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QUESTION & ANSWER: Contemporary Issues

Malfoozat is the title of the ten volumes that contain the collection of discourses, speeches and addresses of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam A h m a d( a s ) of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. Belief in God is of two types. One type of belief is that which is limited to the tongue and it has no influence on actions or deeds. The other type of belief is one that carries with it testimony of deeds. Moreover, until the second type of belief develops [within a person], I cannot say that a person believes in God. I cannot understand the situation where a person claims to have a belief in God yet he commits sins. A large part of the world is made up of people who have 8 The Review of Religions – June 2003 Belief in God The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as). In 1891, he claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the P romised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Presented below, in translation, is a compilation of excerpts taken from the discourses and speeches of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Urdu text of the excerpts is taken from Malfoozat. Translated by Amatul Hadi Ahmad belief of the first type. They d e c l a re that they believe in God, but at the same time they are engulfed by the impurities of the world and are steeped in the evil of sin. What, then, is the reason that a belief in God’s existence does not lead to [behaviour] that is related to belief? A person desists from taking anything that belongs to another person, even if the person happens to be of the lowliest status, in his presence. How is it that there is opposition to God and how is there such courage shown in disobedience to God’s laws while it is asserted that such people have belief [in the existence of God]? I accept that a great number of people of the world assert in their own tongues that they believe in a Supreme Being. Some call him ‘Parmaishar’, other call Him ‘God’, and others call him by d i ff e rent names. However, when this professed belief of theirs is tested and examined, it has to be said that it is nothing but a verbal claim that is not attested by any actions or deeds. It is in the nature of man that he wishes to avoid the harm and to gain from the benefits of whatever he believes in. For example, arsenic is a poison and a person does not dare to taste it as he knows that a small amount of this poison can kill. Why then, having acquired a belief in God, will he not derive the conclusions that pertain to that belief? If belief in God equals even the belief that one has about arsenic then a person’s emotions and desires would turn cold and a death would come over them. However, instead we have to accept that the proclamations of belief are only utterances and belief has not acquired the hue of certainty. Hence such a person deceives his own self when he says, ‘I believe in God’. The first duty of a human being t h e re f o re is that he should correct the belief he has in God, that he should prove with his deeds and actions that they do not go against the glory of God or the commandments of God. [Malfoozat Vol 4 PP 313-314] 9 Belief in God The Review of Religions – June 2003 We do not consider God to be limited in any way nor could He be limited. We know this about God that He is on earth as He is in heaven. He has two types of relationships. One is a common relationship which He has with all His creation and the other is a special re l a t i o n s h i p which He has with particular people who, having purified themselves, pro g ress in His love. At that stage He becomes so close to such persons that it seems as if He is speaking fro m within them. It is a strange aspect of God that despite being f a r, He is near and despite being near He is far. He is very close but we cannot say that this closeness is like one body being close to another. He is above everything but we cannot say that there is something below Him. He is more ‘visible’ than anything else but even so He is most profound. A person is given knowledge of Him to the d e g ree of his own attainment of p u r i t y. By ‘emotions’ what [the questioner] presumably means is why has God burdened man with the Law of Shari’ah and why has man been imprisoned within the walls of the forbidden and the permitted? In order that it should be known that God is extremely Holy and because of His sanctity He does not like impurity. Moreover because He is merciful and beneficent, He does not wish human beings to tread a path that leads to their ruin. Hence, these are His ’emotions’ on the basis of which the religious system continues, no matter what name you wish to give them. [Malfoozat, Vol. 10 P 426-427] It is the practice of Allah that there is a kind of symmetry between the physical and the spiritual system]. Just as God nourishes and provides for the development and nourishment of the physical system, the same is the case in the system of spiritual development. The two systems, the physical and the spiritual, develop side by side. This discussion would take a diff e rent line if the questioner denies the existence 10 Belief in God The Review of Religions – June 2003 of God. However, a person who believes in the existence of God should keep the two systems in mind and benefit f rom their comparison. He Who has created the physical system has also created the spiritual system. Just as He nourishes the physical system with fresh sustenance, so He nourishes the spiritual system with fresh sustenance. Just as the physical state is dependent upon fresh water, so the spiritual state is also dependent upon fresh, heavenly revelation. Just as the physical body dies if it does not receive nourishment, so the soul too dies without spiritual nou- rishment. If in spiritual matters there were available only past and ancient re f e rences, then what would be the conclusion other than that the spiritual system is in a state of demise – what else could it be? God Almighty as is His nature, always wishes to be recognised. For proof of His existence and identification, He always provides true, clear and fresh signs and these are not too difficult to understand. It is the system that has always been in existence and it is a continuum. Thousands upon thousands of prophets came and provided such pro o f s through their own actions and deeds, thus completing the a rgument in favour of the existence of God. [The question that arises here is] how can a person who is a scientist or a philosopher bre a k this proven continuum of witnessed signs? What is needed in such a case is that, just as the pious and holy persons provide an actual physical example with their lives thus validating their claims, so should the negation of it [i.e. that there is no God] be o ff e red in the same way. Such people, however, would be justified in asking, why they are p resented with old stories and fable instead of being given a living proof or a living example and for this I am available. An astronomer cannot provide a definite proof of existence of God merely by observing the 11 Belief in God The Review of Religions – June 2003 solar system. At the very most they may point to the fact that there should be a God, but not that there is. The fact that there is a God and that He does most certainly exist, has always been proven with the principles put f o r w a rd by the Prophets. If people like myself did not appear in this world there could never be in the world any real and complete proof of God. At the very most if someone was of a just disposition and also possessed a virtuous character, then from the well ord e red heavenly bodies and from the solar system, he could conclude that there ought to be a God. Other than that the fact that God exists and He is the Master, the Ruler and the moving forc e behind all creation, all this it is not possible for people to know without the guidance of those who are from God. It is such people who enable others to witness the existence of God and, by providing fre s h evidence and signs, it is as if they are able to ‘show’ God to others. [Malfoozat Vo l . 1 0 pp.354-355] God cannot be seen with physical eyes nor can we feel Him with other senses because if He was of the perceptible realm for which the senses have been created then without doubt He would be visible or we could perceive Him. However, of the senses, none is needed for knowing God. There are special means and other kinds of senses for identifying Him. Wise men, brahmans and philosophers have tried but in vain. They have all committed mistakes and they never achieve the belief that creates a surprising change in a person’s life. When such was their own condition, how could they serve as a guide for others? Those who a re themselves engulfed by p roblems and who do not themselves have any satis- faction or peace, how could they be a source of satisfaction for others? The torches that are lit on this path are the Prophets (peace be upon them). Thus, should a person wish to acquire the light of belief, it is his duty to find and tread upon this path. Without this it is not 12 Belief in God The Review of Religions – June 2003 possible to attain nearness to God, and true spiritual knowledge which safeguard s against sin. Furthermore, every person can decide for himself as to which pursuit creates true belief and spiritual knowledge. It is true that when a person treads on the path of truth, he does face trials and tribulations. Fear of the family, of the neighbourhood and of the wider society thre a t e n s him. However, should he in reality love the truth and hold it dear, then he will eventually escape from the difficulties – otherwise tribulations will manifest his hypocrisy. It is necessary for a believer to reach a point of frenzy [in his belief] and not care for any humiliation in the path of truth. However, as long as he is imprisoned by fear of admonishment from his peers, he cannot be a believer, as [beautifully expressed in a Persian verse]: Prove with your deeds Your declaration of belief Having given your heart to Yusaf. Stay on the road leading to Canaan. In this age, we observe that there a re spread in all four corners of the earth all manner of sins, major and minor. A dry faith is not sufficient to remove all these sins. Do we find in existence the fear of God as it should be? No, most certainly not! In reality a human being is gripped by Nafse-Ammara [i.e. the self that incites to evil] as if a baby s p a r row was gripped in a lion’s p a w. Unless there is fre e d o m f rom Nafse-Ammara, any change would be a most a rduous task and escape fro m sin is very difficult. However, [consider this illustration] – should there be a devastating earthquake and the roofs of people’s houses were shaking, sinful thoughts would be far f rom people’s minds as they would be struck with fear. S i m i l a r l y, the inner condition of a person suffering from a fatal illness cannot be the same as 13 Belief in God The Review of Religions – June 2003 when he is enjoying a life of c o m f o r t . In order to bring about a change in his condition, a human being is totally dependent upon God’s mani- festations and powerful signs. It is essential that God creates such means as would strength- en a person’s faith and make it fresh and stronger so that his faith does not remain limited to verbal utterances but shows an effect on his practical condition also and in this way a person should become a true Muslim. With re g a rd to this, God Almighty spoke to me through revelation in the following verse in Persian: When the Regal age begins The so-called Muslims will be turned into true Muslims once again. This is the word of God. In the p resent age, if we care f u l l y analyse the situation, we will note that it is a lip service faith that we commonly observe. Thus, it is the intention of God Almighty that verbal Muslims should be turned into tru e Muslims. [Malfoozat, Vol. 10, pp.314-315] 14 Belief in God The Review of Religions – June 2003 PLEASE NOTE: In this journal, for the information of non-Muslim readers, ‘(sa)’ or ‘sa’ after the words, ‘Holy Prophet’, or the name ‘Muhammad’, are used. They stand for ‘Salallahu alaihi wassalam’ meaning ‘Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him’. Likewise, the letters ‘(as)’ or ‘as’ after the name of all other prophets is an abbreviation meaning ‘Peace be upon him’ derived from Alaihi salato wassalam’ for the respect a Muslim reader utters. Also ru or (ru) for Rahemahullahu Ta ’ a l a m e a n s the Mercy of Allah the Exalted be upon him