The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement Blog


New area: Miracles, Myths, Mistakes and MattersSee Title Page and List of Contents

— latest, 15 September 2014: Issue 1: Muslims should not take Jews and Christians as friends


See: Project Rebuttal: What the West needs to know about Islam

Refuting the gross distortion and misrepresentation of the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, made by the critics of Islam

Read: Background to the Project

List of all Issues | Summary 1 | Summary 2 | Summary 3‎ — completed, 28th June 2013


Archive for the ‘general’ Category

Sport and Salvation

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Submitted by a friend of this Blog.


In Dawn's online edition there is a news item about an exchange between a Pakistani and Sri Lankan cricketer during Pakistan's current tour to Sri Lanka (see link). The relevant portion is as follows:

ISLAMABAD: Religious comments by Pakistan batsman Ahmed Shehzad to Sri Lanka player Tillakaratne Dilshan after their one-day international last Saturday are being investigated by the Pakistan Cricket Board.

While the players were walking back to the dressing room in Dambulla, Sri Lanka, Shehzad was caught on camera telling Dilshan “if you are a non-Muslim and you turn Muslim, no matter whatever you do in your life, straight to heaven. “

Dilshan's reply was not audible, and Shehzad went on to say, “Then be ready for the fire.“

Pakistan badly lost the test series 2-0 and the one-day series 2-1. This is the same Sri Lanka for which Pakistan fought hard so that it could be granted Test status in the 1980s. Sri Lanka is economically not better off than Pakistan. It is a much smaller country. It was plagued by a long civil war and terrorism. Even recently members of the team were complaining about not being paid for long periods of time. This shows that financially its cricket board is worse off than even that of Pakistan. I have pointed this out just to highlight the fact that this country has not had an easy existence. Yet its team is now able to even out-think Pakistan and put Pakistan under psychological pressure and consistently beat Pakistan in a manner similar to western countries. So even though both countries have gone through some of the same problems, look where Pakistan has gone while Sri Lanka under similar conditions has shown great resilience.

I have been wondering how Pakistani cricketers could have fared so badly in recent times against Sri Lanka given their past dominance over them. I have no doubt that an all time best Pakistani eleven would outmatch any other all time best team in the sub-continent.

But just as the misguided Muslims want an easy path to heaven, no matter what they do, according to one cricketer; it is now becoming apparent that Pakistan's cricketers must have the same approach to the game of cricket as well: an easy path, without any hard work. This is proved by their results. So mystery solved. With this kind of mindset we should not be surprised about the decline of all sports in Pakistan.

‘Muslims in Britain and the start of the First World War’

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

With national commemorations taking place in Britain of the centenary of the start of the First World War, which Britain entered on 4th August 1914, I compiled a 24-page booklet under the title which I have given to this post. I have opened a new section on the www.wokingmuslim.org website, to which I have added this booklet as the first item:

www.wokingmuslim.org/work/ww1/

I had sent the booklet to various organizations and people, including a Woking weekly local newspaper, 'Woking News and Mail'. They have published an article based on this booklet in their issue of today 7th August.

Although the newspaper contacted me before they prepared this article, they have somehow wrongly assumed that I live in the town of Woking; hence the opening of the article "A Woking man …". This is not correct.

Here is an image of the article in the newspaper.

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.

Some hadith on women and Maulana Muhammad Ali’s view

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

1. There is a report in Bukhari as follows:

Narrated Ibn Umar: The Prophet said, "If your women ask permission to go to the mosque at night, allow them." (Muhsin Khan translation, Book 12, Number 824).

Commenting on this in his Urdu translation and commentary of Bukhari, Maulana Muhammad Ali writes:

"At night the risk of that danger is even greater, for the fear of which Muslims do not allow their women to go to mosques during daytime. How far removed is the present condition of Muslims from this instruction of the Holy Prophet! This cannot mean that permission has to be sought every time they want to go to the mosque. Its real intent is that husbands are forbidden to prevent their wives from going to mosques." (Fazl-ul-Bari, 1st edition, p. 215)

2. It appears from various hadith reports that the next generation of Muslims after the Companions wanted to set aside and infringe this instruction of the Holy Prophet. Just read the report below from Sahih Muslim:

Abdullah b. Umar reported: I heard Allah's Messenger say: Don't prevent your women from going to the mosque when they seek your permission. Bilal b. Abdullah said: By Allah, we shall certainly prevent them. On this Abdullah b. Umar turned towards him and reprimanded him so harshly as I had never heard him do before. He (Abdullah b. Umar) said: I am narrating to you that which comes from the Messenger of Allah and you say: By Allah, we shall certainly prevent them.

Ibn Umar reported: Grant permission to women for going to the mosque in the night. His son, who was called Waqid, said: Then they would make mischief. He (the narrator) said: He thumped his (son's) chest and said: I am narrating to you the hadith of the Messenger of Allah and you say: No! (Abdul Hamid Siddiqui translation, book 3, chapter 28)

This, it seems, was the beginning of the movement among Muslims to roll back the rights which the Holy Prophet gave to women. Then there is the following saying in both Bukhari and Muslim attributed to Aishah:

"If the Messenger of Allah had seen what new things the women have introduced (in their way of life) he would have definitely prevented them from going to the mosque, as the women of Bani Isra'il were prevented."

What "new things" refers to is that, apparently, some women were going to mosques displaying their beauty, wearing jewellery, fragrance, etc. However, this statement amounts to saying that the Holy Prophet gave a mistaken teaching because he did not know that people would abuse this permission in the future. Such a weak statement cannot be attributed to the Hazrat Aishah. It undermines the very prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, to assert that he wouldn't have given a certain teaching if he had known the bad effects that it would lead to!

Maulana Muhammad Ali makes the following comment on this statement:

"This is nothing more than speculation by Hazrat Aishah. Neither had the Holy Prophet seen the times of the women of Bani Isra'il, nor had he forbidden them. It is also not proved that the women of Bani Isra'il were forbidden to go to their places of worship for this reason. The Holy Prophet found both men and women in the worst moral condition, and he reformed them. In regard to this opinion of Hazrat Aishah it can be said that if the Holy Prophet had seen the circumstances of the women of earlier times, he would have reformed them too, not forbidden them to enter mosques. The work of a reformer is to reform people, not to stop them from doing a good work due to some shortcoming in them. Ever since women have been removed from participating in Muslim communal life, and kept in ignorance of national affairs, the condition of the Muslims has fallen into decline. It is a matter of regret that women have been rendered incapable of doing worldly work and at the same time they have been deprived of performing religious duties." (ibid., p. 216)

3. The hadith from Bukhari given above, "If your women ask permission to go to the mosque at night, allow them", is given in Abu Dawud as follows:

"Do not prevent your women from visiting the mosque; but their houses are better for them (for praying)."

"It is more excellent for a woman to pray in her house than in her courtyard, and more excellent for her to pray in her private chamber than in her house."

Maulana Muhammad Ali has commented on this version of this report in his note in Fazl-ul-Bari at the point where the above hadith occurs. He writes:

"The five hadith reports in this chapter [in Bukhari] contain testimony that in the time of the Holy Prophet women said prayers with the congregation in the mosque. In Abu Dawud and Ibn Khazimah it is reported from Ibn Umar "Do not prevent your women from visiting the mosque; but their houses are better for them". If this were true then the Holy Prophet himself would have directed women to pray in their houses as it is better. However, all hadith that are in Bukhari mention that women used to join prayers in the mosques with the congregation. None of them mention that the Holy Prophet told women that it is better for you to pray at home." (Fazl-ul-Bari, 1st edition, p. 215)

It can be seen in the cases I have noted above that Maulana Muhammad Ali has given preference to the hadith which accords rights to women, of participation in Muslim society with men, and rejected reports which restrict and deny those rights. Most Muslim opinion is the other way round, and regards the restricting reports as holding a higher place than the one which only mentions the rights.

Zahid Aziz

Polygamy and world population sex ratio

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Recently there was a discussion on a Pakistani TV channel about the Ulama's opposition to Ayub Khan's Family Law Ordinance of the 1960s, one point under discussion being that this law attempted to restrict polygamy. Those supporting the Ulama were arguing that in Islam it is a man's right and his choice to marry more than one woman.

It struck me recently that the number of males and females in the population of any country must be about equal. Any variation, with country or with age group, (I remembered reading a long time ago) would be about 5%. Therefore, for every 100 males there would exist at the most 105 females. On a simplistic basis, this would suggest that, after each of those 100 males has married one female, there are only 5 females left available to those 100 males to contract a polygamous marriage with!

I have looked up statistics of sex ratio by country and by age within countries. Please see this link.

If you look at the map in the top right corner, and glance at Muslim countries, you will see that they are among the countries where the number of males is greater than the number of females!

Looking at the table of countries, in all countries slightly more males are born than females. We can also look at column 4, which is for the age group 15 to 64 and may be more relevant in our discussion. In this age group, per 100 females Pakistan has 105 males, Iran has 102, Turkey 102, Egypt 103, Indonesia 101, Malaysia 101.

(Note that for this age group only, figures for the Gulf states are distorted due to foreign workers being largely male, so Qatar has 246 males per 100 females in this range!)

It is only in the over 65 group that we find a larger number of females than males. This is due to women having a greater life expectancy than men (Pakistan has 88 males per 100 females in this group).

On the basis of this data, the scope for polygamy is extremely limited. The only way to have significant polygamy would be for some men to deprive other men of having even one wife! For instance, out of 100 men, 50 men could marry two women each, thus leaving 50 men without a wife!

Zahid Aziz.

Some website developments

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

1. I have made the English Translation of the Holy Quran (2010 Revised Edition) available in two more formats on www.ahmadiyya.org as below:

  1. HTML format. This is a single webpage consisting of only the translation with chapter introductions, but without footnotes.
  2. E-book formats: mobi (for Kindle) and epub. This corresponds to the entire printed book, except that from the introduction only the first two sections (the life of the Holy Prophet and about the Quran itself) have been included. In these versions the page entitled 'Features of the e-book edition' explains how the book is organized. My experimentation shows that the precise appearance of the e-book varies according to the device and the reader software you use. I have tested it on a Samsung Galaxy 10.1 inch Tablet and a Samsung Galaxy 4 inch screen smartphone, using the Kindle app for mobi and Universal Book Reader for epub.

2. You may recall that at the event we held in May 2013 to commemorate the centenary of the Woking Muslim Mission, five newsreel film clips of functions at the Woking Mosque, made by the British Pathe newsreel company of old, were played. We had to pay a licence fee of several hundred Pounds for just that one public performance of the clips. On our website www.wokingmuslim.org we could only refer our readers to the British Pathe website if they wanted to watch any clip, and that too was in the low resolution used on their website. To place those clips on our website, we would have been charged a licence fee of several thousands of Pounds per year.

A few days ago British Pathe made their entire collection of newsreels available on YouTube in high resolution. So on the www.wokingmuslim.org website I have now added links to the clips on YouTube, after identifying the ones of interest to us. Please go to the Home Page and look at the top banner. From there you can play the two clips of most interest that are highlighted, and also go to the page from where all the clips can be accessed.

“If Jesus Never Called Himself God, How Did He Become One?”

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

At this link, under the title given above, please learn about the new book: How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee,​ at the website of the US news organization NPR.

Is religious extremism a mental illness?

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

A friend of this blog has referred us to this news in the Digital Journal.

"Kathleen Taylor, a neurologist at Oxford University, said that recent developments suggest that we will soon be able to treat religious fundamentalism and other forms of ideological beliefs potentially harmful to society as a form of mental illness."

Flood of Noah in ‘his’ World – The Deluge of Nonsense for Rest of the World

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Submitted by Ikram


There is general myth about Noah's flood which precipitated from forty days and nights of relentless rain. The flood engulfed the whole earth and every living thing perished except the occupants of the Ark which included at least a pair of every species of the earth and the world was repopulated thereafter when the Ark rested on Mount Ararat in present day Turkey and Armenia border. This myth, cloaked in nonsensical miracles has led to the making of the movie ‘Noah’, released this weekend and is expected to be blockbuster. I saw it. The movie too tries to make some sense of the story line by a summary and miraculous convergence of all land life to the Ark and puts them into a sustained slumber lest they ask for food before they start snacking on each other, fetch vomit bags, complain about movie reruns, headphones not working, frequent trips to the bathroom, Noah running out of ice for the drinks, and all the other ordeals of a travel that still plague modern man and animal alike. Earlier we had a Biblical version, now we have a Hollywood version of the pitiful Noah. Before this movie, there were other questions as follows:

This general theme falls on its own face from its inherent contradictions.  According to some estimates, time of Noah's flood is rounded to three thousand years B.C. Noah had to be a Zoologist, Biologist, Entomologist, Ornithologist, all in one to enumerate and identify each of the species, which to date, science has not fully done so. Now just imagine how much time it must have taken Noah to herd, trap or entice every species on the earth and was it even possible for him to travel the whole earth to do it so in his lifetime or the lifetime of the species he was transporting, and the amount and variety of food that was needed to be kept in store for the duration of the flood, while keeping in view the food chain of the animals of the world, hence each pair had to be kept in a separate box or cage. Do your own calculation for the size of the Ark, the man power, resources and time to put the whole operation from its inception, through its voyage and the final destination.  If the whole earth was under water then firstly, where did the extra flood water come from and where did it disappear? Even the instantaneous global warming and freeze cannot account for it. 

The movie ends where the occupants of the contraption, the Ark, disembark, Noah makes the first wine for the mankind, gets drunk, is found naked by his son Ham (who is then cursed) and leaves for Canaan (by biblical account). Noah in the end blesses his remaining progeny, his wife, sons Japheth, Shem, Shem's wife and daughters. The end of the movie leaves further questions for the movie and biblical audience alike as follows:

Once the living things disembarked from the Ark, then all species had to return to their original ecosystems and geographical distribution, which already had been destroyed by the flood. Thereafter, they all inbred over past several thousand years to populate the whole planet. Since these were the only surviving animals on the earth, then who ate whom to survive? Essentially, each endangered species became food for the other. Were the early humans thereafter vegans only? The birds must have been eradicated from earth too, as the only dry platform was the deck on the Ark. So far we have not yet touched upon the terrestrial plant life yet. Was it too saved on the Ark and how did it regenerate thereafter? Did the handful people on the Ark replant the whole earth?  What about human species? How do we have so much racial diversity, unless Noah had a pair of each one of us too? Given the enormity of the size of Ark needed, did Noah have resources, expertise and technology available to build such a magnanimous ship and that too of wood with all its structural strength? In the movie at least he is helped by the Hulk like fallen angels and angels are killed by men (No surprise here, after all Jacob is called Israel becasue he faught God the whole night and none over powered the other, what a miserable God and His powerless angels).  One also has to pause to reflect as to whether Noah's ministry had extended to ends of the world as it was the entire world that was to be punished for disobedience. The contradictions and questions are endless. The walk away message from the movie is that humans are God’s worst creation, even worse than snakes and reptiles that God wants to save, not humans. What a hopeless Creator and His equally hopeless creation!

Such a story of Noah is nothing but absurd, and its narrators and heeders alike are a proof of the superficiality of human thinking which makes nonsensical narrations as an article of faith and as an evidence of truth.

Whereas, Quran tells us that Noah was sent to his people and not to the whole world:

11:25. And (similar were the circumstances when) We sent Noah to his people (and he said), `Verily, I am a plain Warner to you.

Even though Quran is more interested in moral principles underlying the flood, still it describes the need for the Ark, its construction, its occupants and its landing in following terms:

11:36. And it was revealed to Noah, `No one of your people besides those who have so far believed, will henceforth believe, therefore grieve not over what they have been doing.

Essentially, the above verse tells us that Noah had small number of followers and helpers.

11:37. `And build the Ark under Our eyes and in accordance with Our revelation, and address not (to plead with) Me in favour of those who act unjustly. Verily, they are doomed to be drowned.'

11:38. And he set himself to making the Ark and every time the chiefs of his people passed by him they looked down upon him, (thereupon) he said, `Surely, we (in our turn) will look down on you just as you look down (on us now).

11:39. `You shall soon know for yourself who it is who will be overtaken by the punishment that will disgrace him, and on whom descends a long lasting penalty.'

The above three verses conform to principles of prophethood i.e. prophet is someone who can prophesize the future events, in this case the punishment of flood.

11:40. (Thus it was) till Our command (about the punishment) came and waters of the springs (of the valley) swelled and gushed forth, We said, `Embark in it two of every kind (needed) male and female and (all the members of) your family except those about the destruction of whom (Our) verdict has already been announced and (embark in it) also those who believe.' Yet there had not believed in him excepting a few.

11:41. And (Noah) said, `Embark in it. With the name of Allâh and His help be its course and its mooring. Surely, my Lord is indeed Great Protector, Ever Merciful.'

The above two verses by implication tell us that Noah lived in a valley amidst mountains or hills. Human habitats usually take foothold in valleys with its own rivers or streams. It is a known phenomenon that at times the downstream exits of valleys do become blocked by landslides and a temporary lake can form upstream. So, by some combination of seismic or meteorological phenomenon of torrential rain or cloud burst or landslide, the valley was flooded bottom up.  After the flood started to develop, Noah scrambled onto his boat along with his followers and domesticated animals. It is also interesting to note the short duration in which Noah scrambles to gather his livestock after the flood had already started to emerge. Thereafter, the voyage of the Ark begins:

11:42. Now this (Ark) moved carrying them amidst waves as (high as) mountains. And Noah called out to his son who was (standing) aloof, `My dear son, embark with us and do not be with the disbelievers.'

11:43. He said, `I shall betake myself to a mountain for refuge which will protect me from this water.' (Noah) said, `There is no protection (for anyone) this day, from the decree of Allâh (about this punishment), but he (will be safe) on whom He has mercy.' And (lo!) a wave separated the two so he (- Noah's son) was among the drowned.

Clearly, the scenario above tells us that people on the land, including Noah's son, did not anticipate the enormity of the developing flood to scramble onto Ark and instead thought that they could walk up the mountain slopes of the valley instead, because, a valley is formed only in presence of mountain(s) nearby. The next verse touches upon the receding of the flood waters and the landing of the Ark:

11:44. And it was said, `O earth! swallow back your water, and O cloud! abate and stop (pouring).' So the water was made to subside and the matter was decided. And this (Ark) came to rest on (the mount) Al-Jûdî. And the word went forth, `Away with the unjust people!'

Of note is that family in context of a prophet includes the spiritual followers and not the bloodline family. This relationship is further contextualized about Noah's son in verses 11:45-47 below. Earlier, while witnessing the disastrous flood, Noah pleads for the safety of his bloodline:

11:45. And Noah called to his Lord and said , `My Lord! my son belongs to my family and surely Your promise is (also) true; yet You are the Most Just of the judges.'

There upon, Noah, the prophet, is apparently admonished about his understanding of a family:

11:46. (The Lord) said, `He decidedly does not belong to your family as he is given to unrighteous conduct, so do not ask of Me that of which you have no knowledge. I advise you not to be of those wanting in knowledge.'

Finally, Noah, the prophet, accepts and stands corrected about the spiritual notion of family over his physical bloodline:

11:47. He said, `My Lord! I beg You to protect me that I should ask You that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have mercy on me I shall be of the losers.'

Once the flood completed its moral and physical course, the Ark was lifted by the flood waters to a mountain side, the rain stopped and the apparent blockage of the valley reopened and the waters receded. Naturally, Noah and his spiritual family thereafter resettled the valley with their salvaged livestock:

11:48. There came the command, `Noah! descend (from the Ark) with peace from Us and (varied) blessings (We shall bestow) on you and upon peoples (to be born) of those with you. There shall be other peoples whom We shall grant provisions (of this world for a time), then they will receive from Us a grievous punishment (as a result of their transgression).'

Thus, in the above verse, Noah’s flood is an example of natural course of a moral history in which there are natural cycles of virtue and vice, rise and fall, recompense and retribution for peoples of all ages and the hope of survival for believers and practitioners of moral laws. Quran then identifies other peoples whom We shall grant provisions, besides his own people, the Arabs:

11:49. These (announcements full of warnings) are some of the important news of the hidden realities We have revealed them to you [-Muhammad]. You did not know them, neither you, nor your people before this. Therefore, persevere (in doing good), for those who become secure against evil shall surely have the (good and successful) end.

The above verse solidifies two points. Firstly, pre-Islam Arabs were pagans and no preaching of previous religions had touched them to know about the Noah’s flood. Secondly, Noah's flood was not a global phenomenon, else the Arabs would have known it from their sharp verbal historical accounts that they were known for. Details similar to above are narrated elsewhere in Quran as well:

23:23. And We sent Noah to his people and he said, `O my people! worship Allâh alone. You have no God other than He. Will you not then guard against evil and seek (His) protection?'

23:24. But the chiefs of those who disbelieved from among his people said, `He is nothing but a human being like yourselves, (only) he seeks to assert (his) superiority over you. And if Allâh had so willed He could have certainly sent down angels (with him). We have never heard of this (sort of a thing) happen in the times of our fathers of yore.

23:25. `He is but a man gone mad, you had better bear with him for a while (and see the consequences).'

23:26. (Noah) said (praying), `My Lord! help me for they treat me as a liar.'

23:27. Then We sent Our revelation to him (directing him), `Make the Ark under Our eyes and (according to the dictates of) Our revelation. And when (the time of) Our judgment comes and the waters of the valley gush forth, then embark there in (the Ark) two of every species, a pair (of every thing that you may need), and your companions, except those of them against whom (Our) word (of condemnation for their misdeeds) has already gone forth. But do not plead with Me in favour of those who have acted unjustly for they are (doomed) to be drowned.

23:28. `Then when you and your companions are seated perfectly well in the Ark say (praying), "All true and perfect praise belongs to Allâh Who has delivered us from the wicked people."

23:29. `And say (while praying), "My Lord! enable me to make a blessed landing, for You are the Best of those who provide (people) with the fairest landing place".'

23:30. Verily, this (account of Noah) is full of (many) signs. Surely, thus do We reveal the hidden truth (about the people and We did try the people of Noah).

23:31. Then We raised another generation after them.

With the above narrative from Quran it becomes obvious that Noah faced flood in his world, but not the whole world as the common myth perpetrated by the Old Testament.

—-

Ref: English Translation of Holy Quran by Allamah Nooruddin