Palestine-Israel Conflict: A Brief History From the Muslim Perspective

Following is an excerpt taken from Tamim Ansary’s book Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes pg. 320-324. Please note that the title here is my own and Ansary put this piece under the chapter ‘The Crisis of Modernity’.


The most problematic single territory for the competing claims of nationalism versus nation-statism was Palestine, soon to be known as Israel. Before and during World War II, the Nazis’ genocidal attempt to exterminate the Jews of Europe confirmed the worst fears of Zionists and gave their argument for a sovereign Jewish homeland overwhelming moral weight, especially since the Nazis were not the only anti-Semites in Europe, only the most extreme. The fascists of Italy visited horrors upon Italian Jews, the French puppet government set up by the Germans hunted down French Jews for their Nazi masters, the Poles and other Eastern Europeans collaborated enthusiastically in operating death camps, Great Britain had its share of anti-Semites, Spain, Belgium – no part of Europe could honestly claim innocence of the crime committed against the Jews in this period. Millions of Jews were trapped in Europe and perished there. All who could get away escaped in whatever direction lay open. Boatloads of Jewish refugees ended up drifting over the world’s seas, looking for places to land. A few were able to make their way to the United States and resettle there, but even the united States imposed strict quotas on Jewish immigration, presumably because a single country could absorb only so many immigrants of any one group; but just perhaps some anti-Semitism was mixed into that policy as well.

The one place where the refugees could land was Palestine. There, earlier immigrants had bought land, planted settlements, and developed some infrastructure of support. Toward that slender hope of safety, therefore, the refugees headed, overcoming heroic hardships to begin building a new nation in an ancient land inhabited by their ancestors. Such was the shape of the story from the Jewish side.

From the Arab side, the story looked different. The Arabs had long been living under two layers of domination by outsiders, the first layer being the Turks, the next the Turks’ European bosses. Then, in the wake of World War I, amidst all the rhetoric about “self-rule” and all the hope aroused by Wilson’s Fourteen Points, their land was flooded by new settlers from Europe, who slogan was said to be “a land without a people for a people without a land” – an alarming slogan for people living in the “land without a people.”

The new European immigrants didn’t seize land by force; they bought the land they settled; but they bought it mostly from absentee landlords, so they ended up living among landless peasants who felt doubly dispossessed by the aliens crowding in among them. What happened just before and during World War II in Palestine resembled what happened earlier in Algeria when French immigrants bought up much of the land and planted a parallel economy there, rendering the original inhabitants irrelevant. By 1945, the Jewish population of Palestine almost equaled the Arab population. If one were to translate that influx of newcomers to the American context, it would be as if 150 million refugees flooded in within a decade. How could that not lead to turmoil?

In the context of the European narrative, the Jews were victims. In the context of the Arab narrative, they were colonizers with much the same attitudes toward the indigenous population as their fellow Europeans. As early as 1862, a German Zionist, Moses Hess, had drummed up support for political Zionism by proposing that “the state the Jews would establish in the heart of the Middle East would serve Western imperial interests and at the same time help bring Western civilization to the backward East.” The seminal Zionist Theodor Herzl wrote that a Jewish state in Palestine would “form a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism.” In 1914, Chaim Weitzman wrote a letter to the Manchester Guardian stating that if a Jewish settlement could be established in Palestine “we could have in twenty or thirty years a million Jews out there…They would develop the country, bring back civilization to it and form a very effective guard for the Suez Canal.” Arabs who saw the Zionist project as European colonialism in thin disguise were not inventing a fantasy out of whole cloth: Zionists saw the project that way too, or at least represented it as as such to the imperialist powers whose support they needed.

In 1936, strikes and riots broke out among the Arabs of Palestine, serving notice that the situation was spiraling out of control. In a clumsy effort to placate the Arabs, Great Britain issued an order limiting further Jewish immigration to Palestine, but this order came in 1939, with World War II about to break out and the horrors of Nazism fully manifest to European Jews: there was no chance that Jewish refugees would comply with the British order; it would have been suicidal. Instead, militant organizations sprang up among the would-be Jewish settlers, and since they were a dispossessed few fighting the world-straddling British Empire, some of these militant Jewish groups resorted to the archetypal strategy of the scattered weak against the well-organized mighty: hit and run raids, sabotage, random assassinations, bombings of places frequented by civilians – in short, terrorism.

In 1946, the underground Jewish militant group Haganah bombed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing ninety-one ordinary civilians, the most destructive single act of terrorism until 1988, when Libyan terrorists brought down a civilian airliner, Pan Am Flight 103, over Scotland, killing 270.

The horrors of Nazism proved the Jewish need for a secure place of refuge, but Jews did not come to Palestine pleading for refuge so much as claiming entitlement. They insisted they were not begging for a favor but coming home to land that was theirs by right. They based their claim on the fact that their ancestors had lived there until the year 135 CE and that even in diaspora they had never abandoned hope of returning. “Next year in Jerusalem” was part of the Passover service, a key cultural and religious rite in Judaism. According to Jewish doctrine, God had given the disputed land to the Hebrews and their descendants as part of His covenant with Abraham, Arabs, of course, were not persuaded by a religious doctrine that assigned the land they inhabited to another people, especially since the religion was not theirs.

In the aftermath of World War II, the United States led efforts to create new political mechanisms for keeping the peace, one of which was the United Nations. Palestine was just the sort of issue the United Nations was designed to resolve. In 1947, therefore, the United Nations crafted a proposal to end the quarrel by dividing the disputed territory and creating two new nations. Each competing part would get three patches of curiously interlocking land, and Jerusalem would be a separate international city belonging to neither side. The total territories of the proposed new nations, Israel and Palestine, would be roughly equal. Essentially, the United Nations was saying ,”It doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong; let’s just divide the land and move on.” This is the sort of solution that adults typically impose on quarreling children.

But Arabs could not agree that both sides had a point and that the truth lay somewhere in the middle: they felt that a European solution was being imposed on them for a European problem, or more precisely that Arabs were being asked to sacrifice their land as compensation for a crime visited by Europeans on Europeans. The Arabs of surrounding lands sympathized with their fellows in Palestine and saw their point; the world at large did not. When the matter was put to a vote in the General Assembly of the United Nations, the vast majority of non-Muslim countries voted yes to partition.

Most Arabs had no personal stake in the actual issue: the birth of Israel would not strip an Iraqi farmer of his land or keep some Moroccan shopkeeper from prospering in his business – yet most Arabs and indeed most Muslims could wax passionate about who got Palestine. Why? Because the emergence of Israel had emblematic meaning for them. It meant that Arabs (and Muslims generally) had no power, that imperialists could take any part of their territory, and that no one outside the Muslim world would side with them against a patent injustice. The existence of Israel signified European dominance over Muslims, Arab and non-Arab, and over the people of Asia and Africa generally. That’s how it looked from almost any point between the Indus and Istanbul.

On May 15, 1948, Israel declared itself born. Immediately, Arab armies attacked from three sides, determined to crush the new country before it could take its first breath. But instead, Israel did the crushing, routing the armies of its three Arab adversaries, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, and so it was Palestine, not Israel, that became the stillborn child. When the war ended, a war that Israel remembers as their War of Independence but that Arabs called the Catastrophe, some seven hundred thousand Arabs found themselves homeless and stateless, living as refugees in the neighboring Arab countries. The lands that were supposed to become Palestine were annexed (mostly by Jordan). The bulk of the Arab refugees collected on the West Bank of the Jordan River, where they seethed and stewed and sometimes staged small raids into the land that had once been theirs.

In the aftermath of the war of 1948, the Arabs lost the public relations battle even more drastically than they had lost their land. For one thing, some prominent Arabs publicly and constantly disputed Israel’s “right to exist.” They were speaking within the framework of the nationalist argument: Zionists wanted Israel to exist, the Arabs of Palestine wanted Palestine to exist, and since they claimed the same territory, both could not exist: the assertion of each nation’s “right to exist” was inherently a denial of the other nation’s “right to exist.” But in the shadow of the Nazis’ attempted genocide, asserting that Israel had no right to exist sounded like saying, “Jews have no right to exist.”

To make matters worse, at least one Arab notable made no bones about actually endorsing Nazi anti-Semitism. This was the Mufti of Jerusalem, who had lived in Nazi Germany during the war and now spouted racism from many pulpits including his radio broadcasts. The weight of world opinion, the tone of media reporting, and the rantings of Arabs such as this mufti subtly conflated the Arab cause with Nazism in the public mind, especially in the West. Arabs not only lost the argument about the land but in the process became the Bad Guys who deserved to lose their land. This combination of feeling wronged and feeling vilified fed a spiraling resentment that rotted into the very anti-Semitism of which Muslims stood accused.

Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence: Brief Introduction

by Shaykh ‘Abdur-Rahmân ibn Nâsir as-Sa’dî

From Ahya.org

Prologue

[Risaalah Lateefah Jaami’ah fee Usoolil-Fiqhil-Muhimmah, which is part of Manhajus-Saalikeen wa Tawdeehul-Fiqh bid-Deen (pp.101-112)]

All praise belongs to Allaah. So we praise Him for what He possess from His beautiful Names and lofty and perfect Attributes; and for His Judgement and Decree which encompasses everything in existence; and for His Divinely Prescribed Laws which encompass every field of legislation; and His Judgement concerning rewards for the doers of good, and punishments for the criminals.

I testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah alone, who has no partner in His Names. Attributes or Judgement. And I testify that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger; who clarified the Judgement and the rulings, made clear the halaal (lawful) and the haraam (prohibited), and established the fundamentals and expounded upon them – until the Religion was completed and establsihed firmly. O Allaah extol and send the blessings of peace upon Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and those that follow them, particularly the Scholars.

To proceed: This is a brief essay concerning usoolul-fiqh (fundamentals of jurisprudence), uncomplicated in wording, clear in meaning, and useful in learning its rulings for whosoever contemplates its meanings. We ask Allaah that He benefits both its compiler and its reader. Indeed He is the Most Generous.

Chapter 1
Usoolul-Fiqh: it is the science concerning the comprehensive evidences of fiqh. Since fiqh consist of either [i] masaa‘il (issues) concerning which the ruling by one of the five rulings is sought, or [ii] it is the dalaa‘il (evidences) employed in extracting and determining these masaa‘il (issues). So fiqh is actualy knowledge of the masaa‘il (issues) and the dalaa‘il (evidences).

These dalaa‘il (evidences) are of two types:-

Comprehensive evidences that encompass every ruling – from the beginning to the end of fiqh – of a single kind; such as our saying: “al-amr lil-wujoob (a command is indicative of an obligation).” Or: “an-nahee lit-tahreem (a forbiddance is indicative of a prohibition).” And other similar evidences. So these are part of usoolul-fiqh

Detailed evidences that are to be understood in the light of the comprehensive evidences. So when such is completed, then the ahkaam (rulings) can be resolved.

Thus, the ahkaam (rulings) are in need of their detailed evidences, and the detailed evidences are themselves in need of comprehensive evidences. So by this, we recognise the need and the necessity of knowing usoolul-fiqh, and that it aids in the understanding of fiqh itself, and that it is the foundations for deducing and making ijtihaad in the ahkaam (rulings).

Chapter 2
The ahkaam (rulings) upon which fiqh revolve are five:-

Waajib (obligation): that for which the one who performs it is rewarded, whilst the one who abandons it is punished.

Haraam (prohibition): this is the opposite of an obligation.

Masnoon (recommended): that for which the one who performs it is rewarded, whilst the one who leaves it is not punished.

Makrooh (detested): this is the opposite of a recommendation.

Mubaah (permissible): this is where both (its doing or leaving) are equivalent.
Those rulings which are waajib (obligatory) are divided into two catagories: fard ’ayn (individual obligation), the doing of which is sought from every mukallaf (morally responsible), baaligh (mature) ’aaqil (sane) person. The majority of the Sharee’ah rulings enter into this catagory. The second is fard kifaayah (collective obligation), the performance of which is sought from the morally responsible collectively, but not from every individual specifcally; such as the learning of the various branches of useful knowledge and useful industries; the adhaan; the commanding of good and forbidding of evil; and other similar matters.

These five rulings differ widely in accordance with its state, its levels and its effects.
Thus, whatever is of pure or of overwhelming maslah (benefit), then the Shaari’ (Lawgiver) has commanded its performance with either an obligation or a recommendation. Whatever is of pure, or of overwhelming mafsadah (harm), then the Lawgiver has stopped its doing with either an absolute prohibition or dislike. So this asl (fundamental principle) encompasses all matters commanded of prohibited by the Lawgiver.

As for those matters which the Lawgiver has permitted and allowed, then at times they lead to that which is good, and so are joined to those matters which have been commanded; and at other times they lead to that which is evil, and so are joined to those matters which are prohibited. So this is a great asl that: “al-wasaa‘ilu lahaa ahkaamul-maqaasid (the means take on the same ruling as their aims).”

From this we learn that: “maa yatimmul-waajib illaa bihi fahuwa waajib (whatever is required to fulfill an obligation is itself an obligation).” Likewise, whatever is required to fufill a masnoon (recomendation) is itself recommened. Whatever leads to the establishment of a haraam (prohibition) is itself prohibited. And whatever leads to the establishment of a makrooh (detested act) is itself detested.

Continue reading

Ali Never Said, “Do Not Force Your Children to Be Like You, They Have Been Created For a Time Different Than Yours”

Firstly, despite it’s popularity over social media, such a statement was never said by Ali, the fourth caliph and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), nor anyone else from among the righteous predecessors. It is said to be a statement of Socrates as mentioned by Ibn Qayyim in Ighatha Al-Lahfan and by Shahristani in Al-Milal wa Al-Nahl. It was also said that it is a statement of Plato as mentioned in Lubaab Al-Adaab.

Secondly, the meaning of the statement may be correct if it pertains to virtuous acts that are not legislated in Islamic law. Acts which are not religiously obligated cannot be forced on to the children. For example, if a certain non-obligatory virtuous act is followed in a particular time period but becomes difficult to implement in later times due to change in circumstances, then parents should not force their children to abide by it just because they used to in their days.

However, if it is a religiously obligated virtuous act, then parents have every right to pass it on to their children as much as possible and a change in time will have no effect on its obligation. For example, honesty, trustworthiness, leaving sin, abiding by clear and explicit commands of the Qur’an and Sunnah, etc. will never cease to change with time and place. The righteous predecessors used to learn their behavior from their elders as some of the people of knowledge stated:

“Ibn Mas’ud used to resemble the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in his guidance, conduct, and character. ‘Alqamah used to resemble Ibn Mas’ud in these things. Ibrahim used to resemble ‘Alqama, Mansoor used to resemble Ibrahim, Sufyan used to resemble Mansoor, Wakee’ used to resemble Sufyan, Ahmad used to resemble Wakee’, and Abu Dawud used to resemble Ahmad bin Hanbal” (Al-Bidayah wa Al-Nihayah 14/618).

In other words, all of these people learned from their teacher, starting with the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), who passed it on to his student Ibn Mas’ud and he to his student ‘Alqamah and so on all the way down to Abu Dawud. They passed the same key aspects of guidance, conduct, and character down the generations.

Source: Islam-qa & Islamweb

Why Mainstream Muslims Cannot Accept Ahmadis As Muslims

Disclaimer: Following article is written from an exclusively theological point of view and in no way suggests unjust persecution of Ahmadi community. Harassment and persecution against any community is wrong and should never be tolerated. People are free to believe and not believe as they want. A Muslim’s job is only to deliver the message truthfully and clearly:

“The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills – let him believe; and whoever wills – let him disbelieve” (Qur’an 18:29).

“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong” (Qur’an 2:256).


Mirza Ghulam Ahmad: Founder of the Ahmadi Sect

One of the core, indisputable, and uncompromising beliefs of mainstream Islam is that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the last and final prophet of Allah. There is no one coming after him. He was the last one to be sent to mankind. The revelation has permanently stopped. This is a core principle of our faith and is not up for debate. Any person who claims to be a prophet after Muhammad (pbuh) or believes in a prophet after him can never join the ranks of Muslims according to the consensus of Muslim theologians since the days of the early Muslims. This idea is embodied within the testimony of faith (shahada), which is uttered by every single new convert before entering the religion:

“I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.”

This idea of no prophet coming after Muhammad (pbuh) is not something that Muslim theologians just made up, rather, it has roots in the primary sources of Islamic law: Qur’an and Hadiths. For example, Allah is very explicit in the Qur’an when He says:

“Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets. And ever is Allah , of all things, Knowing” [Qur’an 33:40].

Pretty much all mainstream Muslim scholars have understood this verse to mean that prophethood ends with Muhammad (pbuh). Similarly, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) explicitly made numerous statements, in which he left no room for interpretation, that show that he was indeed the last and final prophet:

“If there was to be a Prophet after me, it would have been Umar bin Al-Khattab” (Tirmidhi).

“The Hour will not be established till there appear about thirty liars, all of whom will be claiming to be the messengers of Allah” (Bukhari).

“I have some names: I am Muhammad, I am Ahmad, I am Al-Mahi, the one by whom Allah wipes out disbelief, I am Al-Hashir, the one whom the people are gathered at his feet, and I am Al-‘Aqib, the one after whom there is no Prophet” (Tirmidhi).

“The children of Israel used to be ruled and guided by prophets: Whenever a prophet died, another would take over his place. There will be no prophet after me, but there will be caliphs who will increase in number” (Bukhari).

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said to his cousin and son in law Ali, “Will you not be pleased that you will be to me like Aaron to Moses? But there will be no prophet after me” (Bukhari).

Even the companions of Muhammad (pbuh) knew this fact. It is reported that when one of the companions was asked about Ibrahim, the infant son of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and he replied:

“He died in his early childhood. Had there been a prophet after Muhammad then his son would have lived, but there is no prophet after him” (Bukhari).

The only prophetic personality that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) spoke about that would come after him was Jesus:

“The Hour will not be established until the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you as a just ruler” (Bukhari).

“Jesus son of Mary will descend at the white minaret to the east of Damascus” (Abu Dawud).

Therefore, whoever believes that there is a prophet after Muhammad (pbuh), cannot be considered a Muslim under mainstream Islam. Such a person is directly contradicting a basic and fundamental tenet of Islam. Being a Muslim is not just about identity. Being Muslim means agreeing with and abiding by the basic tenets of Islam. Just as being vegan means agreeing with and abiding by the laws of veganism. If someone were to eat meat and call himself/herself a vegan, then such a claim would never be accepted by the vegan community because he/she is contradicting the very basic concept and tenet of being vegan: avoiding animal products.

The Ahmadi sect is a religious movement founded in Punjab, British India, near the end of the 19th century by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908). He began his activities as a caller to Islam, and once he began to have followers, he claimed to be a Mujadid (reviver) inspired by Allah. Then he took a further step and claimed to be the awaited Mahdi and the Promised Messiah. Then he claimed to be a Prophet. Therefore, he slowly progressed his claims. His followers believe that new prophets after Muhammad (pbuh) can come but that they must be subordinate to Muhammad (pbuh) and will not be able to exceed him in excellence nor alter his teaching or bring any new law or religion. This is quite strange because during the early phase of his preaching, Mirza Ghlam Ahmad used to say things like:

“I believe in all the items of faith as prescribed by the Sunni School of Islam and I accept everything that is according to the Quran and Hadith. I fully subscribe to the doctrine that Muhammad is the last of all Prophets, and that any claimant to Prophethood after him is an impostor and a Kafir (infidel). It is my belief that the revelations of Prophethood started with Adam and closed with the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)” (Majmuha-Estaharet, P. 230-231; Tableegh-i-Risalat, Vol 2, p. 2).

“I consider that man who rejects the doctrine of Last Prophethood is a disbeliever and outside the pale of Islam” (Tableegh-i-Risalat, Vol 2, Page 44).

“Muhayyuddin Ibnul Arabi wrote that the lawgiving prophethood has ended with Mhammad, peace be on him but non-lawgiving prophethood has not. I believe that doors to all kinds of prophethood have been closed” (Al-Hakam, April 10, 1903).

In 1914 the Ahmadis split into two sects: Qadiani Ahmadis, which consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad a prophet after Muhammad (pbuh), and Lahori Ahmadis. The latter categorically reject Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as a prophet and only consider him to be a Mujadid and the awaited Mahdi. Some mainstream Muslim scholars have argued that the Lahoris are internally the same in beliefs as Qadianis despite outwardly rejecting Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as a prophet. They have used statements made by the founder of the Lahori sect, Muhammad Ali, as proof.

The Ahmadis understand the explicit verse of the Qur’an and hadiths mentioned above to be metaphorical and not literal. They take the above religious textual citations to mean that Muhammad (pbuh) was the last law-bearing prophet. They claim that Allah can send new prophets after Muhammad (pbuh) and send revelations (wahi) to them but they must be subordinate to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), thus, they cannot alter the divine law that was sent down to him. They cite the hadith about the second coming of Jesus mentioned above as evidence for this belief. They state that hadiths about “second coming of Jesus were metaphorical in nature and not literal, and that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad fulfilled in his person these prophecies and the second advent of Jesus.”

However, mainstream Muslims categorically reject these claims. Language is taken literally unless proven otherwise. If this was not the case, then anyone can take anything in the religious texts to mean anything. Religious texts in Islam are not written in code so that they must be deciphered to find hidden meanings. Rather, Allah and His Messenger were direct and clear about what they were saying. The messages in the Qur’an and hadiths are for the masses and they don’t speak generally in metaphor. Yes, there are some verses of the Qur’an and prophetic statements which are metaphorical but there are clear indications to suggest so, however, the mass amount of both texts is quite literal. This is why in the Qur’an Allah clearly states:

“It is He who has sent this Scripture down to you [Prophet]. Some of its verses are definite in meaning – these are the cornerstone of the Scripture – and others are ambiguous” [Qur’an 3:7].

Interestingly enough, the Lahori sect believes that all the explicit statements made by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad regarding his claims to be a prophet and receiving revelation are only metaphorical and not literal. Of course, the Qadiani sect does not accept this argument from them and understands Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s statements literally.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) literally mentioned Jesus by name as the son of Mary in the context of a second return. He never mentioned Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Also, Jesus was born before Muhammad (pbuh), thus, his second coming does not contradict with explicit texts which close the door of prophethood with Muhammad (pbuh). But a new prophet being born after Muhammad (pbuh) does clearly contradict it. This is why the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) mentioned Umar as the one that would have come after him if there was a prophet. Lastly, as many Muslim scholars have pointed out, Jesus will come again as an individual and follower of Muhammad (pbuh) and not as a prophet. This is clearly indicated by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in his statement mentioned earlier that Jesus will descend among us as a just ruler. He didn’t say prophet.

There have been many self-proclaimed Mahdis throughout Islamic history and the Muslims didn’t excommunicate them, provided they abstain from heterodoxy, rather, we just said they were deviant. But every person that claimed prophethood after the demise of Muhammad (pbuh), and there were plenty starting within the end of the life of Muhammad (pbuh) like Musaylimah, the mainstream Muslims excommunicated them all. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is no different. Ahmadis contradict the testimony of faith (shahadah). Muhammad (pbuh) was the last and final prophet of Allah. No one is coming after him whether with a new law or subordinate to him. Whoever contradicts this cannot be a Muslim in the view of mainstream Islam. This is no different than someone saying, “I believe that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, but I believe in demigods who are subordinate to Allah.” Such a person will never be acceptable as a Muslim to the mainstream because this person is contradicting the shahadah, a basic tenet. There are other odd beliefs from this movement that are not really in sync with mainstream Islam.

It is important to note that many Ahmadi writings also excommunicate those who do not believe in their false prophet. This is explicitly stated by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad himself and the religious leaders of the Ahmadi community as recorded in their own writings. This is ironic because today many Ahmadis complain against majority of the Muslim world for excommunicating them and not accepting them as fellow Muslims.

Among those who confronted Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in his lifetime from mainstream Islam was Shaykh Abu’l-Wafa’ Sanahullah Amristar, the leader of Jama’iyyat Ahl al-Hadeeth fi ‘Umoom al-Hind (The All-India Society of Ahl al-Hadeeth). He debated with him and refuted his arguments, revealing his ulterior motives, apostasy, and the deviation of his way. When Mirza Ghulam Ahmad did not come to his senses, Shaykh Abu’l-Wafa’ challenged him to come together and invoke the curse of Allah, such that the one who was lying would die in the lifetime of the one who was telling the truth. Within a month or so Mirza Ghulam Ahmad died, in May 1908. Shaykh Abu’l-Wafa’ remained alive for nearly forty more years and went on condemning Ahmadis during all that time.

For a thorough study of this sect from the perspective of mainstream Muslims, please look into the following:

Qadiyaniat – An Analytical Survey

Qadianism – A Critical Study

There is also a good discussion on Reddit’s r/Islam page here.

Caliphate of the Rightly Guided Caliphs vs the Umayyads

rightlyguidedumayyad

Map of Expansion of the Caliphates

The rightly guided caliphate was the period of spread of Islam to various corners of the world. The companions and the soldiers of Allah fought for the cause of Allah and to spread the revealed word of Allah to the far corners of the world. The four guided caliphs were not interested in worldly interests but preservation of the religion of Allah and abiding by the teachings of Muhammad (pbuh). As for Banu Umayyah, the love of the world had crept into their hearts and they transformed the honorable system of caliphate into a kingship. They began to indulge in worldly pursuits and the chasing of power. This alienated them from the common people especially the Islamic scholars, who would avoid them.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have said, “The caliphate of Prophecy will last thirty years; then Allah will give the kingdom to whom He wishes” (Abu Dawud). This is exactly what happened because after thirty years, the Umayyad dynasty took over and the caliphate system began to resemble the kingdoms of emperors and kings where the son inherits power from the father. This was the first most controversial difference between the first four caliphs and the Umayyad dynasty. This step was initiated by Mu’awiyah, the first Umayyad Caliph. Before him during the time of the rightly guided caliphs, the leader would be chosen by his peers or appointed by the previous caliph. But this changed when Mu’awiyah appointed his son Yazid to be caliph before his death. This was a new and alien concept never practiced before in Islam where a father appoints his own son, thereby, becoming a monarchy (Kuiper, 2012). Many of the companions contested to this, such as, Hussein, Ibn Umar, Ibn Zubayr, and others. They did not want the Islamic caliphate to turn into hereditary empires like the Romans and Persians. This very controversy led to another thing which never existed before: a second caliphate existing simultaneously in Mecca by Ibn Zubayr.

Another difference between the earlier righteous caliphate and the later Umayyad leadership was that the former focused on expansion due to concern for spreading the word and religion of Allah all across the world, whereas, the latter focused on secular issues and securing their own power interests. They began to focus on administrative concerns and trying to manage the large empire that was under their control even at the expense of ignoring religious concerns, which bothered many devout Muslims (Nawwab, Speers, & Hoye, 1968, p. 57). A brother would turn against brother, an uncle against nephew to try and remove power from one and secure it for himself. Execution of political opponents became a common phenomenon (Najibabadi, 2001, p. 119 & 166). Rather than trying to secure leadership of the next caliph to a worthy person, which was the way of the rightly guided caliphs, the Umayyad kings would do everything in their power to assure the success of their own sons to inherit it after them. Perhaps this is why after 90 years of leadership, they “rarely shook off their empire’s reputation as a mulk – that is, a worldly kingdom” (Nawwab, Speers, & Hoye, 1968, p. 63).

Another difference between the first four caliphs and the Umayyad dynasty was that the latter used money to secure power and influence people (Najibabadi, 2001, p. 253). They lived lavish lives and threw heavy loads of wealth on people to keep them content so that they will not oppose their leadership. They would even offer provinces for rule to opponents provided they accept the right of caliphate for the Umayyads and would be under them in hierarchy (Najibabadi, 2001, pp. 251-253). The first four caliphs, however, were beyond such petty politics. They took utmost care in ensuring that the public treasury is not used for personal gain. They would only take from it what was necessary to survive and even then would feel guilty about it. They would utilize the wealth that Allah granted them through conquests for what benefits Islam and the Muslims. This is because they were trained under the guardianship of the best man to walk the face of the earth: Muhammad (pbuh) (Najibabadi, 2001, p. 22). He had instilled within them a strong desire for the afterlife and Allah’s pleasure. Having lived a life of kufr and then converted, they appreciated the gift of Islam and did not take it for granted.

However, not everything about the Umayyad dynasty was bad. They had some good aspects as well. For example, the Umayyad Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz was an exception to all of the other caliphs. He was brought up in Medina around pious Muslim scholars and was a devout Muslim. When he came into power, he reversed many of the corrupt policies of the Umayyads particularly their obsession with worldly gains. He discontinued impermissible practices, such as, imposing of a poll tax on converts. Umar bin Abdul Aziz wanted to bring the government back to the example of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Because of his justice, he was well liked even by his enemies (Nawwab, Speers, & Hoye, 1980, p. 60). A descendent of Umar bin Al-Khattab through his mother, he had justice in his blood. He paid no attention to tribal loyalties as his predecessors and treated all Muslims equally (‘Umar II, 2007). He was liked by all segments of the Muslim society including his critics. (Kuiper, 2012)

In conclusion, the first four caliphs led an exemplary lifestyle as foretold by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). They did not waste their time chasing the worldly pleasures, rather, they focused on expanding the message of Islam far and wide and keep justice throughout the empire. They made sure to follow the example laid out to them by their beloved prophet and did not turn away from his teachings. The Umayyad dynasty, however, was completely self-centered and focused on expansion for the purpose of obtaining territory and wealth. They used this obtained fortune for self-interests or as bribes. The people did not view them as devout like the first four, rather, corrupt, stingy, vengeful, and unjust. Umar bin Abdul Aziz was their only caliph that tried to revive the earlier methodology of the first four caliphs among them, however, after his demise they went back to their old ways.


Bibliography

Kuiper, K. (Ed.). (2012, August 17). Umayyad Dynasty. Retrieved December 10, 2016, from Encyclopedia Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Umayyad-dynasty-Islamic-history

Najibabadi, A. S. (2001). The History of Islam (Vol. II). Riyadh: Darussalam.

Nawwab, I. I., Speers, P. C., & Hoye, P. F. (Eds.). (1968). Aramco and Its World—Arabia and the Middle East. Washington, D.C.: Arabian American Oil Company.

‘Umar II. (2007, July 11). Retrieved December 10, 2016, from Encyclopedia Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Umar-II