I address you today on the Islamic Philosophy of the revival of religions. Religions are always revived through Divine intervention. A reformer is sent by Allah the Almighty to turn the people away from materialism and return them to their Creator. Such a reformer invariably calls for immense sacrifices in the name of God. He invites people to toil and sweat; to persevere and be patient, and informs them that those who seek to live must be prepared to part with their lives. He prepares them for a long and painful struggle against blind opposition and persecution at the hands of those whom they love and endeavour to save. Indeed this is the only real and eternal philosophy of religious revival: every philosophy opposed to it is mere fantasy. I must mention though that all sects of Islam are not in unison on this subject. A large number of Muslims believe that a fundamental change has come about in the form of religious revival. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, on the other hand, believes that this historical process is constant and unchanged. Lest the difference of opinion amongst Muslims create a wrong impression, I deem it necessary to enumerate those shared fundamental beliefs which bind all the Muslims together, whatever denomination they belong to.
Every Muslim, regardless of sect, believes in the oneness of God and in the prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings). Every Muslim believes that Islam is the ultimate religion for the salvation of mankind. All Muslims believe that Islam will continue to fulfill all of man’s spiritual needs till the Day of Judgement. All Muslims believe that the Law revealed through the Holy Prophet Muhammad is unchangeable and that the Quran is incorruptible and unalterable to the extent even of an iota or a dot. Muslims of all shades of thought believe that the edicts of the Holy Prophet Muhammad have validity and authority till the end of mankind. Muslims of every sect believe that it is only through a bond with the Holy Prophet Muhammad that the light of eternal truth may be perceived. These basic points of creed are shared by all Muslims without exception.
With so much in common, there still remains the fundamental difference which sets the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community apart from other Muslims-the difference on the issue of revival of Islam. All other differences emanate from this main issue.
How is the resurgence of Islam to come about? How is a new life and new vigour to be infused into it? Like the Ahmadiyya Community, all other Muslims, too, profess that the answer lies in the promised advent of Christ, Son of Mary, and in the appearance of the promised Imam Mahdi (the reformer appointed by God who would be divinely guided). This point of apparent concord when interpreted, actually generates two diametrically opposed views.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community regards the prophecy of the advent of Christ as a figure of speech. It believes that the prophecies regarding the Imam Mahdi are also allegorical. We believe that the truly glorious import of these prophecies cannot be understood if they are taken at their face value. In complete contrast to this, the other sects of Islam insist on a literal fulfillment of these prophecies. This is the fundamental difference that distinguishes- and sets apart-the Ahmadiyya Community from other sects.