Press Report

BOOK REVIEW 45 He answers criticisms of orthodox Muslims by forthrightly stating that “It is no sin to translate the Quran into other languages since Arabic is not universally understood; while they do not have the material wealth of Christians, organized Muslims can bring greater balance to the people of the world. It is the duty of Ahmadies to present to interested people an understanding of Islam, nothing more. “This can be accomplished by printing long term literature like the Holy Quran and short term magazines, newspapers and pamphlets.” His concluding words in the interview with David Douglas Duncan were, “Islam is the future religion in Africa. The ground is being prepared now for carrying on organized Muslim missionary work. Yes, the people will come!” Duncan has provided the evidence that Ahmadies are the antithesis of the commonly held Western stereotype of Muslims as anarchic, irrational, sensual, and uneducated. Therefore, appreciation must be extended to him for setting forth, so clearly and sympathetically, the incessant toil, poverty, and the willing sacrifice of self and family which Ahmadi missionaries undergo to provide spiritual nurturing, medical and educational services to mankind, not only in Africa but in all areas of this world. -Who is a True Martyr- Bearin mind that a true martyr (shaheed) is notonlythe man who is killed in religious cause but also the man who in all trials and difficulties remainsfirm and faithful to God, and who is ready to suffer any hardship in the path of God. Shaheed literally means a witness and, therefore, everyone who has such a living and certain faith in the existence of God that he may be said to have witnessed Him and the glorious manifestation of His power is a shaheed or martyr. He believes in the existence of God and in His mighty power and control over all with such certainty as if he had witnessed them. When the spiritual wayfarer has reached this stage, he finds no difficulty in laying down his life in the path of God: rather he feels supreme pleasure and bliss in it. By laying down life in the path of God is not meant that a person should seek an occasion to be actually murdered. What is meant is that a person should preferthe pleasure of God to his own desires and interests, that is to say, whenever his own interests and desires clash with his duty to God, he should willingly forsake the former. Everyone should reflect whether it is in this life that he loves most or the next; whether if he meets with any difficulty or is subjected to any hardship in the path of God (i.e. for the sake of righteousness) he would bear it with heart’s joy, and whether if he is required to lay down his life, he is prepared for it. This is a spiritual stage to which it is my object to lead my disciples. (The Promised Messiah) Duty and Steadfastness Allah says in the Holy Quran: O ye who believe, be mindful of your duty to Allah and keep company with the righteous (9:119). The men who are truthful and the women who are truthful (33:36). Had they been true to their duty to Allah, it would have been better for them (47:22). O ye who believe, be mindful of your duty to Allah in all respects (3:103). Be mindful of your duty to Allah as best you can (64:17). O ye who believe, be mindful of your duty to Allah and say the straightforward thing (33:71). Allah will prepare a way out of his difficulties for him who is mindful of his duty to Him and will provide for him whence he expects not (65:3,4). If you are mindful of your duty to Allah, he will bestow upon you a mark of distinction, and will remove from you your ills, and will forgive you. Allah is Lord of great bounty (8:30). O ye who believe, be steadfast and try to excel in steadfastness (3:201). We will surely try you with somewhat of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and fruits, then give glad tidings to the steadfast (2:156). Verily the steadfast shall have their reward without measure (39:11). O ye who believe, seek the help of Allah through steadfastness and Prayer: surely Allah is with the steadfast (47:32). We will surely try you until We make known those from among you who strive in the cause of Allah, and those who are steadfast (47:32). One who endures with fortitude and forgives achieves a matter of high resolve (42:44). Those who say: Allah is our Lord, and then remain steadfast, will be subject to no.fear, nor will they grieve. These are the dwellers of the Garden; they shall abide therein; a recompense for that which they did (46:14,15). Do thou continue to stand upright as thou has been commanded (11:113). The Muslim feud Pakistan has exported to SW18 (The Times, September 5, 1985) Few of the citizens of Wandsworth can be aware that living in their midst, in the humdrum surroundings of Gressenhall Road, SW18, is the Fourth Successor of the Promised Messiah. But that is what more than 10 million Ahmadi Muslims scattered around the world believe, recognizing Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmed as the supreme head of their movement. Of those 10 million, not more than about 10,000 live in Britain. The largest number — three or four million — live in Pakistan and so, until last year, did Mirza Tahir. He would much rather be there still enjoying the mangoes from his gardens at Rabwah, in Punjab, which he boasts are the best in Pakistan. But circumstances have for the moment made that impossible. The Ahmadis were enthusiastic supporters of the creation of Pakistan and provided its first foreign minister, Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, who died last Sunday at the age of 92. But from the early days of the state they came under attack from the mullahs (orthodox religious leaders) as being non-Muslims because they regarded their 19th-century founder, Mirza Tahir’s grandfather, as a Prophet, whereas Muslim orthodoxy insists that Muhammad is the last of the prophets. In 1953 a campaign to have them declared ‘a non-Muslim minority led to serious rioting in Punjab. In 1974 the Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, gave in to a second wave of agitation. The Ahmadis were officially declared non-Muslims and an affirmation of belief in the finality of Muhammad’s prophethood was written into the oath of office of both president and prime minister. Although thus excluded from high political office, and from marrying other Muslims, the Ahmadis were left largely undisturbed as a community until April 26 1984, when, after a father intensive campaign by mullahs, carried on with some official encouragement, President Zia promulgated an ordinance forbidding them to call themselves Muslims or use any Islamic terminology to describe their buildings and activities. They were also forbidden to use the azan, or public call to prayer.