The following report was received from Mr Tahir Naeem, our
representative in Glasgow.
Every year during Ramadaan a radio station operates from
Glasgow, which is given the name Ramadaan Radio. This year
Maulana Sheikh al-hadith Amir of Jamaat-i Islami Mardan
and an ex-member of the Pakistan parliament delivered a
speech on the Finality of Prophethood. There was a question-answer
session after the speech. I tried to ask the Maulana some
questions but he responded that because his replies will
be very long, it will be better for me to speak to him personally
in the mosque. I made an appointment with him for January
21st, in the evening and I arrived there in the company
of some friends on the appointed hour.
After some time the Maulana arrived with two companions.
My first question was:
"What is your opinion about the people who believe that
Jesus died a natural death.?"
Maulana responded that he had not come to deliver a Fatwah
against anyone, however so far as Jesus was concerned we
should believe that,while still alive, Jesus was taken up
by Allah with his body to Himself and it should be a part
of our faith to believe that in the last age Jesus will
again be sent to this earth. My second question was:
"In accordance with the teachings of the Quran Allah is
everywhere. He is closer to us than our life-vein. This
being so, I cannot follow what is meant by raising Jesus
up to Himself. Jesus should be alive here on earth, somewhere."
In reply Maulana told me that I appeared to deny the miracle
of the miraj.*
[*Note: Ascension of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.]
I replied that the same principle applied to miraj. Allah
did not have to take the body of the Holy Prophet Muhammad
(peace be upon him) anywhere. In any case, by believing
the miraj to have been a spiritual experience rather than
a physical one, does not negate its miraculous nature. Maulana's
reply was whether I would give my own intellect importance
over hadith. He added that, whereas human intellect was
given importance in Islam, there are some issues whose truth
cannot be fathomed by intellect. For such matters one has
to have help from hadith. He also said that when, regarding
Jesus, Muhammad (peace be upon him) had said that Allah
had taken him to heavens with his body while still alive
and that Jesus will one day return to earth, then why did
I ignore what the Holy Prophet had said.
My reply was:
"The issue is not of believing or disbelieving what the
Holy Prophet said. The issue is whether he actually said
these things in the first place because these beliefs cannot
be supported from the Holy Quran. There are many Muslim
elders and intellectuals who believe that Jesus died a natural
Maulana said that I had mentioned Muslim scholars and elders;
so would I give more importance to the views of these scholars
or that of Imam Abu Hanifa. I said:
"No one can question the greatness of Imam Abu Hanifa but
be, too, was a human being. It is not a sin to disagree
with him. What would you say about Imam Malik."
[Note: Imam Malik believed Jesus has passed
On this Maulana became very angry and shouted: "Believe
or I am leaving." However, others present interceded and
Maulana sat down again and asked me whether I would give
preference to the views of the few people I had mentioned
and disregard the views of the whole of the Muslim ummah.
I replied that this was not an argument that religious matters
should be decided on the basis of majority. If this principle
is held to be correct then Islam could not have started
because, at that time, the disbelievers of Makka, also advanced
the same argument; further asking the Holy Prophet why he
wanted to take them away from the forefather's religion.
At this point, I put before the Maulana an English translation
and commentary of the Holy Quran distributed by Saudi Arabia.
In it, it is said that there is a difference of opinion
amongst the ummah about death of Jesus; one belief is that
Allah raised him to the heavens alive and this is believed
by most Muslims. Maulana said that I was reading the commentary.
I should prove what I was saying was correct from the translation
of the Holy Quran. I then put before the Maulana those verses
of the Holy Quran where the word tawaffa is used
to mean death. Maulana did not even bother to look at the
verses I was putting before him. He just said that regardless
of these verses, when the word tawaffa is used for
Jesus, it means he was bodily taken up to heavens while
still alive and does not mean death. On this I asked for
a translation of the Holy Quran by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi
who has translated the word tawaffa when related
to Jesus, as death but added the word "temporarily" in brackets;
this has changed the meaning of the verse. Thus he translates
verse 53 of Al-Imran as:
"O Jesus I am going to cause you to die and (temporarily)
raise you up to Me."
I pointed out that if the word "temporarily', added by
the Maulana, is deleted, death of Jesus stands proven even
by this translation. However Maulana continued to refer
me to hadith and would not touch upon the Holy Quran. He
continued to ignore the copies of the Holy Quran open in
front of him; only once did lie look at the first page of
the English translation to see whose translation it was.
I told the Maulana that if he wanted me to give the hadith
preference over the Holy Quran then that was not possible
for me. I also pointed out to him how at one time, Muslims
belonging to different schools of thought used to fabricate
hadith to contradict those of the opposite point of view.
Maulana agreed with this but he continued to give more weight
to hadith as against the Holy Quran. He continued to say
that because the Holy Prophet Muhammad had interpreted the
word tawaffa as "taking up alive with the body",
this is the interpretation that should be accepted.
Upon this I referred him to the incident when, at the time
of the demise of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, Hazrat Umar
had pulled out his sword and declared that he will behead
any one who says that Muhammad (peace be upon him) has died.
At that time Hazrat Abu Bakr had recited the verse of the
Quran which runs:
"And Muhammad is a messenger of Allah, all prophets before
him have passed away; if he now passes away or is killed,
will you then turn away".
On hearing these words, Hazrat Umar put away his sword.
Now, if Hazrat Umar had believed that Jesus had been bodily
taken up and he was still alive in the heavens, he would
have said that if Jesus can live for thousands of years,
so can Muhammad (peace be upon him). The fact that Hazrat
Umar calmed down proves that he believed that Jesus had
died a natural death, just like all other prophets. I also
referred Maulana to verse 117 of AI Mai'da which clearly
speaks of death of Jesus but the Maulana was not inclined
to accept any Quranic evidence.
Now I questioned the Maulana about the Finality of Prophethood.
Let me add here that on Radio Ramadaan in his speech Maulana
had said that because Jesus had been made a prophet, he
shall always remain a prophet. Reason being that once this
status is granted by Allah it is never removed. I said:
"You say that the Holy Prophet is the Last Prophet and
after him the door of prophethood has been closed for ever.
However, during your radio broadcast you said that Jesus
. . ."
Here the Maulana interrupted me because he had probably
understood what I was about to say. He did not appear to
want his words broadcast on the radio to be repeated. He
"When did I say this, I never said anything . . ."
I attempted to put the question again and Maulana started
shouting again that he never said anything; and he would
not let me complete the question. I then requested the Maulana
to at least let me complete my question so that others,
who were present, may know what I wanted to ask. When Maulana
realized that I was determined to ask my question, he said:
"I did not say anything, I just repeated what Muhammad,
the messenger of Allah, said. That is that Jesus was a prophet
of Allah, he is a prophet of Allah and he shall remain a
prophet of Allah. Upon his Second coming, he shall come
as a follower of Muhammad but his status will still be that
of a prophet.* He will be raised on the day of
judgement as a prophet."
||[*Note: This is exactly
what the Qadiani jamaat says about Hazrat Mirza Ghulam
Ahmad. So, both Sunnis and Qadianis believe that after
the Holy Prophet Muhammad a prophet will appear. The
Sunnis believe an old prophet, Jesus, will come. The
Qadianis believe a new prophet has appeared. The debate
between them is not whether a prophet can, or cannot,
appear after the Holy Prophet but who will be that prophet.]
I ended the discussion by saying that it was clear from
these words that Maulana did not believe in the Finality
of Prophethood because according to him the last prophet
to appear would be Jesus. The greatest benefit of this discussion
was that non-Ahmadi Muslims present realized that who accuse
us of denying the Finality of Prophethood are, in fact,
guilty of doing so themselves. They are waiting for someone
who was a prophet, who is a prophet and who shall remain
a prophet and who shall he raised as a prophet on the last
day. A Maulvi sahib present said: "Beliefs of Abdullah Yusuf
Ali are themselves doubtful"! He was referring to the English
translation and the commentary published by Saudi Arabia
I had put before them, which spoke of the differences amongst
Muslims regarding the death of Jesus. I have recorded this
discussion and played it back to many non-Ahmadi friends.
The benefit of such debates is that while they increase
our own knowledge and understanding, they also raise in
the minds of the listeners the question: "Are the matters
of faith being expounded by Maulvis in accordance with the