Shahzad Ahmad & Zafir Malik, UK
Associate Editors, The Review of Religions
For any scholar that claims to deliver an academic talk, you would expect – at the very least – for it to be free from blatant bias, misrepresentation of facts and outright lies. Well, a recent ‘lecture’ delivered by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi titled, The Limits of Tolerance PT 2: The Finality of Prophethood did just about the complete opposite. Instead of calling it a lecture, it can, at best, be described as an overzealous and desperate ramble, devoid of any real proof or foundation.
In his pathetic attempt to ‘expose’ Ahmadiyyat and its founder, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), he actually discredited his own academic credibility. In fact, he cannot even be credited for the points he has raised, for they are the same century-old, baseless allegations which have continued to be churned out by his predecessors and contemporaries.
Although he raised many false allegations, in this article, we will expose just four major flaws in his arguments and show how he misconstrued facts and intentionally ignored a great deal of Islamic scholarship and literature on the subject he attempted to tackle.
For the benefit of the reader, where necessary, we have put the relevant part from his actual video to aid the subject matter under discussion. And also to be cautious not to misconstrue Yasir Qadhi’s words, (even though he did not afford us the same courtesy):
1. The 30 Great Liars [Dajjals] who would claim Prophethood
Yasir Qadhi speaks about the prophecy of the Holy Prophet (sa) in which he stated that there would be 30 Great Liars [Dajjal] after him, each of whom would claim prophethood. He goes on to list a few false claimants of prophethood including Musaylimah Kadhab and Aswad Ansi. He says, and we quote:
‘And I find it amazing brothers and sisters, that in the course of our Ummah, we have had dozens of claimants of Nabuwwah [Prophethood], dozens of them throughout Islamic history, beginning with Musaylimah up until our modern times. Not a single one of them, without exception – in premodernity – was successful. They lived, they claimed prophethood, they died. And that’s it. We don’t have a single remnant of any of those Dajjalun around to this day, except for one or two that have appeared in modern times, when the world is different.’
In his attempt to falsify the claim of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Yasir Qadhi establishes a criteria – upon which there is no disagreement between us – that false claimants of prophethood fail miserably and soon after, move into the abyss of the unknown. Based upon his own criteria, he has inadvertently proven the truthfulness of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as). If, God-forbid, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) was also a false claimant, then indeed he ought to have met with the same fate. On the contrary, it has been over 130 years since his claim, and yet, we continue to witness the remarkable progress and ever flourishing success of his community. Despite the fierce and relentless opposition, the community is established in over 200 countries of the world, with over tens of millions of followers. Each year, hundreds of thousands enter the fold of Islam Ahmadiyyat, stretching from Africa to the Far East; from villages to cities, many of whom have inspiring accounts of how God Almighty answered their earnest supplications and guided them to the truth by revealing the truthfulness of the Promised Messiah (as) through visions, dreams and signs.
A key question must be posed to Yasir Qadhi: based on his own criteria, while these false claimants – to use his words – ‘were literally fluttering in the wind’ and ‘nobody even remembers them’, can any fair-minded person place Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) in the same category of such people?
During the course of his lecture, Yasir Qadhi makes a somewhat bizarre reference by connecting the establishment of the Nation of Islam in the USA with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. This is a completely unfounded claim, which he concocted and has been comprehensively dealt with in a recent article, so need not be mentioned here.
2. Is it True That No Prophet can Come After the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa)?
Another argument put forward by Yasir Qadhi is that no prophet can come after the Holy Prophet (sa) as he is the ‘Khatam Al-Nabiyyin‘ – The Seal of the Prophets. Yet, Yasir Qadhi himself, just like the vast majority of the Muslim Ummah, hold the belief that Jesus, son of Mary (as), was taken bodily to the heavens and would descend in the Ummah in the Latter Days. Is this not a completely contradictory position held by Yasir Qadhi? On the one hand, he claims that there can be no prophet after Prophet Muhammad (sa), yet he also believes that Jesus (as), who according to the Holy Qur’an was a prophet, will descend after Prophet Muhammad (sa) in the Latter Days.
In response to this predicament, it is claimed by some Muslim scholars that Jesus, son of Mary (as) would appear amongst the Muslims, but will not be a prophet. In such a case, what would they do about the verse of the Holy Qur’an which clearly refers to Jesus, son of Mary (as) as a ‘Messenger sent to the Children of Israel’? It is stated:
وَرَسُوۡلًا اِلٰی بَنِیۡ اِسۡرَآءِیۡلَ
‘And will make him (Jesus) a Messenger to the children of Israel‘
Furthermore, in an authentic tradition of Sahih Muslim, whilst mentioning that Jesus (as), who was to descend amongst the Muslims in the latter days, the Holy Prophet (sa) emphatically declared that he would be ‘Nabiullah‘ – a prophet of God, not once, but four times in the same hadith, a part of which reads:
وَيُحْصَرُ نَبِيُّ اللَّهُ عِيسَى وَأَصْحَابُهُ حَتَّى يَكُونَ رَأْسُ الثَّوْرِ لأَحَدِهِمْ خَيْرًا مِنْ مِائَةِ دِينَارٍ لأَحَدِكُمُ الْيَوْمَ فَيَرْغَبُ نَبِيُّ اللَّهِ عِيسَى وَأَصْحَابُهُ فَيُرْسِلُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهُمُ النَّغَفَ فِي رِقَابِھِمْ فَيُصْبِحُونَ فَرْسَى كَمَوْتِ نَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ ثُمَّ يَھْبِطُ نَبِيُّ اللَّهِ عِيسَى وَأَصْحَابُهُ إِلَى الأَرْضِ فَلاَ يَجِدُونَ فِي الأَرْضِ مَوْضِعَ شِبْرٍ إِلاَّ مَلأَهُ زَهَمُھُمْ وَنَتْنُھُمْ فَيَرْغَبُ نَبِيُّ اللَّهِ عِيسَى وَأَصْحَابُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ فَيُرْسِلُ اللَّهُ طَيْرًا كَأَعْنَاقِ الْبُخْتِ فَتَحْمِلُهُمْ فَتَطْرَحُھُمْ حَيْثُ شَاءَ اللَّهُ
‘…Allah’s Prophet (Nabiullah) Jesus and his companions would then be besieged here, and they would be so much hard pressed) that the head of the ox would be dearer to them than one hundred dinars and Allah’s Prophet (Nabiullah), Jesus, and his companions would supplicate Who would send to them insects (which would attack their necks) and in the morning they would perish like one single person. Allah’s Prophet (Nabiullah), Jesus, and his companions would then come down to the earth and they would not find in the earth as much space as a single span which is not filled with their putrefaction and stench. Allah’s Prophet (Nabiullah), Jesus, and his companions would then again beseech Allah, Who would send birds whose necks would be like those of Bactrian camels and they would carry them and throw them where God would will…‘
Moreover, in the list of scholars he cited to substantiate his claim that there will be no prophet after the Holy Prophet (sa), he failed to mention the countless scholars who have held the same view of the meaning of ‘Khatam Al-Nabiyyin‘ as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. For example, the famous theologian, Muhammad ibn Abi Shayba al-‘Abasi, has recorded a saying of Hazrat A’ishah (ra) wherein she says:
قولوا خاتم النبيين، ولا تقولوا لا نبي بعده
‘Say he is the Seal of the Prophets, But do not say that there is no prophet after him‘.
Likewise, he failed to mention all those scholars of Islam who held similar views and supported this statement of Hazrat A’ishah (ra) with regards to the meaning of ‘Khatam Al-Nabiyyin‘. For Yasir Qadhi’s benefit we will mention just a few from an extensive list:
- Al Imam Ibn Qutaybah al-Dinawari: ‘Ta’wil Mukhtalif al-Hadith,’ pg 127 (published Dar Al Kitab Al-Arabiyya, Beirut, Lebanon)
- Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn Sultan Muhammad al-Hirawi al-Qari: ‘Al-Asrar Al-Marfu’a Fil-Akhbar Al-Mawdu’a‘ pg 192, (Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah: Beirut, Lebanon)
- Shaykh Muhammad ibn Tahir ibn ‘Ali al-Fattani al-Gujrati: ‘Majma Bihar al-Anwar fi Gharaib al-Tanzil wa Lataif al-akhbar‘ pg 502 (Majlis Da’irah al Ma’arif al ‘Uthmaniyyah: Hyderabad, India)
- Shah Waliullah Dehlawi: ‘Al-Tafhimat Al-Ilahiyyah‘, Vol, 2, pp. 53, 72-73 and 85 (Shah Waliullah Academy, (Saddar), Hyderabad, Pakistan)
- Imam Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha’rani: ‘Kitab al-Yawaqit wa al-Jawahir fi Bayan Aqa’id al-Akabir’, Vol 2, pp 27, 35, 39 (Dar al-Marifah li al-Taba’ah wa al-Nashr, Beirut, Lebanon)
- Muhammad Qasim Nanautvi: ‘Tahzir al-Nas’ pp. 41-43 (Idarah Al-Aziz, Gujranwala, Pakistan)
Furthermore, he did not provide a single reference of any Arabic lexicon to explain the term ‘Khatam‘. Had he consulted the Arabic lexicons such as: Taj al-Arus, Aqrab Al-Mawarid, Lisan al-Arab, Lane, Mufridat of Imam Raghib, he would have seen that the word ‘Khatam‘ does not necessarily mean ‘last’, but has been used in Arabic literature to signify absolute excellence and for one to reach the pinnacle of greatness. Let us examine the Arab literature to see how the Arabs have used the word ‘Khatam’:
- In Kanz Al-Ummal, after Abbas (ra) migrated to Madinah, the Holy Prophet (sa) said to him: ‘O my Uncle! You are the Khatam Al-Muhajirin, just as I am the Khatam Al-Nabiyyin’.
By the logic of those who think Khatam means ‘last’, it would mean that Abbas (ra) was the last person to migrate. Has all migration ceased after Abbas (ra)? Does nobody travel from one land to another or move from one area to another?
- The renowned poet Al-Mutanabi has been called ‘Khatam Al-Shuarah‘ – does this mean that there was to be no more poets after Mutanabi died? Was he the last poet to ever live?
- On the title page of the 19th Century Iraqi Islamic scholar, Mahmud Al-Alusi’s Tafsir: ‘Ruh al-Ma’ani fi Tafsiri al-Qur’an al-Azim wa al-Sab’a al-Mathani,’ it is written: ‘Khatam al-Muhaqqiqin‘. Does this mean that he was the last of the researchers/scholars, and that no scholar would come after him?
- On the title page of Shihab al-Din Ibn Hajr Al-Haytami Al-Makki’s book, ‘Al-Fatawa Al-Hadithiyyah‘, he has been declared as: ‘Khatam Al-Fuqaha wa Al-Muhadithin‘. Yasir Qadhi now has double the problem; by his understanding of the word Khatam, Imam Al-Haytami will not only be the last ‘Jurist’ but also the last ‘Muhaddith‘ [Scholar of Hadith], as there will be no more after him.
By no means is this list exhaustive, but just a few examples have been listed to illustrate the point.
3. Tadhkirah is not the Qur’an for Ahmadis
Yasir Qadhi then goes on to say:
‘One of the revelations he has, this is his Qur’an, by the way, it is called “Al-Tadhkirah”, he called his Quran, “Al-Tadhkirah”, and you can find it, it is the name of his book…’
Once again, Yasir Qadhi exposes his own level of scholarship, or lack thereof, when he blatantly lies by alleging that the book Tadhkirah, which is a compilation of the revelations of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), is the Qur’an for Ahmadis. Had he even taken the trouble to ask any Ahmadi Muslim, man, woman or child, ‘what is your Quran?’ they would have emphatically told him that it is the same Qur’an that is recited by all Muslims around the world.
He claims to have read the writings of the Promised Messiah (as), which is hard to believe, because if he had read even a single book of the Promised Messiah (as), he would have learnt the lofty status and rank of the Holy Qur’an that was deeply rooted in his heart. In his book, A’ina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam – (The Mirror of the Excellences of Islam), the Promised Messiah (as) expounds on the beauty and significance of the Holy Qur’an, stating,
‘I call Allah to witness that the Holy Qur’an is a rare pearl. Every aspect of the Holy Qur’an is light personified and there is light in every word of it. It is a spiritual garden whose clustered fruits are within easy reach and through which streams flow. Every fruit of good fortune is found in it and every torch is lit from it. Its light has penetrated my heart and I could not have acquired it by any other means. And Allah is my Witness that if there had been no Qur’an I would have found no delight in life.‘
At another instance the Promised Messiah (as) states:
‘For 1,300 years the Holy Qur’an has been presenting its excellences by beating the drum of ھل من معارض[‘Is there a challenger?’] and proclaiming loudly to the whole world that it is incomparable and unparalleled in its external form and internal qualities, and that no man, small or great, has the ability to compete with it or counter it, yet no one has even dared to take up its challenge. Indeed, no one has been able to compete with even one surah, for example Surah al-Fatihah, in its external and internal qualities.’
Similarly, the Promised Messiah (as) states:
‘A true relationship with God the Exalted can never develop unless that relationship is created exclusively through the instrumentation of God. Carnal temptations cannot be removed from the soul until a light from the Omnipotent God enters the heart. Behold! I present first-hand testimony that such a relationship can only be possible through following the Holy Qur’an. The other scriptures are now devoid of the spirit of life. There is now only one book under the canopy of the heavens that reveals the countenance of that True Beloved; that is, the Holy Qur’an.’
In fact, had Yasir Qadhi taken the liberty to give even a cursory glance at just some of the efforts and contributions rendered by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community towards the service of the Holy Qur’an, he would have never uttered such a baseless allegation. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s efforts to propagate the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and convey its pristine message to all corners of the earth can be reflected by the fact that it has produced the translations of the Holy Qur’an in over 75 languages. In some cases, it has the distinct honour of producing the first ever translation in the local languages of those countries. From organising seminars to conferences and exhibitions, the spread of the message of the Qur’an and the publication of its translations and commentaries remains among the foremost tasks of the Community. This list can go on, but we shall suffice at this.
4. Did Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) Abrogate Jihad?
Yasir Qadhi then exposes his intellectual dishonesty once more in that despite claiming several times that he has looked up the actual references and is quoting directly therefrom, he completely misconstrued the writings of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah (as). He wrongfully claims that the Promised Messiah (as) abrogated the commandment of Jihad. The Promised Messiah (as) has mentioned repeatedly in his various writings, lectures and discourses that he has not made even a single change to the laws of Islam, but rather has come in complete subservience to the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Prophet (sa). There is not a single instance where the Promised Messiah (as) has ever said that the commandment of Jihad has been abrogated. Had Yasir Qadhi done even an iota of justice to his claim of conducting an honest research, he would have come across a plethora of writings of the Promised Messiah (as) in which he repeatedly mentioned that the Jihad of this age was not with the sword, but rather called for the Jihad of the pen. The Promised Messiah (as) has stated,
‘Know for certain that in this age it is not the sword that is needed but the pen. Our opponents have spread doubts about Islam and have sought to attack the true religion sent by Allah Almighty through various sciences and strategies. I have thus been moved by God to enter this battlefield of science and academic advancement armed with a literary arsenal, and also to exhibit the spiritual valour of Islam and demonstrate the marvel of its inner strength.’
Another example from his writings is as follows,
‘We must go forth with the same form of weaponry that the Christian clergy have brought into the field of battle, and that weapon is the pen. It is for this very reason that Allah the Exalted has named my humble self the “King of the Pen” and has named my pen the “Dhulfiqar [Sword]” of Ali. The secret at the heart of this is that the present era is not an age of war and battle, but an era of the pen.’
The Promised Messiah (as) did not just call for a Jihad with the pen and to establish the superiority of Islam through peaceful writing and discourse, but, in fact, championed those efforts and was unparalleled in this regard. As a result, the Christian clergy, who were previously gaining unprecedented success in proselytising the sub-continent, were met with such a powerful response that they were left perplexed by the challenge posed by the Promised Messiah (as) and were even documenting this impact in their reports.
Again, if Yasir Qadhi’s intention was purely to give an academic talk, then why did he fail to mention that many of the notable Muslim scholars of the time were unanimous in their view of declaring Jihad against the British Government as being unlawful. In fact, it is on record and has been published by The Homeward Mail on 19 October 1907, that:
‘After a great deal of discussion and argument, it was unanimously agreed by all the Maulvis present that according to the Hanafi School of Law any kind of usury was forbidden in India, as this country could not be considered “darul-harb [sic].”‘
Furthermore, in his desperate efforts to attack the Ahmadiyya beliefs, Yasir Qadhi exposed his own lack of knowledge of fundamental Islamic sources. For example, he states:
‘There is no Arab Anbiya [Prophets] before him [i.e. the Holy Prophet (sa)]. There was nobody who spoke Arabic and was a Nabi before the Prophet (sa).’
This is factually incorrect.
In Sahih Al-Bukhari, Ibn Abbas (ra) narrates that when the Prophet Ismael (as) was a child, he learnt Arabic from the Jurhum tribe that came and settled in Makkah. So, the Prophet Ismael (as) was a prophet, he spoke Arabic and he came before the Holy Prophet (sa). Perhaps it ought to be wise to check these facts before delivering an ‘academic’ lecture.
Thus, upon simple scrutiny, we are given a mere glimpse of the major flaws in Sheikh Yasir Qadhi’s talk and academic rigour. Whilst attempting to expound on the ‘limits of tolerance’, he clearly overstepped the boundaries of intellectual dishonesty, bias and outright deception.
About the Authors:
Shahzad Ahmad serves as the Associate Editor of The Review of Religions, having graduated from Jamia Ahmadiyya UK – Institute of Modern Languages and Theology. He is also an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, has a Bachelors Degree in English Literature and presents shows on contemporary Islamic issues for MTA International.
Zafir Malik serves as the Associate Editor of The Review of Religions, having graduated from Jamia Ahmadiyya UK – Institute of Modern Languages and Theology. He is also an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and regularly appears as a panellist on MTA International and Voice of Islam radio station answering questions on Islam.
 Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Fitab wa Ashrat al-Sa’a, Hadith No. 157
 The Holy Qur’an: 3:50
 Sahih Muslim, Kitab Al-Fitan, Bab Dhikr al-Dajjal wa Sifatihi wa ma ma’hu, Hadith No. 2937a
 Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah,vol 13, pg 566 [Sharikat Dar al-Qibla & Mu’assisah Ulum al-Qur’an]
 Muassisah Al-Risalah, Beirut, Lebanon, Vol 13, pg 519
 Sharh Diwan al-Mutanabi by Abdul Rahman Al-Barqauqi, page 12
 Dar Ihya Al-Turath Al-Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon
 A’ina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 5, pp. 545-546
 Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, pt.4, p. 175, footnote no.11 [English Translation]
 Haqiqatul Wahi – The Philosophy of Divine Revelation, p.2, [English Translation)
 Malfuzat [English], Vol. 1, p. 58
 Malfuzat [English], Vol. 1, p. 238
 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab Ahadith al-Anbiya, Hadith No. 3364