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October 19th, 2008

Life of Muhammad Asad

Rashid Jahangiri has submitted the following post.

Muhammad Asad (1900-1992): The Pakistani Connection.

On the Pakistani blog, All Things Pakistan, an article on Maulana Muhammad Asad is posted.
Now a documentary is made on his book, A Road To Mecca.

In October 2007, I wrote my comments. I am copying it here:

My two cents on Muhammad Asad.

1) Muhammad Asad, accepted Islam on the hands of Maulana Sadar Ud Din, Imam of Berlin Mosque, Germany, run by Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement. His name is still written in the registers of converts to Islam.

2) Muhammad Asad’s first translation of Holy Quran, was financed and published by Saudi king Ibn Saud. In more than one places in his translation/tafseer (commentary), and in particular Sura Al-Maaidah (Ch 5) verse 117, and Sura An-nisaa (Ch 4) verse 157 (foot note 172) [references are from the latest edition; its photo is in your article] Eisa AS (Jesus Christ) is DEAD. He will NO longer return in flash. Well, Saudi king did not like it and asked Asad to change it. Asad refused and said to the king: You are an Arab, your language is Arabic you translate it. King replied: I agree with what you say, but what should I do about Mullas? As Asad refused to change translation, the king said: I have no choice but to burn all copies of it. So, his first translation/tafseer of Holy Quran was burnt. Then Asad with his own finances published it, again. He published it (I think) only once. And it is with out index. The latest edition, the one you have posted, is with index. Interesting point is that when Maulana Muhammad Ali, an elder of Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement in his English translation/tafseer of Holy Quran (first edition published in 1917), and in Urdu translation/tafseer ‘Biyan-ul-Quran’ said the same thing he was rejected by Muslims and his translation/tafseer was burnt by Al-Azhar university, Cario (it is another fact that the same university now translates his English and Urdu books into Arabic language for Arab readers). I guess Muslim thought is finally catching up as no one has objection to Asad translation/tafseer of Holy Quran.

3) Muhammad Asad in his book ‘A oad to Mecca’ has written chapter on Dajjal, which basically points to Caucasian Christian Nation of Europe and North America. Interestingly, the same point was raised LONG BEFORE, by elders of Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement including Maulana Muhammad Ali, Muslims find difficult to accept it. Just like other points such as Jihad and Jinns. Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote a book: ‘Al-Maseeh-ud-Dajjal-o-Yaajooj-o-Maajooj’ (translation: The Anti-Christ and Gog and Magog). Here is the link:

Link to article:

Link to documentary:

36 Responses to “Life of Muhammad Asad”

  1. After visiting the above-mentioned blog, I also posted a comment on it, which at present is awaiting moderation. It is as below.

    Asad’s Message of the Quran was first published in around 1962 in the form of part 1, covering the first 9 chapters of the Quran. The publisher was the well-known Rabita Al-Islami of Saudi Arabia. Then it was noted that on several verses he had expressed exactly the same view point as that in the English commentary of the Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (d. 1951), the Lahore Ahmadiyya leader. In particular on the issue of whether Jesus died a natural death or was raised bodily to heaven, Asad had expressed the same view as the Ahmadis.

    The publishers recalled his book and destroyed it. Asad then continued to complete his work and published the full work, as we know, in 1980 or so.

    When Asad was in Lahore during the 1940s he used to meet Maulana Muhammad Ali. In fact, the Maulana has mentioned him (though not mentioned meeting him) in the Preface of his book ‘A Manual of Hadith’. There is even a person alive today in the USA, Colonel (retired) Mahmud Shaukat, who remembers Asad in Pakistan, and he recalls that Asad also used to visit another prominent Lahore Ahmadi, Dr Saeed Ahmad (d. 1996, and head of Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement from 1981).

    When Asad’s full work appeared in 1980, I reviewed it. No doubt it is a work of great scholarship and merit. However, I referred to the statement by Asad that it was as a result of learning Arabic from Bedouins of Arabia that he could properly understand the meaning of the Quran. I pointed out that if you ask a Bedouin about the word ‘raf’ as used about Jesus in the Quran, the Bedouin will tell you that it means that Allah lifted Jesus physically to heaven. But that is not Asad’s view! I gave some other similar examples as well. An understanding of statements in the Quran is not based only on language but also on the principles laid down in the Quran.

    The acclaim given to Asad’s work shows, in a way, the mental confusion and lack of integrity in the Muslim world. Maulana Muhammad Ali’s commentary is denounced as heretical for expressing certain interpretations in several places, but the same interpretations are to be found in Asad’s commentary! In fact, in the interpretation of some stories of the prophets, Asad has departed more from the traditional views than Maulana Muhammad Ali.

  2. In the same blog another poster says the following about Muhammad Asad:

    “I have not read any of his writings but understand that his main focus was on the primacy of Quran over any all other sources such as Hadith and Sunna as he felt that Quran had been over-ruled by secondary sources.(  )”

    I posted a comment pointing out that this issue (supremacy of Quran over secondary sources) is also one the distinctive features of the Ahmadiyya school of thought, and taken together with Zahid Aziz’s and Rashid Jahangiri’s posts, it seems Muhammad Asad may have been influenced by the Ahmadiyya movment more than what is generally known or accepted.  The moderator did not approve the post (al least not as of yet..2 days since posting). 

  3. May 3rd, 2009 at 7:14 am
    From Abdul Wahid Pulao:

    To Rasid Jahangir, Zahid Aziz and Usman:
    From your messeges it only appears that you are as adament, arrogant and subjective in the matter od Islam as the others who oppose your point of view and not to benefit the muslims rather another way ofd saying “Iam right and yoiu are wrong” which has been going on for last fourteen hubdred years and look where we have brought Islam. Does it matter wher Asad took his shahadah at an Ahmadi mosque or Sunni mosque or at his own residence? does it matter that this one issue ” jesus died or was taken up physically”which can be ignored as one of the Mutshaabehat should be muddled again and again? The holy Quran has alot for the Muslim and the human being to learn and use the immense wiedom given in this ultimate revelation for the benefit of Islam and of Humanity at large. here you are bringingthe same dead bodies back to mourn instead of burying them an go on with something better.

    You know waht. I have been studying Asad’s Message of Quran very attentively and have very closely studied his commentary also. Up until today I have finished thirty seven Surahs and have been very impressed by Asad’s utmost honesty in translating and explaining the intricacy of the Quranic Arabic and matphorical, alagorical, matonomical or eliptical what ever the way this devine message has been sent to our prophet Muhammad Sallallaho A’laihe wa sallam. No where, at lewt least nowhere sofar , he has given the Muslims an inkling tha he was influenced by any philosophy, sect or religious group than simply Islam and Muhammad’s life and those of his sah’ba’s life. Of course he has referred Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation of Quran in only one place in his commentary so far ( I say so far because Iam stillin the middle of my study) and that is about The Great Deluge in the story of Noah in which he agrees with Maulana’s explanation and so do I. I think Maulana did a great job explaining about the flood on Noah’s nation. But woe to my bad luck that I fumbelled into you this blog and found the same mud slinging on Asad and Saudi’s and sunnis and bla, bla, bla. You almost made me give up on thsi great guy’s honest work when you started selling this frivolous idea of where Asad took shahadah, whetehr his ideas matched Maulana Muhammad LAi’s adea. So what, big deal. Why don’t you just least leave Islam and Quran and Asad alone.  But no, I am not going to be disheartened by the Mufsideen like you . I will keep on my studies and I will also readMaulana Muhammad Ali’s Ttranslation not because you mentioned him in your stupid mudslinging comments but Muhammad Asad has mentioned him in his explanation. People like you can easily sway the Muslims away from Islam. Probably that is waht your intention is. Did you study ( not just read) Sad’s translaation and explanation? I bet you have not because you are too busy selling this idea of ours. Islam does not need people like you but it sure does need people like Mulana Muhaammad Ali and Asad regardless of where they come from and what their religious affiliation is. Certainly not the dead woods like you.

  4. May 3rd, 2009 at 8:28 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    Dear Mr Pulao

    We agree with you on your following points absolutely:

    1. “Asad’s utmost honesty in translating and explaining the intricacy of the Quranic Arabic …”

    We agree on his honesty and scholarship. If he was not honest he would have changed his views when the Rabita, who published his first volume, objected to his interpretations.

    2. “I will keep on my studies and I will also read Maulana Muhammad Ali’s Ttranslation”.  Please do.

    3. “Islam does not need people like you but it sure does need people like Maulana Muhaammad Ali and Asad regardless of where they come from and what their religious affiliation is. ”

    We agree wholeheartedly that Islam needs people like Maulana Muhammad Ali and Muhammad Asad. About myself, and our other contributors whom you have criticised, I can say that not for one moment do we think that Islam needs people like us! It is we who need Islam. As Maulana Muhammad Ali is no longer in this world, we continue to publish his books and literature.

    Your allegation that we are slinging mud on Asad is plainly wrong. We believe that Asad, with high integrity and scholarship, reached the same conclusions on many key interpretations of the Quran that Maulana Muhammad Ali had done. So when we are declared by the Sunni world as deviating from Islam because of holding those very interpretations, and even denounced as kafir and enemies of Islam, then we point out that there are other Muslims also who agree with those same beliefs.

    Similarly when you say “Does it matter whether Asad took his shahadah at an Ahmadi mosque or Sunni mosque”, the point is that if he took his shahadah at a mosque run by our movement it shows that we are not kafirs and enemies of Islam, and that our missions were Muslim missions, at which people accepted Islam and not some other religion of our own devising. That is all we are saying.

    You write: “Did you study (not just read) Asad’s translaation and explanation? I bet you have not …”

    If we have not studied his translation, how have we found out that he agrees with our interpretation in many places? We read it and then carefully looked at all his arguments that he used to reach his conclusions. It was possible that he might have used some evidence that we had not come across before. If that is not “study”, kindly tell us what is. When Asad’s work first appeared in around 1981, I published a review of it. In fact, even this morning before reading and approving your comment on our blog, I had looked up something in Asad for the purpose of gaining knowledge. Of course I can’t prove any of this.

    I also cannot prove that I (and my friends) are not “adamant, arrogant and subjective”, as you call us. If I say that we are not, you could say that an arrogant person would deny being arrogant, wouldn’t  he? So let us leave that up to Allah to decide.

    As to being “subjective”, since we are human we are subjective. Only a machine is not subjective but purely objective. Perhaps you have the extremely good fortune of being purely unbiassed, having no prejudices whatsoever, and being entirely objective. If that is the case, then congratulations.

  5. Dear brother Pulao:
    Aslam Alikum,
    Dr. Zahid Aziz has given succinct reply to your objections. Since I wrote post on blog ‘All Things Pakistan’ so I will answer too.

    I am thankful to Allama Muhammad Asad for his great work of Holy Quran Translation and commentary, as I used references from his work in my conversations with non-Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement (LAM) Muslims.

    Reason is simple, if I make exactly the same point and give reference from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation and commentary of Holy Quran, the listener will get biased and may refuse to listen to me or totally reject what I am saying. And that could defeat purpose of teachings of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (HMGA). My other family members own for long time older edition of Allama Asad Holy Quran translation and commentary, and I own a latest edition published by Muslims from UAE.

    I even use references from English translation and short commentary by Dr. Shabbir Ahmad. Dr. Shabbir is staunch opponent of HMGA. He has used language and words in one of his book regarding HMGA that I am hurt by reading. By quoting Dr. Shabbir, doubt in mind of non-LAM Muslim clears as he does not reject it by saying this is “Ahmadi’s Islam and not a real Islam”. Compared to Dr. Shabbir Ahmad, Allama Muhammad Asad never said any thing against HMGA, as far as I know.

    Late Abdul Mannan Omar sahib himself an Islamic scholar, who rendered his father Allama Noor Ud din translation of Holy Quran in English, talked highly about Muhammad Asad’s translation and had met him personally when Muhammad Asad used to be in Lahore, Pakistan. I happen to know Abdul Mannan Omar sahib for a long time.

    In the end I have one question for Muslims, perhaps you too are included among them: When you consider Allama Muhammad Asad a great Muslim and scholar of Islam. And consider his translation- commentary of Holy Quran, then why you people do not consider LAM members and founder of moment HMGA at least a Muslim? How come people like Muhammad Asad are called great Muslims and people like Maulana Muhammad Ali, not even a Muslim?

    A recent article on Dr. Shabbir Ahmad by Dr. Zahid Aziz will help you understand how spring of Islamic knowledge i.e. HMGA continues to provide benefit to even those who don’t consider him even a Muslim. See page 5 of the magazine at this link.

  6. May 6th, 2009 at 6:10 am
    From Abdul Wahid Pulao:

    May 06, 2009
    Dear MUSLIM brothers, Assalmo A’laikum:

    First of all let me sincerely opologize to brothers Rashid Jahangir, Zahid Aziz and Usman for my being unreasonably harsh in my addressing them. Then let me draw you attention to my message. Please notice I have not used a single word that even remotely appears to point finger on Ahamadia or the Quadiani Muslims. Even in harshest way I have merely used the phrase, “…your point of view” you know and I know that this by no means has any thing to do with Ahamadi or Quadiani Muslims. Certainly both branches of this, faction of Islam (should I say), are not  “point [s]of view” then bringing issues that are unrelated to the a simple point of discussion is only like opening the box of worm. If you  read  my message carefully you must have read, ” …look where we have brought Islam”  I have used the “first person plural WE and not you or they. Does it tell you something? my only intention to say what I said was that we are bickering and blaming and complaining, and calling names for frivilous things while our Enemy, the Enemy of Islam is pounding on us from every direction he posibly can attack, we have to put all such differences behind us and do something to defend our Islam from the outside enemy.

    Brothers, no where in my message have I used the word Kafir for you or any one related to you or the two “groups”. Brothers, the time has come when I am affraid that if I go to bed as Muslim  will I wake up as Muslim and if I wake up Muslims because of the things I myself do and say I am afraid if I will stay Muslim until I go to bed and that is why every once in a while I quietly ask Allah,” Twaffani Musliman Wa Alhiquni Bissualiheen.”  I ask you to pray for me to maintain my Iman on Allah Subh’anahu Wa Ta’ala and his apostle and messenger Muhammad Sallallaho A’laihe Wa sallam until my last breath. Why should I or any Muslim should say any other Muslim or Non Muslim a Kafir?. Believe me when I responded to the message of our brothers Rashid Jahangir, Zahid Aziz and Usman it was a spontanious response so much so that I did not even care to correct my speelllinhg and grammatical mistakes. I sincerely,  had no intention to attack on the two “groups” and it is obvious from my message, please read it again. I am glad that you used the word “perhaps” when you wrote:

    “When you consider Allama Muhammad Asad a great Muslim and scholar of Islam. And consider his translation- commentary of Holy Quran, then why you people do not consider LAM members and founder of moment HMGA at least a Muslim? How come people like Muhammad Asad are called great Muslims and people like Maulana Muhammad Ali, not even a Muslim?”.

    I don’t know much about Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (HMGA) or Lahori Ahmadyya Movement. I do know that much that one of you believe (HMGA) as a Mujaddid and the other considers him as prophet (apostle) of God. You may make both belief system a little more clear in our next communication if you wish. Again I will say that I had no intention neither do I have any intention to bring these factional difference in my message.

    I think I have made my point of view clear enough and again I do apologize for my rude behaviour. I hope you will all forgive me so Allah may forgive me.
    Wassalam. Stay in touch. My personal email address is

    Abdul Wahid

  7. May 6th, 2009 at 11:21 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    Dear Mr Abdul Wahid

    I thank you for your very generous statement. No doubt we all make mistakes from time to time which we realise later.  You have made your position so clear that we cannot hold anything against you. We hope and pray that there could be more Muslims like you. We pray for ourselves as well as for you for Allah’s forgiveness and that our faith in Islam be maintained all our lives, ameen.

    My friend Usman had submitted a brief comment before seeing your last post, but it has been overtaken by your wonderful statement.

    Zahid Aziz

  8. May 7th, 2009 at 4:06 am
    From Abdul Wahid Pulao:

    Dear brother Zahid Aziz, Assalamo A’laikum:
    Thank you very much for the message. I hope I will get messages from other friends also. Now that we have started a line of communication please stay in touch. 

    Don’t forget me in your prayers.  Your prayers and good wishes are badly needed in these tough times. If you are in Dallas, Texas please get in touch with me. You already know my email address.


    Abdul Wahid 

  9. October 11th, 2010 at 5:15 pm
    From Bashir Rabbani:

    It’s a comment for Ahmadies:

    Asad is a true and upright Muslim.I didn’t read his translation or commentary of Quran but having read his famous Book “Road to Makka” and others articles on Islam. Howfar I know he is a true believer of Islam and having no cosent to Ahmadi Brand of Islam.Just read the translation and commentary of Alama Asad of the verses of Quran related with the “Finality of Prophethood”(Khatim Al Nabi).He believe in the termination of prophethood after Muhammad (SAW). He also gave his clear cut verdict against the Qadyani and Lahori Jumat in his latest book that Qadyani are the out of the realm of Islam and they have been serving the cause of British imprealist is the muslim world.Just the translation and commentry of a verse related to the Asecent of Essa (AS) is not a suff justification that Asad support and advocate the false and biased belief of Ahmadies.

    It’s just my comment in hurry….I’ll Insha Allah leave well articulate and elaborate comments latter on in connection with the Ahmadies belief and Allama Asad  view on the FINALITY of The Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

  10. We would be interested to know where Asad gave his verdict that Ahmadis are not Muslims.

    It is not only in regard to the ascension of Jesus but on several other issues as well Asad gives the same interpretation as Ahmadis.

    Asad’s view on the finality of prophethood is the same as that of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement.

    Asad regards many so-called miraculous events in connection with histories of prophets such as Solomon as not necessarily having occurred at all, but that the Quran was making use of existing myths to draw moral lessons, whether or not the myths were true. Under verse 21:83, he writes:

    “In this as well as in several other passages relating to Solomon, the Quran alludes to the many poetic legends which were associated with his name since early antiquity and had become part and parcel of Judaeo-Christian and Arabian lore long before the advent of Islam. Although it is undoubtedly possible to interpret such passages in a “rationalistic” manner, I do not think that this is really necessary. Because they were so deeply ingrained in the imagination of the people to whom the Quran addressed itself in the first instance, these legendary accounts of Solomon’s wisdom and magic powers had acquired a cultural reality of their own and were, therefore, eminently suited to serve as a medium for the parabolic exposition of certain ethical truths with which this book is concerned: and so, without denying or confirming their mythical character, the Quran uses them as a foil for the idea that God is the ultimate source of all human power and glory, and that all achievements of human ingenuity, even though they may sometimes border on the miraculous, are but an expression of His transcendental creativity.”

    Does this accord with the orthodox Sunni interpretations of these stories? There would have been uproar against us by our Muslim opponents if an Ahmadi scholar had given the above interpretation.

  11. October 12th, 2010 at 3:24 pm
    From Mohammed Iqbal:

    There would be a greater uproar if The Ahmadies have endorsed his version of the story of David unjustly usurping Uria’s wife and the general sinlessness of the prophets in his commentary of the events narrated in Sura Swaad.

  12. Our esteemed friend, Mr Iqbal, is referring to Asad’s note on 38:21, which runs as follows:

    The story which, according to the oldest sources at our disposal, is alluded to in verses 21-26 affects the question as to whether God’s elect, the prophets – all of whom were endowed, like David, with “wisdom and sagacity in judgment” – could or could not ever commit a sin: in other words, whether they, too, were originally subject to the weaknesses inherent in human nature as such or were a priori endowed with an essential purity of character which rendered each of them incapable of sinning (masum).

    In the form in which it has been handed down from the earliest authorities (including, according to Tabari and Baghawi, Companions like Abd Allah ibn Abbas and Anas ibn Malik, as well as several of the most prominent of their immediate successors), the story contradicts the doctrine – somewhat arbitrarily developed by Muslim theologians in the course of the centuries – that prophets cannot sin by virtue of their very nature, and tends to show that their purity and subsequent sinless ness is a result of inner struggles and trials and, thus, represents in each case a moral achievement rather than an inborn quality.

    As narrated in some detail by Tabari and other early commentators, David fell in love with a beautiful woman whom he accidentally observed from his roof terrace. On inquiring, he was told that she was the wife of one of his officers, named Uriah. Impelled by his passion, David ordered his field-commander to place Uriah in a particularly exposed battle position, where he would be certain to be killed; and as soon as his order was fulfilled and Uriah died, David married the widow (who subsequently became the mother of Solomon). This story agrees more or less with the Old Testament, which gives the woman’s name as Bath-Sheba (II Samuel xi), barring the Biblical allegation that David committed adultery with her before Uriah’s death (ibid. xi, 4-5) – an allegation which has always been rejected by Muslims as highly offensive and slanderous: cf. the saying of the fourth Caliph, Ali ibn Abi Talib (quoted by Zamakhshari on the authority of Said ibn al-Musayyab): “If anyone should narrate the story of David in the manner in which the story-tellers narrate it, I will have him flogged with one hundred and sixty stripes – for this is a [suitable] punishment for slandering prophets” (thus indirectly recalling the Quranic ordinance, in 24: 4, which stipulates flogging with eighty stripes for accusing ordinary persons of adultery without legal proof).

    According to most of the commentators, the two “litigants” who suddenly appeared before David were angels sent to bring home to him his sin. It is possible, however, to see in their appearance an allegory of David’s own realization of having sinned: voices of his own conscience which at last “surmounted the walls” of the passion that had blinded him for a time.]


  13. October 13th, 2010 at 4:22 pm
    From Mohammed Iqbal:

    Shorn of the flowery language and euphemisms, what Asad was trying to tell may be paraphrased thus:

    1) Belief in the sinlessness of prophets has no scriptural basis, but developed over a course of centuries and in an arbitrary manner by the theologians.

    2) Hazrath Ali would have anyone who accused David (AS) of adultery, the way the people of the book did, but he wouldn’t mind it if he was accused of similar deeds if they fell short of adultery, technically speaking.

    3) Allah did not admonish his prophet David(AS) when he set out to do this questionable act, but later on sent two angels to remind him in a metaphoric way of his sinful acts.

    Didn’t Quran state the sinlessness of prophets? Was the question ” I have lived a lifetime among you before it. Do you not then understand?(10:16)” applicable only to HP? What about the verse “And according to his command they (prophets) act (21:27)”

    Eagerly awaiting a response from Bashir Rabbani.

  14. Referring to David’s judgment to the two litigants:

    “And surely many partners wrong one another save those who believe and do good, and very few are they!” 38:24

    Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din comments that when even “those who believe and do good” do not wrong their partners (partners in business or work), David who is a prophet certainly could not have wronged Uriah, which is the alleged act that these words are supposed to point to. 


    Movie on life of Muhammad Asad

    More than 80 years ago, one man crossed the frontline between the Muslim world and the West – we retrace his journey.

    Muhammad Asad writes in his book ‘The Road to Mecca’ that he embrassed Islam at the hand of Imam of Mosque of Indian Muslims, in Berlin. That mosque is of Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, constructed by Maulana Sadar-ud-Din. In the film at 1min 20 secs there is photo with caption ‘The Day I Became A Muslim’. In the photo there are people in Indian Muslims dress. The photo doesn’t say where it was taken, at mosque or some where else.     

  16. I am making available the following three articles written and published in 1980 and 1982, shortly after Asad’s translation was first published in complete form.

    My review of Asad’s translation, in our UK magazine of the time, Islamic Guardian, 1980.

    An article by myself (“our own staff”) in our UK magazine Islamic Guardian, 1982. commenting on a letter published by Asad about his translation.

    Review of Asad’s translation by Mirza Masud Baig (AAIIL General Secretary), in The Light, Lahore, October 1982. The late Mirza sahib was a man of great scholarship and any fact he relates is highly reliable.

  17. Allama Asad claimed that he lived among Bedouins and no other translator of Holy Quran, especially a non-Arab, had such an experience. I won’t say he intentionally tried to hide the fact that Maulana Muhammad Ali sahib’s teacher Maulana Noor-ud-Din lived among Arab Bedouins for SEVEN YEARS with intention to learn the Quranic Arabic as it was still spoken among Bedouins at that time. Preface of Allama Noor-ud-Din Holy Quran translation rendered into English by his son and daughter in-law mentions this fact. In a soon to be published Urdu translation with detail explantory notes (Tafseer) by Allama Noor-ud-Din, will also highlight this experience of Allama. And after this Urdu Tafseer, English translation and commentary is on the way. Allama lived among Bedouins about fifty years before Asad lived among them.

  18. Professor Talal Asad, Ph.D.

    He is son of Allama Muhammad Asad. He is Professor of Anthropology
    at City University of New York. I emailed him following:

    Dear Professor Asad:

    Aslam Alikum,

    On Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement blog a discussion about your
    illustrious father and his monumental work ‘The Message of the Quran’ is being
    discussed. I would request you to please take a look at the blog and give us
    your perspective and input. I look forward to your comments.

    I will post this email on LAM blog.


    Yours truly,

    Rashid Jahangiri, M.D.

  19. March 18th, 2012 at 6:32 am
    From Sumayya Asim Bajwa:

    Stop misguiding people…You guys are liars & keep on lying about true Muslims; Muhammed Asad had nothing to do with such nonsense. Anyone who has some sense will never ever believe your rubbish. Our Holy Prophet(SAW) was the most beloved of Almighty & ALLAH will never let you succeed in your pursuit. Muhammed Asad had the previllage of seeing the Holy Prophet(SAW) in his dreams & any such man can never support your heinous cause…

  20. March 18th, 2012 at 7:04 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    Please let us know, Mr Bajwa, if in your view “true Muslims”, as you call them, agree with the following statements of Muhammad Asad in his commentary of the Quran under verses 4:157-158:

    “There exist, among Muslims, many fanciful legends telling us that at the last moment God substituted for Jesus a person closely resembling him (according to some accounts, that person was Judas), who was subsequently crucified in his place. However, none of these legends finds the slightest support in the Qur’an or in authentic Traditions, and the stories produced in this connection by the classical commentators must be summarily rejected.


    Nowhere in the Qur’an is there any warrant for the popular belief that God has “taken up” Jesus bodily, in his lifetime, into heaven. The expression “God exalted him unto Himself” in the above verse denotes the elevation of Jesus to the realm of God’s special grace – a blessing in which all prophets partake,

  21. Ms. Summayya brings out a mind set in quite vivid terms. May be she can answer her own questions reproduced in italics below.
    Stop misguiding people…
    Please elaborate the “misguidance”.
    You guys are liars & keep on lying about true Muslims;
    Please tell us our lies.
    Please define a Muslim.

    Muhammed Asad had nothing to do with such nonsense.

    Please outline the “nonsense.”
    Anyone who has some sense will never ever believe your rubbish.
    Again, please identify the “rubbish” for everyone to see.
    Our Holy Prophet(SAW) was the most beloved of Almighty & ALLAH

    Totally agree.
    will never let you succeed in your pursuit.
    Please tell us what is our “pursuit.”
    Muhammed Asad had the previllage of seeing the Holy Prophet(SAW) in his dreams & any such man can never support your heinous cause…

    How do you know? What if someone on this blog makes the same claim, will you believe the claim? 

  22. May 5th, 2012 at 7:17 pm
    From Javaid ahmad:

    It is NOT about Mr. Asad or Mr Muhammad Ali what they  say about Jesus or finality of prophethood.There are thousand other interpretation which are 180 degrees different from what Mr. Asad or Mr. Ali say. It is the final verdict that anybody who does not believe in the finality of prophethood is not muslim. You may be a good human beings but not muslims. Let us keep it that simple and plain. Your claims of being muslim will not lead to be believed as muslims by billion other muslims who believe and practice the finality of prophethood.

  23. May 5th, 2012 at 7:38 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    Whoever gave “the final verdict that anybody who does not believe in the finality of prophethood is not muslim” must have also defined what is finality of prophethood, and what kind of belief breaches it and what kind of belief is consistent with it.

    While issuing that “final verdict”, the issuers of the verdict should also have passed their judgment on the belief that Jesus will come again, after the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and declared whether this belief is against the finality or in conformity with it.

  24. Mr. Javaid Ahmad states – “It is the final verdict that anybody who does not believe in the finality of prophethood is not muslim.”

    As far as finality of prophethood of Muhammad (SAW) is concerned, there are no ambiguities in the beliefs of Lahore Ahmadis. See this link

    Question to Javaid Ahmad – “Do you believe that no prophet can come after the Holy Prophet Muhammad,” neither new nor old?

    In the light of your own answer (which we still do not know), Mr. Javaid Ahmad, do you remain a Muslim? Be your own judge.

  25. October 7th, 2013 at 8:51 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    I am returning to the topic discussed in the comment above about the prophet David and his alleged sin. I have looked up what Maudoodi has written about it in his Tafhim-ul-Quran, and quote below the following extract from its English translation:

    "It appears that the Prophet David had come to know of the unique qualities of the woman through some means and had started thinking that she should be the queen of the country instead of being the wife of an ordinary officer. Overwhelmed by the thought he expressed the desire before her husband that he should divorce her. He did not see any harm in it because it was not looked upon as anything improper among the Israelites. It was an ordinary thing among them that if a person happened to like the wife of another, he would freely request him to give her up for him. Nobody minded such a request, and often it so happened that friends would divorce their wives for each other's sake of their own accord, so that the other may marry her. However, when the Prophet David expressed this desire, he did not realize that the expression of such a desire could be without compulsion and coercion when expressed by a common Man, but it could never be so when expressed by a king. …"

    ( , note 28, bolding is mine)

    Here I only wish to refer to the text I have placed in bold. This is utterly laughable! Can one really believe that this was the custom among the Israelites, including their prophets, that "if a person happened to like the wife of another, he would freely request him to give her up for him. Nobody minded such a request" ?

    One of the ten commandments given to them runs thus: "You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, …" (Exodus, 20:17).

  26. Lo and Behold! The whole purpose of Project Rebuttal was to expunge the nonsense attributed to Islam and the Prophets. What can we say, when the Ulema of the likes of Maudoodi from within the ranks of Muslims are the source of such nonsense to begin with.

    In Issue 70 allegations against Lady Ayesha were rebutted and the tables were turned against Old Testament for its allegations against the prophets by using Quran. It is a sorry state that in the said issue David was presented as a pious man from Quran, but not to be outdone, Maudoodi supports Old Testament. With friends like Maudoodi who needs enemies.

  27. October 8th, 2013 at 6:00 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    To be fair, Maudoodi does not support the traditional version of this story as accepted by the commentators who are referred to above by Asad. That version is that David did deliberately send Uriah into battle knowing that he would be killed; the difference between these commentators and the Bible being that the former do not accept the part related in the Bible that David committed adultery with Uriah's wife while he was still alive.

    What Maudoodi says is as follows:

    "The Prophet David (peace be upon him) had only expressed this desire before Uriah (or whatever be the name of the man) that he should divorce his wife; as this desire had been expressed not by a common man but by an illustrious king and a great Prophet before a member of the public, the man was finding himself constrained to yield to it even in the absence of any compulsion. On this occasion, before the man could act as the Prophet David had desired, two righteous men of the nation suddenly made their appearance before David and presented before him this matter in the form of an imaginary case. At first, the Prophet David thought it was a real case, and so gave his decision after hearing it. But as soon as he uttered the words of the decision, his conscience gave the warning that the parable precisely applied to the case between him and the person, and that the act which he was describing as an injustice had issued forth from his own person. As soon as he realized this, he fell down prostrate, repented and reversed his decision."

    But by accepting the initial part of the story about David wanting to marry Uriah's wife, Maudoodi then has to resort to the absurd explanation about the so-called custom among the Israelites that I quoted in my last comment.

  28. The reason what I wrote above was based upon my unblemished belief in that prophets are "Masum" i.e. sinless. The way Maudoodi describes, only one word comes to mind, a society of swingers, under the garb of flimsy marriages. Essentially, according to Maudoodi, Prophet David belonged to and believed in such values (Nauz-Billah, God Forbid, I ask for Allah's mercy). Factually what he wrote is no more than wife swapping, and it is this what I am protesting:

    "It was an ordinary thing among them that if a person happened to like the wife of another, he would freely request him to give her up for him. Nobody minded such a request, and often it so happened that friends would divorce their wives for each other's sake of their own accord, so that the other may marry her. However, when the Prophet David expressed this desire…"

    This is another classical case where the ignorant read their own minds into Quran, rather than reading what Quran tells us plainly. It does not matter to them if Quran gets trampled under their dogmas and gets fluffed up in fairy tales, but it is all fine as long as they can force their views and call it the message of the Quran:

    2:79. Woe, then, to those who write the Book with their hands
    then say, This is from Allah; so that they may take for it a small
    price. So woe to them for what their hands write and woe to them
    for what they earn.
    [Maulana Muhammad Ali, Ed. Dr. Zahid Aziz]

  29. October 9th, 2013 at 8:11 am
    From Mohammed Iqbal:

    "two righteous men of the nation suddenly made their appearance before David and presented before him this matter in the form of an imaginary case." On what basis did Maududi come to the conclusion that those were righteous men? How come those righteous men came to Prophet David scaling the wall? Only thieves do that!

  30. And how did the "two righteous men", apparently members of the public whom he did not know, find out that David had (God forbid) asked Uriah to let him marry his wife? Was this public knowledge? Was it on Wikileaks?!

  31. Leaving aside whatever may be the nature of this incident, the case itself teaches a great principle of government:

    "… two litigants, one of whom has wronged the other, so decide between us with justice, and do not act unjustly, and guide us to the right way. This is my brother. He has ninety-nine ewes and I have a single ewe. Then he said, Make it over to me, and he has prevailed against me in dispute. He said: Surely he has wronged you in demanding your ewe (to add) to his own ewes. And surely many partners wrong one another except those who believe and do good, and very few are they! And David knew that We had tried him, so he asked his Lord for protection, and he fell down bowing and turned (to God).

    O David, surely We have made you a ruler in the land; so judge between people justly, and do not follow desire that it should lead you astray from the path of Allah. Those who go astray from the path of Allah, for them is surely a severe punish­ment because they forgot the day of Reckoning." (38:21-26)

    We see big corporations taking over small businesses, and large shareholders trying to eliminate small shareholders, in the desire to dominate and to create monopolies. This judgment teaches that government should support the weak and the small against the strong and the big.

    Why did David think this was a trial for him? Could it be he felt that he might be inclining towards powerful interests? This is what worldly governments do.

    "O David, surely We have made you a ruler in the land; so judge between people justly, and do not follow desire that it should lead you astray from the path of Allah."

    This is the most excellent teaching for all rulers: judge justly and don't follow "desire", e.g., the desire for money and power. To remain in power, governments and rulers behave unjustly, and give judgments to gain the favour of various powerful interests (e.g., business, mullahs, ignorant among the voters).

  32. September 7th, 2017 at 2:01 pm
    From Roshnara Musthafa:


    What is the source of the story of Asad's translations being burnt by Saudi King? I have heard in passing another story that it was his work on hadith that got burned somewhere. So, trying to come to the bottom of this Asad story (among many feeding controversies surrounding him, to the chagrin of independant Muslims). Please help. It is far from the truth that Asad has a free pass in the sunni world. Not Asad, neither the readers of his translation. I am a witness to it in my own small realm.

    Also, I would like to know if, at the time of the conversion of Muhammad Asad in Berlin Mosque (1926?), there were any other mosques in Berlin? This point is raised by you to show his Ahmediya connection,  as well as intolerant orthodox sunnis who connive to discredit him as a scholar using the Ahmediya connection! May Allah bring peace to the muslim world and create a culture of tolerance where muslims are trying to better their own understanding of Allah rather than trying to own such a vast, old and beautiful religion!

  33. You may perhaps like to read the section in my new book, Centenary of Maulana Muhammad Ali’s English Translation of the Quran (link) dealing with Asad's commentary and its closeness in certain controversial issues with Maulana Muhammad Ali's interpretations. It is the last section in ch. 3, starting on p. 55. It mentions briefly Asad's background and the episode of the first part of his Quran translation being published in 1964 under Rabita al-alam al-Islami sponsorship, which was then withdrawn by them.

    The destruction of his Bukhari translation happened in the riots of the partition of India in 1947. I have extracted for you his own account and placed it at this link.

    For many years, there was only one Mosque in Berlin. What Asad himself writes in his book The Road to Mecca (ch. 11, Dajjal) about his acceptance of Islam in Berlin in 1926 contains the following:

    "I sought out a Muslim friend of mine, an Indian who was at that time head of the small Muslim community in Berlin, and told him that I wanted to embrace Islam. He stretched out his right hand toward me, and I placed mine in it and, in the presence of two witnesses, declared: "I bear witness that there is no God but God and that Muhammad is His Messenger." A few weeks later my wife did the same."

    This description would only seem to apply to the Lahore Ahmadiyya Imam at the time, as he would be an Indian who was "head of the small Muslim community in Berlin".

  34. September 8th, 2017 at 2:37 pm
    From Roshnara Musthafa:

    Thank you for the reply.  I believe that the fact that there was only one mosque in Berlin at the time is important in understanding Asad's story as well as in understanding the contribution of the Lahore Ahmediya Movement to the propagation of Islam.

  35. September 8th, 2017 at 11:57 pm
    From Rashid Jahangiri:

    @ Ms. Roshnara Musthafa:

    I have heard, not myself confirmed, that in Berlin mosque there is register of converts to Islam. One such register has Muhammad Asad name and related information. May be someone can find time and post image of the relavent page.

  36. September 11th, 2017 at 8:55 pm
    From Roshnara Musthafa:

    Mirza saheb himself was a scholar who was much engrossed in the study of classical works on islam. I see that there were many scholars/islamic personalities who had the opinion that Prophet Jesus has died, in the complete sense of the word, prior to Mirza saheb. (  I feel that this aspect of his personality, that he was a scholar himself drawing from many sources extant at that time, is hardly emphasised.

    Is it not important to place him also in the expansive corpus of islamic scholarship, if there has to be an inclusiveness from the rest of the sunni world? But then, is it possible to place him there given the unique status as the promised messiah that he has within the Ahmediya movement?

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