Source: Review of Religions
KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY WORLDWIDE HEAD OF THE AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY AT THE 13TH NATIONAL PEACE SYMPOSIUM ON 19th MARCH, 2016, AT THE BAITUL FUTUH MOSQUE, UK.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community said:
“Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem – in the Name of Allah, the Gracious, Ever-Merciful.
Assalamo Alaikum wa Rehmatullah wa Barakatohu – peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all.
First of all I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all of our distinguished guests who have accepted our invitation and joined us here this evening. Your attendance is particularly noteworthy given that this event is taking place at a time when widespread fear of Islam is on the increase due to the horrific and disgraceful acts of terrorist groups.
For example, last November, the world watched in horror when the terrorist attacks took place in Paris, and apart from this, there have been suicide bombings and attacks in various countries at regular intervals. In terms of the United Kingdom, very recently the Assistant Commissioner of Police warned that Daesh was planning “enormous and spectacular”terrorist attacks here in the UK, targeting high-profile and public places.
Furthermore, there has been a sudden influx of refugees into Europe during the past year and this is causing a degree of fear, uncertainty and even panic in the minds of many people. In light of all of this, your attendance and willingness as non-Muslims, to attend an event organised by a Muslim community, proves that you are courageous, tolerant and open-hearted people.
Recently, a well known columnist wrote about the rise of ‘Islamophobia’ in a national newspaper. He wrote that he had done extensive research on suicide bombings and found that the first such attack took place in the 1980s, despite the fact that Islam had existed for well over 1300 years.
Nonetheless, the simple truth is that there is no need for anyone to fear true Islam. Whilst some people claim Islam to be a religion of extremism and one that promotes suicide attacks or other forms of terrorism, nothing could be further from the truth. Recently, a well-known English columnist wrote about the rise of ‘Islamophobia’ in a national newspaper. He wrote that he had done extensive research on suicide bombings and found that the first such attack took place in the 1980s, despite the fact that Islam had existed for well over 1300 years.
He concluded that if Islam permitted or encouraged such attacks then they ought to have occurred from the outset of Islam and throughout its history. His point was valid and very well made and proved that such attacks were a modern-day evil, far removed from the true and peaceful teachings of Islam. Certainly, Islam has very clearly prohibited all forms of suicide and so there is no justification whatsoever for suicide attacks or any other forms of terrorism.
Such heinous acts lead to the murder and barbaric slaughter of innocent women, children and other members of the public. A recent research article by Dr. Considine of Rice University, in Houston, Texas, clearly says that the persecution of Christians in the so-called Islamic state is not justified by Prophet Muhammad’ssa writings. It further states that the Prophet’ssa vision of a Muslim nation was one of religious pluralism and civil rights.
Thus let it be clear that such acts are absolutely contrary to Islamic teachings. If Islam has ever permitted warfare, it is only to the extent of a defensive war, where war has been forced upon you. For example, in chapter 22, verse 40, of the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Almighty has said that permission for warfare is given to those people upon whom war has been forcibly imposed.
In that same verse, Allah the Almighty said that in the case of religious warfare He would help and support those who had been wronged. In early Islam, the wars that took place were genuine religious wars fought for the sake of upholding the fundamental principle of universal religious freedom. History proves that the wars fought with this intention made Muslims victorious, regardless of the fact that a handful of unequipped Muslims fought against huge, well-equipped armies.
However, as a Muslim, when I analyse the wars involving Muslims today, I am certain that they cannot be classed as religious wars. For one, most of the wars taking place in the Muslim world are either internal civil strife or with the neighbouring Muslim countries. Secondly if ever non-Muslim countries are involved, they have never declared the war as religious and rather helped both sides of Muslims. Thus present-day wars are not being fought for the sake of Islam or for the sake of religion, but are for economic or geopolitical gains and are proving only a means of defaming Islam’s name.
And so based upon what I have just said, I hope it is now clear that there is no need to fear Islam and that it is not a religion of extremism or one that permits suicide attacks or indiscriminate violence. There is no need for ‘Islamophobia’ because Islam’s true teachings are of peace, tolerance and mutual respect. Islam’s teachings are of upholding human values and protecting the honour, dignity and freedoms of all people.
However, of course, we are all well aware that there are some extremists and so-called Islamic groups that are perpetrating the very worst forms of brutality in the name of Islam. Nevertheless, the verse of the Qur’an I quoted earlier makes it clear that such acts are not permitted or justified in any shape or form by Islam. Another significant matter, which instead of leading me as a Muslim towards warfare and violence, leads me towards exhibiting love for all of humanity, is the fact that in the second verse of the very first chapter of the Holy Qur’an, it is stated that Allah the Almighty is the “Provider and Sustainer of all the worlds.” And the third verse states that He is the “Gracious, Ever-Merciful.”
Thus, when Allah the Almighty is the Provider and Sustainer of all people and Gracious, Ever-Merciful, how could it be that He desired for those who believed in Him to mercilessly murder, violently oppose or harm His Creation in any way? Of course the answer is that it is not possible. Nonetheless, Allah the Almighty has certainly permitted for action to be taken to stop cruelty, inhumanity and injustice.
Islam states that a Muslim should seek to stop the hand of an oppressor and to end all forms of injustice and transgression. According to Islam there are two ways in which this can be achieved. Firstly, it is far better if peace can be attained through mutual dialogue, negotiations and diplomacy. However, where this is not possible, only then force may be used in order to stop wrongdoing with the intention of establishing sustainable peace.