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Archive for July, 2014

Is Allama Iqbal suggesting that the West cannot be reformed by Islam?

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

I refer blog readers to the following two links for Allama Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal's verses of poetry entitled Ishaat Islam Farangistan Mein (Propagation of Islam in the West) in his book Zarb-i Kaleem:

www.allamaiqbal.com website

Iqbalurdu.blogspot.co.uk

At the second link, an English translation is given, but I simplify it below for clarity:

The conscience of their culture is devoid of religion,
Among Western people [or Europeans] brotherhood is based on ties of race.

In the eyes of the English, the status does not increase,
of the Brahmin who joins the Christian religion.

Even if the English embrace the religion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad,
the unfortunate Muslim will still remain a slave.

Muslims, and especially Ahmadis engaged in the propagation of Islam, have always made the point expressed in the second verse above, that it is an inadequacy of the Christian religion that the non-white subject peoples who accepted Christianity were not treated as equals by white Christians of European descent. Christianity could not make them brethren. On the other hand, they pointed out the unique achievement of Islam that it welded various races into one brotherhood, whether high or low, master or slave, and that it has the spiritual power to do so again.

However, Iqbal is here saying that even the religion of the Mustafa cannot remove the feelings of racial superiority among its followers of European descent. There is an evil among some races which cannot be eradicted even if they should accept Islam! So much for the perfect religion which came for all mankind!

I came across these verses in the book Iqbal Kay Huzoor… in a footnote by the compiler of that book. The compiler noted these verses in a footnote while he was quoting one of Iqbal's conversations, of 1938, in which the Allama said that the efforts to propagate Islam in Europe by the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jamaat will be fruitless for Islam even if leading British people accepted Islam through its efforts.

This book is available online. The relevant pages in one online edition are 22 (read from last two lines on page) and 23. Here is the link to the contents page.

I have a copy of an older edition, which belonged to the late Hafiz Sher Mohammad sahib.

Standards Adhered to in Interpretation of Quran from within Quran

Monday, July 21st, 2014
Standards Adhered to in Interpretation of Qur’ân from within Qur’ân

Interpretation of the Qur’ân[1]: The rule as to the interpretation of the Qur’ân is thus given in the Book itself: "He it is Who has revealed the Book to thee; some of its verses are decisive — they are the basis of the Book — and others are allegorical. Then those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part of it which is allegorical, seeking to mislead, and seeking to give it their own interpretation. And none knows its interpretation except Allah, and those firmly rooted in knowledge. They say: We believe in it, it is all from our Lord. And none do mind except men of understanding" (3:6). In the first place, it is stated here that there are two kinds of verses in the Qur’ân, namely, the decisive and the allegorical — the latter being those which are capable of different interpretations. Next we are told that the decisive verses are the basis of the Book, that is, that they contain the fundamental principles of religion. Hence whatever may be the differences of interpretation, the fundamentals of religion are not affected by them, all such differences relating only to secondary matters. The third point is that some people seek to give their own interpretation to allegorical statements and are thus misled. In other words, serious errors arise only when a wrong interpretation is placed on words which are susceptible of two meanings. Lastly, in the concluding words, a clue is given as to the right mode of interpretation in the case of allegorical statements: "It is all from our Lord" — meaning that there is no disagreement between the various portions of the Book. This statement has in fact been made elsewhere also, as already quoted (see 4:82[2]). The important principle to be borne in mind in the interpretation of the Qur’ân, therefore, is that the meaning should be sought from within the Qur’ân, and never should a passage be interpreted in such a manner that it may be at variance with any other passage, but more especially with the basic principles laid down in the decisive verses. This principle, in the revealed words, is followed by "those well-grounded in knowledge."[Footnote 37][3] The following rules may, therefore, be laid down:

– The principles of Islam are enunciated in decisive words in the Qur’ân; and, therefore, no attempt should be made to establish a principle on the strength of an allegorical passage, or of words susceptible of different meanings.

– The explanation of the Book should in the first place be sought in the Qur’ân itself; for, whatever it has stated briefly, or merely hinted at, in one place, will be found expanded and fully explained elsewhere in it.

– It is very important to remember that the Qur’ân contains allegory and metaphor along with what is plain and decisive, and the only safeguard against being misled by what is allegorical or metaphorical is that the interpretation of such passages must be strictly in consonance with what is laid down in clear and decisive words, and not at variance therewith.

When a law or principle is laid down, any statement carrying a doubtful significance, or a statement apparently opposed to the law so laid down, must be interpreted subject to the principle enunciated. Similarly that which is particular must be read in connection with and subject to more general statements.

Rules of Qur’ânic interpretation:[4]A "Statute," says Maxwell in his well-known book on The Interpretation of Statutes," is the will of the Legislature, and the fundamental rule of interpretation, to which all others are subordinate, is that a statute is to be expounded according to the intent of the Legislature. If the words of the statute are in themselves precise and unambiguous no more is necessary then to expound these words in their natural and ordinary sense." If we consider the case-law of the British and American Courts, we can deduce inter alia the following further rules of interpretation:

1. The words of a statute, when there is a doubt about their meaning, are to be understood in the sense in which they best harmonise with the subject of the enactment.

2. The language of a statute must be given its plain literal construction. It must not be strained to make it apply to a case to which it does not legitimately, by its terms, apply.

3. The true meaning of a passage in a statute is to be found not merely in the words of that passage but in conformity with the other parts of the statute. Every clause of the statute should be construed with reference to the context and the other clauses of the statute, so as, so far as possible, to make a consistent enactment of the whole statute. It must be read as a whole in order to ascertain the true meanings of its several clauses, and the words of each clause should be so interpreted as to bring them into harmony with the other provisions.

4. The words and phrases of a particular nature should be read with, and subject to, the words and phrases of a general import and interpreted accordingly.

5. A statute should be so interpreted as not to be inconsistent with the comity of nations or with established natural laws. To avoid a breach of this rule even a narrow construction, if necessary, must be put on it.

6. A statute should be presumed to void absurdity, excess in exercise of power, alteration of previous existing laws, inconsistency, repugnancy, unreasonableness or unnaturalness.

"These legal presumptions," said Lord Bacon in his Advancement of Learning, "are beacons to be avoided – rather than as authorities to be followed." Sir William Blackstone, in his Laws of England, laid down that a statute contrary to natural laws, equity or reason, or repugnant or impossible to perform, must be deemed to be void; and there is no legal sanction for the supposition that every unjust and absurd consequence was within the contemplation of the law.

These rules of interpretation, based as they are on principles of common sense, equity and justice, must be deemed to be of universal application. We do not find any inconsistency in the laws of nature. God made them according to a measure (The Holy Qur’ân, 55:7). The Holy Qur’ân drawing specific attention to the regularity and uniformity of the laws working in nature, says:

"… You see no incongruity in the creation of the Beneficent God, then look again, can you see any disorder? Then turn back the eye again and again; your sight shall come back to you confused while it will get fatigued …. Does He not know Who created? And He is the Knower of the subtleties, the Aware" (Ibid., 67:3, 4, 14).

These verses point to the existence of the Supreme Being as witnessed in the regularity and uniformity of the laws of nature, or in other words the absence of any inconsistency in them, and the succeeding verse calls special attention to the spiritual laws contained in the Book, which also work with uniformity.

The laws of nature, nay creation itself, it has been said, are the acts of God: and divinely revealed books are the words of God. There cannot, therefore, be any inconsistency between the two, or in either of them, and if any interpretation produces such a result it must be rejected.

I will presently deal with the rules of Qur’ânic interpretation which have been laid down by Muslim divines; but the claims of the Holy Qur’ân and the special rules of interpretation which it gives itself must be considered first.

The Holy Qur’ân claims to be a collection of the best teachings (Ibid., 39:27) and a complete guide (Ibid., 10:37) from God, a Book which verifies the previous true revelation (Ibid., 2:89, 101, etc.) and replaces them (Ibid., 16:101). It explains everything (Ibid., 16:89) and is right directing (Ibid., 18:2). It settles all differences (Ibid., 16:64) and was revealed so that all disputes might be judged and settled according to the directions contained in it (Ibid., 5:49). It further claims that, being a Divine revelation, it contains rules of guidance for humanity. It supports them with intelligent arguments (Ibid., 2:185) and needs no champion for its cause, for it meets all objections raised against it with clear proof and convincing arguments (Ibid., 25:33). The Book says:

"Again, on Us (devolves) the explaining of it" (Ibid., 75:19).

It is a distinguishing feature of the Holy Qur’ân that it explains the wisdom of its teachings by means of arguments. It does not only state the basic doctrines and articles of faith, but it also demonstrates their truth by reasons. "This is a book," says the Holy Qur’ân, "whose verses are established with wisdom and set forth with clearness." The Holy Qur’ân also claims that its verses are conformable to others in its various parts (The Holy Qur’ân, 39:23), and that there is no inconsistency or discrepancy to be found in it (Ibid., 4:82). These claims, unique as they are – and no religious Book has ever put forward similar claims – establish more than anything else the Divine origin of the Book.

The Holy Qur’ân further says that it contains, inter alia, verses which are decisive (Ibid., 3:7), and goes on to give its rule of interpretation in the following terms:

"He it is Who has revealed the Book to you; some of its verses are decisive, they are the basis of the Book, and others are allegorical; then as for those in whose heart there is perversity, they follow the part of it which is allegorical seeking to mislead, and seeking to give it their own interpretation; but none knows its interpretation except Allah; and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge say: We believe in it, it is all from our Lord; and none do mind except those having understanding" (Ibid., 3:7).

It is significant that this verse occurs at the beginning of the third chapter of the Holy Qur’ân, which deals with the birth and death of Jesus. It is due to an intentional and dishonest misinterpretation of the allegorical verses that Christian missionaries try to find support from the Holy Qur’ân for their dogmatic beliefs. But the Holy Qur’ân, some fourteen hundred years ago, pointed out that they only follow the allegorical part of it simply to mislead others. To believe and follow them regardless of the decisive verses, according to the Holy Qur’ân, is a perversity which Muslims should avoid.

The Holy Qur’ân lays down certain fundamental principles of Islam and they are contained in the decisive verses. They form the basis of the Book. These principles are unchangeable and are stated in unambiguous terms. The allegorical verses must be interpreted in the light of the decisive verses, and no attempt should be made on the strength of these allegorical verses to set up a principle in conflict with the decisive verses. As the Book decides all matters, the explanation of the words and verses of the Holy Qur’ân should therefore be sought from the Holy Qur’ân itself. Thus the particular should follow the general, and the interpretation of the allegorical verses should be strictly in consonance with the decisive verses. These rules of interpretation are indicated by the words: it is all from Allah and none knows the interpretation except Allah. In other words, that interpretation would be the correct one, and should alone be accepted which renders the allegorical verses conformable to the other parts of the Holy Qur’ân. Keeping these principles in mind Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has explained the following rules of Qur’ânic interpretation (in Barakat-ud-Du'a, 15-17):

1. A verse should be so interpreted as to be conformable with the other parts of the Book. Inconsistency, repugnancy, unreasonableness and unnaturalness should be avoided; and particularly all allegorical verses should be so interpreted as to become conformable with, and subject to, the decisive verses.

2. God revealed His will to the Holy Prophet and made him understand it. His interpretation of any verse through his Sayings or Sunna (conduct) must be accepted.

3. The interpretation of the Companions of the Holy Prophet must also be accepted.

4. The interpretation of Mujaddids and Aulia Allah (saints) should also be accepted.

5. If the Holy Qur’ân is read with pure and pious mind, it will explain its true meaning itself. If its teachings are acted upon, it will make the meaning clearer still.

6. To understand the spiritual laws and facts stated in the Holy Qur’ân, recourse should be had to the laws of nature.

7. Arabic Lexicon should be taken into consideration, but if a word is used in one sense in one part of the Holy Qur’ân the same import must be attributed to it in the same context.


[1] “Religion of Islam” by Maulana Muhammad Ali, p. 35-36, 6th Edition, pub. 1990, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore.

[2] 4:82. Will they not then meditate on the Qur’ân? And if it were from any other than Allah, they would have found in it many a discrepancy. – Footnote: The Qur’ân was not written out and given on one occasion, but it continued to be delivered in small portions during twenty-three years under the most varying circumstances. But what is striking throughout the entire revelation is that it keeps up one and the same strain — absolute submission to Allah, entire trust in Him, perfect confidence of future success, a liberal view of humanity, an attitude of charity towards all nations and religions, and goodness to all alike. The spirit of the revelations to the solitary, persecuted, and rejected preacher of Makkah does not differ in these and a hundred other particulars from the spirit of the revelations to the sole temporal and spiritual monarch of Arabia – Al-Nisa – Women: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz

[3] Footnote 37: The subject of the interpretation of the Qur’ânic verses is very appropriately dealt with in the opening verses of the third chapter which begins with a discussion with the followers of Christianity, for, it must be borne in mind, that it is on a wrong interpretation of certain allegorical statements that the fundamental principles of Christianity are actually based. The basic doctrine of the religion of all the prophets in the Old Testament is the Unity of God, but there are a number of prophecies couched in allegorical language having reference to the advent of Christ. The Christians, instead of interpreting these in accordance with the clear words of the principle of Divine Unity, laid the foundations of Christianity on the metaphorical language of the prophecies, and thus by neglect of the true rule of interpretation were misled to such an extent as to ignore the very essentials of the religion of the prophets. Christ was believed to be god on the strength of metaphorical expressions, and the doctrine of the Trinity thus became the basis of a new religion. The epithet "son of God" was freely used in Israelite literature, and was always taken allegorically. The term occurs as early as Gen. 6:2 where the "sons of God" are spoken of as taking the daughters of men for wives. It occurs again in Job 1:6 and 38:7, and good men are no doubt meant in both places. In Ex. 4:22 and many other places, the Israelites are spoken of as the children of God: "Israel is my son, even my first born." The expression is used in the same metaphorical sense in the Gospels. Even in the fourth Gospel, where the Divinity of Christ is looked upon as finding a bolder expression than in the synoptics, Jesus Christ is reported as saying in answer to those who accused him of blasphemy for speaking of himself as the son of God: "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If He called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world. Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God?" (Jn 10:34-36). It is thus clear that even in the mouth of Jesus the term "son of God" was a metaphorical expression, and by taking it literally the Church has destroyed the very foundation of religion. It is to this fundamental mistake of Christianity that the Qur’ân refers by giving the rule for the interpretation of allegorical verses in a discussion of the Christian religion. [Emphasis added]

[4] “Jesus in Heaven on Earth” by Khwaja Nazir Ahmad, Chapter 2 – Islamic Resources, p. 51-54 First U.S.A. Edition 1998. Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore Inc. U.S.A.

Case Study 1: Fidel or Infidel, Who determines – Man or God?

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Case Study 1: Fidel or Infidel, Who determines – Man or God?

Before we discuss the loggerhead question of Fidel[1] vs. Infidel[2], it necessitates first to determine the very definition of a Fidel in Quran . The core definition for a Fidel is that which the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) applied to himself:

39:11. Say, `Verily, I have orders to worship Allâh, being truly sincere to Him alone in obedience.
39:12. `And I have orders to be the foremost among those who surrender themselves (to His will).'
39:13. Say, `If I disobey my Lord I have to fear the torment of a dreadful day.'
39:14. Say, `It is Allâh I worship, being purely sincere to Him in my obedience.[3]

The above delineation of belief is further expanded into its progressive stages in Quran 49:15[4] for the believers, by their declaration – The believers are those only who believe in Allah and His Messenger, by their immersed belief – then they do not doubt, and then by their actions – and struggle hard with their wealth and their lives in the way of Allah. Such are the truthful ones.

The above core of belief is supplemented to include co-beliefs which only strengthen the core itself:

4:136. O you who believe! maintain faith in Allâh and in His Messenger and in this perfect Book which He has revealed to His perfect Messenger and in the Scripture He revealed before. And whoso denies Allâh and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and the Last Day, he has indeed strayed far away (from the truth).[5]

The nature of man-God connection thus established in above-mentioned verses is a personal and private one in which there are neither intermediaries nor any human approver:

39:3. Beware! Sincere and true obedience is due to Allâh alone. Those who choose others as a patron beside Him (say), `We serve them only that they may bring us near to Allâh in station.' (It is absolutely wrong.)…[6]
39:44. Say, `All intercession belongs to Allâh entirely. To Him belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, then towards Him you shall (all) be brought back.'[7]

Additionally, Quran delineates the truly faithful from others:

57:19. And for those who believe in Allâh and His Messengers they alone are the truthful people and faithful witnesses in the sight of their Lord, they will have their full reward and their light. But those who disbelieve and cry lies to Our commandments are the very inmates of Hell.[8]

The faithful who believe in Allâh and His Messengers in turn have to fulfill the purpose of their faith by action and various virtuous means, because both the theory and practice of faith have to be synchronous and mutually complementing. For example:

2:277. Verily, those who believe and do deeds of righteousness and regularly observe the Prayer and go on presenting the Zakât shall have their reward from their Lord; they shall have no cause of fear, nor shall they ever grieve.[9]

In summary, the principal ingredient for a Fidel is faith in Allah and everything that flows from Him, the Messengers – both human and angels, Book/Scriptures, and awareness of accountability, be it on the Last Day or every day. The core expectations from a Fidel are the deeds of righteousness complemented with payers for conscious awareness of God, self and mankind while presenting Zakat.

With the definition of a Fidel out of the way, the next question needing answer is who determines if someone is infidel or unfaithful in his or her belief? Is it the burden of man or God?

In Quran, to be a Fidel is an undertaking by one’s free will and not by a decree of God:

42:8. And if Allâh had wanted (to enforce His will) He would have made all these people one nation (of believers)…

If contract to be Fidel is solely between the individual and God, so then is its negation by that individual as well. Any oath between man and God is based upon what is in the mind, and not in what is uttered vainly:

2:225. Allâh will not call you to account for what is vain (and unintentional) in your oaths, but He calls you to account for what your minds resolve and accomplish (by intentional swearing). And Allâh is Great Protector (against faults), Highly Forbearing.[10]

The above verse sets in stone that for God, what matters is in the hearts. Can a human peek into the heart of another to determine what resides therein? Never!

Frequently, one comes across fatwas (–religious opinions or judgments), the declarations from pulpit calling a fellow citizen, usually a professing Muslim, an infidel. Not infrequently, the cleric(s) of one sect declare other sect(s) outside the pale of Islam. One wonders how a human can be a judge of a fellow human in the issues of faith and belief which are the sole matters of one's heart. Even worse, how do the people accept such declarations from the pulpits as words and intention of God? Strange are utters of such words and even stranger are the minds which give credence to such a nonsense.
 
In Quran, we find that it is only and only God, Who, by His closeness to the individual knows what's in someone's heart:

50:16. We created a human being and We know what (dark) suggestions his mind makes to him. We are nearer to him than even (his) jugular vein.[11]

Faith is a matter of the heart, an unseen matter to everyone else. As to how pure is the faith of anyone, its judge is not even the Prophets, but only Allah:

5:109. (Imagine) the day when Allâh will gather together all the Messengers and asks, `What response did you receive?' They will say, `We have no real knowledge (about the minds of the people), surely it is You alone Who have true and perfect knowledge of all things unseen.'[12]

On the flip, no pulpit, no matter how zealot it maybe can speak on behalf of Allah as no man can perceive what is in His ‘mind’:

5:116. And when Allâh said, `O Jesus, son of Mary! did you say to the people, "Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allâh?"' He (-Jesus) replied, `Glory to You! it was not possible and proper for me to say thing to which I had no right. If I had said, You would indeed have known it, (for) You know all that is in my mind but I do not know what is in Yours. It is You alone Who truly know all things unseen.[13]

Even the angels cannot peek into someone's thoughts; rather they merely are a witness to the obvious actions and uttered words of the individual:

50:17-18. Behold, the two recording (angels) sitting one on (his) right and one on (his) left go on preparing the record (of his deeds). He utters not a word but (it is noted down by) a guardian (angel of his who) stands ready by his side (to record his words).[14]

Thus, if someone professes or for that matter rejects the faith, angels can only record the spoken words or related actions. They have no say in the matters of the 'truthfulness' of the heart of that person. It would be a separate subject matter of what Quran means by angels, which for sure are not the winged creatures depicted in religious art.

In the above verses, a human is totally factored out of the capacity to peep into someone else's mind and dig out the faith or lack thereof. This prerogative is only with the Creator of mankind, which is further explained:

5:7. …Verily, Allâh knows well what is in the inmost depths of the minds.[15]

The following verse acts as a preamble for the verses to follow, which brings to light the befuddled matter of belief in which the loudest claims to faith from the pulpit are commonly considered honourable, whereas Quran states the opposite, that – Surely the most honourable of you in the sight of Allâh is he who guards against evil the most, and not by one who carries the noisiest trumpet and wields the so called religious authority:

49:13. O mankind! We have created you out of a male and a female, and We have made you tribes and sub-tribes that you may recognise (and do good to) one another. Surely the most honourable of you in the sight of Allâh is he who guards against evil the most. Verily, Allâh is All- knowing, All-Aware.[16]

Anyone can say anything, even profess faith (read fatwa issuer), but in the eyes of God, has no bearing till the words match the underlying mind:

49:14. The Arabs of the desert say, `We believe.' Say, `You have not yet truly believed, (you should) rather say, "We obey and have submitted," for true faith has not yet entered your hearts. But if you obey Allâh and His Messenger He will not diminish aught of your deeds.' Surely, Allâh is Great Protector, Ever Merciful.[17]

The ‘We believe’ in above verse elucidates the entry point into Islam for each individual. The threshold for being a Muslim is to submit. Only thereafter the faith and its corresponding righteous deeds sinks in with varying degrees of personal effort, commonly known as iman[18]. Traditionally, the entrance into Islam is the declaration – La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammad-ur rasul-ullah i.e. "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah."

The next verse further clarifies the previous one about one's faith, in which actions have to speak louder than the words uttered:

49:15. The believers are only those who (truly) believe in Allâh and His Messenger, and then doubt not, and who strive hard with their possessions and their lives in the cause of Allâh. It is they who are the true to their words (and Muslims of a high standard).'[19]

It is a common experience that rarely does one ever come across fatwa issuer(s) who will strive hard with their possessions and their lives in the cause of Allâh (49:15) and hardly guards against evil (49:13).

Interestingly, the following verse mocks the public confessions to win approval of the audience, the modus operandi of the fatwa issuers. The confessions at times can be forced, coerced, voluntary or strategic:

49:16. Say, `Would you make known your faith to Allâh, while Allâh knows whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth? And Allâh knows all things full well.'[20]

Thus, the above verse lays it out in black and white that God is the sole validator of one’s declared faith, because He alone is the judge of what a person confesses by tongue and what the corresponding belief in the heart is.

The declaratory effort of fatwa mongers to ascribe infidelity to someone else usually has a hidden secondary gain, the nature of which maybe material and/or political, but in doing so they at least imply to include themselves within Islam, while excluding others. Quran ridicules any such a drama: 

49:17. They lay you under obligation because they have embraced Islam. Say, `Lay me not under any obligation on account of your (embracing) Islam. On the contrary Allâh has bestowed a favour on you, because He has guided you to the true Faith, if you are truthful.'
49:18. Verily, Allâh knows the hidden realities of the heavens and the earth. And Allâh sees all your deeds.[21]

The above verses, if read from the perspective of the victim of a fatwa of being declared an infidel, factually put the fatwa issuer in the witness stand instead, who in turn has to equally defend his own faith, by the same standards that he applied on his victim.

How irrelevant in Quran is the issue of ascribing someone as infidel can be judged by the next verse. Even in a state of war, when a Muslim community might be threatened by enemy spies faking as Muslims or the hypocrites within their midst, a professor of faith has to be accepted into the fold of Islam on even a simple gesture of greetings by the latter:

4:94. O you who believe! when you set forth in the cause of Allâh, then make proper investigations (before you dub anyone as a disbeliever), and do not say to him who offers you `Salâm', (- peace, the Muslim salutation to show himself thereby a Muslim,) `You are not a believer.' You seek the transitory goods of this life, but Allâh has good things in plenty with Him. You were such (disbelievers) before that (you accepted Islam), but Allâh has conferred His special favour on you, hence do make proper investigations. Surely, Allâh is Well-Aware of what you do.[22]

Of note in the above verse is the phrase make proper investigations, which can only be conducted from the observable actions and not by guessing at the thoughts hidden in someone's mind. Quran reminds those who call themselves Muslims, yet others as non-Muslims, or doubt sincerity of others, not to forget that they themselves were such (disbelievers) before that (you accepted Islam) and what they currently claim.

When the pronouncers of heresy are confronted with this explicit injunction of the Qur'an, they argue as to whether they should consider a Jew or a Christian as a Muslim simply because he greets them with the Islamic salutation. They never seriously think that this verse is a part of the Qur'an and to despise it in this manner is nothing less than despising the Word of Allah. There can be no other meaning to this verse except this: that the person greeting Muslims with the Islamic salutation in no case is to be considered an unbeliever. There is no doubt that "thou art not a believer” can only be applied to a person who does not declare his belief in Islam. Thus the Qur'an has indicated a clear notion that when a person greets you with the Islamic salutation to show that he is a Muslim he should not be called an unbeliever. In the presence of this express teaching of the Qur'ãn, insistence on declaring a Muslim an unbeliever is a clear deviation from the Word of Allah. This verse does not, in any way, suggest that if a Jew or Christian or Hindu greets you with the Islamic salutation he is to be taken as a Muslim. Here, it is about a person who discloses his identity of being a Muslim by offering the Islamic salutation and such a person should by no means be considered an unbeliever.[23]

It may be noted that Quran places a high importance to the salutation 'Salam' i.e. 'Peace' because any humble utterer and believer in these words is termed as a servant of God:

25:63. And the servants of the Beneficent are they who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, Peace![24]

In light of the above verses 3:94 and 25:63, it baffles one's mind that there are certain pulpits amongst Muslims which thrive on labeling the proffers of 'Salam' and 'Peace' as Infidels, while the Quran calls the same as servants of the Beneficent.

As to the blind followers of fatwa mongers who declare others infidels, Quran has express revulsion towards them and their fate:

2:165. (Inspite of all these evidences in support of the unity of God) there are some people who take to themselves compeers as opposed to Allâh. They love them as they should love Allâh. But those who believe are stauncher in (their) love for Allâh. And if only those who committed this wrong could but see (the time) when they shall see the punishment, (they would realize) that the complete power only belongs to Allâh and that Allâh is Severe at inflicting the punishment.
2:166. (At that time) when those who were followed (- the leaders) shall disown and sever themselves from their followers and they shall see the punishment (with their own eyes) and all their ties and means shall be cut asunder
2:167. And (at that time) the followers shall say, `If we could only return (to the life of the world) we would disown them and sever ourselves from them as they disowned and severed themselves from us.' Thus Allâh will make them regret their deeds and they shall never (of themselves) get out of the Fire.[25]

The fatwa mongers tend to be unaware of their haughty and condescending attitude that Quran admonishes against:

31:18. `And do not turn your face away from people in scorn and pride, nor walk about on the earth haughtily. Surely, Allâh does not love any self-conceited boaster.
31:19. `Rather walk with modest pace and talk in soft gentle tone. Surely, the most repugnant of voices is the braying of the donkey.'[26]

Little do such boasters of faith with their haughty attitude know that by the standards of Quran those who dare to declare the Kalima reciters as infidels, their repugnant proclamations are equated with braying of the donkey in Quran or to put it bluntly, they make as ass of themselves by their such attitude and behaviors.


[1] From the Late Latin name Fidelis which meant "faithful"
[2] An unbeliever with respect to a particular religion – Merriam Webster
[3] Al-Zumar – The Multitudes: Nooruddin
[4] Al-Hujurat – The Apartments: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[5] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[6] Al-Zumar – The Multitudes: Nooruddin
[7] Al-Zumar – The Multitudes: Nooruddin
[8] Al-Hadid – The Iron: Nooruddin
[9] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[10] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[11] Qâf – Allah is Mighty: Nooruddin
[12] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[13] Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[14] Qâf – Allah is Mighty: Nooruddin
[15] Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[16] Al-Hujurât – The Chambers: Nooruddin
[17] Al-Hujurât – The Chambers: Nooruddin
[18] The word iman, generally translated as faith or belief, is derived from amana (ordinarily rendered as he believed) which means, when used intransitively, he came into peace or security; and, when used transitively, he granted (him) peace or security. Hence the believer is called al–mu'min, meaning one who has come into peace or security because he has accepted the principles which bring about peace of mind or security from fear; and God is called al-Mu'min meaning the Granter of security (59:23).
Use of the word Iman in the Qur'an: The word iman, generally translated as faith or belief, is used in two different senses in the Qur'an. According to Raghib, the famous lexicologist of the Qur'an, iman is sometimes nothing more than a confession with the tongue that one believes in Muhammad, as for example in these verses: "Those who believe (amanu) and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good, they have their reward with their Lord…" (2:62); "O you who believe (amanu)! Believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book which He has revealed to His Messenger" (4:136). But, as Raghib has further explained, iman also implies the condition in which a confession with the tongue is accompanied by an assent of the heart (Tasdiq-un bi-l-qalb) and the carrying into practice of what is believed (Amal-un bi-l-jawarih), as in this verse: "And for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers, they are the truthful and the faithful ones with their Lord" (57:19).
The word iman is, however, also used in either of the two latter senses, meaning simply the assent of the heart or the doing of good deeds. Examples of this are: "The dwellers of the desert say: We believe (amanna). Say: You believe not, but say, We submit; and faith has not yet entered into your hearts" (49:14). Here belief clearly stands for the assent of the heart as explained in the verse itself. Or, "What reason have you that you believe not in Allah, and the Messenger invites you that you may believe in your Lord and He has indeed made a covenant with you if you are believers" (57:8), where "believe in Allah" means make sacrifices in the cause of truth, as the context shows. Thus the word iman, as used in the Qur'an, signifies either simply a confession of the truth with the tongue, or simply an assent of the heart and a firm conviction of the truth brought by the Prophet, or the doing of good deeds and carrying into practice of the principle accepted, or it may signify a combination of the three. Generally, however, it is employed to indicate an assent of the heart, combined, of course, with a confession with the tongue, to what the prophets bring from God, as distinguished from the doing of good deeds, and hence it is that the righteous, as already remarked, are spoken of as those who believe and do good. – “Religion of Islam” by Maulana Muhammad Ali, p. 91-92, Sixth Edition, printed: 1990.
[19] Al-Hujurât – The Chambers: Nooruddin
[20] Al-Hujurât – The Chambers: Nooruddin
[21] Al-Hujurât – The Chambers: Nooruddin
[22] Al-Hujurât – The Chambers: Nooruddin
[23] “Heresy in Islam or Refutation of Declaring a Muslim an Unbeliever” by Maulana Muhammad Ali, Translated and edited by Sheikh Muhammad Tufail, M.A., p. 24, English edition 1995.
[24] Al-Furqan – The Criterion: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[25] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[26] Luqman – Luqman: Nooruddin

Standards adhered to in writing of this book

Sunday, July 6th, 2014
Standards Adhered to in Writing of This Book

In this auspicious meeting, which has been convened with the object that the advocates of the different religious systems should, so far as the limits of the questions set allow, set forth the beauties of their respective religions, I, as an advocate of the faith of Islam, will dwell upon its beauties. Before I start with the proper object, I take leave to state that all my assertions and arguments shall be based upon and drawn from the Holy Quran. I deem it a matter of the first importance that everybody, who believes in any sacred scriptures as the revealed Word of God, should so set limits to his advocacy of the religion he supports as not to go out of the holy book or depend upon arguments other than those which the book furnishes. For, if he does not observe this rule, he, as a matter of fact, makes and advances a new book and not the one which he professes to support. Therefore, as it is my object to show the beauties of the Quran and to establish its exclusive excellence over all other books, I shall bind myself by the rule above stated and depend solely upon the Quran for every assertion and argument, stating only that which is contained in it in plain words, or what may be reasonably inferred from its words. As the other gentlemen are also expected to set limits to their discourses by this reasonable rule, there will be a good opportunity for judicious minds to form a judgment as to the comparative value of the different books claiming to be revealed. For the same reason, I shall avoid all reference to the authorities containing the reported words of the Holy Prophet and not go outside the Word of God as revealed in the Quran. In short, this is the day of the manifestation of the glory and the excellence of the Quran, and I humbly beseech Almighty God to assist me in this undertaking. Amen![i]

The above are the opening remarks in an interfaith meeting in which agreed upon questions were answered from Islamic perspective sourced on Quran. This book at hand too, while relying on Quran, deals with questions pervading within Islam that have become a source of unsubstantiated miracles, myths, mistakes and matters. Ironically, such all too familiar issues instead of becoming arguments for faith have taken the center stage as articles of faith for Muslims and the consequent fallout of divisions within the faith. In Muslim societies these astigmatic views have stained the collective psyche to an extent that they have crept into the legislative fabric as an almost indelible stain. Before, the unintelligence which was limited to clergy has now seeped into the law of the land and its subsequent erosion of human rights, strengthening of non-democratic forces, engendering vicious sectarianism, increased focus on shell of religion rather than its soul and separation of logic from faith. The formulated faith has become a burden that common sense cannot bear. As a reaction to such dogmas the counter arguments, if any, are individualistic rather than institutional in nature and they soon lose steam. The hopelessness ever increases in the enlightened segments of the societies that in due course turns them not only irreligious but pushes them into atheism as well. The religion which was supposed to inculcate belief based upon reason has itself become the prime source of soulless atheistic tendencies in the society. Such fractures are too visible on the body of nations like a parched lake bed out of which nothing substantive remains for human resource of a nation.

This book undertakes some of the common misattributes to Islam head on, only in an effort to reverse the decay that has set in. The focus of Qur’ân is primarily on the articles of faith and their natural downstream virtues for an individual and the society. While promulgating its teachings, it takes examples and arguments from history and nature to strengthen and glue together the core articles that it propounds. The problems arise when the reader of Qur’ân starts to mistake the arguments as articles and in due course relying on extra-Qur’ânic sources mixed with personal prejudices erects an edifice of religion which is more of mortar than the bricks. With every passing generation, more mortar is added to prevent its crumble. This layer upon layer hides the bricks of articles of faith deeper and deeper and religion soon takes the outward appearance of an ugly mythological façade that can now only gloat on its historical glory and has nothing to offer to its visitors or dwellers of the present. Islam too to a certain extent has reached a stage where its mass understanding is nothing but an empty shell casing, a remnant of mythos devoid of any logos.

Of the many not too surprising aspects of Qur’ân are its intelligent constructs that not only cleared the fabrications of religions before it, but are also able to dissipate falsity that has crept after it and attributed to it. Qur’ân fulfills the standards of reason for itself that it uses to challenge others:

37:154-57. What is the matter with you? How (wrong) you judge! Will you take no heed? Or have you a clear authority (in your defence for your false beliefs)?  If so then come out with your (authoritative) scripture if you are truthful.[ii]

All the nonsensical miracles, myths, mistakes and matters that are attributed by misread of Qur’ân are washed away by Qur’ân itself. It is this detergent quality of Qur’ân that this book relies on and tries to launder the fabric of Islam using no other source but Qur’ân itself. Hence, all the rebutting arguments in this book are based upon Qur’ân for the mere fact that the ultimate burden to clean the closet of Islam is on Qur’ân that it does so quite convincingly.

The quality of nectar of Qur’ân can be judged merely by first commandments that were revealed to Prophet Muhammad:

96:1-8. Read in the name of your Lord Who creates creates man from a clot (of blood). Read and your Lord is most Generous, Who taught by the pen,  taught man what he did not know. No! Man is surely inordinate, because he looks upon himself as self-sufficient. Surely to your Lord is the return.[iii]

A keen reader will immediately notice the path to human progress when one is to Read in the name of your Lord Who creates the basis of all material and non-material opportunities in life; and the Divine guarantee of success if one is to read and your Lord is most Generous; and the knowledge that He taught man what he did not know which leads to progress; but the natural impediment to this progress is the human side of man i.e. Man is surely inordinate, he looks upon himself as self-sufficient and thus robs himself of the progress that the Almighty has in store for him. Embedded in these first commandments is the message that lays down the very foundation of what we call individual scholarship and, collectively, as the university in modern day.

Besides, validating the previous scriptures, Qur’ân distinctly declares God Himself as the source of the Book; it is God as the “Lord of the Mankind” and not of a particular race, region or religion; Qur’ân vivifies God by bringing to light His Attributes; removes the human-ness of god and instills the godliness of humans; God for the benefit of man and not the ritualistic vice versa; God as the first observer of His own laws; a God of action and not of slumber; a Hearing, Seeing and Speaking God.

Qur’ân expounds its message with proofs based upon logic, reason, history, physical phenomenon, science and sociology, when it discusses monotheism, human nature, equality and fraternity of man, the sinless soul, and the physical and moral states of man. On the same principles it describes the purpose of the man and the universe he lives in. It declares nature as being subservient to man. It outlines virtues and sins, paths of salvation, emphasis on action rather than homilies, the state of life after death, and the concept of hell and heaven. Qur’ân launders the previous prophet from all of the historical smears and offers this as a doable example of Qur’ân. It brings morality, spirituality, physicality and science into a mutually complementary logic. Qur’ân declares the divine guarding of its own everlasting purity, free from adulteration and contradiction and with an open challenge to any to bring even a chapter matching that of Qur’ân. It identifies the divine origin of all monotheistic faiths and the completion of religion with Islam.

In the study of Qur’ân, one comes across its following attributes[iv] or varying hues which is a cure for the people (16:69)[v]:

Al-Kitâb (2:2) – the Complete Book
Al-Dhikr (38:1) – the Book which makes provisions for eminence, fame, reknown, honor and reminding
Al-Furqân (25:1) – the Book which distinguishes between right and wrong and which
is divided and revealed in portions, as the root word Firqah also means portions.
Al-Hikmah (17:39) – the Wisdom
Al-Hudâ (72:13) – that which guides and makes one attain the goal
Mubârak (6:93) – Blessed
Al-Mukarramah (80:13) – the Honored
Musaddiq (6:93) – confirming (the truth of previous Scriptures)
Al-Mauizah (10:57) – the Admonition
Al-‘Azîz (41:41) – the Mighty
Al-Hukm (13:37) – the Judgment
Al-Shifâ (10:57) – that which heals
Al-Tanzîl (26:192) – the Revelation
Al-Rahmah (2:105) – the Mercy
Al-Rûh (42:52) – that which gives life and is living
Al-Khair (3:103) – the Goodness
Al-Bayân (3:137) – that which explains all things
Al-Ni‘mat (93:11) – the Favor
Al-Burhân (4:175) – the clear Argument
Al-Qayyim (18:2) – the Maintainer
Al-Muhaimin (5:48) – the Guardian
Al-Nûr (7:157) – the Light
Al-Haq (17:81) – the Truth
Hablallâh (3:103) – the Covenant of God
Al-Mubîn (12:1) – that which explains
Al-Karîm (56:77) – the Holy
Al-Mâjîd (50:1) – the Glorious
Al-Hakîm (36:2) – the one full of Wisdom
Al-Marfû‘ah (80:14) – the Exalted
Al-Mutahharah (80:14) – the Purified
Al-‘Ajab (72:1:) – the Wonderful

[i] Preliminary Remarks in the book, delivered as a lecture, “The Teachings of Islam, a Solution of Five Fundamental Religious Problems from the Muslim Point of View”, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, p. 1-2, translated into English by Maulana Muhammad Ali – It was read at the Great Religious Conference held at Lahore (Punjab) in December 1896 by Maulvi Abdul Karim. The paper discusses from a Muslim's point of view the five subjects selected for discussion by the conveners of the conference. These five subjects related to (1) the physical, moral and spiritual conditions of man, (2) the state of man in the after-life, (3) the real object of the existence of man and the means of its attainment, (4) the effect of actions in the present life and the life to come, and (5) the sources of Divine knowledge.
[ii] Al-Saffat – The Ranging in Ranks: Nooruddin
[iii] Al-Alaq – The Clot: Muhammad Ali
[iv] Adapted from “Names of the Holy Book,” p. 2-A, The Holy Quran, Eighth Edition (2008) As Explained by Allamah Nooruddin, Rendered into English by Amatul Rahman Omar, Abdul Mannan Omar, Copyright © Noor Foundation International Inc.
[v] Al-Nahl – The Bee: Nooruddin 

Jesus – the Descent, but not of Son of Mary

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Jesus – the Descent, but not of Son of Mary

else, end of Quran, Islam and the Finality of Prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh)

Similar to Christian beliefs there is a prevailing myth in Muslims of bodily ascension of Jesus to heavens and his return towards the end of times in person. As discussed in various chapters before, Jesus never ascended bodily to heavens. Purpose of Quran is not to dwell and refute his bodily ascension, but it merely discusses Jesus like any other prophet or an exalted personality and in the due course of discussion it naturally emerges that Jesus died like any other mortal. Still, Muslims in general base their belief on certain Hadiths that Jesus, the Messiah will return. Such a 'descent' of Jesus must match his 'ascent' before. If physical ascension contradicts Quran, then his 'physical' descent will destroy Quran. Only survival of impeccable integrity of Quran is in spiritual and metaphorical ascension and descent of Jesus.

As far as Quran is concerned, there is a specific historical time line from Jesus to Prophet Muhammad and not from Muhammad to Jesus as erroneously believed by those waiting for the re-advent of Jesus son of Mary, else it will utterly contravene the following verse:

61:6. And (recall the time) when Jesus, son of Mary, said, `O Children of Israel! surely I am a Messenger sent to you by Allâh fulfilling (the prophecies contained in) the Torah which preceded me and pronouncing the good news of (the advent of) a great Messenger named Ahmad, who will come after me.' But when he (- the Prophet Muhammad) came to them with clear proofs, they said, `His are the enchanting ways separating (us from our people).'[1]

Descent of Jesus, son of Mary, to reform the whole world as believed by Muslims is factually out of his scope of work. Quran only ascribes him as a prophet and that too only for Israelites:

3:48-49. (The angels continued), `And He will teach him [– Jesus] the art of writing (and reading) and the Wisdom and the Torah and the Evangel. `And (He will appoint him) a Messenger to the Children of Israel (with the Message)…[2]

If even for a moment one believes in actual physical descent of Jesus after Prophet Muhammad, then such a myth holder will have to reconcile for oneself the following facts in Quran:

* Everything that has been or is worshiped besides Allah is dead, which includes Jesus who is worshiped as Son of God by Christians:

16:20-21. And the things whom they call upon apart from Allâh can create nothing. Rather they are themselves created. They are dead, not alive. And they do not perceive when they shall be raised (to life again).[3]

Quran even identifies Jesus by name as one of those who are worshipped besides Allah, and in light of verses above, he is then naturally dead:

5:72. Indeed, they have disbelieved who say, `Allâh – He is the Messiah, son of Mary,' …[4]

* Before we can even entertain the idea of someone leaving the physical universe alive only to return, according to Quran, without exception, no one leaves it alive, inclusive of Jesus:

7:25. And (He added), `In this (very universe) you shall live and therein you shall die and from it you shall be brought forth (in the Hereafter).'[5]

* As shown above, no one leaves this physical universe alive and there is no return either:

21:95. And it is not permissible to (the people of) a township whom We have destroyed to come back (to life of this world). [6]

23:100. `So that I may do righteous (deeds) which I failed to do (in the worldly life).' `Never, that can never be,' (is the answer he receives). It is but a word (of excuse) which he utters. And there is a barrier behind them which shall remain till the day when they shall be raised to life (again).[7]

39:42. Allâh takes away the souls (of human being) at the time of their death and (also) of those who are not (yet) dead during their sleep. He detains (the souls of) those against whom He passes the verdict of death and sends (back those of) others till a fixed period of time. There are signs in this for a people who would reflect.[8]

* There is no verse in Quran to validate the physical descent of Jesus. Rather, his mission was well defined and limited only for the Children of Israel and his mission has passed (as in past tense) with no residual future assignment:

43:59. He [–Jesus] was no more than a servant (of Ours) whom We graced with Our blessings and favours and We made him (to be) an example (of virtue and piety) for the Children of Israel.[9]

* Even if Jesus is presumably physically alive in heavens, then he must be in need of earthly food and water which are requisites to be alive:

21:7-8. (Prophet!) We sent none (as Messengers) before you but (they were) men to whom We made Our revelations. Therefore (O disbelievers!) ask the followers of the Reminder if you do not know (this). Nor did We give them such bodies as could go without food, neither were they people given unusually long lives (to enjoy).[10]

But, from Quran, we know that at least in the heavens, the earthly food cannot be heavenly food:

32:17. No soul knows what refreshment of the eyes is hidden for them: a reward for what they did.[11]

* If Jesus son of Mary is bodily alive in heavens then at least according to the following verses he is not following the dictates of his office of a prophet, which is just not possible for a prophet:

19:30. (It came to pass that the son of Mary) said, `I am indeed a servant of Allâh, He has given me the Book, and made me a Prophet.

19:31. `And He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and He has enjoined upon me prayer and alms-giving so long as I live.

19:32. `And (He has made me) dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me arrogant, graceless.

19:33. `And peace was upon me the day I was born, and (peace will be upon me) the day I die, and the day I shall be raised up to life (again).'

19:34. Such was Jesus, son of Mary. (This is) a statement of true facts (about him), concerning which they so deeply disagree.[12]

Thus, there is a clear declaration by Jesus in Quran that he will be – alms-giving so long as I live. If Jesus is physically alive as of today, irrespective of him being in heavens, then he must be giving alms even now. While in heavens, the ‘alive’ Jesus cannot give alms, a fundamental requirement of all the prophets while on this earth, unless there is a flourishing earthly economy in heavens as well and there are needy in need of alms of others, which of course is not possible in heaven. Thus if Jesus is bodily alive, then for sure he is not in Paradise, because by definition in heaven there is happiness, comfort and plenty for everyone and no one carries a begging bowl asking for alms:

56:88-89. And if he (the departed person) belongs to those who have attained nearness (to God and are His chosen ones), Then (he will have) happiness, comfort and plenty and Garden of Bliss.[13]

* Admittedly, Jesus, a prophet while not earth now, must be in heavens. But, the question of his descent back to earth is plain impossible, because once in heaven, always in heaven:

15:48. They shall suffer no fatigue, nor shall they ever be ejected from there [–the Paradise].[14]

Not only the Paradise dwellers will live in there forever, they will never even want to return to the former earthly abode:

18:108. Wherein they shall abide forever, having no desire to be removed from there [–the Paradise].[15]

In all fairness, it will be injustice to any one in heaven to be made to return to the earthly abode, especially Prophet Jesus who has already endured hardships, trials and tribulations.

It is only the Hell dwellers, not Jesus, who would wish to return back to this worldly life:

2:167. And (at that time) the followers shall say, `If we could only return (to the life of the world)…[16]

* By today's counting, if Jesus were to return to earth while being alive in heavens all the while, he would be more than 2000 years old and still counting. Whereas, Quran does not allow such a perpetual physical life:

21:34. And We did not grant living forever to any mortal before you [– Muhammad]. If you die, will they live forever?[17]

* Even if we presume that Jesus is alive somewhere in heavens and is now at least 2000 years old, if not older, then, according to Quran, like any human, he could not have escaped dementia and weakened body, a dysfunctional state by now:

22:5. …We have indeed created you from dust, then, from a sperm-drop, then from a blood clot, and then from a lump of flesh (partly) formed and (partly) unformed that We make (Our power and the real state of things) clear to you. And We cause to stay in the wombs (that drop of fluid) when We please (to make a perfectly formed being) for a given period of time, then We bring you forth (formed) as infants, then (We bring you up) with the result that you reach your prime. And there are some of you who are called to death (early) and there are others of you who are made to live to the worst part of life; a miserable very old age, with the result that they know nothing after (having had) knowledge…[18]

30:54. (It is) Allâh alone Who creates you in (a state of) weakness, He then replaces your weakness with strength (of youth) and again (replaces your) strength with weakness and gray hair (of old age). He creates what He will. He is the All-Knowing, the All-Powerful.[19]

36:68. We reverse the mechanism of the person to whom We grant (extraordinary) long life by making the state of his constitution weak. Do they not (even then) make use of their understanding?[20]

* By the standards of Quran, for all those who believe in an ever-living Jesus, Quran states that Jesus is like all other Messengers before him who have passed away, and so did he:

5:75. The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a Messenger, all the Messengers have (like him) passed away before him…[21]

Similarly, Quran builds up the case further for the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad who might not believe is his future death, when it states, just like in above verse, all Messengers before Muhammad including Jesus have passed away, and by implication so will he, and he did:

3:144. And Muhammad is but a Messenger. Surely, all Messengers [all – i.e. without exception] have passed away before him…[22]

* The questions thus remains, can the dead including Jesus, return to life and that too as a fully grown adult? Not so, as per Quran, dead cannot return to this worldly life:

23:99-100. Behold! when death approaches one of them (- the rebellious ones) he says (making entreaties repeatedly), `Send me back, My Lord! send me back,

23:100. `So that I may do righteous (deeds) which I failed to do (in the worldly life).' `Never, that can never be,' (is the answer he receives). It is but a word (of excuse) which he utters. And there is a barrier behind them which shall remain till the day when they shall be raised to life (again).[23]

39:42. ALLÂH takes away the souls (of human being) at the time of their death and (also) of those who are not (yet) dead during their sleep. He detains (the souls of) those against whom He passes the verdict of death and sends (back those of) others till a fixed period of time. There are signs in this for a people who would reflect.[24]

* While Jesus, a non-Arabic speaking, if he is in heavens, on his return, what would be his language? Who will teach him Arabic which is the medium of Quran and Hadith. Still, a prophet cannot deliver the full nuances of the Book, but in his own tongue, Aramaic and not Arabic in case of Jesus:

19:97. (Prophet!) We have made this (Qur'ân) easy (by revealing it) in your own tongue, that you may give glad tidings thereby to those who guard against evil and warn thereby a people stubbornly given to contention.[25]

44:58. And We have made this (Qur'ân) easy (by revealing it) in your (Arabic) tongue, so that the people may take heed.[26]

All would agree that Jesus was non-Arab. Arabic was not his mother tongue. Whatever he preached of the Evengel, it must have been like any prophet in your own tongue, i.e. Aramaic for Jesus. Since when has a prophet preached in a foreign language that is expected of Jesus son of Mary on his second advent?

* Quran sets in stone the two necessary components for a prophethood, the Revelation and that too through the medium of Gabriel:

26:192. And verily this (Qur'ân) is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds.

26:193. The Spirit, Faithful to the Trust (– Gabriel) has descended with it.

26:194. (Revealing it) to your heart with the result that you became of the Warners (– a Prophet of God);[27]

The above verses clearly elucidate the pre-requisites for a Prophet, firstly the Revelation itself and secondly the angel Gabriel bearing that Revelation. It is only after these requirements are met when the recipient becomes a Prophet i.e. with the result that you became of the Warners. History bears witness that no revelation from the High came via Gabriel after it terminated with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

When Jesus returns, who will be his source of Divine communication? Will it be the angel Gabriel? If it is Gabriel, then it will create many complications for Islam. Firstly, with the finality of prophethood of Muhammad, Gabriel is in permanent retirement. Any further return of Gabriel on his job after Prophet Muhammad, no matter how briefly, to communicate with any future Prophet(s) the prophetic revelation will break the seal of prophethood of the Last Prophet, Prophet Muhammad:

33:40. Muhammad is no father to any man among you but (he is rather) the Messenger of Allâh and the Seal of the Prophets. Indeed Allâh has full knowledge of all things.[28]

Last prophet is ‘Last’ only if he comes as the last one, which was none other than Prophet Muhammad.

Secondly, a non-Gabriel only medium of revelation eliminates the status of the recipient from a prophet to a non-prophet, which is just not possible in case of any prophet, because once a prophet, always a prophet. There is no termination of prophethood for a mortal once put in place by a Divine command. Prophets are never fired from their office.

* According to Quran, on the Last Day every prophet has to stand witness for his people:

16:84. And (beware of) the day when We shall raise a witness from every nation, then those who were ungrateful shall not be given leave (to make amends) nor shall they be afforded an opportunity to approach the threshold (of God) to offer a plea or an excuse (and thus solicit His good will).[29]

In case of Jews and Christians, as their prophet, Jesus will be a witness against them:

4:159. And there is none of the people of the Scripture (- the Jews and the Christians) but most certainly will believe in this (incident, that Jesus died on the cross) before his (actual) death, (while as a matter of fact they have no sure knowledge about Jesus dying on the cross). And on the Day of Resurrection he (- Jesus) will be a witness against them.[30]

Will then Jesus son of Mary, a prophet for Israelites, even though allegedly having lived among the believers of Muhammad by his second coming, stand witness next to Prophet Muhammad for the Muslims? Not so, Quran clearly states that the Prophet Muhammad will be that witness:

4:41. How then (shall these wrongdoers fare) when We call a witness from every nation and when We call you (O Prophet!) to stand witness over these (followers of yours)? On that day those who disbelieved and disobeyed the Messenger would wish that the earth were made level with them. They shall not be able to conceal anything from Allâh.[31]

It can thus be safely extrapolated that a prophet has no role for followers of another prophet.

* Will Jesus on his alleged physical return be a follower of Prophet Muhammad? If so, then it negates the very definition of a prophet in Quran, according to which each prophet is a leader, not a follower of another prophet:

4:64. And We have sent no Messenger but that he should be obeyed by the leave of Allâh [via the medium of Gabriel v. 26.192-4][32]

* It is the promise of Allah that righteous amongst the followers of Prophet Muhammad will be elevated to the status of successors (vouchsafed with both spiritual and temporal leadership) on the earth as He made successors (from among) their predecessors, namely the likes of the prophets of Israelites:

24:55. Allâh has promised those of you who believe and do deeds of righteousness that surely, He will make them successors (vouchsafed with both spiritual and temporal leadership) on the earth as He made successors (from among) their predecessors [–e.g. the followers of Moses], and that He will surely establish for them their Faith which He has approved for them, and that He will surely replace their state of fear with a state of security and peace. They will worship Me (alone) and they will not associate anything with Me. And those who show ingratitude for all the favours done to them after that (His promise is fulfilled), it is they who will be reckoned as the worst disobedient.[33]

The above verse, in light of possible return of Jesus holds true only and only if the said 'Jesus' is re-born like an ordinary mortal and grows up and does deeds of righteousness first, before he is able to be one of the successors of Prophet Muhammad, but then he will be as Jesus, not the Jesus son of Mary, contrary to as envisioned by Muslims in general.

Maulana Muhammad Ali in his book "The Promised Messiah and Mahdi" makes the following argument for advent of Jesus like rather than Jesus son of Mary, in section ‘The evidence of the Quran that the Messiah shall be raised from the nation of Muhammad’[34]:

1. Reports [i.e. Hadiths] are only an exposition of the Qur'an, the evidence of the Qur'an being the strongest of them all. When we turn to the Qur'an we find that it mentions the raising of khallfahs (successors) of the Prophet Muhammad from among this ummah. In chapter the Light we observe:

“Allah has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will most certainly make them successors in the earth as He made successors before them. [24:55]. Here 'before them' refers to Israelites. As the Prophet has been compared with Moses and called the like of him – “Surely We have sent to you a Messenger, a witness, against you, as We sent Messenger to Pharaoh [73:15] similarly his successors have been likened to the successors of Moses. Thus this verse cannot bear the possibility of the appearance of Jesus Christ in person who was a successor of Moses. The logical conclusion is that as in the nation of Moses, Messiah was raised by God, similarly a like of the Messiah will appear in the nation of Muhammad. In other words this verse implies the coming of the like of Messiah and not Jesus Christ himself in person.

2. The second strong evidence is that prophethood has come to an end with Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) and Jesus Christ was a prophet according to the Qur'an. It is, therefore, not possible that he should appear after the Prophet Muhammad. If he does come then Jesus Christ, and not the Prophet Muhammad, will be the khãtam al-nabiyyin (the seal of the prophets). Obviously, prophethood will come to an end with a prophet who comes last of all. The thought, that although Jesus Christ would appear last of all but as the Prophet Muhammad was the last in his appointment, therefore he was indeed the last of the prophets, is groundless. If a battle has to be fought and won, only that general would be called the last general who has won it irrespective of the date of his appointment. If A and Z were two generals appointed for this post, A being appointed before Z, and A was still alive when Z died and at last it was he who won the battle, then every wise person would call him the last general. Similarly if Jesus Christ, the prophet of God, would come after Muhammad and the final victory and dominance of Islam would take place at his hand, then he would be called the last of the prophets. The correct view, therefore, is that no prophet, neither new nor old, shall appear after the Prophet Muhammad.

In conclusion, since the source of belief in return of Jesus is based upon authentic Hadiths in Sahih Satta collection, such a pronouncement is a prophecy in metaphorical sense of a person who in the light of v. 24:55 will be like Jesus, but not Jesus son of Mary.

A Few Words About Mahdi

Similar to re-advent of Jesus, the advent of 'Mahdi' too is metaphorical who is believed by general Muslims to coercively convert mankind, unlike all the prophets before, by the tip of the sword, which if so, itself contravenes the basic doctrine of Islam i.e.

2:256. There is no compulsion of any sort in religion (as) the right way does stand obviously distinguished from the way of error…[35]

18:29. And say, `It is the truth from your Lord, therefore let him who wishes (it) believe (in it) and let him who wishes (otherwise) disbelieve (in it).'…[36]

The role of Mahdi to spread the truth is a much needed one, but only with wisdom and goodly and kind exhortation, and in the manner of one who argues with them in the most pleasant and best manner:

16:125. (Prophet!) call the people to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly and kind exhortation, and argue with them in the most pleasant and best manner. Surely, your Lord knows very well who has gone astray from His path, and He knows very well the guided ones to the right path.[37]

And while arguing, the Mahdi has to maintain the standards of decorum of speech in Quran:

6:107. If Allâh had (enforced) His will, they would not have associated partners with Him. And We have not made you a guardian over them, nor are you a disposer of their affairs.

6:108. Do not revile those whom they call upon besides Allâh, lest they should revile Allâh transgressingly (and) through lack of knowledge. Just [as] We made their deeds fair-seeming to them so have We made to each people fairseeming what they do. Then to their Lord is their return, so He will inform them as to what they have been doing.[38]

Thus, the prophesized Mahdi cannot be bloody but only bloodless. The only ‘weapon’ for Mahdi, like any Muslim is the peace and  logic of Jihad by the mighty arguments in Quran:

25:52. So do not follow the disbelievers, and strive hard against them with the help of this (Qur'ân), a mighty striving.[39]

 


[1] Al-Saff – The Ranks: Nooruddin
[2] Al-i-Imran – Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[3] Al-Nahl – The Bee: Nooruddin
[4] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[5] Al-Araf – The Elevated Places: Nooruddin
[6] Al-Anbiya – The Prophets: Nooruddin
[7] Al-Muminum – The Believers: Nooruddin
[8] Al-Zumur – Multitudes: Nooruddin
[9] Al-Zukhruf – The Ornament: Nooruddin
[10] Al-Anbiya – The Prophets: Nooruddin
[11] Al-Sajdah – The Adoration: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[12] Maryam – Mary: Nooruddin
[13] Al-Waqiah – The Great Event: Nooruddin
[14] Al-Hijr – The Rock: Nooruddin
[15] Al-Kahf – The Place of Refuge: Nooruddin
[16] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[17] Al-Anbiya – The Prophets: Nooruddin
[18] Al-Hajj – The Pilgrimage: Nooruddin
[19] Al-Rum – The Byzantines: Nooruddin
[20] Ya Sin – O Perfect Man!: Nooruddin
[21] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[22] Al-i-Imran – Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[23] Al-Muminun – The Believers: Nooruddin
[24] Al-Zumur – The Multitudes: Nooruddin
[25] Maryam – The Mary: Nooruddin
[26] Al-Dukhan – The Drought: Nooruddin
[27] Al-Shuara – The Poets: Nooruddin
[28] Al-Ahzab – The Confederates: Nooruddin
[29] Al-Nahl – The Bee: Nooruddin
[30] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[31] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[32] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[33] Al-Furqan – The Standard of Truth and Falsehood: Nooruddin
[34] “Promised Messiah and Mahdi” by Maulana Muhammad Ali, p. 11-12,, translated by S. Muhammad Tufail M.A., Ahmadiyyah Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore (W. Pakistan), Third Edition, pub: 1959.
[35] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[36] Al-Kahf – The Place of Refuge: Nooruddin
[37] Al-Nahl – The Bee: Nooruddin
[38] Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin
[39] Al-Furqan – The Standard of Truth and Falsehood: Nooruddin