by Talib al-‘Ilm
Consider this analogy:
”Imagine three children, Yusuf, Abdullah and Ibrahim, aged 3, 5 and 7, respectively. Who is the last child? It is Yusuf, he is the youngest. Now say after 60 years they begin to return to Allah. Yusuf dies first, then Ibrahim. Abdullah remains alive. Who is the last child now? Abdullah. “Last Child” is relative to what? Last in age or last in death?” (Farhan Khan)
On occasion I must admit that it is a matter of some bemusement for me that the opponents of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat often structure their arguments in such a way as to unwittingly support the Ahmadi cause. I have at time metaphorically rolled my eyes to the back of my head and sighed, and I have, I do admit, at times, allowed myself the simple pleasure of an inward chuckle. Yet if I was to be openly ask why this phenomena repeats itself again and again, I would honestly have to admit to being confused over it myself. I suspect it might be because such opponents, when refuted by logic, become increasingly desperate and desperate men have desperate thoughts – their thinking becomes twisted, slithering and sliding into all those mentally hidden chambers of logic where sobriety would not allow it, looking for any half opportunity to let loose its poison before settling on, what to the unprejudiced, upright and sincere man, can never be considered unreasonable.
So for example, certain ulema’ have boasted that they have persecuted the Ahmadi community more than the Quraysh persecuted the early Muslim, quite unwittingly substituting themselves for the Quraysh and the Ahmadis for the early Muslims. Others have written books against the community claiming that the Promised Messiah (as) filled his books with insults, lies and exaggerations, yet their very own books are so full of insults, lies and exaggerations that even their own followers have held their heads in shame. I am sure many of our Ahmadi readers will know the feeling; the bizarreness you feel when your opponents begins ranting on, looses himself and suddenly you find yourself in that twilight moment where it dawns upon you that if your opponent actually understood the import of what he was saying he would actually realise that he is uttering words of support for you rather than against you.
Such at least is the case with me in regards to Farhan. Farhan authored an email some time ago which ultimately ended up in my inbox. It contained (as these emails usually do) many points in a scatter gun approach which always makes things messy in responding – not because the issues posed were of any nuanced complexity, but more so because responding to unstructured allegations which jump from here to there tend to generate more heat than light. Yet knowing that a writer only needs to focus on one issue in detail to highlight inconsistency across the board, I thought it best to focus on the key issue of the email in this piece.
In the email was the quote I have put at the top of this article; an argument attributed to Farhan himself to try and reconcile the inherent contradiction that the non-Ahmadi Islamic world finds itself in when Jesus returns from the heavens. How can Jesus be a later prophet than the Holy Prophet, Muhammad (sas) when (as per Farhan’ claim) no prophet can come after the Holy Prophet (sas)? The analogy given at the outset of the articles stood wanting and alone in its attempt to explain lastness having several different meanings (only one of which apparently is acceptable to Farhan). In the given example of Yusuf, Abdullah and Ibrahim, aged 3, 5 and 7, respectively with Abdullah remaining alive after the death of the other two, what does the “last” signify?
Certainly when the three were alive the answer may be that Yusuf could have been said to have been the last. But if you asked the question at the point when only Abdullah remains I can almost guarantee that four out of every five people would say Abdullah is the last. Trying to profit out of induced confusion that Yusuf was the youngest profits no-one. The analogy is so clear it actually works in the favour of the Ahmadi Muslim position. Take this analogy across to the domain of prophethood. Jesus (as) returns as a prophet (as per Sahih Muslim) well after the death of the Holy Prophet (sas). At the point when he returns who is the last prophet? (Answer truthfully, be honest now).
In previous posts it has been pointed out that those who blindly oppose the Promised Messiah (as) for the sake of it without considering the merits of the points put forward in his favour with an open heart will ultimately fall on their sword. Farhan may or may not be beyond my call, but I would ask all other non-Ahmadis reading this to make a conscious effort not leap into alleyways of peripheral logic that lead nowhere in blind opposition, but to instead make a considered honest attempt to assess the matter at hand for what it actually is. If you do, may Allah reward you.
NB Further Food For Thought
A close friend emails me another point in the email, pointing out facts as he does with his usual depth of knowledge and expertise – I leave you to his good words:
“However, just got one point that may be worth mentioning if you feel or agree with it; it’s regarding the hadith about the 70 odd sects. I always find it interesting that the Holy Prophet spoke and prophesised that his ummah will resemble the Jews like one shoe to another, and that all will be in the fire except one. From that, I understand that all but one sect will resemble the Jews, so often I ask my Mullah buddies how they are not like the Jews and all remaining sects are. Haven’t received a good answer, the only one I do receive is that everyone else twists the Quran while we don’t.
Yet, this is clearly the case for the Ahmadis, in that the vast majority of other sects maintain very similar to early Jewish beliefs regarding the Messiah:
The Messiah would be a Kingly Messiah, in that he would rule over the Kingdom of Israel and wage war on the Gentiles, the war will be physical and cover the entire world.
Some Jews awaited the second physicaly descend of Prophet Elijah before the coming of the Messiah.
Some Jewish interpretations speak of the Messiah breathing fire from his mouth and killing his enemies. (I recall a similar hadith regarding the Promised Messiah)
That the Messiah would come at the end of days.
The Messiah will be of Davidic descent (Like the Mahdi being a descendant of the Holy Prophet)
The Messiah will judge the earth with truth (Like the Mahdi?)
After the Messiah, the world will be at peace and there will be no more wars etc.
Jesus did not fulfil any of the above literally, and so was rejected by the Jews. History repeats itself…”
Thank-you friend, I couldn’t have put it better myself.