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In this booklet, the Muslim Literary Trust of Trinidad and Tobago aims at correcting this misconception and also giving a true picture of the real meaning of Jihad which, if followed by Muslims, will help to bring about the fulfilment of the prophecy of the Holy Quran: He it is Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth that He may make it prevail over all religions, though the polytheists are averse (61:9).
It will also help non-Muslims who study the Holy Quran with an open mind to discover the true significance of Jihad and perhaps enrich their spiritual life with the celestial concepts adumbrated within these pages.
The booklet begins with an Introduction taken from the Religion of Islam by Maulana Muhammad Ali and then introduces the main topic: a translation from Urdu of the paper, The British Government and Jihad, by the Imam of the Age, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib, which was presented to the British Government in 1900. In this paper, the Imam clarified the history and true nature of Jihad not only for the British Government but for contemporary American Governments and all other governments in the world for all times. He also made certain recommendations for ensuring peace between Muslims and non-Muslims.
After this, there is supplementary material taken from The Ahmadiyya Case, which gives further information on Jihad in the Holy Quran and the Hadith, and other quotations from Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib on the topic.
It is our hope that this effort by the Muslim Literary Trust will help not only Muslims but also non-Muslims by removing unfounded fears from their hearts and replacing them with spiritual gems from Islam, the Religion of Peace.
May it also assist in distancing Islam from the malicious stigma of 'terrorism' associated with it: a label that is used in certain quarters, today, conveniently and self-servingly, as a pretext to justify the renewal of the most savage, barbarian and cynical attacks against Muslims ever witnessed in the annals of history.
Significance of Jihad:
A very great misconception prevails with regard to the duty of jihad in Islam, by assuming that the jihad is supposed to be synonymous with war; and even the greatest research scholars in Europe have not taken the pains to consult any dictionary of the Arabic language, or to refer to the Quran, to find out the true meaning of the word.
So widespread is the misunderstanding that a scholar of the fame of A.J. Wensinck, when preparing his concordance of Hadith, A Handbook of Early Muhammadan Tradition, gives not a single reference under the word jihad, referring the reader to the word war, as if the two were synonymous terms. The Enyclopaedia of Islam goes even further, beginning the article on Djihad thus: "The spread of Islam by arms is a religious duty upon Muslims in general;" as if jihad meant not only war but war undertaken for the propagation of Islam. Klein in The Religion of Islam makes a similar statement: "Jihad. — The fighting against unbelievers with the object of either winning them over to Islam, or subduing and exterminating them in case they refuse to become Muslims, and the causing of Islam to spread and triumph over all religions is considered a sacred duty of the Muslim nation".
If any of these learned scholars had taken the trouble to consult an ordinary dictionary of the Arabic language, he could never have made such a glaring misstatement. The word jihad is derived from jahd or juhd meaning ability, exertion or power, and jihad and mujahida mean the exerting of one's power in repelling the enemy (R.).
The same authority then goes on to say: "Jihad is of three kinds; viz., the carrying on of a struggle: 1. against a visible enemy, 2. against the devil, and 3. against self (nafs). According to another authority, jihad means fighting with unbelievers and that is an intensive form (mubalaghah), and exerting one's self to the extent of one's ability and power whether it is by word (qaul) or deed (fi'l) (N.).
A third authority gives the following significance: "Jihad, inf. n. of jahada, properly signifies the using or exerting of one's utmost power, efforts, endeavours or ability, in contending with an object of disapprobation; and this is of three kinds, namely a visible enemy, the devil, and one's self; all of which are included in the term as used in the Kur. xxii. 77" (L.L.)
Jihad is therefore far from being synonymous with war, while the meaning of "war undertaken for the propagation of Islam", which is supposed by European writers to be the significance of jihad, is unknown equally to the Arabic language and the teachings of the Quran. (Maulana Muhammad Ali, Religion of Islam, pp. 450-451.)
The Spread of Islam by Force:
On the other hand, the Holy Book lays down the opposite doctrine in clear words. There is no compulsion in religion, and the reason is added: The right way is clearly distinct from error (2:256). This verse was revealed after the permission for war had been given, and it is therefore certain that the permission to fight has no connection with the preaching of religion.
That the Quran never taught such a doctrine, nor did the Prophet ever think of it, is a fact which is now being gradually appreciated by the Western mind. After beginning his article on Djihad with the statement that "the spread of Islam by arms is a religious duty upon Muslims in general", D.B. Macdonald, the writer of the article in the Encyclopedia of Islam, in a way questions the correctness of his own allegation, by adding that there is nothing in the Quran to corroborate it, and that the idea was not present even to the mind of the Prophet: "In the Meccan Suras of the Kur'an patience under attack is taught; no other attitude was possible. But at Medina the right to repel attack appears, and gradually it became a prescribed duty to fight against and subdue the hostile Meccans. Whether Muhammad himself recognised that his position implied steady and unprovoked war against the unbelieving world until it was subdued to Islam may be in doubt. Traditions are explicit on the point; but the Kur'anic passages speak always of the unbelievers who are to be subdued as dangerous or faithless."
Here is a clear confession that the Quran does not enjoin the waging of war against all unbelievers so as to subdue them to Islam, nor was the idea present to the mind of the Prophet. The logical consequence of this confession is that genuine traditions cannot inculcate such a doctrine, for Tradition (hadith) reports the saying of the Prophet. And if the Quran and the Prophet never taught such a doctrine, how could it be said to be the religious duty of the Muslims? There is obviously a struggle here in the writer's mind between preconceived ideas and an actual knowledge of facts. (Ibid. pp. 455-456.)
The British Government and Jihad:
The issue of Jihad and its philosophy, as well as its true significance, is such a complex and subtle matter that, as a result of lack of true knowledge of it, many people in the present age and even those in former times have made grave errors in their interpretation of it. It is thus with great feelings of shame and embarrassment that we are forced to admit that because of these mistakes the detractors of Islam have found a ready opportunity to cast aspersions on the pure and holy religion of Islam which, moreover, is a mirror of the laws of nature and a genuine manifestation of the glory of the True Living God.
We must understand that the word jihad is derived from the word juhd, which means striving, and then figuratively it is used to refer to religious wars. It seems that the word yuddah used by Hindus to mean wars is really a corrupted version of jihad or juhd. As Arabic is the mother of all languages and all languages are derived from it, as a result, the word yuddah, which signifies wars in Sanskrit, is, in fact, juhd or jihad, the j in Arabic being changed into y in Sanscrit and by a further alteration the d is doubled thus resulting in yuddah.
Now, it is my intention to clarify the following points:
We must make it abundantly clear that from its very inception Islam had to face overwhelming difficulties and all nations became hostile to it. It is a well known fact that when a prophet or messenger is appointed by Allah and his fledgling community displays the virtue of righteousness and it is courageous and progressive then, in relation to this group, without fail, a kind of envy and malice is generated in the hearts of its contemporaries. This intense malice is especially witnessed among the leaders ('ulama) of every religious group and the guardians of the tombs of saints (gaddi nashin). That is because that man of God poses a threat to their income and their prestige. Their disciples now begin to escape from their clutches for they now find in this godly person all the excellences of faith, morals and knowledge.
As a result, people with intelligence and insight now begin to realise that these so-called religious divines are not worthy of the honour bestowed upon them as regards their superiority in knowledge, righteousness and temperance. Further, they are now no longer deserving of the grandiose titles conferred on them like 'Star of the Ummah', or 'Sun of the Ummah' or 'Most Venerable of all Leaders', etc. Therefore, for these reasons the intelligentsia begin to turn away from them for they do not wish to vitiate their faith. So, perforce, because of these losses, this class of religious leaders and chieftains always harbours a deep envy against the prophets and messengers of God. The reason is that when the prophets and commissioned ones of God make their appearance on earth these leaders are harshly exposed for, in truth, they are inadequate and possess very little of spiritual light. Their enmity towards the prophets and righteous ones is merely a result of their selfish desires and, being total slaves of their low passions, they think only of hatching injurious plots against the virtuous ones.
On many occasions, however, they feel in the depths of their hearts that they have incurred the wrath of Allah for their unjustified persecution of a pure-hearted servant of the Almighty. Their actions in which they engage themselves all the time for evil purposes keep revealing to them the guilty state of their hearts.
However, the raging fire of their envy draws them increasingly towards the deep abyss of hostility. These were the reasons why in the time of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) the polytheists and learned scholars of the Jews and the Christians were not only deprived of accepting the path but they became bitter enemies of it. As a result, they became pre-occupied with the thought of how to extirpate Islam from the face of the earth. As Muslims were small in number in the early days of Islam, therefore, their opponents treated them, that is, the companions of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), with great hostility, for they were motivated by that arrogance which naturally penetrates the heart and mind of such groups that consider themselves superior to other communities because of their great wealth and riches, their large following, and their honour and rank in the eyes of society. They never wanted this heavenly plant of Islam to become established on earth. On the other hand, in order to destroy the righteous believers they left no stone unturned and no injurious act was too small for them to leave out of their arsenal.
They entertained a great fear lest this religion find a stable footing and then make progress and thus become the cause of the destruction of their own religion. So, through this apprehension which lodged in their hearts in a frightening manner, they perpetrated extremely brutal and tyrannical crimes and destroyed many Muslims in the most horrible ways imaginable. This persecution extended unabated over a long period of thirteen years during which time the faithful servants of God and the pride of mankind were mercilessly cut to pieces by the swords of these evil beasts. Even orphan children, defenceless people and indigent women were massacred in the lanes and streets.
Even then, under Allah's command, it was firmly emphasised that evil should not be met with evil and so those chosen righteous ones complied with this decree. The streets were stained red with their blood but they uttered not even a word of complaint. They were slaughtered like sacrificial animals but not even a sigh escaped their lips. The Holy Prophet, countless blessings be upon him from heaven and earth, was struck several times with stones and was polluted by blood but that mountain of sincerity and iron resolve bore all those injuries with an open heart full of love for his enemies. Ironically, this patient and meek behaviour only served to increase the wanton mischief of his enemies with each passing day and they considered this holy community as a prey of theirs.
Then God Who does not desire cruelty and mercilessness on earth to exceed the limits became concerned for His persecuted servants and His anger was inflamed against the wicked. As a result, He informed His oppressed servants through His pure words revealed in the Holy Quran that He was well aware of all that was happening to them and that He was now giving them permission to retaliate for He, the Omnipotent God, would not allow the persecutors to go unpunished.
The particular passage of this command which is still present in the Holy Quran reads as follows: Permission (to fight) is given to those on whom war is made because they are oppressed. And surely Allah is Able to assist them. Those who are driven from their homes without a just cause... (22:39-40).
But this permission was bound by the contingencies of the time and age and was never meant to be a general rule. Instead, it was peculiar to the time when those who entered the fold of Islam were being slaughtered like goats and sheep. However, it is regrettable that after the period of prophethood and khilafat (successorship) people began to make serious errors in their interpretation of jihad, the basis of which lies in the holy verse quoted above. As a result, to kill the creatures of God with the sword without good reason was considered a sign of religiosity.
Here, we observe a strange coincidence in that while Christians fell into error concerning the rights of the Creator, Himself, Muslims did the same in relation to the rights of His servants. That is, in the Christian religion, a weak human being was elevated to the pedestal of Divinity thus doing violence to the rights of the Mighty, Self-subsisting God to Whom there is no likeness or resemblance in the heavens or the earth. On the other hand, Muslims, by their unwarranted use of the sword, violated the rights of the human race and gave this aberration the name of jihad.
In short, Christians chose one path in the deprivation of rights, and Muslims another. And through this unfortunate coincidence of this age, both groups consider these two kinds of violation of rights so praiseworthy, that each group which is engrossed in either violation according to its creed, is convinced that through this they will go straight to heaven and that besides this path there is no greater means of entering Paradise. Nevertheless, although there is no sin more heinous than denying God His true position, yet here the intention is not to dwell on this frightful violation of God's rights - a sin for which the Christian people are guilty. Instead, I wish to warn Muslims of their prevailing violation of the rights of mankind.
One must remember that the manner in which the present-day Muslim leaders, who are called maulvis, interpret the concept of jihad and the manner in which they explain its meaning to the common people are completely wrong. The only possible result of this is that with their highly emotional sermons they may concentrate the wild passions of the masses into a beastly attribute and may deprive them of all the noble qualities of humanity. And this is exactly what has happened.
I know for a fact that the extent to which innocent blood is shed by those simple-minded and egoistic people who are ignorant of the secret why and for what reason Muslims were forced into warfare in the early days of Islam, the sinfulness of such actions are solely the responsibility of those maulvis who go on secretly expounding those teachings which result in painful blood-letting.
The irony is that when these maulvis meet present-day officials they bow so low as if they are on the verge of making prostration (sajdah) to them but when they sit in the mosques with their own people they obstinately insist that this country is a land of war (dar-ul-harb) and in their hearts they feel that to wage jihad is a compulsory duty. Indeed, there are few who do not share this man-made idea.
These people hold so adamantly to their personal concept of jihad—a belief which is totally erroneous and contrary to the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Hadith — that if anyone is not of their view and dares to oppose it, then they give him the name of Dajjal (Anti-Christ) and he is thus considered as deserving of assassination. As a result of this, I, too, have been a victim of this pronouncement (fatwa) for quite a while. Many maulvis have branded me a dajjal and unbeliever and, without any fear or respect for the laws of the British Government, have circulated a secret pronouncement with the information that I am deserving of murder and that it is a cause for great blessings for people not only to plunder my wealth but also to abduct all the females of my family.
What is the reason for this? The answer is that as I am the Promised Messiah and I oppose their teachings about jihad and have exposed the utter falsity of their belief in a warrior Messiah and warrior Mahdi, whom they expect to loot and kill, I have become the target of their anger and hatred. However, they must always bear in mind that their concept of jihad which they cherish in their hearts is not correct and it is the first step in destroying the bonds of human fellowship and love. They are certainly not right in their thinking that if jihad was permissible in the early days of Islam, why has it now become forbidden.
I have two replies to this. Firstly, this is an example of faulty reasoning, for the circumstances then and now are not the same, for the Holy Prophet (pbuh) never took up the sword against anyone except against those who first resorted to it, and with deep feelings of hatred, murdered innocent and pious men, women and even children. So heart-rending were the ways in which they massacred these innocents that even now when we read about them tears come to the eyes.
Similarly, if we should accept the supposition that jihad was waged according to the beliefs of these maulvis, nevertheless we have to agree that in this age the circumstances for that command do not exist, for it is written that when the Promised Messiah came he would put an end to jihad with the sword and terminate all religious wars. It is also prophesied that he would not take up the sword nor make use of any earthly weapon. Instead, his only weapon would be du'a (supplication to God); his extraordinary courage would be his sword; he would lay the foundation of peace and goats and lions would share the same fold and his age would be the time when peace, love and human compassion would reign supreme.
Alas! How sad it is that these people do not reflect that 1300 years ago the Holy Prophet, in his own words, gave as one of the attributes of the Promised Messiah the following: Yada'al harb, that is, when the Promised Messiah makes his appearance he will put an end to wars. A clear indication of this is also given in the Quranic verse: ...until the war lay down its burdens... (47:4). That is, fight until the time when the Promised Messiah comes.
Indeed, there still exists the Sahih Bukhari, which is accepted as the most authentic of all books after the Holy Quran. Let them read it very carefully.
O leaders and maulvis in Islam! Pay attention to my words. I say to you with total sincerity that this is not the age for a jihad (with the sword). Do not disobey the Holy Prophet of God. The Promised Messiah who had to come has indeed come and he has given the command that in future you must abandon all religious wars with the sword and which lead to carnage. If you do not now desist from bloodshed and do not discontinue inflammatory preachings you are stepping outside the path of Islam. He who accepts me must not only forsake such sermons but must also consider it as a means of arousing the wrath of God.
Here, again, it is with deep regret that I am forced to write that just as on the one hand the ignorant maulvis have concealed the true meaning of jihad and have taught the common people all kinds of stratagems for plundering and murdering and have dignified these crimes with the name of jihad, so, too, on the other hand the Christian priests have engaged in the same deviation. They have published hundreds of thousands of booklets and pamphlets in Urdu, Pushto and other languages in which they have propagated the false belief throughout India and the North West Frontier Province that Islam was spread at the point of the sword and that another name for Islam is warfare. The result was that the beastly passions of the masses was further inflamed for they now had two pieces of justification, one from the maulvis and the other the testimony of the Christian priests.
In my opinion, our benevolent government should prohibit the Christian priests from spreading this dangerous calumny which can only result in enmity and hostility in the land. It is not possible for them to cause Muslims to give up the religion of Islam by means of these erroneous imputations. In fact, the only consequence of this false teaching is to keep the concept of jihad always fresh in their minds and to wake them up from their sleep.
In short, now that the Promised Messiah has come, it is the duty of every Muslim to abstain from jihad (with the sword). If I had not come, then perhaps there would have been some justification for this false concept. However, I have come and everyone has now witnessed the promised day. Therefore, those who engage in religious wars have no excuse in the sight of the Almighty. Whoever has eyes and reads the Hadith and ponders over the words of the Holy Quran can clearly understand that this type of jihad to which many savage people subscribe nowadays is not the true Islamic jihad. Instead, this idea emanates from the promptings of the nafs ammarah (the animal self that commands evil) or from an unlawful motivation towards attaining an impossible heaven, a driving force that has now taken root among Muslims.
I have already pointed out that in his lifetime, the Holy Prophet (pbuh), by his own example, never resorted to the sword, but for a painfully long period he endured the cruel persecution of the unbelievers and displayed such patience as is beyond the limit of any other man. Not only he, but also his companions stuck to his noble principle and, in obedience to his command to practise endurance and perseverance under trials, they complied by exercising sincerity, truthfulness and patience.
They were trampled mercilessly under the feet of their enemies, yet they uttered not a sound. They saw their children cut to pieces before their very eyes and were tortured by means of fire and water but yet they refrained from returning evil with evil and behaved just as if they were helpless suckling infants. Who can point out from among all the communities of prophets of the past even a single one who, despite having the power to retaliate, yet obeyed their Lord with such meekness and withheld their hands in the manner of the Holy Prophet's community?
Again, who can prove that there existed in the earth another group (other than that of the Holy Prophet) who, despite possessing bravery, numbers, strength of arms, power to retaliate and every other essential requirement of manliness and courage and yet, in the face of constant persecution and injury from bloodthirsty enemies, displayed such superhuman patience and perseverance for thirteen continuous years?
Now, one must not get the wrong idea that our Chief and Leader and his companions were patient and subdued because of helplessness. In fact, in that very period of endurance his self-sacrificing companions were blessed with the same power and strength that they later manifested when the permission for jihad was given. And then, many a time a thousand young Muslim men completely routed a hundred thousand seasoned warriors from the opposing force.
This was so in order that people may know that the forbearance they exercised in Makkah against their murderous enemies was not a result of any cowardliness or weakness on their part, but, solely in obedience to the decrees of their Lord they renounced the use of weapons and were willing to be sacrificed like sheep and goats. This level of patience is beyond human power and even though I were to peruse the history of all the prophets of the world, still, in no nation and among no community of any prophet can such an example of scintillating spiritual excellences be found.
Even if from among former peoples we hear stories about the sterling patience of anyone, it immediately comes to mind that the circumstances were such that may possibly lead us to think that the example of patience as exhibited then was motivated solely by lack of courage or lack of power to retaliate.
On the other hand, the fact that a group whose hearts were indeed suffused with the material spirit and who were the paragons of bravery and fearlessness and who were still persecuted and whose children were slaughtered mercilessly and upon whom the spear was used and who yet refrained from retaliation against these evils provides standing testimony of heroic forbearance. This was perfectly exhibited for thirteen consecutive years by the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and his companions. To demonstrate this type of patience when confronted with incessant and grievous tribulations over a period of thirteen unbroken years is indeed an unparalleled event in history. Should anyone doubt this, then let him produce a likeness of this kind of patience and self-restraint from nations who have gone before.
We must bear in mind here that even in the midst of this excessive oppression that was inflicted on his companions, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) never communicated to them any personal plan to alleviate the tyranny. On the other hand, he counselled them repeatedly to show patience in all their agony, and if anyone requested permission to strike back, he always denied it saying that Allah had enjoined patience on him. In other words, he always emphasised the virtue of patience until there came the command from heaven to retaliate.
Now, let the deniers search for an example of this kind of fortitude among the past and present nations and if perhaps they find a similar instance in the people of Prophet Moses or among the disciples of Prophet Jesus, let them disclose it to us.
In short, when this model of patience and exalted virtues and the renunciation of meeting evil with evil exist among Muslims and confer on them a position of glory above the rest of the world, then how foolish and terribly unfortunate it is to relinquish this example completely! The ignorant maulvis, may Allah grant them guidance, have greatly deceived the ignorant masses and have made entry to Paradise dependent on a deed which is manifestly wrong, merciless and contrary to the norms of civilised human behaviour.
Can it be a meritorious act for us to fire a pistol, with the intention to kill, at a person who, for example, is going about his legitimate business in the market-place—a person who is such a stranger to us that we do not even know his name and who also does not know us? Is this religiosity? If this is a pious deed then as regards the performance of such acts the animals are superior to human beings.
Glory be to Allah! How virtuous were those early Muslims and how much of the prophetic spirit they had in their hearts that when Allah gave them the command in Makkah to refrain from retaliation, even though they were cut to pieces, in obedience to that injunction they became meek and docile like nursing infants as if they had no strength in their hands nor power in their arms!
Many of them were killed in this brutal fashion: two camels were brought to a particular place and the legs of these innocent devotees were firmly tied to the camels which were then driven in opposite directions. As a result, in an instant, they were torn apart like carrots and radishes. Alas! How lamentable it is that Muslims, especially the maulvis, have cast aside all those incidents and now hold to the opinion that the whole world is their hunting-ground.
Just as a hunter, knowing that there is a deer in a forest stalks it very stealthily and fires his gun at it at the opportune moment, so, too, is the behaviour of some maulvis. They have never read a single letter in the lesson of human compassion. On the contrary, in their opinion, to discharge a pistol or a gun willy-nilly at an unsuspecting person is considered a meritorious deed in Islam. Where can we find among them people, who, like the Holy Prophet's companions, may Allah be pleased with them, in spite of severe flogging, will still demonstrate patience and self-control?
Has Allah given us a command that without evidence of any crime we should fatally shoot or cut to pieces with a knife a person whom we neither know and who does not even know us and whom we have caught off-guard? Can such a religion come from Allah, Most High—a religion that teaches its adherents to shoot to death in such a manner a person who has not committed a sin or a crime and that they can attain Paradise by shooting to death a person who has not committed a sin or a crime and is not even involved in preaching a rival religion?
It is a cause for sadness and shame that a person with whom we have no prior enmity nor even the slightest acquaintance should go to a shop to purchase goods for his wife and children, or be engaged in any other lawful occupation and we, without any consideration whatsoever, should shoot him with a pistol, thus making his wife a widow, his children orphans, and his house a place of mourning.
In which hadith is this way of behaviour approved or in which verse of the Holy Quran? Perhaps some maulvis may enlighten us. Gullible people have heard the name jihad mentioned and using it as a pretext, they have sought to satisfy their personal desires or merely in a fit of insanity bloody crimes have been perpetrated.
I have already written that in the Holy Prophet's time Islam resorted to the sword under the command of Allah only when many Muslims were sent to the graves by the swords of the unbelievers. Ultimately, Allah's honour demanded that those who lived by the sword should die by the sword. Allah is extremely Generous, Merciful and Forbearing, and is also extremely Tolerant. However, in the final analysis, He jealously guards the honour of His righteous servants.
What amazes me is that in this age when no one kills a Muslim because of his religion, under what command do Muslims kill other people who have not even committed a crime against them? Why do their maulvis not forbid them these unlawful actions which sully the name of Islam? Look at how Muslims have enjoyed such peace under this British Government. Can anyone truly estimate this blessing?
Today there are many people still alive who would have experienced the era of Sikh domination. Now, let them truthfully describe the plight of Muslims and Islam in the reign of the Sikhs. The adhan (call to prayer), an essential observance in Islam, was itself considered a kind of crime. Was it possible for anyone to give the call to prayer in a loud voice and still escape the spears and lances of the Sikhs? Tell us, has Allah now done an evil thing by liberating us from the draconian rule of the Sikhs and placing us under the peaceful sovereignty of the British Government? (As soon as this Government took control, Muslims in the Punjab once more started to enjoy respect and peace.) As the reward for goodness is goodness, we must, therefore, never disdainfully reject this favour we received from Allah—the replacing of Sikh rule, something for which we had made countless supplications.
At this point, I wish to specially impress on my community members who believe in me as the Promised Messiah that they should always keep aloof from such despicable habits. God has sent me as the Promised Messiah and has clothed me in the garb of the Messiah, son of Mary. As a result, I am advising all my followers to refrain from evil and to show true sympathy to all mankind. They should cleanse their hearts of hatred and malice for if they accomplish this feat they will become like the angels.
Is that religion which does not embody compassion for others not an impure and filthy one and is that path which is strewn with the thorns of selfishness and animosity not an abominable one?
Therefore, whoever is with me should eschew this condition. They should ask themselves what they want from religion. Do they wish to be oppressors at every turn? Certainly not! Religion should serve the purpose of helping them to acquire that life which lies in Allah and no one can gain that existence now nor in the future unless his inner self is coloured with the colours of the Almighty. They must show mercy to all for God's sake so that mercy may be shown to them. Let them come and I will point out to them such a path that will make their light more resplendent than all other lights. That path is the one which bids them to renounce all kinds of base rancour and envy and enjoins sympathy to all mankind and self-effacement in God. Besides this, they should acquire a high degree of purity for that is the way that leads to nobility and the acceptance of supplications and the descent of angels with assistance.
However, that task cannot be accomplished in one day. They must continue to make steady progress and learn a lesson from the washerman who first puts the clothes in a kiln to boil and leaves it there until the heat of the fire separates all the dirt and impurity from the clothes. He gets up next morning and goes to the river and beats it over and over on the stones. Then the dirt, which had penetrated into the fabric and had become as if part of it, under the heat of the fire and the beating in the water from the washerman's arms, begins to be detached from the clothes so much so that they become as white as they were originally.
This is the method of purifying the inner self of man whose complete salvation depends on this cleansing of the heart. This is the point that Allah, Most High, makes in the Holy Quran when He says: Successful is the one who purifies it (91:9). In other words, that soul which has been purified of all kinds of dirt and filth has received deliverance.
Behold! I have come to you people with a directive that henceforth jihad with the sword has come to an end but jihad for the purification of your souls still remains. This injunction is not from me but rather it is the will of God. Ponder over those sayings of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) found in Sahih Bukhari in which reference is made to the Promised Messiah stating that when he made his appearance he would put an end to wars. So I instruct those who have entered my fold to refrain from entertaining such false ideas concerning jihad. Instead, purify your hearts and increase your store of human sympathy and become friends of the distressed. Spread peace on earth for it is by this means that the religion of Islam will gain ground. For just as God, without the agency of normal means, has made use of all the elements and all the matters on earth in order to satisfy physical needs through new inventions of the age, and the railways can be seen to outrun the horses, so, too, in order to fulfil spiritual needs He will not resort to human power but will press the heavenly angels into service.
Many signs from heaven will be shown and there will be many flashes of light from which many eyes will gain sight. Then, finally, people will come to the realisation that all the human beings and other objects they had taken as gods besides the One True God were really false. So bear everything patiently for God is more jealous than you of His Unity. Continue making supplications that it may never come to pass that you will be numbered among the disobedient.
O, my friends who are hungry and thirsty for truth, hearken, for this is the day that was promised since the beginning of time. God will not allow these matters to continue for long, for just as you observe that when a lamp is placed on a high minaret, its light spreads far and wide, or, when lightning flashes from on high every quarter becomes brighter, so, too, will circumstances be in these days. For, in order to fulfil His prophecy that the call of the Messiah will flash throughout the world like lightning, or will light up the four corners of the earth like a lamp on a lofty minaret, God has created every essential means on earth.
For example, railways, telegraph, steamboats, arrangements for overseas mail by ship, and facilities for travelling on land and on sea have all been perfectly instituted by Him. All these provisions have been brought into being for the fulfilment of the prophecy that the Promised Messiah's invitation will illuminate every part of the world like lightning. And the Messiah's minaret which is mentioned in the Hadith really refers to the fact that the voice and light of the Messiah will radiate in the world just as quickly as the light and the voice from a tall minaret are swiftly carried to distant parts.
For this reason, the railway and the telegraph, the steamship and the postal service and every system for easy propagation and for comfort in transport constitute, in the Promised Messiah's age, a remarkable sign which many prophets have mentioned before. The Holy Quran, too, has spoken of this sign in the verse: And the camels will be abandoned (81:4). That is, the age of universal invitation, which is the Promised Messiah's time, will be the era when the camels will no longer be used, meaning that some other form of transportation will be invented thus rendering the camels redundant. This prophecy is also recorded in a hadith which also says that the camels will be abandoned (in a future age). We may note here that this sign has not been accorded to the age of any other prophet.
So be thankful that provisions have been made in heaven for the diffusion of light. There is also an upsurge of earthly blessings. For instance, there is now comfort both in travelling and in residential accommodation, and in everything else you enjoy easy circumstances as were not witnessed by your fathers and grandfathers. It is as if the world has been transformed into a new one: seasonal fruits have become perennial, a six-month journey can now be accomplished in a few days; news from hundreds of thousands of miles away can now be obtained in an hour; all kinds of machinery and equipment exist to make every job easier to perform; if you do so desire you can travel on the train as comfortably as you can stroll in your orchard.
Is all this not evidence of a revolution on earth? So, just as a miraculous revolution has taken place on earth, so, too, the Omnipotent God has willed that a similar occurrence should be created in Heaven and both these phenomena serve as signs of the Promised Messiah's age. There is an indication of these very signs in a revelation that can be found in my book, Barahin-e Ahmadiyya, written twenty years ago. It reads like this: Both the earth and the heavens have been closed up like a small bundle. This was a hidden jewel but We have unwrapped both bundles in the Promised Messiah's time and have disclosed both jewels to the world.
Finally, let us remember that although I have very clearly written in this publication that the present custom prevalent among Muslims of attacking non-Muslims and which is called jihad is contrary to the jihad of the Shari'ah (Islamic Law). More so, it absolutely contravenes the commands of God, His apostle and it is a palpable transgression.
But since in many Muslims countries this practice is firmly upheld and has become a deeply-rooted habit, it has now therefore become difficult to relinquish it easily. Perhaps whoever gives such advice may be considered a deadly enemy and with war-like ferocity they may wish to put a swift end to him.
Indeed, there is a method that is now running through my mind and that is directed to the venerable Amir of Kabul whose awesome dignity has so great an influence on the people of Afghanistan the like of which perhaps no former Afghan Amir has enjoyed. My proposal is that the honourable Amir should gather all the well-known religious leaders ('ulama) at a central location to debate the question of jihad and through them the common people may be warned of their errors (concerning jihad). Further, if a few pamphlets in the Pushto language are prepared by these leaders and are widely published in this country then there is no doubt that this procedure will have a deep influence on the minds of people and that passion which the ignorant mullahs (religious divines) have incited in the common folk will gradually disappear. Without doubt, the revered Amir's own subjects will suffer a great misfortune if he does not direct his attention to this important reformation and the ultimate result will be problems for any government itself if it remains silent on such pronouncements from the mullahs.
For nowadays it is the habit of these mullahs and maulvis to brand a person or a group as unbelievers for the slightest difference of opinion on a religious matter and the same pronouncement (fatwa) on jihad etc. they have made against the real unbelievers is extended to this person or group.
Thus, in this regard, the Amir Sahib himself cannot be safe from these pronouncements for it is possible that at any given time these mullahs may become annoyed with him on an insignificant matter and throw him, too, out of the pale of Islam and sanction a pronouncement of jihad against him similar to the kind they are accustomed writing against unbelievers.
Without doubt, those people in whose hands lie the making of believers and unbelievers and the issuing of declarations of jihad against them are a very dangerous group about whom the Amir Sahib should not be complacent for they are indubitably the source of sedition against every government. The helpless common people are under their control and the lever of their hearts lies in their hands. They may turn their hands in any direction they choose and immediately raise a fearsome tumult.
Therefore, it is not a sinful thing if the simple-minded masses are freed from the clutches of these mullahs and are gently made to understand the true meaning of jihad.
Islam has never taught Muslims to become like thieves and robbers and under the guise of jihad to satisfy their base egoistic desires. Further, as in keeping with the teachings of Islam, jihad is in no way permissible without the decree of the King - and the common people know this - therefore, the danger exists that those people who are ignorant of the truth may, in their hearts, very well blame the Amir Sahib himself for conniving at all these happenings.
Therefore, this duty is incumbent on the Amir Sahib that as far as possible he should struggle forcefully and eloquently to prohibit this kind of pronouncement. In this way, the Amir Sahib's freedom from blame, also, will shine like the sun and blessings will accrue to him. From among the duties we owe to the servants of God there is no goodness greater than that of liberating the neck of the oppressed from the sword of the transgressors. In addition, as many of this ilk and many who wish to become warriors so as to wield the sword are indeed Afghans who form a considerable part of the Amir's homeland, God, Most High, has given him the opportunity to have the mention of this commendable reformation inscribed in his book of good deeds and also to purify as much as he possibly can the Afghan nation from these savage habits which are a blot on the fair name of Islam.
In any case, the Promised Messiah has now come. Now, at any rate, God, Most High, will create such means that the earth will be filled with justice, peace and tranquillity in the same measure as it is now replete with tyranny and the slaughter of innocent people. Blessed are that Amir and that King who have a share of this bounty.
Finally, I wish to submit a very special request in the service of my benevolent Government and although I know that our Government is wise and intelligent, yet I consider it my duty, also, that if a good plan comes to mind I should present it so that it may redound to the good not only of the Government but also of the public at large. In my opinion, it is a certain and indisputable fact that this savage habit which is common among the frontier Afghans and which may lead one day to the murder of some sinless person, can be attributed to two causes which I have described above.
Firstly, we have those maulvis in whose creed this teaching has infiltrated that to kill a non-Muslim, especially a Christian, is a cause for great blessings and through this act a person will enjoy such marvellous spiritual favours in Paradise as cannot be obtained through prayer (salah), pilgrimage (hajj), charity (zakah) or any other righteous act. I know for a fact that these people are secretly filling the ears of the common people with this doctrine. Indeed, by dint of listening to this false teaching day and night, their emotions are aroused to such a pitch that there is hardly any difference between them and wild animals. So powerful is this influence on their minds that they are becoming like beasts: not even an atom of compassion remains in their hearts, and as a result of this mercilessness they are committing such grotesque murders that cause people to shiver in revulsion.
While in the frontier regions and Afghanistan itself there is an abundance of such maulvis who propagate this evil tenet, I am still of the opinion that the Punjab and India also are not devoid of maulvis of this ilk. Even if the imperial Government has verified that all the maulvis in this country are devoid of and exempt from these kinds of ideas, yet this conviction certainly deserves a second look. It is my considered opinion that many ignorant, irascible mullahs who frequent mosques are filled with such impure concepts.
If they entertain such ideas in keeping with the guidance of the holy word of God, Most High, then I consider them free from blame for, in truth, in matters pertaining to faith, man is in some measure excused. However, I affirm with total conviction that just as they have forgotten the beneficence of the Government and have become secret enemies of it in spite of its justice and fair-play, so, too, are they enemies of God and rebels, too, for as I have already clearly explained that there is nothing in the word of God that teaches us to kill sinless people wantonly. Whoever holds to such an opinion of unjust murder is an apostate of Islam.
In my opinion, the second cause of these dastardly murders which are being committed under the guise of warriorship in Islam is these Christian priests who strenuously affirm, even beyond the limit, the false propaganda that jihad (with the sword) is a mandatory duty in Islam and that to kill non-Muslims will bring great blessings to Muslims. I firmly believe that citizens of the North West Frontier regions did not even have an idea about the concept of jihad, but, ironically, it is the Christian priests who have alerted them. A strong opinion in support of my thesis is the fact that before these pamphlets and books were issued by the Christian priests, incidents of this unjust killing of non-Muslims were scarcely heard of. As matter of fact, it can even be said that this behaviour was non-existent.
However, when Sikh rule was replaced in this country by British sovereignty, Muslims in general were overjoyed by this revolution and the inhabitants of the North West Frontier region were especially jubilant. But when the Christian priest, Father Findal, wrote his book, Mizan-ul Haqq (The Measure of Truth), in 1849 and circulated it throughout India, the Punjab and the North West Frontier states, and not only employed defamatory words against Islam and the Messenger of Islam, but also gave currency to the false charge amongst hundreds and thousands of people that not only is the killing of non-Muslims lawful in Islam but it also brings unbounded blessings on those who do so, then, on hearing this, the primitive North West Frontier people, who were very ignorant of the teachings of their religion, suddenly awoke and were convinced in their minds that it was indeed a source of great blessings to kill non-Muslims.
After due consideration, I have come to the conclusion that the cause of these unwarranted incidents and the vehement hatred that was created in the heart of the Frontier people was those books of the Christian priests in which they used inflammatory language and in reminding people repeatedly of jihad, went overboard to such an extent that the wide popularity of the book Mizan-ul Haqq, and its poisonous influence prompted the Government in 1867 to proclaim perforce Act 23 of 1867 which sought to remove this war-like tendency from the minds of the North West Frontier inhabitants. This particular law was proclaimed for the six tribes of the North West Frontier and the Government was optimistic that this would put an end to these unlawful incidents.
However, sad to say, after this, the incendiary and foul writings of Father Imam-ud-Din of Amritsar, and other Christian priests also, did great violence to the mutual love and co-operation that formerly existed in the land. Thus it was and the books of these Christian priests which I need not dilate on, were not backward in sowing the seed of hatred in the hearts of people. In other words, these people became a great obstacle in the way of the Government's social policy of well-being to all. This action on the Government's part of not preventing the Muslims from using strong language in replying to such books is worthy of great acclamation and in rebutting this acrimonious language, Muslims also used a measure of harsh language.
As a matter of fact, that caustic language became a shining proof of the broad-mindedness of the Government. As a result, the conflicts that were expected through such slanderous and defamatory books were nipped in the bud because of the Government's good intention and its use of justice.
So, while on the one hand I am sadly forced to concede this point about the Muslim mullahs that they, because of their wrong concept of jihad, have taught the North West Frontier people that it was permissible to stain their swords red with the blood of the officers of a benevolent Government and thus do harm unjustly to their own well-intentioned government, on the other hand, I am just as sad to say that the European mullahs, that is, the Christian priests, must share part of the blame with them for having inflamed the hearts of the gullible people by their unwarranted and fiery writings which are even contrary to the facts. On countless occasions they have published their criticisms of jihad and have instilled in the hearts of barbarous Muslims the idea that according to the religion of Islam, jihad was such a praise-worthy act as would give them an immediate passage into Paradise. If these revered priests were not evil-intentioned, then it was incumbent on them to compare the jihad of the Prophets Moses and Joshua with that of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). They would then have acquired a deep understanding of the matter and would have kept silent. Now, if I were to accuse the Muslim maulvis of being responsible for inciting the Muslim masses to this great mischief, my sense of justice demands that I also admit to what a great extent the writings of these Christian priests share the blame in provoking this sedition.
Regrettably, many ignorant people have formed themselves into a separate group and are posing great problems to the British Government. I feel that the best plan to remove these difficulties is the one adopted in similar circumstances by the Roman Government. That is, as an experiment, for a few years, every group should be debarred completely from using caustic or acrimonious language in their writings or speeches, whether implicitly or explicitly, against any other religion. Of course, each one is allowed to proclaim the beauties of his religion as much as he wants. In this way, sowing the seed of new kinds of hatred will come to an end, old grievances will be forgotten and people will return to their feelings of mutual love and goodwill. In addition, when the primitive people of the North West Frontier observe that mutual love and affection have taken deep root in the hearts of people, they will ultimately be influenced by this and will develop such sympathy for Christians as a Muslim now feels for his Muslim brother.
My second proposal is that if the maulvis of the Punjab and India are really opposed to the waging of jihad, then they should indicate this by compiling pamphlets, which they should translate into the Pushto language, for wide dissemination among the North West Frontier inhabitants. However, there is one important pre-condition to this exercise and that is, it must be done with sincerity of heart and enthusiasm and not out of hypocrisy.
May peace descend on him who follows right guidance.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
Jihad in the Holy
Quran and the Hadith:
The root jaahada means 'to strive'. Juhd means power or exertion. Jihad is the noun of jaahada, and its meaning given in the Mufradat of Raghib, the classical dictionary of Quranic terms, is: "To exert one's power in repelling the enemy. Jihad is of three kinds: against a visible enemy; against the devil; and against self" (p.100, in Section Letter j followed by letter h).
Lane's Arabic-English lexicon says under jihad: "Jihad, infinitive noun of jaahada, properly signifies the using or exerting of one's utmost power, efforts, endeavours or ability, in contending with an object of disapprobation; and this is of three kinds, namely, a visible enemy, the devil, and one's self; all of which are included in the term as used in the Quran in 22:77."
Qu'ood is to sit back and be lazy. Jihad is in contrast to this, meaning 'making a full effort', even at the cost of one's life. (The Ahmadiyya Case, pp. 253-254.)
These hadith make it clear that jihad means to exert oneself to the utmost, whether by means of one's wealth or tongue or hands or life, whether it is against one's desires or a visible enemy, whether its aim is to attain nearness to God or to propagate the word of God. Briefly, the Holy Quran and the Hadith speak of three kinds of jihad:
The first two are to be undertaken constantly, while the third, which includes jihad by means of the sword, is only undertaken if specific conditions are satisfied. (Ibid., pp. 256-257.)
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's Views on Jihad:
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's Views on Jihad with the Sword:
Promised Messiah will not Fight the Disbelievers with the
There is no compulsion in Islam. There are only three types of wars in Islam:
As Islam does not permit the use of force or coercion for the purpose of its propagation, it is altogether vain and absurd to wait for a bloody Mahdi or a bloody Messiah; for it is not possible that anyone should appear who should convert people to Islam by the sword contrary to the clear teaching of the Quran (Jesus in India, p. 10).
 I have written over and over that the Promised Messiah is not the Israelite prophet but one who has come in his nature and spirit. As the Holy Prophet (pbuh) has been designated in the Torah as the like of Prophet Moses, it was essential that a Messiah should come at the end of the Muhammadi dispensation, just as it happened in the Mosaic dispensation.—Author.
 Is it not true that in this age the bundle of the earth has been opened to such an extent that thousands of new truths, new inventions and new machines are coming into being with increasing regularity? So why should the heavenly bundle be closed up? As regards this bundle, the prophets of the past had even prophesied that children and women would receive revelation and that would be the era of the Promised Messiah. — Author.