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Jews could learn a few things from Muslims

This is a guest post on my blog by a Muslim lady in response to Western Wall’s rabbi endorses plan that would allow women and men to worship together at holy site

Jews could learn a few things from Muslims. Despite supporting gender segregation, Islam’s holiest site – the Ka’aba in Mecca and all the other associated sites of the pilgrimage are open and equally accessible to both genders. The philosophy and wisdom behind this is that not all places or occasions require equal observance of religious norms. The Pilgrimage is a most sacred and sacrosanct occasion. It is a time for controlling one’s own desires and instead concentrate fully on the All-Powerful God. As a result the atmosphere created should be one where the highest level of piety and righteousness is observed.
– M. Ahmad

Congratulations to Pope Francis I and to Catholics across the world

AMJ International Twitter reported that Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad has congratulated Pope Francis and the Catholic Church.

Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad has said:

“I would like to offer congratulations to Pope Francis I and to Catholics across the world. May the appointment of the new Pope prove to be blessed not just for Christians but for all people across the globe. May the new Pope lead the Church towards the true teachings of Christianity.

I hope and pray that in the forthcoming era the Pope uses his influence to develop peace and harmony in the world. In terms of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, we have always been at the forefront of promoting inter-faith harmony and striving for peace.”

The full statement in a Press Release has been posted.

Office of Religious Freedom is an expression of Canadian solidarity with the oppressed

By: Lal Khan Malik Published on Mon Mar 11 2013 in Toronto Star

The word “empathy” is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”

Following the announcement last month of the long-awaited Office of Religious Freedom, columnists and pundits throughout the country offered an array of varying views and opinions about the new office. Some wrote in favour of its noble objectives, while many others criticized its establishment for various reasons.

But all of the analyses, whether supportive or critical, seem to be missing an important factor central to the whole subject: empathy.

I feel a dearth of empathy from the arguments of the various pundits who have criticized this initiative and feel that in order to assess this matter more appropriately, it’s important to understand and give weight to the human side of this whole affair. As Ambassador Andrew Bennett put it, “It’s a human issue”.

While it is hard to imagine what it means to be a hated and helpless minority living amid hardline persecutors, we must strive to be truly cognizant of the suffering our fellow brothers and sisters around the world endure.

It is in the void of empathy that arguments against the office bemoaning its $5-million budget as a waste of money are born. In our country of great affluence, whose federal expenditures amounted to more than $275 billion in 2012, it is nothing short of strange to denounce the new unit, whose lofty mandate is to strive to relieve the plight of those who are oppressed and persecuted for their beliefs, on the grounds that $5 million is too high a budget.

The only reason that I can think of that would lead people to hold such views is a lack of true awareness of the gravity of the suffering that these persecuted people experience.

Basking in the freedom and prosperity of arguably the world’s greatest country can have that effect, especially if you have never experienced any such repression yourself.

That’s why I consider myself fortunate to have known both sides. Living in Canada for the last 25 years, I have experienced the sweet freedom that our country offers, yet it was not always so for me. As an Ahmadi Muslim who migrated from Pakistan, I am intimately aware of the fear and apprehension that can become a part of one’s daily life in an atmosphere of cruelty.

But I experienced both freedom and repression even in Pakistan, for although I was born in Pakistan a Sunni Muslim, I decided to become an Ahmadi Muslim when I was about 20 years old, and started to truly realize way back even then just how tough it was for Ahmadis there.

I had lived my whole life in peace and security yet — overnight — I went from that state of safety to being among the hunted; from being among the strong majority to among the repressed minority.

In 1974, 12 years after I became Ahmadi, Pakistan amended the constitution to declare Ahmadis non-Muslims. From that point on, it was hard even to exist there as an Ahmadi, much less live freely. Till this day, if I were to go to Pakistan, by law, I would not be able to greet others with the traditional Islamic greeting “Assalaamo alaikum,” or call myself a Muslim, or discuss my religion with others, or call my place of worship a mosque. If I were to do so, I could be punished by imprisonment or even death. Even if I hid my faith, there is still nothing preventing a hate-filled fanatic from hopping my fence at night and stabbing me to death as was the case with a certain Ahmadi — among others — who was recently martyred in Pakistan.

With ample support for this oppression from the government and society in general, such tyranny goes unpunished and even unchecked. The police turn a blind eye, and the media must overlook it for fear of the extremist mullahs who control the masses behind all the violence. This is no exaggeration; this is reality for Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan.
Be it Coptic Christians in Egypt, Baha’is in Iran, or the monks of Tibet, this bleak, hopeless and life-threatening existence is everyday life for millions and millions of religiously persecuted people all over the world, for whom there is no way out and for whom there is no ally near or far.

The words of Jean-Jacques Rousseau ring true as ever, “Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains.”

The fact is that for the countless people who live in such tragic circumstances, countries like Canada (there aren’t many like us by the way) are the only hope they have. If we don’t move into action, then surely some blame lies on us too. As Edmund Burke so famously once said, “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”

Therefore we must recognize the importance of this undertaking — the unqualified need to raise our voices against tyranny and become “a voice for the voiceless.” That is what this Office of Religious Freedom is about. It’s about showing our own people and the people of the world that we are dedicated to this ideal and that we will spend our time, effort and resources on this because this matters to us.

So as Canadians, we must foster that empathy within ourselves to recognize the extent of the struggles and torment fellow members of our human family are going through.

Ultimately, it is our level of empathy that will determine whether or not we oppose this office, because we all know that the cause is worthwhile and that there are costs and considerations to be made in any endeavour, but that, regardless of everything, there are some things that we cannot sacrifice, no matter the cost.

Therefore my fellow Canadians, rest assured that our government made the right choice in taking this stand, because, in the words of Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

“The cause is just.”
“The need is urgent.”
“And our responsibility is clear.”

Lal Khan Malik is national president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at Canada.

Taqiyya

“Deception, taqiya, and lies are essential to advancing Islam (according to the unflushable Koran.)” –Pamela Geller

Another common allegation Geller makes — with references to the writings of Spencer — is that Muslims engage in the practice of taqiyya, which she defines as the practice of lying to non-Muslims in order to advance the cause of Islam (though most Sunni and Shiite scholars define it as concealing one’s beliefs explicitly to avoid physical harm). She levies this allegation against any Muslims speaking for peace, reconciliation or rationality. This exposes her inherent hypocrisy, as she criticizes Muslims for not being loyal to the U.S., but when they do pledge allegiance to the U.S., she claims it is deception (as she did with our Muslims for Loyalty efforts).

As with most of her accusations against Islam, there is indeed truth to be found in the writings and actions of some fanatics, but Geller conflates their words with Islam. Advancing the scholarship of Robert Spencer, she advances the theory that deception and dishonesty are permitted to Muslims to advance their faith, although no verse from the Quran is provided as a clear instruction for this practice.

As part of its effort to revive the teachings of Islam, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community entirely rejects the claim that Islam permits deception or lying. Quite to the contrary, the Quran clearly articulates honesty as incumbent upon Muslims when it says, “And confound not truth with falsehood nor hide the truth, knowingly” as well as “Most hateful is it in the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do.” Muslims have also been warned repeatedly to avoid language that may have double meanings in any situation and to, rather, employ straightforward and clear speech when dealing with members of our own household, neighbors or even enemies.

Allah continues in the Quran by instructing Muslims to be truthful even if doing so will harm them, their family or the community.

“O ye who believe! Be strict in observing justice, and be witnesses for Allah, even through it be against yourselves or against parents and kindred. Whether he be rich or poor, Allah is more regardful of them both that you are. Therefore follow not low desires so that you may be able to act equitably. And if you conceal the truth or evade it, then remember that Allah is well aware of what you do.”

Thus is every Muslim instructed to bear true testimony even if it is against themself, other Muslims, children, parents, kin, etc. Even if our honor or property is at stake, we are required to be fair, just and honest. The very idea that believers may legitimately deceive unbelievers when under pressure is patently absurd and not grounded in the teachings of the Quran.

Source: Muslim Sunrise

Freedom of speech and violent reaction – More respect needed

My letter published in Calgary Herald and the full version in The Barrie Examiner as Letter of the Day under title “Mocking religious leaders is not freedom of speech”

When freedom of speech was first advocated in the 18th and 19th century it was intended to lead to truth and morality. The cartoons and movies to mock religious leaders achieve neither. Freedom of speech always conflicts with other values in society, such as peaceful coexistence, and must be balanced. That is why modern democratic governments in one form or another place limits on freedom of speech.

As a Muslim I condemn the violent reaction by Muslims in some parts of the world. They have acted against the very teachings of Prophet Muhammad in whose honour they were protesting. Once returning from expedition, a hypocrite used insulting words against the Prophet. Muslims were upset and one suggested to kill him. The Prophet did not permit anyone to do so. This incident clearly indicates to Muslims how they should respond. Personally, I have not watched the anti-Islam film because Muslims have been instructed in the Quran “When you hear the signs of Allah being denied and mocked at, sit not with them until they engage in a talk other than that…”.

Islam values freedom of speech in a respectful way. Quran says “Revile not those whom they call upon beside Allah, lest they, out of spite, revile Allah in their ignorance…”  This one principle can establish peaceful co-existence. Furthermore Prophet Muhammad instructed his followers that “A believer does not taunt, or curse or abuse or talk indecently.”

If we want to live peacefully in this global village call earth we must learn to respect each other.

Declaration when getting passport in Pakistan – A new Kalma created in Islam

Most sensible people know about the subject matter and agree what a political stunt it was when Bhutto government declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims without even discussing the topic of Khatam-e-Nabuwwat on the basis of which they made the constitutional amendement, but there are still some ignorant souls who try to justify it even though it is completely against the teachings of Quran and Sunnah.  A little comment I posted after glancing through this ignorant’s post and comment

Holy Prophet (saw) said that 72 will be separate and hell bound and one will be on his path. You may try as much as you want but you can’t reverse that Hadith now. The munir inquiry report of 1953 is enough to show the true face of non-Ahmadi scholars and their definition of Muslim. Come up with one definition for God sake!

And congratulations to Pakistani Muslims on their new Kalma and creating your own new creed! What should we call it now? Pakistani Islam version 1974? Obviously it can’t be called the Islam of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) after all the changes it has gone through.

And as for the hadith you quoted on agreement, it does not apply since Ahmadis are not part of that decision. Nice try but total failure.

Murders a shame to Islam

An excellent Letter to Editor in Dallas News

The murder of U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens is an abhorrent and inexcusable crime.

Murder has no place in Islam. Nowhere in the Quran is anyone permitted to harm, riot or kill anyone for speaking against Islam or Prophet Muhammad. The very actions the rioters took violate the example set by Prophet Muhammad.

When a mob was about to attack a man for urinating in the mosque, Prophet Muhammad replied, “Leave him alone and throw a bucket of water over his urine, for you have been raised to deal with people gently and you have not been raised to deal with them harshly.”

As a Muslim-American and member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, I strongly condemn the actions of the rioters in Libya and Egypt. Their actions do not reflect the teachings of Islam and cause disrespect to Prophet Muhammad more than any Geert Wilders film ever could.

Azhar Hussain, Plano

Qadianis as non-Muslim minority?

This is in response to the article in a Pakistani newspaper The News about Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

The author of this article forgot to mention some very important points.

  1. In the 13 days of discussion in the special committee of National Assembly of Pakistan in 1974 the topic of Khatam-e-Nabuwwat (Finality of Prophethood) was never brought up. I have read the entire question/answers from the official proceedings published recently by the National Assembly. This proceeding is supposed to be available in the Library of National Assembly as well. Everyone should try to get hold of the copy and read it to find that “Khatam-e-Nabuwwat“was never discussed and in fact Attorney General Yahya Bakhtiar presented the “popular” Muslim belief that Jesus son of Mary in his second coming will be a prophet and agreed with Ahmadiyya view.
  2. Mirza Nasir Ahmad, the 3rd Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at never agreed that the National Assembly of Pakistan can be a judge that can decide who is a Muslim or not. This is evident from the Mahzarnama (The Memorandum) that was submitted to National Assembly’s special committee. It clearly states this in the opening pages of that important document and Attorney General Yahya Bakhtiar argued over this for first several days! Mirza Nasir Ahmad was obeying the law as he was called by the government to be present in person and answer the questions on behalf of the community.
  3. The belief in Khatam-e-Nabuwwat of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at is exactly same as other sects. That is why it was never discussed. So presenting this point as if Ahmadis do not believe in Khatam-e-Nabuwwat and were declared non-Muslim on this basis is a conscious lie by the author. The laws 298B/C of 1984 XX ordnance by dictator Zia-ul-Haq were a coward act to suppress the viewpoint of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. If we did not have belief in Khatam-e-Nabuwwat it would have been very easy to allow our literature be published and every Pakistani could decide for himself/herself by looking at it or listening to our views. But since this is not true, the Mullahs had to use force of law to suppress the truth.
  4. The question of whether Ahmadis consider other Muslims outside Islam was also discussed thoroughly in that special committee. If you read it you will find the answer that all sects have the same belief and declare others outside Islam except Ahmadis who consider everyone as Muslim as far as the Ummah of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) is concerned. Other sects have very severe fatwas of Kuffar so much so that the words cannot be repeated in a civilized discussion. The fact of the matter is that the 1953 Munir Inquiry Report had already concluded that no two religious scholars agreed on the definition of a Muslim. And this fact still remains as true as was in 1953. There was never a need for 1974 meeting in lieu of 1953 inquiry. It was a staged drama. The Rabwah incident never happened the way it was presented in media propaganda. It was all pre-planned and was followed through meticulously. Samdani tribunal report, which was constituted to look into the Rabwah incident, was never published.
  5. The question of offering funeral prayer of Qaid-e-Azam was also discussed in National Assembly and if you read the response you will have to declare rest of the Pakistanis as non-Muslim as well including some prominent Muslim political leaders of that time (and their entire sects/parties as well) who did not read the funeral prayer. On all seriousness it was the Imam, Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, who was leading the funeral prayer who had on record called Chaudhry Muhammad Zafarullah Khan as Kaffir (infidel). How could he  stand behind him in the prayer? Only someone who has no faith and only wants the world to praise him would have read the prayer behind someone who calls you kaffir. Funeral prayer in Islamic jurisprudence is “fard-e-kafaya” meaning it is not obligatory on all to pray. Ahmadi Muslims pray the funeral prayer of any Muslim who does not have any other Muslim to pray. One such incident from Denmark was presented to the special committee as well.
  6. 7th September is indeed a remarkable day in the history of Pakistan as the author has pointed out but it is remarkable for proving the truthfulness of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) who prophesied that “my people will be divided into 73 sections, all of them will be in the fire except one”. The prophecy is about 72 vs one community. The leading Urdu newspaper reported that “Excluding Qadianis all the 72 sects are considered to be Muslims”. This fateful day the 72 sects gathered and declared they are The 72 and Ahmadis are the One.

There are some other points in the article which are written with prejudice and ignorance and I’ll briefly touch on them in the end, e.g. “Qadianis working against Pakistan” but the fact of the matter is that Ahmadis world-over are praying and fasting regularly for the safety of Pakistan.

The author also claims that this is “unanimous” decision of Ummah that anyone who claims to be a prophet is not Muslim but the fact is that Holy Prophet (saw) himself prophesied a prophet in the Ummah in the latter days. The fatwa of the Muslim scholars today has no status against the teachings of Holy Quran and Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). Great Islamic scholars of the past also agree.

Author also fails to recognize that in religious matters there is no copyright. Allah belongs to all and so does all other good things including prophets. If Christians around the world decided one day to ban Muslims and Holy Quran because it calls Jesus their prophet, will he accept this verdict?

Moreover, a political government, or majority population has no right to decide a religious matter, otherwise every prophet will have to be declared a false one at the very start on that principle. This self-concocted criteria is against the clear teachings of Quran and religious history.

Lastly if you have any love for truth, publish the proceedings of 1974 in public domain along with the case in Federal Shariat court. We are all ready to sacrifice the last drop of our blood to up hold the truth. Insha’Allah