During his visit to Nigeria in 1988, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IV, may Allah have mercy on him, was invited by BTV, a local television company, to take part in a series of televised interviews in which a number of questions regarding Islam and Ahmadiyyat were raised. We presented another one of these questions and its answer below. Compiled by Amatul Hadi Ahmad.
Questioner: I am from Africa, and one thing that is very widespread in Africa is the fear of witchcraft. What is your view about this?
Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad:
The Holy Qur’an does not permit witchcraft and, in fact, does not recognise it. In reality the Holy Qur’an mentions a kind of witchcraft or, let us call it magic, in one particular instance, and explains the nature of magic there. Having understood this point, we have no right to misinterpret this notion because the Holy Qur’an has made it manifestly clear as to what magic is. I am referring to the incident of Moses when he was confronted by the magic of Pharaoh and his magicians.
Referring to the magicians, the Holy Qur’an states that what they did was not real – it was not that they converted the ropes into snakes, they applied magic to the eyes of the onlookers, to the eyes of the observers: Saharou a’ayonannas-e (they enchanted the eyes of the people – Holy Qur’an, 7:117)
It was made to appear to them that the ropes had turned into snakes. This ‘magic’ has been analysed by the Holy Qur’an itself. It was, in fact, a kind of hypnotism that does not bring about a real change in the matter created by God. On the contrary, it affects human thought and perception and it can cause illusions in the human mind. Up to this point we agree with the notion of ‘magic’ but we believe that it should not be applied for the purposes of exploitation of the weaker people. If at all, it should be applied for the well being of the people as, for instance, in the healing through hypnotism. To this extent we support it but otherwise not.
Questioner: How would you define idol worship? Isn’t kissing the Black Stone in the Ka’aba a form of idol worship? What is the real significance of the Stone?
In my opinion idol worship is idle worship! What I mean is that it is useless, meaningless worship
How can you beg anything from something that is carved by yourself? As for the Black Stone, we do not worship it at all. Kissing something is not worshipping that thing. If you kiss a handkerchief in the memory of a dear one, is that worshipping?
The Holy Prophet of Islam, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, has made the significance known to us. The fact is that the expression of love in memory of a dear one is not worshipping. It happens in every day life and is part of the human psyche. If one loves and kisses something or someone in memory of that which one reveres and loves, it is only an expression of that reverence. People send letters to loved ones and sometimes, out of love for the person writing the letter, they kiss the letter.
The significance of the stone in the Ka’aba can be explained in similar terms. According to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), when the first house of God was about to be built, God showered ‘stones’ from the heavens to provide the building material for that house. We now understand the meaning of that more fully. It must have been a meteoric shower. Meteors must have rained on that particular area under the command of God. The ‘stones’ that came from ‘heaven’ were used to build the very first house of worship of God.