Page 1

june 2011 - vol. 106 - issue six

FAITH & CERTITUDE

“Where there is smoke there is fire” Who was the Prophet Promised in Deuteronomy?

Why I Believe in Islam

The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam

The Life and Character of the Seal of the Prophets


The Promised Messiah

© makhzan-e-tasaweer

and imam mahdi and founder of the review of religions

The Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) prophesied that the Promised Messiah(as) would be raised near a white minaret, east of Damascus. This prophecy was fulfilled with the advent of the Promised Messiah(as) from Qadian, India, a city directly east of Damascus.

Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), the Promised Messiah and Mahdi was born to a noble family in Qadian, India. From an early age he had a keen interest in religion and developed a love for the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw). He was also known for his honesty, friendliness and resolve. Over time his knowledge and understanding of religion and its application to society deepened. Being a Muslim it was his firm belief that all religions were true at their source but with the passage of time had drifted away from their original teachings; he upheld the dignity of religion and demonstrated its relevance to everyone.

Hadhrat Ahmad(as) had established himself as a respected writer and had written over 80 books. His writings have been translated into more than 60 languages and continue to inspire readers to this day. One of his greatest scholarly works was The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, prepared as a paper and read out at the Conference of Great Religions in 1896.

His earnest defence of religion was ultimately blessed when he started to receive direct revelation from Allah – a blessing that he continued for the rest of his life.

He also wrote a fascinating treatise in 1899 entitled Jesus in India, a book that uncovered remarkable evidence of Jesus(as)’s journey to India. In 1902 the Promised Messiah(as) initiated The Review of Religions which has covered a vast array of topics on religion, philosophy and contemporary issues of the day. It is the longest running English magazine in defence of Islam and the values it teaches.

His mission was to revitalise the truth that all religions held within them and to revive the teachings of Islam. It was through this that he would bring mankind together and establish everlasting peace.

From 1889 until the time of his demise in 1908 tens of thousands of people accepted him. This blessing has continued and will continue through his Khalifas (successors).

In 1889, under Divine Guidance, Hadhrat Ahmad(as) founded the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – a community that has since grown in its stature and strength and has remained active in conveying the message of Islam to the ends of the earth.

Currently under the fifth successor, we are seeing that the tide of acceptance is worldwide and that the message of Prophet Ahmad(as) has really reached the ends of the earth.


world faiths

Overcoming Anger … those who spend in prosperity and adversity, and those who suppress anger and pardon men; and Allah loves those who do good Islam, the Holy Qur’an, Ch.3:Vs.134-135

Abu Huraira reported God’s Messenger(saw) as saying: “A strong man is not one who is a good wrestler; the strong man is only he who controls himself in anger.” (ra)

Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw ), Bukhari and Muslim

Patience is a great virtue. One who shows patience and does not speak angrily, it is God who makes him speak.

Anger deprives a sage of his wisdom, a prophet of his vision. Judaism, Talmud, Pesahim, 66b

Islam Ahmadiyyat, the Promised Messiah(as), Malfoozat

…man should subvert anger by forgiveness. Conquer anger by love.

Jainism, Saman Suttam, 135-36

Buddhism, Dhammapada, 223

The anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.

Christianity, James 1:20

…Your physical anger brings dishonor on yourself; Your mental anger disturbs your thinking… hinduism, Basavanna, Vachana, 248


contents june 2011

6

6 The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam — Part 6

Continuing a commended and exceptional treatise based entirely on the Holy Qur’an, this section features an exposition on the moral values that arise from performing good deeds Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as),

the Promised Messiah and Mahdi

16 The Life & Character of the Seal of the Prophets(saw) — Part 7 An account of the first centre for the propagation of Islam, and the opposition faced by the Holy Prophet(saw) at the hands of the Quraish. Hadhrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra)

16

26 Who was the Prophet Promised in Deuteronomy?

The prophecy in Deuteronomy 18 foretells the coming of a special Prophet. But who exactly was that prophet? (Final part) Dr Mirza Sultan Ahmad – Rabwah, Pakistan

40 Faith and Certitude

Examining how logical perception, direct perception and personal engagement are all key factors towards certainty of faith Sayed Hameedullah Nusrat Pasha, Rabwah, Pakistan


MANAGEMENT BOARD Munir-ud-din Shams (Chairman) Mansoor Shah (Secretary)
 Naseer Ahmad Qamar
 Mubarak Ahmad Zafar
 Mirza Fakhar Ahmad
 Abdul Baqi Arshad

26

40

46 From the Archives: Why I Believe in Islam

Islamic teachings are perfectly rounded, impart guidance that appeal to human nature and provide rights to all peoples unreservedly Hadhrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud

Ahmad(ra), Khalifatul Masih II

60 Letters to the Editor 64 Calendar of Religious Events and Festivals June 2011

CHIEF EDITOR & MANAGER Mansoor Ahmed Shah EDITORIAL BOARD Adam Walker,
Amer Safir,
Bockarie Tommy Kallon,
Fareed Ahmad,
Fauzia Bajwa,
Fazal Ahmad,
Hibba Turrauf, Khullat Munir, Mansoor Saqi,
Nakasha Ahmad, Sarah Waseem,
Tanveer Khokhar
 PROOFREADERS Abdul Ghany Jahangeer Khan,
Farhana Dar, Munavara Ghauri DISTRIBUTION Muhammad Hanif DESIGN AND LAYOUT Ahsan Khan SPECIAL CONTRIBUTORS Arif Khan, Maleeha Ahmad, Munazza Khan, Sami Ullah PUBLISHER Al Shirkatul Islamiyyah Ltd. Views expressed in this publication are not necessarily the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. All correspondence should be forwarded to the Editor at: The Review of Religions Tahir House, 22 Deer Park Road London, SW19 3TL, United Kingdom Telephone: + 44 20 8544 7614 Fax: + 44 20 3044 3030 info@reviewofreligions.org www.reviewofreligions.org


The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam part 6

Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), the Promised Messiah and Mahdi translated from urdu by sir muhammad zafrulla khan


Moral Qualities Related to the Doing of Good The second types of moral qualities are those that are related to doing good. The first of these is forbearance or forgiveness. He who commits an offence against another causes him pain or harm and deserves to be punished either through the process of the law, with imprisonment or fine, or directly by the person offended. To forgive him, if forgiveness be appropriate, would be to do good unto him. In this context the teaching of the Holy Qur’an is:

This verse shows that the Qur’an does not teach non-resistance to evil on all occasions

which would be best in the interests both of the offender and the public. Sometimes an offender turns away from wrongdoing in consequence of being forgiven, and sometimes forgiveness incites him to further wrongdoing. That is, good men are those who control Therefore, God Almighty directs that their tempers when they are roused and we should not develop the habit of who overlook people’s faults when that forgiving blindly on all occasions, but is appropriate.1 The recompense of an should consider carefully whether injury is a penalty in proportion thereto; forgiveness or punishment would be most but whoso forgives and effects thereby appropriate, and, therefore, constitute a a reform in the offender, and no harm virtue, in each particular case, and should is apprehended, that is to say, exercises adopt that course. Some people are so forgiveness on its appropriate occasion, vindictive that they keep in mind the will have his reward with Allah.2 wrongs done to their fathers through generations, and there are others who This verse shows that the Qur’an does carry forbearance and forgiveness to the not teach non-resistance to evil on all extreme, sometimes even to the limit occasions, or that mischief-makers and of shamelessness. They exercise such wrongdoers should never be punished. weakness, forgiveness and forbearance Its teaching is that one must consider as are utterly inconsistent with dignity, whether the occasion calls for forgiveness honour, and chastity. Their conduct is a or punishment, and to adopt the course stain on good character and the result june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

7


the philosophy of the teachings of islam

Forgiveness is not a moral quality in itself. It is a natural impulse which is found in children also.

the distinction between a true moral quality and a natural condition, which is that a moral quality is conditioned by conformity to place and occasion, and a natural impulse often comes into play out of place. A cow is harmless and a goat is humble but we do not attribute these qualities to them because they are not invested with a sense of time and place. Divine wisdom and God’s true and perfect Book have made every moral quality subject to time and place for its proper exercise.

of their forgiveness and forbearance is that people are disgusted with them. That is why the Holy Qur’an attaches the condition of appropriate time and place for the exercise of every moral quality, and does not approve the exercise of a moral quality out of its place. The second moral quality in this category is equity, and the third is benevolence It should be remembered that forgiveness and the fourth is graciousness as between is not a moral quality in itself. It is a kindred. God, the Glorious, has said: natural impulse which is found in children This means that we are commanded to also. A child soon forgets an injury, if it is return good for good, and to exercise inflicted upon him wrongfully, and again benevolence when it is called for, and approaches affectionately the person who to do good with natural eagerness as has inflicted the injury upon him, even if between kindred, when that should such a person should intend to kill him. be appropriate. God Almighty forbids He is pleased with his beguiling words. transgression or that you should exercise Such forgiveness is in no sense a moral benevolence out of place or should refrain quality. It would become a moral quality from exercising it when it is called for; or when it is exercised in its proper place that you should fall short of exercising and on its proper occasion; otherwise it graciousness as between kindred on its would only be a natural impulse. There proper occasion, or should extend it are few who are able to distinguish beyond its appropriate limit.3 This verse between a natural impulse and a moral sets forth three gradations of doing good. quality. We have repeatedly pointed out 8 The Review of Religions | june 2011


The first is the doing of good in return for good. This is the lowest gradation and even an average person can easily acquire this gradation that he should do good to those who do good to him.

Good should be done out of such eager sympathy as, for instance, a mother does good to her child.

The second gradation is a little more difficult than the first, and that is to take the initiative in doing good out of pure is why those who exercise benevolence benevolence. This is the middle grade. have been admonished by God Almighty Most people act benevolently towards not to render vain their benevolence by the poor, but there is a hidden deficiency reproaches or injury. in benevolence, that the person exercising benevolence is conscious of it and The third grade of doing good is desires gratitude or prayer in return for graciousness as between kindred. God his benevolence. If on any occasion the Almighty directs that in this grade there other person should turn against him, he should be no idea of benevolence or any considers him ungrateful. On occasion desire for gratitude, but good should he reminds him of his benevolence or be done out of such eager sympathy puts some heavy burden upon him. The as, for instance, a mother does good to benevolent ones have been admonished her child. This is the highest grade of doing good which cannot be exceeded. by God Almighty: But God Almighty has conditioned That is, O those who do good to others– all these grades of doing good with good that should be based on sincerity their appropriate time and place. The – do not render it vain by reminding them verse cited above clearly indicates that what favours you have done them or by if these virtues are not exercised in inflicting injury on them.4 The Arabic their proper places they would become word for alms (Sadaqah) is derived from vices. For instance, if equity exceeds its a root (sidq) that means sincerity. If limits it would take on an unwholesome the heart is not inspired by sincerity in aspect and would become indecent. In bestowing alms, the almsgiving ceases to the same way, misuse of benevolence be alms and becomes mere display. That would take on a form which would be june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

9


the philosophy of the teachings of islam

The truly virtuous feed the poor, the orphan, and the captive for the love of Allah with such foods as they eat themselves

There are several other directions set out in the Holy Qur’an concerning benevolence which are all made subject to the condition of place and time. It is said:

That is, O ye who believe, spend by way of generosity or benevolence or charity such of your wealth as you have acquired repelled by reason and conscience; and lawfully, that is to say, no part of which in the same way graciousness between has been acquired through theft or kindred would become transgression. bribery or dishonesty or embezzlement The Arabic word for transgression is or wrongdoing. Do not select for charity baghi, which connotes excessive rain out of it that which is useless or unclean.5 which ruins crops. A deficiency in the discharge of an obligation or an excess Render not vain your alms with in its discharge are both baghi. In short, reproaches or injury, that is to say, never whichever of these three qualities is remind your donee that you had bestowed exercised out of place becomes tainted. anything on him nor inflict any injury That is why they are all three qualities upon him, for in such case your charity conditioned by the due observance would be rendered vain, nor spend your of place and occasion. It should be money merely for display.6 Be benevolent remembered that equity or benevolence towards your fellow beings, for Allah or graciousness between kindred are not loves those who are benevolent.7 in themselves moral qualities. They are man’s natural conditions and faculties The truly virtuous shall drink of a cup that are exhibited even by children tempered with camphor. The reference before they develop their reason. Reason to camphor means that their hearts will is a condition of the exercise of a moral be cleansed of all the burning desires and quality and there is also a condition that impure urges of the world. The root of every moral quality should be exercised the Arabic word for camphor connotes in its proper place and on its proper suppression, or covering up, which occasion. means that their illicit emotions will be 10 The Review of Religions | june 2011


suppressed and they will become pure hearted and will enjoy the coolness of understanding. Then it is said that they will drink from a spring which they shall cause to gush forth from the earth through their efforts.8 This indicates a deep mystery of the philosophy of paradise. Let him who has understanding understand it.

True courage, which is one of the high moral qualities, is conditioned by place and occasion

the two.11 They join together that which Then he said: the truly virtuous feed Allah has bidden to be joined, and fear the poor, the orphan, and the captive their Lord.12 In their wealth those who for the love of Allah with such foods as ask and those who are unable to ask have they eat themselves, assuring them: We a right.13 By those who are unable to ask are not laying you under any obligation are meant animals such as dogs, cats, but feed you only to win Allah’s pleasure. sparrows, oxen, donkeys, goats and others We desire no return or thanks from you.9 that cannot express their needs in words. This is an indication that they exercise the third grade of doing good which They do not hold back in times of scarcity proceeds out of pure sympathy. or famine, but continue to spend at such times also according to their capacity.14 The truly virtuous are in the habit of They spend in charity secretly and spending their wealth out of love of God openly; secretly, so that they might on their kindred and on the upbringing safeguard themselves against displaying and training of orphans and in making their charity, and openly, so that they provision for the poor and for providing might set an example for others.15 That comfort for travellers and for those who which is set aside for charity should be ask and for procuring the freedom of spent on the poor and the needy, and on slaves and discharging the burdens of those employed in connection with its those who are in debt.10 collection and distribution, and to help those who have to be rescued from some They are neither extravagant nor evil, and on procuring the freedom of niggardly, but keep a balance between slaves, and on those burdened with debts, june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

11


the philosophy of the teachings of islam

There is a great difference between human courage and the courage of a wild beast.

and the afflicted and on other purposes which are purely for the sake of God and on those striving in the cause of Allah.16 You cannot attain the highest grade of virtue unless you spend for the promotion of the welfare of your fellow beings that part of your wealth which you hold dear.17 Render to the poor their due and to the needy and the wayfarer but safeguard yourselves against extravagance.18 This is a direction to restrain people from spending unnecessarily on weddings and luxuries and on the occasion of the birth of a child etc. Be benevolent towards parents and kindred, and orphans and the needy and the neighbour who is a kinsman, and the neighbour who is not related to you, and the wayfarer and your servants and your horses and your cattle and your other animals that you possess. This is what 12 The Review of Religions | june 2011

God loves. He loves not those who are heedless and selfish, and those who are niggardly and enjoin other people to be niggardly, and conceal their wealth and tell those who are needy that they have nothing which they can give them.19 True Courage Of the natural conditions of man is that which resembles courage, as an infant sometimes seeks to thrust his hand into the fire on account of its natural condition of fearlessness. In that condition a person fearlessly confronts tigers and other wild beasts and issues forth alone to fight a large number of people. Such a one is considered very brave. But this is only a natural condition that is found even in savage animals and in dogs. True courage, which is one of the high moral qualities, is conditioned by place and occasion, which are mentioned in the Holy Word of God as follows. That is, those who are steadfast in adversity and under affliction and in battle;20 their steadfastness is for the purpose of seeking the favour and countenance of Allah and not for the display of bravery.21 They are threatened that people have gathered together to persecute them and they should be afraid of them, but this only adds to their faith


and they say: Sufficient for us is Allah.22 Thus their courage and bravery are not like that of dogs and wild animals which proceed from natural passions and are only one-sided. Their courage has two aspects. Sometimes they contend out of their personal courage against the passions of their selves and overcome them; and sometimes when they feel that it is appropriate to fight against an enemy they issue forth against him, not out of any urge of a roused self but for the support of truth. They do not depend upon their selves but trust in God and behave courageously. They do not issue forth from their homes insolently and to be seen of people.23 Their only purpose is to win the pleasure of God. These verses illustrate that true courage derives from steadfastness. To be steadfast against every personal passion or against any calamity that attacks like an enemy and not to run away out of cowardice is true courage. Thus, there is a great difference between human courage and the courage of a wild beast. A wild animal is moved only in one direction when it is roused, but a man who possesses true courage chooses confrontation or non-resistance whichever might be appropriate to the occasion.

endnotes

1. …and those who suppress anger and pardon men… (Ch.3:V.135)

2. And the recompense of an injury is an injury the like thereof; but whoso forgives and his act brings

about reformation, his reward is with Allah...

(Ch.42:V.41)

3. Verily, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing

of good to others; and giving like kindred; and

forbids indecency, and manifest evil, and wrongful

transgression… (Ch.16:V.91)

4. ….render not vain your alms by taunt or injury... (Ch.2:V.265)

5. O you who believe! Spend of the good things that you have earned,……and seek not what is bad to

spend out of it… (Ch.2:V.268)

6. …render not vain your alms by taunt and injury,

like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men…

(Ch.2:V.265)

7. …and do good; surely, Allah loves those who do good. (Ch.2:V.196)

8. But the virtuous drink of a cup, tempered with

camphor – a spring wherefrom the servants of

Allah drink. They make it gush forth – a forceful gushing forth. (Ch.76:Vs.6-7)

9. And they feed, for love of Him, the poor, the orphan, and the prisoner, saying, ‘We feed you

for Allah’s pleasure only. We desire no reward nor

thanks from you. (Ch.76:Vs.9-10)

10. …and spends his money for love of Him, on

the kindred and the orphans and the needy and the

wayfarer and those who ask for charity, and for june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

13


the philosophy of the teachings of islam

ransoming the captives… (Ch.2:V.178)

11. …when they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly but moderate between the two;

(Ch.25:V.68)

12. And those who join what Allah has commanded to be joined, and fear their Lord, and dread the evil reckoning. (Ch.13:V.22)

13. And in their wealth was a share for one

who asked for help and for one who could not.

(Ch.51:V.20)

14. Those who spend in prosperity and adversity…

Who are niggardly and enjoin people to be niggardly, and conceal that which Allah has given them of His bounty. (Ch.4:Vs.37-38)

20. …and the patient in poverty and afflictions

and the steadfast in time of war; (Ch.2:V.178)

21. And those who persevere in seeking the favour of their Lord… (Ch.13:V.23)

22. Those to whom men said, ‘People have mustered

against you, therefore fear them,’ but this only increased their faith, and they said, ‘Sufficient

for us is Allah, and an excellent Guardian is He.’

(Ch.3:V.135)

(Ch.3:V.174)

provided them, secretly and openly… (Ch.13:V.23)

their homes boastfully, and to be seen of men…

15. …and spend out of that with which We have 16. The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and for those employed in connection therewith,

and for those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and for the freeing of slaves, and for those in debt, and

for the cause of Allah, and for the wayfarer – an

ordinance from Allah. And Allah is All-Knowing,

Wise. (Ch.9:V.60)

17. Never shall you attain to righteousness

unless you spend out of that which you love…

(Ch.3:V.93)

18. And give you to the kinsman his due, and to

the poor and the wayfarer, and squander not thy wealth extravagantly. (Ch.17:V.27)

19. …and show kindness to parents, and to kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and to the neighbour that is a kinsman and the neighbour that is a

stranger, and the companion by your side, and the

wayfarer, and those whom your right hands possess.

Surely, Allah loves not the proud and the boastful; 14 The Review of Religions | june 2011

23. And be not like those who came forth from

(Ch.8:V.48)


online

www.ReviewOfReligions.org

Visit our website, where you can browse past issues, subscribe to the print edition and send us feedback or comments.

You can submit articles for publication in The Review of Religions through our online ‘Submit an Article’ feature. For any queries regarding submitting articles, contact us at articles@reviewofreligions.org


The Life and Character of the Seal of the Prophets(saw) part 7

Hadhrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra)


Continued serialisation of the English rendering of Hadhrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra)’s outstanding biography, ‘Seerat Khatamun Nabiyyin’, on the life and character of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw). This section looks at how preaching in Islam was initially organised by the Holy Prophet(saw) and the fierce opposition he faced from the powerful Quraish translated from the urdu by ayyaz mahmood khan

Dar Arqam – The First Centre for the Propagation of Islam Perhaps during these days, the Holy Prophet(saw) thought that a centre for the propagation of Islam should be established in Makkah, where Muslims could gather without any hindrance to offer their prayers, etc., and where the propagation of Islam could formally yet quietly take place with peace and calm. For this purpose, a location was required that could serve as a headquarters.

The Holy Prophet(saw) worked in the Dar Arqam for approximately three years. In other words, the Prophet(saw) made it his headquarters in the fourth year of his prophethood and worked in it until the end of his sixth year. Historians record

Historians record that the last person to accept Islam in the Dar Arqam was Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) that the last person to accept Islam in the Dar Arqam was Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra), the acceptance of whom strengthened the Muslims to the extent that they left the Dar Arqam and began to preach openly.1

Thus, the Holy Prophet(saw) selected the house of a new Muslim named Arqam bin Abi Arqam(ra), situated at the foot of Mount Safa. Thereafter, the Muslims would gather here, and it was here that they would offer their Salat [Prayer]. It Those who accepted Islam in Dar Arqam is here that seekers of truth would come are counted amongst the pioneers. and where the Holy Prophet(saw) would Among these, the most renowned are: (ra) preach the religion of Islam to them. Mus‘ab bin ‘Umair , from the Banu It was for this reason that this house ‘Abd al-Dar. He was very handsome has found reverence in the history of and striking and held very dear by his Islam, and is renowned by the name, family. This is the same young, noble man who was sent as a missionary to Dar-ul-Islam. june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

17


the life & character

of the seal of the prophets

This speculation, however, was completely false and unfounded

remembrance of his brother, he said, “If I could write such verses, I would also have written an elegy in remembrance of my brother.” That person responded, “O Amirul-Mu’minin! [i.e. commander of the faithful] The blessed death endowed to your brother is such that had my brother received the like of it, I would never lament or write an elegy for him”. The disposition of Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) was very sagacious. He responded, “By God, the way you have consoled me with this statement, none has done the like of it.” After that, he never again expressed grief for his brother’s demise in this way.2

Yathrib [now Madinah] prior to the migration and through whom Islam spread in Madinah. Then there was Zaid bin Al-Khattab(ra), the elder brother of Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra). He was martyred in the Battle of Yamamah after the death of the Holy Prophet(saw). Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) was very grieved by his demise. Hence, during his reign as Caliph when some Another individual to believe in this era person recited an elegy before him in was ‘Abdullah bin Umm Maktum(ra) who 18 The Review of Religions | june 2011


Panorama of the Holy Ka’aba in Makkah

was blind and was among the relatives of Hadhrat Khadijah (ra). There is an interesting narration about him that once when the Holy Prophet(saw) was fervently to him; rather, he turned away from preaching to an honoured chieftain him and continued his discourse with named Walid bin Mughirah, ‘Abdullah Walid. ‘Abdullah bin Umm Maktum(ra) bin Umm Maktum(ra) quickly came to the remained oblivious to his mistake, but Holy Prophet(saw) and wanted to ask about he was saddened by this inattention a religious matter. But in his eagerness, and he thought that perhaps the Holy he did not notice the gathering and the Prophet(saw) preferred Walid, on account task in which the Holy Prophet(saw) was of his highest status, over his modest occupied, and ignored etiquettes of a self. This speculation, however, was gathering of the Holy Prophet(saw). Under completely false and unfounded, because the circumstances, the Holy Prophet(saw) at the time, the question was not of rich disliked his interruption, and his face or poor, rather the Holy Prophet(saw) was showed signs of displeasure. It was due engaged in preaching to someone who to the nobility of his character that the received little opportunity to listen to Holy Prophet(saw) did not say anything such words, and bin Umm Maktum(ra) june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

19


the life & character

of the seal of the prophets

Historians write that he greatly resembled the Holy Prophet(saw) in his physical attributes and character.

on the other hand had the luxury of his company more often. For this reason, the Holy Prophet(saw) did not desire giving up such an opportunity and disliked bin Umm Maktum (ra)’s interruption, which in fact was against the etiquette of the gathering as well. Nonetheless, the level of the noble character of the Holy Prophet(saw) was such that when he was informed of bin Umm Maktum(ra)’s heartfelt sadness and a Q ur’anic revelation was also revealed regarding it, the Holy Prophet(saw) greatly consoled him and spread his blessed mantle, and sat him upon it, as per the custom of the Arabs [Ch.80:Vs.2-10]. Then, among those who became Muslim in that era was Ja‘far bin Abi Talib (ra) who was the biological brother of Hadhrat ‘Ali(ra) and was a close relative of the Holy Prophet(saw). With regards to Hadhrat Ja‘far(ra), historians write that he greatly resembled the Holy Prophet(saw) 20 The Review of Religions | june 2011

in his physical attributes and character. Then there was ‘Ammar bin Yasir(ra) who was from the Muzhaj tribe and lived in Makkah with his father Yasir(ra) and mother Samiyyah(ra). Then there was Suhaib bin Sinan(ra) who was generally known as Suhaib the Roman(ra). However, in actuality he was not Roman; rather, when his father was sent by the Sovereign of Iran as an employee, he was captured by the Byzantines and made a slave. For some time he remained among them as a slave after which he was finally purchased by ‘Abdullah bin Jad‘an al-Quraishi, a Makkan chieftain, and set free. When Suhaib(ra) became Muslim the Holy Prophet(saw) said as a positive presage, “This is our first Roman fruit”. Suhaib(ra) was such a devotee to the company of the Holy Prophet(saw) that after the Prophet(saw) had migrated to Madinah, he set out to migrate to Madinah; when the Quraish stopped him and said, “ You came unto us as a poor slave, and now you have become rich in our midst; thus, we shall not permit you to go.” He responded, “Take the entirety of my wealth, but let me go.” The Quraish permitted him to leave on this condition. When the Holy Prophet(saw) was informed of this, with great happiness he remarked, “Suhaib has made a very beneficial trade


indeed.” When Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) was fatally wounded during his caliphate, he appointed Suhaib(ra) in his place (who was present at the time) as the Imamus-Salat [leader of the Congregational Prayer].

This was the same Abu Musa who was appointed an arbitrator between Hadhrat ‘Ali(ra) and Amir Mu‘awiyah

Therefore, it was Suhaib who led the funeral prayer of Hadhrat ‘Umar (ra). Perhaps during or around the same era, Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari (ra) also became Muslim. Abu Musa(ra) lived in Yemen and was astonishingly melodious. So much so that in one instance the Holy Prophet(saw) said, “Abu Musa has received a portion of David’s melody.” This was the same Abu Musa who was appointed an arbitrator between Hadhrat ‘Ali(ra) and Amir Mu‘awiyah during the caliphate of Hadhrat ‘Ali(ra).

its propagation forcefully. What were the causes of this opposition? We need not write too much in this regard, for all divine religions established in the world face opposition, the reason being that such religions unquestionably possess attributes as are unknown to the people of that time. Actually, these attributes are taken by the existing society an inevitable death for their current habits, beliefs and ideologies. In actuality, the rise of prophOpposition of the Quraish ets occurs in such eras when the people and its Causes of the world have strayed from the path As mentioned above, prior to the era of upon which Allah the Exalted wished entering the Dar Arqam, public preach- that they tread, and they consider their ing had begun and the name of Islam current false path to be the correct one. began to take on popularity in the streets As such, whenever a new prophet comes, of Makkah. Until now the Quraish were and invites people to the right path, the quiet to some extent, but now, even they world rejects his invitation, thinking began to worry that perhaps this ‘disease’ it fictitious, and prepares to oppose it. would spread further, and the plant of Hence, Allah the Exalted states in the Islam might take firm root in Makkan Holy Qur’an: soil. For this reason, they turned their attention to Islam and attempted to halt “Alas for mankind! There comes not a june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

21


the life & character

of the seal of the prophets

His opposition was to be proportionally equivalent to the magnitude of his mission.

messenger to them but they mock at him” [Ch.36:V.31] Then, the strange thing is that it is usually those who are considered of high status that tend to be the most fervent in opposition. Thus, Allah the Exalted says:

be exempt from this custom? Rather, his opposition was to be proportionally equivalent to the magnitude of his mission. Since the Holy Prophet (saw) was raised in an era when darkness was especially prevalent and it was inevitable that upon the advent of light, the armies of darkness would contend their utmost; so it happened as such – in comparison to all the prophets of the past, the Holy Prophet(saw) was faced with the most opposition. The primary causes as they appear for this opposition are as follows:

1. The people of the Quraish were idolaters of the highest degree. The “The custom of Allah is that in every town it honour and love of idols had become is the great ones who break ties with Allah, so impressed in their hearts that to hear in opposition of the Messenger, and become even a word against them was unbearable. the instigators of disorder and corruption.” These wrongdoers had placed hundreds of idols in the Ka‘bah, which had been [Ch.6:V.124] built for the worship of Allah the Exalted Thus, when Abraham(as) was sent, the alone. They would turn to these idols for distinguished people of his nation took all their needs. When Islam came, its hold of him and cast him into a fire. principle foundation was the unity of When Moses(as) came, he was also made God; its clear commandment was not to to confront violence and contention from bow one’s head before any human, tree, the most powerful of his people. When rock or star, etc., rather: the Messiah(as)’s turn came, the scholars of his nation and Pharisees put him on the “Prostrate thyselves before that Being alone cross. When Krishna(as) was sent to India, [Allah], who hath created them.” his nation stood up to annihilate him. [Ch.41:V.38] Would then the chief of the prophets 22 The Review of Religions | june 2011


Furthermore, the words used to describe the idols of the Quraish in the Holy Qur’an appeared to the Quraish very insulting, for they were declared the fuel of hell. For example, it is mentioned:

The arena of adultery, alcohol, gambling, pillaging, murder, and unlawful gains was ever rampant.

“O Ye People! Surely you and your idols which you worship are the fuel of Hell.” [Ch.21:V.99] These statements emblazoned a fire For this reason, they insisted: among the Quraish, and they stood up united to obliterate Islam. “Nay, we will follow that wherein we found our fathers.” 2. With the exception of idolatry, the [Ch.2:V.171] customs and morals of the Arabs have been mentioned in the beginning of However, Islam declared God-given this book. The arena of adultery, alcohol, intellect an arbitrator between truth gambling, pillaging, murder, and unlawful and falsehood, and with regards to their gains was ever rampant. Islam, on the idolatrous ancestors, it clearly said: other hand, condemned such things. As such, by accepting Islam, they were “Shall they then follow their fathers, even compelled to adopt a new way of life, and if they had no sense at all and no guidance?” the Quraish were not prepared for this [Ch.2:V.171] in the least. Similar was the case with ritualism, which had become part of the 4. The Quraish were a very arrogant Arab religion. Islam, on the other hand, people. These people thought of no prohibited and crushed all vile, immoral, one like unto themselves. As far as and irreligious rituals. slaves were concerned, they especially desired to debase them and keep them 3. To honour the traditions of their downtrodden. In stark contrast, with ancestors and follow them, whether right respect to rights, Islam dispelled all or wrong, was a part of the Arab religion. such distinctions, developed a universal june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

23


the life & character

of the seal of the prophets

The remaining tribes were in no way prepared to accept the superiority of the tribe of the Holy Prophet(saw) over their own. brotherhood, and brought both master and slave in the same row before God the Almighty. For the chieftains of the Quraish, this was no less than a cup of death.

6. In addition to these causes, another reason was that between the various tribes of the Quraish, there existed extreme hostility and enmity. As such the remaining tribes were in no way prepared to accept the superiority of the tribe of the Holy Prophet(saw) over their own. The tribes of the Banu Umaiyyah and Banu Makhzum particularly harboured great enmity against the Banu Hashim. For this reason, these two tribes were most fervent in their opposition to Islam. endnotes

5. Many people of influence and wealth existed among the Quraish. Despite the 1. * Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani ‘alalfact that the Holy Prophet(saw) belonged Mawahibil-Ladunniyyah, by Muhammad bin to a noble dynasty, he possessed neither. ‘Abdul-Baqi Az-Zarqani, Volume 2, pp. 8-9, In other words, due to his reclusive Babu Islamil-Faruq(ra), Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmayyah, disposition, he was not among the Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996) * chieftains of the Quraish, nor was he Tarikhul-Khamis, by Husain bin Muhammad distinct in terms of his money and bin Hasan Dyar Bakri, Part 1, p. 296, Dhikru wealth. In this case, to act in obedience Islami ‘Umarra, Muwassasatu Sha‘ban, Beirut to the Holy Prophet(saw), for the leaders 2. Usdul-Ghabah, Vol.2, pp. 146-147, Babu of the Quraish, was a sacrifice of such Zaid bin Al-Khattab, Darul-Fikr, Beirut (2003) magnitude as they were not at all ready 3. * Al-Kamilu fit-Tarikh, by Imam ‘Izz-ud-Din to make. It is for this reason that they ibnil-Athir, Vol.1, pp. 667-673, Babu Dhikrilwould say: Mustahzi’ina wa man kana Ashaddul-Adha “Why has not this Qur’an been sent down to some great man of Makkah or Taif ?” [Ch.43:V.32] 24 The Review of Religions | june 2011

lin-Nabisa, Darul-Kutubil-‘Arabi, Beirut, First

Edition (1998)

* Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani ‘alal-Mawahibil-

Ladunniyyah, By Muhammad bin ‘Abdul-Baqi


Note about references

Verse references to the Holy Qur’an Az-Zarqani, Vol.1, pp. 462-473, Babu Dhikri

Awwalu man Amana billahi wa Rasulihi, Vol.1, pp. 462-473, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut,

Lebanon, First Edition (1996)

count ‘Bismillah…’ (In the Name

of Allah…) as the first verse of each

Chapter. In some non-standard texts,

this is not counted. Should the reader

refer to such texts, the verse quoted in

The Review of Religions will be found

a verse earlier, i.e. at one verse less than

the number quoted in this journal.

For the ease of non-Muslim readers,

‘(saw)’ or ‘saw’ after the words, ‘Holy

Prophet’, or the name ‘Muhammad’, are used normally in small letters.

They stand for ‘Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa

sallam’ meaning ‘peace and blessings

of Allah be upon him’. Likewise, the

letters ‘(as)’ or ‘as’ after the name of

all other prophets is an abbreviation

meaning ‘peace be upon him’ derived

from ‘Alaihis salatu wassalam’ which

are words that a Muslim utters out of

respect whenever he or she comes across

that name. The abbreviation ‘ra’ or (ra)

stands for ‘Radhiallahu Ta’ala anhu and

is used for Companions of a Prophet, meaning Allah be pleased with him

or her (when followed by the relevant

Arabic pronoun). Finally, ‘ru’ or (ru) for

Rahemahullahu Ta’ala means the Mercy of Allah the Exalted be upon him.

In keeping with current universal practice, local transliterations

of names of places are preferred

to their anglicised versions, e.g.

Makkah instead of Mecca, etc.


Who was the Prophet Promised in Deuteronomy? final part

dr mirza sultan ahmad , rabwah , pakistan


Deuteronomy or Devarim is the fifth of the five books of the Torah

Now, we come to the second aspect of the book that; ‘The main implication of the prophecy that the promised prophet this for my portrayal of Jesus is that I would resemble Moses(as). In his book, trust the Gospels.’1 the Pope has rightfully pointed out that; ‘The object of this promise is not a king So, let us consult the Gospels. The Gospel of Israel and king of the world – a new of Luke tells us that before the birth of David, in other words – but a new Moses.’ Jesus(as), the Angel Gabriel gave this glad From this it appears that this prophecy tiding to Mary about him: contained a promise of a prophet like Moses(as), not of a prophet like David(as). And behold you will conceive in your womb But how do we determine whether and bring forth a son, and shall call His Jesus(as) resembled Moses(as) or David(as)? name Jesus. He will be great, and will be The Pope has written in the foreword of called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

27


who was the prophet promised in deuteronomy ?

Mount of Olives, 1899, where David(as) is mentioned to have ascended in II Samuel 15:30. According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus(as) is deemed to resemble David(as), and not Moses(as).

God will give him the throne of His father David.2 So, it was destined that the coming Messiah would resemble David (as) , and would inherit his spiritual throne. Like David(as), the Messiah would not 28 The Review of Religions | june 2011

introduce a new law but clarify the law given to Moses(as). But the book Jesus of Nazareth states that the prophecy narrated in the book of Deuteronomy is not about a new David(as), but about a new Moses (as). This can only lead to one conclusion. The prophecy in Deuteronomy is not about Jesus (as) because it speaks of a prophet who would resemble Moses(as), whereas, according to the above quotation, Jesus(as) is deemed to resemble David(as).


When Jesus(as) started his mission, the people of Israel were excited, since they were eagerly waiting for the kingdom of David(as) to be restored. They thought that the deliverer they awaited would free them from Roman subjugation, and that their past glory would be restored. When many of these people saw Jesus(as), they thought that their deliverer had come and a new David(as) had appeared. This is why when many amongst the multitude saw him, they cried out that here was the ‘Son of David’ (See Matthew 21:9). Of course, whilst the masses might call Jesus(as) the “Son of David”, did Jesus(as) himself ever confirm that he was, in fact, like David(as)? To answer this question, we will have to follow the story of Jesus’ life when he entered Jerusalem for the last time. The Gospel of Matthew narrates that Jesus(as) went to the Temple and overturned the tables of the moneychangers, and healed the blind and the lame that came to him. At that time, children present in the Temple cried out in excitement, ‘Hosana to the Son of David.’ These innocent words of the children were too much for the chief priests and the scribes. They found it hard to conceal their jealousy, and said to Jesus(as), ‘Do you hear what these are saying?’ Jesus(as) replied: ‘Yes. Have you ever read…’Out of the month of the babes and nursing infants…you

The prophecy in Deuteronomy is not about Jesus(as) because it speaks of a prophet who would resemble Moses(as)

have perfected faith?’ (Matthew 21:16). He was, of course, referring to the verses of Psalm 8. When Jesus(as) started preaching, people speculated about his role. Indeed, the Gospel of John tells us that these theories started when Jesus(as) was a baby. When John the Baptist(as) baptised Jesus(as), he said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!’ Some of the disciples of John started following Jesus(as). One of them – Andrew, told his brother that he had discovered the Messiah. On the other hand, Philip had a different opinion; and he told his brother Nathaniel that; ‘We have found Him of Moses in the law, and also the prophets wrote – Jesus of Nazareth.’3 But, Jesus(as) was not present to either confirm or reject their theories. Jesus(as) was aware of these rumours. Mark tells us that when he and his disciples were june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

29


who was the prophet promised in deuteronomy ?

The third important aspect of the prophecy is that this prophet would be from among the brethren of Israel. When Moses(as) narrated the prophecy in his own words, he told his people that this prophet would arise, “from among you, from your brethren”, but when he quoted the exact words of God, he said that this prophet “from among their brethren”. So what does the phrase, “from among on the road whilst going to the towns their brethren” mean? Christians claim of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus(as) asked his that this means that the prophet would disciples, ‘Who do men say that I am?’ arise from among the tribes of Israel. They answered, ‘John the Baptist; but Muslims, on the other hand, maintain some say Elijah (Elias); and others, one that this phrase clearly indicates that this of the prophets.’ Jesus asked them, ‘Who prophet would be born of the progeny do you say I am?’ Peter was the one who of Ishmael (as). Since Ishmael (as) was answered and said that he was the Christ. the brother of Isaac(as), the progeny of Jesus(as) did not say that his answer was Ishmael(as) are brothers to the tribes of wrong, but he strictly told them not Israel. This may be a matter of opinion for to tell anybody about him.4 Luke also some and a matter of faith for others, but narrates a similar incident.5 But it is let us see how Pope Benedict XVI has worth noting that when Philip called dealt with this particular point. While him the prophet promised by Moses(as), discussing that the promised one would Jesus(as) was not present and that Philip arise from Israel on page 3 of his book, had not yet himself heard the preaching the Pope has quoted this part of the of Jesus(as). But when the children in prophecy in a strange way. He writes: the Temple called him Son of David, these remarks were quickly confirmed “…It does this in the form of a promise. by him. In other words, Jesus(as) himself ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a only confirmed comparisons to David(as). prophet like me from among you… him you Indeed, most of the comparisons above shall heed.’ (Deut.18:15). At first glance it are not, in fact, to Moses(as). seems to be no more than a declaration

Jesus(as) did not say that his answer was wrong, but he strictly told them not to tell anybody about him

30 The Review of Religions | june 2011


that God will establish the Prophetic office in Israel…”6 Here the ellipsis (…) – used at times to skip over irrelevant passages in a longer quote, replaces the words ‘from thy brethren’. This is odd, because the phrase is not irrelevant; in fact, it is of key importance to understanding the prophecy. Secondly, the quote is not lengthy and it does seem rather unnecessary to replace three little words with an ellipsis. The author may have interpreted the words, from thy brethren as he understands, but the Pope should not have deleted these crucial words when quoting the prophecy. It would have been more appropriate – and just, to let the reader of the book read the full text of the prophecy and make his own judgment about the interpretation of the author (see The Review of Religions December 2010, for a detailed discussion on the positions of Ishmael(as) and Isaac(as) as sons of Abraham(as) and true brethren of the Israelites – Ed). Now we come to another important point of the prophecy. God told Moses(as) that He “will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” Obviously, this meant that this prophet would convey to mankind

Once again, Jesus(as) does not fulfil this particular aspect of the prophecy.

the exact words which God revealed to him. Also, through him people would have the good fortune of listening to the very words of God. Did Jesus(as) pass on the exact words of God to his followers? When we go through the four Gospels we find sermons, parables, and the story of Jesus’ life. However, according to the Gospels, Jesus(as) did not convey the exact words of God to mankind. Once again, Jesus(as) does not fulfil this particular aspect of the prophecy. Moreover, God told us about this Prophet that, “He shall speak unto them all I shall command.” To judge whether the personality of Jesus(as) fulfils this aspect, let us trust the Gospels and listen to what Jesus(as) himself said about this. Just before his arrest and crucifixion, he told his disciples, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he – the spirit june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

31


who was the prophet promised in deuteronomy ?

This again leads us to the conclusion that, according to Christian belief, Jesus(as) cannot be the prophet promised in Deuteronomy.

of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth for the shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that he shall speak; and he will show you things to come” ( John 16:12-13)

told that such a pretender shall incur Divine wrath, and meet with death and defeat. In fact, such a pretender will be killed. But Christians themselves admit that Jesus(as) was successfully crucified and died an accursed death. So, this again leads us to the conclusion that, according to Christian belief, Jesus(as) cannot be the prophet promised in Deuteronomy. Usually the following reference from the Gospel of John is quoted by some Christian authors to support their claim. Jesus(as) said:

Do not think that I shall accuse to the father; Here Jesus himself admits that he is there is one who accuses you – Moses in not the one who was destined to pass whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, on all that God told him. As said before, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Pope Benedict XVI has not quoted the Me. ( John, 5:45-46). full text of this prophecy in his book. It But here there is only a vague reference is evident why the author did not feel to a prophecy by Moses (as). It does comfortable about quoting the full text not specify which prophecy is being of the prophecy. After all, the details of mentioned. Furthermore, Christian the prophecy go against his conclusion. authors quote many other prophecies But again, he should present his readers from the Pentateuch about Jesus(as), but with the whole truth and let them decide. cannot prove that the Jews of Jesus’ time understood the same verses in the But what if someone pretends to be the one promised by God? How can manner that present day Christians we ascertain the truth of this claim? In interpret them. (as)

Deuteronomy 18:20, God has given us the criterion by which to judge. We are 32 The Review of Religions | june 2011

There are many Jewish commentators, such as Ibn Ezra (1089-1164), who have


Hebrew Bible with Aramaic Targum from the first half of the 11th century, found in Iraq. Most scholars place the composition of the Book of Deuteronomy around 640-650 B.C., june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

33


who was the prophet promised in deuteronomy ?

This again leads us to the conclusion that, according to Christian belief, Jesus(as) cannot be the prophet promised in Deuteronomy.

claimed that this prophecy of Moses(as) was fulfilled in Joshua(as). But here we face another obvious ambiguity. The book of Deuteronomy was written when Joshua(as) had already taken over the leadership of Israel. Deuteronomy 34:9 describes the events after the death of Moses(as) in the plains of Moab: Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses has laid his hands on him: so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.

verse makes it clear that Joshua(as) was not the deliverer promised by God in Deuteronomy 34:10. Here, we read: But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. This makes it clear that the fulfilment of the prophecy about a prophet like Moses(as) lies in the future, that is, after Joshua’s time. As mentioned before, Muslims claim that Muhammad the Holy Prophet of Islam(saw) was the prophet like unto Moses(as) promised in the Deuteronomy prophecy. First of all, let us ascertain whether the Qur’an declares the Holy Prophet of Islam(saw) to be a prophet like Moses(as) or not. Surah Al-Muzzammil states: Verily We have sent to you a Messenger, who is a witness over you, even as we sent a messenger to Pharaoh. (Ch.73:V.16)

We can safely conclude that at the earliest, the Book of Deuteronomy was compiled in the early part of Joshua’s Moreover, Surah Al Araf refers to the reign. In fact, most scholars place its followers of the Holy Prophet(saw) as: composition around 640-650 B.C., several centuries after Joshua (as). So Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet, while this verse describes the Divinely- the Ummi (Immaculate one) whom they ordained leadership of Joshua(as), the next find mentioned in the Torah and the Gospel 34 The Review of Religions | june 2011


which are with them… (Ch.7:V.158) Muslims claim that Muhammad(saw) is referred to in Genesis 12:2-3; 17:4; 21:13, 21:18, 25:13,; in Deuteronomy 18:18, 33:1-3, Psalms 84:4-6, Habakkuk 3:3, Isaiah 21:13-17; 28:10-11; 42:1-13 and as the Paraclete in John 16:13 and John 14:26. The Holy Prophet(saw) mentioned this to the Jews of his time. After migrating to Madinah, the Holy Prophet(saw) wrote a letter to the Jews of Khaibar in the following terms: “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. From Muhammad the Apostle of God, Friend and Brother of Moses, who confirms what Moses brought. God says to you, O People of the Book; you will find it in your scripture: ‘Muhammad is the apostle of God…”7 So the Qur’an declares that the Prophet Muhammad (saw) is the prophet like Moses(as), and that his advent was foretold in the Torah. Also, the Holy Prophet(saw) himself claimed to be a brother and friend of Moses(as) , whose coming was foretold by Moses(as). This is not a mere claim. Everyone can see

This makes it clear that the fulfilment of the prophecy about a prophet like Moses(as) lies in the future, that is, after Joshua’s time.

the resemblance between Moses(as) and the Holy Prophet of Islam(saw). Amongst some of the many similarities: -Both Moses(as) and the Holy Prophet(saw) were Law-bearing prophets. -Both were given revealed Books, namely, the Torah and the Qur’an. -Both prophets had to migrate under most dangerous circumstances and were pursued -during their migration. -Both prophets had to fight battles. Hence, the question arises as to what is meant by the phrase from thy brethren. Who are the brethren of the Children of Israel? The Muslim world claims that it meant the prophet will be born from among the progeny of Ishmael(as). If this prophet was destined to be born from among the children of Israel, then it would have sufficed to have used the phrase “from among you”; there was no june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

35


who was the prophet promised in deuteronomy ?

because Jacob(as) and Esau were brothers, there is no reason why the progenies of Isaac (as) and Ishmael (as) cannot be considered brethren to one another. Ishmael(as) and Isaac(as) were both sons of Abraham(as), and thus were brothers. Furthermore, in the Bible the word “brother” is not only confined to blood relations; it also includes the definition of being a compatriot or ally (See 2 Samuel need to add the words from thy brethren. 1:26, 1 Kings 9:13).

In order to interpret a Biblical prophecy, we should find guidance in the Bible itself.

Christian and Jewish commentators have always maintained that, for the purposes of this prophecy, the descendants of Ishmael(as) cannot be considered the brethren of the children of Israel. They claim that the prophecy clearly means that this prophet would be born amongst the tribes of Israel. In order to interpret a Biblical prophecy, we should find guidance in the Bible itself. In the book of Numbers, we find an interesting narration about the encounter between Israel and the Edomites. The Edomites were descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob(as). We read in Chapter 20 that Moses(as) sent a message from Kadesh, a city at the edge of Edom, to the King of Edom. This message began with the words, “Thus says your brother Israel…” If the descendants of Jacob (as) can be called brothers of the progeny of Esau, 36 The Review of Religions | june 2011

In the prophecy we are told that God will put His words in the mouth of this prophet, and he will convey all that is revealed to him to mankind. The Qur’an is exactly such a book. It contains the exact words of God. On the other hand, none of the four Gospels or even Gospels of Apocrypha, are the exact words of God’s revelation. Some Christian authors when confronted with this question, take refuge in the objection that the entire Qur’an was revealed through the medium of the Angel Gabriel, and that this proves that the Prophet Muhammad (saw) did not speak to God directly, and that he is not the prophet promised by God. But this objection does not hold water. Firstly, if God sends His revelation to


a prophet through an angel, does not this mean that God has put His words in the mouth of that prophet? Sahih Bukhari – the most authentic of the books of the traditions (Ahadith) of the Holy Prophet(saw) – states in its very first chapter that not all of the revelations received by the Holy Prophet(saw) were through the Angel Gabriel8.

We are told that God will put His words in the mouth of this prophet, and he will convey all that is revealed to him to mankind.

In the Holy Qur’an God commanded the Holy Prophet(saw), to Recite that which has been revealed to thee of the Book… (Ch.29:V.46)

see the commandments or revelation of God being conveyed to mankind. On the contrary, we read such statements as the following admission from Jesus(as):

Then in Surah Al Maidah God instructed “I still have many things to say but you the Holy Prophet of Islam(saw): cannot bear them now, but when the spirit of truth will come he will guide you to the O Messenger convey to the people what has complete truth.” ( John 16:12-13) been revealed to thee from thy Lord; and if thou do it not, thou has not conveyed His The Ahadith (books of traditions and Message at all… (Ch.5:V.68) sayings of the Holy Prophet of Islam(saw), recorded faithfully by his Companions In these two verses we see the instruc- and those who were their descendants), tion according to the prophecy in also proves that whenever the Holy Deuteronomy Ch.18:V.18, that God Prophet(saw) was asked anything by his would put His words into the mouth of Companions, he would pause a while, the prophet, and he would speak unto often waiting for God to put words in them all that he had been commanded his mouth, and would then speak and by God. The Holy Qur’an is a proof would repeat whatever he had said that the Holy Prophet(saw) did as he was three times. So it is evident that the commanded. On the other hand, when Holy Prophet(saw) only spoke whatever we go through the Gospels we do not he was commanded to do, and many of june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

37


who was the prophet promised in deuteronomy ?

his words and certainly all his revelations were recorded in his lifetime. Conversely, many Christians admit that in the case of Jesus(as), what he said or did cannot always be verified.

them were obstinate and opposed him in every manner. Many a time the Jews made collective or individual efforts to murder the Holy Prophet(saw). Even when they had signed a treaty with the Muslims, one of the Jews of the Banu Now the question arises, what if an Nadir tribe of Madinah – Amr bin Jihas impostor claims to be the prophet prom- – connived with his comrades, to throw ised in Deuteronomy? What will the a stone at the Holy Prophet(saw), whilst criterion be for determining his false- he was staying as a guest in one of their hood? As it turns out, the last part of houses9. When the Jews of Khaibar were the prophecy provides the answer. Such defeated in war, one of their women – a pretender would incur God’s Divine Zaynab, daughter of Harith – tried to Wrath and would meet with death and poison him10. Aside from these incidents, defeat, whilst a true prophet would be the Jews of Madinah also tried several saved by God. This is the reason why times to encourage the enemies of Islam God promised the Holy Prophet(saw): in Makkah to attack Madinah. One of the possible reasons behind these repeated O Messenger! convey to the people what has attempts was that many among them had been revealed to thee from thy Lord; and if begun to admit that Muhammad(saw) was thou do it not, thou has not conveyed His the prophet promised in their scriptures. message at all. And Allah will protect thee However, if they succeeded in murdering from men…(Ch.5:V.68) him, they could claim that he was an impostor, and that the prophecy – which Whilst the enemy tried to murder the stated that any pretender would die – Prophet(saw) many times, each time he would be fulfilled in this way. But each was miraculously saved by God. The time God miraculously saved the Holy Jews of that time were very much aware Prophet(saw). of this part of the prophecy, and many of them began to admit that perhaps Of course, everyone is free to hold an Muhammad(saw) was the prophet they opinion about this prophecy. Since had been awaiting. Though some pious ancient times there have been lively Jewish scholars accepted Islam, most of debates about such issues – that is the 38 The Review of Religions | june 2011


beauty of the intellectual arena. But while arguing in favour of one’s conclusion, each writer should make an effort to present all the necessary facts before the readers, so that they are in a better position to form an independent opinion.

endnotes

1. ibid, p.xxi

2. Luke, Ch.1:Vs.31-32

3. John, Ch.1:Vs.41-45

4. Mark, Ch.8:Vs.27-30 5. Luke, Ch.9:Vs.18-21

6. Ratzinger, Joseph, Jesus of Nazareth,

Bloomsbury, London. Berlin. New York. 2008. p.3

7. Ibn e Ishaq (English translation by

A. Guillaume), Sirat Rasul Allah, Oxford

University Press, Karachi, 17th Impression, 2004, p.256

8. Sahih Bukhari, Kitab Bida ul Wahi; Ch.1,

Hadith No.2

9. Ibn e Ishaq (English translation by

A. Guillaume), Sirat Rasul Allah, Oxford

University Press, Karachi, 17th Impression, 2004, p.265

10. ibid, p.516

june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

39


At this point, he has perceived the attributes of the flames of fire by means of not just one, but all of his senses

Faith and Certitude sayed hameedullah nusrat pasha

Apostles of God claim to believe in God. Saints too make a similar claim. Ordinary believers also appear to be quite 40 The Review of Religions | june 2011

– rabwah, pakistan

certain about their beliefs. Agnostics on the other hand, admit candidly that they do not know whether God exists or not,


while atheists deny outright the existence of God. So, there is a whole spectrum of people who represent different levels of faith and certitude regarding the existence of God. The relevance of the issue of certainty pertaining to God lies in the fact that the level of this certainty happens to influence both our standard of worship as well as our conduct in a very profound way. Certainty regarding any entity, be it the Being of God or any material existence, begins at the level of logical deduction. The next level up is direct perception. The next level, further up, is the level of complete personal engagement.

The human mind is gifted with the faculty of drawing logical conclusions by applying rationality to available information and established facts. With this faculty, the human mind can draw conclusions that are logically acceptable. The common adage “where there is smoke there is fire”, encapsulates this idea. Given that the existence, form and properties of fire are already within the realm of one’s knowledge, one becomes capable of deducing that there is fire when seeing its properties – smoke being one of them. The sight of smoke will lead any rational mind to deduce the presence of fire because of the prevalent knowledge; “where there is smoke there is fire”. Only if a person knows that fire june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

41


faith and certitude

A higher appreciation would logically involve perception through all his senses

42 The Review of Religions | june 2011

produces smoke will he infer the presence of fire when seeing smoke. Hence, the precondition to such certainty would be Knowledge. The Arabic term for “knowledge” is ‘Ilm  and the Arabic for “certitude” is Yaqeen. Thus, the Arabic term employed by the Holy Qur’an for “Certainty based upon Knowledge” is


‘Ilm ul Yaqeen. We read in the Qur’an, “...If only you knew with certainty based on knowledge” (Ch.102:V.6). At the level of ‘Ilm ul Yaqeen, the believer and seeker of God believes in God not on account of having directly perceived His Being, but by virtue of deducing from facts that lie within the bounds of his knowledge. Essentially, he believes in the Unseen, for which the term ‘Imaan bil Ghaib, meaning “belief in the Unseen” is used. Although the seeker has not yet perceived God, the Godshaped vacuum in his heart that keeps him restless, the abundance of reliable testimony in favour of God given by a huge number of truthful and noble people, the very existence and perfection of the orderly Universe, the acceptance of his prayers in moments of distress and the transfer of knowledge of the unseen from an Unperceivable Source to mortals like himself, lead him to deduce the existence of God. He has not seen the fire itself, but having witnessed the smoke, he is led to infer that there indeed should be a fire. Carrying on with the adage “where there is smoke there is fire,” a higher level of appreciation of the existence of fire would understandably be based upon direct observation. This level of certainty is

Only if a person knows that fire produces smoke will he infer the presence of fire when seeing smoke.

associated with direct perception instead of logical deduction. Once someone has actually seen the flames of the fire, he no longer relies on inferring the presence of these flames from the smoke they produce. He now sees the fire directly. The smoke may still be there, but it is no longer required as proof of the fire. The Arabic term for the “eye” is ‘Ain and hence, the Arabic for “Certitude based upon observation” is ‘Ain ul Yaqeen. We read in the Qur’an, “...You will surely see it with the eye of certainty” (Ch.102:V.8]. This verse draws our attention to the fact that at the level of ‘Ain ul Yaqeen, the believer believes in God, by what could be figuratively termed as the “direct perception” of God. For the human being, whose physical senses respond only to material stimuli, perception of God obviously does not mean a physical encounter with the Being of God. Beholding the Countenance of june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

43


faith and certitude

When the man who in search of fire, witnesses the flames, he attains a level of perception that involves one of his five senses, in this case – sight. God can only mean being a witness to overt manifestations of His Divinity. These manifestations include miraculous acceptance of prayers and Divine communion. The believer’s supplications begin to meet with generous acceptance. When he prays for something, he finds Divine grace favourably inclined towards his prayer. The believer also begins to experience true dreams, dreams that are completely fulfilled, as well as visions and precisely-worded verbal revelations, during the state of wakefulness. When these encounters become frequent and abundant, it is then that the human soul figuratively beholds the spiritual face of God. Hence at this level of certitude, the believer relies no longer on logical deductions, regarding the existence of God. At this level, it is as if he has seen God with his own eyes. Although the state of ‘Imaan Bil Ghaib, or Belief in the Unseen continues, the believer becomes much more acquainted with the realm 44 The Review of Religions | june 2011

of Ghaib or the “Unseen”, than he was at the level of ‘Ilm ul Yaqeen. Reverting to the analogy of the flames of fire, we can appreciate that at the level of ‘Ilm ul Yaqeen, the seeker has finally seen the flames. The logic based on the adage “where there is smoke, there is fire”, at this level, is of little relevance beyond being an axiom. The seeker of God, at this point, has in a figurative sense, seen God. Continuing with the analogy of the man’s journey towards the flames of fire, and his gradually increasing certainty regarding the existence of these flames, we should now proceed to examine the highest level of certainty that man can attain, be it with regard to the glowing flames of fire in the scenario being discussed, or of course the very Being of God. When the man who in search of fire, witnesses the flames, he attains a level of perception that involves one of his five senses, in this case – sight. Thus, a higher appreciation would logically involve perception through all his senses. This is not to suggest that the seeker of the flames would necessarily need to burn himself to ashes to attain this level of appreciation, but to propose that the highest level of appreciation would indeed summon all five senses. Let us assume that our protagonist continues


to walk in the direction of the flames, which he has already perceived with his eyes, and finally lands himself inside the ring of the fire. At this point, he has perceived the attributes of the flames of fire by means of not just one, but all of his senses. Applying this analogy to the seeker of God, we can say that when the seeker finally perceives the Attributes of God, by means of a maximal involvement of his senses, both physical and spiritual, it is then that he attains the highest level of certitude regarding God. It is then that he can be said to have reached the level of Haqq ul Yaqeen. The Arabic for “Absolute Truth” is Haqq. The Arabic for “certainty” as we have already discussed, is Yaqeen. Hence, the term Haqq ul Yaqeen would signify the level of perfect certainty about God.  We read in the Qur’an, “...Verily, this is perfect certainty” (Ch.56:V.96). At this stage, the believer believes God because he has perceived the Attributes of God in a more complete manner, as if all modes of perception available to him had come into direct contact with the beauty and glory of God. At this stage, the  believer  is  blessed with an even greater abundance of Divine revelation. At this stage, the seeker’s prayers are so copiously accepted and answered,

that each prayer becomes a miracle in itself. Prophets and saints of God dwell in this exalted state of certainty. This is the highest level of faith and certitude. This intriguing and profound theme has been dealt with in absorbing detail by the Promised Messiah(as) in his historical treatise “Haqeeqat-ul Wahy,” in which he writes: ‘...God, Who is Beneficent and Merciful, has implanted in the human soul a thirst for knowing God. Similarly, He has blessed the human nature with two sets of faculties to enable man to attain perfect enlightenment – the intellectual faculties whose seat is the brain and the spiritual faculties whose seat is the heart. The spiritual faculties are subject to the purification of the heart. The spiritual faculties tend to reach and discover such truths as cannot be wholly accessible to man’s intellectual faculties...”1 endnotes

1. Haqeeqatul Wahy, p.6, in Ruhani Khaza’in, vol.22, p.8

june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

45


Š makhzan-e-tasaweer

FROM THE

Archives The Review of Religions,

March 1940 Edition

Why I Believe in Islam

hadhrat mirza bashir - ud - din mahmud ahmad (ra)


Hadhrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din

translated from the urdu

Mahmud Ahmad(ra), Khalifatul Masih II,

was the Second Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community and eldest son of

Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi.

Elected to the spiritual station of Khilafat in 1914 at the young age of 25, he

shouldered the responsibility of guarding this institution fearlessly for almost

52 years. A great orator, he delivered

countless speeches the world over on a vast array of topics. He was a true visionary and epic administrator, establishing the administrative structure of the

Ahmadiyya Muslim community, now

established in over 198 countries. He was

a revered scholar with immense knowledge and wrote over 200 books, including his

peerless 5-volume commentary of the Holy

Qur’an. This was Hadhrat Mirza BashirUd-Din Mahmud Ahmad(ra)’s personal account of why he believed in Islam in

response to a question posed to him by a Bombay radio station.

Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Rahim (In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful) I have been asked to state why I believe in Islam. When I put the question to myself, the reply I received was, for the same reason for which I believe in anything else, that is to say, because it is the truth. A more detailed reply would be that in my view the central doctrine of all religions is the existence of God and man’s relationship with Him, so that the religion that can succeed in establishing a true relationship between God and man must be true, and the truth of a faith is surely a sufficient reason for believing in it. Islam claims that the Creator of this universe is a living God and that He reveals Himself to His creatures in this age, in the same manner in which He used to reveal Himself in the ages past. This claim can be tested in two ways. God may either manifest His signs directly for a seeker after Him, or the seeker may come to believe in God by studying the life of a person to whom God has revealed Himself. As by the Grace of God, I happen to be one of those people june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

47


why i believe in islam

I believe in Islam for the reason that it does not compel me

to whom God has on many occasions and in a supernatural way revealed Himself, I stand in need of no further reason for believing in the truth of Islam, than that I have experienced that truth in my own person.

heaven and hell – with regard to every one of these, Islam has given detailed explanations and has established their truth with strong arguments, to the satisfaction of the human mind. Islam therefore, furnishes me not only with faith, but also with the certainty of knowledge, which satisfies my intellect and compels it to admit the need for religion.

However, for the benefit of people who have had no similar experience, I proceed to relate the grounds which, in addition to my personal experience, have been the cause of my believing in Islam.

Secondly, I believe in Islam as it does not base itself upon the experience of people who have passed away, but invites everybody to a personal experience of that which it teaches and guarantees. It claims that every truth can, in some manner or the other, be put to the test in this world, and it thus satisfies my reason.

First of all, I believe in Islam for the reason that it does not compel me to accept all those matters the sum total of which is called religion merely on authority, but furnishes convincing arguments in support of its doctrines. The existence of God and the nature of His attributes, angels, prayer and its effects, Divine decrees and their sphere, worship and its need, Divine law and its benefits, revelation and its importance, resurrection and the life after death,

Thirdly, I believe in Islam as it teaches that there can be no conflict between the word of God and the work of God, and thus resolves the supposed conflict between religion and science. It does not ask me to ignore the laws of nature and to believe in things which contradict them. On the contrary, it exhorts me to study the laws of nature and derive benefit from them. It teaches me that, as revelation comes from God and He also is the Creator of the universe, there can

48 The Review of Religions | june 2011


Islam claims that the Creator of this universe is a living God


why i believe in islam

50 The Review of Religions | june 2011


I believe in Islam as it does not seek to crush my natural desires, but guides them along the right channels.

be no conflict between that which He does and that which He says. It invites me, therefore, in order to understand His revelation, to study His work, and in order to realise the significance of His work, to study His word, and thus satisfies my intellectual yearning. Fourthly, I believe in Islam as it does not seek to crush my natural desires, but guides them along the right channels. It does not by altogether crushing my desires, reduce me to a stone; nor does it, by leaving them uncontrolled and unrestrained, reduce me to an animal, but, like an expert irrigation engineer who harnesses uncontrolled waters and makes them run into irrigation channels, thereby bringing prosperity to waste The Holy Qur’an - Islam furnishes logical arguments in support of its truth

june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

51


why i believe in islam

It does not say to me: God has given you a loving heart but forbids you to select a life companion

areas, it converts my natural desires by proper control and guidance, into high moral qualities. It does not say to me: God has given you a loving heart but forbids you to select a life companion, or that He has endowed you with the sense of taste and the capacity to appreciate good food, but has forbidden you to eat such food. On the contrary, it teaches me to love in a pure and proper way that would ensure through my progeny the perpetuation of all my good resolves. It permits me to use good food, but within proper limits, lest I should eat my fill and my neighbour should go hungry. By thus converting my natural desires into high moral qualities, it satisfies my humanity. Fifthly, I believe in Islam for the reason that it has dealt fairly and lovingly not only with me, but also with the whole world. It teaches me not to discharge my 52 The Review of Religions | june 2011

duties only towards myself, but insists upon my dealing fairly with every other person and thing, and has furnished me


Photo credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Islam exhorts me to study the laws of nature and derive benefit from them

the rights of parents and the duties which children owe to their parents. It admonishes children to behave obediently and tenderly toward their parents, and has made the latter heirs to that which the former may leave. On the other hand, it enjoins love and affection by the parents for their children and imposes upon them the duty of bringing up their children well, training them in good qualities and looking after their health. It has also made them heirs to their parents.

with proper guidance for this purpose. For instance, it draws attention to

Similarly, it enjoins the best relationship between husband and wife, and requires each to have due consideration for the need and desires of the other, and that they should behave affectionately towards each other. This was put beautifully by the Holy Founder of Islam(saw) when he said: “A person who mistreats his wife during the day and loves her at night, acts in june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

53


why i believe in islam

Islam has laid special stress upon the education and training of girls.

complete contradiction to the beauty of human nature.” He also said: “The best of you are those who treat their wives best.” Again he said: “A woman is fragile – like glass, and men should therefore treat a woman with delicacy and tenderness, as they would handle an article made of glass.” Islam has laid special stress upon the education and training of girls. The Holy Prophet(saw) has said: “A person who brings his daughter up well and gives her a good training and education, thereby earns paradise.” Islam has made daughters the heirs of 54 The Review of Religions | june 2011

their parents along with sons. Again, it has laid down fair rules for the guidance of the rulers and the ruled. It says to the rulers that the authority vested in them is not their private property but is a trust, and that they should discharge the obligations of that trust to the utmost, like upright and honest people, and should carry on government in consultation with the people. It says to the ruled, the power to choose your rulers has been bestowed upon you as a gift from God and you should, therefore, be careful to invest only such persons with governing authority as fully deserve it, and after vesting this authority in them, you should give them your fullest cooperation and should not rebel against them, for if you do so, you are merely seeking to demolish that which your own hands have built. It has also regulated the rights and duties of the employer and employed. It says to the employer: You must render to the workman his full due even before his perspiration is dry on his body, and should not look down upon those who work for you, for they are your brothers whose care has been entrusted to you by God, and who are the true supporters of your prosperity. You should, therefore,


not be so foolish as to seek to destroy that which constitutes your own support and the basis of your power. It says to the workman: when you are engaged to execute a piece of work for somebody, you should discharge your obligation honestly and with due care and diligence. It says to those who have been endowed with abundance of physical health and strength, that they should not behave oppressively towards the weak nor treat contemptuously those who suffer from some physical defect or blemish; for these ought to excite one’s pity rather than one’s contempt. It says to the wealthy: You have been charged with the duty of looking after the poor and you must set aside one fortieth of your substance every year so that it may be employed in the relief of poverty and distress, and for the advancement of those who lack the means of advancement. It teaches them not to enhance the disabilities of the poor by lending money to them on interest, but to help them with free gifts and free loans, pointing out that wealth is not given to a man that he may spend his life in luxury and riotous living, but that he should use it for the advancement of the whole of humanity, and should

It says to the wealthy: You have been charged with the duty of looking after the poor

thus deserve the best reward here and hereafter. On the other hand, it also teaches the poor not to look with envy and longing upon that which has been given to other people, as these feelings gradually darken the mind and disable a person from developing such good qualities as he himself has been endowed with. It therefore, exhorts the poor to devote their attention towards developing such talents as God has bestowed upon them, so that they should progress along beneficent paths. It directs governments to afford facilities for the poorer sections of the community for such advancement, and not to permit all wealth and power to be concentrated in a few hands. It reminds those whose ancestors had attained dignity and honour as the result of noble efforts, that it is their duty to maintain that dignity and that june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

55


why i believe in islam

Islam teaches that no nation should transgress against another nation honour with their own noble efforts, and it warns them against looking down upon others who have not been blessed in the same way, as God has made all mankind equal. It reminds them that God, who has bestowed these honours upon them, can bestow greater honours upon others, and that if they misuse the position to which they have been called, and transgress against those who have not been similarly endowed, they will be laying the foundations of future transgressions against themselves by those who are now transgressed against. They should, therefore, take no pride in proclaiming their own greatness, but should take pride in helping others to become great, for true greatness belongs only to him who tries to raise his fallen brother to greatness. Islam teaches that no nation should transgress against another nation, nor should one state transgress against another, but that nations and states should cooperate with each other for the purpose of advancing the interests 56 The Review of Religions | june 2011

of the whole of humanity. It forbids some nations, states and individuals to unite with each other in order to conspire against other nations, states or individuals. On the other hand, it teaches that nations, states and individuals should covenant with each other to restrain each other from aggression, and to cooperate with each other in advancing those that are less advanced. In short, I find that Islam provides conditions of peace and comfort for me, and for all those who may wish to tread the path prescribed by it, whoever they may be, whatever they may be, and wherever they may be. In whatever position I place myself, I find that Islam is equally useful and beneficial for: me and mine, for my neighbours, for people whom I do not know and have not even heard of, for men and for women, for the aged and for the young, for the employer and the employed, for the rich and for the poor, for great nations and for small, for internationalists and for nationalists, and that it establishes a sure and certain relationship between me and my Maker. I believe in it, and indeed how could I give it up and accept something else in its place?


Š makhzan-e-tasaweer

The Friday Sermon

Every Friday live at 13:00 GMT on MTA International

Each week on Friday, Muslims are required to take a bath, dress in their best and clean clothes, wear perfume and assemble in the mosque for Jumu’ah, the Friday Prayer. The

Live Translations: English, French, Arabic, German, Bengali

to meet together to discuss and solve their

Translations on repeat: Russian, Turkish, Swahili, Tamil, Malayalam

Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), Khalifatul

UK viewers: watch MTA on Sky channel 787

Community, delivers the Friday Sermon each

For info on viewing MTA in other countries, or for online stream, visit www.mta.tv

Ahmadiyya International (MTA). Through MTA

Friday Prayer gives Muslims an opportunity individual as well as community problems.

Masih V, Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim week, broadcast live by Muslim Television therefore, the Imam is able to address not just the congregation, but also the entire world. It gives the Imam a chance to advise all Muslims at the same time on urgent matters that face them.

www.mta.tv

Sky channel 787


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

june

2011

Dear Sir, “By means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves.” Those words of Jehovah God to Abraham the Hebrew guaranteed that one day the whole human race would be blessed through his line of descent.—Gen. 22:18. Abraham began to father offspring at the age of eighty-six. His firstborn son was Ishmael. Certain descendants of Ishmael today believe that God will bless all mankind through Ishmael’s line of descent rather than through that of Isaac, Abraham’s second son. The holy book of the Muslims, the Qur’an, refers to Ishmael in its Sura (section) 19, verses 54 and 55, saying: “Also mention in the Book the story of Isma‛il: He was strictly true to what he promised, and he was an apostle and a prophet. . . . He was most acceptable in the sight of his Lord.” Qur’an translator A. Yusuf Ali commented concerning Abraham’s sons, Ishmael and Isaac: “The younger son’s progeny developed the Faith of 60 The Review of Religions | june 2011

Israel and that of Christ; the elder son’s progeny perfected the more universal Faith of Islam, the Faith of Abraham the True. . . . in the universality of Islam all nations are to be blessed.” The Bible’s view of this matter is most important. The Qur’an refers many times to Bible incidents and characters. In fact, its recognition of Abraham, Ishmael, Moses, Jesus and others comes from the Holy Scriptures, which were completed nearly 600 years before the beginning of the Mohammedan era. Therefore, what is the Bible’s view? Did God purpose to bless all mankind through the line of Ishmael? Before Ishmael and Isaac were born (and therefore, before any controversy concerning them could have arisen), the Bible foretold an experience that will help us to answer that question. What was that? At Genesis 15:13, 14, God told Abram (Abraham): “You may know for sure that your seed will become an alien resident in a land not theirs, and they will have to serve them,


and these will certainly afflict them for four hundred years. But . . . after that they will go out with many goods.” Genesis 17:8 foretells even the place to which Abraham’s “seed” would “go out”: “And I will give to you and to your seed after you the land of your alien residences, even the entire land of Canaan, for a possession.” To identify the true seed of Abraham we must look for a people that would experience the fulfillment of both of these prophecies. When Ishmael was thirteen years old, Jehovah God made this additional promise to Abraham: “As for Sarai your wife, . . . I will bless her and also give you a son from her . . . and you must call his name Isaac. And I will establish my covenant with him for a covenant to time indefinite to his seed after him.” Isaac was born the following year, when Abraham was “a hundred years old.”—Gen. 17:15, 16, 19; 21:1-5. Five years later Sarah noticed Ishmael “poking fun” at Isaac. (Gen. 21:9) This led to the dismissal of him and his

mother, Hagar, the Egyptian, from Abraham’s household. The matter was displeasing to Abraham, but Jehovah assured him: “It is by means of Isaac that what will be called your seed will be.” (Gen. 21:12) So the Bible’s view is that Abraham’s seed for blessing all mankind would come through Isaac, not Ishmael. Later God commanded Abraham to sacrifice “your son, your only son.” (Gen. 22:2) In connection with Abraham’s offering up this son, the promise of blessing by means of Abraham’s seed was stated by an angel of God. The Qur’an, too, speaks of Abraham as having a “boy ready to suffer and forbear” and whom Abraham would “offer . . . in sacrifice.” (Sura 37:101, 102) The Qur’an does not specify who the boy was. However, some Muslim writers claim that the expression “only son” must apply to Ishmael. Is that what you believe? It is noteworthy that Isaac was an “only son” in a double sense. He was the june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

61


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

june

2011

only son of Abraham’s wife Sarah and the only son remaining in Abraham’s household at the time that God spoke the words found at Genesis 22:1, 2. Qur’an translator Ali admits that “Muslim tradition . . . is not unanimous on this point.” Some Muslim writers agree with the Biblical account that Isaac was the prospective sacrifice. God’s promise that Abraham’s seed would be reckoned through Isaac was subsequently confirmed when Isaac’s descendants experienced the foretold 400 years of alien residence and affliction, after which they went out of Egypt “with many goods.” (Gen. 15:14; Ex. 3:21; 12:35; Ps. 105:37) Then the Israelites began their conquest of the land of Canaan, which God had promised to Abraham’s seed. Other Bible prophecies reveal that the blessing of all mankind would be centered in a single individual. Genesis 49:10 pointed to the Israelite tribe of Judah. Then, of all Judah, the line of David was chosen. (2 Sam. 7:12-16) Micah 5:2 reveals two important things 62 The Review of Religions | june 2011

about the coming seed of Abraham: (1) that he would be born in Bethlehem, and (2) that he had a pre-human existence “from early times, from the days of time indefinite.” Daniel 9:2427 shows that the coming seed, called “Messiah the Leader,” would appear in the first century C.E., not long before the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple by the Romans in 70 C.E. No descendant of Ishmael appeared as a benefactor of mankind in the first century C.E. But a descendant of Abraham through Isaac did appear at that time. This individual was from the tribe of Judah and the family of David and was born in Bethlehem. He was Jesus Christ.—Heb. 7:14; Matt. 1:1; 2:1. The Bible connects Jesus with the promise to Abraham, at Galatians 3:16: “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. It says, not: ‘And to seeds,’ as in the case of many such, but as in the case of one: ‘And to your seed,’ who is Christ.”


Blessings certainly began to flow to mankind through Jesus Christ. The countless aeons of his pre-human existence in heaven enabled him to ‘fully know’ God and to ‘explain’ him. (Matt. 11:27; John 1:18) In this way others could come to worship God in the way that he approves. The Qur’an itself highlights another aspect of Jesus’ activity that further helps us to identify him as the promised seed through whom blessings would come to mankind. At Sura 5:113 we read: “Then will God say: ‘O Jesus the son of Mary! . . . thou healest those born blind, and the lepers, by My [God’s] leave. And behold! thou bringest forth the dead by My leave. . . . thou didst show them [the Israelites] the Clear Signs.’”—Compare John 9:141; Luke 17:12-14; John 11:39-44. Thus, as the Bible clearly shows, through Abraham’s son Isaac came the true “seed” of blessing, Jesus Christ. anonymous

june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

63


Calendar of

Religious

Events & Festivals

Wednesday, 8th June Event: Shavuot Faith: Judaism

Sunday, 12th June Event: Pentecost Faith: Christianity

Occurring fifty days after the Passover, Jewish people celebrate the time when the Torah was received on Mount Sinai. Some spend this first night of Shavuot reading the Torah, whilst many offer prayers, especially at dawn, to thank God.

Celebrated on the Sunday, fifty days after Easter, Christians celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit descending on the Disciples of Christ. In Orthodox Churches the service is celebrated with an all-night Vigil on the eve of the feast day. The singing of Pentecost hymns, and the wearing of red, are features of the celebration of the Pentacost in Western Churches.

64 The Review of Religions | june 2011


june 2011 Thursday, 16th June Event: Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Faith: Sikh

Wednesday, 29th June Event: St Peter’s Day Faith: Christianity

Guru Arjan Dev (1563-1606) was the fifth of the ten Sikh Gurus and the first Sikh martyr. He laid the foundation of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. He was the Head of the Sikh faith for over quarter of a century . One of his most important works was the compilation of Adi Granth, in which he collected the works of all the first four Gurus and dictated these in the form of verses.

St Peter was an early leader of the Christian Church, and according to the New Testament, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus(as). Peter features prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Act of the Apostles. He is considered the first Pope by the Roman Catholic Church. The question whether the rock of Matthew 16:18 on which Jesus declares He will build his church is to be identified with Saint Peter the Apostle has generated intense debate, disagreement and discussion.

june 2011

|

The Review of Religions

65


SUBSCRIPTION

We hope you enjoyed reading the print edition of The Review of Religions. If you would like to receive a print copy we can put you on our mailing list. 1) Subscribe securely online through PayPal at www.ReviewOfReligions.org/ subscription 2) Subscribe by cheque/check UK: Send cheque of £15 made payable to AMA UK to the following address: The Review of Religions UK Subscription Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK 181 London Road Morden, Surrey SM4 5AE USA: Mail check or money order of $30, payable to AMI (Review of Religions) to the following address: The Review of Religions USA Subscription Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam 188-15 McLaughlin Ave., Holliswood, NY, 11423

Canada: Mail check or money order of $36, payable to AMJ (Review of Religions) to the following address: The Review of Religions Canada Subscription Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at 10610 Jane Street, Maple, Ontario Canada L6A 3A2 Please ensure you include your full name and address when sending cheque/check. 3) If you are a member of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim community: • You can make the equivalent cash or cheque payment of £15 to your local finance secretary in the country in which you reside. • Send a scanned copy of the receipt provided to you by email or fax to the relevant The Review of Religions coordinator in your country (information available from your National Amir). • For all other countries, email the receipt to info@ reviewofreligions.org or fax it

to Head Office ensuring you include your full name and address. Subscription Contacts: USA – Faiza Bajwa Email: usa@reviewofreligions.org Canada– Sheikh Abdul Wadood Email: canada@reviewofreligions.org Tel: +1 416 464 3010 Nigeria – Qasim Oyekola Email: nigeria@reviewofreligions.org Tel: +234 805 313 8355 Ghana – Ragheb Zia ul Haq Email: ghana@reviewofreligions.org Tel: +23 324 333 4337 UK Tel: +44 7794783770 For all other subscription issues or for general enquiries email info@reviewofreligions.org or contact Head Office


Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Appeal

A magnitude 8.9 earthquake on Friday 11 March 2011 left at least 28,000 dead or missing, and over 200,000 displaced. Humanity First are on the ground providing hot meals, drinks and sanitary supplies to thousands of elderly victims in Ishinomaki, Sendai and Ichikawa since day one. We need $400,000 to keep these camps for the elderly running for the next 4 months.

PLEASE DONATE AND SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN. Humanity First is an international charitable trust established in 1995 and registered in 37 countries across the world. HF provides disaster relief, rehabiliation services and long-term skills transfer to the most disadvantaged people in the world.

www.humanityďŹ rst.org


The Review of Religions, in print since 1902, is one of the longest-running comparative religious magazines. The objective of the magazine is to present the teachings of Islam, reflecting its rational, harmonious and inspiring nature. It also brings together articles and viewpoints on different religions and seeks to make discussions on religion and religious philosophy accessible to a wider readership. The magazine is devoted to promoting intellectual and lively debate that is based on respect for all prophets and religions. Islam repeatedly stresses the need to seek knowledge and The Review of Religions provides a unique platform for people to acquire, and share knowledge. Yearly subscription is only ÂŁ15 sterling or $30 for overseas customers. To subscribe, or for more info, visit

www.reviewofreligions.org/subscription

Š Islamic Publications, 2011 ISSN No. 0034-6721

The Reivew of Religions (June 2011)  

Faith & Certitude... "Where there is smoke there is fire"

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you