The Light English Edition December 2017 issue


Organ of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Association for the Propagation of Islam. Preaching Islam as taught by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s) - a tolerant, peaceful. loving, inclusive, rational and tolerant Islam.

ِ ی م م الرَّح



سب ا ہللِ‏ الرَّْحم ٰ

ْ م ِ

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The Call of the Messiah 2

Jihadist Ideology in Pakistan and 5

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi’s Counter

Narrative by Abdul Rauf

How did the Muslim world fall behind 11

on science by Daniel Bardsley

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I Shall Love All Mankind.

December 2017 The

Light 2

The Call of the


by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam


The Promised Messiah and Mahdi

(Translator's Note: In 1892 Hazrat Mirza

Ghulam Ahmad called on his followers to hold a

gathering at the end of December every year.

Among its stated objectives was that members

would gain in spiritual knowledge and understanding,

strengthen fraternal bonds, plan ways

and means of the propagation of Islam, and dedicate

themselves afresh to the cause of the Movement.

Some of the literalist Ulama, who had no eye

for the great objects of the Movement, denounced

the holding and organisation of such meetings as

un-Islamic. They pronounced that, according to

Islam, a journey was only allowed to one of the

three sacred mosques of Islam, or one or two

other places, all other travel being prohibited to a

Muslim. Today it is inconceivable how such absurd

rulings could have been issued, especially

given the fact that the same Ulama now travel to

all parts of the world, attending conferences and

meetings. Here we reproduce selected extracts

from the reply given by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

to these critics, published on December 17th,

1892. This translation was first published in The

Light, November-December 1992 issue. It has

been edited and expanded here.)

Last year it was decided, according to the

opinion of the majority of friends, that members

of our Jamaat should come to meet this humble

servant at least once a year, to derive benefit as

regards the needs of

the religion and to hold

consultations regarding

the propagation of

Islam. At that time of

discussion, it was also

decided as being appropriate that the best date for

coming to Qadian for this purpose would be December

27th because it is during the holidays, and

people in employment are free at this time. Also,

being in the winter, these days are suitable for

travelling. As a result, our sincere members were

pleased to agree to this view, considering it the

best course of action.

Therefore, on December 7th, 1892, I sent a

letter consisting of a printed announcement to all

members, the summary of its contents being that

one of the main aims of this gathering (Jalsa) is

I Shall Love All Mankind.

that every sincere person should get the

opportunity to benefit spiritually by a face-to-face

meeting, to increase his religious knowledge, and

to develop his understanding of matters spiritual.

Now we have heard that some person, to

prove that such work is tantamount to adding a

novelty (bid‛at) into Islam, in fact, a sin, has

requested a religious judgment from a Maulvi

Rahim Bakhsh, imam of the Cheenia-wali mosque

in Lahore, as to what is the teaching of Islam about

travelling from afar to such a meeting on an

appointed day?. . .

In reply to this request, Maulvi Rahim Bakhsh

has produced a lengthy writing referring to a

hadith which is not relevant to the subject, the

summary of which is that it is an unlawful

innovation (bid‛at), rather a sin, to go to attend

such a gathering, and that to propose the holding

of such meetings is a later invention for which

there is no basis in the Quran and Sunnah. Moreover,

the man who creates such an institution in Islam

is to be condemned (mardūd).


This journey (to the Jalsa) shall be undertaken

by every sincere one with the

intention of seeking knowledge.

Fair-minded people should now answer

truthfully whether the existence in Islam of such

maulvis and muftis is a sign of the tribulations of

the end of the world (qiyamat) or not. O good man,

do you not know that travelling for the sake of

religious knowledge is not only allowed but is

incumbent according to the Quran and the Holy

Prophet, so much so that the one who

intentionally neglects it is guilty of a serious sin,

and to insist on refusal deliberately is an act of

disbelief in some cases? Do you not know that it

has been urged with great emphasis (in Hadith)

that “the seeking of

knowledge is incumbent


every Muslim male

and female”, and it

has been said:

“Seek knowledge, even though it may be in China”.

Now considering that I wrote in my

announcement, in the clearest and plainest words

possible, that this journey (to the Jalsa) shall be

undertaken by every sincere one with the

intention of seeking knowledge, just think how far

from honesty, integrity, justice, virtue and piety it

is to pronounce the ruling that the man who

institutes such a practice in Islam must be

condemned. …

Open and read the Sahih Bukhari, and see the

glad tidings given for a journey undertaken to

December 2017 The

Light 3

seek knowledge. It is as follows: “Whoever undertakes

a journey to seek knowledge, Allah eases for

him the way to paradise”.

O you unjust Maulvi,

show some fairness. And

consider that you have

called your brother a

condemned one, who,

like you, professes the

Kalima, belongs to the people of the Qibla and

believes in Allah and the Messenger, and you have

declared him as utterly deprived of the mercy of

God and the intercession of the Holy Prophet

Muhammad, . . . giving the reason that I had issued

such an announcement and invited people to the

Jalsa. Open your eyes and read what that announcement

of December 7th, 1892 says. It calls

our community together for the purposes of acquiring

knowledge, seeking solutions to the problems

faced by the religion, helping the cause of Islam,

and meeting one’s brothers. Does it mention

any festivity, entertainment, music or song? . . .

Fixing a date

If there is misgiving in someone’s heart as to

why a particular date has been fixed for this religious

gathering, and whether such practice is

traceable to the Holy Prophet or his Companions,

the reply is that you should look in Bukhari and

Muslim. Bedouins used to come to the Holy

Prophet to ask questions about religious matters

at times when they were free, and some of them

came to him in particular months when they were

free. There is a report in Bukhari that a delegation

from the tribe of Abdul Qais came to the Holy

Prophet and said that as they come from afar, they

can only attend his company during a certain

month. The Holy Prophet accepted what they said.

This hadith shows that those who wish to meet

their spiritual guide to seek knowledge or for religious

purposes can appoint a certain date in

accordance with their free time when they can attend

conveniently and without loss to themselves.

This is just the case with December 27th because

it is during the holidays and those in employment

can easily come at that time. . . .

Bukhari has included a special chapter in his

Sahih about appointing a date for holding a class

for receiving religious education. Its title is “He

who appoints certain days for those seeking

knowledge”, indicating that this practice is traceable

to some Companions. In support of this, Bukhari

quotes a report to the effect that Abdullah

(Ibn Mas‛ud) had fixed Thursday as the day on

which to give religious instruction, and on that

I Shall Love All Mankind.

day people used to attend his lecture.

Quran allows organisation and arrangement.

It must also

be remembered

that Allah has instructed

us in the

Holy Quran to

make plans and


and ordered us to put into action the best-devised

schemes which we consider to be expedient for

the service of Islam and to be effective in overcoming

the opponents. In this regard, He says:

“And prepare for them (the enemy) whatever

force you can” (8:60). In other words, make every

kind of preparation that you can against the

opponents of the faith, and exert all the strength

that you can for the propagation of Islam. . .

With the changing times Islam faces ever

newer types of problems, or the opponents

attack us in new types of ways, so

we have to adopt new means as well.

Modern methods must be used in new times

Those who ponder over this verse can realise

that in accordance with the hadith “Actions are

judged by intention”, to devise some suitable system

for the service of Islam is not an unlawful novelty

or evil. As with the changing times, Islam faces

ever newer types of problems, or the opponents

attack us in new types of ways, so we have to

adopt new means as well. Therefore, if we conceive

of some method or remedy to combat these

attacks which is appropriate for the present time,

that constitutes the making of a plan and has nothing

to do with bringing innovations into Islam.

It is possible that, due to the enormous

changes of the times, we may face certain new

problems of a kind which even the Holy Prophet

Muhammad did not face in the same form. For instance,

we cannot fight wars of the present day in

the earlier ways which are in the Sunnah because

the techniques of warfare have completely

changed in this age. Weapons used previously are

now ineffective, and new weapons have been

invented for fighting. Now if Muslim rulers were

to consider the taking up and deployment of these

weapons to be an unlawful novelty, and, listening

to maulvis like Rahim Bakhsh, believe it to be a sin

and evil to use these modern implements of war,

and argue that this is a manner of fighting never

undertaken by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, nor

the Companions, nor the next generation, the only

result would be that they would lose their already

decrepit kingdoms with ignominy and the enemy

would be triumphant. Therefore, wherever the

making of plans and arrangements is required, for

example, whether in case of physical or spiritual

December 2017 The

Light 4

warfare, whether the battle is by the sword or the

pen, the verse quoted above is sufficient for our

guidance. . . .

Foolish friends invite ridicule upon Islam

Every Muslim ought to pray that God rid Islam

soon of those maulvis who show such treachery.

For, this is a critical time for Islam, and these foolish

friends wish to make Islam a target of ridicule

and mockery by making statements which every

person, with his light of reason, finds to be untrue.

May Allah have mercy on Imam Bukhari! He has

also included a chapter regarding this in his book,

in which he writes: “Ali, may God be pleased with

him, said: Tell people things which they understand;

or do you like to have Allah and His Messenger

rejected?” In the commentary on Bukhari,

this is explained as follows: “Speak to people

according to the scope of their understanding”. In

other words, explain to people those injunctions

of Allah and the Messenger which they can

comprehend and which appear to them to be

reasonable; otherwise, you will needlessly have

them repudiating Allah and the Messenger.

Now it is obvious that when an opponent of

Islam hears that the maulvis have issued a ruling

declaring all travel to be unlawful (for a Muslim)

except to the Sacred Mosque, the Mosque of the

Holy Prophet, the Aqsa Mosque, and one or two

other places, he will ridicule Islam and get the

chance to find fault with the teaching of the Holy

Prophet. He will not be aware that this pronouncement

is merely the mischief of a maulvi,

out of a grudge, or his ignorance; he will directly

attack the Holy Prophet Muhammad. . . .

Many maulvis, for the sake of their livelihood,

travel all around the east and the west, ostensibly

for preaching. Yet, such journeys are not

considered objectionable, nor does anyone issue

rulings that they have added novelties into Islam,

or that they are evil-doers and sinners. But when

this humble servant, having been appointed to call

to the truth by Divine permission and command,

invites his followers to come to gain knowledge,

such travel is declared unlawful, and for this act, I

am dubbed a reprobate. Is this the way of virtue

and godliness?

Progress is not unlawful innovation

Regrettably, these unwise people do not even

know that planning and organisation do not fall in

the category of innovations. Every time and age

requires new ways of organisation. If new types of

problems arise, what can we do other than devise

new types of plans? When the true Sunnah has

I Shall Love All Mankind.

been safely preserved, and for the defence of that

very Sunnah we need to use certain means, will

they be called innovations? God forbid, certainly


An innovation (bid‛at) is one which in essence

deviates from, and is contrary to, the Sunnah of

the Holy Prophet, and the doing of which has been

condemned and warned against in the teaching

left behind by the Holy Prophet. If merely modern

ways of working and new types of schemes are

called innovations, then the number of innovations

in Islam will be countless. The fields of grammar,

literature and theology, and the writing of

Hadith and its compilation, would all be innovations.

Likewise, travelling by railway train, wearing

manufactured clothing, sending letters by mail,

learning news by telegram, and fighting with guns

and cannons, would all be in the category of innovations.

In fact, to use guns and cannons will be

not only an innovation but a major sin because, according

to an authentic hadith, it is strictly forbidden

to kill anyone by means of fire.

Who could be a more strict follower of the

Sunnah than the Companions of the Holy Prophet?

Even they did not consider the Sunnah to have the

meaning which Rahim Bakhsh has given it. They

carried out many new works of planning and organisation

which were neither done by the Holy

Prophet nor mentioned in the Holy Quran. Just

consider the new institutions established by Hazrat

Umar, a list of which would fill a book. He

introduced the Hijri calendar for Islam, appointed

police constabulary for the security of cities, set

up a proper office for the public treasury, devised

rules and regulations for joining military service

and obtaining leave from that service, prescribed

codes of behaviour for the conduct of war, prepared

special instructions for dealing with

financial lawsuits, and promulgated many regulations

for the safety of the public. . . .

I did nothing new of this kind. All I did was to

propose a gathering to acquire knowledge, holding

consultations on how to support the cause of

Islam, and meeting of the brethren.

Lastly, I wish to announce that if Maulvi

Rahim Bakhsh still does not rescind his ruling, I

place him under oath in the name of Allah that if

he is a seeker after truth, he must come to see me

in Qadian for a clarification of this matter. I will

pay his travel expenses and will place books before

him, and show him the Quran and Hadith, to

December 2017 The

Light 5

prove that his ruling is entirely false and an enticement

by the devil.

(The published announcement, from which

the above extracts are translated, is dated 17 December

1892 and it was also included as an appendix

in his book Ainah Kamalat-i Islam).

(Return to contents)

FWU Journal of Social Sciences, Summer 2017,

Vol.11, No.1, 27-33

Jihadist Ideology in Pakistan

and Javed Ahmad Ghamidi’s

Counter-Narrative 1


Abdul Rauf

University of Peshawar

Jihadist ideology

in the religious intellectual


accelerated in the

recent years in Pakistan,

is having its

roots in an atomistic Javed Ahmad Ghamidi

approach to the

holy texts and a narrative which sanctified the

killing of non-Muslims and their Muslim collaborators

alike. Ghamidi (b. 1951), an ardent religious

scholar, challenged the Jihadists ideology

in its bases. The counter-narrative of Ghamidi

on Jihad, Muslims and non-Muslims relations,

Islamic state/relation of religion with politics

and many other issues cannot be easily ignored

intellectually. His views are ingrained in the

main Muslim religious treatise and have a profound

divergence from the contemporary exclusivist

interpretation/narrative of the Muslims.

Ghamidi’s views, embedded in Farahi-Islahi

school of South Asia, a relatively unknown religious

trend, is upholding a holistic approach to

Quran based on structural and thematic coherence

in Quran (Nazm-i-Quran) against the disjointed

and isolationist approach of the domi-

nant religious discourse that sometimes appeared

in the shape of religious militancy. Pakistani

society ridden with an armed religious

conflict cannot overwhelm the militant elements

through the use of force unless it is an

encounter with a stronger ideological counternarrative.

Ghamidi’s work is relevant to societies

elsewhere in the Muslim world also. In this

paper roots and standing of Ghamidi against the

dominant religious discourse in Pakistan is

investigated and evaluated in the light of his

publications and his presentation in electronic

media while the same was adopted for the

Jihadist ideology and added with the stories

narrated among the masses through the

interaction of the researcher with the conflictridden

areas in the north-western part of

Pakistan called Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA.

Pakistan, a geo-strategic important country

of South Asia, witnessed the worst kind of conflict

resulting in the killing of thousands of people

more than any other country including the

US since 9/11. 2 The menace has its roots in the

region since the coming of the Sour Revolution,

popularly known as the communist revolution

in Kabul in 1978, the subsequent resistance by

the people of Afghanistan and support of all major

non-Communist regimes in the world particularly

the USA during the Cold War years. 3 The

Middle Eastern Arab states were the other major

actors in the region. The Afghan resistance

movement was carried out with an ideology

emanating from the modern Islamic revivalist

thoughts in the 20 th century- a conglomeration

of thoughts of Abul Ala Mawdudi of Pakistan,

Sayyed Qutub of Egypt, Salafis (non-conformists

of Saudi Arabia) and Deobandis (originated

in India in the 1860s). The regional and international

actors also found it appealing to safeguard

their own national interests by curtailing

the Soviet expansionism in the region. For

twenty years the religious discourse was dominated

by a Jihadist ideology till the Soviet Union

unglued in 1991. The Jihadist Ideology was

thought to be wind up after the fall of Najib government

in Kabul in April 1992. But it was not

easy to uproot an ingrained militant ideology,

1 Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed

to Professor Abdul Rauf, Department of Political Science, University

of Peshawar This paper is

based on a presentation in the International National Conference

“Narrative of Peace and Conflict” in July 1-3, 2015 in Liverpool

Hope University. The writer expresses acknowledgements

to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan

for the travel grants to attend this conference.

I Shall Love All Mankind.

2 In the last thirteen years Pakistan suffered 13,721 terrorist

incidents which left 56,156 dead and more than 200,000 critically

injured (National Counter Terrorism Authority), Dawn,

Karachi, March, 2015.

3 Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald

Reagan were among those who appreciated the Afghan militant

against the Soviet Union forces in Afghanistan in early


December 2017 The

Light 6

particularly when the global actors turned off

their attention, and Pakistan was left alone to

deal with the threat. Pakistan did not have capability

and capacity to face the after effects of

the 15-year war conflict in the region.

The overthrow of Taliban government in

Kabul by the US-led NATO coalition forces, and

installation of Karzai regime in 2001 met the

same response from the Taliban resistance

forces. Taliban and their sympathisers elsewhere

in the world, particularly in Pakistan,

launched a resistance movement using the

same religious slogans against the US and its allies

as they did against the Russians. But this

time the reaction of the third generation of the

militants in Pakistan was more brutal against

the military and civilians than their earlier ones.

They devastated the government and non-government

institutions on the one hand and annihilated

the already poor infrastructure particularly

in the north-west of Pakistan including

Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

The stubborn resistance of the militants to

the security forces of Pakistan is based on a particular

religious narrative which justifies all

kind of violence including the killing of innocent

people/children, lethal encounter and suicide

bombing on one hand and beheading, imputation

and display of dead bodies in public places

on the other. After analysing statements, communique

, videos and literature of the militant

groups it can be attributed to a particular approach

to the religious texts; Quran, hadith and

athar 4 and fiqh verdicts which are constantly

used to justify their ‘noble’ actions.

What is this Jihadist ideology?

The contemporary Jihadist ideology believes

in the categorisation of entire humanity

into two groups; Muslims and ‘infidels’, ‘good

and evil’, the party of God (Hizb u Rehman) and

a party of Satan (Hizb u shetan). Since the dawn

of humanity, these two groups are at perpetual

war with each other. Hence it is incumbent

upon the Muslims to continue this holy war

against the ‘infidels’. This holy war will continue

till kufr (infidelity) became subservient to

Islam everywhere on the earth as stated in the

Holy Quran (Al-Tuba, 112, 123; Al-Baqra, 190).

They uphold the opinion that the holy war is

forever and it will continue till the doomsday as

it is enunciated in the hadith (Sunan-i-Abi

Dawood, 2170; Sahih Bukhari, 2801).

The Jihadists looks all political, economic,

diplomatic and strategic events in the world

dominated by the Western/Christian world

with a perennial war prism and citing the

events in Kashmir, Palestine, Chechnya, Balkan,

East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan from the

pulpit 5 to instigate people which ultimately

helps in enlisting support for the militants and

their violent activities. Certain events happened

in the West on the pretext of freedom of thought

and expression is narrated as iconoclasm

against Prophet Muhammad (S) and Islam. If

there is any reference to the solution of problems

through the offices of UN, they term this

body as incompetent when comes to Muslims.

The Muslim countries accepted U.N. resolutions

more than any other country in the world. With

the support of US and other international

actors, the UN failed to implement its resolutions

on Israel and Kashmir. When the USA says

that Al-Qaida is in the tribal areas 6 and planning

to attack the Americans in the US, the local

people ask questions. How the Americans can

be trusted as it were the Americans who

claimed the presence of WMD in Iraq but later

on nothing was found, and one million Muslims

have been killed in Iraq (Hamid Mir, 2009,

March 30). The militants and common people

think that the Americans and other non-Muslims

cannot face us on the ground so they sent

these machines (drones) to kill the innocent

people. The Americans are ‘coward’ and do not

have the courage to face us in the war. The sympathetic

intellectuals in media frequently cited

examples of the patronage of certain figures

such as Suleiman Rushdie and Taslima Nasrin

whose writings against the holy personalities of

Islam hurts the feelings of Muslims. The caricature

episode in the West fomented the already

unreceptive feelings of the Muslims. They applauded

those Muslims who reacted violently

against the value of freedom. Newspapers,

magazines and journals and speeches from the

pulpits and public platform are full of news depicting

the West as the place where morality 7 is

4 Traditions narrated from the companions of Prophet Muhammad


5 Particularly in the Friday sermons, funeral ceremonies and

after daily prayer the dua which an imam sought.

6 It refers to the border areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan

which enjoy relative autonomy from the state institutions

I Shall Love All Mankind.

and remained safe places for the militants during the Afghan

war in 1980s.

7 When they use the term morality (Ikhlaq) they mean laxity

in opposite sex relations.

December 2017 The

Light 7

eroding day and night. A reactionary attitude

among the Muslims pushed some of them to the

extreme and thus were not ready to accept any

good in the Americans and in the West because

of their double standard in the international relations.

Writers and speakers refer that when

the Oklahoma bombing occurred, within

minutes, western media reported having a

connection with the Middle East. Investigation

afterwards proved it incorrect, and nobody

termed it Christian fundamentalism while it

had a connection to Christianity. 8 These learned

men pointed out the subjectivity of the Western

media which portray Pakistan’s Atomic Bomb

as an Islamic Bomb, but they never termed the

Indian atomic bomb as a Hindu Bomb or Jewish

or Christian Bomb elsewhere in the world. The

statements of George W. Bush referring to the

American war on terrorism as a crusade only

reinforce the Jihadists’ analogy to the crusades

(SAIS Review). The success of Mujahidin against

the Soviet forces in Afghanistan became religious

symbols of the Muslim resistance

struggle, and Jihadists use this notion in their

addresses in mosques and public gatherings. In

Pakistani society, common people are influenced

more by the clergy on the religious

knowledge and attitudes as one of the Gallup

surveys shows in its reports. According to the

report, 71 % of the people of Pakistan have been

influenced by the local cleric (imam-i-masjid) for

their religious knowledge and belief while the

same was 79 % in 1980 when the Jihadist ideology

was in the offing in the region (Murad


Following is the narrative based on militants’

understanding of religion and explanation

of their violent actions in Pakistan. On the

question of targeting the Muslim military

whether they are in Afghanistan or Pakistan,

they blatantly declared them liable to death as

they are collaborators with the ‘infidels’ as

Quran is condemning friendship with Jews and

Christians. In terrorist actions, if civilians including

children, women and old people get

lost, the terrorists felt no excuse because such

innocent people will be awarded paradise

promised by God to the martyrs (Geo TV, 2014,

Dec 21). When asked why they are conducting

jihad in Afghanistan their answer is if jihad in

the 1980s was obligatory against the Soviet

then why it is not obligatory against the Americans

now who are occupying Afghanistan?

When it is said that attacks on the rulers of Pakistan

are un-Islamic as they are Muslims? They

reply that the then president of Afghanistan (Dr

Najibullah) was also a Muslim then why was he

targeted by the then mujahidin? When Najib

was collaborating with the Russians, so is the

case of Pakistani rulers. When it is asked: why

are you killing the policemen and military soldiers?

Who are only earning bread for their

children and thus should not be killed? The soldiers

in Afghanistan and soldiers in Kashmir are

also earning their livelihood so why were they

targeted? When it is said - due to the actions of

Taliban hundreds of civilians are killed in

Pakistan. They would say that the same civilians

are killed in Kashmir, Iraq and Afghanistan by

the ‘enemies’ of Islam (Jang, 2013, November

19). When it is said that due to suicide bombing

innocent people are killed, and thus Taliban are

responsible for their killing. Here came a unique

and interesting argument. They said if these victims

are innocent then they will go to paradise

and thus the Taliban are doing good to them by

sending them to the paradise (Geo TV, 2014,

Dec 21). When they are asked why they are targeting

the barber shops, they would reply that

it is evil and there is saying of the Prophet to

stop an evil with force. 9 When asked why they

are targeting schools particularly girls school?

They will term these schools as the centre of

spreading western values and cultures and that

girls should remain within the walls of their


Intellectual Support from Political Islam

The literature on political Islam that

emerged and spread after the end of the colonial

rule in South Asia, is considered to be the

main source of support to the Taliban’s plea to

declare Pakistan as an un-Islamic state. Unconditional

obedience to such a state is not binding

upon the Muslims. The concept of establishment

of an Islamic rule as mandatory for the

Muslims is articulated in the contemporary revivalist

literature and thus greatly supported

militants in receiving logistic, cash and human

resource assistance from the sympathisers of

this thought.

8 The episode was also mentioned by Edward Said as an example

how the media is reporting terrorism of different people

associated with different religions differently ( ) visited

on November 27, 2016.

I Shall Love All Mankind.


“Whomever among you sees an evil, then let him stop it with

his hand. Whomever is not able, then with his tongue, and

whomever is not able, then with his heart. That is the weakest

of faith.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi Hadith, 2172)

December 2017 The

Light 8

Increased complaints against governments,

failure of civil servants in service delivery, Pakhtun

ethnic and cultural susceptibilities and

peasants class grievances especially in Swat

also contributed to the on-going Jihadist narrative.

However, the most important factor used

by the militants is an upsurge for Islam in the

modern world. These militants effectively manipulated

the reliable religious signs and emblems

(mainly from history) that carry great appeal

to several people who accept it on the

promise of the establishment of a religious society

free from social inequality and every kind of

injustice and on the other a ‘promised’ permanent

happy life in the hereafter. They refer to the

Islamists’ failure of the peaceful political struggle

to bring a change in society, e.g. Algeria in

1991 and Ghaza in 2006, these militants

emphasise on the accuracy of their tools and

methods (militancy) for the establishment of a

‘paradise’ on earth, i.e. Islamic State. The argument

proved to be a very important mobilising

factor by the militants and its diffusion among

the apparently peaceful Islamic organisations

such as Tablighi Jamaat and particularly Jamaati-Islami

by the use of modern technology such as

the internet, mobile, social media and video

clips. Looking to the Jihadist ideology, some

scholars substantiate the opinion that Islam is

inherently violent and they brought evidence

from the texts and actions of these militant


The greatest target of Jihadist ideology is democracy

and freedom. In the latest video of

Mullah Fazlullah (leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban

Pakistan) ridicules western life, branding democracy

a lie and forbidden and declared it kufr

and Haram (Mirror news). They do not endorse

the concept of popular sovereignty and consider

it contrary to the supremacy of God. The

rule of democracy is the rule of disbelief, and

any call to it is a call to kufr system. They are

against all kinds of democracy and uphold the

idea of a universal caliphate. They do not

recognise the territorial demarcation of the

modern state and consider it the legacy of the

European colonialism. The ranks and file of

these militants include Chechens, Uzbeks, Arabs

(from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Palestine

and African countries), Kashmiris, Chinese, Tajiks,

and Afghanis fought against Pakistani

forces. In the Jihadists’ narrative, freedom is

restricted to the limits demarcated within the

Sharia laws. Freedom in the west is portrayed

with lewdness. Freedom of expression and faith

is selectively allowed. A person who left Islam

is an apostate and thus is liable to be put to

death as stated in the hadith. 10 In many cases

when as accused of blasphemy when attacked

by the mob, the Jihadists implicitly supported

them. The women folk were specially targeted

in society. In their dominated areas girls were

not allowed to attend schools and whenever

they were in the position they either closed

those schools or destroyed them. In the Jihadist

narrative, for women, there are only two places;

either home or grave (khaza ya da kur da ya da

gure da).

Basis of the Jihadist Ideology in the Religious


The Jihadist narrative in Pakistan and elsewhere

in the world is based on an atomist approach

to the religious texts. According to this

approach, a passage is taken from the Holy

Scripture and is interpreted in the light of tradition

literature and practices of the early companions

of Prophet Muhammad (S). Applying

this method, the Jihadists concluded, for

example, Jews and Christians cannot be your

friends. 11 The Holy Prophet instructed to

eliminate all non-believers from the earth. 12

Jihad (war) is obligatory upon Muslims. 13 Those

who leave Islam (apostate) are liable to be

punished by death. 14 Non-Muslims are not


"Execute the person who changes his faith." (Bukhari: Kitab



O You who have attained to faith! Do not take the Jews and the

Christians for your allies: they are but allies of one another and

whoever of you allies himself with them becomes, verily, one of

them; behold, God does not guide people who are unjust.

(Quran 5:51)


Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: Allah’s Apostle said: "I have been ordered

(by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none

has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is

Allah’s Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory

charity, so if they perform all that, then they save their

lives and property from me except for Islamic laws, and then their

reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah." ( Sahih Bukhari 25, 26)

I Shall Love All Mankind.


“And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out

from where they have Turned you out; for tumult and oppression

are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred

Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you,

slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith (Quran,



“Those who leave their faith kill them” reported by Abdullah

bin Abbas in Sahih Bukhari. The militant in Pakistan declared

Muslims of the Pakistan military as apostate and therefore

fighting against them and killing them is lawful (Ahya-i-Khilafat

organ of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, November 2014, p.16)

visited September 6, 2015.

December 2017 The

Light 9

equal citizens; they should wear an emblem to

show that they are zimis. 15 Women are half of

the men. 16 If a married couple committed

adultery, they would receive the punishment of

rajam (put to death by stoning (‘Almi Idara-i-

Fikr-i-Islami, 1997)). It is the responsibility of

each Muslim to uphold good and suppress evil

in the society even if it requires the use of force

(June 28, 2015). Interpretation of the texts disjointedly

always led to conclusions which suit

the Jihadists narrative. Though the Jihadist narrative

dominated the present religious

discourse, there was, and there is always a divergent

opinion on all these self-claimed ‘settled

issues’ in Islam. 17

Ghamidi’s Counter-Narrative or Ideology

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi (b. 1951) is one of

the religious scholars who challenge the Jihadist

narrative persistently in the last 25 years and

suffered in the hands of militants. The militants

have targeted his house in Lahore but before the

detonator went off the culprits were arrested.

The militants brutally murdered one of his very

close associates, Dr Farooq Khan, who was also

vice chancellor of the newly established Swat

University and a very multifaceted personality

in October 2010. 18 The second editor of his

monthly Ishraq, Mr Manzoor ul Hassan, was shot

outside of the office Al-Mawrid in Lahore, but he

survived the injuries. Another associate, Dr

Habib ur Rahman, was shot dead in Karachi.

Some of his associates, for example, Dr Khalid

Zaheer, was threatened and had to leave the

country for some time. His students and associates

in Pakistan are going through the same


Hamiddudin Farahi was important religious scholar born in

1863 in Pariha (UP), India. His stay in Aligarh College as a student,

and Sind Madrasa, Karachi and Allahabad University as faculty

member exposed him to the modern education and the orientalscared

situation. Ghamidi himself despite his

reluctance was persuaded by his colleagues and

associates to leave the country, and until this

time he is residing in Malaysia. In such a dangerous

situation Ghamidi did not stop his work

and continued to challenge the Jihadist ideology

on their religious bases.

Some Muslim groups have also encountered

jihadist ideology in Pakistan like the Berailvis,

and other non-religious political and non-political

groups on their ideological orientation are

having little relevance to sources of religion.

Ghamidi’s case is different because he encounters

them in the religious precepts which the

militants produce in their support. Ghamidi inferred

differently from the same sources with

apparently convincing arguments and thus left

little space for the exclusivist ideology of the Jihadists.

Ghamidi’s counter-narrative is humane,

pluralistic and all-inclusive. Ghamidi’s discourse

is revolving around the principles of understanding

of religion from its scriptures primarily

based on the Farah-Islahi hermeneutics.

Hamiddudin Farahi (1863-1930) 19 , an exegete

of the first quarter of the 20 th century, educated

in religious discipline from the ulama of that

time 20 and modern education from Aligarh college,

the prime modern educational institution

of the Muslims of South Asia, who later on also

became a teacher in the Allahabad University

and Sind Madrast ul Islam.

He propounded a new school among the

Muslims emphasising upon adopting a coherent

approach to the Holy Quran, very rarely referred

in the past (Ahsan, 1993). His student,

Amin Ahsan Islahi 21 forwarded the concept into


Obeying this opinion Taliban during their rule in Kabul asked the

non-Muslims to wear distinctive dress to be distinguished from

the Muslims in public places.


As stated in the Quran, “Men are in charge of women by [right

of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend

[for maintenance] from their wealth” (4-34) and that their testimony

is half of men, “And call to witness two men from among

you. If two men are not available, then one man and two women

whose testimony is acceptable to all-if one of them fails to remember,

the other would remind her (2-282)


In Muslim history there always existed non-popular views and

so Ghamidi is not an exception.


The responsibility was accepted by Al Azam Brigade, a group

of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.

I Shall Love All Mankind.

ists’ scholarship and scepticism about Islam. He thus concentrated

his research on the holy Quran and recorded his findings

in books (mostly unfinished) in Arabic except one which is in

Urdu. He closely worked in the establishment of Usmania University,

Hyderabad and Dar ul Mussanifin, Luknow. In his last days

he devoted all his time in teaching Quran in the Madrsat ul Islah

in Sarai Mir. He breathed his last in 1930 (See for more details,

Dr. Sharfuddin Islahi, Zikr-i-Farahi (Lahore: Dar ul Tazkir, 2002).


For example, he studied religious disciplines from Mawlana Faiz

ul Hassan Seharanpuri and Mawlana Shibli Numani who was also

his cousin.


Amin Ahsan Islahi (1904-97) for an interval joined Jamaat-i-Islami

and emerged as the second important ideologue after Abdul

Ala Mawdudi (1903-79) but he had to quit after having differences

with Mawlana Mawdudi. Certain views of Islahi have been

incorporated in the state structure for example the status of non-

Muslims and thus got free Pakistan from the narrow approach on

the issue of the traditionalist ulama in Pakistan. During Zia ul Haq

period (1979-88) when an adultery case was decided in the light

of Islahi’s views, the traditionalists raised hue and cry throughout

December 2017 The

Light 10

Taking up of arms against the non-

Muslims to convert them to Islam is

forbidden; an armed struggle for

bringing change in state and society

is creating disorder particularly

after the coming of democracy.

a whole system and completed his nine-volume

exegesis, Tadabbur-i-Quran on the same principles.

The Farahi-Islahi religious thought was

moved forward and reinvigorated by Javed Ahmad

Ghamidi when he applied these principles

to the contemporary socio-political and economic

issues of the Muslims and thus deter the

traditionalist approach to religion demonstrated

in the shape of militancy in Pakistan.

According to Farahi-Islahi principles of understanding

the Holy Quran, the concept of

Nazm (coherence) is the fundamental principle.

According to Islahi to understand Quran the following

principles which are of two kinds must

be followed: i. internal and ii. external. In the

internal principles, he included the language of

the Quran, Nazm (coherence) and tafsir-i-Quran

bil Quran (clarification with the help of the

Quran). While the external principles include;

Sunnat-i-mutawatirah (constant practices of the

Holy Prophet), hadith and athar-I Sahaba, shani-nazul,

previous exegeses, previous Holy

Scriptures and Arab history (Islahi, Tadabbur-i-

Qur’an). Ghamidi adopted and followed Farahi

and Islahi in interpreting the text of the Quran

and other religious precepts and thus reached

to certain conclusions mostly contradictory to

the Jihadist interpretation of the Quranic verses.

Another distinctive and important point of

deviation of Ghamidi is the law of Itmam-i-Hujjat

(finality of testimony). Ghamidi extensively

applies the law originally derived by Islahi in

the socio-political realm of affairs and thus lead

not only to different but in some cases even opposite

to the common understanding of religion.

According to this law, God sent among His

prophets (anbia) a particular section, rasul

(apostle) who were not only messengers of God

but also a testimony to bestow the wrath of God

upon those who reject the message of God willingly.

Therefore, the tenents of the rasul cannot

be extended to the non rasul period in human

history. Prophet Muhammad was a rasul, and

thus many of his actions are confined to his lifetime

only. The specification of the addressee in

the Holy Quran thus drastically changes the

meaning of a verse in the Quran.

Applying the principle of coherence in

Quran (nazm-i-Quran) and the law of finality of

testimony (itmam-i-Hujjat), Ghamidi’s stance

can be narrated like this. Taking up of arms

against the non-Muslims to convert them to

Islam is forbidden (Ghamdi, Videos); an armed

struggle for bringing change in state and society

is declared Fasad fil Ardh (creating disorder on

earth) particularly after the coming of

democracy. Jihad cannot be done by private

militant groups, and Jihad is the duty of the

state and can be waged only if there is persecution

(particularly religious) of people whether

they are Muslims or non-Muslims. 22 There is no

compulsion in religion, and thus death for the

apostate was confined only to the time of

Prophet Muhammad (S) (Renaissance). Islam

and state was declared separate. It is individual

who is the addressee of Islam and not state. It is

individual who will be accountable before God.

Ghamidi declared that the modern state is having

no religion (Ghamidi, Jang 2015) and thus

the non-Muslims should have an equal footing

while deciding the nature of a state. However,

the decision of any government in ordinary

matters should be carried out on the principle

of majority (Ghamidi, Jang 2015). The role of religious

scholars in society is very much deviated

what God has inscribed for them in Quran. 23


Javid Ahmad Ghamidi is among those few

religious scholars in Pakistan who tried to disentangle

the domain of profane life from the religious

life and thus confront the Jihadist who

tries to intermingle religion with the worldly

matters and raise hue and cry as ‘Islam is in

danger’. He in his discourse challenged the plea

of the Jihadist in the very context of religion, i.e.

Quran and Sunnah. His ideas greatly appealed

the country and the then regime had to change the very organization

of the court, induct new judges and accept the traditionalists

understanding of religion.


The holy jihad can be conducted against the Muslims also if

they are persecuting non-Muslims.

I Shall Love All Mankind.


The main function of the ulama is Inzar i.e. reminding and

warning to the ruling and non-ruling elite as it is stated in the holy

Quran, “And it is not for the believers to go forth [to battle] all at

once. For there should separate from every division of them a

group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion and

warn their people when they return to them that they might be

cautious” (9: 122).

December 2017 The

Light 11

to the modern educated

minds of Pakistan to see

Islam, not as a religion of

violence and terror but a

peaceful religion for the

entire humanity. He also

raised his voice against

the marginalized classes

in society such as women

and non-Muslims, something

very rare from a

Muslim religious scholar.

Because of his ‘innovative’ ideas he and his associates

faced irritation of the religious people

which resulted even in an attempt on his life

and his associates in Lahore, Karachi and Mardan.

However, this did not help to silence his

voice. The alternative religious narrative of Ghamidi

may provide such a ground to all those elements

who wants to end the conflict having its

roots in religion. The current Muslim religious

scholarship and Pakistan’s policy makers need

to give attention to this counter narrative

against the popular Jihadist narrative in Pakistan.

However, the acceptance of Ghamidi’s

counter narrative depends on many socio-political

and international factors as well. The geostrategic

dimension of the conflict in the region

is subsiding to a great extent the alternative

narrative in Pakistan.

(Return To Contents)

How did the Muslim world

fall behind on science –

and how can it thrive again?

Debate comes as research and development

spending rises in Gulf states

By Daniel Bardsley

It is a question that has long vexed researchers

from this region: why did the Muslim world,

which once led the way in science, fall behind?

The issue is as pertinent now as ever, with the

Middle East still lagging behind the global average

when it comes to spending on research and

development and concerns continuing over a

regional “brain drain”.

To look for answers, earlier this year a task

force on “Culture of Science in the Muslim

World” was set up, bringing together nearly a

“Baghdad was among the epicentres

of these activities and the famous

Bayt Al Hikma [House of

Wisdom, a library] was the Mecca

of scientific research and where

all the scientists from all over the

world and all faiths came to study

and contribute to that enlightenment.”

I Shall Love All Mankind.

dozen Muslim scholars,

several of them scientists,

based in countries

including the UAE, Pakistan,

Malaysia, Lebanon

and Australia. The task

force met to discuss its

findings at the World

Science Forum, held recently

at the Dead Sea in


A key area of interest is why the innovation

of the Islamic Golden Age, which ran from about

the eighth to the 13th centuries, was not carried

through until later periods.

“I think the Golden Age started in the seventh

century or the beginning of the eighth century

and it was energised by our theologians

taking the Greek philosophy, the rationalist philosophy

as a means to work out quarrels they

were having about the divine text, the Quran,”

said Professor Jelel Ezzine, a professor of systems

theory and control at the University of Tunis

El Manar in Tunisia and one of the task

force’s members. “Baghdad was among the epicentres

of these activities and the famous Bayt

Al Hikma [House of Wisdom, a library] was the

Mecca of scientific research and where all the

scientists from all over the world and all faiths

came to study and contribute to that enlightenment.”

Prof Ezzine feels that scientists are particularly

suited to coming up with answers about

what happened because they have “some understanding

of science and the practice of science”.

They can cast “a neutral look”.

“One has to have a reasonable methodology,

be as objective as possible, leaving biases as far

as possible, and limit ones analysis to key

events that we call bifurcation points or events

that might look at the time insignificant, but can

really help to facilitate the emergence of large

dynamics,” he said.

Such large dynamics could have had consequences

that last until the present day. Globally,

spending on research and development averaged

2.23 per cent of GDP in 2015, according to

December 2017 The

Light 12

World Bank figures, but in most of the Middle

East, it is far lower.

In the UAE, for example, the figure in 2015

was 0.87 per cent of GDP, while in Saudi Arabia,

it was 0.82 per cent in 2013, the most recent

year for which data is published. In Kuwait,

2013’s figure was just 0.30 per cent, while

Oman recorded 0.25 per cent in 2015.

Many other Arab countries, especially those

in turmoil because of conflict, have much lower

R&D spending. However, investments in R&D in

the Arab world are increasing, with the UAE’s

2015 figure almost double that of four years

earlier, while in Saudi Arabia there was a 10-

fold increase in research and development

spending between 2003 and 2013. Spending

worldwide has increased much more modestly,

from 1.97 per cent of GDP in 2015 to 2.23 per

cent in 2015.

When it comes to understanding why the

Muslim world fell behind at the end of the Islamic

Golden Age, Prof Ezzine says that three

factors should be considered. He describes

them as “the rulers, the religious and the rationalists”,

which equates to religion, politics and

science. Understanding how those in power regarded

science helps to explain trends.

Among the key historical figures is Al Ghazali,

a Persian philosopher born in the 11th century.

“He refused the existence of cause and effect

outside the divine will,” said Prof Ezzine,

who shares the view of many observers that Al

Ghazali limited scientific progress in the Islamic


Although the Marrakesh-born 12th-century

polymath Averroes forcefully took a different

view in his writings, defending the philosophy

of the likes of Aristotle against attacks by Al

Ghazali, Prof Ezzine feels that the course had

been set. “It was extremely difficult to rebound

I Shall Love All Mankind.

from Al Ghazali’s spell,” he said. It was, he says,

“the interaction between the church, the scientists

and the politicians” that enabled the West

to pull ahead after a long period of trailing the

Muslim world.

While researchers will continue to have different

interpretations of why the Islamic

world’s pre-eminence in science was lost, Prof

Ezzine is clear that the achievements of the Islamic

Golden Age are often inadequately recognised.

He cites Ibn Khaldun, an Arab intellectual

born in Tunis in 1332 whose writings covered

many subjects. Prof Ezzine says that much of

what was written by Adam Smith, the Scottish

author of the highly influential The Wealth of

Nations, was influenced by Ibn Khaldun.

The western world took a lot from that period,”

he said. “He came at the end of the Golden

Age, but he’s also a modern man. He came at the

junction between the end of the Golden Age and

the beginning of the modern age, so he’s a great

witness to this metamorphosis, a must to read.”

Prof Ezzine says that new areas of science

can offer insights into historical events and

could encourage better outcomes in the modern


“It’s a very, very wide problem and there’s a

need to do something much deeper … [to] analyse

things in an objective scientific manner using

the new sciences of psycho-cognition, complex

dynamic systems and other new fields to

[develop] more relevant conclusions,” said Prof


The objective is to reignite the practice of

science in the Muslim world for the benefit of

Muslims and the rest of the world and for peace

on Earth.” (Return_to content)

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

Centre: 020 8903 2689 ∙ President: 01793 740670 ∙ Secretary: 07737 240777 ∙ Treasurer: 01932 348283


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