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august 2013

vol. 108 - issue eight


The Power of Prayer


Religious Trends in America – “Spiritual but not Religious”


Islam and Science - Concordance or Conflict?


Mosque Opens in Vancouver – to Provide Peace & Security


The Promised Messiah


The Messiah © makhzan-e-tasaweer

and imam mahdi and founder of the review of religions

world faiths

The Holy Prophet Muhammadsa prophesied that the Promised Messiahas would be raised near a white minaret, east of Damascus. This prophecy was fulfilled with the advent of the Promised Messiahas from Qadian, India, a city directly east of Damascus.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, 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 Muhammadsa. 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.

Hazrat Ahmadas 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.

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’sas journey to India. In 1902 the Promised Messiahas 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.

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 Khulafa (successors).

In 1889, under Divine Guidance, Hazrat Ahmadas 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 Ahmadas has really reached the ends of the earth.

“And peace was on me the day I was born, and peace will be on me the day I shall die, and the day I shall be raised up to life again.” That was Jesus, son of Mary. This is a statement of the truth concerning which they entertain doubt.

The truth is that Islam is in dire need of help from God. I am the reformer of the age. It is delightful that God did not leave Islam helpless in this state and sent me according to His law, so I could revitalize it. Islam, the Promised

ISLAM, the Holy Qur’an,

Messiah as, Malfuzat,


Vol. 9, p.158.

Abu Hurairara relates that the Holy Prophetsa said: “What a (wretched) state you will be in when the son of Mary will descend among you, while he will be your Imam (religious leader) from among you?” In another version it is said, “He will lead you from among you.”

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken; then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad sa, Hadith of Sahih Bukhari.

Christianity, Matthew,


Whenever the Law declines and the purpose of life is forgotten, I manifest myself on earth. I am born in every age to protect the good, to destroy evil, and to re-establish the Law. Hindu, Bhagavad Gita,


Listen attentively with one heart. A man whose spirit shines brightly, a man whose mind is completely unified, a man whose virtue excels everyone...such a man will truly appear in this world. When he preaches precious laws, all the people will totally be satisfied as if the thirsty drink sweet drops of rain from heaven. And each and every one will attain the path of liberation from struggles. Buddhism, Sutra of the

Great Accomplishment of the Maitreya.


august 2013

8 The Power of Prayer

Many miracles are in fact as a result of prayers.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi



18 The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets – Volume II Chapter IX Part III Chapter 9 continues in our exclusive serialisation of the epic biography – The Sequence of the Holy Qur’an. Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra

28 Religious Trends in America - “Spiritual but not Religious” Tazeen Ahmad, Maryland, USA

36 From the Archives: Islam and Science – Concordance or Conflict? Late Nobel Laureate in Physics undertakes a fascinating exploration into the relationship between Islam and science.

Vol.108 issue eight


56 Mosque – An Abode of Peace and Security

Mosques are often perceived in the West as breeding grounds for extremist ideologies. With the inauguration of a large mosque in Vancouver, what message will it spread? Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Khalifatul Masih V

72 Guests Reflect on the Inauguration of the Vancouver Mosque 76 Angels Echoing the Kalimah In the City of Angels Part II of II The Khalifah of the Promised Messiahas undertook a historic tour of California earlier this year. Abdul Majid Tahir ,

Translated by Professor Amtul Razzaq Carmichael

Professor Abdus Salaam

Front cover: The Baitur Rahman Mosque, recently inaugurated in Vancouver, Canada, by Hazrat Mirza


Masroor Ahmad, Khalifah of the Promised Messiah.

M ana g ement B oard Chairman: Munir-Ud-Din Shams Secretary: Syed Amer Safir


Board Members: Mubarak Ahmad Zaffar, Ataul Mujeeb Rashed, Naseer Qamar, Abdul Baqi Arshad, Abid Waheed Ahmad Khan, Aziz Ahmad Bilal C h ie f E ditor & M ana g er Syed Amer Safir

Write to us with comments, feedback and suggestions at Tahir House

22 Deer Park Road London


Follow us on Twitter @ReviewReligions

E ditorial B oard Amtul Razzaq Carmichael, Bockarie Tommy Kallon, Fazal Ahmad, Hibba Turrauf, Jonathan Butterworth, Mansoor Saqi, Munazza Khan, Murtaza Ahmad, Nakasha Ahmad, Navida Syed, Sarah Waseem, Tariq H. Malik Web D eveloper & I T Hibba Turrauf A ssociate E ditors Nakasha Ahmad, Tariq H. Malik (Sub-Editor: Mariam Rahman) S ub - E ditors Head: Hibba Turrauf Sub-Editors: Ayesha Malik, Nusrat Haq, Maryam Malik, Amina Abbasi House S tyle Guide Head: Maleeha Ahmad Sub-Editors: Sadia Shah, Humaira Omer P roo f readers Head: Munawara Ghauri. Deputy: Farhana Dar. Proofreaders: Abdul Ghany Jahangeer Khan, Hina Rahman, Amina Abbasi S ta f f Writers & R esearc h ers Arif Khan, Tazeen Ahmad D istribution / S ubscription Head: Mohammad Hanif Team: Sami Ullah A rt E ditor S. Taalay Ahmad

The Review of Religions is serialising the brand new translation of Seerat Khatamun Nabiyyin, the Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets, Volume II, prior to its release in book form.

Turn to page 18.

P rint E dition D esi g ner Ahsan Khan I ndexin g / T a g g in g T eam The official website of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community worldwide. You can find a huge collection of free online material, including translation and commentary of the Holy Qur’an and you can access literature of the Community including the books written by its founder, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas.

Head: S. Taalay Ahmad. Deputy: Amtus Shakoor Tayyaba Ahmed. Team: Humaira Omer, Humda Sohail, Mirza Krishan Ahmad, Ruhana Hamood, Mubahil Shakir, Adila Bari, Hassan Raza Ahmad T w itter Hibba Turrauf, Mala Khan, Nudrat Ahmad

The Power of Prayer

I say truly that if crying before God Almighty is full of utmost humility, it moves His grace and mercy and draws them (towards the supplicator). I can say out of my own experience that I have felt the grace and mercy of God, which comes in the shape of the acceptance of prayer, coming towards me. Indeed, I rather say that I have actually seen it. If the dark-minded philosophers of this age cannot feel it or see it, this verity is not going to disappear from the world, more so because I am ready to demonstrate the acceptance of prayer at all times.1 A Brief Review of the Booklets of Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan Sahib, KCSI Prayer, its Acceptance, and the Principle of Qur’anic Interpretation

hazrat mirza ghulam ahmad as,

the promised messiah and imam mahdi

We present extracts from the writings of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas, on the power and acceptance of prayer. These are republished from the second volume of Essence of Islam.

O prisoner of your own intellect, do not be too proud of yourself; This wonderful celestial sphere has brought forth many like you. One alienated from God can never find access to His court; Secrets of that Beloved are revealed only to those who come from heaven.

If the dark-minded philosophers of this age cannot feel it or see it, this verity is not going to disappear from the world, more so because I am ready to demonstrate the acceptance of prayer at all times. To fathom the secrets of the Holy Qur’an on one’s own is a false notion; Whoever invents meanings by himself invents only filth and carrion. In his booklets, Sayyed Sahib sets forth his belief that: “The acceptance of prayer does not mean that the supplicant should be given what he asks for. If this should be the meaning of the acceptance of prayer two difficulties would be encountered. The first would be that thousands of supplications that are made most humbly and earnestly are not fulfilled, which means that the prayer has not been accepted, whereas God has promised acceptance of prayer. The second difficulty is that that which august 2013


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is to happen is determined and so is that which is not to happen. Nothing can happen contrary to that determination. If acceptance of prayer means granting the request made, then the Divine promise:

“Pray unto Me, I will answer your prayer.”2 is not fulfilled concerning supplications the granting of which is not determined. According to this interpretation, the general promise of acceptance of prayer will be falsified inasmuch as only those requests are granted the fulfilment of which is determined, and yet the promise of acceptance of prayer is general and is not subject to any exception. Some verses indicate that those things which are not determined will not be granted and some verses indicate that no supplication is rejected and that all are accepted. The verse:

“Pray unto Me, I will answer your prayer.”3 shows that God has promised the 10 The Review of Religions | august 2013

acceptance of all prayers. Thus, the only way of reconciling this contradiction between the verses is that the acceptance of prayer should be interpreted as meaning the acceptance of an act of worship, that is to say, that prayer should be interpreted as a type of worship concerning which there is a Divine promise of acceptance when it is offered in the sincerity and earnestness of the heart. The acceptance of prayer is, therefore, no more than that it earns merit by being regarded as a type of worship. If the bestowal of something has been determined and it is also prayed for, it is bestowed not because of the prayer, but because it had been determined upon. The great benefit of prayer is that when at the time of prayer the heart is fixed upon the greatness of God and His limitless power that idea overcomes all the apprehensions which were the cause of restlessness and the supplicant experiences patience and steadfastness. This condition of the heart is produced by worship and this is what the acceptance of prayer is. Sayyed Sahib observes that those people who are unaware of the reality of prayer and of the wisdom that is inherent in it can say that if that which is not determined cannot happen, then prayer is of no use. That is to say, that that which is determined will happen in

any case whether one offers a prayer in respect of it or not and that a thousand prayers will not help where the matter has not been determined, thus prayer is vain and useless. In answer to this Sayyed Sahib says that to supplicate for help in a time of distress is a characteristic of human nature and a person supplicates on account of his natural characteristic without thinking whether what is being supplicated for will happen or not. On account of this characteristic of his nature he has been told to supplicate God for whatever he desires.” This summary of the view held by Sayyed Sahib indicates that his belief is that prayer cannot be the means of achieving one’s goal, nor has it any effect on such achievement. If by prayer the only purpose of the supplicant is that through his supplication his request should be granted, his purpose is vain, inasmuch as no prayer is needed for that which has been determined and for that which has not been determined, humility and earnestness are without avail. He believes that prayer is only a form of worship and it is vain to adopt it as a means of achieving a specific purpose. We shall, Insha’Allah (God willing), show later that Sayyed Sahib has woefully

Yet would Sayyed Sahib affirm that the science of medicine is altogether without any basis and that remedies have no effect whatever? misunderstood the verses of the Holy Qur’an. At this stage, we would observe with regret that if Sayyed Sahib’s intellect had fallen short of the meaning of the Holy Qur’an, had he at the time of writing these booklets overlooked the law of nature which he claims to follow and which he regards as the interpreter of Divine guidance and of the hidden mysteries of the Holy Qur’an? Is Sayyed Sahib not aware that though nothing good or ill in this world is free from determination, yet nature has appointed such means for the achieving of the good or the ill, the true and correct effect of which is not questioned by any wise person? For instance, though keeping in mind determination, to have recourse to a remedy in case of illness is the same as praying or not praying for an object. Yet would Sayyed Sahib affirm that the science of medicine is altogether without any basis and that remedies have no effect whatever? If, despite his belief august 2013


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The principle of prayer is that there is a mutually attractive relationship between a pious servant and his Lord. in determination, he is persuaded that remedies are not without effect, then why does he create a distinction between this law and a similar and parallel law? Does he believe that God had power to invest certain medicines with such powerful effects that their full dose should immediately move the stomach, or that certain poisons should have such powerful effect that a full dose of them should dispatch the consumer from this world within a matter of minutes, yet He should leave as dead and without effect the supplications of His elect which are full of resolve and attention and earnestness? Is it possible that there should be a contradiction in the Divine system and that the Divine design which works for the welfare of His servants through medicines should not operate in the case of prayer? That is not so. Sayyed Sahib himself is unaware of the true philosophy of prayer and has no personal experience of its high effectiveness. His case is like that of a 12 The Review of Religions | august 2013

person who over a period uses a stale medicine which has lost all its effectiveness and then concludes, as a general rule, that that medicine is ineffective. Sayyed Sahib has reached an advanced age, but the natural system, that determination is closely related to means, has eluded him. That is why he has fallen into the error that anything can happen without the intervention of the means which nature has appointed spiritually and physically. As a general rule, nothing is free from determination. A person who derives advantage from fire, water, air, clay, corn, vegetables, animals, or minerals, does so under the rule of determination; but if a stupid one should imagine that without the help of the means which God Almighty has appointed, and without treading the paths that have been fixed by nature, something might be acquired without the mediation of physical or spiritual means, such a one seeks to falsify the wisdom of God Almighty.

burnt has been determined he would be burnt without the intervention of fire. Then I am surprised that despite being a Muslim he denies the effectiveness of prayer which sometimes lights up the darkness like fire and sometimes burns the hand of an impertinent intervener. Does he remember determination at the time of prayer and forget it when fire or the like is mentioned? Does not the same determination comprehend both? When, despite determination, he adheres so strongly to effective means that he has acquired an ill reputation in his exaggeration, then what is the reason that the system of nature which he acknowledges is forgotten by him in the matter of prayer, so much so that while in his view a fly has some effect, yet prayer has none? The truth is that he is unaware of the effect of prayer and has no personal experience of it, nor has he had the advantage of keeping company with those who have such experience.

The meaning of all that Sayyed Sahib has put forth is that he does not regard prayer as one of the effective means, the existence of which he admits, and that he has in this matter gone beyond the limit. For instance, if someone mentions the effect of fire to him, he will not deny it. He will not affirm that if anyone’s being

Miracles are Wrought by Prayer The subject of the acceptance of prayer is a branch of the subject of prayer. A person who does not comprehend the principle encounters difficulty in comprehending a branch. This is at the bottom of the misunderstanding of Sayyed Sahib. The principle of prayer is that there is a

mutually attractive relationship between a pious servant and his Lord. To begin with, the mercy (Rahmaniyyat) of God Almighty draws a servant to itself. Then through his sincerity the servant approaches close to God Almighty and in prayer that relationship, when it arrives at a certain stage, manifests its wonderful qualities. When a servant being confronted with a great difficulty leans towards God Almighty with perfect certainty, perfect hope, perfect love, perfect fidelity and perfect resolve, and becoming extremely alert and tearing aside the veils of heedlessness advances far into the fields of the discarding of self, he beholds in front of him the court of the Divine and that He has no associate. Then his soul prostrates itself at that threshold and the power of attraction that is invested in him draws the bounty of God Almighty towards itself. Then God, the Glorious, addresses Himself towards fulfilling the purpose of the supplication and casts the effect of prayer on all those preliminary means which give rise to the means that are necessary for the achievement of the purpose of the prayer. For instance, if the prayer is for rain then on its acceptance the natural means that are needed for rain are created by the effect of the prayer. If the prayer is for famine the All-Powerful One creates the contrary means. august 2013


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the power of prayer

It has been proved to the satisfaction of those who have frequent experience of visions that in the prayer of a perfect person a power of fashioning is created. That is to say, by the command of God the prayer exercises control in the lower and higher worlds and turns the elements and heavenly bodies and the hearts of people to the direction that is desired. There are many instances of this in the holy Books of God Almighty. The Effect of Prayer is Greater than the Effect of Fire Some types of miracles are in reality the acceptance of prayer. The source of thousands of miracles that were manifested by the Prophets and the wonders that have been exhibited throughout by the saints was prayer, and it is through the effect of prayer that extraordinary events display the power of the All-Powerful. Are you aware what was the wonderful event that happened in the deserts of Arabia, that hundreds of thousands of the dead came alive within a few days, and those who had been corrupted through generations took on Divine colour, and the blind began to see, and the tongues of the dumb began to flow with Divine insights, and such a revolution took place in the world which no eye had seen and no ear had heard before? It was the prayers 14 The Review of Religions | august 2013

during dark nights of one who had been wholly lost in God which created an uproar in the world and manifested such wonders as had appeared impossible in the case of that unlearned helpless one.

“O Allah, send down blessings and peace on him and on his people proportionate to the amount of his suffering and sorrow for the sake of the Ummah and send down upon him the light of Thy mercy forever.” I have experienced that the effect of prayers is greater than the effect of fire and water. Indeed in the systems of natural means nothing has greater effect than prayer. Physical and Spiritual Means are Not Outside Determination If a question is raised that some prayers are not heard and no effect of theirs becomes visible, I would say that the same is the case with medical remedies. Have medicines shut the door of death,

or is it not possible for them to fail of their purpose? Yet, despite this, can anyone deny their effect? It is true that determination comprehends everything, but determination has not wasted or disgraced knowledge, nor has it rendered means unreliable. Careful consideration would show that physical and spiritual means are not outside determination. For instance, if the fate of a patient should be good, the means of a proper remedy become available and the body becomes ready to take advantage of them. In such a case, the remedy becomes most effective. The same is the case with prayer. All means and conditions for the acceptance of prayer come together where the Divine design is of acceptance. God Almighty has tied together His physical and spiritual systems in the same chain of causes and effects. It is a great mistake on the part of Sayyed Sahib that he acknowledges the physical system but denies the spiritual system. I deem it necessary to add that if Sayyed Sahib does not repent of his wrong assumption and should require proof of the acceptance of prayer, I have been commissioned by God to dispel such misconceptions. I promise that I shall inform Sayyed Sahib in advance of the acceptance of some of my prayers and

Are you aware what was the wonderful event that happened in the deserts of Arabia, that hundreds of thousands of the dead came alive within a few days, and those who had been corrupted through generations took on Divine colour... will also publish the fact, provided Sayyed Sahib promises that on my claim being established he will repent of his wrong assumption. Must All Prayers be Accepted? Sayyed Sahib says that in the Holy Qur’an God Almighty has promised acceptance of all prayers while the fact is that some prayers are not accepted. This is a misunderstanding on his part and the verse: “Pray unto Me, I will answer your prayer.”4 does not help his purpose. The prayer that is prescribed in this verse as a command is not any ordinary prayer, but is august 2013


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the worship that has been made obligatory. Not all prayers are obligatory. At some places God, the Glorious, has praised those who are steadfast and at a time of trial commit themselves entirely to God. In this verse, prayer has not only been commanded but the verse goes on to describe it as worship and in case of disobedience warns of the torment of hell. It is obvious that in the case of other prayers this warning is not added. Indeed, in some cases Prophets were admonished in respect of their prayers. The verse:

“I advise thee lest thou become one of the ignorant.”5 is an instance. This shows that if every prayer had been worship Noah would not have been rebuked about his prayer. In some situations, prophets and saints have considered it disrespectful to supplicate and the righteous have followed the dictate of their hearts in respect of such prayers; that is to say, if at a time of distress the heart suggested prayer they turned to prayer and if the heart suggested steadfastness, they were steadfast and turned away from prayer. Besides, God has not promised acceptance of prayer in all cases, but has clearly said 16 The Review of Religions | august 2013

that He would accept if He so wills and would reject if He so wills. This is clearly indicated in the verse: “Nay, but on Him alone will you call; then will He remove that which you call on Him to remove, if He please…”6 Conditions of Acceptance of Prayer Even if we were to concede that the phrase “Call Me” means prayer, we would have to affirm that by prayer is meant such prayer as complies with all required conditions and that is not within the power of man unless he is helped by God. Humility alone is not enough for prayer, but righteousness, purity, truthfulness, perfect certainty, perfect love and perfect attention are all needed. It is also necessary that the object prayed for should not be opposed to the Divine design for the welfare in this world and in the hereafter of the supplicant, or of the one on whose behalf supplication is made. Very often, despite all other conditions being fulfilled, the object for which supplication is made is opposed to the Divine design and there is no good in its fulfilment. For instance, if a child should cry that his mother should hand over to him a burning brand, or a serpent, or should feed him a poison, which appears

agreeable, the mother would not comply with his wish. Were she to do so, and though the child might escape with his life some limb of his should become useless, then arriving at years of discretion the child would have a grievance against his foolish mother. There are many other conditions in the absence of which prayer does not deserve that name and so long as a prayer is not inspired by full spirituality and there is not a close connection between him who supplicates and him on whose behalf supplication is made, there is little hope of the acceptance of prayer. Unless there is Divine willingness for the acceptance of prayer all these conditions are not fulfilled and full attention remains lacking.

it become a cause for their removal on the Judgement Day?

Sayyed Sahib acknowledges that the good fortune of the hereafter and its bounties and delights and comforts which constitute salvation, are the result of faith and sincere prayers. That being so, Sayyed Sahib would be compelled to acknowledge that a believer’s prayers have effect and become the cause of the removal of calamities and the achievement of objectives. If that were not so, then how would they be of help on the Judgement Day? If prayer is truly a vain thing and cannot be the cause of removal of any calamity in this life, then how will

1. [Malfuzat, Vol. I, p. 198 (Eng. Translation in

If our prayers truly possess the effect of safeguarding us against calamities then that effect should be manifested in this world also, so that our faith and hope might be fostered and we should pray more earnestly for our salvation in the hereafter. But if prayer amounts to nothing and that which is written is bound to happen, then as, according to Sayyed Sahib, prayer is vain for the calamities of this world, it will be vain for the hereafter also and no hope could be placed in it.7 endnotes

Essence of Islam, Vol. 2, p. 187)].

2. The Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Mu’min, Verse 61.

3. Ibid. 4. Ibid.

5. Holy Qur’an Surah Hud, Verse 47

6. The Holy Quran Surah Al-’Anam, Verse 42 7. [Barakat-ud-Du’a, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 6, pp. 5-14 (Eng. Translation in Essence of Islam, Vol. 2, pp. 187-198).]

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First ever serialisation of the newly translated Volume II of Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad’sra outstanding biography, Seerat Khatamun Nabiyyin, on the life and character of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. We continue with chapter 9.

Translated from the Urdu

by Ayyaz Mahmood Khan

volume 11 Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra chapter ix part iii

Masjid Quba, the first Mosque built in Islam

Sequence of the Holy Qur’an It is obvious that the task The question as to whether the current sequence of the Holy Qur’an is founded of compiling the Holy on the basis of any principle or not, and Qur’an implies the task of if so, then what, does not relate to his- its arrangement as well, tory, and nor can a question of this nature especially when the order of be elaborately answered in a historical work. However, at this instance, a brief compilation is different from indication would perhaps not be with- the order of its revelation. out benefit. It should be known, therefore, that it is accepted by friend and foe alike, and history and the Ahadith are “It is Our responsibility to compile the replete with references which substan- Holy Qur’an, and it is We who shall tiate that the current arrangement of complete this task.”1 the Holy Qur’an is not according to its order of revelation. Rather, it is a varying It is obvious that the task of compiling order which was arranged by the Holy the Holy Qur’an implies the task of its Prophetsa himself under divine inspira- arrangement as well, especially when the tion. As such, Allah states in the Holy order of compilation is different from Qur’an: the order of its revelation. Moreover, as mentioned above, the Ahadith explicitly mention that upon the revelation of every verse and upon the completion of every Surah, the Holy Prophetsa would himself august 2013


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of the seal of prophets

It was necessary for Qur’anic injunctions to be revealed to the people of that time according to their mentality and environment, so that it was easier for them to transform their lives and assimilate this new teaching into themselves.

according to the order of their entry, and seats them in a different arrangement, this very action of his would establish the fact that irrespective of whether anyone is aware of the rule that he has employed in his arrangement or not, there must definitely be some principle in his own consideration. Otherwise, there would have been no reason to alter the order of entry, because no man in his right mind does anything without purpose and in vain.

instruct that the following verse or Surah should be placed at such and such a place.2 In these circumstances, whether someone is able to comprehend the current arrangement of the Qur’an or not, there can be no doubt in the fact that there is definitely some principle which has been employed in its arrangement. In actuality, if one contemplates, the very fact that the original order of revelation has been altered proves that in the new arrangement, some principle has definitely been taken into account. If this was not the case, there would have been no reason to disregard the order of revelation and set a new sequence. For example, a few people enter a hall one after the other. Now if the manager of the hall takes special care not to seat these people

At this instance, most European historians assert that the manager of the hall has altered the order of entrance, and seated people according to the principle of sizing, as it were. In other words, they claim that the Qur’anic Surahs have been arranged according to length. However, this is absolutely unfounded and incorrect, because firstly, we have already proven above that the task of compilation and arrangement was performed by the Holy Prophetsa himself under divine inspiration, and a nonsensical action of this nature can never be attributed to a person such as the Holy Prophetsa. Such an action can only be performed by a person who is completely bereft of sense and understanding. To abandon the order of revelation, which could have in the least, furnished various historical benefits,

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merely so that the Surahs of the Holy Qur’an could be arranged with respect to length, which possesses no academic benefit whatsoever, is such an action which cannot be committed by even a man of meagre understanding, and is out of the question as far as the Holy Prophetsa is concerned. The person of the Holy Prophetsa is far above and beyond this. Secondly, the very existence of these Surahs in their current form, due to which this notion has come about in the first place, proves that there is some kind of intelligent arrangement behind them. For as we have mentioned, the Holy Qur’an was not revealed in the form of Surahs; rather, it was revealed very gradually in the form of verses. Surahs only came into existence as a result of the collection of these individual verses. In addition to this, as far as actual fact is concerned, it is absolutely incorrect and contrary to reality as well that length has been taken into account in the arrangement of the Qur’an. Even an elementary study of the number of verses in the Surahs contained in the Holy Qur’an is sufficient to refute this notion, because there are numerous examples where various lengthy Surahs have been placed afterwards, while shorter Surahs have been positioned first. There is no telling how Western scholars have been

so negligent and committed such a blatant mistake in this respect. Hence, there is no room for uncertainty and doubt that firstly, the current arrangement of the Holy Qur’an is not according to its order of revelation; secondly, nor is this arrangement according to the length of various Surahs; rather, thirdly, this is a unique arrangement which was fixed by the Holy Prophetsa himself under divine instruction. Now, the question which arises is: what kind of an arrangement is this? In response to this, all that can be alluded to here, at this instance, is that the very same principle of arrangement has been taken into consideration by the Holy Qur’an, which is the word of God, as is found to exist in the action of God, i.e., the book of nature, as it were. In other words, just as an order has been established in the physical world, and ways and means for the material life of this world, its progress and well-being have been provided for, so too, there is an order in the word of God, i.e., the Holy Qur’an. This is in accordance with the eternal laws of psychology, which are most effective for the moral, social and spiritual life of the world, and for its reformation and progress. Then it is ironic that just as there are some who can see no order in this physical world, august 2013


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of the seal of prophets

The order in which the Holy Qur’an was revealed was best suited for the Companions. However, after a pioneer community had been established, for future times, as a permanent arrangement, the sequence which is found in the Qur’an at present was best suited.

those people who are deprived of spiritual insight can see no order in the arrangement of the Holy Qur’an either. However, as for those who are accustomed to deep study and possess the insight, piety and purity within themselves which is necessary to understand the essence of a spiritual book, consider this arrangement to be of a lofty status, and feel the effect of it upon their own souls. At this instance, the question may arise that if the current arrangement was best suited for the purpose of reformation, training, and with respect to its spiritual influence, why then was the Qur’an not revealed in this very order, so that the 22 The Review of Religions | august 2013

Companions who were the very first addressees of the Qur’anic teaching could have also benefitted? The response to this is that the circumstances of the Companions and those of latter Muslims are different. The order in which the Holy Qur’an was revealed was best suited for the Companions. However, after a pioneer community had been established, for future times, as a permanent arrangement, the sequence which is found in the Qur’an at present was best suited. This variance is based on two principles: Firstly, it should be known that the Companions were the first community to have been established upon the precepts of the Islamic Shari’at. Prior to this, there was no group of people who had ever bore the Islamic Shari’at, nor did it exist in the world before that time. By means of the Holy Qur’an, the ancient way of practice and civilization was to be abolished, and the foundation of a completely new order and civilization was to be established. Therefore, it was necessary for Qur’anic injunctions to be revealed to the people of that time according to their mentality and environment, so that it was easier for them to transform their lives and assimilate this new teaching into themselves. For this purpose, it is obvious that the best course of action was

that in the very beginning such verses be revealed which primarily dealt with the rectification of doctrine, whereby polytheistic beliefs were uprooted and Divine Unity was established. After this, came commandments and prohibitions pertinent to the Islamic method of worship, the Islamic practice in civil affairs, the Islamic form of civilization and the Islamic system of governance. As such, this is precisely as it occurred.3 However, when a community had been established on the precepts of the Islamic Shari‘at and a framework had been constructed in the manner of a seed or nucleus, for the future growth and progress of that seed or nucleus, this original sequence of revelation became unfit and inappropriate. As such, this arrangement was altered to a more appropriate one. Hence, the current arrangement of the Holy Qur’an is completely in accordance with the principle which is best suited for the consolidation, growth, and progress of a fully matured community. The second principle which was taken into account in altering the order of revelation to something else, was that the order of revelation was more in line with the specific circumstances which were confronted by the Holy Prophetsa and his Companions. For example, in

the Makkan life of the Holy Prophetsa, since the message of Islam was still being conveyed to the disbelievers and it was intended that the Muslims be moulded and prepared through patience and tribulation, teachings of Jihad have not been given in the Makkan verses; rather, greater emphasis was laid upon teachings of patience and forbearance. However, when the message had been conveyed incontrovertibly, and the Companions had also been moulded by patience and forbearance, and the Muslims were even made to leave their homeland due to the atrocities of the disbelievers, and the time had arrived for the tyrant to be punished, it was then that the verses of Jihad were revealed. Similarly, in Makkah, since the Muslims were unable to congregate themselves as united communities do, and the cruelties of the disbelievers had kept the Muslims completely scattered from one another, i.e., they did not live a communal life, verses on the Islamic method of living and civil affairs were not revealed. However, when the Muslims were given the opportunity to live together as a community in Madinah, relevant verses were revealed. If this revelation had not taken into account the relation and relevance of prevalent circumstances, it would have most definitely become very difficult for the early august 2013


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the life & character

of the seal of prophets

objection that by altering the order of revelation, the historical value of the Holy Qur’an has been lost, this would be a weak and silly allegation. Firstly, a better part of the chronological order of the revelation of Qur’anic verses have been safeguarded in the Ahadith and history, and with the slightest effort and attention, it can be ascertained as to when a certain verse or Surah was revealed. Therefore, in this case, it cannot at all be asserted that the historical value of the Qur’an has been lost; rather, the truth is that it has been preserved in full, and Muslims to assimilate this new Shari‘at friend and foe alike accept this verity. into themselves and act upon it in true The only difference is that if the Qur’an spirit. had been arranged according to its order of revelation, its historical background Therefore, inasmuch as possible the rev- would have been more conspicuous and elation of the Qur’an walked side by obvious, but now it must be derived with side, along with the relevant circum- effort and attention. stances which presented themselves, so that its doctrine could continue to be Secondly, it should be remembered that absorbed by the Companions. However, the actual fundamental purpose of the when everything had been revealed and Holy Qur’an is not the preservation of a community had come into existence history. Quite the contrary, it is to provide on the precepts of the Qur’anic law, it a law in the best possible form, which is was no longer necessary to maintain that best suited for the social, moral and spirsequence. As a matter of fact, the require- itual progress of mankind, and so that a ment was for it to be arranged according servant may be led to God. Hence, in its to the permanent needs of the future, and arrangement as well, it was necessary to this is how it was done. take into consideration such rules as best At this instance, if someone raises the served these objectives. Furthermore, in

Just as the world is a physical universe, Islam states that the Holy Qur’an is also an entire universe of spirituality in itself; and the physical world is a most befitting example by which the principles of its arrangement may be comprehended.

24 The Review of Religions | august 2013

its arrangement, if these rules had been forgone and the historical aspect had been given greater preference, this would have been an extremely unwise action. Prior to bringing this topic to a close, it is also necessary to mention that the current arrangement of the Holy Qur’an is not one of such nature as is commonly found in books, whereby the subject is divided into chapters, sections, and paragraphs, etc. An arrangement of this type is at odds with the fundamental objective of the Qur’an. The Qur’an claims that it has brought a law for all nations and all eras,4 and that there are concealed treasures of all kinds of knowledge hidden within it, which shall continue to reveal themselves as needed.5 It is related in a Hadith that scholars shall never become satiated in their study of the Qur’an, nor shall its miracles ever be exhausted.6 In another Hadith it is related that the Qur’anic verses are not only confined to apparent meanings. In fact, every verse conceals numerous hidden verities, each of which branches out into a multiplicity of meanings.7 In other words, just as the world is a physical universe, Islam states that the Holy Qur’an is also an entire universe of spirituality in itself; and the physical world is a most befitting example by which the principles of

its arrangement may be comprehended. The manner and way in which there is an order in the physical world, whereby everything, despite its appearing to be separate and unrelated, is actually connected and intertwined at its depths; rather, its different parts are joined to each other by many hidden chains in various respects, so too, links of relation and unity exist in the depths of the Qur’an. Moreover, just as researchers and scientists extract gems of knowledge according to their individual ability and investigation, in all eras, there has never been a dearth of spiritual pearls for those who submerse themselves into the ocean which exists in the spiritual realm of the Qur’an, and nor shall there be in the future. From among the miracles of the Holy Qur’an, the greatest of all, is that its words and sequence have been arranged in such a manner that despite being shorter than all other heavenly scriptures, it possesses a never-ending treasure of spiritual knowledge within it, which has always manifested itself according to the investigation of research scholars and according to the needs of the time; and shall continue to reveal itself.8 It is for this very reason that its arrangement has not been divided in the form of specific subject matter, consisting of chapters, sections, and paragraphs, etc., august 2013


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as is generally the case with other books. For if such a course had been employed, its breadth of meaning would have been lost, taken on a limited and specific form, and would have become confined to its apparent and literal sense. In summary, the Holy Qur’an claims that an infinite treasure of all kinds of knowledge is hidden within it, which shall continue to be revealed according to requirement, and that its scope of investigation shall never be exhausted. As such, this salient feature of the Qur’an and this purpose of its revelation, verily, would have been lost if its arrangement had been strictly confined by dividing subject matter in the form of chapters and sections, etc. Therefore, where it should be kept in mind that the Qur’an is a very orderly and organised book, and it is completely incorrect to believe that it is in disarray, it should also never be forgotten that its arrangement is not like ordinary books. On the contrary, it has been arranged in accordance with the laws of the physical world, and there are limitless depths of meaning; and in these depths there are infinite chains of connection and unity, which join together in the form of a single net, from which any individual and all nations can and do derive benefit, according to their individual capability, need and circumstances. At this instance, the brief note we have 26 The Review of Religions | august 2013

written is undoubtedly no more than a mere claim. It is unfortunate, however, that except for this brief indication, there is no additional room in this historical work for such a vast and scholarly subject; otherwise, a long list of arguments could have been presented in support of this claim. Now we return to our actual topic.

Surah Al-Hijr (15:22).

6. Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Kitabu Fada’ilil-Qur’an,

Babu Ma Ja’a Fi Fadlil-Qur’an, Hadith No.


7. *Mishkatul-Masabih, Part 1, pp. 65-66,

Kitabul-‘Ilm, Al-Fasluth-Thani, Hadith No. 238,

Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First

Edition (2003).

*Al-Jami‘us-Saghir Fi Ahadithil-Bashirin-Nadhir, by Imam Jalaluddin As-Suyuti, Volume 1, p.


1. The Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Qiyamah (75:18). 2. *Fathul-Bari Sharhu Sahihil-Bukhari, by

163, Harful-Hamzah, Hadith No. 2727, DarulKutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon (2004). 8. Izala’-e-Auham, pp. 305-317, Ruhani

Khaza’in, Volume 3, pp. 255-261.

Al-Imam Ahmad bin Hajar Al-‘Asqalani,

Volume 9, p. 27, Kitabu Fada’ilil-Qur’an, Babu Katibin-Nabisa, Qadimi Kutb Khanah, Aram

Bagh, Karachi.

*Fathul-Bari Sharhu Sahihil-Bukhari, by

Al-Imam Ahmad bin Hajar Al-‘Asqalani,

Volume 9, p. 50, Kitabu Fada’ilil-Qur’an, Babu Ta’lifil-Qur’an, Qadimi Kutb Khanah, Aram Bagh, Karachi

3. *Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabu Fada’ilil-Qur’an, Babu Ta’lifil-Qur’an, Hadith No. 4993.

*Fathul-Bari Sharhu Sahihul-Bukhari, by

Al-Imam Ahmad bin Hajar Al-‘Asqalani,

Volume 9, p. 48, Kitabu Fada’ilil-Qur’an, Babu Ta’lifil-Qur’an, Qadimi Kutb Khanah, Aram Bagh, Karachi.

4. The Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Furqan (25:2),

Surah As-Saba’ (34:29), Surah Al-An‘am (6:91).

5. The Holy Qur’an, Surah Bani Isra’il (17:90),

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Religious Trends in America – “Spiritual but not Religious” tazeen ahmad

The number of people who say they have no particular religious affiliation is on the rise in America, according to a survey released by the Pew Research Center last October. The report shows that 20 percent of the U.S. population, a whopping 46 million people, describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated today, as opposed to 15 percent only five years ago.

- maryland, u.s.a.

New York, most populous city in the United States. Two-thirds of people questioned in the U.S. said they believe in God (68 percent).

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Two-thirds of the people questioned said that they believe in God (68 percent), more than half said they have a deep connection with nature and the earth (58 percent), more than onethird described themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious,” and one-in-five said that they pray every day. Interestingly, the study done by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, conducted jointly with the PBS television programme Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, finds that many of the people who are unaffiliated with a religious institution still say that they are religious or spiritual in some way. Two-thirds of the people questioned said that they believe in God (68 percent), more than half said they have a deep connection with nature and the earth (58 percent), more than one-third described themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious,” and one-in-five said that they pray every day. august 2013


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– “spiritual but not religious”

religious trends in america

“A lot of people feel they have an inherent religious organisations,” Hakeem said. spirituality as part of their experience in He points to the recent turmoil in the life but they don’t want to be part of an Catholic Church, as one example of how organized religious community, which the serious problems that have plagued they see as formal, traditional, dictatorial, the Church clergy have left its members boring and predictable,” said Reverend feeling betrayed and angry. Elizabeth Lerner Maclay, a lifelong Unitarian Universalist, raised in Newton, “I believe we are still a very religious Massachusetts, in a family with both nation but we are a religious nation in Jewish and Catholic roots. search of God,” Hakeem said. “When I think of the difference between “Every Friday we hold Jummah [Friday] being spiritual and religious, the differ- prayer services in the jail and it attracts ence to me is about being alone or being an average of about 50-60 participants in community,” Maclay said. “That is every week. Of those 50- 60 participants why I am spiritual and religious. Being only 13 are Muslims; the rest of them just spiritual and not religious is about being come for the spiritual part of listening to alone; it’s not about being in a sustaining, a sermon and engaging on a weekly basis exploring community of faith.” with a religion,” Hakeem said. Hasan Hakeem works as a chaplain in the Americans have become more accepting Kenosha County jail in Wisconsin and is of religious diversity and more accepting the National Director of Faith Outreach of faiths other than their own, accordfor the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community ing to an earlier survey also conducted in the United States. Hakeem, who was by a Pew Forum on Religion and Public born Baptist and accepted Islam in 1967, Life in 2007. The survey shows that said that Americans are very spiritual when people were asked if they believed people and have not lost a sense of God. whether there is any other religion other He said that scandals within religious than their own which offers a true path institutions are causing people to leave to God, 70 percent of Americans said organized faith communities. “yes,” that religions other than their own can offer a true path to God and can lead “People are concerned with hypocrisy in to eternal life. 30 The Review of Religions | august 2013

“The religious impulse is not disappearing in America,” said William T. Stuart, anthropology professor at the University of Maryland in College Park. “A number of people see their lives as problematic, as broken, and they want to fix it. So they often seek out a new religiosity; sometimes within their own tradition and sometimes they will turn to other faiths,” Stuart said. Among its findings the Pew survey cites disagreements with the beliefs of their religion or their church leaders, belief that attending worship services is not particularly important, hypocrisy and the feeling that church leaders are too pushy or demanding, as reasons that prevent even those who are affiliated with a religious group from attending worship services more frequently. These are all contributing factors in the growth of the religiously unaffiliated. Those surveyed also said that being too busy or lazy, having work conflicts, health issues and difficulties with transportation as being factors that take them away from religion. As the number of the unaffiliated has grown over the past five years, the number

of adults that describe themselves as Protestants has shrunk, according to the study. In 2007, 53 percent of the adults polled described themselves as Protestants as opposed to 48 percent in 2012, marking the first time in Pew Research Center surveys that the Protestant share of the population has dipped significantly below 50 percent. The Catholic Church has also seen a decline in their membership, particularly among non-Hispanic whites, but the survey found that the Catholic share of the American population has been steady over this period, which is attributed in part to the immigration of Catholics from Latin America. Lisa Greey, campus minister at the Catholic Student Center in College Park, Maryland, says the Catholic Church is aware of the challenges it faces in keeping their members connected. She states that the Church has a whole department that is dedicated to the new evangelisation and forming leaders who are able to share the faith through different programmes; by offering Bible studies, by building better communities within a parish and by getting the word out there. “We need to go after those people who august 2013


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– “spiritual but not religious”

religious trends in america

Chicago – Third most populous city in the US.

really can’t separate your spirituality from being religious in our faith; they are absolutely tied together,” Greey said.

are Catholic and re-evangelise them to live out what they were baptised into,” While many Christian denominations Greey said. have seen a decline in their numbers in recent years, a separate study released When asked about being “spiritual” but by the Association of Statisticians of not “religious,” Greey said in her view American Religious Bodies (ASSRB) the two concepts were inseparable. “You in Chicago last May shows that Islam 32 The Review of Religions | august 2013

and Mormonism are among the fastest growing religions in America.

said Muslims in America are “strengthening their religious identity,” and have “a fairly strong religiosity – you do not see a falling away.”

Ihsan Bagby, associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky-Lexington, does not see “There are two narratives of Islam in American Muslims leaving Islam. Bagby, America that have ensured continued the lead researcher in a study of mosques’ growth of Islam,” Bagby said. “One is membership sponsored by the Hartford the immigrant story and the other is (Conn.) Institute for Religious Research, the convert story. Converts are largely august 2013


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– “spiritual but not religious”

religious trends in america

“The input of AfricanAmericans in particular and the American converts in general has had a substantial impact and really helped the integration of Muslims in America and might even be the reason why the second generation did not divert from Islam.” African-Americans but include white Americans and Latinos. Converts constitute one third of the American Muslim community,” Bagby said.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church) also continues to grow at a steady rate in America, according to the same ASSRB study. “The growth is evidenced by the need to construct chapels and temples for our members,” said Eric Hawkins, Church spokesman, who is based at their Salt Lake City headquarters. Hawkins says that his church is very well known for its missionary work and that many new converts are drawn to the church because of its “strong emphasis on following the teachings of Jesus Christ,” and that their members remain connected because of the “high level of participation” that is expected of all its members, regardless of age.

“The input of African-Americans in particular and the American converts in general has had a substantial impact and “Our youth are highly involved in the really helped the integration of Muslims Church,” Hawkins said. “Youth ages 12 in America and might even be the reason through 17 meet in classes on Sundays why the second generation did not divert to participate in religious instruction from Islam,” Bagby said, “The converts and several times during the month for have been a big pull for the second gen- social activities including service projects, eration. They give an example of how sports, camping and dances.” Hawkins you can be Muslim and American at the said that most young men beginning at same time. How you can be committed age 18 and many young women beginto Islam and love basketball, pizza, rap, ning at age 19 serve a two-year mission hip-hop and be cool.” in the Church missionary programme, 34 The Review of Religions | august 2013

which also helps keep them connected to the Church. When asked about his views on the growing number of people in America that describe themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious,” Naseem Mahdi, National Vice President & Missionary In-charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the U.S., said “This is a result of mistrust and a lack of spiritual satisfaction.” “A person can only be spiritual in the true sense of the word, as we Muslims understand from the Holy Qur’an, if he is a believer…only by loving God and loving his creation and following God’s commandments can a person be spiritual,” Naseem Mahdi said. “When we look at the creation of God and study it in order to learn about God, the one thing that jumps out immediately is organisation, structure, principles, rules and regulations, and there is also beauty and truth and that is what religion brings to us. It brings structure, beauty and order in our lives and helps us fulfill the purpose of our being,” Naseem Mahdi said, “Being spiritual means necessarily that a person must be religious, for one cannot exist in the real sense without the other.”

Naseem Mahdi thinks that the reason people are turning away from organised religion in America is part of the grand scheme of things. “I always had this issue in my mind that if people are leaving even God, how are we going to make progress? How are we going to bring the message of Islam to the people of America? I found my answer in a statement made by our third Khalifah, Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmadrh.” In a sermon in January of 1980, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh said, “Every revolution that has happened in people’s lives over the past 90 years has furthered the cause of Islam. Some of these revolutions have ostensibly led people away from Islam. For example, in some areas people have become atheists and have vowed to wipe God’s name off the earth and God’s Existence from the heavens, where before they [at least] had some hazy concept of God[‘s existence]. But this revolution also furthers the cause of Islam, because now the slate upon which false ideas and concepts were written has been wiped clean. Now our task has become much easier.”

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The Review of Religions


Islam and Science – Concordance or Conflict? FROM THE


professor abdus salam

This speech was delivered by Professor Abdus Salam (1926-1996), Nobel Laureate in Physics (1979), in Paris at the UNESCO House on April 27, 1984 at the invitation of the Organisation “Islam and the West.” The Secretary General of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, Dr. Habib Chatti, inaugurated the meeting. The format of the meeting was to invite two representatives of Islam and two Western representatives to speak comparatively. Thus, on the Muslim side were Professor Salam and Dr. Hussein AlJazaeri, former Minister of Health of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and then-regional director of the World Health Organisation. From the Western side they were Professor Louis Leprince-Ringuet, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the Ecole Polytechnique and Professor Jean Bernard, President of the French Academy of Sciences and Director of the Leukaemia Research Institute. The Holy Qur’an and Science Let me say at the outset that I am both a believer as well as a practising Muslim. I am a Muslim because I believe in the spiritual message of the Holy Qur’an. As a scientist, the Qur’an speaks to me in that it emphasises reflection on the Laws of Nature, with examples drawn from cosmology, physics, biology and

Professor Abdus Salam (1926 - 1996)

medicine, as signs for all men. Says the Qur’an: “Can they not look up to the clouds, how they are created; and to the Heaven how it is upraised; and the mountains how they are rooted, and to the earth how it is outspread?”1 And again: “Verily in the creation of the Heavens and of the Earth, and in the alternation of the night and of the day, are there signs for men of understanding. They who, standing, sitting or reclining, bear Allah in mind and reflect on the creation of the Heavens and of the earth, saying: ‘O our Lord! Thou has not created this in vain.’”2 The Qur’an emphasises the superiority of the ‘alim—the man possessed of knowledge and insight, asking: How can those, august 2013


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islam and science

concordance or conflict ?

“He (The Holy Prophetsa) enjoined his followers to seek knowledge even if they had to travel to China in its search. Here clearly he had scientific rather than religious knowledge in mind...” not possessing these attributes, ever be equals of those who do? Seven hundred and fifty verses of the Qur’an (almost one-eighth of the Book) exhort believers to study nature, to reflect, to make the best use of reason in their search for the ultimate and to make the acquiring of knowledge and scientific comprehension part of the community’s life. The Holy Prophetsa of Islam emphasised that the quest for knowledge and sciences is obligatory upon every Muslim, man and woman. He enjoined his followers to seek knowledge even if they had to travel to China in its search. Here clearly he had scientific rather than religious knowledge in mind, as well as an emphasis on the internationalism of the scientific quest.

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This is the first premise on scientific knowledge with which any fundamentalist thinking in Islam must begin. Add to this the second premise, eloquently stated by Maurice Bucaille in his perceptive essay on the Bible, the Qur’an and science. There is not a single verse in the Qur’an where natural phenomena are described and which contradicts what we know for certain from our discoveries in sciences. Add to this the third premise: in the whole of Islamic history there has never been an incident like that of Galileo or Giordano Bruno. Persecution there has been; denunciation, even excommunication (takfeer) over doctrinal differences, but never for scientific beliefs. And paradoxically, the first Inquisition (Mihna) in Islam came to be instituted, not by the orthodox theologians, but by the so-called rationalists, the Mu’tazzala— theologians themselves—who prided themselves on the use of reason. The saintly Ahmad ibn Hanbal was one of those subjected to the lash of their fury.3 Early Islam and Science How seriously did the early Muslims take these injunctions of the Holy Qur’an and of the Holy Prophetsa?

Barely a hundred years after the Holy Prophet’ssa death, the Muslims had made it their task to master the then-known sciences. Systematically, they translated the entire corpus of the then known knowledge in their religious language, Arabic. Founding institutes of advanced study (Bait-ul-Hikmas), they acquired an ascendancy in the sciences that lasted for the next 350 years. A semi-quantitative measure of this is given by George Sarton in his monumental History of Science. Sarton divides his story of the highest achievement in science into Ages, each Age lasting 50 years. With each, he associates one central figure: thus, 500-450 B.C. is the Age of Plato, followed by the Ages of Aristotle, Euclid, Archimedes and so on. From 750 to 1100 CE, however, it is an unbroken succession of the Ages of Jabir, Khwarizmi, Razi, Masudi, Abu’lWafa, Biruni and Omar Khayam. In those 350 years, Arabs, Turks, Afghans and Persians—chemists, algebraists, clinicians, geographers, mathematicians, physicists and astronomers of the commonwealth of Islam—held the world stage of sciences. Only after 1100 C.E, in Sarton’s scheme, do the first Western names begin to appear; however, for another 250 years, they share the honours

Illustration from a Russian biology text book shows physician Abu Ali Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (980-1037), circa 2009

with men of Islam like Ibn Rushd, Nasirud-din Tusi and Ibn Nafis. An important reason for the success of the scientific enterprise in Islam was its international character. The Islamic commonwealth itself cut across nations and colour; and early Muslim society was tolerant of men from outside it, and of their ideas. An aspect of reverence for the sciences in Islam was the patronage they enjoyed in the Islamic Commonwealth. To paraphrase what H.A.R. Gibb has written about Arabic literature to the parallel situation for the sciences: To a greater extent than elsewhere, the flowering of the sciences in Islam was conditional… on the liberality and patronage of those in high positions. Where Muslim society was in decay, science lost vitality and august 2013


The Review of Religions


An imaginary rendition of Al Biruni on a 1973 Soviet postal stamp

force. But so long as, in one capital or another, princes and ministers found pleasure, profit or reputation in patronising the sciences, the torch was kept burning. The Golden Age of Sciences in Islam The Golden Age of Sciences in Islam was doubtless the Age around the year 1000 C. E, the Age of Ibn-i-Sina (Avecenna), the last of the medievalists, and of his contemporaries, the first of the moderns, Ibn-al-Haitham and Al Biruni. Ibn-alHaitham (Alhazen, 965-1039 CE) was one of the greatest physicists of all time. He “enunciated that a ray of light, in 40 The Review of Religions | august 2013

passing through a medium, takes the path which is the easier and ‘quicker.’” In this he was anticipating Fermat’s Principle of Least Time by many centuries.4 He enunciated the law of inertia, later to become Newton’s first law of motion. He described the process of refraction in mechanical terms, by considering the movement of “particles of light” as they passed through the surface of separation of two media, in accordance with the rectangle law of forces—an approach later rediscovered and elaborated by Newton. Part V of Roger Bacon’s “Opus Majus” is practically a copy of Ibn-al-Haitham’s optics. No wonder Bacon “never wearied of declaring that a knowledge of Arabic and of Arabic Science was the only way to true knowledge.” Al Biruni (973-1048 CE), Ibn-i-Sina’s second illustrious contemporary, worked in Afghanistan. He was an empirical scientist like Ibn-al-Haitham. He was as modern and as un-medieval in outlook as Galileo, six centuries later, with whom he shares the independent (prior) discovery of the so-called Galilean invariance of the laws of nature—the liberating statement that the same laws of physics apply here on earth and on the starry-orbs in the heavens.

There is no question that Western Science is a Greco-Islamic legacy. However, it is commonly alleged that Islamic science was a derived science, that Muslim scientists followed the Greek theoretical tradition blindly and added nothing to the scientific method. This statement is false. Like all periods of intense scientific work, one first builds on what one has inherited; this is followed by an age of maturity when doubts are raised on the teachings of the old masters followed by a break. Such a break came with the rise of observation and experiment, early in the sciences of Islam; its clearest exponents were Ibn-al-Haitham and Al Biruni. Listen to this assessment of Aristotle by Al Biruni:

Illustration by Al Biruni (973-1048) of different phases of the moon, from Kitab al-Tafhim (in Persian).

“The trouble with most people is their extravagance in respect of Aristotle’s opinions, they believe that there is no possibility of mistakes in his views, though they know that he was only theorising to the best of his capacity, and never claimed to be God’s protected and immune from mistakes.” Or this on geology, with its insistence on observation: “…But if you see the soil of India with your own eyes and meditate on its nature, august 2013


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islam and science

concordance or conflict ?

“The main, as well as the least obvious, achievement of the Middle Ages was the creation of the experimental spirit and this was primarily due to the Muslims down to the 12th century.” - Sarton if you consider the rounded stones found in earth however deeply you dig, stones that are huge near the mountains and where the rivers have a violent current, stones that are of smaller size at a greater distance from the mountains and where the streams flow more slowly, stones that appear pulverised in the shape of sand where the streams begin to stagnate near their mouths and near the sea—if you consider all this, you can scarcely help thinking that India was once a sea, which by degrees has been filled up by the alluvium of the streams.” And finally, Al Biruni on medieval superstitions: “People say that on the 6th (of January) there is an hour during which all salt water of the earth gets sweet. Since all the qualities occurring in the water depend 42 The Review of Religions | august 2013

exclusively upon the nature of the soil… these qualities are of a stable nature… Therefore this statement…is entirely unfounded. Continual and leisurely experimentation will show to anyone the futility of this assertion.” According to Briffault5: “[T]he Greeks systematised, generalised, and theorised, but the patient ways of investigation, the accumulation of positive knowledge, the minute methods of science, detailed and prolonged observation and experimental inquiry were altogether alien to the Greek temperament. What we call science arose in Europe as a result of a new spirit of inquiry, of new methods of investigation, of the method of experiment, observation, measurement, and of the development of mathematics in a form unknown to the Greeks. That spirit and those methods were introduced into the European world by the Arabs. ‘Modern’ science is the most momentous contribution of the Islamic civilisation.” These remarks of Briffault are reinforced by Sarton: “The main, as well as the least obvious, achievement of the Middle Ages was the

creation of the experimental spirit and this was primarily due to the Muslims down to the 12th century.” One of the tragedies of history is that this dawning of the modern spirit in sciences with Al Biruni and Ibn-alHaitham was interrupted; it did not lead to a permanent change of course in scientific methodology. Barely a hundred years after they worked, creation of high science in Islam came to a halt. Mankind had to wait a full 500 years before the same level of maturity and the same insistence on observation and experimentation was reached again, with Tycho Brahe, Galileo and their contemporaries. The Decline of Science in Islam Why did creative science die out in Islam? Starting around 1100 C.E, this decline was nearly complete by 1350 CE. Why did we in the Islamic lands lose out? No one knows for certain. There were indeed external causes, like the devastation caused by the Mongol invasion, but, grievous though it was, it was perhaps more in the nature of an interruption. Sixty years after Ghengiz, his grandson Halagu was founding an observatory at Maragha, where Nasir-ud-din Tusi worked.

In my view, the demise of living science within the Islamic commonwealth was due more to internal causes—firstly of isolation of our scientific enterprise and secondly of discouragement to innovation (taqlid). The later parts of the 11th and early 12th centuries in Islam were periods of intense, politically motivated, sectarian and religious strife. Even though a man like Imam Ghazali, in the first chapter of his great Ihaya Ulum-UdDin, The Revival of Religious Learning, writing around 1100 C.E, could say: “A grievous crime indeed against religion has been committed by a man who imagines that Islam is defended by the denial of the mathematical sciences, seeing that there is nothing in the revealed truth opposed to these sciences by way either of negation or affirmation, and nothing in these sciences opposed to the truth of religion.” Even though Imam Ghazali could write this, the temper of the age had turned away from creative science, either to Sufism with its otherworldliness or to a lack of tolerance for taqlid and innovation in all fields of learning including the sciences. august 2013


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To illustrate the apathy towards the creation of sciences which came over Islam, let me quote from Ibn Khaldun (13321406 C.E), one of the greatest social historians and one of the brightest intellects of all times in his field. Ibn Khaldun writes, in his Muquddimah: “We have heard, of late, that in the land of the Franks, and on the northern shores of the Mediterranean, there is a great cultivation of philosophical sciences. They are said to be studied there again, and to be taught in numerous classes. Existing systematic expositions of them are said to be comprehensive, the people who know them numerous, and the students of them very many…Allah knows better, what exists there…But it is clear that the problems of physics are of no importance for us in our religious affairs. Therefore, we must leave them alone.”6 Ibn Khaldun displays little curiosity, no wistfulness. The apathy his words appear to convey led to a drawing inwards, to an isolation of our scientific enterprise. As everyone knows, isolation in the sciences and the veneration for authority it engenders, spells intellectual death. In our great days in the 9th and 10th centuries, we had founded, in Baghdad and Cairo, international institutes of advanced 44 The Review of Religions | august 2013

studies (Baitul-Hikmas), and assembled international concourses of scholars there. But from 1300 C.E, no more. Any science that was cultivated was concentrated in religious seminaries, where tradition was valued more than innovation. “The learned men of Transociana, who upon hearing of the establishment of the first Madrasah, appointed a solemn menesonial science, as tradition tells us, in commemoration of departed science, were shown to be correct in their estimate.”7 The very encyclopaedic nature of knowledge and science in Islam was now a hindrance in an age of specialisation. The wholesome faculty of criticism, by which a young researcher questions what he is taught, re-examines it, and brings forth newer concepts, was no longer tolerated or encouraged. To complete the stor y, from Ibn Khaldun’s days, this intellectual isolation continued—even during the great empires of Islam, the empires of Osmani Turks, of the Iranian Safvis, and of the Indian Mughals. It is not that the sultans and the shah-in-shahs were not cognisant of the technological advances being made by the Europeans; they could hardly have been unaware of the intrusive superiority of the Venetians or the Genoese in the arts of gun-founding, or

of the navigational and ship-building skills of the Portuguese who controlled the oceans of the world, including all oceans bordering on Islamic lands, and even the Hajj sea routes. But they seem never to have realised that the navigational skills of the Portuguese were not accidental; these had been scientifically developed and sedulously cultivated, starting with the research establishment of Sagres set up in 1419 by Prince Henry the Navigator. Was this decline due to misplaced arrogance? William Eton8 the British Consul to the Ottoman Empire would write in the year 1800: “No one has the least idea of navigation and the use of the magnet…Travelling, that great source of expansion and improvement to the mind is entirely checked by arrogant spirit of their religion and…by the jealousy with which intercourse with foreigners…is viewed in a person not invested with an official character…Thus the man of general science…is unknown: anyone, but a mere artificer who should concern himself with the founding of cannons, the building of ships or the like, would be esteemed little better than a madman.”

He concluded with the remark, with an ominous modern ring: “They like to trade with those who bring to them useful and valuable articles, without the labour of manufacturing.” Modern Science and Faith What is the situation today? Of all the major civilisations on this globe, science is the weakest in the Islamic Commonwealth. I sometimes suspect that some of us Muslims believe that while technology is basically neutral, and that its excess can be tempered through an adherence to the ethics of Islam, science, on the contrary, is value loaded; that modern science must lead to “rationalism,” and eventually apostasy; that scientifically trained men among us will “deny the metaphysical presuppositions of our culture.” There is in this sentiment an implied insult to our cultural values for their fragility; but leaving this aside, to such thinking, all I can say is: Do not fight the battles of yesterday when the so-called “rational philosophers,” with their irrational and dogmatic faith in the cosmological doctrines they had inherited from Aristotle, found difficulties in reconciling these concepts with their faith. august 2013


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No wonder when Galileo tried, first, to classify those among the problems which legitimately belonged to the domain of physics, and then to find answers to them through physical experimentation, he was persecuted. One must remind oneself that such battles were even more fiercely waged among the Christian schoolmen of the Middle Ages. The problems which concerned the schoolmen were mainly problems of cosmology and metaphysics:

“Is the world located in an immobile place, does anything lie beyond it; Does God move the primum mobile directly and actively as an efficient cause, or only as a final or ultimate cause? Are all the heavens moved by one mover or several? Do celestial movers experience exhaustion or fatigue? What was the nature of celestial matter? Was it like terrestrial matter in possessing inherent qualities such as being hot, cold moist and dry?” No wonder when Galileo tried, first, to classify those among the problems which legitimately belonged to the domain of physics, and then to find answers to them through physical experimentation, he was persecuted. Restitution for this is being made now 350 years later. At a special ceremony in the Vatican on May 9, 1983, His Holiness the Pope, in the presence of 33 Nobel Laureates and 300 other scientists, declared:

Averroes, detail of the fourteenthcentury Florentine artist Andrea Bonaiuto’s Triunfo de Santo Tomás.

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“The Church’s experience, during the Galileo affair and after it, has led to a more mature attitude…The Church herself learns by experience and reflection and she now understands better the meaning that must be given to freedom of research…one of the most noble attributes of man. It is through research that man attains to Truth…This is why

the Church is convinced that there can be no real contradiction between science and faith…(However), it is only through humble and assiduous study that (the Church) learns to dissociate the essential of the faith from the scientific systems of a given age, especially when a culturally influenced reading of the Bible seemed to be linked to an obligatory cosmogony.” The Limitations of Science In his remarks, the Pope stressed the maturity which the Church had reached in dealing with science; he could equally have emphasised the converse—the recognition by the scientists from Galileo’s times onwards, of the limitations of their disciplines—the recognition that there are questions which are beyond the ken of present or even future sciences. We may speculate about some of them, but there may be no way to verify empirically our speculations. And it is this empirical verification that is the essence of modern science. We are humbler today than, for example, Ibn Rushd (Averroes) was. Ibn Rushd was a physician of great originality with major contributions in the study of fevers and of the retina; this is one of his claims to scientific immortality. However, in a different discipline—cosmology—he accepted the speculations of Aristotle, without recognising that these

were speculations, and that future experiments may prove them false. The scientist of today knows when and where he is speculating; he would claim no finality for the associated modes of thought. And even about accepted facts, we recognise that newer facts may be discovered which, without falsifying the earlier discoveries, may lead to generalisations; in turn, necessitating revolutionary changes in our concepts and our “world-view.” In physics, this happened in the beginning of this century with the discovery of relativity and quantum theory. It could happen again; with our present constructs appearing as limiting cases of the newer concepts, still more comprehensive, still more embracing. I have been asked to elaborate on this. I have mentioned the revolution in the physicists’ concepts of the relativity of time. It appears incredible that the length of a time interval depends on one’s speed— that the faster we move the longer we appear to live to someone who is not moving with us. And this is not a figment of one’s fancy. Come to the particle physics laboratories of CERN at Geneva which produce short-lived particles like muons, or the laboratories here at Orsay, and make a record august 2013


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The most illustrious physicist of all times, Einstein, spent the best part of his life trying to find flaws in Heisenberg’s arguments. of the intervals of time which elapse before muons of different speeds decay into electrons and neutrinos. The faster muons take longer to die, the slower ones die early, precisely in accord with the quantitative law of relativity of time first enunciated by Einstein in 1905. It took time for physics to verify and comprehend Einstein. Fortunately, it seems no philosopher has understood Einstein. To my knowledge, no system of philosophy appears to have been erected on his ideas of space and time. The second and potentially the more explosive revolution in thought came in 1926 with Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. This principle concerns the existence of a conceptual limitation on our knowledge. It affirms, for example, that no physical measurements can tell you that there is an electron on this table and also that it is lying still. Experiments can be made to discover where the 48 The Review of Religions | august 2013

Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in 1921.

electron is; these experiments will then destroy any possibility of finding simultaneously whether the electron is moving and if so at what speed. There is an inherent limitation on our knowledge, which appears to have been decreed. I shudder to think what might have happened to Heisenberg if he was born in the Middle Ages—just what theological battles might have raged on whether there was a like limitation on the knowledge possessed by God.

As it was, battles were fought, but within the 20th century physics community. Heisenberg’s revolutionary thinking, supported by all known experiment, has never been accepted by all physicists. The most illustrious physicist of all times, Einstein, spent the best part of his life trying to find flaws in Heisenberg’s arguments. He could not gainsay the experimental evidence, but he hoped that such evidence may perhaps be explained within a different theoretical framework. Such framework has not been found so far, notwithstanding Einstein’s repeated attempts. It appears unlikely, but who among us can assert that it may never be discovered. Is the science of today on a collision course with metaphysical thinking? Let us consider some examples of modern scientific thinking in this context. My first example concerns the metaphysical doctrine of the creation from nothing. Today we believe in cosmology, that the most likely value for the density of matter and energy in the universe is such that the mass of the universe adds up to zero, precisely. The mass of the universe is defined as the sum of the masses and energies of the electrons, the protons, photons and neutrinos, which constitute

the universe minus an expression for their mutual gravitational energies. If the mass of the universe is indeed zero, and this is an empirically determinable quantity—the universe shares with the vacuum state the property of masslessness. A bold extrapolation made as recently as a decade back then treats the universe as a quantum fluctuation of the vacuum—of the state of nothingness. I must emphasise here that what distinguishes physics from metaphysics is that this bold extrapolation can and will be tested by measuring the density of matter in the universe more and more precisely. We shall know empirically whether the idea can be sustained in the physicists’ sense. If it cannot be, we shall discard it. My second example is the principle of the anthropic universe—the assertion by a number of cosmologists that one way to understand the processes of cosmology, geology, biochemistry and biology is to assume that our universe was conceived in a potential condition and with physical laws, which possess all the necessary ingredients for the emergence of life and intelligent beings. “Basically this potentiality relies on a complex relationship between the expansion and the cooling of the universe, after the Big Bang, on the behaviour of the free energy of matter, august 2013


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As an extension of the recent excitement in physics—that is of our success in unifying and establishing the identity of two of the fundamental forces of nature, the electric and the weak nuclear—we are now considering the possibility that space-time may have 11 dimensions. on the intervention of chance at various levels,” as well as on a number of coincidences which we shall have to explain and which have permitted the universe to survive a few billion years. Consider some of the elements of this story as told by Carr, Rees and Hubert Reeves.9 The universe started with a Big Bang; as it expanded and thereby cooled, quarks bound themselves through the well-known physical forces into nucleons, these with electrons into atoms, and the atoms into galaxies and stars. “It is of interest to note that stars can form only if they can emit light and heat and emission of light and heat can 50 The Review of Religions | august 2013

take place only in a cold universe. This is guaranteed by the expansion itself. If the universe was to stop expanding, all structure—including living structures—would be dismantled. If the night were not dark, there would be no one to notice it.” Now, normally, nuclear binding should proceed by reaching for the lowest possible stable state. “Nuclear binding, on a cosmic scale, however, stops short of reaching this lowest state. In principle, Big Bang nucleosynthesis could have yielded a world of iron. In fact we hardly go past helium in the table of nuclei. Why? Because the number of relativistic particles per unit volume created was not high enough.” Equilibrium ceased before nuclear evolution reached its lowest state. Did this happen because iron is hardly an appropriate element to promote life? “Next we come to a second chapter of organization of matter. The first chapter, from the Big Bang to the birth of the first stars is a chapter of global organization following the decline of cosmic temperature. The second chapter witnesses the rise of complexity in a local scale around the multitude of stars, with their hot interiors and warm surroundings.” The stars formed according to standard

cosmological laws: they exploded whenever they were larger than a certain size. This time however heavy nuclei were formed—generating ices NH3, CH4, H20, complex molecules, and grains of dust of iron-magnesium silicate. And around a later generation of stars these grains and ices gave birth to planets with atmospheres and oceans into which chemical evolution pursued its course. “Is the future of the universe and in particular the course of events leading to this organization, implicitly written down in the laws of physics from the very beginning?” It appears NOT. The chemist and the biologist tell us that the “physical processes have not always been in equilibrium. We have a large number of energetically equivalent states, and it is between these states that the game of organization takes place, largely through the effect of chance”—chance, presumably guided and driven by the biologists’ principle of “need for survival.” I am longing at this point for my biological colleagues to take up the story and tell us of the operation of their non-equilibrium and the principle of survival mechanism. The equilibrium physicist has, however, a principle analogous to this. We call it the principle of

self-consistency. Since I am more familiar with it, I shall illustrate its operation, so far as the coincidences I referred to earlier are concerned, by taking an example of something I am currently working on myself. As an extension of the recent excitement in physics—that is of our success in unifying and establishing the identity of two of the fundamental forces of nature, the electric and the weak nuclear—we are now considering the possibility that space-time may have 11 dimensions. Within this context we hope to unify the electroweak force with the remaining two basic forces, gravity and the strong nuclear. Of the 11 dimensions which we have postulated, four are the familiar dimensions of space and time. The other seven dimensions are supposed to correspond to a hidden internal manifold—hidden because these seven dimensions are assumed to have curled in upon themselves to fantastically tiny dimensions of the order of 10-33cms. We live on the surface of a cylinder in the 11-dimensional space: our major source of sensory apprehension of these extra dimensions being the existence of familiar charges—electric and nuclear—which in their turn produce the familiar electric and the nuclear forces. august 2013


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We owe it to Islam. Let them know science and its limitations from the inside. There truly is no disconsonance between Islam and modern science. Exciting idea, which may or may not work quantitatively. But one question already arises; why the difference between the four familiar space-time dimensions and the seven internal ones? And why 11 dimensions in the first place, and not a wholesome number like 13 or 19? Were these 11 dimensions on par at the beginning of time? Why have the seven curled in upon themselves, while the other four have not? At present, we make this plausible by postulating a selfconsistency principle; we invent a field of force designed to guarantee this configuration as the only stable self-consistent dynamical system which can exist. But there will be a price to pay. There will be a subtle physical consequence of this hypothesis, for example, in the form of remnants, like the three degree radiation which we believe was a remnant of the recombination era 52 The Review of Religions | august 2013

following on the Big Bang. We shall search for these remnants. If we do not find them, we shall abandon the idea. Creation from nothing, an anthropic universe, extra dimensions—strange topics for late 20th century physics—which appear no different from metaphysical preoccupations of earlier times. But so far as science is concerned, mark the provisional nature of the conceptual edifice, the insistence on empirical verification at each stage and the concept of driving self-consistency. For the agnostic, self-consistency (if successful) may connote irrevelance of a deity. For the believer, it provides no more than an unravelling of a small part of the Lord’s design—its profundity, in the areas it illuminates, only enhances his reverence for the beauty of the design itself. I can offer no new resolution, except to make two remarks. First, I find the creationist creed insulting that while we are willing to ascribe subtlety to ourselves in devising these self-consistency modalities, the only subtlety we are willing to ascribe to the Lord is that of the potter’s art—kneading clay and fashioning it into man. I do not see why once having

created certain attributes within matter, and the laws which govern the operation of the fundamental forces, the path we follow in physics is not creationism in the wider sense. My second remark is personal. Personally for me, my faith was predicted by the timeless spiritual message of Islam, on matters on which physics is silent. It was given meaning to by the very first verse of the Holy Qur’an after the opening: “This is the Book, wherein there is no doubt, a guidance to the God-fearing, who believe in the unseen.”10 The unseen—beyond the reach of human ken—the unknowable. Concluding Remarks Since in my audience today, there are a number of Muslims, who can influence decisions in their own countries, let me say in all humility that to know the limitations of science, one must be part of living science; otherwise one will continue fighting yesterday’s philosophical battles today. Believe me, there are high creators of science among us—and potentially among our youth. Trust them; their Islam is as deeply founded, their appreciation of the spiritual values of the

Holy Book as profound as anyone else’s. Provide them with facilities to create science in its standard norms of inquiry. We owe it to Islam. Let them know science and its limitations from the inside. There truly is no disconsonance between Islam and modern science. Let me conclude with two thoughts. One is regarding the urge to know. As I mentioned before, the Holy Qur’an and the teaching of the Holy Prophetsa emphasise the creating and acquiring of knowledge as bounden duties of a Muslim throughout his or her life. I spoke of Al Biruni who flourished at Ghazna in Southern Afghanistan one thousand years ago. The story is told of his death by a contemporary who says: “I heard, Al Biruni was dying. I hurried to his house for a last look; one could see that he would not survive long. When they told him of my coming, he opened his eyes and said: ‘Are you so and so?’ I said: ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘I am told you know the solution to a knotty problem in the laws of inheritance of Islam.’ And he alluded to a well-known puzzle which had baffled the Faqihs [jurists] in the past. I said: ‘Abu Raihan, at this time?’ And Al Biruni replied: ‘Don’t you think it is better that I should die knowing, rather than ignorant?’ With sorrow in my heart, I told august 2013


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him of my resolution, and then took my leave. I had not yet crossed the portals of his house when the cry arose from inside: ‘Al Biruni is dead.’”

191-192. The English translation by Maulawi

guidance for the righteous, Who believe in the

the creation of the heavens and the earth and in

what We have provided for them.”

As my last thought, I would like to quote from the Holy Book which, more than anything else I know, speaks of the eternal wonder I have personally discovered in my own science:

Those who remember Allah while standing, sit-

“Though all the trees on earth were Pens And the Sea was Ink Seven seas after it to replenish, Yet would the Words of Thy Lord never be spent, Thy Lord is Mighty and All Wise.”11

4. H.J.J. Winter, Eastern Science, (London: John

Sher Ali for these verses reads as follows: “In

the alternation of the night and the day there are indeed Signs for men of understanding;

ting, and lying on their sides, and ponder over

the creation of the heavens and the earth: ‘Our Lord, Thou hast not created this in vain.’”

3. A.J. Arberry, Revelation and Reason in Islam, (London: George Allen & Unwin,1957), 19.

unseen and observe Prayer, and spend out of

11. Holy Qur’an, Surah Luqman, Verse 28. The English translation by Maulawi Sher Ali for

these verses reads as follows: “And if all the trees that are in the earth were pens, and the ocean

were ink, with seven oceans swelling it thereaf-

ter, the words of Allah would not be exhausted. Surely, Allah is Mighty, Wise.”

Murray, 1952), 72-73.

5. Roger Briffault, “Making of Humanity,”

quoted in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, ed. Muhammad Iqbal, (Lahore: M. Ashraf, 1971), 129-130.

6. Ibn Khaldun, “The Muqaddimah,” in The

Write to us with comments, feedback and suggestions at

Muslim World on the Eve of Europe’s Expansion, endnotes

ed. J. Saunders, (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice

1. Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Ghashiyah, Verses

7. Snouk Hargonje, “Mekka II,” quoted in The

Ali for these verses reads as follows: “Do they

(London: Luzac & Co., 1903), 228.

And at the heaven, how it is raised high? And at

(London: T. Cadell & W. Davies, 1809), 190-

earth, how it is spread out?” However, Tafseer-e-

9. H. Reeves, The Birth of the Universe, (Paris:

camel has also been interpreted by some schol-

10. Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verses

following this line of translation. [Editor]

Ali for these verses reads as follows: “This is

Hall, 1966), 131-134.

18-21. The English translation by Maulawi Sher

History of Philosophy in Islam, ed. J.J. DeBoer,

not then look at the camel, how it is created?

8. William Eton, A Survey of the Turkish Empire,

the mountains, how they are set up? And at the

193; 206-10; 231-233; 275; 278-281; 283-284.

Kabeer notes under this verse that the word for

Frontieres, 1982) 369.

ars as “clouds,” and evidently Dr. Salam was

3-4. The English translation by Maulawi Sher

2. Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-E-‘Imran, Verses

a perfect Book; there is no doubt in it; it is a

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Mosque – An Abode of Peace and Security

© makhzan-e-tasaweer

Before His Holiness addressed the gathering, Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Associate Minister for Defence, read out a message on behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper congratulating the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at on the opening of the new Mosque.

Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community says that first “Charter for the Protection of Religion and Religious Rights” found in the Qur’an


he Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at and Fifth Khalifah, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, addressed a special reception held to celebrate the opening of the Baitur Rahman Mosque in Vancouver, Canada on 18th May 2013. During his address, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba reassured the audience that they had no reason to fear Ahmadiyya Mosques because they were built only for the worship of God and for the sake of serving humanity. The Khalifah also addressed the issue of Jihad by explaining that when permission for defensive war was given to the early Muslims, it was given as a means to protect all religions and all places of worship.

Dr. Andrew Bennett, Ambassador of Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom said he was amazed “by the message of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at and its commitment to Love for All, Hatred for None.”

Lois Jackson, Mayor of the Corporation of Delta said the Mosque had become “an instant landmark.” She said it was  “a great honour to have Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad in the city.” august 2013


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– an abode of peace

and security

Mobina Jaffer, Senator from British Columbia read out a message from Justin Trudeau, leader of Canada’s Liberal Party in which he called the Mosque “a welcome addition” to British Colombia and Canada at large.

Jinny Sims, Member of Parliament, said that if the Ahmadi motto of “Love for All, Hatred for None” was adopted by all “the world will be a better place”.

Rob Norris, Member of Legislative Assembly, said he was “humbled and honoured to take part in the celebration.” He said that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at  “enriches our entire country.”

Marilyn Iafrate, Councillor, City of Vaughan, said the local community was “very blessed”  to have Ahmadi Muslims amongst them. She said the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at was “totally devoted to giving back to their community.”

Judy Sgro, Member of Parliament, said the fact that so many dignitaries were in attendance illustrated “the love and respect we all hold for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.” She said the Ahmadiyya Community was  “an example for the entire world.

Jim Karygiannis, Member of Parliament, said that the persecution faced by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at “should not be forgotten.” He said it was imperative that all parties worked together to ensure religious freedom for all people.

Manmeet Bhullar, Member of Legislative Assembly, said meeting Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba marked a “profound moment”  in his life. In a message to the Ahmadiyya Community he said “we are with you, just as you are with us.”

Ron Starr, Councillor, City of Mississauga, announced that his Council had decided to recognise May 18 as “Ahmadiyya Day.” He said that in Ahmadi Mosques there is “peace, hope and a recognition that by working together will make the world a better place.”

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Prior to the event, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, answered questions during a 30-minute press conference. Amongst the media outlets included were CBC, CTV, Global TV as well as The Province and Vancouver Sun newspapers.

Keynote Address by Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community After reciting Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz and Bismillah, Hazrat Khalifahtul Masih Vaba said: “All distinguished guests, Assalamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahe Wa Baraka60 The Review of Religions | august 2013

tohu - peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all. I would like to firstly thank all of you who have accepted our invitation and joined us today as we celebrate the opening our new Mosque here in Vancouver. In worldly relationships, people regularly invite others to social or civic events. Normally those who are invited accept such invitations, except when they have a particular reason or genuine excuse not to. Indeed, it is quite common for people of all races, nations and religions to attend such events. However, for non-Muslims to attend an Islamic religious function is clear proof of a very tolerant attitude and illustrates your keen desire to become acquainted with others and to establish ties of friendship.

Today’s function is a purely religious event where we are gathered together for the inauguration of our Mosque. This is the first purpose-built Mosque we have constructed in this Province and so its inauguration is a cause of great joy and happiness for us. The fact that you have all come to share to join in our happiness makes us even more grateful to you than would be the case if you were to attend a regular secular or social function. It is my sincere hope and prayer that alongside the building of this Mosque, our good relations and friendships with the people of this area continue to ever increase and strengthen. I hope and pray that the doubts and reservations that some non-Muslims hold about Islam will also be removed and that all of you will come to see the true and loving picture of our religion.

With these few words I would now like to briefly tell you about the meaning and purpose of a mosque. The word “Masjid” is an Arabic word which in English is translated as “Mosque.” However, the word “Mosque” does not convey or do justice to the full meaning and purpose of the word “Masjid ,” which is why I would like to explain its true meanings. ‘Masjid’ literally means a ‘place of worship’. It means a place where people bow down before God. In the Qur’an, God has said that mosques belong to Him, meaning they are under His ownership. It may be that mosques are physically constructed by human beings, but the doors to a true mosque, that is, a mosque built purely for the sake of Allah, remains open for all people who guarantee peace and security and who desire to enter for the sake of worshipping the Omnipotent God. We find the practical example of this august 2013


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– an abode of peace

and security

ue to illuminate and spread light.

teaching from our master, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. Once a delegation of Christians from the city of Najran came to Madinah. As time approached for their worship, they became extremely anxious to find a place where they could pray. The Holy Prophetsa, having seen their worry, told them to not worry and said that they could worship in his Mosque in Madinah. Today, a significant section of people in the non-Muslim world direct allegations against the Holy Prophetsa [and say] that, God forbid, he adopted an extremist approach towards other religions. So much false propaganda has been levelled against Islam and its Foundersa. At one level, Islam’s opponents are afraid 62 The Review of Religions | august 2013

of the religion, whilst on the other side, they level the most profane, vulgar and hate-filled allegations to attack its Holy Foundersa. They do this because they do not know the real history and nor are they acquainted with the truthful and immaculate teachings of Islam. There is no doubt that the extremist acts of a certain group of Muslims have caused this state of fear and hatred to develop. Yet, let it also be clear that the so-called Muslims perform these acts because they have moved far away from the teachings of Holy Qur’an and from the blessed practice of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. I have already cited the compassionate example of the Holy Prophetsa in relation to the arrangement

he made for the Christian delegation that came from Najran. I shall now present to you what the Qur’an says about the establishment of peace. In Chapter 2, Verse 115 of the Qur’an, Allah says that there can be no one who is more unjust than a person who stops the name of God being proclaimed and who prevents worship in His mosques. This is a very clear instruction that the doors of a true mosque shall remain open for all people who desire to worship the One God. Therefore, a true Muslim can never be so cruel as to stop someone from worshipping God Almighty. If we assess the majestic teachings of Islam, then the beautiful aspects of its teachings contin-

Whenever I have introduced the authentic and beautiful teachings of Islam to people unacquainted with it, they have always become astonished upon learning the truth. Unfortunately, as I said earlier, there is no doubt that there is a section of Muslims, who due to their entirely wrong acts are developing a fear of Islam, instead of displaying Islam’s true glory and beauty. What they are doing is to be entirely condemned. Islamic teachings are of love, affection and peace. These are not mere words, but are in fact a reality. Let me make it absolutely clear that those who tarnish the name of Islam through their evil acts are motivated solely by their own personal and selfish interests. And let me also make it absolutely clear that Islam has no link to extremism, terrorism or severity. If, on certain occasions, there are some teachings of firmness in the Qur’an, then their reasons and justifications have been clearly explained. Where there are such teachings, they are given only as a means of establishing the permanent objective of peace and security in the world. august 2013


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– an abode of peace

and security

When the Qur’an gave permission to the Muslims to use force to defend themselves, it was given as a means to protect all religions and all people and history serves witness to this truth. It is in Chapter 22, Verse 40 of the Holy Qur’an that Muslims were first given permission to fight back to defend themselves from the barbaric onslaughts of their opponents. The verse states: “Permission to take up arms is given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged and Allah indeed, has power to help them.” We should understand the context behind this permission and the state of affairs at that time. The Muslims had made every effort and every sacrifice to try and establish peace. They had endured the most merciless forms of bitter persecution and brutality. War had been waged against them and they had been driven out of their homes. Thus, in every possible respect the cruelty and the barbarity of the opponents of Islam had exceeded all limits. It was at that critical point that Allah granted permission for a defensive war, and alongside it, He guaranteed that His Help would be with the Muslims. 64 The Review of Religions | august 2013

Despite the fact that in worldly terms, the Muslims were much weaker and were helpless in comparison to their opponents, Allah Who possesses all powers, promised to provide His Help and to lead them to victory. History testifies that this is indeed what transpired. Whilst the disbelievers of Makkah possessed a huge and powerful army, fully equipped with large stockpiles of weapons and artillery, the Muslim army was one-third in size and possessed hardly any weaponry. Despite the huge gulf that lay between them, the Muslims were able to inflict a great and truly miraculous defeat on their opponents. Because they were fighting for the cause of truth, to establish peace and to stop cruelty, it was permitted and God’s Help was with them. In the very next verse, Allah has explained that if the cruelty was not stopped, then every religion would become a target for the cruelty of the disbelievers. The Qur’an says: “Those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly only because they said, ‘Our Lord is Allah’ - And if Allah did not repel some people by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down cloisters and churches and

© makhzan-e-tasaweer

Baitur Rahman Mosque, Vancouver. Photo taken by Omair Aleem.

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– an abode of peace

and security

synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft commemorated. And Allah will surely help one who helps Him. Allah is, indeed, Powerful, Mighty.’ (Ch.22:V:41) This verse clearly indicates that if God Almighty had not given permission for a defensive war then no religion would remain safe and nor would any place of worship remain secure. Neither temples, churches, synagogues or mosques would be free from danger, rather the opponents would strive to destroy and shatter them so that no trace of any religion would be left behind. God Almighty has stated that to target anyone on the basis of their religion is an extremely grave and dangerous crime and is something that hugely displeases Him. This is why in extreme circumstances it is permissible to stop such cruel people with force. One point that should be noted is that in the verse I have quoted, Allah did not command that force should be used to protect mosques alone. In fact the names of other places of worship have been mentioned first and after that mosques are mentioned. Thus, once again I should make it clear that when permission to fight back against the dis66 The Review of Religions | august 2013

believers was given to the Muslims, it was not just to defend and protect Islam, but was given as a means to protect and defend all places of worship and all religions. In essence, it can be said that the first ever “Charter for the Protection of Religion and Religious Rights” is found in the Holy Qur’an and it has been associated directly with a mosque. In other words, whenever a new mosque is built, a new chapter for religious freedom is opened. It does not only give religious freedom, but it orders to protect all the religions. Here, I would like to also mention that Canada is one of the very few countries – it may be the second or third country – that has opened a designated Office of Religious Freedom. In my view, the Government deserves praise and congratulations for taking this worthy step. I say this because through this endeavour Canada is seeking to establish something, both here in Canada and abroad, which pleases the Creator of the heavens and the earth. We, Ahmadi Muslims, believe that the Founder of our Communityas was the Imam of the Age, who came to revive the true teachings of Islam, and because of this belief, we claim that we act upon the true teachings of Islam and the Qur’an. We

try our utmost to enlighten the people of the world about Islam’s pure and noble teachings. And so, we fully support the Government of Canada in this endeavour. We will fully cooperate with them in every possible effort to establish religious freedom throughout the world. There can be no doubt that we practice exactly what we preach and have already demonstrated this by the fact that the Office of Religious Freedom was inaugurated from our centre in Peace Village in Ontario. I would also like to say that I am very pleased that Dr. Andrew Bennett, who we are fortunate enough to have sitting here today, has been appointed as the first Ambassador for the Office of Religious Freedom. I recently met with him when he travelled to London to attend our National Peace Symposium that we organise each year. Apart from coming across as very friendly and open-hearted, I also found him to be full of resolve and determination to carry out his responsibilities in an excellent fashion. May Allah enable this determination to always remain. It is also my prayer that Canada’s Government and its people come to adopt all activities that are preferred and liked by God Almighty. I pray that that they save themselves from those acts that

displease God so that His Blessings can rain down on this great nation. I would now like to speak again with reference to this Mosque. As I said before, the people of this area, this city and indeed this country should entirely remove any fears, doubts or worries that may have developed in their hearts and minds. There is no need to fear this Mosque – because from this building only a message of love, affection and brotherhood will shine forth. And this building will prove to be a guarantee for peace and harmony. This Mosque has been named “Baitur Rahman.” The word Rahman is one of the names of Allah and is one of His attributes. It means that God is gracious, merciful and compassionate to all forms of creation and all people, irrespective of nationality, race or religion. It is because of the grace and kindness of God that in today’s materialistic world, where the vast majority of people do not fulfil the rights owed to God, He continues to bestow and provide for all of His creation. Muslims have been instructed to adopt and inculcate God’s attributes and so it is essential for true Muslims to also be merciful and compassionate towards God’s creation. A Muslim should august 2013


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– an abode of peace

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help his fellow men and women, rather than causing them difficulty or sorrow. Only by acting in a compassionate and sympathetic way can a Muslim become a recipient of God’s blessings and mercy. Clearly, therefore it is impossible for a true Muslim to partake in cruelty against other people or to cause disorder. It is impossible for a true Muslim to turn a mosque into a place of fear and hatred and to turn people away from it. On the contrary, because the worship of God takes place within a mosque and because it gives a message of peace and security, a mosque is a place which draws people towards it like a magnet. And so upon the inauguration of this Mosque, I would like to proclaim and declare that this Mosque will prove to be a source of spreading love, affection, peace and brotherhood for all people irrespective of whether they are Ahmadi or non-Ahmadis or whether they are Muslim or non-Muslims. The doors of our Mosque will always be open to the people of all religions, because this Mosque is a means of manifesting God’s grace, mercy, love and compassion for mankind. I should also say that with the construction of this Mosque, the responsibilities and duties laid upon every Ahmadi Muslim towards 68 The Review of Religions | august 2013

the wider society increases. More than before, the local Ahmadis must be ever-ready to protect every church, every synagogue and every other place of worship. It should and, God Willing, will be the case that non-Ahmadis will come to witness and realise for themselves that whenever they are in any form of need or assistance, it is the Ahmadis who are at the forefront of helping them and protecting the places of worship of all people. It is my hope and prayer that you will have been reassured by what I have said and that the beauty of Islam’s true teachings will have become apparent. Certainly it is this Islam, which is a beacon of light for all mankind, which is practiced by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. Today, the world stands in great need for people of all religions, and even those who do not believe in religion, to come together. There is an urgent need for people of all races, nationalities and ethnicities to unite to a common purpose to save the world from destruction. All peace-loving people must join together to firmly stop all forms of cruelty wherever they occur. Everyone should remove all hostility, hatred and malice from their hearts, otherwise such enmities will ignite and cause the destruction

of this world. The signs of a world war are rapidly appearing on the horizon and there is only one way to save ourselves from its devastating consequences and that is to beseech the One God, Who is compassionate to His creation, for His Mercy. It is my prayer that the world becomes inclined towards this – Ameen. At the end I would like to once again express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you for taking the time and effort to join in our happiness today. May Allah bless you all. Thank you very much.”

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The English Rendering of the 5 Volume Commentary of the Holy Qur’an One of the most comprehensive commentaries of the Holy Qur’an ever written.

Commentary by Hadhrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad(ra) Read it online at: Or Purchase the print version at:

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Guests Reflect on Address by His Holiness

“There is a special buzz and excitement every time His Holiness comes to Canada. I really hope he comes again and again. I understood everything His Holiness said. I consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to meet with him.” Councillor Marilyn Iafrate (Member of Vaughan City Council) “It was such an inspiring and inclusive message. I was so honoured to hear this speech. The speech of His Holiness is exactly what we need in today’s world. I particularly agree that we each have to make changes in our local areas so that world can improve.” John Cummins (Leader of the British Columbia Conservative Party)

“I am supposed to give an important speech soon in Geneva–I had already drafted it. But now I will redraft based on many points given by His Holiness. Everything he said I agreed with. I am a normal man and he is such a spiritual man. I want to make sure his trip to Calgary is as special as possible.” Manmeet Bhular (Canadian politician and current Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta)

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“His Holiness displays clarity of thought. He knows his views and is not confused in any way. His Holiness is courageous in his speech. He is how a spiritual leader should be–spiritual leaders cannot afford to be diplomatic. His Holiness’ belief about Jihad is exactly the same as what I have been taught. His Holiness has a very positive energy and presence.” Ravinder Singh (Host, Radio Sher-E-Punjab)

“A breath of fresh air - welcome news that Islam stands on the side of love, not hate; peace not violence; unity not division; your people are friendly and willing to share in discussion. Your generosity through hospitality reflects Allah’s nature of provision for humanity. The chanting of scripture [Qur’an] and poetry was very inspiring.” Richard Paul (Guest)

“Being here with His Holiness today certainly inspires me and as I’ve always said about the late Khalifah and this Khalifah; that I feel closer to God when I am with these guys than anyone else.” Jim Karygiannis (MP, Canadian Liberal Politician) “His Holiness is a tremendous person and his speech was absolutely tremendous. He promotes inclusivity, that is what we need.” Sam Sgro (Husband of Judy Sgro, MP, Canadian Liberal Party) “I liked the part where His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmad said that whenever we open a Mosque, we open a chapter for religious freedom. His speech proves Ahmadis are non-violent and peaceful-It proves Ahmadis are humanitarians.” Christian Beckter (Guest) “His Holiness answered my questions completely. Whatever I had hoped for I got. I will be covering on CBC tonight.” CBC Press ( Journalist)

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guests reflect on address by his holiness

“His Holiness’ address was very good. It was a true blessing for me that I could be here to listen to his speech.” Rob Harry (Guest) “There can be nothing better than the address of His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmad. I have no words to describe my feelings. It is one the best events I have ever been to.” Gurnan Johar (Guest) “It was wonderful to meet so many people from all over Canada at the Inauguration. I met people from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. These people that traveled so far to be there obviously have a place in their hearts for the Ahmadiyya Community. After my experience, I now understand why people would come from all over our great nation. It is a true honour for British Columbia that His Holiness has come here. His message of the Oneness of God is crucial for entire world.” Sukh Johal (Guest)

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“When we first came into the parking lot–I thought the building positively glowed. I am an architect and I appreciate the beauty of the building. It is totally captivating to be here amongst all these people. I have read a lot about the Ahmadi situation in Pakistan. I am very happy to be here because it is a very beautiful occasion and I am wholeheartedly in the ideas behind the Ahmadiyya Community.” Tom Cobin (Architect) “I was very impressed. I thought His Holiness’ address was very gracious. The message was welcoming and inviting to all faiths. This was very interesting. The Dalai Lama does the same, so I was happy to see that.” Gord Richards (Guest) “As a person who believes we must seek and share what we have in common, I’m so gratified to learn about the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.” Mike Gillian (Guest)

“I feel very blessed to be part of this. What stuck in my mind (about His Holiness’ address) was ‘love’ and the message of ‘love.’ And that we, anyone who doesn’t belong to this community, should not be afraid of this congregation. I didn’t have to be told that, but it was lovely and very meaningful to hear that.” Marilyn Clayton (Wife of Ken Clayton and mother of Sean Clayton, builders of the mosque)

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Angels Echoing the Kalimah in the City of Angels 1

Historic Visit of Khalifah of the Promised Messiahas to California part ii Original Urdu Reports by Abdul Majid Tahir Translated by Professor Amtul Razzaq Carmichael 76 The Review of Religions | august 2013

Hazrat Mir za Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaba (the supreme head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Fifth Successor of the Promised Messiahas) undertook a historic trip to the West Coast of the United States for the first time. As part of his ten-day visit, His Holiness met with various federal, state and city officials, members of law enforcement, and heads of different consulates, thought leaders,

professors and other dignitaries. On May 11, His Holiness delivered a keynote address at the Montage, Beverly Hills on Islam, terrorism and human rights.

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba, and offer Friday (Jummah) prayers behind him. The following is part II of a two-part series on the tour.

An important reason for such visits by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba is to strengthen and consolidate the spiritual foundations of members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. His tours see His Holiness leading congregational prayers, giving various sermons and granting many private audiences with thousands of Ahmadi men, women and children. Such private audiences (referred to as Mulaqaat) are perceived as deeply spiritual and emotional moments wherein Ahmadis are able to seek advice on personal matters, and request support and prayers from their revered and beloved leader.

9th May 2013 After offering the early morning prayers in congregation, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba attended to his wide and varied official commitments as the leader of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, whose members run into tens of millions.

While an electoral process exists for the selection of each new Khalifah, Ahmadis believe that each Khalifah is Divinely chosen and appointed to lead the Community. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V’saba visit to the West Coast was replete with awe-inspiring and heart-warming incidents from hundreds of devotees who travelled far and wide (some undertaking journeys of nearly 3000 miles) to be able to partake in the blessed company of

After offering afternoon prayers in congregation, and following a private audience with 93 Ahmadis from 23 families this afternoon, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba presided over a meeting wherein female college and university students presented their research projects. One student shared results from her research on climate change and its impact on public health, in particular on underprivileged populations in the rural United States. She apprised the audience how human access to clean air, water, secure dwellings and a safe work environment were categorised as fundamental human rights. Another student presented her research findings on the prevalence and august 2013


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management of post-traumatic stress disorder among soldiers returning from combat. She spelt out various techniques used in order to facilitate such soldiers to reintegrate into community life by enhancing their interactions with civilians. A student originally from Ghana presented her research on the concept of enhanced oil recovery with polymer flooding. This technique improves the yield of crude oil and has a minimal impact on the environment. His Holiness prayed that the discovery of oil improves the wealth of the country and that it does not end up in the hands of corrupt elements. His Holiness expressed concern that Ghana uses only 30% of oil extracted in the country, while the rest is exported. Following these presentations, a presentation was made summarising the challenges of getting into medical school in the U.S. Along with excellent grades, various extra-curricular activities, research experience and voluntary work experience form part of the entrance requirements for medical school. The academic training lasts 4 years, followed by a 3-year residency and a required exit examination before they can become practising physicians. 78 The Review of Religions | august 2013

At the conclusion of all presentations, a question-and-answer session was held. In response to a question, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba advised that well-educated Ahmadi women should endeavour to publish articles in newspapers explaining the general thrust of Islamic teachings in a clear and comprehensive manner, with special emphasis being placed on addressing controversial issues. By way of example, His Holiness underscored that the subject of war and Islam’s sanction to use weapons in certain circumstances needs to be espoused and explained in light of the Quran, which devotes 190 verses to the subject (the Bible in comparison contains 500 verses on the matter). His Holiness advised Waqf-e-Nau girls (youth who want to dedicate their lives wholly to the service of the Community) against pursuing the legal profession. However, he added that while it was not advisable for other Ahmadi girls to go into the field of criminal law, they could train as lawyers specialising in human rights or family law such that they are able to help poor women. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba underlined architecture as a respectable profession for women wherein they could exploit their strong sense of aesthetics and render

their services to the Community. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba advised that the interaction between Ahmadi male and female students, when working together for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association, should subscribe to an Islamic framework, with communications being limited to business matters only. His Holiness cautioned that these interactions should not be taken to the level of friendship. Ahmadi students may engage in academic discussions with each other and assist one another in studies if required. However, they must always exercise a level of decorum and avoid unnecessary exposure to male colleagues. The guiding principle, His Holiness espoused, is to treat male students as colleagues and not as friends. In response to a question regarding external perceptions with respect to Ahmadi ladies being forced to wear the Hijab (a term used to refer to the Muslim headscarf worn by women), His Holiness advised that it was up to Ahmadi women and girls to manage such public perceptions associated with the Hijab. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba enumerated that a woman’s disposition whilst wearing the Hijab remained fundamental to tempering these perceptions–i.e., a woman who

appears cheerful and contented portrays the Hijab as a positive externality whilst women appearing miserable and uncomfortable create an opposite effect leading to skewed perspectives being developed by society. At the conclusion of this class, His Holiness led the Ameen (a celebration of the first complete reading of the Qur’an by a child) ceremony of 23 Ahmadi children, following which he led the late evening prayers in congregation before retiring to his residence. The Los Angeles Times published an interview with Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba titled, “Global Voices: Ahmadis’ mission of peace in an age of terror.”2 After a brief introduction of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness rendered candid responses to questions regarding, amongst other things, jihad and terrorism, and clarified many misunderstandings. The following is a summary of the salient points from the interview: • His Holiness apprised the interviewer of the “Muslims for Life” campaign run by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community dedicated to collecting blood for local communities, and which raises several thousand pints of blood in memory of august 2013


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historic visit of khalifah of the promised messiah as to california

the victims of 9/11 every year. • The controversial issue of religion and politics was also broached and with respect to the situation in Syria, His Holiness highlighted the importance of the suggestion made by Shimon Peres (the Prime Minister of Israel) in galvanising an Arab-only Peace Force in order to resolve this Israel-Palestine conflict. • His Holiness rendered an explanation of the differences between Ahmadi Muslims and other Muslim sects, and explained in detail the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan. • He highlighted that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was progressively expanding in Africa. • His Holiness expressed confidence in Islam’s ability to win over the hearts of Western nations, saying that if the current generation of westerners do not accept Ahmadiyyat, their next generations certainly will. 10th May 2013 After leading the early morning prayers in congregation, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba spent the morning attending to 80 The Review of Religions | august 2013

his official duties. This was a historical day as the Friday sermon delivered by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba was relayed live from the West Coast of the United States to the entire world for the first time. A Bai’at (formal initiation into the Community) ceremony followed the Friday sermon. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba graciously found time in his busy schedule to watch the final moments of a basketball match between two Ahmadi youth teams and planted an olive tree on the grounds of the Mosque complex to commemorate his historic visit. Later 162 members from 43 Ahmadi families had the honour of receiving a private audience with His Holiness, following which Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba presided over an Ameen ceremony for 33 children. Before retiring to his residence, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the congregational evening prayers. 11th May 2013 After attending to his official commitments in the morning, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba attended a Global Peace Lunch reception arranged in his honour at the Beverly Hills Montage Hotel. The details of His Holiness’s speech have been documented previously.3

His Holiness spent the rest of the afternoon visiting the Getty Center Museum. The museum houses a large collection of fine art pieces from Europe and America, and contains a study centre on the history of fine art dating back to the ancient Greek, Roman and Etrurian cultures. The Getty Research Institute forms part of the museum and is dedicated to furthering the knowledge and understanding of the visual arts. His Holiness visited different parts of the museum accompanied by a tour guide and was able to enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the city from the apex of the museum. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba travelled to the Bait-us-Salam Mosque situated southwest of Los Angeles to lead the congregational afternoon prayers, following which His Holiness met with local Ahmadis. One African-American Ahmadi related a dream he had seen wherein he saw Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba in the Bait-us-Salam Mosque and someone asks him how one can find God? His Holiness responds by asking where would one go to look for fish? The questioner replies, to the sea. The dream continuing, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba asks the questioner, where would you go to search for a duck? The man replies, to a pond. His Holiness then

addresses the questioner and says that if you wish to find God, then come to the mosque. After listening to this dream, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba advised the worshippers to focus and reflect on its message and strive in earnest to offer the five daily prayers in the Mosque. During this visit, His Holiness also announced five Nikah (the reading of the Muslim contract of marriage) ceremonies. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba extended his well wishes to the families, praying for the new marriages to be long lasting, for all families to be nurturing towards one another and the marriages to be a role model for the next generation. His Holiness ate dinner at a relative’s home after leading the congregational evening prayers at the Bait-ul-Hameed Mosque. 12th May 2013 Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba held meetings with Jama’at (Community) officials from the Marshall Islands responsible for proselytisation efforts in the Pacific islands of Micronesia, Kosrae and Kiribati, and granted a private audience to 264 members from 64 Ahmadi families. After leading the afternoon prayers in congregation, His Holiness met with a further 182 Ahmadis. Hazrat Khalifatul august 2013


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historic visit of khalifah of the promised messiah as to california

Masih Vaba led the evening prayers in congregation before retiring to his residence. 13th May 2013 His Holiness travelled to Big Bear Lake this afternoon, a city in San Bernardino County, California, which is surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest. During his stay at Big Bear Lake, His Holiness was taken to the Lakefront Lodge and Resort Lagonita Lodge, the afternoon prayers being offered in the Lodge’s lawns. A local couple who had read His Holiness’s interview in the Los Angeles Times were delighted to have seen Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba and requested to have a picture taken with him. They expressed a deep sense of appreciation for the humility exuded by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba, which seemed to impress them. His Holiness undertook a pre-booked boat trip with his team into the surrounding mountain scenery, capturing the breathtaking natural beauty on his camera and gracing his team with pictures as well. His Holiness paid a visit to the captain’s cabin before the conclusion of the boat ride. Later that evening, His Holiness returned to the Bait-ul-Hameed Mosque, and led the congregational evening prayers before retiring to his residence. 82 The Review of Religions | august 2013

14th May 2013 Following the conclusion of his official commitments in the morning, His Holiness travelled to Malibu, a beach community located in northwestern Los Angeles County, California. Afternoon prayers were offered in congregation in a local park following lunch, and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba spent the rest of the afternoon in the park engaged in an informal exchange of thoughts and ideas with his entourage. • His Holiness suggested that modern technological resources should be exploited to trace the progeny of early Ahmadis and establish connections with them, citing, by way of example, how the Community in New Zealand had traced the progeny of Professor Clement Wragge (a renowned meteorologist)–who had accepted Ahmadiyyat after meeting the Promised Messiahas in May 1908 in Lahore. In the UK, contact was established with the great-grandson of Mr. Henry Martin Clark4, to whom His Holiness graciously granted an audience. Moreover, in the UK, the grandson of Captain Douglas5 and the granddaughter of Thomas Piggott6 were also contacted. His Holiness also mentioned an Australian by the name

of Mr. Charles Francis Sievwright, who had accepted Ahmadiyyat at the hand of the Promised Messiahas in 1896. His Islamic name was Abdul Haq and he immigrated to the US and is buried here. The Missionary in Charge of the US reported that the grave of Abdul Haq Sahib has been traced, and the search for his progeny is progressing. • His Holiness espoused that Ahmadis should maintain a good working relationship with both the ruling and opposition parties of the country. His Holiness reiterated that it is perfectly acceptable for Ahmadi men to go into politics, drawing attention to existing Ahmadi politicians in Ghana. While His Holiness advised women to keep abreast with political developments and news, he is not in favour of women entering mainstream politics. • His Holiness directed a young economist to undertake research in Islamic banking and finance. • His Holiness revealed that he is interested in farming owing to its beneficial nature for providing sustenance for man, and said that his favourite fruit is the mango.

• His Holiness encouraged Ahmadi men to make earnest efforts to offer the five daily prayers in the mosque and should not limit their offering prayers in congregation to just once a week. • One member from the entourage narrated how in Vietnam students obtain academic excellence owing to their parents’ ritual of making them devote their evenings to studies rather than to watching television or browsing the internet. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba explained that this was aligned with Islamic principles that encourage children to return home at Maghrib (dusk) prayers and focus on their schoolwork. • His Holiness encouraged architects in Canada to come up with designs for the construction of new mosques. • Doctors were directed to commit to Waqfe-Aarzee (temporary period of service to the Community) in Rabwah and Qadian and render their muchneeded services in these places. • His Holiness advised parents to inculcate good values and the habit of being regular in prayers and the recitation of the Holy Qur’an in their children through leading by example, with august 2013


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historic visit of khalifah of the promised messiah as to california

kindness and affection. • If a suitable match was found for an Ahmadi girl during her education, His Holiness advised that it is best to accept the proposal, and the families through mutual agreement could always arrange for the girl to continue with her education after marriage. • It was acceptable for children to watch movies at home under the supervision of their parents, who must ensure that children appreciate and understand the distinction between right and wrong. • One member remarked that some girls are taunted for being oppressed for being unable to wear shorts during the summer months. His Holiness advised parents to invest time and energy in making their children understand the philosophy of Islamic teachings. His Holiness enumerated the virtues of making girls aware of their sense of modesty from a young age (with girls above 5 being made to avoid dresses without tights), which will equip them with a strong moral foundation for adulthood. His Holiness returned to the Bait-ulHameed Mosque later that evening, and 84 The Review of Religions | august 2013

following a short break, he met with local Community workers for a group photo. After leading the congregational evening prayers, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba spent a few moments in the ladies’ section and affectionately met various children before retiring to his residence. 15 May 2013 Following his official commitments in the morning, His Holiness bade farewell to the Ahmadiyya Community in Los Angeles, which had gathered in large crowds to say goodbye to their revered leader. After leading a long and heartfelt silent prayer, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba left Los Angeles for Vancouver, Canada. th

In summation, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V ’s aba trip to the West Coast of the United States saw the realisation of the Divine Prophecy revealed to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas, “A King arrived.” The spiritual King of today traversed the globe to impart the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat to the world. The widespread public appreciation for his message will herald the triumph of Islam in the near future, Inshallah (God-willing).


1. There is no God but Allah and Mohammadsa

is His Messenger (The Muslim Creed)



3. See the July 2013 edition of The Review of Religions.

4. An infamous case was filed against the

Promised Messiahas by a priest named Henry Martin Clark in order to avenge the defeat of Christians at the hands of the Promised

Messiahas in a debate. The Promised Messiah’sas

book Jang e Moqaddas gives a detailed account

of this while his book Kitab ul Bariyyah relates the false court case for murder that Martin Clark had filed.

5. The Promised Messiahas was honourably

acquitted of the above accusations by the judge

at the time, Captain Douglas. Dr. Martin Clark was humiliated in the court case and the judge informed the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that he could sue him.

6. A false claimant of being God and Messiah,

who was challenged by the Promised Messiahas.


Edited by Hibba Turrauf and Ayesha Malik august 2013


The Review of Religions



Note about references

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or the name ‘Muhammad’, are used normally in small letters. They stand for ‘Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam’ meaning ‘peace and blessings of Allah be upon him’. Likewise, the letters ‘as’ or ‘(as)’ after the name of all other prophets is an abbreviation meaning ‘peace be upon him’ derived from ‘Alaihis salatu wassalam’ which are words that a Muslim utters out of respect whenever he or she comes across that name. The abbreviation ‘ra’ or ‘(ra)’ stands for ‘Radhiallahu Ta’ala anhu and is

Tuesday 6th August Faith: Christianity Event: Transfiguration

Thursday 15th August Faith: Christianity Event: Assumption of Maryra,

The Transfiguration of Jesus occurs in the narrative of the New Testament, in which the sudden emanation of radiance from Jesusas on the mountain is described. as

used for Companions of a Prophet,

mother of Jesusas

Celebrated largely by Roman Catholics, this festival commemorates the belief that Maryas, mother of Jesusas, was taken up to Heaven at the end of her earthly life.

meaning Allah be pleased with him or her (when followed by the relevant

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august 2013

Arabic pronoun). Finally, ‘rh’ or ‘(rh)’ 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.

Saturday 10th August Faith: Islam Event: Eid-Ul-Fitr

Wednesday 28th August Faith: Hinduism Event: Krishnaas Janmashtami

Eid-Ul-Fitr marks the end of the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan. It is a time of celebration and gratefulness for the blessings of Allah.

This is the annual celebration of the birth of Krishnaas, the Hindu deity. It is commemorated through fasting and praying.

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 Follow us on Twitter Š Islamic Publications, 2013 ISSN No. 0034-6721


The Review of Religions (August 2013)  

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