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The Review of Religions November 2017

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The Review of Religions November 2017

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The Review of Religions November 2017

  1. 1. Women’s Rights and Equality 12 The Meaning of the Muslim Pledge 34 The Purpose of the Promised Messiah’s Advent 56 Imagining the Divine: Ashmolean Museum’s Blockbuster Exhibit 62 VOL. 112 - ISSUE ELEVENNOVEMBER 2017 WWW.REVIEWOFRELIGIONS.ORG ?WHERE ARE THE MUSLIM YOUTH HEADING?
  2. 2. The Holy Prophet Muhammadsa prophesied that the Promised Messiahas would be raised near a white minaret, east of Damascus. This prophecy was fulfilled with the advent of the Promised Messiahas from Qadian, India, a city directly east of Damascus. The Promised Messiahas & imam mahdi ©makhzan-e-tasaweer founder of the review of religions 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. The Reverence for Life WORLD FAITHS On account of this, We prescribed for the children of Israel that whosoever killed a person – unless it be for killing a person or for creating disorder in the land – it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and whoso gave life to one, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind. And Our Messengers came to them with clear Signs, yet even after that, many of them commit excesses in the land. ISLAM, THE HOLY QUR’AN, 5:33 Nu’man Bashir ibn Bashir relates that the Holy Prophetsa said: ‘The believers in their love, kindness and compassion towards each other are like the human body; when one of its limbs is afflicted the whole of it is involved both in waking and in fever.’ ISLAM, HADITH, SAHIH BUKHARI The principle to which we adhere is that we have kindness at heart for the whole of mankind. If anyone sees the house of a Hindu neighbour on fire and does not come forward to help extinguish the fire, most truly I declare that he does not belong to me. If anyone of my followers, having seen someone attempting to murder a Christian does not endeavour to save him, I most truly declare that he does not belong to us. ISLAM, HAZRAT MIRZA GHULAM AHMADAS , SIRAJ-E- MUNEER, P. 28 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” JUDAISM, TORAH, PROVERBS, 6:16-19 The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’‘You shall not murder,’‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and whatever other command there may be, are summed in this one command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ CHRISTIANITY, THE BIBLE, ROMANS 13:9 A mother with her own life guards the life of her child, let all-embracing thoughts for all that lives be thine. BUDDHISM. KHUDDAKA PATHA, META SUTTA Have benevolence towards all living beings. JAINISM, TATTVARTHASUTRA, 7.11
  4. 4. 8 The Truth about Jihad with the Sword HAZRAT MIRZA GHULAM AHMADAS , THE PROMISED MESSIAH AND IMAM MAHDI 12 Women’s Rights and Equality While Islam is popularly believed to oppress women, the real truth is that Islam actually provides women a path to true freedom and true achievement. HAZRAT MIRZA MASROOR AHMADABA , WORLDWIDE HEAD OF THE AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY 30 A Glimpse into the Life of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa 34 The Meaning of the Muslim Pledge Muslims pledge that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammadsa is His messenger. But reciting the pledge is not enough: Muslims must put it into practise. HAZRAT MIRZA MASROOR AHMADABA , WORLDWIDE HEAD OF THE AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY 56 The Purpose of the Promised Messiah’s Advent What is the purpose of the coming of the Messiah of the time? Why do people need him? As the Promised Messiahas explains, it is to show people to God. HAZRAT MIRZA GHULAM AHMADAS , THE PROMISED MESSIAH & IMAM MAHDI 62 Imagining the Divine: A Preview of the Ashmolean Museum’s Blockbuster Exhibit Join us for a quick preview of the new exhibit, focusing on religious iconography RIZWAN SAFIR, LONDON, UK 70 Calendar of Religious Events Front cover pictures: MidoSemsem / Prazis Images | shutterstock CONTENTS NOVEMBER 2017 VOL.112 - ISSUE ELEVEN
  5. 5. 12 34 62
  6. 6. WORLD CRISIS M I R Z A M A S R O O R A H M A D PEACE andthePathwaytoThe world is passing through very turbulent times.The global economic crisis continues to manifest newer and graver dangers almost every week. The similarities to the period just before the Second World War continue to be cited and it seems clear that events are moving the world at an unprecedented pace towards a horrific Third World War. In this book, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community warns the world of the fast approaching dangers and how it can avert disaster and chart a course to peace. WORLD CRISIS PEACE andthePathwayto 9 781848 808584 ISBN 184880858-5 9 781848 808577 ISBN 184880857-7 WORLDCRISISandthePathwaytoPEACEMIRZAMASROORAHMAD Please Note. Background colour: C=10 M=10 Y=0 K=100 From His Holiness – Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba – comes a groundbreaking vision for how to estab- lish long-lasting peace in a world fraught with rapidly increasing disorder and unrest. His Holiness reminds world leaders that the flames of war are already burn- ing through local and regional conflicts and we stand at the precipice of another world war. If these sparks were to truly ignite we could witness the horrific reality of a nuclear war, whose consequences are unimaginable. His Holiness is the Worldwide Head and Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – which has tens of millions of followers in over 200 countries. World Crisis and the Pathway to Peace is a collection of the historic addresses and letters by His Holiness to world leaders and influential figures. In this book, His Holiness offers consummate analysis on all aspects of the global crisis; political, economic, social and spiritual and provides the golden keys to resolving the critical problems the world faces. In a world where existing strategies for peace have failed and peo- ple are desperately looking for a new direction, His Holiness presents fresh and practical solutions, giving hope that we can still prevent a global catastrophe. (continued on back flap) s, d y, n e - t e r c - e m f - f n s s o ., e s d a f e y d r- ll s d r- 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 Messiahas 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/
  7. 7. 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 Deputy: Zafir Malik 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, Musawer 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
  8. 8. The Promised Messiahas & imam mahdi ( g u i d e d o n e ) founder of the review of religions Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas
  9. 9. I f,in the time of our Messenger,peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, war was ever waged against the opponents, these wars were never meant to propagate religion; rather, they were merely defensive.That is to say, they only took place because the opponents of that time, on account of their igno- rant religious prejudice, desired to eradicate the Muslims from the face of the earth.They would slaughter the Muslims, inflict great suffering upon them and prevent them from freely convey- ing the message of Islam.Hence,these opponents who unjustly slaughtered innocent Muslims merely due to religious animosity, were in turn killed, which served as a punishment for their hei- nous crimes. However, no one kills Muslims today on account of religious resentment and prejudice, nor is the sword wielded against them due to their religion. Of course, worldly conflicts do occur amongst worldly people, but they are not our concern. So,in the present circumstances when no one takes up the sword to destroy Islam, it is immensely ignorant and contrary to the Qur’an to take up the sword under the cover of religion.1 endnotes 1.Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas ,TheTruth Unveiled,(Tilford,Surrey: Islam International Publications, 2016), 40. The Truth about Jihad with the Sword
  10. 10. TheHONOURofPROPHETS another. The s of religion. hless, yet the alvation. So e Promised ure is weak, o, owing to or humanity, ra, God has ts, but none of Islam in present age, ercessor that ree mankind hilosophy of ilty and his HAZRAT MIRZA GHULAM AHMAD The Promised Messiah and Mahdi Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community HAZRATMIRZAGHULAMAHMAD The HONOUR of PROPHETS
  11. 11. E very human being seeks salvation in some form or another. The concept of salvation holds pivotal importance in matters of religion. A faith unable to deliver its followers from sin is worthless, yet the progress and benefit of society depends on this very salvation. So where should one turn to attain it? In this work, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, explains that since human nature is weak, salvation can only be attained through a mediator who, owing to their perfect relationship with God and deep sympathy for humanity, can serve as a link between God and man. In every era, God has conferred salvation upon humanity through His prophets, but none can match the unparalleled status held by the Prophet of Islam in this respect, who was the paragon of perfection. In the present age, it is this pure and blessed prophet who is the only intercessor that can grant humanity a living relationship with God and free mankind from the shackles of sin. The author presents an exquisite exposition on the philosophy of divine intercession, sinlessness, forgiveness, human frailty and his advent as the Promised Messiah. NEW BOOK The HONOUR of PROPHETS
  12. 12. The SPIRITUAL REFORMATION ‘In this era, one of the foremost objectives for our Lajna [women’s auxiliary] members is Tabligh [propagation] and to fulfil this responsibility you must first spiritually reform yourself.’
  13. 13. Fotokostic|Shutterstock
  14. 14. A fter reciting Tashhahud, Ta ’ a w w u z , a n d S u ra h Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba said: ‘As a result of understanding Islam’s true teachings, the members of the Jama’at [the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community], with the Grace of Allah, appreciate the very high status of women accord- ing to Islam, and it is a status that most non-Ahmadi Muslims, and the wider non-Muslim population, are not aware of and do not comprehend. Today, your Ijtema [annual conference where mem- bers gather from all across the country], which is purely for Ahmadi women and girls,is concluding and during the event, many activities and events have taken place in order to increase the religious Women’s Rights and Equality ADDRESS BY KHALIFATUL MASIH V, HAZRAT MIRZA MASROOR AHMADABA , THE WORLDWIDE HEAD OF THE AHMADI Y YA MUSLIM COMMUNIT Y AND FIF TH SUCCESSOR TO THE PROMISED MESSIAHAS , AT THE CONCLUDING SESSION OF THE NATIONAL IJTEMA (CONFERENCE) OF LAJNA IMAILLAH UK (THE WOMEN’S AUXILIARY OF THE AHMADIY YA MUSLIM COMMUNIT Y ) ON 24 SEPTEMBER 2017 Islam and the status of women is always a controversial topic, with many people believing that women hold an inferior status, or that they are not truly free when practising Islam. But this belief is wrong. His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba , worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, explains the real status of women in Islam: as free,courageous examples for all of us to follow,at this address delivered at the national Ijtema, or annual gathering,of Lajna Imaillah UK, the women’s auxiliary organi- sation of the Ahmadiyya Women’s Community. 14 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  15. 15. knowledge, morality and spirituality of the participants. Furthermore, from an administrative perspective, this Ijtema has been organised and run by women from start to end, and they will have made a programme that is attuned to the needs and preferences of our ladies and girls. Hence, this Ijtema is a collective and practical demonstration of the great status bestowed upon women by Islam. One allegation often levelled against our religion is that it discriminates against women or considers them to be less than men. However, this is in complete con- trast to Islam’s true teachings.In chapter 4, verse 2 of the Holy Qur’an, the crea- tion of the human race is mentioned and it states that Allah created humankind from a “single soul”. Immediately after One allegation often levelled against our religion is that it discriminates against women or considers them to be less than men. However, this is in complete contrast to Islam’s true teachings. In chapter 4, verse 2 of the Holy Qur’an, the creation of the human race is mentioned and it states that Allah created humankind from a “single soul”. Makhzan-e-Tasaweer NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 15
  16. 16. this, the Holy Qur’an states  which means “created therefrom its mate”. In the Bible, where the creation of man and woman is discussed,the con- cept of a “mate” is also mentioned, however it goes on to say that a woman was created from the rib of Adamas .This is contrary to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an,which clarifies that women were not created out of the body of a man or from his rib. Rather, the Qur’an testifies to the fact that men and women were created from a single soul and are of the same kind and species. Thus, where the Qur’an says “created therefrom its mate” it signifies that Allah Ta’alah [God the Exalted] has made men and women in the same way and it cannot be said that one is dominant over the other. Furthermore, when Allah the Almighty has said  that He has created a woman in the same way that he created man, it becomes clear that Allah has made the hearts and minds of women in the same way that He has created the hearts and minds of men. There is no mention of a woman being created from a man’s rib, rather similarities and like- ness are mentioned. Despite this, throughout history,there have been occa- sions where men have sought to prevent women from fulfilling their potential and responsibilities, whilst at other times, women have sought to stop men from fulfilling their duties and responsibilities. Whether due to a superiority complex or an inferiority complex, at times, men have considered themselves to be intrin- sically different to women or women have considered themselves inherently different to men. However, the Holy Qur’an has categorically refuted this con- cept by saying that men and women are of the same kind.It has clarified that men and women have the same feelings and emotions, similarly as each man will be accountable before Allah for his deeds, so will each woman also be held account- able for her acts before God. Nevertheless, it is true that Islam has given differing responsibilities and pre- scribed a division of labour between the sexes. Both men and women have been given differing roles, however, this should not be misunderstood to mean that women are incapable of understand- ing the responsibilities placed upon men. This idea of differing responsibilities is entirely normal and according to nature. Even amongst men,there are differences that exist, whereby people have differ- ing skill-sets and abilities. For instance, some men are trained as doctors, others become engineers, teachers, scientists or women’s rights and equality 16 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  17. 17. a range of other professions and jobs.Yet, no matter how skilled a doctor is, he is not superior to the other professions and in other fields as well and vice versa. In the same way, to maintain a sense of balance within the world, Allah the Almighty,out of His infinite wisdom,has given different roles to men and women and they will both be held accountable before Allah with regards to the fulfil- ment of their respective responsibilities. Indeed,the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa said that just as it is the duty of a shep- herd to protect his sheep, similarly it is the duty of every man and woman to ful- fil their prescribed duties.Thus, if Allah Ta’alah has placed upon a woman the responsibility to ensure the moral and religious training of her children and to ensure that she protects the home and property of her husband, she must pay heed, because she alone will be held accountable for these matters. Similarly, if a man has been tasked with provid- ing financially for his family, to care for them and fulfil their needs, he will be held accountable for this. Both men and women have been given differing roles, however, this should not be misunderstood to mean that women are incapable of understanding the responsibilities placed upon men.This idea of differing responsibilities is entirely normal and according to nature. Even amongst men, there are differences that exist, whereby people have differing skill-sets and abilities. Men and women are given different roles and responsibilities just as there is a division of labour amongst professions. Even though a doctor may be very skilled, this does not mean that he is superior to other professionals. Syda Productions | Shutterstock NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 17
  18. 18. The fact that Islam has allocated differ- ent duties to men and women does not mean that women do not have the abil- ity to do the work of men or are inferior in any way. As I said at the beginning, this Ijtema is being organised by Lajna [members of Lajna Imaillah,an auxiliary organisation of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community comprising women over the age of 15] members and is a great example of the excellent capabilities and organisational skills of our Ahmadi women. In fact, this Ijtema is actually a product and manifestation of the contin- ued work and progress of Lajna Imaillah. Thus, any man who thinks that women should not take an active part in reli- gious affairs, or make sacrifices for their faith,and should stay away from religion and just remain a “decoration” for their husbands to enjoy, is guilty of extreme ignorance.Similarly,if any woman thinks that due to her domestic responsibilities she does not need to partake in religious matters, or make sacrifices for her faith and nation, she too is mistaken and is guilty of undermining the status of women. It was for the very sake of making our Ahmadi women understand their respon- sibilities,and to remove any doubt about the need for women to be involved in religious matters and other activities,that Hazrat Musleh Mau’udra [Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-din Mahmud Ahmad,the sec- ond successor and worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community from 1914-1965] established Lajna Imaillah so that every Ahmadi lady could become an active member of the Jama’at.Very beau- tifully,Hazrat Musleh Mau’udra said that for a man the best name is “Abdullah”, and in the same way the best name for a woman is “Amtullah”– because any man should desire, above all, to be a man of God and His servant,whilst any woman should desire to be a woman of God and His servant.Indeed,in the Holy Qur’an, of all the qualities of the Holy Prophetsa one mentioned by Allah the Almighty is of his being “Abdullah” – a true man of God and His servant.Therefore,to be a sincere servant of Allah, should be the greatest desire for any Muslim lady and this is the reason your auxiliary organi- sation has been named Lajna Imaillah. Accordingly, every Ahmadi woman should sincerely strive to be a servant of God so that they may become an heir to His rewards,rather than inheritors of His Wrath and Anger. In worldly terms, a person who has fulfilled his duties in the best way is presented before the monarch in order to receive an honour or reward, women’s rights and equality 18 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  19. 19. whilst a criminal is presented before the authorities for sanction and punishment. Whilst covetous glances are cast in the direction of the person who receives honours,criminals are looked upon with disgust and pity.Thus, every lady should seek to ensure that she understands her duties and strives to be amongst those who attain the rewards of Allah the Almighty. In terms of your duties to the Jama’at and faith, you should remember that in the eyes of Allah,the responsibilities and duties placed upon men and women are the same and both must be ready to fulfil their pledges and make sacrifices for the sake of Islam. Speaking about the great sacrifices made by women in bygone eras, Hazrat Musleh Mau’udra gave the exam- ple of the time of the Prophet Jesusas .He said that amongst the most sincere and loyal disciples of Jesusas were women, who would tirelessly spend their days and Thus, any man who thinks that women should not take an active part in religious affairs, or make sacrifices for their faith, and should stay away from religion and just remain a “decoration” for their husbands to enjoy, is guilty of extreme ignorance. After the crucifixion of Jesusas and his emergence from the coffin, it was the female companions who showed courage and bravery and helped him. Gino Santa Maria | Shutterstock NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 19
  20. 20. nights spreading his message and their sacrifices have been recorded in Christian history as a source of pride. Indeed, when Jesusas was taken down from the cross and emerged from the cof- fin in which he was subsequently placed, it was women who were the first to greet and help him. Whilst his male disciples had run away in fear of the rulers, it is recorded that Mary Magdalene and two other women disregarded any fears for their own safety and reached Jesusas in the very early hours of the morning. In this way,they displayed immense bravery and exhibited a firm faith that exceeded the standards of the men. This was the example of the time of Jesusas but of all the prophets, without doubt,it is the life of the Holy Prophetsa that has been documented and preserved in greatest detail and unquestionably during his blessed era the sacrifices made by the Muslim women reached a pin- nacle and were of standards that have never been witnessed at any other junc- ture of history. Indeed, when you read about the sacrifices made for the sake of their faith, you can only be overcome with emotion. During that early period of Islam,the Holy Prophetsa and his fol- lowers were subjected to ferocious levels of persecution and unspeakable cruelties were inflicted upon them.Whilst all the early Muslims had to face persecution, nonetheless, the treatment of Muslim slaves was even more inhumane and brutal. For example, amongst the companions, were a husband and wife, both of whom were slaves of a non-Muslim and their owner inflicted such merciless and ter- rifying cruelties upon them that merely reading about their treatment leaves a person shaken to the core.They would be forced to lie on scorching hot sands and beaten relentlessly on their chests and bodies.They would be left to burn to the point that their eyes would become com- pletely red and swollen beyond all limits, yet their master showed no remorse or mercy. On one occasion, upon seeing how they were being tortured and made to lie upon the burning sands, the Holy Prophetsa became overwhelmed with emotion. He was grief-stricken like a father witnessing his children being beaten before his very eyes.He observed how the slave-master sought to com- pel them to reject the Holy Prophetsa and to accept his belief that there were many other gods apart from Allah the Almighty. Overcome with sorrow, the Holy Prophetsa turned towards Allah women’s rights and equality 20 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  21. 21. and remained engaged in prayer for some time.Thereafter,with great emotion,the Holy Prophetsa addressed the Muslim husband and wife and said: Be patient! Be patient! Surely, Allah will remove you from these pains very soon and in return, He has made a home for you in Paradise. As a result of the continued torture, it was not long before the husband breathed his last. Thereafter, the owner brutally attacked the Muslim lady by piercing her stomach with a spear and so she also joined the ranks of the martyrs. These slaves were not of any worldly rank or status, yet due to their acceptance of the Holy Prophetsa and their impeccable standards of faith they scaled the high- est spiritual mountains and have been recorded in history forevermore. They These slaves were not of any worldly rank or status, yet due to their acceptance of the Holy Prophetsa and their impeccable standards of faith they scaled the highest spiritual mountains and have been recorded in history forevermore. Women should strive to emulate the courageous example of Hazrat Umar’sra sister, who shielded her husband and insisted that the Holy Qur’an be treated with respect and care. Istanbul_image_video | Shutterstock NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 21
  22. 22. were the people who gave every possible sacrifice and bore every form of torture for the sake of their belief in the One God.The persecution of the Muslims in Makkah continued unabated and finally, when it went beyond all limits, as the enemies of Islam continued to increase their evil plots, the Holy Prophetsa instructed his companions to migrate to Ethiopia. Upon this,the companions protested and asked how could it be that they migrate to live in peace, whilst their beloved spiritual master, the Holy Prophetsa , remained in danger and continued to face the most horrific cruelties. In response, the Holy Prophetsa said that Allah had not yet commanded him to migrate and if that day came he would as well, but for the time being his followers should go without him. Amongst those who decided to migrate was a Muslim lady, who in the early hours of one morning, collected her belongings and placed them on a camel ready to depart. By chance, Hazrat Umarra ,who had not yet accepted Islam,walked by and after observing this lady being forced out of her hometown in the early hours, he felt a sense of sor- row and guilt. Addressing the lady with his voice trembling with emotion,Hazrat Umarra said, it seems you are getting ready for a journey? In response, the Muslim lady said: We can no longer tolerate the cruelties and pain inflicted upon us and so we have been left with no choice but to leave. In the end, what did we do to you that meant you treated us so inhumanely and punished us with such cruelty? All we say is that Allah is One but you cannot tolerate it and so now we have to leave. This desperate and emotional response of the Muslim lady caused Hazrat Umarra , who was still a formidable opponent of Islam and a person who had shown no mercy in his opposition to Muslims,to be overcome with emotion. As tears rolled In a fit of rage, Hazrat Umarra lunged forward in an attempt to strike his brother-in-law, but with great defiance and courage, his sister stepped forward to shield her husband and said,“Yes, we are Muslims and if you want to kill us then go ahead!” women’s rights and equality 22 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  23. 23. down his cheeks, he could only bring himself to meekly say, goodbye and all the best before turning away. Similarly,there is a famous incident per- taining to the sister of Hazrat Umarra .On one occasion,when he remained a raging opponent of Islam,Hazrat Umarra set out with a sword in his hand,with the inten- tion of killing the Holy Prophetsa and bringing an end to Islam once and for all. On the way, a man asked him where he was going, and when he told him his purpose,the man said that he should first enquire after his own family,as one of his sisters had accepted Islam.Thus, Hazrat Umarra went straight to the home of his sister and knocked forcefully at the door. His sister and her husband were recit- ing the Qur’an and upon realising that Hazrat Umarra had come, they hid their Muslim teacher, as well as the pages of the Qur’an.However,Hazrat Umarra had heard them, and so upon entering, he immediately asked what they had been reciting.His sister replied: We were recit- ing the Holy Qur’an. Hazrat Umarra said that he heard that she and her husband had become “Saabi” meaning that they had accepted a belief that was not accepted by the people of Makkah. In a fit of rage, Hazrat Umarra lunged forward in an attempt to strike his brother-in-law, but with great defiance and courage, his sister stepped forward to shield her husband and said, Yes, we are Muslims and if you want to kill us then go ahead! Hazrat Umarra was unable to withdraw his hand in time and so he struck his sister accidentally or uninten- tionally in the face with such heavy force that she was wounded and blood gushed forth from her nose. Upon witnessing how his sister had sacrificed herself to protect her husband, Hazrat Umarra was left astonished. Despite his hatred for Islam, Hazrat Umarra was good at heart, and so after seeing the blood on his sister’s face, he felt shame and regret, for he knew that rather than protect his sister, as was his duty, he had been a means of grievously injuring her.Feeling restless and wracked with guilt, his aggressive tone suddenly changed, and he timidly asked his sis- ter if she would bring the pages of the Qur’an for him to read. Upon this, the supreme faith of his sister roared into action, and having already been beaten by her brother,she no longer remained a defenceless woman but was transformed into a courageous lioness. Without any fear,she declared,you cannot NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 23
  24. 24. touch the Qur’an as you are not pure or clean. I cannot place the Qur’an anywhere near you whilst you are in this state. Having realised what he had done,Hazrat Umarra felt ashamed, and so softly asked his sister how he could purify himself so that she would permit him to read the Qur’an. In reply, his sister said that he must first go and bathe and clean himself and only then would she permit him to touch the Holy Qur’an. As instructed, Hazrat Umarra went and bathed before returning and then his sister placed the Qur’an before him. After reading just a few verses,Hazrat Umar’sra heart melted at the beauty of what he was reading and tears flowed from his eyes. Instantly, he felt abhorrence and shame for his past disbelief of Islam. Instantly, he viewed his past life with nothing but disdain and disgust. Thereupon, he stood up in an emotional state and asked where the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa lived. Hearing this, his sister felt a surge of love for her brother and prayed sincerely that he would accept Islam, but at the same time she knew that she could never forgive herself if her brother was the cause of any harm to the Holy Prophetsa .Thus,she grabbed hold of the collar of Hazrat Umarra and with great emotion, that only could be stirred by true faith and love for the Holy Prophetsa she said, first, swear that you will not approach Muhammadsa with any ill intention. With true humility, Hazrat Umarra replied, my only intention is to become a Muslim. Upon this, his sister rejoiced and informed her brother where the Holy Prophetsa was. Hazrat Umarra duly approached the Holy Prophetsa and accepted Islam in a state of total submis- sion. Hence, this was the great sacrifice made by a woman, who melted the heart of her brother, and as a result, the Muslims celebrated and raised slogans in praise of Allah, “Allaho Akbar” [God is Great]. Another astonishing example of faith pertains to the Battle of Uhud. During that war, the blessed teeth of the Holy Prophetsa were broken and word spread that he had been martyred. When this news reached Madinah, Muslim women came out of their homes and ran towards the battlefield to find out the truth about their master. On the way, an elderly Muslim woman franti- cally asked a companion if the Holy Prophetsa was alive. In response, the companion said, I regret to tell you that your husband has been killed in the bat- tle. Upon this the lady said, I am not asking about my husband, I am asking women’s rights and equality 24 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  25. 25. about the Holy Prophetsa . The compan- ion then said, I regret to tell you that your brother has also been killed. Hearing this, the lady said, I am not asking about my brother, I ask only about the Holy Prophetsa . The companion then said, I am sorry but your son has also been killed. Upon this, the lady desperately remarked, I do not ask about my son, I am asking if the Holy Prophetsa is alive. Finally, the companion informed [her] that the rumours regarding the Holy Prophetsa had been false and he was alive. In a state of utter relief, the lady said, I do not feel any loss or pain or grief over whoever in my family has died because my beloved master, the Holy Prophetsa remains alive. This was the pure love and devo- tion professed by the Muslim women of that time towards the Holy Prophetsa . These were the women who were ready for every sacrifice for the sake of Islam and their names have been recorded in history as examples for the rest of time. Recently, I was told about an Ahmadi lady living in another country, who said that when she comes to Lajna meetings and takes the pledge, she repeats the words that,“for the sake of her faith and nation she will be ready to sacrifice her life, wealth and time.”However, when it comes to the part about being ready to sacrifice her “children”she remains silent because her children are the one thing she can never sacrifice. This is an exam- ple of a weakness in faith,and ultimately, such a person will become weaker in faith However, when it comes to the part about being ready to sacrifice her “children” she remains silent because her children are the one thing she can never sacrifice.This is an example of a weakness in faith. Muslim women should be prepared to live up to the pledge they take to sacrifice their life, wealth, time and children for the cause of the faith. Arapix | Shutterstock NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 25
  26. 26. and,in reality,will neither be able to sac- rifice their own lives, wealth or time for the sake of Islam. Remember, when we pledge in our Bai’at [pledge to join the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and live by its tenets] to give precedence to our religion and faith over all worldly mat- ters it means that our love for Allah, for the Holy Prophet of Islamsa and for our religion should be greater than for any- thing or anyone else. Further, in this era, the Promised Messiahas said that, after developing a true love for Allah and for the Holy Prophetsa , his followers must also form a bond of love with him. Thus, if we wish to remain part of the Jama’at of the Promised Messiahas , we must mani- fest our love for him by fulfilling the conditions of our Bai’at and remaining obedient to his teachings.The Promised Messiahas said, in my Jama’at, I wish to see a spiritual transformation which distin- guishes Ahmadis from all others. If we are just the same as other Muslims then what is the benefit of doing Bai’at? If we are weak and lazy in our prayers like other Muslims then what is the benefit? If we are weak and lazy in reading the Qur’an and do not follow its teachings then what is the benefit? Thus, if according to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, you are not modest in your clothing and do not uphold the requirements of purdah what is the ben- efit of your Bai’at? If you do not fulfil your responsibilities within your homes, what is the benefit of your Bai’at? And if you do not practically manifest the teachings of Islam and do not seek to spread it, what is the benefit of being an Ahmadi? Thus, every Ahmadi lady should deeply reflect upon their pledge to give precedence to their faith over all material desires. Every one of you should constantly ana- lyse and think about whether you have the same spirit and devotion for serving your religion that the female compan- ions of the Holy Prophetsa had? Ask yourselves if you have the same true and sincere love for Allah the Almighty and His noble Messengersa as the com- panions did. Reflect upon whether you Thus, every Ahmadi lady should deeply reflect upon their pledge to give precedence to their faith over all material desires. women’s rights and equality 26 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  27. 27. have acquired the religious knowledge and insight needed to fulfil your duties. Consider if you are a true role model for your children and if you are bringing them up in the same righteous way that the companions raised their children. If the answer to these questions is “no” you should be very worried and con- cerned and it is also a cause of deep concern for the entire Jama’at. Let it be clear that you – our Ahmadi women and girls – are not living lives without pur- pose; rather,you all have extremely great objectives, which I hope and pray you understand and strive to fulfil. In this era, one of the foremost objec- tives for our Lajna members is Tabligh [preaching and propagation] and to fulfil this responsibility you must first spiritu- ally reform yourself. You must personally set the best example,and fulfil your duty to morally train and educate your chil- dren, and you must be their guide and attach them to the Jama’at from a young age.Only then can you fulfil your respon- sibilities in the field of Tabligh. In this era, there is an urgent need for our women to portray Islam’s true teach- ings and to spread them far and wide. Without any fear or complex, you must propagate Islam by practicing its teach- ings. If anyone claims that Islam does not give women freedom or that they are oppressed by men, it is your duty to show the world that Islam has given you true freedom, true liberty and true enlightenment! It is your duty to show the world that whatever restrictions exist are not forced upon you by men,but rather are willingly and freely adopted, having observed the magnificent teachings of Islam.If you do not wish to mingle freely with men or to sit alongside them it is your own choice, made of your own volition, in order to preserve your honour and dignity. If you do not choose to shake the hands of men, Ahmadi women have the responsibility to strive to spread the true teachings of Islam far and wide amongst all people. Ints Vikmanis | Shutterstock NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 27
  28. 28. it is because your heart demands that you follow Islam’s teachings, which provide true dignity for women.Such conduct is not based on the demands of men but is the result of your freedom to make your own decisions and is a symbol of true independence. Remember, following the crowd and bowing to the influences of society is not freedom; rather, true freedom is having the strength to follow your beliefs and to act upon your convictions.Until the voice of your hearts does not emit pure love for Allah the Almighty and His Messengersa , in the way of Hazrat Umar’sra sister, or the elderly lady whose husband, brother and son were martyred,we cannot influ- ence the wider world and we cannot bring about that spiritual revolution that is destined to occur. As I said, in this era, our women must propagate Islam and especially when it comes to women’s issues,it is much more effective for women to respond than for any man to do so on their behalf. Every woman should pay careful attention to this and seek to gain knowledge of their faith so that they can refute the alle- gations directed at Islam and be ready for every sacrifice for the sake of their religion. Thus, I ask all of you to understand and assume your responsibilities and to ful- fil your pledge to morally train the next generation in the best way and to bring your children close to the Jama’at. I ask all of you to be ready to propagate Islam’s teachings through Tabligh, within your own circles and especially to women. If you understand your responsibilities, I am sure that you will prove to be suc- cessful mothers, and successful Ahmadi Muslim women who are ready for every sacrifice for the sake of giving precedence to their faith over all worldly matters. If you understand your duties, I am sure you will be successful in spreading the Remember, following the crowd and bowing to the influences of society is not freedom; rather, true freedom is having the strength to follow your beliefs and to act upon your convictions. women’s rights and equality 28 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  29. 29. message of Islam Ahmadiyyat far and wide. Only then will you have fulfilled the requirements and obligations of your Bai’at. May Allah enable you all to do so. May Allah continue to bless Lajna Imaillah UK and indeed our Lajna organisations throughout the world – Ameen. Now join me in silent prayer – Dua.’ The English Rendering of the 5 Volume Commentary of the Holy Qur’an One of the most comprehen- sive 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/ ©AMAGALLERYUK YOUR FEEDBACK IS IMPORTANT TO US Write to us with comments, feedback and suggestions at info@Reviewof Religions.org NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 29
  30. 30. A Glimpse into the Life of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa Inquisitiveness The Holy Prophetsa always exhorted people against inquisitive- ness and to think well of each other. Abu Hurairara relates: ‘The Prophetsa said: “Save yourselves from thinking ill of others for this is the greatest falsehood, and do not be inquisitive or apply epi- thets to each other out of contempt nor be envious of each other and do not entertain ill feelings towards each other; let each of you regard himself as the servant of God and treat others as his brothers as God has commanded,”and also “Remember that every Muslim is a brother to every other Muslim. No Muslim should trespass against another or desert another in times of distress or look down upon another on account of his lack of substance or learning or any other thing.Purity springs from the heart and it is enough to defile a man’s heart that he should look down upon his brother.Every Muslim must regard another Muslim’s life,honour and property as sacred and inviolate. God does not regard your bodies nor your countenances nor your external actions but looks into your hearts.”’(Muslim, Kitabul Birr Was Sila). 1 endnotes 1. Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-din Mahmud Ahmadra , Life of Muhammad (Tilford, Surrey, U.K.: Islam International Publications Limited, 2013), 369- 370.
  31. 31. The SPIRITUAL REFORMATION ‘The primary reason why the auxiliary organisations were created was to ensure that great attention was placed upon the moral, religious and spiritual training of Ahmadis of all ages.’
  32. 32. After reciting Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz and Surah Al-Fatihah,Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba said: ‘With the Grace of Allah,in most coun- tries where the Jama’at [the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community] is well-established, Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya [the male youth organisation of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community] and the other auxiliary organisations have also been founded. And the primary reason why the auxiliary organisations were cre- ated was to ensure that great attention was placed upon the moral, religious and spiritual training of Ahmadis of all ages. The auxiliaries were established in order to bring members of the Jama’at closer to their religion and to explain to them their individual responsibilities. The Meaning of the Muslim Pledge ADDRESS BY KHALIFATUL MASIH V, HAZRAT MIRZA MASROOR AHMADABA , THE WORLDWIDE HEAD OF THE AHMADIY YA MUSLIM COMMUNIT Y AND FIF TH SUCCESSOR TO THE PROMISED MESSIAHAS , TO MAJLIS KHUDDAM UL AHMADIY YA ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2017 M uslims the world over profess their faith by saying,‘There is no God but Allah and Muhammadsa is his messenger’. But how can Muslims manifest those words through practical action? His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba , worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, sheds light on how Muslims can truly live out the kalima in this address to Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK (the male youth organisation of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community), delivered on Sunday,September 17, 2017. 34 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  33. 33. They also serve to guide the members of the Jama’at about how they can fulfil their material and worldly needs, whilst staying firm to their faith. Further, it is also the responsibility of the auxiliaries to emphasise the importance of serving both your faith and your nation to the best of your abilities. As you all know, Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya is made up of our male youth between the ages of 15 and 40 and Khuddamul Ahmadiyya is also aligned with Atfal-ul-Ahmadiyya [organisation for boys between the ages of 7 and 15], which caters for the moral and religious training of our young boys.Certainly,the older members of Atfal,aged between 12 and 15, are of an age where their minds are maturing and they understand the And the primary reason why the auxiliary organisations were created was to ensure that great attention was placed upon the moral, religious and spiritual training of Ahmadis of all ages.The auxiliaries were established in order to bring members of the Jama’at closer to their religion and to explain to them their individual responsibilities. NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 35
  34. 34. basic elements of their faith and the pledges they make. In light of this, today, I am going to speak about the most basic pledge that all Muslims make – the Kalima – “Laa ‘ilaaha ‘il-lal-laah Muhammad-ur-Rasuu-lullaah” – “There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammadsa is His Messenger.” These are the foundational words upon which the teachings of Islam are based and the respective pledges of our auxiliary organisations, including your Khuddam pledge, all begin with this declaration of faith. Thus, every Khadim [member of Khuddam ul Ahmadiyya] and every Tifal [member of Atfal-ul-Ahmadiyya] who reaches an age of comprehension must pay serious attention to the mean- ings of this pledge and strive to fulfil it. The first part of the Kalima is, “Laa ‘ilaaha ‘il-lal-laah,”which means that “no one is worthy of worship except Allah.” Hence, the first and foremost principle by which any Muslim must live his or her life is that of Tauheed - the firm belief and acceptance that Allah the Almighty is One and has no partner.It is not enough to just repeat these words, rather they must be accompanied by a manifesta- tion of one’s faith through the worship of Allah and the most important and sig- nificant form of worship is Namaz – Salat [the five daily prayers that all Muslims are obliged to perform].At various places in the Holy Qur’an,Allah the Almighty has commanded us to offer the five oblig- atory prayers, and so if we are negligent in our prayers, it means our declaration of faith in Allah is meaningless, with- out value and false. With great beauty and wisdom,the Promised Messiahas has elaborated upon this point.The Promised Messiahas says, A person is only sincere in his declaration that ‘There is none worthy of worship except Allah’ when in reality his conduct speaks for itself and proves that, apart from Allah the Although Muslims may recite the Kalima and declare their belief in it, they have to manifest this belief by being conscientious about performing the salat, the five daily prayers that every Muslim is obligated to perform. Jasminko Ibrakovic | Shutterstock the meaning of the muslim pledge 36 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  35. 35. Almighty,there is no one else worthy of wor- ship and that there is no one else whom he craves and nor does he have any other objec- tive besides Allah. The Promised Messiahas said that only people who reached this state of pure devotion and loyalty to God Almighty, where they considered the rest of the world to be meaningless in comparison to Him,could claim that their proclama- tions of faith were true and not based on falsehood.He taught that a true Muslim is he whose heart and soul are intoxicated with the love of Allah and consumed by the belief that He alone is worthy of worship. This is the standard required, otherwise a person’s proclamation of faith in Allah is reduced to superficial and hollow words. The second part of the Kalima requires a firm belief that “Muhammad-ur- Rasuu-lullaah,” that “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”The Promised Messiahas has explained that the essence of the second part of the Kalima is that the Holy Prophetsa is the best exam- ple for all of mankind, because he was the perfect embodiment of following the commands of Allah the Almighty. Indeed, in the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Almighty has deemed the Holy Prophetsa to be the perfect role model and guide for all humanity. Hence, at all times, every Ahmadi Muslim should keep the blessed example of the Holy Prophet of Islamsa at the forefront of his mind and seek to follow his noble character. Certainly, our youth must realise that this is the golden key with which we can unlock the doors to success and is our only hope and means of presenting the true reality of Islam to the people of the world. In light of this,I shall now mention some characteristics of the Holy Prophetsa which we should learn from and seek to personally adopt. The love the Holy Prophetsa had for Allah the Almighty and his complete conviction in the principle He taught that a true Muslim is he whose heart and soul are intoxicated with the love of Allah and consumed by the belief that He alone is worthy of worship.This is the standard required, otherwise a person’s proclamation of faith in Allah is reduced to superficial and hollow words. NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 37
  36. 36. of the Oneness of God was such that even the disbelieving non-Muslims could not deny or refute it. Indeed, following his claim, the disbelievers of Makkah would openly say that Muhammadsa has become besotted and consumed by his love for his Lord. In addition, the prayers of the Holy Prophetsa also dem- onstrated his complete devotion to Allah the Almighty. One prayer offered by the Holy Prophetsa ,which should be repeated by all Muslims, was: O Allah, I beseech Your love and I beseech the love of those who love You. I seek from You the ability to do those things that are loved by You and that take me within reach of Your love. O Allah, establish such love in my heart for You that is far greater than the love I hold for myself, my wealth, my loved ones and the taste of cold water. This beautiful prayer illustrates the Holy Prophet’ssa complete fidelity towards Allah and we must seek to inculcate this spirit within ourselves. In today’s world, people routinely give preference to their personal desires over religion, to such an extent that it does not even enter their mind to manifest their love for their Creator or to fulfil His rights. Even amongst us are people who are so obsessed with a desire to gain wealth and material success,that they forget to offer Namaz at the appointed times, or are so busy with their family matters, that they ignore their foremost duty to love and worship Allah the Almighty. How can this be the conduct of a true Muslim? Only if we consider the love of Allah to be above all other things can we honestly say that we are upholding our belief that “there is none worthy of worship except Allah”– “Laa ‘ilaaha ‘il-lal-laah.” Further, for the establishment of the Unity of God, the Holy Prophetsa said that whosoever acknowledged the Oneness of God would be the recipient of Allah’s Grace and Favours. The Holy Prophetsa said that a Muslim should declare the unity of God by praying: َ‫ل‬‫إ‬ َ‫ال‬‫ـ‬‫ـ‬‫ـ‬ُ‫الله‬ َّ‫ال‬‫إ‬ َ‫ه‬،ُ‫ه‬َ‫ل‬ َ‫ك‬ْ‫ي‬ِ‫ر‬َ‫ش‬ َ‫ال‬ ُ‫ه‬َ‫د‬ْ‫ح‬َ‫و‬ُ‫ك‬ْ‫ل‬ُ‫ـم‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ُ‫ه‬َ‫ل‬ ٍ‫ر‬‫ي‬ِ‫د‬َ‫ق‬ ٍ‫ء‬ْ‫ي‬َ‫ش‬ ِ‫ل‬ُ‫ك‬‫ى‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ َ‫و‬ُ‫ه‬َ‫و‬ ُ‫د‬ْ‫م‬َ‫ـح‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ُ‫ه‬َ‫ل‬َ‫و‬   There is none worthy of worship except Allah, He is One and has no partner; His is the true Kingdom, and all praise belongs to Him and He is the All-Powerful. The Holy Prophetsa said that whoso- ever repeated this prayer one hundred times would be granted the equivalent reward of a person who had freed ten slaves, that one hundred righteous acts the meaning of the muslim pledge 38 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  37. 37. would be recorded in his favour and one hundred sins would be struck off from his record. Further, remembering Allah in this way would protect a person from the influence of Satan, from morning until night, and no other person would be considered better except he or she who had spent even more time in the remem- brance of Allah.This shows the true value that lies within our declaration of faith that “Laa ‘ilaaha ‘il-lal-laah” – “there is none worthy of worship except Allah.” When a person sincerely prays in this way there is no chance that they will be found wanting in their worship of Allah the Almighty. The audience listens to His Holinessaba deliver the keynote address at the Ijtema, or annual gathering, of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK, the male youth organisation of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, comprising men between the ages of 15 and 40. Held over three days every year, the event allows the men to focus on spiritual reformation while also building bonds with their fellow brothers. Makhzan-e-Tasaweer “O Allah, I beseech Your love and I beseech the love of those who love You. I seek from You the ability to do those things that are loved by You and that take me within reach of Your love. O Allah, establish such love in my heart for You that is far greater than the love I hold for myself, my wealth, my loved ones and the taste of cold water.” NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 39
  38. 38. Without a shadow of doubt, it was the Holy Prophetsa who scaled the highest possible peaks of worshipping Allah.No matter the circumstances,he would never allow anything to get in the way of ful- filling the rights of Allah the Almighty. For example,it is recorded in the Ahadith [oral traditions and sayings of the Holy Prphetsa which have been compiled and handed down over the centuries] that even during times of severe illness or injury, the Holy Prophetsa continued to excel in the worship of Allah. On one occasion, the Holy Prophetsa fell from a horse and as a result,his entire right side was severely injured and he was unable to stand to offer his prayers, but rather than forsake congregational prayers, the Holy Prophetsa continued to lead Salat whilst sitting. At a personal level, we all know what our intentions and standards of worship are and we know if we are try- ing our best to follow the example of the Holy Prophetsa . It is a cause of great sadness that there are many Ahmadis who sacrifice con- gregational Salat for the sake of their own small personal errands or just out of sheer laziness.Yet,without any shame or sense of embarrassment, they con- tinue to repeat the words of the Kalima, claiming their belief that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammadsa is his Messenger. As I said before, words alone are never enough, rather they must also be mir- rored by a person’s deeds and conduct. Despite being the Messenger of Allah and His most beloved servant, the Holy Prophetsa was forever overcome by the fear of Allah.He constantly urged his fol- lowers to remain anxious that,as a result of their negligence,they did not become the recipients of the wrath of Allah and deprived of His love. There are many narrations of the companions which tell us how the Holy Prophetsa would bow down before Allah and surrender himself before Him in a state of complete sub- mission and humility. For instance, it is reported that when he prayed alone,peo- ple could hear the Holy Prophetsa weep with such intensity that it sounded like he was screaming and wailing in despair. Some companions described the sound of the Holy Prophetsa engaged in prayer as like a grinding mill in action, whilst others said that the sound was like boil- ing water in a pan. This was the unparalleled standard of worship and of the fear and love of Allah displayed by the Holy Prophetsa which was an example for all of mankind to the meaning of the muslim pledge 40 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  39. 39. come. Unquestionably, in terms of the remembrance of Allah and gratitude to Him, the Holy Prophetsa reached the highest possible standards. No matter whether day or night, whether awake or asleep, whether in a group or alone, the Holy Prophetsa never forgot his Creator. It is narrated that the Holy Prophetsa told his companions that even when he was sitting in a group he would continue to offer Istighfar – seeking the forgiveness of Allah – at least seventy times. Just consider that if the Holy Prophetsa considered it necessary to offer repent- ance so ardently, then how important If people skip congregational prayer because of laziness, then they are not fully living up to their declaration of the Kalima. FS Stock | Shutterstock Unquestionably, in terms of the remembrance of Allah and gratitude to Him, the Holy Prophetsa reached the highest possible standards. No matter whether day or night, whether awake or asleep, whether in a group or alone, the Holy Prophetsa never forgot his Creator. NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 41
  40. 40. it must be for us to constantly repent and seek God’s forgiveness. Indeed, the importance of Istighfar cannot be overstated as it focuses our attention towards the worship of Allah and pro- tects us from wrongdoing and sinful activities. Moreover, the Holy Prophetsa taught his followers that it was impera- tive to remain forever thankful to Allah for His blessings and that Namaz was the best means of expressing gratitude. Regarding his personal love for Namaz, the Holy Prophetsa said that it was the true source of comfort and peace for his eyes and heart and he would repeatedly pray that, O Allah, my Lord, make me the person who always remembers You and is forever grateful to You. In terms of love for the Holy Qur’an and obedience to its teachings,the Holy Prophetsa was the greatest example. Hazrat Aishahra relates that if a person wished to know the character and mor- als of the Holy Prophetsa , all they had to do was read the Qur’an. Every pore and every fibre of the Holy Prophetsa was engulfed by pure love and reverence for the Word of Allah. Whenever any portion was recited he would become emotional and tears would flow from his blessed eyes. Once the Holy Prophetsa asked his companion, Hazrat Abdullah bin Masoodra , to recite a portion of the Hazrat Aishahra relates that if a person wished to know the character and morals of the Holy Prophetsa , all they had to do was read the Qur’an. While also delivering the keynote address, His Holinessaba also took time out of his schedule to visit various booths and exhibits at the three-day event, including an exhibition by The Review of Religions, displaying Razwan Baig’s unmatched collection of priceless and historic copies of the Holy Qur’an. Makhzan-e-Tasaweer the meaning of the muslim pledge 42 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  41. 41. Qur’an and after a while, he reached verse 42 of Surah Nisa, which states: َ‫ل‬‫إ‬ َ‫ال‬‫ـ‬‫ـ‬‫ـ‬ُ‫الله‬ َّ‫ال‬‫إ‬ َ‫ه‬،ُ‫ه‬َ‫ل‬ َ‫ك‬ْ‫ي‬ِ‫ر‬َ‫ش‬ َ‫ال‬ ُ‫ه‬َ‫د‬ْ‫ح‬َ‫و‬ُ‫ك‬ْ‫ل‬ُ‫ـم‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ُ‫ه‬َ‫ل‬ ٍ‫ر‬‫ي‬ِ‫د‬َ‫ق‬ ٍ‫ء‬ْ‫ي‬َ‫ش‬ ِ‫ل‬ُ‫ك‬‫ى‬َ‫ل‬َ‫ع‬ َ‫و‬ُ‫ه‬َ‫و‬ ُ‫د‬ْ‫م‬َ‫ـح‬ْ‫ل‬‫ا‬ ُ‫ه‬َ‫ل‬َ‫و‬   “And how will it fare with them when We shall bring a witness from every people, and shall bring thee as a witness against these!” As he listened to this verse, the Holy Prophetsa could no longer control his emotions and, as tears flowed uncon- trollably from his eyes, he gestured with his hand asking his companion to stop reciting. In another narration, Hazrat Abu Hurairahra reports that once, dur- ing a journey, he had the opportunity to spend a night in the company of the Holy Prophetsa . He narrates that the Holy Prophetsa had only recited “Bismillah” – “In the Name of Allah” – when he became so overwhelmed with emotion that he fell down in grief. Hazrat Abu Hurairahra said that the Holy Prophetsa recited “Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem” twenty times and each time he would again be overcome with emotion and fall to the ground. Thereafter, the Holy Prophetsa explained his grief by stating that a person upon whom the Gracious and Merciful God is not merciful is most unfortunate.Hence,today,it is imperative that we bow down before that Gracious and Merciful God, worship Him, weep before Him,open our hearts to Him and seek His Grace and His Mercy and pray that we are never cast amongst the unfor- tunate ones. I have spoken so far about the example of worship of the Holy Prophetsa and his relationship with Allah the Almighty, NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 43
  42. 42. which helps us better understand the first part of Kalima that, “there is none worthy of worship except Allah” and shows us how he fulfilled his duties to God Almighty.Yet,at the same time,the Holy Prophetsa also perfectly fulfilled his duties to society and to mankind at large and it is essential that we pay attention to this sphere of his life as well so that we have full comprehension of “Muhammad- ur-Rasuu-lullaah,” “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”. Only then can we begin to understand how the Holy Prophetsa fulfilled his duties as the Messenger of Allah and proved to be a true source of everlasting mercy for all mankind. In every respect, his character was flawless,beyond reproach and a per- fect illustration of true morality. A fundamental quality of a believer is that he or she should be truthful and fulfil their trusts and covenants. In this regard,even the opponents of Islam were forced to admit that the Holy Prophetsa was an example for mankind. For exam- ple, the testimony of Abu Sufyan, given at a time when he was an ardent enemy of the Holy Prophetsa , is of great signifi- cance.Upon being asked by the Emperor of Rome what the Holy Prophetsa taught to his followers, Abu Sufyan testified that, Muhammad[sa] says we should wor- ship the One God, offer prayers, be honest and fulfil our trusts and pledges. As I said, this was the statement of a sworn enemy and testifies to the fact that the Holy Prophetsa preached only a message of fulfilling the rights of Allah and of mankind.The unconditional hon- esty and integrity of the Holy Prophetsa At that time, because of the prolonged war, Muslims were subject to starvation. A Jewish Ethiopian shepherd accepted Islam and asked the Holy Prophetsa what he should do with the lambs under his control which belonged to the Jews. Whilst he could easily have ordered the shepherd to hand over the lambs, instead, the Holy Prophetsa ordered him to honour his duties to the Jews and to turn the lambs in the direction of their owners so that they could make their own way back. the meaning of the muslim pledge 44 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  43. 43. was reflected at all times no matter how challenging the circumstances.For exam- ple,in wars and battles,it was commonly assumed that the victor had a right over the spoils and could seize the wealth and property of the vanquished. Yet, the Holy Prophet’ssa conduct in this regard was quite the opposite.Instead of seeking personal benefit and riches for him and his followers, the noble character of the Holy Prophetsa demanded that no injus- tice was ever perpetrated. For instance, the war against the Jews at Khaybar was extremely arduous and demanding. At that time, because of the prolonged war, Muslims were subject to starvation. A Jewish Ethiopian shep- herd accepted Islam and asked the Holy Prophetsa what he should do with the lambs under his control which belonged to the Jews. Whilst he could easily have ordered the shepherd to hand over the lambs, instead, the Holy Prophetsa ordered him to honour his duties to the Jews and to turn the lambs in the direc- tion of their owners so that they could make their own way back. Rather than give in to any form of temptation at a time when he and his followers were famished and desperate for sustenance, the Holy Prophetsa ensured that the rights of the opponents were fulfilled and set an incomparable example of fulfilling one’s trusts and obligations. In a similar vein, whenever the Holy Prophetsa signed a treaty or covenant fol- lowing the end of wars and battles, he always ensured that he and the Muslims abided by them no matter what. For example,after the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah [a treaty between the Muslims and Makkans, with terms generally unfa- vourable to the Muslims], there were times when the lives of the Muslims were put at risk but the Holy Prophetsa never wavered from the agreement and continued to honour every pledge made regardless of the danger. In all respects, the Holy Prophetsa taught and practically showed us how we must give priority to our faith over all worldly matters,and we Ahmadis all make this pledge again and again,but regrettably,whenever personal issues arise there are many who choose to ignore it. For example,in Surah Jumu’ah, Allah the Almighty has said that when it is time for the Friday Prayers, Muslims should close their businesses and give pri- ority to the worship of Allah. However, there are people amongst us who disre- gard this Qur’anic injunction. Thus, I say to all our Khuddam that they should keep this teaching ingrained in their minds and give full priority to attending NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 45
  44. 44. the Friday Prayers, rather than giving precedence to worldly matters. In terms of the true status of material- ism and worldly pursuits, we should all pay attention to the following Hadith. On one occasion the Holy Prophetsa entered a market, with his companions walking alongside him,when he noticed a dead goat, with extremely small and deformed ears, lying on the ground.The Holy Prophetsa grabbed the goat by one of his ears and asked his companions if any of them wished to purchase it for one dirham. In reply, the companions said that if the goat had been alive they might have considered buying it,in spite of its deformed ears,yet how could there be any value in the dead animal. Upon this, the Holy Prophetsa said: I swear that in the eyes of Allah, the mate- rial world is even lower in value and more debased than this dead goat and so do not follow materialism, rather always keep the attainment of the nearness and pleasure of In terms of his compassion towards Allah’s Creation, the Holy Prophet’ssa example was the very best. Never did he let any opportunity pass by to help the weak and needy; rather, he taught that if a person helped his brother, Allah would help him and if he removed the difficulty of his Muslim brother, Allah would remove his difficulties on the Day of Judgment, and if he covered the mistakes of his Muslim brother, Allah would cover his mistakes on the Day of Judgment. In Surah Jumu’ah, Muslims are instructed to leave aside all their worldly pursuits to come to Friday prayers, and Muslims should make attendance at the mosque for these prayers a priority. Ayoub Kayor | Shutterstock the meaning of the muslim pledge 46 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  45. 45. Allah at the forefront of your minds. Furthermore, it is quite common amongst worldly people to think that a degree of falsehood or deception in busi- ness or trade is permissible. However, such an attitude is an example of pri- oritising materialism over faith because Allah has deemed all forms of falsehood and deception to be sinful. The Holy Prophetsa warned his followers that there was an increased risk of falsehood when buying or selling goods, and so before conducting any form of business, he advised them to give some sadaqah (charity),which would shield them from wrongdoing. Whenever entering a bazaar or market, the Holy Prophetsa himself would pray: O Allah, I enter this market and desire only that which is good for me and I seek your ref- uge from anything bad within it. O Allah, I also seek your refuge and protection from professing any form of falsehood whilst in this market or from any wrong trade. The Holy Prophetsa also reminded his followers that, though a person may be able to sell goods on the basis of decep- tion, by exaggerating their price or quality,there could never be any blessings in such dishonest sales.On the other side, the Holy Prophetsa gave the glad tidings to those Muslim traders or business peo- ple who were honest and fair in their dealings that on the Day of Judgement they would stand alongside the martyrs. The Holy Prophetsa also emphasised the importance of showing compassion to one’s relatives and the blessings of keep- ing families closely knitted together. In this regard, the Holy Prophetsa said that to respond in kind to the love shown by your relatives was not an example of compassion and mercy,rather true benev- olence towards your family was to mend the broken ties amongst them and to heal any rifts that existed. Certainly, this is a golden principle which is of great importance today and if our youths pay heed to it, many of the domestic issues that arise in people’s homes will disappear. In terms of his compassion towards Allah’s Creation, the Holy Prophet’ssa example was the very best. Never did he let any opportu- nity pass by to help the weak and needy; rather, he taught that if a person helped his brother,Allah would help him and if he removed the difficulty of his Muslim brother, Allah would remove his diffi- culties on the Day of Judgment, and if he covered the mistakes of his Muslim NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 47
  46. 46. brother, Allah would cover his mistakes on the Day of Judgment. A very important Hadith, and one that we know very well, is that a true Muslim is he from whose tongue and hand all others are safe. However,despite knowing these words of the Holy Prophetsa , there are many who fail to act upon them. If peo- ple lived by this teaching all hatreds and conflicts would end – both at a personal level and amongst the wider society.This Hadith does not only instruct Muslims to abstain from harming others, it also directs them towards humanitarian efforts, because the deeper meaning of these words require Muslims to actively seek to help and serve mankind.The best example of this was the Holy Prophetsa himself who was ever ready to assist the needy with his own hands and showered his love and mercy upon all deprived and vulnerable members of society. On many occasions,poor and needy peo- ple would stop the Holy Prophetsa as he walked to the mosque or somewhere else and he never became irritated or impa- tient; rather, with great love, tenderness, and attention he listened to them, com- forted them and helped them.Truly, we must all learn from this blessed exam- ple and realise that a true Muslim is he who considers the pain and grief of oth- ers as his own. Within the home, the Holy Prophetsa also set the best example and catered for the moral and spiritual well-being of his family.For example,he would wake his family in the night for Salat and called on other Muslims to do the same. Thus, our men should not only offer their prayers at the appointed times, but should also ensure that their family members are offering Namaz and wak- ing for Fajr Prayer.This is something that Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya should pay great attention to.As I said,in terms of his family home, the Holy Prophetsa set the best example and established the rights of women. Time and again, the Holy Prophetsa emphasised that a man must treat his wife with love,compassion and be fully respectful to her.He said that the best amongst you are those who treat their wives in the best way and that he was the one who took the greatest care of his wives. The Holy Prophetsa said that some- times disputes arose between a husband and a wife, whereby they found flaws in one another or became irritated by certain habits. In this regard, he said that each spouse should remember that the meaning of the muslim pledge 48 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  47. 47. they themselves were not perfect and there would be things that the other did not like in them. Thus, it was far bet- ter to focus on the good qualities and those things that they did like about one another. With this teaching, the Holy Prophetsa has given us very beauti- ful advice, filled with immense wisdom, about how to maintain peace within our homes. It is also important that a hus- band speaks softly and kindly with his wife. In this regard, Hazrat Ayeshara testifies that the Holy Prophetsa spoke in the soft- est tone with his wives and was extremely loving and caring of their needs. She added that unlike most of the men of that time,he would speak informally with his family and would keep a smile on his face within the home. Throughout his life, the Holy Prophetsa never once raised his hand to any of his wives or towards any servant, despite living in an era when such abuse was common and consid- ered normal. Sadly, even today there are many men who become angry with their wives over small and trivial mat- ters and so I urge the members of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya to swallow their pride and instead to follow the exam- ple of our noble Prophet Muhammadsa , whose humility knew no bounds. Remember, that the Holy Prophetsa said that men who were harsh to women could not be considered amongst the righteous. I have mentioned just a few of the quali- ties of the Holy Prophetsa and there are countless other examples which illustrate the perfect conduct of the Holy Prophetsa in all spheres of his life. It is not enough to just hear or read about his example,but rather we must seek to adopt and follow the character of the Holy Prophetsa to the best of our abilities.Only then will we be amongst those who understand the true meaning and status of “Laa ‘ilaaha ‘il- lal-laah Muhammad-ur-Rasuu-lullaah.” Only then will we be able to claim that, having accepted the Promised Messiahas , His Holinessaba waves to the crowd after his keynote address. During his speech, His Holinessaba also emphasized that men have a duty to be kind to their spouses. Makhzan-e-Tasaweer NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 49
  48. 48. we are acting upon our pledge to bring about a righteous transformation in our lives and are living up to the demands of the Kalima which is the foundation of any Muslim’s life. At the end,I will present the words of the Promised Messiahas which highlight his expectations of his Jama’at.The Promised Messiahas said, Remember our Jama’at is not for the normal worldly people who say that they are part of a community,but feel there is no need for any practical manifestation. Unfortunately, this is the state of the Muslims of today, whereby if you ask them if they are Muslim they will reply ‘Alhamdolillah’, [all praise belongs to Allah] ‘With the Grace of Allah’,‘yes we are Muslims,’ yet they fail to even offer Namaz or to respect the basic commands of Allah. Hence,I do not want you to be like those who only verbally accept with their tongues but do not take any practical steps. Remember, such people are guilty of laziness and this is not liked by Allah at all. It was this very state of the world that caused for Allah the Almighty to send me for the reformation of mankind. Today, those who claim to stand with me, but do not make any practical efforts to reform and do not use their faculties to improve and who think verbally accepting is enough, it is as if they deny the need for my advent. Thus, if you wish for my advent to be in vain and worthless there is no benefit to having made this association with me. Rather, if you do desire to be associated with me then you must seek to fulfil the purpose of my advent and to further my objectives. And these are for you to bow down before Allah the Almighty with sincerity and loy- alty and to act upon the teachings of the Holy Qur’an in the way that the Holy Prophetsa and his companions did. The Promised Messiahas further said, In the eyes of Allah the Almighty, it is not enough for you to just accept in words and to have no passion or sincerity in your acts. Rather, always remember that the Jama’at that Allah wished to create cannot remain the meaning of the muslim pledge May we, through our conduct, convince the world that true Muslims are those who seek to build bridges of love and who seek to fulfil the rights of others at every level of society. 50 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  49. 49. alive without practical measures and a true manifestation of faith. Accordingly, we must always try to improve and reform and be sincere Muslims so that when we say the words “There is none worthy of wor- ship except Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger”, we understand its true meanings and are motivated to fulfil the rights of Allah and His Creation. We must endeavour to personally fulfil the mission of the Promised Messiahas , which was to make the world recognise its Creator and to accept the Unity of God Almighty and to fulfil the rights of mankind. We must strive to further this mission so that the world,the majority of whom considers Islam to be an extremist religion that promotes terrorism, comes to realise that Islam is actually a peaceful religion that desires for mankind to rec- ognise its Creator and to fulfil the rights of one another. May we, through our conduct, convince the world that true Muslims are those who seek to build bridges of love and who seek to fulfil the rights of others at every level of society.May we practically demonstrate the fact that true Muslims are those who are striving to eradicate all forms of disorder and conflict from the world. May Allah grant us all the ability to fulfil this great objective – to understand the true reality of Islam – and to spread it to all parts of the world. May Allah the Almighty continue to bless Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK and Khuddam all across the world in all respects – Ameen.’ His Holinessaba participates in the flag- hoisting ceremony at the national ijtema of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya. Makhzan-e-Tasaweer NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 51
  50. 50. Read online: https://www.alislam.org/library/books/Noahs-Ark-Kashti-Nuh.pdf Purchase print copy: http://store.alislam.org/englishbooks.html F rom 1896 to 1914 the plague ravaged British India, and more particularly, the province of Punjab. During these perilous times, as towns and cities were devoured, the British government undertook efforts to save the people from this pandemic through inoculation. It was in this backdrop that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian penned Noah’s Ark in 1902. In it the author elaborates the essence of his teachings and states that those who sincerely follow its tenets would be saved miraculously from the onslaughts of this epidemic, even without inoculation. This was a prophecy vouchsafed to him by God. History testifies to the magnificent fulfilment of this prophecy. The book Noah’s Ark shines as a beacon of hope not only for the people of the past, but also now and shall continue to grant salvation to the world in all ages. It is a book that stands as one of the most influential works of the Promised Messiah and Mahdi,and continues to transform lives even today. NEW BOOK NOAH’S ARK AN INVITATION TO FAITH
  51. 51. The PURPOSE of the ADVENT of The PROMISED MESSIAH
  52. 52. Whenever the Imam of an age makes his appearance in the world, he is accompanied by thousands of lights.There is jubilation in heaven and people’s good qualities are stimulated through the spread of spirituality and light. Panuwat bunsroem | Shutterstock EXTRACTS FROM THE ESSENCE OF ISLAMVOLUME IV
  53. 53. ‘I firmly believe that whoso follows me with steadfastness and sincerity of heart will not perish but will partake of the life which is immortal.’ All Prophets Come for the Same Purpose The main purpose of the advent of prophetsas in this world and the grand objective of their teaching and preach- ing is that mankind should recognize God Almighty and should be delivered from the life which leads to hell and ruin and which is known as the life of sin. In fact,this is the most important objective before them. Now that God Almighty has established a dispensation and has raised me, the same purpose which is common to all prophetsas is also the pur- pose of my coming; namely, that I wish not only to tell the world what God is, The Purpose of the Promised Messiah’s Advent The Promised Messiahas wrote over 80 books in Arabic, Urdu, and Persian. Excerpts of his collected works have been translated into English and organised by topic. The Review of Religions is pleased to present these excerpts as part of a monthly feature. Here, the Promised Messiahas explains the purpose of his coming. Extracts from the Essence of Islam, Vol.IV, pp. 108-113. HAZRAT MIRZA GHULAM AHMADAS , THE PROMISED MESSIAH & IMAM MAHDI 56 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  54. 54. but I actually want them to see Him,and to show them the way of desisting from sin. [Malfuzat, vol. 3, p.11] Blessings of the Imam of the Age Whenever the Imam of an age makes his appearance in the world, he is accom- panied by thousands of lights. There is jubilation in heaven and people’s good qualities are stimulated through the spread of spirituality and light. So, the one who possesses the capacity of receiving revelation,begins to receive rev- elation,and the one who has the capacity to gain understanding by reflecting upon matters of faith, his power of reflec- tion and understanding is augmented, and the one inclined towards worship begins to find pleasure in worship and I have been sent to strengthen the faith and to prove the existence of God Almighty to the people, for their faith has become weak, and they take life after death no more seriously than a fable.The conduct of every person proclaims that he has not the faith and trust in God and in the hereafter as he has in the world and its ranks and its resources.Tongues profess a lot but the hearts are suffused with the love of the world. NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 57
  55. 55. supplication, and the one who engages in discourse with the followers of other faiths, is bestowed the power of reason- ing and carrying the arguments to a convincing conclusion. In fact, all this results from the diffusion of spiritual- ity which descends from heaven with the Imam of the age and finds its way into every eager heart. This is a general phenomenon and a Divine practice to which the Holy Qur’an and the authentic Ahadith [traditions and sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa ] guide us and which I have observed through my personal experiences. But the age of the Promised Messiah has a unique charac- teristic, which is that in the scriptures of earlier prophetsas and in Ahadith it is recorded that at the time of advent of the Promised Messiah,the spread of spiritual light will reach a degree that women will also receive revelations, children will be able to prophesy and common people will speak with the power of the Holy Spirit. All this will be a reflection of the spiritu- ality of the Promised Messiah. When the light of the sun falls upon a wall, it is illuminated, and if it has been white-washed with lime it shines even more, and if it is studded with mirrors it reflects the light so strongly that the naked eye can hardly bear its reflection. But the wall cannot claim that the light is its own, for the light vanishes altogether after sunset. In the same manner, all the light of revelation is a reflection of the light of the Imam of the age. [Darurat-ul-Imam, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 13, pp. 474-475] Strengthening of the Faith I have been sent to strengthen the faith and to prove the existence of God Almighty to the people, for their faith has become weak,and they take life after death no more seriously than a fable.The conduct of every person proclaims that he has not the faith and trust in God and in the hereafter as he has in the world and its ranks and its resources. Tongues profess a lot but the hearts are suffused with the love of the world.It is the same condition in which the Messiah as had found the Jews.As a characteristic of the weakness of their faith,the moral condi- tion of the Jews had deteriorated greatly, and love of God had become cold in their hearts.The same is true in my time.I have been sent so that truth and faith may be revived and righteousness may inspire the hearts.This is the purpose of my advent. I have been told that heaven will once more come near the earth after it had the purpose of the promised messiah’s advent 58 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  56. 56. moved far away. These are the reforms that I have to bring about and these are the tasks for which I have been sent. [Kitab-ul-Bariyyah, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 13, pp. 291-294, footnote] ...I wish to state that God Almighty – having found this age full of darkness, and sunk deep in heedlessness, denial and paganism, and having observed the waning of faith, truthfulness, sincerity and righteousness – has sent me so that He may once again reestablish in the The task for which God has appointed me is that I should remove the malaise that afflicts the relationship between God and His creatures and restore the relationship of love and sincerity between them. While a whitewashed wall shines brightly, its light is merely the reflected light of the sun. In the same way, believers reflect the light of the Imam of the age. Martin M303 | Shutterstock NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 59
  57. 57. world the intellectual, physical, moral and spiritual verities, and to safeguard Islam against the onslaughts of those who design to harm this divine garden in the guise of philosophy, naturalism, innovation, polytheism and atheism. [A’ina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 5, p. 251] The task for which God has appointed me is that I should remove the malaise that afflicts the relationship between God and His creatures and restore the relation- ship of love and sincerity between them. Through the proclamation of truth and by putting an end to religious conflicts, I should bring about peace and mani- fest the divine verities that have become hidden from the eyes of the world. I am called upon to demonstrate spirituality which lies buried under egoistic darkness. It is for me to demonstrate by practise, and not by words alone, the divine pow- ers which penetrate into a human being and are manifested through prayer or attention. Above all, it is my task to re- establish in people’s hearts the eternal plant of the pure and shining Unity of God which is free from every impu- rity of polytheism, and which has now completely disappeared. All this will be accomplished,not through my power,but through the power of the Almighty God, Who is the God of heaven and earth. [Lecture Lahore, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 20, p.180] God has sent me into the world so that through gentleness,love,and kindness,I should draw towards God and His holy guidance people who have gone astray, and should enable them to tread the right path with the Divine light that has been bestowed upon me. Man stands in need of such reasoning as would convince him that God does indeed exist,inasmuch as a great part of the world is being driven The purpose of a prophet’s advent is to bring peace to the world and to bring people back to the straight path. Little Perfect Stock | Shutterstock the purpose of the promised messiah’s advent 60 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS | NOVEMBER 2017
  58. 58. to ruin for lack of faith in the existence of God Almighty and in His revealed guidance. There is no clearer and easier way to believe in the existence of God than through the understanding that He reveals to His close servants matters of the unseen and prophecies regard- ing future events. He discloses to those who are close to Him the deep hidden secrets, because there is no way for man to be enlightened about such secrets of the future as are beyond the reach of human faculties. It is indeed true that knowledge of unseen events and hid- den matters, especially those which are related to the exercise of Divine power and will, are matters that man can never attain through his own efforts. There- fore, God has bestowed His beneficence upon me and has chosen me out of the whole world so that, through the mani- festation of His signs, He may bring back to the right path those who have gone astray. But God has observed from heaven that the helpers and followers of the Christian faith, i.e. the Christian clergy,have wandered far from the truth, and have become a people who have not only lost the straight path themselves but they traverse thousands of miles of land and ocean and endeavour to convert oth- ers to their own doctrines. They do not know the true God,but their god is their own invention. Therefore, God’s mercy for mankind demanded that He should rescue His creatures from their deception. He has,for this reason,sent this Messiah so that through the right reasoning and argument he should break the cross that had broken and wounded the body of Jesusas . [Tiryaq-ul-Qulub, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 15, pp. 143-144] There is no clearer and easier way to believe in the existence of God than through the understanding that He reveals to His close servants matters of the unseen and prophecies regarding future events. NOVEMBER 2017 | THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 61
  59. 59. S ince 1683, the Ashmolean Museum has been the University of Oxford’s museum for art and archaeology. The Review of Religions was granted exclusive access to the pre-opening of the Ashmolean Museum’s new blockbuster exhibition entitled:‘Imagining the Divine’.This exhibition explores how the world’s major religions – Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam – have developed religious iconography, or in some cases such as Islam, strictly avoided iconography. Here we present a snap preview of some of the incredible objects on display. Don’t miss out on next month’s edition for our in-depth look at the exhbition - including interviews and insights from the curators, along with more details on the exhibits themselves. -- Rizwan Safir, London, UK Bowl with Kufic Script: Squarish Kufic script was a popular form of calligraphy in the early centuries of Islam.The lack of figural representation in Islam led artists to develop other forms of visual expression. Architecture and calligraphy were two such forms of expressions which were greatly developed by Muslims. COMING UP IN THE NEXT EDITION
  60. 60. Hinton St Mary Roundel: Found in Britain, this is perhaps the oldest surviving image of Christ; surely the oldest in Britain. Early Christians would have strongly resisted depictions of Jesusas , yet the influence of Roman pagan traditions and iconography is apparent in this scene. Jesusas is shown in a Roman style portrait with the ‘chi rho’ symbol behind him, the name for Christ in Greek.
  61. 61. Footprints of the Buddha: For 300 years after the arrival of Buddhaas , there is no image of him.The typical image of the seated Buddha seen in statues across the world did not exist – only representations of his hands or feet. Buddhist historians are unable to determine why there is no image of Buddhaas for the first three centuries.
  62. 62. These are just some of the incredible objects from the exhibition which will be explored in greater depth in the next edition.The exhibition was born out of the ‘Empires of Faith’ research project – a collaboration between Oxford University and the British Museum.The project has undertaken in-depth archaeological research into the 5 major religions of the world and will be publishing a series of articles and books in the coming year. http://www.ashmolean.org/imaginingthedivine Hajj Pilgrimage Certificate: This scroll from over 500 years ago was an attestation of the pilgrimage or Hajj, given to a woman named Maymunah following her completion of the annual ritual in Makkah.This example includes calligraphic bands carrying quotations from the Holy Qur’an, as well as the Ka’bah, the hill at al-Marwah and the Prophet Muhammad’ssa tomb in Madinah (although the latter is not part of the Hajj).
  63. 63. 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

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