Volume 78, Number 4
Speeches at the Islamic Convention, Columbus,
Ohio, August 2001
- Human behavior in Islam by Dr K. Ghafoerkhan,
- Why I am a Muslim by Ibrahim Mohammad, South
- Translation of Mujaddid-e Azam by Akram
- The Onward March of Ahmadiyya Teachings by
Reza Ghafoerkhan, Holland/Suriname
Human behavior in Islam
by Dr K. Ghafoerkhan, M.D., Suriname
“Whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer,
We shall certainly make him live a good life, and We shall certainly give them
their reward for the best of what they did.” (The Quran, 16:97)
And the Holy Prophet Muhammad says:
“The most perfect of all believers in faith are the best of them
in moral excellences and the best of you are the kindest to their wives.”
It is said that man is a social animal. To form individuals into a society
requires mutual responsibilities, which may be regulated by the Divine Revelations
or mere reason and common sense. The code of behavior among the individuals
in a certain society is manifested in social manners, which is different from
one society to another.
Islam lays great stress on the social and ethical order of the
society. The position of Islam in this respect is not capable of being mistaken
or misunderstood. It teaches us, firstly, that the permanent worship of God
in all the diversity and variety of actions of human life, is the very meaning
of life; and, secondly, that the division of life into two parts, the
spiritual and the material, must be bound together, in our consciousness and
our action, into one harmonious entity.
The conception of “worship” in Islam is different from that in
any other religion. In Islam it is not restricted to the purely devotional practices,
for example, prayers, fasting, pilgrimage etc., but extends over the whole of
man’s practical life as well. If the object of our life as a whole is to be
the worship of God, we necessarily must regard this life in the totality of
all its aspects, as one complex moral responsibility. All our actions,
even the ones of seemingly little importance, must be performed as acts of worship;
it has to be performed consciously for it constitutes a part of God’s universal
“Surely We created man in the best structure”
“and afterwards We reduced him to the lowest of low, with the
exception of those who have faith and do good works.” (The Quran, 95:4,5)
In this verse is expressed the doctrine that man is originally good and pure:
and furthermore, that disbelief in God and lack of good actions may destroy
his original perfection. The Quran tells us that although man has been created
in the best of molds and his nature is higher than that of angels, but in order
to reach this potential he must submit to God’s guidance and strive to his utmost.
The function of Islamic teachings, therefore, is to work with man’s
extremely complex, multi-faceted nature, with its components of body, mind and
soul and bring it under one jurisdiction, so to speak. Instead of either
denying the animal part of man or suppressing it all together, or alternatively
allowing it unlimited freedom, Islam directs and channels such needs and desires,
so that they can be expressed in a manner which is constructive and beneficial,
rather than in a random, uncontrolled manner, which can destroy man and his
society. For example, Islam does not condemn or deny man’s sexual need but insists
that expressions of human sexuality be limited to a particular use under specified
conditions: that is, only in the marital state as part of a total relationship
of mutual commitment and responsibility. Again, it takes another basic element
of human nature, the desire for gain and material possessions, establishing
such limits and directions that will keep the Muslim from losing his perspective
and becoming greedy, miserly, self-indulgent or preoccupied with material things.
Islam insists, in short, that the human being be truly human, not an animal
or a devil, who has lost all sense of perspectives in the pursuit of his uncontrolled,
undirected aims and desires. Man may retain or regain that original individual
perfection if he consciously realizes God’s Oneness and submits to His laws.
Thus, according to Islam, evil is never essential or even original; it is an
acquisition of man’s later life, and is due to a misuse of the inborn, positive
qualities with which God has endowed every human being. Those qualities are
different in every individual, but always potentially perfect in themselves;
and their full development is possible within the period of man’s individual
life on earth. In this earthly life also, the Islamic teachings definitely asserts
we — everyone of us — may reach a full measure of perfection, by developing
the positive, already existing, distinguishing qualities, of which our individualities
are composed. What the Islamic teachings actually accomplish is to make man
into an integrated, unified being, giving his life the form and direction which
its Creator wants it to have.
Let us now take a brief look at the qualities and characteristics which Islam enjoins and which it considers essential in an Islamic personality.
First of all a Muslim should be conscious and have fear of God
(taqwa) to govern all his behavior through acts of worship.
A Muslim should say what he means, refrain from saying what he does not mean,
and should say whatever needs to be said to the other’s face, rather than behind
His relations with others are not to be superficial, casual or careless, and
he is expected to interact with everyone responsibly, sincerely and in a meaningful
His first task is to fulfill his own obligations to God and to other people,
regardless of what others may do, and there if needed, try to change whatever
he sees that is wrong and evil, as far as is in his power. He is responsible
not only for his own attitudes and actions but for anything else over which
he has control or influence in the society and the world around him as well.
“O you who believe, be conscious of God and be with the truthful.”
(The Quran, 9:119)
Truthfulness, reliability and honesty, both in character and in behavior,
and the keeping of promises, commitments and trusts, are required.
The Islamic society is required to adhere very strictly
to justice in all affairs.
All human life is sacred to Muslims, and upholding its sanctity is an
Islamic obligation. Killing, except in self-defense in a righteous war, is one
of the greatest sins. Life may be taken by the State only after due process
Every Muslim is supposed to resist injustice, tyranny and oppression, both
of himself and others, by every means, with his hands, with his tongue, and
within his heart, for tyranny and oppression are grave sins and are totally
Forgiveness for personal injuries inflicted by others is enjoined. If the injured
person chooses not to forgive however, right to retaliation. But care has to
be taken that the retaliation does not exceed the injury done and is
to be upon the guilty person himself.
Respect for the property and possessions of others, as for one’s
own is required.
Marriage is very much encouraged, as it provides a permissible
and sanctioned outlet for sexual needs. Any form of physical contact outside
marriage is prohibited. Adultery, prostitution, homosexuality and homo-marriages
are not just personal sins, but also very damaging to the society as a whole.
There must be unity between husband and wife and their relation
must be harmonious and perfect. Proper care, maintenance and education of children
are strongly stressed.
Obedience, respect and kind treatment of parents, and kindly, responsible
relations with relatives, are of the greatest importance. Breaking ties of relationship
with kin is disliked.
Helpfulness and kindliness in all spheres of life and to all people
Gossiping, backbiting, prying into others’ affairs, suspicion,
violating others’ privacy, are all prohibited.
Kindness to animals and taking care of the environment are prescribed.
The slaughtering of animals must be done swiftly and in a merciful
All kinds of constructive effort for work are encouraged.
To own property, do business and to earn money are all permissible.
Money is to be in circulation through useful investment or spending.
Gaining wealth by interest, bribery or gambling is prohibited.
Spending in a reasonable manner on oneself or one’s family is
Generosity and hospitality are strongly enjoined.
Excessive love of wealth or possessions, hoarding, spending for
unreasonable luxuries and wastefulness are all prohibited.
Material things are not to become a preoccupation or one’s goal
The right of the poor and distressed on one’s wealth is to be remembered.
Enjoyment, in moderation, of God’s wholesome gifts of food and
drink is permissible The use of alcohol, intoxicating drugs and pork is prohibited.
Cooperation for doing good, enjoining what is right and forbidding
what is wrong, are obligations.
Muslims of all walks of life must feel a sense of responsibility for the state of their society and its affairs.
A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim: he does him no injustice,
nor does he leave him to suffer the injustice of another. And whoever does the
needful for his brother, Allah does the needful for him. And whoever removes
the distress of a Muslim, Allah removes from him a distress out of the
distresses of the Day of Judgment. And whoever covers the fault of a Muslim,
Allah covers his faults on the Day of Resurrection.
We should not perform acts of worship as mere rituals but we must
try to perform them from the core of our hearts, out of love for our Creator.
For we can only benefit from performing these acts of worship when we use it
to change and improve our character and our behavior in our daily life. We
all know that a person who prays and fasts but does not change his bad behavior
nor does he help anyone, his prayers and fasting will not be that successful.
So these are some basic qualities of good Islamic behavior. If
we do our best to try to live up to these basic qualities in our daily life
I am convinced that we will reach our goal and ultimately, inshallah,
we will have a community of Muslims living according to human behavior in Islam.
At the end I like
to say: Live together, do not turn against one another, make things easy for
each other and do not put obstacles in each other’s way.
May Allah guide us to the best acts, deeds and best sayings and may He accept
our striving to His right path and may He reward and bless all our
Why I am a Muslim
by Ibrahim Mohammad, South Africa
Mr. Chairman, hosts, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, allow me first
to express my thanks for the privilege and honour that have been conferred upon
me. The time at my disposal will permit me to put before you only briefly the
reasons: Why I am a Muslim!
If you look with an observant eye in the Universe around you, you
will find everything on its move to progress. Everything in its first stage
of evolution seems to possess some inherent qualities within it, which it awaits
time and opportunity to bring to fruition. It has a prescribed course before
it, which being implicitly followed, brings its latent faculties to actuality.
A distinct Rule of Law and Obedience thus seem to prevail all around us, and
is strictly observed by every atom in Nature. All these various manifestations
of Nature depend on the strict observance of the Law for their Creation,
continued Existence and Fructification. This is Islam. In these very
terms the Holy Quran defines it:
“Seek they then other than Allah’s religion? And to Him submits
whoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and
to Him they will be returned.” — 3:82
“Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam…” — 3:18
Man, being part and parcel of the same Nature, every organ of his
body follows the Rule of Law and Obedience for their very existence. In other
words, they perform their respective functions in complete submission to certain
Laws. The very minute they fail to do so brings serious illness or death. Religion,
therefore, which will suit man, must be after his own Nature, and so the Quran
“So set thy face for Religion, being upright, the nature made by
Allah in which He has created men. There is no altering Allah’s creation. That
is the right religion, but most people know not.” — 30:30
Like everything in Nature, we also have various latent faculties in us. If
a mighty oak is concealed in a little thing like an acorn, then it is well to
remember that there are thousands of things concealed in the human frame. If
a clot of blood became evolved into a beautiful human frame on the physical
plane, it also possesses things of rare beauty to be developed on mental, moral
and spiritual planes. If physical growth, out of the genital seed, came only
through observance of certain unchangeable laws, mental, moral and spiritual
growth also awaits its manifestations when human faculties work under similar
laws. To give such laws is the function of the Holy Quran. If to work out hidden
faculties of the human mind is the object of religion, then it should enlighten
us on the following things:
1) Human capabilities and capacities. 2) The way to work them out.
3) Relations between God and man for the accomplishment of the said object.
4) Relationship between man and the Nature around him. 5)
The life after death.
Islam enlightens us on these subjects and gives rules and regulations
required. I can only briefly refer to some of them here.
The Holy Quran says:
“Certainly We created man in the best of make, then We rendered
him of the lowest of the low.”
Man has been given the best of fabric. He can soar to the highest of the high,
but he is capable of descending to the lowest degradation. While everything
in Nature, beside man, has been given a limited scope of progress man’s area
of progress knows no limit.
Philosophy and religion before Islam have done great injustice
to humanity. Everywhere man was taken as a personification of every low desire
and passion; and the various notions about humanity, obtaining in different
climes and times, brought in all kinds of sacrifices, atonement and intermediaries
in different religions. The Quran claims that man has been given the best make
physically, mentally, morally and spiritually — he is born with a pure nature
and is capable of observing all Divine Laws and able to make every possible
progress. He, however, has a dark side as well. He is capable of going to “the
lowest of the low” if he does not obey the Law and do right things.
How to acquire what our birthright gives us, and avoid the degradation
which our error in judgment or wrong discretion creates in us, has been clearly
laid down in the verse next to the one I have just quoted. It says:
Those who believe in Divine Laws and act upon them will see a reward which
will never be cut off, i.e. everlasting and constantly progressing.
The true Religion, for me, should lay down before us such rules
and regulations, which, when acted upon, must bring our hidden faculties to fruition.
The way to work out these capabilities
The true knowledge of our capabilities lies with our Lord, the Creator of Nature,
and to Him we should look for our guidance. In this respect the Holy
Quran says: “On Him lies the guidance of the right path”. If such
is our Nature — a repository of innumerable beautiful faculties, a simple belief
in this or that dogma will not work out our hidden power. My mere belief in
the skill of a physician cannot cure even my headache. The only remedy
lies in a good prescription from the doctor and nothing but acting on the prescription
will restore my health. Likewise therefore, complete submission to Divine Laws,
given to us for our upliftment, is the key of all success. In order to create
in us an aptitude to observe the Law strictly, man is in need of certain lessons
and exercises of discipline. He must learn how to avoid sin or going against
the Law. The best way to create in us that nature is to create in us the habit
of giving instead of taking. If I have learnt the habit of parting with my own
possessions and giving it to others in charity, I am not likely to rob others
of their possessions. Similarly, eatables, drinks and sensual instincts, or
in one word, our various appetites, move our activities. And if we move in a wrong direction and gratify our desires with things which do not belong
to us, or which we have got no right to use, we commit wrong. But if a person
knows how to abstain from the use of even his own things when his appetites
are excited, it is less likely that he will then go after the things of others.
This self-discipline we achieve through the exercises which were given to us
in the form of what are called the “Five Pillars of Islam”, i.e.
- The Declaration of our Faith in the Most High Allah and the Prophethood
of Muhammad (PBUH).
- Alms giving.
Relation between God and man
Our knowledge or conception of God has much to do in the moulding of our character.
We know very little of the Divine Being and yet we feel that there is some Great
Mysterious Power at work behind the Universe — a Power unimaginable, inconceivable
— and yet its existence is proved by the unchangeable Laws with which it rules
every atom in the universe, and the penalties it inflicts on any breaching
of those Laws. What little we know of this Great Power, comes from our knowledge
of those Laws which bring everything in Nature into subjection. And if we tried
to clothe this Unseen Power with distinct attributes, it would be through our
knowledge of those Laws. For example, we find laws working through various minor
laws of specialization and collocation in every stage of evolution from ethereal
complexity up to the human organism. Things created are sustained and brought
to their final perfection, being looked after in every intermediary stage of
evolution under a perfect system of Laws and Regulations. They could be summed
up under three names, that is to say: The Law of Creation, the Law
of Sustenance and the Law of Evolution.
Now if the Unseen Power I am speaking of is accepted as the Active
Entity responsible for these Laws I would give this Unseen Power the attributes
of Creator, Sustainer and Evolver of the various worlds
around us. And if we want one word to convey these three ideas, then the Arabic
word Rabb-ul-‘Alameen in the first chapter of the Quran, supplies us
with it. We therefore have every right to call the Great Mysterious Power Rabb-ul-‘Alameen
because we derive the name from the Laws and forces of Nature we observe so
clearly around us. In the Holy Quran Rabb means One Who Creates, Nourishes,
Maintains and Who, Creating in us various capacities, supplies us with the necessary
wherewithal to bring them up to development. The word in the last sense means
Evolver, Who not only works out our hidden powers, but also arranges to meet
the needs of all the stages up to perfection. But for this we do need many things
which should exist before we come into existence, as their existence is necessary
for our existence on this earth. We do need the light and heat of the sun and
the moon, the air, the rain and many other things; and He Who is Rabb-ul-‘Alameen
comes to provide all our needs before such needs come into existence. We therefore
are informed of the Divine the attributes of Ar-Rahman, The Beneficent;
Ar-Raheem, The Merciful; and Maliki-yaum-id-deen, The Master of
the Day of Requital. Rahman refers to the Beneficent Lord, whose bounties
are unlimited which come to us without any desert or merit on our part. Rahman,
in short, is that merciful God who shows His Mercy to us without compensation.
Raheem is the One who gives a hundred or thousand fold of reward to one
good action on our part. The attributes of Rahman and Raheem refer
to two different kinds of mercy; one shown out of grace and not in consideration
or reward of anything; while the Mercy of Raheem finds its exhibition
in reward of human actions. We have been assured under this third Attribute
that our actions will not be fruitless. But at the same time, to make man energetic
in life, the same attribute goes to warn him against an inactive life.
Then comes the fourth Attribute, Maliki-yaum-id-deen, the
Owner of the Day of Judgment, and the Master of the Day of Requital. To keep
us within proper limits, we have been reminded of this fourth Attribute. The
God of Islam calls Himself Master of the Day of Judgment and not the Judge;
because the Judge is bound to administer justice in strict observance
of the Law. But one who is Master of the Day of Judgment as well as of creatures
to be brought under judgment, cannot be compelled to adopt harsher measures
to satisfy the ends of Justice. This fourth attribute suggests the relation
of the Owned and the Owner between God and man. An owner cannot afford to punish
His belongings unless for correction or rectification in case of error.
Therefore, the fourth attribute conveys the idea of love and punishment together.
In summing up these four Divine Attributes, it will be found that the God of
Islam is All-Mercy, All-Compassion, All Beneficent, ready to do everything for
free, coming to reward a thousand fold for one good action, and only on rare
occasions to use His discretion of punishment when it is necessary for our
rectification. The relation therefore between God and man is that men must try
to imbue themselves with Divine Attributes. If we had no revealed Book and had
to find our own God from nature around us, you will find the God of nature to
be the same God of Islam.
Life after death
Belief in life after death is an essential article of faith in every religion.
It has a most wholesome effect in moulding human character and providing a good
check on wickedness even in cases where there is the least chance of detection.
On the other hand, disbelief in accountability for his actions after his death
will naturally weaken a man’s sense of responsibility. Morality, in the absence
of such a belief, will become only a method of securing happiness in life, and
merely a matter of expediency. There will be no incentive to the practice of
virtue for the sake of virtue, and no person will ever shrink from committing
wrong, if it serves his purpose, providing he can avoid public censure. It is
the belief in the continuity of the individual personality of every man removed
from this world to the next that arouses skepticism. But if birth, death and
resurrection may be taken to be nothing more than terms for combination and
recombination of various elements and atoms that go to create different organisms,
the whole thing becomes clear as it unfolds itself under our daily observation,
each year, in the vegetable kingdom.
Death overtakes the tree each autumn, while spring comes to give
it new life. Every tree has all its distinctive features restored at this spring
resurrection. In winter we find trees stripped of all foliage, flowers and fruits.
All their constituent elements become disintegrated, mixing confusedly with
the rest of the elemental and atomic world in the Universe. The dry and dead
trunks, though still enveloped by the same mass of matter that nourished them
in the past spring, can no longer assimilate it since the vivifying principle
has gone from them. Then comes the spring, with its showers, and the water from
the heavens brings new life to every member of the vegetable kingdom.
A thing once come to life, never meets destruction, as long as
the Universe exists. It contains in it inherent qualities that must come to
perfection through one or more shapes or stages. Death is but the name of its
passing from one stage to another, as is witnessed in the birth of a butterfly
from the dead body of the caterpillar. If consciousness, which evolved out of
animated matter in the animal kingdom, has evolved into passion in man, it yet
has to evolve into high morals, philosophy and spirituality. Materials which
are beneficial or deleterious to their growth, surround all created things but
there is something that instinctively urges them to assimilate the beneficial
and reject that which is injurious. Physically, our body does the same, but
mentally we have no such guiding knowledge.
We find that the evolution of consciousness is not dependent on that intelligent
constructive ability which we find working so unerringly in the
physical building of organism. On the rise of consciousness its
existence there, is conspicuous by its absence. We do not possess
that instinct by nature, which should now also automatically discriminate
between right and wrong ethics, as is witnessed on the physical
plane! We do not instinctively nauseate at wrong philosophy as our
stomachs nauseate at a fly or some other poisonous matter! We do
not by instinct spurn things injurious to our intellect, as our
eyes instinctively shut themselves against anything injurious to
our sight. Nay, the sublimation of our consciousness into high morality,
philosophy and spirituality, badly needs guidance from without.
Such guidance I find in the last revealed Word of God, the Holy
Quran. It gives us a code wherewith we may work out our self-unfoldment
and bring to full fruition all the hidden faculties within ourselves.
And because I willingly and consciously submit to this Divine Code,
I am called a Muslim.
by Akram Ahmad, U.S.A.
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.
I have recited this particular Quranic verse because this is a moment of great
thankfulness for me. It is my pleasure and honor to tell you that the English
translation of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s biography is well on its way to completion.
My intent this morning is to take a few minutes of your time and give you some
background into this remarkable biographical work. I would like to provide you
with an overview of some of the essential features and qualities of this biography,
as well as to share some insights and personal perspectives on the process of
translating this work into English.
First of all, as several of you will be aware, this biography is
titled Mujaddid-e-Azam and it is the work of the late Dr. Bashaarat Ahmad.
Dr. Bashaarat Ahmad had tremendous love for the Holy Quran, and he used to inspire
other people with this love by teaching the Holy Quran. He had learned to love
and understand the Holy Quran from Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. It greatly distressed
him to see that Hazrat Mirza sahib and his views were so grossly misrepresented
by opponents and detractors, as well as by the faction that had split off and
initiated the institution of khilafat. Therefore he resolved to do his
best to set right this state of affairs by writing a truly accurate and comprehensive
biography of his teacher, Hazrat Mirza sahib. However, Dr. Bashaarat Ahmad had
grown old and physically infirm. Despite the odds that were against him, he
put forth an extraordinary effort. It was quite evident that God was granting
him strength to accomplish this task. Hence Dr. Bashaarat Ahmad composed the
biography which contains a total of one thousand seven hundred and fifty one
pages! Once the third and final volume had been completed, Allah summoned him
to Himself, to give this devoted servant a great reward. Hence Dr. Bashaarat
Ahmad passed away the same year that this biographical work was completed by
The title of this biography, Mujaddid-e-Azam, literally
means “The Great Reformer”. Mujaddid-e-Azam was written in the Urdu language,
and it is comprised of three volumes.
The first volume contains 736 pages, and covers Hazrat Mirza sahib’s
life from his birth to the year 1900. Each chapter of this volume roughly corresponds
to a major event in his life. This volume is currently being translated by Dr.
The second volume contains 655 pages, and covers Hazrat Mirza sahib’s
life from the year 1900 to the end of his life. Like the first volume, each
chapter of this volume also corresponds, approximately, to a major event in
his life. In addition, out of the eighty chapters in this volume, ten are devoted
to providing the reader with insights into the moral qualities of Hazrat Mirza
sahib. It has been my singular honor to have worked on translating this volume.
This work was completed in December of the year 2000 and, since then, I have
been reviewing and proofreading that translation. The work of revision is about
90 percent complete.
The third volume contains 360 pages. This volume presents a detailed
summary and review of the achievements and religious services rendered by Hazrat
Mirza sahib, over the span of his life. This volume was translated by Mrs. Zainib
Ahmad and Sister Sarah Ahmad. This work is complete, and it is currently being
reviewed and proofread. Let me also mention that this volume is also being made
available at our Ahmadiyya website that is maintained by Dr. Zahid Aziz.
Having given you an overview of this biographical work, Mujaddid-e-Azam,
I will now turn to some of its salient features.
One remark that I have heard from several people who have read
Mujaddid-e-Azam is that it transports the reader to the era of Hazrat
Mirza sahib. In part, this is no doubt tied to the fact that the biographer
(Dr. Bashaarat Ahmad) was a close disciple of Hazrat Mirza sahib. Hence, this
biography is a first-hand account of the life and times of Hazrat Mirza sahib.
Another quality of the original Urdu biography is that it is highly
readable and accessible. Far from being a dry recitation of facts, Mujaddid-e-Azam
has been written in a very engaging and conversational style. Like my colleague
translators, I have tried hard to capture this readable style in the translation
process. The readers of these translations shall Insha’Allah be the best
judges to decide if we have succeeded in our goal.
Going hand in hand with the quality of being very readable is the
quality of Mujaddid-e-Azam that it is a very powerful and compelling
narrative. Hence a sentiment that is shared by many who have read Mujaddid-e-Azam
is that learning about the life and work of Hazrat Mirza sahib, from the pages
of this biography, led them to embrace the ideals of the Ahmadiyya Movement.
Another feature of Mujaddid-e-Azam is that, in addition
to being packed with anecdotes from the life of Hazrat Mirza sahib, it contains
an abundance of excerpts from scores of his religious works. This is a quality
that I personally find very appealing, because it gives the reader an excellent
flavor of all the various religious works of Hazrat Mirza sahib, in a consolidated
Yet another quality of Mujaddid-e-Azam is that exaggerations
are absent from this work. In other words, the entire narrative is founded in
historical facts, and thus there is no revisionism that is sometimes unfortunately
attendant on works of history and biography. The very great religious saint
and reformer that Hazrat Mirza sahib undoubtedly was, there is not any needless
glorification to be found in this biography. Instead, one of the goals of Mujaddid-e-Azam
is to provide the reader with glimpses into his life, set amid the backdrop
of historical events.
Finally, I would like to share with you some insights and personal
perspectives on the process of translating this work into the English language.
In 1993, my brother-in-law, Dr. Hamid Rahman, brought my attention
to the fact that the second volume of Mujaddid-e-Azam needed to be translated
into English. As such, I am extremely grateful to him. Hence I began the work
of translating the second volume of Mujaddid-e-Azam, back in the year
1993. Since that time when I embarked upon this task, I have received encouragement
from many people. After about seven years, Allah gave me the strength to complete
this translation in December of the year 2000. Over a period of one-half year,
since December of 2000, I have been reviewing and proofreading the translation.
As I mentioned earlier, Alhamdulillah, this work of revision is about
90 percent complete.
Somebody once asked me if I found this work interesting and engaging.
I gave them a perfunctory answer, saying “Oh yes, of course, it’s very interesting
work”. Since that incident, I have reflected on this and can candidly tell you
that this work is easily the most creative endeavor that I have ever undertaken
in my life.
Let me add that the Ahmadi children who are growing up here now
will most likely be able to read only those books that are written in the English
language. As such, these English translations of Mujaddid-e-Azam will
Insha’Allah serve as valuable reading material for the children of our
community. The next generation of Ahmadis will thereby be able to find accurate
information regarding the founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, as well as learn
about the philosophy and true objectives of the Ahmadiyya Movement. It is my
wish, it is my earnest wish, that each one of you will hopefully get the opportunity
to read each of the three volumes which comprise Mujaddid-e-Azam, either
in the original Urdu format, or via their translations into English.
As you all know, English is the most widely used language in the
world. As such, it is my earnest wish that many in the world will Insha’Allah
get the chance to read the biography of Hazrat Mirza sahib, and perhaps thereby
be attracted to the message which Hazrat Mirza sahib continued to propagate
till the last breath of his life. His message, of course, being the true teachings
of Islam, as practised by his and our master, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may
peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him).
As many of you are aware, the teachings and life events of Hazrat
Mirza sahib have been egregiously misrepresented to the unaware public, over
the years, by detractors and opponents of Hazrat Mirza sahib. Since this biography
presents the life of Hazrat Mirza sahib, as well as his religious works in a
nutshell, it can therefore be reasonably hoped that this biography will Insha’Allah
contribute towards clearing up the false charges and allegations against him.
May Allah cause this work to serve as an instrument in this regard!
I would like to leave you by reading before you an excerpt which
I selected from the English translation of this biographical work, Mujaddid-e-Azam.
Hazrat Mirza sahib published a proclamation in September of 1903 regarding the
publication of the magazine called The Review of Religions. Part of that
excerpt is as follows:
“Therefore you should rely on God completely and exert yourselves
with great dedication, determination, and valor. This is the time
to serve God. There comes a time when a mountain of gold spent in
His way cannot match a penny that is spent in these times. … It
is clear that you cannot love two things at the same time, and it
is impossible for you to love wealth and God at the same time. You
can love only one of these two. Hence, fortunate is the person who
harbors love for God. … Do not think that you are doing any favor
to God or to His appointed servant by sacrificing a part of your
wealth, or by rendering a service in His way. Rather, this is a
blessing from Him that He calls you to render this service. I say
this unequivocally that even if all of you abandon me and do not
participate in assisting me, God shall raise a nation that shall
serve Allah and His cause. You should truly believe that this affair
is from the heavens, and that the services that you render are in
fact for your own good. I dread the prospect that arrogance may
enter your hearts, and that negligence from duty might find a place
in your minds. I say to you again and again that God does not stand
in need of your services. Instead, it is His favor to you that He
has given you the opportunity to serve Him.”
The Onward March of Ahmadiyya Teachings
by Reza Ghafoerkhan, Holland/Suriname
Wa qul jâ’a-l-haqqu wa zahaqa-l-bâtil.
Inna-l-bâtila kâna zahűqâ.
Al-hamdu li-llâh. All praise is due to Allah, Who granted me the opportunity
to be present here with you today. We pray He will shower His blessings on this
auspicious occasion and make this convention a resounding success. In-shâ’a-llâh.
I’ve just recited a verse from the Holy Qur’ân, of which the translation
reads: “And say: The Truth has come and falsehood vanished. Surely falsehood
is ever bound to vanish.”
In this verse Allâh has laid down His law, that falsehood is a
thing, which has to disappear eventually. The reason for this we can understand
from the way in which Allâh has created this universe. When Allâh creates a
thing, He will nourish and guide it from a lower or imperfect state towards
a higher or perfect state. If we consider falsehood to be an imperfect state
and truth to be a perfect state, then this attribute of Allâh of nourishing
to perfection will also apply to this. This means that falsehood in one way
or another has to vanish and the truth has to be established.
In order to establish the truth of Islam, Allâh has raised at times
some of those perfect ones in the Muslim community, who were charged with this
particular task, and Allâh will keep on doing this. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
was one of those chosen men, and his Movement, i.e. the Ahmadiyya Movement,
has been for more than a hundred years engaged in this work of spreading the
true teachings of Islam and correcting falsehoods. One may ask how can you be
so sure that the teachings that the Ahmadiyya Movement is spreading in the world
are in fact correct, because every group claims to be the possessor of the truth.
For the answer to this I can refer to the above-mentioned verse, which says
that Allâh in some way will make the truth prevail, because besides the raising
of reformers in Islam, Allâh also makes use of other means to bring about the
truth. One of these means is that the human mind is never satisfied with uncleared
and unclarified questions and doubts, and man is from nature always searching
and investigating to find out the truth. Due to this fact we can see now some
new discoveries and changes of views in the world, which confirms the Ahmadiyya
thoughts and beliefs. I will give some examples.
From an article of a Dutch newspaper, of May this year, I will
cite some extracts:
“While the Christian Churches are commemorating Jesus’ ascension
tomorrow, pilgrims in the Indian state of Kashmir are paying a visit to his
tomb. The Jesus who didn’t die on the cross, traveled according to the survival
theory together with his mother to India. Two footprints are engraved in a stone
next to the tomb, with stigma [signs of wounds]. … In search for an answer it
appears that besides Islam, also Hinduism and Buddhism know the story of Jesus
in India. Even Christian (apocryphal) scriptures mention his abiding in Central
The article further provides other historical evidences of Jesus’ living in
India. So we see that the theory of Jesus’ journey to India is taken more and
more seriously and this confirms the view of the Ahmadiyya Movement, which has
been proclaiming this theory from the very beginning of its existence.
Now another example. On the World Wide Web we can find a site named
‘Ask the Imam’. On this site one can ask an Islamic scholar various questions
on Islamic subjects. A certain person asked a question about the celebration
of the birthday of the Holy Prophet. As we all know, some Muslims are celebrating
this birthday very big, so much so that a certain clergy declared on Dutch television
that this feast “is the most important feast for the Muslims”. I will give some
extracts of the answer of this scholar of the Web site ‘Ask the Imam’, a certain
mufti Ebrahim Desai. He says:
“The establishment of ceremonial gatherings under the banner of
Éid-un-Nabee is prohibited according to the Shariáh. Attaching importance
and significance to such functions is purely Bid‘áh and an innovation
in Deen, because neither did Rasulullah himself indulge in it, nor did
the illustrious Khulafaa-e-Raashideen organise such functions. … By innovating
such practices, one is indirectly suggesting that Rasulullah concealed
from the Ummah, aspects of Deen that were of immense benefit to
it. How can this be possible when Allah Ta‘ala himself categorically
declares that He perfected this religion for us and completed His favour upon
us, which means that Rasulullah conveyed every single aspect of Deen
to the Ummah. … If a careful and proper dissection of this Éid-e-Meelad-un-Nabee
is made, it will be found that, apart from it being a manifestation of Bid‘áh,
it also encompasses other evils … The most abhorring and shocking evils in these
functions are the acts of shirk that take place. With hollow claims of
Hubbe-Rasul (love for Rasulullah) entreaties and supplications
are made to beings other than Allah, namely to Ambiyaa and Auliaa-e-Kiraam.
The exponents of Éid-e-Meelad-un-Nabee also blindly acknowledge and believe
that Rasulullah comes to this function and due to this belief, they stand
up in respect and veneration to welcome him. This belief is a blatant fabrication
and a sign of compound ignorance. The true and down to earth fact is that Rasulullah
does not arrive at any Éid-e-Meelad-un Nabee function and that he is
in his Rawdha-e-Mubarak (grave) at Madinah Munawwarah and will
emerge from it at the onset of Yawmul-Qiyaamah.”
This view is very much in accordance with Ahmadi views. This mufti also expresses
opinions on other questions, which we can agree which. For instance, about the
belief that our Prophet is omnipresent, he says:
“Haazir (Omnipresent) and Naazir (Omniseeing) are
the sole attributes of Allah. No human being including our Nabiy can
be Haazir and Naazir. Our beloved Rasul is resting in Madinah
Munawwarah. He informed us that when anyone sends Salaams to him,
the angels convey the Salaam to him there.”
And about the ceremonies relating to the death of a person, the mufti states
that there are no ceremonies consisting of ten days or forty days, but only
of three days. So, although almost all of the ideas of this mufti are very,
what we call, Sunni-like, yet we can detect in these a trace of Ahmadi thoughts.
I will give now another example. There is a book titled The
Prophet’s Manner of Performing Prayers. This book has been published by
the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Da‘wah and Guidance of the Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia, and so this book is indeed a very official work. It is very
surprising to see that the form of the Muslim prayer as described in this book,
is almost the same as the way in which an Ahmadi performs his prayers. For instance,
this book rejects the niyyat (intention) in spoken words before the prayer,
the number of sunnat rak‘ahs or non-obligatory rak‘ahs is exactly the
same, namely twelve rak‘ahs, and the book mentions no du‘a at all when
the prayer has finished, but instead only zikr. Of course, these details
are of no importance, but there are even Muslims who tend to criticize other
Muslims on the basis of these futile details.
I will give now a last example. On the World Wide Web we can find
a site named ‘religious tolerance.org’, and it contains an article titled The
Virgin Birth of Jesus: Fact or Fable. This comprehensive article raises
serious doubts about the virgin conception of the prophet Jesus. I will cite
“Religious liberals tend to approach passages in the Bible differently
than do conservatives. Liberals do not view the Bible as inerrant; rather they
consider the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) to be written by creative
authors, often promoting the specific beliefs of their branch of the Christian
movement. Liberals study verses in the light of non-Biblical Jewish and Christian
writings, the culture of the time, the beliefs of surrounding Pagan societies,
the evolving beliefs of the various Jesus movements, etc. Most liberals do not
believe in the doctrine of the virgin birth. This is not a recent development,
as evidenced by the quote by Thomas Jefferson at the top of this essay. …”
And further on it concludes:
“In conclusion the most likely scenario, as interpreted by many
liberal Christians is:
The writer(s) of the Gospel of Q, circa 50 CE, seem to have
been unaware of the virgin birth. Paul (who was executed about 64 CE) was similarly
unaware. The writer of the Gospel of Mark, circa 70 CE, hadn’t heard of it either.
If any of the above writers knew of a virgin birth, they would almost certainly
have realized that it was a miraculous event and would have incorporated it
into their writings. Sometime between 70 and 90 CE, a myth of the virgin birth
was invented, probably to strengthen the authority of Jesus’ teachings by claiming
that his birth was miraculous. … By the 90’s, the belief was widespread. The
authors of Luke and Matthew incorporated it into their Gospels. The writer(s)
of the Gospel of John likely knew of the story, but rejected it as being a false
teaching that was not believed by his faith group within Christianity.”
So far the quotation. It is noteworthy that many of the arguments and conclusions
in this article can also be found in the book Jesus in Heaven on Earth
written by Khwaja Nazir Ahmad.
So the above raised question of how one can be sure that the Ahmadiyya
beliefs are in fact correct has been answered. Different people come independently
on the basis of their own research and investigation, their own reason and common
sense to the same conclusions. One cannot assume that these people are all influenced
by Ahmadiyya literature, but on the other hand one cannot say with absolute
certainty that they are not influenced. This fact makes it very clear how important
the work of the Ahmadiyya Movement is. We also see that despite the fact that
the Movement has already done a tremendous amount of work, the results are still
very thin and changes are brought about only very laboriously and slowly. One
can compare this for example with the production of perfume. It really takes
an enormous amount of flowers to produce just one single drop of perfume. Similarly
we have to write, translate and publish a copious amount of books, magazines,
articles etc. to cause just a small change in the world. But as I have shown
from the above-mentioned examples, these changes really do occur in the world
and although these changes are very small, they are indeed visible and undeniable.
And the fact that we are seeing these changes with our own eyes really does
encourage and inspire us to carry on with this very important task of the propagation
of Islam. This also makes us understand that if we don’t dedicate all of our
time and property for this cause, nothing can be achieved, because if a lot
of work only yields a small result, then how can small efforts be of any use?
As I have some time left, I will tell something about reformation.
Reformation, of which the meaning is ‘to cause a positive and permanent change’,
in my opinion takes place at three levels. The first level of reformation is
the reformation of the individual. This means that a person should always be
liable of accepting the fact that he is following wrong beliefs, traditions
and customs, and that he is willing to reform himself by adopting better and
improved beliefs and customs. The second level of reformation is the reformation
of a people, a nation or a community. This means that the leading and influential
figures of a community should convey to their people new ideas and thoughts,
and should accordingly show broad-mindedness and tolerance towards the thoughts
and ideas of other individuals. The third level of reformation is the reformation
of the world. For this goal a certain community tries to spread new, better
and improved ideas and thoughts in the world by means of peaceful preaching
and missionary work and convincing them by means of logical and reasonable arguments
intertwined with true spiritualism.
It is important to state that these levels are interrelated, i.e.
one level cannot be attained without attaining the previous. If we really want
to cause a change in the world, we ourselves should be able to reform ourselves
both as individuals as well as a group. It is a fact that if a person wants
to convey the message of Islam to other people, that he should act upon the
matters which he is preaching. The Holy Qur’ân refers to this when it says:
“O you who believe, why say you that which you do not? It is most hateful in
the sight of Allâh that you say that which you do not” (61:2,3). For example,
a miser cannot preach charity; a dirty and filthy person is not able to preach
purity; a haughty person is not capable of teaching us humility and it is impossible
that a troublemaker proclaims peace and reconciliation. Similarly, a narrow-minded
and intolerant person, who is reluctant to reform himself, leaving wrong ideas
and traditions, is not capable of performing the great task of the reformation
of the world.
Reformation of ourselves means also that we must continue exploring
new fields, study and examine the new questions and demands of the modern time
and showing while doing this a great deal of open-mindedness and tolerance.
The Ahmadiyya Movement has had numerous renowned scholars who have done very
valuable work. But man has been granted only a short life, and despite a lifetime
dedication, at a certain point they were called up by their Creator, and so
we have to go further from where these men have stopped. This reminds me of
certain words of the world famous physicist James Isaac Newton. I don’t know
the exact words, but he said something like: “The reason why I was able to look
so far, is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.” When we think
of ‘giants’ in our Movement, the first names which cross our minds are the names
of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Maulana Muhammad Ali and Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din.
They have laid down the foundation of our Movement and we should climb on the
shoulders of these ‘giants‘ and look into the future with a broad-minded and
tolerant attitude, which excessively characterized the life of the Founder of
the Ahmadiyya Movement, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (may Allâh reward this great
soul of Islam richly).
Now I would like to give you some information about the activities
of Stichting Ahmadiyya Isha‘at-i-Islam situated in the Netherlands.
The main objective of Stichting Ahmadiyya Isha‘at-i-Islam is to
publish the literature of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement into the Dutch language
for the benefit of the Dutch speaking people in the Netherlands, Belgium, Surinam,
the Netherland Antilles in the Carribean, and elsewhere. The literature in Dutch
language, we have understood from Mr. Ibrahim, President of the South Africa
Jama‘at, will be of their benefit also, because people in South Africa who are
conversant of Afrikaans, the second major language of South Africa, can understand
the language or maybe the Dutch publications can be used to produce literature
in Afrikaans easily.
So far the Stichting has been able to produce some books. Forthcoming
are Anecdotes from the life of the Holy Prophet (by M.A. Faruqui), The
Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement — a Survey (by Dr. Zahid Aziz), Testimony of
the Holy Qur’an (by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) and Table Talk (by
Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din). After these some major books in Dutch language will be
published, such as The Religion of Islam, A Manual of Hadith and Muhammad
the Prophet. In fact, about 25 titles have been translated into Dutch already,
which will be checked and printed in the coming years. I am very happy that
the Stichting in its search for capable persons has involved me in the translating
and printing projects of the valuable literature of our Jama‘at.
To keep the publication work going on independently from the donations
of our people, which varies very much every year, the Stichting was able to
buy the building next to our center in the Hague. Four apartments of this building
are rented to others. Insha Allah, after some years this will generate
enough financial means to do the translating and publication work well planned
and continuously and independently from other contributions. The organization
could acquire the building with the financial help of our people and a few other
The ground floor of the building will be our new mosque in the
future. Some time in the future or at some occasions like Eid, the space
on the ground floors of both adjacent buildings will accommodate about 600 persons
to perform salat.
On the ground floor you will find the Maulana Muhammad Ali Library.
Most of the books were donated by Mr. Yahya Keeskamp. Mr. Keeskamp is a Dutch
convert to Islam, who became Muslim at the age of 11 years. He is 87 years now
and has been a staunch Ahmadi since he went to Indonesia at a young age and
met Ahmadi Indonesian stalwarts like Soedewo, the translator of the Holy Quran
into Dutch, Djogosogito (Senior) and others.
As for propagation work, the Stichting has got a website in the
Dutch language, moslim.org, which is very much attended by students in Holland,
Belgium and Surinam. A lot of the information on the muslim.org website of the
USA Jama‘at is being translated for publication on the Dutch website.
Every week the Stichting is broadcasting 3 hours per week on radio,
in Urdu as well in the Dutch language.
So, I have come to the end of my speech. Thank you all for your
The Light, first published from Lahore, 1921.
The Islamic Review first published from Woking, England,
cover of first issue.