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Friday, 14 January 2011

Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah’s fight against Qadianism

The background to Hazrat’s entry into the struggle against Qadianism is that during his visit to the Hijaz for Hajj in 1890 AD (1307 A.H.), the chaste atmosphere of the Holy Land had touched him so deeply that he had thought of permanently settling down there. However, Haji Imdad-ullah Muhajir of Makkah had advised him to return home in the following words:
“In the near future, a dangerous and evil movement is likely to raise its head in India, and you are destined to play a key role in combating it. Even if you do nothing actively against this movement, your mere presence in the country would help shield the country’s ulama against its pernicious effects”. The truth of these words was proved barely a year later, i.e., in 1891, when Mirza of Qadian announced his (initial) claim to be the Promised Massiah (Jesus Christ) - an announcement that was to culminate about ten years later in his claim to be a full-fledged prophet of God in his own right.
Two spiritual visions experienced by Hazrat around this time also deserve a mention in this context. According to one of these, quoted in Malfuzat-e-Mihriya, the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) had appeared to Hazrat (R.A) in a dream and had commanded him to effectively refute Mirza of Qadian, who was “tearing to pieces his (i.e., the Prophet’s) ahadith through distortion and misinterpretation”. 
According to the other vision, which is described in a manuscript in Hazrat’s own handwriting discovered later in his personal papers, and which occurred when Mirza challenged Hazrat to an open debate in 1900A.D, Hazrat had seen himself seated in a most respectful posture before the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) in his prayer cell, in the manner of a disciple sitting before his Shaikh (spiritual guide), while Mirza of Qadian was sitting a good distance away with his back turned to the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). 
Hazrat construed this as a clear indication of Mirza’s defiance of the Prophet’s teachings, and this prompted him to accept Mirza’s challenge for a debate in Lahore. In Hazrat’s celebrated book Saif-e-Chishtiyai (The Chishtia Sword), which Hazrat wrote later in refutation of Qadianism, he has also described a dream which he had seen in his youth, and according to which he had successfully repulsed a sword attack by the one-eyed Dajjal (Antichrist) in three consecutive thrusts. This dream, too, he interpreted as symbolically forecasting his victorious fight against the heretical Qadyani creed later in his life.
Qadyani request to Hazrat (R.A) for support and Hazrat’s response
Hazrat’s first direct contact with the Qadyani movement occurred when Maulvi Abdul Karim of Sialkot, one of Mirza’s followers, sent to Hazrat a copy of Mirza’s published letter of invitation in which he had claimed to be the Promised Messiah and had been assigned by God with the task of reviving the din and working for the ascendancy of Islam. The letter requested Hazrat’s support in this task. In reply, Hazrat wrote that he did not accept Mirza as the “Promised Messiah”, and advised him to continue to confine his activities to the holding of debates with non-Muslims and the propagation of Islam as before, instead of making such odd claims.
Mirza’s challenge to the Mashaikh (spiritual leaders)
Recognizing the powerful influence which the mashaikh wielded on the minds of the Muslims of India in general, Mirza made every possible effort to enlist the backing of some of them for furthering his mission. However, these efforts met with no success whatsoever. In frustration, therefore, he threw out an open challenge to the entire Mashaikh community in the following words in his Ayyam-us-Sulh:
“There is no one under the sun at present who could claim to be my equal. I say to the Muslims openly and without fear: Let all those who lay loud claims to be muhaddith (master of Hadith) and mufassir (commentators of the Quran), who profess to know God, and call themselves Chishti, Naqshbandi, Suharwardi and what not, come before me (if they dare)”.
Hazrat’s book "Shams-ul-Hidayah"
Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah Sahib wrote a book titled “ Shams-ul-Hidayah Fi Isbat-e-Hayatul Masih” in 1899. In this book written in the form of questions and answers on the various relevant issued, Hazrat confirmed as unanimous the Muslim belief concerning the raising alive of Jesus Christ to Heaven, in both body and spirit, and his expected future descent in physical person to earth some time before the Day of Judgment. He did so with powerful arguments based on Quran and authentic ahadith. He showed the Qadyani beliefs regarding the “ death “ of Christ on the Cross, and coming of the Masil as the promised messiah (in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad), to be utterly false. In reply to Mirza’s challenge to the country’s mashaikh reproduced above, Hazrat invited him to first explain him the real meanings of the Kalma (Translation: There is No God but Allah, and Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) is Allah’s Messenger) before his challenge would be accepted.
Commotion in Qadian
The strength of Hazrat’s arguments in Shamsul Hidayah, written in scholarly style and language, can be fully appreciated only by the truly learned reader. The book was, therefore acclaimed by ulama of all schools of thought. Among other, Maulvi Abdul Jabbar Ghaznavi, a leading scholar of the Ahl-e-Hadith school, expressed his appreciation in a personal letter addressed to Hazrat. Understandably, the book caused a stir in Qadian, where the preparation of replies to the various points raised in it was taken immediately in hand. In the reply of the above mentioned book, Hazrat Pir Meher Ali Shah Sahib was then asked a dozen counter-questions by Hakim Nurrudin, Mirza’s closest and most trusted associate of his own which were totally unrelated to the main point at issue, viz., the “death” and “life” of Jesus Christ, such as Wahdat-ul-Wajood, Awlia (saints), ilham, Kashf, correctness of ahadith etc.
All the questions were answered in detail with the related Hadith and Quranic verses. At the end of his reply, Hazrat posed just one counter question to Hakim Nurrudin, asking him to explain “the reality of miracles”. This question was, however, never answered.
The aforesaid correspondence was published in the form of a leaflet by Maulana Muhammad Ghazi, senior teacher in the madressah at Golra Sharif, and distributed to ulama in different parts of the country. All ulama paid glowing tributes (both written and oral) to the force of Hazrat’s arguments and the deep learning which they exhibited. The publication of the leaflet led to a widespread demand for Mirza to reply to the questions listed in Hazrat’s Shamsul Hidayah.

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