Book Review

MAY 1985 BOOK REVIEW 41 not to undevelop man, but to aid his spiritual and material progress in the right direction. Islam has entered the scientific age light years ahead of the Western awakening. Islam in the World is a well-documented, updated Western look at the religion, and its treatment of the Holy Quran and of the Holy Prophet is respectful. Ruthven assures the’ reader in his opening statement that while he is neither Muslim nor non-Muslim, nor a specialist in Middle Eastern affairs, he has nevertheless attempted to clearly explain how Islam became a political force in the modern world, something which few people writing in English have been able to do without detracting from the faith. His method aids the general reader to examine several elements of the subject: Islam as a “potentially” ideal system; Islam in history; regional patterns of Islamic culture; contemporary Islamic political systems evolving from centuries old political activism; and at various points he parallels Judaic and Christian views with Islam. He is ap- parently successful in some areas, however one may question the ef- ficacy of encapsulating such wide-ranging themes in one small volume. As an introductory survey of the subject, it is generally credible. He respectfully uses Quranic sources and the traditions to show “what Muslims believe about God and about mankind’s duties in the world” and “how historically Muslims have sought to put their beliefs into practice by observing divine law and sometimes by attempting to recreate the ideal community of Medina as founded by the Prophet “Muhammad.” His other sources include the Bible, Ibn Khaidun, Yusuf All, Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, Ali Shariati, Maxime Rodision, Rumi, Carl Jung, Muhammad Iqbal, The Encyclopedia of Islam, Toshihiko Izutsu, W.M. Watt, C. A. Julien, Thomas Carlyle, and many others of note. After musing over some of the miserable earthiness of the Hajj ex- perience for some pilgrims, he tends to concentrate on the pagan, Judaic, and political aspects of that great ritual, which is unsurpris- ing judging from his background. The Pilgrimage which brings together Muslims from every part of the globe, is fertile ground for germinating political action in terms of universal justice and equali- ty, as witness the failed revolt of one Juhaiman al Utaibi and his fellow extremists in the 1979 occupation of the Grand Mosque. Ap- parently, the aim was to denounce the Saudi regime; however, even the Ayatollah Khomeini, no friend of the royal family, criticized the 42 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS ‘ MAY 1985 revolt as the work of United States or Israeli agents, which set off a round of anti-American demonstrations in many Muslim countries and in some western cities as well. Rutven, in dealing with this problem of idealism vs. political reali- ty, refers to the political astuteness of the Holy Prophet in his ac- commodation of the hostile Quraish after the conquest of Mecca, as being parallel to Ibn Saud’s betrayal of the Ikhwan when he declared himself king of Saudi Arabia, pursuing his own worldly dream. Does he intend to suggest that the goals were the same? He cites the Chris- tian solution of that classic problem which “pronounced that since Christ’s kingdom was not of this world”, secular authority, however vicious or irreligious, must be obeyed; pious Christians could take refuge in “their own private worship,” “private morality” and almsgiving. There are millions of witnesses to the deleterious results of this stratagem. • In discussing the spectrum of Muslim interpretation of the Hajj, – he identifies the range of opinion from the “ultra-symbolic” to the “ultra-literalistic,” interpretations which spur activity escalating from “passive acquiescence” to “militant activism”. To the Saudis, the Hajj is a religious festival, while to Iranian revolutionaries and other activists, Hajj must lead to the “creation of a true Islamic order, a world free from injustice and oppression.” On page 39, the author attempts to deal with the nature of this “original Abrahamic” religion, in terms of idolatry. This reviewer strongly recommends that he study the Ahmadiyya commentary of the Holy Quran, for greater comprehension of the facts. The same applies to his reading of the differing presentations of the positions of Isaac and Isma’il in relation to their father Abraham, in both the Bible and Holy Quran. In the chapter on the Holy Prophet Muhammad, he makes the im- portant assertion that there is no evidence in the Holy Quran nor in the traditions that the Prophet was well-acquainted with Christian beliefs and practices before prophethood was bestowed upon him, by Almighty God; and notes that the Holy Prophet was probably “unusually taciturn and self-controlled; an introvert, quite unlike the societal values of excited, exuberant, loquacious, and boastful conduct” in the society around him; and that he did possess those qualities of manliness, bravery in war, persistence in virtue, and pa- tience in adversity. Like C. G. Jung, Ruthven diverges from Maxime Rodison’s theory that the Prophet received the revelations from his MAY 1985 BOOK REVIEW 43 own consciousness; this atheistic version cannot be substantiated against the powerful refutation found in the Holy Quran, nor even against the evidence uncovered in the psychological experiments of Jung, whose evidence “inferred the existence of a ‘collective un- conscious’ transcending the boundaries of individual self-hood.” The author sees the Muslim community, the Umma founded by the Holy Prophet, as the antithesis of the asabiya or tribal solidarity. The social and ideological values of the “Five Pillars” (and the Holy Prophet’s own address at the Farewell Pilgrimage) were intended to destroy tribal barriers and to solidify equality and justice in opposi- tion to false assumptions of class or racial superiority. Today these are still dynamic factors in the expansion of Islam. In “The Quranic World-view”, he praises the beauty of the Arabic language, calling it “the key to Muslim culture, much more so than Hebraic and Christian scriptures, which have undergone various translations and revisions, may be said to to keys to their respective cultures.” Ruthven defines the Quranic world-view as “a system of ethics from a divine source which aims to bind human behavior; a legal commitment to human freedom, liberating the human consciousness from limited objectives, expanding the brotherhood of all existing things into a unifying whole reality, term- ed the divine (Creator). Man must take al-Ghaib, the hidden, on trust as being beyond human limitations. Man cannot do as he likes, regardless of moral law. Muslims and non-Muslims alike can find guidelines to these limits if they take the trouble to investigate the teachings of the Holy Quran”. In the chapter entitled “Law and Disorder”, he raises the ques- tion: ‘Was Islam an obstacle to capitalist development?’ He avers that some Marxist writers cite factors other than religion, as obstacles, i.e., the availability of cheap labor; the Eastern tradition of strong state dependency on public works; and the waves of marauding invaders from Central Asia. He brings into focus the issue of the much vaunted “European rationality” which he at- tributes to the heritage of Roman legalism, in contrast to the socio- political elements in Islamic society which deterred innovation in fechnology. He censures the Shari’a as the major impediment to economic developent in Islam, holding at it stymied the growth of European-style merchant guilds. In his opinion, the dissension over this issue is more than “a debate about the origins of capitalism in or out of the Muslim world; it concerns the fundamental difference in 44 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS MAY 1985 social and political behavior which still accounts for many divisions and misunderstandings between Westerners and Muslims.” He goes on to point out that sectarian divisions in Islam, when compared to those in Christianity, “stem more from politics than from religious dogma,” and includes the assabiya as one of the of- fending causes. In his chapter on “Sects and Solidarity” he has in- vestigated several Muslim sects which contribute to this division: Ibadi, Druze, Khoja, Mahdist (Sudan), Sunni, Nizari Isma’ili, and Shi’ite, among others. He focuses closely on Shi’ism and the Iranian revolution. He has evidently not heard of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, which oversight is an unfortunate deficiency of this book. Ahmadiyya Islam has been termed the most vibrant mis- • sionary movement in existence today, due to the prodigious teachings and writings of the Divinely inspired Founder, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India and his Khilafat. . In attempting to identify the movers and shakers of the “Spiritual Renewal” in Islam, Ruthven chooses Sufism as one of the leading elements, while he also explores the influence of the Naqshbandiya; Tarika-i-Muhammadiya; Ibn ‘Abd al Wahhab; and the Mahdi Muhammad Ahmad of Sudan. He concurs that “the revitalizing force of Islamic spirituality is comething that will always find political expression when the occasion demands it, deriving its legitimacy from the example of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.” To reiterate, it is a pity that he did not invetigate the origins of Ahmadiyya Islam and its present day missionary endeavors around the world, the outstanding example of spiritual renewal in Islam. In “Challenge From the West”, Ruthven mentions the ambivalent attitude of many Middle Easterners toward Europeans; the role of both Western and Muslim women in Muslim society; and the dominating intrusion of European colonialism and its continuing in- fluence today. He delineates the varying responses of Muslims to this brutal intrusion, responses which range from acquiesence, to modern intellectualism, to reformism, to the radical activism as found in the Muslim Brotherhood. In the conclusion of this useful work, Malise Ruthven states that ‘ ‘the ideal Islamic state was probably never more than a pious fiction because power politics, assassinations, war and plunder” have always been a tragic part of its history. Therefore, “there will always remain this constant creative tension between the reality “of human MAY 1985 BOOK REVIEW 45 frailty and the striving for the “ideal to realize true Islam in a violent and wicked world.” This theme recurs throughout the book. “The failure of the super powers of the West and the East to solve the overwhelming problem of Palestine, in addition to Third World disillusionment with the economic systems of both spheres has taught Muslims in general that neither capitalism nor socialism is the solution for their societies. Islam, correctly understood, stands mid- way between these two less attractive extremes. Its followers, the ser- vants of Almighty Allah,” are working out their own “social- capitalism” in terms of trying to implement a free market economy; social responsibility, private property; and interest-free banking in an effort to conform to the Shari’a in imaginative new ways;” thus setting the optimistic example for those suffering Third World na- tions which are “floundering between super-power” enslavement. Even an agnostic writer can disseminate the open secret that Islam is the healing power for a world in turmoil. WARNING FROM DIVINE WARNER “Remember, God has informed me of many earth- quakes. Rest assured, therefore, that as earthquakes have shaken America and Europe, so will they shake Asia. Some of them will resemble the Day of Doom. So many people shall die that revulets of blood shall flow. Even the birds and the beasts will not be immune against this death. A havoc shall sweep the surface of the earth which shall be the greatest since the birth of man. Habitations shall be demolished as if no one had ever lived in them. This will be accompanied by many other terrible calamities which the earth and the heavens will send forth, till their extraordinary nature will become evident to every reasonable man. All the literature of science and philosophy shall fail to show their like. Then mankind shall be sore distressed and wonder what is going to happen. Many shall escape and many shall perish. The days are near, in fact, I can see 46 THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS MAY 1985 them close at hand, when the world shall witness a terri- ble sight; not only earthquakes but also many fearsome calamities shall overtake man, some from the skies and some from the earth. This will happen because mankind have stopped worshipping their true God and have become lost in the affairs of the world with all their heart and their effort and. intent. If I had not come, these afflictions would perhaps have been delayed a lit- tle. But with my coming the secret purposes of an af- fronted God which were hidden so far, became manifest. Says God: “We never punish unless We send a Messenger.” Those who repent shall find security and those who fear before calamity overtakes them shall be shown mercy. Do you think you will be immune from these calamities? Or can you save yourselves through artifice or design? Indeed not. That day all human schemes shall fail. Think not that earthquakes visited America and other continents but that your own country shall re- main secure. Indeed, you may experience a greater hardship. O Europe, you are not safe and O Asia, you too, are not immune. And O dwellers of Islands, no false gods shall come to your rescue. I see cities fall and settlements laid waste. The One and the Only God kept silent for long. Heinous deeds were done before His eyes and He said nothing. But now He shall reveal His face in majesty and awe. Let him who has ears hear that the time is not far. I have done my best to bring all under the protection of God, but it was destined that what was written should come to pass. Truly do I say that the turn of this land, too, is approaching fast. The times of Noah shall reappear before your eyes, and your own eyes will be witnesses to the calamity that overtook the cities of Lot. But God is slow in His wrath. Repent that you may be shown mercy! He who does not fear Him is dead, not alive.” [Haqiqatul Wahy, pp. 256-57]. THE AHMAD1YYA MOVEMENT The Ahmadiyya-Movement was founded in 1889 by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the expected world Reformer and the Promised Messiah. The Movement is an embodiment of true and real Islam. It seeks to unite mankind with its Creator and to establish p.eace throughout the world. Th.e present Head of the Movement is Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad. The Ahmadiyya Movement has its Headquarters at Rabwah, Pakistan, and is actively engaged in missionary work at the following centers: • AHMADIYYA MUSLIM MISSIONS AFRICA: BENIN: P.O. Box 69, Portonova. GAMBIA; P.O. Box 383 Banjul. Tel. 608 GHANA: P.O. Box 2327, Accra (OSU New Estates). Tel: 76845 IVORY COAST: Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, 03_ BP 416, Adjame-Abidjan 03. KENYA: P.O. Box 40554, Nairobi (Fort Hall Road.). Tel: 264226. Telex: do 22278. LIBERIA: P.O. Box 618, Monrovia (9 Lynch Street). MAURITIUS: P.O. Box 6 (Rose Hill). NIGERIA: P.O. Box 418, Lagos (45 Idumagbo Avenue). Tel: 633 757. SIERRA LEONE: P.O. Box 353, Freetown, Tel: 40699/22617 SOUTH AFRICA: Mr. M.G.. Ebrahim, P.O. Box 4195, Cape Town (Darut-Tabligh-il Islami). TANZANIA: P. 0. Box 376, Dares Salaam (Libya Street). Tel: 21744 UGANDA: P.O. Box 98, Kampala. ; ZAMBIA: P.O. Box 32345, Lusaka. AMERICAS: CANADA: Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, 1306 Wilson Ave., Downsview, Ont. M3M 1H5. Tel: (416) 249-3420 GUYANA: Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, 198 Oronoque and Almond Streets, P.O. Box 736, Georgetown. Tel: 02-67634 SURINAM: Ahmadiyya Muslim Misssion, Ephraimszegenweg, 26 P.O. Box 2106, Paramaribo. TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Freeport Mission Road, Upper Carapichairria, Trinidad, W.1. U.S.A.: 2141 Leroy PI. N.Wii Washington, DC 20008. Tel: (202) 232-3737. Cable: ISLAM. AUSTRALIA: Dr. Ijazul Haque, 19 Brom Borough Road, Rose-Villa 2069 N.S.W., Sydney. ASIA: BANGLADESH: 4 Baxi Bazar Road, Dacca-1. BURMA: 191-28th Street, Rangoon. FIJI: P.O. Box 3758, Samabula (82 Kings Road), Suva. Tel: 38221 INDIA: Darui Masih, Qadian. Tel: 36. INDONESIA: Jalan Balikpapan 1, No. 10, Djakarta Pusat 1/13. Tel: 36 5342 JAPAN: Ahmadiyya Center, 643-1 Aza Yamanoda, O-Aza Issha, Idaka-cho, Meito- Ku, Nagoya 465, Tel. 703-1868 PAKISTAN:'(Headquarters) Rabwah, Distt. Jhang. PHILIPPINES: Haji M. Ebbah, Simunal, Bongao, Sulu. SINGAPORE: 111 Onan Rd., Singapore 15. . SRI LANKA: Colombo M.E.M. Hasan, 24 San SebastinStreet, Ratnum Road, Colombo 12. EUROPE: BELGIUM: Maulvi S. M. Khan, 76 Av. du Pantheon Bte 5 1080, Brussels. DENMARK: Eriksminde Alle 2, Hvidovre- Copenhagen. Tel: 753502 GERMANY: Die Moschee, Babenha.user, Landstrasse, 25, Frankfurt. Tel: 681485. HOLLAND: De Moschee, Oostduirlaan, 79, Den Haag. Tel: (010-3170) 245902 Telex: 33574 Inter NLA 30C NORWAY: Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, Frognerveine 53, Oslo-2. Tel. 447188 SPAIN: Mission Ahmadiyya del [slam, Mezquita Basharat, Pedro Abad, near Cordoba, Tel. 160750 Ext. 142 SWEDEN: Nasir Moske Islams Ahmadiyya Forsamllrig, Tolvskillingsgatan 1. S-414 82 Goteborg, Sverlge. Tel: 414044 SWITZERLAND: Mahmud Moschee, 323, Forschstrasse 8008, Zurich. Tel: 535570. Telex: 58378 MPTCH Islam 374/XA UNITED KINGDOM: 16 Gressenhall Road, London SW18″ SQL Tel: 01-B70 8517. Telex: 28604 Ref. 1292 ISSN 0743-5622 The REVIEW of RELIGIONS The Review of Religions is the oldest magazine of its kind which began its publication in the English language in the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent. Its first issue was published in 1902 from Qadian, India, and it has been continuously published since. It is currently being published in the U.S.A. It bears the distinction that it was initiated under the direction of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah, himself. During the more than eighty-two years, the message of Islam has been conveyed through this magazine to hundreds of readers and many fortunate persons have recognized the truth of Islam and accepted it through studying it. The articles published in it deal not only with the doctrines and teachings of Islam but also set forth a comparative appreciation of the teachings of other faiths. One of its outstanding features is the refutation of the criticism of Islamic teachings by orientalists and non- Muslim scholars. It also presents solutions, in the light of Islamic teachigs, of the problems with which the Islamic world is confronted from time to time. A study of this magazine is indispensable for the appre- ciation of the doctrines of the Ahmadiyya Movement and the teachings of its Holy Founder. Published by the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam. Inc. 2141 Leroy Place, N.W., Washington, DC 20008 Printed at the Fazl-i-Umar Press, Pomeroy Road, Athens OH 45701