New area: Miracles, Myths, Mistakes and Matters — See Title Page and List of Contents
— latest, 26th April 2015: Staff of Moses – Rod of Mastery not Mystery; Serpentine, but not Suppositious (Part I)
Refuting the gross distortion and misrepresentation of the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, made by the critics of Islam
I received today an e-mail at the UK Lahore Ahmadiyya Jamaat account that I administer, with the subject "Drawing of Muhammad", and it consisted of the following message:
Attached is a drawing of your false prophet Muhammad.
The bolding is his. The sender gave his name, real e-mail and his Facebook address. I am not including these for his privacy (and perhaps other obvious reasons). The image which he attached is that of the head of a man, with beard and moustache, wearing a large turban with the Kalima on its front, and protruding above the turban is a lit fuse of a bomb.
I replied to him as follows:
Dear Mr NS
Thank you for your e-mail.
Whether our Prophet is a true or false prophet is a matter of belief, and discussions about it will go on forever, and people will disagree about it.
Whether your drawing is a true or false picture is a matter that can be determined factually. It doesn't involve any belief. So please provide evidence that it is a drawing correctly showing our Prophet's face. I have always wanted to know what our Prophet looked like. Therefore, if you can prove to me that it is his likeness, I would be very grateful to you. Until then, I will perhaps wonder whether you looked in the mirror and drew your own likeness.
Both the N and S in his name are Old Testament names.
It is with very great regret and sadness that I announce the death, early this morning 11th April 2015 in UK, of Mrs Nasira Tufail of Woking, inna li-llahi wa inna ilai-hi raji`un.
She was wife of the late Shaikh Muhammad Tufail sahib (d. 1984), former Imam of the Woking Mosque and Mission from 1960 to 1965. Since Mr Tufail went abroad from Pakistan in the early 1950s as Lahore Ahmadiyya missionary, Mrs Nasira Tufail accompanied him all the while, first in Holland in the 1950s, then at Woking from 1960 to 1965, then in Trinidad, and back again in UK from 1970. She sacrificed much for her husband's missionary work and suffered many privations purely for the sake of the service of Islam. She successfully brought up a large family under these circumstances. She was a regular visitor to our present UK centre in Wembley, until falling ill. Mrs Tufail was also a very good friend of my mother, the late Mrs Akhtar Aziz, with whom she stayed many times.
May Allah grant her forgiveness and protection, admit her to His great mercy, grant her to join His righteous servants in His gardens of bliss, and enable those left behind to emulate her noble example! Amin.
I presented a talk at our Lahore Ahmadiyya London Centre last Sunday, 1st March 2015, under the above title, with the sub-title: "and the stories of the cat, dog, camel, bird, hen and ant".
Over the years, when I consulted books of Hadith (physical, printed ones) for some reference, I kept on coming across other reports of great interest, often not generally known, which shed light on the wonderful character of the Holy Prophet. I noted these down on the fly leaf of the book. For my recent talk, I compiled some of them together. Please see the article at this link.
Submitted by Ikram.
Should I (–Muslim) Apologize?
The recent massacre in Paris has brought to front dichotomy of faith and democracy. It raises more question than it answers. If faith is served by killing others in the name of faith, then it is not faith but barbarism. If democracy is to protect freedom of speech then let every expression be allowed in the market place of ideas no matter how painful it maybe to some. Let N-word, K-word and H-Denial and the Hate-Speech be brought out of their protection in the open and be at par with caricature fad that hurts a billion, and there be no suppression of any hate or angry speech. Let anti-Semitism laws be equally applied to protect Muhammad (PBUH) who was a Semite. Let the ideas fight it out. Let freedom of speech define itself and standup to its very definition rather than its selective usage. Will democracies allow it so? Will the political expediency permit it? Haven’t we lost freedom in the name of freedom?
Should a Muslim apologize for lunatic act of another Muslim? Answer is plain no. Let the lunatic suffer the consequence of his or her depravity, the ignominy, both here and in the hereafter. Yes, such an act does create a sense of shame because those of us who have read Muhammad (PBUH) can rightfully believe that neither he, nor Quran permits it. To the victims we offer condolences and heartfelt prayers.
Should I grieve as a human? Yes, because every life is irreplaceable. Victim or a Villain of one side might be hero of another, but it is more of history that judges right from the wrong, than the moment when it occurred. Colonization and Colonial wars, Slavery wars, World Wars, Korean war, Vietnam war, Iraq wars, Afghan wars etc. all started by claiming self-righteousness but history tells us otherwise only after millions perished. Have we learnt our lesson? Irrespective of winner or loser, has any side apologized to the other? Has Catholic Church, Church of England or Dutch Reformed Church apologized to those whom they colonized?
Do the believers of freedoms endorse the fundamental human rights, both in their domestic and foreign policies, starting with: And (all) people are but a single nation (10:19); whoever kills a person, unless it is for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he had killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved the lives of all mankind (5:32); O you who believe, do not let a people laugh at (another) people, perhaps they may be better than they; nor let women (laugh) at women, perhaps they may be better than they. Neither find fault with one another, nor call one another by (offensive) nick-names. Evil is a bad name after faith; and whoever does not repent, these it is that are the wrongdoers (49:11)?
Muslims who feel hurt by disrespectful speech in the name of freedom of press, or otherwise, for them Quran gives guidance:
4:148. Allah does not love the public utterance of hurtful speech, except by one who has been wronged.* And Allah is ever Hearing, Knowing.
* The use of defamatory speech of every kind regarding others is strictly forbidden, but justification for it may exist in case a person has in some way been wronged.
4:149. If you do good openly or keep it secret or pardon an evil, Allah surely is ever Pardoning, Powerful.*
*If you pardon the evil which anyone has done to you, Allah will pardon your evils, and grant you even good reward; He is not only Pardoning, but also Powerful to grant good reward.
The Muslim experience in days of the Prophet may not be different than the modern world, though the modalities have changed. Quran tells us how to endure it:
3:186. You will certainly be tried in your property and your persons. And you will certainly hear from those who have been given the Book before you and from the idolaters much abuse. And if you are patient and keep your duty, surely this is an affair of great resolution.*
*This verse speaks of the future, in fact the distant future. The abuses which have been heaped on Islam in the past two centuries are without a parallel in the whole history of religion. The scurrilous language of Western publications, political as well as Christian, and the vituperations of their imitators elsewhere have exceeded all moral bounds. But Muslims are taught in this verse to bear all such abuse only with patience. (Editor’s Note: Hence it is not at allrequired or even allowed in Islam that Muslims should respond by killing or physically attacking those who vilify Islam and its Holy Prophet. See also 20:130, 33:48, 73:10, 4:140 and 6:68 which lead to the same conclusion.)
20:130. So bear patiently what they say, and celebrate the praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting, and glorify (Him) during the hours of the night and parts of the day, that you may be well pleased.*
*The Holy Prophet, while told to bear persecutions patiently for a time, is also told to seek comfort in prayer. And he did find comfort in prayer under the severest persecutions. “The coolness of my eyes is in prayer,” he is reported to have said (Mishkat, 25)…
33:48. And do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and disregard their annoying talk,* and rely on Allah. And Allah is sufficient as having charge of affairs.
* In the mention of annoying talk there is a clear reference to the carpings of his petty-minded critics, who try to misrepresent the greatest source of righteousness which the world has ever witnessed, as an evil. The Prophet is told to disregard this annoying talk, as the time would come when the question would be asked: how is it that the Prophet illumined the world and opened the floodgates of light to a benighted world, if it was darkness that reigned supreme in his own mind? (Editor’s Note: “Disregard their annoying talk” also shows that a Muslim must not become inflamed by verbal abuse of his religion, and if his reply has no effect on the abuser then he should simply ignore the hurtful comments.)
73:10. And bear patiently what they say and turn away from them with a dignified withdrawal.
4:140. And indeed He has revealed to you in the Book that when you hear Allah’s messages disbelieved in and mocked at, do not sit with them until they enter into some other discourse, for then indeed you would be like them.*
*See 6:68 which was revealed at Makkah. Muslims are told to leave the assembly where truth is derided. Criticism is quite a different thing and a Muslim should always be ready to meet any criticism of his religion. (Editor’s Note: Thus the response when faced with mere ridicule of Islam is to withdraw, temporarily, from that company of people and rejoin them later when they stop their mocking. It is therefore entirely wrong to believe that Muslims are required to attack physically, still less kill, those who deride their religion.)
6:68. And when you see those who talk nonsense about Our messages, withdraw from them until they enter into some other discourse. And if the devil cause you to forget, then do not sit after recollection with the unjust people.
I must also admit that I am writing this all because of democracy, but democracy has still a long way to go.
Reference: The Holy Quran, Translation and Commentary by Maulana Muhammad Ali, Edited by Dr. Zahid Aziz.
Submitted by Yahya.
The economist has an interesting article on reform in Islam:
I commented as below (buried in 4 pages of comments to this economist article):
"Look, for example, at the personally courageous stance of Hamza Yusuf, an American-born scholar with a wide following in the Islamic heart-land"
Ah where was the courage of Hamza Yusuf when he backtracked and apostasized the Lahori Ahmadis and removed his youtube of half hearted praise.
Courage is exhibited when a scholar upholds principles that can be deeply unpopular at the time. Hamza Yusuf did not pass this test.
Could I ask Zahid Aziz and other readers to maybe comment as to what is courage in the Islamic context and how muslims today can exhibit courage in the face of terrorism and extremism we are now being confronted with.
I am repeating, with some revisions, an item I posted here in April 2008, on the centenary of the function that it refers to.
It is reported in Badr, 30th April 1908 (p. 6), that an Eid Milad-un-Nabi function was held at Ahmadiyya Buildings, Lahore, on 14th April. (This was close to the end of the life of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and a few days before he arrived in Lahore from Qadian.)
The function is not called Eid Milad-un-Nabi in this report but Bara Wafat. This was the term used by Muslims in India in those days, meaning "death on the 12th", referring to the death of the Holy Prophet Muhammad on this day, 12th Rabi-ul-awwal.
Below I translate the report, which is entitled Life of the Holy Prophet:
"A respected friend reports from Lahore that, on the previous day, a Tuesday, on the occasion of Bara Wafat, and for the benefit of the residents of Lahore, a grandly organised lecture was held at Ahmadiyya Buildings, where houses of our Khwaja [Kamal-ud-Din] sahib are located. The ground was very large and was decked with a marque and other necessities. It had been widely advertised in the city.
The poem in praise of the Holy Prophet written by Huzoor [presumably meaning the Promised Messiah] was read out by brothers Abdul Aziz, son of Mian Chiragh Din, and Ghulam Muhammad. Maulvi Sadr-ud-Din gave an explanation of the Surah Fatiha with great zeal and pure sincerity, and went over the events of the life of the Messenger of God, may peace and the blessing of Allah be upon him. Then brother Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig spoke on the life of the Holy Prophet in a fine speech. The audience included Hindus, Muslims and members of the Brahmo Samaj. All the leading men of Lahore who could come were in attendance. The whole gathering listened patiently and attentively to the highly effective speeches of these young men, who were preaching using this new technique and method, and they went away expressing much praise.
This meeting was also reported in other newspapers and was generally much liked. Hence the newspaper Watan wrote:
"Just as there was great regret that there were no arrangements in Lahore for holding this great occasion of remembrance, there was equal pleasure that on 14th April, corresponding to 12th Rabi-ul-awwal 1326 A.H., on behalf of the Anjuman-i Ahmadiyya Lahore a magnificent meeting was organised by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, lawyer, High Court. Capable speakers delighted the audience by telling them about the life of the Holy Prophet and his excellent and praise-worthy qualities. It is hoped that in future many people in Lahore will organise events for such a sacred remembrance."
The newspaper Sada-i-Hind expressed a similar opinion.
Comment by Editor Badr: It is indeed essential that the general public should be fully informed about the life of the Holy Prophet. We cannot complain about non-Muslims when most Muslims themselves are utterly unaware of the life of their beloved master. When such ignorant people realise how much we owe to the Holy Prophet, they will themselves want to recite the Darood spontaneously. This is in fact the philosophy of Darood. But I do not consider it right to fix one particular day forever, like Bara Wafat, for this purpose."
This idea was then taken up by other Muslims and led to the development of the Eid Milad-un-Nabi function. Note the report in the Muslim newspaper Watan quoted above which says:
"Just as there was great regret that there were no arrangements in Lahore for holding this great occasion of remembrance, there was equal pleasure that on 14th April, corresponding to 12th Rabi-ul-awwal 1326 A.H., on behalf of the Anjuman-i Ahmadiyya Lahore a magnificent meeting was organised by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, lawyer, High Court."
It is the second news item in this bulletin, and it was filmed by them on Saturday 25th October.
You can see Hazrat Ameer Dr A.K. Saeed in a scene (there is a brief glimpse of me as well). As a result of the announcement, a large number of people came to the mosque Open Day today, Sunday (from where I am posting this).
Update on 8 November: The above link, being to a news bulletin, worked only for a few days after the broadcast, and no longer works.
Further to below, I have now uploaded my khutba. Please see this link.
At the end of the khutba you will find photographs of the Pakistan Moon Sighting Committee trying to observe the new moon at various occasions in the past two years.
I extend Eid greetings to all our Blog readers and wish them Eid Mubarak.
At this link is the Eid-ul-Adha message by Hazrat Ameer Dr A.K. Saeed, Head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement.
Our UK Jamaat is holding Eid tomorrow, Sunday, 5th October, prayers starting 11.00 a.m. UK time. This time it is my turn to deliver the khutba. I will upload it later the same day or on the following day.
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.
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:
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.