Advice To A Missionary
These directions were given in writing by Hadhrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra, to Maulana Q. Abdullah B.A., B.T., on the occasion of his departure for England as a missionary. The date is not mentioned but is likely in the mid thirties or forties.
(Reproduced from the Review of Religions)
"I seek refuge with Allah against Satan the Rejected. I begin with the name of God the Beneficent, the Merciful. We praise and glorify Him and invoke blessings on His revered Prophet (PBUH).
"I commit you to God who is one and who has neither wife nor son. May be your guardian, helper, guide teacher, and leader. Amin! The task with which you have been entrusted is an onerous one, I should say it is beyond the power of man. It cannot be accomplished but with His help. The heart of man is in His hands. Regeneration and purification of heart are then, His work. You should, therefore, repose complete trust in Him. Never entertain even for a moment the idea that you are capable of doing anything. Your heart should ever be full of Divine love and you should steer clear of pride and boasting. Humiliate yourself before God whenever you meet an opponent. Banish the idea from your mind that you will answer him - nay, even assure yourself that you do not know anything. Forget all that you know; yet at the same time have a firm faith that God is with you and He will instruct you in all things. Pray to God and do not even for a moment entertain the idea that your adversary will get the better of you. Rest assured that you will be victorious. But at the same time keep in view the Divine independence (ghina) and bear in mind that He does not stand in need of human help. He who is proud of his knowledge is brought low even though he be working for the Divine cause. At the same time Divine help is not extended to him who is over-awed by his enemy. So there should be neither pride nor boasting nor fear nor again perturbation of mind. Bear yourself with all humility and faith and face the enemy resolutely. None will overcome you. Even if your opponent ask of you what you do not know the angels of God will come to your help and your tongue will flow with truth, and Divine inspiration will instruct you in all that you require. It is a truth. Doubt it not. The opponent against whom you are being sent is not to be regarded as an ordinary one. For three hundred years, rather more than that, the Muslim missionaries have in vain tried to win him over. He has baffled their attempts at every step. Yet there is no cause for despair, because the Deen-i-Haq that has hitherto fought him was not the real and living Deen-i-Haq. It was only a lifeless skeleton. Who can dispute the fact that even a child can overthrow a skeleton. Attack him with the weapons of the real and living Deen-i-Haq and he will of himself run away.
"Europe is now steeped in materialism. She is the mine of all sciences. She is proud of her knowledge. She is puffed up with the thought that what she thinks to be civilization is the real civilization and that all else is barbarism. People, finding her so far advanced in science, are over awed by her extravagant claims while as a matter of fact the sciences of Europe can not be put in the balance against the knowledge contained in the Quran. Here theories are subject to constant change while the Quranic truths are eternal and unchangeable. Hence he who believes in the Holy Quran cannot for a second be cowed down before her. If he studies her civilization in the light of the Holy Quran, it will appear to him anything but civilization and its bright pearls will appear no more than mere oyster shells. Therefore never be dismayed by the theories of Europe. If they ever begin to vitiate your mind, take to the study of the Holy Quran and the works of the Holy Founder of Ahmadiyya Jamaat and you will find such knowledge therein as will counteract their unhealthy influence. Bear in mind that you are going to conquer Europe and not be conquered by it. Do not be afraid of her pretensions for they are utterly baseless. Do not yield to the irreligious influences of Europe. But try to bring Europe round to the civilization of Deen-i-Haq; remembering at the same time the injunction of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) i.e., Convey glad tidings to the people and scare them not away. Speak gently. I do not mean to say that you should keep back the truth, because that will mean the ruining of your mission. Speak the truth boldly. What I mean to say is that Europe is suffering from certain maladies. It would not do to refuse admission into the fold of Deen-i-Haq to a person who accepts all the fundamental principles of it, but is unable to give up all his weaknesses at once. If he is willing to slowly give up his errors and mend his ways, we should not be uncompromising in our demands. Do not narrow the bounds of the Divine Kingdom, yet you should never hesitate to speak out the truth and never shrink from the expression of true beliefs. Convey the truth to others and do not for a moment think of others' rejection of it. Let them disbelieve if they choose to do so, but why should you make yourself guilty in the sight of God by concealing the truth? He is a fool indeed who, in order to prevent his comrade from taking poison, himself takes a large quantity of it. Your own self has a prior right to your care. So if people reject the truth, you should not be tempted to so interpret the Word of God as to make it palatable to your audience. Deen-i-Haq does not stand in need of such preaching. This would be victory for Christianity and not for Deen-i-Haq. Do not swerve even a hair's breadth from the point where Deen-i-Haq has made you stand. Stand your ground firmly and you will find people flocking to you in large numbers. Even an enemy will hate the underhand policy of relinquishing the truth for the sake of making converts. Observe decent economy in food and dress. It is true, people do not like to see things against their etiquette. But if they once come to realize the fear of God and not a desire to offend their cherished tastes or feeling, they will come to love and revere you. It is not lawful to eat the flash of an animal that has been killed from the back side of the neck or suffocated to death. The Quran forbids it and the Holy Founder, on inquiry from the intending passengers for England, also forbade it. But if the Jews or Christians slaughter a clean animal by the throat, whether they recite the name of God or not, it is lawful for you to eat of its flesh. Begin eating it with the name of God. The Jews, I hear, are very careful about the matter of slaughtering animals for eating. You may eat that flesh without any misgiving. As the Christians slaughter animals from the backside of the neck or kill them by suffocation you should be careful about the flesh procurable at their shops or hotels. It is lawful for you to eat food cooked by them. Flesh of fish as well as that of a clean animal shot with a gun is also allowed. There is no harm in eating of the same plate with a Christian; for it is not man that is unclean; it is the unclean thing that makes him unclean. You are not allowed to shake hands with woman; try to explain beforehand in the best possible way. A lady came to see the Holy Founder. He informed her that the Holy prophet, may the blessings of God be upon him, did not take the hands of ladies in his hand, as it was usual for him to do in the case of men, while performing the initiatory ceremony. This involves no derogation of women; for just as a man is not allowed to shake hands with a woman other than his near relative, similarly, a woman is not allowed to shake hands with a stranger. To remove sin, Deen-i-Haq strikes at the very root. Such precautions are safeguards against evil. Always speak gently and thoughtfully. Never be in haste. Do not give your answer in a hurried manner; never try to evade the question. Try to make others understand with a sincerity rooted in love. Be gentle even when opposed by harshness. Try to do good to every body, no matter what creed he professes, so that he may appreciate the beauty and holy character of Deen-i-Haq. Look after those that may, with God's grace, be enabled to accept Deen-i-Haq through you. Take care of them even as a shepherd does of his flock. Help them in their religious and worldly difficulties to the best of your powers. Share all their troubles in a brotherly way. Pray to God for the strengthening of their faith.
"Pay special attention to the study of the English language. Maintain a respectful and obedient attitude to Chaudhri Fateh Mohammad. As long as he is there, try to act according to his instructions, consistently with the teachings of Deen-i-Haq. Co- operate with him with love and affection and be not in any way a hindrance in his way. Be an active partner in his labours. Your relations should be governed by such mutual regard and love as may elicit wonder and admiration from the people there".
Study the Holy Quran and the traditions and have a perfect acquaintance with the writings of the Holy Founder. Study the Christian literature and Christian theology thoroughly. It would be an advantage to make a constant study of some of the books on the exposition of the Law, for that is also very important, because you shall have to enlighten people there on the minute practical details of the Deen-i-Haq Law. Let the people see and feel the unity of the Ahmadiyya Movement and the need for it. There should be no mincing of matters about the fact that Deen-i- Haq and Ahmadiyya Movement are not two different things. They are but two names for the same thing, try to efface from the minds of the people the idea that the Ahmadiyya Movement is only the name of a Society. Teach them to the people of tenets of Ahmadiyyat, which means Deen-i-Haq, i.e., to give up one's desires and resign oneself to the will of God. The people of Europe do not hesitate even to question the existence of God. They wish to have religion according to their own way of thinking. With all their legitimate liberty and freedom in worldly concerns they must be made to recognize the necessity for submitting to Divine Law. Do not be over-anxious about the number of converts but be particularly solicitous for true converts. Try and from words lead them on to actions. You have seldom been across a horse, but you are now going to bestride a lion. Many there are who tried to do so, but instead of getting on its back they were gulped down into its stomach. Pray to God that this lion may tamely submit to you. Pray to God when ever you are in any difficulty. If your need is immediate and urgent, and the time is too short for a reply from me, then post a letter to me and pray to God fervently. It is possible that you may meet with a solution of your difficulty even before the receipt of a reply from me. The ways of God are wonderful and past finding out. He is omniscient and All- Powerful. Try to imbibe sufi ideas. Moderation in food, speech and sleep is a good remedy. Tahajjud (praying in the latter part of the night) is a good weapon against the materialistic influences of Europe, because people there retire to bed late in the night to wake up when the sun is high up. God to bed immediately after you have said the Isha prayers. It would, of course, interfere a little with your missionary work but trust in God; he will make good your loss in another way. People will be drawn towards you of themselves. Visit the rural population and preach to the poor, the peasants and the labouring classes. These people would readily listen to the Word of God and develop spirituality more rapidly and effectively than the well-to-do classes, because the former are comparatively simpler and quicker to grasp the truth than the latter. Stay for a month or two somewhere near London at some little hamlet and there begin your work with a trust in God and then wait for the result. It is true they are sometimes harsh even to rudeness, but when they will realize the truth, it will not be a half-hearted affair. Do not lose heart on account of their harshness. A patient never takes a medicine joyfully. Consult me before you undertake an important task. God be with you and preserve you against every evil influence and give you strength and power to do good deeds. May your words be inspiring. Bear in mind that England is a land of freedom and liberty. There may be some evil minded men intriguing against the British Government. See that you not only guard yourself against the evil influence of such men, but try to save others from falling victims to the same influence".