Now more than ever appears to be rather a difficult time to be a Muslim living in the West – and for understandable reasons. In Iraq and neighbouring Syria, several videos have been released by the Islamic State (IS) showing a masked Jihadi John slitting the throats of two journalists and two humanitarian aid workers. And over in Pakistan, a Taliban gunman shot a fifteen-year-old girl for demanding girls’ equal access to education. Islamic governments, countries and the Islamic world, in general, is in turmoil. The common factor here is Islam – or rather, their various but equally-contorted conceptions of it. As for the outside world, however, judgements are quickly made and the pure name of Islam and the image of the teachings of Allah and His Prophet Muhammad saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" are blackened as a result of the widespread ignorance that envelops today’s Muslim ummah; that allows Muslims to be duped by their self-styled, corrupt and politically-motivated leaders. Such bleak times were prophesied by the Prophet Muhammad saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" in a Hadith:
‘There will come a time upon the people when nothing will remain of Islam except its name and nothing will remain of the Qur’an except its inscription. Their mosques will be splendidly furnished but destitute of guidance. Their divines will be the worst people under the sky; strife will issue from them and avert to them.’ Mishkatul Masabih, Kitabul Ilm
The principal and heinous wrong the leaders of, and participants in such states are guilty of is that they knowingly conflate religion and politics, shrouding their political goals under the cloak of pretentious claims of ‘striving in the way of God’ and ‘defeating the forces of evil’. In an Islamic context, they deliberately twist and misuse the Qur’anic injunction of Jihad Fi Sabilillah (striving in the way of Allah) and the concept of jihad to mean the killing or abuse of any who obstructs them from achieving their purposes or who merely happens to be an inconvenience. The Qur’an forcefully warns those guilty of the twisting of His Word:
فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَى عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا أَوْ كَذَّبَ بِآيَاتِهِ أُولَئِكَ يَنَالُهُمْ نَصِيبُهُمْ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ حَتَّى إِذَا جَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُنَا يَتَوَفَّوْنَهُمْ قَالُوا أَيْنَ مَا كُنْتُمْ تَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ قَالُوا ضَلُّوا عَنَّا وَشَهِدُوا عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ أَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا كَافِرِينَ
‘Who is, then, more unjust than he who forges a lie against Allah or gives the lie to His Signs? It is these who shall have their lot as ordained till when Our Messengers shall visit them to take away their souls, they shall say, “Where is that which you used to call upon besides Allah?” they will answer, “We cannot find them;” and they will bear witness against themselves that they were disbelievers.’The Holy Qur’an (7:38)
The Qur’an here issues a forceful and grave warning to both the leaders and those complicit in the maintenance of such states that they will be retributed on the Day of Judgment for their abuse of God’s name in this world:
يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الرُّوحُ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ صَفًّا لَا يَتَكَلَّمُونَ إِلَّا مَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُ الرَّحْمَنُ وَقَالَ صَوَابًا
‘On the day when the Spirit and the angels will stand in rows, they shall not speak, except he whom the Gracious God will grant leave, and who will speak only what is right.’The Holy Qur’an (78:39)
يَوْمَ تَشْهَدُ عَلَيْهِمْ أَلْسِنَتُهُمْ وَأَيْدِيهِمْ وَأَرْجُلُهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
‘On the day when their tongues and their hands and their feet will bear witness against them as to what they used to do.’The Holy Qur’an (24:25)
An argument by participants that they were misled or did not know any better will be useless, because every human being, despite the influence of environmental factors, is still ultimately endowed with inherent moral consciousness and a sense of right and wrong. The level of moral consciousness does not even need to be particularly high to be able to recognise and declare corruption, deception and oppression as wrong. Claiming thereafter that such actions are rightful, and just can only be the claims of those with diseased and perverse minds. The case of such pretenders is referenced early on in the Qur’an:
-وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لَا تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُصْلِحُونَ
أَلَا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْمُفْسِدُونَ وَلَكِنْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ
‘And when it is said to them, ‘Create not disorder in the earth,’ they say ‘We are only promoters of peace. Beware! It is surely they who create disorder, but they do not perceive it.’The Holy Qur’an (2:12-13)
Islamic State, despite high-sounding claims that it has elected its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the head of a Caliphate, whose authority extends over all Muslims of the world for the rejuvenation of faith and reunification of Muslims, really and plainly represents something so hideously un-Islamic that its claims to be anything otherwise is beggar’s belief.
Amnesty International has found, for example, that IS has ‘systematically and deliberately’ targeted ethnic minorities across northern Iraq as part of a program of ‘ethnic cleansing on a historic scale’. Particularly abused have been the Yazidis, a group of Kurds, foremost when 500 of them were killed and 50,000 displaced in less than two weeks because IS accuses them of being ‘devil-worshippers’. The Qur’an issues a weighty warning about the sanctity and value of life and how serious a matter it is for someone else’s life to be taken unjustly:
مِنْ أَجْلِ ذَلِكَ كَتَبْنَا عَلَى بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنَّهُ مَنْ قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَلَقَدْ جَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ ثُمَّ إِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِنْهُمْ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ فِي الْأَرْضِ لَمُسْرِفُونَ
‘On account of this, We prescribed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killed a person – unless it be for killing a person or for creating disorder in the land – it shall be as if he killed all mankind; and whoso saved a life, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. And our Messengers came to them with clear Signs, yet even after that, many of them commit excesses in the land.’The Holy Qur’an (5:33)
Amnesty International has stated how IS has ‘transformed rural areas of Sinjar into blood-soaked killing fields in its brutal campaign to obliterate all trace of non-Arabs and non-Sunni Muslims.’ How unjust of such morally self-righteous people to then operate under a flag bearing the Muslim statement of faith ‘There is no God but Allah; Muhammad is the messenger of Allah’ Just how much faith do they have that indeed Muhammad saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" is the messenger of Allah, committing unspeakable atrocities in the name of Allah and masquerading as the true followers of his Prophet? The Prophet Muhammad saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" said in his Farewell Sermon:
‘An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over a white; [none have superiority over another] except by piety and good action.’
Nothing but selfish power-grabbing and material gain are their considerations and certainly not ‘piety and good action’ when committing mass murder. Their persecution of ethnic minorities has no Islamic justification whatsoever; the genocide of a people for no reason other than to spread disorder and terror also exists in profound contrast to any kind of humanity or moral consciousness – the mind boggles as to whether they have had any true Islamic values.
Islamic State militants and leaders also invite the wrath of Allah by deliberately ignoring a clear verse of the Qur’an:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالصَّابِئُونَ وَالنَّصَارَى مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
‘Surely, those who have believed, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians, whoso believes in God and the Last Day, and acts righteously, on them shall come no fear nor shall they grieve.’The Holy Qur’an (5:70)
No conditions are attached here. The sincerity of belief is not a part of the verse. It unequivocally states that Jews, Christians and people of other faiths who believe in God and the Last Day and do good are those who have earned the pleasure of Allah, evident because the idea of having no fear and no grief has elsewhere been mentioned in several places about believers. Their description certainly cannot merit and does not justify their genocide. How can they possibly claim to know whether or not the belief of people of other religions is sincere or not? How would they like it if people of another faith came and executed them for their beliefs, being told that they do not hold their beliefs sincerely? ‘Islamic State’ is also infamous for its sickening treatment of women. ‘Women have been treated by ‘IS’ ‘like cattle… they have been subjected to physical and sexual violence, including systematic rape and sex slavery. They have been exposed in markets in Mosul and in Raqqa, Syria, carrying price tags.”Ivan Watson, “’ Treated like cattle’: Yazidi women sold, raped, enslaved by ISIS”, CNN, October 30, 2014 ‘IS’ is well-known for sharing young women and girls among fighters as a reward or spoils of war, being given license to treat them as they like, whenever they like, in complete and utter animalistic fashion: ‘They usually take the older women to a makeshift slave market and try to sell them. The younger girls … are raped or married off to fighters. ‘It’s based on temporary marriages, and once these fighters have had sex with these young girls, they just pass them on to other fighters.’ Brekke, Kira (8 September 2014). ‘ISIS Is Attacking Women, And Nobody Is Talking About It’. The Huffington Post.
One cannot help thinking – do they ever read the Qur’an? The inherent dignity of women and how they are the creation of God just like men is a key principle enshrined in it:
إِنَّ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمَاتِ وَالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْقَانِتِينَ وَالْقَانِتَاتِ وَالصَّادِقِينَ وَالصَّادِقَاتِ وَالصَّابِرِينَ وَالصَّابِرَاتِ وَالْخَاشِعِينَ وَالْخَاشِعَاتِ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقِينَ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقَاتِ وَالصَّائِمِينَ وَالصَّائِمَاتِ وَالْحَافِظِينَ فُرُوجَهُمْ وَالْحَافِظَاتِ وَالذَّاكِرِينَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا وَالذَّاكِرَاتِ أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ مَغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا
‘Surely, men who submit themselves to Allah and women who submit themselves to Him, and believing men and believing women, and obedient men and obedient women, and truthful men and truthful women, and men steadfast in their faith and steadfast women, and men who are humble and women who are humble, and men who give alms and women who give alms, and men who fast and women who fast, and men who guard their chastity and women who guard their chastity and men who remember Allah much and women who remember Him – Allah has prepared for all of them forgiveness and a great reward.’The Holy Qur’an (33:36)
Their inherent equality as human beings is made incontrovertibly evident here. No distinction is made between any kind of woman; the verse is universal in application. How ‘IS’ can thereafter claim religious justification for the systematic abuse of Yazidi and other minority women is baffling. The Qur’an also condemns ‘IS’ for the use of women as commodities:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَنْ تَرِثُوا النِّسَاءَ كَرْهًا وَلَا تَعْضُلُوهُنَّ لِتَذْهَبُوا بِبَعْضِ مَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ إِلَّا أَنْ يَأْتِينَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُبَيِّنَةٍ وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ فَإِنْ كَرِهْتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَى أَنْ تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَيَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا
‘O ye who believe, it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will, nor should you detain them wrongfully that you may take away part of that which you have given them, except that they be guilty of a flagrant impropriety, and consort with them in kindness, and if you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing wherein Allah has placed much good.’The Holy Qur’an (4:20)
In their hedonistic pursuits which they selfishly and ignorantly term jihad, they completely disregard the Qur’anic injunction regarding male chastity:
قُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ذَلِكَ أَزْكَى لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ
Say to the believing men that they restrain their looks and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Surely, Allah is Well-Aware of what they do.’The Holy Qur’an (24:31)
Yet, they are intensely keen on the most stringent and most extreme enforcement of female chastity mentioned in the following verse:
وَقُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَى عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاءِ وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِنْ زِينَتِهِنَّ وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
‘And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms…’The Hoy Qur’an (24:32)
This is a prime example of the height of moral double standards. While posing as the chiefs of morality, ‘IS’ is showing itself to be a front for the commodification and abuse of women for the animalistic hedonism of its men. While their men are free to use women however they like, with no concern for their health, self-respect or dignity, women themselves are subject to a strict system of institutionalised oppression. Said ‘IS’ about this in a statement:’ The conditions imposed on her clothes and grooming was only to end the pretext of debauchery resulting from grooming and overdressing’ and that ‘Anyone who is not committed to this duty and is motivated by glamour will be subject to accountability and severe punishment to protect society from harm and to maintain the necessities of religion and protect it from debauchery’. Yet they are proud to exhibit religious justification for mass rape.
There is also the despicable case of the failed state that is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, no doubt a lot more familiar to and close to home to members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – it is after all from there that Khalifatul-Masih IV rhabbreviation for "May Allah have mercy on him/her/them" was forced out of, mirroring the Prophet Muhammad’s saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" migration from Mecca to Medina, where and when Islam finally became a force to be reckoned with.
Pakistan is world-famous for being a country that has the shameful distinction of having officially declared certain people as not being rightful and true members of a religion. In Pakistan, Ahmadis are constitutionally declared as non-Muslims. One wonders what the link is between spiritual rank and legal status since worldly politicians are considered qualified to make takfir (declaring someone a Kafir) pronouncements.
In 1984, the then-President of Pakistan, General Zia-ul-Haq, issued Ordinance XX, which, even today, forbids Ahmadis from preaching or even professing their beliefs. Ahmadis cannot call themselves Muslims and nor can they ‘pose’ as them. They cannot publicly declare their faith and nor call their mosques ‘mosques’. Neither can they preach and nor can they disseminate religious materials. Also, amazingly enough, in direct and utter disobedience and contradiction of a verse of the Holy Qur’an, they forbid Ahmadis from using the traditional Islamic greeting of Assalamu Alaikum in public, despite this clear Qur’anic commandment:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا ضَرَبْتُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَتَبَيَّنُوا وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَنْ أَلْقَى إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَامَ لَسْتَ مُؤْمِنًا تَبْتَغُونَ عَرَضَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا فَعِنْدَ اللَّهِ مَغَانِمُ كَثِيرَةٌ كَذَلِكَ كُنْتُمْ مِنْ قَبْلُ فَمَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ فَتَبَيَّنُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا
‘O ye who believe! When you go forth to fight in the cause of Allah, make proper investigation and say not to anyone who greets you with the greeting of peace, Thou art not a believer.’ You seek the goods of this life, but with Allah are good things in plenty. Such were you before this, but Allah conferred His special favour on you; so do make proper investigation. Surely, Allah is Aware of what you do.’The Holy Qur’an (4:95)
Despite this, some will object in saying that the verse gives a commandment applicable only during wartime which is somehow otherwise suspended – but, is that really to say that the Qur’an only instructs Muslims to avoid cursing others and denouncing each others’ beliefs during wartime? That, in peacetime, the Qur’an sanctions the wanton declaration of other Muslims as disbelievers? This subject is elaborated upon in a Hadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him":
‘Ubadah Ibn as-Saamit narrated that the Holy Prophet Muhammad saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" said: “Whoever testifies that nothing has the right to be worshipped except Allah, alone, having no partner and Muhammad saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" is His Servant and Messenger; and that Isa is the servant of Allah and His Messenger, His Word which He directed to Maryam, and a soul from Him; that Paradise is true and the Fire is true; Allah will admit him into Paradise no matter what his deeds may be.’Al-Bukhari (no. 3435), Muslim (no. 28), At-Tirmidhi (no. 2640), Musnad (5/314)
This Hadith is not only of the utmost reliability, being narrated in the two most-reliable and one more of the six authentic books of Hadith, it also is completely unequivocal. There is no mention of ‘Khatamun-Nabiyyeen’ or the Prophet’s saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" status or mission in any detail, or any other points of contention between Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis, those which yet still have caused the killing of so many innocent Ahmadis there. It only refers to those who believe in Allah’s Unity, that Muhammad saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" was His Messenger, that Hazrat Jesus asabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" was His Messenger and in Heaven and Hell – beliefs, the sincerity of which no Pakistani cleric would even dare to question in regards to Ahmadi Muslims.
Not only is the infamous Ordinance XX inherently unjust, but it is also the epitome of farcical stupidity. Pakistan is a self-proclaimed democratic parliamentary republic. The word ‘democracy’ itself comes from the Greek for ‘power to the people’ – the idea that the people of the nation itself as a whole should ultimately be sovereign over its own affairs. This is expressed through parliamentary doctrine, that, since parliament represents the people, it must have sovereign authority to promulgate the law. That means that Ahmadis are currently considered non-Muslims because the people have not instructed their legislative representatives to legislate otherwise. So, Ahmadis are not Muslims in Pakistan only because a certain percentage of the population do not reckon they are. But, since Ordinance XX and any other part of the Pakistani Constitution can be amended through a constitutional amendment which only requires the support of two-thirds of parliament (and necessarily to the people, if you believe the rhetoric) the definition of a Muslim is extremely fluid and flexible – whoever was a Muslim yesterday might not be one today, and whoever is today’s righteous believer might be tomorrow’s hell-bound disbeliever. Such a definition of a Muslim is, to any sane and reasonable person, absolutely useless and meaningless. Pakistan’s proud declaration of being a (self-titled) Islamic republic is so pathetic, it’s almost risible.
Another Hadith is also very much applicable here:
‘It is narrated on the authority of Usama bin Zaid that the Messenger of Allah (May peace be upon Him) sent as in a raiding party. We raided Huraqat of Juhaina in the morning. I caught hold of a man and he said: There is no god but Allah; I attacked him with a spear. It once occurred to me and I talked about it to the Prophet (may peace be upon him). The Messenger of Allah (May peace be upon him) said: Did he profess “There is no god but Allah,” and even then you killed him? I said: Messenger of Allah, he made a profession of it out of the fear of the weapon. He (the Holy Prophet) observed: Did you tear open his heart in order to find out whether it had professed or not?’ Muslim, 176 (5/314)
If even the people of Pakistan are unable to see how patently un-Islamic the law of its land is, then the grim and saddening reality of the status of Ahmadis there would normally stir the shame and consciousness of anybody with any sense of morality.
In 1995, the Shab Qadar incident took place, where three Ahmadi men were attacked by violent mobs incited by local clerics. One of the men, Riaz Ahmad Khan was stoned to death, whereafter his corpse was stripped, attached to a rope and dragged through the streets of the town. According to Amnesty International, the police just ‘stood and watched’۔This is but one of many cruel and outrageous incidents of religious persecution that have happened since.
Hope, however, that Pakistan may have seen the error of its ways and undergone some self-reformation can at best be described as misplaced.
On 28 May 2010, Pakistan descended to newfound depths of ignorance and barbarism. Militants attacked two Ahmadi mosques with guns and hand grenades, Darul-Zikr, Garhi Shahu, Lahore, and Bait-un-Noor, Lahore Model Town, while the Friday sermon was taking place. That day, approximately 90 worshippers were martyred and another 108 injured, who had all gathered for the worship and remembrance of Allah. Three days later, militants attacked the ICU of the hospital containing surviving victims of the attack, killing several. And yet still, as of today, none have been prosecuted, and those captured have been released.
Their actions are condemned in the Holy Qur’an:
الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِنْ دِيَارِهِمْ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ إِلَّا أَنْ يَقُولُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُمْ بِبَعْضٍ لَهُدِّمَتْ صَوَامِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَاتٌ وَمَسَاجِدُ يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا اسْمُ اللَّهِ كَثِيرًا وَلَيَنْصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَنْ يَنْصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ
‘Those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly, only because they said, ‘Our Lord is Allah.’ And if Allah had not repelled some people by means of others, cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft remembered, would surely have been destroyed. And Allah will, surely, help him who helps Him. Allah is, indeed, Powerful, Mighty.’The Holy Qur’an (22:41)
This verse clearly speaks in severe disapprobation of the actions of these extremists. ‘Cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques are all credited as places ‘wherein the name of Allah is oft remembered. This completely destroys the false legitimisation of their actions – how can Ahmadis not being ‘Muslims’ be an acceptable reason for destroying their mosques and killing those inside them? Are the worshippers in cloisters, churches and synagogues any more Muslim? The Qur’an gives them protection, and Allah accepts their worship by crediting it with being the remembrance of Him Himself – Allah takes His own name. So why do Ahmadi mosques and worshippers merit such treatment? The reason is, because of course, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community presents a message and teaching so simple, welcoming and righteous that those in power know how subversive it can be and is, and fear the spread of truth and the associated consequences. This bears a striking similarity with the chiefs of Mecca being desperate to quash the spread of Islam in the early days because it threatened to replace the system of entrenched inequality and injustice upon which their positions depended with an unrecognisably fairer, more civilised and more humane society. In fact, even outside of the world of messengers and religion, progressive ideas have always been suppressed and opposed by entrenched interests. However, nothing and no one can be victorious against the Will of Allah. Allah sternly warns those who falsely claim religious authority and spread disorder for personal gain:
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يُعْجِبُكَ قَوْلُهُ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيُشْهِدُ اللَّهَ عَلَى مَا فِي قَلْبِهِ وَهُوَ أَلَدُّ الْخِصَامِ
وَإِذَا تَوَلَّى سَعَى فِي الْأَرْضِ لِيُفْسِدَ فِيهَا وَيُهْلِكَ الْحَرْثَ وَالنَّسْلَ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْفَسَادَ
‘There are those who talk glibly and plausibly on all subjects and call to God to witness as to the sincerity of their motives and intentions, yet they constantly promote dissension by their persistence in magnifying differences and disputes, and when they happen to wield authority they run about in the land seeking to create disorder, which destroys harvests and entails severe sufferings and hardships upon people. Allah loves not such conduct.’ (Al-Baqarah, 2:205-206)The Holy Qur’an (2:205-206)
The Qur’an also condemns them for driving Ahmadis out of their homes. There is absolutely no doubt that Ahmadis say ‘Our Lord is Allah’. It escapes their lips many, many times a day in prayer, in the remembrance of Allah and in their everyday conversation. It is the essence of everything the community believes, claims and publishes. It is the basis of every single Friday Sermon delivered by the Khalifatul-Masih abaabbreviation for "May Allah be his helper". This statement of the Qur’an is not at all qualified any way; it does not permit people to self-righteously judge others’ faith. People who so commit shirk (associating partners with Allah), because they claim to know the contents of their hearts and their true intentions, something only Allah can do.
So, it is quite apparent what deficits a true Islamic State should not have, which arguably, most states contain. The question remains, however – what would a truly Islamic state look like then, especially according to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community?
The first thing to note is that there will never be an ‘Islamic’ or ‘Muslim State’ as we have come to imagine it, in an age where fundamentalists and even moderates are committing the principal wrong of mixing religion and politics. It is wrong because religion and the path of faith are supposed to be something voluntarily followed and observed out of the love of God and the desire to seek a greater existential purpose. This becomes redundant as soon as the machinery of the state is used to apply and enforce religious rules because religious observance then becomes due to the fear of man-made law and not of God.
A truly Islamic state is a secular one based upon the principles of tolerance, equality, love and absolute justice. An Islamic state being a secular one is evident from a famous but seemingly-ignored verse of Surah Al-Baqarah:
لَا إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ قَدْ تَبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِنْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَى لَا انْفِصَامَ لَهَا وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
‘There is no compulsion in religion. Surely the right has become distinct from error; so whosoever refuses to be led by those who transgress and believes in Allah, has surely grasped a strong handle which knows no breaking. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.’The Holy Qur’an (2:257)
This verse makes it explicitly clear that force of any kind is forbidden regarding faith and religion. No distinctions are made, not based on creed, race or background. The verse continues to explain why there should be no compulsion and why it is not needed: ‘Surely the right has become distinct from error’. Allah is saying that the beauty, light and truth of Islam is evident to any right-minded seeker (the belief of virtually all Muslims). If it is, then why is force required?
The Qur’an emphasises this idea elsewhere too: ۡ
وَقُلِ الْحَقُّ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ فَمَنْ شَاءَ فَلْيُؤْمِنْ وَمَنْ شَاءَ فَلْيَكْفُرْ
‘The truth is from your Lord, so let him who will, believe; and let him who will disbelieve.’The Holy Qur’an (18:30)
قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ بَصَائِرُ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ فَمَنْ أَبْصَرَ فَلِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ عَمِيَ فَعَلَيْهَا
‘There have come to you clear proofs from your Lord, whoever will, therefore, see and recognise the truth, it will be for the good of his own soul and whoever will remain blind to it shall only harm himself.’The Holy Qur’an (6:105)
Those who use force to convert people to Islam or to scare them from turning apostate actually do a huge disservice to and degrade the name of Islam. They insult it, suggesting by their actions that Islam is not sufficient on its own and the Qur’an is not clear enough for the truth to be self-evident – so Islam actually needs their help to be spread – quite some status they confer upon themselves. And anyway – what is the merit in insincere and begrudging belief? There will be no internal or personal connection between Islam and Allah, and all the experience will serve to do is reinforce misconceptions and popularised views about Islam of both the victims and observers. The Qur’an explains how they are doing Islam no favours and no service by forcing people to become Muslims because Allah could have quite easily have done that Himself had he wanted to:
وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ لَآمَنَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا أَفَأَنْتَ تُكْرِهُ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ
‘If thy Lord had enforced His will, surely all who are on earth would have believed together. Wilt thou, then, force people to become believers?’The Holy Qur’an (10:100)
Another foundational and defining principle is strict adherence to justice:
‘O ye who believe! Be strict in observing justice and be witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or against your parents or kindred. Whether he, against whom witness is borne, be rich or poor, Allah is more regardful of them both than you are. Therefore follow not your low desires that you may be able to act equitably. And if you hide the truth or evade it, then know that Allah is Well-Aware of what you do.’The Holy Qur’an(4:136)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاءَ لِلَّهِ وَلَوْ عَلَى أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ إِنْ يَكُنْ غَنِيًّا أَوْ فَقِيرًا فَاللَّهُ أَوْلَى بِهِمَا فَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا الْهَوَى أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا وَإِنْ تَلْوُوا أَوْ تُعْرِضُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا
‘O ye who believe be steadfast in the cause of Allah, and bear witness in equity, and let not a people’s hostility towards you incite you to act otherwise than with justice. Be always just, that it is closest to righteousness. Fear Allah, Surely, Allah is well aware of that which you do.’The Holy Qur’an (5:9)
This ancient golden principle as clearly stated in the Holy Qur’an is today called the rule of law – the cornerstone of Western democracies. Rather than dismissing it as a Western invention, Muslims and their scholars should recognise it as the modern guise of a key commandment of the Qur’an. This still represents a huge gap between the West and the Muslim countries.
True Islam has no homeland, like what Jerusalem represents to the Jews and Christians. Mecca and Medina are holy sites and are extremely important to visit, but even the Ka’bah, the oldest and holiest House of Allah’s primary and principal purpose is a focal point to symbolically represent the unity of the Muslim Ummah. As such, there is nowhere in the world where true Islam seeks power. In political terms, true Islam, or Ahmadiyyat, operates like a cause group rather than a political party. The Community encourages peace and propagates its message in the hope of guiding nations and national policy towards the path of piety and good action, but will never itself take or exercise any political power because that would be conflating religion and politics and would violate the ‘no compulsion in religion’ teaching.
Another problem with trying to apply religious law is that it will foster great division. All non-Muslims would necessarily have to be excluded from the decision-making process, not being able to legitimately contribute, due to their not being Muslims. The application of Sharia also would obviously give them the right to apply their own religious laws in their own countries, and we would be heading further and further away from international peace and unity.
A further problem is that being a theocratic state, religion will have to take legislative priority. This contradicts the democratic theory, because, more people saying something not making it more right means that religious scholars will be given the final say. And since they are not elected (they can not be – because more people saying something does not make it more right) there exist no real checks on their authority because they are not accountable to the people. So, corruption inevitably creeps in, as we are witness to in the Muslim world today.
A lot can be learnt about what a truly Islamic state would look like from the example of the United Kingdom – probably more than most other countries in the world and certainly more than every ‘Muslim’ country – not the first country commonly associated with Islam. Looking at the Quran, the most common injunction is to offer prayer, after which come commandments like believing in Allah and the Last Day. But are such things by which a country cannot be assessed as a whole, because they exist on an individual basis – they are part of Huqooqullah (the rights of Allah). But, in terms of social injections, termed in Islam Huqooqul- ’Ibaad (the rights of His creation), some of the most common being the giving of charity and an unwavering commitment to absolute justice, we see Islam in application in a wonderful manner. It is from this, and the fact that the United Kingdom graciously granted the Khalifatul-Masih abaabbreviation for "May Allah be his helper" residence when he was expelled from his own home country that the Promised Messiah asabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" had great love and respect for our country which is shared by his followers. The United Kingdom is exemplary in having its welfare state, where everybody, irrespective of who they are, just by being a citizen of the country, is entitled to the fulfilment of the most basic needs in life: food, water, shelter and education. This fulfils very well the repeated Qur’anic injunctions of the duty of believers to provide for the poor amongst them – a Qur’anic commandment, however, that seems to be completely overlooked by Islamic governments of today, because in those countries, the gap between the rich and poor is huge, and many of the poor suffer from starvation. The United Kingdom has also long been the standard-bearer of justice, through its upholding of the rule of law, the idea that all are considered equal before the law regardless of background and position, and, as such, that the law must be applied equally and fairly. This is the far cry from the persistent and venomous oppression perpetrated against Ahmadis in Pakistan and other countries too.
Only the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community presents a picture of Islam and acts and interacts with others like a real Islamic state would and should. The fifth and current Khalifah abaabbreviation for "May Allah be his helper" continually reassures the media that he has no political ambitions whatsoever, and this is reflected throughout the Community. There is no ambition of an Ahmadi state, or seizing power somewhere, or of return to an Islamic homeland. The Community is almost a state within itself, but one, crucially, in which membership is completely a question of one’s own belief and conscience, and one wherein the individual decides whether they want to participate or not.
The example of the Ahmadiyya Community may help in visualising what a theoretical Islamic state may look like. The Jama’at is unified under the leadership of the Khalifa, a man representing an institution ever-inclined to peace, compassion, toleration and understanding. The message that was given to us from the Promised Messiah and thereafter from his Khulafa has been discouraging violence and war. It has been about uniting and encouraging good relations with one’s neighbours and people of other religious or political persuasions. It has been about widening our sphere of care and concern to cover the entire world; people of all colours, creeds and backgrounds, animals and the earth itself too – because these are all various forms of God’s creation.
Allah sent the Promised Messiah (Peace be upon him) to bring back the divided and wandering Muslim Ummah to the path of true Islam. He came to rid Muslims of ideas of political Islamic states, of aggressive military expeditions in the name of Islam and of the idea that Islam is a closed belief system accepting only a few and condemning the rest to hellfire. He came to remind Muslims of the ultimate purpose of their life in this world: gaining consciousness of God’s existence and developing a personal relationship with Him, and being loyal to one’s own country, living therein peacefully and lovingly and gently leading the way to guide others to the path of piety and good action, and away from disorder and ignorance. The closest thing there is out there today to a truly Islamic state is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – but a community it will forever remain; a political state it shall never become. The upcoming revolution will be spiritual, not political; it will be peaceful, not violent. And all are invited.