By Syed Amer Safir, UK
In 2019, the foundations for a hugely important cultural and educational vision were outlined by His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Firstly, during his historic tour of France, Holland, and Germany, His Holiness delivered a landmark address at UNESCO in Paris, outlining the pioneer contributions towards science and research by Muslims. His Holiness (aba) explained how Islam emphatically promotes education and this reflected in the life of the Founder of Islam, who placed huge importance on the education of his followers.
Later, during Islam’s Golden Age, the origins of items we take for granted today were being researched. The camera, algebra, maps, procedures of medicine and other essential elements of our lives all find their roots in the minds of brilliant Muslim researchers of times gone by.
Education alone, however, is not sufficient, as His Holiness (aba) demonstrated how the link between education and serving humanity is essential. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the embodiment of this principle, by establishing hundreds of schools and hospitals across the world in impoverished areas.
During his address, His Holiness (aba) referred to Dr Abdus Salam, the first Muslim Nobel Prize winner in science, whose life-work is still used today in particle physics, who spoke at UNESCO in Paris in 1984 and whose speech is published in The Review of Religions (August 2013). Dr Salam spoke on how the Holy Qur’an directly influenced his scientific discovery. He said the Qur’an ‘speaks of the eternal wonder I have personally discovered in my own science’ and that ‘as a scientist, the Qur’an speaks to me in that it emphasizes reflection on the Laws of Nature, with examples drawn from cosmology, physics, biology and medicine, as signs for all men.’
The address delivered at UNESCO by His Holiness (aba) was attended by researchers, government officials, professors, religious leaders – in short an audience of non-Ahmadis. Back in the UK a few months later, His Holiness (aba) delivered an address at the first International Ahmadiyya Muslim Research Association conference – an internal audience consisting of Ahmadi Researchers from various countries. It was fascinating to observe the vision His Holinessaba outlined for Ahmadi Muslim Researchers – he desired for Ahmadi Muslims to reach the ‘highest echelons’ in the field of research. His Holiness’ (aba) vision was to restore Islam’s lost Golden Age and for Ahmadi Muslims to be at the forefront of this revival. After all, he said, it was Dr Abdus Salam, an Ahmadi Muslim, who was the first Muslim to win the Nobel Prize in Science. Despite his ground-breaking discoveries, he was profoundly committed to his religion. Even further, his research was inspired by his Qur’anic studies. However, His Holiness (aba) said, just one Dr Salam is not enough. Now hundreds of Dr Salams need to come forward in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and excel in every field.
It was a ground-breaking vision outlined by His Holiness (aba) and one which future generations will surely reap the rewards of. After both the UNESCO and AMRA addresses, I was fortunately able to speak to many of the attendees to hear their feedback. A geopolitical analyst told me that everyone in the world should read the speech of His Holiness (aba) as it was truly fascinating and it painted an entirely different image of Islam from what the West normally depicts. An Anglican Minister of a Church in France explained to me that many of the teachings outlined by His Holiness (aba) resonated deeply with her and she was inspired by the address of His Holiness (aba). A common remark was that the address of His Holiness (aba) should be circulated widely, such was its importance.
After the AMRA address by His Holiness (aba), many of the researchers in attendance were visibly moved. They felt they had a huge challenge ahead of them to try and fulfill the expectations of His Holiness (aba). Urgent discussions began almost immediately on what next steps to take on how to start building the structure upon the foundation His Holiness (aba) had just laid.
We are honoured to publish the official transcripts of both the UNESCO and AMRA addresses in this edition of The Review of Religions. We hope our readers will derive immense benefit from the phenomenal vision outlined by His Holiness (aba) and that we come to see in our lifetimes the Golden Age of Islam being restored through the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.