Syed Hashir, Jamia Ahmadiyya Canada
We usually get a lot of phone calls to our home phone in Canada from online Quran and hadith schools based in Pakistan. Last week, I decided to actually talk to the person on the other side of the call. I got two calls last week and the conversations that I had with them were just amazing. As a student of Jamia Ahmadiyya, I thought it would give me a taste of what I would potentially have to face in the field. These conversations enabled me to experience the holy words of my beloved master Prophet Muhammadsa first hand: “Nothing will remain of Islam but its name and nothing will remain of Quran but its text”.
Given below is a reproduction of my conversations, from my memory, lightly edited for the sake of brevity. I identify myself as a “student”.
The First Call
The first call I received went something like this:
Caller: Hello sir. I am calling from the Online Quran Academy. Do you, or anyone at home, want to learn the Holy Quran from us?
Student: Can you tell me, where are you calling from?
Caller: Yes, sir. I am calling from Islamabad, Pakistan.
Student: And do you know where you have called? This is not Pakistan. This is Canada.
Caller: Yes, I know. That’s why I called; to ask you whether you want to learn the Holy Quran?
Student: Well, I would learn from you, but the fact is that your country does not consider me a Muslim – so why should I learn the Holy Quran from you?
Caller: Sir, are you a non-Muslim?
Student: No, I am not a non-Muslim. I am a Muslim, but your country does not recognise me as a Muslim. It’s in your law.
Caller: No, sir. There is no law. Who are you and why are you saying that you are a non-Muslim according to our law?
Student: You see, it’s a very common law in Pakistan. I am a non-Muslim according to your law. Why must I learn the Holy Quran from you?
Caller: Sir, we teach the Holy Quran. We are Muslims. Whoever calls himself a Muslim, the Quran says he is Muslim. I don’t know why you say you are a non-Muslim?
(Now it was clear. I thought to myself, that he has said himself that whoever calls themselves a Muslim, is Muslim according to the Holy Quran. So why not tell him that I am an Ahmadi Muslim.)
Caller: Are you a Muslim?
Student: Yes, I am an Ahmadi Muslim.
Caller: Sorry, what did you say?
Student: I said that I am an Ahmadi Muslim.
Caller: Ahmadi … You mean Qadiani? Qadiani! … [Erupts in laughter] Kafir! … [Laughs again] You are a kafir!
The caller abruptly hung up after calling me a kafir (infidel). Merely seconds ago, he said that whoever called themselves a Muslim, is a Muslim according to the Holy Quran and merely seconds after that statement, he called me a kafir. I was shocked. I thought this would be a sensible gentleman because usually people use Khatm-e-Nabuwat to consider someone a Muslim, but he was using the Holy Quran.
Through this phone call, I truly witnessed the Quran being “discarded” as mentioned in the Holy Quran, chapter 25, verse 31, where Allah the Almighty says, “And the Messenger will say, ‘O my Lord, my people indeed treated this Quran as [a] discarded [thing].” And I truly experienced the fulfilment of the aforementioned hadith.
The Second Call
Four to five days after the first call, I received another call from the same institution.
The phone rang. I picked up.
Caller: Hello, sir. How are you? I am speaking from the Online Quran Academy. Do you have anyone who wants to learn the Holy Quran?
Student: Which country are you calling from?
Caller: I am calling from Islamabad, Pakistan. Do you want to learn the Holy Quran?
Student: Sir, this is Canada, not Pakistan.
Caller: Yes, I know, sir. We teach the Holy Quran everywhere.
Student: Okay. Can you give me some more information?
Caller: Yes, sir. We teach the Holy Quran online. There are online classes.
Student: So you guys teach for free or is there some fee?
Caller: Yes, sir. There is a fee. It is $100 for the online course.
(At first, I thought to myself, should I ask a school that teaches the Holy Quran about fees? Obviously, they are going to be free of cost – after all, they are teaching the Holy Quran. But the response shocked me. He said that the fee was $100; that is more than 10,000 rupees in Pakistan, for learning the Holy Quran!)
Student: Wait, wait, wait. What did you say? $100 for teaching the Holy Quran? You should know that in the hadith, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa has not allowed taking money for teaching Quran.
Caller: Sorry, sir, can you repeat that?
Student: I said that the Holy Prophetsa, in a hadith, has forbidden to take money for teaching the Quran.
Caller: Yes, sir, I know that, but it is $100 for learning the Quran.
Student: Listen brother! Are you hearing yourself? You are asking for money to teach the Holy Quran. I am telling you that the Holy Prophetsa has not allowed that. So why would I pay you?
Caller: Sir, you are right, the hadith does not allow taking money for teaching the Quran, but sir…
Student: You are doing something against the commandment of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. I told you that it is not allowed. You are confirming this and still asking for money?
Caller: Yes, sir, you are right but….
[He hung up]
I could not believe that a Muslim after hearing a hadith and agreeing with me on the hadith would still be selling me something that wasn’t allowed in that very hadith. Though I did not quote the hadith in the call, I shall quote it here.
Hazrat Ubadah bin Samitra narrates, “I taught some of Ahl al-Suffah the Quran and to write, and one of them gave me a bow. I said: ‘It is not wealth, and I may shoot with it in the cause of Allah. I shall go to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on Him, and ask him.’ So I went to him and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, one of the men whom I taught the Quran and to write has given me a bow, and that is not wealth, and I may shoot with it in the cause of Allah, the Most High. He said: ‘If you would like to have a collar of fire tied to your neck then accept it.’” (Sunan Abi Dawud, Book of Wages, Chapter regarding the earnings of a teacher)
After the call, I sighed and thought for a moment about what had happened. I picked up a book and started reading. Within 5-7 minutes, my phone starting ringing again. I picked it up:
Caller: Hello sir. I just talked to you a few minutes ago.
Student: From Online Quran Academy?
Caller: Yes sir. Sir, I wanted to tell you that if you cannot pay $100, then we can give you a discount. You can pay $80. If you cannot pay that, then you can pay $40. If you cannot pay anything, then we can make it free for you sir.
(I could not believe this. He had the audacity to call me again and offer a discount to teach me the Holy Quran after I told him that taking money to teach the Quran was against the teachings of Islam. I was not expecting that.)
Student: Hold on, I told you before that in a hadith the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa had prohibited from taking money in return for teaching the Quran. And you are calling me again to offer me a lower price for that?
(Now, the caller brings up a new point.)
Caller: Sir, you see, there are people who sell the Holy Quran. They sell the Quran and make money. So we can make money by teaching the Quran.
Student: Wait, so you are telling me that just because other people are making money, so you can too? I am telling you of a hadith. The hadith does not allow it.
Caller: Sir, you are right. The hadith says don’t take money for teaching the Quran, but people sell the Quran and make money.
Student: You are right. They make money but they do not make money from selling the Quran. They are making money by selling the published book in which the Quran is written, which has a beautiful cover and good quality pages. If they do not sell the published book, they would start to lose their money and soon they will not be able to publish more Qurans for future generations.
Caller: Yes, sir. You are right, but they still make money.
Student: They do not make any profit on it. They sell the publication of the Quran for the same price which cost them to make it.
(I then changed the subject.)
Student: Why do you even take the money? You are teaching the Holy Quran online. There is no expenditure in that other than the cost of the Internet.
Student: You see, I am a hafiz [I memorised from Madrasa-tul-Hifz, Rabwah]. I memorised the Holy Quran from a madrasa (religious school). There were no fees there.
Caller: You are right, sir. I know that madrasas don’t take money. They don’t have fees because they are madrasas. But this is online. We don’t do it for free.
Student: If, at all, someone must take money, it should be a madrasa. They have to pay for their electricity and water bills. They also have hostels so they have to pay for food and accommodation. They have more of a right to ask for fees as you are teaching online.
Caller: You are right, sir. But this is online. It is expensive. Bye, sir.
[He hung up.]
The Holy Prophet Muhammadsa has prophesied about this day and age. He said:
“A time is soon coming to mankind when nothing of Islam but its name will remain and only the written form of the Quran will remain. Their mosques will be occupied, but will be devoid of guidance. Their scholars will be the worst of all people under the Heavens. Fitnah (mischief) will emerge from them and will return among them.” (Mishkat-ul-Masabih, The Book of Knowledge)
In the same age, the Holy Prophetsa also foretold the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of Khilafat on precepts of the Prophethood. We, Ahmadi Muslims, are blessed that we have accepted the Promised Messiahas and are constantly under the guidance of our beloved Khalifa who never lets us go astray.