Ramadan/ Eid-ul-Fitr UK Jama‘at · 2012. 9. 15. · 2 INTRODUCTION Akbar Ibn Abdullah, Editor We...

1 Ramadan/ Eid-ul-Fitr 2012 UK Jama‘at In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful .......... The HOPE Bulletin ……….. H ealth, O ngoing P rojects, E ducation

Transcript of Ramadan/ Eid-ul-Fitr UK Jama‘at · 2012. 9. 15. · 2 INTRODUCTION Akbar Ibn Abdullah, Editor We...

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UK Jama‘at

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

.......... The HOPE Bulletin ………..

Health, Ongoing Projects, Education

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Akbar Ibn Abdullah, Editor

We have prepared for you a separate issue of our special Ramadan/Eid 2012 supplement dedicated to the

UK Jama‘at because of the large amount of material that we received from the UK Jama‘at.

We urge you to read the enlightening articles that were presented.

Our thanks to our brother Nasir Ahmad Sahib of the UK Jama‘at for submitting to us brief reports of the

month’s activities as well as copies of talks that were delivered, and photographs taken during Ramadan

and Eid.

Our thanks also to Dr Zahid Aziz Sahib for his Eid khutbah.

As always, we welcome your feedback.

Ramadan at the Lahore Ahmadiyya Centre, UK

Nasir Ahmad

The month of Ramadan brings some exciting meetings at the UK Centre.

Every Saturday, an iftar meeting is held. Before breaking the fast, a talk is given about Ramadan or any

related subject.

Immediately after the brief iftari, Maghrib and Ishaa congregational prayers are held.

Different families make arrangements for food for each iftari. This Ramadan, the following families

sponsored dinner:

First iftari – Mr. and Mrs. Shahid Aziz and family.

Second iftari – Mrs Farieda Ibrahim and family, and Mr. Walter Aziz.

Third iftari – Mr. and Mrs. Hamad Ahmad, and Mr. & Mrs. Anis Ahmad.

Fourth iftari – Mrs. Bano Anwar, Mrs. Habiba Anwar-Sadiq, and Mrs. Musarrat Saqib and family.

The Eid lunch was arranged by Dr. and Mrs. Jawad Ahmad, Mr. and Mrs. Khayam Zafar, and Mr. and

Mrs. Wasim Tahir.

Talks were delivered by Mr. Shahid Aziz, Secretary of the UK Jama‘at, Mr. Mushtaq Ali, Mr. Nasir

Ahmad, and Mrs. Habiba Anwar-Sadiq.

In between the talks, some young members recited selected verses of the Holy Qur’an.

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Rizwaan Beg & Shayaan Ahmad reciting the Qur’an

After dinner, Tarawih congregational prayers were held, as usual. This year Mr. Nasir Ahmad and Mr.

Rehmat Ali led the Tarawih congregations.

The UK Centre has introduced a tradition that when somebody’s birthday or wedding anniversary falls

near any monthly meeting, iftar meeting, or Eid, he or she brings cake to the Centre and everyone

celebrates the occasion. During Ramadan, Yahya Saqib celebrated his birthday.

We will try to publish the text of the talks. Some glimpses of the iftar meetings are given in this issue of

The HOPE Bulletin.

Yahya Saqib’s birthday celebration

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Fasting fosters nobility and charitableness in a believer

Nasir Ahmad B.A, LL.B

(Talk given on 4 August, 2012)

Nasir Ahmad delivering his talk

The month of Ramadan is observed as the month of ritual fasts. Besides it, voluntary fasts on particular

days of five months are also considered spiritually commendable by Muslims, such as in the months of

Rajab, Sha’ban, Shawwal, Zil Hajj, and Muharram. Rajab is the month when the Holy Prophet

Muhammad (sas) had the greatest honour of leading all the previous prophets at the Temple of Solomon

in Jerusalem. The Holy Qur’an has referred to it as Masjid-i Aqsa or ‘Remote Mosque’. Then he

experienced the unique honour of being in the presence of Almighty Allah, called Isra’ or Mi’raaj

(Ascension). It was on this occasion that five obligatory prayers were enjoined for a true believer to attain

nearness to Allah.

In my humble view the Masjid-i Aqsa mentioned in the Qur’an and translated by almost all the translators

as ‘a remote Mosque’ or ‘farthest place of worship’ is not the present Masjid-i Aqsa which, though built

within the site area of the Temple of Solomon, cannot be correctly regarded the one mentioned in the

Qur’an. In all probability, taking into consideration historical facts, the Rock covered by the Dome is the

remains of the site of the original Temple of Solomon.

The following is taken from Encyclopaedia Britannica: Dome of the Rock, Britannica.com. 2012-04-04:

“The Dome of the Rock is located at the visual center of a platform known as the Temple Mount. It

was constructed on the site of the Second Jewish Temple, which was destroyed during the Roman

Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE. In 637 CE, Jerusalem surrendered to the Rashidun Caliphate army

during the Muslim conquest of Syria.

Panorama of the Temple Mount, including Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, from the Mount of Olives

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The location of the Dome of the Rock was established as the site of the Islamic miracle of the Isra

and Miraj by Caliph Omar ibn al Khattab, who was advised by his associate, Ka’ab al-Ahbar, a

former Jewish rabbi who had converted to Islam, that the Night Journey (Isra and Mi’raj), which

is mentioned in the Quran and specified by the hadiths of being located in Jerusalem, took place at

the site of the former Jewish Temples. The Dome of the Rock was erected between 689 and 691

CE. The names of the two engineers in charge of the project are given as Yazid Ibn Salam from

Jerusalem and Raja Ibn Haywah from Baysan. Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan who

initiated construction of the Dome, hoped that it would ‘house the Muslims from cold and heat’

and intended the building to serve as a shrine for pilgrims and not as a mosque for public


Sha’ban is the month which has established a unique institution in the religious history of the world for

the uplift and amelioration of the have-nots and deprived section of the society. As a common Muslim

saying puts it: Rajab is the month of sowing and Ramadan the month of reaping. In between comes the

month of Sha’ban, which has rightly been described as the “month of irrigation.”

In Tradition, it is stated that the Holy Prophet (sas) especially recommended voluntary fasting in the last

days of Sha’ban or the Ayyam al-bidz, that is the 13th

, 14th

and 15th

of the lunar month; the ‘Arafah day,

that is , one day before the ‘Id al-Adha; the first six days of Shawwal; the Tashriq days, that is, the 11th



and 13th

of Dhul Hijjah; and the Ashura, that is, the 10th

of Muharram.

I may point out that in pre-Islamic days the 10th

of Muharram was observed as a day of fasting, as on that

day the Jews were led by Prophet Moses (as) to safety across the Red Sea and were out of the reach of the

persecution of the Pharaoh. It had nothing to do with the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain. That is why

the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sas) continued observing it at Madinah when he was told that the day is

observed by Jews as a day of deliverance and thanksgiving.

It is a fact that reaping without sowing is what we all would like to do. Athletes would love to win races

without spending ten gruelling hours a day in training beforehand. Teenagers would be delighted to slip

into lucrative jobs without bothering to work for A-levels and university degrees. In fact, we all have the

same weakness; it is part of human nature. To some extent our success in life depends on how well our

parents gave us a sense of duty and of the need to prepare for coming tasks. Tedious, but very true.

Fasting and charity

Charity towards human beings, in its widest sense, is laid down in the Qur’an as the second great pillar on

which the structure of Islam stands. This is made plain in the very beginning of the Holy Qur’an: “Those

who believe in the Unseen and keep up prayer and spend out of what We have given them; and who

believe in that which has been revealed to thee and that which was revealed before thee, and of the

Hereafter they are sure” (2:3-5). The fundamental beliefs of Islam, as laid down here, are five: three

theoretical and two practical. The three theoretical essentials are: belief in God, in Divine revelation and

in the Hereafter; and the two practical are keeping up prayer and spending out of what God has given to


The relation in which prayer stands to charity is made clear by the order in which the two are mentioned.

When prayer and charity are spoken together, and this combination is of frequent occurrence in the

Qur’an, prayer always takes precedence over charity, because prayer prepares a man for the service of

humanity. Prayer, therefore, is the first step because it leads to the second, that is, charity. This is

elsewhere made plain: “Woe to the praying ones, who are unmindful of their prayers! who do good to be

seen and refrain from acts of kindness” (107:4-7).

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Fasting is a special spiritual exercise which provides an opportunity to develop and elevate the physical

and spiritual power in a believer. A person who cannot keep fast though is exempted but is still asked to

give away fidya or charity in lieu of not keeping fast. In other words, giving of charity or service to fellow

beings in need has not been waived in any circumstance as charity and concern for fellow beings is one of

the main objectives of keeping fast. Even the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sas), the most noble and

charitable person, used to be more noble, prayerful and charitable during this blessed month.

Charity, in the sense of giving away one’s wealth, is of two kinds: voluntary and obligatory. Voluntary

charity is generally mentioned in the Qur’an as sadaqa, ihsaan or infaaq. The last one has been regarded

as more meritorious and I will deal with this kind of ‘goodness’ later on.

Obligatory charity is generally mentioned under the name zakat, but it is sometimes called sadaqah,

especially in traditions. The word zakaa is derived from zaka, which means “it grew”. The other

derivatives of this word, as used in the Qur’an, carry the sense of purification from sins. The Holy Prophet

(sas) and the Holy Qur’an have spoken of it as purifying those who would follow the commandments of

Allah and the practice of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sas). And the purification of the soul is

repeatedly mentioned as the real success which a true believer aspires to attain (91:9; 92:18). The idea of

purity, and that of growth of human faculties and success in life, are thus connected together. The giving

away of wealth to the poorer members of the community, while, no doubt, a source of blessing to the

individual, also increases the welfare of the community as a whole, and at the same time it purifies the

giver’s heart of the inordinate love of wealth which brings numerous sins in its train. The Holy Prophet

(sas) himself has described zakat as wealth “which is taken from the rich and returned to the poor”

(Bukhari, 24:1).

The Holy Qur’an is full of injunctions on this subject, which repeatedly brings to mind the grand object of

the service of humanity as one of the important goals of man’s life. In Chapter 107, Al-Maa‘oon or Acts

of Kindness, the Qur’an puts emphasis on the main purpose of Islam by using the word Deen in place of

religion, which means a way of life. So the commandments of the Qur’an guides one to a way of life

which is not mere performance of rituals and glorifying Allah but covers all activities of this worldly life.

Elsewhere the Qur’an says that love of Allah lies in following the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sas), as

Allah commands him in the Holy Qur’an to announce to the believers: “If you love Allah, follow me;

Allah will love you and grant you protection from your sins” (3:31). The Holy Qur’an further explains

service to humanity and to be charitable to fellow beings as the main purpose of the religion of Islam, and

if one is neglecting this important aspect of Deen, then in fact he is belying it: “Have you seen him who

denies religion? That is the one who is rough to the orphan and does not urge the feeding of the needy”


Object of life set by Islam

We all know that Hazrat Maulana Muhammad ‘Ali in his English translation of the Qur’an has rendered

the word taqwa not as “fear of Allah” or “to be mindful of Allah” or “to be God-conscious” as other

translators have done, but as “to keep one’s duty”. In other words, performing good deeds and leading a

life of nobility and charity and shunning all sorts of hidden and apparent evils amount to observance of

taqwa. During the second part of the Jumu’ah sermon in Arabic, we recite the following verse of the Holy

Qur’an which enumerates some of the obvious acts of goodness and evil: “Surely Allah enjoins justice

and the doing of good to others and the giving to the kindred. And He forbids indecency and evil and

rebellion. He admonishes you that you may be mindful” (14:90).

This verse deals comprehensively with different degrees of goodness and evil. The lowest form of

goodness is that which is called ‘adl or returning good for good, and includes not only justice proper, but

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also the fulfilment of all duties and obligations as they more or less take the form of doing good for good.

A higher degree of goodness is, however, that which is called ihsaan, or goodness proper. It is doing of

good in cases where man has received no benefit. It is purely done for the pleasure of Allah. The last stage

of goodness is that in which a man’s nature is so inclined to good that he does not have to make an effort

to do it; he does good to all people as an ordinary man does good to his own kindred. In fact he looks

upon the whole of humanity as his kindred.

Similarly, this verse deals with the three degrees of evil, from the merest indecency to the wrongful

conduct which violates the rights of individuals and nations. Fahshaa’ or indecency is that which is evil

in itself, though it may not affect the rights of others. Munkar is what is disapproved and affects the rights

of other individuals. And baghi is that evil which exceeds the limits of norms of morality and is an

oppression or rebellion affecting the rights of a large number of people or nations.

During the Holy month of Ramadan Allah wishes us to live a life of utmost nobility and to perform acts

of charity which are the very objective of the life of a believer and for which the guidelines have been

given in the Qur’an and the practice of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sas). The sort of charitable way of

life which Allah expects from a believer has been stated in the following beautiful and inspiring saying of

the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sas). It has also been exhorted in somewhat similar manner by Prophet

Jesus (as) to his disciples:

Now listen to what our beloved Holy Prophet Muhammad (sas) said:

“Verily, Allah will say to His slave when He will be taking account of him on the Day of


‘O son of Adam, I was hungry and you did not feed me.’ He will answer: ‘How could I

feed you? You are the Lord of the worlds!’ He will say: ‘Did you not know that My slave

so and so, who is the son of so and so, felt hunger, and you did not feed him? Alas, had

you fed him you would have found the reward with Me.’

‘O son of Adam, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink.’ He will reply: ‘How

could I give You drink? You are the Lord of the worlds!’ He will say: ‘Did you not know

that My slave so and so, the son of so and so, felt thirsty and you did not give him drink?

Alas, if you had given him, you would have found the reward with Me.’

‘O son of Adam, I became sick and you did not visit Me.’ He will answer: ‘How can I visit

You? You are the Lord of the worlds!’ He will say: ‘Did you not know that My slave so

and so, the son of so and so, became sick and you did not visit him? Alas, had you visited

him, you would have found Me with him.’ ”

(Sahih Muslim: Book of Virtues, Good manners and joining of Relationship, 32:6232)

The Prophet Jesus (as) also exhorted his disciples in somewhat similar light:

“Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand. ‘Come, you blessed of my Father (in

heaven) inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of world: For I was an hungered

and you gave me meat; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I

was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to


Then shall the righteous answer him: saying, ‘Lord, when saw we You an hungered, and fed You?

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Or thirsty and gave you drink? Or saw we you a stranger and took you in? Or saw we You a naked

and clothed You? Or when saw we You sick or in prison and came to You?

And the King shall answer and say to them: ‘Verily I say to you: inasmuch as you have done it to

one of the least of these my brothers, you have done unto Me’ ” (Matthew 25:34-40).

This is the brotherhood which Islam and its Holy Prophet (sas) wish to establish on earth, or to use the

Prophet Jesus’ words, “Kingdom of God”.

Brothers and Sisters! Salah, Fasting and Hajj have been enjoined to nurture and foster kindness,

sympathy, care, concern, mutual love, respect and affection not only among believers, but to treat

humankind as a whole in the same manner. Only then we can claim that Islam is a religion of peace and

tolerance; otherwise we shall be answerable to our Creator for negating His commandments. Allah has

specially exhorted us to adopt these traits when enjoining the three practices which are fundamental to the

teachings of Islam.

Spirituality fosters nobility

Coming back to the concluding part of the Friday and the Eid Arabic khutbah, it runs as follows:

Uz-ku-rul-laa-ha, yaz-kur-kum, wad-‘oo-ho yas-ta-jib-la-kum, wa la-zik-rul laa-hi ak-bar. It

means: Remember Allah, He will remember you. He will accept your supplications. And

remembrance of Allah brings great blessings.

Brothers and Sisters! The human-divine relationship is not like any other kind of relationship, because it

is not based on any need on God’s side. As Allah says in the Qur’an: “I am the Rich; and you are the

poor” (35:15). What He does for us is not triggered by anything we could do for Him.

A Muslim scholar once said: “Knowledge of God is not gained by seeking it; but only those who seek it,

gain it.” True, a divine gift can seem utterly unexpected, like the Holy Prophet’s sudden ascent to Heaven.

But he had prepared himself in the hope of God’s proximity by years of patient prayers and service.

The Holy Imam of this age, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, has time and again exhorted us to be kind,

humble and charitable. In his well-known Ten Conditions of the Pledge he has pertinently drawn our

attention to these virtues, especially in conditions No. 4 and 9:

Condition No. 4: “That he will do nothing in any way to injure his fellow human beings in general and the

Muslims in particular – neither with the tongue, or with the hand, nor in any other way.”

Condition No. 9: “That he will make it a rule of his life to show sympathy towards all human beings out

of love for God and that, to the best of his power, he will use all his God-given faculties and blessings for

the benefit of humanity.”

In his book Noah’s Ark, he said:

“Be kind and merciful to humanity, for all are His creatures. Do not oppress them with your

tongue, or hands, or in any other way. Always work for the good of mankind. Never unduly assert

yourselves with pride over others, even those who are placed under you. Never use abusive

language to anyone even though he abuses you. Be humble in spirit, kind and gentle, and

forgiving, sympathetic towards all and wish them well so that you should be accepted in the sight

of Allah.

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There are many who pretend to be kind, gentle and forgiving, but inside they are wolves. There are

many on the outside who look pure, but in their hearts they are serpents; you cannot be accepted in

the presence of the Lord unless you are pure, both on the outside and the inside.

If you are big, have mercy and not contempt on those who are small; if you are wise and well

versed in learning, serve the ignorant with words of wisdom. Never desire to bring disgrace on

their ignorance by trying to show off your own learning. If you are rich, instead of treating them

with egoistic and scornful pride, you should serve the poor.

Turn wholly and solely to Him. Become entirely His, living entirely for His pleasure, for His

sweet sake, hating everything impure and sinful for, indeed, He is the Holy One. Every morning

should be a witness for you that you spent the night in righteousness, and every evening should be

a witness for you that you went through the day with the fear of Allah in your heart.”

O Allah, accept our humble submissions and You alone have the power to grant acceptance to them and

You alone have the power to grant things and You alone are the One Who knows the past, the present and

the future. So take us under Your benign protection and forgive our sins and grant peace within and peace




1. English translation and commentary of the Holy Qur’an with Arabic text: Maulana Muhammad Ali

2. The Religion of Islam: Maulana Muhammad Ali

3. Urdu translation and commentary, Fazlul Bari: Maulana Muhammad Ali

4. The Holy Bible, Authorised Version

5. Knowledge of God is a Divine Gift not Deliverable: Prof. Abdal Hakim, Cambridge University, UK

(The Times, London June 2, 2012, p. 91)

Significance of the Night of Majesty with reference to Surah al-Qadr

Mrs. Habiba Anwar-Sadiq, LL.M

(Talk given on 11 August, 2012)

The last part of Ramadan is always an emotional time, as despite the hardship that comes with fasting,

especially during the summer, we still feel heavy-hearted bidding farewell to a month that brings us so

close together in our families, our community and of course with the entire Muslim ummah. From a

spiritual point of view, the last portion of this month also holds significance; one of the last ten nights in

particular is known as Lailat al-Qadr, the Night of Majesty, sometimes also called Shab-i Qadr. The

words Lail and Shab both mean night, and Qadr can be translated to mean a number of things, including

honour, dignity, power, majesty and to appreciate—these are all meanings embedded into this one word

Qadr. And when we look further into what this night is all about, we can see that, like its name, the night

itself embodies so much too.

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The Quran speaks of this night as that in which the Quran was first revealed. In other words, the first

revelation came to the Prophet Muhammad (saw) on this night. In Surah Al-Dukhan it says: “By the Book

that makes manifest (the truth)! We revealed it on a blessed night – truly We are ever-warning” (44:3).

In other places, it is said that the Quran was revealed in the month of Ramadan, so we know that this

blessed night that marks the anniversary of the first revelation occurs sometime in the month of Ramadan.

Then, in Surah Al-Qadr (Ch. 97), Allah has dedicated an entire chapter to this night, and that is really

where we get a sense of what this night is all about. It’s so much more than just the anniversary of the first

revelation, which itself is a big deal. But from this Surah we learn that it is more like an opportunity for us

to reap countless blessings and be closer to Allah than on any other night of the year. And it’s important

to understand that this is a huge opportunity, something that cannot be replaced if missed.

In his analysis of this Surah, Dr Basharat Ahmad in his commentary, Anwarul Qur’an, says that just as

the rivers of Allah’s mercy gushed forth on that sublime night when the first revelation of the Holy Quran

came, so too the same thing happens every year on that particular night when Allah showers His mercy

and blessings on the hearts of all those who endeavour to seek His grace.

Bearing this in mind, and the fact that we are now in those precious last ten days of Ramadan, I’ve chosen

to do an in-depth reading of Chapter 97 today, looking at each of its five verses individually, and I pray

that you will find it informative and helpful in gaining further knowledge about the significance of Lailat


Verse one: ٱ���ر ��� (Surely We revealed it on the Night of Majesty) إ�� أ����ـ� �

The first thing to note is the use of the word “We” (We revealed it…). Who is this We? Of course, Allah

is referring to Himself. And it’s quite common in a lot of languages to refer to a single noun in the plural,

which in English is called a majestic plural, or the Royal We. So, sometimes, people in very high office,

such as the Pope or the Queen, refer to themselves as We. This is what has been used here: “inaa

anzalnaa…” as opposed to “ana anzaltu”, which would have translated into I revealed it.

It is actually quite interesting to note the instances in the Quran where Allah addresses Himself as one or

the other. Whenever Allah speaks of sending something down, or an action on His part, the Royal We is

used; on the other hand, when Allah refers to worship or prayer, which is something that we have to do

(i.e. an action on our part), the singular is used. For example, in Surah Al-Anbiya (Ch. 21, Verse 92),

Allah says: “wa anaa rabbu-kum fa‘ budooni” (And I am your Lord, so serve Me). Here the singular has

been used: “anaa.” In the same chapter just two verses later, Allah says: “wa inaa lahoo kaatiboon” (And

We surely write it down for him—referring to good deeds done by believers). Here, note that “innaa” has

been used, the Royal We, because a grand act on the part of Allah is being described.

Now, this doesn’t strictly have anything to do with Lailat al-Qadr, but as the Surah opens with this, I

thought it would be a good opportunity to highlight the beautiful use of language that can be found in the

Holy Quran. It is almost like studying poetry. Just as in an English lesson, you take apart a poem to find

meaning in every word, and every line is subject to interpretation, the same can be said of some of the

verses of the Quran. Nothing has been placed there by accident. And it is important for us to understand

these seemingly minor linguistic matters, in case someone was to read “We” and accuse us of believing in

multiple Gods. But, as noted, when worship is mentioned, the singular is used; we worship One God. So

that makes it clear that when the plural is used, it’s a majestic plural, not literally a plural of God.

Back to the verse at hand: Surely We revealed it on the Night of Majesty

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What does the word “it” refer to here? “It” here means the Holy Quran. And again, there is a very

interesting use of language. “It” is a pronoun which is usually used after the noun has already been used.

For example, “My mother is making iftari today. Soon it will be ready.” When I say “it will be ready” you

know what I’m referring to because I’ve just told you before that. But here, Allah doesn’t say “Surely We

revealed the Holy Quran on the Night of Majesty” even though this is the first verse of the Surah and

there is no prior verse in which He’s already told us that’s what He’s talking about. Why does He do that?

A lot of observers of this chapter are of the opinion that this is indicative of how attached we should be to

the Holy Quran that we know what is being referred to without it being explicit. This makes more sense

when we consider this in the context of when it was revealed, and look at the chapter before this, that is,

Surah Al-Alaq (Ch. 96).

Surah Al-Alaq is the very first chapter of the Quran that was revealed to the Holy Prophet (saw). There is

so much to be said about this chapter alone, but for today’s purposes I won’t go into detail about the

actual verses of it, but will just highlight that it serves as a sort of introduction to the whole Quran, and

specifically to the chapter that follows it, Surah Al-Qadr—the one we are looking at today. However,

chronologically, Surah Al-Qadr wasn’t revealed straight after it. Even though it was also an early

revelation, still, by the time it was revealed, the believers had already become well-acquainted with the

Quran, and its standing and eminence had already become established. So without it being explicit, the

believers know precisely that when the word “it” is being used, it’s the Quran that is being referred to


And on the face of it, this may appear to be a minor point to mention; in fact, these are the very subtle

ways in which Allah is telling us that the Quran should be ever-present in our minds. It should be deeply

embedded in our hearts. Just like when towards the end of your fast, food becomes ever present in your

mind and if someone says “When will it be ready?” you’ll know automatically they are referring to food,

in the same way, the Quran should be on the forefront of our minds all the time that even when it isn’t

made explicit that that’s what’s being referred to, we know it is the Quran.

When we move onto the second verse, then we really start to get into Lailat al-Qadr itself.

Verse two: ٱ���ر ��� �� �� (And what will make thee comprehend what the Night of Majesty is?) و�� أدر

In simpler words, this verse asks, What will make you understand what the Night of Majesty is? The

essence of this verse is Allah saying to us, What could possibly make you realise what the Night of

Majesty is all about? Here, Allah is asking us to really reflect on what the significance of this night is.

He’s prompting us to think, Do we even realise the importance of it?

The following verses of the Surah then go on to answer this question, or rather explain to us what is the

significance and magnitude of this night.

Verse three: "ٱ���ر )�" �& أ�% $ہ ��� (The Night of Majesty is better than a thousand months.)

This is the only place in the Quran where part of the preceding question is repeated again in the answer.

That is, in response to the question “What will make thee comprehend what the Night of Majesty is?”

instead of simply answering with “It is better than a thousand months” the verse specifies that “The Night

of Majesty is better than a thousand months.” This brings the mention of this night to three times in this

one Chapter alone. The constant emphasis on it is an indicator for us of the scale of importance this night


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As for saying the Night of Majesty is better than 1,000 months, this can be taken in two ways. First of all,

if you look at the words “Alfi shahr”, meaning 1,000 months, then you’ll note that “Alf” is the highest

number of count in the Arabic language. So one way of understanding its use here is to take it in a

metaphorical sense; to say this night is greater than an infinity number months, or a countless number of

months (i.e. its greatness is immeasurable).

On the other hand, a lot of translators interpret it literally as well, in which case 1,000 months roughly

equals 83 years, which leaves 17 years to complete a century. And the time that a Prophet has to complete

his work is a short time, comparable to that short period of 17 years. In the case of the Holy Prophet (saw)

it was 23 years that he had to work as a prophet. And, of course, those few years are considered the best in

Islamic history, much better than all the rest of the years that made up that century, so much so that many

of the blessed people that were fortunate enough to witness it have been automatically promised paradise.

So here what is being indicated is that this one night is better than all the other nights in your life, just like

that period of time was better than all the other years before it.

Verse four: "وٱ�"وح ��ہ� ,/ذن ر,ہ+ �& آ( أ� 1� The angels and the Spirit descend in it by the) 6��ل ٱ�4�ـ

permission of their Lord — for every affair —)

Here we see the angels and the Spirit are mentioned together, and there are three instances in the Quran

when this happens. But first let’s consider who or what the “Spirit” is. Most commentators agree that the

Spirit is Gabriel (the Angel Jibraeel), but Maulana Muhammad Ali Sahib details other dimensions of this

word in his commentary, saying it may also have been used as a collective name for the spirits of the

faithful. And so the word “Ruh” refers to those angels that descend with the word of Allah on the hearts of

the righteous, infusing them with spiritual life. So if you can imagine, it’s like a battalion of angels

descending. Subhan Allah!

Whichever of these you choose as your interpretation of the Spirit, whether it is Angel Jibraeel or whether

it is a number of special angels, in both cases it is a huge occurrence that is being described as taking

place—extremely difficult for us humans to properly even comprehend; it’s quiet mind-boggling to even

imagine this physically happening.

The three instances in which the Quran mentions the angels and the Spirit together are as follow:

1. In Surah Al-Ma’arij (70:4) it says: “to Him ascend the angels and the Spirit…”

2. Then in Surah Al-Naba (78:38) it says: “the day when the spirit and the angels stand in ranks...”

3. And finally, here in Surah Al-Qadr (97:4), it says “the angels and the spirit descend in it…”

If we look at the first two instances, the context in which Allah refers to the angels and the Spirit together

is the Day of Judgement, and really that is perhaps the most important event that we will ever witness.

There’s a popular saying that the only thing that is certain in life is death. And the reality is that every day

we take a step closer to that, and to the Day of Judgement, when we’ll meet our Maker. Could there be

any grander, more momentous occasion for us? Yet here, in the description of this “one night” that occurs

year after year, the same is said to happen: the angels and the Spirit come down and join the believers in

worship. What a magnificent night this really is; its characteristics are on par with the Day of Judgement!

It’s also important to note the second part of this verse: “The angels and the Spirit descend in it by the

permission of their Lord.” This permission is expressly mentioned because a lot of polytheistic religions

that believe in multiple deities as being God make angels into deities to be worshipped as well. And, of

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course, in Islam, polytheism (belief in more than one God) is a major sin; it’s shirk. So Allah is telling us

that the angels cannot in fact do anything on their own, except with His permission, thereby reinstating

that Allah is the One controlling everything. He is the one and only God.

Verse five: "789 ٱ��:� ;< (Peace! it is till the rising of the morning.) <�ـ+ ه

With this last verse, we are told that the blessings of this special night continue until the break of dawn.

Again, there are two ways to look at this, in a literal and a metaphorical sense. Dr Basharat Ahmad points

out that as well as literally lasting till dawn, this also conveys a deeper meaning, and that is that the peace

and blessings that descend on the heart of man on that night continue till the darkness of evil dissipates

and heavenly light suffuses the heart. In other words, if you’re lucky enough to receive the blessings of

this night, those blessings will stay with you and help you reach a state of heavenly peace, which is what

“the rising of the morning” symbolises.

At this point, if we look back at the Surah as a whole, we can see how beautifully it flows: three things

are described as descending on us—it begins with the descent of the Quran, then the angels descend, and

finally peace descends. And this beautiful, poetic Surah is just one of 114 other beautiful Surahs that

together comprise the Holy Quran.

We are so fortunate that we are of the people that Allah chose to give the gift of the Quran to. And on top

of that, He gives us another gift: Lailat al-Qadr, which, if you think about it, that’s exactly what it is; it’s

a gift for us. We did not ask for this special night; even the Holy Prophet (saw) did not ask for it. Yet

Allah in His infinite wisdom and mercy gives it to us year after year after year. There is so much for us to

gain on this night, an opportunity that has been given to us by our glorious Lord.

And when we look again at the Surah before this, Al-Alaq, it ends with: “prostrate and draw near (to

Allah)” (i.e. get close to Allah). And then the next Surah, Al-Qadr, tells us how to do that. It tells us

explicitly, implicitly, metaphorically, and literally that the best time to get close to Allah in the whole year

is in Lailat al-Qadr.

Brother and Sisters, I would request that you pray that we are all given the steadfastness, the

determination and the motivation to seek the blessings of this night in the remaining nights of Ramadan,

and that, Insha Allah, all of our supplications are accepted.

Jameela Khan, President, discussing Eid programme

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Eid al-Fitr at the Lahore Ahmadiyya Centre, UK

Nasir Ahmad

Eid al-Fitr was celebrated on 19 August, as announced much earlier.

As usual, it was very well attended. Separate congregational prayers were held for ladies and men due to

limited space.

The sermon was delivered by Dr. Zahid Aziz.

After the sermon, Mrs. Jameela Khan read out Hazrat Ameer Dr. Abdul Karim Saeed’s Eid message, and

messages of greetings sent by members from abroad.

A delicious lunch was served by the Milton Keynes group of families and was very much enjoyed by all.

Glimpses of the congregation can be seen in the photos produced in this issue.

Ladies and children actively participated in iftaris and Eid lunch, which shows the community spirit.

For arrangement of the programme of iftaris and the Eid celebration, Mrs. Jameela Khan and Mrs. Bano

Anwar need our special thanks.

May Allah bless all those who in any way took active part in making the month’s activities a great


Bano Anwar Erum Ahmad and Aroosa Zafar

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Hardworking ladies of the UK Jama‘at

Id-ul-Fitr Khutba

Dr Zahid Aziz

(19 August 2012)

“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that

you may guard against evil.” —2:183

Let us take a look at the teachings of the Biblical prophets about fasting. After Jesus had fasted for forty

days and forty nights, he explained the purpose of fasting to the devil, in a vision, as follows:

“It is written that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the

mouth of God” (Matthew, 4:4).

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Here Jesus was quoting Moses, who had taught the same principle when declaring the commandments of

God to his people, the Israelites (Deuteronomy, 8:3).

Again, immediately after teaching his followers the famous Lord’s Prayer, Jesus instructed them as


“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they

disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. … But you, when you fast, anoint

your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your

Father…” (Matthew, 6:16–18).

This shows that fasting was a fundamental practice taught in the Bible, and also that the purpose and

spirit of fasting is mentioned in it: That fasting should make us realize the importance of obeying “every

word”, that is, every commandment of God, because that is what gives us spiritual life, and that fasting is

to be done sincerely, to attain nearness to God and not to impress any person.

God also reminded the followers of the Bible of the real purpose of fasting through a prophet of the

Israelites, known as Isaiah, who is also accepted by Muslims as a prophet. In this revelation to Isaiah, God

first mentions a complaint by people who had fasted:

“ ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you (O Lord) have not seen it? Why have we humbled

ourselves, and you have not noticed?’”

God answers their complaint as follows:

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting

ends in quarrelling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you

do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.

“Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for

bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a

day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of

the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the

hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe him,

and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the

dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the

glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will

cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” — Isaiah, 58:3–10

The closing words are similar to this verse of the Holy Quran about fasting:

“And when My servants ask you concerning Me, surely I am near. I answer the prayer of the

supplicant when he calls on Me, so they should hear My call and believe in Me that they may walk

in the right way.” — 2:186

An important point made in the Quran in connection with Ramadan is this:

“The month of Ramadan is that in which the Quran was revealed, a guidance to people [or

mankind] and clear proofs of the guidance and the Criterion.” — 2:185

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The month of Ramadan was chosen by Allah for fasting because the revelation of the Quran began in that

month, and as stated in the Bible as quoted above, man needs more than food to live; he needs the words

that come from the mouth of God. So in this month a Muslim neglects physical food and concentrates on

the spiritual food provided by the Quran. This verse explains to us what are the functions of the Quran,

from which we are meant to derive benefit. It shows us that the lesson we must learn from fasting is to

treat the Quran as “a guidance to mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the Criterion”.

A guidance for mankind: The Quran is called here a guidance for mankind rather than just a guidance

for believers or Muslims. This makes it our duty to present this guidance to the entire world. The man in

modern times who was most anxious to do this was the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Hazrat

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Just when he was founding this Movement, and had very few followers or

resources, he wrote the following in reference to Europe and America in 1891:

“If my people help me heart and soul [by people he means the general Muslim community] I wish

to prepare a commentary of the Holy Quran which should be sent to them [Europe and America]

after it has been rendered into the English language. I cannot refrain from stating clearly that this

is my work, and that no one else can do it as well as I, or he who is an offshoot of mine and thus is

included in me.” (Izala Auham, p. 773)

Despite the fact that he had no means at that time of producing a translation, he is prophesying that this

work has been specially assigned to him, and no one else shall do it as well as he, or one who is his own

offshoot or branch. That prophecy could only have come from God the Most High.

Some years after he wrote this, he was granted this offshoot when Maulana Muhammad Ali joined his

Movement. Even so, the thought of starting this translation did not occur till shortly after Hazrat Mirza

Ghulam Ahmad passed away, and the Maulana began the work in 1909. He had not yet completed it,

when he was faced with a devastating event that could have put an end to the whole project. This was the

split in the Ahmadiyya Movement in 1914. Without going into details here, what it meant was that

Maulana Muhammad Ali had to bid farewell to an established and functioning organisation and come to

Lahore to build a new body from scratch, starting with no finances, staff, building or organisation.

Despite this adversity, the Lahore Ahmadiyya Anjuman was founded and Maulana Muhammad Ali

completed his translation and commentary, and it was published from here in England in 1917. It could

only have been accomplished through Divine help.

And it is a sign of Divine acceptance that even now, after so many English translations of the Quran have

appeared over the years, the greatness and uniqueness of the Maulana’s translation is still acknowledged.

Recently a well-known American Muslim, and spiritual leader, Hamza Yusuf, recorded a talk actually to

refute and attack certain beliefs which are wrongly associated with the Founder of the Ahmadiyya

Movement. The Founder did not hold those beliefs but Hamza Yusuf innocently does not know this.

Anyhow, despite the topic of his talk, he began it with some introductory comments, from which I quote


1. Maulana Muhammad Ali was a solid scholar of Islam.

2. His English translation of the Quran is the best in my estimation.

3. He did some of the best work of refuting Christian attacks on Islam that I have seen.

4. Many Muslims “borrowed heavily” from his original work, without acknowledgement, “even

though it is very clear where they took it from”.

5. Pickthall’s translation was “highly influenced by Maulana Muhammad Ali’s.” Pickthall then

influenced later translators.

6. Therefore Maulana Muhammad Ali has “definitely made his impact on the English speaking

Muslim community whether they realise it or not”.

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7. “I wish the best for him. He seemed like a very devout Muslim.”

Despite the stern opposition to the Ahmadiyya Movement, and despite the strong bias against this

translation due to having been done by an Ahmadi, it has earned tributes such as the above, that it is the

best translation, and it influenced all later translators. Hazrat Mirza sahib’s words: “I cannot refrain from

stating clearly that this is my work, and that no one else can do it as well as I, or he who is an offshoot of

mine and thus is included in me” proved true.

A community insignificant in size and resources, under attack from all directions, produced and published

a translation and commentary that could not be equalled by the scholars of hundreds of millions of

Muslims possessing vast resources, so vast that their organisations can afford to distribute their

translations free of charge in any number. This, by the grace of Allah, is your community.

What was the main quality of this work which made it so successful and renowned in the world? Leaving

aside the great dedication, devotion and nightly prayers of the translator, it was due to the two factors

about the Quran mentioned in the verse above — that the Quran, “a guidance to people [or mankind]”, is

“clear proofs of the guidance and the Criterion (furqan)”. In his commentary, Maulana Muhammad Ali

sought proofs of the truth of the Quran from within the Quran and he treated the Quran as the criterion or

differentiator between right and wrong beliefs.

Regarding the first point, it was Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad who laid down the principle that the

arguments, reasons and evidence for any doctrine which is taught in the Quran are also to be found in the

Quran. Following this principle, Maulana Muhammad Ali in his commentary has treated the Quran as a

complete, self-contained and consistent book. He has given prominence to what the Quran itself says and

how it explains itself. In the classical commentaries of the Quran, the commentators had filled them with

elaborate stories brought in from external sources to explain certain references in the Quran, and in

explaining most verses they related them to the occasion of their revelation and thus limited their

application. It is as if the Quran itself was thrown in the background.

Of course, we need information from external sources in understanding many passages in the Quran, and

these sources are primarily Hadith books, reports from the life of the Holy Prophet, and explanations

given by his companions and scholars of the early generations. However, these sources can only be used

to fill in details, to complete the picture, and to provide illustrations of what the Quran is teaching. Such

material cannot be used to contradict the Quran and to give interpretations which violate the principles

laid down in it.

Secondly, the Quran contains the criteria or standard for distinguishing between right and wrong beliefs.

So in many controversial issues which arise as to what are the correct teachings of Islam, for example,

issues relating to Islam’s attitude towards other religions, jihad, tolerance, freedom of religion, rights of

women, the Quran is the determining factor. Once we have found the right teachings from the Quran, they

cannot be overturned or superseded by anything outside it, including Hadith reports and classical


Ramadan is a commemoration, not only of the start of the revelation of the Quran to the world, but also of

its three qualities mentioned above: “a guidance to mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the

Criterion”. The lives of the servants of the Quran, such as Maulana Muhammad Ali, were thus in

themselves one long Ramadan and one long lailat-ul-qadr.

The third point to which I want to draw your attention is in this verse, which is the last verse about fasting

in Ramadan:

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“And do not swallow up your property among yourselves by false means, nor seek to gain access

thereby to the judges, so that you may swallow up a part of the property of people wrongfully

while you know.” —2:188

What is meant by swallowing up “your property among yourselves” (amwalakum baina-kum) falsely?

How can you swallow up your own property falsely? Please note that Muslims here are addressed as a

community. By “your property” is meant the entire property of a nation, just as people say about their

country: “this is our land”. If you misappropriate someone else’s property or money, or in particular if

you misappropriate something from the national or government funds, you are taking your own money,

that is, your own country’s property, falsely. The words “among yourselves” indicate that the verse is

referring to people colluding with each other in the use of false means, and that it is being done on a large

scale. This refers to situations where such activity becomes a way of life in a society, for example as

bribery is in many countries, so that money is circulating, going from one person to the next, as a bribe or

ill-gotten gain at every step.

By “your property” could also be meant the property in your charge. So if a group of people, such as a

government or other institution, holds wealth on other people’s behalf, they should not “swallow it up

among themselves by false means”.

Another example is gambling. The wealth of all the gamblers, which might well be lawfully possessed by

each one before he gambles, is then, by means of their gambling, redistributed among the same people,

some of them winning and others losing. That is swallowing up your property among yourselves by false


Then the verse mentions the malpractice of bribing the authorities to induce and influence them to hand

over other people’s property to you unjustly. During the fast, a person gives up and avoids, for a period of

time, the use of his own food and drink, which belongs to him legally and morally, and which he has

every legal and moral right to consume. Thus he learns, or should learn, that in real life he must refrain

from wrongfully taking anything which belongs to someone else. In fact, far from doing this, he should

learn to voluntarily give up some of what he possesses and some of his rights for the benefit of others and

of society in general. And that is the basis of human civilization.

Eid Mubarak to you all!

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Jameela Khan reading out messages


Akbar Abdullah

Editor, The HOPE Bulletin Mailing Address: P.O. Box 232811

Sacramento, California 95823-0430, U.S.A.

E-mail Address: [email protected]

Telephone Number: (773) 539-6892