Assessment of Belief (part IV)

[Translator’s Note: All references to the verses of the Holy Qur’an are given in Arabic as they occur in the text. The English translation, presented in Italics is taken from the translation of the Holy Q u r’an by Hadhrat Maulvi Sher Ali Sahib(ra). Where the Promised Messiah(as) has himself stated a certain inter- pretation of the Arabic verse, this is incorporated in the main body of the text]. Translated by Amatul Hadi Ahmad (Continuation of address given on 31 August 1901 by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah(as) and Mahdi) Without doubt, falsification of God becomes a necessary consequence of rejection of me and my acceptance indicates acceptance of God’s Truth and leads to a firm and consolidated belief in the existence of Almighty God. Moreover, rejec- tion of my claim is not merely a falsification of me, it is a falsification of the Holy Prophet 17Review of Religions – March 2002 Presented below is a translation of the address delivered by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah(as) and Mahdi, on 31 August 1901 on the occasion of the visit to Qadian of the Municipal Commissioner of Vizirabad, Janab Babu Ghulam Mustafa Sahib. For the purpose of translation, the original Urdu script of this address has been taken from Malfoozat, vol. 4, pp.15-20. The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. In 1891, he claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Assessment of Belief – Part IV M u h a m m a d( s a ). Hence, before someone now dares to falsify me, he should think deeply and ask for a fatwa from his own heart as to whom exactly is he falsifying. [The question here arises as to] how it is that the falsification of the Holy Prophet(sa) is implicit [in falsification of my claim]? It is so in view of the fact that the Holy Pr o p h e t( s a ) prophesied the appearance of a Reformer at the head of every century and [rejection of me as the Reformer of the present century] implies that, God forbid, his promise was not fulfilled. Furthermore, the statement of the Holy Prophet(sa) Imamukum minkum, that is, ‘your Imam [Mahdi] would be from among you [the Muslims]’ would also, God forbid, appear to be incorrect. In addition, the prophecy of a Messiah and Mahdi who would appear at the time of the threat posed by the Cross, would also, God forbid, appear to be false because the threat is present but the Imam is not. Does it not then follow that a person who chooses not to accept me [as the Reformer of this age] becomes in practice a falsifier of the Holy Prophet(sa) himself? I, therefore, say it again and state it clearly that falsification of my claim is no easy matter. Before accusing me of being a Kafir [an infidel] such an accuser would have to become a Kafir himself and before accusing me of being faithless and misguided, he would have to acknowledge himself as being misguided and disgraced. Before anyone can accuse me of having abandoned the Qur’an and the Hadith, they would themselves have to abandon the Qur’an and the Hadith—and such people would certainly have to abandon the Qur’an and the Hadith. I am the one who is the Verifier and Proof for the Qur’an and the Hadith—I am not misguided. I am the one 18 Assessment of Belief – Part IV Review of Religions – March 2002 IT IS MY FIRM BELIEF THAT IF A PERSON TURNS TO GOD FOR THE MANIFESTATION OF TRUTH, HAVING PURIFIED HIMSELF OF ALL PREJUDICE AND STUBBORNNESS, FORTY DAYS WOULD NOT PASS BEFORE THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS MADE CLEAR TO HIM. HOWEVER, THERE ARE VERY FEW INDEED WHO SEEK A JUDGEMENT FROM GOD HAVING FULFILLED THESE CONDITIONS AND DUE TO THEIR STUBBORNNESS AND PREJUDICE THEY REJECT A MAN OF GOD, THUS NEGATING THEIR OWN FAITH. who is the Mahdi [that is, one who has been divinely guided]. I am not Kafir—in fact, I am the actual proof of Ana awwal-ul Mo’mineen, that is, I am first among the believers. I state only that which God has made manifest to me as the truth. He who holds a firm belief in God and believes His Pr o p h e t [Muhammad](sa) to be true, for such a one it is sufficient as a complete argument based on the truth that he should hear what I have to say, and hearing it remain silent. However, what cure can there be for him who is without any sense of honour or shame and dares to speak [against me]? God will attend to him and his understanding. That is why I wish that you should ponder carefully over this matter for the sake of God and advise your friends to do the same that they should not deal with this matter in haste. They should consider it with sincerity and with a clear mind. You should turn to God and pray for His guidance in this matter that He should make the way of truth abundantly clear. It is my firm belief that if a person turns to God for the manifestation of truth, having purified himself of all prejudice and stubbornness, forty days would not pass before the truth of the matter is made clear to him. However, there are very few indeed who seek a judgement from God having fulfilled these conditions and due to their stubbornness and prejudice they reject a man of God, thus negating their own faith. This is so because when there is no belief in the fact that there are men who are close to God, who are referred to as Wali, then their belief in Prophethood is also negated because a Wali [provides a firm link to Prophethood and as such] acts like a ‘nail’ to the [concept of] Prophethood and, consequently, rejection of a Prophet is a rejection of God and in this way the faith of a person is totally negated. At this time it is necessary that serious consideration is given to the question as to whether the threat posed by the Cross is such that it represents the prophecy contained in the Qur’anic verse: They shall hasten forth from every height. (Ch.21: v.97) 19 Assessment of Belief – Part IV Review of Religions – March 2002 The challenge posed by the Cross is that it is leading astray thousands of people with the help of different forms and methods it has adopted for publicising its message. Now is the time to provide an answer to the question as to what title has been given by the Holy Pr o p h e t( s a ) to the Reformer who would meet this challenge? The influence and strength of the ‘cross’ is ever increasing and its bases are being established all around. Its Missions are being formed and being established in far off lands and it is spread wide to the corners of the earth. Hence, even if there were no other proof, we would have had to acknowledge that at this time there is a grave need for a Reformer who would put out the fire of this tribulation. However, we are eternally grateful to our God that he has not limited the commission that I have been entrusted with merely to the observed needs of the time. For the manifestation of the high esteem and noble status of the Holy Pr o p h e t( s a ), God had previously vouchsafed many prophecies for this time from which it is clearly deduced that the one who is to come will have the title of Masih-e-Ma’oud, that is, the title of the ‘Promised Messiah’, bestowed upon him and the task he would be entrusted with would be Kasr-e-Saleeb, that is ‘to break the Cross’, [in other words to defeat the challenge posed by the Cross]. C o n s e q u e n t l y, every [Muslim] person who possesses a good and wholesome nature would have to accept here that there is no way out of this argument except to affirm that a divinely guided person should appear and his task should be that of Kasr-e-Saleeb. H o w e v e r, the matter that requires further attention here is to consider the use of the phrase K a s r- e – S a l e e b—what exactly is meant by this phrase, [which, in a literal translation, means ‘breaking of the Cross’]? When it is stated that the task entrusted to the Promised Messiah would be ‘the breaking of the Cross’, does it mean that he will break a wooden cross and moreover what will be the purpose or benefit of such an act? It is evident that if [the Promised Messiah] were to go about breaking up wooden crosses, he would be undertaking a task that is not of any great esteem nor can there be any apparent benefit in it. If he did break wooden crosses, the Christians could make crosses of gold, silver and other metals. Moreover, [in history, it has been 20 Assessment of Belief – Part IV Review of Religions – March 2002 the case that when some Christian people accepted Islam, their crosses were broken and leaders such as] Hadhrat Abu B a k r, Salahuddin and Bayazid broke many such crosses. Did they, as a result, become the Promised Messiah? No, they most certainly did not! Hence, we now know that by the term Kasr-e-Saleeb is not meant the wooden cross that some Christians wear round their necks and these are not the crosses that the Promised Messiah is to go around breaking. On the contrary, there is a very deep truth contained in this phrase and that truth is supported by the words of a Hadith in which the phrase Yaza-ul-Harb, meaning ‘he would lift war or end war’ has been used. Here, the point that needs to be carefully considered is that on the one hand the task of the Promised Messiah is to bring an end to war such that fighting in the name of religion would be considered impermissible while it is also clear that the time of the Promised Messiah would be a time of peace when there would be rule of a just government. The latter fact in itself supports the point that fighting at that time would be considered impermis- sible. Consider now the two aspects [of the prophecies already vouchsafed] that there would be no wars and breaking of the cross would be the task of the Promised Messiah. A careful consideration of these points would reveal the truth of my argument that by ‘breaking of the cross’ is not meant the physical destruction of the wooden or metallic crosses of the Christians. On the contrary, the use of the term [K a s r- e – S a l e e b] points to another truth that has been taught by me. I have openly proclaimed that jihad, that is, fighting for religion, is no longer permissible—it is not permissible because one of the tasks of the Promised Messiah is to end war. If breaking of the cross is the task of the Promised Messiah so is ending of war. In view of the task of ending war, it was necessary that I, [as the Promised Messiah] should issue the fatwa o f religious war now being imper- missible. Hence, I state that at the present time raising the sword or any other weapon of war in the name of religion is impermissible and is a grave sin. I feel deep regret when I hear of incidents taking place almost every day in the region of the Frontier which are nothing but acts undertaken for financial gain 21 Assessment of Belief – Part IV Review of Religions – March 2002 but in so doing they not only disgrace the name of Islam, they also interfere in the peace of the land. A true Muslim should not have any sympathy for such unruly and unprincipled people. In view of the above, what then is to be the meaning of the term Ya k s a r- a s – S a l e e b, that is, ‘he would break the cross’? The answer to this should be paid very careful attention. The time of appearance of the Pr o m i s e d Messiah was to be the time of widespread power of the Cross and he was to be appointed to break the [power of the] Cross. The meaning is very clear—that the purpose of the appearance of the Promised Messiah was to be the total falsification of the religion of the Christians [who worshipped the Cross instead of the one true God]. The Promised Messiah was to bring wisdom, supported and strengthened by divine signs, such that the truth and logic of his argument would be complete, leaving no room for doubt. He would thus prove the worship of the Cross to be a falsehood in such a manner that it would become evident to the world and thousands upon thousands of souls would acknowledge that in reality the Christian religion is not a religion that can become the source of mercy for human beings. This is the reason for all my attention being focused on the ‘Cross’ and is there any doubt still remaining in the defeat of the ‘Cross’? The issue of the death of the Messiah alone has ‘broken the Cross’ into smithereens because when it has been proved that the Messiah did not even die on the Cross and that he died a natural death in Kashmir, having journeyed to that land, then some wise person should tell us what remains of the Cross after this! If prejudice and stubbornness has not totally darkened the heart of a person and rendered his mind unable to discern, then even a Christian would have to admit that with this issue the whole of the Christian religion becomes totally untenable. In short, [from the previous prophecies] this much is very clear that God was to appoint the Promised Messiah at a time when the Cross would have supreme power which means that the challenge posed by the religion of the Cross would be at its height. For the spread of this religion, there would be employed all 22 Assessment of Belief – Part IV Review of Religions – March 2002 forms and methods of publicising their teachings. There would be spread in the world the zulm [injustice], a word that also has the meaning of ‘darkness’, that would be spread through shirk, that is worship of things other than God the Almighty. At such a time, God was to appoint a person whose task would be to purify the world of such darkness and to save it from the acts of worship of the dead and worship of the Cross. Such acts have the consequence of distancing man from God—it is in this sense that the Promised Messiah was to ‘break the Cross’ The two tasks of the Promised Messiah may appear to be contradictory in that he is to end war as well as ‘to break the Cross’ when ‘breaking of the Cross’ would in itself require war. However, such a contradiction is present only for shallow minded people who have clearly not understood the purpose of the appointment of the Pr o m i s e d Messiah. The term Yaza-ul-harb in itself reveals the true nature of the term Kasr-e-Saleeb that it cannot imply the breaking up of crosses made of wood or other materials—it refers to the defeat of the people of the Cross. Moreover, this defeat is to be a clear and evident defeat through clear argument based on truth as God has stated in the Holy Qur’an: So that he who had already perished through a clear sign may perish. (Ch.8: v.3) In any case, our opponents are given to making great exagger- ations on this issue. If they were to consider this matter with a cool head and with a firm belief that they would one day face God, they most certainly would have followed me, realising that the head of the century was upon them. Nineteen years have now passed since the start of the fourteenth century [of the Islamic calendar]—and it is essential that a Reformer of this century should appear. otherwise [God forbid] the Holy Prophet(sa) would appear to be falsified [as it was he who had prophesied the appearance of a Reformer at the head of every century]. 23 Assessment of Belief – Part IV Review of Religions – March 2002