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January 14th, 2017

How a reference in original language (Pali) was discovered for ‘Muhammad in World Scriptures’

Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi (my maternal grandfather) used to tell us that once, in order to find a certain book containing a reference that he required in the original language, he had to travel a long distance internationally, in the 1950s, to find a library where that book was available. This was for his book 'Muhammad in World Scriptures'.

He said he couldn't find it in the British Museum Library, London, and they told him it could be found in Madras (now called Chennai), India. So when he was in Madras, he looked for it, and they told him it was in a library in Colombo, Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka). He used to tell us (in Panjabi), as I still remember: "I said to myself, Colombo is not far" (Men kia Colombo ki door ay). So he went there.

The reference he was talking about is the following given in 'Muhammad in World Scriptures', v. 3, p. 1073, in the part about prophecies made by Buddha about the coming of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Below is the image from his book:

As he writes here, he copied it at the Museum Library, Colombo, from 'The Journal of the Pali Text Society' ('Textbook' is a printing mistake).

Well, to check this against the original journal, I didn't have to leave my desk! I searched on the Internet for 'The Journal of the Pali Text Society' and found a website with all the issues. I downloaded the one for 1886, and went to page 33. In fact, I found it on page 34. Below is the image of part of that page, where I have indicated the Maulana's quotation by red lines. You can compare yourself!

The Maulana undertook a long journey to find this journal. Why? Because of his desire to prove that prophecies about the coming of the Holy Prophet Muhammad are to be met with in previous scriptures, in this case in the Buddhist sacred books. This was out of his love for, and devotion to, the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

Writing about his study of Sanskrit and Hindu scriptures he said:

“The Promised Messiah’s Message of Peace [i.e., his booklet Paigham Sulah] left Hindus and Muslims with the message of unity. More than fifty years have now passed over it. I was one of the people listening to this Message of Peace in University Hall, Lahore [i.e., in June 1908]. At that time I was a youth, who then devoted his life for the completion of this Message, learnt Sanskrit, studied Hindu scriptures in depth, gave lectures on these topics, and participated in public debates.…” (Paigham Sulh, 24 January 1962, p. 14).

He had already taken the bai'at at the hand of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in 1907 when he was 19 years of age.

3 Responses to “How a reference in original language (Pali) was discovered for ‘Muhammad in World Scriptures’”

  1. Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi wrote a letter to his daughter (i.e., my mother), dated 26 October 1968, after he had fallen very ill but managed to recover, in which said:

    “I feel satisfied that I learnt many languages in order to serve the religion, and replied extensively by speech and writing to those who raise objections against Islam. I wish to continue to be engaged in this work till the last breath. Once Abdus Salaam [his son] wrote to me in England saying: Your age is not such that you can undertake travel. I replied: My son, it is my wish and my desire that I should continue to make speeches on the truth of Islam and to reply to the objections of the opponents of Islam until, in that condition, I fall unconscious and thus depart from the world.” (bolding is mine)

    The letter is in my possession and it can be seen more fully in translation, along with the image of the original Urdu letter, at this link.

  2. Thank you for relating this Dr. Zahid Aziz. The next time someone says Ahmadis only ever paid lip service to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, I will make make sure to mention these inspiring examples set by your grandfather, Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi, in his quest to show the truth of our Holy Prophet.

  3. Dr. Zahid Aziz Sahib, it is finish the 2nd volume of updated edition of Muhammad in World Scriptures…something, we have all been waiting for.

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