Never more so than now have we witnessed such polarisation between the Islamic world and the west. A cursory glance at contemporary politics also shows polarisation even within the Islamic world as Muslims remain divided from one another on the basis of misunderstood and poorly reasoned doctrine. This was prophesied by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when he said: ‘A time will come when my followers will be divided into seventy-three sects. All except one of them will deserve the Fire’. (Tirmidhi) One of the most misunderstood concepts is that of Jihad. For this reason, articles on this subject have been regularly printed in The Review of Religions. The current edition contains excerpts from the writings of the Promised Messiah(as) w h i c h explain that Jihad as a means of propagating Islam is clearly forbidden. ‘Do not be misled by the notion that in the beginning the Muslims were com- manded to take up the sword. That sword was not taken up for the spread of the faith, but in self-defence against the enemies of Islam and for the purpose of establishing peace and security’ (Jihad the true Islamic c o n c e p t ) Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II( r a ) w r i t e s : ‘The current view of Jihad which is nothing but violence and lawlessness has been borrowed by Muslims from others. …It is not even known in Islam. Strange as it may seem, the responsibility for the spread of this view among Muslims lies with Christians who are the loudest in their condem- nation of Islam for its 2 The Review of Religions – Aug 2004 Editorial supposed teaching of Jihad’. (Invitation to Ahmadiyyat) Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II( r a ) cites the Crusades as the origin of the concept of ‘religious wars’ which then became incorporated into Muslim thinking. ‘So completely do they [Muslims] seem to have assimilated the Christian example that Christians themselves have started raising objections.’ Muslims fail to see through this ‘Christian’ game. Unwittingly, they continue to supply the enemies of Islam with texts and arguments to use against Islam.’ (ibid) In his article ‘Jihad, human rights and the treatments of minorities in Islam, Mr Ashraf explores the divisions in contemporary Muslim thinking today and discusses how they have contributed to the inaccurate concept of Jihad held by Muslims and non-Muslims alike in spite of the clear teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the practice of the Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a ). The Holy Prophet( s a ) was asked who were the Muslims who would be on the side of True Islam? He replied, ‘those who follow my example and the example of my Companions. He also instructed, ‘Knowledge disappears from the earth when those who have knowledge disappear from the earth.’ (Mishquat, Babul I’atasam bis Sunnah.) This hadith refers to a time when it would seem as if knowledge had disappeared from the world. However, when this time arrives there would remain a party from among the Muslims, which would still adhere to the true Islam. This group of people would follow the example of the Holy Prophet( s a ) and his companions. The only sect today who does this is made up of the followers of the Promised Messiah( a s ). 3 Editorial The Review of Religions – Aug 2004

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