AHMADIYYAT IN PAKISTAN (1955)
RABWAH AND THE AHMADIS
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Near the town of Chiniot in the Punjab the Chenab river passes through low rocky hills. On the west bank of the river and at the foot of the hills is an arid salt flat which appears to be most inhospitable tract of land in the entire district. In the normal course of events one would expect to have found such a place devoid of life, with only an occasional scrub bush or hardy clump of grass to break the dry monotony. But life in the Punjab in recent years has been far from normal. An international boundary has appeared, cutting through the heart of the province, dividing Muslim Pakistan from India As a result millions of Punjabis, amidst great social upheaval, moved their homes from one side of the border to the other. Now, six years later, this dusty flat supports a community of four thousand people known as Rabwah, a town which functions as the new center of the Ahmadiyya Movement.
The Ahmadiyya Movement, once described as “not important in Indian Islam,”’ W. C. Smith. Modern Islam in India (London: Victor Gollancr Ltd., 1946). P. 298. has been involved in doctrinal disputes with the nonAhmadi Muslim community of India ever since the founder, MirzH GhulZm Ahmad of Qadian, made his controversial claims to have been the recipient of a new revelation from God. Lately this dispute has crystallized in the form of a political agitation which in March, 1953, erupted in violent rioting in most of the important cities of the Punjab. Peace returned to the province only after the establishment of martial law. The political repercussions of the agitation, which are still being felt, caused the downfall of the provincial government of Mian Mumtaz Daultana and were influential in the replacement of Khwaja Nazimuddin as prime minister. In addition to this direct impact on the political life of the nation, the riots have served to focus attention on the role the ernadis are playing in the development of the concept of an Islamic state in Pakistan. Ths indicates, also, that Smith’s judgement as to the importance of the Movement is no longer valid.
The new circumstances which have made the Ahmadis a national “problem” take their rise in the intimate connection of Islamic religion with Islamic polity. During the period of British rule in India, when the government was committed to a policy of religious neutrality, sectarian movements in the religious communities of the nation were of relatively minor political significance. The fact that many orthodox Muslims’ considered Ahmadiyyat to be a heresy had no direct bearing on the process of government or on the national political structure. The creation of Pakistan, however, altered the situation in a fundamental way. Islamic religion now became the ideological foundation of the new state. In their continuing attempt to establish the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” political leaders are translating tenets of religion into
concrete patterns of political, social, and economic life. In this situation any reinterpretation of these tenets of Islam, such as the Ahmadis are accused of making, is bound to have a disturbing effect on the other spheres of national life. This is particularly true of the present time, during which the delicate constitutional problem remains to be finally resolved. In these circumstances the Ahmadis are finding it impossible to maintain themselves as a strictly religious organization, although their claim to be just that is clearly stated. (Bashir-ud-Din, “What is Ahmadiyya?” (Rabwah : Nashr-o-Ishaat, n.d). PP. 38-60). This The political implications of a reform movement, with a membership numbering a quarter of a million (This estimate was given by Bashir-ud-Din to the Punjab Disturbances Court of Inquiry (The Pakistan Times [Lahore], January 16. 1954). and represented in the public consciousness by a person as prominent as Foreign Minister Zafrullah Khan are too obvious to be ignored (Yakub Ali Khan, Counsel for former Punjab Chief Minister Daultana, expressed this point of view in his argument before the Court of Inquiry: “Stating that religious motion of the Muslims had played a predominant role in the establishment of Pakistan and that the very conception of the two-nation theory had made creed and faith relevant to the determination of nationality, he submitted that both the objectives of ‘freedom for the Muslims’ and the ideal of ‘an Islamic State’ had concentrated attention and motion on a religious ideology. The Counsel made out that since the feeling of devotion and patriotism were evoked and centered around the concept of ‘millat‘ [nation in the spiritual and ideological sense] rather than of ‘watan’ [nation in the geographical sense], it was inevitable that in such an atmosphere religious issues should gain greater significance and that attention should come to be focused on matters of faith and creed and religious differences should begin to over-step into the political field.” (The Pakistan Times, February 9, 1954).
It is not a new thing to find the Ahmadis involved in controversial issues. From the beginning the founder’s extravagant claims brought him into disputes with the major religious communities of India (Ghularn Ahmad claimed that he was the Promised Messiah of Christianity, the tenth avatar of Krishna, and the Mahdi of Islam. Thus, he considered himself to be the fulfillment of the apocalyptic expectations of three great religions). In addition to these external disputations, there arose an internal controversy over the issue of leadership which resulted in a division of the Movement. Although there were internal tensions during the term of the first Khalifuh, Nur-ud-Din, an open break was prevented by his willingness to remain under the guidance of the Movement and not assert his personal authority. The break did occur when Ghulam Ahmad’s son, Bashir-ud-Din, the present head of the Movement, was elected the second khalifah. Part of the motivating force behind the division was personal animosity, but involved, also, was a difference of opinion on a political issue ; namely, whether or not some Ahmadis should have joined with the Muslim League in a protest to the British government over an incident in Cawnpore in which a portion of a mosque was demolished in order to clear the right-of-way for a road. Ghulam Ahmad had repeatedly advised his followers to stay out of
politics and support the government in power (see Ghulam Ahmad‘s expression of friendliness toward the British can be easilyunderstood in the light of the fact that it was British tolerance of the Movementwhich permitted it to survive This attitude has been another point of issue with other Muslims. When Bashir-ud-Din was questioned directly on this point, he
replied: “Gmtitude is a moral obligation and has nothing to do with politics. It
is true that we are beholden to them [the British] for the justice they have done
to everybody including ourselves” (The Pakistan Times, January 17, 1954). Bashir-ud-Din took a similar stand, and criticized the important Ahmadi missionary to Great Britain, Kwaja Kamal-ud-Din, for becoming involved in these political issues. The result was that, after the election, Kamal-ud-Din and Muhammad Ali, the editor of the Ahmadi journal, The Review of Religions, left Qadian with a group of their own supporters, and established a new organization in Lahore.
The achievement of independence and the partition of the Punjab was accompanied by a communal hatred which engulfed the province in a tragic war of extermination. Hindus and Sikhs left their ancestral homes west of the Radcliffe Line to take up residence in the new truncated India. On the other side Muslims who chose Pakistani citizenship found themselves to be despised “foreigners” as they migrated westward. The Radcliffe Line ran midway between Lahore and Amritsar, giving the former city to Pakistan and the latter to India. As a consequence, the Lahori Amadis found themselves placed within the new Muslim state. Such was not the case with the Qadianis. Qadian is situated in Gurdavpur district, which was given, except for one tahsil, to East Punjab. It meant that Qadian would be situated in
India and that the Ahmadi community there, suffering depredations by the Sikhs and feeling spiritually united with Pakistan, would have to move.
For one who has seen Rabwah the question immediately arises as to why the Qadianis decided upon this inhospitable site for their new settlement. Interestingly enough, the reason given us in the course of a recent personal interview with the Khalifuh was a religious one.
About two years before partition Bashir-ud-Din had a vision in which Qadian was attacked with such force that he had to evacuate the Ahmadi community. It was revealed to him that the Ahmadis would find refuge in niIa gumbad, which means “blue dome.” Since there is a section of Lahore known as Nila Gumbad, the name being derived from a mosque in the vicinity whose dome at one time was covered with blue tiles, the khalifah assumed that the vision referred to a future refuge in Lahore. However, when the forced evacuation actually did take place, emissaries of the khulifah discovered that the community would not be welcomed in Lahore, and they were left with the problem of finding a place to go. Reports came in that the Rabwah site could be purchased, a location bounded on two sides by hills. Bashir-ud-Din was reminded by his advisers that the published report of his vision had contained a reference to hills, also. Furthermore, he now realized that nila gumbad was the blue dome of the open sky. With the certain feeling that God had revealed to him the destination, the Khalifah, like a modem Moses, brought his people out of India to the promised land of Pakistan.
In the choice of the Rabwah site there were, undoubtedly, other considerations in addition to the religious one. It has been suggested that one contributing factor to the choice of this site is its defensive possibilities (This assumption was confirmed by Bashir-ud-Din in his Court of Inquiry testimony (The Pakistan Times, January 17, 1955). It is reasonable to assume this to be true, since the history of the Movement has been punctuated by persecutions and the community had just emerged from the dreadful partition communal conflagration.
Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad , second khalifah of the Promised Messiah, lives in a brick and plaster palace, “Qasr-e-Khilafat”, which adjoins the Mabarak Mosque. He has four wives and a large number of children. At least three of his sons occupy prominent positions in Ahmadi institutions. One is Mirza Nasir Ahmad (Mirza Nasir Ahmad was arrested and jailed during the anti-Ahmadi riots), a principal of Talim-ul-Islim College, another is Dr. Manawar Ahmad of the Nur Hospital. A third son is Mabarak Ahmad, Chief Secretary of Foreign
and Domestic Missions. A private secretary arranges interviews with the khalifah, whose office is located on the second floor of the palace. The khalifah is stocky and of medium height, and he possesses a full jet-black beard. His manner was courteous and pleasant. Our conversation moved along easily in English. Since his public pronouncements are invariably in Urdu, his good knowledge of English surprised us.
“Hazrat Sahib,” as his followers call him, spoke in a very matter-offact way about his visions and his close relationship to God. He told us that, as he speaks, he often feels God take possession of his tongue, forming the words, and, while writing, God often guides his pen. When this occurs the spoken and written words are God’s while the Khalifah merely functions as an instrument of revelation. There are framed quotations on the mantle above the fireplace in his office which bring to mind former visions. One bears the words, “William the Conqueror,” and is a reminder of a vision thirty years ago, when the khalifah saw himself landing at Hastings with the Norman invader and driving the English forces to defeat. Since coming to Rabwah, one important vision dealt with the matter of water supply. The precise location of the only successful tube well in the town was revealed to him.
Bashir-ud-Din presides over a community whose members are not
only energetic but are organized to direct their energy into constructive channels. As a result Rabwah has developed rapidly with the construction of several hundred buildings of Various types. The larger permanent buildings in Rabwah were built to house the various institutions of the Movement. A listing of them will serve as a good index of these activities :
Sadr Anjuman-i-Ahmadiyya-As the name states, this is the “Chief
Society” of the Movement. It also is the oldest of the institutions,
having been founded at the expressed desire of Ghulim Ahmad before his death. It is designed to conduct the affairs of the Movement as a governing body. The SADR is organized as a committee of “elders,” and it was the question of whether supreme authority rested in this committee or in the person of the khalifah which ultimately led to the division in the Movement.
The Sadr occupies a building of impressive proportions near the
center of the town. In this building are situated the many departmental offices of the Sadr, which deal with such matters as “internal” and “external” affairs, finance, law, property, and education. The finance department contains the treasury and a banking service which lends money interest free to Ahmadi business men (The similarity to the practice of the Ismailis should be noted. The Agha Khan maintains a keen interest in the business enterprises of his followers and lends money to them for business purposes at very low interest. Both communities
realize that that their economic condition is directly related to the economic well-being of their business and commercial membership).
Tahrik-i-Jadid-This building is located across the avenue from the Sadr building and is similar in design. The Tahrik was founded in 1934 for the purpose of carrying out a “fundamental” requirement of Islam, “Viz., the propagation of the Word of God to the farthest corners of the world.” ( Bashir-ud-Din, “Friday Sermon of November 28, 1952,” The Review of Religions, XLVII (January, 1953),.p 31).The process of propagation, called tabligh, is carried on in Pakistan and in foreign countries, Muslim as well as non-Muslim.
In carrying out this purpose the Tahrik has achieved a certain
degree of success. Mission centers have been established in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Indonesia, China, Japan, and a missionary to Australia is about to be sent from Rabwah. Indonesia and West Africa appear to be the places of greatest current effort, although European and American converts cause more of a stir among the people at Rabwah. Since the establishment of Communist government in China direct contact between the Chinese Ahmadi community and Pakistan has been cut off. Another country which presents difficulties to the Movement is Spain. There, where Muslim civilization once flourished brilliantly, Islam is being carried by Ahmadis from house to house. In the United States the Movement
has established centers in New York, Washington, and Chicago and publishes a paper, The Muslim Sunrise.(This title is based on a tradition that in the Last Days, when Islam will sweep the world, the sun will rise in the west In addition to these main centers.
subsidiary centers have been organized in Pittsburgh and St. Louis.). Its London headquarters are situated on Melrose Road. The better known Woking Mosque is run by the Lahoris.
With the establishment of the Tahrik Ahmadi missions were placed on a sound organizational and financial basis. The total number of missionaries increased from five to fifty. (A Missionary College at Rabwah furnishes them with preparatory training, which includes the attainment of proficiency in Arabic and English. It is expected that Bashir-ud-Din, “Friday Sermon,” op. cit., p. 31.)these linguistic tools will enable them to “fill up the gap that separates secularism from religion.” (IBID) In addition to the training of out-going missionaries, the College receives converts from foreign countries and instructs them in Islamics and Urdu. The heavy financial obligations of this program are met by the Tahrik by direct contributions from the general membership of the Movement. The treasury of the Tahrik is separate from that of the Sadr, and so is free to operate independently of that body.
The publication work of the Tahrik is of utmost importance. Translations of the Quran are being brought out in many languages; the total reached so far is fifteen. (The most recent translation completed has been into Dutch. There seems
to be little objection by the orthodox to this translation work of the Ahmadis). It also handles the production of the monthly magazine, The Review of Religions, and many books and
pamphlets of an apologetic nature. This material is published chiefly in Urdu and English. Another important publishing project is the lengthy English translation with commentary of the Quran, of which three parts are now available.
Khuddam-ul-Ahmudiyya-The “Servants of Ahmadiyya” is a young
men’s organization which does not yet have permanent housing at Rabwah; it is situated in a tent colony at the edge of the town.
Branches of the Khuddam exist in local Ahmadi communities throughout the country, and they encourage men to take an active part in the work of the Movement. Various religious projects are undertaken by the group from time to time. Literary and athletic competitions are staged in order to stimulate interest. Local branches with the best record of performance for the year are awarded prizes by the khalifah at the time of the Annual Meeting.
Lajnu Imalluh-This is a similar organization for women of all
ages. Its program places more stress on the joint projects of the
group, of which one was the building of the London Mosque, and
does not include the competitive activities. The president of the Lajna is one of the four wives of the khalfah, Mariyyam Saddiqah.
Talim-ul-lslam High School-A building is in the process of
erection south of the main settlement which will house this high school for boys. A large hostel near the school indicates that many students are expected to come from communities outside of Rabwah (Education receives special emphasis in the community and very high literacy rates for men and women are claimed. Cantwell Smith reported a daim of 100 % male and 75 % female literacy (op. n’t., p. 301). During our visit to Rabwah
an Ahmadi who holds a responsible office with the Director of Public Instruction of the Punjab Government gave us the figures of an 80% male and 95% female rate. Even if these claims are scaled down drastically they would still be much higher than those of the nation as a whole.) Co-education in high school and beyond is not permitted.
Talim-ul-Islam College-The new quarters for T. I. College at
Rabwah are scheduled for occupancy in 1954. At present the College is located in Lahore, where it migrated from Qadian in 1947, and occupies the buildings which were vacated by the Dayanand Anglo- Vedic College (The irony of this situation should be noted. Buildings which once housed the Arya Samaj college now house the Qadiani college. The bitterness of the
opposition of these two groups fifty years ago would, under normal circumstances, have prevented either from performing any kind of “service” for the other !). T. I. College is affiliated with Punjab University, offering courses which prepare students for the Intermediate and Degree examinations. Of the approximately five hundred students enrolled three hundred are Ahmadis.
Nusrat College-A sister institution located in Rabwah, it is sending students up for the Degree examination for the first time in 1954.
Fazl-i-Umar Laboratory-Previously in Model Town, Lahore, this
is an institute for chemical research. Judging from the lack of specific information about its activities, it would appear that the Laboratory is currently not in operation.
Shahnawaz Residence-This is an elaborate red-and-white brick
building near the northern boundary of the town. The owner is a
wealthy hhmadi business man, who does not live permanently in
Rabwah but has erected this house as a place of residence for himself and his guests. There are scores of smaller residences, also, in Rabwah which are used in the same way. This has proved to be an important aid in the rapid development of the new settlement since it has brought in outside capital in the investments in properties and buildings from a large group of non-residents.
Ahmadis come from throughout Pakistan and from many foreign
countries. Last year (1953) officials at Rabwah estimated that there was a gathering of almost thirty thousand. These throngs are entertained and fed free of charge (The money for this large scale operation is raised in advance by a special
subscription). The meeting is filled with conferences and public addresses. Near the center of town a large enclosure is fenced off with enough seating space on the ground for thousands. At one end the speaker’s platform stands protected from the sun by a large canopy, while above the assembly flutter the national flag of Pakistan and the black and white flag of the Movement. Ahmadi missionaries make a special effort to arrange their itineraries so as to be at Rabwah during the Jalsa, and, if possible, converts from foreign countries are brought there to be introduced to the community. A spirit of close comradeship is everywhere in evidence.
The highlights of the public sessions are the appearances of Bashirud- Din, at which time he leads the entire assembly in the noon prayer, and then delivers the main address of the day. These speeches-he spoke twice during the 1953 Jalsa-begin about one-thirty in the afternoon and last until sunset. His subject matter ranges from routine announcements and discussion of administrative matters to points of theology and interpretations of his visions. Many of his remarks touch on social and political issues. As they sit quietly and listen his followers are up lifted by the belief that the words they are hearing are of God (Meetings in other Ahmadi centers, including Qadian, are held simultaneously
with the Jalsa in Rabwah. Last year (1953) a fraternal delegation from Pakistan, led by the brother of Sir Zafrullah Khan, went to Qadian taking with them vials of holy water frcm the Nankana Sahib shrine in Pakistan and copies of the Cranth Sahib for presentation to the Sikh community of Qadian. In return
they were given copies of the Quran. Such courtesies express the desire of the responsible leadership of both communities to build better relations between themselves).
The most impressive aspect of Rabwah is the energetic organizational skill manifest by the community. Work is getting done. Slowly the town is being extended, temporary buildings are being replaced by permanent ones, market areas have been laid out and a start has been made to establish shops. Tree-lined avenues have been planned on ground that has never yet been cooled by shade. The money to support this activity comes in through a workable system of chanda (The Ahmadi system of chanda requires that a sixteenth part of one’s personal wealth be given to the Movement.). Other possible sources of income apart from chanda would be income from agriculture and industry, but there appears to be little of either currently in progress. This means that Ahmadis, as a whole, believe firmly enough in the khalifah and the program he directs to underwrite the rather considerable expenditures he incurs by their direct contributions. Faith in Ghulam Ahmad and his son, combined with an enthusiastic participation in the corporate life of the community, gives the Ahmadi Movement as much vitality as any Muslim jamaat in Pakistan.
AHMADIYYAAT AND COMMUNISM
An approach can be made to understanding the Ahmadiyya Movement in observing its response to two important “opposition” groups, Islamic orthodoxy and Communism. The character of the opposition from these two sources differs widely, of course. Islamic orthodoxy is represented by many individuals and groups scattered through all levels of Pakistani society. Normally it is amorphous and unorganized, but on occasion it can be rallied around certain issues, as happened in the Tahafuz-i-khutm-i-nubuwat agitation of I952 and 1953.
Communist opposition, on the other hand, is still very largely
theoretical, consisting of a “war of ideas.” The Communist Party of
Pakistan, before its banning in July, 1954, was not much in evidence, and certainly was not in a position to threaten the Ahmadis with persecution and suppression, as did Islamic orthodoxy, even if it had so desired. Despite this apparent organizational weakness of the Party, Communist theory, with its own analysis of current political and social problems, is very much in circulation among the educated. If the Movement takes seriously its own stated intention of becoming dominant in the world within fifty to one hundred years, the first step would be to get a world hearing, and in order to do this it must take into serious account Communist ideology.
In any discussion of the impact of Communism on Islamic countries
and its chances for success the point is always made that Islam presupposes a firm belief in God while Communism is atheistic. A
strengthening of Islam and belief in God is often considered to be, in
itself, the most effective way of dealing with the problem. Without
denying the truth in this point of view,. it must be admitted that
Muslim countries are still vulnerable to the infiltration of Communist
ideas, and the kind of religious revival among the literate and the
educated necessary for providing an effective barrier against this infiltration does not seem to be occurring in Pakistan. Present educational patterns do little to stimulate a genuine interest in religious matters. Instead, scientific materialism, as an intellectual orientation, is gaining ascendancy. Local college science departments are crowded with the best students. With the world of nature at their finger tips and the scientific method as the newly found tool for understanding this world, these students are being weaned away from the traditional Islamic outlook. The cumulative effect is bound to be destructive of inherited religious patterns, while leaving the coming generation receptive to political, social, and economic ideas which claim to be scientific.
A strong appeal which revolutionary Communism has for Asian
Muslims is one which is rooted in the fact that many Asian countries are currently going through an idealistic phase of rebuilding their own national life, which is also, to a greater or lesser degree, revolutionary. This idealism expresses itself as a desire to bring into existence a society, based on ethical principles, in which all basic needs will be met, justice and brotherhood prevail, and the arts flourish. Something of this nature is the content of the concept of the Islamic state, an ideal which motivates many Muslims to place their hopes in a temporal solution of the problems of social existence in a way similar to the functioning of the Kingdom of God ideal among many Christians. It reflects a basic optimism concerning the outcome of history, which optimism is shared, obviously, by the Communists. How long any particular people can continue to see this desire for a better society frustrated is problematical. The seemingly ubiquitous failing of those
groups and individuals, who publicly profess an orthodox faith, in
using religion as a means for gaining their own personal political ends must certainly generate doubt in the thinking of many as to the suitability of the religious approach. In some, this reaction against religion approaches revulsion. Meanwhile, the Pakistani does not have to look beyond the frontiers of his own continent to see other nations adhering to another ideology which has proved itself effective enough to transform age old cultures which contained abuses, weaknesses, and 20th century anachronisms as disturbing as those which he sees around himself.
Ahmadis are aware of the fact that Communism constitutes a secular movement capable of taking vast Islamic areas under its control, and in areas where this has happened, threatening the existence of Islam, itself. They rightly interpret the task of meeting this threat as one of establishing in the Islamic world a sound social order. Thus, Islam rightly interpreted involves the proper order of society. As the forerunner of a reformed Islam, the Movement should be made to conform in its social dimension as closely as possible to the ideal Islamic standard, so as to provide a living example oi corporate social life on its highest level. Naturally, Rabwah, as the headquarters of the Movement, is looked upon as the community which should provide this example. As a manifestation of the Ahmadi social ideal it occupies a position of crucial importance in answering, or failing to answer, the charges levelled against the religious orientation of life.
The authoritative Ahmadi refutation of Communism was made by
MirzI Bashir-u-Din in a speech delivered before the 1943 annual
meeting at Qadian. A somewhat abridged English translation was
issued later as a booklet (Mirza Bashir-ud-Din, The New World Order of Islam, Qadian: Tahrik-i-Jadid, 1945.). In it the Khalifah also treated other rival social and economic systems.
From the Ahmadi point of view the basic problem facing the world
is the fact of a social and economic inequality that has been increasing with the passing years. “Differences in wealth and worldly possession have existed as far back as anyone can see, but the contrast was never so great as it is today.” (op. cit., p. 2.). The desire for obtaining economic justice is the key to a proper understanding of the development of political movements in Europe and Asia during the past two centuries, and it is in seeking a solution to the problem of inequality that these movements, as well as the religions of the world, can be evaluated. Accordingly, democracy arose when people began to realize‘… “that the remedy lay not in the hands of individuals but in the hands of the State,” (op. cit., p. 7) and that the various classes should be represented at the center so that their needs could be made known to it. Later, when the workers began the struggle for securing their rights, In contrast to those of the landed, commercial. and industrial interests, the governmental
program which ensued became known as socialism. In the
middle of the 19th century this movement among the workers
“ … received a great impetus and took on an entirely fresh orientation from the doctrines propounded by Karl Marx. This man was a German, Jew by race and Christian by faith.” (op. cit., p. 9.) Man taught that it was futile to rely on reform and that violent revolution was the only method the workers could employ to secure their rights. Moreover, the workers had been depressed for SO long it would be foolish to expect them to know what would actually be in their own interest. For this reason, a dictatorship of those who understand these facts would be necessary at the beginning.
Of the systems mentioned, only socialism and Bolshevism offer
economic solutions to the problem of inequality and these, along with National Socialism, are the three secular rivals of Islam in this field (National Socialism, of course, has been eliminated as rival system).
Socialism has been gaining ground in the advanced countries and has achieved a certain amount of success in raising the standard of living there. But the movement suffers from two defects. In the first place, its sympathies are confined to the countries in which socialism exists. This lack of a universal outlook makes it the secret ally of imperialism. The second defect is its secularism and under this system the spiritual needs of the people are entirely neglected.
The other great rival is Bolshevism in Russia; outside of Russia
it is called Communism.
“The cardinal points of this movement are that individual effort should be replaced by collective effort; that manual workers should be secured against want and privation; that purely intellectual workers should have no claim upon the State; that all surplus wealth should belong to and be at the disposal of the State; that the State should have full control and direction over the means and
sources of production; that the education and training of children should be in the hands of the State and not of the parents; and that the movement should seek to gain universal acceptance” (New World Order, pp. 24-25).
Ahmadi objections to Bolshevism are six in number. Firstly, it
forbids individual effort. This is against human nature, because men
are so made that they will work to the utmost of their ability only
when personal benefit will result. The long range effect of such a
prohibition will be that the general level of achievement will be
curtailed drastically. The reason is biological. “Experience shows that intellectual qualities and acquirements are transmitted through heredity. That is why eminence in many arts and sciences is known to be inherent in certain families, tribes, races, or nations.” (Op. cit., p. 26.) A generation under Bolshevism which has not achieved a high level of intellectual performance will give birth to a generation which is not able to achieve it. The result will be “… the progressive deterioration of intellectual capacity.” (Op, cit., p. 26.) The second objection is that it uses violence to promote its ends, which turns those whom it opposes irreconcilably against Bolshevism. Thirdly, by opposing religion it has insured that those who are truly attached to religion will never support it. Fourthly, the Bolshevicks have initiated a dictatorship which will tend to perpetuate itself. Fifthly, by shutting themselves off from the rest of the world they have deprived themselves of the benefits of the progress made by the non-Communists. Finally, the movement stimulates struggle between the classes, rather than eliminating class strife and promoting peaceful relations.
Leaving the subject of Communism until the latter half of the
speech, where it is dealt with again as a contrast to the Islamic system, Bashir-ud-Din now turns:
.., to the schernes put forward by the followers of different religions for setting up a new order. Of these religions. the principal ones arc Hinduism, Judaism, Chris:ianiry, and Is!an. The iollowers of each of these faiths claim superiority ior their particular iaith and allege that by following its texhings the world can get rid of all pain and tribulation. The Hindus proclaim that they will unfurl the banner of Om at Mecca (which God forbid). The Jews assert that their Law is superior to evep-thing else The Christians try to persuade that the
teachings of Jesus alone are worthy of being practiced. The Muslims claim (and rightly) that Islam alone prescribes efficacious remedies for the misery and suffering of mankind …. I am dealing with the problem of want and poverty (Op. cit., p. 35.).
The chief difficuity with the Jewish scheme is that it is purely racial. The Jews claim that they are the chosen people of God and that all the world must serve them. If this religion became dominant, tyranny would increase rather than decline. Because of its racialism, Jews deal with the Gentiles in any way they wish and moral injunctions are not binding on these dealings. The khalifah then cites Deuteronomy, 20-10-16, in which verses God instructs the Children of Israel to make no peace with the Canaanites, but that (‘you should save alive nothing that breathes,” and makes the comment: “This is the social and economic system prescribed by Judaism. If Judaism were to prevail every male Gentile would be put to the sword and their women and children reduced to slavery. … Under this system the Jews may obtain some relief but other nations would be utterly destroyed.” (Op. cit, p. 37.).
Christianity presents a different picture. Here is a religion which
considers the Law to be a curse. Not only that, but everything that the Law ordains or prohibits is also a curse. Failing to act upon the injunction to love, Christian nations describe as the Christian ideal
anything for which they happen to be striving; whatever the dominant philosophy happens to be is called the Christian philosophy ; whatever social system happens to be in effect is called the Christian system. “Christianity is thus the ally of the successful and the victorious, so that whatever system becomes prevalent, it means the spread of Christian civilization. … Their faith is like a wax model which may be moulded into any desired shape; there is no danger of its breaking apart. Christianity, as a religion, therefore, never had and never will have a programme.” (Op. cit., p. 38.).
In Hinduism the doctrine of Karma and the transmigration of souls
has effectively blocked for all time the path to peace and progress for mankind, for Hinduism can never bring about a change in the prevailing social and economic patterns of life. These patterns are conditioned by the actions of the members of society in previous existences and are unalterable. Another barrier to a Hindu reformation of society is the fact that society is divided into castes, and the same moral standards and values do not apply to all levels. Such a society is a d would be organized for the benefit of the Brahmins only.
Having described and rejected the alternative theories the Khalifuh
is free to devote himself to the “remedies suggested by Islam” for the ills which beset the world. The first social topic he takes up is the issue of slavery, and the categorical statement is made that “ … Islam abolished the institution of slavery which had been established for thousands of years.” (Op. cit., p. 41). All other religions provide for this institution, and when the Christian world finally did abolish it the abolition was brought about “ … not by anything in the teaching of Christianity but by the progress that had been made in ethical standards.” (op. cit., p. 41). One point of possible confusion in the teachings of Islam on the matter of slavery is the prisoner-of-war issue. Persons with this status exist as an evil but necessary consequence of war. In Islam the treatment of prisoners is hedged about by a complicated set of rule which insures that their condition be good. They must either be released for ransom, or, if kept as prisoners, must be given employment commensurate with their abilities and inclinations. During the early years of Islam, when the Muslims observed these rules very carefully, many prisoners chose to stay on with the Muslims as captives rather than accept their release.
There is another type of slavery which is political and economic
and which resulted from actions like those of Great Britain in establishing control over India, and which Islam is prepared to check. Islam teaches that everything Providence has created is for the benefit of all mankind: “Whatever there is on earth has been created for all of you” (Surah ii. 29). Thus, Islam prescribes that “ … 20% of all mineral wealth that may be exploited must be paid to the State to be utilized for the benefit of the community at large.” (Op. cif., p. 58.) It also prohibits any one people from exploiting another people, or assuming political dominion over another people. The colonial problem can only be solved on Islamic principles.
The crying need of the world is a more equitable distribution of
wealth, and Islam has also provided for this in an admirable fashion.
To prevent the accumulation of wealth in the hands of only a few
families, there is compulsory distribution of wealth among a large
number of heirs, among whom are parents, widows, sons and daughters. Furthermore, there are injunctions against the hoarding of money. It must be kept in circulation constantly where it brings beneficial effects to a large number of people. Persons with established connections are prevented from accumulating vast sums because of the prohibition against lending money on interest. Finally, those who remain poor in an Islamic economy are provided for by zakat, a 2 1/2% levy on the average upon all wealth in the possession of an assessee for one year. This tax is levied upon accumulations, also, and may amount to “… as much as 50% of the income or profits.”( Op. cit., p. 67.). The effect of this tax is to discourage people from accumulating money.
How does Bolshevism fall short of this Islamic ideal? The answer
is clear when one considers that “ … the object of an ideal economic
and social system should be to bring about conditions of peace and
justice and to promote the spirit of progress.” (op. tit., p. 68). The violent methods of the Bolshevists frustrate the achievement of this ideal. Also, “Bolshevism ignores the fact that intellectual capacity is as much an asset as property and wealth.” (op. cit., p. 69) “ … The reason why intellect is not regarded as a valuable asset by the Bolsheviks is that they are unable to subject it to equal distribution and to deal with it as tangible property.” (Op. cit., p. 69).
In contrast to this, Islam secures by “gentle persuasion” the application of all manner of intellectual talent to the service of mankind. And in spite of high-sounding principles, Bolshevism has not succeeded in achieving social and economic equality. Its violent methods give rise to resentments which lead to rebellion. “As against this, the Islamic system, being perfectly voluntary and natural, never leads to rebellion though people may often fall short of its teaching in practice.” (Op. cit., p. 72.).
The problem of extravagance and indulgence is dealt with in Islam
by prohibition of such things, rather than by holding out the promise to all of an income high enough to enable them to afford such luxuries.
Individual effort is provided for the rich in their giving to the poor.
And in addition to the compulsory taxes, there are voluntary contributions which should be made to the poverty striken classes. “And spend in the way of Allah and do not expose yourself to destruction with your own hands, and do good to others, surely Allah loves doers of good.” (Surah ii. 195). In this verse Muslims are instructed to spend their surplus wealth on the poor, lest the poor rise up in resentment and take it all away from them.
When it comes to the matter of applying principles in any specific
instance a certain elasticity must be provided for, since each succeeding age varies in its requirements and conditions. “An absolutely fixed and rigid system may prove beneficent at one time … but may cease to be of any use at another time.” (Op. cit., pp. 82-3.). Therefore, the system in force at the time of the Holy Prophet and the first Four Khalifahs will not prove adequate for today. This system designed for the needs of the modem age and which will lay the foundations of the New Order was revealed to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in 1905 and constitutes the content of his Al-Wasiyyat. In Surah ii. 195 the principle was laid down but not its instrumentation. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad stated that those who wanted to win real paradise today must donate one-tenth to one-third of their wealth and properties to the Movement. This money would be used to strengthen Islam by the propagation of its teachings and by distribution of its literature. The approved method for handing over this wealth is for every Ahmadi to make provision for this in his will. Although the scheme is voluntary, it is, at the same time, a test of faith and only hypocrites will stay out of it. This is in contrast to Bolshevism, which deprives people of their wealth by force. By means the plan of Al-Wasiyyat, a large proportion of all private properties will be acquired for national purposes without coercion, and “ … in the course of three or four generations the greater part of private property will be placed at the disposal of the centre.” (Op. cit., pg. 91).
It is true that at the present time, with Ahmadiyyat confined to a
small geographical area, the scheme is not a universally practiced one. A change will soon occur, however. “Under Divine Revelations and in accordance with Divine Promises we firmly believe that in the
course of half a century or a century Qmadiyyat is bound to become
dominant.” (Op. cit., p. 96).
The system based on Al- Wasiyyat will spread as Ahmadiyyat spreads until such time when ” . . . no State American, Russian, English, German, Italian or Japanese-will ever have had so much wealth or property under its control.” (op. cit., p. 98.). AI- Wasiyyat, while preserving the or integrity of religion, will “ … prove of such benefit to mankind that they should be compelled to admit that from this backward and ignorant vilIage of Qadian shone forth a light which dispelled the darkness of the world and then filled it with the refulgence of true knowledge,-knowledge which abolishes pain and misery and makes it possible for rich and poor, the high and the humble, to live together in affection and goodwill.”(op. Cit., P. 102.).
On January 21, 1953, a deputation of cuIamo3 waited upon the Prime Minister, Khwaja Nazimuddin, in Karachi and delivered to him three demands, which were, in effect, an ultimatum. They demanded that the government should take steps, within a month, to declare the Ahmadis a non-Muslim minority, to remove Chaudhry Muhammad Zafrullsh Khan from the office of Foreign Minister, and to remove all other highly placed Ahmadis in government service. (When asked by the Court to furnish the names of other Ahmadis occupying key posts, the Ulema were unable to do so.) If these demands were not granted the ‘Ulema’, representing the Majlis-i-Amal of the All-Pakistan Muslim Parties Convention, would resort to
“direct action.” The demands, however, were rejected and several
leaders of the agitation were arrested. Almost immediately rioting
began in the Punjab, with the result described earlier.
The rapid development of anti-Mmadiyyat sentiment which was
stimulated by the Ulema, the actual channeling of this sentiment into action, the various groups involved, and the implications of the agitation for the concept of the Islamic democratic state are all extremely interesting, but do not rightly belong in this study. These topics and many others comprise the Report of the Court of Inquiry, which was issued in April, 1954.(Report of the Court of Inquiry constituted under Punjab Act II of 1954 to enquire into the Punjab Disturbances of 1953, Lahore : Superintendent Government Printing, Punjab, 1954). Much of the material in the Report does having a direct bearing on the beliefs and practices of the Ahmadi community, however.
The most controversial deviation from the orthodox norm is the
mmadi point of view concerning the spiritual status of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder. It was an internal difference of opinion on this issue which gave rise to the Qadiani-Lahori factional split, as mentioned earlier, and the two parties have held divergent views over since. Theologically stated, the debate is over the interpretation of the principle of Khatm-i-nubuwat “the end of the prophethood.”
According to the testimony of the Ulema who represented the orthodox viewpoint, Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last of a long line of prophets through whom God has spoken to mankind, and this belief is supported by the following verses:
Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Apostle of God, and the Seal of the Prophets: and God has full knowledge of all things. (Surah xxxiii. 40). Behold! God took the Covenant of the Prophets, saying: “I give you a Book and Wisdom; then comes to you an Apostle, confirming what is with you; do ye
believe in him and render him help.” God said: “Do ye agree, and take this My Covenant as binding on you?” They said: “We agree ” He said: “Then bear witness and I am with you among the witnesses.“ (Surah iii. 81). This day have those who reject Faith given up all hope of your religion: Yet fear them not but fear Me This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” (Surah v. 4). (This translation was the one used by the Court of Inquiry, Report, p. 187).
They state that a belief that with the death of Muhammad the office
of prophethood came to an end is implicit in the verses. It is impossible for another nabi to appear. So the question is, did Mirzi Ghulam Ahmad consider himself to be a nabi?
The first revelation of Mirza Sahib occurred on March 4, 1889,
and was one in which he felt himself elevated to the position where he could receive baitit, or the homage paid to a king or to a religious
leader by a disciple. The announcement of the revelation which led
him to declare himself the Promised Messiah and the Mahdi came
in 1891. Later, he tried to make his status clear in three books: Fateh
Isldm, Tanzih-i-Maram, and Izala-Auham. These books precipitated
him into the controversy which still continues.
Documentary substantiation of the actual declaration of prophethood by Mirza Sahib is difficult to find in English. It is probably to be found in his Urdu writings which have not yet been translated by the Qadianis. The Lahoris, of course, maintain that he never made such a declaration. While testifying before the Court of Inquiry Chaudhry Muhammad Hussain Chima, Counsel for the Lahori organization, Ahmadiyya Anjumun Ishaat-i-Islarn, said that:
“ … Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was never a claimant of prophethood and that his claim was only that of a ‘mujadid’ and challenged that one could show in any of his 90 books that he claimed to be a prophet …. He used the word ‘nabi’ in a metaphorical sense…. Mirza Sahib had always been misrepresented resulting in misunderstanding.” (The Pakistan Times, February 27, 1954.).
Another incident, which is widely believed in Lahore, relating to the
final days of Mirza Sahib’s life supports this contention. It is said
that he sent a letter to the Lahore newspaper, Akhbar-a-Amm, which
was published on May 8, 1908, in which he said that wherever he
used the word mbi in reference to himself it should be understood in
the root meaning of merely someone who informs or gives news. If
this were going to prove a stumbling block, he would prefer that a sharp knife be taken and the word cut from every page where it
occurred and that word maslih “reformer” substituted.
The Qadiani belief is that in the course of one of his revelations
addressed Mirza Sahib as nabi, and therefore belief in his
nubuwwat is mandatory. Mirza Bashir-ud-Din’s testimony on the point was as follows:
Question (by the Court): Do YOU believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib was a nabi in the dogmatic sense ?
Answer: I do not know of any dogmatic definition of nabi. I take a person to be a nabi who is given that appelation by Allah.
Q: Did Allah describe Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib as a nabi?
Q: When did Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib first say he was a nabi? Please give the date and reference to his writings.
A : He claimed to be a nabi, as far as I remember, in 1891 (Op. cit., January 16, 1954)
The question of prophethood hinges on the receiving of wahi
“revelation.” In the following portion of his testimony, the khalifuh
indicates that there two types of wahi, which would immediately suggest that there are also two types of prophethood
Q: Before 1891 did not Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib repeatedly say that he was not a nabi and that the wahi revealed to him was not wahi-i-nubuwat but wnhi-i-wilayat.
A: He said in 1900, that till then he was of the view that a person could be a nabi only if he brought a new Sharia, but that Allah in one of the wahi’s revealed to him that this was not, a necessary qualification of a nabi and that a person could be a nabi without bringing a new sharia (Ibid).
In this testimony Mirza Bashir-ud-Din confirmed what the Ulema’
had been saying about Ahmadi theology and, in their eyes, he had
clearly placed himself and his community outside the pale of Islam.
This justified their demand that they be declared a non-Muslim
But the Ahmadis, holding that their founder was a nabi, maintain
that they are Muslims in every sense of the word, and that their belief in Muhammad as khatm al-nabiyin is as sound as that of any other section of Islam. The Ahmadis, too, translate this as “The Seal of the Prophets.” “The only difficulty or disagreement that remains is with regard to the meaning.” (What is Ahmadiyyat?, p. 14). Taking his stand on what he calls “accepted Arabic usage,” Mirza Bashir-ud-Din says that the phrase “ … measures the spiritual stature of the Prophet. The Prophet is found to rise above all men. He is found to be the lord of the human race.” (op. Cit., p. 15).
This, as can be seen, does not cancel out the possibility of there
being prophets after Muhammad, although these later ones will not
attain to his supreme stature. He is the ideal standard against which
all prophets, before or after, are compared, and insofar as they measure up to this standard they are validated as being true prophets of God, in the way that a seal validates that which belongs to the possessor of the seal. Intimately connected with the controversy over prophethood is the matter of Kufr. In this connection the following portion of testimony, which occurred during the questioning of Zafrullah Khan, caused a considerable stir in the Punjab:
Q (to Zafrullih Khan): Did you during your discussion with Khwaja Nazimuddin tell him that you considered him a kafir from the religious point of view?
A: I do not think that our conversation ever took the turn of discussing this specific question, but I may have generally explained the doctrinal difference on that point.
Q: Khwaja Nazimuddin stated in his evidence in Court as follows: “I definitely remember that in the course of a discussion with him, Chaudhry Mohammad Zafrullah Khan mentioned it to me that according to his aqida I was a kafir but that for political, social, and other purposes, I could be treated by him as a Musulman.” Did you say this?
A; He may have himself concluded that from the explanation of the doctrinal position. (The Pakistan Times, January 20. 1954.).
With the mention of kufr being made in a private conversation
between two members of the Central cabinet, it is not hard to imagine how the matter was handled in the lower levels of society where religious passions nm high and lack of restraint is characteristic. From the point of view of the group represented by the Majlis-i-Amal the Ahmadis were apostates and subject to the penalty for apostacy in Islam. For their part, the emadis hold quite clearly the conviction that all those who do not accept the nubuwwat of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad are kuffar. In the opinion of the Court, Ahmadi writings “do not seem to be capable of any other interpretation that this ….” (Report, p. 19). Yet, in his testimony before the Court Mirza Bashir-ud-Din defined his terms so as to indicate that the term kufr when used in reference to the beliefs of another Muslim does not necessarily mean that he has become an apostate.
Q: (to Bashir-ud-Din): Is not the denial oi a true nabi kufr?
A: Yes, it amounts to kufr. Kufr is of two kinds, that which turns a person out of the Millat and that which d w not turn him out. Disbelief in the Kalima constitutes kufr of the first kind. Kufr of the second kind is constituted by lesser heresies (The Pakistan Times, January 16, 1954).
Another point on which there is disagreement is jihad. Mention has
been made of the fact that Indian Muslim, generally, resented what
they considered to be the servile relationship of the Ahmadiyya Movement to the British government. The Court describes this relationship as having been “utter sycophancy.” (Report, p. 196.). During the lifetime of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad the British were engaged in fighting with tribesmen on the northwestern frontier, and were fair game at any time, being Kuffar, for furnishing the ideal means for any Muslim fanatic to achieve his eternal reward. The Court suggests that it was with British approval that Mirza Sahib taught that jihad-bis-saif was permissible only in self defence, since it not only might help to ease the pressure on the frontier but would also be of considerable help in maintaining control in the Muslim areas of India itself.
“The British … wanted the people over whom they were ruling to be engrossed in religious differences, so long as such controversies did not amount to a threat to law and order. If people merely disputed about one another’s right to go to Heaven or their liability to be eternally condemned to Hell. and they neither broke skulls nor demanded for themselves the things of this world. the British looked upon such disputations with complete equanimity, perhaps
with satisfaction. But the moment it came to the breaking of heads, he (the Britisher) was firm and uncompromising. Mirza Sahib had fully appreciated the blessing of the British raj which not only allowed but encouraged such controversies… .” (Ibid).
In explaining the Ahmadi position, Mirza Bashir-ud-Din divides
all wars into two categories, those which are jihad and those which are not. “A war of the status of jihad is one which is undertaken in the defence of religion against an enemy who is out to destroy religion by force or who seeks to change a people’s belief at the point of a sword.” (What is Ahmadiyyat?, p. 34.). The one important condition for fighting such a war “ … is that the declaration of jihad must be made by the head of the believers.” (op. Cit., p. 35.). Because they did not force people to change their religion, a jihad against the British was not indicated. Before leaving doctrinal issues, mention should be made of the Ahmadi view of the Quran, in which they differ from the general body of Muslims. The khalifah says:
“Many of my visitors.. . told me that they had heard many Maulvis say that Ahmadis did not believe in the whole of the Quran. The charge has been fabricated by the enemies of Ahmadiyyat. Ahmadis regard the Holy Quran as an unchangeable and everlasting Book of God. From the first letter of the first verse to the last letter of the last verse they regard it as the very Word of God, every point, every particle or part being as certainly revealed as every other, and every being as obligatory as every other.” (Op. cit., p. 16).
This means that the Ahmadis repudiate the theory of nasikh and
mansukh and have their own interpretation of Surah ii. 106 and
Surah xvi. 101 on which the theory is based.
Aside from the theological differences between the two groups, there are other features of the Ahmadiyya Movement which generate intense resentment among other Muslims. Most of important of these are the Ahmadi concept of the new jamat and their insistence on tabligh.
When asked specifically to define the status of the Ahmadi community, the khalifah replied, “We are not a separate ummat but a sect (firqa) of Muslims.”(The Pakistan Times, January 16, 1954). The term in most common usage by the Ahmadis in describing their community is jamaat.
Writing in 1948 Mirza Bashir-ud-Din went into detail describing
the exact function of this new jarnucat and the reasons why it came
into existence. In the first place, Ahmadis have a right to join together and organize according to their own desires. More than this, the Ahmadis are a group who have formed a jamaat for accomplishing a certain purpose, that of resuscitating Islam. Not since the period of the Prophet and the first four caliphs have the Muslims of the world been a true jamcat. Divisions have divided them and caused them to grow weak. This is especially true today, when European nations impose their will at random upon Islamic countries and the Jews were able to set up an “insignificant” state in Palestine. No single Muslim nation, or grouping of nations, will be able to unify Islam because of the nature of political life and national differences. Being non-political, Ahmadiyyat can busy itself in the task of uniting Muslims and improving
their religious life and faith, ” . . . so as to enable them to put
up a united moral and spiritual front against the enemies of Islam.” (What is Ahmadiyyat., p. 52.).
The practical working out of this principle of a new jama‘at has
resulted in a social exclusiveness which aggravates the alienation of the Movement from the rest of Islam. ernadis worship in their own mosques and avoid saying prayers behind a non-Ahmadi imam. They do not say funeral prayers with non-hhrnadis, and they do not give their daughters in marriage to non-emadis. The symbol of this
attitude for all Pakistanis was Zafrullah Khan’s public refusal to join
in the funeral prayers for Muhammad Ali Jinnah. In the opinion of
many ulama’ this withdrawal from the religious life of the general
body of Muslims was an indication, in itself, of the non-Muslim status of Ahmadiyyat.
From the beginning tabligh had been an important aspect of the
Movement, and much of the strength and energy of the community
has been expended in its missionary endeavors. If this were an attempt to convert only the Christian West to Islam, there would certainly have been few objections, except from the few orthodox ulama’ who would complain that the West was being offered a corrupted form of Islam. But the disturbing thing is that much of this effort has been toward converting Islam to Ahmadiyyat. Muslim reactions have ranged all the way from mild concern to violence. In Afghanistan three Ahmadis have been put to death. One of them was a certain Abdul Latif, an Afghan national who had been living with Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in Qadian. “When he returned to Afghanistan in 1903, he was declared by the ulama’ to be a murtadd for having become an Ahmadi and was ordered to be put to death. He was fixed alive in the ground up to the waist and was then stoned to death.” (Report, p. 18.).
Despite an uncertain reception, Ahmadis believe that tabligh is “.. . a religious obligation enjoined upon the believer in the Holy Quran.” (The Pakistan Times, February 24. 1954)
This was stated by Bashir Ahmad , counsel for the Sadr Anjuman-i- Ahmadiyya, who also explained “ … that it consisted in convincing rationally another individual who did not agree with the interpretation of Islam as presented by the Qadiani community. . . . ” Ibid.
For Pakistani Muslims the situation became increasingly alarming when the Ahmadis openly declared that the conversion of the province of Baluchistan was their immediate goal. This was first referred to by Mirza Bashir-ud-Din in a khutba in 1948. Subsequently, he issued a call for the conversion of that province in 1952, and expressed the hope that it would be entirely Ahmadi by the end of that year.
Moreover, Ahmadi officials in the central and provincial governments appeared to be taking advantage of their positions to assist their co-religionists in their missionary efforts. Zafrullah Khan delivered a public address in May, 1952, at the invitation of the Anjuman-i-
Ahmadiyya, Karachi, in a meeting which had police protection. He did so over the protest of the Prime Minister, threatening to resign as Foreign Minister if Khwaja Nazimuddin insisted on refusing him permission to take part in this sectarian meeting. (Report, P. 75.). Two years previously there had been an open propaganda mission to several non-Ahmadi villages in Montgomery district in the Punjab, where the administrative head of the district was an Ahmadi.(op. cit., p. 261.). In addition to these actual events, many rumors were in circulation, e.g. the Foreign Minister had purchased a large house in Washington near the White House and was spreading Ahmadiyyat in the United States from there. The effect on the Pakistani masses was that of rendering them amenable to a call to “direct action” in 1953.
In summing up one’s impressions of the Movement the first thing to be noted is the apparent strength of its organization, loyalty, and sense of purpose. Organizationally it appears to be capable of greatly expanded operations. Loyalty is centered in the person of the khalifah,
who, on a limited scale, is the prophet-statesman encountered so often in Islamic sectarianism. He is the supreme authority in religious matters as well as being the head of the jamaat. He is a living source of spiritual inspiration and guidance, in contrast to the impersonal corpus of revelation and tradition which is the guide, through the doctors of religion, for the orthodox. The purpose for which the Movement exists is to purify Islam from within and to take this purified Islam to the world. It is not hard to imagine the immense attraction inherent in such a high calling.
The Movement can be viewed as a cultural counter attack against the West. In this context its strong anti-Christian bias can best be understood. It helps to explain the frequency of the following type of remark in Ahmadi literature:
(In Africa) Christian missionaries and workers now hesitate to confront Ahmadiyyat In their reports they admit that the advent of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat in Africa has put an end to Christian work in that continent. (What is Ahmadiyyat, p.8.).
The USA. is now the strongest of all Christian powers. There, also, Ahmadi missionaries have been working for 24 years. Thousands of American citizens have become Ahmadi and they now contribute thousands of rupees to the missionary work of Islam. (Op. cit., p. 59).
We can say that the battle has begun, and successes, however, small, are on our side It is Christians who become Muslims, not Muslims who become Christians. (IBID).
For Muslims who feel the urgency for taking the message of Islam to the West the Movement offers itself as an ideal agency. The sight of American and European converts in residence at Rabwah and news of operations in the many mission centers in the Western world would
tend to give the impression that the counter attack were proceeding successfully. On the wall of an office in the Tahrik-i-Jadid building hangs a huge wall map of the world which reveals at a glance the sweep of Ahmadiyyat across continents and oceans. Markers indicate that in
Paris and London and New York, in the very heart of the enemy fortress, congregations of Muslims gather daiIy to say their prayers and offer praises to Allah.
On the other hand, there appear to be certain weaknesses in the Movement, which, at the least, serve as impediments to its progress, and, at the most, might prove fatal to the achievement of any real worldwide significance for the Movement.
The first weakness is the failure of its leadership accurately to understand the various cultural environments in which the Movement finds itself, and, more serious than this, the failure to analyze and criticize accurately rival systems, secular and religious. The Ahmadi critique of society as found in The New World Order of Islam not only is often wide of the mark and very unconvincing but also occasionally contains serious misstatements of fact, e.g. the Communists place no value on intellectual achievement; cultural traits are passed on through heredity; Christian ethics had nothing to do with the abolition of slavery in the West. Informed Pakistanis know that statements of this type simply are not true, with the result that the value of the entire analysis is thereby lessened. Ahmadi analyses are highly theoretical, taking their premises on authoritative religious sources, with little reference to historical and cultural actualities and showing no familiarity with the vast literature dealing with the same topics. Their value for us lies in the fact that they represent what Ahmadis are thinking and not in their helpfulness in aiding us to gain new insights into social, economic, political, and spiritual problems.
In this connection the remarkable lack of understanding of their own Pakistani cultural arcumstances should be mentioned. After hesitating on the Pakistan issue, the headquarters were finally moved to the new Muslim state. Here they pushed their program with the
same vigor as before, evidently expecting the same general social and religious situation to prevail. They appeared not to realize that the very source of their movement, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad‘s special relationship to God as a nabi , was as inflammatory of Muslims, generally, as any single theological disagreement could have been. The thought was expressed by the Court of Inquiry in this way: “Of course any comparison between the holy prophet and any other person, alive or dead, must cause offence to every believer.” (Report, p. 197.) Taking their
stand on the premise that for Ahmadis ” . . . there is no fundamental difference with other Muslims,” ( The Pakistan Times, January 16, 1954). they continued to push their
tabligh, in which nubuwwat played a prominent role. During the Inquiry Mian Mumtaz Daultana, who was chief minister of the Punjab at the time of the agitation, said that Ahmadis were behaving in a very “shortsighted” manner ; “. .. instead of mitigating their differences
with the rest of the Muslims, (they) paraded and emphasised them.” (Report, p. 239.). In this way they made themselves easy targets for the organizers of the All-Pakistan Muslim Parties’ Convention.
Another indication that the Ahmadis did not understand the mind of the opposition was their complaint that “for 70 years” they were treated “as one of the sects,” and so “it was surprising that all of a sudden the Ahmadis could not be tolerated at all.” (The Pakistan Times, February. 28, 1954). Through most of this time any display of intolerance toward them had been restrained by the police power of the Indian government, but the opposition was there, nevertheless. It was felt not only by the ignorant fanatics. Muhammad Iqbal nearly twenty years previously commented with surprising bitterness on the subject of political toleration of religious differences, with reference to the Ahmadiyyat Movement.
“”””This liberal and indispensable policy in a country like India has led to most unfortunate results. In so far as Islam is concerned. it is no exxageration to say that the solidarity of the Muslim community in India under the British is far less safe than the solidarity of the Jewish community was in the days of Jesus under the Romans. Any religious adventurer in India can set up any claim and carve out a new community for his own exploitation. This liberal State of
ours does not care a fig for the integrity of the parent community provided the adventurer assures it of his loyalty and his followers are regular in the payment of taxes due to the State.”””
(Shamloo, The Speeches and Statements of Iqbal, Lahore: Ashraf (nd.). PP. 97-8.).
Perhaps the most serious criticism that can be made of Ahmadiyyat as a movement devoted to the reform and purification of religion is the manifest lack of a basic moral integrity. The expectation, of course, would be to discover a sense of morality far above the average in such
a movement, not yet far removed in time from its origins.
The first point to be made here relates to the use of Muslim theological terminology by the Ahmadis. In the course of the Inquiry it soon became clear that they assign their own meanings to such basic terms as kufr, jihad, khatm-i-nubuwwat, nabi, mu’min, and many others.
Whenever these terms were used in publications, speeches, or conversations they appeared to mean one thing, but actually, from the Ahmadi standpoint, meant something else. This use of variant definitions enabled Bashir-ud-Din to explain his way out of many difficulties
in his testimony during the Inquiry. The term kufr, for example, has two meanings, and, as has already been mentioned, in one sense the Muslim is not to be considered to have committed apostacy. Accordingly, whenever kuffar is used by the Ahmadis in reference to non- Ahmadi Muslims, it does not actually mean that they are apostates. To have called the whole non-Ahmadi Muslim population of Pakistan apostate from the witness chair would have been nothing short of suicidal.
Here is an example of another exchange with Bashir-ud-Din giving the testimony :
Q: Please look at Page 22 of Zikr-i-Ilahi, which contains the following passage:
“”Mera to yih aqiah hai kill dunya mela do groh hain. Ek momin, doosre
kafir. Is lie jo Hazrot Masih-i-Ma’ood par imon lcne wale hain, woh momin
hain. Aur j o iman nehin laye, khah un ke iman na lane ki koi wajali ho, woh
Is not the word kafir used here in contradiction to the word momin?
A: In this context the word Momin means one who believes and the kafir
Q: Is belief in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib, therefore, a part of iman?
A: No. The word momin here has been used merely to convey the sense of
belief in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib, not of belief in the fundamentals of
Islam. (The Pakistan Times, January 17, 1954 “My creed, then, is this that the
world is divided into two groups. One is momin, the other is kafir. Therefore,
that group which has faith in Hazrat Masin-i-Ma’sood (Ghulam Ahmad) is
niomin. The other, which does not have faith no matter for any reason whatsoever,
The Movement developed in an atmosphere of religious controversy which placed a high value on the art of disputation and the skillful use of terminology. But in the too clever use of the rational process a point can be reached where spiritual truths are no longer involved.
Another point of moral weakness is that the Movement operates according to a “retaliatory ethic” in its relationship to non-Ahmadi Islam, which allows the feeling of the non – Ahmadis toward the Movement to determine the treatment the emadis, in turn, give to the non-Ahmadis. Thus, the reason given by Zafrullah Khan for not joining in the funeral prayers for the Quaid-i-Azam was that “… since Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, who led the funeral prayers, had
publicly declared the Ahmadis to be kafirs and murtdds and liable to death penalty, he could not make up his mind to join the prayers which were led by the Maulana” (Report, p. 199).
Along with this, is the impression that the Movement is willing to make certain adjustments in basic issues when the pressure is heavy enough. The definition of kufr as being of two types comes under this point, as well as a change of attitude with regard to matter of funeral prayers. In the words of the Report:
“The position finally adopted by the Ahmadis before us on the question of funeral prayers is that an opinion of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has now been discovered which permits the Ahmadis to join the funeral prayers of the other Muslims who are not mukazzibs and mukaffirs of Mirza Sahib.” (Ibid.).
The significant thing here is not that this permission has now been granted but that this opinion of Mirza Sahib was discovered at the moment when its general publication would do the community the most good in helping to ease some of the pressure.
Chaudhry Muhammad Hussain China, counsel for the Lahoris, boasted before the Court of Inquiry that “… his Jamaat believed in the doctrine of ‘Khatam-i-nubuwwat’ in the most straightforward manner without mincing matters or mental reservations,” (The Pakistan Times, February 27, 1954). in what appears to be a reference to the testimony of Mirza Bashir-ud-Din during the previous month. However, his jamaat provides a recent example of the type of unethical propaganda which both groups publish. It is an attempt to mislead the reader by distortion, insinuation, and the use of half-truths, a technique well known to American and Europeans and which reveals a tragic human weakness in the Movement which feels that it has been called of God to lead humanity back to the practice of true religion. The motive behind most of the propaganda efforts of this nature is to try and discredit Christianity.
Examples can be drawn from the Qadiani booklets which have been cited previously in the course of this study, but the foremost example is a book by Khwaja Nazir Ahmad , Jesus in Heaven on Earth. (See review in The Muslim World, Vol. xliii. 4 October. 1953, pp. 287-291).
It purports to be a scholarly study of evidence which indicates that Jesus was taken down from the cross, revived by the use of a spread ointment, and later died and was buried in Srinagar, Kashmir. Following its publication in 1952 it was banned by the Government of Pakistan on an order of the Punjab government as being “objectionable” According to the judgement of the Lahore High Court, which was handed down on a petition by the author to have the book released, the book is full of objectionable passages. “Offensives as they are, they are infinitely less offensive than those where phrases have been pulled out of context (of the Bible) to bear a particular meaning, where the entire purpose of the context has been perverted, where consequently among the intelligent members of the class who are well read in the Bible, it cannot but breed an intense feeling of hatred towards a treatment of their holy book which may justly be regarded as unscrupulous” (The Statesman (New Delhi), May 9, 1954.).
The future of the Ahmadiyya Movement will doubtless be as stormy as its past. The community, itself, expects difficulties and persecutions, and its leadership is constantly engaged in efforts to prepare its membership for them. The conclusion of one of Bashir-ud-Din’s lectures is reminiscent of certain New Testament passages:
“”The path we invite you to is not easy. It needs sacrifice, self-denial and the
ability to endure unjust accusations. But only they live in the way of God, who
are willing to suffer and die. Only they find God who are ready to die for Him.
Islam cannot live again unless Muslims are willing to die for i t Take courage,
therefore, and hold the bitter cup to your lips. Let us make ready to die. so that
Islam may live and the religion of the Prophets (on whom be peace) may become
fresh and green again. If we are willing to die here, we can have ever-lasting
life hereafter. Amen.”” (What is Ahmadiyyat?, p. 99.).
The Ahmadi community stands as a weathervane in the ideological crosscurrents of the Pakistani nation. Its treatment and future status are an indicator as to whether the nation will follow the path of the Quaid-i-Azam, who dreamed of a liberal Islamic democracy in which
citizens would be primarily citizens and secondarily members of particular religious communities, or will move in the direction indicated by the Report of the Basic Principles Committee, which took its stand on “the Quran and the Sunna” and which will make some form of political disability incumbent upon the sects and minorities. The problem of political or religious liberalism, generally, is that of determining how far differences of opinion on fundamental political and religious principles can be allowed to go. Islamic orthodoxy is certain
that there can be only one acceptable interpretation of these principles. Islamic liberalism in Pakistan is faced with the task of convincing the nation that ideological uniformity is not an integral part of “the Islamic way of life.”
Forman Christian College, Lahore. S. E. BRUSH
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