Featured

Review of Religions: A 100 Year History of the Magazine

3Review of Religions – November 2002 The first centenary of the Review of Religions fell in January 2002 but we thought that our readers would not mind a touch of nostalgia before the year draws to a close as we recall the history of this magazine (the principal article in this issue). As any sportsman would know a hundred is a big score: the ball appears bigger, the bat a bit wider; likewise, a hundred runs, wickets, hits, catches or a hundred goals are big numbers to have under one’s belt. A hundred years mile- stone for a religious magazine is by any standards no ordinary achievement. We have had our ups and downs. Some articles have annoyed; some have been considered abrasive; and, a few may even have appeared pointless, or late or recycled. We have no hesitation in apologising for any inconvenience this caused to our readers. However, we are not in the business of pleasing all our readers all the time. Our policy has always been to deal with the truth and defend Islam. What is truth to us may not appear to be the truth to another reader. We can there- fore only thank our loyal readers for tolerating differ- ences and having stuck with us though thick and thin. It is said that everything begins to obsolesce the moment it is put into use. As we enter the next century, we pause for a moment and reflect if we changed. There were some minor changes: address, price, frequency, c o v e r, colour, size, paper quality and font (does not really leave anything out) but you had to be a sharp reader to spot the subtle differences. As for the impact this magazine has had, the history on the accompanying pages cannot tell a lie. Many accepted Islam through the Review of Religions. The articles featured in this maga- zine shook the faith of many Editorial 4 Review of Religions – November 2002 others. The doors to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community opened in Mauritius and the USA through the Review of R e l i g i o n s; we are therefore proud of our history. The credit for all this undoubtedly goes to the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community and his foresight in starting this magazine. We stuck resolutely to his objectives: all that can be said is that this magazine served the purpose for which it was created. There is of course no room for complacency and bask in past laurels. Substantial room for improvement exists in all areas. This is where the reader participates: tell us, please. The editorial board will ensure that the improvements are achieved in as quick a time frame as possible.In addition to a Review of Religions published independently in French from Africa, and a similar project about to commence in India, this magazine is also printed and circulated in Ghana and Nigeria with original English versions edited, composed and published in London. It was also published for a while in India and the USA. What happened to mankind in these hundred years? We regret that in some areas man has gone from bad to worse but fortunately not all is doom and gloom. We live in a technocratic age. The world has shrunk. It is true that today no man is an island. What happens in one part of the world gets communicated immediately to another part. There seems to be more time to communicate with others. The concept of a global village has become a reality. Never has there been a better opportunity to unite mankind on one platform. There are barriers to this unity. We have learnt little from our political follies and our wars. The political map is changing at a dynamic pace. As man wants to become richer without working for it, we have to deal with many ‘–isms’ which tell us how to get wherever from where we Editorial 5 Editorial Review of Religions – November 2002 are now. Better commu- nication has made some aware of the plight of the poor and they are readier now than ever before to participate in some philanthropic work. However, selfish pursuits for many others cause them to ignore those less fortunate than them. This is also reflected on a national level. Our relations with our neighbouring countries are not based on justice and fair play but economic interest, rivalry and ‘grab what you can’ and ‘might is right’ philosophies. Although we created inter- national agencies to ensure that peace would replace wars, we continue to ignore world opinion and violate human rights and the high principles of justice. The agents of hate breed in such an atmosphere of suspicion, misunderstandings and fears. The world of religion has been the innocent victim. As it is an ideal rather than a tangible body, it was manipulated like putty. It was used to exploit the sentiments of the less discerning. It gave ground to the fanatics and extremists and led to the most heinous crimes of terrorism and suicide bombers. While religion itself cannot be accused for promoting these acts of some followers, we have not yet heard of those who stand on the high moral ground applying their religious principles in war. No Christian turns another cheek in war. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth has begun to mean two eyes and two teeth for each Jewish eye and tooth. Some so-called believers of the religion that literally means peace (Islam) have become the instruments for propagating a crazy belief in a holy war: they have caused great misunder- standings about Islam. The Church learnt to be slightly more diplomatic in its debate with other faiths although now and then it has been unable to hide what it has preached for centuries from the pulpit. Hit and apologise later seems to be the order of the day. Falling 6 Editorial Review of Religions – November 2002 attendance has also led to an interest in some faiths that never permitted conversion before. In some cases, this has led to occults and their derivatives. There were some ideologies that were bound to perish. Fortunately, their exit from the world stage has been less dramatic. But not all is lost. A greater awareness towards the phys- ical environment is also bound to spill over into mankind examining the moral environ- ment and questioning the directions towards which it is heading. We certainly do not wish to allude that there would be no more wars. Nevertheless, we firmly believe that the learning curve has turned for the better and that lessons will be learnt, admittedly painfully, in this great void that the cold war left behind in its wake. People will, therefore, continue to abandon beliefs and ‘–isms’ that were never acceptable to human nature and were never based on the truth. The Review of Religions intends to be your faithful companion in this age of rediscovery. We invite you to study carefully the true message of Islam conveyed to us through the Holy Prophet of Islam(sa) and his most loyal servant, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Founder of this magazine. Wishing you happier reading for the next hundred years! Mansoor Shah (Chief Editor and Manager) In this edition, for the convenience of non-Muslim English readers, (sa) or sa after the word the Holy Prophet or the name Muhammad, are used. They stand for salallahualaihiwasallam, and abbreviated as ‘sa’, 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 readers utters.