CHAPTER 64: CHASHMA MARIFAT (THE FOUNTAIN OF WISDOM)

Motivation for the book

Hazrat Mirza’s book Chashma Marifat (The Fountain of Wisdom) was published on May 15, 1908. The motivation for its writing was a long chain of events which are best understood by starting at the beginning.

Inter-faith meeting hosted by the Arya Samaj Hindus

The Lahore branch of the Arya Samaj Hindus had decided to sponsor an inter-faith meeting after their 1907 Annual Gathering,and for this purpose had invited leaders of various religions to prove, based on their faith, “Which of the Religious Books is a Revealed Scripture?” At the insistence of the AryasHazrat Mirza accepted to write an article on the subject. There was a four annas per personcharge for admission to the conference.

Immediately following the Annual Meeting of the Arya Samaj, the inter-faith conference was held from December 2 throughDecember 4, 1907 in Vachho Vaali locality of Lahore. The conference convened daily, follow- ing the Maghrib (evening) prayers, between the hours of 6 P.M. and 10 P.M. Each speaker was allotted two hours. The following four religions were represented:

  1. Hindu – Sanatan sect & Arya Samaj sect
  2. Christian
  3. Brahmo
  4. Muslim

Because the Aryas had proposed the inter-faith convention and it was to be held at their site, they kept all the decisions and arrangements in their own hands. Thus they chose the topic for the conference, and the time allotted to the speakers without consultingthe other invitees. In making these arrangements, the organizers took undue advantage and treated the represen- tatives of other religions with disdain and discourtesy. Itwould be appropriate, therefore, to call this an Arya convention rather than an inter- faith convention.

The site that had been selected for the Convention was most inappropriate as it was situated in the dark and narrow alleys of Lahore and had limited capacity with seating for at the most 2000 people. Despite charging four annas entrance fee, the organizers did not provide decent seating for the audience. They packed the attendees in the hall like sardines where they had to squat on the floor with their shoes on.

Day One

Mithra Puri, a pundit from the Hindu Sanatan Dharam sect, delivered the first speech on December 2. When Mithra Puri began speaking critically of Dayanand during his speech, the Aryas in the audience created a distur- bance by making distracting noises andscoffing. Because of the disturbance, Mithra Puri was unable to complete his speech in the allotted time. When his time expired, herequested that he should be allowed to complete the remaining two pages of his speech. But the officiating Arya Samajists disallowed this.

Then two Christian priests expounded upon Christianity for one hour each. The interesting thing was that the two of them ended up contradicting each other. Reverend Ali Baksh was strongly influenced by contemporary thought, and he said one thing while Reverend Thakur Daas was steeped in the old tradition, and he presented thoughts from the old school that contra- dicted the previousspeaker. At any rate, both priests presented their respective speeches with great civility.

Day Two

Hazrat Mirza’s lecture was scheduled on the second day (December 3). Hence many Ahmadis from Lahore and its environs came to attend the Convention. In addition, a large number of Ahmadis had come from Qadian as a delegation under the leadership of Maulana Nur-ud-Din to attend the Convention. Prakash Devji, an adherent of Brahmo Samaj, delivered the first speech of the day. This speech was completed in one hour.

Hazrat Mirza’s Speech

The next speech was Hazrat Mirza’s, representing the Muslim school of thought. His lecture was read out to the audience initially by Maulana Nur-ud-Din but he soon handed over to Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig who complet- ed the speech. Hazrat Mirza’s lecturetook fifteen minutes over the allotted time of two hours. This greatly aggravated some Arya Samajists, who never- theless remained silent in deference to the wishes of the audience. This lecture was published as part of Hazrat Mirza’s book Chashma Marifat, and contains a message of peace and solidarity.

Right at the outset, Hazrat Mirza extended a message of peace to the Arya Samajists. The essence of the message was that God exists, and revela- tion is a fact. That in every country and in every nation there have been Messengers of God and saints who had communion with Him. Krishna and Ram Chandar were prophets who appeared in India. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was the most perfect prophet. Hazrat Mirza said: The Muslims can be at peace with the Arya Samajists if, just as we have accepted their revered personages as being holy and as prophets, and respect them, they too should accept our revered prophets, in particular Prophet Muhammad, as holy and as prophets.

They can thus par- ticipate in the steps we have taken for unity andpeace so that the discord that is gnawing away at the nation can be eliminated. We are not demanding anything from the Arya Samajists that we are not practicing ourselves first. In order to dispel all malice and to have real peace all that is necessary is for the Arya Samajists to acknowledge and announce our Prophet as righteous just as we consider their revered avatars and rishis (sages) as righteous.

Following this, Hazrat Mirza’s lecture shed light on Islamic jihad.

Next, he came to the treatment of the central theme, “Which of the Religious Books is a Revealed Scripture?” and expounded it with such brilliance that the audience was inundated by a veritable river of wisdom and knowledge. He stated that it was essential for God’s word to be eminently superior to man’s word. Mere antiquity was no proof that a scripture was revealed. If the Divine origin of a book came up for adjudication before a court, a favorable decision would only be accorded if it had some distinctive characteristics that set it apart from human discourse. Those distinctive characteristics are now found only in the Quran. While it is possible that other scriptures may have possessed these qualities in ancient times, but in their present condition, they are like the royal fortresses that lie barren and abandoned after their wealth and military strength had departed. Following this prelude, Hazrat Mirza expounded upon the distinctive qualities of the Holy Quran at length. Below are some of those highlights:

  1. By following the Quran perfectly, man is able to communicate with God. In this context, Hazrat Mirza explained that he was not present- ing these Quranic blessings as mere fables, but was also substantiating his assertion by presenting miracles that have been manifested at his hands. After this, he presented examples of heavenly signs that were exhibited through him.
  • The Quran itself is replete with miracles. It contains momentous scien- tific prophecies, as well as prophecies of waxing andwaning of temporal power. Hazrat Mirza also furnished some examples of such prophecies.
  • God has provided living proof through the Quran of being All Knowing and All Powerful. That is the reason why nobody has been able to compete with the eloquence and literary excellence of the Quran, nor with the knowledge and wisdom inherent therein, nor with the reformation that it brought about and the profound influence that it exerts, and nobody shall ever be able todo so in the future either.
  • In addition to the Quran’s peerless eloquence, it contains perfect and comprehensive teachings that are in complete harmony with human nature and needs. Hazrat Mirza proved this claim with supporting arguments.
  • The Quran has shown the real way to salvation. A person can only be considered saved when he has mastered all his animal desires, when his pleasure is the same as the pleasure of God, when he becomes so deeply engrossed in the love of God that he has nothing left, all he has belongs to God, and when all his words and deeds, his intentions, and his work and rest are solely for the pleasure of God. Today, it is only the Quran that shows this path, requires man to walk on it, and then takes him to the desired goal of life. This claim was also proven by Hazrat Mirza with the support of arguments.

With great civility and seriousness, the lecture focused upon the desig- nated subject. It did not contain any hurtful words; on thecontrary, it extended a hand of peace to the Arya Samaj.

Day three, and the invective of the Arya Samajists

The Sikhs had abstained from this convention, so the only lecture sched- uled for the third day was by the Arya Samaj representative, Dr. Chiranjeev. The crassness and viciousness of his speech was, and remains, an ignominious smear upon the history of Arya Samaj.

The Muslims had been invited by the Aryas to attend the convention, and then the speaker appointed by the Aryaproceeded to abuse the invited guests. Hazrat Mirza had delivered a message of peace whose core idea was that just as his party considered the Arya reli- gious personages to be holy, saintly and righteous, the Aryas too should accept the Muslim religious personalitiesas holy and truthful, and eschew hurting the Muslims by insulting them. In response to this, the Arya representative viciously abused these holy prophets of God who are mentioned in the Bible and the Quran. The Arya speaker wounded the feelings of the Muslims in the audience with his crude outburst. Had the Muslims not conducted themselves with great patience, a brawl would surely have erupted.

Afterwards, the president of the Arya Samajists, Barrister Roshan Lal, apologized for the lecture, stating that they had not vetted it beforehand. But the apology was even worse than the offence itself because the presiding officer could have stopped the lecturer during the presentation, but he did not.

The lecture contained no argument to support the Divine origin of the Vedas except to say that they were very old. The absurdity of this argument is apparent on the face of it. But in referring to the prophets of the Holy Quran, the Arya speaker employed abusive language to his heart’s content, despite the fact that he had heard only twenty four hours earlier in Hazrat Mirza’s amicable lecture the following regarding Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him):

The state of peoples’ inclination and acceptance is such that today, well over two hundred million people from all strata of society live their lives in obedience to Prophet Muhammad. Since the day that God brought Prophet Muhammad into existence, magnificent emperors and kings, the conquerors of vast realms, have fallen down in reverent servility at the feet of Prophet Muhammad. Even today, the kings of Muslim countries consider themselves humble servants in the service of Prophet Muhammad, and when the Prophet’s name is mentioned, they humbly step down from their thrones in deference.

Similarly, they had clearly heard the following articulation in Hazrat Mirza’s lecture:

They (the Arya Samajists) are especially vile in their abusiveness towards our Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). They profess the message of peace with their lips but use their tongues like drawn swords and daggers to attack our beloved Prophet under whose feet reside our very lives.

Similarly, Hazrat Mirza had made it clearly known to them in his lecture:

You should remain witness that we have come here with the following principle in our minds: Just as we have accepted, in the manner stated above, your religious personalities to be God-appointed, we expect that your peace-loving nature will reciprocate with a like acceptance.

If peace is not established in this way, then you should remember that peace will never be established,and enmity will grow day by day. As a nation, Muslims are willing to give their life for their Prophet, and consider death to bepreferable to the dishonorable act of looking the other way and befriending a people whose task is to abuse their Prophet day and night, and who take his name contemptuously and write villainously about him in their magazines and books and their announcements. You should remember that such people are not well- wishers of the nation either, because they sow thorns in their path. I say truthfully that it may be possible for us tomake peace with the serpents of the jungle and the beasts of the wilderness, but we cannot make peace with people who do notabstain from vilifying the honor of righteous prophets of God.

Having listened to this discourse, it was the moral duty of the Arya Samajist leaders to abstain from the perpetration of the shameful act they committed. But in contrast, the Arya Samajists left no stone unturned in trying to provoke and instigate the Muslims. No society or religion can tolerate such hurtfulness, incivility and provocative behavior, especially when committed against invited guests. Yet this conduct was enacted by the Arya Samajists in the name of religion.

Hazrat Mirza deeply grieved by this action of Arya Samaj

When the Ahmadi delegation at the Convention returned to Qadian and related the events to Hazrat Mirza, he was profoundlydistressed and grieved. He spoke passionately for a long time.

While he commended the delegation on their display of patience during the episode, he expressed his displeasure as well by stating: “How did your sense of honor allow you to keep sitting quietly while those people were talking disrespectfully of the Holy Prophet? Why did you not get up and leave? A believer’s sense of honor can never bear to keep sitting silently while someone is talking disrespectfully about the Holy Prophet. If he cannot stop the discourse, he should leave the venue. All of you should have staged a walkout as a sign of protest.”

In short, Hazrat Mirza was very displeased with the conduct of the delegation. Maulana Nur-ud-Din would later recount that for many days he avoided going before Hazrat Mirza out of a sense of shame, and could not look him in the eyes.

The book Chashma Marifat

Hazrat Mirza’s greatest weapon was his pen. So he immediately set about composing a book to refute the allegations and objections that had been raised by the Arya Samajists at the Convention, and to refute the Arya Samaj religion as well. The resultingbook, titled Chashma Marifat, was pub- lished on May 15, 1908. In explaining the reasons for undertaking the writing, Hazrat Mirza noted:

The gathering of the Arya Samaj concluded on the night of December 4, 1907. Those who were present at the time when our lecture was delivered would be well aware that it was very civilized, mild and conciliatory in tone, and that it was with great respect that we mentioned the names of their rishis, avatars and other people to whom the Vedas are attributed, and who are considered the leaders and guides of their nation.

As the saying goes, a vessel drips only what it contains; the Arya gentlemen exhibited such filth in their content, and defamed and disparaged the prophets (peace be upon them) to such an extent that it is difficult to imagine how they could have done worse. In particular, they singled out our leader and master, Prophet Muhammad(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and attacked him with hurtful and filthy words, and made defamatory and disparaging statements about him. They made groundless allegations against him, and slandered him to no end.

This was done repeatedly and in a loud voice in front of an audience that numbered no less than thirty thousand. They made sure that everybody understoodtheir unholy and inflammatory discourse. If the Muslims had not been mindful of their civility and the Quranic teachings regarding patience, and had not comported themselves with forbearance, then given the grave provocation by these ill-intentioned people, there would have been bloodshed at the venue of the conven- tion. So I praise the members of my organization for displaying an excellent example of patience and forbearance, and for listening silent- ly, even as the words of the Aryas pierced their hearts like bullets.

In fact, our organization was deceived as a result of our naivete and presumption of goodness into accepting their invitation, but later we found out that they had other designs in inviting us to the Convention. But the patience and forbearance of these civilized people (Muslims) prevented the manifestation of their evil intention. If instead of holding a Convention, the Aryas had written abook and published these abuses therein, in the manner of the evil-natured Lekhram who spent his life in this work until the dagger of his tongue made him depart the world, then the matter would have been different.

But these people invited us to their Convention as guests. I received some six or seven letters written hypocritically with greathumility and meekness pleading the necessity of our participation, and promising that there would be no uncivilized behavior. Civility was declared as a prerequisite for attendance. They also urged me to send as large a del- egation as possible. I was delighted to read those letters, which were all couched in the most polite language. I thought to myself that although theprevious experience till now with the Arya Samajists has

been that, apart from their Vedas and its four rishis, they abuse and dis- parage all other prophets (peace be upon them) in the most loathsome manner, thereby hurting the feelings of millions of Muslims, but it is possible that their attitude may have changed nowbecause of the warning that the Government had, of necessity, to give them consequent upon the excesses of some of their individuals…

But I found later on that this was a completely erroneous thought, and that their defamation of the pure prophets of God had in fact only escalated. It had never transpired before that they had invited Muslims to an inter-faith con- ference organized by them, and then vilified our saints and prophets right during the proceedings of the Conference. So this is the firsttime that the Arya Samajists have invited us, and then hurt the feelings of the five hundred or so Muslims in the audience withvicious disparagement. This is an incident that the Arya cannot conceal.

Hazrat Mirza then stated:

This then is the concept of Unity of the Arya Samajists and the Sat Vidya of their Vedas. Whoever reads my lecture, which was delivered on the night of December 3, 1907, and compares it with the lecture delivered by the Arya Samajist on the night ofDecember 4, 1907, shall clearly observe that if there is any nation upon the face of this earth that returns evil for good, then it is the Arya Samaj nation.

Hazrat Mirza then added this observation:

Remember that the intent of the Arya Samajists in scheduling their lec- ture for the last day was to try and refute the ideas in my lecture as much as possible. So they attempted to refute my lecture, but they real- ly ended up exposing themselves. If they had notattacked me unprovoked, I would not have felt compelled to divulge their dishon- esty when they claimed that the Vedas provide the best teachings to man. However, now I am compelled to expose their falsehood before the public, and I will show to what extent their claim about the teach- ings of the Vedas is correct and true. After this, I shall respond to those charges that the ignorant Arya objector has made against Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), upon the Holy Quran, and upon Islam itself. So I shall divide my book into two sections.

Hazrat Mirza has divided Chashma Marifat into two broad sections:

  • Section One is a refutation of the false claim made in support of the Vedas and about the excellence of its teachings.

In this section, Hazrat Mirza definitively refutes the Dayanand teach- ings of the Vedas about the eternal existence of matter and soul, niyog, the transmigration of souls, and other matters. He compares these ideas with those in the Quran and proves with cogent arguments the absurdity of the Vedic ideas. He explains that belief in Unity was never spread in India through the teachings of the Vedas. Had the Vedas taught the message of Unity in clear terms, then idolatry and polytheism would not have been so rampant in the country, and idol-worship would not have been the national religion. This is why, the higher the standing of the pundit, and the greaterhis knowledge about the Vedas, the more he is steeped in idol-worship.

In this connection, Hazrat Mirza observed:

Mankind was granted a book at the time of creation but it was most certainly not the Vedas. Attributing the present-day Vedas to God is a defamation of that Holy Being. If someone questions here why was only one book given to humans in the beginning? Why was a separate book not given for each nation? The answer to this is that, in the begin- ning, the population of the world was very limited, and their number was so small as not even to constitute one nation, and therefore only one scripture sufficed for them. After this, mankind spread, and people living in different parts of the world became different nations, and because of great distances, the nations became oblivious of each other. So for these disparate nations, Allah in His wisdom raised individualprophets and revealed books to those prophets.

When mankind prolif- erated still further in the world and channels ofcommunication opened up, and the people of one nation had the means to meet those of anoth- er nation, and people became aware of the geographical dispersion of population, and God desired that mankind should again be united to be one nation, and after being dispersed should become one again, then God revealed one Book for all nations. God commanded in this book that in whatever era this book reaches a country, it shall be incumbent on the people to accept it and believe in it.

And that Book is the Holy Quran that has come so that there may be solidarity between all the nations of the world. All the Books before the Quranwere specific to a nation and were revealed for one nation. So the prophets and books for the Syrian, Persian, Indian, Chinese, Egyptian, and Roman nations were confined in scope to their respective nations only, having no con- nection with the other nations. But the Quran came after all the other Books; it is a universal Book that is not for any specific nation but for all nations.

Hazrat Mirza then explained at length the universality of the Holy Quran, and exposed the Vedas by refuting their incorrect teachings.

  • Section Two is a repudiation of the attacks made by the Arya Samajist speaker on the Quran, and upon Prophet Muhammad (peaceand bless- ings of Allah be upon him).

Those who are aware of the power wielded by Hazrat Mirza’s pen can well imagine the river of knowledge and wisdom that emanated from this book. In truth, the Arya objections became the reason for unearthing many treasures of truth and wisdom. HazratMirza and Maulana Nur-ud-Din always used to say that there are treasures of truths and wisdom lying buried in the Quran under every objection of the opponents, and the objections become the means of unearthing them, thereby enhancing the glamour of the HolyProphet’s truthfulness.

  • After writing two sections of this book, Hazrat Mirza decided to add another section entitled: “What is special about Islam, as compared with other religions?” In this section, he reviewed the qualities of Islam that are not to be found in other religions.Discussing one such quality, he stated:

It is a remarkable manifestation of the work of God that, even as thou- sands of religions are spreading through the world in this time, yet, other than the religion of Islam, every single religion seeks to prove the existence of God merely through logic,rather than stating that God will manifest His countenance Himself to the adherents of the religion. 

Thus the adherents of otherreligions are, so to speak, doing a favor to their God by trying to establish His lost existence through the force of their logic!

But the truth-seeker cannot be satisfied with such a Parmeshwar or God who is so overcome by enervation and powerlessness that, much like a lifeless thing, it cannot manifest its existence except through the help of others.

It is obvious that unless God Himself declares His existence and manifests His person by announcing in His voice, “I am Present,” man’s unilateral idea that God exists is not sufficient to take him to the level of certainty. It is obvious that belief is the foundation of all good deeds, and it is from the pure fountain of belief that good deeds take shape.

God’s existence is so profound and so deeply concealed that it cannot bemanifested without His hand. And the lessons of true obedience to God, truth, and pure love and faithfulness can only be given by the Book through whose mirror God manifests His countenance…The element that will protect man from sin, and advance him in truth, faithfulness and love, can now only be found in Islam, and in no other religion. My reference here is to those signs that keep manifesting anew throughout Islamic history.

Hazrat Mirza then mentioned some heavenly signs that are mentioned in the Quran, and that were manifested at the hands of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Hazrat Mirza also mentioned some signs that were manifested at his own hands, as a result of his obedience to the teachings of the Holy Quran, and to Prophet Muhammad. Following this, he added:

All these manifestations did not transpire because the objective was to express my personal greatness, but because God desired to furnish conclusive proof about Islam to the entire world.

Conclusive argument against the Sikhs

Hazrat Mirza has also argued conclusively against the Sikhs using the Pothi Sahib as the basis of his argument. Pothi Sahib is a Sikh religious relic belonging to Guru Nanak which is housed in Guru Har Sahai. When Hazrat Mirza sent a delegation to examine the relic, they found it was a copy of the Quran. The details of this have been mentioned in Volume 1 of this book and need not be repeated here.1

Contest for the acceptance of prayers

Along with this book, Hazrat Mirza published an announcement on May 15, 1908 titled: “Our Lord, decide between us and ourpeople with truth, and Thou art the Best of Deciders.”2 In this announcement, Hazrat Mirza briefly presented some arguments for hisrighteousness, and then put forward another method to his opponents of arriving at a decision regarding him. He invited all clerics and pirs (hereditary religious leaders) to a contest via the following statement:

Today, on May 15, 1908, a thought came to mind that there exists another way to arrive at a decision. Perhaps some God-fearing person may benefit from it, and thereby extricate himself from the dangerous vortex of refusal. The proposed method is that out of my opponents, one who is bitterly opposed to me and who considers me a disbeliever and a fabricator should get himself nominated by either ten well- known clerics or ten well-known squires, and thus establish his credentials to enter into a contestwith me. In this contest, we shall test our truthfulness or falsehood by taking two gravely ill people who are suffering from different diseases and assigning one to each contestant by picking lots.

We shall then pray for the recovery of the respective allotted sick person. The contestant whose patient becomesfully cured, or whose patient lives for a longer period as compared to the patient of the other contestant will be considered truthful.All this is in the control of God. Relying on God’s promise, I announce beforehand that the patient who is allotted to me shall either be restored to health or else shall live longer than the patient allotted to my opponent.

This phe- nomenon shall testify tomy truthfulness… However, a condition of the contest will be that my opponent who is competing against me, will himself, as well as ten clerics or members of the gentry, who share his belief regarding me, should publish that in case of my ascendancy inthe contest, they will believe in my righteousness and join my Organization. Such an announcement must be published in three pop- ular newspapers. The conditions for me shall be similar…This announcement regarding the acceptance of prayers reflects the great conviction Hazrat Mirza had in God’s plan and His promises, in acceptance of prayers, and in his own truthfulness. No cleric came forth to take this challenge. Hazrat Mirza hadextended all kinds of challenges in the past as well to verify his truthfulness but no one stepped forward to accept the challengein good faith. They preferred only to criticize from a distance.

Footnotes

  1. See Chapter 62: The Islamic Roots of Sikhism and Sat Bachan, The Great Reformer, Volume 1.
  2. This title is in fact a Quranic verse (7:89).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s