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Saturday, December 15, 2012


“The standard explanations for the crucifixion of Jesus
created a deep mystery of motive and consequence,
raising many questions about what truly is
God’s plan for our salvation.”

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) is undeniably one of the most emotionally charged and controversial events in all of religious history. It is also one of the most powerful and political, in that it laid the foundation for Christianity’s main principle of mankind’s spiritual salvation – that Jesus Christ was destined by God to die on the cross for our sins. But is this really God’s or even Jesus’ idea? The facts about what happened to Jesus 2000 years ago have been shrouded in mystery for as long as Christianity has existed as a major world religion. The commonly held views of the events of the crucifixion and the life and purpose of Jesus are well known to virtually every Christian and most others who have come in contact with Western Christian nations. But is this view, in fact, the truth? Or is there another explanation that must be considered for all true believers in Christ to fully understand Jesus, his status and his mission.
It is this alternate explanation of the reasons for, and results of, the crucifixion that I wish to bring to light before you now. It is the universal belief of all Muslims that Jesus did not die on the cross, because this would prove him to be a false prophet and a false messiah for the Jewish people, which Muslims do not accept. Islam teaches that Jesus was a true and beloved prophet of God, just like the Old Testament prophets before him, and that he was the Messiah foretold for the Jewish people in their scriptures. On this point, Muslims are closer to Christians in this regard than Jews.
Most Muslims, however, believe as Christians do: that Jesus was taken up physically alive into heaven and that he will return to Earth again in the same body before the End of the World -- although Jesus’ mission when he returns will not be to bring Christianity to the Muslims, but to bring Islam to the Christians and the rest of the world.
I belong to a Muslim Community known as Ahmadiyyat, founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in 1889. We believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi foretold in Islamic scripture and traditions. As Ahmadi Muslims, we believe differently about a few key points relating to Jesus and the crucifixion.
From revelations to the Promised Messiah and through research done by him and his companions in the l890s, we have conclusive evidence that Jesus did not die on the cross -- for the same reasons stated earlier – but unlike the rest of the Muslim world, we believe that Jesus was actually put on the cross, only he did not die as a result of this crucifixion. He survived so that he could complete his stated mission to “gather and preach to the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel” and to fulfill the Sign of Jonah he gave to the Jews prior to his crucifixion -- as Jonah was “three days and three nights alive in the belly of the whale,” Jesus, too, would be “three days and three nights alive in the belly of the earth.” As Jonah survived his ordeal and went on to successfully preach to his people, so too does Jesus say he will survive a similar trial and go on to preach to his people, the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel.
He survived the crucifixion with the Divine help of Almighty God and the help of his trusted friends. One of these, Nicodemus, was a physician who treated his wounds with 100 pounds of medicinal plants and spices: the famed mixture of aloes and myrrh mentioned in the New Testament.
Another close friend was Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy and powerful Jew in whose open-air sepulcher Jesus was taken for treatment and recuperation after the crucifixion. When Mary Magdalene first sees Jesus outside the tomb, she moves to embrace him but he stops her and says, “Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended.” That is, he is still suffering from his recent wounds but has not died from them. He even tells “Doubting Thomas,” who thinks he’s a ghost (as do all the other disciples), to stick his fingers into Jesus’ fresh wounds so he may know Jesus is not dead nor a ghost, but very much alive.
It is our belief that Jesus survived the crucifixion because he was not and could never be “accursed of God,” and so he could go on to fulfill his stated mission to preach to his people. We believe that he traveled extensively throughout the Near East where the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel were known to be: in Syria, Iraq, Iran, India, Afghanistan and Kashmir. We believe Jesus eventually died at the age of 120 and is buried in Kashmir, in the city of Srinagar.
An Ahmadi Imam I know has personally visited the sacred tomb of Jesus, and has been inside it to clean it and to pay his respects. Many may be astonished to hear that Jesus’ mother, Mary, is believed to be buried in Pakistan, in the town named after her: Muree. Some Christians may have heard that the disciple Thomas is buried in Madras, Southern India. He is. Why was he there? The tombs of Jesus, Mary and Thomas are all pieces in a religious puzzle that few Westerners have ever heard of, but to millions of Muslims and Hindus in the Near East, these places are common knowledge.  
The standard explanations for the crucifixion of Jesus created a deep mystery of motive and consequence, raising many questions about what truly is God’s plan for our salvation. What were the motivations of the various groups involved in the crucifixion? What were the consequences of their involvement? The past 2000 years of world history have been filled with the reverberations from the events of that terrible day. And most important of all: Did Jesus truly claim to be God incarnate Who came to be put to death for our sins? Or did these ideas come from other religions and other, later followers of Jesus such as Mark, Luke, Paul and the 4th century Roman Emperor Constantine? None of these men ever met Jesus or witnessed his crucifixion and its aftermath.
We can learn a lot about the answers to these questions by examining closely the actions and words of the various people involved in, or who are said to have witnessed, the crucifixion of Christ.
At the time of the crucifixion, while most people were just curious bystanders, some of the people were certainly the devoted followers and relatives of Jesus, such as his mother Mary and the disciples. No one could argue that this second group was not in deep anguish and sorrow over what was being done to Jesus. If Mel Gibson’s 2004 film “The Passion of the Christ” can move entire audiences of devout Christians to tears 2000 years after the crucifixion, how much more powerful was the experience to those who knew and loved Jesus during his lifetime?
And surely, the reason for these tears today and 2000 years ago was the same: those who loved Jesus did not want to see him tortured so cruelly and be put to death in such an evil and idolatrous manner. And especially if you were a devout Jew, the spiritual significance of being put to death by crucifixion was even more painful, because this pain came from the fact that in the Old Testament, Book of Deuteronomy (21:23), to be put to death on a cross -- “hanged on a tree” -- was to be proven a false prophet or messiah; to be accursed of God and to turn away from God and have Him turn away from you because you have chosen to reject God and follow instead in the footsteps of Satan. God forbid! How could anyone think Jesus fits this description? No one. But that is what “accursed of God” means, and this is why it hurt the followers of Jesus so deeply at the time, and why it hurts me so deeply today as a Muslim -- where love and respect for Jesus and all other prophets is a requirement of my faith -- to have Jesus called “Satan” by those who say he was “accursed of God.” I cannot believe this!
It was no accident that the Jews needed Jesus to be crucified on a cross -- the sacrificial altar to the Roman sun god. The death of Jesus on the cross would prove he was a false prophet and not the Messiah the Jews were expecting to restore to them the Kingdom of David and their holy lands. Was Jesus a false Messiah? According to Jewish expectations of the time, he was not what they were looking for. He came to bring them back to the Kingdom of God, not the Kingdom of David.
The other group of people at the crucifixion was composed of citizens who disbelieved in Jesus and the Roman soldiers whose job it was to whip and then crucify him. This group was involved in all kinds of abuse against him, making fun of him, spitting on him, calling him a liar, a fabricator, an imposter, and telling him to “save himself and come down off the cross if he was the Messiah” as he claimed. Could these people have been right in their accusations? Why did they all assert that the proof of Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah would be for him to come down off the cross and survive the crucifixion and not, as Christianity holds, to die as a sinless sacrifice because of it? 
How could this central belief of Christians in the death of Jesus on the cross for their sins be such a foreign idea to the Jews of Jesus’ time? Should he not have made this idea crystal clear to his followers and disciples? Jesus should have stated clearly and repeatedly to all his followers, enemies and accusers at every opportunity that his only purpose in life was to be put on the cross to die for the sins of mankind.
When Pilate tells the Jews at the trial of Jesus that he plans to release him, Jesus should have told him, “No, you must crucify me so I can pay for the sins of the world. This is why I have come.” But he does not say this – in fact, Jesus never says anything remotely like this at those times when he should have spoken up the loudest to proclaim his mission: in the court before Pilate and Herod and the Jewish leaders, and while he is on the cross afterwards. And in the end, the charge against Jesus for which he was crucified was not that he was the Son of God, literally or otherwise, but that he was conspiring to make himself King of the Jews and start a rebellion against the Roman Empire.
And the one statement Jesus makes while on the cross that seems to contradict everything we are told about his purpose is: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Why was Jesus asking God to forgive them for crucifying him if that was God’s plan and if that’s what Jesus knew and wanted as well? And did God forgive them? Was God happy about the crucifixion or was He angry? Some say the weather was a Sign of God’s displeasure. What happened?
All of a sudden, they were engulfed in a severe windstorm and sudden darkness caused by an eclipse of sun, accompanied by an intense earthquake. They became very frightened, and most of them ran away from the scene. It can be reasoned that many of those who fled, including many of Jesus’ closest disciples, were all religious-minded Jews who considered the upheaval in the heavens and the earth to be signs of the displeasure of God at the events being undertaken against Jesus.
In regards to the recording of the events of the crucifixion, there are no verifiable first-hand accounts from reliable sources or witnesses to explain what happened to Jesus after he was taken down from the cross. Virtually all reputable scholars say that the “John” listed as being present could not have been the same John who later wrote the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation and who is reported to have died in 120 AD – 87 years after the crucifixion! Nor in the Bible is there a “Gospel of Nicodemus,” the physician who was an eyewitness to the crucifixion.  In fact, a careful study of the New Testament reveals there was much uncertainty about the events of the crucifixion. The Holy Quran in 4:159 states with regard to whether or not the Jews succeeded in killing Jesus by crucifixion: “They were all in a state of doubt about it -- they had no certain knowledge thereof, but only pursued a conjecture. None of them were sure (as to what really happened to Jesus) but they could only guess.”
The Jews knew very well that a strong, healthy person of 33 years, hanging on a cross for 3 to 4 hours, could not die – even Pilate knew this because he “marveled” at the news that Jesus had died so soon. Pilate knew that it took days, not hours, to die from crucifixion. In fact, the other two thieves crucified alongside Jesus were still alive until their legs were broken. Jesus’ legs were not broken.
The Jews also knew that Pilate favored saving Jesus’ life when he went so far as to pronounce him “not guilty” before the court. More than once Pilate tells the Jews that Jesus should be released. In a last-ditch effort to save him, Pilate proclaims that he will flog Jesus and then release him – beaten but not dead -- in the hope that this degrading punishment would satisfy his Jewish enemies. Pilate in no way expected Jesus to die from this whipping as evidenced by his words “and then release him.” Despite what is depicted in the movie “The Passion of the Christ” as a merciless, brutal and prolonged beating of Jesus nearly to death, Christian historians generally state that Jesus was lashed only 39 times. This would be in accordance with a “chastisement” as punishment and not a whipping meant to kill someone.
Another event depicted in the film “The Passion of the Christ” that seems to spell the death blow for Jesus is when the Roman soldier pierces his side while on the cross. In the movie, the soldier is shown thrusting his spear savagely up into the body of Jesus. Christians often say that if Jesus had still been alive on the cross, this deep spear thrust into his side and presumably up into his heart certainly would have finished him off. But is this what actually happened? There was no autopsy performed on Jesus to determine how he died or if he was even dead. And if we examine the piercing event with basic common sense and with an understanding of the Greek word for “pierce” a completely different picture emerges.
Jesus was presumed to be dead when the Roman soldiers came to dispatch the two crucified thieves who were still clearly alive. The soldiers broke their legs, thus killing them, but they did not break the legs of Jesus, so he could not have died from clubbing. So it is stated that a soldier takes his spear and pierces Jesus in the side, and blood and water are reported to issue forth.
The obvious question is, why did the soldier pierce Jesus’ side? To “finish him off” as some claim, or to do what would be a natural test for responsiveness to pain – jab someone with a sharp object to see if they react, thus indicating they are still alive so you can “finish them off” by breaking their legs. But when Jesus did not react, the soldiers did not proceed with the next phase of leg-breaking, believing that he was already dead. The actual meaning of the Greek word for “pierce” means “to prick or scratch, to jab or poke.” Not the forceful, full-powered vicious thrust as depicted in “The Passion of the Christ.”
When trauma victims enter the ER at a hospital, they often appear dead, with no visible signs of life. One of the first things doctors do is poke them with something sharp or pull back on their fingernails or toenails to see if they react from the pain. Another thing they regularly do in trauma treatment is they put a hole in the injured person’s chest to relieve any pressure caused by edema – the internal swelling of body organs and tissues -- that may be suppressing vital signs and keeping the heart and lungs from functioning well. When they do this, the heart often starts beating with renewed vigor and strength, and the lungs are able to inflate easier as well. Also, blood and other fluids like water that have collected in the outer tissues often come gushing out as the pressure is equalized. So in all probability, the piercing of Jesus’ side saved his life, thus relieving the pressure on his heart and lungs. And everyone knows blood doesn’t flow out of a body unless there is a beating heart to produce blood pressure. 
Also, after the crucifixion, the body of Jesus was given to his disciples. This was not the common practice; usually the enemies took the body so they could desecrate it. But it was Jesus’ friends who took his body down from the cross -- one of whom, Nicodemus, was purported to be a medical doctor who treated him with 100 pounds of aloes and myrrh. The Jews have never anointed the bodies of their dead with perfumes or spices, but the ancient Greeks and Romans did.
All of this -- taken together with Jesus’ own prediction that he would be back after three days and nights, fulfilling the sign of Jonah, who went into the belly of the whale alive, stayed there alive for three days and nights, and then came out alive -- leads inescapably to the conclusion that Jesus Christ never meant to die on the cross for anyone’s sins, nor did he in fact die, but was saved by the Hand of God to disprove the charges by the Jews that he was a false prophet and a false messiah. God’s destiny sometimes works just like this – what seems like a defeat is actually a divine means of success and escape from one’s enemies.
For further information about this fascinating subject of world and faith shaking import, I invite you to visit the website and to also go to to read the books “Where Did Jesus Die?” by J.D. Shams, and “Christianity: a Journey from facts to Fiction” by the 4th Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Tahir Ahmad (ra). 

Thursday, December 6, 2012


          There are times when the miraculous occurs for all to see. But when the next grisly or sensationalist event in the news shoves aside the novelty of the miraculous, it’s time to remind people that yes, miracles do still happen. And if we don’t remember them, marvel at them, thank God for them, become inspired and empowered by them, we will have lost something more valuable than the miracle itself: we will have lost our hope.
          The miracle in question was the triumph of life over death, good over evil, where the best and the worst representatives of the religion of Islam met face-to-face. Only this time, what did not happen is what most always happens when armed Islamist thugs shoot unarmed moderate Muslims or others who stand up to them to denounce their evil, extremist interpretation of Islam.
          Now seemingly eons ago, but only this past Oct. 9th in the Swat Valley in Pakistan, an area infamous for being controlled and terrorized by the Taliban, a teenage Pashtun girl named Malala Yousafzai was shot twice at point-blank range by a Taliban gunman. The miracle, as millions around the world now know, was that Malala did not die. (Another schoolgirl was also shot on the assumption that she was Malala, and that girl also survived -- she is in stable condition and expected to recover.)
          The Taliban, upon learning of Malala’s incredible escape from death, openly claimed responsibility for the attack and vowed to finish her off if she recovered. Following the shooting, she was airlifted to a hospital in England where she has been recovering quite well, thank God, with thousands upon thousands of letters of support and encouragement arriving from all over the world.
          Malala’s crime is that she champions the education of girls. Now 15, she is already a veteran in the struggle in the Taliban-controlled Swat Valley, having started at the tender age of 11 by criticizing, denouncing and reporting (via a BBC worldwide blog) the many evils and atrocities the Taliban has committed since gaining political and religious control of the Valley in early 2009. And despite a Pakistan army campaign in May of that year to route them, the Taliban’s power to intimidate and murder at will in the Swat Valley (and everywhere else in Pakistan) remains unchallenged.
          Under Taliban rule, the Swat Valley became a despotic enclave of religious extremism, intimidation, oppression, floggings, stoning, shootings and beheadings. The victims have been political or ideological opponents, those considered infidels or apostates, anyone brave enough to openly defy or criticize them, and women the Taliban have judged immoral, disobedient or “Westernized” and thus worthy of public punishment, often resulting in death.
          In the face of all this, and despite her celebrity survivor status and renewed death threats from the rabid Islamist dogs baying for her blood, Malala vows to return to Pakistan and continue her fight for gender education equality and similar rights and protections Islam grants to women. The Taliban, in opposition to all this, has already destroyed more than 200 schools, most of them for girls -- a gender the Taliban believes should remain uneducated, despite the statements by God in the Quran upholding the requirements and equality of men and women to attain civic, moral and spiritual heights, all of which require education.
          The Taliban and like-minded Muslims who seek to deny women an education also violate clear injunctions by the Holy Prophet (phuh) that both men and women should be educated equally. Even Hell can be averted if a father provides for his daughters as equally as he does for his sons, including education. This also applies to the raising and education of orphan girls.
          There are no shortages of examples of the brutality and senseless murder of innocents at the hands of the Taliban and similar groups. What makes the vicious and cowardly attack against a teenage girl who dared to stand up to the Taliban so different this time is that she was not martyred and then quickly buried to be just as quickly forgotten by the public in their dread and fear of the extremists. No, Malala Yousafzai is a living call for justice and equality for women in Pakistan and around the world, and she is the face of courage that prevails in the face of evil and cries out for an end to that evil.
          Her miraculous survival seems to have stirred the collective conscience of the people of Pakistan, jarring some of them out of their trembling silence. We can only hope and pray that they’ve finally realized they must stand up now, at this moment, and reclaim their religion from the ignorance, fanaticism and bestiality of its Taliban abductors. It is time for the trembling silent in Pakistan to stand up and remain standing and scream for justice and demand the end of the Taliban and their brethren in hate and savagery.
          Seldom has the difference between good and evil been so clearly defined and presented to the world as it was in the dichotomy of a brave and fragile girl and her soulless attackers on a school bus in the Swat Valley. Muslims in Pakistan and elsewhere have no better illustration of the choice before them.
          On one hand is the Islam of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) reflected in the dreams and desires of a young girl seeking knowledge, freedom and justice – the foundations of true spiritual growth. On the other hand is the Islam of the fanatical, bloodthirsty and intolerant extremists, whose twisted worldview of hate and misogyny is world’s away from that of Malala and another young girl from the dawn of Islam named Hadhrat Aisha, whom the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) declared was the depository of fully half the knowledge of the religion; a young woman from whom, after the demise of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), the Khalifas and companions regularly solicited scholarly advice and sage counsel.
Fast-forward to the present, where the last person the Taliban would seek guidance from would be a woman – any woman – and certainly not an outspoken, educated, strong-willed and courageous woman like Malala Yousafzai. Fast-forward to the future: if, God forbid, Malala is murdered at the hands of such Neanderthalic thugs as the Taliban, it will also be at the hands of the silent Muslim majority who did nothing to stop it. In this way, they are also victims of the Taliban – they’re just not dead. . . yet.

[ Appeared as original content on on Dec. 6th, 2012 at this link: ]

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


[ This is a response to an Email received via the 1-800-WHY-ISLAM information service from someone requesting information about Ahmadiyya Muslim beliefs and proofs thereof. Below is my answer. In my original Email response, I attached some PDFs of books which are obviously no longer attached because it is being posted here. The books listed below can be downloaded for free at the Library section of the AMC main website:   -- MAGhaffar)
Salaam alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatahu & a belated Eid Mubarak!
My name is Jonathan M.A.Ghaffar and I am on the Follow-up Team at the 1-800-WHY-ISLAM info line.
I was forwarded your June 27th Email requesting info about Ahmadiyya beliefs & proofs thereof. My apologies for the tardy response. I hope you find this information helpful. . .
The beliefs part is fairly straight forward, which I encourage you to examine in-depth at our main website -- there you will find all the info on Ahmadiyyat in whatever language you read fluently. I suggest reading "Invitation to Ahmadiyyat" by our 2nd Khalifa, Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (ra) which you can read at this link: 

-- the preface (the first 50 pgs or so) answers every major issue raised by our opponents from the start of the community in 1889 to the present time, and the remainder of the book provides all the "proofs" and evidences you would need to arrive at a rational conclusion provided you seek such with an open mind and heart. Remember, Abu Jahl was called Abu Hikam because he was considered the wisest man among the Mecaans -- yet he could not see or accept the truth of Islam when it first came with the Holy Prophet (saw). Now he is only remembered as Abu Jahl. There are never any shortages of Abu Jahls in the world, but there is only one Holy Prophet (saw).  
Another shorter booklet which covers the same topic is by our 4th Khalifa, Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (ra) called "With Love to the Muslims of the World." I am attaching that as a PDF file, along with PDFs of other seminal books by the Imam Mahdi, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, especially: "The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam" (which convinced me of the truth of Islam), "Essence of Islam vols.1-5" and "The Need for the Imam." If you read Urdu, you can find these in Urdu in the Library section under Urdu Books. I have attached their English translations only.  

Ahmadi Muslims, first of all, declare themselves to be Muslims and followers of the Holy Quran, the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saw) and the teachings contained in hadith that do not contradict or contravene the Quran and the Sunnah.
This means: Ahmadi Muslims believe in the six Articles of Faith and five Pillars of Islam. We face toward the Ka'abah in all our five daily prayers and we profess "Laaa ilahah ilullah, Muhammadur Rasoolullah." There is none worthy of worship except Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. We greet each other and other Muslims with the salutation "As-Salaamu alaikum" and as Allah Himself commands in the Quran (4:95*) "... and say not to anyone who greets you the greeting of peace, "Thou art not a believer." . . .
As you probably know, this is exactly what the Muslim world at large does with regard to Ahmadi Muslims at the behest of Mullahs and Ulemma, not at the behest of Allah as cited in 4:95. Pakistan has even changed its constitution to legislate this declaration that Ahmadis are not "believers" and have enacted harsh blasphemy laws targeting Ahmadis by name to forbid them to "act or pose" as Muslims, call the Adhan, say Salaam alaikum, call their places of worship Mosgues, etc. etc. with punishments raging from fines, years of inprisonment or even capital punishment. All such discriminatory actions are not only forbidden by Allah and his Messenger but were also the very same acts of discrimination and persecution enacted upon the first Muslims and the Holy Prophet (saw) by the Meccan idolators 1400 years ago.
In a hadith on how the latter-day Muslims would recognize the Imam Mahdi and his community of believers (who would be like the original sahabis of the Holy prophet (saw) in their devotion and piety; see ch.62:3-5*), the Holy Prophet (saw) told his companions that the followers of the Imam Mahdi would be persecuted and called "disbelievers" just as his companions were by the Meccan idolaters. But that just as Allah had protected and granted success to him and his companions, so too would Allah protect and grant success to the Imam Mahdi and his companions, as well as to the rightly-Guided Khilafat of spiritual successors promised by Allah in hadith about the advent of the Imam Mahdi.
In the verses preceding 4:95, Allah also forbids a Muslim from killing another Muslim intentionally, with the wrongdoer promised Hell as a reward for their evil actions. The targeted killings of Ahmadis in Pakistan and Indonesia are commonplace these days, either individually or collectively, as on May 28th 2010 in Lahore, where the police did nothing to stop Taliban extremists from murdering 86 Ahmadis at two of our mosques in sieges lasting two hours. The two Talibans eventually caught by Ahmadis themselves and handed over to the police were not charged and were quickly released from jail. The murderer of Punjab Gov. Salmaan Taseer was hailed as a hero instead of a cold-blooded killer. 
(* Ahmadi translations always number the bismillah at the head of all chapters except 9, so our verse numbers, except for ch.9, will be one off from translations that do not number the bismillah. We number the bismillah by the simple logic that is a part of the chapter it heads with importance and spiritual blessing by its recitation -- a prayer to Allah for His blessings of Rahman and Raheem. It is not merely a sentence to mark the start of a new chapter as some Muslims think; it is a prayer that precedes the invocation of whatever Allah has commanded in each chapter.)
Ahmadi believe that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) is Khaataman nabiyeen, the greatest and last of the Law-bearing (shariah) prophets, and that no new Law-bearing shariah prophet will ever come, because the Quran states that it is the Final and Perfect Law for all mankind, and since no new Law from God is required or coming, neither is another Law-bearing prophet required or coming.
This does not mean that a follower prophet, wholly subservient to the Holy Prophet (saw) and the Law of the Quran cannot be sent by Allah, Who repeatedly states throughout the Quran that it is He alone Who Guides whoever He pleases, that He will raise up a "witness" to the Holy Prophet (saw), and that He sends down angels with revelation upon whomsoever of His servants He pleases (7:36-37, 11:18, 16:3).

There is no statement I have ever come across anywhere in the Quran or in the hadith that says that any of Allah's Attributes or Powers are ever diminished, suspended, terminated or withdrawn from operation by His command. So anyone who says Allah no longer speaks to His devoted servants or Guides them or Hears their prayers and Answers them, or Helps them against their enemies is speaking falsehood and speaking against the statements of Almighty Allah. Such people will answer to Allah for their actions. I choose to listen to and follow what Allah says, not those mere mortals whose beliefs and pronouncements are not corroborated by Allah and His Messenger.  
What Ahmadi Muslims believe is what the Quran and the Holy Prophet (saw) told us to expect -- that the Imam Mahdi would come in the latter days (the beginning of the Islamic 14th century - circa 1870s) to rejuvenate Islam from its decayed and corrupted state. As no power on Earth could (nor did) prevent the advent of Islam 14 centuries ago, where it prevailed against overwhelming hostility, persecution and outright warfare, so too is the case with Allah's promised reformation and regeneration of Islam back to its pristine purity in the latter days (ch. 61: 1-10*) with the advent of the Imam Mahdi & Promised Messiah. Ahmadis believe that person was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian.
What is interesting to note is that -- as the end of the Muslim 14th century is now 32+ years in the past, and the coming of the Imam Mahdi was prophesied by the Holy Prophet (saw) to occur at the beginning of the Muslim 14th century -- the only person now days who is the primary if not sole focus of the rage and invective of the Mullahs and the Ulemma with their pronouncements of apostasy and disbelief is none other than Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. And the only time all of the Islamic sects all agreed on anything was in 1974 when their representatives convened in Pakistan's national assemby to unanimously declare Ahmadis to be non-Muslim.
It is easy to listen to the Mullahs and so-called Ulemma of today and declare Ahmadis non-Muslim -- sheep will always be sheep, after all. What is harder to do is use your head and your heart and see the current state of the Muslim world and ask yourself: is this the Islam of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw)? I would venture you will have to agree that you will not find that Islam in Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Iran, Iraq or any other "Islamic" country in the world today.

So the next question you should be asking is: will Allah forsake the Muslims and leave them to rot away in ignorance and fanaticism and worldly materialism and spiritual corruption? Or will He do as He has promised and raise up the Imam Mahdi & Promised Messiah when He said He would to resurrect Islam and Muslims back to the true spirituality, teachings, humanity, respect and love of the original Islam and the Holy Prophet (saw)? This is the Islam I want to follow and practice. How about you? 
What you will find in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a peaceful, law-abiding (Quranic and national), Khilafat-ruled body of Muslims who have accepted and believe in the Imam Mahdi & Promised Messiah and in his divinely-promised successorship of Khalifas (we are on #5 and counting), and who guide their lives by the Holy Quran (all of it, not just the parts they like) and the Sunnah and hadith of the Holy Prophet (saw) and who strive to embody the motto: "Love for All - Hatred for None."

This is the Islam I have accepted. If there is a better Islam out there that has all the blessings promised by Allah which are exhibited in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, please introduce it to me and will gladly accept it. Feel free to contact me via E-mail or my phone numbers below.

Yours in the service of Islam and the Holy prophet (saw).

Allah Hafiz wa salaam.
-- Jonathan M.A.Ghaffar - 1-800-WHY-ISLAM Follow-up Team
    Cell: 909-525-5299
   1-866-WHY-ISLAM (rings at Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino, CA)
   1-800-WHY-ISLAM x.109 (press 109 when intro message starts) (my collected writings)


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

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Monday, July 2, 2012

DEFENDING THE QUR'AN [Response to 2003 Newsweek article]

Copyright 2003 Newsweek

July 28, 2003, International Edition
LENGTH: 752 words
HEADLINE: Challenging the Qur'an
BYLINE: By Stefan Theil

HIGHLIGHT:A German scholar contends that the Islamic text has been mistranscribed and promises raisins, not virgins


In a note of encouragement to his fellow hijackers, September 11 ringleader Muhammad Atta cheered their impending "marriage in Paradise" to the 72 wide-eyed virgins the Qur'an promises to the departed faithful. Palestinian newspapers have been known to describe the death of a suicide bomber as a "wedding to the black-eyed in eternal Paradise." But if a German expert on Middle Eastern languages is correct, these hopes of sexual reward in the afterlife are based on a terrible misunderstanding. Arguing that today's version of the Qur'an has been mistranscribed from the original text, scholar Christoph Luxenberg says that what are described as "houris" with "swelling breasts" refer to nothing more than "white raisins" and "juicy fruits."

Luxenberg--a pseudonym--is one of a small but growing group of scholars, most of them working in non-Muslim countries, studying the language and history of the Qur'an. When his new book is published this fall, it's likely to be the most far-reaching scholarly commentary on the Qur'an's early genesis, taking this infant discipline far into uncharted--and highly controversial--territory. That's because Islamic orthodoxy considers the holy book to be the verbatim revelation of Allah, speaking to his prophet, Muhammad, through the Angel Gabriel, in Arabic. Therefore, critical study of God's undiluted word has been off-limits in much of the Islamic world. (For the same reason, translations of the Qur'an are never considered authentic.) Islamic scholars who have dared ignore this taboo have often found themselves labeled heretics and targeted with death threats and violence. Luxenberg, a professor of Semitic languages at one of Germany's leading universities, has chosen to remain anonymous because he fears a fatwa by enraged Islamic extremists.

Luxenberg's chief hypothesis is that the original language of the Qur'an was not Arabic but something closer to Aramaic. He says the copy of the Qur'an used today is a mis-transcription of the original text from Muhammad's time, which according to Islamic tradition was destroyed by the third caliph, Osman, in the seventh century. But Arabic did not turn up as a written language until 150 years after Muhammad's death, and most learned Arabs at that time spoke a version of Aramaic. Rereading the Paradise passage in Aramaic, the mysterious houris turn into raisins and fruit--much more common components of the Paradise myth.

The forthcoming book contains plenty of other bombshells. It claims that the Qur'an's commandment for women to cover themselves is based on a similar misreading; in Sura 24, the verse that calls for women to "snap their scarves over their bags" becomes in Aramaic "snap their belts around their waists." Even more explosive are readings that strengthen scholars' views that the Qur'an had Christian origins. Sura 33 calls Muhammad the "seal of the prophets," taken to mean the final and ultimate prophet of God. But an Aramaic reading, says Luxenberg, turns Muhammad into a "witness of the prophets"--i.e., someone who bears witness to the established Judeo-Christian texts. The Qur'an, in Arabic, talks about the "revelation" of Allah, but in Aramaic that term turns into "teaching" of the ancient Scriptures. The original Qur'an, Luxenberg contends, was in fact a Christian liturgical document--before an expanding Arab empire turned Muhammad's teachings into the basis for its new religion long after the Prophet's death.

Such interpretations will undoubtedly draw the ire of many Muslims--and not just extremists. After all, revisionist scholars have been persecuted for much less; in 2001, Egypt's
Constitutional Court confirmed the "apostasy" of former University of Cairo scholar Nasr Hamid Abu-Zayd, for considering the Qur'an a document written by humans.

Still, Luxenberg may be ushering in a whole new era of Qur'anic study. "Luxenberg's findings are very relevant and convincing," says Mondher Sfar, a Tunisian specialist on the historic origins of the Qur'an in exile in Paris. "They make possible a new interpretation of the Qur'an." In the West, questioning the literal veracity of the Bible was a crucial step in breaking the church's grip on power--and in developing a modern, secular society. That experience, as much as the questioning itself, is no doubt what concerns conservative Muslims as they struggle over the meaning and influence of Islam in the 21st century. But if Luxenberg's work is any indication, the questioning is just getting underway.

          To: / Editor
          Re:    July 28, 2003 Int’l Edition “Newsweek” Article
by Stefan Theil titled: “Challenging the Qur’an”

Response by: Jonathan M.A. Ghaffar (2,882 words)

          Newsweek writer Stefan Theil begins his article “Challenging the Qur’an” with a reference to Sept.11 ringleader Muhammad Atta exhorting his fellow terrorists and future martyrs with the (supposedly) Qur’anic promise of 72 virgins in Paradise -- this as a lead-in to a piece on the purported crumbling bedrock of validity to the Qur’an’s 1400-year claim of being God’s perfect and complete Divinely-revealed Holy Scripture in Arabic. One wonders if Newsweek will now preface every future piece on scholarly investigations of ancient Christian texts with an insightful recap of David Koresh’s or Jim Jones’ Biblical exhortations to their followers, as if either the Muslim or Christian ringleaders cited are in any way representative of the true teachings of their respective faiths. Most Christians would, naturally, become indignant, offended and even angry when such allusions are ascribed to them and the teachings of Jesus (peace be on him). Should it be surprising when Muslims react similarly when such associations are made with regard to Islam, its teachings or its Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him)?
Then we come to rest of the article… My initial take on reading such a tabloid-esque, factually emaciated, essentially source-less piece of Islam-bashing in “Newsweek” was one of disappointment. Where was the probing, journalistic inquisitiveness as to the veracity of the claims made by the pseudonymous German scholar Christoph Luxenberg? Analyzing the true merit of the charges made by “Mr. Luxenberg” -- an unknown person with unlisted evidence and sources -- becomes an exercise in deductive reasoning. Since I’m sure Mr. Luxenberg wants us to buy his forthcoming book to examine his claims and the evidence for them in detail, all we can do at this point is try to fathom his motivation for making them. This, actually, is not too difficult, once we view the whole “debate on the origin of the Qur’an” in the light of the one “group” who has the most reasons and interest in discrediting the Qur’an: the politically conservative, fundamentalist Christian rightwing – in this country, typified by a nebulous mixture of TV evangelists, think-tank “experts” and the public-at-large. Let’s examine the points raised by “Mr. Luxenberg”…

Point One: The Qur’an was mistranscribed from its original, pseudo-Aramaic language into Arabic, with the original text then destroyed by Islam’s 3rd Caliph, Osman (Uthman), presumably to hide the evidence of its Christian source and validation of Biblical teachings. Ironically, the Arabic Qur’an that all Muslims have been reading for the past 14 centuries regularly validates the truth inherent in the Bible, only with the caveat that both the Jews and Christians either discarded, changed and/or ‘mistranscribed’ many of the pure Divine teachings they were originally given for their own worldly, selfish purposes. Because of this tampering with, and corruption of, the Bible – something no credible Biblical scholar denies – it became unreliable, full of doubts and contradictions evident in any translation you choose to look at. The Qur’an states clearly that its purpose is to complete and fulfill the earlier scriptures, to restore God’s Divine Message and bring mankind to the final level of its spiritual development – complete and fulfilling union with God.
Mr. Luxenberg charges that the Qur’an was ‘mistranscribed.’ To the non-Muslim reader whose only understanding of the preservation of a religious text may be with the practice of Church scribes copying scriptural texts by hand, this charge may seem to have some weight. After all, examination of Biblical texts ranging across several centuries demonstrates the fairly common habit of Church scholars first annotating passages with explanations and clarifications of meaning by writing in the margins of the text, and then having copyists later incorporate these margin notes directly into the body of the text as they did the transcription for a new edition.
The principle difference between the Christian texts and the Qur’anic text is that, apart from memorization of Biblical texts by monks for purposes of liturgical chanting, Christians never committed their entire Holy Book to memory. The Qur’an, however, was always memorized first as a matter of course – something fairly common and easy-to-do for even the average Arab. Also, at the time of each revelation, Muhammad (pbuh) had his followers who could write, transcribe the revelation and read it back to him to verify it was identical with what he’d received. The Qur’an was thus recorded in up to seven dialects of Arabic, depending on who was doing the transcribing, with the Quraish dialect being the one Muhammad spoke, the one his chief scribe Zaid bin Thabit spoke, thereby becoming the preferred one at the time of the initial collection of the Qur’an in Book form shortly after Muhammad’s death in 632 A.D. The Islamic traditions clearly detail this collection of the Qur’an in written Arabic not Aramaic or Syriac as it was called, as well as confirming that the Qur’an was revealed over 23 years, and that the completion of its revelation to Muhammad (pbuh) occurred nearly two years before his death, and that by the end of his life, not only Muhammad but literally thousands upon thousands of his devout followers had memorized the entire Qur’an in Arabic.
Mr. Luxenberg can claim that “learned Arabs” spoke a form of Aramaic now extinct which was the original language of the Qur’an, but this conflicts with the fact that thousands of Muhammad’s followers, all living amongst him, learned and recited the same Arabic revelation of the Qur’an which speakers of Arabic today have essentially no trouble reading or understanding in spoken form.
Mr. Luxenberg claims the 3rd Caliph, Osman, translated the Aramaic version of the Qur’an into Arabic, implying he took out or changed what he didn’t like, and the result is the Qur’an we have today. Osman then destroyed the Aramaic version. (This begs the obvious question: if the original Aramaic version was destroyed, what is Mr. Luxenberg using as a source text? The article states that it’s Luxenberg’s hypothesis that an original Aramaic version existed. Is he then translating the Arabic text we now have into Aramaic and presenting what he gets as the “proof” for his hypothesis?) If Osman had, in fact, destroyed the recognized version of Muhammad’s revelation from God, why was there not an outraged revolt by the entire Muslim community, tens of thousands of whom would have memorized and been reciting the Aramaic version and would have certainly never tolerated anyone changing what they all considered the direct revealed Word of God as received by the Holy Prophet!
But let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that it did happen as Mr. Luxenberg seems to posit. Osman would somehow have to placate and/or silence every hostile Muslim critic and then convince these same critics to now memorize his new Arabic version. Surely, someone would have recorded for posterity their coercion and would have written down the Aramaic version of the Qur’an and preserved it in secret for future generations. Remember – tens of thousands had it in their memories, so writing it back down would be a fairly easy procedure for a literate scribe. But there isn’t a single copy of the Qur’an in Aramaic, nor any Muslim who recites it in Aramaic.
And speaking of Aramaic, the Eastern Orthodox, or Syriac, Christian Church has an Aramaic Bible called the Peshitta which most Christians in the West have probably never seen, read or even heard of. It was only translated into English during the first quarter of the 20th century. You would think English-speaking Christians would want to read their own Holy Book translated directly from the language Jesus (pbuh) spoke, rather than accepting second, third or even fourth-hand translations through Hebrew, Greek and Latin. Instead, Mr. Luxenberg spends his energies trying to discredit the Arabic Qur’an by saying Muslims stole it from Aramaic Biblical texts Christians don’t even read themselves.
Point Two: Luxenberg states that Arabic did not turn up as a written language until 150 years after Muhammad's death. Curious. One wonders how Osman could have had the Qur’an rewritten in Arabic about 20 years after the Prophet’s death (two examples of which still exist today) if the written language wasn’t due to “turn up” for another 130 years.
While I haven’t seen Luxenberg’s book to see if he shows examples of the Aramaic of the 7th century AD, I have seen what Biblical Aramaic looks like, in examples spanning several centuries starting from the 1st century AD, and it demonstrates a very gradual evolution in style. He claims the Aramaic of the original Qur’an was a variant form of Arabic. But while Arabic, in whatever style or script you examine it, is essentially like cursive English -- mostly connected letters forming words and even multiple words -- Aramaic, as shown in examples in Llamas’ English translation of the Peshitta (circa. mid-1930s), more closely resembles Hebrew with its single, non-connected letters composed of short strokes and dots. This does not mean that Aramaic was not the basis for written Arabic (the evidence clearly shows that it was) but the only Arabic-looking style of Aramaic is Nabatean Aramaic, making it the only credible candidate for the source of written Arabic, if for no other reason than Aramaic was the Lingua Franca of that whole region until it was replaced by Arabic after the advent and rapid spread of Islam from the 7th century onward. What needs to be remembered is that Arabic was not a written language for most of its pre-Islamic history because the Arabs were, for the most part, non-literate traders and nomads. This does not mean that their later adoption and reinterpretation of a related language’s alphabet (Nabatean Aramaic) meant that the Aramaic meanings of words replaced their Arabic meanings any more than the adoption by Slavic language speakers of Russia’s Cyrillic alphabet changed the meanings of Slavic words into Russian. 
Point three: the examples cited by Luxenberg of mistranslations – at least the ones listed in the Newsweek article – all deal with verses that make Islam and Muslims appear sex-crazed, misogynistic or philosophically subservient and indebted to the Bible. The very nature of this selection of verses seems to tell a lot about Luxenberg’s agenda. For instance, the first subject in the article is about the supposed 72 black-eyed “houris” or virgins awaiting future Islamic martyrs in Paradise. According to Luxenberg, the word ‘houris’ should really be ‘white raisins.’ Can you imagine a Muslim soldier at the time of Muhammad getting all revved up over 72 raisins? Even if the actual meaning of ‘houri’ was sexual in nature -- which it isn’t -- I can’t see any sane guy choosing to hang out in Paradise with a bunch of raisins over a bunch of beautiful women. Certainly not as an incentive to go die in battle.
In all seriousness, I’ve checked every single Qur’anic reference to Jihad and martyrdom and the rewards to be gained thereby, and there’s not a single reference to 72 ‘houris’ as a reward or 72 of anything for that matter. It does say on numerous occasions that the Believers in Paradise will be given ‘dark-eyed companions of equal age, perpetually chaste and righteous.’ Perpetually chaste is not the same as perpetually chased. I know it’s easy to confuse the two when you hear them, but only the first definition applies to ‘houris’ and it means there won’t be any hanky-hanky going on in the Hereafter.
It’s interesting to note that in almost all references to the rewards that Believers will get in the next life, (1) the word ‘believer’ is used, either singular or plural, which is gender-neutral; and (2) the words describing their promised companions are usually ‘pure mates’ or ‘pure spouses’ – in either case, the Arabic word for ‘mate/spouse’ is not ‘houri’ but ‘azwaj’ which, again, is gender-neutral. Just because Osama bin Laden and similarly ignorant Muslims say something is in the Qur’an, doesn’t mean it really is. Suicide, for instance, as well as terrorism or fomenting violent civil unrest, is expressly forbidden in the Qur’an.
In the next example cited in the article, Luxenberg’s book “claims the Qur'an's commandment for women to cover themselves is based on a similar misreading; in Sura 24, the verse that calls for women to "snap their scarves over their bags" becomes in Aramaic "snap their belts around their waists."…”
First off, the English translation of the Arabic is not only atrocious, but it’s just one fragment of a verse that talks on the subject at length. Here’s a good English translation…

Sura 24, verse 31: And say to the believing women that they
                              restrain their looks and guard their chastity,
                              and that they display not their beauty or their
                              embellishment except that which is apparent
 thereof, and that they draw their head-coverings
                              over their bosoms, and that they display not
 their beauty or their embellishment save to
 their husbands, or to their fathers, or to…

It continues listing the various family relations it’s OK for a woman to be around “and let her hair down with,” so to speak. But clearly, the verse goes on at length about the type of modesty expected of a God-fearing Muslim woman. Men, too, in the preceding verse, are given similar instructions on guarding their chastity and acting modestly, but since most men don’t have ‘bosoms’ or luxuriously long Herbal Essence hair-do’s, there’s not much of a need for them to cover themselves with a scarf.
          The final examples in the article deal with the threat Christianity feels from the rapid spread of Islam, especially in the West. It is these examples that most clearly demonstrate the agenda that seems to motivate Luxenberg’s scholarship, as well as the general approach that many Christian evangelists and scholars are taking in their attempt to represent Islam in an unflattering light. Notice the verses deemed to be ‘mistranslated’ and therefore incorrect all have something to do with the veracity of the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). This hardly seems like a random accident.
          In the article, it states:
          “Even more explosive are readings that strengthen scholars' views that the Qur'an had Christian origins. Sura 33 calls Muhammad the "seal of the prophets," taken to mean the final and ultimate prophet of God. But an Aramaic reading, says Luxenberg, turns Muhammad into a "witness of the prophets"--i.e., someone who bears witness to the established Judeo-Christian texts. The Qur'an, in Arabic, talks about the "revelation" of Allah, but in Aramaic that term turns into "teaching" of the ancient Scriptures. The original Qur'an, Luxenberg contends, was in fact a Christian liturgical document--before an expanding Arab empire turned Muhammad's teachings into the basis for its new religion long after the Prophet's death.”

One almost need not comment, so obvious is the bias against Islam, the mission of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and the message of the Qur’an. But the comment about Islam as a religion being created ‘long after the Prophet’s death’ as a result of the expanding Islamic empire coming in contact with Christianity flies in the face of all recorded historical evidences – many of them Western. If Christianity is, ultimately, the basis for all Islamic rituals and doctrines and ‘revelations’ from God, why is it that Islam as a religious culture differs so markedly from that of Christianity?

In Islam there is no concept of the incarnation of God as a human being for the purpose of his murder / suicide for the vicarious expiation of the sins of all mankind.

In Christianity there is no idea of the supreme, abiding, indivisible Oneness of God, no annual pilgrimage to a central shrine that Christians face in prayer fives times a day, no annual month-long daylight fast for spiritual purification and reunification with God, no dress code or social ordinances that shape Western Christian-populated societies for the protection of the moral fabric of society, no prohibitions against the destructive vices of gambling and drinking.

If this is Luxenberg’s idea of an improvement on the Qur’an and its teachings, I’ll stick with the Arabic version of Islam. He can keep the Aramaic version. I have a strong hunch that all those people throughout the ages since the advent of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who became Muslim and left Christianity, Judaism or some other religion because it wasn’t working for them, wouldn’t have changed their minds if Luxenberg’s supposed “long-lost Aramaic Qur’an” had turned up 1400 years ago, anymore than Muslims will today, and for probably the very same reasons outlined above. Islam needs reformation, there is no doubt, and that reformation is taking place. Sadly, the West seems completely blind to it and unwilling to help it along. It seems intent on crushing it like something feared and hated.

And it’s a sure bet that more accusations and claims made in books like Luxenberg’s will continue – focusing solely on the types of controversial or theologically challenging verses dealt with in Luxenberg’s book -- all those verses which directly represent a threat to the primacy of Biblical doctrines or the hegemony of the nations that purport themselves to be Judeo-Christian. In their fear and mistrust, they only shut out the true healing power of the Love of God which is clear, ever-present and waiting to redeem them in the Holy Qur’an and the true example of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). All Praise belongs to God alone, the Lord of all the worlds.

[ Archived at - Aug. 2003 ]

JESUS vs SANTA [ Letter to the Editor ]

Regarding Mr. James Logan’s “Events overlooked” Dec. 30th letter decrying the front-page story on a Muslim convention held in Chino over Christmas weekend. . . Another contributor has already chronicled the front-page Christmas-related coverage from past years, so my point is two-fold. One: a newspaper’s job is to report the news – not just the stories some people may want to read on the pages they might prefer to read them on. And last I checked, the Daily Bulletin was not a “Christian” paper but a “news” paper. I salute them for reporting Inland Valley-related news with timely impartiality.  

Point two: Jesus (peace be upon him) was not even born on Dec. 25th anyway – that honor belongs to the Roman sun god Sol Invictus (along with dozens of other pagan gods) whom Christianity replaced with Jesus as the “son” God, setting his birthday on Dec. 25th to appease the Greeks and Romans once Pauline Christianity supplanted their beliefs to become the official state religion in the early 4th century AD under Constantine. (Look it up at

For proof from the Bible, go to the New Testament book of Luke, chapter 2 verse 8, where it says that Jesus (pbuh) was born at the time when shepherds stay outside with their flocks at night, which is up to late August or September, after which time it gets too cold. The Holy Quran corroborates this in a different way in verses 24-27 of chapter 19, “Maryam,” which details how Mary gave birth to Jesus by the trunk of a date-palm tree, and how she was told by an angel to shake the palm tree to make fresh, ripe dates fall down for her to eat. Dates ripen twice a year in Judea, one time being from late August to September. Not in December. 

Perhaps if Christians spent more time telling their kids about Jesus instead of lying to them about a fat white guy in a red suit whose flying reindeer pull a sleigh full of presents for every Christian kid on the planet (which he delivers all in one night) then maybe -- just maybe – their kids might actually associate Christmas with Jesus in some meaningful, spiritual way instead of waiting impatiently for the fat white guy to show up with their stuff.

Is it any wonder that when children are old enough to realize they’ve been lied to about one part of the Christmas “story” they are less and less inclined to believe in the other, religious part? And let’s face it, in the miracles dept., Jesus did all his crowd-wowing 2,000 years ago. But Santa? He’s a perennial, on the job year after year -- and truly “god-like” because he knows when you’re asleep or awake and if you’ve been naughty or nice. Plus, he’s got that never-empty bag of toys going for him. And for the coup de grace, you can see Santa in the flesh and even talk to him in any mall from after Thanksgiving right up until Christmas eve. Why, even NORAD tracks his progress on the big delivery night, fielding tens of thousands of calls from sleepless kids – and you know you can always trust the government to tell you the truth, right?

You would think this kind of idolatrous brainwashing that increasingly replaces Jesus with Santa for the sole purpose of stoking the fires of Christmas consumerism would be more than enough to motivate Christians to do something to save their own holiday from spiritual extinction, but no. To put icing on the cake, this year some churches, under pressure from their congregations, decided to not have Sunday worship services because it would conflict with the “family time” of parishioners opening presents on Christmas Day. Yes, that’s right. Santa trumps Jesus once again. Some churches were closed on the one day reserved for celebrating the birth of Jesus because it got in the way of the birthday party for Jesus.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Mr. Logan for reminding readers that Ahmadi Muslims are the ones who believe the Second Coming of Jesus has already occurred – that, more than a century ago, he came like a thief in the night. To learn more, contact the Baitul Hameed Mosque at 909-627-2252 or go online to or for more information. And the next time Christmas rolls around and you are feeling a bit underwhelmed by all the crass commercialism and absence of true spirituality in your holiday season, or if your church is closed on Jesus’ big day, don’t worry. The Ahmadiyya mosque in Chino on Ramona Ave. is open seven days a week, with five congregational prayers daily. Seekers of truth and lovers of God are always welcome.
[ Original long version before it was edited. ]


Created: 01/19/2012
Re: "Jesus vs. Santa," Jan. 12

A Muslim writes a letter to the editor of a newspaper pointing out errors in the beliefs and practices of Christians, makes a broad generalization connecting the traditions of Santa Claus to Christian parents, and accuses them of brainwashing and practicing idolatry on a path to spiritual extinction. And the newspaper is irresponsible enough to print it.

Can you imagine the repercussions if a Christian wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper (and it was printed) pointing out the errors in the beliefs and practices of Muslims, making broad generalizations about Muslims, and accused them of lifestyle practices that are contrary to their religion. Of course a responsible newspaper would not print it. The Daily Bulletin should not have printed the letter.

I don't recommend anyone writing letters criticizing the religion of others or accusing them of not being true to their religion. If you do, though, lay off the "fat white guy in the red suit." He is not a religion. Read the most famous newspaper editorial of all time, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."

Rancho Cucamonga

My Jan. 20th Daily Bulletin response Letter (as yet – and will probably remain -- unpublished):

As the author of the Jan. 12th "Jesus vs. Santa" letter, I am amazed at how people can make statements about my words which are not supported by my words at all. I do not attack the doctrinal beliefs or religious practices of Christians. No Bible or church doctrine prescribes giving presents on Jesus' supposed birthday. "Christmas" comes from the words "Christ's Mass" -- a devoutly religious observance by the Catholic Church honoring the birth of Jesus (peace be upon him) where no presents are handed out.

The point (#2) I raise that Jesus was not born on Dec. 25th is provably true -- I even cite the New Testament (Luke 2:8) as evidence. I in no way demean Christianity, Christians or honoring Jesus' birthday. It is those who perpetuate Santa-itis who do that. My point was (I thought) pretty straight-forward: it is Christian parents who tell their kids Santa is a real person, so it is fair to hold them accountable for the later consequences of lying to their kids about him.

As for someone criticizing Muslim beliefs and practices, first you would have to show a similar pagan corruption of Islamic beliefs and practices so you could decry them. This would mean you have to study Islamic beliefs (go to to start) which is fine with me. You won't find any Islamic version of Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny connected to the two holidays (Eids) in Islam; the one after Ramadhan and the one after the Hajj or Pilgrimage. And speaking of the Easter Bunny, it seems most Christians don't have a problem with the Easter Bunny, either, yet it's the same thing as Santa -- a pagan belief (in this case, the Norse fertility Goddess Euster) corrupting another Christian holiday (i.e., Holy Day).

The writer of the letter "Irresponsible" ends with the admonishment to “leave the fat white guy in the red suit out of it. He's not a religion." I totally agree. I'm not the one who puts Santa alongside Jesus every Christmas. (And they chastise me and the Daily Bulletin for pointing it out.) And so far, not one letter from a Christian addressing the points I actually make and their veracity. Why is that? You can shoot the messenger but that doesn’t change the facts of the message.