Usama Awan, Radiologist, USA
Last Ramadan two Sunni Muslims of Moroccan origin who were travelling through Houston, Texas on a road trip stopped by our masjid for Maghrib prayer followed by the iftar dinner. After completing our Maghrib prayer, we took some dinner and sat down and I introduced myself to them and got to know them. They had no idea that they had just stopped at an Ahmadi mosque or what Islam Ahmadiyyat was and what our beliefs were.
Only about a minute or so into the conversation, one of them pointed towards the picture of the Promised Messiahas and enquired about him. I responded, “He is the Imam Mahdias that the entire Muslim ummah awaits.”
There was a look of confusion on the gentleman’s face. I could tell he was taken aback and was occupied in thought. He then asked, “How could he be the Imam Mahdi when Isaas has not come back yet?”
I smiled because I knew the conversation that would follow would make them deeply reevaluate what they had been told all their lives.
I told him Isaas (Jesus), the one sent solely for the Children of Israel 2,000 years ago, had lived and died on the earth and would not come back just as the Holy Quran recorded. He naturally enquired where in the Quran the death of Jesusas was mentioned. A lot of arguments – taught by the Promised Messiahas – were whirling in my head and I did not know which one to put first. Nonetheless, I started with one that I thought would be most easily understood by them.
I asked him where he thought Jesusas was and what happened to him. He gave me the generic answer of how Allah put someone else on the cross and instead physically took Jesusas to the Heavens and has been keeping him there ever since.
Then I asked him, “How long did you fast for today?”
He said, “Approximately 15 hours.”
I responded, “Are you hungry?”
He said, “Yes, of course.”
I told him, “It’s quite natural to feel hungry after fasting a whole day right? Especially in the summers when the days are longer?
He replied, “Of course.”
I enquired, “But what if I told you that instead of breaking my fast with you here right now, I’m going to continue fasting for 40 days straight – no food and no water. Do you think that would be possible?”
He said, “No way, you would die.”
I said to him, “Then how has Isaas been fasting for not just 40 days, but for the last 2,000 years?”
He was a little confused at the point I was trying to make and so I continued: “The Quran says that Jesusas and his mother were pious people and they both used to eat food [Surah al-Maidah, Ch.5: V.76]”. I emphasised the “used to eat food” part by quoting the relevant Arabic words that they very clearly understood as Arabs: كَانَا يَأْكُلَانِ الطَّعَام
“Maryamas stopped eating food because she passed away and Isaas also stopped eating food because he has also died.”
He rebutted, “How do you know he needs food to survive? He could just live without food?”
I replied, “Only Allah is the one that does not require sustenance. Do you place Isaas as His equal? And moreover, the Quran clearly states that there has never been a prophet that was given a body that didn’t require food [Surah al-Anbiya, Ch.21: V.9] and you just told me Isa’s body was taken to the skies, so he most definitely requires food to survive. But the Quran has already stated that he and his mother both stopped eating food because they both died.”
The Moroccan Muslim gentleman and his friend were perplexed at this point and acknowledged that this was a fair argument. I then went through a few other arguments of the death of Jesusas, namely Surah Al-e-Imran (Ch.3: V.145) and Surah al-Maidah (Ch.5: V.118) and explained to them the meanings and contexts of those verses.
Towards the end of the conversation, he and his friend were quite astounded and had no response except to smile and nod in agreement. They both vowed to do further research.
Finally, the time for Isha prayer arrived and we offered our prayers and I told them to research about the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat and read further on islamahmadiyya.net – our Jamaat’s Arabic website.
Perhaps next Ramadan, you may find yourself breaking your fast with a non-Ahmadi Muslim friend and can use the aforementioned arguments that the Promised Messiahas taught us. It’s quite a powerful experience, especially after a long day of fasting.