2 The Review of Religions – October 2005 On 8th October 2005 Pakistan was hit by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that caused major devastation in the north of the country and in Kashmir. As we go to print, Pakistani authorities have said the number of people killed in the quake is more than 80,000. Millions have been made homeless and there are fears for the survivors. At least another 1,400 people died in Indian- administered Kashmir. Pakistan says the quake will cost it $5bn in re-establishing the infrastructure. The quake injured 60,000 and made 3.3m homeless. The response of the international community has once again been woefully too little too late. Many villages have vanished from the face of the earth and help has still not reached some inaccessible and remote areas. One can speculate about a Divine hand behind this catastrophe but perhaps those afflicted by it are in no mood to discover the cause of a disaster of this scale. One must sympathise with them now and prvide them with all available assistance as soon as possible. But the frequency at which man is being shaken to wake up leads one to wonder about a common cause for such disasters. In his Friday sermon of October 14th Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V reminded us that natural disasters do not distinguish between the rich and poor. He stressed the need for man to return to his Creator through prayers and seeking Allah’s refuge and Istighfar (pardon) and guidance for the peoples of Pakistan. Following this natural disaster, all should endeavour to reform themselves, get rid of all suspicions and distrusts and pray to Allah intensely and with utmost humility so that He saves us from His chastisement. Sarah Waseem– UK EDITORIAL In the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Almighty has set forth a fundamental principle which regulates His chastisement and His mercy, which is: I will inflict my punishment on whom I will; but My mercy encompasses all things. (Ch.7: V.157) Divine displeasure can be averted if man abandons all forms of association of others with God, establishes true com- munion with Him, discards all vice and wrongdoing, becomes diligent in performing all his obligations to God and to his fellow beings, and cultivates true sympathy for the whole of mankind. Disasters serve as forcible reminders of man’s two main duties in life – Huq_q Al (the rights of the creation) along with Huq_q Allah (the rights owed to Allah). In this month’s T h e Review of Religions we have included an address by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V where he expands and discusses these obligations. 3 EDITORIAL The Review of Religions – October 2005 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 ‘Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam’ 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 ‘Alaihis salatu wassalam’ which are words that a Muslim utters out of respect whenever he or she comes across that name. The abbreviation ‘ra’ or (ra) stands for ‘Radhiallahu Ta’ala anhu a n d is used for Companions of a Prophet, meaning Allah be pleased with him or her (when followed by the relevant Arabic pronoun). Finally, ‘ru’ or (ru) for Rahemahullahu Ta ’ a l a means the Mercy of Allah the Exalted be upon him.