This writing is based on the transcript of the interview of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi with Lemon News, India in 2013. You can watch the complete programme here.
Host: Islam is a well established religion, and is meant to exist forever. However, with time and rapid changes in global politics, the understanding and image of Islam have changed completely. Islam is now being presented to the world as a symbol of terrorism. We believe that some so called representatives of Islam and the western media have played a dominant role in spreading this image. In our talk today, we have invited Mr Jāved Ahmad Ghāmidī, an Islamic scholar and the head of Al-Mawrid (www.al-mawrid.org), an esteemed organization who will join us from Malaysia. We will discuss important issues related to the ways in which jihād, terrorism and violence are being connected to Islam.
A very warm welcome to you Ghāmidī sb and thank you for appearing in the Indian media. We hope that our talk today will be a humble effort towards reducing some misunderstandings about Islam across India. Our first question to you is, do you find anything unusual in what we have said earlier?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: You are absolutely right. There is no doubt that Islam is a religion of peace and harmony. It is a blessing for all mankind and it has brought the message of tolerance and co-existence for the entire world. It gives sanctity to the life, wealth and honour of mankind. It has clarified to all human beings that no actions can be taken to violate any of the said three things. The Prophet (sws) of Islam had said in his last sermon during the month Dhū al-Hijjah pointing to the Baytullāh: Just as this House, this Month and this City is sacred to you, the life, wealth and honour of everyone is equally sacred. There can be no message of peace greater or more meaningful than this one.
The prophet meant that no individual has the right to go after anyone’s life, property or honour. This rule forms the very basis of humanity and is laid out as such in the Holy Qur’ān which says that the taking of life of a single person equals killing all mankind and a person who saves the life of a single man in fact saves the life of all mankind. What can be a more comprehensive, trustworthy and encompassing message of peace than this one?
Host: Referring to the Qur’ānic verse you have mentioned, one can say that people seem to have changed the meaning and message of the verse. Who are these people who have distorted the whole image of Islam, given a wrong interpretation to it, and made the followers of this religion feel ashamed? The way in which Islam is being presented is harmful not only for the Muslim world but for all mankind. How would you explain this?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: The people who are doing this are our brothers and friends. But they are actually causing harm to themselves, their nations and their religion. They are committing a grave crime against all mankind to say the least. For this reason we humbly explain to them that they should try to understand the message of the divine Book they read. What is the basis of their misunderstanding? It lies in the fact that they have taken on some tasks as their responsibility that actually belong to Allah as it is Allah who gives life or takes it away. He will give reward and punishment on the Day of Judgment. Allah also implements His punishments after sending His messengers to a nation that refuses to follow the given message.
The mistake these people have committed is that they have taken up these tasks of punishment on themselves. Allah has not given anyone the right to act against the life, wealth or honour of any human being. Even when in the middle of a war, no harm should come to those who are not involved in fighting, according to the laws in Islam. Islam has taught us to avoid killing a person when he gives himself up in the battle field and refuses to fight. It is very unfortunate that non-combatants are killed when sitting in their houses, walking towards mosques for prayer, going to churches for supplications or to temples for worship.
This is such a big crime that whenever the Holy Qur’ān discusses jihād it clarifies that if Allah had not permitted jihād, people would have destroyed all the mosques, worship places, churches, and synagogues. This implies that in the eyes of Allah, worship places carry so much importance that He calls His servants to fight in order to save them from being destroyed. Right now we find ourselves in a situation that the fundamental values of our religion are being violated by its very followers. These people have taken up the work that belonged to Allah and this is the basic error that has been made.
Host: Referring to the Qur’ānic verse regarding the protection of synagogues and the churches, after the conquest of Mecca, all the idols present inside the Baytullāh were smashed. These idols symbolized the worship and deities for some people. Why do you think these idols were broken?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: These are two different cases. The Baytullāh is a sacred house constructed by Prophet Abraham (sws) purely for the worship of Allah. This is as analogous to putting an idol in a mosque or making an idol worship place into a mosque. Suppose that there is an idol-room or a church and people have forcefully turned it into a mosque. The building should be reinstated into the previous state if Muslims have the authority. The Baytullāh is the centre of (tawhīd), the oneness of Allah. It had been built as a centre of tawhīd. Keeping idols inside it was against its purpose. If someone from another country puts idols in one of your mosques, your government would immediately remove these idols. This is because a mosque is not the right place for idols. They must be kept in temples. That is why temples are built. It is your religion and no one can object to it. However, the Baytullāh is a mosque. It is the most sacred mosque for Muslims, chosen by Allah, just as the Bayt al-Maqdas is a mosque also chosen by Him. Since it was the rule to keep the mosques pure of idols, the Baytullāh was cleansed from the idols.
Host: Were idols broken just to clear the mosque? Would you break the idols if you come into power to clear the mosques?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: The reason was that there was nobody left who believed in idols. Had there been any people believing in the idols, they would have had the right to take their idols away. Actually at that time, the whole population of Arabia had embraced Islam accepting the preaching of the Holy Prophet (sws). After their embracing Islam, the whole country was cleansed of the idols. You must keep two things in mind, i.e. Allah has preserved two places, Canaan in Palestine and the land of the Arabs for the preaching of His Messengers since the time of Abraham (sws). Worshipping idols in these places is completely forbidden. No other religion can be established in these places. It is just the same as declaring the whole area as a mosque. It means that someone else do not have the right to enter this territory. Had some of the idol worshippers remained, they would have taken their idols away from the Baytullāh.
Host: Whether in India, Pakistan, any other Asian country or all over the world, jihād is being interpreted and practiced as an act of cruelty and violence. How has jihād come to be interpreted in this way? What is its actual definition?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: Jihād means to fight against oppression and cruelty. When an individual commits a crime, the government of that state has the right to bring him to justice and punish him. Similarly when a nation transgresses, there may be some people inside the state involved in the transgression or it may be the government oppressing the people and being cruel to them. In that case, Allah has made jihād obligatory for believers to keep such people or nations in check. It is obligatory for Muslims as a nation. But this can be brought into operation only if the believers have a state under their rule or a collective society that can fulfill this obligation. It is not permissible for individuals or non state groups to take up arms and it can be done only against an oppressive rule. We are very thankful to Allah Almighty that our religion has told us to take up arms for jihād to crush oppression and to support those oppressed all over the world. The Qur’ān says:
And had it not been that Allah set aside one people with another, the monasteries and churches, the synagogues and the mosques, in which His praise is abundantly celebrated would be utterly destroyed. (22:40).
If a country transgresses its limits, oppresses its people, violates the fundamental rights of mankind, it should be checked immediately. You can see that recently, when some destructive tools were used against people, as a clear violation of human rights, the United Nations was asked to give permission to take action against those responsible. For this very purposes jihād has been made obligatory.
Host: This means that the purpose of jihād is to protect the rights of the weak and oppressed and ensure their safety. But jihād has been connected to terrorism all over the world. How do you explain this? Who are the people responsible for this misinterpretation? There are people who misinterpret Islam in the name of jihād and there are those who are engaged in legitimate jihād but the western media or a special group of media declare them criminals interpreting their case wrongly. Where does this confusion lie?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: What is being undertaken in the name of jihād is anarchy and mischief. The first condition for giving a call for jihād is that it should be done against oppression. Secondly the people involved in jihād should have political majority and should be the rulers. If some private organizations or people stand up for jihad, it would be similar to some people of India saying that they shall punish the criminals who are oppressing the people of an area in the country. This is neither acceptable within a country nor outside. Islam demands the same condition i.e. only those having political power can use arms against oppressors. If Muslims have political power in a country, it becomes obligatory for them to take up arms in the form of jihād for the safety of the oppressed ones. The scholars who have backed this and who have been the driving force behind this war have misinterpreted the Qur’ān and have committed two big mistakes. Firstly they have permitted people and organizations to use weapons and fight in the name of jihad. In addition, they have reinforced the misunderstanding that already existed and have deepened it. This has created widespread violence. Unarmed people in Pakistan are being continuously killed as a result and this is happening all over the world. These people have transgressed their limits.
Host: You just said that jihād is permissible only when Muslims are in power. What should the minorities do? Should they continue to face oppression at the hands of the majority and wait until they obtain political power? Can they not struggle for their protection?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: If they start their struggle without being in power, they would only create problems. Without political authority, they must conduct their struggle in peaceful ways. In the present era, Allah has created many peaceful ways of doing so. Democratic methods should be used to communicate the problems to the world. There are organizations to which one’s case can be presented. If I know that the assassin of my father is walking free, I have not received justice and I kill him for myself, or if someone has committed a fraud with me and I cut off his hands myself, it would only promote violence. Punishments are to be given by legal and formal authorities. Allah has made it mandatory for us that we can use arms against our enemies only when we have political power. If we do not posses political power then we must do jihād verbally. We should use peaceful methods of protest. We know that Mahatma Gāndhī (d. 1948) had struggled against a mighty power following this very principle.
Host: You have just told us about Mahatma Gandhi and revealed to us that according to Islamic teachings, killing a person equals killing all mankind. Let us now look at it from another angle. Some private organizations present themselves as leaders of the people and carry out suicide attacks and bomb blasts. Where would you place their activities?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: This is pure violence from beginning to the end. It is both violence of ideology and action. Muslims should purify themselves from it as quickly as they can. When I see the actions of these people I start worrying how these people would face their Lord on the Day of Judgment. They cause great harm to the innocent non-combatants across the country. If they had restricted their activities to the armed forces, we could have put up with it to some extent. But they target innocent men and women as in the case of the incident in which a bus carrying people going to their homes from offices was blasted away. People worshipping in their church were killed in a suicide attack. What type of Islam is this? What kind of jihād is this?
Host: Similar activities have been carried out in India. Such attacks have been carried out at different places in which bombs were placed on bicycles. Terrorists have first handicapped people, inflicted pain on them and then presented themselves as the oppressed ones. How should innocent Muslims stay away from them? How can they protect themselves where they are a minority living with their fellow nationalists? How can they avoid the suspicions of the people around them? No one should question their loyalty to the state but what should they do? They are oppressed from both sides. Their so called fellows who share their religion undertake such terrorist activities and they are eyed with suspicion by others. Every Muslim has become a symbol of terrorism and violence. What should be done in such a situation?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: They should come forward to tell these organizations that they consider these acts of terrorism unacceptable and un-Islamic. Any such activity has been declared as the worst crime by Islam whether it is against those living in Israel, India, the US or anywhere in the world. They should tell them that it is one of the three greatest crimes according to Islam. Just as in every nation criminals are found, our nation unfortunately has some too. They use our religion as a tool but most Muslims have no association with them. Muslims should remain loyal to their state. They should follow its rules and laws in their true spirit. They should develop themselves in knowledge, skill, intellect and trade. People all over the world have progressed through these qualities. They do not better themselves by shooting guns and blasting bombs.
Wherever Muslims live as minorities they should adopt this method. Long gone are the days when nations would remain oppressed. The minorities in Pakistan and the Muslims in India have equal rights as citizens. In a democratic state the laws are made according to the decisions of the majority and the minorities are given their rights. They are allowed to practice their religions, preach their teachings and express their opinion to others. This is the greatest system that has surfaced in this world. Muslims should be thankful to Allah and convey their religion and teachings to their neighbours. They should tell them that their relationship with all humanity is based on love and kindness to others.
Host: Please explain to us how a democratic system should work in the light of Qur’ān and H̩adīth. Our viewers wish to know what type of system would this be and how can they understand and infuse it into their own system.
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: There are only two entities that have the right to choose a ruler. The first one is Allah. He is the creator of the entire universe. If He chooses a ruler, it is His right and we shall have to humbly accept His decision. However, He has put this matter to an end after the Holy Prophet (sws). It has been declared in the Holy Qur’ān: “They conduct their affairs by mutual consultation, (42:38).” Explaining this divine command, Umar (rta) once said: “There is no caliphate except through consultation among the believers.” Therefore, no Muslim government can be formed except through the shared opinion developed through discussions by the Muslims. The formation of a government through public voting, its continuity through the opinion of the public and its dismissal at the hands of the public is the requirement of Islam. It is our religious obligation to believe that it is the right of the public to choose their rulers and that it is they whose opinion shall be considered for the formation of the ruling body.
If there are any differences in this regard, they must be resolved through voting. This is called consultation by our ancient scholars. The term “consultation” is an old one in our fiqh. It implies the opinion of the majority of people. The Holy Prophet (sws) has advised us that we should not reject the principle or a law formed by the opinion of people. We can differ in these matters, try to change them but the opinion of the majority shall be used to prepare a law which should be followed by all. All these teachings are found in the Holy Qur’ān and H̩adīth. On this basis, I say that democracy is the perfect system for the Muslims. We should implement the democratic system in Pakistan as well as in India and give weight to democratic values. Democracy means that laws will be made according to the opinion of the majority. Minorities have the right to express their opinion, propagate their views and strive to gain majority on the basis of sound evidence.
Host: Please explain how different is western democracy from Islamic democracy.
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: Muslims should establish democracy in their states similar to the western countries. The Holy Qur’ān has revealed a principle. The west has developed a system applying this principle. Unfortunately Muslims have not succeeded in doing so. If there are any flaws in this system, it needs to be studied and the flaws should be pointed out. The west has achieved much progress based on physical sciences. Major scientific inventions have been made. The fact that I am talking to you from a distance of hundreds of miles has been made possible due to this development of science. Similarly they have also very effectively adopted some of the basic principles for economic and political progress. As they made changes to the system, they explained the ways to establish a parliament, accomplish a fair voting system, distribute powers between the prime minister and president and choose the speaker for the parliament. This is called ijtihād. If there is a problem with this ijtihād then it must be pointed out and corrected. This is because I consider it the inheritance of humanity. We should welcome all scientific inventions and appreciate the development in the social sciences. In fact, I do not see any fault in western democracy.
Host: A late scholar Dr Isrār Ahmad (d. 2010) once said that Islamic democracy is not completely free. Instead it has some restrictions. You have had a debate with him. Do you think that Islamic democracy is restricted? Or is it completely free like that of the west?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: Individuals are restricted. Since I am a Muslim, I have put myself under some restrictions. As a Muslim I have to offer prayer five times a day. I shall fast in the month of Ramadān. If Allah has commanded me to do something that relates to collective life or a Muslim state, I would fulfill this command. When we have the majority in state, as Muslims we shall have to accomplish the requirement of our religion in our collective lives as we do in our individual lives. I do not feel the need to put any restrictions.
The restrictions shall be put by the people and they are already effective. When you take a position in the parliament of India, you will have to make legislation while considering the desires, needs, customs and traditions of society. When Muslims obtain majority in a parliament, they shall take into consideration their religious affairs and it would be quite instinctive and natural. We do not need to apply any external restrictions. I have written that if you wish to establish a real Islamic state, you need to create respect for Islam in the hearts of the people. It does not need naming the state as an Islamic Republic, presenting specific statements such as the Objectives Resolution or making constitutional articles. Pakistan is a Muslim country and more than 80 percent of its people have their representatives running the parliament. Therefore, they will naturally be restricted to legislate according to the teachings of their religion. This is what the Quaid e Azam would have said, but unfortunately we made these constitutional articles and other minor matters our national issues. Islam addresses me. It makes me bow before my Lord as an individual and I bow before Him. When hundreds of people bow before Him, Islam itself appears on the surface and it does not require any constitutional protection.
Host: When an Islamic government is formed, does it require the personal opinion of the people being selected considering that they do not have complete knowledge of Islamic sharī‘ah or laws? If a parliamentarian is not a Muslim, would he play a part in the legislation being a member of the minority?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: Minority members are a part of our parliament. We will communicate our views to them and if they do not consider a law suited to their lives, then Islam itself has permitted that its laws and sharī‘ah cannot be applied to non Muslims. For example if there is a problem among Muslims considering inheritance, the court will judge the matter in the light of Islamic sharī‘ah. If there are disputes among Christians over the same issue, they shall be judged according to the laws of their religion. We have admitted this rule from the very first day. In Sūrah An‘ām of the Holy Qur’ān, Allah has stated in the presence of His Messenger that if these people wish to decide their matters according to their own laws, they have the right to do so. For this reason, there is no chance of any dispute in our religion.
Host: You mean it cannot be forcefully implemented upon them?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: Of course there is no room for any forceful implementation.
Host: When we have gatherings and talks, we discuss Islam and the Muslims and various ways to interact and mix with our fellow citizens. Often these things are presented differently and people believe that we are doing something un-Islamic while the fact is that Islam teaches us to do so. How do you consider this matter?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: Many people do things that are un-Islamic. When we explain to them the real teachings of Islam and talk about the real message, many tend to blame us. We should not be very concerned. Truth has far more value and a person should continue to testify to it without caring about anything else. The Holy Qur’ān has interpreted this situation in a very beautiful manner. One should not be afraid of the reproaches of those who find fault. One must not fear these consequences. Instead he should say the right thing and give evidences from the Holy Qur’ān. A couple of decades ago I had stated that private jihād is not acceptable in Islam. At that time I felt that I was the only person to hold this approach. But in recent times many people have realized that this was correct. The harm caused by this misconception has affected not only the state but also our religion and the Muslims as a nation. Obviously I cannot go deep in the evidences and arguments regarding this issue now but I have written extensively on all these issues. We should strive to show the real face of Islam to the people. We are not developing our personal religion. Instead we are trying to deliver it from distortions.
Host: Some people believe that there is no concept of democracy in Islam. How do you see this matter?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: The Holy Qur’ān has clearly stated that: “They conduct their affairs by mutual consultation,” (Q 42:38). The Holy Qur’ān had made this declaration when the idea of democracy was quite vague. The rulers after the Holy Prophet (sws) had not assumed their positions through the kingship system. They did not have any kinship with each other and the people from the smallest tribes were chosen as rulers. The people elected their rulers without using swords or guns or protests. The entire process was accomplished in a democratic manner. It was a tribal society and a rule was applied and implemented according to the requirement of those circumstances. The instructions of the Qur’ān are quite clear. I have told you that when ‘Umar (rta) felt that some people intend to misinterpret these principles after hearing things at a particular occasion, he addressed the people. Imām Bukhārī has included the whole speech in his compilation. I have related to you a famous sentence of this speech in which he said: “A government cannot be formed without the consultation of the believers.” This evidently establishes that the basis of the Islamic system of governance is democracy. In fact, there are only two entities in this world that have the right to choose a ruler: God and the people. Allah Almighty has declared His decision through the Holy Prophet (sws). After the seal of prophethood, people have been given the right to form their government to decide their matters.
Host: Sectarianism has spread in Islam, resulting in bloodshed, forcing people to kill their own brothers and Muslims to kill other Muslims not only at the individual level but also at the state level as you have seen in countries such as Syria, Yemen and Damascus. How has this affected Islam and Muslims?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: Of course this is a great test. It has disintegrated Muslim nations. People often declare that there are more than hundred million Muslims living all over the world. But if you ask them, you will discover that they only consider their own sect as a Muslim and are not ready to accept any other sect as Muslim. This is the greatest curse that falls on a nation as mentioned in the Holy Qur’ān. Only those people disintegrate who do not judge their matters according to the teachings of the book of Allah. Rather they base their decisions on their prejudices.
In reality there is no room for sectarianism in Islam. Muslims must decide that they are Muslims. Our first introduction is as human beings. We are the offspring of Adam (sws) and Eve. As a religious body we are Muslims. We believe in the Messenger of Allah. All others are human beings. We can agree or differ with them. We should listen to everyone while leaving behind our prejudices. All the Imams of Muslims are our leaders and their scholars are our scholars. We should respect all others and listen to them. We should accept the view which is moderate and closer to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Holy Prophet (sws). But we should not reject the others.
There is yet another misconception. There are three things that Allah has kept for Himself to judge and decide: polytheism, kufr and apostasy. Unfortunately our people have taken these responsibilities on themselves. We have the right to punish a thief or an adulterer but we have no right to reward or punish someone on issues concerned with religion. Allah has kept this right to himself. This is where the corruption and mischief starts.
Host: It is widely observed that the greatest scholars as well as the most ignorant Muslims easily declare people of the other sects as non-Muslims. By issuing such edicts people arouse hatred. How can this be prevented?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: It can be done through education. All this is happening due to ignorance. We should tell people that they do not have any right to decide on the kufr or faith of a person. This right is the right of Allah alone and He will decide this issue on the Day of Judgment. He has been deciding such issues in the world too through His Messengers. It is not the task for any human being to undertake. They only need to deliver the message of Allah to their fellow beings. We should try to propagate the divine message instead of excommunicating people. We should try our best to convince the world to believe in the reality in which we have belief ourselves. It is not our duty to pinpoint the mistakes of others and throw them out of religion. We should act like preachers, not judges.
Host: Whatever you are telling us is being communicated to the people around the globe where both the rulers as well as the public are Muslims. What is the contribution of non-Muslims in this regard?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: We must see that if non-Muslims are residing in a Muslim state, under what conditions are they living there? As for the non believers in Pakistan, the Quaid-e- Azam had announced on the very first day that all people, Muslim and non Muslims shall have equal rights as citizens of Pakistan.. The constitution of India too states that no differentiation can be made between the citizens of this state. Islam has permitted us to make any agreements with non-Muslims according to the requirement of circumstances. However, it is an established fact that the majority shall have the right to rule.
Host: Mr Ghāmidī, you are a Pakistani and you are aware that sectarianism has brought a bad name to Pakistan. A campaign started against Ahmadis in Pakistan in 1953. Later, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (d. 1979) who was an elected prime minister of Pakistan excommunicated Ahmadis in 1974 when people of your calibre were present in parliament but still no protests were carried out. General Zia ul Haq (d. 1988) also promoted sectarianism. Why?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: This condition has always prevailed in Pakistan. Religious people have had unusual authority. Even the governments have been afraid of religious groups and individuals. Let me honestly tell you that even at present politicians freely admit their mistakes in several matters if you discuss with them in private, but they cannot openly express themselves fearing revolt from religious parties. Since many religious parties have street power, whenever they issue a fatwa, it becomes difficult to contain the easily roused emotions. An unknown fear exists within the country. This atmosphere will change only with the passage of time. There are plenty of examples in which religion has been used for political purposes in Pakistan. It was done during the Pakistan Movement, during the tenure of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and by Zia ul Haq in a very detrimental manner. Even today we sometimes use religious terms to gain political mileage. The fact is that it is one of the greatest crimes to use religion for political motives. The situation can only be corrected when people see the real picture of Islam and are motivated to view political issues in a political way and address religious matters in the light of the teachings of the divine Book and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (sws).
Host: When we talk about Pakistan and India, we find it hard to ignore two things: tension in the relationship between the two countries and the longing of the citizens to live peacefully together. The contradictions between the governing bodies of the countries result in the distance among the common citizens. The minorities in both the countries are suspected. However, all the people wish to live together in peace. What is being done for such peace? What should be done to reduce the bitterness in the relationships at the highest level? The prime ministers of both the countries are due to meet soon. How can we bring both states to a single platform to make the possibility of people living together peacefully because both the states have democracy in which the majority has to decide their fate, and the majority in both these countries desire peace.
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: You are right in saying so. Every single person from both countries desires peace and wishes that these countries should be as united as European countries are. We believe that these two states are the closest neighbors and both states need to fulfill the rights of neighborhood naturally as well as morally. Both the countries should fulfill their obligations. I believe that politicians have vested interests for which they promote hatred among people. If the people were wise or we had succeeded in making them so, and of course the media can help a great deal in this regard, the politicians would learn a lesson and would stop invoking hatred among the public. They would prefer using their resources for the betterment of their people instead of wasting them in unnecessary things. We should tell our masses that our real problems are poverty and ignorance. We have to educate our people and try to eradicate poverty. These are the missions we must strive for and these are common for all mankind. We cannot achieve these goals until we stop ourselves from fighting against each other and promote peace and harmony.
Host: To promote peace we have to strive hard. There are two neighboring countries each giving a lot of importance to the rights of neighbourhood. Islam as well as Hinduism gives great importance to the fulfillment of the rights of neighbours. It is as if the foundation of the relationship is based on love between the neighbors. Yet there is great hatred between the two neighbours. How can this situation be changed?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: Circumstances will change, God willing. The time is not far when the majority of our people shall admit their mistakes. They would then press the politicians to give up promoting hatred. Political differences can occur. But we must not convert our political differences into religious differences. There are issues including Kashmir, Siachen Glacier and many others. We should keep discussing the solutions for those issues and never give up the process of dialogue. Both the countries should express their views. It does not mean that a small mistake should lead them to a halt in dialogue. Rather they should continue to look for solutions and work together. This would gradually reduce the problems.
In fact, both should continue in parallel. They should keep discussing disputed matters and promote working on the agreed issues which are greater in number. They should open their borders, reduce restrictions, increase business meetings, and let people meet each other as it leads to the removal of misconceptions. In that way it would be difficult for politicians to promote hatred among the people.
Host: The Holy Qur’ān is interpreted in different ways. Please explain for whom has the Qur’ān been revealed and what is its message?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: It has been revealed for all mankind. It has quite a brief message. Actually the Qur’ān continues to repeat the message in different ways which makes it a big book consisting of six thousand verses. Otherwise, its message is quite simple and clear. It says that we have one Lord who is the creator of all the worlds. One day we will have to be accountable before Him and to succeed in that accountability we need to do good deeds in this world. This is the message of Islam and the Holy Qur’ān. We need to deliver this message to all mankind.
Host: And the people divided in different sects believe that this is exclusively their book?
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: It was only a book of God which we had to take and deliver to all the people around us. The Holy Qur’ān had declared that it was an admonition for the whole world. See the first verse of Surah Furqān the Holy Qur’ān. It reads: “Blessed is He who sent down the criterion to His servant, that it may be an admonition to all creatures. (Q 25:1)” How can this book revealed for all creatures be for Muslims alone?
Host: Thank you very much, Mr Ghāmidī. Whenever you visit India, we shall have a live chat with you. We will further try to discuss each issue in detail and communicate your views to people around the globe.
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: I am very thankful to you too.