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April 1st, 2009

Dr Zakir Naik’s article ‘Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in Hindu scriptures’

Submitted by our friend Dr Rashid Jahangiri, USA.

In the April 2009 issue of ‘The Light, UK edition’, Dr. Zahid Aziz wrote an article entitled: Dr. Zakir Naik and the Lahore Ahmadiyya Book Muhammad in World Scriptures. His article is a summary of our book.

The article is available at this link.

In his article Dr. Zahid Aziz critiqued Dr. Zakir Naik’s article.

The link to Dr. Zakir Naik’s article on his website is here:

For the purposes of record and easy reference, we also provide the article at this link on this blog.

64 Responses to “Dr Zakir Naik’s article ‘Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in Hindu scriptures’”

  1. April 10th, 2009 at 12:52 pm
    From Naheeda Khalid:

    Have you heard of the recent book on the Ahmadi written by Simon Ross Valentine? It is the only comprehensive study of both the Qadiani and Lahori Ahmadi ever published by a non-Muslim and a non-Ahmadi. He writes objectively, and sympathetically, describing in detail the history, teaching organisation of the movement and, most importantly, the fierce persecution faced by the movement. In other words it puts you guys on the map. In light of the fact of so much hatred written on the internet by opponents of the Ahmadi I’m surprised you are not advertising this book on your blog!! [S. R. valentine, Islam & the Ahmadi Jama’at, Hurst & Co, London, 2008, 268pp]

    Khada hafiz

  2. April 12th, 2009 at 7:24 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    Thanks. I was one of the people that the author consulted when he was writing this book.

  3. I’m not sure sure that book puts Lahoris “on the map”.  Valentine’s heart is clearly in the right place and I support his effort to demythologize (or perhaps de-dehumanize) the subject matter, but there are in my view 3 problems with his book:

    1) It’s by no means comprehensive or in-depth. To the contrary, it’s quite light on substance or analysis, and much of the book is made up of surprisingly breezy commentary.

    2) He lacks critical distance from his subjects and fails to objectively explore the underlying theological issues, instead largely repeating Qadiani arguments  (not all of which are objectionable, but which are obviously self-interested). At times, he practically gushes about the virtues of Qadianis, which though hardly terrible thing (especially given the hate directed at them) isn’t the hallmark of serious ethnographic work.

    3) Finally, though he notes the existence of the two groups he doesn’t seem to really understand the fact that there are two competing narratives here, ie, that of the Qadianis and that of the Lahoris. He repeatedly much takes their version of the story as gospel and overlooks rather obvious Lahori/Sunni counterarguments, which is like a Buddhist writing a history of Christianity that uncritically accepts all the Vatican’s claims about the Reformation.

    I’m sympathetic to much of what he’s trying to do, but I find it more an extended essay than a study.

  4. May 7th, 2009 at 5:26 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    Simon Valentine was in touch with me, and in fact with our Jamaat in UK and Lahore, while he was preparing material for this book. He addressed one of our Sunday gatherings in London in 2003 (I think) at my invitation. He also visited our centre in Lahore, while also going to Qadian and Rabwah.

    I haven’t actually read his book, but I think he is more of a preacher than an academic scholar.

  5. I skimmed his book, it was great.   I dont remember much of it, I will have to re-read it.  I do remember reading about his trip to Pakistan, he wrote that ZA arranged his meeting at lahore.  ZA is mentioned very much in this book. 

    What I remember the most was when he described some of the young ahmadis(q).  He said that some of them bragged about, “clubbing and pulling”, and other type of “young” behavior.  He also mentioned that some of these young ahmadis(q) would visit the red light district of Amsterdam regularly. 

    Bad press for the ahmadis(q) in my opinion.  I must admit, he wrote the truth.  He also wrote another book, i think its called conscious and coercion.  I have both of the books.  I will scan them soon…..

  6. January 7th, 2010 at 10:36 pm
    From Naheeda Khalid:

    I’ve never met Valentine but I have read his books, particularly the book on the Ahmadi. Akram’s comments sadly seem to be the words of A Muslim who hates Ahmadi and dislikes writers who write onjectively about that group. It’s difficult to imagine what Akram wants to be included in the book before it can be classed as comprehensive. It covers everything! As for Aziz dismissing him as a “preacher” rather than an academic, with respect, this seems more like a patronising comment made by someone who is disappointed that a writer of merit has written critically about the Lahori Ahmadi. Valentine’s book is what scholarship should be about. You’d think the Ahmadi would be grateful for an objective study of their faith.

  7. January 8th, 2010 at 6:46 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    Dear Ms. Naheeda Khalid: I have not at all “dismissed” Dr Valentine as a preacher rather than an academic. He was a Methodist preacher.

    In the review of his book in the Daily Telegraph, it says:

    “Dr Simon Ross Valentine, a Methodist preacher and schoolteacher, spent 18 months living among the Ahmadi in Bradford. ”

    In the Foreword to his book, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali writes: “He has, moreover, adopted the approach of a participant observer”.

    When Dr Valentine was writing this book he consulted me several times to check his presentation of the Lahore Ahmadi beliefs. He told me that his book is not an academic or theological analysis of the Ahmadiyya movement but a descriptive one of what he observed people doing and believing.

    At my invitation he came and addressed our U.K. Jamaat (I think in 2003). He expressed sympathy for the Muslim world in view of the forthcoming war in Iraq. He gave his talk in the manner in which sermons are preached from pulpits, as that is his way. (I am merely describing this, not criticising it.)

    I think you have misunderstood how I used the terms “preacher” and “academic”. These were meant in a literal sense, not a judgmental one.

    I have high respect for him and for the great efforts efforts he made in producing this book.

  8. January 9th, 2010 at 7:38 pm
    From Naheeda Khalid:

    Dear Aziz, thanks for the clarification but wouldn’t it be better not describing someone as “more of a preacher than an academic scholar” if you don’t actually mean that? I can’t believe that you are Ahmadi [and you are mentioned – and praised – several times in the book] yet you actually confess to not having read it! Can I respectfully suggest you read it and then you’ll see how unfounded Akram’s comments are and what a fine scholar Valentine is?

  9. Note by Blog admin: Chronological crossover. Akram had submitted this post before I published the one above from Naheeda Khalid which calls his earlier comments as “unfounded”. So it is not a direct reply to it but to the previous one. — Zahid Aziz.


    I think my point has been misunderstood, perhaps because I couched it partly in academic jargon.

    I am grateful for Dr. Valentine’s humane and sympathetic approach to communities that are routinely subjected to vicious prejudice and disinformation in the name of Islam, and usually without so much as peep of protest from mainstream Islamic scholars frankly.

    The book is valuable and begins the process of filling a vacuum in the literature, but IMO its effectiveness is undermined by the two issues I raised:

    1) It relies overly on one faction’s definitions and narrative to explore a complex controversy for which at least 3 schools of thought (the “mainstream” Muslim critics, Qadianis and the Lahoris) exist and have a large literature supporting them, and perhaps most critically without explaining the reasons for his doing so. If Dr. Valentine has reason to believe that the Qadiani Ahmadis got the numerous disputed historical and theological questions right, I’m fine with that provided he makes an attempt to explain how he arrived at this conclusion. This undermines its historical value.

    2) It occasionally veers from ethnography into what could almost be termed cheer leading. This makes it less convincing as sociological research, as well.

    In short, methodologically it’s not entirely sound either as history or as sociology, in my view. Which is very sad, as its basic message that Ahmadis (Qadianis really, since he doesn’t deal with the Lahore jamaat) are not the cartoon villains they are so often made out to be in the Muslim world is true and in need of wider dissemination.

    I don’t like to be critical of a book that is clearly so well intended and is very useful in some ways, but it has significant flaws, I’m afraid. Studies in young disciplines often do.

    So as appreciative as I am of his work, one must point out its scholarly shortcomings, especially given that some of them they happen to reinforce a widespread myopia in the scholarly community (i.e., uncritically one factions’ inevitably somewhat self-serving narrative at face value). That’s how the field advances.

  10. Dear sister, I am not in the least devaluing Dr Valentine’s worthy book and his efforts. I am only indicating the category in which the book falls, i.e. it is a “popular” reading rather than an analytic one, as aimed at by the author himself.

  11. February 5th, 2010 at 10:24 pm
    From Dr Simon Ross Valentine:

    Dear Aziz and Naheeda, regularly checking this blog I was intrigued by your debate on me and my book on the Ahmadi. I thank you both for your praiseworthy comments and respectfully ask can I clarify one or two points.

    Firstly, concerning Akram, everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect his. However I think Naheeda was correct when she questioned whether he had actually read the book he was criticising. 

    Unlike other books on the Ahmadi [and there are very few of them written by non-Ahmadi or other Muslims] there is a sizeable section on the Lahori Ahmadi, a section out of all proportion to the very small size of the movement. Despite Akram’s claim, the book certainly does put the Lahori Ahmadi “on the map”.

    The reviews I’ve had from learned journals etc, and requests by different departments in colleges around the world to use the book in their reading lists, confirms to me that the book, covering the history, beliefs, practice, ritual, missionary methods and aims, and the persecution they face, clearly shows that the book IS comprehensive in nature.

    I find it confusing that Akram says I lack “critical distance” and I “practically gush about the virtues of the Qadianis”. Again, it raises the question whether he has actually read the book.  Certain Ahmadi leaders, such as Dr Bari Malik at Bradford, England, is just one of many Ahmadi leaders who has told other Ahmadi not to read the book as he believes it to be too critical of the movement.

    Rather than merely “repeating Qadiani arguments” if Akram had read the book he would have seen that all of the Ahmadi teaching is described with critical analysis. For example I assess Ahmadi teaching on Jesus and the Ahmadi belief that Jesus  died in Srinigar rather than on the cross.  I then present biblical, Quranic and archaeological evidence to disprove the Ahmadi belief. Yes, the book is objective, but it’s certainly not un-critical.

    Akram’s comments that I fail to see “two competing narratives” between the Qadiani and Lahori Ahmadi seems to indicate that he is a Lahori Ahmadi frustrated that I’ve not given the same space in the book to his group as I did to the Qadiani, and also that I wrote objectively, rather than “destructively”, about Qadiani teaching which he would regard as zindique, heretical. Am I right in this assumption Akram?

    Aziz, thank you again for your praiseworthy comments. However, as a friend please can I respectfully point out one or two things you raise in these comments? You make the comment that you think I am more of a preacher rather than an academic on the basis that I spoke in a simple way when I addressed your masjid in London and the gathering at Lahore. Can I remind you that obviously, when speaking to ordinary people in a mosque [as Piaget would suggest] part of being a lecturer or public speaker is to have the ability to pitch the talk to the level of those listening which I did on the occasions you refer to.  “My way”, as you say, is to keep it simple in the right context, and to lecture when in an academic context. If you had asked me to give an “academic” lecture I would have done so. I pitched the brief talks to the level of the audience. Possibly if you read the book – as Naheed points out – you will then realize that the book is academic and not just descriptive “preaching” as you claim.

    Aziz, I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you that the phrase “participant observation” doesn’t imply non-academic as you claim but refers to trained academics living amongst the people being described, and observing them in an academic way. This I tried to do with the Ahmadi.

    Lastly, I don’t remember ever saying to you that the book was not meant to be an academic book when clearly by the nature of my enquiries it was to be a scholarly work. Clearly you misunderstood me there.
    If Naheed [or anyone else] would like to contact me please do so on

  12. It is an honour for us that a scholar and writer of the calibre of Dr Valentine has contributed to our blog.  His book is a valuable contribution to the discussion on the Ahmadiyya movement. He has taken a new approach in helping his readership to understand what both sections of the movement are in practical terms. He had explained to me very clearly the approach he was taking. While that approach may have a few drawbacks, it is a valid method and all the more interesting for being different from the usual ways of analysing these issues. Not everyone is interested in deep theological discussions.

    I applaud Dr Valentine for taking the trouble to consult me and others in the Lahore Jamaat so that he could present our point of view as well. Many studies on this subject don’t include us in their scope. I believe that his book is to be much welcomed.

  13. I have read Dr Valentine’s book and agree it is a valuable addition to the discourse on Ahmadiyyat, from a non -Ahmadi perspective. As an Ahmadi of course, I don’t agree with all his material and characterizations.

    Other books I have on Ahmadiyyat from the non-Ahmadi perspective which are worth looking at:
    Y. Friedmann, “Prophecy Continuous”
    Spencer Lavan, “Ahmadiyya Movement, Past and Present”
    Antonio Gualtierie. “The Ahmadis: Community, Gender and Politics in a Muslim Society”

    The first two are truly scholarly works in style, (Lavan’s work was actually a university thesis) whereas Prof Gualtierie’s work is similar to Dr Valentine’s more informal literary style.

  14. Alright, this has taken on a life that I did not intend. In retrospect, I wish that I had not posted that comment, which was intended as an offhand observation in an internal community conversation rather than a public criticism. I was trying to provide a caveat, not write a review. And were I to write a review in a scholarly journal–something I have done in the past–it would certainly have had many positive things to say, as well, as whatever the book’s shortcomings (in my opinion) may be, it is unquestionably a thoughtful and original scholarly work. I think I came across as dismissive, as opposed to constructively critical, and for that I apologize.
    I don’t think this is the right forum for an extended discussion of my concerns, but I certainly did read Dr. Valentine’s book, closely and with great interest (as I do pretty much everything written on Ahmadiyya). While upon further reflection I now would frame them more circumspectly, I have to stand by the substance if not perhaps the tone of my criticisms.
    Now, I understand why Dr. Valentine could suspect this simply to be sour grapes by a Lahori resentful at the higher profile of the Qadiani community, but it is not. Yes, I had some frustrations with the book (partly because of how promising it was in other respects), but there are factual points here that I think require a more nuanced analysis. The false dichotomy I’m lamenting is a longstanding feature of scholarly literature on Ahmadiyya (even Friedmann’s indisputably scholarly—if debatable in some of its unorthodox conclusions—PROPHECY CONTINUOUS suffers from this failing, though to the author’s credit he noted his inability to obtain sufficient resources explaining the Lahori position on prophecy).

    Without getting into a long discussion of theology–though I will note that I am simply a Sunni Muslim; I approach this simply as a Muslim who wants the persecution and conspiracy theories in the name of Islam to end–I do happen to find the Lahori narrative more historically grounded and internally consistent, but I do not expect outside observers to take the side of Lahoris in this dispute and affirm their narrative, but by the same token I don’t expect a non-Qadiani to promote the beliefs of Qadianis, either. As I see it, that is the problem here. My hope from a neutral observer is for a factual presentation of *all* existing schools of thought on this much disputed topic.
    Having said that, it isn’t easy to be impartial when discussing this. Even the most scrupulously objective and scholarly of intentions can be undermined by the inadvertent over reliance on one group’s sources of information or presentations of the facts. I suspect these shortcomings are of that nature and, thus, quite understandable given the higher profile of the Qadiani community (not to mention the fact that critics of Ahmadiyya, like Qadianis, rarely acknowledge that the Lahoris even exist). But they still need to be discussed.
    To put this in perspective, it must be said this topic is not only deceptively complex and therefore difficult for outsiders to unravel, but a heavily politicized minefield within the Muslim community, to boot. Negotiating these claims and counter-claims and competing narratives without being co-opted to some extent by one faction in this dispute is no easy task. Moreover, it quite common among academic observers to unconsciously take the Qadiani perspective as normative and the “orthodox” interpretation of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s teachings.
    An open-minded reading of the Lahori/Qadiani disputational literature of the last 90+ years shows, though, that there have always been two competing schools of thought and that each has ample evidence to support their claim to representing the original message of the Ahmadiyya movement. Hence my comparison to the Catholic/Protestant divide–it is not easy to grasp the myriad of often unspoken assumptions underpinning each world view, and even today in our day of easy access to the works of all Christian denominations many well meaning scholarly observers unintentionally impose one side’s assumptions on the other and thus prejudicing the discussion to some extent.
    It is presumably infinitely more difficult for Western academic to do justice to a subject as far removed from Western religious life as the Ahmadiyya movement, so that there should be some conceptual shortcomings given Dr. Valentine’s background really shouldn’t come as a surprise. To the contrary–and I should have noted this in my original comment–for it NOT to have some issues, would be an extraordinary feat.
    I hope this clarifies my intent and the esteem in which hold Dr. Valentine’s book. I am grateful to Dr. Valentine for his thoughtful study and should have expressed my frustrations with certain aspects of his approach more diplomatically. It is indeed a valuable addition to the literature on Ahmadiyya and contemporary Islamic revivalism and deserves to be read widely.
    I will contact Dr. Valentine directly to share these concerns more constructively.

  15. I guess this is implied, but allow me to quickly note explicitly that my previous comments concerning what I perceive as methodological problems were overly sweeping, arising out of my desire to keep things brief. My point was simply to flag my concerns. I concede that even attempting to doing so in a cursory blog comment was probably inviting miscommunication and oversimplification.

    Dr. Valentine writes:

    Unlike other books on the Ahmadi [and there are very few of them written by non-Ahmadi or other Muslims] there is a sizeable section on the Lahori Ahmadi, a section out of all proportion to the very small size of the movement. (emphasis added)

    This neglects the fact that the influence of the Lahori group has always been far out of proportion to its size. The Lahoris never established a separate community from mainstream Muslims and, consequently, from a Lahori standpoint a person whose thinking about Islam is constructively impacted by their work is a “convert”. By that standard, the Lahoris have had widespread influence (as a perusal of ISLAM MY CHOICE shows) over the years, and one that compares quite favorably with the accomplishments of the Qadiani jamaat. Simply put, each jamaat has aspired to and excelled in different activities. There are undoubtedly far fewer “card-carrying” Lahoris than Qadianis, but I respectfully submit that this is beside the point.

  16. I have not read Dr. Simon Ross Valentine book. I do plan to read it as I find some time.
    The point not to be missed is that the essence of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib’s mission, for which he faced mountainous opposition, and elders of Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement moved to Lahore was: To establish the fact that Prophet Muhammad PBUH was the Last Prophet. Period.
    Dr. Valentine wrote in his comment: Unlike other books on the Ahmadi [and there are very few of them written by non-Ahmadi or other Muslims] there is a sizeable section on the Lahori Ahmadi, a section out of all proportion to the very small size of the movement. Despite Akram’s claim, the book certainly does put the Lahori Ahmadi “on the map”.
    I would say that the Lahore Ahmadiyya doctrine is not to save souls and increase numbers, but to help Muslims get clear understanding of Holy Quran and empower them with literature on Islam to defend and propagate Islam.
    I will consider a book by any author a fair presentation of LAM if they have written few lines that make it clear that elders of LAM decided to move their headquarters to Lahore because they wanted to keep alive spirit of HMGA mission, and to prevent corruption of its beliefs.
    Elders of LAM had to choose between saving “brain” or “body” of mission of HMGA. And they chose to save brain. Because if brain is alive body can be saved, but not the other way around.
    LAM is not in the business of increasing its “size”. LAM will be alive and kicking even if only one member is alive who can reboot server of its official website that hosts LAM literature.

  17. Worth its weight in gold – when Rashid writes:

    “LAM is not in the business of increasing its “size”. LAM will be alive and kicking even if only one member is alive who can reboot server of its official website that hosts LAM literature.”

    LAM is nothing but pristine Islamic clarity, which does not seek laurels or status of a sect for it. It is the same ideology that gave rise to likes of Marmaduke Pickthall, Muhammad Asad, Lord Headley, and Alexander Webb etc. LAM website and its literature is a resource for anyone who wants to benefit from it. It is left to its consumer to use part or whole of what LAM literature has to offer and in turn give credit to LAM or not, be it institutes like Al-Ahzar, or individuals like Waris Deen Muhammad, Ahmed Deedat or Ghamdi. In any case, the use of its ideas is fulfillment of HMGA’s mission. Peace to All.

  18. LAM’s “community” thus in a meaningful sense includes a deceptively wide and nearly impossible to quantify cross-section of people. When your mission is to change people’s thinking, a person who turns to one of your books to make sense of Islam after 9/11 is a “convert”.

    Were one to write a study about the broader intellectual impact of the Ahmadiyya movement–especially in the English speaking world–in certain important respects it would be the Qadianis who’d be on the defensive.
    These are very different paradigms and resulting contributions, so comparisons are not straight forward.

  19. It is very unfortunate that religious sects/ organizations measure their success by the size of their membership, be it Catholics, Mormons, or Qadianis.
    If size of membership was so important then HMGA would have picked 100 thousand followers group and not 5 thousands followers group, in his vision, to carry his mission. (See his vision in Izala Auham).

  20. Dear Dr. Valentine,

    A google search on your book led me to your article ‘The Ahmadiyya Jama’at: a persecuted sect’.
    I have a few comments to make. My comments follow your quotes.
    The Ahmadiyya Jama´at, an Islamic reform movement founded in India in the 19th century, … To the annoyance of mainstream Muslims, the Ahmadi teach, in contrast to the traditional doctrine of Khataman Nabiyeen (the idea that Muhammad is the seal, the greatest and the last of the Prophets) that there can be prophets, albeit minor ones, after the prophet Muhammad.
    According to Lahori-Ahmadis Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (HMGA) never held belief “that there can be prophets, albeit minor ones, after the prophet Muhammad”.
    Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement elders always held the same belief before and after 1914 that prophet Muhammad pbuh is the LAST prophet.
    The idea that “that there can be prophets, albeit minor ones, after the prophet Muhammad” is due to Qadiani Jamaat elders, especially Mirza Mahmud Ahmad.

    I feel that from the outset your article creates impression in a mind of a naïve reader that HMGA held the belief, which is held by Qadiani Jamaat. Thus reader before finding out that this belief was cause of dispute between Lahori-Ahmadis and Qadiani-Ahmadis gets influenced that “all” Ahmadis hold this belief.
    Ahmad in Al-wasiyyah [his official will], appointed the Anjuman to be his successor, a committee which established Khalifat, a succession of spiritual leaders to govern the movement after his death.
    In my opinion you have not understood meaning of word “Khalifa”. And HMGA did NOT establish “Khilafat”.
    Your quote is a wrong translation and meaning of word “Khalifa” as it is invented by Qadianis. Maulana Noor Ud Din was successor and Khalifa of HMGA. But Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was NOT successor or Khalifa of HMGA, rather he was successor of Maulana Noor Ud Din. Likewise Mirza Nasir Ahmad was NOT successor or Khalifa of HMGA, rather he was successor of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad. Since appointee of Allah was only HMGA, and ONLY successor who qualifies to be called Khalifa was Maulana Noor Ud Din. Thus it is wrong when anyone says “which established Khalifat, a succession of spiritual leaders to govern the movement after his death.”
    “[Qadiani Jamaat] has at least 10 million followers in numerous countries around the world”
    I don’t know how you came up with this number. Not that I think Qadianis are more than even 1 million worldwide. In fact during life of Qadianis Khalifa 4 their official claims was 200 million worldwide. Now you seem to be questioning the figure given by Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Qadianis Khalifa 4.
    “The Lahori Ahmadi number no more than 30,000 members worldwide.”
    I don’t know on what basis you made such a definitive statement. As far as I know, in every country Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement societies are independent organizations, and even there are more than one society in a given country. Every society caters for its needs, and finances it. Of course they get help from headquarters in Lahore, Pakistan and from each other, but they are independent organizations. This is exactly what HMGA wanted. This is the reason he allowed anyone to take ba’it (pledge) to join movement on his behalf that has trust of 40 members. LAM is decentralized organization. And no one in headquarters has ever attempted to gather census. Simply because LAM does not believe in “size” to measure success of responsibility bestowed by HMGA.
    Since the death of Ahmad in 1908 the Ahmadiyya Jama´at, a missionary movement, has established centres in numerous countries around the world but is particularly strong in America, Britain, Europe, Indonesia and Nigeria. The current head of the movement, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, resides in London.
    LAM also established missions in countries you mentioned. Most important Islamic missions, by any standard, were established in Woking and Berlin by LAM.
    Although the main bone of contention giving rise to the hostility of mainstream Muslims against Ahmadi relates to the Ahmadi teaching on prophethood, there are four main beliefs that main-stream Muslims find offensive and un-Islamic: teaching relating to prophethood, Jihad, the Khalifat and Jesus.
    You should have written word ‘Qadiani-Ahmadi’ in sentence “Ahmadi teaching on prophet-hood” and “Khalifat”, to make your point clear.
    However, although agreeing that after Muhammad “there can be no independent Prophet with a new law or code”, to the chagrin of mainstream Muslims, the Ahmadi claim there can be lesser prophets.
    It would have been nice if you had written ‘Qadiani-Ahmadi’ in sentence “Ahmadi claim there can be lesser prophets”.
    Ahmad is accepted as Ummati Nabi [a subordinate prophet] and is believed to be “Imam Mahdi and Promised Messiah who was prophesied by the prophet Muhammad”.
    You may not know HMGA has never used phrase “Ummati-Nabi” in any of his writings. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong. I’m challenging, because it is obvious to me that naïve readers are duped by Qadianis. Phrase “Ummati-Nabi” is Qadiani concoction.
    Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, aware of the need to ensure the continuance of the movement in the future, directed that “the institution of Khalifat should be established after his death”, and that “the members should elect a successor who will carry on his work and be the spiritual and worldly head of the community”.
    Once again HMGA books do not support this your statement. Readers might be in for a big surprise to find Qadiani concoctions.
    The Khalifa, who presides over the movement for life, is regarded by the Ahmadi as nothing less than the successor of the Prophet, “the true Khalifa for the Muslim world”. Therefore, all Muslims are called upon to “accept him and become united”.
    It is important to clarify that you meant ‘Qadiani-Ahmadi’ when you wrote word ‘Ahmadi’.
    Under section 298(b) Ahmadi are forbidden to refer to, or address, “any other person, other than a caliph [sic] or companion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad as Ameerul Mumineen “[commander of the faithful]; Khalifa-tul-Mumineen [Khalifa or leader of the faithful]; Khalifa-tul-Musilmeen” [Khalifa of Muslim believers); sahaabi” [companion of the Prophet] or Razi Allah Anho [may God be pleased with them]”. Likewise they could not “refer to, or address, any person, other than a wife of the Holy Prophet Muhammad as Ummul-Mumineen [mother of the faithful]”.
    Again it is important to make it clears that it’s Qadiani-Ahmadis, and NOT Lahori-Ahmadis who use titles reserved for prophet Muhammad pbuh and his family members, by Muslims, for members of their Khalifa family.
    In 1982-5 a Court in South Africa deliberated over the question: whether Ahmadi were Muslim or not.56 Certain Muslim groups, mainly the Muslim Judicial Council [MJC] of Cape Town, published defamatory literature which classed Ahmadi as kuffar. It was alleged that Ahmadi “were outside the fold of Islam” and therefore “called upon the Muslim community to ostracize members” of the movement.57 Ahmadi were also forbidden access to a certain mosque and Muslim cemetery, meant to be open to all Muslims. The Ahmadi took the matter to Court to gain an injunction preventing further publication of the offending literature. The defendants [the MJC] argued that a true Muslim, not only believed in and practiced the five pillars, but also acknowledges that “the Prophet Muhammad is the last and final prophet”. The final verdict, given by a non-Muslim Court after three years of litigation, was pronounced in favour of the Ahmadi concluding that the sect was Muslim.
    It is important to clarify here that by Ahmadi you meant Lahori-Ahmadi. As your quote can create wrong impression that Qadianis are declared Muslim by a court in South Africa.
    Dr. Valentine,
    We members of LAM feel that it is because of the Qadiani Jamaat behaviour that last 100 years are wasted to a large extent. LAM had to spend a sizeable portion of its time, energies, and finances in removing misunderstanding and clearing the mess created by Qadianis regarding HMGA, and his mission. If Qadianis had not done what they did, I’m sure Islam would have gained much successes in Europe in the last 100 years. And world would be a peaceful place today.

  21. I have not read the book by Dr. Valentine, but nevertheless would like to make a general point.  This may or may not apply to Dr. Velentine’s research, but certainly applies to the typical approach towards differentiation between the Rabwah and Lahori Ahmadis.

    Usually when talking about Ahmadis, people tend to focus on the Rabwah Ahmadis as they are far greater in number.  Lahori Ahmadis owing to the much smaller numbers are mentioned, if at all, according to the same measure.  Usually, unless very explicitly clarified, this leads to the impression that the Rabwah represent main stream Ahmadis, and the Lahoris are a small sect that deviated away from the main stream; which subsequently leads to the conclusion that the beliefs of the founder are represented adequately by the Rabwah group.

    However, the difference between the two groups regarding certain views of the founder, is so fundamental, and with such far reaching and critical ramifications, that it is absolutely necessary for any serious study of Ahmadiyya to respectively compare the beliefs of the two groups with the original writings of the founder, and form an objective opinion on which group’s beliefs are more in line with the founder’s. 

    The lack of this particular analysis done objectively, together with the putting forward of the views of the Rabwah group as they are, indirectly implying these are the same views as of the founder, greatly frustrates the Lahori group.  I think this frustration is apparent in the other posts above.   For me as a Lahori Ahmadi, it is not so much so the lack of recognition, but the fact that the twisted beliefs of the Rabwah group are presented without an explicit analysis of the conformity of those beliefs with the founder’s, possibly misinforming the audience, which is the frustrating factor.

    Of course it would be nice for some one to do an analysis of the impact  Lahore movement has had on the world of Islam in general, in regards to pioneering the translation of the Quran and presenting a moderate view of Islam based solely on the Quran and Hadith.

  22. I thought is was very interesting to note that Dr. Valentine estimated the AMI at no more than 10 million, he also estimated the AAIIL to be no more than 30k worldwide.

    I have to wonder as to what happened to all of those ahmadis who were converted….

  23. @Usman
    There is another wide spread misconception regarding LAM. Many people think that split that occurred in 1914 in Ahmadiyya Movement of HMGA, because two people wanted to become “Khalifa”. One Mirza Mahmud Ahmad and other Maulana Muhammad Ali sahib.
    This misconception is so much spread by Qadiani Jamaat that when Abdul Manan Omar sahib was testifying in National Assembly in 1974, the Attorney General Yahya Bakhtiar tried his level best to create impression in minds of NA members that both Qadiani-Ahmadi and Lahori-Ahmadi hold “same” belief and split in 1914 occurred because of “political” reasons as there were “two” candidates for the office of next “Khalifa”. According to Abdul Manan Omar sahib he rejected this accusation of Attorney General and made it clear to listeners, that there was ONLY ONE candidate for the office of Head of Ahmadiyya Movement. And that candidate was Mirza Mahmud Ahmad. And Maulana Muhammad Ali sahib’s opposition to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad election was based on beliefs.

  24. @Rashid,

    This is true.  Many times when talking to Qadianis, I have been told by them that our differences are political, and I have had to respond each time that no our differences are theological.  At times they are even surprised to hear this…I suspect the Qadiani leadership suffers from a selection bias when it comes to history of the split.

  25. When I was growing up I was told that the differences were political. I dont think I ever met anyone who was a specialist on split related issues.

    Ironically, in the beginning of 1915 , there were 4 distinct differences between the 2 groups.

    1. continuation of prophethood
    2. the implications of rejecting HMGA
    3. the interpretation of the Ismuhu Ahmad verse
    4. the exact role of the khalifa

    Since 1954 these differences are down to 2 categories, there is a 3rd in terms of the birth of Jesus, but that is very minor.

  26. The mere suggestion that a prophet, no matter how minor or ummati after Muhammad is so much repugnant, that it is a non starter within the realm of Islam.

    My understanding of “ummati prophet” is someone who while belonging to the creed of an earlier prophet, declares himself to be a prophet e.g. Jesus is ummati of Moses, who in turn is ummati of Joseph, Jacob and so on. They all happened to belong to the same race. In general the ummati prophets are mentioned below:

    6:83. That was Our argument with which We equipped Abraham against his people. We raise, in degrees of rank, whom We will. Verily, your Lord is All-Wise, All-Knowing.
    6:84. And We granted him Isaac and Jacob, each one We guided aright, and Noah did We guide before. And of his descendants, We guided David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron. In this way do We reward the performers of good to others.
    6:85. And (We guided) Zachariah, John, Jesus and Elias, every one (of them) was of the righteous.
    6:86. And (We also guided) Ismâîl and Elisha and Jonah and Lot – and every one did We exalt above their people.
    6:87. And (We exalted men) from among their fathers and their descendants and their brethren. We chose them and We guided them along the exact right path.

    The example of possible “non-ummati” prophets is:

    40:78. And indeed We have already sent (Our) Messengers before you. There are some of them whom We have mentioned to you and of them there are some whom We have not mentioned to you… [This verse refers to Zaiathustra, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Tao, Confucius, Socrates – Peace be upon them]

    Essentially, all ummati or non-ummati prophets appeared before Muhammad.

    Similarly, Quran is very clear about the equal status of all prophets.

    2:136. Say, `We believe in Allâh and in that (the Qur’ân) which has been revealed to us, and what was revealed to Abraham, Ismâîl, Isaac, Jacob and his children, and what was given to Moses and Jesus and (we believe) in what was given to (all other) Prophets from their Lord. We (while believing in them) make no discrimination between anyone of them, and to Him do we submit ourselves entirely.’

    Thus, there is no major or minor prophet. They are all equal.

    With the above distortions of minor or ummati prophet after Muhammad out of the way, Quran seals even such concocted possibilities with:

    33:40. Muhammad is no father to any man among you but (he is rather) the Messenger of Allâh and the Seal of the Prophets. Indeed Allâh has full knowledge of all things.

    No matter how Qadianis slice or dice these terms “minor” or “ummati” prophet, they clearly are denying the finality of prophet-hood of Muhammad. As is obvious in above verses, there is no credence to minor or ummati understanding of a prophethood. A prophethood is an absolute term. Either one is a declared prophet or not a prophet.

    The elephant that is being ignored in the room is that the Qadiani Khilafat is nothing but a family business franchise, which in its self-preservation has duped so many for so long.

    As Rashid mentioned above, LAM has wasted lots of economic and temporal resources to refute such allegations emanating from Qadiani concoctions about Mirza Ghulam Ahmed. But LAM has no choice. This effort has to be kept up; else the world will be deprived of the revivalist message of the Mujaddid Mirza Ghulam Ahmed.

    [The Holy Quran – Allamah Noorddin]

  27. WOW, strong words Ikram, just one point:

    Chapter 40 was revealed towards the end of the meccan period (see m ali Quran, 1917 edition). The verse that you quoted came from an era when tensions were high against the muslims. Allah gave us a hint, a first lesson so to speak.

    Chapter 2 was revealed in the earlist medinite era (see m. ali Quran, 1917 edition). After Muhammad escaped to medina, Allah gave Muhammad more info on the matter. Muslims always took the later revelations as having superceded all previous orders on the topic.

    The ideas expressed in Chapter 2 in terms of what prophets are is a defining verse. Chapter 33 Verse 41 is an attachment, an FYI, a just in case you didn’t know verse.

  28. “Surely We have revealed to you (O Muhammad) as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him, and We revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, …” (4:163)

    All prophets, whether so-called “law-bearing” or “non-law bearing”, received the same type of revelation, the revelation which a prophet follows as his primary authority. A non-prophet’s revelation is not his primary authority. Any Muslim recipient of revelation must, first and foremost, follow the Quran and the teachings of Islam as his supreme authority, and subject his revelation to them. That is why Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad never said that the death of Jesus must be accepted because of his revelation. He had to prove it from the Quran. As he himself announced, even if he had thousands of revelation that Jesus has died, they would be worth nothing if the Quran went against them.

  29. If comments by Bashir are to be accepted, then the architecture of Quran will only have temporal and linear design. Thus possibilities of abrogation and contradictions will arise with later verses.

    Whereas, Quran is one big body of laws, though revealed piece meal. The pre-existence of this whole body of logic is metaphorically mentioned as:

    85:21. This is also the truth that it is a glorious Qur’ân,
    85:22. (Inscribed) in a Tablet well-guarded (against corruption, distortion and destruction).
    [Note: this is not the last verse revealed, but Quran is referring to itself as a whole pre-existing Book]
    [The Holy Quran – Allamah Nooruddin]

    Thus Quranic Laws, Logic and Messages were not conceived and revealed on the fly needing hints earlier and expansion later. By implication, each verse in Quran stands on its own.  Each verse is not only contextually connected to the verses above and below, but it is also cross-linked with other sections far removed in location within the book and time of their revelation.

    If I am correct, then the inherent design of Quran is that of NEURAL NETWORKS. No wonder, any thread of idea pursued in the Book, expands in many directions with ever increasing clarity, non-ambiguity, contradiction and error free. Soon a drop of an idea becomes a river that is then difficult to capture and write, short of re-quoting the whole of the Book. WOW! What a design.

  30. For Ikram:

    Please explain why allah did not ban alcohol in the beginning? Why was it slowly phased out.

    FYI: It is the unanimous decision of all the mujadids that abrogation occurred. To call all of them as ignorant is very challenging.

    Is it safe to say that before 33:40 was revealed, muslims didnt know that prophethood had ended? Well, before the verse was revealed allah hadnt given us any info on the matter.

  31. Bashir, if we consider that someone follows a wrong interpretation it does not mean we are calling them ignorant. Some of your other comments over a period of time show that you view the world as binary (1 or 0, black or white). Your view is: either someone is right, or if not then they are ignorant; and if someone is right, then he is right in everything.

    So when Shah Waliullah reduced the number of abrogated verses to 5, did that mean he regarded all his predecessors as ignorant, and when Suyuti earlier reduced it to 21 he regarded all those before him as ignorant?

    Allah also did not ban slavery in the beginning or even in the end, but Hazrat Umar started trying to introduce a partial ban. And now all Muslim countries ban it!

  32. “Please explain why allah did not ban alcohol in the beginning? Why was it slowly phased out”

    This temporal question expects a linear answer. This question arises from not understanding the basic design of the Book, which itself was a pre-existing full body of knowledge, revealed and enforced piecemeal, so that it cold be digested, assimilated and adopted by its audience according to their capacity, maturity and over period of time.

    Neural Network design that was mentioned in the previous reply needs some understanding. The closest approximation of Neural Networks is that of fishing net where each knot is a node of logic, law or message. Furthermore, this “Quranic net” is not a flat two-dimensional spread, but has at least three dimensions to it, and there are no edges to it i.e. there is no end to expansion of its logic. There is no beginning or ending to its thought. Additionally, if the argument loops back to its original node after a circuitous route, it returns in a positive feedback rather than a negative feedback, i.e. the logic multiplies whenever it traverses back to the originating node. Now think of each node as a verse. Each verse is not only linearly connected to the verses in its close proximity of location and temporal revelation, but also connects to distant ones, through various combinations and permutations.

    If this intricate net of verses is in the shape of a large soccer ball, and an ant is made to walk it, it will walk in different paths and keep on walking till eternity. Its logic of traversing will be same, i.e. it will find no contradiction in it, but at each node it will find different logical pathways. In terms of Discrete Math, this ant will also recognize different logical “gates” (AND, OR, NOT, XOR etc.) on each node, which in turn by their nature are regulated by their own “state” and those of their surrounding nodes.

    To answer as to “why allah did not ban alcohol in the beginning,” think of Makkan society as an ant starting at the node or verse “Iqra bismi rabbika…” and as it traveled along the way it also comes across the following nodes about intoxicants irrespective of Makkan or Medina time periods:

    2.219 – “They ask you concerning intoxicants and games of chance. Say, `In both of them is a great sin and both are harmful too, and they have some uses for people, but the sin inherent in them is even more serious than their usefulness…

    5.90 – “O you who believe! intoxicants and games of chance, and alters set up for false deities and divining arrows are only abominations, some of satan’s handiworks, therefore shun each one (of these abominations) so that you may attain your goal. “…

    5.91 – “Satan only intends to precipitate enmity and hatred between you by means of intoxicants and games of chance and to stop you from the remembrance of Allah and from (observing your) Prayer. Will you not then be the abstainer (therefrom)? “…

    16.67 – “And (We feed you with the) fruits of the date-palms and the vine (too); you obtain from it intoxicants and wholesome food. In that there is a remarkable sign for a people who make use of their understanding. “…

    Now, read these verses in any combination, you will get the message about intoxicants without any contradiction. And add a few more surrounding verses to these verses then message about intoxicants will become part of a bigger picture and so on.

    Similarly, as the ant travels further along, it will also encounter verse 33:40 and many other verses that have been discussed before on this thread.

    The above is an attempt to explain the question posed in the light of the design of the Quran, a design that has no room for abrogation. But if the question is to question the wisdom of Allah or His messenger about why They implemented Their policy about alcohol the way They did, then They have to answer it Themselves as no one else can.  Still, Their wisdom stands valid when Arabs instead of drinking five times a day started praying five times a day. Now that is absolute wisdom!

    [The Holy Quran – Allamah Nooruddin]

    To weave a net, simply tie together many holes – smile.

  33. For ZA:

    I know that we have traded thoughts on this time and time again.

    1. Understanding the Quran is the most fundamental practice in Islam. These mujadids were led by Allah, according to all ahmadis(q&l), but somehow their foundation of study was totally incorrect? That is very hard to believe! It’s not like they screwed up one one verse. Ahmadis (q&l) believe that allah just never gave them the basics of understanding Quranic data.

    2. If allah deprived the ummah of the basics of the Quran, then what did allah give them? That should have been the first type of reform that allah created. What did they reform in Islam? Is there anything of outstanding value that they reformed? Please show me.

    3. Shah Wali ullah believed in the theory of abrogation in principle, he argued mechanics. As I have written before. We dont even know that the 5 verses were that he considered abrogated. He was also the first person to translate the Quran into persian. The AAIIL should locate his translation and view how he defined 4:157 and 3:55.

    4. The AAIIL should locate every tafsir on the Quran and show the muslim world when and where these alleged innovations occurred. In terms of:

    a. the idea of abrogation
    b. the idea that the miraaj was physical
    c. the idea that jesus physically ascended and will physically return

    ^just to name a few! Once again, I have not found any data to point towards these topics(as listed above) are in fact innovations.

  34. For Ikram:

    Nice read, its really a nice story, it sounds grrreat.

    When I study Islam i have a method, that is the use of Quran, then bukhari and muslim. Ahmadis dont use this method, hence the differences in thought.

    ^ I think that HMGA wrote in 1884 in the Braheen what his format for studying the Quran was. Maybe ZA can give us that useful reference again.

    Essentially, by stating that he (HMGA) would only accept hadith if they match the Quran, he laid the foundation of his thought process.

    This thought process was totally opposed to the consensus of opinion. This thought process led HHMGA to authenticate Kanzul-ummal as well as Dar-e-qutni.

    In 1884 I think that HMGA also denounced the idea that Muhammad physically ascended to heaven during the miraaj. Thus laying the foundation of Jesus’ death.

    Hopefully ZA can provide us with this info. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  35. Your “binary” thinking continues, when you say: “their foundation of study was totally incorrect?” I can’t see how if a person believes that the verses of inheritance abrogated the verses of making wills, their understanding of the Quran becomes totally incorrect.

    You say: “Ahmadis (q&l) believe that allah just never gave them the basics of understanding Quranic data.”

    It is not only Ahmadis. What about the other Muslims who reject abrogation, even Maulana Maudoodi?

    By the way, try reading Maudoodi’s History of the Revivalist Movement in Islam (available in English), in which he tries to prove that every Mujaddid made mistakes. In fact, that claim on his part is the basis of his book.

    2. Basics of the Quran are belief in Allah, and doing good deeds and refraining from evil out of having developed a close relationship with Him. Muslims of the Holy Prophet’s time, and many later as well, achieved personal reform of a miraculous nature, reformed others in their character, and did enormous good in the world.

    3. Verses 4:157 and 3:55 have no connection with abrogation. The five verses which he considered abrogated are well known. “Mechanics” in abrogation is what matters. It is even possible for a person to believe that God has the power to abrogate verses but that God didn’t actually do it. Is that “mechanics” or is it, in practice, a disbelief in abrogation?

    (There are Muslims who believe that God can tell a lie, but that He doesn’t do so.)

    4. That has been done quite thoroughly, although I can’t say that we have looked at every tafsir in the world.

    Other Muslims differ among themselves as to what is innovation and what is not. Do you advise them to look at every tafsir in the same way?

    (Addendum: Abrogation and the nature of Miraj are not issues of controversy that can be called dividing lines between Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis. I have never come across any mention of abrogation in any writing of Hazrat Mirza sahib, and the discussion of whether Miraj was spiritual or physical features very little in his writings.)

  36. 1. I have written before and I will write again. Maudoodi was totally insane! I will never quote him in any of my writings. This guy incited riots and was a terrible person in general.

    2. I still dont see what reform these mujadids were able to accomplish. Syed Ahmad Barelvi was assasinated while trying to gather the muslims, even he failed. Shah Wali ullah translated the Quran in persian, but thats all i got on him.

    2.a. Honestly (IMHO), the hadith that refers to mujadids only occurs in one book, i.e. Abu Daud. I would have to doubt the authenticity of this tradition.

    2.b. Also, mujadids arent mentioned in the Quran, according to ahmadi philosophy, this hadith shouldnt be accepted based on the fact that it doesnt match anything in the Quran.

    3. I mentioned 3:55 and 4:157 out of curiousity. I would be curious to read his (shah wali ullah) thoughts on this matter, even if his thoughts are in persian(a translation is needed). I am at a loss for words in terms of why ahmadis dont do research of this type.

    3.a. Almost every muslim scholar believed in MANSUKH. Even Bukhari and muslim have traditions that refer to MANSUKH. I have read the ahmadi argument for this, which is, “none of the reports go back to Muhammad”. IMHO, that is not a valid argument.

    4. I advise all muslims to study early islam, that is where the purest form of Islam exists. Those arabs spoke their own language and understood it better than we can ever imagine.

    4.a. I know that abrogation and miraaj are not HOT TOPICS in the debate between ahmadis and non’s. It’s probably because they havent studied Ahamadiyyat to the extent that I have.

    4.b. I would like to know when HMGA first discredited the miraaj (as physical). I remember that i have read that in 1891 or so, HMGA was accused of not believing in miracles. I think that this is what the muslims were referring to. I think that HMGA must have discredited the miraaj before he discredited jesus’ physical return. PLEASE ADVISE..

    4.c. I would also like to know when and where HMGA discredited MANSUKH. This would also have to be very early on. This has a major connection with jihad, as well as the nature of Islam in terms of violent vs. non-violent.

  37. I am not going to reply to your post because these matters have been covered before, and it has well passed the stage of wasting time. Anyone else may comment.

  38. For an average mortal Islam is both a subjective and objective experience. Subjective experience is something we keep to ourselves or at the most share with close friends/family/peers. Our presumed objective understanding is something we try to bring to forums like this blog.

    Then there are others who are blessed with a spiritual connection like Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, in whom the boundaries between subjectivity of spiritual experience and objectivity of the message start to blur; hence they bring both to the table.  It is then up to the audience, which part of the spectrum they want to focus on. Chances are that the acceptors will start from objective end of the spectrum of what a Mujaddid has to offer and extend their focus into subjectivity of the Mujaddid’s experiences. On the reverse, the rejectors will start and stop at the subjective end only. How one chooses to approach a Mujaddid is up to one.  It would be quite logical and fair for a new comer to be at least neutral and bite from objective end. If s/he likes it, then s/he can continue into subjective spectrum of a Mujaddid’s life to validate the objectivity claimed by the Divine.

    The highest level is that of a prophet like Muhammad where, subjective and objective boundaries merge into a single entity and there is no separating the two, just like fire cannot be separated from wood. A prophet’s life is amalgam of reason, intellect, morality and action, all blended into one. No wonder, the followers of a prophet convert by exposure from either hearing the objective message or seeing the subjective life of the prophet.

    If the above analysis holds water, then I am sorry to say that the Qadiani Khalifas have put forth nothing but subjective end of the spectrum, which primarily focuses on self-preservation.

  39. I just want to know as to when HMGA discredited two things:

    1. Mansukh
    2. That the miraaj was physical.

    I just want to read the references!

  40. 1. I can’t find any discussion by Hazrat Mirza sahib on abrogation, except that in Al-Haq mubahasa Ludhiana he writes that it is wrong to say that a hadith can abrogate the Quran because the Quran says that only a verse can substitute for a verse. Elsewhere, referring to the abrogation verse (2:106), he applies abrogation to promised decrees of Allah, which can be averted if people change their behaviour.

    2. He wrote about Miraj in Izala Auham, saying that while most sahaba believed it to be physical, Aishah was one who believed it to be spiritual, and no one condemned her on this account. He also discusses five hadith in Bukhari about Miraj, and points out that they contradict each other greatly as to what happened.

  41. ZA: thanks for the data.

    1. Did HMGA conclusively decide on what exactly happened durign the miraaj in terms of physical vs. dream. The info that you provided doesnt appear to be a conclusive statement.

    2. It appears that HMGA didnt conclusively decide on MANSUKH either. The book you quoted, is that Lecture Ludhiana?

    2.a. Did HMGA conclusively decide on MANSUKH? It doesnt appear so..

  42. I just realized something, Hazrat Ayesha wasnt even alive when the miraaj happened. How could I have overlooked this???

    Obviously she is not a witness to this, we have no idea where she got her info from.

    Also, there is not one collector of hadith who included this info into their respective collection.

  43. @Ikram

    An excellent perspective (obj vs subj).  I would add that one can take a cue from the Quran where certain verses are allegorical and certain clear.  The key is to verify the Quran against itself, so that there is no contradiction.  The allegory must conform to the clarity.  Perhaps a parallel can be drawn with the obj and subj utterances of the teachers.  May I add though that objectivity when applied to humans is a bit tricky!  This is an interesting angle and just got me thinking.

  44. Bashir says: “I just realized something, Hazrat Ayesha wasnt even alive when the miraaj happened. How could I have overlooked this??? ”

    Is it possible that Hazrat Ayeshah’s husband talked to her now and then and perhaps mentioned his miraj? I know we don’t talk much to our wives because of being online a lot of the time.

    As regards Bashir’s question about when Hazrat Mirza sahib “discredited” physical miraj, I refer to the book The Life of Muhammad by M.H. Haykal.

    Now Bashir will say: But Haykal was born after Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, therefore his views are invalid. However, please note that if someone born after the time of Sir Sayyid mentions a historical fact as to what is written in earlier books, then it can’t be rejected on the grounds that he was born after the time of Sir Sayyid.

    That said, please see this chapter of his book.

    I quote below the following from it:

    “Was al Isra’ in Body or in Soul?
    Those who claim that al Isra’ and al Mi’raj of Muhammad – may God’s peace be upon him – had taken place in soul rather than in body refer to this report of Umm Hani’. They also refer to another report by `A’ishah which says, “The body of the Prophet of God-may God’s peace and blessing be upon him – was never missed from his bed. Rather, God caused him to travel in soul alone.”  Whenever Mu’awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan was asked about al Isra’ of the Prophet, he used to answer, “It was a true vision from God.” Those who share such a view confirm their claim with the Qur’anic verse, “The vision which We have shown you is but a trial to the people.” [Qur’an, 17:60] According to the other view, al Isra’ from Makkah to Jerusalem took place in body. In confirmation of this, they mention that Muhammad had related what he saw in the desert on the way hither and add that his ascension to heaven was in soul. Others hold that both al Isra’ and al Mi’raj were in body. As a result of this great controversy, thousands of books have been written on the subject. We have a view of this matter which we shall give shortly, a view that somebody else may have held before us.”

    So if, before Hazrat Mirza sahib, Muslims since the beginning of Islam unanimously believed in a physical miraj, how could there have been “a great controversy”, and why were “thousands of books” written on it? Here three views are mentioned: both isra and miraj as spiritual, bodily journey to Jerusalem but spiritual journey to heaven, and both isra and miraj bodily.

    Haykal has given the arguments of both sides: “Those who claim that al Isra’ took place in body explain , in support of their view, that …  On the other hand, those who believe that al Isra’ took place in spirit …”

    How did two sides come to exist?

    In the English translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Seerat, it is written in the section about Miraj:

    “The apostle of Allah was in the habit of saying: ‘My eye sleeps while my heart is awake”, but Allah knows best whether what was revealed to him took place in waking or sleeping state.”

    (See this link, p. 35 of the PDF version of the book accessible there).

    So even in such an early book, both possibilities (spiritual or physical) are allowed. 

  45. ZA: thanks for the data once again. You have always beared with my questions, even though some of them have been of redundant nature.

    Interestingly enough, I acquired a book in terms of the miraaj, its a research book by Frederick S. Colby. He quotes everything that you quoted.

    1. I realised the point that Aisha was not even a witness. I realized that Aisha was not in the room where Muhammad was, how can she verify what happened if she wasnt an eye witness?

    1.b. In terms of abrogation all ahmadis use an argument that none of the reports go back to mecca. Shouldnt the same rules apply in this case? Aisha claims that the mirraj was only in spirit, but she doesnt say as to who told her this much. It sounds like her own opinion…

    1.c. All we can do is guess, maybe Muhammad told her or maybe he didnt. From the oral tradition as quoted by Ibn Hisham it appears that Muhammad did not tell her as such.

    1.d. This oral tradition from Aisha does not go back to Muhammad. Nor does the tradition as quoted by Mauwiyya.

    1.e. Please be advised, Aisha waged a jihad against a true khalifa of allah (ALI). Ali, allowed her to live, she remained on house arrest for the remainder of her life. Aisha had words with Muhammad as well in terms of Zaynab. Aisha said something to the effect that Allah gives Muhammad a revelation when he needs something. Thus, critisizing Muhammad’s link with allah. Aisha created the first civil war in Islam, or she led the first schism…

    1.f. I take all of this into consideration when I think as to who Aisha is. I also know that Mauwiyya and his sons were qicked people. The off-spring of Abu Sufyan might have only joined Islam as a means to survive. The off-spring of Abu Sufyan almost killed all of the relatives of Muhammad. How can I trust them?

    2. In the fitrst 200 years of Islam there were not 1000 books written on the miraaj. By the time of Tabari and Bukhari, Islamic thought was unanimous on the idea that this miraaj was physical. In other words by the 3rd muslim century, muslims had discredited the idea that the miraaj was “not physical”.

    2.b. Bukhari, Muslim and all the researchers did not add this into their respective collections of hadith. It appears that they were not able to verify a chain of transmittors in this case.

    3. Just like the case of Jesus’ death, there is an alternate idea. We will never know that exact truth. I think that the miraaj was physical, I base my conclusion on the 3rd century of Islam and the hadith collectors theirin and the fact that they didnt authentioate the oral report by Aisha and Mauwiyya.

  46. in 1.b. in the above I meant that none of the reports go back to Muhammad.

  47. The discussion was about whether any Muslim long before Hazrat Mirza sahib had “discredited” miraj (i.e. considered it as spiritual). The issue was not whether this view of miraj is correct, but whether Hazrat Mirza sahib invented a spiritual miraj (like Bashir believes that he invented the death of Jesus, invented the rejection of abrogation).

    Therefore the question whether Hazrat Aishah witnessed it is not relevant. She expressed the view that it was spiritual.

    1b. If it only her opinion, that is all we need to know! Also, in case of abrogation Ahmadis say there is no report traceable to the Holy Prophet because only he had the authority to say what verses constituted the Quran and needed to be followed. This doesn’t apply generally, where others are only explaining the Quran.

    1c & d. are irrelevant. The question is: Did any Muslim express the view that miraj was spiritual?

    1e &f. Again irrelevant. No matter what the shortcomings of Hazrat Aishah and Muawiyya, they expressed this view and Ibn Ishaq/Ibn Hisham reported it.

    By the way, if your assessment of Hazrat Aishah is correct, why did the collectors of hadith accept a huge number of reports from her? How did she get to be regarded such an authority that it is estimated that 2/3rds of Islamic regulations are based on her explanations? And why do hadith collections (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi), contain chapters entitled ‘Virtues of Aishah’ among their chapters about the virtues of Companions? And why is she regarded by the whole Sunni Muslim world as one of the “mothers of the believers”?

    2. You say “By the time of Tabari and Bukhari…”. Does that mean that before their time some Muslims held that it was spiritual?

    3. You say: “I base my conclusion on the 3rd century of Islam”. So when you can’t base something on earlier views, you base it on the century of your choosing. But on other issues, you keep on saying that your views are supported by the earliest Muslims.

    It seems strange that when Hazrat Umar was absolutely adamant that the Holy Prophet was not dead, and that something supernatural had happened to him, Hazrat Abu Bakr had only to recite one verse of the Quran and everyone realised that he had died like any other mortal. Yet here was a man who they believed had flown by night to Jerusalem and on to heaven in his living body!

  48. FYI: when I study Islam I use a format. Bukhari and Muslim first (after the Quran). If anyone quotes a hadith I check if these wonderful resarchers have authenticated that specific report.

    From the commentaries and history books are many hadith that dont exist in any of the 6 books, I TRY NOT TO USE THOSE REPORTS. Ahmadis dont care what the source of hadith are (see kanzulummal and dar-e-qutni).

    It appears that in the case of the Miraaj (spiritual or physical) the ahmadis have a really good argument in that the oldest history books of Islam (Hisham), it is quoted from Aisha and Muwaiyyah that their personal opinion was that Muhammad never left mecca.

    In terms of the idea that Jesus was on the cross, or that his return was anything less than physical descent, the ahmadis have no hard/direct evidence.

    My strongest point of argument are as such:

    A Aisha was not a witness, nor was Mauwiyya.
    B When muslims decided to authenticate Islam, i.e.the time of Bukhari, Muslim and Tabari, these researchers were not able to authenticate these personal opinions of Aisha and Muawiyya.

    C Aisha was exiled (by Ali) then redeemed on the death of Ali. It seems that Aisha and Mauwiyya were in some sort of alliance. She was relating hadith even though she was not a scholar like ibn abbas.

    1. In the opinion of the muslims, Allah told them about MANSUKH, see Chapter 2 verse 106. Muhammad didnt need to tell muslims, ALLAH DID!

    1c-1f. I have to think of what Ayesha thought when the family of Muhammad was totally wiped out. She was probably silent on the matter. I have to wonder why?

    My assesment of Aisha is a personal opinion based on research. She may have observed Islam in action, but she was not a scholar. She must have been very relable, the evidence that you provided is very compelling. Nonetheless, we dont know how many reports from Aisha that were rejected. Obviously the report that she gave in terms of the mirraaj were unanimously rejected by the researcheres of the 6 books of hadith. Not even Kanzulummal has the report that is in Hisham–thats a guess.

    2. Obviously Hisham reported a report from Aisha. Im not sure as to how many muffassirs agreed on this pont throughout the first 300 years of Islam. Their tafseers will have to be checked! Good luck…..

    3. By 3rd century I mean that I trust the work of Bukhari, Muslim and Tabari. I think that these guys went through Islam with a fine comb. They spent their entire lives researching. I trust them in totality. I dont pick and choose.

    3.a. I recently came across the tafseer of Tabari in english. Chapter 1 and 2 were like 1000 pages. That was volume 1. I am actively looking for the other volumes.

    3b. I think that at time of the death of Muhamad, Muslims werent arguing over Jesus in terms of his death. Muslims knew that Jesus wasnt god, nor was he the son of god, and he was not on the cross at all. And he was supposed to physically descend in the end days.

    Thank you for your time

  49. In Ibn Hisham it is also written that Ali was the first to believe. When I was growing up I was always told that Abu Bakr was the first to believe.

    See page 22:

    The first man to believe in the apostle of Allah, to pray with him t his prophetic mission, was Ali, who at that time was ten years old.

  50. Bashir: “FYI: when I study Islam I use a format. Bukhari and Muslim first (after the Quran). ”

    It is on the basis of that same format that Miraj is shown to be  spiritual. The Quran: “And We did not make the vision which We showed you (O Prophet) but as a trial for people” (17:60).

    One account says that Miraj began as follows:

    The Prophet said, “While I was at the House in a state midway between sleep and wakefulness, (an angel recognized me) as the man lying between two men. A golden tray full of wisdom and belief was brought to me and my body was cut…  and (my heart was) filled with wisdom and belief.”  (Volume 4, Book 54, Number 429).

    Here he clearly describes his state during Miraj. Moreover, the golden tray of wisdom and belief, and filling of the heart, could not possibly be physical.

    Another account in Bukhari says: “.. for the eyes of the Prophet were closed when he was asleep, but his heart was not asleep. This is characteristic of all the prophets: Their eyes sleep but their hearts do not sleep. Then Gabriel took charge of the Prophet and ascended along with him to the Heaven.” (Volume 4, Book 56, Number 770).

    This is the same as what Ibn Ishaq stated, as quoted in my earlier post: “The apostle of Allah was in the habit of saying: ‘My eye sleeps while my heart is awake”, but Allah knows best whether what was revealed to him took place in waking or sleeping state.”

    So what Ibn Ishaq stated has been authenticated in Bukhari. Even the exact construction of words in Ibn Ishaq, “My eye sleeps while my heart is awake” (tanamu `aini wa la yanamu qalbi) is found in a different report in Bukhari, but which immediately precedes the one I quoted above (i.e. it is Volume 4, Book 56, Number 669). Now isn’t that remarkable!

    Bashir can apply the same standard (Quran, Bukhari, etc.) to his “assessment” of Aishah. The Quran says she is one of the mothers of the believers.

    Bukhari has:

    Allah’s Apostle said, “Many amongst men attained perfection but amongst women none attained the perfection except Mary, the daughter of Imran and Asiya, the wife of Pharaoh. And the superiority of  ‘Aisha to other women is like the superiority of Tharid (i.e. an Arabic dish) to other meals.” (Volume 5, Book 57, Number 113)

    “Once ‘Aisha became sick and Ibn Abbas went to see her and said, “O mother of the believers! You are leaving for truthful fore-runners i.e. for Allah’s Apostle and Abu Bakr.” (Volume 5, Book 57, Number 115)

    As to her scholarship, we have the following in Tirmidhi:

    “Abu Musa said: Whenever there was any hadith that was difficult [to understand] for us, the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, and we asked Aisha we always found that she had knowledge about that hadith.”

    “Musa ibn Talha said: I never saw anyone more eloquent than Aisha.” (Chapters on Excellences, under ‘Virtues of Aisha’.)

    These are the sources about which Bashir says: “They spent their entire lives researching. I trust them in totality. I dont pick and choose.”

    Bashir also says: ” In the opinion of the muslims, Allah told them about MANSUKH, see Chapter 2 verse 106. Muhammad didnt need to tell muslims, ALLAH DID!”

    So Allah told them that there was abrogation in the Quran, but He didn’t tell them which verse abrogated which one! Nor did the Holy Prophet. So this means that Allah left it up to Muslims to choose which command to treat as abrogated!

  51. ZA: Your response is actually pretty good. I havent even began reading the book that I have that is on Mirraj. My answers might be premature. Nonetheless, here is my next response..

    Also, I hadn’t researched Hazrat Aisha in hadith as of yet. From what you have quoted, Aisha appears to be an awesome lady in terms of knowledge and repute. I still have a very critical eye for her…because of what she did against ALI..

    Almost the entire Quran is open to interpretation, although it shouldnt be. Some view the word khatam as having some type of added interpretation in 33:40.

    1. 17:60 is open to interpretation. I find it very compelling that the majority of mufassirs viewed it as physical. I havent checked the mufassirs from the first 300 years of Islam.

    2. I think the hadith that you quote in Bukhari is a collection of data, without an opinon expressed therin.

    3. The fat-e-bari is not a commentary by bukhari, I have found out that this is commentary of the Quran that is based on Bukhari. Bukhari’s personal opinions are not be found anywhere. It seems that he just collected authentic traditions.

    4. Tonight I will read the hadith by Bukhari on the matter, and post my answer in terms of what happened during this mirraaj.

    5. I agree, it seems that Ibn Hisham’s account where it speaks of “my eye sleeps but my heart is awake”.

    6. My initial response to the above is that I have heard that Muslims consider Esa ibn Marymam to be in a similiar state, between sleep and death, while he awaits his return…

  52. Tabari wrote:

    Tabari Tafsir, vol. 8, 6:

    “God caused Muhammad to journey by night bodily…..”

    Tabari relied on a hadith by Abu Hurarya to support his notions. He also used a tradition by Abu Sa’id Khudri who was a companion of the HP. Bukhari and Muslim did not authenticate these.

    Ibn Sad (died 230) who wrote a history of Islam around 220 A.H., he was a contemporary of Ibm Hisham, he wrote that the mirraj was in fact bodily.

    “Brooke Vuckowic correctly asserts that these anecdotes may well have been added in order to support the idea that Muhammad’s journey involved him actually physically leaving, asserting this point against those against those who argued for a spiritual or dream journey” (See Vuckowic, Heavenly JOurneys, Earthly concerns, 77-79)

    Colby pg. 60

  53. @Bashir

    I appreciate the fact that you always thank Dr. ZA for his time and like to go through things in detail; but you should realise that constantly making remarks about the Ahmadi view of Ahadith which are not correct, despite repeated and long explanations of the same, is now getting a bit…….irritating.  Pls. dont get me wrong here as I have surely added to my knowledge by reading your marathon Q&A with Dr. ZA.

  54. I doubt if the word “Miraj” is even mentioned in Quran. Bodily ascension is a Christian phenomenon, not Islamic.

  55. @ uthman. Thanks for reading my brother. I have learned more than you can imagine through the discussions with ZA. I always appreciate his insight, although I may disagree at times. This blog allows me an oppurtunity to investigate Islam/ahmadiyyat. Sometimes when I lock horns with ZA–that motivates me to do further research and I learn more. Without a study partner this would be harder…

    I havent perfected my knowledge of Islam yet, I have a long way to go. Sometimes I am wrong! I fully admit to that. Be advised, I sometimes write out my entire thoughts on a matter, even if they are premature.

    I have always been thankful that ZA has given me a platform to raise questions in a respectful manner.

    I actually spent much of the night reading Colby’s research book on miraaj and isra. I will post some findings later on in the day.

  56. Hazrat Aisha viewed the miraaj of Muhammad as such:

    1. Muhammads body never left mecca.
    2. Muhammads ruh(soul/spirit) left his body and travelled to heaven.
    3. Muhammads ruh was seperated from his body throughout the duration of this episode.
    4. Aisha didnt differentiate between the miraaj and the isra.

    Conclusion: Aisha did not describe this event as a dream/vision like Muawiyya did. Her account is extremely unique. She described this as an out of body experience.

    In my opinion, the only way that the spirit can leave the body is through death.

    I also noticed that there were many initial narrarators, abu hurrarya, aisha, muwaiyya, Abu Said Khudri, ibn abbas, and anas bin malik.

    Bukhari and muslim appear to have authenticated the Anas bin malik version. Whereas Tabari used the abu hurrarya/abu sa’id khudri version.

    Almost every account differs. From slightly to extremely.

  57. As far as Mujadids go, HMGA wrote:

    “God has bestowed upon me the privilege of revelation and communication and made me mujaddid of this fourteenth century. Every mujaddid is appointed for a particular mission according to the conditions of his time.”

    (See Anjam Atham, RK, v. 11, p. 45 onwards)

    Every mujadid is appointed a certain mission!!!

  58. Bashir wrote:
    >>Every mujadid is appointed a certain mission!!!

    I am not sure what you are informing us about. Maybe this thread has become too long and I have started to go in circles in my mind.

    Are you saying that you have corrected your idea of insisting that every Mujadid should have fixed every conceivable issue?

    What you have mentioned above is nothing new for us, as a matter of fact, it is what we have been saying all along. or is it one of those incomplete thoughts of yours?

  59. 1. I am highly confused in terms of the institution of mujadidiyyat.

    All the mujadids presented a Quran that was a contradicting book.

    What reform did these mujadids bring? I dont see any.

    There is nothing in the Quran which can authenticate the role of a mujadid.

    I have actually read more books about Islam and Ahmadiyyat then you can imagine.

    And remember I dont care what happened to any of these people in religion. I am neutral!

    I find these studies to be very intriguing…

  60. LONDON: Britain has banned a radical Indian preacher[Dr. Zakir Naik], who claimed that “every Muslim should be a terrorist,” from entering the country, a paper reported Friday, citing the interior minister.

    See this link.

  61. UK, India, Pakistan Muslims welcome ban on hate preacher Zakir Naik
    The Muslim Movement for the Elimination of Prejudiced Mullahs (MMEPM) welcomes the UK government’s ban on notorious sectarian and jihadi mullah Zakir Naik’s entry to the UK. The MMPEM also demands from the Indian Government to arrest Zakir Naik for spreading hate speech against Barelvi and Shia Muslims, Hindus, Christians and for also eulogizing acts of terrorism.
    See also BBC: Indian preacher Zakir Naik is banned from UK

  62. I wrote following comment on Express Tribune, Pakistan.

    Dr. Zakir Naik has memorized book : Muhammad in World Scriptures:
    by Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi
    Advent of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Foretold in the Holy Scriptures
    But does NOT have moral courage to acknowledge it.

    See earlier thread

  63. Indian Hindu Brahmin poetess Lata Haya in her poem tells about advent of Islam and Holy Prophet Muhammad SAWS in Hindu scriptures:

  64. It’s a pity Dr. Naik didn’t also plagiarise Dr. Aziz’s work on Aisha’s age.

    Unfortunately Dr. Naik has attempted to justify a 112 year old man marrying a 13 year old girl on the grounds that that Islam allows marriage to anyone from puberty onwards. (In fact, the girl was 17 according to a BBC article published a decade ago)

    Facebook seems to have pushed this video to many non-Muslims who are understandably perturbed. It has so far had over 500,000 views.

    Nice going…

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