Preface - Ahmadiya Movement by H A Walter

My primary purpose in undertaking this study of one of the most significant and (outside of India) little-known of modern movements among Muslims was not that of answering from the Christian viewpoint the claim of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be the " promised Messiah " who has come " in the spirit and power " of Jesus Christ. This has been done already in the pamphlets of Dr. H. D. Griswold and Rev. Thakur Dass, mentioned in the bibliography at the close. My first aim has been rather to sketch the history and tenets of the Ahmadiya movement, for the most part as its founder and his disciples have themselves conceived it, and to do it as far as I could in their own language. I have found this to be largely possible, since a survey of the literature of the movement in Arabic and Urdu, made with the help of my friend, Maulvi S. T. Ghaus, has convinced me that nearly everything of essential importance in the development of the cult, from the Ahmadiya viewpoint, is to be found in its English publications, chiefly in The Review of Religions, of which I have read nearly every issue from the beginning. In the footnotes I have explained, for the benefit of the reader not familiar with the orthodox Muslim faith, such words and ideas as are peculiar to Islam, and also allusions to events and personalities pertaining to India or the Muhammadan world in general. The connection of the Ahmadiya movement with the English mission of Khwajah Kamal-ud-Din, a connection not now emphasized by the latter, has been indicated in the sixth chapter because of the special interest which this may have for students of Islam in the West. In the last chapter I have endeavoured briefly to set forth the permanent place and significance of the movement in its relation to the general development in India of Muslim thought and life. I have made no attempt to deal at length with the puzzling subject of Muslim eschatology, in whose mazes Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, like so many other self-designated Mahdis, wandered undismayed. I have here, as elsewhere, endeavoured to introduce only so much of the background of the orthodox faith as seemed necessary to an adequate understanding of the subject of this study.

With regard to the transliteration into English of Urdu and Arabic words, I have, to avoid confusion, taken the liberty in most instances of introducing the uniform system, which I have sought to follow, into the many English quotations from Ahmadiya writings, when there was originally little attempt at accurate transliteration.

I desire to mention the generous assistance of several friends who contributed variously and essentially to the writing and publishing of this book. I refer to Dr. H. D. Griswold, Secretary of the Council of American Presbyterian Missions in India, at whose original suggestion it was undertaken and without the loan of whose extensive library of Ahmadiya literature it could scarcely have been carried out; to Mr. Abdul Rahim, of the editorial department of the Ahmadiya community, who was my friendly host on the occasion of a visit to Qadian and has been my most constant and reliable informant in matters relating to present conditions within the movement ; to Professor D. B. Macdonald, of the Hartford Theological Seminary, who has rendered invaluable assistance, especially in connection with the references to Muslim eschatology; to Professor Siraj-ud-Din, of Lahore, to whom I am indebted for many useful suggestions; and to my brother-in-law, Rev. William Brower Johnson, and my colleagues in the Young Men's Christian Association in India, Messrs. Frank Speer Coan, W. M. Hume, and F. de L. Hyde, for helping forward in various ways the preparation of the manuscript for the press.

Lahore, H A W

Oct. 10th, 1918.
Comments