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May 15th, 2011

Meaning of ashidda’u against the disbelievers

“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart (ashidda’u) against the disbelievers, compassionate among themselves.” (48:29)

See here the Urdu text of a speech on this verse by Maulana Muhammad Ali in December 1924.

What Maulana Muhammad Ali has translated as “firm of heart” is variously translated as “hard”, “stern”, “harsh”. As the Maulana points out in his speech, classical commentaries of the Quran have given interpretations along the lines that this teaches that Muslims must degrade and crush non-Muslims, or that when they see a non-Muslim they should give him a very angry, frowned look “as a lion views its prey”. Some have gone as far as to say that a Muslim’s body must not touch that of a non-Muslim, nor his clothing touch the clothing worn by a non-Muslim.

I myself have read in a history book by a Pakistani scholar that the ulama of the Moghul emperors of India advised them that, according to Islam, when they see a non-Muslim they are required to turn their face away in displeasure.

The Maulana says that surely the true meaning of being ashidda’u against the disbelievers would have been illustrated in the practice of the Holy Prophet Muhammad towards the unbelievers. He then gives examples from his life of how he dealt with them, and says: Those meanings which are in the minds or are expressed by the commentators are totally wrong.

This speech seems very relevant to Muslims today, as in the modern world they have an increasing daily interacting with non-Muslims. I, for one, found this speech to be a remarkable illustration of how the Ahmadiyya Movement has corrected wrong and harmful conceptions of Islam held by Muslims themselves.

One Response to “Meaning of ashidda’u against the disbelievers”

  1. Maulana Muhammad Ali (MMA) draws attention to an important aspect of Muslim behavior which has been seeded by Mullahs i.e. harshness and sternness in daily interactions, expectantly and erroneously as a religious duty towards non-Muslims. Such pervasive attitude then naturally seeps into daily interactions towards all including their Muslim brethren, both young and old, male or female.
    One glaring aspect of MMA in his writing and speeches is that his arguments are based upon facts. His arguments then in turn naturally flow toward their logical moral conclusions.
    MMA cites many verses, of which two caught my eye:
    21:107. And We did not send you (O Muhammad!) but as a blessing and mercy, for all beings.
    The key point in the above verse is that Muhammad PBUH was sent not as a “curse” but as a blessing and mercy, for all beings.
    26:3. Perhaps you [Muhammad PBUH] will consume yourself away (with anxiety) because they do not become believers.
    This verse draws attention not to the state of “anger” but to the state of anxiety and concern of Muhammad PBUH emanating from persistent opposition to his message.
    Supposedly, if Muhammad PBUH was harsh or cursing, then these verses stand refuted by messenger himself, which is not the case. MMA quotes numerous examples where Muhammad PBUH prayed for guidance for his enemies even while he himself is facing death at their hands e.g in Taif and Uhud. He refuses to curse his opponents in Hunain. MMA quotes numerous incidences where opponents of Muhammad PBUH converted to Islam after personally experiencing Muhammad’s affection towards them.
    MMA draws forth another fine point from the peace treaty of Hudaybiah in which Muhammad PBUH agreed to return any non-believer to Makkan. That was inclusive of any reverted apostate in Medina. Thus treaty of Hadayibiah itself refutes the alleged decreed killing of an apostate in Mullah’s Islam.
    Bottom Line: If Muhammad PBUH was to hate every non-believer then lets not forget that he himself was the first Muslim of his own ministry. Following the wishes of Mullahs, he probably then would had been the last as well. Thankfully, he was then and so is now …a Rahmat-ul-lil-Alamin i.e. a blessing and mercy, for all beings by his life long example.
    On the contrary to Mullah’s way of doing things, Quran has this to say to Muhammad PBUH about his expected behavior towards his compatriots:
    3:159. So (O Prophet!) it is owing to the great Mercy of Allâh that you are gentle towards them. Had you been harsh, hard-hearted, they would have certainly dispersed from around you; hence pardon them and ask protection for them, and consult them in matters (of administration), and when you are determined (after due consultation), put your trust in Allâh. Verily, Allâh loves those who put their trust in Him.
    Similarly, for his attitude towards his opponents the Divine instructions are:
    41:34. And good and evil are not alike. Repel (evil) with that (benign and graceful way) which is best, and lo, the person between whom and you there is enmity will behave as if he were your warm-hearted friend.
    Prophet Muhammad PBUH followed like rest of Quran the above verses 3:159 and 41:34 in their letter and spirit.
    41: 35. Yet it is only the steadfast and patiently persevering who are allowed this (grace) and it is only those who possess a large share of good who are allowed this (moral standard).
    Obviously in light of 41:35 the Mullah mentality stands judged.

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