2017 04 The Light April 2017

aaiiluk

monthly Journal of the Ahmadiyya Association for the Propagation of Islam. Presenting Islam as a tolerant, liberal and peaceful religion as practiced by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s).

ْ م ِ اہللِ‏ الرَّْحم ٰ

سب

ِ ی م الرَّحم

ن

ِ

The Light

International Organ of the Centre for the Worldwide

Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam

2017

April

April

2016

The only Islamic organisation upholding the finality of prophethood.

Webcasting on the world’s first real-time Islamic service at

www.virtualmosque.co.uk

This issue is dedicated to the memory of P.C Keith Lambert, who died so that we may live.

Editors

Shahid Aziz & Mustaq Ali – UK;

Zainib Ahmad – USA; Gowsia Selim - India

Contents

The Call of the Messiah 2

Islamophobia, Real or Contrived 3

By Mr Ebrahim Mohamed

What is Enlightenment in Islam? 5

By Muqtedar Khan

World Interfaith Harmony Week 10

By HRH Prince Ghazi

bin Muhammad

Broadcasts (UK time)

1. Skype Urdu lecture: Sunday 09:00

2. Live on www.virtualmosque.co.uk

‣ Friday Sermon 13:00

‣ First Sunday of month lecture 15:00.

3. Radio Radio Virtual Mosque

Websites

1. International HQ

2. Research and History

3. The Woking Mosque and Mission

4. The Berlin Mosque and Mission

5. Quran search

6. Blog

Our Recent English Broadcasts

‣ Charity in Islam Mr Nasir Ahmad discusses

the concept of charity in Islam and

points out that it is not only a religious, but

also a social obligation of every Muslim.

‣ Equal Opportunities for all Mankind.

Mr Mustaq Ali discusses chapter 107 of the

Holy Quran to show that there is no discrimination

on any basis in providing citizens

with opportunities in education or employment.

‣ Spiritual Advancement Through Good

Deeds. Mr Talha Adnan discusses spiritual

advancement in Islam. He explains that, in

Islam, doing good to others is a very important

part of seeking closeness to Allah.

The Jinn in Islam Dr Jawad Ahmad looks

at the concept of the Jinn and explains the correct

interpretation from the Quranic precepts.

Interesting external links

‣ In the US, a Muslim soldier is refused a

gun!

‣ Following Orders and what Stanley

Morgan did.

‣ Which is the Zero Eco-foot Print Parliament?

‣ Women at the Top - Rather a Lack of

Them

‣ King David's clothes discovered.

I Shall Love All Mankind.


April 2017 The

Light 2

The Innocent Made Immortal

on 22 nd March 2017

Keith

Lambert Kurt Cochran Aysha Frade

And Leslie Rhodes

The Call of the Messiah

by

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam

Ahmad,

The Promised Messiah and

Mahdi

Different states of mind in five daily

prayers

What are the five daily prayer services?

They are pictures of your different states of

mind during the course of the day. You experienced

five conditions at a time of trial and your

nature demands that you must pass through

them.

The first of these is when you are warned

that you are about to be afflicted with a calamity.

For instance, imagine that a warrant has

been issued for your presence in court. This is

the first condition which disturbs your serenity

and contentment. This condition resembles the

time when the sun begins to decline, as on the

receipt of the court warrant. Corresponding to

this condition, the noon prayer (Zuhr) has been

prescribed, the time of which begins with the

decline of the sun.

You experience the second condition when

you are drawn close to the place of the calamity.

For instance, when having been taken into custody

under the warrant you are presented before

the magistrate. At that time, you are in terror

and the light of security seems as if it is

about to depart from you. This condition resembles

the time when the light of the sun diminishes

and the human eye can fix itself upon the

sun and it becomes obvious that the time of its

setting is near. Corresponding to this spiritual

I Shall Love All Mankind.

condition the afternoon prayer (`Asr) service

has been prescribed.

The third condition sets in when you lose all

hope of deliverance from the calamity. For instance,

when, after the recording of the prosecution

evidence, which is designed to bring

about your ruin, you are charged with an offence

and a charge-sheet is prepared. At this

time, you almost lose your senses and you begin

to think of yourself as a prisoner. That condition

resembles the time when the sun sets and hope

of daylight comes to an end. The sunset prayer

service (Maghrib) is prescribed in relation to

this spiritual condition.

The fourth condition is when you are afflicted

by the calamity and its deep darkness envelops

you completely. For instance, when, after

the close of the evidence you are convicted and

sentenced and are committed to the custody of

the police. This condition resembles the time of

night-fall, when everything falls into deep darkness.

The evening prayer service (`Isha) is prescribed

in conformity with this spiritual condition.

When you have spent a certain time in the

darkness of the affliction, Divine mercy surges

up and delivers you from the darkness, as the

dawn succeeds the darkness of the night and

daylight begins to appear. The dawn prayer service

(Fajr) is prescribed corresponding to this

spiritual condition. Allah, Most High, in view of

your five changing states of mind has prescribed

five prayer services for you. You can thus understand

that these services have been prescribed

for the benefit of your soul. If you desire

security against these calamities, you should not

neglect the five daily services as they are a reflection

of your inner and spiritual conditions.

Prayer is a remedy for the calamities that may

threaten. You know not what type of circumstances

the new day may confront you with. So,

before the beginning of the day, entreat your Divine

Master earnestly that the day may prove to

be a source of benefit and blessing for you.

(Kishti-i Nuh — Noah’s Ark, continued)

If you desire security against these calamities,

you should not neglect the five daily

services as they reflect your inner and

spiritual conditions.


April 2017 The

Light 3

Islamophobia, Real or

Contrived?

Real Threat to World Peace.

Compiled by Ebrahim Mohamed, South Africa

Islam offers Peace and Justice – Not

Fear!

The very name ‘Islam’ means Peace! Muslims

who do not live up to this lofty ideal, like

the minority terror groups, do not represent

Islam. Any unbiased seeker of truth will tell you

that true governance, according to the rule

Book of Islam, the Holy Quran, is based on

equality, justice and high moral standards. Such

was the example set by the Holy Prophet

Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Holy

Quran testifies to this fact: “Certainly, you have

in the Messenger of God (i.e. Muhammad) an excellent

exemplar” (33:21).

Many renowned academics, clerics and

statesmen from different faiths who studied the

life of the Prophet Muhammad (may peace and

the blessings of God be upon him) as an historical

figure, have come to some fascinating conclusions.

Here are some examples to reflect

upon:

George Bernard Shaw, well-known Irish

dramatist and Nobel Prize recipient for Literature

said:

“I have studied him (Muhammad) - the

wonderful man . . . He was by far the most

remarkable man that ever set foot on this

earth. He preached a religion, founded a

The very name ‘Islam’

means Peace! Muslims

who do not live up to

this lofty ideal, like the

minority terror groups,

do not represent Islam.

state, built a nation, laid down a moral code,

initiated numerous social and political reforms,

established a powerful and dynamic

society to practice and represent his teachings

and completely revolutionized the

worlds of human thought and behaviour for

all times to come.

I Shall Love All Mankind.

I have always held the religion of Muhammad

in high estimation because of its wonderful

vitality.

It is the only

GBS - ‘he

religion which

(Muhammad)

must

appears to me

to possess that

be called a

assimilating

Saviour of

capacity to the

Humanity.’

changing

phase of existence

which

can make itself appeal to every age. I have

studied him – the wonderful man and in my

opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he

must be called a Saviour of Humanity.

I believe that if a man like him were to assume

the dictatorship of the modern world

he would succeed in solving its problem in

a way that would bring much needed peace

and happiness. I have prophesied about the

faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable

to the Europe of tomorrow as it is

beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of

today.”

The Rev. Bosworth Smith, carefully studied

the life of Prophet Muhammad, and in his

book, Mohammad and Mohammadism, published

in 1874, writes:

“Head of the State as well as the Church, he

was Caesar and Pope in one; but, he was

Pope without the Pope’s pretensions, and

Caesar without the legions of Caesar, without

a standing army, without a bodyguard,

without a police force, without a fixed revenue.

If ever a man had the right to say that

he ruled by a right divine, it was Muhammad,

for he had all the powers without

their supports. He cared not for the dressings

of power. The simplicity of his private

life was in keeping with his public life.”

Annie Besant, a prominent British

women’s rights activist, writer and spokesperson

for the National Secular Society, wrote in

her book, The Life and Teachings of Muhammad

(1932), p.4:


April 2017 The

Light 4

“It is impossible for anyone who studies the

life and character of the great Prophet of

Arabia, who knew how he taught and how

he lived, to feel anything but reverence for

that mighty

Boswoth Smith - If

ever a man had the

right to say that he

Prophet, one of

the great messengers

of the

ruled by a right divine,

Supreme. And

it was Muham-

mad,

although in what

I put to you I

shall say many

things which may be familiar to many, yet I

myself feel, whenever I reread them, a new

way of admiration, a new sense of reverence

for that mighty Arabian teacher.”

Mahatma Gandhi, the pre-eminent leader

of the Indian Independence Movement in British-ruled

India, and the person to whom modern

day non-violence movements trace their

roots (like that of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.’s

civil rights movement), after studying the life of

Prophet Muhammad wrote:

“I became more than ever convinced that it

was not the sword that won a place for Islam

in those days in the scheme of life. It

was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement

of the prophet, the scrupulous regard

for his pledges, his intense devotion to

his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his

fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and

his own mission. These, and not the sword,

carried everything before them and surmounted

every trouble.”

Alphonso La Martine, famous French historian,

wrote in his, Histoire de la Turqe, 1854,

Vol 2:

“If greatness of purpose, smallness of

means and astounding results, are three criteria

of human genius, who would dare to

compare any great man in modern history

with Muhammad?”

Dr Michael Hart, an American, scientist by

profession, more recently, studied important

historical figures and ranked the top 100 most

influential persons in history. He published his

rankings in a book titled: The 100 and number

I Shall Love All Mankind.

one on his list was the “Prophet Muhammad”.

He writes:

“He [Muhammad] was the only man in history

who was supremely successful on both

the secular and religious level . . . It is this

unparalleled combination of the secular

and religious influence which I feel entitles

Muhammad to be considered to be the most

influential single figure in human history.”

Similarly, it was stated in the Encyclopaedia

Britannica that the Prophet Muhammad

was:

“. . . that most successful of all prophets and

religious personalities.” (11th edition, under

‘Koran’, 1st paragraph)

Distinguishing characteristic of the

Holy Prophet Muhammad (s):

From an orphan to a king of a great empire,

the Holy Prophet Muhammad passed through

all phases of life so that he was able to provide

a model for people in many different roles.

If he had not been a labourer, he could not

have revealed the value and integrity in working

with one’s own hands and earning an honest

living.

If he had not in his youth organized grassroots

campaigns to

serve the poor and it was not the

protect the weaker sword that won

members of society, a place for Islam

he could not have - Gandhi

been an inspiration

for socially conscious community organizers.

If he had not married, he would have left

people unguided in practically half of their daily

interactions, and could not have shown how to

be a kind and affectionate spouse and a loving

parent.

If he had not been the head of an armed

force, he could not have served as an example

for a responsible general or an accountable

commander-in-chief in the fight for justice.

If he had not formed rules and regulations


April 2017 The

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for his community, he could not have been regarded

as an example for a conscientious legislator.

If he had not been in the position to decide

disputes among people, he could not have

served as a model for an impartial judge or effective

mediator.

If he had not had life-long friends, he could

not have shown the beauty in true and trusted

companionship.

And if he had not been persecuted by tyrants,

and then overcome his persecuting enemies,

and forgiven them without enforcing any

punishment against them, he could not have

practically illustrated the lessons on compassion,

mercy and forgiveness that are contained

in all revealed scriptures.

According to the Holy Quran Muhammad

was raised as a ‘mercy’ for all the worlds – not

as a threat to peace to be feared by anyone.

Finally, Thomas Carlyle, famous Scottish

philosopher, writer and historian, considered

one of the most important social commentators

of his time, who produced the famed work On

Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History,

after studying the life of Prophet Muhammad,

concedes:

The lies (from western critics), which wellmeaning

zeal has heaped round this man (Muhammad)

are disgraceful to ourselves only. (emphasis

is mine)

We strongly condemn all acts of violence

and the abuses of the rights of all humankind

and the rest of God’s creation – we especially

condemn, at the top of our voices,

the ruthless killings conducted in the name

of Religion or State!

What is Enlightenment?

An Islamic Perspective

M. A Muqtedar Khan,

University of Delaware

(First printed in Journal of Religion & Society

vol. 16 produced by The Kripke Center)

Abstract

The lies (from western critics), which

well-meaning zeal has heaped round this

man (Muhammad) are disgraceful to ourselves

only. Thomas Carlyle

This essay draws on Immanuel Kant’s concept

of enlightenment as an escape from selfimposed

ignorance and argues that a similar

concept of enlightenment can be understood

within the Muslim context as escape from selfimposed

jahiliyyah 1 , which is understood as fear

to exercise reason publicly. The article advocates

for ijtihad 2 , is critical of Taqlid 3 , and invokes

Islamic sources to invest confidence in

contemporary use of reason for interpreting Islam.

Return of Jahiliyyah

An Enlightenment has come ب ‏ِكُمْ‏ ۖ

to you from your Lord (Quran 6:104).

قَدْ‏ جَٓاءَكُم بَصَ‏ ‏ٓائِرُ‏ مِن ر ََّ

For nearly a millennium and a half, Muslims

have understood Islam as a human condition

that is antithetical to jahiliyyah (ignorance).

Most historical and religious accounts of Islam

begin with a discussion of the state of ignorance

in Arabia and often use it as a benchmark to underscore

the civilizing influence of Islam on the

barbaric Arabs of pre-Islamic Arabia. The great

Islamic civilization that was produced with the

explosion of knowledge in the fields of philosophy,

science, sociology, medicine, and mathematics

still remains a central influence on Islamic

identity and an example of the indubitable

truth of Islam and its transformative potential.

In the same vein, the rationality of Islamic

beliefs and Islamic socio-political order remains

a major theme in the discourses of Islamic

intellectuals, scholars, and preachers. The

point I seek to make is simple: Muslims have always

understood Islam as enlightenment, the

path that rescued humanity from ignorance, irrationality,

and superstitions and catapulted

1 Jahaliya – Arabic term used for the period in Arabia

before the advent of the Holy Prophet Muhammad

(s) meaning days of ignorance.

I Shall Love All Mankind.

2 Ijtihad – Use of reason.

3 Taqlid – Blindly following the religious decrees

of religious authorities.


April 2017 The

Light 6

human society towards the apex of civilization,

towards the realization of a perfect community

based on divine principles.

The present Ummah 4 can hardly be described

as a perfect community or as one that is

organized around divine principles. It clearly

lacks enlightenment. This is not to deny the

presence of many enlightened individuals and

even movements, but the overall condition of

the global Muslim community can hardly be described

as worthy of emulation. Indeed, modern

revivalist thinkers of Islam are conceptualizing

the present age as an age of jahiliyyah. Here ignorance

is defined as the absence of Islam as the

central fountain from which society derives its

organizational principles. In order to understand

the fundamental causes behind this state

of decay, we need to understand what enlightenment

is and how it relates to the vigour of societies.

We need to learn to recognize the conditions

that indicate the presence or absence of

enlightenment in society and to elaborate, for

popular consumption, why Islamization is enlightenment.

Kant’s Conception of Enlightenment

In order to elucidate the meaning of the

term “enlightenment,” I wish to turn to a famous

essay by Immanuel Kant, originally published

in Berlinische Monatsschrift in December

1784, “An Answer to the Question: What is

Enlightenment?” In this essay, Kant, one of the

great philosophers of European enlightenment,

defines enlightenment as “Man’s emergence

from a self-imposed immaturity.” An enlightened

man for Kant was “one who had the courage

to use his own understanding.” In Islamic

terms, this means one is competent to do one’s

own ijtihad (independent thinking). Kant was

seeking to liberate human reason from the

shackles of stagnant religious traditions that

had deprived humanity of the freedom to use

reason. He lamented the fact that, due to indolence

and cowardice, a great proportion of humanity

remained in a state of immaturity and

subcontracted their thinking and faculties of

judgment to others. For Kant, immaturity was

the inability of an individual to rely on one’s

own understanding. Kant argued further that

society could come out of such a state only if

“people had the courage and freedom to use

reason publicly in all matters.”

The significance of Kant’s analysis and prescriptions

for modern Muslims is enormous.

The present Ummah exists in a state of unparalleled

immaturity. Not only has the capacity to

think independently and freely nearly disappeared,

it has become illegitimate. Attempts to

institutionalize and democratize the spirit of

ijtihad inspire fear among the masses and incite

anger, resentment, and opposition from the

Ulema. The Ulema, by generating discourses

that have instilled a fear of reason and independent

thought, have rendered the Islamic

Ummah incapable of relying on its own judgment.

The Ummah seems to know only one way

– Taqlid (imitation). 5 The present Muslim world

attempts to either ape the West or ape the past

(a glorified and nebulous golden age). Sadly, we

fail to realize that even to be good at imitation

requires creativity and initiative. The condition

of immaturity or jahiliyyah has become so widespread

that the Ulema, too, have become immature,

have ceased to rely on their own rational

faculties, and have surrendered the cardinal

function of “judgment/reasoning” to the scholarship

and religious judgement of a canonized

and sacralised privileged elite from the second

and third centuries of Islam. True religious

scholarship has been reduced to memorization

and recycling of medieval opinions and methodologies.

New scholars are appreciated as long as

they are seen as revivers of the past, and those

who seek to reform or institute new practices

are immediately viewed with suspicion. We remain

a civilization that is petrified to think, following

those who refuse to think. In the absence

of new, invigorating thought, widespread immaturity

prevails.

From Taqlid to Ijtihad

The twentieth century has proved to be

4 Ummah – The Muslim Community.

I Shall Love All Mankind.

5 On what is Taqlid [the blind imitation of

madhahib], often seen as an antithetical view to

the ijtihadi view, see Ahmed: 42-47.


April 2017 The

Light 7

more fortunate for the Ummah. More and more

Muslims have mustered the courage to rely on

their own reason and have sought to understand

Islam and make it more relevant and

meaningful to contemporary life. The impact of

their ijtihad is unprecedented. Global movements

for the revival of Islam have mushroomed

and the power and vitality of Islamic

principles and ideas have galvanized Muslims

everywhere. Nevertheless, the shadow of immaturity

or jahiliyyah continues to dog even the

most vibrant of Islamic movements. It is my fear

that we may lose the momentum that independent

thought spawned by thinkers like Sir Syed

Ahmed Khan and Muhammad Abduh, Fazlur

Rahman and Malik Bennabi, Syed Nursi and Ali

Bulac, Abdolkarim Soroush, Javed Ghamdi, and

Tariq Ramadan and many others have provided.

This fear stems from my perception that independent

thinking still remains spectacular but

episodic, revolutionary but rare. We need independent

thinking to become routine. The followers

of some of these great thinkers have not

emulated their leaders’ spirit of ijtihad and

movements that have sprung from some of their

ideas have once again institutionalized Taqlid.

In this discussion, I am clearly departing

from the traditional Islamic understanding of

the term jahiliyyah. I am referring to the refusal

of Muslims in general to rely on their own judgment

and reasoning as Jahiliyyah. Taqlid without

reflection is jahiliyyah, immaturity, and lack

of enlightenment. I would like to point out how

the concept of jahiliyyah itself has evolved.

From the Quran, we can glean that jahiliyyah

means the ignorance of the all-powerful, merciful,

and omniscient God. Ignorance in the Quran

is defined basically as ignorance of God, God’s

nature and attributes, and God’s expectations of

humanity. Subsequently, in the discourses of Islamic

scholars, the term jahiliyyah slowly

evolved to mean ignorance of Islamic principles

and ignorance of what it takes to be a good Muslim.

This understanding still dominates traditional

discourses. Recent endeavours at ijtihad

by the pioneers of contemporary Islamic revival

have redefined jahiliyyah as absence of Islamic

governance. This understanding of jahiliyyah is

I Shall Love All Mankind.

largely due to the political polemics of Maulana

Maududi (from the Indian sub-continent) and

Syed Qutb (Egypt). Unfortunately, their followers,

too, remain in a state of jahiliyyah, for they

have fallen into the habit of imitating their new

demigods and sacrificed their own capacity,

right, and duty to think. This is clearly evident

in the immature and often violent manner in

which they respond to any disagreement or criticism

of these new masters. These reactions are

very similar to the reactions of the traditional

Ulema and their followers to any attempt at approaching

the Islamic heritage from a critical

perspective. This is another manifestation that

the Muslim Ummah exists in a state of self-imposed

jahiliyyah. How does one escape this stifling

and stultifying condition? How do we

move from immaturity to enlightenment? How

do we spark what Kant calls an age of enlightenment,

a precursor to the enlightened society?

An Islamic Perspective of Enlightenment

It is important that we first understand enlightenment

and its Islamic nature. The Quran

describes the human being as the best of creations,

and this claim is premised on the human

ability to reason (95:4).

have indeed created man in the best of molds

(Quran 95:4)

ٓ أَحْسَنِ‏ تَقْوِيم َّ

We ل ‏َقَدْ‏ خَلَقْنَا ٱْلِْنسَنَ‏ ‏ِفِ‏

The Quran does not invite blind followers; it

demands and exhorts us to reflect and use our

reason to read God’s signs in nature, history,

and text (12:109). In all its presentations, the

Quran presents evidence and proofs and, indeed,

demands arguments and proofs from

those who disbelieve its message. There is no

suggestion or expectation in the Quran that the

human being ceases to be the best of creations

and becomes an ape (reversing evolution!). The

Quran does not ask believers to surrender their

reasoning capacity, the very faculty on which it

is relying for the cognition of God. It is reason,

not ritual, which connects humanity with

the divine, and this theme is the central essence

of the Quran. Until the guardians of Islam

and Muslims, their intellectuals, and

their Ulema realize and emphasize this at

every opportunity, the Muslim community

will remain immature.


April 2017 The

Light 8

Once a man came to Umm Ayesha, the wife

of Prophet Muhammad (s), and asked her to describe

to him the character of the late Prophet

of Islam (Imam Muslim). Ayesha’s reply was at

once succinct and deeply profound. She said,

Have you not read the Quran? The Prophet’s

character was the embodiment of the Quran itself.

This tradition is very well known and often

invoked in the praise of the Prophet and to invite

Muslims to imitate the Prophet. Unfortunately,

very little substantive analysis of what

Ayesha meant is available in contemporary popular

discourses. The tradition is used to inspire

awe in the Prophet and to generate deep respect

for his persona, but little else. There is rarely

any effort made at advancing the meaning of

this equation in terms of the Prophet’s qualities

and the Quran’s character. The Quran, besides

other things, is also the best tafseer (exegesis)

of itself. The Quran describes itself, as the

bearer of the truth and most importantly as Furqan:

Blessed تَبَارَكَ‏ ٱل ‏َذِى نَز ‏َلَ‏ ٱل ‏ْفُرْقَانَ‏ عََلَ‏ ٰ عَبْدِهِۦ لِيَكُونَ‏ لِلْعَلَمِنيَ‏ نَذِيرًا

is He Who hath revealed unto His slave the Criterion

(of right and wrong), that he may be a

warner to the peoples (Quran 25.1)

فُرْقَانً‏ ‏ًۭا وََّيُكَف ‏ِرْ‏ عَنكُمْ‏ سَيِ ‏َاتِكُ‏ ‏ْم

يَٓأَي ‏ُهَا ٱل ‏َذِينَ‏ ءَامَنُو ٓ ا۟‏ إِن تَت ‏َقُوا۟‏ َ ٱّلل َ ‏َيَ‏ ‏ْعَل ل ‏َكُمْ‏

O ye who believe! if ye fear وَيَغْفِرْ‏ ل ‏َكُمْ‏ ۗ وَٱّلل َ ُ ذُو ٱل ‏ْفَضْ‏ لِ‏ ٱل ‏ْعَظِ‏ يمَِّ‏

Allah, He will grant you a criterion (to judge between

right and wrong), remove from you (all)

evil (that may afflict) you, and forgive you: for

Allah is the Lord of grace unbounded. (Quran

8.29)

Furqan means “criterion for judgment” or

“capacity to discern.” It also means to differentiate

between the right and wrong, and between

justice and injustice. This understanding of the

Quran implies that the Prophet’s personality,

which is the prototype for a Muslim, is the embodiment

of the capacity to judge. If this is what

Ayesha meant, then it means that to be like the

Prophet is to have Furqan, which is to be capable

of discernment.

One of the enduring myths of Islamic beliefs

is the extreme glorification of early Muslims.

Muslim scholars, searching for authority (necessary

in the absence of reason) to support

I Shall Love All Mankind.

their interpretations of Islam created a hierarchy

of interpretive privilege in Islam. The veracity

of a particular opinion depends upon the

personality and reputation of the person with

whom it corresponds. The Prophet is on the top

of the pyramid, followed by his companions,

then come the companions of the companions,

followed by the classical scholars. While the status

of the Prophet is indubitable, the rest of the

pyramid weighs upon the reason of subsequent

generations of Muslims to the point that today,

even to disagree with a companion or with one

of the classical scholars leads to calls for excommunication

(takfir) and even endangers life itself.

Islamic scholars have subtly propagated

the myth that early Muslims are far superior in

intellect and virtue than later Muslims no matter

what the issue is and, therefore, contemporary

understandings and interpretations must

defer to past understandings and interpretations.

Such a hierarchy cannot be derived from the

Quran without prejudicial interpretation of

Quranic phrases like “Are they equal, those who

know and those who do not” (39:9). This creative

interpretation with selective references to

the ahadith (traditions) has created a prison

from which Muslim thinking finds it impossible

to escape. The opinions of early jurists, which

even for them were contingent on time and

place, have today become the default for divine

law. Human opinions are treated as if they were

the very words of God and often there is no differentiation

between the opinions of say, Imam

Al-Shafi, (a prominent medieval jurist) and laws

of Allah. To challenge the eminent jurist’s opinions

or even to subject them to a critical analysis

is interpreted as an assault on Islam and Allah’s

divine Shariah. This has led to an incredibly

tragic state of things, where to think is tantamount

to not only launching an un-Islamic project

but an anti-Islamic one. Thinking has been

rendered illegitimate because it necessarily

threatens the hegemony of past opinions.

There are many traditions of the Prophet

wherein he has praised Muslims who would

come later. In one such remarkable tradition,

the Prophet describes later Muslims as his

brothers, who are even closer to him than his


April 2017 The

Light 9

companions (Imam Muslim: CI 482). It is not really

possible to definitively argue from the

sources that the understanding of Islam of later

Muslims will be inferior to that of early Muslims.

However, Muslim eschatology argues that

there will be general moral decay in society as

we approach doomsday, but these arguments

serve a debilitating purpose. Consider the paradox:

if our objective is to revive Islamic society

and emulate the moral excellence of early Muslims,

then we must at least be their equals to

replicate their efforts. Indeed, we have to be

better than them for they improved themselves

with the help of the Prophet and we have to do

it without his direct personal guidance.

The other alternative is to surrender to the

inertia of history and let things be. Why bother

to emulate those who are inimitable. If things

are destined to get progressively worse as we

approach doomsday, then why even raise the

call for revival? It would be destined to fail. Indeed

the general lethargy in the global Muslim

community suggests that such a tacit condition

has already materialized. But when some Muslims

look at other non-Muslim societies and remark,

like Muhammad Abduh did upon visiting

the West, that “I see Islam without Muslims,” we

realize that indeed for some people it is still

possible to produce Islamic values in real life.

The reality of this is extremely disturbing. First,

we concede that perhaps humanity is degenerating

and cannot aspire to equal those who lived

centuries ago. And then we find that some people

are able to emulate the past Islamic glory

even without the explicit assistance of Islamic

sources. These conditions simultaneously suggest

that nothing is wrong with humanity itself;

it is only Muslims who are declining.

How, if at all, can Muslims as a community

come out of this inertia of immaturity and inspire

an age of enlightenment? I think that the

route to this noble end is through a collective

emergence from this self-imposed jahiliyyah.

This task requires major changes in the outlook

of Muslim intellectuals as well as Muslims in

general. Our self-imposed immaturity does not

stem from a complete disregard for reason; on

the contrary, it stems from a lack of self-confidence.

We need to encourage the use of reason,

which we refuse to do so even when freedom is

I Shall Love All Mankind.

available to us. We also need confidence in our

inherent capacity to understand, interpret, and

apply Islam in our context. Our problem is not

the lack of freedom to use reason, but the lack

of freedom to use Islamic texts directly. We have

to come out from the feeling of inferiority towards

the Muslims of the past, take our destinies

in our hands and chart our own straight

path.

Muslim intellectuals and scholars must stop

acting as if they are defenders and guardians of

Islam. This position inevitably leads to the conservativeness

of thought. The responsibility of

defending and safeguarding Islam is Allah’s responsibility

and he has said so clearly. It is this

fear that Islam will be diluted, misinterpreted,

and distorted by contemporary Muslims who

are inherently inferior that must be discarded.

Muslims must stop performing God’s task of

safeguarding his message and start performing

the human task of understanding and acting

upon this message. Muslim scholars and intellectuals

need to change the psyche of the

masses by focusing attention not on what Islam

is but on what Muslims do. The artefact of separating

Islam from Muslims allows Muslims to

have the best religion with the worst followers.

The only way to escape this is to deconstruct the

myth of the essential Islam and argue that Islam

is what Muslims do and shift the burden of manifesting

Islam on to human actions and away

from sacred, un-implemented texts. We have to

realize that Islamic civilization, in its totality, inclusive

of its best and its worst, is also a tafseer

(exegesis) of the Quran. Therefore, it is not

enough to glorify ideas confined to text. They

are meaningless until they are realized in this

duniya (world).

Conclusion

The Muslim community must be made to realize

that our generations, the communities after

the advent of Prophet Muhammad, the Seal

of Prophets, are the best of all generations.

Never has God ever trusted a people without a

prophet. There are going to be no more new

messengers or messages from the All-Mighty.

We are for the first time on our own. We have

the revelation and so did past communities. But

they all needed Prophets to guide them.


April 2017 The

Light 10

Even the great Sahabah (companions of

Prophet Muhammad) lived life as pagans and in

ignorance before Prophet Muhammad came to

them as a guide and messenger. But the present

Muslim Ummah is the only Ummah that Allah

has trusted to act on its own. The only difference

is that, unlike the messages of earlier

prophets, Allah has promised to safeguard his

revelations to Prophet Muhammad. We have to

live up to God’s expectations. And we cannot do

that until we become capable of acting on our

own judgment, until we are strong and courageous

enough to understand and apply his message

in our times. Maturity and enlightenment

at one level means simply living in our times.

We must escape the prisons of past authorities

and past achievements and focus on our task at

hand. Very simply, we must grow up and take

responsibility. Be enlightened and act mature.

To achieve this noble end, we need to encourage

in every possible manner, the confidence that

we are capable of understanding and realizing

the maqasid (purpose) of Islam and foster a culture

of tolerance for those who have the courage

to think.

Any grandiose project towards the development

of democracy and pluralism, or towards

the respect of freedom – freedom to believe and

freedom to chart one’s own destiny – will not

gain any foothold in the Islamic World until the

condition of self-imposed immaturity is alleviated.

Until individual Muslims and their intellectuals

and scholars can dare to pass judgment

on the present, and view their heritage from a

critical perspective without allowing the past to

prejudice them, until then freedom of thought

and action – a constitutive element of Islamic

society – will remain beyond our grasp.

World Interfaith Harmony

Week

H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad

delivers

H.M. King Abdullah II’s proposal at UN

Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Raheem Mr. President,

I have the honour to introduce, on behalf

of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the 29

I Shall Love All Mankind.

other co-sponsors Albania, Azerbaijan; Bahrain;

Bangladesh; Costa Rica; the Dominican Republic;

Egypt; El Salvador; Georgia; Guatemala;

Guyana; Honduras; Kazakhstan; Kuwait; Liberia;

Libya; Mauritius; Morocco; Oman; Paraguay;

Qatar; the Russian Federation; Saudi Arabia;

Tanzania; Tunisia; Turkey; the United Arab

Emirates; Uruguay and Yemen, the draft resolution

A/65/L5 entitled the ‘World Interfaith Harmony

Week’.

Allow me to explain in brief the reasoning

behind this resolution which was launched by

H.M. King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein before the

United Nations General Assembly on September

23 rd 2010.

As this august assembly is well aware, our

world is rife with religious tension and, sadly,

mistrust, dislike and hatred. These religious

tensions can easily erupt into communal violence.

They also facilitate the demonizing of the

other which in turn predisposes public opinion

to support war against peoples of other religions.

Thus, for example, according to the results

of the 2008 Gallup Poll one of the largest

international religious surveys in history 53%

of Westerners have ‘unfavourable’ or ‘very unfavourable’

opinions of Muslims and 30% of

Muslims polled worldwide hold negative views

of Christians.

The misuse or abuse of religions can thus be

a cause of world strife, whereas religions should

be a great foundation for facilitating world

peace. The remedy for this problem can only

come from the world’s religions themselves. Religions

must be part of the solution, not part of

the problem. Much good work has already been

done towards this starting really with the Second

Vatican Council from 1962-1965 by hundreds

of intra-faith and interfaith groups all

over the world and of all religions. Yet the forces

inciting inter-religious tensions (notable among

them being religious fundamentalisms of various

kinds) are better organized, more experienced,

better coordinated, more motivated and

more ruthless. They have more stratagems,

more institutes, more money, more power and

garner more publicity such that they by far outweigh

all the positive work done by the various

interfaith initiatives. The sad proof of this is that


April 2017 The

Light 11

religious tensions are on the rise, not on the decline.

Mr. President, Turning now to the text itself,

allow me to explain some of its most essential

terminology and concepts: 1) In the very title

of the resolution and in the second operative

paragraph and elsewhere, the word ‘harmony’

is used in the Chinese sense of the term. We add

it to the term ‘tolerance’ (which we have also

used) because ‘tolerance’ can suggest that the

other is so negative they have to be ‘tolerated’;

we cannot use ‘acceptance’ because it implies

that religions accept each other’s doctrines rather

than their right to those doctrines and this

is not the case; we cannot use the term ‘peace’

alone because it suggests merely the absence of

war, and not necessarily the absence of hatred.

Only the Confucian concept of ‘harmony’ can

rescue us here because it suggests not merely

‘peace’, but also ‘beautiful and dynamic interaction

between different elements within a

whole’.

2) In the third operative paragraph, there

is mention of ‘Love of God and Love of the

Neighbour, or Love of the Good and Love of the

Neighbour’. Why is this religious reference necessary

in a UN resolution? In answer to this

question, it will be noted first that this draft resolution

is unique because it is specifically about

peace between religions and not about anything

else, therefore some religious references in this

particular case is only natural. To rigidly maintain

the contrary would be to disregard the feelings

of 85% of the world’s population which belongs

to one or another faith.

Second and more importantly perhaps we

include these references because whilst we all

agree that it is clearly not the business of the UN

to engage in theology, it is nevertheless the primary

goal of the UN to make and safeguard

peace, and without the specific mention of God

and of the Two Commandments of Love [see:

Matthew 22:34-40 and Mark 12:28-31] many if

not most devout Muslims, Christians and Jews

will consider a secular call for an interfaith harmony

week a feckless platitude that they cannot

fully or sincerely support. For in the Holy Bible

Jesus Christ (echoing the words of Deuteronomy)

said: Man shall not live by bread alone, but

I Shall Love All Mankind.

by every word of God [Luke 4:4 and Matthew

4:4, see also: Deuteronomy 8:2-3] and also that:

Hallowed be Thy Name [Matthew, 6:9], and similar

meanings are to be found in the Holy Qur’an

wherein it is stated that no act is rewarded Save

for seeking the Countenance of [the] Lord, the

Most High [Al-Layl, 92:19-20] and that: Verily

the Remembrance of God is of all things the

greatest [from: Al-Ankabut, 29:45]. In other

words, for many Muslims, Christians and Jews

who together make up perhaps 55% of the

world’s population and (I regret to say) are involved

in most of the world’s conflicts it is necessary

to mention the substance of their faiths.

Otherwise, hoping to foster peace between religions

by foisting upon them an external and

purely secular and bureaucratic language is

simply a house divided against itself which shall

not stand [Matthew, 12:25].

Third, it will be noted that this language excludes

no one, of any religion or of no faith at all:

every person of goodwill, with or without faith

can and should commit to Love of the Neighbour

and Love of God or Love of the Neighbour

and Love of the Good. Loving the neighbour and

the good is after all the essence of goodwill. And

referring to ‘the Good’ obviously does not necessarily

imply belief in God or in a particular religion,

even though for many believers ‘the

Good’ is God precisely: Jesus Christ said: ‘No one

is Good but God Alone’ [Mark, 10:18; Luke

18:19, and Matthew 19:17], and ‘the Good’ (Al-

Barr) is one of God’s Names in the Holy Qur’an

[Al-Tur, 52:28]. Thus, speaking of ‘the Good’ is a

theologically-correct but inclusive formula in so

far as it goes that unites all humanity and leaves

out no one.

Fourth, there is another reason why it is

specifically necessary to mention love of the

neighbour: it sets an invaluable practical standard

based upon which people can ask themselves

and each other if their actions stem from

love towards the neighbour or not. Indeed, as

the Prophet Muhammad said: “None of you has

faith [in God] until you love for your neighbour

what you love for yourself.” [Sahih Muslim,

Kitab al-Iman, Vol. p.67, Hadith no.45].

3) Also in the third operative paragraph,

the phrase ‘on a voluntary basis’ is used because


April 2017 The

Light 12

the entire proposal must be purely voluntary.

No place of worship should be forced to observe

the World Interfaith Harmony Week; for whilst

we hope to encourage interfaith harmony, the

last thing we want is for anyone at all to feel that

anything is being imposed on his or her faith,

beliefs or convictions. Nevertheless, one can

conceive of positive incentives to encourage and

help support and monitor the implementation

of this resolution.

4) Finally, also in the third operative paragraph,

the phrase ‘each according to their own

religious traditions or convictions’ is vital because

the different religions do not necessarily

interpret ‘Love of God and the Neighbour’ in exactly

the same way, and do not all want it said

that they do. This phrase thus avoids the dangers

of syncretism or reductionism and allows

for religious differences within the same goal of

working towards inter-religious peace and harmony.

In summary, then, I very humbly ask the

member states of the United Nations General

Assembly to adopt the proposed draft resolution

for the World Interfaith Harmony Week,

noting that it excludes no individual, compromises

no one, commits no one, forces no one,

harms no one, costs nothing, and on the contrary,

includes everyone, celebrates everyone,

benefits everyone, unites everyone and has the

potential to bring much needed Peace and Harmony

to the entire world insha-Allah. Thankyou

Mr. President.

Draft Resolution A/65/L5 Sixty-fifth Session

World Interfaith Harmony Week The General

Assembly, Recalling its resolutions 53/243

of 6 October 1999 on the declaration and program

of action relating to a culture of peace;

57/6 of November 2002 concerning the promotion

of a culture of peace and non-violence;

58/128 of 19 December 2003 on the promotion

Only the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Anjumans Ishaat

Islam based in Lahore can defend Islam and the

honour of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

Join us in this struggle.

of religious and cultural understanding, harmony

and cooperation; 64/164 of 18 December

2009 on the elimination of all forms of intolerance

and discrimination based on religion or

belief; 64/81 of 7 December 2009 on the promotion

of interreligious and intercultural dialogue,

understanding and cooperation for

peace, and 64/14 of 10 November 2009 on the

Alliance of Civilizations; Recognizing the imperative

need for dialogue among different faiths

and religions in enhancing mutual understanding,

harmony and cooperation among people;

Recalling with appreciation various global, regional

and sub-regional initiatives on mutual

understanding and interfaith harmony including,

inter alia, the Tripartite Forum for Interfaith

Cooperation for Peace, and the ‘A Common

Word’, Recognizing that the moral imperatives

of all religions, convictions, and beliefs call for

peace, tolerance, and mutual understanding:

1.Reaffirms that mutual understanding and interreligious

dialogue constitute important dimensions

of a culture of peace; 2. Proclaims the

first week of February of every year the World

Interfaith Harmony Week between all religions,

faiths and beliefs; 3. Encourages all States to

support, on a voluntary basis, the spread of the

message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in

the world’s Churches, Mosques, Synagogues,

Temples and other places of Worship during

that week based on Love of God and Love of the

Neighbour, or based on Love of the Good and

Love of the Neighbour, each according to their

own religious traditions or convictions; 4. Requests

the Secretary-General to keep the General

Assembly informed of the implementation

of the present resolution.

Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam Lahore (UK)

Founders of the first Islamic Mission in the UK, established 1913 as the Woking Muslim Mission.

Dar-us-Salaam, 15 Stanley Avenue, Wembley, UK, HA0 4JQ

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I Shall Love All Mankind.

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