From the writings of the Promised Messiah(as), this article was written in 1900. Acopy of the translation was held by the India Office Library, London, but has been missing for some time. The translation produced below is found in the book A Study of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s Exposition of Jihad printed in 1993 by Islam International Publications Ltd. Translated by Tayyba Seema Ahmed, Review of Religions November 2001.
The philosophy and true nature of jihad is a complex matter and a delicate issue, the lack of understanding of which has caused people of this age and the middle ages to fall into serious error. To our great shame, we have to admit that as a result of these dangerous errors, we have allowed opponents (of Islam) an opportunity to raise telling objections against a religion as pure and as holy as Islam which is a mirror of the laws near to nature and which discloses the greatness of the living God. One should be aware that the word jihad is derived from the word juhd — which means to strive and hence is used metaphorically for religious wars. It seems that the word Yuddha which is commonly used amongst Hindus to mean war, is in reality a corruption of the word jihad. Since Arabic is the mother of all languages, out of which all others emerged, it would be reasonable to say that the word Yuddha which in Sanskrit means war, is in actual fact the same as Juhd or jihad. Later, the letter jim was replaced by Ya and with some further alteration was spoken with a tashdid.
Now we would like to answer the question of why Islam needed jihad and what jihad is. It is quite clear that from its very birth, Islam faced great difficulties and all nations became its enemy. Now it is quite a commonplace fact that when a prophet or messenger is sent from God, his followers appear to people to be promising, truthful, righteous and progressive in the eyes of others. As a result, the existing nations and religious groups necessarily begin to bear a kind of jealousy and enmity within their hearts against them. This feeling is particularly expressed by the religious experts and leaders, since the existence of this by the religious experts and leaders, since the existence of this ‘man of God’ leads to an alteration in their revenue and dignity. Their pupils and disciples begin to free themselves from their snare as they observe in that person all the virtues of faith, morality and knowledge with which he has been endowed by God. Consequently, those possessing sense and discrimination begin to understand that the afore-mentioned scholars no longer command the respect that was once accorded to them arising out of their educational distinction, piety and abstinence. Hence, exalted titles such as Najmul-Umma, Shams-ul Umma, Sheikh-ul-Mashaikh and so forth no longer befit them. Therefore people of sense shun these scholars as they do not want to lose their faith.
Due to the losses faced by the group of religious scholars and specialists, they have necessarily always been jealous of prophets and messengers of God. The reason for this is that during the period of the prophets (anbiya) and messengers of God, their flaws became exposed, since in actual fact they are wanting and deficient and possess little spirituality within them. Their enmity towards the prophets of God and the righteous arises simply out of their own selfishness, and it is entirely due to this selfishness that they devise plans to injure them. Indeed, in many instances, they actually sense that they have come under the wrath of God, by unjustly harming a pure-hearted man of God. Their guilty conscience tells them that the bad deeds that they continually practise against the righteous are sinful, but still the fierce fire of their blazing jealousy keeps dragging them deeper into the pits of their enmity.
It was these very reasons which in the time of the Prophet not only kept the scholars of the pagans, Jews and Christians from accepting the truth, but also caused them to be extremely hostile. Hence they became obsessed with the issue of how to wipe out Islam from the face of the earth, and because in the early period of Islam there were so few Muslim, their opponents, out of a naturally inherent pride, which they fostered in their hearts and minds, considered themselves superior in numbers and rank, and showed severe enmity towards the Prophet’s companions. They did not want this heavenly plant to take firm root in the earth, and they in fact fought tooth and nail to destroy these righteous people. Their paramount fear was that this religion might become firmly established and that its progress would in turn become the seed of destruction for their nation and religion. Out of this fear which became terribly imprinted upon their hearts, they instigated extremely vicious and cruel acts and proceeded to murder numerous Muslims in an horrific manner.
For a lengthy period of time, spanning thirteen years, their ways remained unchanged and many people faithful to God, the pride of humanity, were cut to pieces by their swords. Their orphaned children and poor helpless women were slaughtered in the streets, yet despite this, God commanded Muslims absolutely not to retaliate against evil. Accordingly, those chosen righteous people so behaved. Whilst the streets ran red with their blood they did not utter a sound. They were slaughtered like animals, yet they did not protest. God’s pure and Holy Prophet, upon whom the heavens and earth shower their blessings, was stoned on so many occasions, and yet even whilst he was stained with blood, that upright mountain of truth tolerated all this maltreatment with love and an open heart. Because of these meek and humble manners and humility the mischief of his adversaries increased daily since they perceived this holy congregation to be their prey.
Then God Almighty, who desires not that cruelty and oppression remain unlimited on this earth, took thought of his oppressed creatures and his rage was inflamed against the wicked. He then spoke through the Holy Qur’an to his poor afflicted people and informed them, “I am watching everything that is happening to you and henceforth I give you permission to retaliate. I am God the Almighty and I will not allow your oppressors to escape without punishment”. It was this commandment that in other words came to be known as jihad. The very wording of this commandment, which is still preserved in the Qur’an today reads as follows:
Permission to take up arms is given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged and Allah, indeed, has power to help them. Those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly, only because they said, ‘Our Lord is Allah.’ And if Allah had not repelled some people by means of others, cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft remembered, would surely have been destroyed. And Allah will, surely, help him who helps Him. Allah is, indeed, Powerful, Mighty (Al-Hajj: 22-40:41)
That is, God heard the cries for help from the victims of cruelty who were being slaughtered and unjustly made homeless.
They were given permission to fight for the defence of their rights. God is Omnipotent and aids such victims. However, this order was only intended for a limited period of time and was not everlasting. It was applicable to that time when converts to Islam were being slaughtered like goats and sheep. But sadly, after the time of the Holy Prophet(saw) and the Khilafat, people committed very grave errors in trying to understand the philosophy of jihad, the essence of which is explained in the above quoted verse. Hence the slaughter of God’s people was wrongly considered to be a mark of religious virtue.
It is a strange coincidence that Christians erred with respect to the rights of God and Muslims to the rights of man, that is to say, in the Christian faith, by making a humble man God, the rights of the Almighty and Everlasting were violated, He who has no equal on earth or in the heavens. In the same vein, Muslims, by unjustly wielding the sword against human beings, violated the rights of man, and called this jihad. In other words, the Christians pursued one pathway of violating rights and the Muslims another. It is an unfortunate aspect of this period that both faiths view their own violation of rights to be preferable, to the extent that each and every group is advocating its own doctrine as being the more favourable violation of rights. Each considers that its own belief provides the sole path to heaven. Whilst the sin of violating God’s rights is greater than all of this, it is not my intention at this point to discuss this dangerous act of which the Christians are guilty but to make Muslims aware of the continuing violations that they are committing in relation to man.
We must remember that the manner in which today’s Muslim scholars called the maulvis, understand and preach jihad to the public is in no way correct. The only outcome of that such a person should be killed. This is the fatwa under the sentence of which I have been for a considerable period of time. Some of the maulvis of this country have given to me the label of dajjal and kafir (infidel), and fearless of the law of the British Government, have printed a fatwa against me stating that this man should be killed and that to loot his belongings even to abduct his womenfolk is a most commendable action. What is the reasoning for this? It was because I am the Promised Messiah, that I preach against their interpretation of jihad and totally disprove their concept of the ‘bloody mahdi’ and‘ bloody Messiah’ for whom they wait with great anticipation, believing that his advent will be accompanied by bloodshed and plunder, this is the target of their rage and hostility. However, they must remember that the doctrine of jihad which they possess within their hearts is completely incorrect and represents the first step towards the demise of human compassion. They are in complete error to suppose that since jihad was considered lawful in the early days of Islam, then why should it be unlawful now. To this I have two that such a person should be killed. This is the fatwa under the sentence of which I have been for a considerable period of time. Some of the maulvis of this country have given to me the label of dajjal and kafir (infidel), and fearless of the law of the British Government, have printed a fatwa against me stating that this man should be killed and that to loot his belongings even to abduct his womenfolk is a most commendable action. What is the reasoning for this? It was because I am the Promised Messiah, that I preach against their interpretation of j i h a d and totally disprove their concept of the ‘bloody mahdi’ and‘ bloody Messiah’ for whom they wait with great anticipation, believing that his advent will be accompanied by bloodshed and plunder, this is the target of their rage and hostility. However, they must remember that the doctrine of jihad which they possess within their hearts is completely incorrect and represents the first step towards the demise of human compassion.
They are in complete error to suppose that since jihad was considered lawful in the early days of Islam, then why should it be unlawful now. To this I have two answers. Firstly, this whole concept is far removed from the truth. Under no circumstances did our Holy Prophet(saw) raise the sword against anyone unless they raised the sword first and mercilessly killed innocent men, chaste women and children in such an agonising manner that even upon hearing such accounts today, one feels great sorrow and grief. Secondly, if one accepts that there existed in Islam a doctrine of jihad as advocated by these maulvis, then it must be stated that this is no longer valid in this day and age. This is because it is written that when the Promised Messiah makes himself manifest there will be an end of the jihad of the sword and religious wars, as the Promised Messiah will not wield the sword or any other earthly weapon in his hand. Prayer will be his weapon and conviction of belief will be his sword. He will lay the foundation of peace and will make the goat and lion drink from the same waterhole. This age will be one of peace, gentleness and human sympathy. How regrettable it is that these people do not reflect that thirteen hundred years have passed since the words Yadda ul-Harb issued from the mouth of the Holy Prophet(saw) in regard to Promised Messiah. It meant that when the Promised Messiah comes he will bring an end to wars. The verse of the Holy Qur’an points in the same direction (Al-Muhammad v.5). That is to say, fight until the advent of the Promised Messiah. This is Yadda ul-Harb, Consult the Sahih Bukhari which is deemed to be the most authentic book after the Holy Qur’an, read it carefully, and you will find the same point.
I address all Muslim scholars and maulvis, listen to what I say, I speak the absolute truth when I say that this is not the time for jihad. Do not disobey God’s Holy Prophet(sa). The Promised Messiah that was awaited has arrived and he orders that henceforth religious wars which entail warfare by the sword and result in killing and bloodshed are prohibited. Therefore, not to refrain from causing bloodshed but to continue to preach in this vein is not the way of Islam. Whosoever believes in me will not only refrain from this preaching but will also condemn this custom and will realise that this practice is evil and one which will incur God’s wrath.
At this point it also saddens me to have to write that, on the one hand, the ignorant maulvis have concealed the true meaning of jihad from the common people and have contrived plans to teach the public how to plunder, fight and murder human beings, all under the banner of jihad. On the other hand, the [Christian)] priests have carried on in a similar manner. They have published thousands of tracts and notices in Urdu, Pushto and so forth, and have distributed them all over Hindustan, the Punjab and the Frontier territories, saying that Islam was spread by the sword and that to wield the sword is Islam. The result of all this was that the common people on seeing these two testimonies of jihad, namely that of the maulvis and that of the priests, went further in their bestial passion. In my view, it is also the duty of our gracious government to put a stop to the dangerous fabrication of these priests which results in unrest and rebellion within the country. It is impossible that the people of Islam will leave their faith as a result of these improper fabrications by the priests. In fact this kind of preaching will ultimately serve as a erpetual reminder to the masses of the issue of jihad and continually arouse their dormant passions.
Now that the Promised Messiah has come, it is the duty of every Muslim to abstain from jihad. If I had not come, then perhaps this misunderstanding could have been excused; but now that I have come, and you have seen the day that was promised, those who use the sword in the name of religion, have no justification before God Almighty. Whosoever has eyes, reads the Hadith and studies the Holy Qur’an, can easily understand that this practice of jihad which has been adopted by many barbaric people of the present time is not Islamic jihad. These are in fact illicit actions based upon the passions of the lower self and upon a crude desire for paradise which has spread amongst Muslims.
As I have just stated, in his time, our Holy Prophet(saw) set a precedent whereby he never raised the sword, but rather, suffered a long time at the hands of the kafirs (infidels) and displayed a patience that not every man is capable of. Similarly, his companions firmly abided by this principle, as they were ordered to suffer and be patient, and so they believed with great faith and patience. They were trampled under foot yet did not utter a sound. Their children were torn to pieces before their very eyes. They were tortured to death through fire and water, but they refrained from responding to all this evil as though they were innocent young children.
Can there be any example in history where any prophet or his followers exercised this level of restraint whilst possessing the ability to retaliate, and yet listened to God’s command and showed such meekness and refrained from combat as they did? Who has any proof that in this world there exists another group that, despite being brave, united, well-armed, able to fight and possessing all the qualities of bravery and manliness, avoided any kind of retaliation against a blood-thirsty enemy for thirteen years?
The patience shown by our most beloved Lord and Master and his companions was not due to their powerlessness. In fact, the devoted companions who showed such restraint in this time of patience had the same hands and arms that they used after the command to perform jihad and frequently a thousand young men defeated one hundred thousand veteran soldiers of the enemy. This took place to show the people that the patience exercised in Mecca by the Muslims in face of their enemies’shedding of blood did not arise out of cowardice and weakness, but was the result of their surrender to God’s command and hence they were prepared to be slaughtered like goats and sheep. Without doubt such patience is beyond human power. Even if one studies the history of the whole world and all the prophets, one cannot find such an abundance of virtues in any other community or in the followers of any other prophet. If we listen to stories about patience from the past, then immediately it crosses one’s mind that the conditions of the time indicate that the reason for this patience was in actual fact cowardice or lack of power to retaliate. But for a group which actually possessed military skill, who were brave and stout hearted, and then, for such pain to be inflicted upon them, for their children to be slaughtered, for them to be wounded by spears and yet still not retaliate against this evil, this is the heroic quality that was exercised in a perfect fashion by the Holy Prophet(saw) and his companions for a period of thirteen years continuously. This kind of patience which continually involved facing such trials and tribulations and spanned the long period of thirteen years is indeed unique. Whosoever doubts this should come forth and give us an example of another instance of such patience from righteous people of the past. At this point it is worth remembering that during this period of oppression inflicted upon his companions, our Prophet(saw) did not instruct them with any plan to save themselves arising out of his own reasoning, but in fact persistently stated that they should bear all their sufferings with patience. If anyone suggested some form of retaliation, he restrained them and said, ‘I have been ordered to exercise patience’. Thus the Holy Prophet(saw) insisted upon patience until the command to retaliate came down from heaven. Try and find an instance of comparable fortitude amongst the people of former or latter days. If it is possible, find such an example amongst the people of Moses or the apostles of Jesus and then impart your findings to me. In short, when Muslims have such an example of patience, avoidance of evil and noble conduct before them of which the whole world is proud, then what kind of ignorance, misfortune and evil practice is it which has now led to a complete abandonment of this example? May God guide these ignorant maulvis who have greatly deceived the herdlike populace with such views and preach that such practices provide the key to paradise, a view that clearly is oppressive, cruel and transgresses all human morals. Can it possibly be a pious act that when, for instance, a person, who is walking in a bazaar minding his own business and with whom we have so little connection that we do not even know his name nor he ours, and yet we, with the intention of killing him, should take out a pistol and fire it at him? Can this be a pious act? If so, then wild animals have surpassed human beings in their religious capacity!
God be praised! How righteous those people were who so retained the spirit of the prophets within them that when God ordered them in Mecca not to fight evil and to exercise patience even if hacked to pieces, they obeyed this command like suckling infants and hence became as weak and humble as if they had no strength in their hands nor power in their arms. Some were killed in such a manner that two camels were made to stand in one place, then the victims’ legs were tied, one to each camel and then the camels were made to run in opposite directions. They were immediately torn apart, in the same way as a carrot or a radish is split open. But alas, the Muslims and particularly the maulvis have ignored these incidents and now think that the whole world is for them to hunt. Just as a hunter stalking a deer in a forest quietly moves towards it and at the right moment fires his gun at it, so are many maulvis. They have not read even one word on the subject of human compassion. According to them in fact, the killing of an innocent person without reason by means of a pistol or rifle is deemed to be Islamic. Where are those people, who, like the companions of the Holy Prophet(saw) will tolerate such torture and remain patient? Has God commanded us, that without reason or proof of an offence, we should, catch a stranger off his guard and cut him to pieces with a knife or shoot him? Can such a religion be from God, which advocates that guiltless, innocent creatures of God should be killed without being preached to and that from this you will enter paradise? How sad and shameful that a person with whom we have no previous enmity and with whom we are in fact not even acquainted, who is purchasing items at a shop for his children or is engaged in some other lawful activity should be attacked, and that we without reason or cause, by firing a gun at him have made his wife a widow and his children orphans and have made his house one of mourning. In which Hadith or verse of the Qur’an is this behaviour prescribed? Can any maulvi reply to this? Upon hearing the word jihad these ignorant people have used it as an excuse to fulfil their base purposes. Or perhaps they are simply inclined towards bloodshed through sheer madness.
To reiterate my earlier point, in the time of our Holy Prophet(saw), Islam only raised the sword when commanded to do so by God. It did so only after so many Muslims had been sent to the grave by the swords of the unbelievers. Finally God’s wrath was roused to desire that those who killed by the sword should themselves perish by the sword. God is most gracious, kind and extremely tolerant, but ultimately He is wrathful for the sake of His faithful followers. I am astonished that in an age when no one kills Muslims for their religious beliefs, then by what command do they kill innocent people? Why do their maulvis not restrain these people who through their misguided actions bring the name of Islam into disrepute?
Can any one calculate what an untroubled existence the Muslims have under this British Government? There must be many people alive today who witnessed something of the period of Sikh rule. Let them inform you of the state of Islam and the Muslims under their rule. An important practice of the Islamic faith is the call to prayer, yet even this was considered to be in the nature of a criminal act. No one even dared to call the azan in a loud voice, for if they did they faced the lances and spears of the Sikhs. Now, did God act wrongly in freeing the Muslims from the uncalled-for interference of the Sikhs and delivering them to the sanctuary granted by the British Government? One might say that it was with the arrival of the British Government that the Muslims of the Punjab were granted the blessings of Islam anew. Since a good deed demands a good deed in return, we should not just reject this favour bestowed upon us in the place of the Sikh rule by God after thousands of prayers.
At this time I especially advise my Jama’at who accept that I am the Promised Messiah, that they should always refrain from these impure practices. God has sent me as the Promised Messiah and has cloaked me with the robe of the Messiah, the son of Mary. Hence, for this reason, I advise you to refrain from evil, to perform the duty of sympathy to all human beings and to respect their rights. Purify your hearts from malice and spite. Thus will you become like the Angels.
What a filthy and unholy religion it is that does not teach humanity! What an unholy path it is that is filled with the thorns of base malice! So, those of you who follow me, do not be like this. Think what you gain from religion. Is it that perpetual harming of others should become your second nature? NO! In fact religion is to try and attain the life which is the nature of God and that has not been attained by anyone, nor will it ever be, unless God’s attributes enter man. For God’s sake have mercy on mankind so that heaven has mercy on you. Come, I will teach you a way that will make your light outshine all other lights. This is the path that shuns all base evils, jealously and advocates sympathy to mankind and requires one to become completely immersed in God and thus to attain the height of spiritual purity. This is the way that leads to miracles and results in prayer being answered and causes Angels to descend for one’s aid. But this cannot be achieved in one day. Keep striving relentlessly until your soul becomes pure. Learn a lesson from the washerman, who first boils his clothes in a cauldron and continues to do so until the effects of the fire causes all the dirt and filth to separate from the clothes. Then he awakes in the morning, goes to the water and soaks his clothes in water and repeatedly beats them against the stones. Only then does the dirt that was in the clothes and had become part of the clothes, then altogether leave the clothes. The clothes become as white as they were when they were brand new. This is the way in which the human soul becomes white. Your whole salvation is dependent on this cleanliness. God draws attention to this in the Holy Qu’ran (Al-Shams: 10)
That is to say, the soul that achieves salvation is the one which is cleansed of all filth and impurities. See, I have come to you with an order: Henceforth the j i h a d of the sword is at an end, but the jihad of cleansing souls remains. These are not my words but this is the Will of God. Recall that Hadith in Sahih Bukhari which refers to the Promised Messiah, yadda-ul harb. that is to say, when the Messiah comes he will bring an end to religious wars. Thus I order all those who have entered my army to stop dwelling on these thoughts; to purify their hearts; to excel themselves in human kindness; to be sympathetic to the afflicted; to spread peace throughout the land, so that their faith will spread in turn. Do not wonder how this will happen. For just as God, in meeting physical needs, without the means of common intervention, has used elements and all things of the earth in the inventions of the present age and has made trains that far outrun horses, similarly, God, without the help of human hands, will now use His Angels to fulfil spiritual needs. May great heavenly signs be made manifest and many splendours
created which will open people’s eyes. Ultimately people will understand that it was a grave error to elevate human beings and other objects besides God to the status of God. Continue to watch patiently because God is more mindful of His unity than you are, spend your time in prayer lest you be written down as amongst those who are disobedient. O you who yearn and thirst for righteousness, listen, for these are the days you were promised in the beginning. God will not protract these episodes. Just as the lamp on top of a minaret spreads its light far and wide, or just as lightening that flashes in one part, of the sky illuminates all parts, so will it be in those days. In order to fulfil the prophecy that the proclamation of the Messiah, like the light of the tall minaret, will spread to the four corners of the earth, every tool has been provided on earth. The railways, the telegraph system, the steamships, the excellent postal service and easy means of travel have all been set in motion. All this has been brought into existence in order to fulfil the prophecy that the light of the Promised Messiah’s message will reach each and every corner of the earth like lightening. The minaret of the Messiah mentioned in the Hadith actually refers to the light and proclamation of the Promised Messiah which will spread as does the call and light from a high minaret. Hence the railways, the telegraph system, the steamships, the postal service and other means of facilitating preaching and the facilitation of travel are all special signs of the time of the Messiah, as mentioned by most of the prophets and as isstated in the Holy Qur’an. (Al-Takwir: V.5)
And when the she-camels, ten-month pregnant are abandoned
That is to say, the time of the common call which signifies the time of the Promised Messiah will be one when camels will become obsolete. Thus a time will come when a new means of travel will come into being, removing the need for camels. It is also mentioned in Hadith:
that is, in that time camels will be rendered useless. This sign was not given for the time of any other prophet. So be thankful to God that preparations are under way to spread the light across the sky. In the earth there is a ferment of earthly blessings, that is to say, in travel and at rest and in everything else, you are experiencing such a case that was denied to your forefathers. It is as if the world has become new. Out of season fruit can be bought all at the same time. A six months journey can be completed in a few days. News from a thousand miles away can be received in a moment. Machines and contrivances exist for the facilitation of every task, and if you wish, you can travel on board trains as if relaxing in a summer house. Since such a miraculous revolution has taken place in the earth Almighty God desires that a wondrous revolution should also take place in the heavens. Both of these are the very signs that were indicated as a revelation in my book Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, which was written twenty years ago. This is as follows:
That is to say, the heavens and the earth are both bound together like a knot, the secrets of which are hidden. In the time of the Promised Messiah we have witnessed the unravelling of the previously hidden secrets contained in the heavens and earth.
Finally let it be remembered that although I have written in detail on this subject in this pamphlet, the existing practice current among the Muslims of attacking those who are of other religions and which they call jihad is not the jihad of Islamic law but is plainly against the law of God and His Prophet and is a grave sin. Yet since among some Muslim nations there is an ancient custom of adhering to this practice, it is therefore not possible for them, to easily abandon this practice. It is in fact highly possible that they become mortal enemies of anyone who offers such advice and they may wish to kill that person, fired by the zeal of a ghazi for the faith. I can think of one solution and that is if His Majesty the Amir(3) of the land of Kabul, who has an influence over the tribes of the Afghans perhaps unmatched by past Amirs, should gather the best known ulema and arrange a meeting to discuss the true nature of jihad. Then through the ulema the public should be cautioned as to their misconduct. In fact the ulema of this country should compile a few pamphlets in Pushto and then have them published and made available to the ordinary public. No doubt this type of action will have a great effect on the people and the passion that the maulvis instill amongst the common people will gradually lessen, and no doubt it will be a grave misfortune for the subjects of the Amir if he does not bring this point of essential importance to their attention. The ultimate result for that government which remains silent over these maulvis’ fatwas will be disquiet and trouble, because nowadays it is the habit of these maulvis and mullahs to give the label of unbeliever to an individual or a group over minor religious differences. Eventually the same fatwas of jihad that are issued against the unbelievers are issued against themselves. In the light of this the Amir Sahib himself cannot remain safe from these fatwas. It is possible that these maulvis may at any time cast out the Amir Sahib from the circle of Islam by taking offence over some trivial issue, and then he too will be the subject of those very same fatwas of jihad which he had caused to be issued against the unbelievers. Those people who possess the power in their hands of labelling a person a believer or unbeliever and then issuing fatwas of jihad against them, are without doubt a dangerous group of whom the King himself should not remain unworried. Without doubt these people are the fountain of rebellion faced by every government. The poor common people are under the power of the maulvis who hold the key to their hearts and can turn them whichever way they choose and at any moment can raise a tumult.
So it is not sinful for the common people to be freed from their duties and for them to have the true nature of jihad gently explained to them. In no way does Islam teach that Muslims should behave like robbers and bandits and use jihad as an excuse to fulfil their innermost base desires; for since the ordinary public are aware that Islam does not permit the carrying out of jihad without the order of a King, there is a danger that those people who are not aware of the reality of the situation may presume that all these actions result from the command of the Amir. It is therefore the essential duty of the Amir that he should as far as possible try his utmost to put a stop to these wrongful fatwas. In this way the King will exonerate himself as clearly as the shining sun and he will be blessed with a heavenly reward. After observing the duties owed by creatures [to God], there is no greater pious act than that of releasing the oppressed from the swords of their aggressors. Since it is mostly Afghans who commit these acts and wield the sword with the intention of becoming ghazis, and there are many of them in Amir Sahib’s country, for this reason God has given Amir Sahib the opportunity to leave this great reform in the record of his Amirship. He should try his utmost to free the Afghan people from these barbaric practices which have given Islam a bad name. Failing this, since this is the time of the Promised Messiah, God will without doubt provide such means as to make the earth, which was full of tyranny and bloodshed, to be filled instead with justice, peace and reconciliation. Blessed are the Amirs and Kings who play some part in this.
After writing all this, I would particularly like to submit a request to my gracious government. Although I am aware that this government is wise and intelligent, even so it is my duty to put forward any pious suggestions that come to mind which are beneficial to the government and the common people. What I wish to say is that, in my opinion, it is an actual and certain fact that the barbaric practices which exist amongst the Frontier Afghans and which daily result in the killing of some innocent person or other, are due to two reasons, as I have already stated:
1. Those maulvis who believe as part of their faith that as a result of killing non-Muslims and especially Christians, they will attain a great merit and great heavenly blessings which cannot be attained from prayer, from Hajj, from Zakat or from any other good action. I am well aware that these people continually preach to the public in secret. If they listen to such sermons day in day out, then their hearts, which are little different from those of animals, become deeply affected. They become like beasts of prey and not even a shred of mercy remains within them. Consequently they cause such bloodshed as to make one shudder. The Frontier and Afghan territories are full of the type of maulvis who regularly preach in this way. I am indeed of the opinion that the Punjab and Hindustan are not free of these kind of maulvis either. If our noble government accepts that all the maulvis of this country are guiltless and free of this line of thinking, then I suggest that
they think again.
I am of the opinion that the majority of the ignorant and short-tempered common mullahs of the mosques are not free of these evil thoughts. If their opinions were in accordance with God’s Holy Book, then I would consider them helpless, because to a certain extent man is indeed helpless in matters of faith. I speak nothing but the truth when I say that just as they forget what they owe the government and are thus just the government’s hidden enemies, in the same way they are also culpable and disobedient to God. For I have explained in detail that in no way does God’s word teach us to spill the blood of innocent people like this, and hosoever shares this opinion has turned his back on Islam.
2. In my opinion, the second cause of these criminal acts of bloodshed which are carried out under the pretext of becoming a ghazi, is those priests who have continually emphasised beyond all limits that jihad is compulsory in Islam and that to kill other communities is part of the Muslim faith and is a most meritorious act. I believe that the people of the Frontier were not even aware of the issue of jihad until reminded of it by the priests. The proof that I have in support of this contention is that there were few or indeed, one might say, no incidents of this kind until the publishing of the newspapers, magazines and books by the priests. In fact when the rule of the Sikhs was lifted from this country and the British Government replaced them, ordinary Muslims including the people of the Frontier were very pleased with this change. When Reverend Pfander published his book Mizan-ul-Haq in 1849 in the Punjab, Hindustan, and border territories, not only did he use offensive language to attack Islam and the Prophet of Islam(saw), but he also spread the rumour that in Islam, the killing of non-Muslims is not only lawful but is also a most meritorious act. On hearing this the beasts of the Frontier who have no knowledge whatsoever of their religion, suddenly awake and come to believe that their religion advocates that the killing of non-Muslims is a meritorious act. After deep thought I have realised that most of the incidents on the Frontier and the turbulent hostility which has been created among the people of the Frontier is due to the books of those priests in which they have used excessively harsh language and continually reminded people of jihad. Ultimately after the great publicity received by Mizan-ul-Haq and its poisonous effect, our Government had to pass Act No. XXHI of 1867, in order to check the ghazi-like ideas of the Frontier people. This act was printed for six Frontier tribes and there were great hopes that as a result the incidents would thereby come to an end. But sadly thereafter the violent and filthy books and writings of Rev. Imad-ud-Din of Amritsar and some other foul-mouthed priests, did great damage to internal good will and reconciliation. Similarly books by other priests, which we need not consider in detail, did no less in sowing the seeds of enmity in the hearts of the people. Thus these people proved to be a great obstacle for our noble government in its attempts at econciliation. It was a highly commendable act of the government not to forbid Muslims to write in reply to these books. The Muslim reply to these harsh books was rather bitter, but even so it was a striking testimony to the nature of the government. The disturbances that they expected as a result of these defamatory books completely failed to materialise due to the wellintentioned and fair manner adopted by the government. Thus, although we have to state with regret that the maulvis of Islam in pursuing the wrong meaning of jihad taught the tribes of the Frontier to redden their swords with the blood of honourable officers of the British Government, and in this way have unjustly harmed our beneficent government, yet at the same time, I regret that the mullahs of Europe, ie. the priests, inflamed the passions of the ignorant as a result of their harsh and unjust writings. By raising objections against jihad a thousand times, they instilled the notion amongst the barbaric Muslims that their religion advocates that jihad is an act which provides an immediate pathway to paradise. If these priests did not harbour any ill intentions within their hearts, then they should have realised the truth for themselves and compared the jihad of Moses(as) and Joshua to the jihad of our Holy Prophet(saw) and then remained silent.
If we suppose, for example, that the cause of instigating this passion amongst the public belongs solely to the Muslim maulvis, then our sense of justice compels us to affirm that the writings of the priests in which the Muslims are seen in a suspicious light, play a part in this seditious behaviour. It is regrettable that some foolish people sit to one side after carrying out a mischievous act and the British Government is left to face the d i fficulties. In my opinion, the best way to dispel these difficulties is to adopt the example of the present Ottoman Government. This is that, for an experimental period of a few years, every group should be strictly forbidden to use vicious language, be it explicit or implicit, in their writings or in their sermons against another religion. However it is permissible to talk of the beauty of one’s religion as much as one likes. In this way fresh seeds of enmity will cease to be sown, old issues will be forgotten and people will instead be inclined towards mutual love and reconciliation. When the barbaric people of the Frontier see the friendship and harmony between the nations, then they too will become impressed, and in turn will show as much sympathy to Christians as a Muslim does to his brother.
A second suggestion is that those maulvis of the Punjab and Hindustan who oppose the issue of jihad should write tracts about it. Then having translated them into Pushto, they should have them distributed amongst the Frontier tribes. Without doubt this will have great repercussions. But, a condition for all these tasks is that they should be carried out with an honest heart and enthusiasm and not with hypocrisy.
- [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s note:] I have written repeatedly that the Promised Messiah is not the Prophet of the Israelites but has come with his nature and disposition. Since in the Torah our Prophet (peace be upon him) has been declared to be similar to Moses, it was necessary that there should be a Messiah at the end of Muhammad’s era just as there was at the end of that of Moses.
- [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s note:] Is it not true that in this day and age the knots of the earth have been unravelled and thousands of new truths, special things and devices have been made manifest? So why should heavenly knots remain tied? Regarding the heavenly knots, previous Prophets also prophesied that women and children will obtain God’s divine message and that will be the time of the Promised Messiah.
- The Amir of the Afghans at this time was still Abdur Rahman (1881-1901). He was placed on the throne after the secondAfghan war (1878-80) and was recognised as the Amir of Kabul on the sole condition of having no political relations with any foreign power except the British.
- Mizan-ul-Haq (The Balance of Truth) was written by Rev. Karl Gottlieb Pfander (1803-65). This was his first book on Islam and Christianity. A greater part of the book deals with the proofs of the integrity and inspiration of the Bible whilst attacking the inspiration of the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) claim to prophethood.
- Rev. Imad-ud-Din was one of the many priests who published extensively during this period. As a former Muslim, Imad-ud- Din had a familiarity with Islam and was thus considered particularly threatening.