Searching for Beliefs Where They Do Not Exist

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:

  1. By spelling out this belief in no uncertain terms.;
  2. By giving us the Laws by which we may worship Allah;
  3. By speaking of the nations of the past, and their stories of adherence or rejection of Tawheed;
  4. 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

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21 thoughts on “Searching for Beliefs Where They Do Not Exist

  1. Yes bro thats what I keep on telling ahmadies that Return of ESA(AS) is not the main belief of Islam.

    and I even quote the example of ppl to them who believe ESA(AS) is not alive and yet they are not ahmadies.

  2. Aw, this was such a good read! You know, you sum it up so well: The Jesus Alive/Dead issue is not core to Islam, what is core is the belief in the finality of prophethood! It really is as simple as that. Ahmadis argue but, but but if you don’t believe Jesus is dead and accept Masih Moud, you reject Quran and Hadith and this is a grave sin. And we can go round and round in circles, and become ever so dizzy!!

    • As I mentioned in the Qur’an and highlighted in my article, religions deviate in archetypes.
      * The Jewish archetype is to completely ignore the very concept of a Messiah-figure.
      * The Christian archetype is to become obsessed with al-Maseeh and Eschatology.

      As always, Islam takes the balanced path. We recognize that ‘Esa bin Maryam (AS) is al-Maseeh and we believe he will come back. We hope for those days and do not belittle this matter. But, that does not mean we become obsessed with the issue, and start looking at calendars to predict the exact date. There is a profound wisdom in Allah not revealing to us his exact date of return. It doesn’t matter WHEN he will return, it matters what have we prepared for those times. This paradigm shift is very difficult to internalize, even for many Muslims. Muslims should focus on building up our Emaan, and when he comes, we hope to be ready for it.

      But in Ahmadiyya, the religion revolves around this figure to such a degree that they literally refer to themselves as “Muslims Who believe in the Messiah”. It would have been nobler if they said “We are Muslims who focus on our Faith” or “Muslims who are pure monotheists”, etc. Harping on a secondary matter of Islam and making it their defining characteristic is literally the signature of a group that went astray.

      • @ Farhan

        You really hit the nail on the head with this one. When I was growing up my dad had me trained with all the DEAD Jesus (as) argument. I knew almost everything about the Bible in terms of Jesus (as). That was pretty much all I was taught for a loooong time.

        My grandfather used to jokingly say to my dad, “Esa (as) died and now we are stuck listening to you”.

        ^ He said that in punjabee so it sounded much much better and funnier.

      • Great post, ma Sha’Allah

        Two things I’d like to add, if I may:

        1) Muslims do believe in THE Messiah, whereas Mirzais believe in an esoteric charlatan from the East Punjab.

        2) Whatever your belief in the return or otherwise of Isa (as) during the Latter Days, the ahadith make it reasonably clear that he is coming to set the Christians and Jews straight, as the ‘aqeeda of Muslims is fine, alhamdulillah. Indeed, he won’t even lead the fair prayer, one of the Muslims will.

        By choosing to obsess on a point that isn’t even ‘aqeeda, Mirzais come across very weird indeed.

        So imagine a Mirzai knocks on the door of a Christian or atheist and asks “Did you know the messiah has returned?” – picture that in your head and now picture the response of the potentially unwitting Chanda scam victim.

        • Very good way of putting it. I wouldn’t go door-to-door saying “The Messiah has come!!!”

          Listen to this:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Mz8nTTS27g

          This is an amazing talk by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi titled “Debunking the Male Bias Myth”. In this presentation, the Shaykh says that this topic of gender roles is a secondary issue to be discussed with our non-Muslim counter-parts. Instead, we should bring it back to primarily 3 things:
          A) Tawheed – La ilaha il Allah
          B) Nubuwwah – Following the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم
          C) Akhirah – That we are going to die and will be called to what we believe.

          This is the crux of Islam, the meat of the religion.

          Lets suppose they are right about everything, for the sake of argument I agree, fine. But doesn’t it seems strange to even Ahmadis that the MESSIAH would come just to tell people ‘Esa عليه السلام died? Seems anti-climactic.

      • I’ll give an example: I’ve discovered that my days are filled with more barakah if I stay awake after Fajr, read some Qur’an and do dhikr (most durood shareef and istighfar).

        This is what Muslims should focus on. This is the “meat” of Islam. But the Ahmadiyya religion just argues about ‘Esa bin Maryam (AS) dying or what not.

        Its shallow and misses the point!

  3. What a shallow and hollow understanding by Farhan in an attempt to escape from the truth!! what secondary matter is he talking about here? insulting the higehst status of our beloved Rasul Karim Muhammad Rasullullah(SAW) by believing in the coming of Israilite Messiah to reform His(SAW) ummah is not tantamount to blasphemy? Esa(AS) the Israilite Messiah was sent only unto the lost tribe of bani Israel(to one community or nation) while our beloved Rasul Karim Muhammad Rasulullah(SAW) was sent for ALL MANKIND!! you are the type of people refered by The Holy Prophet(SAW) at the latter days in His(SAW) saying to indicate how obsessive you could be with the Israilite Messiah.
    The Holy Prophet(SAW) said, “How could it be with you when Ibn Mariam comes to be your Imam and yet He is to be amongst you?” this saying of The Holy Prophet(SAW) in the interrogative form is evidently to indicate the situation of those muslim who would be in the obsessive situation with the Israilite Messiah, that is why He(SAW) asked “how could it be with you?” meaning to say how could you be so OBSESSIVE, then He(SAW) himself said “HE is to be amongst you” meaning to say He is to be amongst my followers!! now, was Esa(AS) the Israilite Messiah amongst the followers of Muhammad Rasulullah(SAW?) or was He not the followers of Moses(AS?) all the while Esa(AS) the Israilite Messiah followed and practices the teaching of Moses(AS) in the TORAH, then suddenly he comes to tell us that he is the
    Muslim Messiah to refrorm not merely the followers of MUHAMMAD(saw) BUT THE WHOLE MANKIND AS MUHAMMAD(SAW) message for all mankind, does such understanding make sense? I would like all our muslim brothes to ponder deeply over it.

    • …You are not understanding the point.

      Islam is not a religion that revolves around al-Maseeh (AS) or end-times. It revolves around Allah and the Prophet SAAWS. As such, our Deen is focused on this. Our Shahada is “La ilaha il Allah, Muhammadun Rasool Allah”, so we focus on that. Our Shahada has no mention of al-Maseeh coming.

      No one is denying that either al-Maseeh or Imam Mahdi (two different people) are not important figures. They are. Muslims should have certainty in their hearts that they will come.

      But as Muslims, we put this in its proper place. That is, we believe he will come and know it in our hearts. We long for those days. But, our day to day is on increasing our Emaan and righteous actions for the sake of Allah, on purifying our hearts, and increasing our tawakkul (reliance on Allah).

      What is in front of us is our day-to-day struggles, not obsessing over end-times prophecies.

      But in the Ahmadiyya religion they have made the issue of al-Maseeh (AS) the central issue of their religion. In fact, a sample of their TV programs reveals their focus on this issue over even basic aspects of Islam. They missed the whole point of Islam all together and became obsessed with a secondary issue. Do you see the problem with this?

      As Br “Ray of Light” said it, our salvation is not based on accepting or rejecting al-Maseeh, it is based on our worship of Allah and following the way of the Prophet SAAWS.

      • Brother Farhan, I agreed with you that our Deen is focused on our Shahada but I would like you to go a step further with us, meaning to say is not merely being focused on it but LIVE WITH IT!! now, how do we live with it? by proving that we really meant what we recite, by reciting or declaring Muhammadun Rasool Allah, we pledge our obedience to Him(SAW) and believed in what He(SAW) said unconditionally. Now, lets ask ourselve who was the one that talking about the coming of Imam Mahdi? was it not our beloved The Holy Prophet Muhammad(SAW) what did He(SAW) said and what was His(SAW) commands. He(SAW) said “When you hear that The Mahdi has come, go to him even if you need to crawl on an ocean of ice(snow) take pledge from him and convey my salam to him” now, being a true muslim we should stand by our principle, once we pledge our obedience unconditionally and believed in what He(SAW) said unconditionally by reciting “Muhammadun Rasool Allah” why should we now seem to be doubtful of what He(SAW) said and commanded? why should we start to feel or treat something that was strongly emphasised and stressed by The Holy Prophet(SAW) as a SECONDARY ISSUE? when He(SAW) strongly stressed “Even if you need to crwal on your knee on an ocean of ice(snow) go to him(Mahdi) and convey my salam” now, does this sentence sound so mild to you? or does it not sound so a strong command? whether Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is true or not The Imam Mahdi is different issue, but to treat something that was strongly emphasised by The Holy Prophet(SAW) as something less important or secondary issue is to indicate how insolent we could be.

        • You question whether the coming of Imam Mahdi is a “secondary issue”. What this means is, the day to day struggles of a person are around the six pillars of Faith, the five pillars of Islam, and implementing that all with spirituality.

          The Prophet SAAWS commanded many many things, and we should follow them all. But, we also recognize that they had degrees of importance. For example, drinking water while sitting down is a secondary issue when compared to praying five times a day.

          Our belief in Imam Mahdi is not such that we go around looking for him, rather, it is for us to be aware that someone who will be Imam Mahdi will come. We know his coming is eventual and we hope for those days. But on a daily basis, we focus on our Emaan and righteous actions.

          Just an FYI about the “crawling over snow and mountains” narration, that narration begins by saying DO NOT give bay’ah to Imam Mahdi until a few signs occur: he is trapped in the Ka’aba and armies come to destroy him, but three armies themselves are “swallowed” by the earth (ie, landslide).

          • @ Farhan

            Thanks for the clarification about the hadith as quoted by Ahmadis. I have never seen this hadith, Ahmadis never give references.
            What book is it from? I would love to read it in full length.

  4. Assalamu Aleikum brothers and sisters on this blog, and may Allah guide our Ahmadi brethren back to the path of Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jammah! Ameen.

    @Farhan ~ I have been reading this blog steadily from time to time but never posted a comment. I love the information on this site, but I don’t always like the name calling that goes back and forth from time to time so this keeps me away from posting, but mashAllah I really love this post. It hits to the core of what it is we are supposed to follow and embrace as Muslims; tawheed.

    When I left the Ahmadi Jammat back in 2007 I had numerous discussions with some brothers out in California and in Canada about my thoughts on Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Here are some excerpts from some old emails I saved in regards to some of those conversations:

    This was my response to a Canadian brother who was a fulltime Ahmadi missionary:

    “Again though, the truth is that our salvation does not truly rest solely in accepting a Mahdi. Our salvation rests in embracing Allah’s principles and putting Allah’s guidance into practice. Once Allah established that Muhammad (pbuh) is the best example to follow, this completely changed everything because from that time on forward, from now and for all of eternity, humanity now has the best leader of all to follow and no other can be a better example to follow other than Muhammad (pbuh); not even a Mahdi. The Quran says, and I am summarizing: religion has now been perfected for mankind and that Muhammad (pbuh) is the best example to follow when it comes to embracing and living fully the principles and guidance of the Quran and Islam.

    Allah says I have given you the perfect book, with its perfect laws, based on perfect principles and I have even given you the perfect example to follow, MUHAMMAD (pbuh). In my own humble opinion, and yes, I am clearly stating that this is my own personal opinion, but the essence of Islam is truly all about: LOVE, JUSTICE, EQUITY and CHARITY.”

    Now when I wrote this I had just left the jammat. I did not mention tawheed in the last statement above, but I did have a greater understanding that Muslims were to follow the principles of Allah and this is what our salvation is based on. When you look at my list of principles that I stated we must follow, I simple did not think to mention TAWHEED, but even back then, I believe Allah made my understanding clear to not get caught up in hanging my salvation on the coattails of a Mahdi; but to embrace the principles that Allah has taught mankind to follow.

    Here is one more response I wrote to an Ahmadi brother in California:

    “Because of all of this, I truly believe that my life and my salvation rests not in the hands of accepting another prophet or a Madhi, but it truly rests in recognizing the one true God, and also embracing His principles.”

    Again, my education in deen back then was poor, but still, Allah had blessed me to understand what was at the core of a Muslim’s salvation; it was embracing His principles; it was not all about accepting a Mahdi. Ahmadis continuously fail to see this.

    Now as time has gone by, alhumdulilah, I study Aqida, basic fiqh of Imam Maliki and inshallah I will study basic fiqh of the Hanafi Madhab as well. May Allah bless these great Imam’s. I am learning Arabic, studying some tajweed and I have been studying how to properly read hadith; all at the hands of some wonderful Sheikhs (scholars).

    Since leaving the Ahmadi Jammat my eyes have been truly blessed with seeing true scholars; Sheikh Faraz Rabbani, Imam Zaid Shakir, Sheikh Abdullah Hakim Quick, Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, Sheikh Hamza Karamali, Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, Sheik Sohail Hanif, Sheik Suhaib Webb, Sheik Abdus Shakur Brooks and on and on and on, and they have taught me the most beautiful Islam that I have deeply fallen in love with. Never will the Ahmadi Jammat encourage their flock to take deen from these beautiful rays of light and what a shame.

    Thank you Farhan for the post. My apologies for writing such a long comment. May Allah bring our Ahmadis back to Orthodox Islam and as we engage them on this blog and in other arenas, let us do remember ‘adab’ in how we speak to one another. We are Muslims. Let us forgo the name calling that pops up from time to time. We have light and truth. No need to display anything else but this. Let us perfect our character as our beloved Prophet (pbuh) would want us to do.

    I love you all
    Salaam

    • Your email summed up the issue quite concisely.

      “Again though, the truth is that our salvation does not truly rest solely in accepting a Mahdi. Our salvation rests in embracing Allah’s principles and putting Allah’s guidance into practice.”

      Imam Mahdi is a righteous member of Ahl al-Bayt, but not a prophet. But in the Ahmadiyya religion he is considered a prophet. They could say that rejecting him as a prophet is tantamount to disbelief, because as we all know, rejecting one prophet is akin to rejecting them all. How did you get over this issue?

      From the list of Ulema’ you cited, it appears we run in the same circles. I took Sh. Hamza Karamali’s course on al-Tahawi and Imam Zaid Shakir’s Risala al-Mustarshideen significantly affected my behavior with others. I met him last week and got his new book signed 🙂

      • AOA!

        Yes Farhan, it seems like we do run in the same circles 🙂

        Sheikh Hamza Karamali is stunningly awesome! I am looking forward to studying with him some more. If Ahmadis could sit down with this man alone to learn Islam, that would just rock their world! 🙂 I also met Imam Zaid Shakir once, he is taller than and thought and bigger than I thought and he’s quite funny, LOL!

        @ Rationalist: Thanks bro!

        Salaam

          • I SEE YOU!! 😀 Awesome!!!! I WISH we could get Imam Zaid Shakir out at our masjid. He’s a really cool Imam; soooo knowledgeable, funny and approachable. Unfortunately, if you are an Ahmadi, you will never be encouraged to meet or take knowledge from such a wonderful scholar.

            You are blessed brother! Keep up the good work! Salaam 🙂

    • Nice post brother.

      The crux of the matter is that Ahmadiyyat tried to become the new Christianity, with this goal in mind they set upon a course of belittling Islam and creating a version of Islam that was dependent on some type of Messiah and his sons.

      MGAQ saw the growth and the bank account of Christianity and he subsequently fell in love. He even based his missionary team on the “christian” model.

  5. @Farhan:
    Where i can meet Sheikh Hamza Karamali and Imam Zaid Shaki?
    Please let me know. Thanks.

    • Shaykh Hamza Karamali offers a variety of courses on SunniPath.com. But that might not be the venue you are looking for. I only met him once in person at ISNA 2009. He lives in Jordan and teaches full time, so I’m not quite sure…

      Imam Zaid Shakir travels a lot, but he teaches with the Zaytuna Institute (Which now is Zaytuna College) http://www.zaytuna.com

      Looks like you’re in California, so the Zaytuna Institute is closer. I should tell you though, these are not people who believe that truth is unveiled through debate and rational arguments. (If you don’t understand that, read “On the Boundaries of Theological Tolerance” translated by Sherman Jackson, where the part by al-Ghazali begins. My current read!)

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