Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of
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of the Ahmadiyya Movement:
Indeed there have been examples before you; so travel in the earth and see what was the end of the deniers. This is a clear statement for men, and a guidance and an admonition to those who keep their duty. And be not weak-hearted, nor grieve, and you will have the upper hand if you are believers. If a wound afflicted you, a wound like it has also afflicted the (disbelieving) people. And we bring these days to men by turns, that Allah may know those who believe and take witnesses from among you. And Allah loves not the wrong-doers, and that He may purge those who believe and deprive the disbelievers of blessings (3:136-140).
The Ahmadiyya Movement, which had its humble start in a remote village in Qadian, India, will be completing its century by the end of this decade. During this period, it has become a worldwide movement, well known for its zeal for and devotion to the dissemination and revival of the teachings of Islam.
Marmaduke Picktall, renowned British Muslim and translator of the Holy Quran into English, paid glowing tribute to the work of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement in the following words:
"Probably no man living has done longer or more valuable service for the cause of Islamic revival than Maulvi Muhammad Ali of Lahore.... In our opinion, the present volume (of The Religion of Islam) is his finest work. It is a description of al-Islam by one well-versed in Sunnah 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."
The words longer or more valuable service for the cause of the Islamic revival and 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 truly represent the significant role the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement has been playing for the dissemination and revival of Islamic thought in the world.
It is unfortunate that a movement that shed its sweat and blood for the creation of Pakistan is being renegated as anti-Islamic and its members are undergoing the most excruciating humiliation, persecution and are being denied freedom of worship and basic human rights. In spite of faithfully following the tenets and practices of Islam, they cannot call themselves Muslims. They cannot call the azan in their mosques. They cannot call their houses of worship, mosques. They cannot publicly inscribe the Islamic formula, laa ilaha il-lal-laah [There is no God but Allah], on the fronts of their mosques or use it as a sticker on their shirts. They cannot have any sort of discussion with any Muslim or distribute any literature or publish any article on Islam, as all these acts are crimes under the Law of Pakistan, punishable with imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of five thousand rupees.
Pakistan, which was created in the name of Islam - a unique achievement in the religious history of the world - which, in the words of the Founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was to be a "bulwark of Islam," has become a house divided by sectarianism and haunted by the worst type of fanaticism and intolerance.
The Ahmadiyya Movement, which strives for the defense and revival of Islam, is not only opposed by Christians, because it is out to destroy the false doctrines of the Church, but also it has become a target of hatred and violence throughout the Muslim world. The entire media is, day and night, embroiled in malicious propaganda against the Movement and its founder, allowing no chance to Ahmadis to explain their position.
In the circumstances the question naturally comes to mind, what is the future of the Ahmadiyya Movement? My reply is that the future of the Ahmadiyya Movement is the future of Islam. We can also say, that the future of Islam very much depends on the future of the Ahmadiyya Movement. This statement may appear whimsical or an exaggeration, but there are solid reasons to believe in the truth of it.
We are aware that Muslims up to this day strongly believe that the supremacy of Islam can only be achieved through political power and state. We saw in the fourteenth century that Muslim states became independent and, by dint of strongman power and rich oil resources, Muslims emerged as a rising power to be reckoned with. But suddenly we find that with the beginning of the fifteenth century Hijrah, the Muslim world is gradually becoming a victim of mutual dissension and confrontation and that dream of political ascendancy and of establishing Islamic ideology through state, is becoming a nightmare. Anyone can read between the lines about what will be the future of the Muslim world as a political force.
There is no denying the fact that we are living in an age of reason and intellectualism where ideologies are the driving force of human progress and vitality. If Islam is a vital force, it will have to prove its truth by way of reasoning and intellectual acumen, and not by way of force.
In this regard, the solitary voice of faith and conviction that was Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, urged Muslims to make a concentrated effort for the spiritual ascendancy of Islam. However, he was derided and ridiculed. Nevertheless, he continued with the work assigned to him by Allah, and after receiving Divine revelation prophesied that the time was nearing when Islam will again gain acceptance in the West.
Let me recite to you some of his Urdu compositions in this connection.
There is commotion in the heavens for spreading the truth
Just imagine that these verses, written by a man who knew no English, but who had the firm belief that the time was nearing when Islam would spread in the West.
The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement not only had a strong conviction that Islam would gain ascendancy in the West, but he also entertained a firm belief that there was not conflict or contradiction between Islam and modern scientific knowledge, and that ultimately the veracity of the Islamic concept of life and human progress will prevail. In this regard, he said:
"In this age, there is a severe conflict raging between the forces of religion and science. Noticing the onslaughts science is making on religion, there should not be the least disheartening or disappointment. In this conflict, it must be remembered, Islam need not make compromise with alien forces like a vanquished and fallen foe. On the contrary, keep in mind that this age being of the spiritual sword of Islam, Islam is once again bound to come out triumphant. In this conflict also, as it has shown previously, its foes would soon vanish ignominiously so that Islam would triumph over all alien forces. However severe the onslaughts of science and no matter with what weapons the modern sciences may attack, defeat is ultimately decreed for them.
The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, wanted his followers to have a living faith in God, so he exhorted them to acquire such a close friendship with Him that His love and compassion may become their guide and protection. He said:
"How unfortunate is the person who is unaware that he has a God Who has supreme control over everything in this world. Our paradise and all the excellent pleasures lie in our subservience to Him. I have seen Him and have found every beauty in Him. It is a treasure worth acquiring even if one has to give ones life. It is a priceless jewel, worth buying, even at the expense of ones being. O unlucky ones! Make haste towards this spring; it will provide you with sustenance. It is this spring of life, which will save you. What should I do and in what manner should I impress this good news upon the hearts of people? Should I blow the trumpet in public to inform them that this is their Lord? What medicine should I apply to cure their deafness so that they are capable of listening? If you become humble servants of Allah, then rest assured, Allah will always be by your side. You will be sleeping and Allah will take care of you and will destroy the evil plans of your enemies. I do not prevent you from taking recourse to worldly means, but I will certainly advise you not to put all your faith in these means, for it is Allah Alone Who is the Creator of these means. If you have eyes, then you can see for yourselves that Allah Alone is the Lord and everything beside Him is worthless and insignificant."
So, brothers and sisters, we should not lose heart and slacken our efforts, but should continue. Allah will surely crown our efforts with success as He says in the Holy Quran:
And be not weak-hearted, nor grieve, and you will have the upper-hand, if you are believers ... and go not slack so as to cry for peace - and you will certainly be the uppermost and Allah is with you, and He will not bring your deeds to naught.
Dear brothers and sisters, here is an assurance given by Allah and Allah never fails in His promise.
Again, we have the assurance given by Allah to the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement about the ultimate success of the Movement.
God raised a warner in this age, but the world did not accept him. But God will certainly accept him and will establish his truthfulness with forceful visitations.
In the beginning, I told you that the future of Islam depends very much on the future of the Ahmadiyya Movement. It is only the Ahmadiyya Movement that has re-oriented the truth of the teachings of Islam in the light of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, and has demonstrated to the world that the God of Islam is a Living God, and that the Prophet of Islam is a living manifestation of Divine guidance, and that the Quran is the final Word of Allah. Islam as a religion is the embodiment of universal truths guaranteeing mankind freedom of thought and action and peace and harmony among various religions and nations.
In this brief talk it will not be possible for me to deal with all the facets of the teaching of Islam and how the Ahmadiyya interpretation of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, has helped in presenting to the West a rational view of Islam, which not only appeals to reason but also inspires righteousness in human thought and action. Here I will briefly deal with the concept of God as a living reality in human life, finality of prophethood with the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, and the Holy Quran as the final Word of Allah. These are some of the points on which Ahmadiyya views are the target of vehement criticism.
First, let me take faith in Allah. It is the basic and most fundamental belief of the religion of Islam. Generally, Muslims believe that God used to speak to man, but with the revelation of the Quran, God has stopped speaking to man. It is now for man to seek guidance from the Quran as God no longer, in any way, grants knowledge and understanding of the Quran. Prayer and other devotional acts are just for self-development, and do not help in establishing any sort of relationship with God by Gods accepting his prayers or providing guidance in his mundane affairs. The Ahmadiyya view is that Allah is ever living and so are His attributes. If He spoke to man in the past, He speaks to man even today, and accepts his prayers. Otherwise, what is the use of the supplication in the daily prayer, which is taught by God Himself: O Lord, Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help? In other words, the God of Islam is like the god in other religions, Who once spoke and revealed His word and then left the people to be their own guide and helper.
The Ahmadiyya view is that the God of Islam is a Living God Who speaks to man, answers his prayers and grants him knowledge and understanding, not only of the Quran but in his mundane affairs as well. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement demonstrated to the world the veracity of these truths in his person. God granted thousands of his prayers and hundreds of his prophecies came through. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement revived the spirit of prayer as a means of communion and communication between man and his Creator. Prayer became a source of spiritual light, instead of mere ritual exercise. That is why in the early days Ahmadis were known for offering their prayers in utmost devotion, deep adoration and love of God. So the first and foremost contribution of the Ahmadiyya Movement is that it inculcates a living belief in the Living God Who even now loves and takes care of His creatures and listens to their prayers and grants them knowledge and understanding.
The second significant role of Ahmadiyyat concerns the concept of the finality of prophethood in Islam. The Ahmadiyya views on the finality of prophethood of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, are firstly, that the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, is the last of the prophets in the line of prophets starting from Hazrat Adam.
Secondly, that no new or old prophet can come after him, hence the belief that Jesus Christ is dead and cannot return to this world in his physical form. Because he was a prophet, therefore he cannot come in any form after the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
Thirdly, all the excellence of prophethood manifested in the past among the prophets raised in different nations and countries have found perfection in the person of the Holy Prophet. As the excellence of prophethood was perfected in the Holy Prophet of Islam, therefore the appearance of any new prophet is out of the question.
Fourthly, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, is the seal of the prophets in the sense that no spiritual blessings such as divine communion and communication and knowledge of the unseen can now be obtained except by following the Prophet Muhammad.
Fifthly, the blessings of the prophethood of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be on him, will continue till the day of resurrection in the form of divine communion and communication and knowledge of the unseen as granted to his perfect followers such as mujaddids (reformers) and auliya.
Let me now examine the view held by the common Muslims about the finality of prophethood. According to them, the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing of Allah be on him, is the last in the line of the prophets, but they also believe that Jesus, who according to the clear verses of the Quran is a prophet of God, will come. They believe that there is no more divine communion or communication or granting of knowledge about the unseen after the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, hence they do not believe in the continuation of the blessings of the prophethood of the Holy Prophet till the day of resurrection.
In other words, the belief about the finality of prophethood by common Muslims virtually assigns to the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, the status somewhat similar to that in which Jews place the prophet Moses, and Christians the prophet Jesus.
Again, Muslims believe that during the latter ages, when the Muslim ummah will face Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog) and other calamities, it will be Jesus, and not Prophet Muhammad, who will come down from heaven to their rescue.
The belief of the second advent of Jesus Christ poses a serious difficulty in the fulfilment of the prophecy mentioned in the Quran, which Jesus made when he said that a great prophet will come after him and whose name will be Ahmad. In view of what Muslims believe, we have to interpret the Quranic verses that either Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, has yet to come, because Jesus Christ has not died, or that Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, will have to reappear after Jesus dies after his second advent.
Thus, if a comparative study of the two views is made, it becomes clear that the Ahmadiyya concept of the finality of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, presents a comprehensive view of the finality of prophethood and thus attaches a real significance to the prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, which is not enjoyed by any other prophet of the of the world, whereas the common Muslim view is in clear contradiction to many verses of the Quran as well.
Just see what importance the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement attaches to the finality of prophethood of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him. He says:
"The very object for which God Almighty has infused my heart with great enthusiasm is that I should establish that the prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, which was established by Allah Himself, remains forever."
The third significant contribution made by the Ahmadiyya Movement regards the Quran as the final Word of God. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement expounded a golden principle. According to him, the universe is the creation of Allah, and the Quran is the Word of Allah. Therefore, there can be neither contradiction between the verses of the Quran, or between the laws of nature and the laws mentioned in the Quran. It is lack of knowledge which made them think that there is contradiction in the verses of the Quran and believe in the theory of abrogation in the Quran, which, in other words means that there are certain verses of the Quran which abrogate other verses. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement condemned outright any such idea and strictly adhered to the principle that some other verses of the Quran can be found which will explain what appears to be a contradiction. This presents a very significant contribution of Ahmadi commentators of the Quran that whenever they differ with the prevalent view, they quote a verse of the Quran as their authority for adopting a particular meaning. By doing so, Ahmadi commentators have established the finality and superiority of the Quran as the principal source of Islamic teachings and interpretation. The English and Urdu commentaries of the Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali are masterpieces of explanation of the Quran by the Quran.
Let me end this discussion about the significant contributions made by the Ahmadiyya Movement with a quotation by the Founder. He said:
"Now there is no book for the whole of mankind except the Quran, and there is no messenger and intercessor for man except the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be on him. So, you should all try to love this prophet of greatness and glory in all sincerity and should not give preference of any kind to anyone else over the Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, that God may grant you salvation in the hereafter."
It is not difficult to understand how, by rejecting the Ahmadiyya interpretation Muslims have to believe that many attributes of Allah are in abeyance, that in many ways God forbid, prophet Jesus is superior to Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, and that there is contradiction in the Quran which means that Gods mind works somewhat like the mind of man.
Again, in spite of the fact that all the signs and events which were to appear in the latter age about the Anti-Christ, Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog) and the second advent of Jesus Christ have come to pass, yet because Muslims are not prepared to accept the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement as the Promised Messiah, they reject the entire collection of Hadith as fabrication rather than accept the Ahmadiyya interpretation.
Now a word about the Qadiani view about the prophethood of the Founder. You will all agree with me that the main purpose of the advent of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement was to correct the wrong beliefs of the Christians. They took the words son and father in the literal sense, and the Church was able to build a whole superstructure of sonship of God, resurrection and salvation based on the words, which Jesus used in the form of metaphor and simile. If our Qadiani brothers want to build the structure of prophethood on the basis of the words prophet and messenger (in their literal sense) as used by the Founder (by way of metaphor and simile), then I am afraid that by doing so, they will be negating the very object of the initiation of the Ahmadiyya Movement. Because we accept the prophethood of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement as correct, then Christians have every right to prove the correctness of their belief in the sonship of God and salvation.
May Allah keep us on the right path.
At present Ahmadis are faced with a grim situation, so we should always pray to God for help and strength. I will end this talk with a prayer that the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement often recited.
"Oh Lord, all the things in the world are subservient to you. Oh my Lord, protect me, help me and have mercy on me."
May Allah bless each of us here and grant us patience and strength to carry on the noble cause of service to Islam entrusted to us by the Imam of the present age.