It’s clear that conflict is increasing all over the world, and that the threat of war – or nuclear deployment – looms over the world. And while some people blame Islam for the increasing conflict, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, Khalifatul Masih V and worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, points out that true Islam states that Allah provides not just for Muslims, but for those who follow other religions or who follow no religion at all. Moreover, Islam was first in promoting true human rights: declaring all people are equal.
And indeed, if we look at the threat of nuclear war, we see that it is non-Muslim countries – not Muslim ones – who are in control of these weapons and who manufacture the arms that lead to the destruction we see in the world today. In this historic speech delivered in Germany in August 2017, His Holiness outlines the only way to achieve a lasting peace in an increasingly chaotic world.
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz and Bismillah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba said:
‘All distinguished guests, Assalamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahe Wa Barakatohu – peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all.
There is no doubt that we are passing through extremely precarious and turbulent times. If we take even a cursory glance at today’s world, in almost every direction, we are witnessing increasing conflict, hostility and restlessness. Whilst much of the world seems to have reached the definitive conclusion that Islam is to blame for the volatile state of the world, I do not think it is accurate to say that Muslims alone are stoking the flames of disorder that are burning across the world.
Nonetheless, it is a cause of deep sorrow that some so-called Muslims and Muslim groups have persistently eroded the world’s peace and have heightened tensions and fears amongst non-Muslim communities, by spreading hatred and undertaking the most heinous atrocities. Certainly, I personally have no hesitation in accepting the fact that such Muslims have played a very significant role in fuelling disorder and sparking division within society.
A major cause of this has been the fact that extremist Muslim groups or clerics have preyed upon vulnerable Muslims, and rather than guiding and helping these frustrated and misguided people, they have poisoned their minds with extremism and radicalised them. Tragically, some have been brainwashed to such an extent that they have carried out horrific terrorist atrocities, whilst others who may not have conducted attacks, share a similar wicked ideology. In a similar vein, we have long seen that some Muslim governments are mistreating their people and have inflicted untold cruelties and injustices upon them, which has bred division and led to uprisings and bloody civil wars.
Nevertheless, let it be crystal clear that no matter what the extremists claim, all terrorist and extremist acts, whether conducted by groups or by radicalised individuals, both in the Western world and in Muslim countries, run entirely contrary to the true teachings of Islam. Without a shadow of doubt, Islam’s teachings are a guarantor for peace and security for all mankind. Its teachings are rooted in compassion, mercy and humanity and it is these true Islamic values that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has endlessly emphasised and endeavoured to spread across the world for more than 125 years.
Hence, let me say again that under no circumstances does Islam permit any form of cruelty, injustice or wrongdoing. From the very outset, Islam’s teachings are those that seek to unite mankind, rather than to drive a wedge between the people of different communities. Indeed, the very first chapter of the Holy Qur’an, which Muslims believe to be the Word of God revealed to the Founder of Islam (peace be upon him), states that Allah the Almighty is the “Lord of all the worlds.” As such, Allah the Almighty is the God not only of Muslims, but is also the God of Christians, Jews and the people of all faiths and indeed the people who hold no faith and do not even believe in His existence. Thus, Allah is the ultimate Provider and Sustainer for all of mankind and He has showered his grace and mercy upon all people, no matter their caste, creed or colour.
The Arabic words used in the Qur’an are, (Rabbil Aalameen),wherein Allah the Almighty has used the word “Aalam”, which has been translated into English as “worlds”. However, no translation can reflect the true scope of the word “Aalam”, which is incredibly vast and far reaching. By using this word, Allah the Almighty has made it clear that He is not just the Provider and Sustainer for people of certain religions or for particular eras, rather He is Creator and Nourisher of the people of all nations, of all beliefs and for all times. These words are filled with unparalleled beauty and great wisdom, wherein they have enshrined the sanctity of the principle of universal equality and made it clear that there is no place in the world for any form of racial or national superiority. These words make it clear that Allah’s blessings and favours are not limited to any particular race or ethnicity, but rather are bestowed indiscriminately.
Whilst these are Islam’s true teachings, it is a cause of regret that racism and bigotry remain prevalent in the world. Indeed, amongst the very people who allege that Islam discriminates against non-Muslims, are individuals who themselves are guilty of what they falsely charge Islam with. For example, recently an American politician stated that white people had contributed far more to human civilisation than other races, such as black people or Asians, whilst it was also reported that another senior American policymaker has stated his belief that white people were “genetically superior” to others. Such extremist views can only fuel resentment and despair amongst the people of other races and ethnicities.
In complete contrast, Islam proclaims that all people are born equal, no matter where they hail from or the colour of their skin. It teaches that no race is superior to another, nor are the people of any particular descent more gifted than others and that Allah is the Provider for all of mankind. Whilst it is true that how far a person progresses in life is dependent upon his surroundings and his personal effort, the basic faculties granted to mankind remain the same and are not defined by geography or race. Indeed, over 1400 years ago, in what came to be known as the Farewell Sermon, offered after his final Hajj, the Holy Prophet of Islamsa addressed this very subject as he gave a momentous speech that laid the foundations for world peace.
In words that were as timeless as they were enlightened, he proclaimed that all people were born equal and that a white person was not superior to a black and nor was a black person superior to a white. Similarly, he said that an Arab could not claim superiority over a non-Arab and nor could a non-Arab claim superiority over an Arab. Brandishing an eternal torch illuminating the path towards universal human rights, the Holy Prophetsa pronounced that all human beings were born equal and had the same rights. Certainly, as we now live in a time when Islam is so misunderstood, it is very important to reiterate this enlightened principle that proves that Islam is against all forms of discrimination and prejudice.
It is not only in our physical and mental attributes that Allah has made us equal, but rather we believe that for the sake of our spiritual well-being and development, Allah has also provided the means of salvation and guidance to all peoples of the world. In religious terms, Islam says that prophets have been sent by God Almighty to all nations and Muslims are commanded to respect and honour them all. Thus, we hold the Founders of all religions in great esteem and can never contemplate speaking against any of them. Indeed, true Muslims will refrain from speaking ill about any prophet or saintly figure, even as those who are against Islam choose to mock, curse and vilify the Prophet of Islamsa.
No doubt, when we hear others unjustly malign our beloved Prophetsa, it causes us intense distress and grievously wounds our hearts, yet we will never react by disrespecting the prophets or saintly figures of other religions and beliefs. In the face of hate and adversity, it is our faith which compels us to respond with love and to manifest peace at all times. Indeed, Islam does not just say that Muslims should not speak against other religions or prophets, rather it goes so far as to say, in chapter 6, verse 109 of the Holy Qur’an, that Muslims should not even speak against the idols worshipped by idolaters, because it could provoke them, out of their ignorance, to then curse God Almighty and certainly this would offend and injure the sentiments of Muslims.
Consequently, rather than permit a cycle of perpetual hatred, leading invariably to hostilities and conflict, the Qur’an calls on Muslims to show patience and to take the higher moral ground at all times. Furthermore, chapter 3, verse 65 of the Holy Qur’an lays the foundation for religious tolerance amongst the people of all faiths and beliefs, where it states that religious people, and especially the People of the Book, should join together and unite over their collective belief in the existence of God. Thus, the Qur’an calls on mankind to look for common ground and to set aside any differences that may exist. Here, the Qur’an also states that, whilst it is up to non-Muslims to decide whether they wish to follow this injunction, Muslims are duty-bound, no matter what, to open their hearts and to respect the beliefs of others.
Another allegation often levelled at Islam is that it is permits compulsion and aggression in order to force people to accept Islam. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, in chapter 2, verse 257, the Holy Qur’an has unconditionally declared there should be no compulsion in matters of religion or belief. Whilst Islam claims that the Holy Qur’an is a universal and complete teaching, an inherent feature of it is that religion is a matter of one’s heart and so no form of pressure can ever be used to coerce people into accepting it. Further, chapter 10, verse 100 of the Holy Qur’an, states that whilst Allah the Almighty had the power to compel mankind to accept Islam, He permitted free will and He desired for people to choose their own path independently and free from any form of duress.
Thus, the One God Who we worship is not cruel or nor does He demand that all mankind turn to Him; rather, He is that Supreme Being Who has stipulated that everyone is free to believe whatever they desire. This does not mean that Muslims should not preach their religion, on the contrary, Allah the Almighty has instructed Muslims to convey the message of Islam to others, but such preaching must be done peacefully and with a spirit of tolerance and mutual respect. Accordingly, in chapter, 18, verse 30 of the Holy Qur’an, it states that it is the task of Muslims to inform mankind that Islam is a truth from God Almighty and whoso wishes to accept or deny it is free to do so. It is with this spirit that we strive to peacefully propagate the true teachings of Islam and to invite mankind towards the recognition of God Almighty. We seek to win people’s hearts and minds through kindness and compassion.
Further, chapter 10, verse 26 of the Holy Qur’an states that:
“And Allah calls to the abode of peace…”.
Whilst reinforcing the point that all people are free to accept or reject the teachings of Islam, this verse also points out that Allah invites mankind towards peace and security. Hence, when Allah calls mankind to the abode of peace, it is imperative that Muslims personally exhibit peace and are the means of security for all humanity.
Thus, I have quoted a number of passages of the Holy Qur’an that entirely refute the notion that Islam, God forbid, is a religion that seizes the rights of non-Muslims or is a means of destroying the peace and well-being of a society. Leading on from this, chapter 28, verse 58 of the Qur’an manifests the fact that true Islam has always been propagated peacefully and this is not something new that we are claiming. The verse refers to those people who received Islam’s message during the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa, but chose to reject it. It states that their objectives were material rather than spiritual and so they themselves admitted that the reason they did not accept Islam was because they feared they would be banished from their lands and boycotted by their own people. They were fearful, not of the Muslims, as they had witnessed Islam’s benevolent teachings first-hand, rather they were consumed by the fear of their own rulers and people.
This attests to the fact that the Founder of Islamsa and his companions sought only to convey the message of Islam peacefully and never resorted to any form of aggression or intimidation in order to spread their faith. It proves that the Islam taught and practiced by the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa was not an extremist or violent teaching and that the non-Muslims were free to reject its teachings, without any fear of retribution. If they were fearful of anyone, it was their own non-Muslim leaders and tribes, who could not tolerate them accepting Islam’s teachings of peace.
Furthermore, let me share with you the unparalleled example of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa at the time of the
Victory of Makkah. Makkah was the hometown of the Prophet of Islamsa, but following his claim of being a prophet, he and his followers were subjected to thirteen years of merciless persecution and injustice from their own people. Muslims were killed, plundered and tortured and the Holy Prophetsa was himself attacked, as were his loved ones, and ultimately they were driven out of their homes and had to migrate. Yet when he returned victoriously to Makkah and the entire city was under his command, his first pronouncement was that no revenge would be taken from those who had brutally persecuted the Muslims in years gone by. At that moment of glorious triumph, the Holy Prophetsa exhibited supreme humility and forbearance, by declaring that, in accordance with Islam’s peaceful teachings, all those who had tormented the Muslims were to be instantly forgiven.
In light of all that I have presented, it is my ardent hope and prayer that, instead of making rash judgements and branding Islam as a religion of violence and cruelty based upon hearsay, people use their intelligence, look at the facts and reflect honestly upon what Islam represents. Only then will they appreciate for themselves that the hateful acts conducted in Islam’s name in recent years have nothing to do with its original teachings. It is quite unfair to blame Islam, or any other religion, for the sins of those who act against the original teachings of their religion. For example, most of the weapons being produced in the world today are made in countries that are predominantly Christian, and such weapons are being used to kill and maim innocent people in different parts of the world and are fuelling brutal conflicts. Does this mean that Christianity is inherently evil and to blame for the world’s horrific arms race? Of course not.
Moving on, I mentioned at the outset that I do not believe it is only Muslims who are contributing to the disorder prevalent in the world, and so permit me to elaborate upon this a little further. We are all well aware of the horrifying consequences of the two World Wars that took place during the 20th Century, where millions and millions of people were killed and the lives of countless others were destroyed. Those World Wars proved to be a dark stain in the world’s history, and yet it is a source of deep regret that the world has not learnt from its past mistakes and instead mankind is again sinking ever deeper into a terrifying abyss.
Rather than striving for peace through dialogue, understanding and mutual respect, world powers have sought peace through intimidation and fear, by developing weapons with the potential for destroying the world many times over. In spite of being witness to the unprecedented torment and utter devastation caused by America’s use of nuclear weapons against Japan during World War Two, a number of countries, including America, have continued to develop ever more powerful atomic weapons without pause for thought to the chilling consequences.
Of the nine countries that have acquired nuclear weapons, only one – Pakistan – is a Muslim nation. Hence it cannot be said that the Muslim world is the centre of these deadly weapons that constitute the greatest threat to the well-being of mankind. Furthermore, and as I said earlier, the vast majority of weapons present in Muslim countries have been produced in the non-Muslim world. Naturally, the question arises as to why, on the one hand, non-Muslims nations are calling for peace in the Muslim world, but on the other hand, are fuelling the very wars and conflicts that they condemn? Whilst occasionally there have been positive measures or policies taken by certain governments or institutions, that have had the potential for good, sadly such policies have been drowned out. Instead, the defining characteristic of the world’s efforts to ensure peace over the past seventy or more years, has been intimidation and scare tactics, whereby nations have sought peace through the development of ever more deadly weapons.
No matter what is claimed, the truth is that such measures cannot bring about long-lasting peace and there is every chance that one day someone will press the button unleashing carnage and misery like the world has never seen before. Thus, rather than peace-building through the so-called “deterrent model”, we, Ahmadi Muslims, believe that there is only one path leading towards lasting peace – and that is the path of God Almighty.
The time has come for mankind to recognise its Creator and to accept that God Almighty is indeed the Lord of all the Worlds, Who sustains us, provides for us and is our ultimate Creator. In return for His endless favours upon us, is it not His right that we turn to Him, bow down before Him and seek His nearness? As long as the world continues to prioritise material wealth and power, we will not see true peace in the world. Certainly, it is this overriding desire to usurp the rights of others for personal gain that has fuelled the conflicts that have spread across the world.
Very recently, a renowned elderly American politician stated that it would not be in the interests of the United States for the terrorist group Daesh to be entirely eliminated from Syria; rather, it would be beneficial to the West if some lingering presence of this evil group remained. This is the type of logic that a wise and peaceful person can never comprehend or countenance. On the one hand, the Western world calls on Muslim nations to stop all forms of terrorism and to adopt peace, but on the other hand, there are elements amongst them who fear that peace in the Muslim world will diminish their own power and dominance. This is hypocritical and such twisted ideologies can only serve to destabilise the world.
Further, as I have already alluded to, Western countries and arms producers have a vested business interest in maintaining a degree of conflict in Muslim countries. Such one-eyed policies and selfish motivations are entirely regretful and can only prove a means of destroying the peace of the world. In stark contrast, Islam’s teachings are those that seek to establish peace at every level of society and our religion has made it clear that the key to peace is true justice. Fairness and equity are the cornerstones to peace, to the extent that Islam has said that a person or nation must be ready to testify against themselves in order to uphold the truth and for justice to prevail. Thus, true peace cannot be established, be it in a person’s home, in a town or city, in a nation or at an international level, until there is justice.
Moving on, in answer to those who ask why wars were fought in early Islam, let me briefly explain. In chapter 22, verses 40 and 41 of the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Almighty gave permission to the early Muslims to fight a defensive war for the first time. However, these verses make it clear that permission was not granted so that Islam could dominate or conquer territory, rather Allah gave permission in order to quell disorder and cruelty and in order to forever enshrine the principle of universal freedom of belief. Thus, in verse 41, even before Muslims have been told to defend mosques, they have been instructed to protect churches, temples, synagogues and the places of worship of all religions. Furthermore, chapter 2, verse 194 of the Holy Qur’an makes it clear that even where a defensive war is permitted, it must remain proportionate and its purpose is always to bring an end to cruelty, persecution and oppression.
Once conditions have improved and people are able to live peacefully, then the war must be brought to an immediate halt. Furthermore, the verse states that during wars, only the aggressors should be targeted or taken prisoner, and innocent people must be safeguarded and that there is no room for collateral damage, as we tragically see in the wars fought today. Wherever Islam has sanctioned any type of force, it is done in order to stop the hand of the oppressor and never as a means of conquest or aggression. The very notion of provoking others and inciting disorder is something that Islam takes extremely seriously and that is why the Holy Qur’an says that such incitement, which seeks to create and ferment hatred between peoples and nations, was an even greater crime than murder.
The truth is that Islam’s teachings are those that seek to bridge the differences that exist between people and to unite society under an umbrella of peace, love and harmony. Indeed, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa taught that a true Muslim is he from whose mouth and hands all other people are safe. Hence, to unnecessarily cause others any pain or grief, no matter of what scale, is a sin and opposed to Islam.
In conclusion, I reiterate that Islam’s teachings are entirely peaceful and are a means of security for all people, from all walks of life.
There is no need to fear true Islam and so I hope you will agree with me that those who brand Islam as a violent or intolerant religion are themselves guilty of a great injustice.
With these words, I thank you all for taking the time to attend our Jalsa Salana and to listen to what I have said.
May Allah bless you all. Thank you very much.’