misinformation being carried out in the media by the right wing Christian evangelistic movement. The Holy Quran prophesied such a turn of events for the Muslim nation:
“You will certainly be tried in your property and persons. And you will certainly hear from those who have been given the Book before you and from the idolaters much abuse. And if you are patient and keep your duty, surely this is an affair of great resolution. And when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Book: You shall explain it to men and shall not hide it. But they cast it behind their backs and took a small price for it. So evil is that which they buy. Think not that those who exult in what they have done, and love to be praised for what they have not done — think not them to be safe from the chastisement; and for them is a painful chastisement. And Allah’s is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is Possessor of power over all things.” (3:186–188).
We are also told in a hadith that Islam started its career as gharib (as a stranger in the land or as a sufferer at the hands of others) and it will once more (i.e., after rising to power) return to the state in which it began (Ibn Majah).
The Holy Quran in these verses tells us of a difficult time in the distant future when Muslims will have to face trials by loss of property and person. They will also have to face abuse from the people of the Book and the idolaters. The Holy Quran advises them to be patient and to keep their duty under such circumstances. In addition by giving example of those who were given the Book before them, a warning is given to the Muslims not to follow their footsteps, i.e., to explain and not hide the Book, not to be ignorant of its teachings and not to accept a small price (worldly gain) for it. Today we face such a state of affairs in the Muslim world. Events of the recent past have shown thousands of innocent lives being lost in Bosnia, Kosova, Palestine and Kashmir. The ignorance of the Muslim masses and the scholars about the teachings of the Book is as evident as are the vituperations of the people of the Book. We will consider both of these situations separately and then highlight the dire need for the world today to become aware of the true representation of Islam presented by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Mujaddid (Reformer) of this age.
Let us first consider the first group. The philosophy of this group is represented by the former Taliban regime and the organizations led by religious scholars (the Ulema) in Pakistan. Such Ulema groups are not just confined to Pakistan, they unfortunately exist in almost all Muslim countries. Where considered politically expedient, these groups are suppressed; however, in most cases, their views are not challenged as un-Islamic. This is primarily because of the lack of moral courage on part of the political establishment. They, as the Holy Quran says of them:
“take their doctors of law and their monks for lords besides Allah” (9:31).
Free expression in these societies is suppressed in the name of religion. They have ignored the Quranic principles of:
“there is no compulsion in religion…” (2:256)
“And whose affairs are (decided) by counsel among themselves” (42:38).
The Muslim masses in turn have also ignored the Divine command:
“Surely Allah commands you to make over (positions of) trust to those worthy of them” (4:58).
As a consequence of this we see non-democratic governments all over the Muslim world where free expression is subdued. Pakistan is a prime example of such a state currently in existence. The ‘doctors of law’ or the present day ulema have misinterpreted the principle of Jihad. There is blatant disregard for the sacred and equal rights of women granted to them in Islam, and we see women being sentenced to death and thrown in prisons under the guise of Sharia (religious) law. Blasphemy laws, and their imposition by the theocratic hegemony has stifled religious tolerance and has also led to the murder and incarceration of those who dare to differ. It has also caused the worst form of sectarian violence where murders are committed in mosques. The first victims of this religious intolerance were Muslims belonging to the Ahmadiyya movement. Political expediency does not allow for the redress of such inequities. Unfortunately this role model can be applied in some form or other to most Muslim states in existence today. Having thus briefly considered the first group, we would now like to discuss the second group.
The second group, which is giving Islam a bad name today, includes certain right wing Christian evangelical groups. Their modus operandi, which was subtle prior to September eleven, has now become more apparent and virulent. I will quote a few examples.
Noted tele-evangelist Pat Robertson recently proclaimed during a broadcast of the 700 clubs that Islam “is not a peaceful religion that wants to coexist. They want to coexist until they can control, dominate and then, if need be, destroy.” He continued: “I have taken issue with our esteemed president in regard to his stand in saying Islam is a peaceful religion. It’s just not. And the Quran makes it very clear, if you see an infidel, you are to kill him.”
Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, claimed: “The God of Islam is not the same God. It’s a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion.”
Most recently Jerry Vines, a Jacksonville Fla. Pastor and former president of the Southern Baptist, while addressing the Pastors Conference, which meets before the two-day annual meeting of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, remarked: “I’m here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that Islam is not just as good as Christianity. Christianity was founded by the virgin-born Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Islam was founded by Mohammed, a demon-possessed … [we seek the protection of Allah from this calumny]”, and he goes on to criticize the marriages of the Holy Prophet in the most vulgar manner.
Jack Graham, elected as the next president of the Southern Baptist, said: “I will not respond to Dr. Vines statement other than to say that anyone who follows any path who wants to go to heaven should look carefully at who they are following and what they believe.”
When angry Muslims confronted the former SBC president about his remarks last month, Vines said he was merely citing their own texts as quoted in the Caner brothers’ book, Unveiling Islam. The Caner brothers are three American brothers of Turkish origin, whose father was a Muslim. They converted to Christianity, and are now holding academic positions in Southern Baptist universities. They have written a book Unveiling Islam in which one of them, Emir Caner, writes: “Any honest account of Muhammad’s life can be summed up in the words complexity, expediency and depravity.” He writes: “By any measure the life on earth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, far exceeds Muhammad’s in integrity, grace and wisdom.”
Role of the Ahmadiyya Movement
The misinterpretation and misrepresentation of Islam by these two religiously diverse groups, brings us to the role of the Ahmadiyya movement in the post September 11 world. This does not differ much from the purpose of this movement from the time it was formed, i.e. the defense and propagation of Islam. The need for it is again more acute today. Attacks on Islam are very similar to those of the Christian missionary movement at the time of advent of the Mujaddid (Reformer) of this age and the ignorance of the Muslim scholars is likewise appalling. The mission of such reformers is ordained by the Divine word:
“Surely We have revealed the Reminder, and surely We are its Guardian” (15: 9).
It is also in accordance with the Hadith: “Surely Allah will raise up for this people (i.e., the Muslims) in the beginning of every century one who will revive for it its religion” (Abu Dawud, 36:1).
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad proclaimed to be such a Reformer for the fourteenth century Hijra. In his book Victory of Islam he describes the lamentable condition of the Muslims, and the dangers posed by the Christian missionary movement. In addition he prescribes the remedy for this condition:
“O you seekers of truth and true lovers of Islam! It is clear to you that this age in which we are living is a time of such darkness that great deterioration has taken place in all matters, whether relating to belief or action, and a severe storm of misguidance and evil is raging from every direction. What is termed faith has been replaced by a few words merely professed by the tongue; and what are called good deeds are considered to be some rituals or works of extravagance and show, while there is utter ignorance of true righteousness.”
Regarding the Christian propaganda he states:
“The teachings of the Christians too are digging all sorts of tunnels to blow up the edifice of truth and faith. In order to extirpate Islam, the Christian people have worked very hard to create all manner of subtle falsehood and fabrications, which they employ at every place and opportunity to rob the faith. Ever newer methods and modern techniques to mislead and misguide are invented. They are abusing and reviling that Perfect Man [the Holy Prophet Muhammad] who is the pride of all the holy ones, the crown of all the chosen ones, and the chief of all the prophets.”
Triumph of Islam by spiritual means
In this book he also points out that the triumph of Islam will be by spiritual means:
“No one should be hasty in denial, lest he be adjudged to dispute with God the Most High. The worldly people whose minds are in darkness and who are clinging to their old notions will not accept him. But that time will shortly come which will make their error manifest to them. A warner came into the world, but the world accepted him not. God, however, will accept him, and establish his truth with very powerful onslaughts. This is not the saying of a mortal, but the revelation of God the Most High and the word of the Glorious Lord. I believe that the days of these onslaughts are near, but they shall not be with the sword and spear, nor will there be any need for bayonets and guns. On the contrary, the help of God the Most High will come with spiritual armaments, and there will be a tremendous battle with the Jews. Who are they? They are today’s worshippers of the outward forms, about whom it is agreed that they are following in the exact footsteps of the Jews. The heavenly sword of God will cut them into two, and obliterate the Jewish trait. Every worshipper of the world, the one-eyed Dajjal who hides the truth, being blind to faith, shall be slain by the sword of cutting arguments.
Truth will be triumphant, and that day of freshness and brightness will dawn again for Islam as prevailed in earlier times, and the sun of Islam shall rise again in its glory as it rose before. But it is not so yet. It is essential that heaven must keep it from rising until our hearts bleed with toil and sacrifice, and we forsake all comforts for its manifestation, and accept all manner of humiliation for the honour of Islam. The revival of Islam demands of us a sacrifice. What is that? That we lay down our lives for this end. This is the death upon which depends the life of Islam and the Muslims, and the manifestation of the Living God — and this is what is known in other words as Islam. It is the revival of this Islam which God the Most High now wishes to bring about. For the implementation of this grand plan it was essential that He should create a great Movement, which is effective in every way.”
The reform carried out by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and the movement representing his work today (i.e., the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for Propagation of Islam) was largely ignored by the Muslim scholars and their followers. They labeled him and his followers as heretics and non-believers. One of these reforms was to correct the wrong concept of Jihad amongst the Muslims. Today we have seen the result of ignoring the voice of this Divinely inspired servant of Allah. Over the last hundred years, members of the Lahore Ahmadiyya movement have been defending the cause of Islam with their pens.
In responding to the anti-Islamic propaganda of the book Unveiling Islam, we will present material from the Ahmadiyya literature and show how important it is for the world today to appreciate this work of reformation.
We begin with: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
The Holy Quran, addressing the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), states:
“Surely We have granted thee a clear victory, that Allah may cover for thee thy (alleged) shortcomings in the past and those to come, and complete His favor to thee and guide thee on a right path” (48:1–2).
In our reply to the book Unveiling Islam we will, inshallah, reply to the alleged shortcomings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. In addition we hope that these articles will also provide impetus for the work of reformation amongst the Muslims. We will proceed in order with each chapter of the book and begin with the introduction.
Maulana Zafar Ali Khan’s support for British rule over Muslims of India
Compiled by the Editor
Maulana Zafar Ali Khan was a most famous Urdu journalist in pre-partition India, being editor of the newspaper Zamindar, and a campaigner for Muslim political causes. It has been said of him: “he was the father of Urdu journalism, … The Zamindar newspaper, when Zafar Ali Khan was the proprietor and editor, was the Urdu paper for the Muslims.” For this opinion by Syed Amjad Ali, see the webpage:
So respected is Maulana Zafar Ali Khan that his birth anniversary is commemorated in Pakistan.
Before 1920 Maulana Zafar Ali Khan had co-operated with Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din in some of the work of the Woking Muslim Mission in England. However, during the 1930s he turned against the Ahmadiyya Movement and waged a virulent campaign against it in his newspaper Zamindar.
All these credentials no doubt give Maulana Zafar Ali Khan a prominent position in the eyes of the anti-Ahmadiyya groups. There is an article by Maulana Zafar Ali Khan in the very first issue of The Islamic Review dated February 1913, the monthly magazine started by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din from Woking, England. It is titled as follows:
The Struggle in the Near
East and Muslim Feeling in India —
An Appeal to the British Public
by Zafar Ali Khan
Editor of The Zamindar, Lahore, India
The first page of the article, on page 28 of the magazine, runs as follows:
“As a citizen of that mighty Empire which has the unique distinction of claiming the allegiance of four hundred million Orientals, of whom fully one quarter are Musalmans, and as a British Indian Muslim who has the proud privilege of looking upon the Empire not as a purely alien institution destined to perish with the decline of British prestige, but as a political structure in whose stability Musalmans are as much interested as Englishmen, I feel it is time that I should describe to the great British public the extent to which the feelings of Muslim India are being exercised as a result of the merciless campaign of extermination against Muslim lands that commenced with the descent of Italy upon the Tripolitan Coast, and has culminated in the sanguinary horrors of Balkania. My object in these lines is to remind the people of Great Britain of their obligations towards the seventy millions of Musalmans whose devoted attachment to the person and throne of the British monarch, and whose admitted claim to be regarded as an important factor in determining the course of British Imperialism, should entitle them to a voice in the councils of the Empire. The Musalmans of India feel that as a part of that great whole which is called the British Empire they have a right to be heard on problems affecting the destinies of their brethren-in-faith abroad.
An Indian Muslim looks upon the British Government as a divine dispensation, and as such it inspires him with a feeling bordering on reverence. He also regards it as a tolerably fair substitute for a Muslim Government, and as such he expects it to discharge the functions which in his mind are associated with Muslim rule. To reconcile himself to the notion of perpetual British supremacy, which has come to be regarded by him almost in the nature of things, all that he requires is this: That the British Government should cultivate friendly relations with the surviving independent Muslim states, which in his case — such is the constitution of the Muslim mind — supply the void created by the absence of a free and unfettered Muslim sovereignty in India.”
This is another of the countless examples of Muslim leaders, around the time of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, proclaiming the loyalty of the Muslims of India towards British rule over them. This affirmation from M. Zafar Ali Khan is stronger in tone than any statement of Hazrat Mirza. He calls the British government a “divine dispensation” for Muslims, meaning a mercy for them from God, and says that they almost revere it, like an object of worship!
It is simply outrageous that Hazrat Mirza’s judicious statements of loyalty are misrepresented by our opponents, while their own acknowledged leaders have written articles like this one.