80 Years Ago

20 80 YEARS AGO (Qazi Abdul Haque) [The following is an extract from the October issue of the Review of Religions, 1910] Since the dawn of the current century there has been no claimant to this office except Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. All ears are familiar with his blessed name in the continent of India. In my opinion this greatly cuts short our research. Had there been any other claimants, our task of investigation would have been very cumbersome. But now there is only one claimant It is all the easier to examine him in the light of the above facts. As to the need of the time, I need not go into details, our friend has himself a long yarn to spin in his paper about the civilization of today, and admits that the time calls for a reformer. • Again Ahmad of Qadian believes that all the great religions of the world were originally from God and it is through human interference that some objectionable element has found its way into the original matter. All the religions have lost much of their pristine purity merely because human hand has had the indiscretion to tamper with their original condition. He says: We, the Muhammadans, on our part never speak disrespectfully of the prophets of other people. On the other hand our belief is that all the other spiritual leaders of people who ever h’ved on this earth, who were accepted as true prophets by millions of men, who won the respect of a large portion of the human race, and who have been held inesteemfor a long period of time, were the true prophets of God, the above circumstances alone constituting a sufficient evidence of their truth with us. If they had not been sent by God, they would not have found acceptance with millions of men. God never grants to others the honour which He gives to His chosen ones. If an impostor sits in the seat of the elect of God, he is soon brought to naught. He looks upon the founders of all the great religions of the world as so many true prophets of God, and is, therefore, fully justified in claiming to have appeared in fulfilment of the universal prophecy to be met with in all revealed religions. His claim was by no means arbitrary. He was the recipient of divine revelation and he did not claim that exalted office until REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 21 he was appointed to it by God, and was further confirmed in the appointment many a time and oft in clear and vivid accents. He did full justice to his office. He rose equal to the demands of the time. He gave cogent arguments about the existence of God and showed to the world thousands of signs. To take one out of many, he was informed when he was quite alone and without any earthly resources, that his name would resound with glory all over the world, and men would flock to him from every nook and corner of the earth in large numbers. Years ago when this mighty prophecy passed current everywhere, and we saw with our own eyes the fulfilment of it to the very letter. During his very lifetime he won a world-wide fame and his name went abroad far and wide. Ere long he became the cynosure to which all receptine and tractable minds felt attracted. He had sometimes to shake hands with not less than one thousand men in a single day. Although he has departed this village, Qadian, is still receiving a constant influx of his followers every” day. In my opinion for every right-thinking man it is a sufficient proof of the truth of his misssion that he left the world successful. He won a following of upwards of four hundred thousand men who are scattered like seeds in all parts of the globe. He wrote about a hundred books which embrace a variety of subjects. Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya, his first work, contains a powerful refutation of all the objections that have been often brought forward by atheists against the existence of God, by Deists against the necessity of Divine revelation, and by Christians, Hindus and others against the truth of the Holy Prophet of Islam (may peace and the blessings of God be upon him), the Holy Quran, and the Holy religion of Islam. In the preface he binds himself to pay Rs.10,000 to any one who successfully rebuts even a portion of his arguments. But lol the arguments stand weighty like a firm rock, a good many adversaries have hurled daggers at them, but scarcely an atom has been scratched off the solid rock by the friction. It is not an empty vaunt. Let him who is still confident of his genius, try his hand at it and verify the truth of our words. He pointed out the errors that had crept into all the religions before his advent. As the incarnation of Krishna he warned the Hindus against the dangers of idolatry and the Arya Samajists against the evils of Niyoga and the co-eternity of matter and soul with God. As the Promised Messiah, he cautioned the Christians against the evil influence of Atonement. As Mahdi, he informed the Muhammadans of their long-standing error regarding the second advent of the son of Mary, their erroneous views about Jehad, their expectations of a bloody Mahdi and numerous other 22 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS errors. He brought the Jews to their senses by exposing their error in rejecting and matireating the son of Mary, a righteous servant of God. He did not rest satisfied with passive reasoning, he entered into discussions with the Christians and the Arya Samajists, and laid down such rules of controversy as none but the true religion could abide by. He emphasised, the necessity for a revealed scripture to offer proofs for its own truth and controvert all objections against it. He insisted upon the necessity for a true religion to be constantly revealing the face of God with heavenly signs. But it is the giddy head that thinks that the world is swimming round. Many self-seeking persons did not value this benefactor and fell upon him like so many ravenous wolves and strained every nerve to bring him to naught. They ascribed low motives to him and turned a deaf ear to his exhortations. He would have died in the slough of despondence, if God had not assured him of his ultimate success. He made superhuman efforts to proclaim the truth of the one great religion he came to establish. His call broke upon the ears of Christian Europe like a bolt from the blue and shook the Christian faith to the very foundation. Many a doctor of divinity has begun to question the tenability of Atonement in the realm of science and philosophy. The Encyclopaedea Biblica speaks volumes in support of the above fact. The new world heard his appeal with bated breath. The tantalising pretensions of Dr. Dowie had bamboozled not a few of the credulous Americans into accepting him as the forerunner of Christ. But the Promised Messiah dealt a decisive blow to his fate. The former invited him to a prayer duel in which the American doctor had to eat the humble pie. He lost his honour first and his life then into the bargain. He died a raving maniac, deserted by his followers, his son and even his wife. The American press perpetuated the victory of the Messiah by ringing in their columns a merry peal at the death of a false pretender. The crowning glory of his mission, however, lies in the fact that he has given the world to understand that practical ordinances and not theoretical maxims constitute real Islam; that prayer sincere and hearty is the key-note of all human advancement; that fear of God is the philosopher’s stone which can convert the baser metal of humanity into the pure gold of godliness; that self-sacrifice in the way of God is the golden key that can open all spiritual locks; and that perfect resignation to the will of God in prosperity and adversity, in affluence and poverty, and in health and sickness is a stepping-stone to the portal of paradise. As a result, hundreds of his followers enjoy personal communion with God REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 23 and partake of the enjoyment of heaven even in this very world. Mere words of mouth divorced from the practice of that real and high morality which is the quintessence of Islam can not put an end to the convulsions and heart-burnings under which man naturally smarts in his yearning to see God. Sheer reasoning widowed of the powerful light of revelation and heavenly signs is only a joy in the fool’s paradise. Perfect felicity and genuine peace of mind are unknown things when man is left groping in the darkness of uncertainty and stuck in the quag mire of ignorance. Yet this is the case with all other religions. Swami Daya Nand had nothing to say except some odds and ends and a few stray tit-bits about other religions than his own. He did not enjoy personal communion with God, and therefore felt under a necessity to explain away this deficiency by declaring holy Vedas the first and the last revelation. Fortunately for those who wish to attain to perfect satisfaction, the Promised Messiah has led the strayed humanity to the heaven of safety where they enjoy nearness to God. Thus it is above board that Swami Daya Nand, although a man of some worth in certain respects, was by no means eligible for the high office of the predicted redeemer. His weak points have already been detailed and need not be repeated. Besides that he does not put in his claim to that office. Our friend in the Vedic Magazine wishes to make him what he himself never pretended to be. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian is the only claimant before us, and in the absence of any other claimant, the case can fairly be allowed to drop exparte in his favour. But he fully strengthens his case with arguments, heavenly signs, prophecies, his pure life, perfect faith in God and what not. The natural corollary, then, is that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and none other, is the world redeemer whose advent was foretold by inspired personages in the days gone by. SIMPLE LIVING Beware of leading a life of luxury for verily the servants of God never live luxurious lives. (The Holy Prophet)