After enumerating some of the prophecies of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace), I proceed to the eleventh argument for his claim.
This argument is based on a well-known verse of the Holy Quran:
‘And for those who strive in Our path, We will surely guide them in Our ways,’ – Al-Ankabut, 70.
and on another verse which says:
‘Say, if you love Allah, follow me; Then will Allah love you.’ – Al-Imran, 32.
The verses teach that true and burning love of God and the Holy Prophet results in a meeting between God and man. He who loves God and the Holy Prophet is beloved of God. True love of God, therefore, is a sign of truth and sincerity. When the truth and sincerity of a person are in question, we should ask, ‘Does he love God? Does he love the Holy Prophet and obey him?’
The Quran on love
The subject of love is well known. Poets of all countries write about it at length. Different religions hold it up as the real measure of faith and nearness to God. The most comprehensive description of love, however, is to be found in a passage of the Holy Quran:
‘Say, if your fathers, and your sons, and your brothers, and your wives, and your kinsfolk, and the wealth you have acquired, and the trade whose dullness you fear, and the dwellings you love, are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and striving in His cause, then wait until Allah comes with His Judgment and Allah guides not the disobedient.’ – Al-Tauba, 24.
According to this passage, perfect love of God is willingness to sacrifice everything for His sake. If a man is not prepared to sacrifice everything for the sake of God, then his profession of love is vain, a lip service only. Many would assert that they love God and His Prophet. Certainly no Muslim can be found who would say he does not love God and the Holy Prophet. But the question is, whether the love he professes has any visible expression. Does it influence his daily life, his speech, his conduct, his everyday movements? Many who profess this deep love for the Holy Prophet, who compose or listen devotedly to panegyrics in his praise, pay not the least heed to the things he taught and valued. Love of God is on their lips, but they do nothing at all to please Him and to acquire nearness to Him. When a dear one visits us, we lay aside important tasks for his sake. When there is a chance to meet friends, we are pleased beyond measure. When we receive attention from a ruler, we feel proud and elated. But how do we behave towards God? We profess love for Him, but do not care to join the daily prayers, or do so very casually. If we observe prayers regularly, we go through them with unbecoming speed, the prescribed movements, prostrations, etc., running into one another in unseemly haste. There is no absorption or self-abnegation. The same is true of fasting. The reward of fasting, says the Quran, is God Himself; yet those who profess love of God do not seek His nearness through obligatory and other fasts. Many who proclaim their love of God ignore the rights of others, broadcast falsehoods about them, and indulge in backbiting. They love God, but do not care to open the Holy Book, to reflect upon its meaning. The way they treat the Holy Book is not the way they treat messages from friends. Who would leave unopened a letter received from a friend? Who would not read such a letter with care so as to grasp its message and meaning? Profession of love, therefore, is one thing, but practising it quite another. True love must seek expression. It must show itself in sacrifice, for instance. Such an expression of the love of God, and willingness to sacrifice for His sake, are found today in Hazrat Mirza Sahib and his followers.
Distaste for worldly occupations
Evidence of sacrifice is to be found in the life of Hazrat Mirza Sahib. Since his years of discretion, God and the Holy Prophet were the objects of his devotion. Every part of his being was steeped in this love. He observed the law of Shariat from his very childhood. He loved solitude and contemplation. After his early education his father wanted him to accept employment of some sort, but he held back, accepting no employment in spite of his father’s insistence. Undisturbed remembrance of God he preferred to other occupations. His family had some social prestige. If he had cared to, he could have acquired some position in the Government. His elder brother did hold such a position, but Hazrat Mirza Sahib avoided these things. Not that he did not like hard work: his subsequent life proves that few persons can have worked harder. In spite of a very different religious profession, an old Sikh resident whose family had known the family of Hazrat Mirza Sahib used to relate an incident with tears in his eyes: ‘Once the father of Mirza Sahib sent me to him to persuade him to see some high officials for appointment as revenue officer. We found the Mirza Sahib in his cloister, absorbed in study. We mentioned the subject. Did his father, he asked, want him to serve in a Government post? If so, his reply should be conveyed with due respect to his father. The reply was – he had agreed to serve someone else; therefore, he was best left alone.’
In those days he was absorbed in a study of the Holy Quran, the Hadith, and the Masnawi Rumi. He had his visitors, but they were the poor and the orphans whom he fed with his own daily food. Often, for their sake, he would miss a meal and be content, say, with some roasted gram. Retiring and self-effacing, he was easily forgotten; often, indeed, his brother’s family would forget to send him any food.
Once he decided to leave Qadian and escape the distractions his father kept proposing for him. He went to Sialkot and there accepted work in the District Court. He spent all the time he saved from court work in study and meditation. Probably it was here in Sialkot that he realized for the first time that Islam was in a precarious condition and that Christians and others were determined to put an end to it. Sialkot was a centre of Christian activity. Padres could be seen preaching Christianity openly in the streets and squares. They attacked Islam and aroused feelings against it. Hazrat Mirza Sahib was surprised to see that nobody came forward to reply. Christianity was the religion of the rulers; so people were afraid to confront Christian preachers in the open. The Ulema as a class avoided replying to the padres. Some who dared suffered defeat. They had little knowledge of the Holy Quran and were easily defeated in debate. On seeing this, Hazrat Mirza Sahib resolved to meet the padres in the open, and later the other adversaries of Islam such as the Aryas. A little later, his father asked him to return to Qadian. Maybe he thought his son had become reconciled to accepting employment with the Government. Therefore he started his persuasion again and asked him to try and accept some respectable Government appointment. The son requested the father to give up such attempts. But he found the father involved in difficulties of various kinds, the worst of them over family litigation. Hazrat Mirza Sahib agreed to relieve his father of the obligation to attend the various courts. During visits to courts, Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s absorption in God became more evident. It had become part of his nature. Once he was present in court and the proceedings would not start. The time came for prayers. Others in the court insisted he should stay as the proceedings might start at any time. But Hazrat Mirza Sahib did not stay. The case in which he was interested was taken up while he was away. He was sent for but did not come until he had finished his prayers. By rights the case should have gone against him. The judge ignored Mirza Sahib’s absence and decided the case in his favour; in his father’s favour, to be exact. Another incident which shows his absorption in God is related by a life-long friend of his who lived in Lahore. An appeal, which if it had failed was going to involve his father and his family in great loss, was before the highest court of the province. Hazrat Mirza Sahib returned from the court very satisfied and happy. His friend thought the appeal had gone in his favour and proceeded to congratulate him. But, said the Mirza Sahib, it was not true he had won. He felt satisfied because now for some time he would have an uninterrupted opportunity for worship and meditation. He found at last that he could not be occupied thus. After deliberating he wrote to his father requesting him to relieve him of his duties connected with family litigation. The letter, reproduced below, shows the other-worldliness of Hazrat Mirza Sahib even in his youth. He wanted all his time for devotion to God. In accordance with custom the letter was written in Persian:
My master and father, Peace!With tender obeisance and due abasement, I beg to submit that I can see with eyes wide open that every year some calamity overtakes countries and towns which separates friend from friend and relation from relation. Alas, these calamities, these tragedies, produce not the wail and woe they should. Seeing all this, my heart has turned cold towards the world, and my face has become pale with fear. Often do I remember the two lines from Sheikh Muslih-ud-Din Saadi of Shiraz and my tears flow when I do so:
Depend not on this transient life;
think not you are safe from the sport of passing time
The two lines out of the verse of Farrukh* of Qadian also act as salt for my wounded heart:
Young one, set not thy heart on this mean world:
The moment of death may come suddenly.
Therefore I desire to spend the rest of my life in solitude, to shun the company of men and remain occupied in the worship of God that this may atone for past neglect and guard against possible disasters.
Life has run its course and no thing is left except a few steps,
Better, therefore, that I keep awake a few nights in remembrance of some one.
This world has no firm foundation and life here is not dependable. ‘Wise is he who learns from the example of others. ‘ And peace.
*Nom-de-plume used by the Promised Messiah in his early verse.
When his father died, Hazrat Mirza Sahib withdrew from everything mundane, leading a life of study, prayer, fasting, and sleepless nights. Now and then he would write to newspapers in reply to attacks by the critics of Islam. Contrary to the usual practice, Hazrat Mirza Sahib made over his property interests to his elder brother. He received his daily meals from him; his clothing also was supplied by him. He drew no income from his share of the family property, nor did he give any of his time to its maintenance. He spent his time expounding the beauties of Islam and urging people to pray and fast. He ministered to the poor and the needy. With little else to give, he shared his meals with them, himself living on a few ounces of food every day or on nothing at all. His share of the property was not so small that he could ignore it for bare subsistence. He shared a whole village with his brother and there was additional income from another property.
Moved by the condition of Islam
During this time he was moved by the condition of Islam. He decided to devote himself to prayer, penance, and self-abasement. Following a hint from God he began his great book, Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya. In this book he promised to enumerate 300 arguments in proof of the truth of Islam. The book, he said, would prove a sharp weapon in defence of the Islamic conception of God, the truth of the Holy Prophet, and the truth of Islam. Only some parts appeared, but even so the book received unqualified tributes from both friend and foe. Leading Ulema of the time said the book had not had an equal for the last thirteen hundred years. Islam has had its authors and writers; therefore, bearing in mind the distinguished tradition, the praise given to the Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya speaks for itself. Hazrat Mirza Sahib looked for other opportunities to write and publish on behalf of Islam. If there was a periodical or a newspaper for which he could write, he would hasten to write and reply to the enemies of Islam. As he became known, hostility against him grew also. But he remained constant in his service of Islam.
At this time foul attacks were being made on the life and character of the Holy Prophet (peace and the blessings of God be upon him). Christian writers and Arya Samaj propagandists were in the forefront of this campaign of abuse and vilification. But the Ulema of Hindustan were busy imputing Kufr to one another. Islam stood threatened with destruction and the Ulema were fiddling. They debated over silly questions: Was it lawful to raise the two hands with Takbir as a worshipper went from one part to another of the prescribed prayers? Exactly where were the folded arms to rest while standing; in prayers? Should the congregation of worshippers say ‘Amen’ aloud or in silence? These and other questions of this kind were their principal occupation. Only the Promised Messiah was concerned with defending Islam against its enemies. Only he thought of impressing upon Muslims the importance of good works. Only he steered clear of sectarian controversy. The important thing was not who was right, Hanafis or the Ahli-Hadith. The important thing was sincere service based on beliefs sincerely held. What they needed was avoidance of irreligious ways and general inaction, and instead devotion to God and His Laws. Among Arya-Samajists against whom Hazrat Mirza Sahib entered the lists was the founder, Pundit Dayanand; also Lekh Ram, Jiwan Das, Murli Dhar, and Inder Mun. With one and all Hazrat Mirza Sahib joined in public debate. He pursued them till they withdrew from the field or met their end. Among Christian missionaries whom Hazrat Mirza Sahib fought were Fateh Masih, Atham, Martin Clarke, Howell, Talib Masih. Writing did not satisfy him. He would write, have his writing translated into English, print several hundred thousand copies, and circulate them in Europe and America. If ever he heard of someone who was interested in Islam, he would write and invite him to accept the truth. The famous American convert, Alexander Russell Webb, was a fruit of his efforts. Webb was a highly esteemed American. He had served his country as ambassador. Hazrat Mirza Sahib wrote to him. Eventually, good Alexander Webb accepted Islam, surrendered his position, and became a Muslim preacher. Hazrat Mirza Sahib was dominated by two great passions: the Oneness of God and the truth of the Holy Prophet. He was always ready to prove and to explain the two Islamic ideas. His mind was occupied with nothing else. Later, after the announcement of his claim, he became more and more completely absorbed in them. Was there an enemy of Islam anywhere? If so, Hazrat Mirza Sahib was ready to fight. If ever anybody thought of attacking Islam, Hazrat Mirza Sahib was ready to meet the attack. Dowie, the American impostor, has been mentioned. As soon as he heard of him, Hazrat Mirza Sahib decided to fight him even from across the seas. Similarly, he challenged Piggott, a false prophet in England. If there was an enemy of Islam anywhere in the world, he had to confront Hazrat Mirza Sahib. Then the fight would go on until the enemy retreated or met his end. Hazrat Mirza Sahib lived to the age of seventy-four. Day and night throughout this long life he remained a devoted servant of Islam. Often he would set himself to complete a special writing and become so engrossed that nobody could say whether he was having any sleep. His devotion to God and the Holy Prophet was total. Serving Islam seemed like serving himself or his dear ones. If he had any help in his work, he felt very grateful. Night after night, he would go without the usual minimum of sleep and remain at work. If anybody helped, say, in comparing or correcting proofs, or sat up with him for a night or two, he would thank him as he would for a personal favour. He would not care that Islam was as much other people’s concern. Service to Islam he thought was service to himself. In spite of continual sickness and physical weakness, he wrote more than eighty books and several hundred leaflets and must have made hundreds of speeches. In addition, he had his daily visitors whom he received and addressed on Islam, on its beauties and the subjects connected with it. His doctors would order him to rest, but rest for him, he would say, was to go on explaining the meaning and purpose of Islam and fighting its enemies. Even the day he died he was busy with this, his life work. He died one morning. The evening before he had been busy completing a book inviting Hindus to an understanding of Islam. From this, one can measure the quality of his passion and the depth of his devotion to God and the Holy Prophet. He had but one desire and this was to make manifest to all and sundry the living might of God and the truth of His Holy Prophet.
Poems of devotion to the Holy Prophet
The quality of love, as I have said, is not to be judged by the loudness of its professions. Here was a man who proved his love to the utmost. He proved it in his smallest deeds, his most insignificant movements. The professions of such a man are of a different order from those of ordinary men. They are a true representation of his innermost thoughts and feelings. True love is measured by acts of devotion. It is measured also by those innermost thoughts and feelings which rise to find beautiful expression on the lips of the lover. Being the cries of a truthful person, they pierce the hearts of others. I make no apology for reproducing two poems of the Promised Messiah, one written in love of God, the other in love of the Holy Prophet:
My Beneficent Lord, my life is but an humble offering to Thee
What hast Thou grudged me that I should grudge Thee anything
Every desire and every wish for which I prayed to the Invisible,
Every longing that my heart determined to ask
Has been achieved through Thy Magnanimity, Indeed Thou
hast honoured this humble dwelling with Thy Gracious visit.
Nothing did I know of love or loyalty,
It is Thou Who hast filled my bosom with the wealth of Thy love.
Thou Who hast turned this base clay into gold,
It was Thy Beauty that lent beauty and grace to me.
The refulgence of my heart is not due to my piety or penance,
It is Thou Who hast illumined me with Thy favours and Thy gifts.
Hundreds of Thy favours have been showered on this mortal frame of clay,
My soul and my body owe gratitude to Thy unfailing kindness.
Easier is it to renounce the two worlds if Thy pleasure
Can be had by me, O my refuge, my shelter, my peace!
What avail are the spring and flowers to me?
I am ever in the garden contemplating Thy Face.
Would I care for anyone who can teach?
I have received tuition from my Lord and Protector.
The eternal benevolence has drawn so near to me,
That the Voice of the Lord reaches me from the farthest nook and corner.
O God, make me firm at every step.
May the day never dawn when I should fail in my bond to Thee!
If Thy lovers have to lose their heads for daring in Thy name,
Then I would be the first one to proclaim his love for Thee.
There is light miraculous in the soul of Muhammad,
There is a ruby rare in the mine of Muhammad.
The heart is cleared of all darkness,
If it but becomes one of the lovers of Muhammad.
I wonder at the wisdom of those fools
Who turn away from the feast abundant of Muhammad.
No man in the two worlds do I know
Who shares the greatness and glory of Muhammad.
A hundred times disgusted is God with him
Who harbours hostility to Muhammad.
God Himself consumes in fire the contemptible worm
Who chooses to be one of the enemies of Muhammad.
If you want to shake off the intoxication of the baser self,
Then come and sit among the devotees of Muhammad.
If you wish that God Himself should sing your praises,
Then sing sincerely the praises of Muhammad.
Lookest thou for proof for his truth? Then his lover be,
For Muhammad himself is the proof of Muhammad.
A head have I to offer at that altar of Ahmad,
And a heart ready to be sacrificed for Muhammad.
By the tresses of the Messenger of God,
It is true, I am infatuated by the resplendent face of Muhammad.
Whether I am killed or burnt in this path,
Never will I turn away from the court of Muhammad.
In matters of faith I fear not even the whole world,
For I am dyed in the faith of Muhammad.
Easy it is to be carried away from the world,
In the memory of the charms and graces of Muhammad.
Every atom of mine is sacrificed in his path,
For I have peeped into the hidden beauty of Muhammad.
I know not the name of another teacher,
For I have been to the school of Muhammad.
I am not interested in another beloved,
For I have been captivated by the comeliness of Muhammad.
Only a favour need I from the eye of Muhammad,
All I seek is access to the garden of Muhammad.
Do not look for my stricken heart in my side,
For I have tied it to the robe of Muhammad.
I am a sweet bird out of the sacred flock
Which has its nest in the grove of Muhammad.
Thou hast illuminated my soul with thy love,
May I be sacrifice to thee, soul of Muhammad.
Even were I to offer a hundred lives in this path,
It would still fail to match the worth of Muhammad.
What terror does this young one [Muhammad] strike
That no one can meet him in his arena!
Beware, O foolish and misguided enemy,
Fear the sharp sword of Muhammad.
The path of God from which men have strayed far,
You can still find with the followers and friends of Muhammad.
Listen, O thou who denieth the greatness of Muhammad,
And the luminous light of Muhammad!
Though miracles seem a thing of the past,
Come thou yet and see them with the servants of Muhammad.
Here, therefore, was a man who spent literally every momeny of his life in devotion to God, expounding the message of His Prophet and nurturing his love for him and his teaching. This man suffered at the hands of his own people and others for the sake of his devotion to God, his regard for the name and honour of His Prophet. Every atom of his being, his body, mind, and spirit, was consecrated to this service. Could such a man be misguided, a rebel, a Dadjjal? If all he did and said and felt constitute rebellion, if this kind of love connotes unbelief or Kufr, if this kind of devotion is irreligion, then we can only say:
Such misguidance may God grant me in full!
May He bestow upon me this unmitigated Kufr!
And now, God, His Word, His Prophet, and human reason are witnesses that such a man could not be a pretender. He could not be misguided. If a man could love God and His Prophet to this degree, and devote himself so completely to the duty of propagating the truths taught by them, if he could show more regard for these things than any other man living or dead, and still be branded an imposter and a Dadjjal, then we must say, there has never lived, and never will live, a man deserving the grace of guidance by God.