Collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
There are only 100 Senators in USA Senate, two from each state and they are the elite of the society.
Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution sets three qualifications for senators: 1) they must be at least 30 years old, 2) they must have been citizens of the United States for at least the past nine years, and 3) they must be inhabitants of the states they seek to represent at the time of their election. The age and citizenship qualifications for senators are more stringent than those for representatives. In Federalist No. 62, James Madison justified this arrangement by arguing that the “senatorial trust” called for a “greater extent of information and stability of character.”
U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo, R-Idaho, was arrested early Sunday morning in Alexandria, Virginia, and charged with driving under the influence, according to the town’s police department.
Jody Donaldson, an Alexandria police spokesman, said Crapo was arrested by an officer December 24th, after the officer noticed Crapo’s vehicle running a red light, CNN reported.
“Sen. Crapo was identified as the driver and arrested after failing several field sobriety tests,” Donaldson said in a statement. “He was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Alexandria Adult Detention Center where he was released on a $1,000 unsecured bond.”
Crapo released a statement through his office Sunday, saying: “I am deeply sorry for the actions that resulted in this circumstance. I made a mistake for which I apologize to my family, my Idaho constituents and any others who have put their trust in me.
CNN reported that the Senator’s blood alcohol level was significantly above the legal limit at the time of his arrest.
This incident brings to focus, once again the inability of Western philosophy and Christianity to help people against alcohol addiction. A recent poll suggested that almost 17 million drivers, drive under the influence of alcohol in USA, annually. To read more about alcoholism: Alcohol: moderate use a gateway to alcoholism.
The recipe to overcome addiction and sin is not some supernatural phenomenon, which cannot be be observed or demonstrated. The panacea is genuine repentance with honest intention not to repeat the mistake or the sin.
In this article, firstly, I will introduce two small booklets by the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, by way of quotes from the booklets. Secondly, I will show the effectiveness of his recipe for, How to be free from Sin, by borrowing a metaphor from Alcohol Anonymous.
Additionally, in this article and the booklets attached, the reader will find an adequate presentation of the Islamic view of how to be free from sin and will also discover an extensive refutation of the Christian dogma of vicarious atonement, namely Jesus dying for the sins of mankind.
The Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani writes that man is by his very nature averse to things he believes to be harmful, and if he commits sin it is only because he does not truly believe in the existence of God and in the Day of Reckoning. Had he possessed the same certainty about the accountability of sin, as he does, for instance, about the harmfulness of a poison or a snake, he would never even think of transgressing Divine commandments.
The Messiah also argues that a true religion must be judged by its ability to lead its followers to certainty about the existence of God. The holy author makes a detailed comparison between Islam and other major religions, and concludes that Islam alone can lead man to perfect awareness and, consequently, to freedom from sin.
“All blessings emanate from a Living God, not a dead one; and light shines forth when the sun rises and not when it sets.” Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani
First, a short quote from a booklet Fountain of Christianity, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani:
You should also consider that it is God’s eternal and established law that He forgives in response to repentance and penitence, and hears the prayers of His righteous servants which are offered by way of intercession. But we never observe in the Divine law of nature that ‘A’ hits his own head with a stone and this cures the headache of ‘B’. We are, therefore, at a loss to understand how people can acquire inner purification through the suicide committed by the Messiah. Is there any law or philosophy which can make us understand how the Messiah’s blood could have cleansed the inner impurities of other people? Our observation is, in fact, opposed to this principle, because, until the time when the Messiah decided to commit suicide, we find an element of righteousness and godliness among the Christians. After the crucifixion, however, their carnal passions burst forth like a river which breaks its banks and inundates the land.There is no doubt that even if this suicide on the part of the Messiah was deliberate, it was quite needless. If he had, instead, spent his life in preaching and exhortation, he would have done a lot of good for God’s creation. But this act did not serve them in any way. Yes, if the Messiah had indeed come back to life after his suicide, and had ascended to heaven before the very eyes of the Jews, they would surely have believed in him. But, as things stand, the Jews, and all reasonable people, consider the Messiah’s ascension to be no more than a fable.
As I have often stated before, attraction forms the basis for everything that happens in the world, and the side which possesses greater conviction is able attract others towards itself. There is every truth in the principle that a force can only be counteracted by another more powerful than itself. It is impossible for this world, which is being pulled downwards by the force of base attractions, to rise up again, unless an opposing force appears from heaven to reinforce people’s faith, and to show them that there is more substantial and lasting joy in submission to the commandments of God than in the fulfilment of carnal passions, and to convince them that transgression is worse than death. This heavenly light of conviction is granted to man through the ‘Sun’, i.e., the Imam of his age, and failure to recognize him amounts to dying a death of ignorance. The person who thinks he has no need of this true source of light is deluded, for he sets himself against the immutable laws of God. Human eyes, even though they possess a light of their own, cannot see without the sun. The sun is the source of the light which descends from heaven and illuminates the earth, and without it our eyes are as good as blind. He who attains conviction through this heavenly light is drawn towards piety, and it is natural for a struggle to ensue between the two attractions, one pulling him towards virtue and the other towards vice, one towards the East and the other towards the West. The clash is all the more ferocious when the two attractions are at their peak—as they are during times of tremendous material advancement. As the earth undergoes phenomenal progress, rest assured that spiritual preparations are also being made and an attraction has been formed in heaven to counter the earthly one.
To read the whole of How to be Free from Sin, Click here.
Recovery from alcoholism a metaphor of recovery from any sin
Now, let me illustrate the concept of genuine repentance by using the examples of alcoholics. Almost a tenth of population of any society that condones the use of alcohol is vulnerable to become addicted to alcohol and become alcoholic.
How can they recover from this vulnerability or sin? Does belief in a higher power help or not? Do they need to believe that Jesus died on the cross for them?
What we find in real life is that the addicts recover after genuine repentance, going through the 12 step Alcohol Anonymous program.
Under the heading of alcoholism, Encyclopedia Britannica says about Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), “Group therapies such as Alcoholics Anonymous are the most effective treatments.” It describes AA further by stating:
It is a voluntary fellowship of alcoholic persons who seek to get sober and remain sober through self-help and the help of other recovered alcoholics. Although general conventions meet periodically and Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., is headquartered in New York City, all AA groups are essentially local and autonomous. To counteract self-indulgence and promote the group’s welfare, members identify themselves only by first name and surname initial. Much of the program has a social and spiritual, but nonsectarian, basis.
AA began in May 1935 in the meeting of two alcoholics attempting to overcome their drinking problems: a New York stockbroker, “Bill W.” (William Griffith Wilson [1895–1971]), and a surgeon from Akron, Ohio, “Dr. Bob S.” (Robert Holbrook Smith [1879–1950]). Drawing upon their own experiences, they set out to help fellow alcoholics and first recorded their program in Alcoholics Anonymous (1939; 3rd ed., 1976). By the early 21st century, Alcoholics Anonymous had some 2,000,000 members forming more than 110,000 groups in about 180 countries and territories (most of them, however, in the United States and Canada).
AA has shown and continues to demonstrate that recovery from the addiction or sin of alcoholism needs no belief in the death of Jesus on the cross. Vicarious atonement and Jesus’ alleged sacrifice on the cross serves no role in genuine repentance and reformation.
Perhaps the Christian atonement is a superfluous dogma that is not needed in real life situations!
It seems that alcoholics need not believe in death of Jesus on the cross for moral or religious gain in this life. It would be worth while for any readers of this article to familiarize themselves with the book of Alcohol Anonymous (AA).
Many of the successful participants in AA did need to cultivate belief in a Greater Power beyond them to recover from the addiction, but, not in vicarious atonement. Let me quote here the testimony from the Alcohol Anonymous Bible. Some agnostics who converted to spiritualism in Alcohol Anonymous, write:
People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about. Actually, we used to have no reasonable conception whatever. We used to amuse ourselves by cynically dissecting spiritual beliefs and practices when we might have observed that many spiritually minded persons of all races, colors, and creeds were demonstrating a degree of stability, happiness and usefulness which we should have sought ourselves.
The writers also explain what lead them to reject spiritual truths. They say that the reason for this was that instead of taking a balanced view and mostly focusing of the teachings they focused on the weaknesses of some of the religious people. They write:
Instead, we looked at the human defects of these people, and sometimes used their shortcomings as a basis of wholesale condemnation. We talked of intolerance, while we were intolerant ourselves. We missed the reality and the beauty of the forest because we were diverted by the ugliness of some of its trees. We never gave the spiritual side of life a fair hearing.
The Christian apologists can make any non-sensical claims about the hereafter, but no one has seen it or returned from there. For their recovery from alcoholism, alcoholics need a belief in a power greater than them, but do not need any belief in death of Jesus. The testimony is very moving, and it is worth reading. It is in “We agnostics” chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous. Another moving paragraph which describes their agnostic past is, “Actually we were fooling ourselves, for deep down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental idea of God. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there. For faith in a Power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives, are facts as old as man himself.”
Components of true repentance are well described in the bible of Alcohol Anonymous and Gambler Anonymous. Both Alcohol Anonymous and Gambler Anonymous, consist of a twelve step program, which constitutes a good example of true repentance. I quote from Gambler Anonymous literature:
1. We admitted we were powerless over gambling that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to a normal way of thinking and living.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of this Power of our own understanding.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral and financial inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have these defects of character removed.
7. Humbly asked God (of our understanding) to remove shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having made an effort to practice the principles in all our affairs, we tried to carry this message to other compulsive gamblers.
If alcoholics genuinely follow the 12 step program of AA, which involves genuine repentance and correct intentions, without any mention of Jesus’ death on the cross, many of them are reformed from alcoholism. They are called recovered alcoholics!
The 12 step AA program is in line with the pragmatic and utilitarian teachings of Islam and generates genuine reformation.
Regarding futility of belief in Jesus’ death on the cross or vicarious atonement, as regards genuine reformation, the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani wrote, in How to be Free from Sin:
If belief in the Crucifixion of Christ was the only remedy for getting rid of sin, why has it failed in the case of the Europeans who indulge in such sinful acts that one is even ashamed to speak of them? They have advanced in sin and transgression to an extraordinary degree, and we cannot say that they are any less immoral than the Asians. In view of all this, why has this obsolete remedy not been replaced? Even in this short life, every doctor and patient sees to it that if a cure fails to produce the desired result within a week or so, it has to be replaced by a better alternative. Why then has this remedy [of Crucifixion] not been replaced to this day, even though its ineffectiveness has been categorically shown? After nineteen hundred futile years, is it still worth believing that faith in the Crucifixion can bring about true salvation? Despite the fact that no such signs have hitherto appeared.
This reformation, according to Islamic understanding, will translate into spiritual paradigm in the hereafter. If we do not see any recovery or reformation in this life then there is none in the hereafter. According to the Holy Quran:
But whoso is blind in this world will be blind in the Hereafter, and even more astray from the way. (Al Quran 17:73)
In a manner similar to genuine repentance of alcoholics, true repentance can help humans recover from any sin. True repentance has to be an honest exercise in human psychology followed by genuine actions to reform.
Even at the risk of repetition and lack of brevity, let me quote the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani again, to clearly contrast the Islamic and Christian concept of recovery or salvation from addiction or sin:
Our everyday experience shows that we are at once drawn towards things that are useful, and shun those we are afraid of. For instance, if you do not know that the thing you are holding in your hand is arsenic, and you imagine that it is only bamboo sugar or some other useful medicine, you will not hesitate to consume ten or even twenty grams of it; but if you know it to be a deadly poison which will kill you instantly, you will never dare to take even a gram of it. Similarly, when man truly realizes that God exists and that every sin is punishable in His eyes, he refrains from every sin, whether it is theft, bloodshed, fornication, cruelty, breach of trust, associating partners with Allah, falsehood, bearing false witness, arrogance, ostentation, acquiring wealth by illegal means, treachery, cursing, fraud, unfaithfulness, leading a life of carelessness, not being grateful to God, not fearing Him, not being compassionate towards His creatures, not remembering Him with fear and humility, being lost in pursuit of worldly comfort and pleasures, forgetting the true Benefactor, being heedless about prayer and humility, selling adulterated goods, not giving in full measure, underselling, not caring for one’s parents, not treating one’s wife with civility, not being obedient to one’s husband, casting evil glances at other men or women, being heedless about the needs of orphans, the weak and helpless, being unmindful of the rights of neighbours, deriding others in order to prove one’s own superiority, mocking at people with words that are meant to hurt them, pointing out someone’s bodily defects in order to humiliate him, calling people by foul names or slandering them, imputing falsehood to God or, God forbid, falsely claiming to be a Prophet or Messenger, denying God’s existence, rebelling against a just ruler, and mischievously creating disorder in the land.
If someone insists that another method for attaining salvation must exist, because belief is not a check against sin, I respond by saying that no one would commit sin if he was sure that lightening would strike him the moment he did so. The logic behind this argument is irrefutable. Just consider, do you ever transgress when you are certain that punishment will be forthcoming? Would you put your hand into a fire, or throw yourself from a mountain, or jump into a well, or lie down before a moving train, or put your hand in the mouth of a wild beast, or happily be bitten by a mad dog, or remain standing in the midst of terrible thunderstorm? Would you not rush out of a house that is about to collapse, or jump out of a bed in which there is a snake, or escape from a building that is on fire? If you are keen to avoid these possible dangers, then why do you not shun those sins that I have just mentioned? The answer, which a wise person will give after proper deliberation, will be that this contradiction is due to the difference in the way we perceive the two things. Most people do not have sufficient awareness about sin and, even though they consider them to be harmful, do not avoid them as they would avoid a lion or a snake. Deep in their hearts, they do not really believe that they will be punished for their sins. They even doubt whether God really exists, and, if He does, whether their souls will survive after death, and, if they do, whether or not they will actually be punished for their sins. Most people do harbour such thoughts without being aware of them. But, at the same time, they avoid all the dangers that I have mentioned above, because they fear certain death if they go near them, and if they come face to face with such a danger they waste no time running away from it. The fact is that man is certain about the harmful effects of these things, but in the case of religious injunctions, he is not so sure and his knowledge is based only on conjecture and myth, instead of personal experience, and myths cannot help a man to free himself from sin. Hence, even if a thousand Messiahs were to be crucified, they would never bring about true salvation, for sin can only be got rid of through perfect fear or perfect love. The Crucifixion of Christ, which is itself a false belief, has nothing to do with stopping the surge of sin. Be mindful that this doctrine is based on ignorance, our experience does not testify to it, and the Messiah’s suicide cannot redeem people of their sins. The very concept of true salvation is that man should be saved from the inferno of sin in this very world. Have the Christians been saved from it on account of these stories, or has anyone ever been saved because of these absurd tales, which have nothing to do with the truth and true salvation?
Going back to secular experience we find, no mention of Jesus or the Christian concept of atonement in the twelve steps of Alcohol Anonymous or Gamblers Anonymous. No need to believe in the death of Jesus on the cross, to get rid of any true limitation of human nature! QED.
In conclusion, let me quote two additional excerpts, from the writing of the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, to illustrate and demonstrate the genuine methods to get rid of sin:
The true purpose of adopting a faith is that one should acquire such certainty concerning God, Who is the fountainhead of salvation, as if one can see Him with one’s eyes. The wicked spirit of sin seeks to destroy a man and a person cannot escape the fatal poison of sin till he believes with full certainty in the Perfect and Living God and till he knows for certain that God exists, Who punishes the offender and bestows upon the righteous everlasting joy. It is a common experience that when one believes in the fatal effects of anything one does not have recourse to it. For instance, no one swallows poison consciously. No one deliberately stands in front of a wild tiger. No one deliberately thrusts his hand into the hole of a serpent. Then why does a person commit sin deliberately? The reason is that he has not that certainty in this matter as he has in other matters of the kind that we have mentioned. The first duty of a person, therefore, is to acquire certainty with regard to the existence of God, and to adopt a religion through which this certainty can be acquired so that he should fear God and shun sin. How can such certainty be acquired? It cannot be acquired through mere stories. It cannot be acquired through mere arguments. The only way of acquiring certainty is to experience God repeatedly through converse with Him or through witnessing His extraordinary signs, or by keeping company with someone who has that experience.
The purpose of religion is that man should obtain deliverance from his passions and should develop personal love for God Almighty through certain faith in His existence and His perfect attributes. Such love of God is the paradise, which will appear in diverse shapes in the hereafter. To be unaware of the True God, to keep away from Him, and not to have any love for Him, is the hell which will appear in diverse shapes in the hereafter. Thus, the true purpose is to have full faith in Him. Now the question is which religion and which book can fulfill this need. The Bible tells us that the door of converse with God is closed and that the ways of obtaining certainty are sealed. Whatever was to happen, happened in the past and there is nothing in the future….. Of what use then is a religion that is dead? What benefit can we derive from a book that is dead? What grace can be bestowed by a god who is dead?
To read the booklet Fountain of Christianity, click here.
To read the whole of How to be Free from Sin, Click here.
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- [Nasim-e-Da‘wat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 19, pp. 447-448] http://www.alislam.org/books/Essence-1.pdf
- [Chashma-e-Masihi, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 20, pp. 352-353] http://www.alislam.org/books/Essence-1.pdf
- To read the whole of How to be Free from Sin, Click here.