The True Revolution – Part I


English translation of Inqilab-e-Haqiqi

An address by Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra, Khalifatul Masih II, al-Musleh al-Mau‘ud

Delivered at Jalsa Salana Qadian on 28 December 1937

Hazrat Musleh Maud 1918

In this address, delivered at Jalsa Salana Qadian on 28 December 1937, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra discusses material movements in world history and the secrets of their success, followed by an exploration of the grand epochs of religious movements. He declares that the revolution brought about by the Promised Messiahas was, in essence, a revival of the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. He then speaks about the revolution initiated by the Promised Messiah, outlining the objectives of Tahrik-e-Jadid and associating this revolution with the demands of Tahrik-e-Jadid. Concluding his address, he sheds light on the means to establish an Islamic civilisation and directs the attention of Ahmadis towards their responsibilities.

بِسْمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

        نَحْمَدُہٗ وَنُصَلِّيْ عَلٰي رَسُوْلِہِ الْکَرِيْمِ1

The Essential Principles of Reform

I wish to speak today on a fascinating topic. It is such that I could summarise it in a sentence and then return to my seat, or if I wanted to, and Allah the Exalted blessed me with the opportunity, it could be discoursed on for a number of days, with numerous lectures delivered for several hours at time, without exhausting the fullness of its scope. It is possible, that to some extent, I might even be able to cover this topic in four or five hours. Therefore keeping in view the time, I intend to adopt the latter and [for the occasion at hand], more appropriate course.

واللّٰہُ الْمُوَفِّقُ2

The Principles Governing the Foundation of Nations

To begin, I would like to draw the attention of the community to a fact which should be kept in mind at all times. There are two abiding principles which have always been current in the world and without which nations cannot be preserved.  From the time of Adamas to the present age, no movement, worldly or religious, rational or intellectual, has achieved true success unless it has adhered to the aforementioned principles.

The first principle is that no movement can truly succeed in the world without a new message. That is to say, without imparting to the world a unique idea, or at the very least, something forgotten by the people of the time. For example, in our country, organisations which promote education for boys are effective because, broadly speaking, boys here do not attend school. However, if similar initiatives were undertaken in London or Berlin, they would not amount to much. The public would question the benefit of establishing such advocacy groups when school attendance amongst boys is already regular [and indeed mandatory]. On the contrary, an organisation which promoted one form of education over another would offer something new, and if its ideas were shown to be beneficial, that organisation would find acceptance and be more successful in its aims.

Accordingly, those movements achieve success, which acquaint the world with something that was previously unknown or which forward original ideas. Europeans call this ‘ideology’. 

During my visit to Europe, I was constantly asked about what new message Ahmadiyyat had brought for the world. In other words, what are the principles or specific teachings that Ahmadiyyat propose, which were previously unknown or beyond the consideration of people.

The Holy Qur‘an accepts this principle. God says:

فَأَمَّا الزَّبَدُ فَيَذْ هَبُ جُفَآءً  ج  وَأَمَّا مَا يَنْفَعُ النَّاسَ فَيَمْكُثُ فِى الْأَرْضِ  ط كَذٰ لِكَ يَضْرِبُ اللہُ الْأَمْثَالَ 3

Foam and filth serve no purpose and are so discarded. But such things as water serve humanity, and are therefore made to last in the world. In this way Allah the Exalted expounds examples for all of mankind.

When interpreting this verse, the Promised Messiahas forwarded the principle that every claimant of prophethood whose teaching is adopted and practised by nations for an extended period of time, must be from God Almighty.

Certain ill-informed and ignorant maulawis question the legitimacy of this interpretation. Instead of pondering over the secrets of the Holy Qur‘an , they are prone to criticism. In truth, the current verse and many others, not only allow for this interpretation, but fully establish its truth. That is, all religions which claim to be from God Almighty, and then flourish for hundreds of years, breathing spiritual life into thousands of people, cannot be false. As a result, they have to be accepted as emanating from God Almighty. Indeed, it was on this basis that the Promised Messiahas asserted that Krishanas, Ramchandaras and Buddhaas were all divinely appointed prophets. The accusation of our opponents that the Promised Messiahas has arrived at this interpretation without warrant, merely testifies to their ignorance of the Qur‘anic teachings. Otherwise, the verse I have just read and many others like it refer to this principle. Allah says:فَاَمَٓاالزَّبَدُ فَيَذْھَبُ جُفَآءً   all useless things go to waste; وَأَمَّا مَا يَنفَعُ النَّاسَ فَيَمْكُثُ فِى الْأَرْضِ and all beneficial things stand the test of time. Who can say that forging lies against God Almighty is in any way beneficial? Rather, fabrication of falsehood inexorably leads to self-destruction. Not only do such falsehoods fail to take root in society, Allah the Exalted does not spare a deceitful person from punishment.

Therefore, if any movement successfully establishes itself in the world, it means that it has brought with it a beneficial message. The idea that a liar or a deceitful person can bring with them a message that is not only spiritually beneficial, but also prevails in the world [is preposterous]. Only a fool would disagree. No sensible person could entertain such a notion.

War and Peace: The Paths to Reformation

The second principle necessary for the success of any religious or worldly movement is that there are two possible avenues for reformation: war or peace. New movements either propagate their ideas peacefully or through warfare and fighting. In the first scenario, original ideas are introduced to the world and endure a period of scrutiny. Ultimately, they are embraced and incorporated into the existing system of beliefs. For example, it was once commonly accepted that the earth was flat. Even today there are people who deny that it is round and contend otherwise. Once when I was in Lahore to deliver a lecture at Islamia College, a man stood up during my address and inquired whether (the audience) could ask questions. The president asked him what he wanted to say. He responded that in his opinion the world was not round but flat, and that he wished to debate this matter. The president told him that the lecture had no relevance to this particular discussion. The man replied that regardless of whether it was relevant or not, an issue of such importance cannot be overlooked.

Hence, people like this still exist, even if they are a minority. However, in the past, with the exception of the Muslims, nearly everyone considered the world to be flat. While the idea of the sphericity of the earth was prevalent amongst the Muslim community, most of Europe was strident in its denial. Accordingly, when the question of the sphericity of the earth was raised, the people of Europe stood opposed to the idea. But the Muslim community had long accepted this truth. Indeed, Columbus was seized by the desire to discover the Americas after learning of this theory from the Muslims. Columbus was the student of a Muslim scholar, who was a follower of Muhyiddin ibn Arabirh. On the basis of some dreams and visions, [Ibn Arabi]rh had written that at the end of the Spanish seas lay a vast country. And because Muslims had started to accept the idea that the world was round, the follower of Ibn Arabirh postulated that the land intimated in his dream was India. When Columbus encountered these traditions, he was seized by a desire to travel to India by sea. However, such a colossal expedition required substantial financial backing which Columbus did not have. Therefore, in order to raise the required capital, he presented his enterprise before the King of Spain. Columbus also sent word of it to the Queen through certain leading personalities of the day, so that she may bear some influence on the King.

The Queen was swayed by Columbus’ bid and saw a beneficial outcome for her nation in the success of the voyage. And so she promised to appeal to her husband and indeed made good on her pledge. However, when the King sought advice from the nobility of his court, the emissary of the Pope scoffed at the idea and claimed that the very notion of a round earth was not only ludicrous, but went against the fundamental concepts of religion. It would thus be absurd and most unwise to finance anyone foolish enough to believe this. With passionate words, he fiercely opposed Columbus’ voyage and insisted that, either he was a fool, or he wished to make fools of the members of the court. The emissary argued that if the world was round and India was situated at its opposite end, the inhabitants there would hang in the wind. [Pursuing this course of reasoning], he argued that Columbus wished them to believe that there were people in the world who lived upside down; there existed trees, the roots of which hung in the air whilst their branches nestled on the ground; in parts of the world, rather than from the top down, the rain fell from the bottom up; and instead of above the earth, in some areas of the world, the sun was below it. Thus through his sophistry, this cardinal was able to put his ignorant ideas across in such a convincing way that he persuaded the court that Columbus was little more than a charlatan. Consequently, the king was advised not to extend his patronage to the expedition, and for many years Columbus was unable to make his voyage. Eventually in the end it was the Queen who financed the voyage with her own wealth and Columbus went on to discover America—a discovery that was extremely prosperous for Spain.

There was a time when renowned intellectuals were unwilling to accept that the world was round. They laughed at the very idea. But today, ask any child and they will tell you the world is round and proof of this is the fact that the upper section of a plane is always seen before the lower half when viewed from the earth. In this way, they can point to a whole host of other proofs. Thus the world has now accepted this fact and it is commonly agreed upon.

Certain ideas are slow to be accepted. Sometimes they replace previously established beliefs, at other times they fit into the existing order. For example, when cars and lorries were first invented, horses continued [to serve as a means of transportation], but the former were still able to carve out a space for themselves. In England, when the railway was first introduced, people would lie down on the tracks and declare that even the threat of death would not deter them from thwarting this enterprise. And yet today railways are found everywhere.

The Arabs protested the introduction of the telephone in Mecca because they considered it satanic. Ibn Saud4 faced such fierce opposition over the issue that his army almost turned against him. He was eventually forced to confront the protestors who insisted that the telephone was an invention of the devil. The protestors questioned how else one could account for the fact that the voice of a person speaking in Jeddah was able to reach Mecca, other than ascribing it to an act orchestrated by Satan? This greatly distressed Ibn Saud who was unsure about how to resolve the crises. Eventually, an individual decided to take it upon himself to clarify the matter. [He devised a scheme whereby] he had a telephone conversation with an Arab chief who purported that Satan was responsible for carrying voices across the device. He asked him whether it was reported in a hadith that the words 5لَا حَوْلَ chase   Satan away. The chief replied yes. He then inquired what would become of a person who rejected this hadith. The reply came that such a person would be a disbeliever. Consequently, the man spoke the words there is no power over the phone and asked how it was possible for Satan to utter them when it was said that they drive him away. The chief was satisfied by this and publicly announced that Satan was not responsible for communicating voices over the phone. Instead, it was another entity altogether.

Numerous movements arise in the world. They are initially opposed but eventually establish themselves and come to fit into the wider framework of society. Other movements, however, completely destroy the previous order. They do not compromise or integrate into the existing structure. Instead, they eradicate the system they find and create a new order. Wars (both physical and spiritual) are fought for the sake of these movements and, [during their struggle], it appears as if all peace has disappeared. After the fighting and hostilities come to an end, they manage to establish themselves and peace is restored.

The episode of the telephone reminds me of an incident I heard from Nawab Akbar Yar Jang Sahib Bahadur. [As I recall it] when a loudspeaker system was first installed in the Hyderabad Mosque, the local residents issued edicts of disbelief against it. Only yesterday, in the ladies’ section of our own Jalsa site, a similar edict was passed. A group of women who wished to sit closer to the stage were stopped by the organisers of the Jalsa, who told them that because of the loudspeaker system, they did not need to sit so close to the front. The proceedings could be heard everywhere. However, these women retorted by saying that they were wise to the deceit of the organisers. After all, they reasoned, no one was so foolish as to believe that a tin machine, that is, the loudspeaker could speak. These women sought to furnish proof of their intelligence by claiming that the [so-called] tin installation was incapable of conveying sound and that this was merely an excuse on the part of the organisers to ensure that their friends and acquaintances were able to sit at the front.

Our friends should inform their wives that this tin machine does indeed speak. Yesterday, a scuffle broke out among the ladies and some were even able to overpower those on security. They would not let the organisers deceive them they claimed. It should be explained to them that we did not invent this tool of ‘deception’; rather it is a European creation, and it does indeed carry sound across great distances.

Thus there are two principal means of reform; war and peace. A new movement is either incorporated into the old order and both merge to exist as one to create a new system, or they fall into conflict and the more recent of the two prevails and establishes itself in the world.

The former can be referred to as evolution. In other words, change which is affected so efficiently that people barely notice it comes to pass. However, the second type of reform which has to be fought for, is referred to in Arabic as inqilab, i.e., revolution and is the same as the one intimated in the slogan long live the revolution which Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru raised in the [Indian] assembly. The slogan reveals a point of conflict between Congress and the present government, as well as the former’s unwillingness to compromise along with its desire to replace [the British Raj] with its own rule. But in truth, Congress has accepted many concessions and now controls a number of provinces. Therefore, their current slogans ring hollow and empty. They sound just like the loud squawking of a parrot. Otherwise, as such, the revolutionary period of Congress has come to an end.

Hence, revolution can be defined as the total rejection of the existing order culminating in its destruction and overthrow by a new way of life.

Religious revolutions are referred to in the language of Islamic terminology as the Day of Judgment. Moreover, they are also called 6خَلْقِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الْاَرْضِ  that is, the creation of a new heaven and a new earth. Revolutions are also called The Hour. The Holy Qur‘an  has referred to religious revolutions by all three terms in order to expound on their true meanings.

The many changes that have taken place in the world, or the success of particular movements has occurred in accordance with these principles. There exists no international or lasting movement that has not brought with it a new message or which did not give birth to a revolution.

Movements of progressive reform are not as exceptional as [their more aggressive equivalents]. The greatest movements have thus always been ushered in by a revolution. Considered in this light, we [the Ahmadiyya Community] have a greater right to raise the slogan of long live the revolution. However, by this, we mean one thing, while Congress means another.


  1. In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. We praise Allah, the Exalted, the Greatest, and we invoke His blessings on His Holy Messengersa. [Publishers]
  2. And only Allah is the granter of strength. [Publishers]
  3. Surah Ar-Ra‘d, 13:18 [Publishers]
  4. Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud, famously known as Ibn Saud, was a prominent Arab statesman and religious figure renowned for establishing Saudi Arabia, marking the advent of its third political era. Serving as its inaugural monarch from September 23, 1932, until his demise in 1953, he wielded authority over various territories of the realm since 1902. Prior to ascending to the throne as the King of Saudi Arabia, he held positions as Emir, Sultan, and King of Nejd, as well as King of Hejaz. [Publishers]
  5. There is no power. [Publishers]
  6. Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:165 [Publishers]

(Translation by Fazl-e-Umar Foundation, English Section)

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