بسم الله الحمد لله و صلاة و سلام على رسول الله و على آله و سلم
The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم once asked ‘Ubay ibn Ka’ab رضى الله عنه what was the greatest Ayah of the Qur’an.
‘Ubay was a learned man, one of the original transcribers of the Qur’an and a scholar amongst the Sahaba. However, in his humbleness, ‘Ubay said, “Allah and his Messenger know best”.
But the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم asked him again to test his knowledge.
‘Ubay replied, “Allah, there is nothing worthy of worship except He, the Living, The one upon whom all life depends…“. He recited Ayah al-Kursi.
The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم said “Congratulations on your knowledge!”
Why is Ayah al-Kursi the greatest verse of the Qur’an? Because it summarizes the root of the struggle between Eman (faith) and Kufr (rejection of faith). Islam is not a religion that came to overly philosophize or give unnecessary details. The root of Islam is our conviction in Tawheed, that is, a recognition of the absolute uncompromising Oneness of God: لا إله إلا الله. In western academia, this is also often referred to as “Radical Monotheism”.
Literally every single verse of the Qur’an speaks on the Tawheed (Oneness) of Allah. This takes many forms, amongst which are:
- By spelling out this belief in no uncertain terms.;
- By giving us the Laws by which we may worship Allah;
- By speaking of the nations of the past, and their stories of adherence or rejection of Tawheed;
- By archetypally refuting the false beliefs relating to Allah in other religions, such as the polytheism from the pagans, false attributes of Allah for the Jews, ascending a man to Allah for the Christians, etc.
Further, the Qur’an testifies that every single prophet came with one message: Worship Allah alone. Ultimately, the theme of Tawheed resonates throughout the Qur’an. Literally every single verse addresses this topic in some way or another.
What about ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام?
The return of ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه و سلام is an important belief in its own right. But it is not foundational to Islam, nor is it something Muslims dwell on. Even though we believe it, Islam did not come to call people to believe that ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه و سلام will return. When the Qur’an speaks about ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام, it does so in the context of affirming that he is not God or the son of God.
What about in Ahmadiyya? The core doctrine of Ahmadiyya is the belief that ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام died in India at the age of 120. In fact, a person is not an Ahmadi unless he believes this. But because this is such a core doctrine in Ahmadiyya which the Qur’an is silent on, the Ahmadiyya religious authorities must search for this belief in the Qur’an where it simply does not exist.
Take for example the following verse from Surah al-Ma’idah:
مَّا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ وَأُمُّهُ صِدِّيقَةٌ ۖ كَانَا يَأْكُلَانِ الطَّعَامَ ۗ انظُرْ كَيْفَ نُبَيِّنُ لَهُمُ الْآيَاتِ ثُمَّ انظُرْ أَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ
The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded.
This verse comes in the context of rejecting the Trinity, by explicitly saying in the previous verse, They have certainly disbelieved who say, “Allah is the third of three.” Then Allah submits an argument to make the Christians recognize the error of the trinity by using their intellects. He calls us to internalize that both ‘Esa عليه السلام and Maryam عليها السلام used to depend on food for sustenance. But dependence is not a divine quality. Allah is self-sufficient. Therefore, these two humans could not possibly be Gods or objects of worship!
Irrespective of what we believe, we can see that this simple and apparent understanding re-emphasizes the core message of Islam: Tawheed, لا إله الا الله. This is the message we Muslims deliver to to people of all faith, including the Christians.
But in Ahmadiyya, they argue this verse is talking about ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام dying. This article is not about debating their interpretation of the Ayah. Even if you are an Ahmadi, ask yourself why would Allah randomly change the topic to his death? Even the Christians mistakenly that ‘Esa عليه السلام died, albeit not as the Ahmadis do, but nevertheless. The fact is, the Ahmadiyya religious authorities are inserting beliefs where they do not exist. This verse was not talking about anyone dying or living, it was a rejection of polytheism.
Most of the arguments invented by Mirza Ghulam are along the lines of taking verses that are speaking about an unrelated issue and looking for a way to make them say what they do not say, namely that ‘Esa عليه السلام died in India at the age of 120. But even if current-Ahmadis read these same verses without having been provided these types of explanations of what they “should” see, they would have come to the same conclusions as traditional Muslims. The proof of this is that Muslims read these same verses for hundreds of years and did not en masse question if ‘Esa عليه السلام was dead or alive.
As the old saying goes, If you look hard enough, you will find what you are looking for, even if it is not there. These arguments are concoctions to insert their beliefs where they do not exist in the Qur’an. The Qur’an is simple and does not encrypt core doctrinal statements only to be decrypted, conveniently, by the very person they allegedly apply to.
Our dear readers, this is not a new thing. Allah warns us of this type of behavior in Surah Aali ‘Imran:
هُوَ الَّذِيَ أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ في قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءالْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاء تَأْوِيلِهِ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلاَّ اللّهُ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلاَّ أُوْلُواْ الألْبَابِ
It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise – they are the foundation of the Book – and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah . But those firm in knowledge say, “We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord.” And no one will be reminded except those of understanding.
May Allah keep our hearts pure, following the clear, simple and true meanings of the Qur’an and protect us from false interpretations that only came into existence 100 years ago.
و صلى الله على سيدنا محمد و على آله وسلم تسليما