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The Review of Religion June 2015

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The Review of Religion June 2015

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The Review of Religion June 2015

  1. 1. 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
  2. 2. Said one who had the knowledge of the Book, “I will bring it to thee before thy noble messengers return to thee.” And when he saw it set before him, he said, “This is by the grace of my Lord, that He may try me whether I am grateful or ungrateful. And whosoever is grateful is grateful for the good of his own soul; but whosoever is ungrateful, truly my Lord is Self- Sufficient, Generous.” Islam, The Holy Qur’an, Ch.27:V.41. Hazrat No’man Bin Bashirra narrates that the Holy Prophetsa said from his pulpit, “He who is not grateful for small favours cannot be grateful for the bigger ones. He who cannot be thankful to men cannot render thanks for the favours of Allah.To talk about the blessings of Allah the Almighty is thankfulness; to not mention them is ingratitude.” Islam, The Holy Prophetsa , Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Volume 4, p.278. Those whom Allah has blessed should express their gratitude and should deal with His creation kindly and humanely.They should not be proud of God-given abundance, and they should not viciously trample the poor. Islam, The Promised Messiahas , Malfuzat, Volume 4, p.438–439. Be not like those who honor their gods in prosperity and curse them in adversity. In pleasure or pain, give thanks! Judaism, Midrash, Mekilta to Exodus, 20:20. The unworthy man is ungrateful, forgetful of benefits [done to him]. This ingratitude, this forgetfulness is congenial to mean people. But the worthy person is grateful and mindful of benefits done to him. This gratitude, this mindfulness, is congenial to the best people. Buddhism, Anguttara Nikaya, I.61. Whatever I am offered in devotion with a pure heart – a leaf, a flower, fruit or water – I accept with joy. Hinduism, Bhagavad Gita. God created foods to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving; for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. Christianity, The Bible, 1 Timothy, 4:3-5. The Holy Prophet Muhammadsa prophesied that the Promised Messiahas would be raised near a white minaret, east of Damascus. This prophecy was fulfilled with the advent of the Promised Messiahas from Qadian, India, a city directly east of Damascus. The Promised Messiahas & imam mahdi Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas , the Promised Messiah and Mahdi was born to a noble family in Qadian, India.  From an early age he had a keen interest in religion and developed a love for the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa . He was also known for his honesty, friendliness and resolve. Over time his knowledge and understanding of religion and its application to society deepened. Being a Muslim it was his firm belief that all religions were true at their source but with the passage of time had drifted away from their original teachings; he upheld the dignity of religion and demonstrated its relevance to everyone. His earnest defence of religion was ultimately blessed when he started to receive direct revelation from Allah – a blessing that he continued for the rest of his life. His mission was to revitalise the truth that all religions held within them and to revive the teachings of Islam. It was through this that he would bring mankind together and establish everlasting peace. In 1889, under Divine Guidance, Hazrat Ahmadas founded the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – a community that has since grown in its stature and strength and has remained active in conveying the message of Islam to the ends of the earth. Hazrat Ahmadas had established himself as a respected writer and had written over 80 books. His writings have been translated into more than 60 languages and continue to inspire readers to this day. One of his greatest scholarly works was The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, prepared as a paper and read out at the Conference of Great Religions in 1896. He also wrote a fascinating treatise in 1899 entitled Jesus in India, a book that uncovered remarkable evidence of Jesus’sas journey to India. In 1902, the Promised Messiahas initiated The Review of Religions which has covered a vast array of topics on religion, philosophy and contemporary issues of the day. It is the longest running English magazine in defence of Islam and the values it teaches. From 1889 until the time of his demise in 1908 tens of thousands of people accepted him. This blessing has continued and will continue through his Khulafa (successors). Currently under the fifth successor, we are seeing that the tide of acceptance is worldwide and that the message of Prophet Ahmadas has really reached the ends of the earth. ©makhzan-e-tasaweer founder of the review of religions Gratitude world faiths
  3. 3. 8 Untold Stories 14 The Race to Conquer the Secret of Life How arguably the greatest discovery of the 1900s was made. Azhaar Ashraf, UK 24 The Spiritual Benefits of Fasting The holiest month for Muslims, Ramadan, is approaching. Rabeeb Mirza, Dublin, Ireland 32 Navigating Life in the 21st Century: Spirituality, Morality & Material Progress What is the link between these aspects and how can we use them to our benefit in our lives? Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba 54 Visit to Sacred Places One of Britian’s leading professors in religion and Islam recounts his memorable experiences to Rabwah and Qadian. Professor Ron Geaves, Cardiff, UK 60 The Economic System of Islam How does Islam imagine the ideal economic system? Second part in series. Hazrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra 70 The Age of Hazrat A’ishahra at the Time of Her Marriage (Rukhstana) to the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa Part 2 from the Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets, explaining one of the most contentious issues of our times. Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra contents june 2015 Vol.110 issue six 24 32 14
  4. 4. Manage m ent B o ar d Chairman: Munir-Ud-Din Shams Secretary: Syed Amer Safir Board Members: Mubarak Ahmad Zaffar, Ataul Mujeeb Rashed, Naseer Qamar, Abdul Baqi Arshad, Abid Waheed Ahmad Khan, Aziz Ahmad Bilal C h ief E d it o r & Manager Syed Amer Safir E d it o rial B o ar d Amtul Razzaq Carmichael, Bockarie Tommy Kallon, Fazal Ahmad, Hassan Wahab, Hibba Turrauf, Jonathan Butterworth, Mansoor Saqi, Munazza Khan, Murtaza Ahmad, Nakasha Ahmad, Navida Sayed, Sarah Waseem, Shahzad Ahmad, Tariq H. Malik W eb Devel o per & I T Hibba Turrauf, Mubashra Ahmad A ss o ciate E d it o rs Nakasha Ahmad, Tariq H. Malik (Sub-Editor: Mariam Rahman) S u b - E d it o rs Head: Hibba Turrauf Sub-Editors: Ayesha Malik, Nusrat Haq, Maryam Malik, H o u se S t y le G u i d e Head: Maleeha Ahmad Team: Sadia Shah, Humaira Omer P r o o frea d ers Head: Munawara Ghauri. Deputy: Farhana Dar. Proofreaders: Abdul Ghany Jahangeer Khan, Hina Rahman, Amina Abbasi, Aisha Patel S taff W riters & R esearc h ers Arif Khan, Tazeen Ahmad, Harris Zafar, Meliha Hayat Distrib u ti o n / S u bscripti o n Head: Mohammad Hanif Team: Musa Sattar A rt E d it o r S. Taalay Ahmad P rint E d iti o n Designer Ahsan Khan I n d e x ing / Tagging T ea m Head: Mirza Krishan Ahmad. Deputy: Amtus Shakoor Tayyaba Ahmed. Team: Humaira Omer, Humda Sohail, S. Taalay Ahmad, Ruhana Hamood, Mubahil Shakir, Adila Bari, Hassan Raza Ahmad T witter Hibba Turrauf, Mala Khan, Nudrat Ahmad Note about references Verse references to the Holy Qur’an count ‘Bismillah…’ (In the Name of Allah…) as the first verse of each Chapter. In some non-standard texts, this is not counted. Should the reader refer to such texts, the verse quoted in The Review of Religions will be found a verse earlier, i.e. at one verse less than the number quoted in this journal. For the ease of non-Muslim readers, ‘sa ’ or ‘(saw) ’ after the words, ‘Holy Prophet’, or the name ‘Muhammad’, are used normally in small letters. They stand for ‘Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam’ meaning ‘peace and blessings of Allah be upon him’. Likewise, the letters ‘as ’ or ‘(as) ’ after the name of all other prophets is an abbreviation meaning ‘peace be upon him’ derived from ‘Alaihis salatu wassalam’ which are words that a Muslim utters out of respect whenever he or she comes across that name. The abbreviation ‘ra ’ or ‘(ra) ’ stands for ‘Raziallahu Ta’ala anhu and is used for Companions of a Prophet, meaning Allah be pleased with him or her (when followed by the relevant Arabic pronoun). Finally, ‘rh ’ or ‘(rh) ’ for Rahemahullahu Ta’ala means the Mercy of Allah the Exalted be upon him. In keeping with current universal practice, local transliterations of names of places are preferred to their anglicised versions, e.g. Makkah instead of Mecca, etc. 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
  5. 5. medicine prescribed by His Holinessaba , each one of us remained safe from this disease). We witnessed, once again, the fulfillment of the prophecy revealed to the Promised Messiahas , “I will protect whosoever is in your household [i.e. spir- itual community].” Surdah Nuzhat Ahmadiyya Muslim Community , Liberia. A Mexican Tale In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful “We Will Surely Guide Them in Our Ways” This is a story I narrated briefly when I was asked to introduce a dear friend, who had embraced Islam at the age of 31 years, after almost three months of investigation and visits to our mosque/ mission house in Merida, Mexico.  It was, as I had also said on that occasion, an amazing reflection of the sincerity of this person’s desire to serve God and an affirmation of the truth of a very pro- found verse of the Holy Qur’an. When he was a much younger man, my friend had wanted to serve God and as a Cath- olic, he had taken the oath of celibacy, poverty and obedience; however, when he arrived and began his spiritual jour- ney, he was shocked to learn of the go- ings on within the supposedly sacred walls of the institution. When those in authority learned of his having wit- nessed such sinful activities, they made it impossible for him to continue with his spiritual journey.  So he left, disil- lusioned and distraught.  His life took a turn in the worst possible direction, which adversely affected his physical and mental state.   However, his desire to seek out and serve God was sincere. Many years later, in November 2014, Imam Noman Rana and I arrived in his hometown of Meri- da, Mexico and started distributing fly- ers. Our radio advertisements began to play on the local stations and the news spread of our message of, ‘Love for All, Hatred for None.’He started to commu- nicate with us through Whatsapp and each day we would discuss and answer his questions. The questions were very simple and straightforward: “Who are you?”, “What do you believe in?”,“Why are you here?” and so on. Many days passed and no meeting had taken place between us nor had it been discussed. Unknown to us,he used to pass by our mosque and mission house a number of times dai- We continue our newly launched series of ‘untold stories’ from around the world. Ebola Miracle When the Ebola virus disease broke out in West Africa, the National President & Missionary In-charge of the Ah- madiyya Muslim Community Liberia, wrote a letter to the Khalifah, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba , worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Com- munity, informing him of the outbreak and requesting his prayers. The last sentence of that letter read: “Beloved Huzuraba [His Holiness], please pray for us [i.e. the Liberia branch of the Com- munity], that may Allah the Almighty treat us in the same manner as He treat- ed the Community a hundred years ago during the plague outbreak.” Allah the Almighty, by His sheer Grace and Mer- cy, accepted the prayers of the Khalifah of our time and protected each and ev- ery Ahmadi Muslim in Liberia from this deadly disease. We bore witness to the sign of the acceptance of prayers of the Khalifah and the blessings of be- ing in this beautiful Community of the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdias . We received the blessings of obedi- ence to our Khalifah (as by taking the [UNTOLD] STORIES 8 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 9
  6. 6. instead at the mosque. So these things that I thought were going to be difficult are, it seems, not so difficult. Some time ago when the Imam told me about the fact that in Islam there is no room for such a thing, I understood him, but I could not resist teas- ing him by saying that this was not in the contract I had signed!” As of April 11th , nearly 40 people have accepted Islam-Ahmadiyyat (the revival movement of the true Islam) in just a matter of months. Our weekly classes/ open house about Islam and our free weekly introductory Arabic language class has had record numbers of attend- ees, with full halls and at times almost 50 participants.   Waseem A. Sayed PhD Merida, Mexico endnotes 1. Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-‘Ankabut, Verse 70. ly and had observed us praying, talking with people on the phone and meeting them in the mosque. One night, after two or three weeks, he arrived at the mosque and we welcomed him inside. Discussions continued, which were less about any skepticism and more a case of someone wanting to tell us his story. He began to frequent the mosque more and more. Eventually, the stage came that not a day would pass by without him visiting us and sharing time with us, and having a coffee and sometimes even a meal with us. During these months, from November to January, slowly but surely, others began to embrace the message of Islam-Ahmadiyyat (the re- vival of the true Islam) and eventually he also joined.  The impact of this deci- sion of his was immense; it immediately drew my attention to the verse of the Holy Qur’an where Allah guarantees to man, that if someone looks for Him sincerely, He will lead such a person to Himself: “And as for those who strive in Our path — We will surely guide them in Our ways. And verily Allah is with those who do good.”[1] When I asked him re- cently what was it that made him accept the message of Islam-Ahmadiyyat, he said something strange:  “At first,” he told me, “I had asked you if you were those who believed in the Prophet Muhammadsa because the thing that had drawn my attention was the word ‘Ah- madiyya’ in the name of your Community and I had wondered if there was something different about the Islam you preached. Then, when I got closer and closer to you it was such a wonderful feeling of being ac- cepted and respected and treated as if I was a part of you, even though you all knew that I was a Catholic. I was very impressed with your appreciation and your repeated- ly telling me how kind and gentle you be- lieved me to be. In the end, I realised that I was already a member and all that was left for me to do was to sign and acknowledge this and so I did. I so very much appreciate all that I am learning and I know this will go on but I want to tell you that it has not been easy. You can never appreciate and re- alise in fact how difficult it has been. How it is hard for my family and my mother to understand what I feel and where I find myself but I am grateful to God that you came and had you not come, I would surely never have gotten to see the real Islam in operation. I knew things about Islam but I did not have the profound understanding that I am acquiring. I had discussed how it would be difficult for me to leave the many customs and rites and rituals, but I now find all those things to be trivial and in fact, this holy week, because of the holidays, I was blessed to be able to finally come to the Friday prayers and a while back when there was some other big event, I did not even realise that I was missing it and was Do you have an “Untold Story” you wish to share with us? Email us your unique story at editor@reviewofreligions.org 10 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 11
  7. 7. Help Nepal TEXT “NEPA60 £10”to 70070 or donate at: www.justgiving.com/Nepal-Earthquake
  8. 8. hydrogen bonds between A-T and C-G, respectively.This base pairing allows the compact organisation of DNA with sec- tions of these paired letters creating genes that code for particular amino acids that go on to form protein structures, which are involved in complex functions. How was this grand discovery made? To find this answer, we will have to travel on the tantalising wings of history to appreciate the underlying science. We are in 1952, where the main cast of this particular story includes scientists James Watson,Francis Crick,Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin. Others, such as Linus Pauling, Erwin Chargaff and Raymond Gosling also play a role. The story really begins on May 1st , 1952, in the famous King’s College London labo- ratory,where an X-ray camera is clicking on a 100-hour exposure of a hereditary molecule called DNA in a process known as X-ray crystallography. The work is being carried out by a talented 32-year- old molecular biologist by the name of Rosalind Franklin. Once developed, this photograph will be instrumental in revealing the structure of DNA and hold the key to understanding how the blue- print for every cell of the body is passed down through generations. Close by, at Cambridge University,are two scientists targeting the same prize: Watson, a 23-year-old American viral geneticist, and Crick, a 35-year-old British physi- cist. They have been offered the chance to work at the famous Cavendish labo- ratory at the University of Cambridge, in order to unravel the elusive structure of DNA.[1] They were not successful in the begin- ning: Watson and Crick presented their first model at a seminar hosted at the Cavendish Laboratory. Prominent per- sonalities such as Rosalind Franklin, Maurice Wilkins and Professor Lawrence Bragg were in the audience,but the meet- ing went poorly since Watson and Crick represented DNA as a triple-stranded helix (as opposed to a double helix) and Arguably, the greatest discovery of the 1900s came with the elucidation of the structure of deoxyribose nucleic acid, otherwise known as DNA, our genetic blueprint.DNA can be thought of as let- ters of the alphabet that come together to form words of functional significance. And though there are 26 letters in the English language, in the language of DNA, there are only four letters. These are known as Adenine (A), Cytosine (C), Guanine (G) and Thymine (T). Similar to the rules of English grammar, DNA has a base-pairing rule—that is, the base (or letter) A can only pair with T, and C can only pair with G to form The Race to Conquer the Secret of Life by Azhaar Ashraf, UK Current Affairs The story really begins on May 1st, 1952, in the famous King’s College London laboratory, where an X-ray camera is clicking on a 100-hour exposure of a hereditary molecule called DNA in a process known as X-ray crystallography. © Sergey Nivens | shutterstock.com 14 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 15
  9. 9. hand.Rosalind Franklin was a renowned expert and this was the very place where Watson could see the best X-ray images of the DNA structure.During Franklin’s short time at King’s University London, she had discovered the existence of DNA in two states referred to as the A-form (dry form) and B-form (wet form,found in living cells). In an attempt to possi- bly work with Franklin on this problem, Watson tried to convince her that DNA was a helix but she remained defiant. According to Watson,she became angry and confronted him upon which Watson had to make a retreat fearing she would strike him.[4,5] But before Watson left that day, he popped in to see Maurice Wilkins and insisted on being shown the famous X-ray photograph 51 that Rosalind Franklin had acquired through such painstaking work. When he saw it, Watson was astonished and was con- vinced with this conclusive evidence that DNA was actually a double helix,and not a triple helix. On the train ride home, Watson sketched the image he had seen placed the bases on the outside of the structure, with the phosphate molecules placed on the inside. For the benefit of readers not familiar with DNA structure,DNA is composed of two components: the basic building blocks known as bases (A, C, G,T) and a deoxyribose sugar-phosphate backbone. Rosalind Franklin fervently objected to this duo’s premature model, correctly pointing out that since DNA could readily take up water, the phosphate molecules (which are a water-loving chemical group) should be on the outside whilst the bases should be on the inside. Professor Bragg,who supervised Watson and Crick,reprimanded the duo and sug- gested they cease working on the DNA structure. Despite these setbacks, both continued to work secretly on this pro- ject. Watson and Crick quickly realised that there was just enough evidence out there to build the structure of DNA using their models and it was just a matter of putting the clues together for a complete and coherent model. In addition, they knew that quite a few zealous scientists were working on the problem; hence it became a race against colleagues to beat them to the finish line. Recognition and glory was up for grabs.[2,3] And so in January of 1953, attempting to put the pieces of the DNA puzzle together,Watson procured a draft copy of a scientific manuscript written by chem- ist Linus Pauling through his son, Peter, who was working in Cambridge as a Ph.D student.Interestingly,Pauling had made exactly the same mistake Watson and Crick had made a year earlier, by suggesting that DNA possessed a triple helix structure.Conscious of the fact that Pauling might be able to resolve the issue, Watson made haste to King’s College London with Pauling’s manuscript in Moreover, Crick concluded that DNA must form an anti-parallel double helix, where the two complementary strands of DNA run in opposite directions. And all of this progress was only possible because of the final piece in the puzzle, the famous image from Rosalind Franklin’s painstaking work. the race to conquer the secret of life James Watson and Francis Crick (right), co-originators of the double-helix model, with Maclyn McCarty (left). © 2005 Lederberg and Gotschlich. 16 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 17
  10. 10. for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid’by Watson and Crick.[12] It was an article that would revolutionise the world of science forever! But the crux of this enigmatic story lies in this question: why did Maurice Wilkins disclose Franklin’s data to a competing scientist without her permis- sion? Perhaps it was a case of a clash of personalities. It is known that Franklin was an articulate, passionate, strong and fierce individual, always up for debate. She stood in complete contrast to the soft-spoken,deliberate and shy Maurice Wilkins. Unsurprisingly, this created a harsh environment of intense conflict, an environment quite typical of research laboratories.Perhaps this was the reason that led Maurice Wilkins to surrepti- tiously share Franklin’s precious data. It is likely that we shall never know.[13] The journal Nature published a set of three papers,the first being Watson and Crick’s, followed by Maurice Wilkins’ and last but certainly not least, Franklin’s [14,15,16] “Thus our general ideas are consistent with models proposed by Watson and Crick (1953)”, Franklin stated in her paper, oblivious to the fact that their model was indeed based on her data.[17] Sadly, Franklin passed away in 1958 from ovar- ian cancer,possibly due to frequent X-ray exposure. In 1962, Watson, Crick and Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize but none of them made any particular mention of Franklin.[18] In 1968, James Watson wrote a contro- versial book,The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA.[19] In this,he defamed the memory of Franklin by tagging her as “terrible, bad tempered Rosy”who never shared her data with anyone, despite the fact that she had died ten years previously. She was cast as a villain in his narrative at a time when she was not present to defend herself.Crick and Wilkins both objected to this portrayal because in Crick’s words, “The book was misleading and in bad taste. It doesn’t illuminate the process of science, rather distorts it.”[20] One cannot take away the passion and zeal with which Watson and Crick worked away to solve the mystery surrounding the secret of life; however, it is worth stating that without the access to Franklin’s X-ray images and on a newspaper, which he showed to an elated Crick.Both agreed that DNA was a double helix, but they still needed to figure out how the chemical constituents of DNA fit into this amazing structure.[6] Recollection of clues from the past reminded Watson and Crick about the dinner they had with a great chemist, Erwin Chargaff. The unlikely heroes asked such very basic questions of Chargaff that he was surprised at their lack of basic chemistry knowledge, especially regarding the key differences between the bases of DNA. Chargaff taught the two curious investigators that the amount of Guanine equalled the amount of Cytosine (G = C) while the amount of Adenine equalled the amount of Thymine (A = T).[7,8] Thus, through assimilation of different pieces of information, they deduced that the bases would form hydrogen bonds inter- nally whilst the phosphates would hang on the outside—just as had been origi- nally proposed by Franklin. Moreover, Crick concluded that DNA must form an anti-parallel double helix, where the two complementary strands of DNA run in opposite directions. And all of this progress was only possible because of the final piece in the puzzle, the famous image from Rosalind Franklin’s painstak- ing work.[9] The new model put together by Watson fitted the experimental data exception- ally well and Crick later observed that they had found the gold before anyone else in this treasure hunt. Crick began telling everyone at the Eagle pub, just around the corner from the Cavendish lab, that he and his colleague had found the secret of life.[10,11] On April 25th ,1953, a modest 900-word article appeared in the journal Nature, titled ‘Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure One cannot take away the passion and zeal with which Watson and Crick worked away to solve the mystery surrounding the secret of life; however, it is worth stating that without the access to Franklin’s X-ray images and data, it would have certainly taken longer for the duo to solve the riddle. the race to conquer the secret of life An English Heritage blue plaque for Rosalind Franklin at Donovan Court, Drayton Gardens, Chelsea, SW10 9QS in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. © Gareth E Kegg 18 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 19
  11. 11. This is a melancholic story indeed. Franklin’s crucial contribution to Watson and Crick’s work became a footnote in scientific history with the price of Franklin’s hard work being the offering of her life,at the tender age of thirty-seven. Franklin was a great scientist who could have possibly secured two Nobel Prizes for her work both on the elucidation of the structure of DNA and viruses; sadly though, Nobel Prizes are not offered posthumously. About the Author: Azhaar Ashraf is a scientist with a Master’s degree in experimental neuroscience from Imperial College London. He has worked on models of dementia in the laboratory leading to several scientific publications. He has special interest in Alzheimer’s dementia and wishes to pursue it as a research career. He is a senior member of Ahmadiyya Muslim Research Association UK (AMRA) and serving as the Editor of AMRA Scientific Journal.The AMRA serves to promote science and research based careers to its members as well as highlighting the intrinsic harmony between religious and scientific thought. AMRA members actively explore and develop approaches towards using the Holy Qur’an as a source for secular knowledge with special emphasis on prospective research ideas. endnotes 1. Brenda Maddox, Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA (HarperCollins Publications, 2002). 2. Brenda Maddox, Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA (HarperCollins Publications, 2002). 3. James D. Watson, The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA (W&N Publications, 1968). 4. Brenda Maddox, Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA (HarperCollins Publications, 2002). 5. James D. Watson, The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA (W&N Publications, 1968). 6. James D. Watson, The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA (W&N Publications, 1968). 7. Erwin Chargaff,“Chemical Specificity of Nucleic Acids and Mechanism of Their Enzymatic Degradation”, Experimentia 6, (1950): 201. 8. Erwin Chargaff,“Preface to a Grammar of data,it would have certainly taken longer for the duo to solve the riddle. Franklin had moved to Birkbeck College on April 25th , 1953, to work on viruses. Here, she famously discovered the com- plex structure of viruses and the location of their infectious elements. Sir Aaron Klug,who was her last collaborator,stud- ied her notebooks and letters after her demise. He won a Nobel Prize in 1982 on his impressive work in the field of electron microscopy and the structure of viruses, most of which was based upon and a continuation of the work Franklin started. Klug, unlike Watson, Crick and Wilkins, acknowledged Franklin’s con- tribution to his work in his prestigious speech at the auspicious occasion of the Nobel Prize ceremony.[21] the race to conquer the secret of life Rosalind Franklin and Photo 51 © Robin Stott Francis Crick in his office. Behind him is a model of the human brain that he inherited from Jacob Bronowski. © Siegel RM, Callaway EM: Francis Crick’s Legacy for Neuroscience: Between the α and the Ω. PLoS Biol 2/12/2004: e419. 20 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 21
  12. 12. Biology: A Hundred Years of Nucleic Acid Research”, Science, 172 (1971): 637-642. 9. James D. Watson, The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA (W&N Publications, 1968). 10. Brenda Maddox, Rosalind Franklin:The Dark Lady of DNA (HarperCollins Publications, 2002). 11. James D. Watson, The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA (W&N Publications, 1968). 12. James D. Watson, Francis H. Crick, “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids; A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid”, Nature 171(4356), (1953): 737-738. 13. James D. Watson, The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA (W&N Publications, 1968). 14. James D. Watson, Francis H. Crick, “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids; A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid”, Nature 171(4356), (1953): 737-738. 15. Maurice H.F. Wilkins, Alex R. Stokes, Herbert R. Wilson,“Molecular Structure of Deoxypentose Nucleic Acids”, Nature 171 (1953): 739. 16. Rosalind E. Franklin, Raymond G. Gosling, “R. G. Molecular Configuration in Sodium Thymonucleate”, Nature 171 (1953): 742. 17. Rosalind E. Franklin, Raymond G. Gosling, “R. G. Molecular Configuration in Sodium Thymonucleate”, Nature 171 (1953): 742. 18. Brenda Maddox, Rosalind Franklin:The Dark Lady of DNA (HarperCollins Publications, 2002). 19. James D. Watson, The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA (W&N Publications, 1968). 20. Brenda Maddox, Rosalind Franklin:The Dark Lady of DNA (HarperCollins Publications, 2002). 21. Brenda Maddox, Rosalind Franklin:The Dark Lady of DNA (HarperCollins Publications, 2002). 22. Rosalind E. Franklin, Raymond G. Gosling, “R. G. Molecular Configuration in Sodium Thymonucleate”, Nature 171 (1953): 742. 23. Aaron Klug,“Historical perspective; The Discovery of the DNA Double Helix”, J Mol Biol 335 (2004): 3–26. the race to conquer the secret of life 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 World War are stark. Events appear to be moving us rapidly towards aThird World War.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 hatreds and to build everlasting peace. Read online at: www.alislam.org Purchase the book here: http://store.alislam.org/ 22 The Review of Religions | june 2015
  13. 13. S oon Muslims throughout the world will begin their month of observing fasts, known as Ramadan. A per- tinent question always arises in regards to what is the purpose of fasting? What are the spiritual benefits that one gains from this month-long ordeal? First and foremost,we must understand the mean- ing of the word ‘Ramadan.’Ramadan,the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar, is an Arabic word which is derived from the verb .. .. [2] .. .. [4] The Spiritual Benefits of Fasting َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ )‫(النهار‬ ُ‫ار‬َ‫َّه‬‫الن‬ َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ ُ‫ل‬ُ‫ج‬َّ‫الر‬ ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ُ‫م‬ِ‫ائ‬َّ‫الص‬ َ‫ض‬     Khutba Transl 24.04. ُّ‫خ‬ُ‫م‬ِ‫ة‬َ‫اد‬َ‫ب‬ِ‫ع‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ِ‫ة‬َ‫اد‬َ‫ب‬ِ‫ع‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ُّ‫خ‬ُ‫م‬ َ‫ك‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬َ‫ح‬‫ق‬ َ‫ك‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬‫ق‬َ‫ح‬ َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬‫ق‬َ‫ح‬ ‫ا‬َ‫ی‬ْ‫ُّن‬‫الد‬ ِ‫اة‬َ‫ی‬َْ‫اْل‬ ِ‫ِف‬ ْ‫م‬ُ‫ه‬ُ‫ی‬ْ‫ع‬ (ra’me’dha). Some Arabic expressions help us to understand the meaning of Ramadan; .. .. [2] .. .. [4] The Spiritual Benefits of Fasting َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ )‫(النهار‬ ُ‫ار‬َ‫َّه‬‫الن‬ َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ ُ‫ل‬ُ‫ج‬َّ‫الر‬ ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ُ‫م‬ِ‫ائ‬َّ‫الص‬ َ‫ض‬    .. .. [2] .. .. [4] The Spiritual Benefits of Fasting َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ )‫(النهار‬ ُ‫ار‬َ‫َّه‬‫الن‬ َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ ُ‫ل‬ُ‫ج‬َّ‫الر‬ ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ُ‫م‬ِ‫ائ‬َّ‫الص‬ َ‫ض‬ (ra’me’dhan nahaar) means that the day became intensely hot. .. .. [4] The Spiritual Benefits of Fasting َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ )‫(النهار‬ ُ‫ار‬َ‫َّه‬‫الن‬ َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ ُ‫ل‬ُ‫ج‬َّ‫الر‬ ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ُ‫م‬ِ‫ائ‬َّ‫الص‬ َ‫ض‬  K ‫ا‬َ‫ی‬ .. [2] .. .. [4] The Spiritual Benefits of Fasting َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ )‫(النهار‬ ُ‫ار‬َ‫َّه‬‫الن‬ َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ ُ‫ل‬ُ‫ج‬َّ‫الر‬ ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ُ‫م‬ِ‫ائ‬َّ‫الص‬ َ‫ض‬   (ra’me’dhar rijal) means that the man had his feet burnt by the earth which had become intensely hot.Then .. .. [4] The Spiritual Benefits of Fasting َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ )‫(النهار‬ ُ‫ار‬َ‫َّه‬‫الن‬ َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ ُ‫ل‬ُ‫ج‬َّ‫الر‬ ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ُ‫م‬ِ‫ائ‬َّ‫الص‬ َ‫ض‬  (ra’me’dhas saaimu) means that the inside of the fasting man became very hot with thirst owing to heat.Thus from this per- spective, Ramadan is so named because: • Fasting in this month causes heat and burning due to thirst. • Worship and devotion in this month burns away the traces of sins in man. • Worship and devotion in this month produce in the heart of man the neces- sary warmth of love for his Creator and his fellow beings. [1],[2] In addition to this brief introduction to the lexical meaning of Ramadan, I will present some references from the Holy Qur’an, sayings of the Holy Prophetsa and extracts from the writings of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas , the Promised Messiah and Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community,relating to the spir- itual benefits of Ramadan. God Almighty states in the Holy Qur’an, “O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous.”[3] In the last part of this Qur’anic verse, God Almighty has told the believers that the practise of fasting is prescribed as a means of attaining righteousness.So what is righteousness? Righteousness is the root to every virtue and good deed. The Arabic word for righteousness is Life & Character: َ‫ك‬ْ‫ل‬ِ‫ت‬ِ‫ب‬ ِ‫ه‬ِ‫ذ‬َ‫ه‬ The Economic System of Islam: .... [1    [3] ‫إ‬‫ت‬‫اء‬َ‫ق‬ ‫اتس‬‫ری‬ ‫ب‬ ‫م‬‫اپی‬ ‫تلصخ‬ ‫ن‬‫فت‬‫خ‬ ‫مک‬ ‫وخردن‬ ‫مک‬ ‫نتفگ‬ ‫مک‬ [Itt-e-qaa]. This word bears testimony The Spiritual Benefits of Fasting by Rabeeb Mirza, Dublin, Ireland “O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous.” © Digital Saint | shutterstock.com 24 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 25
  14. 14. a means for the greater acceptance of prayers. However, the sole purpose of such a rigorous practice is to win the pleasure of Allah. Fasting also has a symbolic aspect. By observing the fast the worshipper dem- onstrates that if in the course of carrying out his duty of complete submission to the will of Allah he should ever be called upon to put his life in jeopardy or to sacrifice the interests of his progeny, he would not hesitate to do so. Such a dis- cipline practised for a month every year should ensure that the participant would, during the remaining eleven months of the year, progressively achieve greater adherence to moral and spiritual values.[6] Apart from this,the more affluent sector of society is made to experience periods of hunger and thirst by observing fasts. Thus it is narrated that during the month of Ramadan, the Holy Prophet’ssa con- cern and care for the poor,the needy,the sick and the orphan,was intensified man- ifold and that his already ample sense of charity became limitless. Merely abstaining from food or drink is not beneficial if we do not eschew any form of falsehood or dishonest speech whilst fasting.The Holy Prophetsa said, “He who abstains from food and drink during the period of the fast but does not restrain himself from uttering falsehood starves himself to no purpose.”[7] The word used for falsehood in Arabic is Life & Character: َ‫ك‬ْ‫ل‬ِ‫ت‬ِ‫ب‬ ِ‫ه‬ِ‫ذ‬َ‫ه‬ The Economic System of Islam: .... [1  ... .. .. [2]    [3] ‫إ‬‫ت‬‫اء‬َ‫ق‬ ‫اتس‬‫ری‬ ‫ب‬ ‫م‬‫اپی‬ ‫تلصخ‬ ‫ن‬‫فت‬‫خ‬ ‫مک‬ ‫وخردن‬ ‫مک‬ ‫نتفگ‬ ‫مک‬ ‫ر‬ْ‫و‬ُّ‫الز‬    [8] (Az-Zur) and also includes the meanings: wrong deeds, illegal means, bribery, adulteration, make-believe or vain diversion. It is evident that the act of fasting becomes a spiritual exercise, whereby man relinquishes the things he loves purely to gain closeness to his Maker. to the fact that a person who strives to adopt every type of virtue is subsequently safeguarded from every type of wrongful act.Therefore,when man treads upon the paths of virtue he eventually gains near- ness to Allah the Almighty,which is the ultimate purpose and objective of fast- ing.In fact,fasting has been endorsed in all religious disciplines, which are based on Divine revelation as the verse above has mentioned. A famous Persian prov- erb states: To speak little, to eat little and to sleep little are the characteristics of the prophets. Therefore, one who fasts is simultane- ously treading along the pathway of the prophets and is endeavouring to attain righteousness. The Holy Prophetsa said, “There are appropriate spiritual rewards for all worship and righteous action; the ulti- mate reward of the person who observes the fast solely for winning the pleasure of Allah is Allah Himself.”[4] That is why during the month of Ramadan, a special effort is made and Muslims try their utmost not only to become regular in congregational prayers, but also to dedicate most of their time to recitation of the Holy Qur’an and vol- untary prayers. On another occasion,the Holy Prophetsa of Islam said, “Fasting is a shield. Thus a person should refrain from vulgar and ignorant talk and if someone quarrels with him then he must answer him saying simply that, ‘I am fast- ing’. I swear to that Being whose hand my life is in, the stench of the mouth of one who is fasting is more preferred to God Almighty than the smell of musk. God Almighty says that he has abstained his food, drink, desires and conjugal relations for My sake. Fasting is for My sake and I shall bestow the reward for this, and the reward for righteousness is tenfold.”[5] The observation of the fast, whether obligatory or voluntary, is subject to the same regulations. Therefore, the month of Ramadan under these circumstances is a period of intensive training in benefi- cent values. Abstention from lawful and permissible food and drink which sus- tain life and conjugal relations, which promote the continuance of the species for a certain number of hours each day through a month is a valuable exercise in endurance and steadfastness.It becomes Merely abstaining from food or drink is not beneficial if we do not eschew any form of falsehood or dishonest speech whilst fasting. the spiritual benefits of fasting © highviews | shutterstock.com 26 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 27
  15. 15. gates to Heaven are opened and the doors to Hell are closed, and the satanic forces are bound in shackles.”[10] At another time the Holy Prophetsa said, “Whomsoever faithfully fasts in the month of Ramadan with the ardent desire to gain the pleasure of Allah the Almighty, then his previous sins shall be forgiven and that per- son who faithfully remains awake during the night to witness Lailatul Qadar (i.e. the night of decree where one witnesses the acceptance of his prayers) seeking the pleas- ure of Allah the Almighty, then his previous sins will be forgiven.”[11] What we learn from these sayings of the Prophet Muhammadsa is that the month of Ramadan is also a month of God’s mercy, His forgiveness, redemp- tion and protection from satanic forces. Therefore, when Allah the Almighty’s mercy descends and man is enabled to exert his strength by performing good deeds and those good deeds subsequently gain the position of acceptance,then the gates to heaven are opened. It also fur- ther creates an infinite circle of spiritual and moral development and progression. Remember,that one who does not follow the prescribed ‘curriculum’for the month of Ramadan can never truly partake of its blessings and thus loses out as the Holy Prophetsa himself stated, “Woe to that person, who witnessed Ramadan and before he could be delivered from his sins, the month passed by.”[12] With regards to the month of Ramadan, the Holy Qur’an says, “The month of Ramadhan is that in which the Qur’an was sent down as a guidance for mankind with clear proofs of guidance and discrimination”[8] i.e.a discrimination between truth and falsehood. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas eluci- dates the following verse and continues, ‫إ‬‫ت‬‫اء‬َ‫ق‬ ‫اتس‬‫ری‬ ‫ب‬ ‫م‬‫اپی‬ ‫تلصخ‬ ‫ن‬‫فت‬‫خ‬ ‫مک‬ ‫وخردن‬ ‫مک‬ ‫نتفگ‬ ‫مک‬ ‫ر‬ْ‫و‬ُّ‫الز‬    [8]  [9] Khutba Translation 24.04.2015 ُ‫اء‬َ‫ُّع‬‫الد‬ُّ‫خ‬ُ‫م‬ِ‫ة‬َ‫اد‬َ‫ب‬ِ‫ع‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ِ‫ة‬َ‫اد‬َ‫ب‬ِ‫ع‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ُّ‫خ‬ُ‫م‬ ُ‫اء‬َ‫ُّع‬‫الد‬ َ‫ك‬ِ‫س‬ْ‫ف‬َ‫ن‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫و‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬َ‫ح‬‫ق‬ َ‫و‬َ‫ك‬ ِ‫ج‬ْ‫و‬َ‫ز‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬‫ق‬َ‫ح‬ َ‫ك‬ِ‫ر‬‫ا‬َ‫ج‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫و‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬‫ق‬َ‫ح‬ “That indicates the grandeur of the month of Ramadan. The Sufis have written that this month is great for the enlightenment of the heart. Blessed visions are frequently experienced in this month. Prayer purifies the self and fasting enlightens the heart.The purification of self means that one gets away from the lust of the Nafs-e-Ammarah (the self that incites).” It distances us from it. “The enlightenment of the heart means that [the] door of blessed visions opens up for us to see God.”[9] When we study Islamic traditions we see that the inception of the revela- tion of the Holy Qur’an began in the month of Ramadan. Subsequently, each year during this month, the Archangel Gabrielas would revise the parts of the Holy Qur’an with the Holy Prophetsa that had been revealed up to that point. This process continued throughout the Holy Prophet’ssa lifetime. During the final Ramadan of the Holy Prophet’ssa life,Gabrielas twice repeated the complete recitation of the Holy Qur’an with the Holy Prophetsa . So in keeping with this practice,Muslims around the world dedicate time to the recitation of the Holy Qur’an during Ramadan and particularly try to com- plete its full recitation during this blessed month. Another means for completing its full recitation is through a voluntary prayer during Ramadan,which is offered after Ishaa (night) prayer and is known as Taraweeh. In this prayer, one part of the 30 parts of the Holy Qur’an can be recited. In this manner, one complete recitation of the Holy Qur’an can be achieved during Ramadan. Again, if one studies the month of Ramadan one sees that all religious activities are enhanced so that a Muslim is able to augment and advance in his spirituality. The Holy Prophetsa of Islam said, “When the month of Ramadan arrives, the The English Rendering of the 5 Volume Commentary of the Holy Qur’an One of the most comprehensive commentaries of the Holy Qur’an ever written. Commentary by Hadhrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad(ra) Read it online at: http://www.alislam.org/quran/ Or Purchase the print version at: http://store.alislam.org/ ©AMAGallery So in keeping with this practice, Muslims around the world dedicate time to the recitation of the Holy Qur’an during Ramadan and particularly try to complete its full recitation during this blessed month. the spiritual benefits of fasting 28 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 29
  16. 16. endnotes 1. Malik Ghulam Farid M.A, Dictionary of the Holy Qur’an (2006), 343. 2. Holy Qur’an w/Five Volume Commentary (1988), 239-240. 3. Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 184. 4. Hazrat Muhammad Zafrullah Khanra , “Fasting: Fourth Pillar of Islam,”The Review of Religions Mar. 1994. 5. Bukhari, Kitab-us-Saum, Bab-u-Fadhl-is-Saum. 6. Hazrat Muhammad Zafrullah Khanra , “Fasting: Fourth Pillar of Islam,”The Review of Religions Mar. 1994. 7. Bukhari, Kitab-us-Saum, Bab-u-Malam Yadu Qaul-az Zure wal-Amala bihi fi-saum. 8. Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 186. 9. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadra , Al-Badr, Vol. 7, p.52. 10. Bukhari, Kitab-us Saum, Babu bal yuqaala Ramadana aw shahra Ramadan. 11. Bukhari, Kitabu-Fadle Lailatil-Qadr, Babu Fadle Lailatil-Qadr. 12. Jami’Tirmidhi, Kitabu-Da’waat ‘An Rasul- ul-Allah Salallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam, Babu Qauli Rasulillahi Salallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam “Raghima Anfu Rajulin”. 13. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas , Malfoozat Vol.2, p.564. 14. Speeches to Jalsa Salana (1906), 20. For those who are ill or physically unable to endure fasting or are travelling, they are exempt from fasting and should give fidya (a monetary contribution by way of expiation, which is solely spent on the needy and destitute) so that they may also partake of the blessings of this month. Such persons who can make up the fasts they miss at a later date should do so accordingly. The Promised Messiahas said, “A religion which does not have any striv- ing is nothing.” He further stated, “A person whose heart is gladdened at the arrival of Ramadan but who cannot go on to fast due to illness is deemed as fasting in the heavens.”[13] To conclude,an extract from the writings of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas is presented, which beautifully summarises the true concept of fasting, “It should be remembered that the fast does not mean merely that a person should abstain from food and drink over a cer- tain period. During the fast one should be occupied greatly with the remembrance of God. The Holy Prophetsa occupied himself greatly with worship during the month of Ramadan. During that month one should discard one’s preoccupation with eating and drinking; and cutting asunder from these needs should address oneself wholly towards God. Unfortunate is the person who is bestowed material bread and pays no attention to spiritual bread. Material bread strengthens the body, and spiritual bread sustains the soul and sharpens the spiritual faculties. Seek the Grace of God, as all doors are opened by His Grace.”[14] About the Author: Rabeeb Mirza is currently serving the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Ireland, as the Imam of the Dublin Mission/Chapter. He has completed a seven- year missionary training course from Jamia Ahmadiyya UK, the missionary training college of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the UK.Thereafter as part of training he served the community in Liberia and Spain for short periods. Presently, he is engaging with the Irish public through peace symposiums, stalls and a leaflet campaign of peace in dispelling and demystifying the misconceptions held about Islam. “A religion which does not have any striving is nothing.” the spiritual benefits of fasting Your feedback is important to us Write to us with comments, feedback and suggestions at info@ReviewofReligions.org 30 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 31
  17. 17. Navigating Life in the 21st Century: Spirituality, Morality & Material Progress © sergign | shutterstock.com by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba
  18. 18. in their minds, in search of answers or solutions, the mother or the father do not have time to answer them due to work and societal engagements or they do not have the knowledge.And for this reason, instead of answering their ques- tions they sometimes try to suppress the children.The youth are led to think that whilst religion, regardless whether it is Islam, claims that it is the truth and it has solutions to all issues,it does not give practical solutions for the current times. Or young people think that that there is simply no answer to their questions. At times children observe a disparity between the actions of adults and the teaching given to children. They absorb the teachings and remain quiet for a period of time,but once they attain free- dom, they stray away from religion and fall under the grasp of those who turn people away from religion altogether. It is for this reason that regardless of the beautiful teachings of Islam and the fact that it is a living religion, we now see Muslims who reject religion and God. Hence, in such circumstances, there is a need for every one of us to focus our attention towards how we can make our- selves [true] followers of religion and take care of our progeny. The Essential Link in Life There is no doubt that Islam is a perfect and complete religion and has given us solutions to a plethora of problems.The Holy Qur’an is a complete and perfect book and the Holy Prophetsa presents the perfect illustration of this for us.This exemplary model brought about a revo- lutionary change in the Companionsra of the Holy Prophetsa . They properly understood religion as well as morality. Indeed, they also attained material suc- cess. However they had the perception of the appropriate position and status of each of these aspects. They under- stood the position of religion and how it should be juxtaposed with morals and material progression. Hence the youth, children who are entering young adult- hood, and in particular adults who are responsible for caring for the future gen- erations should remember that we need to understand the relationship between O pponents of religion are raising a [certain] question with greater intensity than ever before. A lack of guidance has made them averse to religion and God,they try to influence the minds of the youth in particular,and the wider society in general. The ques- tion posed by them is that if one already displays good morals,and if worldly edu- cation can lead a person to virtues, then why accept any religion? They say reli- gion claims it will impart good morals but we already have good morals without religion.They even go on to say that the majority of worldly people have better morals than believers in religion. Islam is particularly targeted in this reference. Who Follows Religion Any More? We observe that the majority of followers of other religions have lost virtually all connection with their religion. Islam is the only religion in which the majority of its adherents openly express their beliefs. Even most of those who do not prac- tise Islam still openly label themselves as Muslim and clearly associate themselves with the religion.Thus the real target of this question is towards Islam. By using various methods and different viewpoints they try to turn others away from religion and poison the minds of our children and youth. In the Western system of educa- tion greater emphasis is given to critical scrutiny and research. Indeed this is excellent and to be supported; however the right approach needs to be adopted. Questions, Questions We find that when the youth or children entering young adulthood approach their parents or elders with questions that arise We observe that the majority of followers of other religions have lost virtually all connection with their religion. Islam is the only religion in which the majority of its adherents openly express their beliefs. navigating life in the 21st century: spirituality, morality & material progress © aluxum | Shutterstock.com© Mark Skalny | Shutterstock.com Translated from Urdu by Dr. Maaz Rahman, Tariq Haroon Malik and Professor Amtul Razzaq Carmichael. 34 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 35
  19. 19. progress and religion. Additionally, he shed light on how the Holy Prophetsa taught us Islam’s essence and reality through his actions and practical model. Today I will present this subject before you while availing of Hazrat Musleh-e- Mau’ud’sra sermon. The Balance in Life We say to the world, and it is certainly true, that Islam is a religion which God the Almighty prescribed and revealed according to the exact requirements of human nature. Acknowledging that Islam is the religion compatible with man’s nature,Hazrat Musleh-e-Mau’udra says: “Religion, morality, and man’s physical and material requirements are so closely intertwined that it is difficult to distin- guish between them. One who believes in religion cannot separate morality from religion. Neither can he say that through religion he is self-sufficient and independent from the world and devoid of any necessi- ties. If a person harbours the notion that, ‘I do not need anything anymore from the world’, then the wheel of material pro- gress will come to a halt. So all these aspects are closely linked to one another—religion, morality and material progress. However, despite this commonality there are also dif- ferences between them. Non-believers in religion try to liberate themselves by saying that good morals and material progress are needed by man. But a true Muslim will say that religion is also necessary, since it shows one the path to reach God. moral reformation,material progress and religion.We should then shape our lives according to this understanding.If adults fully comprehend this relationship they will be equipped to properly look after future generations. If the youth under- stand these inter-connections, then the paths of religious and worldly success will be laid open to them.They will learn how beautiful the teachings of Islam are and that those who speak against those teach- ings are liars. The aforementioned question being raised with greater intensity in the cur- rent times by opponents of religion is nothing new.Throughout history,similar questions have often been raised.Critics of religion have always done so to try to justify and validate their objections against religion. In truth, critics have never attempted to understand the true essence of religion. Moreover, so-called religious scholars, who misunderstand religion, have forged false doctrines and incorrect solutions, and in this way fur- ther confused even the educated class. In this age, Allah the Almighty has favoured us by sending the Promised Messiahas [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian] to dispel the confu- sion and clarify intricacies that arise from these issues. The Promised Messiahas developed the insight in us to compre- hend these concepts,making it easy for us to understand them and find a solution. Hazrat Musleh-e-Mau’udra [Hazrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, the Second Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community] once delivered a sermon briefly elucidating this subject where he discoursed on the Islamic viewpoint on the relationship between moral reformation, material navigating life in the 21st century: spirituality, morality & material progress © thomas koch | Shutterstock.com Every sect has their own Fatwas (edicts) and this is the reason that in order to penetrate society with their version of Islam, terrorist groups have created their self- constituted moral practices or laws, and they are killing each other and causing widespread devastation. In Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, their self-formed laws are causing bloodshed in the name of religion. 36 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 37
  20. 20. Islam,he mentioned to members of ISIS who he met that what they were doing was contrary to the Qur’an and the say- ings of the Holy Prophetsa of Islam.The ISIS officials replied that we do not know whether this is in the Qur’an or the say- ings of the Holy Prophetsa of Islam.This is our [own ISIS] law and we are acting in accordance to it. This is an example of how they have distorted the Islamic teachings. What is happening in Yemen is also due to the same reason. Air raids are being carried out on innocent civilians because of self-serving Fatwas (edicts). It is true that both rival factions are in the wrong, but the solution is not the needless and indiscriminate killing of innocent people. As a matter of fact,if we look carefully,we find this [behaviour] in Islamic history - and it still continues today. Different scholars developed their own schools of thought as a religion. All scholars or ‘maulanas,’ have created their own reli- gions.There is no truth left in the Islam they are following (compared to the true Islamic teaching).As a result,the major- ity of Muslims who follow these scholars and issuers of religious edicts have been led astray. Who knows what goes on in the name of religion and spirituality? The Western Approach At the other extreme, those who do not believe in religion—the Western civi- lised and advanced world—endeavour to explain away spirituality and morality in material terms. Even if they consider divine revelation a theoretical possibility, they say that it is a part of human actions. Morality,according to them,is for man’s material gain only (that morality is for material gain); and religion is a means for the uneducated or the less educated to save themselves from crime.They believe that the only benefit from religion is a degree of moral improvement, but only to the extent that [the uneducated] start fearing [the punishments prescribed in] religion and even then,only if the correct religion is followed. Their contention is, what need is there for religion for those who already possess morality? Distinguishing between Materialism, Religion and Morality A deeper analysis, however, reveals that materialism, morality and religion are so closely intertwined that a lay person does not even realise where one finishes and the other begins. In order to under- stand this distinction, we [should] look at the pure life of the Holy Prophetsa . Hence, there are differences in how one per- ceives these three aspects and how we link them with one another.Whilst all other reli- gions are dying, Islam is the only religion that proves the inter-connection between these facets.Yet the majority of Muslims fail to understood the reality and true nature of religion and have erroneously connected certain moral characteristics with materi- alism—and they have greatly transgressed in doing so. Rather than presenting reli- gion in a beautiful manner and attracting others towards it, they have turned people away from religion. Leaving aside prayers and fasting, when it comes to morals and worldly needs,while establishing an institu- tion or organising a gathering for example, Muslim clerics generally say that this is all part of Islam in our view and the one who does not partake in it is a disbeliever and an apostate.”[1] The Islamic World Today and ISIS This is exactly what we observe in the Islamic world. When this incorrect thinking expands it engulfs everything. It goes beyond just labeling someone a disbeliever or an apostate, and wars and battles are started. Every sect has their own Fatwas (edicts) and this is the reason that in order to penetrate soci- ety with their version of Islam, terrorist groups have created their self-constituted moral practices or laws,and they are kill- ing each other and causing widespread devastation. In Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, their self-formed laws are causing bloodshed in the name of religion. As I have mentioned before, a French journalist stayed with members of the so-called Islamic State that has been established in Iraq and Syria.He noticed certain things in their actions and laws. According to the knowledge he had of Islam and from studying the Holy Qur’an or the sayings of the Holy Prophetsa of navigating life in the 21st century: spirituality, morality & material progress They believe that the only benefit from religion is a degree of moral improvement, but only to the extent that [the uneducated] start fearing [the punishments prescribed in] religion and even then, only if the correct religion is followed. Their contention is, what need is there for religion for those who already possess morality? 38 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 39
  21. 21. aspect is morality. We find such subtle and intricate demonstrations of morality in every aspect of the Holy Prophet’ssa life,that are impossible to appreciate even for the keenest of observers.These subtle- ties can only be appreciated if he guides us towards them himself. Take the relationship with wives and the expression of one’s love as an example, which are very essential for a harmonious family life. It is one of the basic mor- als. With regards to his wives, the Holy Prophetsa was so careful about the sub- tleties of behaviour, that he would drink water putting his lips exactly where the lips of his wife had touched the vessel. This is seemingly a very small gesture, but in fact it is a subtle point of human nature.The depth of human love becomes evident not only through grand gestures, but through such small ones too.Looking He is the world’s material reformer, moral reformer, as well as its spiritual reformer.His pure life is all-encompass- ing and inclusive of all these things. On the one hand, he says [8]  [9] Khutba Translation 24.04.2015 ُ‫اء‬َ‫ُّع‬‫الد‬ُّ‫خ‬ُ‫م‬ِ‫ة‬َ‫اد‬َ‫ب‬ِ‫ع‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ِ‫ة‬َ‫اد‬َ‫ب‬ِ‫ع‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ُّ‫خ‬ُ‫م‬ ُ‫اء‬َ‫ُّع‬‫الد‬ َ‫ك‬ِ‫س‬ْ‫ف‬َ‫ن‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫و‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬َ‫ح‬‫ق‬ َ‫و‬َ‫ك‬ ِ‫ج‬ْ‫و‬َ‫ز‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬‫ق‬َ‫ح‬ َ‫ك‬ِ‫ر‬‫ا‬َ‫ج‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫و‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬‫ق‬َ‫ح‬ ‫ا‬َ‫ی‬ْ‫ُّن‬‫الد‬ ِ‫اة‬َ‫ی‬َْ‫اْل‬ ِ‫ِف‬ ْ‫م‬ُ‫ه‬ُ‫ی‬ْ‫ع‬َ‫س‬ َّ‫ل‬َ‫ض‬ that “Prayer is at the heart of worship”,and on the other he emphasises spirituality. In other words simply offering regular [ritual] prayer is not enough nor will it resolve all problems.One has to improve the quality of one’s prayer and enhance his spirituality by progressing through its various stages. Man’s relationship with God through supplications has been lik- ened to that between a mother and her child.Dua [prayer] literally means ‘to call out.’ One calls out only if one is confi- dent that there will be someone who will come to his aid. One does not call one’s enemy for help. What should we take into account when we pray (or call out) or want to pray? According to Hazrat Musleh Mau’udra we require three things to make our prayers successful: • One should have full confidence that the prayer will be answered. • One should have complete faith that whoever is being called upon has com- plete powers to extend help. • One should have a natural inclination that takes him/herself away from all other associations and instead leads one towards Allah alone, or whoever the loved one is,being called upon for help. The first two points are logical. It would be completely nonsensical to pray to such an entity if one does not believe that his prayer will be answered or if the entity being called out is incapable of helping. In that case, it is futile to pray.The third point is the natural inclination that turns one away from everything else,and takes the person solely towards the beloved. The example of a mother and child has been used before. The natural inclina- tion of the child towards his mother makes him call out to her regardless of her ability to help or not. If a child is about to drown, even when he knows that his mother cannot swim, he will still call out to her and her alone, if she is close by. The child will not call out to anyone else.This is an emotional connec- tion,about which the Holy Prophetsa has said   [3] ‫إ‬‫ت‬‫اء‬َ‫ق‬ ‫اتس‬‫ری‬ ‫ب‬ ‫م‬‫اپی‬ ‫تلصخ‬ ‫ن‬‫فت‬‫خ‬ ‫مک‬ ‫وخردن‬ ‫مک‬ ‫نتفگ‬ ‫مک‬ ‫ر‬ْ‫و‬ُّ‫الز‬    [8]  [9] Khutba Translation 24.04.2015 ُ‫اء‬َ‫ُّع‬‫الد‬ُّ‫خ‬ُ‫م‬ِ‫ة‬َ‫اد‬َ‫ب‬ِ‫ع‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ِ‫ة‬َ‫اد‬َ‫ب‬ِ‫ع‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ُّ‫خ‬ُ‫م‬ ُ‫اء‬َ‫ُّع‬‫الد‬ َ‫ك‬ِ‫س‬ْ‫ف‬َ‫ن‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫و‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬َ‫ح‬‫ق‬ ِ ِ that “Dua (prayer) is at the heart of worship”; that is, faith is incomplete without prayers.Thus, the Holy Prophetsa has likened this relation- ship (of faith and prayers) to that between a mother and a child,such that man runs blindfolded towards God. The second navigating life in the 21st century: spirituality, morality & material progress Man’s relationship with God through supplications has been likened to that between a mother and her child. Dua [prayer] literally means ‘to call out.’ One calls out only if one is confident that there will be someone who will come to his aid. One does not call one’s enemy for help. What should we take into account when we pray (or call out) or want to pray? © Evgeny Atamanenko | Shutterstock.com 40 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 41
  22. 22. some farmers were planting date palms, and were pollinating male and female seeds manually (male and female seeds are different for date palms). The Holy Prophetsa happened to pass by and made the observation whether it was necessary to mix the two,and would they not natu- rally pollinate by wind? As a result, the farmers stopped mixing the two. That year, or the following year, date produc- tion fell far below that of the previous years. When the Holy Prophetsa asked for the reason,the farmers said [that they had stopped manually pollinating the male and female seeds], “O Messenger of Allah, we did so on your saying so.”He said that he had [only given a suggestion] and not an order, as the farmers understood these material things better than himself. According to Hazrat Musleh Maudra ,this example indicates that the Holy Prophetsa separated the religious affairs from the material. The Prophetsa who had asked the farmers why they were manually fer- tilising the plants was the same Prophetsa who brought Allah’s Commandments, yet even though the words came out of Allah’s Prophet’ssa mouth, he himself declared this to be a worldly affair. He said that the farmers knew more than he did on the subject.Today’s Muslim clergy however,start judging people’s Islam and apostasy as well as their inclusion and exclusion from Islam based on their own pronouncements, however impractical. How the Concept of God Formed According to Western Understanding On the other hand,there is the Western, civilised or so-called developed countries. According to them, faith is unimpor- tant, religious teachings have no value and morality has no reverence. Instead, everything is material; to the extent that, according to Hazrat Musleh Mau’udra the question for today’s philosophers is not how God created man, but how man created God (God forbid!). For them the existence of God is a result of human evolution. And even if God exists, it is nothing but the final link in the chain of the human mind’s evolution. According to them, man needed a role model; and when he could not find an exemplary one from among humans, he created an imaginary role model outside the realms of human existence.The initial attempt at creating this role model was unsuccessful. But upon further ponder- ing and evolution of thought, he created a perfect image and called it God. This is the concept of God according to the philosophers of the time, and for some even today. at his life sketch,one also comes across so many major virtues which he displayed peerlessly. It seems that he spent all his life studying and teaching only morality. His example and teaching about things such as human relations, inter-family relationships and details of one’s per- sonal character such as refraining from falsehood,dishonesty and ill assumption are all so complete that no else can dem- onstrate such exemplary behaviour even in twenty lifetimes. Thirdly, the teachings of the Holy Prophetsa provide guidance in material and worldly affairs as well. For example when new cities or developments are planned and populated, aspects of civic life such as keeping the roads wide and the provision of clean water are carefully considered by major civil engineers and other top experts. The Holy Prophetsa also guided us towards such matters. He guided us to keep the streets clean. He guided us to make the houses spacious and well-ventilated. He has provided guidance for all material and worldly aspects of life,be it the affairs of the state, cultural aspects of life or civilisation or matters of trade,commerce and industry. A study of his life gives details of all of these aspects from his example. Despite this, unlike today’s religious leaders, he did not declare all of these aspects of life as part of religion. An Illustration of this Link from the Life of the Founder of Islam Here is an incident, reported from his life, highlighting this distinction. Once navigating life in the 21st century: spirituality, morality & material progress First is prayer, bowing before the Lord, worshipping Him. Second is controlling one’s desires and self, keeping one’s emotions and passions in check and analysing human psychology.Third, is seeking scientific knowledge and honestly performing one’s professional and worldly responsibilities, which are all essential. © Naeblys | Shutterstock.com 42 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 43
  23. 23. situation by improving our knowledge, morality and spirituality.Similarly,giving the family and children their rights can be achieved through prayers,controlling one’s emotions and fulfilling their mate- rial needs.Similarly,there are neighbours. Allah says that neighbours have rights over us.Paying society its rights is possi- ble by praying for them,discharging their dues, understanding their psychology and accordingly conveying the message of Deen (Islam). It is their right that we convey this message to them. Also it is within the realms of giving neighbours and society their rights that we improve our knowledge and work hard in order to contribute to the progress of the entire country.When every member of society works with this ethos, it will become an exemplary society in terms of spiritual, moral, material and every other type of progress. Why are Muslims in Disarray? Muslims are presently in disarray because they have stopped giving priority to Allah and His religion and forgot about the aforementioned values I have described. Instead, they have started calling their According to Hazrat Musleh Mau’udra , these people have thus declared God to be a part of the material world.[2] During this time, when philosophers had created for themselves an image of God, many of them actually believed in this God which was the result of their own imaginations. But as a result of this materialism and the belief that God is a material existence, the modern and advanced philosophers have moved so far away from religion, that they have become atheists. In fact, the majority of people in Western countries have started denying the existence of God altogether in the name of education and modernity. To them material progress and [secular] morality is the be-all and end-all.Today’s Muslim clergy has added fuel to these atheistic views by declaring their personal views as religion,which is such ignorance. Deeper analysis shows that not only are today’s religious scholars mistaken, but so are those who deny religion by calling it material. Islamic Understanding of these Inter- Connections – Moderation in Life is Most Important We Ahmadis are fortunate that the Promised Messiahas has saved us from [such ignorance] and guided us towards the Holy Prophetsa in order to obtain the truth. The Holy Prophetsa guided us to the fact that moderation is essential in everything.That is true religion. He says undoubtedly worship is essential, that it is quintessential—it is the purpose for the creation of man, but: ..  [4] efits of Fasting َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ ُ‫ار‬َ‫َّه‬‫الن‬ َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ ُ‫ل‬ُ‫ج‬َّ‫الر‬ ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬‫الص‬ َ‫ض‬  [9] Khutba Translation 24.04.2015 ُ‫اء‬َ‫ُّع‬‫الد‬ُّ‫خ‬ُ‫م‬ِ‫ة‬َ‫اد‬َ‫ب‬ِ‫ع‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ِ‫ة‬َ‫اد‬َ‫ب‬ِ‫ع‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ُّ‫خ‬ُ‫م‬ ُ‫اء‬َ‫ُّع‬‫الد‬ َ‫ك‬ِ‫س‬ْ‫ف‬َ‫ن‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫و‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬َ‫ح‬‫ق‬ َ‫و‬َ‫ك‬ ِ‫ج‬ْ‫و‬َ‫ز‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬‫ق‬َ‫ح‬ َ‫ك‬ِ‫ر‬‫ا‬َ‫ج‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫و‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬‫ق‬َ‫ح‬ ‫ا‬َ‫ی‬ْ‫ُّن‬‫الد‬ ِ‫اة‬َ‫ی‬َْ‫اْل‬ ِ‫ِف‬ ْ‫م‬ُ‫ه‬ُ‫ی‬ْ‫ع‬َ‫س‬ َّ‫ل‬َ‫ض‬ [9] Khutba Translation 24.04.2015 ُ‫اء‬َ‫ُّع‬‫الد‬ُّ‫خ‬ُ‫م‬ِ‫ة‬َ‫اد‬َ‫ب‬ِ‫ع‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ِ‫ة‬َ‫اد‬َ‫ب‬ِ‫ع‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ُّ‫خ‬ُ‫م‬ ُ‫اء‬َ‫ُّع‬‫الد‬ َ‫ك‬ِ‫س‬ْ‫ف‬َ‫ن‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫و‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬َ‫ح‬‫ق‬ َ‫و‬َ‫ك‬ ِ‫ج‬ْ‫و‬َ‫ز‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬‫ق‬َ‫ح‬ َ‫ك‬ِ‫ر‬‫ا‬َ‫ج‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫و‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬‫ق‬َ‫ح‬ ‫ا‬َ‫ی‬ْ‫ُّن‬‫الد‬ ِ‫اة‬َ‫ی‬َْ‫اْل‬ ِ‫ِف‬ ْ‫م‬ُ‫ه‬ُ‫ی‬ْ‫ع‬َ‫س‬ َّ‫ل‬َ‫ض‬ [4] efits of Fasting َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ ُ‫ار‬َ‫َّه‬‫الن‬ َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ ُ‫ل‬ُ‫ج‬َّ‫الر‬ ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬‫الص‬ َ‫ض‬ Khutba Translation 24.04.2015 ُ‫اء‬َ‫ُّع‬‫الد‬ُّ‫خ‬ُ‫م‬ِ‫ة‬َ‫اد‬َ‫ب‬ِ‫ع‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ِ‫ة‬َ‫اد‬َ‫ب‬ِ‫ع‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ُّ‫خ‬ُ‫م‬ ُ‫اء‬َ‫ُّع‬‫الد‬ َ‫ك‬ِ‫س‬ْ‫ف‬َ‫ن‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫و‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬َ‫ح‬‫ق‬ َ‫و‬َ‫ك‬ ِ‫ج‬ْ‫و‬َ‫ز‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬‫ق‬َ‫ح‬ َ‫ك‬ِ‫ر‬‫ا‬َ‫ج‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫و‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬‫ق‬َ‫ح‬ ‫ا‬َ‫ی‬ْ‫ُّن‬‫الد‬ ِ‫اة‬َ‫ی‬َْ‫اْل‬ ِ‫ِف‬ ْ‫م‬ُ‫ه‬ُ‫ی‬ْ‫ع‬َ‫س‬ َّ‫ل‬َ‫ض‬ “Your body has a right over you, your wife has a right over you and your neighbour has a right over you.” There are three ways to achieve these [standards].First is prayer, bowing before the Lord, worshipping Him. Second is controlling one’s desires and self, keeping one’s emotions and passions in check and analysing human psychology. Third, is seeking scientific knowledge and honestly performing one’s professional and worldly responsi- bilities, which are all essential.[3] If we think about it carefully, in order to give the body what rightfully belongs to it,one needs to pray and build a relation- ship with Allah.To keep one’s emotions in check is necessary.It is the unchecked emotions that sometimes deny the body its rights, or even makes it com- mit excesses. By being honest we can improve our moral,spiritual and financial navigating life in the 21st century: spirituality, morality & material progress Similarly, there are neighbours. Allah says that neighbours have rights over us. Paying society its rights is possible by praying for them, discharging their dues, understanding their psychology and accordingly conveying the message of Deen (Islam). © Zurijeta | Shutterstock.com 44 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 45
  24. 24. whose efforts are aimed at worldly pur- suits only .. .. [4] The Spiritual Benefits of Fasting َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ )‫(النهار‬ ُ‫ار‬َ‫َّه‬‫الن‬ َ‫ض‬ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ ُ‫ل‬ُ‫ج‬َّ‫الر‬ ِ‫م‬َ‫ر‬ُ‫م‬ِ‫ائ‬َّ‫الص‬ َ‫ض‬  [9] Khutba Translation 24.04.2015 ُ‫اء‬َ‫ُّع‬‫الد‬ُّ‫خ‬ُ‫م‬ِ‫ة‬َ‫اد‬َ‫ب‬ِ‫ع‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ِ‫ة‬َ‫اد‬َ‫ب‬ِ‫ع‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ُّ‫خ‬ُ‫م‬ ُ‫اء‬َ‫ُّع‬‫الد‬ َ‫ك‬ِ‫س‬ْ‫ف‬َ‫ن‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫و‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬َ‫ح‬‫ق‬ َ‫و‬َ‫ك‬ ِ‫ج‬ْ‫و‬َ‫ز‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬‫ق‬َ‫ح‬ َ‫ك‬ِ‫ر‬‫ا‬َ‫ج‬ِ‫ل‬َ‫و‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ْ‫ی‬َ‫ك‬‫ق‬َ‫ح‬ ‫ا‬َ‫ی‬ْ‫ُّن‬‫الد‬ ِ‫اة‬َ‫ی‬َْ‫اْل‬ ِ‫ِف‬ ْ‫م‬ُ‫ه‬ُ‫ی‬ْ‫ع‬َ‫س‬ َّ‫ل‬َ‫ض‬ [4] “All their hard work will disappear with this world.” Hazrat Musleh Mau’udra explained this with an example that peo- ple who pursue spirituality are like those at a higher level who have stairs to access the lower levels.However,those at lower levels do not have access to the stairs to ascend to the higher level. How do we Attain Success in all Three Aspects? We learn from this that although any one of these objectives can be attained personal whims and desires part of reli- gion.The cause of the decline of Muslims is that they followed their personal and egotistical desires and labelled this reli- gion. They did not make the religion of God their first and foremost priority. If they had given priority to their religion then they would have cared about the other matters as well. Today, Muslims are following their selfish desires in the name of religion. As a result, Muslims are in no position to tell others about the good qualities of Islam. By adopting this self-made religion based on selfish- ness, Muslims are killing one another. They have attained neither worldly nor religious success. They beg world lead- ers to solve their problems. This indeed is the state of affairs of the majority of Muslims we see in the world today. It would seem that the Western nations have made their religion subservient to their worldly systems. For them reli- gion is unimportant and worldly things are the be-all and end-all. Nonetheless, they have at least achieved success in this world. Indeed, they are misguided but they have accomplished what they regard as their objective in life, even if it may be a wrong approach.However Muslims, they have nothing; neither the world,nor the blessings of the religion! The Promised Messiahas Explains the Correct Juxtaposition The Promised Messiahas was commis- sioned by Allah the Almighty in this era to reform both groups of people.Indeed, God sends His chosen ones in these situ- ations so that they can provide correct guidance on how to find the right juxta- position between religion, morality and material progress.Their teachings appear to be only spiritual,but their message has a deep connection with all three [spir- ituality, morality and material progress]. With spiritual progress and excellence, an improvement in morals is inevitable; and high moral practices are the key to material progress. On the other hand, worldly success does not always lead to high morals. Similarly, it does not necessarily go hand in hand that those who possess good morals also have true faith. There is a reason for this. The main objective of God is that the peo- ple should strive towards their God.This is the purpose of the creation of man. Hence God Almighty has made moral reformation and material progress sub- servient to religion. This is so that one who pays heed to God,will automatically have all his other needs fulfilled. Allah the Exalted says that a perfect believer attains all sorts of successes, while those Muslims achieved the position of being rulers by following their religion; therefore they conducted the business of the government based on religious teachings.That is why their government was so good that, despite religious differences, the public wanted the Muslim kingdom to rule them. navigating life in the 21st century: spirituality, morality & material progress © zhangyang13576997233 | Shutterstock.com 46 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 47
  25. 25. acquire high morals and find material success. May Muslim rulers of today understand this point and lead their gov- ernment on these principles. The Story of the Judge and the Bag of Money Hazrat Musleh Mau’udra said that the Promised Messiahas used to narrate the story of a trader to explain the concept of developing a bond with God. Once a trader gave a large sum of money to the Qazi (judge) of his town for safekeep- ing. The trader went on a business trip. On his return journey,he asked the Qazi for his money bag but the Qazi refused point blank.The Qazi said that he did not take anything from anyone for safekeep- ing and that he did not involve himself in such matters. He had no money bag! The trader tried to remind the Qazi by mentioning many marks of the bag but the Qazi remained adamant that he never got involved in the safekeeping of any- thing! This naturally worried the trader. Someone told the trader that the King held an open Court on a certain day and everyone had access to the King on that day; maybe the trader should try and take his matter to the King. The trader did so,but he had no evidence.The King said that we cannot apprehend the Qazi without any evidence.However,the King came up with a plan. He told the trader that the King’s procession will come to his town on such and such a date and time.The King asked the trader to stand next to the Qazi with the dignitaries who have come to welcome the King’s procession. The King said to the trader that during the procession, “I will speak to you in a friendly, informal manner.”The King instructed the trader to act as if they were familiar friends and not to fear talk- ing to the King in a familiar way. The King said,“I will say to you that I have not seen you for a long while, and you should respond by saying that I have been on a business trip for some time. I have returned now and am trying to get my money back from someone, to whom I gave the money for safekeeping—and I am stuck in this quarrel with him.”The King said, “At this point, I will say to you in front of the Qazi that you should have come to me to get this mat- ter sorted. At this you should say,‘Alright, if this matter is not resolved soon, then I will come to you for help.’”So when the King’s procession came on the appointed day, the trader followed the plan. The Qazi, who was there to welcome the King, saw everything. When the procession passed on, the Qazi came to the trader and said that the other day you were talk- ing about some money for safekeeping; through independent means, there is a common way to achieve all three of these objectives.That way is to establish a perfect bond with God. If one strives for morality, one can attain that. If one makes an effort for material progress,that is achievable.But the progress as a result of these efforts will be limited within the respective spheres. Such efforts do not have the capacity to deliver a wider cir- cle of success. But those who strive for spiritual progress, will be able to attain everything,i.e.,moral progress and mate- rial success. When the Companionsra of the Holy Prophetsa took Bai’at (the oath of allegiance), they did not pledge that they would make the thoroughfare wide, focus on cleanliness or pay atten- tion to other material things. Instead, they pledged that “There is no God but Allah and Muhammadsa is His Servant and His Messenger”. This pledge led to their moral reformation, which certainly led to improvements in their other worldly matters. The level of truthfulness of Muslims at the time was so high that it set the benchmark for the world to follow. Muslims had such a reputation for being fair in their business dealings that worldly people were very read- ily willing for Muslims to oversee their business affairs. Muslim rulers were so just with their people that they wished Muslims to be their rulers. During the reign of Hazrat Umarra , Muslims had to hand over the government of Syria to the Romans, as it would have been difficult to fight an extremely large Roman Army. At that, the Syrian peo- ple cried and pleaded with the Muslims not to leave their land. The Syrian peo- ple offered to help the Muslims defend the land, despite the fact that both the Romans and Syrians were Christians. Even then the good morals and excellent government by Muslims compelled the Syrian Christians to prefer Muslims over a Christian power. And so while to rule and govern is a worldly affair, Muslims did not regard this as a worldly matter. Muslims achieved the position of being rulers by following their religion; there- fore they conducted the business of the government based on religious teach- ings. That is why their government was so good that,despite religious differences, the public wanted the Muslim kingdom to rule them. Muslims achieved “king- dom” by virtue of the Kalima “There is no God but Allah and Muhammadsa is His Servant and Messenger.” However, this declaration of faith was not just a verbal expression but also a practical one for Muslims. Those who only make verbal claims of faith end up losing this world as well. But those who attain true faith navigating life in the 21st century: spirituality, morality & material progress 48 The Review of Religions | june 2015 june 2015 | The Review of Religions 49

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