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Editors: Shahid Aziz Mustaq Ali Contents: Page The Call of the Messiah 1 Hudaibiyah 4 The Virgin Birth: an Ancient Fable by Hazrat Dr Basharat Ahmad 6 tion, at a time when there was neither sign nor trace of the claimant, because such evidence, being news of the unseen, is also a sign from God Most High. It is indeed the favour and grace of God Most High that all the four ways and means of inducing complete conviction and perfect satisfaction have been brought together to bear upon this case, and yet, despite that fact, our internal opponents would give it no heed. In the pages that follow, we are writing down and discussing these four ways and means of inducing conviction, and are drawing towards it the attention of seekers after truth that they may question and interrogate these opponents as to why they should turn away from and denounce these clear arguments. Was it not necessary and essential that they should have benefitted from them? It is, of course, patently obvious that the matter that has actually come to pass
ِباہللْالرَّ م ٰ ن ْحالرَّ ْ ی م حم ْ ْس م ْ
The Call of the Messiah
by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi Four ways and means
For a complete conviction and perfect satisfaction in this matter there are, in the opinion of the people of Truth, four ways and means: (1) the clear, decisive statements in the Book of God or reliable and authentic traditions of the Holy Prophet communicating explicitly the signs of the Promised Man as well as the time of his advent, and also settling and deciding the dispute over the death or otherwise, of the prophet Jesus the Messiah; (2) rational arguments and observations derived from the senses, based on true and sound knowledge, from which there is no running away or any way of escape; (3) those heavenly testimonies and proofs that have come to pass in the form of signs and wonders for the sake of the true claimant in answer to his prayer, so that the seal of a living, heavenly verification is set on his truthfulness; (4) the evidence tendered by saints and righteous persons, after receiving Divine revela-
has reached the stage of certainty, whereas that which has not come to pass is as yet in a state of vagueness and obscurity and it is not known in what way will it come to pass, whether in the observable, literal manner or metaphorically, because there are both possibilities within prophecies. But the portion that has actually come to pass and reached the stage of certainty demands and requires that those matters that stand against it should be taken in a metaphorical sense, so that there may not be any contradiction or inconsistency in the prophecies of God Most High. These arguments are as follows. The death of Jesus For the careful consideration of seekers after truth, I adduce this point in the first place, that the death of the prophet Jesus stands clearly established and proved from the Holy Quran. The sacred verse وف ْیتَنِی ّ َ فَلhas decided beyond َ َما ت doubt that whatever corruption and vitiation has crept into the Christian doctrine has happened after the death of Jesus; and if you should profess and allow that Jesus is still alive and is not dead then you will also have to admit that the Christians have not as yet tainted and corrupted their belief, for it has been clearly stated in the verse that the perversion of Christian doctrine will take place after the death of Jesus. As to the meaning of the term tawaffa, وفَّی َ ُت, it has been definitely decided in Bukhari that its true significance is to cause to die, as given by Ibn Abbas (may God be pleased with him), which has been further corroborated in Bukhari by the َ . Now anyone seeking to be ُ ْعب hadith: ْد الصَّالِح َ ْل ال َ ماقَا َک satisfied is easily able to understand that in the Holy Quran and in that book that is the most correct and reliable of all books after the Book of God it has been clearly stated that Jesus is dead; and this evidence has been adduced not only by lmam Bukhari but also by Imam lbn Hazam and Imam Malik (may God be pleased with all of them). Their belief that Jesus is dead is effectively the belief of all the great divines of the ummah, for no opposition to this belief has been reported, and if the distinguished divines
of that age had taken exception to this belief then that would have certainly mentioned in some book. It should be remembered that our claim has as its basis the fact of the death of Jesus Christ, and how firm and unshakable this foundation is can be appreciated from the fact that its correctness has been vouched for and verified by the Word of God, the hadith of the Holy Prophet, the statement of Hazrat Ibn Abbas, the evidence of the distinguished divines of Islam and according to all testimony of human intellect and reason. Now the same evidence is furnished by the story of the second coming of the prophet Elias, which, as interpreted by Jesus himself, implied that by Elias was meant John the Baptist (Yahya). This interpretation, as a matter of fact, demolished the Jewish teaching that the same prophet Elias who had passed away from this world would return to this earth a second time. Seekers after truth should give serious thought and consideration to the fact that the true and correct belief as evinced by the clear and decisive statements of the Holy Quran and the Traditions of the Holy Prophet, the evidence of the
ancient scriptures and the great divines, and in addition, the arguments offered by human reason and intellect, is undoubtedly that Jesus the Messiah is dead, and that the expectation that he will return to this earth is very like the expectation that caused the Jews to deny the prophethood of Jesus. We place this dispute before impartial judges, asking whether there be any flaw or fallacy in the pronouncement of this decision? secondly, to take the soul for a short time and then return it to the body again, and the latter taking of the soul relates to the state of sleep and is suitably applied to a person when his soul is taken by God in sleep, just as is done to all of us every night; our body remains lying on a bed or a mat while our soul is taken by God for the whole night or for any period of time He chooses. During that time, the exercise of our free will, in the matter of the soul’s actions, becomes inactive and inert. When the night or whatever period He chooses is over, the soul is again returned to the body; that is to say, we die at night and are brought to life in the morning. This is an explicit example of the taking of the soul during sleep, a circumstance that we all observe and behold every day. But we, as well as our opponents, know full well that when our soul is taken at night, God carries it away wherever He likes, while our body does not move even an inch from its place. Can we say and affirm that during sleep our body goes up into heaven, or moves even a little from its resting place? Certainly not. In short, it has been very clearly determined that the meaning of tawaffa is to take the soul, be it for a short time in sleep, or in the state of death up to the Day of Resurrection.
The term tawaffa (وفَّی َ ُ )ت
It is borne out by the entire Quran that the term tawaffa signifies the taking into possession by God Most High of the human soul, not the human body, and this can, of course, be accomplished in two ways, either through sleep – in which case the soul is restored to the body again – or in the case of death; these are the only two conditions mentioned in the Holy Quran. But the taking into possession of the human body, has nowhere been mentioned, neither has any lexicologist written that the meaning of tawaffa is the taking into possession of a body by God Most High; rather, all the lexicologists are unanimous that when, for instance, it ی ہ ُد َ ُ ٰللا is said that م َ ْزی ْک َ ُ تthis will mean nothing else َ ِّوف but that God has taken Zaid’s soul into His possession. Of course, in the Holy Quran, the term has been used in both senses: either God takes one’s soul in sleep, leaving the body lying on the bed, and then places it back in the body again or else, in the case of death, He takes it for ever and does not restore it till the Day of Resurrection. But the action of taking into possession will always relate to the soul, and not to the body. There is yet another mistake often made by the Ulema who oppose us. They contend that the term tawaffa also means sleep. God be merciful unto their condition. They should know that tawaffa never means sleep, nor has it ever been used to denote sleep, not in the Holy Quran, nor in any lexicographical work, nor in the books of Hadith. The term tawaffa, as I have just stated above, has only two meanings: firstly, to take the soul for all time to come, this significance relating to death;
It may be recalled here that in Barahin-i Ahmadiyya I have, at one place, written by mistake that the meaning of tawaffa is to give in full measure, which some maulvis adduce by way of objection. But this is no basis for an objection. I admit that it was a mistake on my part, but not that there is any error in revelation. I am a human being with those shortcomings of human nature found in all human beings, for example, committing any number of errors and omissions. Although I know that God Most High will not suffer me to remain in any given error I do not, even so, claim that I am incapable of making a mistake in my ijtihad. Its foundation is the Divine word alone, which is above and beyond error, whereas the word of man is not; to forget and err is human and unavoidable. In Barahin-i Ahmadiyya I had also professed the doctrine that Jesus the Messiah (peace be on him) would return
to this earth for a second visit. But it was again a mistake, which was inconsistent with the Divine revelation – recorded in the very same Barahin-i Ahmadiyya – in which God Most High had conferred on me the name Jesus, stating that I was the person in whom the Quranic prophecy relating specially to Jesus the Messiah was to be fulfilled, and endowed me with all the attributes of the Promised Messiah. It was, therefore, God’s will and wisdom that, notwithstanding all this clarification by revelation, I was not to be informed of the intention of these communications and wrote in Barahin-i Ahmadiyya such doctrines as were inconsistent with them. This writing, however, obtains for me an honourable acquittal, because if those revelations, recorded in Barahin-i Ahmadiyya, in which I had been categorically called the Promised Messiah had been my own fabrication, I would not have gone against these revelations in my statement; rather, I would have set forth there and then my claim that I was the Promised Messiah. But it is obvious that my own belief which I had written in Barahin-i Ahmadiyya militated against the intention of the revelations recorded in Barahini Ahmadiyya, from which fact any sane and sensible person can readily understand that those revelations are absolutely pure and free from any plan or fabrication on my part. It should also be remembered that it is not within the power and capability of a man that he may, twelve years before a claim, write down a revelation and lay the foundation of that claim and later on, after many years have passed, put forth a claim the foundation of which had been laid a long time ago. Such a subtle stratagem cannot be devised by a man, nor will God Most High give him so long a time for the propagation of his forgeries. porters had left Makkah. The pagans of Makkah had tried to crush the rising power of Islam and attacked Muslims at Madinah three times, first at the battle of Badr, then at the battle of Uhud and finally at the battle of Khandaq. The Muslims were not strong enough to launch a counterattack on such a large force at Makkah. The Prophet, peace on him, would declare his plan to visit Makkah to perform the Umrah later that year. A large caravan of 1,400 pilgrims and 70 sacrificial camels consequently headed for Makkah. The leaders of Quraish at Makkah were alarmed at this congregation, and despite the fact that Makkans were bound to allow any unarmed pilgrims to perform Umrah; they prevented the Muslims from entering the city and sent their commander Khalid bin Walid with 200 fighters to stop them. Prophet Muhammad, peace on him, changed his route to avoid confrontation and traveled to a lesser known place called Hudaibiya on the western edge of the Harem territory. A battle was out of question as it was a sacred month and they were already in a state of consecration called ihram. From there, the Prophet, peace on him, then sent a message to the leadership of Makkah but they mistreated the emissary. Hulais bin Alqama, the chief of Ahabeesh, visited the Muslim camp and advised the Makkan tribe of Quraish that there was nothing to fear but his advice was ignored. S u b s e q u e n t l y, they sent Urwah bin Massoud to n e g o t i a t e , Lake Saif-ul-Mulk, Pakistan who then relayed that “I have visited the royal courts of Emperors Caesar, Kisra and Najashi (the Persian, Roman and Ethiopian courts) but I have never
Hudaibiyah: a Grand Victory
(From Nur-i-Islam, December 2013)
The name Hudaibiyah denotes a grand victory for the Muslim nation. Though the Muslims in 6 AH (which corresponds to 628 AD) were by no means strong militarily, morale remained high at Hudaibiya. It had been six years since the Prophet Muhammad, peace on him, and his sup-
witnessed such respect and high esteem from followers like those of Muhammad. They have come purely for worship.” Still, the Makkan leaders were bent on preventing the Muslims from entering. As a last resort, the Prophet, peace on him, sent Uthman bin Affan, who was wellconnected in Makkah, but he was detained and a rumour was spread that Uthman had been killed. Though 400km away from his city and possessing no proper arms to fight, the Prophet, peace on him, called on his followers to prepare for war. People rushed to pledge allegiance to the Prophet and the Makkans were soon informed that 1,400 volunteers were ready to fight alongside him. Fearing them, the Makkans agreed to discuss new terms of peace with him. The Makkans released Uthman bin Affan and sent Suhail bin Amr Al-Thaqafi to negotiate the terms of a peace treaty. Though tough in his dealings, Al-Thaqafi later embraced Islam at their return to Makkah. Terms were agreed and documented, including an armistice between the two parties for the following ten years and the liberty for any person to join the opposing side if they so wished. In addition, they had stipulated that a Makkan travelling to Madinah would be sent back to Makkah but that migrants from Madinah would be allowed into Makkah to join Quraish. This depicted the Prophet’s absolute tolerance to those rejecting his teachings and his support for freedom of choice (even where sending back converts to Makkah was concerned, the Prophet had accepted this on the basis that the convert would attempt to spread Islam within his tribe). Furthermore, a minor whose father is still alive would not be able to join Muhammad without the consent of his guardian but that anyone from Madinah who joins the Quraish tribe would not be sent back. Finally, they had agreed that the Muslims would return to Madinah without entering Makkah but that they would enter Makkah the following year and perform the Umrah ritual for a period of 3 days. The Makkans attempted to deliberately provoke the Prophet through rigorous terms, but the Prophet accepted the terms in spite of that in order to maintain peace and stability. This treaty, known as the Treaty of Hudaibiya, proved to be a turning point in the history of Islam. Very few people could visualize the longterm benefits of the treaty. The first advantage of the treaty was that a hostile Makkan leadership recognized the Prophet Muhammad, peace on him, as the head of state at Madinah. Secondly, the treaty curtailed the hostile behaviour of the Quraish against Muslims. They were now allowed to move freely and talk openly about Islam. Third, Muslims were allowed to make alliances with other tribes. Finally, the 10-year armistice with Quraish provided Muslims with a unique opportunity to preach Islam and to deal with their rivals in other parts of the peninsula. They would consequently go on to conquer the Jewish stronghold of Khyber and the tribe of Quraish could do nothing to stop this acquisition. Following the peaceful armistice at Hudaibiya, Islam increased by leaps and bounds. Quraish had lost three battles against the Muslims and people were now beginning to foresee the eventual triumph of Islam. Thus began the conversion to Islam in the thousands. The Prophet, peace on him, entered Makkah the following year with 2,000 pilgrims alongside him, an increase of 600 from the previous year. The treaty is referred to in the 48th, stipulating that “converts to Islam be returned to Makkah” be abrogated, as runaways did not emigrate to Madinah, knowing they would be returned, but instead hid at the Red Sea coast and fought the trade caravans of Quraish as they passed. The treaty at Hudaibiya proved to be a prelude to the conquest of Makkah. As per the
agreement, the tribe of Banu Bakr joined forces with Quraish and Banu Khuza‘a entered into alliance with the Prophet, peace on him. Owing to a long history of enmity between the two tribes, Banu Bakr attacked Banu Khuza‘a just 20 months later in the 8th manpower and arms. Amr bin Salem of Banu Khuza‘a, along with twenty men, rushed to Madinah and told the Prophet of the situation on the ground. He consequently sent word to Quraish to pay blood money for those killed and terminate their alliance with the Banu Bakr tribe or consider the Hudaibiya treaty void. Quraish refused to pay or break their alliance with Banu Bakr and voiced their approval to nullify the terms of the treaty. Wishing to avoid bloodshed, the Prophet, peace on him, would devise a secret strategy to surround Makkah with a large force so that Makkans could surrender without a fight. Indeed, the Prophet had declared his preparation for war without specifying a location. The Muslim tribes rushed to Madinah in the month of Ramadan on the 8th; tribes had entered the fold of Islam in these 20 months following the conquest of Khyber and Taima. Muslim volunteers came in the thousands. The famous tribes of Aslam, Sulaim, Ghifar, Muzaina, Ashjaa and Juhaina joined the Islamic forces. Muslim forces marched towards Makkah and camped at Marr Zahran. They then surrounded the holy city. The Quraish were perplexed by this sudden attack. The Muslims had also sealed all possible routes of escape. The Prophet, peace on him, had declared a general amnesty and the entire city surrendered to him on the 10th. It is of great significance that the archenemies of Islam grasped the situation and embraced Islam after the Hudaibiya treaty and prior to the conquest of Makkah. These included Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib, the Prophet’s uncle, Abu Sufyaan of Quraish, Khalid bin Walid and Amr bin Al-Aas, the would-be conqueror of Egypt. Later, Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl, Uteba bin Abi Lahab, Safwan bin Umayyah, Kaab bin Zuhair, Suhail bin Amr, Hakim bin Hizam and Hindah bint Rabeeah embraced Islam. Practically, there remained virtually no enemies to Islam in Makkah. The Makkan leadership, which had previously banned his entry to the city on the 6th, highlighting the great achievement of the Hudaibiya treaty. The Prophet Muhammad, peace on him, had thus achieved his divine mission. While he embraced slaves such as Bilal bin Rabah, Zaid bin Haritha and Wahshi, he was also able to cultivate the ruling elite. He addressed nine important letters to the rulers of leading empires and prominent kingdoms including King Najashi, ruler of Abyssinia, Emperor Heraclius of Rome, Emperor Chosroes of Persia, King Makawkas of Egypt, Hauza bin Ali, the ruler of Yamamah in Yemen, the ruler of Busra in Jordan, Harith bin Shammar, ruler of Damascus, Manzar bin Sawi, ruler of Bahrain and Jeefar, ruler of Oman. All these letters were received with great ovation except for the Persian emperor, who is said to have torn it up. The empire itself disintegrated when the emperor was killed by his own son as predicted by the Prophet Muhammad, peace on him. Such was the significance of the events that took place at Hudaibiya near Makkah. People were to visit this historical place and a mosque was to be erected at the place where the Prophet offered prayers during his stay. This mosque, near Shumaisi, lies about 20km away from Makkah on the old road leading up to Jeddah.
The Virgin Birth: an Ancient Fable
by Hazrat Dr Basharat Ahmad
In the preceding pages I have shown, from the evangelic record itself, that the virgin-birth idea had no existence in the lifetime of Jesus nor in the time of the Gospel writers. The story was coined at a much later period and incorporated in the Gospel. “There were good reasons,” as I have already stated, “to clothe Jesus with the halo of a virgin birth and make of him a son-God – weighty reasons of State.”
These reasons I wish to disclose in this chapter. To properly understand the fabrication of this virgin-birth story with regard to Jesus, it is necessary to know the whole chain of which it formed just one link. There was, in the first place, nothing new in it. It had come down from time immemorial and was prevalent amongst many an ancient sun-worshipping people who looked upon their gods as the incarnations of the sun. Apollo and Dionysus, two Greek gods, were supposed to be sun-incarnates. And so was Hercules among the Romans, Mithra, among the Persians, Adonis among the Syrians, Osiris, Isis and Horus in Egypt and Baal and Astarte in Babel. They were all sun gods and according to an eminent authority, Dr Carpenter, they had the following features common to them all: Every one of these sun gods was born on or about 25 December, the day of the Christian festival of Christmas. Every one was born of a virgin. Every one was born in a cave or some underground chamber. Every one lived a life of suffering for mankind. Every one was called by such epithets as intercessor, salvation-giver, healer and light. Every one was overpowered in this life by the forces of Darkness. Every one went underground where Hell is. Every one rose again from the dead, went up to Heaven and was worshipped by the people. Every one founded a school of saints and a church in which people were baptised and admitted as disciples. Every one has his memory commemorated through the Lord’s Supper. A glance of comparison will show that the present-day church scheme of dogma and ritual is an imitation of the old sun-worshipping cults. Every one of these mythological touches has been added to the portrait of Jesus. It is obvious on the face of it that the Israelite prophet Jesus, the son of a humble village carpenter, has been made to sit on one of these ancient pedestals of sun gods with all the paraphernalia of the ancient superstitious beliefs attached to him. And among other things, it was necessary to give him a virgin birth too, which was done. It was in the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine that Jesus underwent all this metamorphosis and from a poor mortal became a son of God. There is evidence strong enough to throw light on this. The idea springs into being at the time when the Bible was rendered into Greek. Before that, there is no trace of it. As already shown, the whole story is based on the prophecy in Isaiah: “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel” (7: 14). Now, higher criticism has made a revelation with regard to this prophecy that knocks the whole bottom out of the virgin story. Such an eminent authority as Dr Davidson’s research on the point has come to the conclusion that the word ‘virgin’ is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word in the original. The original word here was almah, which means only ‘a grown-up woman’. In Greek it was rendered as parthenos, which means ‘virgin’. And this, as I will just show, was done with a purpose. It shows beyond doubt that the virgin birth idea crept in at the time when Christianity put on the Greek garment. A clear text in the Hebrew original was distorted from a ‘grown-up woman’ into a ‘virgin’. This tampering with the Old Testament text should suffice to explain the incorporation in Matthew of the virgin birth account which conflicts so manifestly with the rest of the evidence on that point. But the question remains: Why was all this done? Why at all were such liberties taken with sacred writings as to twist one word so as to
make it mean quite another? True, it was done when Christianity embarked on its career among the Romans of old. But why? It is not difficult to see the reason. It is a fact of history that the Roman king, Constantine, was the one man who, with his conversion, made Christianity what all of a sudden it became. At a single leap it became the state religion and the religion of a whole people. But history also tells that this royal convert was little enamoured of the gentle teacher of Galilee or his teachings. He cared not a hang what religion he should have or not have. In his conversion, he was inspired solely by reasons of state. This is admitted by orthodox Christian critics themselves. Constantine was a man of a despotic bent of mind and wanted to rule as such. Such a rule, however, was impossible in the democratic atmosphere which then prevailed in Rome. So he hit upon a stratagem. The Roman populace was at the time divided into two groups. There were those who were Constantine’s equals and rivals, the people of the aristocratic classes. They were all worshippers of the sun god Apollo. The others were those who had generation after generation been used to a life of slavery. They were almost wholly Christians. Constantine’s ambition could not fail to detect in this section the right sort of material to bend to his own will and use them as tools in his designs of despotism. To rally these classes around him, the surest way was to embrace their religion – Christianity. But it was no easy task to renounce the old, inherited and royal religion and substitute it by another. A via media, however, was not hard to discover. The old cult of sun worship might be retained in every dogma and detail, only Jesus was to be put on the pedestal of Apollo. This was done. Both sections of people were satisfied. The upper classes saw no change in their customary forms of worship except that the name of Apollo was replaced by that of Jesus. The common slaves, the Christians, were overjoyed that the Emperor should embrace their faith, even though in name. Besides, they were an ignorant people and did not know much of their religion. The mere fact that Jesus was now worshipped was enough to make them devoted to Constantine’s rule, however despotic. Thus it was that an ancient sun-worship cult was caught hold of and labelled as Christianity. Jesus, consequently, was clothed with all the paraphernalia of that cult, including virgin-birth. To do things thoroughly, however, it was necessary to make this borrowed cult put on biblical feathers. The Hebrew almah, a ‘grown-up woman’, of Isaiah was therefore rendered into Greek parthenos, ‘virgin’. And a few verses were interpolated in the text in Matthew as regards Jesus’ birth. Likewise in Luke, the words “as was supposed” were added where Jesus is spoken of as the son of Joseph. These were only so many links in a chain forged by greed and ambition coupled with the designs of statecraft. Jesus of the church is only Apollo in borrowed plumes and if today he is supposed to have been born of a virgin and considered the son of God, it has nothing to do with the noble soul who lived and preached in Palestine. That true Jesus now stands out clear, in the midst of all this mist and myth that selfishness and superstition have woven around him. He was a plain man, the son of a plain village carpenter, Joseph, and a plain noble woman, Mary.
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