2006 - The Muslim Sunrise

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2006 - The Muslim Sunrise

Spring •2006$3.99“In the latter days, the sun shall rise from the west.” • Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him)Godin WorldReligions8 Is God anAccident?A response.12 Jesus: God orBeloved of God?God of Christianity is thesame as that of Islam.19 & 22 Conceptof God in Buddhism& Hinduism44 Existence ofGod and HumanSufferingAre natural disasters actsof cruelty by God?Spring 2006 1


The Ahmadiyya Muslim CommunityThe Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a religious organization,international in its scope, with branches in over 178 countries inAfrica, North America, South America, Asia, Australasia, andEurope. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was established in 1889by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) in a small and remote village,Qadian, in the Punjab, India. He claimed to be the expected reformer ofthe latter days, the Awaited One of the world community of religions(The Mahdi and Messiah). The Movement he started is an embodimentof the benevolent message of Islam – peace, universal brotherhood, andsubmission to the Will of God – in its pristine purity. Ahmad proclaimedIslam as the religion of man: “The religion of the people of the right path”(98:6).The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was created under divineguidance with the objective to rejuvenate Islamic moral and spiritualvalues. It encourages interfaith dialogue, diligently defends Islam andtries to correct misunderstandings about Islam in the West. It advocatespeace, tolerance, love and understanding among followers of differentfaiths. It firmly believes in and acts upon the Qur’anic teaching: “Thereis no compulsion in religion.” (2:257) It strongly rejects violence andterrorism in any form and for any reason.After the passing of its founder, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Communityhas been headed by his elected successors. The present Head of theCommunity, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, was elected in 2003. His officialtitle is Khalifatul Masih V. The USA National Headquarters is located inSilvers Spring, Md. 20905, PH: 301.879.0110 FAX: 301.879.0115.Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908)EditorFalahud Din ShamsEditorial BoardImam Mubasher AhmadHasan HakeemDr. Shanaz ButtAmjad Mahmood KhanNaveed MalikStaffHasan Hakeem, Design/LayoutFateh Shams, CirculationMuhammad Chaudhry, MarketingArtwork (page 15) courtesy ofArtwork by www.arthafez.comEditor's Notes:The Muslim Sunrise is published by theAhmadiyya Muslim Community, USA, 15000 GoodHope Road, Silver Spring, MD 20905, under theauspices of Dr. Ahsanullah Zafar, Amir andNational President. The views and opinionsexpressed by individual contributers in thispublication do not necessarily reflect the viewsof the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, USA.Letters to the editor are welcome. The MuslimSunrise welcomes articles, suggestions and Lettersto the Editor. Email: Muslim_Sunrise@yahoo.com.Library of Congress Call Number BP195.A5 M8Mailing Address: The Muslim Sunrise 2S 510Route 53, Glen Ellyn, IL 601372 MuslimSunrisewww.alislam.org


In This IssueFeatures8 “Is God an Accident”: A ResponseA discussion of Paul Bloom’s December 2005 AtlanticMonthly article concerning God’s existence.12 Jesus: God or Beloved of God?A discussion of why early Christians accepted Islam.19 Concept of God in BuddhismStudy of the religion of Buddhism and the concept ofGod as related in its books.22 Concept of God in HinduismA discussion of the Oneness of God in the world’soldest religion, the caste system and the theology ofthe cow.36 Prayer in Islam: Is it Really that Different?A comparison of prayer rituals in Islam and Christianity.38 The Attribute of As-SalaamA discussion of God as the “Bestower of Secuirty.”44 Existence of God and Human SufferingA discussion of whether natural disasters are actsof cruelty by God.Departments4 Passage from the Holy QuranAl-Fatihah, Chapter 1 of the Holy Quran.7 Editorial26 InterviewMr. Frank Levy, Director of Development and Outreachfor Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston.TheSpring 2006 - Volume 86 Issue 1News, Views and Reviews33 Response to Media anti-Islam articlesFull text of CBN article “Muslim Terror: The TwoFaces of Islam” and a critique presented by theCentral Response Committee of the AhmadiyyaMuslim Community, USA42 Our Media Response43 Book ReviewReview of the book No God But God by Reza Aslan41 From the ArchivesExcerpts from the first issue of The Muslim Sunrisefrom July 1921. Reflections from the first Muslim Missionaryto America and his personal impressions ofAmericans.47 Poetry Corner“Holy is He Who Watches Over Me” by Hadhrat Ahmad,Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.48 Natural Disasters or Divine PunishmentSummary of the January 27, 2006 Friday sermon bythe Head of the International Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.50 Trivial MattersTry your hand at our crossword puzzle. Many of theanswers are scattered throughout the magazine.Solution in next issue.52 Questions and Answers54 PerspectivesDaily observations from an Islamic perspective.Spring 2006 3


The Holy Qur’an:Chapter 1: Al-Fatihah[1:1] In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful[1:2] All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds,[1:3] The Gracious, the Merciful,[1:4] Master of the Day of Judgment.[1:5] Thee alone do we worship and Thee alone do we implore for help.[1:6] Guide us in the right path --[1:7] The path of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings, those whohave not incurred Thy displeasure, and those who have not gone astray.4 MuslimSunrise


Four Principal Attributes of God in IslamBy Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as , Founder ofthe Ahmadiyya Muslim CommunityWe proceed to expound what is set outin Surah Fatihah [Ch. 1 of the HolyQuran] from Rabb-ul-Alameen [Lordof all the worlds] to Malik-i-Yaum-id-Deen [Masterof the Day of Judgment]. As expounded inthe Holy Quran, it comprises four grand verities:The first verity is that God Almighty is Rabbul-Alameen,that is to say, that God is the Rabband Master of all that which is in the universe.All that appears, is seen, felt or perceived byreason, is His creation, and that true existencebelongs only to God Almighty and to nothingelse. In short, the universe with all itscomponents is created and is the creation of God.There is nothing in the components of theuniverse which is not the creation of God.Through His perfect Rububiyyat [Lordship]God Almighty controls and rules over everyparticle of the universe.His Rububiyyat is in operation all the time. Itis not that after having created the world Godhas withdrawn from its control and that He hascommitted it to the law of nature so that HeHimself does not intervene in any way. It is notlike the maker of a machine who has no concernwith it after it has been made. The creations ofAt no time is the universe deprivedof the benefit of His grace. Evenafter the creation of the universe,that Source of Grace is needed everymoment, without interruption, as ifHe had not yet created anything.the True Maker are not unconnected with Him.The Rabb-ul-Alameen exercises His perfectRububiyyat all the time over the whole universeand the rain of His Rububiyyat falls perpetuallyupon the whole universe. At no time is theuniverse deprived of the benefit of His grace.Even after the creation of the universe, that Sourceof Grace is needed every moment, withoutinterruption, as if He had not yet createdanything. As the world depended upon HisRububiyyat for its coming into being, it is equallydependent upon it for its continuation andsustenance. It is He Who supports the worldevery moment and every particle of the universeis kept fresh and flourishing because of Him. Heexercises His Rububiyyat in respect of everythingby His will and intent. It is not as if HisRububiyyat were exercised in respect of anythingwithout His intent. In short, this verity meansthat everything in the universe is created and isdependent upon the Rububiyyat of God Almightyin respect of all its excellences and conditions, atall times. There is no spiritual or physicalexcellence which any created thing can acquireon its own without the determination of theAbsolute Controller. Besides, it is latent in thisand other verities that the divine attributes, suchas Rabb-ul-Alameen etc., are special to Him andthat none else is associated with Him in thatrespect. The opening phrase of the Surah,namely,Alhamdu-lillah, makes it clear that allworthiness of praise belongs to God alone.The second verity is Rahman [Grace], whichfollows upon Rabb-ul-Alameen. We have alreadyexplained that all animates, whether gifted withreason or not, good or bad, have been furnishedand continue to be furnished with all that isneeded for their maintenance, preservation oflife, and the continuation of their species out ofthe general mercy of God Almighty. This is anabsolute bounty that does not depend uponanyone’s actions.The third verity is Raheem [Mercy], whichfollows after Rahman. This means that, asdemanded by His mercy, God Almighty bringsabout good results inconsequence of the efforts of Hiscreatures. He forgives the sins ofthose who repent. He bestowsupon those who ask. He opensfor those who knock.The fourth verity is Malik-i-Yaum-id-Deen. This means thatGod Almighty is the Master ofall perfect recompense which isfree from all test and trial and the intervention ofbeguiling means and is purified of all uncleannessand is free from doubt and defect and is amanifestation of His great powers. He does notlack the power to make manifest His perfectrecompense, which is as bright as the day. Themanifestation of this grand verity has as itspurpose to make the following matters clear toeveryone as a certainty.First, that reward and punishment are acertainty, which are imposed upon His creaturesby the True Master as the result of His specialdetermination. This matter is not possible ofexposition in this world for it is not clear to theaverage person why and wherefore does heexperience good or ill, and comfort or pain. Noone hears the voice out of whatever heexperiences that this is the recompense of hisdeeds, nor does anyone observe or feel thatwhatever he is passing through is the consequenceof his actions.Secondly, the exposition is desired that materialmeans are irrelevant and that it is theGrand Being or God Who is the fountainheadof all grace and the Master of all recompense.Thirdly, it is desired to expound what is greatgood fortune and what is great misfortune. Greatgood fortune is that condition of supremetriumph in which light, joy, pleasure, and comfortencompass the inside and outside, the body andsoul, of a person, and no limb or faculty is leftout. The great misfortune is the torment which,in consequence of disobedience, impurity,distance and separation, is set ablaze in the heartsand envelopes the bodies so that the whole beingfeels like being on fire and in hell.These manifestations cannot be observed inthis world because this narrow, constricted andopaque world, which puts on the mantle ofphysical means and is in an imperfect condition,cannot bear their being made manifest. Thisworld is subject to tests and trials and its comfortand its pain are both temporary and defective.Whatever a person experiences in this life is underthe veil of physical means which hide thecountenance of the Master of recompense. Thusthis world cannot be the true and perfect andopen day of recompense. The true, perfect andopen Day of Judgment or of Recompense willbe the world which will follow this one. Thatworld will be the place of the grand manifestationand of the demonstration of glory and beauty.Whatever hardship or ease, comfort or pain,sorrow or joy, is experienced by people in thisworld is not necessarily attributable to God’sbounty or His wrath. For instance, anyone’sbeing rich is not a conclusive proof that God ispleased with him, nor is anyone’s poverty orprivation proof that God Almighty is displeasedwith him. Both these are a trial so that a wealthyone may be tried in respect of his wealth and apoor one may be tried in respect of his poverty.These verities are set out in detail in the HolyQuran.[Brahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in,Vol. 1, pp. 444-461, footnote 11]Spring 2006 5


Welcome to theMuslim SunriseIn its 86 th year of publication, the MuslimSunrise carries with it the distinction of being thevery first and longest running Muslim periodical inAmerica . Along with a new Editorial Board, theMuslim Sunrise also has a new look.The issues will be primarily focused on a single theme – the themeof this issue is God – and present diverse perspectives on thesubject. In this full size magazine format, readers will also findfresh new recurring segments, such as ‘News, Views and Reviews’,which addresses coverage of Islam in the media, ‘The Interview’, inwhich the Muslim Sunrise sits with noteworthy personalities fromdiverse backgrounds and ‘Trivia’, where readers can try their hand atcrosswords and word matches!Dr. Mufti Muhammad Sadiq,Founder of The Muslim SunriseOne quality that makes America great is its strong emphasis onfreedom of expression. The Muslim Sunrise encourages a free flow ofideas and welcomes your correspondence. If you want a clear, conciseand definitive answer to a question on Islam, send it to us and look forresponses in ‘Questions and Answers’. Share your thoughts on thecontent of the Muslim Sunrise in ‘Letters to the Editor’. Allcorrespondence should be directed to muslim_sunrise@yahoo.com orthe mailing address on the subscription slips. While on the topic, anannual subscription costs just $14.99, so please support our endeavorby subscribing today.As the fastest growing, yet the most misunderstood religion in theworld today, we hope that The Muslim Sunrise will answer the call fora genuine, educational, yet plain spoken representation of true Islamicteachings.Lastly, Muslims follow the name of God’s prophets with the prayer‘Alae hissalaam’ or ‘may peace be upon him’ and for the Holy ProphetMuhammad ‘Sallallaho alaehi wasallam’ or ‘may peace and blessings ofGod be upon him’. While such salutations have been abbreviated in thetext for readability (as & sa respectively), we encourage all Muslims tooffer these prayers for the pious prophets of God.The Muslim Sunrise Editorial BoardHistoric cover of the first issue ofThe Muslim Sunrise, July 19216 MuslimSunrise


EditorialThe central focus of all religions inthe world is the belief in an entity thatis Supreme over all things.Irrespective of the name given tosuch an entity or deity such as Allah,God, Jehovah etc., the basicattributes of such a deity are verymuch identical.Human beings have, throughout history,believed in God in various forms.One of the reasons for such a belief is anatural instinct, which desires to find its Creator.In simple terms, the quest to find and acceptGod is factory-built among human beings.Two questions that often arise in our minds.:Why are there so many religions or Gods andwhy do we even need to bother with the conceptof God? The fact is that there are not manyGods. There is only One God who sent variousprophets to different parts of the world for theguidance of humanity. It was due to His Mercyand Benevolence that He always provided suchguidance.As human beings progressed in their physicalenvironment, however, they did not have themeans or methods to receive, accept or share theguidance among all the humans in the world.Because of the limitation of distance andgeographical divisions, Krishna and Buddha weresent to India, Moses and Jesus were sent to theIsraelites and many others were sent to othernations and continents of the world. Some ofthe nations kept their history better than theothers, but the traces of Guides and Prophetscan be found in every part of the world.As humanity progressed and the means ofcommunications and the facilities of physicalmovement made it possible for mankind to be aworldwide family, it was the perfect time to haveone faith and one religion. This is the basic themeof believing in one God: to have a spiritual familyof human beings believing in one set of values,morals and a code of life. Without one commonGod, the perfect unity of humans is impossible.Not only that but the physical closeness ofhumans in these days dictates that we agree uponOne Entity to be united for our further worldlyand spiritual progress. In our belief, Islampresents this comprehensive message for thewhole of mankind to be united through theProphet Muhammad, sa who declared that he wassent as God’s Messenger for the whole ofmankind.One Entity has always existed. The attributesof God in the Bible are the same as those ofAllah in the Holy Quran. This covers three majorfaiths of the world; Judaism, Christianity andIslam. We can also establish that in the Hinduand Confucian faiths, the concept of God startedwith the same theme. That just about covers thewhole globe.In this issue, we have tried to present theattributes and concept of God in variousreligions. We hope this will help us gain somecommon ground in achieving the final stage ofour progress—one human race under One God.There would be no need to have different namesThe fact is that thereare not many Gods.There is only OneGod who sent variousprophets to differentparts of the world forthe guidance ofhumanity.for our Creator; just different attributes tocomprehend so we could collectively continuein the struggle to shape our lives in likeness ofHim. Regardless of the area we were born in, thecolor of our skin, our gender or the languages wespeak, our morality and way of life would beunder one God. It is up to us to make a concertedeffort with our fullest capacity to realize thisobjective. We can achieve this goal only throughintelligent dialogue, a respectful exchange of ideasand sincerity.Without one common God, the perfect unityof humans is impossible. The final stage of ourprogress – One human race, under one God.Spring 2006 7


○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○“The fact is no amount ofphilosophical debate canprove God’s existence, norcan His existence beproved scientifically usingthe tools of science at ourdisposal, weaving Godinto some mathematicalequation or natural law.To scientifically proveGod’s existence wouldplace God in the realm ofhis own creation.““Is God an Accident?”-- A ResponseBy Dr Tahir Ijaz, San Diego, CaliforniaThe philosophical debate over the existence of God between atheist andtheists is centuries old and continues ad nauseam in the media, internetdiscussion forums and books and periodicals. Perfectly intelligent peoplecan have opposite views. The late Dr Abdus Salam, a theoretical physicist andNobel laureate was a devout Muslim and believer in God, and yet a man whoshared the Nobel Prize with him that very same year, Dr. Steven Weinberg, activelypublishes books defending and promoting atheism.The fact is no amount of philosophical debate can prove God’s existence, norcan His existence be proved scientifically using the tools of science at our disposal,weaving God into some mathematical equation or natural law. To scientificallyprove God’s existence would place God in the realm of His own creation. Bydefinition then God could not be the Creator of the laws of science and themathematical equations which describe them, which is the role ascribed to Him:the ultimate Cause of everything, including natural laws. Based on reflection ofnature a strong argument can be made that it is more rational to believe in a Creatorthan to believe there is none. However as summarized by Hadhrat Mirza GhulamAhmad as :“Observation of the heavens and earth and its orderliness only leads to theconclusion that the universe should have a Creator yet it is not proof that such aCreator in fact exists. There is a difference between ought to be and is” (ChashmaMasihi, page 19-20).How then can a person be convinced that God truly exists, and can it have anempirical foundation? We will address that towards the end of the paper, followingreview of the article. First let us set forth a summary of the arguments in favor ofa Creator, a theistic world-view, before proceeding to the article.In his book, The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, Hadhrat Mirza GhulamAhmad as presented the following arguments in support of the existence of God.They are in brief: 1) there is order in the universe and design; 2) for all effects thereare causes and in the finite universe you cannot have an infinite series of effectsand causes; it must terminate in a final Uncaused Cause; 3) there has to be somethingthat is eternal. As the universe was created there has to be a Reality immune frommortality. Something has to be there when no material universe is present; 4) man,in his very nature created by God, seeks the First Cause – God. That characteristicis innate based on the Quranic verse (7:173) where Allah asks the soul, “Am I notyour Lord? The soul responds, “Indeed”, showing that man’s very nature cannotdeny the existence of God.The last point above about God being wired into the recesses of the humanmind is, as we shall see, relevant to the article to be reviewed. On this point,Hadhrat Ahmad as goes on to write:“Those who deny God do so because they can find no proof of His existenceaccording to their own fancy. Yet they acknowledge that for everything that iscreated there must be a creator…a research scholar who does not acknowledge theexistence of God, in effect does so indirectly, for he too, like us, searches for thecauses of effects. This is acknowledgment of a sort, though it is not perfect…theverse we have cited also indicates that a denial of the existence of God is only amanifestation of this earthly existence, for the true nature of man fully confessesHis existence” (Page 60).According to Hadhrat Ahmad, one sign of the existence of God is the very factthe search for a Higher Being is hardwired into the human brain and is rooted to thequest for cause and effect. There has to be an ultimate First Cause in this finiteworld, Hadhrat Ahmad contends, for an infinite series of cause and effect is notpossible.8 MuslimSunrise


Man searches for higher truth: the atheisticphysicists search for what they now call a“Theory of Everything” and doing so acknowledgetheir belief in the existence of truth–andthat very acknowledgement and recognition of atruth, albeit subconscious and within the frameworkof science, is faith at one level.Acareful perusal of books by atheisticevolutionists such as Dawkins revealsthey give natural selection the qualityof a conscious mind – that selection ‘does’ thisor that in a non-random fashion. Moreover evenin the parlance of the secular world, people, bothatheists and theists alike, personify nature withthe term Mother Nature, as if nature is consciousnessonto itself. Instead of saying “Godis full of wisdom” the phrase ‘Mother Nature isfull of wisdom’ is employed, akin to praisingthe painting Mona Lisa for the great achievementand neglecting the artist, Da Vinci. It isnothing more than replacinga formal deity, the UltimateCauseless Cause, with an informalone, a subconsciousrecognition of the beauty andwisdom in the higher Truth,which as mentioned, is subconsciouslyacknowledged.Atheistic naturalists likeDaniel Dennett, author ofDawin’s Dangerous Idea, statethat natural selection replacesa conscious Creator of theuniverse in their world-view.What they forget is naturalselection requires the preexistenceof complex, reproducing biological unitsincluding the DNA molecule within them, thevery thing one is trying to explain. It is fair tosay these authors take science way beyond itsdomains, trying to explain ultimate origins whenscience cannot explain itself.You can take your pick then: either lifelessmatter or laws of science that describe it (whichultimately became conscious!) is eternal or aConscious Reality/Being is eternal. Somethingrequires no beginning or no end, and thatSomething has caused a chain of events to leadto an intelligible universe against all odds, withcreation of conscious creatures desiring theknowledge of the ultimate causes. To take theatheistic approach means: nothing becameeverything, death became life, andunconsciousness became consciousness.With this background, it is useful now toreview the recent article, Is God an Accident?The author, Paul Bloom, a professor of childpsychology and linguists at Yale, offers a possiblereason for the almost universal belief in God andan afterlife. The information gives further insightto the idea that man’s belief in a creator is trulyhardwired into brain. The author attempts toanswer the question: why belief in God? In hisown words:“Despite the vast number of religions, nearlyeveryone in the world believes in the same things:the existence of a soul, an afterlife, miracles, andthe divine creation of the universe.”In surveying the religious landscape ofAmerica, he writes that some 96% of Americansbelieve in God, and that is no anomaly, lookingat the world at large. Man is a worshippinganimal, whether it is bowing before a stone orbelief in the Unseen. Contrary to popular belief,belief in a personal living God among scientistsis no different today than decades ago, comparingpolls asking scientists about God and religion in1916 and comparing them to one in 1996. Thefacts are an embarrassment for those who seesupernatural beliefs as a cultural anachronism,soon to be eroded by the steady march of scientificdiscovery.Man is a worshipping animal, whether it isbowing before a stone or belief in an Unseen.Contrary to popular belief, belief in a personalliving God among scientists is no differenttoday than decades ago, comparing pollsasking scientists about God and religion in1916 and comparing them to one in 1996.Those faiths that formally deny a creator-God and body-soul duality, like Buddhism,Bloom writes, actually have adherents whobelieve in these concepts, despite being formallydenied in their scriptures. Millions of Buddhistsbelieve in immaterial realities with specialpowers, and indeed many treat the Buddha as aDivine figure, asking him for luck and success inpersonal life.Specifically in regards to body-soul duality,Bloom mentions a study of children who weretold a story of an animal which dies. When askedabout physical and biological properties, childrenreadily appreciated the effects of death: no brain,no working eyes or ears. But when asked aboutpsychological properties, the majority ofchildren felt the dead animal still has feelingsand thoughts. The soul survives, and childrenbelieve in a continuation of life (life after life)even more than adults in all cultures, showingperhaps that such belief is not learned, but ratherinnate in human nature. Bloom writes thathumans are intrinsically dualists. It seemsintuitively obvious to us that the physical bodyand conscious entity – a mind or soul – aregenuinely distinct. We don’t feel that we are ourbodies. Rather we feel we occupy our body andown it.The author, who appears to be agnostic oreven atheistic in his world view, concedes thatbelief in a creator-God is bred in the bone, andthe idea of a First Cause (God) is not learned,but rather part of human nature, a by-productof our mental systems. Our ability to believe ina body-soul duality lends itself to a belief inimmaterial agents, like God he argues.Bloom cites more studies in child psychologyto support his argument of nature over nurture,as far as belief in God and an afterlife isconcerned, which incorporates a contradistinctionof physical body and soul.Mentioning another study he writes:“Nascent creationist views are found in youngchildren. Four year olds insist that everything hasa purpose, including lions (“to go into the zoo”)and clouds (“for raining”). When asked to explainwhy a bunch of rocks arepointy, adults prefer aphysical explanation whilechildren choose a functionalone, such as “so thatanimals could scratch onthem when they get itchy”.And when asked about theorigin of animals andpeople, children tend toprefer explanations thatinvolve an intentionalcreator, even if the adultsraising them do not.”Bloom also reviewsviews of creation on thepart of adults. Quoting material from Dawkinsin support of an undirected evolution withoutGod, he concedes that almost no one reallybelieves in a blind undirected evolution.Moreover,“One poll found that more than one third ofcollege graduates believe that the Garden of Edenwas where the first human beings appeared. Andamong those who claim to endorse Darwinianevolution, many distort it one way or anotheroften seeing it as a mysterious internal forcedriving species toward perfection.”If one is tempted to analyze this from thepolitical perspective of the “red state versus bluestate” issue, think again, says Bloom, for whileit is true more Bush voters are creationists, overhalf of Kerry’s voters believe God created humanbeings in their present form, with most of therest believing evolution was directed by anAlmighty Being. Bloom concludes his take onthe creationism-evolution debate:“The theory of natural selection is anempirically supported account of our existence.But almost nobody believes it. We mayintellectually grasp it, but it will never feel right.Our gut feeling is that design requires a designer.”Spring 2006 9


In surveying the religious landscape of America, he writes some 96%of Americans believe in God, and that is no anomaly, looking at theworld at large. Man is a worshipping animal, whether it is bowingbefore a stone or belief in the Unseen.However, as can be argued from what Bloomhimself has presented, what people have troublebelieving is not so much evolution per se, butthe concept of a blind undirected evolution,without a First Cause (God) to initiate and guidethe chain of events from simple to complex.Bloom considers the innate tendency ofhumans to believe in a Deity as a form of‘mental conditioning’ or ‘accidental byproducts’of our mental systems. Humans somehoware supposed to be hypersensitive to signsof agency, that we see purpose and design inanything. Why humans have developed this statethrough evolution is for him to explain, but he isdefinitely on the mark when he says the universaltheme of religion, i.e. belief in a creator-God,is part of human nature and not learned. Heconcludes:“Nobody is born with the idea that humanitystarted in the Garden of Eden, or that martyrswill be rewarded in Heaven; these ideas arelearned. But the universal themes of religion arenot learned. They are part of human nature.”In complete contradistinction to some modernpsychologists who see belief in a God as aweakness or psychological misunderstanding ofreality around them, it was the belief of HadhratAhmad that this very instinct of man to believein a creator was yet another sign that a creatoractually exists. So belief in God is not anaccident!How then is certainty in belief in Godultimately acquired then, if the universe onlypoints to God and does not prove Him? This isa vast topic, but Hadhrat Ahmad addresses thequestion briefly in these quotes:“The first duty of a person therefore, is toacquire certainty with regard to the existence ofGod, and adopt a religion through which thiscertainty can be acquired…How can suchcertainty be acquired? It cannot be acquiredthrough mere stories. It cannot be acquiredthrough mere arguments. The only way ofacquiring certainty is to experience Godrepeatedly through converse with Him or throughwitnessing his extraordinary signs, or by keepingcompany with someone who has that experience(Naseem-e-Dawat page 81-2).”“As the operation of reason is defective,incomplete and doubtful, a philosopher cannotrecognize God purely through reason…Thereare millions of people in the world who regardthemselves as very wise philosophers and whoutterly deny the existence of God. It is obviousthat if they had discovered a strong reason forthe existence of God, they would have not havedenied it. If they had discovered a conclusiveargument in support of the existence of God,they would not have rejected it…Be sure,therefore that belief in the unity of God can beachieved only through a prophet, as our HolyProphet sa convinced the atheists and pagans ofArabia of the existence of God by showing themthousands of heavenly signs. Up till today thetrue and perfect followers of the Holy Prophet sa ,present those signs to the atheists (HaqiqatulWahyi, page 117-8).”Through piety and dedication, a seeker canbe convinced of God’s existence when He revealsHimself in diverse ways: acceptance of prayer,true dreams, visions, and signs presented to theworld by those claiming to be from God. Onlythen can a seeker of truth be satisfied on a personallevel.Paul Bloom's "Is God an Accident?" was printed inthe December issue of the Atlantic Monthly."10 MuslimSunrise


AL ISLAM.ORGThe official website of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community“One of the most comprehensive websites on religion today”•Over 150 FREE full length books online•Over 200 indexed articles in 35 categories•Live streaming video of MTA•Documentaries of international conventionsThe Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has publishedover 1,000 books on a wide array of subjects.Read about contemporary topics:•Jihad & Terrorism•Women in Islam•Role of religion in governmentSearch our site!•Google TM keyword search of entire website•Search the Holy Quran by keyword•Search the archives of weekly sermons deliveredby the Khalifa of the CommunityVisit the Online Store!Books, CDs, DVDs, Audio Books, and more available atthe Online Store. No sales tax or shipping charges!For information on Islam go Online todaywww.alislam.orgSpring 2006 11


○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○JesusGod or beloved of God?The late Maulana J. D. Shams“Many attempts haveA lecture delivered by (late) J. D. Shams, Imam of the London Mosque in 1940as part of a series of lectures on “why the early christians accepted islam”.Amost extraordinary and unparalleled change occurred in the 7 th century of the Christianera. Arabia was an arid and isolated peninsula unaffected by events in the rest ofthe world. Its population consisted of barbarous tribes mostly nomads, who lovedthe freedom of the deserts, the starlit sky above, the sandy floor below; despised by others,and dead morally and spiritually. But as Thomas Carlisle says:“To the Arab nation Islam was a birth from darkness into the light.”“Arabia first became alive by means of it. A poor shepherd people roaming unnoticed inits deserts since the creation of the world; a Prophet was sent down to them with a wordthey could believe; see the unnoticed becomes world notable, the small has grown worldgreat; within one century afterwards, Arabia is at Granada on this end, at Delhi on that.”(Heroes & Hero-Worship)Two EmpiresPersian and Rome, the two greatest Empires of the time whom Arabia had to face werebitterly opposed to Islam and tried their utmost to destroy this new religion in its infancybut failed. Persians were mainly Zoroastrians, believers in a God of good and a God of evil,Ormuzd and Ahriman, and worshipped fire. The Roman Empire was Christian believing inthe Godhead of Jesus Christ and the Trinity. In Egypt Christianity was a flourishing religion.The great Church of Clement, of Origin and of Athanasius, showed the success, whichChristianity had achieved in Egypt. But wherever Christianity and Islam met, victory cameto Islam, the inhabitants of the countries in which the struggle took place, became Muslim.This happened in Syria, Palestine, Egypt and parts of Africa. Professor Bosworth Smithwrites in his book “Mohammad and Mohammadenism”: “A great part of the Berbers of thedesert were once Christian and they afterwards changed their religion and became Muslim”.Profound IgnoranceIn these days everybody can see in modern Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone howChristianity is retreating and followers of Christianity are turning towards Islam. ProfessorB. Smith writes:“The most recent historian of India remarks that the people of India are drifting slowly butsurely toward the religion of the Prophet of Arabia rather than towards Christianity which isbeen made to call theattention of theEnglish people to studyIslam but they have notyet made any sincereeffort to understandthis great religion,which has beenadopted by millions oftheir co-religionists inthe past.”12 MuslimSunrise


freely offered to them but which they are not preparedto accept. If this be true or nearly true howprofound the importance to England even froman Imperial point of view of a sympathetic studyof the religion.”He adds:“Yet probably nowhere is there a profound ignoranceof Islam and its founder and a greaterindifference to what it is doing in the world thanin England” (page 55)Therefore, it is the duty of England, for thesake of close relations with the Muslim worldto study Islam and mark its teachings, whichcaused Christians of the early centuries to adoptthis religion.Many attempts have been made to callthe attention of the English peopleto study Islam but they have not yetmade any sincere effort to understand this greatreligion, which has been adopted by millions oftheir co-religionists in the past. I would like togive you some account of the marvelous teachingsof Islam, which attracted the sincere, andthe thoughtful among Christians to accept it.When the Holy Prophet of Islam appeared, theJews were asserting that they had put JesusChrist to an “accursed” death; and thus, accordingto their law they thought they had provedthat he was a false prophet, an imposter. Theyaccused him of many other things; that he wasthe offspring of sin, for instance.Jesus “Cursed”On the other hand, Christians believed in theTrinity, and that Jesus was God. According tothe Mariamites or worshippers of Mary, theTrinity was God the Father, God the Son andGod the Virgin Mary. In spite of their belief inhis divinity, they also believed like the Jews,that he died an “accursed” death. St. Paul admitsin Galatians III:“He was made a curse for us, for it is written‘Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree,.”They did not examine the meaning of the word‘cursed’. A man cannot be cursed unless his heartbe far from God and empty of His love andknowledge. He must be in error like Satan and atenmity with God. It is for this that Satan isnamed the Accursed one.Imputations Removed by theHoly Qur'anThe Jews believed that Jesus was “accursed”and had no relation with God and that God’swrath descended upon him, and Christians agreedthat undoubtedly he was “cursed”, though it wasto show his love for the people. But the HolyTherefore theHoly Quran,acquitting Maryand her son of allblemishes hascleared theirancestry, sayingthey were theoffspring ofAdam, Noah, andAbraham, thedescendants ofAmran chosen ofGod.Quran freed him from this curse. Rejecting theclaim of the Jews, it proclaimed:“They slew him not nor caused him to die onthe cross, but he was made to appear to themlike one crucified; and those who differ abouthim are certainly in doubt by reason of this fact,they have no knowledge thereof, but only followconjecture, and they surely did not kill him andthey did not make sure about it.” (4:158)Thus the Holy Quran clears Jesus of the“curse” imputed to him, and proclaims that Jesuswas a beloved of God, one of His chosenprophets. The Holy Quran also mentions thatthe Jews were deprived of the spiritual blessingsthey had enjoyed and the help of God they hadhad, through their rejection of Jesus and for theiraccusing Mary of fornication. The declarationof the Holy Quran concerning Mary is that shekept her chastity; was an example for therighteous; the angels descended on her; and shewas one of the chosen ones of God.In the Book of the Genealogy of Jesus,according to St. Matthew, two of his ancestors,Phares and Zara of Tamar, were sons offornication, and Booz was a son of Racheb theHarlot. Therefore the Holy Quran, acquittingMary and her son of all blemishes has clearedtheir ancestry, saying they were the offspring ofAdam, Noah, and Abraham, the descendants ofAmran chosen of God.Charges of rudenessThe commandment was ‘Honor thy fatherand thy mother’ (Matt. 19:19), but it appearsfrom Matthew 12:48, that Jesus showed a kindof rudeness toward his mother. Therefore theHoly Quran has cleared Jesus even of this falsecharge saying he was dutiful to his mother, thatGod did not make him insolent, unblessed(19:33).The true positionNow I come to the main point: what is thereal position of Jesus Christ? Was he God asmost Christians believe or was he man, a prophetor messenger of God? On this point the HolyQuran says thus:“And when Jesus came with clear argumenthe said:‘I have come to you indeed with wisdom,and that I may make clear to you of what youdiffer in. Surely Allah is my Lord and your Lordso fear God and obey me and serve Him; this isthe right path” (43:63,64,65). Jesus said: SurelyI am a servant of Allah, He has given me theBook and made me a Prophet” (19:31). Surelythey disbelieve who say that Allah is the Messiahthe son of Mary (5:18).And the Messiah said: ‘O children of Israel!Serve Allah my Lord and your Lord.’ Surelywhoever associates others with Allah then Allahhas forbidden him the garden, and his abode isthe fire, and there shall be no helper for theunjust. Certainly they are disbelievers who sayAllah is a third person of the three, while thereis no God but one, and if they desist not fromwhat they say, a painful chastisement shall befallthose among them who disbelieve.Will they not then turn to Allah and seekfrom Him remission of sins and forgiveness, andAllah is very forgiving and merciful (5:73,74,75).The Messiah, son of Mary is but an apostle;apostles before him have indeed passed awayand his mother was a righteous woman. Theyboth used to eat food. See how We make thecommunications clear to them, and then beholdhow they turn away.Say, do you serve besides Allah that whichhas no power at all to do neither harm norgood! And it is Allah who is the most hearing,the very knowing. Say, O People of theSpring 2006 13


Book; do not exceed the limits in your religiousbeliefs unjustly, nor follow the desires of a peoplewho have already gone astray before and ledmany astray from the right path. Those whodisbelieved from among the Children of Israelwere cursed by the tongue of David and Jesusson of Mary. This was because they disobeyedand used to exceed the limits” (5:77-79).Seven PointsIn these verses the true position of Jesus hasbeen described after clearing him of the chargesimputed falsely to him. It is set forth in sevenpropositions:(1) Jesus Christ never claimed he was God.(2) On the contrary, he said, there was onlyOne God “whom we serve and worship”(3) Jesus was a prophet and a messenger ofGod; many prophets had passed away beforehim. If anybody cast cursory glances on the past,he would know at once that since the creation ofthe world, God never came in Person to guidepeople. He always sent a human being to guidefellow human beings. Jesus was a prophet likeall of them. It is a gross error to think he wasGod come to guide human beings.(4) Jesus was born of a woman, herself arighteous one. The word ‘Mother’ in the aboveverses points out the changes, which come upona child in the womb of his mother and after hisbirth. If Jesus was really God, then his mothermust have been of the same kind. But as isgenerally believed, she was a human being. Sowas her child.(5) Mary and Jesus both ate food; whichindicated that they were both humans. It isapparent that man needs for his sustenance andhis system of digestion; so he calls constantlyfor food. So the use of food by Mary and Jesusshows that, like other human beings these werenot free from the obligations imposed by nature.Therefore the belief that a person subject to allthe changes, which come on a man’s body, wasGod is an irrational belief.(6) Jesus being human was weak; he could dono harm or good to anybody by himself.(7) Dogmas like the Trinity and that Jesuswas God are inventions of the people whofollow the desires of pagans.Substantiated by the GospelsThe truth of these propositions is validatedby the Gospels.Regarding the first the Gospels are silent; theclaim that Jesus was God is mentioned nowherein them.The second proposition is mentioned inMatthew 4:10. That Jesus said: “Get theehence Satan: for it is written ‘Thou shaltworship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt youserve. Jesus also asked Mary to tell his disciples:“I ascend unto my father and your father, and untomy God and your God” (John 20:17).The third proposition that Jesus was a prophetof God is mentioned in many places in the Gospels.For instance, he said, (and included himself in it):“A prophet is not without honor save in his owncountry”(Matthew 13:57).He also said:“Nevertheless I must walk today and tomorrowand the day following, for it cannot be that aprophet perish out of Jerusalem” (Luke 13:33).He also said:“I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the Houseof Israel” (Matt. 15:24). “I seek the will of thefather which has sent me” (John 5:30).His disciples also said about him that he was aprophet (Luke 24:19).When he went to Jerusalem, the multitudesaid: “This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth”(Matt. 21:11). See also John 6:14 and 9:17, Luke7:39 and 7:16.The fourth proposition does not require anyquotations as all the Christians believe that it isso.The fifth proposition that Jesus used to eat,is mentioned in Matthew 11:19:“The son of Man came eating and drinking”.Luke 24:43 says:“That he took a boiled fish and an honey-combeand did eat before his disciples.”In Mark 11:12 it is mentioned that when hisdisciples came from Bethany he was hungry.The sixth proposition that he was a weakbeing, can be known from his saying:“Father all thing are possible unto Thee, takeaway this cup from me.” (Matt 14:36)He also said:“I can of mine own self do nothing, as I hear Ijudge, because I seek not mine own will, but thewill of the father which hath sent me.” (John5:30)The seventh proposition is that the peoplebelieve in the Godhead of Jesus; follow in thefootsteps of earlier pagans. John M. Robertsonin his book “Pagan Christ” writes:“A recent criticism has shown that the Christianshave only followed previous idolatrous nationsin deifying a man.”Christian PaganismThe first person who sowed the seed of thispaganism in Christianity was St. Paul. Againstthe teachings of Jesus, he began to preach to theGentiles and based his preaching to them on thecrucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, saying, “Hewas raised from the dead according to myGospel” (Tim. 2:8).As he was a Roman (Acts 22:26), and onaccount of his journey in Syria, etc; he knew thementality of the Gentiles, so he based hispreaching on ideas current among them already,and which they could easily assimilate. Forinstance, Adonis, the Syrian God, was born of avirgin, was killed, and rose again in the springevery year. The maidens wept for him, and thenrejoiced over his resurrection. Concerning Osiris,their God, they believed that he was slain andhis image was placed in a box and brought forthwith cries of “Osiris is Risen”. Attis, the PhrygianGod, was also born of a virgin named Nana. Hewas bled to death at the foot of a pine tree, thathis blood renewed the fertility of the earth andthus brought a new life to humanity, and that healso rose from the dead (Frazer’s Golden BoughIV, p. 29). Bacchus was also born of a virginnamed "Demeted" on December 25 th . He wasslain to redeem humanity and was, therefore,called The Slain One, The Sin Bearer, and TheRedeemer. His death followed by resurrectionwas celebrated. When dead, he descended intoHell, rose again (Blausobre, also Higgins’“Anacalypsis” vol. I p. 322).The Greeks claimed that Bromseus was aGod who united his divinity with humanity.So he is of dual origin: divinityand humanity, in one body, man and God at thesame time.Luly Hook, a French missionary, writes inhis Travels of Hook (vol. I p. 321-327)concerning Buddha:“The Buddhists consider him to be a God inhuman shape, that he is a God who appearedincarnate, came to this world to teach men, toguide them, to redeem them, and to build forthem the path to peace. The belief of redemptionthrough a God appearing in body is generalamong the Buddhists.”Allan, in his India-Ancient and Modern page297 writes, “As for Krishna, he is the greatestof all the gods incarnate, there is none of them14 MuslimSunrise


ut a small particle from the Godhead while heis the God Vishnu who appeared in body.”The learned Done in his book (p. 112) writesthat one of the beliefs of the ancient idolaters isconnected with incarnation that God, incarnateas man, descends and lives among men. The beliefis described in various ways from the imaginationand stories of the Orientals.So the truth of the Quranic propositions, thatChristians in taking Jesus as God followed thedesires of pagans is as clear as the sun for thestudents of ancient idolatry. Therefore, God saysin the Holy Quran:“And when Allah will say, “O Jesus, son ofMary: did you say to men accept me and mymother for two gods besides Allah? He will say:Glory be to Thee. It did not befit me to say thatwhich I had no right to say. If I had said it Thouwouldst have known it. Thou knowest what isin my mind, but I don’t know what is in Thymind. Surely Thou art the great knower of theunseen things. I did not say to them but whatThou didst command me to say, that is, ServeAllah, my Lord and your Lord.” (5:117-118)Attributes of GodNow let us examine the divinity of Jesus fromanother point of view, the point of view of thedistinctive attributes of God. The Holy Quransays:“There is no God but Allah. He is ever living,self-subsisting and does neither slumber norsleep. For Him is whatever is in the Heavensand whatever is in the earth. Who can intercedewith Him but with His permission? He knowswhat is before them and what is behind them,and they cannot comprehend anything of Hisknowledge, except what He pleases. Hisknowledge extends over the heavens and theearth, and the preservation of them tires Himnot and He is the Most High, the Great.” (2:256)This verse points especially to the followingattributes of God.1. Ever-Living, 2. Self-Subsisting, 3. Freefrom sleep, slumber and fatigue, 4. King andpossessor of whatever is in the Heavens and onEarth, 5. All-Knowing and 6. Most High andGreat.Biblical attributesThese attributes of God are also mentionedin the Bible. Isaiah says, “The Everlasting God,the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the Earth,fainteth not, neither is weary (40:28). Jeremiah,the Prophet says, “The Lord is a Living Godand an Everlasting King (10:10). “God is theKing Eternal, Immortal” (Tim. 1:17)Jesus' attributesBut Jesus was born of Mary and used tosleep; as once he fell asleep in the ship (Matt.Who is Allah? TheAttributes of God in IslamAl Barri - The BeneficentDhul-Jalaali-wal-Ikraam -The Lord of Majesty andBountyAl Azeez - The MightyAl-Muta'aal - The MostHigh; The IncomparablyGreatWhile God’s proper name is Allah, He has manybeautiful names, collectively called al-Asmaa’ulHusnaa (55:25), which signify His variousattributes. While God’s attributes are limitless,the Holy Quran & Ahadith (sayings of the HolyProphet Muhammad sa ) refer to over one hundredspecific attributes. Attributes can be found in threemajor categories.1Attributes peculiar to Allah alone: Theseattributes are peculiar to Allah alone andnot related in any way to His creatures.For example: Al-Qaadir (The Possessorof power and authority); Al-Maajid (TheGlorious).2Attributes concerning the creation of theUniverse: These attributes are related tothe creation of the Universe and indicatethe relationship between Allah and Hiscreatures and His attitude towards them.For example: Al-Khaaliq (The Creator)and Al-Maalik (The Sovereign).3Attributes concerning the actions of Hiscreatures: These attributes come intooperation as a result of the good or badactions of Allah’s creatures whoare endowed with a will of their own. Forexample: Ar-Raheem (The Merciful); Al-Afuww (The Pardoner) and Ar-Ra’oof(The Compassionate).According to the Holy Quran (51:57), the mainobjective of our creation is to worship Allah, ourCreator. The philosophy of Islamic worship is toestablish a loving relationship between Allah andHis creatures, which is not possible unless weknow and understand the attributes of Allah. Thus,by knowing the attributes of Allah, we will be ableto derive abundant spiritual pleasure from ourworship of Allah, the Exalted.Spring 2006 15


8:24) and he tasted the cup of death. Neitherwas he self-subsisting. He said, “As the LivingFather has sent me, and I live by the Father(John 6:57); “Jesus liveth by the power of God(2Corinthinas 13:4); “God is the King of all theearth” (Psalms 47:7); “For Him all that is in theHeavens and on the earth (1Chronicles 29:11).Jesus Christ said: “Foxes have holes, and thebirds of the air have their nests, but the son ofman hath not where to lay his head.” (Matt.8:20) He did not possess even a small portion ofthe earth.God is All-knowing. “He knoweth the secretsof the heart” (Psalms 44:12). “The secret thingsbelong unto the Lord our God” (Deut. 29:29).But Jesus Christ was not all-knowing. As hesaid, “But of that day and that Hour knowethno man, no, not the Angels which are in heaven,neither the son, but the Father (Mark 13:32).Jesus not GodOne day, being hungry and seeing a fig treeafar having leaves, he came, if haply he mightfind anything thereon, but he found nothing butleaves. (Mark 11:13) He also confessed that hewas not the Most High and Greatest. “MyFather is greater than I (John 14:28). If it is truethat God is ever living, everlasting, Almighty(Exodus 6:1) and, as Jesus said,“With men this is impossible butwith God all things are possible”(Matt. 20:26); if it is true that Godis free from all human infirmitiesas slumber, sleep or weariness, thatHe is the King and Possessor ofthe Earth and Heaven, All-knowingand Most High and Great; and if itis also true, as proved by thequotations from the Gospels thatJesus did not possess any of thesedivine attributes, then rational andreasonable men have no choice butto believe that Jesus was not God.Jesus, son of manIn all the verses of the New Testamentnowhere is there any mention of the word“Trinity”, or “God the Father, God the Son,God the Holy Ghost”. On the contrary, we findthat in as many as seventeen (17) verses it saysthat the Father is the One and only God. Versesin which the Father is given the name God withall glory and dignity are 320 in number. Verseswhich mention the Father as God with specialattributes are 105 in number. Verses in which itis said that prayer and praise should be offeredto the Father alone, as the only possessor ofdignity and power are 90 in number. In 63 placesJesus is called “son of man”, in 72 places, “man”only, and in 19 places “a prophet” and in manyplaces “servant and master”. In 20 places Godis called “The God of Jesus” and Jesus himselfcried, “O my God, my God; why hast Thouforsaken me?” In nearly 300 places, it ismentioned that Jesus could not act from his ownself that he was not self-subsisting, and that hedid according to the commandments of God andaccording to His Will. But despite these clearpassages of the Gospels, Christians rely on someobscure and vague sentences and say that JesusChrist claimed to be God.Obscure and vagueThis is a large subject, which for the shortnessof time at my disposal, I am unable to deal withfully. Let me mention, however, one or twopassages out of the Gospels. For instance, JesusChrist said: “He that hath seen me hath seenGod” (John 14:9). The Christians say it meansthat Jesus and God were one. But a little thoughtwill tell everyone that the word “seeing” in thissaying is used metaphorically.Because no man has seen God, nor can see(Tim. 6:16). Philip asked him to show them theFather, but he replied, that the Father cannot beseen with physical eyes, but He shows Himselfby His works through His prophets.The Holy Prophet of Islam also said: “Whohath seen me hath seen God.”Moreover, Jesus said concerning hisdisciples, that they would not only performthe works as he had done but even greater.Therefore, there is no saying of JesusChrist in the Gospels to justify Christiansin their assertion that Jesus was God.They mean that the attributes of God aremanifest in them. Jesus also said: “I am in myFather and ye in me, and I in you” (John 14:20),but nobody says that his disciples were alsoGod.“Before Abraham”Christians also say that the meaning of thesaying of Jesus: “Before Abraham was I am”shows that he was God. But his being before acreated person, Abraham, does not mean that hewas an everliving and everlasting person. If weread the conversation, which took place, in thisconnection, between the Jews and Jesus, we willunderstand the true meaning of this sentence.Thus he said: “If a man keep my commands heshall never see death”, but the Jews took himliterally and said:“Art thou greater than our Father Abraham,which is dead, and prophets are dead, whommakest thyself?”Then Jesus answered:“Your Abraham rejoices to see my day, he saw itand was glad.”Nobody can say that Jesus Christ meantAbraham actually saw his days. It only meansthat he saw this in a state of vision. But theJews took his answer literally and said: “Thouart not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seenAbraham?” He answered: “Verily, verily, I sayunto ye, before Abraham was I am”; whichmeans: “Are you surprised at my saying thatAbraham saw my day? I was before him also, asit was decided by God that I should be theMessiah.”So, Jesus’ conversation was spiritual andmetaphorical, not literal. But even as the Jewstook it literally, so do the Christians. His sayingwas similar to that of the Holy Prophet of Islamwhen he said:“I am a prophet while Adam had not yet beenborn.”“Son of God”Jesus said: “I am the son ofGod” (John 10:36).He was a son of God as theother prophets and the righteousones were sons of God.“The peacemakers shall becalled the children of God.”(Matt. 5:9)‘Your Father is one which is inHeaven.” (Matt. 23:9)Adam was a son of God. (Luke 2)God said: “Israel is my son, even my firstborn.”(Exodus 4:22,23)Judges are Gods, and all of you sons ofGod. (Psalms 82:6)Regarding Solomon, God said: “He shall bemy son, and I will be his Father”.(Chronicles 1, 22:10, 17:23)“And all the sons of God shouted for Joy”.(Job 38:7)Jesus Christ himself explained the meaningof his sonship for when the Jews said: “We haveone Father, even God”, Jesus answered:“If God were your Father, then you wouldlove me as He sent me. You are of your father16 MuslimSunrise


In all the verses of the New Testament nowhere is there any mention of theword “Trinity”, or “God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost.”17 verses say that the Father is the One and only God.19 verses where Jesus is called “a prophet.”20 verses where God is called “The God of Jesus.”63 verses where Jesus is called “the Son of man.”72 verses where Jesus is called “man.”90 verses where it is said that prayer and praise should be offered to theFather alone as the only possessor of dignity and power.105 verses in which the Father is called as God with special attributes.300 verses where it is mentioned that Jesus could not act from his own self320 verses where the Father is given the nameGod with all glory and dignity.Spring 2006 17


○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○the Devil, and the lusts of your father will ye do (John 8:38). So, just as the Jewswere sons of the Devil for rejecting truth and following their lusts, likewise,Jesus was the son of God for obeying the commandments of God. Further,according to St. Mark, the Centurion said: “Truly Jesus was the son of God(Mark 15:39). “Certainly he was a righteous man” (Luke 23:47). This showsclearly that the words “son of God” were used for righteous men.The wonders and miracles which Jesus performed were not a proof ofhis divinity because he said that the false prophets shall shew greatsigns and wonders, insomuch that if it were possible they would deceivethe very elect (Matt. 24:24). The wicked will do great wonders so that he makethfire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men (Revelations 3:13).Moreover, Jesus said concerning his disciples, that they would not only performthe works as he had done but even greater. Therefore, there is no saying of JesusChrist in the Gospels to justify Christians in their assertion that Jesus was God.Christians believe that this same Jesus was God who was born of a woman, wascircumcised, ate, slept, had no place in which to lay his head, was poor, mockedby the Jews, slapped, crowned with thorns, spat at, abused, despised and finallyput on the cross, who cried out: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsakenme?” and who died an “accursed” death, was buried and: went down into Hell.”(Common Prayers Church of England, p. 163).Jesus was only a prophetThe Holy Quran taught that Jesus was one of the chosen prophets ofGod like other great prophets, who came to guide the people. That Godloved him so much, spoke to him abundantly, gave him many signs andclear proofs in support of his truth. He gave him wisdom and knowledgeof the Book; and teachings in which was light and guidance for the people.He suffered the afflictions of his enemies and bore them steadfastly, asindeed did the other prophets. Thus this was the reason that Christians,who entered into religious controversy with Muslims, found that thetrue position of Jesus Christ was, that which is stated in the Holy Quran.Therefore, they became Muslims. We believe, on the basis of prophesies,that when the people of this country pay attention to religion and beginto inquire into the true religion, they will accept Islam and becomeMuslims, as did their predecessors in the East.We are sure this will happen, that only one God will be worshipped inthe world. May God bring that day near. Amen- A Saying of The Holy Prophet Muhammad saOn Forgiveness and ForbearanceIbn Mas’ud relates: I can recallseeing the Holy Prophet whilehe recounted that a Prophet ofAllah who was beaten andwounded by his people keptwiping the blood away from hisface and supplicated: Allah doforgive my people for theyknow not.The Holy Qurantaught that Jesus wasone of the chosenprophets of God likeother great prophets,who came to guidethe people. That Godloved him so much,spoke to himabundantly, gave himmany signs and clearproofs in support ofhis truth. He gavehim wisdom andknowledge of theBook; and teachingsin which was lightand guidance for thepeople(Bokhari and Muslim).18 MuslimSunrise


BuddhismThe Concept of God in BuddhismBy Imran Ghumman“Confess and believe in God(Is’ana) who is the worthy objectof obedience…… Oh strive ye toobtain this inestimable treasure”...said Buddha as quoted by KingAshoka in one of his inscriptionsat Pardohli, a rock located in theEastern bank of the river Katak,twenty miles from Jagan Nath, India.Buddha’s (563–483 BC) realname was SiddharthaGuatama as . His father wasa Kashatri, a caste considered tobe upper class found in Hindu’scaste system. The clan to whichthe Gautamas belonged was theShakya clan. This clan lived at thefoothills of the Himalayas. Hismother Maya was reported to haveimmaculately conceived Siddharthaas, i.e., Siddhartha’s was a virginbirth. Legend has it that Siddharthaasappeared to his mother in a visionas a white elephant carrying alotus and went into her womb.A seer later said that Siddharthawould either become a great holyman or a great ruler. His fatherdesired for his son to follow in hisstead and thus shielded him fromreligion. Siddhartha as had fancyclothing, a group of dancing girls,female musicians, and othermaterial things relished by thewealthy. In his twenties, he wasmarried to a woman namedYashodara and had a son whose name was Rahul.He started to realize that the life he was livingwas frivolous.A legend named “Four Sights” indicates thathe saw four symbols that his father did not wanthim to see: a bent old man, a sick person, a deadperson, and a monk searching for a state ofeternal contentment rather than temporarypleasure. Upon seeing the first three, Siddharthaaswas saddened of life being brief and depressedfrom the reality of suffering, aging, and dying.Seeing the monk inspired him to live a life ofrenunciation.A close examination of Buddha’sbiography reveals that in his lifestyle, hewas not significantly different from otherprophets of God, who appeared in differentparts of the world.As a result, around the age of twenty-nine,he gave up his luxuries, left his wife and son,shaved his hair from his head, and wore a stiffrobe. His ambition in life was to no longer livethe life of his father but to completely attachhimself to the pain and suffering as depicted bythe Four Sights.His first attempt at such a task was to dowhat anybody else would do: study with ateacher who had many students. But Siddharthaaswas not satisfied by this study. He wentthrough six years of extreme self-denial methods,contact to intense heat and cold, brutal fasting,and other almost self-torturousmethods. Eventually, he realized thatthis would not lead to theenlightenment he desired.He began to recover from thatwhich he had inflicted upon himselffor the previous six years. He beganto eat once again and reflected onwhat he did. This change led him tothe famous incident where he wasseated in deep meditationunderneath the Bodhi tree andexperienced supreme enlightenment.At this point, he went through fourstates in which he remembered all ofhis previous lives, then he fullygrasped the concepts of dying andbeing born again (ultimately a wheelof life), and finally he figured out asto why suffering exists and how toend it. Upon having this experience,people said that a light shined fromhis body, and Sidharta Guatama aswas transformed into the Buddha.In any holy man’s journey, thetemptation of evil is never far. Mara,a humanized version of evil, is saidto have come and persuade theBuddha to keep such complex ideasto himself since the outside peoplewere too simple for such thoughts.However, Mara’s attempts to strayBuddha failed. Buddha spent therest of his life walking from villageto village teaching the growing groupof people who were following him.Many, it is said, were transformedsimply by meeting him.Buddha’s disciples were “The Sanghas” andwere free from the widespread caste system.His stepmother and wife became members ofthe “Bhikshunis,” a congregation of nunsfollowing Buddha. At his father’s demise hisstepmother was part of the Bhikshunis. It isassumed that Buddha died at the age of eighty.He had preached his whole life for people fromsuffering. A blacksmith served him a poisonouslast meal. Buddha became extremely ill and deathloomed before him. He taught one more studentalong his way to the next village. After that, heSpring 2006 19


sent a message to the blacksmith that he shouldnot blame himself or feel negative emotions forthe meal because he had offered food and thatwas a reward in itself. His final moments werespent lying on a stone couch with monks aroundhim paying their final respects. He told them tobe aware of themselves to such an extent thatthey vanquish the suffering of people seekingtemporary pleasures.Aclose examination of Buddha’s biography reveals that in his lifestyle, he wasnot significantly different from otherprophets of God, who appeared in differentparts of the world. Buddha was a prophet ofGod who found the Hindu concept of many godsto be abhorrent. He was a believer of one Godand propagated this very belief among his followers.I will examine this more closely after abrief historical background of early Buddhism.All researchers unanimously accepted thatthere has never been any official scriptureavailable for the disciples of Buddhism. Thephilosophy and the personality of Buddha wastransmitted verbally for a long time until KingAshoka (273-232 BC) appeared some threecenturies after his spiritual master. It was duringthe illustrious reign of Ashoka when the teachingsof Buddha were written on rocks and suptas inthe form of inscriptions. These inscriptions,carved into rocks, were ordered to be madethroughout his kingdom after his conversion toBuddhism and are known as ‘the Edicts’. Aroundthirty-three inscriptions have been discovered,in a language called Prakrit, a forerunner to theSanskrit language. None of these inscriptionsmentioned Buddhism as a polytheistic belief.These writings are of vital importance becauseIn spite of the fact that the teachings ofBuddha came into being a fewcenturies after Buddha, this abovementioned writing contains enoughevidence to indicate that Buddha wasneither an atheist nor an agnostic butwas indeed a believer in unity of God.these writings serve the purpose ofunderstanding Buddha’s philosophy and wayof life from the vantage point of Ashoka.Ashoka’s authority as a true representative ofBuddha has never been challenged. Dr. Le Bonwrites:“It is not in the books, but in the monuments thatone should study what Buddhism used to be.”Ashoka was not only instrumental in settingup missionary network to spread the beautifulmessage of Buddha as far as he could but he alsogathered about 500 scholars to bring forth theunifying message of Buddha and named thisbelief as Mahayana, the new belief, in place ofHanyana, the old belief.Historians generally conclude that anunderstanding of Buddhism given by Ashokashould have a stronger claim to acceptance.Against this understanding such views clearlyat variance with Ashoka’s may safely berejected. However, if the early sources seem tocontradict each other, caution has to be appliedin accepting one and rejecting the other. I willnow analyze the evidence found in history toprove the existence of God in Buddhism.1) Some individual Buddhists do relate tocertain higher beings, such as the goddessTara, as an independent and real being withpower over their destiny. For these practitionersTara is their sole refuge, their greatestobject of veneration and their trustedguardian and protector. What this beliefsuggests is that the inclination to seek refugein an external source is somethingdeeply natural for us as human beings.2) The Tibetan form of Buddhism not onlyadvocates the existence of superhuman deitiesor demons a part and parcel of theirfaith, but also believes in communicationwith them. The qualities of a living Godwho rewards his servants for their nobledeeds and also make them accountable fortheir immoral actions are paramount. Thesecond part of Tibetans belief.,i.e., communication with SupremeBeing, is similar to divinerevelation that any personcan receive.3) Buddha never rejected theconcept of one God, althoughhe rejected the concept ofmany gods found in Hinduism.To support their atheistic belief,faltered Buddhas refer tothe contempt shown by theBuddha to Hindu Pundits towardstheir gods. In this conversationBuddha was saying that worldlymindedBrahmans could not lead man toGod, for they knew nothing of Him. Onthe contrary, Buddha claimed to be “EnlightenedOne.” Thus, the faltered Buddhasbelieved that Buddha must have rejectedthe idea of one God in totality in spite ofhaving no proof of such rejection.4) Many Buddhists venerate the image ofthe Buddha in the manner of worship similarto worship of God found in other religions,asking him for success in personallife and dealings. This is perhaps additionalevidence that man is a worshipping animal,with God consciousness hard-wired intothe human brain.5) Arthur Lillie in his book, India in PrimitiveChristianity, writes in his seventh stupa:“Thus spake Devanampiya Piyadasi:“Wherefore from this very hour, I have causedreligious discourses to be preached, I haveappointed religious observances that mankind,having listened thereto, shall be brought to followin the right path, and give glory to God (Is’ana).” 4The usage of God in singular is of significanceimportance. From this reference it is quiteobvious that the earlier sources portray Buddhaas a dedicated believer in God (may God blesshis soul). In spite of the fact that the teachingsof Buddha came into being a few centuries afterBuddha, this above mentioned writing containsenough evidence to indicate that Buddha wasneither an atheist nor an agnostic but was indeeda believer in unity of God.6) At the end of the same chapter one ofthe followers of Buddha, Pingiya, who wasenfeebled by old age, concludes his discussionwith the following statement:“Assuredly I shall go to the immovable, theunshakeable, the likeness of which does not existanywhere. I have no doubt about this. Thus considerme to be one whose mind is so disposed.”This illustrates the hope and expectation of adisciple of Buddha that after his death he willmeet his Lord, who is described as immovable,unshakeable and without likeness. This is adescription of God in full agreement with thatfound in other religious scriptures.7) In the village of Manaskata, whichwas the center of Brahmanic religious controversyonce, Vasettha and Bharadvaga ofthe same village, while taking a walk aftertheir bath in the river, began to debate areligious doctrine. Neither of the two couldconvince the other of the correctness of theopinions of their respective gurus. Vasettha,the young Brahman, suggested that itshould be taken to the court of Buddha.This agreed upon they proceeded to presentthe issue to Buddha seeking his wise counsel.During the meeting, Bharadvaga, theyoung Brahman, remained silent andVasettha asked the questions. Before re-20 MuslimSunrise


sponding to the question, Buddha posedsome counter questions.First he asked, “Did any Brahmans versedin the Three Vedas ever see Brahma faceto face?” The answer was “No”. ThenBuddha asked Vasettha, “If any of the Brahmansor their pupils of the previous seven generationshad seen Brahma,” and the answer was again,“No”. Then Buddha asked them if they themselvesclaimed that they had ever seen Brahma.Again the answer was, “No”. Then he askedVasettha, “If a man, born and brought up inManasakata was asked the way to Manasakata,would that man be in any doubt or difficulty inanswering that question.” Vasettha answered:“Certainly not, Gotama! And why? If the manhad been born and brought up in Manasakata,every road that leads to Manasakata would beperfectly familiar to him.”At this point Buddha expounded:“That man, Vasettha, born and brought up atManasakata might, if he were asked the way toManasakata, fall into doubt and difficulty, butFor people who respond to the call ofGod, irrespective of their caste, the pathto God is made easy for them. For onewho fears God, all human passions suchas anger, jealousy, prejudice etc., cease todominate him. When one transcendsthem, one is likely to imitate Godlyattributes and acquire them.to the Tathagata,” (the fully enlightened one,meaning himself), when asked touching the pathwhich leads to the world of Brahmâ, there canbe neither doubt nor difficulty. For Brahma, Iknow, Vasettha, and the world of Brahma, andthe path which lead unto it. Yea, I know it evenas one who has entered the Brahmâ world, andhas been born within it!” 6Buddha’s argument was that every Godly soulundergoes a great transformation in this verylife and is bestowed a paradise while still in thisworld, the paradise which is none other thanfinding a living God. This living God nourisheshis soul and showers His love which becomesits nurture and it drinks at this fountain of lifeand He enlightens the way and guides themthrough thick and thin. Buddha went on to claimthat he himself was the one who could lead manto God because he had been in communion withHim and had come from Him.Now it is obvious that Buddha did have faithin the existence of one Supreme God and claimedto have come from Him. Buddha knew God betterthan the villagers of Manasakata knew their ownvillage or the roads leading to it. Many greatprophets have made similar claims of witnessinga life of eternity with Him here on earth, evenbefore death transports them to the otherworldlylife. All Divine messengers share this eternal stateof communion with Him, Buddha being noexception. Buddha referred to God as Brahmabecause this was a familiar term to the Hindus,who applied it to the Supreme God among theirgods.As the dialogue continues, the position ismade even clearer.When he had thus spoken, Vasettha, the youngBrahman, said to the Blessed One:“So has it been told me, Gotama, even that theSamana Gotama knows the way to a state ofunion with Brahmâ. It is well! Let the venerableGotama be pleased to show us the way to a stateof union with Brahmâ, let the venerable Gotamasave the Brahman race!” 7Having heard Vasettha,Buddha did not reject hisprayer and aspirationswith reference to Brahmaas being unreal ormeaningless — a definiteproof of his approval ofwhatever he spoke of theBrahma and Hiscommunion with Hischosen ones. For peoplewho respond to the call ofGod, irrespective of theircaste, the path to God ismade easy for them. Forone who fears God, allhuman passions such as anger, jealousy,prejudice etc., cease to dominate him. When onetranscends them, one is likely to imitate Godlyattributes and acquire them. This whole dialogueis worthy of special attention by those who wantto understand Buddha’s attitude towards God.The erroneous popular belief aboutBuddhism as a non-Godly religion is largelybased on the teachings presented by Westernscholars. These Western scholars did not botherto conduct their own research but rather heavilyrelied on the translation of Buddha scripture doneby early Buddhists from Pali language. Theirbaseless atheistic beliefs oozed into the pureteachings of Buddha to pollute it. Moreover,instead of drawing their own inferences directlyfrom a study of reliable Buddhist sources, theyleaned entirely on the beliefs about Buddhismprevailing among the major Buddhist sects. Dr.Gustav Le Bon (1841-1931) writes:“Unfortunately, the study of Indianmonuments has been completely neglected byEuropean scholars. The specialists of Indianstudies, through whom we have come to learn ofBuddhism, had never visited India. They hadonly studied this religion in books; an unfortunatetwist of fate made them chance upon the worksof philosophical sects written five or six centuriesafter the death of Buddha, these being absolutelyalien to the religion practiced in reality. Themetaphysical speculations which had soastonished Europeans by their profundity werein fact nothing new. Ever since the books of Indiahave been better known, these have been foundin the writings of philosophical sects which haddeveloped during the Brahmanic period.” 8Among the best known scholars of India, onlya solitary voice was raised by Hadhrat MirzaGhulam Ahmad (as) in 1899 who, in his bookJesus in India, wrote,“……Buddha also believed in the existenceof the Devil, so he also believed in hell andheaven, in angels and in the Day of Judgment.The charge that the Buddha did not believe inGod is pure fabrication. The Buddha did notbelieve in Vedanta and in corporeal gods of theHindus. He criticized the Vedas a great deal. Hedoes not believe in the existing Vedas. He regardsthem as corrupt and interpolated.”The complete denial of all passions istherefore claimed by Buddhists to be the absolutetruth. Greed for material wealth, power, or eventhe love of others, when unfulfilled, results inthe agony and frustration of the deprived.Similarly, hatred also plays havoc with one’speace of mind. All these forces weaken thespiritual powers of man. This also emphasizesthat because man’s intrinsic nature cannot bechanged and his lust for ever more cannot bestilled, full contentment and satisfaction cannever be achieved without severing all ties withmatter.Instead of attempting to struggle and conquerthe baser motivations and to bring them underthe command of the soul, the soul is advised tobeat a retreat and vacate the arena of life on earth.All that is born out of desire to satisfy one’sego, is lowly, materialistic, ignoble and shouldbe sacrificed for the sake of the ultimate good ofthe same ego. The peace achieved through suchan escape amounts to little more than death, i.e.,the negation of life.If the philosophy of absolute self-negation isfollowed to its logical conclusion, it willinevitably lead to the extinction of the humanrace. To ascribe this inspirational gibberish tothe Divinely-enlightened wisdom of Buddha doeshim no honor. This is not the Divine cup ofrevelation from which he drank deep and becameimmortal.Spring 2006 21


HinduismThe Concept of God in HinduismBy Bilal RanaOur behavior and relationship with the world around us is a reflectionof the nature we believe God to possess. All teachings are intertwinedwith and emerge from a religion’s concept of God. It is reflected in theway its adherents pray, in their sacrifices, rituals and all that ultimatelycan be described as the ‘texture’ of a religion.Of all major world religions, Hinduism as it is practiced today isarguably the most challenging to define in terms of this concept in that itranges from one extreme to the other – that is, from absolute monotheismto belief in an infinite number of gods.What is Hinduism?Hinduism is the world’s oldest major religion which is still in existencetoday. It is a worldwide religious tradition largely followed by the peopleof India. There is no mention of ‘Hinduism’ as a religion in its sacred texts.Classical dictionaries define ‘Hindu’ as the name of a people who considerthe area from the River Indus down to the sea-shore as their fatherland andsacred territory.Therefore, Hinduism is a name that has been coined in modern literature.The name Sanatan Dharma, or ‘original religion’, is the name used in itsholy scriptures. Adi Deb Narayan Rishi was the pioneer teacher (BishnoBhagobat Puran 7/11/5, 6). Some scholars think that Adi Deb and Adamwere one and the same person. The word sanatan means what was, whatis, and what will remain permanent, and that which describes ‘eternalreligion’ is known as the Sanatan Dharma. Krishna also believed ineverlasting religion (Mahabharat 5/83/12). The term Sanatan Dharma canbe translated into Arabic as ‘Dinul Qaim’, a term also used in the HolyQuran which means ‘eternal religion in conformity with nature’.The Hindu TriadThere are three fundamental gods in the Hindu tradition, which are:1. Brahma, the Creator2. Vishnu, the Sustainer3. Shiva, the DestroyerThese are manifestations of the One Supreme Spirit, Brahman. He isthe Absolute Authority, the eldest of their gods, and occupies the higheststation among them all.AvatarsAccording to Hindu belief there are ten avatars, or incarnations ofVishnu, which represent the Divine and whose mission is to revivespirituality in mankind:1. Matsya, the fish2. Kurma, the tortoise3. Varaha, the boar4. Nara Simha, the man lion5. Vamana, the dwarf6. Parusha Rama, Rama with an axe7. Rama Chandra, the hero of the Ramayana epic8. Krishna, the main character in the Bhagavad-Gita9. Buddha, the founder of Buddhism10. Kalki, the tenth avatar who is yet to come(list taken from Book of Religious Knowledge, by Waheed Ahmad)Deification of ManA glance at religious history reveals that man repeatedly deifies himself.The worship of temporal beings, including prophets or saints, raises manyprovocative questions. Driven by fear or by love, mankind has‘worshipped’ monarchs, powerful bullies, prophets, sages, martyrs, carvedimages, objects and coins of monetary value – the awe of which begin todictate one’s sense of ‘wrong and right’. When you examine the ultimatecause of social, moral and political turmoil in society, we find that thismisguided worship or zeal destroys the peace in the hearts and minds ofindividuals and as a result the values of society begin to slide. This is themomentous influence the concept of God has on the scheme and fate ofcivilization.A warning regarding this very point has been given by the SupremeGod to Krishna in the following words, after Krishna had beencommissioned to reform mankind:“Unintelligent men who do not know Me perfectly, think that I, the22 MuslimSunrise


Supreme Being, was impersonal before and have now assumed thispersonality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My Highernature, which is Imperishable and Supreme” (Bhagavad Gita 7:24)The Oneness of GodA superficial glance at Hinduism may beguile many naïve students tothink it is an idolatrous religion. In fact, any religion which appearsidolatrous to us today must have been fundamentally monotheistic if oneis to believe in the universal principle that all religions have emanated fromthe same source. Otherwise the arguments between different religions ofthe world would never cease assuming that each came from a differentsource or a different God.While it is argued that so many world religious texts are interpolated,distorting the original substance of a faith, we propose for the sake ofargument that God never allows a scripture which He reveals to be sogrossly tainted that man cannot still find clear, palpable remnants of theoriginal teaching which demonstrates the unityin all faiths. This scientific or ‘detective’approach is crucial and a careful adjustmentof the microscope can reveal a dramaticallynew story altogether and bring the true, crisp,and rational picture into focus.Here are several demonstrations of theUnity of God as presented in sacred Hinduscriptures:1. “He who is the Creator of everything,the Supreme Soul, He hasno form and there is no model orIdol which can show any resemblanceto Him” (Yajur Veda 32/3Mantra).2. ”He has no hands, no feet, yetHe is the fastest and He can graspperfectly. He has no eyes, no ears,yet He can see and hear flawlessly”(ibid 3/19)3. “He is One only without asecond.”(Chandogya Upanishad 6:2:1)4. “Of Him there are neither parents nor lord.”(Svetasvatara Upanishad 6:9)5. “No eye can perceive that entity but He can be felt in thedepth of an eye” (Cano 1/7).6. “He was not born of any mother or father.” (Kotho 1/2/18)7. “He is finer that the finest and He knows all.”(Mundok 3/1/7)8. “Param Brahma had no birth and is free of death.” (kotho1/2/18)9.“They enter darkness, those who worship the natural elements(i.e. wind, fire, water, etc.). They sink deeper in darkness,those who worship sambhuti.” (Yajurveda 40:9)10. “He is the Creator of the entire universe and He is thesustainer of all creation.” (Mundok 1/11)11.“Never salute any other god. Never worship any othergod. Never even think of any other god. A person who abandonsthat God who lives in his heart, who is his real master and is thegenuine Ishwar Narayan, and salutes someone else with affection,such a person is a sinner.” (Ananda Shanghita 13/26/7)He is depicted as formless, flawless and immortal, whose dignity isdistinct from and far above all created, or inferior forms as incarnation.Polytheism and the Divine in Nature“All are but parts of one stupendous whole, whose body Nature is,and God the soul.” Long before the 18 th century English poet AlexanderPope penned this mystical lyric, there existed in many sects of the Hindufaith a deep reverence of nature. To many today, the various manifestations,or attributes, of God have been given special recognition as gods in theirown right, each with selective powers and roles. While many Hindusinsist that the essence of theology inHinduism is Oneness of God, He nonethelesshas many manifestations of Himself, andeach one can be worshipped, praised andprayed to separately.In accordance with our theory that allfaiths at their inception preached theOneness of God, these beliefs can beexplained by the tendency to take angelsand in simplistic fashion ascribe to themcreative ‘god-like’ powers. In some religionswe find that out of angels, gods are created.A case in point, the Holy Ghost, whichappeared to Jesus in the form of a dove inthe Bible (Matthew 3:16), conveyed tidingsor revelations from God to Jesus. Thoughin the Bible, this dove, or ‘Holy Spirit’ wasmerely described as an angel appearing toJesus, today it is acknowledged as anindependent entity and partner within theoverall Christian Deity. For many, the dovehas become a symbol of the Christian faith.In creating countless angels to guide, moveand govern the laws of nature which Godhas dictated for the universe, millions of‘gods’ that are working as partners appearas manifestations or attributes of God.God ‘in’ ManProphets, who were sent by God to guide mankind by way of example,have always said that ‘the Light of God is within me.’ If they did not saythis, they would be contradicting themselves. Jesus as , Rama Chandra as ,Krishna as , Buddha as and Muhammad sa were all known to say this.Prophets and divines from all religions have spoken in parables. However,it often happens that parables and metaphors are taken too literally byfollowers of a religion and from there on the underlying idea is lost.Nevertheless, the authenticity and brotherhood of all prophets is anessential notion if we are to assume that only One God has been revealingHimself to different nations over different periods. This is what has beenstated in the Holy Quran in the verse:“There are no people (in the world) to whom We have not sent aWarner.” (The Holy Quran 35:25)It becomes incumbent upon us to believe in all prophets and that theessence of their teaching was exactly the same. Having stated this, I quoteSpring 2006 23


Mahatma Gandhi, India’s foremostmodern day icon, said “If someonewere to ask me what the mostimportant outward feature ofHinduism was, I would suggest thatit was the idea of cow protection.” Itis intriguing that of all the animalkingdom, the cow stands out asparticularly useful and beneficial toman, perhaps like no other animal.the Holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammad sa , who said: “There was a prophetof God in India who was dark in color and his name was Kahan.”(“Taarikh-i-Hamdaan Dailami” Baab-ul-Kaaf. See Pocket book p: 854by Malik Abdur Rehman Khadim 6th edition Published in 1952.)Anyone familiar with the Hindu tradition understands well that Krishnais described as dark-complected invariably throughout the Hindu traditions,and that his birth name was Kanhai, which closely resembles Kahan.Furthermore, the meaning of the name ‘Krishna’ – though it is generallyunderstood as “the enlightened one” — is literally translated as ‘darkcomplectedone’ in Sanskrit.Idol WorshipAlthough Hindus do not believe idols or portraits have any powers,they argue that the worship of statues is merely symbolic and is meant toevoke emotion and to create an atmosphere needed for prayer. Whereas inIslam, God is not visible in any form as neither the prayers which arebeing offered and worshiping any intermediary objects which representGod is prohibited. Emotions are not to be created artificially, and thereforedim lighting, incense and pictures or statues are prohibited in the mosque.Hindu and Greek MythologyThe fact that Greek and Hindu mythology share much in common mayonly be a casual coincidence. It has been argued, nonetheless, that theirmay have been some religious exchange between these two ancientcivilizations. The famous Greek mathematician Pythagoras was held tohave traveled to the Indus River valley where he was trained in Hindutraditions and philosophy. He became the first Greek to refer to himselfas a philosopher, and had a fellowship which lasted 250 years after hisdeath. Like the Hindus, Pythagoras held that the soul was trapped in thebody and he also believed in reincarnation. As a preeminent figure of thetime, some argue that elements of the Hindu pantheon crept into theGreek concept of the divinities, including the themes of the Vedic Triad orTrinity and other glaringly obvious trademarks pointing back toincarnations of God in the Hindu tradition. A similar ‘contagious’ exchangeof ideas has been theorized between Hinduism and Buddhism in theneighboring Far East.Theology of the CowMahatma Gandhi, India’s foremost modern day icon, said “If someone24 MuslimSunrise


were to ask me what the most important outward feature of Hinduismwas, I would suggest that it was the idea of cow protection.” It is intriguingthat of all the animal kingdom, the cow stands out as particularly usefuland beneficial to man, perhaps like no other animal. The popular catchphrase ‘holy cow’ was probably derived from this Hindu philosophy. Attimes a source of meat, dairy milk, and hide, and at others of hard labor oreven religious inspiration, this animal has become the object of worship atvarious times all over the world. Ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians andJews have all incorporated cow or calf worship into their practices. Perhapsit was because of this repeated tendency, which is now practiced by 900million Hindus world over, that the second and longest chapter of theHoly Quran was named Al Baqarah, (The Cow). A specific warningagainst cow worship can be found in this chapter, in which Moses says:“O my people, you have indeed wronged yourselves by taking the calffor worship.” (The Holy Quran, 2:55)It is believed that while early Hindu divines did eat beef, the cow beganto be seen as a sacred animal not to be eaten and rather to be hailed andworshipped.Krishna was also known as Gopala, which means ‘caretaker of thecows’. A similar expression is given with reference to Jesus in the scriptures.He is called the ‘shepherd of sheep’, a similitude describing him as atender to spiritual wayfarers and as sheep and lamb are common in pasturesof Palestine, the analogy of the cow was used in India, where even todaythe cow can be found crowding the streets of Dehli.ReincarnationThe concept of death and the reappearance of souls can be found invarious forms in every religion. This concept is in fact inalienable to thebelief in the existence of God Himself. As far as to the concept of theJustice of God in Hinduism is concerned, man will continually be broughtback to this temporal world in some shade of life, of either high or loworder. If one is good, he may be raised among princely stock or if he is evilhe may return as a lower form of life, like a frog, alligator, snake or even amicroscopic life form. This speculative thinking springs from the unknownmystery of life after death. In the Islamic tradition, this rebirth is alsodescribed in worldly terminology, i.e. with reference to a human body andto earthly rewards and punishments, such as ‘fruits’ or ‘fire’. But theseare understood to be only metaphors and Hinduism too may have had thesame metaphorical spirit but has been read literally.‘Castes’ of ManIn Hinduism there are four major castes which classify the inequalityof human beings:1. Brahman – the divines, or priests2. Kshatriya – the nobles, or warriors3. Vaisya – the farmer, or mercantile4. Shudra – the peasant, or laborerA fifth caste also exists, beneath the four above, known as thePanchamas (untouchables). Coincidently, in the Holy Quran a parallel offour main ‘castes’, a term which can be used loosely, are also described;the Prophets, the Martyrs, the Truthful and the Righteous (Holy Quran,4:69). Or similarly, three fundamental states of man are described also inthe Holy Quran: Nafse Ammarah (the self that incites to evil), NafseLawwama (the reproving self) and Nafse Mutmainnah (the soul at rest)which can be summarized as the ‘physical, moral and spiritual’ states ofman in relation to God. In Islam the hierarchy of these ‘castes’ are neithersocial, nor tribal or political, but strictly spiritual. Some Hindu reformistsprotest the current caste system as practiced in rural India today citing thespiritual castes have evolved into a literal social caste system, while arguingthat the Hindu castes can be transcended as they are actually part of one’sinner-consciousness. (Bhagavad-Gita, As It Is. Commentary by A.C.Bhkivedanta Swami Prabhupada, 7 th edition, pg. 238-239). Therefore, asinner is described as ‘untouchable’ in the sense that his behavior andpersonality are repulsive before God. Similarly the saintly or virtuous are‘divines’.Yoga: From Past to PresentYoga, which means union with the divine, is central to Hinduism andhas influenced spiritual practices throughout the world and has recentlybecome very popular in the west. Hindus insist that the posturesprescribed by yoga are part of an ancient spiritual tradition revealed totheir rishis (Hindu divines). They argue that the practice of yoga, whichincludes postures such as bowing and prostration, deeply influence thehuman psyche. It is intriguing to discover that the western world fascinationwith yoga has, at it’s origins, the philosophy and ritual worship of OneGod. It is similar in ways to the Islam mode of worship known as salatwhich comprises of precise movements, each reflecting correspondingmovements in the heart. Similarly, Jesus stuck poses in a codified mannerto evoke emotions in prayer at Gethesame. One also wonders if, likeyoga, the initial philosophy behind the ancient East Asian tradition knownas T’ai Chi, which has been called “moving meditation,” also started outas God-worship.Monotheistic Strands of HinduismMonotheistic strands of Hinduism have from time to time remerged.The Sikh religion, which is in fact described as a hybrid of Hindu andIslamic traditions, is such an example. The point of departure betweenSikhism and Hinduism is the Sikh belief that God is one and cannot besubdivided with representations in the forms of animals or natural elements.Yet, many Sikhs are regarded as fully Hindu by Hindus in some areas ofthe Punjab in India. Hinduism therefore has an attitude whichaccommodates both strict monotheists and idolaters. It appears thereforethat the concept of God in Hinduism is relatively decentralized, ascompared to other faiths such as Islam.ConclusionThroughout this essay we have argued that metaphors are a way ofspeaking in which one thing is being expressed in terms of another, wherebythis bringing together throws new light and new personality on the characterof what is being described. We would like to end by casting that samemystifying language used not only in Hindu literature, but in all religiousliterature in fact:“Indeed, you alone know yourself by your own Internal Potency, OSupreme Person, origin of all, Lord of all beings, God of gods, Lord of theuniverse!” (Bhadavad Gita, 10:15)Mankind here is portrayed as an embodiment of the divine attributes.In the art of language, there is perhaps no better way than metaphors toflirt with the soul. The ambiguity in figures of speech has been the sourceof much controversy and confusion, but what timeless source of delightand wisdom to the few who understand!BibliographyRevelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad. Chapter entitled Hinduism.An Elementary Study of Islam. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad. 1996, Islam International Publications Ltd.Socrates – Development of Greek Philosophy and Religion. Fazal Ahmad, UK. Review of Religions, Dec. 2001.Journey to Truth – Hinduism. Abdul Kudus Alimi, Switzerland. Review of Religions, Jan 2004.Question & Answer sessions, by Hadhrat Mirza Tahir AhmadSpring 2006 25


An interview with Frank LevyThe Muslim Sunrise interviews noteworthy personalitiesfrom the U.S. and abroad, to learn about their background,beliefs and contribution to society. In this issue, we sat withFrank Levy, Director of Development and Outreach forInterfaith Ministries for Greater Houston.Frank Levy speaking at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Communty's ReligiousFounders Day last year in Houston, Texas.Please tell the readers of theMuslim Sunrise about yourbackground.I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Ireceived my BS in Education from MundeleinCollege and my MA in History from theUniversity of Illinois. I also have a Master ofFine Arts from The Goodman Theatre. I ammarried. My wife JoBeth converted to Judaismafter we had been married 12 years. I have twosons and two daughters, and three granddaughters.Please tell us about your faith.I’m Jewish and a member of CongregationBeth El (House of God) in Missouri City, Texas,which is a suburb of Houston, where I’m theimmediate past-president of the board of trusteesand teach 7 th grade religious school. While I amnot a rabbi, I am a student of Judaism’s sacredwritings, the Torah and Talmud, and the writingsof our great ancient and modern rabbis in bothformal and informal educational programs.Can you tell our readers about yourprofessional life?I’m the Director of Development andOutreach for Interfaith Ministries of GreaterHouston.Interfaith Ministries brings people of diversefaith traditions together for dialogue,collaboration and service. It envisions acommunity of faith working and acting togetherin response to the divine call to create a morejust, compassionate, and caring society.What are your personal interests,hobbies, and the like?On the serious side I find that my dailystudy and prayer centers my life and remindsme of my connection to the Holy One and toall of creation and all of God’s children. Thisis a most important and fulfilling part of eachday.On the lighter side, I’m a long distancerunner and bicyclist. I enjoy the solitude andtime away from the phones and demands ofdaily life that running and cycling gives me. Ilike the challenge of seeing what limits I canchallenge and surpass. I recently completedmy first 50km trail run.I’m also an action movie fanatic. The morecar chases and car crashes the better. While Idon’t much like the violence, I really love theescapist nature of action films. I also like easyto read spy or detective novels. Again theescapist nature of these books is a good counterto my demanding job.Probably the most rewarding activity I doeach week is teaching 12 and 13-year-oldstudents in our synagogue’s religious school.This is the year they become bar or BarMitzvah – Sons or Daughters of the faith. It isJudaism’s coming of age ritual. I enjoyteaching the tenets of our faith and helpingyoung people to see how they can live a Jewishand God-centered life in a Christian world,and a world that seduces them toward living alife focused on money and society’s false idols– cars, clothes, homes, music, etc.How did you first come in to contactwith the Ahmadiyya MuslimCommunity?Because of the nature of my job I have theopportunity to attend many lectures andevents on the subject of God’s place in theworld, on tolerance and interfaith dialogue. Itwas at one of these events, sponsored byInterfaith Ministries partner, the BoniukCenter for the Study and Advancement ofReligious Tolerance, that I met Dr. Amir Malikthe President of the Ahmadiyya Communityin Houston and Shahed Qureshi. We seemedto have an almost immediate connection on aspiritual level and began sharing phone callsand conversations over the next few months.This led to my invitation to speak at the 2005Religious Founders Day event in Houston.26 MuslimSunrise


And so our readers are aware,each year, in cities all around theworld the Ahmadiyya MuslimCommunity holds ReligiousFounders Day symposiums tocreate religious harmony throughaddresses and discussion. Tell usa little about Houston’s event in2005.The event, which was held in November,was wonderful and very enlightening. Therewere 6 speakers from a variety of religioustraditions, including all three Abrahamictraditions – Judaism, Islam and Christianity.While each speaker approached the topicof ‘Man’s purpose on earth and how to achieveit’ differently, we all seemed to agree, ingeneral, that our purpose is to serve the willof God, to care for the planet, and to make theworld a more just and compassionate placefor all people.You said earlier you worked forInterfaith Ministries. Describethe kind of work InterfaithMinistries does.Interfaith Ministries is an amazingorganization. I have been blessed by the HolyOne to have the opportunity to work among adedicated group of people who are focused onmaking the world a better place.Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houstonis Houston’s oldest interfaith organization andwas founded in 1955. A few of our programsare: Meals on Wheels, which feeds over 3,000homebound and hungry senior citizens inHouston each weekday; Refugee ResettlementServices, which annually resettles about 250refugees, who’ve been forced from theirhomeland because of religious, ethnic, racialor political persecution; and Faith Tours, acity-wide educational tour to houses ofworship of Houston’s major faith traditions –Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist,B’hai, and so on.IM also played a role in the wakeof Hurricane Katrina, right?Yes, our Office of Disaster Preparednessand Response works through faithcommunities to prepare the Houstoncommunity to respond to natural and manmadedisasters and to coordinate a communitywide volunteer effort to meet the community’sneeds in the aftermath of a disaster. IM wasinstrumental in calling on, and organizing theHouston community’s response to the needsof tens of thousands of evacuees from NewOrleans that came to Houston in the wake ofHurricane Katrina in 2005. In specific, IMorganized the feeding and spearheaded thefundraising effort needed to feed the thousandsof people in the George R. Brown ConventionCenter in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.Our Neighbors to Neighbors program,created in the wake of Hurricane Katrina,continues to help evacuees from New Orleans,living in Houston, integrate into the Houstoncommunity, with job and housing, clothing andfurniture assistance, and medical, mentalhealth and other community service referrals.As the Director of Developmentand Outreach, what is your role inInterfaith Ministries?As Director of Development and Outreachit is my job to create, develop and retainrelationships with faith communities,congregations, individuals and corporations,and to provide opportunities for these groupsand individuals to take part in IM programs.It’s my responsibility to create programswhich will encourage the community tosupport IM with volunteers andfinancial gifts. IM has anapproximately $8 million budget.Financial support comes fromgovernmental agencies such asthe Area Agency on Aging forMeals on Wheels, United Way,congregations and faithcommunities, individuals and corporations.Beyond AAA and United Way, IM must raiseapproximately $2 million per year to fulfillour mission of serving the community.Being that our present issue concernsGod in world religions, canyou please tell us the name(s) ofGod in Judaism?In Judaism God has many names. Torah,which are the sacred teachings revealed toMoses our Teacher on Mount Sinai, recalls 70names of God. Most often God is referred toas Adonai, or Elohai, referring to God’scompassionate nature or God’s judging nature.Of God’s 70 names most refer to attributes ofGod’s nature or God’s role as Father, King,Shield of Abraham and Protector of Sarah,Creator or Rock and Redeemer, etc. Some verytraditional or observant Jews may choosenever to utter any of God’s names, ratherspeaking only HaShem meaning The Name, asa sign of ultimate humility and reverence.What is the role of God in Judaismand what is God’s relationship withmankind?In Judaism Adonai/God is creator, father,sovereign, judge, protector and law giver. It isthrough Torah and the Mitzvot – which are the613 commandments that inform Jewish behaviorand a Jew’s relationship with God, humanity,and the world –It is our duty, and some might say choice, todo whatever is in our power to fulfill the mitzvotas a sign of our love, reverence and fear of God.Judaism also teaches that humanity is God’spartner in completing creation. Torah teachesthat on the sixth day of creation God rested.Creation was not complete, Torah teaches thatGod created humans as a partner in completingcreation, caring for the world and in tikkun olam– repairing the world.Is there a concept of the hereafterin the Jewish faith?While there is a concept of an after life it isnot as clearly defined as it is in Islam orChristianity. Called the World to Come it refersI have always been struck by thesimilarities between Islam – its laws,beliefs and traditions – and Judaism– its laws, beliefs and traditions.both to the afterlife and the Messianic era whenall of mankind lives together in peace and infulfillment of God’s commandments and promise.Judaism is focused on how each of us lives ourlife here on earth as God’s partner in creating aworld of justice, compassion and caring. To quotethe prophet Micah, All God demands of you isto Seek Justice Love Mercy and walk humblywith God.While most readers may know that theProphet Moses’ as ancestry ties back to theProphet Abraham as , they may not know thatthrough Prophet Abraham as , Prophet Moses asand Prophet Muhammad sa share a commonlineage. Do you see any similarities betweenthe Islamic and Mosaic laws, languages andcultures?I have always been struck by the similaritiesbetween Islam – its laws, beliefs and traditions– and Judaism – its laws, beliefs and traditions.Probably one of the significant differences is thatJudaism sees Abraham as the first Jew and isoften referred to as Abraham Aveinu – Abrahamour Father. But one cannot ignore that both theQuran and Torah teach about God’s testing ofSpring 2006 27


Abraham as an example of how to deal with thedaily tests we all face in life.As cultures we both reflect our Semiticancestry. We both share an ancestry as desertnomads and tribal peoples. Our languages andmany customs are similar – halal and the kosherlaws are very similar – we do not eat pork,shellfish, or scavenger foul.We would like to thank you for thegood works you are doing and alsofor sitting with the Muslim Sunriseand hope to see your continued participationat our interfaith events. Isthere anything more you’d like toshare with our readership?Thank you for inviting me to take part in thisinterview. I have enjoyed it. Thank you to theAhmadiyya Muslim Community of Houston forreaching out to all of the Houston communityand inviting us to share in your efforts to makeHouston a more compassionate and caringcommunity. And thank you for sharing with us,and for living your faith in ways that make abetter and more peaceful world.Probably at no other time in the history ofthe world is it more important that people offaith and goodwill speak out and work togetherto make this world a better more peaceful world.In my opinion it is the responsibility of peopleof faith and goodwill to work toward a worldwhere our shared beliefs of care for the lessfortunate – the orphan, the widow, the homeless,the poor, and the stranger drive us to end hungerand poverty. It is also our responsibility, as anexpression of our shared beliefs, to reach out toone another, and together, work toward a worldof peace, justice, tolerance and understanding.For if we do not, those who would use faith as adestructive force will destroy us all.Shalom Aleichem – peace and blessings toyou and to your families.Frank Levy is the Director forDevelopment and Outreach withInterfaith Ministries for GreaterHouston, Inc. and can bereached at flevy@imgh.org.Editor’s Note: The terms Semite and Semiticare derived from Shem, the eldest son of ProphetNoah as and the progenitor of the Semitic people.It is from this common ancestry, dating backsome 5,500 years, that the faith traditions ofJudaism, Christianity and Islam have originated(A Book of Religious Knowledge, ed. WaheedAhmad, p. 85).The Holy QuranChapter 2: Al-BaqarahVerse: 126And remember the time when We made theHouse a resort for mankind and a place ofsecurity; We said, ‘Take ye the station ofAbraham as a place of prayer.’ And we commandedAbraham and Ishmael, saying, ‘PurifyMy House for those who perform the circuitand for those who remain therein fordevotion and those who bow down and fallprostrate in Prayer.’Verse : 134Were you present when death came to Jacob,when he said to his sons. ‘What will you worshipafter me?’ They answered, ‘We will worshipthy God, the God of thy fathers, Abrahamand Ishmael and Isaac, the One God; and toHim we submit ourselves.’Verse : 137Say ye, ‘We believe in Allah and what hasbeen revealed to us, and what was revealed toAbraham and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacoband his children, and what was given to Mosesand Jesus, and what was given to all otherProphets from their Lord. We make no distinctionbetween any of them; and to Him wesubmit ourselves.’28 MuslimSunrise


a symposium on religion & scienceA student essay contest for TheFirst Annual Stephen S.Infantino Scholarship AwardsTheBiblePlease note:NewDeadlineDateRELIGIONSCIENCEFirst prize $500 scholarship;Second prize $300scholarship; & Third prize$200. The top essay will beread at the symposiumTheQur’anMarch 5, 20062 PM to 4 PMSponsored by theAhmadiyya Muslim Community2103 Gabriel Avenue, Zion, ILFor More information:847.746.5585email: taqwa@ix.netcom.comThe symposium is free andopen to the public.Refreshments will be servedCollege of Lake CountyGrayslake Campus AuditoriumSpring 2006 29


The Board of Directors, staff and aid workers are all unpaidvolunteers with diverse professional backgrounds, includingbusiness, healthcare, and education sectors. This uniquestrength allows Humanity First to direct more than 90% of allfunds raised towards the humanitarian projects we pursue.To learn more and to help, please visit www.humanityfirst.orgOUR MISSIONHumanity First’s mission is to serve disaster struck and socially disadvantagedcommunities in the poorest regional blocs in the world. Drawing strength from ourglobal diversity, resources and experience, we aim to:•Relieve suffering caused by natural disaster and human conflict•Promote peace and understanding based on mutual tolerance and respect•Strengthen people’s capacity to help themselvesOUR STRATEGIC INITIATIVESHumanity First is currently undertaking the following major initiatives:• Disaster Relief: Hurricane Katrina, Pakistan Earthquake,Asian Tsunami, and others• Elementary Education: Our Kids, Our Future• Health Services: Gift of Sight• Community Development: Water for Life30 MuslimSunrise


Muslim Terror: The Two Faces Of IslamAn Internet article by Sam Schlorff of Arab World Ministries, published by the Christian Broadcasting NetworkEver since the barbaric attack on the World Trade Center and thePentagon, we have received numerous inquiries from people trying to understand Islamic terrorism: What is there in Islam thatwould lead someone to commit such atrocities? Does orthodox Islamsanction such heinous acts? Or are they the aberration of a few radicalMuslims? How can a suicidal terrorist who takes the lives of thousands ofinnocent victims be considered a good Muslim? How should we as Christiansrespond to the present situation in the light of these insights? Suchare the kinds of questions Christians are asking.I can understand that Muslims in America, to try to assuage the fears—and the animosity—of the public, have been speaking out in an effort todistance themselves from those who perpetrate such crimes. In recentdays, there have been news items and interviews with Muslims on thistopic in the local newspaper, or on TV, all affirming that “Islam does notteach or approve such actions.” We are told that “Islam means ‘Peace,’and is a religion of peace,” or that “taking one’s own life is not Islamic andis disapproved.”I can also understand that our government feels a need to make a sharpdistinction between Islam and Islamic terrorists, as the President has donein his speeches to the nation. Many of our citizens, as well as many notyet-citizensin our workforce, are Muslims, and we cannot afford to builda wall of alienation between these and other citizens.And we need to speak out and act decisively against all forms ofvigilantism that lash out at any who look like they could be Arabs orMuslims. What’s more, the government needs desperately to maintainpeaceful relations with the some 40 Muslim-majority nations of the world,and to obtain the support of as many as possible in the war againstterrorism. We must work with them, not against them, if we are to makeany headway.Two Sides to IslamBut where does the truth lie? Does Islam sanction such terrorist acts?Or is it truly a religion of peace? That is the question. The answer, however,is not so simple. The truth is that both tendencies exist in Islam—inconflict with each other. There are two sides to Islam so to speak, twofaces.On the one hand there is normative Islam, with which you may be moreor less familiar. To a majority of Muslims this is what Islam is all about. Itinvolves them in believing in the six articles of Islamic faith and practicingthe five required “Acts of Worship” – from the five ritual prayers that areperformed daily, to the month-long fast of Ramadan, to the pilgrimagemade to Mecca at least once in a lifetime, and so on. Between seeking tofulfill these and other duties imposed on them by Islamic Law, participatingin various Islamic festivals, and trying to put food on the table, the averageMuslim would seem to have little time for much else.This is the only Islam that most Muslims in this country know. I’mtold that 42 percent of U.S. Muslims are native born (of which the vastmajority is African American), and the remainder are immigrants who havecome here to find work, get an education, or escape oppression. But thereare those who do know the other side of Islam, but do not want toacknowledge it, or what is worse, do not want the truth to be known.The truth is that there is another side to Islam, a side that embracesviolence “in the way of Allah.” As has often been said, Islam divides theDoes Islam sanction suchterrorist acts? Or is it trulya religion of peace?world into two zones, Dar as-Salaam (“House of Peace”), and Dar al-Harb(“House of War”). Islam is not just a religion, as I have written elsewhere;it is an ideology with a political agenda.* It holds that all men are createdto live in submission to Allah, as prescribed by Islamic law.Muslims believe that Islam’s destiny is to extend its control until thewhole Dar al-Harb is subject to Islamic law in an Islamic state, and thisincludes the use of force. The word “Islam” does NOT mean “peace.” Itis related to the Arabic word for peace (salaam), but it means “to surrender,to submit, to make peace by laying down one’s arms in submission.” Ithas a militaristic connotation. Herein lie the origins of radical Islam.Violence a Historic Element in IslamIt is a fact that killing, violence and terrorism have always been partand parcel of Islam. This even includes giving one’s life to advance thecause of Islam. In saying this I do not mean to imply that such acts havealways and uniformly been practiced throughout history, at least to theextent of the barbarity seen on Sept. 11.In our modern world, at any rate, most Islamic nations try to live atpeace with other nations and have taken a position against violence andterrorism, but these have been present to a greater or lesser degree fromthe very beginning of Islam. In a word, one cannot make as hard and fasta distinction between normative Islam and radical Islam as some wouldlike.Spring 2006 31


One can readily find passages in the Qur’an that exhort the faithful tofight and kill the “unbelievers,” that is, to wage Jihad (Holy War). Consider,for example, Sura 2:190-191a: “Fight in the way of Allah against thosewho fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth notaggressors. And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out ofthe places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse thanslaughter. …” (See also 2:216-218; 8:38-41; 9:5-6 & 29 etc.).Prophet Killed OthersOther verses promise the shahiid (martyr), who gives his life “in theway of Allah,” the forgiveness of sins and direct entry into Paradise. TakeSura 3:195b: “So those who fled and were driven forth from their homesand suffered damage for My cause, and fought and were slain, verily Ishall remit their evil deeds fromthem and verily I shall bring theminto Gardens underneath whichrivers flow—A reward from Allah.…” (See also 3:169; 4:74-77 &100;22:58, etc.) And then there is theexample of the Prophet himselfwho, as has been recorded in theHadith (Islamic tradition), did nothesitate to have his opponents andcritics killed.**One will of course find manyapologists who condemn acts ofviolence. Claiming that Islam hasonly been extended by peacefulmeans, they maintain thatMuslims fight only in “selfdefense,”as the verse cited aboveseems to indicate. It is amazing,however, how far “self-defense”can be stretched.Ossama bin Laden was recentlyreported as saying, “The terrorism we practice is of the commendablekind for it is directed at the tyrants and the aggressors and the enemies ofAllah.” (Philadelphia Inquirer, Sept. 23, 2001, page D4). For such militants,it is sufficient for a Mulla or radical Muslim party to pronounce a personor a country an “enemy of Allah” to justify killing. Consider what happenedto President Anwar al-Sadat of Egypt! He was assassinated by afundamentalist group in Egypt as an “enemy of Islam” because he madepeace with Israel.Islam at War With ItselfOne could say that Islam is at war with itself.*** On the one side arethe “moderate” Muslim governments that are trying to run a modern shipof state within the family of nations, more or less within the framework ofnormative Islam. Nearly all have Islam as the “religion of state” in theirconstitutions.On the other side are a number of radical Muslim movements, usuallyon the outs with their own governments, which are usually headed byradical Mullas. These teach that the Muslims are in trouble because theyhave forsaken true Islam and that the solution is to return to pure Islam.To these movements, “the enemy” is mainly the West, especially the U.S.(the “Great Satan”), but also the “moderate” (to us) governments of theMuslim World.One such movement is the Taliban who have succeeded in gainingcontrol of most of Afghanistan. For the most part, however, these radicalmovements operate clandestinely (e.g. the GIA in Algeria, the IslamicJihad in Egypt, and so on). Some have front organizations in the West, andat least one, outlawed in Syria, has established a base in England fromwhich to propagandize for a return to the Caliphate, a single Islamicgovernment that rules over the whole Muslim world—and eventuallyover the entire world!Radical Islam Gaining GroundBetween the Muslim governments of the world and the radical Muslimmovements are the rank and file of Muslims who try to live their lives inaccordance with Islam as best they can, but often they are the ones tosuffer the most. But make no mistake. Radical Islam has been gainingground for a number of years for various reasons, and the more moderategovernments, more or less friendly to the West, have their backs to thewall so to speak.As North American Christians, what then should be our response tothe present situation? First of allpray. Pray that our governmentand its partners act wisely in thewar against terrorism; pray thatthe actions taken do not anger themasses more and precipitate arush to the side of radical Islam.Pray also for the terrorists aroundthe world who have been dupedinto thinking that if they become“martyrs” through such acts theygo straight to Paradise. Have youever thought about what awaitsthem on the other side? Do wedare to pray that God would callsomeone to go to such peoplewith the love of Christ?FriendshipWe should also be reaching outin friendship to the MiddleEasterners, Asians and otheraliens in our midst, whether Muslim or otherwise. And we should speakout against every form of harassment or violence perpetrated against themsimply because they are Muslim, or look like they could be Muslim.If you know of a Muslim or Arab family, go to them or give them a callto find out how they are doing. (A majority of Arabs in the U.S. areChristians, but they too are harassed because of their looks.) Show concernfor their well being, and stand with or for them as needed.In this connection, Christians need to become much more informedabout Islam, especially Islam in North America. Get your church to holdworkshops or seminars on the subject. Some should consider attending amore extensive or intensive program, such as AWM’s Summer Instituteon Islam (held in Philadelphia every first week of June), or similar programoffered elsewhere in the country.Churches Must Get InvolvedIn a word, the churches of North America should begin to become muchmore active one way or another in outreach to the Muslims in our midst.They are everywhere, especially in urban settings, an estimated 6 millionof them. Outreach ministries to Muslims have been launched in a numberof cities, and they are doing an excellent job.But the vast number of churches have been content to leave thesespecialized individuals or ministries do the job, while they remainuninvolved. We need to see each church involved in some way in outreachto the Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, and Buddhists in our midst. Several churchesmay need to partner together to put together an outreach team. But let’sget on with it. We have a job to do.32 MuslimSunrise


A Response to “Two Faces of Islam”The Holy Quran clearly andunequivocally declares that all lifeis sacred, and to unjustly take thelife of a single person is wrong. TheHoly Quran also proclaims thatthere is “no compulsion in religion”(2:257) and admonishes Muslimsfrom injuring the sensibilities ofother faiths.Dear Mr. Schlorff,The article titled “The Two Faces of Islam” — posted on the Christian Broadcasting Network website — has been read with greatinterest by members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.Undeniably, as you have described, a small radical element among theMuslim community embraces violence as a means to achieve theirobjectives. This radical element frequently employs a distortedinterpretation and presentation of Islam to attract followers, usually theyoung, unemployed and alienated who are willing to take innocent lives tofurther their personal, political, or distorted religious goals.Fundamentally, any people who take innocent lives, regardless ofreligious affiliation or perceived cause, are humanity’s enemy, and in reality,suffer from some psychological disease. All right thinking people of allfaiths should band together to put an end to violence and indiscriminatekillings by any group for any cause.The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, USA applauds your call to worktogether and to reach out in friendship. Headed by Hadhrat MirzaMasroor Ahmad, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has repeatedlydenounced violence and terrorism of all types, particularly thosereprehensible acts committed in the name of religion.The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza GhulamAhmad as (1835-1908), who was divinely inspired to lead a renaissance ofIslam by returning to the pure Islam practiced by the Prophet Muhammad sa ,unequivocally and forcefully denounced any violent conception of Jihadin Islam in today’s world.Further, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as also corrected themisunderstandings amongst Muslims concerning the application of Jihadduring the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad sa .If, however, cooperation and dialog are truly your objectives, then wefeel compelled to draw your attention to portions of your article whereyou wrongly attribute the violence practiced by some Muslims to theteachings of the Holy Quran and the practice of the Holy ProphetMuhammad (upon whom be peace).It is difficult to imagine that you strive for cooperation on one hand,yet you malign the teachings of Holy Quran and the pure character of theProphet Muhammad sa – the fundamental fabrics of a Muslim’s faith –with the other.Specifically, you write: “One can readily find the passages in the Quranthat exhort the faithful to fight and kill the unbelievers”. And further:“and then there is the example of the Prophet himself who as has beenrecorded in the Hadith, did not hesitate to have his opponents and criticskilled.”The Holy Quran clearly and unequivocally declares that all life is sacred,and to unjustly take the life of a single person is wrong. The Holy Quranalso proclaims that there is “no compulsion in religion” (2:257) andadmonishes Muslims from injuring the sensibilities of other faiths.The injunctions concerning Jihad in the Holy Quran and the Hadith areclear in several aspects. The greatest Jihad as described in the Holy Quranand Hadith is the struggle to purify one’s soul and to achieve a spiritualrevolution by means of the Holy Quran (25:53, 29:70). The act of Jihadthat involves a physical struggle is termed the lesser Jihad in the Hadith.This physical Jihad is allowed only under very strict conditions: aMuslim is attacked offensively and forced from his home and preventedfrom practicing his faith for the sole reason that he declares himself to bea Muslim (22:40-41, 60:10). These conditions did exist in the lifetime ofthe Prophet Muhammad sa and his response was strictly in accordancewith the injunctions of the Holy Quran. Solely because they had acceptedthe monotheistic faith of Prophet Abraham as , Muslims endured thirteenyears of physical persecution – which included armed attacks by Meccanclans and forced exile to Abyssinia and Medina.In such dire conditions, Muslims were finally allowed to fight back fortheir literal survival. Any call for armed Jihad that does not meet theconditions set forth in the Holy Quran and as practiced by the ProphetMuhammad sa is false. It is in this light that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad asdeclared over a hundred years ago – and that his followers continue todeclare today — that there is no justification for armed Jihad in Islambecause the narrow conditions for its existence do not exist today. Muslimsare freely allowed to practise their faith throughout the world.Any verse in the Holy Quran that call for actions against “unbelievers” has to be understood in its historical context. The HolyQuran was revealed on a daily basis to address the needs of theMuslims of the time as well as to provide the basis of guidance for futureMuslims. Those verses that speak to specific actions against others werebased upon the conditions of the time and in response to actions takenagainst a small and fledging community of monotheists living among anaggressive and violent group of idol worshippers. The very verses referencedin your article (2:190-191) make it clear that fighting was onlyallowed as a defensive action against an aggressor.Never does the Holy Quran sanction unprovoked and indiscriminateviolence. Using the few verses referenced in your article in the wrongcontext and not viewed in their proper historical perspective as anindictment against Islam is unjust and improper.One can do a similar injustice with Biblical verses that are taken out ofSpring 2006 33


context. For example, according to the Bible, Moses as was commanded toforcefully take the land of Canaan (Deuteronomy 20:1-20). It could beargued that Christians and Jews therefore believe it is lawful to forcefullywage war and take the land and possessions of those who do not sharetheir beliefs.The commandments to the Prophet Moses as were for a specificreason and under a specific condition, just as the authorization forself-defense given to the Prophet Muhammad sa was done underspecific conditions. Offensive warfare or the attack of innocent people iscontrary to the overwhelming message of love and forgiveness in the HolyBible, just as it is contrary to overwhelming message of mercy and love inthe Holy Quran. In both cases to infer that these scriptures advocateviolence would be a distortion of a sacred religious scripture that a fairperson would not advocate.One does not have to rely upon theological debate, however, to determinethe true nature and teachings of Islam. One need only look at the exampleof the Holy Prophet sa and of the overwhelming majority of faithful Muslimspast and present. If it is truly a teaching of Islam to indiscriminately killunbelievers and that Prophet Muhammad sa “did not hesitate to have hiscritics killed,” then how can it be that the Prophet Muhammad saadministered local authority over a diverse ethnic and religious communityin Medina? In fact, he was requested to come to Medina and become theirleader because he was well known for his honesty and fair play. When theMuslims finally defeated the Meccans, the Prophet Muhammad sa decreedthat all those who had raised arms against the Muslims were forgiven.This, of course, did not require conversion to Islam. Only a very fewMeccans who had committed serious atrocities (war crimes) were punished.If it were truly a tenet of Islam to kill unbelievers then no one would havebeen spared. After the death of the Holy Prophet sa the Islamic empireexpanded in all directions. History is full of examples of Muslim rule oflaw in Africa, Asia and Europe where all religions were respected, theproperty of all was protected, and no forced conversions occurred. Muslimgovernments even used public finance to build and repair churches. Wherethere have been a few recorded instances that may contradict the abovetheme, those instances past and present are an aberration or abdication ofIslamic teachings by a few distorted individuals.As a final illustration of the true nature and impact of Islam, we quotethe author and historian H.G. Wells in his work Outline of History (pg.610). Even though Mr. Wells is a critic of Islam and the ProphetMuhammad sa , in reference to the final sermon given by ProphetMuhammad sa during his last pilgrimage to Mecca, he admits the following:“In the year before his (Muhammad) death …. He made a great sermon tohis people …. They may not be sublime words, as certain utterances ofJesus as of Nazareth are sublime, but they established in the world a greattradition of dignified fair dealing, they breathe a spirit of generosity, andthey are human and workable. They created a society more free fromwidespread cruelty and social oppression than any society had ever beenin the world before.” We simply ask: can this be the impact of a man andreligion truly rooted in violence?In closing, we ask that if you truly desire to reach out to Muslims andcooperate together against the violence of the radical elements, then pleaserefrain from maligning the character of the Prophet Muhammad sa anddistorting the true teachings of the Holy Quran. The Ahmadiyya MuslimCommunity USA stands ready to work with you in any activity that isgood and constructive as we continue our own efforts to combat violencein Islam by clarifying Islam’s true teachings.Note: The above response was prepared by Martin R. Ahmad. Amember of the Central Response Committee of the AhmadiyyaMuslim Community, USA. To our readers, we welcome articleswritten against Islam, so we can prepare a proper response. --F.D. Shams, Chairman of the Central Response Committee.“Offensive warfare or theattack of innocent people iscontrary to theoverwhelming message oflove and forgiveness in theHoly Bible, just as it iscontrary to overwhelmingmessage of mercy and lovein the Holy Qur’an. In bothcases to infer that thesescriptures advocate violencewould be a distortion of asacred religious scripturethat a fair person would notadvocate.“34 MuslimSunrise


Sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw):On the Day of Judgment Allah, the Exalted, will call:Where are those who loved each other to My glory?Today I shall give them shelter in the shade of Mymercy. Today there is no shade beside My shade. (Muslim)By Him in Whose hands is my life, you will not enterParadise unless you believe, and you will not trulybelieve unless you love one another. Shall I tell yousomething whereby you will love one another? Multiplythe greeting of peace among yourselves. (Muslim).\From the Promised Messiah's Writings:Our God is our paradise. Our highest delight is in our God for we have seen Himand have found every beauty in Him. This wealth is worth procuring though onemight have to lay down one’s life to procure it. This ruby is worth purchasing thoughone may have to lose oneself to acquire it. Oh ye, who are bereft, run to this fountainand it will satisfy you. It is the fountain of life that will save you. What shall I do,and how shall I impress the hearts with this good news, and by beating what drumshall I make the announcement that this is our God, so that people might hear?What remedy shall I apply to the ears of the people so that they should listen?(Kashti Nooh, p. 19-20)The God of Islam is the same God who is visible in the mirror of the lawof nature and is discernible in the book of nature. Islam has not presenteda new God but has presented the same God who is presented by the light ofman’s heart, by the conscience of man, and by heaven and earth.(Tableegh-e-Risalat, Vol. VI, p. 15)Spring 2006 35


Prayer in Islam: Is it really that different?By Naser ShamsThroughout history, Muslims have beenrecognized by their routine five dailyprayers. Prayer has become so deeplywoven into the identity of Muslims that onehardly sees a portrayal of Muslims in the mediaunless they are engaged in some ritualistic posturesfacing Makkah. However,the nature of Islamic prayer is nodifferent than those forms of worshipthat came before Islam. Theseare universal acts of humility andobedience that we see in all religionstoday. In fact, we see tracesof Islamic worship, from beginningto end, documented throughout theBible, which makes us question –Is it really that different?When Muslims enter themosque, the first thing they do isremove their shoes. This isperformed to preserve the sanctityand cleanliness of God’s house ofworship. In the Bible, we see Godcommanding Moses as to do thesame:And he said, Draw not nigh hither;put off thy shoes from off thy feet,for the place whereon thou standestis holy ground (Exodus 3:5)Similarly, we find that Joshua did the same:And the captain of the Lord’s host said untoJoshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for theplace whereon thou standest is holy, And Joshuadid so. (Joshua 5:15)The next thing Muslims do is a ritualisticwashing of the hands, face, arms, and feet. InArabic, this is called wudhu. We see this practicein the Bible as well:So they shall wash their hands and their feet,that they die not; and it shall be a statute for everto them, even to him and to his seed throughouttheir generations. (Exodus 30:21)We find that the above commandment wasput in practice by Moses as and his brother, Aaron:And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed theirhands and their feet thereat; When they wentinto the tent of the congregation, and when theycame near unto the altar, they washed; as theLord commanded Moses (Exodus 40:31-32)It is also recorded that David as did the same:Then David arose from the earth, and washed,and anointed himself, and changed his apparel,and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped;….(II Samuel 12:20)A third characteristic of Muslim worshipinvolves covering ones head. This is a gesture ofrespect and humility as one stands before God.This tradition is also seen in the Bible:And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet,and wept as he went up, and had his head covered,and he went barefoot; and all the peoplethat was with him covered every man his head,and they went up, weeping as they wentup….where he worshipped God…(II Samuel15:30 to 32)The Bible holds a more emphatic teachingwhen it comes to women covering their hairduring worship:But every woman that prayeth or prophesiethwith her head uncovered dishonoureth her head:for that is even all one as if she were shaven.For if the woman be notcovered, let her also beshorn: but if it be a shamefor a woman to be shornor shaven, let her be covered.(I Corinthians 11:5 -6)Here Paul states in theBible that a woman whoprays without coveringher head dishonors herhead. He even goes tothe extent of saying thatif she fails to cover herhead, it is a shame equalto her hair being shavenoff. Early Christianauthorities whopromoted this beliefinclude Clement ofAlexandria (c. AD 150-215); Tertullian (c. AD160-225); Hippolytus(d. AD 236);Chrysostom (c. AD 344-407); Jerome (c. AD345-420); and Augustine (AD 354-430).Although many Christians today are divided onthis custom, it was widespread decades ago andis still practiced by puritanical sects such as theAmish and Mennonites, as well as orders ofnuns.Muslims begin their prayer by standing inrows facing towards the kiblah, which points tothe city of Makkah. Makkah holds a high degreeof sanctity in Islam as it is considered the placewhere the first house of worship was built. Thishouse of worship is called the Ka’aba and ithouses the black stone. The Holy ProphetMuhammad sa had stated that the black stone wasshining and sparkling white but was blackenedonce it landed upon the Earth. This suggeststhat the black stone possibly originated as ameteor which burned up as it entered the Earth’satmosphere, marking where the House of Godshould be built.In Judeo-Christian tradition, the lands ofIsrael, particularly Jerusalem, hold a high degreeof sanctity. In the same way Muslims revere36 MuslimSunrise


Muslim prayers involve anumber of different postures.These include standing, bowing,kneeling, and prostrating withone’s face upon the ground. Allof these postures are expressionsof humility, designed to nurturespiritual growth.Mecca as the city they face when they pray,Jews hold Jerusalem with such sanctity:Now when Daniel knew that the writing wassigned, he went into his house; and his windowsbeing open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, hekneeled upon his knees three times a day, andprayed, and gave thanks before his God, as hedid aforetime (Daniel 6:10)Muslim prayers involve a number ofdifferent postures. These includestanding, bowing, kneeling, and prostratingwith one’s face upon the ground. All ofthese postures are expressions of humility, designedto nurture spiritual growth. Such expressionsof worship are commonly seen throughoutthe Bible. Although there are numerous referencesin the Bible, the following eight quotesestablish a strong resemblance between Biblicaland Islamic descriptions of worship:And it came to pass, Abraham’s servant heardtheir words, he worshipped the Lord, bowinghimself to the earth (Genesis 24:52)And the people believed; and when they heardthat the Lord had visited the children of Israel,and that he had looked upon their affliction, thenthey bowed their heads and worshipped. (Exodus4:31)And Moses made haste, and bowed his headtoward the earth, and worshipped. (Exodus34:8)And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, anddid worship and said unto him, What saith mylord unto his servant?(Joshua 5:14)And it was so, that when Solomon had made anend of praying all this prayer and supplicationunto the Lord, he arose from before the altar ofthe Lord, from kneeling on his knees with hishands spread up to heaven. (I Kings 8:54)…they bowed themselves with their faces to theground upon the pavement, and worshipped,and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good;for his mercy endureth for ever(II Chronicles 7:3)And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his faceto the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitantsof Jerusalem fell before the Lord, worshippingthe Lord. (II Chronicles 20:18)And he (Jesus) went a little further, and fell onhis face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if itbe possible, let this cup pass from me: neverthelessnot as I will, but as thou wilt.(Matthew 26:39)Most importantly, the Islamic form ofworship is far more than ritualistic postures. Itis designed to establish a living relationship withGod, both as a community and as an individual.Muslims are encouraged to pray in congregation.This fosters harmony among believers. There isno distinction between rich and poor, black andwhite, or the famous and unknown. All are equalbefore God except those who excel inrighteousness. The believers line up in rowsand stand shoulder-to-shoulder, fully aware thatthey are standing before God. There are alsoindividual prayers where the believers break offand pray at their own pace – asking God for theremedies they desire in their personal lives.It is in establishing this relationship with Godthat one finds success and happiness. Allother pursuits in life are passing fancies thatafford temporary pleasures. However, as theGod mentioned in the Quran is a Universal Being,He grants no one group monopolistic rightsto Him. It is also His responsibility to teach allpeople the ways He would like them to approachHim. This is the very reason the forms andmethods of prayer are so similar across all thevarious Faiths – because this Universal God,Allah, is the Source of all of these teachings.Spring 2006 37


The Attribute of As-SalaamNaeem Ahmad, Long Island, NYThe interrelation of all thesebeautiful names in this verse ishighly significant in that all supportand are in turn supported by As-Salaam. To be a source of peace, Hemust be an absolute sovereign withcontrol over everything, He mustHimself be free from all defects, HeHimself be not subject to any kind ofdanger, be aware of His creation’sneeds and be himself free from allsuch needs. God is the source of allsecurity, that is to say He is Himselfsecure from all defects andmisfortunes and hardships, andbestows security on His creation, forif He is subject to misfortune – forinstance had He been subject tobeing killed by people or beingfrustrated in His designs - howwould anyone’s heart feel securethat God would save them frommisfortune?A study of the most beautifulnames or attributes of God isnecessary for advancement on thespiritual path, as the main cause offalling in error and sinfulness is animperfect knowledge of God andHis attributes. As-Salaam is one ofthe most beautiful names of Allah.It occurs in the singular only oncein the Holy Qur’an in Sura Al-Hashr:He is Allah, except whom none is worthy ofworship and obedience. He is Al-Malik, theabsolute sovereign with control over His creationand existence of all things. Al-Quddus, who isfree from all defects that can be imagined or flawsthat can be observed or imperfections that canbe reasonably assumed to exist or any lack ofcompassion that can be felt by a discerning heart.As-Salaam, free from all evil, the bestower ofpeace. Al-Momin, the bestower of security. Al-Muhaimin, cognizant of all and guarding all. Al-Aziz, unique, mighty, having power overeverything. Al-Jabbar: He who sets things right,who makes it possible for us to put our life backtogether. Al-Mutakabber, free from all defectsof created beings, high above all kinds ofassociation with all manner of earthly or heavenlycreatures 1 . (59:24)The interrelation of all these beautiful namesin this verse is highly significant in that allsupport and are in turn supported by As-Salaam. To be a source of peace, He must be anabsolute sovereign with control over everything,He must Himself be free from all defects, beHimself be not subject to any kind of danger, beaware of His creation’s needs and be himselffree from all such needs. God is the source of allsecurity, that is to say He is Himself secure fromall defects and misfortunes and hardships, andbestows security on His creation, for if He issubject to misfortune – for instance had He beensubject to being killed by people or beingfrustrated in His designs - how would anyone’sheart feel secure that God would save them frommisfortune? 2Salaam is derived from salama; it meanssafety, security, immunity or freedom fromfaults, defects, blemishes, imperfections andvices. It also means peace, obedience, heaven,and is one of the names of God .3 It also meansone who is persistent, uninterrupted unfaltering,unweakening, continuing to eternity. Allah iscalled As-Salaam in that He caused all creationto exist in peace and security by establishingorder in the workings of the universe. All of Hiscreations are safe from any oppression, excessor iniquitous action from Him.Indeed, some lexicographers and38 MuslimSunrise


Salaam, however, is much more than mere absence ofdanger. It is a dynamic, positive force that in additionto providing physical well being and environmentalsecurity, inspires us with tranquility, inner peace, aserenity of heart and mind that transcends our consciousnessand enables us to deal with life with equanimityand resolve, and leads us to salvation.commentators of the Holy Qur’an say that nosingle word comes close to describing the fullconnotations of salaam. The nearest would besalvation. The truest sense emerges by examiningthe many contexts where this word has beenused in the Holy Qur’an:In Sura al-Maidah we read: Allah guides withthis (book) those who follow His good pleasure to the pathways of salaam, (peace, tranquility,safety) (5:17). ‘Pathways’ is adoptedhere as a translation of “Subul” to make it distinctfrom ‘Siraatt,’ or a road or highway. Here,when the main road of God’s religion is not accessibleor is obscured, or it is not expedient tofollow it, Allah guides those who love and seekHim, through these back alleys, these undergroundrailroads to safety and security.The Holy Qur’an, the revealed scriptures andhistory are replete with examples of how thechosen servants of God were made safe andsecure from all danger throughout the ages. Hesaved Noah, upon whom be peace, and bestowedHis salaam on him. He saved Lot , upon whombe peace, and his family while He destroyedthose around them. He bestowed His salaam onMoses, upon whom be peace, and the Israelitesfrom the pursuing hosts of Pharaoh’s army. Itwas As-Salaam who turned the trackers awayfrom the mouth of the cave on Mount Thaur,while the Holy Prophet of Islam and hiscompanion were hiding in it, and later it was Hewho put the awe of an overpowering reality onSuraqa bin Malik when he caught up with theHoly Prophet’s party on horseback. Indeed,the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peaceand blessings of Allah be upon him, is repletewith the manifestation of God’s salaam to hisperson and to his mission.In our times, the Imam of this age, thePromised Messiah and Mahdi, Mirza GhulamAhmad of Qadian, upon whom be peace, wasmade safe and secure at every turn from themachination of his enemies. His books and theAhmadiyya literature record his escapes andAllah is called As-Salaamin that He caused allcreation to exist in peaceand security byestablishing order in theworkings of the universe.All of His creations aresafe from any oppression,excess or iniquitousaction from Him.deliverance in miraculous ways from naturaldisasters, plagues, murderous attempts on hislife and persecution by the state at the instigationof Christian missionaries. The lives of hissuccessors, companions, and many devotees arefull of instances of divine intervention for theirsafety, security and peace of mind.The emigration from Pakistan of the lateHazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, may Allah bemerciful to him, the fourth successtor to thePromised Messiah, is also notable. Thedictatorial and rabidly anti Ahmadi regime ofGeneral Zia had issued orders of his arrest. Thepolice and the intelligence agencies of the statehad been mobilized to apprehend him, but Godextended the umbrella of salaam to him, and heleft Pakistan on a commercial flight without anyuntoward incidence. The essential fact is thathe landed with salaam in England to continuewith his mission and to raise the hopes andspirits, and indeed exponentially increase thenumbers, of Ahmadi Muslims.We read in Sura Ya Sin: Salaam (Peace)shall be the word from the most merciful Lord (36:59). In context, thisparticular salaam is the desirable state of thepeople who are already enjoying the shade andfruits and other unimaginable blessings of paradise.This brings out the point that while salaamfrom a human being is a wish or a prayer, thesame from Allah is a command. A companiontold the Promised Messiah that some non-AhmadiMuslims do not return the Islamic greetings,Salaam - o- Alikum. He replied: What doyou hope to gain from their salaam? The realsalaam is the word from God. Once I was in anunbearable physical pain and fever, and I prayedfervently for relief. Presently I received a revelation‘Salmun Alikum,’ and the pain and afflictiondisappeared instantly 4 .Sura Al Anbiya tells of the story of ProphetAbraham, upon him be peace, when his peopledespaired to bring him back to their ways, andhe would not desist from preaching the word ofSpring 2006 39


the one true God to them. So they prepared afire to throw him in it. Some say that the storyis allegorical and the fire is that of persecution,hatred and enmity. The Holy Quran says: Wesaid, O Fire, be thou a means of coolness andsalaam(safety) for Ibrahim. (21:70). The AsSalaam caused the fires to be cooled and grantedhis chosen servant inner peace and tranquility.Ahistorical reference to early Islam willfurther clarify the concept of As-Salaam.We read in Sura Anfal: And had Heshown them to you as many, you, O believers,would surely have been demoralized and disputeswith one another about the matter (ofwaging war); but Allah extended His salaam over(saved) you. Surely Allah has knowledge of whatis in your hearts. And so, at the time of yourencounter with them, He made them appear toyou few in your eyes, and made you appear fewin their eyes that Allah may bring about the thingthat was decreed. And to Allah are all affairsreturned. (8:44-45). The operative word here issallama — that Allah provide His salaam. Hereis a beautiful paradox: The Meccan army atBadar, numerically at least three times thestrength of the nascent Muslim force, superiorin weaponry and in mounts, and with battle hardenedknights-at-arms is shown to the Muslimsas few. They do not appear to be the formidableand daunting force that they are; and so theMuslims maintain their morale. To the Meccans,on the other hand, the Muslims appear the ragtagcollection of date farmers and poor youngmen that they in fact are. The Meccans arethereby lulled into false confidence of an easyvictory. The result is a rout of the Meccans. Agreat manifestation of Allah’s salaam for the believers.To grasp the full range of salaam, we mayborrow an analogy from the mechanical world:Scientifically speaking, there is no such thing ascold - it is only absence of heat. Heat can bemeasured, added, removed and otherwisemanipulated for comfort or other industrialpurposes; but cold is only a minus reading onthe thermometer. Similarly, safety is describedas an absence of danger. Salaam, however, ismuch more than mere absence of danger. It is adynamic, positive force that in addition toproviding physical well being and environmentalsecurity, inspires us with tranquility, inner peace,a serenity of heart and mind that transcends ourconsciousness and enables us to deal with lifewith equanimity and resolve, and leads us tosalvation.The most outstanding example in our timesof the state of salaam and the lack of itmay be found in the martyrdom ofSahibzada Abdul Latif Shaheed. After his returnto his home in Kabul after visiting the PromisedMessiah in Qadian in 1902, Sahibzada Sahib wasimprisoned by the religious authorities and encouragedby the rival’s for the king’s favor; hewas persecuted for his beliefs. After an abortivedebate and a sham trial, he was declared a hereticand sentenced to be stoned to death. The weakking, fearing religious riots, acquiesced. TheSahibzada was tortured and was dragged to theplace of his execution by a rope through his nostrils.He was buried waist deep; ready to be putto death. His last words the Qur’anic prayer ofProphet Joseph, upon whom be peace: You aloneare my patron in this world and the next. Let itbe that I die in a state of salaam, in a state ofsubmission to You as a Muslim, and let it bethat I am joined with the righteous (12:102.)There can be no doubt that he had lived anddied in a state of salaam, just as there is no doubtthat the state of salaam left that unfortunatecountry. There has been no safety forAfghanistan, no security for its people, nostability of its society, no growth of any positiveendeavor, no improvement in education, literacy,child mortality and human development. Theonly measured increase is in poppy cultivation,earning for itself the dubious distinction of theworld’s largest heroin supplier. The people havesuffered anarchy, civil war, occupation by theSoviets, repression by the warlords, oppressionby the most misguided religious fanatics, theTaliban, exploitation by the terrorists and sincethe last few years, devastation by foreign powersin their campaign to root out terror. May Allahhave mercy on that country and its people, andmay they recognize the error of their ways andbe rightly guided, Amen.As-Salaam is one of those names or attributes of Allah on which depend thewhole system of nature’s proper functioning.There is a well-known prayer of theHoly Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peaceand blessings of Allah: O our Lord, You are AsSalaam: the Protector, the Guardian, all salaam -protection and safety and security - come fromYou and to You does this salaam, protection,return. O our Lord keep us alive with this salaam,protection. O our Lord most blessed artYou, the Possessor of the highest grandeur andmajesty and glory, Amen.This prayer is a very complete and perfectprayer for the best functioning of human life.Allah is the only one who can give us protection,safety and immunity because He is Omnipotent,Omniscient and Omnipresent. Owing to HisOmnipotence nothing can be out of His reach orbeyond His power. Therefore, He can correctthe wrongs and remedy the ills and straightenevery possible mistake. He is Omniscient and,therefore, nothing is hidden from Him whetherin the past, present or in the future. Hisknowledge encompasses every aspect of lifewhether it is related to time, place or actions.His power encompasses every aspect ofdirection and guidance; therefore, if there is anymistake, or error or lapse, He is capable ofcorrecting it in time so that a human being can besaved of its bad consequences and malevolentimpact. He is Omnipresent; therefore, nothinganywhere in the universe is beyond His controland comprehension. He is capable of knowingwhatever is happening anywhere and howsoeverin any part of the universe.The Prophet Muhammad has taught thiscomprehensive prayer so that all Muslims may supplicate and ask their Lordto keep them always under the wings of Hissalaam, protection, safety, guardianship and guidancebecause He is the Master and Possessor ofall these beautiful Names and attributes and Hehas the capability of doing whatever He wishesto do, and nobody and no thing can hinder Himor obstruct Him from doing whatever and howeverHe wants to do it.Every aspect of power, knowledge, directionand guidance comes from Him and, finally, as aresult, returns to Him because He is As Salaam,the embodiment of peace, protection, guidanceand safety. He can cause every aspect of life tobe run and executed normally and properly. Sothrough His blessings, mercy and benevolenceHe guides us in each and every aspect of ournormal, proper and beneficial life. His Glory andGrandeur is above all and is the greatest so nothingcan obstruct Him nor deter Him from doing whatHe wants to do.Our Last word is: All praise belongs to Allah,the Lord Sustainer of all the worlds.Notes:1.Hazrat Maulavi Nooruddin RA KhalifatulMasih I: Haqaiq-ul Furqan Vol. 42.The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam3.Lane: Arabic English Lexicon4.Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad AS: MalfoozatVol. 9The Holy ProphetMuhammad (saw) OnBrotherhoodNo one believes trulyuntil he desires for hisbrother that which hedesires for himself(Bokhari and Muslim)40 MuslimSunrise


From The Archives “A Legacy”Dr. Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, Founder of The Muslim SunriseI cannot claim to have done any great work, but I do hope, in the Grace of Allah, that inclearing the way for the future Missionaries of Islam I have done some pioneer work andsown the seed of Truth throughout the land which will grow up in time and show in big,tall, strong trees to feed and shelter thousands, and send out healthy vibrations to millions.The Muslim Sunrise has been in print since 1921. In westerncountries Muslims were referred to as Moslems andMohammadens. Islam was commonly referred to as theMohammaden faith, For most Americans who met Dr. MuftiMuhammad Sadiq, the Editor and Founder of The MuslimSunrise, was the first Muslim they had ever met.The MuslimSunrise is the first Muslim periodical published in the UnitedStates of America.Witness to the Great Depression, World War II, and the CivilRights Movement, the Muslim Sunrise has a rich and storiedhistory. In this segment you will journey back in time to readexcerpts from issues dating back to the 1920s.Some of my First ImpressionsDr. Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, EditorAMERICA is a mixture of nationalities, languages, races and colors.You will find here the best of them as well as the worst. It is a land offreedom, but freedom is being misused in some cases. Over in England Iwas used to seeing all the traffic go to the left; here, on landing I noticedeverywhere written “Keep to the Right.” Sounds nice and right, and onebegins to feel that this is the right land to lie in. The Americans are tallerand stouter that the Englishbut not so quick. They do alltheir business on theirextremely excellent telephonesystem but are slow in writingwork.Some parts of the states aremuch colder than England, butthe Americans seem to knowbeforehand (while English donot) that they have toencounter the cold weatherand therefore they provide forit in time. The houses are builtto be well-heated with theheating provisions in thebasement and very few areseen catching colds while inEngland everybody seems to be sneezing and wiping his nose in winter.The wood framework houses are exquisite and electric lighting enhancestheir colored beauty. While in England they generally shave their beardbut keep their mustache, here all around the clean shave is the fashion ofthe day. Very few keep moustaches and very seldom a foreigner – Jew –is seen with long beard. My dear and respected friend Mr. Karroub’syounger daughter, Fatimi, once softly touching my beard with her littlehands said: “What a long mustache you have got my Shaikh.” Herknowledge of the English language is well-developed, but still she knowsno such word as beard. The Americans, approached rightly and talked toreasonably, are ready to accept the truth. (Vol. 1: Issue 1, p. 24)One Year’s Moslem Missionary Work in America(a brief report)It being the very first attempt to approach the Americans with theMission of Islam, I had to pass through all the difficulties that alwaysconfront a beginner of a work. I had no precedent before me to guide meand, therefore, much of my time has been spent in making experiences asregards the selection for my headquarters and the ways of approachingAmericans. I cannot claim to have done any great work, but I do hope, inthe Grace of Allah, that in clearing the way for the future Missionaries ofIslam I have done some pioneer work and sown the seed of Truththroughout the land which will grow up in time and show in big, tall,strong trees to feed and shelter thousands, and send out healthy vibrationsto millions.The first difficulty I had to encounter was with the ImmigrationOfficers, who ordered me to return on the same steamer on which I hadcome, merely because I was a Missionary of the Moslem faith, and on myrefusal to return and asking permission to Appeal to Higher Authoritiesin Washington I was placed in the Detention House for about sevenweeks. Those were the days of great trial, but I count them as the days ofblessings, because I found the opportunity of offering prayers to GodandMeditation and planning the Scheme for future work. Moreover, Ibegan my work of preaching quietly among others detained like myself.The first of those who agreed with me there and joined our faith wasbrother Hamid (Mr. RJ Rochford), who was not allowed to land and wassent back with others. This good brother is now in England and keeps intouch with me by correspondence. He is my first convert to Islam afterlanding here. He is figuring to come over to Canada, and he is zealous, Ihope he will do great work in time to bring others to the blessed fold ofIslam.LecturesDuring the past 12 months I have delivered about 50 Public Lectures in theCities of New York, Chicago, Detroit, Dowagiac [MI], Michigan City, SiouxCity, Sioux Falls, etc. All of these Lectures were previously announced in thedaily papers.Heavy CorrespondenceDuring past 15 months the number of mails Received is about 4,000 andDispatched about 15,000. Thanks are due to Brothers James Sodick, YusufKhan, Shaikh Abdullah J.L. Mott and Sister Rahatullah who have been helpingme in the correspondence work. (Vol. 1: Issue 1, pp. 12-14)Spring 2006 41


Our MediaResponseMuslim Sunrise contributors have beenactively engaged in responding to theAmerican press on articles of religiousimportance. Some samples of theirrecent published responses are below:Response to USA Today article, “8Killed, 19 Wounded in PakistanMosque Shooting,” Oct. 7, 2005Printed on Oct. 12, 2005Dear Editor:As an American Ahmadi Muslim who wasborn in Pakistan, I was saddened to read in yournewspaper about the October 7 murders of eightinnocent Ahmadi Muslims in the Pakistanivillage of Mong, as they sat praying in a mosqueduring the beginning of the Islamic holy monthof Ramadan (“8 killed, 19 wounded in Pakistanmosque shooting”, 7 Oct).It is both strange and fitting that this tragedyoccurred, to the day, 47 years after the day whenPakistan’s “democratic” government first lostits democratic ideals and collapsed under martiallaw (Oct 7, 1958). Since that time, the Pakistanigovernment and its policies have had a turbulentand unstable history, and religious intoleranceand extremism have grown increasingly moreacceptable. Now, with the recent devastatingearthquakes underscoring that the land ofPakistan is itself turbulent and unstable, I hopeand pray this natural disaster can at leastgalvanize the country into putting aside theirsectarian violence in the name of the higher causesof humanity, tolerance and freedom.Arshad M. KhanChino Hills, CaliforniaResponse to Washington Times article,“8 Killed, 19 Wounded in PakistanMosque,” Oct. 7, 2005Printed on Oct. 17, 2005Dear Editor:Gruesome earthquake pictures from Pakistandraw an ironic parallel with the powerful andgraphic images depicted in various internationalnewspapers which covered the recent invasionof an Ahmadi mosque in village south ofIslamabad. Over forty national and internationalnewspaper accounts, including your own,reported masked gunmen raided and showeredbullets on an Ahmadiyya Muslim communitywhile they peacefully engaged in morningprayers. While Pakistan has sought thecompassion and relief aid the world is extending,dramatic images in world papers capturing theplight of Ahmadi Muslims have failed to win thesympathies of Pakistani politicians themselvesfor years. This is a blatant double standard, whichholds for the suffering of minority communitiesin Pakistan in general, and with the Ahmadiyyacommunity in particular.In 1974, the Government of Pakistan passedthe Second Amendment to the PakistanConstitution, which expressly declared AhmadiMuslims to be non-Muslim, and passed the“anti-blasphemy” penal provisions in 1984 and1986, which regards virtually any public act ofworship or devotion by an Ahmadiyya Muslimas a criminal offense.I am an Ahmadi Muslim and spent mychildhood years in the same town of MandiBahauddin where the frightful murders whichviolated this holy month of Ramadan whereperpetrated. The overwhelming grief of thefamilies of those who died within the bulletpierced and blood splattered walls of theAhmadiyya mosque, is the same grief andtorment that families of earthquake victims areenduring now. Certainly, the experience of painis universal. Now is the season for Pakistan towake up having slept on this glaring human rightsissue as though in a coma for over 30 years.Bilal A. RanaHouston, TexasResponse to News Story, ObserverNews (Fairfax County, VA), Jan. 5, 2006Printed on Jan. 6, 2006To the editor:Dec. 7 marked the 30-year point of when theIndonesian army invaded East Timor, part of asmall island off the coast of Indonesia, and killedmore than 200,000 innocent victims in one ofthe worst genocides of the 20th century.Thirty years is a long time to reflect over thewrongs committed by a nation which has had itsshare of internal strife, especially under thespotlight and constant pressure of aninternational community that seems to haveprogressively made the shift towardsappreciating the value of human rights.However, this pressure doesn’t seem to havehad much effect.Take the case of the minority Muslim sectknown as Ahmadiyya. Indonesia, a country withthe highest population of Muslims, has allowedthe persecution of Ahmadis at the hands ofreligious zealots to go unchecked. Thepersecution is based on differences in theinterpretation of Islamic teachings between theAhmadis and the mainstream Muslims.A wave of persecution has includedvandalism and subsequent closure of Ahmadiyyamosques, burning Ahmadi homes and violenceagainst Ahmadi men, women and children. Thereligious zealots and the crowds that supportthem are a stigma on the stature of Indonesia inthe international community.The 2005 International Religious FreedomReport issued by the U.S. Department of Statehighlighted the forms of persecution beingcarried out against minority sects including theAhmadiyya in Indonesia and other countries.Being an Ahmadi Muslim and a citizen of acountry that places human rights and freedomof conscience at the highest levels, I considermyself lucky to be able to practice my faithfreely. I just hope and pray that we as citizensof this great nation can share these universalhuman values with the rest of the world in apeaceful, respectful manner and make themunderstand, as we understand, that these valuesare essential to our peaceful existence as onehuman race.I request our government officials, local andnational, to place the issue of human rights andfreedom of conscience at the top of their listduring their discussions with Indonesianofficials. As the history of East Timor tells us,suppression of freedom, be it geographic,religious or otherwise, is an unconscionable actthat may start with insignificant implicationsbut always ends in widespread, fatalrepercussions.Syed Faaiz IftikharHerndon, VAThe Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) said:Allah will turn with mercyto whoever repents beforethe sun rises from the west(Muslim).42 MuslimSunrise


The Muslim Sunrise Book ReviewNo God But God: The Origins,Future and Evolution of IslamReza Aslan, No God But God: TheOrigins, Future and Evolution of Islam(Random House, 2005)By Zahid M. MianIn No God but God, Reza Aslan does an admirable job of tracing the history of theMuslim Ummah. The fact that he did thisin only a few pages is both commendable andlamentable because while the overall work is welldocumented,the details are sketchy and likelyto mislead those who want to treat this as aprimer on the history of Islam. Though at timeshe seems a little unfair or even harsh towardssome of the holy personages in Islamic history,in general he portrays a rather balanced view.His coverage of the major sects, their genesisand practices, is decent. In essence, he contendsthat the Muslim Ummah does not speak withone voice and is fragmented. It is impossible,therefore, to paint it with a broad stroke. Islamwas formed over a period of fourteen centuriesand it is now in a struggle to redefine itself. Aslanendeavors to explain how the often chaotic andpolitical actions of the Muslim Ummah over thepast fourteen centuries, and more specificallythe last century, led to the events of September11, 2001.The book is well researched but readers maynot always appreciate its scholarship, especiallydevout Muslims who have been taught alternateversions of the Islamic history. Anyone whoconsiders the Hadith and historical backgroundleading up to the Prophet’s rise as historical factsmay want to skip the first few chapters. Onegets the sense that Aslan is focused on a non-Muslim audience, or one that is liberal enoughto consider research that renders somehistorically recognized events as fiction. Afterexplaining the nature in which Islamic historywas recorded and the likelihood of some eventsbeing false, he nevertheless finds the topicrelevant because they serve to offer a greatertruth. Thus, the historicity of the topic isirrelevant to him, as he states, but he offers someof the more unlikely scenarios as facts. Forexample, did Khadija really say to Muhammad,“I think your Lord must have come to hate you”?Did Muhammad really take part in the “timehonored tradition” of raiding commercialcaravans? Were the rightly guided Caliphs reallydisgruntled men, and did they really despise Ali?Did Umar threaten to burn Fatima if she did notaccept his caliphate? Did Uthman really burnsome pages of the verses revealed to Muhammadthat were eventually omitted from the officialversion? Questions like these deserve far moredetail and can be proven spurious, but the author’streatment of such events as facts isdisappointing.The reader will appreciate Aslan’s style ofwriting. He opens each chapter in the presenttense and then goes on to explain further thatscene in its proper historical context. Histhoughts are well connected and flow effortlessly.His skills as a writer are evident and most usefulin explaining the acts and terms of the Ummah.He does, however, make statements thatMuslims are likely to find offensive,or, at thevery least, questionable. Is salat to be“suspended” during time of illness or in travel?Do some verses of the Qur’an abrogate other,previously revealed verses? These are highlycontroversial topics and deserve more researchthan the cursory glance granted by the author.Perhaps his greatest strength is his narration ofthe history of various movements and politicalconflicts that have shaped today’s Ummah. Heis able to juxtapose these events with events inChristianity, which makes one realize that someevents in Islamic history are similar to the onesin other major religions. Readers, especially non-Muslims, will appreciate the events throughouthistory—from pre-Islam to the formation of Al-Qaeda—that have given rise to various religiousand political movements. He asserts that afterfourteen centuries of political discord and battlefor the right to interpret the message of Islam, inthe fifteenth century the Muslims will undergoan internal struggle to redefine Islam and theUmmah. He argues this well, but in doing so, herenders Islam as a movement of politicalstratagem rather than Divine guidance. Did Godreveal to Muhammad to abolish interest, or wasit an egalitarian need Muhammad found necessaryto make Medina prosperous? Did God revealpunishment for murder or was it somethingnecessary to create peace and order between thevarious tribes of Medina?In the end, Aslan wonders who will write thenext chapter in Islam. He offers some failedexperiments, but concludes that the Ummah willeventually remove bigotry and fanaticism fromamong itself, two of the “false gods” mostprevalent, and presumably the reason for itsdecline.It would have served the author well to writeabout the Ahmadiyya Community in Islam.While mentioning Sir Syed Ahmad Khan,Mawdudi, and others, he should have mentionedMirza Ghulam Ahmad because his community isthe only one in the Ummah that follows theinstitution of Caliphate and is the only communitywhich has been singled out in a government’sConstitution as non-Muslim. If the point of hisbook was that Muslims need to redefine, or betteryet, re-establish, the Islamic faith, then no personin the last few centuries has offered more in thatcause than the aforementioned founder of theAhmadiyya Community; if he feels bigotry andfanaticism are the biggest problems facing Islamtoday, no where is that more obvious than inPakistan’s Constitution.Ultimately, then, the book provides anadequate introduction to Islamic history, butreaders should be willing to accept the author’sobvious biases.Spring 2006 43


Existence of God & Human SufferingImam Mubasher Ahmad, Chicago, ILAgain we read in the Holy Quran:The laws of nature, that sometimes cause thesesufferings, are put in place by God the Creatoractually to support and evolve life on the earth in itstotality. If these natural laws are taken out of theuniversal design of God the Creator, the very existenceof every living thing will be jeopardized. Therefore,the disasters that are caused by natural laws are noreflection of the Creator’s cruelty over humans.According to the Holy Qur’an, our presentlife, with all its joys and sufferings, ismerely transitory and illusionary. Thepassage of human life continues after crossingthe valley of death. Our present lifeis but temporary and fleeting, and thelife after life is permanent and perpetual.Death may be the ultimatehuman suffering in this world, but itis certainly not the end of life. Deathis just like a door through which wehave to pass to enter into a new dimensionof life. In Islam, the next lifeis a reality beyond any doubt. Boththe dimensions of human life — thelife in this world and life yet to come— are welded together, one merginginto the other like a splendid waterfallturning into a mighty river. Theonly difference is this that the secondphase of human life is reflectiveof how we conduct ourselves in thefirst phase of life. The joys as wellas the sufferings shall continue in thelife Hereafter.Therefore, according to Islamicperspective, many who might have lived a lifefull of sufferings in this transitory world mayenjoy the most blissful and everlasting life in thenext world in what is known as the Heaven; andmany who might have enjoyed sinful pleasuresof this material world, may go through a grievoustorment in life yet to come in what is known asthe Hell. It all depends how we carry outourselves under given circumstances in this life.Islam acknowledges that life is full ofsuffering, starting as early as the very processof human conception in a mother’s womb andduring the process of childbirth.In the Holy Quran, we read:“And We [i.e. GOD] have enjoined on manto be good to his parents — his mother bearshim in suffering after suffering of weakness,”(31:15)Again, we read: “Certainly there was a longperiod of time when man was almostinsubstantial. We created him from a stickingsperm-drop then We caused him to pass througha trial of precarious stages; then, turned him intoa being capable of hearing and seeing. Verily, Wehave shown him the way, (giving him full freedomof choice) whether he be grateful or ungrateful.”(76:2-4)“And We have enjoined on every human being tobe good to his parents. His mother bears himwith pain, and brings him forth with severe pangs(of childbirth),” (46:16)Not only both the mother and the newborn baby have to go through a tremendous painful suffering in the process ofchild-birth, the Holy Quran also acknowledgesthe existence of human suffering in various formsthroughout human experience.Natural DisastersFirst, there are natural disasters — theclimatic tragedies like earthquakes, floods,lightening, storms and famines. We can alsoinclude in such calamities the outbreak ofcontagious, epidemic and endemic diseases,plagues and pestilence. And, moreover, there areinnumerable illnesses and bodily sufferings.These calamities and diseases do occur inconsequence of a wider circle of natural lawsthat are necessary to existin the vast universe, inwhich human life is animportant but still a verysmall portion.The laws of nature, thatsometimes cause thesesufferings, are put in placeby God the Creator actuallyto support and evolve lifeon the earth in its totality.If these natural laws aretaken out of the universaldesign of God the Creator,the very existence of everyliving thing will bejeopardized. Therefore,the disasters that arecaused by natural laws areno reflection of theCreator’s cruelty overhumans. According to theHoly Quran, the study of natural phenomenonmakes us understand that, despite thedevastation suffered by some humans, God’sMercy (rahmah) is the most overwhelmingattribute in Nature that creates, maintains andevolves all forms of life including human life.Man-made AfflictionsSecondly, there are the man-made inflictionsthat cause other humans to suffer physical painand mental anguish and sometimes even death,such as — false accusation, wrongful44 MuslimSunrise


imprisonment, kidnapping, rape, theft, physicaland emotional abuse, economical exploitation,slavery, wrongful occupation of other’s propertyand land, war and holocaust. The list of thesesinful acts and social and international crimes isvery long indeed. We may also add to the list theenvironmental destruction and pollution causedby us humans.These and similar other inflictions causedby some are due to the abuse of what wecall “the freedom of man's will.” Andwe certainly cannot say that freedom of will isan evil in itself. Without free will, man wouldlose the very essence of his existence. Therefore,causing suffering, pain and death to othersthrough the misuse and abuse of one’s free will,humans remain responsible to God, and not Godto humans.To eliminate suffering caused by humans,God has commanded us not to inflict any harmon others, and those who do so, must face theconsequences. Therefore, to establish, a “just”society is one of the most important obligationstaught by Islam. Those who may escape thecorporal punishment in this world, for themGod’s punishment shall be waiting in the life tocome.Self-inflicted PainThirdly, there are acts of “self-inflictedsuffering”: These could be accidental orintentional. The Holy Quran prohibits inflictingself-injuries, specifically committing of suicide.The sufferings that we may inflict uponourselves are mostly caused by our mentalcondition that we have the choice to control withor without the help of others. These miseriesare usually caused by our anger, jealousy,depression, or getting into addiction — such asdrug-abuse, alcoholism, and gambling. For allthese kind of self-inflicted sufferings, man himselfremains responsible and accountable to God, andnot the vice-versa. God is ever ready to forgiveour trespasses against our own souls.The Holy Quran is very clear on this pointthat even the smallest of an action — good orbad — committed in this life by any human beingwill not go to waste! “Then whosoever has doneso much as an atom’s weight of good will see itsgood result, and whoso has done an atom’sweight of evil will also see its evil result.”(Chapter 99, Al-Zilzal, verses 7-9)Again, the Holy Quran says: “Every soulshall taste of death. And you shall be paid in fullyour rewards only on the day of Resurrection.So whosoever is removed away from the Fire(of Hell) and is made to enter Heaven, (thatperson) had indeed attained his goal. And life ofthis world is nothing but an illusionaryenjoyment. You shall surely be tried in yourpossessions and in your persons.” (Chapter 3,Al-Imran, v. 186-187)Therefore, according to the teachings of theHoly Quran, it does not matter how much aperson suffers in this world, as long as he or sheis engaged, according to his or her capacity, inrepelling the evil and doing the good works. Thejoys and comforts of the life yet to come are fargreater, unparalleled and everlasting as comparedwith human sufferings of this life! The humansufferings of the present life are termed as “atrial” — a test, an evaluation and a validation tomeasure the success and strength of each humansoul, its capacity to do good deeds.So, according to theHoly Quran, all thetragedy, affliction,anguish, grief and fearthat we may have togo through in this lifeare actually tests andtrials from God. If wesucceed in the test byremaining prayerfuland patient, showingcomplete perseveranceand trust in Godduring the period ofsuffering, and wecontinue doing gooddeeds, and we avoidevil thoughts andactions, then the endresult is that Godgrants us boundlessjoy, happiness and Hiseverlasting pleasure.The Holy Quransays: “Do you thinkthat you will enterHeaven, while youhave not yet sufferedsimilar afflictionswhich befell those whohave passed awaybefore you? Distressand affliction befellthem, and they weremade to suffer violentshaking, so that theMessenger and thosewho believed alongwith him cried out:“When will come thehelp of God?” Thenthey were told,‘Behold! Surely thehelp of God is alwaysnearby.’” (Chapter 2, Al-Baqara, verse 215)By understandingthe continuous natureof life in its totality, thehuman suffering doesnot remain an issue toTo eliminate sufferingcaused by humans, Godhas commanded us not toinflict any harm on others,and those who do so, mustface the consequences.Therefore, to establish, a“just” society is one of themost importantobligations taught byIslam. Those who mayescape the corporalpunishment in this world,for them God’spunishment shall bewaiting in the life tocome.be settled by challenging the existence orgoodness of our Lord God - the Creator. Oncewe are able to conceive and believe that everysoul has to enter another dimension of life bypassing through the door of death, only then wecan fully appreciate the existence of God Whoreaches the depth of our souls to enhance itsstrength through our endurance of sufferings, andthus makes us the winners in the long run.The Holy Quran further elaborates this pointby narrating to us how all the men and women ofGod, the prophets, the messengers and the righteouspersons — bothmale and female — havegone through all sorts ofhuman sufferings, butnone of them ever losttheir hope, their trust inGod’s help, and they enduredall the pain, anguishand fear with utmostpatience, sincerityand perseverance. At theend they all were the winners.For example, Adamand Eve had to encounterthe devil — thewhispering tempter“who made them sufferto forget a clearcommandment of God!As a consequence, theylost Paradise and enteredinto a life of labor andpain. But still theyretained dominion overall other creatures onthe earth and receivedforgiveness of God.Abraham was put tomany terrible trials, themost difficult one wasto offer his first-bornchild in sacrifice. Heended up being thefather of nations “hisprogeny becomingcountless like the starsin heavens. Job’s(Ayub’s) sufferings areproverbial, but heretained his confidencein Divine Goodness,and his suffering becamea medium of refining hisrighteousness. Moseshad to run for his lifeunder the threats ofPharaoh and for 40 longyears he suffered manypains and disappointmentsby the hands of hisSpring 2006 45


Therefore, for us Muslims and allothers, the important matter should beto learn how to handle humansufferings, retaining full faith in aLoving God. The Holy Quran teachesus “The truly righteous — are thosewho endure with fortitude misfortune,hardship and peril. That is, who arepatient in poverty and affliction, andin time of war.” (2:178)enemies and his own people, but he never losthis faith in the Almighty God. And we all knowthe story of Jesus and his mother Mary. VirginMary had to suffer the grievous insults from herpeople on becoming pregnant prior to gettingmarried. Jesus the beloved of God sufferedphysical torture and was put on the cross withthe intent to be killed on the wood — to die anaccursed death! But God did not forsake him,and God did honor his mother. Now billionsrevere them both as innocent and sinless.It is also a matter recorded in history that theProphet of Islam, Muhammad (may peaceand blessings of God be on him) was themost successful man both in the realms of religionas well as in temporal affairs. He has beenacknowledged as the most influential man in history.His main task was, on the one hand, toestablish the Kingdom of God on earth, to establishfirm faith in the existence of one God -and to establish perpetual worship of the Most-Loving and Most Merciful God; and, on the otherhand, his mission was to establish a just andbenevolent social order. Despite tremendouspersonal pain and anguish that he was made tosuffer through his life on this earth, he achievedan unparalleled success in both the domainsAfter receiving an answer to his heartrenderingprayers concerning the moraldepreciation, social injustice, lawlessness andmutual fights in the fragmented nation of hisfellow countrymen in Arabia, when he startedhis mission as the Prophet of God to remove allsocial, moral and spiritual ills around him, hesuffered the most bitter persecution andoppression at the hands of his own people -those very people that he wanted to help andguide. He was scorned and derided, abused andtormented. Trash was thrown in his way, andfilth was laid on his head. The vagabonds beathim up most severely; throwing stones and rocks,making him bleed almost to death. Some of hisfollowers were brutally murdered. Some of hisdear ones were split apart alive by tying theirlegs to two strong camels and making them runinto opposite directions. Some of the womenwho believed in him, were butchered shamelesslyby his enemies.Even when he and his followers were forcedto leave their hometown Mecca and they settledin Medina - a town more than 200 miles awayfrom Mecca, the enemy did not allow them tolive in peace, and initiated armed attacks andmade them suffer the horrors of war. The brutalenemy mutilated the dead bodies of his dear ones.They cut their noses and ears, and in one instanceeven took out the liver and chewed it raw. Hehimself received severe injuries on his face inone of such battles.Not only that, he suffered many personaldomestic tragedies in his life. He lost some ofhis children while they were young, and somedied in his lifetime as grown ups. He had foursons, but all of them passed away in theirinfancy. Despite all the enormous humansuffering throughout his life, Holy ProphetMuhammad (saw) always had a warm smile onhis face. Throughout his life he remained cheerfuland a tremendous source of peace of mind andcomfort for all who got in touch with him. Hesucceeded in establishing a firm faith in theexistence of God in the hearts of thousands uponthousand, and he successfully replaced injusticewith equity, cruelty and oppression withforgiveness and mercy.By studying his personal sufferingsjuxtaposed on his most successful life, andthrough his practical demonstration ofcompassion, peace, comfort, service to others,love for all and hatred for none, we find the mostshining example in the person of the Most NobleProphet Muhammad (may peace and blessingsof God be on him) of reconciling the existence ofa Compassionate and Loving God and humansuffering. It was not merely an intellectualreconciliation, it was a factual and mostimpressive reconciliation between God andhuman suffering in action.Therefore, for us Muslims and all others,the important matter should be to learnhow to handle human sufferings, retainingfull faith in a Loving God!The Holy Quran teaches us “The trulyrighteous — are those who endure with fortitudemisfortune, hardship and peril. That is, who arepatient in poverty and affliction, and in time ofwar.” (2:178)Again, in the Holy Quran we read:“O you who believe! Seek (God’s) help withperfect patience and prayer; for surely God iswith the patiently persevering (Sabireen). Anddo not count as dead those who are killed in thecause of God. Rather they are living; only youperceive not (their life). And We will certainlyreward you after trying you with something offear and hunger and some loss of substance andof lives, and fruits (of your toil). Give glad tidingsto the patiently persevering; who, when acalamity befalls them, say, ‘Surely to God webelong and to Him shall we return.’ It is they onwhom descend the blessings and mercy (rahmah)from their Lord God; and it is they who arerightly guided.” (Chapter 2, verses 154-157)At the end, I would like to say: All praisebelongs to God, the Lord of all the universes,Most Gracious, Ever Merciful, the Master ofthe day of Judgment. This paper was presented at an interfaithsymposium, in Zion , Illinois, December8, 2002. Imam Mubasher Ahmad, servesas the Midwest Regional MissionaryInCharge, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community,Chicago.46 MuslimSunrise


Worship and praise belong to Him Who is Everlasting;He has not equal or His like.He alone endures, all else is but perishable;To love others is only an idle tale.All are others,He alone is the darling of my heart;The only cry of my heart:Holy is He Who watches over me.Holy is His Divine might,Grandeur is His alone;Those close to Him stand atremble,And angels are awe-stricken.His Mercy is all-pervasive;How can one be grateful enough?We are all His creation;Love Him we must.To love others is contrary to His PrideBlessed be this day;Holy is He Who watches over me.Every comfort we enjoyIs His Gift and Grace;Every heart is pledged to HimAnd is filled with His Grandeur.We had better submit to Him alone,For in it lies all felicity and auspiciousness;Blessed be this day;Holy is He Who watches over me.He alone is the Succour and Support of all;His mercy is manifest.He alone is Dear to us;He alone is our Beloved.He alone is Indispensable;Everything other than Him is false.Blessed be this day;Holy is He Who watches over me.The favour is Yours, O Lord;I am but an offering at Your threshold.You have granted the faith;‘Holy is HeWhowatchesover me’Hazrat Ahmad, Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim CommunityYou alone are the Protector at all times.Your Grace covers us every moment;You are the Most Gracious, Ever-Merciful.Blessed be this day;Holy is He Who watches over me.How can You be thanked enough;All that is mine, is Yours!You have filled my home with every bounty;All darkness vanished when Your light came;Blessed be this day;Holy is He Who watches over me.[The Essence of Islam]Spring 2006 47


Natural Disasters and Divine PunishmentIn the past 1,100 years there had been elevenmassive (death toll exceeding 50,000) earthquakes,yet since 1905 thirteen such earthquakes haveoccurred. Huzur said he noticed the perspectivewith which the Western world welcomed the newmillennium was purely materialistic andhedonistic while God was totally forgotten. Huzursaid in the last hundred years (from 1900 to 2000)the distress caused by man-made disasters wasimmense; in wars spread across 35 countriesninety five million people lost their lives.Below is an english summary ofFriday Sermon delivered by HazratMirza Masroor Ahmad, the spiritualleader of the Worldwide AhmadiyyaMuslim Community. The editedtranslation was prepared by MuslimTelevision Ahmadiyya, January 27,2006. He is referred to by AhmadiMuslims as Huzur.Citing verse 118 of Surah Hud (11:118)Huzur delivered his Friday Sermonon the phenomenon of Natural Disastersand Divine Punishment.Huzur said recently huge natural calamitieshave taken place during the time of Jalsa SalanaQadian; the 2003 earthquake in Iran and thetsunami of 2004. Furthermore he mentionedthe October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. Healso briefly touched upon the heavy destructioncaused by this earthquake and the depravationthe victims are enduring in the chaotic aftermathexasperated by the severe cold weatherconditions where survival has become achallenge. Huzur mentioned Humanity First’scontinued aid efforts here and said that it wasour obligation to serve humankind.Huzur said many ask him if these were Divinepunishments then why were the innocent killedin these disasters? He said the PromisedMessiahas has expounded this matter but beforeciting his writings, Huzur wished to give a fewreferences of the outlook of Pakistan religiousscholars in the wake of the October 2005earthquake, all collected from newspapers.Dr. Mufti Qadri wrote that the earthquakewas an admonitory sign for the masses and therulers; for the masses because although theyprofessed Shahada their deeds brought it in badrepute. It was amoment forconcern for thereligious scholarsin light of thecurrent sectarianviolence whichhas reached anextent thatpeople of somesects are killingpeople of theother sects. ASalahudin YusufSahib wrote thatit was time toreform; that whenkufr (non-belief)exceeds limitsAllah sends a deterrent. Explaining the death ofinnocents he quoted a hadith that when Allah’schastisement comes everyone is destroyed buton the Day of Judgment the reckoning will beaccording to each person’s intentions. He wrotethat this calamity was not a sign of the advent ofJesus.Hafiz Idrees Sahib wrote quoting a hadiththat time when bounty of war will be madepersonal property and there will be an increasein the number of singing women and the soundsfrom the mosques will grow louder that is whenpeople will face earthquakes. He wrote that thisearthquake was a consequence of ‘our negligence’and had nothing to do with the advent of Jesusthat it was a warning to turn to our Master.Huzur said although his comments wereaccurate his inference was flawed.Ropri Sahib wrote that when a body of peopleexceeds in disobedience then they are Divinelypunished. Professor Abdur Rahman Ludhianawiwrote that this was a warning to reform. He saidthat the tsunami had also struck where people48 MuslimSunrise


Major disasters have taken place thusfar in this century, among them theIran earthquake, the tsunami, thePakistan earthquake and the havoccreated by hurricane Katrina inUSA. Huzur said the advent of theHoly Prophet (saw) was for the entireworld and his Messiah was also forthe whole world and that is why thesedisasters are spread all over. Huzursaid it was our duty to tell everyonethat prevention from these disasters isin recognizing God.had exceeded limits. He said although theearthquake was a sign, but it could not beconsidered definitive as regards the advent ofJesus. Hafiz Raza Sahib wrote that theearthquake was a warning for the Muslims toturn to the Master. He said the Holy Qur’anmentions accounts of earlier nations who weredestroyed. He said the sign of the advent of ImamMahdi (the Messiah) is that evil will be prevalent,therefore the earthquake could be considered asign; however his advent will be when evil willexceed limits! Huzur remarked so the limits havenot exceeded yet! Hafiz Abdul Mannan wrotethat the earthquake was a consequence ofnegligence and a lesson in the fact that whenAllah decrees there is no respite.Huzur said all these people acknowledgethat this calamity came because therewere and still are wrongdoings; howeverit is not enough to merely acknowledge.The advent of the Messiah has taken place andit is the command of the Holy Prophet (peaceand blessings be on him) to accept him, therehave been heavenly signs to substantiate his coming,so what are they waiting for now? Since1905, when the big earthquake took place inKangra, India during the lifetime of the PromisedMessiah (as), these signs are repeatedlyappearing and are therefore a warning for eachMuslim as well as non-Muslim.Huzur said in the past 1,100 years there hadbeen eleven massive (death toll exceeding 50,000)earthquakes, yet since 1905 thirteen suchearthquakes have occurred. He said he noticedthe perspective with which the Western worldwelcomed the new millennium was purelymaterialistic and hedonistic while God wastotally forgotten. Huzur said in the last hundredyears (from 1900 to 2000) the distress causedby man-made disasters was immense; in warsspread across 35 countries ninety five millionpeople lost their lives.This century so far major disasters have takenplace, among them the Iran earthquake, thetsunami, the Pakistan earthquake and the havoccreated by hurricane Katrina in USA.Huzur said the advent of the Holy Prophet(saw) was for the entire world and his Messiahwas also for the whole world and that is whythese disasters are spread all over. He said itwas our duty to tell everyone that preventionfrom these disasters is in recognizing God.Huzur read a couple of further relevantexcerpts from Pakistani newspapers dating 1992one quoting verse 11 of Surah Al Qamar (54:11),Huzur said that in this age there is only oneperson who prayed to Allah for help in this wayand since 1905 Divine signs have beenmanifesting themselves. Huzur said thesepreaching religious scholars should do somesoul-searching as to where they stand.With reference to the Promised Messiah’ (as)writings explaining why innocent lives are alsolost in disasters Huzur related the famine ofMecca when the poor lost their lives and thewicked Abu Jahl survived saying that thechastisement is only for the wrongdoer, theinnocent are martyrs and they have glad-tidings.Referring to San-Francisco earthquakes occurringin his times the Promised Messiah said he didnot consider that those occurred because of therejection of his truth but that the denial of histruth has been a cause of the earthquakes,because Allah states in the Holy Qur’an that thepunishment of disaster does not befall peopleunless a prophet has been sent to them (26:209).Huzur said the religious scholars he had quotedearlier who denied that the earthquake was asign of the advent of the Messiah were surelynot accepting this Quranic verse.The Promised Messiah (as) said the victimsof the San Francisco earthquakeswere killed due to their past sins however,this was a sign of his advent, as he had written inBraheen e Ahmadiyya that many earthquakeswill take place in his time and this will be a signof his truth. In short it is the way of Allah thatwhen His prophets are rejected disasters occurand all and sundry lose lives in that God’s senseof honor is aroused, however, the big culprit’stime comes in the end.Huzur said that unless the people of thisworld accepted the message of the PromisedMessiah (as) they will not be saved.Huzur prayed that may we keep our heartspure and take God’s message to others and mayby means of the prayers of the Promised Messiah(as) we and our generations to come maintainthe distinction through which the differencebetween us and others is evident.Spring 2006 49


Word SearchL I B E R T Y L E N G L A N D O V Y EF K O S H I P N E W Y O R K R A T L LH H A T R M E P A R I S T A O I S M DF A T I N O O R A N G E O R N N O N ME L P S B T M D B T D W V E Q Q Y A YT I E E L H O X R W M T R P G R L C LH F A N A E T T Z U L E E K O S R K CO A C A N R T B R T S E J T I E C T ON Q E T K N O F I U L S C U M X E L LO Q X O E L O B O S T I I N D K R L LR Q P R T G B T V O V H K A R A P K EG H A N A A V Z K T T C T A H T I H GF N H C R E T E P P E B M R E R J S EN Q I A G E X L H T U A A K U P R N MF H T D P B W I L I T N C L Q S P T EC K I R F P C F D R C O I H L R T O CL R A V B Z Y E T D R L C T E H L A CB C J Y Q H A R M O N Y E O Y R J S AP O L I C Y V C P G O A T C W Z X T Bwww.WordSearchMaker.comBlanketGoatMarketPolicyTeacherBridgeHappyMeccaRabbitTinCarpetHarmonyMercyRocketToastChicagoHonorMotherRussiaTrustCollegeIslamMottoSenatorTruthCowJudaismNew YorkSerenityUnityEnglandKhalifaOrangeShipVehicleFootballLibertyParisSleepVictoryGhanaLifePeaceTaoism50 MuslimSunrise


Crossword PuzzleCrossword PuzzleHint - Find Answ ers Throughout Issue!1 2 3 45 67 8 91011 121314 1516 1718 192021 22 23 242526 2728www.CrosswordWeaver.comACROSS2 Late Catholic Pope (2 w ds)7 The Master8 The Ever Merciful10 2005 Baseball Champs (2 w ds)11 The Creator14 Segment: Letters to the ___16 Successor in Arabic19 The Most Gracious20 "the Aw akened One" in Buddhism21 Revered Guru in Sikhism (2 w ds)23 "___ for all, hatred for none"26 The Bestow er of Peace27 Husband to Mary28 JK Row ling's "Harry ___"DOWN1 The Answ erer of Prayers3 Relief organization: ___ First4 The All Hearing5 Concept of Godhead in Christianity6 Washington, Bush9 The Truth10 The Most Loving11 US Hurricane in late August12 2005-6 NCAA Football Champs13 Hindu god know n as the Creator15 Hindu god know n as the Destroyer17 NYC: The Big ___18 Established Muslim Sunrise in 192119 The Lord22 The First24 Hindu god know n as the Preserver25 The LightSpring 2006 51


Q&AWhat doesIslam mean?1 4.The word Islam in the Arabic language isderived from the root SLM and means “peace”and “obedience”. The religion is called Islambecause it offers peace and requires completesubmission to the will of God. According to theQuran, there is only one religion acceptable toGod and that is complete submission to HisWill.2What was thereligion ofearly prophets?Islam was also the religion of the earlyprophets like Abraham as , Moses as and Jesus as ,because they also submitted themselves to thewill of God. As the Bible shows, or rather, doesnot show, there was no name assigned to theteachings for the Israelites. In fact, Hinduism,Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Confucianismare all names given to the teachings of prophetsafter the time of the prophets. But the teachingsof the Holy Prophet Muhammad sa are clearlyassigned the name Islam in the revealed scriptureduring his lifetime. Thus, we read in the Quran,“This day have I perfected your religion foryou and completed My favor upon you andhave chosen for you Islam as religion” (5:4).3Do Muslimsbelieve in allthe prophetsand revealedbooks ofotherreligions?Islam, in fact, requires its followers tobelieve in all earlier prophets and Scriptures.According to Islam all the great religions thatpreceded it were revealed by God to His chosenmessengers.A Jew today believes only in the prophetsof Israel; a Christian believes in Jesus Christand, to a lesser degree, in the prophets of Israel;a Buddhist believes only in Buddha and aZoroastrian in Zoroaster; A Hindu in the sages52 MuslimSunrisewho appeared in India and a Confucian inConfucius. But a Muslim believes in all theseprophets and also in the prophethood ofMuhammad, the Seal of the Prophets, may peaceand blessings be upon him.What are thefive articles offaith?The beliefs in Islam are not based onsuperstition or irrational conviction. They arepresented in the Holy Quran in a systematicway and are supported by logical arguments. InIslam a belief must make sense to the believer;otherwise it becomes a dogma or a superstition.There are many beliefs in Islam but five of these,called the Five Articles of Faith, are the mostimportant. These are:• Belief in God• Belief in the Angels• Belief in the Prophets• Belief in the Revealed Books• Belief in the Day of Judgment5What are thefive pillars ofIslam?Islam requires its followers not only to believein certain things, but also to carry out certainduties. Worship of God, in some form or another,is common to all religions of the world. Thepurpose of worshipping God in Islam is to evokeHis help and guidance in leading a purposefullife in this world, and to acquire His attributes.In a broader sense of the word, worship isobeying God. The various ritualistic worshipsdescribed below are nothing more than means oftraining the soul and disciplining one’s self. Thefive fundamental acts of worship in Islam are:• Declaration of Faith, Shahadah• Prayer, Salat• Fasting, Saum• Alms giving, Zakat• Pilgrimage, Hajj6Approximatelyhow manyprophets arementioned inthe Qur’an byname and howmany in theBible?The Quran mentions only twenty-fiveprophets by name while the Bible mentionsabout fifty. Most of the Quranic prophets canbe identified with their Biblical counterparts:Yaqub as of the Quran is the Biblical Jacob,Haroon as in the Quran is Aaron in the Bible,Shuaib as of the Quran is the Biblical Jethro, andso on. The important distinction is that whileChristians believe in only those prophetsmentioned in the modern day Bible, Muslimsbelieve in all prophets of God. The Quran clearlystates, “And there is no people to whom a Warnerhas not been sent” (35:25); “And We, indeed,sent Messengers before thee; of them are somewhom We have mentioned to thee; and of themare some whom We have not mentioned to thee”(40:79).7Who was thefirst prophet inhistory? Was healso the first manwho existed?The earliest of all known prophets was, ofcourse, Adam as . Historians place the time ofAdam as at around four thousand years beforeChrist (4,000 B.C.), and think that he lived inthe fertile area between the Tigris and EuphratesRivers known as Mesopotamia. Contrary topopular belief, Adam as was not the first createdman. People already existed before Adam as .Modern research in the science of evolutiondemonstrates this fact very clearly that humanbeings evolved, over a long period of time, fromsimpler and more primitive animal life. Adam asmarks that specific stage in this evolutionaryprocess at which God started to communicatewith human beings.8Which prophetlived at thesame time asProphet Abrahambut was not hisson?The prophet Lot as (Loot in the Quran) is alsohave been known to have lived in the period2165 to 1990 B.C.Adapted from A Book of Religious Knowledge,ed. Waheed AhmadWe invite our readers to send in questions andwe will try to accomodate you with answers inthis column. -- Editor


Global Vision. Global Values.MTA International emerged in 1994 with the aim of providing a positivealternative in the broadcasting world.MTA has been a unique channel in many respects. Its focus lies inproducing programs that can be enjoyed by people of all ages at alltimes. It recognizes that television plays a significant role in the worldand has accordingly devoted itself to applying this influence positivelyfor the purpose of educating its viewers.MTA offers quality family viewing right across the globe. It broadcastsinternationally in up to eight languages simultaneously and featuresprograms focusing on the different cultures of the world and theenvironments in which they exist. MTA features many thought-provokingdiscussions and programs on issues of great relevance to society,with some of MTA's programs being unmatched in their high level ofquality.www.mta.tv, for moreinformation visit our site.You can order MTA, comprised of a receiver and satellite dish for justa one-time fee of $225, or watch it free and live online atwww.alislam.org, official website of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.Contact Dr. Abdul Hakim Nasir at 315.735.2319. No monthly fees.Shipping and handeling fees may apply.Spring 2006 53


Perspectives: Red Light ShoppingAt one of the exits on Eisenhower expressway near downtown Chicago, I stoppedat the red light. There were a few cars infront of me waiting for the light to turn green.Alongside the exit ramp a man had set up a displayof merchandise. All along the fence, he hadpictures in frames, candies, stuffed animals andsome other attention grabbing items. It was a bigdisplay, at least twenty-five feet long. I startedto mumble. Who would buy these things? Howdid this man figure that he could sell this stuff?He probably designed his own marketing plan. Iam sure he doesn’t know about time managementguessing at the time it takes him to set itup and repack at the end of the day. I rejectedthe thought that it was his front to sell drugs.This was much too hard a work for a drug-pusher.I continued mumbling. Where does he even buythis merchandise? Probably in a bulk purchaseat a garage sale.It was amazing how the man was trying tomake a sale walking from one car to the next. Hewas bundled up because it was cold and that didnot improve his demeanor as a salesman. I donot know how many hours he spent there andhow many days a week. I could see other driversin cars next to me squirming in their seats praying54 MuslimSunriseto God that the light would change before hegets to their car. We do remember God at everydesperate moment. Well, the light turned green,and I was happy that he had not gotten to mycar yet. It was a close one. I have a strict policynot to open the windows of my car in thatneighborhood. This is part of my HomelandSecurity plan.By our behavior, everyday of our lives, wecondone certain behavior in others. I could notcount how many times in my life I have givenmoney to the beggars on the streets of Lahore,Cairo, Paris and even in Chicago downtown. Ihave given money to the people at red lightswith cans in their hands when I had no clue whythey were wearing colorful aprons. But, I wouldnot give a dollar to the man on the exitramp for a candy. Here is a man who ismaking an effort to make a living. Insteadof begging, he is selling something. As forthe usefulness of the items, I can showyou my garage full of things that I boughtfrom big shopping centers that I never used. My clothes closet is another example butthat’s because of my losing the race withchanging fashions. I didn’t have to buy apainting from him or a stuffed animal. Icould have just given him a dollar for theeffort. He was being honorable. At least hedid not smear my windshield with his dirtysqueegee after I had just paid eight dollarsto wash my car.Our religion has emphasized so muchfor giving charity that we feel good whenwe give to a beggar. The beggars know it,too. I don’t know how many millions ofbeggars there are in Muslim countries butthey are everywhere. Even when you visitthe Great Pyramids in Egypt, walkingaround in the heat, you find beggars. Thereis nobody selling water bottles or soda – tothe tourists but the beggars still beg fromthem. I wonder if I condone this behaviorof the beggars.Prophet Muhammad sa said that theupper hand is better than the lower hand.He also professed to his people not to beg butto work and make a living off their sweat.Muslims seem to forget that, especially theprofessional beggars. It was ProphetMuhammad sa who told one of his companionsto sell the only clothes he had and buy an axe.Then he told him to cut the woods in the jungleand sell it in the market. The beggars’ count wentdown by one. Not understanding this transformsmasses into beggars. Even some MuslimGovernments have become beggars of themodern world.We should look around ourselves and seewhich behavior we should condone. When wesee a brother doing a good thing, we should givehim a helping hand. If nothing else, give him agood advice or appreciate his goodness. Whenyou see someone displaying indecent behavior,don’t just pass by. Make a point of it, otherwiseyour being quiet will condone his behavior.Sometimes, what you don’t do is more importantthan what you say or do.Spending in the way of Allah is not just togive to the beggars. The Holy Quran tellsus to spend our money on our family, travelers,needy and the orphans. It also tells us tospend on people for Taleef-I-Quloob (soothingor captivating the hearts) to empower them todo good. This is to help the people who do notbeg but who are nonetheless needy. Spend onthem to empower them to be respectable so theydon’t beg. Prophet Muhammad especially kepthis eyes on families like that and made sure thatthey were helped. I think the man on the exitramp qualified. I believe spending money on himwould have been spending in the way of Allah.God knows I didn’t need his merchandise, especiallythe candy.The following verse of the Holy Quran isstraightforward:“These alms are for the poor who are detainedin the cause of Allah and are unable to moveabout in the land. The ignorant consider them tobe free from want merely because they desistfrom begging. Thou shalt know them by theirappearance; they do not beg of men with importunity.And whatever you spend of your wealthon such people of that Allah is fully-aware”(2:274).Sometimes, I wonder if the man on that rampis still there. Maybe he changed his spot afterhaving experience with prospective customerslike me. Maybe he revised his marketing plans. Ihope, actually I pray, that he did not conclude itwas easier and more profitable to be a beggar. Ihope I didn’t help him make that decision.I really did not have much use for the fivedollars that I could have spent on shopping atthe ramp for one of his paintings. I could havegotten blessings by shopping at that exit ramp.He provided me the opportunity, and I missedit. It was a real good deal for only five dollars. Irarely miss a bargain at the Mall.I wish I had a better understanding of spendingin the way of Allah back then.-- Falahud Din Shams, Editor


Don't Wait,SubscribeToday!Don't miss the next exciting andinformative issue Subscribe today!One Year (four quarterly issues for only $14.99)Look for these topics in the upcoming issues:• Prophet Muhammad's Treatment of the Jews• Particles and Potentials: Insights from the Quran aboutThermodynamics and Physics.• Burden and Balance: Insights from the Quran on the PhysicalBody and its Relation to the Soul.• Islamic teachings about the treatment of prisonersName (please print)Street AddressCity/State/Zip CodeSubscription for ________(# of years) at $14.99 each = __________________Gift subscription for________(# of friends)at $14.99 each = _______________Total Amount Enclosed:__________________Make Checks Payable to Ahmadiyya Movement in IslamMail this coupon to The Muslim Sunrise 2S 510 Rte. 53 Glen Ellyn, IL 60137Phone: 630.790.4100Spring 2006 55


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