Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of
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Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of
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Some of the charges made against Hazrat Mirza Sahib have already been mentioned. They were repudiated by he, himself. Some more remain. Of those, the two more important ones may now be taken up. They are that:
1. He cancelled Jihad
The same person would be Imam Mahdi for the Muslims themselves. He himself being Divinely guided (which is the meaning of Mahdi), he will give guidance to the Muslims. The guidance provided by Hazrat Mirza Sahib to the Muslims will be discussed in a later chapter, although briefly, for the field of that guidance is very comprehensive and vast. That Imam Mahdi will play that role is very clear from another hadith which says: 'Whoever lives from among you will meet Isa ibn-Maryam (Jesus, son of Mary) who will (also) be Imam Mahdi and arbiter, a judge' (Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 2, page 411).
That there will be differences, dissension and factions among the Muslims over religious issues when the Promised Messiah/Imam Mahdi appears is foretold in many sayings of the Holy Prophet. That the Promised Messiah as Imam Mahdi will act as an arbitrator and a judge to decide these differences was fully complied with by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib as will be shown in a later chapter.
But two interesting points may be mentioned which leave no doubt that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib was indeed the Promised Imam Mahdi. The first one relates to where Imam Mahdi will appear:
1. 'The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Mahdi will appear from a village the name of which will be Kadah' (Jawahir-ul-Asrar, page 55) - which is very close to the name Qadian, the ancestral village of Hazrat Mirza Sahib, where he was born and lived. The original name of the village was Islam Pur Qazi Majhi. That name being too long for common parlance, it came to be called Qazi. Among the masses it was pronounced as Kadi, very close to the name mentioned by the Holy Prophet. It should also be remembered that foreign names undergo a change in Arabic, as for instance 'Londra' for London.
And this unique and undeniable heavenly sign did occur in the time of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib in the month of Ramadan, 1311 Hijrah (March-April 1894) and never before or after him. The lunar eclipse can take place on any of the three dates beginning with the 13th of a month in the Muslim calendar (this is the appointed period mentioned by the Holy Prophet). Similarly, the solar eclipse can take place only on the 27th, 28th and 29th days of a month in the Muslim calendar. As prophesied by the Holy Prophet, the unique event of the twin eclipse within the same Muslim calendar month of Ramadan took place in 1311 A.H., the lunar eclipse occurring on the 13th night and the solar eclipse occurring on the 28th. The lunar and solar eclipses on the same dates and in the same manner correspondingly took place in the Western Hemisphere in the year following, viz. 1312 A.H. And the clear fulfilment of the prophecy made by our Holy Prophet added to the strength of belief and conviction of the Muslims all over the world, both in the East and the West. At the same time, it unquestionably established the truth of Hazrat Mirza Sahib's claim to be Imam Mahdi who, even otherwise, was to be no other than the Promised Messiah, as prophesied by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and quoted earlier.
But there was a widespread misconception among the Muslims that Imam Mahdi would spread Islam by the sword. And the British government, after their bloody and bitter experience with the Mahdi of Sudan a few years earlier, were confirmed in the same impression which they had already got from what they were told of the Muslim belief. This important point has to be remembered as it will be vital to the subsequent discussion in this chapter.
One of the great services rendered by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib was to remove the misconception prevalent among the Muslims as well as the non-Muslims (particularly the Christians) that the use of the sword is permissible in Islam to spread it. Arguments in favour of what he said should have been adduced in a later chapter about his services to Islam. But in this chapter they may be summarized because of the question's relevance to the charge that he cancelled Jihad.
Now, nowhere in any Hadith (the Holy Quran does not speak of Imam Mahdi) is there any mention that he would spread Islam by the sword. So the demand of Hazrat Mirza Sahib's critics was completely baseless. In any case, Islam is the only religion which has proclaimed the Magna Carta of religious liberty: 'There is no compulsion in religion' (2:256). And the Holy Prophet, being the perfect exemplar, practiced it. There is no instance of force having been used to convert people to Islam in the Holy Prophet's days.
The question then arises: What is jihad? It is certainly not the use of force to convert people to Islam. Apart from the charter of religious liberty quoted above (2:256) there are so many verses of the Holy Quran that show that people were not to be forced to accept Islam, for instance: 'Will you force people against their wish to become believers?' (10:99); 'And say, The truth is from your Lord; so let him who pleases believe, and let him who pleases disbelieve' (18:29); and so on.
The Holy Prophet's own example is that he preached Islam by word of mouth and his own sublime manners and example, never by the sword. In the thirteen long years of the worst possible persecution, torture, and even killing of individual Muslims in Makkah, the Holy Prophet and his dutiful followers never used the sword even in self-defence. It was only after the migration to Madinah, where Islam began to flourish, that the Makkans decided to destroy Islam and the Muslims by war. It was only then that Divine permission was given to fight in self-defence.
'Permission (to fight) is given to those on whom war is made, because they have been wronged. And Allah is Able to assist them' (22:39).
Thus jihad in the sense of fighting is permissible only in self-defence or where there is aggressive religious persecution and oppression. These are the conditions laid down in the Holy Quran. As there was complete religious freedom under the British rule in the time of Hazrat Mirza Sahib, there was no case at all for waging war against the British rulers. This was attested to even by non-Ahmadi leaders of Muslim thought as shown below.
Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (d.1898) then occupied the most prominent position among the Muslims of the sub-continent. He wrote exactly in the same strain as Hazrat Mirza Sahib that there was no case for waging war against the British rulers as they had given complete religious freedom. Even the Wahabis, who were considered a fanatical danger by the British, declared their loyalty to the British rulers from the house tops. Their well-known leader, Maulvi Muhammad Jaffar, wrote:
'Before all, I thank the Government under which we can publicly, and with the beat of drums, teach the religious doctrines of our pure faith without any interference whatsoever, and we can pay back our opponents, whether they are Christians or others, in their own coin. Such liberty we cannot have even under the Sultan of Turkey (Barakat-ul-Islam, title page 2).
The Sultan was then 'Khalifatul Muslemeen.'
Another famous Ahl-e Hadith leader, Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Batalvi, wrote:
'Considering the Divine Law and the present condition of the Muslims, we have said that this is not the time of the sword' (Ishaat-us-Sunnah, Safar 1301 A.H., page 366).
Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan, another very outstanding nineteenth-century scholar of Islam during British rule, wrote:
'A perusal of the historical books shows that the peace, security and liberty which all people have received under this rule have never been obtained under any other rule.'
'Whoever goes against it (i.e. loyalty and faithfulness to the British rule) is not only a mischief-maker in the eyes of the rulers but he shall also be farthest from what Islam requires and from the way of the believers, and he shall be regarded as a violator of the covenant, unfaithful to his religion, and a perpetrator of the greatest sin, and what his condition will be on the Day of Judgment will become evident there' (Tarjuman-e-Wahabiya, pages 8 and 13-24).
While the ulama did not take up any cudgel against these writers, they damned Hazrat Mirza Sahib then, and do so even now, that he had abrogated jihad when he wrote:
'The conditions for jihad are absent in these times and in this country' (page 20, Supplement to Tuhfa-e-Golrawiya).
In saying that, he fulfilled the prophecy of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that the Promised Messiah 'will suspend warfare' (Bukhari). And only suspend he did, but not cancel, for he wrote:
'So it should be known that the Holy Quran does not order fighting without rhyme or reason. But it permits fighting only against those who forcibly prevent the servants of Allah from believing in Him, or forcibly prevent others from acting on the commandments of Allah or worshipping Him. And it permits fighting against those who fight the Muslims without good cause or banish them from their homes and native countries, or forcibly convert the creatures of Allah to their own religion and wish to destroy Islam, and they forcibly prevent people from becoming Muslims. These are the people upon whom comes down the Wrath of Allah and it is obligatory on the believers to fight them unless they desist' (Nur-ul-Haq, Part 1, page 46).
To accuse such a man of having 'cancelled' jihad altogether is the height of injustice and wrong-doing. Actually, Hazrat Mirza Sahib drew the attention of the Muslims, particularly his own followers, to what the Holy Quran calls jihadan kabiran in the verse: 'And strive against them (the disbelievers) with it (Quran) which is the biggest jihad' (25:52).
The Holy Prophet too when returning from a war said: 'We are returning from a lesser jihad to the bigger jihad' with the Holy Quran. Islam was in the nineteenth century CE under the severest possible attack 'not by the sword' but with the tongue and the pen. Jihad against such warfare on Islam could also be by pen and word of mouth, drawing ammunition (i.e. arguments and reasons) from the Holy Quran, as Hazrat Mirza Sahib himself did, to conduct jihad relentlessly all his life. His followers are also doing it in his footsteps. So the real mujahids (campaigners against falsehood) are the Ahmadis - not those who very wrongly advocate jihad by sword to convert others - and actually shun the sword. Their propagation of Islam is confined mostly to Muslims, so there is no question of using the sword against them. And the few who face the non-Muslims also conduct Jihad as the Ahmadis do, by pen or word of mouth, and not by the sword to which they pay lip-sympathy only.
Far from being the abrogator of jihad, Hazrat Mirza Sahib conducted jihad kabir all his life and formed a Jamaat to carry on that jihad. The word jihad means 'to strive hard.' For fighting, the Holy Quran uses the word qital, from qatal which means 'to kill.' It is only because warfare means the utmost exertion, or striving hardest, that it is also called jihad in religious parlance, although not so in the Holy Quran in which the word is used in its literal sense of striving hard.
Agent of the
(1) That Mirza Sahib 'cancelled' jihad, which the British were afraid of after the mutiny of 1857. It has been shown above that this charge in untrue. Even other Muslim leaders of religion said that as there was complete religious liberty under the British rule there was no justification for jihad. We have already quoted some of them. Why was nothing said about them? Why is Hazrat Mirza Sahib singled out for damnation? And nobody had the courage to refute the logic and correctness of the religious aspect of the case as argued by Hazrat Mirza Sahib and other religious leaders quoted earlier. He was concerned only with that aspect. He was not concerned with politics.
(2) That he praised the British rule. Yes he did, but only for its maintenance of law and order and grant of complete religious liberty, as already shown above. Before the British rule, the Punjab where Hazrat Mirza Sahib lived was ruled by the Sikhs, under whom there was no religious liberty whatsoever. For the simplest Muslim religious practice of calling the azan, the man who called it and the Muslims of the area who sympathised with him were speared to death or cut down with the sword. There were robberies galore by Sikh gangs who were joined by the Sikh soldiery and local Sikh officials who wanted a cut of the loot. There was thus no redress available for the victims, who were usually Muslims.
Naturally, the Muslims heaved a sigh of relief and thanksgiving when the British beat the Sikhs in battle and came to rule the Punjab. They gave the country peace, law and order, and complete religious liberty. All these things Hazrat Mirza Sahib had to point out when the hostile ulama, knowing full well how impossible any military uprising against the powerful British rulers of the day would have been, challenged Hazrat Mirza Sahib to undertake it. Why did they not themselves do it, with their much larger followings, because they had already declared the sub-continent (now divided into India and Pakistan) to be dar-ul-harb (land at war) because of the non-Muslim rule? Like them, Hazrat Mirza Sahib was only a religious leader concerned with the religious aspect of the matter only, which did not justify jihad.
(3) The third ground for calling him a British agent is that he assured the British rulers of his loyalty, as per his writings made publicly. This is a curious ground for alleging that he was a secret British agent! No secret agent ever discloses his loyalty to foreign rulers. He must not publicly show his connection or sympathy with his masters, because that gives him away. Here Hazrat Mirza Sahib openly praised the British for their giving peace, law and order, and religious liberty, and he finally assured them openly in writing of his loyalty. What a secret agent!
Why did Hazrat Mirza Sahib, a religious leader, have to declare his loyalty to the British Government of the day? Because:
(a) The moment he declared that he was Imam Mahdi, the wary British Government took serious notice of it. The British, like the Muslims from whom they learnt the fact, believed that Imam Mahdi was supposed to wage war against the infidels (non-Muslims) and convert them forcibly to Islam or kill them. The British had only recently burnt their fingers against the Mahdi of Sudan and also had had bloody battles to go through in what they called the 1857 Mutiny, now called the first war of liberation by the Muslims of the sub-continent.
In the circumstances, Hazrat Mirza Sahib had to reassure the Government that he had no evil intentions and that he was loyal to a Government which gave full religious liberty (to the extent that he could tear their religion, Christianity, to pieces).
Is this how secret agents operate, or they are treated by their masters? The secret records of the Provincial Government which took these steps should be intact in Lahore, the provincial capital, which did not suffer in the partition of the country. We challenge that they be raked to trace any indication of Hazrat Mirza Sahib being an agent of the British Government. It should also be searched to see if even a penny was ever offered or passed to the unfortunate victim of this slander (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib).
Recently, it has been suggested that Ahmadiyyat is a 'product of an international conspiracy' through the British Government. If so, there should be some record of it in the India Office or Whitehall, London. We challenge that even the slightest trace of this 'international conspiracy' should be found out from that record. Is there no limit to baseless slander?
(4) A fourth ground has now been found to allege that Hazrat Mirza Sahib was a British agent. It is alleged that he was infiltrated into the Muslim body politic to 'shatter to pieces the unity and fraternity of the Muslim brotherhood!' As if the Muslims were a united whole with no differences, schisms, factions or internal fights until Hazrat Mirza Sahib was introduced to shatter that ideal brotherhood. The Muslims were already broken up into 72 sects calling each other kafirs (heretics), and even coming to blows, as, for instance, between Shias and Sunnis, and even on the pettiest question of whether to pronounce the last word of Surah Fatihah as dualeen or zualeen.
There was no need for the British or an international conspiracy to introduce an agent to break up Muslim unity. It was already broken to smithereens.
If the intention is that, by claiming to be a prophet, Hazrat Mirza Sahib caused a rift among the Muslims, we have already shown how totally wrong that allegation is. And if the Qadian (now Rabwah) Jamaat raised him to prophethood after his death, that is no fault of his, in the same way as it is no fault of Hazrat Isa (Jesus Christ) if the overwhelming majority of his followers raised him to godhood after his death.
'But the Qadianis call non-Ahmadis kafirs' may be said. Much as we deplore it, and we opposed it to the extent of parting company with the Qadianis on this issue and that of the alleged prophethood of the Founder, this mutual takfir (calling one another kafirs) was, and still is, so common among Muslims, unfortunately, that one more in the game makes no difference.
'But why did Mirza Sahib form a separate Jamaat?,' it is commonly objected. For the simple reason that he could not single-handedly conduct the huge task of the propagation of Islam which was to continue even after his death. Besides, he merely complied with the order of the Holy Quran, which, banning sects and factions among Muslims, allowed (in fact required) that 'There should be a party from among you who should invite to good (i.e. Islam) and enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong. And these are they who will be successful' (3: 103). This forgotten requirement of the Holy Quran was implemented by Hazrat Mirza Sahib.
Jamaats and parties are being formed every now and then by others too, including religious leaders, but nobody blames them. It is only Hazrat Mirza Sahib who should be castigated.
Far from 'shattering the unity of Muslims,' as alleged by those who say he was an 'international agent' infiltrated to do it, he tried to restore the already shattered unity of the Muslims by condemning takfir (calling each other heretics) and saying that anybody who recites the Kalimah: La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur-Rasul Allah ('there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger') is a Muslim. He endorsed the view of Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa that even if there were ninety-nine reasons to call a man a kafir, but only one reason to call him a Muslim, he remains a Muslim. And whatever wrong the Qadianis do to Hazrat Mirza Sahib, he categorically wrote: 'From the beginning it has been my faith that refusal to believe in me does not make a man kafir' (Tiryaq-ul-Qulub), which view he confirmed on oath in a court of law even after the date-line (1901) drawn by the Qadianis.
(a) Received no payment, no benefit, not even lands or jobs or titles so freely distributed by the British rulers?
This shows the extent to which this innocent man was to be maligned and misrepresented.