Services to Islam by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

Friday Khutba by Dr Zahid Aziz, for Lahore Ahmadiyya UK, 24 May 2024

“Has not the time yet come for the believers that their hearts should be humble for the remembrance of Allah and the Truth that is revealed, and (that) they should not be like those who were given the Book before, but time was pro­longed for them, so their hearts hardened. And most of them are transgressors. Know that Allah gives life to the earth after its death. Indeed, We have made the signs clear for you that you may understand.” —ch. 57, Al-Ḥadīd, v. 16–17

اَلَمۡ یَاۡنِ  لِلَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا  اَنۡ  تَخۡشَعَ قُلُوۡبُہُمۡ  لِذِکۡرِ اللّٰہِ  وَ مَا  نَزَلَ مِنَ الۡحَقِّ  ۙ  وَ لَا یَکُوۡنُوۡا کَالَّذِیۡنَ اُوۡتُوا الۡکِتٰبَ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ فَطَالَ عَلَیۡہِمُ  الۡاَمَدُ فَقَسَتۡ قُلُوۡبُہُمۡ ؕ وَ کَثِیۡرٌ  مِّنۡہُمۡ فٰسِقُوۡنَ ﴿۱۶  اِعۡلَمُوۡۤا  اَنَّ اللّٰہَ یُحۡیِ الۡاَرۡضَ بَعۡدَ مَوۡتِہَا ؕ قَدۡ بَیَّنَّا لَکُمُ الۡاٰیٰتِ لَعَلَّکُمۡ  تَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۷

This passage of the Holy Quran predicts that after a long time would have passed in Muslim history the followers of Islam would lose humility of heart and become hard-hearted, as had happened with the followers of earlier books of God. The Israelites of the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad provided the clearest example of the hearts hardening after a long time had passed since the revelation of the book on which their religion was based. Near the beginning of the Quran, while addressing the Israelites and reminding them of their history, it says that after their last prophet, Jesus, had come and gone:

ثُمَّ قَسَتۡ قُلُوۡبُکُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ ذٰلِکَ فَہِیَ کَالۡحِجَارَۃِ اَوۡ اَشَدُّ قَسۡوَۃً

“Then your hearts hardened after that, so that they were like rocks, rather worse in hardness” (2:74). The same words for the hardening of the hearts are used here as in ch. 57.

The above passage, which I read out, goes on to tell us, who are believers in Islam, to remember that “Allah gives life to the earth after its death”. This refers to God raising Mujaddids among Muslims to re-awaken them and make their hearts humble again before God. Two days from now, 26th May, it is the anniversary of the death of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, in 1908, who made the claim of being the Mujaddid of Islam of modern times. He died during his stay in Lahore and at the very time of his death he was busy in writing a lecture entitled Paigham Sulah or ‘Message of Peace’. In this khutba, I will look at some of the services to Islam performed by him.

As you can see, he died in the very act of performing a service to Islam by writing his lecture ‘Message of Peace’. In this lecture he proposed the way in which Muslims and Hindus in the subcontinent of India could live in peace with one another, and in fact how all religious communities in India could live in peace and tolerance. This lecture was due to be read at a public meeting on 31 May 1908. As he died on 26 May, his devoted follower Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din arranged for another public meeting, at Uni­versity Hall, Lahore, on 21 June 1908, where he read out the lecture. A report of its proceedings was published in the Ahmadiyya comm­unity newspaper Al-Hakam. The lecture was so successful that it was stated in the report in Al-Hakam:

“The day of 21st June was one of the blessed days promised to his followers by the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in his Will.

The day of 21st June was the day of the manifestation of an initial, brief glimpse of the qudrat saniyya for the community loved and honoured by God.”

What is meant by qudrat saniyya? Literally it means the second manifestation of the power and help from God. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had written in a book called Al-Wasiyyah, or his Will, that during his life God had manifested His power in helping him to succeed in his mission, and that after his death God would send for his followers another manifestation of His power to help them. This is called qudrat saniyya, and you can see that the Ahmadiyya comm­unity newspaper Al-Hakam acknowledged that one example of this manifestation was the success granted to Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din in delivering the lecture written by Hazrat Mirza sahib.

The services to Islam by Hazrat Mirza sahib were so vast, extensive and numerous that when his biographer, Dr Basharat Ahmad, completed his life-story in 2 volumes, he then had to write a third volume discussing just his services to Islam.

What lay at the root of the work done by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was to show Muslims, and the broader world, the real aim and purpose which the religion of Islam seeks to achieve. It had come to be thought, by non-Muslims as well as by most Muslims that the mission of Islam is to establish its rule and government over states and countries. And of course this is widely believed at the present time as well. Even the very name Islam is con­sidered to mean trying to gain political power and rule in one country or another. Look at anywhere in the Islamic world, and you find move­ments and organizations trying to establish what they call the Islamic system. In some countries these movements are already ruling the country, while in others they are trying to gain power or bring the governments under their influence.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad corrected this deeply-held notion, and explained that the real purpose of Islam is to create true faith in the hearts of people. But it must be faith based on evidence and facts, and a faith which is then strengthened by your own experiences in life. It is not blind belief which is just dictated to you by religious leaders or scholars. It is not inherited belief which you have learnt from your comm­unity in which you were born and live. That kind of belief is hollow and will not stand the test of trials and tribulations. True faith is based on knowledge, and is so strong that it enables you to reform and amend your life for the better.

There are political and materialistic philosophies in the world, such as capitalism and socialism. These teach that human problems can be solved by means of some kind of external system of law, economics and government. Unfortunately, many Muslim move­ments look at Islam in the same light, i.e. as a system of laws regulating various aspects of life which will solve all problems. They believe that the establish­ment of this system should be the goal of the Muslims. But setting up such structures, even if done in the name of Islam, does not bring about reform of human beings or give them control over their moral weaknesses and selfish desires. What we really find is that the leaders of these political movements are only using the name of the religion of Islam for their own ambitions of gaining power.

A religion is something more than a social, economic and political system. It seeks to show us the things and realities which our physical senses, brains, intellect and reasoning cannot reach due to their limitations. Religion aims to develop the hidden faculties of the human soul, enabling it to find contact with God, and feel joy in doing deeds of goodness and hate doing acts of evil.

The question is: how is such a true faith to be generated in the hearts? It is for this purpose that in Islam saints or auliya arise who have a close relationship with God, and who are themselves persons of spiritual experience. In the Holy Quran, the Prophet Muhammad is told to declare to people: “This is my way (i.e., the religion which I am following). I invite to God through sure knowledge, I and those who follow me” (12:108). In other words, the Holy Prophet as well as those among his followers who call people to Islam, they do so by having attained certainty of faith and insight them­selves.

The certainty they have in their hearts, that God exists, and that Islam is the true religion, is then passed on from them into the hearts of their followers. Other teachers and scholars of Islam can impart knowledge about Islam, but that is only at the intellectual or academic level. The inspired saints can make the truth of the reli­gion penetrate deep into the hearts and souls. They are not just teachers, but are like doctors of the soul who heal the doubts and the diseases that arise in the soul.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad regenerated faith in a number of ways. Firstly, he showed the ex­cellence of Islamic teachings on the most funda­mental questions of religion. These were questions such as: the existence and oneness of God, the meaning of salvation (going to heaven), and how it is attained, what was the mission of the great Founders of religions, what is the highest station a human being can attain by following the path of the faith, etc. The questions which he discussed go to the heart of religion.

Usually the kind of questions Muslims ask are about matters such as: what should I wear during prayer, am I adopting the correct postures during prayer, how many times do I need to recite certain expressions in ruku and sajda, what invalidates my wudu, and can I do this, that or the other while fasting, etc. Hazrat Mirza sahib regarded these as minor matters and he laid much more stress on a person’s intention in performing a religious duty, in becoming a better person as a result, than on the exact and small physical details. He never concentrated on such matters but kept his attention focussed on the dangers which were weakening the faith of the Muslims and on the questions about the basic need for religion, the questions which were creating doubts in people’s hearts about the very truth of religion and of Islam.

May Allah enable us to take forward his mission of presenting Islam in its true and relevant light to the world — ameen.