Freedom of Religions Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech and Tolerance in Islam

An address by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V – Islam is a religion of tolerance and allows freedom of belief and expression of opinion.

5The Review of Religions – April 2006 The Holy Qur’an hasemphatically claimed that it is the Word of God and that our lord and master, Muhammad(saw) is His true Prophet and Messenger, on whom that Holy Word has descended. This claim is clearly set forth in the following verses: Allah is He beside Whom there is no God, the Living, the Self-Subsisting and the All-Sustaining. He has sent down to thee the Book containing the truth. (Ch.3:Vs.3-4) Again: O mankind, the Messenger has indeed come to you with Truth from your Lord… (Ch.4:V.171) Again: And in truth We have sent it down and with truth has it descended… (Ch.17:V.106) Again: O ye people, a manifest proof 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(saw) 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 Holy Prophet(saw) and the Holy Word of God – Part 7 6 The Review of Religions – April 2006 has indeed come to you from your Lord, and We have sent down to you a clear light. (Ch.4:V.175) Again: Say. “O mankind! truly I am a Messenger to you all from Allah… (Ch.7:V.159) Again: But as for yhose who believe and do good works and believe in that which has been revealed to Muhammad – and it is teh truth from their Lord. (Ch.47:V.3) There are hundreds of other verses in which the claim has been put forward clearly that the Holy Qur’an is the Word of God and that Muhammad, the chosen one(saw) is His true Prophet. But the verses that we have set out should suffice. We would remind our opponents that this claim is not put forth in any other book as forcefully as it has been put forth in the Holy Qur’an. We are very eager that the Aryas should show from the Vedas that the four Vedas claimed to be the word of God and set forth clearly that they were revealed to such and such a person at such and such a time. For a book, on behalf of which it is claimed that it is from God, it is a primary necessity that it should set forth this claim clearly; for a book, which gives us indication of its being from God, to be attributed to God, would be an impertinance. A second matter which is worth mentioning is that not only has the Holy Qur’an claimed that it is from God and that the Holy Prophet(saw) was the Messenger of Allah, but has also established this claim with strong and powerful arguments. We shall set forth all these arguments in their order, but for the moment we present the first argument so that seekers after truth should be able to compare in this respect other books with the Holy Qur’an. We also invite every opponent that if this method of proof establishes the truth of a book and is found THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) AND THE HOLY WORD OF GOD 7The Review of Religions – April 2006 in their books also, they should set it forth in their papers and journals; otherwise, we would have to conclude that their books lack this proof of high degree. We affirm with full confidence that this method of proof will not be found in their religion and if we are in error, they should point out our error. Grand Revolution brought by the Holy Prophet(saw) That first argument which the Holy Qur’an has set forth in support of its claim of being from God Almighty is that sane reason holds it to be a strong argument for accepting a true Book and a true Messenger of God, that they should appear at a time when the world should be plunged in darkness, and people should have adopted paganism in place of the Unity of God, and vice in place of purity, and wrong in place of justice, and ignorance in place of knowledge, and a Reformer should be sorely needed. Then such a Messenger should depart from the world when he should have accomplished his work of reform in a fine manner and should have been safeguarded from his enemies while he was occupied in that work. He should have appeared under command like a servant and should have departed under command. In short, he should appear at a time THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) AND THE HOLY WORD OF GOD 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(as). 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 community. 8 The Review of Religions – April 2006 when the age should demand that a heavenly Reformer and Book are needed and he should be called back in accordance with a revealed prophecy after he had firmly planted the tree of reform and a grand revolution should have appeared. We state it with great pride that the brightness with which this argument has been established in support of the Holy Qur’an and our Holy Prophet(saw) is lacking in the case of other Prophets and other Books. The claim of the Holy Prophet(saw) was that he had been sent to the whole of mankind; so the Holy Qur’an convicts all people of being involved in all types of paganism and vice and disobedience as it says: Corruption has appeared on land and sea; (Ch.30:V.42) and then says: … so that he (Muhammad) may be a Warner to all the worlds; (Ch.25:V.2) that is to say, that the Holy Prophet(saw) should warn all people that on account of their misconduct and false doctrines, they have been accounted very sinful in the estimation of God Almighty. The word Warner that has been used in this verse concerning all the peoples, which means to warn the sinners and evildoers, is a sure indication that the Qur’an claimed that the whole world had been corrupted and that everyone had given up the way of truth and good behaviour, inasmuch as a warning is meant for the disobedient and pagans and evildoers, and a warning is administered to offenders and not to the well behaved. Everyone knows that it is only the vicious and faithless ones who are warned, that it is the way of Allah that a Prophet is a bearer of good tidings for the good and is a Warner for the evil ones. When a Prophet is designated as a Warner for the whole world, it would have to be accepted that by the revelation vouchsafed to that Prophet, the whole world has THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) AND THE HOLY WORD OF GOD 9The Review of Religions – April 2006 been held to be involved in misconduct. This is a claim which the Torah did not make in the case of Moses(as), nor the Gospel in the case of Jesus(as), but was put forward only by the Holy Qur’an. Then it was said: ..and you were on the brink of a pit of fire… (Ch.3:V.104) Meaning that before the advent of this Prophet you had arrived at the brink of hell. The Jews and the Christians were warned that they had perverted the Books of God and had led all the people in every type of mischief and misconduct, and the idol worshippers were charged with worshipping stones, men, stars, and the elements and that they had forgotten the True Creator and were guilty of devouring the property of orphans and of killing children and of doing wrong to their partners, and that they had transgressed beyond measure in everything. It was said: Know that Allah quickens the earth after its death. (Ch.57:V.18) that is to say that the whole earth had died and would now be revived afresh by God. In short, the Holy Qur’an charged the whole world with misconduct and idol worship, and held the Christians and the Jews to be at the root of all evil and set out all the types of vices in which they indulged. The Qur’an drew such a picture of the misconduct of the world that except in the case of the age of Noah, no other age appears to resemble it. We have contented ourselves with citing only a few verses and would urge our readers to study the Holy Qur’an carefully so as to discover how forcefully and with what effective words the Holy Qur’an has set forth that the whole world had been corrupted and had died, and that mankind was standing on the brink of hell. It urged the Holy Prophet(saw) to warn the whole world that it was THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) AND THE HOLY WORD OF GOD in a serious condition. A study of the Holy Qur’an reveals that the world was steeped in paganism, idol worship, misconduct and all manner of sin, and was sunk in the deep well of vice. It is true that the Gospel mentions some of the misconduct of the Jews, but it nowhere said that the whole world had been corrupted and had died and had become filled with paganism and misconduct. Nor did Jesus(as) claim that he was a Messenger to the whole world. He addressed the Jews, who were a small people and inhabited a few villages within sight of Jesus(as). But the Holy Qur’an mentions the death of the whole world and describes the evil condition of all peoples. The Jews were the descendants of the Prophets and professed faith in the Torah, though they did not act in accordance with it; but in the time of the Holy Prophet(saw), in addition to all sorts of corruption in conduct, their doctrine too had been corrupted. Thousands of people were atheists and thousands denied revelation and all sorts of evils were rife on the earth. Jesus(as) mentioned the misconduct of the Jews who were a small people, which shows that the Jews were then in need of a Reformer. But the argument that we put forward in the case of the Holy Prophet(saw) to affirm that he was commissioned by God, that he came at the time of general corruption and was called back after effecting a full reform, and the presentation of both these aspects in the Holy Qur’an, and his calling the attention of the world to it, is a matter which is not to be found in the Gospel and indeed not in any other Book except in the Holy Qur’an. These arguments are put forth by the Holy Qur’an itself and it claims that its truth is established by a consideration of both these aspects. It appeared at a time when misconduct and false doctrines had become widespread and the world had drifted far away from truth and reality and the Unity of God and purity. The affirmation of the Qur’an in this 10 THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) AND THE HOLY WORD OF GOD The Review of Religions – April 2006 respect is confirmed by a study of comparative history. There is evidence of the confession of every people that that age was so full of darkness that every people had become prone to creature worship and that is the reason that when the Holy Qur’an charged all people with misguidance and evildoing, not one of them was able to prove its innocence. Observe how forcefully God Almighty speaks of the vices of the people of the Book and describes the death of the whole world. He says: ..they should not become like those who were given the Book before them and the term was prolonged for them but their hearts were hardened and many of them were wicked. Know that Allah quickens the earth after its death. We have made the signs manifest to you, that you may understand. (Ch.57:Vs.17-18) This means that the believers are admonished thay they should not behave like the people of the Book who were given the Book before them and a long time passed and their hearts were hardened and most of them became disobedient and vicious. They are reminded that the earth had died and that God is now reviving it. These are signs of the need and truth of the Holy Qur’an which are being explained to you so that you might understand. Now you will realise that we have not put forward this argument from our own mind, but that it is the Qur’an that puts it forward and after setting forth both parts of the argument, it says that: Know that Allah quickens the earth after its death (Ch.57:V.18) These are Signs in support of the truth of the Holy Prophet(saw) and the Holy Qur’an which have been set forth so that you might reflect and arrive at the reality. The second part of this argument is that the Holy Prophet(saw) was 11 THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) AND THE HOLY WORD OF GOD The Review of Religions – April 2006 called back from the world to his Lord at a time when he had completed his task fully and this is also clearly set forth in the Holy Qur’an, as Allah the Glorious says that: This day have I perfected your religion for you, and completed My favour upon you and have chosen Islam for you as religion. (Ch.5:V.4) meaning that by the revelation of the Qur’an and by the reform of the people your faith has been completed for you and God has chosen Islam as your religion. This was an indication that the revelation of the Qur’an had been completed and it had carried out surprising and wonderful changes in eager hearts and had perfected their training and that Divine favour had been completed for the Muslims. These are the two aspects which are the purpose of the advent of a Prophet. This verse announces forcefully that the Holy Prophet(saw) did not depart this life till Islam had been perfected by the revelation of the Qur’an and the proper training of the Muslims. This is a sign of Divine origin which is not bestowed on a false claimant. Indeed before the Holy Prophet(saw) no true Prophet had shown this high example of perfection that on the one side the Book of God should be completed in peace and on the other side the training of people should be perfected and the disbelieving people should be defeated in every direction and Islam should be victorious on every side. At another place it is said: When the help of Allah comes, and the victory, and those seest men entering the religion of Allah in troops, glorify they Lord, with His praise, and seek forgiveness of Him. Surely He is Oft Returning with compassion. (Ch.110:Vs.2-4) This means that the succour and victory that had been promised 12 THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) AND THE HOLY WORD OF GOD The Review of Religions – April 2006 having come and you having seen, O Prophet, that people are entering into Islam in great hosts, then praise and glorify God, that is to say, confess that whatever has happened was not your doing but was the grace and beneficence of Allah, and supplicate Allah in final Istighfar for He is Oft-Returning with compassion. When Prophets are urged to Istighfar, it is wrong to conclude that this means that they have to seek forgiveness like sinful people. In their case, it is a confession of their nothingness and humility and weakness and is a respectful way of seeking help. As these verses affirm that the purpose of the advent of the Holy Prophet(saw) had been fulfilled, that is to say, thousands of people had accepted Islam and this was an indication of the approaching death of the Holy Prophet(saw) – he died within a year of the receipt of this revelation – it was natural that as these verses had given pleasure to the Holy Prophet(saw) he should also be concerned that the garden having been planted, what about its future irrigation? So God Almighty, in order to remove this concern of the Holy Prophet(saw) urged him to Istighfar. The meaning of maghfirat is so to cover up a person that he should be safeguarded against calamities. Thus, mighfar means a helmet. Istighfar means that the calamity that is feared or the sin that is apprehended, may be covered up and stopped from becoming manifest. In this case it was to convey reassurance to the Holy Prophet(saw) that he should not grieve over the faith, that God Almighty would not let it be destroyed and would ever turn to it in mercy and hold back the misfortunes which could follow upon some weakness. (Nur-ul-Qur’an, No. I, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 9 pp. 333-356] It is a clear proof of the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet(saw) and of the truth of the Holy Qur’an, that the Holy Prophet(saw) was sent into the world when by its circumstances, it was demanding a grand 13 THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) AND THE HOLY WORD OF GOD The Review of Religions – April 2006 Reformer and that he did not die, nor was he killed, till he had established the truth upon the earth. When he appeared as a Prophet, he at once proved his need by the world and condemned every people for their paganism, unrighteousness and wrong-doing. The Holy Qur’an is full of such admonition, for instance: Blessed is He Who sent down the Discrimination to His servant that he may be a Warner to all the worlds. (Ch.25:V.2) Blessed is He Who has sent down the Holy Qur’an to His servant that he may be a Warner to all the peoples; that is to say, he was to warn them of their false doctrines and their going astray. This verse is proof, and the Qur’an claims, that the Holy Prophet(saw) appeared at a time when the whole world and all the people had been corrupted; and his opponents have accepted this claim not only by their silence, but also by their confession. It follows that the Holy Prophet(saw) had come at a time when a true and perfect Prophet should have appeared. Then when we consider the time at which he was called back, we find that the Qur’an is explicit that he was called back when he had completed his task. He was called back after the verse was revealed that the code of teaching for the Muslims had been perfected and all that had to be revealed in that context had been revealed. Not only this, but it was announced that the support of God Almighty had also been perfected and that people in large numbers had accepted Islam. It was also revealed that God had filled their hearts with faith and righteousness and had made them averse to disobedience and vice. They had acquired good morals and a great change had taken place in their morals, conduct and souls. Then was revealed the Surah Al- Nasr, the purport of which is that all the purposes of Prophethood had been fulfilled and Islam had 14 THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) AND THE HOLY WORD OF GOD The Review of Religions – April 2006 15 THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) AND THE HOLY WORD OF GOD The Review of Religions – April 2006 achieved a victory over peoples’ hearts. The Holy Prophet(saw) announced that this Surah indicated the approach of his death. He then performed the Pilgrimage and called it the Farewell Pilgrimage, in which he delivered a long address from the back of a camel and called upon the people to bear witness that he had conveyed to them all the commandments which he had been commissioned to announce to them. Every one confirmed in a loud voice that he had conveyed everything to them. The Holy Prophet(saw) then pointed to heaven and said three times: Bear witness, O Allah. He then said that he had admonished them at length as he might not be with them in the following year. He then returned to Madinah and died the following year. Send down on him Thy blessings and peace, O Allah. All these indications are given in the Qur’an and are confirmed by the history of Islam. Can any Christian, Jew or Arya put forward the instance of any of their Reformers whose advent was at the time of great need, and whose departing was after the fulfilment of that need, and whose opponents bore witness to their own unrighteousness and misconduct? I know that no one outside Islam can offer this proof. It is obvious that Moses(as) was sent for the destruction of Pharaoh, and to rescue his people from his tyranny, and to guide them along the right path. He was not concerned with the corruption of the world. It is true that he rescued his people from the tyranny of Pharaoh, but he could not rescue them from Satan, nor was he able to lead them into the promised land. The children of Israel were not able to purify themselves at his hands and repeatedly fell into disobedience, till Moses(as) died while they were still in that condition. So far as the disciples of Jesus(as) are concerned, the Gospel bears witness to their condition; no further explanation is needed. Nor is it a matter unknown, as to how little Jesus(as) was able to guide the Jews for whose 16 THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) AND THE HOLY WORD OF GOD The Review of Religions – April 2006 guidance he had been sent as a Prophet. If the Prophethood of Jesus(as) were to be judged by this measure, one would be compelled to affirm that it is in no way established by this standard. (Nur-ul-Qur’an, No. I, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 9, pp. 358-369) The Holy Prophet(saw) was raised at a time when the whole world was involved in paganism, misguidance and creature worship and all peoples had abandoned true doctrines and forgetting the straight path, every group was following its own innovations. Idol worship was rife in Arabia, Persia was committed to fire worship, in India in addition to idol worship, creature worship of diverse types was widespread. Many books had been written, whereby scores of human beings had been deified, and the foundation of Avatar worship had been laid. According to Rev. Mr. Bourt and several English writers, no religion had been so corrupted as the Christian religion and it had fallen into serious disrepute on account of the misconduct and wrong doctrines of its ministers of religion. In Christian doctrine not one or two persons, but several objects had been deified. The advent of the Holy Prophet(saw) at this time of general misguidance, when the circum- stances demanded an exalted Reformer and there was great need of Divine guidance, and his illumining a whole world with the Unity of God and righteous conduct and his putting an end to paganism and creature worship, which is the mother of all ills, are clear proof that he was a true Messenger of God and was superior to all Messengers. His truth is established by the fact that in that age of general misguidance, the law of nature and the way of God demanded a true Guide. It is the eternal law of the Lord of the worlds that when some type of suffering reaches its climax in the world, Divine mercy addresses itself to its removal. When through a prolonged drought people are faced with extinction through famine, God, 17 THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) AND THE HOLY WORD OF GOD The Review of Religions – April 2006 the Compassionate, sends down rain. When hundreds and thousands of people begin to die of an epidemic, the air is cleansed by some means or some remedy becomes available. When a people is caught in the wiles of a tyrant, a just and compassionate ruler appears. In the same way; when people forget the way of God and abandon His Unity and worship, God Almighty, having bestowed perfect insight upon a servant and having honoured him with His word, sends him for the guidance of mankind so that he should reform the corruption that had set in. The truth of the matter is that Providence, Who sustains the world and supports its existence, does not hold back or suspend any of His attributes of beneficence. Every one of His attributes manifests itself on its proper occasion. As it is established by sane reason, that to overcome every calamity, the relevant attribute of God Almighty manifests itself and it has been established by history, and by the confession of opponents, and by the clear affirmation of the Holy Qur’an, that at the time of the advent of the Holy Prophet(saw) this calamity was at its height, that all the peoples of the world had abandoned the straight path of the Unity of God and all sincerity, and of Divine worship, and it is known to every one that it was the Holy Prophet(saw) alone and no one else, who reformed that corruption and rescuing a world from the darkness of paganism and creature worship, established it on the Unity of God, then it follows inevitably that he was a true Guide from God Almighty. The Qur’an has set forth this argument in the following verses: By Allah, We did send Messengers to the peoples before thee; but Satan made their works appear beautiful to them. So he is their patron this day and they shall have a grievious punishment. And We have not sent down to thee the Book except that thou mayest explain to them that 18 THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) AND THE HOLY WORD OF GOD The Review of Religions – April 2006 concerning which they differ and as a guidance, and a mercy for a people who believe. And Allah has sent down water from the sky, and has quickened therewith the earth after its death. Surely, in that is a Sign for a people who would believe. (Ch.16.Vs.64-66) We call attention to the fact that the three elements that we had mentioned which lead to the conclusion that the Holy Prophet(saw) was a true guide, are mentioned in an excellent manner in these verses. First the hearts of the misguided ones, who had been caught in error over centuries are likened to a dry and dead land, and the Divine word is described as the rain which comes from heaven, and an indication is given of the eternal law that in case of drought Divine mercy always rescues mankind from destruction. It is indicated that this law of nature is not confined to material water, but that spiritual water also certainly descends at a time of hardship, that is to say, when misguidance becomes general. In such circumstances, Divine mercy comes into play for certain to overcome the calamity that affects the hearts. Then these verses point to the second element that the whole earth had been corrupted before the advent of the Holy Prophet(saw) and finally a reference is made to the fact that those spiritually dead had been revived through this Holy Word of God. The conclusion is that this is a sign of the truth of this Book and seekers after truth are invited to conclude that the Holy Qur’an is the Book of God. As this argument establishes the truth of the Holy Prophet(saw) it also establishes his superiority over the other Prophets, inasmuch as the Holy Prophet(saw) had to contend against the whole world and the task that was committed to him was in truth the work of a thousand or two thousand Prophets. (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1 pp. 112-116, footnote 10) 19 THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) AND THE HOLY WORD OF GOD The Review of Religions – April 2006 The time of the advent of the Holy Prophet(saw) needed a grand Divine Reformer and heavenly guide, and the teaching that he set forth was true and was greatly needed and comprised everything that fulfilled the needs of the time. That teaching was so effective that it pulled hundreds of thousands of hearts to the truth and impressed on hundreds of thousands of minds the creed that: ‘There was none worthy of Worship save Allah.’ He fulfilled the ultimate purpose of Prophethood, that is to say, teaching the principles of salvation so perfectly that no other Prophet was able to fulfill it to such perfection in any age. These facts compel one to bear eager witness that the Holy Prophet(saw) was a true guide from God. There is no remedy for a person who denies out of bigotry and obstinacy even if he repudiates God, but all these signs of righteousness and truth which are combined so perfectly in the Holy Prophet(saw) cannot be established in the case of any other Prophet, not even in the case of one of them. (Barahin-e- Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1 pp. 112-114) Our Holy Prophet(saw) was a great Reformer for the proclamation of truth, and restored to the world the truth that had been lost. No Prophet shares with him the pride that he found the whole world in darkness and by his appearance that darkness was converted into light. He did not die till the people among whom he had appeared had cast aside the garment of paganism and had put on the robe of the Unity of God. Not only this, but also they achieved high grades of faith and performed such works of righteousness, and fidelity and certainty which are not matched in any part of the world. Such success was not achieved by any Prophet other than the Holy Prophet(sa). It is a strong argument in support of the truth of the Holy 20 THE HOLY PROPHET(SAW) AND THE HOLY WORD OF GOD The Review of Religions – April 2006 Prophet(saw) that he was raised in an age when the world had fallen into deep darkness and called for a grand Reformer. He departed the world at a time when hundreds of thousands of people had abandoned paganism and idol worship and had adopted the Unity of God and the straight path. Such perfect reform was particular to him that he taught a people who were at the level of animals, the ways of humanity. In other words, he converted wild beasts into men, and then turned them into educated men, and then made them men of God, and breathed spirituality into them and created a relationship between them and the True God. They were slaughtered like sheep in the cause of God and were trodden underfoot like ants, but they did not abandon their faith, and marched forward in the face of every calamity. Doubtless, the Holy Prophet(saw) was a second Adam and indeed was the true Adam for the establishment of spirituality through whom all human excellences arrived at their perfection, and all good faculties were devoted to their proper task and no branch of human nature was left barren. Prophethood ended with him not only because he was the last Prophet in point of time, but also because all the excellences of Prophethood reached their climax in him. As he was a perfect manifestation of Divine attributes, his law had the qualities both of majesty and beauty. That is why he was named both Muhammad and Ahmad(sa); and there was no miserliness in his Prophethood it was for the benefit of the whole world since the beginning. (Lecture Sialkot, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 20, pp. 206-207)