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Notes and Comments

Notes and Comments by A. R. Mughal 1. According to a news item, French Catholic leaders are greatly upset that more than ninety percent of the population no longer believes in sin. The survey, published in a Catholic Weekly, said that only four percent out of a representative sample of one thousand adults cared to use the word “sin” in their everyday vocabulary. This included both sexes of all ages excluding youngsters below eighteen. 2. While fifty seven percent were candid enough to admit committing minor errors, sixty nine percent stated that they went to confession on extremely rare occasions while thirteen percent admitted that they confessed to a priest less than once a year. According to the clergy, the core of the problem is television which regularly shows programmes making fun of religion. 3. In our opinion, anti-religion television programmes are only an outward symptom of a deep malady, eating into the vitals of Orthodox Christianity. The Roman Catholic Church is a far flung hierarchy ruled from the top by the Pope. The lower officials have no authority on policy in matters of faith or morals. Nor can anyone — other than the Pope himself — deal with petitions from priests regarding permission to leave the priesthood or grant request for an annulment of marriage. 4. Roman Catholics and Protestants have been engaged in tribal bloodshed for many decades. The killing continues in Northern Ireland and elsewhere. Whereas there is some semblance of discipline among the Catholics, the Pope being the figure-head, the Protestants are like the lost sheep and owe obedience to nobody. In the United Kingdom Royalty in essence is the Defender of the Faith, but common people, with all their love and regard for the Monarch, have little or no faith in spiritual logistics. 5. Indeed during an era that remembers great political leaders only in memory — Churchill, Mao, Quaid-e-Azam and Gandhi etc; the present Catholic leader, Pope John Paul appears to be the premier personality on the international stage. He hopes to create a strong, unified and revitalized Church. However, it is evident that he is over-stepping the limits of popularity even among his own admirers. For instance, he wants nuns in distinctive garbs and priests in collars again. This puts him in direct conflict with a large number of priests and nuns, mostly in Western Europe and the United States. The question of abortion and female clergy is another moot point with the Catholics. In the United States they want the Church to accept women priests; 5 NOTES AND COMMENTS object to celibacy of the clergy and demand the broadest possible freedom of thought and opinion among the theologians. Millions of Catholics in all parts of the world are anguished over the hard line the Pope has taken over birth control and divorce. 6. Criticism of the Pope is muted at present, but in some priestly circles there is talk of a violent reaction and references to heresay hunts like in the European dark ages. The general idea is that the Pope is clearly positioning the Church for the next century when its source of strength will be shifted to Africa. This may prove to be a vain hope. In spite of the hurdles being placed everywhere by the die-hard in the path of the Ahmadiyya missionaries, the caravan of truth is proceeding smoothly and firmly, along its predestined path. The greatest worry of the Church is the appearance of a large number of western intellectuals who refuse to believe in the three mysterious partners in God-head the lonely Father, the pitiful Son and the weather-beaten Holy Ghost. 7. But our task is no less easier than before. True Islam still serves as a low mark for credibility in many parts of the world. Perhaps our careful reticence on individual basis in the propagation of our distinctive belief has prevented our numerical escalation and cramped our confrontal tactics of the early Nineties. We are at present only a few years behind the fateful bend in the history of Ahmadiyyat. The second century of our birth is just round the corner. The signs of the unprecedented spiritual revolution are already so clear that only blind prejudice can deny its existence. The Promised Messiah, peace be upon him, said on one occasion, “I see Ahmadis (in a country at present abounding in atheists) countless as the grains of sand at a beach”. He also prophesised; “The time is close at hand when the true unity of God which was felt even by the dwellers of the desert and by the illiterate, will spread throughout the world. On that day no false redemption or false gods shall survive. One blow of the Divine Hand will nullify all machinations of disbelief; not with the sword or the gun but by means of enlightening the eager souls with Divine light and by imbuing pious hearts with Divine splendour. Only then will you understand what I say (Tablighe-Risalat). 8. The poor French Cardinal who is worried about the swiftly disappearing word “sin” from the French vocabulary, may have many more worries in store for him. They would perhaps be far more serious in nature than the mere elimination of some ethics. In future, vocabularies, both French or otherwise might completely ignore terms like trinity, Atonement and Resurrection. 9. SOME UNIQUE EXAMPLES OF RELIGIONS TOLERANCE a. Once, when a funeral party of Jews passed by the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, he immediately stood up as a token of respect for the dead body. The companions, thinking that perhaps the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, did not know that the deceased was a Jew informed him of it. The Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, nodded and remarked; “I knew that the funeral party REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 6 carried a Jew’s corpse; but why should common ethical and human values not be respected.” b. In the tenth year of Hijra, a delegation of Christians from Najaraan, consisting of 60 horsemen, came to Medina. They arrived at the mosque of the Prophet in the late afternoon which happened to be their prayer-time. The Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, permitted the Christians to offer prayers in their own fashion in Masjid-e-Nabvi. c. A delegation of Banu Sakeef from Taif, came to see the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, at Medina. The members of the delegation were, without exception, all idolaters. The Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, allowed the idolaters to pitch their tents in the verandah of the Prophet’s Mosque. Some of the companions approached the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, and recited the following verse of the Holy Quran “O Ye, who believe! surely the idolaters are unclean”. (AL-TAUBA — 28). The Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, understood the objection but remarked; “The uncleanliness of the idolaters was not environmental. The “Shirk” which was unclean, resided inside the hearts only (Ahkamul-Quran p. 129, Vol. 3). The Sayings of Prophet Muhammad on whom be peace and Blessings of Allah Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (peace be on him) said, “There are three types of people whom Allah will neither talk to, nor look at, on the Day of Resurrection. (They are): 1 . A man who takes an oath falsely that he has been offered for his goods so much more than what he is given, 2. A man who takes a false oath after the Asr prayer in order to grab a Muslim’s property, and 3. A man who withholds his superfluous water. Allah will say to him, “Today I will withhold My grace from you as you withheld the superfluity of what you had not created.” Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle (peace be on him) said, “No doubt, you had better gather a bundle of wood and carry it on your back (and earn your living thereby) rather than ask somebody who may give you or not.”

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