100 Years Ago… – The plight of Muslims in Gonda district and the need for an Ahmadiyya missionary


Akhbar Faruq, 27 May 1920

Over a hundred miles from Lucknow, there comes a region called Gonda District. It is a junction. Railway lines to Gorakhpur, Nepalgunj, Bahraich and Tulsi Vanorka Tabarampur pass from here. It is a very fertile land which is located below the curve of Nepal and the shadow of the Himalayas.

In other words, it is called a valley. It is densely populated. The Muslims in this area are only nominal Muslims. There is a forest in this area, which starts from the Himalayas and goes many miles downhill. This forest is very dense. Some of its parts fall in Tabarampur, Piagpur and Kapurthala state. There is a river in this forest known by the name of “Kwane”. Its sight reminds man about the supremacy of God.

In some places, the forest is about three miles and in others, it is two miles wide. The river is in the middle and its water is crystal clear. Even the grains of sand are visible under the water. As Allah Almighty has placed this river in the forest, He has also placed an attribute in its water. Drinking its water aft er eating any heavy food helps to digest it. For the sake of wild animals which survive only on meat etc., Allah Almighty acted mercifully and gave them water to drink from this river.

The condition of Muslims and Hindus in this area is such that Hindus observe Muharram with much more passion than the Muslims. Hindus are looked upon with great respect. Only so-called Muslims are present here and there is not a single attribute of Muslims in them. Taking a look at their apparent condition, we find that the Muslims are called by the names of Pechen, Sehrat, Gole and Bhoondu. It is a very sad situation. Where the names of the Muslims are such, their state of knowledge can be assessed automatically.

Most likely, 20 percent of Muslims might be familiar with Namaz and there may be five per thousand who offer Namaz. The Muslims there are so ignorant of religion that when they are asked what they recite when slaughtering an animal, they have no idea. If the butchers are asked, they answer that the knife had read it in the name of their ancestors. That is, their forefathers had the knowledge of slaughtering, they read it and breathed it on the knives.

Now, there is no need to recite it again at the time of slaughter. There are some Muslims who do not know how to recite the Kalima. I even met a Muslim myself and during our conversation, I asked him if he knew the Kalima or not, to which he casually answered that he did not know it. Then I told him to learn the Kalima from me and that if he had love for Namaz, he could also learn it from me, but this fellow had no time for all that.

As a matter of fact, eyes are welled with tears when we look at the condition of the Muslims. The situation in this area is such that when I went there a year ago, I saw a woman living in a man’s house. When I happened to go there the second year, it was found out that the woman had left that man’s house and was living with another man … In the villages at the outskirts, I have observed that there are no graveyards at all. In fact, no one knows how to dig a grave. A pit is dug and the dead body is placed inside. One can imagine how they might offer the funeral.

However, these people are very friendly, they highly regard the Maulvis. If there is someone to guide these people, they immediately incline towards them. Indeed, there is definitely a distinctiveness between the Hindus and Muslims in this country. That is, Muslims will have beards and Hindus will not. This means that they think only beards separate Hindus from Muslims.

On the day of Friday prayer, Muslims gather in numbers more than usual and offer Friday prayer. But alas, seeing their precarious condition makes one cry that they have a book which has a written sermon in Arabic. It is read out and considered to be enough. No one can read this written sermon correctly in Arabic, nor can one understand its meaning. Arabic, Persian or English are all the same for them if [the Friday sermon] is not explained to them after reading and unless they are not warned about good and evil.

Imagine, what progress Muslims can make if there are such kind of Muslims with such a level of knowledge. I wish that an ardent Ahmadi comes here by sacrificing his life and guides Muslims towards [the true teachings of] Islam. The Ahmadi should take every step for the sake of God and consider it an honour if he has to wander in forests for the religion of God. He should be hardworking. He should feel relief in the path of suffering. Then that would be great.

(Malik Bashir Ali)

Christ, son of God and a jaat [a class of Punjab’s landlords]

A friend once related to me that probably a priest was preaching in Gujrat, who would say that Christ is the son of God. Mian Sahib i.e. a mullah, also came, and the Christian preacher and he began to talk. Mulla Sahib was proud of his talent and the priest had a great passion for preaching. Meanwhile, a modest jaat also arrived and said to Mulla Sahib, “Mian Ji, what is the matter?”

Mian Ji: Brother, Babu Sahib [Christian preachers are usually called Babu] says that Christ was the son of God.

Jaat: Then what?

Mian Ji: I say that even the faithful are called sons of the living God. See Hosea 1:10 and Romans 9:6.

“Son of God” means “Christ,” see John 6:69. Moreover, the exegetists also consider that Christ means the son of God. Then the priest said that Christ was the spirit of God, that is why he became the son of God, but I say that in the Gospel the spirit of God also refers to mean the power of God, see Matthew 12:28. Moreover, the spirit in the sense of knowledge and wisdom has also come [in Bible], see Exodus 31:3. So at most, Christ was the spirit of God means that Christ was given the knowledge and wisdom by God.

The jaat continued to listen their discussion for five to seven minutes. The priest would present a claim and Mulla Sahib would immediately show something else from the Gospel. The jaat got annoyed at this and in the straightforward manner of jaats, asked the priest, “Listen Babu Sahib, what do you say?”

Priest: I say that Christ was ibnullah [son of God].

Jaat: I do not know the meaning of ibnullah. Speak in simple words. Do you mean Christ was the puttar [son] of God.

Priest: Yes!

Jaat: Well, answer me this. I do not have any knowledge, but in our country there are three types of sons: Poot, kapoot and sapoot.

Poot is the one who does not progress more than the father. Kapoot is the one who, instead of exceeding his father’s work or even maintaining it to the same degree, destroys his father’s work. Sapoot is the one who increases his father’s estate and advances the works of his father.

Now tell me, which of the said nations does Christ belong to. If he is poot, then as God has made one heaven and earth, he should also have created one heaven and earth. If he were sapoot, then he should have advanced the work of God to the next level and must have made the same earth and sky somewhere else as well. If he were a kapoot, he should have destroyed the works of God.

Now tell me, what did Christ do?

The priest fell silent and by God, he did not utter a single word.

(Fazlur Rehman)

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