Abdul Haq Vidyarthi (1888 – 1977), who bore the title
vidyarthi due to his extensive knowledge of the Hindu
Vedas, was a scholar of the major religions of the world and
their languages, and a missionary of Islam of the Lahore Ahmadiyya
Movement. The environment of multi-faith debate, polemic and
discussion, prevailing in the Indian subcontinent in the early
20th century, greatly influenced and interested him. This
was one reason why, in 1907, he joined the Ahmadiyya Movement
at the hands of its Founder, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, as
this Movement had a broad, universalistic outlook towards
other religions, regarding all of them as originally revealed,
a fact first disclosed by Islam.
1914, when the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam was
founded in Lahore by Maulana Muhammad Ali and his associates,
Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi joined this Muslim missionary
society, in which he worked for the rest of his life as
missionary, journalist, lecturer, writer and scholar. First
he mastered the Hindu scriptures and studied the Sanskrit
language. Later on, he studied Hebrew and other ancient
languages of world scriptures. His purpose was two-fold:
(1) to be better equipped to refute the storm of criticism
and vituperative allegations against Islam and the Prophet
Muhammad by the Hindu Arya Samaj sect as well as Christian
proselytisers; (2) to unearth prophecies about the coming
of the Holy Prophet Muhammad which, according to Islam,
are to be found in previously-revealed scriptures.
the period 1918 to the 1940s, the Maulana was frequently
called upon, by various Muslim bodies throughout India,
to represent Islam in public debates against Arya Samaj
Hindus and Christian missionaries. He achieved supreme triumph
in these debates, and his name became renowned and legendary.
He also wrote several Urdu books in response to the Arya
and Christian objections against Islam. On a purely scholarly
front, he published an Urdu translation of part of a Hindu
scripture, the Yajur Veda.
the founding of Pakistan and the ending of the multi-faith
environment, the Maulana toured the countries of Trinidad,
Guyana, Suriname, and Fiji during the 1950s at the invitation
of the local Muslim communities, and gave lectures to large
multi-faith audiences, achieving fame and renown for his
knowledge and noble character in those countries as well.
He also spent time in the U.S.A. during 1959-1962, collecting
further material for the second edition of his book Muhammad
in World Scriptures from reference works in libraries.
originally wrote Muhammad in World Scriptures in
Urdu as Mithaq-un-nabiyyin, published in 1936.
Then he had it translated into English and it appeared under
the present title in 1940. A little later he published a
second part in Urdu. He then went on to expand the English
version considerably, and this second edition was published
in 3 volumes between 1966 and 1975.
Abdul Haq Vidyarthi was renowned and respected not only
as a man of the highest learning and scholarship, but also
as one who was thoroughly upright and saintly, and a recipient
of extensive spiritual experiences. Having a humble and
unassuming nature, and well-known for his good humour, Maulana
Vidyarthi served the cause of Islam by pen, speech and personal
example for more than sixty years in a unique and rare way
which will have its own place in the history of religion.