Islam’s Response to Terrorism

A keynote address to prevent crashing aeroplanes and sending suicide bombers.

29Review of Religions – February 2002 Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad: The question has taken only a few minutes – the answer required to satisfy the various aspects that have been touched upon would require much greater time. You have touched briefly upon Emperor Akbar’s idea of ‘Deen-e- Illahi’. I do not have time here to explain the background to all of this but, fortunately, I have explained these matters in other sessions and sittings with invited friends and I have expressed my views clearly and at length and audio/video cassettes of these sessions should be available. H o w e v e r, you have asked the question and I must answer it even if it is briefly. Harmony and Peace Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the Fourth Head of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, from time to time offers people of all nationalities, faiths and beliefs the opportunity of raising questions and issues that are of interest to them. Presented below is the answer to a question raised in a session held in the Mahmud Hall, London on 15th February 1998. Prepared by Amatul Hadi Ahmad There is no doubt that there is a clear separation between Islam and Hinduism. However, in the past there did emerge a common culture among them, particularly during the Raj and much more g e n e rally under the Moghul Emperors such as Akbar. Was it because of this that the Indian Muslims tended to place less and less emphasis on the austere aspects of Islam and more on Sufism, its devotions, its music and so on. I would like to know your views on this subject? QUESTIONER 30 Review of Religions – February 2002 Harmony and Peace ‘Deen-e-Illahi’ of Akbar was not a religious movement because he had no right to carve a faith for the people as he was not God. His own life in practice was not a religious one. What he attempted to do was to politically carve out for the Muslims in India a future with which the Hindus would not be at variance and to consolidate politically the rule of the Moghul dynasty – this was the only purpose. However, it backfired to some extent and even the Muslims disagreed with this effort and when he breathed his last, his ‘Deen-e-Illahi’ also breathed its last. There was also a strong reaction from the Hindus. What you refer to as ‘Sufism’ with its music and song also failed in achieving closer links between the communities. Music was generally employed by the Sufis to attract Hindus in whose religion music already played an important role. The result was that instead of Hindus being attracted to Islam, many Muslims were ultimately driven away from the values of Islam and sects that were born out of such efforts came to nothing. They did not have any moral influence on the people of India to bring them to understand each other or to respect each other or to make sacrifices for the sake of the unity of humanity living in India. Such a force requires a prophetic movement without which no country has achieved this objective. What it did succeed in creating were further divisions in the name of religion without any sense of responsibility towards other human beings. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) of Qadian(as), wrote a booklet entitled ‘A Message of Peace’, Paigham-e- S u l a h which contained an important message for the people of India. Sadly, he died before its publication. In that message he called upon all the people of India to return to common values. He encouraged them to focus upon the good values that all religions claim to possess instead of emphasizing differences. He wrote that if the people of India were to concentrate upon the good values then all the people of India, whatever their faith, would achieve unity at least as human beings and the religious dif- ferences would not then be permitted to stand in the way of that unity. 31Review of Religions – February 2002 Harmony and Peace This is exactly our message to India today. If people wish to remain as Hindus, they can do so. H o w e v e r, if their concept of Hinduism gives them the teaching that they should serve the creation of God then the Muslims are also the creation of God. They should not show any bitterness towards them or towards the people of any other religion and others should not harbour any bitterness towards the Hindus. As human beings let us relate in an ideal manner and work for the good of the country in a united spirit. This, I think, is the message that must be brought to the attention of people again and again. This is the only message that can save India from disharmony and further division. ‘Jamat-e-Islami’, however, was born under a completely different concept. People gener- ally are not fully aware of the background to the message of Muhammad Ali Jinah who later came to be known in Pakistan as Qaid-e-Azam (The Great Leader). For the greater part of his life Qaid-e-Azam had served the Congress party of India and he wanted India to remain united. Unfortunately, the leadership of Congress at that time became too engrossed in the fact that Hindus formed the greater part of their membership as against the Muslims. They now wanted the Muslims to merge into Congress without preserving their own separate entity. This is what Qaid-e-Azam fought against and repeatedly attempted to make the Congress move away from this stand but, unfortunately, some Hindu leaders of the time stood in the way. Eventually Qaid-e-Azam became so frus- trated that he abandoned politics altogether and returned to England. He said that he would not get involved with the politics of India again. However, what followed immedi- ately after this is what the historians of Pakistan never tell you but the facts that were published in the English newspapers of the time do tell you are that a message was sent to Qaid-e-Azam by my late father, Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, the then head of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam. He beseeched Qaid-e- Azam to return to India. He further asked the Imam of the London Mosque (who at that time 32 Review of Religions – February 2002 Harmony and Peace was Hadhrat Abdur-Rahim Dard) to repeatedly request Qaid-e- Azam to give him time. At last Qaid-e-Azam gave him time and in a meeting or a series of meetings which lasted many hours, Qaid-e-Azam ultimately agreed to return to India. History written in Pakistan is so different from reality! Qaid-e-Azam then returned to India to create a party under the title of ‘The Muslim League’ which was in fact not disloyal to the idea of one India but strove to establish the rights of Muslims. It tried to remove any possibility of oppression by the majority of Hindus over a minority that would have merged with them. It was, however, ultimately compelled to create a separate nation for itself. The most interesting point in all this is that Qaid-e-Azam did not change his mind about the unity of people. Within Pakistan he did not follow the ideology of two nations. He positively declared that the concept of Pakistan he entertains knows no Hindu, no Sikh, no Christian, no Muslim, no sects. ‘We are one, we belong to a single nation’. This shows that united India was the fundamental politics of Qaid- e-Azam and that he was compelled to leave India to create that ‘ideal India’ in which religious differences would not hinder people from participating in the civil life of the country. This is what has been abandoned in Pakistan. This is what has created all the problems that you see Pakistan suffering from today.