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Archive for July, 2008

Upgrade to WordPress 2.6

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Today I have upgraded the version of WordPress that we are using to the latest 2.6. It seems to be working fine. However, if you encounter any problems please post a comment here.

Comments on an argument about “suffering” and God’s existence

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

A common argument presented against the existence of God in the West is: If God exists why does He allow great suffering to take place?

Philosophers, theologians and thinkers have been pondering on this for centuries, so my comments below will not resolve this issue! I will make one simple point, from among many that could be made.

How do we know that God hasn’t prevented much greater suffering that could have happened but didn’t because He prevented it? Obviously this question can never be answered, as we can’t know something that doesn’t happen.

Someone recently put forward as an example a most deadly disease, as to why it occurs if God exists. But suppose that particular disease didn’t exist. Then someone would mention whatever is now the second most deadly disease and present the same argument. And if that disease didn’t exist, they would mention the next one, until a stage would come where someone would say: If God exists, why do people catch colds and coughs?

My point is that if colds and coughs were the worst disease, we would feel the same about it as we now do about what are the worst diseases now.

To some in a developed country it would be suffering if their car broke down and they missed enjoying 1 day out of their 2 week holiday. Human beings adjust what they feel to be “suffering” according to their circumstances. Just like time and space are not absolute measures, but relative, as Einstein discovered, it seems that the same applies to suffering.

Zahid Aziz

A question about accepting Hazrat Mirza sahib and my reply

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

After receiving the following question by e-mail, I asked the enquirer’s permission to reply to it on this blog. He agreed to this. So here is the question:

It being really informative to visit your site. I have a question in my mind. If Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani is considered only a Mujadid and not an Umati Nabi then it is not incumbent upon us to accept his teachings as it is only the Being of Nabi that we are bound to obey according to ArkanE Aiman.

Waiting for ur reply
Thanks in anticipation!
Tahir Mahmood Advocate

My reply is as follows.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib issued the ten conditions of the bai`at in 1888. No follower or opponent believes that he had claimed to be a prophet at that stage. Yet he was taking people into his discipleship, who no doubt had to accept him as teacher. In 1900 he announced that his followers would be known as Muslims of the Ahmadiyya Sect. Even those who consider him as a prophet acknowledge that at that time he had not claimed to be a prophet. Yet he had many followers who accepted his teachings.

And what are his teachings which they must accept? He declared:

“I instruct my Jama‘at that they should believe in this Kalima Tayyiba from the bottom of their hearts: La ilaha ill-allah Muhammad-ur Rasulullah, till they die, and that they believe in all the prophets and all the books whose truth is established from the Quran Sharif, and that they accept as being obligatory: saum, salat, zakat and hajj and all that has been prescribed as obligatory by Allah Ta`ala and His Rasul, and that they accept as being forbidden all that has been forbidden, and follow and adhere to Islam in a correct and proper way.

To sum up, it is obligatory to accept all those matters regarding belief and practice on which there was consensus (Ijma) by the pious ones of the olden times, and which are considered to constitute Islam by the consensus opinion of the Ahl as-Sunna.” (Ayyam-us-Sulh, p. 86-87)

If by his teachings you mean the main differences between him and other Muslims, then please remember that he proved his different interpretations on the basis of the Quran and Hadith, and not on the basis that because he is a prophet therefore he must be accepted. Regarding the death of Jesus and his own claim to be Promised Messiah, he declared to the Ulama:

“I admit this myself that if my claim to be Promised Messiah is against the clear rulings of the Quran and Hadith, and in fact Jesus is bodily alive in heaven, and will descend to the earth at some time, then even if my claim is supported and confirmed by thousands of my revelations, and I show not just one but one hundred thousand signs in support of it, all these are worthless because no claim or sign is acceptable if it is opposed by the Quran and authentic Hadith.” (Majmua Ishtiharat, v. 1, p. 242, as on the website)

Regarding another main difference with other Muslims, that of the continuity of revelation, he wrote:

“Those who deny ilham coming in this Umma have not pondered over the Quran nor met those who receive ilham. You read many verses in the Book of Allah, the Holy Quran, that Allah spoke to some men and women, and commanded them and prohibited them but they were not prophets or messengers of the Lord of the worlds. …

If people doubt my ilham and wonder how Allah can speak to someone in this Umma who is not a prophet, why do they not make the Quran the judge in this dispute, and refer the matter to Allah and His Messenger if they are believers?” (Hamamat-ul-Bushra, p. 283-284)

He also wrote in the above book:

“Non-Quranic sources must be judged on the basis of the Quran, whether it is a hadith of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, the vision of a holy man (wali) or the revelation of a saint (qutb), for the Quran is a book whose authenticity is guarded by Allah and He said: ‘We have revealed the Quran and We are surely its guardian’.” (p. 121)

Therefore he made people accept his teachings by proving them from the Quran, and not by saying that they must be accepted because he is a prophet.

We accept his teachings on the basis of the following verse of the Quran (which he has alluded to above):

“O you who believe, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day.” (4:59)

We consider him as included in the category of “those in authority from among you”. Perhaps you could clarify whether you take him to be the “Messenger” referred to above in the words “obey Allah and the Messenger”.

Zahid Aziz

Maulana Sanaullah of Amritsar

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

The mention of this Maulana’s name (d. 1949) leads me to make readers of this blog aware of the following interesting facts, which today seem utterly incredible.

This inveterate opponent of the Ahmadiyya Movement used to appear in debates against the Arya Samaj and Christians in the 1920s and 30s, and represented Muslims alongside Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi, a life-long missionary of the AAIIL since 1914 (who was also my maternal grandfather). What used to happen was that some local Muslim organisation in a particular area would contact Islamic bodies (including AAIIL) to provide scholars who could debate with the opponents of Islam. The AAIIL would often send Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi, while that local organisation would also have obtained the services of Maulana Sanaullah.

So Maulana Sanaullah was on the same platform and in the same team representing Muslims with a well known Lahori Ahmadi scholar (who had taken the bai`at at the hands of the Promised Messiah in 1907)!

As an example, we have a booklet entitled Munazira, published by the Anjuman Nusrat-ul-Islam of Hyderabad, Sind (an orthodox Muslim body), being the account of a debate between the Arya Samaj and Muslim representatives in January 1929.

Here is the link. (Opens in new window)

On the first day, Maulana Sanaullah appeared against a Pandit (see p. 14). On the second day, Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi appeared against another pandit (see p. 24). The speeches of all the representatives are reproduced.

Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi told us (including me) many anecdotes about Sanaullah’s replies at the debates which were sometimes silly. For example, an Arya asked “Can Allah create another God like Him if He is all-powerful?”, implying of course that there would then be two Gods. Sanaullah replied: Yes, Allah can create another God like Him, but the created God will say ‘I am not the real God’, so there would still be only one God. Maulana Abdul Haq said to us: I knew what a blistering reply the Arya would give to this foolish response, and so he did. The Arya said: This means that either the first God is wrong because he didn’t manage to create a God like him, or the created God is wrong because he is saying I am not a real God! So there is a conflict between the two Gods, one saying “I have created a God like Me”, and the other saying “No, I am not the real God”!

Once Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi published a challenge addressing Sanaullah and saying: You said in a gathering in my presence: “I (Sanaullah) have made a lot of money by opposing Mirza”. Can you deny saying this?

A brief point about Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

I want to raise a quick point about Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala for a brief discussion, without lengthy posts.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad writes at the very beginning that a follower of his had to face embarrassment in front of an opponent because the opponent said:

“The man whose pledge you have taken claims to be a prophet.”

The follower replied: “No, he does not.”

In response, the opponent presented something which reduced the follower to embarrassment.

The question is: Which statement of Hazrat Mirza sahib did the opponent present that caused the Ahmadi to be defeated? Presumably it would be a statement dating before the publication of Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala. It would be interesting to find out how the opponent knew that HMGA claimed to be a prophet before HMGA wrote this pamphlet.

Zahid Aziz

An unfair parallel

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

Post submitted by Bashir

In my studies about the split(which are purely academic) i have noticed many glaring inconsistencies in terms of storyline and argumentative strategy. Hesistantly, i must say most of these are from the ahmadis(q). If i am allowed to point out each and every one, i surely will.

When ahmadis explain as to why HMGA didnt understand that he was a prophet until 1901 they present the story that the HP also didnt understand his mission in its entirety until god slowly revealed this to him.

We(q) argue that the HP thought that he was just a prophet for his family, then for mecca, then for the whole world etc etd etc.

This is an unfair parallel. Anybody who has read about the split knows that this paralel was created out of desperation.

The HP(saw) never mis-understood that he was a prophet. That was not the issue, the issue was related to the specifics of his mission. The HP(saw) didnt write that he wasnt a prophet for 23 years. That didnt happen. The HP(saw) never wrote that a person who laid claimed prophethood was a kafir. He never wrote that it was un-islamic to claim prophethood.

Our belief(q) is that for 21 years (1880 to 1901) god continously called HMGA a perfect prophet. But, HMGA continously misunderstood this rank of his. This doesnt match with the misunderstanding of the HP.

The misunderstandings are of different nature. One person(the HP) misunderstood the details of his mission. The other person misunderstood that he was a perfect prophet of god. It must be noted that no other prophet ever suffered from the same misunderstanding. If so, please show me!!!!!! I would love to be proven as wrong. M. ali wrote that is HMBMA could prove that other prophets committed the same error, m. ali would burn his books.

So why are ahmadis(q) presenting this as a parallel?? The answer is that there is no other way to substantiate this mistake(alleged) of HMGA. I am concerned with this method of argument. This shows desperation. The pattern does not sit well in my heart.

Here is what HMGA wrote on the matter:

Ijaz Ahmadi (November 15, 1902), p. 24

“And some people say that if there is an error in understanding an inspiration (ilham) then the whole matter becomes dubious and it is apprehended that perhaps the prophet, messenger or muhaddath has also misunderstood his claim. Such a thought is mere nonsense and only mentally deranged persons can talk like that.”

P. 26
The truth of the matter is that the faith(yaqin) that is installed in the heart of a prophet about his prophethood is such that the arguments thereof shine like the sun and rush on in such great numbers that this fact becomes absolutely clear. And in some minor details, even if he makes a mistake in his exercise of judgement (ijtihad), this is not injurious to his faith. Things which are brought near a person and are placed near his eyes, his eyes don’t err in identifying them and definitely know about their true quality and quantity. And such a judgement is correct and such an evidence is even accepted by the courts. But if something is not brought close and is at a distance of half a mile or so and it is asked from a person what that white thing is, it is quite possible that he may consider a man with white clothes as a white horse or a white horse as a man(with white clothes). Similarly, prophets and messengers are shown about their claims and teachings from very near and this done so repeatedly that not a shadow of doubt is left about them. But in some partial matters, which are not of great importance, their spiritual vision comprehends them from a distance, and such phenomena do not occur frequently; therefore, sometimes their vision makes a mistake in distinguishing them properly.

Bashir : The most depressing fact is that HMBMA, QMN and the aurthors of khlilafat and nubuwwat never commented on this.
In fact no ahmadi(q) author has ever written a detailed explanation to this.

Bashir: This book was written in 1902. Why would HMGA write like this just after a change in his beliefs(alleged). EGKI was published NOV 1901. Its the same era.

Somebody help me!