Distinction Between
Creation and Command
8
Religious Trends
in Japan
20
Shintoism in Japan
28
The Reality of Islam for
the...
The Holy Prophet
Muhammadsa
prophesied
that the Promised Messiahas
would be raised near a
white minaret, east of
Damascus....
And the true servants of the
Gracious God are those who walk
on the earth humbly and when the
ignorant address them, they ...
5428
34
CONTENTS
8	 The Distinction Between 	
	 ‘Creation’ and ‘Command’
HAZRAT MIRZA GHULAM AHMADAS
, THE PROMISED
MESSIAH AND IMAM MAHDI
...
The English Rendering of the
5 Volume Commentary of the
Holy Qur’an
One of the most insightful commentaries of the
Holy Qu...
M A N A G E M E N T B O A R D
Chairman: Munir-Ud-Din Shams
Secretary: Syed Amer Safir
Board Members: Mubarak Ahmad Zaffar,...
The Distinction
Between ‘Creation’ and
‘Command’
hazrat mirza ghulam ahmadas
,
the promised messiah and imam mahdi
I tell ...
We present extracts from the writings
of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the
Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdias
,
on revelation....
and robbers and murderers and adulter-
ers and forgers as the result of reflection
and observation are all the result of t...
Divine treasures of knowledge and wis-
dom and hidden mysteries are present
in our hearts and surge up in them.
This would...
in Muhammadsa
, the chosen one, as the
true and perfect Prophet, who is better
and higher and more exalted than all the
pr...
after repeated experience is an absolute
fool. For instance, rhubarb is a cathartic
and a magnet has the power of attrac-
...
the distinction between
creation & command
Divine wrath and they possess no bless-
ing or honour or help from the Divine.
...
is healthy and suffers from no defect it is
benefited by the secret knowledge pos-
sessed by the heart,and as the brain is...
the distinction between
creation & command
arrow on every quarry that appears before
him. Just at that time, it is felt th...
THE
PHILOSOPHY
OF THE
TEACHINGS
OF
ISLAM
MIRZA GHULAM AHMAD
THE PROMISED MESSIAH & MAHDIAS
The Review of Religions
seriali...
LAND OFTHE RISING SUN
SPECIAL COVERAGE
Religious Trends
in Japan
Non-Religious in a
Religious Culture
by tazeen ahmad, potomac, maryland, u.s.a.
Aerial view of T...
The religious landscape of Japan is largely
characterised by syncretism – meaning
that people identify with more than one
...
charms, visits to diviners and belief in
miracles are all commonplace in Japanese
society.[2]
This ability to easily navig...
religion plays a bigger role among the
Japanese people than it appears to the
cursory observer.
“The dominant ‘religious’ ...
China and Korea in the 6th
century, and
spread rapidly throughout the country.
The Buddhism brought to Japan was
Mahayana ...
its ruler, Shogun Tokugawa expelled
the Catholics and severely restricted
Protestants to non-religious activities.
Japanes...
unique challenges for Muslim minorities,
whether they are foreign-born or ethnic
Japanese. Like Christianity, Islam is not...
endnotes
1. Toshimaro Ama, Why are the Japanese
Non-Religious (Lanham: University Press of
America, Inc., 2005), vii.
2. I...
Shintoism
in Japan
by aizaz ahmad khan, peace village, ontario, canada
Symbol of Shintosim, the Floating Otorii gate at Mi...
Introduction
If Japan’s major religions were likened
to a tree, Shintoism would be its roots.
Shinto, commonly defined as,...
respective Kami who are particular to
their needs and wishes.
•	 Creation Myth and Rituals
Shinto beliefs and rituals are ...
Alternatively, in the case of Buddhism,
it is said that initially Shintoism merely
gave shelter to Buddhism,only to have i...
throne in 1989,makes no claim to divin-
ity, and is known as ‘the symbol of the
State and of the unity of the people.’[19]...
endnotes
1. Mark Teeuwen and Bernhard Scheid,
“Tracing Shinto in the History of Kami
Worship,” Japanese Journal of Religio...
The Reality of Islam for
the Japanese People
Keynote Address by
Head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
in Nagoya, Japan
hazrat...
Nagoya’s Mayor, Mr. Takashi Kawamura
Communist Party Leader, Mr. Yoshiyaki Shiji
Mr Akio Najima, Prominent Lawyer and
Huma...
“Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Raheem – In
the Name of Allah, the Gracious, Ever
Merciful.
All the distinguished guests,
Assalamo A...
who follow the true teachings of Islam do
not express gratitude out of any formality,
but do so because our master, the Ho...
Throughout the Holy Qur’an, Allah has
given teachings of love, affection and a
spirit of reconciliation. In today’s world
...
He said at that time, a person would
appear who would be truly guided by
Allah, and who would impart the true
Islam and es...
Upon such circumstances, Allah com-
manded the Holy Prophetsa
to raise an
army of Muslims to fight back against
the Makkan...
of the time is for establishing peace and
to stop unnecessary accusations and criti-
cisms of one another.
Having witnesse...
You should make all parties aware that
rather than treading a path of cruelty
and severity and rather than looking at
each...
you all to play your effective role in this
regard. Play your effective role in bring-
ing peace in the world. It is my pr...
A Message of Peace
in the Land of the
Rising Sun
A global Muslim leader visits Japan.
Adapted from Official Urdu Reports b...
The Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya
Muslim Community and Fifth Successor
to the Promised Messiahas
,Hazrat Mirza
Masroor A...
akin to the flocks that responded to the
teachings of Prophet Abrahamas
.In 1966,
Mirza Mubarak Ahmad, the Director
of For...
of Ahmadis; listening to their problems,
providing them with moral and spir-
itual support and aiding them through
prayers...
the community aged fifteen to forty)
and Atfal (an auxiliary organisation for
boys aged seven to fifteen),during which
the...
desire to convey the peaceful message of
Islam to the Japanese people.
Thereafter, His Holiness granted a pri-
vate audien...
understanding and knowledge of the
ethos of their organisation,hold National
Refresher Courses and be regular in offer-
in...
social structure of Japan which hold out a
bright promise of progress and which qual-
ify Japan to take place as an equal ...
meeting for Executives of the Ahmadiyya
Muslim Community in Japan. His
Holiness directed that an appreciation
and understa...
PLEASEDONATENOW THEY URGENTLY NEED FOOD,
SHELTERAND MEDICAL SUPPLIES
SYRIACRISISAPPEAL
TEXT
TEXT“HFSY01 £AMOUNT”
TO 70070
...
Worship Requires
Service to Humanity
The first purpose-built mosque in the southern
England county of Kent opens.
A keynot...
Helping the Community in Gillingham
– The Nasir Mosque
Another New Mosque Opened by the
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community!
Gillin...
Muslim Community, one of the oldest
Muslim communities in Britain who
also built London’s first mosque.The site
of the Nas...
making it the second biggest religion
after Christianity; next are 3,846 Sikhs
and 2,750 Hindus. All of our commu-
nities ...
benefits us all.As we celebrate the unveil-
ing of this beautiful new building, that
you have worked so hard to transform,...
it’s about society. The issue of human
rights was touched earlier and as col-
leagues here may be aware, we recently
had a...
not only for the kind invitation to this
reception, but also for the wider sup-
port you have given so generously to our
s...
you again for inviting me here today.I do
feel very honoured to be part of the cel-
ebrations on this very special evening...
words on my part, given as a courtesy,
but rather true gratitude requires for
feelings of love and respect to develop
in a...
Review of Religions April 2014
Review of Religions April 2014
Review of Religions April 2014
Review of Religions April 2014
Review of Religions April 2014
Review of Religions April 2014
Review of Religions April 2014
Review of Religions April 2014
Review of Religions April 2014
Review of Religions April 2014
Review of Religions April 2014
Review of Religions April 2014
Review of Religions April 2014
Review of Religions April 2014
Review of Religions April 2014
Review of Religions April 2014
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Review of Religions April 2014

472 views
396 views

Published on

Review of Religions - Monthly Magzine

Published in: News & Politics
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
472
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
3
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
3
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Review of Religions April 2014

  1. 1. Distinction Between Creation and Command 8 Religious Trends in Japan 20 Shintoism in Japan 28 The Reality of Islam for the Japanese People 34 VOL. 109 - ISSUE FOURAPRIL 2014 WWW.REVIEWOFRELIGIONS.ORG LAND OFTHE RISING SUN SPECIAL COVERAGE
  2. 2. 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. The Promised Messiahas & imam mahdi 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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). 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. ©makhzan-e-tasaweer founder of the review of religions
  3. 3. And the true servants of the Gracious God are those who walk on the earth humbly and when the ignorant address them, they avoid them gracefully by saying, ‘Peace!’ ISLAM, THE HOLY QUR’AN, CH.25:V.64. Harithah ibn Wahb al-Khuza’i tells how he heard the Prophetsa say, “Have I not taught you how inhabitants of Paradise will be all the humble and the weak, whose oaths God will accept when they swear to be faithful? Have I not taught you how the inhabitants of hell will be all the cruel beings, strong of body and arrogant?” ISLAM, THE HOLY PROPHET MUHAMMADSA , HADITH OF BUKHARI. The God to Whom we call is very Benevolent, Merciful, Modest, True, Faithful and Compassionate to those who are humble. You should also become faithful and supplicate with full sincerity and loyalty so that He should have mercy on you. Withdraw from the tumult of the world and do not make your faith a matter of personal contentions. Accept defeat for the sake of God so that you might become heirs to great victories. God will show a miracle to those who pray and will bestow extraordinary favour upon those who beg. ISLAM, THE PROMISED MESSIAHAS , THE ESSENCE OF ISLAM: VOLUME II, P.227. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. CHRISTIANITY, MATTHEW, 5:5. A rabbit that a huntsman brings, They pay for it the proper price; But none will give a betel nut For the corpse of a ruler of the land! A man’s body is less worth than a rabbit’s. HINDUISM, BASAVANNA, 158. Without merit am I; all merit is Thine. Thine, Lord, are all merits— by what tongue have I power to praise Thee? SIKHISM, ADI GRANTH, WADHANS, M.5, P.577. The fool who knows that he is a fool is for that very reason a wise man; the fool who thinks he is wise is called a fool indeed. BUDDHISM, DHAMMAPADA, 63. Humility WORLD FAITHS
  4. 4. 5428 34 CONTENTS
  5. 5. 8 The Distinction Between ‘Creation’ and ‘Command’ HAZRAT MIRZA GHULAM AHMADAS , THE PROMISED MESSIAH AND IMAM MAHDI 20 Religious Trends in Japan- Non-Religious in a Religious Culture Japanese people often identify with more than one religion. TAZEEN AHMAD, MARYLAND, USA 28 Shintoism in Japan Shintoism has always been a part of Japanese civilisation and culture. AIZAZ AHMAD KHAN, PEACE VILLAGE, CANADA 34 The Reality of Islam for the Japanese People How Islam can benefit the people of Japan. HAZRAT MIRZA MASROOR AHMADABA , HEAD OF THE WORLDWIDE AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY, KHALIFATUL MASIH V 44 A Message of Peace in the Land of the Rising Sun A global Muslim leader visits Japan. ADAPTED FROM AN URDU ARTICLE BY ABDUL MAJID TAHIR 54 Worship Requires Service to Humanity The first purpose-built mosque in the southern England county of Kent opens. HAZRAT MIRZA MASROOR AHMADABA , HEAD OF THE WORLDWIDE AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY, KHALIFATUL MASIH V 72 Guests Reflect on Gillingham Mosque Opening APRIL 2014 VOL.109 ISSUE FOUR
  6. 6. The English Rendering of the 5 Volume Commentary of the Holy Qur’an One of the most insightful commentaries of the Holy Qur’an ever written. Commentary by Hazrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad(ra) Read it online at: http://www.alislam.org/quran/ Or Purchase the print version at: http://store.alislam.org/ ©AMAGALLERYUK
  7. 7. M A N A G E M E N T B O A R D 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 I E F E D I T O R & M A N A G E R Syed Amer Safir E D I T O R I A L B O A R D Amtul Razzaq Carmichael, Bockarie Tommy Kallon, Fazal Ahmad, Hassan Wahab, Hibba Turrauf, Jonathan Butterworth, Mansoor Saqi, Munazza Khan, Murtaza Ahmad, Nakasha Ahmad, Navida Syed, Sarah Waseem, Tariq H. Malik W E B D E V E L O P E R & I T Hibba Turrauf, Mubashra Ahmad A S S O C I AT E E D I T O R S Nakasha Ahmad, Tariq H. Malik (Sub-Editor: Mariam Rahman) S U B - E D I T O R S Head: Hibba Turrauf Sub-Editors: Ayesha Malik, Nusrat Haq, Maryam Malik, H O U S E S T Y L E G U I D E Head: Maleeha Ahmad Team: Sadia Shah, Humaira Omer P R O O F R E A D E R S Head: Munawara Ghauri. Deputy: Farhana Dar. Proofreaders: Abdul Ghany Jahangeer Khan, Hina Rahman, Amina Abbasi, Ayesha Patel S TA F F W R I T E R S & R E S E A R C H E R S Arif Khan, Tazeen Ahmad, Harris Zafar, Meliha Hayat D I S T R I B U T I O N / S U B S C R I P T I O N Head: Mohammad Hanif Team: Sami Ullah, Musa Sattar A R T E D I T O R S. Taalay Ahmad P R I N T E D I T I O N D E S I G N E R Ahsan Khan I N D E X I N G / TA G G I N G T E A M Head: Mirza Krishan Ahmad. Deputy: Amtus Shakoor Tayyaba Ahmed. Team: Humaira Omer, Humda Sohail, S. Taalay Ahmad, Ruhana Hamood, Mubahil Shakir, Adila Bari, Hassan Raza Ahmad T W I T T E R Hibba Turrauf, Mala Khan, Nudrat Ahmad NOTE ABOUT REFERENCES Verse references to the Holy Qur’an count ‘Bismillah…’ (In the Name of Allah…) as the first verse of each Chapter. In some non-standard texts, this is not counted. Should the reader refer to such texts, the verse quoted in The Review of Religions will be found a verse earlier, i.e. at one verse less than the number quoted in this journal. For the ease of non-Muslim readers, ‘sa ’ or ‘(saw) ’ after the words, ‘Holy Prophet’, 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 ‘Raziallahu Ta’ala anhu and is used for Companions of a Prophet, meaning Allah be pleased with him or her (when followed by the relevant Arabic pronoun). Finally, ‘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.
  8. 8. The Distinction Between ‘Creation’ and ‘Command’ hazrat mirza ghulam ahmadas , the promised messiah and imam mahdi I tell you truly that every door can be closed but the door of the descent of the Holy Spirit is never closed. Open the doors of your hearts so that it might enter into them.
  9. 9. We present extracts from the writings of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdias , on revelation.These are republished from the second volume of Essence of Islam. The Distinction between Creation and Command It may be asked from whom and where- from proceed the good and bad designs that arise in one’s mind as the result of reflection and observation? The answer is that such thoughts are the creation of Allah and not His command. There is a difference between creation and command. By creation it is meant that God Almighty produces something through physical means and attributes it to Himself because He is the Cause of causes.Command is that which proceeds directly from God Almighty without the intervention of any means. Revelation, which descends from God,proceeds from the world of command and not from the world of creation. Thoughts that arise in peoples’ minds as a consequence of observation and reflection, all proceed from the world of creation in which the Divine power operates behind the veil of means. God has created men in the world of means equipped with diverse types of powers and faculties and has invested them with the characteristic that when they employ their reflection in a good or bad matter, their minds alight upon appropriate plans. As it is part of the law of nature that when a person opens his eyes he can see something and when he directs his ear towards sound he can hear something; in the same way when he reflects on the way of success in a good or bad design, some plan arises in his mind. A good man, by reflecting upon good designs,thinks of good things, and a thief,by reflecting upon the various ways of robbery,invents a plan to commit robbery. Just as a man can think of deep and devious evil designs,in the same way when he uses his faculty in a good way, he can think of good designs.As his bad thoughts however deep and effective they may be, cannot be held to be revelation, in the same way, his thoughts which he deems to be good are not revelation. In short, whatever good thoughts occur to good people and whatever bad thoughts or designs arise in the minds of thieves A good man, by reflecting upon good designs, thinks of good things, and a thief, by reflecting upon the various ways of robbery, invents a plan to commit robbery. APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 9
  10. 10. and robbers and murderers and adulter- ers and forgers as the result of reflection and observation are all the result of the exercise of natural qualities.Because God is the Cause of causes,they are called the creation of God and not His command. They are the natural qualities of man, as in the case of some vegetables the quality of purgation or the quality of constipa- tion and other qualities are natural to them. As God has invested other things with different types of qualities, He has invested man’s power of reflection with the quality that it helps man whenever he requires its help in a good or bad design. A poet who seeks to lampoon anyone finds his mind working in that direction and he is able to produce such poetry. Another poet seeks to praise the same person and commendatory verses come to his mind. This kind of good or bad thought is not the mirror of the Divine Will and cannot be called His word. God’s holy word is the word which is far above human faculties and is full of perfection and power and holiness. The very first condition of its manifestation is that human faculties should be entirely suspended and rendered useless. There should be neither reflection nor observa- tion and the person concerned should be dead like a corpse. All means should be cut off and God Almighty,Whose being alone is actual and real,should cause His word to descend upon the heart of some- one by His special design. It should be understood that as the light of the sun comes only from heaven and cannot be produced in the eye, in the same way the light of revelation descends from God and by His design, and does not arise from inside a person. As God truly exists and sees, hears, knows and speaks, His word should descend from Him and should not be the product of man’s mind. From our minds arise the same thoughts,good or bad,which dwell within us according to our nature; but God’s limitless knowledge and bound- less wisdom, cannot dwell in our hearts. What greater denial of God could there be than for a man to think that all the the distinction between creation & command Works of fiction contain many affecting passages and the minds of authors are able to produce a series of writings on purely fictitious subjects, but they cannot be called revelation. 10 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  11. 11. Divine treasures of knowledge and wis- dom and hidden mysteries are present in our hearts and surge up in them. This would mean that we ourselves are God and that there is no Being outside of us, Who is Self-Existing and pos- sesses Divine attributes,Who should be called ‘God’. For if God truly exists and His unlimited knowledge is special to Him, of which our hearts cannot be the measure, then utterly wrong and sense- less would be the observation that God’s limitless knowledge fills our hearts and all the treasuries of His wisdom dwell therein, as if God’s knowledge is lim- ited to that which is contained in our hearts.This would amount to a claim of Godhead itself,but is it possible that the heart of man should comprehend all the excellences of the Divine? Is it permis- sible that a particle should become the sun? Certainly not! We have already stated that the charac- teristics of the Divine,like His knowledge of the unseen and His comprehen- sion of wisdom and other natural signs, cannot be manifested by man. God’s Word should be characterised by God’s Greatness,God’s Power,God’s Blessing, God’s Wisdom and God’s Peerlessness. All these characteristics are found in the Holy Qur’an,the proof of which we shall set forth at its proper place. If those of Brahmu Samaj[1] still persist in denying the existence of revelation, which com- prehends the unseen and other proofs of power, they should study the Holy Qur’an with full attention, so that they should come to know that in this Holy Word surges a whole ocean of matters that are unseen and manifestations of power, which are beyond the strength of man. If they are unable, through lack of insight,to discover these Qur’anic excel- lences themselves, they should read this book of ours with attention, so that they might discover as a sample some of the treasures of hidden matters and power- ful mysteries,which fill the Holy Qur’an. They should also know that as proof of the existence of Divine revelation that descends from God and comprehends hidden matters,there is another way that is open and that is that God Almighty always creates from among the Muslims who base themselves upon the true faith, such people who receive revelation from God and disclose such hidden matters the disclosure of which is not within the power of anyone except God, the One, without any associate. God Almighty bestows this holy revelation only on those of the faithful who truly believe in the Holy Qur’an as the Word of God,and act upon it with full sincerity and who believe APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 11
  12. 12. in Muhammadsa , the chosen one, as the true and perfect Prophet, who is better and higher and more exalted than all the prophets and is Khatam-ul-Rusul,[2] and accept him as their guide. Such revela- tion is not vouchsafed to the Jews and Christians and Aryas and Brahmus, but has always been vouchsafed to the per- fect followers of the Holy Qur’an and is now vouchsafed to them and will con- tinue to be vouchsafed to them.Though prophetic revelation has been cut off as no longer needed, the revelation that is vouchsafed to the sincere servants of the Holy Prophetsa will never be cut off.This revelation is a grand proof of the revela- tion which is special to Messengership and humiliates every opponent of Islam. As this blessed revelation, with all its blessing and honour and greatness and glory, is vouchsafed only to those hon- ourable servants who are included among the Muslims and are the servants of the Holy Prophetsa ,the followers of all other sects are deprived of this perfect light, which carries the good news of nearness to God and of acceptance by Him and of His pleasure.Thus this holy revelation not only proves its own existence,but also proves that the Muslims alone are the people who are acceptable to God and who base themselves on the true faith; that all other people worship falsehood and are misguided and are under the Wrath of God. Ignorant people will say all sorts of things on hearing this and will shake their heads in denial or will ridicule me like foolish and wicked per- sons. They should know, however, that denial and ridicule are not the ways of those who possess nobility and are seek- ers after truth, but are the ways of those wicked people who have nothing to do with God and truth. There are thousands of things in the world which possess qualities that can- not be understood by reason and are known only by experience. It is, there- fore,the way of the wise that when some quality of a thing is manifested repeat- edly by experience,they no longer doubt its existence. He who persists in denial the distinction between creation & command What could be greater than a recipient of revelation conversing with the Being Who is the Creator of heaven and earth? The beholding of God in this world is to converse with God. 12 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  13. 13. after repeated experience is an absolute fool. For instance, rhubarb is a cathartic and a magnet has the power of attrac- tion. Although there is no reason why they should possess these qualities, yet when repeated experience manifests that they have these qualities, every reason- able person has to admit that rhubarb is a cathartic and a magnet has the power to attract. If anyone should deny this on the grounds that there is no reason for it, such a one would be condemned as mad or insane. So we submit to the Brahmus and other opponents that whatever we have stated concerning revelation, namely, that it is even now the experi- ence of perfect individuals among the Muslims and is confined to them and is not to be found in any others,is not with- out proof, but can be demonstrated to every seeker through test and experience, like thousands of other truths which are being discovered by these means.If any- one should be a genuine seeker after truth, we undertake to demonstrate this to him, provided he should make a sin- cere promise in writing that, in case of proof,he would accept Islam and should then turn to us with sincerity and in good faith. [3]  Revelation and Psychic Phenomena Some people put forward the objec- tion that there are many groups like astrologers, soothsayers, physicians, and palmists,who claim to reveal the unseen. Sometimes they foretell things, some of which come to pass, and that more recently some people have been able to reveal hidden matters through mesmer- ism.Then how could the revealing of the unseen be conclusive proof of the Divine origin of revelation? The answer is that all these groups speak from conjecture, guesswork, and indeed from superstition; they possess no cer- tain knowledge nor do they claim to have certain knowledge.Their so-called proph- ecies are based upon signs and doubtful indications which have no relationship with certainty and which are not above suspicion and error.Very often,their pre- dictions are proved baseless and false,on account of which those predictions lack all honour and acceptance and helpful- ness and success. Those who indulge in those predictions are generally poverty- stricken and unfortunate, are held in no honour,and are coward,mean,unsuccess- ful and without any merit. They cannot convert the unseen to come into accord with their predictions and in their own circumstances they exhibit the signs of APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 13
  14. 14. the distinction between creation & command Divine wrath and they possess no bless- ing or honour or help from the Divine. But the Prophets and Auliya’[4] do not merely disclose the unseen like the astrol- ogers, but with the Grace and Mercy of God, which always accompany them, they make such prophecies in which the lights of acceptance and honour shine like the sun and which consist of the good news of honour and Divine help, and not that of misfortune and adversity. Consider the prophecies of the Holy Qur’an and you will find that they are not like the predictions of the astrologers or others but are full of majesty and glory. All those prophecies are characterised by declaring the honour of the recipi- ents and the disgrace of their enemies, their glory and the humiliation of their enemies, their success and the failure of their enemies, their victory and the defeat of their enemies, and their pros- perity and the ruin of their enemies.Can any astrologer or soothsayer or mesmer- iser put forth such prophecies? Certainly not.Always to proclaim one’s own good, and the decline of the opponent and to refute whatever the opponent says and to promise the fulfilment of that which is in one’s favour, can only be from God and cannot be the doing of man.[5] Man’s Knowledge of the Universe is Defective Though man has been trying strenu- ously for thousands of years to discover God’s powers through natural sciences and mathematics,yet his knowledge is so defective that he can only be described as hopeless and unsuccessful in his search. Hundreds of hidden mysteries are dis- closed to those on whom visions and revelation are vouchsafed and they are borne witness to by thousands of the righteous; but the philosophers continue to deny them. The philosophers base all thinking and reflection on the brain,but those who have experience of visions have discovered through their spiritual experiences that the fountainhead of reason and understanding is the heart. For thirty five years,I have observed that revelation which is the source of spiritual understanding and of the knowledge of the unseen descends upon the heart.Very often a voice strikes the heart with force, as a bucket is thrown with force into a well full of water, and that water of the heart surges up like a closed blossom and arriving near the brain blooms like a flower and gives birth to words which are words of the Divine. These spiritual experiences establish that the brain is not concerned with knowledge and true understanding.It is true that if the brain 14 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  15. 15. is healthy and suffers from no defect it is benefited by the secret knowledge pos- sessed by the heart,and as the brain is the centre of the nervous system it is like a machine which can pump up water from the well. The heart is the well which is the fountainhead of hidden knowledge. This is a secret that has been discovered by men of truth through true visions and I myself have experience of it.[6] I have been honoured with Divine con- verse for nearly eleven years and I know well that revelation descends from heaven. If one were to illustrate revela- tion by reference to some worldly object one could perhaps compare it with the telegraph which itself discloses every change that occurs in it. My experience is that at the time of the descent of rev- elation,which is vouchsafed to me as the revelation of the Auliya’, I feel that I am under the control of an external force that is very effective. Sometimes this control is so strong and envelops me so forcefully in its light,that I find myself drawn to it compulsively and no faculty of mine can stand up to it. In this condition, I hear clear and bright words. I sometimes see angels and observe the power and awe of truth.The words that are conveyed to me often comprehend matters that are unseen and there is such extraordinary control and seizure which is proof of the existence of God Almighty.To deny this would amount to murdering a self-evi- dent truth.[7] I call God to witness that it is the truth that revelation falls upon the heart from heaven as rays of the sun fall upon a wall. It is my daily experience that when the Word of God is about to descend on me, then at the first stage I feel a sort of helplessness and experience a change. Although my senses are in a manner working, I find that a powerful force has taken my whole being in its grip and I feel that all the arteries of my being are in the control of that force and all that is mine is no longer mine but belongs to it. When I am in that condition first of all God Almighty presents those of my thoughts to me on which He intends to cast a ray of His words. Those thoughts come before me one after the other in a strange guise, and it so happens that when a thought passes through my mind—for instance, whether a certain person will recover from his illness or not—then suddenly a Divine phrase falls like a ray and often with its falling the whole of my body is shaken. Then this is succeeded by another thought and as soon as it appears a piece of revelation falls upon it like an archer shooting an APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 15
  16. 16. the distinction between creation & command arrow on every quarry that appears before him. Just at that time, it is felt that this chain of thoughts is generated by our natural capacity and that the words that fall upon it descend from above. Although poets and thinkers, etc., also receive suggestions on reflection, there is no relationship between revelation and such suggestion, for that suggestion is a consequence of thinking and reflec- tion and is received within the limits of human understanding, in the full pos- session of one’s senses. But revelation is received when the recipient comes under the full control of God Almighty with all his being, and his own senses and reflection do not intervene in any way.It appears as if one’s tongue is not one’s own and is being used by some other strong power. This should make clear the dis- tinction between natural capacity and that which descends from heaven.[8] endnotes 1. Brahmu Samaj is the societal component of Brahmoism,a monotheistic reformist and renais- sance movement of Hindu religion. 2. Seal of the messengers. 3. ‘But if they turn away, then remember that Allah knows the mischief-makers well.’— Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-e-‘Imran, Verse 64. 4. Auliya’ is an Arabic word usually translated as friend, helper, supporter, patron or protector. Itis often used to designate the status of a saint. 5. Brahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1, pp. 232-242, footnote 11 (Eng. Translation, Essence of Islam, Vol. 2, pp. 56-62). 6. Chashma-e-Ma‘rifat, Ruhani Khaza’in,Vol.23, pp. 282-283 (Eng. Translation, Essence of Islam, Vol. 2, p. 63). 7. Barakat-ud-Du‘a, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 6, p. 26 (Eng.Translation,Essence of Islam,Vol.2,pp. 63-64). 8. Barakat-ud-Du‘a, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 6, pp. 22-23,footnote (Eng.Translation,Essence of Islam, Vol. 2, pp. 64-65). I have been honoured with Divine converse for nearly eleven years and I know well that revelation descends from heaven. 16 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  17. 17. THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE TEACHINGS OF ISLAM MIRZA GHULAM AHMAD THE PROMISED MESSIAH & MAHDIAS The Review of Religions serialised the famous treatise The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, by the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Initially written for the Conference of Great Religions on December 26- 29,1896, each speaker at the conference was asked to present to the audience the beauties of their own religion based upon its scripture, proving that it was the true religion, based on the following topics: • The Physical, Moral, and Spiritual States of Man; • What is the State of Man after Death? • The Object of Man’s Life and the Means of its Attainment; • The Operation of the Practical Ordinances of the Law in This Life and the Next; • Sources of Divine Knowledge SERIALISED IN The Review of Religions Read online: http://www.alislam.org/books/ Or purchase here: http://store.alislam.org/englishbooks.html
  18. 18. LAND OFTHE RISING SUN SPECIAL COVERAGE
  19. 19. Religious Trends in Japan Non-Religious in a Religious Culture by tazeen ahmad, potomac, maryland, u.s.a. Aerial view of Tokyo at night. © skyearth | shutterstock.com
  20. 20. The religious landscape of Japan is largely characterised by syncretism – meaning that people identify with more than one religion and at times with a combina- tion of two or more. For many Japanese, Shinto, Christianity and Buddhism are all mixed together. As a child, one is taken to Shinto shrines and as an adult; one attends both Christian chapel wed- dings and Buddhist funerals.[1] The most commonly linked religions, however, are Shinto and Buddhism, and most Japanese do claim some kind of adherence to both or to neither. The difference between these two faiths according to Kevin Doak, a professor at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., specialising in Japanese studies, is that Buddhism focuses on death and funerals because of its explicit doctrine on life after death while Shintoism is more a celebration of life and rites of passage: ‘They can still call on Buddhist monks for funerals and Shinto officials to ‘bless’ major life events,’Doak said. Religion in Japan is a blend of traditions that stem from the early teachings of Shintoism and Buddhism as opposed to a set of specific beliefs and doctrines that are practiced on a daily basis. Today in Japan,people observe rituals and festivals ranging from ‘memorial visits to graves, to New Year visits to shrines and tem- ples.’Purchase of amulets and other lucky Traditional wedding in Meijijingu in Tokyo, Japan. Meiji Jingu is the Shinto shrine. Most of the Japanese have a Shinto wedding and a Buddhist funeral to respect both religions. © BEEE | shutterstock.com Religion in Japan is a blend of traditions that stem from the early teachings of Shintoism and Buddhism as opposed to a set of specific beliefs and doctrines that are practiced on a daily basis. APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 21
  21. 21. charms, visits to diviners and belief in miracles are all commonplace in Japanese society.[2] This ability to easily navigate between religious beliefs precludes the need to commit to any particular faith, reinforcing the concept of ‘mushukyo,’ which literally means ‘a lack of religious beliefs.’ The result is a diminished role for insti- tutionalised religions in the everyday lives of a large percentage of Japanese people today. Fifty-two percent of the nation’s population identify themselves as non- religious, 41 percent as Buddhists, with Shintoism and Christianity tied at 3 per- cent according to a 2012 poll by the Pew Research Centre. The Pew figure showing Shinto followers at 3 percent of the population is, how- ever, disputed by scholars of Japanese culture who say that an estimated 80 percent (if not more) practice Shintoism in their daily lives alongside Buddhism and sometimes even Christianity. They attribute the low number to the fact that many do not perceive Shinto as fitting into the category of religion. Shinto as a non-religion has been written about by many Japanese intellectuals,dating back to the 1800’s, when the Euro-American concept of religion was first popularised in Japan. ‘I haven’t penetrated this thing called Shinto completely yet, but what I can say for sure is that it is not a so-called religion [shukyo].’ - Shimaji Mokurai, 1872[3] But while it is true that a majority of people in Japan see themselves as Shinto and non-religious at the same time,only a few actually reject the value of religion or are atheists. In fact, among those that say they are non-religious, about 75 percent feel that a religious attitude is important.[4] Because Japanese people,at large, do not operate with the category of ‘Religion,’ many Westerners assume incorrectly that they are atheist. In fact, “The dominant ‘religious’ culture in Japan is ‘paganism’ (Shinto) which as a world historical phenomenon predates the idea of ‘religion,’ as we think of it today.The nature of pagans is not that they refuse to believe in something but rather that they believe in everything,” religious trends in japan 22 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  22. 22. religion plays a bigger role among the Japanese people than it appears to the cursory observer. “The dominant ‘religious’ culture in Japan is ‘paganism’ (Shinto) which as a world historical phenomenon predates the idea of ‘religion,’ as we think of it today.The nature of pagans is not that they refuse to believe in something but rather that they believe in everything,” Doak said. ‘Shinto/paganism as a natural orientation to the divine in everyday life permeates Japanese life to a great degree,’ Doak said.‘Even before eating, every Japanese will (often putting his hands together) say ‘itadakimasu’,which literally means ‘I receive’,but which is better translated as ‘I receive this food from the divine with gratitude.’’  While Shintoism is as old as Japanese culture, Buddhism was imported from Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa visible in Tokyo, Japan. Senso-ji Temple, also known as Asakusa Kannon is the most important of Tokyo temples. Its history starts in the year 628 when a shrine dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy was first errected. In 645 was transformed into a temple by Shokai. The ancient buildings were destroyed during the World War 2, but they have been reconstructed according to original plans. © Sean Pavone | shutterstock.com APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 23
  23. 23. China and Korea in the 6th century, and spread rapidly throughout the country. The Buddhism brought to Japan was Mahayana – the broader communion, together with its many sided cults and philosophical systems. The Japanese, who were prone to neutralise extremes and extravagances, quickly adapted the various phases of Buddhism to meet their needs.What resulted was a very distinct branch of Buddhism that differed from any of the continental types.[5] Today, 71.4 percent of the population is affiliated in some way with Buddhism.[6] The religion has had a major influence over the centuries on Japanese culture and its development and also contin- ues to be of major influence in today’s Japanese society. St. Francis Xavier, SJ, who landed in Kagoshima City, intro- duced Christianity,practiced by 3 percent of the population, to Japan in 1549.[7] With the arrival of Xavier and Jesuit missionaries,thousands of Japanese con- verted to Roman Catholicism.However, with the arrival of the Protestants in 1600 and when the religious wars of the post-reformation period reached Japan Monk at a Buddhist Temple © photocrack77 | shutterstock.com 24 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  24. 24. its ruler, Shogun Tokugawa expelled the Catholics and severely restricted Protestants to non-religious activities. Japanese Christians and the few foreign Catholics were mercilessly persecuted and martyred. It was not until 1873 that Western powers were able to wield enough influence to prevent Japan from persecuting on the basis of religion. ‘In 1889 religious freedom was guar- anteed by Article 28 of the Meiji Constitution…and many influential Japanese became Christian,’ Doak said. ‘Religious freedom has remained the law in Japan since then,even at the height of World War II.’ Of the other religions represented in Japan, Islam takes the lead with an esti- mated 70,000 – 100,000 followers.There are approximately 15,000 Baha’i, and smaller numbers of Hindus, Sikhs and Jews. While there are isolated records of Islam in Japan in 1853, one of the first properly recorded contacts was of a Portuguese ship sailing from Malacca to Japan in 1555, which brought with it an Arab passenger who preached Islam upon his arrival.[8] In the late 1870’s, the life of the Prophet Muhammadsa was translated into Japanese helping Islam spread and reach Japanese people. However, despite these earlier contacts and others over the years, the Muslim population in Japan was relatively small until the mid-1980s, which brought a large influx of foreign Muslim workers. A 2008 report by the Asia Policy shows that 80 to 90 percent of the Muslim population in Japan is foreign-born; with Indonesians,Pakistanis,Bangladeshis and Iranians making up the largest subgroups. [9] It is estimated, though, that there are anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 ethnic Japanese Muslims.Japanese society poses Entrance of Kyomizu Temple in Kyoto, Japan. It is one of the most famous landmarks of Kyoto with UNESCO World Heritage. © Pigprox | Shutterstock.com APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 25
  25. 25. unique challenges for Muslim minorities, whether they are foreign-born or ethnic Japanese. Like Christianity, Islam is not compatible with syncretism that is preva- lent among a majority of its members.[10] But while the significant growth of the Muslim population has been a relatively new phenomenon,it is interesting to note that according to Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Mazhar,author of an article pub- lished in the June, 1964, edition of The Review of Religions, the main Japanese language is ‘clearly traceable to Arabic, with precision and certainty.’ In the article titled ‘Arabic is the Mother of All Languages – Japanese Traced to Arabic’, Mazhar writes that he has traced about 2,000 Japanese words to Arabic and out of these 600 are con- nected with Qur’anic roots.[11] Japan’s connection with Islam is deeply rooted in its history and as the number of Muslims in the country increases, Muslim leaders hope that Islam’s influ- ence on Japanese society will also grow. The world-wide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and fifth Khalifah, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba , in a recent visit to Japan, said that the Japanese people ‘have great civility as well human sympathy and already abide by the Islamic teachings of doing good in return for good.’He also expressed his desire that the beauty of Islam be shown to the Japanese people. ‘If we can offer them anything it is con- necting them to God,’his Holiness said. ‘We can tell them how God listens to prayers.We can tell them how God talks to his people.’[12] religious trends in japan Did you know? Arabic is the mother of all languages - there are traces of it even in Japanese... 26 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  26. 26. endnotes 1. Toshimaro Ama, Why are the Japanese Non-Religious (Lanham: University Press of America, Inc., 2005), vii. 2. Ian Reader and George Tanabe, Practically Religious (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1998), 5. 3. Jason Josephson,The Invention of Religion in Japan (Chicago: The Chicago University Press, 2012), 92. 4. Toshimaro Ama, Why are the Japanese Non- Religious (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, Inc., 2005), 1. 5. Masaharu Anesaki, History of Japanese Religion: With Special Reference to the Social and Moral Life of the Nation, (London: Kegan Paul,Trench,Trubner & Co., Ltd., 1930), 8. 6. “The World Factbook”, Central Intelligence Agency, 2013, https://www.cia.gov/library/ publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ja.html.  7. Kevin Doak, Xavier’s Legacies: Catholicism in Modern Japanese Culture (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2011), 1. 8. Donald Lach, Asia in the Making of Europe, Vol I: The Century of Discovery, Book 2 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1965), 518. 9. Emile Nakhleh, Keiko Sakurai, Michael Penn,“Islam in Japan: A Cause for Concern?,” The National Bureau of Asian Research, 71, January 2008, http://www.nbr.org/publications/ asia_policy/Preview/AP5_IslamJapan_preview. pdf. 10. Emile Nakhleh, Keiko Sakurai, Michael Penn,“Islam in Japan: A Cause for Concern?,” The National Bureau of Asian Research, 92, January 2008, http://www.nbr.org/publications/ asia_policy/Preview/AP5_IslamJapan_preview. pdf. 11. Sheikh Mazhar,“Arabic is the Mother of All Languages – Japanese Traced to Arabic,” The Review of Religions, June 1964, https:// www.alislam.org/topics/arabic/Japanese%20 traced%20to%20Arabic.pdf. 12. “Friday Sermon: Be a man of God,”The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, November 8, 2013, http://www.alislam.org/friday-ser- mon/2013-11-08.html#summary-tab. APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 27
  27. 27. Shintoism in Japan by aizaz ahmad khan, peace village, ontario, canada Symbol of Shintosim, the Floating Otorii gate at Miyajima, Japan. © Sean Pavone | shutterstock.com
  28. 28. Introduction If Japan’s major religions were likened to a tree, Shintoism would be its roots. Shinto, commonly defined as, ‘Japan’s indigenous religion’, is as old as Japan itself.[1] Its roots and origins trace back to the latter part of the Stone Age,when it is said that the Japanese first began inhabiting the Japanese Islands.[2] The ancient Japanese clan Yamato initially believed in Shinto only as a tribal religion but,as they grew in number,proceeded to propagate it as a means to establish and solidify their reign.[3] Since those ancient times, Shinto has been influenced by an influx of various religions into Japan from surrounding regions.The notable arrival of Buddhism into Japan in the 6th century CE had a significant impact on Shinto doctrine; thus, it was only to distinguish itself from Buddhism that the term Shinto was initially coined.Consequently, most Japanese (85 percent) culturally practice a mixture of Shintoism and Buddhism.[4] Globally, up to 3 million people recognise themselves religiously as Shintoists and although Shinto ritu- als are still widely practiced throughout Japan, only a minority of Japanese iden- tify exclusively with it.[5] Nevertheless, Shinto beliefs and practices are firmly embedded in the civilisation of Japan and continue to remain an integral part of Japanese culture today. Core Beliefs • Concept of Kami (God) At the heart of Shinto ideology is the concept of the Kami,commonly defined as, ‘gods’ or ‘deities’. Heavenly deities, most notably the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami, are primarily treated as Kami, but the wider scope of the concept also recognises objects of reverence to be acknowledged as objects of worship; such as illustrious ancestors, forces of nature, animals, and even rocks.[6] The Kami are seen as beings who exhibit qualities of harmony and cooperation and who assist people in accomplishing their objectives. [7] Thus, Shintoists seek and worship the Globally, up to 3 million people recognise themselves religiously as Shintoists and although Shinto rituals are still widely practiced throughout Japan, only a minority of Japanese identify exclusively with it. APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 29
  29. 29. respective Kami who are particular to their needs and wishes. • Creation Myth and Rituals Shinto beliefs and rituals are founded mainly upon creation myths surrounding the birth and development of the sacred Japanese Islands. It is said that Izanagi and Izanami (Heaven and Earth) were a pair who gave birth to the Japanese Islands and various deities.The sun god- dess Amaterasu was produced from the left eye of Izanagi and the moon god Tsuki Yomi from his right.[8] The prin- ciples of progress and a harmonious life were understood through the actions of such Kami and, having perceived the existence of a life-force,ancient ancestors of the Japanese developed a sense of the functioning and blessings of the Kami. As such, they were deemed individually endowed with divinity and the ability to respond to prayer.[9] Since these ancient times,offerings are presented to the Kami at Shinto shrines all throughout Japan and religious vows are taken in order to secure some natural benefit, or to give thanks for something already received.[10] Philosophy and Moral Precepts Shinto places great emphasis not only on personal virtues such as loyalty and honesty, but also on achieving “makoto no kokoro” (“a heart of truth”). As a basic attitude towards life, it is generally considered more important to achieve purity of heart, upon which one’s per- sonal virtues are naturally manifested.[11] Shinto philosophy and teachings were influenced and shaped by the arrival of Confucianism and Buddhism into Japan.Confucian philosophy is compat- ible with Shintoism, therefore allowed both to coexist in a diffused form.[12] Shinto shrine at Itsukushima, Japan. © Sean Pavone | shutterstock.com 30 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  30. 30. Alternatively, in the case of Buddhism, it is said that initially Shintoism merely gave shelter to Buddhism,only to have its house entirely occupied by the latter.[13] Sacred Scriptures Although Shintoism has no officially rec- ognised scripture, two notable books are regarded as sacred due to their histori- cal value i.e. Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) and Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan).The earliest existing manuscripts of these books date back to 712 and 720 CE, respectively, and both are compila- tions of ancient Shinto’s oral traditions, mythology, and folklore.[14] No ancient scripture exists which documents or verifies the religious teachings of Shinto. The Kojiki and Nihon Shoki convey the details surrounding Shintoism’s creation myth in the birth and establishment of the Japanese Islands, but both seem to differ radically in elements of the nar- rative. The earlier Kojiki is never quoted in the Nihon Shoki and it is unknown why Nihon Shoki was compiled so soon after Kojiki.[15] Other than the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki,approximately twenty books are also deemed significant due to their documentation and preservation of his- torical records, outlining key events in the history of Japan and achievements of various Japanese emperors.[16] Significance of Emperors The Emperor and ruler of Japan holds a significant rank in Shintoism.According to early Shinto mythology, the Emperor was previously regarded as divine because he was a representative of the Kami and a conveyer of their words.[17] A descend- ent of the sun goddess Amaterasu,named Jinmu (alt.Jimmu),is said to have become the first human Emperor of Japan. Folklore depicts that Jinmu inherited the magical powers and sacred treasures of the Kami and carried out the task of unifying the Japanese Islands.[18] All subsequent emperors in Shinto history have been direct descendents of Jinmu. Currently, Emperor Akihito is the 125th emperor to rule Japan. He ascended the Shinto philosophy and teachings were influenced and shaped by the arrival of Confucianism and Buddhism into Japan. Confucian philosophy is compatible with Shintoism, therefore allowed both to coexist in a diffused form. APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 31
  31. 31. throne in 1989,makes no claim to divin- ity, and is known as ‘the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people.’[19] Shrines Today,people visit Shinto shrines at their own convenience but usually do so on occasions of rites and festivals, seeking blessings of the Kami. Various Shinto rites of passage are observed in Japan and at each occasion, beginning from birth up until marriage, shrines are visited to give thanks for the Kami’s protection and to pray for prosperity.The Japanese usu- ally hold weddings in Shinto style and pronounce their wedding vows to the Kami. Each Shinto shrine also has sev- eral festivals throughout the year, which usually include purification rites, prayer, ritual music and dance, and feasts.[20] The most significant Shinto shrine in Japan is the Grand Shrine of Ise. It is the chief place of worship of the sun god- dess Amaterasu. Conclusion Shintosim has forever been a part of the Japanese civilisation, so much so that a study of its development over thousands of years can rightfully be considered reflective of the history of Japan itself. It beautifully teaches its adherents a phi- losophy of morals that removes human evils and vices from the root. Shintoism is an optimistic faith and the fact that Shinto itself has endured the test of time in Japan defends and maintains this outlook. The Meiji Emperor of Japan aka Mutsuhito. Image source: Harper’s Monthly, september 1876. © Stocksnapper | shutterstock.com shintoism in japan 32 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  32. 32. endnotes 1. Mark Teeuwen and Bernhard Scheid, “Tracing Shinto in the History of Kami Worship,” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 29, no. 3/4 (2002): 196 2. Miyaji Naokazu, “What is Shinto?,” Contemporary Religions in Japan 7, no. 1 (1966): p.40. 3. Ayaz Najeebullah. “Introduction to Japan’s Major Religions,” Alfazl Daily, 14 March 2013. 4. Ayaz Najeebullah. “Introduction to Japan’s Major Religions,” Alfazl Daily, 14 March 2013. 5. “The Global Religious Landscape: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Major Religious Groups as of 2010,” Pew Research Center (2012), 40, http://www.pewforum.org/ files/2014/01/global-religion-full.pdf. 6. Norman Girardot, “Shinto,” Encyclopedia of World Religions (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2006) 630. 7. Naofusa Hirai, “The Principles of Shrine Shinto,” Contemporary Religions in Japan 1, no. 1 (1960): 42. 8. Edmund Buckley, “How a Religion Grew in Japan,” The Biblical World 25, no. 3 (1905): 174,176. 9. Naofusa Hirai, “The Principles of Shrine Shinto,” Contemporary Religions in Japan 1, no. 1 (1960): 42-43. 10. Edmund Buckley, “How a Religion Grew in Japan,” The Biblical World 25, no. 3 (1905): 176,178. 11. Norman Girardot, “Shinto,” Encyclopedia of World Religions (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2006), 1000. 12. Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh , Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth (Tilford, UK: Islam International Publications, 1998), 153. 13. Miyaji Naokazu, “What is Shinto?,” Contemporary Religions in Japan 7, no. 1 (1966): 44. 14. Norman Girardot, “Shinto,” Encyclopedia of World Religions (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2006), 998. 15. John Breen and Mark Teeuwen, A New History of Shinto (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 30. 16. Ayaz Najeebullah. “Introduction to Japan’s Major Religions,” Alfazl Daily, 14 March 2013. 17. Naofusa Hirai, “The Principles of Shrine Shinto,” Contemporary Religions in Japan 1, no. 1 (1960): 46. 18. Norman Girardot, “Shinto,” Encyclopedia of World Religions (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2006) 999. 19. Mark Teeuwen and Bernhard Scheid, “Tracing Shinto in the History of Kami Worship,” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 29, no. 3/4 (2002): 168-169. 20. Norman Girardot, “Shinto,” Encyclopedia of World Religions (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2006) 1000-1001. APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 33
  33. 33. The Reality of Islam for the Japanese People Keynote Address by Head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Nagoya, Japan hazrat mirza masroor ahmadaba khalifatul masih v head of the worldwide ahmadiyya muslim community
  34. 34. Nagoya’s Mayor, Mr. Takashi Kawamura Communist Party Leader, Mr. Yoshiyaki Shiji Mr Akio Najima, Prominent Lawyer and Human Rights Activist greeting His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad T he worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Fifth Khalifah, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba addressed an audience of more than 100 Japanese dignitaries and guests on 9th November 2013 at a special reception held at the Mielparque Hotel in Nagoya,Japan. During the event various dignitar- ies also took to the stage including Nagoya Mayor, Kawamura Takashi, Congressman Kudo Shouzo, and Member of City Parliament, Mr Yoshiaki Shouji. All of the dig- nitaries took the opportunity to welcome Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba to Japan and praise the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s commitment to peace and serving humanity. The dignitaries particu- larly spoke of their appreciation at the relief efforts conducted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the aftermath of the 2011 Tsunamis. We present below the keynote address delivered by His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmad. APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 35
  35. 35. “Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Raheem – In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, Ever Merciful. All the distinguished guests, Assalamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatohu - peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all. First of all I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the guests for accepting our invitation to this even- ing’s reception.The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Japan is very small and the majority of our members who live here are either of Pakistani origin or from other non-Japanese backgrounds. Yet despite this, you are attending our function,and so certainly this proves your open-heartedness and kindness.This ges- ture is even more praiseworthy given that you have come to attend an event hosted by a Muslim sect, at a time when a great fear and mistrust of Islam has developed in much of the world. And so, bearing all of this in mind, it is essential I offer my gratitude to all of you. In society it is very normal to say thank you or to express appreciation as a cour- tesy to others. However, those people The Holy Prophet Muhammadsa , taught that a person who does not express thanks to his fellow human beings is also ungrateful to God Almighty. the reality of islam for the japanse people 36 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  36. 36. who follow the true teachings of Islam do not express gratitude out of any formality, but do so because our master, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa ,taught that a per- son who does not express thanks to his fellow human beings is also ungrateful to God Almighty. Thus, to offer thanks is an essential part of faith for any true Muslim. Islam’s true teachings are so complete and beautiful that at every level they guide believers towards an enlightened path lit up with love, affection and brother- hood.However regretfully,there is a large group of Muslims who have forgotten these teachings and are now involved in entirely wrong acts.They are being led by their so-called religious scholars or lead- ers who are misguiding them for purely selfish reasons and only to fulfil their own vested interests. They justify such acts in the name of Islam, even though what they teach has nothing to do with its pure and noble teachings.Islam’s very name means peace and brotherhood.The Arabic word from which the word ‘Islam’ derives means to spread peace and security and to spread compassion and love. These teachings form the reality of Islam. Furthermore, Allah the Almighty com- mands Muslims to not only adopt these attributes themselves but also to spread peace,love and affection throughout the world. Allah has emphasised such compas- sionate teachings to such an extent that He has commanded that a Muslim should not exhibit any form of injustice even against his most ardent enemy. In Chapter 5, Verse 9 of the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Almighty states: “O ye who believe! Be steadfast in the cause of Allah,bearing witness in equity; and let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice.Be always just, that is nearer to righteousness.” Furthermore, for the sake of establish- ing the highest standards of fairness and equality, Allah commands Muslims in another verse of the Holy Qur’an to become witnesses in the cause of justice for Allah, even if it means they have to testify against themselves, their parents or their loved ones. Thus, these are the standards of justice advocated by the Qur’an and they underpin Islam’s desire to prevent all forms of cruelty. APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 37
  37. 37. Throughout the Holy Qur’an, Allah has given teachings of love, affection and a spirit of reconciliation. In today’s world we find that some so-called Muslims are involved in the most barbaric and horrific crimes, whereby they are even killing innocent women and children indiscriminately through suicide bomb- ings and terror attacks. How tragic and sorrowful it is that they are committing such heinous acts. Certainly what they are doing is com- pletely against the teachings of Islam. Indeed, the Qur’an says that the killing of just one innocent person is akin to killing all of mankind and so under no circumstances does a Muslim have the right to commit such atrocities. One crime which Islam has deemed even worse than murder is to create disorder and strife.The reason for this is that the harm caused by those who seek to create disorder can reach unimaginable levels. Disorder and strife can easily escalate, causing huge conflicts to erupt at what- ever level of society is targeted - be it the family home, the town or city, the wider society or in terms of the relations between different nations. The result of such conflicts can be extreme bloodshed and violence from both sides. And so that is why Allah has said in the Qur’an that those who create disorder are committing a crime that is even greater than unlawful killing.Hence these are the beautiful teachings of Islam and it is these very teachings that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community adopts and spreads to all parts of the globe. You should not think that our teach- ings are a new form of Islam. Indeed as I have already said,they are found in the Holy Qur’an. It is not a different teach- ing; rather, the reality is that these are the teachings of the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa . And about the latter days,the Holy Prophetsa prophesied that a time would come when Muslims would be consumed by dark- ness and would deviate entirely from the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. Allah has said in the Qur’an that those who create disorder are committing a crime that is even greater than unlawful killing. the reality of islam for the japanse people 38 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  38. 38. He said at that time, a person would appear who would be truly guided by Allah, and who would impart the true Islam and establish the real character of the Holy Prophetsa to the world. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes that our Founder,Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian,was that very person who was sent for the spiritual reforma- tion of this era and whose task was to spread the true message of Islam to the corners of the world. It is to fulfil these objectives that we Ahmadi Muslims translate the Holy Qur’an into various languages of the world, build mosques, establish mission houses and preach our message wherever and whenever we can. Our mosques are symbols of peace and beacons of light. Normally, those who do not know real Muslims are sometimes afraid of mosques. But remember that mosques are beacons of light that illuminate their surroundings. And so in our mosques, apart from the worship of God, the rights of God’s creation are fulfilled and schemes are developed to serve humanity and those in need.Thus, our mosques are not built to cause any pain to mankind,but on the contrary, are built for the sake of pro- tecting and loving all people. If we look back at the very early history of Islam, we see that during the first 13 years of his prophethood, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa and his followers were sub- jected to the most brutal persecution at the hands of the disbelievers of Makkah. As a result of the sustained opposi- tion the Holy Prophetsa was eventually forced to migrate to the city of Madinah. However despite being driven out of their homes,he and his companions were not left alone in peace, but rather some 18 months later the disbelievers travelled from Makkah and waged war in an effort to entirely eliminate Islam and to kill the Holy Prophetsa and his followers. APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 39
  39. 39. Upon such circumstances, Allah com- manded the Holy Prophetsa to raise an army of Muslims to fight back against the Makkan forces.However,within this command,there was a shining example of Islam’s beauty that is truly unparalleled. Allah said in the Qur’an, that permis- sion to fight was given because those who wished to kill the Muslims were not just opposed to Islam but were opposed to all religions. Thus, Allah said that if the Muslims did not respond to their attack, then no churches, no synagogues, no temples, no mosques, nor indeed any places of worship would remain safe. And so permission for this defensive war was given as a means to protect the people of all religions. Consequently, whenever and wherever in the world the Ahmadiyya Community builds a Mosque we do so with the belief and conviction that it is our duty to protect the places of worship of all religions.And the doors to the mosques which are for the worship of the One God are always open for the people of all religions. It is certainly the case that our mosques and our teachings are filled entirely with peace, love and affection. We wish to serve and assist all people who are in any form of distress or difficulty.We wish to alleviate their suffering, because that is true Islam.That is why we are running humanitarian projects on a permanent basis in the poor countries of the world. We are also helping those people who ar suffering from any type of natural disas- ter. This is why our teams have worked and are still working in the areas affected by the tsunami and other natural disas- ter-hit areas. In today’s world at all levels people are raising their fingers and accusing one another of destablising the world and destroying its peace. And at a political level, some nations are accusing oth- ers of acting in this way. Indeed, it is a cause of great regret that some Muslim countries are riven with conflict,whereby the leaders and the people are fighting one another. They are involved in such extreme bloodshed,even though the need Islam is not an extremist or harsh religion, though it cannot be denied that evil and utterly wrong practices have developed amongst certain so-called Muslims. the reality of islam for the japanse people 40 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  40. 40. of the time is for establishing peace and to stop unnecessary accusations and criti- cisms of one another. Having witnessed the cruel acts of some so-called Muslims, I am sure many of you will have reservations or even a fear of Islam and consider it to be a religion of terrorism. But the truth and reality of Islam is what I have explained to you and not what is commonly portrayed.Islam is not an extremist or harsh religion,though it cannot be denied that evil and utterly wrong practices have developed amongst certain so-called Muslims. What they profess and how they act are completely wrong, yet to deem the religion as bar- baric is surely unjust. Thus, where it is said that Islam is a religion of terrorism and extremism, it can only cause great pain and distress to Ahmadis and other Muslims who seek to follow the true teachings of the religion. Therefore, people should not unjustly injure the feelings of innocent Muslims by calling Islam an evil or cruel religion, when nothing could be further from the truth. In my capacity as the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, I have been constantly warning the people and nations of the world that it is impera- tive that we spread love and affection in today’s world, rather than spreading hatred and igniting grievances amongst one another. The need of the time is for us to step forward with a spirit of rec- onciliation because if we do not become true ambassadors of peace a great calam- ity could easily befall the world. Today,even a number of smaller nations have come to possess nuclear weapons and it is quite possible that they could eventually end up in the hands of extrem- ists who do not care or realise what devastation can be caused by such weap- ons. As I said, I am trying to make the world aware of the grave risks that exist and so I request all of you to also try your utmost to promote peace in the world. APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 41
  41. 41. You should make all parties aware that rather than treading a path of cruelty and severity and rather than looking at each through a lens of hatred,we should all look at one another through a lens of love and peace. Where cruelty exists we should make efforts to bring it to an immediate end. The Japanese nation and its leaders comprise those people who understand the necessity for world peace more than any other people. You are those people who know the full dev- astating effects of the nuclear weapons and the carnage that ensues. You are the people who know better than any other the horrific consequences of modern warfare. Thus, I would request 42 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  42. 42. you all to play your effective role in this regard. Play your effective role in bring- ing peace in the world. It is my prayer that may Allah grant the leaders and peo- ple of the world the ability to act with wisdom, so that a collective effort can be made to stop all cruel and barbaric elements of society from their heinous activities. Whilst every government claims they wish to end all forms of cruelty and save the world from destruction, yet it looks as if two blocs are being formed in the world before our very eyes. The opposing blocs are engaged in claims and counter-claims against one another and through such statements the friction between them is increasing by the day. The only possible result of such acts will be increasing hostilities and peace will become an ever more distant dream. Thus, once again I pray that may Allah grant the world wisdom and sense. I pray that instead of spreading malice and hatred, all parties join together and make a collective effort to end all forms of evil,so that our future generations can be saved from the indescribable destruc- tion that would certainly arise if nuclear weapons were ever used again by any country. At the end, I would like to once again thank all of you for taking the time to attend this event and for listening to what I have said today. May Allah bless you all and may Allah bless this great nation of Japan.Thank you very much.” Nagoya, Japan. © Sean Pavone | Shutterstock.com APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 43
  43. 43. A Message of Peace in the Land of the Rising Sun A global Muslim leader visits Japan. Adapted from Official Urdu Reports by Abdul Majid Tahir Translated by Professor Amtul Razzaq Carmichael
  44. 44. The Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Fifth Successor to the Promised Messiahas ,Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba ,undertook an historic trip to Japan in November 2013. This was His Holiness’s second visit to the island nation. As part of his one week tour, amongst other engagements, His Holiness addressed a press conference attended by more than 64 journalists and media members. On 9th November, His Holiness delivered a keynote address on Islam and the Qur’anic principles of peace, at an historic reception held at the Mielparque Hotel in Nagoya. In addition to promoting the true teach- ings of Islam, His Holiness’ visit mainly focused on enhancing the spiritual and moral training of the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. This visit to Japan was the final stop of a four- country tour of Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Ahmadiyyat in Japan Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas , the Promised Messiahas , expressed his wish to publish a concise book in Japanese containing a summary of all the basic facts about Islam, in order to convey the message of Islam to the people of Japan. Ahmadiyyat was first established in Japan in 1935, during the era of Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra , the Second Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Under the auspicies of Tahrik-e-Jadid (a scheme devoted to the establishment of Ahmadiyya missions worldwide in order to lay the foundations for propagating the message of Islam),Sufi Abdul Qadeer Niaz arrived in the Japanese city of Kobe. He was later supported by the services of Maulawi Abdul Ghafoor. However, both had to leave Japan with the onset of World War II. A Japanese native, Muhammad Awais Kobayashi,embraced Ahmadiyyat and visited Rabwah in 1959. In October, 1945, the Second Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community,saw a dream which suggested that the Japanese nation would respond to the call of Islam and flocks of them would enter the fold of Islam Ahmadiyyat was first established in Japan in 1935, during the era of Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud- Din Mahmud Ahmadra , the Second Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 45
  45. 45. akin to the flocks that responded to the teachings of Prophet Abrahamas .In 1966, Mirza Mubarak Ahmad, the Director of Foreign Missions of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, visited Japan. The first Ahmadiyya Mission House was bought in Nagoya in September 1981, which is comprised of a two-storey build- ing. In 1989, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s efforts to propogate its beliefs, received a dramatic boost with the publication of the Japanese transla- tion of the Holy Qur’an.In the same year, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh ,the Fourth worldwideHead of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, visited Japan and delivered the first ever Friday Sermon by any Khalifah of the Promised Messiahas in that country, in Nagoya. In 2006, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba , the Fifth and current worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community,visited Japan and for the first time in the history of Ahmadiyyat, the Friday Sermon was relayed live from Japan across the globe through Muslim Television Ahmadiyya (or ‘MTA’ – the official channel of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community head- quartered in the UK). His Holiness motivated the Community in Japan to build their own mosque; recently an excellent property has been acquired by them for this purpose. ATypical Day of His Holiness in Japan During this six-day tour of Japan, His Holiness commenced his day by leading the dawn (Fajr) prayers in congrega- tion. His Holiness spent the better part of his mornings attending to his offi- cial commitments, which include, inter alia, responding to thousands of letters from Ahmadis worldwide,seeking guid- ance and prayers and overseeing official reports with respect to the activities of the Ahmadiyya Muslim missions in 204 countries. Moreover, His Holiness granted a private audience to hundreds a message of peace in the land of the rising sun In October, 1945, the Second Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, saw a dream which suggested that the Japanese nation would respond to the call of Islam and flocks of them would enter the fold of Islam akin to the flocks that responded to the teachings of Prophet Abrahamas . 46 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  46. 46. of Ahmadis; listening to their problems, providing them with moral and spir- itual support and aiding them through prayers and advice. His Holiness also attended Ameen (the celebration of the first complete reading of the Holy Qur’an) and Nikah (the legal solemni- sation of marriage according to Islamic teaching) ceremonies during his visit. These activities were scheduled around the five daily prayers offered in congrega- tion. His Holiness concluded his day by leading the evening (Maghrib and Isha) prayers (generally offered around 9pm) in congregation. Arrival; 5th November 2013 His Holiness arrived in Japan at 5pm accompanied by his entourage.Upon his arrival, dignitaries from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Japan and other local officials greeted His Holiness. His Holiness resided at the Ana Intercontinental Hotel,Tokyo,during his visit.After leading the evening (Maghrib and Isha) prayers in congregation in one of the halls in the Hotel, His Holiness retired to his suite. Trip to Nagoya; 6th November 2013 His Holiness departed for Nagoya fol- lowing a silent Prayer. During this picturesque journey, His Holiness’ motorcade took a short break for lunch in a restaurant at the foot of Mount Fuji, from where the snow-capped moun- taintop was clearly visible. His Holiness admired the natural splendour of the landscape, and took photographs and made a video thereof. Following lunch, His Holiness led the afternoon (Zuhr and Asr) prayers in congregation.During this 350-km journey, His Holiness stopped at Ashinoko Lake — located in the Hakone area of Kanagawa Prefecture in Honshu, Japan, a spot of breathtak- ing natural beauty. Upon his arrival in Nagoya, a crowd of devotees and the local MP, Hon. Miyake Isao, greeted His Holiness.That evening,His Holiness visited the Ahmadiyya Muslim Centre, wherein he received a warm welcome by Ahmadi men, women and children and led the evening (Maghrib and Isha) prayers in congregation.As His Holiness was departing in his car,he was presented with a bouquet of flowers by the owner of the local printing press who has been involved in printing many of the publica- tions of the Community. Educating the Youth; 7th November 2013 Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba presided over a class with Khuddam (an auxil- iary organisation for male members of APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 47
  47. 47. the community aged fifteen to forty) and Atfal (an auxiliary organisation for boys aged seven to fifteen),during which the children gave various presentations. The presentations were followed by a Question and Answer session, during the course of which His Holiness shed light on the exalted status accorded to the Holy Prophetsa in Islam. On the ques- tion of undertaking research into the Christian Faith,His Holiness related an incident of Hazrat Maulana Hakeem Nur-ud-Dinra ,the first worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Khalifatul Masih who was debating the concept of the Holy Trinity with a Christian leader.At the end of their dis- course, the clergy tried to conclude the discussion by saying that the concept of the Holy Trinity was such that Asian minds were unable to grasp it, to which the Ahmadi scholar rejoined that Jesusas was also of Asian origin and perhaps he also failed to grasp the concept of the Holy Trinity! Furthermore, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba enumerated that while God cannot be seen by the naked eye, we can still appreciate the power and glory of His Creation. His Holiness quoted Mount Fuji as an example of the manifestation of the Power of God. Shedding light on his daily mail, His Holiness revealed that he receives nearly 500-2000 letters a day.He reads each letter or a summary thereof and responds to them.He stated that he personally signs 700 of such let- ters every day. When asked what his childhood career or ambition was,Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba responded by say- ing that he wished to become a doctor or join the armed forces. This class was immediately followed by a class with Lajna Imaillah (an auxiliary organisation for ladies above the age of 15) and Nasiratul Ahmadiyya (an auxiliary organisation for girls between 7 to 15 years).These young women gave presen- tations espousing the religious trends in Japan,Ahmadis’ambitions to increase the Islamic community and their passionate Furthermore, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V aba enumerated that while God cannot be seen by the naked eye, we can still appreciate the power and glory of His Creation. a message of peace in the land of the rising sun 48 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  48. 48. desire to convey the peaceful message of Islam to the Japanese people. Thereafter, His Holiness granted a pri- vate audience to 123 members of the Community and an official delegation from Korea. Friday Sermon, meetings with the Executives; 8th November 2013 After delivering the Friday Sermon, which was relayed live across the globe via MTA, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba gave an interview to a well-known jour- nalist from The Asahi Shimbun (one of the five national newspapers in cir- culation in Japan) and cast light on the peaceful message of Islam. Thereafter, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba held a meeting with the National Executive Body of Ansarullah (an auxil- iary organisation of the Community for men aged over 40).His Holiness advised them to increase their religious knowl- edge and to undertake concerted efforts to spread the message of Islam in Japan. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba reiterated the principle that the power of prayer must underpin all such efforts. The meeting with members of Majlis Ansarullah, was followed by a meeting with the National Executive Body of Lajna. His Holiness directed the Lajna members to circulate the salient points of the Friday Sermon every week to all their members and to learn a short book of the Promised Messiahas , Our Teaching, to consolidate their religious knowledge. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba further directed that all Lajna meet- ings must be conducted in Japanese and to make earnest efforts to integrate all female new converts within the system of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Following some administrative questions, this meeting concluded at 7pm. Following the conclusion of this meeting, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba visited the Baitul Ahad Mosque complex – a build- ing purchased at the cost of $800,000, and discussed plans with respect to its renovation with local architects. Thereafter,His Holiness attended a bar- beque with local Ahmadis before retiring to his residence. Reception with Japanese dignitaries;9th November 2013 At 12:15pm, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba held a meeting with the National Executive Body of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya. His Holiness directed them to ensure that they possess a full APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 49
  49. 49. understanding and knowledge of the ethos of their organisation,hold National Refresher Courses and be regular in offer- ing the five daily prayers. Furthermore, His Holiness advised them to study the books of the Promised Messiahas , to accelerate efforts to proselytise and fast track the process of publishing relevant literature in the Japanese language.At the conclusion of this meeting at 12:45pm, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba met with the Translation Committee, which is overseeing the revision of the Japanese translation of the Holy Qur’an,and ren- dered valuable support and guidance. That evening, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba attended a reception attended by 117 guests,including Members of Parliament, local leaders, professors, doctors and lawyers. Speakers at the Reception paid tribute to the services rendered by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to the people of Japan, including those by Chaudhry Sir Muhammad Zafarulla Khanra ,(a renowned politician,statesman and international jurist – who became the first Muslim Asian and only Pakistani President for both the UN General Assembly and the International Court of Justice), in restoring a respectable status to Japan,following the end of World War II and for the humanitarian assistance provided during the natural disasters of 1995 and 2011. It is noteworthy to mention here that, when the treaty of peace with Japan was signed in  San Francisco, 8 September  1951,  at the 1951 San Francisco Peace Conference, Pakistan was the only major country invited from South Asia (as China was not invited, and India and Burma stayed away from the Conference for their own reasons). At the conference, Pakistan delegation led by Foreign Minister Chaudhry Sir Muhammad Zafarullah Khanra ,strongly argued for treating Japan with respect.Sir Zafarulla Khanra said: “The peace with Japan should be premised on justice and reconciliation, not on vengeance and oppression. In future Japan would play an important role as a result of the series of reforms initiated in the political and At the conference, Pakistan delegation led by Foreign Minister Chaudhry Sir Muhammad Zafarulla Khanra , strongly argued for treating Japan with respect. a message of peace in the land of the rising sun 50 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  50. 50. social structure of Japan which hold out a bright promise of progress and which qual- ify Japan to take place as an equal in the fellowship of peace loving nations.” Return to Tokyo; 10th November 2013 His Holiness left Nagoya for Tokyo by train – a crowd of Ahmadi men, women and children gathered in his hotel lobby to bid farewell to their revered leader. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba travelled via the Nozomi Super Express, which can reach speeds of 300 km/h.The train arrived in Tokyo just after 12:30pm, whereupon members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Tokyo received His Holiness with a warm welcome. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba stayed at the Ana Intercontinental Hotel and led the afternoon (Zuhr and Asr) prayers in congregation in one of the hotel halls. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba addressed a Press Conference attended by 64 guests, journalists, Members of Parliament, professors, doctors and other dignitar- ies. Addressing the occasion, Dr. Jimi Shozaburo, MP, expressed his grati- tude towards the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for its services rendered to aid victims of the tsunami and earth- quakes in Japan. He also mentioned the landmark speech by Chaudhry Sir Zafarulla Khan in a meeting held in San Francisco in 1951, opposing all unfair sanctions against Japan subsequent to the events of World War II. Historical Tokyo; 11th November 2013 His Holiness visited the Asakusa neigh- bourhood of Tokyo, best known for its many temples,the oldest and most nota- ble being the Buddhist Asakusa Kannon Temple (also referred to as the Sensoji Temple).This part of Tokyo is extremely popular among tourists. As it happened, a couple who live in the vicinity of the Fazl Mosque, the first mosque built in London, were also visiting Tokyo at the time and were overjoyed to see His Holiness there. They approached His Holiness and took pictures with him. Later that afternoon, His Holiness granted a private audience to 87 mem- bers of 24 Ahmadi families from Korea, Japan,Thailand and Pakistan.Following the conclusion of this session, His Holiness presided over several offi- cial meetings and thereafter chaired a The peace with Japan should be premised on justice and reconciliation, not on vengeance and oppression. APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 51
  51. 51. meeting for Executives of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Japan. His Holiness directed that an appreciation and understanding should be promoted for the institution of Chanda (a scheme whereby members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community worldwide make financial contributions for funding the various religious and charitable activities undertaken by the Community glob- ally), which must not be perceived as a tax. Instead, Ahmadis should partake in this scheme at the prescribed rate, in order to reap Allah Almighty’s Blessings. Advising on the common challenge of motivating Ahmadi youth to participate in religious activities,His Holiness stated that young members of the Community should be taught in Japanese and in an engaging manner. His Holiness emphasised the need to persevere in our efforts and focus on prayers. Moreover, he underscored the need for the young generation of Ahmadis to understand the true concept of God in this fast moving and busy world by studying the works of the Promised Messiahas . An ambitious idea of building a mosque in Tokyo was also discussed.Following the conclusion of this meeting, His Holiness attended an Ameen ceremony before leading the Maghrib and Isha prayers in congregation. Farewell; 12th November 2013 After a heartfelt and emotional farewell, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba departed for Tokyo Airport in order to take his return flight to the UK. Upon his arrival at Heathrow Airport, His Holiness was received by various dignitaries from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, UK. A large number of dedicated Ahmadi men, women and children were present to welcome their revered Khalifah back to the Fazl Mosque in London. Advising on the common challenge of motivating Ahmadi youth to participate in religious activities, His Holiness stated that young members of the Community should be taught in Japanese and in an engaging manner. a message of peace in the land of the rising sun 52 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  52. 52. PLEASEDONATENOW THEY URGENTLY NEED FOOD, SHELTERAND MEDICAL SUPPLIES SYRIACRISISAPPEAL TEXT TEXT“HFSY01 £AMOUNT” TO 70070 CALL 020 8417 0082 WEB WWW.JUSTGIVING.COM/ SYRIA-CRISIS-APPEAL WEB WWW.UK.HUMANITYFIRST.ORG OVER 100kFATALITIES OVER 4.25mFORCED TO FLEE THEIR HOMES OVER 2mFLED MOSTLY TO LEBANON, JORDAN,TURKEY, IRAQ & EGYPT U.K Charity Registration No. 1149693 Canadian Registration 87254 1040 RR0001 Germany Vereinsregister Nr: VR11185 US Incorporated EIN: 20-0464012 BY DONATING £30 HELPA FAMILY OF 5 TO SURVIVETHE HARSHWINTER
  53. 53. Worship Requires Service to Humanity The first purpose-built mosque in the southern England county of Kent opens. A keynote address by hazrat mirza masroor ahmadaba khalifatul masih v head of the worldwide ahmadiyya muslim community
  54. 54. Helping the Community in Gillingham – The Nasir Mosque Another New Mosque Opened by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community! Gillingham in the South East of England was the location for an intrigu- ing function to celebrate the opening of a new mosque. Gillingham in Kent, is a county located on the Southern Eastern most border of the British Isles, and therefore is the nearest point of Britain to Continental Europe. It is situated between London and the Port of Dover, the entry point to England from Europe by sea. The “Garden of England” is the accolade traditionally awarded to Kent due to its vast farm- land, blossoming orchards and splendid public gardens. The Nasir Mosque was built in Gillingham by the Ahmadiyya APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 55
  55. 55. Muslim Community, one of the oldest Muslim communities in Britain who also built London’s first mosque.The site of the Nasir Mosque, Kent’s first pur- pose-built mosque,has been used by the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community as a prayer hall since 1975 but due to a desire of the local members to have a purpose-built mosque, the hall was demolished and thereafter construction of the new mosque began in July 2012. The mosque can accommodate around 280 worshippers. To mark the opening, the world- wide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba , Khalifatul Masih V, opened the mosque on 1st March 2014. His Holiness officially inaugurated the mosque by unveiling a commemorative plaque and then offering a silent prayer in thanks to God Almighty.A special recep- tion dinner was hosted by the Ahmadiyya Community that evening.More than 180 dignitaries and guests attended including neighbours from the local community, religious, faith and community leaders, city mayors,Members of Parliament and representations from the military and navy.Those attending included Viscount De L’Isle MBE, the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent, Councillor Josie Iles, Mayor of Medway, Mr. Rehman Chishti MP and Brigadier D W Southall OBE. Before the Keynote Address by His Holiness, Various Dignitaries Delivered Brief Remarks ViscountDeLisleMBE-HerMajesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Kent “Your Holiness, other distinguished guests; thank you for inviting Lady De Lisle and myself to this great occasion. I would like to extend a warm welcome to His Holiness on what I understand to be his first official visit to Kent and Medway. We are a large county with a population of 1.7 million people. Our geographical position has given us the nickname of the ‘Frontline County.’The Muslim faith is alive and well and flour- ishing here in Kent, along with other faiths. Medway has a proud history of integration of all its communities.There are over 5,000 Muslims in Medway, extending compassion to the people of gillingham 56 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  56. 56. making it the second biggest religion after Christianity; next are 3,846 Sikhs and 2,750 Hindus. All of our commu- nities coexist in a fully cohesive society across Kent and Medway.Your motto of ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’ is one that we should all aspire to. Today we are here to celebrate the opening of this fine new building. Undertaking the task of rebuilding what was here before was an act of faith in itself. I congratulate you on achieving this fine structure. I am certain that this mosque will stand the test of time and come to serve many generations.May I wish all who worship here,now and in the future,my very best wishes!” Councillor Josie Iles -  Mayor of Medway “Your Holiness, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is a delightful and unique privilege to be here with you all on this special occasion. Local Muslim communities have been in the Medway towns for 50 years and as you celebrate this golden anniversary year, I should like to thank you for the service you have given and continue to give to the local community.Your hard work and efforts involve charity collections, blood giving donations, homeless feeding ses- sions,woodlands cleanups and volunteer services in Medway Hospital and many other local projects. Medway truly appreciates what you do! You underline the very essence of its motto, ‘Forward Together’ and I quote, ‘By encouraging everyone to work together, to make the area a better place in which to live, work and play.’ Moreover, this is so strongly linked with your own motto, ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’, a desire for cohe- sion and peace, that we can see a good and respectable interrelationship that Local Muslim communities have been in the Medway towns for 50 years and as you celebrate this golden anniversary year, I should like to thank you for the service you have given and continue to give to the local community. APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 57
  57. 57. benefits us all.As we celebrate the unveil- ing of this beautiful new building, that you have worked so hard to transform, I offer you every sincere wish, that your aspirations will be enhanced by its pres- ence and as you open its doors to anyone who wishes to enter it, the Mosque will beam out your message of cohesion and peace to all its neighbours, visitors and passersby.I wish you all the very best for the future.Thank you!” Rehman Chishti - MP Gillingham and Rainham “Assalamo Alaikum, Ladies and gen- tlemen, colleagues and friends. I am delighted and privileged to be here today. But before I say my few words,can I just say it’s a real honour and privilege to have His Holiness here in Gillingham and Rainham and for me, as a Member of Parliament, when you have the head of a leading faith in the international com- munity here in Gillingham and Rainham, it can only be a good thing so it’s a real privilege and honour for you to be here, Your Holiness. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community here may only be a small community, but it’s a community which has con- tributed so much to community life. If one looks back to 1964, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community used to worship on Arden Road, in the cellar of Qari Muhammad Yasin. In a cellar, 1964 on Arden Street, just down the road and through aspiration, hard work, determi- nation, perseverance, we are here today with a fantastic mosque for the com- munity,where the community can come together because I certainly believe, it’s about where faith communities,places of worship which bring people together and by having such a fantastic Ahmadiyya Muslim Community mosque here in Gillingham, that can only be a good thing! The other good things which I say and which is very prominent with the Ahmadiyya Community is that they have contributed to so many aspects of community life. I remember reading an article about the 500 people here taking part in a very long walk to raise money for charity…it shows what they do,apart from simply faith, it’s about community, extending compassion to the people of gillingham 58 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  58. 58. it’s about society. The issue of human rights was touched earlier and as col- leagues here may be aware, we recently had a debate in parliament on the issue of persecution of Christians abroad. I took part in that debate, and my debate was focused on Pakistan and in that debate,I said, in parliament that the government in Pakistan should abolish the blasphemy laws. It should; because those are used to persecute minority communities; the Christian Community but also the Ahmadiyya Community who are being persecuted by those laws. So my views on interfaith, faith, freedom of worship are very clear. And so therefore, where there is an issue of oppression, in rela- tion to faith, then I think we all have a responsibility to ensure that we stand up and do the right thing and say, “That is not right!” We have to ensure that eve- ryone can come together and integrate as we see here in Medway. One of the greatest things about Medway is where people from all different faiths,all differ- ent backgrounds have together to make our towns fantastic, vibrant and safe towns. I want to see that continue for many, many, many, more years. I know the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community will play their role and when I was once a young lawyer; a judge said to me,“Brevity is a virtue, not a vice. Keep it short!” so tonight those are my few words to you today and I look forward to working with you in the future.” Brigadier David W Southall OBE - Commandant of the Royal School of Military Engineering Group “Assalamo Alaikum.Your Holiness,Lord Leftenant,distinguished guests,I’m very grateful for the opportunity to say a few very brief words at this splendid evenings celebration marking the inauguration of your new mosque. I first wish to thank your Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, The other good things which I say and which is very prominent with the Ahmadiyya Community is that they have contributed to so many aspects of community life. APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 59
  59. 59. not only for the kind invitation to this reception, but also for the wider sup- port you have given so generously to our servicemen and women.This has ranged from significant fund raising and sup- port for the Royal British Legion to a raft of support for the poppy appeal collections across London last year. I believe your community work, in so many ways,mirrors the values and stand- ards we hold so dear in the Army and the Royal Engineers. We both set great store by the principals of selfless com- mitment and respect for others and our motto of “Service not Self,”that ethos is, I believe, common ground for us both. At a local level, my staffers, my Royal Engineers, also have a historical link with your community. I understand, in 1990, Royal Engineers from Chatham visited your headquarters in Southfields, near Putney, in London. We were asked to check and confirm the direction of Makkah and after a very detailed sur- vey, the mosque alignment, having been accurately measured, was changed by a few degrees. At all levels, like your Association, we draw strength in the army from our breadth and depth; we’re a team! We are built from different people,with different skills but working towards common goals and in this sense,I believe,as your armed forces, we will always reflect society as much as we defend and serve it. Thank 60 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014
  60. 60. you again for inviting me here today.I do feel very honoured to be part of the cel- ebrations on this very special evening,not only marking the inauguration of your new mosque, but also in celebrating the 50 golden years and your anniversary. I hope you all have a super evening! Thank you all!” Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba then took to the podium to deliver his key- note address. After reciting Tashhahud,Ta’awwuz, and Bismillah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba said: “All distinguished guests - peace and bless- ings of Allah be upon you all. First of all I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the distin- guished guests,who have come here this evening to attend the inauguration of our new mosque, and by doing so have demonstrated their strong ties and close relations with Ahmadi Muslims. I have particularly mentioned this strong rela- tionship because in today’s world only those who care for the feelings of others and have a strong personal connection with them would accept an invitation to a purely religious event. Thus your attendance is extremely praise- worthy and has increased the love and respect we hold for all of you in our hearts. These are not just superficial APRIL 2014 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 61
  61. 61. words on my part, given as a courtesy, but rather true gratitude requires for feelings of love and respect to develop in a person’s heart. Further, the religion that we Ahmadi Muslims believe in and follow - Islam - teaches us that a per- son cannot reach God until he displays mutual gratitude wherever it is due and becomes an exemplary model of showing thankfulness to the people of the world. Consequently,it is only possible to form a close bond with God Almighty and to please Him when we become those who please and love His Creation. An ordinary worldly person does not believe that pleasing God is anything special or important and certainly sees no need to strive or endeavour towards doing so. However, a person who believes in God Almighty and believes his religion to be a means of reaching Him, will and should certainly consider pleasing God to be a very great objective based upon the teachings of his religion.This is espe- cially true from the perspective of a true Muslim whose purpose is, and should always be, to please His Creator and to become attached to Him. Thus from the perspective of a true Muslim,my thanks is not a mere courtesy or gesture,but is actually an essential ele- ment of my faith in order to please God and to develop a close union with Him. As I have already mentioned,the overrid- ing objective of a religious person should always be to please God. When I study the Holy Qur’an, which Muslims con- sider to be the direct Word of God and Rather, the purpose of worship can only be fulfilled, when a person comes to follow and act upon all of God’s commands. And God’s commands entail fulfilling the rights of both God and also of His creation. extending compassion to the people of gillingham 62 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | APRIL 2014

×