“Nothing now is left with the Mirzais after the demise of [Hadhrat] Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The Movement has lost its head, and the person, who has become the head, only knows the Holy Qur’an and he will only be reading and lecturing on the Holy Qur’an in the mosque.” (Quoted from The Way of the Righteous, S. H. Ahmad, p122, 1908)
I am reminded of the precarious condition of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at immediately after the demise of Hadhrat Ahmad, the Promised Messiah(as). Indeed, those were critical days when hearts and minds were sorely tested in ways we can hardly imagine as the architect, engineer and captain of the Holy Ark known as the Ahmadiyya Jama’at had passed on and left a sudden void of leadership. This situation led Mirza Hairat, the editor of the Curzon Gazette, to make the bold prediction quoted above. With obvious satisfaction and anticipation, he felt that Jama’at Ahmadiyya was destined to fall apart and doomed to fail because now at the helm of the ship was an elderly man, Hadhrat Maulawi Haakim Nur-ud-Din(ra), whose sole passion, interest and ability was to teach the Holy Qur’an.
What a gross error of judgment of the character and ability of Hadhrat Maulawi Nur-ud-Din(ra) and what a poor assessment of the value of God’s Word, the Holy Qur’an. The fact is, as revealed to the Promised Messiah(as)“all good is in the Qur’an”, everything we need – every bounty and every blessing, every source of help, strength and guidance and every means of progress and success – is in the Holy Qur’an. This is exactly what the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) believed and relied upon from the beginning of his prophethood. He would inform people:
…‘I am only a man like yourselves, but I have received the revelation… (Ch.18:V.111)
In other words, the one great distinction that separated him from everyone else was being the direct recipient of the Holy Qur’an; he practised, preached and as his beloved consort, Hadhrat ‘A`ishah(ra) would say, “his character was the Qur’an”, he embodied it.
The very first word of the Qur’anic revelation was a powerful and profound command, “Iqra’…”, meaning, read, recite, compile and convey. The word “Qur’an” is derived from the same Arabic root. Thus the first word and command of the Holy Qur’an indicated the purpose of its revelation, and the plan by which the religion of Islam would spread in the world. The faith would spread in a twofold manner: one, by men and women reciting and reading the Holy Qur’an and relaying its message to others, and two, by writing implements such as the pen and similar inventions to compile the scripture into a book and distribute and convey it far and wide. Allah says:
Convey! And thy Lord is Most Generous, Who taught man by the pen, taught man what he knew not. (Ch.96:Vs.4–6)
Nowadays there are so many new devices to communicate and convey information, that the rapid advancement in this field boggles the mind. There are small, pocket-sized gadgets, like PDAs, MP3 players, IPods and Kindle, to download, store and access unbelievable amounts of digitised material; easily allowing one to put the entire text of the Holy Qur’an on these devices if so desired. You can imagine what people would have thought if the Holy Prophet(saw) had pulled one of these devices from his pocket and stated that it will transmit all of his revelations and oral traditions in a human voice or a book format to places around the world!
They may have thought it was sheer madness. But looking back, we smile and laugh at their complete ignorance. When God says, ‘Be!’ the means are created to bring that command into being. These devices, as well as the internet, computers, fax machines, radios, televisions, satellite systems, telephones and mobile phones have not been created just to educate, communicate and stimulate the human mind through music, movies and games. No, the development of these machines, technologies and systems is part of the Divine scheme to enable the beautiful message of the Holy Qur’an to easily reach every habitation, every home and every human heart. It also fulfils a Qur’anic prophecy that during the Latter Days, in the time of the Promised Messiah, means will be created to spread books and knowledge extensively, especially the Book of God and the knowledge of Islam. Allah says,
And when books are spread abroad. (Ch.81:V.11)
Therefore, every time we use or see this modern technology, we are literally seeing the manifestation of God’s command and the fulfilment of a Qur’anic prophecy. Regarding the spread of the Holy Qur’an and other literature, the Promised Messiah(as) has said:
‘It has been disclosed to me that this word “Qur’an” carries in itself a great prediction. This “Qur’an” is really the only Book worth studying, and in the future it shall be read very widely and many other books shall also be read in its accompaniment.’
Stepping back in time, during the era of the early history of Islam, allows us to review how this blessed scripture reached us prior to this age of technology. That was a time when things were written on leather, bark of tree and rough parchment, and high literacy was uncommon and even the Holy Prophet(saw) as we know could not read or write. So it was the human voice that was the main mode of communication and the Arabs took great pride in their poets and storytellers. But none of their compositions could compete with the inherent beauty and magnetic appeal of the Holy Qur’an. After listening to a few verses of the Holy Qur’an for the first time, Khalid ibn ‘Uqbah became totally captivated and said,
“I swear by God that this text has a sweetness of its own and a unique freshness. Its roots are well-watered and its branches are laden with fruits. No man can ever compose anything like it.”
Lubaid Amiri, a famous Arab poet of the time, concurred. When on one occasion Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) requested him to read out some of his poetry, he said, “since I have come to know the Holy Qur’an, I have lost all taste for my own poetry.”
Nothing could challenge the majesty and appeal of the Holy Qur’an in that era of classical Arabic, the purest and finest form of the language. It was inimitable. One of the false prophets, who appeared during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet(saw) was named Musailimah. He claimed that an angel named Rahman brought him revelation. After his death in a battle which he waged against the Muslims, Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra), wanted to know what prompted people to give him allegiance. So he enquired from his followers about his main teachings. They said, “here is a sample of his revelation”, and then recited,
“O frog! Holy are you, for you do not prevent the drinker, nor do you make the water dirty. Half the world belongs to us and the other half to the Qur’aish. But the Qur’aish are a cruel people.”
Appalled and astonished at hearing this recitation, Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) commented,
“Holy is Allah! You are to be pitied. Is this the Divine Word? It lacks the sublime nature of Divinity. To what depths had he dragged you?”
Accordingly, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) said:
‘If one carries out a research till the Day of Judgment, into the qualities and wonders of a fly, they would not come to an end. Then are not the wonders and qualities of the Holy Qur’an even as many as those of a fly? Without doubt those wonders are in excess of the total wonders of the whole of creation and to deny them would be to deny the Divine origin of the Holy Qur’an for there is nothing in the world which proceeds from God Almighty and does not comprise unlimited wonders.’ (Izalah-i-Auham; Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.3, pp.675-681)
‘How then could man’s word ever compete with the Word of God Who is the Lord of, Might and Power, while man is most insignificant and the difference between the two is ever apparent’;
‘Man cannot even create the leg of a tiny insect; how could it possibly be easy for him to create the Light of Truth?’ (Faza’il Qur’an Majeed, Durr-i-Sameen, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam(as), the Promised Messiah and Mahdi)
The comments of the Promised Messiah(as) and Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) should ring loud in the ears of those who would attempt to falsely claim to be a recipient of Divine revelation or to compose a book that supposedly rivals the Holy Qur’an in beauty, style, content and spiritual effect. No one can contest or challenge God’s true Holy Word. As Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad mentioned in a Friday Sermon, this applies particularly to the group of Arab evangelists who claim to have accepted the Holy Qur’an’s challenge and produced a book like it. Reading that book gives one the same sense of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) to pity them for thinking that their little flicker of human imagination can compare to the brilliant and radiant Word of the Lord and Light of Heavens and Earth.
The Promised Messiah(as) wrote in one Urdu couplet:
‘O Christians! Come this way; see the light of the True God, and find the true path.
Can you show us in the Gospels the numberless qualities present in the Qur’an?’ (Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.1, p.298)
The Holy Qur’an possesses beauties that go beyond its composition as well. The Holy Prophet(saw) once said that “he who does not recite the Holy Qur’an melodiously is not one of us.” (Abu Dawud). When recited in this manner, the Holy Qur’an immediately strikes a chord in the souls of pure-hearted listeners. Man is constructed from “dry-ringing clay” according to the Holy Qur’an. He is built to receive and respond to God’s Word, and whenever man hears the Holy Qur’an, the highly charged, spiritual vibrations of this blessed and holy word reverberate through every fibre of his being, rivet his attention, and reawaken his dormant spiritual senses. Owing to this, the Makkan leaders used to complain about Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) reciting the Holy Qur’an openly in his courtyard. He would weep loudly and would recite so passionately from the depth of his heart and soul that his voice readily attracted and affected the nearby women, children and weaker members of the society. To prevent him from further influencing people, they demanded that he “pray and recite the Holy Qur’an only inside his house.”
Nonetheless, through the sound of his soul-stirring recitations alone, Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) raised many dead souls to spiritual life and converted many individuals to Islam. Years later, his own daughter, Hadhrat Asma’(ra) would say that she accepted Islam on her own primarily from listening to her father’s passionate recitations at a tender young age. In Surah Al-Nur of the Holy Qur’an, the chapter of the Divine Light, Allah Almighty ordained to exalt those homes in which His name is remembered and His Book is recited and to fill them with His Light (Ch.24:V.37). The recitation of the Holy Qur’an by children is a source of tremendous blessings for parents too. The Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) said:
“Whoever recites the Holy Qur’an and acts according to its command, his parents would be more resplendent on the Day of Judgment than the brightness of the sun in any house in the world.” (Abu Da’ud)
What better way is there to return the inumerable favours and selfless service of parents than to adopt this course suggested by the Holy Prophet(saw) and earn heavenly blessings for them through the Holy Qur’an? The case of Hadhrat Maulawi Hakeem Nur-ud-Din(ra), the First Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, is interesting to note here. He used to say that he had heard the stirring recitation of his mother while in her womb and had imbibed the love of the Holy Qur’an while nursing her milk. Given his intense love and passion for the Holy Qur’an, it is no wonder that his life mirrored that of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) so much. While serving as the royal physician to the Raja of Jammu, India, Hadhrat Maulawi Nur-ud-Din(ra) used to sit with people and explain the verses of the Holy Qur’an so eloquently and so effectively that once a Hindu courtier pleaded, “Would someone stop Hakim Sahib from teaching the Holy Qur’an, or I will become a Muslim.” But that would have been like trying to stop the rain from falling from the sky. Praising Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih I(ra), the Promised Messiah(as) wrote:
‘The love, the devotion and the affection of the Holy Qur’an that is found in Hakeem Nur-ud-Din, I simply do not see in any other human being…he speaks of the truth and greatness of the Holy Qur’an, which no one else can express.’ (A’eena-i-Kamaalaat-i-Islam, pp.581–589)
The Holy Qur’an is capable of moving not only the tender hearts of women and children, but also the hardest, stoniest hearts of proud men. It can move mountains, as Allah says:
If we had sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, thou wouldst certainly have seen it humbled and rent asunder for fear of Allah. (Ch.59:V.22)
The pre-Islamic Arabs were an extremely proud people, unyielding to foreign influence and interference. How could a foreigner, whom they called and considered ‘ajnabi’ (inarticulate and unexpressive), ever earn their loyalty, respect and command? Anyone who challenged their authority or pagan ways was put to sword or flight. Jews lived amongst them and Christians dominated in surrounding lands, but neither the Torah nor the Bible ever swayed their minds and hearts. Yet, notwithstanding all of these daunting circumstances, when the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) started preaching to his people, the sublime and powerful message of the Holy Qur’an, it slowly conquered their minds and melted their hearts.
Examples of this abound in Islamic history, some of them well-known. Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra), a bold and fearless man, left his home in the morning determined to kill the Holy Prophet(saw) and returned back at night ready to die for him. Samamah ibn ‘Asal despised the Holy Prophet(saw) and detested going near Madinah. But in the brief span of two days, he went from being a bitter enemy of Islam to becoming one of the blessed Companions of the Holy Prophet(saw). Asad ibn Zararah, an influential chief of Madinah, one day planned to expel Masaab bin Umair, the first missionary of Islam, from the city. Yet a short time later he accepted Islam at his very hand. Jubair ibn Mut’im, a Makkan disbeliever, stood nearby casually and impassively observing the Holy Prophet(saw) offer Maghrib, sunset Prayer, but before the Prayer concluded he suddenly became so deeply impressed and overwhelmed by fear that he thought his heart would stop.
Even a neighbouring non-Arab king, Ashama Al-Najashi, the Christian Ruler of present day Ethiopia, turned a full 360 degrees from preparing to deport a delegation of Muslim refugees to granting them full asylum and publicly affirming their views about Jesus(as). In all of these cases, what was the common, decisive factor to produce these remarkable transformations? It was the first-hand and first-time experience of hearing the recitation of passages of the Holy Qur’an. The message of the Holy Qur’an was simply irresistible, even to men who have the greatest pride, passion and position.
The marvellous capacity of the Holy Qur’an to transform people unexpectedly and dramatically is not relegated just to the past. The legacy continues to this day in lands far distant from the place of its origin. One striking account was that of the British journalist, Yvonne Ridley. On an undercover assignment, she donned a Burqa and attempted to sneak into Afghanistan in 2001, only to be captured by the Taliban. Discussing her ordeal, she said, “I was horrible to my captors. I spat at them and was rude and refused to eat.” She was not going to be cowed into submission and silence like so many women in that nation. Fearing for her life, the world exhaled a collective sigh of relief when she gained freedom eleven days later only to gasp in complete surprise and shock when she announced after some time her conversion to Islam. What happened? How could a highly educated, Western woman of all people enter the stronghold of the Taliban with their penchant for extremism and oppression of women, endure captivity and return home to embrace Islam? Some surmised that she must be a victim of Stockholm’s Syndrome – the traumatic experiences cause her to identify and bond with her captors. No; she was competent and mentally balanced. But she was also determined to fulfil a solemn promise to one of the captors that she would read the Holy Qur’an upon her release and return home. Once she opened the Holy Book and poured over its pages, she realised from years of journalistic training on how to decipher information and find the facts that the Taliban’s treatment of women opposed the actual teachings of Islam and that the Holy Qur’an was in her own words, a “Magna Carta for women”. As a result, a hard-nosed female journalist and defiant prisoner of the Taliban became another loving daughter and vocal advocate of Islam. These are the miraculous changes that the Holy Qur’an continues to produce right before our eyes.
With testimonies such as this, who can dare say that the Holy Qur’an is not a grand and glorious Word of God? It is (al-Kitab) the Preserved Book; in fact, it is more than a single book as Allah says:
Therein are the lasting commandments. (Ch.98:V.4)
The Arabic word kutub means ‘books’ and signifies that the Holy Qur’an is a compilation of all the holy books that were scattered throughout the earth. One no longer has to travel far and wide in search of truth and wisdom. The Holy Qur’an contains everything that we need for our moral and spiritual advancement, including every beneficial, universal and eternal principle and precept from the earlier scriptures.
The Holy Qur’an is al-Nur, the Light, described as “Light upon light” (Ch.24:V.36) in the Holy Qur’an. It lifted the Arabs out of the darkness of ignorance and immorality and it continues to light the way for millions of souls around the world to safely tread along the Divine path. Centuries ago, it illuminated the way for Europe to come out of the Dark Ages to an era of Enlightenment and Moorish Muslims educated and inspired Columbus to launch his ships across the Atlantic Ocean and begin the European discovery, exploration and expansion into the New World of the Americas.
Cordoba was the capital of Muslim Spain, and the center for all light and learning in the entire Europe. It was the spark to ignite the scientific revolution which still brightly glows in the discoveries and inventions of today. As Dr. Abdus Salam, the Ahmadi Muslim Nobel Laureate in Physics explained, the Muslims excelled in science based on three premises. First,
“seven hundred and fifty verses of the Holy Qur’an – (almost one eighth of the Book) – exhort believers to study Nature, to reflect, to make the best use of reason in their search for the ultimate and to make the acquiring of knowledge and scientific comprehension part of the community’s life.”
“there is not a single verse in the Qur’an where natural phenomena are described which contradicts what we know for certain from our discoveries in sciences.”
“in Islamic history there has been no incident like that of Galileo.”
The Promised Messiah(as) writes:
‘The more progress and development there is in the physical sciences, the more beauties. and grandeur of the Qur’an shall also come to light.’ (Malfoozaat; Vol.1, p80)
The Holy Qur’an is al-Huda, the Guide, the perfect scripture that guides man to attain the highest ranks righteousness and the highest degree of God-consciousness, as it says:
…it is a guidance for the righteous. (Ch.2:V.3)
It takes him along the most straight and shortest path to God:
This Qur’an guides to the way which is straight. (Ch.21:V.107) or 5:19/17?
And to facilitate the journey, especially when we become worn and weary, it becomes a swift transport to carry us along the way so that we reach our destination safe and sound. What more could man ask and possibly need in terms of guidance?
The Holy Qur’an is al-Ni’mat, the Ultimate Favor, for it completes and perfects the favor of revealed laws and commands which God has graciously sent down to man. The Holy Prophet(saw) said that he was the last missing brick in the edifice of Divine Guidance, and shortly after delivering his famous Farewell Sermon during his Pilgrimage, he received this last revelation:
…This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion… (Ch.5:V.4)
Every religion, in essential teachings, is Islam, but none earned the honor and distinction of that name until the Holy Words of God came to completion in the revelation of the Holy Qur’an. Thus it is the greatest gift and favour from God.
The Holy Qur’an is also al-Mutahharah, the Purified, and is the source to purify and cleanse man of the dross and dirt of sin and transgression. Man has no need to resort to strange penances or rituals, and to rely upon a vicarious atonement to be freed from the bondage of sin. The Holy Qur’an opens the door to spiritual purification and redemption. Hadhrat Promised Messiah(as) has said:
‘The Holy Qur’an can purify man within a week, provided there is no attempt to get away from it in form or spirit.’ (Our Teaching, p26)
This statement gives mankind great hope and encouragement, and no one should feel surprised by it. I have already shared narrations of how the Holy Qur’an radically changed the lives of many individuals, sometimes by just a few verses in a matter of moments, and turned them into pure and pious souls.
By stating that “none shall touch it except the pure”, the Holy Qur’an emphasised the need of maintaining a clean heart, clean mind, and clean body to access its inner mysteries and verities. This revolutionised the concept of cleanliness and hygiene for the Muslims in comparison to other people and nations. For example, the expression, “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” dates back just a few centuries ago, when some Europeans took very infrequent baths, sometimes only once a year. During the annual bathing routine, everyone in the household turn by turn, starting with the men and ending with the children, took a bath in the same tub of water. By the time they reached the turn of the babies, the water was so filthy and murky that they used this expression as a note of caution, so that the baby does not go unnoticed and inadvertently cast out along with the dirty water. Whether said in truth or jest, the statement shows how far behind the rest of the world was to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an in terms of cleanliness. The Holy Prophet(saw) enjoined that ‘cleanliness is a part of faith’ and advised Muslims to bath at least once a week, to perform ablutions before each prayer, to apply scents and perfume, and to adopt other measures of hygiene which have only recently become the norm. This is how the Holy Qur’an purifies.
Another name for the Holy Qur’an is al-Dhikr, the Reminder and the Source of honor and fame. Allah Almighty says:
It is nothing but a Reminder unto all the worlds. (Ch.81:28)
The Holy Qur’an is a unique composition that enriches and enthralls every reader and allows everyone to comprehend and connect with its teachings on some level, no matter one’s temperament, aptitude, intelligence, age, gender, race, or origin. It contains passages that enable the reader to personally experience God as if He is speaking directly to the reader at that given moment, and answering the queries of the mind and the concerns of the heart. This makes the Holy Qur’an a living book that helps man to realise and remember that he lives in the presence of God at all times. As it is a “Reminder” for everyone, the Holy Qur’an does not share the past stories and recollections only about men of faith, but also about women of faith, such as Hadhrat Maryam(ra), Hadhrat Hajirah(ra) the mother of Moses(as) and the wife of Pharoah, and of youth, such as Hadhrat Ishmael(as) and Hadhrat Joseph(as), who received true dreams and revelation during his childhood. The Holy Qur’an is not a book written by man for men – a charge often levelled by women against holy scriptures – it is God’s Word for all mankind (or womankind or youth-kind, so to speak).
It is the final and perfect law best suited for all mankind. No other scripture so unequivocally and unambiguously makes this claim. Of course, on this point Christians object and contend that the message of Christ was universal as well. But while making these assertions, they also admit that they have yet to achieve the elusive goal of universality and harmony in their own churches. Billy Graham and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., two famous Christian ministers from opposite sides of the colour divide in America, both agreed that:
“11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour in America.”
Perhaps the situation is slightly different here in Europe or other Christian nations, but I highly doubt it. This was never meant to be the task of Christ or the focus of the Bible. God Almighty reserved this grand mission and aim for the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) and the Holy Qur’an. The Promised Messiah(as) elaborates, saying:
‘The Qur’an was sent down for the purpose of making the human race one flock and one nation. And now conditions have been created in which different peoples shall be united into one great nation…All this has been foretold in the Holy Qur’an which says that it has been sent to all the peoples of the world.’ (Chashma-i‑Ma’rifat, p.68)
No other scripture can compare with the Holy Qur’an in promoting universal harmony, equality and brotherhood. The word “Qur’an” means to read and recite, but it also means to compile and to gather; in this case, to compile universal truths in one book and to gather people around it. To accomplish this objective, the Holy Qur’an repeatedly emphasises the Unity of God and the unity of mankind, thereby synthesising God-consciousness and social consciousness and demolishing all barriers of race, culture, language and nationality. The Holy Qur’an unites us into a large spiritual family with genuine affection and mutual respect for one another stemming and flowing from our common love for Our Creator. This eliminates the friction born of natural differences. In Islam, the 11:00 am Sunday segregation hour never comes. Whenever Muslims gather in mosques for prayers, kings must bow down next to the peasants, blacks next to whites, and the rich next to the poor. Regarding the lofty ideals of Islamic equality, Professor Hurgronje once said:
“The league of nations founded by the prophet of Islam put the principle of international unity of human brotherhood on such universal foundations as to show candle to other nations…the fact is that no nation of the world can show a parallel to what Islam has done to the realisation of the idea of the League of Nations.”
The Holy Qur’an is also al-‘Aziz and al-‘Adheem, the Mighty and Great, that makes great kings fall down before it in prostration, that cracks the hardest hearts and instills fear in the most powerful men. It is al-Majid, the Glorious and al-Karim, the Noble that grants man a dignified and honourable bearing, and it is al-Mubarak, the Blessed, that helps man to live a rich, full and abundantly blessed life. It is referred to as al-Burhan, the Clear Argument and Proof, al-Bayan, the Clear Exposition, al-Hikmah, the Wisdom, al-Haqq the Truth, al-Furqan, the Distinguisher of right from wrong, and through its verses one gains the capacity and ability to speak truth plainly and eloquently and to rebut and refute any allegation or attack against it. The Promised Messiah(as) instructed us to rely upon the Holy Qur’an as the main source for our dialogues and discussions. He said:
‘This shall be the only book worth reading in its own defence. If you use the Holy Qur’an as your weapon of defence and attack, you are bound to achieve victory. No darkness could ever stand its brilliant light.’ (Malfoozat; Vol.1, p.122)
Given all these wonderful names and special qualities of the Holy Qur’an and many others, it is apparent that the Holy Qur’an is the crown jewel of Divine revelation. Summarising this point, Hadhrat Promised Messiah(as) wrote:
‘The Holy Qur’an is such a sparkling ruby and such a bright Sun that the rays of its truth and the gleam of its Divine origin are not only evident from one or two aspects, but are quite vivid through its enumerable aspects.’ (Minanur‑Rahman: p.1)
The excellence and magnificence of the Holy Qur’an is slowly being recognised everywhere, including here in Europe as well. Several decades ago, George Bernard Shaw wrote:
‘I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be accepted to the Europe of today.’
That “tomorrow” grows nearer with each passing decade. In these past few years, Prince Charles, next in line to the throne of England, has paid so much glowing tribute to Islam on different occasions that some people have expressed fear and anxiety that he may become the Constantine of Islam, paving the way for an Islamic renaissance in England during his reign. For instance, he once said,
“Islam can teach us today a way of understanding and living in the world which Christianity itself is poorer for having lost.”
Whether he actually plays a prominent role in the spread of Islam or not, the dye is already cast and many Europeans, in Great Britain and elsewhere, are joining the Muslim fold in full conviction and unwavering devotion to the Holy Qur’an. One Polish convert, Dr. Ata’ullah Budgan, who had served the Polish Communist Party as their chief propagandist in the Third World, wrote:
‘My study is vast, but the impression produced by the style of expression of the Holy Qur’an has no parallel and can’t be described in words. I thought as if Allah, the Almighty, was Himself addressing me with all His Blessings and Benedictions, and the Qur’an was going to be revealed on me. I felt pity at the Muslims treating the Qur’an as they do. They go on reading this Book of Allah like novels. They neither ponder over its meaning nor stop at any point to understand its glory.’
Whenever the message of the Holy Qur’an reaches people, whether from the East or West or North or South, this is the impression it indelibly leaves on human hearts because as I have mentioned, it is implanted in the nature of man to appreciate beauty and to receive and respond to God’s Word when he hears it. There is nothing on this earth more beautiful and glorious than the Holy Qur’an. It is an inexhaustible treasure which will continue to disclose more of its hidden beauties with each passing generation – no generation can exhaust its beauty. The Promised Messiah(as) has said:
‘The clear miracle of the Holy Qur’an which can manifest itself to every people and by presenting which we can silence every one, whether an Indian, or a Persian or a European or an American, is the unlimited treasury of insights and verities and wisdoms, which are expounded in every age according to its need and stand as armed soldiers to refute the thinking of every age. If the Holy Qur’an had been limited in its verities and insights it would not have amounted to a perfect miracle. Beauty of composition is not a matter the miraculous nature of which can be appreciated by every literate and illiterate person. The clear miracle of the Holy Qur’an is the unlimited insights and fine points which it comprises…Bear it in mind that the miracle of unlimited insights and verities which are contained in the Holy Qur’an has accomplished more in every age than has the sword.’ [Izalah-I-Auham; Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 3, pp.305-320]
To win the hearts of the Western nations and the rest of the world, there is no need for terrorism, militarism or holy Jihads, one need only present the beauties, verities and unlimited treasures of the Holy Qur’an. It is a perennial miracle. The Holy Prophet(saw) once said:
‘Before me, every Prophet was given a miracle and I have been given the permanent miracle of the Qur’an till the Hour is established, so I hope that my followers will be more in number than all the other Messengers’ as my miracle will last till the Day of Resurrection, and it is a Glorious Book; when anyone reads it, even if he is a pagan, he is convinced that it is produced by none but by the Creator of the heavens and the earth.’ (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 1)
This declaration comes from a soul whose voice was so blessed that he once shouted a warning and the commander of the Muslim forces heard his words loudly and clearly although hundreds of miles separated the two. His gaze was so blessed that one night he looked and pointed skyward and the bystanders noticed that the moon had split into two. His hand was so blessed that he merely cast a handful of pebbles and it turned into a ferocious wind and dust storm which whipped against the Makkan army. His mouth was so blessed that he sipped from a vessel and milk began to fill it with such abundance that a group of his companions drank to till their fill. His saliva was so blessed that he rubbed it into the eyes of his noble cousin and companion, Hadhrat ‘Ali(ra), and healed him of distress. Yet, he did not consider any of these marvelous and miraculous occurrences to be the true sign which he brought from God to open the eyes and hearts of humanity. No, he felt that his sole miracle – a miracle not buried in the narrations of the past and not confined to the Arabs or any people, place or time till Judgment Day – is the Holy Qur’an. This is the real glory, grandeur and greatness of Qur’an.
In his lifetime, through the agency of the Holy Qur’an, the Prophet Muhammad(saw) lifted his people from the darkness of spiritual ignorance to the heights of Divine knowledge so much so that he declared, “My companions are like the stars, whomsoever you follow you will find guidance.” What greater miracle could there be than the one which lifts the veil from man’s eyes and enables him to not only achieve the purpose for which he was created but also to lead others to that purpose and attain the highest levels of spiritual ranks and degrees in the estimate of God. In short, the Holy Qur’an is Al-Ruh, par excellence, the Living Book that imparts life to others. That is the miracle which he left us as his great legacy to move our hearts and minds, elevate our morals, raise our spiritual consciousness and help us to perceive God through His Glorious attributes and experience His Love, and Grace and Mercy so that we discard our lower selves, our earthly passions and desires, our brutish and beastly behavior, and rise like so many fortunate souls before us to take our place in the spiritual firmament reserved for the righteous and become one of those glittering bright stars.
The miracle of the Holy Qur’an promises honour and distinction to its devotees, not disgrace and defeat. Hadhrat Maulawi Hakim Nur-ud-Din(ra), the First Khalifa, had an intense love of the Holy Qur’an and an incessant desire to impart its knowledge and instil its love in our hearts as well. He would pray, “O God help me to teach them the Holy Qur’an so that they can understand it” and he would express his sole request to receive the gift of the Holy Qur’an first and foremost upon his resurrection after death so that he may again start reading it and teaching it to others. All Muslims should hope and pray that they may have a leader who has this type and degree of boundless and timeless love for the Holy Qur’an. May Allah forever bless him for his sincere and selfless service of the Holy Qur’an. Based on that love, we can understand why the Promised Messiah(as) strongly recommended to all his companions to sit with Hadhrat Maulawi Nur-ud-Din(ra) to learn even a few parts of the Holy Qur’an, and later said:
“How wonderful it would be if everyone in my Community was Nur-ud-Din. However, this can only happen if each heart is filled with the Light of Faith.”
I would say here that Allah granted Hadhrat Maulawi Nur-ud-Din(ra) this “Light of Faith” because of his love of the Holy Qur’an, and we too can acquire this light only through this blessed book.
The Second Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, Hadhrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad(ra) used to respond to enquiries about his education by simply saying, “I know the Holy Qur’an.” It was an understatement, he didn’t just know the Holy Qur’an, he received special Divine help as the ‘Musleh Mau’ud’, the ‘Promised Reformer’, to master it. In his concluding address during the Annual Jalsa of 1944 he stated:
“God of His Grace, appointed angels for my instruction and by this means made me aware of such meanings of the Holy Qur’an as were beyong the imagination of a human being. (He) has appointed me the teacher of the world for teaching the Holy Qur’an in this age.” (The Renaissance of Islam, p.299)
That was all he needed to discuss any subject, tackle any problem and find guidance on any matter. Anyone who has read a portion of his commentary on the Holy Qur’an knows that this was no vain or empty boast.
The Third Khalifa, Hadhrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad(ra), like the first Khalifa and rightly-guided Khulafa following the Holy Prophet(saw), had committed the Holy Qur’an to memory, and he steered the ark of Ahmadiyyat through the storms of severe opposition in Pakistan as they constitutionally declared us non-Muslims in 1974. Prior to the declaration, when He appeared before a special committee of the Pakistan National Assembly to state the Jama’ats viewpoints and to respond to questions, he gave such a powerful answers based primarily on verses of the Holy Qur’an that the government sealed the record of the entire proceeding and refused to publish his testimony, even up till now, in order to conceal the verdict of the Holy Qur’an that their declaration was baseless.
The Fourth Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru) tried to prevent the first Gulf War by advising President Saddam Hussein and the Muslim leadership to not shed the blood of fellow Muslims and to settle their disputes through the Holy Qur’an, and not through military action and political intrigue. This was the exact same advice and admonition which Hadhrat ‘A`ishah(ra) gave when insurgents assassinated Hadhrat ‘Uthman(ra) and then infiltrated the Muslim ranks during the Khilafat of Hadhrat ‘Ali(ra) and instigated a war. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru) said:
“I invited them to make a recourse to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an in this regard. The Holy Qur’an says:
If you differ in anything; refer it to Allah and His Messenger. (Ch.4:V.60)
“You should revert to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and draw the guiding-light from it…Simply put, the teaching is this: whenever two Muslim countries are at war with each other, it is incumbent upon all Muslim countries to collectively put pressure on the party they unanimously believe to be the transgressor… there is no mention of seeking assistance from non-Muslim countries. If this teaching was adhered to, this ever-deepening and dangerous crisis would not have taken this turn.” (Gulf Crisis, pp.46-47)
Tragically, President Hussein and the Muslim leadership paid no heed to the Khalifa’s exhortations and turned away from the Holy Qur’an. Centuries ago, God warned about this time when the Muslims would abandon the Holy Qur’an, and thus would painfully lament:
O My Lord, my people indeed treated this Qur’an as a discarded thing. (Ch.25:V.31)
His words pierce one’s heart, as he asks with utter dismay and disbelief, how could anyone abandon a Book as marvelous and glorious as this particular Word of God, the Holy Qur’an?
Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru), Khalifatul Masih IV shared that treasure of the Qur’an with us through his sermons, speeches, question answer sessions, Dars (lessons) of the Holy Qur’an during Ramadhan and later as a regular feature on Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International. In the process he educated and inspired a whole new generation of Muslims as he primarily spoke about contemporary thinking, issues, sciences and discoveries. He demonstrated that the Holy Qur’an is pregnant with hidden knowledge and relevant for every age.
The fifth and current Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, from the outset of his Khilafat has drawn attention towards spiritual and moral education through the guidance found in the Holy Qur’an. He speaks consistently and forcefully from Qur’anic teachings on every matter that comes before the world at large. Recently, for instance, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V pointed to the Qur’anic teachings on economics that would eliminate the global economic crisis, save humanity from the brink of a disaster such as a World War, and foster a system that provides for everyone’s needs. Addressing the British Parliament on October 22nd, 2008, he said:
“The Holy Qur’an guided us by saying avoid interest because interest is such a curse that it is a danger for domestic, national and international peace… furthermore, we have been cautioned that we are not allowed to enter into the business of interest, with the warning that if you do so, it will be a war against God…God Almighty has said: Come towards peace that can only be guaranteed when there is pure and wholesome trade and when resources are put into usage in a proper and fair manner.”
His overriding advice, however, is for all of us to develop a deep attachment to the Holy Qur’an. He said:
“Everyone of us should analyse as to what extent he loves the Holy Qur’an and obeys its commandments and tries to practice them in his life. There are ways of manifesting love. The most important thing for an Ahmadi is to make it obligatory upon him to recite a minimum of two or three ruku (sections) of the Holy Qur’an regularly. Then taking the next step, he should read it along with translation. By reciting the Holy Qur’an daily along with reading the translation, its beautiful teachings subconsciously filter into the deep layers of the mind.” (Conditions of Bai‘at & Our Responsibilities, p.114)
Following this routine is the simple and clear way for each of us to earn blessings and honors. The Promised Messiah(as) said:
‘Those who honor this Holy Book shall be honored in Heaven.’ (Our Teaching, p.5)
May Allah have mercy on mankind through the Holy Qur’an and pour its glory and beauty into hearts, minds and souls so that we may become brilliant beacons of light – we become Nuruddins as the Promised Messiah(as) wished – to guide families and nations and all of mankind out of the wilderness of spiritual darkness along the heavenly path of Islam that leads ever nearer to Allah.