We continue with the discussion of the traditional belief that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) could not read or write. In part I, the traditional belief was explained. In part II, objections to the traditional belief were discussed and in the last part we look at the alternative interpretations.
In the Holy Quran the word ummi is used for the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s). Does this mean that he did not know how to read or write? In this and the next two khutbas we consider the use of this word for the Holy Prophet (s).
What is the difference between Ahmadi and non-Ahmadi Muslims?
The fundamental difference between Muslims belonging to the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam and others relates to the death of the prophet Jesus (as). Those outside the jamaat generally believe that God has taken Jesus to heaven with his living body and he still lives in the heavens. They also believe that one day he will descend from the heavens and lead Muslims to victory in a great battle.
We believe that the prophet Jesus (as) died a natural death but not on the cross. This also means that no one will descend from the heavens to lead Muslims to victory in some great battle. In any case, we believe that, in this age, the battle is that of ideas and not weapons.
This is the foundation stone of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s claim to being the Promised Messiah. Hazrat Mirza sahib said that because Jesus had died a natural death, he was the Messiah spoken of in the prophecies of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Thus, if it can be proven from the Holy Quran that Jesus is still alive in the heavens, Mirza sahib’s claim is false. On the other hand, if the death of Jesus can be proven from the Holy Quran then we are right. Below some verses of the Holy Quran are given which speak of the death of Jesus or from which it may be argued that Jesus died a natural death.
Think about these verses without prejudice because on the day of judgement we will each be responsible for our own beliefs and we will not be able to blame our religious leaders.
Let us look at it, step by step.
(1) Does Allah have the same law for everyone or is there variation in it?
…And you will find no change in the laws of Allah… (33:62)
This verse shows that Allah’s laws are the same for everyone in the universe. The law for living things is that they are born, grow and then die. Here the Holy Quran clearly states that there is no exception to this.
(2) What is the law related to humans living or dying?
And We granted abiding for ever to no mortal before you . . . Every soul must taste of death (21:34,35)
Having said that God’s laws are the same for all living creatures, we are told that God has not created any human being who will live for ever. Those who say that Jesus is alive respond by saying that just because Jesus is not dead yet, it does not mean he will never die and that Jesus will die after his second advent. Thus Allah’s law will be fulfilled.
But there is a diffculty here. The purpose of keeping Jesus alive in the heavens for such a long time is that he will descend and lead all nations to the right path. He will lead Muslims to a great victory. So we have to ask whether the Holy Quran has stated a law relating to the condition of living things when they become old. This will tell us whether, if Jesus returns to earth after three or four thousand years, he will be able to carry out the tasks supposedly entrusted to him by Allah.
(3) What does Allah say about the aged people
Allah is He Who created you from a state of weakness, then He gave strength after weakness, then ordained weakness and hoary hair after strength. He creates what He pleases, and He is the Knowing, the Powerful. (30:54)
And whomsoever We cause to live long, We reduce to an abject state in creation. Do they not understand? (36:68)
This shows that as living creatures age, they decline in their physical and mental capacity to do and to understand things. Even if Jesus comes back now he will be over 2000 years old. So, according to the Holy Quran he will be feeble in mind and body and unable to carry out any task, let alone the great task entrusted to him.
(4) Does the Holy Quran say anyting about a human ascending to heavens?
And they say : We will by no means believe in thee, till thou . . . ascend into heaven. . . Say : Glory be to my Lord! Am I aught but a mortal messenger (17:93)
The disbelievers of Makkah made this demand of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). They told him that they will accept him if he ascends the heavens and brings down a book. Allah Directs the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to reply saying that he is just a mortal, a messenger of Allah and being a mortal it is not possible for him to ascend to the heavens. This establishes the principle that, if it was not possible for the Holy Prophet (pbuh) to ascend into the heavens then no other mortal can do so either.
It also means that if a being ascends into the heavens then he is not a mortal but Divine. If Jesus has asended into the heavens then Christians must be correct that he is part of the Godhead and not a mortal like us.
(5) Does the Holy Quran clearly say anyting about the prophet Jesus being dead, rather than these arguments by implication?
There are many such verses which directly or indirectly speak of death of Jesus.
When Allah said: O Jesus, I will cause you to die and exalt thee in my presence… (3:54)
Here the Holy Quran says that first Jesus will die and then “rafa” (raising) will take place. So, even if Jesus was taken up bodily it was after his death and not before.
The Arabic word used here for death is “mutawaffika” which literally means “to take the whole of something”. Some say that here in case of Jesus it does not mean death but that he was taken up body and soul. However, where ever this word is used in relation to God taking man, it invariably means that God took the man’s soul or caused him to die. Indeed, it is a common idiom of the English language as well, when we speak of some one’s death we say: God took him. When Hazrat Ibn Abbas (r), one of the greatest commentators of the Holy Quran, was asked what the word “mutawaffi-ka”means in this verse. He told the inquirer to read the verse replacing “mutawaffika” with the word “mumi-tika” which literally means “to die”.
And I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when Thou didst cause me to die Thou wast the Watcher over them. (5:117)
The Holy Quran tells us that this is the reply prophet Jesus will give when, on the day of Judgement, Allah asks him if he asked his followers to take as Gods himself and his mother. It shows that the Christian beliefs changed after the death of Jesus. If Jesus is still alive then surely Christian beliefs have not altered and Jesus indeed is the Son of God and Mary, the Mother of God.
The is strenghtened by the fact that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that when he is asked the same question about Muslims in the later days distorting the teachings of Islam, he will give the same reply as Jesus. And as the Holy Prophet (pbuh) has passed away so has Jesus.
And those whom they call on besides Allah created naught, while they are themselves created. Dead are they, not living. And they know not when they will be raised. (16:20,21)
The one who is called upon most in prayers is Jesus son of Mary. Here Allah not only clearly rebuts the Christian belief that Jesus can help them in any way but also states that he is dead.
The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a messenger: messengers before him have indeed passed away. . . . They both used to eat food. See how We make messages clear to them! (5:75)
Here Jesus is clearly included among other prophets. If one is going to argue that it states that messengers who appeared before Jesus are the ones who are dead, not Jesus; how will the following verse be interpreted.
And Muhammad is but a messenger — messengers have already passed away before him. (3:143)
Would you say that this verse says that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is alive and only the prophets who appeared before him have passed away! Even if you say this, surely Jesus would still be among the prophets who are dead because the verse 3:143 clearly says that messengers who appeared before the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) have passed away. Whatever argument you use when considering these verses, you can only come to the conclusion that Jesus died.
It also says that both Jesus and his mother needed food to survive. If Jesus is alive in heaven where is he getting the food from to sustain himself?
The evidence complied above should clearly demonstrate that the Holy Quran tells us that the prophet Jesus died, and that thus no one will be ascending from the heavens to lead the Muslims to victory in any sort of great battle.
It is universally agreed that until 1901 Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s claim was that of a mujaddid, despite use of the titles Promised Messiah and Mahdi. Some claim that in 1901 he changed his claim to that of a prophet. We use a quotation from one of his major works produced in 1908 to show that he always claimed to be a mujaddid and not a prophet.
Many Muslims, and non Muslims alike, claim that Islamic guidance dictates that Muslims only need to gain knowledge of their religion and nothing else matters.
In this Khutba we look at that claim and examine not only what the Holy Prophet (s) told us to do, but what Muslims in the ‘golden age’ of Islam were doing.
If you are unable to watch the video then you can listen to the podcast below.
‘Holy Prophet Muhammad Day’, marked only by Ahmadis in Lahore, in April 1908
I am repeating, with some revisions, an item I posted here in April 2008, on the centenary of the function that it refers to.
It is reported in Badr, 30th April 1908 (p. 6) that an Eid Milad-un-Nabi function was held at Ahmadiyya Buildings, Lahore. (This was close to the end of the life of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and a few days before he arrived in Lahore from Qadian.)
The function is not called Eid Milad-un-Nabi in this report but Bara Wafat. This was the term used by Muslims in India in those days, meaning “death on the 12th”, referring to the death of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s) on this day.
Below I translate the report, which is entitled Life of the Holy Prophet:
A respected friend reports from Lahore that, on the previous day, a Tuesday, on the occasion of Bara Wafat, and for the benefit of the residents of Lahore, a grandly organised lecture was held at Ahmadiyya Buildings, where houses of our Khwaja [Kamal-ud-Din] sahib are located. The ground was very large and was decked with a marque and other necessities. It had been widely advertised in the city.
The poem in praise of the Holy Prophet written by Huzoor [presumably meaning the Promised Messiah] was read out by brothers Abdul Aziz, son of Mian Chiragh Din, and Ghulam Muhammad. Maulvi Sadr-ud-Din gave an explanation of the Surah Fatiha with great zeal and pure sincerity, and went over the events of the life of the Messenger of God, may peace and the blessing of Allah be upon him. Then brother Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig spoke on the life of the Holy Prophet in a fine speech. The audience included Hindus, Muslims and members of the Brahmo Samaj. All the leading men of Lahore who could come were in attendance. The whole gathering listened patiently and attentively to the highly effective speeches of these young men, who were preaching using this new technique and method, and they went away expressing much praise.”
This meeting was also reported in other newspapers and was generally much liked. Hence the newspaper Watan wrote:
Just as there was great regret that there were no arrangements in Lahore for holding this great occasion of remembrance, there was equal pleasure that on 14th April, corresponding to 12th Rabi-ul-awwal 1326 A.H., on behalf of the Anjuman-i Ahmadiyya Lahore a magnificent meeting was organised by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, lawyer, High Court. Capable speakers delighted the audience by telling them about the life of the Holy Prophet and his excellent and praise-worthy qualities. It is hoped that in future many people in Lahore will organise events for such a sacred remembrance.”
The newspaper Sada-i-Hind expressed a similar opinion.
Comment by Editor Badr: It is indeed essential that the general public should be fully informed about the life of the Holy Prophet. We cannot complain about non-Muslims when most Muslims themselves are utterly unaware of the life of their beloved master. When such ignorant people realise how much we owe to the Holy Prophet, they will themselves want to recite the Darood spontaneously. This is in fact the philosophy of Darood. But I do not consider it right to fix one particular day forever, like Bara Wafat, for this purpose.”
This idea was then taken up by other Muslims and led to the development of the Eid Milad-un-Nabi function.
This article was written by Dr Zahid Aziz and appears on the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement blog
Javed Ghamidi is a well-known Pakistani Muslim theologian, Quranic scholar and exegete, and educationist. In the above video (in Urdu) he explains that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a Sufi and did not claim to be a Prophet, as he is accused of.
He also briefly expressed that it is the Lahori Ahmadis’ who are following the true message of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
Evidence of the deep love and devotion to our Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (r) is accused of not caring for the honour for the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s). In this short video we translate and read out some short extracts from his writings to show his love for the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s).
Not able to watch the video? Then you can listen to the podcast below
Within a century of the death of Mohammad, in 632, Muslim armies had conquered almost the whole of the world where Jews lived, from Spain eastward across North Africa and the Middle East as far as the eastern frontier of Iran and beyond, almost all the Jews in the world were now ruled by Islam. This new situation transformed Jewish existence. Their fortunes changed in legal, demographic, social, religious, political, geographical, economic, linguistic and cultural terms – all for the better.
Wasserstein wrote in The Jewish Chronicle.
This is a statement by a Jew which shows that while in the West Jews were being persecuted, their culture and religion thrived in Muslim countries. It is sad that Islamic history regarding its tolerant treatment of the Jews is being distorted by Muslims themselves.
Muslims forget that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had a Jewish wife. When she complained to him that his other wives taunted her for being a Jew, he told her to tell them she is better than them because her father was Abraham, her brother was Aaron and her husband is Muhammad. From that beginning to the Second World War Muslims have protected the Jews; saving thousands in Morocco, Libya and even in France.
The Holy Prophet (s) said that at the time of the Messiah the burden of war will be lifted. World War One led to such carnage that it was thought that there would never be another war and the League of Nations was set up.
But World War II was even more devastating than World War I. This time whole cities were carpet bombed. During World War I devastating weapons were invented. During World War II even more terrible weapons were invented such as the atom bomb and later the Hydrogen Bomb.
Use of the Atom Bomb on Japan showed that if there is another World war there is a real possibility that the whole world will be destroyed.
This is another sign that Hazrat sahib was the Promised Messiah because it was after he appeared that all people realised that they can no longer afford to go to war.
Zubaida talks about the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s) and his importance to Muslims.