Presenting the message of Islam to monarchs

Friday Khutba by Dr Zahid Aziz, for Lahore Ahmadiyya UK, 30 September 2022

“Say: O People of the Book, come to an equitable word between us and you, that we shall serve none but Allah and that we shall not set up any partner with Him, and that some of us shall not take others for lords besides Allah. But if they turn away, then say: Bear witness, we are Muslims.” — ch. 3, v. 64

 قُلۡ یٰۤاَہۡلَ الۡکِتٰبِ تَعَالَوۡا اِلٰی کَلِمَۃٍ سَوَآءٍۢ بَیۡنَنَا وَ بَیۡنَکُمۡ اَلَّا نَعۡبُدَ اِلَّا اللّٰہَ وَ لَا نُشۡرِکَ بِہٖ شَیۡئًا وَّ لَا یَتَّخِذَ بَعۡضُنَا بَعۡضًا اَرۡبَابًا مِّنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ ؕ فَاِنۡ تَوَلَّوۡا فَقُوۡلُوا اشۡہَدُوۡا بِاَنَّا مُسۡلِمُوۡنَ ﴿۶۴

“And the king said: Bring him [Joseph] to me, I will choose him for myself. So when he talked with him, he said: Surely you are in our presence today dignified, trusted.” — ch. 12, v. 54

وَ قَالَ الۡمَلِکُ ائۡتُوۡنِیۡ بِہٖۤ اَسۡتَخۡلِصۡہُ لِنَفۡسِیۡ ۚ فَلَمَّا کَلَّمَہٗ قَالَ اِنَّکَ الۡیَوۡمَ لَدَیۡنَا مَکِیۡنٌ اَمِیۡنٌ ﴿۵۴

According to the first verse which I recited, Muslims invite the “People of the Book”, meaning followers of earlier religions who had their own revealed scriptures, to accept that there is only One God. Although these people in theory believed in One God, yet they also prayed to what they believed to be human incarnations of God and they considered them as being partners of God in sharing control of the world with Him. The third point mentioned here, “some of us shall not take others for lords besides Allah”, refers to the fact that they looked up to their priests and religious leaders as God’s representatives on earth and therefore they followed their orders blindly. If others don’t accept these points, then we simply say to them: We believe in this and this is what makes us Muslims. This verse was included by the Holy Prophet Muhammad in the letters which he sent to the kings of the countries bordering on Arabia, inviting them to Islam. This establishes that it is a Sunnah of the Holy Prophet to invite the rulers and kings of this world to accept that God is One and the only One to be worshipped.

The second verse that I recited is from the story of Joseph in the Quran. He was in prison on a false charge brought by a woman and her relatives. Two prisoners who were with him in jail had certain dreams about their own future which they could not understand. Joseph interpreted their dreams and told them of their meaning. But before telling them the meaning, he preached to them, saying: “I follow the religion of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. It does not befit us to set up any partner with Allah. … My two fellow-prisoners, are various lords better or Allah the One, the Supreme? What you serve besides Him are only names which you have named, you and your fathers — Allah has sent down no authority for them. Judgment is only Allah’s. He has commanded that you serve none but Him. This is the right religion, but most people do not know” (12:38–39).

Later on, one of the two prisoners went on to become a servant of the king of the country. Some years passed and the king had a dream. No one could interpret it. They were all perplexed and confused. This man remembered that Joseph, still in prison, could interpret dreams. So he asked the king’s permission to go and see Joseph to inter­pret the king’s dream. When Joseph told this servant the interpretation, and he informed the king, that was when the king said: “Bring him to me.” As stated in the second verse that I recited above, the king had a conversation with Joseph, after which the king said to him: “Surely you are in our presence today dignified, trusted. He [Joseph] said: Place me (in autho­rity) over the treasures of the land; surely I am a good keeper, knowing well.” It appears that the conversation related to the king select­ing Joseph to appoint him as in charge of the national finances. But consider this: when, earlier, Joseph interpreted the dreams of his two fellow-prisoners, he began by telling them about his religion and preaching to them that God is One. This makes it very likely that Joseph did the same in his conversation with the king, and explained to him his belief that God is One. As a prophet, this was his duty, and not just to discuss with the king what high post in the country he was going to be appointed to.

The example of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and of the prophet Joseph shows that those who are sent by God preach truth to their kings. In the Indian subcontinent, during Mughal rule, there was a Mujaddid by the name of Shaikh Ahmad of Sirhind who lived 400 years ago. He is commonly known as Mujaddid Alfi Sani, which means Mujaddid of the Second millennium because he arose after the first one thousand years of Islam. He himself writes that he teaches the principles of Islam even in royal gatherings. He gives an example that, in such a gathering, “today on the night of the 13th Ramadan”, he spoke about several principles of Islam, such as why prophets come, belief in life after death, etc., including the finality of prophethood and the coming of a Mujaddid in every century. He then writes: “The king listened attentively to my talk.”

Following this tradition, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, preached the message of Islam to the ruler of his time, Queen Victoria, She had the title Queen-Empress of India. On the occasion of her diamond jubilee in 1897, (60th anniversary of coming to the throne) he published a pamphlet addressed to her. This was sent to her by post. Two years later he followed it up by a reminder. In this pamphlet he has prayed for the Queen’s welfare in this world and in the Hereafter. For her welfare in the Hereafter, he writes: “It is not impossible for God to enable her to perform a final act of goodness, that is: to liberate England, with mercy and peace, from the worship of a human being [i.e. Jesus], so that angels cry out, ‘O you true believer in the Oneness of God, congratulations to you from heaven as well as from the earth!”

About God and Jesus, he writes to her: “God has made it known to me He is One and Unique, Unchanging, All-Powerful and not limited in any way, and none is like Him … He has also informed me that Jesus, the Messiah, is truly one of the very beloved and pious servants of God and is one of those who are the chosen people of God whom God purifies with His own Hand and keeps them under the shadow of His light. He is not God as people have imagined, but he has a close connection with God and is among the very few perfect ones.” He further informs the Queen that it is only the Quran that presents the doctrine of the Oneness of God in the most perfect sense and it excels the Gospels in its wisdom. He writes: “In particular, the lamp that shows the true and unchanging God is held only in the hands of the Quran. If it had not come in the world then only God knows how many more people in the world would be worshipping His created things. Therefore, it is a matter of gratefulness that the Oneness of God which had disappeared from the earth was established again.”

In another book written two years before this, entitled Nur-ul-Haq, he wrote about Queen Victoria as follows: “We see that there is room for hoping that our honoured Queen may be guided to the right path. Her heart has been granted love for Islam and the desire to see its light. It may be that Allah will make the light of His Oneness to enter into the heart of this shining Queen and the hearts of her wise sons. This is not difficult for Allah. In fact, His power accomplishes such works. … We also see that the great officials of this government are day by day turning to belief in the Oneness of God … it does not befit their dignity to worship a man who is a human being like them. … These people are the eggs of Islam and in future from them will be born the children of this religion [of Islam] whose faces will turn towards the religion of Allah.”

These prophecies of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad reminded me of a speech by the present King Charles, with the title Islam and the West, which he gave at Oxford in 1993. Since he has become King, many Muslims have circulated this speech on the Internet. In that speech, he has defended Islam against the hostile criticism directed at it in Europe for a thousand years. At the beginning of his speech he declares that he is not an expert on Islam, and scholars may challenge some of his comments, but, he says, there is an Arab proverb: “What comes from the lips reaches the ears. What comes from the heart reaches the heart.” What he means is that, although he is not a scholar of religion who can give many arguments and evidences to support his posi­tion, what he is doing is conveying a feeling in his heart about Islam, and something said in a heart-felt way touches the hearts of the listeners. He expresses his disappoint­ment that mis­under­standings between Islam and the West continue, and are growing, despite the fact that in modern times people of different nations are mixing with each other, and travelling to each other’s countries, more than ever before in human history. He deals in some detail with the fears about Islam in Western minds, such as their fears related to Muslim extremism, to the harsh nature of Islamic law, and to certain social customs and practices seen in Muslim communities. He explains why there is little justification for having these fears. He also says: “If there is much misunderstanding in the West about the nature of Islam, there is also much ignorance about the debt our own culture and civilisation owe to the Islamic world”. In this connection he gives examples of the historical contribution of the Islamic world to various branches of knowledge, from which Europe went on to benefit. He concludes that we must not let the Islamic and the Western worlds stand apart: “Our two worlds have much to offer each other. We have much to do together”.

King Charles III is a direct descendant of Queen Victoria, five generation down from her. As I said, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad prophesied in a book published in 1894 that Allah has the power to make the light of truth enter into the heart of the Queen of the time and also into the hearts of her sons. This speech of King Charles was delivered just less than a hundred years later, and it appears to go a long way towards fulfilling his pro­phecy.

So may Allah enable us to continue to work humbly towards making this prophecy come true more and more clearly. — Ameen.