Sunday, July 15, 2018

Qur'an: On Relations with War Captives


Retrieving the humane and egalitarian voice of the Qur’an is an important task of our times, especially in contexts where politico-militant groups seek to co-opt certain interpretations of the Islamic Shari’ah to promote their dubious projects that subjugate women’s dignity, rights and moral agency. 

Consider the treatment of captured women in war/ “female slaves” by the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’ (ISIS) under ‘Caliph’ Abu Baker Al Baghdadi. During 2014-’17, when the ISIS under the Caliph ruled over an ‘Islamic State’ after his band of fighters and followers held control over parts of Iraq and Syria; it captured hundreds of females belonging to the minority Yazidi community as prisoners of war. Claiming that Islamic theology permits both the enslavement and the establishment of sexual relations with women captives, the ISIS established “slave markets” in the areas under its control to “trade” in the ‘female slaves’ so as to distribute them among the fighters of the Islamic State. When some of those young women and teenage girls escaped from the clutches of these marauders operating in the name of 'Islam', their harrowing experiences sent shock-waves across the global community. 

The beliefs and actions of the Islamic State and its Maulawis who issued the edicts in favour of establishing slave markets to trade in war captives scandalize the fair name of Islam and the pristine faith of  devout Muslims around the world. The Promised Massih Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian spoke presciently on this dire state of affairs in the previous era, when he wrote: 

"Islam today is in a very precarious state, and its light has been almost completely eclipsed. The Muslims have erred not only in their beliefs but also in their practices. They have fabricated some Traditions which have not only adversely affected their character, but are also contrary to the Divine law of nature. For example, Divine law has established three basic human rights: One must not kill an innocent person, one must not injure someone’s honour, and one must not unjustly appropriate another person’s property. And yet there are Muslims who break all three of these commandments. They murder innocent people and do not fear God, and their foolish Maulawis have even issued edicts declaring it lawful to lure away or capture women of other religions—whom they consider infidels—and to take them as wives. Similarly, they consider it lawful to usurp the property of any disbeliever through embezzlement or theft. Just consider the perilous state of the religion whose Maulawis issue such edicts! All this is the work of egotistic people who falsely attribute such teachings to God and His Messenger." (How to be Free from Sin, pp-15-16, UK: 2008 edn).

Oppressive interpretations of the Divine Speech is often a legacy of flawed Scriptural exegesis and cannot stand the critical scrutiny of Qur’an’s liberatory hermaneutics. Since the ‘Islamic State’ sought to justify the enslavement and sexual assault on female captives in terms of the Shariah, it is important to debunk these fraudulent claims by placing before the world the proper context and interpretation of the verses of the Holy Qur’an pertaining to the subject. In his Friday Sermon of 13 July 2018 (28 Shawwal 1439 AH), Hadhrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius makes an important intervention on this larger debate. 

Explaining the Qur’anic expression “Maa Malakat ‘Aymaanuhum” (What your Right Hands Possess”, Hadhrat Saheb (atba) draws attention to the need for engaging with the overall framework of the Qur’an in teasing out the meaning of the Divine Discourse. There is no verse in the Qur’an that sanctions concubines and the Holy Book affirms that married women are not lawful for other men before the dissolution of the previous marriage. To protect the dignity of unclaimed female war captives- separated from their relatives socially and morally- who would not be in a position to dissolve any previous marriage; the Qur’an, however, makes and exception and permits that relations with such female prisoners of war (“What your Right Hands Possess”) can be established through wedlock even if the former marriage is not formally dissolved in the case of such women. Any assumption that (sexual) relations with female captives is permitted without marriage is rejected by the Qur’an (24:33, 4:4, 26), points out Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba).  

Read the Friday Sermon Below: 

The Expression: What your Right Hands Possess”


And those who guard their chastity; Except from their wives or what their right hands possess, for then surely they are not to be blamed.” (Al-Mu'minun, 23: 6-7).

Much misunderstanding prevails as to what the expression “their right hands possess” means, and what are the rights and status of the persons to whom it applies.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

President Trump: 'The beginning of his end'

"Surely, Allah is All Knowing, All- Aware", declares the Holy Qur'an (31:34). In the words of a well known scholar of the Qur'an, it means that God is both "Self-Knowing and fully aware of everything besides Him. He Himself knows everything and also informs him whom He likes". Hence, one of the principal functions of a Divine Servant is to pass on the Messages being vouchsafed to him by Allah (swt) for the attention of all humans who wish to listen and profit by. Often these messages contain glad tidings for the truly humble who believe in God and do good deeds in service of His creatures. Likewise, in equal measure, the messages may also contain dire warnings for despots who remain arrogant on earth without any right, and exceed all limits, seeking to oppress the people. Thus, speaking truth to power is a function of the Prophets. Indeed, the Qur'an preserves in its pure pages of Holy revelation several accounts from history where the Divine Elects spoke the daring truth to the reigning Pharaohs of their times. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) famously said: "Indeed, the best 'Jihad' is a Just Word in the presence of an Unjust Ruler". 


Consider our own times, the Fifteenth Century of the Islamic Era. The world of Islam today faces enormous challenges, both internally and externally. Powerful adversaries have conquered and destroyed the Muslim lands and peoples in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. The bombings, senseless killings and the hardships of war and terror have afflicted the Muslim psyche with feelings of helplessness and agony. The events of the last two decades- Ariel Sharon laying siege on the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Bush-Blair combine unleashing the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, the civil wars in Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Libya,etc.- powerfully underscore the tragic situation of the Muslim Ummah. Due  to the 'internal' conflicts in many Muslim nations, and also the oppression of the Muslim minorities in several nations- Bosnia, Central African Republic, Myanmar, etc.- millions of people had been forced to flee their home and hearths and seek refuge and dignity in exile. Finding Islam under siege in our times from both the enemies of the Faith and its misguided adherents, Allah (swt) has raised a humble man amongst us with His holy words to be a practical exemplar and defender of the Faith in the person of Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Divine Messages of 21-23 June 2018


In his Friday Sermon of 06 July 2018 (21 Shawwal 1439 AH), Hadhrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius presents before the world the recent Divine Messages which he received from Allah (swt). These Messages from the Unseen contain profound insights into the uncompromising monotheism that Islam espouses as the spiritual path for the humans. Under the Islamic conception of God, the ultimate sovereignty and authority lies entirely with that Unique, Eternal and Everlasting Being who is the Lord of the Universe. So comprehensive and so complete is the Lord’s control over all affairs that the humans are utterly dependent upon His favours for the chance gains of this life. Divine Grace and Mercy determines his very existence and continued welfare, both in this world and in the world to come.
A necessary corollary of this concept of Divine Lordship/Rule is the ideas of human equality and universal brotherhood. In the Kingdom of God on Earth, all people of various identities- across classes, peoples and nations- are to share the global space and live in harmony and amity, celebrating the promise of diversity in our common humanity and shared destiny. Amidst all the God-made differences in the world, people can and should learn from each other in a spirit of humility and modesty, building networks of solidarity and mutual cooperation and of healthy competition in the pursuit of good deeds. In such a Divine Order, there is no space for Satanic impulses like arrogance, false pride, vanity and hubris.
The Divine scheme of things in the real world of the humans acknowledges that 'spiritual diseases' are a reality and that the true believers need to be aware of it. The vicious offshoots of satanic impulses can prevent us from being just to God and the fellow humans. Both in human relations and international affairs, one can see the individual and collective ‘self’ at work. Often the way in which one defines the ‘Self’ also determines his/her attitude towards the ‘Other’. A capacious conception of the ‘self’ make us humble and humane and allows us to empathize to, and identify with, the problems of other peoples/nations like us, whereas a narrowly-defined ‘self’ induces us to have a blurred view of the 'other'. The chance gains of this life- individual attainments; family ‘pedigree’; riches; class/group identities; national power- can even turn us away from our larger responsibilities towards God and our fellow beings. Whereas all blessings of this life come from God, to credit these bounties to any false sense of 'self' is nothing but delusions induced by the work and whisperings of the satans. As it happens, false pride and arrogance leads to an inexorably destructive trajectory of intolerance, fanaticism, extremism and violence; whereas humility and empathy for others lead us to gaze at the whole human race as ‘limbs of the same body’.

The Divine Message invites our attention to the ‘Way of Allah’In a world that has virtually turned upside down- riven with imperialist overreach fueling conflicts in the poorer nationscapitalist aggrandizement exacerbating global injustice; inequality and poverty amidst concerns of global warming and climate change; scant regard for human dignity and the rights of the indigent masses, migrants and refugees- it is important to underscore spiritual values and ethical principles in the quest to reclaim the world on an even keel. By raising an Elect of His with a mission- the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam International- the Lord of the Universe indicates where the future belongs in our world, Insha AllahJust as all prophets and other Divine messengers in the long chain of human history had called the people of their times to God; a Divine servant of our times is here to remind us about the wisdom of eternal teachings preserved in the Holy Qur’an- be humble; shun arrogance and seek to strive in the pure and clear path of Divine proximity, Alhamdulillah, Soumma Alhamdulillah. 


Read the Extracts from the Friday Sermon:


Today I have chosen to present to you the Divine Messages which I received from Allah on the 21 June 2018 in English, messages which continued sometimes continuously and other times intermittently till 23 June 2018.

Al-Yawma ak-maltu lakum Diinakum wa atmamtu alaykum nimatii wa raziitu lakumul Islaama Diinaa. [Which means: This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion.]

O Munir Ahmad Azim, My Khalifatullah and Messiah of this era, I raised you in this era as Dalil Al-Khayrat (The Guide to good deeds) and Nasih (The True Counsellor and Transformer of Men’s souls) with a Jamaat named Sahih al Islam.

Sahih al Islam means: The truth of Islam which corrects and cancels man’s distortions of divine truths previously revealed and re-establishes the true message of Allah (swt).