100 Years Ago… – Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II’s discussion with a scholar of Sanskrit on the Islamic view of the Hereafter


Al Fazl, 27 January 1921

A well-renowned scholar of Sanskrit, Pandit Raja Ram Sahib, Professor of Sanskrit at DAV College, Lahore, was here [in Qadian] for an event. He attended Hazrat Khalifatul Masih’s dars [sermon] of the Holy Quran, which took place in Masjid Aqsa as always after the Asr prayer. After the dars, he expressed his desire to meet Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II[ra], who sat in the mosque [to fulfill his request].

Masjid Aqsa 001
Masjid Aqsa, Qadian

On that day, the last ruku‘ of Surah al-Muminun of the Holy Quran was being explained, in which it is mentioned that the disbelievers would say to God Almighty that as they were away from the right path, they should be given a second chance to go back to the world so that they may do good deeds. Thereafter, if they did the same [as they did in the past], they should be [counted among] the wrongdoers.

Professor Sahib discussed the said subject with Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II[ra]

Since Professor Sahib spoke so gently that it could not be heard easily even in that small gathering where I [the editor of Al Fazl, 1921] was also present, I had to ask those associates who were sitting right next to him to write down his questions. 

Professor Sahib enquired as to why such people would not be given a chance because it might be possible that they did not get the opportunity to do good deeds [in the past].

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II[ra] said that [the said portion of the Quran] was about such people who had the opportunity to acquire guidance in this world; they had all the means right in front of them, but they did not pay heed and did not take advantage. God Almighty had given them both opportunities and had placed in them the power to either accept the guidance and be granted the comfort and reward of the Hereafter or to prefer the desires and luxuries of this world over the comforts of the Hereafter. They did not care for the comforts of the Hereafter and fell for the comforts of this world owing to their desires.

Professor Sahib: There could be people in the world who do not have the means to get guidance and there might also be some people who could not take benefit from these things. For example, newborn babies who die in infancy or those who are deaf and dumb, as well as those who are living in places where there is no one to guide them.

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih: Those who die in infancy or are deaf and dumb or are insane and mentally unstable or are living in a place where they had no means of guidance, will be given another chance and guidance will be presented to them. Those who accept it without further ado will be allowed to enter Paradise.

Professor Sahib: It is possible that a person might sincerely believe in some things according to his intellect and understanding, which may not be true. On the other hand, he may not understand those things which are right and deny them without any ill-intention. What would happen to such a person?

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih: Only that person denies the truth who has either not been conveyed the truth correctly or who does not have the means to understand the truth. As I have said before, such people will be given another chance after being given the means to understand the truth.

Professor Sahib: It is quite possible that a person might understand the truth, but he does not recognise it for some reason, without being mischievous in any way.

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih: Such a person may not be able to understand only if the truth has not reached him properly or if he does not have the means to understand the truth. If this is not the case, then the one who denies the truth will not be considered a well-intentioned person. For example, when the sun is shining and a person sees it, he cannot deny the presence of the sun, but if he still denies it, he will not be considered incapable in any way. On the contrary, if a person is trapped in a dark cottage and denies the presence of the sun because he cannot see it, he will be considered helpless.

Professor Sahib: You have said that such people will be given another chance; is this mentioned in the Holy Quran?

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih: This is supported by several verses of the Holy Quran and the ahadith, which are the words of the Holy Prophetsa, strongly endorse this fact. 

Furthermore, Islam points out that as for those who benefit from as many means as they possess, it will not be said that he who had more means should be rewarded more and whoever had less, let them be given less rewards. 

On the contrary, if the one who had more means took full advantage of them and the one with lesser means also made full use of them, then both will be given the same reward. For example, if a person has 100 rupees and presents them in the way of God, while another person who has 10 rupees also gives them in the way of God, then it will not be said that the one who gave 100 rupees should be given more reward and the one who gave 10 rupees should be given less; rather, both will be given equal reward because just as the first person gave all that he had, the second person also gave all that he possessed and if he had more, he would have given all of that as well.

Professor Sahib: What about those people who are bound for Hell; will they abide therein forever?

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih: You had to ask this question because you are not familiar with our beliefs. We do not believe that, nor is it the teaching of Islam that those who are bound for Hell will abide therein forever. People will be cast into Hell for their reformation and when they are reformed, they will be taken out of it.

Professor Sahib: According to our belief, people are given a chance to return to this world to reform themselves.

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih: Your view is that people take on different forms and are sent into this world as a punishment, but the teaching of our religion is that reformation will not take place by bringing people back to this world. On the contrary, they will be reformed there. 

In our view, sinners will enter Hell just as the sick are admitted to a hospital. When they have been chastised for their sins and thus reformed, they will be taken out of Hell and a time will come when all the people will go to Heaven. 

No one will live in Hell forever and they will all be taken out of it because there can be no one who has not done a single good deed in this world. Every human being, no matter how much they are deeply ingrained in sins, must have done something good and we believe that God Almighty’s mercy is very vast. He thus keeps the good deeds and punishes first for the sins, which happens for a limited time. Then in exchange for good deeds [of a person], He allows them to enter Paradise for an indefinite period.

Professor Sahib: I am hearing these things for the first time in my life and only from you.

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih: How could you have heard these things before when you have only just met me for the first time? You could not have heard these things from anyone else.

The fact of the matter is that when the days of decline and downfall come upon a nation, its focus turns away from religion. As the Muslims are on the decline nowadays and they are facing problems one after the other, their attention has no longer remained on Islam. They have become completely bereft of Islam and have forgotten the teachings of Islam. Everything I have told you is the teaching of Islam.

Professor Sahib: I consider you a holy man and my heart is full of respect for you. I request you, not with any bad intention, but to increase my knowledge, and I will be very grateful if you could give me the reference of what you have said about getting another chance.

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih: Most certainly, we will provide you its reference with pleasure, but it is too late now (as the call to Maghrib prayer had been made). That reference will be sent to you in the morning.

After this discussion, Professor Sahib got up to leave. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II[ra] also stood up and the professor bent before him with great reverence, paid respect and left.

The said reference was sent to him the very next day. We are citing that reference below for the benefit of the people: 

حدَّثنا محمّدُ بنُ عبدِ الأعلي، قال: ثنا محمد بنُ ثورٍ، عن معمرِ، عن قتادةَ، عن أبي هريرةَ، قال: اذا كان يومُ القيامةِ، جمَع اللّٰه تبارك و تعالی النسَمَ الذين ماتُوا فی الفِتْرةِ و المعتوهَ و الأصمَّ و الأبكمَ، و الشيوخَ الذين جاء الاسلامُ و قد خرِفوا، ثم أرسل رسولاً أن ادخُلوا النارَ، فيقولون: كيف ولم يأتِنا رسولٌ! وايمُ اللّٰهِ لو دخلُوها لكانتْ عليهم بردًا و سلاماً، ثم يُرسِلُ اليهم، فيُطيعُه من كان يريدُ أن يْطيعَه قبلُ۔ قال أبوهريرةَ: اقرءوا ان شئتم: وَ مَا كُنَّا مُعَذِّبِيۡنَ حَتّٰي نَبۡعَثَ رَسُوۡلًا

“On the Day of Judgment, Allah the Almighty will gather the souls of those people who died on fitrah [nature], and those who were mentally ill, deaf and dumb, and also those who, when Islam came, were so old that they had lost their memory due old age. 

“Then a messenger will be sent to them [saying], ‘Enter the Fire.’ They will say, ‘No messenger has been sent to us, so why should we enter the Fire?’ By God, if they had entered the Fire, it would have become cold and a means of safety for them. 

“Then, He will send a Messenger among them and only those of them who had the intention to obey him before will obey him.” Hazrat Abu Hurairahra said, “If you want [proof of the said interpretation], then read [the verse], ‘We never punish until We have sent a Messenger.’” (Tafsir al-Tabari by Muhammad ibn Jarir, Juz‘ 14,  pp. 526-527, Ch.17: V.16)

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in the 27 January 1921 issue of Al Fazl)

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