In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Ever Merciful.
Love for All, Hatred for None.
These chapters are important part of the Pakistan History as the Pakistan Celebrates its 50th Birthday on 14th August 1997. (RAIN Service)
So it was with the Ahmadiyya Movement. With other Muslims there are fundamental disagreements about the Movement's central tenents of belief, but these have open been exacerbated for political reasons - some internal, some international. Few people would deny, however, that Ahmadis are good neighbours and good citizens and, if it were not for these beliefs, that they conduct themselves as good Muslims.
But it is convenient for politicians to have a scapegoat. The denunciation of the Ahmadiyya Movement for purely political motives has left the perpetrators with an ugly heritage.
Tahir**, whose work had taken him all over West and East Pakistan and thus into contact with politicians of all parties, gradually began to act as a kind of liaison officer with the various political parties. "We had a campaign of meeting politicians and understanding their policies. It was not meddling with politics. What we were concerned with was the survival of Pakistan and the survival of the Community. We could not isolate ourselves and divorce ourselves from what was happening in the country."
Some received him politely though they were opposed to the belief in the prophethood of Ahmad. Others were completely secular and opposed to all religions. Some he grew to know quite well, each respecting the sincerity of the other person. Others, who were nominally neutral as far as the Movement was concerned, he found untrustworthy and two-faced. To one he said, "Sir, I have met many political leaders, but you are the weakest of them all, totally without power."
"If he could have slapped my face he would have done so. He became very angry. But he also became very curious. I had uttered these words deliberately. I knew I must create an earthquake in him or he would not be interested in me. So I told him my concept of leadership, a person who leads his people away from catastrophes, not one who is at the front of a huge crowd and is pushed along by events. I told him that he was riding a fury and that when the crowd had achieved what they wanted they would turn against him and he would become an object of hatred.
"He had granted me half an hour, but in the end I stayed with him for three and a half hours. So you see our objective is not to gain power, but to help politicians to understand things better for the welfare of the country and the people - which is a role assigned to every citizen, not just us.
"Unfortunately, as regards that particular politician, my prediction proved to be correct and in the end he was swallowed up by the very fury he had tried to ride."
The Promised Messiah had always kept out of politics and had indicated that those who followed him should also keep out of direct involvement in politics. But moral guidance, Tahir was to say later, was the Khalifa's responsibility. Religion can never be totally disassociated from politics. It is the duty of all religions to keep reminding politicians of their moral obligations to mankind. "We must advise them, but we must not meddle," he said.
Tahir** was to repeat constantly then, and also in later years, that though the Ahmadiyya Movement supported an Islamic state and though Islam was an all-comprising religion, it did not mean that an Islamic state should be governed by a theocracy. "The ultimate essence of Islamic teachings is a system of government which does not make any differentiation between one religion and another. Nor does it give preferential treatment to the followers of one religion as against the other."
During the second half of the 19th century Muslim leadership and faith in India was in disarray. In the first half, by conquest, Sikhs had taken over many territories previously ruled by Muslims. Then British military power, fuelled by the Industrial Revolution in Britain, took over and the Indian Empire was born. In an analysis of Muslim political activity an ambassador of Pakistan was to write that in the last half of the 19th century Muslims in India "had fallen into an abyss of spiritual decadence and political disarray from which there seemed no hope of escape."
One of the principal functions of The Promised Messiah, according to a prophecy of Muhammad, was to revive the faith of Islam and the publication of the first book of Ahmad was to win high praise from Muslims throughout India.
"In my opinion, this book (Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya) at this time and in view of the present conditions, is unique. No such book has so far been written in the annals of Islam," wrote Maulvi Muhammad Hussain, a distinguished Islamic scholar who was later to become one of The Promised Messiah's most bitter enemies.
Muslims had at first supported the All-India Congress Party, which sought the independence of India as one nation, but in 1905 they began to have doubts about their future in a state where Hindus would have a majority of four to one. The British had established a strong central government with a single army and unified services, even though there were many nominally independent states with their own rulers scattered throughout the sub-continent. At the heart of all Britain's policies for India was geopolitical concept of a united India. That did not mean, however, that administrative efficiency should be abandoned and in 1905, Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, announced that Bengal, grown cumbersome, would be split into two with a new province of East Bengal and Assam. The Muslim peasantry of Eastern Bengal believed it to be a good idea, but the Hindus of Bengal were violently opposed to the change. It was the first clear sign, it has been said, that the political and economic interests of Hindus and Muslims could be diametrically opposed. A year later, in 1906, one result was the formation in Dacca of the All India Muslim League. The concept of a united India had started to fray at the edges.
In 1911, under Hindu pressure, the Viceroy yielded and the division of Bengal in two administrative units was annulled. The Viceroy's decision disillusioned many Muslims. The Two Nation plan for India began to take shape.
The Ahmadiyya Movement was at the forefront of these Muslim activities. In 1928, after studying the constitutional plan devised by a committee of the All India Congress Party, the Second Khalifa highlighted the dangers this plan could mean for Muslims in a book entitled "Muslim Rights And The Nehru Plan".
A little earlier, a distinguished Muslim, Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, paid tribute to the work of (71) the Ahmaddiyya Movement in fighting for an independent Muslim state in India with these words, "It will be ungrateful if we do not mention (the Second Khalifa) and his well- disciplined Community who have devoted all their efforts, irrespective of doctrinal differences, towards the welfare of the Muslims. These gentlemen are, on the one hand, taking an active interest in the politics of Muslims and, on the other, energetically engaged in promoting the unity, organisation, trade and preaching among Muslims.
"The time is not far away when the attitude of this organised sect of Islam will provide guidance for the Muslim nation in general and for those persons in particular who are idly sitting under the domes of Bismillah and making boastful and empty claims of service to Islam.."
The Second Khalifa and the Ahmadiyya Movement were also to play an important role in securing fundamental social and political rights for Muslims in Kashmir who were ruled autocratically by a Hindu maharajah.
The Movement's pre-eminent role in the creation of Pakistan, however, was to secure the return of Muhammad Ali Jinnah to India to fight for an independent Islamic state. Dismayed by the lack of unity among Muslims, Mr Jinnah, after the Third Round Table Conference n 1932, decided to settle in London and pursue legal career. The Second Khalifa, convinced that Mr. Jinnah was the only man who had the political experience and ability to lead the Muslims, told Mr. A. R. Dard, the Ahmadi missionary in London, that he must try to persuade Mr. Jinnah to return to India.
Mr Dard eventually succeeded and a garden party was held at the London Mosque to celebrate his departure where Mr Jinnah announced to the 200 distinguished guests that it was Mr Dard who had persuaded him to return to India.
"The eloquent persuasion of the Imam left me no escape," he said. The rest is history for Mr Jinnah returned to India and resumed his struggle for the political rights of India's Muslims. On March 23rd, 1940 the All India Muslim League, under the presidency of Mr. Jinnah, adopted a resolution on the future constitutional structure of India.
The crucial paragraph ran as follows, "Resolved that it is the considered view of this Session of the All India Muslim League that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country, or acceptable to the Muslims unless it is designed on the following basic principles, viz., that geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted, with such territorial re-adjustments as may be necessary, that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority, should be grouped to constitute Independent States in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign."
Pakistan was created in 1947 under Muhammad Ali Jinnah's leadership.
He gave orders that the sermons of the Second Khalifa should be taken down in shorthand to see if, in any way, he could be found to be preaching sedition and so put on trial and jailed. The arrival of a police stenographer on a motorbike to take down the Friday sermon became a regular event in Qadian. Mr. Emerson later told Zafrulla Khan, a member of the Viceroy's Council and, of course a prominent Ahmadi, that the Second Khalifa was "like an eel - you grab hold of him yet somehow he slips through your fingers.
"When I studied the reports of his sermons I would think that I had him," he said. "But a few sentences further on he had wriggled out of my grasp."
The political philosophy of the Movement as a whole was that laid down by The Promised Messiah - if the government guaranteed religious and political liberty and allowed its citizens to prosper peacefully then it was a good government and should be supported. But that did not in way prevent individual Ahmadis pressing further political liberties. "The Community as such is a non-political organisation, but every Ahmadi in every country has his political rights and the stronger they are in the exercise of these rights the more they personally can achieve something," Tahir was to say.
The enthusiasm of the Ahmadiyya Movement for an independent Islamic state and the semi-official opposition of the Governor of the Punjab to the Community is in contradiction to widely-circulated statements of political opponents of the Ahmadis that the Community was an invention and stratagem of the Viceroy's government - by dividing the Muslims they could rule them more easily. Despite the newspaper reports in British national newspapers of Mr Jinnah at the tea party at the London Mosque to celebrate his departure for India and written documentation this accusation is still brought out. It is true but unfortunate that if you say something often enough some people will believe you.
The tragic and horrible consequences of religious fanaticism during Partition in 1947 are well-recorded. The Ahmadiyya Movement raised their own militia to safeguard their lives and property and, when partition came, moved en masse to Pakistan.
In 1953 for political reasons there was rioting against the Community in the Punjab, but for very nearly the next 20 years the Community suffered only occasional harassment. Pakistan had many internal problems and there were two frontier wars with India over Kashmir where the majority Muslim population had been forcibly annexed to India.
In the first years of the creation of Pakistan's national identity Ahmadis played a prominent part. Several rose to the rank of general in the Army. The country's first Foreign Minister was Zafrulla Khan. The Finance Minister was M. M. Ahmad. Some became ambassadors. Other Ahmadis were successful businessmen.
It has been said that they became too successful. Every Ahmadi donates, as a matter of belief, one-sixteenth of his income to the Community. Those who vow to donate one-tenth of their income and also promise that they will make a will leaving one-tenth of their estate to the Movement on their death are known as the testators or will-makers. But with special appeals in many years it is not unusual for will-makers to give up to one-third of their income to the Movement.
The money is used, among other things, to found schools and provide bursaries for gifted children. In Pakistan, a country with limited resources, it gave Ahmadi children a magnificent start in life.
It was the success of General Akhtar Malik, an Ahmadi, in winning control of large parts of Kashmir during the 1965 frontier war with India, which introduced Tahir to Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto. Their lives were and careers were to be inextricably mixed until Bhutto died on the gallows under the dictatorship of General Zia.
Copyright: George Shepherd 1990
First Published in Great Britain 1990 by
George Shepherd Publishers, Maggs House, Bristol
Printed (twice) 1990
Copyright George Shepherd 1990
Cataloguing in Publication Data
Adamson, lain, 1928-
A Man of God: The Life of Khalifatul Masih IV of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam
Ahmadi Muslims, Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, Pakistan, Islamic, Missionaries etc
Included bibliographical references
ISBN 1-873083 -01-7