Padre Imad-ud Din Lahiz wrote his life story in 1866. This English translation of the Urdu publication, Waqicat-i cImadiyya, is based on a text published by the Punjab Religious Book Society, Lahore, in 1957. Later, I came across an obviously older edition from the same publisher. This undated forty-four page text sold for one anna! The content of both editions is the same. Both contain a short, identical Appendix, which, apart from a reference to the death of Imad ud-Din in August, 1900, adds little to the authors account. To the best of my knowledge no other complete translation of this work has appeared in English.
Imad ud-Din was a prolific writer. His works reflect the influence of the two chief contenders of that great debate between Muslims and Christians in Agra in 1854, Mawlawi Rahmat Ullah and Padre C.G. Pfander. In addition to Imad ud-Dins writing about Islam, its history, faith and practices, his translation of the Quran into Urdu and his many Bible commentaries, he responded to the works of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadiyan. Much within some of his writings offers us his reasons in detail for his conversion to Christ.
Through the pages of Waqicat-i cImadiyya Christians are introduced to yet another brother who developed and formulated his Christian theology within an Islamic context. Especially in the Asian sub-continent the Church would do well to pay more attention to the writings of Imad ud-Din and others like him who have been concerned with sharing the Good News with Muslims. Even more so than with their writings, we should become familiar with their persons and the manner of their Christian discipleship. The value of such testimonies is more than purely historical.
To the Muslim reader we wish only to say that we are notor should not beconcerned with merely parading another convert before reluctant Muslim eyes. If parading converts, whatever their circumstances and the nature of their conversion, is our purpose, then there is plenty of them from more recent times; we need not reach back a century ago. Yet surely there is the possibility of learning from any authentic conversion account, be it from any one religion to another. It could be that Imad ud-Dins experience at least might help some Muslims, so ready to dismiss the Bible as a corrupted or abrogated revelation, to re-read the pages of the Bible apart from such prejudices, estimating its value primarily in terms of its actual content. This need is as obvious today as it was then.
For me Waqicat-i cImadiyya serves as another living commentary upon the following parable of Jesus:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. (Holy Injil, Matthew 13:45, 46.)
To God alone be the glory!
The writer became a Christian on April 29, 1866 simply for the sake of attaining salvation. But many people, among them my elders, friends, acquaintances and others, have expressed various ideas of their own about me. There are those who say that Imad ud-Din is merely a fictitious person, a doubt shared by some persons in Peshawar. Others say that I became a Christian for worldly gain. Some orthodox Muslims cannot believe that I have really become a Christian, an opinion expressed by people in Qaroli and elsewhere. Thus, I have deemed it necessary to relate my full story in such a way that all who know me may know that the subject of this account is truly I.
As far as I can ascertain, it is clear that my ancestors resided in the city of Hansi. One of the twelve saints in the city was Shaykh Jamal ud-Din, whose son was Jalal ud-Din, whose son was Shaykh Fath Muhammad, whose son was Mawlana Muhammad Sardar, whose son was Mawlawi Muhammad Fazil, whose son was Mawlawi Muhammad Siraj ud-Din, my father and father of my brothers and sisters. From my elders I have heard that my ancestors held somewhat distinguished positions during the reign of Shah Jehan. During the period of the Marathas also their possessions remained undisturbed. But with the coming of the new administration at the time of my grandfather, all his properties were confiscated, due to his negligence, by the British government. Our family had to depend on teaching for its livelihood.
People consider us to be from Panipat, since my grandfather, Muhammad Fazil, shifted his residence form Hansi to Panipat after he had lost his property. People of noble lineage dwell in Panipat. For generations the Muslims of Panipat have been zealous for the faith of Islam and well-versed in the Law. From olden times the town could claim Muslims who excelled in spiritual leadership and Islamic scholarship. They maintained good libraries containing many Arabic and Persian books. My grandfather decided to shift to Panipat because of Ghulam Muhammad Khan Afghan, whose family members have enjoyed positions of authority since the time of the Mughals and who was a man of great means and an important leader in this city. He befriended my grandfather, greatly honoured him for his learning and helped him in various ways. Thus my grandfather lived in this city in the company of Ghulam Muhammad Khan as an honoured and respected man and as a follower of the Islamic faith. My father, Mawlawi Siraj ud-Din, continues to reside in the same city. He has spent his whole life in worship and in obedience to the Muslim Law, and the children of Ghulam Muhammad Khan Afghan have continued to honour him as a teacher in the same manner. Abdullah Khan Afghan has succeeded his grandfather, Ghulam Muhammad Khan Afghan, and is now the leader of the city. Although his situation has deteriorated, he continues to honour my father.
My father is now an old man, but he observes the times of worship as regularly as ever. His prayer recitations and nightly vigils continue unabated. True, his senses have become dulled. Yet through letters I have conveyed to him the message of the Lord and the Good News of His salvation. He will accept it if he wantsit is up to him. The trouble is that the Muslim spiritual leaders are entangled in a network of ignorance and error. They believe that through Muhammad they know all about the significance of the prophets and the secret of the divine Law. Since they have never read the Injil and Tawrat (they forever talk about the corruption and abrogation of these Holy Scriptures based on claims of Muhammad) and since they never associate with Christians and enquire about the true state of these Scriptures (for generations they have been living in a state of self-deception), they therefore look down on Christians with much disdain and never pay attention to them. Yet it is true that in our country prejudice and ignorance is on the wane to some extent.
We were four brothers in our family. The youngest, Muin ud-Din, died in 1865. The eldest brother, Mawlawi Karim ud-Din, is at present a great author and the pride of our family. He is Deputy Inspector of School in the Lahore Division. He has authored many books in Arabic, Persian and Urdu. Though he is a Muslim, he is beginning to examine things for himself also.
The next brother, Munshi Khayr ud-Din, was at first a visitor in the schools of Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur. At present he is living with my father in Panipat. He is also intelligent and open-minded. If he were to ponder death and prepare for the afterlife, he could find the straight path. But, sad to say, there is no virtuous person to extract him from error. They all deceive and speak lies, and they are with him day and night. May God guide them all!
Next come I, Imad ud-Din. At the age of fifteen I left my people and went to Akbarabad (Agra) to study. There my brother, Mawlawi Karim ud-Din, served as senior Urdu teacher in the Government College. I studied under him for a long period of time. My only object in studying was somehow to find the Lord, for I had heard from Muslim preachers that without knowledge it is impossible to apprehend God. Even during my days as a student, I learned more about religion in the company of the ascetics, the pious and the scholars, as the time permitted. By frequenting the mosques, the monasteries and the homes of the mawlawis, I acquired knowledge of the various Islamic sciences: Jurisprudence, Interpretation, Traditions, Literature, Logic, Philosophy, etc. When I was still a student and knew little about the religious disciplines of Islam, doubts about the truth of Islam began to bother me through my association with several Christians. But the mawlawis and other Muslims rebuked and frightened me so that I quickly abandoned any such thoughts.
Likewise my friend Safdar Ali, at that time a college student and later Deputy Inspector of Schools in Jabalpur, was much distressed on hearing about my doubts. He was a zealous, orthodox Muslim and I can vouch for his honesty, integrity, good conduct and learning. He told me: "You are being led astray. You have still not studied books about Islam. The Christians have misled you. Get rid of such ideas, carefully study books on the religion of Islam and see who is right."
Mawlawi Safdar Ali then took me to Mawlawi Abdul Halim, a great scholar and preacher, who was in the service of the Nawab of Bandi. At the time, I was reading Kitab Hamd-Ullah. Though he could not answer the criticisms which I presented, he recited many Quranic verses for my benefit and revealed his great displeasure also. Both of us left depressed. Then and there, I set aside the idea of comparing the two religions and commenced to expend all my energy in a systematic study day and night, and continued in this manner for some eight to ten years. Since I understood all knowledge to be a means of apprehending the Lord, I considered all the time spent on study as an act of worshipping God.
Thus I acquired a reasonable knowledge of the various Islamic religious disciplines and was filled with zeal for the cause of Islam. Yet still another trap awaits the student of Islam. When one who seeks the truth becomes entangled in this net, he becomes thoroughly deluded and even simply wastes away his life. It is as follows: Muslims at first explain to the enquirer for a long period of time the external aspects of the Law, the formal disciplines of daily life, baseless myths and useless rules for discussion. In order to stifle his progress, they then deceitfully tell him that all he has learned deals only with external laws and esoteric knowledge. If he wishes to enquire after reality and is pleased to acquire a true knowledge of God, he is to go to the Sufi saints and serve them for years. They have that esoteric knowledge which stems from Muhammad and is conveyed secretly from saint to saint. To have this esoteric knowledge is the goal of life.
I also was caught in the same trap. Dr. Wazir Khan, who had come to Akbarabad as the sub-assistant surgeon and who was a bigoted Muslim, considering himself to be among the saints of God, deceived and entrapped me in this affliction. This hidden knowledge is called tasawwuf (Sufism). For the sake of this knowledge Muslim scholars have written books which fill libraries, drawing form the Quran, Hadith, their own intelligence, as well as practices from the Hindu Vedanta, Romans, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and the customs of the monks and other pious people. They do contain some things which are truly spiritual, since the origin of Sufism can be traced back to those Muslim scholars who sought after spiritual reality. Unable to fulfil their longing through the teachings of Islam alone and to satisfy their restless spirits, they assembled these other doctrines from every quarter to pacify their spirits. Had they then read the Injil and the Tawrat, they would have attained to a true knowledge (macrifat) of God through the lives of the former prophets and never remained Muslims. But Muhammad had already taken care of that eventuality: He forbade his people from reading the Tawrat and the Injil. When the Khalifa Umar was reading pages from the Tawrat in the presence of Muhammad, Muhammad was very angry and said: "Is not the Quran enough for you?"1 Muslims today follow the same practice: They do not read the Injil and Tawrat. In fact they revile any Muslim they see with this Holy Book in his hand. It is simply because Muhammad knew very well that whoever reads this Holy Book of God will never appreciate the Quran. Hence he forbade others reading it.2
In short, I also was entrapped in this esoteric science. I chose to speak little, eat little, remain aloof from people, afflict my body and stay awake during the nights. I began to recite the Quran throughout the night. I continuously repeated the qasida about Ghawth (Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani). I recited Chahal Qaf and Hizb ulBahr. I meditated and practised abstinence. I performed dhikr loudly and silently. I sat in seclusion with closed eyes and mentally began to write the word "Allah" on my heart. While at the graves of the saints I meditated, hoping for illumination from their graves. I attended the Sufi assemblies, confidently gazing upon the faces of the Sufis, anticipating a flow of light from their direction. Through their intercession I constantly besought union with God. In addition to the five regular prayers, I performed the night, the early morning and mid-morning prayers. I went on repeating the confession of faith and invoking blessings upon Muhammad. In short, whatever troubles and pain are within the power of man to bear, I have borne them and suffered them in their fullest intensity. But apart from deception nothing came out of it and I never found peace.
While I was engaged in all this, Dr. Wazir Khan and Mawlawi Muhammad Mazhar and other elders selected me to preach on the Quran and Hadith against Padre Pfander at the Royal Jamic Masjid, Akbarabad. I continued to preach for three years, discoursing on the Commentaries, Traditions, etc. But one verse of the Quran kept on pricking me throughout:
Not one of you there is, but he shall go down to it; that for thy Lord is a thing decreed, determined. (19:17)3
That is, every man must enter hell on one occasion. It is incumbent upon God that He cause everyone to enter hell on one occasion and afterwards He forgives whomever He wishes. The significance of this verse sorely perplexes Muslim scholars. They interpret it in various ways. Moreover, there is no Quranic verse to provide the hearts of Muslims with some kind of hope by way intercession. Whenever I thought over this matter, I was thoroughly perplexed. Some indeed say that Muhammad will intercede. But Muslims have no real proof for this fundamental claim, since nowhere in the Quran is it written that Muhammad is their intercessor. True, Jalal ud-Din as-Suyuti has written a treatise on this subject, in which he offers proof for his claim from the Traditions. I did derive some comfort from this work. Yet, I did not realise that these particular traditions were weakly supported and unreliable.
Some say that Muhammad will never be able to intercede. For this they offer convincing proofs from the Quran. But Sunni Muslims do not accept these proofs. The Wahhabis recognise them. Other groups of Muslims have related a variety of other explanations on the topic of intercession, which leave the person who is familiar with them in a state of confusion about this topic.
While immersed in such concerns, I comforted myself through excessive worship. In private I wept and prayed for forgiveness. I often visited the grave of Shah Abul Ala, spending half the night there in seclusion. I fervently presented my petitions at the shrine of Bu Ali Qalandar, the dargah of Nizam ud-Din Awliya and the tombs of many other great men. In accordance with Sufi belief I continually sought union with God through the help of wandering Sufi beggars and madmen. At this time, there arose in my heart the idea of forsaking the world. So I left everything and went into the forest. Wearing saffron coloured clothes I wandered alone on foot as a faqir without any baggage from city to city and village to village for some 2000 kos.4 Though the tenets of Islam never create genuine sincerity within man, despite my carnal purposes I still sought only after God. In this state I entered the city of Qaroli. Here there is a hill under which flows a stream called "Chuledar", where I sat to complete the rite of Hizb ul-Bahr. At the time, I had a book which my spiritual guide had given me and which contained Sufi teachings and instructions on the use of Sufi lectionaries. I treasured this book above all others, so much so that while on my travels I slept during the night with it close at hand, and whenever I felt ill at ease, I clasped it to my breast to pacify my heart. This book I never showed to anyone, for my spiritual guide forbade me, saying: "Tell no one its secret. It contains every eternal bliss." (At present this book lies in a corner of my house, unused and uncared for.) So I took the book, sat by the stream and, following the prescribed conditions, I began to complete the rite of Hizb ul-Bahr.
In brief, the prayers are divided into sections. It is recited for twelve days while wearing a seamless garment, performing ablutions, sitting on the edge of a flowing stream while resting on one thigh and reciting it with a loud voice thirty times daily, eating nothing worldly, abstaining from any salty diet. The only thing allowed is bread, made by ones own hand, from barley flour purchased from ones legitimate earnings. The wood also is to be fetched by oneself from the forest. One should go barefooted with no sandals and also fast and bathe in the river before daybreak. One is to touch no one, not even to talk with anyone except at fixed times. The outcome of this is union with God. Covetous of this, this servant endured these troubles. In addition, while in this state, he wrote the name "Allah" on paper 1,250,000 times. Daily he wrote a portion on paper, even cutting every word individually with a scissors, inserting them in balls of flour and feeding them to the fish in the river. The book prescribed this act also. He did this the whole day long. Half the night he slept. The other half he sat mentally writing the word "Allah" upon his heart, observing it with the eye of his mind.
When I finished this labour, no strength remained in my body. I was pale. I could not remain standing against the violence of the wind. The treasurer, Taj Muhammad, and Fazl Rasul Khan, companions of the Raja of Qaroli, helped me considerably and became my disciples. Many other people from this city became disciples. They gave me large sums of money also and began to honour me greatly. As long as I remained there, I continually preached he Quran in the streets, homes and mosques. Many people repented of their sins and considered me one of Gods saints. A number of people touched my feet. But my spirit found no rest. Through such an experience I felt even a contempt for the shari cah, a feeling that daily increased. From there I travelled another 200 kos and arrived at my home town. I lost interest in the recitation of the lectionaries. During this eight or ten year period the shaykhs, the mawlawis, the faqirs and other pious Muslims whom I met, as well as their conduct, inner thoughts, prejudices, deceptions, ignorance and quarrellings which I saw, convinced me that there is no religion in this world which is true. Many other Muslim scholars also have undergone the same experiences.
Initially, I considered Islam to be the best of all the worlds religions because Mawlawi Rahmat Ullah, Al-i Hasan, Wazir Khan, etc., had presumptuously thought that they had proved Christianity to be a false religion. I too was present when the Muslim scholars held that great debate with Dr. Pfander in Agra and had seen Kitab-i Istifsar, Izalat ul-Awham and cIjaz-i cIsawi, books written by Muslims in refutation of Christianity, and I considered Christianity to be worthless. Even when preaching, I proclaimed to my disciples the defects of this religion. On one occasion, when I was preaching at the Jamic Masjid in Akbarabad, Dr. Henderson, Inspector of Schools in the Meerut Division, and Mr. Fallon5, Inspector of Government Schools, entered the mosque with Mawlawi Karim ud-Din to listen to the sermon. At the time, I was speaking to Muslims about Christianity in a critical manner. Such was my prejudice that I did not restrain myself in the presence of these officers. In brief, I was a strong opponent of Christianity. But with a growing awareness of the state of Muslims, I gradually felt in my heart that all religions are useless. Better to live a life of ease, to do good to all and to know in ones heart that God is one. These absurd ideas possessed me for six years. During this period I put my trust in principles formulated in my mind on the basis of these previous experiences.
When I came to Lahore and the people discovered that I was no longer following the practices of Islam, they began to make allegations against me before the religious leaders. Yet I still considered Islam to be true, though I did not adhere to the shari cah. But now and again, when I thought about death, the time of departure from this world and the Day of the Lords judgement, my spirit was as if it were standing alone, weak, helpless and needy in a place filled with great dread and horror. As a result my heart became so overcome with anguish that my face often grew pale. In this state of restlessness I sometimes departed to be alone and to weep bitterly. On occasions, I told the doctors that I was suffering from some malady which left me so agitated that I was losing control over myself, that at times I thought that perhaps I should commit suicide. I was extremely disturbed and had peace only after crying for sometime. Even the medicines they prescribed did not quieten me. I was an ill-tempered man.
When I went to Lahore, I worked under Mr. Mackintosh, a scholar and a man of virtue, who was headmaster of the Teachers Training School in Lahore. There I heard from Jabalpur that Safdar Ali had become a Christian. I was indeed amazed. For some days I went around speaking ill of Safdar Ali and thinking all sorts of bad ideas about him. At the same time, I often wondered what made this good and upright man forsake Islam. Why had he become so foolish to leave his religion? I resolved to debate the matter with him through correspondence, but to do it in a fair and unprejudiced manner. With this as my purpose I acquired copies of the Tawrat and Injil. I collected cIjaz-i cIsawi, Istifsar, Izalat ul-Awham and other such works used in controversy. I requested Mr. Mackintosh kindly to teach me the Injil and said I would carefully study it. He gladly began to instruct me.
After reading seven chapters of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, doubts about Islam began to assail me. Once more I became so agitated that for days on end I studied books the whole of the day and often throughout the night. I discussed matters with padres and with Muslims. Within a year my study, to which I applied myself day and night, led me to understand that the religion of Islam is not from God, that Muslims are in error and that only Christianity offers salvation.
I explained my conclusion to Muslim scholars who were my friends and followers. Some were angry. Some met me in privacy, listening to all arguments. I asked them either to present better arguments or to accept Christianity with me. They plainly replied: "We know that the religion of Islam is not true. But what are we to do? We fear the abuse of the ignorant. In our hearts we really know that the Messiah is the true One and that Muhammad cannot be the intercessor for sinners. Still, we do not want to lose the respect and honour of men. Like us, do not reveal your faith. Call yourself a Muslim in public and in your heart believe in the Messiah." Others said: "The religion of Christ is correct and in accord with reason, but the doctrines of the Trinity and the Son of God make no sense to us and therefore we cannot accept it." Still others said: "We have not become Christians because we do not like some of the external practices of the Christians."
Thus their words revealed to me the nature of their integrity also! I committed them all into the hands of God, realising there was no way to help them other than by prayer. I went to Amritsar and received baptism from the hand of the Rev. Robert Clark of the CMS. I decided it right to take baptism from him primarily because he was the first of all the padres to write me, when I was in Lahore, telling me the Lords message. His devotion and diligence also pleased me greatly. Later I wrote a book entitled Tahqiq ul-Iman for those Mawlawis who sit contentedly, trusting in Islam. At present I am preparing another book for which there is a great need, beseeching God to help me. If, as I pray, God helps me in its preparation, I am hopeful that it will be a very useful work to His glory. Currently I am residing in Lahore.
Padre Forman and Padre Guru Das have helped me greatly in my understanding of religion. I am benefited by their fellowship while attending their worship services. Padre Newton also has been a great blessing to me. He has helped me to find solutions to many religious problems.
Ever since I have entered into the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, I have had much spiritual satisfaction. The former agitation and restlessness have completely gone. My face is no longer so pallid. No longer do I experience great anxiety of heart. Through the reading of Gods Word I have found great pleasure in life. Little remains of that sickness of fear for death and the grave, and I am wonderfully happy in the Lord. Through His grace I am experiencing spiritual progress. The Lord gives peace of heart.
All my friends, acquaintances, disciples, relatives and others have become enemies. At all times and in various ways everyone wants to afflict me, but knowing Gods comfort, this does not bother me in the least. The more I suffer and am despised for the Lord, the greater the peace, the comfort and joy in my spirit. Of my relatives only my brothers, Malwawi Karim ud-din and Munshi Khayr ud-Din, as well as Muhammad Husayn of Kirana and my father, continue to love me and write me. Apart from them, all my relatives and friends have turned away. I pray that God would have mercy on all of them and open their eyes so that they too may enter into the eternal salvation of our God, through the grace of our Lord Jesus. Amen.
In 1866 I wrote my life story and am now adding this Appendix in 1873. I am extremely grateful to God for the events in my life which have taken place during this seven year period after my conversion to Christianity.
When I was baptized, my wife was very displeased with me. In my pride I was content to be compelled to leave her alone with the children for the sake of Christ. By Gods grace she also acquired some knowledge about Christ and became a Christian. All my five sons and four daughters were baptized, but one son, Hamid ud-Din, went to be with God. The rest are with me in this world as servants of the Messiah.
While in an unconscious state my respected father received baptism, along with the children. However, at the time of his death Muslim relatives claimed him as a Muslim. At that time, he had lost all consciousness and old age had deprived him of his season. But it is my hope that the Most High God, who is gracious and who allowed him to live to hear the Good News, will also save his soul. What of it that Muslims buried him according to their own rites. My brother Mawlawi Karim ud-Din continues as before. He has still not come to the Messiah. Other relatives have died. Indeed, some other friends also have heeded Gods Word and a few have become Christians.
God has granted me a second blessing by relieving me from worldly activity to be a servant of His Word. Though I am unworthy and unable to fulfill what He requires of me, He has blessed me and will care for me until the end.
Thus, to detail this matter briefly, after I became a Christian, I was equally as saddened and even ashamed that I had spent so great a part of my life as a Muslim and had wasted my time apart from God as I was happy in finding the Messiah. Though I have found much comfort in the Parable of the Labourers (Injil, Matthew 20:1-16), I was particularly concerned to spend the rest of my life in the service of Him whom I found, in whom my heart delighted and who captivated my being. I had no idea that I should immediately serve Him as a padre, for what qualification did I have that I should resolve to assume so great a task? No doubt, after baptism I thought much about immediately selecting some special thought from the Holy Bible which above other thoughts would especially engage my attention. What I mean to say is that each and every teaching and guidance of the Bible is a precious pearl. While continually amusing myself with these pearls, I still wanted to select one of them to fashion an amulet around the neck of my spirit which could ever be before me. I read the Bible frequently, absorbed in choosing the proper thought, and finally fastened on the thought recorded in Isaiah and Peter, namely, that the People shall be accounted righteous through knowledge of the Messiah (Tawrat, Isaiah 53:11) and that through the knowledge of the Messiah we have received all things which pertain to life and godliness (Injil, 2 Peter 3:1). Thus I know that the fundamental thing is that I be in pursuit of the knowledge of the Messiah, so that I may find all and all may be easy.
Through this search I have found three things which are helpful in knowing Christ. I have found nothing else. The first is intelligent reading of the Word of God with prayer. The second is to listen attentively to each sermon delivered by any Christian preacher and to derive some benefit from it. The third is to ponder the cry of the petitioners spirit at the time of prayer, because the Spirit which utters "O Father!" speaks such things which man does not comprehend.
I follow after these things in order to attain my goal. Though I worked six hours daily for two years in government service also after my baptism, yet my heart was fixed upon Him who captivated me. Then God opened this new way for me, calling me from government service to work in the mission. He himself disposed of my necessary concerns and even provided me opportunity to devote all my time to this work. Until today, my purpose continues to be the same and at death it will be perfected, for He is my constant support.
I do not say that I have gone on progressing in a knowledge of Himnever! But I am constantly concerned with the knowledge of Him. In short, these seven years have been spent in this joy and I have learnt that He is surely high and exalted. Who can fully comprehend His reality? He is far beyond whatever we may discover of Him.
God has granted me a third blessing, in that He has allowed me within this period to write some books for the benefit of my brothers, other people and myself. They are as follows:
At present I am writing another book which I am hopeful of finishing with Gods help. All of these previous works are products of His grace.
Within this period of seven years several things have affected my life and influenced my faith. These things I can never deny.
In the first place, since becoming a Christian, I have never found this religion to be a source of depression. The joy I experienced at the time of baptism has daily increased. If this religion were not of God but merely an illusion into which I had fallen, then surely within this period of seven years, in which, day and night, I have been objectively pondering its sources and principles, something would have emerged from within it at some point to create that dissatisfaction which I experienced from other religions. On the contrary, I find within it an increasing source of satisfaction and a growing cause for gratitude. Its value becomes more apparent to me daily.
Secondly, I have discovered that nothing can deprive me of that joy which I have found in the Messiah and which possesses my spirit. Within this period the people of this world have afflicted me by their words, writings, insinuations, mockings, and various other ways. They have related to me all kinds of fabricated objections against me. They have entertained the views of atheists and others also. Moreover, I have been assailed by physical and spiritual difficulties. On several occasions, even the pleasures of this world have imposed themselves upon me, desirous that I forget this one great joy. But they have all been powerless in having the slightest effect upon the joy I have found in the Messiah, even though I have not summarily dismissed them but allowed them entry in order to evaluate my joy in Christ in comparison with them. Such is the strength of this joy that nothing can disturb it. Nor is it that I myself have seized upon this joy and nourished it; rather it has seized me in a way that I cannot depart from it. Were a greater to be found, I would leave it. But when separation from it appears as eternal death itself, after leaving it where am I to go? Thus it is not that I have seized it, but that it has seized me. How wonderful the reply of Peter to the Messiah: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." (Injil, John 6:68).
Thirdly, I have experienced that as the knowledge of the Messiah grows, knowledge of oneself also grows. As His holiness, exaltation, power and wisdom become apparent, so ones sinfulness, degradation, weakness and folly are revealed. Since the world does not know Him, it wallows in it pride.
Fourthly, I have experienced the effect of the knowledge of the Messiah. As this knowledge grows, so does the change in ones life become apparent.
Fifthly, I have experienced that as sincerity and unity abound in ones relation with Christ, so a multitude of evils abound in this world. Yet to that degree also is the abundance of His comfort. In the midst of all these things our expectation does not dangle between fear and hope, but is rooted within the certain hope of salvation.
I beseech my readers to understand that God is surely here and that He has extended His hand of welcome. Come to Him, yet know that there is but one way, the way of a broken and contrite heart. Then you can find joy, and yours will be eternal life. The alternative is destruction.
The following Notes have been added by the translator:
1. For the possible reference to this tradition see Mishkat ul-Masabih, tr. by James Robson, Ashraf, Lahore,1963, Book 1, ch. VI, p. 49.
2. It appears that Imad ud-Din is paraphrasing the above tradition. If the above reference (Note 1) to this tradition is correct, it is not really clear from this tradition that Muhammad forbade the reading of the other Holy Books, the existence and integrity of which find strong support in both the Quran and the Hadith. Elsewhere, according to the Mishkat ul-Masabih (Book XVI, ch, 1, p. 758). Muhammad asks for information about a particular point in the Tawrat. Yet, unfortunately, it continues to be true that some Muslims revile other Muslims who read the Holy Bible.
3. A. J. Arberry, The Koran Interpreted, Oxford University Press, London, 1964.
4. As far as I can determine, one kos is about two kilometres.
5. The spelling of this name is not clear from the Urdu text.
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