An address by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim community to international audience of leading politicians and dignitaries at a reception in Sydney, Australia on 15 April 2006.
All distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu that is, Peace and blessings of Allah be upon you.
Today I am going to say a few words about Islam with reference to the present prevailing condition in the world regarding Islam.
There are many religions in the world today. A majority of these religions are confined to their respective countries or specific areas. A majority of the believers of such religions belong to some country or region. Some of the great religions exist in many countries of the world.
The Christians are said to top the league followed by Muslims. Then there are Hindus, Budhists and Jews. If we look around, then believers of different faiths, somewhere or another, and in some form or the other, are engaged in a battle to express their superiority in the area of their interest. According to these religions, by and large, the struggle for rights cannot be attributed to their religion but is conceived as a struggle for freedom and liberty or the rights of that particular country.
But when Muslims struggle for these rights, the world targets Islamic teachings and condemns it as being responsible for the violence. Muslims or the religion of Islam is presented as a religion of terror. Admittedly, this may be due to the wrong actions of a few of the so-called Muslim organisations. However, the knee-jerk response of these organisations is also due to the double standards that prevail amongst the superpowers.
I do not, for a moment, condone the act of these so-called Jihadi organisations; but I will say this, that if the powerful nations understand their responsibilities and do not use double standards, then true justice can be established in the world.
If this does not happen then the result is already there to see for us all. It is nearly one hundred years since the nations agreed mutually to abolish wars and live in peace but they have not succeeded in stopping the wars. What is the reason for this? The answer, as I have just said, is that there are double standards for justice.
However, I stand here not to speak on this subject. In this brief time, I only want to speak about the teachings of love and brotherhood that are relevant for the existence of the smallest component of societies as well as for international relations.
I would like to say one thing. We can have peace in this world if the majority of the believers in this world, of whatever religion, develop in themselves the fear of their Lord.
We Ahmadis firmly believe that without turning to God, all our efforts for peace will prove fruitless. It is for this very purpose that Allah the Almighty has sent in this age, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) of Qadian to unite people in the beautiful teachings of Islam and draw the attention of mankind towards honouring and discharging the rights of man. In light of this beautiful teaching of Islam, Ahmadis are conveying it to the world.
I would like to present to you some of the excellent teachings from the Holy Qur’an so that you can realise that Islam is not a religion of terrorism but gives a message of peace.
Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
You are the best people raised for the good of mankind; you enjoin what is good and forbid evil… (Ch.3: V.111)
This is the fundamental lesson that has been given to Muslims to create high moral standards and peace in the world. It says that you are the best people or will become the best people only when you are beneficial to God’s creatures, when you promote goodness and prevent evil.
Then, the Almighty Allah says:
…And help one another in righteousness and piety; but help not one another in sin and transgression… (Ch.5:V.3)
Now, those who are ordered neither to transgress nor help anyone in transgression are cautioned. Every sensible person knows the definition of transgression. Everyone who indulges in violating the rights of his neighbour is guilty of transgression. Everyone who breaks the law of the land is guilty of transgression. Anyone who indulges in any vice is also guilty of transgression.
After enjoining to help each other in good works and to desist from sin and excess, the Holy Qur’an has pointed out what the good works are. As Allah says:
And the servants of the Gracious God are those who manner, and when the ignorant address them, they say, “Peace!” (Ch.25:V.64)
In other words, these truly pious people walk on earth without any arrogance. They are recognised by their humility. They do their utmost to avoid being involved in any disorder. How can one expect that a home of such a person would have any disputes or that his neighbours would be upset with him or that he would commit an illegal act? Surely, he would never do that.
Then, again, Islam teaches that if you develop such excellent morals, you will be the recipients of the love of the Almighty Allah.
As Allah says:
Those [meaning the God-fearing] who spend in prosperity and adversity, and those who suppress anger and pardon men; and Allah loves those who do good. (Ch.3:V.135)
Muslims are enjoined to spend in the way of Allah. It has been explained in another place that it is important to help the poor and the needy and to spread the true word of Islam. This is important for everyone who wishes to create peace on this earth.
Suppression of anger is also part of human nature. When someone is oppressed or is exceedingly mistreated, the reaction is anger. In this verse, one is enjoined to suppress anger and to develop a habit of forgiveness, because if you suppress your anger and forgive, you will be doing good and Allah likes those who do good to others.
It may cross someone’s mind that given such teachings of forgiveness, why do we see so many battles in the early history of Islam? Why were these battles fought in the time of the Holy Prophet(sa)?
Before I discuss this, I must mention that the teachings of the Holy Qur’an are entirely in accord with human nature. All the commandments are focused on developing peace and discipline in the society. Now, if criminals are also forgiven, the whole society will be full of crimes. Therefore, Islam enjoins that the real purpose is to eliminate evil. If reformation can take place by forgiveness and by doing good, then that is fine; but if it cannot, then the matter should be submitted to law and the one who commits evil deeds should be punished.
However, there should be no excess because the real purpose of punishment is reformation and not petty vengeance. This is the beautiful teaching of Islam.
Now, let us see how and under what circumstances the battles were fought by the Muslims. When the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa), claimed that he had been sent as a Prophet of God, his message was to worship one God and to give up the worship of many idols. These idols were placed in the Ka’aba and because they were man-made they could not grant anything. When the Prophet(sa) invited his people to come to the one God Who grants every need of human beings, he and those who believed in his teachings were mercilessly persecuted and some were massacred in the most brutal manner. It was so cruel that amid excruciating cries, they were tied between two camels and the camels made to run in opposite direction leaving the victim split into two parts.
As a result of this torture and persecution, the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) and his Muslim companions migrated to Madinah. Even here, the Muslims were not left in peace and the disbelieving Makkans made preparations and attacked the Muslims in Madinah. Allah the Almighty considered that to be the last straw that broke the camel’s back and granted permission to Muslims to fight back the disbelievers. As Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
Permission to fight is given to those against whom war is made because they have been wronged – and Allah indeed has power to help them – those who have been driven from their homes unjustly only because they said, “Our Lord is Allah” – And if Allah did not repel some men by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft commemorated. And Allah will surely help one who helps Him. Allah is indeed Powerful, Mighty. (Ch.22:Vs.40-41)
It was in this condition that the Muslims were permitted to respond to the infidels. Because they had been victimised, Allah the Almighty promised them that He would aid and assist them. Just over three hundred men, many of whom were weak and poorly equipped for the battle, came out to face and ultimately overcame more than a thousand well-armed and equipped infidels.
Allah Almighty clearly states that ‘If I do not help you then one religion will start attacking another religion and thus destroy peace.’ Religion is a matter of the heart. Force is not permitted in religion. If one does not like a particular religion, one does not have to follow it. By declaring that there is no compulsion in the matter of religion, Islam has given religious freedom to everyone to adopt whatever religion one likes.
In short, what I mean to say is that wherever permission is granted for battle, it is only for the sake of defence, to maintain peace and to stop terrorism. The Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) always followed the way of forgiveness and doing good works as Allah the Almighty has commanded.
I have already mentioned the cruelty and persecution that were carried out against the Muslims in Makkah and various armed attacks that were carried out against them afterwards. We must keep that scenario in mind when we look at the time the Muslims gained the final victory of Makkah about eight years after migration.
A majority of the persecuted Muslims many of whom were still alive remembered what had been done to them, their wives and descendents who had been cruelly persecuted.
A ten thousand strong Muslim army finally entered Makkah but the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) declared, ‘I am a Messenger of peace to the world, I love humanity and I am an enemy of tyranny and persecution. Therefore, O Makkans! You will not be punished today, provided you do not fight. You can do what you like. You can practise whatever religion you like. No one will question you today.’ His magnanimity and forgiveness extended even to Ikrama, who was the worst enemy of Islam and had even attacked the Muslims that day of amnesty.
When Ikrama fled after being defeated, upon the plea of his wife, the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) forgave him. The Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) advised all his Muslim companions to forgive with open hearts their erstwhile enemies who had persecuted them and had subjected them to various kinds of tortures. Therefore, they all forgave their enemies. These were the high moral standards of forgiveness that were displayed by the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) and his Companions. They not only forgave but showed grace because their real purpose was to establish peace and not take an eye for an eye. In view of this beautiful revenge that they took from their enemies, the enemies themselves fell in love with them and started gathering under their banner.
All this forgiveness and good deeds that were performed were only because the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) and his Companions wanted to gain the pleasure of Allah the Almighty. They had neither personal interest in mind nor any desire to show any superiority. Their only wish was that the world should recognise their God and establish His Kingdom on earth.
Therefore, instead of blaming Islam or any other religion, peace can only be established if we come together for the sake of betterment of humanity and for the sake of gaining the pleasure of our Creator.
Alas! Were the world to understand this principle and give up its false ego so that this beautiful world of God Almighty can become a paradise for His creatures.
Finally, I am most grateful to all the guests who have come here today and listened to me. This is also an expression of love that you have shown. It is a living proof that you possess the patience to listen so that the world can develop a climate of peace, amity and brotherliness.
Thank you and may Allah bless you all and let you work for the cause of peace and let you, those who are MPs and other officials, work for the cause of your country and nation and create a peaceful atmosphere in this country.
Thank you very much.