One of the objections raised against the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement is that he reviled his opponents, he called them zurrayatul bagbaya and other harsh names which is inconsistent with the dignity of a prophet.
This is an entirely false charge and has no substance. The Promised Messiah, peace be on him, has not reviled anyone, but in certain cases he confronted some of his opponents with their true picture and that only when those opponents raised a storm of vituperation against him and reviled him and his followers in vicious language and issued declarations against him in terms of vile abuse. He then drew their attention to their vileness. To describe a blind person as sightless is not harsh or abusive. In the Holy Quran, the Jews and the Christians have been described as the vilest of creatures and have been called apes and swine and the worshippers of Satan (5:61). The Jews have been compared with a donkey carrying a load of books (62:6). A certain personality has been compared to a dog (7:177). It cannot be said that God Almighty has reviled these people or has used abusive language with reference to them. These expressions were employed against them in view of their moral and spiritual condition.
In the same way the Promised Messiah has not reviled anyone. For instance, at one place addressing the maulvis he described them as the vile sect of maulvis (Anjam Aatham, p. 21) whereupon a clamor was raised that he had abused them, whereas he had only applied to them an expression employed in a hadees in which it is reported that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, had said that the divines of the latter days would be the vilest of creation under heaven (Mishkat, Kitabul Ilm). The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, having called the divines of the latter days the vilest of creation, how could the Promised Mahdi and Messiah be blamed for addressing them in those terms?
Abuse is one thing and a correct description, however bitter and harsh, is quite another, It is the duty of every speaker of truth to convey the truth to an erring opponent even though he might thereby (Izalah Auham).
At another place he states:
My words had assumed some severity against my opponents in my writings, but I was not the one to start such severity. Those writings were undertaken in reply to the severe attacks of my opponents. They had used such harsh and abusive language as called for some severity. This can be perceived by the comparison which I have instituted between the harsh language used by my opponents -and that used by me in the foreword of my book which I have called Kitabul Bariyyah. As I have just stated the harsh language used by me was by way of retort. It was my opponents who first used such language against me, I could have endured their harsh language without making a retort to it but I had recourse to a retort on account of two reasons: One, so that my opponents, being faced with severity in reply to their harsh strictures, might change their tactics and might revert in future to the use of civil language; and two, that the general Muslim public should not be aroused by the defamatory and provocative language used by my opponents. (Kitabul Bariyyah, p. 10,11)
So far as genuine divines and respectable people were concerned, the Promised Messiah has referred to them in his books in very good style. He states:
In this book and in my other books there is no harsh word or indication against those respectable people who do not descend to abuse and meanness. (Ayyamus Solh, title page)
He states further:
We seek refuge with God against defaming righteous divines and civilized respectable people, whether they are Muslims or Christians or Aryas. We consider all of them worthy of honor. We are not concerned even with foolish people. Our severe language is employed only against those who have become notorious on account of their vile language and foul-mouthed utterances. We always mention in good terms those who are good and are not given to abuse and we honor them and love them like brothers. (Lujjatun Nur, p. 61)
By way of illustration of the type of language used against the Promised Messiah we set out one specimen out of hundreds. Maulvi Muhammad Hussain of Batala described him as a secret enemy of Islam, a second Masailmah, Anti-Christ, confirmed liar, black-faced. He said:
A rope should be drawn around his neck and he should be decked out with a garland of shoes round his neck and should in this condition be paraded in the cities of India. He is a satan, evil-doer, wicked, shameless, worse than Anti-Christ, a descendant of Hulaqui. (Ishaatus Sunnah)
Confronted with hundreds of such abusive and offensive declarations, if the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, set up a mirror before their authors by way of illustrating their low morals, how is he to be blamed? He made no false charge against them, nor did he abuse them but only applied to them in its true import the prophecy that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, had made concerning them.
Let us now examine the specific charges of defamation and abuse of the divines which have been urged against the Promised Messiah, peace be on him.
It is objected that he castigated the divines by applying to them the expression zurrayatul baghaya which, it is alleged, means `the progeny of prostitutes’. The sentence from which this term is taken occurs in “Ayena Kamalat Islam” and runs as follows:
Every Muslim will accept me and will confirm my claim except the zurrayatul baghaya whose hearts will have been sealed up by God Almighty.
This is a prophecy that a time will come when all Muslims will accept him and confirm his claim except such wicked ones whose hearts might be sealed by God Almighty. Thus it is clear that it is not the divines who are referred to in this sentence. Therefore, their clamor that they have been abused by the use of this expression is entirely without cause. The well known lexicon, Tajul Urus, has given the meaning of baghy, which is the singular of baghaya, as a female slave whether of ill conduct or not. Accordingly, the meaning of the expression zurrayatul baghaya would be the progeny of female slaves, that is to say, those who do not possess the manly quality of accepting the truth.
The Tajul Urus further states that to call a person `son of a baghayyah‘ means that he is deprived of guidance.
The Promised Messiah himself has interpreted the term as meaning a wicked person. On Saadullah of Ludhiana being mentioned, the Promised Messiah observed that in his poem in Anjam Aatham, he had said concerning Saadullah:
You have persecuted me out of your vileness and now if you do not die in disgrace, 0 wicked one ibn bagha I will not have been proved truthful in my claim.
Thus according to the Promised Messiah, the expression zurrayatul baghaya meant the progeny of the wicked and not the progeny of prostitutes as is alleged by his opponents. The, Promised Messiah, peace be on him, has applied to his opposing divines the same expressions that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, applied to them as a prophecy.
There will arise a great turbulence among my people and in their terror they will have recourse to their divines and suddenly they will find them in the guise of apes and swine. (Kanzul Ummal, Vol.VII, p. 90)
The Promised Messiah, peace be on him, desired peace with the divines and employed some harsh words against some of them under grave provocation. He addressed the following invitation to his opposing divines:
It has occurred to me again today that I should once more approach you for peace … Both sides should make a firm promise that they and all those who are under their influence would refrain from the use of every type of harsh language, which would include the use of expressions like Anti-Christ, faithless, wicked for the other side. . . The honor of the other side should not be assailed expressly or implied-ly. If someone from one side should visit the other side he should be received with civility and courtesy … I have arranged that no one from my Community will publish anything orally or in writing which might be defamatory or contemptuous of any of you, This arrangement would go into effect when you announce that you will be responsible for seeing that all those who are under your influence, or are deemed to be under your influence, will refrain from the use of any type of abuse, defamation or vituperation. If such an agreement is put into effect it would be quite easy to determine in future which of the two sides has been guilty of aggression. (Tabligh Risalat, Vol. 1, p. 8)
The fact is that the Arabic expressions like waladul baghaya, ibnal haram, ibnal halal, and bintal halal etc. are all idiomatic expressions connoting evil-doers and do not mean illegitimate descent.
It should be kept in mind that the use of harsh language against the enemies of truth and to ridicule them and to make a harsh retort in answer to their harshness has been a characteristic of religious polemics through the ages. There is a hadees related on the authority of Hazrat Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her, that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, directed his Companions to compose satires against the Quraish as a satire would be more painful for them than arrows shot against them. He sent for Ibn Rawaha and asked him to compose a satire against the Quraish, which he did, but the satire did not please the Holy Prophet. He then sent for Kaab bin Malik and then for Hasaan bin Sabit. The latter composed a long satire the first verse of which was:
You have satirized Muhammad and I proceed to answer you on his behalf looking to Allah for a reward. (Muslim, Part 2, chapter ‘Fazail Hasaan bin Sabit’)
In a comment upon this hadees, Imam Novi has written:
One should not be the first to embark upon severity or ridicule of the pagans, so that Muslims should safeguard their tongues against undesirable language. But when the other side embarks upon abuse and there should be need of defense against their mischief, it is permissible, as the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, directed.
Another objection that is raised against the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, is that he had called some of his opponents waladul haram. This expression occurs in a statement of the Promised Messiah, peace be upon him, which is as follows:
He who indulges in nonsense against this clear decision and out of wickedness goes on repeating that the Christians have achieved victory and continues immodest and shameless and without replying justly to our decision will not refrain from denial and the use of loose language and will not admit our victory will make it clear that he is eager to be considered a bastard and is not legitimate. (Anwarul Islam, p. 30)
It should be remembered that a study of the Holy Quran reveals that by the progeny of the prophets is meant their spiritual progeny. A person who does not believe in the prophets and is un-righteous in his conduct can be told metaphorically that his conduct is not of those legitimately born, meaning, that if he had loved the prophets he would have acted like them and would have been called their spiritual descendant. This is illustrated by the son of Noah whom the Holy Quran did not accept as such. When he was about to be drowned Noah supplicated on his behalf and pleaded:
‘Lord, my son is a part of my family.’ God responded: ‘He is surely not of thy family, Noah, for he is one of un-righteous conduct.’ (11:46-47) Thus, though he was physically the son of Noah, God Almighty did not accept him as such on account of his wickedness. In the same way, it is said in the Holy Quran that the wives of the Holy Prophet are the mothers of the believers (33:7) and this also means that they are their mothers in a spiritual sense. Their being the mothers of the believers entails that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is the father of the believers, though physically they are not his progeny. The Holy Quran thus establishes that by the progeny of the Holy Prophet is meant his spiritual progeny, and if a person calling himself a Muslim is pleased when Islam is insulted and supports the enemies of Allah and His Messenger, he would cease to be the progeny of the Holy Prophet.
The passage of the Nurul Islam relied upon by the opponents of the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, clearly relates to a person who, calling himself a Muslim, declared Christianity as being victorious against Islam and persisted in this assertion. Such a one cut himself asunder from being the progeny of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and proved that he was metaphorically a bastard as he had repudiated his spiritual father, the Holy Prophet, and had attributed himself to someone else.
The Promised Messiah explained further:
Some people calling themselves Muslims, who should be called semi-Christians, were so pleased that Abdullah Aatham had not died within fifteen months that they could not restrain their joy. They made announcements in which, according to their habit, they expressed themselves in intemperate language and on account of their personal rancor against me they even attacked Islam inasmuch as my controversy with the Christians was in support of Islam and did not involve the question of my being the Promised Messiah. They might have considered me a disbeliever, or satan, or Anti-Christ, but the discussion related to the truth of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and the superiority of the Holy Quran. A truthful one is he who believes sincerely in the Khatamul Anbiya, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and accepts the Holy Quran as the Word of God. He who considers that Jesus was God and rejects the prophethood of the KhatamulAnbiya, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is a liar. I had cited a revelation of mine in support of this, but I have to affirm in sorrow that in order to prove me false the opposing divines did not keep in mind the honor of Allah and His Messenger and did not in the least mind the conclusion which the enemy would draw from defeat of the Islamic side. Mian Sanaullah, Saadullah, Abdul Haq, and others, having conceded the victory of the Christians, why do they complain about the Christians that they use their alleged victory as an argument against Islam, when the whole controversy was about the truth or falsehood of Islam and Christianity and not about any particular doctrine of mine. (Anwarul Islam p. 48)
This shows that the expression to which exception is taken was applied by the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, to those who were in effect semi-Christians, who declared the victory of the Christians and thus attacked Islam, who joined the Christians in celebrating their alleged victory, who cursed the righteous and had no regard for the honor of Allah and of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
The opponents of the Promised Messiah construe the expression used by him as meaning that persons to whom it was applied were the issue of adultery but it is clear that that was not his meaning as is explained in his following statement:
For proving himself legitimately born it was necessary for such a one if he considered me false and the Christians as victorious to meet effectively the argument that I have set forth … It is a sign of the bastard that he does not adopt the straight path and continues to love the ways of wrong and injustice. (Anwarul Islam, p. 30)
This expression has been metaphorically used by many eminent persons before the Promised Messiah, peace be on him. For instance, Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa, may Allah have mercy on him, has said:
A person who charges Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her, with adultery is himself the issue of adultery.
It is clear that by this expression is meant a person who is extremely wicked and vicious and not that he was begotten unlawfully.
Imam Fakharuddin Razi has stated:
An evil sperm drop produces an evil child. (Tafsir Kabir, Vol. VIII, p. 188)
In the same way the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, pointed out the viciousness of the people who had adopted the way of the wicked and like Imam Abu Hanifa, called them misbegotten on account of their wickedness.
In concluding we would draw attention to the following verses of the Holy Quran:
But yield thou not to any low swearer, backbiter, slanderer, forbidder of good, transgressor, sinner, unmannerly lout and misbegotten knave, because he is wealthy and has a number of children and retainers. (Quran 68:11-15)