Editorial, Review of Religions, February 1989
When we pay attention to the Holy Quran, we are constantly reminded of an interesting phenomenon. This phenomenon is that the smaller numbers and the materially weak, and not the majority, the rich and powerful, are chosen for greatness. It is the former who are ultimately successful and the latter vanquished.
This phenomenon is so pervasive that the question of majority and minority is not applicable in matters of personal faith and belief, but is a question important in political assemblies. This is because worldly people only look for power, might, size, and strength, while the opposite is true for the people who look beyond worldly affairs.
The Holy Quran reminds us that trials and tribulations, stresses and strains are the fate of the people who have the courage to accept the truth with conviction. The general pattern is that only a minority of people have that courage and vision. This pattern is so widespread that people in majority do not want to break away from their block even if they know that they are espousing a wrong cause. Actually what happens is that God blinds the majority and seals their hearts and thus in most of the cases they don’t realize that they have drifted away from reality. One writer says, “the mighty fall in love with their power, can see no other way but their own. The dinosaur is not around any more. But the tiny, industrious and diligent survive.”
The members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are in minority compared with other Muslims put together on the globe. What we learn from the Holy Quran is that there is more chance for creative minorities than powerful majorities. History is replete with instances that the dead weight of the numerical majorities and their false standards cause them to topple and the smaller groups of believing people survive and flourish. There is however a catch to it. The catch is a condition that they have to be steadfast in their belief and should totally submit to the Divine call which is relayed through the Messengers and Reformers. This unwavering faith has to be supplemented and complemented by creativeness, diligence and foresight because God appeals to one’s observation and common sense in the Holy Quran.
The early history of Islam tells us that old stalwarts with an entrenched position in society and the political system never readily accepted the truth. Only the young, the weak and politically insignificant segment of society were blessed with the courage and foresight to do otherwise. Despite the apparent strength of the majority, the truth triumphed against which this majority ganged up. That was the time when modern political democracies were non-existent. In this age there is a new mood among men and nations which encourages pluralism and diversity. They tend to explore not only new ideas and new interpretations but also new dimensions and facets of those ideas and interpretations.
This new mood and attitude presents a challenge to the Muslims in general and Ahmadis in particular. At the same time these exploratory ideas are also a challenge to those who exercise political power. This is because people openly demand of those wielding power answers to questions such as:
Can you survive in a world of a dialogue?
Can you survive in a world of debate, a legitimate controversy?
Can you exist and endure in a community in which criticism is free, open and creative?
Or, can you survive only on a basis of your own credo – one way only? Mine, or thine?
Finally, adjustment to diversity poses a big challenge to all forms of authority especially that which only caters for the wishes of the majority in matters of personal beliefs and faith.
Review of Religions
Vol. LXXXIV No. 2