Author: Maulvi Abu Said Muhammad Hussain Batalvi
Published: Victoria Press, Lahore, 1887
Asif M Basit
A single line should suffice to introduce the book: Jihad, as commonly misunderstood, does not mean waging war against any non-Muslim ruler. The author has clearly stated that war against the British (in British India) was against the teachings of Islam. Sounds familiar enough to Ahmadi ears!
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, has incessantly been accused of tampering Islamic teachings (God forbid) to support the British Raj in India. This is one of the worst forms of distortions of history that has been directed towards Ahmadiyyat. A vast majority of Muslim leaders of that time were of the opinion that waging war against the British in India was in no way Islamic, owing to the freedom of religion that Indian masses enjoyed under the British Raj.
Another accusation hurled at the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat is that he was too fond of the British Government. To debate the validity, or invalidity so to speak, of this allegation is not the scope of this article. We are only commenting on the book in question for now. The title page, apart from the title of the book, has in bold letters written: “Lieutenant Governor Sir Charles Aitchison KCSI has graciously accepted that the book be dedicated to him.”
Coming from an Ahl-e-Hadith stalwart, namely Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Batalvi, it suffices to answer any allegation made towards the Promised Messiahas in this regard.
Another bold claim written on the title page reads: “The research and explanation about Jihad included in this book cannot be found in any book thus far published on the topic.”
The prohibition of Jihad against the British Raj had been widely propagated by the Promised Messiahas, and all others, including Muhammad Hussain Batalvi, were aware of his thesis on this matter. Batalvi had written a review on Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya in his newspaper Isha‘atus Sunnah (June, July, August 1884). In Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, the Promised Messiah presented his theory about Jihad against the British Raj being un-Islamic. Batalvi had actually acknowledged the rejection of the call for Jihad and had spoken highly of the writer of Barahin.
So the bold claim made on the title page that no such book had been written is an example of intellectual dishonesty. Batalvi had acknowledged the theory of Hazrat Mirza Sahibas, accepted it, praised it, promoted it and then decided to declare that his own book was the first of its kind.
As for answering the allegation that the Promised Messiahas had made up the theory of rejection of Jihad against the British Raj, we refer again to the title page of the book in question. Another line on the title boasts: “… appreciated by all the scholars of all sects of Islam”. So, a theory borrowed from the Promised Messiahas is appreciated by all sects of Islam only when it comes from someone else (!) Our readers can very easily decide what such opposition amounts to.