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aaiil.org > Literature > Books > Towards the New Order — An Exhortation by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian

Towards the New Order — An Exhortation:

by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian


In the following pages we propose to point out the remedy for the devouring evil of the times. It is plain that the marvellous material progress of the world is more than counterbalanced by its deplorable spiritual decline. The souls of men have so far fallen away from their natural nobility that they eschew pure truths and shun their very contact. It seems as if some forcible energy were dragging them down with an accelerated motion into the sink of iniquity and the lowest depths of vice. Such an entire change has passed over the intellects of men that what is spiritually ugliest and most detestable is admired for the dazzling beauty of its polish. Tender conscience, that inward monitor of man, feels that it is falling off from its natural purity under the demoralising influence of some unseen power. The poison is so wide-spread that it has destroyed almost a whole world. Pure and noble truths are laughed at and trifled with, and a turning to God and total resignation to His will is looked upon as an absurdity. Every soul upon earth seems to be bent upon earthly cares and advantages, as if some hidden power had constrained it to that course.

Such is the evil attraction of vice, and the truth is, as we have already pointed out, that there are attractions working everywhere in the world. The efficiency or inefficiency of an attraction depends upon the certainty or uncertainty of our views with regard to any matter; and if the certainty is greater, the attraction, too, is more powerful. It is a principle the truth of which is no less unquestionable in the spiritual than in the material world, that an attraction can only be counteracted by its opposite, if the latter is more powerful than the former. Since the world in its present state is being dragged down under the influence of an evil attraction, it can never raise itself up to the level and soar into the higher regions unless an opposite and more powerful attraction from heaven overpoises the existing earthly tendencies and brings about a greater certainty in the opposite direction. To make it more clear, no change for the better can be brought about until people begin to see with certainty that there are real and more substantial and lasting advantages and delights in submission to the commandments of God than can be felt by indulging in carnal passions and evil desires, that these advantages and delights can be palpably felt in a virtuous life, and that transgression is not only equal to but worse than death. This certainty, when it has an entire control over the mind, can alone be a safe protector against sin.

It is further necessary that there should reign in the heart the absolute conviction that light is granted to man from heaven only through the sun who is the Imam (the spiritual head) of his time. Hence it is that ignorance with regard to such a spiritual head is followed by a death of ignorance. The person who thinks he can do without that real source of light is deluded, for he sets himself in opposition to the unchangeable laws of God. The eyes have a light, yet to avail themselves of it they must borrow the light of the sun. The Imam resembles the sun in being the true source of all light; he comes from heaven and illumines the world, and the eye is blind that does not borrow light from him. On the other hand, the person who, with the aid of this light stands on a firm footing of certainty, is attracted towards virtue. Between the earthly and heavenly attractions a struggle would naturally follow and each will try to overcome the other. The one shall be drawing a man to virtue, the other to vice, the one to the East and the other to the West. The more powerful the two opposite attractions grow, the more fearful shall the struggle be. It is a necessary consequence of great material progress that these two attractions should display their highest powers. When the world has attained the highest stage of material advancement the days of heavenly advancement are not far. It is certain that upon the heavens also preparations are then being made for a spiritual reformation. An attraction is produced upon heavens and the two contend with each other for supremacy. Dreadful is the day when neglect and vanity reign supreme upon earth, for it is the day of vengeance and the promised day of the great spiritual struggle. That terrible struggle has been described in metaphorical language by the holy prophets of God. Some have represented it as the final struggle between the angels of heaven and the devils of the bottomless pit, at the close of which comes the end of the world; while others have from ignorance taken it to be a physical struggle which shall be carried on with steel and gunpowder. The latter view is, no doubt, the result of misjudgement and superficial notions, and metaphorical words describing a spiritual contest have been misconstrued as meaning a physical war.

In short, a hard struggle is now going on between the darkness of earth and the light of heaven. The prophets of God from Adam to Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of God be upon them, foretold of this mighty struggle. It has leaders on both sides, the concealer of truths on the side of darkness, and the revealer of truths on the side of light. The one comes from heaven with hosts of angels and is a manifestation of Michael, and the other enters the lists with the powers of darkness and is an incarnation of the Devil. Now, when the inhabitants of Pandemonium are standing fully equipped in a battle-array, and have either done or are engaged in doing their wicked deeds, we are naturally led to hope that the heavenly host is also making preparations for crushing the evil ones, and good judgement enables us to draw the conclusion that the host of heaven is not negligent of its duties. But the heavenly government is averse to hubbub and clattering and carries on its operations in solemn silence. Superficial observers can hardly be aware of its doings until a sign appears in the heavens, and a minaret (lighthouse) is erected upon earth, silvery white and shining with light. The heavenly light descends upon this minaret which then enlightens the whole world.

The closing remarks of the last paragraph require an explanation. The spiritual system notwithstanding, its coincidence in all prominent points with the physical world displays certain peculiar marks which a superficial observer cannot detect in the latter. An instance of this is to be found in the way in which the earthly attraction becomes the premium mobile of heavenly attraction, although the two are directly opposed to each other. It is, therefore, reasonable to assert that at a time when both these attractions shall act in their full force in the last days of the world's history, when material progress shall have attained the highest stage, the two attractions shall contend with each other for supremacy, for true success is not attained unless the enemy is destroyed. Where, therefore, the two rivals are equally thriving and powerful, the contest must necessarily be a hard one for each one of the rivals has at heart the destruction of the other. Reason, therefore, also supports the prophetic utterings of all the great patriarchs and prophets in as much as the struggle between good and evil is the necessary consequence of the collision of the two rival forces, of which either one must overcome the other, or both be annihilated in the contest.

According to the prophetic utterances this final contest between good and evil may be thus described that after the lapse of a thousand years from Jesus which was the millennium of the Devil's imprisonment, an evil attraction gained ground upon the earth. This was the time in the world's history when the Muslims had renounced the true and noble principles of Islam, and therefore that religion was in a declining state. Its spiritual progress had at that time been hampered and its conquests had come to an end. It was born in the days when the author of evil lay in chains in the bottomless pit. Its rise and decline at these two periods was necessary, so that what the prophets and last of all, St. John had spoken, might be fulfilled. It was, therefore, in fulfilment of these predictions that the religion of Islam began to decline after a thousand years from Jesus, and its further progress was then and there checked. Satanic movements and operations thenceforth assumed different shapes and appeared in many coloured garments. The tree of evil took root in the ground and ramified to an enormous extent. Some of its branches spread into the East, others reached the uttermost settlements of the West, and not a few shaded the North and the South. No corner of the world was spared the evil. But the time during which the Devil had been let loose was, like the time of his imprisonment, limited to a thousand years, and the prophets of God bore testimony to the same effect. With the close of the thirteenth century, after the Emigration of our Holy Prophet, the period of Satan's freedom came to an end. For it must be noticed that in the computation of the periods of prophecies we must start with the lunar year as our basis, this system of reckoning the prophetic periods being taught by Almighty God to both Jews and Muslims. The solar year is an innovation of man, and, therefore, being against the sacred Scriptures of these two religions, cannot be applied in reckoning prophetic times. In short, the days in which we are living mark the termination of the respite granted to Satan. The period for which he was set at liberty has come to an end; but as he does not like that his freedom be restrained and his authority taken away, a struggle between the good and evil attractions must naturally be the result. It had been so ordained from the beginning and the Words of God cannot pass away.

Other facts also uphold the same view, viz., that the thousand years of Satan's supremacy have come to an end and we are now living in the millennium of God's reign and the dawn of it has already appeared. The sixth thousand from the appearance of Adam has come to a close, and one seventh, in which the second Adam should have appeared, has begun. God made Adam on the sixth day, and the sacred Scriptures further bear testimony to the fact that a day is equal to a thousand years with the Lord. The promises of God, therefore, make it absolutely necessary that the second Adam must have been born already, though not recognised as yet by the world. We cannot further avoid the conclusion that the place fixed by God for the appearance of the second Adam must be in the East and not in the West, for from Genesis 2:8, we learn that God had put the first Adam in a garden eastward. It is therefore necessary that the second Adam should appear in the East, in order to have a resemblance with the first in respect of his locality. This conclusion is equally binding upon the Christians and the Muslims, if they admit the authority of their Scriptures and are not of an atheistic turn of mind.

The way has been smoothed for a clear understanding of the true state of facts. The spiritual atmosphere of the world is overcast with dense clouds of darkness and the time has come when light should shoot out its beams and dispel the overhanging gloom. But it is vain to expect that the dim torches lighted by earthly hands should penetrate the darkness visible. Only clear and radiant heavenly light can drive it away. Pitch darkness has overshadowed the world, and the faint and flickering lamp of righteousness is ready to die out. Traditional beliefs, unfruitful knowledge and formal prayers cannot bring back the light. The blind cannot lead the blind, nor is it possible that darkness should dispel darkness. A new minaret is now needed which should raise its head far above the low huts made by earthly hands, so that heavenly light may descend upon it and the celestial lamp enlighten its top and thence shed its pure lustre upon the whole world. The higher the minaret is, the farther shall the light reach and thus illumine distant corners of the world.

Minaret:

It remains to be explained what a minar (minaret) is. Minaret is the name given to the pure, hallowed, noble, and magnanimous spirit granted by God to the perfect men by reason of which he gets his light from heaven -- an idea existing in the literal signification of the word. The loftiness of the minaret represents the magnanimity of the soul of the perfect man, its firmness stands for the constancy and determination which he shows at the time of the greatest trials, and its whiteness is a symbol of his guiltlessness which is ultimately established. When the perfect man has passed through all these stages and undergone all these trials; when his magnanimity, constancy, patience and determination shine forth in their full glory and his innocence is established with conclusive arguments, then is the time of his advent in glory, and the period of his first advent, which was a time of trials and persecutions, comes to an end. Then does the holy spirit, invested with the glory of God, descend upon his person, and the Divine attribute of glory is manifested in him. All this takes place in his second appearance.

Promised Messiah and the Minaret:

The same reality underlies the peculiar manner of the advent of the Promised Messiah. Muslims hold that he shall descend near a minaret. The descent spoken of in that tradition really stands for his advent in glory which shall be accompanied with a manifestation of the Divine power and attributes. It does not exclude the idea of his previous presence upon earth, but it is necessary that the heavens should hold him so long as the appointed time of God does not arrive. It is also an unchangeable Divine Law that spiritual realities are symbolised by physical emblems. The temple at Jerusalem and the Kabah at Makkah are illustrations of the same law and represent the manifestations of Divine glory. The same explanation holds good in the case of the tradition which describes the descent of the Promised Messiah upon or about a minaret in a country to the east of Damascus. The word 'east' should be specially noted, for Adam also had been put in a Garden eastward. The object of the prophecy is in no way interfered with so long as the minaret is built before the glorious advent of the promised one, for it appears from the prophetic utterances that the minaret is to be a sign that shall indicate his advent in full glory. It had been ordained that the Promised Messiah should appear in the world in two characters. At first he shall come as an ordinary person, suffering under trial and persecutions of every sort. When the days of suffering are over, then shall be the time of his advent in full glory. It is before that time that the minaret must be completed, for it appears from the traditions that a minaret must stand as a symbol of reality, and it shall be a physical picture of the spiritual minaret to which we have before referred.

Opposition to the Promised Messiah:

The world shall not recognise him before his glorious advent for he is not of the world. Nor shall the world love him, for he comes from God Whom the world does not love. It is, therefore, necessary that he should be abused, persecuted and charged with all manner of crime. The Islamic prophecies testify that the Promised Messiah shall not be accepted in the beginning. On the other hand, he shall be subjected to malignant and bitter treatment from the ignorant and to oppression and outrage from the mischief-makers. A man shall do violence to him and think that he has done a deed of virtue; another shall do him injury and regard his deed as most pleasing in the sight of God. Thus shall he suffer and undergo every trial and face every difficulty till the coming of the appointed time of God and the fulfilment of the Divine law of persecution against prophets. Then shall come the time of his glory. Capable hearts shall have their eyes opened and they shall begin to think of him with unprejudiced minds. "Can this be a liar," they shall say, "who cannot be subdued and crushed?" "What is the reason," they shall reason with themselves "that Divine assistance is without intermission granted to him and never to us?" The inspiring angel of God shall then descend upon their hearts and admonish them that every one of the circumstances related in the traditions which had been a hindrance in the way of their acceptance, need not occur to the very letter. It was possible -- nay, highly probable -- that some of those traditions were spurious and fabricated, and others were couched in metaphorical language and could not be fulfilled literally. What was the cause of the misfortune of the Jews in rejecting Jesus? Nothing but that they waited till every word of the prophecies concerned should have been fulfilled in a literal sense, and exactly according to their own notions of it. But their expectation was vain and their hope a delusion. With that Divine law before them and with the God of their fathers above their heads, the opponents of God's messenger should consider lest they should be tried by God in the same manner as the rejecters of the prophets before them. In short, such considerations, when duly weighed, shall at last turn their minds to accept the rejected and suffering messenger of heaven, as was the case with the prophets of the past.

Sword and the Spread of Islam:

There is not the least truth in the assertion that it is the time for resorting to the sword and gun for spreading the true religion and righteousness. The sword, far from revealing the beauties and excellences of truth, makes them dubious and throws them into the background. Those who hold such views are not friends of Islam but its deadly foes. They have low motives, mean natures, poor spirits, narrow minds, dull brains and short sight. It is they who open the way to an objection against Islam, the validity of which cannot be questioned. They hold that Islam needs the sword for its advancement and thus brand its purity and cast a slur upon its holy name. The religion that can easily establish its truth and superiority by sound intellectual arguments, heavenly signs or other reliable testimony, does not need the sword to threaten men and force a confession of its truth from them. Religion is worth the name only so long as it is in consonance with reason. If it fails to satisfy that requisite, if it has to make up for its discomfiture in argument by handling the sword it needs no other argument for its falsification. The sword it wields cuts its own throat before reaching others.

If it be objected that sword was resorted to by early Islam and hence the legality of jihad [holy war], we say the objection is based upon ignorance of the circumstances under which Islam passed its early days. Islam never allows the use of the sword for spreading the faith. On the other hand, it strictly prohibits compulsion in matters of faith. It has the plain injunction, "There shall be no compulsion in religion." Why was the sword taken in hand then? The circumstances under which this measure had been resorted to have nothing to do with the spread of religion; they are connected with the preservation of life. Briefly they are as follows:

Use of the Sword made for the Protection of Life:

The savage inhabitants of the desert of Arabia, who could hardly distinguish right from wrong, conceived a hatred towards Islam in its earliest days and became its bitterest enemies. The reason for this hatred may be easily conceived. When the unity of God and the Islamic truths were preached openly to idolatrous Arabs and convincing arguments against idol worship were impressed upon their minds and they were told how degrading it was for the noblest of God's creatures to bow in submission to stones, they found themselves unable to meet the adherents of the new faith upon argumentative ground. This exposure led to a motion in favour of Islam among the more reasonable of them. The ties of relationship were cut asunder, the son parted from his parents and brother from his brother. This exasperated them the more and they saw plainly that if their fathers' false religion was to be saved, extreme measures must be taken to stop the ingress into the new religion. The new converts to Islam were therefore violently persecuted and no efforts were spared to block the way to the new faith. Those acquainted with early Muslim history know full well what barbarous and cruel treatment was meted out to the early converts, and how many were murdered in cold blood. But these harsh measures did not prevent people from the acceptance of truth, for even a superficial glance is enough to convince a man of the reasonableness and purity of Islam as against idolatry. At length, when the implacable foes of Islam saw that severe persecution availed but little and that ancient religion was in danger of being swept away in the current of Muslim reason, they planned the death of the Prophet himself. But their designs were frustrated. Almighty God saved His messenger and took him to Madinah. The unbelievers, however, could not rest in their homes so long as they heard that the religion they had persecuted was gaining ground in another place. They pursued the Muslims to their new abode, and nothing but their extirpation could satisfy them. What could Islam do under the circumstances but defend itself? For what fault were Muslims to be mercilessly butchered and not allowed to protect their lives? Why should the inveterate persecutors not have been brought to retribution and just punishment? The Muslim battles were, therefore, not undertaken for gaining converts but to protect innocent Muslim lives. Can an unbiased judgement accept the conclusion that Islam was unable to prove its reasonableness as against savage Arabs? Can an unprejudiced mind believe that men, who had sunk so low as to worship images and lifeless things and who indulged in every manner of vice, could vanquish the noble religion of Islam on intellectual grounds, and that failure in proof led it to resort to the sword for increasing the number of its followers? Those who have advanced such objections against Islam have been guilty of grave injustice, in as much as they have concealed the true state of affairs.

Maulvis and Missionaries Responsible for False Notions of Jihad:

It is, however, true that the Musalman Maulvis (Muslim clergymen) and the Christian missionaries are equally to blame for this unjust charge against Islam. The ignorant Maulvis while pretending to support Islam, have, by their repeated inculcations, engrafted the false doctrine of Jihad upon the minds of the unenlightened public who were misled by the fatwas [religious pronouncement] of the Maulvis on the one side and the objections of the Christian missionaries, whom they took for learned men, on the other. The doctrine of jihad being thus supported by the evidence of the two opposing witnesses, its validity could not be questioned by the masses. Had the missionaries taken a different course and with true honesty declared that the fatwas of the Maulvis were based on ignorance of the early Islamic history, and that the circumstances which then rendered an appeal to arms necessary for Muslims did not exist any more, the idea of jihad would long since have been eradicated from the face of the earth. But they never looked to the consequences, and a misdirected zeal for their own religion cast a veil over their judgements in grasping the truth.

It must also be stated here that permission for self-defence and murdering the enemies of Islam was not given to the Muslims until the Arabs had, on account of their severe oppression and outrages and the shedding of innocent blood, rendered themselves culpable and liable to be punished with death. But clemency was even then shown to such of them as embraced Islam. The unity of religion established a relation of brotherhood and all past wrongs were forgotten. It is here that some opponents of Islam have stumbled and from this they draw the conclusion that the new religion was forced upon the unbelievers. In fact, the case is just the reverse of what the objectors have thought. There is no compulsion here: it was a favour to those who had rendered themselves liable to death. It is apparently absurd to take this conditional mitigation of just punishment for compulsion. They deserved to be murdered, not because they did not believe in the mission of the prophet, but because they had murdered many an innocent soul. The extreme penalty of the law was upon them, but the mercy of the gracious God gave them another chance of averting this merited capital punishment. He knew that during the long years of opposition the Islamic truths had been brought home to them and they well understood the futility of idol-worship, therefore, His mercy offered them an opportunity, even after the sentence was justly pronounced against them, for imploring His pardon and the forgiveness of their sins. This clearly shows that it was not the object of Islam to put any unbeliever merely as such to death, but that it was willing to forgive even when the criminal was found deserving of the death penalty.

Other Difficulties:

Islam had to grapple with other difficulties. Religious prejudice was so strong at the time that if a member of any tribe adopted the faith of Islam, he was either put to death or threatened with it, and persecution was so severe that life seemed a burden to him. Islam had, therefore, to face the difficulty of establishing freedom of conscience and religious practices and for this noble object it had to undertake wars.

The early wars of Islam fall in either of the above categories. Islam never took the sword for its own propagation or for any other purpose. Attempts were made to blot out its very existence and, therefore, it had to struggle for its life. It did not take up arms of its own accord but was compelled to do so. It had to defend itself and repel the dangerous foe. Later on, when its true principles were forgotten, the doctrine was read in a different light and ignorance looked with pride upon a hateful course of life. But the fault can in no way be attributed to Islam. The source from which it flows is pure and undefiled. That this doctrine has been identified with Islamic teachings by shallow-minded zealots who do not care for the life of man, even so much as man should care for the life of a sparrow, cannot be questioned. But the innocent blood that has been spilt in the past does not satisfy them. They have yet a bloody Mahdi in store for the world, and would like to exhibit the ugliest picture of Islam before all nations, so that all people may know that Islam has always had to resort for its propagation, to force and the sword, and that it has not so much as a particle of truth in it to achieve its conquest over hearts. It seems as if the holders of these views are not satisfied with the humiliation and decadence which Islam has already suffered but must bring it still lower and subject it to yet more disgrace. These men are a reproach to Islam. But God now wills that Islam should not any longer be branded with reproaches and remain hidden behind a cloud. It is already so distressing to find that its opponents, who have not taken the trouble to investigate matters for themselves, have it impressed upon their minds that Islam has, from its very beginning, been employing the sword to add to its numbers.

Uprooting the Evil:

It is high time that all these base charges should be removed from the face of Islam. If the Maulvis unite to root out the evil from the midst of the Muslims, they shall have done a lasting good to, and conferred a blessing upon, their co-religionists. Such an exposition of the doctrine of Islam will further reveal the excellence and beauties of the religion to the general public, and the aversion which its opponents have conceived on account of misconceptions will be turned into admiration. The clouds of dust being cleared, they shall then be able to get their light from that source of light. It is evident that no one can approach a bloody murderer. Everyone fears him, women and children tremble at his sight, and he looks like a mad man. An opponent of an alien religion cannot even pass a night with him lest he should choose to be Ghazi [a Muslim warrior] at the cost of his life. Such events daily occur among the ignorant frontier people [Note by the Webmaster: The author is referring to the inhabitants of the Frontier Province of India of his time (now in Pakistan)], and a single bloody deed is deemed sufficient to entitle the murderer to a life in paradise and its manifold blessings. It is a shame for Muslims that alien races cannot safely live as their neighbours. They cannot trust them for a single moment and hardly expect any good in times of need. They do not deem themselves safe among them and shrink at the hidden belief of Ghazism.

An instance of this occurred recently here at Qadian. On the 20th of November last a European came here. Just at that time a number of my followers had assembled and the conversation was on a religious subject. The traveller stood apart from the assembly and was addressed in polite words. It appeared that he was apprehensive. He stated that he had seen many Muslims who had committed atrocious deeds of murder against Christians. He mentioned several specific instances in which such cruelty had been shown. It was then explained to him that this, the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam, abhorred such doctrines and hated their adherents. It had set before itself the noble object of uprooting this evil. Upon this he felt satisfied and stayed here for a night.

A Great Injury:

There is a lesson in this story for the pro-jihad Maulvis. The growth of such a horrible doctrine among the Muslims has done lasting injury to the cause of Islam, and created an abhorrence for it in the hearts of other nations. They have no confidence in their sympathy so long as the dangerous doctrine of jihad finds favour with them. They cannot form a favourable opinion except such of them as do not lead strictly religious lives and are not very scrupulous about their religious beliefs. For all these misunderstandings, none but the Muslims themselves are responsible, The blame of depriving a whole world of the recognition of Islamic truths lies at the doors of the Maulvis who taught doctrines repulsive to the nature of man. How could a religion be from God, whose teachings needed the flash of the sword to get an entrance into the human heart? Such considerations were enough to keep back people from the acceptance of truth. The true religion is that which, on account of its inherent beauty and power and its convincing arguments, is more powerful than the sharpest sword, not that which depends upon steel for its existence.

Evils that Call for a Reformer:

Such are the evils that call for a reformer. Casting a glance at the internal state of Islam, we meet with a sad disappointment. It is a ghastly picture. The sun has undergone an eclipse, the greater part being already darkened. The social relations of the Muslims are deplorable. Traditions have been fabricated that act like poison upon their moral conditions and break the Divine Laws. The most sacred rights which Divine law has given to man are those relating to life, property and honour. We are commanded not to kill man, not to commit an outrage upon his honour, and not to seize his property dishonestly. But some so-called Muslims have broken all these commandments. They take away the life of an innocent person and never shudder at the inhuman deed. Empty-headed Maulvis have circulated fatwas to the effect that it is lawful to seduce or seize the women of unbelievers or heretics, and to steal or misappropriate their properties.

How dangerous the condition of the religion that is full of so many evils, and whose false leaders, instead of acting in obedience to the dictates of their conscience, follow their sensual desires and palm off their erroneous views as holy doctrines taught by God and His Prophet. These are wolves in sheep's clothing and they deceive the people. They act like poison and say they are an antidote. They are an enemy to society and an enemy to Islam. Their hearts are void of grace and sympathy but they conceal themselves. They put on the mask of preachers but have in view the indulgence of their own carnal desires. They come into the mosques like saints, but their character is black with diabolic deeds. These infamous characters are not limited to any particular country or town or sect, but may be found in every Muslim country. They pretend to be the religious leaders of the people and exponents of the doctrines of the religion. They call themselves Maulvis and assume saintly airs so that they may pass for godly men. Their deeds, however, reveal their true character. They do not like that true righteousness and true sympathy be spread in the world, for they consider that a loss to themselves.

Tomb Worship:

The way of Islam is blocked with numerous difficulties. The souls are dead and do not respond to the call of virtue. The golden mean which Islam taught as the guiding rule of life has been given up, and Muslims have gone to extremes. There are those among them that prostrate themselves before tombs and make circuits around them. They regard the departed souls of their spiritual guides as having full control from God over the affairs of humanity. Every religious order has a tomb of its own which is worshipped by the disciples at the instance of the head. If one asks for a supernatural sign, a thousand miracles of the dead saint, are related, but as to proof, there is none. With them, tomb-worship is of the essence of Islam, and all others who claim to follow that religion are in error.

Denial of Spiritual Facts:

In contrast with this is the sect that has gone to the opposite extreme. A wholesale denial of spiritual facts has fallen to their lot. Saints and prophets are rejected in the same breath. Miracles are denied and turned into ridicule. The revelation of God is attributed to an excess of imagination, and to the presence of a peculiar creative power in the inspired one. Predictions are described as the result of human foresight and any prophecy which is not the result of human foresight, and any prophecy which is not the result of mere insight of human judgement into the surrounding circumstances, and which could be termed a direct communication from a Higher Source, is an impossibility with them. In short, they declare the revelation of God to be all talk, miracles all moonshine and prophecies all stuff and nonsense. The graves of the dead are heaps of dust with which the souls have no connection. The resurrection or rising of the dead on the Day of Judgement is a fable of the days of ignorance, and to think of life hereafter is madness. Worldly wisdom is the true wisdom. Man must be bent wholly upon the things of this world, and his only concern should be the acquisition of the best means of being foremost in the race of life. He must emulate men who are day and night involved in the affairs of the world and its base machinations.

Immoderations:

Such are the excess and laxity of Musalmans [Muslims] with respect to the doctrines of revelation and resurrection. But their social and moral relations are all subject to the same rule. There is immoderation in their words, in marriage and divorce, in charity and parsimony, in wrath and mercy, in revenge and forgiveness; in short, in every affair of theirs. Ignorance and error have everywhere the upper-hand among them. This is the deplorable condition of the people that appeared in the world with the distinction and pre-eminence of being the teachers of the unity of God and the golden mean. From this may be judged the condition of other peoples.

Condition of Christianity:

We shall now take the case of Christianity which grew up in a land endowed by nature with superior intellect and rare brain powers and accordingly the expectations were greater in its case. But we are sorry to say that in the matter of religion and the unity of God, their condition is the worst. Their faith is a reproach to their philosophy and science. When we consider their prudence and skill in the management of worldly affairs and their genius for inventions on the one hand, and their lack of power to grasp religious truths and delusion in taking a mere man as the Lord of the worlds, on the other, we are at a loss to account for this irreconcilable inconsistency. We have an unequalled intelligence in the one case and a bottomless ignorance in the other.

Comparison:

Between the erroneous paths chosen by the Christians and the Muslims, a line of distinction can easily be drawn. Among the latter, the infringement is largely on the side of rights of man, while among the former it is on that of the duties we owe to our Creator. The doctrine of Jihad has hardened the hearts of the Muslims to such an extent that they can hardly feel true love and sympathy for their species. The unenlightened among them are ever-ready to cut the throat of an innocent person, or commit an outrage upon him on the slightest provocation or for personal motives, and with their beastly conduct, degrade humanity. The Christians have committed the most horrible outrage upon the rights of the Divine Being. They have set up with Him a weak man as God. The pity is that they have not even attained the object for which they had defiled a creature. We cannot see the good that has resulted to them from it. If a faith in the blood of Jesus has the power of cleansing man from sin, why has it not benefited Europe? Why has atonement proved to be no remedy for the besetting sins of Europe which one feels ashamed even to mention? There it has not only failed to uproot the great vices but has worked their worst development. Does Europe exhibit a higher level of morality or less evil than the Eastern countries? If not, why has it never occurred to the supporters of this doctrine to revise the recipe and seek another remedy? Every physician has to resort to this measure, and when he sees that the health of his patient does not improve by one remedy, he has to apply another. If then we care so much for a few days comfort, why is attention not paid to this important question upon which depends the central welfare of man?

Bondage of Sin:

Nineteen hundred years have elapsed since the blood of Jesus was first introduced into the world as a potent sin-healing remedy, but instead of doing any good it has proved harmful to society and intensified the evil which it proposed to mitigate. Are we still to believe that faith in the blood of Jesus delivers men from the bondage of sin, or should we expect that it will do in the future what it has been unable to do in such a long past and that the time is coming when Christian nations will pre-eminently stand above other, in shunning lust and iniquity? An unprejudiced European or a traveller who has been to the great European cities, the great centres of its civilisation, such as Paris, shall not hesitate to testify to the truth of our statement. Nay, some parts of Europe have reached the lowest stage of degeneracy, and do not look with any horror upon vice, nor pay any heed to its injurious consequences. Taking more than one wife is illegal there but looking with lust upon a woman is no delinquency. Is there any verse in the Gospels that legalises the disgraceful conduct of the millions of women in France and elsewhere who do not marry all their lives long, or is it only too true that the blood of Jesus has proved a bane to society?

The truth is that there is no natural relation between the death of one man and the redemption of another. As for the divinity of a dead man, we can conceive of blessings from a living God and not from a dead one. The whole world is illuminated by the rising of the sun, not by its setting. Nineteen hundred years experience of the failure of the remedy in effecting the desired object undetermines the idea of a Son-God upon which the whole superstructure is built. The death of God is no doubt an ill-devised idea, but supposing that the Almighty Being could not find any solution of the problem of human redemption other than the strange course He adopted, it would have been some satisfaction if the desired object had thus been attained. But the object has never been accomplished and the world has been plunged in deeper depths of sin. This unmeaning and unreasonable act of the Deity, therefore, turns out to be an absolute failure. That God should have been born from the womb of a woman to suffer punishment, disgrace and death is, in the first place, opposed to the established Divine laws, for it has neither any precedent satisfying the hearts of men that God has been in the habit of being thus born, nor is the claim supported by such extraordinary signs as can convince reasoning minds that they display a greater power than was manifested in the miracles wrought by the other prophets. Nor is the defect of this absolute lack of evidence made up by the attendance of the promised results for which this pernicious dogma was introduced into the world.

The two great vices which form the breeding ground for all carnal passions are drinking and prostitution, and it is in Christian nations that we find their worst manifestation. The majority of the inhabitants of Europe are involved in these two vices, and there is no exaggeration in the assertion that in drunkenness Europe beats all the vastly populated countries of Asia, and a single large city of Europe has a larger number of public-houses than the total number of shops of all sorts in an Asiatic town. Experience has, moreover, established it beyond doubt that drunkenness is the root of all evils and that the intoxicated man is likely to commit the most horrible crimes on the slightest provocation. Other evils are inseparable from it. Piety and drunkenness are like light and darkness respectively, and can, never exist together in the same place. The man who is not aware of its evil consequences is not far-sighted. Another trouble about it is that the giving up of the habit of drunkenness is attended with serious difficulties.

The True Knowledge of God, the only Remedy for Sins:

The question naturally arises now whether there is any means to freedom from the bondage of sin if atonement is not. I do not only assert it forcibly, but offer it as my own experience and as a well-tried remedy that there exists, and has existed from the creation of man down to this day, one and only one sure method of being released from the slavery of sin and the disobedience to God. Nothing can be proof against sin except a perfect knowledge of God attained through sure and conclusive arguments and brilliant signs of His existence. It is not to believe simply that there is a God but to know God and to see Him. It is through such a knowledge of God that a man sees clearly that the wrath of God is an all-consuming fire and that a manifestation of the beauties of God sets the soul at rest and makes it evident that true bliss and eternal felicity consist in a constant and reverent adoration of God. Every screen that hides the face of God from man is then raised and the Divine glory and beauty are revealed to him in their full lustre. This is the only way in which sensual passions can be restrained, and it is only such a knowledge of God that works a true transformation in man.

Some men would think that they also believe in God, love God, and fear God, yet they are not granted the purity of soul. Others, perhaps, might object that all the world, with the exception of a very few, is not a disbeliever in God and yet sin and evil rage in the world. But the fact is that there is a world of difference between a belief in God and knowledge of God. I do not mean to say that one who merely believes in God is granted the power to overcome sin, but that such power is granted only to the man who has a perfect knowledge of God, and who has tasted both the fear and love of God. The believer in God simply admits that a God exists, but one who has a perfect knowledge of Him actually sees what the other only refrains from rejecting on grounds of probability. If it were said that Satan has a clear knowledge of God and still he is disobedient to the Divine being, the reply is that such a view is not correct. Satan has not the perfect knowledge which is granted to the righteous ones of God.

It is in the nature of man that when perfect knowledge renders him certain of something, he is necessarily impressed with it. He avoids every dreadful path of destruction once he has seen it. It is therefore impossible that a true knowledge of God and disobedience to His commandments should dwell in the same heart, for if the one is darkness the other is light and must dispel it. We ordinarily see that a thing which experience has shown to be beneficial and conducive to any good is anxiously desired by everybody, while that which is proved to be harmful is hated and even viewed with horror. For instance, the man who has strychnine in his hand, but is not aware of its fatal property, may take it in any quantity under the impression of its being some innocuous drug; but the person who knows it to be a poison cannot take it in any such quantity as it is sure to kill him. Similarly, it is a solid and evident truth that when man knows it for certain that there is a God Who punishes every transgression, and that punishment is sure to follow every act of disobedience, he keeps at a safe distance from all sorts of wrong-doing, such as bloodshed, theft, prostitution, oppression, injustice, breach of trust, setting up others with God, telling a lie, giving false evidence, vanity, hypocrisy, peculation, cheating, abusing, fraud, faithlessness, remissness, lasciviousness, ungratefulness towards God, not fearing God, selfishness, having no sympathy for man, not praying to God with a fearful heart, indulging in luxury and worldly delights, forgetfulness of God, keeping aloof from prayer and want of humility, adulterating articles for sale or defrauding customers, giving short measure or weight, selling at a higher than the market price, not serving his parents, harshness to wives, disobedience to husbands, looking with lust at strange men and women, not caring for the orphans, thinking little of the old and the weak and the sick, disregarding the rights of neighbours and injuring them, insulting a fellowman to show one's own vanity, jeering at others in an offensive language, describing some by defect to affront another person, calling others bad names, charging others falsely, pretending to receive revelation from God, or falsely claiming apostleship, of receiving message or prophecy from Him, denying the existence of God, and revolting against a good ruler or mischievously creating a disturbance in the country.

Outward Belief:

The assertion that we know that there is a God and that sin will be punished and yet we commit sins, and hence the insufficiency of the method pointed out, is nothing but a delusion.

It is impossible that man would venture to commit sin after he is fully convinced that no sooner does he transgress the commandments of the Almighty, will the fire of punishment consume him like lightning in the twinkling of an eye. The principle upon, which stress has been laid here is one that defies refutation. It is incontestable that whenever an act is sure to be followed by certain punishment, there is no desire in man to attempt that act. No one ever thrusts his hand into burning fire, or throws himself down from the top of a mountain, or jumps into a well, or stands against a train in motion, or thrusts his hand into the mouth of a lion, or holds out his leg before a mad dog or stands beneath falling lightning or remains in a house when the roof is coming down over his head, or stands upon the ground that is sinking. Is there a stout-hearted man who, upon seeing a poisonous snake upon his bed, does not at once jump to the floor? Or does the rashest man, when his house is in fire, not leave everything to be devoured by flames to escape with his own life? If all this is true and man naturally flees from danger, why does he not keep clear of sin and fly from the coming wrath? There is no satisfactory answer to this question, except that in the two cases there is difference in the certainty about the consequences.

Most people have really no sure knowledge of the effect of their transgressions. They are no doubt conscious that sin is harmful, but they never dread it like they do a lion or a snake. Beneath this outward belief is the lurking idea that there is no positive proof of the retribution. Even the existence of God is not beyond all question. There is also an uncertainty regarding the immortality of the soul, or, granting it is immortal, regarding its fate in the Hereafter, and regarding the fact that transgression of God's commandments shall really be punished. That such doubts are latent in the minds is beyond a shadow of doubt, though they may be there unspied or even unsuspected. But as to occasions of palpable danger, instances of which have been given above, there is certainty that destruction will be the immediate consequence, and, therefore, none can approach the danger, or if anyone is brought face to face with it by accident, he will fly from it.

To sum up, most men have not that certainty in religious matters which they have in the material world.

In the one case it is certitude, in the other a mere idea, a conjecture so to say; in this they feel and see, in that it is an idle tale. Fog cannot dispel the darkness of sin; there must be clear light. I say it plainly and truly that the true salvation of mankind has nothing to do with the crucifixion of Jesus, and that even if a thousand Messiahs are crucified, that object can never be achieved. Only a perfect knowledge of a perfect love of God can deliver man from the bondage of sin. As to the death of Jesus upon the cross, it is not a true statement in the first place and has, moreover, nothing to do with the cure of sin. It is an obscure assertion with no foundation and no results. Evidence does not support it, nor does experience bear it out. The suicide of a Messiah has no conceivable relation to the remission of another man's sins.

The true nature of redemption is that man should be freed from the hell of sin in this very world. The promise of salvation hereafter, while this one is to be passed in the fire of sin, is nothing but a fallacy. Idle tales cannot relieve a man of the heavy burden he is so desirous of shaking off, nor have these childish stories, which are devoid of all pure truth and have no bearing on the purpose, done any good to or saved their upholders. Search the whole country, from north to south and from east to west, and you will not find a single man who has, through these tales, attained to that righteousness which not only makes a man abhor sin but gives him a true prospect of a paradise hereafter by granting him in the enjoyment of truths a heavenly bliss in this life. The soul of man melts and humbles itself before the majesty of God without any reserve. A light descends from heaven and dispels the gloom of carnal desires.

As darkness pervades a room in broad daylight if its doors are shut, but light enters it if a man takes the trouble to open the doors, similar is the case with the spirit of man. He must exert himself to his utmost before he reaps any real benefit. To admit light into a room, a man must get up from his place and open the windows. Unless he does that he cannot partake of the bounties of the laws of nature. A thirsty man cannot quench his thirst by the mere thought of water, but stumbling and falling he must reach the fountain of sweet water and stoop down to drink of it. Then will his burning thirst be satisfied.

Perfect Assurance:

The water of life which can cool and refresh your souls from the burns of sin is perfect assurance. Upon this earth and under the heavens there is no other remedy for getting cleansed from sin. No cross can deliver you from this evil, no blood can set you free from the trammels of passion. Do not trust in these, for they have nothing to do with deliverance. Reflect upon realities and ponder over truths. Try as you do in the material world, and then you will see that there is no light but that which proceeds from true assurance that can take you out of sensual darkness, and no pure and sweet water but that which flows from perfect knowledge and an actual revelation of the face of God that can cleanse the impurities of the soul and cool and refresh the burning of the heart. If one propounds a different theory, or another acts upon a different principle, the one is ignorant and the other deceived. It is not light they can give you but further darkness of doubt, and not the cool and sweet water they promise you but more of burning and inflammation. No blood can purify you but the pure blood which the nourishment of assurance generates, and no cross can deliver you but the cross that you have to suffer in walking upon the right path.

Is it not true that unless there is light you cannot reach the goal? Guess that which is far, from that which is near, and judge the spiritual from the material world. The laws which govern the one hold good in the other for both come from the same source. Is there a man who can see without the help of his eyes, or hear without the aid of his ears, or speak but by means of his tongue? Why not seek for similar laws in matters spiritual? Can one stand with one's eyes open on the side of a bottomless pit? Or is one not alarmed when a voice comes into his ears warning him of the approach of thieves? Or again, is there a person who can, notwithstanding healthiness of the muscles of taste, swallow with a relish bitter and poisonous drugs which produce stomach disorder, vomiting, swelling of the body or other fatal diseases which ultimately destroy the whole system? If man has to depend upon so many things for his guidance in the physical world, is it not true that in the spiritual world he stands in need of a light that would show him the evil of the paths of wickedness, a voice that would warn him of the places frequented by thieves and dacoits, and a taste that would distinguish the bitter from the sweet and poison from antidote? These are the things from which man needs to be saved. Salvation cannot be secured except through light and the blind man who trusts in the blood of someone for being saved from sin trusts but to a broken reed.

True Salvation:

Anyone who only hankers after a salvation in the next world is certainly on the wrong scent. True salvation is that which begins in this life. It is a light which descends upon the heart and shows the abyss of destruction. Walk, therefore, in the path of truth and wisdom and then you will find God. Animate and warm your hearts that you may be able to make a motion towards truth. Unfortunate is the heart which is cold, miserable the spirit which is depressed, and dead the conscience which has no light in it. Be not worse than the bucket which goes empty into the well but comes up full. Be not like the sieve which discharges its fluid contents as soon as it receives them. Let all your exertions be to one end only, that your health be restored and that the fever should leave you, whose poisoning heat has impaired all your senses and taken away light from the eyes, hearing from the ears, taste from the tongue, and strength from all the limbs. Cut off the low connections of this world that you may be able to unite with the higher one. Control your heart from moving in one path, that thus constrained it may take the other. Throw off the filthy worm of this earth that the shining jewel of heaven may be granted to you. Look at the beginning when God breathed His spirit into Adam. Let your deeds be such as to make you deserving of the same boon, that you may be made lord over all things as your father was made before you.

The greater part of the day has passed, the eve is approaching and the sun is going to set. Let your eyes see now or else they will never see. Before you commence that eternal journey, send before you delicious and sweet things to eat, not stones and bricks, for those will never satisfy your hunger or quench your thirst. Send before you, also, clothes for your dress and not thorns and rubbish. The God Who before the birth of the child provides milk for it in the breast of its mother, has sent one for you in your time and in your country that he may give you suck like a loving mother. From him you will suck the milk of assurance and faith, a milk whiter than the sun and of all drinks the most cheering and inspiriting. If you are born alive and not dead, run to the breast that can give you fresh milk. Throw off the stinking and noxious milk from your cups, for it affords no nourishment and you cannot see its putridity. It has become a poison and its entrance into your blood is sure to corrupt the internal system. All that glitters is not gold and, therefore, take not every whiteness for an excellence. There are things in the world which are black in appearance but are of more solid worth than many a thing polished white. Black hair signify the vigour of the prime of manhood, while grey ones indicate the weakness and decrepitude of declining years. The whiteness of hypocrisy and sham virtue ought therefore to be condemned. Far better is the plain and frank sinner who does not conceal his faults under a mask. He is nearer the mercy of God than the other.

Need of Self-analysis:

Do not put your confidence in doubtful and dubious things which are not accompanied by true light and not supported by true philosophy, for these are the paths of danger and destruction. Weigh well the desires of your own heart, determine what they are, and pry into your own minds how they can be satisfied as to the manner in which you can free yourself from evil. What are the dictates of your conscience as to the best remedy for this all-absorbing evil. Can any reasonable mind be satisfied that the blood of Jesus actually makes sin abominable in our view? Experience supplies evidence to the contrary and it appears that it has emboldened men in the commission of sin, for the man who trusts in the blood of Jesus knows that the penalty of his sin has been paid. He only to whom knowledge of the poisonous nature of sin is given can keep clear of the evil, for he knows the danger he exposes himself to in doing evil.

One has been sent from God who alone can give you the knowledge, on acquiring which your hearts will see God and the poisonous nature of evil. Then will you flee from sin as a man flees from a lion. It should, therefore, be the first object of every well-wisher of humanity to spread his doctrines and signs in the world so that those who, in vain, seek deliverance in the crucifixion of Jesus may see the real source of true salvation. The muddy waters which contain twenty times as much filth as pure water do not contain the purifying element. The water that descends from heaven in its time can alone cleanse the heart of all dirt. The stream which overflows with pure rain water can alone supply clear and undefiled water, but the stream which does not flow but has stagnant water in it is far from being crystalline and pure. It is all muddy and dirty and is a receptacle of impure extraneous matter. The hearts to which a perfect knowledge of God and an assurance have been given is like the overflowing stream which fertilises surrounding lands and whose clear cold water gives satisfaction to and cools the burning heart. It is not only pure itself but purifies everything that is washed in it. It gives true wisdom and sagacity which remove rust from the heart and arouse dislike for sins. But the muddy stagnant water of a dry stream, being itself dirty, cannot purify others or do any good to the world.

It is now high time for everyone to be ready and search the water of assurance, for it will be given to all earnest seekers. Filled with assurance you must flow like a mighty stream that carries off the debris of doubt in its current and leaves the heart pure and free from every sin. This is the water which will blot out all imprints of sin and thus prepare the heart, by restoring its natural purity, for receiving Divine impressions. Remember that the letters of sensuality can never be erased from the tablet of your heart, unless you wash them off with the water of assurance. Strive and the means will be given to you; seek and it shall be provided; humble your hearts and you shall be able to understand these things, for hardness of heart bars the road to realities. Do you think that there is any other way for impressing upon your hearts the greatness of the Living God, or for the revelation of His Glory, or the manifestation of His power? Do you consider it possible that your hearts shall be filled with the light of assurance and conceive true hatred towards sin by walking on a different path? That cannot and will not be. There is but one God, one path and one law.

aaiil.org > Literature > Books > Towards the New Order — An Exhortation by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian
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