Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Something About The Ahmadiyyahs ...


Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani (1835-1908)
Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at
The Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi

Taking a break from the Perak coup d'etat and Najib for today .... I'll probably write something on the alleged hypocrisy of PR in not approving of "selling out" (misconstrued as "hopping out" by the gleeful Mahathir, & Jason Chin of MalaysianInsider) - but that's for another day ....

After my visit to the Baitusalam at Kg Nakhoda a couple of weeks ago, I happened to start reading up about the faith a little. Needless to say- I wouldn't go along with their theology in toto. Nevertheless, I intend to read up more on the Ahmadiyyahs (just as I've read up on Freemasonry), should time permit, and there's plenty for & against the Ahmadiyyah theology on the web.

Whatever said & done, one thing I do know about them is this - they strongly opposed and ruled-out any form of violent "Jihad" right from the start, which many other Muslim sects/denominations have failed to do "convincingly". Their tagline, "Love for All, Hatred for None" was stated boldly on a banner at Baitusalam, as it is on the official website (given below).
That is one principle of peace which we can all do with, in these lovely days of "jihad" galore and bloodlust.
It is definitely sad that in this time and age, there people who cannot bring themselves to accept those who believe in ideas/interpretation of scriptures different from theirs. Worst still, they who dominate the landscape seek to persecute those they deem "deviant".

The Shias and the Sunnis (Ahlul Sunnah Wal Jamaah) either do not (or cannot) come to a concensus on the Ahmadiyyah faith, or simply agree that they "aren't Muslim".
In Malaysia, they have apparently been declared either heretics or just Non-Muslim, and hence, although Malay, they are constitutionally, "Non-Malay"!! (That's something that needs to be discussed over a beer - so I won't say anything about that ....)
However, it is my understanding that the Ahmadiyyah community, although do uphold the Pillars of Islam, are neither "here nor there" - the reason for which I shall refrain from stating (lest I'm told to shut up, as I'm not a Malay/Muslim, or an Umno member).

Somehow, I felt that the questions pertaining to differences that have become a sore point between "mainstream" Muslims and the Ahmadiyyah/ Qadiani weren't answered very well at the Majlis, for people to understand the true nature of the "conflict".
The issues were definitely addressed at the Majlis Mesra, but not directly enough for most to understand. Maybe it was meant to be on a "need to know basis"- I cannot be certain. Anyway, I believe that before one can start speaking for someone or something, one needs to understand the crux of the matter/controversy - or else, you'd be shooting in the dark.

Throughout, I wondered why they were referred to as Qadianis in the first place - apparently they believe in Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian ( in Gurdaspur, Punjab - I had an "employee" once from Gurdaspur!!), who is to them, The Promised Messiah. The Imam Mehdi. And they believe in the Caliphate (kind of like an Apostolic succession).
They seem to be a very progressive community, from what I read - Gurdaspur has an average literacy rate of 70%, which is far above the Indian national average of 59%! The community is also quite prosperous in the western world.

Islamic Library (which I presume is a "mainstream" website), has this to say about The claim of Mirza Ghoulam Ahmed of Qadian.
Idara Dawat-o-Irshad (http://www.irshad.org/mission.php) states the following about "Qadianiism" at its website:-
"... in 1974, after an exhaustive examination of all the evidence presented for and against the Qadiani cult in Mekkah Mukarramah, the Muslim World League (Rabita Alame Islami) -- which represents all religious scholars from every Muslim country of the world -- passed an unanimous resolution declaring the Qadiani Movement and its leadership out of the fold of Islam. As you are certainly aware, declaring someone a non-Muslim is a task taken very seriously by the Muslim scholars. The fact that they have unanimously declared Qadianism distinct from Islam should assure you that a thorough examination of their claims has been made."

An analogy in the "Christian World" could be likened to the theological conflict between mainstream "Christians" and "Mormons"(aka Church of The Latter Day Saints) or The Seveth Day Adventists or Branch Davidians who are considered "heretics" by many (that's the closest that I can think of anyways). Despite the persecutions that have been subjected to those who differ in their theology in Christendom in the early days (and currently prevalent bigotry) they are however accorded their Constitutional rights, are able to get along fine and work together to build progressive nations as law abiding citizens.

Therefore, I still don't understand why anyone who's holier-than-thou, should bear ill-will or persecute others, just because they believe something different .... especially when they do the "ungodly" in the name of "GOD".
It is probably none other than the fear factor - fear of "corrupting influences" - especially when the ignorance which is encouraged among the people, is endemic.

I went through the official Ahmadiyyah website, to read a bit (still in the midst of it), and found the following (screencaptures) from the website Al Islam. And also http://www.real-islam.org/
(Please click on this link or on image for full size view)
Align Center

They also had plenty of resources on other prophets at their website. Also interesting to note was the discovery of Jesus's tomb that was discovered at Punjab! If that is what they believe, and it works for them, so be it - it doesn't hurt me anywhere, nor does it affect my faith in any way.
To those who wish to persecute his brothers in the name of God almighty,
all I can say is, "O, ye of little faith ...."

One other interesting thing I noted at an Ahmadiyyah study forum was the following - Maybe Zahid Hamidi and Hamid Albar can learn something from them?:

Explaining the Arabic word for God - Allah

Say: "Call upon God, or call upon The All-Compassionate: by whatever name ye call upon Him, (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Neither speak thy Prayer aloud, nor speak it in a low tone, but seek a middle course between". (Quran 17:110)

A few months ago, while doing some contract work, the issue of religion came up. I don't remember why it came up but a colleague told me the following joke:
"These two guys go parachuting. When they're getting ready to jump out of the plane, one guy asks the other, 'What do I do if my parachute doesn't open?' The second guy says, 'Pray to Allah.' The first guy's puzzled: 'To Allah?' The second guy says, 'Just do it.'
The first guy shrugs, they both jump, and sure enough, the first guy's parachute doesn't open. At first he doesn't remember the advice and begins madly praying to God for help.
No help comes. He suddenly remembers and prays to Allah for help.
Suddenly a giant hand swoops down from the sky, catching and cradling him.
The guy heaves a huge sigh of relief and says, 'Thank God!' So the hand drops him."

I kind of chuckled to be polite, but inwardly I just felt weary, because this is one of the most common misconceptions about Islam: that Allah is something different from the God Jews and Christians worship. I hope to be clearing up some of the primary misconceptions and fallacies about Islam, in the hope of promoting better understanding of this religion, especially given the growing number of Muslims living in Western nations.

Historically, the Western media have been guilty of spreading half-truths, half-baked conjecture, and often, outright lies about Islam. Most of us get precious little accurate information about it in our education. With recent events surrounding the attacks on the United States, and the numerous subsequent attacks on Muslims and Arabs, I can hardly think of a better time to sort out some of these things.

I've even heard people refer contemptuously to the God of Islam as a "desert god," as if Judaism and Christianity originated in "Yankee Stadium" or something! The fact is that Allah is simply a compound word made from the Arabic words al (the) and lah (god): Allah (The God). In Spanish we have el (the) and in French La, le or les (again: the). Monotheism - the belief in a single, supreme, divine creator - is the central and most important aspect of Islam.

Among His Signs are the Night and the Day, and the Sun and the Moon. Do not prostrate to the sun and the moon, but prostrate to Allah, Who created them, if it is Him ye wish to serve. (Quran 41:37) The generic word for God in Arabic is therefore “Allah”.

All Arab and even Christians from the Indian subcontinent use the word “Allah” when referring to God. These Christians also say "Allah-u-akbar" (God is the greatest), "Insha-allah" (God willing) and "Alham-dul-lilah" (All praise be to God). Hallelujah also literally means “praises to God”.

All of the above rules out some of the common Western stereotypes that Allah is a Sun god, a Moon god, a Desert god, a Pagan deity, or someone made up by the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). Allah is the Creator, and our Supreme being. The word Allah is preferred by most Muslims and Arab Christians even when speaking a foreign language, because it implies no gender and absolute authority.

In the English language, the word god is often given the plural treatment, and you can have a female as well as a male version! Even humans are given the title of gods and goddesses based upon their superiority in a particular field, e.g. a love god or goddess. It is also interesting to note that in the mother tongue of Jesus Christ (pbuh), which is a dialect having links with Hebrew and Aramaic, the word for God is “Alla-ha”. You've all heard variants of Eloh, Elah and Eli - well, Allah and Alla-ha are just two more. Aramaic and Arabic are sister languages.

Sadly many lay-Christian scholars from the West choose to lie in the face of historical and present day fact concerning the word “Allah” and stubbornly deny that it is just a generic word for God in Arabic. We ask you to get in touch with some Arab Christians to verify for yourselves the exact origins of the Arabic name for God.

EL: God ("mighty, strong, prominent") used 250 times in the OT See Gen. 7:1, 28:3, 35:11; Nu. 23:22; Josh. 3:10; 2 Sam. 22:31, 32; Neh. 1:5, 9:32; Isa. 9:6; Ezek. 10:5. El is linguistically equivalent to the Arabic "Allah," but the attributes of Allah in Islam are entirely different from those of the God of the Hebrews as we know. Elah is Aramaic, "god." Elah appears in the Hebrew Bible in Jer. 10:11 (which is in Aramaic, and is plural, "gods").
In Daniel (the Aramaic sections) Elah is used both of pagan gods, and of the true God, also plural. Elah is equivalent to the Hebrew Eloah which some think is dual; Elohim is three or more. The gods of the nations are called "elohim." The origin of Eloah is obscure.
Elohim is the more common plural form of El. Eloah is used 41 times in Job between 3:4 and 40:2, but fewer than 15 times elsewhere in the OT.
"Elah is used both of pagan gods, and of the true God" The above statement makes the claim that "Elah" was used for the True God and also the Pagan gods.
The exact same was true for the word "Allah", it was used in a variety of ways too. To make it clear for us lets look at the way we use the word "God" in the modern age. We give the title of god to anyone we feel deserves the praise for whatever reason. Is this 'lending the title of god' a new phenomenon though? I doubt it very much. Elah and Allah are both simply generic names for God.

The Word Allah In The Arabic Bible
Just a few examples for those who are still in doubt . . .

The images below, with the exception of the first image, were taken directly from The Holy Bible in Arabic. Referred to in Arabic as al-Kitâb al-Muqadis (i.e. ,The Holy Book), this is the scripture which is used by Arabic-speaking Christians (of which there are still about 15 to 20 million in the Middle East). So that those unfamiliar with Arabic script have something to compare these images with, the first image below is a verse from the Qur'ân - which is the Muslim scripture. In the images, the Arabic word Allah is underlined in red so that it can be easily identified. Upon comparing the images, one should be able to clearly see that the word Allah appears in both the Qur'ânic and Arabic Bible images. Indeed, the word Allah appears throughout Arabic translations of the Bible, since it is simply the Arabic name for Almighty God.

Insha'llah, the examples below will help quell the doubts of those who have been duped into believing that Muslims worship a different god - either by the hostile media or by Christian missionary propaganda. We hope that this serves as enough documentation for those who still have doubts about this.

We could think of no other way to prove this point, except to encourage everyone to do further critical and open-minded research on their own. Please, don't forget to compare the images . . .

[Qu'ran 1:1 - English translation]
"In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful."

[Qur'ân 1:1 - Arabic transliteration]
"Bismi-Allahi ar-Rahmani, ar-Raheem"

[Qur'ân 1:1 - Arabic]

[Genesis 1:1 - English Bible - King James Version]

"In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth . . . "

[Genesis 1:1 - Arabic transliteration]

"Fee al-badi' khalaqa Allahu as-Samaawaat wa al-Ard . . . "

[Genesis 1:1 - Arabic Bible]

[John 3:16 - English Bible - King James Version]

"For God so loved the world, that . . . "

[John 3:16 - Arabic transliteration]

"Li-annhu haakadha ahabba Allahu al-'Aalama hataa badhala . . . "

[John 3:16 - Arabic Bible]

[Luke 1:30 - English Bible - King James Version]

" . . . Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God."

[Luke 1:30 - Arabic transliteration]

" . . . Laa takhaafee, yaa Maryam, li-annaki qad wajadti ni'amat(an) i'nda Allahi."

[Luke 1:30 - Arabic Bible]

[Luke 3:38 - English Bible - New King James Version]

"the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God."

[Luke 3:38 - Arabic transliteration]

"bini Anoosha, bini Sheeti, bini Aaadama, abni Allahi."

[Luke 3:38 - Arabic Bible]