Harvard Divinity School

The Ahmadiya Movement and Its Western PropagandaAuthor(s): James Thayer Addison

Reviewed work(s):Source: The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Jan., 1929), pp. 1-32

Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Harvard Divinity School


IF he knows where to look for them, the traveller may find among the suburbs of London two Mohammedan mosques -one about thirty-six years old at Woking in Surrey, the other
only a year or two old at Southfields near Wandsworth. Here, every week, come English worshippers, and from these centres of Islam, with their resident missionaries, go forth various types of propaganda aiming to present Islam in favorable and convincing fashion to the modern western world. Both of these headquarters are controlled by branches or sub-sects of the Ahmadiya Movement – a recent heretical offshoot of Mohammedanism. The study of its origin and present teachings, therefore, has more than academic value, for it will reveal the history and aims of the only branch of Islam which is seriously trying to convert western Christians.

The external history of the Ahmadiya Movement may be briefly told, for more interesting will be a review of its present propaganda (1).  The founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was born in 1839 in the village of Qadian in the Panjab.

(1)—The best account of the Ahmadiya movement up to 1918 (including a good bibliography)
is that by H. A. Walter in The Ahmadiya Movement, Oxford University Press, 1918.


In his youth he studied Arabic, and at seventeen began a period of four years’ service as a
government clerk at Sialkot. Since he was not only studious but also visionary, he was rather a failure as an employee, and, resigning from the service at twenty-one, he returned to Qadian.
But his career at Sialkot, if without value to the government, served at least to bring him into touch at an impressionable age with missionaries of the Church of Scotland. With them he
used to have long religious discussions, and through their influence he became familiar with parts of the Scriptures. This experience, together with the fact that his family had long been
attached to Sufiism, accounts in some measure for certain peculiar and heretical tendencies in his religious life and thought.  Far more important, however, in accounting for his subsequent
career is the fact that he was physically and mentally unsound. He states himself that he had chronic diabetes and vertigo. He was also frequently subject to hallucinations and visions.

After returning to Qadian in 1860 he lived for many years a retired life. “I was given up,” he says, “to solitude and a life of devotion, and had a fixed aversion to mixing with society.” “I always shunned the path of renown and wanted to be left alone with my meditations.” “But,” he adds, “God’s command was imperative.” The first and mildest of these commands he publicly obeyed in 1880. In that year he published the first two parts of his most famous work, the Barahin-i-Ahmadiya (‘Ahmadiya Proofs’). Basing his claim on a Moslem tradition to the effect that in every century of the Moslem era God will raise up one who shall reform the faith, Ahmad announced himself as the one to appear in the beginning of the fourteenth century after the Hegira. Not for nine years, however, does the Ahmadiya Movement properly begin, for not until 1889 did Ahmad announce that God had given him the right to accept bai’at, the kind of homage paid to a religious leader by a disciple. Thenceforward there began to grow up a little group which accepted the guidance of Ahmad in all spiritual matters. Two years later, however, in 1891, there came a revelation far more startling to all and to many more convincing. Ahmad
then announced that he was both the Promised Messiah and the coming Mahdi expected by Moslems. Thenceforward he was engaged in preaching, teaching, and writing, with the purpose
of winning and fortifying his increasing followers and defending himself against the attacks of a growing number of enemies –Moslem, Hindu, and Christian. The Moslem authorities secured a fatwa against him (ratified by many important mullahs throughout India), which condemned him and his disciples as heretics, forbade the orthodox to have marriage relations with them, and sanctioned their persecution. Vigorous propaganda to win converts and bitter controversies with opponents occupied the leader during the remaining eighteen years of his life. In 1908 he died at Lahore and was buried at Qadian.

His followers were first known as Qadiani; but since 1900 they have been registered by the government of India as a distinct Mohammedan sect – the Ahmadiya. By 1896 the community
numbered only about 300, but fifteen years later its members were estimated as nearly 50,000. In 1918 they had probably reached a total of 70,000. The 1921 census, however, though all its volumes are not yet available in America, indicates, in at least one province, a diminution in membership.

Quite as briefly as the life of the founder must be summarized the later history of the sect. After Ahmad’s death his place was taken by the “first khalifa,” Hakim Nur-ud-Din, who
controlled the affairs of the community with the guidance of a committee known as Sadr-Anjumani-i-Ahmadiya. Before his death in 1914 party divisions had already arisen within the
sect. The leaders of one group had begun to engage in political controversy, while the leaders of the other maintained Ahmad’s rule to avoid all such activity. At the death of Nur-ud-Din a
gathering of members at Qadian, representing the more conservative wing, elected as khalifa Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, eldest son of Ghulam Ahmad by his second wife.
Since the election was protested by members of the opposite party, the latter seceded, founded a new society with headquarters at Lahore, and elected as khalifa Maulvi Muhammad Ali. Ostensibly breaking over a point of practical policy, the two wings really represented two attitudes toward the movement and its founder, and ever since have more and more widely
diverged. The Qadian party (the larger of the two) holds conservatively to the claims of Ahmad and emphasizes their distinction in this respect from orthodox Islam. At the same time
they have retained more of the belief and practices of orthodox Islam. The Lahore group, more liberal in its tendencies and despised by the Qadiani, now carries on in India little propaganda for the Ahmadiya Movement as such and none at all of that type in the West. Both parties are distinguished for their missionary activity. Ahmadis of one or of both sects have missions not only in every province of India but also in Ceylon, Burma, Mauritius, the Malay States, West Africa, Syria, Turkey, France, Germany, England, and the United States. The Lahore group is stronger in England than the Qadiani but weaker in India and in most of the mission fields.
It has no workers in the United States. As to the number of western converts, reliable statistics are not available. The Qadiani, who have headquarters in Chicago, claim 1500 in the United States, and the Woking Mission (of the other sect) claims nearly 1000 followers, Indian as well as English, in Great Britain. But since Ahmadi propagandists tell us that there are 400,000,000 Moslems in the world, when there are in fact not more than 240,000,000, we cannot count upon the accuracy of their figures.

                                               THE QADIAN PARTY (1)

(1) The material used in writing this article has been found in the following books,
pamphlets, and periodicals:

A. Qadian Party
1. Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (from his own writings and sayings),
4th edition, Secunderabad, 1922, pp. vi, 481.
2. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, The Teachings of Islam, London, 1910, pp. xii, 195.
3. The Teachings of the Promised Messiah, being extracts from the writings of Hazrat
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Lahore, 1924, pp. 56.
4. A Character Sketch of the Promised Messiah, being an epistle of Hazrat Maulvi
Abdul Karim, Lahore, 1924, pp. 74.
5. Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, Ahmadiyyat or the True Islam,
Qadian, [1924], pp. 429.
6. A. R. Dard, Die Ohnmacht-Theorie im Leben Jesu Christi, [Berlin, 1925], pp. 16.
7. Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, Mighty Signs of the Living God:
the Present Pitiable Plight of the Ex-Tsar Foretold by the Indian Prophet Twelve
Years Ago, Qadian, 1917, pp. 15.
8. The Holy Qur’an, with English Translation and Explanatory Notes, etc. Part I,
Qadian, 1915, pp. 117, viii.
9. The Sunrise [fortnightly paper]. Vol. I, No. 14, July 7, 1927, Qadian.
10. The Review of Religions [monthly magazine]. Vol. XXV, No. 10, Oct., 1926;
vol. XXVI, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 7, Jan., Feb., Mar., and July, 1927, London.
B. Lahore Party
1. J. W. Lovegrove, What is Islam? Woking, 1926, pp. 114.
2. Lord Headley, A Western Awakening to Islam, London, [1914], pp. 145.
3. Lord Headley, The Three Great Prophets of the World, Woking, 1926, pp. 116.
4. Al-Haj Lord Headley, What Do We Believe? Woking, 1927, pp. 14.
5. Maulvi Muhammad Ali, Muhammad and Christ, Lahore, 1921, pp. 159.
6. Maulvi Muhammad Ali, Islam, the Religion of Humanity, Woking, n.d., pp. 32.
7. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, Woman in Islam, Lahore, n.d., pp. 37.
8. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, Four Lectures on Islam, Lahore, n.d., pp. 72.
9. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, Five Pillars of Islam, Woking, n.d., pp. 8.
10. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, Marmaduke Pickthall, and Dudley Wright, London
Muslim House Sermons, Woking, n.d., pp. 48.
11. Marmaduke Pickthall, Islam and Progress, Lahore, [1917].
12. What is Islam? [leaflet of four pages].
13. The Islamic Review [monthly magazine]. Vol. XIV, No. 1, Jan., 1926, and
vol. XV, No. 8, Aug., 1927, Woking.

Material published by the Qadian group may be obtained from The Imam, 68 Melrose
Road, London, S. W. 18 (Southfields). Material published by the Lahore group
may be obtained from The Imam, The Mosque, Woking, England.
The Qadian material is written entirely by Indians, for the English mission of this
sect is of very recent origin. The Lahore material, as the reader has noted, is written
partly by Indians and partly by Englishmen. With the possible exception of Mr. Pickthall,
a novelist by profession, the propaganda produced by the Indians is far superior
to that produced by the Englishmen. Kamal-ud-Din and Muhammad Ali are excellent
controversalists, keen, coherent, and not too scrupulous; but as to the mental endowments
of Lord Headley and Mr. Lovegrove, the less said the better. All the writers
succumb to the partisan temptation to make uneven comparisons. They always compare
the Moslem ideal or “the Spirit of Islam” with the actualities of Christianity.


As the conservative wing of the movement the Qadian party prefers to emphasize the special characteristics of the Ahmadiya Movement which mark it as distinct from either orthodox
or liberal Islam. This its leaders do even in their western propaganda published in English.

Plainly foremost among these sectarian features is the claim of Ahmad to be the Promised Messiah. No attempt is made to tone down this claim. Indeed, it is broadly spread through the literature intended for possible foreign converts.

Influenced by the Sunnite belief that one sign of the approach of the Last Day will be the simultaneous appearance of the Messiah and the Mahdi, Ahmad lays claim to be both in one. Hitherto they had commonly been taken to be two distinct persons with different functions. Though representing himself as uniting the two in his own person, Ahmad lays far greater stress on the role of Messiah, and nearly all of the arguments relating to his personal claims centre about the Messiahship.

Assuming “a universal belief throughout Christendom that the hour of the Messiah’s advent has come,” proved by “the most accurate calculations based on Biblical prophecies,” Ahmad declares, “Ye Christians of Europe and America! and ye seekers after the Truth! Know it for certain that the Messiah who was to come has come, and it is he who is speaking to
you at this moment. . . . All ye that are desirous of perpetual happiness and eternal salvation, fly to me.” He is careful, however, to explain that he does not claim to be Jesus himself returned to earth. He frankly concedes, too, that the manner of his appearance is different from what was expected and that many of the signs supposed to accompany the Messiah’s advent are missing in his case. Yet, quite undaunted, he tries to make a strong point out of what would seem to be a weak one. He points out that it is a divine law that a personal and literal second advent of a man who has left the world never takes place, and that such a promise must be construed spiritually. He does not appear as Jesus, but “in the spirit and power of Jesus.” As analogy and almost as proof he cites the fact that in the case of Jesus’ historical appearance as Messiah few of the signs expected were fulfilled – a fact which largely accounts for the rejection of Jesus’ claims by the Jews. Yet we honor Jesus’ claims to be the Christ and condemn the Jews for their tragic errors of interpretation. Therefore, argues Ahmad, just as Elijah’s second coming did not literally precede the advent of Christ, but John came “in the spirit and power of Elijah'” – the true fulfilment of the prophecy – so Jesus does not literally return himself, but as an equally true fulfilment of prophecy Ahmad comes “in the spirit and power of Jesus.” “If the first Messiah could come without the manifestation of a single wonder, although a host of such wonders
had been promised, why cannot the second Messiah make his entrance into the world in the ordinary way, and why should we make ourselves fools in the eyes of all sensible men by looking in vain to the clouds? . . . Adherence to a literal interpretation brought a people to destruction before us.” “Therefore it is a serious error to think that unless all the proposed signs
are fulfilled, the claimant to Messiahship cannot be accepted. If some of the signs are fulfilled, it would follow that the traditions speaking of the others, which are not fulfilled, are fabrications
and must be rejected. The Jews who accepted Jesus as our Holy Prophet acted upon this wise rule and therefore they were saved.”

But Ahmad realizes that these points merely serve to make clear the nature of his claims, and are not proofs that he is indeed the Messiah. The actual proofs that he offers are varied
and of great interest. Among them is the natural appeal to his own inner experience. He has been called by God to be the Messiah. “I am not of this earth. I say only what God has put
into my mouth.” “By His grace He made me the Promised Messiah.” “The word which is revealed to me comes with a majesty . . and makes an impression upon my soul . . . the power and majesty with which the word of God enters the heart . . . the impression that it makes… determine it to a certainty that it is from God.” “It came upon me in languages quite unknown to me, as English, Sanskrit, and Hebrew.” “The extraordinary favor and grace with which He
approached me, none knows but I, and the unique place on which I stand in His love and devotion, none knows but He.” “I have personal experience in this matter, and in the Word of
God revealed to me I find words of honor and dignity used by me which I have not met with in any Gospel as used concerning Jesus Christ.” “It is an established fact that in the course
of these thirteen hundred years not a single man has been favored with such a rich plenty of God’s inspiration as I have received.” “In these days God so willed that the diverse qualities
and virtues of all noble, true, and holy prophets of God dwell in one individual person. And I am that Person.” When in this mood of assertion he is even willing to add, “He who rejects me fights with God,” and “Any misdoubt or incredulity regarding the revelation of God which is granted to me is absurd and fantastical.”

Ahmad has elaborated, however, many proofs more objective than his own inner convictions. “The heavenly signs which have been manifested in support of my claims can be counted
by thousands.” “My revelations are attested by miracles and prophecies which in quality and number surpass those of most of the earlier prophets, and are immeasurably above those of
some of them.” Foremost among these proofs are those concerned with the time of his appearance and his relation to the general scheme of prophetic succession. According to God’s
world-plan as viewed by Ahmad, a Messiah (Jesus) ended the chain of the successors of Moses, and therefore it was intended that a Messiah should end the chain of the successors of Mohammed. In other words, in the Jewish dispensation Moses and Jesus are in the same relation as, in the Islamic dispensation, are Mohammed and Ahmad. What might seem only an
analogy becomes a proof when we realize that the distance in time between Moses and Jesus (according to Ahmad) is fourteen centuries. Therefore a Messiah must appear in the fourteenth
century after Mohammed – that is, he is now due. Furthermore, he asserts, the revelations of all Moslem saints fix the appearance of the Messiah at the beginning of the fourteenth
century of Islam and none puts it further into the future. A still more fantastic method of reckoning Ahmad’s position in the divine scheme appears in the claim that seven thousand
years constitute one world-cycle. Creation took place in seven days and one day in God’s sight is equal to a thousand years. According to prophecy, he says, the Messiah is due at the end
of the sixth thousand of years or at the beginning of the seventh thousand. The first Adam was created at the end of the sixth day and the second Adam (the Messiah) comes at the end of the
sixth thousand of years. In other words, he is now due.

These reckonings of time, advanced as convincing in themselves, are given added point and power by many signs and portents which indicate that the hour, long awaited, has struck. One sign of the Mahdi’s advent referred to in the Koran and elaborated in tradition is the eclipse of the moon and of the sun to occur on the thirteenth and the twentyeighth (respectively) of the month of Ramadan. This extraordinary coincidence, foretold thirteen hundred years earlier,
took place in 1894 and obviously pointed to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Another portent indicated in the Koran and in tradition is the appearance of the plague; and plague ravaged the Panjab during the first few years of the twentieth century. Further signs discovered by Ahmad are less impressive but more amusing. He finds that the Messiah is to come at a time when a new and more convenient mode of travelling would take the place of camels. The construction of railways during his lifetime plainly fills this requirement. Again, had it not been said that at the appointed hour means would be available by which books might be produced in large numbers, rivers would be split into canals, and intercourse between different peoples would become easy? The printing-press, irrigation-works, the telegraph, and the newspaper are undeniable fulfilments of these prophecies. Furthermore, “the Koran and the authentic traditions are . . . both in agreement as to the Promised Messiah being a member of the Moslem community
. . . and it is also stated that the Promised Messiah would appear at a place to the east of Damascus, Qadian occupying exactly that situation.”

Within the sphere of prophecies fulfilled Ghulam Ahmad himself goes little beyond the items here noted. But his second successor, Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, cites many others.
Modern changes in the status of women, the increase of gambling, the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire, the invention of the graphophone, and the construction of the Panama
Canal are all mentioned as fulfilling prophecies and as indicating that our own era is the era of the Messiah’s foretold appearance. Traditional authority has even been found for various
personal characteristics of Ahmad, such as his straight wheatcolored hair, his slight stammer, and his habit, in talking, of striking his hand against his thigh. All these points, solemnly
rehearsed either by the claimant himself or by his present caliph at Qadian, have been set forth in English for the conversion of westerners as recently as the period 1922-1924.

Thus far, however, we have cited as proofs only prophecies which Ahmad claims to have fulfilled. None of these involves any activity on his part except the announcement of his claims.
But prophecies and miracles might reasonably be demanded of a Promised Messiah, and it was not long after his early declarations before Ahmad was prepared to point to conclusive
evidence of personal power. “It will never be possible,” he asserts, “for you to point out any living man of any religion who can be set against me in the blessings and heavenly signs granted to me.” “I fully hope and am certain that if any one were to live in my company for forty days consecutively, he would witness a heavenly sign.” “By Him in whose hands is
my life, more than two hundred thousand signs have been manifested on my hands.” From this large number we shall select only a few as examples. They include both prophecies
and miracles.

Regarding prophecies he declares: “There is not a single one of my prophecies which has not already been fulfilled either wholly or in part. Their fulfilment has been clear as daylight
and there are thousands of witnesses for them. They have not a single parallel in history except in the life of our Holy Prophet.” After such an announcement we might expect evidence
of a varied and convincing kind, but nothing very notable is revealed. Rather entertaining, however, are some of Ahmad’s adventures in competitive prophecy, to which he was addicted.
On one occasion, irritated by the utterances of Lekh Ram, a Brahman leader of the Arya Samaj, he challenged him to a prophecy-match. Lekh Ram had claimed that the Vedas were the Word of God and that the Koran was not. To decide who was right Ahmad insisted that Lekh Ram should publish a prophecy concerning him and that he (Ahmad) should publish a prophecy concerning Lekh Ram. The results would show which man was truly inspired. After shaking hands in the ring, so to speak, Lekh Ram produced a formidable prophecy to the effect that Ahmad would die of cholera within three years. The cordial retort of Ahmad was that Lekh Ram would be murdered within six years on a day close to the ‘Id (a Moslem festival). Four years later, Ahmad having failed to die of cholera, Lekh Ram, on the day after the festival named, was stabbed by an assassin. Thus, as the winner subsequently remarked, “the death of Lekh Ram in the manner predicted . . . bore witness to the fact that the Vedas are not of divine origin.” But members of the Arya Samaj, instead of being converted, merely persisted in the belief (for which there was no evidence) that Ahmad was in some way connected with the murder. Not all
the prophecies, however, were as menacing as this. “On one occasion,” he tells us, “I informed Maulvi Hakim Nur-ud-Din that a son would be born to him who would have sores upon his
body.” And the prophecy came true. To the very few concrete examples which Ahmad himself offers may be added several more cited by his present followers. They assert that he prophesied that his gospel would be preached in London, that the World War would come, and that the Tsar would be overthrown – and beyond doubt all these things have come to

To all who are not convinced by these prophecies, miraculous in their nature, Ahmad or his successors can offer evidence of other miracles. “How then,” he exclaimed, “can the miracles
pervading early prophetic history bear any comparison with mine, some of which have been witnessed by millions of human beings!” When the plague was rife in the Panjab in 1901 God revealed to Ahmad that he and his followers at Qadian would be protected. His hope that none would be stricken was disappointed; but in defence he replied that he had foretold only that his followers would be “comparatively safe.” Those who perished, he added, were permitted to die either because they were untrue to their faith or for “some other reason known to God only.” Meantime he had declined to confuse the issue by submitting to inoculation.

Most original of all his miracles, however, were his “prayerduels,” many of which he attempted and in several of which he engaged. “He wrote [to the Christian missionaries] saying that as the latter claimed to be followers and representatives of Jesus, who used to show signs, and the Promised Messiah claimed to be a servant and representative of Mohammed . . . a proper way of contrasting the truth of their respective religions would be to show whose prayers were accepted by God. The method suggested was that a number of men who suffered from what were ordinarily regarded as fatal diseases should be selected and divided equally between the Promised Messiah and the Christians by casting lots, and that each party should pray for the recovery of the patients allotted to it, and the result of the prayer of each would show whose prayer had been heard. The Christian missionaries, however, declined to take up the challenge.” Their refusal to cotiperate spoiled that particular miracle; but some of these prayer-duels were onesided and did not even require an acceptance from the opponent. A minor instance of this unilateral duelling is recorded by Ahmad as follows: “A sign . . . was manifested through Maulvi Ghulam Dastgir of Qasur who published in his book Fateh Rahman of his own accord a prayer against me, to the effect that of us two God might destroy the liar first. A few days had passed when the Maulvi died and thus bore a testimony to my truth.” More memorable was Ahmad’s unsuccessful effort to stage a duel with the famous Alexander Dowie of Zion City, Illinois. Dowie (so Ahmad heard) not only claimed to be the forerunner of the second coming of Jesus but also announced that God had sent him to destroy Islam and its followers before the appearance of Jesus. On both counts, therefore, he was viewed by Ahmad as an enemy. So the Promised Messiah wrote to Dowie and challenged him to a prayer-duel. “As the latter claimed to have come to destroy Islam, they could easily demonstrate the truth of their respective claims by means of prayer; that is to say, each of them should pray that of the two he who was an impostor might be chastised and destroyed by God in the lifetime of the other.” From Ahmad’s
point of view this can only be described as a very sporting proposition, since Ahmad at the time (1902) was sixty-three years old, whereas Dowie was only fifty-five. But Dowie declined.
His refusal, however, could not prevent the later disruption of Zion City, his subsequent insanity, and his miserable death in 1907 – the year before Ahmad died.

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad presented himself not only as the Promised Messiah and the Mahdi (“I am at once Isa Messih and Muhammad Mahdi”) but also as an avatar of Krishna. This last claim he did not make until 1904, four years before his death. Until then his attitude toward Hinduism had been hostile, but thereafter he appears to have been eager to be accepted by Hindus as well as by Moslems and Christians. God “has told me . . . that I am Krishna for the Hindus . .. I love Krishna for I appear as his image. . . . Thus spiritually Krishna and the Promised Messiah are one and the same person.” Yet the result of this eleventh-hour effort to make his gospel more nearly universal was not the winning of the Hindus but the further alienation of all orthodox Moslems.

One of the few characteristic features of the propaganda of
the Qadian party is this proclamation of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as Messiah-Mahdi-Avatar. Most of their remaining tenets might be accepted by orthodox Moslems. In fact, their present
caliph at Qadian has recently dared to announce that “the teachings of the Promised Messiah . . . were diametrically opposed to all the currents of modern thought.” Their usually conventional theology, their insistence upon the “Five Pillars” (creed, prayers, fasting, alms, and pilgrimage), and their belief in the infallibility of the Koran, all unite them with the Sunnite majority. But in the field of ethics the Qadian sect has been growing slightly more modern and accommodating. This distinction is of importance, for the emphasis on the ethical aspect of Islam increases, and the newer publications by Ahmad’s successors speak more of morals and less of Ahmad than
do the earlier productions of the Messiah himself.

The ethical teaching offered in English to westerners covers a wide field. It is largely apologetic in character, with an eye to Christian contrasts or criticisms. Emphasis is laid upon the fact that man is born with a pure and sinless nature. “Islam has, by putting forward this truth, completely altered man’s point of view towards good and evil, and given him hope and courage.” In teaching of forgiveness and punishment there is urged a golden mean between revenge and unlimited forgiveness. Punishment should be proportionate to the offence and forgiveness withheld when it might do harm. “Vengeance
should not interfere with the proper working of pity, nor should pity overstep its limits and interfere with the proper working of vengeance.” Similarly, hate should not be suppressed, but
properly directed against evil. “Love should not interfere with hate nor hate with love.” Humility and meekness are inculcated and hearers are taught (with quotations from the Koran) to strive for such other standard virtues as honesty, kindness, courage, veracity, patience, and sympathy. Opportunity is properly taken to point out the humane teachings of Mohammed with regard to orphans and to debtors. Some of the economic aspects of Moslem law are presented as affording solutions of western economic problems. Among these are the laws requiring “the distribution of inheritance,” forbidding the taking of interest, and prescribing the regular giving of alms. On these particular points the Qadian Ahmadis are as far as ever from an accommodating liberalism. Quite as traditional, too, is their teaching about foods and wine. “Islam acknowledges,” says the recent “Ahmadiyyat,” “that the use of wine is beneficial in some cases, but it says that its harm far outweighs its benefits and its use ought therefore to be avoided.” And every effort is made to render plausible the prohibition of certain kinds of food, especially swine’s flesh. “Food plays an important part in the formation of character,” we are told. “The result of giving up animal food is weakness of heart and total loss of the noble quality of courage.” On this principle – really the magical principle of “like produces like” – swine’s
flesh “is injurious both to health and morals” and its use as food impedes the moral progress of man.

Specially earnest efforts are needed to make the Moslem teaching as to women and marriage palatable to progressive Westerners. The efforts of the Qadiani, however, do not follow
the liberal line of forcibly changing Moslem law to suit the West – reading into the Koran, for instance, a zeal for monogamy. They are rather devoted to making traditional practice
seem reasonable. The usual Moslem separation of the sexes is frankly advised both by Ahmad and by the present khalifa. Says the former, “Free intermingling of the two sexes and their freely casting looks at each other are productive of great mischief and no good has resulted from them. To allow men and women whose hearts are not yet purified . . to freely mingle with, and look at, each other, is to intentionally push them down into the pit.” “It is never lawful for us to cast glances at [women], whether to lust or otherwise, and to listen to their voices, whether with a pure or an impure heart. We are forbidden to do an act in doing which we are not treading
upon sure ground. . . . For the attainment and preservation of chastity, therefore, there could be no higher teaching and no nobler doctrine than that inculcated by the Holy Koran.” And the khalifa writes: “Islam tells us that we can avoid the commission of [adultery] by shutting the doors through which the temptation to commit it might enter, viz., the doors of sight, hearing, and touch.” After reviewing the rules about the separation of the sexes, the veiling of women,
and the like, he then adds: “Nobody who thinks over these injunctions with a mind free from bias and prejudice can help admiring the wisdom underlying them, for they remove all
possibility of vices which grow out of the relations of the sexes.” (One might indeed admire regulations which remove all possibilities of sexual vice.) The question of polygamy calls from the khalifa the following statement: “In some cases a man is compelled to marry more wives than one out of moral or spiritual considerations, for the propagation of the race, or for the reasons of health, or on account of political considerations. Islam has therefore permitted a plurality of wives subject to the condition that they must be accorded perfectly equal treatment.” Polygamy is neither sensual nor cruel, for “situations may arise in which a second marriage would not only be justified or necessary, but would become a patriotic or religious duty.” The same writer even concedes that wives may be beaten for immoral conduct. The subject of divorce, however, is not treated frankly, and no indication is given to western readers
of how easy is divorce for any Moslem husband and how difficult for a Moslem wife.

So anxious are the missionary leaders of Qadian to commend to westerners the moral principles of Islam that the most varied and incongruous ethical items are plucked from all
kinds of sources and served up to the western reader. “It is the duty of a Moslem,” we are told, “to rescue drowning men, help in putting out fires, and to render assistance in cases of
earthquakes, mining disasters, railway collisions, volcanic eruptions, lightning falls, and the like.” “Again, a Moslem is prohibited from pointing a weapon or an arm at another even
in fun.” People who are invited to dinner ought to accept the invitation if possible. On the other hand, they should not go to dinners to which they are not invited. If they have accepted,
they should arrive on time, and not criticize the quality of the food. Finally, let us not forget that “the Holy Prophet (on whom be peace and the blessings of God) used to direct his
companions to kill stray dogs, lest they should go mad and bite people.”

On a somewhat larger and more impressive scale is the treatment of the ethics of the state, the duties of government, and international relations. An effort is made to commend to westerners
the Islamic principles of government, which are stated to be the popular election of a sovereign ruler, who is subject to certain constitutional limitations but cannot be removed from office or controlled by any other representatives of the people. “We believe that this is the only perfect form of government.” As to internationalism, “the ideal of Islam,” according to the present caliph, “is to establish one Central Government for the whole of the world, so as to remove all
causes of international friction and wars.” But “Islam does not . . . permit any agitation for the achievement of this ideal and leaves it entirely to the will of the people of different

In the sphere of political ethics the only Ahmadiya contribution of any importance is the prohibition of force to secure political independence or to propagate religion. Here Ahmad
broke with orthodox Islam. Though announcing himself as the expected Mahdi, he rejected the traditional conception of the jihad, or holy war. Ahmad declares: “I have come to deliver
to you the command of God that jihad with the sword is now at an end … I . . . give the word that those who follow me . . . should exert themselves to spread peace over the earth, for thus would they propagate their faith.” He not only forbids the thought of any military crusade against unbelievers, but affronts a large element in the Moslem world by approving and applauding British rule in India, against which his followers are forbidden to agitate.

From the beginning of the movement, nearly forty years ago, Ahmad and his followers set themselves to convert people of all religions – Moslems, Christians, Jews, Hindus, and any
others who would hear. Their attitude toward these other religions, as revealed in their propaganda, is therefore a matter of importance. Though we are here especially concerned with their propaganda in the West and consequently with their attitude to Christianity, it will be useful to look first at their relation to orthodox Islam.

From the point of view of orthodox Islam, as we have seen, the Ahmadis are heretics. They have been condemned more than once by the decrees of the learned; and Moslem countries
like Egypt and Afghanistan seldom admit their agents or their literature. In fact, it is only in countries under Christian control that they are given a fair field and no favor. Yet, after the
manner of sectarians, they firmly believe that they are the only true Moslems. Everybody else is out of step. “They are not Moslems,” declares Ahmad, “who refuse to believe in the Promised Messiah, although they may pray and fast and follow other Islamic injunctions.” Or, in the words of the present caliph, “Ahmadiyyat and Islam are one and the same thing, and by Ahmadiyyat is meant that real Islam which God has manifested to the world through the Promised One of the
present age.” Since they identify themselves with the true Islam, they quite naturally make for Islam the same claims to supremacy and finality as would be made by orthodox Moslems.
“No religion except Islam has the means of certainty.” “The transcendent knowledge which [Mohammed] gave to the world is perfect on all sides.” “Since the time that Islam was
established upon earth, heavenly assistance has not been vouchsafed to other religions.”

That members of the sect should claim to be true Moslems is not hard to understand, since, aside from the Messiahship of Ahmad, their teachings are usually quite orthodox. Their general
statements of theological doctrine, for instance, follow conventional lines. In the writings of Ahmad and of the present caliph appear expositions of the nature and attributes of God
and of the relation of man to God which have no sectarian flavor whatever. The maintenance of the Five Pillars, too, is part of the teaching of the Ahmadiya. Their published books prescribe the prayers, the fast, the alms, and the pilgrimage, though with special insistence on their spiritual aspect. The supreme value of an infallible Koran is likewise taught. “The
Holy Koran is the pure and unaltered Word of God and its authority on all points is unquestionable.” “There is no book on the face of the earth for the guidance of the world but the
Koran.” “There is not a single one of your religious or spiritual needs which is not supplied by the Holy Koran.” “The Holy Koran . . . is a limitless treasure of Divine Truths and Realities,
heavenly Sciences and spiritual Philosophies, which are discovered in it in every age according to the needs of mankind.” Indeed the present khalifa at Qadian goes so far as to say that “the Holy Koran contains a full and complete refutation of every doubt which is suggested by each succeeding age . . . and a reply to every criticism which may be based on fresh knowledge and new discoveries.” In short, Ahmad speaks the truth when he says: “He who wishes to become a follower of mine must embrace the religion of Islam and follow the Book of Allah, the Holy Koran. . . . He must believe in Allah the Benevolent and Merciful and His Holy Prophet. He must
believe in the day of Judgment, the day of Resurrection, Heaven and Hell.” For the Qadian wing of the Ahmadiya Movement is not a diluted international compromise like Bahaism. Its creed is frankly the creed of Islam, without accommodation to western prejudices. The only important point of difference is belief in the messiahship of Ahmad – a point which is certainly not calculated to make acceptance easier by western hearers.

Of even more interest for our purposes is the attitude of the Qadian sect toward Christianity. Here we meet with the surprising fact that the Ahmadiya Movement has been steadily
hostile to Christianity. So far as its members are Moslems such hostility is natural, but so far as they are oriental missionaries making a bid for western favor their unsparing contempt is less
easy to understand. The modern Bahais, for instance, go out of their way to speak well of Christianity and to make the transition easy for Christians. Yet the Ahmadis, though rather
better treated by Christians than by Moslems, retain the typical Moslem scorn for the Christian.

Though they publish the astonishing announcement that “Islam teaches a greater toleration than any other religion ” (which is unfair at least to Buddhism), they are ready to add
that “with all other people [than Moslems] the way is closed to divine inspiration and to the followers of the Holy Prophet alone it is open.” “Except through Islam God never reveals
Himself to anyone or honors anyone with His Word or assists anyone with His mighty signs.” The usual Moslem charge that Judaism and Christianity have long since become corrupt
is reiterated. “All faiths have become corrupt and been tainted with falsehood with the only exception of Islam.” The Bible “has been tampered with to such an extent and undergone so
many changes from human hands that it does not now deserve to be called the Word of God.” “As to the teachings contained in the Gospels,” writes Ahmad, “I am of opinion that they are
imperfect.” “The teachings contained in the Gospels have S. . been all taken from earlier sources including the Talmud.” “The excellent teachings revealed in the Holy Koran are thus
far above those contained in the Bible . . . the whole of the Bible cannot stand against a single short chapter of the Holy Koran entitled the Fatiha.” Jesus is represented as giving
special and local laws “from their very nature unsuitable for permanent and universal adoption.” “The moral teaching contained in the Gospel was only addressed to the Jews.” For
this and other reasons Jesus suffers by comparison with Mohammed. “What great need did Jesus . . . satisfy?… Did he work any great transformation in the faith, morals, and
customs of the Jews? Or was he successful in purifying the lives of his chosen apostles? Both questions . . . must be answered in the negative. All that can be proved is that Jesus
had gathered about him a number of avaricious men who were guilty of treachery and faithlessness to their master. Was this the effect of teachings which are boasted as unequalled in their sublimity?” “The teachings of Jesus Christ appear to be defective when compared with the teachings of the Holy Koran” Indeed, Jesus is declared to be inferior even to Ahmad himself.
“The Messiah of the Moslem line is greater than the Messiah of the Mosaic line.” “Almighty God bestowed His grace upon me to a far greater extent than upon Jesus.” Thus to rank Jesus below the Mirza Ghulam Ahmad would not seem to be the most successful method of commending to westerners the cause of Islam; but such teaching is the logical outcome of the
founder’s claims.

While Jesus himself is treated with less respect than would usually be accorded him by the orthodox Moslem, Christian doctrines are denied or derided with an emphasis familiar
among all Mohammedans. The doctrines of the Atonement and the Incarnation are of course especially obnoxious. “Woe to the Christians,” writes Ahmad, “who deceive the world by
saying that they have been purified of their sins by the blood of Jesus, whereas they are soaked in sin from head to foot. They do not know who their God is.” “How absurd is the doctrine
of salvation invented by the Christians. They think that the suicide of the son of Mary has brought them to the door of salvation, whereas they know it as a matter of fact that they are
involved in a narrow and dark hell of sin.” Again, we read of how the Christians “deified a weak mortal,” whose “supposed divinity should be brought to naught.” Indeed, Ahmad believed
that “the greatest evil to-day is the pernicious doctrine that the son of Mary is the Son of God or God Himself . . . This setting up of the son of a woman as God is the most malignant
cancer that is eating into the frame of the human race, and it was to root out this cancer that the Promised Messiah came into this world.” If this last statement may be taken at
its face value, the anti-christian tendency of the Ahmadiya sect is due partly to the fact that its founder’s chief aim was to overthrow orthodox Christianity.

How closely connected was the advancement of Ahmad’s own claims with the overthrow of the claims of Christ we may gauge by the fact that one of the earliest tenets given by him to his followers was the denial of Jesus’ death on the cross and his subsequent resurrection. Much was made of this dogma during Ahmad’s lifetime, but it has since receded into the back ground in the published material even of the Qadian sect. It plays so small a part in present propaganda that it will be sufficient to state it briefly and to indicate the few references to it
that may be found in the leading text-book, “Ahmad,” still issued to enquirers.

Ahmad asserted, says Mr. Walter, that “Jesus did not die on the cross, but was taken down by his disciples in a swoon, and healed within forty days by a miraculous ointment . . . He then travelled to the East on a mission to the ten lost tribes of . . . Israel, believed by Ahmad to be the peoples of Afghanistan and Kashmir, and finally died at the age of one hundred and twenty and was buried in Khan Yar Street in Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir.” It was with this teaching in mind that Ahmad wrote such lines as these: “The death of Jesus [i. e., his natural death] is the door to my claim. It is the foundation and my claim is the superstructure.” Jesus’ later natural death “is a truth which the world will soon recognize, and then will be sounded the death-knell of Christianity. . . . God has ordained that the tomb of Jesus [in Srinagar] should also prove
the grave of Christianity.”

In the exposition so far given we have used the three books cited in the foot-note above. These volumes are still supplied to enquirers at the London mosque and our evidence is therefore
drawn from authoritative publications which are fairly up-to-date. But the Qadian party also publishes a magazine, “The Review of Religions,” issued monthly in London. Since
its recent numbers bring us more close to the present date, it will be worth while to note something of their content and tendency.

Typical articles in this periodical are these: – a full description of the ceremonies at the opening of the Southfield mosque, items or essays concerning “Prohibition in America,” the failure
of Sunday observance in Christian lands, the decline of the birth-rate in England and birth control, parthenogenesis as a physiological phenomenon, “Christ versus Christianity,”
“Islam in America,” “Prayer-Book Revision,” “The Conception of One God,” “Decay of Christianity and Buddhism,” etc. The general tone of these contributions is naturally much more accommodating, their material less dogmatic and alien than the utterances of Ahmad or even of his successors. Ahmad is still referred to in July 1997 as “The Promised Messiah”; and
Mississippi floods, the solar eclipse, and an earthquake in China are all mentioned as indicating that this is the Great Age in which he was to appear. But a tendency is observable to use
more frequently the titles of “Prophet” and “Reformer of this Age,” which are plainly more palatable to English hearers. As to Christianity, the Moslem missionaries assert that they feel
and show “no enmity.” Jesus is recognized as a great prophet in fullfilment of whose prophecies Ahmad came. They insist, however, that Christianity has proved to be a failure and that
its power and prestige are waning. “The future religion of England,” it is declared, “will be anything but Christianity.” One reason for this decline is that the ethics of Jesus are so
idealistic as to be quite unpractical. The contrast between their impossible demands and the common-sense laws of Islam is often urged upon readers. The teachings of Jesus, furthermore, were merely of local value. In fact, “the real trouble with Christianity is that it cannot keep pace with the rapidly changing conditions of mankind, and no amount of adaptation can enable it to do so.” But for their own religion the claim is made that “there is no strict regulation of Islam which is not applicable to the present time. . … We believe that the
various ills that are undermining the very foundations of the so-called civilized society can be cured through Islam alone.” In keeping with this belief Islam is now presented even by the
Qadian sect in a form increasingly simple, with emphasis upon features which will appeal to the modern westerner. Islam, for instance, “is the religion of Abraham plus the religion of Jesus
minus the teachings of Paul.” It is elsewhere defined as “the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man” – always a safe description. And “its teachings are scientific and reasonable.” Mutual love and tolerance is preached and “Islam” is defined as meaning “peace” and as opposed to war.

Yet how little the Qadian party has officially changed its teachings in recent years may be observed by a comparison of its official creed (at least ten years old) and the statement of “Principles” published in “The Review of Religions” for February, 1927. Where the two are alike, their language is identical, so that differences are evidently deliberate. On the following tenets both creeds agree: the unity of God, the existence of angels, apostles and their function, Mohammed the seal of the prophets, the miracles of the prophets, the perfect
Koran, divine decrees and prayer, the resurrection, heaven and hell. The only article in the old creed which is omitted in the new is that which refers to Ahmad as the Promised Messiah
and Mahdi. In the new statement he is given no higher titles than those of “Prophet” and “Reformer of this Age.” But, despite this one simplification, the “Principles” of 1997 contain
more material than the traditional creed. Articles have been added denying eternal punishment, denying the doctrine of abrogation in the Koran, denying the doctrine of the bloody jihad, denying the death by crucifixion, the resurrection, and the ascension of Jesus, together with a long paragraph affirming the value of the caliphate as the ideal form of government.

Despite a few signs of wavering, the Qadiani are clearly distinguished by fidelity to the beliefs of their founder and by either reluctance or incapacity to denature or adapt dogmas – whether of orthodox Islam or of the Ahmadiya – to the supposed needs of educated westerners. The Qadiani are, on the whole, less clever than sincere.

                                                                 THE LAHORE PARTY
Although historically the Lahore group is the liberal wing of the Ahmadiya Movement, it has departed so far from the teachings of its founder that it now repudiates the name of
Ahmadiya. It prefers to identify Ahmadi with Qadiani and to deny all connection – financial or creedal – with Qadian. Only a few words in a few of their publications make any reference
to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and even these references do not press his claims. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, until recently the distinguished head of the Moslem Mission at Woking, speaking
in 1911, referred to Ahmad as “an apostle of Islam” who “appealed to Moslems as Mahdi, to Christians in the person of the Promised Messiah, and to Hindus in the capacity of Lord
Krishna.” But these titles are mentioned only biographically as expressing Ahmad’s claims. In 1921, Muhammad Ali, the president of the Lahore Society, referred to Ahmad as the
Reformer of the Preseht Age (due in the fourteenth century after the hegira), and added that he “was called a Messiah.” Writing in April 1927, however, the acting Imam of the mosque
at Woking declares that “the Woking Mosque is not Ahmadi . . . the Woking Mosque deprecates in very strong terms the idea that the late Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a Prophet of God.” Moreover, in the published works of British converts, few, if any, references to Ahmad are to be found. In other words, whatever its pedigree, the Lahore party is now simply a modern liberal missionary group, much more adaptable and sophisticated than its sister sect and showing a snobbish anxiety to remove all traces of its humble origin. The student
will note its likeness to the liberal group represented by Ameer Ali, to whose influential work it is undoubtedly indebted. In reviewing its present propaganda in English, we shall look first
at what it says on behalf of Islam and then at what it says against Christianity.

The claims which are made in favor of Islam are obviously determined less by a study of that religion and its history than by a study of what will appeal to the westerner, for the Woking
missionaries “aim to please.” According to their noted leader Kamal-ud-Din, “Before the advent of Islam, the notion of the Deity entertained by man was somewhat hideous.” “Prayers, hymns, ceremonials, and offerings were their chief aim, while sacrifices propitiated the Divine anger.” But “Islam came with a new conception of religion.” This contrast would be hard to understand if we were not elsewhere told that “Islam . . . dawned upon humanity from the very beginning; it was the religion of Adam and of all the prophets following him.” Indeed, “it is the religion of every prophet of God who appeared in any part of the world at any period of the world’s history.” To prove Islam “the cosmopolitan religion,” the koranic saying, “We have sent in every nation an apostle,” is stretched, beyond all Moslem reason, to include such ill-assorted figures as Buddha, Confucius, and Krishna. To support the quite heretical contention that these pagan religions are only Islam under another name, Kamal-ud-Din forges a quotation from the Koran which refers in charitable terms to the Vedas and the Gita (“Four Lectures on Islam,” Lahore, n.d., pp. 5f.). This
particular piece of impudence seems not to have been repeated, for it occurs only in an address at Allahabad in 1911. More suited to Western needs is the frequent assertion that Islam is
the same as true Christianity. “Islam . . . is in very truth Christianity shorn of the man-made dogmas.” Christ himself “was a true Musalman.” “The religion taught by Jesus himself
was Islam.” Yet, though “all religions have divine revelation as the common basis from which they start,” Islam (in the narrower sense) “claims to be the final and most perfect expression
of the will of God.” Though a British convert declares that “all the prophets command equal respect from us and we make no distinction in our allegiance to them,” he adds almost
at once, “we receive all our inspirations and guidance from the Koran and the sayings of the Prophet.” And the supremacy of Mohammed is by all the writers unmistakably asserted. “He
was a man towering . . . far above any of his contemporaries, predecessors, or successors.” Unlike all others, he was not a national, but a World Prophet. “Among all the reformers of
the world Mohammed . .. occupies the highest position because not a minute of his life was spent for any object other than the service of humanity.” Furthermore, he is not only
the greatest but the last of the prophets.

The Koran is of course supreme among sacred books. “No other sacred book has remained free from human alloy.” “The treasures of Wisdom met with in the Holy Koran would be
sought in vain in the Gospels.” “It is unique in literature, the most original book in the world.” Its perfection constitutes it a miracle – the final revelation.

The Moslem missionaries, however, are not content to assert authoritatively the superiority of their religion, their prophet, and their book. They are more concerned to express that
superiority in popular terms that will persuade the modern western mind. We read, therefore, that “Islam is a religion of Humanity, Toleration, and Progress.” “The religion of Mohammed
is the progress of the human race in the free light of the Eternal Unity.” The precise meaning of these sentences is less plain than the effort they embody to give the public what it wants. But in regard to “progress,” the writers are ready with definite details. They not only try to refute the proposition that Islam is unprogressive but press on to the positive assertion that Islam is the source of nearly all modern progress. “By emancipating Reason, Mohammed paved the way for the miracles that followed in learning, science, commerce, industry, and the mingling of humanity.” “Our present civilization is very largely due to the benefits and results of Islamic culture in Spain, Sicily, and the Near East.” “At the Reformation came intellectual freedom and emancipation, nourished and developed by Islamic thought and influence.” Dazzling pictures
are given of Moslem civilization at its height. “Islam thus introduced into the modern world civilization, philosophy, the arts, and the sciences.” In fact, “the greatest boon that Islam conferred on humanity was the unique stimulus it gave to learning.” And “in social reforms the faith of Islam has achieved results as wonderful as in the realms of education and science.” The present mental lethargy in Moslem countries is only “the result of historical circumstances” having no connection with Islam.

In keeping with a religion identified with progress, Islam is advertised as the most rational of all religions – indeed the only rational religion. A “special feature of Islam is the rational basis on which it explains all the truths it inculcates.” It is “the faith which is least hampered by improbabilities or absurdities,” for “it inaugurated the reign of intellectual liberty.” “Islam . . . prescribes free thinking as a duty for believers.” “Nothing which happens in the natural world, no
fresh discovery of science, can shake the faith of the true Moslem.” In other words, “Men are seeking a living faith … In Islam, steadfast and unchanging, standing high above … the
sudden disconcerting blasts of scientific discovery, they may, if they will, find it.” “Islam gives every one perfect freedom.”

The modern mind is opposed to dogmas and to sects. Islam is therefore presented quite unblushingly as a religion without dogmas or sects. Writes an English convert (the quality of
whose mind would indicate that his wish was sincere): “I wanted a simple, practical faith, free from dogmas and tenets. . . . This I found in Islam.” And his Imam confirms him with
the words, “Islam does not believe in rituals and ceremonials as essentials in religion, nor does it inculcate any dogma.” Best of all, it is free from sectarian divisions. “Islam remained
always above sections and heresies . . . above divisions and innovations.” For “to divide the holders of these two opinions [Sunnis and Shias] into two sects . . . is simply to evince

As becomes a tolerant and progressive religion without tenets or sects, Islam is essentially practical. Its teachings are such as can readily be applied in the lives of real men and women.
Here, as we shall see later, it is in contrast with the impossible idealism of Christianity. “Islam is a perfect code of life to regulate your daily conduct and make you a useful citizen of the
world. It gives you certain principles to guide your life and enjoins upon you certain practices to bring those principles into actions.” “The Koran contains rules of guidance for all the stages through which man has to pass in the onward march from the condition of the savage to that of the highly spiritual man.” Instead of extreme commands which ignore human nature, it points out “the middle path.” Among the virtues inculcated by Islam are mentioned chastity, honesty, meekness, politeness, forgiveness, courage, patience, sympathy, kindness, and charity. Special prominence, however, is naturally given to the teaching of universal brotherhood in Islam. “Democracy, the chief boast of the West, had its birth in Islam. Equality between man and man is its basic principle, and it is observed to its full extent in every form of life in Moslem countries.” “Islam has succeeded in welding black and white into one family” in accordance with “the strong spirit of fraternal equality which exists between the Faithful,” for “in Islam religion and not nationality is the first consideration.” “This religion has succeeded, where Christianity has failed, in uniting men of different color happily and equally in one society.” And
Islam not only ignores racial distinctions but “abolishes all invidious class distinctions.”

In addition to presenting Islam as positively and attractively as possible, the Woking missionaries and their English converts are ready to defend Islam against familiar attack.
Among the minor accusations which they attempt to refute are the assertions that Moslem law prescribes the death penalty for apostasy and that Islam inculcates fatalism. Far more space,
however, is devoted to meeting the graver and commoner charges that Islam is a war-like religion and that it degrades womanhood. Not content in this controversy with a merely
apologetic attitude, the defendants make the claim that Islam is essentially a peaceful religion and that it has done more than any other to elevate womanhood. All the wars of Islam, we are
told, were strictly defensive. Warfare, when it has occurred, has been conducted humanely. “Neither massacre nor any harshness towards non-combatants is allowed in Moslem warfare.”
Islam has never spread its teachings by the sword, for “of all religions Islam stands conspicuous in establishing a perfection of religious freedom.” Fortunately, too, “Islam
encourages peaceful relations between its followers and the adherents of other religions.” Indeed, “Islam is the surest guarantee of peace.” The very word Islam, they say, means “the
making of peace.” (To these general assertions may be added the definite tenet of all Ahmadis {even of the Lahore type} that the British Government in India is beneficent and must be
loyally supported). As to woman, “Islam raised her from the lowest status to equality with man.” The Prophet’s teaching established perfect equality of the sexes. “From the lowest
degradation he raised woman to a position beyond which she could only go in theory.” It was “a height which leaves her nothing higher for which to strive.” Islam “opens to her equal
possibilities with man of intellectual, moral, and spiritual progress.” In this respect the record of Islam is much better than that of Christianity. By attributing the fall of man to the action of Eve, Christian doctrine “is responsible for female debasement.” St. Paul, followed by many later Christian saints and theologians, spoke of women in most derogatory terms. “This condition of things has continued with modifications up to the present day, when woman has at last begun to assert herself.” Hence it is not surprising that “woman’s position in the Moslem world is far better than it is in Christian countries.” Or, as another convert puts it, “a Western home is not a commendable home for woman. . . . But a Moslem home opens the door of quite a different life.” Such glowing generalizations are frequent in the literature of Moslem propaganda. Much
harder to find is any careful treatment of marriage and divorce in Islam. One pamphlet of thirty-seven pages on “Woman in Islam,” which devotes much space to Adam and Eve, omits all
consideration of marriage and divorce on the plea that there is not sufficient time to enter into these questions. Whenever the problems are dealt with, polygamy is defended as necessary at
certain times. (It is even asserted that “until the sixteenth century the whole of Christendom was polygamous”!) Mohammed, who “was particularly self-restrained and chaste,” unselfishly married “a great many of the widows of those of his adherents who had fallen in battle, not because he had the slightest desire for them, but in order to provide them with a home.” His followers, however, must confine themselves to four wives, and even this degree of polygamy is not encouraged. Among the happy results of this Moslem social system is the fact that illicit sexual intercourse is “to a great extent unknown in the East” and that “divorce is very rare in Moslem countries.”

The Ahmadiya Movement, including the emancipated Lahore group, is not only pro-islam. It is also deliberately and actively anti-christian. Ranging from mild doubts to bitter onslaughts, the opposition to Christianity includes its founder, its history, and its doctrines.

Though it is of course conceded that Jesus was one of the great prophets, most references to him are slightly disparaging in tone. We are told, to begin with, that his teachings were
not reduced to writing till a hundred and fifty years after his death and that the record is altogether unreliable. But it is sufficient to indicate that he was a purely local prophet, and
that during his brief ministry he accomplished very little. “The mere fact that Jesus was unable to bring about any transformation worth the name, and to make any impression either on his friends or foes, is a sufficient testimony that the stories of miracles were invented afterwards.” “The poorness of the result attained by Jesus Christ . . . becomes the more prominent when compared with the wonderful results attained by the great World Prophet that appeared in Arabia.” One of the chief reasons for Jesus’ meagre achievements is the fact that he was a visionary whose teachings were quite unpractical. The “gentle and beautiful precepts” of this “dreamer” are of small use in this work-a-day world. “The prime need of the world is not the ideal in its abstract form but . . . the laying down of . . . practical rules and guidances.” Yet, with
all his limitations, Jesus represents the best element in Christianity. For Ahmadis are fully aware of the modern habit of contrasting Christ and Christianity, and make full use of the
opening it affords. “Islam and Christianity as taught by Christ Himself are sister religions.” But, beginning with St. Paul, the purity of true Christianity has been increasingly contaminated.
“The religion of Christ is not quite the religion of St. Paul, who seems to have added to it and altered it very considerably, and various authorities have interpreted these later teachings and
varied them from time to time.” Pagan elements crept in – a process fully explained in Kamal-ud-Din’s “Sources of Christianity,” in which the author quotes heavily from Robertson’s “Pagan Christs.” Similar lessons are taught in the Imam’s “Religion of Jesus and Traditional Christianity,” which proves “that the religion taught by Jesus was entirely distinct from current Christianity.” The same writer declares: “I . . would rather be an atheist than accept a god whose character
and attributes received their Epiphany in the Manger and on the Cross. I would rather be an agnostic than to know of God through Christian theology.”

The Christian doctrines which seem to these Moslems plainly in contrast with the religion of Jesus form the subject of much severe comment in Ahmadi publications. The Athanasian
Creed is an especially popular target. Noting, as Matthew Arnold once remarked, that it is “learned science with a strong dash of temper,” they find it delightfully vulnerable. The points
which are specifically attacked, in the creed and elsewhere, include doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, Original Sin (always contrasted with Moslem belief that “every child is born sinless”), Infant Damnation, and the Atonement. The ideas of propitiation “by cruelty and shedding of blood,” “ransom from sin,”,vicarious punishment, and the like are viewed
as peculiarly odious. Such opinions are, of course, typically Moslem. On several other points, however, the peculiar tenets of the Ahmadiya Movement appear. Contrary to the usual interpretation of the Koran, the Virgin Birth, the death by Crucifixion, and the Ascension are denied. But the “swoon theory” is seldom alluded to in Woking or Lahore propaganda, and
nothing is ever said about the tomb of Jesus in Khan Yar Street, Srinagar.

The departure of Christianity from Christ may be seen not only in the history of doctrine but also in the moral record of Christendom. The Crusades, the Inquisition, the Thirty Years’
War, Spanish cruelty in the New World – all these are cited to show how un-christian Christianity has always been. Its moral failure and its incredible doctrines easily account for its present
decline. Everywhere its power and influence are obviously waning.

As a saving alternative to a Christianity so fallen on evil days the Moslem mission at Woking offers a simplified Islam. According to a leaflet issued in 1997, no formal statement of
belief is required other than the ancient creed now phrased in this fashion, “I worship One and only Allah (God) alone . . . I believe Mohammed to be His messenger and servant.” Nevertheless, in at least six different publications seven “Articles of Faith” are stated to be those of Islam, and one citation is accompanied by a statement from the Imam Kamal-ud-Din that “one cannot become a Moslem unless he believes in all of them.” But since this is too dogmatic an attitude for “a religion without tenets” to assume, one may be certain that it
would not be rigidly maintained in practice.

The Seven Articles of Faith are these: 1. Allah; 2. Angels; 3. Sacred Books; 4. Divine Messengers; 5. The Hereafter; 6. Measurement of Good and Evil by God; 7. The Resurrection.
The insistence upon angels shows more respect for tradition and less for public opinion than is usual with Woking Moslems. In dealing with heaven and hell, however, orthodoxy is rationalized. Heaven and hell are not places but states. “Life after death is only a continuation of the life below.” “The punishment of hell is . . . an image of the spiritual tortures of
this life.” “Service of God is paradise.” Physical objects in the Moslem paradise or hell are only “metaphorical expressions.” And it is even asserted that Islam knows nothing of eternal
punishment. To these Articles of Faith are added the famous Five Pillars, an exposition of which may be found in several of the most recent publications. Details as to prayer and fasting
are not given – still less pressed – but alms-giving is said to involve the donation in charity of two and one half per cent of one’s income.

In contrast with the Qadian sect, the Lahore group, as we have seen, is reluctant to admit any connection with the Ahmadiya Movement. Its leaders, especially in England, are
eager to adapt their message to the convictions or the fashions of the present hour and to exploit the ignorance of their audience by making any assertions that will favor their cause.
Intellectually more acceptable than the Qadiani, they inspire less respect, for one usually prefers the naive and narrowminded to the sophisticated and slippery. In contrast to the Qadiani, they are, on the whole, more clever than sincere.