Saturday, November 3, 2012

Preaching in an Atheistic World

Atheistic notions and materialistic preoccupations generally dominate the societies today- East and West, North and South. The counter-religious, atheistic ideas and prejudices have evolved over the past many centuries, especially in Europe. This is, in many ways, a consequence of the corruption in the very idea of religion itself as presented by its so-called adherents in history. When the ‘religion’ challenged common sense and instituted anti-nature notions and belief systems in the name of God, thoughtful people moved away from what they could see around.

One of the world’s most influential scientists, Sir Isaac Newton (January 4, 1643 - March 31, 1727) was among those who rejected such inherited beliefs and distorted religious traditions. In the 1690's, Newton wrote a number of religious tracts dealing with the literal interpretation of the Bible, including a manuscript in which he disputed the existence of the Trinity. Many others preferred to be agnostics or even atheists, rather than follow what their intellects could not agreed to. The trajectory of spiritual history and the secular revolt in Europe testify to this. Given this historic background and contemporary situation, the dilemma of the Believer is this: how to do the preaching of Islam to a world that does seem to reject the concept of God itself?

In his Friday Sermon of November 02, 2012 Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius analyses the larger context and problem. The Messenger of Allah of our times points out that the issue is not beyond a solution. The believers have to equip themselves with sufficient knowledge and understanding about the background of people to whom they are bringing the message of God/Allah. Different strategies and tools have to utilised and deployed in reaching out to people from diverse backgrounds. At the end of the day, it is one’s own example-sublime faith in God and the profound practice of Islam in the everyday life of the believer- that will attract the world to the fold of Islam.   

Read the Extracts from the Friday Sermon:

“And who is better in speech than one who invites (people) to Allah and does good works and says, ‘Indeed, I am of the Muslims’.” (41: 34).

Nowadays it is very important to put emphasis on Dawa – Inviting people to Allah, throughout the world. The winds which are coming from the heavens are such winds that shall support and help you to invite people towards Allah. And it is with the blessings of these winds along with your own efforts which you make which shall help the Ummah of Hazrat Muhammad (sa) to reap its fruits. If there is no such winds of divine help which blows, then the fields which are already ready for harvesting shall become completely dry. Therefore, it is only when the winds of Allah blows that you shall reap fruits of your own efforts. On the contrary, you shall reap more than enough fruits, even more than the efforts you put in. There is no real comparison between these fruits and your own efforts. We must say: “Alhamdulillah” (All praise be to Allah), for it in our own era that the International Dawa Academy Insha-Allah shall be created and shall Insha-Allah bear its fruits, and this shall operate alongside with the winds which is blowing from the heavens and with the input of the efforts of each of us.

We are living in a materialistic world, filled with sins of all sorts, and everywhere around the world, there are the winds of atheism which are blowing hard, as if God is separated completely from the lives of humans. But from among all those countries, there are specific countries where this poison of atheism has been ingrained more profoundly than in other countries and which affects the lives of people. Atheism has verily poisoned the whole atmosphere (in these countries). There is Switzerland which is at the head of the list of countries which is most affected by this poison, and afterwards there are Denmark and Norway which, compared to all other countries, are most affected by this poison of atheism. It is their circle of education which has pushed them towards that frame of mind (that is, to believing that there is no God). Therefore, to direct them to Allah, this will prove to be a difficult work if you do not know which way or technique to adopt to deal with them. As long as you do not analyse well the situation and take the appropriate measures, then you shall not be able to call these people to Islam. It shall prove to be a difficult task.

It is a worrying situation, yes, but not despairing. It is worrying in the sense that we shall have to seek the means to use to call these people or nations towards the religion (of Islam, the true faith). Concerning the verse of the Quran which I have recited before you, it does not mention either Islam or any other religion, but there is the mention of invitation to Allah, and the verse has presented Hazrat Muhammad (sa) as a Inviter to Allah (a preacher, a Dai-Illallah). There is a deep wisdom in that. And it is an error on our part if we establish a Dawa plan by neglecting this wisdom.

The nations who have strayed have connection with deformed beliefs of their religions, beliefs which are totally contrary to their reasoning. Thus, (some can think that) if they have become atheists, then they are not completely at fault, if one look at their cases superficially. No. If the religious background is eliminated, if in religious affairs there is total absence of reasoning, if the religious beliefs are contrary to the human thoughts and reasoning, then the people who link themselves continuously with this kind of religion (or irreligion), this is not (the reflection of) a beauty from their part. On the contrary, if they link themselves to that religion, despite the beliefs they hold, then one can qualify them as imbeciles, those who do not have enough reasoning and are not proactive (they are blind). It is like this that these people must be qualified; those who practice religion with these kind of deformed beliefs. This is the situation which we have to analyse.

Verily, everywhere in Europe, where Atheism has spread, it is because of the deformed beliefs of Christianity which is the cause to a great extent. This is not a recent occurrence, but it is a thing which began centuries ago. In fact, intellectuals have continued to do researches on the deformed beliefs of Christianity. And they were even subjected to punishments for those researches and discoveries which they made on the beliefs of Christianity. Among those who underwent those hardships, there was Newton. In fact, there is only few people who know that Newton did not rebel against that religion, but he rebelled against the wrong and deformed beliefs of that religion (that is, Christianity).

The University of Cambridge gave Newton the professoriate of Cambridge. He indeed had great intelligence. Allah gave him a great mind and gave him Taqwa (fear of God) also. Newton never believed in a thing which was not true. That is why in the present times it is Newton who is most recognised for his researches and scientific researches. Without doubt, he was the one who made the greatest discoveries. He was born Christian, with the belief in trinity, but when he made his began his (religious) researches, he came to the conclusion that Allah (God Almighty) cannot be three, that there is only one God and he said that the universe as a whole give the necessary testimonial of the existence of one God. He proved with the help of Allah that the Trinitarian beliefs and arguments of the Christians did not have any link with Jesus himself.

This is the kind of intellectual that we need. It was not only on the basis of his discoveries that he rejected Christianity, but he went further in his researches till the time of Jesus and the original verses of the Bible. He analysed all books, even the Torah which came before, and also the Ancient and New Testament. He reached the conclusion that these deformed beliefs of Christianity which the Christians present (these days) have no link with the Ancient and New Testament. Because of this, he said that he cannot have faith in such beliefs and that it is a fact that there is only one God. The God of Moses and Jesus is the same God. When he made his beliefs clear, therefore despite his intelligence, having got an international recognition, despite the fact the University of Cambridge considered it a great honour to have him as professor in the University, but once he announced his belief in one God, then they began dishonouring him and call him names. And the Church went against him, saying that he did not have any connection with religion. But it is a fact that Newton abandoned trinity and returned on the belief of one God. Despite all the scheming which these people did against him, he did not let their talks affect him and stayed firm in his faith in one God.

There are other examples of those kinds of intellectuals, philosophers, men of justice who rejected the belief of Christianity concerning trinity and adopted the belief in one God. But writers who came after them also took these people as heretics, as atheists, as those who do not have any connection with religion.

The first message is that it is not at all correct to reject those kinds of people completely, and label them as atheists, as enemies of God. They paid a great price for their belief in the unity of God. Thus, today if you sever connection with the majority of those who are atheist, only because that they are atheists, then they shall never come towards religion (that is, Islam, the true faith), and if you sever connection with them, and you do not invite them towards Allah, then it shall be a great error from your part. If you call them (that is, a certain category of among those people – those who are diehard atheists) towards ISLAM, but here also you will be acting against the wisdom of the Quran.

People who do not have any certitude on Allah, as One GOD, therefore they shall certainly not come to any religion. The first basis which is most fundamental is that there must be belief in Allah. One can make countless debates with these category of people, and tell them the true (negative and defective) state of today’s Christianity compared to the truthfulness and beauty of Islam, but despite all this, this shall have no real effect on them. This is the lesson which Allah gives us in the Kalima (Shahada): “Laa Ilaaha Illallah” (There is no God but Allah) and only afterwards says “Muhammadur Rassulullah” (Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah).

Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him) has put much emphasis in the importance of “Laa Ilaaha Illallah” (There is no God but Allah) that on one occasion he said that the one who says: “Laa Ilaaha Illallah” (There is no God but Allah), he shall enter Paradise. He did not even stress upon his own apostleship! The truth is that it is in “Laa Ilaaha Illallah” (There is no God but Allah) itself which all apostleship are found or included. That is because when you say that there is no god to be worshipped except Allah, then how do you think one can gain connection with this Allah (God Almighty)? It is through apostleship, through the coming of prophets that one can gain this connection. And just after mentioning “Laa Ilaaha Illallah” (There is no God but Allah), only then does Allah mentions “Muhammadur Rassulullah” (Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah).

Therefore, if you call them towards apostleship, and you do not direct their attention to “Laa Ilaaha Illallah” (There is no God but Allah), therefore this move shall prove worthless, without any result. It is like a blackboard on which there is much grease, and you cannot write on it. You have to clean it first. Likewise you have to remove the grease of atheism first, and then afterwards you shall see how they shall come towards Islam. But in the present times, and especially in our era, if you talk Islam with them, they shall at once rise up and go away or flee. They shall keep their distance, and if they do listen to you, but they will do so in a bored way, without demonstrating any interest. You shall not be able to attain the hearts of those people by comparing Christianity with Islam. There is only one way.
Allah is saying to invite them to Allah. Each person can adopt a different way. And each person feels that he must come to Allah. Therefore when you plan for a Dawa Academy, you must do such plans according to these ways (or paths you have chosen to invite them to Islam).

A Severe Warning to the Mullah Class of Pakistan

Due to restricted time, Insha-Allah I shall continue on the same subject next Friday. But before I end (this sermon), I wish to give a severe warning to PAKISTAN and its Mullahs who think that the patent of faith-giving is found in their hands. We present our sincere condolences to the families of all the Ahmadi Muslims who have been martyred these last few days by cowards who pretends to be Muslims but who in fact have great hatred for the people who have believed and accepted the Messiah Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (upon him be peace). The people who did such grievous crimes, their consequences shall be grievous, to such extent that a great divine wrath shall befall them. They have persisted in their campaign and hatred against the Ahmadi Muslims, by killing them and removing the Shahada from the Mosques, houses and even tombs of Ahmadi Muslims. Verily, the calamity which they are asking for shall befall them. It is not tears which shall be shed then, but they shall shed tears of blood.

May Allah give us all the Tawfiq to not become unworthy and stupid like these so-called Mullahs of this era, those who have great hatred against their own brothers, sisters and children who have believed in an excellent servant of God, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (upon him be peace), the Messiah of his era. May Allah give patience and steadfastness to the families of the victims (martyrs), and bless them in such a way that they do not fear any other except Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. Insha-Allah, Ameen.

May Allah give us all the Tawfiq to help ourselves first to our own selves to Islam, so that when Islam is well established in us, we may then be able to invite others towards Islam. When this shall be, people shall perceive the true beauty of Islam through our own selves. Insha-Allah. Ameen.