Answers to Everyday Issues – Part 34: Principles of tafsir, hesitating to pledge bai‘at, tabligh, astrological signs, effects of celestial objects, and Covid vaccine during Ramadan


Click here for Part 33

Guidance regarding basic Islamic issues – which Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa has given on various occasions in his written correspondence and during MTA programmes – is being officially published below for everyone’s benefit

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Principles of tafsir

A lady interpreted a verse of Surah al-Nur herself and presented the interpretation before Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa. She then asked whether it was permissible to do so. 

In his letter dated 10 March 2021, Huzooraa provided the following guidance:

“The interpretation you have given of this verse is good. Almost everything you have mentioned in it is also found in the Jamaat’s literature. You have also stated one or two additional points, for example, that olive oil had a flash point of 550 degrees, meaning it did not ignite if spilt over from a lamp. Maybe this is also mentioned somewhere in the Jamaat’s literature but I have not come across this point. 

“As far as interpreting the Holy Quran is concerned, it is essential to have a broad and in-depth knowledge of the teachings contained in the Holy Quran, the sunnah of the Holy Prophetsa, the ahadith and the books of the Promised Messiahas. After this, a person may become qualified to interpret the Holy Quran. Below, I have briefly outlined the principles of interpreting the Holy Quran [tafsir] that Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has stated for your benefit: 

“Huzoorra stated three principles of tafsir on the basis of a vision and said: 

“‘Whenever there is a disagreement among you about the meaning of a verse, ponder over the other verses of the Holy Quran to see which of the meanings they support. If such verses are not found, then find its meaning in the ahadith of the Holy Prophetsa. And if you do not find its meaning even in the ahadith, then look at the words of someone who has received revelation and his interpretations. This is so because his mind is enlightened by receiving fresh light and inspiration from God Almighty.’ (Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 28, Sermon delivered on 21 November 1947 [p. 415])

“Huzoorra, while outlining the principles of tafsir stated by the Promised Messiahas, writes in his book Hazrat Masih-e-Maudas Ke Karnamay that in order to understand the Holy Quran, it was necessary for a person to forge a relationship with God Almighty, to ponder over the Holy Quran, and to keep in mind that: 

Every word of the Quran was arranged in a perfect order

None of its words was superfluous. No word was meaningless

The Holy Quran itself gave evidence for each of its claims

The Holy Quran interpreted itself

There was no [unnecessary] repetition in the Holy Quran

The Holy Quran did not merely consist of stories

No part of the Holy Quran had been abrogated

There could be no difference between the Word of God and His practice

The various words of the Arabic language were not synonymous; rather, even the letters carried certain [distinct] meanings

The surahs of the Holy Quran were like the [arrangement of] human organs which manifested their perfection together as well as individual parts. (Abridged from Hazrat Masih-e-Maudas Ke Karnamay, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 10, pp. 157-159)

“In light of these golden principles, if you think that you can do justice to the interpretation of the Holy Quran, then you may do so by all means and do not hesitate to send it to me as well. In any case, the Holy Quran is not the property and heritage of any one section of society but it is the source of guidance and direction for all mankind. Hence, every class and every level of human beings can benefit from it according to their ability and potential. Hence, referring to the sciences and insights of the Quran which were bestowed upon the Promised Messiahas by Allah the Exalted, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:

“‘A fifth discovery (at the hands of the Promised Messiahas) was the multi-sidedness of the Holy Text. A given verse can have a variety of meanings, some near the surface, some deeper, some deeper still. Whatever the intellectual level of the reader, his background or experience, he can find in a given verse a meaning which will suit his understanding, and which he will find true and relevant. The same words serve different purposes and different kinds of persons. A man of ordinary understanding will discover in those words a simple and convincing teaching which he does not find hard to understand and which he has no difficulty at all in believing. Another man, endowed with a slightly higher intellect, will find in the same words a meaning appropriate to his understanding and experience. A man of still higher intellect will find in it a higher meaning. The Holy Quran has something important and relevant to impart to men of all intellectual levels. Those of low intellect will not find the Holy Quran beyond their understanding; those of high intellect will not find the Book beneath theirs. Men of all levels will find the Book significant and important and able to affect their intellectual and moral improvement.’” (Invitation to Ahmadiyyat, p. 317)

Tabligh and hesitating to pledge bai‘at

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A non-Ahmadi Arab lady wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa that she had not yet sworn allegiance because she was afraid that she may not be able to fulfil the conditions of bai‘at. She asked if she could nevertheless preach to her friends. She also requested guidance regarding astrological signs and asked if it was proper for someone to say that such and such was their zodiac symbol. She also asked, what the reality was of the effects of the Sun and other stars as mentioned by the Promised Messiahas. In his letter dated 13 March 2021, Huzooraa replied as follows:

“Striving and praying is an essential prerequisite for attaining nearness to Allah the Exalted. Intention alone is not enough to attain righteousness, action is also necessary. Since Allah the Exalted has shown you His true path, now it is your duty to try to get close to Him with prayer and efforts. When you do that, Allah will make matters even easier for you by His grace. The Promised Messiahas mentions this subject in light of Quranic teachings as follows: 

“‘The journey of righteousness [taqwa] is extremely difficult. Only that person can complete it, who fully abides by God Almighty’s will and does whatever He wants and does not follow their own preference. Nothing can ever be availed by pretence. This is why what is needed is God’s grace. That can only be achieved if on the one hand, one prays and on the other hand, he makes continuous efforts. God Almighty has enjoined both prayer and making efforts. In:

‭ ‬ادۡعُوۡنِيۡۤ‭ ‬اَسۡتَجِبۡ‭ ‬لَكُمۡ‭ ‬

“‘[“Pray unto Me; I will answer your (prayer)”  (Surah al-Mu’min, Ch.40: V.61)], the emphasis is on prayer and in

‭ ‬جَاهَدُوۡا‭ ‬فِيۡنَا‭ ‬لَنَهۡدِيَنَّهُمۡ‭ ‬سُبُلَنَا‭ ‬

“‘[“Those who strive in Our path – We will surely guide them in Our ways” (Surah al-Ankabut, Ch.29: V.21)], the emphasis is on effort. Unless there is piety, one will not at all enter among the friends of the Gracious God [awliya-ur-Rahman]. And until that happens, verities and spiritual insights will not at all come to light.’ (Al-Badr, Vol. 3, No. 2, January 1904, p. 3)

“One way to be thankful for the bounties of God is to share them with others. So, since Allah Almighty, by His grace, has guided you towards Ahmadiyyat i.e. true Islam, now you too can give thanks to Allah Almighty for this kindness by preaching this true path to your friends as you see fit.”

[Astrological signs, and the effects of celestial objects]

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“Heavenly buruj have been mentioned in the Holy Quran in various places. For instance, it states:

وَ‭ ‬لَقَدۡ‭ ‬جَعَلۡنَا‭ ‬فِي‭ ‬السَّمَآءِ‭ ‬بُرُوۡجًا

“‘And We have, indeed, made mansions of (stars) in the heaven.’ (Surah al-Hijr, Ch. 15: V. 17)

“It further states: 

تَبٰرَكَ‭ ‬الَّذِيۡ‭ ‬جَعَلَ‭ ‬فِي‭ ‬السَّمَآءِ‭ ‬بُرُوۡجًا

“‘Blessed is He Who has made mansions in the heaven.’ (Surah al-Furqan, Ch. 25: V. 62)

“It then states:

وَالسَّمَآءِ‭ ‬ذَاتِ‭ ‬الۡبُرُوۡجِ

“‘By the heaven having mansions (of stars).’ (Surah al-Buruj, Ch. 85: V. 2)

“In addition, Allah Almighty has extensively mentioned celestial objects such as the Sun, the Moon and the planets in the Holy Quran.

“In the ahadith of the Holy Prophetsa too, these celestial bodies are mentioned with different connotations. The ahadith mention, for instance, that the Byzantine emperor, Heraclius (who was a great expert in the study of stars) had deduced from the movement of the stars that the appearance of the Holy Prophetsa had taken place or that the time of his appearance was near (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Bad’ al-Wahy). Then [a statement by Qatada] is also mentioned in a hadith that the stars had been created to adorn the heaven, to strike the Satans and as signs to aid navigation and that whoever tried to find a different interpretation, was mistaken and troubled himself with what was beyond his knowledge. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab  Bad’ al-Khalq, Bab Fin-Nujum) 

“Similarly, [the Holy Prophetsa] said that whoever learned something through stars, attained a share of magic (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Tibb, Bab Fin-Nujum). Then the Holy Prophetsa also said that the eclipse of the Sun or the Moon had nothing to do with anyone’s birth or death (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jumu‘ah, Bab al-Salat fi Kusuf al-Shams). However, the eclipses of the Sun and the Moon were described by the Holy Prophetsa as two unique signs of the coming of his Mahdi, which were fulfilled in their time with full glory and affixed their seal of approval on the authenticity of the Muhammadan Messiah. (Sunan al-Daraqutni, Kitab al-Eidain, Bab Sifati Salat al-Khusufi wa al-Kusuf wa Hai’atihima)

“In light of these teachings of the Quran and the hadith, the scholars of the ummah consider the belief in the effects of celestial objects on earthly events without Divine Will to be tantamount to shirk. They also call divination, the idea of seeking the knowledge of the unseen from the movements of these celestial objects, evil and a grave sin. However, they believe in determining the time or an era and the change of seasons through the celestial objects’ speed and movements. 

“The Promised Messiahas, who was the most ardent devotee of the Holy Prophetsa, has given the most enlightening and insightful view of celestial objects in his writings. While responding to an objection by his opponents, Huzooras states: 

“We do not believe that either the Sun, the Moon or any of the stars is self-governing and independent in its actions or exerts any influence by itself or has any intentional authority over any kinds of effects such as the conveying of the light, or causing of the rain, or the growth of the bodies or organisms or the fruits […] And at the same time, we believe that the properties of things are a reality and that they have effects, by the permission of God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise, Who has not created anything in vain […] And the truth is that the effects of the Sun, the Moon and the stars are things that people observe all the time and every moment and there is no room for denying them, for instance, the alteration of seasons and their circumstances and each season being tied with specific diseases, well-known plants and famous insects is something that you know very well […] And you know that when the Sun rises and light spreads, there is no doubt that it has a special effect on plants, inanimate objects and animals […] Then when the Sun is about to set at dusk, there are other kinds of effects at that time. The bottom line is that the distance of the Sun or its proximity has a significant and powerful effect on trees, fruits, rocks and the temperaments of human beings […] And there are so many characteristics of the Moon that farmers and agriculturists are aware of […] And the hukama have come to a consensus that the most well-built of the peoples are comprised of the inhabitants along the equator, and some such special effect is the reason for their perfect health and their elevated understanding and prudence.” (Hamamat-ul-Bushra [Urdu translation] […])

“Mentioning the heavenly buruj, Huzooras states:

“‘“Rahman” is that Being, the Source of abundant blessings and the Fountainhead of perpetual good, who has made mansions in the heaven and has placed in those mansions the Sun and the Moon which shed light for all creatures without discriminating between believer and disbeliever.’ (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Part IV, Footnote number 11, p. 211)

“Then Huzooras says about the effects of these celestial bodies:

“‘These stars are not only for adornment as people generally assume, but they have certain effects as is evident from the word  “hifzan” mentioned in the verse:

‭ ‬وَ‭ ‬زَيَّنَّا‭ ‬السَّمَآءَ‭ ‬الدُّنۡيَا‭ ‬بِمَصَابِيۡحَ‭ ‬وَ‭ ‬حِفۡظًا‭ ‬

“‘[“And We adorned the lowest heaven with lamps (for light) and for protection.” (Surah Ha Mim al-Sajdah, Ch.41: V.13)].

“‘It means that these stars play a role in the protection and preservation of the order of the universe, the same kind of role that medicine and food play in human health. [However, their role] has no share in the divine omnipotence; rather, all these things are as if dead before the Supreme Power of God. These things can do nothing except by the command of Allah. Their effects are in the Hands of God Almighty. Therefore, the actual truth is that stars have effects that manifest themselves on earth. Thus, no one in the world is more ignorant than someone who acknowledges the effects of violets and lilies and turbith and scammonies and cassia fistula but denies the effects of the stars which are the foremost place of the manifestation of the splendour and the wonders of the Hand of Nature and about which God Himself has used the word “hifzan”.

“‘These people who are totally immersed in ignorance consider this intellectual dispensation as shirk. They do not know that the Law of God Almighty in the world is that He did not create anything in vain, useless or ineffective. Since He has declared that everything has been created for mankind, please elaborate, what is the use for mankind of the lowest heaven being filled with millions of stars? Hence, God’s saying that all these things have been created for mankind, certainly draws our attention to the fact that these objects have particular effects that manifest themselves on human life and civilisation such as what the classical thinkers have written that the earth was very uneven in the beginning and God levelled it with the influence of the stars.’ (Tohfah-e-Golarviyyah, Ruhani Khazain Vol. 17, footnote, pp. 282-283)

“Therefore, it can be concluded from the above-mentioned excerpts that the Moon, the Sun, and other stars and planets in heaven, as well as their different stages and positions called buruj that have been created by Allah the Exalted, are not without purpose. Where on the one hand the movements of these celestial objects result in the alternation of day and night on our earth, years, months and days are formed and the seasons change, there on the other hand these objects affect Earth and its inhabitants in many other ways too. We observe some of their effects in our daily lives and there are many of their new effects that science is discovering on a daily basis and many that it may never discover at all.

“Astronomers and astrologers calculated the path of the Sun among the constellations and the Earth’s orbit around the Sun and — corresponding to 12 months — they divided the year into 12 sections and named them the 12 astrological signs [buruj]. There does not appear to be anything wrong with considering a person to have a certain astrological sign according to their date of birth, but the claims of gaining knowledge of the unseen from these imaginary and hypothetical astrological signs or predictions about the next life are all wild guesses and mere conjecture. It has nothing to do with reality or the pure knowledge of the unseen.”

A verdict of Dar-ul-Qaza

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In a Dar-ul-Qaza case involving financial transactions, one party requested the respected Mufti-e-Silsila to issue a fatwa on the matter and also submitted a copy of the request to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa

In his letter dated 25 March 2021, Huzooraa provided the petitioner with the following instructions in this regard:

“You sent a detailed letter to the respected Mufti-e-Silsila, seeking a fatwa on your dispute and also sent me a copy of it. I instructed the respected Mufti-e-Silsila to reply to your letter and also wrote to him that he should send me a copy of his reply.

“After reviewing the fatwa of Mufti-e-Silsila, the files held at Dar-ul-Qaza UK and Umur-e-Ama Department UK regarding your dispute, as well as the decision of the court, it becomes clear that the verdict that was given was absolutely correct. The additional money that the court has imposed on you (as compensation) does not fall under the category of interest at all. In the eyes of the court, it is the right of the other party. There is also nothing in the Shariah that prevents the other party from taking that money. They are free to take that money.”

Covid vaccine during Ramadan

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Following the publication of a fatwa of a non-Ahmadi organisation in [a Jamaat publication] on the supposed legitimacy of receiving an injection of the Covid vaccine while fasting, Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa shed light on this Islamic legal issue and instructed the following in a letter dated 13 April 2021: 

“What is the need for publishing such news and fatwas in Al Fazl? And if, for some reason, it was inevitable to publish it, then the Jamaat’s stance on it should also have been published alongside it, stating that this is the fatwa of such and such institution, while the Jamaat has the opposite view, so that no one may assume the wrong view after reading your report. 

“Anyhow, immediately publish the denial of it and clearly state the Jamaat’s view in this regard, namely that receiving any form of injection while fasting, whether intramuscular or intravenous, is prohibited. If an Ahmadi receives an appointment to have their Coronavirus vaccine during the month of Ramadan, they can avail of the exemption granted by Islam and abstain from fasting on the day they are due to receive the injection and should make up for the fast after Ramadan.

“The Promised Messiahas did not even allow the application of kohl in the eyes while fasting, arguing from the ahadith of the Holy Prophetsa while according to the fatwa published in Al Fazl, you are declaring even injections as permissible.”

(Compiled by Zaheer Ahmad Khan, Head of Records Department, Private Secretariat, London. Translated by Al Hakam)

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