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Notes and Comment – Resiliance of children

3The Review of Religions – June 2003 Resilience of Children Young children are dependent upon their parents for their food, security and development, and yet, when faced with challenges, they have been blessed with amazing resilience. In a recent tragedy, a plane was taking off for Khartoum in an internal flight in Sudan. Soon after take-off, the plane experienced difficulties and crashed. All of the 116 passengers and crew on board were killed except for a solitary 2 year old child which survived, and God Willing, is making a good recovery. In other natural disasters, we have seen that after terrible earthquakes in Japan, Algeria or Tu r k e y, often the survivors pulled out of w recked buildings after a few days a re small children. They stru g g l e d sometimes for days without food and water, and under extre m e trauma, and yet somehow they found the mental strength and will to survive and re c o v e r. Even in our homes, we have seen c h i l d ren do the most dangero u s things. They fall down the stairs, they push furniture on to themselves, and yet, more often than not, they get up, dust themselves off and carry on playing. An adult in a similar incident would have ended up with broken bones and internal bleeding. Children also seem m o re resilient emotionally t h rough marital breakups and other issues. They suff e r, and yet, they find a way to cope. In contrast, when we look at adults and the elderly, we get stuck in our ways and find it hard to cope with change. We suffer emotionally and our bodies are less able to recover fro m traumatic events. So what can we learn from this? Parents spend a lot of time and e n e rgy trying to train and develop children in their ability to walk and talk, and in their ability to fit into modern life. Parents worry about their child’s need to ride a bike, use a Notes & Comments 4 The Review of Religions – June 2003 c o m p u t e r, play sports, make friends, learn well at school, get good grades ….. and yet they also need to be given a strong spiritual platform! This is the one area which is often neglected. If a child is falling behind in its physical devel- opment, we worry straight away that it is too thin/ fat, too short, not walking properly, not talking or reading early enough. There are elaborate charts from which to compare the progress of a child against norms. These are all facets of a child that are visible externally. Also, when a child is at school, we get pointers if the child is failing to keep up with its class. Is spiritual development as important? It is the guidance that we provide in this area that helps the child to become balanced. It helps the child understand its role in society, responsibilities to its friends and family, neighbours and the community in general. It helps the child understand the universe and creation, and basically provides a framework in which it understands the goals of life. It sets a balance for the child in which it considers the purpose of its creation beyond the need to eat and survive. Too often, this side is neglected, and when the child has grown into an adult chasing a successful career, not caring about family, friends and community, then it is already too late. As we have seen several times, children are resilient, and that is the time to give them guidance to help them cope with the trials that they will face in later life. They need skills and attributes both in the physical and spiritual domain to survive and thrive. A deficiency in either side upsets the balance. The child that cheated death on the flight in Sudan will no doubt be pampered by its extended family. God has given the child a second chance. Let us hope that its guardians give it the best possible development both physically and mentally, but also spiritually to recover from this ordeal and to live a fulfilled life. Ameen. Fazal Ahmad– UK Notes and Comments Sahibzada Syed Abdul Latif was a descendant of the well-known saint Hadhrat Sheikh Abul Hasan Al Hajveri, who is generally known as Data Ganj Bakhsh and is buried in Lahore. Sahibzada Abdul Latif’s home was Sayyadgah in the Province of Khost in Afghanistan. He was a very learned divine, a gre a t religious leader and a man of saintly life. He was a recipient of revelation, and had fre q u e n t experience of true visions. He was a spiritual preceptor of note, and had a large number of disciples and followers in Afghanistan. He possessed large properties in Khost as well as in adjoining British territory. He had a high standing at court and was nominated one of the two representatives of Afghanistan on the Boundary Commission appointed in 1894 to demarcate the boundary between Afghanistan and British India, which came to be known as the Durand Commission, after Sir Mortimer Durand who was the senior British re p resentative on the Commission. Sahibzada Abdul Latif had become aware fairly early of the advent of the Pro m i s e d M e s s i a h( a s ). During the sittings of the Commission one of the members of the staff of the British re p resentatives presented a copy of the Promised Messiah’s(as) b o o k Ayena Kamalat Islam to Sahibzada Abdul Latif, who was deeply i m p ressed by its perusal and conceived great respect and a ffection for its author. After the Commission had concluded its work Sahibzada Abdul Latif established contact with the Promised Messiah( a s ) t h rough some of his disciples, 5The Review of Religions – June 2003 Martyrs of Afghanistan By Muhammad Zafrulla Khan – UK A century ago in July 1903, Sahibzada Abdul Latif(as) became one of the most significant martyrs in the history of Ahmadiyyat. Just two years earlier, Maulvi Abdur Rahman(as) had become the first Ahmadi martyr. This is an account of the martyrdom of Sahibzada Abdul Latif(as) taken from the authors book ‘Ahmadiyyat – Renaissance of Islam’ published in 1978. whom he sent from time to time to Qadian and who reported back to him and brought back with them the latest books, pamphlets and announcements of the Promised Messiah(as). Among these disciples of Sahibzada Abdul Latif ( r a ) w a s Maulvi Abdur Rahman( r a ) w h o visited Qadian several times as his emissary. In December 1900 the Sahibzada despatched his covenant of Ba’iat to the Promised M e s s i a h( a s ), together with some robes through Maulvi Abdur R a h m a n( r a ) and some other disciples. At that time in view of the agitation that had been set afoot in the Frontier areas against the British and which was described by the Mullas as Jihad, in consequence of which several British officers had been t re a c h e rously murd e red, the Promised Messiah (as) issued some pamphlets condemning such activities and set forth the correct teachings of Islam on the question of Jihad. Maulvi Abdur Rahman( r a ) s t u d i e d the pamphlets and, having fully grasped their import, gave e x p ression to the views set forth in them on his return to Kabul. This was brought to the notice of Amir Abdur Rahman, the then ruler of Afghanistan, who was gre a t l y incensed and directed the arre s t and incarceration of Maulvi Abdur R a h m a n( r a ). In the middle of 1901 Maulvi Abdur Rahman( r a ) w a s strangled to death in his cell at the instance of the Amir. He thus became the first martyr fro m among the followers of the P romised Messiah( a s ). Through his m a r t y rdom a portion of the revelation ‘ Two goats would be s l a u g h t e re d ‘, which had been vouchsafed to the Pro m i s e d M e s s i a h( a s ) several years earlier, was fulfilled. A few weeks after the assassination of Maulvi Abdur Rahman(ra), on 10 September 1901, Amir Abdur Rahman suffered a s e v e re paralytic stroke which made him bed-ridden and to which he succumbed on 3 October 1901. To w a rds the end of 1902 Sahibzada Abdul Latif(ra) set out f rom his home, with the permission of Amir Habibullah Khan, with the intention of proceeding on pilgrimage by way of Lahore, accompanied by two of his disciples and another divine. 6 Martyrs of Afghanistan The Review of Religions – June 2003 He had also in mind to pay a visit to Qadian so that he could have an opportunity of meeting the P romised Messiah ( a s ) in person. Thus he arrived in Qadian and was received by the Pro m i s e d M e s s i a h( a s ), who re c o rded the impression that he conceived of him in the following words: ‘I call God Almighty, in Whose hand is my life, to witness that when I met him I found him so completely committed and devoted to my obedience and the confirmation of my claim that it is not possible to conceive more of it in respect of any person. I perceived that he was as full of love for me as a crystal vial filled with perfume. It seemed to me that his heart was as illuminated as was his countenance.’ He had intended to stop at Qadian for only a few days, but his meeting with the Pro m i s e d Messiah(as) and the members of the Movement at that time present in Qadian affected him so powerfully that he postponed his p roceeding on pilgrimage and stayed on in Qadian for several months. As has been mentioned Sahibzada Sahib himself had experience of visions and revelation. He was, t h e re f o re, able to appre c i a t e deeply and appraise accurately the spiritual status of the Promised Messiah(as), and was so much overcome that he could not tear himself away from him. When in the end he asked for permission to return to Afghanistan and was granted it, the Promised Messiah(as) accom- panied him for two or three miles on his way. The moment of separation proved deeply affecting for both, and particularly painful for Sahibzada Abdul Latif(ra). By the time he departed from Qadian he was convinced that on his return home he would have to lay down his life in the cause of truth. He told some of his friends that during the last few days of his stay he had repeatedly received the revelation: ‘Offer your head! Offer your head!’ He also received the revelation: ‘Go to Pharaoh.’ While the Sahibzada Sahib was still in British territory he wrote a letter to Brigadier Muhammad Husain, Commissioner of Police, Kabul, explaining why he had not been able to go on pilgrimage and requested that the Brigadier should submit his explanation to Amir 7 Martyrs of Afghanistan The Review of Religions – June 2003

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