Jul 21, 2014, 12:52 PM
On Friday, the 23rd and Saturday, 24th January, 2015, the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council (GSIC) issued a statement using State Media, radio and television, and published by the daily newspapers such as The Standard and The Point Newspapers on Monday, January 25, 2015, accusing the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of a range of false and unfounded beliefs. We want to set the record straight and state for the benefit of the general public what our stand is on those allegations. First of all, the Press Release states that the Supreme Islamic Council is, “the sole body responsible for the general activities of all Islamic affairs in this country.” This is clearly a delusion as it is clear from the constitution (the Supreme Law of the country) that we live in a secular country. The Supreme Islamic Council has no legal mandate to regulate religious bodies. In fact, when the Supreme Islamic Council was formed, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at had already been established in this country, decades earlier. It is extremely unfortunate that a council that claims to be the representative of the Muslim Ummah in this country will make such a statement without even making research to present the correct facts. For instance, they allege that the Jama’at originated from Pakistan. For your information, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at was founded in March, 1889 by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi (AS) in Qadian, India and not Pakistan. How can a council represent the Muslim Ummah if they cannot get their basic facts right?
We want to make it categorically clear that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at fully believes in the Supreme Being of Allah, the Almighty and all His attributes as mentioned in the Holy Quran and the Ahadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
We ardently consider the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as the Khatamun Nabiyeen and the Last Law Bearing Prophet. We, the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at believe in and consider the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as perfect and best of humanity. He is dearer to us and love him more than our lives, parents, wives, children, property, honour and the whole world and its contents. In the press release, the Council made various unfounded allegations against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at.
The Council claims that in spite of the fact that the Jama’at and its members always refer to, and quote the Holy Qur’an and the Ahadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) they do not actually believe in these - the Holy Qur’an and the Ahadith. It is interesting that in the press release, the Council did not at any single time refer to any verse of the Holy Qur’an. A Muslim bases his or her tenets on the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and should be able to show the bases of all his/her beliefs from the Holy Qur’an. How then is it that they who believe in the Holy Qur’an can issue such a lengthy statement without referring to the words of Allah Almighty, the Glorious? Therefore, saying that we do not believe in Holy Qur’an, show your extreme hatred, enmity and ignorance of the Jama’at?
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at upholds the Holy Quran as the final Divine Law and that nothing can be altered from it by any human being. Contrary to the malicious allegations of the (GSIC), the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi (AS) declares: “I hold very firmly that for your guidance God has provided three things. The foremost among these is the Holy Quran which sets forth the unity of God . . .Verily, I tell you truly that whosoever evades even the least of the seven hundred commandments embodied in the Holy Quran, he slams the door of salvation upon himself . . . The second instrument for guidance vouchsafed to the Muslims is the Sunnah . . . Of course, the third means of guidance is the Hadith…” (Our Teachings p. 17-20)
The Council should research so that its members may acquire true knowledge for the benefit of the public. Even the opponents of the Jama’at attested and acknowledged the efforts of members of the Jama’at in propagating and spreading the superiority of Islam and the high status of the Holy Qur’an. We quote the renowned Muslim leader of Indo-Pakistan subcontinent and poet, the editor of daily newspaper “Zimindar”, Maulvi Zafar Ali Khan. While addressing the opponents of Hadhrat Mirza Bashirudeen Mahmood Ahmad (RA), Khalifatul Masih II, the second successor of the founder of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, he said:
“Listen carefully, you and your followers will never be able to compete with Mirza Mahmood Ahmad. Mirza Mahmood has the Qur’an and he has got knowledge of the Qur’an. What have you got?...You have not read the Qur’an even in your dreams….Mirza Mahmodd has got a community with him which is ready to sacrifice everything they have at his slightest hint…..Mirza Mahmood has got a party of preachers, experts in different fields. In every country of the world he has established his dominion.” (Aik Khaufnak Saazish, p. 196, author Mazhar Ali Azhar).
The services of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at to the Holy Qur’an are unparalleled. There is not a single organization or community, Supreme Islamic Council included, who has done as much as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at to spread the Words of Allah - the Holy Quran. The Jama’at has translated the Holy Quran in more than seventy major languages of the world, including our local languages here – Fula, Mandinka and Wolof. It is strange how a Jama’at which does not believe in the Holy Quran will go to such length to spread its message. We challenge the council or anybody in the world to produce the so-called Ahmadiyya version of the Holy Quran which is different from the one revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) for the Gambian people to see.
In fact, Allah the Almighty has promised in the Holy Quran that: Verily, We Ourself have sent down this Exhortation, and most surely We will be its Guardian. (Sura Hijr Ch.15 Verse 10)
So, if the Council is claiming that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at is following another Quran besides the one revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) it presupposes that they are claiming that Allah did not fulfill His promise of protecting the Holy Quran (God forbid).
Saying that Ahmadis say the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) where as they do not believe in him is a heinous crime against Allah Almighty and His Messenger. This presupposes that whereas we are saying this, we actually do not believe in it. Here, the Supreme Islamic Council is taking itself to the rank of God (God forbid) for they are claiming to know what is in the hearts of other men. Even the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) forbade this.
Hadhrat Usama bin Zaid (RA) relates that the Prophet (SAW) sent us to the Oasis of Juhaina tribe. We caught them early in the morning at their water-fountains. An Ansari and I chased one of them and apprehended him. When we overpowered him, he exclaimed Laa Ilaaha Illallah (there is none worthy of worship except Allah) which caused my Ansari companion to restrain his hand from him, but I pierced him with a spear and killed him. When we returned to Madina and the Holy Prophet (SAW) came to know of the incident, he asked: “O, Usama! Did you kill him in spite of the fact that he had recited Laa Ilaaha Illallah?” I replied: “O, Prophet of Allah! He was saying (these words) merely to ensure his safety.” The Holy Prophet (SAW) kept on repeating his question to a point when I wished I had not become a Muslim before that day. (Another tradition relates) The Holy Prophet (SAW) said, “You still killed him, even though he had affirmed Laa Ilaaha Illallah? “I clarified, “O, Prophet of Allah! He had said that because he was afraid of the weapon.” The Holy Prophet (SAW) exclaimed: “Why didn’t you cut his heart open to make sure if he had said it from the core of his heart?” The Prophet of Allah repeated this remark so many times that I wished I had not become a Muslim before that day.” (Bukhari, book of Al Maghaazi, chapter Ba’ah al-Nabi,Usamah bin Zaid ilal Harquat Min al Juhaina, p. 612)
In another narration, the Holy prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “What would you do with ‘Laa ilaaha illa Allah’ when it would come before you on the Day of Judgment and the Holy Prophet kept repeating these words.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab-ul-Iman)
This clearly shows that it is not for a man or a council to decide what is in the heart of another man or men. Where does Supreme Islamic Council get the authority to decide on what is in our hearts?
According to the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi (AS): “Now under the Heavens there is only one Prophet (SAW) and only one Book. The Prophet is Muhammad, the Chosen one, peace and blessings of Allah be on him who is higher and more exalted than all prophets and is the most perfect of Messengers and is the Khatamul Anbiya . . .” (Brahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.1P. 557-558, Sub-footnote 3)
The press release also alleges that Ahmadis have certain believes about Allah which are inappropriate. It is clear the council has gone beyond the limits of transgression in this statement as they have even insulted Allah, the Almighty (God forbid). We do not even consider it respectful to repeat the wording of the Supreme Islamic Council in this response because it is so spiteful that it constitutes blasphemy on their part and whoever repeats it. May Allah protect us from using such foul language about Allah, the Almighty. What we can say is this that, the Supreme Islamic Council should be honest to the Gambian people and produce evidence of these beliefs from the books written and used by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. If these are truly our beliefs, it must be somewhere in our books, please show us this. According to the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at: “By virtue of His excellences God is One, without associate. He suffers from no defect. He comprehends all good qualities and manifests all holy powers. He is the Originator of all creation and is the fountainhead of all grace. He is the Master of all recompense and everything returns to Him . . . He is Self-Existing in His Being and everything is alive through Him. He is Self-Sustaining and everything is sustained by Him . . . (Lecture Lahore, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.20 p.152-155)
The council also claims that in 1953 the Pakistani Foreign Minister, Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan was forced to resign from office because he was an Ahmadi. Owing to his outstanding career and the respect he commanded internationally, Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan held many positions within and outside Pakistan. For example, he was the Permanent Representative of Pakistan at the United Nations from 1961 to 1964 long after the so-called forced retirement. This was after he voluntarily retired from his post as Foreign Minister of Pakistan. He was also the President of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Holland. He was the first Muslim to serve as President of a session of the United Nations General Assembly. He led many international mediation missions including in the Palestinian crises. In March 1958, Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan performed the Hajj and visited the Holy Shrine of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and was the personal guest of Sultan Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, the King of Saudi Arabia at the time.
The release also referred to the debate that took place in the Pakistani National Assembly in 1974 which led to Ahmadis being declared a non-Muslim minority. But does the council know that the Government of Pakistan staunchly refused to publish the proceedings of that debate for fear of the whole of Pakistan becoming Ahmadis? Does the council also know that according to the report presented by the panel of judges chosen to study the causes of the riots of 1953, there is no Muslim in Pakistan because no two scholars agree on a definition of a Muslim? Besides, who told the members of the council that Pakistan is an authority on deciding who is a Muslim and who is not? The authority to decide the Islam of someone is only in the hands of Allah, the Almighty. It does not rest in the hands of Saudi, Egyptians, Pakistanis or Gambian scholars. Religion is a personal matter and it is only between man and his Maker.
The council also alleges that the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at believe that all non-Ahmadi Muslims are Kafir (disbelievers) unless they believe in the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi (AS). This allegation is unfounded and malicious. Let them show to the Gambian public where Ahmadis made such statements. Not a single instance can be shown or quoted where Ahmadis said that non-Ahmadi Muslims are kafir. We never declare anyone to be outside the pale of Islam because in our view no human being or organization has the right to declare an individual or a group as kafir as long as he or she declares himself or herself a Muslim. Religion or faith is a personal matter between a person and his or her Lord and Creator, Allah, the Almighty. And He is the only One Who is going to judge and reward individuals on the Day of Judgment.
The council also says that, “who gives a non-Qadiyani a wife or who marries a non-Qadiayani woman is a kafir.’ We challenge them to bring forth their proofs from any of our books. This allegation is unfounded.
The infamous press release also says that Ahmadis are outside the pale of Islam. It is unfortunate that the council has taken upon itself the task of Allah, the Almighty. For, it is obvious that only Allah Almighty, the Glorious, the All-Knowing and All-Seeing, Who has the ability to decide what is in the hearts of men. Who is a Muslim and who is not is in the hands of Allah, the Almighty and no one else.
In light of the importance of the matter under discussion; it is worthy to state the true definition of a Muslim as enunciated by Allah Almighty Himself as it is said:
O ye who believe! When you go forth in the cause of Allah, make proper investigation and say not to anyone who greets you with the greeting of peace (i.e. says Assalaamu Alaikum, like other Muslims) that, “you are not a believer.” You seek the goods of this life, but Allah conferred His special favour on you; so do make proper investigation. Surely, Allah is well aware of what you do. (Sura Nisa Ch. 4 Verse 95)
At another place Allah, the Almighty says:
Nay, whoever submits himself completely to Allah, and is the doer of good, shall have his reward with his Lord. No fear shall come upon such, neither shall they grief. Surah Baqarah Ch. 2 Verse 113)
Now having stated the sayings of Allah, the Almighty, we deem it necessary to quote the sayings of Syeddinaa Khatamun Nabiyeen, Muhammad Mustapha (SAW) to define Muslim. We provide hereunder five sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as definition of a Muslim.
1. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet Muhammad Mustapha (SAW) said: “Ask me questions,” (but his companions) were diffident to ask. Meanwhile, a man came in and sat in front of the Holy Prophet (SAW) and asked: “What is Islam?:” The Holy Prophet (SAW) replied, “Do not associate partners with Allah, offer prayer, pay Zaka’at and fast in Ramadan.” The man replied, “You have spoken the truth.” (Muslim, Kitab-ul-Imaan).
2. A man from among the people of Najd, with disheveled hair, came to see the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW). We could hear the hum of his conversation but could not capture what he said until he drew closer and we could hear him asking the Holy Prophet (SAW) about Islam. The Holy Prophet (SAW) replied, “Five daily prayers are appointed which span a day and night.” At which he enquired, “Are there other (prayers) in addition to these (five)?” The Holy Prophet (SAW) replied, “No, unless of course you wish to offer some more as supererogatory,” and further added, “you should observe fasting in the month of Ramadan.” At this, he enquired, “Is there any other obligatory fasting besides that in Ramadan?”
The Holy Prophet (SAW) replied, “No, unless you wish to observe it in supererogatory.” Then the Holy Prophet (SAW) mentioned Zaka’at to him, at which he asked, “Is there anything apart from it?” The Holy Prophet (SAW) replied, “No, unless you wish to offer more in supererogation.” Then this man got up to leave, saying, “By God! I will neither add to these injunctions, nor would I subtract anything from these.” The Holy Prophet (SAW) commented, “If he proves himself to be true in what he just said, he will prosper.” (Sahih Bukhari Kitab-ul-Imaan Bab al-Zaka’at Min al Islam)
3. A Muslim is one from whose hands and tongue, other people are safe.
Once the Holy Prophet Muhammad Mustapha (SAW) ordered a census to be made of the Muslims and someone asked whose names they shall write. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) replied in the following words:
4. Write down for me the name of everyone who calls himself a Muslim. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Bab Kitabat al-Imam al-Nas.)
5. One who observes the same prayer as we do, faces the same direction (in prayer) as we do, and partakes from the animal slaughtered by us, then such a one is a Muslim concerning whom there is a covenant of Allah and His Messenger; so you must not seek to hoodwink Allah in the matter of this Covenant. (Bukhari, Kitabus-Salat, Baab Fazl Istiqbal i-Qibla).
Hence the Council is loosing credibility in the eyes of the people. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at since establishment in this country has never created or been involved in any form of fitna or disorder. It does not believe in any form of violence. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at has been teaching and practicing the true teachings of Islam peacefully for more than fifty years in this country and this is witnessed by the Gambian people. Therefore, the Supreme Islamic Council cannot blindfold the Gambians. The Jama’at motto is: Love for All, Hatred for None.
As the saying goes, ‘a word for the wise is enough’. We refer the reader to a full response to similar allegations leveled against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at published in the following newspapers: The Standard Newspaper, Wednesday, 29th October 2014, Front page and page 8-9 Vol. 04 Issue 143 ISSN 07961774. Also online: www.standard.gm.
And in the Point Newspaper Wednesday 29th October 2014 Vol. 23 No. 306 - ISSN 0796- 0794 front page and page 16-17. Also www.thepoint.gm.
The Voice Newspaper Vol. 7 No. 84- ISSN: - 0796-130 Tuesday - Wednesday 5th November, 2014.
We do not need the attestation of any individual, council, group or organization. Allah, the Almighty and His Noble Prophet Muhammad (SAW) always suffice us. It is their attestation we need. The Noble Word of Allah, the Almighty and the inspiring statements of His Holy Prophet Muhammad Mustapha (SAW) have attested our Islam. Alhamdulillah!
May Allah, Almighty continue to establish and maintain peace, stability, security and harmony in our dear and beloved motherland, The Gambia. Ameen!
Baba F. Trawally