Wars and Battles

Comment

Review of Religions: Oct/Nov 20012 Much has already been and continues to be written about the 11th September terrorist attack in America. By the time we go to print, opinions would have changed at about the same dynamic pace as subsequent events unfold before the world. A s things stand today, it is quite obvious that we are in the throes of a spiral and that whatever emerges from it would be a changed world. Lest we be misunderstood, let us make it quite clear that we condemn this heinous act. No matter who committed it, it was a monstrous act of evil that took the cycle of violence to a different level. Meanwhile, while the world grapples with a definition of terrorism, there are some signs that the Western media has begun to at last understand that the teachings of Islam do not promote violence and terrorism. The words ‘Islamic terrorism’ a n d ‘Islamic Jihad’ have begun to be challenged by many learned people and have begun to be understood as completely different words. Ahundred years before the September terrorist strike in America, the Founder of this magazine and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam A h m a d( a s ) of Qadian, told Muslims that their ill-conceived concept of Jihad as a holy war against the infidels was incorrect. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam A h m a d( a s ) who claimed that he was the Promised Messiah and the Reformer of the Age explained that killing some innocent lady and her mother waiting at a railway station was no Jihad, However, his contemporaries declared him a heretic and a d i s b e l i e v e r. These clerics awaited a bloody Messiah who would march Muslim armies against the Jews and Christians and engage in a war. These clerics then went around and taught their followers that the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam had denied Jihad and was thus a non-Muslim. A c c o r d i n g to them, without Jihad, Islam could not spread. Nonetheless, the Ahmadiyya Community stuck to its principles. The community was ostracised by the followers of these misguided clerics and became a victim of their violence. Armed gunmen invaded Ahmadiyya mosques in Pakistan and mercilessly massacred those who had assembled to observe their obligatory prayers, not once but several times. Neither the media nor the politicians in the East or West batted an eyelid. The Ahmadiyya Muslim community had put almost all its resources to publishing translations of the Holy Qur’an into many languages and sent missionaries to various countries to spread the message of Islam. By winning the hearts of the world towards the inner beauty of Islam, it had begun to find new members. Soon these efforts began to pay rich dividends and conversions began to take place at a dynamic pace. Just last year alone, more than eighty million new members embraced the community’s teachings of Islam. Eighty million is no small number. No other religious group has this level of conversion. This conversion took place without the sword. The clerics on the other hand could render no explanation for this dynamic growth to their followers. The Messiah had returned and had won the hearts of the Christians and Jews without shedding a drop of blood. Today, those same followers who followed their Medieval-minded clerics blindly have begun to understand that giving currency to the use of force cannot bring about the spread of Islam. T h e terrorising of bystanders and the killing of innocent people cannot be Jihad no matter how noble the cause. Suicidal acts designed to cause the maximum loss of life amongst non-combatants is unjustified and cannot be tossed into the lap of a religion, least of all a universal religion such as Islam. What Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) and his successors continuously warned against has today established itself as a sad and bloody reality. However, there is a ray of hope. All those who have contributed to the atmosphere of violence, betrayal and their personal rigid interpretations of doctrine should stop asking for belligerent action in the name of faith and get back to the roots of their faith which promote peace and tolerance. The US-led reaction to this evil and their response to other evils will determine whether justice prevails or this cycle is promoted to a further level or halted once for all. One can only hope. Editorial