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Masjid Al-Aqsa

35 MASJID AL-AQSA (Khalid Ahmad) INTRODUCTION: It is simply impossible to give a fair treatment of Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa situated in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) without heavy references to those factors and forces which have ever been at work in determining and shaping the ever changing destinies of Palestine as a whole. This is because the relationship of Al-Quds, hence Al-Aqsa to Palestine is like that of the yolk of an egg to its albumen. While the two remain easily distinguishable by virtue of their different colours, they are extremely difficult to separate if not absolutely impossible. Thus needless to say that Al-Quds, as again shown by the present Arab-Israeli conflict, has always remained a primary target in any contention for its possession and the following factors have been responsible for this: (i) That Jerusalem, for most part, has ever been considered the political centre of Palestine since its inception. (ii) That, it has always been considered a holy city and a great religious centre which, presently, is at the cross-roads of the Judaic, Christian and Islamic dispensations. However, it is also an accepted fact that the significance and importance attached to Al-Quds (Jerusalem) is due, largely, to its being a unique relgious centre. Consequently, while at times politics may ostensibly be used as the reason for conflicts, religion has ever served as the ulterior or real motive hence effective catalyst in the eventual precipitation of these conflicts. In the present Arab-Israeli confllict, this interplay of politics with religion is again seen to be at work. Consequently, while Jews and Muslims (Arabs) have been battling for its control, it is an undeniable fact that the necessary political-economic pressures have been skilfully and forcefully brought to bear on the conflict by the Christian West! And this, due to the general weakness of the present Muslim countries, has been a great decisive factor in determining the final outcome. 36 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS A prerequisite condition for inheriting Palestine is that one must be righteous. Here there is no mention of any nationality nor tribe nor ethnic group. This therefore knocks the bottom out of the Jewish argument that they are the only “chosen people” destined to possess Palestine forever because they are the the “children of God”. Continuing with the above prophecy, the question naturally arises as to who are considered to be the righteous who shall forever possess. The simple answer is that with the advent of a true Prophet of God, his followers (at least the immediate ones), qualify as the righteous until such time that they themselves deviate from the true path. And this, specifically,is the criterion implicit in the above prophecy and which has been proven by history. Let us then see how the historical evidence tally with the observation. Moses, on whom be peace, the prophet of Allah, brought the Israelites out of bondage from Egypt to the Promised Land. The original inhabitants of that land opposed Moses were dispossessed of it and it was given to the Israelites, the followers of Moses. After Moses, the Isralites developed a mighty kingdom which reached the zenith of its power in the times of King David and King Solomon, on whom be peace. Due to the erring ways of the Israelites, the Assyrians conquered Samaria and annexed a portion of Israel. In 608 B.C. Palestine was destoryed by Pharoah Necho of Egypt. Despite this loss, they still persisted in their evil ways and the prophet Jeremiah was sent to warn them. They rejected the warning, so in 597 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invaded it and carried off some vessels from the temple. In 587 B.C. there was a more destructive invasion by the same Nabuchadnezzar in which the tample was completely destroyed and the chief priest and elders killed. The remaining were then taken into captivity. The capture into captivity represented the first major expulsion of the Jews of Palestine. Reference to this is found in the following verse of the Holy Quran: MASJID AL-AQSA 37 ” So when the time for the fulfilment of the two warnings came, We sent against you some servants of ours (Babylonians) possessed of great might in war, and they penetrated into your houses and it was a warning that was bound to be fulfilled”. (Quran 17 :6) They were then restored back to Palestine after repentance ar^d reformation in exile and in 516 B.C. the work on the “temple was completed. However, they relapsed for the second time into their evil ways in the time of Jesus when they persecuted him and tried to crucify him on the cross as well as trying their best to arresf the progress of his Movement and put an end to it. Then Allah sent against them the Romans under Titus who,in 70 A.D.inflicted such a heavy punishment on them that they have since not been able to recover as a nation until very recent times.The destruction brought on the temple, Palestine and the Israelites was thorough and complete. This again is recorded in the Holy Quran: “So when the time for the fulfilment of the latter warning came, we raised a people against you (The Romans) that they might cover your faces with grief, and that they enter the Mosque (temple), as they entered it the first time, and that they conquered.” (Quran 17:8) THE CASE OF THE CHRISTIANS. With Palestine in possession of the beaten Romans, the latter were gradually converted to Christianity by the efforts of the Church after centuries of persecution. However, the Christians also deviated from the true teachings of the prophet Jesus (on whom be peace), Instead of one God, they came to believe in three Gods (Trinity). They also abolished the law contained in the Torah. THE ADVENT OF ISLAM. In fulfilment of prophecies, Islam was therefore ushered in about 611 A.D. by the advent of the Holy Prophet 38 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Muhammad,on whom be peace, to correct the erroneous views of the Christians and to promulgate a set of teachings and laws for the entire world. With the rejection of the Holy Prophet by the Jews and Christians the latter, who possessed Palestine at that time, also failed to qualify for the term “righteous” as a result of which the Muslims had to take away the land from them. This found fulfilment during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umar, the second khalifa of Islam, when the Christians were defeated about 638 A.D. (4) Since that time up till 1948, Muslims have been the masters of Palestine. This period spreads over 1,350 years and represents the longest duration on record when asingle power had held on to PalestinelWithin this time, it was only for a brief period of 92 years when through the machinations of the Crusaders, Palestine changed hands but was regained later by Salah-ud-deen Ayyubi.This temporary lapse does not, therefore, annul the fulfilment of the prophecy in the case of the Muslims inheriting the land. This is because the object of this prophecy, in so far as the term “My righteous servants” goes,is ultimately in reference to the Islamic Ummati, since no new religion nor book nor code of law is expected after the Holy Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace. In effect, Islam is the last religion for mankind. But the grim prospects facing the Muslim world is that with the loss of Palestine and’Al-Quds, including the holy places and shrines so dear to our hearts since 1948 when the Jewish state was illegally established, for how long can Muslim patience tolerate this humiliation and irritatation when attempts continue to be made to desecrate our holy places with impunity by a godless people ? SERIOUS WARNING FOR THE MUSLIMS. It is only an ignorant Muslim who will fail to accept and appreciate the fact that the Holy Quran and the Hadith are also full of warning for the Muslims to the effect that they shall also fall into the iniquituous ways of the Jews and Christians. Strictly speaking the Holy Prophet of Islam predicted the first three centuries of Islam (5) as the period for its sustained progress and expansion. It will then start to decline and this will continue for the next thousand years (6), at the end of which period it should have reached its lowest ebb in terms of its former powers and glories. MASJID AL-AQSA 39 Added together this gives 1,300 years from the time of the advent of the Holy prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, when this decline of Islam will be completed. Viewing it historically, the end of this period coincided with the abolishment of the last Islamic Khilafat, namely that of Turkey, in 1924 by Kamal Ataturk. In terms of the Hijra calendar, this comes to (1924-624: 1,300 H), testifying to the accuracy of the Quranic and Hadith prediction ! TIME FOR FULFILMENT OF PROPHECIES. The present spectacle presented by the Muslim world shows positively that we are in the very period for the ultimate filfilment of these very prophecies. With Muslims being played against Muslims by the enemy coupled with our ecnomic and political strangulation, one need not go far for further signs of decadence. With the abolishment of KMlafat, there is no centre of gravitation, hence absolute confusion and complete loss of any sense of direction. Our mode of life and way of thinking is wholly western. Centuries of colonization have brain -washed us to the extent that Muslims now feel embarrassed to live according to the dictates of the Quran and the Hadith. Under the sway of Communism and Capitalism, any attempt by the few sincere ones to go back to the Sharia (reveald Divine law ) is heavily undermined. With all these evils infolding before our very eyes,it is only fair and proper to state, without any fear of contradiction,that we too, like the Christians and Jews, have become ripe for divine punishment and that the loss of Palestine is a mighty sign from Allah that it is high time we mended our ways for the better: “Surely Allah does not change the condition of a people untill they change that which is with themselves “. (Quran 13 : 12) What do we do to the above question, I will postpone the answer, until I have dealt with the main topic of my presentation, if Allah permits. 40 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS AI-QUDS Al-Quds is the Islamic equivalent of Jerusalem and the latter, according to sources, comes from the ancient Hebrew ‘ Yerushalayim, meaning ‘city of peace’. However, judging from the unparallelled amount of bloodshed including that of the saints and prophets of God since time immemorial, within its four walls and sanctuaries, the name of peace becomes highly incompatible with its record of violence . Hence this word cannot truly reflect the true significance of this unique city. Compare this with Al-Quds, meaning ‘The City of Holiness’or ‘The Holy City’. This is more proper and befitting since it is an accepted fact that the uniqueness of Jerusalem is on account of its holiness, since in it and its sorroundings are many tombs of Holy Prophets of God and saints. Consequently, while its peace has long been annuled by violence and warfare,it is impossible to violate its holiness so long as the bodies of the prophets are buried in it, since these together with the other shrines, will ever keep it holy till the day of the Resurrection! Secondly, both these attributes of peace and holiness combined together really befit the description of the period beginning from the time of the”Muslim presence.The Muslim rule has offered this city a far greater peace, tolerance and magnanimity to its dwellers and their religions than that of any other nation. In addition, all the holy places including the tombs of prophets, were well kept and honoured by the Muslims who accept all the prophets sent by God, unlike the Jews who have blackened their record with their rejection and murder of prophets! The-Christians, too, apart from Jesus, on whom be peace ,whom they errouneously regard as their god, do not honour any of the prophets. In this connection, it is significant to draw attention to the great disparity in the character of the Muslim and Christian rulers who contributed to making Jerusalem what it is today.Take for instance the characters, as reflected by concrete examples, Salah-ud-deen and Richard the lion Heart who are, by all standards, regarded as the most outstanding personalities of those who fought in the crusades. Salah-ud-deen showed great magnanimity and forgiveness to his enemies when he captured Jerusalem from the Christians. Consequen- tly, when he stipulated a ransom which they could not pay,he freed all of them despite their inability to pay the ransom.They numbered in their thousands. MASJID AL-AQSA 41 On the other hand, when the Chritians under Richard the Lion Heart, took over the Muslim garrison of Akka, the Christians demanded a ransom of 200,000 pieces of gold. When the Muslims could not pay the ransom, Richard the Lion Heart orderd all of them numbering 2,700, including women and children, to be slaughtered! From these two examples one sees and appreciates the great and unparallelled magnanimity, forbearance, tolerance and chivalry of the Muslims. This establishes forcefully that when the Muslims commanded peace, they offered the word peace. Little wonder then that after hundreds of years, the British should name one of their fighting tanks after this illustrous son of Islam, as the “Saladin” tank in appreciation and admiration of his bravery yet great magnanimity in war. The combination of these two opposite qualities is rare to find except from among the followers of the greatest benefactor of mankind Muhammad, on whom be peace, who was an embodiment of mercy! The above discourse is necessary in view of the fact that it is the character of the man who lives and rules a city or nation that makes it what it is and not the city or nation by itself, since by itself it has no power to confer any special qualities. AL-Aqsa. Coming formally to the actual topic, the term Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa means the Farthest or Distant Mosque and derives its name from a divine source by the following verse from the Holy Quran : “Glory be to Him Who carried His Servant by night from the Sacred Mosque (masjid Haraam, Macca) to the distant Mosque (. Mosque Aqsa, Jerusalem), the environs of which We have blessed to show him some of Our signs. Surely He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing “. (Bani Israel. 17:2) According to the Hadith, this revelation was vouchsafed to the Holy Prophet of Islam after the incident of the spiritual night journey (Isra), in which he was taken from (Mecca) to Jerusalem where he led all the earlier prophets including Adam,Abraham,Moses and Jesus in prayers at Solomon’s Tample (The Distant Mosque ). Significantly, this divine experience of the Prophet of Islam meant that Islam would be given dominion over Palestine and the 42 REVIEW OF R E L I G I O N S surrounding territories and that the followers of all the former prophets would join Islam. This found fulfilment in the time of Hazrat Umar, the Second Khalifa of Islam, when the whole of Palestine fell into the hands of the Muslim forces. In 638 A.D. in the course of a visit to the conquered city, Hazrat Umar selected that site for the Aqsa Mosque and erected on it a simple mosque. This site was no other than the top of Moriah Hill where once stood the magnificent Tample of Solomon and later a Christian Church. This, therefore, underscores the importance and sacredness of the present site of Aqsa to the Jews, Christians and Muslims. However, the oft repeated attempts by the present Jews in Palestine to demolish the Holy shrine of Islam on the grounds of that spot where once stood their Tample has no basis nor justification whatsoever. The truth is that the Tample at Jerusalem was twice destroyed in 586 B.C. and 70 A.D. by the Babylonians and Romans respectively. Next, the Christians are also said to have erected a Church at the same site, but this was also destroyed by Chosroes II of Persia in 614 A.D. Hence, as at the time when the Muslims decided to put up the Al-Aqsa Moque,th’erewas no Tample nor Church but only the ruins of the latter. So the Jews cannot make Muslims a second price for a crime they did not commit. Yet, the present treatment of the Jews being meted out to Muslims and our holy places stand in conspicious contrast to the leniency and tolerance the Muslims showed them when they had the upper hand in the Holy land and elsewhere. Caliph Umar left them unmolested while Salaahuddeen restored them to Jerusalem. In Spain they flourished as they would never flourish again in exile ! Compare this with the hostile and inhuman treatment they have ever received from their own religious collaterals. In the latest holocaust, Hitler destroyed six million Jews ! CALIPH ABDUL MALIK. Coming, therefore, back to the discussion proper, it is an established fact that right from the time of the Second Khalifa of MASJID AL-AQSA 43 Islam to the time of Suleiman the Magnificent, a lot of Muslim rulers and leaders have all contributed in various ways towards making this mosque what it is today. In this regard it is worthy of note that it was the Ummayyad Caliph, Abdul Malik,who in 691 A.D. built on that site in Jerusalem the first magnificent mosque called the “Dome of the Rock” which is wrongly called the Mosque of Umar. This confusion is the result of the fact that the original mosque of Umar built on the site was only a simple place of worship consisting of only bricks and timber. However, with the growing number of the Muslim population, the need arose for a Center of worship which will not look inferior to the beautiful and magnificent Christians Churches of the same city.This was the primary motive of the Caliph. The secondary motive was that the “Dome of the Rock” should rival the Mosque at Mecca which, at that time, was in the hands of his rival Abdullah Ibn Zubayr. Using materials from the ruins of the Christian church which had once stood there, he then employed the skills of native and Byzantine craftsmen. The use of Mosaic and other decorative materials, including the construction of a dome on top, marked a radical departure from the old pattern of Muslim mosques which had hitherto been the style of construction. The result was an architectural monument of such beauty and splendour which did achieve its primary objective of outshining the rival church of the Holy Sepulchre. Since then, it has hardly been surpassed anywhere. Not far from the magnificent Dome of the Rock and in the Southern direction, Caliph Abdul Malik is as well credited with the erection of another mosque which is designated as the Al-Aqsa built on the ruins of St. Mary’s church of Justinian, Thus the word Al-Aqsa strictly speaking, refers to the second mosque and not to the Dome of the Rock. However, used in a general sense the term Al-Msjid Al-Aqsa actually refers to that collection of sacred buildings including tombs and the Dome itself covering a total area of about 34 acres. Hence the Dome is the shrine and the Aqsa is the sanctuary. A possible explanation of this seeming contradiction and irony may be given as follows: “The truth is that using Masjid-al Haram at Mecca as the point of reference, then it is more befitting that the Masjid-al-Aqsa, meaning the Farthest Distinct Mosque 44 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS should refer to the Dome of the Rock. This is because this Dome is erected on the spot where once stood the temple of Solomon, which is the most befitting place for its construction since, according to the Isra, the Holy Prophet saw himself praying in this temple in Jerusalem, even thoug as at the time of this vision, the temple had been destroyed a long time. And where else could this spot, where he prayed, be located apart from the old site of the temple? It was for this reason that the sharp intellect of Umar selected this same spot as the site for the future Aqsa. Secondly, it is a fact that the temple at Jerusalem actually served as the first Qiblah of the Muslims until it was changed to the direction of the Ka’ba (Quran 2:145). Thirdly, the word Masjid (mosque) is used in the Holy Quran for the temple at Jerusalem (Quran 17:8). In the light of these strong evidences and irrefutable arguments there should be no doubt that technically speaking, the Dome of the Rock mosque is the actual Aqsa Mosque in which the Holy Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, led the earlier prophets in prayers. However, using the Dome of the Rock in turn as the point of reference, then that other mosque presently called the Aqsa can also be called Aqsa from the linguistic point of view since the word Aqsa means distant with regard to a given point of reference. And this, in my humble opinion, is what might have occurred in the case of the latter mosque. In other words, according to local usage, that mosque became the distant or farthest mosque from the Dome of the Rock within that given environment. Surely Allah knows best. Abbassid Caliph AI-Maumun (813-833 A.D.) With the collapse of the Umayyad dynasty, power fell into the hands of the rival Abbassids and in the time of the Abbassid Caliph Al-Maumun, the structure of the Dome of the Rock underwent restoration. However, owing to the well known jealousy between the Umayyad and Abbassid, a branch of the Hashimite, Al-Maumun is known to have substituted his own name for that of Abdul Malik. However, he forgot to change the date of construction of the mosque which, together with the name of Abdul Malik, were inscribed around the Dome in Kufic writings. Thus despite this attempt at falsification, it is MASJID AL-AQSA 45 a well accepted fact that the credit of building this mosque goes wholly to Abdul Malik. Presently, the Kufic inscription around the Dome reads: “Hath built the dome the servant of God Abdullah Al-Imam Al-Maumun commander of the believers in the year two and seventy – may God accept of him and favour him. Amen.” In 1016 A.D. the mosque suffered damages as a result of a severe earthquake; hence it had to undergo a few changes. In 771 A.D. the Abbassid Caliph Al-Mansur rebuilt the Aqsa (Distant from the Dome) as a result of a damage it sustained from an earthquake. It was later modified by the Crusaders and later restored back to Islam by Salaahuddin in 1187 A.D. Conclusion. The Masjid Al-Aqsa, apart from its artistic beauty and archeological interest, is a living symbol of Islam. It has set a seal for good on Al-Quds as a Muslim city and constitutes a living reminder of the splendours of Muslim presence in Palestine for the past 1,400 years and its continued presence there in the future. Few monuments can rival it in terms of splendour and beauty. In short it is synonymous with Al-Quds. What to do in order to regain Palestine. Since the inception of Islam it has become an established fact that direct confrontation of Muslims as a group by an enemy has always achieved negative result for the latter. However, by playing Muslim against Muslim, the enemy has always achieved results. And this was among the first signs of decadence of this Ummah when instead of trying to settle differences through consultations (Shoora),. the rival caliphates began to seek the help of Christian powers against one another in disregard to the Quranic injunction that believers are not to take disbelievers for friends in preference to fellow believers. This worked well to the advantage of the Christian powers who were thus able to penetrate through Muslim ranks, hence enabling them to fight the crusade to some extent. Similarly, the root-cause of the present Palestinian conflict can be 46 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS traced to this same problem. In this regard, following the evil suggestions of Great Britain in the first world war the Arab countries, who were under the rule of the Caliphate of the Ottoman Turks, rose in revolt against the latter despite the fact that they were also fellow Muslims. The result was that Turkey was replaced by both Great Britain and France as the new custodians of almost the entire Muslim world. Contrary to the original secret agreement signed by Britain with the Arabs to grant them independence following the successful overthrow of Turkey, the two European powers (Britain and France) divided the Muslims between themselves. In addition, the Arabs were betrayed when Britain under the League of Nations, decided to create a Jewish homeland in Arab Palestine by the Balfour declaration. In fact at the time that the British were signing a secret pact with the Arabs, they were also signing another secret pact with the Jews. The result is the eventual Muslim loss of Palestine today. * It is clear from the above and what has been stressed already is that the root cause of the Palestine problem is one in which the very fundamental principles of Islam are involved. In my humble opinion the following proposals are thought provoking as well as practicable and good results can be expected from them: 1. That the Muslims must try to provide a united front militarily, economically and politically under an Islamic Commonwealth of Nations. Since Islam is the only cultural link that links all Muslims together, we do not see why it should not work. But first, we must make the necessary efforts. 2. Frankly speaking, there is no task the execution of which is more urgent than the re establishment of Khilafat. Even though this is a great and arduous task in view of our present differences, this promises to be the only way through which sustained progress * The argument used by the present Jews is that the present land of Palestine is the land of their forefathers thousands of years ago. If this argument were to be accepted, then that will mean there should be a world wide reshuffling, immigration and displacement of one group of people by another in pursuance of the claim of the land of their distant fore-fathers. In that case the Red Indians will be justified in throwing out the Americans out of the United States or in dominating over them. Will there be any peace left in the world? MASJID AL-AQSA 47 could be achieved and the glorious example of the Khulafa Rashideen remains an open book. The re-establishment of the Khilafat follows the promise of Allah in the’ following verse of the Quran: “Allah has promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will, surely make them Successors in the earth (Khilafat) as He made successors from among those who were before them”. (Al-Nur 56) 3. The above verse emphasises the fact that belief and the doing of good works are pre requisites for the divine favours of Khilafat. True Islamic values as enshrined in the Quran and the Hadith should, therefore, be the basis of the envisaged Islamic Commenwealth of Nations. Muslim institutions based on foreign models will eventually turn out to be only a mirage. 4. Alongside a return to Islamic fundamentals, a special portion of our wealth and energy should be devoted to the establishement of a Muslim Armarhent Industrial and Research Centre to produce arms. This will enable the Muslims to rid themselves of relying on foreign arms, hence give us the necessary freedom to take quick military decisions to be implemented immediately in moments of crisis. With the necessary sacrifices and efforts, as shown by the 1973 Egypt-Syrian war with Israel, the latter can be humbled. As a concrete example, let us consider a simple but effective weapon like the rocket hung on the shoulders of Mujahideen fighters, it can be used to fight enemy planes, tanks and soldiers. For example, for the first time in the annals of modern war fare, the Egyptians proved that the infantry can defeat the armour using rockets. In this case it was Soviet made Missiles simply hung on the shoulders of soldiers.10 Yet the irony of the situation is that it was the Muslims who perfected the science of rocketry and applied it for the first time in warfare. For instance the Muslim King Sultan Tippu of India defeated the British in battles at Seingapatam in 1792 and 1799 using rocket troops whose only weapon was the rocket.” If we did it in the past we can repeat it now. 48 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS And all praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the entire universe. Since Islam and Muslims have been the target of the present Jewish-Western conspiracy to dispossess it of her priceless possession, the question as to how best to retrieve Palestine, Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa naturally and logically forms the ultimate aim in presenting such a paper. After careful consideration of the topic from its most important facets, practical suggestions and proposals have been put forward at the end of my presentation. We hope and pray that our humble efforts; may find acceptance in the sight of Allah and may He let it help to contribute, in whatever measure, towards finding a solution to our present predicament and aspirations. Amen. LIVING FOR GOD “God’s Will and His Pleasure should be the supreme thought in your mind so that satan may have no chance to let you stumble. Till this stage is reached, man is liable to falter. When worldly gain or loss has no effect and instead God’s pleasure and His displeasure serve as motive power for all our actions, then is the stage reached when man becomes immune from all kinds of fear and grief.” (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) What is Islam? Islam literally means Peace, surrender of one’s Will’, and to be in amity and concord. The significance of the name Islam is the attainment of a life of perfect peace and eternal happiness through complete surrender to the Will of God. The Quran — the Holy Book of the Muslims — interprets it to be the religion whose teachings are in consonance with human nature. Islam, as the Quran has stated (5:4), is the completion of the religion inaugurated by God in the beginning of the world, on His sending the Quran through the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be on him). As a child is taught his alphabet, so God taught the religion to the world gradually and little by little, by sending His prophets at different times and to different peoples. When the world reached that stage of understanding when it was ready for the final lesson, He sent the last and complete Book through the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be on him). This Book not only corrects the errors which had found their way into various religions, but preaches the truths which have not been preached before, on account of special circumstances of the society or the early stage of its development. At the same time it gathers together in itself the truths which were contained in any Divine revelation granted to any people for the guidance of men (The Quran 98:4). Lastly, it meets all the spiritual and moral requirements of an ever advancing humanity. This is Islam which is wrongly called Muhammadanism. According to Islam, the object of man’s life is its complete unfoldment. Islam does not support the idea that man is born in sin. It teaches that everyone has within him the seed of perfect development and it rests solely with a person himself to make or mar his fortune. We created man in the best make says the Holy Quran (95:5). The cardinal doctrine of Islam is the Unity of Godhead. There is none worthy of worship but the one and only God, and Muhammad is His Prophet. He is free from all defects, Holy and Transcendent. He is All Good, All Mercy and All Power. He has no partner. He neither begets nor is He begotten, because these are the traits of frail and weak humanity. Furthermore, Islam helps us to establish a permanent relationship with God and to realise Him during our earthly life as our Helper in all our affairs and undertakings. This Unity of God is the first and foremost pillar of Islam and every other belief hangs upon it. Islam requires belief in all the prophets, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Confucious and Zoroaster. We regard them all (and many more not mentioned here) as heavenly teachers born to reform and regenerate man and lead him to God. Adherents of some other religions may consider it an act of piety to use disrespectful words and heap abuse on the prophets of other religions, but if a Muslim were to show the slightest disrespect towards the founder of any other faith, he does so at the cost of his own faith. He has to utter the respectful benediction Alaihis-Salam (peace be on him) after mentioning the name of every prophet. Thus Islam establishes peace between all religions. The REVIEW of RELIGIONS The Review of Religion is the oldest magazine of its kind published in English language in the Indo-Pakistan Sub-Continent. Its first issue was published in 1902 and it has been continuously published since. It bears the distinction that it was initiated under the direction of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah himself. During more then eighty-six years the message of Islam has been conveyed through this magazine to millions of readers and many fortunate persons have recognized the truth of Islam and accepted it through its study. 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 teachings of the problems with which the Islamic world is from time to time confronted. A study of this magazine is indispensable for the appreciation of the doctrines of the Ahmadiyya Movement and the teachings of its holy Founder. Printed by The Raqeem Press, Islamabad, Tilford, Surrey GU10 2AQ, U.K. Published by The Review of Religion, TV: LoWon Mosque, 16 Gressenhall Road, London, SW It SQL