Islam today is under intense scrutiny – since 9/11 interest has particularly rocketed. Countless television programmes, documentaries, newspaper and magazine articles and lectures on Islam have been featured. Professors, politicians, analysts and even priests – almost everyone wants to convey their opinion on Islam. Much of this coverage has led to welcome interest and has been positive, helping to remove many of the misconceptions about Islam. However, a greater proportion of the coverage has focussed on trying to portray Islam as a backward and dangerous religion. A survey undertaken in 2007 revealed that 91% of articles in national newspapers in Britain in one week’s news coverage were negative.1 The media does play an important role in helping to inform the world of what Islam really stands for, however, driven partly by prejudice, and partly by ignorance about the true teachings of Islam, parts of the media have attached stereotypes to Muslims and Islam, with Islam being called “extremist”, “terrorist” and “fundamental”.
As a result, the issue of Muslim immigration to Western countries has led to a particularly intense and frantic debate, with Europeans apprehensive of the number of Muslims settling in their countries. There are now over 53 million Muslims in Europe. The decadent actions of certain Muslim groups, who are an insignificant minority, combined with the portrayal of Islam in the media, have led to questions being asked. What practices will Muslims bring with them? How will their lifestyles affect the local communities? With the lens of the world focussed on Islam, Muslims have responded in different ways. Some Muslims have followed a very rigid interpretation of the Shariah, the Islamic law, and responded to attacks against Islam violently. A frustrated section of the Muslims is incited to rise up for a violent struggle. Other Muslims have taken an apologetic stance, diluting some of the core Islamic teachings to adopt Western ways that appease the West, and in the process often introduce major changes into Islam, such as abrogating entire verses of the Holy Qur’an.
However, the real Islam of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw), the Founder of Islam, reflected a balanced approach – taking the middle course, which neither poles of Muslims are truly representing. Instead, the real Islam today is truly represented by that group who resort to a peaceful struggle, and who utilise the ‘pen’ to respond to the attacks against Islam. They are in the process of an intellectual battle to win the hearts and minds of people through superior arguments, love and service to mankind. This group – the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – was founded by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), who claimed to be the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi awaited by all major religions. The Prophet Muhammad(saw) had prophesied that in the latter age the Muslims would forget the essence of Islam, and would deviate from real Islamic teachings. The Messiah and Mahdi would therefore be appointed by God to revive the true Islamic teachings, by providing the correct interpretation of the Qur’an and Islamic practices. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) claimed to be that very Messiah and Mahdi.
Since its inception in 1889, the Ahmadiyya Community has tirelessly been replying to allegations against Islam, and has been promoting the real message of Islam, of peace, love and mutual cooperation between all peoples. Now established in 200 countries of the world, the Ahmadiyya Community has translated the Qur’an into 70 languages, and run the first 24-hour Muslim television station, Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International. Currently the 5th Khalifa (successor to the Promised Messiah) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), continues the mission of spreading Islam’s true essence. He has delivered a large number of lectures all over the world where he tackles burning issues relating to Islam and its doctrines. Our main article in this edition features a recent lecture by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) in Germany, in light of the issue of Muslim immigration in Germany. We invite our readers to study this true portrayal of Islam, and the manner in which the Ahmadiyya Muslim community reacts to any crises or objections against Islam – which is with rational arguments, and with love, and by explaining what Islam really and truly stands for, and how the Qur’an is absolutely relevant to the pressing needs of the world today.