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Monday, October 12, 2009

ISLAM : back to basics



AN INTRODUCTION TO ISLAM

(for young Muslims born and brought up in the West)


Islam has been segmented into scores of sects, which is often bewildering to the offspring of migrant Muslims who have settled in the West. Generally, the religious instruction the growing Muslim children get comes from clerics who have been imported from their parents’ countries of origin. Often these people have little understanding of life in the West. They also tend to have an inadequate command of English, and they find it very difficult to distinguish Islam from their own cultural backgrounds. It is this confusion of Islam with the cultural background of Muslim priests which is often a big stumbling block to an understanding of Islam by Muslim children growing up in the West. Let us discover Islam straight from the Qur’an, free of the sectarian and cultural baggage.

Al-Qur’an comprises the verbal Revelations to Muhammad, Allah’s Messenger, over a period of some 23 years. The Message is addressed to the whole of humanity, setting out the Guidance from the One who created the universe and sustains it. The Qur’an is divided into chapters or Surahs of varying length, each Surah comprising a collection of semi-poetic verses called the aayaat (singular: ‘aayat’).


How is ISLAM described in the Qur’an?

Al Qur’an requires each and every Muslim to ponder on Allah’s Message because the ultimate responsibility for our actions rests with us. If we thoughtlessly follow the mullahs and end up acting against the Guidance in the Qur’an then we have only ourselves to blame: according to the Qur’an we will not be able to excuse our behaviour by using the mullahs as a shield for our indolence and lack of effort to understand and act upon Allah’s Message to mankind. 

A definition of Islam must follow directly from the Book of Guidance. According to the Qur’an there has always ever been one Deen (a System, a Way – but see below) and Allah’s Messengers were all ‘Muslim’ (that is, one who submits to God’s Message). Islam is a Deen, a Way of Life. It’s not a religion dominated by rites and rituals as so many religions are. It is our faith in God and our actions which determine whether or not we are Muslims. This distinction between Deen and Religion is crucial to an understanding of what Islam is.

Below are some quotations from the Qur’an; the translator is Abdullah Yusuf Ali (he normally translates Deen as ‘religion’ – in some places I have replaced the word ‘religion’ with the original Arabic word).

From Surah Aal-e-Imran [3:85]

If anyone desires
A Deen (Religion) other than
Islam (submission to God),
Never will it be accepted
Of him; and in the Hereafter
He will be in the ranks
Of those who have lost.

Surah Al-Maida [5:69] makes it clear that "salvation" in the hereafter is not confined to muslims alone. In this respect Islam is, I think, unique: probably no other religion extends "salvation" to people outside its fold.

Those who believe (in the Qur’an),
Those who follow the Jewish (scriptures),
And the Sabians and the Christians –
Any who believe in God
And the Last Day,
And work righteousness –
On them shall be no fear,
Nor shall they grieve.

Surah An-Nisa [4:123-125] deals with the Law of Requital, which we are told applies to all human beings. Allah has no favourites.

Not your desires, nor those
Of the People of the Book
(Can prevail): whoever
Works evil, will be
Requited accordingly.
Nor will he find, besides God,
Any protector or helper.

If any do deeds
Of righteousness, -
Be they male or female –
And have faith,
They will enter Heaven,
And not the least injustice
Will be done to them.

Who can be better
In religion than one
Who submits his whole self
To God, does good,
And follows the way
Of Abraham the true in faith?
For God did take
Abraham for a friend.

I hope these quotations make it clear that Islam is a universal “religion”, wide as the ocean. It is not a narrow inlet overwhelmed with the weeds of rules and rituals. The Way of Abraham is the same as the Way of Muhammad – the apparent differences that we observe are the work of priests and so-called religious leaders. A jew or a christian, for example, can be a better Muslim (that is, one who submits to the divine Message) than a so-called muslim who merely pays lip service to Islam.

Sectarianism within Islam

The Qur’an forbids sectarianism.

From Surah Al Shura [42:13]

The same Deen has He
Established for you as that
Which He enjoined on Noah –
That which We sent
By inspiration to thee –
And that which We enjoined
On Abraham, Moses, and Jesus:
Namely, that ye should remain
Steadfast in Deen, and make
No divisions therein:
……………

From Surah Al An’aam [6:159]

As for those who divide
Their Deen and break up
Into sects, thou hast
No part in them in the least;
Their affair is with Allah:
He will in the end
Tell them the truth
Of all that they did.

There may be as many as 100 or more sects in Islam though a fairly common figure often quoted is “over 70”. It seems to me that these sects exist to venerate the men in turbans, beards and long cloaks, whose favourite occupation, one suspects, is to denounce their opposite numbers heading rival sects.

How is it possible for our religious leaders to openly defy the Quranic injunction against sectarianism and get away with it? In my opinion an important reason is the downgrading of Islam from DEEN to religion (mazhab), which has resulted in the Qur’an being treated as a “holy book” to be recited in the original Arabic (Quraish dialect) at births, marriages, deaths and various “religious occasions”. The Qur’an’s role as a Book of Guidance has been usurped by the priest class, whose “books on Islam” are now the principal source of information on Islam as a religion.

So, what is Islam?

Al-Islam is, in essence, about Submission and saalih a’maal (constructive actions which benefit humanity). The attributes of those a’maal (actions) are repeated again and again and again in the Qur’an: Justice, Truth, Honesty, Fair dealing, Courage, Speaking up against oppressors and resisting oppression, Avoiding lewdness, Protecting the weak, Establishing conditions for peaceful co-existence, Respecting all faiths (and defending their places of worship), Frequent Remembrance of Allah whose Power guides us and protects us in our lives, Helping those in need and being charitable (what we give in charity is a “loan we have made to Allah, which He will return manifold” – provided we do not seek a return from the person we are ostensibly helping), etc.

There are Quraanic injunctions which apply to the conduct of communities of people. In an introductory text on Islam I think it is best to concentrate on the rulings applying to an individual. Another important reason for taking this approach is that most, if not all, of the so-called Islamic countries are, in practice, non-Islamic societies where the Quraanic Guidance is ignored, resulting in widespread corruption and oppression. The common factor in all these countries is the neglect of the Qur’an as a Book of Divine Guidance, a system to be followed in our life, and its replacement by Islam as religion with a bewildering variety of sects. So, we have the “books on Islam” and the standard sermons delivered in the mosques, which tend to produce people obsessed with securing their passage to paradise by means of prayers and other rituals while neglecting their lives in this world. People tend to lose sight of their wider responsibility to society and, consequently, social ills abound and the criminals flourish.


How can we acquire an awareness of Islam?

In truth, an understanding of the Qur’an requires wide knowledge (“ilm”). According to the Qur’an the universe is there for man to conquer. To conquer the planets and the stars, let alone the seemingly inaccessible regions of the earth, a relentless pursuit of knowledge and ceaseless action (jihad) is essential. Our efforts on the material plane are guided – or ought to be guided - by the unseen Hand of God to whom we turn in humble worship. This is necessary so that we do not use our human powers and our abilities in the wrong way. For example, people so guided would not then arrogantly take it upon themselves to go around dropping bombs on the innocent people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nor, for that matter, would they go about blowing up themselves and innocent lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere in the world.

Those of our mullahs and our priests who have only had a narrowly based “religious” education are not equipped to understand Islam. It is a pity that it is precisely these people who control our mosques and, unwittingly, they propagate a message which is contrary to the spirit of Islam. For example, when a mullah justifies the actions of suicide bombers he actually shows his ignorance of the Qur’an which forbids suicide or the killing of innocent people (including the children and women related to men who may be waging war against the Muslims).

Al-Qur’an is Guidance to be put into practice. The great tragedy of Muslims is that our priests tend to be satisfied with memorising the Qur’an parrot fashion. Not having an understanding of the Message, they are not in a position to implement the Guidance that mankind has been offered. It is this ignorance of the Qur’an within the priest class which has led to a degeneration of Islam into a man-made religion, a jumble of rules and rites which differs from one sect to another. We need to free ourselves from subjugation to men and seek true freedom in Submission to God (Islam), which is the only way to discover our true Self (‘Nafs’) and our true potential.

The popular Islam

Our theologians and doctors of religion have woven such a dense web of theology that the original Message can only be dimly perceived. A lot of this vast literature is useless or misleading – it takes away the simplicity of Islam and replaces it with a religion of great complexity, which requires many years of dedicated study to understand it. The “ulama” – usually written as ‘ulema’ in English - who emerge from universities holding aloft their theological degrees have then to justify their existence. Unlike Allah’s Messenger Muhammad, who was a practical man of the world just as much as he was a Knower of the Reality which transcends the material world, these so-called ulema know neither this world nor the wider Reality. The tragic consequence is that they remain trapped in their books and in the teachings of their respective sects, and they spend their lives in illusory debate and misguided action.

[Note. ‘ulama’ is the plural of ‘aalim’, meaning one who possesses ‘ilm’/knowledge – the Quranic meaning of ‘ulama’ applies more to scientists than to people who merely memorise literature which is passed off as ‘religion’]



How to discover true Islam?

It is best to avoid getting bogged down in “books on Islam” and to go direct to the Source as early as possible. There are many different translations of the Qur’an in a host of languages though they are not all equally reliable. Also, a translation by a professional priest or theologian will differ from one that is undertaken by a true man of knowledge. The priest will tend to give God’s message a fixed meaning, trapped in a particular era. A perceptive and knowledgeable person, on the other hand, will pay more attention to the essence of the message and avoid freezing it in time and geographical location. 

A well written and reliable translation in English has become available in recent years. It is written by a medical doctor – backed up by a team of scholars – who has had the opportunity to spend many years in Saudi Arabia practising his medical skills. In his spare time he took pains to learn the dialect of Arabic in which the Qur’an was revealed (and I hope he acquired a good understanding of the idioms and proverbs which were in use in Arab society of 1500 years ago, and which some unimaginative scholars have translated literally!). Dr Shabbir Ahmed’s translation has the title “The Qur’an As It Explains Itself” and it can be downloaded free from his website, www.ourbeacon.com; it can also be purchased in book form or on CD by placing an order at the website.

As you read Dr Shabbir Ahmed’s translation, remember that he may at times be giving his own interpretation to a passage from the Qur’an. You have a right to ponder over the Quraanic verses yourself and come to a different view if that is your honest and sincere conclusion. But do not then insist that your view alone is the correct one. It is that sort of egotism which gives rise to intolerance and sectarianism. Only Allah knows our intentions and our actions, and He will judge us accordingly. Here, in the material world, we are all Muslims, doing our best to implement His Guidance in accordance with our individuality (”Nafs”/Self). 

An example of how conflicting views can arise

Here is Surah Aal-e-Imran, aayat 7 [3:7] (Dr Shabbir Ahmed’s translation):

“He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: in it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord and searching for its hidden meanings but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah; and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: ‘We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord’; and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.”

In this aayat the Quraanic verses have been categorized into two broad sub-divisions: the Mohkemaat and the Mutashaabehaat. I would say that, generally speaking, the first category comprises those verses which are clear and readily understood by the human mind. The verses falling into the second category deal mostly with metaphysical phenomena, or with matters which may be beyond the scope of human knowledge at any given time but advances in knowledge may make them comprehensible eventually. How do you describe phenomena, which defy expression, in a language which is adequate only in the material world bounded by time and space? For us to understand Reality, which encompasses our limited world and extends beyond, is impossible unless Allah raises us to a level where we can comprehend Reality directly.

An example of Mutashaabehaat verses would be the first 18 verses of Surah An-Najm (53, The Star). I see these verses as the unfolding of the mysteries of the Universe before Muhammad Rasul-Allah, Rehmatul-lil-aalameen.

The Qur’an is full of numerous Mutashaabehaat verses. We interpret them according to our understanding. It can be a futile exercise to try to “explain” something which is incomprehensible to the human mind. Thus, while people may hold differing views about certain Quraanic passages, we have been sternly warned in the Qur’an not to enter into controversies concerning such passages.




19 comments:

Usman said...

Regarding verse 3:7, the interpretation of this verse by Maulana Muhammad Ali is noteworthy as it seeks to establish a rule by making the allegorical subject to the clear. This is based on his analysis of the arabic words used.

Hi work can be accessed on http://www.aaiil.org/text/hq/hqmain.shtml

and: http://www.aaiil.org/text/books/mali/introductionstudyholyquran/introductionstudyholyquran.shtml

Sakib Ahmad said...

Dear Usman,

If I may, I would like to copy below what I have previously written at another blog:

The Ahmadees can, at best, be described as a new sect in Islam. This is a clear violation of Quraanic injunctions.

By the way, the Ahmadees use grandiose titles such as 'Maulana' (our Lord) much as most mullahs do and there is really little to distinguish this sect from a host of others that exist. If you really desire to follow the Quraanic Guidance, I think you need to campaign against he abolition of Ahmadi, Sunni, Shia, etc sects.

It is also important to understand the life of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the movement, and the kind of things that he tried to propagate. In my article on Islam I have mentioned Dr Shabbir Ahmed's website www.ourbeacon.com - there are a number of books there you can download free, among them "Hashish from Qadian". This book is quite an eye-opener.

Rashid said...

Dear Sakib Ahmad sahib:
Since you mentioned about Dr. Shabbir Ahmad, so i would like you to please read my posts based on my conversations with him. I also posted Dr. Shabbir Ahmad replies:
Conversation with Dr. Shabbir Ahmad, and his reply
http://ahmadiyya.org/WordPress/2009/10/13/conversation-with-dr-shabbir-ahmad-and-his-reply/

Conversation with Dr. Shabbir Ahmad, translator of Holy Quran
http://ahmadiyya.org/WordPress/2009/08/21/conversation-with-dr-shabbir-ahmed-translator-of-holy-quran/

Usman said...

Dear Sakib,

Thanks for your reply. I would like to know the following so I am clear as what persepctive are speaking from:

1 - Are you aware of the differance between the Lahore Ahmadiyya Aovement (LAM) and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (AMC).

2 - Have you read any literature published by the LAM that adreses accusations againset HMGA and tried to ascertain if there is an answer to the book you mentioned.

3 - Have you read any literature by LAM at all?

Sakib Ahmad said...

Dear Usman,

My answer to all three of your questions is 'no'.

Rashid has left a couple of links in his comment, which I will look up and try to understand the Lahore movement better. If, however, you would rather educate me on the niceties of Lahore/Qadian movements then go ahead.

By the way, if you have read "Hashish from Qadian", could you clarify if the quotations attributed to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad are true or false.

Rashid said...

Dear Sakib Ahmad sahib:
I have read 'Hashish from Qadian'. If i comment about it you may not like it. On the other hand, Dr. Zahid Aziz, webmaster of LAM blog has written an article in 'The Light' English organ of LAM.
‘Hashish from Qadian’ influences its own author,Anti-Ahmadiyya writer has Ahmadiyya views
Compiled by Zahid Aziz..................................... 5
The Light--UK Edition, May 2009
http://ahmadiyya.org/uk/light-may09.pdf

If you are curious as HONEST SEEKER OF TRUTH , of what was written by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib and in WHAT CONTEXT, then i will request you to please PICK ONE POINT AT A TIME and ask LAM members to help you clarify. If you can find some time to post your objections on LAM blog that will be a great help for all members of LAM especially the young ones to know the truth. If you think you are correct and telling the truth, then definitely you will PREVENT many young LAM childrens from following the 'wrong' path.
My assessment is that author, Dr. Shabbir Ahmad sahib has NOT read Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib's books. He basically wrote this book under influence of Ghulam Ahmad Pervaiz sahib's writings. Dr. Shabbir sahib simply picked quotes provided by opponents of Mirza Ghualm Ahmad sahib and rewrote them from his perspective.

Usman said...

Dear Sakib,

Well one "nicety" I can right away claim is that the LAM has been advocating for the past 100 years an approcah to Islam which I suspect is very similar to what you and Dr. Shabir seem to adhere to.

I have not read this book you mention; but have read other smilar works....especially those that throw out "quotes" of HMGA. In all the cases, I have discovered that the quotes have been mis-translated and/or mis-interpreted,and the meaning twisted by totally disregarding the context and at times even the author's own stated opinion on the matter within the same text.

Either I can obtian this book and take out a quote or two and let you know my opinion, or you can present a quote or two here or at the blog as suggested by Rashid. However, as Rashid said this excercise can only be useful if it is approached with an un-prejudiced mind and the attempt is to find out the truth and not too ridicule the LAM or its founders. I say this because the intoduction to the book on the Dr. Shabir website smacks of bigotry and prejudice (use of words like "deranged" and asking the readers to "amuse" themselves)and hence the book appears to be an excercise to re-enforce pre-convieved notions and not a scholarly attempt to find out the truth. However only when I read the book can I form a definitive opinion.

Rashid said...

Dear Sakib Ahmad sahib:

I think you lack the basic understanding of Islam when you say:
“The Ahmadees can, at best, be described as a new sect in Islam. This is a clear violation of Quraanic injunctions.”

Word ‘Firqa’ (that you translate as sect) is NOT derived from Arabic root word meaning ‘Tafreeq’ (Division).
Rather, word ‘Firqa’ is derived from Arabic root word meaning ‘Faruq’ (Difference, such as in Difference of Opinion).

Rasul Allah SAWS warned Muslims from dividing on basic fundamentals like Christians. Some Christians believe in trinity others are Unitarians etc. Where as he encouraged Muslims to hold difference of opinion and called it a blessings. All Muslims hold one basic belief: There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger.

To help you understand:

1) People holding Pervizi (Ghulam Ahmad Perviz sahib) opinion Totally Reject Hadiths of Rasul Allah SAWS.
2) People holding Al-Hadith opinion give Too Much Importance to Hadiths of Rasul Allah SAWS.
3) People holding Ahmadi (those who hold belief that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib was MUJJADDID of 14th Islamic century) opinion Adopt the Middle Way. They give Superiority to Holy Quran and accept hadiths that do NOT contradict Holy Quran.

So these are Different Schools of Thoughts. How come this becomes a clear violation of Quranic injunctions??
Please help me understand your point of view. Thanks.

As far as Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib was concerned, and I can tell it’s also the case with Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, he held Hanfi School of Thought opinion in matters of Islamic rituals and laws. Only thing in which he differed with them was issue of ‘Death of Jesus’. So Sakib sahib if you follow Hanfi school of thought in matters of Islamic rituals and laws and hold belief that Jesus is Dead then you and Mirza sahib belong to the SAME “sect”.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib NEVER started a “new sect in Islam”. Rather he started a new Tablighi Jamaat in Islam i.e. an Intellectual Movement for propagation and defense of Islam. The same kind of movement Dr. Shabbir Ahmad sahib started. And Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement is simply continuing movement started by Mirza sahib.

I will highly recommend you a book:
Islam mein koi Firqaa Nahee:
(there is no sect in islam)
by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din
http://aaiil.org/urdu/books/others/khwajakamaldin/islammeinkoifirqanahee/islammeinkoifirqanahee.shtml

Barriers between Muslims must go — There are no Sects in Islam:
by Sheikh Muhammad Tufail
Text of Eid-ul-Fitr Sermon at the Shah Jehan Mosque (Woking, UK) on 28th March 1960
http://aaiil.org/text/books/others/sheikhmuhammadtufail/barriersbetweenmuslimsmustgo/barriersbetweenmuslimsmustgo.shtml

Sakib Ahmad said...

Dear Usman and Rashid,

Thank you for your comments.

May I please ask you not to see me through the lens of your preconceived prejudices about Dr Shabbir Ahmed? I hold him in high regard for the quality of his intellect and his vast knowledge. I have certainly learnt much from him for which I am grateful. However, I also disagree with him on certain points but these differences are not important. In Islam, what is important is our actions, and the sincerity of our intentions, for which we will earn appropriate recompense in accordance with divine laws.

Several years ago I used to be an active member of Dr Shabbir Ahmed’s forum but I left when he (or his moderators) started suppressing or altering my posts. I have never returned to his forum but I have no hard feelings against him. What he has accomplished is truly remarkable and I continue to regard him with warmth and admiration.

Rashid Sahib tells me that I lack a basic understanding of Islam. Certainly, he is entitled to his views. For me Islam is NOT a religion - it is Guidance given in the Qur’an which each person has to understand, and act upon, according to his/her own capacity. If Allah has endowed Rashid Sahib with great wisdom then he will be judged more severely than a humble person like me who lacks the gifts given to Rashid Sahib. What I am forbidden to do in the Qur’an is to accept the views of Rashid Sahib, or his mentor Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib, if in my heart of hearts these appear unconvincing to me.

I stand by my conviction that the Qur’an is multi-faceted and its deeper meanings are relative to the level of understanding of people who read it. Differences in interpreting the Quraanic verses are, therefore, an essential ingredient of Islam, which ought not to affect the unity of the Muslim ummah. Muhammad Rasul-Allah, Rehmatul-lil-aalameen gave us Islam without sects. The sects which arose later shattered the unity of the Muslim ummah and reduced Islam to the status of religion, which differed from one sect to another.

Allama Ghulam Ahmad Parwaiz is one of the greatest religious thinkers that our nation has produced. My regard for him is higher than it is for Dr Shabbir Ahmed. To imply that Allama Parwaiz “Totally Rejected Hadiths of Rasul Allah SAWS” indicates either ignorance or deliberate distortion of his views. I think you will benefit from reading Allama Parwaiz’s seminal book “Saleem ke naam khatoot”. Allama Parwaiz’s view was that the criterion of authenticity for a saying attributed to Muhammad Rasul-Allah was the Qur’an – it mattered not whether the “hadith” came from Bukhari or Muslim or someone else. Following Allama Parwaiz’s death, people may have set themselves up as Allama Parwaiz’s “followers” but he himself desired no such thing. He wished people to follow Muhammad Rasul-Allah and to obey the Quraanic guidance. To this end he offered his own interpretation of the Qur’an, which people were free to accept or reject. Therefore, there is no such thing as “Parwaizi Islam”.

From Usman’s explanation, I am no wiser as to the differences between the Lahore/Qadian/Rabwah divisions of the Ahmadiyya sect or, as you prefer, “movement”. Please elaborate a bit more.

I have read Dr Zahid Aziz’s supposed response to “Hashish from Qadian”. It actually avoids the subject and merely diverts the reader’s attention to Dr Shabbir’s book “The Criminals of Islam” in the hope that people will forget about Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and start rubbishing Dr Shabbir Ahmed for treating their heroes as “Islamic criminals”.

Rashid said...

Dear Sakib Ahmad sahib:

Thanks for your reply.
“Rashid Sahib tells me that I lack a basic understanding of Islam.”

By this I only meant: Islam wants us to accept everyone and anyone who recites Kalima Shahada as Muslim. No ifs, thens or buts. Every reciter of Kalima Shahada is a Muslim. Period.

“The sects which arose later shattered the unity of the Muslim ummah and reduced Islam to the status of religion, which differed from one sect to another”.

I hold belief there is NO sect in Islam. It is all difference of opinion. You also expressed difference of opinion in your statement. By your definition of sect you also belong to a “particular” sect that holds opinion like you. Kindly do read:
Islam mein koi Firqaa Nahee:
by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din
and
Barriers between Muslims must go — There are no Sects in Islam:
by Sheikh Muhammad Tufail
You will notice a great change in yourself. You will feel your heart has become huge (figuratively) and you have developed tolerance for a fellow reciter of Kalima Shahada regardless you disagree with his/ her understanding of Islam.

“Allama Parwaiz’s view was that the criterion of authenticity for a saying attributed to Muhammad Rasul-Allah was the Qur’an – it mattered not whether the “hadith” came from Bukhari or Muslim or someone else.”

May I tell you that Allama Parwaiz sahib PLAGIARIZED this idea from Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib with out acknowledging him. I appreciate Parwaiz sahib for saying exactly what Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib said, although Parwaiz sahib did not show moral strength by acknowledging Mirza sahib.

To know the difference between Lahori-Ahmadis beliefs and Qadianis (later Rabwah)-Ahmadis I will recommend you following links to short articles:
http://www.ahmadiyya.org/cont-ahm.htm

http://www.ahmadiyya.org/clarifi.htm

“I have read Dr Zahid Aziz’s supposed response to “Hashish from Qadian”. It actually avoids the subject and merely diverts the reader’s attention to Dr Shabbir’s book “The Criminals of Islam” in the hope that people will forget about Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and start rubbishing Dr Shabbir Ahmed for treating their heroes as “Islamic criminals”.”

What Dr Shabbir Ahmad sahib wrote in his book is ALL OUT OF CONTEXT, MISQUOTED AND MIS-INTERPRETED by Mullah-Mafia. All these accusations have been answered zillion times by Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement authors. If you are interested, I can provide many links to LAM publications. Instead of repeating answers to accusations made by Dr. Shabbir sahib, Dr. Zahid Aziz wrote article from a different angle, explicitly drawing readers attention to Dr. Shabbir’s thoughts and mind-set.
You may please pick ANY accusation and ask. InshAllah LAM members will answer you. It will be more help to every one if you may ask your objection on LAM blog. Dr. Shabbir sahib has NOT asked any question on LAM blog, but he still wrote a book without asking for any reply from those who hold Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in great esteem. May be you can do this. The current hopeless condition of Muslims will only change when they start showing some moral courage. Just writing some book like “Hashish from Qadian” by author such as Dr. Shabbir Ahmad sahib will NOT change the current condition of Muslims.
I will also recommend you to read my posts based on my conversations with Dr. Shabbir on LAM blog. I provided link in previous post. Thanks.

Usman said...

Dear Sakib,

I am not too sure what led you to say I have a pre-conceived prejudice against Dr. Shabir?????
In any case much of what you say actually resonates with the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement's point of view, which you seem to call a "sect" for reasons best known to yourself. As for Dr. ZA article, please understand that the point of that article was not to refute quote by quote the book itself (we have been doing this for the last 100 years so perhaps it’s a bit tiresome now), but rather the following:
LAM has a certain interpretation of Islam (based on the Quran and as a secondary and subordinate to Quran source: Hadith). This interpretation has caused the Pakistani Mullahs to brand us as heretics. So we are very surprised when someone holding much of the same interpretation as us actually sides with the Mullahs when it comes to trashing the founder of our movement.
I think (given that your opinion about Ahmadis seems to be based on one "anti-ahmadi" book and not any study of the Ahmadi literature directly) it would be fair to say that you are passing a judgment on us without trying to honestly understand us. As such when you say: "what I am forbidden to do in the Qur’an is to accept the views of Rashid Sahib, or his mentor Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib, if in my heart of hearts these appear unconvincing to me", you are missing the point that first you have to honestly study an issue before making such a decision in your heart of hearts. Interestingly such blind following which you rightly point out Quran prohibits, is also not practiced in our movement and members of our movement have freely disagreed with HMGA in interpretation matters of the Quran. This is upholding the principle we hold very dear: that the Quran is the supreme standard against which we must judge, to the best of our abilities, whatever we are taught; no matter who is the teacher.
As far as the LAM is concerned, our beliefs and literature is all available online, so why not go to the source directly and find out the truth. I would suggest you browse www.aaiil.org or www.ahmadiyya.org to know what we are all about.
For specific question or “quotes” of HMGA which are bothering you, please feel free to ask.

Sakib Ahmad said...

Dear Rashid Sahib,

I wonder if you are aware of the contradictions in your posts? Let me give you an example.

On 23 May you wrote, “People holding Pervizi (Ghulam Ahmad Perviz sahib) opinion Totally Reject Hadiths of Rasul Allah SAWS”. In my reply I pointed out that you were mistaken:

“To imply that Allama Parwaiz ‘Totally Rejected Hadiths of Rasul Allah SAWS’ indicates either ignorance or deliberate distortion of his views. I think you will benefit from reading Allama Parwaiz’s seminal book “Saleem ke naam khatoot”. Allama Parwaiz’s view was that the criterion of authenticity for a saying attributed to Muhammad Rasul-Allah was the Qur’an – it mattered not whether the “hadith” came from Bukhari or Muslim or someone else.”

You then completely changed your stance about Allama Parwaiz being a “hadith rejector” and launched an attack on him: “May I tell you that Allama Parwaiz sahib PLAGIARIZED this idea from Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib with out acknowledging him.”

So, according to your logic, Allama Parwaiz is both a “hadith rejector” and “not a hadith rejector” simultaneously!

Another difficulty I have with you is that you refuse to listen to what I have been saying. For the most part you and I have been expressing similar views but your responses are couched in terms which suggest that I am mistaken and your views, which are basically the same as mine but expressed differently, reflect true Islam.

If you do not mind I would like to suggest that we stop our discussion here. Just let me have the names of all the books that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has written and how to get hold of them. I prefer to arrive at my own conclusions.

Allama Parwaiz’s legacy is very extensive. Judging from your comments about him, you have read not a single book by him. He was an intellectual of the highest rank, the sheer quality and amount of whose output took your breath away. As an introduction to his works, I recommend two books: “Islam kya hai?” and “Saleem ke naam khatoot”.

Thank you for the links you have given. I shall refer to them over a period of time, depending on my other commitments.

Sakib Ahmad said...

Dear Usman,

My last e-mail was addressed to both you and Rashid Sahib, who had referred me to his personal account of his conversation with Dr Shabbir Ahmed – which you, too, may have read. I was simply saying that I am quite different from Dr Shabbir and I gave evidence of the differences I have had with him.

You are quite right, the views that you and I have expressed here are very similar. I think that the next step for me is to read Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s original writings in Urdu. Though the links that you and Rashid Sahib have given do provide the English translation of several of Mirza Sahib’s books, it is the original Urdu writings that I wish to read.

Could you please let me have a complete list of Mirza Sahib’s books and the addresses in Pakistan and the UK where they can be obtained? Could you also confirm that the contents of all these books are identical irrespective of whether they are published by the Lahori Ahmadiyya wing or the Qadian/Rabwah wing?

I did find Dr Zahid Aziz’s article on “Hashish from Qadian” disappointing because it simply tried to shift attention from that book to Dr Shabbir Ahmed’s “The Criminals of Islam”. It is not true that my views have been based on a single “anti Ahmadi” book. I have read other books and articles as well. Also, I have twice attended prayers at the Woking mosque in the UK, where I was able to pick up some information. It may be that the Lahori wing presents things differently.

You say I have passed “judgment” on Ahmadees! If I have passed any, it is just to call them one sect among many that exist in Islam.

Dr Shabbir Ahmed, and Allama Parwaiz before him, are reformers and thinkers. You can accept or reject anything that they say. I have already told you of my differences with Dr Shabbir Ahmed. There are aspects of Allama Parwaiz’s writings with which I do not agree. That does not matter – we remain brothers in Islam and my regard for them remains undiminished. My impression is that that kind of freedom is not possible with Mirza Ghulam Ahmad – but you appear to contradict this in your last post – and that is why I consider the movement he started as a sect of Islam.

Thank you, once again, for the links you have provided.

Rashid said...

PART ONE
Dear Sakib Ahmad sahib:
Thanks for your reply. Definitely this discussion has helped me misunderstand. Thank you for that.
When you wrote:
““To imply that Allama Parwaiz ‘Totally Rejected Hadiths of Rasul Allah SAWS’ indicates either ignorance or deliberate distortion of his views. I think you will benefit from reading Allama Parwaiz’s seminal book “Saleem ke naam khatoot”. Allama Parwaiz’s view was that the criterion of authenticity for a saying attributed to Muhammad Rasul-Allah was the Qur’an – it mattered not whether the “hadith” came from Bukhari or Muslim or someone else.””

I ACCEPTED your statement. Thanks for clarifying. I was under the impression like Muslims who call them ‘Ahle-Quran’ Allama Parwaiz sahib also held opinion to reject hadiths. I am GLAD to see Allama Parwaiz sahib also held opinion like Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib (Mujjaddid of 14th Islamic century). I hope this will clarify you why I wrote:
““May I tell you that Allama Parwaiz sahib PLAGIARIZED this idea from Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib with out acknowledging him.”

Your:
“your responses are couched in terms which suggest that I am mistaken and your views, which are basically the same as mine but expressed differently, reflect true Islam.”

I guess I came across wrong. I did NOT mean what you understood. But I do say one thing; I do some time provoke people to COME CLEAN AND BE HONEST. Hazrat Mirza Ghualm Ahmad sahib some time use to take approach which he called, “using scalpel to let the hidden pus out”.

Your:
“If you do not mind I would like to suggest that we stop our discussion here.”

I think discussion is always healthy when done with sincerity of heart and believing with heart that Allah SWT knows what we write and what is in our heart, and we will be answerable to Him. Personally I have learned from you. As I said above.

Your:
“Just let me have the names of all the books that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has written and how to get hold of them. I prefer to arrive at my own conclusions”

I think it is a great attitude. Please check Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib books in URDU and their translation in English. If some book is not made available yet, Inshallah it will be made available.
Books in Urdu:
Published by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at-e-Islam Lahore
by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian:
http://aaiil.org/urdu/books/mainbook.shtml
Books in English:
Published by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at-e-Islam Lahore
Titles appear alphabetically, ignoring the articles 'The', 'A' and 'An'
by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian:
http://aaiil.org/text/books/bookmain.shtml

You may check HMGA and his companions’ books on official websites of Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement:
www.aaiil.org
www.ahmadiyya.org
www.muslim.org

Rashid said...

PART TWO:

Your:
“Allama Parwaiz’s legacy is very extensive. Judging from your comments about him, you have read not a single book by him. He was an intellectual of the highest rank, the sheer quality and amount of whose output took your breath away. As an introduction to his works, I recommend two books: “Islam kya hai?” and “Saleem ke naam khatoot”.”

I have NOT read any book by Allama Parwaiz. Although my father had few of his books including ‘Tasawaf-ki-Haqiqat’. My father liked this book. On the other hand, I have been very close to a person who was editor of Urdu Encyclopedia of Islam published by Punjab University, Lahore. This person worked as editor from 1956 to early 1970s, almost for 18 years. He authored over 500 hundred ORIGINAL articles including on subject of Holy Quran Tafaseer, Haith books, Bahai faith etc. Over 100 were published under his name and rest under name of ‘editor’. He himself rendered into English translation of Holy Quran. He himself authored dictionary of Holy Quran. Both of these works were highly appreciated by Dr. Shabbir Ahmad in his conversations with me. (He has authored over 60 books and as his family finds time and finances they will publish it, including Urdu, English and Arabic detail commentary/ tafaseer of Holy Quran). He was also the FIRST person in Islamic history to COMPLETELY arrange the LARGEST hadith book ‘Musnad Ahmad bin Hambal’ according to subject wise. The point is he was a very learned Islamic Scholar. He made a comment about ‘dictionary of Holy Quran’ published UNDER Allama Parwaiz name: “meanings in this dictionary are self created, with out any basis”. So, I am not sure what to say about “Islamic scholarship” of Allama Parwaiz sahib. The person who made this comment is Abdul Manan Omar sahib. Following website has his works:
www.islamusa.org
Comments on Holy Quran:
http://www.amazon.com/Holy-Quran-Seventh-Allamah-Nooruddin/dp/0963206737/ref=pd_sim_b_1

Comments on Holy Quran Dictionary:
http://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-Holy-Quran-English-Arabic/product-reviews/0963206796/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

Rashid said...

PART THREE:

My comments on your post addressed to Usman sahib:
“Could you also confirm that the contents of all these books are identical irrespective of whether they are published by the Lahori Ahmadiyya wing or the Qadian/Rabwah wing?”

MOSTLY there is similarity in books authored by HMGA, ALTHOUGH QADIANIS HAVE MADE SOME CHANGES IN HMGA BOOKS, where Qadianis wanted to establish HMGA’s “prophethood”. Please also note, HMGA NEVER authored book by name ‘Tazkira’ as published by Qadianis. Qadianis have also published books which have name of HMGA but were NOT published by him e.g. Mulfuzat.

“It is not true that my views have been based on a single “anti Ahmadi” book. I have read other books and articles as well. “

Again if your view is based on OPPONENTS OF HMGA books then it is NOT a valid and justified reason.

“Also, I have twice attended prayers at the Woking mosque in the UK, where I was able to pick up some information. It may be that the Lahori wing presents things differently.”

Woking Muslim Mission website:
http://www.wokingmuslim.org/

“You say I have passed “judgment” on Ahmadees! If I have passed any, it is just to call them one sect among many that exist in Islam.”

Again LAM is NOT a sect like Shia, Alhe-Quran, Ahle-hadith etc. LAM is a MOVEMENT. An organization for peaceful, rational, intellectual, tolerant, non-sectarian propagation and defense of Islam.

“That does not matter – we remain brothers in Islam and my regard for them remains undiminished.”

I will use same words for you, Allama Parwaiz and Dr Shabbir sahib.

“My impression is that that kind of freedom is not possible with Mirza Ghulam Ahmad”

Again I would say, your impression is WRONG. I can provide many references to HMGA where he absolutely NEGATES your statement. Just check one following link:
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad:
Did not brand other Muslims as kafir
http://www.ahmadiyya.org/takfir/index.htm

Thanks for your time.
May Allah SWT guide all of us. Ameen.

Rashid said...

Dear Sakib Ahmad sahib,
Please correct Wikipedia entry on Ghulam Ahmed Pervez sahib. The entry says:
“Allama Ghulam Ahmad Parvez (1903–1985) was a controversial 20th century Pakistani bureaucrat and scholar. He rejected hadith and claimed in his writings that Islam had been treacherously perverted by kings and ulema who had perverted Islam for their vested interests. "The kings sponsored the creation and fabrication of hadith,' he declared. Muslim Scholars declared Pervez a kafir (infidel) for denying the authority and authenticity of ahadith and for attempting to alter the religion of Islam for personal gain[1]. Pervez accused the Muslim Scholars for 'always serving as agents of the rich people' and being 'promoters of uncontrolled Capitalism.'”

I suppose you need to correct:
“He rejected hadith”.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghulam_Ahmed_Pervez

Thanks.

Sakib Ahmad said...

Dear Rashid Sahib,

Thank you for your detailed comments. Before I could respond, the terrible massacre in Lahore took place. This is not just an attack on the Ahmadi community – it is a negation of the values which formed the basis for the creation of Pakistan. The tragedy is that the parties and groups that had opposed the idea of Pakistan have increasingly tightened their hold on Pakistan.

Thank you for the information you have provided. My impression is that Wikipedia tends to be dominated by activists and geeks, and it is often unreliable. The distorted entry about Allama Parwaiz does not surprise me – I just wonder why the Tolu-e-Islam people have not bothered to correct it. Allama Parwaiz’s position on the relationship between Hadith and the history of Islam is expounded with great clarity in the 39th letter to Saleem, headed “Hamaari taareekh mei.n kya hai?”. The book “Saleem ke naam khatoot” might be available on Tolu-e-Islam’s website – if so, you could easily read the 39th letter online.

I have previously touched on the differences between me and the scholars whom I respect. I think those statements need to be amplified a bit. I'll see if I can write a follow-up article to "Islam: back to basics".

Sakib Ahmad said...

Dear Usman and Rashid,

The many references about the Ahmadiyya movement that you provided me with have greatly improved my understanding of the Ahmadi beliefs. The knowledge I have thus gained has enabled me to make a brief comment on Ahmadi Muslims in a sequel to my article on Islam. I have just published this follow-up article as a new post in this blog.

You are most welcome to read it and comment on it.

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