Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), Second Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Community
Translated into English for the first time by Zafir Mahmood Malik for The Review of Religions Translation Team. The Review of Religions takes all responsibility for any errors in the text.
(Speech Delivered by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) on 16th June 1944) 
After reciting the Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) stated:
Thirteen centuries ago, or actually I should say thirteen-and-a-half centuries ago, the Holy Prophet – may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his followers – gathered some of his companions (ra) together in a remote area and said, ‘there are two enemies facing us: the first is the caravan returning from Syria which is bringing food and clothes for the Makkans; and the other enemy is a fully armed force which significantly outnumbers us. In light of divine indications, it seems likely that we will have to engage with the well-equipped army. Now tell me, what is your advice?’ One after another, the Muhajireen [Muslims native to Makkah who later migrated to Madinah] stood up and submitted, ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah! We are ready to fight. Give us the command and we shall march forward.’ Whenever one of the Muhajireen sat down after expressing his opinion, the Holy Prophet (sa) would say, ‘O ye people! Give me your advice.’ When the Holy Prophet (sa) continued to repeat, ‘O people, give me your advice’, one Ansari [Muslims native to Madinah] companion stood up and said, ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah! Perhaps you are referring to us. You have repeatedly asked us for our opinions in spite of the fact that you have received many suggestions and many of our Muhajir brothers have stood up and expressed their views already. Perhaps you wish now for us – the Ansar – to give our opinion?’ The Holy Prophet (sa) replied, ‘Yes, very well.’ The Ansari companion then said, ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah! We kept silent until now because the enemy that has come to fight us are the brethren of our fellow Muhajir brothers. Our love and decency compelled us to remain silent lest it should seem that we are eager to fight against the fellow tribesmen of our brothers. Otherwise, O Messenger (sa) of Allah, there is simply no question; we are ready to fight in every way.’
He further said, ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah! Since you have asked us repeatedly for our opinion, perhaps you are referring to the Pledge at Aqabah – the first pledge that took place in Madinah– in which we pledged that we would help you as long as you were inside Madinah, but we would not be responsible for your protection if you left and fought outside Madinah. O Messenger (sa) of Allah! When we made this pledge – in which we affirmed that we would only assist you when you were inside Madinah, and we would not be responsible for your protection if you were to fight against a tribe outside of Madinah – we were not fully cognisant of your lofty status, and that is why we placed these conditions. But now that we have understood your true grandeur and rank, there is no question, whether this battle happens inside Madinah or outside of it, O Messenger (sa) of Allah, that we will fight in front of you and we will fight behind you; we will fight to the left of you and we will fight to the right of you; and the enemy will have to trample over our dead bodies in order to reach you.’ 
This was the passion these people had for their faith at a time when the Holy Prophet’s (sa) spiritual rank had not been fully manifested. There were many miracles and signs that were demonstrated later and also many parts of the Holy Qur’an that were revealed afterwards. If every sign increases one’s faith, if every miracle increases one’s faith, if every verse of the Holy Qur’an increases one’s faith, then without doubt, there were countless more opportunities to come which would increase them in their faith. Thus, the companions’ initial stages of belief in the Holy Prophet (sa) was gradually replaced by a sublime level of faith, which was so profound that no point, no angle, no aspect or part of their faith remained incomplete in its splendour and beauty.
Yet even in these early years, what a glorious declaration this companion (ra) made: ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah! We will fight in front of you and we will fight behind you; we will fight to the left of you and we will fight to the right of you; and the enemy will have to trample over our dead bodies in order to reach you.’ He stated this at the time when the Holy Prophet (sa) was alive, when his hands had the strength to take up arms and fight the enemy himself, when the Holy Prophet (sa) had enough strength to defend against an attack. In such circumstances a person usually does not require as much protection compared to a situation where they are unable to defend themselves; for example, when one is asleep. A person who is asleep cannot defend themselves and depends on their friends or well-wishers to look after them. Similarly, if a person wants to dishonour and discredit someone who is absent, again that individual would rely on his friends’ help. Everyone is ready to express their love and appreciation in the presence of someone dear to them, but true love and appreciation is that which is exhibited even in the absence of someone they deeply cherish. Thus, that was a time in which the Holy Prophet (sa) was able to defend himself, and indeed demonstrated this in his lifetime.
During the Battle of Uhud, a fierce opponent stepped into the battlefield and called out to the Holy Prophet (sa), ‘why does he not challenge me himself?’ Since he was a renowned and experienced general, the companions (ra) gathered around the Holy Prophet (sa). However, the Holy Prophet (sa) instructed for them to move aside and allow him to come forward. When he approached, the Holy Prophet (sa) thrust his spear forwards and lightly grazed the opponent’s chest, resulting in a very slight injury that caused the opponent to run away and shriek in pain. When his people asked what was the matter since he had only suffered a very minor injury, he replied: ‘What would you know! This wound is more painful than being stabbed with a thousand spears.’  Thus, even though the Holy Prophet (sa) was under the protection of God Almighty, as long as he was alive and could fight, he confronted every adversary and set an example for people to follow.
Thus, we find that at one point during the Battle of Hunain, an incident led almost all of the companions (ra) to retreat from the battlefield, leaving only twelve companions (ra) surrounding the Holy Prophet (sa). After consulting with Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), Hazrat Abbas (ra) tried to move the Holy Prophet (sa) away from the battlefield, but the Holy Prophet (sa) said, ‘Let me be! I will move forward.’ 
The companions (ra) offered unparalleled sacrifices but now the Holy Prophet (sa) is no longer among us. Today, only those who love the Holy Prophet (sa) can defend him from the allegations levelled against him by his critics. In the time of the Holy Prophet (sa), he would tell his companions (ra) to reply to any allegations levelled against him. Many times the Holy Prophet (sa) ordered Hassan (ra) [bin Thabit] to reply and would say:
اللّٰهُمَّ أَیِّدْهُ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُس
‘O God! Grant your succour to Hassan through Your signs.’ On occasion, the Holy Prophet (sa) would guide the companions (ra) on the best manner to reply lest they respond in a way that could result in further retaliation. All this occurred even in that era, but now the final law-bearing Messenger (sa) is no longer among us and these days and currently, Islam is being ridiculed and attacked in a manner that has not been witnessed before.
Thirteen-and-a-half centuries ago, the people of Makkah – who knew the Holy Prophet’s (sa) every movement; who knew his every place of rest, who knew what he did during the night and also during the day; who were aware of his day-to-day dealings and also of his worship; who knew the manner in which he spoke and conducted himself – when asked by the Holy Prophet (sa) what they thought of him, replied that they thought him truthful and trustworthy. But today, thirteen-and a-half centuries later, the ignorant and unjust authors of Europe have written hundreds of pages arguing that the Holy Prophet (sa) was a liar and a cheat – God forbid – who deceived people into accepting his false claim with fabricated proofs.
The people of Makkah, who were aware of every manifest and hidden aspect of the Holy Prophet’s (sa) life, declared him to be truthful and trustworthy. Yet, the writers of the West, living thirteen-and-a-half centuries after him have sought to portray the Holy Prophet (sa) in complete contradiction to this, simply because they have power, they have strength, they have authority and governance; they have their powerful armies, they control the banks and they control modes of transport. They are so inebriated by their power and authority that they believe that nobody can counter their attacks. They believe that they can go on publishing propaganda unimpeded and disseminate criticism after criticism. Furthermore, they also control modes of education and learning. Hence, when students study in colleges, they are required to read the books written by these authors. After reading these books, by the time they leave college, the love
of the Holy Prophet (sa) has become completely extinguished from their hearts. When a merchant visits their premises to buy or sell goods, by the time he leaves, his heart becomes empty of the love of the Holy Prophet (sa). This is also the case with almost all Asians and Africans. Because to earn a livelihood, or get a job, everyone is dependent upon them and whenever someone works under them, with the exception of those whom God so Wills, they barter their faith away. Their hearts become devoid of faith and love for the Messenger (sa). A Muslim, when taking up employment with them, must abandon their faith to acquire even the smallest rank; in fact, it is expected that they will leave their faith.
I still have in my pocket the letter I received when departing Dalhousie [India]. When I was about to leave Dalhousie, I received a letter from the [navy] recruitment officer for the Punjab, an English gentleman, who was informed by a naval officer that on occasions, Ahmadis preach their faith to their colleagues, and so the recruitment officer had been ordered to stop recruiting Ahmadis in the future. Even though we are a small community, Muslims of every sect are facing the same treatment, irrespective of whether they are Ahmadi
or belong to another sect. The reason is that Muslims are weak and as the saying goes, ‘everyone tastes the wrath of the powerful’ and ‘when misfortune strikes, it always befalls the weak’. Compare this with Sir [William] Muir, a native of Britain and [former] Governor of UP [Uttar Pradesh] – who was expected to deal justly and impartially with all peoples. Unlike the Ahmadis in the naval force, he was not a new recruit, but was in fact the governor of a whole province, and a governor is not permitted to interfere in such matters. Despite this, he continued to propagate his faith. The most widely-published book criticising Islam has been written by the [former] Governor of UP, Sir Muir. Yet nobody asked him whether he had been sent 6,000 miles away, earning 10,000 rupees a month, to govern between the Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians with justice, or to spend most of his time injuring the sentiments of the Muslim population? What is the difference between these two examples? The only difference is that the Ahmadi naval recruits belong to a weak and powerless part of society, and Sir Muir is a member of the ruling class. Therefore, what is permissible for him is not permissible for others. It is permissible for a British man to propagate his faith; it is permissible for a Christian to propagate his faith, but according to them, it is not permissible for an Ahmadi to do the same.
Thus, the current assaults against the Holy Prophet (sa) are no hidden matter but are an open truth. When we pick up a philosophy book, it opposes Islam; when we read through a science book, it opposes Islam; when we study a history book, it opposes Islam. Thirteen-and a-half centuries ago, the Holy Qur’an taught the Muslims a valuable lesson, which regrettably, they have abandoned, but instead has been adopted by the Europeans. The Holy Qur’an stated:
وَلِكُلّٖ وِجۡهَةٌ هُوَ مُوَلِّيهَاۖ
‘And everyone has a goal which dominates him’. 
Remember that you also ought to have a goal. Let it not be the case that because of national disunity that each one of you adopts a different goal from one another. God Almighty has further stated,
وَحَيۡثُ مَا كُنتُمۡ فَوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمۡ شَطۡرَهُ
[‘And wherever you be, turn your faces towards it’.] 
This verse means, ‘O Muslims! Although you have come to Madinah [after the migration] remember that Islam’s progress is tied to the conquest of Makkah. Therefore, wherever you go, your ultimate goal should be to eventually reach Makkah, and whatever the circumstances, to conquer it. Until you are granted this centre and stronghold, you will never gain supremacy over all of Arabia, nor the rest of the world.’
This lesson [of having a unified goal] was given to Muslims thirteen-and-a-half centuries ago. The Muslims discarded it, but Europe has adopted it, and sadly, learned it in the most unjust way. The Europeans have understood that the central focus of Islam lies in the person of the Holy Prophet (sa). Hence, any European writer will openly attack the honour of the Holy Prophet (sa). Whether they write a book on philosophy, whether they write a book on science, whether they write a book on history, they wish to degrade the Holy Prophet (sa) in the eyes of the people and distance the Muslims from this focal point. We were the ones taught this lesson, but it is our opponents who are benefitting, or rather one could say, unjustly exploiting it. At a time like this, as I have mentioned, when the blessed presence of the Holy Prophet (sa) is no longer with us, the honour of a devoted Muslim should be kindled. There is no doubt that as far as the blessings of the Holy Prophet (sa) are concerned, they live on, and will live on until the Day of Judgement. But as for
his physical being, he has indeed passed away. I do not believe that there is a single honourable person, who, if they witnessed their father being reviled in person, would hesitate in the slightest to safeguard his honour, but would then remain silent and do nothing if they saw their father’s dead body being attacked.
Undoubtedly, just as one would defend their father whilst he was alive, in the same manner, if they are honourable, I am certain that they would be overcome with rage if they saw their father’s honour being attacked after his death. Although a corpse can be of no benefit to anyone, nonetheless, the feelings and sentiments attached to that person increase its value even more than when they were alive. The memories of a loved one carry such pain and such passion that one becomes ready to sacrifice everything in an instant. For example, one would be enraged if his father was beaten while he is alive, but if his father’s dead body had been beaten, and this became common knowledge, he would feel too ashamed to show his face in public.
The true ardent devotees of the Holy Prophet (sa) said to him in his lifetime, ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah, we will fight in front of you and behind you, we will fight to the left of you and we will fight to the right of you, and the enemy will have to trample over our dead bodies in order to reach you!’ Now, when the Holy Prophet (sa) is no longer here; now, when the enemy is attacking his honour and dignity from all four directions; now, when he is no longer in this world to defend himself, I cannot believe that a person who truly loves the Holy Prophet (sa) would hold back from saying these words with 100 or even 1,000 times more passion than this companion (ra) and say, ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah! Even though you are no longer among us, those who attempt to attack your honour and dignity will never be able to reach you. O Messenger (sa) of Allah! We will sacrifice our honour and dignity for your sake; we will fight in front of you and behind you, we will defend you from your left and from your right. O Messenger (sa) of Allah! Until the enemy has obliterated our status and reputation they will not be able to harm your honour and dignity.’
If this reply does not resonate from every one of our hearts and just like the companions (ra) in [the Battle of ] Hunain, if we do not respond to the call of the Holy Prophet (sa) with the utmost devotion, then I believe that such an individual does not have even an iota of faith.
During the Battle of Hunain, when the Muslim army became dispersed, the Holy Prophet (sa) said to Hazrat Abbas (ra), ‘O Abbas! Call out saying ‘O Ansar! O ye who took part in the Bai’at ar-Ridwan [the pledge the companions (ra) made with the Holy Prophet (sa) during the Treaty of Hudaibiyah]! The Messenger of God is summoning you!” The companions (ra) said that their situation when they heard this cry was that their horses had been galloping at full speed away from the battlefield. They tried to stop them but they would not come to a halt; they tried to turn their camels around but did so in vain. When they heard, ‘O Ansar! The Messenger (sa) of God summons you!’ the companions (ra) that could control their mounts used all their might to turn them around, and those who could not control them took out their swords and severed the heads of their camels and horses, and ran towards the Holy Prophet (sa) on foot, responding with the words:
لبّیك یا رسول الله! لبّیك
[‘We respond to your call O Messenger (sa) of Allah and we are at your service!’]. 
Until we emulate this conduct of the companions (ra) in responding to the call of the Holy Prophet (sa) during the Battle of Hunain, and until our souls become ingrained with this spirit in its entirety, and until this response resonates from deep within, ‘We respond to your call, O Messenger (sa) of Allah!’ we will not have demonstrated our faith in the slightest. It is incumbent upon us to respond by saying, ‘O Messengersa of Allah! We are ready to defend against these attacks with the same devotion and passion that was shown by the companions (ra), in fact, we will show even more passion and loyalty to you. O Messenger (sa) of Allah! May our dignity and honour be
sacrificed for your dignity and honour! Our honour will be sacrificed first; our dignity will be crushed first, and the enemy will not touch your dignity nor your honour until they have first trampled upon ours.’
Certainly, we do not raise swords to defend against these attacks, but when has the sword ever succeeded in convincing hearts? Muslims wielded the sword and lost Spain. Today, we will win over Spain once again with the Holy Qur’an and with God’s grace. Muslims lost rule over Spain in the following way: when Muslim rule of Spain had spanned many years, the Christians realised that there was no way of inciting the sentiments of the Christians against the Muslims. Thus, they planned together and came up with a scheme. They started sending groups of Christians to the Jami’ [Central] mosque. When the speaker would deliver his sermon, they would stand up and utter vile abuse against the character of the Holy Prophet (sa), the Holy Qur’an and Islam. At this, overzealous Muslims would kill them there and then. When the Christians saw that many of their fellow Christians had been killed in this manner, one after the other, they became enraged. They united together and drove the Muslims out of Spain. If only the Muslims had employed wisdom against this ploy of the Christians, if, instead of killing the Christians, they had mourned the fact that in their 800-year rule, they had failed to convert the residents of Spain to Islam. If only they thought to themselves that they spent their time constructing buildings, that they were busy building grand palaces, that they were occupied in maintaining their own honour, but they never attempted to establish the honour of the Holy Prophet (sa). Consequently, today the Christians were reviling the Holy Prophet (sa) to their faces. And then, instead of drawing their swords and killing them, the Muslims ought to have said to them, ‘Even though you utter profane language, it was the teaching of our beloved Master, the Holy Prophet (sa), to treat even enemies with kindness; thus, we will not retaliate.’ Had they acted in this manner, the entire plot of the Christians would have been reduced to dust and Islam in Spain would have been given a new lease of life. However, the arrogance of their power and authority led them to think that they would succeed through the might of the sword. Whereas this was a case of winning over hearts, and the sword can never be successful in winning the hearts of people.
Thus, in this day and age, when the opponents are attacking from all sides, the devotees of the Holy Prophet (sa) should step forward to defend him. Wherever necessary and whenever the fortress of Islam is under attack, one ought to leave aside the love for their nation, relations with kith and kin, sacrifice their own rank and honour and even forsake their own comforts and luxuries. Moreover, where one has an opportunity to launch an effective defence and rebuttal, they ought to sacrifice their lives and honour for the progress and grandeur of Islam.
As mentioned earlier, today is a test of our faith. The people who lived before us stepped forward and when it came to protecting the life of the Holy Prophet (sa), they did not hesitate even to sacrifice their own. They exclaimed, ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah! The enemy can never reach you until they trample over our dead bodies!’ Today, it is not a question of physically protecting the life of the Holy Prophet (sa), but rather of safeguarding his honour and dignity. Therefore, today, it is the duty of every true believer to rise up to this challenge of the opponents and say to them that despite their power and might, despite their glory, we do not consider them equal to even the wing of a mosquito. If they wish to attack the honour and dignity of the Holy Prophet (sa), they must first shred our honour and dignity. Anyone who does not have this sentiment in their hearts does not have perfect and complete faith. In fact, I would say such a person does not even have an elementary level of faith, because having even an iota of love would leave a person uneasy and restless.
Thus, I say to those missionaries who have gone or will now be going to preach: there is no doubt that you are the ones who have primarily been granted the opportunity to respond to the call of the Holy Prophet (sa), but remember that you are not alone. Rather, the heart of every true Ahmadi is with you, because every true Ahmadi believes that sacrificing their lives and becoming a martyr in this cause is the ultimate reward. The heart of every true Ahmadi yearns at the thought of those who have gone forth in this field, longing that ‘Alas! If only we too had been blessed with this opportunity!’
When Hazrat Khalid bin Walid (ra) was close to his demise, he was laying down on his bed and weeping. When one of his friends came to see him, he said, ‘O Khalid (ra)! This is no time to cry. You ought to rejoice for now is the time to receive the bounties of God Almighty.’ He thought that perhaps Hazrat Khalid (ra) was crying because he was afraid of death. Hazrat Khalid (ra) replied, ‘You have not understood why I am weeping. Lift the cloak from my chest.’ His friend lifted the cloak and then Hazrat Khalid (ra) said, ‘Tell me, is there anywhere on my chest without the scars of swords?’
His friend replied that there was no area on his chest that was not scarred. Hazrat Khalid (ra) then said to raise the
cloak from his back. His friend raised the cloak, and Hazrat Khalid (ra) asked him if there was anywhere on his back that was free of the scars from swords? His friend replied that there was no area that had not been scarred. Hazrat Khalid (ra) then asked him to raise the cloth around his legs to uncover them and see whether there was any place that had not been wounded. His friend removed the cloth one leg at a time, and saw that there was not a single inch of his legs that was not covered in scars. Having shown these scars, Hazrat Khalid (ra) then said, ‘wherever there was danger and wherever there was a chance to be martyred, I stepped into each battle without any fear, but I was still unable to achieve martyrdom. In contrast, many of my brothers took part in only a single battle and were blessed with the honour of martyrdom. However, despite the fact that I placed myself in the midst of danger, today I weep before you as I lay here to die on my bed.’ 
Owing to his love and devotion, Hazrat Khalid (ra) deemed it undesirable to die in his bed. However, anyone who is wise and who is close to God Almighty will realise that while other people were blessed with a single martyrdom, Hazrat Khalid (ra) received the blessings equivalent to scores of martyrdoms. It is not only the losing of one’s life by the sword that makes one deserving of reward; rather, it is the intense desire for martyrdom that makes one a martyr. Otherwise one could assume that while Hazrat Hamzah (ra) attained the rank of martyrdom, the Holy Prophet (sa) did not, but this is completely wrong. If Hazrat Hamzah (ra) was martyred once, the Holy Prophet (sa) was martyred hundreds of times over. When the companions (ra) were asked who was the bravest from among them, they said that they considered the person who stood next to the Holy Prophet (sa) in battle to be the bravest person. The reason for this was that the enemy concentrated all their efforts in attacking the Holy Prophet (sa) in order to kill him. Hence, to stand next to the Holy Prophet (sa) in battle was not an easy matter. The companions (ra) further stated that the person who was next to the Holy Prophet (sa) on most occcasions was Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra). Hence, the companions (ra) testified that the Holy Prophet (sa) was always in the most danger. If, despite the willingness of the Holy Prophet (sa) to become a martyr, the Hand of God Almighty saved him each time, no one can say that Muhammad (sa) did not attain the rank of a martyr. Muhammad (sa) attained thousands more blessings than that of a martyr because at every moment he was prepared to sacrifice his life. It was no fault of his that he was not physically martyred, rather, it was the will of God. God Almighty wished for His Messenger (sa) to remain alive and continue his mission to reform and teach people. Thus, the heart of every true Ahmadi who has been left behind also yearns to be granted a chance to serve in this way.
When Ni’matullah Khan Sahib  was martyred in Kabul I was in England at the time. When I received the news of his martyrdom, the following couplet instantly came to mind:
‘God is my witness that every particle of my body submits in request to Him,
Yearning to become a martyr in His cause.’
Thus, the heart of every believer is focused on the cause he [i.e., the missionary being sent abroad] is being sent for, and the sincere prayers of every believer are with him. The only difference is that God Almighty chose him first before others to render this service. We cannot say for certain whether this will be a blessing for him or a trial. Therefore, he ought to fear God Almighty greatly. He ought to go forth after much prayers and weeping, lest this blessing turns into a punishment because of a mistake or error on his part. When granted the opportunity to serve in the way of God Almighty, there are occasions when one has an opportunity to earn forgiveness
and become deserving of His reward, but then there are other times when one is seized and punished as a result of it.
I will now pray, please join me in silent prayer.
(Al-Fazl, 27th February 1945)
- This speech was delivered by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) on 16th June 1944, when the Mujahideen Tahrik-e-Jadid [which refers to those initial people who dedicated their lives for the service of their faith after the launch of the Tahrik-e-Jadid scheme] organised tea and refreshments in honour of Chaudhry Ihsan Ilahi Janjua, who was a missionary and had served in West Africa. [Publisher]
- Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Maghazi, Bab Qaul Allah Ta‘ala idh Tastaghithuna, Sirat Ibn-e-Hisham, Vol 2, pp. 12- 13, Published Egypt 1295 AH.
- Sirat Ibn Hisham, Vol 2, p. 85, Published Egypt 1295 AH.
- Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Jihad, Bab fi Ghazwat Hunain.
- The Holy Qur’an, 2:149.
- The Holy Qur’an, 2:151.
- Sirat Ibn Hisham, Vol 3, p. 10, Published Egypt 1295 AH.
- Al-Isti‘ab fi Ma’rifat al-Ashab, Vol. 2, p.14, Published Beirut, 1995 [Publisher].
- Ni’matullah Khan Sahib (ra) was a missionary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. In 1924, he was stoned to death in Afghanistan for being an Ahmadi under the orders of Amir Amanullah Khan, the King of Afghanistan. [Publisher]