1بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ
My dear and kind Reverend,
With due regards. Your letter was read out to me from beginning to end. I agree to all of the conditions signed by you and my friends.
However, it first needs to be clearly determined as to what will be the ultimate objective of this debate and contest. Will it be like those ordinary debates that have been going on between Christians and Muslims for a number of years in the Punjab and India with the result that the Muslims firmly believe to have overcome the Christians in every issue, and the Christians, on their part, assert to their fellow brethren that they have silenced the Muslims? If this is the case then such a debate is totally futile and fruitless. The final outcome will be nothing more than the clamour and excitement that will surround this debate of a few days, and this will then provide braggarts with the opportunity to claim victory for their respective sides. But what I desire is for the truth to be manifested, so that the world at large can witness it. If the Messiah, peace be on him, is in fact God, the Lord of all the worlds and the Creator of the heavens and earth, then of course we would be disbelievers, rather the worst of disbelievers and in such a case, without a doubt, Islam would be a false religion. However, if the Messiah, peace be on him, was but a mortal, a prophet of God Almighty, and possessed all the weaknesses that are found in man, then it is a grave injustice and blasphemy on the part of the Christians to have deified a humble human being. Under these circumstances, there is no greater proof of the Quran being the Word of Allah than the fact that it re-established the Oneness of God, which had been lost, and brought about the reformation expected of a true Book. Further, it was revealed when it was most needed.
Although it was not difficult to understand the concept of God and His attributes, the Christians have yet failed to understand this point, and in the land of India, rational and scriptural arguments have also been of little benefit to them; therefore, it is now necessary to change the manner of debate. So, in my opinion, there cannot be a better method than to engage in a spiritual contest by way of a prayer-duel. Firstly, in this regard, each party should avail their allotted six days, as agreed to by my friends. Then, on the seventh day, there ought to be a prayer-duel, in which both parties should pray. For example, the Christians may pray thus:
Jesus the Messiah of Nazareth, in whom I believe, is indeed God and the Quran is not the Book of God Almighty, but a fabrication of man. If I am false in this regard, then may I suffer a humiliating chastisement within a year.
For my part, I will pray thus:
O Perfect and Glorious God! I am certain that Jesus the Messiah of Nazareth is indeed Your servant and a messenger, and surely not God. The Noble Quran is Your Sacred Book, and Muhammad, the Chosen One, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny, is Your beloved and noble Messenger. If I am wrong in this statement, may I suffer a humiliating chastisement within a year. My Lord! If within a year You do not manifest such a sign in my support, the equal of which all my opponents are unable to produce, this will be enough for my disgrace.
Moreover, the following statement, bearing the signatures of both parties, must be published in a few newspapers:
As for the one about whom it is established that they have become subject to divine wrath within a year, or if certain heavenly signs are manifested in support of one party and not manifested and proved in favour of the other, then the defeated party will either embrace the faith of the victor, or give away half of their property to support the religion of the party whose truthfulness is established.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian
1 In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. [Publisher]