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Books Section > Recognise the Imam [Spiritual Leader] of the Age by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Recognise the Imam [Spiritual Leader] of the Age:
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
(Translated from Urdu by
Mr. MA Samad, Retired Sub-Judge of Gaya, Bihar, India.)

Printer-friendly Version

Note: This book is also available in pdf format and Urdu
"And the person who does not recognise the Imam (religious leader) of his age, dies the death of ignorance" (Hadith).

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is the Last Prophet after whom none can be appointed as a prophet till the Day of Judgement, because with Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) appearance, the mission of prophethood has been fulfilled.

It is through the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that we received the Guide Book, that is, the Holy Quran, which fulfils the object in every age and every clime and will do so till the Day of Judgement. No further problem can arise, which cannot be solved by this Book, and to perform which any new prophet may be required. This is the reason why Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has been designated as the Last Prophet. There are numerous sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) wherein he has proclaimed that he is the 'Last of the Prophets' and there will be no prophet after him. But it cannot be denied that, with the passage of time, corruption against religion creeps into the beliefs of people, and sometimes people become so lethargic that some Divinely-inspired personality is required to instil a new life and remove the lethargy.

Appearance of Mujaddid:

To fulfil this task, the Prophet has said: "Verily Allah will raise a mujaddid (reformer) for the Muslim people at the beginning of every century Hijrah who will revive the faith for them." This saying of the Prophet has been accepted as authentic by all the great Collectors of Hadith [Sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)]. It has been proved correct literally, too, as in every century a reformer has stood up and has claimed to be appointed by Allah.

There has been more than one reformer in different parts of the world and they have made the claim on the strength of the Prophet's saying. Among such blessed people are Hazrat Omar bin Abdul Aziz, Hazrat Imam Shafai, Imam Abul Hasan al-Ash'ari, Imam Ghazzali, Imam Razi, Imam Jalaluddin Sayuti, Hazrat Syed Abdul Qadir of Gilan, Imam Bukhari, Imam Nasai, Imam ibn Taymiyya, Hazrat Shah Waliullah of Delhi and Hazrat Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi. They guided the people to the right path on obtaining guidance from the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). They saved Islam from the vile attacks of the enemies, though unfortunately some "learned" men of the time dubbed them as kafirs (unbelievers) and harassed them. Some five hundred 'ulama declared Hazrat Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani to be a kafir. Hazrat Abu Hanifa, Hazrat Imam Malik, Hazrat Imam Shafai and Hazrat Imam Hambal were tortured in various ways and they were also imprisoned and flogged. Hazrat Mujaddid Alf Sani was imprisoned in Gowaliar Fort and his views were declared to be those of a heretic. In spite of such harsh treatment, they all stood for truth and righteousness. May Allah be pleased with them all.

The Mujaddid (Reformer):

It was in the fitness of things that the said promise of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) be fulfilled in this fourteenth century Hijrah when atheism and materialism had reached their highest peak. Not only were people of other religions making frivolous objections against Islam, but there was even ill-feeling and diversion from religion among the Muslims themselves, including the 'ulama [religious clerics].

There was such great ignorance prevalent about Islam that it was necessary that some divinely-inspired person should come forward with the spirit found amongst the past reformers; rather he should surpass the pervious reformers as his task was so much more difficult. God blessed Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian and raised him to the position of the Reformer of the fourteenth century Hijrah. In this century, none else has claimed to be the Mujaddid (Reformer). Hazrat Mirza on the other hand, took up the cause of Islam and gave a crushing reply to the objections of the followers of other religions, which none had done so vehemently during the last thirteen hundred years. One of the bitterest enemies of Hazrat Mirza, Maulvi Muhammad Hussain of Batala, while reviewing Barahin-i Ahmadiyyah, has stated:

"Considering the state of affairs of the present day, in my opinion this book is such, as has not been brought out until now in favour of Islam. God alone knows about the future. Its author is also so strong in the support of the cause of Islam that we do not find anyone like him amongst the Muslims of the past. If anyone treats my view as an Asiatic exaggeration, let him point out a single such book which has thrown such a bold challenge to all the religions or the enemies of Islam. Let some such men be pointed out who might have boldly asserted that if anyone suspects ilham (that Allah speaks), let him come to me (that is, to Hazrat Mirza) and have an experience and experiment of it" (Ishaat-us-Sunnah, vol. VII, June to November, 1884, p. 152).

In spite of this admission, the same Maulvi Muhammad Hussain of Batala and several other 'ulama following in the footsteps of their predecessors, passed a fatwa (proclamation) of kufr (infidelity) against the Reformer of the time and falsely attributed several matters to him. It has already been mentioned that during Hazrat Mirza's time matters had gone so far, at the hands of the Christians and on account of the Muslims, that it was necessary that some reformer should appear to improve matters and it actually happened like that.

Claim of Messiahship:

The claim of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of being the Mujaddid (Reformer of the Age) was made public in 1882, but in 1891 God informed him that Jesus Christ, son of Mary, was already dead and that Messiah about whom there is a prophecy in the Hadith was, in fact, the Reformer of the fourteenth century Hijran who was to be like Jesus Christ, being endowed with the qualities of Christ. And as his main object was to do away with the menace of Christianity, he was named the Messiah. Hazrat Mirza himself explained:

"As I have been given the light for the guidance of the Christian nations, so I have been named 'son of Mary'."

He has explained more clearly the significance of this name in these words:

"It should be remembered that the claim of being the Promised Messiah is not weightier than that of being a mulham (one with whom God talks) and a mujaddid from God, so it is permissible for him to be called by God as Moses-like or Messiah-like. One who has the distinction of talking with God and who has been deputed to serve religion, God the Great and Glorious may give him any name, The present Reformer has been given the name 'Promised Messiah' because, the big task of this Reformer is to counteract the adverse propaganda of Christianity and to vindicate the superiority of Islam by irrefutable arguments" (Aaina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, p. 340).

Thus, it is clear that Hazrat Mirza never meant to become the original Christ, but he got this honorary title because of his mission to counteract the Christian propaganda. In spite of these details, it has been related by Hazrat Mujaddid Alf Sani that it is just possible that the 'ulama of the time who do not go deeper than the outward appearance will deny this because of the depth of meaning of these matters and will consider it against religion."

False Charges made against the Reformer:

The 'ulama of the present day, following in the footsteps of their predecessors, put all sorts of blame on the Reformer and held him to be an infidel and harassed him in every way. In brief, the charges levied against him were:

1. He claimed to be a prophet.

2. He held Muslims to be unbelievers.

3. He abused the 'ulama (religious leaders) of the time and the Muslims.

4. He insulted Hazrat Isa (Jesus Christ) and other prophets.

These are the biggest insinuations made against Hazrat Mirza Sahib and for which he is dubbed as an infidel; though none of these insinuations are correct. Below, we will explain and prove the falsity of these charges.

Charge of Claim to Prophethood:

Hazrat Mirza never claimed to be a prophet, rather repeatedly, he refuted it in his books. He has stated clearly:

"There is no claim to prophethood, but to muhaddathiyyat which has been done by the order of God" (Izala Auham, p. 421).

"I am neither a claimant of prophethood, nor do I deny the miracles or the angels and Lailat al-Qadr, etc. Rather, I believe in all those matters which form part of the Muslim beliefs, and which are the doctrines of the Sunnat wal Jama'at sect. I accept all those doctrines which are confirmed by the Holy Quran and Hadith. I consider Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) to be the Last of the Prophets, and hold any other claimant to prophethood to be a liar and an infidel. I never claimed to be a prophet and never stated that I was a prophet. But some people have misinterpreted my words" (Hamamat-ul-Bushra, p. 79).

Many similar assertions are found in his books, but those who have got malice in their hearts overlook clear statements and simply choose the phrase used in an allegorical and figurative sense. Hazrat Mirza has clearly stated that he was called prophet in an allegorical sense and not as a reality and it is just as Hazrat Maulana Rum, (may peace be on him) has spoken about the Imam, that is, "O disciple, he is the prophet of his time, so that the prophet's light may be shown by him."

Hazrat Mirza has himself suggested to his community:

"As on account of such words, which have been used merely figuratively, there may be disruption in Islam and it may have bad effect, hence the members of the community should not use such figurative terms in everyday parlance, and must have wholehearted faith in the fact that prophethood has come to an end with Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). I am a servant of Islam and this is the main object of my appearance and the words prophet and messenger have been used in the mere figurative and allegorical sense."

If after this vindication, anyone, whether friend or foe, still insists that Hazrat Mirza claimed to be a prophet is, to say the least, a most unjust man.

The Charge that Muslims are Infidels:

Another false allegation is that Hazrat Mirza treated the Muslims as kafirs. This has been refuted repeatedly. Hazrat Mirza's own words are:

"From the very beginning it has been my faith, that by denying my claims no one becomes an infidel" (Tiryaq-ul-Qulub, p. 130).

On the same page he declares:

"I do not name any Kalimah-go (reciter of the Kalimah) as kafir (infidel)."

In his last book, Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, he says:

"What a great dishonesty it is that you (yourself) proclaim (me) to be a kafir and still charge me with holding all the Muslims as kafirs" (Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, p. 120).

In practice, also, he treated Muslims just as Islam demands, so much so that he permitted the funeral prayer of an opponent who did not speak ill of him, and, in fact, he offered funeral prayer of several such persons, who were not his disciples or his followers.

In spite of these clear explanations, who can be a greater tyrant than the one who alleges that Hazrat Mirza considered Muslims as infidels?

The Allegation of Abusing the Muslim 'Ulama and the Muslims:

The third charge is that Hazrat Mirza has abused the learned men of the time and all Muslims. The charge is absolutely false. First of all an abuse is something said falsely against facts. In the Holy Quran, the learned men of the Jews have been compared to asses carrying wood. Similarly, it is said about them that God made them monkeys and swine. Are these expressions an abuse? If not, there could be no harm if Hazrat Mirza used any strong language about those learned men, whose character and deeds are a disgrace to Islam and whose action has been to call Muslims infidels and abuse them. Has not the Holy Prophet (pbuh) declared the learned men of the latter days as the worst of creation. There is a hadith in Kanz-ul-Umaal which says:

"Among my followers there will be perplexity, and the people in their perplexity would approach their learned men, but at the time those learned men would be (like) monkeys and swine" (v. 7, p. 190).

This is the type of learned men of the latter days and today, it is manifestly correct. Should this statement of the Prophet be taken to be abuse? If not, why should this charge be levelled against Hazrat Mirza, that he abused the learned men? Did the so-called learned men not abuse him and go to the length of calling him infidel, Dajjal and Satan, and did they not try to harass him? Hazrat Mirza's observations are against such learned men only. He never said anything against the fair-minded learned men. He has stated in clear words in Al-Huda, p. 68:

"My observation is against the wicked learned men only and not against the gentle ones."

Again he has asserted:

"I seek refuge in God from decrying honest learned men and gentlemen, whether they be Muslims, Christians or Aryas."

Again, he said:

"Such people who are called learned are enemies of Islam and are following in the footsteps of the Jews, but I do not say so in general; I mean only the dishonest ones and exclude the faithful ones" (Notice called Aryamut ki Nishani, dated 17 December 1892, vide Aaina-i-Kamalat-i-Islam).

It is the highest deceit to say that Hazrat Mirza abused the learned men and the Muslims after such clear and convincing explanations.

Charge of Defaming Prophets:

The fourth charge levelled against Hazrat Mirza is that he defamed the prophets. In this connection, it is especially said that, heaven forbid, Hazrat Mirza has abused and defamed Jesus Christ. It is absolutely unwarranted. Hazrat Mirza never defamed any prophet; rather, he wrote strongly on the "innocence of the prophets" and refuted the defects attributed to them. He laid stress on the fact that all the prophets were innocent, and they did not commit any evil or sin.

He held Jesus Christ, also, to be one of the innocent prophets, and as for himself, he claimed to be like him. As such, how could Hazrat Mirza find fault with Jesus Christ? No doubt it is a fact that when the Christians began to pile abuses on the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Hazrat Mirza also threw into sharp relief the picture of Christ as given in the Bible according to the beliefs of the Christians themselves. He has pointed out clearly:

"In my expressions, I have meant the reputed Christ of the Christians and not the Prophet of God named Jesus, son of Mary, as mentioned in the Quran. He has never been the subject of what I said" (Title, Paigham-i-Sulh, p, 2).

This has not been the way of Hazrat Mirza alone; rather, all the supporters of Islam have adopted this method of argument. Even the Akhbar Ahl-i-Hadith of Maulvi Sanaullah of Amritsar has argued with the Christians in this way. We quote below by way of example from the Akhbar Ahl-i-Hadith:

"Whatever force the Christian missionaries may apply to prove the immaculate character of Jesus, he or his mother, Mary, cannot stand the test. Moreover, it is stated in the Bible that Christ and his disciples were invited somewhere. There was arrangement of wine-drinking also, and the wine ran short. Then Christ asked his disciples to fill up the six pitchers with water and it was done. Christ converted it into wine. This act itself is a sin. Thus we cannot consider Christ to be free from sin" (Ahl-i-Hadith, dated 29th November, 1939).

Similar are the words used by Hazrat Mirza in connection with the Christians. It is strange that Hazrat Mirza is alleged to be defaming the prophets by these words while nothing is said against Maulvi Sanaullah and others. Hazrat Mirza has explained his position while using these words:

"I have written it by way of reply on the authority of the Bible, otherwise I respect Jesus Christ and know that he is one of the blessed prophets."

Does it behove one to say even now that Hazrat Mirza defamed the prophets?

The Duty of the Mujaddid:

What is explained above is the exposure of the charges brought against Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad every now and then in an attempt to set people against him. It is the duty of the fair and just ones that they should not be led astray by what the so-called maulvis say. They should realise the responsibilities that God and the Holy Prophet (pbuh) have placed on them. They should study the life and work of the reformer of the age and ponder over them. If Hazrat Mirza is not the Mujaddid (Reformer), then the promise of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), which has been fulfilled for the last thirteen centuries, would remain unfulfilled in the fourteenth century when transgression from the right path along with sin and evil have reached their highest pitch.

Who then is the reformer who has done anything for the defence and propagation of Islam, as has been done by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, and his followers?

In brief, it would suffice to say that the Holy Quran has been translated into many European languages and still further translations are in hand. In addition to an Islamic mission at Woking, Surrey, UK, in the centre of Europe, a beautiful mosque has been built in Berlin Germany. Another mission is working in Holland. Independent missions are working in Indonesia, Guyana, Suriname in South America, Trinidad, South Africa, the Fiji Islands, three cities in the U.S.A., and two cities in Canada, to counteract anti-Islamic propaganda work.

Recently, missions have been opened in Western Africa where Islam is winning against Christianity. Islamic literature is being sent to all four corners of the world. Who else is putting even one-tenth of the efforts to spread Islam as are the followers of the true mujaddid of this century, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad?

Last Appeal:

O people of God, get up and exert yourselves to help in the cause of Islam, which is the duty of every Muslim. Come forward to propagate Islam. Gird up your loins, support the Reformer of the age, strengthen your faith; for the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has said:

"One who does not recognise the Imam (Leader and Reformer) of the age, dies in ignorance."

That is, he does not receive the light which the Reformer brings with him.

In the end, we think it necessary to make it clear that the members of the Qadian Group have become "saint-worshippers" and as such have raised Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to the pedestal of prophethood. Just as the followers of the previous Messiah (Jesus Christ) elevated him to the position of God, the followers of the second Messiah (Hazrat Mirza) made the Mujaddid a prophet. Consequently, the Qadian Section considers all other Muslims to be kafirs (infidels).

The real and true followers of the Reformer (Hazrat Mirza) are the members of Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-i-Islam, Lahore, who have vindicated their claim as missionaries of Islam by presenting it in its true spirit.


Books Section > Recognise the Imam [Spiritual Leader] of the Age by Maulana Muhammad Ali


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