Women and Islam

Treatment of Women by the West

45The Review of Religions – December 2003 Men are guardians over women because Allah has made some of them excel over others, and because they (men) spend of their wealth. So virtuous women [are those who] are obedient, and guard the secrets [of their husbands] with Allah’s protection. And [as for] those on whose part you fear disobedience, admonish them and leave them alone in their beds, and chastise them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Sure l y, Allah is High, Great. (Surah Al Nisa. Verse 35) Having recited the above verses of the Holy Qur’an and read its translation, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) said: I have previously covered most aspects of the verse that I have just recited. It has been the focus of the last three commentaries. I have commented on the issue raised by Rev. E. M. Wherry (a Western Orientalist) in that this particular verse plays a most significant role in distinguishing between Islamic and Christian societies and clarifies most vividly as to what the nature of any particular society is and the status it gives to women. Reluctantly, I responded to this giving just some examples of Christian society with reference to their faith. However as I was unable to complete my response due to time constraints, I now present the rest of the examples to you. A rejoinder to the continuing crriticism of the treatment of Muslim Women – the true status of women in the West. A Commentary on some verses of the Holy Qur’an delivered by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rahma’ullah) on 26th January 1997 at the Fazal Mosque, London. Translated from Urdu by Shermeen Butt Treatment of Women by the West 46 The Review of Religions – December 2003 Treatment of Women in the West I have already cited examples of the treatment meted out to women from a religious point of view in accusation of lewdness. The only way for a woman so accused to free herself from the accusation was for her to be submitted to a horrifying procedure born of nascency. She was made to drink a filthy concoction and the dirt from around the church was crammed into her mouth, and if this did not result in her abdomen becoming distended then she was deemed innocent. If otherwise she was condemned to ignominy. There is no requirement what-soever for any man so accused to prove his innocence. Islam is more equable in that both men and women have a right to imprecate against the offender, and if a woman denied a man’s calumny under oath then she would certainly not be punished. In both instances four oaths are required and therefore the notion that there is disparity in the number of oaths taken is also wrong. Both men and women take the oath four times. If both refute each other on oath, then their affair is entrusted to Allah. A more rational and equitable teaching cannot be envisaged, indeed has not been envisaged to this day. Now I shall present before you their treatment towards women with reference to their teachings, which was prevalent in their culture from a very long time ago until the very recent past, and was exclusively influenced by Christine doctrine. My research- es show that the central reference in the Bible regarding the accusation of sorcery and the dreadful cruelty perpetrated on women so accused is that of Exodus, 22:18, which says: ‘Put to death any woman who practises magic’. . I am still looking for a definite reference as to how this custom was enforced in Christianity so strictly for there is no reference by Jesus (on whom be peace) stating how women accused of witchcraft should be dealt with. It is probable that Exodus is the only guide. How is it that Saint 47The Review of Religions – December 2003 Treatment of Women in the West Paul, having effectively a b r o – gated the Old Testament, cont- inued to proclaim that the teaching regarding the witch/sorceress continue to be followed, and why did the world later follow on, committing trans- gressions against Christianity, based on just this one reference? In fact it is the distorted outlook of the Church that is being made evident. This is the inevitable outcome whenever the ‘care- takers’ of a religion take control of the jurisprudence thereof. If they do not find an old reference to support their interpretation they categorically impose their own distorted, foul outlook on the masses. They associate such dreadful teaching to religion to protect their personal power and in order to maintain their repressive rule. The research to authenticate and determine the origin of this teaching in Christianity is ongoing for it is felt that some basis therefore must exist somewhere in the commentaries. However, I wish to say that the real Christian faith is completely free from blame in this matter. There is not a jot of censure on the Christianity that was revealed to Jesus (on whom be peace) and that he promulgated. So I urge you to harbour no ill feeling towards Christianity in your hearts as we go through the horrific incidences here related. This is not Christianity; this is the evil of the Church. It is thus in each religion and no religion is exempt from it. Whenever the c l e rgy repressively gets the control of a religion it metes out a most brutal treatment to each human value until not one shred of humanity remains, much less any sign of Divine teachings. It is most probable that all reliance is put on this brief reference from Exodus. There are some other references, which are not directly about witches, however, the Bible gives examples of witches while cursing some towns. This gives credence to the idea that this belief was customary in Judaism from a religious standpoint. However there is no mention anywhere of cruelty to witches among the Jews whereas it is abundantly evident in 48 The Review of Religions – December 2003 Treatment of Women in the West C h r i s t i a n i t y, and this, as I mentioned earlier, is the mystery that we are trying to solve. Nahum 3:4 speaks of the city of Nineveh incurring the wrath of God and says that it was a consequence of the profusion of immorality by the beautiful depraved witch for ‘she sells nations with her immorality and households with her sorcery.’ In fact the city of Nineveh has been presented here as an immoral depraved woman and sorcery is mentioned by the by as a means of condemnation as the concrete reference pertaining to juris- prudence is that of Exodus 22:18, ‘Put to death any woman who practises magic.’ This teaching had been strictly adhered to in Christianity and continued till the time of Rev. Wherry himself. This is the segment of which you should be aware. A book entitled Witches and Wi t c h c r a f t by Jeremy Kingston meticulously compiles inci- dences that took place in diff e r e n t Christian countries like Britain, Germany etc. and which are supported by historical evidence as having actually occurred, rather than being based on heresy. Allah reward this author for he has exposed a most brutal fact in a most fair manner. He says: ‘The devilishness of the torture was limited only by S c o t l a n d ’s primitive tech- nology limiting the construc- tion of mechanical devices. The devices they did possess however produced the neces- sary results. In Edinburg h Castle in 1594, Alison B a l f o u r, an accused witch, was kept for forty-eight hours in the Caspee Clause, an iron device that crushed her arms. While undergoing this torture she was forced to watch her 81- year old husband being crushed under 700 pounds of iron bars! Her son’s feet were crushed in the ‘Spanish Boots’ in which 57 blows reduced his boots to pulp. Her seven-year old daughter was tortured with the ‘Pilly- winks’, which is a thumb- 49The Review of Religions – December 2003 Treatment of Women in the West s c r e w. Meanwhile in the stricken countryside outside the city 368 women in 22 villages were burnt as witches within six years. Two villages were left with only one female each in evidence a piece.’ The author has made some excuses for the torture being relatively limited due to the devices being crude. However, this relief was not due to the prevalent Christian beliefs but due to the backwardness of Scotland. Otherwise wherever the technology was advanced the torture meted out was most horrific. This brutality was going on in circa 1594 when Galileo had made his invention and the Renaissance period had started! It is interesting to look into the reason why such tortures were concentrated in certain areas. The fact is that there was a most dreadful and Satanic unwritten pact between the Church and the aristocracy in those days and the Christian Church provided full patronage to the aristocracy of that time, apart from when they dared to contend with the Church. Workers across the c o u n t r y, and particularly in Scotland, were not allowed to complain of being over-worked or oppressed or to demand their rights. Such demands merited, at the direction of the church, the most horrific punishments. The punishments were carried out on the pretext of alleged witchcraft. The methods to verify the allegation were innately horrific. Therefore, there was no means of escape. The cruelty that was carried out in Scotland was due to the aristocracy’s desire to have an iron-hold on the peasants. This level of servitude was the worst ever seen. Nowhere in the history of the world has there been such dreadful example of slavery as that which prevailed in Europe. Indeed, it was mostly the Scottish people, where the cruelty exceeded all bounds under the pretext of religious law, and the brutalities were fully supported by the Church, who became the penal settlers of, or migrated to, Australia. 50 The Review of Religions – December 2003 Treatment of Women in the West One has to bear in mind that the Church, i.e. Catholicism had complete control over the Roman Empire and Christianity was meddled with by kings and aristocrats. It was the same situation in Spain, all would come to pass as a result of conspiracies. In the rare situation when a ruler would take on the Church, he would be dealt with severely. Jeremy Kingston (ibid) goes on to say: ‘The law of the Holy Roman Empire to which the German states belonged made the torture of those who were accused of witchcraft man- datory so an accusation of witchcraft always produced a confession and lead to the death usually by burning of the supposed witch.’ Once any woman had an allegation made against her she was presented in the court, and two types of procedure followed; one was torture, of which many examples are detailed in this book. Once she had been through the torture she was interrogated so as to establish her guilt or innocence. The torture was so dreadful that it was not easily survived. It is therefore likely that at times women confessed beforehand out of sheer fright. Their fright stemmed from the fact that the punishment entailed being burnt alive. The method of this was to hang them on a gallows-like structure with fire burning underneath which slowly roasted them. Most of these women used to die during the torture and those who survived were most definitely burnt alive. However, there was another method which could not be survived at all and that exhibits their genius in establishing justice within Christianity. A favourite method of deter- mining innocence or guilt was to immerse the ‘witch’ in water with her hands and feet tied up and with a weight attached to her. Obviously if she is a witch she will not drown, and if she does not drown, burn her alive; however, if she drowns then the matter is with God, she gave her 51The Review of Religions – December 2003 Treatment of Women in the West life in innocence and was at least saved from the torment of fire. This was their own sense of justice, their idea of fairness in matters of testimony. Yet they carp about Islam! One wonders about the fact that Rev. Wherry was aware of all this yet he attacked Islam most audaciously for not granting any status to women. Anyone wishing to understand the status of women in Islam should come and observe our Christian homes and see what goes on therein. They would then find out as to how much love has a part to play in our affairs and to what extent Islam is devoid of love! This is the summary of the nonsense from him, to which I am now responding. As far as rights are concerned, objection has been raised that in Islam it is permissible to strike a woman, even though this Islamic injunction comes with many provisos, in particular the stipulation of not leaving a mark. Besides, there is no illustration of this type of chastisement from the life of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) and his Companion. The reality of the decreed chastisement in Islam is no more than an attribution put in place as common limits that must be exceeded in dealing with other human beings. In England in 1915, a magistrate gave a legal ruling that a husband could strike his belligerent wife – this entails the proviso of nashooz (disobedience) in the said Qur’anic verse. They are compelled to apply the truth of the Qur’anic teachings on themselves but they do not do it with the honourable stipulations of the Holy Qur’an. Instead, they do it in a very crude manner, open to much abuse and exploitation, and take full advantage of legal loopholes. The above was a magisterial ruling which became the law. The ruling of the magistrate was that a husband could strike his belligerent wife, however, the stick with which he strikes should not be thicker than his 52 The Review of Religions – December 2003 Treatment of Women in the West thumb. The specification within the law regarding the mea- surement of the thumb in relation to the stick is most peculiar indeed. It would have presented the ludicrous situation in that the stick would have to vary in its thickness being in proportion with the man’s build and as a consequence the ensuing chas- tisement would have varied significantly in its severity due to the requisite ratio of the stick to the husband’s physique. These days it seems to be the in- thing in the West to be vociferous about child labour in the Third World, to declare it an oppression and to demand a boycott of all imports where child labour is involved. Such enthusiasm is, without exception, always generated by political disen- c h a n t m e n t . They have always been fully aware of exactly what goes on in such places as Japan and other countries, even in England. Yet, they turn a blind eye there. It was not so long ago that women and children were horrifically oppressed in fac- tories and sweatshops here in England. Charles Dickens has mentioned it elaborately in his books and has depicted some horrific illustrations of the oppression of women and children. Women were made to work for up to 18 hours shifts in factories for a pittance in wages. All these references have been taken from a book entitled Women in Europe since 1790 by Patricia Francis, therefore, all these instances are from after 1750 up to the beginning of 1 9 0 0 ’s. Men were allowed to e x t r a c t as much work from women as they wished and put as much burden on them as they desired. If this weighed the women down and resulted in their physical collapse in that they could not carry on performing tasks, then men were allowed to divorce them. In this instance Christianity, where divorce is not allowed, permits men to use women to the point of their physical collapse, and then goes on to allow them to divorce and remarry. Up till 1890 the situation in Germany was so grim and the oppression meted out to women and children was so severe that women would pray for their children’s death. In her book Violence Against Women Crisis in the Eighties, published in 1983 by Penguin, Elizabeth Wilson analyses the contemporary period from 1973 to 1983. On page 59, she mentions the modern day phenomenon whereby men recount tales of wife beating in jest and as hilarity when out at revelries and the fact that they sit in pubs and boast about using their women in the profession of prostitution. Would this be the respect and honour of the woman that Rev. Wherry has been so strident about? I wish to draw your attention to the fact that these instances are of much later date than his death. The comments on the back cover of the book by Elizabeth Wilson denotes that violence against women is not just due to the crookedness of the society, rather the cruelty of wife beating and prostitution that is so apparent, is borne out of complicity between politics and the society, that is to say politics is equally responsible for this. Just as Christianity had colluded with politics in the past so the complicity carries on today. Then there is the recurrent criticism that Islam has not given woman any rights, that she can only inherit half as much as a male! Let us view their own teaching, up till the late 1600’s a woman was considered man’s property in Europe. The customs of the ignorant pre-Islamic Arabs prevailed here until the late 1600’s. Woman was treated as cattle and was just a machine to create children. The above references are from Harem from H i s t o ry, a book by Sheila Robotham that covers 300 years of women’s oppression and the fight against it. Up till 1891, women had no right to own any kind of property in G e r m a n y, Scandinavia and America, rather she was the 53 Treatment of Women in the West The Review of Religions – December 2003 property of her husband. The law simply did not permit it. I n England, prior to 1890 widows had no right of inheritance to the property of their husbands and until 1882 a woman could not own any property in her name. Whatever she earned would be in the name of her husband. As recently as 1966, a woman had no legal right of stay in her husband’s house and a husband could throw her out at any time, as she did not have the protection of the law. In the 19th century England and France, women could not seek divorce from their husbands, whereas men could divorce their wives at any time. Although Christianity does not allow d i v o r c e , a woman could be a b a n d o n e d , as in the instance cited here before, after enduring extreme physical hardship and being rendered ‘useless’. In the 19th century England and France, women guilty of lewdness were imprisoned for two years. This was a climb down from the earlier punishments of being burnt alive etc. and illustrates the grip the society had on Christianity in that religious rules, and Laws were altered at whim and fancy. As regards their criticism about the existence of ‘Harem’ in Islam, it was during the 19th century that their men had the right to keep concubines along with their wives. In any case, the right to keep a harem was regardless of a man’s marital status and a great number of wealthy people used to keep harems. This rule is followed to this day here in England. I say this in light of the experience I have had when dealing with divorce issues. The subject of the conjugal status of the man can arise while his divorce case is being processed through the legal system of the country and has not yet been completed. In one such instance I suggested that the Legal Board of the country should be consulted. The response from the Board to the query was that there was absolutely no problem, in even 54 Treatment of Women in the West The Review of Religions – December 2003 keeping a 100 mistresses in a harem, as the law was only against having two wives! There is indeed no law against immorality; rather the law is against those relationships not considered permissible by the law of the land.The concept within the West is that one may keep as many spouses as one likes, within the validity of one’s religious beliefs. The law of the land would be completely indifferent to that and would not intervene, in that the situation would be in accordance to one’s personal beliefs. In view of this one wonders why should one bother with the references of the past? Here, in the present day, exactly that is what is taking places. Immorality is not a sin, however, trying to do things with piety is an offence. If one takes responsibility for the welfare of a woman and commits oneself to her, then the law will encroach upon you. However, if you go ahead without any sense of commitment and in a brazen way then all is well. In the West the mother used to have no right over the children after divorce. On the other hand, the Holy Qur’an has established a most excellent settlement. Although the father has been given the right for the first nine years of the child’s life, however, these are limited to him paying the maintenance; the children are to live with their mother. After nine years, the law queries the children as to whether they wish to continue to live with the mother or not. The children belong to the father in that he has all the financial obligations, but it is the right of the mother to keep young children with her. This has been established with great emphasis and all schools of Islamic jurisprudence concur on this, only varying in the age limit; some suggest the age limit of seven years, some nine and some go up to twelve years. It is highly unlikely that children being brought up by a loving mother would prefer to live with their father. In the situation that they do decide to go with the father, they would have a valid 55 Treatment of Women in the West The Review of Religions – December 2003 and firm reason to do so, for example the morality of the mother etc. A majority of the children in our Qadha (Islamic court) cases opt to regularly meet the father but prefer to live with the mother, except of course in exceptional circumstances, as where the mother remarries and ensuing problems etc. arise. In such instances a mutually acceptable solution is found through communication and discussion. Objection is also raised about the Islamic injunction of the testi- mony of two women as opposed to the testimony of one man. I have explained this matter before, that there is much misun- derstanding regarding it. The Holy Qur’an has not diff e r- entiated in the testimonies. Ho w e v e r, certain ways and means have been adopted in order to dissuade and discourage women from the encumbrance of appearing in legal courts. In fact, I consider there to be no real difference in the testimonies, and whatever disparity that there is and that I have just mentioned is applicable only in matters pertaining to finance, and is adhered to in a controlled manner. I shall not go into the details of this argument here and shall only say that according to the 19th century English law, a married woman did not have the right to give a testimony and 56 Treatment of Women in the West The Review of Religions – December 2003 WOMEN WERE ALLOWED TO SIT FOR CAMBRIDGE EXAMINATIONS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 1886, BUT IT WA S N O T U N T I L 1948 T H AT W O M E N C O U L D GRADUATE WITH A DEGREE THERE. UP TILL 1920, WOMEN COULD NOT GAIN A PLACE AT THE OXFORD UNIVERSITY. UP TO 1944, A WOMAN USED TO BE DISMISSED FROM THE TEACHING PROFESSION AFTER HER MARRIAGE. could not say anything against her husband. So a married woman’s testimony against her husband was deemed illegal and worthless. When women campaigned to gain the right to vote they were severely punished and attempts were made to crush their campaign. It was considered a disgrace for women to do scholarly work. Women were allowed to sit for Cambridge examinations for the first time in 1886, but it was not until 1948 that women could graduate with a degree there. Up till 1920, women could not gain a place at the Oxford University. Up to 1944, a woman used to be dismissed from the teaching profession after her marriage. There was a marked difference between the pay scales of men and women despite doing the same job. This continues to be so in certain fields, for example in health. As a consequence of their customs and mores, crime is widespread. Well-endorsed books present a bleak picture of the state of affairs in Europe. In 1973, there were 32,261 divorces as a result of one spouse being unfaithful and by 1983, this number had risen to 47,127. As far as total number of divorces in a year are concerned, in 1973 divorces in excess of 106,000 were recorded whereas in 1983 the number was recorded to have reached 147,489. There are clear indications that this growing trend of divorce is largely due to infidelity. Although immorality in itself is not looked down upon, it is considered to be legally sufficient to dissolve a marriage. In 1970, women began endeav- ours against the issue of domestic violence and by 1976 it was recognised that violence within the home was a criminal offence and was thus deemed a legal ‘violent act’. Prior to this domestic violence against women was not illegal. A report by the research team of WAFE produced in 1981 indicates that little effect was in evidence of this legal recognition. Unless a judge is completely convinced that the violence is intense, he 57 Treatment of Women in the West The Review of Religions – December 2003 cannot order a man to leave the marital home. In ordering him to leave home the judge runs the risk of ‘burdening’ the local council with homeless men. So judges usually discourage this. However, the statute is in place. In a research report published in 1981, 656 women were interviewed. They were asked as to how they were treated at home. It is worth mentioning that these were women who lived in the backdrop of the developed, civilised Western world. 64% reported that their husbands were violent with them and that the police offered no help, maintaining that they had no right to interfere in domestic issues. That is to say that 64% of women are being subjected to physical violence in their marital homes. Yet they raise objections against the Islamic injunction of chastisement. It seems they have objection wherever human rights are being maintained, wherever justice is being maintained, but in contrary circumstance they do not seem to be bothered at all. This is the freedom of conscience! The Tyneside social services have published a report, which, points out that in the Northeast of England wife beating often results as a consequence o f drunkenness and that it is a regular rather than an exceptional occurrence. The terrible fact is that this matter still has a macho image there. You will recall the reference of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that I gave earlier where he had said that he could not even imagine the cowardice and shamelessness of a man daring to hit a woman. This is the actuality of the teaching of Islam as opposed to the potted conclusion of the West’s civilised teaching, in which, they have violated Christianity as well as humanity. 58 Treatment of Women in the West The Review of Religions – December 2003 Message from Heaven This feature length article is the address read at the opening of the first mosque in London, and first published in The Review of Religions. It provides an excellent introduction to the true message of Islam. Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad Belief and Practice Excerpts from discourses, speeches and addresses on what constitutes true belief. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) Q&A: Islamic Concepts Question raised in Nigeria on the claims of the Founder and about the Ahmadiyya Muslim C o m m u n i t y. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad Ahmadiyyat: The Turning Point of my Life A young Chinese Buddhist from the USA recalls her introduction to the true Islam. Kaukab Zirvi, MD Unveiling of the Unseen by the Qur’an – A Historic Perspective How the Qur’an narrates past events and foretells events in the future including significant future scientific discoveries. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad COMMENT: Tomorrow’s World Social Integration With asylum and immigration reemerging as political issues, how should migrants integrate with their hosts. Sound practical advice on assimilation. Naseer Ahmad Qamar – UK True Refuge A person finds true happiness when he realises that God alone is his Protector and P r o v i d o r. Wordly respect and greatness follows those who serve the true religion. Pray and correct your heart Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) Q&A: Understanding Islam Answers to a wide range of questions from fanatacism, idols, witchcraft, the black stone in Mecca to life after death. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad Achievements of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II A brief synopsis of the principle contributions to the Community’s nascent development by the son promised to the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam Bockarie Tommy Kallon Unveiling of the Unseen by the Qur’an – A Historic Perspective – Part II How the Qur’an narrates past events and foretells events in the future including significant future scientific discoveries. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad COMMENT: The Promised Messiah(as) and fanatics Nucleur Holocaust A categoric Qur’anic prophecy about impending danger relating to our age. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad Reformation – Part III Attainment of peace and contentment requires complete faith in Allah . Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) March 2003 February 2003 January 2003 59 Index of 2003 articles The Review of Religions – December 2003 Index of articles published in 2003 The Promised Messiah’s(as) Love for the Holy Prophet(sa) Could an impostor nurture such obedience and love for the Holy Prophet (sa)? Bockarie Tommy Kallon – UK Evolution of the Islamic Empire A brief look at the vicissitudes of Islamic civilisation Tanveer Khokhar – UK Dr Abdus Salam and the Middles East Synchroton A new light source that does not seem to brighten the world of Muslim scientists: Sameen Ahmed Khan – Atlanta, USA COMMENT: The Message of Ahmadiyyat An Obituary of Hadhrat Mirza Ta h i r Ahmad(ru) Rafiq Ahmad Hayat – Amir UK The Beginning of Khilafa in the Ahmadiyya Community An excerpt from The Will about the Divine promise of the Second Manisfestation of His Power: Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) Two Memorable Quotations Quotations from Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih III and Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV regarding the Divine protection of the continuation of Khilafat: Milestones in a Life Lived to the Full A brief look at the life of the extraordinary life of Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (Khalifatul Masih IV) Man of God Extract from the book of the same name detailing the amazing journey from Pakistan to the UK by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV in the wake of the country’s President ordering his immediate arrest. Iain Adamson – UK Life Sketch and Services of Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad – Khalifatul Masih V: A brief introduction to the new Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Movement and his election as the new Khalifa to lead the Community. The First Address of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V The English translation of a speech given in Urdu just before the inaugural pledge of allegiance and allegiance at the hands of the new Khalifa. Genetic Enginnering, The Plague, The Aids Virus Will man ever cease to play God and stop irresponsible genetic engineering? The plague and the AIDS virus testify to the truth of the Promised Messiah(as).. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru) Reformation – Part IV When a person shuns bad deeds and he yearns to do good and prays to God, then God helps him and takes him to peace and security. Excerpts from the discourses of the Promised Messiah(as) Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) Promised Messiah’s(as) Ideological Contribution to World Peace and Harmony How the Promised Messiah( a s ) and his Succesors provided the fundamentals for removing inter-communal misunderstanding and provided for the basis for peace. Khalid Saifullah Khan – Australia May 2003 April 2003 60 Index of 2003 articles The Review of Religions – December 2003 Q&A: Belief in the Supreme Being Answers on the attributes of God, is Jesus(as) the only way, and is religion an excuse by man to explain his own existence? Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru) The Indian Plague A plague epidemic struck India as prophesied by the Promised Messiah ( a s ). It claimed 377,576 lives in 1903. Dr Latif Q. Qureshi COMMENT: True or False – The Iraq Crisis Belief in God How a sincere and genuine belief in God can reform man. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) Q&A: Contemporary Issues Discussing the equality of men and women and the question of sin and forgiveness. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru) Persecution of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan: An Analysis Under International Law and International Relations: A detailed review of the background to the persecution of Ahmadis and how it contravenes human rights and the principles of Pakistan’s founders – Part 1 Amjad Mahmood Khan – USA Islam is the only Living Religion A thought provoking article on how one defines a ‘living religion’. Maulana Abdul-Raheem Dard Future of Revelation A powerful discussion on the conept of a divine reformer of the ‘latter days’. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru) COMMENT: DNA – A Matter of Life and Death. Martyrs of Afghanistan Our lead article is an account of the life and times of Sahibzada Abdul Latif, his martyrdom a hundred years ago, and the prophecy made by the Promised Messiah(as): ‘the land of Afghanistan will see what consequences the shedding of his blood will entail. Muhammad Zafrulla Khan – UK 100 Years of Divine Retribution The unfortunate land of Afghanistan contnues to pay a heavy price for the innocent lives lost there. From the plague in Kabul, to coups, the /talibans and its ‘carpet bombing’. Latif Ahmad Qureshi – UK Efficacy of Repentance – Part I When people forget God, God Almighty also becomes indifferent towards such people. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) Q&A: Belief and Guidance Is there room for a theocratic state; have more people been killed by religion?; why do we need prophets? Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru) Persecution of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan: An Analysis Under International Law and International Relations: Continuing a detailed review of the back- ground to the persecution of Ahmadis. Amjad Mahmood Khan – USA COMMENT: Resilience of Children July 2003 June 2003 61 Index of 2003 articles The Review of Religions – December 2003 History of Islam A brief history of Islam from the Caliphates, through the medieval era, the Mongols and Ottoman Empires to today (well, 1947), including a background to the political history of some Muslim countries. Late Professor Abdus Salam – UK Efficacy of Repentance – Part 1I God is now quickening the earth after its spiritual death; the time is ripe for the arrival of the Messiah; God’s promise would be fulfilled. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) Q&A: Response to Questions Spiritualism in a material world; life after death; is animal slaughter cruel; and idealising pop-stars. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru) Euphesus – Turning Points for Christianity Paul and John visited this town in Turkey, with its caves where Christians fled persecution and where a council changed Mary’s status. Fazal Ahmad – UK Future of Revelation – Part II The rationale for the concept of the finality of Prophethood. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru) Persecution of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan: An Analysis Under International Law and International Relations. Final part of a detailed review of the back- ground to the persecution of Ahmadis. Amjad Mahmood Khan – USA COMMENT: Who Switched off the Lights Islam and Peace A look at how Islam promotes the estab- lishment of peace at all levels. Rafiq Ahmed Hayat – UK Spiritual Progress Spiritual progress is not just about the rejection of bad deeds but the doing of good acts and sincerity of one’s love of God: Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) Q&A: Faith and Belief The belief in religion through firm conviction in faith rather than scientific reasoning is discussed as well as how experiences concerning God and faith can be explained and understood. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru) Islam and the Creation of Peace Loving Men and Women The Islamic concept of peace extends to avoiding wars, readily making peace, justice and respect for the feeling of others. Ataul Mujeeb Rashed – Imam of the London Mosque Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth Continuing the serialisation of the book looking this month at attempts to philosophically justify the finality of non-law bearing prophethood: . Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru). COMMENT: Headscarves – Oppression or Freedom of Choice? Jesus(as) Versus Finality A rational analysis of the contradictory belief in the physical re-advent of Jesus(as), Son of Mary, after the presupposed last prophet, the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa). Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru) October 2003 September 2003August 2003 62 Index of 2003 articles The Review of Religions – December 2003 Friends of Allah The righteous pass through much travail and trials but they find God in this very life. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) Muslim Beliefs in Jesus Christ (as) A review of the various Islamic schools of thought surrounding the life and mission of Jesus(as). Dr Kalim Malik – USA Q&A – Belief and Guidance If the Imam Mahdi has come, why is Islam not the strongest religion in the world? How did the idea of Jesus’(as) physical ascent enter Muslim ideology? Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru) The Purpose of Religion and Prophets A brief look at what religion requires of us and the purpose prophets serve. Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad COMMENT: Professional Fasting – Why the stunt of the American illusionist falls far short of a great Islamic institution. Special Feature: An historical address made by the head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Community, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad – Khalifatul Masih V, to distinguished guests, VIP’s and members of the Community at the inauguration of one of Europe’s largest mosques The Path to Righteousness Acts of goodness carried out with sincerity and true obedience to God purifies the soul and protects one from not only the afterlife but enables one to enjoy the spiritual paradise in this world. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as). Ramadan and the Essence of its Blessings The holiest of all the months in the year is reviewed with a simple guide to rules of fasting and the spiritual benefits that can be achieved. Late Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad – ex-Missionary in-Charge, UK The I’tikaf Experience One person’s account of his deep spiritual encounter and experiences during the last ten days of the fasting month. Bockarie Tommy Kallon – UK Epilogue The concluding chapter of the highly acclaimed book, Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Tru t h which has been serialised regularly in this publication Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru) Women in the Holy Qur’an A clear and concise look at Islamic issues considered by many as oppressive but which in fact provide women with much rights and status than any modern day legislation. Tehmeena Luqman – Oregon, USA STRESS: A Spiritual Perspective and its Management: How a firm conviction in one’s faith, spiritual belief and trust in God is an important factor in controlling stress. Dr. Ihsan-UK-Hague, MB FRCP, Consultant Physician – Pakistan Sin Defined: By Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) Analysis of the Divinely Revealed Status of the New Testament: By Syed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir – Principal Jam’ia Ahmadiyya, Rabwah, Pakistan. Treatment of Women by the West By Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru) A rejoinder to Orientalists’ criticisms on the treatment of women in Islam COMMENT: Religious Tolerance December 2003 November 2003 63 Index of 2003 articles The Review of Religions – December 2003 We hope you have enjoyed reading this edition of the magazine. The Review of Religions will continue to provide discussion on a wide range of subjects and welcomes any comments or suggestions from its readers. To ensure that you regularly receive this monthly publication, please fill in your details below and we will put you on our mailing list. The cost of one year’s subscription is £15 Sterling or US $30 for overseas readers (Please do not send cash). 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