100 Years Ago… – Address to His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, on behalf of the Ahmadiyya Community of Qadian, on the occasion of his visit to Punjab

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Last Updated on 18th March 2022

The Review of Religions, March, April & May, 1922

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Beneficent.

May it please your Royal Highness! We the representatives of the Ahmadiyya Community humbly and respectfully extend a most hearty welcome to your arrival in India. Your Royal Highness! We do not find words to adequately express our sincere & heartfelt attachment to your Royal House but we beg to assure your Royal Highness that whenever our services are required by the King-Emperor, your Royal Highness will find us ready to sacrifice our lives and our property without any idea of reward or compensation in the carrying out of the royal commands. 

Your Royal Highness, the time will come when through God’s grace the reins of the government of this vast country will be entrusted to your hands, and as it is most essential for a ruler to be acquainted with all the classes of the ruled, we deem it necessary to acquaint your Royal Highness with our movement, for our community being a newly established one and being yet small in number your Royal Highness may not be fully acquainted with it. 

Your Royal Highness! We are a religious community and it is this religious nature which distinguishes us from the other communities. We are Muslims and we are proud of the name, but there is a big gulf that separates us from the other Muslims, for like those who 1900 years ago responded to the call of the Blessed one of God we have believed in Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, Punjab, India, peace and the blessings of God be upon him, the messenger of the Latter Days whom God raised as the Promised Messiah but our brethren, the other Mussulmans, reject the Promised one as did those who rejected Jesus Christ, on whom be peace and the blessings of God. We believe that the Promised one was to come in the spirit and power of Jesus and that Jesus in person was not to come. 

Your Royal Highness! The Ahmadiyya Movement was founded only thirty-one years ago and in spite of the fact that our community has had to undergo the severest persecutions the movement has already spread not only in all parts of India but also in Ceylon, Afghanistan, Persia, Mesopotamia, Mauritius, Natal, East Africa, Egypt, Sierra Leone, Gold Coast, Nigeria, the United States of America and England and according to our computation the community numbers nearly half a million souls in all. The movement is not only spreading among the Indian population of these countries but men of all countries and climes are entering into its fold, for instance, in England where we have established our mission at Putney in London, about two hundred Englishmen have joined our movement. Similarly, the movement is spreading among the people of the United States of America and we firmly believe that a time will come when our movement will have spread throughout the world. 

Your Royal Highness! After giving this brief account of our community we beg to submit that our loyalty to your Royal father’s throne is not based upon any worldly motive. We have never been actuated by any idea of reward or compensation in whatever services we have rendered. Our loyalty, on the other hand, is founded on an Islamic injunction on which the Holy Founder of the movement has laid great stress. That commandment is this that in all times and under all circumstances we should remain loyal to the government which gives us religious freedom and that if there is any government which interferes with our religious beliefs and duties, we should leave its territory but should on no account create disorder or break the peace. 

Your Royal Highness! Our experience tells us that we enjoy perfect religious freedom under the British Government, insomuch that while in many so-called Islamic countries we cannot preach our religion, under the British Government we preach even against the religion of the King-Emperor and invite people to Islam in the King Emperor’s own country. We believe that the neutral attitude of the British Government in religious matters is one of the causes of the rapid growth of our movement. Thus, our loyalty is based upon religious grounds and however much we may be disposed to differ from the government in its policy we can never be disloyal to the government, for in so doing we shall belie our own doctrine and our own faith will hold us guilty. Loyalty to the Crown is a religious obligation with us and so long as we enjoy religious freedom it shall remain unshaken whether we get any political rights or not. The enmity and persecution of the people cannot deter us from this course. We have proved our loyalty in the face of the most bitter social boycott and persecution and should circumstances so demand we are ready to demonstrate the same loyalty a thousand times again. We disdain to entertain the idea of breaking the peace of the country merely on the ground of political differences. On the contrary, our religion teaches us that even in time of dire religious intolerance we should respect the peace of the country and try to maintain it by peacefully migrating from the land. 

Your Royal Highness! Our countrymen call us traitors to our country on account of our holding these views and look upon us as sycophants. Others think us imprudent and time-servers. But, illustrious Prince, we cannot forsake God for the sake of the people. The world may call us what it pleases but when our God commands us to maintain peace and to unite the people with bonds of love and affection, nothing can make us deviate from this path. We are loyal to the crown and through the grace of God will remain loyal to the crown and obedient under all circumstances. 

Your Royal Highness has undertaken such a long and arduous journey to make a personal acquaintance with the people over whom you are destined to rule in future. We regard it as an act of kind sacrifice and condescension on your Royal Highness’s part and look upon it with feelings of gratitude and thankfulness. No one who loves the truth can take it in any other light but that. Therefore, we express our heartfelt thanks for this labour of love and sympathy on your part and pray to God that as you have cast your loving looks upon your Imperial father’s subjects, He, out of His bounty, may bestow His loving and benign looks upon you! 

Your Royal Highness! In honour of your arrival in India, we have prepared for you a literary present wherein are set forth the distinctive teachings of our movement, the object of its foundation, its special features and characteristics, and brief notices of the life of its Holy Founder. The book has been specially prepared and addressed to Your Royal Highness by the present head of our community. Thirty-two thousand members of the community have subscribed to get it printed and published, so that it may be a testimony of their sincere devotion towards your Royal Highness and but for the shortness of time, a much greater number of Ahmadis would have taken part in it. Your Royal Highness! We intend to duly offer this present to you through the Punjab Government and we humbly and respectfully request your Royal Highness to spare some time for its perusal. 

In the end, we again warmly welcome your Royal Highness on coming over to India and particularly to the Punjab which is the centre of our movement and we humbly request Your Royal Highness to bring it to the notice of your Imperial father that the Ahmadiyya community, in spite of their weakness and the smallness of its numbers, are ready to lay down their lives and sacrifice their property for the sake of the British throne and that His Majesty can repose full confidence in their loyalty. May God bless your Royal Highness on your age and guide you in the paths of His pleasure and may He protect you from every evil and grant you His help and succour wherever you be. Amen!

(Transcribed by Al Hakam from the original in The Review of Religions, March, April & May 1922)

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