Anjuman Taraqi-e-Islam – The Forerunner of Tahrik-e-Jadid

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Junaid Ahmad Waraich

Missionary, Pakistan

One way of attaining God’s pleasure and nearness is through sacrifice; the sacrifice of life, wealth or time. 

Sacrifices vary depending on the conditions and circumstances of one’s age. At the time of the Prophet Muhammadsa, sacrificing one’s life was far more important than wealth. Muslims of that time were drawn into battle by the disbelievers and the only way out was sacrificing their lives for the glory of the One God and Islam.  

But in a prophecy of the Holy Prophetsa regarding the Promised Messiahas, “He will do away with war”, the akharin – those of the latter days – were foretold that it would not be necessary to sacrifice one’s life at the time of the Promised Messiahas. Therefore, the Promised Messiahas declared that the time for offering the sacrifice of lives by means of Jihad had been replaced by the age to sacrifice by means of one’s wealth. (Al Hakam, 10 July 1903) 

The Promised Messiahas states:

“The revival of Islam requires a sacrifice from us. What is that sacrifice? It is to die striving in this path, upon which the life of Islam, the life of Muslims, and the manifestation of Allah depends. This, in other words, is Islam. It is the revival of this Islam that Allah today desires. To attain this objective, it was necessary that He should Himself establish a great and effective system; and this is what the Wise and Mighty has done by sending me into this world for the reformation of mankind. He has divided this task of supporting the truth and the propagation of Islam into several branches.” (Fath-e-Islam, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 3, pp. 10-12)

On the same footings of financial sacrifice, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra appealed to members of the Jamaat for Anjuman Taraqi-e-Islam after considering the recommendation of Majlis-e-Shura. 

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Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra delivered an address on 12 April 1914 that goes by the title Mansab-e-Khilafat in which he highlighted the works of the Khalifa. 

The first obligation of the Khalifa which he mentioned was the promulgation and spread of Islam. The foundation of Anjuman Tarraqi-e-Islam was laid in this address. The sole purpose of this appeal was to lay the foundation of sacrifice in the hearts of members of the Jamaat and to create a platform that could be used to carry the true message of Islam to the corners of the Earth.

Being grateful to the bounties of Allah the Almighty and addressing members of the Jamaat, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra, Musleh-e-Maud, stated:

“How can I return the favours of my Lord? How can I count His favours when my mouth and tongue are incapable of it? In trying to return His favours, every atom of my body would end up overwhelmed by His ocean of beneficence and would not be able to do so.

“The ship of the Jamaat passes through a restless ocean, and yet its wheel is in the hand of an inexperienced, unskilled and weak sailor. In spite of this, how is the ship to sail clear? This is purely the work of God. 

“The first Khalifa had eminence and his works can be accredited to him, but what power do I possess that someone could even think that I had a role in eliminating this fitna [discord]? This display of power was free from any trace of Shirk [attributing partners to Allah]. Thus, the Beloved of prophets and saints revealed Himself to the world so as to let people know in these days of Shirk that He can have such tasks achieved from clumps of mud or pieces of wood which cannot even be carried out by worldly monarchs…

“Beggars never return empty-handed from the doorsteps of kings, so I beg of You, O Lord, to fulfil my request. As You have assembled and united the greater part of the Jamaat, I beg of You to bring together the remaining few as well. My Beloved Lord, You know that neither do I have any desire for greatness, nor do I long to rule, but my heart yearns to unify the Jamaat and feels dejected in disunity. So, O God, shower Your blessings and heal my wounded heart. Whatever You bestowed upon me surpassed my expectations. Yet still, my Master, keep me from any excess in this matter. The fire of my expectation is yet to be extinguished and my heart yearns that somehow the whole Jamaat is united to glorify Your name across the globe. 

“O Omnipotent King of kings! It is not at all difficult for You. Save the name of ‘Ahmad’ from division. Beloved, this Jamaat is Your dear Jamaat. Who desires to see their loved ones being divided?…

“Thus, Allah the Almighty has inspired my heart to fulfil this task and to make special efforts for the promulgation of Islam Ahmadiyyat. For the time being, I have estimated that the annual expenses to fulfil this task will be 12,000 rupees…

“I have announced this matter after many prayers. I am hopeful from Allah the Almighty that He will surely fulfil my prayers, moreover He shall provide for the promulgation of Islam Himself and bestow His special bounty upon all those who help me in this matter.

“Friends! Even though an amount of 12,000 rupees annually appears a huge sum, but before the Lord, Who assigned to me this task, this sum is nothing. He Has the biggest treasury. He will stimulate your hearts and shall arrange for this purpose Himself…” (Al Fazl, 2 May 1914, pp. 4-8)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra named it Anjuman Taraqi-e-Islam on the basis of a divine vision and nominated Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, Hazrat Maulvi Syed Muhmmad Ahsan, Hazrat Nawab Muhammad Ali Khanra, Hazrat Hamid Shahra, Hazrat Maulvi Sher Alira, Assitant Surgeon Hazrat Dr Mir Muhammad Ismailra, Hazrat Dr Khalifa Rashiddudinra and Hazrat Seith Abdur Rehman Madrasira as its members. 

Maulvi Sher Ali Sahibra was the secretary of this Anjuman and the fund Dawat Ilal-Khair was transferred to it. This Anjuman lived up to its name, Taraqi-e-Islam (the spread of Islam), with great responsibility until firstly Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya and then in 1945, Tahrik-e-Jadid Anjuman Ahmadiyya took up the responsibility of the propagation and promulgation of Islam Ahmadiyyat. (Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Vol. 4, p. 143)

In the biography of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IVrh – the author of Swaneh Fazle-Umar – states:

“Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra elaborated with great care that this Anjuman [Anjuman Taraqi-e-Islam] was not an alternate of the previous Anjuman [Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya], but instead it would focus particularly on the promulgation of Islam. The remaining responsibilities of Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya would be carried out as usual.” (Swaneh Fazle-Umar, Vol. 2, p. 36)

Thus, Anjuman Taraqi-e-Islam served as the forerunner of all those systems that were later established for the spread of Islam. 

Tahrik-e-Jadid Anjuman Ahmadiyya was a fruitful continuation and expansion of this Anjuman. Tahrik-e-Jadid was launched by Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra in 1934 and reflected the grandeur of his vision for the global, worldwide propagation of Islam. However, we see from the establishment of Anjuman Taraqi-e-Islam that this passion was in Huzoor’s heart right from the onset of his Khilafat in 1914. 

The global mission of the Jamaat, which now functions under Tahrik-e-Jadid, has its humble beginnings in the Anjuman Taraqi-e-Islam which was set up at a time when those that had disassociated themselves from Khilafat had taken away all financial resources of the Jamaat. 

After being elevated to the station of Khalifatul Masih, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra had only one rupee and a few paisas in the treasury. It was only with the backing of Allah’s decree that this “penniless” Jamaat was able to not only stand on its own two feet but also to establish grand missionary schemes for nothing else but the propagation of Islam.

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