Saudi Arabian Minister [Shaikh Jamjoom] on Islam

Expresses Ahmadiyya View of Islam

The Light & Islamic Review (US), November/December 1991 Issue (Vol. 68, No. 4, p. 6)

The Japanese magazine Echoes of Peace (April 1991) carries an interview with Shaikh Jamjoom of Saudi Arabia, which he gave during his visit to Japan in January [1991], while heading a delegation from his country.  The interviewer writes:

“Shaikh Jamjoom, 65, has served in a variety of ministerial posts in the government of Saudi Arabia and now heads the company that publishes the daily newspaper Al-Madina.  He is also the chairman of the Jiddah Koran Society. I took advantage of his visit to ask him about the meaning of Islam.”

At certain points in his interview, the Shaikh has adopted a position which is clearly that of the Ahmadiyya Movement, as distinguished from that of other Muslims.  Referring to the Islamic belief in all prophets, the Shaikh said:

“We Muslims would not be Muslims if we did not believe in all the earlier prophets revealed by God, which means that God is One for all these people.  Many of the prophets are mentioned by name in our holy book.  These include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and many others.  Then came the perfect prophet, Muhammad.  It is clearly mentioned in our holy book that the prophets mentioned are not the only ones.  This means that Buddha may be one of the prophets.” (p. 11)

It is generally speaking only in Ahmadiyya literature that figures like Buddha or Krishna are specifically considered as being prophets.  The Shaikh no doubt mentioned Buddha’s name because he was addressing the people of Japan.

Then giving the meaning of Islam, he said:

“What is Islam? The word ‘Islam’ is taken from the word meaning seeing peace.  Grammatically, the word comes from the root word meaning peace.” (p. 12)

Again, it is primarily in the Ahmadiyya exposition of Islam that one finds the meaning of this word given as peace, the meaning commonly given in other literature being submission or surrender.  Indeed, some critics of Islam, who wish to portray it in terms of violence, have always raised the objection that the Ahmadis have confused the word Islam with salam, and that only the latter signifies peace, but not the former.  Here we have a native Arab, from the country of birth of the faith, explaining that the word Islam signifies peace.

As regards the question of force in relation to belief, which unfailingly arises in discussions on Islam, the Shaikh said categorically:

“Islam is never a sword, because you cannot believe under threat.  You may surrender, but you cannot believe by force.  Islam is a belief; if you don’t believe, whatever you are, it is not Islamic.  Those who believed in Islam in the past were killed when they did not change.  They remained Muslim because they believed in Islam.  In the beginning, the people who believed in the perfect prophet, Muhammad, and in his message, were the poor people and the slaves.  Their masters punished them, but they did not change their religion, because they believed in it.” (p. 13)

Here we have another example of the Ahmadiyya form of attitude, that belief comes from the heart, and cannot be forced upon people.

Polygamy:

After the interview, the Shaikh referred the interviewer to his secretary, an American convert Mr.  Abdul Rahman Abdullah, for any further questions about Islam.  Asked about polygamy, the secretary explained:

“It is written in the Quran that in normal times a man should have only one wife but that in time of war, when the number of men is reduced, up to four wives are permitted for the sake of women who otherwise would be unable to marry.” (p. 13)

This again is the position taken by Maulana Muhammad Ali, particularly in his English Commentary of the Quran, which is not usually the one adopted by other Muslim writers.  One may ask if this explanation is accepted in Saudi Arabia, and that when men there marry more than one wife it is only for the noble reasons given here!

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