The Islamic Dilemma: Should We Fear the Religion of Peace?

No Comments | July 2015

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After reciting Tashhahud, Ta’awwuz and Bismillah, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, Khalifatul Masih V, said:

“All the guests, Assalamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahe Wa Barakatohupeace and blessings of Allah be upon you all. First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of our non-Ahmadi guests who are attending our Annual Convention despite not being members of our Community.

Today, during my address, I will briefly speak about the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa and his incomparable efforts towards establishing peace in the world. You may be quite surprised or even astonished to hear this, given that today we see many so-called Muslims who are destroying the peace of the world and who seek to justify their extremist acts in the name of the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. As they perpetrate terror and violence in the most barbaric fashion, they continually claim that they are acting according to the true teachings of Islam.unnamed (1)

Your surprise will increase further when you hear that the disorder and extremism in the world caused by so-called Muslims is actually a means of increasing my faith in Islam, and indeed the faith of every single Ahmadi Muslim. Perhaps you will be confused by this and wonder why it is that the faith of Ahmadi Muslims increases upon seeing the extremist acts of certain other Muslims. You may even come to think or fear that Ahmadi Muslims are similar to those Muslims who support extremism. However, this would be an entirely wrong assumption or belief.

Thus, let me first of all make it clear that Ahmadi Muslims are entirely sincere in their efforts to promote peace in the world and always endeavour to practice what they preach. We are the same from the inside as the outside and live our lives according to what we believe in our hearts to be the true teachings of Islam. I would also like to make it clear that when Ahmadi Muslims spread teachings of peace, security and love for all, they are not presenting anything new but are manifesting only the true teachings of Islam. In every respect, Islam is a religion of peace, harmony, tolerance and compassion.

Certainly, it is solely because of the teachings of Islam, that Ahmadi Muslims exhibit sentiments of love for all people, whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims. And it is only because of Islam that we desire true peace in the world and make every possible effort in order to achieve this. In terms of what I said earlier, I do not wish to needlessly keep you in a state of confusion or curiosity over this apparent contradiction or dilemma – whereby on the one hand Ahmadi Muslims say they condemn the extremist acts of other Muslims, whilst on the other they say that such acts are a means of increasing their faith in Islam.

In order to clarify and explain this, I would like to rewind the clock 1400 years to the time of the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. At that time he made a grand prophecy about the future. He said that a time of spiritual darkness would overtake the Muslims and their faith would become wholly corrupted. At such a time the actions of Muslims would be entirely against the original teachings of Islam. He warned that the so-called Muslim religious clerics and leaders would interpret Islamic teachings in completely the wrong way and their mindset would only lead to the spread of disorder and injustice. However, upon forewarning about the desperate state of the Muslims, the Holy Prophetsa also gave the glad tiding that at such a time of disorder and discord, Allah the Almighty would send an individual to revive Islam and to spread its true teachings. He would be sent as the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi (the Guided One) and he would re-establish the original and peaceful teachings of Islam throughout the world. He would infuse mankind with Islam’s true spiritual light.

With the Grace of Allah, today we see that both parts of this grand prophecy have been fulfilled. Where on the one hand, Islam has been corrupted and its teaching has been distorted, on the other hand, the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi has been sent by God Almighty in the person of Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas. During his life he shone an illuminating light upon true Islam and presented its magnificent teachings to the world. He proved that the Holy Prophetsa was indeed the greatest champion and torchbearer for peace in the history of mankind. Therefore, it is the fulfilment of this great prophecy, which is the reason that the faith of Ahmadi Muslims increases upon seeing the horrific acts of so-called Muslims today.unnamed (2)

Having given this introduction, I would now like to briefly present the true teachings of the Holy Prophetsa that display his unparalleled efforts to establish long-lasting peace in the world. One basic and very important point that the Holy Prophetsa taught us was that the mindset and priorities of different people in the world varies from person to person. Whilst it is true that most people desire peace, it is also true that many people give preference only to their own peace and security. They have little or no regard for the welfare of others. A study of human psychology reveals that whilst each person desires that he or she should live in peace and contentment, most people do not wish for their opponents or enemies to live happily and peacefully.

It is also true that people value different types of peace. For example, some people care only about the peace and contentment of their own hearts and minds. Some give priority to the peace of their household, whilst others desire peace in their neighbourhood. Some people prioritise the peace of their towns or cities and others desire the peace of their nation. But outside their personal scope of interest, many people have no regard for what is happening to those living in different cities or nations. They do not feel compassion or love for people in other parts of the world who are suffering or facing trials and tribulations.unnamed

In earlier times, this insensitivity and lack of empathy could be justified because different societies and nations were not interlinked as they are now. The means of communication were far more limited and it would take an age for news of the situation in one country or region to reach another. During the intervening period, the news often became out of date and the situation had changed again. Thus, at those times to immediately feel the pain of others and to seek to help people in distant areas was very difficult. However, today the world is very different and has become like a global village. Nevertheless, whilst the world has joined together and distances and communication barriers have eroded, there yet still continues to be a denial that we are all linked together.

For example, there are many people who believe that the situation in the Middle East or in Africa has no bearing on the people of Europe or North America. Similarly, many people living in Australia or the Far East continue to believe that the disorder prevalent in other parts of the world, such as the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, will have no impact on their lives or their countries. Generally speaking, there remains a belief that the increasing disorder and restlessness we see today is limited to the affected regions and the impact will not spread further afield.

However, having said this, there is one burning issue that is causing a shift in attitudes and understanding. The issue I am referring to is immigration and the wider issue of integration. In various countries we see that there has been an increase in the frustrations and restlessness among the youth from immigrant communities. Some of these frustrations are boiling over to the extent that certain young immigrants have been radicalised and have joined extremist groups. This is causing a genuine fear, as developed countries are realising that amongst their own youths there are some who have been very negatively influenced and this is a great danger to the nation.

In response, governments and law enforcement agencies in the developed world are moving to place restrictions on the lives of people of Asian origin in the belief that this will guarantee the safety and security of the local society and local people. However, this is the wrong approach and is not a proper answer to these serious problems. Rather, what is needed is a real and comprehensive solution. I should therefore tell you that the Holy Prophet of Islamsa has given us the solution and answer to these problems.

Through his enlightened teachings he has handed us the golden keys to peace. He has explained that world peace can never be achieved with only a worldly approach or by only focusing on materialistic desires alone. He taught us that there is only one means for all people, whether Muslims or non-Muslims, to be free from disorder and to be safeguarded from the burning flames of hatred and despair.

He said that for true peace to be established mankind had to recognise its Creator and submit before Him. The Holy Prophetsa forewarned that a time would come when the Muslims themselves would forget the true teachings of their religion and would not pay due heed to the Supreme Being and would only pay lip service to their belief. Similarly, the people of other religions would also fail to truly recognise the Supreme Being, whilst those who did not believe in religion would fail to even acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

And the Supreme Being that the Holy Prophetsa spoke about was the God Who is the Creator of the entire Universe. It is that God, Who amongst His many Attributes, is ‘Salaam’ – that is the ‘Source of Peace’. Thus, in chapter 59, verse 24 of the Holy Qur’an, Allah has instructed the Holy Prophetsa to inform the world that they should devote themselves to that God who is the Sovereign, the Holy One and the Source of Peace. The meaning of ‘Salaam’ is He who provides peace to the world and is the light from which all peace emanates.

Thus, as the true source of all peace, God desires an existence of peace and harmony for all of mankind. Just as parents do not like for their children to fight or argue with each other and to cause disturbance in the home, in the same way Allah the Almighty does not like disorder or conflict among His Creation. Parents always love those of their children more who are good-natured and peaceful and similarly, the law of the land favours those who are peace-loving.

Likewise, according to our faith, Allah the Almighty loves those who are able to control their emotions and are peaceful. If we reflect on this point then it becomes crystal clear that those so-called Muslims who follow extremist ideologies are completely wrong when they claim that Allah the Almighty desires for Muslims to engage in a Jihad of the sword or in bloodshed.

The wars fought during the time of the Holy Prophetsa must be placed in their correct context. It is beyond dispute that during the first few years of Islam, the Holy Prophetsa and his followers were subjected to the most brutal persecution and merciless opposition. After years of restraint, the Holy Prophetsa was given permission by Allah the Almighty to engage in a defensive war against the non-Muslim aggressors. This permission was given in chapter 22, verse 40 of the Holy Qur’an where Allah said that He was granting permission because war had been forced upon the Muslims, and so they had been left with no choice but to respond and to defend themselves.

As for why a response was necessary, Allah the Almighty clarified it in the very next verse – verse 41. There Allah said that the Muslims had been driven out of their homes by the cruel aggressors and if He did not permit them to stop the oppressors from their persecution and force, then no person would be able to live in peace. If the Muslims did not defend themselves then neither religious people nor anyone else would be able to live in security thereafter.

In the same verse Allah has said that if the Muslims did not defend themselves then no churches would remain safe, nor synagogues, nor temples and nor would mosques – even though these were places of worship in which people joined together to proclaim the name of God, to spread peace and to remove all forms of evil from their hearts and minds. Therefore, permission to stop the oppressive hand of those who waged war was granted by Allah because otherwise all places of worship and the peace of the world itself would be completely destroyed.

Thus, Allah allowed the Holy Prophetsa to wage a defensive war only for the sake of ending cruelty and injustice. Permission was granted to stop those who wished to seize the basic rights and liberties of all people. Permission was granted to stop those who sought to destroy the very foundation of religious freedom. And permission was granted to not only defend Islam but to defend all religions and all forms of belief.

We also learn from this verse that the mosques and places of worship of other religions are built as beacons of peace to spread teachings of love and compassion and never to promote extremism or hatred of any form. Furthermore, in chapter 8, verse 62 of the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Almighty has bestowed upon the Holy Prophetsa a truly beautiful teaching that enlightens Muslims about how to establish peace and security even during a state of war or conflict.

In the verse, Allah says that if your enemy reaches out and extends his hand towards peace or reconciliation then you must accept it without delay and put your trust in Allah thereafter. Thus, Muslims have been told to trust Allah, rather than to assume that the enemy is deceiving them or is not sincere in their desire for reconciliation. Allah has taught that Muslims should always seek to build bridges with others wherever possible and to develop peace even with those who are not religious, who disbelieve in God or who bear enmity in their hearts against Islam.

In reality, Allah has very firmly instructed Muslims to grasp with both hands any opportunity to salvage peace for the sake of harmony of the world. Furthermore, the Holy Prophetsa also conveyed the commandment of God given in chapter 41, verse 35 of the Holy Qur’an in which Allah the Almighty has said that, for the sake of peace you should respond to evil only with goodness and piety. The underlying wisdom behind this is that if you respond to hatred with love then there is a chance that from the depths of enmity and division, sincere friendship and unity can emerge.

What a beautiful teaching this is! Most certainly, there are countless examples that prove that the Holy Prophetsa brought teachings of peace, reconciliation, security and love, and I have narrated just a few. They prove that the God of Islam – that is Allah the Almighty – is He who desires peace, compassion and love for His creation.

Therefore, those who believe that Islam’s teachings promote extremism or hatred should remove such fears or misconceptions from their hearts and minds once and for all. The blame for the mindless bloodshed and violence that we see today does not lie with Islam or its teachings; but rather it is the result of the acts of certain so-called Muslims who are filled with hatred and selfishness and who have corrupted the true essence of Islam to serve only their vested interests.

Today, according to the promises of God Almighty, it is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community alone that is enlightening the world with the true teachings of Islam. This is the reason why each year hundreds of thousands of peaceful people – both from amongst Muslims and non-Muslims – are joining the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. They are becoming Ahmadi Muslims only with the desire to gain the love of Allah and for the sake of attaining true peace and contentment.

They are not like those frustrated people, who are unable to control their emotions or reactions and so are joining extremist groups that are unjustly destroying the pure name of Islam in the world. Whilst today Islam continues to be portrayed in entirely the wrong way, we Ahmadi Muslims do not become hopeless or disheartened. We firmly believe we will be successful and so one day Islam’s reality will dawn upon the world and its beautiful teachings will be understood by the people of all nations.

With these words, I would like to end by once again expressing my sincere gratitude to all of you for taking the time to join us today and listening to what I have had to say. May Allah bless you all. Thank you very much.”

Address by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, to German guests on the 2nd Day of the Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) Germany
6th June 2015

 

 

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