Daanish Malik, Maryland, USA
There was a war raging in the late 19th century. No, not the Spanish-American War, nor the Taiping Rebellion. This war was 1,300 years in the making – the spiritual war for the survival of Islam.
Centuries ago, the Muslims used to lead the world – they led the search of science, fostered the greatest minds and were on the forefront of progress. The civilisations of al-Andalus, the Abbasid, the Ottomans and others once held great power. However, slowly, Islam – both spiritual and temporal – began declining. The greatness faded.
Perhaps India in the late 1800s was a microcosm of this. The days of the Delhi Sultanate, then the Mughal Empire were gone. In the 19th century, Islam was reeling, barely standing alive from the vicious attacks of Christianity and Hinduism. Meanwhile, the Muslims themselves stood defenseless. Indeed, the Prophet Muhammadsa foretold this. He said:
“A time will come when nothing will be left of Islam except its name, and nothing will be left of the Quran except its script; their mosques will be full of worshipers but devoid of righteousness. Scholars will be the worst of creatures under the canopy of the heavens. Evil will hatch from them and to them it will return.” (Mishkat-ul-Masabih, The Book of Knowledge)
Fortunately for the Muslims, Allah the Almighty had promised a Messiah to come and resuscitate the faith. Allah promises in the Quran:
“He it is Who has raised among the Unlettered [people] a Messenger from among themselves who recites unto them His Signs, and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and wisdom, although they were before, in manifest misguidance;
“And among others from among them who have not yet joined them. He is the Mighty, the Wise.” (Surah al-Jumuah, Ch.3: V.4)
The fulfilment of this promise was the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian. This Promised Messiah was sent for the purpose of reviving the glory and beauty of Islam. As the Christians and Hindus ambushed the faith, he stood valiantly defending the honour of his beloved Master, Muhammadsa. As the enemies of Islam attempted to tarnish the name of Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds, he stood to counter their vile attacks.
This defence included dozens of volumes of arguments which served to revive the faith of Islam. Indeed, in his magnum opus, Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, he penned over 300 arguments in the defence of Islam.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa, in a Friday Sermon on 9 April 2010, said:
“Having received knowledge from God, he told the world about the superiority of Islam over other religions. He presented the reality of Christianity to the Christian priests who had spoken of Christian dominance in India in such a way that they were forced to be defensive and had to retreat, telling their followers never to engage in discussions with Ahmadis. Christians thought this was a ‘new’ Islam, but in reality, it was the real Islam. The honour of the Holy Prophetsa was being brought back. The superiority of Islam over all other religions was being brought back.” (www.alislam.org/friday-sermon/2010-04-09.html)
Even before this man of God began defending Islam, Allah the Almighty revealed to him of what was to come. In Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part III, the Promised Messiahas writes:
“In 1864 or 1865, when this humble one was in my early youth, and was still pursuing my studies, I saw Hazrat Khatamul-Anbiya, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. At that time, I had in my hand a religious book which I felt was of my own authorship. Upon seeing the book, the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, enquired from me in Arabic: ‘What have you named this book.’ I submitted: ‘I have named it Qutbi’. The interpretation of this name has now come to my mind on the publication of this well-publicised book [i.e., Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya] – that it is a book which, in its reasoning and arguments, is firm and unshakeable, like the polar star. Presenting the firmness of the contents of this book, I have issued a challenge and announced the award of a prize of ten thousand rupees [for anyone who might be able to refute it]. In short, the Holy Prophet took that book from me. The moment the blessed hands of the Holy Prophet touched the book, it became an attractive and lovely fruit resembling a guava, but as large as a watermelon. When the Holy Prophet started cutting it into pieces to distribute, it yielded so much honey that his blessed hand and forearm began to drip with it. Then a dead body that was lying outside the door came to life, as a miracle of the Holy Prophet, and came and stood behind me. My humble self was standing before the Holy Prophet as a supplicant stands before a ruler. The Holy Prophet was occupying his chair in great glory and majesty, and with a display of authority, as if he was a great champion.
“To summarise, the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, handed over to me a piece of the fruit so that I might give it to the newly revived person, and he bestowed upon me all the remaining pieces. I gave that one piece to the revived person, which he ate immediately. When he finished eating it, I noticed that the blessed chair of the Holy Prophet had risen much higher and the countenance of the Holy Prophet began to shine forth like the rays of the sun, which was an indication of the revival and progress of Islam.” (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part III [English translation], pp. 217-218)
Perhaps the most prominent defence of Islam by Hazrat Ahmadas was in December of 1896 at the Lahore Religious Conference. In this conference, Hindus, Christians and Muslims stood to prove the truthfulness of their faiths. Every attack from the other faiths was perfectly countered, and the masterful writing of the Promised Messiahas outlined the beauty of Islam. An audience of thousands witnessed the victory of Islam that weekend. In the end, the press had no choice but to declare Hazrat Ahmad’s defence of Islam the unparalleled best. “The Magnificent Services of the Just Imam, the Promised Messiah to Reform the Mutual Controversies and Distorted Beliefs”. (Friday Sermon delivered by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh on 3 May 1985)
As mentioned in the hadith quoted earlier, the poison of falsehood had also entered into the body of Islam. The Promised Messiahas was the antidote to this poison. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh explained some of the symptoms. From abrogating portions of the Quran to accusing Hazrat Adamas of apostasy and the scholars of Islam also accused Prophet Enochas, Prophet Lotas, Prophet Davidas, Prophet Solomonas and even our master Muhammadsa of various wrongdoings.
They tainted the pristine character of the prophets with their barren claims. They dishonoured the honour of the Holy Quran.
On such perversions, the Promised Messiahas writes:
“[…] another one of our chief objectives is to remove the errors and self-invented beliefs that have crept into Islam. It would be unwise to suggest that there was no difference whatsoever between this Community and other Muslims.”
He continues, “Today, the love of the world dominates every heart, and everyone seems immersed in this very love […] Every form of misconduct and immorality is considered permissible and every possible transgression is brazenly committed. Religion has become fatally weak and stands helpless like an orphan.”
The Promised Messiahas then goes on to unveil the reality of the Ummah. In the end, Huzooras explains:
“It is for this purpose that God Almighty has commissioned me so that I may remove all of these errors and so that I may re-establish true Islam in the world. This is the difference between these people and us. Their conditions no longer accord with the essence of Islam. They have become like a ruined and barren garden. Their hearts are impure. God Almighty desires to create a new people who will become a model of the true Islam by embracing the truth and righteousness.” (The Advent of the Promised Messiah, pp. 22-23, 53)
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa has made it clear that every Ahmadi Muslim must take part in this revival of Islam. Allah Himself says in the Quran:
“And who is better in speech than he who invites [men] to Allah and does good works and says, ‘I am surely of those who submit?” (Surah Ha Mim al-Sajdah, Ch.41: V.34)
As Ahmadi Muslims who have taken bai‘at of the Promised Messiahas, we too must play our role in the battle of defending Islam. We must go out and disseminate the true teachings of Islam. We all thirst and wish that we could have taken part in the Battle of Badr or the Battle of Uhud. Well, there’s a battle going on right now. Let us play our part in it.
May Allah the Almighty enable us to take part and gain blessings from the revival of Islam. Amin.