Freedom of Religions

Introduction from ‘Jesus in India’

4 The Review of Religions – December 2004 In The Name Of Allah, The Beneficent, The M e rciful We Praise Him And Invoke His Blessings Upon His Noble Pro p h e t Lord! Judge between us and our people with truth; Thou art the best of judges Introduction I have written this book, so that, by adducing proofs from established facts, from conclusive historical evidence of proved value and from ancient documents of non-Muslims, I might remove the serious mis- conceptions which are current among Muslims and among most Christian sects regarding the earlier and the later life of J e s u s( a s ) – misconceptions, the dangerous implications of which have not only injured and destroyed the conception of Divine Unity, but the unwholesome and poisonous influence of which has for long been noticed in the morals of the Muslims of this country. Spiritual maladies, i.e., want of good morals, evil thoughts, callousness, want of sympathy, are spreading among most Islamic sects, being the result of beliefs in unfounded stories and anecdotes of this kind. Human s y m p a t h y, pity and love of justice, humility and humble- mindedness – all good qualities – are disappearing day by day, as if they will soon bid a last farewell to this community. This callous- ness and this immorality make many a Muslim appear no better than the beasts of the jungle. A Jain or a Buddhist is afraid of and avoids killing even a mosquito or a flea, but, alas! there are many Introduction from Jesus in India Below is the ‘Introduction’ from the book Jesus in India by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The theme of the book deals with the escape of Jesus(as) from death on the cross, and his journey to India in search of the lost tribes of Israel. Christian as well as Muslim scriptures and old medical and historical books including ancient Buddhist records, provide evidence about this journey. 5The Review of Religions – December 2004 among us Muslims who, while they kill an innocent man or commit wanton murder, are not afraid of the powerful God, who rates human life higher than that of all the animals. What is this callousness and cruelty and want of sympathy due to? It is due to this – that from their very childhood, stories and anecdotes and wrong views of the doctrine of Jihad are dinned into their ears and inculcated into their hearts, the result being that gradually they become morally dead and cease to feel the heinousness of their hateful actions; nay, rather, the man who murders another man unawares and thus brings ruin to the murdered man’s family thinks that he has done a meritorious deed; or rather, that he has made the most of an opportunity to win favour with his community. As no lectures or sermons are delivered in our country to stop such evils – and if there are any such lectures they have an element of hypocrisy in them – the common people think approvingly of such misdeeds. A c c o r d i n g l y, taking pity upon my own people, I have compiled several books in Urdu, Persian and Arabic, in which I have stated that the popular view of Jihad prevalent among Muslims, that is, the expectation of a bloody Imam, full of spite and Introduction from Jesus in India The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as). In 1891, he claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. 6 The Review of Religions – December 2004 Introduction from Jesus in India hostility for other people, is a texture of false beliefs inculcated by shortsighted Ulema; other- wise, Islam does not allow the use of the sword for the Faith; except in the case of d e f e n s i v e wars, or in the case of wars waged to punish a tyrant or to uphold freedom. The need of a defensive war arises when the aggression of an adversary threatens one’s own life. These are the three kinds of Jihad permitted by the Shariah, and, apart from these three kinds, there is no other kind of war which is permitted by Islam for the propagation of the Faith. I have, in short, spent a large sum of money on such books, and have published them in this country and in Arabia and Syria and Khurasan, etc. But, by the grace of God, I have now discovered powerful arg u m e n t s which are meant to eradicate these unfounded beliefs from the hearts of the people. I have clear proofs, circumstantial evidence of a conclusive character, and historical evidence the light of whose truth holds out the promise that soon after their publication there will be brought about against such beliefs a wonderful change in the hearts of the Muslims. And I hope – I am sure – that after these truths have been comprehended, there will flow out of the hearts of the righteous sons of Islam the sweet and beautiful springs of lowliness, humility and mercy, and that there will come about a spiritual change which will have a wholesome and a blessed influence on the country. I am also sure that Christian investi- gators and all other people who hanker after the truth and thirst for it, will benefit from my books. And the fact just now stated by me, that the real object of this book is to correct the wrong beliefs which have become part and parcel of the creeds of Muslims and Christians, requires a little explanation which I set out b e l o w. Let it be known that most Muslims and Christians believe that Jesus(as) went alive to the heavens; both these people have believed for a long time that J e s u s( a s ) is still alive in the heavens, and will sometime in 7The Review of Religions – December 2004 Introduction from Jesus in India the latter days come down to the earth. The difference in their views, i.e. the view of the followers of Islam and that of the Christians, is only this, that the Christians believe that Jesus( a s ) died on the Cross, was resurrected, and went to the heavens in his earthly body, seated himself on the right hand of his Father, and will come to the earth in the latter days for judgment; they also say that the Creator and the Master of the world is this Jesus the Messiah and no one else; he it is who, in the latter days of the world, will descend to the earth with a glorious descent to award punishment and reward; then, all who will not believe in him or his mother as God, will be hauled up and thrown into hell, where weeping and wailing will be their lot. But the aforesaid sects of Muslims say that Jesus(as) was not crucified, nor did he die on the Cross; on the other hand, when the Jews arrested him in order to crucify him, an angel of God took him away to the heavens in his earthly body, and he is still alive in the heavens – which, they say, is the second heaven where is also the prophet Yahya, i.e. John. Muslims, moreover, also say that Jesus(as) is an eminent prophet of God, but not God, nor the son of God, and, they believe that he will in the latter days descend to the earth, near the Minaret of Damascus or near some other place, supported on the shoulders of two angels, and that he and Imam Muhammad, the Mahdi, who will be already in the world, and who will be a Fatimite, will kill all the non- Muslims, not leaving anyone alive except those who will forthwith and without any delay become Muslims. In short, the real object of the descent of Jesus(as) to the earth, as stated by Muslim sects known as Ahl-i- Sunnat or Ahl-i-Hadith called Wahabis by the common people – is that, like the Mahadev of the Hindus, he should destroy the whole world; that he should first threaten the people to become Muslims and then, if they persist in disbelief, massacre them all with the sword; they, moreover, 8 The Review of Religions – December 2004 Introduction from Jesus in India say that he is alive in the heavens in his earthly body, so that, when Muslim powers become weak, he will come down and kill the non- Muslims or coerce them on pain of death to become Muslims. Regarding the Christians espe- cially, the divines of the aforesaid sects, state that when Jesus( a s ) comes down from the heavens he will break all the Crosses in the world, do many a cruel deed with the sword, and inundate the world with blood. And, just as I have stated, these people, i.e. the Ahl-i-Hadith etc. from among the Muslims, are enthusiastic about their belief that a short time before the coming down of the Messiah there will appear an Imam from the Bani Fatima whose name will be Muhammad, the Mahdi. He it is who will be Khalifa and King of the time, and as he will belong to the Koraish, his real object will be to kill all non-Muslims except those who readily recite the Kalima. Jesus(as) will come down in order to help him in his work; and although Jesus(as) himself will be a Mahdi – n a y, a greater Mahdi – yet, because it is essential that the Khalifa of the time should be a Koraish, Jesus(as) will not be the Khalifa of the time; the Khalifa of the time will be that same Muhammad, the Mahdi. Muslims say that these two together will f i ll the earth with the blood of man, and they will shed more blood than has ever been shed before in the history of the world. No sooner will they appear than they will start this bloody campaign; they will neither preach nor plead, nor show any sign. And they also say that although Jesus(as) will be like an adviser or a lieutenant of Imam Muhammad, the Mahdi, and although the reins of power will be in the hands of the Mahdi o n l y, Jesus ( a s ) will instigate Hadhrat Imam Muhammad, the Mahdi, to massacre the whole world and will advise him to adopt extreme measures, i.e. he will make amends for the humane teaching which he had given to the world before, namely, ‘not to resist evil,’ and, being struck on one cheek, ‘to turn the other cheek also.’ This is what Muslims and 9The Review of Religions – December 2004 Introduction from Jesus in India Christians believe regarding Jesus(as), and while it is a great error to call him, as the Christians do – a humble man – God, the beliefs of some of the followers of Islam, among whom is the sect called Ahl-i-Hadith also known as Wa h a b i s , regarding a bloody Mahdi and a bloody Messiah, are aff e c t i n g their morals very badly, so much so, that on account of their bad influence their dealings with other people are not based on honesty and goodwill, nor can they be truly and completely loyal to a non-Muslim Government. All reasonable men will realise that such a belief, namely, that non- Muslims should be subjected to coercion, that they should either forthwith become Muslims or be put to death, is open to the most serious objections. Every con- scientious person will readily admit that before a man adequately realises the truth of a Faith, and before he has comprehended its beauties and its wholesome teachings, it is extremely undesirable to coerce him, on pain of death, to adopt that Faith. Far from contributing to the growth of that Faith, this would furnish the opponents with an opportunity to find fault with it. The ultimate result of a principle like this is that hearts become devoid of the quality of human sympathy and that mercy and justice, which are great human moral qualities, take leave of men, and instead, spitefulness and enmity tend to grow; there remain behind only the animal passions, wiping out all high moral qualities. But it would be noticed that such a teaching could not have proceeded from God, Who sends His punishment only after He has completed His argument. Let this therefore be pondered over: that if there is a man who does not accept the true Faith because he is yet ignorant and unaware of its truth, of its teachings and its beauties, would it be reasonable to kill such a man forthwith? Nay, this man deserves pity; he deserves to be instructed gently and politely in the truth, beauty and the spiritual benefit of that faith; not that his denial should be met by the 10 The Review of Religions – December 2004 Introduction from Jesus in India sword or the gun. So, the doctrine of Jihad proposed by these sects of Islam, as well as the belief that the time is near when there will arise a bloody Mahdi whose name would be Imam Muhammad, that the Messiah will come down from the heavens for his help, and that both together will kill all non- Muslim people if they deny Islam, is utterly opposed to our moral sense. Is not this the belief which puts out of action all good human qualities and morals, and encourages the qualities of life in the jungle? Those who hold such beliefs live a life of hypocrisy in relation to others, so much so that they cannot give true loyalty to state authorities of another Faith; they dishonestly profess to give allegiance to them, which is wrong. That is why some of the Ahl-i-Hadith sects mentioned by me just now are living a double life under the British Government in British India. In secret, they hold out hopes to the common people of the coming of bloody days of a bloody Mahdi and a bloody Messiah, and instruct them accordingly, but when they go to the authorities they flatter them and assure them that they do not approve of such ideas. If, however, they are really opposed to such ideas, why do they not propagate this in writing, and why should they await the coming of that bloody Mahdi and the Messiah standing as it were at the doorsteps, ready to join them in their campaign? Such beliefs, in short, have very much demoralised these Maulvis: they are incapable of teaching people decency and peace. On the other hand, killing others without rhyme or reason is a great religious duty with them. I would be glad if any sect of the Ahl-i-Hadith is opposed to these beliefs, but I cannot help observing with regret that among the sects of the Ahl-i-Hadith 1 there are those who in secret believe in a bloody Mahdi and in the popular notions of Jihad. They are opposed to correct notions, and they think it an act of great merit to kill when they have the opportunity to kill all the people professing other faiths, whereas the beliefs in 11The Review of Religions – December 2004 Introduction from Jesus in India killing others in the name of Islam, or believing in prophecies like the prophecy of a Bloody Messiah and wishing to advance the cause of Islam by bloodshed or by threats, are absolutely against the Holy Qur’an and the reliable Hadith. Our Holy Prophet( s a ) s u ff e r e d great persecution at the hands of the Kafirs at Makkah and thereafter. The thirteen years which he spent at Makkah were years of great affliction and suffering of many kinds – a thought of them brings tears to one’s eyes. But he did not raise the sword against his enemies, nor did he reply to their abuse, until many of his Companions and dear friends were mercilessly mur- dered; and until he himself was subjected to sufferings of various kinds, such as being poisoned many a time; and until many an unsuccessful plan to murder him had been laid. When, however, G o d ’s vengeance came, it so happened that the elders of Makkah and the chiefs of the tribes unanimously decided that this man should in any case be put to death. At that time, God, JESUS IN INDIA: ISBN: 1 85372 196 4 Pbk (Published by Islam International Publications Ltd) who is the Supporter of His loved o n es and of the truthful and righteous, informed him that there was now nothing left in that town except evil, that the townspeople were bent upon murdering him and that he should therefore quit it at once. Then it was that, in accordance with the divine command, he migrated to Madinah, but even then his enemies did not leave him alone; they pursued him there, and tried to destroy Islam in all possible ways. When their excesses went to an extreme, and when they had rendered themselves deserving of pun- ishment by the murder of many an innocent person, permission to fight with them in self- defence, to fight with a view to warding off their attack, was given. And those people and their helpers had rendered themselves deserving of such treatment because of their having killed many an innocent person whom they had murdered not in any fight or battle but simply out of wanton mischief and whom they had robbed of their property. But, in spite of all this, when Makkah was taken, our Holy Prophet( s a ) p a r d o n e d them all. It is, therefore, utterly wrong and unjust to suppose that the Holy Prophet( s a ) or his Companions ever fought for spreading the Faith, or that they ever coerced anyone to join the fold of Islam. It is worth noting also that, as at that time all the people were prejudiced against Islam, and as the opposing people were scheming to destroy Islam, which they thought was a new religion and the followers of which were only a small c o m m u n i t y, and as everyone was anxious to see the Muslims destroyed early or disrupted so as not to leave any chance of their further growth and development, the Muslims at that time were obstructed in the smallest matters, and anyone from any tribe who accepted Islam and became a Muslim was either killed at once by his tribe or lived in perpetual danger. At a time like this, God Almighty, taking pity on Muslim converts, had imposed on the bigoted 12 Introduction from Jesus in India The Review of Religions – December 2004 rulers a penalty, namely, that they should become subservient to Islam, and thus open the door of freedom for Islam. This was meant to remove the obstructions in the way of those who wished to accept the Faith; it was God’s compassion for the world, and it harmed no one. It is evident, however, that non- Muslim rulers of today do not interfere with Islam; they do not ban the essential Islamic p r a c t i c e s . They do not kill new Muslims, they do not put them into prison or torture them; why then should Islam raise its sword against them? It is obvious that Islam has never advocated compulsion: if the Holy Qur’an, the books of Hadith and historical records are carefully examined and, as far as possible, studied or listened to thought- f u l l y, it will be realised with certainty that the charge that Islam wielded the sword to propagate the Faith with force is an utterly unfounded and shame- ful charge against Islam. Such a charge against Islam is made by people who have not read the Q u r’an, the Hadith and the reliable histories of Islam in a spirit of detachment, but have made free use of falsehood and have brought wrong charg e s against it. I know, however, that the time is near when those who are hungry and thirsty for Truth will be enlightened as to what reality there is in these charges. Can we ever describe that Faith as a faith of compulsion, when the Holy Book, the Qur’ a n , clearly directs that there is no compulsion in religion, that it is not permissible to use com- pulsion in religion, that it is not permissible to use compulsion or force in getting anyone to join Islam? Can we accuse that great Prophet of using force against others, who, day and night for thirteen years, exhorted all his Companions in Makkah not to return evil for the evil of the e n e m y, but to forbear and f o rgive? When, however, the mischief of the enemy went to extremes and when everybody started exerting himself for wiping out Islam, the Jealous God thought it fit that the people who had wielded the sword should be annihilated by the 13 Introduction from Jesus in India The Review of Religions – December 2004 sword. Except for this the Holy Q u r’ an has not approved of compulsion. If compulsion had been approved of by Islam, the Companions of our Holy P r o p h e t( s a ), in moments of trial, would not have behaved like people of sincere and genuine faith. Yet, the loyalty and faithfulness of the Companions of our Master, the Holy P r o p h e t( s a ), is a matter which I hardly need to mention. It is no secret that among them are examples of loyalty and steadfastness the parallel of which it is difficult to find in the annals of other nations; this band of the faithful did not waver in their loyalty and steadfastness even under the shadow of the sword. On the other hand, in the company of their Great and Holy P r o p h e t( s a ), they gave proof of that steadfastness which no man is ever able to give unless his heart and his bosom are lit up with the light of true faith. There is, in short, no compulsion in Islam. Wars in Islam fall under three categories: (1) defensive wars, i.e. war by way of self-protection; (2) punitive wars, i.e. blood for blood; (3) war to secure freedom, i.e. with a view to break the power of those who kill those who accept Islam. Therefore, when there is no direction in Islam that anyone should be made to join it by compulsion or by the threat to kill, it is absolutely absurd to await the appearance of any bloody Mahdi or a bloody Messiah. It can never be that there should appear in this world, against the Qur’anic teachings, a man who would use the sword to make people Muslims. This is not at all so very difficult to realise or above one’s understanding. Only foolish people have been led to this belief by their selfishness. For most of our Maulvis labour under the misconception that the wars waged by the Mahdi will bring a large amount of wealth to them, so much so, that they will be unable to hold it, and, as most of the Maulvis today are very p o o r, they await day and night the appearance of a Mahdi, who, they think, will provide for their selfish desires. 14 Introduction from Jesus in India The Review of Religions – December 2004 Therefore, these people turn against him who does not believe in the appearance of such a Mahdi; such a one is at once declared a Kafir, and outside the pale of Islam. I too, therefore, am a Kafir in the eyes of these people; and on these very grounds. For I do not believe in the appearance of a bloody Mahdi and a bloody Messiah. Nay, I hate such absurd ideas and regard them with contempt. And I have been declared a Kafir, not only because of my denial of the appearance of this supposed Mahdi and this supposed Messiah in whom they believe, but also because I have publicly announced, having been informed of it by God through revelation, that the real and true Promised Messiah who is also the real Mahdi, tidings of whose appearance are to be found in the Bible and the Qur’an and whose coming is promised also in the Hadith, is myself; who is, h o w e v e r, not provided with any sword or gun. I have been commanded by God to invite people with humility and gentleness to God, Who is the true God, Eternal and Unchangeable, Who has perfect Holiness, perfect Knowledge, perfect Mercy, and perfect Justice. I am the light of this dark age; he who follows me will be saved from falling into the pit prepared by the Devil for those who walk in darkness. I have been sent by God to lead the people of the world to the true God through peace and humility, and to reassert the reign of morals in Islam. God has provided me with heavenly signs, for the satisfaction of seekers after truth. He has done wonderful things in my support; He has disclosed to me secrets of the unseen and of the future which, according to the holy books, is the sign of a true claimant to divine office, and He has vouchsafed to me holy and pure Knowledge. Therefore, the souls which hate truth and are pleased with darkness, have turned against me. But I have decided to be sympathetic towards mankind – as far as I can. So, in this age the greatest sympathy for the 15 Introduction from Jesus in India The Review of Religions – December 2004 Christians is that their attention should be called to the true God, Who is free from such defects as being born and having to suffer death and undergo suffering, the God who made the earliest heavenly bodies spherical in shape and, in His law of nature, set down this point of spiritual guidance that, like a sphere, there is in Him Unity and absence of direction. That is why the things which occupy space have not been made triangular, i.e., the things which God created first such as the earth, the heaven, the sun and the moon, and all the stars, and elements – all are spherical, the spherical nature of which points towards Unity. Therefore there can be no greater sympathy with the Christians than that they should be guided towards the God Whose creations declare Him to be free from the idea of trinity. The greatest sympathy towards Muslims is that they should be reformed morally and that an effort should be made to dispel the false hopes which they entertain in connection with the appearance of a bloody Mahdi and Messiah, which are entirely against the Islamic teachings. I have just now stated that the ideas of some of the Ulema of the day that there will appear a bloody Mahdi who will spread Islam at the point of the sword, are all opposed to the Qur’anic teachings and are the result of greed and selfishness. For a right-minded and truth-loving Muslim to forsake such beliefs or ideas, it should be enough to study carefully the Qur’an, and to pause, consider and see that the Holy Word of God is quite against holding out a threat of murder to force anyone into the fold of Islam. This one argument, in short, is sufficient to refute these false ideas. Nevertheless, out of a feeling of sympathy, I have decided to refute the aforesaid ideas by positive and clear proofs from history, etc. Hence, I shall try to prove in this book that Jesus(as) did not die on the Cross: he did not go up to heaven, nor should it be supposed that he will ever again come down from heaven to earth; that, rather, he died at the age of 16 Introduction from Jesus in India The Review of Religions – December 2004 120 years at Srinagar, in Kashmir, and that his tomb is to be found in the Khan Yar Street of that town. I hope readers of this book will read it diligently. I expect them not to throw away out of prejudice the truth contained in it. I should like to remind them that this is not a cursory investigation; nay, the proofs contained in this book have been made available after a deep and searching inquiry. I pray to God that He may help me in this undertaking and lead me through His special revelation and inspiration to the perfect Light of truth – for all true Knowledge and clear Realisation descend from Him, and only with His permission guide human hearts to Truth. Amen! Amen! MIRZA GHULAM AHMAD Qadian, 25 April 1899 Footnote to Introduction 1. Some of the Ahl-i-Hadith imper- tinently and unjustly state in their books that the appearance of the Mahdi is imminent: that he will put into prison the British rulers of India and that the Christian king will be arrested and will be brought before him. Such books are still to be found in the houses of these Ahl-i-Hadith, one such being Iqtarab-us-Saat by a well known Ahl-i-Hadith, on page 64 of which such an account is to be found. 17 Introduction from Jesus in India The Review of Religions – December 2004 In this journal, for the ease of non- Muslim readers, ‘(sa)’ or ‘sa’ after the words, ‘Holy Prophet’, or the name ‘Muhammad’, are used. They stand for ‘Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam’ meaning ‘Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him’. Likewise, the letters ‘(as)’ or ‘as’ after the name of all other prophets is an abbreviation meaning ‘Peace be upon him’ derived from ‘Alaihis salatu wassalam’ for the respect a Muslim reader utters. The abbreviation ‘ra’ or (ra) stands for ‘Radhiallahu Ta’ala anhu and is used for Companions of a Prophet, meaning Allah be pleased with him or her (when followed by the relevant Arabic pronoun). F i n a l l y, ‘ru’ or (ru) for Rahmahullahu Ta’ala means the Mercy of Allah the Exalted be upon him.