A Tactical Misrepsentation

47 A Tactical Misrepresentation by Naeem Osman A renowned and revered saint of India, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was acclaimed the defender of faith and the champion of Islam by almost all sections of the Islamic community on the publication of his first thesis, Braheen e Ahmadiyya, but as soon as the sage declared that he had been appointed the Reviver of faith and the Reformer of his age, the same run of mullas who applauded his personal piety and selfless service to the cause of Islam, changed their august opinions and abused him to the limits of human decency. Nearly a hundred years later, the Ahmadiyya Community still suffers severe criticism and persecution from most orthodox sections of the Muslim community. One would have thought that the Court of Inquiry Report into the 1953 agitation; its pronouncement against the bigotry and political motivation of the Ahrar, the Jamat e Islami and their allies and its thorough vindication of the Ahmadiyya belief would have exposed the facts sufficiently and subsided the controversy, but the events of 1974 proved otherwise. Although the then President, Mr. Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto appeased the Mullas by declaring the Ahmadis a ‘non Muslim’ minority for the purpose of the Constitution and the Law of Pakistan, relief for the Ahmadis appears a distant reality. In more recent times, General Zia ul Haq, the military ruler of Pakistan has promulgated an Ordinance restricting the Ahmadis from the profession and practice of their basic human right and the list of demands from the bigoted mullas is somewhat inconceivable in a more rational and intellectual human society. Khatamul Nabiyeen: The Finality of Prophethood: One may well ask the universal cause of this rejection of Ahmadis by the orthodox section of the Muslim community. Besides a high degree of political motivation, one of the principal causes may be a misunderstanding of the scope of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s claim to prophethood. It is generally believed that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s claim A TACTICAL MISREPRESENTATION 48 breaches the concept of ‘khatamae nubuwat’ but a rational and unbaised analysis of the Quranic concept of prophethood, the expected arrival of the Masih and Imam Mehdi, the status of the Messiah on his second advent and the scope of Hazrat Ahmad’s claim proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Ahmadiyya concept does not cause the breach of any Islamic principal but on the contrary compliments Islam, the Holy Quran and the Traditions of the Holy Prophet. In his treatise “A Misunderstanding Removed”, Ha/rat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad discussed the academic controversy of the meaning of ‘Nubuwat’ and ‘Risalat’. The author stressed that his claim was restricted within the scope of the teachings of Islam as expounded by the Holy Quran and the Hadith. He declared that he adhered fully to the maxim of ‘La Nabiyya Ba ‘dee’; held an absolute faith on the concept of ‘khatame nubuwat’; accepted Hazrat Muhammed Mustafa, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as theKhatamulNabiyeen. He also argued that whosoever denied this was outside the pale of Islam. While supporting this crucial Islamic concept without reservations, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad stressed upon the continuation of prophethood as a basic element of the faith of Islam. The term khatame nubuwat he declared, referred to the seal of prophethood, a definition universally agreed upon by Muslim intellectuals until recently. The Holy Prophet was the seal of prophets and thus the continuation of prophethood within the realm of Islam and in total subjection to his prophethood could not be discounted. He argued that while prophets may continue within the scope of Islamic teachings, the advent of an independent prophet with the force of a new ‘shariah’ was absolutely impossible. He declared: “No one can attain the title of Muhammed or Ahmad in heaven by himself. Not without self effacing submission to the Holy Prophet Muhammed Mustafa, may Allah be pleased with him, and whosoever makes such a claim is a kafir.” It has been a general misconception of Muslim masses that a Rasul is an independent prophet who carries with him the force of an independent Shariah but this criterion is not supported by the wisdom of Islam. The door of true fellowship and self effacing identification with the Holy Prophet is always available and he that reaches God through 49 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS this door would have the mantle of prophethood conferred upon him. This bounty is not something direct or original but a reflection of the prophethood of Hazrat Muhammed, peace and blessings of God be upon him. Hazrat Ahmad was but a mere personification of his master and a blessing in consequence of his love and subjection to the Khatamal Anbiya. The Ahmadiyya community does not regard Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as an independent prophet nor do the Ahmadis elate his status beyond that permitted by Islam. He was a prophet within the fold of Islam; in strict obedience to the guidance of the Holy Quran and the Shariah and in an unqualified subjection to the prophethood of Hazrat Muhammed Mustafa, peace be upon him. Although emotions reflect extensively in matters of faith, Islam is a religion of intellect and wisdom. Our love for the Holy Prophet is not dimmed with the acceptance of another as a mere reflection of the ‘Rasulullah’. Besides this ignorant misrepresentation of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s claim of prophethood, several other allegations are made against the Ahmadiyya community by such mullas who never seem to tire of falsehood. It is alleged that the Ahmadis have changed or altered some cardinal tenets of Islam, but an honest appraisal of the beliefs of Jamaat Ahmadiyya shows that these allegations are completely unfounded. Tawheed: The Unity of God: Tawheed, the Unity of Allah, ‘There is none worthy of worship besides Allah’ forms an essential part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim belief. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, while discussing Tawheed declared: ‘God Almighty is All Wise and has announced a brief credo; La illaha illallah. Its meaning is that till God is preferred to everything; till He is acknowledged as the only One to be worshipped and till He becomes the True God, man cannot attain salvation” (Haqiqatul Wahi). The Existence of Angels: The second article requires belief in the existence of angels. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad declares in Ayenae Kamalate Islam: “Those people are to be pitied who being affected by the darkness of A TACTICAL MISREPRESENTATION 50 false philosophy deny the existence of the angels and satan and reject the clear text and proofs comprised in the Holy Quran and foolishly fall into the pit of heresay.” Books of Allah: The third article refers to a belief in all the Books of Allah. Hazrat Ahmad declared: “When mankind spread over the earth and the dwellers of each region of the earth became a people, and on account of the long distances one people ceased to be in touch with the other, Divine wisdom demanded that at such times there should be separate messengers and a book. But last of all came the Holy Quran, which is a universal Book and it is not for any one people but for all the peoples” (Chashma Marifat). Belief in all the Messengers of Allah: The fourth article of the Islamic faith demands an absolute faith in all the apostles, messengers and prophets of Allah. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad declared in Haqiqatul Wahi: ‘ ‘To believe in God’s Messengers is a condition precedent to believing in the Unity of God. One cannot be separated from the other”. The Ahmadiyya Jamaat takes pride in the fact that it is the only Islamic community which observes this article of the Islamic faith by following all the prophets of Allah. Life After Death: Finally, belief in the life after death constitutes the fifth article of the Islamic faith — and never, since the advent of the Promised Messiah, have the Ahmadis doubted the certainty of this article. The founder of the Ahmadiyya Community declared:- “Satan created many doubts and the most dangerous doubt that arises in the minds of man and makes him a loser in this world and the hereafter is with regard to the life after death. A great source of virtue and righteousness in addition to other means and sources, is the belief in the hereafter” (Malfoozat). These constitute the five articles of the Islamic faith and the Ahmadiyya Community expresses belief in every one of them, 51 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS unconditionally and without any reservations. It would thus be highly un-Islamic for anyone, individually or collectively, to denounce the Ahmadis as non-Muslims on account of their adherence to the five articles of the Islamic faith. The Five Pillars of Islam: Shahadat: Proclamation of Faith: The Shahadat, or the proclamation of the Kalimah ‘La illaha illallah Muhammedur Rasulutlah’ forms the central pillar of Islam. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, reflecting upon the need of Shahadat, declared in his speech at the Annual Gathering in 1906:- “I have stressed many times that you should not be satisfied merely with that you are Muslims and profess that there is no one worthy of worship besides Allah. Those who have read the Holy Quran know well that God Almighty is not pleased merely with words.” He also stressed upon the need to proclaim the Unity of Allah and the apostleship of Muhammed, peace be upon him. He argued that until these two are established and impressed upon the hearts and minds of an individual, faith in itself could not be complete. Salat The second pillar of the Islamic faith is the salat, the obligatory prayer enjoined upon Muslims by the ordinances of the Holy Quran. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, while discussing the salat in his speech at the Annual Conference of 1906, declared:- “After comprehending the meaning of the Kalimah, pay full attention to the prayer service, the observance of which has been repeatedly emphasized in the Holy Quran; God has prescribed prayer for the generation of pure sentiments. The salat is a prayer submitted to God in travail and a burning heart, aflame so that vicious thoughts and evil desires may be rid of and the Holy Love and pure relationship may be established. Observe prayer services regularly. Some people content themselves with one prayer daily but they must remember that no one is exempt from them, not even the prophets. The salat is an instrument for delivery from sin. It is the quantity of salat that makes a person secure against sin and vice.” A TACTICAL MISREPRESENTATION 52 Fast: The third essential pillar is the observance of the fast during the month of Ramadhan. The requirements of the fast have been established by the practice of the Holy Prophet and the Ahmadis have never deviated from this practice. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad declared: “Next in order is worship in the shape of the fast. It is a pity that some who call themselves Muslims at this time desire to modify these forms of worship. They are blind and are not aware of the perfect wisdom of God Almighty. These forms of worship are essential for the purification of the spirit. These people seek to intervene absurdity in the sphere of which they have no knowledge and devise false schemes for the improvement of a territory that they have not visited.” (Speech, Annual Gathering 1906) Zakat: The institution of Zakat forms the next pillar of the faith of Islam. The Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community states: “Another form of worship is the Zakat. The root of the word means purification. When a person who acquires something lawfully, and out of it spends in the cause of the faith, the rest is purified.” (Annual Gathering Speech 1906) Not only did he hold the institution of Zakat in an extremely high regard, he stressed upon the need to retain its purity and insisted that care be taken so as to ensure that all payments made to this institution did not involve the handling of any such wealth which is not lawfully acquired. A misunderstanding made to bear upon the minds of Muslims is that the Ahmadis have abolished the institution of Zakat. The opponents ought to appreciate that zakat is a levy imposed to pay towards the advancement of the welfare of the poor and the destitute. The duties of Muslims, however, do not come to an abrupt end with the fulfilment of the requirements of the Quranic verse 9:60. While the Ahmadiyya Community is actively involved in the collection of Zakat from those eligible to pay and its distribution to those eligible to receive, it also pursues several other projects for the furtherance of the cause of Islam. 53 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS For instance, the community has recently undertaken an extensive capital spending project of providing accommodation for such a category of people who fall within the scope of Zakat. The amount required to finance this pilot project surpasses most conservative estimates and to ensure that the institution of Zakat is not starved of the necessary funds, special funds to meet these financial requirements become necessary. Similarly, the Ahmadiyya Community is extensively involved in the propagation of Islam through the translation of the Holy Quran; publication of other essential Islamic literature and establishment of mosques and other educational, medical and social institutions. The collossal capital required for these projects can only be met through other funds, in addition to and not in lieu of Zakat and there is absolutely no code in Islam which denies one a right to establish such voluntary institutions which do not contradict or breach any Islamic covenant but in fact compliments them. Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca Finally, the last pillar of the Islamic faith is the performance of Hajj, if circumstances permit, at least one in the life time of an individual. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad declared in his Annual Conference speech of 1906: “Another form of worship is the pilgrimage. A true lover sacrifices his soul and heart; and the circuit of the House of Allah is a visible sign of such a sacrifice. The circuit is a sign of the lovers of God. They go round the Kaaba as if they have no will of their own left and they are wholly devoted to Him.” Since the inception of the Ahmadiyya Community, Ahmadis have flocked from all over the world to lay their sights upon the most blessed shrines of Mecca and Medina in pursuance of their divine duty. However, in the last few years, the Saudi authorities have bowed down to the pressures of some politically motivated factions. They have banned the Ahmadis and denied them safe passage, without let or hinderence, to pursue their essential duty. Whether this action of the Saudis will find acceptance by the Almighty can only be judged by Him, and until His decree, they shall subject themselves to this injustice unwillingly. A TACTICAL MISREPRESENTATION 54 With this summary of the Ahmadia belief, we hope to have established, to the satisfaction of an intelligent and unbaised reader, the fact that the Ahmadiyya Community holds an absolute and unconditional faith in the five articles of the Islamic faith and carries out in practice, the profession of beliefs through strict adherence to the five pillars of Islam. Conclusion: The Jamiat e Islami, has spearheaded the opposition of the Ahmadis for many years. It has persistently branded Ahmadis as apostates from Islam and exhausted its derogatory vocabulary in opposition to this Islamic orientated community. Its pronouncements have always lacked a sense of factual truth, moral ethics and social etiquettes; its ornery and promiscuous propaganda has taunted considerable hatred and disseminated extreme suspicion. In its intense and relentlessly morbid crusade against the Ahmadiyya Movement, it has adamantly demanded that the adherents of the Ahmadiyya philosophy be considered ‘a minority equal to many non Muslim minorities’. The irony of fate is that its leader, Maulanna Maudoodi, while in a more favourable frame of mind, discussed Islam and its requirements in his monograph titled ‘Towards Understanding Islam’. He summarised the articles of the Islamic faith and the pillars of Islam, precisely in the same manner as discussed by us. During this phase of mental freedom from the bondage of his anti Ahmadia tantrum, the Maulanna declared: “These five articles make up the bedrock of Islam. One who believes 1 in them enters the fold of Islam and becomes a member of the Muslim community. To become a complete Muslim, one has to fully carry out in practice, the instructions given by Muhammed (peace be upon him) as ordained by God.” The Maulanna also declares that one becomes a full fledged Muslim when his practice is consistent with his profession and the practice which the Maulanna implies is the observance of the five pillars of Islam. After this admission, one fails to understand the logic of his reasoning in demanding that the Ahmadis “who enter the fold of Islam and become members of the Muslim community through their belief in the five articles of the Islamic faith which form the bedrock of Islam” and who “by carrying out in practice, the instructions given by Muhammed, 55 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS peace be upon him, become full fledged Muslims, their practice being consistent with their profession” — be considered a minority equal to many non-Muslim minorities in the country. One wonders if the indulgences of the Maulanna in demanding non Muslims status for the Ahmadis, based against his own inductions of Islam, sound justifiable to an unbaised sentiment. It is regretted that while leaders of the anti Ahmadia factions preach the message of peace, they practice malice and breed hatred to its most crude limits. The cause of Islamic solidarity and the welfare of the Muslim community cannot be achieved through false evidence and miscellanea of irregular, mischievious and deceptive representation as promoted against the Ahmadiyya Community. The whole spectrum of propaganda against the Ahmadiyya Community is thus based upon perverse misrepresentation, malicious propaganda and felonious imagination. ********************** If one of you should call another a disbeliever or an enemy of A llah and he should in fact not be such, the title will revert to the one who uttered it. (The Holy Prophet) ********************** A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He should not cheat him, nor tell him a lie, nor humiliate him. Everything of a Muslim is forbidden to a Muslim; his property and his blood. Righteousness is a quality of the heart. It is enough evil for a person to look down upon his brother Muslim. (The Holy Prophet) ********************** A Muslim is one against whose tongue and hands the Muslims are secure; and an Emigrant is one who departs from that which Allah has forbidden. (The Holy Prophet)