Last Updated on 25th December 2020
The Review of Religions [English], December 1920
The English Muslim’s greetings to the messengers of Ahmad
Greetings my Brother!
Tho’ oft thou art weary
Of sowing seeds, always, monotonous, dreary
The land seems unfertile, so stony and steep
It seems, it’s just sowing, and seldom to reap;
And down on thy knees thou must pull up the weed
With back aching badly – must put in each seed.
Untiringly watch them, oft water with tears,
Till glory to Allah, the first leaf appears.
Work on – nor weary, or sleeping or waking,
Harvest is plentiful then for thy taking;
Root up the rank weeds, turn over the dry sod,
Then garner the harvesting on for thy God,
What are thy puny trials to those that he bore,
Thorn crowned and bleeding, hungry, weary heart sore,
What, if thy journey be uphill all the way,
The summit victorious, dawn of new day,
Hosts of the sainted will reach out to greet thee
Those fondly loved ones will hasten to meet thee,
Look from the heights then, see the seeds thou hast sewn
From the tiny acorns to mighty oaks grown.
Then in that time, host thou laboured in vain?
Thy trials, tribulations have yielded much gain.
(Mrs E Maudling)
Our London Mission
Our London missionaries report continued progress with the work of [propagation]. Six recent conversions are reported of whom five are English and one is French – Countess Lena Louvevas. The programme of Free Sunday Lectures for October and November shows among the lecturers the names of Brothers Osman Effendi (Bar-at-law), Maulvi Mubarak Ali BA, BT (our missionary for Nigeria) and Mr Mahmud Leader (an English convert) in addition to those of our permanent missionaries. We pray to God for His assistance in the work of our brothers.
Christians respond to Ahmadiyya Muslim preaching in America
Our propaganda [tabligh] in America seems to have been attracting attention. Referring to one of the pamphlets distributed by our mission, the Christian paper, The Baptist observes, “If one will consider the extent to which popular Muhammadanism is shot through with superstition, will remember what it has done or not done for women, will notice the cruelty and backwardness of its adherents, will see how it fails utterly in developing any real spiritual life, will contrast for one moment Mohammedan peoples with Christian peoples, there is no question of the result.”
This reminds us of the instruction given to a lawyer in a case which could not be supported with good arguments, “No case, abuse the plaintiff ’s attorney.”
Our propaganda [tabligh] never invites the public to popular Mohammadanism which we admit is shot through with superstition, although not to the seine extent as Christianity.
We invite them to the Holy Quran which unlike any other religious book including the Bible has, as a matter of historical fact, been preserved in its original purity, which sets its face against all superstitions, which grants to woman a social and a legal status which was not granted to her by any other religion, and which promises to produce and has actually produced among its followers a spirituality far above what is contemplated by any other system.
As an evidence of the last we invite people to the prophet recently raised in Islam – the Messiah of the latter days – a personage mistakenly thought by the Christians to be none other than the first Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth who lived and died about two thousand years ago.
Our Ceylon Brothers
Our Ceylon brothers have indeed proved a heroic band. Under bitter persecutions from their Non-Ahmadi and Non-Muslim compatriots they have only increased in zeal and enterprise. The house owners of Colombo having ejected some of the members and the office of the Anjuman from the premises they occupied, the brave little band have resolved to purchase once for all a central site in the Slave Island and build upon it a mosque and offices for the Anjuman. The whole property will be vested in the Sadar Anjuman at Qadian. The total cost is estimated at 10,000 rupees. A considerable part of the amount has already been raised among themselves by the local members. They now appeal to the Ahmadis of other parts to help them with contributions. The project in every respect is worthy of support. Contributions may be sent to the financial secretary to His Holiness, the Khalifatul Messiah, for transmission to the secretary Ceylon Anjuman.
Christianity’s policy of compromises
At the Annual Conference of the Primitive Methodists, the President (Rev H Davison) said that a revival of pure religious fervour was greatly needed. Apparently, because they could not find balm Gilead, people in astonishing numbers were turning to such occult things as Spiritualism, Theosophy, and Christian Science. One congregation of Christian Scientists in London claim to have made 1,000 converts last year and the number of people who were being led away by spiritualism was said to be alarming. It was to be feared that in order to meet the exigencies of the time, the Church has been too much inclined to compromise with Paganism. (The Pioneer, 17 September 1920)
The ever changing Church
The Christian Church has throughout the course of its history been putting on so many diverse forms that one naturally comes to feel a doubt whether it possesses any central core of fact. We hear of two of its recent developments:
1. The Community Church; and
2. The Labour Church.
The principles of the former, according to one of its prominent writers, are:
“Believing that religion is not a dogma but an attitude to life and that therefore it is a universal fact, the Community Church holds that its first and chief task is to be an interpreter of the meaning of life, to assist all people to acquire and maintain a normally right attitude to life and to seek the removal of all causes which make such an attitude impossible. It seeks to accomplish its purpose by making known the religion of democracy as set forth in such documents as the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer. Its ideals are conveniently described by the general term Christian from the Teaching of Jesus.”
The Labour Church has no creed and is non-sectarian. It stands for:
1. Fellowship: We welcome all men and women of good will irrespective of creed, class or race.
2. Education: We seek to know and spread the truth. We believe that knowledge only can make men free.
3. Inspiration: By association we stimulate one another to truer thoughts, higher aspirations and noble living.
Our readers will note that from both of these denominations, there have completely disappeared the doctrines of the Trinity, the sonship of Jesus, vicarious sacrifice, and redemption through Christ.
Do not such facts bear out the truth of the Promised Messiah’s words:
“All men of understanding are now bidding farewell to the Trinity.
“And are turning themselves wholeheartedly to the fountain of Monotheism.
“The worship of idols is at a discount on every side, in every clime.
“Nor is the worship of man anywhere regarded with respect or consideration.
“A breeze from the skies has been wafting the truth of the Unity of God.
“The hearts of men are with us, however much their mouths may murmur denial.”
The teaching of the Bible tested by experiment
In Mark 16:17-18, Jesus is reported to have said, “And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues, they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them, they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.”
The promise is clear and definite and one believer in Tennessee, USA, proceeded to put the promise to test. On the 4th August last, he permitted a rattle snake to bite himself and his infant child, his faith firmly fixed in the promise that it should do them no harm. The baby died in great agony a few hours later and it is reported that the father followed him some time after. We wonder what explanation the advocates of the Bible will offer of the failure.
Facts relating to Salvation Army
The Salvation Army Today, is a book by Stephen Bassanno Williams. It shows that the Salvation Army is not a charity organisation though its annual revenue of thirty million dollars is made possible largely through that impression.
On the contrary, it controls large mercantile corporations which are conducted for profit paying large dividends to stock holders. Not more than ton percent of its collections are used for charity purposes. It has a large force of staff officers supported in luxury and its spiritual work is greatly on the decline.
The Turkish peace
Our readers may remember that in our holy leader’s letters addressed to special conferences assembled at Allahabad and at Lucknow to consider the terms of the Turkish peace, two important points taken up by him were: 1. that the question of the Turkish peace should be altogether detached from the question of Khilafat; and 2. that the antipathy towards the Turks so universally prevalent in Europe and America has its basis in religious prejudice and not in any hatred of the Turkish race.
These views have received confirmation from various quarters. Mustafa Kemal Pasha, the leader of the Nationalist party in Turkey, is reported to have laid it down as one of the conditions on which he was prepared to negotiate a peace that the Khilafat should be separated from the Sultanate and should pass to a descendant of the Holy Prophet.
The other confirmation is from an American paper which remarks:
“The Turkish people have been kept alienated from the rest of the world, not because of any offensive characteristics in the people themselves but by their religion. Eliminate Mohammadanism from the life of the Turkish nation, and it might appear as one of the most desirable nations of the earth.
“Numerous unprejudiced writers have described most favourably the Turkish character, so as to leave no doubt on the mind of the honest thinker that the objectionable phases of the Turkish nature are entirely due to its compliance with the regulations of the Moslem faith as laid down in the Quran and other religious books.”
Will our non-Ahmadi Mussalman friends still doubt that the remedy of the present disaster lies not in political propaganda but in an active diffusion of the faith. And let us add that such diffusion in the present age is only possible under the banner of the latest Islamic Reformer – the Promised Messiah.
American ignorance regarding Islam
One American paper commenting on the recent alliance between the Bolsheviks and the Turkish Nationalists indulges in the remark:
“It is certainly an exhibition of the irony of fate that Bolshevism should have overthrown the orthodox Catholic Church of Russia to ally itself later with a religion whose founder and master mind maintained as his fundamental principle the conversion of the world to his holy cause by means of the sword, rapine and plunder.”
The [words in] italics are ours. They show how ignorant and prejudiced is American public opinion regarding Islam. We have a right to expect better intelligent people who make a boast of their rationalism. The teaching of the Holy Quran is explicit regarding the use of force in matters of faith.
“No force in religion” is its watchword and from beginning to end the Quran teems with passages supporting the same view.
On the other hand, even elementary students of the life of the Holy Prophet and the history of his immediate followers can see that the “sword, rapine or plunder” was never used by them as an instrument of religious conversion.
But, of course, the histories must be read from first hand sources and not from the books of prejudiced writers.
When doctors nod
At a recent meeting of the Anjuman-i-Waizin (Conference of Islamic preachers) of Bengal, the President is reported to have supported the present Khilafat agitation by citing the Quranic verse, “Obey him who is in authority among you.”
“It was a religious duty,” he is reported to have said “to respect and obey the Khalifa.”
The Quranic verse according to the speaker was of general application. But it seems to have missed the speaker that the verse applies as well to the nearer authority as to the one more remote.
The Khilafat agitation has already proved a prolific source of disorder and crime. It has definitely adopted the cult of Noncooperation [movement] which implies civil disobedience.
But still the “Islamic preacher” fails to see which way his duty lies and invokes the sacred text in support of the agitation. But lest some doubt might still be loft as regards the meaning of the sacred verse, the preacher proceeded to drive his moral home by speaking on the situation at the Aligarh College and the Calcutta Madrassa.
At both these institutions the students had gone on strike, in the first place out of sympathy with the Khilafat agitation, and in the second place as a protest against the order of punishment passed in a certain court of justice against the editor of a certain newspaper.
The preacher expressed his satisfaction at the conduct of the students at both of these institutions and thus vindicated the great regard he entertained for the sacred text he had quoted.
It is not in a spirit of light sarcasm that we pen the above remarks. Our hearts bleed to think of the fate which awaits the people when their religious leaders freely indulge in such impious sophistry.
How long? O Lord! How long?
The famine in China has reached an appalling stage. Fifty-eight million people are shadowed by the grim monster in five provinces, of which total, according to the figures compiled by the International Famine Relief Committee, fourteen millions are actually starving.
Indian agitation for self-government
In our last number, we published an article headed, Non-co-operation and Ourselves, in which an attempt was made to explain the attitude of the Ahmadiyya Community towards the Non-cooperation and Indian Home Rule movements.
Our position is that self-government will and must ultimately come to India, but that the country is not yet ripe for the full measure of it in as much as the different communities living therein have not learnt the lesson of religious toleration.
We are glad to find that the same view has been expressed by Mr W E Garman who contributes to The Modern Review, Calcutta, for November 1920, [under the heading], A Plea for Religious Liberty. He says:
“Self-Government of a representative character is inevitable, even its opponents will admit this; indeed its first instalment will ere long be an accomplished fact. They may argue that at present India is not fit for the full exercise of self-government, but few will assert that it will never be fit at all. It is only a question of time, the goal must be reached sooner or later, and the Home Ruler naturally says ‘the sooner the better.’ Now from the point of view of the cooperation of all classes in the endeavour to bring about, along legitimate lines, a speedy realisation of the ultimate end in view, I submit that religious toleration, religious liberty… is absolutely essential.”
Further on he continues, “Religious liberty after all is the greatest liberty of all… Without it, all lesser freedom is imperfect; with it, all other liberty is established upon the one foundation that is stead-fast and eternal.”
Non-cooperation [movement] and Islam
In India any agitation in order to catch the popular imagination and support must attach itself to religion. Acting on this clue some Islamic theologists have attempted to prove that in the present circumstances of India Non-cooperation with the British government is a religions duty. They have also issued a fatwa (pronouncement of ecclesiastical law) to the said effect.
Our leader has recently written a book fully exposing the error of such a view and clearly pointing out the sophistry of these accredited doctors of Islam. The original book will shortly be published in Urdu and translation will be published in other languages.