CHAPTER 43: THE JOURNEY TO SIALKOT AND THE SIALKOT LECTURE

Background to the Sialkot trip

During Hazrat Mirza’s stay in Lahore, members of the Ahmadiyya Organization from the city of Sialkot had obtained his promisethat he would visit their city as well. They had submitted that the city where Hazrat Mirza had lived for four years in his younger days certainly deserved to be graced by his presence once more. After the litigation with Maulvi Karam-ud-Din was over, Hazrat Mirzaresolved to travel to Sialkot. Accordingly, he informed his disciples in Sialkot that, God willing, he would leave Qadian for Sialkot on Thursday, October 27, 1904.

Maulvi Abdul Karim in Sialkot

Maulvi Abdul Karim, had gone to Sialkot directly from Lahore. But upon Hazrat Mirza’s request, he joined him in Gurdaspur. However certain pressing circumstances forced him to return to Sialkot where he subsequent- ly became very ill. It was really the Grace of God that saved him from the illness. Maulvi Abdul Karim belonged to the city of Sialkot, and upon his recovery from the illness, hedid a service to his native city by delivering two powerful lectures in which he propagated the message of Islam. These lec- tures had the effect of rousing up the sleeping public and the city became polarized into opposing camps of supporters and opponents. The news ofHazrat Mirza’s forthcoming arrival further stirred up the charged atmosphere of the city.

Firmness of Resolve

The plan was for Hazrat Mirza, along with Maulana Nur-ud-Din and

Maulana Muhammad Ahsan Amrohi and others, to depart from Qadian at 4 A.M. on October 27, 1904. Maulvi Abdul Karim was already in Sialkot. The train by which Hazrat Mirza was to reach Sialkot was to arrive in the city at nighttime. When the members in Sialkot learned of this schedule, they made a request that it would be excellent if Hazrat Mirza could take a train that arrived in the city during the daytime.

The motivation behind this request was that managing a reception at night would be difficult. Additionally, the sight of a daytime publicreception would be spectacular and impressive. But Hazrat Mirza was greatly averse to the idea of worldly display and the affect- edgrandeur of public receptions. So he firmly adhered to his original plan. It was his practice that once he decided upon a certain course of action he would put his trust in God and steadfastly adhere to the chosen plan. It would not be out of place to mention here anotherexample of his steadfastness.

An example of steadfastness

When Hazrat Mirza was preparing to move with his family from Qadian to Gurdaspur in connection with the legal proceedings of Maulvi Karam-ud-Din, the rainy season had started. He had set a date for his travel, but during the rainy season Qadian could become a veritable island after heavy downpours as the rainwater would inundate the surrounding country- side and make the roads impassable. This is what happened prior to Hazrat Mirza’s departure. Heavy rains flooded the environs of Qadian and blocked all routes out of the town. It became impossible to ply any kind of carriage or cart.

Sheikh Yaqub Ali Torab was scheduled to appear in court for a hearing in Gurdaspur. He had no choice but to wade through the water on foot as he made his way to Batala from where he boarded a train for Gurdaspur.

In Gurdaspur, he narrated the travails of the journey to Maulvi Muhammad Ali and Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, who became very anxious knowing that Hazrat Mirza wascontemplating the same journey with his family. On top of this, it became known at the very last moment that the house which had beenarranged for the stay of Hazrat Mirza and his family would not be available. Anxiety now turned into panic as the three contemplated the future — there was no house to stay, the journey was hazardous and Hazrat Mirza was accompanied by women and children. 

They worried that Hazrat Mirza would be greatly inconvenienced. After mutual consultation, it was decided to dis- patch two messengers todissuade Hazrat Mirza from undertaking the journey. At this point, Maulvi Muhammad Ali’s insight and faith heartened everybody. 

He remarked: “You can send the messengers; you can narrate all the difficulties; but these people (the appointees of Allah) do not waver from their resolve because their steadfastness translates into miracles.” That then is exactly what happened. Hazrat Mirza had resolved to travel, and paid no heed to the two messengers. Relying completely on God, he embarked upon the journey and subsequently arrived in Gurdaspur after overcoming all the difficulties associated with the travel. God then also arranged for a housefor him to stay.

Journey to Sialkot

In accordance with the plan, Hazrat Mirza, accompanied by his family and the rest of his party, departed from Qadian at 4 A.M., on October 27, 1904. Two compartments, a second class and a third class, were reserved for the traveling party on the train leaving fromBatala. 

The train had a scheduled stop in Amritsar, where the local branch of the Ahmadiyya Organization had obtained prior permission from Hazrat Mirza to serve lunch to the traveling party. However, serving the lunch did not turn out to be an easy matter because the railway station was so crowded with people gathered to see Hazrat Mirza that it became difficult for the organizers even to make theirway to Hazrat Mirza to shake his hand. Hindus and Muslims, both Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis, were pushing and shoving to get close enough to catch a glimpse of Hazrat Mirza.

Even passengers who had come to board the train temporarily abandoned their quest to secure their own seats on the train and joined in the melee to gaze at Hazrat Mirza. For the entire duration of the train’s stop at Amritsar,a festive atmosphere prevailed on the platform. Some people took the pledge of allegiance right there.

The Amritsar Ahmadiyya Organization served the food to Hazrat Mirza and his companions, with generous hospitality, inside the train itself.

The scene was no different at the Lahore railway station when Hazrat Mirza’s train arrived there. The multitude that had gathered to greet Hazrat Mirza at the station was so immense that even a newspaper like Paisa Akhbar, that was highly opposed to HazratMirza, was compelled to acknowledge the massive turnout of the people.

At Wazirabad, the two carriages in which Hazrat Mirza and his disciples were traveling were detached from the main train which had another destination, and attached to a train going to Sialkot.But such was the enthusiasm of the crowd in Wazirabad that as the carriages were detached and the locomotive shunted them off to attachthem to the Sialkot train, the crowd started running with the carriages and there was great risk that someone may get pushed and crushed under the wheels of the train. 

People from all walks of life were present in the crowd at Wazirabad. Hazrat Mirza’s disciples in Wazirabad served him and his accompanying disciples with soda and lemonade.

Arrival in Sialkot

Although the train arrived in Sialkot after sunset, a large and enthusi- astic crowd welcomed the visitors in a manner that defiesadequate description with the pen. People from all strata of society and all shades of thinking – the old, the young, children, rich, poor, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, supporters and opponents – were packed on the railway platform with no room to spare.

In order to allow for easy disembarkation, the carriages in which Hazrat Mirza and his entourage were traveling were detached from the train and shunted to a platform of the railway station that was adjacent to the road in the vicinity of the Inn of Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. The branch of the Ahmadiyya Organization based in Sialkot had made compre- hensivearrangements for illuminating the platform, and the police and municipality had made excellent organizational arrangements.

When Hazrat Mirza and his entourage had boarded the waiting cars, the grand procession, accompanied by police and municipality officials, started making its way into the city. The recent inventions of electric lighting and gas lamps had not yet made its way to Sialkot and illumination was provided for the cavalcade by people in the vanguard setting off incandescent fireworks at short intervals.

The procession of cars was accompanied by thousands of pedestrians who were running with the cars, and it appeared as if the cars were wading through a sea of humanity. Had it not been for the excellent arrangements, there is no doubt that hundreds of people would have been crushed to death in the crowd. Walking next to Hazrat Mirza’s car, and doing an excellent job of asking people to step aside and make room for the cars to pass through, was Agha Muhammad Baqir Khan, Honorary Magistrate of Sialkot. Every vantage point on the way — the rooftops, the doors and windows of over- looking houses, the tops of adjacent walls — was packed with onlookers.

A strange thing was observed in that even Hazrat Mirza’s opponents were so eager to catch a glimpse of him that they were heardsaying, “We are his disciples, please do not push us out of the way.” 

People who were waiting in the bazaars and looking on from theadjacent rooftops lit oil lamps and set off fire- works just as Hazrat Mirza’s procession entered the city so that they may better catch a glimpseof him. It is God’s amazing grace that the person who was being so vehemently opposed by Pir Jamaat Ali Shah’s disciples and scores of other clerics was being welcomed in the city with illuminations and fireworks.

Lodging

Hazrat Mirza and family were lodged in the residence of Hakim Hussam- ud-Din. Hazrat Mirza’s disciples were lodged in adjoininghouses which had temporarily been vacated by their residents to make room for the guests.

Hospitality

The Ahmadiyya Organization’s branch in Sialkot discharged its respon- sibility as the host in a most gracious and generous manner.The local members had vacated their own homes to lodge the guests. They had taken care to provide necessary amenities for the guests; for example, each room was fur- nished with water and lighting. Indisposed people wereprovided with special dietary food, and arrangements were made with local pharmacists from where sick guests could pick up medicines free of charge.

The elderly guests from Qadian, as well as those indisposed, were served food in their lodgings, while the other guestsfrom the districts of Lahore, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Jhelum, and other places were served food communally in an expansive courtyard.

The number of guests kept growing steadily, with each incoming railway train bringing in additional guests. Each new contingent waswelcomed with great sincerity and hospitality by members of the Sialkot branch.

Speech following the Friday Prayer

The following day (October 28, 1904) was a Friday, and congregational service was held in the mosque of Hakim Hussam-ud-Din.The Friday sermon was delivered by Maulvi Abdul Karim and the topic of the sermon was the Quranic chapter titled Al-Jumuah (Ch:62, The Congregation). Many people took the pledge after the sermon. Following this occasion, Hazrat Mirza addressed the people thathad just taken the pledge in the following words:

This pledge is sowing the seed of righteous actions; it is akin to the planting of a sapling or the sowing of a seed by a gardener. Ifthe sapling or the seed is not irrigated and protected after the planting, then the sown seed is also wasted. Satan is constantly in pursuit of man; if man does not secure the righteous deed that he has done, then that deed is wasted… Just like the planted seed isnot blessed without effort and irri- gation, and, in fact, is destroyed, so too unless you remember this pledge every day and supplicate for God’s help, the Divine blessings will not come. And without the blessings of God, change is impossible.

In short, it was a very unique and unusual speech full of wisdom and truths. It was published in the November 10 – 17, 1904 issue of the Qadian- based magazine Al-Hakam, and deserves to be held dear by one as a most prized object.

Hazrat Mirza’s illness

On October 28, 1904, Hazrat Mirza sat down with the assembled peo- ple and lectured for an extended period of time. This triggered a severe headache and therefore he was unable to meet people on October 29 and October 30.

At the same time, the number of guests was growing steadily, with each incoming train bringing in additional guests. Hazrat Mirza thought that an excessive number of guests might become unmanageable for the Ahmadiyya Organization based in Sialkot. So on October 31, 1904, he expressed his wish to depart. 

When his Sialkot-based disciples became aware of this news, they were flabbergasted. However, out of respect and defer- ence, they did not find the courage to approach Hazrat Mirza and to try to dissuade him from his intention to depart.

Finally, Hakim Hussam-ud-Din made an impassioned plea to Hazrat Mirza to change his plan. He also mentioned the abundanceof resources they had to provide food and lodging for all the guests.

The wishes of Hakim Hussam-ud-Din were very dear to Hazrat Mirza. Besides, the motivation behind Hazrat Mirza’s plan was that his disciples in Sialkot should be spared from getting inconvenienced on account of the excessive number of guests. In light of this new development, he decided to stay on in Sialkot for a few more days. As such, November 3, 1904 was designated as the date of depar- ture from Sialkot.

Preparation for the Sialkot Lecture

It was suggested that Hazrat Mirza should deliver a public lecture on the propagation of Islam. Hazrat Mirza agreed to thissuggestion and the lec- ture was scheduled for November 2, 1904. Hazrat Mirza had been unwell for two days, and now he had to begin composing the text of the speech. 

Consequently, he was unable to emerge from his lodgings on October 31 as well. On the other hand, the wish of the people to see and meet him was growing. When this wish on the part of the public exceeded all bounds, it was suggested to Hazrat Mirza in the afternoon that he may kindly consider sitting near a window for a few minutes so that the people standing in the alley may see him. He accepted this recommendation, and around 4 P.M. on October 31, he came and sat near a window.

The alley was packed with people at that time. The crowd consisted of people from all walks of life — Hindus and Muslims, the old and the young. The sea of humanity stretched from the alley to the bazaar and even spilled over on to the roofs of the adjoiningmosque and houses. 

So tightly were people packed together that if something had been dropped on the crowd, it would not have hit the ground.

With the appearance of Hazrat Mirza in the window, a shoving match started in the crowd as people tried to push their way to better vantage positions to get a closer look at him. Hazrat Mirza became alarmed that all the pushing and shoving may inadvertently result in some old or weak person getting trampled by the crowd. Motivated by this concern, he tarried by the window but for a minute and then retreated to the inner confines of the house. And the great desire of the crowd to gaze at him to their hearts content was left unfulfilled.

Hazrat Mirza started writing his upcoming lecture on the afternoon of October 31. On November 1, the lecture was ready andprinted, and thus it was effectively written in a single day. 

The topic of the lecture was Islam, and this lecture was widely publicized in the city. The lecture was to be read on the premises of the Inn of the Maharaja of Jammu on the morning of November 2, 1904 at 7 A.M. The people responsible forpublicizing this lecture were Hakim Hussam-ud-Din, Chaudhry Muhammad Sultan, Agha Muhammad Baqir Khan, and others.

A marquee was pitched in the courtyard of the Inn of the Maharaja of Jammu, the floor was covered with durries, a modest stage wasassembled and some chairs were also arranged for the occasion.

Machinations of the opponents

Maulvi Abdul Karim was in Sialkot prior to Hazrat Mirza’s visit, and had delivered two public lectures in the city. On the one hand, these lectures had the effect of motivating people to reflect on the truth, but on the other hand the lectures also alerted the opposition. The opponents sent out a call and gathered from Amritsar, Lahore and other cities an array of insolent cler- ics and select, foul-mouthed enemies. The opposition thus grew rapidly and readied itself for an all out confrontation. Because Hazrat Mirza’s lectureon November 2, 1904 was scheduled for 7 A.M., the opposing clerics arranged to commence their lectures at several venues throughoutthe city at 6:30 A.M. The idea was to engage the public in the opposition’s activities and thereby prevent them from attending HazratMirza’s lecture. Accordingly, the oppos- ing clerics took the podium simultaneously at 6:30 A.M. at five different venues. These venues were: Masjid Kalaan, Do Darwazah, Addah Agha Muhammad Shahbaaz Khan Marhoom (late), a venue adjacent to the entrance of the Inn of Maharaja Jammu and Kashmir, and the residence of Mistri Abdullah Tarkhaan near the Inn of Maharaja Jammu and Kashmir.

Hazrat Mirza’s lecture was scheduled within the premises of the Inn of Maharaja Jammu and Kashmir, and right opposite theentrance to the Inn, the opposition had made their own arrangements for a public meeting.

The people manning the stronghold of opposition across from the Inn were none other than Pir Jamaat Ali Shah and his prized disciple, Hafiz Zafar Ali. The content of their speeches was purely limited to disparagement and slander against the person of Hazrat Mirza. The clerics forcefully decreed that themarriage of anyone attending the lecture of Hazrat Mirza would automatically stand annulled.

Departure for the lecture venue

Hazrat Mirza had not yet come out of the house when a request was made to him by a person, Mian Niaz Ali, to visit his residence for a few moments so that it may be blessed by his presence. Accordingly, Hazrat Mirza paid a short visit to his house andthen returned to his lodgings. He then departed for the lecture venue in a car at the head of a procession of about fifteen cars. Maulvi Abdul Karim was seated next to Hazrat Mirza in the lead car. 

There was a huge crowd on both sides of the procession and peo- ple were running along the cars in large numbers. Muhammad Yusuf Khan, the city Magistrate of Sialkot, accompanied the procession and attended to the organizational affairs as the cars winded their way through the crowds. The number of people who had gathered was inconceivable.

As soon as this procession would pass alongside some opposition camp, the volume of the profanities and slander being shouted by the clerics would rise to its highest pitch. The drone of “Beware; no one should enter the Inn” could consistently be discerned amidtheir yells. 

But the clerics’ cautionary shouts had absolutely no effect on the people, who kept pouring into the Inn by the thousands. The opponents cried themselves hoarse but other than the fact that their shouting provided great free publicity for Hazrat Mirza’slecture, they did not reap any great benefit.

The lecture venue

The people present at the site of the lecture numbered in the thousands, and they came from all walks of life. In particular, the entire intelligentsia of the city was present, as was the elite of the city. The opinion of all fair-minded non-Muslims in Sialkot was thatsuch a grand gathering of diverse people, consisting as it did of Hindus, Muslims, and Christians, had hitherto never been witnessed in the city.

The audience was seated either on chairs or upon the ground. The stage itself was graced by Hazrat Mirza, Maulvi AbdulKarim, some dignitaries of the Ahmadiyya Organization, as well as a few dignitaries of the city, including Barrister Fazal-e-Husain who later on came to be widely renowned as Sir Fazal-e-Husain.1

Maulana Nur-ud-Din was chosen as the president of the session at the start of the proceedings. He gave the opening speech in which he introduced Hazrat Mirza, and then requested Maulvi Abdul Karim to read the lecture written by Hazrat Mirza to the audience. Maulvi Abdul Karim first recited the last section of the chapter Al-Hashr from the Quran for blessing.

As usual, he moved the soul of the audience profoundly with his mellifluous rendition. He then started reading the lecture. Despite the fact that Maulvi Abdul Karim was weak from the effects of his indisposition, God gave him the strength to deliver the lecture in his usual effective, oratorical style. The audience listened with rapt attention. It was a warmsummer day, and despite the fact that the rays of the sun doused the people sitting in the front rows of chairs for some time, nobody evennoticed the intensity of the heat.

Lecture on Islam

The lecture was a veritable ocean of truths and knowledge and wis- dom. It began as follows:

Of all the religions in the world, Islam is the only religion which is free from every error. The erroneousness of other creeds cannot, however, be traced to their very beginning, but is due to the fact that since the time that Islam was established upon theearth, heavenly assistance has not been vouchsafed to other religions. They have, therefore, become like the garden which has no gardener, no one to tend or cultivate or water it.

Errors have gradually crept into them and they have become corrupt. The treesthat yielded fruit have all withered away and dried up and thorny bushes and pernicious shrubs have grown up in their place. Spirituality which is the root of religions has vanished from them and nothing has remained in the hands of their followers except vapid words. The life and the spirit are gone forever and they have never been reanimated. 

But Islam has not been brought to thiscondition. As Almighty God had ordained that the garden of Islam should be ever- green, therefore He watered it anew at the commencement of every century after the Holy Prophet and did not allow it to wither or lose its freshness.

Though whenever a man of God was raised for the regeneration of the world, ignorant men opposed him and severely resented the correction of errors which had taken a firm root in their customs and institutions and been grounded in their habits, yet Almighty God did not forsake His law. In this age — when the final struggle between truth and error was to be fought — finding the Muslims in a state of remissness, He again remembered His promise made of old concerning the last ages, and breathed new life into the faith of Islam atthe commencement of the fourteenth century of Hijrah and (the seventh or) the last thou- sand of the present cycle of the world.

But since the time of our Holy Prophet, other faiths have not experienced such regeneration, and there- fore they are now all dead and devoid of spirituality, and errors have taken such a firm root in them as dirt in a cloth which is never washed. Men who had noshare of the holy spirit in them, and whose disobedient spirit had not yet been purified of the dross of earthliness introduced their own principles into these other religions according to their own evil desires. Such corruption changed their whole nature and their very appearance. Look at Christianity for instance, how holy were the prin- ciples upon which it was originally based.

Though the teachings given by Jesus appear to be defective when compared with the teachings of the Holy Quran — this being due to the apparent reason that the facul- ties of man had not at that stage been completely developed and accordingly the time for aperfect teaching had not arrived — yet these teachings were quite in accordance with the requirements of that time and embodied excellent principles of moral and spiritual growth, and pointed the way to the same God to Whom the Old Testament had guid- edmen before. 

But after the death of Jesus, the Christians set up a new God for themselves, of whom no trace was found in the booksof Moses and the prophets and who was quite unknown to the Israelites. Faith in this new God overturned the whole scheme of the Old Testament doc- trines.

All the directions which had been given by the prophets of God for many centuries for attaining true purity of life and obtaining salvation from the bondage of sin were overthrown, and purification from sin was based on the monstrous theory that Jesus was in fact God and that he himself chose to die a shameful and accursed death on the Cross in orderto give salvation to the world. 

But the Christians did not stop here. They went further still and abolished many of the Old Testament laws which had been given for all times. In short, the Christian religion has undergone a complete metamorphosis and is so completely changed that if Jesus himself were to come back, he would not recognize in Christianity the religion which he had taught and preached. It is aston- ishing indeed that men who had been enjoined to regulate their conduct by the laws of the Old Testament, which had been given for all times, forsook that sacred book all at once. 

For instance, it is nowhere written in the Gospels that the prohibition against the flesh of swine was taken away by Jesus, or that circumcision which was required by theLaw was prohibited by him. How could principles be introduced into religion regarding which Jesus gave no directions? But it hadbeen ordained that a universal religion, viz., Islam, should be established upon earth, and the corruption of Christianity served as asign of its advent.

Hinduism had met a similar fate before the appearance of Islam. Idol worship was prevalent throughout India. Corrupt beliefs had replaced the true and simple monotheistic doctrines. The same corruption still prevails in the beliefs entertained by theArya Samaj who hold that the Creator like mortals stands in need of material to make things. One error called forth another and as a necessary consequence of the first belief, another erroneous belief had to be formed according to which the particles ofmatter and the souls are regarded as self-exis-

tent and eternal like God Himself. Had the Aryas given a little reflec- tion to this point, they would have discovered the error of their belief. For if God stands in need of material in his attribute of creation like mortals, then He must also like men stand in need of resources in his attributes of seeing, hearing etc. 

The power of hearing in man depends upon the transmission of sound by the waves of air, and the power of seeing in him depends upon the existence of light. 

Does God too then need air and light to hear and see, and is He like mortals dependent upon these things? If He does not, as the Arya Samaj will be obliged to admit, then it is equally certain that He does not need material for the exercise of His attribute of creation. In short, it is a false logicwhich attributes to the Divine Being a weakness and dependence like that to be met with in mortals.

In fact such a belief involves the likening of Divine powers and attributes to the powers and attributes of man. Man is, no doubt, not able to make somethingout of nothing, but to judge the power of God in accordance with that of mortals is an error. Man is a finite being and God isinfinite, and by the power (of the infiniteness) of His existence, He can bring other things into existence. Such is the mighty power of His Godhead.

If He too like men had depended upon other things in the exercise of His power, He could not have been anything more than a mortal. Is there any one who can resist His will or withstand His power? Is He, the mighty God, unable to create earth and heavens in the twinkling of an eye if He so wills it?

Those Hindus who were learned and spiritual did not fall for this erro- neous belief of the Arya Samaj because its false logic held no charm for them. Such a belief gains currency only on account of an estrange- ment from the Divine Being, which is, in other words, the absence of spirituality.

In short, the prevalence of corruption in every religion was a clear sign of the necessity of a pure religion, which need was satisfied by the advent of Islam. Every student of history is obliged to admit that just before the appearance of Islam, all thereligions had become corrupt on account of the errors which had crept into them and that they had no spir- ituality left in them.

Our Holy Prophet was accordingly the greatest reformer of the world inasmuch as he restored to it the truth which had utterlydisappeared from its face. This is an eminence to which none but the Holy Prophet attained. At the outset, he found a benighted world enveloped in darkness, and he imbued it with light. He did not depart from this world until the whole nation in which he had appeared, had thrown away the garb of polytheism, and donned the garments of unity.

Not only did he succeed in a wonderful manner in firmly establishing the Unity of God, but he made the people who had answered hiscall, reach the highest pinnacle of faith and show such faithfulness, constancy and certainty as is without a parallel in the history of the world. Such mar- velous success was not granted to any prophet except the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

It is one of the most convincing arguments of his truth that he appeared at a time when the greatest darkness prevailed upon the earth and called for a mighty reformer, and that he was not called back until he had brought about a completetransformation, and led hundreds of thousands of men out of the evil of idol-worship and polytheism into the ways of right-eousness and the worship of one Divine Being. In fact this complete reformation is a distinctive characteristic of the mission of the Holy Prophet. He found a people drowned in the depths of savageness and barbarism and raised them to the level of human beings, and thus con- verted savages into men.

These men he then raised to the height of civilization and uplifted them again to thepinnacle of perfection by mak- ing them godly and righteous men. He breathed into them the soul of spirituality and brought abouttheir union with the true and living God. He imparted such life to their faith that they were slaughtered like sheep in the path of God, and trampled under feet like ants, but their faith remained unshaken, and in every trial they kept marching forward and never retreated a step.

Undoubtedly our Holy Prophet was a second Adam in restoring spiritu- al life to the world. Nay, he was the true Adam, for through him all human excellences reached their perfection. All virtuous faculties became engaged in their respective channels — no facet of human nature was left unfulfilled. Prophethood came to an end with him, not only because historically it had to be so, but also because the excel- lences of prophethood reached their climax in his holy person.

As the Holy Prophet was a perfectmanifestation of Divine attributes, therefore the Law he gave to the world was also perfect, having attributes both of glory and love. Hence he was called Muhammad as well as Ahmad (meaning a manifestation of Divine glory and a manifestation of Divine love respectively.)

The preceding excerpt from the beginning of the lecture is presented merely as a sample so that the reader may gauge the greatness of the ideas presented in this lecture.

Claim of being the Like of Krishna

The distinguishing feature of this lecture was the announcement made by Hazrat Mirza while explaining his claims that he was the like of Krishna. He stated:

Just as God sent me as the Promised Messiah for the Muslims and Christians, I am also an avatar (exemplar) for the Hindus. It is more than twenty years since I announced that as I have appeared in the char- acter of Jesus, son of Mary, to purify the earth of theinjustice, iniquity and sins which prevail upon it, I come likewise in the character of Raja Krishna, the greatest avatar of the Hindu religion, and spiritually I am the same man. 

I do not say this of my own accord, but the mighty God, who is the Lord of earth and heavens, has revealed this to me. He has told me, not on one occasion but repeatedly, that I am Krishna for the Hindus and the Promised Messiah for the Muslims and the Christians. 

I know that ignorant Muslims will at once exclaim upon hearing this that Ihave become a plain unbeliever and heretic on account of my having adopted the name of an unbeliever, as they think the holy Krishna to be, but this is a revelation of God which I cannot but announce, and this is the first time that I announce this claim insuch a large gathering, for those who come from God do not fear being blamed or reviled. 

Now Raja Krishna, as revealed to me, wasso great and perfect a man that his equal is not to be found among the Hindu rishis and avatars. He was an avatar or prophet of histime and he received the holy spirit from God. He was granted triumph and victory from God and cleansed the Arya Varta (land ofthe Aryans) of sins. 

He was a true prophet of his time, but many errors were introduced into his teachings afterwards. His heartoverflowed with the love of God and he loved virtue and hated evil. Almighty God had promised to raise a spiritual manifestationof him in the last ages, and He has now fulfilled this promise through me.2 

One of my revelations on this point is: “O Krishna,destroyer of the wicked, and upholder of the meek, thy praise has been written in the Gita.” I love Krishna for I appear as hisimage.

Having made the preceding announcement of being in the likeness of Krishna, Hazrat Mirza then went on to address the Hindusand Arya Samajists. He told them that in his capacity of Krishna he counsels them against believing that God cannot create matter and souls or that the three have coexisted eternally. Such a belief is polytheistic and just plain wrong. The belief of transmigration of souls was only a corollary of the notion that God cannot create matter and souls, and was likewise false.

The practice of niyog3 was an extremely depraved principle that should be given up imme- diately.

Thus after presenting irrefutable arguments to the Hindus and Aryas, and establishing the supremacy of Islam over all religions, the lecture came to a close.

When the lecture ended, Maulana Nur-ud-Din, in his capacity as the presiding officer, stood up and gave a brief closing address.He told the audi- ence that printed copies of the lecture had been prepared to enable listeners to further reflect on the lecture and could be obtained by those desiring to read it. The session was then formally declared closed. But the audience had been listening all along with such rapt attention that they wanted to listen some more and showed no inclination to disperse.

The organizing officials escorted Hazrat Mirza through the audience to a waiting car. Outside the entrance of the Inn, Pir Jamaat Ali Shah and his underlings were inciting and provoking people against Hazrat Mirza with their incendiary remarks. The organizers, therefore, took the precaution of providing Hazrat Mirza a covered vehicle for his ride home. 

As the car came out from the entrance of the Inn, the opponents gathered outside directed their attention to the departing vehicle. Piles of stones lay alongside the road for construction work on the road. The opponents picked up the stones and targeted Hazrat Mirza’s vehicle with them.

A barrage of stones hit the car, but since the passengers were sitting with the doors closed and windows rolled up, the stones only hit the boards of the carand no one was hurt. In no time the car drove out of the reach of the miscreants. Along the way, once again, stood crowds of peopleeager to catch a glimpse of Hazrat Mirza.

A British Inspector of Police, who was present and had listened to the lecture, witnessed the attack on Hazrat Mirza’s car. Seeing the mischief of the opponents, he accosted the speakers of the gathering and said: “I am at a loss to understand why you oppose this person (Hazrat Mirza). It is us (i.e., the Christians) or the Hindus who should be opposing him because he refutes our religions. On the other hand, he is proving Islam to be the true religion. He is demolishing our religions, and yet it is you who oppose him!”

People take the pledge in large numbers

Since November 2, 1904 was the last day of Hazrat Mirza’s stay in Sialkot, a large number of people came to take the pledge at his hands. Although he was feeling unwell, he continued taking pledges from them. Following this, he made a speech elucidating the goals and aims that are associated with taking the pledge.

Return to Qadian

Hazrat Mirza’s departure was scheduled for November 3, 1904. Once again, the city was abuzz with an unusual level of activity since morning. The streets and bazaars, the walls and rooftops, were filled with crowds of people. The alley in which Hazrat Mirza was lodged was so crowded that it was difficult to pass through it.

Even the police was hard pushed to maintain a modicum of control overthe crowd. The host Ahmadiyya Organization had served lunch to all the guests by 10 A.M. in preparation for the departure. HazratMirza came out of his lodgings at 12 Noon to go to the railway sta- tion. The ladies in Hazrat Mirza’s household had left for the railway station earlier, chaperoned by Mir Nasir Nawab. Hazrat Mirza boarded a second class compartment of the train from the same platform where he had alighted. 

The platform was packed with his disciples as well as other onlookers. As the train pulled out of thestation, cries of assalam alaikum (peace be on you) and Khuda Hafiz (may Allah be your Guardian) rang out from the crowd. On the otherside of the platform was a group of opponents who had, with blatant indecency, completely stripped their clothes and were facing Hazrat Mirza, and dancing and making obscene gestures all the while.

Their behavior was clearly indicative of the satanic influence thatgripped them. And this was the reason that God had sent a Reformer (muslih) from the heavens. Maulvi Sanaullah of Amritsar, despite being a bitter opponent of Hazrat Mirza, observed in his newspaper Ahl-e-Hadith that this act of the opponents had put Islamic morals to shame.

Conversation with Reverend Scott at the Wazirabad Railway Station

The situation on the Wazirabad railway station was akin to the one at the time of the outward journey. The platform was packed with people who had come to catch a glimpse of Hazrat Mirza. Once again, Hafiz Ghulam Rasul served the traveling party with lemonade and soda.

Reverend Scott, a missionary priest from the town of Daska, came to meet Hazrat Mirza at the station. Reverend Scott was accompanied by Abdul Haq, a man who had recently converted from Christianity to Islam. The clergyman began the con-versation by stating: “You have taken one of my boys (a reference to Abdul Haq).” Hazrat Mirza conversed with the clergyman at length — when the clergyman realized that he was not getting the better of the conversation, he rose and departed.

In Wazirabad, many people took the pledge on the train itself. On the return journey too, large crowds reminiscent of theoutward journey to Sialkot were present at the various railway stations along the way. In Lahore, Hazrat Mirza and his disciples were served dinner, courtesy of Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah. Hazrat Mirza stayed overnight in Batala. 

Lodging arrangements were made at an inn adjacent to the railway station in Batala. The following morning, breakfast was served by the local branch of the Ahmadiyya Organization. Finally, Hazrat Mirza arrived in Qadian on November 4, 1904, around noontime.

APPENDIX

(Footnote 2)

Lala Sarab Dayal, a resident of Bhera, was a very competent lawyer, and a highly enlightened man. He remarked to me one day that Hazrat Mirza was in a real sense a savior for India. It is a pity that the people of India did not appreciate him and were not obedient to him. Had they done so, they would certainly have achieved freedom and rid themselves of the shackles of slavery. I asked him: “How so?” To which he replied:

It is religion, and not color or creed or nation that forms the basis of all the political differences in India. The influence of religion is so strong on the minds of the Indians that the entire sphere of politics revolves around this facet of life. A Hindu Rajput and a Muslim Rajput are no different from the standpoint of ethnicity, nationality and locale. But they are political enemies of each other because their religions are different — the entire political disputation in India is because of differencesin religion.

Interestingly, each of these religious communities is waiting expec- tantly for a promised person whose advent shall herald thedomination of their religion over all other faiths. For example, Hindus await the arrival of Krishna’s incarnation, also referredto as Neh Kalank Avtaar by them. Christians await the return of Jesus Christ, while Muslims anticipate the arrival of the Mehdi (rightly- guided one). This means that the adherents of each of these religions are waiting for that time when their respective promised religious guide shall arrive and then they shall either strangle the adherents of all other religions or elseassimilate them into their own religion.

This idea is by itself sufficient to motivate them to fight each other. By combining the promised one of these three nations into one per- son, Hazrat Mirza had really tried to unite these nations on this point. Hazrat Mirza said: “I am the Messiah for theChristians; I am the Messiah and Mehdi for the Muslims; I am Krishna for the Hindus.” What is interesting is that he backed these claims with very reasonable arguments.

If these three nations had accepted him as their leader, then the meaningless strife and dissension that is rampant today would have ceased to exist. A separate “promised one” for each religion is a source of dissension while the manifestation of thesepromised ones in a single person is a source of harmony and unity. This was the only way that these three nations could have maintained their religious identities, while at the same time getting united around a common point of belief. Then it would have been easy for India to throw off the yolk of slavery and gain its independence. It is a pity that these nations paid no heed to his teachings or to their own political benefit.

Then, Lala Sarab Dayal said in a tone of great amazement:

I fail to understand why the Muslims opposed Hazrat Mirza. After claiming to be the Promised One of the Christians, Hindus and Muslims, he stated that he was a slave of Muhammad Sahib (refer- ence to Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and whatever he had received was through him and were his blessings. 

This implies that even the best religious leaders of Hinduism and Christianity are subservient to Muhammad Sahib — the victory in this was for the Muslims and the domination in it was for Islam. Why is it then that the Muslims rejected such a grand victory?

I replied: “It is the Muslims’ own misfortune and deprivation –what else!”

Footnotes

  1. When Hazrat Mirza traveled to Sialkot in the year 1904, the late Sir Fazal-e-Husain was practicing law in that city. Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal , the renowned poet-philosopher, relates that one day both Sir Fazal-e-Husain and he went to meet Hazrat Mirza. When Sir Fazal-e-Husain asked Hazrat Mirza whether he deemed those Muslims who were not members of his Ahmadiyya Organization to be non-Muslims, Hazrat Mirza replied in the negative.
  2. See Appendix
  3. See appendix at the end of Chapter 35.

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