Asif M Basit
The Promised Messiahas stated in his work Tadhkiratu Shahadatain (The Narrative of Two Martyrdoms)
“The Christian faith is losing ground daily in the field of reasoning and commonsense and great scholars are renouncing their old beliefs. Even the emperor of Germany has talked of relinquishing his faith. This proves that it is God Almighty’s will that the Christian faith be obliterated from the face of the earth through rational arguments.” (Tadhkiratu Shahadatain, p. 32)
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas wrote this book in 1903. The German emperor – or Kaiser – at that time was Wilhelm II.
Having come across this passage of the Promised Messiahas, we decided to find out where and how this change of belief had come about in the heart of Kaiser Wilhelm II. The story is long and windy, but let’s take a quick look at it.
At the junction of the 19th and 20th centuries, many European monarchs were from the progeny or greater family of Queen Victoria. Wilhelm II was her maternal grandson and thus a third-cousin of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Both had joined hands against another cousin who happened to be the king of England.
In the high noon of colonisation, Russia, Germany (or Prussia) and England were busy taking possessions of different lands in Asia. An alliance with the Ottomans was much sought after as it could possibly make a great deal of difference.
Wilhelm II visited the Ottoman Sultan on a number of occasions. One such occasion was in October 1898 when he was guest of Sultan Abdel Hamid and stayed in Constantinople for quite some time.
He remained constantly in touch with his cousin Tsar Nicholas II through letters. These letters were later obtained from the Government Archives in Petrograd in Russia by Isaac Don Levine – staff correspondent to the Chicago Daily News – who brought their copies over to London.
Later compiled in book form by NF Grant, the book is titled The Kaiser’s Letters to the Tsar and was first published by Hodder and Stoughton, London in 1920.
A letter dated 9 November 1898 is of particular interest as it reveals the changing heart of the emperor. We quote here some passages from the letter:
“The manifold and different confessions and sects of our Common Christian faith have done too much in the way of churchbuilding, the erection of monasteries, chapels, etc., on so called ‘Traditional Holy Places.’ Which has led to a sort of concurrence of race for the highest towers or biggest churches, which do not at all harmonise with the sites they are erected on. In fact one could call it an exhibition of Church-models! This has also affected the clergies of the different churches, who have a pleasure in intrigues and political designs fostering hatred instead of love, and leading to free fights and battles in the churches instead of Psalms and friendly intercourse. But what is worst still, they have created a worship of stones and wood, forbidden in the 2nd of the X commandments, instead of Divinity itself…
“Very naturally this – I beg your pardon – Fetish adoration has created a supreme contempt for the Christians with the Moslems.
“My personal feeling in leaving the holy city was that I felt profoundly ashamed before the Moslems and that if I had come there without any Religion at all, I certainly would have turned Mahommetan!”
We now look at another letter written by Kaiser Wilhelm II. This letter is recorded in a book titled The Kaiser’s Memoirs: Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany 1888-1918. The book was published by Harper & Brothers Publishers, London, in 1922. The letter is addressed to Friedrich von Hollman – a close accomplice and confidant – in a letter dated 15 February 1903. Quoted below are passages from this letter:
“It is self-evident that the Old Testament contains a large number of parts which are of purely human-historical character and not ‘God’s revealed Word’. These are purely historical descriptions of events of all sorts, which occur in the life of the people of Israel in the domain of politics, religion, morals, and spiritual life…
“As far as I am concerned, I am led by the above to the following conclusion:
I believe in one only God.
We men need, in order to teach Him, a Form, especially for our children.
This Form has been, up to now, the Old Testament, as we now know it. This Form will be essentially changed by research, inscriptions, and excavations; but that will cause no harm, not will the fact that, thereby, much of the halo of the Chosen People will disappear, cause any harm. The kernel and content remain always the same: God and His influence.
“Religion was never a result of science, but something flowing from the heart and being of man, through his relations with God.”
The letter above was written by the Kaiser in February 1903. The book Tadhkiratu Shahadatain was written by the Promised Messiahas in October 1903.
While the above correspondence proves the claim of the Promised Messiahas about the beliefs of a European emperor to be true, it also proves how keenly the Promised Messiahas stayed informed about what went on in the world.
John Lewis-Stempel, writing for The Express, London stated that “the Kaiser’s embrace of Islam began with an 1889 visit to Turkey … A later visit to Jerusalem, then under the auspices of the same flattering Sultan, left the impressionable Kaiser declaring that had he arrived agnostic, ‘I certainly would have turned Mahometan!’
“Soon the Kaiser was styling himself ‘Hajji Wilhelm’, the protector of Muslims”. (The Express, 12 October 2014)
Wolfgang G Schwanitz – a German-American historian of the Middle East – states in his work Die Dutschen und der Islam that “Iranians still tell stories of ‘Hajji Wilhelm Muhammad’, who supposedly converted to Islam”.
We know that he did not convert to Islam, but from the historical evidences quoted above, we find that he had moved away from Christianity and closer to Islam as the Promised Messiahas had very rightly stated.
We hope and pray that the German nation soon sees the true light of Islam. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat waits with open arms to embrace them.