Book Review

42 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS BOOK REVIEW (Naeem Osman Memon) THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE TEACHINGS OF ISLAM BY MIRZA GHULAM AHMAD OF QADIAN First published: Urdu edition. India 1895 Translations available in English, French, Italian. English Translation: His Excellency Sir Chaudhry Muhammad Zafrullah Khan: Published by: Islam International Publications Ltd, Price: Hard bound £4.00 paper back: £3.00 Originally written as an address to the Conference of Religions held at Lahore in December 1895, the paper has been translated in several languages of the world and is definetely and decisively the best exposition of. the philosophy of Islamic teachings. The five essential questions discussed by the author refer to the Islamic concepts of : a.The physical, moral and spiritual states of man. b. The Islamic concept of life after death. c. The object of man’s life on this earth and the avenues through which it can be attained. BOOK REVIEW 43 d. The impact of man’s action on his life in this world and the hereafter. e. The sources of knowledge. The opening chapter of this very scholarly thesis discusses the three distinctive conditions of man and explains how, through a proper regulation of his physical conditions, a person can acquire the intermediary moral state which eventually leads one to the state of spiritual refinement. The discussion includes a long list of physical and moral evils which need to be shunned before one can successfull aspire to attain the ultimate and absolute state of spirituality. Quranic prohibitions concerning forbidden marriage contracts, consumption of liquor and the flesh of swince, eating of carrion, dishonesty and falsehood, unchastity, misappropriation of property and lack of charity, discord and anger and indulgences in games of chance are discussed at length. The book also contains a discussion on several physical and moral qualities including such virtues as maintaining a high standard of physical cleanliness, courage and endurance, sympathy and charity, truthfulness and piety, benevolence and justice and also chastity and piety. The second half of the first chapter sets forth some proofs of God’s existence. It details some essential attributes of the Almighty and also the means of establishing a perfect relationship with the Creator, The second chapter of the book discusses the state of man after death and discusses the three stages of creation – the first being in this world, the second being the intermediate state between the first creation and the resurrection and the third being the final state of resurrection. The chapter also includes a short discussion on the question of hell and heaven. The third chapter of the book is devoted to the object of man’s creation and the means of attaining this object the object itself being, in the words of Almighty: “I have created men and jinn so that they may know Me and worship me.” (Quran 51:57) The eminent author then discusses the inpact of man’s actions on his life in this world and the hereafter and the final chapter of the book is devoted to three sources of Divine knowledge which the Holy Quran summarizes as ‘Knowledge by the way of certainity of inference, knowledge by the way of certainity by sight and knowldege by the way of certainity of experience. 44 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS The book is a scholarly exposition of the philosophy of Islamic teachings. The author’s deep insight of Quranic teachings is doubtlessly remarkable. The questions are discussed with due regard to human nature and environmental influences and the author’s conclusions which are based upon the wisdom of the Holy Quran are extremely persuasive. Although the subjects discussed are profoundly intricate, yet the author’s simplicity of style makes the book easily comprehensible. It is hence not surprising that the book has been well received in theological circles for more than nine decades. At the time of its reading, the Spiritual Journal of Boston declared theat the paper was ‘pure Gospel’. The Indian Spectator commented that it was ‘An exposition of the Quran in a very attractive form.’ The Theosophical Notes observed that the paper was The best and most attractive presentation of the faith of Muhammad which we have yet come across.’ And to sum up the Indian Review stated that the book was: ‘Very entertaining and pleasent reading, lucid, comprehensive and philosophical. It evokes admiration. The book deserves to be in the hands of every Muhammadan student and also in the libraries of those who wish to know something of the Muhammadan religion.’ The price was well deserved since it is the best book written on this subject. A better one is positively not available. ACCEPTANCE OF PRAYER It is a truth that he who does not work for the acceptance of his prayer does not pray, but tries God Almighty. Therefore, before making supplication it is necessary to put forth every effort and that is the meaning of prayer. First a supplicant should check on his beliefs and actions for it is the way of God Almighty that reform comes in the shape of means which he makes available in some form or another. (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad)