The Holy War Waged
by Reverend Dr Clark and in Response
1بِسْمِ اﷲِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِیْمِ
2نَحْمَدُہٗ وَنُصَلِّیْ عَلٰی رَسُوْلِہِ الْکَرِیْمِ
Let it be clear that, through some of his letters, the aforementioned Doctor has expressed his desire and readiness to hold a Holy War with the Muslim scholars. He has also articulated in a letter that this contest would be held with the objective of reaching a final verdict. Moreover, he has also threatened that if the Muslim clerics shy away from this contest or suffer a crushing defeat, they would forfeit their right to confront the scholars of Christianity in the future, or to consider their own religion to be true, or to challenge the Christian people. Since I have been commissioned for such religious contests and, on account of divine revelation, know for certain that I shall be victorious in every field; therefore, Dr Clark has been forthwith informed through a letter that it is my earnest desire to take part in this contest so that the distinction between truth and falsehood may be clearly manifested. Not only this, but I have also sent some respected friends to Dr Clark in Amritsar as representatives in order to formally accept this challenge. Their names are:
Mirza Khuda Bakhsh
Hafiz Muhammad Yusuf
Munshi Ghulam Qadir Fasih
Miyan Muhammad Yusuf Khan
Sheikh Nur Ahmad
Miyan Muhammad Akbar
Hakeem Muhammad Ashraf
Maulvi Ghulam Ahmad, the Engineer
Miyan Muhammad Bakhsh
Miyan Muhammad Isma’il
After some discussion, Dr Clark and my friends who represented me, agreed unanimously that the debate ought to be held in Amritsar. Mr Abdullah Atham, the former Extra Assistant, was proposed to be the champion on behalf of Dr Clark, and it was also proposed by them that both parties would be permitted to have three assistants. Each party would be given six days to raise objections against the other. In the first six days, we would have the right to raise objections against the religion, teaching and creed of the opposing party. For example, to demand proof of the divinity of the Messiah, peace be upon him, or proof of him being the saviour, or present other objections against Christianity that are likely to arise. Similarly, our opponents would also have the right to raise objections against the teachings of Islam for six days. In order to conduct the debate efficiently, it was also decided that a president from each side be appointed to stop the other party from raising an uproar, engaging in prohibited activity, or causing unwarranted disruption. It was also mutually agreed and settled that each party would be accompanied by no more than fifty people; after printing one hundred tickets, both parties would issue fifty tickets each to their own supporters and no one would be allowed to enter without an issued ticket. In the end, in accordance with the special request of Dr Clark, it was proposed that the debate would commence on 22 May 1893; Dr Clark would be responsible for selecting the venue and making other arrangements for the debate.
Having settled all of these issues, Dr Clark and our brother Maulvi Abdul-Karim signed the document, which outlined the conditions of the debate in detail. It was decided that, by 15 May 1893, both parties would publish the conditions of this debate. After this, my friends returned to Qadian.
Since Dr Clark himself has named this debate ‘The Holy War’, I wrote to him on 25 April 1893 that I too accept the conditions of the debate, which were accepted by my friends, but it should first be determined how this ‘Holy War’ would affect the two parties. How would it be clearly understood that a certain party had actually been defeated? As years of experience have proven that no matter how clearly one party prevails over the other in terms of rational and scriptural arguments, the latter does not concede its defeat. Rather, they try their utmost to prove their victory by adding explanatory notes to their written documents when the debates are published. Now if this debate is limited to scriptural disputes alone, then an intelligent person can foretell that this debate would not be any different from the previous ones held between the Christian priests and the scholars of Islam. On closer examination the present debate seems to contain nothing new. The Christian clergy will have the same usual objections: Islam was spread by the sword, it teaches polygamy, presents a physical paradise, etc, etc. We, on our part, will present the same usual responses: Islam did not take the first step in raising the sword, but, in accordance with the needs of the time, used it only to establish peace; Islam did not enjoin the murder of women, children, or monks. Only those who first drew their swords against Islam were the ones killed by the sword. The teachings of the Torah stand out as the most vehement in wielding the sword, and they even resulted in the slaying of countless women and children. While you hold that these merciless and cruel battles were not immoral in the sight of God, but were by His command, it would be extremely unjust to say that the same God was displeased with the battles of Islam, which the blessed Prophet of God Almighty, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was compelled to fight in a state of oppression or in order to establish peace.
In the same way, we will respond to the allegation regarding polygamy with the usual answer: in most nations before the dawn of Islam, men practiced polygamy and had hundreds of wives, some even thousands. Islam did not increase this number, but rather reduced it. In fact, it is the distinct superiority of the Quran that it has rejected an unlimited and indefinite number of wives. Did the honourable prophets of Israel, who had hundreds of wives, some as many as seven hundred, lead adulterous lives to the end of their days? Is their progeny, which includes a number of righteous people—and even prophets—to be considered illegitimate?
In the same way, the usual reply to the question of paradise will be that the paradise of the Muslims is not merely physical, but rather an abode where one beholds the Divine and a place of both physical and spiritual blessings. On the contrary, it is the Christians who believe that their hell is merely physical.
The question that arises here is what shall be the end result of these debates? Can we hope that the Christians would accept these answers of the Muslims, which are based on nothing but truth and justice? Or would miracles be considered enough to prove the divinity of a person? In certain passages of the Bible it is stated that not only the Messiah, rather all of you are the sons of God; in other places, it is stated that you are his daughters, and elsewhere still it is stated that all of you are God. Shall all this be taken literally? While obviously this cannot be, I wonder if this debate, for which a twelve-day stay at Amritsar is a must, will yield any positive result.
In view of these reasons, it was proposed to Dr Clark by registered post that it would be appropriate for both parties to engage in a prayer-duel after each one has completed their six days. For this purpose it would suffice for each party to solicit a heavenly sign from God Almighty in support of their religion and a one-year time frame should be stipulated for the manifestation of these signs. Then, if a heavenly sign, which is beyond human powers and the like of which cannot be produced by the opposing party, appears in favour of either one of the parties, it shall be mandatory for the defeated group to embrace the faith of the other whom God Almighty has given ascendancy with His heavenly sign. If they refuse to accept the other’s faith, then they ought to give away half of their property to the victorious party in order to support the true religion. Thus will the distinction between truth and falsehood become abundantly manifest. For when one party has utterly failed to demonstrate a sign in response to an extraordinary sign, then the victory of the one that has shown a sign will become abundantly clear and there would be no need for further debate and the truth shall become apparent. However, as of today, 3 May 1893, more than a week has passed and Dr Clark has given no reply to this letter whatsoever.
Therefore, through this announcement, I respectfully advise Dr Clark and his party, who have named this debate The Holy War and who seek a conclusive verdict between the Muslims and Christians, so that it may come to light as to whose God is True and Powerful, that it is a vain desire to expect this from such minor debates. If this desire is sincere, then there is no better way than to test truth and falsehood by means of heavenly support; I agree to this method with heart and soul.
Though I do not consider it necessary in the least, I still do accept this manner of debate that is to be held with scriptural and rational arguments. However, it would also be mandatory that after each party has completed its six days, the opposing parties should engage in a prayer-duel as mentioned above. Both parties must publish in advance their announcement that they shall engage in a prayer-duel. That is to say they should pray: ‘Our Lord! If we pursue falsehood, then disgrace us by showing a sign in favour of the opposing party and if we follow the truth, then humiliate our opponents by showing a heavenly sign in our favour.’ Both of the parties should say ameen (اٰمِیْن) at the end of this prayer. A one-year time limit will be set for this and the defeated party shall be subject to the aforementioned penalty.
If the question arises as to how the matter will be decided if a sign appears in favour of both parties or in favour of neither during the year, the answer is that in both scenarios I shall consider myself defeated and liable to the aforementioned penalty, as I have been commissioned by God Almighty and have received the glad tidings of victory. Thus, if any Christian, for his part, demonstrates any heavenly sign against me, or conversely if I am unable to show one within a year, I shall be proven false. I swear by Allah, the Glorious, that He has clearly conveyed to me through revelation that the Messiah, peace be upon him, was without doubt a human being like others, and that he was a true prophet and messenger of God Almighty, and divinely elected. I have also been informed that by following the Prophet [Muhammad], peace be upon him, I have been blessed with all of the bounties that were given to the Messiah, and that I am the Promised Messiah; I have been given the weapon of divine light that shall dispel all darkness, fulfilling the prophecy that the Messiah will come and break the cross. So when this is the case, it is necessary that a sign be manifested in my support within one year of the prayer-duel, as proof of my truthfulness. If no such sign appears, then I am not from God Almighty and I not only deserve the proposed punishment, rather I am worthy of death. Thus, I accept all of the aforementioned and make this announcement today.
After the publication of this announcement, it is proper and incumbent upon Dr Clark that he too ought to announce that if after the prayer-duel a sign appears in support of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad within a year and no sign appears in his own support within this period, he would accept Islam without delay, or give away half of his property to the victorious party in order to support Islam, and that he would never again stand in opposition to Islam.
Dr Clark should realise that I have imposed harsher conditions upon myself than I have proposed for him. For instance, if both of us can show a sign, then according to the above conditions, even then he would be considered truthful; if neither of us can show a sign within a year, even then he would be considered truthful. I will only prove to be true if I am able to manifest a sign within a year and Dr Clark is unable to match. If, after the publication of this announcement, he fails to publish his announcement in parallel, he clearly will be deemed to have evaded the challenge. I will in any case remain ready to engage in a debate with him based on reason and scriptures, provided he publicly acknowledges that he and his people are unable to manifest any sign in contest with Islam, and concedes in writing that heavenly signs are the hallmark of Islam alone and that Christianity is devoid of such blessings. I have heard that Dr Clark also said in the presence of my friends that he would surely engage in this debate but only with the Ahmadiyya sect and not with the Muslims of Jandiala. Let it be clear to Dr Clark that it is members of the Ahmadiyya sect who are true Muslims. They do not confuse human opinion with the Word of God Almighty and they accord the Messiah only with that status which is consistent with the Holy Quran.
3وَالسَّلَامُ عَلٰی مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الْھُدٰی
1 In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. [Publisher]
2 We praise Him and invoke blessings on His Noble Messenger (sa). [Publisher]
3 And peace be on those who follow the guidance. [Publisher]