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South Africa court case (1982-1985)

Contents of the Evidence

Supplement to Section 1: Who is a Muslim?
5. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
6. Non-English material

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Supplement to the Evidence
Section 1:
Who is a Muslim?

In addition to the references in Section 1, from prominent Muslims of the present times, the following may also be given.

1. Sayyid Abul Ala Maudoodi

An English translation of Maudoodi’s Khutbat was published by the Islamic Foundation of Leicester, England, in 1985 under the title Let us be Muslims. We quote from it his views about the Kalima and the practice of declaring Muslims as kafir:
“On a more concrete level, in social life, this Kalimah becomes the basis for differentiating one man from another. Those who recite it constitute one nation, while those who reject it form another. ... if a total stranger recites the Kalimah and marries into a Muslim family, he and his children become eligible for inheritance [from the Muslim relatives].” (p. 69)

“One person may understand the injunctions of the Shari‘ah in one way and another person in another way, and both may follow them according to their particular understanding. However widely they may differ, both will be able to call themselves servants. For both will be acting in the consciousness that they are doing their Master’s bidding.

“In such a case, what right has one servant to say that he alone is the genuine servant while the other is not? The most he can argue is that he has understood the correct meaning of his Master’s order while the other has not. But this does not give him the authority to expel the latter from the fold of servants, that is, call him a Kafir. Anyone who does display such temerity assumes, as it were, the status of the Master. ...

“For this very reason the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, said: ‘Whosoever unjustly brands a Muslim as Kafir, his verdict will rebound on him’ (Bukhari, Muslim). For, God has made the submission to His guidance the test of whether or not one is a Muslim. A person who insists upon such submission to his own interpretation and judgement and assumes such powers of dismissal for himself, irrespective of whether God Himself dismisses someone or not, is in fact saying that God alone is not God but that he himself is also a small god. Anyone who makes such a presumptuous assertion runs the danger of becoming a Kafir, irrespective of whether or not the other Muslim has in fact acted as a Kafir.” (pp. 130–131; italics as in original.)

2. Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi

He is an internationally-known Indian Muslim theologian, historian and author, who has written much against the Ahmadiyya Movement. In a speech delivered during a tour of the U.S.A. in 1977 he said:
“A friend of mine once said to an educated Hindu gentleman, ‘My brother, if a Muslim is asked who is a Muslim, he unhesitatingly replies that whoever recites and believes in the holy Kalima — La ilaha illallah, Muhammadur rasulullah, is a Muslim. This affirmation sums up the whole of Islam. Now, what would your answer be if the same question was put to you concerning a Hindu?’ ”

(Muslims in the West, collection of speeches of Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi in the West, edited by Khurram Murad, Islamic Foundation, England, 1983, pp. 137–138)

3. Justice Muhammad Munir in From Jinnah to Zia

In 1979 Justice Muhammad Munir, a distinguished Chief Justice of Pakistan, wrote an English book of the above title on the political history of Pakistan. In this book he refers extensively to the report of a famous government enquiry in Pakistan, held in 1953–1954, over which he had presided. The enquiry was set up to investigate the causes of public disturbances instigated by some religious leaders who demanded that the government declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims. Commenting on the scope of his enquiry, Justice Munir writes in this book:
“The question Who is a Muslim was one of the fundamental questions before us for the simple reason that if, according to the Ulama, the Ahmadis were not Muslims, the Ulama were supposed to know who a Muslim is, and what the grounds are on which they were asking the Ahmadis to be outside the pale of Islam. The question was vital to the inquiry and had not arisen for the first time. There were several authoritative judgements on the points, including a judgement by the eminent Muslim judge Mr Justice Mahmud, another by Sir Abdur-Rashid, the author of Family Laws Ordinance, several judgements by English judges including the Privy Council in which the board had ruled that what has to be seen if a person claims to be a Muslim is whether he professes to believe in the Kalima, la ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammad-ur rasul-Allah, and not whether he actually believes it or not. This was in accordance with what the Quran itself says in ch. 4:49: ‘Say not to anyone who offers you salutation, thou art not a believer’. Though this verse relates to a specific occasion, but in its application is general. One of these precedents related to Ahmadis themselves who were held to be Muslims because of their belief in the Kalima. ...

“We were not called upon to declare the Ahmadis as Muslim or non-Muslim. This was beyond our terms of reference, and we had to ask the definition of a Muslim from the Ulama because if they could not give any definition which excluded the Ahmadis from Islam, they had no occasion for the agitation which had resulted in many deaths and destruction of property ... The term Muslim remained undoubtedly undefined by the Ulama who appeared before us.”

(From Jinnah to Zia, Vanguard Books Ltd., Lahore, 1980, pp. 69, 70 and 72)

Regarding the Pakistan constitutional amendment of 1974 which classified Ahmadis as non-Muslims, and Prime Minister Bhutto’s motive in having it passed, Justice Munir makes the following comments:
  1. “By an amendment of the Constitution he declared Ahmadis to be a non-Muslim minority. All this was done with a political motive — to gain support from or to be popular with the people.” (p. xix)
  2. “And we know that some twenty years later no less a person than Mr. Bhutto took up the baby in his lap and by a constitutional amendment declared the Ahmadis non-Muslims. But even he could not define a Muslim and discarded the simple definition which before the partition [of India] eminent Muslim Judges of different High Courts and the Privy Council had given.” (p. 45)
  3. “Near the end of his regime Mr. Bhutto to please the Muslims made some insignificant changes in the Constitution and the legal system for political ends. By a constitutional amendment he declared the Ahmadis to be non-Muslims without saying who was a Muslim ... ” (p. 96)

4. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

Mr Bhutto was overthrown from power by General Zia-ul-Haq in 1977, and subsequently tried for conspiracy to murder a political opponent. Being found guilty, he was executed in April 1979. During the course of his trial, the prosecution at one stage questioned his sincerity in being a Muslim. Mr Bhutto defended himself as follows:
“He said that it was an acknowledged principle that the person who recites the Kalima is a Muslim, and no one has the right to call him a non-Muslim. Citing an instance, chairman [of the People’s Party] Bhutto said that Abu Sufyan, a great enemy of the Holy Prophet, was brought to him. He claimed to have recited the Kalima, but the Holy Prophet’s Companions argued that he had not done it with his heart, and they wanted to kill him. But the Holy Prophet said that as he had recited the Kalima, he was now a Muslim, and could not be harmed.”

(Urdu Daily Masawat, Lahore, Wednesday 20 December 1978, front page, column 1)

5. Mr M. A. Jinnah, Founder of Pakistan

In 1944, at a press conference in Srinagar, Kashmir, Mr. Jinnah gave his view on the issue of whether Ahmadis ought to be expelled from certain Muslim organisations. An Ahmadi journalist who was present, Mr. Abdul Aziz Shura, editor Roshni, has made a sworn statement, dated 15 January 1988, about the proceedings of this conference. We quote from this below:
“I, Abdul Aziz Shura, known as Aziz Kashmiri, editor of the daily Roshni, Srinagar, Kashmir, make the following declaration under oath.

“A delegation of the Kashmir Press Conference, Srinagar, which included several leading newspaper men, met Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, President of the Muslim League, at his appointed time, on 23 May 1944 at 11 a.m., at ‘Koshik’, Nishat, Srinagar, and asked various questions.

“I asked Quaid-i-Azam, Who can join the All-India Muslim League? At this, Mr. M. A. Sabir, editor of al-Barq, told the Quaid-i-Azam that the background to the question was probably that in Kashmir Ahmadis were not allowed to join the Muslim conference. Quaid-i-Azam smiled and recorded his reply as follows:

‘I have been asked a disturbing question, as to who among the Muslims can be a member of the Muslim Conference. It has been asked with particular reference to the Qadianis. My reply is that, as far as the constitution of the All-India Muslim League is concerned, it stipulates that any Muslim, without distinction of creed or sect, can become a member, provided he accepts the views, policy and programme of the Muslim League, signs the form of membership and pays the subscription. I appeal to the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir not to raise sectarian questions, but instead to unite on one platform under one banner. In this lies the welfare of the Muslims. In this way, not only can Muslims make political and social progress effectively, but so can other communities, and so also can the state of Kashmir as a whole.’

“Mr. M. A. Sabir tried as hard as he could to persuade the Quaid-i-Azam to declare Qadianis as being out of the fold of Islam. But the Quaid-i-Azam stuck resolutely to his principle and kept on replying: ‘What right have I to declare a person non-Muslim, when he claims to be a Muslim’.

“The proceedings of this press conference were published, under my signature, in the Riyasati of that time and the Lahore newspapers, especially Inqilab, Shahbaz, Zamindar, Siyasat etc.”

A brief report of this press conference is given in the Urdu book Tahrik Hurriyyat Kashmir, by Rashid Taseer, published by Muhafiz Publications, Srinagar, in volume 2 which covers the period 1936–1945 on pages 290–291. It refers to Mr. Jinnah’s reply on the Ahmadiyya issues as follows:
“Reporters asked him a question about Ahmadis, that they were not being permitted to join the Muslim Conference because they were considered to be non-Muslims. What was his view on this? Mr. Jinnah said: ‘Who am I to declare as non-Muslim a man who calls himself a Muslim?’ It was after this that almost all the Ahmadis of Kashmir joined the Muslim Conference.”
In a footnote, the names of several journalists are listed who attended this press conference. Among the names are: Mr. Ghulam Muhiyy-ud-Din Nur, editor Nur, Khawaja Sadr-ud-Din Mujahid, editor Khalid, Mr. Muhammad Ayub Sabir, editor al-Barq, and Mr. Abdul Aziz Shura, editor Roshni.
Go to The Evidence, Section 1
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