The Future of Islam – Part 2

The following is a lecture delivered at Sialkot, India on 2 November 1904 by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) (the promised Messiah and Mahdi)
Ignorant men sometimes say that they also see true visions and receive inspirations and have their prayers accepted though it be on rare occasions. According to these men, there is no distinction between themselves and the prophets of God, who must, therefore, be either impostors or self-deceived men. Such vanity has led many a man to destruction. A seeker after truth can easily see that the holy prophets of God are not ordinary men. They are a class especially selected by God and endowed with numerous spiritual blessings. Not­withstanding their rejection by their enemies, they ultimately vanqu­ish them, and their light shines forth so clearly that all intelligent men have to admit a remarkable distinction between them and their opposers. A beggar, who possesses a few rupees, cannot claim equality with a monarch whose treasures are full. In like manner, the glow-worm which emits a sparkle of light in darkness, cannot say that there is no distinction between it and the sun. Hence also the man who occasionally sees a vision which is true, and thus catches only a glimpse of the light, is a fool if he claims equality with the prophets of God who are as the sun. Nor has Almighty God given the human soul this glimpse of light without purpose. It is meant to serve as a guide in the recognition of the claims of prophets, and thus all avail­able means are placed by God within the reach of men, so that they may have no excuse for rejecting the prophets.

Another characteristic of the chosen ones of God is that they possess a magnetic power and an attraction, and are sent as begetters of spiritual generations in the world. As they guide men in paths which they themselves see to be right and raise the veils of ignorance from before their eyes, therefore it is through them that true know­ledge, true love of God, sincere piety, righteousness and bliss can be obtained. He who breaks connection with them is like the branch which is cut off from the stem. To establish or cut off connection with them produces its immediate effect, a growing of spirituality according to capability in the one case and a spiritual decay and a going out of the light of faith in the other. It is but excessive vanity which makes a man think that he does not stand in need of the prophets of God. He deceives himself who says: ‘Do I not say my prayers? Do I not keep the fasts? Do I not recite the formula of faith?’ He is not aware of the true faith and of the transcendent delight it brings with it.

Ponder over the creation of man: it is God who has created him, but see how He has made one man an instrument in bringing another into existence. As in the physical birth of man, Almighty God has established the law of a procreator, so a spiritual father is also necessary for the spiritual birth of man. Take care, therefore, that you are not deceived with the mere form and cere­mony, the husk of Islam. Read attentively the Word of God and think what He requires of you. He desires you to attain to the stage for which He has Himself taught you to pray. Read the Fatihah which says: ‘Show us the right path, the path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings.’ (Ch.1:Vs.6-7) Here Almighty God enjoins you to pray five times a day that He may grant you the blessings which were granted to the pro­phets of God. But how can you attain those blessings except through the prophets? Hence it is necessary that to make you attain the stage of certainty and love, the prophets of God should appear from time to time and re-animate the dead faith and make you receive the pro­mised blessings. ‘Will you then oppose God and fight against Him? Will you break His old and established laws?’

There is another point which I would like to state before closing. My advent in this age is not meant for the reformation of the Muslims only, but Almighty God has willed to bring about through me a regeneration of three great nations, viz., Hindus, Muslims and Christians. As for the last two I am the Promised Messiah, so for the first I have been sent as an Avatar. It is more than twenty years since I announced that as I have appeared in the character of Christ, son of Mary, to purify the earth of the injustice, iniquity and sins which prevail upon it, I come likewise in the character of Raja Krishna, the greatest Avatar of the Hindu religion, and spiritually I am the same man. I do not say this of my own accord, but the Mighty God, who is the Lord of earth and heavens, has revealed this to me. He has told me not on one occasion but repeatedly, that I am Krishna for the Hindus and the Promised Messiah for the Muslims and the Christians. I know that ignorant Muslims will at once exclaim upon hearing this that I have become a plain unbeliever and heretic on account of my having adopted the name of an unbeliever, as they think the holy Krishna to be, but this is a revelation of God which I cannot but announce, and this is the first day that I announce this claim in such a large gathering, for those who come from God do not fear being blamed or reviled.

Now Raja Krishna as revealed to me was so great and perfect a man, that his equal is not to be found among the Hindu Rishis and Avatars. He was an Avatar or prophet of his time and he received the Holy Spirit from God. He was granted triumph and victory from God and cleansed the Arya Varta [ed. Arya Varta means “Land of the Aryas”] of sins. He was a true prophet of his time, but many errors were introduced into his teachings afterwards. His heart overflowed with the love of God and he loved virtue and hated evil. Almighty God had promised to raise a spiritual manifestation of him in the last ages, and He has now ful­filled this promise through me. One of my revelations on this point is:

‘O Krishna destroyer of the wicked, and upholder of the meek, thy praise has been written in the Gita.’

I love Krishna for I appear as his image. The two attributes of Krishna who is described in this revelation as the destroyer of evil and the upholder of the poor and the meek are exactly the same as those of the Promised Messiah. Thus spiritually, Krishna and Promised Messiah are one and the same person, there being no difference except that which exists in the terminology of the two people, the Hindus and the Muslims.

As Krishna, I now warn the Aryas of some of their errors. The first of these has already been pointed out. It consists in the belief that matter and soul are self-existent and eternal. This is a serious error, for there is nothing self-existing except the Divine Being Who does not require anyone else to sustain Him. But how can things be uncreated which require another power to keep them alive and to support them? If it be supposed to be true that matter and soul are self-existent, then their combination and dissolution can also take place of themselves. In that case the only proof of the existence of God derived from the source of reason would fall to the ground, for if matter and soul could possibly come into existence by themselves, it is much more easy for reason to assert that their combination and dissolution did not need any assistance.

This error concerning the person of the Divine Being has involved the Aryas in another error, viz., transmigration and a temporary salvation. It is difficult to understand why God, like a parsimonious man, held back from men a salvation lasting forever when He had the power to grant it. Why did He deprive men of the gift which with His admitted Almightiness He could bestow upon them? This objec­tion becomes the more forcible when it is considered that, according to the belief of the Arya Samaj, the souls which are doomed to undergo a long punishment by passing through almost interminable courses of transmigration to enjoy a short rest, are in no way under any obliga­tion to God, for they are not His creatures. In reply to this, it is said that temporary salvation has been resorted to by God for the sake of transmigration. That is bringing forward one assertion in support of another.

The Aryas believe that there are a limited number of souls, to which no addition can be made. Had salvation been a gift not to be taken back, the consequence would have been that the souls would have all passed away one by one to a state of salvation, until the whole store would have been exhausted, and nothing being left in the hands of God, the cycle of transmigration would have come to an end, reducing God to the position of an idle looker-on. This necessitated an arrange­ment according to which the souls could be driven back from the state of salvation. The actual injustice of this principle is it sought to conceal by the excuse that every soul while obtaining salvation is not spotless, and hence it is expelled for the fault with which it remains charged even at the time when salvation is granted to it.

These are the principles of the Arya Samaj. One may ask what is the need for owning such a God? Had not the creation of the uni­verse by the hand of God been denied, not a single one of these difficulties would have confronted the Samaj. The error in which it is involved consists in judging the powers and attributes of the Divine Being after those of mortals. It is said that something cannot come out of nothing, but the experience on which this princi­ple is based relates to the works of man, and it is an error to judge of the works of God by the same standard. Does not God speak though He has no tongue like ours? Does He not hear though He has not ears as we have? Does He not see without the eyes possessed by man? Why then can He not create things without any material? If He is unlike men in speaking, hearing and seeing, it is unreasonable to judge His power of creation strictly by the mortal standard. Such a belief divests God of the Divine attributes. Another very serious harm which proceeds from it is that it makes every particle of matter the equal of God in being co-eternal with Him. The idol-wor­shipper sets up only a few idols with God, but according to the Arya Samajists the whole world is a partaker with the Divine Being, for every particle is its own creator.

God knows that I do not say this out of spite or enmity. Nay, I believe that the true teachings of the Vedas must have been free from such errors. I know that such doctrines were made current by philosophers who were not guided in their enquiries by Divine light, and most of whom ultimately became atheists, and I fear that if the Arya Samaj does nothing in the way of getting rid of these false and erroneous beliefs, it will also turn at last into an atheistic movement.

Transmigration too is a great blot on Divine grace and mercy. And the doctrine of Niyog is in fact an insult to pure womanhood and must excite the indignation of all those who desire the progress of morality and of many honest thinkers even from among the Hindus. It shocks one to hear the advocates of the Niyog, telling men that in the absence of male offspring, the wife should pollute herself with a stranger so that haply she may give birth to a son. No chaste woman would, I think, bear such insult. And with these disgusting doctrines in its religious code, doctrines derogatory to the dignity of God and man as well, the Arya Samaj invites Muslims to accept its teachings. Every seeker after truth should, no doubt, accept truth wherever it is found, but it is far from being the truth that we should deny the power of creation of the Almighty God Who has shown His existence by the manifestation of His wonderful powers, and not recognise Him as the source of all blessings. A being thus divested of power does not deserve to be called God, for it is through the display of His powers that man has recognised Him. If we deny His power, and make Him depend upon resources and means, the door to His recognition will be closed.

I am sorely grieved to remark here that the majority of the Arya Samajists and the Christian Missionaries instead of doing aught to impart life and spirituality to their own religions unjustly attack and vilify the pure and perfect principles of Islam. They are so bent upon this course as if it were the aim and end of the religion they teach that the great men to whom humanity lies under the deepest obligations, the prophets and the messengers of God, should be abused and carped at. This is directly opposed to the grand object which at true religion aim. Religion requires that a man should so purify himself of every evil that bowing down at the Divine threshold his soul should constantly be in a state of submission to his Holy Master, and being filled with certainty, love, knowledge, sincerity and faithfulness undergo such a complete transformation as should make him enjoy a heavenly life in this very world. But such purity and perfection can never be brought about by a belief which teaches men that simply professing a belief in the blood of Jesus should be suppos­ed to cleanse a man of all the evils that he has done or that he may do and what a wonderful purification of the soul in which the only thing not needed is purification! It is not thus that true purity of life can be attained.