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Reply to objections on Islam regarding God

Summary of Friday Sermon

delivered by the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

October 26th, 2007

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

In his Friday Sermon today Huzur said one of the biggest objections that Islam’s critics lay is that the Holy Qur’an presents – God forbid – a concept of God Who is cruel and only chastises and commands its followers to violence, that there is no wisdom in the Islamic commandments.

Many people in the public eye, including the Pope, have made such assertions about Islam. They conclude that due to its teaching Islam is a religion of force and that is the reason Muslims are inclined to aggression.

Huzur said it is clear that these people have either not read the Qur’an or not tried to understand it, such is their prejudice. Fact is that Islam presents a most beautiful and matchless concept of God through examples. The very first Surah of the Qur’an elucidates this, as the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) explains that the Qur’an accredits only the name of Allah qualified for all perfect qualities. His attribute of Al Nur (The Light) as described in 24:36 “Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth…” all other known light is a reflection of Allah’s light.

If others do not see the beauty in this or do not recognise the Being of God then the fault lies with the beholder. In order to see the beautiful concept of God that Islam presents one would have to be open-minded.

As Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) expounded Allah has numerous graces, however, He has four principal attributes. The first grace as mentioned in Surah Fatiha in Rabb ul Alameen, (Lord of all the worlds) through this emanates His quality of Rububiyyat, through which He creates and provides all that is needed to nurture and sustain life. This grace operates in the entire cosmos and all creation is benefiting from it. His Rububiyyat thus nurtures all that is in existence however, as a grace, mankind gets the greatest measure of it and that is why mankind is reminded that God is Lord of all the worlds.

The second type of grace is Rahmaniyyat. God is named Rahman because He granted all living things form and characteristic, just as He has granted mankind its strengths and powers. Mankind has got the biggest share of this grace as everything else is in operation for the benefit of humans.

The third type of grace is Raheemiyyat. God is called Raheem by virtue of His acceptance of prayers and good deeds of people and by keeping them safe from calamities. This grace is exclusive for mankind.

The fourth grace is inherent in ‘Master of the Day of Judgment’, His Malikiyyat. The distinction between Malikiyyat and Raheemiyyat is that Allah accepts prayers and grants success through Raheemiyyat while by virtue of Malikiyyat He bestows reward.

Huzur explained that is this is the basic concept of God in Islam. All deeds are compensated accordingly; Allah does not mete out cruelty. Indeed, one has to follow the guidance and function within the parameters of the commandments. In this world man follows the man-made law and rules and is cautious not to break them, however, man wishes to restrict God.

The Christians present the argument that one’s sins are atoned by another. This is not a rational point. Would they abide by this rule in the worldly affairs? Why then is this absurd viewpoint thrust in God’s law?

God is the Master, despite His rule that man can be punished for his deeds, God has the power to forgive and He has declared that His mercy prevails over everything.

The accounts of all the earlier prophets of God tell us that when transgression exceeded all limits only then God’s chastisement came.

Huzur referred to his last Friday Sermon and his discourse on the Divine attribute of Al Aziz (The Mighty). He explained that despite this attribute God is neither hasty in punishment nor is He at the lookout to chastise. His mercy is prevalent over all His other attributes. His attribute of Al Aziz is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an mostly in conjunction with His attribute of Al Hakeem (The Wise) – signifying that all His decisions are with wisdom. Al Aziz is also mentioned with Al Raheem (Ever Merciful), Al Hameed (The Praiseworthy), Al Wahab (The Bestower) or Al Kareem (The Noble).

When the Qur’an refers to God as One Who punishes, the reasons and explanations are cited as to why the punishment is given, such references are only ten to twelve in number in the entire Qur’an. Any fair minded person has no choice but to be inclined towards the Divine attribute of Raheemiyyat as the most overwhelming attribute of God in the Qur’an.

However, when God’s law is consistently broken and all limits are exceeded as well as God’s beloved are rejected then God’s punishment comes with the objective to reform people or as a warning for generations to come.

Huzur explained that the Qur’an mentions God as ‘Possessor of the power to requite’ or ‘Lord of retribution’ in four places. First, in Surah Al Imran (3:5) where the earlier people are mentioned who deviated from the teachings that were revealed for them, then in Surah Al Maidah (5:90) the believers are addressed in terms of punishment for breaking the law of God. In Surah Ibrahim (14:48) messengers of God and their followers are assured that no matter how hard their opponents will try they will meet a sorry end. Then in Surah Al Zumar (39:38) once again the believers are given the surety that the adversaries will be punished.

Huzur said the Qur’an also states that the Powerful God punished the people of Hadhrat Saleh (peace be on him) who rejected him and exceeded all limits in transgression. It also states the people of the Pharaoh in Surah Al Qamar 54:43 and the punishment they met. Huzur explained that these Quranic verses are a warning that the era of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) is now going to last till the end of time and his message has been spread to the corners of the world through his true and ardent devotee, therefore desist from hurting them. Rather than object to the God of Islam and the Prophet of Islam have fear and awe of God. The concept of God, as presented by Islam is the God Who saved all the prophets from their adversaries. Indeed, if Allah did not declare His power and might, the world would have turned calamitous.

Huzur also mentioned the specific verses of Surah Al Hajj (22:40-41) where Muslims are given permission to fight under strict guidance. Huzur briefly explained the Islamic teaching on the safeguard of religious buildings and places of worship even during the time of war. Huzur said in a situation when the peace of the world is in danger and an attack is made and there is constant persecution, is it not likely to raise arms to defend oneself? Is a commandment to fight in order to stop transgression and to defend oneself devoid of wisdom?

As for the Muslims, they are reminded of the attribute of Al Aziz in the Qur’an in Surah Al Baqarah (2:210), they are enjoined to tread the path of His commandment, to strengthen their faith because they have been enabled to believe in The Wise and The Mighty God. If they slip up and lapse they may be punished, but this punishment would not be an act of oppression rather a means to reform.

Huzur said it is each Ahmadi’s obligation to present the true concept of the Mighty and The Wise God to dispel the misconceptions, a God Who is Matchless in His beauty and grace, Who if punishes sins does so in order to establish peace and security. While we need to dispel these misconceptions we also need to take the message to the Muslims as believers in The Mighty God, that it is part of His message not to slip once we have seen the signs of truth. May Allah enable the Muslims to understand this and may He enable us to take this message onwards so that we may see Islam’s triumph.

Next Huzur requested prayers. Huzur said for sometime he has had gall bladder problem and the doctors have decided to operate on it. The surgery is scheduled for next week. Huzur requested for prayers that Allah grants him an active life, a life that seeks His pleasure and may Allah keep Huzur on the paths of His pleasure. Ameen.