By Muhammad Zafrulla Khan
This concisely written text presents the teachings of Islam and their distinct superiority over various Articles that make up the Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations and universally acclaimed as the greater charter of freedom. The author explains how 1400 years ago, Islam emancipated the poor and oppressed and gave the world the basic prescription for the respect and value of all human beings irrespective of class, colour or creed. Those instructions contained in the Holy Qur'an remain as relevant today as they were at the time that it was revealed. However, with the passage of time, some parts of Muslim society neglected Qur'anic teachings with an inevitable decline in moral standards. The author however concludes on an optimistic note that the revival of Islam is happening and with it a close adherence to the values laid out in the Holy Qur'an
The Heavenly Decree is the English translation of Asmani Faisala by Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (as) and the Founder of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at. It is addressed to his contemporary ulema, specially Miyan Nadhir Husain Dehlawi and Maulawi Muhammad Husain of Batala who had issued a fatwa of heresy against the Promised Messiahas and declared him a non-Muslim, because he (the Promised Messiahas) had claimed that Jesus Christ had died a natural death and the second coming of Masih ibni Mariam (Jesus Christ) is fulfilled by the advent of Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas. Because (by the time the book was written) the ulema had refused to debate this issue with the Promised Messiah, he invited them, in this book, to a spiritual contest in which the question whether someone is a Muslim or not would be settled by Allah himself on the basis of four criteria of a true believer as laid down by Him in the Holy Quran. He also spelled out the modus operandi of this contest and fixed the period of time frame within which this contest would be decreed by Allah. He declared that God would not desert him and would help him and would grant him victory.
Report of The Court of Inquiry
The second important difference between the two parties relates to the incident of crucifixion of Jesus and the belief in his reappearance before the Day of Resurrection. On the crucifixion and reappearance of Jesus there are at least four views :
(1) the view shared by most of the Muslim sects that Jesus did not die on the Cross and that he is alive in the Fourth Heaven from where he will descend on the earth before the Day of Resurrection, his appearance being one of the signs of the approaching Day ;
(2) the view held by the Ahmadis that Jesus was saved from the Cross, tended by his disciples and cured of his wounds, after which he came over to Kashmir where he died a natural death, that the person who was promised to appear before the Day of Resurrection was to be a person with the attributes of Jesus, his maseel, and that that person was Mirza Ghulam Ahmad ;
(3) the view that Jesus died on the Cross, but that he will rise from his grave before the Day of Resurrection; and
(4) the view that Jesus died on the Cross and that he will not at all appear, neither he in person nor his maseel.
The verses of the Qur’an. which have reference to this phenomenon are :—
Sura XLIII, verses 57 to 61 :
57. “When (Jesus) the son of Mary is held up as an example, behold, thy people raise a clamour thereat (in ridicule) !
58. “And they say, ‘are our gods best, or he ?’ This they set forth to thee, only by way of disputation : yea, they are a contentious people.
59. “He was no more than a servant: We granted our favour to him, and we made him an example to the Children of Israel.
60. “And if it were Our Will, we could make angels from amongst you, succeeding each other on the earth.
61. “And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment) : Therefore, have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me : this is a Straight Way.”
Sura V, verse 120 :
“Never said I to them aught except what Thou didst command me to say, to wit, ‘Worship God, my Lord and your Lord’ ; and I was a witness over them whilst I dwelt amongst them ; when Thou didst take me up, Thou wast the Watcher over them, and Thou art a witness to all things.”
Sura III, verse 55 and 144 :
55. “Behold ! God said : ‘O Jesus ! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehood) of those who blaspheme ; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject Faith, to the Day of Resurrection : Then shall ye all return unto Me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.
144. “Muhammad is no more than an Apostle : many were the Apostles that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will ye then turn back on your heels ? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to God; but God (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve him) with gratitude.”
Sura IV, verses 157 and 158 :
157. “That they said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle of God’ ;—but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not ;—
158. “Nay, God raised him up unto himself; and God is Exalted in Power, Wise ;”
The non-Ahmadi Muslims interpret these verses so as to show that Jesus did not die on the Cross, that a phenomenon occurred in the nature of an optical illusion, and that in fact God lifted up Jesus towards himself where he is still alive in the Fourth Heaven from where he will descend before the Day of Resurrection. This view is sought to be supported by several ahadith on the subject. The Ahmadis, however, take these very verses to mean that Jesus died a natural death, though not on the Cross, and that another person with the attributes of Jesus was to appear and that that person has already appeared in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. They also cite some opinions of renowned theologians in support of the view that only a person like Jesus and not Jesus himself is the promised Messiah who is to appear before the Day of Resurrection. It is contended by Maulana Murtaza Ahmad Khan Maikash on behalf of the Majlis-i-Amal that the Ahmadiya interpretation of these and certain other verses of the Qur’an amounts to tavil and tehrif, which amounts to kufr and irtidad and renders the man guilty of such misinterpretation liable to forfeit his life and property (halaluddam walmal). We are not called upon to express our own opinion on the merits of this controversy which centres round the meaning of the word ‘masalan’ ( مثلاً ) in verse 57 of Sura LXIII and of the derivatives of the word ‘wafa’ ( وفیٰ ) which have been used in some of the verses cited above and also relates to the antecedent of the pronoun in the ( انھُ ) in verse 61 of Sura LXIII.