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Islamic teachings that promote peace and security on a global level

Summary of Friday Sermon

delivered by the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

June 29th, 2007

NOTE: Alislam Team takes full responsibility for any errors or miscommunication in this Synopsis of the Friday Sermon

Carrying on with the subject of the peaceable and concordant teachings of Islam Huzur gave a discourse on the specific permission to fight as stated in the Holy Qur’an in his Friday sermon today.

Huzur said Quranic teaching of peace and security is based on the fundamental adherence to taqwa and the repetitive commandment to adopt taqwa in the Qur’an is with such profusion that it could never be expected of a Muslim that he/she would create disorder. Whether on an individual or communal level, it simply does not behove a Muslim to shatter peace.

Huzur said he would elucidate the Quranic teaching regarding why and to what extent fighting is permissible in Islam and if in the early days of Islam no war was fought how dire the consequences would have been. He said this would prove that the fighting that took place was only to bring about peace and security. Huzur added that opponents of Islam could not possibly make a defensive argument in terms of their own historical background as well as the current state of affairs as regards conflicts and fighting. However, our objective is not to fan the flames. The Quranic teaching in this instance is so magnificent that no Ahmadi need adopt an apologist stance in defending Islam.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that the wars at the time of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and the Right Guided Khalifas (Khulafa e Rashideen) were fought for as a means of defence, as retaliation, i.e. life for life or to maintain freedom.

Citing verses 40 and 41 of Surah Al Hajj (22:40-41) Huzur explained that the verses state that as the Muslims had their own government established and others were initiating war, they could fight back and retaliate. They were also driven out of their homes just because they had declared Allah as their Lord. The permission to fight was only granted after the Muslims had endured a long period of continuous oppression and persecution and had the permission not been forthcoming disorder would have taken over the world. The objective for this fighting therefore was to end the oppression rather than to take revenge. Therefore the safety and security of other religions was also taken into account.

Huzur said when persecution and oppression exceeds all limits force has to be utilised to halt it. Islam has never promoted coercion. Religion is a private matter for each person therefore each person has the right to spend his/her life in accordance to their beliefs. However, Muslims are enjoined through these verses to safeguard temples and churches that were in their governance.

Unfortunately, today in certain Muslim countries the mullah with ulterior motives is even challenging Christians to become Muslims or face their church being dismantled, it is instances like these that brings Islam in disrepute and gives the opponents of Islam the chance to point the finger of blame and indeed such misdemeanours cause huge embarrassment to Muslims around the world because this is flagrant non-compliance of the teaching of Islam. Today, Divine help and support does not seem to be forthcoming for the Muslims anywhere. To top it all, they persecute the Ahmadis. They are disobedient and for this reason they lose all the blessings. In Pakistan if the government does not harness the ignorant mullah, their conflict is against Allah.

An Ahmadi will not respond to oppression with oppression as that is what the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) taught. Ahmadis are enduring the oppression of the laws of the government under which they live [in Pakistan] and in any case in the time of the Messiah the struggle with the use of force is not allowed , however, doubtless that in accordance with His promises, Allah shall come to the help and support of the Messiah. Wherever in the world governments are legislating against the Ahmadis, they need to pay heed to the reference in the Quranic verse of ‘repel some men by means of others’ lest it comes true for them. Indeed the verses purport that Allah will make arrangement for people for all religions who are oppressed.

As for an Ahmadi, he/she puts the teachings of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) in practice more than others and appreciates and comprehends the essence of Kalima; ‘There is none worthy of worship save Allah and Muhammad is His apostle and servant’. By felling the Ahmadiyya mosques the oppressors fall in the category as stated in a Hadith that a Muslim who attacks another Muslim does not remain a Muslim. Of course the definition of a Muslim is one who believes with sincerity in the proclamation of the Kalima.

Huzur said an Ahmadi would never assault anyone; we do not have any governmental power, besides use of force is strictly forbidden. No matter what tactics the proclaimers of the Kalima utilise, there could be no question of retaliating in kind. However, we have certainty of belief that Allah will open avenues for us.

Huzur said we ought to pray that Allah gives these people sense, rather than bring Islam into disrepute they need to put Allah’s commandments into practice.

Citing verse 42 of Surah Al Hajj Huzur said when Islamic governance is established those in power are to self-examine and self-reflect and ensure that they do not deprive any citizen of freedom of expression and freedom of conscience. It is expected of them that they include all citizens on an equal footing and provide equal opportunities.

Huzur said all this can come to pass when one is conscious at all times that one is being watched by Allah and whether one is usurping the rights of others. When governance is granted, sincere worship of Allah should be observed, financial giving promoted, enjoining of good and forbiddance of evil practised. In short Islamic government is not merely about increasing one’s power, rather, it entails indiscriminate care of all citizens, be it temporal or religious.

Today it is the obligation of all Muslim governments to present the true picture of Islam. Ahmadis do not have any government but we can pray that may they present the true picture of Islam so that the misconceptions about Islam may be removed.

Reiterating the Quranic code on the ‘permission’ for fighting Huzur said it is enjoined to keep the fighting as limited as possible. Citing verses 191 & 192 of Surah Al Baqarah and verses 39 & 40 of Surah Al Anfal, Huzur explained the Islamic teachings based on fairness and equity. Fighting may only be undertaken in the cause of Allah and is not allowed for personal greed or to augment the power of the government. As indeed stated before, fighting may only be taken up when attacked and in defence and is not permitted on individual level and is to be only taken up against an invading army. It is enjoined to strive to contain the fighting and not make it widespread.

The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) always ordered his army to safeguard temples and places of worship and fighting was strictly forbidden around the Sacred Mosque. Islamic teaching also enjoins that once the enemy desists there should be no harshness from the Muslim side. Huzur said if Islam had spread, as it is alleged, by the use of force, the commandment to be peaceful once the enemy desists would not be part of its teaching.

Huzur said Allah had the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) declare after the battle of Badr that those who had persecuted the Muslims in Mecca later imposed war on them, however the heart of a Muslim is free from malice and rancour and he only wants peace and security and for this reason all was forgiven. Explaining the Quranic term ‘religion is wholly for Allah’ in the Surah Al Anfal verse, Huzur said this is misconstrued to mean that ‘continue fighting until the entire world is Muslim’. Huzur said this allegation is based on an irrational notion. When the verse is read in conjunction with the other verses it is clear that this not what is meant, religion is a matter of personal choice and it is not up to a Muslim to coerce others. The term ‘religion wholly for Allah’ in fact denotes that whatever steps are taken are taken sincerely for Allah.

Huzur spoke of the misconceptions about the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) that he would force people into submitting to Islam. The example cited for this is that he would use the phrase ‘accept Islam and you will be secure’ in letters to kings inviting them to Islam or during conflicts and wars. It is construed that this was a warning to submit to Islam or else force would be used. Huzur said it is a basic fact that the message of Islam is that of peace and security, furthermore when the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) would write letters of invitation to Islam to the powerful kings he would do so in batches. How could it be possible for him, at a time when Islam had very limited power, to challenge all the powerful and mighty kings to either submission or fighting simultaneously? The fact is that this message was out of milk of human kindness and borne out of his firm belief that only Islam was the religion of peace and security.

Huzur detailed some of the code of conduct of war as practised and prescribed by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). This included all attacks to be made in daylight, it was commanded not to hurt children, women, the elderly, priests, in fact if a young person did not use force none was to be used against him. Encampments were only to be made where no one was inconvenienced and such was his compassion for humanity that it was not allowed to make a mark on a person’s face during fighting. There were very clear rules about keeping prisoners of wars, in fact Muslim households would forgo proper meals themselves and feed the prisoners, even their young children shared their bread with the prisoners. Envoys were accorded special respect and deference and were given special pardon for any oversights. If a prisoner of war was mistreated by the Muslim side he would be freed without any compensation. Huzur said these historical facts illustrate that the early wars of Islam were to maintain freedom of conscience.

Huzur concluded that may Allah enable Ahmadis to present this message of Islam to the rest of the world and bring it to the world’s attention.

Next Huzur gave the sad news of the passing away of a most sincere Danish Ahmadi Medcin Sahib who converted to Islam in 1955, later devoted (waqf) his life and spent it entirely in the service of faith. Huzur also gave the news of the passing away of Ustad Saleh Sahib, a Senegalese Ahmadi, who was an Arabic scholar and one of the earlier Ahmadis in Senegal. May Allah elevate the status of the deceased in Paradise. Huzur announced that he would lead the funeral prayers after Jummah.