In this issue of The Review of Religions our lead article is the address given by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim community in which he warns of the dangers of becoming obsessed with the material world. He presents a timely reminder that a prophet was sent to the world in this age when materialism was held higher than God. He cautions us to note that this is nothing short of Shirk (associating partners with God) as noted by the prophet of this time. He quotes the Promised Messiah(as) who wrote, In this age of enlightenment and wisdom, no one really gets involved in outright shirk, or idolatry as such. However, in this age of materialistic advancement, the worship of material means has increased considerably. Hidden idolatry is that one respects something as one respects Allah or loves something when one should respect Allah, or one is afraid about it or depends on it totally Islam tells us that it is only God Who is able to help, guide and protect man and it is only God Who has promised that He will help His servants. Thus, worship is not a hollow meaningless exercise but an act that exists solely for man’s benefit. This issue of worship is of such fundamental importance in Islam that it is actually the subject of the Quran’s commandment, in which God says, O ye men worship your Lord Who has created you and those who were before you that you may become righteous. (Ch. 2: V.22) This verse also reinforces the fact that worship exists for man’s benefit and this can be further gauged from the use of the word Rabb in the above verse. 2 The Review of Religions – September 2006 Fareed Ahmad – Newquay, UK EDITORIAL Rabb does not merely indicate God as the Master or Lord of all but it also has the wider meaning of Him being the Creator and Sustainer. Being a sustainer implies that He is a living God Who provides for His creation, and such provision is not restricted to mere survival but extends much further to encompass the complete development of man. God is thus as a Being ‘Who creates and then develops by degrees’1 and enables man to perfect the latent powers within him2. Worship therefore is a system for our own development and benefit. It is also a reminder that rather than seeking help from that which has been created we should turn to the source of creation Himself and drink from that pure fountain that has given life and sustenance to everything around us. References 1. The Holy Qur’an: Five Volume Commentary by Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad(ra) Ch.2: V22, note 28. 2. ibid. 3 EDITORIAL The Review of Religions – September 2006 References to the Holy Qur’an item count ‘Bismillah…’ (In the Name of Allah…) as the first verse of each Chapter. In some non-standard texts, this is not counted and should the reader refer to such texts, the verse quoted in The Review of Religions will be found at one verse less than the number quoted. In this journal, for the ease of non- Muslim readers, ‘(saw)’ or ‘saw’ 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 and 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’ala means the Mercy of Allah the Exalted be upon him. In keeping with current universal practice, local transliterations are preferred to their anglicised versions, e.g. Makkah instead of Mecca, etc.