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Editorial

Words In Print [ We set out below the article written especially for the readers at our request by the former Editor in Chief of the Review of Religions (1984 to 1993) who passed away on 8 July 2002. This was the last article from this famous author. ] The Review of Religions h a s been serving the cause of truth for one hundred years and there lies in its printed words a wealth of spiritual knowledge and guidance: a treasure house of religious knowledge. Many a life has been awakened and inspired by the printed word and often more than by the spoken word. Lives have been turned around completely through the reading of the biography of a great man or woman. Even a few lines, a quotation or a poem has stirred and revolutionised the life of a person. Some people have described a particular book or books as their best friend or friends. Such can be the impact of the printed word. No doubt the eloquent words of a magnetic speaker can caste their influence upon the listeners but their impact is more often than not only temporary during the duration of the speech. It wears off when all is over. It is said of him, ‘A great speaker’ , ‘magnificent speech’, etc. but his message fails to take root. This is often the case and the listener does not implement the good advice to which he enjoyed listening. It fades from his memory in no time. This is not necessarily so in all cases but it is a common occurrence. ‘O men, how long will you keep listening to sermons and turning a deaf ear to them?’ Hadhrat Ali Surely Allah changes not the condition of a people until they change that which is in their hearts. (The Qur’an: Ch.13.v.12) A moving, cheerful or invigorating piece of music may captivate the listener at the time it is being played but the 2 Review of Religions – June 2002 Editorial inner emotions aroused fade away after it has ended. A tired and exhausted column of soldiers will pull back their shoulders and quicken their step in time with the music when the band strikes up a lively march; but when finished their energy saps. Similar is the case often with those who enjoy a good speech while it lasts. At the time it sounded inspirational but its effects seem to disappear afterwards. On the other hand the printed word is always there and can be read over and over again; but not so an oral speech from which it is not usually possible to remember all the points, quotations and references mentioned. The printed word is a permanent record from which one can constantly draw inspiration and guidance when- ever one chooses to do so. The lives of scores of people have been elevated in one way or another through the reading of the printed word. The biog- raphy or autobiography of a great personage has fired the ambition of many a youngster to emulate him or her in character and successful achievement. An inspiring book has uplifted many a soul towards God. The godless have become God-fearing. Evil doers have become saints. This is why Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), the Promised Messiah and Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya community in Islam, peace be upon him, urged his followers to read at least three times the eighty odd books of various lengths which he wrote for the glory of Islam. He knew the power of the printed word. Accordingly, he also founded the Review of Religions a century ago in 1902 which has done yeoman service in the dissi- pation of religious knowledge. Let it be our prayer that this magazine may continue to be a beacon of light for its readers in the years ahead. By Bashir Ahmad Orchard 3 Editorial Review of Religions – June 2002