A Copy of the Letter Sent by
MIRZA GHULAM AHMAD
THE CHRISTIANS OF JANDIALA
through registered post on 13 May 1893
1بِسْمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِیْمِ
The Christians of Jandiala
With due regards. Today, I have read from beginning to end the correspondence you sent to Miyan Muhammad Bakhsh. I agree with what you propose in this regard. In fact, I was so delighted upon reading the contents of this letter that I am unable to truly express the degree of my happiness in this brief letter. Without a doubt it is true that the current daily disputes do not bode well, as they increasingly stir up mutual enmity that leads to disturbance of peace and security on both ends. However, this is a minor issue and what is more important and noteworthy is that, as both parties are to ultimately die and depart from this world, they will not only be wronging themselves but others as well if they do not bring out the truth through an organised debate.
I have come to realise that more so than the Muslims of Jandiala, it is my prerogative to take on such a task, as God, the Noble and Merciful, has sent me for precisely such purposes and it will be a grave sin on my part if I keep quiet on this occasion. I, therefore, inform you that I myself am ready for this task.
It is obvious that both parties claim that their religions are blessed with many supporting signs from God Almighty. Both parties also agree that a living religion cannot be one that is founded upon arguments that constitute mere tales of the past, rather, its validity must be supported by arguments that are prevalent and prominent even now. For instance, if some book mentions that a particular prophet healed such and such ailing persons by way of miracle, then such phenomena, or other similar incidents, cannot constitute a conclusive and certain proof for the people of this age. Rather, these are mere narrations which, in the eyes of a sceptic, can be either true or false. In fact, a sceptic will consider them to be nothing but tales. This is why European philosophers cannot derive any benefit from the miracles of the Messiah recorded in the Gospel; rather, upon hearing them they burst into laughter. Such being the case, this is a rather easy debate. That is to say, an individual among the Muslims should embody the teachings and hallmarks of a true Muslim as are stated in the Holy Quran, and if he fails to do so, he is a liar, not a Muslim. Likewise, a person from among the Christians should prove himself to manifest within his being the teachings and signs of the Holy Gospel, and if he fails, he is a liar, not a Christian. Both parties claim that the light which their Prophets brought was not only self-illuminating, but also illuminated others. In such a case, only that faith which proves to illuminate others will be judged by reason as living and true.
For if we fail to attain the spiritual life and enlightenment—along with all its accompanying signs—that are attributed to a particular religion, then such a faith is nothing but a vain boast. Let us suppose that there indeed was a prophet who was holy himself, but was unable to purify a single one of us; he manifested miracles himself, but was unable to empower anyone else to do the same; he was a recipient of revelation, but was unable to endow this quality on any of us; of what benefit would such a prophet be to us? However, all praise and benevolence belongs to Allah, our Master and Messenger, the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad, the Chosen One, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was not like this. According to individual capacities, he blessed an entire world with the light he was graced with and was recognised by his luminous signs. He was sent as the everlasting light and no such eternal light came before him. Had he not come and testified to the Messiah’s prophethood, we would have no proof of it, as the religion of the Messiah had perished and his light had faded, with no heir remaining who had been granted this light.
Islam is the only living religion in the world today. My humble self has witnessed and found through personal experiences that both forms of light are still freshly present in Islam and the Quran, as they were in the time of our Prophet , peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. I take it upon myself to manifest them; if anyone has the ability to compete with me in this challenge, let him correspond with me.
2 وَالسَّلَامُ عَلٰی مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الْھُدٰی
In conclusion, let it be clear that anyone who seeks to compete with my humble self should be a renowned scholar from among the revered British clergy. For the very purpose of this contest and debate is to make an impact on the general public, and that depends on the fact that the representatives of both parties be prominent figures among their respective communities.
For the attainment of conclusive evidence and an irrefutable argument, I am even ready to agree that, Rev. Imad-ud-Din, Rev. Thakurdas, or Mr Abdullah Atham be selected on behalf of the Christians, and then their names should be published in a newspaper, with a copy sent to me. I will thereafter publish an announcement accepting this challenge and will send a copy to the nominee. However, let it be clear that Muslims and Christians have long been disputing and debating with each other and many books have been written from both sides. Indeed the scholars of Islam have made it crystal clear that the objections levelled against the Holy Quran, in one form or another, also apply to the Torah. Similarly, the criticism directed against our Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is actually a criticism against all of the prophets, with the Messiah being no exception. In fact, due to such criticisms, God Almighty Himself comes under accusation.
Thus, this debate will be held in order to determine which religion is living and which is lifeless; to examine whether or not the spiritual signs claimed by the religion and their scripture are still to be found. It seems appropriate that Lahore or Amritsar be the venue of this debate, which ought to be held in the presence of scholars from both parties.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad,
Qadian, District Gurdaspur
1 In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. [Publisher]
2 And peace be on those who follow the guidance. [Publisher]