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Contents June 2004, Vol.99, No.

Avoid Those Who Create Disorder: People should identify you as

the special servants of Allah
Address to the Annual gathering of the Ahmadiyya Community in Ghana asking participants
to deal with others with kindness, tolerance, compassion, justice and humility. By saving the
next generation from the ills of the society, become a guarantor for the survival of your
future generation and nation. By Hadrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V............ 2
The Essence of Islam – III Devoting one’s life to the cause of God Almighty so
that he becomes the object of worship, the true goal and the beloved and so that one’s
life is devoted to the service of His creatures are the true essence of Islam.
y. By Hadrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (as) .................................................................................. 15
Treatment of Prisoners of War The enslavement of conquered people or their
being held as prisoners of war requires that they must be treated with justice and granted
the rights available to all free persons. Islam set the standards for others to follow:
By Hadrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(as)..................................................................................... 28
Peace Symposium A Dharma Talk on Buddhism: Emphasis on Peace argues that
peace and happiness depend on our minds by Phrakru Sarnu Lom;
A Jewish View on Peace looking squarely at the absence of war to promote peace.
By Rabbi Danny Rich. ............................................................................................................... 47
My Journey into the Ahmadiyya Community A young American recalls her
acceptance of Islam. By Dara Fulton, USA ........................................................................... 54
Noah’s Ark – Another Viewpoint Those who rode in Noah’s Ark heeded the Warner
sent to them; likewise the plague during the time of the Promised Messiah(as) swept
away 10 million disbelievers. by Latif Qureshi...................................................................... 58
Letters to the Editor .............................................................................. 63

Basit Ahmad Chief Editor and Manager: Mansoor Ahmed Shah

Bockarie Tommy Kallon
Management Board: Special contributors: Design and layout:
Fareed Ahmad
Mr Munir-ud-din Shams (Chairman) Amatul-Hadi Ahmad Tanveer Khokhar
Fazal Ahmad Mr Mansoor Shah (Secretary) Farina Qureshi Publisher:
Fauzia Bajwa Mr Naseer Ahmad Qamar Proof-reader: Al Shirkatul Islamiyyah
Mansoor Saqi Mr Mubarak Ahmad Zafar Shaukia Mir Distribution:
Mahmood Hanif Mr Mirza Fakhar Ahmad
Muhammad Hanif
Mr. Abdul Baqi Arshad
Mansoora Hyder-Muneeb
Navida Shahid All correspondence should The Review of Religions © Islamic Publications, 2004
Sarah Waseem be forwarded directly to the The London Mosque ISSN No: 0034-6721
editor at: 16 Gressenhall Road
Saleem Ahmad Malik London, SW18 5QL
Tanveer Khokhar. United Kingdom

Views expressed in this publication are not necessarily the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community 1
Avoid Those Who Create Disorder: People should
identify you as the special servants of Allah
Address by Hadrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V, to
the Annual Gathering of the Ahmadiyya Community in Ghana

Assalamu alalikum
warahmatullah wabarakatuhu
[Peace and blessings of Allah be
upon you]

By the grace of Allah, the Jalsa

Salana of Jama’at Ahmadiyya
Ghana starts today. These Annual
Conventions in various countries
of the world are held pursuant to
the tradition started by the dition and should become ‘the
Promised Messiah(as) for the servants of the Gracious God’
tarbiyyat [or spiritual training and because Allah has said:
reformation] of the members of
the Jama’at. And I have not created the
Jinn and the men but that they
The purpose of the Promised may worship Me.
Messiah(as) behind this Jalsa, as I (Al-Dhariyat Ch. 51: V.57)
said just now, is to reform the
members of the Jama’at so that The second important purpose of
they know what is religion. A these Jalsas is that by meeting
living relationship with God each other to create an envi-
should be created in them. By ronment of brotherhood, and a
listening to speeches on subjects loving relationship should begin
of reformation, they should begin to grow. People from various
to improve their spiritual con- towns, different families, and

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Avoid Those Who Create Disorder

tribes; persons from various The Promised Messiah(as) says that

schools of thought and different the minimum standard should be
temperament; persons holding such that it is free of all personal
diverse opinions on worldly desires and a true believer should
matters; the educated and the elevate his relationship with Allah
uneducated Ahmadis, should to such heights that even if one
gather together, should recognise knows that there is no paradise
each other, should participate in and no hell, even then one should
each others, moments of be so lost in the love of Allah that
happiness and sorrow, and should one should worship Allah and
pray for the growth of the Jama’at should never cause this worship to
and the country. This is because slacken. If a person recounts the
in whichever country you dwell, it blessings and benevolence which
has a right on you that you should Allah has endowed through His
use your talents and abilities for attribute of Rahmaniyyat [or His
the progress of the community Grace] then at once one wants to
and the country with absolute bow down towards Him. When
loyalty. So, this is such a spiritual we begin to try and pray like that,
gathering in which we find also we would be able to receive
the opportunity to reform countless favours of Allah the
ourselves and create a bond of Almighty. May Allah enable us to
brotherhood with our brethren. do that.
We also get a chance to get to
know new friends and build The second important purpose of
relationships. life is Haququl ‘Ibad or the rights
of man to other men. The
There are only two supreme obligations towards Allah’s
purposes of human life. One is creation can only be discharged
Haququllah, the obligation we when for Allah’s sake we begin to
owe to Allah, and the other is be kind towards God’s creatures.
Haququl ‘Ibad, the fulfilment of True kindness towards Allah’s
our duty towards Allah’s servants creation can never arise till we
and His creation. So, as I said have the ability of tolerance; till
earlier, one is the worship of God. our hearts are filled with

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compassion; till our ideologies not spend any time with those
manifest justice; and till we deal who are evil, who lead a bad
with everyone in humility. When way of life, who create
all these qualities begin to disorder, or who are of a bad
develop in us, we can say that we character nor should they find
have truly recognised the a place in your homes because
teachings of Islam and they can be cause of
Ahmadiyyat because this is what misguidance for you.
Islam requires. It would be a great
misfortune if after having found These are those matters and
such beautiful teaching of Islam, conditions that I have been
we fail to act upon it. Then, as emphasising from the very
Ahmadis, we carry an extra beginning and it shall be
burden of responsibility because compulsory for every person
true to the prophecies of the Holy to act on these admon-
Prophet Muhammad (sa) we have ishments and there should be
believed in the Promised Messiah no element of impurity,
and Mahdi(as) who presented the ridicule or derision in your
beautiful teachings of Islam once meetings; and walk on this
again before us. earth with piety in your heart
and purity of thoughts and
Now, I wish to present before you, conduct and remember every
in brief, some examples of these mischief is not worth
beautiful teachings. The Promised responding. Therefore, it is
Messiah(as) says in an adver- important that you should
tisement: develop a habit of forgiveness
and mercy. You should act
‘It befits you that there should with patience and forbearance
be no intention to cause any and do not assail anyone
loss to any religion, any unlawfully.’
people, or any man in any
group but instead you should What a beautiful teaching is this!
become sincere advisors to all. Do not even think of causing any
It is also necessary that you do loss to any person or any nation.
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Avoid Those Who Create Disorder

you to move you away from the

Ahmadiyya Community and
sometime, they may even use you
against the country because
trouble makers cause nothing but
disorder and conflict. It is none of
your business to keep company
with such people.

Further he said that sometimes

Loss or damage is not only caused one takes action against such
by wars, but it can arise in troublemakers in frustration, but it
everyday life by making is not important to reply to every
complaints against your col- mischief. According to the
leagues in the office. Damage can commandment of Allah, you
be caused to those with whom you should turn your face and walk
do not agree by spreading away from such troublemakers
rumours against them, and there because all these are trivial and
are many other minor ways in useless matters. Submit yourself
which you can cause a loss to to Allah and pray to Him to save
others. The Promised Messiah(as) you from these troublemakers and
tells us that we should not even save the Ahmadiyya Community
think about this. Truth should and save our country from the
always be your guiding light and people who want to cause
whenever you give advice to mischief and dissention. You
others, always do it honestly so should preach peace. Whichever
that people say that if you want society you live in, people should
true advice, go to such and such point at you and say that those
an Ahmadi because he will never who are steadfast in their faith and
give you false counsel. Then, the are the special servants of Allah;
Promised Messiah(as) advises that and who remember the duties of
we should not mix with people man to Allah, are none other than
who indulge in false rumours the Ahmadis, who live in
because such people can cause harmony and peace with their

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neighbours; and regardless of have taken up the responsibility to

religion and despite differences of spread it in the world. Prepare
ideologies, can act with justice; yourself for this task. Excel in the
and, that it is only Ahmadis who field of education. Improve your
are the source of establishing moral and spiritual conduct. Take
world peace. In this day and age, this improvement to the heights
when the world is in turmoil, the that Allah expects from us.
responsibility is even greater. Resolve to hold high the banner of
Everyone is only concerned with justice in the world – justice that
his own self and there is no one to is free from any personal
look after others. considerations.

Fortunate and lucky are such Allah says in the Holy Qur’an,
Ahmadis who live in this part of
the world because you have O ye who believe! Be steadfast
accepted the Imam of this age in in the cause of Allah, bearing
accord with the prophecies of the witness in equity; and let not a
Holy Prophet of Islam (sa). You people’s enmity incite you to
carry the additional respon- act otherwise than with
sibility to create an environment justice. Be always just, that is
of peace in your country and also nearer to righteousness. And
continue your efforts to spread fear Allah. Surely Allah is
peace in the world. Some Western aware of what you do.
powers, who enslaved some parts (Ch.5: V.9)
of Asia and Africa in the past, are
wrong to claim that they shall See, what a beautiful teaching.
again create peace. They will do Allah commands you to establish
what they have done before and equity. Do this because this is
that is enslave the nations. piety. When you dispense justice
like this, you will be nearer to
If there is going to be peace in this righteousness. You will be righ-
world, it will come through you teous and you will be the ones
and through the beautiful who fear Allah. Always beware in
teachings of Islam for which you case the voice within you removes
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the fear of Allah from you and language and our opinions differ,
never let it happen that the voice and therefore we cannot get
of your self prompts you that as together. Or that he mistreated our
someone is your enemy, it is right elders, therefore, he cannot be
to do injustice to him. Allah says, forgiven and that if I get hold of
never do that because when you him, I will take my revenge. Allah
do injustice to your enemies it says that you should never
means that you have no fear of harbour malice or grudge but that
Allah in your heart, because Allah you should have courage and
is telling you clearly that never patience. And as I have said
think that little injustice to your before, you should never be
enemies will make no difference. unjust to your enemy because you
Allah says that my teaching to have the faculty of compassionate
you is to act with justice and I am treatment of God’s creation.
aware of your every action. When the standard of justice has
Therefore, do not even think been set so high then it can be
otherwise. This is the beautiful safely said that you are not devoid
teaching which com-mands you of love and that you can establish
never to do injustice to your peace in the world. If you develop
enemy even. Instead, at one place, your social relationships in this
Allah says that even if your way and determine in a way that
enemy has indulged in excess, spreads peace and justice in the
you should never do the same. world, then it can be said that you
possess fear of Allah and that you
So after this teaching, there can be act on His commandments. If you
no question of doing any injustice act on Allah’s commandments,
to your countrymen. One cannot then Allah says I am aware of
even think of doing injustice to every thing and I have the
them. An Ahmadi should never knowledge of whatever you do.
think that such and such is from And I also have a divine Law that
the North and I am from the if you do not act on the teachings
South, or that his tribe is such and of justice and do not act on My
mine is different or that our social commandments, then I can
mores are different or that our apprehend you and my hold is

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very severe. After justice, it is the I personally know that the Ghanian
commandment of Allah that you people are more broad-minded and
purify your hearts and throw all courageous than others. I have
rancour and misunderstandings lived among you for sometime and
from your hearts and always I know your qualities. Some
remember that that He would nations have a characteristic that
forgive personal mistakes. If we that they are ready to kill each
have to look at the wider other over petty matters. But with
perspective in the interest of the you, it is very rare that you use any
Ahmadiyya Community, or in arms in your quarrels. When I was
worldly affairs, the interest of the here, I used to tell my friends that
country, we are enjoined to if the freedom with which you
cooperate in goodness. Therefore, carry a cutlass in this country, is
we have to serve while remaining reflected in other countries,
steadfast in truthfulness and in especially in Asian countries
goodness. where there are religious fanatics,
there would be between five and
This will only happen when after seven murders every day on every
dispensing justice, you develop street. I am trying to make you
beneficence and do acts of understand this because the contact
kindness. When you have among different countries has
developed beneficence, an become easier and travel has
environment of love and peace become more frequent, and it is
will develop and all avenues of possible that trouble makers from
progress will open before you and other countries can come and
you will develop courage and influence your habits. Therefore,
broadmindedness. So, every no Ahmadi should be impressed
Ahmadi must demonstrate this by such influences. You should
courage and broadmindedness always remember that the duty of
and he should continue to treat all an Ahmadi is to remember and
whether known to him or worship Allah, to fulfil our
strangers with kindness. obligation to other fellow human
beings, serve humanity and create

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peace in the world. Our personal have a goal in their sight. And
enmities or difficulties should not Allah says that those who worship
come in our way. Then, you must Allah should have one goal and
remember that you should not rest that is to excel in goodness.
after whatever good deeds you
have performed but that you have What is goodness or right-
to continue to excel in your efforts. eousness? As I have said before,
As Allah the Almighty says: righteousness is that you follow
the commandments of Allah, He
Everyone has a goal to which has enjoined you to worship.
he turns his whole attention. Therefore worship in the true sense
Then vie with one another in and that is say your prayers five
good work. Wherever you be, times a day. Not only that but try to
Allah will bring you say your prayers five times a day
altogether. Surely Allah has in congregation. Fasting is
the power to do all that He enjoined on you, therefore, fast.
wills. You have been commanded to
(Surah Al-Baqarah spend in the way of Allah,
Ch.2:V.149) therefore make financial sacrifices.
Perform good deeds and stay away
Therefore, Allah explains that from undesirable things. Get into
everyone has a goal that he tries to the habit of working hard.
achieve. Because if you have no
goal, you have no purpose in life If you can go from here and work
and such people never progress. on twelve-hour shifts in Europe or
They are like intoxicated persons America, then why can you not
who get drunk and lie in one place work so hard in your own
or if they manage to walk they take country? If today, all people
a few steps and then fall down. begin to work hard, the pace of
You can often observe such scenes. progress of this country would
People get drunk on liquor. increase many folds. So, you who
Therefore, Allah says that those are Ahmadi Muslims and to
who want to progress in the world, whom the true light of the

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Utilise fully the faculties with

which Allah has endowed you. So,
this would be a good deed because
the love of one’s country requires
that every Ahmadi should do
whatever he or she can for his or
her country. The love of one’s
country is also an integral part of
faith. Therefore, every Ahmadi
Hadrat Mirza Masroor with the should work selflessly for his
country’s President at the Ghana country. He should march forward
Jalsa Salana.
with this thought in mind. Then
teachings of Islam has reached, see that you shall be blessed with
work with this philosophy in mind both spiritual and material
yourself and draw the attention of progress as well, God willing. And
others to this objective that we just as today, the scientists of
must excel in every work. We America and Europe, experts in
have to free ourselves intel- political economy, agriculture and
lectually and socially in every specialists in other fields tell us
way. We have to take our worship ever new things after their
to new heights. In worldly affairs research, if your spirit of resolve
we have to get ahead of Europe remains steadfast, and the fear of
and America. The people of Allah remains in your hearts, then
Europe and Africa are not super you most surely will present ever
human beings that they have new inventions before the world
progressed. They have worked and be its guide.
hard to attain their objectives.
They are always pressed into Hadrat Musleh Maud states:
inventing new things.
‘The thing most important to
So, it is your duty that for the be found in any progressive
betterment of your nation, you people is that whenever any
should pray to Allah for His thing good comes before
assistance and increase your effort. them, they should have an
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interest in their hearts to is bad and to have a burning

acquire that object. In other desire for everything that is good.
words, a people blessed with When each one of us is inclined
the twin qualities of patience towards thinking in this manner,
and extreme interest or strong the people would automatically be
desire can most surely become drawn towards you. An Ahmadi
dominant in the world. These would have a rank in society. If
qualities are the keys to having accepted the Imam of the
progress. Why does a senior age, there is no change within
doctor, engineer or scientist you, then there is no point in
become famous? It is because being an Ahmadi by name alone. I
the doctor had an interest in know that you have many talents
his medical skills or the and Allah has blessed you with
engineer had a burning desire many faculties but we have to
in his engineering feats and apply them to the fullest extent.
that scientist was immersed in How can I think about those who
devising ways for the political have been blessed with the eyes to
progress of his country…. So behold the light as a result of
these qualities are most which they have been able to
essential for progress, firstly, recognise the Imam of the age,
that whenever one is stopped that they lack their own faculties?
from something bad, he stops You most certainly have these
and, secondly, he should have abilities in you and I can see them.
a strong desire in his heart to We have to nurture and flourish
obtain those things that are and make them manifest with
practical and beneficial.’ sincere effort. May Allah enable
(Tafseer Kabir, Vol.7: pp.103- you to do that.
The Promised Messiah(as) states:
Therefore every Ahmadi’s think-
ing should be in accordance with ‘Progress in good deeds and
the principle I have just men- righteousness. These are the
tioned to remain completely away paths to God’s grace and
completely from everything that blessings. I know fully what

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our Jama’at and we are. signs of nearness to Allah in this

Allah’s support and His help Jalsa and may you attain His
will accompany us in this pleasure. May you all be the
same condition, if we tread on beneficiaries of the supplications
the straight path and follow of the Promised Messiah(as) for
completely and sincerely the those who participate in the Jalsa.
Holy Prophet(sa) and make the May Allah make this Jalsa a
Holy Qur’an our way of life success in every way and bless it
and can prove this with our and when you return home, you
actions and practice and not by return with a new spirit.
words alone. If we adopt this
method, then remember most Because of the presence of ladies
surely that even if the whole here, I want to say a few words as
world stands united and wants a matter of guidance for Lajna.
to annihilate you, it can never Ladies have an important role to
annihilate you because God is play in a society. A woman’s
with you.’ fundamental role starts from
(Malfoozat Vol.7: p.179) home where she acts as a wife or
a mother perhaps at the moment
May Allah enable all of us to act or may be in the future. The
in accordance with this pure Promised Messiah(as) has drawn
teaching. May each one of us be our attention to follow the path of
a sincere and true servant of Allah taqwa or righteousness. If
and is able to discharge his understanding this, the ladies
obligations to Allah and to Allah’s adopt the fear of God and tread on
creation. And he does not stop on the path of righteousness, they
those good deeds on which he is would be able to bring about a
stationed, but everyday sees him great revolution. A woman is a
on a fresh dawn of advancement. guardian of her husband’s home
May you partake in all the and, when he is not there, she is
blessings in the purpose for which responsible for the house as well
you have come to participate in as for the training of her children.
this Jalsa. May you see special It is our faith that prayer and

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submission to Allah is our men to be offended or for the

fundamental weapon to achieve a ladies to be afraid.
high standard in anything we do.
If Ahmadi ladies can understand As far as I have observed here, the
this point, they can be sure that women get busy with their daily
they have safeguarded the future routine early in the morning. I am
generations. To do that, they will sure that they get up before the
firstly have to set their own men. The women work very hard
example. In order to set a good and diligently and go to the shops
example, it is important that you early in the morning to buy food
observe the five daily prayers, and and then make the meal to feed
then pay attention that the their husbands and children. In
children also observe their prayers order to prepare some food, for
regularly. Once the children are instance Banku or Kenkey, she
seven years of age, you will have prepares it for many days. In
to remind them to observe their order to prepare Fufu, she beats it
prayers; and with love and over and over again to finally
affection, you will have to pound it to an edible powder. So
persuade your husbands to pray you must use the same hard work
with regularity. You will have to and effort that you used to provide
wake all of them up for the them with edible food, to provide
morning prayers. them with their spiritual diet.

Some men may get offended and This is a great responsibility for
ask who are you to wake them up you, because if you do not think
for prayers. But you must do this of it in this way, your children will
because it is a commandment not grow up as useful citizens for
from your Allah and His the nation. Hadrat Khalifatul
Messenger that if the husband Masih II(ra) said that nations
gets up first, he should wake up cannot reform without the
his wife or if the wife gets up first, reformation of their youth.
she should wake up her husband. Remember, that the reformation
Therefore, there is no reason for of the young can only take place

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on the basis of the good deeds of Therefore, O Ahmadi women,

their mothers. You have to you must realise your high station
improve the spiritual standards of in life; and by saving the next
the Jama’at, uproot the social ills generations from the ills of the
from the Jama’at and the country society, give them high moral
and strengthen yourselves and training and thus become a
your country economically. guarantor for the survival of your
Therefore, bowing down before future generation and also your
Allah, and, seeking the assistance nation. Allah the Almighty never
of Allah the Almighty, you should allows those who follow the
pay a great deal of attention commandments of Allah to go to
towards the education of your waste. May Allah enable you to
future generation. realise your status and may you be
the instruments of saving the next
If you can make yourselves generation! Amin.
capable of educating your
families in such a manner that Finally, I wish to thank also the
they become hard-working and guests who have taken their
they always submit before Allah, precious time to attend this
then no power on earth can cause Annual Convention and have
you any harm. You have a very provided testimony of their love
high station. Not for nothing has and brotherly affection. May
the Messenger of Allah(sa) said Allah also reward them with His
that Paradise lies under the feet of grace.
the mother. It is your excellent
training that will make the
children obedient servants of
Allah, possess high moral
standards, become extremely
hard-working so that the world is
transformed into a heaven on
earth and such people become
heirs to the everlasting paradise.

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The Essence of Islam – Part III
This is the third of a series to be printed over the next few months in The Review of
Religions. It sets out, in the words of the Promised Messiah(as) Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam
Ahmad, a summary of his exposition of four outstanding topics: ISLAM; ALLAH, THE
compilation, in Urdu, from which these extracts have been translated into English, was
collated with great care and diligence by Syed Daud Ahmad, may Allah have mercy on him
and may He reward him graciously for his great labour of love. Amin. The English
rendering is by the late Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, Allah be pleased with him and quoted
from The Essence of Islam. All references throughout, unless otherwise specifically
mentioned, are from the Holy Qur’an.

Islam, the True and Living

Faith (continued...)
The reality of Islam is to present
one’s neck to God like the
sacrificial lamb; to give up one's
own designs and to be devoted to
the designs of God and His
pleasure; to lose oneself in God
and to impose a type of death
upon oneself; to be dyed in the
personal love of God and to obey
Him entirely for the sake of that
The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim love; to obtain eyes that see only
Community was Hadrat Mirza through Him, and to obtain ears
Ghulam Ahmad(as).
that hear only through Him, and
In 1891, he claimed, on the basis of
Divine revelation, that he was the to develop a heart that should be
Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose wholly devoted to Him, and to
advent had been foretold by Muhammad, obtain a tongue which would
the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and
blessings of Allah be upon him) and by speak only at His command. This
the scriptures of other faiths. is a stage where all search ends;
His claim constitutes the basis of the human faculties complete their
beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim functions and man’s ego dies
completely. Thereupon Divine

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The Essence of Islam – Part III

mercy confers a new life upon fear not nor grieve and rejoice in
the seeker through His living the Paradise which you were
words and His shining light. He promised (Ch.41:V.31). This
is honoured with the delightful means that angels descend upon
converse of God and a fine light, those who affirm that their God
which is not discoverable by is One who possesses all perfect
reason and is not recognisable by attributes and Who has no
the eyes, approaches close to his associate in His Being or His
heart; as is said by God: We are attributes; and after their
closer to him than his jugular affirmation, they are steadfast and
vein (Ch.50:V.17). In this man- no earthquake and calamity and
ner, God honours mortal man no confrontation of death can
with His nearness. Then the time shake their faith. God speaks to
comes when blindness is them and reassures them not to be
removed and eyes are given afraid of calamities or of enemies
insight and man beholds God and not to be sorrowful over past
with his new eyes and hears His misfortunes. He reassures them
voice and finds himself wrapped that He is with them and that He
in the mantle of His light. Thus, has bestowed upon them in this
the purpose of religion is fulfilled very world the paradise that was
and having beheld God, man promised to them in which they
casts aside the dirty garment of should rejoice. This is a promise
his lower life and puts on a which has now been fulfilled.
garment of light and waits for a There is testimony to the effect
sight of God and of heaven, not that thousands of humble ones in
merely as a promise to be Islam have tasted of the spiritual
fulfilled in the hereafter, but in paradise which is promised in this
this very life he achieves the verse. The true followers of Islam
bounties of sight and converse have been made heirs by
and heaven. As God has stated: Almighty God to all the previous
Upon those who affirm, ‘Allah is righteous ones, and bounties that
our Lord,’ and are then steadfast, were bestowed upon them have
angels descend reassuring them, been bestowed upon the Muslims

16 The Review of Religions – June 2004

The Essence of Islam – Part III

[Lecture Lahore, (Lahore, Rifahi to him. It should be proved that

Aam Steam Press, 1904); Now his sincerity has reached a stage
published in Ruhani Khazain in which whatever is his does not
(London, 1984), Vol. 20, pp.14- belong to him but to God
15]. Almighty, and that all his limbs
and faculties have become so
A person can be held to be a devoted to the service of God as
Muslim when the whole of his if they had become the limbs of
being together with all his the Divine.
faculties, physical and spiritual,
is devoted to God Almighty, and Reflection on these verses shows
the trusts that are committed to clearly that devoting one's life to
him by God Almighty are the cause of God Almighty,
rendered back to the True Giver. which is the essence of Islam, has
He should demonstrate his being two aspects. First, that God
a Muslim not only doctrinally but Almighty should become the
also in practice. In other words, a object of worship and the true
person claiming to be a Muslim goal and beloved, and that no one
should prove that his hands and should be associated in His
feet and heart and mind, his worship, in His love, and in His
reason and his understanding, his hope. All the commandments
anger and his compassion, his related to His holiness and glory
meekness and his knowledge, all and worship, and all the limits set
his physical and spiritual by Him, and all heavenly decrees
faculties, and his honour and his should be totally and sincerely
property, his comfort and his accepted. All these command-
delight and whatever pertains to ments and limits and laws and
him from the top of his head to decrees should be accepted in
the soles of his feet, together with great humility, and all the truths
his motives, his fears, his and understandings, which are
passions, have all been sub- the means of appreciating His
ordinated to Almighty God as a vast powers and of finding out
person's limbs are subordinated the greatness of His kingdom and

The Review of Religions – June 2004 17

The Essence of Islam – Part III

His sovereignty and are a guide characterised by his carrying out

for the recognition of His favours all his obligations to Allah and
and bounties, should be fully which should comprise nothing
ascertained. except obedience to the Creator
and sympathy for His creatures.
The second aspect of devoting
one's life to the cause of God Obedience to the Creator means
Almighty is that one's life should that to make manifest His
be devoted to the service of His Honour and Glory and Unity one
creatures and to sympathy with should be ready to endure every
them and to sharing their burdens dishonour and humiliation, and
and sorrows. One should suffer one should be eager to undergo a
pain to bring them comfort, and thousand deaths in order to
one should experience grief to uphold His Unity. One hand
bring them consolation. should be ready to cut off the
other with pleasure in obedience
This shows that the reality of to Him, and the love of the
Islam is a very superior thing and grandeur of His commandments
that no one can truly deserve the and the thirst for seeking His
title of Muslim till he surrenders pleasure should make sin so
the whole of his being to God, hateful as if it were a consuming
together with all his faculties and fire, or a fatal poison, or an
desires and designs, and till he obliterating lightning, from
begins to tread along this path which one must run away with
withdrawing altogether from his all one's power. For seeking His
ego and all its attendant qualities. pleasure one must surrender all
A person will be truly called a the desires of one’s ego; and to
Muslim only when his heedless establish a relationship with Him
life undergoes a total revolution one should be ready to endure all
and his evil-directing self, kinds of injuries; and to prove
together with all its passions, is such relationship one must cut
wiped out altogether and he is sunder from all other
invested with a new life which is relationships.

18 The Review of Religions – June 2004

The Essence of Islam – Part III

The service of one’s fellow- commandments and doctrines

beings means to strive ‘for their which were accepted on faith and
benefit purely for the sake of as hearsay, are now experienced
God in all their needs, and in all by him as realities and certainties
the relationships of mutual through dreams, visions and
dependence which God has revelation. The mysteries of the
established out of true and faith and the law are revealed to
selfless sympathy for them. him and he is afforded a view of
Everyone in need of help should the Divine kingdom so that he
be helped out of one's God-given should arrive at the stage of
capacity and one must strive for perfect certainty and under-
their betterment both in this standing. A blessing charac-
world and in the hereafter terises his tongue and his words
[Ayenae Kamalat-e-Islam, and all his actions and his
(Qadian, Riyadh Hind Press movements. He is bestowed
1893); Now printed in Ruhani extraordinary courage and
Khazain (London, 1984), Vol.5, steadfastness and his under-
pp. 59- 62]. standing is expanded at a high
level. The narrowness of human
I would now wish to enlarge obstructions and meanness and
upon the fruits of Islam. When a miserliness, and the tendency
true seeker of God establishes towards frequent stumblings, and
himself fully on Islam and shortsightedness and proneness
everyone of his faculties begins towards passion and lowness of
to tread naturally upon the paths behaviour, and every darkness of
of God Almighty without any his ego are totally removed from
kind of artificiality, the ultimate him and he is filled with the light
result of his effort is that the of Divine attributes. Thereupon,
higher manifestations of Divine he undergoes an entire change
guidance, freed from all obstruc- and puts on the garment of a new
tions, are directed towards him. birth. He hears through God
Diverse types of blessings Almighty and sees through Him
descend upon him and the and moves with Him and stops

The Review of Religions – June 2004 19

The Essence of Islam – Part III

with Him, and his anger becomes and understanding concerning

the wrath of God Almighty and some matter. It is a Divine voice
his compassion becomes the which manifests itself in the form
compassion of God Almighty. of converse in order to create
When he arrives at that stage, his understanding and satisfaction. It
prayers are heard as a mark of his is not possible to define it any
having been chosen, and not further. It is a voice which
merely as a trial; and he becomes proceeds from God and is
the proof of God on earth and experienced in delicious words
personifies security from God. full of blessings, which is not
There is joy in heaven on his induced by any thinking or
account and the highest gift that reflection or any intrusion of self
is bestowed upon him is the word and is surcharged with a divine
of God which descends upon his manifestation and divine majesty
heart free from any doubt, like [Ayenae Kamalat-e-Islam,
the light of the moon shining (Qadian, Riyadh Hind Press
through without any mistiness. It 1893); Now printed in Ruhani
carries an effective sense of Khazain (London, 1984), Vol.5,
delight with it and bestows pp. 226-233].
satisfaction, such as a friend
receives from a friend. We can I believe in Islam alone as a true
only define it by saying that is is religion. I perceive that by
a special manifestation of God believing in Islam fountains of
the Glorious which is conveyed light are coursing through me.
through a favourite angel. Its Through the love of the Holy
purpose is to give intimation of Prophet, peace and blessings of
acceptance of prayer, or to Allah be on him, I have arrived at
communicate a new or secret that high stage of converse with
matter, or to make aware of the Divine and of acceptance of
something that is to happen in the prayer which can only be
future, or to warn of God's achieved by a follower of the true
pleasure, or lack of it, concerning Prophet and by no other. If the
any matter, or to create certainty Hindus and the Christians and

20 The Review of Religions – June 2004

The Essence of Islam – Part III

others were to supplicate their and thousands of Divine mercies

false gods, even unto death, they be bestowed upon his com-
could not achieve that stage. I panions who irrigated this garden
hear the words of God which the with their blood.
others believe in only as a theory.
I have been shown and have been Islam is such a blessed and God-
told and I have been made to indicating religion that if a
understand that Islam alone is the person follows it truly and acts
true faith in the world, and it has upon the teachings and guidance
been disclosed to me that I have and admonition that are
received all this through the contained in the Holy Word of
blessing of following the God Almighty, the Holy Qur’an,
Khatamul Anbiya (Seal of all the he would see God in this very
Prophets), peace and blessings of life. For the recognition of God
Allah be on him, and that the Who is hidden from the sight of
equal of it cannot be achieved in the world behind a thousand
any other religion. [Ayenae screens, there is no other means
Kamalat-e-Islam, (Qadian, except the teachings of the
Riyadh Hind Press 1893); Now Qur’an. The Holy Qur’an guides
printed in Ruhani Khazain towards God Almighty through
(London, 1984), Vol.5, pp. 275- reason and heavenly signs in a
276]. very easy manner. It com-
prehends a blessing and a
A thousand thanks are due to magnetic power which draws a
Almighty God Who has seeker of God every moment
bestowed upon us a religion towards God and bestows light
which is such a means of and comfort and satisfaction. A
attaining to the knowledge of true believer in the Holy Qur’an
God and to the fear of God as has does not merely contemplate like
had no equal in any age. the philosophers that there ought
Thousands of blessings be upon to be a Creator of this wonderful
the immaculate Prophet through universe; he acquires a personal
whom we have entered this faith insight and being honoured with

The Review of Religions – June 2004 21

The Essence of Islam – Part III

a holy vision he sees with the eye of the God Who is presented by
of certainty that that Creator in the Holy Qur’an. The God of
fact exists. He who is bestowed Islam is the same true God who
the light of this Holy Word does is seen through the mirror of the
not merely guess like those who law of nature and is visible in the
rely upon reason alone that God book of nature. Islam has not
is One, without associate, but presented a new God but has
through hundreds of shining presented the same God Who is
signs which take him by the hand presented by the light of man's
and lead him out of the darkness, heart and by man's conscience
observes in fact that God has no and by heavens and earth.
associate in His Being or in His
attributes. He is able to Another quality of a true religion
demonstrate to the world that he is that it should not be a dead
believes God to be such a Unity. creed. The blessings and great-
The majesty of the Unity of God nesses which were cultivated in it
so fills his heart that in in the beginning should persist in
comparison with the Divine will, it till the end of the world, for the
he regards the whole world as no promotion of the welfare of
more than a dead insect and mankind, so that ever fresh signs
indeed as nothing at all (Braheen should confirm its past signs and
Ahmadiyyah, Part V, pp.16-17). should not permit the light of its
truth to become an old tale. I
The God of a true religion should have been writing over a long
be so much in accord with reason period that the Prophethood
and the light of nature that His which was claimed by our lord
existence should be a matter of and master Muhammad, the
proof for people who possess chosen one, peace and blessings
reason but who have no heavenly of Allah be on him, and the
book in which they believe. He heavenly proofs in the form of
should be such as does not signs which he had set forth, still
savour of coercion or artificiality. continue in Islam and are
Such perfection is characteristic bestowed upon his followers so

22 The Review of Religions – June 2004

The Essence of Islam – Part III

that they should arrive at the state world that the God of Islam is
of complete understanding and such a living God. Those with
should witness the living God whom no one can now speak are
directly. The signs which are dead and are not God. No one
attributed to Jesus(as) are mere can see their signs today. He
stories, and are nowhere to be whose God is dead would be put
seen, and therefore this religion to shame in every field and
which teaches the worship of the would be humiliated and would
dead is itself dead like its god. A not be helped in any way. My
verity cannot be confined to old purpose in making this
tales. Every people has a store of announcement is that a religion
tales setting forth alleged which is true does not change. As
miracles and wonders. It is a it was in the beginning, so it
characteristic only of Islam that it would be at the end. A true
does not present merely the religion would never become a
defective and imperfect comfort dry tale. Islam is a true religion
of tales and stories, but satisfies and I call everyone, Christians,
the seekers with living signs. A Aryas, Jews, Brahmos, to show
seeker after truth should not be them the truth of Islam. Is there
satisfied with senseless worship anyone of them who seeks the
of the dead and should not be put living God? We do not worship
off with sorry tales. We have the dead. Our God is living. He
come into the market of the helps us through His inspiration
world to purchase the best. We and revelation and through
should not waste our faith by heavenly signs. If there is a
exchanging it with false things. single Christian who is truly a
A living faith is that through seeker after truth, let him make a
which we can find the living comparison between our living
God. The living God is He Who God and his dead god. For such a
can inspire us directly, or could at trial a period of forty days would
least bring us in contact with one suffice. (Tableegh-e-Risalat,
who is directly inspired. I convey Vol.VI, pp. 13-15).
this good news to the whole

The Review of Religions – June 2004 23

The Essence of Islam – Part III

The Islam whose qualities we signs for each new world. At the
have set out is not something for beginning of each century,
proof of which we have to refer especially at the beginning of a
only to the past and to have to century which has strayed far
point only to the ruins of tombs. away from faith and integrity and
Islam is not a dead faith so that it is enveloped in many darknesses,
may be said that all its blessings He raises a substitute Prophet in
have been left behind and that the mirror of whose nature is
there is nothing ahead. The exhibited the form of a Prophet.
principal quality of Islam is that Such a one demonstrates to the
its blessings always accompany world the excellences of the
it and that it does not speak only Prophet whose follower he is and
of the past but presents present convicts all opponents through
blessings. The world is always in the truth and the display of
need of blessings and heavenly reality and the frustration of
signs. It is not as if it needed falsehood [Ayenae Kamalat-e-
them in the past and does not Islam, (Qadian, Riyadh Hind
need them now. A weak and Press 1893); Now printed in
helpless human being who is Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984),
born blind is in need that he Vol.5, pp. 245-247].
should know something of the
heavenly kingdom and that he The sign of a true religion is that
should see some signs of the through its teaching such
existence and power of God in righteous ones should continue to
Whom he believes. The signs of arise who should arrive at the
a past age cannot suffice for a stage of a Muhaddath to whom
subsequent age, for hearing is not God Almighty should speak face
the same as seeing and by the to face. The foremost sign of the
passage of time past events truth of Islam is that all through it
become like stories. Every produces such righteous ones
century starts a new world. with whom God Almighty talks
Therefore, the God of Islam, who as is said in the Holy Qur’an:
is the true God, manifests new Angels descend upon them

24 The Review of Religions – June 2004

The Essence of Islam – Part III

reassuring them, fear not, nor exceeded thousands and so many

grieve (Ch.41:V.31). This is the extraordinary happenings con-
test of a true, living and cerning them are set out in the
acceptable religion. We know books of the learned ones that
that this light is to be found only even a very bigoted opponent has
in Islam and that the Christian to admit that these people
faith is without such light manifested extraordinary signs
[Hujjatul Islam , (Amritsar, and miracles. I tell you truly that
Riyadh Hind Press); Now printed through my research, so far as it
in Ruhani Khazain (London, is possible for one to discover
1984), Vol.6, p.3]. about the past, I have come to the
conclusion that the number of
We can furnish conclusive proof heavenly signs in support of
to every seeker after truth that Islam and as a testimony of the
from the time of our lord and truth of the Holy Prophet, peace
master the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him,
and blessings of Allah be on him, which have been manifested
up to today, in every century there through the aulia of this Ummat,
have appeared men of God is not to be equalled in the
through whom God Almighty has history of other religions. Islam
guided other people by the display is the only religion which has
of heavenly signs. Of these were progressed through heavenly
Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani, Abul signs and its numberless lights
Hasan Kharqani, Abu Yazid and blessings have ever
Bistami, Junaid Baghdadi, demonstrated the existence of
Mohyuddin Ibn Arabi, Dhunnoon God Almighty as if He was
Misri, Mueenuddin Chishti visible close at hand. Be sure that
Ajmeri, Qutbuddin Bakhtiar on the score of its heavenly signs
Kaki, Fareeduddin Pakpattani, Islam has not been put to shame
Nizamuddin Dehlavi, Shah in any age. In this age of yours
Waliullah Dehlavi, and Shaikh you could if you wished be the
Ahmad Sirhindi, may Allah be witnesses of signs in support of
pleased with them. Their number Islam. Say truly whether you

The Review of Religions – June 2004 25

The Essence of Islam – Part III

have not witnessed signs in in some imposture, the answer is

support of Islam in your own as follows. According to us,
age. Is there any other religion in imposture means that a person
the world which can produce should himself fashion delib-
such testimony? This is a matter erately a few sentences, or
which has broken the back of should invent a book claiming
Christian missionaries. The signs that it has been revealed to him
of the truth of the Holy Prophet, by God Almighty whereas
peace and blessings of Allah be nothing of the kind has been
on him, whom they reject, are revealed to him. We can affirm
visible in this age like pouring on the basis of full research that
rain. For seekers the gates of such imposture has never been
heavenly signs are as open today able to flourish in any age. The
as they were in any previous age, Book of God bears clear
and for those who are hungry testimony that those who were
after truth the banquet of guilty of imposture against God
bounties is as much available Almighty were soon destroyed.
today as it was before. A living We have already stated that the
faith is as much available today same testimony is borne by the
as it was before. A living faith Torah, the Gospel, and the Holy
has always the hand of the living Qur’an. The false religions that
God at its back and such a faith is we observe in the world today
Islam [Kitabul Bariyyah, like that of the Hindus and the
(Qadian, Ziaul Islam Press Parsees, do not represent the
1898); Now printed in Ruhani dispensations of false Prophets.
Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. The truth is that their followers
13, pp. 91-92]. through their own mistakes have
fallen into accepting their current
If anyone should have a question doctrines. You cannot point to
that there are hundreds of false any book which claims clearly
religions which have flourished that it is a Divine book while in
through thousands of years, truth it might be an imposture
though they must have originated and a whole people might have

26 The Review of Religions – June 2004

The Essence of Islam – Part III

held it in honour throughout. It would God, Who is jealous of

is, however, possible that a His glory and His kingdom, not
Divine book might have been seize a false claimant [Anjam
misinterpreted. A politial gov- Atham, (Qadian, Ziaul Islam
ernment seizes jealously a person Press); Now printed in Ruhani
who falsely claims to be a Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 11,
government official. Then, why p. 63-64, footnote].

In this journal, for the ease of non-Muslim readers,

‘(sa)’ or ‘sa’ after the words, ‘Holy Prophet’, or the
name ‘Muhammad’, are used. They stand for
‘Salallahu alaihi wassalam’ meaning ‘Peace and
Blessings of Allah be upon him’. Likewise, the letters
‘(as)’ or ‘as’ after the name of all other prophets is an
abbreviation meaning ‘Peace be upon him’ derived
from ‘Alaih salato wassalam’ for the respect a
Muslim reader utters.

The abbreviation ‘ra’ or (ra) stands for

‘Radhiallahtala’ and is used for Companions of a
Prophet, meaning Allah be pleased with him or her
(when followed by the relevant Arabic pronoun).
Also ‘ru’ or (ru) for Rahemahullahu Ta’ala means the
Mercy of Allah the Exalted be upon him.

The Review of Religions – June 2004 27

Treatment of Prisoners
This is an article by Hadrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad entitled ‘Islam and Slavery’
published in The Review of Religions, May 1995. It has been reproduced owing to
the significance of this subject following the disclosure of prisoner abuse in the
recent war and indeed the high handed treatment by some in authority in other
prisons, penitentiary centres and police cells.

Slavery has been defined as the it was felt that the best and
system in which a human being easiest way of securing labour
is held to be the legal property of was to enslave the conquered
another and is bound to absolute people. Conquering nations then
obedience and submission. A began to enslave rather than slay
slave is thus a human chattel who their prisoners of war, who were
may be retained or sold or forced to do manual work both
otherwise dealt with as his for the conquering nation and its
master pleases. The system had individuals. Over time, the
its origin in war. In the beginning system became so widespread,
of human society, whenever that in some countries, the slaves
there was a war between two even outnumbered the free
tribes or nations, the combatants inhabitants, and slavery became
of the vanquished army – and an integral part of civil life 1.
very often, even the These slaves were looked upon
noncombatant male members of as the sole property of their
the vanquished nation – were put masters, who could treat them in
to the sword, while the children any way they liked, exact from
and women were taken into them any work they pleased,
slavery and made to do all sorts inflict on them any punishment
of work for their masters. they desired, and sell them to
others whenever they chose to do
Gradually, however, as civil life so.
and industries developed and
there was a greater demand in the Eventually the system became so
world for servants and labourers, extended that even the children
28 The Review of Religions – June 2004
Treatment of Prisoners

of the slaves were treated as the than in Arabia. They were treated
property of their masters, and with the utmost cruelty and
thus a permanent system of heartlessness.
slavery was established. When
people found this system to be so When the Holy Founder of
lucrative, they no longer Islam(sa) began his preaching
confined themselves to the roughly in 611 A.D., his
enslavement of only the teachings included the injunction
prisoners of war, but devised that slaves should be treated with
other cruel ways of enslaving leniency and kindness, and his
free men. For instance, they earliest revelations declared the
made unprovoked raids on emancipation of slaves as an act
weaker tribes, and reduced their of great virtue. In one of its
men and women to a condition of earliest Surahs, the Qur’an refers
bondage. In certain countries to this subject in the following
even civil debtors became liable words:
to be converted into slaves.
‘Have We not created for
At the advent of Islam, nearly man two eyes, and a tongue
1400 years ago, the practice and two lips, and have We
prevailed more or less in all not shown him the two
countries. Hundreds of thousands ascending paths of nobility?
of slaves were leading lives of But he did not follow the
extreme misery and pain in path of ‘Aqabah. And what
Rome, Greece, Egypt, Persia and should make thee know what
other countries. Their lot was the ‘Aqabah is? It is the
hardly better than that of dumb setting free of a slave, or the
driven cattle. In Arabia, too, feeding in a day of hunger
there were thousands of slaves in an orphan who is near of kin
those days, and they formed an or a poor man lying in the
essential part of the wealth of the dust.’
rich. Perhaps nowhere in the (Ch.90: Vs.9-17)
world were they more despised

The Review of Religions – June 2004 29

Treatment of Prisoners

The simplicity and excellence of emancipation of slaves also

the teachings of Islam, combined gained in force day by day, and
with this special injunction about the Muslims, under the influence
slaves, made a deep impression of the teachings of the Qur’an,
upon the slaves of Arabia who and stimulated by the example of
began to look upon the Holy the Prophet (sa), vied with one
Prophet’s(sa) call as the call of a another in taking an active part in
deliverer. It was for this reason this movement. Muslim history
that notwithstanding the teems with instances of slaves set
atrocities that were inflicted upon free by their Muslim masters.
them by their infidel masters on
account of their acceptance of But the question is whether the
Islam, the new religion spread work of the Holy Prophet(sa) with
very rapidly among the slave regard to slaves was confined
population. The proportion of only to the improvement of their
slaves was indeed extraordinarily position and gradual eman-
large among the early converts. cipation, or whether he took
effective steps to put an end to
It appears from history that even the cruel inhuman ways of
in the very beginning of Islam, reducing free men to slavery. It is
slaves were not treated with true that even if it be supposed
contempt in Muslim society. As that his work did not go beyond
time advanced and further Divine the limit stated above, he can not
commandments were revealed fail to be regarded as one of the
concerning the slaves, their great benefactors of humanity for
position became stronger and having rendered conspicuous
their condition better, till at last service in the amelioration of the
there ceased to be any distinction condition of slaves, and inau-
between the slaves and their gurating a movement for their
masters except that the former emancipation. But his real work
were administratively subor- went very much farther, for, he
dinate to the latter. Along with not only ameliorated the
this, the movement for the condition of the slaves, but took

30 The Review of Religions – June 2004

Treatment of Prisoners

effective measures to abolish however, other ways were

slavery altogether. His teachings invented, owing to which
about slaves thus fall under two slavery, which was originally an
heads: inevitable outcome of the early
conditions of the world, assumed
1. Teachings for the betterment a heinous aspect, and instead of
of the condition of the serving as a means for preventing
existing slaves and measures tyranny for which it was
for their gradual eman- originally meant, it became a
cipation. dreadful instrument of
2. Steps for the permanent
abolition of slavery. Originally the institution of
slavery consisted of one nation
We propose to deal in these who made an unprovoked attack
pages with the teachings of the upon another, and tried to blot
Holy Prophet(sa) under each of them out from the face of the
these two heads. earth or reduce them to
subjection by unjustly depriving
The prisoners of war them of their liberty; the latter, in
If there is any teaching of Islam case of their triumph over the
which may be represented as aggressive party, took their men
sanctioning slavery, it is its as captives and detained them as
teachings with regard to the prisoners of war. This course was
prisoners of war. But, as it will necessary, for, if it had not been
presently appear, war prisoners adopted, international wars
were not actually treated in Islam would never have come to an
as slaves. In this connection, it end, nor would the aggressors
should be mentioned at the very ever have desisted from com-
outset that, as borne out by mitting excesses upon public
history, it was in the prisoners of peace, and tyranny and oppres-
war that the institution of slavery sion would have become
had its origin. Subsequently, rampant. Religious communities

The Review of Religions – June 2004 31

Treatment of Prisoners

in particular needed this kind of are a sad remnant of the system

protection since they were of slavery that was in vogue in
always bitterly persecuted by the ancient India.
disbelievers amongst them who
wanted to exterminate them by In short, in the early days of the
sword. This form of slavery was, world slavery was found more or
therefore, found more or less in less in all countries and was a
all the nations of the earth. necessary consequence of the
state of things then prevailing
The system was in vogue even and was primarily meant as a
among the Israelites who were check to tyranny and oppression.
the descendants from the chosen It was, as stated, more urgently
Prophets of God and who, as a and more truly needed by
nation, had been brought up religious communities, who were
under the care and guidance of a subjected to atrocities more than
long chain of Divine any other people, and to extirpate
Messengers. They practised it in those religions, men rose up in
compliance with an injunction of arms against them.
their own law (Deut. 20:13-14)
and it continued to be practised This form of enslavement (which
even among the early Christians was further softened and purified
who were in fact an offshoot of by Islam so much so that it was
the Israelite people 3. It also practically reduced to mere tem-
continued in the Christian porary imprisonment) involved
countries of the west right up to no injustice, for those who
the eighteenth or even the desired to destroy the religion of
nineteenth century. others by sword, who were
blood-thirsty tyrants, who sowed
Similarly, slavery was practised the seed of anarchy, murder and
by the ancient Aryan people as plunder in the country by
well4. In fact the Sudras and the resorting to methods subversive
other untouchables who are still of public peace, forfeited all
to be found in India in millions rights to freedom, just as a thief

32 The Review of Religions – June 2004

Treatment of Prisoners

or a thug or a dacoit forfeits his suffering women causing in

right to remain outside a prison. certain cases a miscarriage. They
The Holy Prophet (sa) and his killed the chaste wives of the
companions had to encounter Muslims by piercing them with
such outrage more than any other spears in the most horrible and
people. shameless manner (Zurqani, Vol.
I, p.266).
The idolaters of Arabia subjected
the Muslims to the most If, under circumstances like
tyrannical persecution. They these, the tyrants who committed
drew out their swords against the such savageries had been
Muslims with the avowed deprived of their liberty and
intention of exterminating their reduced to a state of bondage,
religion by force. They sought that would have been by no
and conspired to dye their unholy means unjust. But such was the
hands with the sacred blood of kindness of the Holy Prophet(sa)
the Muslims’ master. They that even the perpetrators of
detained innocent and free these heinous crimes were
Muslims with them as prisoners. pardoned by him, and those of
They captured defenceless and them who were taken captives in
innocent Muslims by the vilest the war had only a temporary
treachery, made them their restraint put on their liberty. Even
slaves, and murdered some of during that temporary detention,
them in the most savage manner. the Holy Prophet(sa) gave such
They conspired to enslave their directions for their comfort and
women and made war upon them convenience that under their
with that object in view. They influence, his Companions took
mutilated the bodies of Muslim off their own shirts, and gave
martyrs, and having cut off their them to the prisoners to wear
noses and ears, strung them (Bukhari) – the very prisoners
together and garlanded them- who had been thirsty for their
selves therewith. They made blood. They ate dry dates while
brutal attacks on their sick and giving cooked food to the

The Review of Religions – June 2004 33

Treatment of Prisoners

prisoners (Tabari & Ibn Hisham). commendable with a view to

They walked on foot giving their the end, and is calculated to
camels to the prisoners to ride on lead to evil results morally,
(Qur’an, Ch.8:V.68). Do we find God orders you to refrain
a parallel to this in the history of from it); and if you are
any nation or any country? afraid of the numbers and
power of the enemy, then
The gist of Islamic teachings remember that Allah is
with regard to the prisoners of Powerful over all and He is
war is contained in three verses also Wise.’ (Ch.8:V.68)
of the Qur’an, two of which deal
particularly with the prisoners of This verse teaches that the
war, while the third enunciates a Muslims should not, out of
general principle also applicable consideration for their own
to war prisoners. weakness or the power of the
enemy or out of a desire to
The first verse runs as follows: strengthen their financial posi-
tion by means of ransom money,
‘It does not behove a be careless or unduly hasty in the
prophet that prisoners of matter of taking captives so that
war should be captured for they may take prisoners of the
him, until there has actually enemy wherever they may find
been fought between him them weak, or that they may take
and the enemy a pitched captives at the battlefield before
battle. You have in view the the armies actually engage in
advantages that are near at battle. The Muslims are per-
hand (i.e., you hasten to take mitted to take prisoners only
captives so that with the help when they have met the enemy in
of the ransom money you a pitched battle. This teaching of
may become prepared to Islam, which rests on a far
meet the enemy), but Allah sounder foundation than any
desires for you the Hereafter other International Code of War,
(and as this course is not reduces the extent and number of

34 The Review of Religions – June 2004

Treatment of Prisoners

the prisoners of war to the may be followed under different

narrowest possible range, which circumstances in dealing with
clearly indicates that Islam is war prisoners. These courses are:
loath to taking prisoners of war
except in the most unavoidable Firstly, to release the prisoners
circumstances. The second verse without taking any ransom
of the Qur’an says: money.

When you meet the Secondly, to release them for a

disbelievers in battle, fight reasonable ransom. The practice
steadfastly and slay the of the Holy Prophet(sa) shows that
aggressors: and when the there can be three forms of
battle has been well fought ransom: (a) Payment of ransom in
take captives from among cash either immediately or under
the enemy. After that you the system of Mukatabat already
should either set them at described, the alternatives being
liberty without taking any at the option of the prisoner, (b)
ransom (if circumstances are Exchange with Muslim prisoners,
favourable and you hope (c) Exacting of some suitable
matters will mend thereby) service from the prisoners; for
or you should release them instance, if the prisoners know
for a reasonable ransom, or some art or profession, it might
(if it be unavoidable) you be stipulated with them that if
may retain them as prisoners they taught that art or profession
until the war is over and you to a certain number of Muslims,
are relieved of its burdens. they might be set at liberty in
(Ch.47:V.5) return for that service.

This verse forms, as it were, the Thirdly, to prolong the period of

foundation-stone of the Islamic imprisonment till the termination
teachings with regard to the of the war. By the termination of
prisoners of war. It describes the war is meant its complete
three different courses which termination when not only

The Review of Religions – June 2004 35

Treatment of Prisoners

military operations practically punish the oppressors or

cease, but also the burdens which take some strong measure
the war might have laid on the against him by way of
nation and for which the enemy is retribution, then take care
held responsible are removed. that the action you take
This last alternative has been against him does not exceed
proposed as a provision for cases the evil that has been done
when on the one hand it is not to you, and that you resort
advisable to release the prisoners not to any measure which
without ransom, and on the other the enemy has not been the
they or their friends and relatives first to resort to. If, however,
do not come forward, for some it be possible for you to
reason or other, to pay ransom. In exercise patience, then have
such cases, the prisoners may be patience, for patience is
detained till the termination of better.’
war, so that their release may not (Ch.16:V.127)
add to the troubles of the
Muslims. It is this form of Under this principle, the
imprisonment that has some- alternative course with regard to
times been termed ‘slavery’ and prisoners i.e., that which pertains
which has been permitted by to the prolongation of impris-
Islam, but even a cursory study of onment, may take different
the true situation will show, that, forms. For instance, if the enemy
truly speaking it is not slavery at exacts some service from
all. It is merely a form of Muslim prisoners, the Muslims
imprisonment which is further can also exact suitable service
restricted and qualified by a from the prisoners taken from the
fundamental law enunciated in enemy but this service shall be
the verse given below. The third subject to the general conditions
verse of the Qur’an runs as governing the exacting of service
follows: from slaves. Thus the prisoners
of war shall not be called upon to
‘If you think it necessary to perform a work which is more

36 The Review of Religions – June 2004

Treatment of Prisoners

than they can bear, nor shall they of war slaves if you please; but are
be required to do a work which they slaves in fact? Do not
their captors are not themselves modern govern-ments take
willing to do. Similarly, if prisoners of war? Do not modern
instead of keeping Muslim governments exact work from
prisoners in state prisons, the them? Do not modern govern-
belligerent nation distributes ments lengthen the period of their
them among its individuals, the imprisonment, in case the war is
Muslims shall also have a right to prolonged? If all this is done by
place their prisoners in the every nation and if the
custody of individuals, and so on. international law of all ages has
But whatever form is adopted, it sanctioned that practice, why
is essential that it should not be at blame Islam and its Holy
variance with any basic injunc- Founder(sa) for it? Nay, far from
tion of Islam. For instance, the being blamed, Islam deserves the
term of imprisonment must in all unique credit for conferring a
cases terminate with the lasting boon on humanity by
termination of war. Similarly, no emphasising the element of
prisoner shall be put to death leniency and kindness in the code
merely because he is a member of war and has thus paved the way
of the enemy force nor shall any for international peace and amity.
prisoner be called upon to
perform a work which exceeds The distribution of war
his capacity and power, nor shall prisoners among the soldiers
his convenience and comfort be We now come to the question
neglected, and so on. relating to the placing of war
prisoners in the custody of
Such are the teachings which individuals. It is true that in the
Islam gives with regard to the beginning the prisoners were
prisoners of war. Now, let the distributed among the Muslim
reader judge for himself whether soldiers, and in fact, it is this
there is any trace of slavery in circumstance alone which has
these teachings. Call the prisoners been taken to give this practice

The Review of Religions – June 2004 37

Treatment of Prisoners

the colour of slavery. But when the way in which the Muslim
we carefully consider the prisoners were enslaved by the
circumstances under which the infidels. Moreover, Islam laid it
above course was adopted, we down as a condition that all the
find that there is absolutely war prisoners must necessarily
nothing objectionable about it be set at liberty as soon as the
nor can the word ‘slavery’ be war was over.
applied to it in the sense in which
it is generally understood. Another reason why the
prisoners of war were placed in
We must first of all bear in mind the custody of individuals was
that the practice in question did that in those days there were no
not form an essential part of the state prisons, and the prisoners
Islamic teachings. As a matter of were necessarily distributed
fact it finds no mention in the among, and placed in the charge
special instructions which have of, the individual members of the
been given in the Qur’an with victorious nation. This practice
regard to the prisoners of war naturally remained in vogue
(Ch.8:V.67; Ch.47:V.4). It was among the Muslims as well.
only a retributive measure which
was taken recourse to as an From the above it is clear that in
answer to the extremely reality this practice was not
aggressive conduct of the enemy slavery but merely an arrange-
who made slaves of Muslim ment for the protection and
prisoners and distributed them maintenance of the prisoners of
among the individuals. It was war – a system which was
therefore, only to bring the gradually changed, and was
enemy to his senses, that the finally replaced by that of State
Muslims also resorted to the prisons.
method of placing the prisoners
of war in the custody of It must also be remembered that
individuals; but Islam never so far as an Islamic government
permitted their enslavement in was concerned, this system by no

38 The Review of Religions – June 2004

Treatment of Prisoners





means caused any unavoidable treated with such kindness that

hardship on the prisoners. On the they could not but pay the
contrary it was in many ways Muslims warm tributes of praise,
even more convenient and and some of them were so deeply
comfortable than the system of touched by the kind treatment that
the present-day State prisons. they willingly joined the fold of
Thanks to the emphatic injunc- Islam6. In short, even this so-
tions of the Holy Prophet(sa) and called ‘slavery’ which Islam
the watchful supervision of the permitted offered such a spectacle
Muslim State, the prisoners of of kindness and benevolent
war lived, not as servants or treatment, that even the blessings
labourers, but as members of the of the so-called liberty and
families to which they were freedom of the present day fade
attached and were practically into insignificance when com-
treated like guests. For instance, it pared with it.
is on record that the prisoners
taken at Badr, who were amongst Yet, as the system practised was
the worst enemies of Islam, were merely a retributive step, it must

The Review of Religions – June 2004 39

Treatment of Prisoners

be regarded only as a special prisoners, for, the Holy

measure meant to meet the Qur’an says that the
conditions then existing. In the punishment inflicted on the
present times, therefore, when enemy should be propor-
those conditions have ceased to tionate to the wrong the
exist, and the old system has enemy has been the first to
been replaced by that of State inflict on the Muslims. Hence,
prisons, the permission for the now when the conditions have
retributive measure no longer changed and the people
holds good. The law of Islam hostile to the Muslims no
does not permit that the prisoners longer go to the extent of
of war should, even under the making slaves of Muslim men
altered conditions of the present and women in times of war,
age, be distributed among but treat them as state
Muslim individuals, thus prisoners, it would be
bringing into existence a state of unlawful for the Muslims to
things analogous to slavery. In make slaves of the prisoners
connection with this, the Holy of war taken from a
Founder of the Ahmadiyya belligerent army.
Movement, who claimed to be a (Chashma-iMa’refat, pp.244-
messenger of God raised for the 45)
regeneration of mankind and
who was the greatest authority on To sum up, there are two
Islam in these days, says: fundamental teachings of Islam
concerning the prisoners of war:
It is a matter for gratification Firstly, that so far as possible,
that in the present times non- there should be no haste in taking
Muslim nations have captives, and prisoners should be
abandoned the aggressive taken only as a last resort when a
practice of making slaves of battle has been actually fought.
Muslim captives, therefore, Secondly, that after the prisoners
now the Muslims are also not have been taken, they should be
allowed to enslave their dealt with in one of three ways,

40 The Review of Religions – June 2004

Treatment of Prisoners

as the circumstances demand. them as State prisoners, it would

They should either be set at be unlawful for the Muslims as
liberty as an act of favour well to distribute their prisoners
without taking any ransom – and among individuals.
that is the most commendable
course – or they should be Can prisoners of war be put to
released in return for a death?
reasonable ransom, or, if We have already pointed out that
necessary, the period of their Islam does not allow putting the
imprisonment may be extended prisoners of war to death, but as
to the end of war. This is the only some Muslim ulema have
teaching that has been expressly dissented from this view and as
laid down in Islam with regard to some of the Christian writers
the prisoners of war. Islam, have made this point an object of
however, gives a general rule to attack against Islam, it appears
the effect that if political desirable to discuss it here at
considerations demand the some length.
taking of a strong retaliatory
measure against the enemy, it First of all, we must remember
should be subject to the that verse 5 of Chapter 47 of the
condition, firstly, that no such Qur’an clearly shows that it is
action should be taken against not lawful for a Muslim to put
the enemy which the enemy was the prisoners of war to death, and
not the first to take against the obviously no one has the right to
Muslims, and secondly, that the devise a new law in opposition to
action taken should not be in the injunctions of the Qur’an.
contravention of any explicit But in order to satisfy the reader,
teaching of Islam. It was under we wish to make it plain that the
this rule that the prisoners of war meaning which we have ascribed
were distributed among the to the verse in question is not an
Muslim individuals, but now as innovation. It is the interpretation
non-Muslim nations do not make which the companions of the
slaves of their captives but treat Holy Prophet(sa) put on it and they

The Review of Religions – June 2004 41

Treatment of Prisoners

acted accordingly. This view is fact that Islam does not allow the
borne out by the following slaying of the prisoners of war,
incident: and certainly those who ascribe
this teaching to Islam are
Hassan says, ‘A captive was grievously mistaken.
brought before Hajjaj, who said to
Abdullah, son of Caliph Umar(ra) If it be asked why some of the
who happened to be there, ‘Get up Muslim theologians have
and cut off the head of this declared the slaying of the
prisoner.’ Abdullah answered, prisoners of war to be lawful
‘We have not been commanded to when Islam does not allow it, the
do so; for God says that when answer is that this has been due
prisoners are taken in war they are to a misunderstanding. There are
to be released either as an act of certain instances in history when
favour or for ransom. There is no the Holy Prophet (sa) ordered
injunction to put them to death.’ certain prisoners of war to be put
(Kitab Al-Khiraj, by Qadi Abu to death. But those who have
Yusaf, p.121) inferred the justifiability of
slaying prisoners of war from
Similarly, Ata bin Abi Ribah is these instances have ignored the
reported to have said: ‘The fact that the prisoners who were
prisoners of war cannot be put to slain, were slain not because
death; the commandment con- they were prisoners of war but
cerning them is that they should because they had been guilty of
be released either as an act of certain crimes punishable with
grace or in return for reasonable death. It is evident that if a
ranson.’ (Fath Al-Baree, Vol. VI, prisoner is guilty of an offence
p.106). which calls for capital
punishment, the fact of his being
The plain verse of the Qur’an a prisoner cannot exempt him
referred to above coupled with from that punishment. If a free
the clear explanations quoted man can be punished with death
above leaves no doubt as to the for the offence punishable with

42 The Review of Religions – June 2004

Treatment of Prisoners

death, why cannot a prisoner be of the present day have not been
so punished? able to give to the world a better
law than this. It is a law which,
As may be seen from an inquiry while calculated to put a check
into each individual case, every upon the undue prolongation of
prisoner who was put to death by war and the aggression of one
the order of the Holy Prophet(sa) nation against another, has been
was put to death not because he tempered with mercy and
was a member of a hostile army, kindness in a most remarkable
or a fighting nation, but because way. The truth is that in the law of
he had committed an offence the Islam relating to war prisoners,
punishment of which was death. the element of clemency and
However some of our the- benevolence has been made to
ologians, merely seeing that the outweigh even that of self-
persons slain were prisoners of protection and defence. Certainly,
war, concluded that it was no nation on earth has prescribed
justifiable to slay a prisoner of such a beneficient treatment
war. But as pointed out above towards its enemies.
this conclusion is utterly
erroneous and unwarranted Female prisoners of war
according to the plain teachings A female prisoner of war has the
of Islam and the practice of the same avenues open to her to effect
Holy Prophet(sa). her release, namely, be freed for
ransom, be freed in an exchange
Such, in short, is the outline of the of prisoners of war, be freed at the
Islamic teaching with regard to termination of hostilities, or make
the prisoners of war. Now, every use of the Mukatabat provision
sensible man can see how already discussed in detail, or just
extremely fair this teaching is be freed as an act of grace by the
which God vouchsafed to the captors.
world through the Holy Prophet
of Islam (sa). Even the most If, however, a female prisoner of
advanced and enlightened nations war does not avail of any of the

The Review of Religions – June 2004 43

Treatment of Prisoners

above modes of release to make independent life in this world.

it possible for her to return home, The programme adopted by
it is obvious that she feels unsafe Islam with regard to these people
in going back to her nation and was that they should first be
chooses to stay with the uplifted morally and socially, and
Muslims. In that case, she will as their condition improved, they
not be allowed to stay in this should be set at liberty; and Islam
society without getting married. so arranged that when these
This is to safeguard her morals as slaves were liberated, their
well as the morals of the society. liberty was true and real and not
merely nominal and spectacular.
In the Muslim society, everyone This programme was carried into
is expected to get married. There effect under State supervision so
is no room for bachelors or that there could be no laxity or
spinsters so that the chastity and negligence in this respect.
moral well being of the society is
safeguarded. Secondly, those fundamental
teachings which Islam gave with
Conclusion regard to slavery as such.
To sum up, the teachings of Islam According to these teachings the
about slavery fall under two main enslavement of any free man or
heads: woman was strictly forbidden. It
is true that in certain cases the
Firstly, the teachings which prisoners of war were deprived
relate to that class of people who of their liberty, but that was only
had already been fettered in the a retaliatory and a temporary
shackles of slavery, and whose step, and when we go into details
manners and habits had conse- of this system, we find that it was
quently become degraded in the not slavery in the true sense of
extreme. They were leading the term but was really
servile lives and had wholly lost imprisonment, and even this
that spirit of freedom which practice is not allowed by Islam
enabled a man to lead an in the present times, for now the

44 The Review of Religions – June 2004

Treatment of Prisoners

system of state prisons has been When the Holy Prophet(sa) spoke
introduced and the opponents of the above words, there were
Islam no longer make slaves of before him his devoted wives
Muslim captives, nor distribute who had been the companions
them among their individuals but during his life and who had
keep them as State prisoners. It remained utterly faithful to him
would, therefore, be unlawful for in times of privation and
the Muslims as well to commit hardship. There also were his
their prisoners to individual beloved daughter and her
custody and thus give their action children and others that were
a semblance of slavery. near and dear to him. There, too,
were the faithful
I must conclude my article with
the extremely beautiful and most Muhajirin, the refugees from
beloved words of the Holy Makkah, in whose devoted
Prophet(sa), the last words spoken companionship he had passed the
by him in this world of matter. troubled days of his life. The
Ali(ra) son of Abu Talib and loyal Ansar, the helpers of
Anas(ra) son of Malik, both Madinah, who watered the plant
eminent companions of the Holy of Islam with their blood, were
Prophet(sa) and Ummi Salma(ra), also near him. And that was a
wife of the Holy Prophet (sa), time after which the Holy
report as follows: Prophet(sa) was to have no other
earthly opportunity of making
‘The last words that the Holy any communication to his
Prophet(sa) was heard to say, when followers, and he knew full well
he was in the agony of death, and that the words of advice uttered
the soul was fluttering to leave by him on that occasion would
his mortal frame, were, ‘Stick carry the greatest weight with his
fast to the prescribed Prayers and relations, friends and followers.
to my injunctions with regard to
slaves’. (Ibn Majah) What was that to which his
thought turned? It was to the

The Review of Religions – June 2004 45

Treatment of Prisoners

downtrodden slave that his REFERENCES

thought was directed to in the last 1. Chambers Encyclopaedia, under
moments of his life and that
2. Encyclopedia Britannica, under
thought made him forget all other Slavery
earthly connections. Ah! What a 3. Paul, VI, S; Peter, II., 18. In
friend, what a benefactor of connection with these references it
slaves that God gave to the should be noted that modern editions
of the New Testament use the word
world, but alas, the world knew ‘servant’ instead of ‘slave’, but the
him not! context clearly shows that it is the
slaves that are really meant in the
passages in question.
4. Rig Veda 1. 126/1 to 3; Mahabharat,
Hadhrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sabha Prab Adhiai 149; Manu 8/415
is the author of many articles and lharat Varash ka Ithas vol. II, p.
in defence of Islam. His 51.
‘Seerat Khatamal Anbiyya’ 5. Zurqani vol. I, pages 266-70, and
Tarikh Kamil. Chapter on the
ranks as the best biography on persecution of Muslims.
the Prophet of Islam (sa). 6. Muir, Prisoners taken at Badr.

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46 The Review of Religions – June 2004

Religion is Peace Symposium
On April 25th the Ahmadiyya community hosted a Peace Symposium at Baitul
Futuh Mosque in London, where speakers from a number of different faiths spoke
to a large audience about the subject of peace within their own religion. We
produce below, speeches from religious representatives from the Buddhist and
Jewish faiths with the kind permission of the two speakers.

A DHARMA TALK ON ultimately peaceful happiness is

BUDDHISM’S EMPHASIS ON only through the training of the
PEACE mind. According to this, Buddhism
by Phrakru Sarnu Lom and other religions of the world
have an important part to play.
Despite the fact that we can find
happiness with the aid of science Ever since the 5th Century BC the
and hi tech that provides us with Buddha who discovered Buddhism
physical comfort and efficiency, has been the Light of Asia. His
there has still not been the teaching gives light and radiance
possibility of everyone achieving a over the region from Kabul Valley
true sense of peace in human would. in the west to Japan and Thailand in
On the other hand, if we don’t use hi the Far East, from Java in the south
tech carefully, it regulates not only to Siberia in the North. Today His
our modes of action alone but it also teaching attracts many people
rules over our modes of thought and around the world. For this reason in
feeling. As a result we can be grown the year 2000 the United Nations
up mechanical not only in hand but realised that the Buddha is the true
also in head and in heart and we spiritual Teacher of peace.
may neglect inner peace altogether. Therefore, the UNO reserves one
The plain truth is that our peace and day of each year to pay heartfelt
happiness depends on our mind, tribute to the Buddha whom
which is within us not on materials, millions of people around the world
which are outside us. Therefore, look upon as their guide.
from time immemorial, the only
possible way for mankind, for all of Throughout his ministry from his
us to have both temporary and First Sermon and other discourses

The Review of Religions – June 2004 47

Peace Symposium

the Buddha urged both monks and LOKA MISAM SANT1

family people to tread and follow the PEKKHO PROOHAYA
Middle Way. The cardinal feature of All must cultivate the element of
his teaching is the emphasis on peace.
respect for the religions of others
and tolerance of all people, How can we develop the peace of
regardless of race, culture and mind? The essential answer is to
nationalities. His teaching is above follow the religious principles. The
all a religion of peace. Buddha’s teaching shows both
democracy and science, which
In the Third Century BCE, the means the two gods for modern
Buddhist emperor, Asoka, carved in people. But one needs to study and
the rock, ‘One should not honour practise it correctly in accordance
only one’s own religion... but one with the Middle Way and with
should honour religions of others. In individual status and maturity. On
so doing one helps one’s religion to the whole the Teaching of the
grow and also renders service to the Buddha bases on Truth and correct
religions of others’. Reason. He strongly stated, NATTI
The Buddha did not set out to ‘Greed, Hatred, Delusion’ are real
convert people to any belief system Fires. These fires cause misunder-
or dogma. His mission was to show standing and estrangement between
people the way to liberation and two groups of people, the result of
peace from violence and suffering. which always brings about all kinds
To this end he always taught the of grief, sorrow and suffering to
system of truly ethical conduct of mankind.
daily living, which he advised and
recommended to all people. The present circumstances reveal
not only a sickening and serious
Before his sermons, whether a short imbalance of compassion and love,
one or a long one, he says: but they also testify, give evidence,
as witness to this truth. Please look
NATTI SANT1 PARAM around and see what happens not
SUKHAM, according to what we like or do not
The highest bliss and happiness like but look at the fact without
is the peace of mind. distortion. We find and see trouble

48 The Review of Religions – June 2004

Peace Symposium

and violence almost


Therefore we should
not allow ourselves to
be burnt by the fires of
hate, greed and
delusion. If we let them
occupy our minds and
hearts we will find no
peace. Buddhism does
not recommend the use
of force, which is
About the Author – Phrakru Sarnu Lom
conducive to killing.
Whatever is evil, The Venerable Lom is one of the chief Thai
Buddhism does not Monks teaching Budhism at the
support it at all. Buddhapadipa Temple in Wimbledon,
London. He is also the Secretary to the
The Buddha pointed Temple and a member of the interfaith
out quite clearly that groups for Wimbledon, Merton, Kingston
the most important and Wandsworth.
element of peace,
whether in ourselves,
in our families and in our society at In short the Buddha advises us:
large, is true love, real compassion,
tolerance and charity. May I suggest Not to commit any evil
that all of us who live here in the But to cultivate love and
multiple-culture should cultivate compassion
true love, compassion and tolerance And to purify the minds
or plant them in our minds and This is the steppingstone to peace.
hearts. Only through this sole way
can we and the world achieve peace, May all the accumulated merit,
which is the long wished for and which all of us have made today be
dreamed of. And only through this conducive to the progress of peace.
practice can man justifiably be
called civilised.

The Review of Religions – June 2004 49

Peace Symposium

A JEWISH VIEW ON PEACE ‘In days to come the mountain of

by Rabbi Danny Rich God’s house shall be established
as the highest mountain,
I am honoured to be able to towering above the hills, and all
contribute a Jewish view to the the nations shall stream to it.
symposium: ‘Religion is Peace’. I Many peoples shall go and say
shall cover war and peace, for a ‘Come, let us go up to the
major aspect of the Jewish mountain of the Eternal One to
understanding of peace is the the house of the God of Jacob,
absence of war. so that we may learn God’s
ways, and walk in God’s paths’.
The Hebrew word most often For out of Zion shall go forth
rendered as ‘peace’ in English is the law, and the word of the
‘shalom’ which enters Hebrew Eternal God from Jerusalem.
vocabulary in the first book of the And God shall judge between
Hebrew Bible, Genesis. the nations and decide for many
peoples; and they shall beat
Its verbal origin means ‘to be whole, their swords into ploughshares,
to be complete, to be sound’, and is and their spears into pruning-
used in the Hebrew tradition in the hooks; nation shall not lift up
senses of Divine kindness and sword against nation, neither
mercy, of alliance between friends shall they learn war any more.’
and allies, of an individual who is
physically, mentally and morally ‘at War, that is the absence of peace, is
one’, and of the absence of war and in Jewish tradition at best a
marauding. necessary evil, and thus Jewish
tradition neither glorifies war nor
The Hebrew prophets are extols the warmongers. Jewish
abundantly clear that the whole heroes are rarely warriors. King
purpose of Jewish and human life is David was refused the privilege of
the eradication of war and the building the Temple because he had
fulfilment of a ‘Messianic’ peace. engaged in warfare (I Chronicles
Thus the words of the 8th Century 22:8) and the Babylonian Talmud
BCE Isaiah (2:2-4) are engraved in (Megillah 10b) depicts, at the very
the Great Hall of the United Nations moment of Hebrew liberation from
building in New York: Egyptian slavery, God rebuking the

50 The Review of Religions – June 2004

Peace Symposium

angels for bursting into song while begin the war and moral means in
the Reed Sea covered the Egyptian fighting the war. Self defence or
pursuers: ‘My creatures are defence of an innocent bystander is
drowning in the sea and you would such a justification, but Judaism
sing before me.’ requires that in an offensive or pre-
emptive war the executive (the King
In spite of the Jewish horror of war, in ancient Israel) must gain the
Judaism does not adopt a pacifist approval of the Sanhedrin.
attitude. Whilst everything possible
should be done to prevent war, Judaism mandates that a declaration
defence (perhaps including a pre- of war is preceded by a clear offer of
emptive strike) is not only permitted peaceful resolution, giving the
but may be obligatory. The Talmud enemy the right to surrender and
declares starkly (Sanhedrin 72a) ‘If non-combatants the opportunity to
a person intends to kill you, be the flee. Whilst military targets are fair
first to kill your enemy.’ Killing the game, Jewish teaching protects the
one who is about to kill you is not a environment (from the admonition
matter to be undertaken without in Deut 20: 19 – 20: not to destroy
regard for the innocent and neither fruit bearing trees), a principle that
is excessive violence sanctioned. Moses Maimonides (circa 1135 –
The Talmud (Sanhedrin 74a) goes 1204) expanded thus:
on to say:
‘Not only one who cuts down
‘It has been taught by Rabbi fruit-bearing trees but also one
Jonathan ben Saul: If one was who smashes household goods,
pursuing his fellow to slay him tears clothes, demolishes a
and the pursued could have building, stops up a spring, or
saved himself by maiming a limb wastes food in a destructive way
of the pursuer but instead killed violates the command: ‘You
his pursuer, the pursued is must not destroy.’”
subject to execution on that (Mishneh Torah, ‘Laws
count’. concerning Kings and Wars’ 8-
From these texts emerged the ‘just
war’ theory. For Judaism a ‘just Thus Jewish teaching permits war if
war’ requires moral justification to the war is against an enemy who

The Review of Religions – June 2004 51

Message from Heaven

threatens you or other innocent The hope for peace is a part of every
persons. The war must be declared Jewish statutory time of prayer, and
by a balance of the executive and the Talmud (Berachot 64a) reminds
the legislature, following a clear scholars that their role is to increase
offer of peace and time for the peace in the world. Passivity was
innocent to flee. The war must then not good enough. Following Psalm
be conducted conscious of the 34:15 ‘Seek peace and pursue it’,
following responsibilities: to protect the Midrash (Numbers Rabbah,
the environment and minimise Hukkat 19:27) declared: ‘The Torah
damage to persons, property and does not command you to run after
natural resources, to resist or pursue other commandments, but
glorification and remain aware of only to fulfil them on the
the tragedy and necessary evil of appropriate occasion. But peace
war, and to pursue and promote you must seek in your own place
avenues for peace wherever and pursue it even to another place
practicable. as well’.

The object of the war is, ironically, Peace does not just happen. As my
the advent of real universal peace as teacher, Rabbi John Rayner wrote:’
predicted by the 8th Century Hebrew
Prophet Micah (4:4) when ‘It is not enough to pray for
‘everyone shall sit under their vine peace; it is not enough to talk of
and under their fig-tree and none peace. We have to work for it: to
shall make them afraid.’ challenge those who foster
conflict and refute their
It is to that peace to which I shall propaganda; to ascertain and
now return. Peace and justice were make known the truth, both
the highest of rabbinic values. when it confirms and when it
Rabban Simeon bar Gamaliel runs counter to conventional
declared (Avot 1:18) ‘By three views; to denounce injustice
things the world is preserved: by when it is committed against us
truth, by judgement and by peace’. but also when it is committed
These aspects are three parts of the against others; to defend human
same for when justice is done, the rights, not only our own but also
truth is vindicated and peace theirs; to insist that peace
prevails. requires sacrifice – of pride, or

52 The Review of Religions – June 2004

Peace Symposium

That, is Peace the

Jewish way.

Let me conclude with

two midrashim which
takes us back to the
early chapters of
Genesis and the legend
of the creation. The
Rabbis asked: ‘Why
was only one man and
About the Author – Rabbi Danny Rich one woman made at
creation? So that in
Rabbi Danny Rich JP BA hons began his Rabbinic
future no person could
studies at Leo Bæck College in London. He served
as an assistant to Rabbi Julia Neurberger at the say to another: ‘My
South London Liberal Synagogue. He became a ancestry is better than
fulltime Rabbi at Kingston in 1988. Danny was yours.’
ordained in 1989, submitting a thesis on ‘The
Teachings of Torah to non-Jews’. He serves as a Elsewhere we read that
Director of the Youth Department of the Union of humanity was created
Liberal and Progressive Synagogues and for 15 btselem elohim: in the
years as Director of the Kadimah Summer Camp. image of God. This
Danny serves as a Jewish chaplain to HM Prisons, should teach us that like
Kingston Hospital and also the Surrey Oaklands
us every other human
NHS Trust. He is the founding chairman of the
being has a spark of
Ditton Branch of the Council of Christian and Jews
and the first Chair of the recently formed Kingston btselem elohim . How
Inter-Faith Forum. could the other be an
enemy if one could
wealth, or territory; to practice look in their eyes and see the same
and promote the way of spark of btselem elohim.
moderation, compromise and
reconciliation; and to build
bridges of respect and
understanding, trust and friend-
ship, across the chasms that
divide humanity’.

The Review of Religions – June 2004 53

My Journey into the Ahmadiyya Community
By Dara Fulton, USA

In February 2002, I went to long shirts. I did not understand

school on a winter day and the significance of the scarf, the
attended my English poetry class clothing, or the religion. At that
at 10am. I had recently met a time I did not ask, but was always
young lady, Bushra Bajwa, in my curious to know. As I asked my
class. We began talking about the new friend about the Muslim
class, the assignments that our faith, she shared some things
professor gave to us, and at an about the purpose of the scarf, her
instance I became interested in culture, and attending their holy
getting to know her better. We temple, the mosque. She also told
both attended Queensborough me about a Tabligh meeting,
Community college. It did not which is a meeting where non-
take long to begin talking more to Muslims are invited to attend, to
a point where one day we met up discuss and ask any questions or
after our classes, and walked to express concerns about Islam, and
the bus stop. As our conversation the Ahmadiyya community.
increased, I realised we had a lot Ahmadiyyat is one of the many
in common. I asked about her sects in Islam that promotes
Pakistani culture and the scarf she peace, and love for all humanity.
was wearing on her head. When
she told me she was Muslim, I There was a Tabligh meeting the
was intrigued and wanted to know following Sunday; she invited
more about it. me to attend and I did. I went to
the Queensborough Jama’at
I have had Muslim friends before: where I met a lot of sisters, many
they were sisters in my fourth were American as well as
grade class. They too wore a scarf Pakistani sisters. I was happy to
on their head, long skirts, and see the diversity there, because I

54 The Review of Religions – June 2004

My Journey into the Ahmadiyya Community

am an African American woman, food served. It is held every year

and was not sure if I was going to in Maryland where the main
be the only American there. I met Ahmadi Mosque is located.
up with my friend and she There I got a chance to meet my
introduced me to a few others. As friends and got to know them a
the meeting began, each sister little better.
expressed her love for Islam, and
her personal experiences in how From there, I received pamphlets
she converted to Islam. Some of and books on Islam from the
them were born in the religion, sisters. My interest grew, and my
but more were converted to relationships with the sisters got
Islam. I also met a woman who, closer. I started to feel I wanted
like me, was a non-Muslim and to become an Ahmadi Muslim,
had an interest in Islam. but was not sure if I was ready. I
was aware of the rules of Islam
I was impressed and moved by and the principles that are
the love each sister expressed enforced. Furthermore, I was
over Islam, and the way they also aware that it was a year after
welcomed me into the meeting. I the September 11th attack of
participated in the discussion 2001; and Muslims were faced
where I mentioned my friend, with many challenges in their
and my curiosity in learning communities. People prejudiced
more about Islam. After the against Islam and ignorant of its
meeting was over, I hugged real meaning of peace and love
everyone and thanked them all were attacking many. Islam does
for allowing me to attend their not tolerate terrorism or violence.
meeting. I felt so moved by them Unfortunately, the media has
that I knew I had to keep in touch continuously showed the attacks
with all of the sisters. By June I on America and across the world.
was invited to attend Jalsa It has given Muslims a bad
Salana: a gathering of sisters and image. My fear became dom-
non-Muslims where there are inant; I was afraid of not being
prayer services, discussions, and accepted, maybe even attacked. I

The Review of Religions – June 2004 55

My Journey into the AhmadiyyaCommunity



had concerns my family would When I woke up, I felt so uplifted

not accept my new-found as if everything was going to be
religion. all right.

One year later my fears were From June 2002 to November

suddenly gone. I had a dream that 2003, things in my life were not
I was at a banquet with all the well and I began to feel
sisters including Bushra. depressed. Money became
Everyone was talking, laughing, scarce, I had to stop school due to
and having a good time. They financial difficulty, and I lost my
looked so happy. I was sitting job. But after I had that dream, I
with my legs crossed on a mat felt all that was going to change.
when suddenly I got up and went I first told my friend of my
to my friend. I gently pulled her dream, and then contacted the
by the arm and said, ‘I have other sisters. Then I had a
something to tell you!’ She meeting with my mother and
looked at me and asked, ‘What?’ brother. During the middle of
I said ‘I’m ready to become an having dinner, I came out and
Ahmadi Muslim.’ Her face lit up said ‘I’m going to become an
in excitement, grabbed me and Ahmadi Muslim.’ My mother
said ‘Oh my God! Come, we was surprised; she thought the
have to go tell everyone now!’ I decision was sudden. I told her of
do not know what happened my dream, and she knew then
next, everything drifted away. that was God’s way of saying it

56 The Review of Religions – June 2004

My Journey into the AhmadiyyaCommunity

was time for me to convert. I everyone who welcomed me into

expressed the interest to my dad the Ahmadiyya community, into
and he too was happy over my their personal lives, and may
decision. Allah bless all of you. Amin.

I attended Juma prayers at the

Queensborough Jama’at on
Friday, November 21, 2003 and
informed some of the sisters and
the Missionary’s wife of my
decision of converting to Islam. I
felt converting during the month
of Ramadan was special, because
it is the holiest time of the year
for Muslims. As I signed my
name, I felt so proud of myself
because I felt I was doing what
Allah wanted me to do.
I feel proud to be an Ahmadi
Muslim because of what
Ahmadiyya stands for: Love for
All, Hatred for None. I am happy
to be part of a community and a
religion that preaches love,
peace, and respect for humanity.
I met some really nice sisters and
hope to meet more in the future.
My goal is to learn about Islam to
the fullest extent, and participate
in as many events, charities, or
community services that are
offered in the Ahmadiyya
Community. Thank you to

The Review of Religions – June 2004 57

Noah’s Ark – Another Viewpoint
By Latif Qureshi
In a recent television programme the existence of a prophet of God
a well known presenter discussed who was called Noah (as). They all
the Bible story of Noah’s Ark. believe that he built an Ark. They
the presenter travelled to the all believe in an enormous flood
Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey that played havoc but that Noah(as)
where the ancient Ark was and his companions escaped in
supposed to have landed after the their Ark.
floods subsided. The discussion
that followed the programme The prophet Noah(as) is mentioned
included some archaeologists in at least eight chapters of the
and scientists. They discussed Muslim scripture – the Qur’an1.
the story of the deluge and the One chapter is even named
building of a giant boat that ‘Noah’. The story in the Qur’an is
saved Noah(as), his family and the a simple one. It tells us that God
pairs of animals of all kinds from chose a man called Noah to
drowning and ultimate destruc- convey His message to the
tion. They doubted the people. The message was
occurrence of such a flood that basically to stop worshipping
could engulf the entire earth. idols and return to the One True
Some even doubted the existence God and follow the revealed
of a person named Noah and guidance. Some of his people
whether he could build a boat of who were considered to be rather
the size of Titanic just with lowly accepted his message
planks of wood. whereas all the others rejected it.
Those who rejected the message
By a strange coincidence, despite were warned about the dire
their differences, that three major consequences of rejection. A
religions of the world - Judaism, destructive flood was predicted
Christianity and Islam believe in that would destroy the non-

58 The Review of Religions – June 2004

Noah’s Ark – Another Viewpoint

believers. Those who believed in Till, when Our command

the message of Noah (as) were came and the fountains of the
promised safety. They were earth gushed forth, We said,
commanded to build an Ark. ‘Embark therein two of every
They were mocked by their kind, male and female, and
fellow men while they were busy thy family, except those
building the Ark. Eventually the against whom the word has
appointed time did come and the already gone forth, and those
prediction of the prophet Noah(as) who believe.’ And there did
was proved to be correct. He, his not believe and live with him
family and believers along with except a few. And he said,
their needed animal escaped the ‘Embark therein. In the name
destruction that befell all others. of Allah be its course and its
mooring. My Lord is
The Holy Qur’an states: assuredly Most Forgiving,
Merciful.’ And it moved along
And We sent Noah to his with them on waves like
people, and he said, ‘Truly I mountains. And Noah cried
am a plain Warner to you that unto his son, while he was
you worship none but Allah. keeping apart, ‘O my son,
Indeed I fear for you the embark with us and be not
punishment of a grievous day.’ with the disbelievers.’ He
The chiefs of his people, who replied, ‘I shall soon betake
disbelieved, replied, ‘We see in myself to a mountain which
thee nothing but a man like will shelter me from the
ourselves, and we see that water.’ He said, ‘There is no
none have followed thee but shelter for anyone this day,
those who, to all outward from the decree of Allah,
appearance, are the meanest excepting those to whom He
of us. And we do not see in you shows mercy.’ And the wave
any superiority over us; nay, came in between the two; so
we believe you to be liars. he was among the drowned.
(Ch.11:Vs.26-28) And it was said, ‘O earth,

The Review of Religions – June 2004 59

Noah’s Ark – Another Viewpoint

swallow thy water, and O sky, thing about it that makes it seem
cease raining.’ And the water genuine. This story is repeated
was made to subside and the time and again. Every time when
matter was ended. And the a people or nation becomes
Ark came to rest on al-Judi. corrupted a man is appointed by
And it was said, ‘Cursed be God to guide them into the right
the wrongdoing people.’ path.
(Ch.11: Vs.41-45)
But initially, very few people
Unlike the Holy Bible, the Holy accept the message delivered by
Qur’an does not specify that the him. Majority of those who do
male and female of all species accept him are usually young,
were accommodated in the Ark poor and lowly. His sincerity and
nor does it make any exaggerated sanity is always questioned. He
claim about the size of the Ark. and his followers are always
The Holy Qur’an, nevertheless, tortured and ridiculed. His efforts
points to the lesson that mankind are looked upon with suspicion.
must learn from this deluge that The powerful men of the land
those who do not believe in the oppose him with all their might.
message of a Warner, have to Yet these appointed messengers
face the consequence of their are always successful. Their
disbelief and the punishment message slowly gains wide
about which they had been acceptance and those opposed to
warned soon overtakes them. them are eventually overcome
Nothing is left of them. So and destroyed.
although others may doubt that
such prophets ever existed, After Noah (as) similar events
history loses all trace of such occurred at the time of
people to whom they were sent. Abraham(as). Moses (as), Jesus
Christ(as) and the Prophet
Although this may seem a story Muhammad(sa) of Islam.
and every one has a right to
question its truth, there is one This story has a special lesson for

60 The Review of Religions – June 2004

Noah’s Ark – Another Viewpoint

our age because a similar person warned the human race about
appeared less than a hundred dire calamities that awaited them
years ago in the spirit of all the if they rejected him.
prophets of God 2. He was a
devout follower of the Holy He also built an Ark. This time it
Prophet of Islam (sa) and also was in the shape of a book and he
claimed to be a prophet of God. named it ‘Noah’s Ark’ 3. This
He said that he was the Promised book contains the teachings of
Messiah(as) and the reformer the Qur’an by following which
awaited by all the major religions all the human race can achieve
of the world. He invited the salvation. At the time of the
whole mankind to the ways of writing of this book, the Indian
the God. True to the old tradition subcontinent was about to
only a few people – young, poor descent in the grip of a severe
and lowly accepted his message pestilence in the form of a plague
initially. He was however, given epidemic. This epidemic played
the glad tiding that his message havoc in India and claimed more
would reach and be accepted in than 10 million lives. However,
the far corners of the earth. there was no trace of the plague
when the prophecy of a severe
He appeared as a witness of the pestilence was recorded in the
bounty of God on the human race Promised Messiah’s(as) Braheen
because the Mighty God revealed Ahmadiyya. He proclaimed that
Himself to mankind through any person within his four walls
repeated revelations to him. and following the teachings in
his book would not die from
He became a bearer of glad plague. It appeared that
tidings for the human race following these teachings was a
because those who accepted his more effective protection against
message were promised ultimate the plague epidemic compared to
success. the inoculation offered by the
British Indian government of the
He was also a warner because he time. People in large number

The Review of Religions – June 2004 61

Noah’s Ark – Another Viewpoint

joined his community during the Bibliography:

time of the epidemic and escaped • ‘The Holy Qur ’an’:
death. He also predicted many Chapters:3 verse 36, 7 verses
other important events including 60-65, 10:72-74, 11:26-50,
the world wars and the fall of the 23:24-30, 26:106-123, 54:10-
Russian empire. 16 and 71:2-29.

His name was Hadrat Mirza • Ahmad, The Guided One: by

Ghulam Ahmad(as) and like all Iain Adamson.
other prophets of God, he was a
human being. He, finally at an • Kishtie Nuh (Urdu) by
age of 73 years, passed away in Ahmad, Mirza Ghulam.
1908 leaving behind a thriving
community that carries on his
mission of saving the mankind to
this day.

His message has already reached

the far corners of earth and
circulates round the globe
twenty-four hours a day through
a worldwide television network.

He is the Noah of our age. We do

not need to look for his Ark at the
heights of Mount Ararat. We also
do not need the help of any
archaeologists or scientist to
discover him. We only need a
guiding vision and a clear
conscience to recognise him.

62 The Review of Religions – June 2004

Letters to the Editor
Sir only means ‘whenever’ and never
For the past eight months, I have ‘wherever’. The old and faithful
been receiving your The Review of Hindu translators have translated the
Religions and as a result have words yada yada as whenever as can
become quite interested in the be seen from a 40 year old translation
teachings of Islam and its inherent where:
‘Arjuna, whenever there is
I would be grateful if you could send decline of righteousness, and
me information about the Ahmadiyya unrighteousness is in the
Muslim community in the Republic of ascendant, then I body Myself
Ireland as I would like to find out forth’
more about Islam in its true form. (The Bhagavad Gita IV:7)
Also I would like information on how
I may obtain a copy of the Holy Impressed by the Qur’anic teachings
Qur’an for study. that God has raised Prophets
amongst all nations, modern Hindu
translators of their Scriptures have
Christopher Pender added the word ‘wherever’ along
Republic of Ireland with ‘whenever’ to read incorrectly:
whenever and wherever there is
decline of righteousness, and
Sir unrighteousness is in the ascendant,
I want to congratulate Abdul Kudus then I body Myself forth.
Alimi for ‘Journey to Truth:
Hinduism’ (The Review of Religions, Mr Alimi should be aware of these
January 2004). But I request him to facts; however, if my comments are
be aware of the modern translators of incorrect, one of your readers could
the Hindu Scriptures. Please refer to perhaps correct me.
‘whenever and wherever there is a
decline in religious practice’ (page S M Shahab Ahmad,
54) quoted from Bhagavad Gita, IV:7. Canada.
The actual Sanskrit word in the
Bhagavad Gita is ‘yada yada’ which

The Review of Religions – June 2004 63

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