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Pir Syed Ghulam Moin-ul-Haq Gilani
 

 

Pir Mehr Ali Shah (RA)

  A brief Sketch of his Life, Work, Achievements and Spiritual Greatness

By

Dr. Muhammad Fadil Khan

Under the Guidance

Of

HADRAT Syed GHULAM MOINUDDIN

&

HADRAT Syed SHAH ABDUL HAQ

Sajjadah Nashinan of Golra Sharif 1989

 

 

Hadrat Pir Meher Ali Shah Of Golra Sharif- 6

Ancestry and birth- 6

The early years and education- 7

The spiritual journey- 7

Visit to the Hedjaz (Saudi Arabia for Haj) 9

Character and attributes- 10

a.     Erudition and learning- 10

b.     Strict observance of the Shariah- 11

c.     Balance and moderation- 11

d.     Religious tolerance- 13

e.     Humility- 14

f.      Mercy, compassion and constancy- 14

g.     Charity and munificence- 15

h.     Aversion to cultivate the elite- 16

Other aspects of life- 17

i.      Daily schedule- 17

ii.      Travels- 17

iii.     Karamat , (Graces or mini-miracles)- 18

iv.    Sama ‘(Devotional music)- 18

v.     Spiritual absorption (Istighraq)- 19

vi.    Decline in health- 20

vii.    Passing away of Hadrat- 20

Teachings of Hadrat Meher Ali Shah-- 21

Excerpts from Hadrat’s writings and sayings- 24

The shrines and ceremonies at Golra Sharif- 28

The Madressah-- 28

TWO SPECIAL DISTINCTIONS OF 29

HADRAT PIR MEHER ALI SHAH- 29

A.     Mastery of the Concept of Wahdat-ul-wujud- 30

a.     From the Qur’an- 31

b.     From the Hadith- 31

B.     Fight against Qadianism (or Ahmadiyat)- 35

Qadianism – Historical background, genesis and growth-- 35

Early life of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of Qadiani movement 37

Early beliefs entirely orthodox- 38

The mental state of contemporary Indian Muslims- 39

Mirza’s claim to be a mathil of Jesus Christ, the Messiah- 39

From Messiah’s mathil to Messiah in person- 40

Claim to prophethood- 42

a.     “Shadow prophet”- 43

b.     Full prophet with a shari’ah- 43

Wahi (revelation), Ilham (inspiration), and predictions of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad- 44

a.     Wahi 44

b.     Ilham-- 44

c.     Predictions- 46

Distortion of the Qur’an and the Hadith- 47

Disagreement with Muslim Ummah on every principle of Islam- 47

(i)    Descent of angels- 47

(ii)    The human spirit (Ruh)- 48

(iii)   Jehad (Holy War )- 48

(iv)   Attitude towards descendents of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). 51

Bewildering Variety of Mirza’s Claims- 51

Impact of Mirza’s claims on the Muslim Ummah- 52

The Qadiani and Lahore factions- 53

Summary so far 54

Hadrat Pir Meher Ali Shah’s- 54

Fight against Qadianism (Ahmadiyat) 54

Qadiani request for support and Hadrat’s response- 56

Mirza’s challenge to Hadrat for written contest- 62

Hadrat’s reply accepting the challenge- 63

A poster from other ‘Ulama- 64

Qadiani objection to Hadrat’s proposal for oral debate before a written contest and its consequent withdrawal 65

Huge Muslim assemblage at Lahore, venue of the contest- 66

Hadrat’s arrival in Lahore- 66

Mirza’s failure to reach Lahore- 67

Reaction among Mirza’s followers- 67

Muslim public meeting in Badshahi Mosque, Lahore- 68

A new challenge of Mirza Sahib- 71

Some salient’s excerpts from Saif-e-Chishtiyai 72

A Summing Up- 74

APPENDIX I- 74

POETRY- 81

Mir’at-ul ‘Irfan “The Mirror of Spiritual Knowledge” 81

ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF POSTER DATED 21 AUGUST 1900 ISSUED ON BEHALF OF HADRAT PIR MEHER ALI SHAH-- 83

BY HAKIM SULTAN MAHMUD OF RAWALPINDI- 83

 

Hadrat Pir Meher Ali Shah Of Golra Sharif

         

          One of the most illustrious of such Islamic scholars and Sufis in the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent was Hadrat Sayed Pir Meher Ali Shah of Golra, District Rawalpindi (now Islamabad. Pakistan).  Born in 1859, the period of Hadrat Meher ‘Ali Shah’s mission spanned nearly half a century until his passing away in 1937. During this period, he attained rare scholarly and spiritual heights, imparted religious knowledge and guidance to thousands of their seekers, and provided solace and prayers to the myriad others that thronged to him for this purpose. The remainder of this booklet describes the salient attributes and achievements of this great man and his mission.

 

Ancestry and birth

 

          Hadrat Meher ‘Ali Shah was a direct descendent, from the side of both of his parents, of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) of Islam, and of his son-in law and principal spiritual successor, fourth Righteous Caliph ‘Ali. The fact that all the illustrious prophets of God during the past three thousand years or so, including Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), were descendents of Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim), underscores the importance of lineage in matters religious and spiritual. While personal qualities and effort are as essential in these fields as in any other, chaste lineage and family environment undoubtedly provide the backdrop in which piety and virtue can geminate and thrive. This in no way contravenes the principle of equality at the general human level which Islam so strongly stresses.

         

          In the 25th generation, Hadrat Meher ‘Ali Shah descended from a scholar and sage of unequalled renown in the Muslim world, namely, Hadrat Shaikh ‘Abdul Qadir Gilani. Widely acknowledged as the greatest Sufi divine of all time, Shaikh ‘Abdul Qadir was born in Gilan (Iran), but received his religious and spiritual education at Baghdad, which was then the foremost Islamic centre of learning, and spent the rest of his life teaching and dispensing spiritual guidance there. The Shaikh is popularly known as the Ghauthul A’zam (The Great Helper), Mohyuddin. The Reviver of Religion), and Piran-e-Pir. The Pir of Pirs). These titles signify, respectively, the Shaikh’s outstanding spiritual capacity to give succour to those in distress, his great services in revitalizing Islam and its hold on the minds and actions of his contemporaries, and his ascendancy over other sufi masters of his own and other generations. The Shaikh’s shrine in Baghdad is a place of pilgrimage for sufis and non-sufies alike from all parts of the Muslims world.

 

          The ancestors of Hadrat Meher ‘Ali Shah had migrated in the mid-fifteenth century A.D. from Baghdad to the Province of Bengal in India, whence their offspring later moved to other parts of the Subcontinent and finally settled down at Golra in the province of Punjab towards the end of the 18th century. Here it was that Hadrat Meher ‘Ali Shah was born on the first day of Ramadan (the Muslim fasting month) in 1275 A.H. (1859 A.D.). His family had been known for piety and saintliness even before him. His father, Sayyid Nadhar Din Shah, during his youth, had been condemned to be publicly burnt alive by the local Sikh ruler providentially vindicated when the fire blazing all around him failed to touch his person a miraculous incident that had added greatly to the family’s prestige and veneration. Nevertheless, it was only with the advent and rise to eminence of Hadrat Meher ‘Ali Shah that the family as well as its abode, Golra, acquired wide and enduring fame.

 

The early years and education

 

          Hadrat Meher ‘Ali Shah, to be referred to henceforth mainly as “Hadrat”, was a uniquely endowed child, possessing extraordinary intelligence, memory, physique, and other qualities of head and heart. His birth had been spiritually foretold much in advance, and many portents testified to his being a born wali (saint). His early religious education was arranged by his parents and elders under carefully selected and eminent local teachers. Later, he himself sought out the best available teachers in remote parts of the Sub-continent, and traveled to their schools to complete his education. Hadrat’s rare intellect, his thirst for learning, and his single-minded devotion to studies enabled him to cover all known fields of Islamic religious education, and to start teaching himself at Golra, by the relatively early age of 20 years. His phenomenal memory enabled him to memorize the entire Qur’an just by reading it several times, and without any conscious or systematic effort towards that end. His teachers included, among others, Maulana Lutfullah of Aligarh and Maulana Ahmad Ali of Saharanpur, both of country-wide contemporary fame. He also tried to join the school of another famous scholar and teacher, Maulana Ahmad Hasan Muhaddith of Kanpur, but the latter could not admit him because of his impending journey to the Hedjaz for Haj (the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Holy Ka’bah, the House of God, at Makkah) – a journey that used to take months in those days of relatively slow transport. Many years later, when Hadrat’s own fame spread far and wide, Maulana Ahmad Hasan used to regret his having turned away a pupil of such outstanding caliber and potential. He in fact once traveled to Pakpattan, the resting place of Hadrat Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar, another very great name among the Muslim sufis of the Sub-continent, on the occasion of the latter’s annual ‘Urs which Hadrat used to attend regularly, solely to earn the privilege of meeting him.

 

The spiritual journey

 

          Having equipped himself with the knowledge of all aspects of the Islamic shariah (temporal code), Hadart diverted his attention, in line with the family tradition, to the spiritual field. He was first initiated into his ancestral Qadiriyah sufi school by his father’s maternal uncle, Pir Fadal uddin. Later, for further spiritual elevation, he sought induction into the Chishtiyah Nizamiyah order at the hands of its leading contemporary light, Hadrat Khwaja Shamsuddin of Siyal Sharif (distt. Sargodha, the Punjab). His formal links remained throughout with these two schools, to which he initiated seekers of spiritual guidance at his hands. Some years later, during his visit to the Hedjaz for Haj, he was admitted to, and permitted to initiate people into, the Chishtiyah Sabiriyah order by Haji Imdadullah Mohajir of Makkah, who had been greatly impressed by Hadrat’s erudition and scholarly prowess during discussion on an important but complex religious issue.

 

          The period of Hadrat’s spiritual growth was marked by wide travels, extended spells of self-imposed seclusion for purposes of contemplation, prayer and meditation, fasting, and diverse spiritual exercises. These, inter alia, included muraqabah, (contemplation) on a stone slab of the size of a prayer mat, which was placed outside his hujrah (prayer cell). On this slab, Hadrat often spent whole nights (including the long and exceedingly cold winter ones) sitting motionless in single-minded contemplation until the break of dawn, when he rose to prepare for his morning prayers. During daytime, the same slab used to serve as a seat for his teaching and related activities. There are also numerous spots in the districts of Lahore, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, and Rawalpindi, and in the hills around Golra, where Hadrat spent long periods in prayer, dhikr (remembrance), and reflection. These spells constitute recognized essential elements in classical Islamic Sufism as aids to soul-purification, and are meant to enable the salik (i.e., wayfarer or traverser of the ‘Path’) to “graduate” and become a mentor for others. They are rooted in the Holy Prophet (PBUH)’s own periods of retirement into the cave of Hira outside Makkah for contemplation and prayer, which preceded his formal elevation to prophethood. They tend sometimes to be compared to Christian monasticism (i.e. , monkhood). The comparison is, however, totally invalid and misleading. First, how could the Sufi adopt monasticism or anything patterned on it when, according to the Qur’an, monasticism was not enjoined by God even upon the Christians but they imposed it upon themselves? (cf. LVII-27). Second, seclusion under Christian monasticism is intended generally to be life-long, whereas in Sufism it is a temporary and passing phase among a succession of consciously planned phases. And third, Christian monasticism seems to stem from the concept that worldly life is essentially sinful and must be abjured completely if salvation is to be attained. Islam categorically rejects this concept, and maintains that all human actions are virtuous or otherwise depending upon whether or not they are performed according to Divine Will or Injunction.

 

          The foregoing argument is endorsed by the New Encyclopedia Britannica (op. cit. , Vol. 8, p. 245), which traces the origins of monasticism to Christianity, and compares the Christian monastic practices to those in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Taoism, but makes no mention of Islam in this context.

 

          It also seems necessary here to correct a mistaken conclusion drawn by those critics of sufism who have interpreted the call made by many sufi masters for the “abjuration of the world” in its purely literal sense and equated it with a plea for hermitism. What the sufi masters have in fact meant is not the renunciation of worldly life and its pursuits as such, which would be palpably un-Islamic, but abstention from the love of and too much pre-occupation with worldly goods, luxury, and comforts to such an extent as to become forgetful of God and of one’s duty to Him. This sufi approach is supported by several verses of the Qur’an, of which two may be cited here: (i) “O ye believers, when the call to prayer is proclaimed on Friday (the day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allah, and leave off business; that is best for you if ye but knew. And when the prayer is finished, then ye disperse through the land, and seek of the Bounty of God (i.e., resume your usual activities of life) and celebrate the praises of Allah often that ye may benefit.” (LXII, 9-10); and (ii) “O ye believers, let not your riches or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah; if anyone acts thus, they are the losers.” (LXIII-9). In accord with the spirit of these Qur’anic admonitions, many of the renowned sufi masters pursued different vocations and trades to earn honest living, simultaneously with their pursuit of the spiritual path. This is also in complete accord with the Prophet’s saying which forms the basis of the adage: “Al-kasibo habibullah i.e. , Allah loves him who earns his living by working.

 

          Furthermore, history records numerous instances in which the sufis waged valiant struggles, both with the spoken and the written word as well as with the sword when this became unavoidable, against forces of tyranny and oppression. The participation of sufi dervishes in the Muslim military campaigns in different countries has already been mentioned on page 18 above. The sufis also played a prominent role in reviving the spirits of the Muslim ummah after the greatest calamity that had befallen the Islamic world in the shape of the Mongol invasion of the mid-seventh century A.H., which destroyed everything that came in its way. They were even instrumental in the large-scale conversions to Islam of the Qadiriyah and Naqshbandiyah schools are known to have waged armed jehad against the Russians in the Central Turkestan both during Czarist rule and during the period since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Finally, to quote The New Encyclopedia Britannica once again, sufi masters “have raised their voices against social inequality and have tried, even at the cost of their lives, to change social and political conditions for the better and to spiritually revive the masses.” (cf. Vol. 22, 1985, p. 24).

 

          In line with the foregoing quotations from the Qur’an and the hadith, the great sufi poet Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, whose celebrated Mathnavi ranks among the loftiest sufi works and was termed by ‘Abdul Rahman Jami as  “the Qur’an in Persian language,  sums up the sufi view of “the world” in the following verse:

 

(What is the world? It is not vocation, riches, sons or wives, but forgetfulness of God.)

 

          In Islamic sufism, therefore, the seclusion, contemplation and prayer are meant to enable the sufi to single-mindedly traverse the various stages of spiritual growth, and thereby prepare himself for an eventual role of mentorship which he must perform in the full blaze of the public eye. And this is precisely what happened in Hadrat’s case. The period between his spiritual “graduation” in 1889 A.D. (1307 A.H.), and his passing away 48 years later, was wholly devoted by Hadrat to the dispensation of knowledge and spiritual guidance to the hundreds of thousands who sought them at his hands.

 

Visit to the Hedjaz (Saudi Arabia for Haj)

 

          Haj, i.e., the pilgrimage to Holy Ka’bah at Makkah, is prescribed as an obligatory religious duty, to be performed at least once in his or her lifetime, for every adult Muslim man and woman who can afford the journey financially and physically. Visit to pay homage (ziarah) at the tomb of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) at Madinah is an integral and essential part of the Haj programme. Besides operating as a means of consolidating the unity of the world Muslim community, Haj and ziarah confer untold religious and spiritual benefits upon individual pilgrims, especially those who are mystically inclined. Hadrat undertook this sacred journey in 1307 A.H. at the age of 31, accompanied by one of his disciples. During his stay in the Hedjaz, he met several well-known religious personalities, including Haji Imdadullah Mohajir of Makkah (cf. footnote 41) and Haji Rahmatullah Mohajir of Makkah. Maulana Muhammad Ghazi, who was then teaching at Madressah Saulatiyah, the leading religious school at Makkah, was so deeply impressed by Hadrat’s erudition and overpowered by this magnetic personality that he left his job at Makkah and accompanied Hadrat on his return journey to Golra. He spent the rest of his life teaching and benefiting from Hadrat’s company at Golra, where he also served as the principal tutor of Hadrat’s only son and successor, Hadrat Sayyid Ghulam Mohyuddin, affectionately nicknamed by Hadrat as Babuji.

 

          The journey to Madinah, a little over 400 kilometers from Makkah, used to be performed on camelback in those days of slow and primitive transport, and took several weeks. It was during this journey that Hadrat was honored with a vision of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in dream, which, besides other spiritual benefits, inspired him to compose a na’t, i.e., poem in the Prophet’s adoration, in the Punjabi language that has attained wide popularity in sufi circles.

 

Character and attributes

 

          Hadrat’s attributes and achievements are too numerous and wide-ranging to admit of elaboration in this booklet. They will therefore be touched upon here only briefly and selectively. A full account of Hadrat’s life and work is contained in his detailed Urdu-language biography by Maulana Faid Ahmad, titled Mehr-e-Munir, which has already been mentioned in the Preface to the booklet.

 

          The attributes of Hadrat set out in the succeeding paragraphs add up to a combination that is rarely found in religious personalities, and that earned Hadrat the esteem of phenomenon in this part of the world.

 

a.                 Erudition and learning

 

          The solid scholarly base of classical Sufism was noted earlier (pp.8-9). In line with this tradition, Hadrat devoted his early years to the learning and mastering of all basic religious sciences of Islam and the rest of his life to furthering that knowledge and imparting it to others. To his store of shariah knowledge, he added a deep study of all important Sufi literature. In some of this literature, e.g., the Mathnavi of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi and the writings of Shaikh Mohyuddin Ibn-ul-‘Arabi, he was acknowledged as a leading authority in the Sub-continent. In the understanding, exposition, and balanced interpretation of the latter’s concept of wahdat-ul-wujud, Ultimate Oneness of Being) in particular, with its myriad fine and subtle nuances, Hadrat stands very high among the ‘ulama and sufis of the Sub-continent. He also had mastery in the ‘science of numbers, (ilm-ul-adad) or ‘ilm0ul-huruf, science of letters), which is regarded in sufism as the root of science and is said to have been pioneered by Imam Ja’far Sadiq, a great grandson of Fourth Caliph ‘Ali.

 

          As a result of all this, Hadrat developed in course of time into one of the most eminent religious-cum-mystic scholars this Sub-continent has produced. His ability to write and speak masterfully in Arabic and Persian, which have been the two principal languages of Islam throughout its history, brought him recognition in the entire Muslim world. A substantial part of Hadrat’s writings is in these languages. Those who had the privilege and good fortune of listening to him on religious and spiritual matters were spell-bound by his mastery of exposition, strength of argument, depth and breadth of knowledge, sharpness of intellect, and above all his ability to explain the most complex issues in simple and concise but convincing terms for the benefit of persons with average intelligence. His sittings were always attended by a sprinkling of scholars, seeking to advance and sharpen their knowledge of various rissues, yet he spoke to everyone at his respective level of understanding. In short, Hadrat had been blessed that rare capacity to imbibe and impart knowledge which is given only to the very select few.

 

b.         Strict observance of the Shariah

 

As noted in earlier sections of this booklet, all eminent Sufis of Islam based their spiritual development on a thorough knowledge and a strict observance of the Islamic shariah, and regarded even slight deviation from the dictates of the shariah as antithetical to true sufism and tantamount to sin. Indeed, classical Sufism was inconceivable without this combination of temporal and spiritual rectitude. In course of time, however, as happens with all human institutions, the combination tended to develop kinks and many latter-day Sufis started seeking or claming spiritual elevation without due knowledge or observance of the shariah. Inevitably this caused the gradual decline of Sufism from its pristine glory; it even brought some discredit to this one-time illustrious institution. The critics, who chose to judge Sufism, not by the lofty standards set by its classical masters but by the diluted ones of the latter-day pseudo-Sufis, quickly multiplied and are found in large numbers today. Nevertheless, the truly eminent Sufis have never wavered from the classical path, and shariah observance has remained their hall-mark. Being in the line of the truly great, Hadrat strictly followed the dictates of the shariah in all that he said, did or preached. He strongly discouraged deviation from the path of the Qur’an and the sunnah, not only in matters of religious ritual (e.g., the daily prayers) but also in day-to-day social affairs, such as those pertaining to mutual dealings, religious tolerance, marriage and divorce, treatment of dependents or neighbors, and so on. This accounts for the universal esteem in which he was held by all schools of religious and secular thought.

 

c.         Balance and moderation

 

          Both as a scholar, a sufi, and a human being, Hadrat’s method was marked by that balance and moderation which is the essence of Islam, which distinguishes it from other great faiths known to man, and of which the Holy Prophet (PBUH) himself was the epitome and the perfect exemplar.

 

In a long life fully and cleanly lived, Hadrat maintained an exquisite balance between his religious and secular obligations. In the former sphere, he imparted religious and spiritual light to hundreds of thousands; taught the famous Mathnavi of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, and the writings of Shaikh Mohyuddin Ibn-ul-Arabi; issued fatawa, authoritative rulings) on important religious issues referred to him; participated in scholarly religious debates when ever this became absolutely necessary; campaigned untiringly and effectively against movements seeking to disrupt the Muslim community; and indulged ceaselessly in meditation, prayer, and remembrance of the Supreme Being which is the essence of Islam. In the secular sphere, he maintained all family and other wordly relationships and did so in strict accord with the Islamic shariah. In short, his life exemplifies what a poet has summed up in a beautiful Persian verse:

 

(I do not ask thee to forsake the world; only be with God, i.e. , remember Him, wherever thou mayst be.)

 

On religious issues, Hadrat’s approach, unlike that of some of his contemporaries, was based on absolute moderation and tolerance for points of view different from his own. On those rare occasions when it became absolutely necessary to express his disagreement with others, he would do so very mildly and in the most refined manner so as not to give the slightest offence. For example, in relation to a religious scholar who was and is held in high esteem by a particular sect of Muslims, he once observed: “His scholarly greatness and his services to Islam are beyond dispute. However, on certain issues on which there is consensus among the Muslim ummah, he has chosen to adopt an extreme and a rigid stance. (cf. Mehr-e-Munir, op. cit. , p. 142.” This attribute of Hadrat helps prove the truth of the view expressed by a present-day scholar that “there is a linear relationship between the depth of knowledge and the degree of tolerance.”

 

Carefully avoiding the extremes of the various sects that have created everlasting schisms in the Muslim ummah over the centuries, Hadrat exhorted his followers and others to always emphasise the points of union rather than those of disunity. Averse to petty sectarian controversies, he nevertheless did participated at times in debates involving fundamental religious questions concerned with the preservation of the pristine purity of Islam. For example, he stood up firmly against those new sects which tended to reject the Prophet’s hadith as an authentic source of the Islamic shariah and to rely on the Qur’an as the sole such source. He also strongly repudiated views involving eh slightest disrespect to the august personality of the Prophet (PBUH) of Islam. Even in these matters, however, while he invariable clinched the issue with brilliant decisive points, he never indulged in the acrimony usually associated with such occasions. His fatawa (rulings) on religious issues were marked by the same moderation. Except for the Qadianis who blatantly infringed the fundamental Islamic doctrine of the finality of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), he never denounced any other of the parochial Muslim sects as kafir (infidel). Instead, he tried, most often successfully, to bring them round to the correct point of view through persuasion and patient argument. In brief, he sought to resolve rather than aggravate parochial differences, to promote love and understanding rather than fan hatred and acrimony, and to forge unity rather than foster schism.

 

In this context, one of Hadrat’s major contributions was the compilation of a book entitled Tasfiah Mabain Sunni wa Shi’ah (Sunni-Shiah Reconciliation), which was intended to decisively resolve the long-standing differences between Islam’s two leading sects (the Sunni and the Shi’ah) that have caused incalculable damage to the world Muslim community over the past 12 centuries. Unfortunately, Hadrat passed away before the final completion and publication of this book. After a careful review, the book has been recently published with suitable explanatory notes alongwith Hadrat’s other writings. A gist of the contents of this book appears under item of Appendix I to this booklet, which gives an annotated list of the published writings of Hadart Meher Ali Shah.

 

 

d.         Religious tolerance

As noted earlier, the spread of Islam in various parts of the world, especially in the Indo-Pak sub-continent, owes a great deal to the missionary work of the Sufis. Yet the Sufis set unrivalled examples of religious tolerance as well. Their own lives on the loftiest principles of Islam; those around them were led to embrace this model because they found it irresistibly enchanting and better than anything they had seen or experienced before. Not the slightest coercion was used for this purpose. The Sufis captured the hearts of people with sheer beauty of character and nobility of conduct. They answered hostility and bigotry with compassion, forgiveness, and a total lack of malice. In times of need, they extended succour to all, irrespective of caste, colour or creed. As a result, even those who did not embrace Islam came to have feelings of deep respect for them as human beings. This respect endured even beyond their earthly lives. As briefly noted earlier (page 20), the shrines of eminent Sufis are held in reverence and visited by many non-Muslims a remarkable phenomenon considering that these same Sufis had been responsible for drawing thousands of their co-religionists away from their ancestral faith.

 

          After encountering initial hostility from the non-Muslim ruler and residents of Golra, mentioned on page 23 above, the family of Hadrat Pir Meher Ali Shah came to command their respect and thereby live in peace in their newly-chosen abode. This respect grew with time and attained its peak during the period of Hadrat and his successor, Hadrat Babuji. The harmony and good will thus developed was demonstrated in full measure during the country-wide communal discord that erupted at the time of the emerging states of India and Pakistan, accompanied by massive loss of life and property on both sides. During this crisis, Hadrat Babuji first gave protection of life and property to the local non-Muslim residents, and later escorted them personally to the Indo-Pakistan border and saw them cross safely over to India. The feelings of gratitude and obligation thus generated found moving expression during the first few visits that Hadrat Babuji made to India after Independence, when hundreds of Hindus and Sikhs received him with deep affection and played host to him during his stay in that country.

 

For political reasons, the conditions for travel between the two countries worsened with the passage of time. As a result, Hadrat Babuji visited India very infrequently during the later years. Nevertheless, the feelings of affection for him of his non-Muslim admirers in India endured undiminished, and many of them were in regular correspondence with him until his passing away in 1974 A.D.

 

 


e.         Humility

 

          Like all truly great men, Hadrat was modest and humble in spirit as well as in bearing, and deeply disliked pride and conceit of any kind. This was in line with the Qur’anic denunciation of these things at several places (e.g., XVII-37, 38; XXXI-18; and XL-35), and with the Prophet’s saying that no person with even an iota of pride and conceit shall enter paradise. A profound and brilliant scholar, he always called himself a mere “student” of religion and “dust of the feet” of the great early masters. He called his disciples “friends” and “associates” and never sought distinguished posture in their company. He lived frugally and ate very sparingly. His dress was also simple and usually white, but always spotlessly clean as enjoined by Islam. He often indulged in pleasantries with the poor and the lowly, making everyone of his myriad followers feel he was kinder to him than to everyone else. His reverence of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) , of the Ahl-e-Baet (i.e, members of the Prophet’s household), of the Prophet’s Companions, and of the great old spiritual masters, was profound and complete. He also treated with great respect his teachers as well as their family members, and even those others who were in any way associated with them. He was thus a true exemplar of the following verses of the great Rumi.

 

(We seek of God the capacity for “respect” because the disrespectful never receive God’s grace)

 

(The disrespectful is not only bad himself; he also kindles fire, i.e., spreads evil, in the entire universe).

 

f.         Mercy, compassion and constancy

 

          Hadrat had a heart full of kindness and grace for every one. He felt deeply for all those who came to him with their tales of affliction or wrote to him about them, seeking his prayers for relief. He listened to everyone with concern and sympathy, and consoled and prayed for them. He cultivated enduring relationship with everyone that came into contact with him, and this relationship was sustained and nurtured even if the other party for some reason became lukewarm or even indifferent. This was because the objective was not worldly gain or loss but love for the sake of Allah. Critics and detractors were thus treated with even greater grace than the admirers. All this reflected the universality of love that had been preached and practiced by the Prophet of Islam (PBUH), whom the Qur’an terms Rahmat-ul-lil-alamin., i.e., mercy for all the worlds (XXI-107). It also exemplified Allah’s own attributes of Mercifulness and Compassion which, as they appear in the Qur’an, far out number and outweigh His authoritarian attributes. Indeed according to the Qur’an, Allah has made Mercy obligatory upon Himself (cf. VI-12 and 54), His Mercy extends over everything (VII-156), He forgives all sins (XXXIX-53), and only the non-believers and those who go astray despair of His Mercy (XII-87 and XV-56).

 


g.       Charity and munificence

 

Consistent with their calculated abstention from worldly involvements that might divert them from their foremost duty of remembrance of God, the great sufi masters never sought to amass wealth or other worldly goods beyond their legitimate needs. Following the illustrious example of the Prophet (PBUH), his Companions, and members of his household, they preferred the needs of others to poor and the hungry even while starving themselves. For this reason, they were popularly referred to as darvish or faqir, which literally means ‘the poor ones’ but in reality denotes those who do not care for worldly riches, material possessions, or physical desires.

 

          Once a sufi master’s fame spread, and the circle of his disciples and admires grew, money and goods started flowing to him in the form of voluntary offerings. Yet many of the sufi masters are known to have given away all of it in charity, keeping nothing for themselves or their families. This was reminiscent of the occasion when the Prophet’s closest Companion and first Righteous Caliph Abubakr donated everything that he had for jehad (armed holy combat), and upon the Prophet’s query as to what he had kept back for himself and his family replied that Allah and His Prophet (PBUH) were enough for them.

 

          Free kitchens (called langar), were run by all eminent sufi masters for the benefit of those who visited them and wished to stay for a while. Their domestic life remained simple and austere, free from wasteful indulgence and luxury, and having only one over-riding objective, namely, doing everything according to God’s command and to earn His pleasure.

 

          Generosity and munificence were ingrained in Hadrat from the beginning. During his school days, he used to distribute almost all the expense money that he received from home among his poorer class-mates, and often starved or fasted himself, thus fulfilling the dictates of charity and self-abnegation at the same time. Later, when people started flocking to him in large numbers and at all times of the day for prayers or guidance, a langar was set up to meet their food and lodging needs and the offerings made to Hadrat by his visitors were spent wholly on meeting the langar expenses. Nothing was kept by Hadrat for his personal use. The visitors to the langar averaged a minimum of 250-300 persons daily, and their number swelled to thousands during the two annual urs (i.e., death anniversary commemoration) of Hadrat Ghauthul A’zam and Hadrat Khawaja Moinudding Chishti (mentioned on pp 20-22) which were held every year. In addition, many widows and orphans, and some poor but otherwise respectable families were regularly extended financial help. These included some of Hadrat’s disciples from Peshawar, who had once been very rich merchants but had turned penniless overnight following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 in Russia where most of their trading operations had been located. As far as possible, charity to individuals was kept secret so as not to embarrass them or to injure their self-respect.

 

 


h.         Aversion to cultivate the elite

         

          Because of their abstinence from and indifference to worldly riches, desires, or influences, the sufi masters not only kept a respectable distance from king, rulers, and other official functionaries of their time; they never hesitated to fearlessly proclaim the truth in all matters in the latter’s presence whenever the occasion demanded. They thus presented practical instances of acting according to those sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) in which the “world-loving worshipper” has been strongly decried, and wherein the utterance of truth in the presence of a tyrant has been extolled as even superior to jehad. History abounds in examples of ulama and sufis who sttod firm in the face of despotic tyranny as well as various forms of enticement, and flatly refused to mis-interpret religious issues and injunctions to oblige rulers having ulterior motives. In doing so, they suffered untold privations, and some even lost their lives in this noble cause. At the same time, there are also illustrious examples of truth-loving rulers and monarchs who appreciated the lofty principles of the sufi masters, and preferred the path of deference and veneration to them to that of confrontation, thereby achieving both worldly felicity and salvation for the Hereafter.

 

          True to the traditions of the great early Muslim ‘ulama and sufis, Hadrat never sought to woo or please the highly placed and the ruling elite of his day. An outstanding example of this was his refusal to attend the coronation ceremony of George V, King of Britain and Emperor of India, held at Delhi in 1911 A.D., to which he was officially invited. The same was true of his attitude towards officialdom in general. Indeed, far from Hadrat hankering after official or princely favour, several highly-placed personalities of the day sought to become his spiritual beneficiaries. These included: The Kabul ruler Amir Habibullah Khan, who paid a secret visit to Hadrat in Golra to seek his prayers for the vindication of his rightful claim of succession to the throne of Afghanistan against the machinations and intrigues of some hostile members of his family and their co-conspirators, and was rewarded with success; the Nawab of the then Bahawalpur State; Nawab Waliuddaulah of Hyderabad (Deccan); the Nawab of Amb Darband State in the north of India; Nawab Sir ‘Umar Hayat Tiwana and his son Sir Khizar Hayat; Nawab Mian Muhammad Hayat Qureshi; Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan, who served as Governor as well as Chief Minister of the Punjab during the British rule of the Sub-continent; and Nawab Mian Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmanil. In addition, several contemporary ‘ulama and mashaikh (spiritual leaders) also figure in the circle of Hadrat’s beneficiaries, prominent among them being the Diwan Sahib of the holy shrine at Ajmer, the Diwan Sahib of the shrine at Pakpattan, and Khwaja Hasan Nizami who was connected with the shrine of Hadrat Nizamuddin Aulia at Delhi. Several British officials, too, after some initial misunderstandings, developed high esteem for him as they became convinced of his piety and spiritual standing.

 


Other aspects of life

 

i.          Daily schedule

 

          Hadrat spent most of his time in prayer, meditation, and remembrance of Allah. At the same time, he managed to see those seeking guidance, and to listen to the requests and problems of visitors and pray for them which he regarded as a duty to his fellow-beings. Recitations continued during these meetings as well. Hadrat also managed to do a considerable amount of teaching, and to attend to his personal and family affairs, although these latter received minimal attention only.

 

          Hadrat woke long before dawn, offered his tahajjud, (pre-dawn) prayers alone in his room joined the regular congregational morning prayers in the mosque, and thereafter remained engaged in recitations until about 11-A.M. He then came out in the sitting room to see visitors. Sometimes he gave lessons from the Mathnavi of Maulana Rumi; The Futuhat-ul-Makkiyah (The Meccan Revelations) and Fusus-ul-hikam- Bezels or Cutting Edges of Wisdom) of Shaikh Mohyuddin Ibn-ul-‘Arabi, on whose profound but controversial concept of wahdat-ul-wujud. (The Ultimate Oneness of Being) he was widely regarded as a distinguished authority not only in the Sub-continent but throughout the Muslim world; the Sahih-ul-Bukhari, the most authentic and renowned of all hadith compilations; Qasidah, (Eulogy) of Ibn-e-Fared Makki; and the Diwan (poetic collection) of the great mystic Persian poet Hafiz of Shiraz. Immediately after noon, he would leave for lunch, take a short nap, and thereafter return to the mosque for the zuhr, (early afternoon) prayers. This was followed by further recitations in his room until the ‘Asr (late afternoon) prayers. After ‘Asr, he usually left on horseback for the village Maira Badiyah, a couple of miles away, where he offered his evening (maghreb) and late evening (Isha) prayers in a mosque before returning to Golra. A daily spell of horse-riding had been medically prescribed for Hadrat as a fitness device in an otherwise sedentary schedule. On return to Golra, the recitations and meditations were resumed and continued fairly late into the night before retiring to bed. Hadrat thus kept awake for about 18 out of the 24 hours of the day. The daily timetable was suitably adjusted during the fasting month of Ramadan.

 

ii.        Travels

 

True to the classical tradition, Hadrat traveled outside Golra largely for the sake of advancing his spiritual ‘experience’, for preaching the faith, or for visiting holy places. He rarely did so for worldly purposes. Two journeys he undertook regularly every year, namely, to Pakpattan to attend the annual ‘urs of Hadrat Baba Farid-ud-din Ganjshakar, and to Sial Sharif to attend the ‘urs of his own immediate spiritual guide. Hadrat Khawaja Shamsuddin, who had passed away in 1300 A.H. (1981-82 A.D.). The occasional journeys included those to the shrine of Hadrat Moin-ud-din Chishti at Ajmer in 1305 A.H. (1887 A.D) to pay homage; to the shrine of Hadrat ‘Alauddin ‘Ali Ahmad Sabir at Kaliar Sharif (District Saharanpur) for the same purpose; to the Hedjaz for Haj and for visit to the tomb of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) at Madinah in 1307 A.H. (1889 A.D) to Bhopal State in 1332 A.H. (1914 A.D); to Aligarh around 1917-18 to pay his respects to his former teacher Mulana Lutfullah; and to other places in connection with his wanderings in search of the truth mentioned on page 25 above.

 

iii.       Karamat , (Graces or mini-miracles)

 

          Miracles have figured prominently in all prophetic missions down the ages. With the termination of prophethood after Muhammad (PBUH), the era of prophetic miracles also came to an end. Among the ‘ulama-cum-sufis of Islam, on whom the missionary mantle once worn by the prophets of God had fallen, emphasis was to be placed on istiqamat. (i.e., steadfast adherence to the true principles of the faith as embodied in the shari’ah) rather than on karamat (i.e., ‘grace’ or the mini-miracle). Indeed, whereas the prophets had been divinely enjoined to manifest their miracles whenever the occasion demanded in order to establish their prophetic identity, the ‘ulama-cum-sufis were required to conceal them as much as possible, since these could become a dangerous trap that might deflect the sufi from his real goal. A saying of a famous sufi master of the Sub-continent (Hadrat Nizamudding Aulia of Delhi) places karamat at only the 17th stage of suluk (i.e., “the path”) out of a hierarchy of 100 stages. Nevertheless, most of the great Sufis and spiritual ‘ulama of Islam, popularly known as Aulia-Allah, have been credited with karamat even though their manifestation was not consciously sought by them. Hadrat was no exception to this general rule. Foremost karamat were, of course, his profound learning, his lofty character, his unocompromising observance of the Prophet’s shari’ah, the rare moderation of his religious approach, his constant engagement in providing religious and spiritual guidance to others, and the effective battle he waged against Qadianism (death with in detail in a later separate section of this booklet). These constitute what are termed ma’navi karamat (i.e., “significative” grace). In addition, however, many manifest and “perceptible” karamat are also attributed to him. These include the curing of blindness, paralysis, dumbness and other ailments through prayer; saving some of his followers from fatal accidents through prior warning on the basis of prescience; predicting the emergence of Pakistan long in advance, and many others. Indeed, towards the closing stagtes of his earthly life, when Hadrat’s spiritual greatness reached its zenith, he is known to have cured ailing people requesting him for prayer by simply repeating their words of request or plaint.

 

iv.       Sama ‘(Devotional music)

 

          Sama ‘, or listening to devotional music especially that accompanied by musical instruments, as an aid to spiritual development has been a controversial issue among the ‘ulama and the sufi schools of Islam. One school of thought regards instrumental sama ‘as totally forbidden under Islamic shari’ah because of its potential for purposeless luxury and its traditional association with profligacy. Another school legitimizes sama’ with musical instruments permissible, possibly because of its potential as an aid to the propagation of Islam among Indians who were culturally accustomed to instrumental music. It does so, however, on the condition that the subject of the recital is strictly religious or mystical and the listener has the ability to benefit spiritually from it. The Chishtiyah school also bases its acceptance of instrumental sama’ on the premise that the Prophet’s shari’ah does not explicitly prohibit it.

 

          The moderate view about sama’ is summed up in the following verses of Shaikh Sa’di of Shiraz (mentioned earlier on page 14 above):

 

(I will tell you what sama’ is, O brother, provided I know the person who listens to it.)

 

(If he, i.e., the listener, is one who takes off from the tower of Truth, then his flight will surpass even the angels (through sama’).

 

(If, on the other hand, he is one that loves fun, sport, and licentiousness, these attributes will become even stronger through sama).

 

          Belonging primarily to the Chishtiyah school, Hadrat regarded instrumental sama’ as permissible, although not indispensable for the sufi. He listened to it only very occasionally even during the early period of his life. As he advanced in age and in spiritual experience, the frequency declined still further and the musical instruments tended to be dispensed with. This is understandable since artificial “aids” such as sama’ are apt to become redundant as spiritual elevation matures and stabilizes. Normally, Hadrat showed no visible sign of the spiritual impact of sama’, but very occasionally he used to experience wajd (or ecstasy), and when this happened the entire audience felt the impact and shared the rare and memorable experience. Instances are on record of some non-Muslims embracing Islam during Hadrat’s sama’ sessions. In the sama ‘ sittings of Hadrat, recitals were derived usually from the Mathnawi of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, and the poetic writings of other eminent Persian, Urdu, and Punjabi poet-sufis. The topics covered included the love of Allah, na’t in adoration of the Prophet (PBUH), wahdat-ul-wujud, and similar other topics which produced an electrifying spiritual impact upon the audience. During the period of Babuji, Hadrat’s only son and successor, sama ‘became a regular daily phenomenon and remains so until today.

 

v.         Spiritual absorption (Istighraq)

 

          As Hadrat advanced in age, and scaled ever greater spiritual heights, his outward condition as well as the state of his mind underwent gradual change. He still meticulously observed all dictates of the shari’ah, and also tried to keep his erstwhile daily routine of prayer and meditation. Nevertheless, he spoke less and less even when in company, and remained mostly occupied in silent contemplation. His complexion kept changing hues, reflecting the constant inner spiritual activity. His physical health, which despite his austere living had throughout remained enviably good, suffered in consequence. Medical attention was promptly arranged but did not help much, probably because the real malady lay elsewhere than in his outward physical condition. This state, which began more than 10 years before Hadrat’s passing away in 1937 A.D., gradually developed into what in the language of Islamic Sufism is termed istighrag, i.e., total spiritual absorption. This constitutes the loftiest spiritual station that a person could attain to. It denotes the state of fana fillah baqa billah (perishing or annihilation in God and enduring for ever with Him), during which the salik is so completely lost in the spectacle of Divine Beauty as to become wholly oblivious of all else around him. It may also be likened to the stage of nafs-i-mutmainnah mentioned on page 9 above. To start with, Hadrat had to discontinue congregational prayers in mosque, which he had strictly observed himself and stressed upon others all his life. Next, he was constrained to offer his prayers on his bed and later by gestures only. In course of time, even this gave place to prolonged spells of lack of consciousness, with the result that Hadrat had to seek the advice of the ‘ulama at Golra as to what he should do concerning the irregularity that had crept into his prayer schedule. They unanimously ruled that such a situation was condonable under the circumstances, thus allaying Hadrat’s anxiety not to violate any dictate of the shari’ah as long as he could help it. This apical condition continued during the last 2-3 years of Hadrat’s life.

 

vi.       Decline in health

 

          As mentioned earlier, Hadrat’s daily time-table was such as to permit very limited time for rest or repose. He followed a rigorous schedule of prayer, dhikr, contemplation and study. Whatever time was left over from these was devoted to seeing visitors and attending to their needs and problems. He also ate sparingly and frequently fasted or otherwise went without food. Despite this highly exacting schedule, Hadrat’s health remained noticeably good until the age of 71-72 years. However, continued lack of rest and adequate food was bound to take its toll sooner or later, and signs of decline started appearing around 1928-29 A.D. besides general weakness, Hadrat developed persistent and prolonged spells of hiccough, a sign of a weakening digestive system. The illness was aggravated by the depth of feeling generated by tales of distress brought to him by the visitors or narrated by many in their letters. Medical treatment was arranged but did not produce any tangible or lasting improvement, and the gradual decline in health continued for the next 5-6 years.

 

 

 

vii.      Passing away of Hadrat

 

          For over 48 years, Hadrat Meher Ali Shah carried on his sacred mission on earth. During this period, hundreds of thousands of people from all parts of the Sub-continent and from other countries of the Islamic world visited Golra to seek his blessings. Most of them formally became his disciples. Others just came, sought his prayers, and left. These included many non-Muslims who were as courteously received and attended to as the Muslims, and some of whom voluntarily embraced Islam. From a small, relatively little known village, Golra became a household word in the Subcontinent, and its fame as the abode of a scholar and spiritual celebrity of rare brilliance spread far and wide in the Muslim world. Eventually, at the age of 78 years and while still in the state of Istighraq mentioned above, Hadrat’s great spirit left his earthly frame and traveled heaven-ward to join the Supreme. Exalted Companion Rafiqul A ‘ls) on 29 Safar, 1356 A.H. (11 May, 1937 A.D.). According to eye-witnesses, Hadrat pronounced the word “Allah” from the deepest recesses of his heart before the arrival of the final irrevocable moment. One of Islam’s brightest lights was extinguished. A great scholar and a great sufi had left the scene that he had adorned and graced for nearly half a century.

         

          As was to be expected, Hadrat’s passing away was widely mourned within and outside the country. Newspapers carried the news in banner headlines, and magazines and periodicals featured articles setting out the life and work of a great Muslim divine whose personality constituted a beacon of light for contemporary as well as future generations of Muslims. The obituary notes and articles particularly high lighted Hadrat’s complete mastery of shari’ah sciences coupled with an exceedingly high spiritual station, his constant devotion to the remembrance of Allah, the strict moderation of his approach in all matters, and the historic and pioneering role that he had played in stemming the heretical Qadiani (Ahmadiyah) movement. On these premises, his passing away was regarded as an irreparable loss to the entire Muslim ummah, creating a vacuum that would be most difficult to fill.

 

          Hadrat was succeeded by his only son, Hadrat Ghulam Mohyudding, who inherited many attributes of his illustrious father and carried on his great mission with singular distinction. In fact the name of Babuji, as Hadrat Ghulam Mohyuddin had been affectionately nicknamed by his august father and was later called by his own followers and admirers as well, became in course of time and in its own right almost as much of a household word as that of Hadrat himself. Hadrat Babuji also passed away in June 1974 at the age of 83 after having graced the spiritual throne of Golra for over 37 years. His eldest son, Sayyid Ghulam Moinuddin, along with his younger brother Shah Abdul Haq, is now keeping alight that spiritual torch which Hadrat had lighted with such distinction and brilliance almost a century ago.

 

Teachings of Hadrat Meher Ali Shah

 

          Like the prophets of God, with whom they have so much in common as noted earlier, the great sufi masters are essentially teachers and guides. Their assigned task is to bring an errant and wayward humanity back to the right path the path laid down for it by its Great Creator. The heart of their missions, therefore, lies in their teachings all else is secondary and incidental. The measure of their greatness is the impact that they exercise and the imprint that they leave upon the hearts and souls of their contemporaries as well as on posterity.

 

          Teaching encompasses precept and example, theory and practice, outer form as well as inner essence. In fact, it can produce little impact upon others unless the teacher exemplifies it in his own character and conduct. The lives and missions of all prophets of God demonstrate this basic truth they enjoined upon their audiences only that which they themselves acted upon. The peak in this respect was reached in the person of the great Prophet of Islam (PBUH). The Prophet (PBUH) not only conveyed to mankind the words of God’s final and everlasting message as enshrined in the Holy Qur’an; he lived his own entire life in such perfect accord with that message that his wife of revered memory Sayyedatina ‘Ayeshah Siddiqah called him the “Qur’an in person.” As a consequence, the Prophet’s ahadith (sayings and traditions) and his sunnah )actions) have come to form an integral part of the conduct code of Islam, complementing and next in importance only to the Qur’an about the importance of following and obeying both Allah and His Prophet – e.g., III-132; IV-59 64, and 80; V-92 and many others coupled with the pronouncement that the Prophet’s character constitutes the “best pattern of conduct” (XXXIII-21), underscore the importance of hadith and sunnah in the Islamic framework.

 

          As seen before (p. 9), the sufis, themselves basically scholars of religion, went a step ahead of the pure ‘ulama (scholars) by propagating Islam through practical example rather than through oral teaching or theoretical written exposition alone. A true idea of any sufi masters’ greatness can, therefore, be obtained only by looking at his theoretical teaching as well as his practical conduct in life.

 

          Some of the salient aspects of Hadrat Meher ‘Ali Shah’s teachings, as just defined, have been touched upon in varying detail in the preceding pages. Here an effort is made to sum them up in one place in order to give a composite total picture.

 

          On the theoretical side, Hadrat’s prime contribution was in the spheres of academic teaching, participation in scholarly debates and discussions, dispensation of theological knowledge through pronouncements in general and special sittings, views expressed in letters to seekers of truth and knowledge, provision of spiritual guidance, and authorship of books and treatises on issues of current religious interest and importance.

 

          Starting at the early age of 20 years, Hadrat continued his academic teaching activities until late in life. During this period, he imparted religious education to innumerable seekers of learning, many of whom later became teachers of note themselves. Endowed with all the qualities of an excellent and a highly effective teacher, Hadrat was able to make even his mentally weak students thoroughly understand the most complex and diffiecult issues without much difficulty. To everyone he spoke in a soft and measured tone, enabling him to understand and remember every word.

 

          Besides taking regular classes in classical religious sciences at the madressah of Golra, he gave special lessons to selected students in the Mathnawi of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi; the writings of Shaikh Mohyuddin Ibn-ul-Arabi; Sahih-ul-Bukhari (the most authentic and comprehensive of all hadith compi8lations); the Qasidah (Eulogy) of Ibn-e-Fared Makki; and the Diwan (poetic collection) of Hafiz of Shiraz. On all these, and especially on the first two, he was widely acknowledged as the leading contemporary authority in the Sub-continent. Hadrat was one of the very few religious scholars in his day who clearly understood and made others understand Shaikh Ibn-ul-Arabi’s abstruse and controversial concept of wahdat-ul-wujud at the intellectual as well as the spiritual planes. Besides formally enrolled students, Hadrat’s teaching sessions and general daily sittings were often attended by other scholars of standing, who flocked to them to listen to a master of exposition that combined rare intellectual and scholarly brilliance with a very high spiritual station. These included persons from all schools of religious thought – a tribute to Hadrat’s balanced and moderate approach to all issues.

 

          Shunning unnecessary controversy, Hadrat usually stayed away from debates among ‘ulama on parochial issues. Such debates have been quite common in all periods. However, according to Hadrat’s way of thinking they serve no useful purpose but in fact create avoidable schisms and discords in the Muslim ummah and thus grievously hurt its unity. All the same, where issues of real and fundamental importance were involved, Hadrat did participate in debates and most often succeeded in achieving consenus and removing scholarly dissension injurious to the unity of the ummah. His method on such occasions was marked by conciseness of expressions, strength of argument, and a patient persuasiveness that carried conviction both with the audience and the parties to the debate.

 

          Hadrat’s general daily sittings were devoted not only to meeting the usual requests for prayers from persons facing various problems, difficulties, and afflictions; many religious questions of day-to-day relevance were also raised at these sittings and answered by Hadrat. The wide ground covered in these sittings compiled by two of his disciples (themselves learned people) and published under the title Malufzat-e-Meheriyah (i.e., Sayings of Hadrat Meher ‘Ali Shah). The fact is in the case of several eminent sufi masters, such malfuzat constitute the sole authentic source of information concerning their views on scholarly and spiritual matters. Also, as observed by The New Encylopaedia Britannica (op. cit., Vol. 22, p. 20), the malfuzat “are psychologically interesting and allow glimpses into the political and social situation of the Muslim community. Collections of letters of the Shaikhs are similarly revealing”. Three outstanding examples of this are: the malfuzat of Hadrat Nizamuddin Aulia (cf. footnote 39) entitled Faawaid-ul-Fawad compiled by one of his leading disciples, Amir hasan ‘Ala Sajazi (cf. footnote 51); (b) the malfuzat of Hadrat Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar (footnote 40), entitled Bazm-e-Farid (or the Assembly of Farid), compiled by Hadrat Nizamuddin Aulia; and the second collection of Hadrat Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar’s malfuzat compiled by Khawaja Badruddin Is’haq.

          Many of Hadrat’s disciples, and some others formally unconnected with him, south his prayers or his views on religious questions through correspondence. Hadrat usually correspondence to such letters personally. Where, however, the issue raised was not important, or the letter requested prayers only, the reply was written on Hadrat’s behalf by the person incharge of Hadrat’s routine correspondence. A selection of Hadrat’s letters has been published under the title Maktu-ba t-i-Tayyibat (the sacred letters). Similarly, Hadrat issued authoritative rulings (fatawa) on important religious questions referred to him by various people, including some ‘ulama. These have also been published under the title Fatawa-e-Mihriyah (or Rulings of Hadrat Meher ‘Ali Shah).

 

          To those who took the pledge (bai’at,) at his hands to become his formal disciples (or murid), Hadrat generally enjoined two things: to say the five daily prayers (salat) regularly, preferably in congregation in mosque, and to add a couple of short recitations after each prayer. This signifies (a) Hadrat’s recognition of the key importance of salat in an Islamic system, and its instrumentality in restraining a person from “wickedness and sin” as stressed in both the Qur’an (XXIX-45) and the Prophet’s hadith and sunnah (e.g., the hadith defining ihsan cited on page 12 above); and (b) his anxiety not to burden the common run of his disciples with too exacting a regimen, but to stress only those matters which could open the way to piety and virtue in a person’s entire life. The regimen was suitablyl enhanced for those seeking spiritual advancement or themselves requesting extra recitations. In addition, Hadrat took every opportunity, in his daily general sittings, in meetings and conversations with individual visitors, as well as in his letters, to emphasize other requisites for developing true Muslim character. These included: strict adherence to the shari’ah; avoidance of superstition; unshakeable faith in God and constant remembrance of Him; sincerity of intent and abhorrence of hypocrisy and pretence; cultivation of humility, compassion, civility and faithfulness, and eschewal of conceit, callousness, discourtesy, and infidelity; avoidance of extremes and observance of moderation and balance in all matters; ceaseless endeavor in accordance with one’s God-given faculties and attributes; seeking of unity and shunning of discord, and so on. He also stressed the need for modeling one’s practical conduct on the pattern of the illustrious early masters (salaf-e-salihin,) instead of paying mere lip service to their greatness and glory.

 

          Hadrat devoted special attention to the education and upbringing of his only son, Hadrat Ghulam Mohyuddin whom the often affectionately called Babuji and did everything possible to ensure that he was provided with the best on both these counts. For formal religious education, he was assigned to the care of Maulana Muhammad Ghazi who has been mentioned earlier as having accompanied Hadrat back from Makkah Mukarramah on Hadrat’s return to Golra from Haj, and whom Hadrat held in high esteem as a scholar and teacher. The art of tajwid (reciting the Qur’an in accordance with established rules of pronunciation and intronation) was learnt by Hadrat Babuji from Qari ‘Abdul Rahman of Jaunpur, and illustrious contemporary name in that field. In addition, Hadrat kept a constant eye on his distinguished son, and missed no opportunity to instill into him (either orally or through correspondence as the occasion demanded) all the principles of virtuous conduct, service to others, strict observance of the shari’ah in every thing, and other noble traits of character becoming of the scion of such an honored family. No wonder, therefore, that in course of time Hadrat Babuji showed himself to be a truly worthy successor to Hadrat Pir Meher Ali Shah.

 

          Finally, Hadrat found time from his heavy daily schedule to do a considerable amount of writing in the Persian, Arabic, and Punjabi languages, both in prose and verse. His writings in verse consist mostly of na’t , i.e., poems glorifying the Holy Prophet (PBUH) ; mystic ghazals (lyrics); poems elegy in memory of Hadrat Imam Husain, the Prophet’s grandson martyred at Kerbala in Iraq in 61 A.H.; a mathnawi, and some other miscellaneous verse. The prose comprises letters, pronouncements, and books and pamphlets on current issues, the most significant of which were the books on the Qadiani movement (cf. page 33 above), the naturist creed, the concept of wahdat-ul-wujud, and Sunni Shi’ah Reconciliation mentioned on 34 above. A complete annotated list of his writings is given in Appendix 1 to this booklet.

 

          On the practical side, Hadrat’s meticulous observance of the shari’ah in every sphere, which is the cornerstone of true Islamic character, has been highlighted earlier. His staunch and steadfast faith in Allah, which has been extolled in the Qur’an as the prime means for felicity in this world as well as in the Hereafter (cf. XLI30 and XLVI-13), was also demonstrated in everything that the did in public or private. All the other attributes listed above, which he commended to his disciples, visitors or correspondents, were exemplified in optimum degree in his own person. He was kind to everyone regardless of his colour, creed or station in life; listened with care and sympathy to all those who relat3ed their problems to him and sought his prayers; grieved sincerely for those who suffered; enquired about the sick and the needy; condoled with the bereaved, and forgave those who caused hurt in any form. He rarely (if ever) lost temper despite the gravest provocation.

 

          In short, the life and conduct of Hadrat were a model and an inspiration for all those who cared to follow his example.

 

Excerpts from Hadrat’s writings and sayings

 

          A bulk of Hadrat’s writings in prose pertains to complex religious issues, and can be properly understood only by scholars or people otherwise well-versed in religion, theology, or mysticism. Indeed some of his writings, particularly those concerned with the concept of wahdat-ul-wujud, are even beyond the grasp of ordinary ‘ulama. For the benefit of the general reader, therefore, selected excerpts from his writings and pronouncements of general interest only are presented below;

 

  1. Observance of the Holy Prophet’s shari’ah and of his personal example (Sunnah has precedence over everything else. (Malfuzat, p.101).
  2. There is no hounour in doing things and performing rites and ceremonies (e.g., extravagance on occasions of marriage etc.) which are not permitted by the shari’ah. P. 107)
  3. No one can become a true and accomplished sufi without first gaining mastery of the shari’ah sciences; indeed venturing on the sufi path without shari’ah knowledge involves many pitfalls. (Malfuzat, p. 101).
  4. The view held by some people that the sufis do not observe the shari’ah is totally false and misleading. The fact is that no group of Muslims equals the true sufis in their love for the Prophet (PBUH) and their adherence to his shari’ah. (Malfuzat, p. 68).
  5. There is no conflict whatsoever between the shari’ah and the tariqah. While the former constitutes the injunctions of Allah and His Prophet (PBUH), the latter consists in acting meticulously upon those injunctions. (Maktubat, p. 182).
  6. Spiritual elevation does not give anyone a license to ignore the shari’ah. Indeed, the higher a person goes on the spiritual scale, the greater should be his observance of the Prophet’s shari’ah. (Malfuzat, p. 16).
  7. True faith can only be sustained through the love of Allah. (Ibid).
  8. The love of Allah and His Prophet (PBUH) is infinitely superior to the love of mortal human beings and of other worldly things. (Malfuzat, p. 52).
  9. Every breath of life is a priceless treasure; it should be devoted to the remembrance of the Lord, and to the seeking of His pleasure. (Malfuzat, p. 64 and I’lau Kalimatillah, p. 143).
  10. Single-minded remembrance of Allah is the supreme source of felicity and happiness. (Malfuzat, p. 81).
  11. The darvish should devote himself solely to the remembrance of Allah, rather than hanker after money or other worldly gain. (Malfuzat, pp. 75 and 133).
  12. The true ‘abd (i.e., slave) of Allah derives infinitelyl more happiness and satisfaction from spreading his hands before Him in prayer than from achieving his own worldly objectives. (Maktubat, p. 17).
  13. One should carry on one’s legitimate business in life, and should at the same time consider God to be Omnipresent and All-Seeing. (Maktubat, p. 67).
  14. A darvish is one who opposes whatever his baser self impels him to do. (Malfuzat, p. 80).
  15. The (true) darvish considers everyone else better than himself; he tries to rectify his own faults instead of finding fault with others. (Meher-e-Munir, p. 482 and Malfuzat, p. 23).
  16. Being a darvish is a state of mind, and does not necessarily depend on the type of dress that one wears, or the food that one eats, so long as these are acquired through lawful means and do not otherwise violate the dictates of the shari’ah. Daud, Sulaiman, and Yousuf were kings and apostles of God at the same time, while many eminent sufis are known to have dressed richly and lived comfortably. Ideally, of course, it is preferable to follow the example of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) who prided in simplicity and frugality. (Malfuzat, p. 69).
  17. A salik (traverser of the Path) should have nothing to do with the good or bad of the world; he should devote his entire attention to his Lord at all times. (Malfuzat, p. 49).
  18. One should answer humility with humility, but need not be humble before the proud and the conceited. (Maktubat, p. 99).
  19. Seeking the favour or pleasure of persons in high office may be alright for the common man; it is undesirable for those who aspire to be darvish or sufi. (Malfuzat, p. 22; Meher-e-Munir, p. 283).
  20. The men of God have outshone others because of the precedence that they gave to the rights of others over their own personal good. (Malfuzat, p. 75)
  21. The life and death of Aulia-Allah (friends of Allah or Saints) are devoted solely to seeking the Lord’s pleasure, and must not be compared to or equated with the life and death of the common people. (Malfuzat, p. 65).
  22. Prayers and recitations should be performed primarily with the object of earning the Lord’s pleasure; this can lead, as a by-product, to worldly gain also which lies in the hands of the Lord. It is inconceivable that man should devote himself wholly to the remembrance of his Creator but the Latter should not fulfill his ambitions and needs. (Malfuzat, pp. 69, 87, and 124).
  23. It is a great pity that people today hanker after verbal recitations and charms and incantations, instead of trying to improve their character and deeds which constitute the real things, and remembering Allah Who is the Fountainhead of all that is good and noble in this life. (Malfuzat, p. 47).
  24. No good deed yields any lasting benefit unless performed with complete sincerity of purpose, without regard to personal gain, and without a vestige of hypocrisy. (Malfuzat, pp. 68, 107 and 137).
  25. One should always endeavor to do good deeds; Allah’s forgiveness, however, depends on His Mercy and Grace and not necessarily on one’s good deeds. (Malfuzat’p. 126).
  26. Man’s greatness and nobility lie his character, and especially in practicing humility and self effacement, and not only in his lineage. (Malfuzat, p. 93).
  27. Pride and conceit destroy all good deeds. (Ibid).
  28. Mutual love and sincerity are among the finest qualities of the Islamic ummah. In fact it was Islam which first stressed these qualities for observance by its followers. Unfortunately, however, these are largely missing from today’s Muslim world due to its indifference to Islamic teachings and values. (Malfuzat, p. 70).
  29. Allah likes moderatioin and temperance in everything, and this constitutes the Straight Path (Sirat-e-Mustaqim) that He has ordered us to follow. Exaggeration and excess, even in religious matters, lead to error and are liable to incur the wrath of Allah. (Tasfia Mabain Sunni wa Shi’ah, p. 91).
  30. Avoid extremes in religious as well as worldly matters, for peace and salvation lie only in following the middle path. (Malfuzat, p. 95 and Maktubat, p. 205).
  31. One should observe strict moderation in everything. While endeavour in worldly matters is essential, concern for them should not be so deep as to make one oblivious to religious and spiritual obligations. Both this world and the Hereafter should be kept in view. (Ibid).
  32. Trust in God does not consist in discarding human endeavour altogether. The best course is to put in one’s best effort and leave the results to God. (Malfuzat, pp. 85 and 95).
  33. Man should put in his best endeavour to achieve his objectives; he should, however, never be impatient for results, since these are controlled by Allah and come only at the divinely destined time. (Malfuzat, pp. 95 and 104).
  34. Faith in God’s mercy, benevolence and omnipotence in the fulfillment of himan objectives must be backed up by the utmost human endeavour. (Ibid).
  35. As indicated in the Qur’an (XCIV, 5-6), “hard ship goes side by side with ease” (in this worldly life). One should, therefore, not lose heart in times of adversity, but should instead have full faith in the Mercy of Allah and be thankful to Him in all circumstances. (Maktubat, p. 101).
  36. As far as possible, one should endure the unkindness of others with patience, and leave revenge and retribution to Allah. (Malfuzat , p. 74)).
  37. ‘Ibadat (or devotion) consists of submission without argument, acceptance without dissent, patience without complaint, faith without uncertainty, perception without concealment, and attention without diversion. (Malfuzat, p. 59).
  38. All sufi schools have the same ultimate objective, namely, attainment of spiritual elevation and union with Allah; no school should, therefore, claim superiority over the others. (Malfuzat, p. 101).
  39. The ‘ulama and preachers should observe tolerance and avoid hostile criticism of each other. They should try to promote unity rather than fan hatred and discord among various sections of the ummah. (Malfuzat, p. 97)
  40. Denunciation of Muslims as kafir (infidel) on pretty sectarian grounds, or on the basis of doubt or supposition only, is highly loathsome, and must be avoided at all costs. This alone can ensure the unity of the ummah and thereby help it regain its lost glory. (Malfuzat, p. 72 and I’lau Kalimatillah, p. 30).
  41. Wahdat-ul-shuhud is the beginning of suluk (i.e., spiritual journey ) and wahdat-ul-wujud its ultimate and perfected state. (Meher-e-Munir, p. 143).
  42. The murid (disciple) should obey the commands of his sheikh (spiritual guide) in everything and particularly in the regular performance of religious rituals and the wazaif (recitations), enjoined by the sheikh, in order to derive maximum spiritual benefit. Those who are not content with the guidance provided by their own sheikh, and keep seeking it from others, ultimately waste their efforts (just as a rolling stone gatehers no moss). (Malfuzat, pp. 23 and 138 and Maktubat, p. 78).
  43. To derive maximum spiritual as well as worldly benefit, the murid should steadfastly sustain and nourish his relationship with his sheikh under all circumstances, adverse or favourable. (Ibid).
  44. Sama ‘ (devotional music) is not an end in itself for men of God. At the same time, its importance should not be denied, since many eminent religious and spiritual personalities are known to have listened to sama’ as a spiritual vehicle. (Malfuzat, p. 78)
  45. Power and authority are sure touchstones of a persons’s real character and nature. The mean person in power indulges in cruelty, oppression and injustice, while the noble one in a smiliar position exercises kindness, generosity and justice. (Malfuzat, p. 90).
  46. While reason and intellect do facilitate the formal study of religious and spiritual sciences, access to the deeper meanings of these sciences is possible only through the Grace of Allah and with the help of an accomplished guide and teacher. (Malfuzat, p. 98)

 

The shrines and ceremonies at Golra Sharif

 

          The main holy places at Golra comprise the tombs of Hadrat’s ancestors, of Hadrat himself, and of Hadrat Babuji. For the daily and Friday congregational prayers, a large mosque exists which was originally built in 1896-97 and has recently been renovated and expanded, and a lofty minar (tower,) constructed in its south-western corner. To cater to the needs of thousands who visit these shrines during the year, a langar (free kitchen), three spacious guest houses, and one guest annexed have been provided. In addition, many residents of Golra town voluntarily vacate parts of their houses to accommodate the numerous visiting devotees who attend the special ceremonial functions. These now consist of three annual ‘Urs (or death anniversary commemorations), namely, those of Hadrat Ghauth-ul-A’zam on 9-11 Rabi-ul-thani, of Hadrat himself on 29 Safar -1 Rabi-ul-awwal, and of Hadrat Babuji on 1-3 Jamadi-ul-thani. The birthday of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) Milad-un-Nabi on the 12th of Rabi-ul-awwal every year is celebrated with special veneration and fervour and attracts a very large gathering. In addition, special commemorative functions are organized on the death anniversaries of Hadrat Mo’inuddin Chishti of Ajmer (cf. p. 20 and footnote 32), and Maaulana Jalaluddin Rumi, both of whom were held in particularly high esteem by Hadrat. Sittings of sama’ (devotional music) are also held daily, and are presided over by the current spiritual head of Golra. Service in the langar and at the periodic functions is partly voluntary and partly on a compensation basis. All institutions are well maintained and exceptionally well-run, and atmosphere at the ceremonial functions is in strict keeping with their spiritual dignity and the sanctity of the shrine itself.

 

The Madressah

 

          In keeping Hadrat’s standing as a great scholar and lover of learning, and in line with the time-honoured tradition of sufi shrines, a well-staffed madressah (school) imparting free religious education upto an advanced stage has been functioning at Golra for a long time. The madressah started with Hadrat himself as its principal teacher. Before long, many other distinguished scholars and teachers arrived from various placed, not only to share the teaching work with Hadrat, but also to themselves benefit from a scholar and spiritual luminary of Hadrat’s eminence. Some of them later settled down permanently and spent the rest of their lives in Golra. The outstanding examples of this were Maulana Muhammad Ghazi (cf. p. 29 above) and Maulana Mahbub Alam. Under the personal supervision of Hadrat’s son and successor, Hadrat Babuji, the madressah developed into a regular educational institution whose graduates started teaching at other places and schools. The madressah specializes in Dars-e-Nizami, i.e., the Nizami curriculaum, which was pioneered in the Sub-continent by Maulana Nizamuddin Sihalvi over two centuries ago and which now ranks among the Sub-continent’s premier Islamic theological curricula. Lately, general subjects such as history, geography, mathematics etc. have also been added to the curriculum so as to produce well-rounded alumni. Average enrolment in the madressah totals about 40 students at a time.

 

          The present head of the madressah at Golra is Maulana Faid Ahmad, a scholar of considerable contemporary eminence, who has already been mentioned on page 1 above as compiler of Hadrat’s authentic Urdu-language biography, Meher-e-Munir. Maulana Faid Ahmad has also rendered valuable service in reviewing Hadrat’s own various writings and getting them re-published in the past few years. Furthermore, in his sermons during Friday prayers, in his fatawa or rulings on various religious issues, and on other appropriate occasions, the Maulana takes every opportunity to project as clearly as possible the viewpoint of the Golra shrine in the light of the Qur’an and the sunnah, and as embodied in the Fiqh-e-Hanafi, or the jurisprudence school of Imam Abu Hanifah) and in Hadrat Meher Ali Shah’s various writings. These pronouncements receive a great deal of attention in the country’s scholarly circles.

 

III.             TWO SPECIAL DISTINCTIONS OF

  HADRAT PIR MEHER ALI SHAH

         

          This section discuss at some length two of the leading achievements that distinguish Hadrat Pir Meher Ali Shah from other contemporary ‘ulama and sufis of the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent. Although these two achievements have been briefly touched upon in the earlier sections, they are of such over-riding importance as to merit separate detailed treatment. The present section seeks to fulfill this need.

 


A.        Mastery of the Concept of Wahdat-ul-wujud

            (Ultimate Oneness of Being)

 

          The first of Hadrat’s two prime distinctions concerns his mastery of Shaikh Ibn-ul-Arabi’s concept of wahdat-ul-wujud. As mentioned earlier, Hadrat was acknowledged as one of the leading authorities of his time on this concept, and it figured prominently in both his teachings as well as writings. Here an attempt is made to briefly examine the genesis and content of the concept, and to present the essence of Hadrat’s point of view concerning it.

 

          The essence of the concept of wahdat-ul-wujud is that “existence” in real terms belongs to Allah and Allah only. The creation, comprising the universe which we see all around us, does not have any discrete existence of its own but is a mere reflection and manifestation of the “Names” (Asma) or “attributes” of Allah. In other words, the entire universe has a “reflective” rather than any “real” existence of it ows own, and for this it is beholden to the “Bounty of Allah”.

          Another school of thought subscribes to the concept of Wahdat-ul-Shuhud (Unity of Perception or Vision). According to this concept, the universe has no more than an apparent, visual, or illusory existence, and was created by Allah through His Creative Power. However, Allah exists as the Ultimate and the Supreme Entity separate from and infinitely beyond His creation.

 

          Despite differences in their respective points of view, the aforesaid two schools are in complete agreement on one fundamental point, viz., that both wahdat-ul-wujud and wahdat-ul-shuhud belong to the “inner” world of the mind, and that therefore belief in them is not binding upon the Muslim ummah. For the latter, it is sufficient to believe only in the concept of Divine Unity embodied in plain and simple terms in the Kalimah. There is no god but Allah and Muhammad (PBUH) is His Messenger.

 

          Indirect references to the concept of wahdat-ul-wujud appear even in the writings of Islam’s earliest scholars. In concrete and elaborate terms, however, the concept was first propounded by Shaikh Mohyuddin Ibn-ul-Arabi in his now famous works mentioned above, namely, Futuhat-ul-Makkiyah and Fusus-ul-Hikam. Thus elaborated, the concept generated bitter controversy and sharply opposed responses during the Shaikh’s own lifetime. Some orthodox ‘ulama denounced the concept as heretical and its proponent as a heretic (zindiq) and a monist. On the other hand, an equally potent section of them held that the concept was in no wayh contrary to Islam’s basic doctrine of tawhid (or absolute Unity of God), but was in fact its truest and most perfect interpretation. They therefore hailed the Shaikh as the truthful (siddiq), and also gave him the title of Shaikh-e-Akbar (The Great Shaikh). Over the past 8 centuries, as the concept has been subjected to sober study and analysis, the initial violence of the controversy surrounding it has tended to subside, and the concept has become the cornerstone of an overwhelming section of sufi thought. Such highly eminent sufis as Hadrat Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmer and the long line of his spiritual successors in the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent; Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi; Sadruddin of Qauniah (Turkey): ‘Abdul Rahman Jami, and a host of others have accepted and elaborated upon the concept. The Naqshbandiyah sufi school still subscribes instead to the concept of wahdat-ul-shuhud (Oneness of Perception) already mentioned above, althoudh some of its adherents (including ‘Abdul Rahman Jami just mentioned) also subscribe to wahdat-ul-wujud. The disagreement, however, is largely apparent rather than real, a matter of degree rather than of any basic difference. For both schools agree that existence in the real and ultimate sense belongs to Allah alone and that all else owes its existence to His Bounty and Grace. Hadrat Meher Ali Shah reconciled the two views by stating that while wahdat-ul-shuhud is the beginning of suluk (i.e., spiritual journey) and the basic essence of faith (nafs-e-iman), wahdat-ul-wujud is the acme of suluk and the perfected state of faith (i.e., kamal-e-iman). Put in another way, wahda-ul-shuhud could bge equated with ‘ain-ul-yaqin (i.e., visual certainty) and wahdat-ul-wujud with the superior and loftier state of haqq-ul-yaqin (or absolute certainty). On this premise Hadrat considered both schools to be right in their respective spheres a reflection of his meticulously moderate approach mentioned earlier.

 

          The sufi masters subscribing to Shaikh Ibn-ul-Arabi’s concept of wahdat-ul-wujud claim with full conviction that the concept contains nothing repugnant to either the Qur’an or the sunnah. They assert, indeed, that several Qur’anic verses and some of the Prophet’s authentic ahadith contain clearly implied references to the concept. Among the examples quoted are:

 

a.         From the Qur’an

 

(i)               “He (i.e., Allah) is the First and the Last, and the outward and the Inward (or the Apparent and the Hidden); and He is Knower of all things” (LVII-3)

(ii)            “And whitersoever you turn, there is Allah’s Countenance” ……………..(II—115)

(iii)          “Allah is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth” ……………. (XXIV-35)

(iv)          “Everything shall perish save His Countenance. His is the Command and unto Him you shall return” ………… (XXVIII-88)

(v)             “And We are nearer to man than his jugular vein”. ……………… (L-16)

(vi)          “Everything that is there (on the Earth) will pass away; only the Countenance of Thy Lord of Might and Glory shall remain for ever” …………….. (LV-26, 27)

(vii)        “And He (i.e., Allah) is with you wherever you may be” …………… (LVII-4)

 

b.         From the Hadith

 

(i)               “I (i.e., Allah) was a Hidden Treasure; then I desired that I should be known and recognized, so I created the Creation” (as a manifestation of My various Attributes) , (Hadith-e-Qudsi, i.e., divinely inspired hadith).

(ii)            “Do not talk ill of Time, for God Himself is Time” (That is, since everything happens in this world with the command of Allah, it is useless to blame Time for it.)

 

And finally, the following excerpt from the poetry of Labid, the famous Arab poet of the Holy Prophet’s time, which was pronounced by the Prophet (PBUH) as the truest of all that Arab poets had said or written.

 

     “Behold, verily nothing except Allah has any existence (in the real sense)”

 

    

     The concept has been elaborated by Shaikh Ibn-ul-‘Arabi at considerable length, but in exceedingly abstruse terms, in his Futuhat and Fusus. And it is apparently this abstruseness of his analysis, which is beyond the grasp of the common run of scholars and sufis, that has led to much of the controversy surrounding the concept. Interpreted in simple terms, the concept appears eminently plausible: He Who, according to the above quotation from the Holy Qur’an, is the First and the Last, the Apparent and the Hidden, and except Whom none else possesses these attributes, can alone be the Ultimate Reality, the Only One that can be said to exist in real terms, by and of Himself, Who or what else can share this absolute unity with Him? Indeed, everything else owes its existence (which in any event is temporary and transitory) to Him and His Command, not only in a metaphysical sense but in physical terms also. For there was nothing except Him at on e time in the past and there will no nothing except Him at a point of time in future. He is the Original Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, Who does everything, including the act of creation, by just saying “Be” and it “Becomes”. All except Him thus exist in name only, through His Bounty rather than in any real terms. His is the only real Being; the Universe is like a mirror that reflects His Being. All creation stemmed from His Being, without taking anything away from the Latter, just as innumerable small candles can be lit from a large one without diminishing the volume of the latter’s light or its capacity to illuminate; only His Light is without limit and transcends anything that the human mind can conceive. Allah is the Colorless Reality whence millions and billions of “colours” have emerged; the boundless and the fathomless Ocean from which innumerable waves and bubbles keep emanating every moment’ the One Face which is reflected in innumerable mirrors; the One Shapeless and Formless Whole from which shapes and forms without number emerge, and after remaining on view on the stage of life for predetermined periods revert to their Source. Every item of creation is a manifestation of one of Allah’s numerous Attributes and Names, and Man is the most comprehensive and perfect one of those manifestations.

 

     It must be clearly understood, ho-wever, that all the examples given above are illustrative and elucidatory only. The real and indisputable truth, in the words of the Qur’an is that “There is nothing whatever like unto Him (i.e., Allah)”. (XLII-I). As the great Maulana Rumi says:

 

     (O Thou Who art beyond my conception and words, dust be on my head and my similes and metaphors).

 

     As shown above, the concept of wahdat-ul-wujud appears in essence to be perceptibly convincing. Furthermore, Shaikh Ibn-ul-Arabi, whose truthfulness and integrity are widely acknowledged, claims that it is based upon inspiration and has the spiritual approval of the Prophet (PBUH) himself, and also that the arguments advanced by him in support of the concept are mostly derived from the Qur’an and the sunnah. The utmost care must, therefore, be exercised in rejecting the concept.

 

     Yet the concept admittedly seems to contain elements which make it liable to misconstruction, except by the highly erudite and discriminating. For example, it has been interpreted by some of its critics as removing the distinction between the Creator and His creation, and advocating hulul or incarnation, both radically antithetical to Islam. These were, of course, farthest from the Shaikh’s own mind, as evidenced by his oft-quoted saying reproduced below and his firm rejection of these heretical concepts in his other writings:

 

     (God is God however much He may descend from His Lofty Pedestal; and man is man, however high he may rise from his lowly station.)

 

Hadrat Shahabuddin ‘Umar Suhrawardi (539-632 A.H) regarded Shaikh Ibn-ul-Arabi as an “ocean of realities” (bahr-e-haqaiq, and a “treasure house of divine wisdom and secrets,” yet he used to forbid his followers from the latter’s company, and especially from studying his writings, lest they might be misled because of their own lack of understanding. Furthermore, the concept has a profound metaphysical content which calls for spiritual experience of a high order to be properly understood. No wonder therefore, that it was not made part of the shari’ah of Islam meant to be followed by the common believer, The Shaikh himself never meant it to be so, which may be one of the reasons why he analyzed the concept in terms that even among the scholars only the most richly gifted could understand.

 

     It seems necessary to point out here that all those eminent sufis who subscribe to the concept of wahdat-ul-wujud, including Shaikh Ibn-ul-Arabi himself, regard it as based on clairvoyance or non-prophetic spiritual inspiration. They accept the concept because they do not find anything in the Qur’an or the hadith to repudiate it; on the other hand, as noted earlier, there are clear hints in both that point to the plausibility of the concept. Yet no one of the concept’s proponents claim for it the force of that divine revelation which is reserved for God’s prophets only.

 

     As already stated, Hadrat Meher Ali Shah was one of the leading authorities on wahdat-ul-wujud and on Ibn-ul-‘Arabi’s works in general, not only in the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent but also in the contemporary Islamic world. In the Sub-continent, he w2as without doubt the most eminent one, as evidenced by a letter addressed to him by ‘Allamah Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, the great and world-renowned poet-philosopher of the East. In this letter, Iqbal sought clarification of some of Ibn-ul-‘Arabi’s concepts form Hadrat “as the only door that could be knocked for this purpose throughout India. Hadrat’s various written works, as well as his sayings, letters and the few mystical poems that he composed dealt with this concept at considerable length. Yet he devoted one of his major books Tahqiq-ul-Haq Fi Kalimatil Haq, The Truth about Kalimatul Haq) to the rebuttal of an incorrect interpretation of the concept by one of the ‘ulama, Maulana ‘Abdul Rahman of Lucknow. The latter had held in a pamphlet entitled (Kalimatul Haq, The Word of Truth) that the kalimah – There is no god but Allah and Muhammad (PBUH) is His Messenger – which forms the fundamental basis of Islam, in fact denotes wahdat-ul-wujud and that therefore non-belief in the latter constitutes heresy. Hadrat proved conclusively that this was not so. He argued that while wahdat-ul-wujud could be deemed to represent the inner meaning of the kalimah, it certainly was not intended to constitute the basis for the belief structure of the Muslim community in general. At the same time, in keeping with his uniquely balanced and moderate outlook, and unlike some of the other contemporary ‘ulama, he refused to p;ronounce the Maulana a heretic, but attributed his view to “overpowering spiritual experience” and therefore to be due to a state beyond his control.

 

     In his daily sittings also, especially when giving lessons from Shaikh Ibn-ul-‘Arabi’s Futuhat and Fusus, Hadrat frequently dealt at length with the various aspects of wahdat-ul-wujud for the benefit of the students as well as the ‘ulama attending these sittings. The Malfuzat-e-Mehria (op. cit.) is a veritable storehouse of knowledge on this subject.

 

     Hadrat’s balanced interpretation of the concept of wahdat-ul-wujud, as contained in his various sayings and writings, may be summed up as follows:

 

a)     The concept is based essentially on the kashf or clairvoyance of Shaikh Mohyuddin Ibn-ul-‘Arabi and the sufi masters who came after him.

b)     Neither the Qur’an nor the hadith/sunnah openly negates the concept. On the other hand, both contain several implied references to it, as already shown above.

c)      Nevertheless, belief in the concept is by no means essential to basic Islamic faith , nor is non-belief in it in any way repugnant to the latter. It is not part of the belief structure that has been prescribed for the Muslim community in general. In fact, the concept is a matter that concerns the very select even among the sufi masters and not one to be dabbled into by every common believer. It should not, therefore, be made the object of public debate or discussion as is being done to day by some people. Recognizing this, the old sufi masters used to explain the various aspects of this concept only to the chosen one among their disciples and that too behind closed doors in the utmost secrecy.

d)     The view held by some latter-day fade sufis, that observance of the shari’ah does not remain binding on a person as he advances in the spiritual experience of wahdat-ul-wujud, is totally false and misguided. Strict adherence to the shari’ah is the be-all and end-all of true Islam and iman, and there is no escape from it at any stage of a Muslim’s life. Indeed, the higher one goes on the spiritual scale, the greater and more meticulous should be his observance of the shari’ah.

 

         

 

 

 

 


B.        Fight against Qadianism (or Ahmadiyat)

          The Second outstanding distinction of Hadrat Pir Meher Ali Shah concerns the epic and pioneering struggle that he waged against the blatantly anti-Islamic Qadiani creed that was founded in India in the closing years of the 19th Century A.D. by one Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (cf. the Preface and footnote 49). Indeed, from the standpoint of effective deterrence of anti-Islamic forces from time to time in order to safeguard the purity of Islam’s basic essentials, which was mentioned in Section I above as the prime missionary obligation of the Muslim ummah as a whole, this can justly be regarded as the crowning achievement of Hadrat’s life. It also helps reaffirm the view expressed on page 27 above that historically the Sufis have made important contributions not only in the spiritual sphere but also in actively fighting the forces of tyranny, oppression and heresy. The present sub-section discusses this subject in some depth and detail.

 

i.          Qadianism – Historical background, genesis and growth

 

          The history of the past 14 centuries since the advent of Islam proves beyond doubt that the secret of the material and spiritual greatness attained by the Muslim ummah at its zenith lay in its strict observance, in word as well as deed, of the two basic tenets of

its faith, namely, towhid, Absolute Unity of Allah) and finality for all time to come to the prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH). The opponents of Islam had, on the basis of deep study, come to fully understand this fact. Most of their anti-Islam designs were, therefore, focused primarily on weakening and undermining these beliefs. they were unable to make much headway against the first-named one, i.e. towhid, primarily because through sustained missionary endeavours this concept had become too deeply ingrained in the minds of its believers for them to be easily weaned away from it. they concentrated their attention, therefore, on eroding the second belief, viz., the truth and especially the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) and on diminishing the un bounded love and respect in which every Muslim without exception held and still holds his great Prophet (PBUH). They hoped that success in doing so would help them attain the first-named objective as well, since it was the Prophet (PBUH) who had reintroduced the world to the concept of absolute towhid and any erosion in the belief in his true prophethood would correspondingly weaken the hold of towhid, too.

 

          The aforesaid disruptive efforts had started right after the passing away of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) of Islam, and had found expression, inter alia, in the appearance of a number of impostor prophets (e.g., Musailamah, Aswad ‘Anasi, Abu ‘Ubaidah Thaqafi) in the Arabian peninsula. All these were, however, summarily crushed through strict and timely deterrent action by the first Righteous Caliph Abubakr. Similar false prophets continued to raise their heads occasionally in later periods also, but failed to make much impact so long as Muslim power and influence (both material and spiritual) were at their pinnacle. The position changed dramatically, however, beginning the 13th Hijrah century (19th Century A.D.) when the rapid all-round decline of the once powerful world Muslim community coincided with the rise to political, intellectual and economic pre-eminence of the non-Muslim nations of the West. This provided to the hitherto low-lying anti-Islam elements an environment in which they could muster their forces again, and deal a decisive and crushing blow to the principles and beliefs of the Islamic faith and to the Muslim community in general.

 

          The Qadiani movement that raised its head in the undivided British-ruled India around this time under one Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, a town in Gurdaspur district of the Punjab province of India, was a part of the aforesaid wider and revived anti-Islam campaign. Its prime aim was to attack and demolish the concept of finality of the prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH), which has been unequivocally announced in the Holy Qur’an (XXXIII, 40), with a view to shaking the unflinching adoration and reverence of the Muslims for their beloved Prophet (PBUH). A secondary objective was to distort and mis-interpret some of the fundamental and hitherto fully agreed pronouncements of the Qur’an and the Holy Prophet (PBUH), especially those emphasizing the waging of jehad as one of the essentials of the Islamic faith. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad argued that in the changed conditions of the world, and especially when he himself had been sent by God as a prophet to defend Islam, the previous divine injunction for armed jehad had become “redundant and meaningless”. His basic objective was to leave India’s already defeated and despairing Muslim community ever more confused and demoralized, and thereby pave the way for their steady destruction and extinction. Persuasive indications exist to show that the Qadiani movement was inwardly welcomed by the then British rulers of India, possibly in the hope that it would weaken the Indian Muslim community whom they had succeeded as India’s rulers and would thus prevent it from posing any serious threat to their supremacy in the Sub-continent ever again.

 

          The Qadiani movement (or the “Ahmadiyah” as the members of the creed themselves prefer to be called), which was to culminate in its founder’s claim to full prophethood, started with a challenge to the following clear Qur’anic pronouncement to the effect that Jesus Christ had been raised alive to heaven and not killed on the Cross as generally believed (italics provided):

 

          “And they (i.e., the Jews) said (in boast): We killed the Messiah son of Mary, Allah’s messenger; and they killed him not, nor did they crucify him, but it was made to appear so unto them, and those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save the pursuit of a conjecture; for certainly they killed him not; but Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah was ever mighty, Wise,”

 

          Mirza Ghulam Ahmad also repudiated the unanimous Muslim belief, based on authentic ahadith of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) that Christ would descend alive from heaven sometime before the Judgement Day, to complete his interrupted life span and mission on earth, and that he would do so in the cause of Islam. Mirza contended instead that although Christ had been nailed to the Cross by those who had accused and convicted him, he had in fact been removed secretly from there before his death and concealed by his disciples. These disciples had later taken him to Srinagar (Kashmir State, India), where he had died a natural death at a ripe old age. There was thus, according to him, no question of Christ himself decending from heaven at any time in future. Instead, a mathil (replica, likeness or prototype) of Christ would appear in future, and he himself claimed to be that mathil.

          Mirza’s next step was to claim to be the promised Messiah (or Christ) in his person, thus contradicting his own earlier stand that only a mathil of Christ and not Christ himself was to appear in future. This he did in stages in his books titled Taudih-e-Maram. The Elucidation of Objectives), Fathehul Islam (The Victory of Islam),  Kashit-e-Nuh (Noah’s Ark), and Tohfa-e-Golraviyah (The Golravi Present), which are mentioned at some length later in this Section. From there he proceeded to refute the firmly established concept of the absolute finality of the prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH), first calling himself a zilli nabi or a “shadow prophet”, and then announcing his elevation to full prophethood. He thus sought to demolish a fundamental Muslim belief that is rooted in the Qur’anic verse quoted earlier (XXXIII,40), is re-affirmed in a number of the Prophet’s authentic ahadith (traditions), and has been unanimously accepted by the Muslim ummah for the past 14 centuries. The subsequent pages describe and analyze in some detail the stages through which the founder of Qadianism carried forward the campaign which resulted in his elevating himself to the full status of an impostor prophet.

 

Early life of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of Qadiani movement

 

          Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was born in Qadian in Gurdaspur District (Punjab, India) in 1839 A.D. His father, Ghulam Murtada, was a physician-cum-landowner of Moghul descent. After completing his education in the Arabic and Persian languages (as was customary in the orthodox Muslims families of the day) and in Tibb (Eastern medicine), Ghulam Ahmad served for about four years beginning 1864 as a clerk in the office of the Deputy Commissioner (District Officer) of Sialkot District. He then gave up this job to join his father’s practice of medicine. Simultaneously, he continued his somewhat irregular study of religious literature and also participated in religious literature and also participated in religious debates. As far as is known, his ancestors had been orthodox Sunni (Hanafi) Muslims, and “Mirza” only) also subscribed to the same school of thought in his early years. In fact in 1879, at the age of about 40, he publicly announced his intention to write a multi-volume book titled Barahin-e-Ahmadiyah (The Ahmadi Arguments), seeking to expound in strong and irrefutable terms the truth of Islam vis-à-vis other religions, and south the material help of the Sub-continent’s Muslim community in this task. In response to this call, the Muslims in general extended generous financial support to him in what they viewed as a laudable venture. After publishing only 4 volumes in about four years between 1880 and 1884, however, Mirza abandoned the project and stopped the publication of subsequent volumes of the book on the plea that he was the mujaddid of the century, and had therefore been commanded by God to propagate Islam henceforth through divine inspiration rather than through intellectual effort and the written word. (More than 23 years later, Mirza wrote and published the fifth and last volume of the Barahin in 1908, the year of his death).

 

          In 1886, Mirza wrote his second book, titled Aryah Dharam (The Aryah Creed), and also held a debate in Hoshiarpur (Punjab) with the Hindu Aryah Samaji sect. This enabled him to make some name for himself as an Islamic debater, and also helped him build up a group of disciples around him. Hakim Nur Din, personal physician to the Maharajah of the Jammu and Kashmir princely State and reportedly a relation of Mirza through his wife, was a prominent member of this influential band of advisers and helpers. He was to play an important role in Mirza’s future career as an impostor prophet. Although Hakim Nur Din was reportedly dismissed by the Maharajah some years later when he predicted the Maharajah’s early death and the accession to the throne of another prince of his dynasty, he remained a staunch supporter of Mirza throughout his life.

 

Early beliefs entirely orthodox

 

          Until this stage, Mirza’s religious beliefs, including that in the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH), were fully orthodox like any other true Sunni Muslim. In a public notice dated 2 October 1891, which is included in the second volume of his book Tabligh-e-Risalat (Propagation of Prophethood), he wrote:

 

          “I subscribe to all Islamic beliefs, and accept all those things which are borne out by the Qur’an and the Hadith and are accepted as true by all Sunni Muslims. I regard anyone claiming prophethood after Muhammad (PBUH), the last of all Allah’s prophets, to be an impostor and a kafir (infidel). I firmly believe that divine prophetic revelation had started with Adam and had ended finally and for ever with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) …….. Let everyone be a witness to this.”

 

          Similarly, in an open letter in Arabic language addressed to the mashaikh (Muslim spiritual leaders) of India, which was incorporated in his booklet titled Anjam-e-Atham (The End of Atham), he wrote thus:

 

          “I do not subscribe to any religion except Islam, believe in no divine book except the Qur’an and in no prophet except Muhammad (PBUH), who is the last of Allah’s prophets. Allah has showered his innumerable blessings upon Muhammad (PBUH),and his strongly condemned his enemies. Note everyone that I invoke the Qur’an in all matters, and follow the Prophet’s hadith as the fountainhead of all truth and knowledge, and accept without any addition or diminution all those things concerning which there is consensus among the Prophet’s As ‘hab (Companions). I shall live on this belief until the end of my life, and invoke the condemnation of God, men and the Angels on anyone who seeks either to depart from any agreed Islamic tenet or to alter Islamic Shariah in the slightest degree.”

                                                          (Translation from the Urdu original)

 

          In those days Mirza also believed in Jesus Christ having been raised alive to heaven, and his expected descent to earth in future, as borne out by the following words in his Barahin-e-Ahmadiyah (op. cit., Vol. IV):

 

          “The Qur’anic verse-“Allah is He Who sent His Messenger Muhammad (PBUH) with right guidance and the true din (Islam), so that He should exalt this din over all other religions.” (XLVIII, 28) – is in the nature of a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ. The complete dominance of Islam that has been promised in this verse will come about through the victory of Christ. It would be through the efforts of Jesus Christ, after his expected reappearance on earth, that Islam would spread through-out the length and breadth of the world.”

 

 


 

The mental state of contemporary Indian Muslims

 

          The Muslim community of India was passing through a grave mental and emotional crisis around this time. On the one hand, it had lost its former political supremacy, especially after the failure of the 1857 War of Independence against the British (which the latter preferred to call “The Mutiny”). On the other, its religious values were being seriously threatened by the materialistic ideas of Europe which had invaded the Sub-continent via the British rule. This dual. Challenge had left the community (commoners and intellectuals alike) in a dazed and demoralized state, leading them unconsciously to cherish the hope that some man of God would one day come and deliver them from this agony.

 

Mirza’s claim to be a mathil of Jesus Christ, the Messiah

 

          It was around this time that Hakim Nur Din, the disciple, relative and close associate of Mirza mentioned earlier, advised him to exploit the prevailing demoralized state of the Indian Muslims to his advantage. Nur Din felt that if Mirza were to present himself to the nation as a mathil of Jesus Christ, he was sure to be greeted as a saviour and would thus be able to play an invaluable role in the Muslim nation’s revival. Initially, Mirza din not view this suggestion with favour and wrote back to Nur Din as follows in his letter dated 24 January 1891, which is included in Maktubat-e-Ahmadiyah (The Letters of (Ghulam) Ahmad) edited by Shaikh Ya’qub ‘Ali ‘Irfani:

 

          “…..With reference to your suggestion that I might put forward a claim to be the mathil of Jesus Christ, I wish to say that I have no need to do so. My sole desire is that Allah should include me in His humble and obedient bondsmen. For us there is no running away from trial and tribulation, which are in fact the only means of (temporal and spiritual) progress…..”

 

          Not long after writing the above, however, Mirza did put forward a claim to be the mathil of Jesus Christ in the following words reproduced from a poster included in the book Tabligh-e-Risalat (op. cit.), Vol. II, which was edited by one Mir Qasim ‘Ali Qadiani:

 

          “…… I do not claim to be the Messiah Jesus son of Mary (in person), nor do I believe in tanashukh i.e., transmigration of the soul). My only claim is to be the mathil of Jesus. This is because my spiritual state resembles the spiritual state of Jesus Christ as closely as does muhaddithiyat (i.e., mastery of the Prophet’s hadith) resemble prophethood.”

 

          Similarly, he wrote as follows in his Izalat-ul-Auham (Depelling of Superstitions):

 

          “Some ignorant people have chosen to view my claim to be a mathil of Jesus Chirst as a claim to be the Promised Messiah himself. . . . . I have made no such claim ….. I am his mathil (only), which means that God has endowed me with some of the spiritual attributes, habits and traits of character of Jesus Christ (PBUH).”

 

          One of the arguments given by Mirza in support of his aforesaid claim was that the construction put by the Muslims upon the ahadith of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) about the future descent of Jesus Christ was incorrect: What these ahadith really meant was, not that Christ would descend bodily and alive from heaven, but that the spirit of Christ would enter some virtuous person in this world. He then added that he himself was the very person in whom that spirit had entered.

 

From Messiah’s mathil to Messiah in person

 

          Mirza did not stick to his claim to be a mathil of Jesus Christ for long. His next step was to refute the belief concerning the “aliveness” of Christ and to assert that Christ had in fact “died” on the Cross. He then proceeded to declare himself to be the promised Messiah and the promised Mahdi (who, according to orthodox Muslim belief, is predicted to precede the Messiah, prepare the ground for the latter’s descent from heaven, and greet and join forces with him on his arrival). This he did in the following statements excerpted from his books titled Taudih-e-Maram, Fateh-ul-Islam, Kashti-e-Nuh, Tabligh-e-Risalat, and Tohfa-e-Golraviyah.

 

          “Both the Muslim and the Christians believe (with a slight difference of detail) that Jesus son of Mary was lifted bodily and alive to heaven, and that he would descent to earth at some future date. I have denied the validity of this belief earlier in this journal.”

                                                                                      Taudih-e-Maram

 

          “If your are true believers, you should be thankful to God that the moment for which your ancestors waited expectantly for long, and countless souls passed away without witnessing it, has finally arrived …. I can not help saying repeatedly that I have been sent in good time to reform mankind and to re-instill the din (religion) in people’s hearts, in the same manner as he (i.e., Jesus Christ) who was sent after Moses and whose soul was raised to heaven after great agony in the reign of Herod. The mathil of Jesus Christ promised (by God) to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) (i.e., Mirza himself) has now descended from heaven in the fourteenth Hijrah century, i.e., approximately the same length of time after Muhammad (PBUH) as that between Moses and Jesus Christ. This is a spiritual descent ….. It has taken place during a period very similar to the one in which the original Christ had come, and is meant to provide a sign for those who understand.”

                                                                                      Fatehul Islam

 

          “And this is the (long) awaited Christ, and it is I who am referred to in revealed texts as Mary and Jesus, and about whom it was said that he would be made a “sign” and it was also said that he would be the Jesus son of Mary that was due to come. Those who doubt this are in manifest error.”

                                                                                      Kashti-e-Nuh

“I swear by God Who has sent me, and to Whom only the accursed ones attribute anything but the truth, that He has sent me as the promised Messiah.”

                                                                             Tabligh-e-Risalat, Vol. II

 

          “I hereby claim to be that promised Messiah, about whom there are prophecies in all the sacred books of Allah that he would appear (again) in the last period of history.”

                                                                                      Tohfa-e-Golraviyah

 

          To support his claimed resemblance to Jesus Christ, Mirza put forward some quaint arguments. Here are some examples:

 

          “My birth had a novelty about it similar to the birth of Christ, in that a girl had been born as my twin. This is an uncommon happening, since a single child is born in most cases.”                                                                         

                                                                                      Tohfa-e-Golraviyah

 

          “Another point of resemblance between Jesus Christ and the promised Messiah of this ummah is that Christ was not a full-fledged Israelite but was considered so only because of his mother. Similarly some of my paternal grandmothers were descendents of the Prophet (PBUH) of Islam.

          A lecture given at Sialkot (Quoted on p. 225 of Qadiani Creed, cf. p. 113 infra)

 

          “Be sure that the person who has now descended (i.e., Mirza) is in fact (Jesus) son of Mary, who, like the original Jesus Christ, had also no human as his “spiritual father”. God himself, therefore, became his Custodian, took him under His protection, and named him Son of May. He is thus symbolically Jesus son of Mary, who was born without a father.                                                                    Izalatul Auham

 

          Mirza also placed distorted interpretations on some of the Holy Prophet’s ahadith concerning the future descent of Jesus Christ. For example, he likened Qadian, his birthplace, to Damascus (Syria), on the “eastern minaret” of which the Prophet (PBUH) had predicted Jesus to descend. He did this on the queer grounds that: (a) Just as Damascus (Syria) had been inhabited by wicked people who had martyred Imam Husain, Qadian (Punjab) was also inhabited by people of similar qualities who did not hesitate to kill pious and pure people; it was therefore necessary that Jesus Christ should descend among such wicked people; and (b) Damascus and Qadian were geographically “situated on the same latitude”, and there was a “minaret of Messiah” in Qadian which was similar to the “eastern minaret” of Damascus mentioned in the Prophet’s hadith. (Izalatul Auham, op. cit). (Mirza also started building a minaret in Qadian but died before its completion. Furthermore, there was in fact no similarity about “killing of pious people” between the inhabitants of Damascus and Qadian, because there are no instances of any Qadiani having murdered any sacred personality like Imam Husain or even of making an attempt on Mirza’s own life.)

 

          Mirza also asserted that the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is situated in Jerusalem, in fact meant the mosque of the Promised Messiah that was situated in Qadian. (Tadhkirah Majmu ‘a-e-Wahy-e-Muqaddas, An Account of the Collection of Sacred Revelations). As regards the “yellows sheets” in which, according to Prophet’s hadith, Christ would be draped at the time of his decent to earth, Mirza likened these allegorically to the two types of physical ailments from which he suffered, viz., headache, vertigo, insomnia and heart spasm in the upper part of his body, and diabetes in the lower part (cf. Appendix to Arabian Nos. 3 and 4). Concerning that part of the same hadith in which it was predicted that Jesus Christ would kill the Dajjal (Antichrist) in armed combat, Mirza claimed that Dajjal represented that group of Christian priests whom he (i.e.,Mirza) had already “killed” through arguments given in his various books. And in placing this interpretation on the hadith, Mirza in fact implied that the Prophet (PBUH) could have erred in interpreting the message revealed to him by God on this point!

 

Claim to prophethood

 

          Mirza’s claim to be the Promised Messiah lasted for about 10 years. Thereafter, in November 1901, he went a step further and, repudiating the unanimous Muslim belief in the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) fro all time to come, to which he had himself categorically subscribed as shown earlier, put forward an unequivocal claim to be a full-fledged prophet of Allah. The occasion for this arose when in August 1901, the khatib (leader of congregational prayers) of Mirza’s mosque in Qadian, one Maulvi ‘Abdul Karim, referred to Mirza in his Friday khutbah, (sermon) as a prophet of God. Despite a strong objection raised to this by one of the persons present in the prayer congregation (Sayyid Muhammad Ahsan Amrohi Qadiani), the khatib repeated the statement in the following Friday’s khutbah and the objector raised his objection once again. On being requested by the khatib to adjudicate, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who had hitherto been reluctant to stake a direct claim to prophethood, and had confined himself to claiming to be “God’s” deputed one” , “the appointed one” “the trusted one” and the mathil of the Messiah etc., decided to take the final plunge and confirmed the statement made concerning him by the khatib. This greatly infuriated Sayyid Muhammad Ahsan, who started arguing loudly with the khatib. Thereupon, Mirza himself appeared on the scene and chided both of them by reciting the Qur’anic ayah (verse)

 

(O believers, raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet …XLIX, 2), which had in fact been revealed in relation to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). (cf. Al Fadl, official Qadiani newspaper, Qadian, 4 January 1923).

 

          His former hesitancy in the matter having thus been removed, Mirza followed the aforesaid incident by making clear and written assertions to the same effect. A couple of examples are reproduced below:

 

          “How can I deny being a Prophet or a Messenger? When God Himself has conferred these titles upon me, why should I reject them or fear anyone besides Him?

          Ek Ghalati ka Izalah, Removal of an Error), November 1901).

 

           “God has endorsed my prophethood through thousands of ‘signs’ in a manner no other prophethood was endorsed in the past . . . . I swear by God (Who holds my life in His Hands) that He alone has sent me and named me a prophet as well as the Promised Messiah, and He has manifested as many as three hundred thousand ‘signs’ in my favour.”

                             Epilogue to Haqiqat-ul-Wahi, (The Reality of Revelation), 1907.

 

          In his earlier books (e.g., Barahin-e-Ahmadiyah, Vol. IV, and Izalatul Auham, op. cit.) Mirza had stated categorically that the coming of any prophet after Muhammad (PBUH) was “impossible and contrary to the will of God.” However, when he decided to become a prophet himself, he put for ward all kinds of arguments contrary to authentic Muslim beliefs in this behalf. In Vol. V of Barahin-e-Ahmadiyah, for example, he wrote thus: “How wrong and absurd it is to believe that the door to Divine revelation has been closed for all time to come after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and that there is no hope of its resumption until the Day of Judgement. This means that future generations of humanity have been left to worship and believe in ancient tales only, and will have no direct opportunity to learn about God. What is the value of a religion that does not provide any direct knowledge about God but relies instead on stories and legends only? I swear by Allah that I regard such a religion as the religion of Satan, and one which leads its followers straight to hell.”

 

a.         “Shadow prophet”

          For sometime after making his prophetic claim, Mirza projected himself as a zilli nabi (i.e., a ‘shadow prophet’), implying that even though the door to prophethood was still open, no one could be invested with it directly as in the past but only through endorsement by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), whom God had called “Khatim-un-Nabiyyin” in the Qur’an (XXXIII, 40). He interpreted this title to mean, not “the last of all prophet” as universally believed by the Muslims on the basis of authentic evidence from the Qur’an itself as well as numerous ahadith, but “the seal of prophets” which was intended to endorse or certify the prophethood of others. This, in turn, also implied that persons could and would in fact appear after Muhammad (PBUH) whom the latter would certify as prophets with his “seal”. According to Mirza, the criterion for such certification was to be the concerned person’s strict and consistent adherence to the Prophet’s shari’ah, as he claimed to have done himself. The claim has been confirmed by Mirza’s son Bashir Ahmad in his book Kalimat0ul0Fasl (The Decisive Word) in the following words:

 

          “Those who consider “shadow prophethood” to be an inferior type of prophethood suffer from a delusion . . . I fail to understand why they hold this view about the prophethood of Mirza Sahib . . . In my opinion, Mirza Sahib was a shadow prophet by virtue of his being a ‘reflection’ of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), and such shadow prophethood is of a very high order.”

 

b.         Full prophet with a shari’ah

 

          After remaining a shadow prophet for some time, Mirza finally proceeded to take a step about which even the most accomplished ‘ulama and aulia (saints) of the ummah shuddered to think. He put forward a claim to be a full fledged prophet of Allah with his own shari’ah (religious code), and also Khatim-un-Nabiyyin (i.e., the last of the prophets). In his book titled “Ek Ghalati ka Izalah” (op. cit.), he wrote:

          “Many a time have I told the people hat in accord with the Qur’anic" ayah (Along with others of them who have not yet joined them . . . LXII, 3), I am the last of the prophets in a spiritual sense, that God named me Muhammad and Ahmad twenty years ago, and also that He pronounced me to the Prophet Muhammad himself . . . . So when the Promised Messiah and Muhammad are one and the same and there is no duality or difference between them, how unfair it would be for people to deny that the Promised Messiah is none but Muhammad himself.”

 

          He also interpreted a number of Qur’anic verses glorifying Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as having in fact been revealed concerning himself. These included: III, 31; VI, 164; VIII, 17; XVII, 1; XXI, 107; XLVIII, 1-2, and a number of others. (cf. Haqiqatul Wahi, op. cit).

 

          To soften the repugnance of these blasphemous claims, the argument was given that that Mirza was Muhammad (PBUH) and Ahmad (PBUH) himself and no separate personality. Some examples of this:

 

          “He who differentiates between me an Muhammad (PBUH), and considers the two to be separate, has neither seen nor recognized nor understood me.”

                                                          (Khutba-e-Ilhamiyah, (An inspired Discourse)

 

“……………. He (i.e., Mirza) derives his inspiration, not from himself but from the fountainhead of the Prophet (PBUH), and not for his own but for the Prophet’s glory. For this reason, his name is Muhammad and Ahmad in the heavens, which means that the prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) has passed on symbolically to Muhammad himself (i.e., Mirza) and to none else.”

                                                          (Ek Ghalati ka Izalah (Op. cit.)

 

“…………… The shadow (i.e., the reflected image) never gets detached form the original self, and since I am Muhammad in a reflected sense, the seal of prophethood has not been broken by my arrival . . . . . No one but Muhammad (PBUH) himself has now claimed to be prophet.”

 

Wahi (revelation), Ilham (inspiration), and predictions of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

 

          a.         Wahi

         

          Having made a claim to full prophethood, Mirza proceeded to take all those steps which he considered necessary to substantiate that claim. These included assertions that he was receiving wahi (i.e., divine revelation), Ilham (inspiration), and kashf (vision) in the manner of other prophets. He also made a number of predictions about different matters. In a poem included on page 287 of his poetic collection titled Durr-e-Thamin (The Precious Pearl), he said on oath that whatever he heard was based on divine revelation, free of all error, and God’s own sacred word like the Holy Qur’an. In another book, Arba’in No. 4, he said he had as full a belief in the divine revelations to himself as he had in the Torah, the Bible and the Qur’an. In Haqiqat-ul-Wahi (op. cit.) he wrote: “………..God’s revelations to me are so numerous that they would cover 20 chapters if compiled.”

 

b.                 Ilham

 

In addition to wahi, Mirza also claimed to receive Ilham (i.e., inspiration) from time to time. In his book Izalatul Auham (op. cit.), he divided Ilham into two classes, viz., Rahmani (divine) and Shaitani (satanic). The former Ilham, according to him, was accompanied by divine light and blessings, while the latter was influenced by the inspired person’s own hopes and wishes. In his book Haqiqatul Wahi (op. cit.), he classified the receivers of Ilham into three categories, viz. : (i) those who possess no skills and have no relationship with God, but who sometimes see true dreams and experience kashf (clairvoyance) by virtue of their mental attributes; (ii) those who have some but not a perfect relationship with God; and (iii) those who burn their carnal desires in the fire of God’s love and choose a life of bitterness solely for His sake. He claimed to have been placed by God in the third category, “not because of any effort on my part but even while I was in my mother’s womb.”

 

Some specimens of Mirza’s ilhamat (inspirations):

 

-                      My, God pledged allegiance unto me! (Dafe-ul-Bala (The Repeller of

-                      Calamity.)

 

-                      God said to me:        “O Sun, Moon, thou art from Me and I am from

-                      thee”

(Haqiqat-ul-Wahi)

 

“Thou art like a son to Me”. (How brazenly this negates the Qur’anic assertion that ‘God begetteth not nor is He begotten.’ CXII, 3).   (Ibid.)

 

“Thou art of such eminence that whenever thou decidest to do something and orderest it to be, it shall be.” (Ibid.)

 

“We give thee tidings of a son, who will be such a manifestation of truth and loftiness as if God Himself had descended from heaven.” (Istafta, The Verdict).

          “God praised thee from His Throne and cometh to thee.”

                                                                             (Anjam-e-Atham, op. cit.)

 

          “Like Mary, the spirit of Jesus was breathed unto me, and I was allegorically made pregnant! After no more than 10 months, I was transformed from Mary to Jesus. In this way, I am the son of Mary.”

                                                                             (Kashti-e-Nuh, op. cit.).

 

          In yet another Ilham quoted in his Aina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam (Mirror of the Accomplishments of Islam), he said he dreamt that he was Allah Himself and had created the sky and the earth!

 

          According to his Hamamatul Bushman (The ‘Carrier Pigeon’ of Good Tidings), “God will descend in Qadian”

 

          Mirza’s inspirations included a number of other dreams, most of which were meaningless and are unworthy of reproduction here. Far from vindicating his claim to prophethood, these dreams and inspirations cast serious doubts even on the state of his mental balance.

 

c.                  Predictions

 

Many of Mirza’s inspirations are in the form of predictions. However, unlike the predictions of Allah’s true prophets of the past which invariably proved to be correct, a large majority of Mirza’s predictions turned out to be wrong. Some of these predictions, and the fate they met in each case, are reproduced below:

_      Simultaneously with the death of one of Mirza’s sons, named Mubarak Ahmad, the God had given him tiding of a ‘mild-mannered’ son who would have qualities similar to those of Mubarak Ahmad. (Mirza’s poster dated 5 November 1907 included in the book Tabligh-e-Risalat (op.cit.), Vol. X. However, Mirza did not have any issue, male or female, after this prediction..

   

_     In June 1893, Mirza published an inspired prediction that ‘Abdullah Atham, a Christian priest with whom he had engaged in a religious debate, would die and go to hell “within the next 15 months.” He said he was ready for any penalty including showering of disgraces upon him, blackening his face, and putting a rope around his neck and hanging him, if the prophecy was proved wrong, unless ‘Abdullah Atham embraced Islam in the meantime. In fact, Atham, despite his old age, lived for many years after the predicted date, i.e., September 1894, without embracing Islam.

 

_        In 1886, at the age of 46 years, Mirza had requested his cousin Mirza Ahmad Beg for the hand of his daughter Muhammadi Begum (then hardly 12-13 years of age ) in marriage. In 1888, he announced his ilham that God Himself had given Muhammadi Begum in his wedlock, and that this was bound to happen sooner or later whether she remained a virgin or became a window. The inspiration also indicated that if the girl were married to someone other than Mirza himself, her husband would die1 within 2 ½ years and her father within 3 years. Mirza claimed in his book Anjame-e-Atham, op. cit. (1897) that he had made this prediction only after God Himself had informed him about it, and that he therefore regarded it as a test of his truthfulness or falsity. However, while the girl’s father did die within the predicted period of three years, the girl herself and her husband, Sultan Muhammad, lived long after Mirza’s own death.

 

_      The gist of Mirza,s inspiration quoted in his books ( Mavahib-ur-Rahman, The Bounties of  Rahman, i.e., of Allah), Araba’in No.3 ( op. cit. ) and Tohfa-e-Golraviyah  ( op. cit.), was that he would live up to an age of 80 years. In fact, his age at the time of his death on 26 May 1908 was 68 or 69.

 

Concerning Maulvi Thanaulla of Amritsar, who had denounced Mirza published un April 1970 a poster containing a fervent prayer to God ( which he claimed to have made not on his own initiative but on God’s bidding ) that if Thanaullah was right in his accusations against him, he ( i.e.,Mirza) should meet his end within the lifetime of Mirza. In fact, Mirza died in 1908 while Thanaullah lived for as long as 40 years thereafter up to March 1948.

 

The foregoing short of Mirza’s wahi, ilham, and predictions, which have been derived mostly form his own authenticated writings and pronouncement, should enable the reader to form a reasonably good idea about the reality of his various claims. The list would, inter alia, indicate that Mirza not  only claimed to be the Promised Messiah and a full Prophet; form time to time, he did not even hesitate in claiming to be the son of God, God Himself, Muhammad (PBUH) and Ahmad (PBUH), and many other things. A more detailed list of his various claims is given in a later section of this booklet.

 

Distortion of the Qur’an and the Hadith

 

Having put forward a categoric claim to prophet hood and to wahi and ilham, Mirza turned his attention to the manipulation of the Qur’an and the hadith for his ends. He started by claiming in Arba’in No 4 (op. cit.) that God Himself had informed him about the real meanings of the Qur’an and also about which of the Prophet’s ahadith were correct and which of them had been falsely attributed to him. Similarly, in his Tohfa-e-Golraviyah (op. cit.), he said he had been authorized to accept or reject whatever he desired form the compilations of ahadith “on the basis of knowledge received by him directly form God.”

 

Disagreement with Muslim Ummah on every principle of Islam

 

         Mirza exploited the aforesaid self-conferred divine authority, to tamper whit the Qur’an and the hadith, for the purpose of expressing disagreement with the mass of Muslims in every sphere, be it religious, social or national. His son Mahmud Ahmad said thus in one of his khutbas (sermons):

 

          “These words of the Promised Messiah are still ringing in my ears: ‘it is wrong to think    that we differ form other people with respect to the death of Christ or a few other matters. The fact is that we differ of form them concerning Gid Himself, the Holy Prophet (PBUH), the Qur’an, the daily prayers, fasting, Haj, Zakat (regular almsgiving or ‘poor due’        enjoined upon all well-to-do Muslims) _ in short in each and every thing.” ( AL FADL,           official Qadiani newspaper, 3 July 1931).

 

          The separate and distinct identity of the followers of  Mirza of Qadian form the rest of the       Muslim community of India was emphasized in a notice which was printed and published           by Mirza in October-November 1900. A copy of this notice was sent by him to the      Government of India with the request that population census planned to be carried out in        1901; his followers should be grouped separately under the religion “Ahmadiyah”.

          The detailed reproduction of all those issues on which Mirza expressed with the Muslim   ummah would require several volumes. Consequently, only a few of the salient issues are        listed below:

 

(i)                 Descent of angels

 

Mirza described angels to be the “souls of the stars”, and on that basis argued in his Ayyamus-Sulh, (Days of Peace) that if the angels were to descend to earth as Muslim believed, the stars would disintegrate and fall form the skies. In support of this he quoted ( or rather misquoted ) portions of a couple Qur’anic verses (VI, 8 and XVII, 95) which had no relevance to this point but had in fact been revealed to answer the objection of disbelievers as to why a human being and not an angle had been sent by God as a prophet. Yet, in another of his writings containing a commentary on Ayah 4 of Surah (chapter) Al-Qadr of the Qur’an (XCVII), Mirza conceded that angles did in descend to earth.

 

(ii)                The human spirit (Ruh)

 

  The Qur’an declares the human spirit (Ruh) to be “be the command of the Lord” (XVII, 85”). It thus belongs to a category of creation that is beyond human comprehension. A hadith of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) described the spirits which loved each other in the erstwhile world (of spirits), and those that opposed each other there, do the same in the, present material world also. On the other hand, Mirza declared thus in a speech made in a religious public meeting on 27 December 1896: “We witness daily that thousand of germs infect the sores in the human body. The fact, therefore, is that the spirit is a fine light, which is born right in the sperm that breeds in the female womb, and the essence of which present in the sperm form the very beginning.”

 

(iii)                Jehad (Holy War )

 

 In a period when Christian nation, especially Britain, France and the Czarist Russia, were wrecking Muslim territories everywhere, Mirza declared armed jehad (Holy War) as forbidden by God for all Muslims, and termed the promised Mahdi and Messiah, who according to hadith were to come and fight the forces inimical to Islam, as “the blood-thirsty Mahdi” and the “blood-thirsty M essiah”. Some of Mirza’s writings and pronouncements this point is reproduced below:

 

-               Form now on, all holy wars on earth have been stopped for ever, and have come to     an end. According to the Prophet’s hadith which indicates that fighting in the    reappearance of Jesus Christ on earth, such fighting has been forbidden form    today. Anyone who now wields the sword in the cause of religion and kills           infidels, is guilty of disobedience of God and his Prophet (PBUH)..Now that I have        come as the Promised Messiah, there is to be no armed jehad in future. We have      raised the white flag of peace.

                                                Appendix to Khutba-e-Ilhamiyah (the Inspired                                                        Discourse)Published in Diaul Islam Press, Qadian, 1913.

 

-         Ghulam Ahmad (i.e.,Mirza himself) enjoins upon his party, which regards him as the Promised Messiah, that it should always desist form such  unholy practices.           Since God has sent me as the promised Messiah and invested me with the garb of         Jesus son of Mary, I admonish my people to avoid making mischief.    

                                       The British Government and Jehad, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad,                                  published by Diaul Islam Press, Qadian, 22 May 1900.

 

-          Look! I have come to you with the message that from now on all armed jehad has come to an end, and only the Jehad to purify your souls remains.

-          Jehad is now totally forbidden. It was valid only when the use of the sword had to be made in the cause of Islam. Now an environment has been created when everyone views the shedding of blood for the sake of religion with contempt.    

                                              Tohfa-e-Golraviyah (op.cit.)

 

              Mirza thus made a persistent attempt, by either disregarding or distorting the relevant  Qur’anic verse and the prophet‘s ahadith to strike out of Islamic shari’ah (code of conduct) a duty that has been enjoined upon the Muslim ummah as absolutely essential for its continued survival against forces threatening its existence. The following Qur’anic verses and two well-known ahadith of the Prophet (PBUH) underscore the importance of Jehad in unmistaken able terms:

 

(a)         O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. (VIII, 65)

 

(b)         O Prophet: Strike against the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Be harsh with them.     (IX, 73).

(c)         O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them   find harshness in you. (IX, 123).

(d)         So (O Prophet!) obey not the disbelievers , but fight against them herewith with a      great endeavour. (XXV, 52).

(e)        And fight them until prosecution is no more, and religion becomes for Allah       (only). (II, 193).

(f)         Those who believe in Allah and the last Day ask not leave of thee form striving                   with their wealth and their lives. Allah is aware of those who keep their duty (unto      Him). (IX, 44).

(g)     Those alone ask leave of thee (form jehad) who believe not in Allah and the last          Day, and their hearts feel doubt, so in their doubt they waver. (Ibid., 45).

 

Ahadith

         

(a)       There shall be no migration form Makkah after the conquest (of Makkah ).                However, jehad shall remain. so whenever you are ordered to come out     

             for jehad, come out for it.

(b)        Jehad shall continue (to remain incumbent in times of need) until the Day

of Judgement .

iv        Opinion about Allah’s various prophets

As shown later in this booklet, Mirza claimed in his various writings to be equal to such great and eminent prophet of Allah as Nuh, Ibrahim, Is ‘haq, Isma’il, Ya’qub and Yusuf (peace be upon them all). In one such writing, he claimed even to be superior to all prophets. This provides an indication of his irreverent attitude towards the prophets of Allah in general. In particular, he referred slightingly to Jesus Christ on many occasion. In his book Dafi-ul-Bala (op,. cit,), for  example, he wrote:

“The truthfulness of Jesus was no greater than that of other truthful persons of his time. In fact Yahya (John the Baptist) was superior to him since unlike him (i.e., Jesus) Yahya did not drink wine, and there had been no instance of any immoral woman having touched him with her hand or hair or “any un-related young woman” having served him at any time (as had been the case with Jesus Christ). That is why the Qur’an has referred to Yahya as “hasur (chaste) but not so Jesus Christ, since incidents like the above did not permit this.”

 

In the Appendix to his Nuzul-ul-Masih (The Descent of the Messiah), he wrote thus:

“…… And the Jews have raised such strong objection concerning Jesus Christ and his prophecies that even we (Muslim) are unable to answer them. One is thus left with no argument in Christ’s favour beyond the fact that the Qur’an calls him a prophet of Allah…”

 

To pre-empt a possible adverse reaction, amounting even to punishment, form the ruling British (Christian) Government of India to his foregoing disrespectful references to their sacred religious personalities, and especially to Jesus Christ whom the mass of Christians believe to the son of God, Mirza submitted an apologia in the form of “A humble petition to the Exalted (British) Government” (as follows:

 

“…… AI also confess that when writings of some Christian priests and missionaries became increasingly harsh and disrespectful abut the Holy Prophet (PBUH) of Islam ……..I became apprehensive last these might cause a violent reaction form the highly sensitive Muslim community……. I therefore concluded , in good faith and with clean intentions, that the best strategy to avoid such a happening, and to cool down tempers and thereby prevent a possible law and order situation, would be to reply somewhat firmly to the Christian missionaries’ writings…”

(Appendix to Tiryaq-ul-Qulub panacea for the Hearts)

 

Mirza also wrote two books titled  Tohfa-e-Qaisaryah ( Present to the Empress ( of India ) and Sitara-e-Qaisariyah (The Star of the Empire), specifically to underscore his own loyalty of his followers to the British Crown. The former book praised the “benign reigen” of Her Majesty Queen Victoria of Britain and Empress of India, while the latter to be a biography of Mirza himself as a loyal subject of her Majesty.

 

(iv)          Attitude towards descendents of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

 

In his various writings and posters etc. Mirza has tried to prove himself to be a descendent of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) his successor, and his “spiritual son”, In particular, he has sought to downgrade the importance of blood relationship with the Prophet (PBUH), Some examples.

 

“The “al” (offspring) of Muhammad PBUH), dose not denote any worldly relationship, but refers to those who inherit the spiritual legacy of the Prophet (PBUH). This is what the Prophet (PBUH). Really meant by the word al, and not the transitory worldly relationship which ceases to exist after death. How is it possible that while Allah indicates that worldly relationship would be limited to the present world only and not remain valid on the Day of  Judgement, his Prophet (PBUH), should continue to emphasise a lowly physical relationship (and that too) based on the offspring of his daughter (Fatimah).                (Tiryaq-ul-Qulub, ibid.)

 

However, the foregoing principle dose not applies to Mirza’s own offspring. In one of his “inspirations” for example, he claims that verse 33 of Surah XXXIII of the Qur’an which refers to the purification by Allah of members of the Holy Prophet’s household form uncleanliness and sin, is applicable to his own family members.

 

In his poetic collection Durr-e-Thamin (The Valuable Pear op,.cit.,) Mirza also asserted he was superior to Hadrat Imam Husain (RUH), and that he had “one hundred Husains under his collar”, In several verses included in an Arabic language Qasidah (Eulogy) titled I’jaz-e-Ahmadi (The Ahmadiyah Miracle ), he speaks about Imam Husain (RUH), in highly derogatory terms not even worth of reproduction here. What is more, he claims in the Urdu introduction to the Qasidah that the words were not his own but had been put in his mouth by God Almighty Himself.

 

Bewildering Variety of Mirza’s Claims

 

          The preceding section have highlighted only the principal claim put forward by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, viz., those to be the mathil of the Messiah (Jesus Christ), the promised Messiah himself, the promised Mahdi, a zilli nabi (“shadow” prophet), and finally a full prophet in his own right. In actual fact, however, Mirza has made many, many more claims (large or small) in various writings and pronouncements. In a book title A’imma-e-Talbis Leaders of Masquerade or Leading Impostors) (Maktabah Ta’mir-e-Insaniyat, Lahore, 3rd Edition, 1974), Abul Qasim Dilawari has observed, on the basis of a detailed and in-depth study, that while the earlier impostors who appeared in different periods and Lands after the passing away of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had in general confined themselves to making one or at best two or three claims including that to prophethood, the claims of Mirza are too numerous and varied to be accurately counted. Nevertheless, on the basis of Mirza’s various books and other writings, Daliwari has identified as many as 86 (eight six) such claims including those mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph. These, among others, include claims to be: muhaddith (master of hadith); mujaddid  (reformer or reviver of religion); Mariam (Mary); a manifestation of God; God Himself; God’s son; God’s father, God’s mistress;  Prophet Nuh, Ibrahim, Ishaq, Ismail, Yaqub, and Yusuf ; Lord Krishna ; superior to all Prophets of God; the Black Stone of the Holy Kabah (i.e., the Grand Mosque at Makkah); the Holy Kabah itself; King of the Aryans; the sun and the moon; the light of  God; and one to whom God Himself pledged allegiance!

 

Impact of Mirza’s claims on the Muslim Ummah

 

          The claims and assertions of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad listed in the preceding sections struck at the very roots of the Muslim belief structure in many vital spheres; interpretations of the Quran and the Hadith; wahi (divine revelation); Jehad (holy war); raising alive of Jesus Christ to heaven and future descent to earth; and above all Mirza’s blatant violation of the concept of the finality of prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH). As noted, these claims started in a low key but became more and more daring with the passage of time. Inevitably, therefore, a time came when the Muslim `ulama and intellectuals were constrained to take serious notice of the activities of this 14th Hijra Century impostor, and to the lunch a unanimous crusade against his heretical creed. Through sustained writing and speeches, they exposed the sinister designs underlying the Qadiani movement with such force as to render it largely ineffective. Indeed, but for the undue leniency of the British Indian Government towards this movements, Mirza would have the same fate as the impostors preceding him in the various periods of history had met. Hadrat Pir Meher Ali Shah was in the vanguard of this combined struggle of the uluma of India against Qadianism. He was indeed among the first to grasp its real evil motives, warn other Muslim against them. Other prominent participants included Syed Ataullah Bukhari and his Majlis-e-Ahrar party, Maulvi Thanaullah of Amritsar, Maulvi Muhammad Hussain of Batala, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan (editor of the Daily Zamindar, Lahore), poet –philosopher of the East Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Maulvi Muharram Ali Chishti (editor of newspaper Rafiq-e-Hind, Lahore), and Mualvi Sirajuddin (editor of the newspaper Chaudhvin Sadi, Rawalpindi).

          ‘Allamah Muhammad Iqbal made an in-depth study of the Qadiani movement and its disruptive implications for the Muslim ummah in general and for the Muslims of India in particular. On the basis of this study, he concluded that since Qadianism violated the concept of khatm-e-nubuwwat, finality of the prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) which was basic to the Muslim ummah’s unity and solidarity, the Muslims of India were fully justified in regarding it as a grave threat to their very existence as a united community. In a public statement issued in June 1935, therefore , he advised the then British Government of India to declare the Qadianis as a separate community, distinct from the Muslims, which in his opinion would be quite in line with that Government’s policy of “religious non-interference”. This was followed by the ‘Allama by a much more detailed analysis in a letter which he wrote in June 1936 to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the well-known Hindu leader mentioned above, in response to three articles written by him in defence of Qadianism in the Modern Review, Calcutta. In this letter, the Allamah spelt out the religious, social and political basics of Islam, and the manner in which these had influenced the course of Islamic history. He particularly highlighted the essentially tolerant nature of Islam and rightly argued that by violating the concept of khatm-e-nubuwwat, Qadianism had proved itself unworthy even of Islam’s wide-ranging tolerance.

         

 Besides the sustained onslaught of the Muslim ‘ulama, the inconsistencies and contradictions in Mirza’s own various writings and pronouncements contributed in no small measure to the failure of his unholy mission. These not only helped expose the hollowness and falsity of his claim to prophethood; they even cast doubts in the minds of those reading or listening to them about his mental soundness. There are numerous instances on record in which he first condemned the impostors of the past in his early writings, but when he chose to make similar claims himself at a later stage, he put forward all sorts of flimsy and directly contrary arguments in favour of his own claims. Besides making him laughing stock in the eyes of his critics, this deeply embarrassed his own followers and admirers as well. As a result, grave differences arose within his lifetime among his followers. Some of them not only withdrew their recognition of Mirza’s prophethood, but also exposed many unfavourable aspects of his character which were enough to falsify his claim in this behalf. A detailed account of these aspects would require a separate volume. Extensive excerpts from such writings of Mirza himself and his followers were collected by Prof. Muhammad Ilyas Burney of Hyderabad (Deccan, India) and published in the form of a book titled Qadiani Creed: A Scientific Appraisal. The book, which has recently been re-published in Pakistan also, makes the various aspects of Mirza’s life and character abundantly clear. Most of the references and excerpts from Qadiani writings reproduced in the present booklet have been derived from the 5th edition of this book published in 1935 by the ‘Umdat-ul-Matabi, Press, Lucknow. A number of other books and publications based on careful research on Qadianism has also been consulted, and the relevant references given at the respective places in this booklet.

 

The Qadiani and Lahore factions

 

          Before long, the Ahmadiyah community was split into two factions: the Qadianis and the Lahoris. The former faction believes Mirza to be a full-fledged prophet with a shari’ah (religious code) of his own, and regards anyone not believing him to be a prophet as a kafir (infidel). The latter, on the other hand, considers Mirza to be the Mujaddid-e-A’zam, The Great Reviver of Religion) only or at best a zilli nabi (shadow prophet), and regards anyone rejecting him as a sinner but not a kafir.

 

          These two factions have engaged in hot debate on their respective points of view from time to time. While the Qadiani faction, for example, has invoked a number of Qur’anic verses in support of the prophethood of Mirza, the Lahoris have condemned such interpretations as farfetched, perverted and in bad faith. Here are two salient examples of this argument.

 

(i)                 Verse 81 of Surah 3 (Al-e-Imran) of the Qur’an speaks of a covenant made by Allah with the earlier prophets to believe in and extend their support to a prophet who was to come at a later date and was to re-affirm what they themselves had brought to mankind. The Qadianis interpret this verse as referring, not to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as unanimously believed by the Muslim ummah but to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The Lahoris, however, totally reject this distorted interpretation.

(ii)                The Qadianis have tended to gloss over the many inconsistencies in Mirz’s interpretations of his prophethood to suit his own ends. The Lahoris have not only exposed these inconsistencies but have even mocked at the brain which produced them.

 

(Al-Fadl, official  Qadiani newspaper, dated 26 February 1924, and Paigham-e-Sulh official organ of the Lahoris, dated 27 April, 1934 and 3 May 1934).

 

Summary so far

 

          The foregoing brief introduction to Qadianism would have shown to any discerning and fair-minded reader the flimsy foundations on which the movements were based. It would also have made it clear that the sole objective of the movement was to damage and discredit Islam and to sow dissension in the Muslim ummah. What boggles the mind is how this cult, based as it was on innumerable absurdities and profanities, was able to attract even the small following that it did. The next Section describes the main features of the struggle launched against the movement by the Muslim ‘ulama and mashaikh of the Indo-Pakistan Sub-continent, and especially the great role that Hadrat Pir Meher Ali Shah played in that struggle.

 

Hadrat Pir Meher Ali Shah’s

Fight against Qadianism (Ahmadiyat)

 

          The background to Hadrat’s entry into the struggle against Qadianism is that during his visit to the Hedjaz for Haj in 1890 A.D. (1307) A.H.), the chaste atmosphere of the Holy Land had touched him so deeply that he had thought of setting permanently there. However, Haji Imdadullah Mohajir of Makkah (cf. footnote 41) advised him to return home in the following words: “In the near future, ad dangerous and evil movement is likely to raise its head in India, and you are destined to play a key role in combating it. Even if you do nothing actively against this movement, your mere presence in the country would help shield the country’s ‘ulama against its destructive effects.” The truth of these words was proved barely a year later, i.e., in 1891, when Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian announced his (initial) claim to be the Promised Messiah (Jesus Christ) – an announcement that was to culminate about ten years later in his claim to be a full-fledged prophet of God in his own right.

 

          Two spiritual visions experienced by Hadrat also deserve a mention in this context. According to one of these, quoted in Malfuzat-Mihriyah (cf.Footnote 52), the Holly Prophet had appeared to Hadrat in a dream and had commanded him to effectively refute Mirza of Qadian, who was “tearing his (i.e., the Prophet’s) ahadith to pieces through distortion and misinterpretation.” According to the other vision, which occurred when Mirza challenged Hadrat to an open debate in 1900 A.D. (dealt with at length later), Hadrat had seen himself sitting in a most respectful posture before the Prophet in his prayer cell, in the manner of disciple sitting before his sheikh (spiritual) guide), while Mirza of Qadian was sitting a good distance away with his back turned to the Prophet. Hadrat construed this as a clear indication of Mirza’s open defiance of the Prophet’s teachings, and this prompted him to accept Mirza’s challenge for a debate in Lahore. As described later, this debate did not eventually take place because Mirza chose not to make his appearance of the appointed date, time and place.

         

At the time of Hadrat’s return from Haj in 1890, Mirza’s claim had been to be a divinely appointed mujaddid (reformer or reviver of religion) only. During the preceding ten years or so, he had made a considerable mark as an Islamic religious scholar of some standing because of his debated with Christians and Aryah Samajis (a Hindu sect) and of writings based on those debated. He had also written and published the early volumes of his book Barahin-e-Ahmadiyah (op. cit.) during this period. Some eminent orthodoz ‘ulama, apparently taken in by the author’s professed pious intentiopns, unwrittingly helped build his scholarly image. These included Maulvi Muhammad Hussain of Batala, a noted Ahl-e-Hadith scholar, who wrote a lengthy review of the Barahin in his journal sha’at-us-Sunnnah lauding that book as the “masterpiece of the century” and its author (i.e., Mirza) a peerless scholar and an eminent spiritual personality. (Maulvi Muhammad Hussain later became one of the severest critics and opponents of Mirza when the reality of his various writings and pronouncements dawned upon him). Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the well-known educationist and founder of the Muslim University at Aligarh which was to become the Subcontinent’s leading Muslim institution of learning in course of time, was also reported to have been deeply impressed by Mirza’s writings in the beginning. Eventually, however, he reached the conclusion that these writings of Mirza wree “no better than his ilham (inspiration) - - of use neither for “din” (relilgion) nor for “duniya” (worldly purposes).76

 

                Similarly, Hadrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid Chishti of Chachran Sharit, District Bahawalpur (1840-1901), an eminent sheikh and sufi poet, was quite favourably disposed towards Mirza in the early stage. In response to an appeal which Mirza had addressed to him (as well as to other ‘ulama) for help in his divinely assigned task of propagating Islam. Khwaja Sahib had not only pledged support to him but had also praised his learning and erudition. In fact when the Muslim ‘ulama started writing persistently against Mirza, Khwaja Sahib deplored this campaign against “thi pious man” who (in his view had stood up firmly in the cause of Islam and “was on the right path”. However, when Mirza’s later writing, containing his claims to be the “Promised Messiah” and zilli nabi (“shadow prophet” came to his notice, he also openly denounced him. Even so, the Qaddiani preachers continued to successfully dupe the people for long by quoting Khwaj Ghulam Farid’s earlier letter lauding Mirza’s scholarly ability, and it was only after repeated denials at conferences of ‘ulama held in different parts of the country that the Qaddiani deviousness was fully exposed.

 

          Statements fafourable to Qadianism wre falsely attributed by the Qadianis to some other eminent mashaikh as well, including even Hadrat Pir Meher “Ali Shah himself.

 

Qadiani request for support and Hadrat’s response

 

            Hadrat’s first direct contact with the Qadiani movement occurred when Maulvi ‘Abdul Karim of Sialkot, one of Mirza’s followers, sent to Hadrat a copy of Mirza’s published letter of invitation in which he had claimed that he was the Promised Messiah and had been assigned by God with the task of reviving the din and working for the ascendancy of Islam. The letter requested Hadrat’s support in this task. In reply, Hadrat wrote that he did not accept Mirza as the “Promised Messiah’ and advised him to continue to confine his activities to the holding of debates with non-Muslims and the propagation of Islam as before, instead of making such off claims.

 

          Recognizing the powerful influence which the mashaikh (spiritual leaders) wielded on the minds of the Muslims of India in general, Mirza made every possible effort to enlist the backing of some members of this community for furthering his mission. However, these efforts met with no success whatsoever. In frustration, therefore, he threw out an open challenge to the entire mashaikh community in the following words:

 

          “There is no one under the sun at the present moment who could claim to be my equal. I say to the Muslims openly and without fear: let all those who lay loud claims to be muhaddith masters of hidith) and mufasssir, commentators of the Qur’an,….. nad call themselves Chishti, Qadri, Naqshbandi, Suhrawardi* and what not, come before me (if they dare).                                                          Ayyamus Sulh, Days of Peace, op. cit.)

 

*Cf. Footnote 29

 

Hadrat’s book “Shams-ul-Hadiyah”

 

          Initially, Hadrat not only himself avoided criticizing or denouncing Mirza’s sacrilegious ideas, but also dissuaded other ‘ulama from doing so on the ground that this would be against Islamic tolerance. However, when Mirza and his new creed gradually started gaining currency and credence among people who took them at their face value, Hadrat could stand it no longer. Consequently, and in response to a request from some ‘ulama, he took up the task of exposing the fake nature of this creed. Taking some time off from his exceedingly busy schedule already set out earlier, Hadrat wrote in1317 A.H. (1899-1900 A.D.) a booklet titled Shams-ul-Hadayah FiIthbat-e-Hayat-ul-Masih, Guidance concerning the “aliveness” of Jesus Christ)77  and, besides getting it printed and distributed among the ‘ulama of India, had a copy sent to Mirza at Qadian as well. On page 474 of his book Aimma-e-Talbis (op.cit), Rafiq Dilawari has observed that Shamsul Hidayah was “perhaps the first among the thousands of books which have been written to-date in refutation of Qadianism.”

 

          In the beginning of this book, Hadrat explained that he had been compelled to write it because: (a) the era of true guidance, firm adherence to the faith, and balanced thought and action is now long past, with the result that human nature is being increasingly influenced by prejudice and ignorance; (b) for general lack of piety, inner light and scholarly ability, it has become different to distinguish between right and wrong and to preserve true belief; (c) simplicity and truth, which are among the basic and important principles of Islam, have given place to greed, mischief and hypocrisy; (d) despite these shortcomings, people now tend to consider themselves to be all-knowing, and to regard the visions of prophets of Allah to be subject to error and misinterpretation and the ijtihadat, re-interpretations) of early ‘ulama to be ‘obsolete’, while they consider their own meanings and interpretations to be immune from these faults; and (e) because of all this, the patently wrong views expressed in Qadiani writings have started gaining more and more credence, making it imperative that something effective be done to stem this tide. Hadrat added that the views expressed in Qadiani writings had been brought to his notice earlier but he had restrained the ‘ulama from condemning them because he considered this to be against the Islamic principles of tolerance. However, a situation had now been reached which could not be tolerated any longer. He had, therefore, written the book Shams-ul-Hadayah to inform the people about the true meaning of the Qu’anic ayat and the Prophet’s ahadith, and thereby ensure that they do not discard the established and unanimously accepted beliefs of Islam due to lack of correct knowledge.

 

          In the book itself, written in the form of questions and answers on the various relevant issues, Hadrat confirmed as unanimous the Muslim belief concerning the raising alive of Jusus Christ to heaven, in both body and spirit, and his expected future decent to earth sometime before the Day of Judgement. He did so with powerful arguments based on the Qur’an and authentic ahadith. He showed the Qadiani beliefs regarding the ‘death” of Jesus Christ and the coming of his mathil as the Promised Messiah (in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) to be utterly false. In reply to Mirza’s challenge to the mashaikh of the country reproduced above, Hadrat invited him to first explain the real meaning of the Kalimah (La Ilaha Illallah-o-Muhammad-ur-Rasulullah-

(There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger).

 

          The strength of Hadrat’s arguments in the book, written in scholarly style and language, can be fully appreciated only by the truly learned reader; the book was, therefore, acclaimed by the ‘ulama of all schools of thought. Among other, Maulvi ‘abdul Jabbar Ghaznavi, a leading scholar of the Ahl-e-Hadith school, expressed his appreciation in a personal letter addressed to Hadrat. Rafiq Dilawari (op.cit.) has also commented that the book explains the question of “aliveness” of Jesus Christ so convincingly as to leave no room for further argument. Understandably, the book caused a stir in Qadian, where the preparation of replies to the various questions posed in it was taken immediately in hand.

 

          Selected excerpts from Shams-ul-Hidayah are reproduced below:

         

Q.                What is the agreed belief of the Muslims about the raising alive of Jesus Christ to heaven?

A.                 Most of the Muslims believe that Christ was bodily raised to heaven by Allah, although some researchers hold the view that the body was “barzakhi”, i.e., in a state between death and resurrection). All are unanimous, however, that the same Christ (and not any mathil or other distinct personality) would descend from heaven in future.

Q.                Is this belief without proper foundation and does it represent “blink consensus” as stated by Mirza Sahib in his Izala-e-autham (op.cit), or is it based on some authority from the Qur’an and the hadith?

A.                 The Qur’anic ayah (Al-Nisa. 157-158). They, i.e., the Jews, certainly did not kill him (i.e., Jesu Christ), but Allah raised him unto Himself –IV, 157-158) provides irrefutable proof that Christ was not slain but was raised alive to heaven.

Q.                Is the “raising” mentioned above not “spiritual” rather than “physical”, on the analogy of the (Al-Fajar 27-28). Qur’anic ayah (O soul at peace! Return to thy Lord, content in His good pleasure. –LXXXIX, 27-28), which would imply that Jesus Christ was “honoured” by God rather than that he “physically” returned to God?

 

A.                 In accordance with Qur’anic idiom (i.e., style), the word “bal” means “but” or “instead” and has been used in the ayah IV-158 quoted earlier to disprove the Jewish belief, mentioned in the ayah immediately preceding it (IV, 157), viz., that they thought they had ‘killed” Jesus Christ. This makes it essential for the statement made in the ayah following it (i.e., 158) to be directly contrary to that made in the preceding one. This is only possible if the “raising” is interpreted as “physical” rather than “spiritual”, because the souls of even ordinary persons who are either slain or die a natural death are raised to heaven, and this is not therefore a phenomenon deserving a special mention in the Qur’an in relation to Jesus Christ.

 

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had contended that the interpretation about Christ having been Bodily raised by Allah “unto Himself” required Allah to have a makan (residing place), which was factually incorrect. With respect to this, Hadrat observed that this was not at all necessary since several other Qur’anic ayat (verses) imply that “raising unto God” doenotes raising towards the heaven, rather than literally unto God Himself. The ayah (Unto Him (all) good words ascend, and the pious deed doth He exalt) – XXXC, 10- is one of several examples of such ayat.

Another device used by the Qadianis to deceive the illiterate masses was to relegate the hadith to a secondary place compared to the Qur’an, ostensibly to place their own interpretations upon the Qur’anic ayat, regardless of whether these interpretations were in consonance with hadith or not. Referring of this, Hadrat conceded that while the Qur’an (as the direct word of God) was regarded by all as superior to hadith in terms of inherent “dignity”, no one could deny the importance of hadith as the prime source of deriving the true meanings and detailed implications of the Qur’an. Furthermore, he said, there are many hidden meanings of Qur’anic ayat the real knowledge of which was granted by Allah to His chosen Prophet only and to no one else. It was thus impossible for anyone to fully understand these meanings without guidance from the Prophet’s relevant ahadith.

In support of the foregoing view, Hadrat cited, inter alia, the following Qur’anic verses which clearly show that God had invested the Holy Prophet only with the true meanings of the Qur’an.

i)                                            Lo! We reveal unto thee the Scripture with the truth, so thou mayst judge between mankind by that which Allah showeth thee. And be not thou a pleader for the treacherous. (IV, 105).

ii)                                           And We have revealed the Scripture to thee only so thou mayst explain to them that wherein they differ, and as guidance and a mercy for the people who belie. (XVI, 64)

iii)                                          And we have revealed the Scripture to thee only so thou mayst explain to the people that which has been revealed to them and so that they ponder. (XVI, 44).

Hadrat also quoted a number of ahadith to prove his point, and thereby not only effectively rebutted the Qadiani arguments but also silenced those others who choose to reject hadith as an impeccable source of Islamic shari’ah. One hadith runs thus (Beware! Along with the Qur’an, I have been given its like, too, i.e., my Sunnah).

 

          Later in the book, Hadrat also cited nearly forty ahadith of the Propeht and sayings of his Companions, all derived from eminently authentic hadith compilations, in support of Christ’s ascent to heaven and his future descent to earth.

 

          One of the arguments given by Mirza to back up his view concerning the “death” of Jesus Chrits was that the Qur’anic ayah (Aal-e-Imran 55). When Allah said: “O” ‘Isa, verily I shall give thee death and shall riase thee unto myself”, III-55) had clearly spoken of Christ’s “death”. Refuting this, Hadrat quoted several Qur’anic commentaries by the Prophet’s Sahabah (Companions) and Tabi’in, companions of the Sahabah) to prove that the word had not been used to mean death as Mirza claimed. He then added that even if Mirza’ meaning were to be accepted as correct, it could refer, according to the correct principles of Arabic grammar to death in future (i.e., after Christ’s expected future descent from heaven and completion of his allotted span of earthly life) rather than death at the time of his crucifixion by the Jews.

 

          In short, the book established the case in favour of Jesus Chritt’s ascent to haven alive and in person in such irrefutable terms as to totally demolish Mirza’s interpretations and claims.

 

          In February 1900, Hakim Nur Din, Mirza’s closest and most trusted associate who had urged him initially to put forward a claim to be a mathil of Jesus Chrits, wrote a letter to Hadrat in which, instead of replying ot the questions listed in Shams-ul-Hidayah,he posed a dozen counter-questions on topeics which among other included: freedom form sin of prophets and aulia (saints); the nature of ilham, kashf and pious dreams and the extent to which these culd be benefited from; the place of reason and laws of nature vis-à-vis the sharia’ah, and so on. He also asked Hadrat to name five or six commentaries on the Holy Qur’an comparable to the commentary by Ibn-e-Jarir, and the sources of some of the ahadith quoted in Hadrat’s Sham-ul-Hidayah.

 

          Hadrat sent detailed replies to each of the questions posed by Hakim Nur Din, some of which are reproduced below:

 

(i)                 Prophet an Messengers of Allah are protected by Allah Himself from those sins and errors which are unbecoming of the high station of prophet hood, because only thus can their complete obeisance by made binding upon their followers. This is borne out, inter alia, by the Qur’anic ayat.(Aal-e-Imrn 31, Al-Ahzab 21). (Say: If you love Allah, follow me and Allah shall perfect model in the Messenger of Allah. (XXXIII, 21). The aulia also achieve this protection after they attain complete fana (identification) with the Supreme Being.

(ii)                Ilham, kashf and pious dreams are among the manifestations of true faith and the criterion for judging their goodness or otherwise is the degree to which they conform to the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

(iii)               Reason and the laws of nature, being based on imperfect foundations, have limited reliability. They can be drawn upon only if they are backed up by a categoric pronouncement by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) on the basis of the Qur’an.

(iv)             Ahdith cannot amend by us today without reference to the analysis and scrutiny carried out by the early scholars, who had greater and closer access to the original sources of information by virtue of their proximity to the period of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

(v)              Instead of five or six Qur’anic commentaries like that of Ibn-e-Jarir, as demanded by Hakim Nur Din, Hadrat cited as many as sixteen such commentaries.

Hadrat also posed just one counter-question to Hakim Nur Din, asking him to explain “the reality of miracles”. This question was, however, never answered.

 

The aforesaid correspondence was published in the form of a leaflet by Maulana Muhammad Ghazi, senior teacher in the madressah at Golra Shari, and distributed to ‘ulma in various parts of the country. All ‘ulama paid glowing tributes (written as well as oral) to the force of Hadrat’s arguments and the deep learning on which they were based. The publication of the leaflet led a widespread demand for Mirza to reply to the questions listed in Hadrat’s Sham-ul-Hidayah.

 

 


 

Mirza’s challenge to Hadrat for written contest

 

Nottled by the aforesaid demand, Mirz threw a challenge to Hadrat, in a poster issued on 20 July 1900 and witnessed by twenty persons, to engage in an open debate with him. Curiously, however, the challenge was note for a debate on the disputed issues (viz., the “death” of Christ, or on Mirza’s own claim to be the mathil of Chrits, the Promised Messiah and a zilli nabi, i.e., shadow prophet), but for a competition in the writing of an Arabic language commentary on selected Qur’anic verses.

 

          According to the avoe-mentioned poster of Mirza, the contest was to take place at Lahore, the capital city of Punjab Province at a venue to be arranged by Hadrat. A maximum of 40 Qur’anic verses were to be selected by ballot,, and commentaries thereon were to  be completed by the two parties in the space of seven hours at a stretch an in the presence of witnesses, without the help of any book or other aide. The commentaries, each of which was to span at least 20 leaves (40 pages) of normal-size writing, would, after their completion and signatures by the respective contestants be read out to three learned but impartial persons for adjudication, who would be nominated and arrangements for their presence made by Pir Meher ‘Ali Shah. Mirza indicated that the names of Maulvi Muhammad Hussain of Batala, Maulvi ‘Abdul Jabbar Ghaznave, and Prof. Maulvi ‘Abdullah of Lahore would, if selected, be acceptable to him for this purpose. After listening to the two commentaries, the judges would pronounce on oath as to which of them was considered by them to be superior and written “with the endorsement of the ‘Holy Sprit’.” In the event of Hadrat’s commentary being adjudged better or even equal to that of Mirza, Mirza pledged to admit that the truth was on the side of Pir Meher ‘Ali Shah. He would then burn all books containing his claims to messiah ship and prophet hood, and acknowledge himself to be “the damned and the disgraced one.” On the other hand, if Mirza were to be adjudged the winner, or if Pir Meher ‘Ali Shah were to refuse to enter the contest, he would repent and pledge allegiance to Mirza and announce this through a published poster.

 

          Hadrat was asked to convey acceptance of the challenge, along with an assurance that he would pledge allegiance to Mirza in the event of his defeat, within ten days of its receipt by him, through a printed poster witnesses (like the poster of Mirza) by twenty respectable persons. Five thousand copies of this poster were to be prepared and distributed by Hadrat to interested quarters.

 

          Mirza’s poster was accompanied by a Supplement which further spelt out some of the conditions mentioned in the main poster, suggested arrangements for the contest in greater detail, and also made a few additional proposals. One such proposal was that the participation of Hadrat Pir Sahb in the contest would be essential in any even, since he had the reputation of being superior to all other maulvis (Muslim clergy) in the knowledge of Arabic and the Qur’an. At the same time, however, he felt it was necessary to widen the scope of the contest and to include in it as many ‘ulama as possible. This would help avoid the possibility of some ‘ulama regarding themselves as superior to the Pir Sahib in the knowledge of Arabic and the Qur’an, and on that basis refusing to accept the defeat of Pir Sahib as binding upon them. It would also ensure that the “Sign of God” was manifested with the “maximum strength and glory”. Mirza suggested, therefore, that Hadrat shold furnish a list of at least forty ‘ulama (basides himself) who would also take part in the contest. Furthermore, he asked Hadrat to suggest a date for the contest not earlier than one monthe hence, in order to allow enough time for the other participating ‘ulama to make the necessary preparations and arrange to be present in Lahore on the dte of the contest. At the end of the Supplement, Mirza gave his own list of 86 (eighty-six) eminent ‘ulama and mashaikh from all over the country and invited them all to the present at the contest.

 

Hadrat’s reply accepting the challenge

 

          Mirza’s poster and its supplement were received in Golra Sharif on 25 July 1900. hadrat immediately prepared a poster in reply and had it printed and published the very next day in all leading newspapers of the country. As desired by Mirza, 5000 copies of this poster were prepared and some copies were sent to Mirza at Qadian by register post. Copies were also mailed or sent by hand to ‘ulama in the parts of India, including the 86 ‘ulama listed at the end of the supplement to Mirza’s poster, and also to ‘ulama in adjoining Afghanistan. All this generated widespread interest among the people.

 

          In his reply, Hadrat wrote that he whole-heartedly accepted the invitations for a public contest extended by Mirza as well as the conditions listed by him, including the venue proposed for the contest (viz, Lahore) and the three ‘ulama named by him as prospective judges. He suggested, however, that the two contestants should first engage in an oral debate elaboration their respective points of view, and that the written contest in commentary-writing proposed by Mirza should tke place only after the audience had expressed its judgement about the oral debates. Hadrat gave a powerful argument for this suggestion. The Holy Prophet of Islam, Jesus Christ and all other prophets of all, he said, had presented and propagated their messages of their respective audiences and communities orally rather than in writing. Since Mirza was a claimant to be the Promised Messiah and the Mahdi, he should also establish the truth of his claims orally in accordance with the tradition set by the previous prophets. Furthermore, as far as written presentation was concerned, the many books written by Mirza were already filled with his various claims and views, and these had already been read and commented upon in detail in writing by the various ‘ulama and also by other fair-minded intellectuals from time to time. Because of all this, Hadrat concluded, it seemed but appropriate to give first priority to an oral debate and a secondary one to a written contest.

 

          Hadrat also offered to come for the contest alone instead of putting forty respected ‘ulama to unnecessary trouble and expense as suggested by Mirza. As desired by Mirza, the 25th of august 1900, i.e., one month after the date of Hadrat’s answering poster, was proposed as the date for the contest, and Mirza was requested to reach Lahore on that date. Hadrat’s poster was witnessed by twenty respectable persons, mostly ‘ulama, as desired by Mirza.

 

          A reply to the Supplement to Mirza’s poster was written, on Hadrat’s behalf and with his approval, by Maulana Muhammad Ghazi, head teacher of the Madressah at Golra Sharif, and was appended to the main poster.

 

A poster from other ‘Ulama

 

          In the wake of Hadrat’s poster, and in reply invitation extended by Mirza to all other ‘ulama and mashaikh of the country in the supplement to his poster, Mirza received the poster signed by sixty other ‘ulama and mashaikh as well. In this, the ‘ulama expressed their readiness to join the proposed contest as proposed by Mirza. They also endorsed Hadrat’s suggestion for an oral debate prior to the written contest proposed by Mirza. In their opinion, it was impossible to arrive at any judgement concerning the points at issue without an oral and face-to-face exchange would remain even after the written contest, so as to apprise the audience in detail about the respective points of view. Furthermore, they felt it odd that such a large gathering of ‘ulama should be made to spend on whole day sitting as silent spectati0ors of an exercise between two persons in commentary-writing. In short, Hadrat’s proposal for an oral debate appeared to everyone to be sound and reasonable from all angles in order to arrive at a decisive solution of the issue.

 

          The challenge extended by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to Hadrat Pir Meher ‘Ali Shah and Hadrat’s acceptance of it, particularly his suggestion for an oral debate to precede the written contest, generated keen popular interest throughout the country. It brought the tenn-year-old struggle between Qadianism and Islam to the stage of settlement through direct confrontation. It also produced an air of expectancy among all those who desired this contentious issue to be settled once and for all, and the Muslim ummah to be rid of disunity and division.

 

Qadiani objection to Hadrat’s proposal for oral debate before a written contest and its consequent withdrawal

 

            Just four days before the appointed date for the contest (25 August 1900), a copy of a printed letter was delivered in Golra Sharif, which had been written by Muhammad Ahsan Amrohi, a close associate of Mirza. The letterh rejected, on Mirza’s behalf, the proposal made by Hadrat for an oral debate, debate and insisted on a written contest in commentary-writing only. One of the reasons given for this was that as a resulf of his past debates with the Christian priest ‘Abdullah Atham, Mirza had already vowed in his book anjam-e-Atham (op.cit) not to engage in oral debates with anyone ever again.

          Through a poster issued on Hadrat’s behalf on 21-22 August 1900 by Hakim Sultan Mahmud of Rawalpindi, one of Hadrat’s associates, Mirza was promptly informed that although Hadrat still considered an oral debate to be the best method of deciding the issue, he was ready for only a written contest also on Mirza’s own conditions and was therefore leaving for Lahore to participate in such a contest. A copy of the poster was sent be registered post to Mirza at Qadian. All those who could be contacted within the very short time then left until the date of the contest were also notified, although the poster could not be publicized as widely as would have been necessary and desirable.

         

In their various subsequent writings and statements, Mirza and other Qadiani writers have contended that in the poster published by Hikim Sultan Mahmud, the condition for oral debate, which was unacceptable to Mirza, had been allowd to stand and had not been withdrawn by Hadrat. Because of this, they say, Mirza Sahib could not have participated in the contest under any circumstances. To enable the reader to arrive at his own judgemnet about the truth or otherwise of this contention, an English translation of the full text of the poster in question is enclosed as Appendix II to this booklet, with the relevant portions italicized.

 

          Huge Muslim assemblage at Lahore, venue of the contest

         

 

          As the appointed date approached, hundreds of Muslims belonging to all schools of religious thought (Shiah, Sunni, Ahle-Hadith etc.) and all walks of life started arriving in Lahore from various parts of the country. Major Islamic madressahs and centres of learning (e.g., those in Delhi, Saharanpur, Deoband, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Multan ect.0 sent their representatives, and even some public servants from far-flung areas took leave of absence and came to Lahore to witness the historic contest. In a period when people as a rule took keen interest in religious matters, the participation of a scholar and sheikh of the eminence of Hadrat Meher ‘Ali Shah in the historic debate which was to decide the fate of the twentieth Century’s leading imposter generated unprecedented enthusiasm. In this moment of destiny, ‘ulama of various shades of thought sank their traditional differences and unanimously declared Hadrat to be their sole spokesman and leader. They thus displayed once again that all-pervading Islamic spirit of brotherhood which has helped unify the Muslim ummah at every critical turn of history against its common enemies, and which no parallel can be found in any other religion or creed. The fact that many of these ‘ulama were far senior to Hadrat, who was then only 42 years of age and in barely the tenth year of his mission of teaching and spiritual guidance, underscores the high esteem in which he had come to be held in the religious circles.

         

Hadrat’s arrival in Lahore

 

            On leaving Golra Sharif for Lahore by train on 24 August 1900, Hadrat had two telegrams sent to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad at Qadian, first from Rawalpindi and then from Lala Musa railway stations en route to Lahore, in order to ensure that he was duly informed about Hadrat’s expected arrival in Lahore. About 50 eminent ‘ulma accomparied Hadrat from the Golra railway station, and many more from other areas either joined him at various points on the way or reached Lahore directly to join the group of welcomes. A very large gathering of people received Hadrat on arrival at Lahore. On the night before the contest date, a detailed discussion and exchange of views was held among ‘ulma on all the various issues relevant to the main subject of the contest. During this session, Hadrat gave a masterly exposition of the arguments both for and against Qadianism, which left even this gathering of distinguished ‘ulma and mashaikh virtually spell-bound and enabled everyone to acquire a cleared understanding of the issues involved.

 

          Many ‘ulama opposed the withdrawal of the condition of oral debate before the written contest in deference to Mirza’s wishes. Hadrat felt, however, that his main object in agreeing to this withdrawal was to avoid providing to Mirza even the slightest excuse to stay away from the contest. Mirza might relent from his monstrous claim and come back to the right path just through the spiritual influence of a gathering of such eminent ‘ulma and mashaikh, about whom the Holy Prophet had said in one of his ahadith that “those who sat in their company would not be unblest”.

 

Mirza’s failure to reach Lahore

 

            Hadrat and his associates, as well as all others who had assembled in Lahore in large numbers to witness this epoch-making contest, waited for two full days, i.e., 25 and 26 August 1900, for Mirza to arrive. Meanwhile, the Qadianis kept giving assurances that Mirza Sahib’s arrival was being delayed only due to negotiations about the applicable terms and conditions, and that he would come as soon as these were finalized. However, Mirza failed to turn up. Many influential Ahmaidis of the Lahori faction reportedly tried hard to induce Mirza to come to Lahore but did not succeed. His main objection was that the withdrawal of the condition of oral debate should have been accounced by Hadrat personally instead of through his associate Haikim Sultan Mahmud. It was pointed out to him that withdrawal by proxy had been done because Mirza’s own rejection of Hadrat’s suggestion for oral debate had been conveyed through the same procedure, ie., through his associate Muhammad Ahsan Amrohavi and not be Mirza personally. Nevertheless, Hadrat even then showed his readiness to withdraw his condition in his own writing provided Mirza did the same in respect of the rejection of the condition. Mirza, however, not only declined to do so but also refused point-blank to come to Lahore. According to him, the maulvis had conspired to have him assassinated under cover of engaging him in a debate to disprove his claim to prophethood. (In making this allegation, he ignored the fact that the debate was being held at his own initiative and not at the instance of the “maulvis”!)

 

Reaction among Mirza’s followers

 

When the Qadiani representatives failed to persuade Mirza to come to Lahore for the debate, a wave of dismay swept through the community. Many disillusioned Qadianis repented and deserted the party. Many other s (e.g., Babu Ilahi Baksh, who had previously been a long-time Qadiani activist but had then repented and rejoined the ranks of orthodox Muslims) even published posters and pamphlets lauding Hadrat’s learning and erudition and acclaiming his victory in the contest. The die-hards, however, not only refused to acknowledge defeat but in fact declared the episode to be a resounding victory for their side. Posters were splashed all over Lahore announcing “the flight of the Pir Sahib of Golra” against the Latter-day Imam (i.e., Mirza), and “the crushing defeat of the maulvis and the pirs by the heavenly sign”. All this despite the fact that the entire city of Lahore was witness to the presence of Hadrt Pir Meher “Ali Shah in Lahore, and to the fact that Mirza of Qadian was refusing to come to Lahore despite repeated calls to do so.

 

          The blatant falsity of the claims of victory put forward by the Qadianis is also borne out, inter alia, by the following obsercations made in the book “Asa-e-Musa The Staff of Moses) by Babu Ilahi Bakhsh, the ex-associate and disciple of Mirza mentioned above:

 

          “If Mirza Sahib was so afraid of going to Lahore, why did he endanger his life himself by issueing the poster of challenge in the first place?. He first invited the Pir Sahib and many many others for a contest at Lahore through repeated posters and leaflets, and after the latter had assembled in response to this challenge, he cried off on the pretext that going to Lahore would amount to “jumping into fire’. What an irony that while the true prophets of Allah (such as Ibrahim) were actually cast into raging fire but had escaped unhurt through the Grace of Allah, this fake claimant to prophethood did not even dare to step into the ‘imaginary fire’ which had been ignited by none but himself!.....Unqualified acceptance by the Pir Sahib of all the ten conditions put forward by Mirza, and withdrawal by him of the only condition for an oral debate before the written contest, left no room whatsoever for the excuses and pretexts put forward by Mirza Sahib.”

 

          Muslim public meeting in Badshahi Mosque, Lahore

 

            Having despaired of Mirza’s arrival in Lahore for the contest, a huge public meeting of Muslims was held on 27 August 1900 in the Badshahi Mosque, Lahore, in which over 5,000 persons (a number considered very large in those days) participated. In this meeting, the various ‘ulama narrated the events leading to the contest and the failure of Mirza to make his appearance at the last moments. They also placed a lucid picture of the real face of Qadianism,  before the people so as to allay any doubts and misgivings still remaining in some minds. Forcefully and convincingly, leading ‘ulama belonging to all the various Muslim sects demonstrated the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was indisputably the last of all apostles of Allah in this world, and that anyone who refused to accept the finality of his apostleship (as had been done by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian) was outside the pale of Islam. They quoted extensively from the writings and pronouncements of Mirza to prove that his beliefs and actions palpably violated basic precepts of the Qur’an and the Hadith.

          A Resolution based on the following major clauses was unanimously adopted at the meeting:

 

(i)                 Mirza had no interest whatsoever in the vindication of the truth. His sole object in starting this episode had been to earn cheap publicity and fame. In order to do so, he had not hesitated to put so many eminent and respected ‘ulama belonging to different and remote parts of the country (including Hadrat Pir Meher “Ali Shah) to unnecessary trouble and expense, and to waste their valuable time.

(ii)                Mirza’s beliefs were totally against the Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah.

(iii)               He had claimed that many of the Qur’anic verses had been revealed to him, had likened Qadian to the House of God (the Holy Kabah) and his own mosque in Qadian to the Al Aqsa Mosque in Bait-ul-Maqdis (Jerusalem), and had denied the Holy Prophet’s mi’raj (ascent to heaven).

(iv)             He had referred most irreverently to Jesus Christ and to Archangel Gabriel in his various writings and statements.

(v)              Many of the writings of Mirza and his associates were couched in highly objectionable lanuage.

(vi)             Becaue of Mirza sacrilegious beliefs, the “ulama of India had unanimously declared him to be a Kafir (infidel).

 

The resolution criticized the activities of Mirza under which he resorted to falsehood in all matters; indulged in unprincipled controversy, cunning and deceit; earned his living by humiliating respectable people and carrying out similar other ignoble activities; and, taking undue advantage of the religious freedom granted by the Government of the day, was trying to sow dissension among the various sects of India. For all these reasons, the Resolution concluded that Mirza did not merit the attention of respectable people, and called upon the Muslims to treat his anti-Islam writings and pronouncements in future with the indifference and disdain that they deserved.

 

          A full and authentic account of this encounter of Hadrat Pir Meher ‘Ali Shah with Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian was published in an Urdu-language joural titled “Ruedad-e-Jalsa-e-Lahore” , Prpceedings of the Lahore Conference) by Hafiz Muhammad Din of the Mustafai Press, Lahore. A collection of articles on the subject also appeaed in the newspaper Chaudhvi Saddi, Fourteenth Century AH) of Rawalpindi, which was later compiled and published in book form. Copies of other brochures and posters on the subject are also known to be available in different libraries having collections of old Islamic literature of the Sub-continent.

 

 

 


 

A new challenge of Mirza Sahib

           

            The next two-year period (190102) was spent by the Qadiani camp in devising new ways of redeeming the serious loss of prestige that had resulted from Mirza Sahib’s abortive contest with Hadrat Pir Meher ‘Ali Shah. It tried to do so, inter alia, by publishing two books by way of rejoinders to Hadrat’s Sham-ul-Hadayah. On of these books, titled I’jaz-ul-Masih. The Miracle of the Messiah), was written by Mirza Sahib himself. It purported to contain a detailed commentary on Al-Fatehah, the opening surah of the Qur’an. In it the author attempted to prove his various claims (messiahship, prophethood etc.) on the basis of the said surah alone, besides describing the other truths and facts stated in the surah. Earlier, Mirza had called upon Hadrat Meher “Ali Shah to write a similar commentary on the said surah for qualitative comparison within a prescribed time-limit, but Hadrat had not yet responded to this challenge. In his book, Mirza put forward the claim that it was beyond human power to reply to the arguments contained in the book.

          The second book, titled Shams-e-Bazighah, The Shining Sun), was written hand published by Mirza Sahib’s loyal disciple and old-time associate, Maulvi Muhammad Ahsan Amrohi. In this book, an effort was made, besides other things, to give a detailed explanation of the Kalimah. There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger), as had been demanded by Hadrat in his book Shams-ul-Hidayah (cf. p. 121 above).

 

Saif-e-Chishtiyai The Chishtiyah Sword), Hadrat’s second book on Qadianism

 

          In reply to Mirza’s two aforesaid books, and in order to deal a final and decisive blow to Qadianism without including in verbal argument or claims and counter claims, Hadrat wrote his now famous book Saif-e-Chishtiayah, The Chishtiayah Sword)78  and had it distributed free of cost to the Sub-continent’s ‘ulama and mashaikh as well as anong religious madressahs and institutions. As clarified in his introductory remarks,, this book was also written by Hadrat on the insistence of some ‘ulalma and other people rather than on his own initiative, and its real purpose was to explain the correct position of the related issues from the standpoints of the Qu’ran and the hadith for the information of the people, rather than to indulge in controversy with and his followers.

 

Saif-e-Chishtiyah elaborated further upon the arguments contained in Hadrat’s earlier book Shams-ul-Hidahay, and alos gave convicing replies to the objectives raised by Mirza concerning that book. In addition, it made nearly one hundred critical comments on the incorrect meanings and logic, errors of frammar, diction and iriom (which are crucially important in relation to the Qur’an and the Hadith, since even the slightest such error can completely change the meanings of the relevant ayat and ahadith) in respect of Surah Al-Fatehah contained in Mirza’s I’jaz-ul-Mashi. Similar criticisms were made of the contents of Shams-e-Bazighah, in which an effort had been made to spell out the meaning of the Kalimah as demanded by Hadrat in his Sham-ul-Hidayah. The details of these various comments, which can be properly understood only by those well-versed in Arabic language and in religious issues, may be seen in the book itself.

 

          Saif-e-Chishtiyai was hailed by religious scholars as a masterpiece on the subject. It was quoted extensively by writers of Qur’anic commentaries and other religious authors as a reference to prove their various points. Maulana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanvi, one of the eminent ‘ulama of the Deoband school, wrote thus in his Qur’anic commentary titled Bayan-ul-Qur’an: “In the discussion on the life and death of Jusus Christ, the book Saife-e-Chishtiyai is worth reading”. Similarly, in his book ‘Aqida-ul-Islam Fi Hayat-e-Isa  ‘Allah-is-Salam, The Islamic Belief in the “aliveness” the Jesus Christ, peace be upon him), ‘Allahmah Anwar Shah Kashmiri of the same school described Saif-e-Chishtiyai as one the best books and an authority on the subject. The Maktubat (Letters) of Hadrat also show that the book elicited generous acclaim from the contemporary religious schools.

 

          As state above, the portions of the book Saif-e-Chishtiyai in which Hadrat pointed out and commented upon the error of grammar and idiom contained in I’jaz-ul-Mashi and Shams-e-Bazighah can properly understood only by those well concersant with Arabic principles. They are, therefore, not reproduced in the present booklet which is meant primarily for the general reader. However, selected excerpts of a non-technical nature are given below:

 

          Some salient’s excerpts from Saif-e-Chishtiyai

 

(i)                                                                                         In claiming to be prophet, Mirza had argued that he was mathil or zill (likeness or shadow) of Holy Prophet Muhammad, and that his claim did not therefore violate the finality of the latter’s prophethood which continued to remain intact. Hadrat, however, quoted from Mirza’s several other writings and statements to prove that his claim in fact was to be a prophet in his own right rather than a mathil or zill only, and that the argument of “shadow prophethood” was a mere façade to conceal the real truth.

(ii)                                                                                        To prove himself to be the Promised Messiah, Mirza had rejected the Muslim belief about Jesus Chrits having been raised by God to heavn “alive and in person”. One the same premise, he later expressed the view that the Mi’raj (ascent to heaven) of Propeht Muhammad had also been spiritual rather than physical as believed by the mass of Muslims. Hadrat proved conclusively on the basis of a detailed explanation of the relevant Qur’anic ayah

 

Glorified be He Who carried His servant by night from the Inviolable Place of Worship, i.e., the Ka’bah- to the Far Distant Place of Worship-i.e., the Aqsa Mosque at Jerusalem-XVII, 1), and of the Prophet’s various ahadith on the subject, that the mi’raj had in fact been physical and had taken place while the Prophet was fully awake. The very fact that this heavenly journey had found special metion in the Qur’an showed it to have been an extraordinary occurrence, which certainly cannot be said of dreams or other spiritual experiences.

 

          This Hadrat said, was also borne out by the use of the word (Subhan, Glorified) at the beginning of the ayah, which, according to Qur’anic idiom, is used only when it is intended to describe highly unusual and improbable happenings. Hadrat argued that going to the heavens and being taken round the universe during sleep was by no means an extraordinary phenomenon which a prophet alone could experience. The conclusion was, therefore, inescapable that Mi’raj had taken place while the Prophet was fully awake.

 

          Mirza had also asserted that both the ancient and the modern sciences had clearly discounted the possibility of any human being to be capable of going in physical person even to the Kurrah-e-Zaamharir, the atmospheric Frigid Zone), what to speak of going to the lunar or the solar zone as believed by the Muslims in relation to the Prophet’s miraj. In response to this, Hadrat argued that: (a) it was wrong  for any Muslim to put forward such views in the face of Qur’anic ayat, ahidith, and consensus of the Ummah, all of which spoke of the Prophet’s physical ascent to heaven; (b) the so-called “laws of nature” relied upon by the physical sciences were based on partial and imperfect observance of natural phenomena, and cold not therefore be regarded as final and unchangeable; (c) phenomena having remote probability cold not be regarded as totally impossible; (d) Mirza had interpreted the Qur’anic ayat and ahadith on this subject in terms totally contrary to those which they had been interpreted by persons (i.e., Propeht’s Companions) who had derived their knowledge directly from the Prophet himself; and (e) Allah, the Ultimate Creator of all natural phenomena, had the power to alter and modify those phenomena whenever and in whatever way He deemed proper. Had He not shown this power by making the blazing fire turn cold for Prophet (Ibrahim)?

 

(iii)      with reference to the view that Christ had not died on the Cross but had instead been raided alive to heaven, Muhammad Ahsan Amrohavi, close associate and spokesman of Mirza, had objected as to how Christ could survive in heaven without food (e.g., wheat etc.), when the Qur’an itself declared (vide its ayat XXI, 8   , (8-Al-Anbia) We gave them not bodies that would not eat food- and V, 75-. They both, i.e., Mary and Jesus, used to eat food) that such survival was impossible. In reply to this, Hadrat explained that survival through material food applied to earthly life only. For the denizens of heaven, e.g., angels, it was the remembrance and tasbih, glorification) of Allah that served as the means of sustenance. It was obvious therefore, he argued, that Christ in heaven would also be governed by the rules of heavenly life and would survive through remembrance and tasbih of Allah. To prove this point, Hadrat quoted a hidith of the Prophet according to which the believing Muslims even on earth would survive through remembrance and tasbih of Allah when the entire earthly resources of food would fall into the hands of Dajjal (Antichrist) during the period just before the Day of Judgement. He also referred to the Qur’anic account of the As’hab-e-Kashf, Men of the Cave, XVIII, 9), who had been kept alive by Allah for over 300 years even on earth without food or drink.

 

(iii)               With respect to the Ilhamat inspirations) of Mirza Sahib, a selective list of which has been given earlier in this Section, Hadrat divided them into three main categories.

a.      False inspirations, which had either been proved wrong through Mirza’ own actions and words, or had not been actually fulfilled;

b.      Meaningless inspirations, which made no sense at all; and

c.      Satanic inspirations, which had been derived either through another human being or inspired by Satan himself.

In short, Saif-e-Chishtiyai proved to be the last nail in the Qadiani coffin as far as scholarly refutation of the under-lying principles and views of this creed was concerned.

 

A Summing Up

         

On the basis of the account contained in the preceding pages of his Section, it can be said without fear of contradiction that Hadrat Pir Meher ‘Ali Shah was in the forefront of those ‘ulama and mashaikh who waged a heroic struggle to nip the evil of Qadianism in the bud. He occupied a leading position among those who laid the foundtions of what developed in course of time into a nation-wide khatm-e-nabuwwat (finality of prophethood) movement, and that resulted three-quarters of a century alter in the Qadiani community being unanimously declared to be outside th pale of Islam by the elected legislature of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on 7 September 1974. to those pioneering crusaders, must, therefore, go the ultimate credit for showing the real face of the Qadiani creed to the world.

 

          Following the above verdict of Pakistan’s Parliament, the ahmadiyah community’s missions are now reported to be working mainly in some European, African and other countries in the name of Islam. The modus operandi being used by these missions in those countries is said to comprise, interalia, the following main elements:

 

(i)                 They present themselves as orthodox Muslims and their objective as the propagation of Islam.

(ii)                They deny that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad ever made a claim to prophethood or any other claims contrary to Islam.

(iii)               To back up this stance, they are said to have taken careful steps to: (a) expunge the portions of Mirza Sahib’s writings that contain his propherhood and related claims; (b) place before their audiences only the writings belonging to the early period of Mirza Sahib’s life when his beliefs were still those of an orthodox Muslim; and (c) remove copies of the offending later writings of Mirza Sahib from wherever they may still be available.

 

It is hoepd that the facts about the Qadiani (Ahmadiyah) movement revealed in this booklet, in the context of Hadrat Pir Meher “Ali Shah’s struggle against it and on the basis of authentic original sources, would help overseas audiences to see the movement in its true colours, and to understand that enrolment in the Ahmidiyah community would not amount to embracing Islam but to adopting a creed that is totally antithetical to that great faith.

 

APPENDIX I

Published Writings of Hadrat Pir Meher “Ali Shah

An Annotated List

 

A.     PROSE

1.      Tahqiq-ul-Haq Fi Kalimatil Haq

 


“The Truth about Kalimatual Haq”(year of publication, 1315 A.H.-1897 A.D.).

 

          This was Hadrat’s first major book. Written in Persian language, which was one of the main vehicles used at the time for the writing of religious books and treatises, the book discussed in considerable detail all important aspects of Shaikh Ibn-ul-Arabi’s concept of wahdat-ul-wujud (Ultimate Oneness of Being). In 1962 A.D., an Urdu translation of it was published along with the original Persian text. Another edition of the book, based on further review of the translated text, is at present under print and is expected to be published shortly.

 

          The book was written by Hadrat to contest and correct the view expressed about wahdat-ul-wujud in pamphlet titled Kalimat-ul-Haq (The Word of Truth) by one Maulana Shah ‘Abdul Rahman, a well-known relligous scholar and sufi of Lucknow (India). In this pamphlet, the Maulana had offered an interpretation of Kalimahe-Tawhid. There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger) which tended to make the Kalimah synonymous with wahdat-ul-wujud. It also seemed to erase the dividing line between the Creator and His creation, and between Allah and the idols worshipped by non-believers as spurious gods. What is more, the writer claimed his interpretation to be the only correct one, held its acceptance as binding upon the entire Muslim ummah, and declared those disagreeing with it as misguided and “strayers form the right path”.

 

          Because of their violation of the orthodox meaning of the Kalimah, which had been handed down by the Prophet himself and had been unamimously accepted throughout the Muslim world ever since, the views expressed by Maulana ‘Abdul Rahman caused an understandable uproar among the ‘ulama of the Sub-continent. Many of them denounced the Maulana as kafir (infidel). Yet few among them were able to effectively counter the many learned and weighty arguments that he had advanced in support of his viewpoint.

 

          Hadrat regarded the controversy caused by Maulana ‘Abdul Rahman’ks views with grave concern. At the same time. He considered these views to be based, mot on any willful or ill-intentioned distortion by the Maulana, but on an “overpowering spiritual experience” and thus attributable to a state of mind beyond the Maulana’s own control. He therefore decided to intervene in manner that could help convincingly defend the orthodox and time-honoured interpretation of the Kalimah, and at the some time absolve the Maulana of the charge of kufr (infidelity) brought against him.

 

          The book Tahqiqul Haq Fi Kalimatil Haq was written with this dual objective. In it Hadrat proved, with the help of quotations from the Qur’an and hadith and a close analysis of Maulana ‘Abdul Rahman’s various arguments, the error of the latter’s viewpoint. A highly erudite and scholarly piece of writing, the book was hailed by the ‘ulama as a work of outstanding merit. Maulana Ashraf  ‘Ali Thanvi, who occupies a position of eminence among the Sub-continent’s  ‘ulama, observed that if Hadrat Meher ‘Ali Shah had not produced this book, it would have become exceedingly difficult (if not well nigh impossible) for the Muslims community to preserve its  age-old belief structure in the face of the powerful case made by Maulan ‘Abdul Rahman for his point of view, thanks to this book, the controversy was amicably resolved and conclusively laid to rest for all time to come. In addition, the book provided a masterly exposition of the concept of wahdat-ul-wujud and helped clear many of the prevailing misinterpretations of the concept.

 

2.      Shamsul Hidayah Fi Ithbat-e-Hayatul Mashi

 

Guidance concerning the “livingness” of Jesus Christ (1317 A.H.-1900 A.D)

 

          The book was written by Hadrat to refute the claims made by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadian (cf., the Section on Hadrat’s fight against Qadianism, pp. 80-145), namely: (a) that the long-standing Muslim belief about Jesus Christ having been raised bodily and alive to heaven, and about a person bearing his likeness having died on the Cross instead, was incorrect and misconceived; (b) that Christ had in fact been nailed to the Cross, had somehow survived and had been removed by his companions and concealed somewhere, and had died a natural death a long time later in Srinagar (Kashmir, India) at the age of 87; (c) the  base on these premised, the belief about Christ descending to earth in persn sometime in future to complete his interrupted span of earthly life was also. Wrong; (d) that the person likely to descend to earth in future would be a mathil or “likeness” of Christ and not Christ himself since he had already died through natural causes; and (e) that Mirza was the promised mathil of Christ. To carry conviction, Mirza had, like all impostors, based these claims on interpretations of the relevant Qur’anic ayat and the Prophet’s ahadith which were in clear conflict with those that had been unanimously accepted by the Muslim ummah on the authority of the Prophet himself. And also with the inferential works of eminent Muslim scholars and historians over the centuries.

 

          Like other contemporary ‘ulama Hadrat did not pay much heed to Mirza’s misguided writing and pronouncements in the beginning, assuming that what Mirza sought was perhaps nothing more than some publicity and limelight for himself. However, Mirza’s tone increased in brazenness with the passage of time, his underlying objectives became more and more apparent, and his views started gaining currency, especially among the western-educated Muslim youth that was vulnerable because of its inadequate knowledge about religion. Hadrat and other ‘ulama were, therefore, compelled to take serious notice of this budding and potentially heretical creed. Shamsul Hidayah  was accordingly written by Hadrat to defend the orthodox Muslim beliefs this important subject against the inroads threatened by Mirza’s writings. Effective refutation of Mirza’s claim to be the promised mathil of Jess Christ was the special focus of the book.

 

          Compiled in the form of questions and answers, the book identifies every single point made in the writings of Mirza and his supporters, and puts forward the unanimously accepted view thereon. Since Mirza’s views were based primarily on jugglery with Qur’anic verses and words, the main emphasis in the book is on presenting the correct meanings of those verses, invoking authentic ahadith as necessary. At the end of the book, Hadrat posed some questions of his own to Mirza and his associates and challenged them to provide convincing answers to these questions. A fuller treatment of the contents of the book is given on pp. 119-125 of this booklet.

 

 

3.      Saif-e-Chishtiyai

“The Chishtiyah Sword”

 

(1319 A.H.-1902 A.D.)

 

          Within about two years of the appearance of Hadrat’s Shamsul Hidayah

(2 above), the Qadiani camp published two books by way of rejoinders. During this period, Mirza had advanced form his claim of being the mathil of Jesus Christ to that of being a full prophet in his own right- a claim which contravened the Qur’an’s unequivocal declaration that prophethood had ended finally and for all time to come with the mission of Muhammd (PBUH)-XXXIII, 40. one of these books, titled Shams-e-Bazighah, The Shining Sun), was written by a close associate of Mirza. The other, I’jaz-ul-Mashih, The Miracle of the Messiah), was written by Mirza himself. It purported to contain a commentary on Al-Fatehah, the opening surah (chapter) of the Qur’an, and the author claimed that is was beyond human power to reply to the arguments contained in the book.

 

          Saif-e-Chishtiyai, much more detailed and comprehensive than Shamsul Hidayah, was written by Hadrat as his final and decisive contribution to the anti-Qadiani Campanign. Besides replying to the points made in the tow Qadiani books mentioned above, it covered the entire range of issues relevant to the absolute finality of the prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH), which constitutes the cornerstone of Muslim belief and which Mirza so daringly sought to challenge and violate. As intended, this book did effectively stem the advancing Qadiani tide. It helped thousands of Muslims to rediscover the truth about the issues that qadianism had raised, besides making many qadianis repent and rejoin the ranks of orthodox Muslims. More details of the contents of this book are contained on pp. 141-144 above.

 

 

4.     I’la-u-Kalimatillah Fi Bayan-i-Ma Uhilla Bihi Leghairillah

 

“Exalting the Word of Allah through the Qur’anic Ayat “And that which hath been dedicated to anyone other than Allah-V, 3”. (1322 A.H.- 1904/05 A.D.).                  

                  

 

          The book was written by Hadrat to present the correct and balanced view, according to the Qur’an and the sunnah, concerning certain issues of day-to-day significance. These included: (a) permissibility of sacrificing animals in the name of Allah and by way of thanksgiving to Him, but at the same time as an invocation of blessing to the souls of eminent religious and spiritual personalities; (b) legitimacy of making offerings at the shrines of ‘ulama and mashaikh (spiritual leaders); (c) the true meaning and scope of the Qur’anic injunction to the believers to place complete faith in Allah in all matters; (d) intercession by Prophets on the sinners’ behalf on the Day of Judgement; (e) ability of the deceased to hear after death, and the like. The book was meant to rectify the extremist and diametrically divergent views that had come to prevail among ‘ulama of different schools on these points. Immediate occasion for writing it was provided by certain questions posed to Hadrat by a group of Pakhtun and Afghan ‘ulama from India’s North West Frontier Province (N.W.F.P.). For the benefit of these ‘ulama, Hadrat wrote the book in Persian. Later, on Hadrat Babuji’s initiative, the Persian text was republished along with its Urdu translation for the benefit of the general reader.

 

5.        Al Futuhat-us-Samadiyyah (1325 A.H-1907/08 A.D).

 

          This book was written in answer to ten questions addressed by a group of non-conformist ‘ulama to one of Hadrat’s disciples, Qaim ‘Ali Chishti, who was a student at the Madressah No’maniyah at Lahore. Since, in posing these questions Hadrat had also been involved as a party, he was persuaded to respond to them. The questions had been carefully chosen to pertain to several different branches of Islamic sciences, e.g., linguistics, jurisprudence, geometry, numbers, and so on, presumably in the hope that no single person could be so widely learned as to be able to do justice to all of them. Hadrat, however, not only provided convincing answers to each question but also posed a dozen questions of his own to the opposing group which were never answered.

 

6.        Fatawa-i-Mihriyah “The Ruling of Hadrat Meher ‘Ali Shah”

(1382 A.H. 1960 A.D).

 

          The writing of fatawa, or rulings on religious issues based on the Qur’an and the sunnah, is an important branch of Islamic learning. Its importance stems from the fact that the Islamic shari’ah comprehends every sphere of a Muslim’s life, be it religious, spiritual, secular or any other. Fatawa are meant to provide correct guidance on matters of day-to-day concern to persons who are not themselves versed in religious knowledge, but who are nevertheless anxious to observe the shari’ah in all matters as meticulously as possible. Because of its nature and importance, the writing of fatawa calls not only for a thorough knowledge of every aspect of the shariah, but also the ability to interpret this knowledge accurately in relation to the issue under reference and also to couch the fatawa in convincing, realistic, and balanced terms.

 

          Because of his numerous pre-occupations, Hadrat had delegated the task of providing fatawa on issues referred to him by different people from time to time to other eminent ‘ulama engaged in teaching at the Madressah in Golra. The rulings given by these ‘ulama were reviewed and approved by him before being issued. However, in cases where the questions raised were of fundamental importance or intricate, or called for in-depth study, the fatawa were written by Hadrat himself. This book brings together the fatawa of Hadrat’s own writing. They were compiled by Maulana Faid Ahmad, author of Hadrat’s biography mentioned in the Preface to this booklet, and were first published in book form in 1960 A.D. They have been further reviewed twice and their latest revised edition published in January 1988.

 

 

7.                 Tasfiah Mabain Sunni wa Shiah “Reconciliation between the Sunni and the Shiah”

(1394 A.H. – 1979 A.D)

         

          This book represents an effort by Hadrat to amicably resolve the age-old schism between the sunni and shiah sects of Islam. The major cause of contention between the two secs has been the divergence of views between them about the manner in which the question of succession to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was settled after his passing away, and especially about the order in which the four Pious Caliphs (Abubakr, “Umar, ‘Uthman, and ‘Ali) were installed in office. The Prophet (PBUH) himself had not nominated a successor, and had left the question to be decided on the basis of democratic consensus in accordance with the true principles of Islam. Al-though the matter was settled with unison and amity at the time, issues seeking to sow seeds of dissension were raised concerning it, long after the event, by forces which could only be regarded as ill-wishers of the Muslim ummah that had attained dizzy heights of glory in a short period of time.

 

          Because of the ruinous effects of this schism on the unity and integrity of the Muslim ummah, moderation-loving ‘ulama have endeavoured from the beginning to bridge it through their writings and pronouncements. Unfortunately, the schism has continued to persist, largely because the voice of moderation has often been lost amidst the tumult of extremism. Realizing the grave and fundamental significance of this matter, therefore, Hadrat decided to write on the issue in yet another effort to effect reconciliation between the two sects. In the book named above, he quoted extensively from the Qur’an ant the hadith to establish the legitimacy of the decision taken consensually on the question of Khilafat (or succession) to the Holy Prophet (PBUH), and to present the correct and balanced view about the respective eminence of members of the Prophet’s household (ahl-e-baet) and his distinguished Companions (as’hab) which has also developed into a major point of conflict. Above all, he appealed to both sects to follow the path of moderation which is the hall-mark of Islam, and to view the issues involved objectively and in the correct perspective.

 

          Unfortunately, Hadrat passed away before the final completion and publication of this book. After a careful review, the book has been recently published with suitable explanatory notes, alongwith Hadrat’s other writings.

 


8.        Malfuzat-e-Meheria “The Sayings of Hadrat Meher “Ali Shah”. (1394 A.H- 1974).

 

          Like many other eminent sufi masters, the sayings of Hadrat Meher Ali Shah during his daily general sittings were sometimes recorded by persons attending them, both for their own use as well as for the benefit of other interested persons. A systematic compilation of these pronouncements over a limited period of time was, however, made only by two of Hadrat’s scholarly disciples, Maulvi Gul Faqir Ahmad and Maulana ‘Abdul Haq. Written and published originally in Persian, the malfuzat were later translated into Urdu for the benefit of the general reader by Maulana Faid Ahmad and, with some additions, were re-published in 1974.

 

          The malfuzat, even though spanning a limited period of time, cover quite a wide range of issues. Some excerpts of general interest therefrom have been reproduced on pages 58-65 of this booklet.

 

 

 

9.        Maktubat-e-Tayyibat “The Sacred Letters”

 

          This is very selective collection of letters written by Hadrat from time to time to different people, in response to requests for prayers, blessings, clarification of diverse religious issues and so on. Like malfuzat, compilations of letters also provide important insights into the views of eminent ‘ulama and Sufis on various matters, depending of course upon the quality of the questions raised and the intellectual stature of those raising them. Their particular value lies in the fact that unlike malfuzat, which are recorded by others, they are written by the concerned sufis and ‘ulama themselves and therefore represent their carefully considered views.

 

 

10.      Majmu’a-e-wazaif “Collection of Recitations”

 

          This is a compilation of Hadrat’s daily or occasional recitations. Reference to these recitations appears in the sub-section on “Daily Schedule” on page 41 of this booklet. They have been compiled and published primarily for use by those of Hadrat’s disciples who wish to do so for the sake of barakah (blessings) or as part of their spiritual regimen.

 

B.        POETRY

 

11.      Mir’at-ul ‘Irfan “The Mirror of Spiritual Knowledge”

 

          The consists of Hadrat’s writings in verse. A list of the writings included in this compilation has been given on page 57 of the booklet.

 

          The collection includes, among Hadrat’s other poetic writings, the widely acclaimed Punjabi na’at (poem in adoration of the Holy Prophet) mentioned on page 29 above. The concluding verse of this na’at, reproduced below, has become particularly immortal:

 

Ø      Glorified to Allah, Who created you (i.e., the Prophet) in the most beautiful, the best, and the most perfect mould.

Ø      Who is (the humble) Meher Ali to chant your praises; what heights have his impudent eyes ventured to reach.

 


ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF POSTER DATED 21 AUGUST 1900 ISSUED ON BEHALF OF HADRAT PIR MEHER ALI SHAH

BY HAKIM SULTAN MAHMUD OF RAWALPINDI

(Cf. page 132 of the booklet)

 

The Flight of Mirza

 

          We have today read the poster titled Nur-ul-Absar (The Light of the Eyes) issued by Mian Muhammad Ahsan Amrohavi, in which he has stated that Hadrat Maulana Pir Meher ‘Ali Shah has refused to compete with Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Subhan Allah (Glorified be Allah) While the Pir Sahib is on his part preparing to leave fro Lahore to test the “inspirational power” of Mirza Sahib on the appointed date, Mirza and his followers are on their side busy framing baseless and far-fetched pretexts like the above to claim victory for themselves.

 

          Gentlemen! We already knew that Mirza Sahib and his party would never come out into the field, and that their only object was to deceive the public with empty threats. They knew full well that their claims had no value whatsoever in comparison with the respected ‘ulama and sufia. Nevertheless, they chose to issue the poster of challenge in the hope and belief that such eminent personalities, and especially Hadrat Maulana Pir Meher Ali Shah who is both a scholar and a sufi and who considers such debates to be a waste of time, would not like to come such a gathering. This, in their view, would earn them fame and publicity for nothing. It might, moreover, help them lure some simple people into their trap, raise some much-needed funds for their party, and enable them to score a point over their opponents on the ground that if they had been in the right they would certainly have entered the contest. Against all their hope, however, and by the Grace of Allah, the Pir Sahib decided to take part in the contest. This left the Qadianis with no means of escape, forcing them to resort to excuses and pretexts to wriggle out of the situation. The poster Nur-ul-Absar mentioned above, which was printed on 14 August 1900 and published on 18 August 1900, and a copy of which has been received by the Pir Sahib on 21 August 1900, is a part of these Qadiani efforts.

 

          (Addressing the Qadianis, the poster of Hakim Sultan Mahmud says :) On what basis do you call the acceptance poster of Hadrat Pir Sahib as amounting to his “flight” or “refusal”? The fact is that he has accepted all the ten conditions proposed by you. He has further suggested that an oral debate should first take place in order to prove your various claims. This is because it is your duty to establish your claims for Messiahship and Mahdiship through such a debate in the presence of ‘ulama and pious men of God. Writing books and making claims to be the Messiah and the Mahdi, while sitting at home, amounts to nothing but self praise. Mirza Sahib has been so taken aback by the proposal for an oral debate that all his so-called spiritual “power” seems to have faded away.

 

          Under the present-day British rule, when paper, pen and ink are so easy to come by, anyone can write whatever he wishes in order to earn the cheers of people and enthuse his supporters. We do not wish to say anything in reply to the poster titled Nur-ul-Absar mentioned above, except to draw the attention of the public to Mirza’s poster of challenge and the Pir Sahib’s poster of acceptance, and to request them to say in all fairness whether it amounts to Pir Sahib’s acceptance or refusal of Mirza’s invitation.

 

          Gentlemen: (We ask you) Are miracles and heavenly approval dependent only on a written discussion, and do they have nothing to do with oral debate? Does your “divine and heavenly power” desert you during oral debate? Perhaps this is what happens according to Qadiani logic!

 

          In all fairness, oral discussion is more relevant to extraordinary or miraculous happenings. Mirza Sahib himself admits that he does not have much literary knowledge, (and perhaps this is why he is afraid to come out into the open). Now if Mirza Sahib claims to have the power to perform miracles, let him pray to God to grant him ability of impressive speech. If this does happen, and he is able to prove it through superior speech in a large gathering, it would strengthen his position on two count: first, he will score a literary victory; and second, a clear “heavenly sign” will be exhibited which would establish him to be a mathil of not only Jesus Christ but also of Moses (who had been granted special power of speech by Allah in the presence of Pharaoh).

 

          If Mirza feels concerned that in an oral debate, a person could possibly go back on his earlier statement on my point, does he expect an entire gathering of ‘ulama and sufia to conceal the truth and refuse to say what is right? If he still does not feel reassured on this account, let a condition he laid down that two persons should write down verbatim the speeches of both the debaters. This would disallow any of the parties to go back upon any part of his speech later.

 

          (Mirza Sahib!) It would have been exceedingly important for you to prove, through a speech in a gathering of the ‘ulama, the written statements that lie scattered throughout your various books. Your refusal to do so can only be termed as a “flight” (from the truth).

 

          Despite all this, if your deficiencies of knowledge and actions do not permit you to come out of the limits of the conditions laid down by yourself, and if you insist that all your conditions must be accepted (as they are), then let it be so. We now give you the further concession that the Pir Sahib accepts all your conditions exactly as they have been presented by you, and challenges you that you should reach Lahore without excuse or pretext on the appointed date, i.e., 25 August 1900. The Pir Sahib would also be there. If even now you do not come for the contest on 25 August 1900, and choose to stay away (which you would assuredly do), then we shall see what to do.

 

HAKIM SULTAN MAHMUD

  Rawalpindi, 21 August 1900

         

         

 




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