Jihad of the Pen

Source: Alislam.org

Many take up the pen, but few are granted the spirit to conduct the Jihad in the most acceptable manner. Many wish to take up the pen, but their incorrect beliefs and lack of knowledge prevent them from doing so, and thus they drop back into a state of undeclared truce. But, it is the Jama’at Ahmadiyya only which has not stopped this great struggle ever since its inception and it has become the only vehicle to usher in the revival of Islam through its peaceful, yet determined intellectual process which was initiated a century ago by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi in Islam.

The revival of Islam started towards the end of the 19th century and its manifestations started to become more noticeable to those Muslims who had given up hope at that time. It is the direct result of the crusade initiated by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam. This is a basic truth which all would do well to keep in mind. No one should be carried away with the idea that it is due to his own efforts, or the effort of some nominated crusaderas we shall see. Allah does not need crusades of charity. However, crusading in the cause of faith does have its merits, with Allah, depending upon the degree of certainty of true knowledge, and the sincerity of heart behind its purpose. To expect, however, that Allah will bless a thoughtless crusade is a different matter. Once the Divine Community has been established, only those genuine efforts which are from within this Community are destined to be blessed by Allah. The chances of others to be blessed by Allah, are the same as the chances of a stream reaching the sea, that no doubt collects some water from the mountain, but veers on a course away from the main river. This is no shortage of rain, yet that particular stream would never reach the sea.

See how the rain of divine revelation channeled Islam into a mighty river through the person of the Holy Prophet of Islam. Through the same rain, Islam has now been revived through the person of Promised Messiah and Mahdi of our era.

Presently we shall see that some self-styled champions of the crusade of Islam, although being acutely aware of the phenomenon we discussed above, still choose to deny it, and end up with either vain exhortations, self-praise, or even outright lies. Our aim here is not to discourage anyone from writing or speaking anything he chooses, because there is no compulsion in religion, but to give praise where praise is due and to keep the record straight by alerting the unwary reader. There is absolutely no harm in copying the ideas of the Promised Messiah, because they speak for the success of his mission. But when his opponents start copying his writings and teachings it becomes our duty to warn the people about their publications.

We start with the basic undeniable fact that all establishments, societies, associations, jamaats, leagues, councils, brotherhoods or any other organised Islam-orientated group which publishes its views or those holding similar beliefs about Islam, must necessarily be deemed as actively engaged in the Jihad of the pen.

And We have expounded the (Quran) to them in diverse ways that they may take heed, but most men would reject everything but disbelief. If We had pleased, We would have surely raised a warner in every city; So obey not the disbelievers and strive against them by means of (the Quran) with a mighty striving. (25:51-53)

The reason we have chosen these verses is to illustrate the point that the resurgence of Islam must necessarily come from first principles, i.e.; the exposition of the Holy Quran and the original principles of his great religion. Hence a person who takes up the pen in the cause of Islam is indeed striving hard and is engaged in the Jihad of the pen.

It follows, that people engaged in this work carry on their shoulders the serious responsibility of ensuring accuracy and maintaining the contradiction-free nature of their publications. Without this seriousness their so-called Jihad or efforts would surely become a source of aversion for interested non-Muslims, a cause for misguidance of new converts, a reason for added confusion and doubt for all Muslims.

Let us now examine two books published by The Islamic Foundation on behalf of Islamic Council of Europe, which has arrogated upon itself the distinction of being asupreme co-ordination body for Islamic centres and organisations of Europe. These are:

Islam – its Meaning and Message (1975, 1983)
and Towards Understanding ISLAM (1980, 1985).

The first book laments on p. 229 that modern thinkers in Islam have forgotten all the ahadith pertaining to the last days and the appearance of the Mahdi; or misconstrued or laid them aside, either through ignorance or malevolence. The second book expresses a belief which goes against the former when on p. 79 it denies the appearance of any personage on whom it would be essential for a Muslim to believe. These two opposing beliefs are irreconcilable, and sadly both pertain to the adoption of the Straight Path for which all Muslims pray continuously. One belief requires the nullification of the other! A glaring contradiction indeed, especially so since the book Towards Understanding Islam does not mention the Mahdi of latter days at all! This amounts to a calculated omission of an important aspect of our era. Toward the end of the Islamic 13th century, and the beginning of the 14th century there was a general expectation of the Promised Reformer, which was based on the prophecy of the Holy Prophet himself. Muslims and Christians were both awaiting for the second coming of Jesus. After Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to have fulfilled this prophecy, those who rejected him are now averse to the idea of any such appearance among Muslims. Probably their aversion stems from the fact that since the appointed time has already come to pass (without any other claimant), their choice lies between accepting his claim or else to give up the clamour. Hence, the contradiction which all can observe very plainly.

In the tenth chapter of the first book and in the second book are parts which are essentially anti-Sufism in tenor. Conscious purification of one’s moral senses has been treated superficially. However, the first book, on p. 233, admits that nihilism and atheism which present a major challenge to Islam can only be answered through such sources as are contained mostly within Sufism. What are the learned scholars of The Islamic Foundation trying to tell the world? Whatever it is, it is certainly not clear. One must remember, that the seeker after truth is eager to seek a rational philosophy, a coherent whole and a faith which appeals to his intellect. The last thing which he wishes to accept is irreconcilability. His mind is receptive, yet discerning. He points out even minor apparent contradictions due to his admitted lack of knowledge. But the contradiction pointed above is a major one, because it deals with basic beliefs and attitudes.

The purpose of publishing books and articles on religious matters could be to express something which has never been said before; or to reinforce that which has been already expressed in a new way; or to refute that which has been expressed before and thereby attempt to correct the misinformation. The publishing of contradictory thoughts, however, by one and the same organisation is an entirely meaningless venture. The self-declared aim of the The Islamic Foundation, as written on the backcover of the second book is,

….developing a better understanding of Islam among all the people of world, Muslims and non- Muslims. It aims at improving human communications so as to galvanise man to the message and ideal of One God and the unity of mankind, as brought by all the Prophets of God throughout the ages,……….

In the context of their declared aims, the contradiction which we have shown in their publications, renders their effort into a vain exhortation, because it lacks the unity of purpose.

We turn to the third chapter of the first book to see how the writer has tried to take credit for portraying the correct spirit of Islam, whereas the same teachings were expounded by the Promised Messiah almost a century ago. The writer says:

This, I think, is the reason for the peculiar form of Islamic prayer in which spiritual concentration and certain bodily movements are co-ordinated with each other. ……… I have not created Jinn and Man but that they should worship me (Al-Quran, 51:56). Thus, the conception of worship in Islam is different from that in any other religion. Here it is not restricted to the purely devotional practices, for example, prayers or fasting, but extends over the whole of man’s practical life as well. If the object of our life as a whole is to be the worship of God, we must necessarily regard life, in totality of all its aspects, as one complex moral responsibility. Thus, all our actions even the seemingly trivial ones, must be performed as acts of God’s universal plan. Such a state of things, for the man of average capability is a distant ideal; but is it not the purpose of religion to bring ideals into real existence? ……… And it is this conception alone that shows us the possibility of man’s reaching perfection within his individual, earthly life. Of all religious systems, Islam alone declares that individual perfection is possible in our earthly existence………

The question which the writer has posed is probably addressed to those who believe in a militant approach rather than a spiritual one. Anyhow the above passage is a far cry from the ritualistic approach to religion which was prevalent a hundred years ago. All true lovers of Islam must indeed by happy to note this development, except the hard-hearted. However, we must point out here that praise should be given only where it is rightly due, and in this case it belongs to the Promised Messiah for his divinely inspired paper, The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, presented before The Conference of Great Religions held in the Town Hall of the city of Lahore in 1896. It must be remembered that those were the times of great controversy and debate regarding all religions. Christians from all over the world had literally converged on India, aided actively by non-Muslims against Islam. Irrespective of heavy odds, the Promised Messiah had announced beforehand that his treatise would prevail over all others. Exactly, as prophesied by him, all participants acclaimed its superiority. He also claimed that there was divine help in preparation of this paper and divine news regarding its success. In this context, it even becomes very necessary for each God-fearing soul to read it and form his own opinion. Incidentally, the essential condition of the debate in the Conference was that the treatise must necessarily be based on the writer’s Holy Book; hence the paper was based solely on the Holy Quran, the greatest Guidance revealed to man more than 14 centuries ago.

We examine yet another publication of The Islamic Foundation, the writer of which according to the publishers is:

One of the chief architects and leaders of the contemporary Islamic resurgence, the most outstanding Islamic thinker and writer of our time, who devoted his entire life to expounding the meaning and message of Islam, inviting individuals to renew their commitment to their Creator, and to organising a movement to establish Islam fully, ……… sentenced to death for writing a seditious pamphlet….

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