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Ahmadiyya books inspired Islamic development in Indonesia

Speech at North American Convention, Columbus, Ohio, August 1995

by Mansyur Basuki, Jakarta, Indonesia

(From The Light & Islamic Review, Volume 72, No. 5, September-October 1995, pages 12-14)

The name of my country, Indonesia, was mentioned in the English commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali as follows: 

"As a matter of fact, it is true that notwithstanding various setbacks at different periods of history, the cause of Islam has gone on gaining ground. When the existing Muslim civilization was destroyed by Mongols, a greater Muslim nation rose up by their joining the ranks of Islam; and when Islam was extirpated in Spain in the West, it gained ground in the Far East in Indonesia, winning over fifty million people." -- Note 2754.

I will connect what Maulana Muhammad Ali had said in the comment above with the fact of our history of Indonesian Muslim development. The influence of Tafsir Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali towards Indonesian intellectual Muslims is great. Mr. H.A. Salim, a prominent Indonesian diplomat of the past, said: 

"Among many Tafsirs we could find, the Ahmadiyya Tafsir by Maulana Muhammad Ali is the best Tafsir which satisfied the youth of Islamic students."

When this Tafsir was translated into the Malay language by HOS. Tjokroaminoto (the father of the Islamic movement in Indonesia), H.A. Salim wrote as follows in his Preface: 

"After more than one year I have known and been studying this Tafsir intensively, I found that it is the best one; lots of valuable ideas are given here. And it gives information to understand Islam and its teaching. It explains, educates and advices. Here I did not find any mistakes which mislead the readers at all. This Tafsir matches the knowledge and understanding of the intellectuals of this age. Various misconceptions, insults, scorns and rejections from non-Muslims, especially from the West and Europeans, are refuted by strong arguments here. And it uncovered the narrowmindedness of the accusers." (H.M. Bachrun, Quran Suci, P. III).

It is not surprising that many Indonesian Muslims, including the prominent figures, are silently taking advantage of this Tafsir, although openly they rejected the Ahmadiyya movement. Mr. M. Natsir, a famous politician of the past, said: 

"If I went to meet Mr. Hassan in his house, I would ask for solutions of some problems. After discussing the matter, he would give me some books such as Al-Furqon and the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali." (M. Natsir, Politik Melalui Dakwah, Tempo, 2 Dec. 89, p. 52)

The first President of the Republik Indonesia, Mr. Sukarno, took the Holy Quran by Muhammad Ali as his main Holy Book. He also was an admirer of the books written by Khwaja Kamal-ud-din. Secret of Existence by Khwaja Kamal-ud-din has become a reference book for the students in Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB).

Margaret Blood, an Australian doctor, in her thesis about the Ahmadiyya Movement in Indonesia writes: 

"Lahore publications in particular have made an important contribution to the study of Islam in Indonesia, religious thought among Indonesian Muslims... the membership of the Lahore School in Indonesia has always been negligible but this fact alone belies the importance of the Lahore branch which is best evaluated as a school of thought rather than an organization."

(Margaret Blood, The Ahmadiyya (Lahore) in Indonesia; Its Early History and Contribution to Islam in the Archipelago, p. 67)

In recent years "Al-Quran dan Terjemahannya" or Al-Quran and its translation have been issued by the Indonesian Department of Religion Affairs. Here, the characteristics of Maulana Muhammad Ali are seen very clearly.

Recently, one of the well-known and influential Indonesian Muslim intellectuals, Prof. Dr. Dawam Rahardjo, quoted lots of parts of Ahmadiyya books, especially concerning Adam, Jesus, revelation, prophets, etc. in his writing and speeches.

The book The Religion of Islam by Maulana Muhammad Ali, has also become an important reference work for the students of the Literary Faculty of the University of Indonesia, the biggest State University in this country.

As it has been known, Maulana Muhammad Ali was the right hand man of the Promised Messiah, the man of God. Sooner or later God's planning must be successful. Since a long time ago, we have been working to accomplish the service of the Holy Quran which was translated into Dutch by Sudewo, into Javanese by Djojosugito and into Indonesian by H.M. Bachrun.

The Indonesian language (Bahasa Indonesia) can also be understood by people of Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam; therefore Ahmadiyya books in Indonesian will be produced more intensively. We realize that the Muslim world needs the reformation of the Divine Reformer, and the Holy Quran is the most effective tool of reformation, so as servants working for the victory of Islam, our main duty is publishing and spreading Ahmadiyya books, and especially the translations and commentaries of the book of God, the Holy Quran.

In many ways we try to follow the advice of Maulana Muhammad Ali himself, given as follows: 

"I advise my friends to seek solutions of the world problems from the Holy Quran. Reflect upon the ills the world suffers from. Then reflect upon the Holy Quran to find the cure of those ills. As a principle, bear in mind that the salvation of the world depends on faith in God. And faith in God is created by the Holy Quran ... The greatest treasure in the hands of the Muslims is the book of God. But they pay the least attention to its propagation. Of all the constructive works that the Anjuman can do, the service of the Holy Quran comes above all ...

"Knowledge of the Holy Quran is a legacy of the Promised Messiah, with which is linked the ultimate victory of Islam in the world. By all means learn other branches of knowledge, but make them subservient to the service of the Holy Quran to the whole world, then the Quran will do its own work ..."

Insha-Allah, Indonesian Anjuman always tries its best to publish and carry the Ahmadiyya books, particularly the Holy Quran translations, to meet the demand for reformation which is overwhelming this part of the world. May Allah grant us the power, ability and strong will to accomplish this duty!

(Taken from Mr. S. Ali Yasir's speech, President of Gerakan Ahmadiyya Indonesia, by Mansyur Basuki.)