A reply to “The Qadiani Danger in South Africa”

29 A REPLY TO: “THE QADIANI DANGER IN SOUTH AFRICA- BASELESS PROPANGANDA REFUTED (Sheikh Nasir Ahmad) (During my brief stay in Cape Town, South Africa, in September 1987, I came across an anti-Ahmadiyya pamphlet which had been distributed on a large scale among the large Muslim community in that country. I was asked by the local Ahmadi Muslims to write an article in refutation of the misleading statements regarding the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam. The article written by me is being reproduced below.) We have recently received a pamphlet entitled: “The Qadiani Danger in South Africa” from one of o.ur “Al-Asr” readers for our perusal and comment. We wish to express our thanks for this anti-Ahmadiyya pamphlet. The fact is that we are used to such malicious propanganda against the Ahmadiyya Movement which seeks to mislead the innocent through distorting, twisting and often inventing things against us. The pamphlet is a typical example of the utterly baseless and unfounded propaganda made against Ahmadi Muslims. We entirely agree that a Prophet will never make such audacious and insane statements. But unfortunately the inference is wrong in the case of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam since the reader took the false allegations at their face value. However, it is gratifying to note that he does wish to investigate and that is why he has forwarded the pamphlet to us for a reply. We have decided to deal with all the points raised in the pamphlet even at the risk of a lengthy reply. Let it be stated at the.outset that practically all the statements made and quotations reproduced are either wilful distortions or pure fabrications, a fact which casts doubts on the truthfulness and reliability of the author of the pamphlet. In answer to the first question, the author refers to Ahmadis also as “Qadianis” and “Mirzais”. These last two terms are derogatory and we Ahmadis do not use them for ourselves. Ordinary decency requires, and also the Holy Qur’an says, that one should refrain from giving names to others. A NEW RELIGION? ” In answer to question No.2 where it is stated that the Founder of the Movement was “the son of an employee of the British Government”, it is quite untrue, since the father of the Founder was a landowner and not an employee. The Founder was born in 1835 and not in 1839 or 1840. He did not start ” a new religion in conspiracy with the full support of the British in 1880″, as the following will show: 30 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad the Promised Messiah and Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, writes ‘in his book “Noor-ul-Haq”, Part 1, page 5: “We are Muslims and we believe in One God Who has no partner and we also believe in LA ILAHA IL-LALLAH. We believe in the Book of God, the Qur’an, as well as in His Prophet Muhamad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, who is KHATAM-UL-ANBIA. We have our faith in the angels, in the Day of Resurrction, in Heaven and Hell. We offer the prayer (Namaz/Salat) and observe the Fast. We turn to the Qibla. We consider that to be forbidden (Haraam) which God andHis Prophet have forbidden. We consider that to be allowed (Halaal) what has been declared as such. We neither add anything to the Shariat nor do we detract anything from it; we do not alter an atom of it. Whatever we have received from the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), we accept it whether we understand it or whether we do not arrive at its basic truth. By the grace of Allah we are Momin , Muwahhid and Muslim.” In “Malfoozat”, Volume 8, pp. 233, 234 he says: ” I say in all clarity – and the same is my belief and faith, that no human being can attain to any spiritual grace and bliss without following in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).” In the same book we read on page 252: “The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is Khatam-un- Nabiyyin, and the Holy Qur’an is Khatam-ul-Kutb. Now there can neither be another Kalima nor another Namaz. What the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) said or did in practice, and whatever is contained in the Holy Qur’an – no salvation, is possible by forsaking it. One who forsakes it, will go to Hell. This is our faith and belief.” THE PROMISED MESSIAH AND THE BRITISH As to the accusation that the Founder was in “conspiracy with the British” and had their “full support”, it must be said that this amazing statement is a concoction and has not a shred of truth in it. Had it been so, he could never have exposed the false beliefs of the Christians and criticised them so vehemently. He could never have declared that Jesus, God and Son of God for the Christians (as the British were), was not alive but dead, that the belief in Trinity was not taught by Jesus Christ and that the vicarious death of Jesus on the cross did not mean the redemption of sins for Christians. Further, he could under no circumstances have invited the then reigning British monarch to accept Islam. A REPLY TO: THE QADIANI DAGGER IN SOUTH AFRICA 31 The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement was a champion of Islam at -a time when Christian missionaries, who found themselves in a favourable position because of the British colonial power, were recklessly attacking Islam and large numbers of Muslims in India were forsaking their religion for ‘Christianity as they were unable to resist the thrust of the onslaught of Christian missionaries. The Ulema of those days had neither the knowledge nor the courage to support the cause of Islam and to refute the propaganda of Christian missionaries. The person of the Holy Prophet was being made the target of venomous attacks and filthy invective was hurled at our beloved Master. .Had Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and the spiritual son of the Holy Prophet, hatched up a conspiracy against Islam and Muslims with the “full support of the British”, he would never have taken the stand he took in the defence of Islam. He not only assumed a defensive stance, but also attacked the false beliefs of Christianity. Although he as a Muslim and a true follower of the-Holy Qur’an believed that Hazrat Isa (Jesus) was a true Proph’et of God, for whom he showed great respect and when he held in honour as such, he nevertheless did not hesitate to expose the true character of the “Yasu” (Jesus) of the New Testament, as the Christians had depicted him. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad knew fully well that the “Yasu” of the Bible was an imaginary figure and an altogether different person from Hazrat Isa of the Holy Qur’an, but -he also knew that the Christians believed in a person they called”Yasu” of the Bible. Therefore, not out of his personal conviction, but because of the belief of the Christians, he quoted from the New Testament in order to make the Christians feel themselves ashamed of their unholy attacks on the holiest of all persons, Hazrat Mohammad Mustafa, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Thus whenever, there is a mention in derogatory terms of a person called “Yasu” in the writings of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, the reference is not at all to .Hazrat Isa of the Holy Qur’an but to an imaginary character whom the. Christians take for their Saviour. Moreover, those writings are mere quotations from the New Testament and cannot as such be attributed to the Promised Messiah. He writes in his book “Ayyam-us-Sulah”, on title page 2: “I have also been commanded by Almighty God to believe that Hazrat Isa – peace be on him – was a true, holy and truthful Prophet of God and to believe in his Prophethood. Thus there is no derogatory word about his esteemed status in any of my books. If anyone thinks otherwise, then he is under an illusion and is a liar.” Further we read the following in “Ishtehar” 27th December 1897, margin note in “Tabligh-i-Risalat” vol.7 page 70: “Whereas I claim to be the Promised Messiah and to have a similarity to Hazrat Isa, it becomes apparent to everyone that if I had, God forbid, defamed Hazrat Isa, I could not have emphasized the fact of my being similar to him.” 32 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Finally, the Promised Messiah says: “It is a fact that these people (i.e. Christians) do not at all believe in the historical Messiah (Christ) who had in reality appeared. Instead, they have invented of their own whim an imaginary Messiah whom they regard as God.” (“Tafheem-ul-Qur’an”, vol. 1, page 491). All this makes it abundantly clear that the Messiah of the Holy Qur’an is a different person from the “Yasu” of the Bible. MISQUOTED AND MISINTERPRETED PASSAGES As to the passage (a) under “His Claims”, the quotation from “Khutba Ilhamiya” is wrong. Not on page 176, but on page 206 of the book, we read: “In reality you are far, far away from (the meaning of) it (i.e. Sura Al-Fateha), and you do not believe in a single letter of it, unless you accept that the Messiah who has been one of you and raised from the very midst of you, and whose truth Sura Al-Noor has testified.” The passage (c), as quoted from “Taryaq-ul-Qulub” is found on page 6 and not on page 3. It runs: “I am the Messiah of the time and I am the one to whom God has spoken. I am Mohammad and Ahmad – the Chosen one.” This is metaphorical speech. The Promised Messiah, the true follower and the spiritual son of the Holy Prophet, the greatest champion of Islam, has been raised to accomplish the task of all the Prophets, not least that of the Holy Prophet. He, therefore, represents the Holy Prophet and through his mission he serves the mission of his noble and exalted Master. The passage (d) has been wilfully distorted and by the interpolation of one word it has been given a shameless twist. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad wrote nowhere that “it is a fact that Mohammad worked only three thousand miracles.” The passage in “Tuhfa Golarwia”, page 40 (not page 63), runs as follows: “Such is the case of a mischief-seeker, who, for instance, instead of mentioning three thousand other miracles of our Prophet – peace and blessings of Allah be upon him – simply insists on repeating ever again the prophecy of Hudaibiya, criticising that it was not fulfilled within the fixed time-limit.” The author of the passage has torn the passage (e) on page 41 of A REPLY TO: THE QADIANI DANGER IN SOUTH AFRICA 33 “Tazkiratu- Shahadatain” from its context in such a misleading manner such as to create the impression with the innocent reader that the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement was claiming to have shown more miracles than the Holy Prophet, God forbid. The same treatment has been meted out to passage (f) from “Khutba Ilhamiya” page 55,56 the full text of which reads as follows: “I have been endowed with the power to destroy and also to imbibe life. And this power has been given to me by God the Almighty. But this majestic power granted to me is the manifestation of that reflex of mine which is the reflex of the Spirit of Hazrat Isa. This is from God in order that I may crush and destroy the evil of SHIRK (polytheism) which has crept into and is present in the beliefs of those who have gone astray.” Passage (g) has been amply dealt with earlier. Suffice to say that the attempt to confuse the issue of the real Hazrat Isa and the “Yasu” of the Gospels is a heinous one. Passage (h) which purports to say that “the Qur’an mentions the riames of three cities with great respect: Makkah, Madinah and Qadian” is nowhere to be found in the Promised Messiah’s writing “Khutba Ilhamiya.” It is the product of the imagination of the author and constitutes a pure fabrication. JIHAD Passages (i) and (j) from Taryaq-ul-Qulub on page 15 (and not pages 25,26) deserve a detailed note. The fact must be put straight that the passage refers to the ill-conceived idea of Jihad, prevalent among ignorant Muslims, who in their age of deep darkness had removed themselves from the light of the Holy Prophet. Whereas Islam taught peace and did not admit of any violance, compulsion or coercion in matters of faith and belief, Muslims had in their hour of despair chosen to console themselves with the idea of a coming Mahdi who was to spread Islam among non-Muslims by the force of the sword. This expectation was a clear negation of the peaceful teachings of Islam and also of the noble example set by the Holy Prophet who suffered and suffered at the hand of his blood-thirsty enemies but never took to the sword until the enemy himself forced him to do so. The wrong notion of Jihad had acquired such deep roots in the thinking of ignorant Muslims that they would not face the situation but simply wait for the bloody Mahdi to come and help them regain their past glory. Jihad literally means struggle and effort and its warsome connotation presupposes the fulfilment of certain conditions when it becomes obligatory for Muslims to retaliate and defend themselves. There is no room either in the teaching of 34 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Islam nor in the practice of the Holy Prophet for taking up arms in an aggressive manner. It was imperative for the Promised Messiah to take the necessary steps to raise the Muslims to the pinnacles of glory, to give them real hew life and to crush and destroy their wrong notions. The wrong concept of Jihad was one of them. Now we quote the full passage as mentioned above. The Promised Messiah writes in “Taryaq-ul-Qulub” (page 15): “O the progeny of Muslims! What sin have I committed against you that you are bent upon causing me pain through multifarious designs. The Maulvis among you cease not to preach that this man is devoid of faith, the Dajjal and one who praises beyond extreme the British rule and is an opponent of the Turkish empire. The employees among you seek to turn me into a rebel against this beneficient government. I understand that everyone is constantly trying to spread untrue matters regarding me, notwithstanding the fact that you know it well that I am not a person with rebellious inclinations. The greater part of my life has been spent in support and favour of this British rule. I have written so many books-and published so many tracts on the prohibition of warsome struggle – “Jihad” — and the obedience to British rule that if these pamphlets and books were put together (meaning total copies),.they could fill fifty bookcases. I have sent such writings to all Arab countries, to Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan (Kabul) and Turkey. It has always been my aim that Muslims should become true well-wishers of this government and should banish from their minds the unfounded stories about a bloody Mahdi and a bloody Messiah as well as the emotional concept of Jihad which leads astray the foolish people. How was it, then, possible for me to be an ill-wisher of this government or to introduce in my community unlawful and rebellious designs. Since I have been inculcating for twenty years obedience to the British rule, and have been instructing my followers to this effect, it was not conceivable that I should preach any rebellious designs • contrary to my own precepts. In fact I know that God the Supreme, through His Special Grace, made this government a haven of safety for me and for my community. The peace we have under the protection of this government cannot be had in Makkah Muazzamah or in Madinah (of today), neither under the King of Turkey nor under the rule of Constantinople^ Why, then, should I act against my own interests in that I should entertain in my mind any rebellious design against this government? I consider those amongst the Muslims who nurture in their hearts such ill notions about Jihad and rebellion, to be extremely ignorant, unfortunate and wrongdoers. For we are witness to the fact that the renaissance of Islam has become possible under the peace-giving protection of the British government”. Considering the unrest elsewhere and the lack of religious freedom, the A REPLY TO: THE QADIANI DANGER IN SOUTH AFRICA 35 British rule in the then India was certainly conducive to the propagation of Islam. KALIMA — THE CORNERSTONE OF FAITH Regarding the beliefs of Ahmadi Muslims it has been alleged that they negate the Kalima. Quite the reverse is true. Ahmadis regard the profession of their faith Islam as contained in the words “There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah” to be the cornerstone of their faith. Their beliefs do not negate the Holy QUr’an. This is an audacious insinuation and one wonders from which source the author of this pamphlet borrowed this concoction. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement says: “The sum-total and the quintessence of our religion is: LA ILAHA IL-LALLAH MOHAMMAD-UR-RASULLALAH. [There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah].” (“Ayyam-us-Sulah”, page 86). Another insinuation contained in the pamphlet is to the effect that the beliefs of Ahmadi Muslims negate the Qur’an and the Hadith of the Holy Prophet. The author seems to be an avowed enemy of truth and a master at distortion. The accusation is entirely fictitious. The more such baseless allegations are made the less trustworthy and reliable the author will become to the intelligent reader. Only the totally ignorant may be misled by such crude methods. What the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement has to say on this point is diametrically opposed to the utterance of the author of the pamphlet. Read: “We believe with firm conviction that the Holy Quran is the khatim of all the heavenly Scriptures and not an iota or a dot can be added or deducted from its laws, penal codes, commandments and injunctions. No such revelation (wahy or Ilham) can now come from God which should amend or revoke the commandm- ents of the Qur’an or change or alter any single dictate of it.” (“Izala Auham”, Part 1, pages 137, 138). “I say it in all clarity and the same is my faith and belief, that no one can attain to spiritual grace and bounty without obediently following in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.” (Ibi. pp. 233, 234). KHATAM-UN-NABIYYIN The beliefs of Ahmadi Muslims do in no way negate the “finality of the Prophethood” of the Holy Prophet Mohammad [peace be on him] , as has been alleged in the said pamphlet. Much too much has been made by the opponents of Ahmadiyyat of the word’Khatam’in the Holy Qur’an in respect of the Holy Prophet, and the word is interpreted to mean that no Prophet will appear after the Holy 36 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Prophet. It must be stated here with all emphasis that the accusation is totally false that Ahmadi Muslims do not believe in Khatam-un-Nabiyyin. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement declared: ” I am a believer-in the Prophethood of the Khatam-ul-Anbiyya, and I regard everyone who denies Khatem-e-Nabuwwat to be devoid of faith and out of the pale of Islam.” (“Taqreer Wajib-ul-I’lan” 23rd October 1891). He writes further: “What God requires of you in matter of belief is only this that God is One and that Mohammad sallal-laho alaihi wasallam is His Prophet; and he is Khatam-ul-Anbiyya and the greatest of all.” (Kishti-i-Nooh”, page. 15). The whole thing revolves around the word “Nabi” which is misunderstood, misinterpreted and misrepresented, and an aura of emotion is permitted to build around it. Ahmadi Muslims believe that the Holy Prophet brought the final code of laws in the form of the Holy Qur’an and that no one can come now to replace the Holy Qur’an or to amend and-alter its teachings. It must be understood that a Holy Book alone cannot of its own lead mankind to the path of righteousness if there is no exemplar to put the theory into practice and serve as a model. Compared with the Muslims in the time of the Holy Prophet and his successors, the Muslims-of today are depraved in the extreme. The quality of their faith and righteousness bears no relationship to the quantity of their numbers. Those who once stood at the pinnacles of glory and were torch-bearers of knowledge and wisdom for the rest of the world have sunk to a very low level of ignorance. The selfless have become selfish, the truthful have turned into cheats, the lambs have assumed the garb of wolves. Islam has become a synonym for terror, violence and intolerance. The Holy Book Qur’an is there all the same, but its spirit has been banished from the hearts of the so-called Muslims. They are no longer an invitation to Islam, the world rather feejs repelled by the conduct of Muslims of our time. This is a very tragic state of affairs and should be a cause of grief for those who cherish the love of Islam and the Holy Prophet. Today the Muslim world needs an exemplar, a true servant of Islam who can by his precept and example revive Islam for the good of mankind. This task can only be accomplished by a Prophet of God. But that Prophet can only be a spiritual son of the Holy Prophet who comes to re-establish and reaffirm the truth of Islam and of the Holy Prophet. Without this there is no hope for Islam. The Holy Prophet had spoken of our sad times and given the glad tidings of Imam Mahdi and Promised Messiah whom he called a Nabi. Such a prophet must of necessity bear the Seal of the Holy Prophet — which is Khatam — who should attest to his truth. Only one who comes to serve the faith of Islam can have the attestation of the Holy Prophet. The word A REPLY TO: THE QADIANI DANGER IN SOUTH AFRICA 37 Khatam does not and cannot by any stretch of interpretation mean absolutely last in the temporal sense of the word. . A verse in the Holy Qur’an is very significant in this context. It says: , . . “O children of Adam, if Messengers come to you .from among yourselves, rehearsing My Signs unto you, then whoso shall fear God and do good deeds, on them shall come no fear nor shall they grieve.” (7:36). Leaving all other factors aside, this verse alone is a standing challenge to those who think that no Prophet whatsoever can ever come after the Holy Prophet. Qur’an is the Word of God and it says categorically that whenever there is need God will raise a Prophet to lead mankind to Him. If no Prophet was ever to come after the Holy Prophet, what meaning could be attached to this verse which forms part of the Eternal Qur’an? We reject the idea of some ignorant Muslims that some verses of the Holy Qur’ari have been abrogated and have thus lost their validity. Another point worth pondering is that there is excellence in being the greatest of all Prophets and in having been the bearer of the final, perfect and comprehensive Divine Dispensation — which is’the Holy Qur’an. But there is no excellence in being the last Prophet in the absolute sense of the word. How can the blessings of Prophethood be supposed to have come to an end if evil continues to hold its sway. The excellence ‘of the Holy Prophet Mohammad [peace be on him] lies in the fact that under his spiritual guidance and by following his footsteps one can attain the rank of a Prophet as a servant of the cause of the Holy Prophet, as his pupil and disciple. This is the one excellence which is exclusive to the Holy Prophet. No other Prophet before him-enjoyed this high status of spirituality of the’Holy Prophet.’ The Promised Messiah never claimed to be a Prophet with a new Law. His Shariat is the Shariat of’the. Holy Prophet.’He writes: . “All sorts of Prophethood except the Prophethood of Mohammad (Mohammadi Nabuwwat) have now come to a close. No .’Law-bearing Prophet can come, and a Prophet without a new Law can come on the .condition that he is in the first • instance an UMMATI (follower of the Holy Prophet). (“Tajalliyat-i-Ilahiya”. page 20). He writes further: • • • • ” • . “It is not permissible to apply the epithet of Nabi (Prophet) to any one after the Holy Prophet without calling him in the same breath , also an Ummati which.means that he is:the recipient of. every , favour by following the Holy Prophet, and not direqtly.” (Ibid, page 9 ) . . . – • . . – . . . . . ‘ . . . . . – 38 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS It is erroneously propagated that belief in the absolute finality of prophethood in the sense that no Prophet whatsoever can appear after the Holy Prophet is a fundamental of Islam. But this is an innovation of our times. Although Ahmadi Muslims believe from the depths of their hearts that the Holy Prophet was Khatam-un-Nabiyyin, they do not consider this ‘• belief to be one of the fundamentals of Islam. The only fundamentals of Islam as enumerated by the Holy Prophet of Islam are: — the Article of Faith – the Kalima — the Prayer — Salat — the Fast — Ramadhan — the Zakat •—• the Pilgrimage – Hajj The attempt of the Maulvis to add something to this list is very daring indeed. The pamphlet states that in 1974, 140 countries participating in the world Muslim Congress “passed a unanimous resolution” declaring Ahmadis to be out of the pale of Islam. Our comment to this bold statement is that the quoted number of 140 “Muslim” countries betrays the untruth behind this exaggerated statement. Can the writer enumerate those 140 countries? Moreover, even if the number of countries were 14,000, they would not have the authority to declare anyone to be outside the pale of Islam. AHMADI MUSLIMS IN SOUTH AFRICA About the number of Ahmadi Muslims in South Africa the pamphlet says: “There are a handful in Cape Town.” This reference to the number of Ahmadi Muslims is typical and reeks of the pride inherent in a majority on the basis of numbers. The question of majority or minority is irrelevant and no measure of truth. Muslims too were a small minority in Mecca and were called by the Meccans as: “shirzimatun qalilun”, (26:55) i.e., a small group No doubt the number of Ahmadi Muslims in South Africa, or for that matter in the entire world, is yet small. But they are the torch-bearers of that Olympic flame of Islam which was kindled 1400 years ago and which was later extinguished by the maulvis. This flame has been rekindled in our age and it is in the hands of “a handful” who are going to give light to the rest of the world as did the early companions of the Holy Prophet Mohammad, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). A REPLY TO: THE QADIANI DANGER IN SOUTH AFRICA 39 The pamphlet says that Ahmadi Muslims in South Africa had “one coutt battle with the Muslims.” This statement is absolutely wrong. Ahmadi Muslims of South Africa (the pamphlet refers to the “Qadianis”) never went to court. If the writer of the pamphlet wants to appeal to the innocent “Muslims” to part with their money in order to replenish and augment the funds of the Muslim Judicial Council, then he should not resort to untrue statements, distortions and false allegations and make them a basis and springboard for his appeal. The time is not far when the real face of our opponents will be exposed, the untruths contained in their claims unveiled, and those with insight and sound judgement will start asking questions instead of taking everything they are told at its face value. Our job is simply to convey the messsge. May Allah guide those who seek the truth. FRIDAY PRAYER Of all the obligations of a Muslim, the most important is prayer, and of all the prayers, none is so essential to be recited in veongregation as the Juma (Friday) service prayer. The Juma is in fact the greatest Muslim festival. The Holy Quran regards it as a holiday. A whole chapter of the Holy Book entitled the Juma has been devoted to it. In that chapter Almighty God commands Muslims to quit all their worldly affairs when they are summoned to prayer on Friday, to assemble in mosques and to say the Juma prayers with due observance of all the requirements of the Law. The person who does not act in obedience to these injunctions is regarded by the Holy Quran as guilty of a deadly sin and almost outside the circle of Islam. Far more stress has been laid upon attendance at the Juma sermon and prayers than upon Bid. It is on account of this importance of the Juma in the Muslim faith that Friday has universally been observed as a holiday among the Muslims from the very earliest time that Islam took its rise. (The Promised Messiah)