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Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement; the Mujaddid (Reformer) of the 14th Century Hijrah; and, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi) <Please read his biography in the 'Biography' section>

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Books Section > The Great Mujaddid [Mujaddid-e-Azam] -- Vol. 3 [Biography of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian] by Dr. Basharat Ahmad Sahib > Chapter 3: Some Comments by the Muslim Press about the Holy Imam’s Services to Islam

Chapter 3:
Some Comments by the Muslim Press about the Holy Imam’s Services to Islam:

Reproduced below are a few quotations from the Muslim press indicating their sense of bereavement on the death of the Holy Imam and their appreciation of the theological dialectics that the Holy Imam developed for the defence and preservation of Islam. "The excellence that is testified to even by opponents is the real excellence," goes the Arabic adage.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad:

He was a very famous Islamic scholar, author and journalist in India of this century. He was also President of the Indian National Congress before Independence, and after the Independence of India he held high posts in the Federal cabinet of the Indian Republic. At the time of the death of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, he was acting as the editor of a well-known Muslim newspaper, the Wakeel of Amritsar. We give below extracts from the lengthy obituary of Hazrat Mirza that Maulana Abul Kalam Azad wrote in it:

"That man, that very great man, whose pen was a magic wand and whose tongue spell-binding; that man whose brain was a complex of wonders, whose eye could revive the dying and whose call aroused those in the graves, whose fingers held the wires of revolution and whose fists were electrical batteries; that man who for thirty years was an earthquake and typhoon for the religious world, who, like the trumpet of Doomsday, awakened those lost in the slumber of life, he has left the world empty-handed. This bitter death, this cup of poison, which entrusted the deceased to dust, will remain on thousands, nay millions of tongues, as words of bitter disappointment and regret. The stroke of death which slaughtered, along with one who was very much alive, the hope and longings of many, and the wails it raises of lament, will remain in memories for a long time to come.

"The demise of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian is not such an event that a lesson should not be learnt from it, nor should it be consigned to the passage of time to efface. Such people who produce a religious or intellectual revolution are not born often. These sons of history, in whom it rightly takes pride, appear but barely on the world scene, and when they do they bring about a revolution for all to see.

"In spite of our strong differences with Mirza Sahib in respect of some of his claims and beliefs, his separation for ever has convinced the educated and enlightened Muslims that one of their very great personages has left them. And with him the mighty defence of Islam against its opponents, which was linked with his person, has come to an end. His special characteristic, that he acted against the enemies of Islam as a victorious general, compels us to express openly our feelings that the grand Movement which for so long defeated and trod over our opponents should be continued in the future also.

"Mirza Sahib appeared in the front line of devotees who, for the cause of Islam, accepted the dedication to sacrifice their time from the cradle, through the springs and autumns, to their graves in fulfilling the pledge of loyalty to their beautiful beloved Islam.

"The literature produced by Mirza Sahib in his confrontation with the Christians and the Aryas has received the seal of general approval, and for this distinction he needs no introduction. We have to acknowledge the value and greatness of this literature from the bottom of our hearts, now that it has done its work. This is because that time cannot be forgotten nor effaced from the mind when Islam was besieged by attacks on all sides, and the Muslims, who had been entrusted with the defence of Islam by the Real Defender, as the means of defence in this world of means and causes, were lying flat sobbing in the aftermath of their shortcomings, doing nothing for Islam or not being able to do anything for it.

"On the one hand, the extent of attacks was such that the entire Christian world, considering the lamp of Islamic spirituality to be a great hurdle in the way of their progress, wanted to extinguish it completely, and the great forces of intellect and wealth were eager to give them all out support in this onslaught. On the other hand, the state of weakness of the defence was such that there were no arrows even to fend off the artillery. In fact, there did not exist any sign of defence or counter-offensive whatsoever."

"Then began that counter-attack from the side of the Muslims in which Mirza Sahib had a part. That defence not only shattered to pieces the initial influence of Christianity, which it really had due to support from the government, and saved thousands, nay millions of Muslims from this dangerous attack which would have succeeded, but the talisman of Christianity itself was blown away like smoke.

"By turning the defence into an offensive mode he has made the vanquished the victor. Today, if we overlook our new and old differences and consider only the service to Islam as the ultimate purpose - than even in the very life of that over-zealous Bishop who, being oblivious of the intrinsic power of Islam, and who, while speaking on the fiftieth anniversary of a Christian Mission, had evinced an unworthy desire to make the Grand Mosque of Delhi the venue of the next Jubilee celebrations - a time has come when the spiritual conquests of Islam may turn the Cathedral of Saint Paul into a house of worship of God instead of a place for worshipping Jesus and his mother; and in lieu of the tolling of church bells, the divine chant of the Kalimah-i Shahadat (I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His messenger) may reverberate in the air."

"So, this service rendered by Mirza Sahib will place the coming generations under a debt of gratitude, in that he fulfilled his duty to the defence of Islam by joining the front rank of those engaged in the jihad by the pen, and he left behind him as a memorial such literature as will last so long as Muslims have blood flowing in their veins and the urge to support Islam remains their prominent national characteristic. Besides this, Mirza Sahib performed a very special service for Islam by crushing the poisonous fangs of the Arya Samaj.... His writings against the Arya Samaj shed clear light on the claim that, however much the scope of our defence will be widened in the future, it is impossible that these writings could ever be overlooked."

"Natural intelligence, application and dexterity, and continuous debates, had lent Mirza Sahib a special splendour. He had vast knowledge, not only of his own religion, but also of other religions. And he was able to use his vast knowledge with great finesse. In the art of preaching and teaching, he had acquired such accomplishment that the person whom he addressed, of whatever understanding or religion, was thrown into deep thought by his spontaneous reply. India, today, is an exhibition house of religions, and the number of great and small faiths found here, along with their mutual struggles which announce their existence, cannot be matched anywhere else in the world. Mirza Sahib's claim was that he was the arbiter and judge for them all, but there is no doubt that he possessed a special talent to make Islam pre-eminent among all these religions. This was due to his natural ability, taste for study, and hard work. It is not likely that a man of this grandeur will be born again in the Indian sub-continent, a man who will devote his highest desires in this way to the study of religions."

(Wakeel, Amritsar)

Maulana 'Abdullah Al-'Imadi:

He was the permanent editor of Wakeel, and he added his own tribute a few days later as follows:

"Although Mirza Sahib had not received formal education in current knowledge and theology, yet an assessment of his life shows that he had a unique nature not granted to everyone: by the aid of his own study and his upright nature, he had attained sufficient mastery over religious literature. In about 1877, when he was 35 or 36 years old, we find him charged with unusual religious fervour. He is leading the life of a true and pious Muslim. His heart is unimpressed by worldly attractions. He is as happy in solitude as if he were in congenial company, and when in company he is enjoying the bliss of solitude. We find him restless, and it appears as if he is in search of a lost thing, no trace of which can be found in the mortal world. Islam has so overwhelmed him that he holds debates with the Aryas, and writes voluminous books in support of Islam. His debates in Hoshiarpur in 1886 were so delightful that the feeling of enjoyment has still not been forgotten....

" The state of ecstasy created by reading his invaluable books which were written to counter other religions and to uphold Islam, still has not faded. His Barahin-i Ahmadiyyah overawed the non-Muslims and raised the spirits of the Muslims. He presented to the world a captivating picture of the religion (of Islam), cleansed of the blots and dust that had collected upon it as a result of the superstition and natural weaknesses of the ignorant. In short, this book raised a loud echo in the world, at least within India, which is still reverberating in our ears. Though some Muslim religious leaders may now pass an adverse verdict on Barahin-i Ahmadiyyah... the best time to pass judgement was 1880 when it was published. At that time, however, Muslims unanimously decided in favour of Mirza Sahib.

"As to his character, there is not the slightest trace of a blot on it. He lived a virtuous life, the life of a righteous, God-fearing person. To conclude, the first fifty years of his life, in terms of high morals and commendable habits, and in terms of services to the religion, raised him to an enviable position of distinction and honour among the Muslims of India" (Wakeel, Amritsar, 30th May 1908).

Editor of Sadiq al-Akhbar, Rewari:

"Since Mirza Sahib, by means of his forceful speeches and magnificent writings, has forever silenced the critics of Islam through giving befitting replies to their absurd objections and has proved that truth, after all, is truth, and since he has left no stone unturned in discharging his obligation of service to Islam, fairness demands that we should express our sorrow at the sudden and untimely death of such a resolute supporter of Islam, of such a ready helper of the Muslim cause, of such an excellent and unique scholar and savant."

Editor of the Aligarh Institute Gazette:

"No doubt the deceased was a great champion of Islam."

Editor of the Curzon Gazette:

In its issue of 1 June, 1908, the Editor of the Curzon Gazette, Mirza Hairat Dehlavi, writes:

"Those precious services of the deceased that he rendered to Islam while debating with opponents like the Arya Samajists and the Christians, are deserving of the greatest praise. He changed the whole complexion of the debate and laid the foundation for a new literature in India. Not only because he was a Muslim, but because he was a researcher, we concede the fact that not even the most prominent Arya Samajists or the most exalted Christian priest had the courage to open his mouth in front of the deceased. Except for the most uncivilised abuse heaped on him, we have not seen even till this day any reasonable reply by the Arya Samajists to the silencing rejoinders that he offered to the opponents of Islam, and to the unique books written by him in refutation of the Arya Samaj and the Christian religions, or on the leaders, or the principles of Islam.

Though the deceased was a Punjabi, yet his pen was so powerful that there is none today in the Punjab, or for that matter, in the whole of India, who can match him in such forceful writing. His brain was full of spiritual and powerful expressions and when he sat down to write, the rapid flow of suitable and apt words was such as to defy description.

Those unacquainted with Maulawi Nur al-Din mistakenly believe that Mirza Sahib had taken a lot of help from him, but we say through personal knowledge that Hakim Nur al-Din cannot write even a few lines in comparison with the deceased Mirza. Although in some places in his spirited Urdu literature his Punjabi background shows up, still, his grand literature is unique in its magnificence and no doubt one goes into ecstasy on reading some of his passages. Although he had received no formal education in Arabic literature, or grammar, or syntax, yet, by dint of his God-given intelligence and his natural capability, he had developed enough mastery over Arabic to write the language freely."

President, Jami‘at-i Ahrar:

On page forty-six of his book, Fitna-i Irtidad aur Political Qalabazian, the President of the Jami‘at-i Ahrar, says:

"Before the emergence of the Arya Samaj, Islam was like a lifeless body from which the proselytising spirit had completely disappeared. For a while, Muslims were aroused by the aspersion cast on Islam by Swami Dayanand, but they fell back into slumber as usual. Though no proselytising group could emerge from among the various sects of Muslims, however, one heart became restless over the heedlessness of Muslims and after gathering a small band of followers around him, came forward for the propagation and spread of Islam. Although he cannot be absolved from the charge of sectarianism, yet he infused a spirit of proselytisation in his community, a spirit which is not only a role model for the various sects of Muslims, but is also a pattern for all the communities in the world."

The charge of sectarianism is wrong:

How valuable the admission of an adversary that even when the whip of the Arya Samaj onslaught could not shake the Muslims out of their heedless slumber, there was just one heart which was agitated for the propagation of Islam and that heart was Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s. He was the first to found a community in those days, when Islam was in such danger, for the defence and propagation of Islam, a community which is a standing example for the entire world’s communities.

As for the charge that he could not be absolved of the blemish of sectarianism, it is totally wrong. In fact, it was he who set up such a principle for the eradication of sectarianism in Islam that if the Muslims were to follow it, no trace of sectarianism would be left in them today. Just as there is a difference in various human beings in their physical appearance, in spite of belonging to the same line of descent, similarly there is a difference in temperaments, and hence a difference of opinion and thinking is unavoidable. Hence, in order to promote unity and solidarity among Muslims, the basic principle of a natural faith like Islam should be to develop unanimity and consensus over the fundamental principles, overlooking the details and minor issues. By overlooking it does not mean that these things should not be discussed, or the mistaken group should not be told of their mistakes, but it means that we should not brand any Muslim as a kafir (unbeliever) over some minor difference of opinion, nor drive him out of the pale of Islam. Point out the mistake, but do not call him a kafir because of it.

The Holy Imam drew the attention of Muslims to this very principle and he also enjoined on his community this policy that no one who declares his belief in the Kalimah of Islam should be called a kafir and if someone does engage in takfir (branding others as unbelievers), we should stop him. If he persists, we should boycott him. He laid down this punishment simply for the purpose of eradicating the disease of sectarianism and takfir from Muslims. He strongly emphasised, like Imam Abu Hanifah, that if someone exhibits ninety-nine elements of kufr (heresy) and only one reason in favour of his being a Muslim, even then he is not to be declared a kafir.

Hence, the only community that can be considered free of sectarianism is the one that considers all believers in the Islamic Kalimah to be Muslims and considers those who dub anyone a kafir so vile as to be ever ready to boycott them. The only community that strictly adheres to this principle is the Ahmadiyya Jama'at based at Lahore, and till such time as this policy is adopted by all Muslim groups, the curse of sectarianism cannot be eradicated from the Muslim ummah.

The magnificent defence of Islam by the Holy Imam, as shown by the above quotations, has been accepted by friend and foe alike. There are many more such plaudits but they are omitted for lack of space. Anyone interested in confirming this should refer to the Holy Imam’s original works like Barahin-i Ahmadiyyah, Surma Chashm-i Arya, A‘ina-i Kamalat-i Islam, Anjam-i Atham and the supplement thereof, Arya Dharam and The Teachings of Islam.


Books Section > The Great Mujaddid [Mujaddid-e-Azam] -- Vol. 3 [Biography of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian] by Dr. Basharat Ahmad Sahib > Chapter 3: Some Comments by the Muslim Press about the Holy Imam’s Services to Islam


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