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JULY 2011 - VOL. 106 - ISSUE SEVEN

Is ISLAM for GERMANY?

Is Islam for Germany?

Ramadan – The Month of Fasting

The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam

The Life and Character of the Seal of the Prophets


The Promised Messiah

Knowledge © makhzan-e-tasaweer

and imam mahdi and founder of the review of religions

WORLD FAITHS

The Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) prophesied that the Promised Messiah(as) would be raised near a white minaret, east of Damascus. This prophecy was fulfilled with the advent of the Promised Messiah(as) from Qadian, India, a city directly east of Damascus.

Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), the Promised Messiah and Mahdi was born to a noble family in Qadian, India.  From an early age he had a keen interest in religion and developed a love for the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw). He was also known for his honesty, friendliness and resolve. Over time his knowledge and understanding of religion and its application to society deepened. Being a Muslim it was his firm belief that all religions were true at their source but with the passage of time had drifted away from their original teachings; he upheld the dignity of religion and demonstrated its relevance to everyone.

Hadhrat Ahmad(as) had established himself as a respected writer and had written over 80 books. His writings have been translated into more than 60 languages and continue to inspire readers to this day. One of his greatest scholarly works was The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, prepared as a paper and read out at the Conference of Great Religions in 1896.

…He knows what is … the most outstanding before them and what is miracle of the Holy behind them; and they Qur’an is that boundless encompass nothing of sea of deep wisdom-those His knowledge except solid facts, those avenues what He pleases. of Qur’anic knowledge His knowledge extends over so rich in philosophythe heavens and the earth… which we can present to ISLAM, THE HOLY all nations and peoples QUR’AN. CH.2:V.256 of every language…

His earnest defence of religion was ultimately blessed when he started to receive direct revelation from Allah – a blessing that he continued for the rest of his life.

He also wrote a fascinating treatise in 1899 entitled Jesus in India, a book that uncovered remarkable evidence of Jesus(as)’s journey to India. In 1902 the Promised Messiah(as) initiated The Review of Religions which has covered a vast array of topics on religion, philosophy and contemporary issues of the day. It is the longest running English magazine in defence of Islam and the values it teaches.

Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.

His mission was to revitalise the truth that all religions held within them and to revive the teachings of Islam. It was through this that he would bring mankind together and establish everlasting peace.

From 1889 until the time of his demise in 1908 tens of thousands of people accepted him. This blessing has continued and will continue through his Khalifas (successors).

ISLAM, THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD(SAW ), HADITH, ‘IBN MAJAH

In 1889, under Divine Guidance, Hadhrat Ahmad(as) founded the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – a community that has since grown in its stature and strength and has remained active in conveying the message of Islam to the ends of the earth.

Currently under the fifth successor, we are seeing that the tide of acceptance is worldwide and that the message of Prophet Ahmad(as) has really reached the ends of the earth.

Seek knowledge as far as China

ISLAM AHMADIYYAT, THE PROMISED MESSIAH AND IMAM MAHDI(AS), IZALA-E-AUHAM

The end and aim of wisdom is repentance and good deeds. JUDAISM, TALMUD, BERAKOT 17

True learning induces in the mind service of mankind.

SIKHISM, ADI GRANTH, ASA, M.1, P.356

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, Who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given to him. CHRISTIANITY, JAMES 1:5

Broaden your knowledge of the Classics, restrain it with ritual, and you are unlikely to deviate from the Way.

CONFUCIANISM, CONFUCIUS, ANALECTS, 12:5


CONTENTS july 2011

32

14

6 Muslim community prays for victims of Norway attacks 8 Announcement 10 Editorial

True Islam

AMER SAFIR, UK

14 The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam - Part 7

This section features an exposition on the moral values of truthfulness and sympathy, and also explores man’s search for God HADHRAT MIRZA GHULAM AHMAD(AS),

THE PROMISED MESSIAH AND MAHDI

22

22 The Life & Character of the Seal of the Prophets(saw) - Part 8 An in-depth look at the early opposition by the powerful tribes of Makkah against the Prophet(saw) to try and hinder his message at all costs. HADHRAT MIRZA BASHIR AHMAD(RA)

32 From the Archives: Ramadan - The Month of Fasting An exposition of the practices observed during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and the philosophy attached to those practices MUZAFFARUD-DIN CHAUDHRY

41

41 Is Islam for Germany?

A passionate and heated debate currently surrounds the issue of Islam’s role in Germany, and whether it belongs in the country. Are these fears about Islam justified? HADHRAT MIRZA MASROOR AHMAD(ABA),

KHALIFATUL MASIH V, HEAD OF THE WORLDWIDE AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY

64 Calendar of Religious Events and Festivals August 2011

MANAGEMENT BOARD Munir-ud-din Shams (Chairman) Syed Amer Safir (Secretary) Ataul Mujeeb Rashed Naseem Ahmad Qamar Mubarak Ahmad Zafar Aziz Ahmad Bilal Abid Waheed Khan Abdul Baqi Arshad CHIEF EDITOR & MANAGER Syed Amer Safir EDITORIAL BOARD Bockarie Tommy Kallon, Fazal Ahmad, Hibba Turrauf, Mansoor Saqi, Munazza Khan, Nakasha Ahmad, Sarah Waseem PROOFREADERS Abdul Ghany Jahangeer Khan,
 Farhana Dar, Munavara Ghauri DISTRIBUTION Muhammad Hanif DESIGN AND LAYOUT Ahsan Khan SPECIAL CONTRIBUTORS Arif Khan, Maleeha Ahmad, Khullat Munir, Mansoor Clarke, Sami Ullah, Shehzad Ahmad PUBLISHER Al Shirkatul Islamiyyah Ltd. Views expressed in this publication are not necessarily the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. All correspondence should be forwarded to the Editor at: The Review of Religions Tahir House, 22 Deer Park Road London, SW19 3TL, United Kingdom Telephone: + 44 20 8544 7614 Fax: + 44 20 3044 3030 info@reviewofreligions.org www.reviewofreligions.org


27TH JULY 2011 22 Deer Park Road, London, SW19 3TL UK Tel/Fax: 020 8544 7613 Mob: 077954 90682 Email: press@ahmadiyya.org.uk

May God protect all innocent and decent people from such hateful and barbaric acts in future The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat condemns absolutely the horrific killings that took place last Friday in Norway. Such an attack serves no purpose other than to destroy the peace of a society and to bring devastation to the nation and the wider world. In response to this incident, the  world Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad has said:

PRESS RELEASE

“Just a few days ago a horrific incident occurred in Norway where scores people were killed in a bomb and gun attack. May God grant patience to the people of Norway and particularly to those who have been directly

Muslim Community prays for victims of Norway attacks

affected by this tragedy and may He also guide those who plot such hateful acts to the error of their ways. Our thoughts and prayers are always with those people who have been attacked or victimised. May God protect all innocent and decent people from such hateful and barbaric acts in future. There are so many conflicts taking place in the world today and so it is imperative that we all pray for humanity and for world peace.”

Press Secretary AMJ International

6 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

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ANNOUNCEMENT

Announcement of the sad demise of Sahibzadi Nasira Begum Sahiba

Surely to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.

(Holy Qur’an, Ch.2:V157)

Hadrat Abu Huraira(ra) reported that the Holy Prophet(saw) prayed in the funeral Prayer: It is with great sadness that we inform our readers of the demise of Sahibzadi Nasira Begum Sahiba, who returned to her Lord on 29th July, 2011 in Rabwah, Pakistan. Surely to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return (Holy Qur’an, Ch.2:V.157). Sahibzadi Nasira Begum Sahiba was born in October 1911. She had the unique of honour of being directly related to several of the most eminent personalities of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. She was the granddaughter of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi and Founder of The Review of Religions. She was the eldest daughter and second eldest child of Hadhrat Mirza Bashid-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad(ra), Khalifatul Masih II – Second Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. She was the sister of both Hadhrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad(ra), 8 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

Khalifatul Masih III and Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(rh), Khalifatul Masih IV – the Third and Fourth Heads of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community respectively, and she was the mother of Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), Khalifatul Masih V – current worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. The news of her demise has left members of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim community stricken with grief. It is our earnest prayer that may God Almighty grant Sahibzadi Nasira Begum Sahiba an elevated rank in heaven, and may He bestow steadfastness and patience to her family and all members of the Community.

“O Allah, forgive those of us who are living and those of us who are dead, those of us who are present and those of us who are absent, our young and our old, our male and our female. O Allah, to whomsoever of us you give life, keep him faithful to Islam, and whomsoever of us you take in death, take him as a believer. O Allah, do not withhold from us the reward of the deceased, or try us after his death, and prevent us from being misguided.” (Ibn Majah) JULY 2011

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editorial

True Islam Amer Safir, UK

Islam today is under intense scrutiny – since 9/11 interest has particularly rocketed. Countless television programmes, documentaries, newspaper and magazine articles and lectures on Islam have been featured. Professors, politicians, analysts and even priests – almost everyone wants to convey their opinion on Islam. Much of this coverage has led to welcome interest and has been positive, helping to remove many of the misconceptions about Islam. However, a greater proportion of the coverage has focussed on trying to portray Islam as a backward and dangerous religion. A survey undertaken in 2007 revealed that 91% of articles in 10 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

national newspapers in Britain in one week’s news coverage were negative.1 The media does play an important role in helping to inform the world of what Islam really stands for, however, driven partly by prejudice, and partly by ignorance about the true teachings of Islam, parts of the media have attached stereotypes to Muslims and Islam, with Islam being called “extremist”, “terrorist” and “fundamental”. As a result, the issue of Muslim immigration to Western countries has led to a particularly intense and frantic debate, with Europeans apprehensive of the number of Muslims settling in their countries. There are now over

53 million Muslims in Europe. The decadent actions of certain Muslim groups, who are an insignificant minority, combined with the portrayal of Islam in the media, have led to questions being asked. What practices will Muslims bring with them? How will their lifestyles affect the local communities? With the lens of the world focussed on Islam, Muslims have responded in different ways. Some Muslims have followed a very rigid interpretation of the Shariah, the Islamic law, and responded to attacks against Islam violently. A frustrated section of the Muslims is incited to rise up for a violent struggle. Other Muslims have taken an apologetic

stance, diluting some of the core Islamic teachings to adopt Western ways that appease the West, and in the process often introduce major changes into Islam, such as abrogating entire verses of the Holy Qur’an. However, the real Islam of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw), the Founder of Islam, reflected a balanced approach – taking the middle course, which neither poles of Muslims are truly representing. Instead, the real Islam today is truly represented by that group who resort to a peaceful struggle, and who utilise the ‘pen’ to respond to the attacks against Islam. They are in the process of an intellectual battle to win JULY 2011

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the hearts and minds of people through superior arguments, love and service to mankind. This group – the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – was founded by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), who claimed to be the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi awaited by all major religions. The Prophet Muhammad(saw) had prophesied that in the latter age the Muslims would forget the essence of Islam, and would deviate from real Islamic teachings. The Messiah and Mahdi would therefore be appointed by God to revive the true Islamic teachings, by providing the correct interpretation of the Qur’an and Islamic practices. Hadhrat 12 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) claimed to be that very Messiah and Mahdi. Since its inception in 1889, the Ahmadiyya Community has tirelessly been replying to allegations against Islam, and has been promoting the real message of Islam, of peace, love and mutual cooperation between all peoples. Now established in 200 countries of the world, the Ahmadiyya Community has translated the Qur’an into 70 languages, and run the first 24-hour Muslim television station, Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International. Currently the 5th Khalifa (successor to the Promised Messiah) of

the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), continues the mission of spreading Islam’s true essence. He has delivered a large number of lectures all over the world where he tackles burning issues relating to Islam and its doctrines. Our main article in this edition features a recent lecture by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) in Germany, in light of the issue of Muslim immigration in Germany. We invite our readers to study this true portrayal of Islam, and the manner in which the Ahmadiyya Muslim community reacts to any crises or objections against Islam – which is with rational arguments, and

with love, and by explaining what Islam really and truly stands for, and how the Qur’an is absolutely relevant to the pressing needs of the world today.

endnotes

1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2007/ nov/14/pressandpublishing.religion

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The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam part 7

Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), the Promised Messiah and Mahdi translated from urdu by sir muhammad zafrulla khan

Truthfulness Unless a person discards those One of the natural qualities of man is truthfulness. Normally, unless a person purposes that lead him away is moved by some selfish motive, he does from telling the truth, he not wish to lie. He is averse to falsehood cannot be considered truthful. and is reluctant to have recourse to it. He is displeased with a person who is proved to have told a lie, and looks down upon him. But this natural inclination cannot be accounted a moral quality. Even chil- relies upon it ceases to trust in God. Thus, dren and the insane exhibit it. Unless a by uttering a lie one loses God. person discards those purposes that lead him away from telling the truth, he can- When you are called upon to testify to not be considered truthful. If a person the truth, do not fail to do so;2 and do not tells the truth when no personal interest conceal true testimony; he who conceals is involved, but is ready to have recourse it is sinful at heart.3 to lying where his honour or property or life is concerned, and fails to tell When you speak, tell the truth and hold the truth, he is no better than a child the scales even, though the person conor an insane person. Do not the insane cerned be your kinsman.4 and minors speak such truth? There is scarcely anyone in the world who would Be strict in observing justice and bear lie without any purpose. The truth that witness only for the sake of Allah, even might be abandoned in order to escape if it should occasion loss to you or your some loss that threatens is not a moral parents, kinsmen or sons, etc.5 Let not quality. The proper occasion of telling the the enmity of a people towards you incite truth is when one apprehends loss of life you to injustice or falsehood.6 Truthful or property or honour. In this context the men and truthful women will have a Divine teaching is: great reward from Allah.7 They exhort one another to hold fast to the truth.8 Shun the abomination of idols, and shun Those who do not keep company with all words of falsehood.1 This shows that the untruthful.9 falsehood is also an idol and he who JULY 2011

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the philosophy of the teachings of islam

One of the natural qualities of man is steadfastness during illness and under afflictions.

children will die; then give glad tidings to the steadfast, who, when a misfortune overtakes them, do not lose heart, but affirm: We belong to God and are His servants and to Him shall we return. It is these on whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy, and it is these who are rightly guided.10

Steadfastness One of the natural qualities of man is This moral quality is called steadfastness steadfastness during illness and under or reconciliation to the Divine will. From afflictions. He has recourse to patience one aspect it might be called equity or after much complaining and sorrow- justice. Throughout a person’s life, God ing. It is natural that a person cries and Almighty manifests thousands of matters groans under affliction and in the end, in accord with the wishes of a person and after giving vent to his grievance, he bestows numberless bounties upon him, beats a retreat. Both these conditions so that it would be inequitable on his are natural but are not in any sense part part that on such occasions when God of a moral quality. In this context the calls upon him to submit to His will, he relevant moral quality is that when one should turn away, not pleased with the suffers a loss, one should consider it as will of God, and should be critical, or lose rendering back to God that which He faith or go astray. had bestowed, and should utter no complaint about it. One should affirm that Sympathy for Mankind it was a bounty of God which He has Of the natural qualities of man is his recalled and that one is reconciled to sympathy for his fellow beings. The folGod’s pleasure. In this context the Holy lowers of every religion have natural sympathy for their own people and many Qur’an admonishes us: of them, under the urge of such sympaO believers we shall surely try you with thy, act wrongfully towards other people, somewhat of fear, and hunger, and loss as if they do not regard them as human of wealth, and lives, and of the fruits of beings. This state cannot be described your labour and sometimes your dear as a moral quality. It is a natural urge, 16 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

which is manifested even by birds. For instance, when one crow dies hundreds of crows flock together. This quality would be accounted a high moral quality when it is exercised on its proper occasion justly and equitably. It would be a great moral quality, which is designated sympathy both in Arabic and Persian. This is referred to by Allah the Exalted in the Holy Qur’an. God Almighty has directed in the Holy Qur’an: One should show sympathy to, and help one’s people only in the doing of good deeds and at no cost should one assist them in sin and transgression.11

Of the natural conditions of man is his search after an Exalted Being towards Whom he has an inherent attraction. are developed and its nature begins to display itself openly, this inherent quality is displayed more and more strongly. It finds no comfort anywhere except in the lap of its mother. If it is separated from her and finds itself at a distance from her, its life becomes bitter. Heaps of bounties fail to beguile it away from its mother in whom all its joy is concentrated. It feels no joy apart from her. What, then, is the nature of the attraction, which an infant feels so strongly towards its mother?

Slacken not in serving your fellow beings. 12 Contend not on behalf of the treacherous.13 Plead not on behalf of those who persist in being unfaithful. 14 Allah loves not those who are It is the attraction, which the True perfidious.15 Creator has implanted in the nature of man. The same attraction comes into play Search for an Exalted Being whenever a person feels love for another. Of the natural conditions of man is his It is a reflection of the attraction that is search after an Exalted Being towards inherent in man’s nature towards God, Whom he has an inherent attrac- as if he is in search of something that tion, manifested by an infant from the he misses, the name of which he has moment of its birth. As soon as it is forgotten and which he seeks to find born, it displays a spiritual characteris- in one thing or another which he takes tic – it inclines towards its mother and up from time to time. A person’s love of is inspired by love for her. As its faculties wealth or offspring or wife or his soul JULY 2011

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the philosophy of the teachings of islam

…the world is like a palace, the floor of which is paved with smooth slabs of glass, under which flows a rapid current of water.

under which a great power is in operation like a fast flowing current of water. It is a huge mistake on the part of those who worship these heavenly bodies that they attribute to them that which is manifested by the power that operates behind them. This is the interpretation of the verse of the Holy Qur’an. 17

being attracted towards a musical voice As the Being of God Almighty, despite are all indications of his search for the its brilliance, is utterly hidden, this physiTrue Beloved. As man cannot behold cal system that is spread out before our with his physical eyes the Imperceptible eyes is not alone sufficient for its recBeing, Who is latent like the quality of ognition. That is why those who have fire in everyone, but is hidden, nor can he depended upon this system and have discover Him through the mere exercise observed carefully its perfect and comof imperfect reason, he has been misled plete orderliness together with all the grievously in his search and has mistak- wonders comprehended in it, and have enly assigned His position to others. The thoroughly studied astronomy, physics, Holy Qur’an has, in this context, set forth and philosophy, and have, as it were, penan excellent illustration, to the effect that etrated into the heavens and the earth, the world is like a palace, the floor of have yet not been delivered from the which is paved with smooth slabs of darkness of doubts and suspicions. Many glass, under which flows a rapid current of them become involved in grave errors of water.16 Every eye that beholds this and wander far away in pursuit of their floor mistakenly imagines it to be run- stupid fancies. Their utmost conjecture ning water. A person fears to tread upon is that this grand system, which displays the floor as he would be afraid of treading great wisdom, must have a Maker, but upon running water, though in reality the this conjecture is incomplete and this floor is only paved with smooth transpar- insight is defective. The affirmation that ent slabs of glass. Thus these heavenly this system must have a creator does not bodies such as the sun and moon etc. are amount to a positive affirmation that He the smooth and transparent slabs of glass does in truth exist. Such a conjecture 18 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

cannot bestow satisfaction upon the heart, nor remove all doubt from it. Nor is it a draught that can quench the thirst for complete understanding which man’s nature demands. Indeed, this defective understanding is most dangerous, for despite all its noise it amounts to nothing. In short, unless God Almighty affirms His existence through His Word, as He has manifested it through His work, the observation of the work alone does not afford complete satisfaction.18 For instance, if we are confronted by a room the door of which is bolted from inside, our immediate reaction would be that there is someone inside the room who has bolted the door from inside, inasmuch as it is apparently impossible to bolt a door from inside by some device employed for the purpose from the outside. But if, despite persistent calls from the outside over a period of years, no response becomes audible from inside, our supposition that there must be someone inside would have to be abandoned and we would be compelled to conclude that the door has been bolted from inside through some clever device. This is the situation in which those philosophers have placed themselves whose understanding is limited solely to the observation of the work of God. It is

God has, through eternity, called mankind to Himself by affirming: I am present.

a great mistake to imagine that God is like a corpse interred in the earth whose recovery is the business of man. If God has only been discovered through human effort, it is vain to expect anything from Him. Indeed, God has, through eternity, called mankind to Himself by affirming: I am present. It would be a great impertinence to imagine that man has laid God under an obligation by discovering Him through his own effort, and that if there had been no philosophers He would have continued unknown. It is equally stupid to enquire how can God speak unless He has a tongue with which to speak. The answer is: Has He not created the earth and the heavenly bodies without physical hands? Does He not view the universe without eyes? Does He not hear our supplications without physical ears? Then is it not necessary that He should JULY 2011

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ONLINE

the philosophy of the teachings of islam

Nor is it correct to say that God spoke in the past but does not speak now.

endnotes

1. Shun therefore the abomination of idols, and

(Ch.4:V.105)

13. And be not you a disputer for the faithless;

they are called. (Ch.2:V.283)

14 . And plead not on behalf of those who are

conceals it, his heart is certainly sinful.

not one who is perfidious and a great sinner.

2. And the witnesses should not refuse when

(Ch.2:V.284)

(Ch.4:V.106)

dishonest to themselves. Surely, Allah loves

15. Here the Promised Messiah(as) mentions

(Ch.6:V.153)

are those verses which deal with compassion

witnesses for Allah, even though it be against

collaboration in the doing of good deeds. In

(Ch.4:V.136)

is the punishment of the wrongdoer when

act otherwise than with justice. (Ch.5:V.9)

conveyed is that sympathy for humankind

even if the concerned person be a relative…

two categories of verses. In the first category

5. Be strict in observing justice, and be

for God’s creation and with the idea of

yourselves or against parents and kindred.

the second category, the subject of discussion

6. And let not a people’s enmity incite you to

the situation so demands. The message being

7. And truthful men and truthful women…

does not mean that the culprit merely be

8. And exhort one another to accept truth, and

the rest of society from his transgressions. In

(Ch.33:V.36)

exhort one another to be steadfast. (Ch.103:V.4)

9. Who bear not false witness, (Ch.25:V.73)

punished for his wrongdoings thus securing

fact punishing him is an aspect of sympathy for

humankind.

10. And We will try you with something of fear

16. It is a palace paved smooth with slabs of

fruits; but give glad tidings to the patient, Who,

17. It is a palace paved smooth with slabs of

to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.’

18. This means that without the Word of God,

Lord and mercy, and it is these who are rightly

nature cannot be sufficient.

when a misfortune overtakes them, say, ‘Surely, It is these on whom are blessings from their guided. (Ch.2:Vs.156-158)

11. Help one another in righteousness and piety; but help not one another in sin and

www.reviewofreligions.org

(Ch.4:V.108)

4. And when you speak, observe justice,

and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives, and

20 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

12. And slacken not in seeking these people.

shun all words of untruth… (Ch.22:V.31)

3. And conceal not testimony; and whoever

also speak to us? Nor is it correct to say that God spoke in the past but does not speak now. We cannot limit His Word or His discourse to any particular time. He is as ready today to enrich His seekers from the fountain of revelation as He was at any time, and the gates of His grace are as wide open today as they were at any time. It is true, however, that as the need for a perfect law has been fulfilled all law and limitations have been completed. Also all prophethoods, having arrived at their climax in the person of our lord and master, the Holy Prophet(saw) have been fulfilled.

transgression. (Ch.5:V.3)

glass. (Ch.27:V.45) glass. (Ch.27:V.45)

contemplation of and foresight into the laws of

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The Life and Character of the Seal of the Prophets(saw) part 8

Hadhrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra)

Continued serialisation of the English rendering of Hadhrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra)’s outstanding biography, ‘Seerat Khatamun Nabiyyin’, on the life and character of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw). ‘Seerat Khatamun Nabiyyin’ has been translated into English for the first time, and is being serialised in The Review of Religions before its full release as a book. This section of the series looks at how the most powerful tribe of Makkah, the Quraish, hatched various plans to try and hinder the progress of the Muslims. translated from the urdu by ayyaz mahmood khan

the Banu Asad. Abul-Bakhtari would also, to the best of his ability, hold fast to decency. In this same context, there was a man named Zubair bin Abi Umaiyyah who was the brother of Umm Salamah and despite his discord, he would always deal in goodness.

Chieftains among the Infidels Among the Quraish, those who fiercely opposed Islam and were considered the leaders of others in this movement, were not entirely of the same disposition. Some possessed personal decency, and in their own way desired to deal with The second category of people goodness. Others, however, on account was of those whose opposition of their haughtiness, could not accept entailed an aspect of mischief. obedience to the Holy Prophet(saw) and were also exasperated due to the notion that the religion of their forefathers was being destroyed by various so-called ‘vain idealists’. Among them, the following The second category of people was of seem to stand out: Firstly, Mut‘im bin those whose opposition entailed an aspect ‘Adiyy who was from the Banu Nawfal of mischief. Among these, the following and was among the chieftains of the are most prominent: Firstly, ‘Utbah bin Quraish. Mut‘im was a staunch idolater Rabi‘ah who was from the Banu ‘Abd but observed as much decency as pos- Shams and was very affluent and influsible in his affairs. As such, we shall see ential. In the Battle of Badr when ‘Utbah later that, in ending the boycott of the came before the Islamic Army astride his Quraish with the Holy Prophet(saw), and red camel, the Holy Prophet(saw) upon in bringing him into Makkah under his seeing him said, “If there is some goodness protection, when he returned from Ta’if, in this group, indeed, it is in the rider of this Mut‘im dealt with special goodness and camel.” ‘Utbah’s brother Shaibah was also courage. Second was Abul-Bakhtari from under his influence. Both of them were JULY 2011

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the life & character

of the seal of the prophets

Approximate locations of the main tribes of Makkah at the advent of Islam (circa 600 CE)

killed in the Battle of Badr at the hands of Hadhrat Hamzah(ra) and Hadhrat Ali(ra). Secondly, was Walid bin Mughirah, the father of Khalid bin Walid, a great chieftain of the Quraish, to the extent that he was considered a father-figure by the Quraish. Coincidentally, three months after the Holy Prophet (saw)’s 24 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

migration, he was hit by an arrow and died. Thirdly, was ‘Aas bin Wa’il al-Sahmi, who was the father of ‘Amr bin Al-‘As. He was also very wealthy and influential. He died a very painful death, due to the swelling of his foot, two months after the Holy Prophet(saw)’s migration.

The state of the third category of people These people were ones to was completely different. These people (saw) were ones to oppose the Holy Prophet(saw) oppose the Holy Prophet blindly and would employ all just and blindly and would employ unjust means in their effort to obliter- all just and unjust means in ate Islam and the founder of Islam from their effort to obliterate Islam the face of the earth and crushing the Muslims under their feet. Among the Quraish, it was these people who were in greatest force and number. Among them, the most notorious are: Firstly, ‘Amr Thirdly, was ‘Uqbah bin Abi Mu‘it from bin Hisham from the Banu Makhzum. the Banu Umaiyyah, who was a wicked This man is one who should be better and malicious individual. He took part in referred to as the ‘Chief of the Enemies’. the Battle of Badr and was killed. Then He possessed distinctive power among there was Umaiyyah bin Khalf who was the Quraish and they referred to him as from the Banu Jumah. He was akin to Abul-Hikam, or ‘The Father of Wisdom’, Abu Jahl in mischief and enmity. He was but the Muslims named him Abu Jahl killed in the Battle of Badr. Umaiyyah’s [i.e. the father of ignorance]. He was cast brother, Ubaiyy bin Khalf was also a man to Hell by two youngsters of the Ansar in of similar disposition. He was wounded the Battle of Badr. by the Holy Prophet(saw) and met his fate during the Battle of Uhud. Then there Secondly, was Abu Lahab bin ‘Abdul- was Al-Nadr bin Al-Harith from the Muttalib who was from the Banu Banu ‘Abd al-Dar who inflicted grievHashim and was the biological, paternal ous pains upon the Holy Prophet(saw). uncle of the Holy Prophet(saw). He was He was made captive during the Battle as antagonistic and injurious as Abu Jahl of Badr and was killed in retribution of and he is also unique, in that among the his crimes. Then, there was Aswad bin enemies of Islam, only his name has been ‘Abdu Yaghuth, Harith bin Qais, Aswad mentioned in the Holy Qur’an so unam- bin Muttalib, Abu Qais bin Fakhad, biguously. Abu Lahab perished some Munabbah bin Al-Hajj, Nabiyyah bin time after the Battle of Badr in Makkah. Al-Hajjaj, Malik bin Tulatalah, Hakam bin Abil-‘As, Rukanah bin Yazid, etc., JULY 2011

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the life & character

of the seal of the prophets

When the opposition of the Quraish began against Islam, it increased day by day

by day and began to take on a perilous turn. Sir William Muir writes that the Quraish had decided: “The new doctrine must be crushed, and its followers forced to abandon it. By degrees the persecution grew hot.” 2 In actuality, the affliction pitched against Islam by its opponents and the tactics employed to annihilate it is a long and grievous story, which extends to the eighth year of migration.

First Delegation of the Quraish to Abu Talib The very first attempt made by the Makkah in 1910 Quraish was to deprive the Holy Prophet(saw) of the sympathy and protecwho, more or less, were a part of this vil- tion of Abu Talib, for they knew that as long as Abu Talib sided with the Holy lainy and enmity.1 Prophet(saw) action could not be taken In addition to these, there were many oth- against him without disturbing interers who were also fierce in their enmity, tribal relationships. Abu Talib was the but since they later became Muslim, to chieftain of the Banu Hashim, and mention them in the above list is perhaps despite being an idolater, was the guardincorrect. More appropriately, they shall ian and protector of the Holy Prophet(saw). As such, in light of inter-tribal politics, to be mentioned ahead. raise a hand against the Holy Prophet(saw) Enmity of the Quraish against Islam in his presence was equivalent to declarand its Founder ing war against the Banu Hashim for When the opposition of the Quraish which the rest of the Quraish was not began against Islam, it increased day yet willing. Therefore, their initial scheme 26 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

was that they sent a friendly delegation to Abu Talib to convince him to stop his nephew from the propagation of Islam. As such, Walid bin Mughirah, ‘Aas bin Wa’il, ‘Utbah bin Rabi‘ah, Abu Jahl bin Hisham and Abu Sufyan, etc., who were all among the chieftains of the Quraish, approached Abu Talib and said kindly:

…they knew that as long as Abu Talib sided with the Holy Prophet(saw) action could not be taken against him…

“ You are revered amongst our people. For this reason we request you to prohibit your nephew from the propagation of this new religion, or relinquish your protection of him and leave us and leave him that we may judge between ourselves.”

Our gods are referred to as the fuel of hell and our ancestors are described as those who think not. Therefore, we can bear no more, and if you cannot renounce your protection of him, then we are also compelled, for we shall fight you, until one party of the two is destroyed.”

Abu Talib spoke to them in great tenderness, and continued in an attempt to The matter had now become very sencool their rage, and ultimately sent them sitive for Abu Talib. He became very back calm.3 frightened and called upon the Holy Prophet(saw) at once. Upon the arrival of Second Delegation the Holy Prophet(saw), he said to him: However, since the cause of their displeasure remained, rather, continued to “O my nephew! Your words have now increase day by day, and austere verses truly enflamed the people and it is nigh prohibiting polytheism were being that they destroy you and me as well. You revealed, it was not long before these have declared their wise men foolish; their people once again gathered before Abu ancestors have been described as SharrulTalib and said: Bariyyah [i.e. the worst of creatures]. Their venerable gods have been named the “Now the matter has reached its limit and we firewood of hell and Wuqudun-Nar [i.e. are referred to as impure, foul, the worst of the fuel of hell], and they themselves have creation, foolish, and the children of Satan. been described as impure and foul. I tell you JULY 2011

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the life & character

of the seal of the prophets

“My nephew, go then and engage in your work. Until I live, I shall stand by you with my full power.” in good faith that you should restrain your tongue from such offensive language and forsake this undertaking, for I have not the power to fight all the people.” The Holy Prophet(saw) understood that now the steadfastness of Abu Talib had also been tested, and amongst worldly sources, the greatest support of the Holy Prophet(saw) was about to crumble under the weight of opposition. But the Holy Prophet(saw) did not exhibit the slightest discontent. With great composure he said: “This is not abusive language, rather it is the truth asserted upon its correct place, and it is for this purpose that I have been commissioned, that I may show them their evils and invite them towards the right path. If I must die in this cause, I delightedly accept my fate. My life is devoted in this cause, and I shall not abstain from the expression of the truth by fear of death. O Uncle! If you are worried on account of your weakness 28 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

and distress, then by all means relinquish your protection of me. I shall never refrain from the conveyance of divine injunctions. By God! If these people put the sun on my one hand and the moon upon the other, even then I shall not refrain from the fulfilment of my responsibility. I shall continue my work until God completes it or I die in this endeavour.” The Holy Prophet(saw) was delivering this address whilst his countenance conspicuously exhibited the zeal of truth and serenity. When the Holy Prophet(saw) completed his address, he set off immediately and desired to leave, but Abu Talib called upon him from behind. When the Holy Prophet(saw) turned back, he noticed that Abu Talib’s eyes were filled with tears. Abu Talib addressed the Holy Prophet(saw) weeping, and said, “My nephew, go then and engage in your work. Until I live, I shall stand by you with my full power.”4 Third Delegation This time when the Quraish failed, they hatched another plan. They went to Abu Talib along with a promising young man belonging to a noble family of the Quraish named ‘Ammarah bin Walid. They said: “We have brought ‘Ammarah bin Walid along

with us, for you are aware that he is but one of the best young men of the Quraish. Take this young man in exchange of Muhammad, and benefit from him as you wish. If you see fit take him as your son. We fully relinquish his rights, and in his place hand over Muhammad to us, who has betrayed our ancestral religion and raised a tumult in the people. In this way the law of a life for a life shall be fulfilled and you shall have no complaints.” Abu Talib responded:

…by mutual consultation they all decided that new Muslims be pressured…

perfidiously towards me. If it is you who has changed his conduct towards me, then what can I say? You may do as you wish.”5

“This is strange justice. You wish for me to take your son and make him my own. I should feed him and give him drink, and give you my own that you may slay him? By God, this shall never happen.”

Verdict of the Quraish Regarding the Muslims When the chieftains of the Quraish were disappointed by Abu Talib, prior to laying hands on the Holy Prophet(saw) they On behalf of the Quraish, Mut‘im bin proposed that every tribe pressurise the ‘Adiyy said: Muslims of their respective tribes so as to turn them away from their alle“Then O Abu Talib, your people have tried to giance to Islam. Therefore, by mutual reason with you in every manner and has consultation they all decided that new restrained itself from fighting but you do not Muslims be pressured by their respecseem to agree to any of their terms.” tive tribes so as to prevent any sort of inter-tribal complications. They thought Abu Talib said: that when Muslims themselves forsake the Holy Prophet(saw), he would not be “By Allah, I am not being dealt with in jus- able to do anything alone, and this entire tice, and O Mut‘im, in the espousal of your jest would fall apart. In this proposal it people, I see that you are prepared to act was also decided that this coercion be JULY 2011

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the life & character

NOTE ABOUT REFERENCES

of the seal of the prophets

Verse references to the Holy Qur’an

These circumstances gave birth to a fiery tension in the air of Makkah.

not limited to verbal pressure alone, but that new Muslims be turned away from Islam by all means of agitation and distress. When Abu Talib was informed of these deliberations, he gathered the Banu Hashim and Banu Muttalib at one place as a responsive measure and discussed the situation at hand. He urged them that in this storm of enmity they should protect Muhammad(saw). Consequently, with the exception of Abu Lahab (who was blind in his animosity towards Islam) the rest agreed to this proposition. In national honour, they became prepared to contend opposition in favour of the Holy Prophet(saw).6 These circumstances gave birth to a fiery tension in the air of Makkah. Until now, since the decision to inflict pain upon the Muslims was confined to the limits of their respective tribes, for this reason, inter-tribal conflict had not erupted. However, for the Muslims, individually, the door to severe pain and suffering was opened. The tale 30 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

of this period extending to the migration of Yathrib is a tale which brings about tears of blood.

Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)

* Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani ‘alal-

Mawahibil-Ladunniyyah, by Muhammad

bin ‘Abdul-Baqi Az-Zarqani, Darul-Kutubil-

endnotes

‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)

1. * Al-Kamilu fit-Tarikh, by Imam ‘Izz-ud-Din

Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, p. 201,

5. * As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, By Abu

ibnil-Athir, Vol.1, pp. 667-673, Babu Dhikril-

Babu Mubadati Rasulillahi(saw) Qaumahu wa

lin-Nabisa, Darul-Kutubil-‘Arabi, Beirut, First

‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)

Mustahzi’ina wa man kana Ashaddul-Adha

ma kana minhu, pp. 200-201, Darul-Kutubil-

count ‘Bismillah…’ (In the Name

of Allah…) as the first verse of each

Chapter. In some non-standard texts,

this is not counted. Should the reader

refer to such texts, the verse quoted in

The Review of Religions will be found

a verse earlier, i.e. at one verse less than

the number quoted in this journal.

For the ease of non-Muslim readers,

‘(saw)’ or ‘saw’ after the words, ‘Holy

Prophet’, or the name ‘Muhammad’, are used normally in small letters.

Edition (1998)

* Tarikhut-Tabari, By Abu Ja‘far

They stand for ‘Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa

Mawahibil-Ladunniyyah, By Muhammad bin

Babu Dhikril-Khabri ‘amma kana min Amri

of Allah be upon him’. Likewise, the

Babu Dhikri Awwalu man Amana billahi wa

Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition

* Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani ‘alal-

‘Abdul-Baqi Az-Zarqani, Vol.1, pp. 462-473,

Muhammad bin Al-Jarir Tabari, Vol.2, p.232, Nabiyyillahisa ‘inda Ibtida’illahi Ta‘ala......,

Rasulihi, Vol.1, pp. 462-473, Darul-Kutubil-

(2002)

2. Life of ‘Mahomet’, by Sir William Muir, p.62,

Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, p. 203,

sallam’ meaning ‘peace and blessings

letters ‘(as)’ or ‘as’ after the name of

all other prophets is an abbreviation

meaning ‘peace be upon him’ derived

6. * As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, by Abu

from ‘Alaihis salatu wassalam’ which

reprint of the 1894 Ed., published by Voice of

Babu Mubadati Rasulillahi(saw) Qaumahu

respect whenever he or she comes across

3. As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, by Abu Muhammad

Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)

‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)

India, New Delhi

wa ma kana minhu, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah,

‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, p.200, Babu

* Tarikhut-Tabari, by Abu Ja‘far Muhammad

kana minhu, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut,

Dhikril-Khabari ‘amma kana min Amri

4. * Izalah-e-Auham, by Hadhrat Mirza

Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition

Mubadati Rasulillahi(saw) Qaumahu wa ma

Lebanon, First Edition (2001)

Ghulam Ahmad(as) (the Promised Messiah &

Mahdi), Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.3, pp.110-111

* As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, By Abu

Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hishum, pp.

200-201, Babu Mubadati Rasulillahi(saw)

Qaumahu wa ma kana minhu, pp.200-201,

bin Al-Jarir Tabari, Vol.2, p.232, Babu

Nabiyyillahi(saw) ‘inda Ibtida’illahi Ta‘ala......,

(2002)

are words that a Muslim utters out of

that name. The abbreviation ‘ra’ or (ra)

stands for ‘Radhiallahu Ta’ala anhu and

is used for Companions of a Prophet, meaning Allah be pleased with him

or her (when followed by the relevant

Arabic pronoun). Finally, ‘ru’ or (ru) for

Rahemahullahu Ta’ala means the Mercy of Allah the Exalted be upon him.

In keeping with current universal practice, local transliterations

of names of places are preferred

to their anglicised versions, e.g.

Makkah instead of Mecca, etc.


Crescent moon captured by MPG/ESO. The visibility of the new moon, normally seen as a crescent, marks the beginning of Ramadan

The author was an eminent scholar of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and served as the Editor of The Review of Religions for several years.

FROM THE

Archives The Review of Religions,

MARCH 1958 EDITION

RAMADAN

The Month of Fasting Adapted from an article by

muzaffarud - din chaudhry

But fasting, according to the teachings of Islam, is not for mourning, sorrow and affliction (Ch. Bib, Con.). Neither is it merely an ordeal of starvation. It is rather a form of devotion and self-discipline for the attainment of righteousness and for the improvement of the moral Ramadan is the ninth month of the and spiritual conditions of man. So, the Muslim lunar year. Muslims through- faithful are delighted at the approach out the world, in special veneration for of this month, and they rejoice whilst this month, will fast on everyday of this preparing themselves to observe the fast month with an aim to develop spiritually, and to conform to its rules and regulathus attaining nearness to God. Fasting tions in details that make it the most is one of the fundamental tenets of Islam. wonderful guidance and one of the It is not, however, a new institution. It is most ethically uplifting institutions ever found, in one form or another, in almost known to the world. all the religions of the world. “Fasting is prescribed for you, O ye who believe,” says Time and Manner of Fasting the Holy Qur’an, “as it was prescribed for According to the rules, a Muslim, after those before you, so that you may become the new moon has arisen, should have righteous.” (Ch.2:V.184). breakfast before the dawn of the following day, i.e., about two hours before Likewise, the Holy Bible says: sunrise, and should abstain from eating and drinking until sunset, a practice to “Moses was there with the LORD forty days be followed throughout the month of and forty nights without eating bread or Ramadan. In other religions, abstendrinking water. And he wrote on the tab- tion from, or partaking of certain types lets the words of the covenant--the Ten of foods alone leads to the observance Commandments.” (Acts 14:23 ESV) of fasting, prescribing fruits, their juice, honey, and some other similar JULY 2011

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ramadan

the month of fasting

The Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) would break his fast with dates and water.

refreshments during the period of fasting; but according to the teachings of Islam, an absolute abstention from eating and drinking has been prescribed from early dawn to sunset during the month of Ramadan. Besides, Islam prescribes and urges upon its followers to abide by other injunctions, which distinguish it from mere starvation, for mere abstention from food and drink does not fulfil the purpose of the Islamic fast, which aims to bring about an overall change for improvement in the moral and spiritual conditions of man. It engenders in man the spirit of self-control, patience, and forbearance and also the spirit and habit to undergo physical suffering and hardships, so that he may not lag behind in achieving his ultimate goal. 34 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

Restrictions The fast is not just about abstention from food and drink; during this time, one should also abstain from the gratification of physical desires and from any such occupation as is below the dignity of a true believer. No indulgence in carnal pleasure is allowed, hence proving that when one can resist from all lawful indulgence during this month for the sake of God, how much more necessary and possible it is to refrain from all unlawful indulgence which is forbidden by God. This, in fact, is one of the practical steps prescribed by Islam, aimed at facilitating purification of the soul. According to its teachings, one is not merely to keep in control one’s carnal desires and restrain the eyes, ears and lips from unlawful indulgence; rather he or she should employ them for meritorious deeds. It not only puts a restriction on evil thoughts and reflections, rather it urges upon its followers to develop all noble and good faculties in them to their fullest limit. They are exhorted to abstain from all vain talk, fights and quarrels, while exercising charitable and benevolent deeds more than what they would usually do at other times. They can, by strictly following the rules and regulations with regard to the observance of fasting continuously for one

month, acquire strong resolution of purpose as one of the highest moral qualities. In short, fasting is one of the best weapons to combat evil and strengthen moral and spiritual faculties in men.

But fasting, according to the teachings of Islam, is not for mourning, sorrow and affliction

Life During Ramadan As mentioned earlier, Muslims are to exercise their faculties of piety, generosity and benevolence to their utmost considerable proportions. The service during Ramadan. They, therefore, try comprises eight Raka’aat (the units to make savings in months prior to it, of prayers comprising all postures and so that they may be able to do more of positions i.e. standing, bowing, sitting, charitable and benevolent deeds. A spe- prostrating etc.) offered in four units cial socio-moral atmosphere thus prevails of two Raka’aat each, and is led by an everywhere in a Muslim family. One feels Imam, generally a Hafiz, who has comimpelled towards piety and goodness as mitted to memory the whole of the text if by instinct. Before one takes breakfast, of the Holy Qur’an. During this serit is essential and preferable to say the vice, the recitation from the Qur’an is Tahajjud prayer. This is a voluntary prayer made in sequence and the recitation of performed during the latter part of the the whole of the Qur’an is completed night. It may be offered individually or during Ramadan. This entails the recitain congregation. For the convenience of tion of approximately one twenty-eighth those who may find it difficult to pro- of the Qur’an in the course of the daily ceed to a mosque at that hour to take service, one eighth of that portion being part in the service, a congregational ser- recited as the follow-up passage after vice, the Tarawih, is held after Isha’a, the the Fatiha in each Raka’ah. The Imam, obligatory night service. Whether held of course, recites from memory and the after Isha’a or before Fajr (the obligatory congregation follows the recitation with morning prayer) the follow-up passage rapt attention. recited after the Fatiha (the Opening Chapter of the Holy Qur’an) assumes After a brief nap in the morning, on JULY 2011

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ramadan

the month of fasting

Before one takes breakfast, it is essential and preferable to say the Tahajjud prayer.

account of the religious services during the night, Muslims attend to their normal duties. At Qadian (India), Rabwah (Pakistan), and in many other cities, where there are missions of the Ahmadiyya Movement, an arrangement for Dars, lessons on the Holy Qur’an, is made. Both at Qadian and Rabwah, this is held in the afternoon for two hours when the learned scholars explain to the audience the verses of the Holy Qur’an with a view to complete it during this month. (The Ahmadiyya Muslim community has now spread to approximately 200 countries of the world. In all countries, so far as possible, Dars are held in Ahmadiyya mosques or mission houses—Ed.)

Surah (Chapter) Al-Alaq – the first verses of the Holy Qur’an to be revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw). The Holy Qur’an was revealed to the Holy Prophet(saw) during Ramadan.

Ramadan—all their attention being thoroughly engaged in spiritual and moral uplift.

I’tikaf This blessed month of Ramadan ends with a still greater opportunity for a service for the progress of the spiritual condition of a Muslim. This is called I’tikaf. This is a service of prayer and contemplation, done in solitude, in a mosque for the last ten days beginning from the Then comes the time for Iftar immedi- evening of the 20th of Ramadan to the ately after sunset, when the Muslims rising of the next crescent marking the break their fast. That is how they pass end of Ramadan. The votaries leave their the days and nights of the month of houses and all comforts of life, and take 36 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

up their abodes in a mosque in these days, wholly to be absorbed in contemplation of the attributes of God, His Grace and Mercy. Their meals are normally supplied in the mosque. They pass these days in reciting the Holy Qur’an, to understand its meaning, with a view to satisfy their search for spiritual knowledge, and the most part of the nights, they pass in optional prayers, meditation and contemplation. They try to live with the Divine spirit, and in the silent hours of the night, they try to create in them spiritual illumination with the Grace of God. During these days, they are not to go out of the compound of the mosque except for the purpose of answering the call of nature when there is no arrangement for latrines within the compound, nor are they to indulge in worldly concerns. Thus they prepare themselves to serve God and win His pleasure by fully abstaining from all earthly concerns. Layla-tul-Qadr During this period, there comes a night which the Holy Qur’an designates as the Layla-tul-Qadr, the ‘Night of Destiny’, or ‘Grand Night’, which ‘is better than a thousand nights’ says the Holy Qur’an, ‘and the angels and the Spirit descend therein by the command of their Lord’ (Ch.97:Vs.4-5). But the

This blessed month of Ramadan ends with a still greater opportunity for a service for the progress of the spiritual condition of a Muslim. particular day of this blessed night has not been definitely fixed. It is left for the votaries to discover. The experience of those spiritually enlightened persons, who have been favoured with this divine blessing, generally points to one of the odd-numbered nights. The whole atmosphere assumes a Divine appearance. The votaries, deep in their contemplation, find soul-exhilarating and indescribable emotions in them. Prayers under such a condition are readily responded to. Even those who are not in I’tikaf offer special prayers in such a night and absorb themselves in meditation and contemplation to earn the Pleasure of God. Fitrana A special donation, under the name of Fitrana, is realised during this month, and distributed among the less fortunate members of the society to enable JULY 2011

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ramadan

the month of fasting

During this period, there comes a night which the Holy Qur’an designates as the Layla-tul-Qadr, the ‘Night of Destiny’, or ‘Grand Night’.

them to spend liberally in this month for their necessities and for their preparation of the ‘Eid ceremony. Every member of the household is required to contribute towards the Fitrana at the rate fixed for that year. Fitrana is due in respect of children as well, even of newborn babies, born on any day of Ramadan. In this case, the parents are expected to make the necessary payments. But in cases of inability, one is afforded the opportunity to give according to ease. This is a contribution to inculcate fellow feelings and build a Muslim brotherhood. ‘Eid-ul Fitr The above is a brief description of the duties and responsibilities of Muslims in the month of Ramadan, which closes with the rising of the next crescent, when they celebrate the ‘Eid ceremony as a mark of their thanksgivings to God for His grace which enables them to enjoy 38 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

the blessings of Ramadan. In jubilation they go, dressed in new garments, accompanied by their near and dear ones, to mosques or to an open place to perform in congregation a ceremonial prayer in expression of their gratitude to God. They then go round to visit their friends and relatives, and embrace each other in expression of their delight as they have successfully combated the lower propensities throughout the month, and have regained strength and spirit to fight evil for the rest of the year, and to perform meritorious deeds. Caution Fasting should not, according to the teachings of Islam, be observed in illness, or when one is on journey. Women should not, while pregnant, or when they are to give suck to their children, or during the days of their confinement after childbirth, or during those few days of their monthly course, observe fasting. This remission is to be made up at another time so that the blessings of Ramadan may also remain ensured for them. May God enable all Muslims to reap the benefit of fasting, and be enriched with the blessings of God this year as well, Ameen!

The staff at The Review of Religions would like to wish all of our readers a blessed, prosperous, and joyous Ramadan.


Is Islam for Germany? hadhrat mirza masroor ahmad (aba), khalifatul masih v , head of the worldwide ahmadiyya muslim community

On the 2nd Day of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Germany’s Annual Convention ( Jalsa Salana) on 25th June 2011, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), Khalifatul Masih V, Fifth Successor to the Promised Messiah(as) and Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, delivered an address to an audience of over 300 non-Ahmadi guests. The majority of the guests were of German origin, whilst delegations from Macedonia, Slovenia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Malta, Hungary, Lithuania, Estonia, and various Arab countries were also in attendance. The guests included people from various professions, including doctors, teachers, lawyers, politicians, as well as ordinary citizens. We present below the transcript of the address delivered by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba).

After reciting Tashhahud, Ta’awwudh and Bismillah, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) said: “All the distinguished guests: Assalamo ‘Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahe Wa Barakatohu – Peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all. First of all I would like to thank all of the guests who, despite not being a part of our religion, are attending this event taking place within our Annual Convention ( Jalsa Salana). This programme today has been organised specifically for our non-Ahmadi friends, and indeed the majority, or at least quite a number of guests, are non-Muslim. JULY 2011

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is islam for germany ?

Certainly, your attendance at this event demonstrates your broad-mindedness, whereby as citizens of Germany, you appreciate that it is important to understand and recognise each another, irrespective of religious differences. A large majority of the Ahmadis in Germany are not of German origin. In fact, apart from just a few people, the vast majority are of either Pakistani or Asian origin. This shows that not only have you come here irrespective of religious differences, but also irrespective of national and cultural differences. It is said that some of Germany’s indigenous population has Asian ancestry. It may seem that many of the world’s 42 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

nations are divided by their cultures and languages, but the truth is that their cultures and languages often have common roots. If we look, for example, at the case of the Indo-Pak sub-continent, we observe that for a very long period various nations came and inhabited its lands. If we look just at Pakistan, we find that dozens of tribes and ‘brotherhood’ systems existed. Over many eras these distinct groups came to form one nation. Let me speak here though of the Pakistanis or other nationals who have come and settled here in Germany from different parts of the world. There is no doubt that with the passing of time

their children and grandchildren, regardless of colour and race, will come to call and view themselves as true Germans. Indeed, many have already rapidly absorbed themselves into the German way of living, and they have adopted the local traditions and eating habits. Moreover, as a means to protect this country, some have even joined the German armed forces, whilst to uphold and protect the law, others have joined the civil service and law enforcement agencies. Some have chosen to work in different departments of the social services, whilst others are facilitating economic progress by being involved in various trade and industries. Then there are immigrants who have become

No loyal German citizen can tolerate that the great efforts they have made to raise and maintain Germany to its current high standing should ever be put at risk. In truth, one who loves his country can never contemplate such an act.

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The Postdamer Platz square in Berlin in ruins after World War II.

scientists and, therefore, are contributing towards the scientific progress of the nation. All of these efforts and activities prove the loyalty of these people towards Germany, and shows that they are an active part of the nation. It is due to your relationship with such Ahmadis, who are originally from Pakistan and who you have come to 44 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

The Postdamer Platz square today.

know well over the past few years, that you have come to attend today. It is my prayer that God maintains your enlightened way of thinking, and also that He continues to increase this quality that you have all displayed. May the thought never cross your minds that these immigrants come from such and such country, or that they are of such and such religion, and thus they cannot became part of the German nation. If

this thought develops then it will become a means of causing restlessness in society. Remember, that it is small and apparently insignificant issues and minor suspicions that lead to major problems, which do not only harm a few individuals or groups, rather they actually hinder the progress of the entire country.

No loyal German citizen can tolerate that the great efforts they have made to raise and maintain Germany to its current high standing should ever be put at risk. In truth, one who loves his country can never contemplate such an act. Those Ahmadi Muslims who have settled here, they too love their adopted country and always desire that it advances. It is not only the moral obligation of every Ahmadi who has migrated here and who JULY 2011

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When economies fail, this again leads to restlessness and ultimately disorder.

countries have become anxious and fearful at just hearing the name of a religious organisation, or the name of Islam itself. Consequently, often without pausing to think or consider, a negative response takes place.

Stock market crash

has been accepted by the German nation, but also his religious duty, to be loyal and devoted to his country. It is a great quality of Western nations that they have kept faith and religion separate from politics and government for some time. Religion for each individual 46 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

is left as a personal matter between him and God. Politics and government are considered to be secular matters. Perhaps as a consequence of the bad experiences of previous eras when there was no separation between Church and State, or perhaps due to the extremism of certain Muslim groups in the modern era, we find today that many Western

Because of the actions of certain Muslim groups, this reaction is quite justified, as some Muslims have portrayed a most terrifying image of Islam in which extremism and terrorism are prevalent. The fact is, however, that this is an Islam that they have concocted themselves and has no link to true Islam whatsoever. Islam teaches that unjustly killing any one person is like killing all of mankind. This principle is derived from the Holy Qur’an, which states: …Whosoever killed a person – unless it be for killing a person or for creating disorder in the land – it shall be as if he had killed all

mankind; and whoso saved a life, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind… (Ch.5:V.33) Further to this beautiful Qur’anic teaching, the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) has said that whoever commits suicide cannot be a believer and is destined to go to hell. If you look at these points together and analyse the teachings of Islam, you will see that any act of terrorism through which innocent people are killed, be it self-serving suicide bombings or otherwise, are completely and entirely against the teachings of Islam. These hateful acts are not eliminating disorder in the world, but in fact are fuelling disorder. As a result of terrorism in the world today, there are thousands of children who are being orphaned. At the other extreme, thousands of parents are faced with burying their children, whilst thousands of women are being left as widows. Suicide bombings are completely devastating and wrecking the local economies. When economies fail, this again leads to restlessness and ultimately disorder. Here I would also like to say that the current method of warfare is destroying JULY 2011

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the lives of the local citizens, without any regard for humanity at all. Innocent lives are being taken during such wars. This approach to war not only shows brutality, but is also proving to be a means for destroying the local economies. Thus, from the perspective of an Ahmadi Muslim, we are against all forms of disorder and indiscriminate bloodshed. We are also opposed to indiscriminate firing and bombing by governments, because when such bombardments take place it results in human rights being completely usurped, and consequently lives are lost for no reason whatsoever.

using violence against their own people. They also observe the extreme acts of various terrorist organisations, and due to lack of knowledge and understanding, they object to Islam rather than object to the extreme acts themselves. Consequently, they display a very severe reaction against the religion of Islam.

Look at the true picture of Islam portrayed by the Ahmadiyya community…It is on these teachings that you should base your judgement.

It is our claim that Islam is a universal religion, for all of mankind, which is why its teachings cover all aspects of life – from minor seemingly insignificant matters, to matters of vast importance and international concern.

This positive experience of the Western governments is in complete contrast to what they observe in the Muslim world.

It teaches us that religion is a personal matter for each individual to determine for himself.

In one verse, the Holy Qur’an teaches us that: there should be no compulsion in matters of faith (Ch.2:V.257). Some of you may not be aware that this verse was revealed when the Holy Prophet of Islam(saw) had already established a government in Madinah. At the time, a covenant had already been made with the Jews and other tribes, and a functioning system of government was in place in which the Holy Prophet(saw) had already been accepted as Head of State.

What they see is the seemingly deeply religious inclinations of the Muslims. They see certain Islamic governments adopting very harsh measures and even

It teaches that religion should be entirely separate from matters of state and religious differences should not cause you to act unjustly.

The injunction to keep religion and government independent of each other was revealed at that time and in those circumstances, even though the difference

As I have said, in the Western world the Church and State are kept separate. Whatever the reasons were that led to this separation, the end result has been beneficial. This system of government runs in a much smoother and just manner.

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The text of the Holy Qur’an remains in its exact original form today. Not even one letter has been added or taken away from it, and even many Orientalists and non-Muslim historians have testified to this truth.

between right and wrong had become manifest, and even though the Muslims believed their religion to be true and their teachings to be unparalleled.

So what does the Holy Qur’an say?

With this injunction it became clear that these excellent teachings were to be spread through love and affection, rather than by force or by acting unjustly towards others. Allah has said that a requirement for a just government is that it should separate religious matters from matters of State, and every citizen should be afforded his due rights. This principle is absolute and without exception, to the extent that you must act justly even with those people who have displayed hatred towards you, and who due to this opposition have persecuted JULY 2011

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you repeatedly in every possible way. The Holy Qur’an states: O ye who believe! Be steadfast in the cause of Allah, bearing witness in equity; and let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice. Be always just, that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah. Surely, Allah is Aware of what you do. (Ch.5:V.9) This is the key principle to running a government, that religion should play no part in it. Religious differences should not be an obstacle to the implementation of justice. Now, after hearing all of this, how can anyone allege that the teachings of Islam are not just? I do not believe that those who consider themselves to be just and educated can deem the teachings of Islam to be wrong once they have come to understand it. Certainly, it is a person’s right to categorise those Muslim groups who do not follow the true teachings of Islam as wrong. Those who commit wrong acts and deeds should be condemned no matter what religion they subscribe to. This truly is real justice and is essential for the 50 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

peace of the world, so that the values of love and affection can thrive and prosper. In this short time it is impossible for me to mention all of the beautiful teachings of Islam to you, but I would say that because all of you here today are welleducated, I would urge you not to make a judgement based on just one side of the story. In fact, look at the true picture of Islam portrayed by the Ahmadiyya community. The portrayal of Islam that we present is not a new representation of Islam. Our Islam is in exact accordance with the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw). It is on these teachings that you should base your judgement. We believe that the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) , is the Reformer of the Age and the Promised Messiah, whom the followers of all the religions had been waiting for, in accordance with their scriptures and teachings. He came to establish a relationship between man and God, and also to remind man to discharge the rights due to others. He came to transform this world into a haven of peace.

On the one side there are some Muslims who believe that Islam does belong to Germany, whilst at the other end of the spectrum there are opposing groups who believe it does not. The Ahmadiyya Muslim community’s Khadija Mosque in Berlin:

target the teachings of Islam. He once said: ‘The task for which God has appointed me is that I should remove the malaise that afflicts the relationship between God and His creatures and restore the relationship of love and sincerity between them. Through the proclamation of truth and by putting an end to religious conflicts I should bring about peace and manifest the Divine verities that have become hidden from the eyes of the world.’ 1 Religious hatred has engulfed the entire world. I should say rather that in the modern era, some who are opposed to Islam such as the followers of other religions, agnostics or atheists, unfairly

Yet in this era the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community(as) has rendered those who object to Islam’s teachings totally speechless. He has done so through his acts and through his writings, in which he has presented the beautiful teachings of Islam to the world. Through his life’s work he has ensured that his followers continue to act upon the true teachings of Islam. We see a small glimpse of his teachings in the quote that I have just narrated. What he has said is not something new, rather it is entirely rooted in the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. It is upon these teachings that I shall now speak further. JULY 2011

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When the National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Germany requested me to address you, he mentioned the current heated debate surrounding ‘Whether Islam belongs to Germany’, or ‘Do Germans need Islam?’, or ‘Is Islam for Germans?’ – Different phrases are being used. This debate is leading to a very strong and negative reaction against Islam in Germany and in certain other countries. As far as any negative reaction against Islam is concerned, I have already briefly discussed this when I said that a person should not hastily jump to conclusions and immediately agree with one side of the story. Analysis and investigation requires that any matter of debate should be viewed from a just and fair perspective. As I said, there is currently a very intense debate taking place about Islam’s role in Germany. On the one side there are some Muslims who believe that Islam does belong to Germany, whilst at the other end of the spectrum there are opposing groups who believe it does not. The truth is that this is a very bizarre and false debate that is being conducted just for the sake of argument, and it is leading to very negative consequences. It 52 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

is pushing people towards a path paved with danger, and as a result, is causing distress and hatred. Neither Islam nor its Founder have ever claimed that Islam is only for Germans, or only for any particular nation or only for any particular continent. If Islam was limited to any particular area, then every effort would have been made to propagate it in that area only and this is how it should have been. However, Islam’s claim is that its teachings are complete and perfect and that it enables people of every era to fully recognise their Creator. Its teachings draw a person towards discharging the rights owed to God’s Creation, to the very highest standard. The most excellent example of this was displayed by the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw), during his lifetime. Here it is with some regret that I must say that the opponents of Islam have tried to portray the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw), in a very negative and prejudiced manner.Because of this Islam has been maliciously portrayed in the most barbaric fashion. U n f o r t u n a t e l y, s o m e M u s l i m

organisations due only to their vested interests, have also portrayed Islam in a totally wrong light. They do this despite the fact that Islam teaches us to live in society and to run governments in such a way whereby every citizen is granted his due civic rights. This perfect model was demonstrated so exceptionally by the covenant of Madinah drawn up by the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw). In the society of Madinah every single person enjoyed freedom of religion, and everyone had the free will to be sanctioned according to their own religious laws and scriptures. It should therefore be clear that such debates and questions are used only as a means to attain cheap worldly and political fame. Apart from this, such debates are meaningless, and so in my opinion they have no value whatsoever. Some German people, who consider themselves indigenous Germans, are perhaps worried that Islam will be forced upon them. As I said earlier, Islam does not claim to be only for a particular region or country. Yes, Islam does make one claim, which has been mentioned clearly in the Holy

One such teaching, which I mentioned earlier, is that you must display justice - even to your most stern enemies.

Qur’an. In this verse the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) is directly addressed. The Holy Qur’an states in Chapter 7, Verse 159: Say, ‘O mankind, truly I am a Messenger to you all from Allah… Therefore, the claim made here is that the Prophet Muhammad(saw) was sent as a Messenger for the entire world. Of course, Germany is a major part of the world, and so it is also our duty to convey the message of Islam to the people of this country with a spirit of love and affection. There is no room for any form of compulsion and neither has Islam ever been spread by force. From the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) until today, Islam has only been spread through preaching. This is a long and historical debate which time does not permit me to speak on. I will JULY 2011

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say only this much that in Europe at one time there was an Islamic Government in Spain. During that era there were Ministers and officials who were nonMuslims, for example of the Christian faith. The true meaning of Islam is love and affection, and this is the beauty of our religion. It is this teaching that the Ahmadiyya Community is spreading throughout the world today.

teachings of Islam, and so that every peace-loving citizen can stand up against those who erect walls of hatred against the peace-loving Muslims.

deserving of a child’s care and attention. Therefore, in all matters, you should treat your parents lovingly and with kindness. In this regard the Holy Qur’an states:

From the beginning to the end, the Holy Qur’an is filled with a message of peace and love. Due to time constraints, I shall only present to you a few of the commandments from one particular Chapter, which is Chapter 17 of the Holy Qur’an.

If one or both of them attain old age with thee, never say unto them any word expressive of disgust, nor reproach them, but always address them with kindly speech. (Ch.17:V.24)

One such teaching, which I mentioned earlier, is that you must display justice – even to your most stern enemies. This principle is such that no wise person can deem it to be wrong. It follows naturally that a person’s conscience cannot accept compulsion in religious matters, or a lack of justice. Both of these points are so clear that the question of whether the German temperament and laws are compatible with the teachings of Islam, is rendered completely futile.

The Holy Qur’an teaches us the importance of showing love and respect to our parents. The first relationship a newborn child has is with his mother and father. Indeed, this relationship begins even before the child’s birth when he is carried in the womb of his mother, for a period of nine months. During these months, the mother is often subjected to great pain, yet she bears this pain and difficulty with great happiness. Hence, even before the child is born, the mother develops love for him in her heart.

Apart from what I have already mentioned, there are countless other verses of the Holy Qur’an that guide us as to how to maintain peace in society. I shall, therefore, now present a few more examples from the Qur’an so that you can further understand the enlightened

Thus, it is clear that that the parental relationship is one of absolute love and this love is pure and entirely selfless. This is why God, Who is our Lord, and Who is our Creator and Sustainer, has commanded us that secondary only to His Worship, a person’s parents are most

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In fact, the Holy Qur’an states further: And lower to them the wing of humility out of tenderness. And say ‘My Lord have mercy on them even as they nourished me in my childhood.’ (Ch.17:V.25) Will or can any society oppose such a golden principle? Will or can any law say that you should not behave in an excellent manner towards your parents? Surely not. No matter how much you investigate you will never find man-made laws and principles that protect and give such honour to parents, as you find God Almighty has afforded them in the Holy Qur’an. It is He who has taught us to understand this reality, that the first lesson of love, affection and peace occurs in the cradle.

If the people of developed countries are able to understand this universal truth, the anxieties of the elderly will forever be removed. If the people of developed countries are able to understand this universal truth, the anxieties of the elderly will forever be removed. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: And give thou to the kinsman his due, and to the poor and the wayfarer, and squander not thy wealth extravagantly. (Ch.17:V.27) This is the second principle to establish peace and love in society. When a child leaves his parent’s home he comes into contact with his close friends and relatives, and so that is why it is said that you should discharge their rights as well. One clarification I would make here is that the basis of Islamic laws is the discharging of the rights due to others, whereas secular or worldly laws are generally designed to fulfil and satisfy self-interests, rather than collective JULY 2011

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interests. When one only keeps in consideration the attainment of his own rights, then he is liable to carry out injustice; however, when a person keeps in mind the rights of others, a spirit of sacrifice naturally develops within him.

With regard to the poor and deprived, Islam admonishes us to continue caring for them, irrespective of their religion or nationality. This is why giving charity and the doing of good acts have been given such great importance.

The truth is that being willing to make sacrifices is the only means to guaranteeing the spread of love and peace. If a person displays a spirit of sacrifice, then the heart of the other party also naturally softens towards him. Thus, in summary, this verse of the Holy Qur’an teaches us to be extremely kind to our close relations and to fulfil their rights. The verse I have just narrated also speaks of the necessity to fulfil the rights owed to the poor and needy. This refers to that category of people who are weak, deprived and who cannot fight for their rights. They too should be given their due rights. When you fulfil the rights of such people, a spirit of love will be fostered within society at every level, and such a society will be a guarantor for peace and love. The alternative is a situation where innocent people are deprived of their due rights, and have to face very severe conditions and illnesses due to the neglect of their rights. They are even unable to bear their basic daily expenses, and so because 56 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

favour. You should give financial sacrifices in such a way, that when you give with your right hand, your left hand should not even be aware of this act.

Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, the 2nd largest slum in Africa

of all of these factors, they are staring death in the face. It is not unlikely that their children, witnessing all this hardship and deprivation, will one day in the future react to the cruelty they have seen all their lives and become rebellious. Thus, they will become a cause for the destruction of peace of the society.

Therefore, with regard to the poor and deprived, Islam admonishes us to continue caring for them, irrespective of their religion or nationality. This is why giving charity and the doing of good acts have been given such great importance. Indeed, it has even been stressed that when you help the weak amongst you, you should not seek anything in return, or show that you have done them a

The verse I have just narrated also includes the commandment that you should look after those who are travelling or on a journey. This too is an excellent moral quality and a great service to mankind, because such kindness requires personal sacrifice. For example, you can only help others if you are willing to sacrifice your own wealth and time. That is why it is stated that you should not spend extravagantly, nor should you spend so much on your own comfort that in doing so, you forget the comfort of others. If you are extravagant then you will destroy JULY 2011

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the peace of the society and you will be deemed a sinner in God’s eyes. The restlessness rife in the Muslim world today exists because the majority of Muslims fail to implement this commandment. The gap between the rich and poor continues to widen and thus society is becoming ever more polarised. If the real and beautiful teachings of Islam, were observed then such restlessness would be easily prevented. Next, I would like to speak about the rights of children. These rights too have been established in a magnificent manner by the Holy Qur’an. The responsibility for the education and moral training of children has been placed upon the wider society as well as upon every individual. The Holy Qur’an states: And kill not your children for fear of poverty. It is We Who provide for them and for you. Surely, the slaying of them is a great sin. (Ch.17:V.32) Firstly, parents have been given the responsibility to provide for the education and moral upbringing of their children. This is a vast responsibility placed on them. If they fail to fulfil this responsibility, it is as if a parent has 58 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

‘killed’ his child. The children are not only the progeny of their parents, but are also an asset of the nation. Indeed, they are a trust of the nation in the hands of the parents. The suitable training and education of a child guarantees the prosperous future of the nation. This is why the responsibility has been placed on the parents; they should not be reluctant to spend on their children’s well-being out of selfish motives, nor should they make excuses of being too busy to train and educate their children. The Holy Qur’an has stated very clearly, that if a parent is guilty of such neglect, then that such neglect is akin to ‘killing’ the child. If every child who is born into this world, who has the suitable mental and physical faculties to be an excellent servant to his nation, is deprived of education due to limited resources, then that is a waste of his faculties, and so is also similar to ‘killing’ the child. This is not only the responsibility of the parents. In fact, there is also a duty of care placed on the wider society. If even the society does not fulfil the rights of the child, then the society is also responsible for the ‘killing’ of that child. Thus, both the parents, who are the central point of providing education and moral training

and the wider society, are bound by this duty towards the child. The real assets of an advancing and progressing nation are its children, and so therefore, they should be taken care of. If you fail to do so, then instead of the children becoming a means of success for the nation, they can become a means for its destruction. Their lives will have been destroyed and this is what is meant by being ‘killed’. The responsibility for their ‘death’ would principally rest on the parents, but also on the government and the society at large. They will all be deserving of punishment in the sight of God. Thus, you can see very clearly that Islam does not simply pay attention to the needs of the time, but also fully protects the requirements of the future generations. The world today, which considers itself exceptionally developed and advanced, may have now understood this key point, but 1400 years ago Islam had already introduced and explained this principle with great vigour. Thus, today I would like to inform you that in the light of this basic Islamic teaching, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at

The world today, which considers itself exceptionally developed and advanced, may have now understood this key point, but 1400 years ago Islam had already introduced and explained this principle with great vigour.

within its limited resources, provides the means for education to both Ahmadi and non-Ahmadi children, who have the potential to succeed in education. These educated children are developing into hugely beneficial individuals for their respective nations. Generally, our Ahmadi children who are living in Germany are excelling in education. We are also catering for their moral training, so that they can play a significant part in the future success of Germany. In this way, in each country, Ahmadi Muslims are playing a prominent role in the success of the nation. Then the Holy Qur’an commands: JULY 2011

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I say once again, in worldly trade and industry and in business matters, honesty is the key to success for society, and is a guarantor for peace, and is also a guarantor for the excellent relations between people.

fulfil this role. However, if there is no other alternative, and if the orphan child has enough property or wealth, then, a responsible amount can be paid from the inheritance itself towards safeguarding the inherited wealth. No matter what, the guardian should not be reckless in his duties in a manner whereby when the child reaches the age of maturity his entire inheritance has been wasted. Port industry, Imuiden, Netherlands

And come not near the property of the orphan, except in the best way, until he attains his maturity, and fulfil the covenant; for the covenant shall be questioned about. (Ch.17:V.35) 60 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

This verse refers to orphaned children. An orphan is also a part of the deprived section of society, and so his protection and his care is the responsibility of the wider society. If a child’s parents leave behind property for an orphan, it is the

responsibility of the society to protect and administer their estate, until the child reaches maturity. If the child’s guardians are well-off, then they should themselves bear any associated costs, or if not, it is certainly the responsibility of the government or the wider society to

Thus, the right of inheritance has been protected by the Holy Qur’an, which further teaches us that when an orphan becomes sound of mind and understanding, then all of his inheritance should be returned to him. These are the beautiful teachings of Islam which preserve the rights of such orphaned children. Allah JULY 2011

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commands that these rights be granted, and if they are not, then you will be held to serious account by Him. A further teaching of the Qur’an is that in all matters of business, one must act with complete honesty and straightforwardness. We are taught that if you earn any money through dishonesty it will be devoid of any blessing, and will be a means of causing unrest in the society. In this regard it is stated in the Holy Qur’an: And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with a right balance; that is best and most commendable in the end. (Ch.17:V.36) I say once again, in worldly trade and industry and in business matters, honesty is the key to success for society, and is a guarantor for peace, and is also a guarantor for the excellent relations between people. God Almighty also draws our attention towards displaying excellent morals. The Holy Qur’an says: And walk not in the earth haughtily, for thou canst not rend the earth, nor canst thou reach the mountains in height. (Ch.17:V.38) 62 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | JULY 2011

This verse teaches us that a great moral quality is humility and humbleness. We must refrain from all forms of arrogance, whether it is arrogance pertaining to knowledge, whether it is arrogance pertaining to wealth, or whether it is arrogance based on nationality or government. Any form of arrogance will prevent you from progressing to a higher level.

of climate change, or of natural causes, but we attribute these disasters to the Power of God the Almighty. When Allah the Almighty wishes to break the arrogance of those who believe themselves to be superior, then through various means He displays His Might.

There always comes a time when a person faces difficulties and hardships. At an individual level we often see that people face ups and downs. Even amongst the rich, we see changes of fortune, and we see the same with governments as well.

Let it be clear, whichever countries believe themselves to be safe, they are not safe. Instead of trying to determine who is right and wrong, the world should be seeking God’s Help, Guidance and Protection. And it is only this protection that can lead mankind to the true path of humanity.

Take for example the current economic situation of the world. There was a time when some governments used to claim that nobody could compete with their economic might, and it seemed as though they felt invincible. But then the economic crisis came, and even a few years later, the world remains in grave economic turmoil.

In this short time, I have mentioned just these few points and yet I have taken much longer, and still the Holy Qur’an is filled from cover to cover with wisdom and guidance. Due to a shortage of time I have only indicated towards certain points, but even then these few points have taken quite a long time, for which I apologise.

We also find that there are many natural disasters that are occurring almost daily, and which have engulfed certain countries in their destructive paths. Their entire infrastructure has been destroyed. Some say that these disasters are a result

In conclusion, I will say once again that the world has now become a global village. Nations are constantly intermixing. This is why we should draw attention to raising the standard of human values, and we should recognise our Creator.

It is my prayer that we are always amongst those who think in this way. Finally, I would once again like to thank you all for coming here today to attend this event, and by doing so enlightening this gathering with your presence. Thank you very much.” endnotes

1. Lecture Lahore – Essence of Islam, Vol.4, p.111

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CALENDAR OF

RELIGIOUS

EVENTS & FESTIVALS

AUGUST 2011

Tuesday 2nd August Event: 1st day of Ramadan Faith: Islam

Tuesday 9th August Event: Tisha B’Av Faith: Jewish

Saturday 13th August Event: Raksha Bandhan Faith: Hindu

Wednesday 24th August Event: Khordad Sal Faith: Zoroastrian

Ramadan is the Muslim month of fasting, in which Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset, and absorb their time and energy in prayer, reflection and charity. The Holy Qur’an was revealed to the Holy Prophet(saw) in its entirety once every year during Ramadan, and twice in the final year of his life. The first day of Ramadan varies according to location, as it is dependent on the sighting of the new moon (see article in this edition; ‘Ramadan – The Month of Fasting’ for further details about Ramadan).

Annual fast day observed by Jews commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred centuries apart, but on the same date of the Hebrew calendar. According to the Mishnah, which contains the Jewish Oral Traditions, there are five specific events that form the basis for fasting on this day, and categorise it as a day of mourning. Eating, drinking, bathing and the wearing of leather or cosmetics are some of the items prohibited. Tisha B’Av has over time become a solemn day that recalls a series of tragedies.

The Hindu festival celebrating brotherhood and love, celebrated on the full moon in the month of Sravana. The key ceremony involves the tying of a rakhi (sacred thread) by a sister on her brother’s wrist. The day predominantly honours the relationship between a brother and sister, but has evolved to incorporate the significance of many people in Hindu society. Priests, therefore, tie rakhis around the wrist of Hindus, close friends upon each other, women upon their husbands etc. The festival is also observed by Sikhs.

Zoroastrians all over the world celebrate the birthday of Zoroaster. It is also known as ‘Greater Noruz’ and occurs six days after Noruz. The appointed date of celebration is symbolic, as the date of the Prophet’s birth is not exactly known. Zoroastrians gather in temples for prayers, and celebrate the day by holding feasts.

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The Friday Sermon

Every Friday live at 13:00 GMT on MTA International

Each week on Friday, Muslims are required to take a bath, dress in their best and clean clothes, wear perfume and assemble in the mosque for Jumu’ah, the Friday Prayer. The

Live Translations: English, French, Arabic, German, Bengali

to meet together to discuss and solve their

Translations on repeat: Russian, Turkish, Swahili, Tamil, Malayalam

Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), Khalifatul

UK viewers: watch MTA on Sky channel 787 For info on viewing MTA in other countries, or for online stream, visit www.mta.tv

Friday Prayer gives Muslims an opportunity individual as well as community problems.

Masih V, Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, delivers the Friday Sermon each week, broadcast live by Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International (MTA). Through MTA therefore, the Imam is able to address not just the congregation, but also the entire world. It gives the Imam a chance to advise all Muslims at the same time on urgent matters that face them.

www.mta.tv

Sky channel 787


The Review of Religions, in print since 1902, is one of the longest-running comparative religious magazines. The objective of the magazine is to present the teachings of Islam, reflecting its rational, harmonious and inspiring nature. It also brings together articles and viewpoints on different religions and seeks to make discussions on religion and religious philosophy accessible to a wider readership. The magazine is devoted to promoting intellectual and lively debate that is based on respect for all prophets and religions. Islam repeatedly stresses the need to seek knowledge and The Review of Religions provides a unique platform for people to acquire, and share knowledge. Yearly subscription is only ÂŁ15 sterling or $30 for overseas customers. To subscribe, or for more info, visit

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Š ISLAMIC PUBLICATIONS, 2011 ISSN NO. 0034-6721


The Review of Religions (July 2011)