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Review of Religions April 2016

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Review of Religions April 2016

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Review of Religions April 2016

  1. 1. Good Mosques, Good Neighbours 14 Jonahas and the Big Fish? 28 Why Alcohol is Prohibited in Islam 42 The Economic System of Islam 62 vol. 111 - issue fourapril 2016 www.reviewofreligions.org religious diversity, learning from leicester
  2. 2. When the help of Allah comes and the Victory, and thou seest men entering the religion of Allah in troops, Glorify thy Lord with His praise and seek His forgiveness. Surely He is oft returning with mercy. Islam, the Holy Qur’an, Ch.110:V.2-4. O ye who believe, seek the Help of Allah through steadfastness and prayer. Surely Allah is with the steadfast. Islam, the Holy Qur’an, Ch.2:V.154. Ibn Abbasra relates: I was riding behind the Holy Prophetsa one day when he said: Boy, I would instruct thee in some matters. Be watchful of Allah, He will be watchful of thee. Safeguard His commandments. He will be ever with thee. When thou must ask, ask of Allah alone; and when thou must seek help, implore Allah alone for help. Remember that if all the people were to combine to bestow some benefit upon thee, they would not be able to bestow anything upon thee except that which Allah has appointed for thee, and that if all of them were to combine to do thee harm, they would not be able to afflict thee with anything except that which Allah has decreed against thee. The pens have been lifted and the ink of the books has become dry. Islam, The Holy Prophetsa , Hadith of Tirmidhi. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Christianity, the Bible, Psalm 46:1. Be strong and take heart, and have no fear of them: for it is the YHVH your God who is going with you; He will not take away His help from you.  Judaism, Torah, Deuteronomy 31:6. Take refuge wholeheartedly in him only, O Bhaarata. With his grace you will attain supreme peace and the eternal abode. Hinduism, Bhagavad Gita, 18:62. 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 ©makhzan-e-tasaweer founder of the review of religions God’s Help world faiths 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.
  3. 3. 8 Letters 10 Untold Stories 14 Good Mosques, Good Neighbours Keynote address at the inauguration of Baitul Ikram mosque in Leicester, U.K. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba , Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community 28 Jonahas and the Big Fish Exploring the story of Jonahas through the Bible and and Qur’an. Fazal Ahmad, U.K. 40 Do Not Be Satisfied with Fables Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas , the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi 42 Why Alcohol is Prohibited in Islam Exploring the effects of alcohol and why other attempts to prohibit it have failed. Aizaz Khan, Toronto, Canada 58 Fresh Signs Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas , the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi 62 The Economic System of Islam HAZRAT MIRZA BASHIR-UD-DIN MAHMUD AHMADRA , THE SECOND CALIPH OF THE AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY Front cover pictures: Top: © Makhzan-e-Tasaweer. Bottom three: (Accessed via Wiki Commons) contents april 2016 Vol.111 issue four 62 14 28
  4. 4. CHIEF EDITOR & MANAGER Syed Amer Safir ASSOCIATE EDITORS Nakasha Ahmad,Tariq H. Malik RELIGION & SCIENCE Editor: Dr. Syed Muhammad Tahir Nasser Deputy: Dr.Tauseef Khan ISLAM & CONTEMPORARY ISSUES Editor: Shahzad Ahmad LAW & HUMAN RIGHTS Editor: Qudsi Rasheed Deputy: Ayesha Mahmood Malik ANCIENT RELIGIONS & ARCHAEOLOGY Editor: Fazal Ahmad Deputy: Rizwan Safir CHRISTIANITY Editor: Navida Sayed Deputy: Arif Khan Women’s Section Editor: Aliya Latif Deputy: Meliha Hayat BOOK REVIEWS Editor: Sarah Waseem WEB TEAM Mubashra Ahmad, Hibba Turrauf Special Collections Head: Razwan Baig EDITORIAL BOARD Mansoor Saqi, Bockarie Tommy Kallon, Professor Amtul Razzaq Carmichael, Murtaza Ahmad, Fiona O’Keefe, Hassan Wahab, Jonathan Butterworth, Munazza Khan, Waqar Ahmedi, Mahida Javed SUB-EDITORS Munawara Ghauri (Head), Maryam Malik, Nusrat Haq, Mariam Rahman PROOFREADERS Farhana Dar (Head), Hina Rehman, Amina Abbasi, Aisha Patel HOUSE STYLE GUIDE Maleeha Ahmad (Head), Sadia Shah SOCIAL MEDIA Tazeen Ahmad (Head), Mala Khan (Deputy), Nudrat Ahmad, Hajra Ahmad, Mishall Rahman, Shumaila Ahmad PRINT DESIGN AND LAYOUT Ahsan Khan INTERNATIONAL SUBSCRIPTION & DISTRIBUTION Muhammad Hanif ACCOUNTS & MARKETING Musa Sattar ART & CREATIVITY Zubair Hayat, Mussawir Din INDEXING,TAGGING & ARCHIVING Mirza Krishan Ahmad (Head). Amtus Shakoor Tayyaba Ahmed (Deputy). Humaira Omer, Humda Sohail, Shahid Malik, Ruhana Hamood, Mubahil Shakir, Adila Bari, Hassan Raza Ahmad MANAGEMENT BOARD Munir-Ud-Din Shams (Chairman), Syed Amer Safir (Secretary), Mubarak Ahmad Zaffar, Abdul Baqi Arshad, Ataul Mujeeb Rashed, Naseer Qamar, Abid Waheed Ahmad Khan, Aziz Ahmad Bilal The world is passing through turbulent times.The global economic crisis continues to manifest new and grave dangers at every juncture.The similarities of the current circumstances to the build-up of the Second WorldWar are stark. Events appear to be moving us rapidly towards a ThirdWorldWar.The consequences of a nuclear war are beyond our imagination. In this book, the historic addresses of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba , Fifth Khalifah of the Promised Messiah and Supreme Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, to prominent dignitaries at Capitol Hill, the House of Commons, the European Parliament and other notable locations around the world have been collated.The book also includes the momentous letters sent by His Holiness to the numerous world leaders. Over and over again, His Holiness has reminded all that the only means of averting a global catastrophe is for nations to establish justice as an absolute requirement of their dealings with others. Even if mutual enmity exists, impartiality must be observed at all times, because history has taught us that this alone is the way to eliminate all traces of hatred and to build everlasting peace. Read online at: www.alislam.org Purchase the book here: http://store.alislam.org/
  5. 5. Dear Editor, Assalamo Alaikum. I am most surprised and hurt by the recent comments of David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the UK. In banning the head covering, his party could lose the next election. Why? Because: 1. Employment:The high employment rate of the country would go down. Most hijab-wearing women are such great professionals, replacing them would be difficult. 2.The Economy/Credibility: Many hijab-wearing Ahmadi professionals I know of excel in their professions as lawyers, teachers, scientists and doctors. Big economic losses would happen without them.The credibility of institutions would also suffer as a result. 3.Tourism:When hijab-wearing families leave Britain due to the ban on hijab/language restrictions, their families will no longer visit Britain. 4. Depression: Children of hijab- wearing mothers will suffer from depression/stress when their mothers lose their employment. 5.The lack of self-confidence in such people would increase. The recent statements on head coverings have hurt us. If I wear a hijab, what difference does it make to you? If my sisters in England are performing their duties efficiently as doctors, teachers, lawyers and scientists, then why ban their specific dress? When you ban the hijab, you ban excellence. Kind Regards, Maryum Samar Pakistan Dear Editor, The article entitled “The Keys to Peace in aTime of Global Disorder” (January 2016) was inspirational. I do appreciate receiving The Review of Religions booklet and find so many articles enlightening.  Thank you for sharing.  It does much to explain the Muslim religion. Jennie Lajoie LETTERS In recent times vested interests have launched a ‘crusade’ against Islam. Islam is labelled as a religion of terror, backwardness and suppression. Based on Quranic teachings, the author of this book goes about disproving these notions and professes that Islam provides practical solutions to current issues; and argues that: (1) Swords can win territories but not hearts, forces can bend heads but not minds; (2) The role of women is not of concubines in harems nor a society imprisoned in the four wall of their houses; (3) Richer nations provide aid with strings attached and yet the flow of wealth continues to be in the direction of the rich while the poorer sink deeper in the red; (4) Religion does not need to be the predominant legislative authority in the political affairs of the state; (5) Irrespective of the thawing of the cold war, the issue of war and peace does not only hang by the thread of superpower relationship. (6) Without God there can be no peace. It also contains comprehensive discussion on interest; financial aid; international relations; and the role of Israel, America and the United Kingdom in a new world order. The message of this book is timeless and chalks a blue print for the future prospects for peace. Read online: http://www.alislam.org/books/ Purchase print copy: http://store.alislam.org/englishbooks.html 8 The Review of Religions | april 2016
  6. 6. many of the misconceptions about the Community. Despite this, he had come to our mosque on this occasion with his Muslim friends. After two weeks I came to know that David’s father, who belonged to a very rich and well-reputed family in Guatemala, had been murdered. I went to see him and his family to offer my condolences. In this time of sorrow and grief, my meeting proved very fruitful and we developed a bond of friendship. David started coming to our mosque in search of the truth. He was satisfied and immediately con- vinced by our beliefs about the death of Jesusas after listening to our Qur’anic arguments. He then went to a non- Ahmadi mosque and enquired from the Imam about their beliefs regarding Jesusas .In response,the Imam of the non- Ahmadi mosque, an Arab Sheikh, said “All the Muslims are unanimously agreed on the life of Jesusas and it is attested by the sayings of the Holy Prophetsa . It is only due to denying this that the Ahmadiyya Community is declared non- Muslim.However,no specific verses from the Holy Qur’an attest our belief.” Respected David Gonzalez responded to these comments by declaring, “That means that the Qur’an does not support the general Muslim view of Jesusas . So I will be with the Community which accepts the Qur’anic teaching.” Hence he came back to our Ahmadi Mosque, completed the Bai’at form (Pledge of Allegiance form) and embraced the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam. In 2008,he had the privilege of attending Jalsa Salana UK (Annual Convention). A meeting with the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community had a magical effect upon him. Thereafter, he experienced the blessings of seeing the Promised Messiahas and Khulafa-e- Ahmadiyyat (spiritual successors of the A Pious Soul in the Land of Guatemala U pon the instructions of the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, I arrived in Guatemala in February 2007. It had only been a few days when a group of local Muslims came to our Baitul Awal Mosque. During our conversation, they said that Allah Almighty had given them the opportu- nity to embrace Islam and so they wanted to serve Islam.They said that our mosque was desolate and hardly any worshippers came to pray there, and they suggested that we sell our mosque to them and said that they would fill it with worshippers. I told them that we belonged to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, whose main objectives are preach- ing, the propagation of Islam and the building of mosques. I suggested that instead, they gain information about Jama’at Ahmadiyya and study our lit- erature. I assured them that the doors of our mosque were always open for them. I told them that they could come and offer their prayers there whenever they wished and to work with us in spreading the message of Islam. A young man, David Gonzalez, was a part of this group. He had previ- ously been stopped from coming to our Ahmadi mosque and had fallen prey to “That means that the Qur’an does not support the general Muslim view of Jesusas . So I will be with the Community which accepts the Qur’anic teaching.” Hence he came back to our Ahmadi Mosque, completed the Bai’at form (Pledge of Allegiance form) and embraced the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam. 10 The Review of Religions | april 2016 april 2016 | The Review of Religions 11
  7. 7. Community) in his dreams on numerous occasions. He is presently serving as the general secretary for Majlis Ansarullah (auxiliary organization of men above 40 years of age) and is a director of Humanity First, Guatemala. Many such blessed souls have embraced Islam through him, including the presi- dent of Khuddamul Ahmadiyya (auxiliary organisation of youth aged 15-40), Mr. Daria Samayoa, who is a lawyer, and the president of Lajna Imaillah (auxiliary organisation of women), Mrs. Marta Maria De Paz. Moreover, he has accompanied me on my missionary trips to Mexico, Salvador,Costa Rica,Panama,Chile,and Colombia,where we spread the message of Ahmadiyyat and had the blessing of establishing missions. Abdul Sattar Khan, Imam and Missionary In-Charge Guatemala Do you have an “Untold Story” you wish to share with us? Email us your unique story at editor@reviewofreligions.org 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: www.alislam.org/books/ Or purchase here: store.alislam.org/englishbooks.html 12 The Review of Religions | april 2016
  8. 8. Good Mosques, Good Neighbours Leicester is one of UK’s most diverse cities—and an exemplar of tolerance.The newest Ahmadiyya mosque in Leicester aims to cement those values.
  9. 9. After reciting Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz and Bismillah, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba , Khalifatul Masih V said: “All distinguished guests, Assalamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahe 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 you who have kindly accepted our invitation to the opening of our new mosque here in Leicester. Your attendance proves that you are openhearted people who respect human values and who care for the feelings and sentiments of others. It is no exaggeration to say that these are values and qualities that the people of this city have displayed for many cen- turies. Indeed for over a thousand years Leicester has been home to the people of various cultures and beliefs who realised the importance of uniting together and living in peace. If we look at the ancient history of this city we learn that there were some wars or conflicts between the Vikings and the Anglo Saxons.However ultimately they understood that living together in peace and security and pro- tecting the rights of one another was in the interest of all people and mutually beneficial. When I was recently reading about Leicester and its history, I learned that the city’s tradition of multicultur- alism was not confined to the ancient past, but continues today. According to the 2011 census, Leicester remains one of the UK’s most ethnically diverse cities. Indeed, I read recently with regards to Narborough Road that the city’s history Inauguration of Baitul Ikram Mosque, Leicester, UK Indeed for over a thousand years Leicester has been home to the people of various cultures and beliefs who realised the importance of uniting together and living in peace. Keynote Address by Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba The opening of this mosque, in one of the UK’s most ethnically diverse cities, illustrates the inclusiveness of the people of Leicester. The opening of this mosque, in one of the UK’s most ethnically diverse cities, illustrates the inclusiveness of the people of Leicester. april 2016 | The Review of Religions 17
  10. 10. worship,it will also prove to be a beauti- ful addition to the existing mosques and places of worship in this city.In terms of its purpose, a true mosque is a place for Muslims to congregate in order to wor- ship the One God.Furthermore,it is also a place for Muslims to gather together to fulfil the rights of God’s creation. Thus where this mosque provides us with a place to worship God Almighty, it also presents us with a place to join together to work for the betterment of society and to serve humanity. In Islam, Allah the Almighty has drawn the attention of Muslims to fulfilling the rights of all other people in accordance with how closely linked they are and the degrees of their relationship.In this con- text I can say with certainty that the local Ahmadi Muslims will deem the neigh- bours of this mosque to be extremely close to them and we consider fulfill- ing their rights and needs to be of great importance. I am confident that every Ahmadi Muslim who comes to wor- ship here will not only seek to fulfil the rights owed to Allah the Almighty, but will also seek to fulfil the rights owed to the neighbours of this mosque and indeed the wider community.Thus there says that Narborough Road in Leicester was officially recognised as the most eth- nically diverse road in the entire country. In my opinion this should be considered as a badge of honour for this city and it is evidence of Leicester’s successful model of integration and inclusiveness. These are qualities that should never be for- saken or disregarded. As we are currently living in extremely precarious times wherein much of the world is increasingly consumed by disorder and injustice, it is the critical need of the time that we promote and spread the tolerant values that the city has epitomised for so long. We must all work towards uniting society under the umbrella of humanity and seek to foster a spirit of mutual respect for each other’s values and beliefs.Drawing upon this city’s past history and experiences, it is imperative that the people under- stand that peace and security can only be achieved through love, tolerance and mutual respect. Another quality of this city is that apart from the different cul- tures and ethnicities present, Leicester is also home to various religions and beliefs. I believe that this diversity is something that enriches your city and further increases its beauty and attrac- tion.Indeed the fact that so many people of different backgrounds are attending the inauguration of our new mosque,fur- ther attests to the excellent morals and values of the people of Leicester.And so with these words of introduction,I would now like to speak briefly about the true purposes of mosques according to Islam. It is said that there are already around 200 mosques or Islamic centres in Leicester and so the word mosque or the building itself will probably not be a new thing for the local people. Nonetheless, we are extremely pleased that today, with the grace of Allah the Almighty, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been able to open its new mosque in Leicester. And I am sure that where it will provide our members with a place of Another quality of this city is that apart from the different cultures and ethnicities present, Leicester is also home to various religions and beliefs. I believe that this diversity is something that enriches your city and further increases its beauty and attraction. inauguration of baitul ikram mosque - leicester, uk With a rich history and a bright future, the city of Leicester is a model city in terms of diversity and tolerance. Photo licensed under Creative Commons license to Wikimedia Commons user NotFromUtrecht. 18 The Review of Religions | april 2016 april 2016 | The Review of Religions 19
  11. 11. is as true today as it ever was in the past. Indeed when I reflect upon this point I realise that if I want others to treat me in a good way and with peace and security, then it is incumbent upon me to treat others in a like manner. As a Muslim, it is necessary for me to desire true peace for my neighbours.It is necessary for me to desire true peace for those living in my town or city.It is necessary for me to desire true peace for my fellow citizens. In fact, it is necessary for me to desire true peace for every person in every part of the world. The Holy Qur’an’s defi- nition of a neighbour is extremely vast and far-reaching and includes many categories of people, including travel companions and others. In essence the true spirit underpinning the definition requires a Muslim to consider all of man- kind as his neighbour. In chapter 4,verse 37 of the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Almighty has linked the rights owed to Him with the rights owed to mankind, by saying: ‘And worship Allah and associate naught with Him,and show kindness to parents, and to kindred, and orphans, and the needy,and to the neighbour that is a kins- man and the neighbour that is a stranger, and the companion by your side, and the wayfarer,and those whom your right hands possess.Surely,Allah loves not the arrogant and the boastful.’ Therefore, Allah the Almighty has is no need to fear this mosque because only sentiments of love and compassion towards our neighbours will reverber- ate and echo in every direction from it. Certainly you will see for yourselves that our motto of Love for All, Hatred for None is not just an empty proclamation or hol- low slogan; rather it will become clear to you that we sincerely seek to live our lives according to this golden principle as this is what our religion teaches us. God Willing,each and every day you will come to appreciate the true beauty and magnificence of Islamic teachings. As I mentioned earlier, this city has a rich history of absorbing people of different cultures and religions and is a city where people have long united for the greater good of society. Most surely Ahmadi Muslims will forever seek to uphold this noble tradition.In fact,rather than just uphold it, we will always seek to build upon those strong foundations and further develop these qualities of mutual tolerance and openheartedness. According to the teachings of Islam, we will love and care for our neighbours and fulfil their rights in the very best man- ner. Islam has made it crystal clear to Muslims that their neighbours have great rights over them.Just as the Holy Qur’an stipulates the rights of a parent over their child,in the same way it designates that a neighbour has many rights.Muslims have been taught to love, protect and honour their neighbours.Indeed the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa once said that Allah the Almighty had admonished him so repeatedly about the rights of neighbours that it occurred to him that perhaps a person’s neighbours would be included among the rightful inheritors of a Muslim.Furthermore,the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa taught his followers to like for others what they like for themselves. I believe that this simple yet magnificent principle is the key to establishing true and long lasting peace in the world. This timeless proposition Islam has made it crystal clear to Muslims that their neighbours have great rights over them. Just as the Holy Qur’an stipulates the rights of a parent over their child, in the same way it designates that a neighbour has many rights. Muslims have been taught to love, protect and honour their neighbours. This mosque provides an excellent opportunity for Muslims in the area to worship One God and to play an active role in the service of the local community. inauguration of baitul ikram mosque - leicester, uk 20 The Review of Religions | april 2016 april 2016 | The Review of Religions 21
  12. 12. other religions or to harm their places of worship,it is the duty of Muslims to pro- tect them. I think most of you will agree with me that if these teachings were genuinely acted upon then we will come to see a world of peace and harmony. If these Islamic teachings were followed then those people who claim that God or religion are the root cause of disorder and violence in the world would come to see the error of their views. Of course there are certain so-called Muslims who are defaming the name of Islam by perpetrating the most inhumane cruelties and injustices.Any peace-loving person can only be horrified when he or she sees such barbarities or ignorance. However let it be absolutely clear that such people are acting completely against the true teachings of Islam.Their actions are indefensible and entirely unjustified. Anyways, I am confident that following the opening of this mosque,the Ahmadi Muslims living in this area will come to manifest true Islam more than ever before. Through their conduct they will shine a light on Islam’s peaceful teach- ings.They will prove that Allah draws the attention of Muslims to fulfil not only His rights of worship but of all His crea- tion.They will personally illustrate Islam’s beautiful and pious teachings. They will exhibit only love,compassion and sympa- thy for others.At a time when the world stands upon the precipice of disaster,the need for mankind to join together and to strive for peace is more urgent and criti- cal than ever before. We must unite in our efforts to promote peace and mutual enjoined treating other people with respect, love and kindness. This verse is all-encompassing and proves that a Muslim is duty-bound to serve human- ity irrespective of colour, caste or creed. Indeed alongside a person’s relationship with Allah,every other possible relation- ship is included in this verse.This is why I said that when Islam teaches Muslims to fulfil the rights of their neighbours and to fulfil the rights of their relations,it actu- ally incorporates all of mankind.Indeed, the Qur’an does not merely require for different groups to live side-by-side, but rather it has actually established the rights of all people and all communities. Furthermore, contrary to the media’s portrayal,Islam is the standard bearer for universal freedom of religion and belief. Thus, where Allah the Almighty has established the rights of Muslims to wor- ship,He has also established the rights of all other religions.This is also proved by chapter 22,verse 41,of the Holy Qur’an, where Allah has commanded Muslims to protect the places of worship of all reli- gions. By virtue of this commandment, the early Muslims were granted permis- sion by Allah the Almighty to defend themselves after years of sustained and brutal persecution by the non-Muslims of Makkah; but this verse makes it abun- dantly clear that permission was granted in order to defend the institution of religion itself rather than just Islam. In short the verse states that permission to fight was granted because the opponents sought to destroy all the religions. Thus if the Muslims did not fight back, then no church, synagogue, temple, mosque or place of worship in which the name of God Almighty was commemorated would remain safe. Consequently, based on Islam’s true teachings,I consider that mosques are not only places to wor- ship Allah the Almighty, but are also a means of serving mankind and fulfilling the rights of one another. Therefore it is a duty of Muslims to live peacefully alongside others and rather than oppose In short the verse states that permission to fight was granted because the opponents sought to destroy all the religions.Thus if the Muslims did not fight back, then no church, synagogue, temple, mosque or place of worship in which the name of God Almighty was commemorated would remain safe. Nowadays, Muslims are perpetually portrayed negatively by the media. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba said that he hoped that the new mosque of the Ahmadiyya Community in Leicester would become a beacon of light and a symbol of peace within the city. His Holiness leads silent prayers at the conclusion of the event. inauguration of baitul ikram mosque - leicester, uk 22 The Review of Religions | april 2016 april 2016 | The Review of Religions 23
  13. 13. understanding so that the world can be saved from that horrific destruction, in the shape of a catastrophic world war, that seems to be drawing ever closer by the minute.In the past the people of this city came to learn the benefit of peace and tolerance after living through war- fare and violence. Thus I pray that the lessons of the past are enough for us to realise our responsibilities to safeguard our future. I pray that we recognise the needs of the time before it is too late and before we are once again engulfed by warfare and devastation. I pray that we come to understand the importance of striving for peace and the fact that our Creator,God Almighty,desires for all of humanity to live together and to fulfil each other’s rights. At the end I also wish to say to the Ahmadi Muslims who are living here that they should seek to portray the true teachings of Islam at all times.Their con- duct and character should always remain exemplary.They should always remember that if they fail in their duties to serve others, then their worship will neither please Allah,nor will it prove any benefit to them and nor will there have been any benefit to having built this mosque.This mosque has been named as ‘Baitul Ikram’ – the House of Honour. And so where the people who enter this mosque will seek to show love, honour and respect to one another, they will also seek to spread love,honour and respect through- out the society at large. God Willing, this mosque will come to be known as a beacon of light which illuminates its surrounding and will come to be known as a true symbol of peace in Leicester. May Allah enable the local Ahmadis to fulfil the true purposes for which this mosque has been built – Ameen. At the end I would like to once again thank all of our guests for accepting our invitation and joining us this evening. May God bless you all, thank you.” SUBSCRIBE NOW! 12 Issues for £15 LESS THAN £1.99 A MONTH For more information Visit: ReviewofReligions.org/Subscription Call (UK Head office) : +44 (020) 8544 7614 Email: Accounts@ReviewofReligions.org Youtube.com/ReviewofReligions @ReviewofReligions facebook.com/theReviewofReligions @ReviewReligions Suffer Pain to Bring Comfort to Humanity 10 The Significance of Ramadan 14 Religious Trends in Germany 24 Khalifah of the Promised Messiah in Germany 40 VOL. 109 - ISSUE SEVENJULY 2014 WWW.REVIEWOFRELIGIONS.ORG ISLAM A THREAT OR A SOURCE OF PEACE? CASE STUDY: GERMANY Khalifah of Promised Messiah Sends Letter to Russian President 30 Syria - A Religious Heritage 34 Medical Consequences of Nuclear War 46 The World in Need of a Reformer 74 VOL. 108 - ISSUE ELEVENNOVEMBER 2013 WWW.REVIEWOFRELIGIONS.ORG SYRIA IN CRISIS Chimes of Messiah 8 The Beginning of Creation in Scriptures of Different Religions 34 Khalifah of the Promised Messiahas at the Houses of Parliament 46 Guests Reflect on the Houses of Parliament Event 62 VOL. 108 - ISSUE NINESEPTEMBER 2013 WWW.REVIEWOFRELIGIONS.ORG ISLAM-ARELIGIONof PEACE&COMPASSION The magazine devoted to promoting intellectual and lively debate that is based on respect for all religions. PLUS FREE DELIVERY TO YOUR DOOR At the end I also wish to say to the Ahmadi Muslims who are living here that they should seek to portray the true teachings of Islam at all times.Their conduct and character should always remain exemplary. inauguration of baitul ikram mosque - leicester, uk 24 The Review of Religions | april 2016
  14. 14. Bitcoin: On Behalf of The Future 14 Educating Our Children 24 The Difference Between True Islam & Extremist Groups 30 FGM’ – Not in The Name of Religion 50 VOL. 110 - ISSUE 1JANUARY 2015 WWW.REVIEWOFRELIGIONS.ORG ERADICATING EXTREMISM Why The Honeybee is Dying and What It Means for Life on Earth 16 Wonders Experienced Through Fasting 26 The Islamic Dilemma Should We Fear the Religion of Peace? 30 Atheism or Belief - Which is evidence Based? 42 VOL. 110 - ISSUE SEVENJULY 2015 WWW.REVIEWOFRELIGIONS.ORG The ISLAMIC DILEMMA ShouldWeFearthe ReligionofPeace? God - His Transcedence and Manifestation 12 Untold Stories 26 From the Archives: My Visit to Qadian 38 Preaching Activities of Jesusas in the East 46 VOL. 110 - ISSUE TWOFEBRUARY 2015 WWW.REVIEWOFRELIGIONS.ORG EYES CANNOT REACH HIM... The Sign of the Heavens 20 The Plague 58 A Murder in British Lahore: Closing the Case of Lekh Ram 80 World War One: Centenary of Fulfliment of a Grand Prophecy 102 VOL. 110 - ISSUE EIGHTAUGUST 2015 WWW.REVIEWOFRELIGIONS.ORG EVIDENCE FORTHE TRUTHYoubetheJudge... S P E C I A L 1 6 4 P A G E E D I T I O N A Message of Peace 10 Legal Right Verses Moral Duty 38 Is it Permissable for Prisoners of War to be Executed? 56 The Life of the Prophet Muhammadsa 68 VOL. 110 - ISSUE THREEMARCH 2015 WWW.REVIEWOFRELIGIONS.ORG REACTIONto CHARLIE HEBDO...? SERMON onthe MOUNT The Economic System of Islam 10 The Institution of Hajj 20 Mahmud’s Letter From the Land of the Dearest One [Muhammadsa ] 24 The Life & Character of the Seal of Prophetssa 52 VOL. 110 - ISSUE NINESEPTEMBER 2015 WWW.REVIEWOFRELIGIONS.ORG Fromthe LETTERSof MAHMUDRA A HISTORIC JOURNEY TO THE HOUSE OF GOD Firm Stance Against Terror At Peace Symposium 8 The Golden Principles for World Peace 16 Three Minutes and Counting 38 Has Science Rendered Religion Obsolete? 66 VOL. 110 - ISSUE FOURAPRIL 2015 WWW.REVIEWOFRELIGIONS.ORG RAY OF HOPE? SERMON onthe MOUNT Halloween – Fear or Fun? 10 Shariah: A Semantic Oxymoron? 28 Connecting to Khilafat: A Guidance for Today’s Muslim Youth 36 Islam’s Response to the Destruction of Cultural Heritage 56 VOL. 110 - ISSUE TENOCTOBER 2015 WWW.REVIEWOFRELIGIONS.ORG A Guidance forToday’s MuslimYouth Connecting to Khilafat: Is the Shroud of Turin a Medieval Photograph? 22 The Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin 40 A Brief Review of Recent CNN Documentary on the Shroud 56 The Oviedo Cloth by Mark Guscin: Book Review 66 VOL. 110 - ISSUE FIVEMAY 2015 WWW.REVIEWOFRELIGIONS.ORG TheRESURRECTION ShroudingTheTruth? Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra – An Early Ray of Western Sunrise 18 World Peace & Security - The Critical Issues of Our Time 38 Responsibilities of an Ahmadi Muslim 50 The Economic System of Islam 56 VOL. 110 - ISSUE ELEVENNOVEMBER 2015 WWW.REVIEWOFRELIGIONS.ORG WORLDPEACE &SECURITY: THE CRITICAL ISSUES OF OURTIME The Race to Conquer the Secret of Life 14 The Spiritual Benefits of Fasting 24 Navigating Life in the 21st Century 32 Visits to Sacred Places 54 VOL. 110 - ISSUE SIXJUNE 2015 WWW.REVIEWOFRELIGIONS.ORG NAVIGATING LIFEinthe 21ST CENTURY Spirituality, Morality &Material Progress Three Gradations of Doing Good 14 Is Religion Truly the Cause of Disorder in the World Today? 20 Apartheid of Ahmadis in Pakistan 52 Women’s Responsibilities: Fulfilling the Conditions of Bai’at 78 VOL. 110 - ISSUE TWELVEDECEMBER 2015 WWW.REVIEWOFRELIGIONS.ORG The BLAME GAMEIs religion truly the cause of disorder in the world today? Is Religion Truly the Cause of Disorder in the World Today? To order back issues email info@reviewofreligions.org The front covers of our 12 Editions in 2015 Subscribe 12 editions for just £15gbp or $30 Usd Students! 12 editions for just £5gbp or $10 Usd
  15. 15. Introduction The story of prophet Jonahas is recounted in detail in the Jewish Old Testament and in the Holy Qur’an where he is called Yunus or Dhul-Nun[1] in Arabic.In Hebrew he is called Yona and in Greek Ionas.Jonahas was a Jewish prophet from the 8th century B.C.E., from the time of King Jeroboam II[2,3,4] . His story of sur- vival through a storm by surviving in the belly of a big fish is well known to over a billion people worldwide.What is often forgotten or skimmed over is the context of the storm, and the mission of Jonahas . But actually this is the most epic story of repentance both at a personal and com- munity level. The histories and accounts of the Jews and the people of Assyria, the two com- munities associated with the story of Jonahas , have been intertwined for many centuries[5] . Abrahamas originally came from Mesopotamia before leaving his polytheistic roots and heading west to Palestine and Arabia. Thereafter, there were several military exchanges between the two communities before Jonahas was sent to the east to offer salvation for the sinful people of the town of Nineveh. After Jonahas , their paths would cross again when Nebachudnezzar would force the Jews into slavery and exile, heading back towards the birthplace of Abrahamas . Before exploring the context of these events, let us first examine the detailed accounts presented in the holy books of Judaism and Islam. Old Testament Account The Old Testament of the Jews describes the story of Prophet Jonahas in the book of Jonah,and begins with his mission and Jonahas trying to flee: Jonahas and the Big Fish By Fazal Ahmad, U.K. The story of Jonahas is narrated amongst billions of followers of the Abrahamic faiths, namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We examine the context of the incidents around Jonahas as documented in various sources, the background to the city of Nineveh in Mesopotamia where he was sent, and to analyse the moral message of the story for the current age. The story of Prophet Jonahas highlights the true repentance of a servant of God. The events that took place were remarkable and the fortitude of Jonahas was exemplary. (Accessed via Wiki Commons) april 2016 | The Review of Religions 29
  16. 16. the ‘violence that is in their hands’ pro- vides a strong indication of the types of misconduct that they were being warned against. Now let’s compare this account to the one presented in the Holy Qur’an. Qur’anic Account The Holy Qur’an describes the story of Yunusas (Yunus being the Arabic form of the name Jonah and relating to the same prophet) in six places,including in some detail in chapter 10, which is actually named after him, but also in Chapters An-Nisa, Al-An’am and As-Saffat. The latter describes the story in the follow- ing verses: And surely Jonah also was one of the Messengers, when he fled to the laden ship; and he cast lots with the crew of the ship and was of the losers. And the fish swal- lowed him while he was blaming himself. And had he not been of those who glorify God,he would have surely tarried in its belly till the Day of Resurrection. Then We cast him on a bare tract of land, and he was sick; and We caused a plant of gourd to grow over him. And We sent him as a Messenger to a hundred thousand people or more, and they believed; so We gave them provision for a while.[12] The Qur’an reinforces the status of the people of Nineveh for repenting: Why was there no other people, save the peo- ple of Jonah, who should have believed so that their belief would have profited them? “Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah set out to flee toTarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish.[6,7] On the boat heading from Jaffa towards Tunisia,a huge storm appeared and after much concern, the sailors reluctantly threw Jonahas overboard: So they picked Jonah up and threw him into the sea; and the sea ceased from its raging.[8] But the Lord provided a large fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.[9] So then Jonahas , having prayed to God in the belly of the big fish, honoured his promise and went back to Nineveh: So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city,going a day’s walk.And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.[10] Then all of the people of Nineveh, the rich and the poor, and even the king, decided to seek repentance. The king then made a proclamation including: “All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands.”[11] This gives a clue as to the ‘evil ways’of the people of Nineveh that caused a prophet to be sent to them with a warning in the first place.The fact that the king describes The Old Testament details the story of Jonahas , including his time inside the belly of a fish. Most religious scriptures agree upon the mission of Jonahas and his persuasion of the people of Nineveh to repent and seek God’s salvation. (Accessed via Wiki Commons) The minaret of the mosque of Prophet Jonahas in Nineveh, Mosul. Jonahas was known for his just and pious nature, which allowed him to comprehend his errors and sincerely repent before God. Thus, his prayers delivered him from his predicament. (Accessed via Wiki Commons) jonahas and the big fish 30 The Review of Religions | april 2016 april 2016 | The Review of Religions 31
  17. 17. There is uncertainty as to the final resting place of the prophet Jonahas .Palestinians claim that his sanctuary is at Halhul,just north of Hebron whilst the Lebanese claim his grave to be near Sarafand. Another potential site is near the city of Mosul in Iraq, not far from the ancient city of Nineveh where he was sent with his mission. Now let’s try to better understand the context of the city of Nineveh where he was sent. Nineveh Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the banks of the Tigris River in Mesopotamia (near the city of Mosul in modern Iraq). Ironically, the name itself means ‘place of fish’.The city dates back to around 5000 B.C.E.[17] The ancient city was very advanced and developed for its time. It had two big mounds on either side of the Khosr River, one to the north called Kuyunjik, and a smaller one to the south now called Tell Nebi Yunus (meaning the mound of prophet Jonah).The city was surrounded by eight miles of solid defensive walls dating from around 700 B.C.E., which were 16 metres high and 15 metres thick. When they believed,We removed from them the punishment of disgrace in the present life, and We gave them provision for a while.[13] In the Qur’an,Yunus or Dhul-Nun (him of the whale) is considered to be a Jew of the Benjamin tribe whose father was Amittai. Unlike the Biblical account, which not only suggests that Jonahas neglected his mission, ran away from God and was also upset when God for- gave the people of Nineveh and didn’t punish them, the Qur’an presents him in a different light. In the Qur’an, he went to Nineveh initially,but when they didn’t respond to his message, he left them; however, after being saved from the storm through the big fish that God had sent,he sought forgiveness from God and went back to complete his mission. This time, his preaching was so effec- tive that ‘a hundred thousand people or more’repented and were saved from the intended punishment. Yunusas constantly recited a prayer for forgiveness and was relieved of his anxiety as recorded in the Qur’an in Al-Anbiya: And remember Dha’l-Nun (Jonah), when he went away in anger, and he thought that We would never cause him distress and he cried out in depths of darkness, saying, ‘There is no God but Thou, Holy art Thou. I have indeed been of the wrongdoers.’ So We heard his prayer and delivered him from the distress. And thus do We deliver the believ- ers[14,15, 16 ] . The Qur’an describes Yunusas as a pious prophet, and distinguished for hav- ing been successful in persuading his people to repent. So having reviewed the accounts of the story in the Old Testament (Torah) and the Qur’an, let us now explore in a little more detail the background of Jonahas . Jonahas Prophet Jonahas is believed to have lived and preached in the late 9th and early 8th centuries B.C.E. and was the son of Amittai,from the town of Gath-Hepher (as mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25),north of Nazareth.He was the fifth of the Jewish minor prophets. Jonahas was sailing to Tunisia from Jaffa which was an active port at least as early as 300 B.C.E.. The big fish threw out Jonahas onto the shore at Ashdod, and even today, the hill at Ashdod is called Givat-Yonah in Hebrew, and Nebbi Yunus in Arabic, so it is clearly associ- ated by the local people with Jonahas . Nineveh is located near Iraq and is regarded as a very developed city which became a major trading centre in its region. (Accessed via Wiki Commons) Unlike the Biblical account, which not only suggests that Jonahas neglected his mission, ran away from God and was also upset when God forgave the people of Nineveh and didn’t punish them, the Qur’an presents him in a different light. jonahas and the big fish 32 The Review of Religions | april 2016 april 2016 | The Review of Religions 33
  18. 18. In reality,Nineveh was one of the super- power cities of its time.For Jonahas to go to Nineveh and preach repentance would have been the equivalent of a modern prophet doing the same in Paris, Tokyo or New York. It would have taken huge courage and belief. Given the extent to which the city even- tually responded to Jonahas and the fact that even the king responded and raised a decree,it would be interesting to try to identify the king in question. The most likely candidates are those shown below: Adad-Nirari III (811-783 B.C.E.) Shalmaneser IV (783-773 B.C.E.) Ashur-Dan III (773-755 B.C.E.) Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 B.C.E.) Whilst there is no conclusive evidence showing which years Jonahas lived and preached or which Assyrian king was in a position to make that decree,it is inter- esting to note that during the reign of Ashur-Dan III,the Assyrian Empire was struck by a major plague in 765 B.C.E. and another plague would strike in 759 B.C.E.There was also a total solar eclipse over Assyria on 15 June 763 B.C.E. observed in Nineveh[21] .It is possible that if these coincided with the preaching of Jonahas ,they could have been interpreted as signs and warnings and contributed to the remorse shown by the people of Nineveh. Following the redemption of the peo- ple, Nineveh continued to flourish until it was attacked and destroyed by the Persians in 612 B.C.E.[22] Nineveh also had a strong influence on other neighbouring towns such as Nimrud and Karamles[18] . The great Temple of Ishtar was built centuries before the wall on Kuyunjik.The mound of Nebi Yunus is considered to have been the armoury for the city. Soon after Jonahas visited the city, it took on greater prominence when Sennacherib, the Assyrian King, made it his capital[19] and initiated a massive construction programme that included the great walls and gates,a new royal pal- ace on Kuyunjik, public gardens, and an impressive 30-mile aqueduct system to bring in water from hills to the east of the city.This signalled an era of military conquests including attacks on Jerusalem and Judah.Sennacherib also built a tem- ple to Nabu[20] , the god of wisdom and learning. Later, Ashurbanipal built his palace and a library on the northern mound.The library housed thousands of clay tablets on many subjects.It was actu- ally from this library that the accounts of the Gilgamesh Epic and the Enuma Elish were discovered, shedding light on their religious beliefs on creation and the great flood. By the time of Jonahas , Nineveh had become a major cultural, political and trading centre in the region. It became a religious centre for the worship of Ishtar, the goddess of love and war. Nineveh is mentioned several times in the Bible in 2 Kings, Isaiah, Jonah and Nahum (which is an oracle concerning Nineveh). This shows the significance of the city at the time of the Jewish kings. Above is a simplified plan of ancient Nineveh, showing the city wall and the location of its gateways. (Accessed via Wiki Commons) In reality, Nineveh was one of the superpower cities of its time. For Jonahas to go to Nineveh and preach repentance would have been the equivalent of a modern prophet doing the same in Paris,Tokyo or New York. It would have taken huge courage and belief. Given the extent to which the city eventually responded to Jonahas and the fact that even the king responded and raised a decree, it would be interesting to try to identify the king in question. jonahas and the big fish 34 The Review of Religions | april 2016 april 2016 | The Review of Religions 35
  19. 19. Whale or Great Fish? Although the Biblical account is often associated with a whale, and certainly sperm whales are large enough and do exist in the Mediterranean Sea, the Hebrew actually refers to a “big fish” as does the Arabic. In Turkish, yunus baligi refers to a dolphin. It has never been resolved as to what kind of big fish it actually was that swallowed Jonahas for three days without killing him and then threw him out onto the shores of Ashdod, but it would have needed to be large enough to swallow a man whole and allow him to breathe for three days. Centuries later,this story was referenced again by Jesusas . Reference to Jesusas Centuries later, Jesusas gave a sign that just as with Jonahas , he would be in the belly of the earth for three days and would then recover.But unlike Nineveh, Jesusas warned that the Jewish people might not be as fortunate as the people of Nineveh, as the latter had repented whereas the Jews were arrogant[23] . Moral of Jonah’s Story It is interesting to delve into the detail of the eras, places and people involved in the story in order to verify that these were actual historical events, and to frame the context. As we have seen, to say that Jonahas was swallowed by a whale is not accurate, and the term “big fish” is probably more appropriate, but this changes little in the key themes of the story. At the same time, understanding more about Nineveh helps us to under- stand the nature and scale of the task given to the prophet, and why he might have initially been reluctant to go there. However,the main theme of this story is repentance,and this has two dimensions within this story.Firstly,despite preach- ing his message, when confronted with the mission to preach to Nineveh,Jonahas tried to escape, and yet after being swal- lowed by the big fish,it is his repentance within the fish (whale) that led to his Timeline of events Events in Palestine Events in Mesopotamia c. 1800 B.C.E. – Abrahamas migrates from Babylon to the Middle East to establish a monotheistic religion. 1800 B.C.E. – Temple of Ishtar is built in Nineveh at the time of King Manistushu. 1813-1781 B.C.E. – Nineveh becomes a province of Ashur under King Sham- shi-Adad I. 1360 – 1270 B.C.E. - Mosesas leads the Jews from bondage in Egypt and receives the Torah (Old Testament) through reve- lation. 1400 B.C.E. – Nineveh undergoes sig- nificant construction under the Assyrian Kings Shalmaneser I and Tiglath-Pileser I. 1003 – 970 B.C.E. - Davidas reigns over a united Israel. 786-746 B.C.E. - Jeroboam II ruled as king of Israel and extended its territory and power. At this time, Israel had huge trade links with Egypt and Assyria. c. 770-760 B.C.E. - Jonahas is sent to Nineveh 763 B.C.E. – Total solar eclipse is seen over Assyria. 701 B.C.E. - Jerusalem and Judah are attacked by Sennacherib. 704 B.C.E. – Sennacherib makes Nineveh the new capital of Assyria and builds a new palace, public gardens, aqueducts and the 8-mile defensive walls and gateways. 612 B.C.E. - Nineveh is destroyed by Persian forces. 587 B.C.E. – Nebuchadnezzar destroys Jerusalem and sends the Jews into exile. 605 B.C.E. - Nebuchadnezzar becomes King of Babylonia. Jonah’sas story highlights the power of repentance and the need for man to turn towards God in all trials and tribulations. © buttet / Shutterstock.com jonahas and the big fish 36 The Review of Religions | april 2016 april 2016 | The Review of Religions 37
  20. 20. prophecy about King Jeroboam II around 785 B.C.E. 4. Online Encyclopaedia Britannica 2015 cites the King to have reigned in the 8th century B.C.E. 5. A major kingdom in Mesopotamia. 6. Jonah 1:2-3, New Revised Standard Version. 7. Jewish commentators recognise Tarshish as a land far from Israel in the Mediterranean with whom they did trade, probably Tunisia or even southern Spain. 8. Jonah 1:15 NRSV. 9. Jonah 1:15 NRSV. 10. Jonah 3:3-6 NRSV. 11. Jonah 3:8 NRSV. 12. The Holy Qur’an, 37:140-149. 13. The Holy Qur’an, 10:99 14. Ahmad,The Holy Qur’an with Commentary, Vol. IV, 2235. Jonah fled his people in anger because they rejected his Divine Message. He was not fleeing from God. 15. Ahmad, Holy Qur’an with Commentary, Vol. IV, 1714.The Arabic word for wrongdoers actually means that he put himself at risk and brought distress upon himself rather than that he committed a sin 16. The Holy Qur’an, 21:88-89. 17. LaMoine F. DeVries, Cities of the Biblical World (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1997), 32. 18. DeVries, Cities of the Biblical World, 31. 19. De Vries, Cities of the Biblical World, 33. 20. De Vries, Cities of the Biblical World, 34. 21. NASA “Technology Through Time Issue #32: Ancient Babylon”, http://www.sunearthday. nasa.gov/2006/locations/babylon.php, accessed on 7 March 2015. 22. Hershel Shanks, Ancient Israel: A Short History from Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the Temple, (London: Biblical Archaeological Society, SPCK, 1989), 141.The armies of Media and Babylon combined to destroy Nineveh. 23. Matthew 12:39-41 NRSV. forgiveness and eventual survival. Then having gone to Nineveh to warn them of their impending demise for their evil acts,the genuine remorse and repentance of the people of Nineveh led to their for- giveness and survival from the promised calamity.So,both on a personal and col- lective level,in this one story,repentance is seen to lead to survival and forgiveness by God. Some commentators have focussed on the human weakness of Jonahas in apparently failing to follow the com- mand of God and trying to escape by sea. However, having seen the stature and size of Nineveh and the daunting task of preaching to them, the impact of the preaching of Jonahas which led to the entire population, including the king, to forgiveness,tells us a lot about the quality of his preaching and his belief in God. In the modern world,too many religious people assume that worldly people and cities will soon face doom and destruc- tion.There is often a blanket view taken that ‘The West’ will be destroyed soon. But this masks the fact that in all com- munities,there are good and bad people, kind and evil people, spiritual and non- spiritual people. From this story, we learn that if communities repent, then no punishment is guaranteed for them. From the story of Lotas ,we see that often prophets prayed for redemption for evil people, and had there been a decent number of good people in Sodom, they could have been spared their punish- ment. Nobody is without sin, as Jesusas illustrated in the discussion about casting the first stone. If we wish for forgive- ness ourselves, then we should wish for repentance and reformation even for our foes or those that we consider to be evil. Fazal Ahmad is a long-serving member of the editorial board and is currently the editor for the Ancient Religions and Archaeology Section. endnotes 1. Cyril Glasse, The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam (San Francisco: Harper, 1999), 428. 2. Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad,The Holy Qur’an with Commentary (Tilford, UK: Islam International Publications Ltd., 1988), Vol. III,1040. Jonah was sent to his own people, so either he was not an Israelite if he went to Nineveh, or he was not sent outside of Israel. 3. Online Encyclopaedia Britannica 2015 links Jonah with the prophet in II Kings 14:25 and a jonahas and the big fish 38 The Review of Religions | april 2016 april 2016 | The Review of Religions 39
  21. 21. The Promised Messiahas & imam mahdi ( g u i d e d o n e ) founder of the review of religions Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas G od exists even now, as He did in the days past; His powers too remain the same as they were in the past, and He is still as capable of showing signs as He was before. Then why should you be satisfied with stories and fables alone? The religion is dead and destroyed which con- tains nothing more than stories of miracles shown in the past and the people are a dead people on whom God does not descend in grace and mercy,whom the Divine Hand Itself has not come down to purify.As a man is drawn towards the joys of this world when he sees its attractions with his own eyes; similarly is man drawn towards God when he comes to know with perfect certainty that the spiritual joys are even sweeter. The appeal of Divine beauty takes such a hold on his mind that everything else appears to him of no more value than mere trash.Man is freed from sin only when he comes to know the power of God, and of Divine retribution, on the basis of a firm conviction.[1] endnotes 1. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas , Our Teaching, (Tilford, Surrey, UK: Islam International Publications LTD., 1990), 25-26. Do Not Be Satisfied With Fables
  22. 22. Undoubtedly,the ancient custom of alco- hol consumption is deeply woven into the fabric of modern-day society.Despite being consumed by almost two billion people worldwide,of whom at least 76.3 million suffer an alcohol-related disorder, alcohol is perceived as just another routine of daily life.Statistics bear witness to the fact that the devastating impact of alco- hol consumption on human civilisation is no myth and is becoming increasingly apparent as society continuously fails in its attempts to control drinking.[1] In 2005, a United States government study found that alcohol abuse was linked to 75,000 U.S. deaths per year.[2] That number increased in the following years and from 2006 to 2010, excessive alcohol use led to nearly 88,000 deaths each year—making alcohol consump- tion America’s third leading preventable cause of death.[3,4] More recently, a large study carried out in the U.S. found that “roughly three in ten U.S. adults have a drinking problem or have misused alcohol at some point in the past.”[5] However,this epidemic is not limited to the borders of America alone. In 2012, 3.3 million deaths worldwide (5.9 percent of all global deaths) were attributable to alcohol consumption.Globally,alcohol misuse is the fifth leading risk factor for premature death and disability, and among people between the ages of 15 and 49, it is the first.[6] Such alarming statistics should be, without a doubt, a cause for inter- national concern. But as the world has witnessed historically,the recurring fail- ure of prohibition movements such as the American Prohibition (1920-1933), has caused a culture of drinking to dominate and heavily influence the lives of billions of people worldwide, drinkers and non- drinkers alike. As the world acknowledges the harm- ful impact of alcohol and scrambles to Why Alcohol is Prohibited in Islam by Aizaz Khan, Toronto, Canada Alcohol consumption has become a fundamental cause of crime globally. This addiction is inherent in modern society and seems to be on the rise because of accessibility. Islam is the only religion that has categorically prohibited alcohol for the good of society. © Kamira / Shutterstock.com From 2006 to 2010, excessive alcohol use led to nearly 88,000 deaths each year— making alcohol consumption America’s third leading preventable cause of death.[3,4] More recently, a large study carried out in the U.S. found that “roughly three in ten U.S. adults have a drinking problem or have misused alcohol at some point in the past. april 2016 | The Review of Religions 43
  23. 23. abuse. Certainly, the society and com- munity established by the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa in 7th century Arabia was mostly cured of the plague of alcohol- ism. This gives rise to a most pertinent question—what was it about the Islamic prohibition that allowed it to succeed where other prohibition movements failed miserably? Prohibition in the United States of America (1920-1933) The prohibition of alcohol was not a popular idea with many Americans. Initially, under the 18th amendment that prohibited “the manufacture, sale and distribution of intoxicating liq- uors”, the consumption of alcohol fell by 20-40 percent. But then it began to rise, and only one year after the prohibi- tion was instated, alcohol consumption began to make a sharp recurrence. From 1921 to 1927, it had increased to 60-70 percent of its pre-prohibition level.[7] Social pressure and respect for the law did not have an impact on the con- sumption of alcohol. Simply put, those who wanted to drink drank. Edward Behr, author of Prohibition: 13 Years That Changed America writes, “With Prohibition, America was all set for a wild drinking spree that would last thirteen years, five months, and nine days.”[8] In fact, over the thirteen years of prohibi- tion, Americans produced 700 million gallons of beer each year in the confines of their own homes.[9] Furthermore, not only did spending on alcohol increase, but also spending on substitutes for alcohol increased. In addition to pat- ent medicines, consumers switched to narcotics: hashish, tobacco, marijuana and cocaine. These products were potentially more dangerous and addic- tive than alcohol, and procuring them often brought users into contact with a more dangerous criminal element.[10] By 1933, the Prohibition experiment failed and simply re-affirmed the fact minimise its detrimental effects, many are unaware that in the history of human civilisation there does indeed exist a time when a society was purged of the troubles that accompany alcohol consumption—a society whose people were delivered from the shackles and stronghold of alcohol The removal of alcohol during Prohibition was an attempt by the U.S. government to eradicate this ubiquitous intoxicant. It failed due to the widespread addiction nationally. © Vintage periods. (Accessed via Wiki Commons) The data shows the detrimental effect alcohol has upon society as well as individuals. Alcohol is widely accepted in the West but it has caused more harm than other illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine. “Scoring drugs”, The Economist. (Accessed via Wiki Commons) why alcohol is prohibited in islam 44 The Review of Religions | april 2016 april 2016 | The Review of Religions 45
  24. 24. other book, let alone religious scripture. In John Chapter 2,Verses 1 to 11,we find that the very first miracle ever performed by Jesusas and attributed to him was that of the creation of wine from water. It was due to this miracle of creating wine that people first began believing in him. Wine is also biblically regarded as a con- comitant of joy (Psalm 104:14-15 and Ecclesiastes 9:7) and its use in common ceremonies such as Mass, symbolising the blood of Christ,further demonstrates its significance.Hence,it is unsurprising to learn that even Christian clergy were prone to excessive drinking and some to even collapsing on pulpits.[13] Although it is argued that drunken- ness is a sin according to the Bible, the fact that Biblical scripture permits alcohol consumption paves the way to a hazardous habit which was not even practised by Prophet Jesusas himself.[14] The permissibility of alcohol can easily lead to a neglect of healthy limitations. The Promised Messiahas regarding the permissibility of alcohol in the Bible, writes, “When man is blinded by a bigoted and sinful life, he becomes unable to tell the difference between what is permissible and what is impermissible and renders all per- missible things forbidden and all forbidden things permissible;and he does not hesitate to that the American people loved drinking and were not willing to abide by a con- stitutional law that prohibited alcohol. As Amy Mittleman states in Brewing Battles: A History of American Beer,“Both retailers and drinkers refused to accept the legitimacy of prohibition legislation.”[11] Alcohol in the Biblical Context Where the constitutional law failed to bring an end to alcohol consumption, religious law was no more effective. A society under the influence of Judeo- Christian theology cannot prohibit the consumption of alcohol, as it is not explicitly forbidden in their religious scriptures. Of all religious scriptures, it is only the Holy Qur’an which defini- tively and categorically forbids the consumption of alcohol. Expounding upon a historical truth, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas ,the Promised Messiah and Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community,states,“There was, as it were, no limit to the amount of drinking or gam- bling practiced by the followers of these two books (Torah and Gospels) because they both suffered the inherent flaw that they did not prohibit these two terrible deeds (alcohol consumption and gambling)—and, con- sequently, did not forbid lewd people from consuming them and indulging in them. It is for this reason that these two nations con- sume alcohol as if it was water and indulge heavily in gambling as well. In contrast to this, the Holy Qur’an categorically pro- hibited alcohol, which is the mother of all vicious and atrocious things.This is a matter of pride for the Holy Qur’an that it alone definitely forbade alcohol—the same atro- cious substance about which all of Europe now grieves and wails over—and forbade gambling in the same manner.”[12] A study of the Bible further shows that not only does it fail to forbid alcohol consumption, but it also gives alcohol a certain significance that is found in no why alcohol is prohibited in islam During the Prohibition period, American citizens used every means imaginable to procure alcoholic beverages. Drinks were even acquired on medical grounds. National pressure finally caused the revocation of Prohibition. Treasury Department. National Archives. (Accessed via Wiki Commons) Christian dogma does not forbid the consumption of alcohol, which is the main reason for its accessibility in the West, despite recognition of its ill-effects. Only the Holy Qur’an has explicitly prohibited it, proving the inimitable wisdom of this divine scripture. Copyright: (Accessed via Wiki Commons) 46 The Review of Religions | april 2016 april 2016 | The Review of Religions 47
  25. 25. the Arab mentality that it was acceptable was first changed by Qur’anic teachings, thus everything else followed as a natural consequence of this change in attitude. Like the abolishment of slavery, where slaves were not only freed but were fully integrated into Islamic society and seen as intellectual equals, Islam’s teachings regarding alcohol struck at the very root of the problem and changed perceptions first. (Gradually advancing to a desired outcome,just like a car gradually picking up speed and merging onto a highway, is precisely why the implementation of Islamic injunctions was effective and lasting.) The very first Qur’anic revelation men- tioning khamr (wine) was revealed in the early Meccan period of Islam and is mentioned in Chapter 16, Verse 68: “And of the fruits of the date-palms and the grapes, whence you obtain intoxicating drink and wholesome food. Verily, in that is a Sign for a people who make use of their reason.”[16,17] This verse speaks about both the good and bad sustenance derived from the same source, i.e., dates and grapes. The wisdom in this Qur’anic revelation was to focus the attention of the Muslims toward intoxicating drinks and to allow them to reflect on the issue themselves. shun good deeds.Alcohol,which is the mother of all vain things, is permissible among the Christians but is definitely forbidden in our Shariah (Islamic Law) and is referred to as ‘the abomination of Satan’s handiwork’. Is there any priest who can show the impermis- sibility of alcohol consumption in the Bible? Rather, alcohol is thought to be so blessed that the first miracle of the Messiah (Jesusas ) was the creation of wine; so why would they not be bold in its consumption? Perhaps even the most temperate of them drinks at least one bottle of brandy. Thus, the abundance of alcohol in England has given rise to new crimes.”[15] It must be noted here that the Promised Messiahas argues the permissibility of alcohol from a Biblical perspective, which portrays Jesusas as a consumer of alcoholic drinks. However, the Promised Messiahas did not at all believe that Jesusas , a great prophet of God,consumed wine—rather he believed Jesusas to be sinless and someone who shunned the act of alcohol consumption. Islam’s Stance on Alcohol Consumption In contrast to Biblical scripture,the Holy Qur’an categorically forbids the con- sumption of alcohol.The wisdom behind Islam’s prohibition of alcohol is indeed worth reflection. In order to completely eradicate the consumption of alcohol, The Last Supper revolves around the sharing of bread and wine. This reinforces the sacred connotations of alcohol within the Christian Faith. Copyright: (Accessed via Wiki Commons) The map highlights the countries in which alcohol is prohibited due to the practice of Islamic law. Copyright: Coldbolt. (Accessed via Wiki Commons) why alcohol is prohibited in islam 48 The Review of Religions | april 2016 april 2016 | The Review of Religions 49
  26. 26. found in any other religion,except Islam. Had the first revelation of the Qur’an been: ‘Do not drink,’it would have been ignored and ineffective. Regarding this exact scenario, Hazrat ‘A’ishahra states, “When people embraced Islam, the verses regarding legal and illegal things were revealed. If the first thing to be revealed was: ‘Do not drink alcoholic drinks,’ people would have said,‘We will never leave alco- holic drinks,’ and if there had been revealed, ‘Do not commit illicit sexual intercourse,’ they would have said,‘We will never give up illicit sexual intercourse.’”[22] Therefore, as the Qur’anic commentator,Imam Fakhr al-Din Razi states, “The wisdom behind prohibition being revealed in this order was that Allah knew the people had a close affin- ity with drinking wine.Thus, He knew that had He prohibited it all at once, it would have been very difficult for them (to conform to the prohibition).”[23] Thus, there is much wisdom to be found in the methodology employed by Islam in order to implement a new law. In addition to this methodology, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa also warned believers of the evils of intoxication.Hesa is reported to have stated, “Wine (alco- hol) is the mother of all sins, and whosoever drinks it, Allah will not accept his prayers for a period of forty days; and if such a one dies while there is alcohol in his stomach, he dies a death of ignorance.”[24] In order to completely and wholly purify society of intoxicants, it was necessary to forbid even the smallest amounts of alcohol. It is a natural phenomenon that those who abuse drugs and intoxicants begin with small amounts and then, due It was a subtle hint of the evils of such drinks,which is juxtaposed to the idea of “wholesome food.” Following this revelation, alcohol was prohibited in three stages with the fol- lowing verses: 1. Allah first discouraged the believing Muslims from drinking wine, draw- ing to attention the fact that there was greater evil than benefit in intox- icants. Chapter 2, Verse 220 states, “They ask thee concerning wine and the game of hazard. Say: ‘In both there is great sin and also some advantages for men; but their sin is greater than their advantage…’”[18] 2. Next, Muslims were forbidden to pray whilst intoxicated. Chapter 4, Verse 44 states, “O ye who believe! Approach not Prayer when you are not in full possession of your senses, until you know what you say.”[19] The fact that there were five prayers spread throughout the day (from before sunrise to after sunset), encour- aged sincere Muslims to abandon the habit. Prayer was promoted and given precedence over drinking, because the Muslim Salat (obliga- tory prayer) is fundamentally a purifying experience that safeguards one from committing sin and acting unrighteously.[20] 3. Finally, alcohol consumption was deemed an abomination of Satan’s handiwork and was definitively and strictly forbidden. Chapter 5, Verses 91-92 state, “O ye who believe! Wine and the game of hazard and idols and divining arrows are only an abomina- tion of Satan’s handiwork. So shun each one of them that you may prosper. Satan desires only to create enmity and hatred among you by means of wine and the game of hazard, and to keep you back from the remembrance of Allah and from Prayer. But will you keep back?”[21] TheWisdom of the Islamic Prohibition of Alcohol As stated earlier, the reason that Islam successfully eradicated alcohol was that it changed the prevalent perceptions of alcohol at the time.Then,when the time came to forbid it completely,it was done in a gradual manner so that it could be successfully implemented.Such a radical change in attitudes prior to the imple- mentation of scriptural injunctions is not All alcohol consumption is prohibited by Islamic law, although there has been a tradition of drinking wine in some Islamic areas, including Persia. This image is of a 17th Century Persian woman pouring wine and is taken from a wall painting inside the Chehel Sotoun Palace. (Accessed via Wiki Commons) why alcohol is prohibited in islam 50 The Review of Religions | april 2016 april 2016 | The Review of Religions 51
  27. 27. prepared from ripe and unripe dates. Then somebody came to them and said, ‘Alcoholic drinks have been prohibited.’ (On hearing that) Abu Talha said,‘Get up, O Anas, and pour it out!’ So I poured it out.”[30] It is said that upon the announcement of the prohibition of alcohol, so much alcohol was poured away that the streets of Madinah became rivers or streams of wine. Alcohol consumption was forever abandoned by the society that Islam created. In a day or two, the entire city of Madinah became abstinent and the greatest campaign that had ever been launched against alcohol consumption was brought to fruition.Indeed,this was a great demonstration of the degree of faith and conviction of the early Muslims, who instantly abandoned a habit that had been inherent in their society for genera- tions.It is worthy to note that at the time of prohibition,Muslims were not coerced into abandoning the habit rather it was their own conviction and faith alone that to a lack of self-control and satisfac- tion with smaller amounts, they require larger quantities to sustain intoxication— eventually becoming addicted. In order to combat this natural phenomenon, we find that the Holy Prophetsa stated, “Every intoxicant is unlawful and what- ever causes intoxication in large amounts, a small amount of it is (also) unlawful.”[25] Just recently, medical analyses have concluded that even small amounts of alcohol are detrimental to health. Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England, published a report stating that, “Drinking any level of alcohol regu- larly carries a health risk,” and that even the smallest amounts of alcohol can increase the risks of cancer and other illnesses.[26] Consequently, all doors to intoxication were closed and remained with regards to the ruling of alcohol consumption. However, Islam does not disregard the fact that alcohol has beneficial proper- ties. The Holy Qur’an acknowledges the benefits of both alcohol and gam- bling by stating that, “there is great sin and also some advantages for men; but their sin is greater than their advan- tage.”[27] Thus, Islam acknowledges that alcohol has beneficial properties but since its harms outweigh its benefits, it is deemed unlawful. Furthermore, it must be remembered that Islam is a religion of moderation and although alcohol consumption is prohibited, the use of alcohol in medicines is permitted. In fact, Muslim alchemist and scholar Muhammad ibn Zakariyya Al-Razi, who is generally credited with the dis- covery of ethanol (pure alcohol),was “the first physician to systematically use alcohol in his practice as a physician.”[28] After the discovery of ethanol, alcohol was refined and used by Persians in its distilled form as a painkiller and an anaesthetic.[29] Today, it is commonly used as a solvent in homeopathic medicines by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Did Islam Successfully Eradicate Alcohol? The question arises whether or not Islam successfully implemented the prohibi- tion of alcohol. To answer this, we find Ahadith (sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa ) which demonstrate that not only was Islam able to successfully purge society of alcohol consumption, but Muslims abandoned it instantane- ously,the very moment it was forbidden. Hazrat Anas bin Malikra narrates an inci- dent regarding the day alcohol was finally prohibited: “I was serving Abu ‘Ubaida, AbuTalha and Ubai bin Ka’b with a drink The prohibition of alcohol by the divinely- guided Holy Prophet of Islamsa caused a revolution in Madinah. Here, alcohol was immediately poured away in the streets and Muslims immediately abstained from its consumption. No secular campaign to ban alcohol has ever been as effective. King Abdulaziz Public Library. (Accessed via Wiki Commons) why alcohol is prohibited in islam 52 The Review of Religions | april 2016 april 2016 | The Review of Religions 53
  28. 28. we may speculate on the possible contribu- tions of Islam to some new manifestation of religion.”[33] Final Thoughts The adverse effects of alcoholism,if any- thing, have shown that the teachings of Islam are full of wisdom and benefit and can indeed be implemented to positively reform nations. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas , the Promised Messiah and Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community states, “Many times it hap- pens that if a certain thing is not widespread enough, then its effects cannot be known. Take for instance the prevalence of alcohol nowadays in places like Europe—if this prevalence did not occur, then how could its negative effects become manifest, from which the world today seeks refuge? And by its prevalence, the beauty of Islam and the Messengersa of Islam is revealed,who stopped this vice and deemed it unlawful.”[34] Today,alcohol consumption and its det- rimental effects on society has caused widespread unrest and this unrest is expressive of a desire for reform. In the midst of such restlessness, the religion of Islam suggests a solution to this crisis and stands as a golden example of how society can successfully be freed of the shackles of alcoholism forever. About the Author: Aizaz Khan has completed a seven-year missionary training course from Jamia Ahmadiyya Canada, the missionary training uni- versity of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Canada. He completed his dissertation on the topic of “The Impact of Alcohol and Gambling on Society.” As part of his training, he has served the community in Benin, West Africa for a short period. He is an aspiring writer and host of MTA Canada’s program, “Roots to Branches.” endnotes 1. Mark E. Rose M.A. and Cheryle J. Cherpital, Alcohol: Its History, Pharmacology and Treatment (Center City, MN: Hazelden, 2011), 45. 2. “Alcohol Linked to 75,000 U.S. Deaths a Year,”NBC News, accessed January 14, 2016, http://www.nbcnews. com/id/6089353/ns/health-addictions/t/ alcohol-linked-us-deaths-year/. 3. “CDC - Fact Sheets-Alcohol Use And Health - Alcohol,”accessed January 14, 2016, http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alco- hol-use.htm. 4. “Alcohol Facts and Statistics.”National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, made them willingly give up alcohol con- sumption forever.It is for this reason that wherever Islam spread and became the dominant religion,alcohol consumption was purged from those lands. Professor of History at the University of North Florida, David Courtwright writes,“The rise of Islam, which condemned wine as an abomination devised by Satan, discour- aged viticulture (cultivation of grapevines) in North Africa and the Middle East, but winemaking and drinking flourished in medieval Europe.”[31] To further answer this question, it must be known that the potency of Islamic teaching and the positive revolutions it can create within societies, is not merely recognised by Muslims. In his book Civilization on Trial, British historian Arnold J.Toynbee writes, “We can, how- ever, discern certain principles of Islam which, if brought to bear on the social life of the new cosmopolitan proletariat, might have important salutary effects on ‘the great society’ in a nearer future.Two conspicuous sources of danger, one psychological and the other material, in the present relations of this cosmopolitan proletariat with the domi- nant element in our modern Western society are race consciousness and alcohol; and in the struggle with each of these evils the Islamic spirit has a service to render which might prove, if it were accepted, to be of high moral and social value.”[32] Toynbee goes on to state that the Islamic spirit allowed tropical regions such as Central Africa and Indonesia to be entirely cleansed of alcohol consumption: “This spirit may be expected to manifest itself in many practical ways; and one of these manifestations might be a liberation from alcohol, which was inspired by religious conviction and which was therefore able to accomplish what could never be enforced by the external sanction of an alien law. Here, then, in the foreground of the future, we can remark two valuable influences which Islam may exert upon the cosmopolitan proletar- iat of a Western society that has cast its net round the world and embraced the whole of mankind; while in the more distant future We can, however, discern certain principles of Islam which, if brought to bear on the social life of the new cosmopolitan proletariat, might have important salutary effects on ‘the great society’ in a nearer future. why alcohol is prohibited in islam 54 The Review of Religions | april 2016 april 2016 | The Review of Religions 55
  29. 29. 20. Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-‘Ankabut, Verse 46. 21. Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Ma’idah, Verses 91-92. 22. Sahih Bukhari, Kitab Fadail-ul-Qur’an, Baab Ta’leef-il-Qur’an (compilation of the Holy Qur’an) 23. Fakhr al-Din Muhammad ibn Umar Razi, Al-Tafsir Al-Kabir, Vol. 6 (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar-ul-Fikr, 1981), 43. 24. Ahadith ‘an shuyukh abi Muhammad ba’labaki, Hadith No. 43. 25. Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab-ul-Ashribah, Book 30, No. 3392. 26. Nick Triggle,“Alcohol Limits Cut to Reduce Health Risks,”BBC News, 8 Jan. 2016, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35255384. 27. Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 220. 28. “Medical Science,”Tirunelveli Medical College, http://tvmc.ac.in/ medicalscience_history/. 29. Houchang D. Modanlou MD, A Tribute to Zakariya Razi (865 – 925 AD), An Iranian Pioneer Scholar. Archives of Iranian Medicine (n.d.): 673-77.Web. 4 Aug. 2014. p. 674. http:// www.ams.ac.ir/AIM/NEWPUB/08/11/6/0019. pdf 30. Sahih Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Ashribah, Book 74, No. 1. 31. David T. Courtwright, Forces of Habit: Drugs and the Making of the Modern World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2001), 10. 32. Arnold Toynbee, Civilization on Trial (New York: Oxford University Press, 1948). 33. Arnold Toynbee, Civilization on Trial (New York: Oxford University Press, 1948). 34. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas , Malfuzat, Vol. 3 (London, 1984), p. 405. Mar. 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015, http:// www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/ overview-alcohol-consumption/ alcohol-facts-and-statistics. 5. “Three in 10 American Adults Have a Drinking Problem: Study.”NY Daily News, 8 June 2015, http://www.nydailynews.com/ life-style/health/10-american-adults-drinking- problem-study-article-1.2250854. 6. “Alcohol Facts and Statistics.”National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Mar. 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015, http:// www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/ overview-alcohol-consumption/ alcohol-facts-and-statistics. 7. Jeffrey A. Miron, and Jeffrey Zwiebel. “Alcohol Consumption during Prohibition.”The American Economic Review 81.2 (1991): 242-47, 6 August 2014. http://www.nber.org/papers/ w3675.pdf. 8. Edward Behr, Nick Triggle Health cor- respondent,“Alcohol Limits Cut to Reduce Health Risks,”BBC News, accessed January 14, 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-35255384. 9. Eric Burns, Spirits Of America: A Social History Of Alcohol (Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University Press, 2004). 10. Mark Thornton,“Alcohol Prohibition Was a Failure,”Cato Institute, July 17, 1991, http:// www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/ alcohol-prohibition-was-failure. 11. Amy Mittelman, Brewing Battles: A History of American Beer (New York: Algora Publishing, 2008), 17. 12. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas , Chashma- e-Ma’arifat (Urdu), Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 23, p. 267. 13. William Rorabaugh, Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition (Oxford University Press, 1979). 14. The Holy Bible, Ephesians-5:18 and Galatians-5:21. 15. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas , Al-Hakm, June 17th 1903, Vol. 7, p. 17. 16. Fakhr al-Din Muhammad ibn Umar Razi, Al-Tafsir Al-Kabir, Vol. 6 (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar-ul-Fikr, 1981), 43. 17. Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Nahl, Verse 68. 18. Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 220. 19. Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Nisa, Verse 44. why alcohol is prohibited in islam Your feedback is important to us Write to us with comments, feedback and suggestions at info@Reviewof Religions.org 56 The Review of Religions | april 2016 april 2016 | The Review of Religions 57
  30. 30. The Promised Messiahas & imam mahdi ( g u i d e d o n e ) founder of the review of religions Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas I try to call the people to come and stay with me at times. I do so by making announcements that they should come. This is all because I should like to inform them of the God whom I have found and seen and that I should show the shortest path to reach Him, the path that ultimately makes a man a Godly man.In fact I do not believe that mere stories of the past can add to one’s God-realisation. It is possible only through practical experience and that is not possible without treading on the path that is ours.One has not to pass through hardships to tread on this path; it is the mind that works here. In fact, God looks at the heart, and the heart that is full of the love of God does not stand in need of an idol to be before him.Idol worship can never lead a man to correct and definite conclusions.[1] endnotes 1. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas , Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 308. Fresh Signs In fact I do not believe that mere stories of the past can add to one’s God-realisation. It is possible only through practical experience and that is not possible without treading on the path that is ours.
  31. 31. A solitary voice, raised in Makkah, was, under Divine Command, calling people to the worship of One God and proclaiming that through responding to this call would humankind achieve true dignity, honour, prosperity and happiness both here and Hereafter. That voice was the voice of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa , the Seal of the Prophets. In this popular biography, Hazrat Mirza Bashir-Ud- Din Mahmud Ahmadra outlines the life of the most influential man in history in an easy-to-digest manner. Read online here: http://www.alislam.org/library/books/Life-of-Muhammad.pdf Purchase book here: http://store.alislam.org/englishbooks.html
  32. 32. 4. Force Needed to Uphold Communism The fourth flaw of Communism is that whenever the system encounters a serious difficulty or challenge,it gets replaced by dictatorship,with consequences far worse than before.The reason is that by destroy- ing independent thinking, the system is bereft of new ideas that might help to overcome the challenge. As such, when the process of decline sets in or the sys- tem collapses altogether, there would be nothing, other than dictatorship, to fill the vacuum so created. Germany accepted Hitler mainly because of the Communist movements that had swept the country.The experience of the French Revolution also supports that viewpoint. As the first wave of popular fervour over the newfound freedom receded, it gave rise to an autocrat like Napoleon.No one from among the ordinary people could assume the control of affairs under a democratic system. Communism may choose to call itself a proletarian or a totalitarian regime. There is little doubt that this kind of system eventually and The Economic System of Islam Communism may choose to call itself a proletarian or a totalitarian regime.There is little doubt that this kind of system eventually and inevitably leads to dictatorship. In fact, the current situation is that although they claim to support representative government, in reality they do not share governance with ordinary citizens. by Hazrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra We continue with the serialisation of the epic lecture delivered by the Second Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra , later published as a book titled The Economic System of Islam. In this ninth part of the series, the need to use force in a Communist system as well as its use of interest are discussed. To read the first eight parts, visit our website: www.reviewofreligions.org *The photos used in this article were not used in the original publication, but have been added to our serialisation by The Review of Religions to help illustrate the subject matter. The Review of Religions takes full responsibility for any errors in depiction.* ra Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad THEECONOMICSYSTEMofISLAMMirzaBashir-ud-DinMahmudAhmad U ra april 2016 | The Review of Religions 63
  33. 33. interest under this absolute ban. There is no prohibition of interest in the com- munist literature, which leads me to conclude that Communism is not fun- damentally opposed to the institution of interest. I find, besides, that the Soviet government borrows from other govern- ments that lend only on interest.Thus,it is clear Communism is not against inter- est— indeed, it accepts its use. During this war, the Russian government bor- rowed from Russian people, which I surmise must have been on interest. If I am correct that Communism is not fun- damentally opposed to interest (in fact, various developments leave no other con- clusion possible), it must be conceded that the dearth of interest-based trans- actions in the country is only a temporary phenomenon and a consequence of the extraordinary changes that occurred since the overthrow of the old order.With the expansion of Russian trade and industrial development,the Soviet State too would increasingly resort to interest-bearing loans,just as in other European countries. Accordingly, for the successful prosecu- tion of wars and industrial development, the branches of the state bank will be established in the country,and the insti- tution of interest would take the country from Communism to Capitalism,just as it did in the other Western countries. 6. Adoption of Prevailing Exchange Rate System The sixth flaw of the Communist eco- nomic system—one that will not let it supersede capitalism—lies in its adoption of the exchange rate mechanism, which emerged out of banks’manipulation and government interference. Communism not only supports this mechanism, but has chosen to act according to its dic- tates. As it is, the exchange rate (which is the relative price of two currencies) is no longer determined by a country’s bal- ance of trade, but is fixed by the great economic powers.In fixing the exchange rate, these powers pursue basically their own self-interest and trade strategy.They take into account not only the current balance of trade but also the develop- ment of future commercial relations. As far as the weaker or poorer economies are concerned, their exchange rates are in the hands of banks.Weaker countries often complain about the prevailing sys- tem but their protests go unheeded, and they continue to face a disadvantage in trade, as they lack sufficient economic influence. As things stand, an exchange rate between two currencies is essen- tially artificial and can be utilised to their advantage by banks as well as govern- ments. As a result, international trade, instead of being governed by supply inevitably leads to dictatorship. In fact, the current situation is that although they claim to support representa- tive government, in reality they do not share governance with ordinary citizens. There has only been dictatorship since the inception of Communism in Russia. Lenin was the first dictator,who was suc- ceeded by Stalin; Molotov may well be the third dictator,and so on.In any case, such regimes cannot survive without the use of force,and the Russian experiment stands testimony to that. 5. Interest, a Part of Communist Philosophy The fifth flaw of Communism is that it has not rejected the institution of inter- est as part of its philosophy.It is claimed that there are no private banks in Soviet Russia that operate on the basis of inter- est. I do not at the moment have any certain knowledge that this is actually the case.But the absence of banks that run on the basis of interest is an entirely different matter from rejecting interest as some- thing fundamentally wrong.The absence of such banks may be due to a number of reasons: lack of facilities,general igno- rance on the part of the public in regard to the working of banks, or just expedi- ency. When the necessary facilities are installed, the public gets educated about the banking system, or when the oppor- tunistic policy is abandoned, individual banks may start operating throughout the country. But when something is forbid- den as a matter of principle, no change in circumstances can make it lawful or acceptable. Communism does not put the economic system of islam When the Communist system faces challenges, it is replaced by dictatorship, as seen in Russia. Lenin was followed by Stalin as dictator. © De Visu | Shutterstock.com I find, besides, that the Soviet government borrows from other governments that lend only on interest.Thus, it is clear Communism is not against interest— indeed, it accepts its use. 64 The Review of Religions | april 2016 april 2016 | The Review of Religions 65

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