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May 2011 eGazette – Blasphemy laws and freedom of religion

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Friday sermon: Obedience to the State

Delivered by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (ata) Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, on April 1, 2011:

Hudhur said the Qur’an states, and this part of the verse is recited every Friday: ‘Allah…forbids indecency, and manifest evil, and transgression.’ (Al Surah An-Nahl 16:91). The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has explained the Arabic word Bagh’i (transgression) as signifying excessive rainfall that spoils crops. Hudhur explained this means one who diminishes rightful dues or one who exceeds in rightful dues. God forbids from both; neither the ruler, nor the masses should either diminish or exceed in this regard, if they do, they break the boundaries set by God. Hudhur said as these day it is the masses who are taking severe action against governments, Hudhur would address the matter correspondingly. Ahadith inform us that even if the leader is in the wrong, the masses are enjoined to be patient.

The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said; ‘After me you will see injustice, rights suppressed and others given preference over you. You will see matters that you will disapprove of’. When asked what was the commandment in such circumstances, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) replied, ‘pay their [leaders] rights to them and ask God for your rights.’ The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) also said: ‘Whoever disapproves of something done by his ruler should be patient, for whoever disobeys the ruler even as little as the span of a hand will die a death of ignorance.’ A man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and complained that he had appointed so and so as a ruler and had not appointed him, to which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) replied: ‘After me you will see others given preference over you but you should be patient till the Day of Judgment.’ Once the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was asked how people should react if unjust rulers are imposed on them. He declined to answer, he was asked again, and again he declined. When he was asked the third time, he replied that even in such a situation the ruler should be obeyed. He would be accountable for the responsibility given to him while the subjects would be accountable for the responsibility laid on them. Once the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) took Bai’at, after which he said once someone is made a ruler he should not be quarreled with unless he does Kufr (disbelief) publically and for this they [they people] have a proof from God.

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Friday sermon: Honor of the Holy Prophet (saw) and blasphemy law

Delivered by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (ata) Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, on Jan 21, 2011

Hudhur said currently a hotly debated topic in the press and the electronic media is that of the blasphemy law of Pakistan. [Referred to in Urdu as 'Namoos e Risalat', i.e. law upholding the honour of the Prophet]. A true Muslim, whose belief extends from Hadhrat Adam (on whom be peace) to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) is anxious at offence directed at any of the Prophets and is certainly very concerned as regards the Seal of all the Prophets (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). A true Muslim can lay his/her life down, can see his/her children murdered and his/her property looted but cannot listen to disrespect towards his/her master, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Today, due to certain situations, the blasphemy law of Pakistan is at a critical juncture and Western leaders as well as the Pope are making demands regarding it.

These days Islam and Muslims are represented in a most horrific manner in the media with plentiful examples of Pakistan and Afghanistan thrown in. Hudhur said today he would not speak on the matter of the significance of the blasphemy law for Muslims and how the non-Muslims are taking advantage of it. Rather, he wished to say that anyone who made the slightest of effort against the honour and respect of his master, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) would come under the chastisement of the Quranic verse: ‘We will, surely, suffice thee against those who mock:’ (15:96). God Himself is protecting the honour of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and is enhancing his status every minute and thus states in the Qur’an: ‘Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet…’ (33:57).

In the current age, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) understood this status more than any other and explained it to us. He said that the Holy Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) truthfulness and sincerity was such that he experienced all manner of evil but did not care and God thus stated: ‘Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe! you also should invoke blessings on him and salute him with the salutation of peace.’ No verse of this magnitude has been used for any other Prophet. God willed us to send salutations on him as a mark of thankfulness. In his blessed model, the Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) truthfulness and sincerity was for God. Therefore, if we wish to be included among those who are true believers of the Ummah, then we should obey all of God’s commandments with truthfulness and sincerity and invoke salutations and blessings (Durud) on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) with profusion.

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The Muslim Times: A Blog to Foster Universal Brotherhood

Our international news blog gets a brand new look by the Grace of Allah. The new site is able to translate all the posts into scores of languages of your choice on click of a button. The menu is in the right column.

We are an international news blog representing an Ahmadiyya Muslim perspective of the world, especially the Muslim countries. We aspire for separation of Mosque-Church and State, loyalty to our specific countries, while maintaining a belief in Universal Brotherhood of mankind.

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The teaching of Universal Brotherhood in Islam, among other verses is grounded in the following verse of the Holy Quran:

O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female; and We have made you into tribes and sub-tribes that you may recognize one another. Indeed, the most honourable among you, in the sight of Allah, is he who is the most righteous among you. Surely, Allah is All-knowing, All-Aware. (Al Surah Al-Hujuraat 49:14)

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the link provided. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.”

We believe that information about these articles and learning about the human family from all countries, races, ethnicities and religions will foster compassion and Universal Brotherhood.

We are strong supporters of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

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For Islam and Human Rights: click here


Punishment of Blasphemy

By Khalid Saifullah Khan (Australia)

Blasphemy means behavior or language that shows disrespect for any prophet or any religion. Blasphemy not only hurts the religious sensibilities of others, but it also disturbs the peace and harmony of any society and even causes law and order problems, which is why Islam does not allow even the idols of the polytheists reviled or maligned. Allah says: “And abuse not those whom they call upon beside Allah, lest they, out of spite, abuse Allah in their ignorance.” (Al Surah Al-An'am 6:109) If even the false idols are not allowed to be slandered, how the founders and leaders of different religions, sects and groups can be defiled? Clearly, the Holy Quran forbids Muslims to be blasphemous but if a blasphemy is committed, whether by a Muslim or a non-Muslim, Islam does not prescribe any worldly punishment. In this article, Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law would be examined in the light of above.

No doubt, the freedom of speech is necessary for the progress and development of a society. But this freedom must not be used to insult religions.
That is why Islam forbids blasphemy but does not prescribe any worldly punishment for it.

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Khilafat: its two portfolios, spiritual and temporal


By Dr. Nasim Rehmatullah and Dr. Zia H Shah

Baitul Futuh Mosque, London

With the political turmoil spreading from one Arab country to the next, during the last few weeks, several fears and demons have been reawakened. Could these changes herald development of a theocracy or establishment of Caliphate in some Muslim country? These speculations have served as a golden opportunity for some fear mongers. For example, Glenn Beck claims that Caliphate will result from the rebellions in Tunisia and Egypt. Rush Limbaugh and Donald Rumsfeld have also been tilting at windmills and have joined Glenn’s Jihad against presumed Caliphate. We label the commentary of Glenn and like as fear mongering, as there is no political tool available in the Muslim world to reestablish Caliphate.

What is Caliphate? After the demise of the Prophet Muhammad, Caliphate – spiritual, moral and political succession — was established in 632, akin to the Papacy in Catholic Church. Early on it was a democratic and beneficent institution, but, unfortunately, within a few decades it deteriorated into kingship, largely giving up the spiritual and moral dimension and providing only some political leadership to the Muslims, in some form, over the centuries. The consolation for the believers, as they look back on the history, is that they find the events followed the predictions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, as he had said, “Prophethood shall remain among you as long as God wills. Then khilafat on the pattern of prophethood will commence and remain as long as He wills. A corrupt monarchy shall then follow and it shall remain as long as God wills. There shall then be a tyrannical despotism which shall remain as long as God wills. Then once again khilafat will emerge on the precept of prophethood.”

Khilafat after prophethood can have two portfolios, mainly spiritual and moral and secondarily temporal. It was a special blessing of Allah for Islam that in the early history of Islam, after the demise of the Holy Prophet, the two portfolios were combined in one person during the tenure of the Rashidun Khulafa, the rightly guided Caliphs, Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali, may Allah be pleased with them all. This helped tremendously in the early consolidation of Islam. This, however, is not the case after every prophet and was indeed not the case after Jesus, may peace be on him. His earlier followers did not enjoy any temporal influence for a long time to come. After the rightly guided Caliphs the title of Caliph was retained by the kings and temporal rulers but they largely lost moral and spiritual legitimacy and influence. This gulf was filled by the Mujaddids and Sufis, over the centuries, in various parts of the Islamic Empire.

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Our common cause with the Pope Benedict XVI: Pakistan should Repeal Blasphemy Law

On this issue we completely and whole heartedly agree with the Pope.

MILAN. Jan 2011 — In a forceful appeal for religious freedom, Pope Benedict XVI urged Pakistan on Monday to repeal contentious blasphemy laws as he called on governments worldwide to do more to enable Christians to practice their faith without violence, intolerance or restriction.

The pope was speaking in an annual address to diplomats accredited to the Vatican, a long-scheduled event. But this year his words came after bomb attacks in Iraq and Egypt — the most recent in the Egyptian city of Alexandria less than two weeks ago — and the assassination last week of a leading Pakistani politician who had opposed his country’s law that makes blasphemy against Islam punishable by death.

The politician, Salman Taseer, had campaigned against the law and had petitioned the government to re-examine the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was sentenced to death last November under the legislation.

Mr. Taseer’s “tragic murder,” the pope said, “shows the urgent need to make progress in this direction: the worship of God furthers fraternity and love, not hatred and division.”

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May 2011


What’s New at
www.alislam.org

An Elementary Study of Islam First English book released on iBooks and ePub format

Aik Ghalati Ka Azala Urdu Audio Book of The Promised Messiah(as)

Khutbaat e Nasir Volume 10 Sermons in Urdu on Eid and Nikah (1965-1982)

New Urdu Books Tehrik-e-Jadid aik ilahi tehrik (Vol. 2, 3), Khitabat-e-Nasir (Speeches on Jalsa Salana), Seerat Sahaba-e-Rasool

Learn word-by-word Urdu translation of the Holy Quran with audio

Learn Namaz Translation in Urdu a web project for children


Persecution News and Updates

For latest updates about the persecution of peaceful Ahmadiyya Muslim Community please visit www.ThePersecution.org or at the The Persecution Blog


www.reviewofreligions.org

The Review of Religions


www.muslimsunrise.com

Muslim Sunrise



Demystifying ‘Caliphate’

By Harris Zafar

The term “Islamic caliphate” often stirs fear of an Islamic uprising where Muslims will acquire global political control. Some, like Sean Hannity, claim that giving control to al Qaeda will lead to an Islamic caliphate. And although caliphate is the English rendition of the Arabic term khilafat, the two terms have different connotations.

Since the revolution began in Egypt, many pundits have continually warned of a possible radical takeover in Egypt that will ultimately resurrect an imperialist caliphate. The system of caliphate is apparently obligated to wage war to bring the world under Islamic rule — and then to enforce Sharia law.

This is a far cry from the actual origins and significance of khilafat. Whereas caliphate implies a politico-religious Muslim state governed by a political leader, khilafat refers to the Islamic institution of spiritual successorship. The word khilafat means succession, and the khalifa is a successor to a prophet of God, whose goal is to complete the tasks of reformation and moral training that the prophet instituted. Therefore, khilafat can exist and flourish without a state, much like the papacy in Catholicism, which provides spiritual guidance and unity.

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No security in fear in Pakistan

A marked increase in incidents of intolerance and conservative elements’ display of strength and arrogance is quite obviously the result of the government’s failure to present a coherent reply to the challenge from the religious right. Worse, Islamabad does not seem to be aware of the risks to the state its flabbiness is creating.

The government’s decision to avoid a clash with the conservative religious lobby on the issue of the Penal Code section 295-C could be justified only as a tactical change of ground. There is no justification for its abdication of responsibilities to enforce the law out of fear of the forces of intolerance. The impression that the government is afraid of checking any transgression of the law committed under the cover of belief has produced extremely deleterious effects all around. The state functionaries are losing the will to uphold the law and the people are seeking safety in indifference to violations of the rights of the vulnerable, such as the minorities and women.

The government increased its difficulties by choosing to underplay the absolutely heinous murder of Salman Taseer and denying the holder of one of the key constitutional offices normal posthumous honors. It seems the late governor was being deliberately disowned. The message to the people was that the establishment itself was not taking as serious a view of the murder as was warranted and therefore it did not care if the killer was lionised.

One result of this costly lapse was that the government failed to find for quite some time a prosecutor to represent the state at the trial of the governor’s assassin. No responsible authority can afford to be complacent over its humiliation of this order, particularly when it has a large army of counsels that it pays huge amounts to month after month. Indeed, the way the state’s law officers have proliferated and sinecures created for the favorites of the federal and provincial governments is quite a scandal and the establishment has more lawyers on its payroll than it probably needs.

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Not possible to refuse Muhammad rationally: Analyzing William Montgomery Watt

By Zia H Shah

William Montgomery Watt called Muhammad, may peace be on him, ‘one of the greatest sons of Adam,’ he regarded the Holy Quran as divinely inspired, though not infallible, yet he continued to be an apologist for Christianity all his life. Is there any rational way to reconcile Watt’s views?

The more we study Watt and other reasonable Christian Orientalists, it seems that only way to deny prophethood of Muhammad, is to have an irrational animosity against him, like the medieval Christians or a deceptive approach of constantly shifting sands! Propping up necessary illusions against the greatest champion for humanity and propaganda seem to be the only way to sustain denial of Muhammad. This Google Knol is dedicated to analyzing person and writings of William Montgomery Watt.

Any interpretation of individual incidents of the prophet Muhammad’s life that is not consistent with his well established achievements and well documented developments of his life, completely violates the principles of history. It is an obligation of every historian to give the readers a plausible and a consistent account of the person they write about. Unfortunately, when it comes to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, many Christian writers are unable to rise above the centuries of medieval prejudices against him that the Catholic Church had cultivated in the times of crusades. This introduces numerous contradictions in their writings and in my opinion William Montgomery Watt is a prime example of this phenomenon.

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How the U.N. Encourages Religious Murder

By Eric Rassbach and Ashley Samelson Mcguire

On Jan. 4, Salman Taseer, the governor of Pakistan’s largest province, met a friend for lunch in Islamabad. On his way from the cafe to the car that afternoon, he was shot 26 times with a submachine gun.

Taseer, a Muslim, was assassinated by one of his own bodyguards because of his vocal opposition to prosecuting Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, under Pakistan’s blasphemy law. In a case that has transfixed Pakistani society, Ms. Bibi was sentenced to death last November for insulting Islam.

Because he was governor of Punjab, Taseer was pressured to mute his criticism. As he stated on Twitter days before he was killed: “I was under huge pressure sure 2 cow down b4 rightest pressure on blasphemy. Refused. Even if I’m the last man standing.”

The assassin, Islamic fundamentalist Mumtaz Qadri, is responsible for Taseer’s death. But the United Nations is implicated too. How? It has repeatedly endorsed blasphemy laws like Pakistan’s, in the name of defending religion.

The U.N. got into the business of supporting blasphemy laws more than 10 years ago. Since 1999, the U.N. General Assembly has passed a resolution every year that asks countries to take measures to prevent criticism of religion. The countries that sponsor the resolutions—including Pakistan—have always done so on behalf of the 47-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which votes as a bloc.

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Will the real moderate Muslims please stand up?

By Qasim Rashid

The crisis in Egypt has re-ignited the debate of whether moderate Islam is a reality or just a show. Political and religious dissatisfaction, especially in the Third World, demonstrate the need for a new leadership philosophy. In an NBC interview shortly after Faisal Shahzad’s 2010 arrest, I was asked, “Do you think more moderate Muslims need to stand up against radical Islam?” “Absolutely!” I replied. In response, I was asked: Well, what exactly is a moderate Muslim? In the absence of a unified voice from the Muslim world and with time running out, it seems few have a clear idea. However, for well over a century the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has practically defined, through the Quran and Prophet Muhammad’s life, what it means to be a moderate Muslim.


First, a moderate Muslim recognizes that Islam requires complete separation of mosque and state. The Quran does not endorse any particular government philosophy, but instead requires that justice, not religion, be the determinative factor when governing (4:59). Extremists, like the Wahabbis, ignorantly preach that Islam requires the imposition of sharia on non-Muslims. But since the Quran categorically forbids all religious compulsion (2:257), such an imposition find no Islamic justification.

Contrary to Faisal Shahzad’s ambitions, the Quran requires a Muslim to obey and be loyal to those in his charge. Prophet Muhammad added, “You should listen to and obey your ruler, even if you [despise him].” While national loyalty does not forbid dissent, that dissent must be expressed legally and peacefully — never violently. Critics like Robert Spencer claim Islam allows Muslims to engage in taqiyya, treachery against non-Muslims. However, the Quran unequivocally forbids lying or hiding the truth and Prophet Muhammad instructed, “It is obligatory for you to tell the truth.”

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Treaty of Hudaibiyya by the Holy Prophet Muhammad

By Zia H Shah

RVC Bodley, a biographer of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, writes about the treaty of Hudaibiyya:

“In point of fact, that treaty was Mohammed’s masterpiece of diplomacy. It was a triumph. No one, except perhaps Soheil, had thought back as had Mohammed when the Koreishite stood before him. No one, except those two, recollected the beatings, the stonings, the escape by night, the hiding in the cave. No one thought of the hazardous exile with the seventy followers. The contrast between now and then was unbelievable, miraculous. That the Quraishites were willing to treat with Mohammed at all, to recognize him as someone worthy of their attention, to admit him as the ruler of an Arab community, was beyond the bounds of all expectations. But, apart from his personal triumph over men who had vowed to capture him, alive or dead, Muhammad saw what no other Muslim did, the far reaching effects of the treaty.

He (Muhammad) was not a man to quibble over small details. … If Soheil’s limited mentality could not reconcile itself to calling someone who had been a traveling salesman by a grandiloquent title, it did not really matter. If a Muslim phrase in referring to God was upsetting to a Quraish ear, it was not important enough to break off negotiations.

What was important was to have free access to Makkah. Muhammad knew that the day he and his men could set foot in the Holy City, it would not be long before they would be there permanently. …

What, however, Muhammad chiefly saw in having this peace treaty with Makkah was the effect it would produce on the local tribes. He was right in this too. Within a few days of signing the document which had caused so much stir among his own people, chiefs from all around were coming to swear allegiance. Umar was confounded. During the space of one week there had been more converts to Islam than in the six preceding years.”

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