Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal and the Ahmadiyya Movement
His views of, and relations with, the Ahmadiyya Movement from beginning to end
Maulana Hafiz Sher Mohammad
(Author, scholar, missionary of Islam and the Ahmadiyya Movement)
Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam Lahore Inc., U.S.A.
Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal is revered as one of the greatest poets, intellectuals and philosophers to arise in the history of Islam. He had met Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and wrote of him in 1900 as “probably the profoundest theologian among modern Indian Muslims”. In 1910 Iqbal described the Ahmadiyya community as “a true model of Islamic life”. Later in 1932 he wrote of members of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement as “Muslims who have a sense of honour”.
Yet today we find the opponents of the Ahmadiyya Movement publishing on a vast, world-wide scale, statements of Iqbal made in the last four years of his life, denouncing and rejecting this Movement, its Founder, and its work. How and why did this extraordinary change in Iqbal’s public stance come about?
In this well-researched booklet, Hafiz Sher Mohammad examines the whole history of Iqbal’s relationship with the Ahmadiyya Movement, and traces the factors which influenced his view of it, both in the earlier years and near the end of his life.
Title and summary
Iqbal’s teacher, Mir Hasan, on Hazrat Mirza.
2. During the life of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
3. Time of Maulana Nur-ud-Din
First phase of opposition.
Public Meeting in Lahore as Lord Headley accepts Islam.
Report of the Isha'at Islam (Western countries) Trust.
4. Extremist beliefs coined by Qadianis, and the result
5. Good relations with Lahore Jama'at continue
Co-operation in Muslim national affairs
Lord Headley's visit to Lahore and Iqbal's speech at the Lahore Ahmadiyya annual meeting
Calls Lahore Ahmadis "Muslims with a sense of honour".
Attends Hindu's acceptence of Islam at Ahmadiyya Buildings
6. His last years - opposes Qadianis but vindicates Lahore Jama'at
Further view expressed by Iqbal in this period.
Iqbal's opposition was against Qadiani doctrines.
7. Iqbal's religious views derived from Ahmadiyya thought
Views in prose.
Influence of Ahmadiyya views on Iqbal's poetry.
8. Praises British rulers of India
9. Iqbal on 'Who is a Muslim?'
This booklet was written in Urdu in the early 1980s by Maulana Hafiz Sher Mohammad, the eminent scholar and distinguished international missionary of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam Lahore, Pakistan. It traces chronologically the views expressed by Allama Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal regarding the Ahmadiyya Movement and its Founder, and Iqbal’s relations with the Movement and its prominent figures, from the 1890s to his death in 1938.
The need for such a survey arises because some of Iqbal’s statements which he published in the last four years of his life, repudiating the Ahmadiyya Movement, have been given vast circulation by the opponents of the Movement. These critics are capitalising on the renown and popularity of Iqbal in parts of the Muslim world, particularly Pakistan, to argue that a man of his historic stature and authority in matters Islamic had condemned the Ahmadiyya Movement as a danger which must be eliminated from Islam. These particular writings of Iqbal are presented, on a world-wide scale, as being somehow the ultimate and irrefutable proof that Ahmadis must be expelled from the ranks of the Muslims.
However, these hostile opinions of Iqbal must be placed in the context of the whole of his attitude towards the Ahmadiyya Movement, going back to his earliest days. This book shows that Iqbal held the Ahmadiyya Movement in the highest admiration and praised it openly, even sharing public platforms with its leaders, during a period of more than thirty years till he changed his stance about four years before his death. Clearly this reversal, coming 25 years after the passing away of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, cannot be ascribed to any of the latter’s beliefs or teachings which Iqbal had known for long! This book shows that Iqbal’s turn-about was due to a combination of the extreme, unacceptable beliefs coined by the Qadianis, on the one hand, and the political considerations facing Dr. Iqbal on the other.
It should be noted that in the period in the 1930s when Dr. Iqbal issued various statements in condemnation of the Ahmadiyya Movement as a whole, and this controversy was raging among the Muslims of the then India, full refutations of his new-found views were published by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam Lahore. Many such replies appeared in its Urdu and English periodicals (Paigham Sulh and The Light) from the pens of the most eminent leaders of the Movement, including Maulana Muhammad Ali. One reply in English by Maulana Muhammad Ali was published in 1935 as a pamphlet entitled Dr. Iqbal’s Statement re. the Qadianis.
As to the present booklet, the late Hafiz Sher Mohammad sent me the manuscript of his Urdu work for translation into English more than ten years ago. The translation first appeared in The Islamic Review, then of California, U.S.A., not long after. A little later in 1988, the original Urdu work was published by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam Bombay, India, through the kind efforts of Mr. Abdul Razak.
Last year I published the English translation again in The Light & Islamic Review, of Columbus, Ohio, after some revision. The same is now being published in the form of this booklet, with further minor revision and some additional material which had been missed out in the earlier translations.
Zahid Aziz, Dr. Nottingham, England, June 1995.
Iqbal’s teacher, Mir Hasan, on Hazrat Mirza.
The high position of eminence held by Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal (d. 1938) in the Islamic world is a matter of common knowledge. Every Muslim is aware of the deep love for Islam and its Holy Founder expressed by Iqbal. To understand the causes of his love for Islam, it is necessary to survey the first twenty years or so of his educational life.
The last quarter of the nineteenth century was an era of the utmost helplessness and apprehension for the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent. All Muslims who had a sense of responsibility and concern felt desperately worried and perturbed at the forlorn condition of Islam and its followers. On the one side, the British colonial government of India was distrustful of the Muslims, and on the other side Christian missionaries and Hindu Arya Samaj pundits were spreading false propaganda against the Islamic faith. Muslim religious leaders, spiritual teachers, the upper echelons as well as the masses, being in a state of ignorance and helplessness, were all easy prey for the opponents of Islam.
In northern India, the city of Sialkot, the ancestral town of Dr. Iqbal, had been the big stronghold of Christian missionaries ever since British rule was established in the Punjab. Dr. Iqbal himself received his education in a Christian mission school and college. At that time there were two men engaged in battle on behalf of Islam against Christian preachers and other opponents. One was Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (d. 1898), whose efforts were mainly directed towards urging the Muslims to acquire modern, Western education and towards reforming their backward moral condition. The other man was Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (d. 1908), who not only broadcast the beauties of Islam by pen and speech, refuting the Christian and Arya Samaj objections against Islam, but also prepared a sizeable Muslim movement for the defence and propagation of Islam, which spread in Northern India and particularly in the Punjab, whose object was to refute the objections of the detractors of Islam. He wrote books in support of the faith of Islam, made speeches all over his part of the country on the truth of Islam, and produced and disseminated a vast amount of valuable literature, both prose and poetry.
Iqbal’s teacher, Mir Hasan, on Hazrat Mirza.
The movement founded by Hazrat Mirza was also vigorously active in Sialkot, a major centre of Christian missionary work. Dr. Iqbal could not have remained uninfluenced by it, especially as he lived in an area of the city which was a stronghold of Islam. Everyone who has studied Iqbal knows of the tremendous influence which his tutor, Shams-ul-Ulama Sayyid Mir Hasan, had upon his intellectual development.
1. Sayyid Mir Hasan was not only Iqbal’s teacher and resident of the same area of the city, but he was also both active in the movement of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan in Sialkot as well as an admirer of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. This was the part of Sialkot where Hazrat Mirza had spent four years in his younger days, leading a life of the utmost purity, and had left a deep impression by his righteousness, support for the cause of Islam, and high moral qualities. Hence it was that Sayyid Mir Hasan expressed his opinion about Hazrat Mirza in the following words:
“Hazrat Mirza sahib came to Sialkot in the year 1864 in connection with his employment, and stayed here. As he was a pious and retiring man, who abstained from frivolous and wasteful pastimes, he did not like meeting the public because it is often a waste of time.”(Hayyat-i Tayyiba, compiled by Shaikh Abdul Qadir, p. 29.)
2. Many years after Hazrat Mirza’s death, Sayyid Mir Hasan said in an interview with a journalist:
“Sadly, we did not appreciate him. I have no words to describe his spiritual attainments. His life was not that of ordinary people. He was one of those persons who are special servants of God, and who come into the world but rarely.”(Al-Hakam, 7 April 1934; Mujaddid-i A'zam, vol. 2, p. 1236.)
3. In the book Zikr-i Iqbal it is said about Sayyid Mir Hasan:
“In the days when Mirza sahib stayed in Sialkot, the Maulvi sahib (Mir Hasan) had frequent occasion to meet him. The Maulvi sahib observed him from close quarters. Although Sayyid Mir Hasan was a great devotee of the movement started by Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, yet he was unusually impressed by the piety, righteousness and virtue of Mirza sahib, and had great respect for him.”(p. 278)
During the life of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
1. Dr. Iqbal’s father, Shaikh Nur Muhammad, was a great admirer of Hazrat Mirza.
2. Dr. Iqbal’s elder brother, Shaikh Ata Muhammad, had formally joined the Ahmadiyya Movement by taking the bai‘at (pledge).
3. Dr. Basharat Ahmad writes in his renowned biography of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, entitled Mujaddid-i A‘zam:
“In 1892 Hazrat Mirza visited Sialkot and stayed at the house of Hakim Hassam-ud-Din. He made a speech in Hakim Hassam-ud-Din’s mosque after the zuhr prayers. The famous poet Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal was a fellow student of mine in those days, and was sitting on the roof of the porch of the mosque. Seeing me, he said: Look how the devotees are swarming around the light. He was very much favourably disposed towards Hazrat Mirza in those days. So when a poet of Sialkot, who used to have the pen-name jalwa, composed satire to ridicule Hazrat Mirza, Dr. Iqbal wrote a rejoinder in poetical form too, greatly praising Hazrat Mirza.”
4. Around that time, a virulent opponent of Hazrat Mirza by the name of Sa‘d-ullah of Ludhiana wrote an abusive poem against Hazrat Mirza. Dr. Iqbal could not tolerate this insult, and replied to it in a long poem entitled Jaisa Moon Taisee Chapayrh (or “A slap which your face deserves”). Some lines of this poem are give below:
“O Sa‘d, we have seen your filthy abuse. It will make street sweepers appreciate you. Don’t be perturbed by the heat of the sun of truth, for the devil himself will be your sun-shade. You have become the brother of the Christians, you renegade! What a great favour you have done to Islam!” (By Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal, F.A. class, Scotch Mission School, Sialkot. Ai'nah Haq Numa, p. 107.)
5. Dr. Iqbal’s attachment grew so much that in 1897 he formally took the bai‘at at the hand of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. This was confirmed by Maulvi Ghulam Muhiy-ud-Din Qasoori, ex-General Secretary of the Anjuman Himayat-i Islam, Lahore, at the time when the Munir Court of Enquiry was being held in Pakistan in 1953. His statement was reported in a newspaper as follows:
“After five years, in 1897, Sir Muhammad Iqbal took the pledge of Mirza sahib.” (Daily Nawa-i Waqt, Lahore, 15 November 1953.)
It was Khwaja Nazir Ahmad, son of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, who testified at the Munir Court of Enquiry that Dr. Iqbal had taken the bai‘at of Hazrat Mirza, and he gave the year as 1892. After finishing his testimony that day, Khwaja Nazir Ahmad met Maulvi Qasoori who told him that the year was not 1892 but 1897. The following day Khwaja Nazir Ahmad took the stand again to correct the year. The whole incident was reported in the Pakistan newspapers at that time.
6. In 1900, Dr. Iqbal published a paper in English on the famous Sufi saint Abdul Karim Jilli, and presented the saint’s view of the Unity of God from his book al-Insan al-kamil, illustrating the breadth and depth of Muslim philosophy. Mentioning the great scholarship of the saint, Iqbal wrote:
“It will appear at once how strikingly the author has anticipated the chief phase of the Hegelian Dialectic and how greatly he has emphasised the doctrine of the Logos — a doctrine which has always found favour with almost all the profound thinkers of Islam, and in recent times has been readvocated by M. Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, probably the profoundest theologian among modern Indian Muslims.”(Indian Antiquary, vol. 29, September 1900, p. 239. The words quoted above are Iqbal’s original words in English.)
Go here to see scanned images of the original pages from the journal.
7. In 1904 when Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad visited Sialkot, Dr. Iqbal went with Mian Sir Fazl-i Husain to meet him. Thirty years later, Dr. Iqbal told Maulana Muhammad Ali, head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, that at that meeting Hazrat Mirza had affirmed that he did not call other Muslims as kafir. Maulana Muhammad Ali referred to this incident in an English booklet as follows:
“During the conversation that ensued with the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Mian Sir Fazl-i Husain asked him if he looked upon those who did not believe in him as kafirs, and the Mirza sahib without a moment’s hesitation replied that he did not. This fact which Sir Muhammad Iqbal himself related to me last year  is a clear evidence that the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement is not responsible for the present Qadiani doctrine.” (Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s Statement re. the Qadianis, p. 7.)
A little later, in 1936, Maulana Muhammad Ali further wrote in an Urdu article:
“Now he [Iqbal] has also given this testimony in writing, and exactly in the context of this discussion. He has written a letter to Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig, dated 25 January 1936, in which he has admitted that the Mirza [Ghulam Ahmad] sahib uttered those words in his presence.”
Time of Maulana Nur-ud-din
First phase of opposition.
Public Meeting in Lahore as Lord Headley accepts Islam.
Report of the Isha'at Islam (Western countries) Trust.
Shortly after his meeting with Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Dr. Iqbal went to Europe for higher education. By the time he returned, Hazrat Mirza had passed away and, under the leadership of Maulana Nur-ud- Din, Qadian had come to be recognised as the centre of a truly Islamic way of life.
1. Dr. Iqbal sent his elder son, Aftab Iqbal, to be educated at the Ahmadiyya community’s school known as the Taleem-ul-Islam High School in Qadian.
2. In the same period, in the year 1910, Iqbal delivered a lecture in the famous Muslim University town of Aligarh, during the course of which he referred to the Ahmadiyya community in the following words:
"In order to be a dynamic member of the Muslim community, a person must not only repose unconditional faith in the religion of Islam but also imbue himself thoroughly in the colouring of the Islamic civilisation. The object of diving into this jar of the ‘colouring of Allah’ is that Muslims should give up duality and become of one hue. … In my opinion the aspect of national life represented by Aurangzeb is a model of pure Islamic life, and it should be the purpose of our education to develop this model and to make Muslims keep it in view all the time. … In the Punjab a true model of Islamic life has arisen in the form of that community which is known as the Qadiani sect.”(Millat Baiza Per Ayk ‘Imrani Nazar, published by Aeenah Adab, Lahore, 1970 edition, pp. 84 – 85.)
Dr. Iqbal expressed these views two years after the death of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, fully knowing about his claims and teachings. There was no way that Hazrat Mirza could now make different claims which would lead Dr. Iqbal to change his views about the Ahmadiyya Movement. If by the year 1910, in the period of leadership of Maulana Nur-ud-Din, there had prevailed in the Ahmadiyya Movement the beliefs that Hazrat Mirza was a prophet and that his deniers were kafir, then Dr. Iqbal certainly would not have recommended to his audience in Aligarh to look to Qadian to find “a true model of Islamic life”. This is no ordinary matter. It shows that Dr. Iqbal was himself deeply impressed by this “model”. Besides, this opinion expressed by Dr. Iqbal caused no commotion among the audience; on the contrary, his hearers listened to him with attention and calm. This shows that in those days Muslims in general held the Ahmadiyya Movement in very high regard and honour. If a Muslim public figure today were to express such views, one shudders to think of the hostility and adverse reaction which would result. It is, however, a solid fact that in the time of Maulana Nur-ud-Din the opposition to the Ahmadiyya Movement had all but disappeared, and a wonderful era of general acceptance was on the rise day by day.
First phase of opposition.
The first obstacle in the continuance of this popularity came when, in April 1911, Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad wrote and published a magazine article entitled A Muslim is one who accepts all those appointed by God. In this article, contrary to the clear pronouncements of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement and the unanimous stand-point of the Community, M. Mahmud Ahmad condemned as kafir all the Muslims of the world who had not taken the bai‘at to join the Movement of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. This caused a certain amount of unease, both within the Ahmadiyya Movement and Muslims in general. However, the true position was made clear very quickly when Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din published a Notice entitled My beliefs about non-Ahmadi Muslims, dated 18 August 1911, bearing Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s endorsement in the words: “I approve it, you may publish it.” At around the same time, Maulana Nur-ud-Din made an observation in the presence of several people about M. Mahmud Ahmad’s beliefs as follows:
“The question of kufr and Islam is a very subtle matter. Even our Mian [M. Mahmud Ahmad] has not understood it.”
As these statements cleared up the misconceptions caused by M. Mahmud Ahmad’s article, there arose no difference of view between Dr. Iqbal and the Ahmadiyya Movement. In fact, he used to have recourse to Maulana Nur-ud-Din for advice on matters of Islamic law. As an example, we mention one incident related by Maulana Abdul Majid Salik:
“At last the Allama (Iqbal) agreed to take his wife back. However, as he had intended to divorce her, he suspected that in Islamic law divorce had taken place. So he sent Mirza Jalal- ud-Din to Maulana Hakim Nur-ud-Din in Qadian to enquire about the Islamic position. The Maulana said that no divorce had taken place according to Islamic law, but if he was uncertain in his mind he could hold the marriage ceremony again. So a maulvi was called, and the Allama was re-married to this lady. He then took her to Sialkot. This happened in the year 1913.”(Zikr-i Iqbal, p. 70.)
Public Meeting in Lahore as Lord Headley accepts Islam.
At the same time, Dr. Iqbal was a fervent supporter of the work of the propagation of Islam being done by the Ahmadiyya Movement. In 1913 Lord Headley, a British nobleman, embraced Islam in England through the work of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, the famous Ahmadiyya missionary to the West. To celebrate this, a big gathering of the Muslims of Lahore was held at Ahmadiyya Buildings, the centre of the Movement in Lahore. We reproduce below the report of this meeting as published at the time (Paigham Sulh, Lahore, 25 November 1913):
Report fromPaigham Sulh:
In accordance with the announcement, a meeting of the Muslims of Lahore was held on 23rd November 1913 at 3:30 p.m. in Ahmadiyya Buildings, Lahore. Even before the appointed time, Muslim brethren started arriving in crowds, and by the time of the opening of the proceedings the Ahmadiyya mosque and the adjoining marquee were entirely full. Besides Muslims of all sections of society, followers of other religions were also present in large numbers. Khan sahib Shaikh Khair-ud-Din, pensioner, District Traffic Superintendent of the Railways Department, who takes a keen interest in Muslim national affairs, was chosen as President of the meeting. First of all, Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig (A prominent Lahore Ahmadi and friend of Iqbal) recited the Holy Quran. He was followed by Sufi Ghulam Muhammad who recited the poetry of the Promised Messiah in praise of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. After this, Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Husain Shah (Another prominent Lahore Ahmadi and friend of Iqbal) delivered a speech for nearly an hour, which derived its force from his sincerity.
After him, Dr. Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal, whose heart is full of love for the Muslim nation, made a profound and meaningful speech on the propagation of Islam. He said:
“The allegation against Islam that it was propagated by the sword is proved to be utterly baseless when we look at world history. Taking India as an example, history shows that Muslims never established any permanent or lengthy rule in Bengal, yet the proportion of Muslims there is greater than in other provinces. Similarly, in the Balkan states, Islam first spread from a Muslim prisoner to his Christian fellow-inmates, and then further afield. In Java Islam spread at a time when Muslim political power in Asia was declining fast. At the present time, the downfall of Muslim political power is complete but the progress of Islam is such that in the island of Madagascar Christian clergymen have held a conference which passed the resolution that, as the daily advance of Islam on the island poses a threat to the French government, it should take measures to stop the spread of Islam. The same is the situation in Africa where Islam is expanding rapidly even though Muslims have no political power worth mentioning in those countries, and that too is due solely to individual efforts. The biggest cause of the decline of the Muslims is the neglect of the task of the propagation of Islam. Thank God that the man who first recognised this shortcoming is Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, who has sacrificed all worldly interests to take this great work upon himself. It is, therefore, our duty not to neglect to help him in any way, and we must not let the question of Ahmadiyyat stand in the way of this noble work, for our God, our Prophet and our Scripture is the same.”
In short, his speech was praiseworthy from every angle, and was full of concern for Islam from beginning to end. Afterwards, the following resolutions were passed unanimously:
Resolution no. 1, moved by Dr. Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal:
"A telegram of congratulations should be sent on behalf of the Muslims of Lahore to the Right Honourable Lord Headley, through Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din of the Woking Mosque, England, on his acceptance of Islam. This resolution was passed unanimously by all present."
Resolution no. 3, presented by Nawab Muhammad Salim Khan, Raees of Taitri:
"This meeting proposes that a campaign for funds be launched among the Indian Muslim population for the Islamic mission of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din. A trust should be created, having Ahmadis and other Muslims as members, to receive the contributions, and the funds should be spent to support Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din. This resolution was seconded by Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig and Mr. Abdul Majid, and passed unanimously by those present."
Resolution no. 4: At the proposal of the President of the meeting, and with the unanimous agreement of those present, the following persons were elected as members of the trust:
1. Dr. Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal, M.A., Ph.D., Barrister at law.
2. Khan Bahadur Mirza Sultan Ahmad Khan, E.A.C., Member of the Council of Regency, Bahawalpur.
3. Shaikh Rahmat-ullah, proprietor, English Ware House, Lahore.
4. Nawab Muhammad Salim Khan, Raees of Taitri, the Frontier.
5. Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Husain Shah, L.M.S., Lahore.
6. Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig, L.M.S., Lahore.
7. Mian Charagh-ud-Din, Raees, Government Pensioner.
The Joint Secretaries were declared to be Shaikh Rahmat-ullah and Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig. The meeting closed with a prayer.
From Paigham Sulh, Lahore, 25 November 1913
News of the activities of this trust appeared some months later in Paigham Sulh of 5 July 1914:
From Paigham Sulh, Lahore, 5 July 1914
Report of the Isha'at Islam (Western countries) Trust
This trust was created on 23rd November 1913, at the proposal of some friends, on the occasion of the magnificent gathering in Ahmadiyya Buildings to mark the embracing of Islam by Lord Headley, and had the object of helping the Islamic mission of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din in England.
The following members were appointed to the trust: …
Afterwards the following were added:
8. Maulvi Muhammad Ali, M.A., Ll.B., editor Review of Religions, Qadian.
9. Maulvi Ghulam Muhiy-ud-Din, B.A., Ll.B., lawyer, Qasur.
The Secretary Shaikh Rahmat-ullah and Sayyid Muhammad Husain Shah toured various places in the Punjab to collect funds. At the annual meeting of the Muhammadan Educational Conference held in Agra, a large meeting was convened at the suggestion of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad for the support of this Islamic propagation mission of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din. Many speeches were made and great interest was expressed by those attending. The following dignitaries were also appointed members of the trust:
1. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
2. Maulana Maulvi Abdul Qadir Azad Subhani.
3. The honourable Khwaja Ghulam Asqalain.
4. The honourable Sahibzada Aftab Ahmad Khan.
5. Maulvi Ali Ahmad, M.A., Allahabad.
6. Qazi Kabir-ud-Din Ahmad, Lucknow.
7. Mr. Shaukat Ali, B.A. (Aligarh).
8. Nawab Imad-ul-Mulk Sayyid Hasan Ali Balgrami.
9. Sayyid Mazhar-ul-Haq, Bar-at-law.
10. Haziq-ul-Mulk Hakim Muhammad Ajmal Khan.
Besides these the following were appointed patrons of the trust by unanimous agreement:
1. Maulana Hakim Haji Hafiz Nur-ud-Din.
2. Maulana Maulvi Shibli Numani.
3. Waqqar-ul-Mulk Maulvi Mushtaq Husain Bahadur.
On 14th May 1914 a meeting of the Isha'at Islam Trust (Western countries) was held with Dr. Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal as President, which was attended by the following prominent persons:
1. Maulana Muhammad Ali.
2. Dr. Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal.
3. Shaikh Rahmat-ullah.
4. Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Husain Shah.
5. Maulvi Ghulam Muhiy-ud-Din Qasoori.
6. The Secretary.
Extremist beliefs coined by Qadianis, and the result
It was in such an enviable atmosphere of unity and harmony that the task of the propagation of Islam was being conducted when, in March 1914, Maulana Nur-ud-Din passed away. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, who up to that time had had to restrain himself because of the towering personality of Maulana Nur-ud-Din, now began to preach and propagate his extreme beliefs regularly and freely. He announced plainly and blatantly that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a prophet in actual fact, and that anyone who did not accept him was a kafir and expelled from the pale of Islam.
With this announcement, all the mischief which had been dying down came to life again, and the daily increasing popularity of the Movement among the Muslims was replaced by a rising storm of disgust and revulsion. Those very people who had been unfailingly praising the knowledge produced by the Ahmadiyya Movement as well as its work of propagating Islam, now looked upon its beliefs and objectives with suspicion.
Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal himself, who only a short time earlier saw in the Ahmadiyya community “a true model of Islamic life”, now had to announce in guarded words:
"Any person who believes in the coming, after the Holy Prophet Muhammad, of a prophet the rejection of whom makes one a kafir, is excluded from the fold of Islam. If the Qadiani Jama'at holds this belief, it too is excluded from the fold of Islam.”(Al-Fazl, 11 April 1916)
This statement was couched in cautious words because Dr. Iqbal knew that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had neither claimed to be a prophet nor declared those who did not believe in him to be kafirs and expelled from Islam. Therefore he made this statement in a hypothetical form. In these words Dr. Iqbal completely exempted Hazrat Mirza and the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama'at because he knew that these beliefs were not held by them.
Thus the Ahmadiyya Movement was split in two upon the death of Maulana Nur-ud-Din over the question of declaring Muslims as kafir. At that juncture, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad made a very telling comment in his newspaper, as follows:
“For some time, there had been two parties in this Movement over the question of takfir. One party believed that non-Ahmadis are Muslims even though they may not believe in Mirza sahib’s claims. The other party, however, declared openly and clearly that those people who do not believe in Mirza sahib are kafir absolutely — inna li-llahi wa inna ilai-hi raji 'un. The head of the latter party is Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, and this faction has now made him khalifa but the first group does not accept this. The writing published in this connection by Maulana Muhammad Ali, and the wonderful and admirable courage he has shown in expressing these views while staying in Qadian, where the heads of the other party live, is truly an event which shall always be regarded as a memorable event of this year.”(Al-Hilal, 20 March 1914)
Good relations with Lahore Jama'at continue after Split
Co-operation in Muslim national affairs
Lord Headley's visit to Lahore and Iqbal's speech at the Lahore Ahmadiyya annual meeting
Calls Lahore Ahmadis "Muslims with a sense of honour".
Attends Hindu's acceptence of Islam at Ahmadiyya Buildings.
Despite his disillusionment with the Qadianis, Dr. Iqbal maintained his good, friendly relations with the leading figures in the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama'at, and regular visits between them continued. One such Lahore Ahmadi was Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Husain Shah, a well- known physician and philanthropist of Lahore. It is recorded in a compilation of Iqbal’s letters:
“Dr. Muhammad Husain was a renowned physician of Lahore. He was originally from Shakar Garh and was a friend of Iqbal. Colonel Dr. Bashir Husain, retired Director, Health Services, West Pakistan, is his son. He was a very wealthy and generous man, and gave thousands of Rupees for the propagation of Islam [to the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama'at]. He built the Samli Sanatorium and then handed it over to the government. Whenever Dr. Muhammad Husain Shah paid a visit to Iqbal, the Allama would stand up to greet him, and show him the same respect when seeing him off. The love and sincerity between them can be gauged from this.”(Makatib Iqbal binam Garami sahib, Iqbal Academy, Macleod Road, Lahore, compiled by Muhammad Abdullah Quraishi, second edition, June 1981, p. 159.)
Co-operation in Muslim national affairs.
In defending and promoting the national interests of the Muslims of India, Dr. Iqbal worked jointly with the leaders of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama'at. The following instance is recorded in the general Muslim press of the time:
The [Indian National] Congress decided to boycott the Simon Commission [set up by the British government] on the grounds that it did not have any Indian member on it. The reply they received was that factional differences among the Indians are so many that it is impossible to include their representatives in the Commission. At this point, Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal, and Maulana Muhammad Ali, head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama'at, issued a joint statement which said:
“Factional differences compel us to accept, with an unwilling heart, the reasons given by Lord Birkenhead for not appointing Indian members to the Royal Commission. Before presenting a common Hindu-Muslim programme, factional differences must be resolved. We inform our fellow countrymen and the Muslims that boycotting the Commission will lead to the destruction of the Muslims’.” (Paisa Akhbar, 10 December 1927. Zikr-i Iqbal, p. 137)
Lord Headley’s visit to Lahore and Iqbal’s speech at the Lahore Ahmadiyya annual gathering.
In 1927 Lord Headley, the famous British convert to Islam who had embraced Islam in 1913 at the hand of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, came to India. During his visit he presided over one of the sessions of the annual conference of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam in Lahore. Large numbers of the general Muslim public, as well as many famous Muslim leaders, attended the session. Given below are some extracts from the report of the proceedings:
Report fromPaigham Sulh:
Proceedings on 28th December 1927. The venue for the annual Jalsa [conference] was, as usual, the Ahmadiyya Buildings mosque. However, as today an address was to be presented to Lord Headley, and such large numbers of people were expected to attend to hear his reply that the space in the conference marque would not have sufficed, it was deemed suitable to hold today’s proceedings in the grounds of the Islamia College.
His Lordship arrived at about 3.30 p.m. and took his seat on the podium amidst resounding cries of Allahu Akbar. As soon as he sat down, the Hazrat Amir Maulana Muhammad Ali gave a short address, proposing him for the chair, in which he said …. After Hazrat Amir, Sir Mian Muhammad Shafi rose to support the motion, and said …. He was followed by Maulvi Zafar Ali Khan, who said …. Then Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din spoke …. After him, Dr. Shaikh Sir Muhammad Iqbal rose and said:
“Sometime ago I wrote the following verse about Europe: Europe has polluted the fountains of knowledge. They say that poetry is a part of prophethood. It may be that God, by means of the efforts of our friend Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din and his supporters, will cause Europe to make these fountains pure and clean again through Islam. At least the time has come when Europe is starting to feel that its salvation lies in Islam, and only in Islam. The movement which began in 1400 c.e., and which led Europe to make many advances in so-called civilization, has been shown to be unsuitable by the people of Europe themselves. Western civilization has been shaken to its foundations. For the last two centuries, it has striven to establish peace in the world, but has met with utter failure. Its well-being now depends on Islam only, and it is our good fortune that we see among us today a member of the British nobility. On the one side, there is a British nobleman, and on the other (pointing towards Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din) a commoner from among us.”
Dr. Iqbal continued:
“Muslims must be united in the face of their enemies who are on the attack from all sides. In our own country, on the one hand the Hindus are our enemies, bent on extirpating Muslims from India, and believing that they have no right to live in India as Muslims. Those who think thus are foolish. They are under a misconception: Islam can never be driven out of India. It has ruled India for centuries, and shall rule the hearts of the Indians forever.
“Besides this, the Muslims face an internal danger at this time. A party has arisen among us, asserting that Muslims are not a separate entity in India. Such people are destroying Islam with their own hands. Islam is a distinct entity in this country, and Islam has resolved to maintain its separate identity in this country. Islam shall never be overcome, it shall triumph in the end.”
Someone objected at this point, as to how Islam could triumph while it was under the rule of the British. Sir Muhammad Iqbal said in reply:
“Do you not know that the example of the Tartars is being revived today? The very nation to which we are subject shall itself become Muslim. A living proof of this fact is Lord Headley who is among us. The powers of Islam are not limited. One age was that of the sword, today is the age of the pen (applause!). It attacks from within and without, and compels you to accept it in all ways.”
From Paigham Sulh, Lahore, 4 January 1928
Calls Lahore Ahmadis “Muslims with a sense of honour”.
In 1932 one Chaudhary Muhammad Ahsan wrote a letter to Iqbal because his brother, Hafiz Muhammad Hasan Cheema, who was a member of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama'at, had asked him to join this Jama'at and had given him some of its literature. After studying the literature, the letter writer asked Iqbal to clarify certain religious questions and to give his opinion about the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama'at. Iqbal wrote in his reply:
“Lahore, 7 April 1932. Dear sir, Assalamu Alaikum:
“I know your brother quite well. He is a very pious soul. You should put to a learned divine the questions which you have asked me. I can do no more than tell you what I believe, that is all. I consider all the Hadith reports relating to the Mahdi and the concepts of Messiahship and Mujaddids to be the result of Persian and other non-Arab philosophies. They have nothing to do with Arab thought or the true spirit of the Quran.…
“As to the Ahmadiyya Movement, there are many members of the Lahore Jama'at whom I consider to be Muslims who have a sense of honour, and I sympathise with their efforts to propagate Islam. To join a movement or not depends very much on one’s personal inclination. You should decide for yourself whether to join the movement or not … But indeed, the passion for the propagation of Islam that is to be found in most members of this Jama'at is worthy of praise.”(Iqbal Nama, Part II, Makatib Iqbal, compiled by Shaikh Ata-ullah, (Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1951), pp. 230 – 232, Letter no. 87.)
Attends Hindu’s acceptance of Islam at Ahmadiyya Buildings.
When a well-known Hindu of Lahore embraced Islam in 1933, the following report of the ceremony appeared in Paigham Sulh:
“1st March 1933, corresponding to 4 Ziqa‘da 1353 A.H., Wednesday, Ahmadiyya Buildings, Lahore. Mr. Kunya Lal Gaba, barrister and son of a wealthy Hindu Lala Hari Kishan Lal Gaba, embraced Islam. Hazrat Amir [Maulana Muhammad Ali] gave the convert the name Khalid Latif Gaba. This auspicious ceremony of acceptance of Islam was attended by many leading Muslim figures of Lahore. Among these may be mentioned: Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Allama Abdullah Yusuf Ali, the Nawab of Mamdot, Malik Feroz Khan Noon, and Maulana Sayyid Mumtaz Ali.”
His last years: opposes Qadianis but vindicates Lahore Jama'at
Further view expressed by Iqbal in this period.
Iqbal's opposition was against Qadiani doctrines.
1. When Allama Iqbal was ill in 1934, Maulana Muhammad Ali went to visit him. Dr. Iqbal related to him an incident showing the real beliefs of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Maulana Muhammad Ali refers to this in an English booklet entitled Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s Statement re. the Qadianis, as follows:
“But I would refer Sir Muhammad Iqbal to an incident which he himself so recently related to me when I paid him a visit during his sickness in October 1934. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, he told me, was then in Sialkot — he did not remember the month, but it was the year 1904 as the facts related by him show. Mian (now Sir) Fazl-i-Husain was then practising as a lawyer in Sialkot, and one day while he (the Mian Sahib) was going to see the Mirza Sahib, he (Sir Muhammad Iqbal) met him on the way, and after inquiring whither he was going he also accompanied him. During the conversation that ensued with the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Mian Sir Fazl-i-Husain asked him if he looked upon those who did not believe in him as kafirs, and the Mirza sahib without a moment’s hesitation replied that he did not.
“This fact which Sir Muhammad Iqbal himself related to me last year is a clear evidence that the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement is not responsible for the present Qadiani doctrine.”
2. Maulana Muhammad Ali also reported the following opinion expressed by Iqbal:
“Once a very eminent man, namely Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal, said that one finds [in Islamic history] many people who love the Holy Prophet Muhammad, but the only person who loves the Quran is Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.” (Paigham Sulh, 10 May 1935.)
3. Maulana Yaqub Khan, editor of The Light, gave the following account of a meeting he had with a prominent admirer and friend of Iqbal:
“I spoke to Maulana Sayyid Nazir Niazi. During the conversation he said that he had mentioned my reference (i.e. the incident related by Maulana Muhammad Ali in Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s Statement re. the Qadianis, given above) to Allama Iqbal. The Allama said that he had undoubtedly heard Mirza sahib say that he did not consider those who do not believe in him as being kafir. He [Iqbal] was prepared to testify to this before a gathering of thousands of people. The Allama also said that his statement published in the press related to the present controversy going on between the Qadiani Jama'at and the general Muslims. It was not directed against the Lahore Jama'at, nor did it comment on the beliefs of Mirza sahib. “Before this, our honoured friend Raja Hasan Akhtar had also told me that he had spoken to Allama Iqbal, and the Allama had said to him that his statement was not related to the Lahore Jama'at nor to the person of Mirza sahib. He had before him the picture of Ahmadiyyat being presented to the world today in the form of Qadianism.”(Paigham Sulh, 19 November 1935)
Dr. Iqbal lived for more than two and a half years after the publication of these testimonies, and he read them. But he did not contradict them, nor did his followers ever do so, even though they lived on for a further thirty years or so.
Further views expressed by Iqbal in this period.
1. Iqbal was reported as having said:
“So far as I have understood the objective of this movement, the belief of the Ahmadis is that Jesus died like any other human mortal, and that the return of the Messiah refers to the coming of a man who bears a spiritual resemblance to him. This belief gives this movement a rationalist colouring.” (Newspaper Mujahid, 13 February 1935. Khutbat Madras)
2. When Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote his book The Religion of Islam, Dr. Iqbal expressed the following view on it in a letter dated 6th February 1936:
“Thank you so much for your kind present to me of your new book The Religion of Islam. I very much appreciate the gift. I have glanced through parts of it, and find it an extremely useful work, almost indispensable to the students of Islam. You have already written a number of books; one cannot but admire your energy and power of sustained work.”
3. Sayyid Nazir Niazi published a compilation of the daily conversations of Iqbal which took place in his presence. For the date 17 March 1938, shortly before the death of Iqbal, it is recorded:
“The Allama said: On the subject of prayer Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan and Mirza sahib went to opposite extremes. … Sir Sayyid held the view that one did not gain anything from prayer except inner consolation. On the opposite side was Mirza sahib who said that everything is possible by means of prayer: you keep on praying, and what you want to happen shall come about. … Mirza sahib went to an extreme. He prayed about every matter, and he received requests for prayer on every matter. So much so that, besides other things such as propagation of Islam, debates with other religions, insistence on the truth of Islam, this was another factor which attracted the hearts towards Mirza sahib. In any case, prayer is a part of faith.”(Iqbal kay huzur nashistain aur goftaguain, vol 1, p. 360.)
It is undoubtedly true that the Imam of the age, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, considered prayer to be the chief means of establishing a closer connection with God. His followers also believe that only through prayer can any end be achieved. Prayer is one of the questions on which Hazrat Mirza has revived the original teachings of Islam, as he did in case of numerous other questions. What Allama Iqbal has said is entirely true.
Iqbal’s opposition was against Qadiani doctrines.
Iqbal’s statements against the Ahmadiyya Movement near the end of his life were prompted by a conflict between the Qadiani Jama'at and the Ahrar movement, known as the Ahrari-Qadiani controversy, which raged during the 1930s. Sayyid Nazir Niazi, an admirer of Iqbal who has been quoted earlier, wrote in an article about the last illness of Iqbal:
“The views which the Allama expressed from time to time as a result of the Qadiani-Ahrari controversy now meant that he had to publish a detailed statement about the whole affair.”(Iqbal, new edition. Magazine Urdu, ‘Iqbal’ Number, October 1938. Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu, Hyderabad Deccan, p. 312.)
Despite such intense opposition, when Iqbal’s attention was drawn to his speech in 1910 (in which he had described the Ahmadiyya Jama'at as a “true model of Islamic life”), the answer he gave is worth pondering over. He replied:
“I regret that I do not have that speech, neither the original English version nor its Urdu translation which was done by Maulana Zafar Ali Khan. As far as I remember I made that speech in 1911 or earlier, and I have no hesitation in admitting that a quarter of a century ago I expected good results to flow from this movement.… However, the true spirit of a religious movement is not revealed in a day, but takes years to be manifested properly. The mutual controversies between the two parties within the movement show that even those people who had personal connections with the founder did not know the direction the movement would take in the future. Personally, I became disillusioned with this movement when a new prophethood was claimed, a prophethood superior even to the prophethood of the Founder of Islam, and all Muslims were declared as kafir. Later my disillusionment developed to the stage of open opposition.”(Harf-i Iqbal, pp. 122 – 123.)
This statement exonerates Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad because he died in 1908. In fact, it is directed against those who ascribe a prophethood to Hazrat Mirza superior to the prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Dr. Iqbal’s statement in his speech in 1910 at the Aligarh College, in favour of the Ahmadiyya Movement, was made two years after Hazrat Mirza’s death, and the split in the Movement on the issue of declaring Muslims as kafir took place in 1914, six years after his death. All these erroneous doctrines were coined by the khalifa of Qadian, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, after the death of Hazrat Mirza, and had not the least connection with his beliefs. On the contrary, Hazrat Mirza battled against such doctrines throughout his life.
It will have become clear to the readers from the various statements of Iqbal quoted above that, before Mirza Mahmud Ahmad declared other Muslims as kafir, the Allama held highly favourable views about the Ahmadiyya Movement and its Founder, and was deeply influenced by them. But cursed be political wrangles! A man even of Iqbal’s stature was so carried away by the Ahrari controversy as to be prepared to make statements denouncing the Ahmadiyya Movement and its Founder. On the other hand, it is not only proved from his extract quoted above, but all knowledgeable persons are also aware, that Dr. Iqbal began to be disillusioned with the Ahmadiyya Jama'at in 1914 when Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din died and Mirza Mahmud Ahmad ascribed a claim of prophethood to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, declaring that those who had not entered into his bai‘at were k r and outside the fold of Islam, thus dividing the Movement into two.
Previously, Allama Sir Muhammad Iqbal was not only an admirer of Hazrat Mirza and the Ahmadiyya Movement, but like his elder brother Shaikh Ata Muhammad he had formally taken the bai‘at. With all this evidence, every fair-minded, God-fearing person can see that, until the Ahmadiyya Jama'at split on the issue of calling Muslims as kafir, the Allama did not oppose the Movement. Moreover, no one can deny that despite his later intense opposition, he never severed his friendship and personal ties with the prominent members of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam Lahore. Indeed, on the occasions he made statements against the Ahmadis he also made it clear that his criticism was not directed against Hazrat Mirza or the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama'at.
The views he expressed about the leaders of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama'at in the last years of his life are instructive for those who think. He wrote the following words:
“As to the Ahmadiyya Movement, there are many members of the Lahore Jama'at whom I consider to be Muslims who have a sense of honour, and I sympathise with their efforts to propa gate Islam. … But indeed, the passion for the propagation of Islam that is to be found in most members of this Jama'at is worthy of praise.”
All lovers of Iqbal, who celebrate ‘Iqbal Day’ every year, should ponder over these words. While he considered that most members of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama'at were “Muslims who have a sense of honour,” possessing a “passion for the propagation of Islam,” with whom he “sympathised,” his admirers condemn this Jama'at. Can this be called love for this great man?
Iqbal's religious views derived from Ahmadiyya Thought
Views in prose.
Influence of Ahmadiyya views on Iqbal's poetry.
Views in prose.
Iqbal wrote as follows:
“Arab sufism dominates the hearts and minds of the Muslims of India. They are unable to understand Arab concepts. I am an ordinary man, but even if the Holy Prophet Muhammad himself were to be born again to preach Islam in this country I am sure that the people of this land, in view of their present conditions and the influences upon them, would probably not understand Islamic truths.”(Makatib Iqbal, Letters of Iqbal, Letter to Niyaz-ud-Din Khan, p. 53.)
“I believe that the Holy Prophet Muhammad is alive, and the people of these times can derive spiritual benefit from him just as did his Sahaba (Companions). But in this age even the expression of a belief of this kind would be unacceptable to most minds, so I keep quiet.”(ibid., Part II, p. 317.)
“By life is not meant life with the physical body. Hazrat Abu Bakr recited the verse of the Quran: ‘Messengers before him have passed away’, and this is the truth.”(ibid., p. 40.)
The view expressed by Iqbal in this quotation supports the Ahmadiyya interpretation that Jesus is not alive in his physical body, and that he had died before the Holy Prophet Muhammad just as all other prophets were dead at that time.
“Would that the prayer of Maulana Nizami be accepted in this age, and the Holy Prophet Muhammad re-appear to unveil his teachings to the Muslims of India.”(ibid., Part I, p. 41.)
Indeed, not only Maulana Nizami’s prayer but the prayers also of countless other people were accepted, and a servant, lover, spiritual image (buruz) and self-effaced follower of the Holy Prophet came and unveiled before the world the original picture of the religion of the Holy Prophet and the true teachings of Islam. But the world meted out to him the same treatment which it does to all those who come from God.
“To understand religious issues, especially the religious teachings of Islam, requires a particular kind of education. Regrettably, the new generation of the Muslims is entirely unfamiliar with this. With regard to Muslims, the cause of this trouble is that education became completely non-religious.”(ibid., Part I, p. 259.)
“The critic is wrong in saying that Iqbal supports war in this progressive age. I do not support war, nor can any Muslim do so in view of the clear limits set by the Shariah. According to the teaching of the Quran, there can only be two forms of jihad or war: defensive and corrective. In the first case, that is, when Muslims are persecuted and driven out of their homes, they are allowed, not ordered, to take up the sword.
“The second case, in which jihad is obligatory, is given in 9:49 [in the Holy Quran]. Reading those verses carefully you will realize that what was referred to by Sir Samuel Hoare as "collective security" at the meeting of the League of Nations, the Quran has explained the principle of the same with simplicity and eloquence. If Muslim leaders and statesmen had pondered over the Quran, a League of Nations would have been established in the Islamic world centuries ago. The history of the League of Nations founded in the present day also shows that until the will of nations follows the Divine law, no path to world peace can be found. Besides the two kinds of war mentioned above, I know of no other war. To wage war to satisfy territorial greed is prohibited in Islam. By this reasoning, it is also forbidden to raise the sword for the propagation of the faith.”(ibid., Part I, pp. 203 – 204, letter to Maulvi Zafar Ahmad Siddiqi.)
“I believe that the task of the propagation of Islam has priority over all other duties at this time. If the aim of the Muslims in India is merely to achieve independence and economic prosperity by political means, and the defence of Islam is not among their aims, as appears to be the case from the attitude of the nationalists of today, then the Muslims shall never succeed in their aims. I say this from personal insight, and after a little experience of current politics, that so far as the Muslims are concerned the direction of politics in India is a great danger for the religion of Islam. In my view, the threat of the shuddi movement [A campaign by the militant Arya Samaj Hindu sect to convert Muslims back to their ancestral Hindu religion] is of no importance when compared to this danger, or at least this too is an unperceived form of shuddi.”(ibid., pp. 209 – 210.)
Influence of Ahmadiyya views on Iqbal’s poetry.
Regarding the continuation of revelation from God, Iqbal wrote in poetic verse:
“If some audacious person were to be the like of Moses, even now there comes from behind the bush at Tur the call ‘fear not’, [Translator: These words were the revelation of Moses.]
“Until the Book is revealed to your conscience, the knots cannot be unravelled by either Razi or the author of Kashshaf, [Translator: These are two classical commentators of the Quran.]
“I am in communication with Gabriel, the Amin, there is no rival, messenger or doorman for me in this path.
“O God, the meanings which You reveal to my soul like dew, through them I have created a new world for wailing and crying.
“If a Shuaib could be procured, it only takes two steps from tending sheep to receiving Divine revelation.” [Translator: The reference is to Moses’ stay with Shuaib, during which he tended sheep, and to his receiving revelation while returning home after that stay.]
Iqbal and his admirers and students consider it permissible to use the terms nabi (prophet), paighambar (messenger), juzwi nubuwwat (partial prophethood) etc., about non-prophets. Iqbal wrote:
“I am, as it were, prophet (nabi) of the land of poetry, on my lips runs the word of Hali.
“If the aim of poetry be to lead mankind, then poetry is the heir to prophethood.”
A biographer of Iqbal writes:
“Wherever I have used the word mujaddid and likewise the word paighambar for the Allama, I have not meant them in their technical sense in the Shariah but have used them in their literal sense.”(Maulvi Muhammad Tahir Faruqui, Sirat-i Iqbal, p. 210.)
Dr. Khalifa Abdul Hakim, an interpreter and admirer of Iqbal, and famous Pakistani religious writer and philosopher, writes in a poem in praise of Iqbal:
“This is poetry which is called a part of prophethood, this is poetry which is a verse (ayat) coming from the discipleship of the Beneficent God.
“This poetry is in reality reared by Divine revelation, the blessing is highly exclusive but the benefit is very general.
“One whose word is of this kind is called kalim [one spoken to by God], it is full of wisdom, he is called hakim [wise].”
According to Dr. Iqbal, a man is not a believer unless he reaches the rank of laulak.[This term comes from the opening words of a saying contained in Hadith according to which God said to the Holy Prophet: “If it had not been for thee (lau laka), I would not have created the world.”]
“The world is the inheritance only of the fearless believer, he is not a believer who has not reached the stage of laulak.
“The whole world is the heritage of the true believer, the proof of my statement is the subtle point of laulak.”
Iqbal has spoken of a believer as being Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. Some of his verses are quoted below, followed by an explanation by one of Iqbal’s interpreters:
“No one knows the secret that the believer, apparently only reciting the Quran, is in reality the Quran.
“The world is a house of idols, and the man of truth is khalil, this is the idea which lies concealed in la ilaha.[The reference in khalil is to Abraham who smashed the idols of his people.]
“The true believer strikes like lightening from the sky, his fuel is the cities and uninhabited areas of east and west.
“We are as yet enveloped in the darkness of creation, but he takes part in running the world.
“He is kalim [Moses], and Masih [Messiah], and khalil [Abraham],he is Muhammad, he is the Book, he is Gabriel.”
An interpreter of Iqbal, Professor Yusuf Salim Chishti, explains these verses as follows:
“It should be made clear that in the 8th, 9th and 10th stanzas the advice Iqbal has given to young people can be summed up as follows: O young people, acquire the quality of faqr [resigna tion to God]. However, this quality cannot be created without the company of a spiritual guide, as is proved by the lives of the Sahaba. So he is describing the attributes of the perfect spiritual guide: O reader! the appearance of the man of truth, the perfect man, takes place according to the Divine will. He comes from heaven. When God so wishes, He raises for the reformation of His creatures a righteous servant in whom the attributes of the Holy Prophet Muhammad are reflected as an image. That man of God, the perfect mentor, annihilates the forces of falsehood. His characteristics [according to Iqbal in the above verses] are as follows:
“a. While people like us are merely conjecturing in the dark about the creation, i.e. we are bound by time and space, and are the subservient creation, he is involved in the organization and running of the system of creation. That is to say, he is the ruler of creation. It should be made clear that by ‘one who takes part in the running of creation’ Iqbal means the man with whom are associated matters relating to creation, just as with prophets are associated matters relating to religious law. Hence Sura Kahf refers to such an exalted person in the words ‘a servant from among Our servants’ [ch. 18, v. 65].
“b. He is the heir to the spiritual qualities of Moses, Jesus, Abraham and Muhammad, peace be upon them all. In him is manifested the image of the attributes of the prophets. He is potentially a prophet, but not actually a prophet because prophethood has come to an end. This point has been explained by Mujaddid Alif Sani in his Maktubat.
“c. All the holy men of God derive spiritual benefit from his person.
“d. He first of all purifies the souls of human beings and kindles the fire of Divine love in their hearts. Then he shows them how to rule the world.”(Yusuf Salim Chishti, Sharh Jawaid Nama, Ishrat Publishing House, Anarkali, Lahore, 1956, pp. 1198 –1199.)
Regarding the mi‘raj of the Holy Prophet, commonly believed to be a physical rising to God, Dr. Iqbal writes:
“You have put Him on the 'arsh, O preacher, what a God is He Who avoids the people.”
As to the coming of the Mahdi and the Messiah, he writes:
“Look to the descent of God upon the minaret of your own heart, and stop waiting even for the Mahdi and Jesus.
“Did Jesus die or is he still alive? Are the Divine attributes distinct from God’s person or identical with His person?
“By the one to come, is it meant the original Jesus or a Mujaddid possessing the attributes of the son of Mary?
“Are not enough for Muslims in this age, these idols carved out by theology?”(Armaghan-i Hijaz.)
Praises British rulers of India
Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal wrote poems in praise and adulation of the British rulers of India. It is widely alleged against Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad that, as he expressed his loyalty to the British rule of India in his writings, this implies that he was an agent and tool of British imperialism. But the fact is that such expressions of loyalty were commonplace by almost all Muslim political, religious and intellectual leaders in India, including those like Dr. Iqbal who are revered as the greatest heros of the Muslim people.
Upon the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, Dr. Iqbal penned an epicedium of ten pages, entitled ‘Tears of Blood’, from which we give a few verses below. The Queen died on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, and Iqbal wrote:
“Happiness came, but grief came along with it, Yesterday was Eid, but today came muharram [month of the year associated with the deepest mourning for Muslims]
“Easier than the grief and mourning of this day, Would be the coming of the morn of the day of judgment.
“Ah! the Queen of the realm of the heart has passed away, My scarred heart has become a house of mourning.
“O India, thy lover has passed away, She who sighed at thy troubles has passed away.
“O India, the protective shadow of God has been lifted from above you, She who sympathised with your inhabitants has gone.
“Victoria is not dead as her good name remains, this is the life to whomever God gives it.
“May the deceased receive abundant heavenly reward, and may we show goodly patience.”
(Baqiyyat-i Iqbal, poem runs over pages 71– 90. Translator’s Note: I have only translated here some of the verses quoted by Hafiz Sher Mohammad in his original Urdu work.)
In December 1911, on the occasion of the coronation of King George V, Iqbal wrote and read out a poem entitled ‘Our King’:
“It is the height of our good fortune, That our King is crowned today.
“By his life our peoples have honour, By his name our respect is established.
“With him have the Indians made a bond of loyalty, On the dust of his footsteps are our hearts sacrifced.”
(ibid., p. 206.)
During the First World War, Iqbal wrote a poem at the request of Sir Michael O’Dwyer, Governor of the Punjab, in response to an appeal from the King. This was read out in 1918. In it, addressing the King of England, Iqbal says:
“If there is freedom of speech and writing here, if there is peace between the Temple and the Mosque here,
“If there is an organised system of business of the various peoples here, if there is strength in the dagger and life in the sword here,
“Whatever there is, it has been granted by you, O honoured one, this land is alive only because of your existence.
“I am the tree of loyalty, love is my fruit, a just witness to this statement are my actions.
“Sincerity is selfless, so is truth selfless, so is service, and so is devotion selfless,
“Pledge, loyalty and love are also selfless, and devotion to the royal throne is also selfless,
“But being human the thought which arises naturally is, that your favours are manifest upon India.”
(Translator’s Note: Again, I have only translated here some of the verses quoted by Hafiz Sher Mohammad in his original Urdu work.)
This was published in the paper Akhbar-i Haq, the magazine Zamana of Kanpur, and the book Hindustan aur Jang 'Alamgir (‘India and the World War’) by L. Ralya Ram. It was then published in Baqiyyat-i Iqbal, on pages 216 to 219. It was first read out by Dr. Iqbal himself at the Punjab University Hall, Lahore.
Not only in poetry, but in prose also Dr. Iqbal praised the British nation. For example, he writes:
“Many among us, including myself, believe that England at this time possesses the capability of leading the whole of mankind towards this objective. The thinking of the people of that land, their political understanding based on a deep study of human nature, their unshakeable, serious, resolve, their moral superiority over others in many aspects, their astonishing control over material resources, the existence of many movements among them for the welfare and betterment of human beings, and their discipline in every walk of life — all these are things which no outsider can refrain from admiring.”(Harf-i Iqbal, p. 167, from the year 1930)
At the close of his life, Iqbal perhaps felt regret at having praised British rule. It is recorded by his chronicler:
“The Allama said: ‘Ghalib was indeed a very great poet, but to write poetry in praise of the British government merely to get an increase in the stipend is to be greatly regretted. This tendency of Ghalib pains one considerably.’
“He then said: ‘Slavery is a great curse. It causes one to say things, deliberately as well as unintentionally, which one does not want to.’
“The Allama was perhaps regretting that he himself had composed verses of poetry in praise of the British government. Whether this was under compulsion, or due to helplessness, whatever the reason, it should not have happened. Perhaps with this thought in mind, the Allama became silent. We too were silent.”
(Iqbal kay huzur nashistain aur goftaguain, vol. 1, p. 27, 6 March 1938)
Iqbal on 'Who is a Muslim?'
"Once, under the influence of some spiritual urge, the Holy Prophet Muhammad told one of his companions: ‘Go and tell people that whoever in his life even once says with his tongue, there is no god but Allah, he should know that he shall enter paradise.’ The Holy Prophet purposely omitted the second constituent of the Kalima, i.e. Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, without professing which a person cannot be a Muslim, and he considered just the confession of the Unity of God to be sufficient.”(Khilafat Islamiyya, Lahore, 1923, pp. 9 –10)
At the end, I quote an extract from the statement of Iqbal which is regarded as his greatest attack upon the Ahmadiyya Movement. It is as follows:
“Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru thinks that Turkey has ceased to be a Muslim country. He does not seem to realize that the question whether a person or a community has ceased to be a member of Islam is, from the Muslim point of view, a purely legal question and must be decided in view of the structural principles of Islam. As long as a person is loyal to the two basic principles of Islam, i.e., the Unity of God and Finality of the Holy Prophet, not even the strictest mulla can turn him outside the pale of Islam even though his interpretations of the law or of the text of the Quran are believed to be erroneous.”
[Translator’s Note:The words “ceased to be a Muslim country” refer to the changes then being introduced in Turkey by Kemal Atatürk, who was replacing the traditional institutions of Islamic origin by those based on Western practices. Iqbal argues here that Turkey remains Muslim despite rejecting many Islamic practices because of its continued allegiance to the Kalima of Islam.]
The extract above is quoted from Iqbal’s original English tract entitled Finality of the Prophethood: Reply to Questions raised by Pandit J. L. Nehru.
The belief of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and the members of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama'at is exactly that which, according to Dr. Iqbal’s view given above, makes one a Muslim who cannot be turned outside the pale of Islam by any religious leader. As Hazrat Mirza writes:
“I believe in the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, as being the Khatam an-nabiyyin, and I know with perfect certainty and firmly believe that our Holy Prophet is the Khatam al-anbiya, and after him no prophet shall come for this Umma, neither new nor old.” (Nishan Asmani, p. 28)
“In confronting the present Ulama, this humble servant has … sworn many times by God that I am not a claimant to any prophethood. But these people still do not desist from declaring me as kafir.” (Letter to Maulvi Ahmad-ullah of Amritsar, Al-Hakam, 27 January 1904)
“Allah is that Being Who is Rabb-ul-'alamin, Rahman and Rahim, Who created the earth and the heaven in six days, made Adam, sent messengers, sent scriptures, and last of all made Muhammad mustafa, who is the Khatam al-anbiya and the best of messengers.” (Haqiqat al-Wahy, p. 141)
“If all the Books of Almighty God are looked into carefully, it will be found that all the prophets have been teaching this: ‘Believe God to be one, without partner, and also believe in our messengership.’ This is why the entire Umma was taught the gist of Islamic teachings in these two phrases: There is no god except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” (Haqiqat al-Wahy, p. 111)