The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement Blog


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

latest, 3rd October 2017: Adam Who? But, Son Of Adam I.E. You And Me – At Least According To Quran


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


July 7th, 2017

The REAL contribution of early Islam to science, by Prof. Jim Al-Khalili

A TV documentary by Prof. Jim Al-Khalili, entitled Science and Islam, first shown in 2009, is being repeated on the BBC Four channel. At the end of the first of three episodes, he concludes as follows:

"… but I think the real story of what happened to science in the Islamic world in the 8th and 9th centuries tells us more than any single discovery. What it really tells us is about the universal truth of science itself.

I believe that the first great achievement of the medieval Islamic scientists was to prove that science isn't Islamic, or Hindu, or Helenistic or Jewish, Buddhist or Christian. It cannot be claimed by any one culture.

Before Islam science was spread across the world but the scholars of medieval Islam pieced together this giant scientific jigsaw by absorbing knowledge that had originated from far beyond their own empire's borders. 

This great synthesis produced not just new science but showed for the first time that science, as an enterprise, transcends political borders and religious affiliations. It's a body of knowledge that benefits all humans. Now that's an idea that is as relevant and inspiring as ever."

Please watch at this link, from 56:15 to 57:24.

(At the above link the video is available till the beginning of August. The three episodes are available as one video at this link, apparently without time restriction.)

What Jim Al-Khalili has noted is very perceptive and profound. It is a far cry from those many populist articles by Muslims saying that certain discoveries of modern science were already mentioned in the Quran. I don't doubt the underlying truth of those articles, but they achieve nothing except make Muslims feel good and sneer condescendingly at others that their religion is supreme. Those writers don't realize that it is no credit to Muslims that the Quran contained knowledge which man discovered later. Muslims of recent centuries made no effort or sacrifices to discover it.

It is quite obvious that the Muslim scientists of the early period did not take the attitude that all discoveries are written down in the Quran, and we don't need to do anything ourselves. Wherever they found knowledge developed by previous civilizations, they adopted it and translated it into Arabic.

— Zahid Aziz

July 3rd, 2017

Is this the modern interpretation of “those who believe and do good”?

The above expression occurs commonly in the Quran to describe a true Muslim.

With the spread of social media, this can be seen in a new light. "Those who believe" means those who believe in the contents of any e-mail they receive from a contact, who has forwarded it from one of his contacts, and so on, from a long chain. The doing of good is to forward the same e-mail to all your contacts. These are the present-day fundamental qualities of a true Muslim. This is not a joke or exaggeration because they actually do think that they are performing an important service to Islam by believing in and forwarding such e-mails.

Just as the text of the Quran remains unchanged after passing through so many hands, also by a miracle the text of these e-mails remains unchanged after several years.

This is the Islam of today as followed by hundreds of millions!

— Zahid Aziz

June 30th, 2017

From the Preface to the Saudi officially revised translation of Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s work — Why the hurry?

There is an English translation of the Quran endorsed by the Saudi Arab government authorities, published in the mid-1980s, based on Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation. The following is stated in its preface. I have placed some text below in bold:

"A number of individuals have in the past ventured to translate the Quran, but their works have generally been private attempts, greatly influenced by their own prejudices. In order to produce a reliable translation free from personal bias, a Royal decree (No. 19888, dated 16/8/1400 AH) was issued by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd ibn Abdul Aziz, at that time the deputy prime minister, authorising the General Presidency of the Departments of Islalmic Researches, Ifta, Call and Guidance to undertake the responsibility of revising and correcting a particular translation which would be selected for this purpose and made publicly available later.

To accomplish this enormous task, a number of committees were formed, comprising scholars well-qualified both in Islamic Shari'a and the English language. Some of these scholars were associated with the General Presidency of the Departments of Islamic Researches, Ifta, Call and Guidance.

The first committee was given the task of examining the existing translations and choosing the most suitable one from among them. The committee discovered that there was no translation free from defects and so there were two options open for consideration: the first was to select the best translation available and then adopt it as a base for further work as well as a source of reference, with the objective of revising its contents and correcting any faults in view of the objections raised against it; the second was to prepare a fresh and independent translation, starting from scratch.

It became obvious from studying these translations that the second option demanded much time and effort, neither of which were available at the time. The first option was therefore considered to be more practical, since it met the existing urgent requirements and helped to achieve the desired goal in a comparatively short period of time. The translation by the late Ustadh ABDULLAH YUSUF ALI was consequently chosen for its distinguishing characteristics, such as a highly elegnnt style, a choice of words close to the meaning of the original text, accompanied by scholarly notes and commentaries.

The committee began revising and correcting this translation with the aid of other translations available, by comparing and then adopting best expressions as well as by introducing fresh expressions where necessary. … In the second stage, the entire work of this committee was referred to a number of individuals and organisations who then augmented any deficiencies in the work of the committee.

A third committee was set up to collate all their suggestions. It then compared all such views regarding specific issues, selected the appropriate one(s) and arrived at a text as authentic and defect-free as was humanly possible.

Finally, a fourth committee was formed to look into the findings of the second and third committees and to implement the recommendations made by them…"

It is not clear what the "existing urgent requirements" were, due to which a fresh translation, starting from scratch, could not be done. The Saudi authorities would have been able to command vast resources of manpower, scholars and funds. Why was the required "time and effort" not available at the time? In the past, individual translators working on their own had managed to devote sufficient time and effort. In case of Maulana Muhammad Ali, he was at the same time engaged in much other work when he did his translation single-handed, with only a few helpers to assist in the project, while the organization that he belonged to was facing severe opposition within the Muslim world.

I wonder if the urgency was due to the fact that Muhammad Asad's translation, The Message of the Quran, had been published in 1980. This no doubt was a source of embarrassment for the Saudi authorities, as they had sponsored his work until the first volume, consisting of the first nine surahs, appeared in 1964, and they then realized that his interpretations were not what they liked. So they withdrew their sponsorship and destroyed the copies they had purchased. Perhaps they were worried that his translation might still be regarded by some as supported by them.

But considering that they withdrew their sponsorship of Asad's translation in 1964, one would think they could have produced their own version by the early 1970s, even starting afresh.

See here the cover and acknowledgements page from that volume of Asad's translation, published in 1964. The 'Muslim World League' mentioned there is known in Arabic as Rabita al-`Alam al-Islami.

— Zahid Aziz

June 24th, 2017

Message of peace to Islam’s detractors on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr

Please see this Press Release issued by The Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore (United Kingdom), headed:

Forgiveness and restraint: a message at Eid and an insight into Islam's true teachings.

 

June 24th, 2017

Eid-ul-Fitr message by Dr A.K. Saeed, Head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement

Here is the Eid-ul-Fitr Message, June 2017, of Hazrat Ameer Dr A.K. Saeed, Head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement.

June 22nd, 2017

Ramadan 2017

Here is the Ramadan Message by Hazrat Ameer Dr A.K. Saeed, Head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement.

Welcome to the Ramadan Daily Quran Studies for 2017

(Note: Any new posts during Ramadan will be filed below this post.)

Prayers urged on LAM members for Ramadan by Maulana Muhammad Ali: English translation |  Urdu original

  • Preliminary: What is Dars of the Quran? Its function and importance, by Maulana Muhammad Ali
  • Fast 1 — Fasting
  • Fast 2 — Fasting in Religions before Islam
  • Fast 3 — Fasting in Islam: Its Purposes
  • Fast 4 — Fasting in Islam: Developing good qualities
  • Fast 5 — Fasting in Islam: The month of Ramadan
  • Fast 6 — Fasting in Islam: Conclusion
  • Fast 7 — Humanity-wide approach of Surah Fatiha
  • Fast 8 — Humanity-wide approach of Surah Fatiha — “Beneficent” and “Merciful”
  • Fast 9 — Humanity-wide approach of Surah Fatiha — “Master of the Day of Judgment”
  • Fast 10 — Justice towards all (1)
  • Fast 11 — Justice towards all (2)
  • Fast 12 — Justice towards all (3)
  • Fast 13 — God’s extensive favours to all human beings (1)
  • Fast 14 — God’s extensive favours to all human beings (2)
  • Fast 15 — God’s extensive favours to all human beings (3)
  • Fast 16 — God as the only and ultimate Judge of who is on the right path and who is not (1)
  • Fast 17 — God as the only and ultimate Judge of who is on the right path and who is not (2)
  • Fast 18 — Duty of the Prophet is only to convey the message revealed to him
  • Fast 19 — Everyone responsible for their own actions
  • Fast 20 — Forgiveness of sins by Allah (1)
  • Fast 21 — Forgiveness of sins by Allah (2)
  • Fast 22 — Can non-Muslims preach their religions to Muslims? (1)
  • Fast 23 — Can non-Muslims preach their religions to Muslims? (2)
  • Fast 24 — Self-preservation is a duty
  • Fast 25 — Jihad (1)
  • Fast 26 — Jihad (2)
  • Fast 27 — Lailat-ul-Qadr
  • Fast 28 — Does the Quran mention the concept of the “evil eye” (nazar-i bad)?
  • Fast 29 — Argument between materialistic and spiritual outlooks of life
  • Fast 30 — Proper knowledge can save man from wrongdoing and exalts him

Many of us will have a Ramadan of 29 days this year. Nonetheless I always produce 30 Studies.

Thanks to Allah for passing us through another month of Ramadan. May He keep us safe and well over the next year, ameen. Eid Mubarak to all readers!

June 21st, 2017

If the public can seen the new moon, what will the Ruyat-i Hilal committee do?

Scientific data relating to the movement of the moon shows that on Saturday 24 June (2017), at local sunset time around the world, the new moon will be easily visible in a few countries near the equator on the western side of South America. It is also likely to be visible to the human eye in other parts of the American continent south of latitude 30 deg N., and possibly also in a south-western strip of Africa, but not elsewhere in the world.

As a result of countries just missing out on having the moon visible on Saturday, it means that on Sunday, at local sunset, it will be very easily visible everywhere in the world.

Sunday in Pakistan is the 29th Ramadan. According to the official system there, the moon sighting committee will meet to receive and consider reports of sighting and whether to accept them. But if, as it appears very likely, the general population would be able to see the new moon, what should they do while the Ruyat-i Hilal committee is still deliberating? Should they believe their eyes or not?

Once there was a well-known Muslim religious leader whose followers obeyed him so implicitly that some of them said: If we see our leader committing an un-Islamic act with our own eyes, we will say that our eyes are deceiving us. On that principle, the general public in Pakistan could say: We won't believe our eyes until the Ruyat-i Hilal tells us to believe them!

Zahid Aziz

June 11th, 2017

“Identity Theft” — by Iain Dixon, UK

Assalamu alaikum! May the peace of Allah be upon you!

I have been told that the expression Allahu Akbar means ‘God is great’, or more accurately ‘God is greater than anything, His greatness is beyond and above anything and everything’. Wow! What praise for God! Surely these are beautiful words that should only be reserved for the beautiful Creator of heaven and earth! The words Allahu Akbar provide an eternity of contemplation for the believer, majestic praise that is higher than the highest mountain, a source of joy that is deeper than the deepest mountain, praise that is more radiant than the brightness of all the stars of the universe put together!

And yet, something has gone horribly wrong in the world today. Rather that, Allahu Akbar being a refrain of praise, or a symphony of love and adoration for the greatness of God, something sinister has occurred. The hearing of these words has sent, and is continuing to send, a chill of fear in the hearts and minds of its hearers around the world. For many, Allahu Akbar has become a death cry, and are words that are uttered just before a bomb is set off, or innocent people are shot down, slaughtered in an instant.

As a candle’s gentle flame is snuffed out in a moment, so those uttering Allahu Akbar are extinguishing light and love in the lives of those who are loved and treasured by Allah. Somewhere, somehow, people have traded in love for God and mankind, with pure hatred. Allahu Akbar has become a death sentence, and a label that has ‘re-branded’ the Creator of the universe as a God of hate, who delights in destruction. I call this — Identity Theft.

In this, and further articles, I want to share with you what I have learnt from my own personal reflections on the character of Allah that I have discovered in reading the pages of the Honoured Quran. I am a follower of Jesus, and do not ‘belong to the Islamic faith’ as text books would define a ‘Muslim’. But I am someone who thinks, reflects, and has an incredible love and respect for my Muslim brothers and sisters.

I know the great promises and prophecies in the Bible scriptures which foretold the growth and spread of Islam, and how God promised to protect and bless them, and use them mightily in the unfolding of his purposes. I am also aware of the bad press Islam has received in the hands of the media, and also in the hands of those who have been guilty of the Identity Theft. May the words that I write restore honour to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, and ‘take back’ the beauty that belongs only to him, a beauty that has been stolen by those supposedly acting in his name — a beauty that has been tarnished and vandalised like a beautiful painting that has been ruined by graffiti and spray paint.

Those that are guilty of Identity Theft have not noticed how often the pages of the Honoured Quran refer to Allah as most Gracious, most Merciful! Each chapter of the Quran (except one) begins with the words In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful. Does this sound like the character of the God represented by suicide bombers around the world, or those brandishing machine guns, gunning down other Muslims in mosques because they believe slightly different doctrine? Surely the qualities of mercy and grace should abound in the hearts and lives of those who openly declare to be worshippers of the one true God. We are told in the pages of the Quran: kind words and covering of faults are better than charity followed by injury (2:263). 

Those who have committed Identity Theft have forgotten to follow Allah’s advice in abounding in kindness and in the covering of faults of others. Instead, they have traded these noble qualities for intolerance and abusive words, condemning hearts and fault finding in others. Anyone who disagrees with them is to be exterminated! Should we not rather treat all people kindly, especially towards those who do not see things the way we do?

The Quran admonishes us to clothe ourselves with kindness, forgiveness and mercy towards others, even if they do not see things the way we do. The chapter with the title “Those who disagree” (Al-Kafirun) is a direct challenge to those who have committed Identity Theft. Rather than exterminating those who disagree with us in religious belief, we are told:

"Say: O ye that reject faith, I worship not that which ye worship, nor will ye worship that which I worship, and I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship, nor will ye worship that which I will worship. To you your way, and to me mine." (109:1-6)

People have different beliefs. We are also all at different stages in grasping spiritual truth. How tragic it would be to destroy a beautiful flower before it has come into full bloom! Imagine crushing what appears to be a lifeless seed, or cutting down an unimpressive green stem because we don’t see yet a beautiful flower! Those who commit Identity Theft do not allow people to change or give them time to come into full bloom of all that Allah intended them to become. Instead they are impatient and intolerant of others. How different this is to the way of Allah! In the Bible, we are told:

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Proverbs 4:18)

Just as the sun rises gradually each day, and moment by moment more light is unfolded, so too does our spiritual light and understanding take time to grow and mature. We don’t believe it all, get it all, or know it all — all at once. How sad, that those who commit Identity Theft have taken upon themselves to judge others and to take away the precious gift of life from others — all in the name of Allahu Akbar. Those who misrepresent the character of God have never truly recognised the greatness of God, and his merciful purposes.

(To be continued)

May 6th, 2017

17th century English author, Dr Henry Stubbe, writes in defence of Islam

In a recent issue of Paigham Sulh, the Lahore Ahmadiyya Urdu organ, for March 2017, an article has been reproduced from the same paper of a hundred years ago (Paigham Sulh, 17 January 1917) about a writing of an Englishman, around the years 1670s, which is possibly the earliest defence of Islam penned in the West. The 1917 article itself appears to be taken from some other publication.

The name of the Englishman was not easy to identify due to being transcribed in Urdu, and appears as "Dr Henry Astab". After pondering for a while, I realized that the "A" could be the addition in Urdu to an English word, since English words beginning with the letter "s" are prefixed with an "alif" when spelt in Urdu. For example, the word "school" becomes "eskool" in Urdu. I have even heard Urdu speakers say they are suffering from "estress" when they mean they are under "stress".

Anyhow, after realizing the redundancy of the "A" of "Astab", I very quickly through a Google search identified the name as Dr Henry Stubbe, born in 1631. (His name is sometimes given as Stubbs.) The name of the writing is An Account of the Rise and Progress of Mahometanism. I called it as a "writing" rather than "book" because he left it as a manuscript which, after passing through several owners, was published in 1911 by 'The Islamic Society', London. It was edited by one Hafiz Mahmud Khan Shairani (d. 1946), a linguist and poet who was a lecturer at Punjab University Lahore.

You can read this book here (pdf file, 14 MB)

The editor also added an introduction, a brief life of Dr Stubbe and an appendix.

I understand there has been recent further research into the original manuscript. There is a 2014 publication, Henry Stubbe and the beginnings of Islam — The Originall & Progress of Mahometanism, edited by Nabil Matar, Columbia University Press.

(The spelling Originall is not a typo, but the spelling of the 17th century. In the 1911 publication also, in the text of the manuscript you may be puzzled by the 17th century spellings of various words such as: beleive, authentick, publick.)

To show a flavour of the book, I quote below the beginning of the last chapter of the manuscript:

"It is a vulgar Opinion that 'Mahomet propagated his Doctrine by the sword,' and not only compelled the Arabians at first to receive his Religion, but obliged his Successors by a perpetual Vow or Precept to endeavour the Extirpation of Christianity and all other Religions, thereby to render his own universal. But how generally soever this be beleived, and how great men soever they bee who support it, yet is it no other then a palpable Mistake." (p. 180)

In other words, it is commonly held that Muhammad propagated his religion by the sword and taught Muslims to do so as well, and to destroy Christianity and all other religions until only Islam remains. But however prevalent this belief may be, and regardless of the greatness of the men who hold it, it is nothing other than a clear mistake.

— Zahid Aziz

April 26th, 2017

Request for prayers

The daughter of a UK Jamaat member and good friend of mine (related to the late Mr N.A. Faruqui) is having a medical procedure for a very serious condition. Please pray that Allah grants the treatment to be successful and grants her a full recovery. Ameen.

Zahid Aziz