Khalifatul Masih V, International leader of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (Hudhur) quoted from a book by Prof. Laura Veccia Vaglieri, in a recent Friday sermon and highly applauded it. The book is titled, An interpretation of Islam. He said in this sermon among other things:
An Italian professor, Laura Veccia Vaglieri writes that slavery has been around ever since human civilisation began and it remains. She opines that the condition of slavery among Muslim nations is comparatively better. She writes about the benevolence of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and cites him as saying ‘do not say he is my slave, rather say he is my son and do not say she is my female-slave rather say she is my daughter. She writes that on reflection the Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) made magnificent reformations in this matter. In pre-Islamic days a person in debt faced the possibility of having his freedom snatched, but after Islam no Muslim could enslave another free Muslim. Not only did the Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) limit slavery, rather he introduced regulations about this and told the Muslims to march onwards regarding it until such time that all slaves were free. Hudhur said the professor wrote her book in Italian and it has been translated in English. A while ago the USA Jama’at had published this book. It mentions teachings of Islam in a very fine way. If the copyrights are in place, it should be re-printed by USA Jama’at. It is sufficient to silence the detractors who raise objections about Islam and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). This magnificent teaching and blessed model are the reality of freedom of man.
For references and details listen to Friday sermon of Khalifatul Masih V (ata) of November 25th, 2011:
I am a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, in USA, and by the Grace of Allah I am able to fulfill the wish of Khalifatul Masih V, within a couple of weeks and am providing links, where this book can be bought in less than four dollars. Some further information about the author and the book is enclosed here.
Prof. Laura Veccia Vaglieri contributed several articles to the Encyclopedia of Islam. She was a pioneer of Arabic and Islamic studies in Italy, Veccia Vaglieri served as professor at the Naples Eastern University and was the author of books on the historical and institutional analysis of the Arab and Muslim world. She is certainly deserving of joining the august list of Orientalists, in one of my other articles!
The back cover of her book, an interpretation of Islam states:
The Prophet Muhammad at God’s behest, called men to the worship of one God and proclaimed that, by responding to this call, mankind would achieve true dignity, honour, prosperity and happiness. Within an astonishingly brief period, and over vast areas which were in the grip of ignorance, darkness and confusion were finally dispelled, order was established and all manner of beneficent institutions sprang into life, a high moral order was set up and the blessings of knowledge, learning and science began to be widely diffused. The strength of this message was its crystal clear simplicity and marvelous easiness, for Islam reached out to the soul of the people without having recourse to long explanations and involved sermons. Thanks to this message, bringing the ideals of tauhid, resalat, peace and harmony, paganism in its various forms was defeated, and human dignity finally became a reality.
Islam taught right thinking, proper action and honest speaking, and for these reasons it found its way, without any difficulty, into both the minds and hearts of men.
Foreword to her book was written by Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, Judge of the International Court of Justice and former Foreign Minister of Pakistan. The non-Ahmadi publisher, who has republished the book has conveniently taken out the name of Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan from the introduction of the book! I have ordered different editions of this book to comment further on this myopic vision of the non-Ahmadi Muslims.
She also wrote about human equality in Islam in this book. She states:
Islam, which has never made any distinction of race or colour among men, which considered the white and the black, the nomad and the settled farmer, the ruler and the subject as all alike, not only in theory but also in practice (and as a matter of fact in the tent, in the palace, in the mosque, in the market, they all mingled together without reserve and with no sign of contempt or arrogance towards each other), never countenanced any humiliating treatment for slaves. Is it not fitting to remember here, while talking of the social equality imposed by Islam, the beautiful episode of King Jabale, who, having become a Muslim, went in great state to Makkah. While he was making the ritual tour around the Ka’bah, he struck a Bedouin who had accidentally trodden on his rich mantle. The Caliph Umar ruled that he was to receive a similar blow from the Bedouin because in Islam all men are alike. Jabale refused to submit to this and that very night he left with his five hundred knights and went straight to Byzantium where he became a Christian. Many years later, in the midst of honours and riches, the memories of Islam still filled his eyes with tears.
History furnishes many examples of slaves to whom high and honourable positions were given (among others, Bilal, who, because of his beautiful voice was accorded the high honour of being the first muezzin in Islam) and of freedmen who occupied high government positions, even rising to the Caliphate.
Laura Veccia Vaglieri (1893 – 1989) was an Italian orientalist.
A pioneer of Arabic and Islamic studies in Italy, Veccia Vaglieri served as professor at the Naples Eastern University and was the author of books on the historical and institutional analysis of the Arab and Muslim world. Her works include:
A textbook on the grammar of the Arabic language (Grammatica teorico-pratica della lingua araba (Istituto per l’Oriente, Rome, 1937, 2 voll.))
Apologia dell’ Islamismo (Rome, A. F. Formiggini, 1925). An Interpretation of Islam. Zurich: Islamic Foundation. Translated from Italian by Dr. Aldo Caselli, Haverford College, Pennsylvania. 1980.
A synthesis on the classical Islam (L’Islam da Maometto al secolo XVI, in: Storia Universale (dir. Ernesto Pontieri), Milan, F. Vallardi, 1963))
An interpretation of Islam
Author: Laura Veccia Vaglieri
Year of republication: 2004
You can order the book on Amazon or click here to go to a book store.