Questions Responded by Imam Imtiaz Ahmed (39th WRC)
Questions Responded by Imam Imtiaz Ahmed
Imam of Bai'tul Islam Mosque Toronto
Question 1: What is your frame of reference? We are all unequal in our talents. How do you establish equality in that situation? – by Rev Stayon Tadim
Answer: It is absolutely true that people are unequal in their talents, but even so, there must be equality of opportunity, and justice must need be observed without discrimination of class, creed, race, or wealth.
But having said that we are all equal as human beings and in our chances to obtain rewards from God. People are not rewarded spiritually according to their talents but according to their efforts.
Question 2: In your religion – Why is it necessary to cover your head? What is the logic behind this? Andy why is it only for females? What connection does it have to religious principles? – by B. Chakranty
Answer: First of all, it is not just the religion of Islam - from Christian Nuns to Jewish men, all three of the great Abrahamic faiths enjoin one form or another of head covering as a symbol of modesty and spiritual devotion. Secondly, it is not just for women in Islam, but men who join in prayer or who stand before God in any religious capacity throughout their day must also cover their heads. Women in Islam choose to observe the veil - part of which is to cover their head, out of modesty and so no to needlessly attract men. It is a source of great strength, autonomy and independence for millions of women around the world - it is a statement that “we will not allow our beauty to become an object for men to gawk at.” Women are also commanded to wear loose-fitting clothing for this reason
Question 3: How can peace be achieved if Ahmadiyya-Islam don’t reconsider its stand on Guru Nanak, that is Guru Nanak was Muslim, which Sikh find offensive. Will Ahmadiyya Jama`at reconsider its stand on Guru Nanak? Zakir Naik quoted same-thing. – by Anonymous
Answer: The entire point is that in spite of having different opinions, there can be (and have been) peaceful societies. It is the foundational principle of accepting that others have different beliefs, and still respecting them and giving them their due rights. The Promised Messiah and founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community made it a point that in no public place should anything be said about any other religious leader by any faith which hurts the sentiments of one’s fellows in humanity. However, this is if they also refrain from hurling hurtful abuse at the Prophet of Islam.
So far as The Revered and Beloved Saint Baba Guru Nanak is concerned, he is held in extremely high esteem in Islam and is considered a great man of God. This is in no way disrespectful. As for the claims of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are concerned that he was a Muslim - this is based off of authentic historical facts and realities about his life and choices which are recorded in history books and even in his own writing. Hence, this is an academic point which is supported by scholastic testimony, and which requires that it be disproved on an academic level.
Question 4: If your religion was a stumbling block to establishing justice, with everyone feeling equal, would you give it up? – by Elaine Batt
Answer: This question is a contradiction - If it were proven that any philosophy is actually contrary to establishing justice in the world, and I abandoned it, then I would be acting according to the faith of Islam, which enjoins its followers to abandon any belief contrary to establishing justice. Hence, in this case, it would be because of my faith that I would abandon my faith. This is an innate paradox.
A Muslim believes in Islam because it enjoins justice - they are inextricably interlinked; the call for peace and justice in society is the essence of Islamic fabric. Hence, this question is like asking a person who stands on firm grounds for justice the following question: “Would you leave your beliefs if they were a roadblock to establishing justice?” He would say that “I might, but prove to me that my beliefs are actually a roadblock to justice first.” Otherwise, hypothetics are just that - hypothetics.
Our religion teaches absolute justice and love for all, hatred for none. This leads to justice and peace. We can never abandon such a religion.
Question 5: How are you getting or showing justice for the LGBT+ community? – by Darby
Answer: In Islam, just like all major faiths, pursuing homosexual relationships is a sin, and no human being can be the judge of a sin nor does any human being enjoy the jurisdiction to punish a sin - this is something between God and His servant.
What people do behind closed doors is something that they do of their own choice and volition, and as a Muslim, because I believe there is a better way to lead one’s lifestyle, I will always respectfully voice my opinion as a caring fellow in humanity, and invite my brothers and sisters in humanity (yes, the LGBTQ+ community are our brothers and sisters in humanity like everyone else) toward the lifestyle that I think is best. This would be in the same way that one friend expresses his opinion about any other aspect of life to another.
In the end, they are entitled to all the fundamental rights of human conscience and freedom as others, and are masters of their own choice. They have equal access to all amenities under the government - and why shouldn’t they? Yes, the religion of Islam invites mankind to pursue the opposite sex and not to pursue the same sex, but this is a matter of faith, and is separate from the matters of the state, wherein they have equality like all others. And we do not discriminate against people who are of the LGBTQ community. We welcome them to our mosques and sit with them at our functions.
Question 6: As a Christian, I see many Churches closing and this concerns me. Is this the case for all the represented religions? Without Churches/Temples/Synagogues/Mosques etc, how do we pass on moral values such as justice? – by anonymous
Answer: This is not the case for Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. Islam is the fastest growing religion and Ahmadiyyat sect is the fastest growing within Islam Our mosques never close, in fact their number is growing every month. We urge people of other faiths to make efforts to fill their houses of worship with believers and to preach therein good morals and love and kindness towards all people.
Question 7: Why only male speakers representing religions conference (majority)? Only one female today? – by anonymous.
Answer: This is not done purposefully by the organizers of the event - it just so happens that the representatives of each of the faith this year ended up being split this was, otherwise, it is not a subjective effort on the part of the organizers to get any balance/unbalance in terms of genders. Whoever the respective faith group deems can best represent them end up speaking.
Question 8: For a person who is looking for a present-day example of Just Society, which societies would you direct their attention to? – by Brent P.
Answer: Some societies are better in certain areas, for example in treating people of different faiths equally before the law; but other societies are better in other areas, for example families looking after their elderly relatives and little children instead of putting them into homes or daycare where they could often be mistreated.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community presents a perfect example where by following Qur’anic principals regarding justice one can have just society.
Question 9: Why faith preaching end up in ritualistic practices and very limited practice in life. All talk about ‘No thing is ours” but fail to let it go? – by Harjit
Answer: It is for religious people to practise what they preach. Otherwise all the rituals will only be lip-service and hypocrisy. The reason for this is often that people do not believe that God is watching them or that He can punish them for their crimes and sins. A lack of belief makes people bold and fearless.
Question 10: : If all religions love peace, why are there so many religious wars? Often in the name of Justice? – by Bill Ratcliffe
Answer: Religious wars are caused by those who seek to use religion in order to gain power and wealth. It is greed that drives war. Not religion or democracy or any other fine principles.
Question 11: Why are there so few Democracies in the Islamic World? – by Anonymous
Answer: Islamic perspective of leadership is strict obedience and loyalty to the government. However, much consultation is taken from the people. This was the practice of the Holy Prophet (sa) and his Khulafa (ra). If the current leadership is corrupt we should pray for them and beseech God to guide them and not blame Islam.
All the while remaining obedient.
Question 12: What is one concrete action we can take to create a just society? (besides education) or What are your thoughts on differences/similarities of equality and equity? – by Margaret Emilia Locker
Answer: On a personal level, always pray to God or justice for all people and try to be just towards everyone without discrimination. We must teach this to our children.
To create or form a just society all people must be truthful to themselves and their dealings. When honesty and sincerity is common and people can trust each other then seeds of justice sprout in all expects of the society.
Question 13: How can parents best model/teach justice to their children in the home? By Hilary Diouf
Answer: By being just at all times, even if this causes personal loss. Do not lie to them and do not lie to others around them. Teach honesty even if it be against one’s self and relatives. Children will never forget such lessons.
Question 14: Is it true that Islam forbids devotees from drinking, smoking, gambling and taking out a mortgage (pay interest)? – by Art Tsai
Answer: It is true except for the case of mortgage where it is allowed for one's first house out of necessity.
Drinking, smoking and gambling are not necessities. Rather they are harmful to humans.
Question 15: What is the purpose of Human Life as per your faith? – By Singh
Answer: The purpose is to go from a lower state of conciseness then to one that is higher a lofty. The highest form of conciseness is to realize the existence of God. And become a reflections of all his attributes. And to fulfill the rights of God and rights of human being.
Question 16: Our purpose and goal for a Just society, peace and love is agreed. However, there exists counter intention and counter purpose. Do we have time to win? – by Larry Densmore.
Answer: Love always wins in the end. We do not know how long that will take. We can't lose hope and stop trying to make the world into a better place.