Narrated by Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad Naqshbandi (May Almighty Allah elevate him)
In the 80’s in Virginia, some Ulama came to me and said “We have a task for you.” I asked them what it was, they replied that an interfaith council has been set up consisting of individuals of different faiths who sit together once a week trying to understand each other’s faiths. We wish you to go there. I refused them and did not accept that I will go.
They continued explaining and said that they had previously sent an Aalim (Islamic scholar) to attend but what transpired was that the Rabbis, Padres and leaders of other faiths being sharp and smart started asking questions relating to science, for example, ‘what does the Qur`aan say about such and such topic related to science’ and other such questions. The Aalim however did not have much knowledge about science, was unable to answer their questions and refused to continue attending these gatherings. They then said that they sent a PhD doctor who could deal with their scientific questions. When the council noticed that he was a PhD doctor, they began asking questions about the Arabic language of the Noble Qur`aan, asking him to explain the difference in various Arabic words. The doctor, not being proficient in Arabic language and grammar was unable to answer their questions. They further said that they then went about searching for such a scholar who was learned in Islamic and secular sciences. When such a person was sent, they questioned him about Ruhaniyyah (spiritual sciences). This person was unable to answer their questions on this matter, so (the Ulama told me) we now are still looking for someone who will be able to address them adequately.
Taking up the challenge.
Seeing the need and importance, I acceded to their request. When we arrived at the gathering, I introduced myself and at the same time made it clear to them that I am not an Aalim (scholar) but rather I am a Taalib-e-Ilm (student). I will answer your questions if I am able and if I am unable, I will take time to research but will definitely provide you with the answers. You will not be left without an answer. The members of the council were satisfied at this agreement.
Magnetism of the Sunnah.
In the gathering were two or three Rabbis from the Jewish faith, some Padres from the Christians, Hindus and leaders of other faiths. It was a new experience for me. The strange thing was that whenever I would pass by the Rabbis, they would observe me very closely. Initially I thought this was because of them noticing my dressing in a Jubbah (cloak) and Pagry (turban), thinking that I came from some ancient civilisation. It was Allah’s honour that when I once passed by one of them, he remarked, “Mr Ahmad, You always come with a different respective look!” At that time I realised that they were not considering my dressing to be from an ancient civilisation, but rather the magnetism of the Sunnah was such that it was catching their attention.
The Rabbi was perhaps thinking to himself, the Asaa (staff) is a Sunnah of Prophet Moosa (Alayhis Salaam), yet I do not adopt its usage, and this man is a Muslim and he adopts the way of Prophet Moosa (Alayhis Salaam). At this juncture, I thanked Allah for placing such magnetism in the Sunnah way that it leaves people with such an attraction to it.
Agenda for the next meeting – Reciting the ‘Word Of God’.
After some sessions passed, at one meeting the secretary asked regarding the agenda for the next meeting. A thought crossed my mind that in the next meeting members of each faith will recite the Kalaam-e-Ilahy (Word of God) that they claim belongs to their respective faith). The secretary was greatly delighted at this suggestion, approved it and commented: “Very Good, A Bright Idea.”
The next meeting.
When the next meeting started, the secretary said: “Mr Ahmad, you have made the suggestion for this meeting, therefore you are requested to begin, you can recite your Word of God first. I had readied myself prior to this. In the books we read that whatever Allah had revealed in the previous divine books, is (summarized) in the Noble Qur`aan and whatever is in the Qur`aan is (summarized) in Surah Baqarah, and whatever is in Surah Baqarah (is summarized and found) in Surah Faatihah. This is why it is called Faathihatul Kitaab (The opening /preface of the entire Qur`aan). For this reason the thought came to me that since Surah Faatihah is a summary of the entire Qur`aan, I will recite it in front of this gathering. I went on to recite Surah Faatihah (The opening chapter) and briefly explained its translation. The gathering was happy.
We had to read the ‘Word of God’? – A Perplexing Question
Next a Christian Padre came up and started reciting from his Bible in a very loud voice as is famous with such recitations, he read that Prophet Eesa / Jesus (Peace be upon Him) said that if someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other cheek for him (to slap you there) and present yourself with such love, this is how his recital began. While he was reciting, I raised my hand and said to the secretary that I have something to share, I said that the agenda was that a representative of every religion recite the ‘Word of God’ that they believed in, “Was the Bible revealed in English, the English that the Padre was reciting?”
They realised that the Bible was revealed in Hebrew and what was read was a translation and cannot be considered as the ‘Word of God’. This question that I posed left them perplexed. There was silence for a little while. There was a very sharp Rabbi who was seated in front of me, he remarked,
“Mr Ahmad, Let me tell you loud and clear that from all the religions found today in the world, it is only the Muslims who have by them the Asl (original) Word of God, the rest all have only translations.”
A happy ending.
When the Rabbi uttered these words, it brought great delight to my heart, and I recited the Aayah (verse),
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
Inna Nahnu Naz-zal nath-thikra wa inn-na lahu la haafithoon.
“We have indeed revealed the Reminder (Al-Qur`aan) and we are fully responsible for its protection.” (Surah 15 Al-Hijr, Verse 9)
From an Urdu lecture of Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad titled: Hifz-e-Qur`aan se Muta`alliq Kuch Ajeeb Haqaiq. Download from