Islam stands for peace. Ahmadiyya Muslim community presents the real picture of Islam.

The true victory of Islam, as is evident from the word 'Islam' (submission) itself, lies in our complete surrendering our selves to God and freeing ourselves of our egos and our passions. No idol, whether it is the idol of our desires, our our intentions, or the idol of creature worship, should stand in our way, and we should submit ourselves entirely to the will of God. After reaching this state of Fana (self-annihilation), we will attain baqa (the life of eternity) which will give our eyes a new light, our minds a new passion; and we will become a wholly new being and the same Eternal God will become for us a new God. This is the true victory, and one aspect of it is Divine ammunion.(the green announcement p. 28)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Message of the Promised Messiah for contemporary society

The Ahmadiyya Gazette, August 1995
In this day and age life has gotten
increasingly intricate and complicated
and people are looking around for
answers. Mankind as has often been
the case in the past, once again finds
itself at a crossroad. It is being forced
by changing social and global
conditions to re-evaluate its outlook
on life. If steps are not taken to
remove this confusion, it is quite
possible that the present age will in
the future, be remembered as the Age
of Unanswered Questions. In an
attempt to find some of the answers to
these questions, I would like to
introduce you to the message of the
Promised Messiah for contemporary

The Messiah concept in itself is not a
new one. Christianity, Judaism and 72
of the 73 sects of Islam, all adhere to
the belief of the coming of the Messiah
in one form or another. What
distinguishes Ahmadiyyat, the 73rd
sect of Islam, is that while the others
still await the arrival of the Messiah,
members of this community believe
that promised Messiah has already
appeared. In fact he has already
passed away in the personage of Mirza
Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (a small
town in India). This Community does
not profess a new faith, rather it goes
back to the original source of Islam i.e.
the Quran itself, for all its doctrines and
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian
had as his spiritual mission, the removal of misdirected conventions,
falsely attributed to the faith by its
followers. It was a cleaning house sort
of mandate bestowed upon him by
God. He did not add to the faith any
new teachings of his own, he simply
strived to remove the misconceptions
which had slowly crept into its
followers over the centuries. It is a well
known fact that as a message is
passed along, it is slightly altered
during passage based upon the views
and biases of each individual
conveyor. The end result is that at the
end of the chain of conveyance the
original form and the final form of the
message are perhaps greatly varied.
The mission of the Promised Messiah
was to remove the misinformation
which had gotten tangled up in the
truth over the ages, and take Muslims
back to the original form of the faith.
The reason for belaboring this point is
that following this line of reasoning, it
becomes apparent that the message of
the Promised Messiah for
contemporary society is the message
of Islam for contemporary society. Let
us now investigate this message as
viewed through the eyes of
Ahmadiyyat, and use solely as
examples the Holy Quran and the
Prophet Muhammad (peace be on
One of the most commonly levied
charges against any message is that it
is presently out of date. I would
suggest to you that such is not the
case, in this case. The prevailing social
conditions in ancient Arabia (at the
time of Muhammad SAW), closely
parallel today's modern times. The
activities of a young man in Mecca in
those days involved drinking,
gambling and sexual promiscuity. All
three of these pursuits exist today as
well. Even though gambling may have
presently been overtaken by other
social concerns, drinking and sexual
promiscuity still occupy a great area of
concern within present day society.
Ancient Arabia was also a player in the
struggle for global domination. Today
too, various countries or blocs of
countries are vying for supremacy.
In those ancient times, violence was
instigated at the slightest provocation
with vendettas crossing generational
boundaries. This parallels the present
situation of turf wars raging on for
years with rival gangs clashing with
one another over the smallest of
On a slightly different plane, then too
as today, people were concerned with
the environment. This is evidenced by
the practice of the urban well to do of
those days of sending their young
ones under the care of desert dwelling
tribal people so that they may be
brought up in the fresh air of the open
The message of Islam for
contemporary society is but one part
of the whole message of Islam. It is
extremely difficult to divorce the two
and in order to gain insight into the
former, the context of the latter must
be understood. The message itself is
based upon the following three
principles: 1) The Unity of God, 2) The
Goal of Human Existence, and 3) The
Dignity and Equality of Man.
The first tenet i.e. the Unity of God is
the axis on which the teachings and
doctrines of Islam revolve. From here
proceeds the fundamental unity of the
universe, of man, and of life. Islam's
objective is to establish a balance and
bring about accord in the relationship
of man to God and to the universe
through beneficent adjustment.
The Quran emphatically rejects any
doctrine, idea or concept which may
directly or indirectly tend to associate
any other thing or being with God as
an equal or partner. In 112:25 it
states, "Say: `He is Allah. the One: Allah,
the Independent, and Besought of all.
He Begets not, nor is He begotten; and
there is none like unto Him'."
God is the sole Creator, the Quran
describes this in 39:63-64, "Allah is
the Creator of all things, and He is the
Guardian over all things. To Him
belong the keys of the heavens and
the earth."
The Quran delves into great detail on
the numerous attributes of God. For
example: He is the Creator and
Sustainer of all the worlds and leads
them stage by stage towards
perfection; He is the Gracious One, Who
has made provision for the fulfillment
of the purpose of the creation of man
and of the universe; He is the Merciful
One, Who causes beneficent results to
follow upon righteous action; and He
is the Master of the Day of Judgment,
Who alone will judge and decide
penalties and rewards.
The second tenet i.e. the Goal of
Human Existence has been a question
debated by philosophers since time
immemorial. Islam also has a view on
this issue. There was a purpose
involved in creating the universe. The
Quran states in 21:17-18, "We created
not the heavens and the earth and all
that is in between the two in play. Had
we wished to find a pastime We would
surely have found it in that which is
with Us, if at all We would have been
inclined in that way."
The purpose of the creation of the
universe is to aid man in receiving the
impress of God's attributes and
becoming a manifestation of them
within the limits of his capacities i.e. he
should become God's image.
Perhaps one distinction which can be
made between ancient and modern
times is that the time continuum for
change within the global community
has been drastically altered. The
dynamics of global events have been
shown to have tremendous
accelerative capacities as evidenced by
the fragmentation of the Soviet Union
and the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. In
the past the status quo enjoyed a
stability for much longer periods of
time whereas now the face of the
earth is continually changing. Many
people observe these large scale
changes which effect us all collectively
as members of the human race. It
becomes increasingly difficult to stem
the tide personal anxiety coupled with
global uncertainty. This is where the
outlet of prayer comes into play.
When the soul has become
overburdened and it is in need of
solace, it naturally turns to its Creator
from whom it has no secrets. This
natural urge which becomes
particularly overpowering in times of
trouble is in itself a proof of the
existence of God, and of the need and
possibility of establishing communion
with Him.
Allow me to more clearly highlight this
point. The answers to the questions,
"What is the right way" and "What is
God's way?" are most clearly begot
through fervent supplication. You see,
God himself will reveal to your heart
what is His way. The Quran mentions
in 2:187, "When my servants ask thee
concerning Me, say that I am near; that
I answer the prayer of the supplicant
when he prays to Me. So they should
respond to Me and have faith in Me,
that they may be rightly guide."
Turning now to the third tenet of the
message i.e., the Dignity and Equality
of Man, it is realized that there is a
current trend towards categorizing
individuals. This is both counter
productive and decisive. Within the
context of this message each
individual has the same potential of
achieving the highest stations of
spirituality and worldliness. The
diversities of race, color, language,
culture, wealth, etc. do not confer
either superiority or inferiority. No
single individual can claim honor or
prestige based upon membership
within a certain tribe or citizenship
within a certain country. The Quran
makes this clear and says that the true
source of honor in the sight of God is a
righteous life.
The Quran mentions in 21:108 that the
Prophet had been sent as a
manifestation of God's mercy to
mankind. For this reason Muhammad
the Prophet is held in the highest
esteem possible for a mortal, by the
adherents of this faith. However, the
Prophet took great pains to educate
his followers that he himself was just a
man like themselves.
In his final days one of the Prophet's
main concerns was that he feared lest
the Muslims should upon his death,
assign him a position higher than
other human beings, as had been
done by the followers of other
prophets. This is why during this
period of his life he kept emphasizing
over and over that he was but a man,
to whom God had vouchsafed
revelation for the guidance of mankind. Evidence of this concern was
expressed in his Final Address,
delivered in the valley of Arafat just
outside Mecca. Among other things
the Prophet commented that the
followers of the faith should live their
lives in accordance with the
commandments of God, that they
should treat women with due regard
and consideration fully observing their
rights which correspond to the rights
that men had, and finally, that all
human beings are equal whatever
their individual status and no one
could claim any priveledge or
superiority over another.
With the gravity and seriousness
expressed so far, let us take a
momentary reprieve. It is necessary
from time to time to take a look at the
lighter side of life, as evidenced by the
Prophet himself. Let us considered
some examples.
It is related that the Prophet once
challenged his wife Ayesha to a foot
race which the latter won. A year later
he challenged her to a rematch and this time he won. Afterwards he
laughed and said, "Ayesha we are
now even."
It is also related that a poor man was
once found guilty of a certain offense
and the Prophet imposed upon him a
fine in the form of a charity
distribution. Unfortunately, the man
was so poor that he did not have the
money available with which to settle
the fine. It so happened that the
Prophet just received a basket of dates
from another companion to be
distributed in charity. The Prophet
turned to the poor man and told him
to distribute the basket among the
needy. To this the man replied, "Sir, I
am aware of no one more deserving
of charity than myself." The Prophet
laughed and said, "Well then, take the
basket for yourself and that will suffice
as your penalty."
Thus in spite of the heavy burden of
responsibility which had been placed
upon the Prophet's shoulders, he still
took time out to entertain humor. It is
an invaluable tool and if more of us
started using it, our stress levels would go down both at work and at home.
Having just covered the broad aspect
of the message I would now like to
emphasize some specific aspects
which are of greater relevance today.
A great starting point for dealing with
en masse problems facing us today, is
to realize that we all brothers and
sisters. It may sound simplistic yet we
are all descendants from the same two
individuals i.e. Adam and Eve. Global
conditions contributed towards us
setting off in different directions to
occupy our own little niches within the
vast earth. We developed in isolation
from each other and somewhere
along the way, we lost sight of our
common heritage. We are all God's
children and thus are all members of
the Universal Brotherhood of Man.
Once this realization sets in, our
seemingly insurmountable differences
fall by the wayside and are replaced
instead, by a common sense of
The present day tide of intolerance
must also be stemmed. The policy of
alienation through differentiation has
effected our way of thinking. We must
reinforce the qualities of tolerance,
patience, forgiveness, and mutual
respect particularly in the fields of
faith, and within our personal
dealings. Islam addresses these
concerns and provides suggestions
which are listed below.
In this faith even though the Unity of
God is the cornerstone, the Prophet
admonished Muslims from using harsh
language against the idols
worshipped by the Meccans for this
might incite them to blaspheming
Allah. The motto, "Do unto others as
you would have done unto you" helps
to describe the spirit of this instruction.
Within the realm of international
relations, inter-religious relations are
also of significance. It is widely
believed that since faith is such a
private matter for each individual, it
should have no role in the discussion
of social or political issues. This is an
oversight because common beliefs
may be used as effective tools in
promoting unity and accord. The
recurrent theme amongst the different
faiths of mutual understanding and
respect invites itself onto the stage of
international relations. Let us now
briefly examine what the Islamic faith
dictates in regard to other faiths and
their followers.
In 5:70 of the Quran we see, "Surely
those who have believed, and the
Jews and the Sabeans and the
Christians, whoso believes in God the
Last Day, and acts righteously, on them
shall come no harm nor shall they
grieve." Thus the faith sets a level
playing field for all faiths. Then in
2:257 we observe, "There is no
compulsion in matters of faith for
surely guidance has been made
manifest and distinct from error." The
objective of these two verses is to
achieve a reconciliation between the
followers of different faiths and
encourage a foundation of mutual
respect and honor amongst them.
Furthermore, that belief and faith are
matters of conscience, and conscience
cannot be compelled.
You will notice that in the message
there is a continuous shift in emphasis
back and forth between the intra-
individual and the inter-individual
levels. This is deliberate for it
highlights the need to ensure that
both states are in harmony. It is
necessary for a person to have inner
peace and a personal purpose. This
must be balanced however, by a
healthy outlook towards others
because he/she must constantly
interact with them. Man has often been
referred to as a social animal, the
purpose of this message is to make
him a social being. His needs must be
fulfilled on both levels for him to be
It is unfortunate indeed that the
message of Islam has been
misrepresented as being inflexible
and intolerant towards other faiths. I
would like to present one final
example which will depict the attitude
of this faith toward others. The
example involves the putting into
practice, of principles embraced by this
faith by the Prophet himself, for no
one would be better able to interpret
Islam's message better than he.
Ikramah the son of Abu Jahl, had
inflicted heavy casualties upon the
Muslims at the Battle of Uhad. He had
realized that a poorly guarded pass
was the Achilles heel of the Muslim
forces. On his command the ensuing
Meccan charge through the breach
resulted in exceedingly high Muslim
fatalities. Years later when Mecca fell to
the Muslims, Ikramah fled to the coast
but his wife approached the Prophet,
and asked him if her husband could
return to Mecca and profess his belief
in idols. The Prophet replied that faith
was a matter of conscience, and
conscience was free.
Thus at the time of the fall Mecca, in
spite of all the hardship that
Muhammad the Prophet and his
followers had endured, the years of
spiritual persecution and physical
hardship, the senseless loss of life of
his companions at Meccan hands for
the simple crime of professing their
belief in one God, all of this was laid
aside by the Prophet and forgiveness
granted to all in the Name of God.
No account of this message would be
complete without mention of the
family. The family is the basic unit of
human society. It is the training
ground for tomorrow's world. It is the
first link that a child has with this
world and thus it is essential that the
maintenance of this institution be
emphasized. The foundation is laid
through marriage and the structure
put up is the children. Parents must
ensure that the values their children
have are the ones that they
themselves have and are not ones
picked up on streets. A man and
woman's true wealth is their offspring
which in turn could become their
greatest sources of joy or sorrow,
largely depending upon the effort that
was put forth in their care. One of the
Prophet's sayings was, "The best
among you is he who treats his family
Turning our attention to the last
subject in this piece: The status of
women in Islam. Due to the extensive
nature of the subject (the Quran alone
has over 40 verses dealing specifically
with women's issues), I will attempt to
give you only a general flavor of this
As already mentioned, the Prophet
heeded Muslim men to consort with
women in kindness and fully observe
their rights which correspond fully to
the rights that men had. Women were
accorded positions of dignity and
honor as prescribed by the titles of
mother, wife, daughter, sister, etc.
Their rights were recognized for the
first time in religious history in the
fields of property ownership,
inheritance, independence, child
custody, spouse approval before
marriage, and self-determination.
Someone once asked Ayesha (the
Prophet's wife) about her husband's
household behavior. She replied that
he helped in the household chores,
patched up his own clothes, mended
his shoes and was kindly and
affectionate companion. Gentlemen,
your wives will never let you forget
that example!
The Quran addresses men and their
treatment of women in 4:20 as
follows: "Consort with them in
kindness. If you dislike them, it may be
that you dislike something in which
Allah has placed much good." Thus
contrary to popular belief, men do not
have free reigns to do as they wish
and please in their treatment of
It is related that a party of the Prophet
was running later during a journey.
There were women in the caravan as
well. When the camel drivers tried to
quicken the pace to make up for lost
time, the Prophet heeded them by
saying, "Mind the crystal." This
reference to women as crystal implied
that they were delicate and sensitive
and that the utmost care must be
taken in according them the dignity,
honor and position which is their
A lot of information has been
presented in this piece, it will be up to
you to reflect upon it at your leisure. I
would like to bring this article to a
close with a few final thoughts.
It is easy to look at the trees and lose
sight of the forest and visa versa. The
message conveyed to you as member
of contemporary society has many
different facets to it. It must be kept in
mind however, that they are all parts
of the whole. The beauty of the
message of Islam lies in the fact that
the principles put forth may be
adopted anywhere in the world
irrespective of geographical location,
religious affiliation, gender, racial
background or social status. These
principles are applicable on both
personal and inter-personal levels.
They contribute towards solving
troubling individual and global issues
in a peaceful and equitable manner.
The process of change must start
within. It must be realized that faith
and belief are personal issues and
those in search of the truth must make
the journey alone. This is because no
one can impose his or her views upon
another. The views of others if not
agreed with, must be respected.
Therefore become good human
beings and you have already started
finding out the answers to your
This is the message of Islam for
contemporary society. The entire
purpose of the coming of the
Promised Messiah was to spread this
message among humanity. The
Promised Messiah himself said, "He
who makes a distinction between
Muhammad (pbuh) and I, has not
recognized me." I would ask you to
reflect upon this message, and no
matter which path you choose, may
the Light of God, which contemporary
society is so desperately seeking,
shine on you.

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