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Editors: Shahid Aziz Mustaq Ali Contents: The Call of the Messiah The Names of World Religions by Hazrat Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi ing them unbelievers and infidels. Thousands of truthful persons have suffered sorely at their cruel hands, and not only have they been contemptuously labelled kafirs, but no effort has been spared even to bring about their death or disgrace, with the result that now our time has come and it is our turn. In the thirteenth century [of the Muslim era] these same people went about from place to place preaching that, in the fourteenth century, Imam Mahdi or the Promised Messiah, or at least a great mujaddid would make his appearance and yet when that Mujaddid made his appearance at the head of the fourteenth century, and not only did the word of God confer on him the title of the Promised Messiah, but the evils and abominations of the age, too, gave the same decree that he should be named the Promised Messiah, he was, sadly, accused of falsehood and cruelly persecuted, and the utmost effort was exerted in the way of devious and devilish plots to encompass his death or disgrace; and if it had not
ن ْحالرَّ ْ ی م حم ْ ْس م ْ ٰ ِباہللْالرَّ م
Call of the Messiah
by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi The Promised Messiah
In Islam, too, people imbued with Jewish habits and qualities have also adopted this course and, persisting obstinately in their misunderstanding and error, have in every age persecuted and oppressed the holy men of God. Just see how, turning their back upon and forsaking Imam Hussain (God be pleased with him), thousands of ignorant people went over to Yazid, joining forces with him, and tormented the innocent Imam by their deeds and their words, and did not rest until they had finally encompassed his death. In the same way, they have always molested and maltreated the Imams, the righteous persons and the mujaddids (inspired reformers) of this ummah, call-
been for the rule of the British Empire in this land of India they would have torn him apart and finished him off a long time ago. then it is also true that the Mujaddid of the fourteenth century will have been properly equipped to deal a deadly blow to the evil of the Cross, for it is this evil that has had such a dangerous effect upon millions of human minds, and it is this same evil that should be called the greatest of all the evils of the present age. Now when it has been established and proved that the mission of the Mujaddid of the fourteenth century is to smash the abomination of the Cross and repel the attacks of its upholders the question naturally arises, “What should be the name of the mujaddid whose duty it is to break into pieces the religion of the Cross, to guide us to the path of real deliverance and to scatter to the winds the false doctrine of salvation by the Cross? Is it not true that the appellation Promised Messiah has been conferred upon this Mujaddid by the Holy Prophet? When it is but obvious from the sad state of affairs of the present age that the name of the Mujaddid of the fourteenth century should be ‘the Promised Messiah’, or in other words, that the Promised Messiah would be the mujaddid of a century in which there is so much noise and uproar about evil of the Cross, why, then shake the head and deny it? At any rate, when the abomination of Cross reached its climax, and we saw with our own eyes that hundreds of thousands of books had been published in support of the doctrine of deliverance through the Cross, pouring falsehood and hatred on the religion of Islam, and that a man stood up at the head of this wicked century, and claimed that he had been raised for weeding out and eradicating these evils, was, then, such a claim out of place and inappropriate? Was it not necessary that, at the time of these dangerous evils, the God Most High, Who would not bear and tolerate indignity for Islam, should establish an
The fourteenth century
Now it was but patently evident that this age was a time of dangerous wickedness in terms of faith and belief and that the beliefs of hundreds of thousands, having been distorted and diverted away from Divine Unity, had turned towards creature-worship, which consisted for the most part – great emphasis having been laid upon it – in this: that in support of the Church doctrine of Atonement so much use was made of pen and tongue that even if you were to rummage through and ransack all the records of human history, you would not be able to find, in any age, such zeal in support of falsehood. Moreover, when the writings of the advocates of the doctrine of Atonement had reached their highest point of scurrilousness and spite, and virulent and aggressive attacks had been launched against the Islamic doctrine of Divine Unity, against the honour, chastity and truthfulness of the Holy Prophet of Arabia and against the status of the Holy Quran as the Word of God, so that the number of books, pamphlets and newspapers containing these vicious attacks had reached the prodigious figure of seventy million, and when all this had come to pass before the end of the 13th century, was it not, then, َ ْ ُ َ necessary َ ُ َ ّ َ َ ْ ّ َ ْfor ّ َ ُ ْ God ُ ّ Most High, who had said َ افظو ن ِ ِانا نحن نزلنا الذکر و ِانا لہ لح, “Surely we have revealed the Reminder, and surely we are its Guardian” (15:9), to set some heavenly process in motion at the head of the fourteenth century in order to resist and repel these unfounded attacks? If it is true that every Mujaddid should come empowered to deal with the evils of his age,
order of His own, and send some heavenly balm for the healing of this wounded and stabbed system? Is it a matter for surprise that the mercy of God Most High demanded that He should, in such a period of dishonour and debility, take care of and protect Islam? Will there be any more dangerous time for which you will keep yourselves waiting? Depriving this fourteenth century of the advent of a Mujaddid, will you be looking for some other unknown century? Is it the way of God-fearing and piety that, notwithstanding the fact that fourteen years have also passed from this century, and the evils of the Cross have entrenched themselves strongly, you should cling to the view that the man who was to come has not come as yet, and the unfortunate fourteenth century has remained devoid of even an ordinary Mujaddid, and that the one who came was no other than the Antichrist, the Dajjal? Is it faithfulness and honesty to harbour such thoughts that the fourteenth century has passed without a Mujaddid, and the double eclipse of the month of fasting (Ramadan) witnessed not the appearance of the Mahdi, and the time of the evils of the Cross saw not the advent of the Promised Messiah; that is to say, all the three great prophecies of the Holy Prophet (peace and the blessings of God be upon him) turned out to be false (God forbid)? Islam, the name should be the same as well. Undoubtedly, the religion brought by the Holy Prophet Muhammad is the whole and perfect Islam, yet the religions before it must be components and parts of this whole. The verses quoted above are conclusive, and in the Quran the religion of every prophet and his followers is called Islam. Even the religion of the disciples of Jesus is described in their own words as: “And bear witness (O Lord) that we are Muslims.” (5:111) Muslims accept this fact which has been explained by the Holy Quran. But are other religions of the world prepared to accept it? It would be an act of coercion if we force them to acknowledge this fact, unless we can make them admit it on the basis of their own religions. In that case, their own faith and sense will be the compelling factor. They will have no choice but to accept the verdict of the creed and faith which they believe to be from God.
Correction of a mistaken idea about names
Shakespeare has written: “What’s in a name?; that which we call a rose “By any other name would smell as sweet”. It is also said that if a good name is given to a bad thing, it would still remain bad. Nonetheless, a good name does go some way to show the goodness of a thing. A good name is regarded with approval and a bad one with disapproval. Sometimes a good name is bought for millions, and one having a bad name suffers more than one who is actually bad. It is a fact that no religion other than that of the followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad is known as Muslim. The ancient religion of India is Hindu dharma; the Iranian is called Zoroastrian or Parsee; the predominant religion of China and
The Names of World Religions
by Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi
“Surely the religion with Allah is Islam.” (The Holy Quran, 3:18) “He (God) has named you Muslims.” (22:78) There are countless religions in the world, and accordingly there are countless names of religions. However, if every true religion is of Divine origin, as is the principle laid down by the Holy Quran and
Japan is Buddhism; and a great religion of the world is known as Christianity. Every religion claims that only it is the true religion, and that there is none other whose foundation was laid by God Himself. The reason for this is the difference in the beliefs and concepts of the various religions. The principles of the religions are so different, one from another, that it is almost impossible to consider them as having the same source, even though this may be true. Our discussion here, however, only concerns the names of the religions. existence for a long time. It cannot be the name when the religion came into being, and moreover, this name is not to be found in the Vedas, just as the name Hindu is not found therein. As to the name Arya, it is obvious that it is the name of a nation, not that of a faith. Included among the Arya people are the English, Germans, Dutch, Scandinavians, etc. Most importantly, the term Arya Dharma is nowhere to be found in the Vedas. According to reliable lexicons, Arya means ‘owner’ or ‘master’, or the progeny of an owner or master (see Nirukt). So, even according to its linguistic meaning, Arya cannot be the name of a religion. It can be applied to a ruling nation, indicative of its position, but not to a dharma or religion. If the name Hindu must be given up because it does not occur in the Vedas, the name Arya suffers from the same disadvantage. It is argued, however, that the name Arya is preferable because it refers to a noble, ruling nation. But those who have read the Vedas know that Arya most definitely does not mean righteous, noble and God-fearing, as there are scores of mantras in which the Rishis prayed to be safe from Aryas in the same way as they prayed to be safe from Dasyus, which signifies robbers and malicious men. For example, it says in the Rig Veda: “O brave Indra! kill both the enemies Dasa and Arya, as the wood is chopped with the sharp axe.” (Mandal 6, Sukt 33, Mantra 3) “O You who are praised by many! May the Arya or Dasa who dares us to war be thoroughly crushed by us, may we kill these enemies in war with Your help.” (Mandal 10, Sukt 38, Mantra 3) “O Lord of the brave! may we kill these enemies, Aryas and Dasa.” (Mandal 6, Sukt 6, Mantra 6) Even a little consideration of these mantras shows that the Rishis of the Vedas looked upon the Aryas as their enemies like the Dasa robbers.
The Hindu religion
The religion of India has been known as Hindu. It is claimed that despite being ruled by foreign religions for centuries the Hindu nation, its culture and religion still survive. The question may be asked: “What is Hindu culture and society?” If it is the caste system, the separate dharma and duties for the four castes, the worship of idols, saints and millions of gods, and the making of sacrifices to attain their pleasure, then these beliefs have been receiving great shocks in the past century, and have been rejected by educated Hindus. The question is: “What is the name of this religion?” The Arya Samaj says, and rightly so, that their name Hindu is not found anywhere in the Vedas or the authentic shastras. They say that the word Hindu really means a slave and a thief, and that it is really a term of abuse applied to them by their enemies or the Persians, which has been accepted by them due to a submissive and servile mentality. Swami Dayanand, founder of the Arya Samaj, has furiously condemned the name Hindu, and urged that it should be dropped in favour of the term Arya. In response to this, the traditional Hindus rectified their name by calling themselves Sanatan Dharmi. Now Sanatan means ‘old and ancient’, and it is obvious that this name can only be given to a religion when it has been in
If the meaning of Arya had been ‘noble and righteous men’, how could the Vedas teach prayers for their destruction? In the light of these two facts, firstly, that the Vedas give no name for the religion or dharma of these people, and secondly, that neither of the words Hindu and Arya means good and religious people, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that Hindu was the name of a people living by the river Sindu (Indus), and a certain race was known as Arya. With neither of these names is the word dharma (religion) used in the Vedas. him, and the Hindus are named after their land and country. The followers of Christ The strangest riddle is that of the name given to the followers of Christ. In the first place, the name given to a religion stays the same in any language or country, except for some slight change in one or two letters due to the different rules of various languages. So Hindu, Buddhist, etc., are substantially the same in any language, whether English, Persian, etc. However, the name of the followers of Christ is different in almost every country. There are scores of names such as Christian, Masīḥī, ‘Īsā’ī, Jesuist, Nazarite which they apply to themselves. Their real name is a mystery. The personal name of the Messiah was Yasu‘. The name Christ was added long after the events of the crucifixion. Matthew records that an angel appeared to Joseph, the husband of Mary, saying: “She shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus.” (Matthew, 1:18–21) Luke, however, records that the angel went to Mary, and said to her: “Thou shalt call his name Jesus”. According to Matthew, it is the father who would give the name Jesus to his son, and according to Luke it is the mother who would do so. In any case, it was not God Who gave him this name or ordered that this name be given to him. Even disregarding the conflicting accounts, it is clear that his personal name, as related by the angel, was Jesus. Therefore this faith should have been named after Jesus. But instead, followers of this religion are known by various other names such as Christian. The names Christ and Messiah The word Christ does not belong to the native tongue of Jesus. It is from the Greek word Christos, which is said to be synonymous with
The Jewish religion
It is clear that the basis of the Jewish faith is the law of Moses, but the Jews have been named after Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. Jew is not a divinely-revealed name, but is a family name connected with Jacob, and they are generally called Israelites. No law was revealed to Jacob, and therefore Israelite is a family name, not the name of a faith. So there is no name for this religion which God may have given to it in the Bible or ordered to be used for it.
Buddhism is also a religion, but it does not say anywhere in the teachings of Buddha that his followers should be called Buddhists or that the name of their religion is Buddhism. The reason is that even before the Gautama Buddha there had been many men who were given the name Buddha. These have been mentioned by Buddha himself. If the followers of the previous Buddhas were not called Buddhists, there can be no authority for applying this title to the followers of the Gautama. This too is a fictitious name. So it is a fact, which cannot be denied, that the Israelites are called after Jacob, who was given the name Israel by God, the followers of Buddha are called Buddhists, the adherents of Zoroaster, the prophet of Persia, are named after
Messiah. It is obvious that the followers of Jesus must have referred to the name of their mentor, when necessary. But they could never have been known as Christians after his name because the word Christ was not used during his lifetime. His name was Yushu‘, pronounced in Hebrew and Aramaic as Yoshua. There had been many people before Jesus who bore this name. For instance, the military commander appointed by Moses was given the name Joshua, son of Nun. He was accorded this name because of his conquest of Canaan, meaning liberator, whose wisdom and spiritual strength combined to raise the Israelites from a demoralised slave people to a triumphant and victorious one. Likewise Jesus was given the name Messiah by God. But never could he dare proclaim it because of the intense opposition of the Jews and the weakness of his own followers. So when one of them plucked up the courage to call him the Messiah at a secret gathering, Jesus told him to keep it concealed and hidden. And this happened in the last year of his mission: “Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him; and he asked them: ‘Who do the people say that I am?’ And they answered, ‘John the Baptist; but others say, Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen.’ And he said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ And Peter answered, ‘The Messiah of God.’ But he charged and commanded them to tell this to no one….” (Luke, 19:18–22) It was only Peter who called Jesus the Messiah, about whom Jesus himself said: “Get behind me, Satan, you are a hindrance to me.” (Matthew, 16:23) Considering that Jesus himself feared trouble if he was called the Messiah, and urged that it should be kept a secret, how could it be possible that his followers could be called Masīḥī (followers of the Messiah) during his life? Hence, during his life they called one another brother, believer, chosen one, disciple, friend, poor one, etc. What they were not called was Christian or Masīḥī. God had given him the name Yushu‘, and that was what his parents had named him. He had himself strictly forbidden the title Messiah to be used about him. It says in the Encyclopaedia Biblica: “According to the same (Luke’s) Gospel, he does not himself lay claim to the name Christ till later (9:20), and even then wishes it to be kept secret”, and further that, according to the same author (Acts 11:26), “the name ‘Christian’ did not arise till a considerable time after his death.” It is also acknowledged that the name Christ was proposed at the time when the Christians were mixing with pagan people, and it is most probable that this name originally was applied to Christians by the pagans. It cannot be from the Jews because they are awaiting the Messiah till today. That event is recorded in Acts as follows: “For a whole year, they met with the church, and taught a large company of people; and in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians.” (Acts 11:26) In the translations of the Gospels into eastern languages, the word Christians here has been rendered as Masīḥī. It is a wonder of the scholarship of the translators that they rendered Masīḥī as Christian or rendered Christian as Masīḥī. No proper noun is ever translated into another language. If Christian is a proper noun, why was it translated as Masīḥī? And if the original name is Masīḥī, derived from Messiah, why was it translated as Christian? The incident at Antioch allegedly happened 43 years after Jesus. Even if it did happen, no historian
used this name till 150 CE, so this name is not to be found in the writings of Clement of Rome, Barnabas, Hermas, etc. It is found later in the writings of Justin Martyr, etc. If the decision at Antioch was a collective one, why was it not acted upon till 150 CE, and why did the Christians of the East continue calling themselves nasārā? To sum up, according to the Gospels Jesus kept his claim of Messiahship concealed till his crucifixion, and strictly prohibited this title to be used for him in public. For 43 years after him, it occurred to no one that his followers should have a name. In fact, till 150 CE no writer called this faith and people Christian. The claim about the name Christian being first used in Antioch is a hypothesis, merely on the basis that, as there was now a non-Jewish following of Jesus, they must have been given a name, and that name can only be Christian. Obviously this hypothesis does not amount to certainty, and the fact that Eastern Christians have always called themselves nasārā shows it to be completely mistaken. what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene’.” This reference is utterly wrong. In no book did the prophets say that the coming one will be called a Nazarene. The references to the book of Judges and to 1 Samuel 1:11 which are cited in this respect actually mention people making a vow not to shave the heads of their children. And all John 1:46 says is: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Why Nazareth is given as the home town of Jesus is impossible to answer. The account in Matthew that Joseph, the father of Jesus, went to
Birthplace of Jesus
According to the Gospels, Nazareth of Galilee was the home town of Joseph and Mary. Jesus lived there before his baptism (Matthew, 4:13, 21:11; Mark, 1:9; Luke, 1:26, 2:4, 39, 51 and 4:16; John, 1:46; Acts, 10:38). It is also written that this was why Christians were called nasārā (Nazarites). It is then curious that in this birthplace of Christianity no one became Christian for 300 years, and it remained a purely Jewish town. During the Crusades, its name was used to rouse Christians to fight the Muslims, and it acquired a significance. But it is doubtful whether this is the same Nazareth where Jesus was born, or whether it was another town to the south of the present Nazareth in the valley of mount Kafsia. Was there in fact a town called Nazareth which ever existed? Two references from the Gospels themselves raise doubts about it. Matthew, 2:23 says: “And he [Joseph, along with Mary and Jesus] went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that
live in Nazareth for fear of the king, does not make that place the home town of Jesus. Then there is the point that Joseph and Mary journeyed to Bethlehem from Nazareth in order that Jesus should be born there in accordance with a prophecy of the prophets. This too is wrong because according to Luke (2:1–5) they went there to be recorded in the census. History has shown that this census was held either eight years before the birth of Jesus or six years afterwards. How could they have gone there six years before
the census in order to be recorded in it? Jesus was forbidden. The hatred and opposition was not only against his office and position, but his personal name as well. This is what we learn from the four Gospels, Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles. Sending his disciples to preach his message, he gave the following instructions: “I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake … you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.” (Matthew, 10:16–22; see also 24:9; Mark, 13:13; Luke, 21:12) After Jesus, the oppression of his followers continued. Let alone calling themselves Christians, they could not even take the name of their teacher: “So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.” (Acts, 4:18; see also Acts, 5:40; 2 Corinthians, 11:24–25; 1 Peter, 4:16; Revelation, 2:10–13) In conclusion, the name of the religion of Jesus was neither nasārā, nor Christian, nor yet Masīḥī. Just as the name najarānī was given to this faith contemptuously by its Jewish opponents, similarly Christian was a name proposed by the heathens. As the Encyclopaedia Biblica says: “In fact, it is probable enough that the name came from the heathens themselves in the first instance. With such a view of its origin, Acts 11:26 fits in very well.” (p. 753)
Why are his followers called Christians?
In Christian writings, Jesus is generally referred to as Jesus Christ, as if the name Jesus takes precedence over the name Christ or Messiah. It has been explained earlier that the name given to him by his parents, or by the angel, was only Yushu‘. That name is the basis of the Christian religion. By descent, he belonged to the Jewish race. His parents did not possess wealth and riches or fame. In his youth he worked in his parents’ house as a carpenter (najjār). Thus it appears from Matthew 13:54 that when he went to his native land, people said: “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” In other words, in his home town he was known as the son of Joseph the carpenter. This is borne out by Luke 4:22, but the words of Mark 6:3 are as follows: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” So according to this, Jesus himself was a carpenter. In Hebrew the words naṣar (ṣ being the letter ṣād) and nasar (s being the letter sīn) are synonymous, and the word nāshar means to saw wood. Therefore, by Jesus of Nazareth (Nasāra) is meant Jesus the carpenter (najār). From the Acts we learn that the Jews used to refer to this new religion as najarānī, or the faith of carpenters (Acts, 24:5). The ancient historian Tertullian has also supported this, and written that the Jews used to curse this name three times daily in their prayers. When Jesus grew up, became a teacher, started preaching, and attracted disciples, he faced intense opposition from the people, so much so that his followers were terrified to utter his name. On taking his name, they were beaten and persecuted. Not only could they not call him Messiah, but even taking his own name
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