The Middle East

Dr. Abdus Salam and the Middle East Synchrotron

A new light source that does not seem to brighten the world of Muslim scientists.

Introduction One would have gone through the experience of an X-ray in a hospital some time or other. X- rays are very well known and so widely used that they require little introduction. Apart from a very useful medical diagnostic tool, X-rays are widely used in industry and a variety of applications such as m a t e r i a l s science re s e a rc h, which is the backbone of the electro n i c revolution. There is another s o u rce of light, namely s y n c h ro t ron radiation, which is much more powerful than traditional X-rays. It was experimentally observed for the first time in the electro n synchrotron, built at the General Electric Company in S c h e n e c t a d y, New York and hence the name synchro t ro n r a d i a t i o n1 – 2. Synchro t ron radi- ation (SR) has numero u s advantages over traditional X- ray sources and lasers. S y n c h ro t ron radiation labora- tories are large sources of X-rays used to study materials at the molecular and atomic level. SR is p roduced by accelerating electrons in through a large ring (several hundred metres in c i rc u m f e rence) almost at the speed of light. This causes the e l e c t rons to emit X-rays with 54 The Review of Religions – March 2003 Professor Abdus Salam and the Middle-East Synchroton By Sameen Ahmed KHAN – Atlanta, USA There has been a recent move to establish a Synchrotron facility (a new light source more powerful than X-rays) in Jordan in the Middle East and this presents an opportunity for scientists from across the Middle East to unite and share in technological advancement. In this article, the author traces the progress of this project, and then puts it in the context of how the Muslim World went from being at the leading edge of scientific advancement to its current sorry state of being a quiet observer, and what Muslims need to do to once again propel themselves to the forefront of science. This is one of the things the late Professor Abdus Salam, a distinguished Ahmadi Muslim, eminent scientist and Nobel laureate, desired and strove for. additional special pro p e r t i e s . This interesting physical phenomenon of the emission of light (with very special p roperties) by the whirling e l e c t rons, now known by the very familiar name synchrotron radiation had its theore t i c a l beginnings even before the discovery of X-rays in the nineteenth century. The accurate and very detailed prediction of SR was a direct consequence of the unification of electricity and magnetism into electro – magnetism by Faraday and Maxwell. The tradition to search for unity in basic laws of nature has led to remarkable re s u l t s . Following this tradition led Professor Abdus Salam to the discovery of the unification of the electromagnetic and the weak nuclear forces into the electroweak force. The X-rays from a synchrotron are a billion times brighter than a typical clinical X-ray source. SR is the most powerful light pro- duced by humans. Applications of X-rays are based on their ability to pass through matter; the more energetic the deeper they penetrate. This ability varies; for example wood and flesh are easily penetrated, but denser substances such a metals and bone are harder to penetrate. Beams of X-rays emerge from the ring in tubes called beamlines, set at intervals around the ring. Instruments at the ends of the beamlines hold samples to be studied and produce 3-D images of a variety of substances. The applications of the SR span a wide range of domains in fundamental science (chemistry, physics, biology, molecular medicine, etc.) applied research (materials science, medical imaging, pharmaceutical re s e a rch advanced radiology, etc.) and industrial technology ( m i c ro-fabrication, micro – analysis, photo-chemistry, etc.). SR facilities are technologically challenging, requiring a team of dozens of experts even for their day-to-day running. These facilities are prohibitively costly, about several hundred million US dollars. In contrast the X-ray machines in clinics can be run by a single person and cost just a few thousand US$. Hence, there are few SR facilities in operation 55 Professor Abdus Salam and the Middle-East Synchroton The Review of Religions – March 2003 despite their numero u s applications. World wide there a re about 50 SR facilities in operation, a dozen under construction and another dozen being planned3. It re q u i re s several years and government p a t ronage to build such facilities. In all there are 23 countries: Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, England, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ta i w a n , Thailand, Ukraine and USA. From this list it is very glaring that the continent of Africa is yet to have its first SR facility, South America has one and Australia is planning. In Asia there are 29 s y n c h ro t rons located in nine c o u n t r i e s4. USA has 12. S y n c h ro t rons breathe tech- nology! Japan has seventeen, the highest figure for a single c o u n t r y. This is definitely interwoven with the grand industrial success of Japan. India has the experience and expertise of indigenously building two s y n c h ro t rons. Both are at the Centre of Advanced Technology, in Indore. The region of the Middle East has been just blessed. Synchrotrons are very flexible devices5 – 6. By re u s i n g most of the major components their performance can be upgraded at an incremental cost that is small compared with the cost of construction of a new synchrotron. In recent years this flexibility is being innovatively exploited to relocate the very g e n e rously donated synchro – trons to those locations, which a re under- re p resented in the World Synchrotron Map7. The Middle East Synchrotron Jordan is the first country from the Middle East to join the elite g roup of 23 countries with a s y n c h ro t ron light sourc e8 – 1 0 thanks to the generous gift of Berliner Elektro n e n – S p i e c h e r r i n g für Synchrotronstrahlung (BESSY- I)11, fully functioning since 1982 in Berlin, Germany, to the region of the Middle East. It is worth about sixty million US dollars. The project is known by the acronym SESAME: Synchrotron- light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East12. 56 Professor Abdus Salam and the Middle-East Synchroton The Review of Religions – March 2003 The SESAME Project reached a major milestone in 2000 with the selection of a site in Jordan13-14. SESAME is the upgraded reincarnation of BESSY-I. A c o n t rolled and documented dismantling, of BESSY-I was completed by a team of experts from Armenia and Russia, with funds from the SESAME member countries and UNESCO. On Monday the 6th January 2003, King Abdullah laid the cornerstone for the upcoming International Centre. The ceremony was attended by, the UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura. The upcom- ing joint SR facility, the first regional centre for co-operation in basic research in the Middle East, is also serving as a seed for an International Centre built around the facility 15. SESAME is located at a site in Allaan, about 30km from the Capital Amman. SESAME is open to scientists from any country in the region or elsewhere. Because of this openness, organisers see its potential as not only a world- class research centre, but also as a politically important example of scientific co-operation in the region. Such a centre has been long overdue and it shall be the first of its kind in the region. The C e n t re is to be operated and supported by its 13 I n t e r i m Council Members: Bahrain, C y p rus, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Several countries are partic- ipating as Observer Countries, which include, Armenia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Russia, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA1 6. Several other countries have expressed an interest to join this new fount of science and medium of international co- operation. The founders of the SESAME Project envisage a facility similar in aim to the Euro p e a n Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) in Geneva, which b rought together numero u s scientists from countries that had fought each other during the two World Wars. SESAME is expected to mirror CERN in stimulating regional re s e a rc h 57 Professor Abdus Salam and the Middle-East Synchroton The Review of Religions – March 2003 collaboration17-19. Very much like CERN, SESAME is under the very valuable political umbrella of UNESCO and is expected to p romote science and foster international co-operation. A b road spectrum of re s e a rc h p rogrammes is planned including, structural molecular b i o l o g y, molecular enviro n – mental science, surface and interface science, micro-electro- mechanical devices, X-ray imaging, archaeological micro – analysis, materials character- isation, and medical applications. It has taken several years for the idea of donation to be set on course to evolve from a vision to a system. A considerably significant point to this success was the Sinai Physics Meeting, held at the Egyptian resort of Dahab, on the Gulf of Aqaba, in November 199520. This historic Meeting was conceived by the Italian physicist Sergio Fubini21 of the University of Turin, which led directly to the formation of the Middle East Science Collaboration (MESC) in 1997. MESC constitutes a network of scientists promoting research co- operation between Europe, the USA and the Middle East. The idea of relocating BESSY-I was further taken through the MESC in a series of meetings held under the auspices of the UNESCO, CERN, Abdus Salam International Centre for T h e o retical Physics (Abdus Salam ICTP) to name a few22. Herwig Schopper, former Director-General of CERN and a member of MESC is the P resident of the SESAME P roject’s Interim Council. Jordan’s King Abdullah II has pledged US $1m a year for five years and the member countries a re expected to contribute US$50,000 per year during the c o n s t ruction phase. With the continued progress and support from the SESAME members and several other sources it is expected that the re s e a rc h programmes will start in 2006. Abdus Salam and the Middle East Synchrotron B e f o re addressing the re c e n t attempts to build institutions in the Middle East, we need to recall the glorious period of science and technology in the Arab World a few centuries 58 Professor Abdus Salam and the Middle-East Synchroton The Review of Religions – March 2003 back. So far as the sciences are concerned, the Muslim Ummah (community) has a very proud past. For about 350 years from 750-1100 CE, the Ummah had an absolute ascendancy in all the fields of knowledge then known, f rom Astronomy to Zoology. During this period known as the Golden Age of Science in the Islamic Wo r l d, Muslims made n u m e rous and multi- disciplinary contributions to humanity and the Islamic civilisation23. From 1100 CE and for another 250 years, Muslims shared this ascendancy with the emerging West. From the 15th century they progressively lost out. This period of continuous decline paradoxically coincides with the great Empires of Islam: Osmani in Turkey; Sufvi in Iran; and Mughal in India. By about 1500 this decline was complete. A detailed and historical account is available in the encyclopedic works of Sarton24 and Gibb25. It is difficult to say for certain about all the causes responsible for the decline of science in Islam. However, it is very certain that the priorities (of the rulers) have been very different for too long. For example, while the E u ropeans were busy making universities and numero u s institutions, the Mughal E m p e rors were busy making palaces and tombs! The trends and tendencies of the Muslim rulers of the present period are not very different. It is recognised that 80% of the world’s population lives in the Third World; a loose depressing description of a large, diverse group of countries, which seem to be interminably involved in a futile struggle against the c rushing burdens of poverty, hunger, disease, strife and war. Muslim countries constitute a large fraction of the countries in this category of the Third World. There is no question that today, out of all civilisations on this planet, science is weakest in the lands of Islam. The danger of this great weakness cannot be o v e remphasised since hon- ourable survival of a society depends directly on its strength in Science and Technology. In keeping with the successful experience of the developed countries, we must remember, there are no short cuts. A nation must impart hard scientific 59 Professor Abdus Salam and the Middle-East Synchroton The Review of Religions – March 2003 training to more than half of its manpower. Each country must allocate at least 1-2% of the Gross National Product (GNP) on Research and Development (R&D). The oil rich Arab countries are allotting even less than their poor African counterparts! Region-wise figures in Table-A a re a testimony to this stark re a l i t y. Besides, they should spend over 5% on education. About half the Muslim countries a re meeting the expenditure norms on education. But for R&D, they are far below the international norms. These figures are for civilian allotment. The expenditure on the defence- oriented research is in addition to this. Most of the Muslim countries are spending much less than the international norms of about 5% of their GNP on health. The reduced investment on R&D makes a significant 60 Professor Abdus Salam and the Middle-East Synchroton The Review of Religions – March 2003 Region Scientists/ Engineers in R&D (per million inhabitants) Expenditure on R&D (% of GNP) Population (millions) Africa (All) 627 211 0.3 Africa (Sub-Saharan) 464 113 0.3 Arab States (All) 234 356 0.2 Arab States in Africa 163 489 0.2 Arab States in Asia 71 52 0.2 Asia 3,332 537 1.3 Europe 714 2,476 1.7 North America 295 3,599 2.6 Oceania 29 3,071 1.6 South America 487 715 0.5 World 5,483 946 1.6 TABLE-A: Statistical Data for Regions 1996/1997 Source: State of Technology in the World 1996-97. UNESCO Institute of Statistics (2001) d i ff e rence. For instance, the entire Muslim world produces only 500 PhDs in all sciences every year; in contrast, the UK alone produces 3,000. In 1999 the USA produced 1,600 PhDs in physics alone. Muslim countries should create centres of excellence in science and tech- nology; create scholarships to allow bright students to study and develop skills needed to raise their countries out of illiteracy and poverty. Will the present day rulers care to build Palaces of Science, the Centres of Advanced Studies? Will they ever strive to create the Commonwealth of Science for Islamic Countries? Unless and until steps are taken to address the above questions in a realistic m a n n e r, there can be no renaissance of science in the Islamic countries, let alone the ambitions of the creation of a Political Commonwealth of Islamic C o u n t r i e s. Without these, the Muslim countries (and their citizens) may never be able to lead a normal existence, full of dignity, in the comity of nations. It is essential to recall the earlier attempts (though unsuccessful and now almost and conve- niently forgotten) to build institutions (including synchro- tron radiation facilities) in the Middle East26-27. The originator of these attempts is none other than Professor Abdus Salam, a co-winner of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics, the founder and long-time director of the ICTP (in November 1997 on the occasion of the first anniversary of Professor Salam’s death, it was renamed the Abdus Salam I C T P, to commemorate its founder) and a humanitarian who devoted much of his life to uplifting the status of science and technology in the third world28-31. The ICTP is located in Trieste, Italy, and was founded by Professor Abdus Salam in 1964, under the auspices of the IAEA with very genero u s support from the Italian Government. This genero u s support is responsible for the 90% of the ICTP annual budget of over US$20m. A few years later UNESCO also joined in extending support to the new Centre. P rofessor Abdus Salam had d reamed of creating 20 61 Professor Abdus Salam and the Middle-East Synchroton The Review of Religions – March 2003 international centres like the I C T P, spread throughout the w o r l d3 2 – 3 3. ICTP attracts thou- sands of visitors every year, mostly from the developing countries for whom, it was created. As part of that vision, he actively promoted the idea of advancing the cause of science and technology in the Middle East, not only by having re s e a rchers from the re g i o n work with their colleagues in the developed world, but also by having the region develop its own facilities including synchrotron laboratories! In May 1983, at the Symposium on the Future Outlook of the Arabian Gulf University held in Bahrain, P rofessor Abdus Salam delivered a Paper entitled, The Gulf University and Science in the Arab-Islamic Commonwealth, in which he reminded his listeners that: ‘We forget that an accelerator like the one at CERN develops sophisticated modern technology at its furthest limit. I am not advocating that we should build a CERN for Islamic countries. However, I cannot but feel envious that a relatively poor country like Greece has joined CERN, paying a subscription according to the standard GNP formula. I cannot rejoice that Tu r k e y, or the Gulf countries, or Iran, or Pakistan seem to show no ambition to join this fount of science and get their men catapulted into the forefront of the latest technological expertise. Working with CERN Accelerators brings at the least this reward to a nation, as Greece has had the perception to realise’32 He then went on to make the following points: ‘I have mentioned an international laboratory in materials sciences for Bahrain, with specialisation in m i c ro e l e c t ronics and modern electronic communications, includ- ing space satellite communication, to help also with the banking communications needed at Bahrain. Such a laboratory was in fact p roposed for the University of Jeddah. The idea was to emphasise science transfer in addition to technology transfer and to create international laboratories in the fields of materials sciences, including surface physics and a laboratory with a synchro t ro n radiation light source. The facilities 62 Professor Abdus Salam and the Middle-East Synchroton The Review of Religions – March 2003 c reated would have been of the highest possible international order; the laboratories would have been opened to teams of international researchers, who would congregate and work at Jeddah, just as they c o n g regate now at the gre a t laboratories in Hamburg, Geneva or Paris’.32 Had the above project been followed even partly, the Arab World would have had a Super Gulf University (with lab- oratories in biotechnology, materials science and synch- rotron radiation facilities and a lot more) and today we would be celebrating two decades of its existence with achievements. One of the other monumental c reations of Professor Abdus Salam was the Third Wo r l d Academy of Science (TWAS)34. It is an autonomous international organisation, founded in Trieste, in 1983 and was off i c i a l l y launched by Javier Pérez de C u e l l a r, the then Secre t a r y General of the United Nations in 1985. TWAS’s curre n t membership, which includes 16 Nobel Laureates, totals 586 scientists (480 Fellows from 62 developing countries and 106 Associate Fellows from 14 developed countries). In 1991 UNESCO assumed re s p o n – sibility for administering TWAS funds and staff. Since its inception, TWAS has been supporting re s e a rch work of scientific merit in 100 countries, t h rough a variety of pro – grammes35. TWAS has served as one of the most articulate and forceful voices for the promotion of excellence in scientific research and the advancement of science-based development in the developing world. TWA S spearheaded the creation of the T h i rd World Network of Scientific Org a n i s a t i o n s (TWNSO) in 1988, by ministers of science and technology and higher education and heads of science academies and re s e a rc h councils in the developing countries. This has enabled the link of scientific re s e a rch to public policy by bringing sci- entists and public off i c i a l s together in efforts designed to f o rge sustainable science-based development strategies. TWNSO’s membership now totals 155 leading policy making institutions, including 34 63 Professor Abdus Salam and the Middle-East Synchroton The Review of Religions – March 2003 ministries of science and technology and 45 re s e a rc h councils and academies. TWAS also played a key role in the establishment of the Third World Organisation for Women in Science (TWOWS), which was officially launched in Cairo in 1993. Today TWOWS has more than 2200 members and is recognised as the leading voice for women scientists in the developing countries. Concluding Remarks SESAME envisages a road map for science, technology and co- operation in the Middle East, but at the same time, SESAME does not totally fulfil the dreams of Professor Abdus Salam because many countries from the Middle East are yet to participate. The driving force is coming fro m outside of Middle East and not f rom within. The numero u s novel projects suggested by Professor Abdus Salam were all consistently rejected by the Muslim countries, including his native country Pakistan. This is definitely due to the indifference which the Muslim world has towards science, education and development. Such pro j e c t s should be revived for the new Super Gulf University, thereby making it accessible to researchers internationally, and particularly to the researchers in Muslim countries. It is very disheartening that many countries from the Middle East are yet to participate in the novel project of SESAME. These countries are missing an excellent opportunity in the arena of International Scientific Collaboration. The same is the sad state of affairs for countries in the rest of Asia and the continent of Africa. Many of these countries have had very old ties with the countries of the Middle East since very ancient times. In recent decades, these ties have been further s t rengthened by their larg e presence in the region, leading to active economic collaboration. Nature in one of its editorials aptly advised, ‘… any potential funder is not to hold back, for this would be a worthwhile investment. Initiatives such as this do not come around often. When they do, they should be supported unhesi- tatingly’36. Scientific co-operation a c ross the geo-graphical and cultural borders helps stimulate not only the advancement of 64 Professor Abdus Salam and the Middle-East Synchroton The Review of Religions – March 2003 ideas in the professional field, but also the building of lasting bridges and the establishment of contacts on the personal and m o re importantly the international level. The costs involved for participation are not much, for any country. References 1. JD. Jackson, Classical Electro d y n a m i c s, Third Edition, (Wiley, New York, 1999). 2. Handbook of Accelerator Physics and Engineering, Editors, A. W. Chao and M. Ti g n e r, (World Scientific, Singapore , 1999). 3. Sameen Ahmed Khan, The World of Synchrotrons, Resonance, 6, No. 11, pp. 77-86 (November 2001), (Monthly Publication of the Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS)). E – P r i n t a r X i v : p h y s i c s / 0 1 1 2 0 8 6 . h t t p : / / w w w. a r x i v. o rg / a b s / p h y s i c s / 0 1 12086/ 4. Sameen Ahmed Khan, Synchro t ro n Radiation (in Asia), ATIP Report No. ATIP02.034, 28 pages (21 August 2002). (The Asian Technology Information Programme, Tokyo, Japan, 2002). 5 Sameen Ahmed Khan, The Story of the Relocated Synchrotrons, Indian Science Cruiser, 15, No. 2, 26-30 (April 2001). 6. Sameen A. Khan and Susan M. Reiss, Donated Synchro t ron will further Middle East Co-operation; Sharing Synchrotrons, Optics & Photonics News, 13, No. 11, pp. 14-15 (November 2002). 7. World Synchro t ron Map We b s i t e : h t t p : / / w w w – 8. Heather McCabe, Middle East’s synchrotron heads for Jordan, Nature, 404, 798 (20 April 2000). 9. Sameen Ahmed Khan, Jordan to host Middle East synchrotron, ICFA Beam Dynamics Newsletter, 22, 6-7 (August 2000). (ICFA: International Committee for Future Accelerators). 10. Sameen Ahmed Khan, A German Synchrotron for the Middle East, IRPS Bulletin, 16 (2), 5-8 (August 2002). (IRPS: International Radiation Physics Society). 11. BESSY Website: 12. SESAME We b s i t e : 13. Leif Gerward, SESAME site selected in Jordan, IRPS Bulletin, 14 (4), (December 2000). (IRPS: International Radiation Physics Society). 14. Sameen Ahmed Khan, A Synchrotron Radiation Facility in the Middle East, ICO Newsletter, 51, pp. 3 (April 2002); Supplement to Optics & Photonics News , 13 No. 2, pp.3 (April 2002). (ICO: International Commission for Optics). 15. Ehsan Masood, Middle East s y n c h ro t ron facility could bring regional co-operation, Nature, 399, 507- 508 (10 June 1999). 16. Heather McCabe, Jordan chosen to open SESAME, Nature, 406, 221 (20 July 2000). 17. Herwig Schopper, SESAME: a mini CERN for the Middle East, C E R N Courier, 40 (2), 17-18 (March 2000). 65 Professor Abdus Salam and the Middle-East Synchroton The Review of Religions – March 2003 18. E d i t o r, SESAME Opens the Door to Middle East Co-operation, C E R N Courier, 42 (9), (November 2002). 19. Matin Durrani, Jordan lab breaks new ground, Physics World, 16 (1), 5 (January 2003). 20. Roman Jackiw, Arabs, Israelis and Westerners attend first Sinai physics meeting, Physics To d a y, 49 (2), 11 – 1 3 (February 1996). 21. Roman Jackiw and Sameen Ahmed Khan, Fubini and Salam inspired plans for Mideast Synchrotron, Physics Today, 53 (1), 78 (January 2000). 22. Regina Rochow, Supporting the SESAME Project, Elettra News, Vol. 40 (08 June 2001). 23. Zakaria Virk, Islamic Contribution to European Awakening. 24. George Sarton, Introduction to the history of science, in four volumes, (Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, 1962). 25. H. A. R. Gibb, The Encyclopaedia of Islam, (Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands, 1986). 26. Sameen Ahmed Khan, Salam’s bright idea, Physics Wo r l d, 12 (11), 15 (November 1999). 27. Sameen Ahmed Khan, Opening SESAME, CERN Courier , 40 (5), 38 (April 2000). 28. Sameen A. Khan, The International C e n t re for Theoretical Physics—A Personal Impression, Al-Nahl Special Issue on Dr. Abdus Salam Vol. 8, pp. 122- 124 (Fall 1997). 29. C. P. Singh, Abdus Salam – Life and Work, Physics News , 27, No. 4, pp. 181- 183 (December 1996). (Publication of the IPA, the Indian Physics Association). 30. Jogesh C. Pati, Obituary of Abdus Salam, Physics To d a y, 50 (8), 74-75 (August 1997). 31. T. W. B. Kibble, Muhammad Abdus Salam, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, 44, 385-401 (1998). 32. Abdus Salam, in Renaissance of Sciences in Islamic Countries, Editors: H. R. Dalafi and M. H, A. Hassan, (World Scientific, Singapore, 1994). 33. Abdus Salam, in Ideals and Realities, third edition, Editors: C. H. Lai and Azim Kidwai, (World Scientific, Singapore, 1989). 34. TWAS Website: 35. M. Akhtar, Some personal reflections on the origin of TWAS and the evolution of its mission, Current Science, 81 (8), pp. 927-929 (25 October 2001). 36. E d i t o r, A cause worth funding: A German synchrotron would be good for the Middle East, Nature, 309, 505 (10 June 1999). 66 Professor Abdus Salam and the Middle-East Synchroton The Review of Religions – March 2003 ‘The Promised Messiah( a s ) prophesied that a third world war of even bigger dimensions would follow the second. The two opposing camps will clash with such suddenness that everyone will be caught unawares. Death and destruction will rain from the sky and fierce flames shall engulf the earth. The colossus of modern civilisation will tumble to the ground… their might broken and their systems shattered.… A people who are seeking to wipe out the name of God from the earth and to drive Him out of the skies will realise the folly of their ways and at long last submit to Him as staunch believers in His Unity and Oneness…. You may consider this a fantasy. But those who survive the third world war will witness and bear out the truth of what I have said. These are the words of God A l m i g h t y. They shall be fulfilled. No one can avert His decree.’ (A Message of Peace and a Word of Warning by Hadrat Hafiz Mirza Nasir Ahmad, July 1967) The Promised Messiah( a s ) a l s o wrote: “Remember, God has informed me of many earthquakes. Rest a s s u red, there f o re, that as earthquakes have shaken America and Europe so will they shake Asia. Some of them will resemble the Day of Doom. So many people shall die that rivulets of blood shall flow. Even the birds and beasts will not be immune against this death. A havoc shall sweep the surface of the earth which shall be the greatest since the birth of man. Habitations shall be demolished as if no one had ever lived in them. This will be accompanied by many other calamities the earth and the heavens will send forth, till their extraordinary nature will become evident to every reasonable man. All the l i t e r a t u re of science and philosophy shall fail to show their like. Then mankind will be s o re distressed and wonder what is going to happen. Many 67The Review of Religions – March 2003 A Message of Peace and a Word of Warning shall escape and many perish. The days are near, in fact, I can see them close at hand, when the earth shall witness a terrible sight. Not only earthquakes but also many fearsome calamities shall overtake man, some from the skies and some from the earth. This will happen because mankind has stopped wor- shipping its true God and has become lost in the affairs of the world with all its heart, effort and intent. Had I not come, these afflictions would have been delayed a little. But with my coming the secret purpose of an affronted God which were hidden so far, became manifest. Says God: “We never punish unless We send a Messenger.” Those who repent shall find security and those who fear before calamity overtakes them shall be shown mercy. Do you think you will be immune from these calamities? Or can you save yourselves through artifice or design? Indeed not. That day all human schemes shall fail. Think not that earthquakes visited America and other continents but that your own country shall remain secure . Indeed, you may experience a g reater hardship. O Euro p e , you are not safe and O Asia, you too, are not immune. And O dweller of islands, no false gods shall come to your rescue. I see cities fall and settlements laid waste. The One and Only God kept silent for long. Heinous deeds were done before His eyes and He said nothing. But now He shall reveal His face in majesty and awe. Let him who has ears hear that the time is not far. I have done my best to bring all under the protection of God but it was destined that what was written should come to pass. Truly, do I say that the turn of this land too is approaching fast. The times of Noah shall reappear before our eyes and your eyes will be witnesses to the calamity that overtook the cities of Lot. But God is slow in His wrath. Repent that you may be shown mercy! He who does not fear Him is dead not alive.’ (Haqiqatul Wahy pp.256-57) 68 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – March 2003

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