CHAPTER 77: RELIGIOUS MAGNANIMITY AND TOLERANCE

Religious tolerance and magnanimity

In the sphere of Islamic thought, who can be said to possess greater religious magnanimity and tolerance than the one who revives the Islamic principle that no person is to be called an unbeliever even if there are ninety nine reasons to call him so, and only one reason to call him a Muslim. And that one reason is the recitation of the Muslim article of faith. 

In other words, a person who recites,“There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah,” is a Muslim. The revival of this principle is a magnificent achievement of Hazrat Mirza, given the religious environment of the fourteenth century Hijrah in which excommunication from Islam of one sect by another was rampant, and no one, whether big or small, had immunity against being victimized by such decrees. 

In fact, if the decrees of excommunication passed by so called Islamic scholars were all put together, the whole nation of Islam would stand excommunicated and not even a single person would be left in Islam. The Shias considered the Sunnis as unbelievers while the Sunnis called the Shias unbelievers; the Muqallid1 (Conformists) considered the Ghair-Muqallid (Non-conformists) as unbelievers and vice versa. 

And the list goes on and on. Additionally, turn by turn, all famous Muslim individuals as well as organizations were beingdeclared as unbelievers.

In these conditions, it was only the work of the reformer of the age to raise his voice against this accursed practice and to impress that the turbulence caused by the practice of excommunication was shredding to bits the unity and discipline of the Muslim nation. Hence it was imperative to abstain from this evil practice for the sake of God and to use the kalimah (the Muslim article of faith) as the foundation for building a strong basis of Islamic unity and organization. Magnanimity and tolerance, Hazrat Mirza emphasized, must be embraced in matters of religion.

The Muslim scholars in general ignored Hazrat Mirza’s message, and in line with their past habits persisted in their endeavor tocreate schisms and disunity amongst the Muslims with the practice of passing decrees of excom- munication. This was a misfortune for these Islamic scholars and a tragedy for the Muslims. But those who followed in the footsteps of Hazrat Mirza, whose representative today is the Ahamdiyya Organization in Lahore, were saved from this accursed affliction. During the lifetime of Hazrat Mirza, hisOrganization was an excellent exemplar of religious tolerance. In his mosque, the muqallids and the ghair-muqallids met with one another like brothers, and never quarreled about the minor points of difference that formed the basis of serious altercations between the two in the rest of the country. There were those in the mosque who said amen aloud, as well as those who said amen in lowered voices.Yet never did one raise objections to another. Hazrat Mirza said amen in a lowered voice, yet he never stopped those who said amen aloud. In prayer, he folded his hands across his chest, yet he never stopped those who folded their hands below their navels. HazratMirza had an extremely graceful beard, yet he was never displeased with those who chose to remain clean-shaven. Mir Nasir Nawabonce drew Hazrat Mirza’s attention to the fact that such and such of your disciples are clean-shaven. Hazrat Mirza replied: “You are concerned about their beards; I am worried about their faith!”

Producing a firm faith in Allah was his real mission

Truth be known, this was the major concern of Hazrat Mirza i.e., to create a strong faith in Allah in the hearts of people. He used to say that when a strong sense of faith takes root in the heart, good deeds follow automatically; weakness in the rendering of good deeds is really a consequence of weakness of faith. If there is the slightest suspicion that a particular food is poisoned, nobody will even want to touch it. Then why should somebody who considers sin to be a baneful poison still perpetrate such a deed?

An important cleric once pledged allegiance to Hazrat Mirza through a letter. Someone commented: “Sir! He is a great scholar.” Hazrat Mirza replied: “Knowledge is good, but without faith, it is nothing. What I need is faith (in my followers).” This Hadith of the Holy Prophet applies flawlessly to Hazrat Mirza:

Even if faith were near the Pleiades (a cluster of stars), a man from among these (Persians) would surely find it. (From theBukhari collec- tion of Hadith, 65:lxii, 1)

This Hadith is a true portrayal of Hazrat Mirza’s efforts to bring faith back into the hearts of people. Hazrat Mirza was particularly focused, day and night, on this one aspect i.e., a strong bond of faith in Allah be created in the hearts of his followers.

Abandonment of squabbles on minor points and focus on striving in the way of Allah

In addition, another great service of Hazrat Mirza to Islam was that he extricated his Organization from disputes and debates on minor religious points and focused their entire attention and energies on striving against the enemies of Islam. Hazrat Mirza was of the view that dissension among the Muslims arose when they abandoned striving against the enemies of Islam, and were left with nothing else to do but to fight among themselves. For this reason, Hazrat Mirza refocused the attention of Muslims from internecine disputes toforging a united front against the enemies of Islam. Hazrat Mirza personally set the example by wielding his pen, day and night, against the enemies of Islam. Yet he did not write even a single line to express his opin- ion on minor religious issues. If he wrote about the death and miracles of Jesus, it was solely because these issues were being exploited by the enemies of Islam, and had become a bigweapon in their hand to prove the divinity of Jesus. Because these issues were assisting Christianity to gain the upper hand against Islam,Hazrat Mirza felt it necessary to clarify these issues.

In the same vein, Hazrat Mirza’s writings about the violent Mahdi were written to dispel the charge against Islam that the religion of Islam had been spread by the sword – a charge that was a smear on the beautiful face of Islam and needed to be removed. Because these issues had become a hin- drance in the propagation of Islam, it was necessary to bring them in the field of discussion, and by throwing light on them to illuminate the right path for people to follow. In so doing, Hazrat Mirza was merely fulfilling his man-date as the Reformer of the era. Apart from these issues, a discussion of which was essential for the defense and propagation of Islam, Hazrat Mirza never interfered with the minor religious issues in Islam.

It is true that Hazrat Mirza wrote decisive opinions about the various sects of Islam by way of an arbitrator, but in this matter too, his judgment was based on principles. He made the Quran the final arbiter on all matters and relegated the Hadith to a position of subservience to the Quran. He then showed the error or righteousness of the sect in the light of the principles in Quran and Hadith. He, however, assiduously avoided getting into debates and wasting his time on the minor religious points of these sects. This was the reason why Hazrat Mirza never attached much importance to the small differences in Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh) or on minor points of interpreta- tion.

Never attached much importance to disputed opinions in religious jurisprudence

It has already been mentioned that in Hazrat Mirza’s mosque, some of his disciples said amen aloud, while others said amen softly in their heart and there was no recrimination by one group of the other. Hazrat Mirza said amen in a lowered voice, yet he never stopped those who said amen aloud. Maulana Nur-ud-Din recited Bismillah-hir-Rahman-nir-Rahim (In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, theMerciful) before Surah Fatihah in a lowered voice, while Maulvi Abdul Karim used to recite this phrase aloud.

However, Hazrat Mirzanever stopped one or the other about their practice. Hazrat Mirza used to recite the Al-Fatihah (the opening chapter of the Holy Quran)quietly behind the person leading the prayer, but he never regarded the prayer of those who only listened to the recitation and did notrecite the Al-Fatihah themselves as being no good. If people asked him questions about issues of jurisprudence, he did not generallygive much attention to the issue himself, and would refer the questioner to one of the scholars of his Organization. Most often it was Maulvi Muhammad Ahsan Amrohi who gave decrees on matters of jurisprudence but sometimes it was Maulvi Nur-ud-Din or MaulviAbdul Karim.

Never attached much importance to differences in opinion regarding Quran commentary

Hazrat Mirza was not in the habit of innovating new points in the explanation of a Quranic verse out of mere ceremony. Where he did differ from the traditional Quranic interpretations, it was either because the tradi- tional explanation had become an impediment in the way of serving and propagating Islam, or because in the course of speaking or writing on some aspect of Islam in his proselytizing work, an insight into the real meaning of a Quranic verse was disclosed to his pristine heart. When such occasionsoccurred, a veritable river of truth and insights, knowledge and wisdom flowed from him. But barring these exceptional situations,Hazrat Mirza was not in the habit of making new explanations of Quranic verses out of mere ceremony. An example of this attitude follows:

There is a verse in the Quran that states:

Those who say: Allah has enjoined us that we should not believe in any messenger until he brings us an offering which is consumedby the fire. (3:183)

Maulana Nur-ud-Din interpreted “offering which is consumed by the fire” as the “burnt offering” mentioned in the Bible, so-called because the Jews did not eat the sacrificial meat but instead burnt it. Maulana Nur-ud- Din stated that the reference in theQuranic verse was to the demand made

by Jews to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that if indeed he was the Promised Prophet then he should reinstitute the practice of burnt offerings that occurred in Jerusalem.

It so happened that when Maulvi Sanaullah wrote the commentary of the Quran titled, Tafsir Sanaee, he adopted the samemeaning as Maulvi Nur- ud-Din. The other clerics however explained the term “offering which is consumed by the fire” by stating thatthe sign for the acceptance of a sacrifice among the Jews was that a bolt of lightning from the heaven would strike and consume the sacrificial meat. In support of their explanation, the clerics pro- duced ancient commentaries of the Quran. Maulvi Nur-ud-Din did notconsider these ancient commentaries to be correct on this point, but, of course, the clerics did not agree. After reading Tafsir Sanaee, the religious scholars of Amritsar wrote a decree excommunicating Maulvi Sanaullah, and provided forty reasons for expelling him fromIslam. One of the forty reasons was the interpretation of this verse.

When I read the decree of excommunication, I presented this verse to Hazrat Mirza in Gurdaspur and asked him to explain thereal meaning of the sacrificial meat that was consumed by the fire. With great simplicity, he replied: “Allah has not as yet enlightened me with its meaning; when I do receive enlightenment about its true significance, I will let you know.”

Allah hus Samad! (Allah is He on Whom all depend (112:2)). I was amazed at this reply. I had personally heard from HazratMirza’s blessed lips Quranic truths and knowledge that were an elixir of eternal life for the soul, and no vestige of which existed in the previous commentaries. I was also aware that when Hazrat Mirza sat down to write, and a Quranic verse became the focus of hisattention, he would write hundreds of pages expounding the meaning of this single verse and the truths and insights inher- ent in thatverse appeared unending. If an opponent objected to some Quranic verse, he would extract such treasures of knowledge and wisdom from it as would astound the intellect. In short, Allah had granted such profound knowledge of the Quran to Hazrat Mirza that it wastruly unparalleled in this era of rationality. However, on an inquiry by a disciple, this same person stat- ed very simply and without hesitation that Allah had not enlightened him with the meaning of this verse and that he did not make comments based on his own opinion.

In reality, Hazrat Mirza understood that the traditional explanations would not satisfy this person, and by virtue of being anappointee of God, he could not put forward his personal interpretation because of sheer ceremony, unless it was indicated by God. Hence he stated straightforwardly: Allah has not enlightened me with its meaning so I cannot opine. This then is true piety. It is also a reflection of Hazrat Mirza’s conviction that he was an appointee of God. Hence he did not care a whit that his admission of “no opinion” may inadvertently reduce his esteem in the eyes of his disciple. If Hazrat Mirza had been concerned about his ego, he could simply have exercised his mind slightly and provided his disciple with some explanation of the verse. But Hazrat Mirza considered this to be against the dignity of the high office he held as an appointee of God.

It is an occasion to pause and reflect that, on the one hand, Hazrat Mirza had challenged the whole world to compete with him in writing the commentary of the Quran, and, on the other, he had no hesitation in telling a disciple that he had not received enlightenmentin the matter so far. 

Does this not clearly indicate that the commentaries he wrote in competition with opponents were based on Divinely inspired knowledge, and that he had full confidence that Allah would assist him with this knowledge as He has always done with His special servants? This is exactly what would happen. In the nick of time, Hazrat Mirza was granted such profound knowledge that evenpossessors of great intelligence and insight were astounded, and left shaking their heads in amazement.

Thus it was that Maulvi Nur-ud-Din using his intellect and knowledge interpreted “offering which is consumed by the fire” as “burnt offering,” and Hazrat Mirza never stopped him from doing so, but personally he adhered to the traditional interpretation of the same verse because Allah had not enlightened him in the matter. Such is the dignity of an appointee of God.

Maulvi Nur-ud-Din used to narrate that a cleric once asked Hazrat Mirza; “I teach the Quran; give me some guidance oninterpretation.” Hazrat Mirza replied: “Interpret mutawaffi-ka (3:55) to mean mumitu-ka (I will cause thee to die).”2 

In other words, Hazrat Mirza’s only advice on commentary was that the word tawaffi in reference to Jesus means “to die.” Maulvi Nur-ud-Din would add: “If he (the cleric) had asked me, I would have told him scores of things. But the work of an appointee of Allah is that he givesprecedence to the duty he has been assigned with over everything else, and he does not transgress his assigned limits. He does not interfere in any issue until there is an indication from God.”

When Master Imam-ud-Din of Gujrat wrote a pamphlet titled Al- Tanqih-fi-Wiladat-al-Masih (An Inquiry into the Birth of Jesus) in which he proved that Jesus had a human father, he wrote to Hazrat Mirza and request- ed him to write his personal opinion in the matter as well. In response, Hazrat Mirza directed Maulvi Abdul Karim to write a letter to Master Imam- ud-Din. This letter wasincluded in the published pamphlet, and is reproduced below:

Munshi Sahib,

Walaikum assalam.

In response to your card dated September 19, 1894, it is submitted on the instance of the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (rightly-guided one) that his attention these days is completely focused on important reli- gious affairs from which he cannot divert hisattention to other matters. He says that if Allah the Glorious discloses something in this matter, it will certainly be communicated toyou. It is not within his control where to direct attention. When Allah desires to execute an affair for the com- mon good, He directsthe attention of His servant towards it Himself.

Humbly yours, Abdul Karim. Qadian,

September 23, 1894.

So, unless Hazrat Mirza was confronted with an issue or he received some Divine indication about a matter, it was not his custom to tread into an issue on his own. This was, in fact, a requirement of his station as an appointee of God. However, this does not imply that he had also prohibited his disciples from discussing such issues. This is the difference between an appointee of God and an ordinary person. An appointee of God does not undertake any new ijtihad (exercise of judgment) or a new interpretation without a Divine indication. An ordinary person, however, has full freedom and there is no barrier stopping him from using his intellect.

While giving a sermon to the ladies once, Hazrat Mirza narrated the incident of Jonah and the fish exactly as it has been related in the old com- mentaries. Maulvi Nur-ud-Din however, in his Quran study classes, maintained that the fish had attempted to swallow Jonah like a morsel of food, but he survived the attempt and actually did not end up in the belly of the fish. Hazrat Mirza never stopped Maulana Nur-ud-Din from furnishing such interpretations. And why should he have done so? Hazrat Mirza was an appointee of God and it was against the dignity of his station to undertake ijtihad (exercise his judgment) on his own into different issues and to change the old commentaries in accordance with the dictates of the time. Hazrat Mirza was committed to the idea that in every new issue that crossed his path, he would await Divine indication for intervention. There was no need, however, to bind others to such a commitment. Consequently, Hazrat Mirza never imposed any prohibition on the scholars of his organization because to do so would have stultified mental and intellectual growth. The appointees of God come in every era to nurture and facilitate the educational and mental development of men and not to stifle these faculties.

The Hadith: “Difference of opinion is a blessing for my Ummah,” also lends itself to the same meaning. The differences referred toin the Hadith are those that result from the mental acumen and intellectual inquiry of different people. The scholarly and intellectual development of a nation depends greatly on such cross-fertilization of ideas. Thus the differences are truly a blessing, as long as there is mutual respect, and the differences are not made the basis for fighting and making war on each other.

In fact, at times there were lively arguments regarding the interpretation of a verse between Maulana Nur-ud-Din and Maulvi Muhammad Ahsan Amrohi in the presence of Hazrat Mirza, and he would smile and listen to them with great interest. An animatedargument once ensued on the interpre- tation of the Quranic phrase: “idrib bi‘asa ka-l-hajar” (2:60). Maulvi Nur-ud-Din interpreted the phrase to mean “March on to the mountain with thy community,” whereas Maulvi Amrohi interpreted it in the traditional sense to mean “Strike the rock with thy staff.” The two stalwarts argued back and forth spiritedly and Hazrat Mirza kept listening and smiling, but didnot make any suggestions as to who was wrong and who was right. The reason was that he was opposed to stifling the scope of religiousthought. Unless an opportu- nity is provided for deliberation and thinking, and for strengthening the heart and the mind, man can never make progress in any sphere of knowledge whether secular or religious. It appears for most scholars outside the ambit of the Ahmadiyya Organization that their mental evolution has stopped and they have become obtuse individuals. The reason for this is that they are sittingin the same place having closed the door to any kind of ijtihad (exercise of judg- ment) and new commentary. How can such a peopleprogress whose belief is that the ancients have done all that needed to be done and their job is only to conform?

Once Maulvi Nur-ud-Din contracted diarrhea as a result of which he was greatly debilitated. Maulvi Sahib was not consistent in treating the mal- ady, and waited with his trust in God for nature to cure him. One day, Hazrat Mirza advised him to start proper treatment because it is incumbent upon man to strive and contrive. Somebody sitting nearby addressed Maulvi Nur- ud-Din and said: “The Quran also says, ‘And those regulating the Affair!’” (79:5). Maulvi Nur-ud-Din laughed and said: “Yes, this is stated in the Quran, but thegender used is feminine.” (The pun in this facetious reply was that to contrive i.e., “regulate the affair” is somehow feminine – Author).Hazrat Mirza laughed when he heard this and did not take any offense what- soever, even though what Maulana Nur-ud-Din had statedinnocuously went against the advice Hazrat Mirza had just given. In short, those who are sent by God are large-hearted and haveunstinting fortitude.

Maulvi Abdul Karim related the following recollection to me:

Initially when I came to Qadian, I was strongly influenced by the philos- ophy of naturalism (naturiyyat). I was staying in thedrawing room and Hazrat Mirza’s book, Ainah Kamalat Islam was under publication. There was a discussion almost every daybetween us. I molded everything into a naturalist perspective and Hazrat Mirza was opposed to this. Sometimes in the course of thediscussion, I got emotional and inadvertently raised my voice and became very loud. Hazrat Mirza always responded calmly andgently, “It is alright Maulvi Sahib. There is no hurry; with time you will understand everything.” Accordingly, it came about that Iunderstood everything and I lost all interest in naturalism. And now when I remember that time, I feel very ashamed that I was soinsolent with Hazrat Mirza. I pray for protection and forgiveness from Allah.

In summary, Hazrat Mirza took no offense that his disciple differed with him, argued with him, disputed with him.

Similarly, once Qazi Amir Husain entered into an argument with

Hazrat Mirza about the meaning of the Quranic verse:

Glory to Him Who carried His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Remote Mosque, whose precincts We blessed, that We might show him of Our signs! (17:1)

Hazrat Mirza interpreted this verse in the traditional sense, ascribing it to the Miraj (spiritual ascension of Prophet Muhammad) and interpreted the Remote Mosque to mean the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. The innovation Qazi Husain introduced was to ascribe this verse to the Hijrah (Prophet Muhammad’s migration from Makkah to Madinah) by interpreting the Remote Mosque to mean the Prophet’sMosque in Madinah, which though not built at the time of this revelation, was nevertheless in God’s Knowledge. One day, in the presence of many people, Qazi Amir Husain argued with Hazrat Mirza on this interpretation. Qazi Amir Husain had a rather severe temperament, and when this debate became protracted, Qazi Amir Husain grew enraged and pro- voked. He argued with Hazrat Mirza in such a harshmanner and raised such a clamor that those who were present began to think that the relationship between the master and disciple (betweenHazrat Mirza and Qazi Husain) would surely be severed. After the argument was over, one of Hazrat Mirza’s disciples wrote a note to himand inquired whether they should still consider Qazi Amir Husain as his disciple? Hazrat Mirza wrote back in reply: “Qazi Sahib is a verysincere disciple of mine.” The writer of the note was amazed to hear this and enamored by Hazrat Mirza’s generosity of spirit and noble-mindedness.

Hazrat Mirza greatly despised the philosophy of naturalism. He was a man with an intimate knowledge of God, and complete faith in His omnipo- tence. The idea that God was bound by the laws of nature, as was the belief

of the naturalists, was repulsive and totally unacceptable to him. Hazrat Mirza interpreted the Quranic verse: “But thou wilt find no alteration in the course of Allah;” (35:43) to mean alteration in the traditions of God that He, in accordance with His complete and perfect Knowledge, has stated in the Quran as being the practice of Allah. It did not imply that there was no alter- ation in the natural laws that men have discovered through their imperfect knowledge and which are subject to correction and refinement.

Accordingly, when the naturalists announced that the virgin birth of Jesus was against the laws of nature, Hazrat Mirza was deeply offended. He stated that those who believe that God is constrained by the laws of nature and think that God cannot create man without the agency of a father have no knowledge and understanding of God. And this statement is perfectly cor- rect; whoever believes that God cannot create man without the agency of a father indeed does not have knowledge of God. However, the question is notwhether God can do it, but rather what is God’s tradition or practice regard- ing this matter in the light of the Quran and secondly, whatis the evidence in the Quran that Jesus was exempt from this tradition? To cut the story short, Hazrat Mirza believed in the virgin birth of Jesus, but there were people in his organization who believed that Jesus was born through the agency of a father. Maulvi Nur-ud-Din was one of those who believed that Jesus had a father. He once told me: “I believed that Jesus was born through the agency of a father but because Hazrat Mirza believes in a virgin birth, hence I have given up this discussion and assumed silence in this matter.”3

Sheikh Qamar-ud-Din, a watchmaker in the city of Jhelum, was another of Hazrat Mirza’s disciples who did not believe in the virginbirth. Hakim Fazal- ud-Din of Bhera had gone to Jhelum for some work. In the evening, while boating in the River Jhelum with Sheikh Qamar-ud-Din, the conversation turned to the birth of Jesus. Sheikh Qamar-ud-Din argued for the natural birth of Jesus and cited Quranicverses in support, but Hakim Fazal-ud-Din, who was strongly influenced by Hazrat Mirza’s view on the subject, got really upset and claimedthat such a notion amounted to disbelief. The next day, Hakim Fazal- ud-Din returned to Qadian and registered a strong complaint withHazrat Mirza: “Sheikh Qamar-ud-Din, despite being your disciple, believes that Jesus had a father. When I went to Jhelum this time, heargued with me on the subject and even presented some Quranic verses in support of his contention. But I told him very plainly that it isheresy to suppose that Jesus had a father, and anyone who considers so is an unbeliever.” Hakim Fazal-ud-Din probably thought thatHazrat Mirza would be very happy to hear about the stand he had taken, but contrary to his expectation, Hazrat Mirza said: “Hakim Sahib! How can a per- son be an unbeliever when he presents the Quran in supportof his viewpoint and argues based on Quranic verses? You have no right to call him an unbeliev- er.” This reply embarrassed and silencedHakim Fazal-ud-Din.

After some time, Sheikh Qamar-ud-Din visited Qadian. When the Asr (late afternoon) prayer ended in Mubarak Mosque, HakimFazal-ud-Din sub- mitted to Hazrat Mirza; “Sheikh Qamar-ud-Din is here. You can ask him about the birth of Jesus.” Hazrat Mirza askedSheikh Qamar-ud-Din to come and sit by him, and enquired: “Do you consider that Jesus had a father?” Sheikh Qamar-ud-Din remained silent out of deference. Hazrat Mirza then asked: “State the verses on the basis of which you argue that Jesus had a father.” SheikhQamar-ud-Din first of all presented the verse from Chapter Al-Sajdah:

Who made beautiful everything that He created, and He began the cre- ation of man from dust. Then he made his progeny of an extract, of worthless water. (32:7-8)

He then presented many other similar verses and argued that it appeared from these verses that the practice of God is that He creates humans from the union of a male and a female life germ. And if Jesus was a human, then there is no apparent exception given for him anywhere in the Quran, etc. On hear- ing these arguments, Hazrat Mirza said, “Masha Allah! (It is as Allah has pleased). Your arguments are strong. But as long as I do not receive enlight- enment from God about this matter, I stand by the same belief as the beliefof the masses.” This is known as courage and noble-mindedness.

Hazrat Mirza’s statement that a person who argues based on the Quran cannot be an unbeliever needs to be written in letters of gold. Making a mis- take while arguing on the basis of the Quran is a separate matter altogether. But when a person constitutes his beliefs, right or wrong, on the basis of the Quran, that person cannot be declared an unbeliever. Such a person regards the Quran as the word of God. If he errs, then he may be called a wrongdoer or mistaken, but not an unbeliever. If Muslims adhere to this golden rule,then the curse of Muslims calling other Muslims as unbelievers would be uprooted and eradicated forever.

Hazrat Mirza did not get angry with Sheikh Qamar-ud-Din, nor did he declare him an unbeliever or an atheist. Instead, after listening to his argu- ments, he said: “Masha Allah! (It is as Allah has pleased). Your arguments are strong.” These are the things thatreveal how broad-minded Hazrat Mirza was in matters of faith, and how he truly considered the Quran to be a bound- less ocean whose marvels were unlimited and whose treasures of wisdom and truth were infinite.

Those who are appointed by God are Divinely-inspired teachers. They themselves do not produce a full commentary of the Quran,but they teach their

disciples the skill of how to commentate on the Quran. They set their disciples on the path that enables them to understand and explain theQuran. Any com- mentary that these Divinely inspired teachers produce, and the truths and wisdom they explain is by way of a sample, the purpose of which is to teach their disciples the method of interpreting and explaining the Quran, and to lay the foundation of thescholastic philosophy they have invented for the purpose of making the Religion of Truth to prevail over all other religions. The work ofthese Divinely-inspired teachers is like a planted seed, and the job of their dis- ciples is to water and take care of the seed to its fruition.By following in the footsteps of their mentor, whatever religious service the disciples and students accomplish is the bounty of theappointees of God and not of any other.

Love of truth was Hazrat Mirza’s insignia

Broad-mindedness and love of truth were two salient qualities of Hazrat Mirza. The incident narrated below took place in 1868 or 1869. Hazrat Mirza was young and had not yet been appointed to the station of Reformer (mujaddid). Maulvi Muhammad HusainBatalvi had recently com- pleted his education and come to Batala to assume duties as a cleric. Since Maulvi Muhammad Husain Batalvi was a member of the Ahl-e-Hadith sect, the followers of the Hanafi school of thought were aggravated by his views. Membersof the Hanafi sect broached Hazrat Mirza to debate certain disput- ed issues on their behalf with Maulvi Muhammad Husain Batalvi, andone of their representatives brought Hazrat Mirza to Batala from Qadian. In the evening, Maulvi Muhammad Husain Batalvi and hisfather were in the mosque when Hazrat Mirza reached there. The debate commenced. Maulvi Muhammad Husain Batalvi made a speech. Hazrat Mirza listened to the speech and then said: “There is nothing in it that is objectionable; so what should I refute.” The people who had brought Hazrat Mirza were very dis- appointed and angry with him — yet, solely for Allah’s sake, Hazrat Mirzaeschewed that debate.

Hazrat Mirza could not refute the truth for the sake of partisanship.Not for a moment did he give any importance to the fact that the people who had brought him to Batala would be displeasedwith him, or that he might be disgraced because they would think that he had refrained from the debate because of his incompetence. Hazrat Mirza was far above such lowly and inferior desires and need for recognition and fame. This was truly a remark- able demonstration of sacrificing egotism. After listening to the opponent’s correct statement, Hazrat Mirza accededand said: Yes, this is the truth. This was a constant trait throughout Hazrat Mirza’s life. He always supported the truth regardless of whether it was coming from his worst opponent and always contradicted falsehood even if it was coming from a dear friend.Hazrat Mirza loved the truth and was inimical to falsehood.

Footnotes

  1. Muqallids are those who follow another in what he says or does, firmly believing him to be right therein, regardless of proof or evidence.
  2. Editor’s note: This was not a novel interpretation by Hazrat Mirza. In fact, he was follow- ing the Hadith in Bukhari in which Abd Allah ibn Abbas says thesignificance of mutawaffi-ka is mumitu-ka (I will cause thee to die). (Bukhari 65:12)
  3. However, after the death of Hazrat Mirza, Maulvi Nur-ud-Din directed Maulvi Muhammad Ali to describe the birth of Jesus as a natural birth through the agency of a father in both the English and Urdu commentaries of the Quran.

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