by Tahir Nasser
“He’s mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf…”
(King Lear III, vi, 19)
I cannot speak for others, but only for myself. Perhaps it was the carefree nature of my younger years (I’m only in my mid-twenties), but when the invasion into Afghanistan and Iraq occurred, in which the UK government itself was involved, I was not as anxious nor as unsettled then, than I am now, by even the mere proposition of an attack upon Syria by the United States and her allies.
Perhaps it is because since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I have – as the jester of King Lear would say – rid myself of the madness of trusting in the tameness of the Wolf. The Wolf invaded Iraq on a farcical lie and encouraged others to do the same. Today, the same rhetoric of “evidence” for the use of chemical weapons by Bashar Al–Assad, as opposed to the rebels of Syria, is spoken of as certainty by the Wolf, while the Fox (Russia – come on, keep up!) quietly reminds the Wolf that no such hard evidence has, as yet, been definitively produced. The Wolf hails from a country, don’t forget, that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (where’s that red line?), dropped napalm on the Japanese and the
Vietnamese, imposed sanctions on Iraq that killed an estimated 500,000 children over a decade after the first Gulf War (I’m sure I left the red line here somewhere) and recently used depleted Uranium shells in Fallujah, resulting in a generation of genetically deformed children. Thus it is that the moral posturing of the Wolf over red lines leaves more than a sour taste in the mouth.
Despite the multifarious theories surrounding the US’ motives for adopting a strong stance vis-a-vis Syria, it all amounts to political conjecture and there is, for me, a more unsettling reason that I am deeply concerned regarding the way this political drama is panning out. It has less to do with my modest political acumen and more to do with my religious background. As an Ahmadi Muslim, I am unnerved by the continuous and forceful speeches of the leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, to the World leaders, in which for the past few years or so, he has persistently been warning them of the possible imminence of World War III. He has spoken and addressed the US Congress on Capitol Hill, the Houses of Parliament, the European Parliament and the Military Leaders of Germany in Koblenz. As early as the beginning of 2012, he wrote letters of warning to the major World leaders such as President Obama, the Prime Minister of the UK, the German Chancellor, the then Prime Minister of Iran, the Ayatollah of Iran, the President of France, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Premier of China and to the King of Saudi Arabia. In each of these letters he has emphasised that unless they act towards each other and Mankind along the principles of Absolute Justice as outlined by the peaceful teachings of the Holy Qur’an – doing unto others as you would have them do unto you – then the world will be faced with the possibility of a Nuclear, Third World War.
In his most recent Friday Sermon, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad once again spoke of the need for absolute justice in the world and dangers associated with a war involving Syria. Opening his Sermon he stated: ”The current global situation is fast moving towards devastation. In particular the Syrian crisis could plunge the Arab world in great devastation and if foreign powers join in, the terrible damage ensuing will not be limited to some countries in Asia, but will be worldwide. Neither the countries in Asia, nor the world powers appreciate that this conflict could be a pre-cursor to a World War.”
This warning however, did not begin with the Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The warnings from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community have been present since its very inception. Its founder, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be upon him), referred to by Ahmadi Muslims as the ‘Promised Messiah’ or ‘Imam Mahdi’ and regarded as the fulfilment of the prophesies relating to a latter-day reformer within Islam, made it abundantly clear as far back as 1908 that a terrible war would, in the future, begin with a conflict in Syria:
“Sahibzadah Pir Sirajul-Haqq narrates that once the Promised Messiah (as) said: ‘God has conveyed to me that there would be a great split in my Movement as well, and mischief makers and those who are the slaves of their own desires will depart (fulfilled by the split in 1914 of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community into a smaller and larger one). Then God Almighty will bring this split to an end. But those who deserve being cut off, as being unconnected with the truth and given to mischief, will be cut off. Then there will be a great uprising in the world. That would be the first uprising. Kings will invade kings. There will be so much bloodshed that the earth will be filled with blood. The subjects of all kings will also fight fearfully among themselves. There will be universal ruin and destruction. The centre of all this will be Syria.’ Addressing Sahibzadah Sirajul Haqq directly, the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him) continued: ‘It will be the time of my Promised Son. God has decreed these events in connection with him. Thereafter, our Movement will spread and kings will become members of the Movement. Be sure to recognise the Promised One’. (p.1065-66 Tadhkirah aka “Discourses” (Tadhkirah)
Some might say that Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had a rather good track record of prophesying wars with remarkable exactness: in 1906 he prophesied through both poetry and prose that a worldwide calamity would engulf the world within sixteen years of the date of his writing, but after his own death (which occurred in 1908). It would, according to his prophecy, spell the end of the Czar of Russia, bring relief to the Jewish people (the formation of the state of Israel was declared in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 during the First World War) and result in a carnage which would affect the majority of the world. One of the most poignant features of the First World War, namely, that birds on the battlefields of the Somme went deaf from the continuous gunfire and shelling and thus forgot how to sing, was even referred to in his prophetical poem:
‘Men and animals will lose their senses, And pidgeons and nightingales will forget their songs…Even the Czar, at that hour, will be in a wretched state.’ (Essence of Islam; explained in Invitation to Ahmadiyyat)
The world largely ignored this prophecy, but in what a grand manner it found fulfilment is evident to all now. When he wrote this in 1906, the Czar was seated firmly as one of the most powerful monarchs in the World and yet within sixteen years, he was indeed in a most wretched state. Today it is his Fifth Khalifa – his fifth spiritual successor – who has been delivering a Warning of critical importance to Mankind – the need for Absolute Justice between nations. The Mahdi and Messiah was expected to come at a time of sectarian strife, when Muslim leaders would behave barbarically towards their followers and when the spirituality of Islam would seemed to have disappeared from the Earth (Sahih Bukhari, Kitabul Tafsir and Ibn Babuya, Thawab al-A’mal). Interestingly, the very return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel is also mentioned as a sign that the Mahdi and Messiah would have appeared (Q. 17:105). In short, the heaven and earth are full of such signs, only many among the Muslims have failed to recognise the Promised Messiah, for the return of the Jesus of two thousand years ago is still awaited. This belief is held despite the problems it raises; though Jesus is believed to currently be in Heaven by all Muslims alike, and though it is firmly promised in the Qur’an that, after entering it, none shall ever be ejected from paradise (Q. 15:48-9) nor will they desire any change therefrom (Q. 18:108-9), the majority of Muslims yet believe in Jesus’ future departure from heaven, after having entered it, and his return to Earth. Yet this would constitute a violation of one of God’s most sacred promises: the promise relating to the eternity of Paradise.
Some may wonder what on Earth all this has to do with the current conflict in Syria? The two issues are in fact intimately related, for the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) made it clear that after the coming of the Mahdi and Messiah, a War of the most horrendous proportions would begin in which the true followers of the Mahdi and Messiah would be spared (Sahih Muslim, Kitab ul Fitan). This promise is reiterated in the Qur’an (Q. 21:97-105). The correct identification of the Mahdi and Messiah is, therefore, of paramount importance. It may be the turning away from the Messiah who has come, that lies at the root of all the troubles of the Muslim World. God’s concern for Mankind at turning away from those whom He sends as Guides and Messengers is encapsulated in the following words:
Alas for My servants! there comes not a Messenger to them but they mock at him. (Q. 36:31)
One wonders how a 2000 year old man descending from heaven could ever be mocked and yet this verse states that every
Messenger that is sent by God, is mocked. Only those are mocked whose origins seem ordinary and who share their lot with the rest of humanity. Representatives of the Divine, descending from on High on the wings of angels are never mocked. Muhammad (peace be on him) – the best of Messengers according to Islam, was mocked by the worldly and tormented. Why? Because thou seest them looking towards thee, but they see not (Q. 7:199). The identification of a Messenger from God is not done by looking for his coming in the clouds. It is done by beseeching God, to gift the eyes of the soul with light, for He is the light of the heavens and the earth (Q. 24:36).
There are those that may consider prophecies and revelation as no more than fantasy. No doubt, the people listening and reading the prophecies of the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community regarding World War I, which he published in 1906, also regarded them as a fantasy, and yet what seemed fantastical became reality. Do not be deceived by the political parlance! The Wolf will use measured tones and technical terms, such as “surgical strike” and “limited operations” to calm your fears and allay your worries. They shall speak of how there shall be “no boots upon the ground”. Let not the wily one deceive you! For only the mad would trust in the tameness of the Wolf.