Earlier this week, I sat listening to a Chicago based Christian preacher whip his congregation into a frenzy as he described what it meant to be a believer in Jesus Christ. The preacher, who was wailing and walking from side to side on the stage, was passionate and emotional in his belief that Christians should not be afraid to ask this question:
During his sermon, the preacher exhorted members of his congregation not to listen to members of the Mormons and that they should not accept Bibles published and distributed for free by the Mormons. He then went on to make offensive remarks about Muslims, Jehovah Witnesses and followers of the Baihi faith.
The preacher then went from bad to worse as he exhorted his followers to be prepared to offend people who did not accept the belief that Jesus Christ was God. In his own words: “I’m prepared to offend anyone to hell or heaven – whatever it takes and I’m not afraid to be offensive as a matter of faith.”
As the preacher pranced around on the stage with a growing sense of authority and power, as the audience moved with him in a trance-like state, the overwhelming weight of what we must resist and fight in this country began to hit me like a gigantic weight on my shoulders.
Such preaching should be offensive to anyone who is a lover of Almighty God and believes in the uniqueness and oneness of Almighty God. It is mean-spirited and such preaching by a Christian has nothing to do with the pristine teachings of the Prophet Jesus (a.s.).
The aim of religion, as we are taught, should never be to offend, but to reveal the truth. Those who preach these hideous thoughts are not interested in the truth. Their method of sermonizing is to capture the minds of people with little knowledge for the sake of control. We are reminded of the words of
During a question and answer session, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the Head of the Ahmadiyya Community, addressed this subject under the title: “Distortion of Religion.”
Hazoor said our philosophy is that there has to be a single entity of religion, not a divided one. The condemnation of other faiths is a problem for all religions and it must be resolved. According to the Holy Qur'an, said Hazoor, God originally revealed every religion on earth. His chosen servants were given a light from God, there was no difference between that light – all prophets came with the same fundamental message that had two aspects.
- Bow to the authority of Allah, the Almighty God, and not to bow to the authority of anyone else other than God.
- To discharge one’s duty to others and to treat others kindly.
In every message delivered to mankind by His Prophets – a group of spiritually trained representatives of God – they were humans, not gods or manifestations of Gods.
What we have seen in commonality with these prophets is that initially they are rejected and opposed by the people that they come to who threaten to kill them. Hazoor says that this hatred is always expressed and manifested in the first stage of a Prophet’s declaration of appointment by God.
After a going through a long period of trials and sacrifices, these messengers eventually gain attention and wider acceptance but once accepted a process of “distortion” takes place raising the status of the messenger to a “super human” status.
As the distortions grow in time, prophets become sons of god, brothers of god and relatives of god. This is what we see today in society. These distortions take on a life of its own and have been a part of the history of man.
Hazoor says we should not condemn the religion, but we should condemn is the trait in human beings of ultimately distorting whatever message they are given though a Messenger of God. He said that all people are guilty of this and, therefore, condemnation of one group by another does not resolve anything.
Instead of condemnation, our position is to change attitudes by changing distorted attitudes regarding religion that will ultimately cause people to think differently about religion – about Islam.
The Holy Qur'an says: “Say, O People of the Book! Come a word equal between us and you – that we worship one but Allah, and that we associate no partner with Him, and that some of us take not others for Lords beside Allah.’ But if they turn away, they say, ‘Bear witness that we have submitted to God.’ (Chap. 3 v.65)
The verse is an invitation to Christians and Jews to free their hearts and seek dialogue on the original belief in the Oneness of God and to give up the belief in false deities. The aim of religion, as we are taught, should never be to offend, but to reveal the truth.
We believe that Allah is to be worshiped and he is One. He has no partner. He has no competitor. He Alone can be called Samad (Self-Sufficient and Independent). The word Samad is applied to a being without whom nothing can be accomplished.
Our responsibility and duty is to change attitudes, hearts and minds by ignoring the small time preachers who seek to hide the truth. The truth can never be hidden as long as we cry out to the world:
“All praise belongs to Him alone. He is the Lord and Sustainer of all the worlds. He is Allah the Gracious, the Merciful, He is the master of the Day of Judgment.”
Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet Muhammad, sallallaho alaihe wasallam, said: That I should say: Glory be to Allah, and to Allah belongs all Praise, and there is none worthy of worship save Allah, and Allah is Great, is dearer to me than the whole universe. (Muslim)