Care of the Aged

The dilemma that the elderly face when abandoned by their families, and how Islam ensures that the elderly are afforded dignity.

5The Review of Religions – March 2005 God Almighty operates in thisworld in three capacities: one, in the capacity of God; two, in the capacity of a friend; and three, in the capacity of an e n e m y. His treatment of His average creatures proceeds from His capacity as God and His treatment of those who love Him and whom He loves, proceeds not only in His capacity as God, but also predominantly in His capacity of a friend. The world feels that God is supporting the person concerned like a friend. His treatment of His enemies is characterised by painful chas- tisement and such signs as indicate clearly that God Almighty is the enemy of that people or that person. Sometimes God tests a friend of His by making the whole world his enemy and for a time subjects him to their tongues and their hands, but He does not do this because He desires to destroy His friend, or to disgrace or humiliate him. He does this so that He might show His sign to the world and so that His impertinent opponents should realise that despite their utmost e fforts they were not able to This series sets out, in the words of the Promised Messiah(as), Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a summary of his exposition of four outstanding topics: ISLAM; ALLAH, THE EXALTED; THE HOLY PROPHET(sa) and THE HOLY QUR’AN. The original compilation, in Urdu, from which these extracts have been translated into English, was collated with great care and diligence by Syed Daud Ahmad Sahib, Allah have mercy on him and reward him graciously for his great labour of love. Amin. The English rendering is by the late Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, may Allah be pleased with him, and is quoted from The Essence of Islam, Volume 1. All references throughout, unless otherwise specifically mentioned, are from the Holy Qur’an. The Will Power of God& (Part 8) 6 The Review of Religions – March 2005 harm the person concerned. (Nuzul-ul-Masih, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 18, pp. 517-518) In the Holy Qur’an, the attributes of God Almighty are mentioned in the subjective and not in the objective. For instance, He is H o l y, but He has not been described as safeguarded, because then it would have to be supposed that there was someone to safeguard Him. (Malfoozat, Vol. IV, p.119) Our God has power over everything. They are false who say that He created neither souls nor the particles of the body. They are unaware of God. We witness His new creation every day and He always breathes a new spirit of progress into us. Had He not the power to bring into being from nothing that would have been the death of us. Wonderful is He Who is our God. Who is there like unto Him? Wonderful are His works. Who is there whose works are like His? He is Absolute Power. (Nasim-e-Da’wat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 19, p.435) The real cause of worship of other deities and of belief in the doctrine of transmigration of souls is the denial of Divine attributes and considering God Almighty as disabled from The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as). The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad( a s ). In 1891, he claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim c o m m u n i t y. THE WILL AND POWER OF GOD 7The Review of Religions – March 2005 exercising complete control over the universe. Since God’s wise and just attributes were supposed to have been suspended, other deities were invented for seeking fulfilment of needs, and natural changes and upsets were described as the consequence of deeds done in a previous existence. Thus, transmigration of souls and the worship of other deities resulted from this one fundamental mistake. (Shahna-e-Haqq, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 2, pp. 407-408) Through His Might, does God prove His existence; This is how He unveils His invisible countenance. Whatever God wills and is pleased to announce cannot be averted, for such is the power of God. (Announcement dated 5 August 1885, Majmu’a Ishtiharat, Vol. 1, p.143) Our God possesses many wonders, but they are visible only to those who become His out of sincerity and loyalty. He does not disclose His wonders to those who do not believe in His Power and who are not sincere and loyal to Him. How unfortunate is the man who does not know that he has a God Who has power to do all that He wills. (Kashti Nuh, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 19, p.21) His powers are unlimited and His wonders are without end. For His special servants He can even change His law, but even that changing is part of His law. When a person falls at His threshold with a new spirit and carries out a change in himself, only to win His pleasure, God also makes a change for such a one so that the God Who appears to him is quite a different God from the One known to the average person. God appears weak to a person whose faith is weak, but to him who appears before God with a strong faith, He shows that for his help He too is Strong. Thus in response to changes in man there are changes in Divine attributes. For him who is without any strength in his faith as if he is dead, God also THE WILL AND POWER OF GOD 8 The Review of Religions – March 2005 withdraws His help and support and becomes silent, as if, God forbid, He had died. But all these changes He carries out within His law and in accord with His Holiness. No one can set a limit to His law. Therefore, to assert hastily that such and such a matter is contrary to natural law without any conclusive reason, which is bright and self-evident, would be mere folly, for no one can argue on the basis of something whose limits have not yet been defined and who cannot be the subject of conclusive reasoning. (Chashma-e-Ma’rifat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 23, pp. 104-105) If God is not believed in as All- Powerful, all our hopes would be frustrated. The acceptance of our prayers is dependent upon the belief that when God wills He can create in the particles of the body or in the soul powers that they may not possess. For instance, we pray for the recovery of a person who is ill and he appears likely to die. Then we supplicate that God may create in the particles of his body a strength that should save him from death. We observe that very often such supplication is accepted. In many cases, we are at first intimated that a certain person is about to die, and that his powers of life are at an end. But when our supplication reaches its climax and its intensity becomes poignant and painful, we seem to arrive at the point of death, then it is revealed to us by God that the powers of life have been revived in the person concerned. Then sud- denly he begins to show signs of health as if he was dead and has come to life. I remember that at the time of the plague I supplicated: O Mighty and Powerful God, safeguard us against this calamity and create in our bodies an antidote which should save us from the poison of the plague. Then God Almighty created that antidote in us and said: ‘I shall safeguard you against death by plague and all those who dwell within your house and are not arrogant’, that is to say, those who are not disobedient to God and are righteous would all be saved. THE WILL AND POWER OF GOD 9The Review of Religions – March 2005 God also said that Qadian would be safeguarded, that is to say, Qadian would not be destroyed by the plague like many other villages. This is what we all saw, and we observed the fulfilment of all these things…. Thus our God creates new powers and qualities in the particles of the body. Having been reassured by God the Perfect, we avoided the human precaution of inoculation against the plague. Many of those inoculated died, but we are, by the Grace of God Almighty, still alive. Thus does God Almighty create particles as He created particles in our bodies by way of antidote. He also creates souls as He breathed into me a pure soul by which I came alive. We need not only that He should create the soul and revive our body, but our soul also needs another soul which should revive it. Both these souls are created by God. He who has not grasped this mystery is unaware of God’s Powers and is heedless of God. (Nasim-e-Da’wat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 19, pp. 390-391) Limitless Manifestation of God’s Attributes God’s Divinity and Godhead is related to His unlimited power and countless mysteries which man cannot confine within the limits of law. For the recognition of God, it is an important and fundamental principle that the Powers and Wisdom of God the Glorious are unlimited. By understanding this principle and reflecting deeply upon it everything becomes clear and one is able to see the straight path of the recognition of Truth and the worship of Truth. We do not deny that God Almighty always operates in accordance with His eternal attributes, and it would not be improper if we were to call this act according to eternal attributes by the name of Divine law. What we question is whether the act in accordance with those eternal attributes, or in other words, the eternal Divine law, should be regarded as limited and defined. We believe that the effects of the attributes, which are part of God’s Being and are unlimited, THE WILL AND POWER OF GOD 10 The Review of Religions – March 2005 are manifested at their appro- priate times and nothing occurs outside of them and those attributes affect all creation in heaven and earth. The effects of these attributes are called the way of Allah or the law of nature; but because God Almighty, along with His perfect attributes, is Unlimited and Endless, it would be folly on our part to claim that the effects of those attributes, that is to say, the laws of nature, do not extend beyond our experience, intelli- gence or observation. It is a great mistake on the part of those who are philosophically inclined that they first regard the law of nature as something which has been completely defined and then they refuse to accept anything new which they encounter. It is obvious that this attitude is not well-founded. Had this been true no way would have been left open to accept anything new and it would have become impossible to discover new things, for in such a case everything new would appear to contravene the laws of nature and one would have to reject it which would mean the rejection of a new truth. A contemplation or the lives of the philosophers would show along how many tracks their thinking has proceeded and how often they have shame-facedly discarded one view in favour of another, and having held for a long time that something was contrary to the law of nature and having denied it, they in the end accepted it remorsefully. What was the cause of this change? It was that what they had adhered to at one time was a doubtful thing which was falsified by new experience. As new experiences came to light their thinking went on changing in accordance with them. Their thinking has been guided by new experiences and yet even now there is a good deal which is hidden from their view and concerning which it is to be hoped that, after stumbling and passing through diverse humil- iations, they would in the end accept it. The laws of nature are not so firm within the ambit of human THE WILL AND POWER OF GOD 11The Review of Religions – March 2005 reason that they should exclude new research. Can any rea- sonable person imagine that in the school of this world, man, despite his short age, has completed his knowledge of eternal mysteries, and that his experience of Divine wonders has become so comprehensive that whatever falls outside this experience is outside the Power of God Almighty? It is only a shameless and foolish one who would entertain any such idea. Those philosophers who were truly good and wise and whose thinking was inspired by spiritual values have confessed that their thinking, which was limited and tentative, could not become the means of discovering and recognising God and His limitless secrets and wisdom. It is an established truth that everything contains within itself a quality which continues to be affected by the limitless powers of God Almighty. This shows that the qualities of things are limitless whether we come to know of them or not. If all philosophers, ancient and modern, were to employ their intellectual capacities till the Day of Judgement in discovering the qualities of a grain of poppy seed, no reasonable person would believe that they would comprehend completely all those qualities. Thus there is nothing more foolish than to think that the qualities of heavenly and earthly bodies are limited to those which have so far been discovered through astronomy or physics. In short, the law of nature is something which cannot withstand an established truth. The law of nature means such Divine action which was manifested or might be mani- fested in a natural way, but God Almighty has not tired of manifesting His Powers nor has He become disabled from doing so, nor has He gone to sleep, nor has He moved away into a c o r n e r, nor has He been overpowered and has under compulsion ceased manifesting His wonders, leaving us only His actions during a few centuries. Reason, wisdom, philosophy, THE WILL AND POWER OF GOD literature and education all demand that we should not confine the body of natural law to the few demonstrated phenomena of which hundreds of details are still to be discovered and we should not foolishly insist that the action of God Almighty cannot go beyond what we have already o b s e r v e d . . . . I wonder how can such things as are still awaiting a complete explanation of themselves, be the absolute measures of truth or be the criteria for judging it. This complicated problem has confused the philosophers so much that some of them, namely the Sophists, have denied altogether the qualities of matter, and some of them have asserted that though the qualities of matter are admitted yet they lack permanence. Water puts out fire, but it is possible that under some heavenly or earthly effect the water of a spring might lose this q u a l i t y. Fire burns wood, but it is possible that some fire, by reason of some inner or outer e ffect, might not exhibit this q u a l i t y. Such wonders continue to happen from time to time. Philosophers have also said that certain heavenly or earthly qualities are manifested after thousands or hundreds of thou- sands of years. They appear supernatural to the uninitiated. Sometimes wonders occur in the heavens or on earth which confound great philosophers. They are driven to invent some law of physics or astronomy to accommodate them so that their law of nature may not be upset. So long as no flying fish had been observed, no philosopher admitted its existence. So long as through the process of contin- uously cutting off the tails of some dogs, tailless dogs were not produced, no philosopher admitted this possibility. So long as it was not discovered that in consequence of a severe earth- quake in some place, a fire had started which melted stones but did no burn wood, philosophers considered such a quality as contrary to the law of nature. So long as an aspirator was not invented, which philosopher 12 THE WILL AND POWER OF GOD The Review of Religions – March 2005 knew that trans-fusion of blood was part of the law of nature? Could anyone name a philoso- pher who admitted the possibility of machines being run with electricity before electricity was discovered? ‘Allama Shareh Qanun, who was both an eminent physician and a learned philosopher, has recorded in his book that among the Greeks it was generally known that some chaste and righteous women gave birth to children without consorting with a male. He expresses his own view that all these incidents cannot be rejected as false as they could not have been invented without some factual basis…. He has recorded that although all human beings are of one species and as such they are all alike, yet some of them, in rare cases, are endowed with certain high abilities which are not matched among the rest of their contemporaries. It has been established that in modern times there have been cases in which a person has attained the age of more than three hundred years, which is most extraordinary. Some have been endowed with memories or eyesight of so perfect a nature as is not equalled in anyone of their contemporaries. Such people are rare and appear once in a while after hundreds and thousands of years. As the common people have in mind only that which happens on a large scale and frequently they are apt to regard that as the law of nature, that which is rare is looked upon with doubt and is considered false. The mistake philosophers make is that they fail to make research into that which is rare of occurrence and get rid of it by describing it as mere tales and stories. It is the eternal way of Allah that occasionally He manifests rare wonders along with that which is of common occurrence. There are many instances of this, but it would take too long to set them down. Hippocrates, in one of his books of medicine, has mentioned certain cases known to him of people who were suffering from 13 THE WILL AND POWER OF GOD The Review of Religions – March 2005 diseases which, according to the laws of medicine and the experience of physicians, were not susceptible of treatment and who yet recovered their health. Concerning these cases, he has noted that their recovery was due to some rare heavenly or earthly effects. We wish to add that this phenomenon of common occurrence and rare occurrence is not confined to man alone, but is to be discovered among other species also. For instance, a swallow wort is bitter and poisonous, but sometimes after a long period, it produces a vegetable which is very sweet and delicious. A person who has never seen it and has always associated swallow wort with extreme bitterness, is bound to regard the new vegetable we have mentioned, as a contravention of the law of nature. In the same way, among other species also, after a long time, a rare quality is manifested. A short while ago, in M u z a ff a rgarh, a he-goat was found which yielded milk like a she-goat. When this became generally known in the town, Mr. M a c a u l i ffe, the Deputy Commissioner of Muzaffargarh, sent for the he-goat deeming it contrary to the law of nature that it should be yielding milk. When the he-goat was milked in his presence it yielded about three pints of milk… Three serious- minded, trustworthy and respectable gentlemen testified before me that they had seen some men who yielded milk like women…. Some people have observed a female silkworm laying eggs without the intervention of a male, these eggs were hatched in the normal manner. Some people have seen a rat emerging from dry clay with half its body still as clay. A physician Qarshi or ‘Allamah (Shareh Qanun) has recorded that he had seen a patient whose ear had ceased to function and he had become deaf. Later, a sore appeared below his ear in which there was a hole through which he could hear. In this way God bestowed another ear upon him…. 14 THE WILL AND POWER OF GOD The Review of Religions – March 2005 Galen was asked: Can a man ever hear with his eyes? He answered: Present experience does not support this, but it is possible that there might be a hidden relationship between ears and eyes which as a result of an operation or through some heavenly intervention might manifest itself in this form, because the knowledge of the qualities of bodies is not yet complete. D r. Bernier, in his journal describing the ascent of Pir Panjal in Kashmir, has mentioned a strange incident at page 80 of his book, that at one place they saw a big black scorpion which had emerg e d from under a rock, which was taken up by a young Moghul of his acquaintance and he passed it on to Dr. Bernier and a servant of his, but it did not bite any of them. The young Moghul stated that he had pronounced a verse of the Holy Qur’an upon it and that in this manner he often seized scorpions which proved harm- less. The author of Futuhat and Fusus, who is a well-known and learned philosopher and mystic, has written in his book that on one occasion at his house there was a discussion between a philosopher and another person with regard to the burning property of fire. In the course of the discussion, the other person took hold of the philosopher’s hand and thrust his own hand and the philosopher’s hand into a charcoal fire which was burning in a stove and kept them there for a while. Fire did no harm to the hand of either of them. I myself saw a dervish, who on a very hot day would recite the verse: And when you lay hands upon any one, you lay hands as tyrants. (Ch.26: V.131) and would seize hold of a wasp and be immune to its sting. I have also experienced some wonderful e ffects of verses of the Holy Q u r’an, which display the wonders of the Power of God, the Glorious. In short, this museum of the world is filled with numberless wonders. Wise and noble philosophers have 15 THE WILL AND POWER OF GOD The Review of Religions – March 2005 never taken pride in their limited knowledge and they have considered it a shameless impertinence to call their limited experience by the name of God’s law of nature… Can one set a limit to the Powers of the One Who has created this splendid heaven which is ornamented with the sun, the moon, and the stars, and has created this earth which is the envy of gardeners and which is peopled by diverse types of creatures, without the least effort, only by the exercise of His will? (Surmah Chashm Arya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 2, pp. 90-101) 16 THE WILL AND POWER OF GOD The Review of Religions – March 2005 In this journal, for the ease of non-Muslim readers, ‘(sa)’ or ‘sa’ after the words, ‘Holy Prophet’, or the name ‘Muhammad’, are used. They stand for ‘Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam’ meaning ‘Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him’. Likewise, the letters ‘(as)’ or ‘as’ after the name of all other prophets is an abbreviation meaning ‘Peace be upon him’ derived from ‘Alaihis salatu wassalam’ for the respect a Muslim reader utters. The abbreviation ‘ra’ or (ra) stands for ‘ R a d h i a l l a h u Ta’ala anhu and is used for Companions of a Prophet, meaning Allah be pleased with him or her (when followed by the relevant Arabic pronoun). Finally, ‘ru’ or (ru) for Rahemahullahu Ta ’ a l a means the Mercy of Allah the Exalted be upon him.