Lately, we have testified through the media how African Muslims, especially those from Central Africa easily fall prey to rebels and extremists of other religions. The latter are desperate to finish Islam and the Muslims. They move heaven and earth to reach their goals because they take the religion of Islam and its teachings as a curse (God forbid).
Therefore, my sermon today is devoted only on a message of peace and goodwill. This is an appeal to the conscience of man. Islam did not come to declare war on the ancient and contemporary religions. It recognizes the truth of the everlasting source of the spiritual river from the past, expanding from century to century, until the time when God, in His wisdom, solemnly declared: “Today I have perfected for you your religion and I have completed My favour upon you, and I have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (5: 4)
Islam recognizes the universality of Spirituality
The Holy Qur’an has never rejected the essential truths established by the religions that preceded it. Instead, it openly states that it confirms these truths and includes them in its text. In fact this serves to keep them in their original purity, freed from changes (innovations) that have been added over the centuries. This free, frank and generous recognition of the revealed (that is, divinely sourced) religions of yesteryears, with clear statements such as: “for every nation there is a guide.” (13: 8) and “there was no nation but that there had passed within it a warner.” (35: 25) puts Islam on a pedestal of incomparable beauty in the eyes of world religions.
We can say that the Messiah of the past century Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian, established the truth and made it easily understandable for people. For example, he wrote that guides of any country, whose teachings have lasted for quite some time and have been recognized by most men, must have been sent by God for the simple reason that Allah never decrees the victory of false prophets.
His statement that the teachings of the prophet Buddha, of Krishna, Ramchandra were probably from divine source, agrees entirely with that. In his writings, he speaks of the religious leaders with respect. He did not deny the fact that with the passage of time, changes or interpolations have modified the original teachings of these great masters. The essence of these first teachings was undoubtedly the unity of the Divine Being, Allah – the Perfect One, and it is on this fundamental truth that rested all revealed religions. This basic principle (Tawhid), from which emanate many spiritual truths and moral laws, could be then used, thought the Holy Prophet(saw), as crossroads for the divinely sourced religions of that time. After his emigration to Medina, while the newborn state, that is, Islam was confronting difficult conditions that arose from the different religious beliefs and political interests in conflicts of a heterogeneous people, the Holy Prophet (saw), anxious to establish peace, held the olive branch, thus addressing the people:
“O People of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah.” (3: 65).
The solemn call of the Holy Prophet (saw) to the common formula, that is, the worship of One God, Tawhid, could not have been made in vain to those whom it was intended. And within a few years, this call went beyond the borders of Arabia, and thousands of people across Asia, Africa and Europe, sooner or later, answered it.
Islam: Progressive Influence on Human History
Islam is a faith that unifies in a supreme way and does not divide. One of the blessings that Islam has made to the East and the West has been the emphasis on the Divine unity at a critical moment in human history.
Islam was for Europe and India, in their darkest removals from the sovereign truth of the oneness of God, a corrective and preventive measure of incalculable value. Indeed, without the final emphasis put on the truth of Islam by its central location between India and Europe, we wonder if the idea of the one God would have found a place that remains unchallenged in nowadays’ intellectual world. Like I explained in my past Friday Sermons, these people recognise the truthfulness of Islam and the actuality and functionality of the teachings of the Holy Quran, but they pretend not to recognise it when in fact, they have taken the laws the Quran to implement them for the construction of their countries.
Contribution to Universal Brotherhood and Human Rights
The absolutely logical conception of a united humanity therefore emanates from the belief in a Supreme God. The Prophet of Islam (saw) incessantly preached the uniqueness of Allah and that the whole human race was his family. This led to the great conception of the brotherhood of man. On the one hand, the duty of a Muslim is to worship his creator, the only true God, and the other is to serve men who are his brothers. The Holy Prophet (saw) knew perfectly well that if the conception of the brotherhood of man must become more than an idealistic dream, becoming a tangible reality, therefore it should first of all be put into practice in his own country.
From Strife and Discord to Peace and Harmony
The Holy Prophet (saw) thought that the brutality of the old bloody feuds among Arab tribes should, be reduced to a minimum, and the path should be drawn to gradually unite them all into a single nation, one brotherhood. There was indeed God’s help in this endeavour. The Holy Prophet (saw), helped by the Holy Spirit, began the task assigned. History says that revolutionary changes took place in the religious, social and political spheres of the country. Islamic brotherhood was established during the lifetime itself of the Holy Prophet (saw).
The Qur’an alludes to this new fraternity in these words:
“And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favour of Allah upon you - when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favour, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.” (3: 104)
After the death of the Holy Prophet (saw), the four caliphs, especially Hazrat Umar (ra), encouraged the spirit of Islamic brotherhood by their precepts and examples.
I will stop here for today. Insha-Allah, I will continue on this subject next Friday. May Allah grant us all Muslims the grace to firmly hold the torch of Islam, so that the world finally realizes the truth of this unique religion that God instituted for all men (humans). And at the same time that people from other religions realize their mistakes, and stop blaspheming Islam and persecuting Muslims, and they come forward for peace. Insha-Allah, Ameen.
-Extracts from the Friday Sermon of February 28, 2014 by the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba)