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Editorial

In matters of religion, it is easy to get sidetracked into customs, traditions and practices at a rudimentary level, without under- standing the reasoning and philo- sophy behind religion. But when we examine the purpose of religion, life and even of the Review of Religions itself, we see that actually it is to achieve personal renewal and enlightenment, and to distance onself from worldly matters in order to refresh the soul. These are the subjects covered in the context of the five pillars of Islam in the Malfoozat article this month. In this key work, the Promised Messiah(as) describes the real purpose and meaning of fasting, praying, monetary sacrifice and the pilgrimage of Hajj. The article shows how enlightenment is gained by whole-heartedly partaking in these activities without a care for how the world views such activities. It is also interesting in our centenary year of this prestigious magazine to refer back to the original objectives of the magazine a hundred years ago. Again, the Editorial from 1902 talks about the moral decay of society, and the need to direct people towards the essence of religion(s) rather than the outwards differences. The editorial talks about the need to cause a change in peoples lives such that they develop their spiritual side with at least as much zeal (if not more) than they would devote to worldly affairs. Finally, it is with great sadness that we report the demise of Maulana Bashir Orchard, the first European Muslim missionary, and a dedicated author of this magazine for so many years in the 1980’s and 1990’s. We have reproduced his autobiography Life Sketch in which he brings all of the concepts described above into the context of the transformation of his own life. He shows how the teachings and practices of Islam transformed his life from an English Army officer to an outstanding Muslim missionary who provided inspiration to so many people around him based upon his own conduct and appearance. Perfection can never be reached, but the quest for perfection is in itself perfection. This issue of the Review of Religions tackles the subject of the purpose of man’s life and the quest to improve through these inspiring articles. May Allah enable us all to take inspiration from these works and to change our own lives for the better. Amin. 2 Review of Religions – July 2002 Editorial