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Books Section > by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian > Four Question Answered (Siraaj-ud-Deen Eesaee Kay Chaar Swaalon Kay Jawaab) > Question # 2: Why do Other Believers in One God Belonging to Other Religions Need to Accept Islam


Question # 2: Why do Other Believers in One God Belonging to Other Religions Need to Accept Islam:

 


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Question: If the aim of Islam is to guide mankind toward monotheism, then why is it that religious battles took place in the early period of Islam with the Jews, when their revealed Books teach nothing extraneous to monotheism? What is jihad? Or why should it now be considered essential for the Jews and other monotheists to accept Islam for their salvation?


The Answer:

It is, first of all, pointed out that the Jews during the time of our Prophet had digressed greatly from the teachings of the Torah. Admittedly, monotheistic principles were to be found in their books but they had seized to derive any benefit from them. The real objective for which man has been created, and for which religious Books have been revealed had become completely lost to them. True monotheism entails not only belief in God's existence and acceptance of His unity, but also total commitment to obeying and seeking the pleasure of the Perfect and Bounteous God, and valuing His love above all else. In practice, this monotheism had ceased to exist in the Jews. The awe of God's Greatness and Glory had departed from their hearts. They paid lip service to God but their hearts worshipped at the altar of the Devil. They exceeded all bounds in their adoration of worldly objects, of hankering after worldly gains, and in committing deceit and fraud. They had taken their doctors of religion as gods, while extremely shameful deeds of indecency were rife among them. Hypocrisy had increased, and deception multiplied.

It is obvious that monotheism does not consist merely in repeating orally "There is no god but Allah" while the heart harbours thousands of idols. A person who thinks that his effort, stratagem, cunning or plan will suffice him instead of God, or who places such trust in a man as should be placed in God alone, or who gives himself importance as should only be given to God, is an idolater in the sight of God. Idols are not just the icons of gold, silver, brass, stone, etc. that are relied upon for some good by their worshippers, but every object, word or action that is glorified like God alone should be glorified is an idol in the sight of God. It is true that the Torah does not give a clear explanation of this form of idolatry, but the Quran makes this point abundantly clear. In the revelation of the Quran, therefore, it was one of God's purpose to do away with this form of idolatry that was sticking to mankind like a chronic illness. The Jews of that time were sunk deep in this idolatry, but the Torah was incapable of extricating them because it did not contain this subtle teaching. In addition, this scourge had become so widespread in the Jewish nation that its eradication demanded a living personality of eminent perfection to act as an immaculate exemplar of monotheism.

It should be remembered that real monotheism, which God demands of us and on which our salvation depends, requires pure devotion to Him, uncontaminated by any associate, be it an idol, man, sun, moon, a person's ego, stratagem or cunning. It requires acceptance of God as the Most Powerful, the Nourisher, the Most Honourable, the sole Helper, and the only one deserving of these attributes in their perfection. It dictates absolute devotion to God, and a conviction that He is the only resolver of fears, hopes, and problems. Thus monotheism cannot be complete without the following three specifications:

1. Unity of Person. This implies He is One -- the Creator, and that all created have no reality beside Him, are subject to annihilation, and are of no consequence in comparison to Him.

2. Unity of Attributes. This implies that the qualities of Divinity and Lordship, like the power to create, develop and sustain, belong only to Him, and that the apparent providers of sustenance and benefits are really only part of His scheme.

3. Unity in devotion. This implies total engrossment in Him as manifested by unadulterated love, sincerity and purity of worship, that is totally uncontaminated by other associates.

The Jews had lost the essence of monotheism, comprised of the three aspects described above, on which salvation really depends. They professed faith in God with their lips, but their immoralities bore clear testimony to the bankruptcy of faith in their hearts. Accordingly, the Quran charges the Jews and the Christians with want of faith, and declares that if they had kept to the guidance in the Torah and Gospel, they would have been blessed with spiritual and physical sustenance. They would have received Heavenly sustenance as evidenced by miracles, acceptance of prayers, visions and revelation, and also worldly sustenance. But they were left completely bereft of the heavenly sustenance, and as for the worldly sustenance, its acquisition was not by turning to God but by turning solely to this world. As such, the real blessing of both these sustenance was denied to them.


The Battles with Jews and Christians were in Self-Defence:

Conflicts did take place between the Muslims, on the one hand, and Jews and Christians on the other, as is evident by references to these hostilities in the Quran. However, these conflicts were neither initiated by the Muslims nor was their purpose the forceful conversion of the opposing party to Islam. On the contrary, these conflicts took place when the opponents of Islam either directly oppressed the Muslims or aided others in this oppression. They thus provoked God's wrath and brought His punishment upon them. However, the infinite mercy of God provided a way of escape from this punishment for those of them who accepted Islam or agreed to pay the jaziya [A capitation tax.]. This room for mercy is completely in accord with the nature of man made by God. For it is in human nature that when evil, in the form of disease or famine, overtakes a person as punishment, he inclines to prayer, repentance, and charity, and makes humble supplications for the punishment to be lifted. So it has been since time immemorial. This provides testimony to the fact that the merciful God Himself inspires within man the way for averting punishment. For example, the prayers of Prophet Moses found acceptance on several occasions and averted punishment from the Israelites. In summary then, the genesis of the conflicts lay in the oppression, aggression and tyrannical acts of the opponents of Islam. The military campaigns were a chastisement for these acts of the hardhearted opponents of Islam but Divine mercy left a provision for them to avoid punishment. The supposition that Islamic battles were fought to propagate monotheism is totally baseless.


Jews Paid Only Lip Service to an Imperfect Monotheism in their Books:

A response has already been given to the question about the need for Jews to accept Islam despite their adherence to a monotheistic faith. It has been pointed out that monotheism had ceased to exist in the practical life of the Jews. Monotheism was still to be found in their books, but even there the concept was far from comprehensively developed. It was, therefore, necessary for them to imbibe the true spirit of monotheism as without it, salvation is not possible. The Jews were in a state of spiritual death. Their hard-heartedness and repeated transgressions had killed their spirituality and left them bereft of any spiritual connection with God. The Torah, which had suffered alteration of words and meanings and loss of some parts, was not in a fit condition to provide complete guidance. God, therefore, revealed a new life giving message, akin to fresh rain. He invited the Jews to this message so that they may rid themselves of false delusions and errors, and thus be able to achieve real salvation. Among the needs for the revelation of the Holy Quran, therefore, were the following:

1. To teach the real meaning and practice of monotheism to the spiritually dead Jews.

2. To warn them of their errors.

3. To give detailed descriptions of issues that had only been dealt summarily in the Torah like, for example, the doctrines of Resurrection, the eternal life of the soul, and heaven and hell.


The Torah and Gospel Prophecy about a Complete and Perfect Guidance:

It is a fact that the seeds of truth were planted with the Torah and that the Gospel came forth from the sprouting of these seeds as a harbinger of another future message. Just like the healthy green sprouts of a field convey, by their condition, the glad tidings of good fruits and goodly ears of grain to follow, likewise, the Gospel came to give the good news of a complete and perfect guidance. With the Quran, that seed reached its perfection by bringing forth a complete guidance that clearly differentiated truth from falsehood, and took spiritual knowledge to the level of perfection. This had been clearly predicted by the Torah in the statement: "The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran." [Deuteronomy 33:2. Pharan is a mountain in the valley of Mecca.]


Quran is Unique in Perfecting all Facets of Shari'ah (Revealed Law):

It is an established fact that it is in the Quran alone that all aspects of the revealed law have reached perfection. There are two main parts of the revealed law -- the rights of God and the rights of human beings. It is only the Quran that has perfected both these parts. It was the plan of the Quran to transform the savage man into a civilised person, the civilised person into a moral person, and the moral person into a godly person. The Quran has so admirably fulfilled this mission that the Torah does not even come close by comparison.


Quran as the Arbitrator of the Dispute about the Status of Jesus:

One reason, among others, for the revelation of the Quran was the need to resolve the conflict among the Jews and the Christians about the status of Jesus. The Quran adjudicated this dispute, and the Quranic verse: "O Jesus, I will cause thee to die and exalt thee in My presence" (3:54), is directed toward the resolution of this disagreement. The Jews believe that Jesus, the Prophet of the Christians, was strung on the cross and, according to the Law of the Torah, this made him accursed and incapable of exaltation before God. This, to their mind, is a proof that Jesus was an impostor. The Christians accepted that Jesus was accursed but maintained that he was accursed for their sake. Subsequently, the curse was lifted and Jesus ascended to God Who seated him on His right side. The above Quranic verse gave the verdict that exaltation before God was without delay, and that neither the assertion of the Jews of an eternal curse, which would prevent exaltation forever, nor the Christian assertion of a short lived curse followed by ascension was correct. In this verse, God has also explained that the exaltation of Jesus was not in contravention of the Law of Torah because the Law against exaltation of the accursed is applicable in case of death on the cross. A mere contact with the cross or the bearing of some suffering on the cross short of death does not make one accursed and debarred from exaltation. The intention of the Torah is that since the Cross is an instrument of death for criminals, whoever dies on it is accursed because of meeting his end in a criminal state.


Similarity between Jesus and Jonah:

But Jesus did not die on the Cross as God saved him from such an end. Jesus had prophesied that his condition was like that of Jonah the prophet [Matthew, 12:39,40.]. Just as Jonah escaped death despite being in the belly of the fish, so too did Jesus escape death despite being on the cross. His prayer, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani" [Ibid., 27:46.] was answered. If he had died on the Cross, Pilate must surely have been punished by God for the angel had warned Pilate's wife that if Jesus died, calamity would befall them [Ibid., 27:27.]. But no calamity befell Pilate. Additional evidence that Jesus was alive, when he was taken off the Cross, is furnished by the facts that his bones were not broken, and that blood flowed from him when his side was pierced [John, 19:33-34.]. He showed his wounds to his disciples after the crucifixion [Luke, 24:38,39; also John, 20:27.], and, obviously, with a new body and life, the wounds would not be present. This evidence proves that Jesus did not die on the Cross, and hence was not accursed. Most certainly, he died an honourable death (much later) and, like the other honourable prophets of God, he too returned to God after his death and was exalted in His presence according to the promise, "O Jesus, I will cause you to die and exalt you in My presence." If Jesus had died on the Cross, his own words would have given the lie to him because then there would be no similarity between him and Jonah.


Quran Resolves Dispute between Jews and Christians:

This on-going dispute between the Jews and the Christians was finally resolved by the Quran. It is surprising, therefore, to find the Christians questioning the need for the revelation of the Quran. O you who don't reflect! the Quran brought to perfection our knowledge of monotheism, it harmonised reason with tradition; it provided proofs of God's oneness and His attributes. It furnished proof of God's existence both with logical and factual reasoning, and through the phenomenon of revelation. It put religion, which had been handed down through the ages as stories and myths, on an intellectual foundation. It clothed every tenet of faith in wisdom and brought to perfection the evolution of spiritual knowledge. It removed the stigma of an accursed death from Jesus, and testified to his exalted status as a truthful prophet. With all this beneficence, is there still any doubt about the need for the revelation of the Quran?


Historical Testimony on the Need for the Revelation of Quran:

The Quran cogently gives the need for its revelation. It states clearly: "Know that Allah gives life to the earth after its death" (57:17). In the period preceding the revelation of the Quran, historical testimony bears out that the moral and spiritual standard of the nations of the world had fallen abysmally. This is admitted even by a biased writer like Reverend Pfander, the author of Mizan-ul-Haq. In his book, he gives testimony that, at the time of the revelation of the Quran, the Jews and Christians were in an abominable state of moral depravity and sinking further, and the revelation of the Quran was a clear admonition for them. Despite this admission, he puts forward a completely untenable argument that it was God's plan to admonish the Jews and Christians by sending a false Prophet. This is blasphemy against God. Can we attribute to the Glorious God such a loathsome act in which, finding a community sunk in evil, He conceives of a plan by which millions are lead astray to their damnation by His own hands? Do the laws of nature, as they operate in times of trial and tribulation, furnish this evidence about Him?

What a pity that the Judeo-Christian nations, from a love of this world, are heedless of the Quran whose light shines like the bright sun. They call a mere man a god, and accursed at the same time. However, they deny the great Prophet who came at a time when the nations of the world were spiritually dead, and question the need for the Book he brought.

O unmindful ones! The Quran came at a time of spiritual darkness unparalleled in the history of earlier prophets. It found the world steeped in darkness and gave it light, found it astray and provided guidance, found it dead and gave it life. Is there still need for any further proof to justify the revelation of the Quran? If it is argued that the Quran did not bring anything new because monotheism already existed, then it reflects an inadequate understanding of the issue. As already stated, monotheism that existed at the advent of the Quran was imperfect, and it is impossible to show otherwise. Moreover, the real spirit of monotheism had died, and it had ceased to exist in practice. The Quran, not only reminded the people of monotheism but perfected it. Consequently, one of the names of the Quran is Al-Zikr or the Reminder because it is a Book that reminds. Reflect with an unbiased mind whether even the monotheistic teachings of the Torah were entirely new, the like of which had not been given to any previous prophets? Is it not true that Adam, Seth, Noah, Abraham, and all other prophets who preceded Moses received the monotheistic doctrine? It could then also be argued that the Torah did not present anything new. O people! There isn't a new and different God every day. The God at the time of Moses was the same as at the time of Adam, Seth, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph and hence the Torah expounded the same monotheistic doctrine that the earlier prophets had.


Why the Torah Repeated the Same Monotheistic Doctrine?

Some may raise the question that if monotheism was not a new concept, then what was the need for mentioning it in the Torah at all? The answer to it is that the issue of existence and oneness of God is not a new one and has existed from the dawn of human history. However, during some periods, it was abandoned in practice and debased. It was precisely at such times when the focus on monotheism had blurred and indulgence in polytheistic practices had proliferated that the prophets came, and the Books were revealed to restore the original lustre of the monotheistic doctrine. During the course of history, this issue has been polished thousands of time, only to get covered and concealed by the rust of time. Whenever this happened, God sent a messenger to restore and propagate the doctrine. In this way spiritual darkness and light alternated with each other.

An excellent measure of the success of any prophet is to see the conditions prevailing at the time of his advent and the quantum of reforms he instituted. It behoves one not to be distracted by the clamour of prejudiced, mischief mongers and to apply this test honestly. The key is to examine the facts of each prophet, and to see the condition the people were in when he was charged with their reformation and then to observe the factual change that he caused in their faith, character and conduct. This would clearly show the ranking of the prophets by the dire need for their advent. The need of a prophet for sinners is exactly analogous to the need of a doctor for the sick. Just as the abundance of sick patients requires a doctor, so too does an abundance of sinners requires a reformer.


Prophet Muhammad Ranks Ahead of All Other Prophets:

Keeping this test in mind, if the history of the Arabs is examined with respect to their condition at the advent of Prophet Muhammad and the transformation that he wrought, there is no doubt that he ranks ahead of all other prophets in his holiness of spirit, his great impressive personality and spiritual munificence. It becomes self evident then that the need for this Prophet and the Quran was far greater than that of any other prophet or scripture.

Consider, for example, what was the need for the advent of Jesus and whether there is any proof that the need was indeed fulfilled? Did he cause any significant change in the morality, habits and faith of the Jews, or did he purify his followers to perfection? None of these changes can be proven. The only thing that can be established is that a few greedy persons became his followers, and in the end betrayed him shamefully. And if Jesus met with a self-invited death, I can find no justification for such a suicidal action that forever mars his humanity and intelligence. Can an intelligent man commit an action that even under all man made laws is a crime? Certainly, not. We ask, therefore, what did Jesus accomplish? Just the accursed sacrifice that appears futile both to our intelligence and sense of justice?


No Incremental Excellence in the Teachings of the Gospels Over the Torah:

The Gospels are merely a restatement of the teachings in the Torah and do not contribute any incremental excellence. Large portions of the Talmud, are to be found in the synoptic Gospels and many reputed Jewish scholars allege that this is the result of blatant plagiarism. I have recently read a book by a Jewish scholar in which he devotes several pages to giving proofs of this allegation and has presented testimony regarding the specific passages that have been plagiarised. I had ordered these books specifically to show them to Mr. Sirajuddin but, unfortunately, he left before the books reached me.

Impartial Christians admit that the Gospels are a summary of Jesus' favourite passages from the Jewish scriptures, and argue that the purpose for the coming of Jesus on earth was not to bring any new teachings, but to offer his person as sacrifice. So it is back again to the accursed sacrifice that, however, I forbear to criticise any further. Thus, Christians are under the mistaken belief that the religious law for man's conduct, i.e., shari'ah was completed in the Torah. Jesus, therefore, did not bring any new laws but instead brought the means for the salvation of the world. They contend that the Quran started a new code of conduct that was unwarranted because the previous code was complete. This mistaken supposition has kept them from believing in the Quran.

Their premise though is faulty. The fact is that human beings are prone to omission and forgetfulness so that the practical observance of God's commandments wanes with the passage of time. Consequently, there is always a need to remind the people anew and to impart spiritual strength to them. The Quran came to fulfil these two needs but these were, by no means, the only reasons for the revelation of the Quran.


The Quran Completes and Perfects Previous Books:

The Quran completes and perfects the teachings of the previous scriptures. For instance, the Torah emphasises retribution and the Gospels patience and forgiveness. Each prescribed what was most suitable according to the then prevailing conditions. The Quran uses both these approaches based upon the exigency of the situation. Similarly, in most issues the Torah leans toward harshness and the Gospels toward leniency, but the Quran follows a middle course, placing emphasis on the need to consider situational requirements [The prescribed harshness and leniency advocated by the Torah and the Gospels respectively were justified given the exigency of their times but these commandments did not constitute the core part of the teachings so that they could not be changed.].

Although the real spirit of the teachings in the three Books is the same, there is a difference in the degree of emphasis. The Torah may expand and expound one aspect of an issue, and the Gospels may do the same with another aspect. The way of the Quran, however, is always to follow a middle course, in line with the nature of man. Since wisdom demands that the situational requirements be considered, the Quran is quite unique in imparting this wisdom. Like blood, when it comes into the breast, becomes the source of milk, the commandments of the Torah and the Gospels, when amalgamated in the Quran, become a source of wisdom. If the Quran had not been revealed, the efficacy of the commandments of the Torah and the Gospels would have been like the efficiency of a blind archer whose arrows may find the target once or twice but miss more often. In short, the religious code of conduct came to us from the Torah in the form of stories, and from the Gospels in the form of analogies, but the Quran cloaked them in wisdom and made it available for the seekers of truth.


Torah and Gospels Cannot Compare with Quran:

How can the Torah and the Gospels compete with the Quran? Even if the first chapter of the Quran, the Fatiha, consisting of seven small verses, is compared with the whole of the Torah and the Gospels, the latter books suffer by comparison. The structure and form of the verses, the suitability of their arrangement, the natural progression of ideas, and the hundreds of religious truths and spiritual wisdom met in the Fatiha cannot be gleaned from the entire Books of Moses or from the rather brief Gospels although one may spend a lifetime trying to do it. This is not an idle boast, but a factual statement that the Torah and the Gospels cannot compete with the Fatiha in the sagaciously formulated spiritual knowledge. Unfortunately, the Christian clergy is not disposed to accepting any of my proposals to settle this matter.

However, I would like to make another proposal to them. If they consider their Torah and their Gospels the perfect exponent of the Divine word and the repository of complete wisdom and truth, then let them produce from their voluminous scriptures, which number about seventy, as I would from the Fatiha, the distinctive characteristics of the Divine word -- the facts and knowledge of Divine ordinances, the wisdom and gems of knowledge contained therein and the beauty of the arrangement and structure of ideas. If the Christian clergymen can produce anything comparable, I am willing to pay them Rupees five hundred as reward, and if they consider this amount small, I am willing to increase it, at their request, to any amount I can afford.

To obtain a final judgement on this issue, I will first prepare and publish an exhaustive treatise on the Fatiha. I will show in it the extraordinary marvels of truth and wisdom contained in the Fatiha, quite impossible to find in a human work, and furnishing proof, thereby, of its Divine origin. It will then be the duty of the Christian clergymen to prepare a similar work using the Torah, Gospels and their other scriptures as a source. If they choose to enter this contest, both the documents will then be submitted to three judges belonging to other religions. If the judges rule that the finer points, knowledge, and the distinctive characteristics of the Divine word shown to be in the Fatiha are also proven in the passages presented by the Christian clergymen, then I will forfeit the Rupees five hundred reward money, which I am willing to deposit beforehand with a person they trust.

Is there a Christian priest who has the courage to accept this challenge? The word of God has the perfection of His attributes and is easily recognised by it, just as the Divine origin of the creation is recognised by the marvels it exhibits. It is absurd to discredit divine origin of some parts of God's word by arguing redundancies. For example, the sky is full of stars, but if a person points to a particular group of stars and states that this is not part of God's creation because there was no need for it, or names a few herbs, stones or animals and states that they are not part of divine creation because life would have continued perfectly well without them, then such an argument can proceed only from a deranged or a very foolish person.


An Analogical Comparison of the Torah with the Quran:

The Quran is a compendium of all that is necessary for the perfection of the soul. An analogical comparison of the Torah with the Quran is that of an inn that has been reduced to a rubble by violent storms and earthquakes. The bricks of the inn lie helter skelter with the bricks of the bathroom lying in the kitchen, and those of the kitchen in the bathroom. The owner of the inn feels sorry for the wayfarers and in place of the old inn, he has a better and more comfortable new inn constructed immediately. The accommodation for the travellers is in beautifully designed, and comfortable suites and nothing of necessity lacks in the inn. In the construction of the new inn, the owner utilises some bricks of the previous structure but provides enough new bricks, timber and cement to complete the new structure to perfection. The Quran is that second inn. Those with insight can see it.


A Rationale for the Shortcomings of Torah and the Gospels:

It is pertinent here to answer another argument. A true and perfect dispensation is one that considers the specificity of the situation in prescribing a code, and that explains all spiritual issues comprehensively. It may be asked, then why is it that the Torah and the Gospels have been left bereft of this while the Quran has taken these characteristics to perfection? The answer to this is that the fault lies not with the Torah or the Gospels, but in the ability and readiness of the nations to receive a comprehensive Divine communication. The Israelites, which Moses dealt with, had lived for about four hundred years as slaves of the Pharaohs. This experience under their tyrannical rule had left them unaware of the meaning of justice and the rule of law. It is natural that if the ruler, who stands in the position of a preceptor and educator to his subjects, is equitable then the same traits get reflected in the ruled, and an intrinsic sense of fairness is born in them. The civilisation and culture that results is grounded in equity, and justice becomes a personality trait among them. If the king is tyrannical, then the subjects also become cruel and oppressive and are usually devoid of the trait of justice.

This is what happened to the Israelites. By staying in servitude to the Pharaohs for an extended period, and having been subjected to all kinds of cruelty, their sense of justice atrophied. The first priority with Prophet Moses was to recreate this trait, and consequently the commandments of the Torah lay great emphasis on ensuring justice. There are some verses in the Torah that deal with mercy, but a closer look at them shows that these verses are meant to define the limits of just conduct so that unbridled emotions, and undue rancour may not transgress these boundaries. The real reason everywhere is to safeguard the provisions of the laws on justice and equity.

This, however, is not the objective of the Gospels that emphasise forgiveness and eschewing revenge. When we read the Gospels analytically, it becomes evident from the text that its addresser was convinced that the addressees were devoid of kindness, patience and forgiveness and that the addresser earnestly desired them not to covet seeking revenge, but instead to develop the traits of patience, tolerance, forbearance, and forgiveness. The reason for this is that in the time of Jesus, peace be on him, the moral condition of the Jews had degenerated to an extent where they had exceeded all limits of animosity and rancour, resulting in constant litigation. Under the pretence of being the supporters of justice, the Jews had completely lost the traits of forgiveness and forbearance. They were, therefore, admonished and advised in the Gospels, but these counsels were time and people specific and not meant to form the structure of an ever lasting law. Consequently, these injunctions were abrogated by the Quran.


The Quran Teaches a Middle Course:

The Torah emphasises revenge and rigidity as is obvious from the law of retribution, and this is the rationale it provides for the historical battles recorded in it. The Gospels embrace, almost exclusively, forgiveness, patience and forbearance. However, when we study the Quran intently and impartially, it becomes clear that the Quran emphasises a middle course. It repeatedly exhorts its followers to amr-bil-ma'ruf (do good) and nahy-'anil-munkar (give up evil). The former phrase means adopting a course of action that follows the religious code and intellect, and best meets the situational needs. The latter phrase implies foregoing what is evil and repugnant to the religious code and intellect.

On reading the Quran, it becomes obvious that the Quran seeks acceptance of its laws, limits and commands by appealing to the intellect. It does not confine an individual into a given personal set of do's and don'ts but instead provides a generic framework for action. For example, it lays down the generic principle to do good (ma'ruf) and to give up evil (munkar). These two principles, i.e., to do good and to shun evil, are so comprehensive that they provide the intellectual underpinning for all Islamic codes, and create an imperative in all situations to determine what constitutes real goodness in those circumstances.

Some examples of the use of these principles may be cited. In the case of a personal injury, one should examine what constitutes the greater good in that situation -- forgiveness or retribution. Suppose someone asks for a loan of Rupees one thousand and the proposed lender can loan the amount. However, the intended use of the money is to finance an extravagant wedding of a son following the family tradition of having firework display, marching band and singing girls. The principle of amr-bil-ma'ruf and nahy-'anil-munkar requires one to reflect whether the generosity of advancing a loan is misplaced. Thus, for the material and spiritual welfare of the believers, the Quran requires them to carefully evaluate the impact of all proposed good deeds.


Battles with the Jews Only in Self-Defence:

I have now completed my detailed reply to the second question of Mr. Sirajuddin. I have stated that the battles with the Jews were not the result of any attempt to forcibly convert them to monotheism. In fact, it was the continuous mischievous activities of the opponents of Islam that caused the hostilities. Some of them took up the sword to kill the Muslims, while others aided them. Some went out of their way to prevent the propagation of Islam. It was to punish these mischief mongers and to repel their evil designs that God gave permission to wage war against them.

Those who make the baseless allegation that the Prophet did not wage war during the first thirteen years of prophethood because he lacked an organised party belie the facts of history. Such allegations may have had some place if the opponents of the Prophet had refrained from cruel, bloody persecution and plans to murder or exile him, and if the Prophet had voluntarily migrated to Medina without an attack on his person underway. However, the facts are well known even to our opponents. For thirteen years, the Prophet patiently bore all manner of hardship, but strictly forbade his companions to seek revenge for the evils inflicted upon them. During this period, the opponents went so far as to murder some Muslims and the number that were wounded or grievously hurt by them is countless. Finally, they launched a plan to murder the Prophet, but God saved His Prophet from the evil of the enemies and brought him safely to Medina. God then gave him the good news that those who had raised the sword against him would now die by the sword. In all fairness, is it at all possible to conclude from this that the Prophet had been harbouring a design to fight from the very beginning and it was manifested when he was able to gather a few men around him?

Alas! The Christian critics of Islam are completely blinded in their prejudice. It does not even cross their mind that when the Muslims fought their very first battle against the Meccan army that was coming in their pursuit to Medina, the Muslims were far from being an organised group. There were only three hundred and thirteen Muslims, mostly young and inexperienced, who took the field in Badr against all the braves of Arabia. Is it at all conceivable that this little band of Muslims had set out to punish the hundreds of thousand of Arabs, Christians and Jews? Clearly, the Muslim presence in the battlefield was not the result of a man made design or plan to vanquish their enemies and be victorious. For if this was the case, then an army of at least thirty to forty thousand should have been put together to take on the hundreds of thousand opposing the Muslims. It is abundantly clear then that the Muslims fought this battle, under very trying circumstances, not because of any reliance on material resources but because they had been so commanded by God.


Why was it Necessary for the Jews to Accept Islam?

It is necessary here to answer another objection. Some may argue that if salvation lies in monotheistic belief and righteous deeds, then why were the Jews invited to accept Islam? Was there not even a single person among the Jews who was a practising monotheist and submissive to the commands of God? We have already shown that most of the Jews during the time of Prophet Muhammad were transgressors and the Quran bears testimony to it in verse 3:109, where it says, "... most of them are transgressors." Since so many of them had ceased to practice monotheism and the performance of righteous deeds, God's infinite mercy desired their reformation. So, according to His ancient tradition, He sent His messenger to them. Even if we assume that there were a few among the Jews who were monotheistic and righteous, they ceased to be virtuous when they rebelled against the Messenger of God. When even a small sin dirties the soul, how can anyone who disobeys and opposes the Messenger have a pure soul?

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Books Section > by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian > Four Question Answered (Siraaj-ud-Deen Eesaee Kay Chaar Swaalon Kay Jawaab) > Question # 2: Why do Other Believers in One God Belonging to Other Religions Need to Accept Islam

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