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Books Section > Ahmadiyyat in the Service of Islam by Naseer Ahmad Faruqui Sahib > The Defender of Islam


Chapter 8:
The Defender of Islam:



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It has already been shown in the previous chapter that, along with a clear prophecy about the Christian attempt to 'blow out, with their mouths, the light of Allah (Islam),' the Holy Quran had also prophesied the second advent of the Messiah to save Islam, to bring out its perfection, and to make it prevail over other religions. The commentators of the Holy Quran were also agreed that this great task of the defence and prevalence of Islam would be performed by the Promised Messiah, long before he appeared in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib.

The Holy Prophet too had prophesied, as shown in the previous chapter, the advent of the man 'nearest to me (the Holy Prophet),' who would identify the grave danger in the form of the Dajjal, and will overpower him. That this was no other than Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib has also been shown in the last chapter. The Holy Prophet had further prophesied that the Promised Messiah would 'break the Cross and kill the swine' (Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Anbiya. 60:49). Taking a leaf out of the books of the Christian orientalists and missionaries, the Hindu sect of Arya Samaj had made their attacks on the person of the Holy Prophet of Islam in particular, and on Islam and the Holy Quran in general, still more scurrilous and vituperative. They were answered by Hazrat Mirza Sahib, who exposed their teachings, in particular of Nayog, by which a husband who had no male child should allow his wife to sleep with other men so as to get at least eleven male children. As such a lack of sense of honour is to be found in the swine only, the Arya Samaj was given that name by the Hadith. As a result of Hazrat Mirza Sahib's campaign against the Arya Samaj, it lost its rising popularity among the Hindus, and is now a dead movement.

As for the 'breaking of the Cross,' the Muslims, as usual, were under the misconception of taking it literally. The Promised Messiah very pertinently pointed out that it was hardly befitting any man of religion, least of all of the high rank of the Promised Messiah, to go about breaking the wooden crosses of the Christians in their homes and their churches (a sacrilegious thing in itself) or killing the swine in forests. To break a wooden Cross you need a carpenter, not a spiritual leader! He explained that the Cross was the sign and symbol of the Christian religion, and its breaking meant the exposure of the falsity of the doctrines of Christianity about the Divine Sonship of Jesus, Trinity, Atonement, etc.

The Holy Prophet had also indicated how the false creed of the Dajjal should be combatted - by arguments, as when he said:

'When he (the Dajjal) makes his appearance, and I am in your midst, then I will overpower him by arguments, on behalf of every Muslim; but if he appears after me, everyone should argue with him on his own behalf' (Kanz al-Ummal, Vol. 7, Nos. 2025 and 2079).

The 'killing of the Dajjal' referred to elsewhere in the Hadith is also not in the literal sense -the common mistake- but in the sense of annihilating by arguments.

The vast literature produced by the Promised Messiah and his able lieutenants exposing the falsity of the doctrines of Christianity is such a hard fact of documentary evidence and history that the critics of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib have not been able to deny that great achievement. Christian missions themselves admitted defeat by instructing their missionaries not to take on the Ahmadis in debate. To deny the Promised Messiah's crushing defeat of Christianity, however, his Muslim critics have produced a spurious argument. To answer that, and to show the crowning glory of the Promised Messiah in the breaking of the Cross, we have decided to devote a separate chapter to that discussion (Chapter 12). It will show that Christianity as a religion which could be acceptable to an enlightened and intelligent man is no more. So that the great danger it posed to the Muslim intelligentsia, in fact to all Muslims, has ceased to exist. While previously they went over by thousands to Christianity, one does not hear of even one Muslim now going over. Furthermore, Christianity is fast losing its hold on its own white followers. That clears the way for the spread of Islam among them. In this chapter we will confine ourselves to the Holy Quran's prophecies, that Allah will, through the second advent of the Messiah, not only save 'the light of Allah' from being blown out, but will bring out its perfection and make it prevail over other religions.

As desired by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, the Promised Messiah carried out his campaign by arguments. He made a list of the Christian objections to Islam, the Holy Prophet and the Holy Quran. They came to the staggering figure of 3000! He listed them, classified them, and answered them. They were, briefly, under the following headings.

Islam 'The Religion of the Sword':

This much-rubbed-in objection was drawn from the wrong conception among the Muslims of jihad, Imam Mahdi, etc. We have already disposed of these in Chapter 6. The Promised Messiah removed the blot from the face of Islam that it envisaged the use of force in religion. As for the Holy Prophet, whose picture was drawn by the Christian propagandists as holding the Holy Quran in one hand and the sword in the other, offering the two alternatives, the Promised Messiah and his able followers like Maulana Muhammad Ali and Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din showed how the Holy Prophet and his Companions suffered the utmost persecution, torture, individual killing, and ouster from their homes, families and properties, without raising their arms to strike back, and that it was only when the enemy took to the sword to destroy the Holy Prophet and his Companions by military offensive, that they took up arms in self-defence. This has already been shown in our earlier discussion on jihad. And for the sake of peace, the Holy Prophet accepted even the one-sided and highly adverse conditions of the Peace of Hudaibiyah, under the Holy Quran's admonition:

'And if they (the enemies) incline to peace, incline thou also to it, and trust in Allah. Surely, He is the Hearer, the Knower' (8:61).

And when the enemy broke the truce and the Holy Prophet had to march on Makkah, which fell, he forgave all his enemies, including the worst killers, with the magnanimous quotation from the Holy Quran:

'No reproof be against you this day' (12:92).

The worst critics of the Holy Prophet cannot quote even one case of the conquered enemies being compelled to accept Islam. They did so in course of time voluntarily, touched by the Holy Prophet's magnanimity and by the beauty of Islam, which they could now see from close quarters and without the blinding hatred and enmity which prevailed before.

Apostasy:

The misconception that the punishment in Islam for apostasy is death, which is unfortunately common among Muslim ‘ulama too, was exploited by the enemies of Islam to show that it was a religion of the sword: 'Convert by the sword and keep within Islam by the sword.' We have already dealt with it partially under jihad. But it is necessary to discuss it a little more as the misconception persists among Muslims as well as non-Muslims.

The Holy Quran, which is the paramount authority of Islamic law, is quite clear on the question of religious freedom:

'There is no compulsion in religion' (2:256).

'Say, the Truth is from your Lord; then whosoever wants to, let him believe; and whosoever wants to, let him disbelieve' (18:30).

'Wilt thou then force men against their will until they become believers?' (10:99).

If a person outside Islam is not to be compelled to become a Muslim, why should a person who is a believer be compelled to stay in Islam? But a rejecter of Islam, whether from outside or from inside, does render himself liable to Divine displeasure, because he rejects the truth after having seen it. Then he has to be punished to cure him of his spiritual revolt against submission to his Creator. But the Holy Quran is quite clear that that would be in the next world only. Before we quote the Holy Quran on that point, we would like to quote a fair-minded non-Muslim European, Heffening, who opens his article on murtadd (apostate) in the Encyclopaedia of Islam with the remarks: 'In the Koran the apostate is threatened with punishment in the next world only.' Let us quote the Holy Quran itself:

'How should Allah guide a people who disbelieved after their believing and after they had become a witness (i.e. after they had seen) that the Messenger was true, and clear arguments had come to them. And Allah guides not the unjust people. As for these, their reward is that on them is the curse of Allah, and of the angels, and of men, all together -abiding therein. Their chastisement shall not be lightened, nor shall they be respited, except those who repent after that and amend, for surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Those who disbelieve after their believing, then increase in disbelief, their repentance is not accepted, and these are they who go astray' (3:85-89).

These verses speak of an apostate even getting the latitude to increase in his disbelief, and no immediate punishment is mentioned except the curse of Allah and the angels, etc., which means his being thrown away from Divine pleasure and from virtue, but there will be punishment in the Hereafter to curb the evil animal within him which revolted and persisted in revolt against his Creator. This is made clear in the following verses:

'Those who believe, then disbelieve, again believe and again disbelieve, then increase in disbelief, Allah will never forgive them nor guide them on the (right) way' (4:137).

'He who disbelieves in Allah after having believed, not he who is compelled while his heart is at rest on account of faith, but he who opens his breast for disbelief -on these is the wrath of Allah, and they shall have a grievous punishment' (16: 106).

'And they (the enemies) will not cease fighting with you until they turn you back from your religion, if they could, and whoever of you turns back from his religion, then he dies while an unbeliever, these it is whose works go for nothing in this world and the Hereafter, and they are the inmates of fire; therein they abide' (2:217).

Here, the apostate is clearly spoken of as dying his natural death. That the killing of the apostate was not in vogue in Madinah while the Holy Prophet was the ruler of the place is clear from the following verse:

'And a party of the People of the Book say, Express belief in that which has been revealed, in the first part of the day, and disbelieve at the end of it' (3:71).

How could people living under a Muslim government conceive of such a plan to throw discredit on the religion of the rulers if apostasy was punishable with death?

Those who believe in the death punishment for an apostate rely on certain reports in the Hadith, but we refrain from entering that lengthy debate for the sake of brevity. The reader, if he wishes to, may read pages 594 to 599 of the masterly book The Religion of Islam, by Maulana Muhammad Ali, which will show that only those apostates were put to death who, after their apostasy, killed innocent Muslims or joined the enemy to wage war against the Muslims. Their killing was, then, for reasons other than religion.

To conclude, the charge repeated till this day against Islam that it was the religion of the sword, and not of conscience, was totally rebutted by Hazrat Mirza Sahib and his Jama‘at. If people continue to believe otherwise, it is their fault.

Divorce and Polygamy:

These were the other grounds for attacking Islam and the Holy Prophet of Islam by the Christian missionaries, who pointed out that, on the other hand, Jesus Christ did not indulge in sex at all as he did not marry. To refrain from marrying is not a good example as the world would come to an end in one generation if that example were universally followed. Abstinence from lawful marriage is going against nature, if there is any natural urge in a man. In any case, the present-day research by some of the Christians themselves shows that Jesus Christ had married Marry Magdalene either before his crucifixion or afterwards when he migrated to Kashmir. A German magazine published, a few years ago, the photograph of a present-day family in Kashmir which claims descent from Jesus Christ, and has proof of it.

As for polygamy, practiced by almost all other prophets of the Bible who sometimes had hundreds of wives, it is permitted in Islam only when there is an excess of women over men, due usually to wars which create widows and orphans who need a husband and a father and not merely a pension. Even otherwise, situations can arise when girls of marriageable age cannot find husbands within the community of their faith. In such a situation, polygamy is the only honourable solution. Even then Islam puts a maximum of four wives (on unlimited polygamy hitherto) provided the husband can treat them all alike, failing which he should have only one wife (4:3). Societies which did not allow it suffered complete breakdown of the moral fibre of the nation. As far back as the 1920's, Judge Lindsay in his book A Case for Polygamy estimated that there were, in the small society of England, as many as four million women compelled to become prostitutes because they could not find husbands. A woman is always wanting to marry, and to have the protection and security of a husband and a home, to have and to bring up her children, which is her biggest natural urge. It is the man who shuns the restrictions and obligations of marriage. If to him indulgence in sex is possible outside the obligations of marriage, he is all for it. So where there is a preponderance of women over men, and no polygamy is allowed, free sex springs up to destroy the moral and spiritual health of the society. It is a terrible thing to happen. And who would care to marry widows and take over their children to look after, unless it is out of compassion which is recommended in the verse of the Holy Quran allowing polygamy (4:3).

If the West is to avoid the complete breakdown of the institution of marriage, and moral and spiritual deterioration leading to human beings becoming animals or worse, it must consider allowing polygamy. In any case it is better than free extra-marital sex, unwed mothers, illegitimate children, broken homes, juvenile delinquency, drunkenness to drown sorrows, and daily increasing crime, which are all interlinked.

As for divorce, in the times of Hazrat Mirza Sahib, the Christian missionaries used to scoff at it as leading to moral laxity, while Jesus Christ pronounced that the marriage knot tied in Heaven could not be untied on the earth. But in the same breath he untied it on this very earth in the case of adultery. Now, legalised divorce on general grounds is rampant in the West, much, much more numerous than in the Muslim society. Separation of the husband and wife, which is much worse than divorce, is more common. What a sad state of affairs for those who used to find fault with the divorce, hedged in by conditions, which Islam allowed! There is no need for us now to defend Islam, although Hazrat Mirza Sahib and his Jama‘at had to fight that defence nearly a hundred years ago when the Christian missionaries were riding the high horse trampling Islam, or at least trying to do it. The West has learnt by bitter lesson that Islam was right.

Slavery and Concubinage:

On these grounds too, Islam was attacked viciously in the time of Hazrat Mirza Sahib. As wrong notions about them persist, both among Muslims and non-Muslims, even today, it is necessary to touch upon them very briefly. For detailed discussion, the reader is referred to the masterly book The Religion of Islam, by Maulana Muhammad Ali. This book can only touch on these subjects in passing.

Slavery:

Any reader of the Holy Quran would know that the Holy Quran puts the highest premium on the freeing of slaves, which were then held in custody in almost every home. For the future, slavery was totally prohibited and it was made clear that human liberty could be taken away only in the case of prisoners taken in battle:

'It is not befitting a prophet that he should take prisoners unless he has fought and triumphed in the land. You desire the frail goods of this world, while Allah desires (for you) the Hereafter. And Allah is Mighty (having power over you), Wise. Were it not for an ordinance from Allah that had gone before, there would have befallen you a great chastisement for what you were going to do' (8:67-68).

This refers to the desire of a section of the Muslims to attack the trade caravan of the Makkans returning from Syria with arms for the Makkans, but also with rich merchandise, and which was not strongly guarded (8:7). The prospect was a lot of loot and enslavement of the captives thus taken, which was customary in Arabia before Islam.

Slavery was prohibited by the verse quoted above, except for prisoners of war, which could be taken only after a battle. Even these were not to be sold into slavery, as was the pre-Islamic custom, nor were they to be kept permanently -as made clear in another verse, when, speaking of fighting disbelievers who attack Muslims, the latter are told:

'Then when you have overcome them, take prisoners (i.e. do not kill the enemy unnecessarily) and afterwards free them as a favour or for ransom' (47:4).

May the choicest blessings of Allah descend upon the Holy Prophet that he adopted, in most cases, the former course of freeing the captives as a favour, except in the case of the seventy prisoners of the battle of Badr when light ransom was taken. The Holy Prophet, being the perfect exemplar, thus set the Muslims an example of both the alternatives.

As for slaves already existing in Muslim homes from the days of Jahiliyya (ignorance), their freeing was put at a high premium. Thus details of 'high virtue' (birr) in 2:177 include 'to set slaves free.' Similarly, in deploring man for not taking 'the uphill road, of moral progress' the explanation given by the Holy Quran itself of the uphill road puts in the premier position 'to free a slave' (90:13). And there are other occasions when the freeing of a slave is accepted as a restitution for the violation of a Divine law (e.g. 58:3). What more could be done? Even the State is directed to spend a part of the funds raised by zakah (poor-rate) on purchasing the freedom of slaves (9:60).

It is absurd to say that while Islam sets so much store on the freeing of slaves, it also allowed the taking of slaves. Slavery is forbidden, as shown above, and the only thing allowed is the capturing of prisoners, and that, too, only after a battle; and even they are to be freed without ransom or with light ransom, which in one case was prescribed by the Holy Prophet to be the teaching of a few children to read and write by a captive who was literate.

Concubinage:

If there is to be no slavery, then there can be no concubinage either, for concubines are nothing but female slaves turned into mistresses. There is no question of buying female slaves in the market. As for the female prisoners of war, they are to be set free without ransom, or with light ransom, as in the case of male captives. But the trouble about the female prisoners of war is that if they are sent back, even free, their menfolk are not prepared to take them back as they assume that the women must have been ravished by the captors as was the common practice among Arabs before Islam, and as is the common lot of female prisoners today in all non-Islamic countries even of the West. After being ravished by the officers, they are sent to the brothel for the soldiery to ravish.

Such disgraceful treatment of the female prisoners of war was not possible in the Holy Prophet's time, or even under the Early Caliphate, when the moral standards were of the highest possible order. Not a single case is to be found in the history of those periods. All doubtful reports must be rejected out of hand because of the clear Divine command:

'And those who cannot afford to marry should remain chaste' (24:33).

The question of affording to marry arose out of the Islamic requirement that the bridegroom must pay the mahr (dowry) to the bride in accordance with his and her rank. To pay a nominal mahr on the plea that in the Holy Prophet's days such small sums were fixed, turns a conveniently blind eye on the part of men to the fact that in those days Muslims, especially the Holy Prophet and his family, were among the poorest, who sometimes went without a cooked meal for months. The Holy Quran envisages even 'a heap of gold' being paid by those who can afford it (4:20) as mahr (dowry).

The question remains, if the female prisoners of war are not taken back by their people, even if they are set free without ransom, what is to become of them? Are they to be let loose on society? Obviously they would take to prostitution if they are not looked after. So the Holy Quran allows destitute Muslims, who cannot afford to pay the mahr (dowry) of free women, to marry such freed female slaves. The Holy Quran is quite clear on the point:

'And whoever among you cannot afford to marry free believing women, (let him marry) such of your believing maidens as your right hands possess. And Allah knows best your faith (i.e. do not set high standards for the faith of such women). Some of you are like others. So marry them with the permission of their masters, and give them their dowries justly, then if they are guilty of adultery when they are taken in marriage, they shall suffer half the punishment for free married women' (4:25).

This important verse requires the following elucidations:

(1) If a Muslim cannot afford to marry a free believing woman, he may marry one of those 'whom your right hands possess.'

(2) The much-misunderstood term 'whom your right hands possess' has been much exploited. It is taken to mean concubines. To describe a concubine bought from the market or from her master as one 'whom your right hands possess' is a complete misnomer. The very use of the words 'whom your right hands have taken possession of' (which is the correct rendering of the Arabic phrase mimma malakat aimanukum) clearly points to women captured in battle. That is where the right hand is used to take possession of a prisoner. To apply that phrase to a woman bought from a slave market or from a master is totally unwarrantable.

(3) The Holy Quran still speaks of such a woman being taken in marriage with the permission of her master. Who is this master? It was the practice of the Holy Prophet and the latter-day Muslim commanders to distribute all prisoners, male or female, to the soldiers as part of the spoils of war. They were kept in homes, sometimes in a better way than the master or the mistress of the Muslim home, but always at least on the same scale of living. It is this 'master' spoken of in the verse under consideration. If they are now kept in a war prison, the Government holding them is the 'master.'

(4) Why are 'those whom your right hands possess' mentioned in this and other places separately from free women? That is also explained in this very verse. If the former are guilty of adultery after marriage, their punishment is to be half that of free married women. It is because of the separate treatment under the Quranic law of these women who have come recently from a non-Muslim society, and because, therefore, the same high moral standards cannot be expected from them, that their separate mention was required.

Incidentally, the punishment of stoning to death for married men or women found guilty of adultery cannot possibly be permissible in Islam as:

(a) The Holy Quran, which is the paramount authority on Muslim law, does not prescribe stoning to death for any crime whatsoever.

(b) It prescribes instead one hundred strokes for adultery, by man or woman, married or unmarried.

(c) One hundred strokes can be halved as required in verse 4:25 of the Holy Quran but not the stoning to death.

Anyway, because of the clear ban on sexual indulgence outside marriage (24:33) and the requirement that even the women 'whom your right hands possess' must be married properly (4:25), concubinage is simply not permissible in Islam.

The Holy Prophet, being the perfect exemplar, properly married those female prisoners of war whom he took as wives. Much has been made by the Christian critics of the case of Mary the Copt, who was presented to the Holy Prophet by the king of Egypt. That he had married her too will be shown in the chapter devoted to his marriages.

The Holy Prophet's Marriages:

This is the last of the important criticisms of the Christian missionaries against Islam and the Holy Prophet. As this is a question which still rankles in the hearts of people, a special chapter is devoted to it which should remove all doubts and misgivings.

We will end this chapter on the criticisms of the Christian missionaries by saying that the Promised Messiah and his followers (Ahmadis) were, and still are, dedicated defenders of Islam, the Holy Prophet and the Holy Quran. The defence of Islam was the first task entrusted by the Holy Quran to the Promised Messiah and 'those who are his helpers in the way of Allah' as mentioned in 61:9, 10, and 14 and discussed in the opening part of this chapter. The Promised Messiah discharged his task to perfection. And it is his inspiration which motivates his followers to rise to the defence of Islam, the Holy Prophet and the Holy Quran against all attacks and criticism. And yet we have been castigated as kafirs (non-Muslims)!

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Books Section > Ahmadiyyat in the Service of Islam by Naseer Ahmad Faruqui Sahib > The Defender of Islam

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