January February 1999
Vol. 76 No. 1
1. Questions about name Ahmadiyya
2. Recent Inter-faith proposal
1. Muhammad in World Scriptures, Volume 1
2. Jesus in Heaven on Earth
Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore Inc., U.S.A. u
1315 Kingsgate Road, Columbus, Ohio, 43221 1504, U.S.A.
The Light was founded in 1921 as the organ of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam (Ahmadiyya Association for the propagation of Islam) of Lahore, Pakistan. The Islamic Review was published in England from 1913 for over 50 years, and in the U.S.A. from 1980 to 1991. The present periodical represents the beliefs of the world-wide branches of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore.
Editor: Dr. Zahid Aziz. Format and Design: The Editor.
Circulation: Mrs. Samina Sahukhan, Dr. Noman I. Malik.
with the Holy Quran
Speech on Guyana National Radio
by Imam Mohamed Rasheed
Islam has been mistakenly accepted by some people as a religion that upholds its faith and propagates it by the use of force. This concept has been one charge levelled against Islam by those who seek to tarnish the beautiful and soul-saving teachings of the Quran. The word jihad in the Holy Quran has been misapplied to mean fighting in the way of God by means of force only. There are indeed one or two places in the Holy Quran where the word jihad is used to convey the use of force, but the implementation of this type of jihad was meant to be resorted to only in the case where the Muslim nation was being attacked. In the majority of places where the word jihad is used, it is meant to convey the utilization of the Holy Quran to bring people to accept Islam.
In this talk I will seek to explain the use of the word jihad in its true perspective.
"So obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites and strive hard against them a mighty striving with it." (25:52)
This passage points out that in confrontation with those who do not accept Allah and His Religion, they must be made to be aware of the teachings of the Quran. The word "it" at the end of the verse I have quoted signifies the Holy Quran. Every exertion to propagate the Holy Quran according to this verse is Jihad. Therefore, it is the binding duty of all Muslims to carry on the struggle to free mens minds from darkness by utilizing the greatest spiritual force on earth the Holy Quran.
At this point I would like to quote another verse from the Holy Quran that substantiates the concept of spreading the message of the Holy Quran by its propagation as the true significance of Allahs direction. We read in chapter 9, verse 73:
"O Prophet! Strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and be firm against them, and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination."
Here the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, is told by Allah to strive hard against the disbelievers and hypocrites, so as to save them from hell, the destination they are headed for due to their unbelief in the message of God. Here, the application of the word jihad, which means striving, clearly indicates that the Holy Prophet was commanded by his Creator that he must continue to preach relentlessly to the disbelievers and the hypocrites. There is not the slightest indication from the verse about bringing these two categories of people to Islam through force. The hypocrites had already accepted Islam, therefore there was no question about them being converted to Islam. It was their insincerity to Islam that would cause them to enter hell, that the Prophet Muhammad was told to preach to them the teachings of the Holy Quran so as to save them from the chastisement of hell.
Jihad by the sword is strictly forbidden to cause anyone to accept Islam. It is only in the secondary sense that the word jihad means fighting, and this only when the Muslims are attacked by their enemies. The Holy Quran is quite clear on the point of converting an unbeliever to Islam, and what method should be utilized. It has forbidden the utilization of force in the words of the Holy Quran which read:
La ikraha fid-din
"There is no compulsion in religion." (2:256)
Everyone that accepts Islam must be motivated by a sincere desire to worship One God Who is without form or association with as material attachment. He must also accept Muhammad as the only universal and last Prophet sent by Allah to preach His final Word to all humanity.
Jihad by the words of God, in the days of the Holy Prophet and up to now, remains the only recognized way advocated by the Holy Quran to bring the unbelievers to accept Islam. From the time the Holy Prophet Muhammad was called to prophethood his primary task was devoted to the spreading of Islam by means of constant Jihad. Those who accepted Islam also took part in the Jihad from the moment they became Muslims and this was the Jihad indeed for the propagation of the religion of Islam. This was Jihad with the Quran. This was the great Jihad mentioned by the words of Allah:
Wa jahid hum bi-hi jihad-an kabir-an
"And strive hard against them a mighty striving with it."
In spite of the many difficulties in the time of the Holy Prophet the need for Jihad by Allahs words continued to be propagated and this was the main cause for the astonishing success of Islam in Arabia.
Sometime after Islam had been securely established in Arabia, the concept of Jihad as taught by the Holy Quran ceased to be the accepted principle. In some quarters Muslims proposed a new theory in their explanation of Jihad, and that is, they adopted the sword as an alternative to the Jihad with the Quran. The belief in the use of the sword and the belief in the advent of a warrior Mahdi found support among Muslims only because of the false impression that conversion at the point of the sword was also permissible. It was wrongly thought that the Mahdi would spread Islam by the sword and thus make Islam dominant in the world. The result was they absolutely forgot the importance of the Jihad with the Quran, and that the preaching of Islam with the sword was directly opposed to the clear teaching of the Holy Quran.
Such concept of Jihad with the sword was truly established for centuries in the minds of the Muslims throughout the world. As a result, the beautiful teachings of the Holy Quran and the advancement of Islam became static and Muslims themselves became lifeless, so much so that many Muslim countries became impotent even to struggle for self-preservation, and in the end they were ruled by the imperialist masters. The spirit of Islam and the propagation of Gods words suffered a great setback. The Holy Quran was only utilized now in religious ceremonies. Life had gone out of the Muslims and the Jihad for the supremacy of Islam remained only in thought.
Such a situation continued until the latter part of the last century, when Allah raised the Mujaddid of the fourteenth century hijra, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, in accordance with the prophecy of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Hazrat Mirza found that the Muslims had adopted many new concepts that had no support in the Holy Quran, one of these being Jihad with the sword.
He immediately set about to reassert the Quranic concept of this word. His intention was not to remove the necessity of Jihad by the sword whenever the situation warrants such action. But he had to completely remove the wrong ideas of Jihad by the sword in the case of conversion of a nation or individuals to accepting Islam. He explained that as long as the wrong notion that Islam can be spread by force was prevalent among people, their attention could not be drawn to the real beauties of Islam. Instead of people showing love for Islam, they would be showing hatred towards it.
In Hazrat Mirzas time the propagation of Islam by the teaching of the Holy Quran was almost unheard of, and whatever was done in printing Islamic books was done solely for material gains. No spirit of sacrifice could be noted among the Muslim nations of the world. Thus the prospect of success of implementing a Jihad with the Holy Quran was indeed dim. Muslims were not prepared to carry on Jihad with the Quran. They only looked upon the Holy Prophets success through Jihad as a marvellous achievement in his days. This was as far as the Muslims were prepared to think of the word Jihad.
How far the Ahmadiyya Movement has succeeded in the true concept of the word Jihad can be gauged from the fact that in the past when someone spoke about preaching Islam, he was immediately suspected of being an Ahmadi. Muslims were completely oblivious to the great power which lay before them in the form of the Holy Quran until the Ahmadiyya Movement awakened them to this supreme reality. Jihad is indeed obligatory on all Muslims and in all circumstances for the advancement of Islam. Truly this is the same Jihad which the Holy Prophet and his Companions carried on under all conditions, whether they lived at Makka or Madina. This demonstration of the Holy Prophet in his days of bringing the great truth of the message of the Holy Quran to his people has been adopted by the Ahmadiyya Movement since its inception. Today this Movement stands as the greatest propagandist of Islam in the world, by utilizing the real meaning of the word Jihad.
The Ahmadiyya Movement, following the practice of the Holy Prophet Muhammad to the letter, has condemned the concept of the propagation of Islam by the sword, which has led many people to believe that this Movement has abrogated the Islamic doctrine of Jihad. This charge is absolutely baseless and can never be proven. Every member of the Ahmadiyya Movement believes in the absolute authority of the Quran, in every jot and tittle. In this belief the doctrine of Jihad forms part of the Holy Quran. Therefore, there is absolutely no truth that members of the Ahmadiyya Movement believe in the abrogation of Jihad. The doctrine of Jihad is as valid for us as for other Muslims. To the majority of Muslims, Jihad was supposed to mean the spreading of Islam with the sword and with this conception the Ahmadiyya Movement did not agree. It made it clear that the significance of Jihad was to exert oneself for a cause and the sword was not necessary for such an exertion. The carrying of the message of the Holy Quran to the world was declared to be the Jihad. In this respect, no one can blame the Ahmadiyya Movement for its stand.
The Ahmadiyya Anjuman notes with pleasure and admiration the emergence of the propagation of Islam throughout the world by Muslim countries and their governments, organizations and individuals, all carrying on a relentless Jihad with the Holy Quran to convert the world to accept Islam. No doubt they have been convinced now that the words of God in the Quran possess enough force and appeal to attract the minds of human beings to accept Allah and His Messenger Muhammad. I am indeed very grateful to my Lord Who has granted me the privilege to witness the bringing forward of so many Muslim governments and organizations to the forefront in the propagation of Islam, to share the very concept of the Ahmadiyya Movement that the best means of Jihad is by the Quran.
The Ahmadiyya Movement for over one hundred years has truly demonstrated the true concept of Jihad. This Movement that started in a backward and small village in India, namely Qadian, has shown by its activities of sending missionaries throughout the world to spread Islam that it has understood the message of the Holy Quran in its true perspective, giving the lead to others in the way to win the final triumph of Islam.
My brothers and sisters, I call on you to join with us to continue the peaceful struggle of the propagation of Islam in Guyana and the world. Remember, you owe it to yourself to join with this God-ordained organization to be guided by the truth of the message of the Holy Quran.
(From The Muslim Times, OctoberNovember 1998, published by the Guyana Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Georgetown, Guyana.)
Lessons in the Quran 12
Translation of Mr. N.A. Faruquis book Muarif-ul-Quran
Translated by Dr. Mohammad Ahmad, Ohio
Al-Baqarah (The Cow)
"Who believe in the Unseen and keep up prayer and spend out of what We have given them." The Holy Quran, 2:3.
Prayer, the means of Divine realisation
In the preceding lesson we have discussed the wisdom behind Allah keeping His Being in the unseen, and the spiritual benefits of our belief in Him as such. As a result of this wisdom, Allah is invisible to the human eye, and therefore liable to be easily forgotten. Prayer is what keeps this memory alive in the human mind. Thus further on in the Holy Quran in the Chapter Taha it is said:
"And keep up prayer for My remembrance." (20:140)
There are some basic facts to keep in mind about the remembrance of Allah. He is Omnipresent and not confined to the church, temple, mosque or heaven. That is why the Holy Quran states:
"And He is with you wherever you are." (57:4)
Prayer can, therefore, be said at any location. It is true that prayer, especially the obligatory prayers are considered most excellent and blessed when recited together in congregation. For this very reason a mosque is essential as a gathering place for people to get together and supplicate. However, when the need arises, congregational prayers can be said in any location. If a congregation is not available, prayer can be said alone, in the house, on the ground, while in a journey, standing, sitting, lying down or by using signs. Prayer can be said even in the battlefield.
God is Omnipresent
Prayer, therefore, serves as a reminder to a man that God is with him everywhere, and all the time. This is the way it ought to be; otherwise how could Divine protection and help be rendered to mankind in times of need? Questions arise about the Divinity of the Being Who is confined to a place like an idol, or a human being, and as far as we are concerned, is not able to observe, protect, help and nurture us unto perfection. It is also essential for the Divine Being to be able to observe His creation at all times in order to nurture it unto perfection. This is even more so in case of mankind who is the vicegerent of God on earth. He needs to be constantly observed and evaluated for the performance of his duty and actions; for as I have stated in my commentary on the verse, "Master of the Day of Requital," every action, good or evil, has an effect, or consequence which occurs instantaneously. Similarly it is necessary for Allah to be able to hear humans. The reason for this is twofold: firstly because a human is accountable not only for his actions but also for the statements he makes; and secondly when man prays, God should be able to hear Him. It is also essential for Allah to be aware of mans inner secrets, because by hiding his inner thoughts from fellow beings he is capable of great deception and damage to others. The good or evil of any action depends upon the intent, which is again hidden deep within the recesses of the human mind. For example, a murderer may slash a persons throat, so does a surgeon; because there is such a great difference of intent in each case, the murderer is hanged, while the surgeons fee gets paid with gratitude even if the operation does not succeed. God is the Creator of mans inner self; how could he be unaware of what goes on inside his mind?
The Holy Quran elaborates all this by frequently referring to the Divine attributes: Sami (the Hearing), Basir (the Seeing), Aleemun bi-zat-is-sudur (Knower of what is in the hearts). The act of praying creates the awareness of these attributes within us. Belief in these attributes of Allah is strengthened when we stand humbly with our hands folded, and bow down and prostate with the knowledge that Allah is seeing us. Part of the prayer is said in a loud voice, while most of it is said silently. This is because Allah hears our speech and knows what is within our hearts. Prayer (salaat) recited at least five times a day reminds us of the existence of the Divine Being. It nourishes our belief in Allah, and reminds us of the strong bond that exists between God and man, simultaneously strengthening our belief in it. Prayer thus lifts the veil off the face of the Unseen; that is why right after the injunction to believe in the Unseen we are enjoined to keep up prayer.
The true spirit of prayer
It must be noted that the Holy Quran always commands us to keep up prayer, not merely to recite it. Reciting the prayer is mentioned only on one occasion and that also in way of a reprimand, as in the verses:
"So woe to the praying ones, who are unmindful of their prayer, who do good to be seen, and refrain from acts of kindness!" (107:4-7)
This means that such people recite prayer but are unaware of its true implications. The proof of this is that their prayer is merely a performance to impress other people. It is not said with an honest intent and a truthful heart. The heart in this case is imbued with the love of material wealth rather than with the thought of Allah. This leads it to forbid acts of kindness, due to lack of compassion towards Gods creation.
As I have just mentioned, the Holy Quran has frequently praised the prayer which is kept up. One meaning of this is (as we have commonly experienced) that in the beginning, whenever a person recites the prayer, the devil (shaitan) tries to distract his thoughts in every way to keep him from converging his attention towards the Divine Being. In this state, when one gets distracted, prayer instead of being kept up falls down from a righteous state. Under these circumstances, the believer refocuses his thoughts and brings back his prayer to the right state. Despite these trials, if the believer remains steadfast in his prayer, it eventually becomes a source of enjoyment for his spirit, just like good food is for the body. According to Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (renowned Muslim saint), "Man is rewarded for the effort he makes to keep up his prayer." He was then asked if this reward ends once a person reaches the stage of full concentration in prayer? To this he replied, "his prayer then becomes a gift from God, and its reward is that pleasure and tranquillity such a person experiences through prayer." That is why when the Holy Prophet used to command Bilal (one of his companions) to recite the Adhan (call to prayer), he would say, "O Bilal! arrange for our pleasure." The Holy Prophet also said, "the coolness of my eyes is in prayer."
Rules of prayer
The following requirements are essential for keeping up prayer:
Bodily cleanliness, or ablution, bathing and cleanliness of apparel. Injunctions in this regard are given in 5:6; 7:31; 74:4.
Obligatory prayers are to be recited at certain fixed times as indicated in the verse: "Prayer indeed has been enjoined on the believers at fixed times" (4:103). However, while in a journey, or in the battlefield, or for some other valid reason, or disability, prayers can be combined.
Effort should be made to keep up all prayers consistently, as in the verse: "Who are constant at their prayer" (70:23).
Prayer should be safeguarded, i.e., kept up during a journey, illness, war, or any other time of distress and difficulty, as indicated by the verse: "And those who keep a guard on their prayer" (70:34).
Prayer is to be recited with understanding, i.e., one is aware of what is being said, and to Whom it is addressed. Also one should be aware of ones helplessness and humbleness, and pray in a respectful manner; then only can true spiritual awakening occur during prayer. This has been referred to in verse: "Who are humble in their prayers" (23:2).
During prayer one should not allow ones attention to get distracted as explained above in commentary on "And keep up prayer".
Prayer should not be performed with intent of impressing others as in: "Who do (good) to be seen" (107:6).
One should not be lazy in the performance of prayers. The Holy Quran speaks of the hypocrites as: "And when they stand up for prayer, they stand up sluggishly" (4:142).
As far as possible, prayers, in particular the obligatory prayers, should be said in congregation as indicated by the verse: "And bow down with those who bow down" (2:43).
To recite the prayers quickly, and afterwards to raise the hands for prolonged periods of supplications, is akin to wastage of ones prayer and its effectiveness. The Arabic word for obligatory prayers is salaat which means praying, and includes the whole of the obligatory prayer service. The proper manner is, therefore, to understand the meaning of the whole prayer, to recite it thoughtfully, and with humility. Any prayer that comes to mind while saying the obligatory prayers (which are in Arabic) can be recited during the obligatory service, particularly while prostrating. This is the way (sunna) of the Holy Prophet. The example of a person who hurriedly recites his obligatory prayers, and then embarks on a course of prolonged supplication with raised hands, is like the one who goes into the court of a king, and instead of presenting his problems while he is there, comes out, and then tries to address the king in a loud voice from outside.
One must remember that it is a great privilege to be allowed to appear before the Supreme Being five times a day. This is the opportune moment for the believer to attain the pleasure of the Best of judges, Who is the Master of his being, his entire life, and the life Hereafter. Allah, Who is the Source of all blessing, becomes the Friend, Patron and Helper of the believer, as is frequently mentioned in the Holy Quran. In this world if one of us befriends a powerful or influential person, he is manifestly proud of his association, and frequently brags about it. A person is given the privilege of appearing five times a day before the Master and Lord of the heavens and earth, and perhaps the honor of His friendship; and he is unable to take advantage of this opportunity, or benefit from it. Who could be more unfortunate than such an individual?
I will, if Allah pleases, continue discussion on the subject of prayer in my next lesson, and discuss one of its most important benefits and need for mankind.
The Death of Jesus 5
by Maulana Hafiz Sher Mohammad
Views of the first Khalifas, the great Imams, and the early scholars of religionHaving proved from the Holy Quran and from Sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that Jesus has died like other prophets, and having shown that this conclusion was also unanimously agreed upon by the Companions as the very first ijma after the Holy Prophets death, we now quote the views of the eminent figures of Muslim history, from the age of the great Companions through the middle classical times right up to the present day, showing that they too held the same belief.
I. The Khalifas
Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq, God be pleased with him, said:
Aina Musa, aina Isa, aina Yahya, aina Nuh,
Anta ya siddiq as-in tub ila-l-maula al-jalil.
"Where is Moses, where is Jesus, where is Yahya, where is Noah, [i.e., they have all died], So you, O sinner Siddiq, repent to your Glorious Lord."
Hazrat Ali, God be pleased with him, said:
Al-mautu la walid-an wa la walad-an,
hadha-s-sabilu ila an la tara ahad.
Kana-an-nabi wa lam yakhlud li-ummati-hi
lau khallad-Allahu khalq-an tablahu khalada.
"Death spares not the father, nor the son, it is the path that leaves not anyone.
He (the Holy Prophet) was a prophet, yet he did not remain with his umma forever,
Had anyone before him lived forever, he (Holy Prophet) too would have lived forever."
II. Members of the Holy Prophets Household
Hazrat Aishah, God be pleased with her, relates from the Holy Prophet Muhammad:
"Jesus, son of Mary, lived to the age of 120 years."
(Hujaj al-Kirama, p. 428)
All the narrators of this hadith are reliable (ibid.)
Hazrat Fatima, God be pleased with her, relates from the Holy Prophet:
"Jesus, son of Mary, lived to the age of 120 years."
(Kanz-ul-Ummal, vol. vi, p. 120)
Hazrat Imam Hasan ascended the pulpit after the martyrdom of Hazrat Ali and said:
"O people! This night there has died a man whose status cannot be reached by the earlier or later generations. The Messenger of Allah used to send him to battle, so on his right would be Gabriel and on his left Michael (Mikal), and he would not return without victory. And he has left but seven hundred Dirhems with which he intended to buy a slave. He died on the night on which the soul of Jesus, son of Mary, was taken up, that is the twenty-seventh of Ramadaan."
(Tabaqat Kabir, vol. iii, p. 26)
Thus the members of the Holy Prophets household have not only revealed Jesus age at death but make it clear that it was his soul, not his body, which was taken up to heaven, and that he died on the 27th of Ramadaan.
III. Other Companions of the Holy Prophet
Explaining the Quranic verse, "O Jesus, I will cause thee to die (mutawaffi-ka)", Ibn Abbas is recorded as saying:
"Ibn Abbas said: mutawaffi-ka means I will cause thee to die (mumitu-ka) ."
(Bukhari, Kitab al-Tafsir, on verse 5:110).
"In the Mustadrak (a Hadith collection) it is reported from Ibn Umar that Jesus lived to the age of 120 years. It is likewise also in the Asabah." (Tafsir Kamalain).
The companion-poet Hasan Ibn Thabit sang:
Wa lau kanat-ad-dunya qadim-an bi-ahliha
la-kana rasulu-llahi fiha mukhalad-an.
"If any people of the world could exist forever, certainly the Messenger of Allah would have lived forever in it."
IV. The Four Imams of Jurisprudence
Of Imam Malik, one of the four imams of jurisprudence (fiqh), it is written:
"While most people believe that Jesus did not die, Malik said that he died."
(Majma al-Bahar, vol. i, p. 286)
"In the Utbiyya it is written that Malik said that Jesus, son of Mary, died."
(Ikmal al-ikmal, Sharh of Muslim, vol. i, p. 265)
V. Classical scholars and elders
Imam Ibn Hazm, Amawi Zahiri Qurtabi, writes:
"Jesus, peace be upon him, was neither killed nor crucified, but God caused him to die and then raised him. The Almighty has said: They did not kill him or crucify him; and I will cause thee to die and exalt thee; and I (Jesus) was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when Thou didst cause me to die Thou wert the Watcher over them and Allah takes souls (yatawaffa) at the time of death. Thus there are two kinds of wafat: sleep and death. Jesus in his words When Thou didst cause me to die (falamma tawaffaita-ni) was not referring to sleep, but it is correct that by wafat he meant death."
(Mahalli fil-Fiqh, p. 23)
"Imam Ibn Hazm adopted the apparent significance of the verse, and believed in his (Jesus) death."
(Jalalain, under verse 3:55)
Abul Hasan Ali Hajwairi, popularly known as Data Ganj Bakhsh, writes:
"The Messenger of God said that, on the night of the Miraj, he saw Adam, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Jesus and Abraham, in the heavens. Assuredly it was their souls."
(Kashf al-Mahjub, Chapter al-Kalam fir-ruh, p. 204).
In his Quranic commentary, the Shaikh al-Akbar Muhayy-ud-Din Ibn Arabi writes:
"The raising (raf) of Jesus means that, at the time of separation, his soul was raised from the lower world to the higher world. And his being in the fourth heaven signifies that the source of his souls benefit is the spirituality of that suns sky which resembles the heart of the world, and towards that is his place of return. That spirituality is a light which illumines that heaven with its love, and the shining of the rays upon his soul is done by its stimulation. And as Jesus place of return is towards its real place of rest, and cannot attain its true development, his (Jesus) descent in the latter days will be in a different body."
(Commentary upon verse God raised him to Himself, p. 65)
Taqi-ud-Din Abul-Abbas Ahmad ibn Abdul Hakim ibn Abdus-Salam, known as Imam Ibn Taimiyya, has written:
"God has informed, in regard to the Messiah, that he told people only to worship God, my Lord and your Lord; and he was a wittness of them so long as he was among them, but after his death (wafat) only God was the Watcher over them. So if some people have misreported him, or misinterpreted his words, or deliberately altered the religion he brought, the Messiah cannot be held responsible for it, for he was only a messenger whose duty was just the delivery of the message."
(Al-Jawwab as-Sahih li-man baddala din al-Masih, vol. ii, p. 280)
Shaikh al-Islam Shams-ud-Din Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, known as Hafiz Ibn Qayyim, wrote:
"As for what is related about the Messiah that he was raised up to heaven at the age of 33 years, there is no sound authority for this which one could turn to."
(Zad al-Maad, vol. i, p. 20)
"With the exception of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, a person attains to heaven with his spirit only after death and separation from the body, so the spirits of all prophets went to heaven only after death and separation from the body." (ibid., p. 304)
Allama Jubai is reported as saying:
"This verse shows that God caused Jesus to die (amata) and brought about his death (tawaffa-hu), and then raised him to himself."
(Commentary Majma al-Bayan, vol. i, under verse falamma tawaffaita-ni)
Imam Asir-ud-Din Muhammad ibn Yusuf ibn Ali al-Andalasi, known as Abu Hayyan Nahwi, writes:
"This verse shows that God made Jesus die (tawaffa-hu wafat al-maut) before raising him."
(Bahr al-Muhit, vol. iv, p. 4)
Imam Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Abdullah, known as Allama Shokani, has written:
"It is said that this verse shows that God caused Jesus to die before raising him."
(Fath al-Qadir Qalmi, p. 4)
British Foreign Secretary speaks on Islam
Below we reproduce some sections from a speech delivered by Mr. Robin Cook, the British Foreign Secretary (equivalent to Secretary of State in the U.S.), on Islam and the West at the Ismaili Centre, London, on October 8, 1998.
The debt our culture owes to Islam is something the West would do well to remember, as we develop our relations with the Islamic world. Because we have grown too far apart we have let misunderstanding and mistrust develop between the West and Islam. We cannot afford to let this misunderstanding continue. Not just because it is wrong that two great cultures should misjudge each other so sadly, but also because in the modern world we have no choice but to live and work together. The challenges we face are global challenges.
Some have said that the West needs an enemy, and that with the Cold War over, Islam will take the place of the old Soviet Union. They say that there will be a Clash of Civilizations.
They say it is inevitable. I say they are wrong, profoundly wrong. Far from needing Islam as an enemy, we cannot afford to have Islam as anything but a friend. We may have different cultures and different religions, but that does not mean that we can never get along. So we need to work to make sure that this prophecy does not become self-fulfilling. The Holy Quran says: O people! We have created you from a single pair of a male and female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other (49:13), not that you may despise each other.
In that spirit, we must work together to improve our understanding of each other, to break down stereotypes and erase mistrust.
We see each other too much through the dangerous prism of stereotype. Islam sees the West as materialistic, lacking respect for the spiritual, anti-Islamic and determined to use its liberal values as a way of undermining their societies. The West equates Islam with the actions of its most extreme adherents. Too much of the media presents Islam not as a rich and varied culture underpinned by one of the worlds great religions, but as the sum of terrorist bombings and atrocities conducted by a few in its name. Both views are profoundly misplaced. And far from having incompatible cultures, we have a great deal to learn from each other.
The West owes much to Islam. Islam laid the intellectual foundations for large portions of Western civilization. From our numbers to our understanding of the stars, much of the basis of our civilization is rooted in Islamic learning.
One of the biggest errors the West could make would be to think that Islamic culture is something alien. It is not. Our cultures have intertwined throughout history. They intertwine today. And they must continue to do so, as our futures become more and more closely bound together.
It is now time to start building the understanding and trust we so urgently need. Today, I want to propose we begin a proper dialogue between Europe and the Islamic world. It is time the European Union and the Organization of Islamic Conference started talking at a high level about the many issues of common interest.
About the Balkans, the Middle East Peace Process, Afghanistan, terrorism, drugs, human rights and the treatment of minorities. By talking, we can learn to understand and trust one another.
But such a dialogue cannot be a dialogue just for diplomats, or even for Foreign Secretaries. I have a grand title and a big office, but I never lose sight of the fact that what really matters is the people. And that the relationships that really matter are the ones between our peoples.
So the dialogue we must build between Europe and the Islamic world must be between our peoples as well. Our teachers need to talk. Our artists, and architects, and philosophers need to talk, and urgently. Because we have so much to gain from doing so. And so much to lose if we do not do so.
There is much going on already. Britain has several outstanding academic institutions doing excellent work in this field. There are private groups that are helping redress the balance. But we will not make the progress we need until mainstream opinion formers on both sides in the media, in education and elsewhere, start to smash the stereotypes and misguided attitudes that lie at the heart of so much of the strife and polemic between our two cultures."
1. Questions about name Ahmadiyya
We reproduce below some questions received in an e-mail message at our website, and the replies we gave:
I am a student in the U.S.A. I have long supposed, being guided by many publications (books, pamphlets, and of course rumors), that "Qadianis" or "Ahmadiyyas" are not Muslim. The main argument proposed was that of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmads supposed claim to prophethood. But once I visited the Ahmadiyya website (www.muslim.org), I realized that there is nothing in it (to the extent of all that I have had the time to judge and read thus far) that would not qualify any "Qadiani" or "Ahmadi" as a true muslim.
My question to you is this: Why must you differentiate yourselves (your group) as "Qadiani" / "The Ahmadiyya Movement" and not just call yourselves "Muslims"? It would help so much.
Reply to above question:
First of all, we thank you for regarding us as your Muslim brothers. Such tolerance is unfortunately not very common.
To answer your questions, the Ahmadiyya Movement was formed to carry out a particular function, that of propagating Islam in its true light to the whole world, and removing certain common misconceptions about Islam which were, and are, causing serious harm to its standing in the world. The Holy Quran, in verse 3:103, requires Muslims to have a group devoted to the work of propagation, and it is in terms of this command that the Ahmadiyya Movement was created.
A group of Muslims can be formed for a particular purpose. There are all sorts of such groups among Muslims, all of them having some name such as "Jamaat-i Islami", "Tablighi Jamaat", "Islamic Jihad", and hundreds of others. Yet we do not hear any objections to the existence or separate names of these groups.
The name "Ahmadiyya" refers to the Holy Prophet Muhammads other name "Ahmad", and it was given to our Movement because the name Ahmad of the Holy Prophet expresses the peaceful phase of his life when Islam advanced by patient preaching in the face of persecution, and did not possess worldly rule (as distinct to the later phase when Islam had to fight battles and acquired political power). Since we believe that the advancement of Islam in our times is in the manner of the "Ahmadi" phase of the Holy Prophets life, this was why this Movement was so named. Of course, many other Muslims differ from us and believe that Islam can only progress through acquiring political power. So our name sums up our particular approach and attitude.
Second question and reply:
Is there anything different from you and the rest of the "non-Qadiani" and "non-Ahmadiyya" Muslims?
Answer: There are several issues of interpretation, which have crucial implications for Islam in the present times, in which we believe that the generally-held Muslim view is contrary to the Quran and the Holy Prophets teaching. I refer you to the topic "Our view of Islam" on our home webpage, which summarises many of these points. For example, the wrong views of most Muslim religious leaders on the subject of jihad and freedom of religion within Islam project an image of Islam as an intolerant religion of coercion and force. Our Movement seeks to correct such errors and to present Islam as the religion of reason, peace and tolerance which it actually is.
I would strongly recommend that you study our page http://www.muslim.org/intro/thought.htm which shows that our differences of interpretation with other Muslims relate only to those matters where the prestige and progress of Islam in the world is at stake.
Third question and reply:
In the Quran, we (Muslims) are commanded not to break up into sects and factions. Why then introduce a new name for your "movement"? All that does is divide your little group from the rest of the Muslim community if not from the same set of beliefs.
Answer: The Ahmadiyya Movement is not a sect. Being a sect means just holding different beliefs from others. Our Movements main aim is to do the practical work of taking Islam in its real and true light to the whole world. As stated above, our "distinctive" interpretations provide us with the weapons and the motivation with which to work effectively.
Sects in Islam, with their mutual animosity, already existed when our Movement was formed. So we cannot be accused of introducing sectarianism into Islam. Names such as Sunni, Shia, Wahhabi, Deobandi, and a host of others, had existed for long before us. When you say: "all that does is divide your little group from the rest of the Muslim community" that community was already divided into factions. These earlier sects are the ones which created the sectarianism! Yet no one asks Sunnis or Shias why they call themselves Sunnis or Shias, and not just "Muslims".
Now I turn to the positive side of the picture (rather than just defend ourselves by the argument that there are other groups in existence as well). The Ahmadiyya Movement seeks to end sectarianism in Islam, and indeed is the only Muslim group to have this aim. Our Movement teaches that all those who profess the Kalima of Islam should be regarded as Muslims and treated as ones Muslim brothers. If this principle is acted upon, all sectarian hostilities would cease. The problem is not the existence of groups with different views and names, it is their animosity towards each other which is the curse.
2. Recent Inter-faith proposal
According to reports in the Press, an organization has made proposals for inter-faith activities involving Muslims, Christians and Jews, which include: (1) having shared places of worship for the three religions, and (2) publishing the scriptures of the three religions together in one volume. Some sections of vociferous Muslim opinion have strongly opposed these proposals, branding them as: "the evil machinations of the enemies of Islam". A ruling has been obtained from Saudi Arabia which says that "approving, believing, or accepting this call is considered Kufr (disbelief)" and it urges Muslims "to take precautions against this obvious Call for Unbelief (for the Unification of Religions) and against falling into its traps".
Our friend and able contributor, Svend M. Akram White, having read the Saudi Arabian ruling as well as the comments of those who procured it, sets forth his view as follows:
Given all the obstacles faced by Islamic reformers, for serious scholars to be spending their time crusading against trifles like scriptural anthologies or shared prayer facilities (presumably in areas with limited space but high traffic levels such as airports) is to reveal how shallow Islamic thought has become.
It goes without saying that it is preferable to have each book separately printed, and dedicated religious facilities for all religious groups, but only a paranoid person terrified of all things that are unfamiliar could see these rare occurrences as evidence of a plot against Islam!
So long as the texts arent altered, why is it a problem if the Bible and Quran are printed in the same volume? How is this a threat to Islam or its message? If anything, it might be beneficial in some situations by encouraging non-Muslims to read and/or study the Quran by reducing costs of obtaining both! (It almost sounds like the writers fear that Muslims faith will be weakened by being able to read the Bible conveniently!)
If I make maghrib in the eastern corner of a room that happens to have a crucifix and altar in the northern corner, is my salaat somehow invalidated? Do non-Muslim prayers made earlier that day cancel out my prayers that evening? If so, what does the Islamic teaching mean which says: "the whole earth is a mosque"?
When there are large numbers of scholars who call for the death penalty for apostasy, deny women their most basic rights, and oppose all attempts to democratize Islamic politics and religious scholarship, how can scholars concentrate on such absurdly unimportant matters?
Two major publications
1. Muhammad in World Scriptures by Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi is a research work written to establish the claim of the Holy Quran that the prophets who arose in various nations before the Holy Prophet Muhammad had prophesied his coming and instructed their own followers to accept and support him when he would make his appearance. These prophecies are to be found in all world scriptures, not only in the Jewish and Christian scriptures, but also in the sacred books of the Hindu, Buddhist and Zoroastrian religions.
The author carried out this research by learning the ancient, original languages of these scriptures, in particular Sanskrit, Hebrew and Greek, and studying the sacred books directly in those languages. In his extensive study, he has made use of commentaries, dictionaries and encyclopaedias compiled by the followers of those scriptures themselves as well as by independent scholars. These sources are referred to throughout the book. To collect material for his work, he visited libraries in many countries of the world, including India, England and the United States.
The prophecies unearthed by the Maulana not only speak of the coming of the Prophet Muhammad but also mention his qualities, achievements, and significant events of his life, and indicate that he would bring perfect, everlasting religious teachings, and the eternal "kingdom of God". The author discusses that the given signs are met with in no other person than the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
First published as a slim book in 1940 in Lahore, Muhammad in World Scriptures was greatly expanded by the author for the second edition which was published in 3 volumes during the years 1966 to 1975.
The first U.S.A. edition of this work has been under preparation for some time, and is being published in stages. The new publication is being entirely re-typeset and re-designed in a considerably improved style. The text of the book is being thoroughly checked with the original sources, and corrected and reorganised wherever necessary. Volume 1 of the new edition has just been published in January 1999, benefiting from all these improvements. This volume deals with prophecies about the Holy Prophet Muhammad in the Bible.
The book is bound in hard cover with a color jacket, and consists of 412 pages (plus xxvi). It is priced at $15.95.
2. Jesus in Heaven on Earth by Khwaja Nazir Ahmad is a detailed research work, based on scriptural, historical and archeological evidence, showing that the people of Afghanistan and Kashmir belong to the ten lost tribes of the Israelites, and that Jesus, having survived death on the cross, came to this area to continue his mission among the "lost sheep" of the Israelites and died in Kashmir. The book seeks to prove that the tomb of Jesus is in Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, where it can still be found. Also discussed at length are the sources of Christianity and of Islam, and various dogmas of the Christian church.
First published in 1952, it remains the most comprehensive treatment of the subject, and has been acknowledged in all later works. The famous Islamic scholar, Sayyid Rashid Rida of Egypt, wrote in his commentary of the Quran that Jesus flight to India and his death in Srinagar is not against reason and inference.
The author, son of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din (the first Muslim missionary to the West), qualified in England as a barrister of the Middle Temple, and was for some time Imam at the Woking Muslim Mission in England in the 1920s. Later he was a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Jesus in Heaven on Earth has been much in demand in the West, because of the intriguing and, at the same time, controversial nature of the subject and the book itself. For proper reproduction of this book and to improve the printing standards, it was felt essential to typeset the entire work afresh. The Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore Inc., U.S.A., decided to undertake this considerable task, which involved the burdensome work of proof checking. In addition, we decided to verify, and correct where necessary, the scriptural references contained in the book.
It was Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, who first drew the attention of the world at large to evidence showing that the people of Afghanistan and Kashmir are descendants of the ten lost tribes of the Israelites and that Jesus preached among them, died in Kashmir, and is buried in a well-known tomb in Srinagar. Details of his contribution to this subject, as well as contributions of authors of more recent times till the 1980s, are covered in Appendix 1 of this book, written by Mr. Nasir Ahmad, former editor of The Light.
The new edition, published in December 1998, consists of 471 pages, and is available hardbound at $16.95 and in paperback at $12.95.