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Analytical Book Review

11 ANALYTICAL BOOK REVIEW (Dr. Yusef A. Lateef) OUR TEACHING By Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement In Islam, abridged version of his book KASHT-I—NUH (Noah’s Ark). Tabshir Publication, Rabwah, West Pakistan, 1958. In Hazrat Bashir Ahmad’s forward to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s book entitled Our Teaching, Mirza Bashir Ahmad said: The present abridgement is an English rendering of the Founder’s own sacred words and, therefore is replete with all the blessings that descend from heaven on the heart of a holy person. Read it and be blest (p. 1) After reading the above mentioned book many times, one of the things that attracted my attention was that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad focused on the heart at least twenty-two times during the forty-three pages of the text. First he used the word heart in the context of saying: There are many who pretend to be kind, gentle and forgiving, but inside they are wolves, there are many on the outside who look pure, but in their ‘heart’ they are serpents (pp. Though the above text is literally silent, we hear the voice of of the Holy Quran. For example: And of men there is he whose talk on this life would please thee, and he would call Allah to witness as to that which is in the ‘heart’, and yet he is the most contemptuous of quarrellers (2:205) Is not the experience of encountering a contemptuous, fault finding quarreller comparable to encountering a crawling, sly moving serpent? The second mentioning of the word heart is as follows: And if in any corner of your ‘heart’ there be pride, empty pretence, hypocrisy, vanity, love of self, or laziness of disposition, you do not amount to anything acceptable in the sight of the Lord (p. 5). In the above quotation it is obvious that Hazrat Ahmad is directing those who are in need of spiritual guidance to Islam, by echoing the Holy Quran; 12 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 0 mankind! there has indeed come to you an exhortation from your Lord and a cure for whatever disease there is in the ‘heart’, and a guidance and mercy to the believers. (10:58) In this verse Allah is telling us that pride, empty pretence, hypocrisy, excessive pride, love of one’s own image and slothfulness are diseases of the heart and that Islam is a cure for whatever disease there is in the hearts. On page six Hazrat Ahmad says: …. every impure heart remains unaware of Him (p. 6) Here, again, it is made clear that it is the disease of pride within the heart which causes one to be unaware of Allah. In the Holy Quran we read: Your God is one God and as to those who believe not in the Hereafter their ‘hearts’ are strangers to truth, and they are full of pride. (16:23) Also, on page six we read: With the deepest sincerity of heart, with a steadfast strength and ardour, become the friends of God, so that He too should become your friend (p.6) One implication in the above assertion is that it is important to become one of the friends of God, in that a friend is someone who is loved and trusted, someone who supports a group or cause, and when a person’s heart is honest, clean, pure and free of hypocrisy and with great intensity he/ she becomes one of the friends of God, then God, as their friend will save them. The Holy Quran says: But he alone will be saved who brings to AEah a sound heart. (26:105) The sound of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s voice in his writings seems always to direct us to Allah’s words in the Holy Quran. Subsequently, his voice, also, without a doubt tells us what kind of person he was. We hear his character or his personality in his words. We can truthfully say that his message is never divorced from his personality. His words imply that he was an ardourous friend of God (Alhumdulilah). To expound further upon the realization that Allah is the saviour of mankind Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad writes: REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 13 This world is a place of thousands of evils, tribulations and trials: in all sincerity and steadfastness of ‘heart’ catch hold of God, so that He keeps these evils, tribulations and trials away from you. (pp.6—7) On page ten he mentions the heart twice: Do oil deeds with the proper care they deserve, forsaking evil from a real repulsion in the ‘heart’. Be very, very sure that no action, whatsoever, can take you to God if it is devoid of righteousness of the heart, (p.10). The point here is that when one does good deeds purely out of the goodness of one’s heart, then one becomes recipient of God’s blessings. Allah says in the Holy Quran: Those who believe and do good (geniune) deeds — the Gracious God will create love in their ‘hearts’. (19:97) On page eleven we read: After you have straightened your ‘hearts’ and purified your tongues and eyes and ears, you come to Him, and He shaE accept you. (p. 11) The above assertion obviously is information which, alludes to the following verse in the Holy Quran: Verily, we have created many of the Jinn and men whose end shall be Hell! They have ‘hearts’ but they understand not therewith, and they have eyes but they see not therewith, and they have ears but they hear not therewith. They are like cattle, nay, they are even more astray. They are indeed quite heedless (7:180). It follows that by not correctly applying the faculties which God has given to us, we void God’s acceptance of ourselves. Also this kind of negligence demonstrates our ungratefulness. In the Holy Quran we read: Say, ‘He it is Who brought you into being, and made your ears and eyes and hearts; but little thanks do you give’ (67:24). On page twelve we read: The outward form means nothing: God sees what h’es inside your ‘hearts’, and He would deal with you on’the basis of what He sees there.-(p. 12). Accordingly, the Holy Quran instructs us as to who can obtain and how a state of ease or well-being may be obtained: 14 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Those- who believe, and whose ‘hearts’ find comfort in the remembrance of Allah, Aye! it is in the remembrance ofAHah that ‘hearts’ can find comfort (13:29). Also, on page fourteen we read: Indeed very fortunate are they who cleanse their ‘hearts’ washing away aE impurities, and who make a pledge of loyalty with their God (P.14). In regards to cleansing and purifying the heart we read in the Holy Quran: …. Surely, Allah changes not the condition of a people until they change that which is in their ‘hearts’ (13:12). On page seventeen Ahmad says: I teU you truly that every door can be closed but the door for the coming down of the holy spirit. Open all the doors of your ‘heart’ to receive it. (p. 17). The above statement advises us to open all the doors of our heart to receive the holy spirit, which informs us that we must open our hearts to truth whereby we become tender—hearted as was Abraham (Alabis Salam). The Holy Quran states: …. Surely, Abraham was most tender—hearted, forbearing. (9:114). Likewise, we must earn with our hearts for as the Holy Quran states: He will coll you (us) to account for what (our) your hearts have earned. (2:226) We must open the doors of our hearts whereby our hearts become joined in love with God and mankind. Allah has said in the Holy Quran: … He united your ‘hearts’in love, so that by His grace you became as brothers…. (3:104). We .must speak that which is in our hearts so as not to be like those who: They (who) say with their mouths what is not in their ‘hearts’…. (3:168). We must hear and see with our hearts because: If Allah should take away your (our) hearing and your (our) REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 15 sight, and seal up your (our) ‘hearts’ who is the God other than Allah who could bring it back to you (us)? (26:47). If we desire, Allah’s guidance, we should believe with our ‘hearts’ because the Holy Quran states: …. whomsoever Allah wishes to guide, He expands his bosom (heart) for the exceptance of Islam;… (26:126) We should endeavor to understand with our ‘heart’ so as not to be like: They (who) have ‘hearts’ but they understand not therewith …. (7:180). We must believe with our ‘hearts’ and trust in Allah with our ‘hearts’ for we read in the Holy Quran: True believers are only those whose hearts tremble when the name of Allah is mentioned, and when His Signs are recited to them they increase their faith, and (they) put their, trust in their Lord. (8:3). And we should be ever mindful to: ….seek forgiveness of (our) Lord; then turn to Him whole-heartedly. Verily, (your) Lord (Allah) is Merciful, Most Loving (11:91). We must open our ‘hearts’ to truth, believe in the Hereafter and rid our ‘hearts of pride for the Holy Quran states: … those who believe not in the Hereafter their ‘hearts’ are strangers to truth and they are fuU of pride (16:80). Whenever we become the recipients of any knowledge we must be humble, share it with others, realize in our hearts that it is the truth from Allah, for He has said: And that those to whom knowledge has been given may know that it is the truth from thy Lord, so that they may believe therein and their ‘hearts’ may become lowly (humble) unto Him. And surely AUah guides those who believe to the right path (22:55). Elsewhere we read: The ‘heart’ of the Prophet (S.A.W) was hot untrue to that which he saw (-53:12). Finally on page forty-three the word ‘heart’ is mentioned two more times: Being thefoUowers of such a great and exalted Prophet (S.A.W), 16 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS why do you lose ‘heart’? Be firm of faith; and set an example that even the angels in heaven should wonder at your strength and steadfastness, and should pray for blessings on you (p. 43) And finally Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad says: With this I finish, and pray that this teaching of mine should be fruitful for you, working a change in your ‘hearts’ which should make you tike stars on this earth, filling the globe with the light you get from the Lord. Amen! (p. 43) The above concluding words echo the following verse in the Holy Quran: He it is who sent down tranquitity into the ‘hearts’ of the believers that they might add faith to their faith – and to Allah belong the host of the heavens and the earth and Allah is All-Knowing. Wise (48:5) In conclusion, in all candor, we can say that the text of Our Teachings though it is literally silent, makes us hear the voice of the Holy Quran. (from page 8) discharge their duties then no greater charm can enchant the hearts of their husbands. It is the duty of mothers and wives to try to transform the atmosphere of their homes. During his tours of African countries Hazrat Khalifatul Masih stated that he had noticed that African women are extremely oppressed about which men should pay special attention. He said he has seen women working in Africa with one baby on the back and another in a front pouch and at the same time carrying a full basket of fruit or corn to be sold in the market. As far as Ahmadis are concerned this situation is unacceptable. In the end Hazrat Khalifarul Masih called upon everyone to.join him in prayer especially for those Ahmadi ladies who have been subjected to atrocities in Pakistan. Ignoring the teachings of Islam our opponents have attacked, disgraced and even murdered Ahmadi women. Ahmadi men, of course, have also suffered and have been murdered. May Allah change the situation in Pakistan and in the oppression and suffering of women throughout the world.