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November 2012


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Shahid Aziz Mustaq Ali

Call of the Messiah Umar bin Abdul Aziz Persecution and False Piety

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The beauty Allah created so which of Allahs bounties will man deny by destroying it? the Law of Nature, in the same way, the Book of Human Nature, too, offers the evidence that at the time of some affliction, human minds, as is our observation, turn to adopting a remedial plan, and tend to prayer, sacrifice and charitable deeds under a natural impulse. If a glance should be cast upon all the nations of the world, it seems that up to this time no nations conscience has stood up against this universally accepted principle. It is, therefore, a spiritual argument upon the fact that the internal law of man has also, from ancient times, decreed unto all the nations that prayer shall not be separated from plan and proposed action, and that plan and method of procedure should rather be sought and explored by means of prayer. In short, prayer and plan are two natural requirements of human nature which have, ever since the creation of man, come down through the ages, like two real brothers, to attend upon and serve human nature. Whereas plan is the necessary outcome of prayer, prayer is the incentive or stimulus for plan; and mans blessedness and obedience lies in the fact that he should, before launching upon a plan, seek

Call of the Messiah

(Continued from the last issue)

Prayer precedes plan

This investigation leads us obviously to the conclusion that prior to the creation of a plan there is the stage of prayer, which the Law of God has preordained and destined as necessary and inevitable for man, so that every seeker after an object has naturally to cross over this bridge. It is, therefore, a shameful matter if one should say or think that prayer and plan are contradictions and inconsistent with each other. What is the aim or purpose of prayer? It is evidently that the Great Knower of the Unseen, Who has knowledge of even the subtlest schemes, might drop some nice and excellent plan into the supplicants mind, or create one from his own side by exercising His attributes of all-powerfulness and creative action. How, then, could there be any contradiction or inconsistency between prayer and plan?

A spiritual argument
Besides this, just as the mutual relation between prayer and plan is proved by the testimony of

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help and guidance from the Supreme Source of all grace, so that, getting light from that Everlasting and Ever-Flowing Fountain, excellent and effective schemes may be devised and conceived.

Portentous prophecies
There is yet another objection offered in opposition, namely that no Divine decree or destiny can be held in suspense, and a revealed prophecy bound up by conditions is against the will and way of God. Be it known, therefore, that this objection is a delusion of the same colour as was the first one. Human minds have ever since been inclined to this side, that if they be apprised beforehand of the coming of a catastrophe they seek to avert the doom by means of prayer and sacrifice. It is thus obviously clear that the internal law of the Most High God has imprinted on human nature its decree that calamities and afflictions can be warded off and obviated by means of prayer and sacrifice. It is for this reason that all the nations of the world are naturally inclined to this view, that at the time of the coming of a calamity, or fear of its visitation, they should take to prayer with all their mind and concentration. With what pain and repentance people on the sea weep and wail and implore the Most High God for protection when they find that their ship is being wrecked! In the Holy Quran, from Prophet Noah down to the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, our great and glorious Master (peace and the blessings of God be upon him), all the portentous prophecies foretelling the dreadful doom of the opponents of Truth have been, one and all, bound up with conditions. This means that such and such a calamity is about to overtake you, and that if you should repent and do good deeds, the chastisement will be kept in abeyance and withheld, otherwise you will be swept away and annihilated. The Holy Quran is replete with such prophecies. But it is surprising indeed that some people who call themselves Muslims put forth and urge such objections as are even repugnant to the teachings of the Holy Quran. The reason of it is that in this age, many people have so much engulfed themselves in the pursuit of

A Muslims love for the Holy Quran shown in creating this beautiful copy of the Holy Book

worldly affairs that they have become hopelessly bereft of the Islamic teaching. 1. There is found, in these days, a group of people even among the Muslims who say that there is no such thing as prayer, and that the dictates of destiny must inevitably come to pass. But it is regrettable that these people know not that notwithstanding the truth of the doctrine of predestination, certain things, in the Law of God, have been ordained as means for the removal of certain calamities. For instance, water for the quenching of thirst and bread for the removal of hunger are natural means. Why, then, should it be wondered at or doubted that prayer, too, is a means, in the Law of God, for the realization of a need, wherein Providence Divine has implanted power for the stimulation of Divine favour. The experience of thousands of saints and righteous men bears witness to the fact that in prayer there is undoubtedly a power to arouse and stimulate. We have also recorded in our books our personal experiences in this connection; and there is no bigger argument than personal experience. Although it is true that everything has been foreordained, yet, just as it has been predetermined that so and so will fall ill, and will then make use of this medicine and recover from his illness, in the same way it has also been established beforehand that if such-and-such an afflicted person will offer prayer and supplication, then the means for his deliverance will be created through acceptance of his prayer. And experience bears it out that wherever it may happen, by the grace of God, that prayer be offered with all its necessary conditions, that

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work is certainly accomplished and fulfilled. The Quranic verse saying Pray to Me, and I will accept your prayer also points to the same thing. And yet one has to wonder why it should be that when all people despite having faith in the doctrine of predestination betake themselves to doctors and physicians when taken ill, they do not, going by the example of medical treatment, appreciate and accept the efficacy of prayer. 2. Just ponder over these verses: a. Surely he who keeps his duty and is patient Allah never wastes the reward of the doers of good. (12:90) This prophecy is of a general nature, subject to the conditions of observance of ones duty to Allah and patience. b. Why should Allah chastise you if you are grateful and believe? (4:147) It has been stated in this prophecy that the approaching doom can be averted by gratefulness and belief. c. Then as to those who disbelieve, I shall chastise them with severe chastisement in this world and the Hereafter, and they will have no helpers. And as to those who believe and do good deeds, He will pay them fully their rewards. And Allah loves not the unjust. (3:5556) In these verses, too, it has been clearly pointed out that belief is the condition that can prevent and impede the coming of chastisement. d. But if they give thee (the Prophet) the lie, then say: Your Lord is the Lord of allencompassing mercy; and His punishment cannot be averted from the guilty people. (6:148) This prophecy, again, is limited by condition. If the opponents should believe, they will, of course, get a share of the vast, all-encompassing mercy of Allah; but if they should persist in their denial, then the punishment of God is such that it cannot be averted by any trick or stratagem. There are, likewise, in the Holy Quran conditional prophecies mentioned here and there, in the histories of the prophets; and to deny them is, in fact, to deny Islam. Rather it seems from the story of Prophet Jonah that a portentous prophecy, even though uninvested with a condition, can be averted by repentance and pardon; for, it is one of the attributes of God that He accepts the repentance of a penitent person, and throws into abey-

The Holy Kaba ance the prophecy foretelling for him a dreadful doom.

Hazrat Umar bin Abdul Aziz

Mujaddid of the First Century of Hijra (From: Noor-i-Islam, October 2012)
There are a few rulers in the world who have left indelible impressions in history. Caliph Umar ibn Abdul Aziz tops that list. He is considered one of the finest rulers in Muslim history, second only to the four rightly guided caliphs Hazrats Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali, Allah be pleased with them all. In fact, in some circles, he is affectionately referred to as the fifth and the last caliph of Islam and it is also confirmed from all the lists published that he was the First Mujaddid in Islam. The Roman emperor, when he heard about his death, said: A virtuous person has passed away I am hardly surprised to see an ascetic who renounced the world and give himself to the prayers of Allah. But I am certainly surprised at a person

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who had all the pleasures of the world at his feet and yet he shut his eyes against them and lived a life of piety and renunciation. Umar bin Abdul Aziz ruled as a caliph for only 30 months but during this short period he changed the world. His tenure was the brightest period in the 92 year history of the Umayyad Caliphate. He was the son of Abdul Aziz bin Marwaan, the governor of Egypt, while his mother, Umm-iAasim, was the granddaughter of Caliph Umar ibn Al-Khattab. Umar bin Abdul Aziz wasborn in 63 A.H. (682 C.E.) inHalwan, Egypt, but hereceived his education inMadinah from his mothersuncle, the celebrated scholarAbdullah ibn Umar. He stayed in Madinah till hisfathers death in 704 C.E.,when he was called by hisuncle Caliph Abdul Malik and was married to his daughter Fatima. He was appointed governor of Madinah in 706 C.E. succeeding Caliph Waleed bin Abdul Malik. Umar remained governor of Madinah throughout the reigns of Caliph Waleed and Caliph Suleiman. But when Suleiman fell seriously ill, he wanted to appoint an heir, as his sons were still minors. Reja ibn Haiwah, his advisor, proposed Umar bin Abdul Aziz as his successor. Suleiman accepted the suggestion. After being nominated caliph, Umar addressed the people saying: O people, I have been nominated your caliph despite my unwillingness and without your consent. So here I am, I relieve you of your pledge [baiyat] that you have taken for my allegiance. Elect whomsoever you find suitable as your caliph. People shouted: O Umar, we have full faith in you and we want you as our caliph. Umar continued, O people, obey me as long as I obey Allah; and if I disobey Allah, you are not duty-bound to obey me. Umar was extremely pious and averse to worldly luxuries. He preferred simplicity to extravagance. He deposited all assets and wealth meant for the ruling caliph into the public treasury. He even abandoned the royal palace and preferred to live in a modest house. He wore

Masjid-i-Nabwi, the Prophets Mosque in Medina

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rough clothes instead of royal robes and often went unrecognized in public like his great grandfather Caliph Umar ibn Al Khattab. After his appointment as caliph he discarded all the pompous appendages of princely life servants, slaves, maids, horses, palaces, golden robes and real estates and returned them to the public treasury. He also asked his wife Fatima to return the jewelry she had received from her father Caliph Abdul Malik. The faithful wife complied with his bidding and deposited all of it in the Bait Al Maal. Later, he auctioned his articles of luxury for 23,000 dinars and spent the amount for charitable purposes. He never built a house of his own. Allama Suyuti in his historical work Tarikh Al Khulafaa records that Umar spent only two dirhams a day when he was caliph. He received a lesser salary than his subordinates. His private properties yielded an income of 50,000 dinars annually before his nomination, but when he returned all his properties to the public treasury, his private income was reduced to 200 dinars per annum. This was his wealth when he was commanding the vast empire from the borders of France in the West to the borders of China in the East. Once his wife found him weeping after prayers; she asked what had happened. He replied: I have been made the ruler over the Muslims and I was thinking of the poor who are starving, and the sick who are destitute, and the naked who are in distress, and the oppressed that are stricken, and the stranger that is in prison, and the venerable elder, and him that hath a large family and small means, and the like of them in the countries of the earth and the distant provinces, and I felt that my Lord would ask me about them on the Day of Resurrection, and I feared that no defense would avail me [at that time], and I wept. He was very considerate to his subjects. His generous reforms andleniency led the people to deposit their taxes willingly. Ibn Kathir writes that, thanks to the reforms undertaken by Umar, the annual revenue from Persia alone increased from 28 million dirhams to 124 million dirhams. He undertook extensive public works in Persia, Khurasan and North Africa, including

Islamic Grafitti
the construction of canals, roads, rest houses for travelers and medical dispensaries. The result was that during his short reign of two and half years, people had become so prosperous and contented that one could hardly find a person who would accept alms. Umar is credited with having ordered the first collection of Hadith in an official manner, fearing that some of it might be lost. Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad ibn Hazm and Ibn Shihab Al Zuhri were among those who compiled Hadith at Umars behest. Following the example of the Holy Prophet, peace on him, Umar sent out emissaries to China and Tibet, inviting their rulers to embrace Islam. It was during the time of Umar that Islam took roots and was accepted by a large segment of the population of Persia and Egypt. When the officials complained that because of conversions, the jizya revenues of the state had experienced a steep decline, Umar wrote back saying that The Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, was sent as a prophet [to invite the people to Islam] and not as tax collector. He abolished home tax, marriage tax, stamp tax and many other taxes as well. When many of his agents wrote that his fiscal reforms in favor of new converts would deplete the Treasury, he replied, Glad would I be, by Allah, to see everybody become Muslim so that you and I would have to till the soil with our

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own hands to earn a living. Once a Muslim murdered a non-Muslim of Hira. Caliph Umar, when informed of the event, ordered the governor to do justice in the case. The Muslim was surrendered to the relatives of the murdered person, who killed him. The general princely class of that time could not digest these policies of justice, simplicity and equality. A slave of the caliph was bribed to administer the deadly poison to him. The caliph, having felt the effect of the poison sent for the slave, and asked him why he had poisoned him. The slave replied that he was given 1,000 dinars for the job. The caliph took the amount from him and deposited it in the public treasury. Freeing the slave, he asked him to leave the place immediately lest anyone might kill him. This was his last deposit in the public treasury for the welfare of Muslims. Umar died in Rajab 101 AH at the age of 38 in a rented house at the place called Dair Simaan near Homs. He was buried in Dair Simaan on a piece of land he had purchased from a Christian. He reportedly left behind only 17 dinars with a will that out of this amount the rent of the house in which he died and the price of the land in which he was buried would be paid. And thus departed the great soul from the world. Political History of Pakistan, the eminent lawyer, Hamid Khan, observes with uncommon perspicacity: Once the state establishes a religion, it leads to confrontation between various sects. Five decades earlier, the Munir Report of

A Modern View of the Holy City of Makkah 1954 on the anti-Ahmadi riots in Lahore concluded: The sublime faith called Islam will live even if our leaders are not there to enforce it. It lives in the individual, in his soul and outlook, in all his relations with God and men, from the cradle to the grave, and our politicians should understand that if Divine commands cannot make or keep a man a Musalman, their statutes will not. The document, which runs into 387 closely typed pages, was the outcome of skilful but courteous grilling of the ulema (religious scholars) by a committee headed by Chief Justice Muhammad Munir with Justice M R Kayani as its member. The two judges cross-examined scores of Islamic scholars and the leaders of religious political parties who were asked to define a Muslim. The response of Maulana Maudoodi (1903 1979), the founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami, was that only a person who believed in one God, all the prophets, all revealed scriptures, the angels, and the Day of Judgement qualified as a Muslim. Justice Munir observed that curiously absent from this definition was the finality of prophethood. The telling comment in the Munir Report was: Keeping in view the several definition of a Muslim given by the ulema, need we make any

Persecution and False Piety

by S Iftikhar Murshed
(From: The News International, Print Edition, Sunday, September 16, 2012) The hideous but undeniable truth is that in the last few years more people have been killed in Pakistan because of religion than in any other country of the world. Shias have been ruthlessly slaughtered; Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus have been target-killed and their places of worship desecrated; Muslims accused of blasphemy or suspected of apostasy have not been spared. The rot began with the adoption of the Objectives Resolution by the Constituent Assembly in 1949 under which Islam became the state religion. In his 2001 book, Constitutional and

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comment except that no two learned divines agreed on this fundamental? The Report mentions that a pamphlet had been circulated by the respected cleric Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani in which he sought to demonstrate from the Quran, the Sunnah (the Traditions), ijma (consensus among religious authorities), and qiyas (deduction by analogy) that the Islamic punishment for irtidad (apostasy) is death. The motive was to justify the killing of Ahmadis because they were regarded as apostates. The learned judges sternly disagreed: The death penalty for irtidad has implications of a farreaching character and stamps Islam as a religion of fanatics the doctrine of irtidad as enunciated in the pamphlet strikes at the root of independent thinking and Islam becomes the embodiment of complete intellectual paralysis. They also observed that the death penalty for apostasy is not prescribed by the Quran. In none of the twenty instances where apostasy is mentioned in the Quran is there any indication of punishment in this world, leave aside the death penalty, because the apostate, according to former chief justice S A Rahman, will be punished only in the Hereafter. In his exhaustive 1972 work, Punishment of Apostasy in Islam, Justice Rahman also questions the chain of transmission (isnad) in the hadith which proclaims kill whoever changes his religion . Qiyas, which means measure or scale or exemplar and, hence, analogy, is built around the untenable principle of deriving laws on matters about which neither the Quran nor the Traditions of the Holy Prophet are explicit. This is rejected by the Quran, which states: For, most of them follow nothing but conjecture: (and), behold, conjecture can never be a substitute for truth . (10:35) It is from this verse that the renowned jurist Ibn Hazm (9941064) categorically rejects qiyas because it seeks to derive religious laws which are supposedly implied in the wording of the Quran or of the Prophets teachings, but not clearly laid down in terms of law. The theologian, Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi (11491209), famed for his Quran commentary titled The Keys of the Unseen (Mafatih al-Ghayb) from the verse With Him are the keys of the unseen (6:59), was even more dismissive: every deduction by analogy is a conjectural process and is, therefore, inadmissible (in matters pertaining to religion). Twenty years after the publication of the scholarly Munir Report, Ahmadis were excommunicated from Islam through the S e c o n d Amen dmen t to the Constitution shepherded by Zulfikar Ali Bhuttos PPP government. Despite its secular pretensions, the party wears religion on its shirt sleeves. On August 25, Another View of the Holy former Prime Kaaba Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani bragged after attending the Khatm-e-Nabuwat Conference in Golra that in 1974 the PPP had accomplished the mission of Pir Mehar Ali Shah, the patron saint of Golra, by declaring Ahmadis as non-Muslims. Thus bigotry is not the exclusive preserve of the clerics. Secular leaders, whether civilian or military, have, without exception, worn the mask of false piety for no higher motive than pursuit of power. In 1984, Ziaul Haq promulgated Ordinance XX which prohibited Ahmadis from indentifying themselves in any manner as Muslims. When this was challenged through a writ petition, the ruling of the court was that believers were perfectly within their rights to object if Ahmadis posed as Muslims. The impact of Ziaul Haqs eleven-year rule was the distortion of Islamic tenets. The Hudood Ordinances promulgated in 1979 and enforced the following year have been critiqued often enough by various commissions and committees, starting from the Zari Sarfraz Commission in 1983. The 2003 Special Committee headed by

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ment. Subsequently, in 1986, Section 295-C was added, mandating capital punishment for the use of derogatory remarks in respect of the Holy Prophet. According to an analyst, only seven blasphemy cases were registered in South Asia between 1927 and 1986. But in the last 26 years, the number increased dramatically to 1,058. The accused included 456 Ahmadis, 449 Muslims, 132 Christians and 21 Hindus. Though non-Muslims constitute a mere four perAll seasons are beautiful cent of Pakistans population, so which of your Lords bounties will you deny? they account for 57 percent Justice Majida Rizvi observed that the Hadood of those accused of blasphemy. laws do not reflect the correct principles of Rimsha Masih, the little Christian girl afflicted Islamic criminal law and are not in accordance with Downs syndrome, is the most recent victim of with Islamic injunctions. the blasphemy laws. Though her dreadful ordeal During an interview in September 2008, has brought shame to the country as well as indeJustice Khalil-ur-Rahman Ramday of the scribable anguish to her family, she has unwittingly Supreme Court recalled that a review was unachieved more than anyone else in convincing even dertaken in the early 1980s to determine the clergy that the blasphemy laws are liable to whether any of the laws that had been in place misuse. since 1841 were contrary to the injunctions of In an article carried by a major English newsIslam. The findings were that hardly any of the paper earlier this month, the chairman of the All laws enacted during the colonial era were rePakistan Ulema Council, Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi, wrote: pugnant to Islam and whatever little un-Islamic Pakistan belongs as much to the non-Muslims as to provisions were found, unfortunately, were the the Muslims. Blasphemy laws are often used to setones enacted after 1947, and not by the British. tle personal vendettas ... strict action should be This applied as much to the blasphemy taken against all those accusing the girl if she is laws, but it did not dissuade Ziaul Haq from infound innocent. Like a gentle breeze from the spice troducing Section 295-B in the Pakistan Penal island of hope this suggests that there is a possibilCode in 1982, under which defiling the Holy ity of reforming the blasphemy laws with the coopQuran became punishable with life imprisoneration of the clergy.

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