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Notes & Comments: The Message of Ahmadiyyat

4 The Review of Religions – March 2003 The Message of Ahmadiyyat The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded on 23rd March 1889 by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad ( a s ) o f Qadian India (1835-1908) who claimed that he had been commissioned by God Almighty as the Reformer of the Age. He said: ‘ P e rceiving the conditions p revailing in the pre s e n t times and finding the earth filled with various types of impiety like disobedience, sinfulness and straying away from the right path, God Almighty commis- sioned me for preaching the t ruth and re f o r m i n g mankind…’ ‘The thirteenth century Hijrah had ended and the fourteenth century was about to begin. So in ful- filment of the command of God, I started to announce among people thro u g h published notices and public speeches that the man who was to come at the beginning of this century for reviving the faith is myself. I have come to re- establish belief in God, a belief which is not completely extinct. I have come to draw mankind t o w a rds purity, righteous- ness and truthfulness and to remove their errors in their doctrine and practice. This work I will accomplish by the power and stre n g t h granted to me by God Almighty Himself.’ ‘When some years had elapsed on this campaign, God Almighty revealed it to me that I am both the Messiah and Mahdi who w e re to come in this Ummah (followers of the Holy Pro p h e t( s a )). The Mahdi was to appear at the time of the decadence of Islam and the prevalence of Notes & Comments 5The Review of Religions – March 2003 irreligion in the world. He was to receive guidance directly from God Almighty and to spread afresh the heavenly table before the people. Tidings about his coming had been given to the Holy Pro p h e t( s a ) 1 3 0 0 years ago.’ (Tadhkiratush Shahadatain) On 23rd March 1889 several companions undertook the covenant of Bai’at and pledged allegiance at the Pro m i s e d Messiah’s hands. The object of Bai’at was explained by him in his notice issued in 1891: ‘Let all of them know who have performed Bai’at on my hands and sincere l y e n t e red my fold that the object of Bai’at is to check one’s love of this world and to strengthen his love of the Merciful God and the Holy Prophet(sa) instead. Its pur- pose is to induce in the entrant a sense of belonging to God that the journey to the next world may not appear to him unpleasant. This attitude can be engen- dered by keeping company with the virtuous and seeking the attainment of spiritual truths. In this way, if God so desires, He may let the new entrant behold some big sign of His Majesty and Power and so remove his letharg y, laziness and indifference in the quest of God. Thus equipped with certainty of faith, he may step forward in his goal of realisation of God more fervently and vigorously.’ (Asmani Faisala) The Promised Messiah was also given the glad tidings that his message would spread to the corners of the world. Despite the best efforts of the opponents of Ahmadiyyat, whether individuals, groups or states, they have not been able to stop the message reaching out to all parts of the world. Ahmadis have been prevented from preaching their message. They have suff e red re l i g i o u s persecution. Yet they remained steadfast and persevered so much so that today the Notes and Comments Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the most dynamic community in the world. Its growth has been phenomenal, its message is potent and its achievements are unassailable. On 23rd February 2003, the Bishop of Bradford, UK, recalled that while travelling t h rough Pakistan, he had passed by a place called Rabwah and was told about Ahmadis and the persecution that this minority gro u p e n d u red. He observed that everyone has been a minority at some stage in life and he u rged communities that subsequently become majori- ties not to forget their insignificant status when they were a minority. Well, it can be said with confidence about the Ahmadis so far that their growth has not filled them with arrogance or pride but humility and utter gratitude to the Almighty God. They are glad that their expansion has been for the mutual benefit of mankind. They are happier that the message conveyed to them by the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has drawn them nearer to God and that they are not blinded by material pursuits. They are pleased to s h a re this message with their fellow human beings and hope that someone somewhere would listen to them. Mansoor Shah 6 Notes and Comments The Review of Religions – March 2003 In response to a number of readers asking us about the history of the Review of Religions in Urdu, Maulana Dost Muhammad Shahid Sahib has clarified that till 1913, Maulvi Muhammad Ali served as its editor. Later editors were: Hadhrat Maulvi Sher Ali Sahib, Hadhrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad, Hadhrat Maulvi Muhammad Din Sahib, Hadhrat Qadhi Muhammad Zahuruddin Akmal, Nazir Ahmad from Africa, Nuruddin Sahib BA, Hadhrat Bhai Abdul Rahman Sahib Qadiani, Maulvi Ali Muhammad Sahib Ajmeri, Malik Muhammad Abdullah Sahib, Malik Ghulam Farid Sahib, Sufi Abdul Qadeer Sahib Niaz, Ch. Ali Muhammad Sahib BA BT, Rahmatullah Khan Shakir. The Urdu edition ceased in September 1947. Review of Religions inUrdu (Historical note)