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)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A beautiful article by founder of Ahmadiyya Community

How to be Free from Sin

In this article, I intend to show that the remarkable material progress of the current age has been more than counterbalanced by its deplorable spiritual decline, to the extent that the souls of men have lost their ability even to grasp obvious truths. It is apparent from a close study of humanity that a hidden and formidable force is pulling it downwards, and man is swiftly being dragged into a pit which is termed Asfalus Safilin [the lowest of the low]. Such a complete change has come over the intellects of men, that they have come to admire and praise things which are abhorrent and detestable to the spiritual eye. Every soul feels itself being dragged downwards by a force, which, through its devastating influence, has already caused a whole world to fall into decline. Pure truths are laughed at and ridiculed, and complete submission to God is looked upon as an absurdity. Every soul is drawn towards the world as if constrained by some hidden force.

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 fulfillment 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. The days when neglect and evil reign supreme upon the earth are terrifying, because they have been marked for the spiritual battle foretold by the Prophets in the form of various metaphors. Some people describe it as the final battle between the Angels of heaven and the Satans of the earth, which will culminate in the end of the world; others naively think that it will be a physical battle, fought with swords and guns. The latter are completely mistaken, for they naïvely interpret a spiritual battle to mean a physical one.

In short, a fierce clash between the darkness of the earth and the light of heaven is imminent, as foretold by all the Prophets, from Adam to the Holy Prophet. The commander of the one side is called 'the Concealer of the truth', while that of the other is known as 'the Revealer of the truth'. The one who comes from heaven in the company
of angels is the manifestation of [the Angel] Michael, and the one who is raised from the earth with the powers of darkness is the manifestation of Satan.

When we observe the well-armed legions of the earth busy in their preparations, having already accomplished a great deal, we are led to believe that the kingdom of heaven is not unmindful of its preparations either. The heavenly dominion is averse to show and ostentation and it accomplishes a great deal without anyone knowing about it. People finally become aware of it when there appears a light in heaven and a white minaret on earth; the heavenly light then falls upon the minaret and illuminates the whole world.

This last sentence requires some explanation. Although God’s spiritual order is in complete harmony with the physical one, it does, at times, display singular features that
are not easily discernable in the physical order. For example, when an earthly attraction is formed, it results in the formation of a heavenly attraction, even though the two are opposed to one another. And it stands to reason that when these two attractions reach their pinnacle in the final days of the world, they must confront one another, for neither
can gain supremacy without destroying the other. When two sides are equal in power and glory, they inevitably clash. Not only has this been foretold in all the books of the Prophets, but reason also demands that when two powerful and opposing attractions come into collision, one of them must vanquish the other or both must be annihilated.

In keeping with the description found in the books of the Prophets, it so happened that when a thousand years had passed after Jesus(as)—the period in which, according to the
prophecies, Satan had remained in shackles—an evil force began to assert itself upon the earth. This was the time when Islam began to decline in respect of its noble principles;
its spiritual progress came to a halt, and its worldly conquests ceased. Islam was born in an age when Satan lay bound in chains—and so it must have been, for this is what all the Prophets, as far back as John the divine, had foretold—and its downfall began when Satan was released after 1000 A.D., and Islam ceased to progress any further. Thereafter, all kinds of satanic activities took root and the tree of evil began to grow upon the earth, until some of its branches pervaded the East, some reached the farthest settlements of the West, and some spread over the North and South. Just as external evens have shown the
period of Satan’s imprisonment to be a thousand years, the period of his freedom is also a thousand years, as foretold by the Prophets, and it comes to an end at the turn of the fourteenth century of the Hijra. These thousand years are to be reckoned according to the divine or lunar calendar, for it is according to this system that the Jews and Muslims have been taught to determine the time of [the fulfilment of] prophecies. Calculations based on the solar calendar are an innovation of man and go against the purport of the sacred writings.

These, in short, are the final days of Satan’s respite, indeed they have already passed, for nineteen years have already elapsed since the turn of the Hijra century which marked
the end of Satan’s period of freedom. He, however, does not wish to be stripped of his power, and a struggle between the two forces is inevitable. This was ordained from the beginning, and God’s word can never be false.

Another testimony which shows that these are the days [of the final battle], is that the sixth millennium since the birth of Adam, in which the second Adam was supposed
to appear, has also passed. Since the sixth day is the day of the birth of Adam and, according to the scriptures, a day symbolizes a thousand years, we have to accept that
the second Adam has already appeared in keeping with God’s promises, even though he has not yet been fully recognized. We also have to believe that the place God has appointed for his advent is in the East and not in the West. Since Adam was given an abode in a garden towards the East (Genesis 2:8), the second Adam must also appear in an Eastern country in order to maintain his similarity to the first. Muslims and Christians are both equally obligated to accept this, unless of course they are inclined towards disbelief.

Thus, there should be no difficulty in understanding the truth, for it is quite apparent that this is the time for the final battle between light and darkness. The forces of darkness are exerting their utmost power, and it is futile to think that they can now be subjugated by any other means except through the light that descends directly from heaven.

Darkness has completely pervaded the world and the flickering lamp of righteousness is about to die out. Customary belief, traditional knowledge and superficial prayers can no longer bring back its faded light. Can the blind lead the blind? Can darkness dispel darkness? No! A new minaret has to be built on the earth which rises above the lowly dwellings, so that the heavenly lamp may be placed on it, and the whole world may be illuminated by its light. How can light reach distant places unless it is placed somewhere high?

What does the minaret symbolize? It represents the holy, pure and resolute soul, which is given to that perfect man who is worthy of heavenly light, and this meaning is inherent
in the word 'minaret' itself. The loftiness of the minaret signifies the high resolve of such a man, its strength signifies the fortitude which he shows at times of trial, and its pristine whiteness represents his innocence, which must ultimately be established. And when all this has taken place i.e., when his truthfulness has been established with arguments, and his fortitude, steadfastness, patience and perseverance has become apparent like a shining minaret, the period of his first advent—which was marked by trials and tribulations—comes to an end, and the time is now ripe for him to appear in glory. Spirituality, which is imbued with Divine glory, descends upon him who is like a minaret, and invests him with Divine powers by God’s permission. All this happens in his second advent, and this is exactly the manner in which the Promised Messiah was supposed to appear. The Traditions prevalent among the Muslims which speak, for instance, of his descent near a minaret, are only meant to signify that his advent will be a glorious one and that he will be accompanied by Divine power. Heaven holds him back until the time God has appointed for his advent, but this does not mean that he was not [physically] present on
the earth before that.

It is also a Divine practice that He uses physical illustrations to explain some spiritual matters. The Temple in Baitul Muqaddas [Jerusalem], and the Ka‘bah in Mecca, for example, serve as symbols of Divine manifestation. It is in this context that the Islamic Shariah speaks of the Promised Messiah’s descent on, or near a minaret, in a country which lies to the East of Damascus—just as Adam was given a dwelling in the East. There is no harm if a physical minaret is also built before his glorious advent; it is, in fact, mentioned in the Hadith literature that a minaret shall be built before the advent of the Promised Messiah, and it will serve as a sign of his glorious appearance.

The Promised Messiah is to appear in two phases. The first will be unremarkable, accompanied by all kinds of tribulations. This will be followed by a period of glory,
before which a minaret must be built to comply with the Tradition which says that the physical minaret will be a reflection of the spiritual one.

The world will not recognize him before his glorious advent, for he will not be of the world, nor will it love him, for it does not love God from Whom he will have come. He must face trials and persecution, and aspersions must be cast upon him; indeed, Islamic prophecies foretell that the Promised Messiah will initially be rejected, and ignorant
people will make mischief against him. They will attack him unjustly and think that they have acted piously, and others shall torment him and consider their actions pleasing to God. Thus will he be subjected to every kind of tribulation, until the time of his glorious advent which has been preordained by God. People with willing hearts will then reflect: 'What kind of an impostor is this who cannot be subjugated? Why does God help him instead of us?' An angel of God will thereupon descend upon their hearts and admonish them: 'Is it necessary that all the prophecies found in your Traditions should be fulfilled,
and is this what hinders you [from accepting the Promised Messiah]? Is it not possible that these prophecies may be prone to error or misinterpretation, and is it not permissible
to view some of them as metaphorical? Were the Jews not deprived of faith and fortune because they waited in vain for the literal fulfilment of all their prophecies according to their own understanding? Considering that it is the same God, and His ways are the same, is it not possible that you are being tried in the same way?' Their hearts will ultimately incline towards the truth, just as in [the times of] the past [Prophets].

It would be a mistake to declare that in this age physical wars should be waged in order to spread faith and piety. The sword, rather than revealing the beauties and excellences
of the truth, conceals them and shrouds them in ambiguity. Those who hold such beliefs are foes, not friends, of Islam. They are mean-natured and lack moral fibre, their hearts are cloaked in uncertainty, they are gullible and ignorant, and they provide the opponents of Islam with the opportunity to object that the progress of Islam depends upon the sword. This belief is detrimental to Islam. No religion has to resort to force when it is capable of establishing its truth through rational arguments, undisputed testimonies, and heavenly signs. On the other hand, no further argument is required to falsify a religion
which does not possess these qualities and turns to the sword to compensate for its own weakness. Such a religion is in effect slain by its own sword.

Critics wrongfully object that if Jihad is considered unlawful in this day and age, why was it practised in the early days of Islam? These people do not seem to be aware that Islam rejects the use of force to spread religion under any circumstances. The Holy Quran categorically says: 'There is no compulsion in religion.' The sword was raised [by the early Muslims] because the savages of Arabia, who had lost all sense of morality and human values, had become the sworn enemies of Islam. When the Unity of God and the truth of Islam was shown to them through unequivocal arguments, and it was impressed upon their minds that idolatry was wrong and against the dignity of man, they were unable to counter these arguments. The sensible among them, therefore, inclined
towards Islam resulting in the separation of brothers from brothers and sons from their fathers. At this point the idolaters were reduced to severely punishing those who became Muslims as a means of preserving their false religion and dissuading people from Islam. These crimes were perpetrated by the Chiefs of Mecca, Abu Jahl being one of them.

Those who are acquainted with the early history of Islam are no doubt aware of the cruelty and barbarity that was perpetrated by the opponents in Mecca, and the number of
innocent people who were killed as a result. But this did not deter people from embracing Islam. Even those of limited intelligence could see that its teachings were far more rational and convincing than those of the idol worshippers. When the opponents saw the futility of their efforts, they decided that the only solution was to assassinate the Holy Prophet (sa), but God rescued him from their hands and led him to Medina in safety. The Meccans, however, persisted in their evil designs, and continued their efforts to kill him even in Medina. Under these circumstances, the Muslims had to defend themselves and to avenge those who attacked them unjustly. The Islamic wars were not fought to spread the faith but only to protect the lives of the Muslims. Can any reasonable person believe that Islam was unable to prove the Oneness of God before the idolaters—who worshipped stone idols and other inanimate objects, and were engrossed in all kinds of vice—and had to resort to the sword for this reason? God forbid! These allegations are groundless and those who make them, do a grave injustice to Islam by concealing the truth.

The Maulawis have played their part in perpetrating this injustice, but the Christian clerics are no less guilty, for they too have impressed these thoughts in the minds of the
Muslims by highlighting the edicts of foolish Maulawis. When Muslims hear their own Maulawis issuing edicts in favour of Jihad, and hear the Christian clerics—who are also eminent scholars—raising the same objection against Islam, they fall prey to the concept that Islam encourages this kind of Jihad. Both these positions have given rise to these unfounded objections against Islam.

Had the Christian clergy not adopted this course, and had they honestly and truthfully admitted that the edicts of the Maulawis are based on sheer ignorance, and that the circumstances which had necessitated the Jihad during the early days of Islam are not present in this age, the very notion of this kind of Jihad would have disappeared from
the world. But they failed to understand this, being guided more by their passions than their reason.... continued

No comments:

Post a Comment