True Conception of the Ahmadiyya Movement
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
New Light about Interpreting the Quran
The most beneficial work in this respect done by Ahmadiyyat was to interpret the Quran in a scientific and literary manner. There was a time when ordinary matters mentioned in the Quran were interpreted by fanciful and imaginary stories with the result that the new generation of Muslims having modern outlook on life thought such fantastic stories to be part of the Quran and expressed their disgust at them and at the book which incorporated them. The ‘ulama’, instead of removing such doubts, started issuing fatwas of kufr (verdicts of heresy) against everybody who differed with them even in minor details of religion or who did not accept the stories of the Quranic commentators as next to the word of God or who gave vent to any objection against religion. At this crucial moment Ahmadiyyat without caring for the fatwas of kufr fought against the ignorance and the narrow-mindedness of the ‘ulama’. It showed to the world that the Quran is clear of all such spurious matter and that scientific research in different spheres of knowledge, in fact, does not go against the spirit of religion. Religion was not subjugated by science, as was thought by the educated Muslims of the age, rather science was to follow the higher values of spiritual life to ensure real peace in the world.
While interpreting the Quran, the Quran itself should have the priority over everything else and then should come the Hadith, but the Hadith dealing with stories must be accepted after great caution and scrutiny. While consulting Arabic lexicons, care should also be taken in selecting meanings of words. If a verse can be interpreted two ways, according to the literal meaning of the words, preference should be given to that interpretation which does not go against history, human intellect or experience. Thus, the Quran at present is deemed as a book of great learning and science and has proved to be a guide and source of healing to ailing humanity. The whole Islamic literature, appearing today, seems to be saturated with this new spirit. As the Moslem World, a Christian quarterly, stated in its July 1931 C.E. issue, the English translations of the Holy Quran done by other Muslims later on resemble very closely the version of Ahmadiyyat.1
- For elaborate quotation see Maulana Muhammad Ali’s Preface in his English Translation of the Holy Quran. — Editor. ↩