2017 09 The Light September 2017

Organ of the worldwide Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement. We believe that the Holy Prophet (s) was the last prophet after whom no prophet, old or new shall come and that all those who recite the kalima are Muslims. We believe that Is a liberal, tolerant, inclusive, peaceful, rational and scientific religion.

Organ of the worldwide Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement. We believe that the Holy Prophet (s) was the last prophet after whom no prophet, old or new shall come and that all those who recite the kalima are Muslims. We believe that Is a liberal, tolerant, inclusive, peaceful, rational and scientific religion.


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ِ ی م م الرَّح



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The Light

International Organ of the Centre for the Worldwide

Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam










The only Islamic organisation upholding the finality of prophethood.

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


Shahid Aziz & Mustaq Ali

Amir Aziz

Gowsia Saleem & Prof. Shahab


Kaleem Ahmed

Zainib Ahmad


The Call of the Messiah 2

Luther’s Revolution

by Elizabeth Bruenig 2

Muslims in Fiji From Paigham i Sulah 8

Unique features of the Kabah 9

by Nasir Ahmad


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The Light.

I Shall Love All Mankind.

September 2017 The

Light 2

The Call of the


by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam


The Promised Messiah and Mahdi

Truth underlying the Principals of Islam

Remember - the truth underlying all the

principles of Islam is that indicated by the word

Islam itself. The aim of all

its commandments is to

enable a human to the

stage of perfection signified

by Islam. That is why

the Holy Quran unequivocally

teaches that Almighty God should be the

only object of one’s desires and love. It shows

His beauty and goodness and calls attention to

His countless gifts and favours because beauty

and favours are the two incentives for love. According

to the Holy Quran, Almighty God is one

and without any partner in His attributes. He is

eternally free from every defect. In Him are

found all the perfect attributes and by Him are

displayed all the mighty powers. The whole creation

comes into existence through Him and to

Him return all the affairs. He is the fountain and

source of all blessings and the Judge of reckoning.

Being remote, He is very near, and being

near, He is yet far. He is above all but still it cannot

be said that beneath Him there is anything

else. He is the most hidden of all things, but it

cannot be said that anything is more manifest

than He. He is Himself living and everything has

its life from Him. He is His own support and everything

finds support from Him. He bears everything

and there is nothing that bears Him.

Nothing has come into existence independently

of Him and nothing can exist without Him. He

comprehends all, but the manner in which He

does so, cannot be described. He is the light of

everything that is in the earth and the heavens.

Every light has shone forth from His hand and is

a shadow of His person. He is the Lord of all the

worlds and there is no soul which has not been

brought forth by Him or comes into existence by

itself. Nor is there any faculty of a soul which

has not been brought into existence by Him.

Almighty God should be the

only object of one’s desires

and love.

I Shall Love All Mankind.

His manifold blessings are of two kinds.

Firstly, those that are not a reward for any previous

deed and which exist from the beginning,

such as the earth, the heavens, the sun, the

moon and the stars, fire, water, air and all other

things which have been created for our comfort.

Everything that was necessary to sustain us,

was created for us by Almighty God long before

we came into existence or any deed was done by

us. Who can say that the sun was created because

of any meritorious deed done by him, or

that the earth was brought into existence because

he had done a highly

virtuous deed? In short,

these blessings of God

were created by His

mercy, displayed long before

the existence of a human and they are not

the result of any of their deeds.

The other kind of Divine Blessings is the

consequence of His Mercy. He manifests this on

humans because of their good deeds, and this

does not stand in need of explanation.

(Essence of Islam, pages 8 to 11, 28 May


Luther’s Revolution

By Elizabeth Bruenig

A review of Martin Luther by LucasCranach der Ältere



Theology is morality is politics is law—and

whether or not it’s immediately obvious, the

world is steeped in theology. In contemporary

America, and especially in the more secular precincts

of Western Europe, it seems unlikely that

one could look at a property deed or a government

budget and find, just beneath its explicit

reasoning, traces of old theological disputes and

their resolutions. But they’re there, and examining

them offers a view of what might have been,

had history—in particular, the Protestant

Reformation, ignited 500 years ago this October

by a German monk named Martin Luther—unfolded


Luther cuts a perplexing historical figure. In

September 2017 The

Light 3

various depictions, he is by turns fiery or meek,

bombastic or shy, licentious or pious, revolutionary

or reactionary, cunning or naively bewildered

by what his high-minded remonstrance

unleashed on the world. In Erik Erikson’s

famous study of the early Luther, we find

a young monk in the throes of an identity crisis

that would eventually hurl Europe into a similar

one; in Roland H. Bainton’s Here I Stand, we find

Luther beset by tumultuous bouts of desolation

as well as stunning moments of insight and clarity.

Luther’s theology would place an emphasis

on spiritual simplicity, but his interior life was

anything but uncomplicated.

In Lyndal Roper’s new biography, Martin

Luther: Renegade and Prophet, he’s a charismatic,

irascible German chauvinist with a temper

as quick as his wit, who is caught somewhat

flat-footed by the trajectory of the revolution he

launched. Roper notes that major fractures

would begin to appear among Luther’s followers

less than a year after he defended himself at

the Diet of Worms in 1521; three years later, the

Peasants’ War broke out, a popular uprising

fueled by the anti-authoritarian thrust of Luther’s

ideas, and one that would not be rivaled

in size in Europe until the French Revolution.

Luther, Roper observes, initially castigated both

the rebellious peasants and their feudal lords,

but he eventually endorsed the cause of the

princes, declaring the rebels “mad dogs” up to

“pure devil’s work.” “With this stance,” Roper

writes, “the social conservatism of Luther’s

Reformation became apparent.”

This paradox - that the Reformation could

Paradox of the Reformation

Reformation could birth a peasant revolt

while its instigator rallied behind the

princes . . .

birth a peasant revolt while its instigator rallied

behind the princes - is a picture of Protestantism’s

confusing political legacy in miniature.

Protestantism arguably brought about many of

the preconditions for the Enlightenment and

liberalism, and at the very least introduced Europe

to a headier skepticism of authority than

had prevailed before. (Indeed, Roper credits the

Reformation with sparking the secularization of

I Shall Love All Mankind.

the West.) On

the other hand,

the release of

significant portions

of life -

namely politics

and economics -

from the purview

of religious

authority may have expanded certain freedoms,

but it did not result in a betterment of conditions

for the most disadvantaged, even as it

helped transform the Christian message into

something far more internal and private than

that of the earlier Church.

Reconciling the confusing, often paradoxical

origins of Protestantism in Luther and his

successors seems like a good project for a halfmillennium

retrospective. But if there is one

conclusion to be drawn from Roper’s book—as

well as from two other recent works, Alec

Ryrie’s Protestants: The Faith That Made the

Modern World and John C. Rao’s anthology Luther

and His Progeny: 500 Years of Protestantism

and Its Consequences for Church, State, and Society

- it’s that Luther himself was more catalyst

than creator. Five centuries on, some Protestant

sects still bear the marks of his thought and personality,

but others seem barely touched by

them at all. Every religion is fissile and given to

change, but the antinomian streak in Protestantism

makes it especially so, and the monumental

role it imagined for the individual conscience

helps to explain, at least by Ryrie’s

lights, the origins of modern thought.

Martin Luther was born in 1483 and

grew up in the small German mining town of

Mansfeld. “The son of a peasant,” by his own

account, Luther spent his childhood in

Mansfeld’s muddy, coal-dusted, and pugilistic

streets, which introduced him early to the

culture of vicious insults and brutal argumentation

that would later characterize - and help to

popularize -many of his famous polemics.

Luther’s story has been told many times,

but Roper handles it with special sensitivity, offering

both an engrossing narrative and capturing

the ways in which Luther’s early life and education

contributed to the fixations that would

September 2017 The

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occupy him in his later years. After a dreary

childhood in Mansfeld, the young Luther set off

to attend school in Magdeburg in 1497. He went

on to study at the University at Erfurt and entered

law school uneasily at his father’s behest.

form of Christianity he had initiated, illuminating

in moving detail the relationships that

crumbled around him as he became less the reform-minded

intellectual friar he once was and

more the influential defender of earthly princes.

It did not last. Luther instead was drawn to

the church and took vows as an Augustinian

monk in 1505. He was particularly attracted to

the order’s learned friary and intellectual tradition,

and Augustine’s political theology -at least

its rhetorical shape - would go on to form an important

dimension of Luther’s own. In 1512, he

Reformation changed the ideological

contours of Europe by

toppling the traditional sources

of authority - indeed, the stability

of any worldly authority


received his doctorate in theology. Now a thoroughly

educated and opinionated man of God,

Luther began teaching theology at the University

of Wittenberg, giving sermons in the local

church, and tallying the errors of his peers and


By 1517, Luther had established himself as

an accomplished, if quarrelsome, preacher. He

was known to have a particular (and entirely

reasonable) animus toward indulgences, the

means by which certain church authorities

parted faithful Catholics from their money with

theologically specious promises of salvation

and other favors. It was during one such dispute

over the sale of indulgences that Luther finally

met his destiny, on the last day of October 1517,

at the doors of a Wittenberg church. There, he

posted his 95 theses disputing established

Catholic teaching—and launched a revolution

that would transform the Christian world.

Roper’s narrative adds rich detail to the

story of Luther’s youth and its impact on his

later theological focus, and it teases out the anxieties

and doubts that plagued him even as he

pressed forward with the challenge that would

become the Protestant Reformation. Roper also

diligently follows the ways in which Luther frequently

found himself at odds with the new

I Shall Love All Mankind.

Ryrie’s Protestants also tells us about Luther’s

life, as well as about many of the early

Protestants who helped spread the Reformation

throughout Western Europe. But Ryrie

also wants to tell the story of how the Reformation

transformed not just the religious and

political world but also our social and economic

one. A practicing pastor, Ryrie already knows

well that it is difficult, if not impossible, to speak

of a single Protestantism, and so he centers his

book instead not on the religion itself, but on its

adherents and their shared, often contentious

history. This influence is hard to overstate, especially

for those of us in the United States, the

even more stridently Protestant offspring of

Protestant England.

Ryrie’s central contention is that the Reformation

changed the ideological contours of Europe

by toppling the traditional sources of authority

- indeed, the stability of any worldly authority

whatsoever. By so doing, it hastened (in

some cases) or precipitated (in others) the rise

of modernity, a condition that in Ryrie’s view is

marked by a chronological era as well as the

spread of liberalism, secularism, democracy,

and capitalism. Ryrie’s approach is historical

and detailed; in his survey, he moves from Luther’s

beloved Germany to England and the

Americas, then to Asia and beyond. He devotes

as much time to the denominations of South Korea

and China and the Pentecostal sweep in

Latin America as he does to Western mainline

churches. He is emphatic that Protestantism is

more a family of widely varied tendencies than

a single, unified religion. Above all else, Protestantism

is, for Ryrie, a love affair with God, unmediated

by institutions.

Of course, love can find any number of expressions,

and it’s the particular shape of Luther’s

love that helped define the personality of

Protestantism for centuries. As Roper tells us,

Luther’s “unbearable revulsion” - at his own

sins, mainly, but also those of others - was his

September 2017 The

Light 5

“spiritual staple.” Feces and bodily decay feature

prominently in his sermons and disputations,

Roper notes, advancing a dim if not altogether

disgusted view of man before his Creator.

Perpetually caught up in a kind of spiritual anxiety,

Luther was certain that there was nothing

humans could do to redeem themselves even

remotely in God’s eyes; instead, faith alone

could provide one with the opportunity to be

saved. “One must give up on attempting to find

God through ‘the

whore’ of reason,”

Roper writes of Luther’s

theology, “for

the point of faith is

that it exceeds rationality

and reveals

the distance between God and man.” For

Luther, that distance seems to have provided

some comfort: While human affairs are marked

by filth and confusion, God reigns in remote

majesty, unsullied and glorious in perfect certitude,

even as He offers His sinful creatures a

promise of the same.

This view of the gap between God and man

helps explain Luther’s allegiance to the German

princes: His theology, from the start, imbued

worldly goings-on with far less spiritual significance

than the Catholic Church had, and it did

so in order to make Christianity a more “democratic”

religion, one in which individuals enjoy

unmediated access to God. But Luther’s Reformation

did not simply undermine the church’s

particularly exploitative practices; it also envisioned

a rift between heaven and earth that, in

Catholic thought, wasn’t nearly as wide or intractable.

The “inner man should have faith in

God,” Roper writes of Luther’s theology, “and

we cannot arrive at faith through works of the

outer man.” Each person, then, is a kind of self

in a shell: One’s body is immersed in the profane

and mundane grind of daily life, but one’s innermost

soul is withdrawn and can be focused on


This distinction had immense consequences

for how Christians in Luther’s tradition

would go on to engage the world around them.

For Luther, Ryrie writes, there was “an earthly

kingdom: the kingdom of secular politics, a

I Shall Love All Mankind.

place of law, justice, and punishment”; and then

there was, “existing alongside it, and far more

important than it . . . the kingdom of heaven,

whose only king is Christ . . . And this is where

Christians’ hearts should be set, not on the

lumpen business of human politics.”

For Protestants, this represented an important

remonstration against the corruption

and violence of various church-state interactions,

as well as a renewed image of God as the

ruler of a

When political events or institutions come to be understood

as obviously, egregiously wrong - slavery

for some Protestants, abortion for others, taxation

for still others - then the moral language concerning

what God does or does not want emerges.


purer and

better than

the one we

can experience


It was an essentially spiritual call to arms

against the Vatican’s perceived materialism. But

for many, the rupture of heaven and earth also

opened up a different vista: that of secularism

and of a world emptied of religious meaning.

Luther emphasized that human works made no

difference to one’s salvation; doing good was

right, of course, but only God’s grace - and one’s

faith - could decide the destiny of one’s soul.

This liberated Christianity from some of its

worldly constraints, but it also meant coming to

view the private and religious spheres as divided

from the public and secular ones.

The formation of a set of spheres separate

from God’s purview was perhaps an unexpected

development for a faith desperate to be closer

to Him than the Catholic Church’s bulky intercession

would allow. And over the long history

of that faith, many Protestants haven’t seemed

entirely convinced of the material world’s separateness:

When political events or institutions

come to be understood as obviously, egregiously

wrong - slavery for some Protestants,

abortion for others, taxation for still others -

then the moral language concerning what God

does or does not want emerges. But this new

mode of religious thinking also helped open the

door, Roper argues, to a new secular age: a

world in which church and state, conscience

and politics, remained separate on principle.

In a way, it takes a Catholic - or a set of Catholics,

like those that John C. Rao gathers in his

September 2017 The

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anthology Luther and His Progeny - to clarify

just how transformative Protestantism was in

changing the modern world. By separating the

political and economic spheres from the realm

of spiritual consideration, Protestantism not

only inaugurated our secular age; it also helped

- at least in the view of some of its critics - to

give the market free rein. As Brian McCall argues

in his contribution, while in the Catholic vision

“economic works, as well as any other type

of works, will affect not only natural but also supernatural

ends,” the Protestant tradition proposed

that religion and morality remain realms

distinct from that of the economy.

This separation of economic considerations

from spiritual ones had its own political implications.

The Church and church jurists,” McCall

observes, “were intimately involved in the development

of economic laws that placed restraints

on individual economic freedom up to

the eve of the Reformation.” Thus, by disavowing

those moral constraints on the market,

Protestant countries could reclaim a sphere

that was otherwise still shaped, to some extent,

by the Catholic Church from afar. But when the

authority of the church receded from this newly

delineated political-economic sphere, something

else happened inadvertently: Contract

and property law, now released from adherence

to religious law, shifted over time, and a new social

order began to develop throughout much of

the Western Hemisphere - especially in the English-speaking

North Atlantic. Protestantism did

not create modern capitalism,

but it did clear a

considerable amount of

space for its development.

“Protestant theology contributed to a shift

in the underlying basis of contract liability,”

McCall writes, “shifting from causa to consideration

and promise to bargain.” Catholic jurists

had formerly required that the purpose of a

contract be a just and equitable one in order to

enforce it, and they viewed breach of contract

more as an issue of breaking promises than of

failing to meet the substantive terms of the

agreement. But Protestant theology gave rise to

the idea that contracts were covenants, “which,

Protestantism converged to aid in

the rise of liberal thought in the

18th century . . .

I Shall Love All Mankind.

although freely made, once entered into [were]

absolute.” Thus, by the middle of the 17th century,

Protestant courts had no obligation to try

to bring about a general moral good when they

adjudicated cases on property and contracts.

While much of the jurisprudence in Catholic

countries relied on a view of limited property

rights that might allow their societies to realize

God’s intention for all of His creation to be commonly

held, the moral and legal thought in

Protestant countries more often argued that the

best way to look after the weak and needy was

for each person to become as wealthy as possible

and then give freely of that wealth. As the

Enlightenment progressed, this vision blossomed

into the liberal tradition as we know it,

and into an insistence on ever more absolute

property rights, sacrosanct from intrusion by

church or state (except, curiously, when the

state enforced them), with any means of redressing

social or economic inequality primarily

beholden to a citizen’s own conscience.

Of course, in both strains of Christianity, human

beings can hardly be trusted with the careful

stewardship of limited resources -“The heart

is deceitful above all things, and desperately

wicked,” says the Lord - but the Protestant theology

that followed from this period left little

room for coercion by church or state. Other factors

besides Protestantism converged to aid in

the rise of liberal thought in the 18th century -

shifting economic possibilities, a burgeoning interest

in the sciences,

and the specter and

reality of civil war, to

name a few - but at the

root of it was a perspective

of the world

that centered on the individual. “When no human

power can direct or absolve the conscience,

it is the conscience that becomes the

true sovereign,” Ryrie writes, and the conscience,

more often than not, demands to be left

to its own devices.

Where could the elevation of the individual

conscience and the bifurcation of holy pursuits

from profane politics lead? Enlightenment liberalism

was not, and is not, capitalism; the for-

September 2017 The

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mer is a collection of political, social, and economic

theories, and the latter is a vast material

system. Nor can (or should) Protestantism, in

all its variegated forms, be equated with either

liberalism or capitalism: There are expressly

anti-capitalist and entirely illiberal Protestants,

and no tradition encompassing the Quakers, the

Shakers, and the Amish could seriously be

framed as a simple extension of liberalism. Yet

there appears to be an important connection

between the liberal thought that followed from

Protestant arguments and the emergence of

capitalism. “The kind of sociopolitical structure

that Protestantism engenders -based on free inquiry,

participatory politics, and limited government—tends

to favor market economics,” Ryrie

argues, and “a certain generic restlessness, an

itchy instability, is absolutely a core characteristic

of the Protestant life.” As a result, he explains,

“this self-perpetuating dynamo of dissatisfaction

and yearning has helped to fuel and

support the growth of capitalism.”

It is hard to say what Luther himself would

make of all this. In her biography, Roper reminds

us that “Luther was not ‘modern’” and

had no intention of ushering in a post-Christian

era, whether secular, liberal, democratic, or capitalist.

Not coincidentally, Luther does not appear

to have been particularly gifted at foreseeing

how his ideas would transform politics or

would themselves be transformed by their

emergence in public life. His two-kingdoms theology

“left him without a positive account of

what the state can do and how it might help its

citizens,” Roper writes, “and it did not allow for

a situation where a Christian or a Christian

ruler would have to resist a superior authority.”

When such events arose in his lifetime, Luther

“abdicated responsibility, and left the matter for

jurists to decide.”

Nonetheless, the outcome of Luther’s revolution

is visible in our society today, where free

markets and atomized individuals are given primacy

over whatever moral vision a religion or

ideology might attempt to impose on them. This

wasn’t the intent of the Reformation, and history

is thick with Protestants resisting modernity’s

drift away from an interest in the common

good. Yet the way in which Ryrie divides his

I Shall Love All Mankind.

book makes the ambiguous economic and political

legacy of Protestantism all the clearer. Act I

concerns Protestantism versus Catholicism,

with the former in many respects successfully

toppling the authority and power of the latter.

Act II is more like Protestantism versus modernity,

and modernity comes out on top—and not

just any kind of modernity, but the one specifically

shaped by capitalism’s rise. “The reality of

a democratic age,” Ryrie writes, “is that

churches are answerable to the footloose believers

who fund them. Those who try to deny

this fact are swimming against the tide.”

The irony is that while Protestantism contributed

some of the ideological foundations for

liberalism, it has also become wedded to the

logic that liberalism then fashioned into common

sense: If you don’t like something, simply

take your money elsewhere. Hence the prominence

of the highly entrepreneurial Christian

right in America, and the relative weakness of

the Christian left: For the well-heeled, free-market

Christianity—which levels no rebuke at the

rich and limits its moral expectations to the

sphere of the private and the personal - is a

much more compelling product than its older,

less laissez-faire counterpart.

But surely the true and honest message of

Christ should not blossom or wither based

purely on the caprices of the moneyed classes.

And yet, if one does adhere to the radical centrality

of the individual’s conscience and to the

relative uselessness of earthly works, then how

can he or she seek to upset the social order?

Ryrie’s expectations on that score are muted:

“Protestant political activism will certainly continue,”

he writes, but “few Protestants will have

the stomach for forcing their own moral disciplines

onto entire societies…. Where they do

campaign for coercive legislation, they will do

so on secular grounds.” But if Protestantism insists

on separating our religious lives from our

earthly ones, then does this mean the powerful

will be held to account for their actions only in

the afterlife? “Are Protestants, then, doomed

simply to tag along behind social shifts, finding

justifications for them after the fact?” Ryrie

asks. “Very often, yes.”

Near the end of his book, Ryrie offers this

September 2017 The

Light 8

uninspiring message. But his history of Protestantism,

like Roper’s biography of Luther, also

seems to offer an alternative set of possibilities.

Over and over again, Ryrie emphasizes that

Protestantism is, at heart, a love affair with God,

as well as a radical rejection of anything and

everything that might come between lover and

beloved. Luther’s passion for God, in Roper’s retelling,

also appears as a romance. But love affairs

are never static, so what may have once

been a requirement for loving God better on the

eve of the Reformation may no longer obtain

now. Indeed, while indulgences and vast networks

of church authority once have stood between

the faithful and their love of God, it seems

that these days, the spheres created to separate

our lives do much the same, dividing the neediest

among us from all that was intended for

them. There is no single resolution to this circumstance,

but understanding how we came to

it helps us also imagine a path forward.

Muslim in Fiji in early 1900s

Note: In Paigham Sulah of 29 July 1915, an

article is reproduced from a famous Muslim

newspaper, Wakeel, which appeared in that

newspaper as the editorial on 24 July 1915. Its

topic was Christian missionary activity in India

and its impact on Muslims. That editorial also

refers to Fiji as follows:

“We must not delay in taking steps to eradicate

the present deplorable state [of Muslims of

India]; otherwise our condition will become

like that of our brethren-in-faith who live in Fiji.

The condition of the Muslims of Fiji is extremely

pitiable. Their number is not more than

15,000. These are people who had gone from India

as labourers, or they are their next generation.

After their contracts ended, they settled

there. As all the atmosphere there is permeated

with Christian influence, the Muslims there are

in a worse state than the Muslims of India.

There is no mosque, no one says prayers

(namaz), no one keep fasts in Ramadan, nor

does anyone know about Islamic holy days.

When a Maulvi of Fiji was asked if he said prayers,

he replied: “Who in this country says

namaz?” A Christian priest says that he went to

visit a Maulvi one evening. The Maulvi was asking

someone for a mug of water. When he was

asked why he wanted it, he said it was for performing

wuzu. When he was told that that

amount of water would not be enough for doing

wuzu, he said: I only need to wash my face, all

my other limbs are clean. The educated people

do not listen to the Maulvis, and Islam is in a

helpless state.

It was the Lahore-Ahmadiyya Movement

which took up the challenge

and sent Muslim missionaries to distant

lands to defend Islam and to support

the Muslims there. A poor jamaat

rose to the challenge declined

by non-Ahmadi Muslims rulers.

The Muslims of India must remember that if

no attempt is made to improve their present

condition, no difference will remain between

them and the Muslims of Fiji. Just as, according

to Rev. Franklin, Christian missionaries are having

tremendous success in that country in converting

Muslims to Christianity, they will certainly

have similar success among Muslims of

India, and signs of that can be seen even now.

Allama Shibli Numani had always wanted to

have Muslim missionaries trained for the propagation

of Islam in Christian countries and he

made efforts for it. The success he had in his objectives

is known to all. However, it was perhaps

as a response to his efforts that a Christian mission

was established in his own native city of

Azamgarh in his lifetime with the aim of training

European missionaries to preach Christianity

among the Muslims of Fiji. That organization

is working very actively in collaboration with

other Christian missions, and the Muslims of

the Fiji islands, who are Muslims only in name,

have no choice but to surrender to their highly

organised efforts.

If the Muslims of India do not possess the

resources to improve the unspeakable condition

of the Muslims of Fiji, or they lack the

strength to take on this heavy load, do they not

even have the capability to learn a lesson from

the condition of their brethren?”

(Return to contents)

I Shall Love All Mankind.

September 2017 The

Light 9




By Mr Nasir Ahmad

Friday sermon delivered on 18 August, 2017

The name Bakkah is the same as Makkah

(Imam Raghib). It is from ta-baak-kah meaning,

crowding together of men (Imam Razi). Others

say that it is from the root word bakkah, meaning,

‘the breaking of the neck’! And the name is

given to it because whenever a tyrant forced his

way to it, his neck was broken (Imam Razi).

“Certainly, the first house appointed for

men is the one at Bakkah, blessed and a guidance

for the nations!

In it are clear signs: it is the Place of Abraham;

and whoever enters it is safe; and pilgrimage

to the House is a duty which men owe to Allah

– whoever can find a way to it” (3:96-97).

The clear signs in Makkah as enumerated

here, are three. In fact, these are three prophecies

with regard to the future of Makkah. The

first is that it is the Place of Abraham which has

already been declared

to be the

Muslim centre

(2:125). Hence the

first prophecy is

that the doctrine of

the Unity of the Divine

Being will be proclaimed to the whole

world from this centre.

. . . repent and seek God's mercy, recite

words of prayer and remembrance and

gather together as equals before their


The second sign is that Makkah will always

be secure, i.e. it shall not fall into the hands of an

enemy who would destroy it. Thus its security

is assured both physically and spiritually.

The third prophecy is that a pilgrimage to

the Sacred House shall continue to be made for

ever, and no power in the world shall ever be

able to put a stop to it.

The most striking fact about these prophecies

is that they were all announced at a time

when the Holy Prophet (saw) and his followers

had apparently been driven away for ever from

the Sacred Place, and the Place was in the exclusive

possession of an enemy who did not allow

the Muslims to visit the place even during the

sacred months, and when the small Muslim

community was in danger of being utterly destroyed

by that powerful enemy at any flimsy


I Shall Love All Mankind.

Bakaa also means weeping. It refers to the

time when there was no water near the Ka’bah

and then miraculously the Zam-Zam spring appeared

under the feet of the infant Ishmael and

it changed the situation and tribes after tribes

started settling down in Makkah.

The Bible also mentions about the valley

of Baca in connection with the pilgrimage. Below

is the quote from Psalms chapter 84 (NIV):

“How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD

Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the

courts of the LORD;

my heart and my

flesh cry out for the

living God . .

. Blessed are those

who dwell in Your

house; they are ever

praising You. Blessed are those whose strength

is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

As they pass through the Valley of Baca,

they make it a place of springs; the autumn

rains also cover it with pools.” (Psalms, 84:1-6)

The translation of the Arabic word Baka'a

as "lack of stream", in the Jewish Encyclopaedia,

seems to throw some light on the nature of the

valley before the appearance of the stream

of Zam-Zam near the Ka'bah, which was ‘a dry

place with no vegetation whatsoever’, as rightly

described by the the Qur’anic words bi-waa-din

ghay-ri zee zar-‘in: “a valley unproductive of

fruit” (14:37).

Here I would like to mention some interesting

features of the Ka‘bah which to me are


It is the only and the oldest house of worship

which still exists and is the centre of worship

of Divine unity. Edward Gibbon, a well-

September 2017 The

Light 10

known British orientalist writes in his book, Decline

and Fall of Roman Empire:

The genuine antiquity of Caaba ascends beyond

the Christian era . . . a famous temple,

whose superior sanctity was revered by all the

Arabians; the linen or silken veil, which is annually

renewed by the Turkish emperor, was first

offered by the Hummerites, who reigned seven

hundred years before the time of Mohammad”

(vol. v, pp. 223–224).

No house of worship compares to it in simplicity,

structure and world-wide veneration.

Except for the Holy Ka'bah, no House of

Worship retained its originality since it was first

constructed and was rebuilt by Prophet Abraham

and Prophet Ishmael.

It is the only House of worship which commemorates

till today the dedication and the sacrifice

of Prophet Abraham and Prophet Ishmael

who are venerated by followers of the three

great religions of the world.

It is the only House of worship around

which circuits are made in an anti-clock direction.

Anti-clock circuits work like a spiral which,

symbolically, takes the pilgrim upwards and

unites him with the love of Allah, as this is what

he seeks by reciting “Allahumma Labbaika”, O

Allah I am in Thy august presence!

Making seven circuits around this House

means to gain perfection in righteousness as

number seven stands for perfection. That is why

there are seven heavens which show a perfect

manifestation of Divine Glory. Similarly, according

to some customs, seven circuits around a

fire made by a couple to be married most probably

stands for perfection of the marriage vow.

It is the only House of Worship around

which circuits are made glorifying the One and

only God and to the exclusion of the name of the

Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). The final

scripture of Islam, the Holy Qur’an, categorically

enjoins the pilgrims: “to serve the Lord of

this House only” (106:3).

The Hajj

discipline. The first ten days of the month of Zill

Hajj are not only reserved for the annual Pilgrimage

and its rituals, but it also exhorts the

pilgrims to observe perfect decency and to continue

remembering Allah in order to keep one

conscious of the commandments enjoined. In

the Qur’an and the sayings of the Holy Prophet

Muhammad (saw) we find a number of fasts and

charitable acts to be done, during the days of

Hajj. The Qur’an says:

“So, whoever determines to perform pilgrimage

therein there shall be no immodest

speech, nor abusing, nor altercation in the pilgrimage.

And whatever good you do, Allah

knows it. And make provision for yourselves,

the best provision being to keep one’s duty”


Among the last ten days, the 9th carries a

special importance, as on this day the Holy

Prophet (saw) received the last revelation:

“This day have I perfected for you your religion

and completed My favour to you and chosen for

you Islam as a religion.” It is also the day when

he delivered his well-known Farewell Sermon.

During the entire day, from dawn until sunset,

Muslim pilgrims stand in earnest supplication

and devotion, praying for God's abundant

forgiveness. Tears are shed readily as those who

gather make repentance and seek God's mercy,

recite words of prayer and remembrance and

gather together as equals before their Lord.

Muslims around the world who are not participating

in the pilgrimage often spend this day in

fasting and devotion.

Islamic celebrations are marked by its emphasis

on spiritual elevation as well as social

I Shall Love All Mankind.

At this point I would like to quote an observation

of a well-known Muslim scholar, Prof.

September 2017 The

Light 11

Tariq Ramadan, Professor of Contemporary Islamic

Studies at the Oxford University (Oriental

Institute, St Antony’s College).

I am pleased to note that he offered to join

us in our Evening Ramadan Talks relayed

through Virtual Radio at http://mixlr.com/radio-virtual-mosque/showreel/

along with our

UK president Bro. Shahid Aziz.

Prof. Ramadan, in his recent book, Islam:

The Essentials, published by Pelican Books,

writes the following about the significance of


The pilgrimage is intimately linked to the

story and the memory of Abraham, the father of

monotheism, from which the Muslim tradition

has directly sprung. . . Women and men from

around the world, of all national origins, colours

and social levels, converge upon Mecca to remember

the trial of Abraham, ‘the friend of God’,

and to raise themselves up spiritually. Once

more, we can see in the rites of pilgrimage the

vertical (return to God) and horizontal axes (of

spiritual community of men and women equal

before God) that remind us how complementary

the two dimensions are. To return, alone, to

God through pilgrimage means implicitly never

to detach oneself from the community of destiny,

that binds humans together, in equality, fraternity,

solidarity and love.” (p. 106)

Eid-ul-Adha is the festival when the annual

pilgrimage to Makkah takes place. This annual

pilgrimage to Makkah, in particular to perform

tawaf around the Ka‘bah, is the aspiration of all


Why is this festival so important? It is a festival

celebrated to commemorate the great sacrifice

intended by the Prophet Abraham of his

only son Ishmael in obedience to what the former

saw him doing in a dream. This symbolises

an act of supreme submission to the command

of Allah. Supreme and undeterred sacrifice indeed!

you are alive, you must do it yourself. No one

can perform Hajj for you, if you are capable of

performing it. Similarly, no one can perform

qurbaani for you, once you are capable and have

the means to do it.

Let me just mention a new trend that is removing

the spirituality of the event and replacing

it with commercial gimmicks which romanticize

this historical event. There are broadcast

and advertisements for Eid Day as a day of festivity

for the whole family with bouncy castles

and lots of toys for the children. While I do not

expect to see Santa Claus coming from the sky

on the Buraaq, which in Muslim writings is a flying

horse with the neck of a beautiful woman,

there can be no doubt that this event, which is

billed as a historical event, will then see the

birth of a Father Christmas, but perhaps Father

Abraham or Father Ishmael.

It must be remembered that the intended

sacrifice by the Holy Prophet Abraham (as) was

his son Ishmael, and to my mind, he is also the

hero in this festival of Eid al-Adha.

Careful consideration of the words of chapter

37 verses 100 to 102, epitomize true family

life. I think the lessons of Eid al-Adha, is the

crowning glory of true family life. Here is a father,

Abraham, childless in his old age, praying

for a child not for his own pleasure and gratification,

but rather a child who would be like him,

as an inheritor of “good deeds”. His prayer for a

child was in fact a prayer to Allah for good deeds

to continue through his siblings. And Allah so

graciously answered his prayer with a “forbearing

son” – a patient and charitable one.

The values which we gain from the relationship

between Abraham and his son Ishmael, are

set out in the Qur’an for us to emulate. We

Unlike other religions, in Islam no one,

other than yourself, can carry out your religious

duties on your behalf. You must perform them

yourself. No one can fast on your behalf while

I Shall Love All Mankind.

September 2017 The

Light 12

should cease thinking that this is just a story

that must be narrated in our mosques every

year. These values should be reflected upon

when we perform our qurbani making the entire

family participate in the experience of

slaughtering the animal.

It is an appropriate time for bonding with

our children explaining to them the values in

this act of qurbani and trying to instil in them

the patience and the obedience of Ishmael.

It is significant to note that there are only

two occasions when we are asked by Allah, to

make an animal sacrifice.

The first is on the occasion

on the birth of a child,

when we observe its

‘Aqiqah, and we sacrifice a

goat for a daughter or two goats for a son. The

second is on the occasion of Eid al-Adha.

The act of sacrificing an animal is a testimony

of thanking Allah for the gift of a child and

acknowledging that it is through His grace and

mercy such a blessing has been bestowed on the

parents. And in a prayer on this occasion we

pray that His mercy and protection will keep

him or her safe from sin, ill-health and going

astray from the right path.

When we fast in the month of Ramadan, we

sacrifice our hunger for food and our time and

other comforts for the sake of Allah and to seek

His blessings. And at the end of the month we

celebrate Eid al-Fitr. In the month of Hajj we

make a solemn covenant to sacrifice everything

– food, time, comforts of life and even our children

– in submission to the command of Allah.

And to make a formal pledge prescribed by Allah

to undertake a journey to His House, announce

in the presence of Ka’bah: Allahumma

Labbaika, (O Allah! Here I am in Your August

presence). This final pledge of servitude is

It is an appropriate time for bonding

with our children explaining to them

the values in qurbani . . .

I Shall Love All Mankind.

much more significant and important as compared

to the acting fasting. Thus, this celebration

of Eid al-Adha is considered the bigger Eid.

Above all, Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful has

graciously allowed us to substitute the sacrifice

of an animal instead of our children, and we

show this gratitude in performing qurbani on

this day, in remembrance of these values shared

and the faith that Abraham and Ishmael displayed.

The world is fast becoming a technological

jungle where communication is devoid of emotion,

human values and

which we live.

human behaviour. It is a

jungle from which our

children cannot escape

because of the times in

This is why Eid al-Adha is a recurring festival,

a festival when we commemorate the intended

sacrifice by Abraham. More important,

however, is the human interaction between father

and son which ultimately set the platform

for the values which constitute family relationships.

Today we salute Ishmael’s obedience to,

and faith of in his elders, and we commend our

young people to reflect upon the nobility of his

actions and his obedience to those in authority.

(Return to contents)


1. English translation of the Holy Qur’an, Maulana

Muhammad Ali, ed. 2002.

2. Khutbahs on the Qur’an, Imam Iqubal Hydal, ed.


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