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November 19th, 2008

Divorce and Muslim law

Our friend Usman Malik has submitted the following.


I thought this may be of interest to the Blog community.

Link to Daily Times

The story outlines the sharp reaction from the Mullahs against the recommendations by the CII (Council of Islamic Ideology) regarding amending the divorce laws in Pakistan. The CII has apparently recommended that:

1 – If the wife demands divorce in writing then the divorce will become effective after 90 days regardless of whether the husband grants it or not.
2 – Any divorce must be registered with the state authorities in written form to have proper legal status…..similar to the registration of the Nikah.

See this link.

The Mullahs have been up in arms and without citing any arguments from the Quran or Sunnah, have termed the proposals an attack on Islam etc etc. The PPP government predictably has distanced itself from the proposals and has promised to increase the strength of the CII board (fill in some vacant spots) and review the proposals. No points for guessing which way the “enhanced” CII board may go. I am wondering if any one can throw some light on the Islamic position regarding these proposals. On the face of it these seem reasonable, or at least the 2nd one does.

54 Responses to “Divorce and Muslim law”

  1. November 19th, 2008 at 2:07 pm
    From Abdul Momin:

    Unfortunately in the Muslim world if some well meaning people take one step forward, we can all rest assured that they will be forced to take two steps back.
    The CII of Pakistan is said to consist of 20 members and at present has only 8 members on it. So when the complete “team” meets, I am sure they will withdraw these “Unlslamic” proposals.

    The present members must have exercised the option of Ijtehad to arrive at their recommendations. But the only Ijtehad that the Pakistani Mullahs can live with is when people come up with new forms of mischief or new forms of violence-like suicide bombings in the name of Islam. These same Mullahs – whose brand of Islam chiefly consists of laws which punish other Muslims for minor infractions – are notoriously the ones making the loudest noises against any military action against the murderers of innocent people.

    Previously these people sabotaged amendment of the blasphemy law as well as removal of the religion column from Pakistani passports.

    I wonder what Benazir Bhutto would have thought of the present PPP government’s position had she been alive.
     


  2. In the 1950s a commission was appointed by the government of Pakistan under Chief Justice Rashid to examine the existing laws of marriage, divorce etc. It reported in 1956 with enlightened recommendations. The only member dissenting with their report was, guess who? The only Mullah member, Maulana Ehteshan-ul-Haq Thanvi! Pressure from the same sort of quarters led to the report being shelved.

    Then in 1961 Ayub Khan promulgated the Family Laws Ordinance, which was apparently a somewhat watered down version of the Rashid commission recommendations. Its main aim was to discourage polygamy and regulate divorce. It also raised the minimum ages of marriage from 14 to 16 for girls and from 18 to 21 for men. The earlier ages (14 and 18) were brought in under British rule in 1929 by the Child Marriage Restraint Act.

    When that earlier law of 1929 was proposed, all Mullas opposed setting any minimum age of marriage. But the Lahore Ahmadiyya Anjuman strongly supported the proposal (I have read this in The Light of those years).

    It is said in our Jamaat regarding Ayub Khan’s ordinance that he must also have been influenced by our own elder, Mr Nasir Ahmad Faruqui.

    In Zia-ul-Haq’s time he did all he could to annul the provisions of Ayub Khan’s reforms.

    Ayub’s family law ordinance is reproduced in the book Women of Pakistan: Two steps forward, one step backward (Vanguard, 1987) in Appendix 1. I have summarised the above information from that book.


  3. November 20th, 2008 at 3:03 am
    From Abdul Momin:

    The Good News:
    CII refuses review on recommendations

    Islamabad: The Council for Islamic Ideology, sticking to its guns on its recommendations for proposed reforms in the Muslim Family Laws, said there is no need of a second review.

    ‘Recommendations were prepared and finalized after extensive discussions within the council in accordance with the concept, teachings and injunctions of Islam,’ said Director General Research CII Dr. Syed Nasir Zaidi.

    There is no need to make a review on these recommendations, he said adding that minimum eight members of the council have already supported the recommendations for changes in family laws. ‘It is up to the parliament to legislate it or not, as far as CII is concerned it has finalized the recommendations,’ he said.

    The BAD “News”

    The recommendations have sparked a row as religious scholars and political parties are criticizing the Council for Islamic Ideology of ‘misinterpreting’ the Islamic Shariat laws.

    The religious-political parties including Jamaat Islami, Jamiat Ulema Islam, Maddaris boards and various Ulema have already rejected CII recommendations. 

    They were of the view that the Council has no right to suggest reforms against the basic spirit of Shariat Laws. They demanded the termination of CII Chairman and expansion in its composition. 

    Source: Dawn dated 11-19-08


  4. I hope I never have to learn the divorce procedures in Islam.  That would shatter me. 

    A very delicate subject I must say.


  5. Pakistani Mullahs have a history of knee jerk reactions to gain political points whenever they can.  Not one Mullah has challenged the CII recommendations to a debate in light of the Quran and Sunnah.  A few years back the government moved the weekly holiday from Friday to Sunday.  The Mullahs at once declared that Islam was under attack!  Being a business professional I found this a highly beneficial move as now our working days coincided with the rest of the world.  I ended up writing letters to the newspapers pointing out that the Quran actually seems to accept Friday as a working day and that it was also a fact that Friday attendance at Mosques had increased significantly as people appreciated a break from work, while previously they used to laze around at home.  Thankfully the government stuck to its guns while the Mullah ranted and panted.


  6. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad wrote:

    “One of our readers has raised the objection as to why the Holy Quran has left the matter of divorce to the pleasure of the husband. What he seems to be saying is that men and women being equal, it is unfair to leave divorce solely in the hands of the husband.  The answer is that men and women are not equal. Universal experience has shown that man is superior to woman in physical and mental powers. There are exceptions, but exceptions don’t make a rule. Justice demands that if a man and woman want to separate, the right to decide should lie with the husband” (Chashma-e-Marifat, RK vol 23, from page 286).

    interesting. any thoughts?


  7. Three pages later Hazrat Mirza sahib writes:

    “Besides this [by besides this he means the good treatment the husband is required to show towards his wife, as discussed by him just before], the Shariah of Islam has not placed this right solely in the hands of the husband that, seeing some defect [in the wife] or incompatibility, he should divorce her. In fact, it has also given the right to the wife to obtain divorce through the state authorities. When the wife obtains divorce through the state authorities it is known as khula in Islamic terminology. When a woman finds her husband to be cruel … [other causes also listed here] … in all these circumstances the woman or her guardian should complain to the authorities, and it is obligatory on the authorities that if they consider her complaint justified then they must order the separation and dissolve the nikah.” (p. 289)

    By the way, the quote submitted by Dr Tahir Ijaz begins: “One of our readers …”. This is not a correct rendering in the context of the whole discussion. The original Urdu words mazmoon parhnay walay nain don’t mean someone who read an article written by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad but they refer to an Arya Hindu speaker who had read a paper at a meeting raising objections against Islam as such.


  8. July 10th, 2011 at 7:11 pm
    From Zaheer Ahmad:

    What if the husband is sexually not active or refuse to have conjugal relationship with her wife. in this case what should woman do??


  9. July 10th, 2011 at 8:57 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    What the woman should do is stated in the quotation from Hazrat Mirza sahib that I gave above, i.e. she should approach the authorities for divorce. To keep the quotation brief I omitted the other causes he has given in it (except the first one) by saying: “[other causes also listed here]”. He includes what you have called “husband is sexually not active”. And since it is impossible to specify and foresee every cause, he adds: “and if there is some other reason which makes it intolerable for the woman to live with him”.

    Regarding the husband refusing to have conjugal relations with the wife, it is condemned in the Quran as a punishable offence for a man to keep his wife and yet refuse to have conjugal relations with her which is her right.


  10. July 13th, 2011 at 9:10 pm
    From Zaheer Ahmad:

    you are talking about approaching the authorities for divorce but what if her parents and other family members are forcing her to stay and live with her husband and bear the circumstances. In such situation what should she do???


  11.  
    Mr. Zaheer Ahmed posed a theoretical question about a woman contemplating divorce based upon –
     
    Scenario – “What if the husband is sexually not active or refuse to have conjugal relationship with her wife. in this case what should woman do?”
     
    Since this is a theoretical half-question asking for an advice, one has to ask more elaborating questions before one can suggest a solution e.g. why is the husband not active or why is he refusing? Are there any biological, psychological and social reasons etc from husband and/or wife side of the equation? In all fairness who is the victim, husband or the wife? But if the question is to get a fatwa then it is a wrong question to begin with.
     
    Further – “what if her parents and other family members are forcing her to stay and live with her husband and bear the circumstances. In such situation what should she do?”
     
    What are the reasons (-needs elaboration) for family members forcing her to stay in the relationship? The assumption here is that all reconciliation efforts by the individual or community have failed and there is no recourse but for the wife to seek divorce and that she is prevented from exercising her right. Further question, by what means is she being prevented from getting her divorce?
     
    Since Quran and the society give her the right to divorce, she may choose to exercise it as she deems fit, both intelligently and strategically be it by hiring an attorney, reporting to the authorities, asking for help in the community etc. etc. Besides human resources, if she believes in an all Seeing, Hearing and Knowing God, then she should seek for His guidance in her decision making:
     
    1:5. (Lord!) You alone do we worship and You alone do we implore for help.
    1:6. Lead us on the exact right path till we reach the goal,
    1:7. The path of those on whom You have bestowed (Your) blessings, those who have not incurred (Your) displeasure, and those who have not gone astray.
     
    In the scenario presented, the husband and her family supposedly are transgressors and the disbelieving people in the moral Laws of Allah which includes a woman’s right to divorce. Even though she should be invoking Allah for help for any combination of reasons, but now that she is physically and politically powerless and distressed by such disbelievers, she may seek Allah by His own words:
     
    2:286. Allâh charges no soul but to its capacity. It (- the soul) shall be paid for that which it has done (of good) and against it who has incurred (evil deliberately). (Pray,) `Our Lord! take us not to task if we forget or (if) we make a mistake. Our Lord! lay not upon us the burden (of disobedience) as You laid upon those before us. Our Lord! charge us not with the responsibility which we have not the strength to bear; therefore overlook our faults and grant us protection and have mercy on us. You are our Master, therefore help us against the disbelieving people.’
     
    Supposedly she is an actual victim, then rest be assured that if she is patiently persevering then Allah stands behind His words:
     
    22:34. … So (O people!) your God is One God, therefore you should all submit to Him alone. And give glad tidings (of success) to the humble and the submissive ones (to Him);
     
    22:35. Whose hearts are filled with awe when the name of Allâh is mentioned and who are patiently persevering in whatever (of the afflictions) befalls them, and who observe Prayer and spend from that which We have provided them.
     
    P.S. The above verses are the excerpted general principles assuring guidance, help and recourse, whereas there are further elaborations in Quran for the distressful human dynamics. Please read the Quran. Because for such a reader these questions will not arise to begin with as answer will be found in contemplation alone. But there is no harm in seeking counsel. But no fatwas please.


  12. July 14th, 2011 at 12:14 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    If Mr Zaheer Ahmad’s question is about a hypothetical case, then we can only answer by stating what provisions the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet have made for wives. The Holy Quran says:

    “…retain them in kindness or set them free with kindness and retain them not for injury so that you exceed the limits. And whoever does this, he indeed wrongs his own soul. And take not Allah’s messages for a mockery” – 2:231, and see also 2:229.

    This is the clearest instruction that the wife must be treated with kindness under all circumstances, whether she remains in marriage to you or is divorced.

    If his question is about a real case, in which she cannot access the rights granted by Islam, then any advice would depend on the actual circumstances, such as which country she lives in, what is the law of that country, etc.


  13. July 14th, 2011 at 6:23 pm
    From Zaheer Ahmad:

    I am talking abt the actual case. She is living in faisalabad and its been more than seven months for her marriage.


  14. July 16th, 2011 at 4:21 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    We can only advise that, firstly, you remind those committing the injustice of the teachings of Islam about the treatment of wives, and pray that they mend their ways. Secondly, you could seek the help of the wider family and society to bring about a resolution. Thirdly, you should explore whether the law of the country can be used, through police or the courts, to end the injustice.


  15. It is still somewhat troubling if the Promised Messiah said "The answer is that  men and women are not equal. Universal experience has shown that man is superior to woman".

    I hope the Lahoris have an answer for this.


  16. Firstly, the general Muslims should be asked whether their scholars hold this opinion or not. If their scholars have been saying this for centuries till today, then Regis's objection is equally against them. At least the Promised Messiah accepted the right of the wife to obtain divorce, a right which the general Ulama never used to accept. Secondly, Lahoris are not the only followers of the Promised Messiah. Why shouldn't Qadianis be asked to answer this question? After all, it was a member of the Qadiani Jamaat (T. Ijaz) who posted this quote.

    Our answer is that it was not a part of the Promised Messiah's mission to make rulings on such issues (e.g. whether a man's evidence is equal to that of two women) which fall in the domain of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), and here he is in fact not ruling on this issue but answering an objection in a debate. We are entitled, on such issues, to derive our own conclusions from the Quran and Hadith.

    The position of women in present-day Muslim countries would actually improve if the Promised Messiah's opinion on divorce (see the extract which I quoted above) was in force instead of the so-called Islamic laws that are being applied.


  17. Salaam Alaikum.

    Just to clarify, I'm not a Qadiani. I'm barely a Muslim. The rampant misogyny of mainstream Islam was one of the things that turned me off what I thought was 'Islam'. Along with all the other nefarious teachings passed off as those of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

    However, reading Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and Lahori literature got me back into Islam. I started praying again. I even started to believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the Promised Messiah and Mahdi.

    Then disappointment set in again. He is such an enlightened thinker, the Lahori jama'at are such brilliant writers – including yourself Dr. Aziz. I must say that it was your books "Introduction to Islam" and "Peace & Tolerance in Islam" which kickstarted me back into Islam. I became more steadfast by reading the Maulana's Qur'an translation – edited by yourself.

    However, writing "that  men and women are not equal. Universal experience has shown that man is superior to woman" is to me deeply offensive and disappointing. I never believed in the Qadianis (they are a money making family enterprise which has besmirched the Promised Messiah's name) and Sunnism and Shi'ism are redundant anachronisms full of misogyny, intolerance and violence.

    So it is with great pain that I read the lines of a man who I thought was the Saviour. I felt so optimistic. He kickstarted the sun's rise in the West, he defended Muhammad (peace be upon him) from all the calumny passed off as 'religion'.

    I still think he is a man of great insight and wisdom. But is he the Promised Messiah? The idea that men are superior to women is repugnant. I hope to still act upon all the good things I have read from Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (may God give us strength). I just wish he hadn't said this.

    Perhaps he is a 'Uwaysi Sufi Pir who made some mistakes. I feel that the Saviour of the World (that's how I saw him) should not make such pronouncements about women. If anything, women are superior to us. They bear our children. They bear with all the sexism we men throw upon them. They should be venerated not disparaged.

    Please don't think I am here to be antagonistic. I am here as a well-wisher and admirer of the Lahore Ahmadiyya jama'at, a group from which I have learned so much and will continue to learn a lot from inshaAllah.

    Wasalaam,


  18. Incidentally, what Regis touched upon was what a friend of mine challenged me today with a reference to the following verse. I am not sure which translation he was referring to. I am quoting the translation by Nooruddin:

    4:34. Men are the full maintainers of women, because Allâh has made one of them excel the other, and because men spend out of their wealth on them. So virtuous women are those who are obedient (to Allâh) and guard (their own chastity as well as the rights and secrets of their husbands even) in (their) absence, as Allâh has guarded (the women's rights).

    A superficial (and a biased) read of the above verse will naturally give the deduction that men are superior to women. Whereas, Quran is simply stating the requisite job description of a husband i.e. full maintainers of women, which at least on the resume makes him ‘excel’ comparatively to the homemaker wife in the matters of family earnings. Quran further qualifies this ‘excel’ conditionally on the husbands if they spend out of their wealth on them. If the husband due to some infirmity (or attitude) is unable to maintain the wife and the household, and is unable to spend out of their wealth, then naturally he is not excelling in that aspect. Quite logically then the verse comes to its next natural meanings and a role reversal, if wife is the main bread earner:

    [Women] are the full maintainers of [men], because Allâh has made one of them excel the other, and because [women] spend out of their wealth on them…

    I also agree with HMGA as quoted in the thread above i.e. "that men and women are not equal. Universal experience has shown that man is superior to woman". The word ‘superior’ somehow triggers feelings which are rooted in prejudices of the yore. This relationship of ‘superior’ is no different than that of a President and the average Joe Bloe down the street. Both are equal in the eyes of the law, but definitely he President is superior in certain performance of his that is not voluntary but a requirement of the society from him. Now, this superiority is not to be misused over an ordinary citizen, which is not only voluntary but also a requirement of the law as well. Presidents cannot over-speed on the highways, but do get the right of passage in traffic.

    Even though the times are changing, but fundamentally it is due to this ‘Universal experience’ of male superiority in income, physical capacity etc. that gives stability to the family structure. A woman may choose not to get pregnant, not to breast feed the newborn etc. but still remains a wife in its true sense, whereas, the moment the male willfully stops being the full maintainer, the first epithet that gets hurled at him quite rightfully is that of a “bum” and he is no longer superior in the said matters.

    While growing as child I once heard a wise man state that a non-warranted income of a wife is lower in its blessings for a family compared to that of a husband. This was quite offensive to me as I could envision earnings of my mother, sisters and wife. Only with time I came to realize that what the man meant was that when a wife leaves the house without a necessity to work (or prove her equality), for the few dollars earned, the family loses the presence of a mother to nurture her children, take care and comfort of her husband who toils daily etc. and the home loses its essence of a home. It changes to a dwelling where different people come to sleep, eat and leave for work the next day. They are all equal but to what avail.


  19. Dear Regis, I am very grateful for your comment and for your appreciation of our work. You are obviously a seeker after truth and are expressing your true feelings about what you read. That is just as it should be. Hazrat Mirza sahib himself always encouraged people to express openly before him whatever doubt they had in their heart, rather than suppress it, perhaps out of respect or politeness.

    The Promised Messiah is not the "saviour", in that following him blindly will save anyone. He has presented the Quran and the Holy Prophet Muhammad as the saviours, and revived the forgotten principles for understanding their teachings. He taught the principles and set a direction for us. He did not have the scope to apply all of those principles in his time for various reasons. This is just like our Holy Prophet also did not have the scope to put all principles of Islam into effect in society (for example, he did not and could not abolish slavery, but taught good treatment of slaves, even though his teachings contained all the principles that lead to the abolition of slavery).

    Moreover, the mission of the Promised Messiah was limited to spiritual and metaphysical matters and to establishing the fundamental truths of religion. He sought to inspire true faith in God and spiritual matters in people's hearts for reform of their character. He did not therefore pronounce much on social, economic, legal or political issues. But Maulana Muhammad Ali did pronounce on such issues (for example in his book 'The Religion of Islam'), following the principles of understanding the teachings of Islam as revived by Hazrat Mirza sahib.

    A prominent Lahore Ahmadiyya scholar once wrote:

    "However, if Hazrat Mirza sahib had exhausted the knowledge of the Holy Quran and the arguments on the truth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, he would have deprived us of the pleasure of research and investigation, and even closed the way for us to express our love for the Holy Prophet. But these people do not come in order to close down human thinking and reflection; rather, they come to make these mental faculties even sharper and more radiant."

    Then note that Hazrat Mirza sahib is here replying to a number of malicious allegations against Islam by the virulent, anti-Islamic Arya Samaj which was aiming only to spread hatred against Islam. This is why he adds here (unfortunately left out by T. Ijaz) that this objection is being raised by an Arya, who themselves believe that for salvation it is essential for a man to have a son, and that having even a hundred daughters does not suffice as much as one son: "according to the Arya religion a son has been preferred to a daughter so much that a daughter in terms of her value and status is not even one-hundredth of that of a son", he writes. So if Hazrat Mirza sahib, in debate, shows that the commonly-held Muslim view is vastly better than this, then he has answered the Arya's objection. Such a debate is not the place to deal with the subject of women in Islam as such.

    Then I would also ask this. At the time (1908) when he wrote: "men and women are not equal. Universal experience has shown that man is superior to woman", did the "advanced" opponents of Islam disagree with this statement? Very few people in the West disagreed with it. Nowhere in the Western countries did women have the right to vote equally with men. In fact I humbly submit that his statement would have caused little offence anywhere in the world prior to the Second World War. So what happens if some other statement by him, which is widely accepted at present, causes offence to our grand-children? Indeed, what happens if some statement by us is found to be offensive in a hundred years?


  20. Salaam Alaikum,

    Thank you both for your responses.

    Ikram,

    I like what you said about ‘superiority’ being the requirement of society. There’s definitely food for thought here. Had the Promised Messiah said, “men and women do not have equal responsibilities. Universal experience has shown that the man has greater responsibilities, for example the requirement to maintain all the women in his family” I would not have been so upset by his words. I could have accepted this mode of thinking as well-intentioned.

    I don’t speak Urdu. I wonder if the Urdu meaning is closer to the explanation which you have given.

    Dr. Aziz,

    I think this is where I went awry. Traditional Islam has always hyped the Mahdi and Messiah to be ‘Saviours’. One of the many great things about Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is that he did away with a lot of ‘spookism’, for example regarding the nature of the jinn, the angels and Jesus’ return (peace be upon him). So perhaps I need to rethink what a Mahdi or Messiah is. I would still find it very hard to accept a Mahdi or Messiah who would make such a blunt, blanket statement about women.

    It is not quite true that no Western countries had enfranchised women in 1908. Australia [1902] and NZ [1893] (both within the British Empire) had already granted women the right to vote but I accept that discrimination against women was the norm in those days and to a large extent still is, not least within the ummah.

    It isn’t, however, a ‘universal experience’. There have always been matriarchal societies and research shows that our origins in hunter-gatherer societies were matriarchal (for example see Engels, ‘The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State’).

    I’m sure that some (maybe a lot) of what I say and do will be offensive to future generations. Perhaps meat eating will be considered abhorrent in the future. However I’m not the Promised Messiah. I have no great insight into anything. I am a student not a teacher.

    That’s why it’s dispiriting. I love Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The time was right, his explanations make sense. He identified Gog and Magog, he showed the way. His reach and influence is enormous.  Whenever I read his writing I am always amazed. His teaching is positive and uplifting – and it is simply Islam. As Hazrat sahib said, if he didn’t come then someone else would.

    Thanks again for your responses. I will continue to learn inshaAllah.

    Wasalaam


  21. assalamu alaikum Regis,

    It seems that the Promised Messiah does indeed go on to say, in that same section, something similar to what you wished he had said which wouldn't have upset you so much. He writes, quoting from a verse of the Quran, "their maintenance and their clothing must be borne by the father" (2:233):

    "That is to say, it is the responsibility of men to provide all the food and clothing that women need. This shows that the man is declared the provider and benefactor of the woman and responsible for her necessities. He is as if the guardian and bounty of God for her. Likewise, man as compared to woman has been granted stronger natural faculties. This is why, ever since the world was created, man has ruled over woman … The Quran contains the order that if a man has given to his wife a mountain of gold [i.e., as mahr] by way of affection and generosity, he must not take it back in case of divorce. This shows how much Islam has honoured women. In a sense it has declared men as servants of women, and in any case the Quran orders men to "treat them kindly" [4:19], that is to say, you should treat your wives so well that everyone can see that you deal with your wife generously and affectionately." (Chashma-i Marifat, p. 275)

    Regarding when women got the vote, I wouldn't question what you say about New Zealand and Australia. But I note that in case of New Zealand women couldn't stand for election till 1919, and in Australia it appears that this right was subject to some restriction when first granted (please see this link).


  22. Alaikum salaam Dr. Aziz,

    Thanks for the update. I wish I could read more of the Promised Messiah in English. I know he wrote voluminously but little has been translated. I'm sure it would be a monumental task.

    You have assuaged my doubts a little.

    Perhaps this was Hazrat sahib's way of teaching the masses, who at the time were backward in regards to womens rights. Perhaps he was dealing with the horrific situation of men's idiotic ideas about women and trying to mitigate the excesses which result from this type of hierarchical thinking. As you said, this was the Prophet's method when dealing with slavery.

    This does seem to be the case – especially when he writes that the Qur'an has declared men as servants of women.

    Thank you and God bless the jama'at, its members and its work.

    Wasalaam,


  23. January 22nd, 2014 at 5:41 am
    From Rashid Jahangiri:

    Donors are Superior to Donee.

    Donors are always considered superior to donee in developed Western, Nations be it a blood donor, or wealth donor. Men are by nature donor. Their anatomy and physiology is of donor. Be it a donor who works hard and donates food to his wife or husband who donates sperm to his wife. And women is donee by her anatomy and physiology.


  24. Dear Regis, ASA. Thank you for a critical view on some of the ideas on this blog, including my own. What a refreshing shakeup. Hope to hear more of the same from you besides any new threads that you may start on this blog.


  25. Dear Regis, assalamu alaikum.

    Well I certainly wish we had contributors like you here. As to your mention of the Promised Messiah's books in English, are you aware of the ones I have translated, which are all online?


  26. Alaikum salaam,

    From the AAIIL I have only read the brilliant "Teachings of Islam". I have downloaded 'Testimony of the Qur'an' and looked a it but haven't read it yet. Same with "The Great Reformer". 

    I heard Shahid Aziz mention Malfoozat (I enjoy his Youtube lectures very much). It seems only the Qadiani section have translated some parts of it.

    Wasalaam,


  27. Regis, assalamu alaikum.

    You may like to read some of the following:

    A Brief Sketch of My Life

    Message of Peace

    Victory of Islam

    Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement by Maulana Muhammad Ali

    You may aleady know that "Malfoozat" is not a writing of Hazrat Mirza sahib. It is a compilation of his reported talks and conversations which used to be published regularly in the Ahmadiyya community newspapers, from notes which the editors copied down as he spoke. 


  28. Salaam Alaikum Dr. Aziz,

    Thank you. I will certainly read them.

    I didn't know that about Malfoozat. I know very little about Ahmadiyyat.

    Wasalaam,


  29. Our main website also has more than 30 of his books, extracts and compilation or excerpts from various books, translated in English at this link.

    Tariq.


  30. Dear Regis it was the belief of the Promised Messiah that women were of defective intelligence (his words recorded are naqas ul aql) in Malfoozat. He was speaking from a certain cultural context and observational. Nothing in Quran indicates intellectual superiority though one Hadith in Bukhari justifies intellectual superiority on the basis of Quran dictum on two women witness requirement.


  31. In support of the allegation that in Islam the testimonial rights of women are half those of men, usually verse 2:282 is quoted. If we look closely at this verse it becomes obvious that critics confuse the factual concession afforded to women over men rather than have her testimonial capacity being usurped:

    2:282. O you who believe, if you borrow debt for a future period, then you shall record it. And let a scribe of justice record it for you; and let not the scribe refuse to record as God has taught him. Let him record and let the person who is borrowing dictate to him, and let him be aware of God, and let him not reduce from it anything. If the one who is borrowing is immature or weak or he cannot dictate himself, then let his guardian dictate with justice; and bring two witnesses from amongst your men; if they are not two men, then a man and two women from whom you will accept their testimony, so that if one of them becomes occupied, then the one can recall the other. And let the witnesses not refuse to come if they are called. And do not fail to record it no matter how small or large until its maturity. That is more just with God and better for the testimony, and better that you do not have doubts; except if it is a trade to be done on the spot between you, then there is no sin upon you if you do not record it. And have evidence if you trade. No scribe shall be harmed nor any witness; for if you do so then it is vileness on your part, and be aware of God and [that] God teaches you and God is aware of all things. [Free Minds]

    Firstly, nowhere in Qur’ân is it stated that testimony of a woman is half of that a man.

    Secondly, the above-mentioned stipulation is only for contracts and transactions and is not for the common understanding of a witness to an event in daily life, as, for example, witness to a crime.

    Thirdly, in the big scheme of things, it is clearly a concession for a woman and her burden is shared by a peer if needed for a testimony. The woman is different than a man in that she could be occupied with issues unique to her gender, for example menstruation, pregnancy, labor, postpartum, childcare and home maker. Given her situation she may not be physically available, able to travel or bear the rigors of the court, etc. Clearly in such extraneous circumstances she has a substitute and in doing so the justice is neither delayed nor denied for the dispute. Conversely, it can be implied that if the woman witness is not occupied, then the aide is not needed.

    Fourthly, “The Holy Qur’ân does not say that no case should be decided except on the testimony of two witnesses, but requires ordinarily the calling of two witnesses at the time of the transaction, so that the deficiency of one may be rectified by the other. Cases may be decided on circumstantial evidence as well, which is sometimes stronger than the evidence of witnesses. The Holy Qur’ân itself speaks of Joseph’s innocence being established on circumstantial evidence (12:26, 27).” –[Explanatory note of Muhammad Ali in his English translation of the Holy Qur’ân.]


  32. March 3rd, 2014 at 7:31 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    It seems incongruous and rather strange that while an extra female witness is required for an ordinary agreement of debt between two people, yet in the highly important matter of whether someone was correctly reporting a saying of the Holy Prophet — a matter so vital that it could determine Islamic law itself — the collectors of Hadith reports made no distinction made between a female and a male companion of the Holy Prophet. Please see the article Women Scholars of Hadith.

    The collectors of Hadith, who employed and established certain criteria for determining the genuineness of a report, did not require two female companions to have reported a saying, while accepting a saying from one male companion. I don't think any Muslim in history has ever attached a lesser value to a hadith report on the basis of being reported by a female companion.

    There is an instance in Bukhari reporting a conflict between the opinions of Hazrat Aishah and Hazrat Umar in a certain matter. Hazrat Aishah cites the Quran in her support and her view is correct.

    The mass of women were naqas-ul-aql (deficient in understanding ) only because they were kept ignorant and deprived of opportunity of education. The same happened to various racial groups in different societies. A mention of a particular fact, and instituting some way of dealing with it while it continues to exist, does not mean that that situation is inevitable and natural and should be perpetuated.

     


  33. March 3rd, 2014 at 6:48 pm
    From Rashid Jahangiri:

    People who claim that value of female witness is half of male witness and in their support they bring Hadith. They should realize source of more than half of reported Hadith is female i.e. Hazrat Aisha RA. By their logic they should reject more than half of Hadith collection. I wonder if proponent of female inferiority in reference to intelligence will accept that.


  34. March 3rd, 2014 at 10:32 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    People who claim, on the basis of verse 2:282 of the Holy Quran, that the value of a female witness is half that of a male witness could go further. They could say that this verse allows only one of the two male witnesses to be replaced by two women. After that replacement, the remaining male witness cannot be replaced by women at all, since the verse requires either two males or one male and two females. This means that even if all Muslim women in the world put together were witnesses to the contract, but there was no male, their combined evidence would be of nil value!

    Consider also this practical situation. In Pakistan it is common to see professional women (doctors, etc.) who have male domestic servants that are illiterate. Can one really say that if a completely illiterate male cook or gardener (worthy of human dignity though he is) is a witness to a written contract of debt (as 2:282 mentions), his evidence is equal to that of two women, one of whom is a lawyer and the other an accountant?


  35. As-Salaam Alaykum,

    Sorry to bring this up again but I would still like some clarification on the station of the Promised Messiah.

    Mirza Sahib says, “But the work for which Almighty God has appointed me, my function as the Promised Messiah, is that I should remove the estrangement which has taken place between God and man, and re-establish man’s connection of purity and love with his Divine master.”

    I think he did this to a large extent. ‘The Pledge’ for example is brilliant. It encapsulates Islam in 10 succinct points. I’ve been reading the Qadiani jama’at’s ‘Conditions of Bai‘at’ and it contains many bezels of wisdom that elucidate these points, from Malfuzat.

    I think we really needed a Promised Messiah, especially when one looks at the world around us and the way so many Muslims are stuck in having to justify things like child marriage, the murder of apostates, rioting over trivia like cartoons and movies, and sex with slavegirls. The work of the Lahore Jama’at proves that none of these things is Islamic in any way shape or form and I am grateful to Allah (SWT) that you exist.

    I also note the hypocrisy of those Muslims who claim persecution from the West while persecuting the Ahmadis in the exact same manner – if not worse. It’s almost as if God is holding a mirror up to Muslims, but they don’t see.

    However, the Promised Messiah’s attitude to women is very disconcerting. I know that he also said beautiful things about women but I recently read, again in a Qadiani translation of Malfuzat, this:                

    This is why men have been bestowed greater faculties than women. One marvels at the modern man who insists on the equality of the sexes and asserts that men and women have equal rights. Let these people raise armies of women and send them into battle and see the result for themselves. How would a pregnant woman discharge her duties in the battlefield? In short, women have fewer and weaker faculties than men. Men should, therefore, keep them under their care.

    [Malfuzat, vol. 7, pp. 133-34]

    The pregnant woman may not be as able in the battlefield but I watched my wife give birth to two children without pain relief. I don’t think women have lesser ‘faculties’ or are ‘weaker’ than men. They have put up with sexist drivel since the neolithic period with great patience. And patience is a form of strength as the Holy Prophet said. How many single parents are women? If anything women have greater faculties in many areas. Physical strength is only one aspect and one wonders how much is due to the conditioning regarding gender roles from the societies in which we live.

    Now if I recall correctly, Maulana Nur-ud-din did not believe in the virgin birth of ‘Isa (AS) while the Promised Messiah did. The Promised Messiah, however, did not say that Maulana Nur-ud-din was wrong.

    Could it be that the Promised Messiah was completely and utterly wrong when it came to women? Is it consistent for me to believe that Hazrat Mirza was ignorant on the matter of women and to wish that he had not made these statements, but that he is still the Promised Messiah?

    This is what I need to know because I would like to make the pledge – even if not to join any jama’at – but for self improvement purposes. I want to believe that Hazrat Sahib is the Promised Messiah but I have a daughter. How would I possibly explain these words to her? There has been a great feminist movement in Islam which has dissected and disproved many sexist ahadith (see for example Fatima Mernissi and Zeenath Kausar). Other Muslim feminists have shown that the position of women in early Islam was much greater than it is today (see for example Leila Ahmed). However the Promised Messiah lived just over a century ago. His words were not collated 300 years after his death via chains of narration, they were written down and published during his lifetime and one presumes he himself read them to ensure their accuracy.

    Insha Allah some of you have something to say on this issue.

    Wasalaam


  36. May 24th, 2014 at 2:46 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    Dear Regis, assalamu alaikum.

    Being away from my base, I will make detailed comment later. In brief, your views on the status of women are in no way whatsoever an impediment to you joining the Ahmadiyya Movement. A mujaddid has a specific mission of reform, and outside of that he can express a view with which we may differ. We need to distinguish between his teachings which his followers are required to follow and his views which he expressed. On the question of women, I think the vast majority of all those call themselves Ahmadis today would not agree, in a slavish and literalist way, with the statements you have quoted from Malfuzat.

    When in the 1930s Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote his book The Religion of Islam, in obedience to the instructions of the Promised Messiah to write such a book on Islam, he expressed what you would call more progressive views on the position of women in the chapter on 'Marriage'.


  37. Dear Dr. Aziz,

    As-salaam alaykum.

    Having read and been inspired by your work, I certainly realise that you do not agree with these views and that the Lahore jama'at is moving forward on this front, with female presidents and khatibs, and will continue to move forward. 

    I thank you humbly and look forward to your response. 

    Wasalaam,


  38. May 25th, 2014 at 6:45 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    assalamu alaikum: Your kind comments are deeply appreciated. Please pray that Allah bestows success on our Jama`at in its mission.


  39. May 27th, 2014 at 7:13 am
    From Rashid Jahangiri:

    Salam Regis,

    Please remember 'Malfuzat' published by Qadiani Jamaat is NOT book authored by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib. People heard him and quoted him. We could not be sure if HMGA was quoted correctly, and most of all cannot be sure in what context he said what.

    Regarding your comment on HMGA quote in Malfuzat vol 7, ppp 133-134, I would say NOT two men are equal, let alone women equal to men. Please tell me how I can convince my little son that his father, whom he considers a very strong man, dares not to pick fight with WWF Wrestler??


  40. Salaam Rashid,

    I don't disagree that one person might be more intelligent or physically stronger than another.

    My disagreement is with blanket statements that:

    • men have been bestowed greater faculties than women.

    • women have fewer and weaker faculties than men.

    Indeed, Mirza sahib "marvels at the modern man who insists on the equality of the sexes and asserts that men and women have equal rights."

    It appears to be your view that he is right, even if he had been misquoted.

    I do wish the jama'at well and I thank you for your input.

    Wasalaam,


  41. Salaam,

    Just to clarify, I would like to state once again that the scholarship coming from the UK jama'at is second to none. Dr. Zahid Aziz' work is absolutely mind-blowing and that is what attracted me back to Islam and kindled an interest in the Lahore jama'at.

    I had always appreciated the work of Maulana Muhammad Ali but here I could see a resurgence, a renaissance in Islamic thought, the sun rising in the West. That made me, for the first time, investigate the matter of the Messiahship of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. It was Dr. Zahid Aziz' work that forced me to have to do that.

    So I am not going to be convinced that men have greater faculties than women. Furthermore, I don't believe that this is the view of the UK chapter.

    Wasalaam


  42. And it is not just in the UK that Ahmadis seek gender equality. I note this from Prof. Henry Francis B. Espiritu of the Philippines.

    "Therefore, our advocacy for women’s emancipation and gender equity should be global, allinclusive and educative, since it is not Muslim women alone but women in general who are enslaved by sexist prejudices, patriarchal oppressions, and chauvinist discriminations."

    http://www.muslim.org/light/light113.pdf

    Surely the days of promoting gender inequality are over?

    I don't want to get sidetracked into a discussion on gender equality. I want to know how these enlightened members of the Jama'at reconcile their attitudes with those of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.

    I am one of these simple people for whom faith is a great galvaniser. Earlier in the year, shortly prior to my first question on this page, I actively believed that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was the Messiah. My entire life picked up, I was filled with hope, optimism and spiritual joy. I felt that my prayers were sincere (Allah knows best). I was a much better husband, father and worker.

    If Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the Messiah then his ideas have real authority. If he is not then he is just another great reformist thinker among many.

     


  43. May 29th, 2014 at 6:49 am
    From Rashid Jahangiri:

    @Regis,

    In Malfuzat quote (whose authenticity and context is not determined), HMGA is talking about physical aspect of women, as compared to men.

    Women beside having different anatomy, physiology than men also have different psychology. Men are donor, men are provider, men are protector. You must have heard famous saying in USA "Who wears pants in house?" i.e. mom or dad; husband or wife. If you live in USA and pay attention to social issues in an American life, you must have noticed when men are not wearing pants in house and wives are, those are not ideal homes. I can tell you among my collegues, friends where wives work as physicians and possibly earn more income than husbands they are not ideal homes. You can feel with what contempt wives talk about their husbands. Again i am not talking exceptions here.

    BTW: HMGA believed in Ahadiths of Holy Prophet Muhammad SAWS. And more than half Ahadiths were reported by woman i.e. Hazrat Aisha RA. This proves HMGA is not questioning women intelligence.


  44. May 29th, 2014 at 12:35 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    I had noticed some time ago that in the Ahmadiyya community newspaper Badr, dating from around the life of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, there was in some issues a women's page with articles written by women. Just now, trying some issues at random I found the issue dated 16th May 1912 carrying such an article. It is by one Sakinat-un-Nisa of Qadian, and she answers allegations against the status of women in Islam which she says have been published in a letter in a newspaper in France under the name of a Turkish woman.

    Answering the allegations, she says that the basis of the command for purdah is to lower one's gaze and this applies equally to men and women, but because beauty is more of a feature in women therefore the command to conceal it applies more to her and "everything else is equal".

    Then she writes that the letter says that women in Islam cannot choose their husbands. She says: "This is false. Islam allows a woman to marry according to her will, with the advice of her parents".

    She also refers to an allegation made in the letter that the Holy Prophet fell in love with the wife of a friend and then he persuaded her to leave her husband and join him. She denounces this as a fabrication. This of course is that baseless story about the Holy Prophet's cousin Zainib. Unfortunately, and astonishingly, this story has been repeated in Martin Lings' book Muhammad, who was a Muslim scholar. Even more incredibly, this book was given the Seerat prize by the Pakistan government around 1981 and is still acclaimed by many Muslim reviewers, despite containing a story which revilers of Islam publish against the Holy Prophet to portray him as a slave of his lower desires, God forbid. (The website answering-islam also quotes the same story from Lings' book.)

    Anyhow, here we have a woman in Qadian writing an article about Islam in 1912. Hazrat Mirza sahib had no doubt died four years previously, but one cannot help thinking that his teachings may have had a role in women coming forward like this.


  45. Salaam Alaykum,

    Let me speak plainly: Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's religion works. And I see many signs of him being the Messiah: for example, the role of the Maulana Muhammad Ali Qur'an in the rise of Islam in the West cannot be underestimated. 

    No matter what anyone says, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a brilliant man. He was proved right that Guru Nanak was a Musulman. Mainstream historians are now investigating his ideas about Christ (AS). I love the way he goes into metaphorical interpretations and he always backs himself up with Qur'an.

    However I just feel that in good conscience I could not follow a man who thought men were "greater" and women "fewer" and "weaker". Sexism is not something I could ever accept. 

    That's why I hope there is some way to reconcile this situation.

    Anyway I wish you all the best. The Lahore jama'at is surely one of the greatest jama'ats that have ever risen up in the Islamic ummah.

    Wasalaam,


  46. Salaam Alaykum Dr. Aziz,

    Yes I read Lings' book 20 years ago. I didn't think it was that great. I actually prefer Rodinson's account, even though he is an atheist. It has been a while since I've read it: it too probably includes fabrications. At least he tried to put the life of the Prophet in the context of what was going on at the time.

    Anyway, even if I am unable to believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the Messiah (which is a great personal disappointment), it doesn't mean that I can't still follow his interpretations of Islam. A lot of the so-called 'progressive' Muslims are already following them having learned of them through Lahori literature.

    The thing I dislike about 'progressives' is that they seem to throw tradition out altogether, whereas Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is squarely placed in the traditional mould, while at the same time delving into metaphor – very much like Jesus Christ (AS).

    I still hope someone will provide me with that lightbulb moment and that I can believe that Hazrat Sahib is the Messiah.


  47. May 30th, 2014 at 9:52 pm
    From Omar Raja:

    assalamu alaikum to all,

    If I understand correctly, what’s being called into question is the following quote attributed to the Promised Messiah:

    “…This is why men have been bestowed greater faculties than women. One marvels at the modern man who insists on the equality of the sexes and asserts that men and women have equal rights. Let these people raise armies of women and send them into battle and see the result for themselves. How would a pregnant woman discharge her duties in the battlefield? In short, women have fewer and weaker faculties than men. Men should, therefore, keep them under their care.” [Malfuzat, vol. 7, pp. 133-34]

    For the sake of argument, even if this quote is to be taken at face value, the question that arises is what “faculties,” is being referred to?

    It can either be (1) physical, (2), intellectual and/or (3) moral/spiritual.

    Let’s say he is only referring to the physical faculties of men being superior to women in general. Would you still find that offensive? Would you still label that to be sexism?

    In my mind I don't think anyone would argue that men in general have intellectual or moral/spiritual superiority over women, for even the Promised Messiah stated on record:

    “Let it also be remembered that I do not consider righteous persons whose reputation is less well known to be in any way inferior because it is possible that they may be better in the eyes of Allah than those with famous reputations. In the same way, I do not consider chaste and pious women in any way inferior to men; it is possible that they may be better than some reputable and pious men (A Plea in the Name of God, the Glorious, to Righteous Scholars, Saints and Righteous Persons of Punjab and India, July 15, 1897; from The Great Reformer, v. 1, p. 689).

    Lastly, in the memorable words of Maulana Muhammad Ali with regard to the Promised Messiah:

    "To those people who harbour ill-feeling against the honoured Mujaddid, or who fail to give him the respect and love due to such a servant of the faith, I say: Has there ever been in the world a liar and imposter who filled the hearts of his followers with such an urge for the propagation of Islam, and to whom Almighty Allah gave so much help as to continue fulfilling his dreams and aspirations long after his death? In the beginning we did not have the longing that Islam should spread in the world. It was the yearning of the Imam of the age who set us on this work, and set us on it so firmly that the longing which was in his heart was disseminated to thousands of other hearts". . . . http://www.ahmadiyya.org/m-ali/hm-influ.htm


  48. May 31st, 2014 at 9:07 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    Impressed with the reference provided by Omar Raja from the announcement by Hazrat Mirza sahib, I have made the relevant pages from The Great Reformer more easily accessible at this link. Please see p. 689, in particular the text I have marked by red lines.

    I have also extracted the original Urdu writing from his Ishtiharat, at this link.

    Here Hazrat Mirza sahib appeals to spiritual guides and recognised pious individuals among Muslims to pray to Allah as to whether he is true in his claims, and to publish any dream or revelation they may receive in answer to the prayer. In his appeal, he includes righteous women also, and regards their spiritual ranks, experience and evidence as of equal worth with men.


  49. Salaam Alaykum,

    Jazak Allah khair for the quote from The Great Reformer.

    That definitely clears up that he did not consider women spiritually weaker.

    And as T. Ijaz and others have pointed out his calling women "naqas ul aql" was a culturally-specific observation during a debate with the Arya Samaj and not necessarily approval of that situation.

    And yes, that leaves only greater physical capacity, and there are differences here in 'faculties'.

    I'm still troubled, however, with the phrase, "One marvels at the modern man who insists on the equality of the sexes and asserts that men and women have equal rights."

    I'm not sure what type of rights he is against women having, which modern men he is speaking of, or the context in which he said it (as Rashid pointed out.)

    Wasalaam


  50. June 1st, 2014 at 3:38 am
    From Omar Raja:

    Assalamu alaikum Regis, I don’t know if this will help or if you will find this relevant, but I humbly submit to you the following to think about.

    The Promised Messiah had written:

    ‘I would advise that, instead of these preachers, writings of an excellent and high standard should be sent into these countries. If my people help me heart and soul I wish to prepare a commentary of the Quran which should be sent to them after it has been rendered into the English language. I cannot refrain from stating clearly that this is my work, and that definitely no one else can do it as I can, or as he can who is an offshoot of mine and thus is included in me.’— Izala Auham, p. 773 (Reference taken from http://www.ahmadiyya.org/m-ali/hmviews.htm)

    The person that came to prepare such a commentary, being an ‘ofshoot’ of the Promised Messiah, was Maulana Muhammad Ali, a commentary which was ‘accepted by Allah.’ (http://www.ahmadiyya.org/books/m-kabir/mjk2-2.htm)

    Also, this fulfilled the vision of the Promised Messiah:

    “After that a book was given to me, about which I was told that this was the commentary of the Holy Quran written by Ali and now Ali is giving that commentary to you. Allah be praised for this!” (Tazkira, p. 21; Barahin Ahmadiyya, p. 503, subnote 3 on footnote 11) http://ahmadiyya.org/books/m-kabir/mjk3-2.htm

    In his preface to this very commentary, Maulana Muhammad Ali writes of the Promised Messiah:

    And lastly, the greatest religious leader of the present time, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, has inspired me with all that is best in this work. I have drunk deep at the fountain of knowledge which this great Reformer — Mujaddid of the present century and founder of the Ahmadiyyah Movement — has made to flow (p. I-11).

    And so regarding the equality of women and men, Maulana Muhammad Ali writes in his commentary to the Holy Quran:

    "The rights of women against their husbands are here stated to be  similar to those which the husbands have against their wives. The change in this respect was really a revolutionizing one, for the Arabs hitherto regarded women as mere property. Women were now declared to have rights similar to those which were exercised against them. The equality of the rights of women with those of men was never previously recognized by any nation or any reformer" (Footnote 2:228c).

    "The statement that “men are a degree above them” does not nullify the rights asserted in the previous passage. The words are added simply to show that the husband is the head of the household" (Footnote 2:228d).

    "The words “Who created you from a single being and created its mate of the same” only declare the unity of the human race and the equality of the male and the female" (Footnote 4:1a).


  51. Dear Omar,

    As-Salaam Alaykum,

    That really helps a lot actually. 

    Incredibly I was just reading about Ali's "unique divine commentaries" on the Qur'an literally minutes ago, from an Iranian website.

    Maulana Muhammad Ali's translation has certainly been the greatest in impact in the West working a miraculous power, and exerting expansive influence. For it's commentary to be the "unique divine commentaries" of Ali is entirely feasible.

    Jazak Allah khair to all on this page. You've helped a lot. 


  52. As-Salaam Alaykum

    I don't speak Urdu but perhaps Hazrat Mirza Sahib was talking about a situation like that of the man of modern times who insists that his wife works. Many of these women suffer a double-burden in that they have to work as well as bring up the children and even do housework on top of that.

    In a capitalist system, jobs are based on competing applicants. Together with the double burden, being pregnant on a battlefield is apt imagery. There is immense pressure on women to join the ranks of wage slaves, and the jobs in which they predominate are paid at a lower rate than those jobs in which men are the majority. 

     

    Hazrat Mirza Sahib himself experienced the alienation of work when he was involved in land transactions for his father and other mundane pursuits earlier in his life.

    As it is a man's extra degree of responsibility to be the maintainer (the 'maintenance man') he should not expect the women of the house to share in that potentially onerous responsibility. He is telling men that women should be looked after and protected. Even in hunter-gatherer societies, women worked close to home, while men went further afield for work.

    Of course if a woman should choose a career that would be entirely another matter. In this case, Hazrat Mirza Sahib is speaking of the modern man.

    Wasalaam,


  53. In continuation of what Omar Raja drew our attention to, it is pertinent to refer to the writings of HMGA where he vividly refers to his companions who would continue with his pen, even if he stops writing himself (hypothetically) or metaphorically (after his death). The published works on website http://www.aaiil.org is a testament to this claim of the Messiah. The following is an excerpt from a footnote of his book “Victory of Islam” [bolding is mine]:

    …I have descended from heaven with those holy angels on my right and left whom my God, Who is on my side, will cause to enter — and is even doing so already — every responsive heart for the accomplishment of my mission. Even if I were to keep silent and my pen refrained from writing, nonetheless the angels who have descended with me cannot stop their work. They have big hammers in their hands given to them for breaking the cross and crushing the cathedral of man-worship.

    Those who are unaware may wonder as to what is the meaning of the descending of angels. It should, therefore, be understood that the practice of God has always been that whenever a messenger (rasul) or prophet (nabi) or saint (muhaddas) descends from heaven for the reformation of humankind, there must descend with him such angels as infuse guidance into responsive hearts and draw them towards goodness. They continue to descend until the darkness of disbelief and misguidance is dispelled and the true dawn of faith and righteousness appears, as God has said:

    "The angels and the Spirit descend in it by the permission of their Lord for every affair — peace it is till the rising of the morning."[The Holy Quran, 97:4.]

    So the descent of the angels and the holy spirit, in other words their coming down from heaven, takes place just at the time when a highly exalted man, wearing the mantle of Divine office and having the privilege of Divine revelation, descends upon the earth. The holy spirit is specially granted to this khalifa, and the angels who are with him are made to descend upon all the responsive hearts of the world. Then a reflection of this light falls on all the worthy souls wherever they are found in the world, and a kind of resplendence spreads all over the earth. Due to the purifying influence of the angels, good and noble thoughts start arising in the hearts spontaneously, and they are attracted to the Oneness of God. A spirit of love for righteousness and the pursuit of truth is breathed into sincere hearts, the weak are granted strength, and a wind starts blowing everywhere to help the mission and cause of this Reformer. The working of a hidden hand causes people gradually to slide towards spiritual welfare of their own accord, and a commotion begins to arise among the nations. Then people who lack understanding imagine that the prevailing ideas have of themselves turned towards the right path. But in reality it is the work of those angels who descend from heaven accompanying the man commissioned by God (khalifat-ullah), and bestow extraordinary powers for the acceptance and understanding of truth.They rouse those who are sleeping, awaken those in slumber, restore hearing to the deaf, breathe life into the dead, and bring forth those who are in the graves. Then people open their eyes for the first time and begin to understand the things hidden from them before. These angels, in fact, are not separate from that chosen man of God. They are but the light which is upon his countenance, and the manifest signs of his spirit of determination, drawing towards themselves with their magnetic force everyone who is capable of being attracted, whether near in distance or far [from the man of God], whether an acquaintance or a complete stranger who does not even know his name. To sum up, whatever movement there is in that age towards goodness, and whatever impulses are created for the acceptance of truth, whether that urge be produced in the people of Asia, the natives of Europe or the inhabitants of America, it is really brought into being by the prompting of these angels who come accompanying the chosen man of God. This is a Divine law in which you will never find a change. It is very plain and easy to understand, and it will be your misfortune if you fail to ponder over it.

    As this humble one has come from God the Most High with the right path and truth, you will find the signs of my truthfulness on every side. The time is not far but near when you will witness armies of angels descending from the heavens upon the hearts of the people of Asia, Europe and America. You know from the Holy Quran that the descending of angels along with the coming of the chosen man of God is imperative in order that they may turn the hearts towards truth. Await, therefore, this sign. If the angels do not descend, and you fail to see the clear effects of their coming down in this world so that the inclination of the hearts towards the truth is not found to be any more than usual, then know that no one has come from heaven. But if all this comes to pass, you must then desist from denial, lest you be adjudged by God as a rebellious people.


  54. Allah (SWT) is truly the "nourisher to perfection" – something repeated in the work of Maulana Muhammad Ali and Abdul-Mannan Omar.


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