Category Archives: English Pamphlets – Parwez

Islamic Ideology – G A Parwez

  • Idea of Pakistan.

Before Partition, we asserted that the Muslims of the sub-continent had their distinct culture and way of life and needed a separate homeland where they could live and develop according to their own Ideology. The demand was conceded and Pakistan was established. The biggest Islamic State appeared on the map of the world.

  • Idea ignored.

But what thereafter? Pakistanis forgot completely that their State was created to give shape to their own Ideology. During the struggle for Pakistan our slogan of Islamic Ideology was not defined: It was not very necessary to do so then. After the establishment of Pakistan, it became absolutely essential that the slogan should be determined and defined categorically because otherwise even the first step towards achieving the objective of Pakistan could not he taken. But we ignored the objective, and sordid gains near at hand took the better of us.

  • Constituent Assembly.

We had a Constituent Assembly from the day Pakistan came into being. It was the duty of this body to define our Ideology, and then, on the basis of the definition, to formulate our Constitution. It did neither. Apparently the members of the Constituent Assembly were themselves not clear about the Ideology, and the pity of it is that they made no attempt, none whatsoever, to get together material which could help clarify their minds on the subject. May be it served their individual interests to drag on the constitution-making as long as they could.

  • Constitution.

Years rolled on, one after another, without producing a constitution. Every one talked of Islamic Ideology. We were engrossed in following alien ways bequeathed by the past. It took nine long years for the Constituent Assembly to give the country a constitution, a constitution of many compromises which adorned itself with the dignified name of “Islamic” but in fact had little to do with the fundamentals of Islam, except in their breach. The diseased constitution of 1956 met the fate it richly deserved and was abrogated in October 1958.

  • Meaning of Ideology.

The question before us is “What is Islamic Ideology”?

Ideology is, as you know, a philosophical term meaning the ‘Science of Ideas’. ‘Idea’ is again a subtle and very comprehensive term. It is unnecessary for our present purpose to go into the details of the term. Suffice it to say that ‘Idea’ means a basic concept, and that the basic concepts on which any ‘system’ is built constitutes its ‘Ideology’. Since Ideology pre-supposes the existence of a system, the question arises whether Islam is a ‘system’.

  • Mazhab and Deen.

Yes, Islam is a system. Islam is not a ‘religion’ in the ordinary sense of the word. Religion is the English equivalent for the Arabic word Mazhah, which does not occur even once in the whole of the Holy Quran. The Quran has, instead, used the word Addeen for Islam, which means a particular way of life.

  • Man-made God.

The basic idea of Mazhah (religion) is that God, the god created by human imagination, is sitting somewhere away from the universe. He is like a king or a dictator. If someone incurs the king’s wrath, he is doomed and is subjected to all kinds of afflictions. The only way out is to humor the king by reciting his praises, flattering him, making offerings to him, seeking the intervention of those near about him, and so on. The moment the king is brought round, all the troubles vanish and are replaced by munificence, rich gifts, awards of honor, inclusion among the king’s trustworthies, and so on. Since the god created by man’s imagination is on the pattern of a king, the devotees of the god try to propitiate him by ‘means’ similar to those adopted for humoring a king. The ‘means’ so adopted are given the name of religious ceremonies or rituals.

According to this conception of God, man does not require to lead a gregarious or collective life. His relationship with his God is essentially an individual and private affair. In lonely seclusion he seeks through worship God’s forgiveness and bounties, and having done that, proceeds according to his sweet will, to engage in matters material and mundane. He is a religious person.

Religion in this sense came about at an early stage in human development when man was still ignorant of the “how and why” of the working of the universe or the threatening forces of nature lightning, clouds, floods, fire, disease, etc. and quite unable to hold his own against them. In that stage man trembled at the sight of everything more powerful than himself and in trying to appease it, made obeisance in complete surrender and submission.

  • Revealed Cod.

As I have already said, religion is based on a conception of God which is the creation of man’s own imagination. There is another conception of God which has been vouchsafed to man through Revelation. According to the revealed conception, God is a Being who controls the entire universe and moves it on to its final destiny in accordance with certain inviolable laws. According to these laws, everything in the universe from its initial stage, grows, develops, and, in time, attains its full stature, like the seed which grows gradually into a huge tree. Man is no exception. There are God’s inviolable laws which govern man’s development also. According to the revealed conception of God and that conception of God alone can be true which He has given Himself the relationship between man and God comes about through the laws which He has designed for man’s development. To understand the Essence of God; and to know what He is, is beyond the scope of human intellect. What we can understand, however, are His laws which pertain to our development. The laws have been preserved in the Holy Quran. Those who follow them develop and go ahead: those who contravene them are deprived of growth like the seed which happens to be buried under hard soil.

  • Rule of Law.

A person living alone by himself needs no rules or regulations to guide his conduct. Rules become necessary when people live together. Far away from habitation in a jungle, it makes little difference whether one keeps to the right or to the left. In a city, however, it does make a difference because if the rule of the road is violated, untoward consequences follow forthwith. The revealed laws help mankind as a whole to live together amicably and peacefully. People living together, not as they please, but according to some law, become an organized society, bound together by a system or an order. The order, which the Holy Quran envisages, is termed Addeen, that is, a system for living collectively according to the revealed laws of Allah.

  • Kalema-e-Tayyiba.

I may add here that the Quranic term for the principle according to which one should lead his life is Kalema qualified with the word tayyib. The meaning of tayyib generally is pleasant. but when used to qualify a tree, it refers to a tree which bears exquisitely fine fruit. Says the Holy Quran:

“Kalerna-e-tayvib is like a shajare tavvib, the roots of which hold the soil deep and firm, whose branches spread out in the sky high and wide and which bears fruit perpetually in conformity with God’s laws” (14/24).

Islamic Ideology, therefore, consists of never-changing principles or concepts of life capable of evolving, unhampered by the limitation of Time and Space, a universal social order for the good of humanity at large.

  • Human co-operation.

The comparison of Islamic Ideology with a tree has another noteworthy aspect. To ensure its growth, a seed should be healthy and capable of taking root, growing, blossoming and bearing fruit. Then, it is necessary that it should be taken care of in matters like preparation of soil, manuring, watering, supplying heat and light, protecting it against seasonal changes and ravages of insects and animals. The Holy Quran points to this aspect in its own inimitable way. It says that the healthy concept of life Ideology or kaIema-e-tayyiba revealed by God has the capacity to rise high towards Him, that is, it can attain the heights which He has destined for it. But it cannot rise high by itself: it is man’s co-operation which helps it rise. In Quranic parlance, Ideology makes up what we call Faith (Eemaan) and the means to give the Ideology a practical shape are termed A ‘maal-e-Saaleha. It follows, therefore, the Kalema-e-tayyiba or Ideology forms the objective of the Islamic Order and A‘maale Saaleha constitute the programme for attaining the objective. In the present context you can say that Ideology provides the ‘Objectives Resolution’ of an Islamic State, its ‘Constitution’ gives political form to the Resolution and its laws prescribe the programme for helping the people attain their destiny.

  • 12. Two concepts of life Material concept.

There are two concepts of life. One is that man like other animals, is nothing but his physical body which lives according to the physical laws of nature and, after a time, according to the same laws, its mechanism ceases to function, bringing about its death with which the individual concerned comes to a final end. This is the mechanistic concept of life, and the social order which is based thereon aims at catering for the physical well-being of the people living within the State. The better the provision for the individual needs in abundance and with ease, the better the State.

This concept, in the view of the Holy Quran, degrades man to the animal level and is Kufr.

 

“And those who reject (the Quranic concept of life) avail of material things and eat and drink as do the animals, their abode is hell (whose fire reduces the dignity of man to ashes)” (47/12).

  • Quranic concept of life.

According to the other concept of life, man is something more than his physical body; he has, besides a physical body, a Personality or Self, which no one else in the animal world possesses. Human Personality is neither the outcome of material evolution nor is subject to physical laws. Every babe on birth gets Personality as a gift from God, whether born in a king’s palace or beggar’s hut, in the house of a Brahmin or an out-cast, or of Muslim or non-Muslim parents. The gift is, however, not in a developed form, but in a potential form with realizable possibilities. For the development of human Personality there are God-given laws, as there are laws for the growth of man’s body. If Personality develops according to its laws, it begins to manifest, within human limits what are, in their highest and limitless form, called Divine Attributes. A developed Personality does not disintegrate with the death of man’s body, but lives on and on through further evolutionary stages of life. The purpose of man’s life is the development of his Personality.

  • Spiritual advancement.

Gentlemen, you may be wondering that there is nothing new about what I have said. It is the same old story of ‘spiritual advancement’ narrated by sponsors of say Hinduism or Christianity. No, it is not the same thing; the two are entirely different. The sponsors of ‘spiritual advancement’ to whatever religion they may belong, believe:

  1. that man’s body, nay the whole material world, is a hurdle in the way of spiritual advancement and must be cleared before any advance is possible;
  2. that, for spiritual advancement man should discard the world, kill desires, hate and cast away material easements; and
  3. that, therefore, it is essential that man should live individually, in seclusion, and, in order to get near God, should get away farther and farther from fellow-men.
  • Development of Personality.

The Holy Quran, on the other hand, says that for the development of human Personality man should:

  1. gain control over the forces of the physical world and keep open his achievements, according to the laws of God, for the good and well-being of mankind at large;
  2. should have all that is required to maintain life, since, without the egg-shell the embryo can never develop into a chicken; and
  3. should lead a corporate life and establish a social order in which the physical needs of each and every individual shall be fully met and he shall have full opportunity and means for the development of his Personality.
  • Islamic State.

A social order functioning in this manner becomes an Islamic State, which makes itself responsible. I repeat responsible, to see that every citizen is provided equitably with the basic needs of life as well as the means and opportunities for the development of his Personality.

  • State not an end in itself.

According to the Holy Quran, State is not an end in itself; it is a means to an end, the end being the development of man’s Personality, which it is impossible to achieve except in an independent country. Therefore, the justification for the establishment of an Islamic State, nay, for its very existence, is that it makes itself responsible for the development of every citizen, his Personality as well as his body. The State which fails to fulfil this responsibility cannot be called an Islamic State.

  • Relationship between individual and State.

The foregoing may lead one to conclude that in the Quranic Social Order responsibilities, one and all, devolve on the State, leaving little or nothing for the individual to do. Let us consider the point for a while. A glance at the history of man s social life is enough to show that from the very beginning the one problem which has baffled man has been that of the relationship between the State and the individual. Man has devised several social orders in which, when stress was laid on society or State, the individuality of the people went by the board, and when individuality received consideration, the State got disintegrated. The Holy Quran has given a social order in which both get stronger and firmer day by day, man’s individuality in integration and the State in cohesion and solidarity. The secret of Quranic Social Order lies in the unique relationship between the individual and the State which the Holy Quran has expounded. A few introductory remarks seem necessary to get a thorough grasp of the Quranic idea.

  • Obedience to God only.

The Holy Quran has declared in unequivocal terms that an individual, a society or a State has no right to claim obedience from any person, since obedience is due to God and God only. But we cannot see God nor have we ever heard His voice. How can then one obey Him? The answer is that obedience is not to God personally but to the laws He has revealed in the Quran. For securing obedience to law, however, it is necessary to have some properly constituted Enforcing Agency. The agency for enforcing God’s laws is the Islamic State and obedience to God means, in practice, obedience to the State which enforces His laws.

  • Fulfillment of God’s responsibilities.

But says God to the Islamic State since you take obedience from the people in My name, you should give them what I have promised to give, that is, fulfil the responsibilities which I have assumed in respect of mankind. If you fail to fulfil the responsibilities to people, you lose your right to their obedience. The two go together. Therefore, in the Quranic Social Order, the relationship between the individual and the State is a two-sided affair the individual obeys the laws of God through the Agency of the State and the State honors the promises God has made to man.

  • Contract between individual and State.

The relationship comes about through a mutual contract which the Holy Quran mentions in brief but very comprehensive terms. Says the Quran:

“Allah has bought horn the believers their lives and what they have of material things so that He may give them Jannah” (9/111).

The meaning of the verse is that the people entrust their lives and property to the State which undertakes to enforce the laws of God, and, in return, the State gives them Jannah. You know that there is a Jannah which is to come after a man’s death, but the Holy Quran uses the term Jannah also for the Social Order established here, on this earth, in which every individual is assured, and he is actually provided, all that is required for the development of his body and his Personality, and is free from want, anxiety and fear. According to the contract referred to above, therefore, the individual in offering obedience to the laws of God surrenders, without any compensation, his life and property to the Islamic State, and in return the State assumes full responsibility for providing him the basic necessities of physical life and all the means required for the development of his Personality. By this arrangement, the individual. even after surrendering his life and property to the State, preserves his Individuality or Self, nay helps it develop and gain in strength day by day, and on the other hand, the State gets established onfirm and solid grounds. The laws of God through their observance by the individual as well as the State, ensure both the above objects.

  •  Means of production.

It is obvious that the State will be unable to discharge its huge responsibilities unless the sources of sustenance and means of production are placed under its control. There is nothing startling about it. After the people surrender willfully their lives and all else to the State, the question of individuals owning anything ceases to exist. The means of production pass on quietly to the control of the State to enable it to fulfil its responsibilities of providing the people with the necessities of life and means for development of their Personality. But mind you, by this control over means of production the Islamic State does not become at par with a Communist State. There is a world of difference between the two. A Communistic State, or for the matter of that, any Secular State, has no inviolable principles to guide or control its activities. An Islamic State is, however, bound irrevocably by inviolable principles given by the Holy Quran.

  • Inviolable Principles.

There are, as stated above, laws governing the growth of the human body and laws for the development of his Personality. The Holy Quran calls the latter laws Kalemaat Uliah and says they are inviolable. Kalemaat is the plural of kalema, a term which, as already stated, the Quran uses for Ideology. Therefore, Kalemaat UIlah would mean the concepts of life which. taken together, make up Islamic Ideology and admit of no change. In the words of the Holy Quran:

“The Kaleima revealed by the Nourisher has been made complete in truth and justice. There is none who can change His concepts” (6 116).

In other words Islamic concepts of life (ideology) are complete as well as unchangeable. They constitute Inviolable Principles or Permanent Values and it is through observing them that the development and integration of human Personality comes about. Since the provision of the means of’ this development is the essential responsibility of the Islamic State, its entire activity will be guided throughout by the God-given Inviolable Principles or Permanent Values. Observance of Permanent Values results, in the life of an individual, in showing up, within human limits, Divine attributes. For instance, God is Aleem (all knowing) and Khabeer (fully informed). A developing Personality will imbibe these qualities as far as may be possible within human limits, and become Aleeni and Khabeer within the sphere of human activities. Similarly, in consonance with God’s attributes of Robubiyyat and Razzaqiyyat a developing Personality must cherish the feeling for helping others in their development and in giving them preference over itself. The criterion for judging whether a Personality is or is not developing, is the extent to which it manifests those attributes, limited of course to man’s restricted sphere.

  • State symbol of Divine Attributes.

Similarly when a State bases itself and its programme on Permanent Values it will manifest Divine Attributes much more prominently than an individual. The distinguishing feature of an Islamic State is that, within due limits, it brings out a manifestation of Divine attributes here, there and everywhere throughout its activities. It means that

  1. the administration in an Islamic State is conducted on the basis of Permanent Values:
  2. The State becomes a symbol of Divine Attributes guaranteeing fulfillment of God’s promises: and
  3. that the individual is busy always striving hard to imbibe in himself through the Islamic Society, Divine attributes as best as he can.

There is little difficulty in determining whether a State is or is not Islamic, since the Holy Quran has dealt at great length with Permanent Values as well as Divine Attributes.

  • Final position.

     

 

The final position in a nutshell is:

  1. that Islamic Ideology is another name for Permanent Values or Inviolable Principles elaborated in the Holy Quran;
  2. that an Islamic State is established for the sole purpose of introducing Permanent Values in life;
  3. that the first and foremost duty of an Islamic State is to provide means for the growth and development of the human body as well as Personality; and
  4. that a State is known to be Islamic from its being a symbol of Divine Attributes detailed in the holy Quran.

Let us now take up some of the Quranic Permanent Values.

  • Respect man as man.

Every human being, solely on account of his being a human being, deserves to he respected.

Says the Holy Quran:

“And verily we have made children of Adam deserving of respect” (17/70).

The verse makes no distinction between black and white, poor and opulent, believer and unbeliever, caste or creed, but is of general application embracing one and all of the human species.

What distinguishes man from other animals is the gift which every child gets at birth from God, namely human Personality, The respect is, in fact, due to human Personality, the basic characteristic of which is freedom and it is every soul’s freedom that has to be recognized and honored.

  • Humanity is one.

Says the Holy Quran:

“The whole of humanity is one entity” (2/213).

What militates against the oneness of mankind is its division into groups tribe, party, sect, nation on the men-made basis of distinctive interests as opposed to the general interest of all.

But it is the good of all which has the capacity to endure. In the words of the Holy Quran:

“That which benefits humanity as a whole, endures on this earth. (13/17).

To bring about universal brotherhood of man mere expressions of good-will, amity and tolerance won’t do; it requires a dynamic social order, built on the basis of Permanent Values to realize it. And the first and the foremost objective which the Quranic Social Order or an Islamic State has in view, is the interest of the entire humanity and moulding it into one in-divisible whole.

  • Human freedom.

No individual shall enforce his will on another; all will obey voluntarily the revealed laws of Allah through the agency of an Islamic State which undertakes to enforce those laws.

 Says the Holy Quran:

“No one whom Allah has given a code of law and authority to enforce the law and whom He has favored with Revelation. shall tell people ‘Obey me’ and not Allah, but will say that through obedience to the Book, which you read and study. You should help nourish one another.” (3:78)

Free is he who hasn’t to toe another’s line but obeys, out of his own free will, laws of Allah and such of man-made laws as conform to those laws.

  • Co-operation.

 

Man shall live a life of cooperation with fellow men and not a secluded life.

The Quranic injunction is

“Co-operate in what will add to life’s richness and help safeguard God’s laws, and co-operate not in slackening or going beyond those laws” (5/2).

Co-operation will, however, be in matters which help man’s development. Willing cooperation by one helps him integrate his Personality; working under duress disintegrates it. Unhealthy social order not only condones duress but encourages it by applying the lever of want. Islamic Social Order, on the other hand, makes itself responsible to see that no citizen is stranded by non-fulfillment of wants and is thereby exposed to duress.

  • Justice.

The Holy Book says:

“Verily Allah ordains justice” (16/90).

Honoring of Rights is justice. Take what is your due and nothing more: give with full measure what is due to others: where there are more than one contestant, every one of them should get his due and nothing less. Justice gives confidence and security. Every citizen has a right to be provided with work, basic necessities of life and means of development of his Personality. Islamic Social Order assumes the three-fold responsibility and discharges it, as best as it can, with due regard to the inviolable principle of justice.

  • Restoring disturbed proportions.

The Quran ordains:

“Verily Allah ordains justice and restoration of disturbed proportions’ (16/90)

Ehsaan is derived from husn which is beauty or proportion. In nature there is beauty and proportion everywhere: so it behooves man that his own self as well as things round about him should not be lop-sided. Proportion might be disturbed here and there. Islamic Social Order cannot stand disturbance and tries to restore proportion without delay in accordance with the Inviolable Principle of Ehsaan. Old age, illness, accident, additions to family, etc., strain .the family income. Unless the deficiency is made good in time suffering must follow. By assuming the responsibility for supplying the basic needs of citizens an Islamic State is always prepared to make up the deficiency and to restore the disturbed equilibrium in the life of the family concerned. The reaction of the State is equally prompt if and when similar disturbances of proportion might occur in national affairs.

  • Consultation.

The Holy Quran says:

“And they determine their affairs by mutual consultation” (42:38).

That is, consultation at all levels, in petty affairs concerning individuals or in matters of national or international importance.

Islamic Social Order is essentially democratic with the rider that discussions shall always respect the Quranic fundamentals and never infringes them.

The Holy Quran concerns itself mainly with broad principles of life and very little with detailed instructions. The underlying plan is, as explained by the Holy Book itself, that Muslims in all ages and inhabiting different parts of the world, should be free, within the ambit of the Quranic fundamentals, to determine details to suit their particular circumstances.

Islamic State accepts Quranic principles as its basis and keeping them in view, frames by the method of consultation and discussion, whatever laws are needed to meet new situations as they develop from time to time in different ages and localities. Present day democratic legislatures are bound solely and wholly by the rule of the majority, which is liable to change with every change in the political atmosphere. Islamic legislatures, on the other hand, stand on the bed-rock of Inviolable Quranic Principles and from that firm pedestal set themselves whole-heartedly to the task of framing laws for serving the best interests of the people.

  • Pooling of surpluses.

Pooling of individual surpluses for the good of all is a Permanent Value. The Quranic injunction is:

“And keep open what is surplus to needs for us in the way of Allah” (2/195)

 

Infaaq is derived from nafq which means a tunnel or a covered passage with both ends open. Wealth comes in at one end, stays inside while it is being used to provide needs of the earner, but through the other end the surplus remains available for use for collective purposes.

Varying capacities for work result in bigger or smaller incomes, leaving deficiencies here and surpluses there. Man-made social orders feel unconcerned or helpless and leave the situation to seek its own adjustment. The result is misery for many and luxury for a few, the latter trying always to perpetuate and even enhance the disparity. Islamic Social Order, on the other hand, tackles the situation boldly and rationally, pools the surpluses and uses them to bring about social equilibrium.

  • Islamic State.

 

Says the Holy Quran:

“You are a dynamic society drawn out for the good of mankind, you enforce the recognized (lawful) and prohibit the unrecognized (unlawful) and have faith in (the laws of) Allah – (3/109).

The existence among mankind of a people who will, subject to the Inviolable Principles of the Holy Quran, champion freedom of individual will, enforce respect for law, and stop unlawful activities with a stern hand, is one of the Inviolable Principles.

Brotherhood of the human race is a charming idea. But it cannot be achieved by verbal professions of high sounding slogans, in the name of tolerance and religious amity. The effective method for establishing universal brotherhood of man is that a social order should be created on the basis of universal principles, that it should adopt those principles in practical life and that it should then become a living nucleus for gathering people around and realizing the dream of oneness of humanity. This dynamic social nucleus will generate centrifugal forces out of freedom of will and its achievements. It will recognize no criterion for merit other than what an individual actually is.

I have cited before you, very briefly indeed, some of the permanent Values given by the Holy Quran. They should, I hope, help you form an idea of where and how far the Holy Book would take humanity in its evolutionary progress.

The considerations set forth before you lead to the following three-fold conclusion:

  1. Islamic Ideology connotes the sum total of Permanent Values or Inviolable Principles which have been preserved in their complete and final form in the Holy Quran.

  2. Islamic State is a state which adopts Quranic Permanent Values as its ideal.

  3. Islamic Constitution is the document which proclaims the above ideal and details the plan according to which the edifice of the State will rise solid and firm on the basis of Quranic Inviolable Principles.

 

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Is Islam a Failure? – G A Parwez

This question should worry every student of the rise and fall of the Muslim people. At their dawn they rose high and reached the far ends of the then known world with a speed unknown in history. Equally steep has been their fall, too steep for a recovery. Hard facts of history lead a group of students to the conclusion that while Islam undoubtedly infused a new spirit among the Arabs, enabling them to over-throw the Persian and the Roman empires and become master of the world, it did not have the capacity to keep pace with the times, Islam lagged behind and the steep rise of the Muslims took a precipitous downward trend for good. The experiment has failed and it would, according to M. Abul Kalam Azad, be stupid to give it another trial, see his book India Wins Freedom (page 227). There is another group of students, which though not so out-spoken, finds it hard to reconcile that if Islam sponsors eternal truth and is capable of keeping abreast of the times, why it should have, only a while, come to a dead stop. Skepticism born out of the irreconcilable, shakes the very foundation of their faith in the eternal truth of Islam. The question is important and deserves to be seriously considered and satisfactorily answered.

·        What is Islam.

Everything in this wonderful universe is, on the face of it, bound firmly by God’s permanent and inviolable laws. Says the Holy Quran “Nature’ Islam”. Laws on Nature have never failed, nor have they ever ceased to operate. They work non-stop without let or hindrance, “you will see no imperfection in God’s creation”, (67/3). On the same pattern there are inviolable principles and permanent values for mankind, made known to man through Revelation, which enable him, individually as well as collectively, to grow and develop in life and taste all the good it can afford here and in the hereafter. Unlike things in nature, however, which must observe God’s laws, man is free to adopt or reject them and to follow whatever his desires might dictate. But whereas observance of God’s laws assures a rich and fruitful life, adoption of man­made laws offers no such guarantee and might, on the other hand, lead life to decay and destruction.

·        Struggle Between Right and Wrong.

The way of life revealed by God and called Al Deen or Al-Islam, provides that whatever gifts this beautiful earth of Ours has in store or can produce, should be available to all mankind in an equal manner. There is a section of people, however, who dislike it and would, on the basis of might, control the sources of production, so that they might with-hold God’s gifts from His creatures and avail of them personally according to their sweet will. The group, opposed as it is to God’s way of life (Al Islam), places all sorts of hindrances in its establishment among mankind, bringing about, what the Holy Quran describes as a struggle between Right and Wrong. Whereas Islam has unquestioned sway in nature, it has to contend with stiff opposition in human society. Consider the example of a seed sown in the earth. Given the requisite means of growth a healthy and vigorous seed will sprout, the shoot will rise high slowly and a day will come for the tiny little seed to swing as a full fledged and robust tree. The seed has the capacity to grow and attain its destiny. Likewise the eternal laws and the permanent values which, as already referred to, make up Al-Islam, have the capacity to overcome impediments in the way of their materialization and to attain their goal. In the words of the Holy Quran the “healthy concept of life, Kalema-e-Tavvib, has the capacity to go up to Him” (3 5/10), that is, to attain the heights which God has destined for it. In other words Right has the capacity and power to grapple with and overcome Wrong and pursue its own course. Happenings in human society, past and present, seem, however, to belie the conclusion. There is untruth everywhere, having full sway and giving no quarter to truth. Tyranny, exploitation, dishonesty, fraud are rampant. Appearances may, however, be deceptive. Let us clear the misunderstanding underlying the confusion.

·        Slow Speed.

According to the Holy Quran the concepts of life revealed by God have the capacity and inherent strength to clear impediments and prevail but they do so at a slow speed, that is when judged by man’s counting. “He directs the affair from heaven to earth” (32/5), that is, at His will, He formulates a plan in the high heavens, but initiates it practically at the lowest level, even as the live seed is buried under the earth to become a hung tree later on, “then it goes up to Him in a day whose measure is a thousand years of your counting”, (32/5). God’s plans, based always on truth, must materialize. Impediments cannot hold them up. But they progress at a speed too slow to be visible. Abstract truths apart, even in the case of material things the pace of evolution remains imperceptible. Scientists say that in organic evolution the smallest change in a species takes thousands of years to take effect. During this long period the change goes on taking shape gradually but unnoticed and becomes visible only at the end of a millennium. This should give art idea of the speed at which God’s plans materialize, whose one day measures a thousand or even fifty thousand years (70/4) of our counting. One might sit by a plant day and night, for weeks or months or even years, but although it will be growing all the time, he will not perceive the change as it is coming on slowly, very slowly. In a watch if the minute hand drops and the hour hand moves on from one hour mark to the next, the movement’ remains invisible to the naked eye.

·        Truth Prevails.

In its struggle with untruth, truth must prevail ultimately although it may take long to do so. Says the Holy Quern, ‘We hurl truth against untruth and it crushes its brain and untruth vanishes away”(21/18), leaving the way clear for truth to pursue its normal course. It would be incorrect to expect a result of the struggle within decades; it needs centuries to determine the outcome of the struggle. The fact, however, is that a conflict between a divine principle and a man-made system has always ended in the victory of the former and a rout of the latter. Examples will be given a little later.

·        Reiteration.

The ground covered so far might be reiterated briefly:-­

(1)   Islam is a collection of inviolable principles revealed by God for the guidance of man to enable him to attain his destiny in life.

(2)   Those who would exploit fellow men, oppose the divine code and give rise to the struggle between Right and Wrong.

(3)   Right has an inherent capacity to overcome Wrong and pursue its own course.

(4)   The process is a slow one, so slow that its one day equals a thousand years of man’s counting.

·        Pace can be Accelerated.

The Process can, however, be quickened. The verse (35/10) already quoted “healthy concept of life, Kalema-e­Tayyib, has the capacity to go up to Him” goes on to say, “and healthy action (of man) gives it a push upward”. That is, divine laws left to themselves, operate at their normal slow speed, but if at times a people adopt them in giving shape to their social structure, the speed gets accelerated and the results which would have normally taken thousands of years to produce, are achieved within a few days. Normally divine laws operate by evolution; man’s cooperation makes them work by revolution or, to use the scientific term, by Emergent Evolution. The process of normal evolution allows human mind time to develop gradually and appreciate divine laws. The onset of emergent evolution brought on by man’s cooperation is, however, too fast for human mind to keep pace with. The cooperating community itself is undoubtedly equipped to appreciate divine laws and assimilate their spirit, but those outside it lack the mental development needed for the purpose, and in consequence experience difficulty in owning them. A student brought up and educated normally to the final stage of his study, will tackle difficult problems with ease; but they will baffle one who is still in the middle of the course. To enable the latter to grapple with them, his education must be improved and special arrangements made for quicker mental development.

·        How Human Intellect Works.

 The modus operandi of human intellect consists in the method of trial and error. It formulates a theory, puts it into practice and takes decades or even centuries to discover its weaknesses. Then it devises another theory and repeats the process. It might take hundreds of years to arrive at the right solution. The solution thus reached is then welcome, since during the intervening centuries the requisite mental development has already taken place.

·        What Revelation Does.

Divine Revelation does away with the method of trial and error. It gives outright solutions without waiting for the normal mental development of mankind taking place. Special effort bas consequently to be made to familiarize man’s mind with the principles revealed much in advance of the times. The introduction among mankind of eternal divine laws (Al-Islam) proceeded at the normal pace apropos man’s mental development, who accepted what was within his ken and remained a stranger to the rest. All of a sudden Rasoolullah appeared on the scene in Arabia with a complete code of the laws revealed to him by Allah. Portions of the code, which happened to be beyond the mental stage of his listeners, aroused opposition. By his inimitable teaching and practice Rasoôlullah tried hard to explain to them how the code guaranteed human dignity and welfare. Some of them who shed their prejudices and cared to understand appreciated Rasoolullah’s message and cooperated with him. He gathered aroui1d him a concourse of believers and their healthy deeds greatly accelerated the normal pace of divine laws and in a short while produced most surprising results unparalleled in history. There was nothing extraordinary and supernatural about the achievement. It followed the eternal divine law that “healthy concept of life has the capacity to go up to Him and healthy action (of man) gives it a push upward’ (35110). Their deeds accelerated the pace of divine laws and achieved in the matter of days what should have normally taken thousands of years to materialize. Had the cooperation between divine laws and human activity been maintained, quicker achievements under the laws would have also maintained their pace, and who can guess what heights man would have attained by now! The cooperation ceased, however after a while and the laws resumed their original speed. The short span of time during which quicker results were achieved according to man’s counting of time, is the period during which, in the view of thinkers and historians, Islam was a success and thereafter it proved a failure. The bare fact, however, is that while moving at its normal pace of a day equal to a thousand years, Islam got extra help from man which accelerated its speed, but that later on the extra help was withdrawn leaving Islam to get along at its original normal pace. The process has been very much like the running of a stream of water, which as a result of a fall on the way, flows faster for a while and then, on the e4iaustion of the impetus provided by the fall, resumes flowing at its original speed. To say that the stream flowed only while the movement of currents was visible as a result of the fall’s impetus and then it turned into a standing pool would be very short sighted indeed.

·        Four Questions.

The foregoing gives rise to four questions, namely:-

(1)                What was it which created in that particular period a body of people whose healthy deeds gave such a momentum to the operation of divine laws?

(2)                Why did that thing not prove lasting?

(3)                If the thing disappeared, why did the divine truth escape man’s mind as it had developed at the time?

(4)                What proof is there that the divine’ laws resumed their normal speed and Continue to operate at that speed? That is, does the stream of divine laws continue to flow and has not turned into a standing pool deprived of all chances of resuming its flow?

First Question

 ·        Rasoolullah’s Training.

As regards the first question, the programme which. in the words of the Holy Quern, Rasoolullah followed, was “To recite His verses to them, to help their development and to teach them the Book and the why thereof’, (62/2). the programme was threefold. Firstly, Rasoolullah presented to his listeners the Holy Quern, pure and simple, without allowing any mingling with it of man’s own thoughts, concepts, theories or beliefs. He offered them pure what he received by Revelation. His appeal was based on reason. “1 call to God with sure knowledge. I and whoever follows me”, (12/108). The presentation of the Quranic message was rational and based on true knowledge; there was no compulsion there, neither mental through miracles, nor physical by the, sword. Secondly, those who accepted the message after due thought and conviction and without mental reservation, were initiated into mastering it as best as they could. Rasoolullah explained to them the provisions of divine laws together with the purpose underlying them. lie taught them how they should, in the light of the inviolable principles of Al-Islam, think out a solution of the problems which might confront them.Thirdly, all atmosphere of true freedom was created in which personality could grow and man’s inborn capacities of head and heart could develop. The shackles of man-made restrictions and conventions gripping them broke one by one and they felt that they were neither another man’s dependent nor his slave. True freedom prevailing n the Quranic Social Order provides the base for  the development of human Personality.

This was the simple and straight-forward programme which enabled Rasoolullah to create a community of people whose healthy deeds gave a miraculous acceleration to the pace of divine laws and established a social order in no time to bear witness to, the glorious achievements of Islam.

·        Difference in Training.

The people who embraced Islam in the lifetime of Rasoolullah, technically called companions, did not all of them have equal opportunity of benefiting from his training. There were the Bedouins who became converts towards the end of Rasoolullah’s life, after seeing the Rising power and prowess of the Islamic State. About them the Holy Quern says, “The Bedouins say, we believe’, Say you do not believe, rather say, ‘we surrender (to the Islamic State); for belief has not yet entered your hearts.” (4911 4). Then there were the Qureish who joined the Islamic fold after the armistice of Hodaibiyya or the fill of Mecca. About them the Holy Quern says, “No! equal is he among you who spent and fought before the victory: 1/lose are mightier in rank than they who Spent  and fought afterward’; although God has promised all of them the good that follows from Islam” (57/10). The ‘mightier in rank are the ‘true believers” say the Holy Quern, “and those who believed and have emigrated and struggled in the way of God, those who have given refuge (to the emigrants) and help (the establishment of the new order) those are the true believers, for them there is protection against impairment and respectful provision” (8/74). And the ones “who spent and fought afterwards” have been described as “they belong to you” (8/75). The former are pioneers who have been called as “those who are with Muhammad, the messenger of God”, (48/29), and whose astounding effort in establishing the Islamic Social Order has been praised in the verse so lavishly. The foregoing is not a negation of the great worth of the believers who, though rather late in the day, joined the pioneers all the same. The Holy Quern says about them “God will be well-pleased with them and they are well-pleased with Him.” (9/100)

 ·        Real Conversion.

The foregoing would show clearly that among the later adherents of Islam there were people whose conversion differed from that of the first pioneers and who had lesser opportunity of receiving training from Rasoolullah. His first converts joined Rasoolullah after long and serious thought and after appreciating his message fully’, at a time when conversion meant planting oneself against the concerted opposition of whole society and offering one to their unlimited torture and tyranny. Later on when the Islamic state got well established and extended its control far and wide, conversion became an easy affair and meant, to use the Quranic expression. just surrendering to the state. Besides this difference in the urge for conversion the later adherents were also handicapped in the matter of receiving training directly from Rasoolullah.

Second Question

·        Rasoolullah’ s Personality.

The second question is why was the programme adopted by Rasoolullah not pursued? An oft-repeated explanation is that it was the unique personality of Rasoolullah who brought about with his great“Spiritual” power the tremendous revolution and it was not within the competence of ordinary mortals to carry on the great work he had initiated.

The explanation is based on a misunderstanding which it is very necessary to remove. While it might provide an answer to the question, its logical and inescapable conclusion is that howsoever we might wish it we cannot revive Islamic way of life. The answer leads to complete and continuous frustration leaving little hope for regeneration. The idea of a mujaddid coming after every century or of a mehdi appearing in the end of so many nabees cropping up one after another, is the direct product of the frustration. The conception that a revival is impossible without the guidance of a nabee is unwarranted and must be removed. There is no mention in the Holy Quern of any promised one coming after Rasoolullah.

·        What Rasoolullah did could be repeated.

Rasoolullah was the recipient of Revelation from God and in this respect he was unique among men. Revelation gave him a super­natural position. On the foundation of revealed guidance he raised the super-structure of Islamic Social Order, not with the help of any supernatural power but as a man. The Holy Quran makes no secret of the fact that apart from the Book he was not given any miracle. After his passing away the process of Revelation stopped, but what he did as a mortal to give practical shape to the revealed message, was carried on as before through the institution of Khilafat or succession, the sole purpose of which was to prepetuate his programme of advancing and extending the Islamic Social Order. Says the Quran, “Muhammad is naught but a messenger:

messengers have passed away before him.  Why, if he should die or is slain, will you turn about on your heels (thinking that the message was for his life-time only)? (3/143). The programme did not end with his demise; it had to continue inspite of his demise and could be carried on without him. When he said (1 2/108) “1 call to God with sure knowledge” he added “1 do so and so also those who follow .me”. The Holy Quran says. “He (Rasoolullah) enforces the recognized (lawful), and forbids the unrecognized (unlawful)’ – and the same duty has been assigned to his followers where it says “you are a dynamic society brought forth for the good of humanity. You enforce the recognized (lawful) and forbid the  unrecognized (unlawful)”, (3/109). Hence it is wrong to assume that the three fold programme of Rasoolullah of “rcciling God’s verses to the people, helping their development and teaching them the Book and the why thereof” was confined to him and was not to be pursued after him. It was, as a matter fact pursued and the fruits which the Islamic social Order had begun to bear in the life-time of Rasoolullah, continued to be harvested. Then after a time the programme halted due to various reasons.

·        Why the Programme halted.

Rasoolullah began propagating his message among the Meccans and those round about them and subsequently among the people of Madina and its surroundings. Due to direct contact with Rasoolullah, his immediate listeners understood and appreciated the divine message and Islamic conceptions gripped them and went deep into their heart and soul. Later on, when the whole of Arabia became Muslim the fresh converts, to quote the Holy Quern, merely ‘surrendered’ to the Islamic State, without being subjected to any mental or moral change. The earlier Muslims were real converts, the later ones merely in name. The latter had little share of Rasoolullah’s personal contact and training, because they were scattered far and wide, their number was very large, and Rasoolullah’s early demise had cut short the opportunity. After his passing away, ‘during the time of Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Umar, the Islamic State extended far and wide and covered an area of almost two and a half million square miles, embracing practically the whole of the Persian Empire and the greater part of the Roman Empire. The people inhabiting these vast areas could stick to their religion by making treaties with the Islamic State, but they preferred to become Muslims. As converts to a new social order they were even in a less fortunate position than the Arabian converts just referred to. The Arabian converts had the advantage of seeing Muslims round about them and of hearing about Islamic concepts and principles. The new converts had none of this facility. Their number was legion, the area which they inhabited was immense, and means of communication were extremely limited. All these factors made it well-nigh impossible that their education and training in the new dispensation could be on lines approaching those on which the earliest adherents of Islam were brought up. The problem greatly worried Hazrat Umar and he gave continued and very serious thought to it throughout. The situation answered very well the description in the Holy Quran, “When the help of God and victory come and you see men joining His social order in throngs”, let not complacency overcome you that your purpose has been achieved and your programme is over, but instead you should get determined to prosecute the programme with greater vigor and “then proclaim the praises of your Nourisher (by executing His programme more vigorously) and seek His protection for He turns to men (and brings them means of development,)” (110/1-3). It was this feeling which, according to Ibn-e-Hazm, made Hazrat Umar distribute a hundred thousand copies of the Holy Quran throughout the length and breadth of the State. He had thought out further plans for the training of the new converts, but before he could execute them he was assassinated unexpectedly, leaving the ummat as well as mankind at large so much poorer and the new converts a heap of uncouth mass of humanity. A mass conversion of the type that had occurred could be no more than political surrender to the new State, without any mental change affecting old beliefs and conceptions. Education an training alone can bring about real change. Social influence might change their outside, but superficial change alone is a dangerous thing. The surrender of the masses was calm and quiet but it cut to the quick the wielders of authority and the intelligentsia. They were sore at a defeat by the Arabs, whom they never took for more than wild brutes, which broke to pieces their extensive empire and destroyed their ancient culture and civilization. The defeat made them surrender no doubt to the Islamic State, but they were never reconciled to it and feelings of revenge against the conquering Arabs raged furiously in their hearts. They took revenge not on the battle-field but through political intrigue and religious disruption. They realised that the secret of the over-whelming power of the Arabs lay in their adoption of the Islamic principles. When the Persian governor and military commander, Harmuzan was brought in chains before Hazrat Umar he asked him how is it that the Arabs who until recently dare not come near the Persian frontiers were now inflicting heavy defeat on them on all fronts? The answer Harmuzan gave was “Before it was force pitched against force, of which we had more. Then God was neither with you nor with us. Now in our encounters there is God with you and no God with us”. The answer repeats in other words what the 1-loly Quran has said, “That is because God is the protector of the believers and that the unbelievers have no protector” (47/11). The thinkers among the conquered knew full well that it is the eternal principles of God whose adoption has brought such a tremendous change among the Arabs and therefore they based their scheme of revenge on a plan designed to wean them from those principles. The plan consisted in introducing gradually in the body politic of Islam of un-Islamic beliefs and concepts under an Islamic covering so that in the end the eternal divine principles lost place to man­made laws and concepts. What we have now of Islam is composed mostly of the replacing stuff introduced by the Ajami (alien) scheme of revenge. The Egyptian historian Muhammad Husain Haikal has described the situation aptly in his book The Great Umar”. He has first quoted from the Historians’ History of the World and then made his own comments. The quotation is:­-

“The reaction went still further, and the principles of political theology which had ruled ancient Persia returned to affirm their empire almost the day after the national ruin. According to Persian theory the power belonged to the King, the son of God, invested with divine glory by his super-terrestrian origin. Owing to political revolutions Persia united on the head of Muhammad’s legitimate successor, the Arabian Ali, who had been excluded from the caliphate, all the splendor and sanctity of the old national royalty. The one she had once called in her protocols “the divine King son of heaven”, and in her sacred books the “lord and guide” — lord in a worldly sense, guide in an intellectual — she now called by the Arabic word imam, “the Chief’. this was the simplest title imaginable and at the same time the most august, for in it was included all the sovereignty of the world and of the mind. In regard to the Caliphs, who were raised to power by the blind clamour of the masses, by crime and intrigues, she upheld the hereditary rights of the imam Ali, the infallible and sacred of God.”

“At his death she gathered about his two sons, Hassan and Husein, and afterwards about their descendants. Husein had married a daughter of the last sassanid king, so that the imamate was fixed in his blood by a doubly divine right; and the union of ancient Persia and Islam was sealed in the blood of Husein on the plains of Kerbela.”

“The revolution which overturned the Omayyad usurpers in favour of the Abbasides, the nephews of the Prophet, was the work of Persia. If she did not bring into power the favourite family for which she thought she was fighting, she at least caused her principle to triumph.’

(Pages 489-90, Vol. 24, 1907 edition).

Haikal then comments on the quotation as follows: ­“The events recorded by the Historians’ History of the world, which are corroborated by all other historians, occurred after Hazrat Umar. We have referred to them with a view to draw the attention of the reader to the fact that the Iranians never reconciled themselves to Arab domination and in fact resisted it from the very beginning. At first they revolted openly: but failure in the attempt turned their efforts to arrest power by other means. They succeeded here and obtained considerable power in the various spheres of life’s activities. They were so sore against Muslim domination that they decided to kill Hazrat Umar. It has been said that the assassination of Hazart Umar coming soon after the conquest of Khorasan was the result of Iranian conspiracy.” (page-420)

I hold no brief for Shias or Sunnis and am, therefore, unconcerned with sectarian beliefs. The criterion with me is that beliefs and conceptions opposed to the Holy Quern can never be right and am averse to looking at the point in issue from the sectarian angle. What I wish to stress is that the inhabitants of the conquered territories after becoming Muslim stuck to their old beliefs and giving them an Islamic packing spread them in the Islamic society, thereby weaning it gradually from God (His Book) who helped Muslims in overcoming non-Muslims. Or, in the words of the Historians History of the world, already quoted, “The Islam of Persia is not at all Islam: it is the old religion of Persia framed in Moslem formulas.” (page 489). It was the victory of mental swords over steel swords. The process got an unfortunate impetus from the fact that during the reign of the Abbasidés, who had gained supremacy through alien (‘ajaimi) help, they could influence society all over. They were a literary people and took good care to popularise the “New Islam” through the written word. It is the books compiled during this period which today we teach in the name of religion. Islamic history. political as well as religious, is in fact the variegated story of alien (‘ajami) intrigue. The above facts explain clearly how the type of instruction and training begun by Rasoolullah and followed during the earlier days of Caliphate, not only came to a stop but gave place to the teaching of a “New Islam”.

 ·        Doubtful Strategy.

Some say that had Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Umar not fought these wars, Islam would have been saved the disfigurement which it had to suffer at the hands of the new converts. The opinion overlooks an important aspect of the situation, namely that the wars were fought not for grabbing land but in circumstances which might be summarised briefly as follows:­

(1)      Islam is a way of life which can take practical shape only in a free Islamic State. This was the foundation on which Rasoolullah built a state, the preservation of which became the sole object of the Caliphate.

(2)      The Persian and the Roman Empires did not, could not, like the new Islamic State since it was a rival and a danger and had better been removed from the scene. It became incumbent that the Caliphate should take note of their evil designs and forestall them by advancing its armies for self preservation. Their conquests would have produced no untoward results had the conquered territories entered into treaties with the conquerors and not become converts to Islam overnight. The situation was worsened by the untimely assassination of Hazrat Umar who would have undoubtedly taken steps for initiating the new converts into the Islamic social order on a sound and firm basis.

(3)      It is important to note that in addition to following a defensive strategy, an Islamic State has at times to adopt an offensive strategy also. If the subjects of a State are helpless against the tyranny and torture of their rulers it is the duty of an Islamic State to take whatever steps are feasible to succour them, even though they may be non-Muslims. At times armed intervention might become unaviodable in situations to meet which the U.N.O. is now being urged to have a force of its own which could move into territories where there is no other way for preserving law and order. Armed intervention by the Caliphate was in some cases resorted to with this motive.

The foregoing would show that the view that the Caliphate should not have engaged in wars, is very much ill-informed.

 Third Question 

·        Why did human mind fail to assimilate Islamic truths.

Now we come to the third question, namely that if the process of instruction and training introduced by Rasoolullah fell into disuse, why did human mind of its own, fail to adopt the Islamic truths which had been exposed before it lucidly, and why did it prefer man-made laws to those truths? We have already seen that when eternal truths unfold themselves with their normal speed, human mind accepts them gradually, but their ex-normal and sudden appearance leaves the human mind wondering unless by special training it is enabled to appreciate them. In other words all revolutionary messages have to be before-time. A “Revolutionary voice” is an appeal to mankind to give practical shape to some eternal law of God; it is ‘before-time” in the sense that in its present stage of development human mind is still not prepared to receive it. If it were so prepared the ‘voice” would not be revolutionary but would be a product of the prevailing environment. A revolutionary voice seems always out of tune since its listeners have not yet developed an ear which could appreciate it. They find it hard to harmonise with it. To them the voice is strange and they oppose it. Leaving aside the appeal of a messenger’ of God which is always centuries ahead of the time, the appeal of any genius falls on deaf ears and he passes away full of regret over the indifference of his audience. Ghalib had to say “the world will appreciate my verse after me’. Iqbal said “After me they will recite my verse, appreciate it and say a self-knowing soul gave a new shape to the world”. Ghalib and Iqbal are not solitary instances. All the world over in history the luminaries suffered the same fate at the hands of their respective people. They had nothing to support them in life and most of them had to spend their days behind the bars and in misery. They lived unknown and died unwept and unsung. But when they were no more, later generations unearthed the remnants and rags in which they had passed a miserable existence, adored with them museums and galleries, wrote every word of theirs in gold and weighed it against jewels.

·         High Level of Quranic Revolution.

A casual assessment of the plane of thought and the social, economic and cultural level attained in the age in which the revolutionising message of the Holy Quran came, would show that the message was much beyond and ahead of the times.

(1)      Man and God. In an age in which the people from the thoughtful down to the common man, were overwhelmed with superstition surrounding the places of worship, sacrificial forums and monasteries and their minds were helpless captives in the hands of hermits, priests and soothsayers, who were believed to be the sole and accredited agents for enforcing the driving purpose, the Quranic voice proclaiming that between man and his God no third power intervened, must have been a cry in the wilderness!

(2)      Cooperation not Subjugation. In an age in which the whole world believed and worshipped Raja as an incarnation of God, Caesar as the possessor of Divine Rights and king as God’s shadow on earth, the Quranic call that no one has the right to thrust his will on another and that human affairs should be settled by mutual consultation, must have sounded very odd indeed!

(3)      Relative Superiority. In an age in which racial superiority determined respectability, family and tribal connections formed the basis for greatness, heredity was accepted as the standard for leadership and political ascendancy and in which every individual, every tribe and every country felt the greatest pride in preserving the distinctions even though the process might involve wide-spread destruction, the Quranic message that by birth all persons are alike and the criterion for respectability and greatness is one’s personal attainments and not hereditary connections, must have looked very unnatural.

(4)      Ideology. In an age in which geographical boundaries and racial characteristics assessed distinction and in which laying down of one’s life for country and nation was considered to be a sacred duty, for Quran to say that nationality should be based not on country, colour, race, language, etc., but on common ideology, must have been altogether un-understandable!

(5)      Cause and Effect. In an age in which man had a separate god for every natural phenomenon, whose pleasure or displeasure determined whether coming events would bring happiness or sorrow, how could one believe that things in nature are controlled by a fixed law, that there is a chain of cause and effect in all happenings and that there is an unchanging procedure governing them which admits of no exception? The Quranic conception must have been an extremely strange one and an altogether unacceptable proposition.

(6)      All Men Are Equal. In an age marked with paucity of knowledge in which a villager who could count beyond ten was believed to be superhuman, how could human mind concede that a messenger of God, who was the repository of the highest knowledge, could be a man like any other man!

(7)      Miracles. In an age in which piety was associated with doing astonishing things how could anyone accept that a messenger of God did not perform miracles and that the yardstick for judging truth or untruth was the verdict of knowledge and its concrete results! The proposition could hardly appeal to the prevailing intellect, which would spurn at the idea that a prophet could perform no miracle, that religion was based on reason and that religious actions should be judged by their results.

(8)      Serfdom. In an age in which capitalism, and even serfdom, were accepted as normal features of society, the clarion call of the Holy Quran that no man has the right to usurp another s earnings, must have been sheer lunacy.

(9)      Private Ownership. Finally, in an age in which a Karon’s wealth was appreciated as god’s bounty, landlordism as nature s gift and in which the placing of any limits on personal belongings was viewed as anti-religious, the Quranic proclamation must have sounded very strange indeed, that hoarding of wealth is a serious crime, that sources of production cannot belong to any individual, that the means of sustenance should remain open to all in an equitable manner and that it is the basic duty of the State to see that every one is provided with the necessities of life and whatever is required for the development of one’s latent potentialities.

·        Sixth Century Thought.

The level of human thought in the “sixth century of the Christian era, had not yet attained the height required to assimilate the conceptions underlying the new dispensation and the way of life itadvocated. The conceptions being of a revolutionary character were far ahead of the times and the world was still unprepared for receiving them. The, sixth century belonged to what are called the “dark ages”: even the twentieth century, the age of science and reason and civilization and culture, finds it difficult to catch up to Quranic conceptions. Their great height makes it impossible to hazard a guess about the time when human thought would approach them. Therefore, there should be nothing astonishing if the Quranic Social Order did not continue long; the real surprise is how some people were got together who could assimilate conceptions far ahead of their time and give them a practical shape.

·        Rasoolullah’s Personality.

It sends my soul into ecstasy when I think of the wonderful training which the great personality of Rasoolulah imparted to produce in that age a people who could bring about the establishment of the Quranic Social Order. Rasoolullah’s greatest miracle, in my view, is that in circumstances in which any genius would pass away regretting an indifferent environment and calling himself the man of the future, he (Rasoolullah) should proclaim his environment to be “the best of all” since it gave practical shape to a social order far above the mental level of the times. Rasoolullah occupies a unique position among the revolutionary leaders of the world standing far ahead of and much higher than any one else. His miraculous achievement consists in placing before and bringing home to his people, ideas which are not fully appreciated even after the lapse of thirteen centuries. A teacher possessing his breadth of vision and sympathy could alone give a rational exposition of Allah’s book and achieve an unimaginable development of man’s potentialities. It was this marvelous performance of Rasoolullah which made God and His constructive forces (angels) acclaim him with cheers and applause, (33 756). They acclaimed his associates also (33/47), who cut themselves off from the rest of the world and rising poles high above their contemporaries, helped the establishment Madina of a social order, far beyond the imagination of the times, in which;­

(a)                the big sardars of the Qoreish, a plebeian from Persia (Salman), a labourer from Rome (Shoaib) and a slave from Abyssinia (Bilal) not only ate from the same table but had matrimonial relations also;

(b)                even when a big personality like Rasoolullah asked a slave boy or a slave girl to do something, he or she had the courage to question him (Rasoolullah) whether his suggestion was based on Revelation or on his personal opinion and if it was the latter, to ask his pardon and to be allowed to do as he or she thought fit;

(c)                affairs of State were determined by mutual counsel and the view of the head of the State (Rasoolullah) himself was at times ruled out by the view of some one else;

(d)                at Rasoolullah’s demise Hazrat Abu Bakr proclaimed before a huge crowd that he who worshipped Muhammad (May we glorify and obey his call) should know that his god is dead, but one who served God should know that his God is Living and Everlasting, that Muhammad was His messenger who lived his time and then passed away making little difference to the order he had established;

(e)                after Rasoolullah’s demise people collected and chose their head on merit, discarding completely tribal or ancestral considerations;

(f)                  at his death bed Rasoolullah declared that he had not a pie at home and that whatever odds and ends he was leaving would pass on to the people and not to any individual relation;

(g)                Hazrat Abu Bakr, as head of the State, fixed his remuneration at an equivalent of the daily wages of a labourer and returned to the Exchequer even that pittance, fearing he might not have done full work for the sum;

(h)                Hazrat Umar told his wife that the precious stones which Caesar’s wife sent her in return for presents of scents, were sent to her in her capacity as the wife of the head of the State and not in her personal capacity and that therefore the stones should be made over to the Central Exchequer;

(i)                  Hazrat Umar decided that the conquered lands shall not be divided among the fighting forces but shall remain under the joint control of ummat, so that the present as well as the future generations should be able to avail of them;

(j)                  an old hag could tell the head of the State that if he could not evolve a machinery for keeping himself informed of what was happening to the individual citizens, he should abdicate on grounds of inefficiency, and

(k)                Hazrat Umar would eat wheat bread only if he was assured that it was available to every citizen of the state, otherwise would continue eating oats.

The creation of a society in which decisions of the nature indicated above could be taken normally and without special effort, was, on the face of it, an event far in advance of the age. Even after the lapse of thirteen centuries human mind still finds it difficult to assimilate the principles propounded by the Holy Quran.

·        Human Mind can Develop.

When I say that revolutionary messages are ahead of times, it does not mean that the messages are beyond the reach of human mind. It can follow and appreciate them but with effort. But effort is what human mind shirks. Following blindly (taqleed) requires no thought (thought is in fact forbidden in tqqleed), is automatic and hence easy of adoption. The early history of Islam gives, however, an idea of the great extent to which man’s effort can develop human mind.

·        Why Emergent Evolution.

What is the good of sudden revolutionary changes? What does mankind gain by accelerating the working of eternal laws for a time and securing their extraordinary results if after a while human mind and those results are to revert to their old level? In a concrete form the question might be “what contribution did early Islam make to the betterment of mankind?” The answer is “immense” Firstly,Islam gave the world God’s eternal laws in the form of a book (the Holy Quran) so that who so wishes might give them practical shape and obtain their happy results. Secondly, Islam showed the world that the laws are workable, that they are not mere utopia but a practicable code of life which was given a trial in a particular period of history and produced positive results. Emergent evaluations help mankind go ahead. As already explained human intellect works by experimentation. 1t evolves a plan, executes it and then finds after centuries that the plan was defective and hence a failure. Then itbegins experimenting with some other plan. If, however, it can have the benefit of seeing the results achieved by a revolution, the precedent will help it assess much better the results of its own planning. A comparative study of pre and post Islamic history will show at once that the progress man has made during post Islamic period is unparalleled. The progress would appear much more marked had the history of early Islam been available in its unalloyed form. A revolution gives the ever-moving vehicle of time a push which accelerates its speed and enables it to cover a lot of distance with the momentum gained. It was the momentum generated by the short-lived Islamic Social Order, which helped Muslims maintain for centuries their leadership of the world in science and art. Western thinkers and historians admit the truth of the statement. In his book “The Making of Humanity”, Briffault has devoted a whole chapter to the theme under the caption “Dar Al-Hikmat” and says,

“It was under the influence of the Arabian and Moorish revival of culture, and not in the fifteenth century, that the real Renaissance took place. Spain, not Italy, was the cradle of the rebirth of Europe. After steadily sinking lower and lower into barbarism, it had reached the darkest depths of ignorance and degradation when the cities of the Saracenic world, Baghdad, Cairo, Cordoba, Toledo, were growing centres of civilization and intellectual activity. It was there that the new life arose which was to grow into a new phase of human evolution. From the time when the influence of their culture made itself felt, began the stirring of a new life.” (page 188-189).

“It is highly probable that but for the Arabs modern European civilization would never have arisen at all; it is absolutely certain that but for them, it would not have assumed that character which has enabled it to transcend all previous phases of evolution.” (page- 190)

The extract sums up nicely the benefits which accrued to humanity from the push given by the Islamic revolution.

Fourth Question

 ·        Islam has been Advancing.

We may now take up the fourth and the last question namely how do we know that the eternal principles of Islam have been functioning at their normal speed and have not come to a dead stop. It is a question of history, the history of the times when the Holy Quran was revealed and the history of mankind during the, subsequent thirteen centuries. The study will settle the point whether in these thirteen centuries man has, after due experimentation, been adopting Quranic concepts or reverting to pre-Quranic concepts.

(a)        In the pre-Quranic period the institution of king-ship was believed to be an institution most suited to human “nature”; the Holy Quran rejected it and advanced the method of mutual counseling for settling affairs because no one had the right to thrust his will on another. The new concept had little appeal at the time, but since then, the trend has been in which direction, towards imperialism or towards Islam”?

(b)        Slavery was then believed to be an essential feature of society and perfectly in accord, with the “natural” division of mankind into strata. The Holy Quran declared that by birth all men are equally deserving of respect and that therefore no one has the right to enslave another. The Quranic concept was then unacceptable, but since then, which has prevailed, the old slavish concept or the new Islamic concept of human freedom?

(c)        Human mind then thought that personalities help nations to glory and believed in hero-worship as something very natural. The Holy Quran said that the idea was archaic and primitive and that henceforth common ideology would cement nations, which would progress on the strength and efficiency of their social order. No one would agree with it then; but do not present trends favour entirely the Quranic principle?

(e)        Against the then prevailing belief that ownership of land, feudalism and capitalism were natural institutions, the Holy Quran proclaimed that it is the duty of every individual to help the development of all, that, therefore, means and sources of production must not belong to individuals and that individual control over land produce and hoarding of gold and silver were the most heinous crimes before the Supreme Court of Humanity. The Quranic idea was spurned at initially but what about now? Is not world restlessly yearning to assimilate and own the idea originally rejected with contempt?

(f)         Human mind then recognised families, tribes and nations, but could not conceive a universal brotherhood of man. The Holy Quran said humanity is one and the oneness can be brought about by having one law for the whole lot. The idea of oneness of humanity was not appreciated then, but since then what has been the position? Has appreciation grown for a compact mankind or for its divisions into smaller groups? That the world has grown sick of nationalism is the theme of a chapter on Politics in my book “insan ne kiya socha” (What man has thought).

Western thinkers then passed on the internationalism, but felt very soon that it could not achieve human destiny. They are now for universalism and wish to establish one-world government, without knowing exactly the base on which to raise the superstructure. They will thank their stars when they realise ultimately that the true base for one world government is provided by the Permanent Values of the Holy Quran!

·        Islam Continues to Advance.

I have cited the foregoing instances by way of illustration, otherwise there is no walk of life in which man has not after unsuccessful experimentation, followed the path indicated by the Holy Quran for the achievement of man s destiny or is still busy discovering it. Of the truths revealed by the Holy Quran the world has adopted some is impatiently anxious to adopt some more, and the rest appear to be beyond the reach of man with his present mental development. The Holy Quran is the final and complete code of life for mankind. As man advances he will appreciate more and more the provisions of the code which just fit in with the freshly evolving features of life. Says the Holy Quran. We shall show them our signs in the (‘changing,) horizons and in themselves till it is clear to them that it is the truth” (41/53). The world witnesses the signs in the changing horizons, appreciates the Quranic eternal truths and is thus gradually becoming a ‘convert’ to Islam.

·        Recapitulation.

The ground already covered might be recapitulated: –

(1)         Islam is a collection of eternal truths inviolable laws and Permanent Values revealed from time to time for the guidance of man and finally preserved in the Holy Quran.

(2)        ‘Islam’ forged its way into human society at its own. evolutionary slow speed, very slow indeed by our counting, until Rasoolullah appeared on the scene.

(3)        By persistent effort over years Rasoolullah brought together a body of men whose practical programme helped Islam’s normal speed accelerate and produce, results quickly, that is, by our own counting. This is the period in history which is recognised as the epoch of Islam’s glory.

(4)        After a time the modus operandi of Rasoolullah — calling people to Allah rationally and instructing them in the revealed book — fell into disuse, resulting in the withdrawal of the acceleration induced by him and his associates and leaving Islam proceed at its normal slow speed.

·        Islam and Muslims.

Superficial vision sees in the phenomenon short-lived success and subsequent failure of Islam, confusing Islam with Muslims, although the two are quite distinct from each other. The state of Muslims, good, bad or indifferent, is one thing and success or failure of Islam quite another. But to avoid the mental confusion the position should be perfectly clear.

·        Islamic Truths.

The truths represented by the term Islam are as old as creation itself. They began forging their way ahead gradually and on their onward march different people at different periods of history owned them and reaped a happy and hefty harvest. When they gave up the truths the gains disappeared and they became subject to sundry hardships. Fourteen hundred years ago a people in Arabia owned the truths, attained greatest heights of glory, but when they turned their backs on the truths, they began going down. Their halting however, did not halt Islam from proceeding ahead unscathed and unaffected. The picture of how Islam went on and on and how different people caught up to it at different stages is painted on the back ground not of Muslim History but of the History of Mankind. A study of man’s history will show clearly how man-made social orders had a short-lived success and Islamic principles have continued to thrive.

·        Evidence of Man’s History.

In the streets of France when cremated kingship gave birth to democracy, it was a link in Islam’s history; in America when battles were fought and blood was shed to get rid of slavery, it was a glorious chapter in Islam’s history; in India when the movement to call “untouchables”, by the name of Harijan (one bestowed with God’s energy), was launched, it was a manifestation of Islam s eternal truth; and now in America the struggle to do away with the discrimination between the white and the black is just a step towards Islam. When the United Nations Organisation decided that conflicts between nations should be resolved by mutual counsel, it was nothing but adopting an Islamic precept. The current turmoil in man’s mind somehow to banish armament from society, follows strictly the provision in Islamic programme framed fourteen centuries ago that wars might be allowed only so long as they (wars) do not “lay down their arms”. In short any movement launched anywhere during the past fourteen centuries for the liberation and advancement of humanity, was no more than a ray from Islam’s shining sun; and conversely whenever and wherever man-made schemes have failed the situation has provided fresh proof of the truth of Islamic fundamentals. The history of mankind coupled with its struggle and search for knowledge, proclaim aloud, to quote Iqbal,

“Wherever you come across a region full of colour and perfume,

Out of whose soil spring urges of “desire” It owes its worth to the teaching of Muhammad,

Or it is still seeking after his guidance.”

·        Only Islam advances.

A study of human history from this angle will convince that Islam did not fail at any stage, that systems un­Islamic, without exception, did fail at one stage or another, and that after their failure Islam always took their place. It was bare truth when the Holy Quran said, “He will make the Islamic way of life prevail over all other ways” (48/28). The Book tells us that Man’s future is bright. In connection with the creation of man, angels (forces of nature) are said to have told God, “What, will you set therein one who will upset things and shed blood” (2/30) and got the answer Assuredly, I know what you know not” (2/31). It means that the ultimate destiny of man will be achieved when the stage of disruption and spilling of blood is over and when “there shall be no fear on them, neither shall they sorrow” (2/38). Islam is leading man to his destiny and will not rest until his destination is reached. It is a programme designed by One who is the Nourisher of all Being, and a Nouisher(Rabb) is one who takes care of a thing from the initial to its final stage of development. If a programme fails it could not have been designed by the Nourisher of All being”.

 ·        Partial adoption of Islam.

The world has been adopting the Islamic system bit by bit but partial adoption cannot produce the promised result. A system is an indivisible unit and produces results only when adopted as a whole. It is very much like a medical prescription which will restore health only if it is carefully prepared with all its components. The people who adopt the Islamic System as a whole are called Momins. They are the people who have “no fear on them, neither shall they sorrow’. Man has to reach that goal in any case.’ He may do so by the method of trial and error or by following revealed guidance. That guidance will help him traverse in seconds what experimentation might take centuries to cover.

·        Decline of Muslims.

A question arises as to why Muslims as a class should lag behind other nations? A detailed answer to the question has been furnished in my book “Asbaab-e-Zawal­e-Urnmat”. Briefly the reason for their lagging behind is that while the other nations have been adopting Quranic truths after due consideration of “signnsin the changing horizons and in themselves”, the Muslims are hugging an alien(ajami) or pseudo Islam which forbids thought and understanding outright. The day Muslims revive the programme of ‘reading understanding and adopting in life Quranic truth is, they are bound to regain the leadership of the world. Goethe, the German poet, has likened Islam to a clear and transparent stream flowing smoothly to wards its goal. Nations which avail of its water for irrigating their fields will have bumper crop. In an epoch of history Arabs did it and “gathered a hundred grains for every one sowed”. But when they gave up drawing water from the stream their crops dried up. Did the stream dry up? No. It flows on and on and those who so wish may still avail of its water. “Each we succour, these and those, from your Lord’s gift and your Lord’s gift is not confined (17/20). The standing crop of the Muslims dried up because they would not water it from the everflowing heavenly stream. God’s Broadcasting Station is busy and will remain so “till it is the rising of dawn”. If one’s radio set has become silent, the fault lies with the set itself.

·        Islamic way illustrated.

The Holy Quran has made use of an illustration for explaining the Islamic way of life. “Have you not seen how God has struck a similitude? A good word (healthy concept of life) is as a good tree, whose roots are firm and whose branches are spread high all over”, (14/24). The tree is full capable of withstanding the worst storm and has its branches spread far and wide in all the four direction without being confined to any one country, “neither of the East nor of the West”, (24/3). “It gives its produce every season according to the laws of its Nourisher” (14/25). The Islamic way of life is confined neither by Space nor by Time. The same thing has been illustrated elsewhere by another example. “The likeness of paradise that is promised to those who guard against breaches of law, is that of a garden beneath which flow streams of water, whose produce is eternal and so is its shade” (13/35).

When God says that the tree of Islam will bear fruit for ever and ever, it would be wrong to suggest that the tree bore fruit at a particular period of history and then dried up. What actually happened at the time was that by their healthy tending, the believers helped it blossom quicker. This effort of Muhammad, (May we glorify and obey his call), the messenger of God, assisted by his companions, has been described by the Holy Quran again in terms of the young sapling rowing in a grain field, “as a. seed that puts forth its shoot and strengthens it and it grows stout and rises straight upon its stalk, pleasing the sowers, that through them, He may enrage the unbelievers’ (48/29). In other words a tree which should have taken long to bear fruit, was helped by this particular people to blossom earlier, but when their cooperation was withdrawn, they lost the fruit, but the tree continues to this day to grow, blossom and bear fruit in its normal sustained way.

·        Islamic Way and Gains Inter-linked.

The cooperating people gathered a rich harvest because of their attachment to the particular system. The moment they detached themselves from the system the gains also disappeared simultaneously. In continuation of the verse (l4/25) already quoted, the Holy Quran goes on to say, God confirms those who believe with the firm word, that is with the firm way of life. So long as they follow it they remain firm; the moment they separate from it, they scatter and are reduced to non-entity. Their glory and their fall both are determined by God’s law and not by any one’s whim. It is the way a people adopt which determines their fate. When they give it up, it is not the way (Islam) which fails; it is the people who fail. History shows, however, that ways other than Islam have ultimately proved a failure. Chapter 103 verses 1 to 3 the Holy Quran declare that the history of Time shows that by following ways of his own making, “man has surely been in the way of loss, save those who believe in God’s way of life and by their healthy deeds help the way” to produce its healthy results quicker. But it is not an ad hoc programme that you follow it and ensure happiness and success for all time to come, even though the programme might have been deserted on the way. The programme requires that the process of “counseling each other unto its truth and to be steadfast” should continue ceaselessly.

So long as Muslims followed the programme they received all the good that accrues from following God’s laws; when they gave up the programme they deprived themselves of the fruit of those caws. The laws, however, continue operating as ever before.

·        Evidence of Pakistan.

The establishment of Pakistan provides living evidence that Islam continues to forge ahead. For a thousand years, under alien influences, it was believed that Islam was a private relationship between man and God and had nothing to do with his political life. A few years before the creation of Pakistan, there grew a realisation that Islam was a social order and needed a free state to establish it. The idea was opposed by Muslims and non-Muslims alike, but, it has prevailed ultimately.

The movement for Pakistan was based on the claim that according to Islam it is Ideology which shapes a nation and not geographical boundaries. The claim was opposed from all sides including theulama, the sponsors of pseudo (‘ajami) Islam. The struggle lasted for about a decade and then the claim was admitted universally and Pakistan came into being to prove concretely that according to God’s eternal law it is common Ideology which creates a nation. Now the Western nations, who are sick of their un-Quranic standards of nation-building, watch anxiously how the experiment of Pakistan fares and the moment it succeeds they are bound to break asunder man­made shackles and to adopt Quranic fundamentals forthwith.

·        Constitution and Sovereignty.

After the creation of Pakistan the country was faced with the problem of preparing a constitution. The reactionaries and the sponsors of pseudo (‘ajami) Islam demanded that there should be a provision in the constitution that in law-making the legislature shall have superimposed on it an Ulama Board whose word on all matters shall be deemed to be final. The demand amounted to assigning Sovereignty to “religious priests” and to giving Pakistan a theocratic system of government, the system which Islam came to finish. The matter was still passing through its final stages when the then Governor General ordered the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly and the constitution it drafted went by the board.

A fresh Constituent Assembly then came into being. The constitution it drafted was a slight improvement over its predecessor but it was also replete with un-Islamic factors and it was their incorporation which was responsible for all the jubilation of priesthood over its adoption. But the Revolution and the coming of the Martial Law killed it young and gave it an indifferent burial.

·        Towards Destiny.

A politician may have some other explanation to offer for these changes, but I can see clearly that everything is coming on in due sequence in keeping with the natural laws, moving on and on towards the goal of man’s destiny, at their own slow but majestic speed. If the constitution. of Pakistan is ultimately based on Quranic fundamentals and the Quranic social order is established in the country, the laws will begin to produce results according to man’s own counting and the world will, so to say, stampede into joining it in their millions.

But, God forbid; if Pakistan adopts some man-made system, the eternal laws of Islam will then continue advancing at their own normal speed and who knows how long man will take to appreciate and assimilate them. In the meanwhile there will continue in the world more blood-shed, more torture, more misery for man, too terrible to imagine. How tremendous will then be adjudged the enormity of the crime of the Pakistani Muslims before the Court of Humanity! “There will be on our backs the load of our own crimes and some of the load of those that we lead astray. 0, evil the load that we will bear! (16/25).

 Here ends my broadly stated answer to the question “Is Islam a failure’ After going through it the reader will, I hope, agree that Islam has never been a failure but that it has succeeded and will continue to succeed, ever green in its pristine glory and ready to shower its blessing without discrimination, on mankind, badly torn and tortured at its own hands.

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ILL Gotten Earnings – G A Parwez

A Translation of the Urdu article: Haraam ki Kamaai By: Allama Ghulam Ahmad Parwez
Translated by: Khalid M. Sayyed, B.Sc; B.Ed.; M.A. (Punjab),PGCE (London), December 1999.

A typical Muslim, however unreligious-low morals, missing prayers and fasts, even drinking (alcohol) and fornicating-is sure to abstain from consuming pig’s meat. Even the mere mention of the term is distasteful to him; just imagining it gives him shivers. In fact, consuming pig’s meat has become synonymous with illicit gain of wealth.

But this attitude is restricted to swine. Muslims do not react with equal intensity to illicit earnings, despite God forbidding it, just as He forbade consumption of swine. A restaurant suspected of frying halal kebabs in pig’s fat is very likely to be vandalized by an angry mob. But the same people think nothing of unfair, illicit means of making money. Is it not baffling? Even when some means of earning are deemed illegal by the state, people consider them just that-illegal-not illicit or forbidden (haraam). There may be some means of making money allowed by the state but deemed unfair by God. Let us have a look at the criterion of permitted (halal) and forbidden (haraam) means of earning as laid down by Allah.

Wrongful Earnings:
Two of the fundamental terms of the Quran are: haq (Right)-honest means of income, and baatel (Wrong) dishonest ways of making money. The ways of making money approved and disapproved by the Quran are halal (allowed) and haraam (forbidden, respectively. Al-Baqara, Chapter Two of the Quran, deals with Fasting in verses 183-187. Muslims the world over very honestly follow them but very conveniently, without any qualms whatsoever, ignore the very next verse (188): “And do not consume each other’s wealth illicitly.” The Quran cites illicit financial practices as one of the basic causes of the downfall of the Jews (4:161), going on to say: “…. And the transgressors among them had been promised a painful punishment.”.

There are various illicit financial practices-cheating, fraud, bribery, stealing, embezzlement, hoarding, overpricing etc-but one mentioned specifically by the Quran often escapes our attention. And that is the one practiced by the clergy and the spiritual leaders: “O ye who are Convinced! Most of the (religious) scholars and mystics consume illicitly the public money and block the way to Allah” (9:34). Allama Shabbir Ahmed Usmani explains it thus: ‘That is, (they) change and misinterpret God’s word and religious rules for money. The masses, who have elevated them to godly status, accept as final whatever fallacies they present. Thus the priests and the mystics keep the masses entrapped in their web of deceit in order to safeguard their own vested social and financial interests. Obviously, if the public break free of the mesh and see the Truth, these men will have no more income. *

Hygienic (Good) and Unhygienic (Bad)
The Quran also refers to illicit earnings as tayyeb and khabees, respectively. They are worthy of a look in regards to the topic under discussion. One of the purposes of the Prophet’s emergence is: “… and he will allow the constructive and forbid the destructive for them.” (7:157). The khabees, the term used for pig’s meat (5:3) is haram. Therefore, to a Muslim, pig’s meat and illicit earnings are the same in kind. They are both forbidden with equal emphasis: “The illicit can never equal the licit, no matter how attractive the plentifulness of the illicit is.” (5:100). The Quran presents several illustrations of the khabees (illicit) and tayyeb (licit). For example: “… and pay up the unprotected and lonely their dues; don’t exchange the bad for the good; don’t (confuse and) consume their wealth with yours; it is a great injustice and a crime.” (4:2)
The term yateem is normally applied to an orphan but, basically, it refers to anyone who is on their own and feels lonely and left out. That is why Allama Shabbir Ahmed Usmani explains it thus: ‘These instructions mention specifically a yateem, because of his desperation, he most deserves care and protection.** It is clear that the downtrodden must not be exploited; money made thus is khabees (haraam). Further, it said that such wealth is like consuming hellfire (4:10). It is absolutely forbidden (haraam).

Bribery
Top of the list of illicit means of making money, bribery appears to have been widely accepted as a necessary evil. The verse mentioned earlier in regards to Fasting (2:188) goes, in its entirety, like this: “And don’t consume each other’s wealth illicitly; and don’t get it to the officials (as bribery) so that you can knowingly gain something from other’s money in an improper way.”
Is it not strange that, with such clear instructions from God, people abstain from pig’s meat but think nothing of gulping down bribery?

The Business World
The practice of bribery may be restricted to specific sections of society, but the area flooded by illgotten money is the world of business-trade, buying and selling, factories, shops, etc. The Quran has laid down various rules of conduct in this regard. Take trade for example: “O those who are Convinced! Don’t consume each other’s money illicitly; social life necessitates buying and selling, so that it should be done in agreement of the parties involved; otherwise, it is just like killing others. God wishes to save you from it.” (4:29)

The verse in point resolves the problem of trade. But actually the exact opposite happens. Shopkeepers unite and decide prices. If a prospective customer finds a price too high, he is told to try elsewhere. Failing to get a lower rate, he is forced to pay the price for the asking. That is obviously not ‘in agreement’ of the parties involved but the shopkeepers maintain, wrongfully of course, that that is the case! They obviously exemplify the verse: “Many go astray, as many find the right path by this (Quran).” (2:26) The shopkeeper, who insists on charging his quoted price and maintains that it does not impinge on the ‘agreement’ of the customer, does not himself feel the same way when the roles are reversed! That is why the Quran goes on to say: “Then whoever commits it, does it deliberately and wrongfully; the end of it will be hellfire, which is easy for God to do!” (4:30). As trading involves the manufacturers, stockist, wholesalers, retailers as well as consumers, ‘fair trade’ can only exist in a system which controls profits and prices.

Usury (Interest)
The Quran allows al-Bae’ (trade) but forbids ar-Riba (interest) (2:275). Since I have dealt with riba in detail elsewhere, I shall point to a very simple form of it where a borrower is bound to pay interest to the lender. The Quran forbids it and allows repayment of the original sum only as it is not unfair to either of the parties (2:279). Thus, in allowing trade but forbidding interest, the underlying consideration is exploitation. Weighed against this principle, the currently prevalent trading practices, the entire economic system, and for that matter, almost every sphere of human life, features exploitation of men by fellow men.

The Balance
Tremendously important in the Quranic scheme of things, balance is the basis of the Universe: “God has formulated laws to keep a balance between stellar bodies. “God has formulated laws to keep a balance between stellar bodies. You should also crate a balanced society in which justice is done and nobody is wronged.” (55:7-8-9). A just social system shall have the divine Balance with divine laws (57:25; 42:17), on Judgment Day, Man’s deeds shall be weighed in the Balance so that “no one is wronged at all.” (21:47)
With this principle of the Balance in mind, let us consider the world of commerce. Verses like 6:153 and 17:35 instruct to “keep your measurement fair and the balance correct.” Obviously, it means that the buyer must get his money’s worth. Individual traders will keep their measuring fair but the ‘money’s worth’ shall be monitored under a central system of price and quality control. Over-pricing, misrepresentation of merchandise, poor quality etc, inevitably lead to a nation’s ruin. Prophet Shoaib repeatedly told his people: “Keep your measurement fair and balanced; don’t cheat people in merchandizing; don’t spread chaos instead of order and fairness.” (7:85), (11:84-85), (26:181).

Reward of Labour
The Question is of prime importance according to the Quran. If labour (work) is not fully (fairly) rewarded, it is haraam. That, precisely, was the Pharaoh’s sinful system which Moses was commissioned to abolish so that “everyone gets the reward of their labour.” (20:75) and “no one fears unfairness and exploitation.” (20:12). This is impossible to achieve under the capitalistic system of economy where the rate of wages is determined by the investor/employer and the worker/labourer is forced by his destitution to accept it (just as the customer ‘accepts’ prices as mentioned earlier). Under the Quranic system of economy, the question of wages simply does not arise because the state assumes full responsibility of providing sustenance to all citizens. Before that ideal is achieved, the state must see that the worker is not exploited. If he is, the employer is making ‘haraam’ money.

The Evader
The Quran holds the worker equally responsible for fairness when it declares the basic principle: “Man is not entitled to anything except what he works for.” (53:39) Those who shirk work earn haraam money.

At-Tatfeef (Short Measure)
One of the chapters of the Quran is titled at-Tatfeef (to measure short; to tie up a camel’s feet to slow its walking pace). The Quran has decreed ruin for mutaffefeen-“those who take their dues in full from others; and measure less when they pay others.” (83:1-2-3). This can also be taken in a social sense, i.e. the mutaffefeen short-measure people too and ‘tie up their feet’ so that they cannot devlop their potential in full. That is exploitation, too.

Embezzlement
Down to a single personal situation, the Quran wants individuals to be trustworthy: “Don’t embezzle what has been entrusted to you.” (8:27) It may apply not only to an item entrusted to someone for safe-keeping but also to officials such as treasurers or store-keepers.

Allowed and Good (Proper)
The Quran is very serious where legality of rizq (wealth) is concerned: “And consume whatever sustenance Allah has given you in a legal, proper manner, and thus observe Allah’s laws of Whom you claim to be convinced of.”(5:88) The ‘proper use of the permitted needs an example. A goat is permitted (halal) but becomes forbidden (haraam) if not slaughtered under prescribed conditions. But, is a properly slaughtered but stolen goat halal? The Quran’s answer is: No: “They ask you (O Prophet) What is allowed for them. Tell them that all things proper are allowed.” (5:4)

Sustenance with Dignity
Summarizing the question of the proper and the allowed, the Quran says: O people! Consume from whatever is there on Earth in a proper and allowed manner; and don’t follow the Devil (improper ways) as he is obviously your enemy.” (2:68) This is referred to in 8:4 and 2:50 as ‘the dignified sustenance.’ Only such people who consume properly the permitted are dignified and are safe from ruin.

Greed
People resort to unfair and improper ways to amass wealth because they are driven by greed. The rat race is referred to by the Quran as at-takaasur (also the title of chapter 102): “The greedy race to amass wealth carries men to their graves.” (102:1-2). The avarice for money drives one to obsession: “(just to gather money and keep counting it.” (104:3); But no! this wealth will drive him to hellish destruction!” (104:4-5-6-7-8-9). Hoarding of illicitly earned money cannot save one from ruin.” (02:11); Faced with ruin, the hoarder will be disappointed at the ineffectiveness of money, the false pride which caused the ruin (69:29) and left him entirely unsupported and without fiends (69:35). Men often adopt illegal and improper ways of acquiring wealth for the sake of their families and children. But such wealth is a source of trouble for you (8:28).
In a nutshell, the permitted (halal) sustenance is that which is acquired through fair and proper (tayyeb) means. It is the Right (haq). On the contrary, is the forbidden (haram). “Allah retains haq and eliminates baatel; Allah knows what is in your hearts (you cannot justify improper wealth no matter how hard you try).” (42:24). Improper earning is termed as ithm by the Quran (2:188). Ithm creates lethargy which causes one to fall behind. The Quran also forbids maisara (2:219) which not only refers to betting but also to any means of earning easy money. Such earning gives one wealth but creates ‘acute lethargy’ (2:219) which is more than the benefits of such money (2:219).

A society adopting the Quranic philosophy of proper and improper, permitted and forbidden, halal and haraam wealth will have a permanent and sound footing.
************************
*- On Sheikh al Hind, Maulana Mahmood al Hasan, p.248
**- On Shiekh al Hind, Maulana Mahmood al Hasan, p.99

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Genesis and Ideology of Pakistan – G A Parwez

The history of mankind makes tragic reading. Down through the ages, we come across a series of sequences of the rise, growth, decline and fall, not only of nations but even of their civilisations and cultures. No doubt, man has all along shown a remarkable constructive genius, having attained many an awe-inspiring successes, despite occasional set-backs and natural catastrophes, but his constructive genius was always undermined by some inherent weakness underlying his ideas, or his way of life which ultimately brought about a disastrous end to his efforts. Nevertheless, there have been some notable exceptions in the series of sequences when the idea of universal welfare of mankind took practical shape, but the main characteristic in all those civilisations, always remained one of frustration. Man struggled hard to find some satisfactory solution to his problems, but failed. Human intellect, limited as it is helped him little, because it is not aware of any source of knowledge other than itself. There was only one guide left for mankind in this difficult quest; and that confidently proclaimed competency to lead them to their goal:”

The God that has created all the objects in the universe has also undertaken to make them aware of their goal and guide them towards it, (20:50)

The guidance, which comes directly from God, is known as “Revelation”. It has all along been revealed to mankind through the agency of various Anbiya But, unfortunately, due to the ravages of time and human tampering with it, the text of the Scriptures, the message delivered by the pre-Islamic Anbiya, could not be preserved long in their original form. Eventually, about fourteen centuries ago, the complete and final version of that Guidance was revealed to mankind through Mohammed (P.B.U.H.), the last of the series of Anbiya. This version of the Divine Guidance is embodied exactly in its original form in the Quran.

2. The responsibility of the Nabi, to whom Divine Guidance was revealed, was not only to communicate his revelation to others, but also to establish an socio-economic order in the light of that Guidance. Our Rasul—Mohammed (P.B.U.H.) –established this order which fully recognized dignity of all human beings (17:70). The pursuit of individual interest was replaced by the ideal of the good of the humanity at large. Oppression and exploitation were abolished and justice and equity prevailed. The dependence of man and the subjugation of one over another were brought to an end. Every individual was assured the proper satisfaction of these needs. He, thereby, led a full life of satisfaction, peace and harmony. He did not owe obedience to any person or power, except the Divine Laws enshrined in the Quran. Briefly, that order completely put an end to the rule of man over man. In any form, and with it the evil of capitalism. This order was called Deen in the Quranic terminology.

3. This social order prevailed during the lifetime of Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) and for some time thereafter, when the forces of exploitation began to raise their first success with the establishment ofMulukiyyat-kingship–sustained by capitalism. To ensure their survival and consolidation, these forces availed themselves of the co-operation of men who appeared in the robes of piety and spoke in the name of God. They posed as the interpreters of God’s Will and thus distorted principles and tenets of Deen which no longer remained a living force in the society and were reduced to a set of soul-less beliefs, lifeless dogmas and realities of life. They framed rules and laws to suit the purpose of monarchy, and sought to keep the common man entangled in the labyrinth of these dogmas and rituals, and the exploiters, religious as well as temporal, were left free to maintain their stranglehold upon the defrauded masses/ This was the metamorphosis of Deen into Mazhab, which word, by the way, does not occur anywhere in the Quran. The Book of Allah, however, remained intact, since Allah has taken Himself, the responsibility of its preservation Himself, although it was never allowed to play any part in the practical life of the Muslims.

4. This state of affairs prevailed throughout the Muslim countries for centuries together where Mazhab was accepted as true Islam. We should, however, consider ourselves fortunate in as much as a voice was raised in our time and from our own country, to distinguish between Deen and Mazhab, and the Ummah was called upon to revive true Islam in the light of the Quran. This was the voice of Iqbal, the great thinker, and still greater scholar of the Quran. This, he said, was possible only if we had a piece of land in which a State was established purely on the lines indicated by the Quran, thereby wiping out completely the rule of man, in any form, be it capitalism or priestcraft. This scheme of his he pronounced in his Presidential Address of All-India Muslim League Session at Allahabad, in 1930. Such a State, he said:

Would mean security and peace for India resulting from an internal balance of power, and for Islam an opportunity to rid itself of the stamp that Arabian Imperialism was forced to give it, to mobilise its law, its education, its culture, and to bring them into closer contact with its own original spirit and with the spirit of modern times.

(Speeches and statements of Iqbal–P.15)

Two years later, while addressing the nation at the Annual Session of the All-India Muslim Conference at Lahore, on 21-31932, he said:

The possibilities of the faith you represent are not yet exhausted. It can still create a new world where the social rank of man is not determined by his caste or colour, or the amount of the dividend he earns, but by the kind of life he lives; where Capital cannot be allowed to accumulate so as to dominate the real producer of wealth. This superb ideal of your faith, however, needs emancipation from the medieval fancies of theologians and legists. Spiritually, we are living in a prison-house of thoughts and emotions which, during the course of centuries we have woven round ourselves. And be it further said to the same of us– men of older generation– that we have failed to equip the younger generation for the economic, political and even religious crises that the present age is likely to bring. The whole community needs a complete overhauling of its mentality in order that it may again become capable of feeling the urge of fresh desires and ideals.

(Ibid p.55)

This point, i.e. to get rid of the “manmade Islam” was so basic and important that he laid emphasis on it time and again. In his famous six (to be more accurate, seven) lectures, he elaborated the theme in the words of (the late) Grand Vizier of Turkey, Said Haleem Pasha, who had said:

During he course of history, the moral and social ideals of Islam have been gradually de-Islamised through the influence of local character, and pre-Islamic superstitions of Muslim nations. These ideals today are more Iranian, Turkish, or Arabian than Islamic. The pure brow of the principal of Tauheed (obedience to the Book of Allah alone) has received, more or less, an impress of heathenish and the universal and impersonal character of the ethical ideals of Islam has been lost through a process of localisation. The only alternative open to us then is to tear off from Islam the hard crust which has immobilised an essentially dynamic outlook on life, and to rediscover the original verities of freedom, equality and solidarity with a view to rebuild our moral, social and political ideals out of their original simplicity and universality.

(Iqbal: Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam –pp. 148-49)

This was the purpose to be achieved, for which Allama Iqbal had given the idea of acquiring a piece of land to establish therein a State which could be identified as a true Islamic State — a State built on the foundations of Quran. This was to be a unique State amongst various States of the world.

5. One of the fundamental factors which makes an Islamic State unique amongst various States of the world, whatever their form of Government, is its principle of law making. As already stated, according to the Quran, all human beings are equal and worthy of equal respect and dignity. It necessarily follows, therefore, that no man has the right to exploit another man or to use him as a means in furthering his personal interests. If society were organized on this basis, there would be neither rulers nor the ruled; none would be permitted to compel others to obey him. Allah alone would be obeyed. Says the Quran:

It behemoth not a man that Allah should give him the Book of Law, power to judge, and even Nubuwwah, and he should say to his fellow beings to obey his orders rather than those of Allah…. (3:78).

The Quran forbids man to arrogate to himself the right to rule over other men: and yet it does not advocate a lawless, anarchical society. What it does is to lay down the principle that Allah alone has the right to rule over them (12:40) and none has the right to any share in it (18:26). Sovereignty belongs to Allah alone.

Allah, however, is the Abstract, Transcendental Reality. How can we obey Him if we cannot contact Him? The answer is by observing His Laws as given in His Book. This is why the Rasul was asked to declare:

Shall I seek other than Allah for Judge, when how it is who hath revealed unto you this Book fully explained (6:115).

This book was the criterion to decide whether a State was Islamic or UN-Islamic. Says the Quran:

Whose do not judge by what Allah hath revealed, they are indeed kafirs (5:44)

The laws, directives, principles and values given by the Quran are complete, final, eternal and UN-alterable. None, not even the entire Ummah has the authority to add to, subtract from or make any alteration therein. But it does not prescribe details thereof. With the exception of a very few laws, it demarcates the boundary lines of what is lawful and what is unlawful. These lines no one has the right to transgress: not even the entire community. Within these lines, the Islamic State is free to frame such byelaws, as the needs of the time require. These byelaws are, of course, subject to change and may be revised or even abrogated by the Ummah by mutual consultation (42:38), leaving the boundary lines untouched. This is where an Islamic State differs from the democracy, the people have unbridled power to frame any laws, whereas, the consultative machinery of the Ummah can frame sub-laws only within the boundary lines framed by the Quran. Iqbal has beautifully narrated this unique feature of the Islamic State. He says in his Lectures:

The ultimate spiritual basis of all life, as conceived by Islam, is eternal and reveals itself in variety and change. A society based on such a conception of Reality must reconcile in its life the categories of permanence and change; it must possess eternal principles to regulate its collective life; for the eternal gives us a foothold in the world of perpetual change. But eternal principles when they are understood to exclude all possibilities of change, which, according to Quran is one of the greatest sings of God, tend to immobilise what is essentially mobile in its nature.

(Reconstruction of Religious Though in Islam…P-149)

Iqbal has touched upon this very subtle, yet most important point with reference to political system of Islam, but it takes us far, far beyond political horizon. The fundamental principle of the reconciliation of the categories of permanence and change is not confined to the process of law making. It is the very essence of Islam and can be appreciated only when the Quranic concept of human life is thoroughly grasped. There are two concepts of human life — materialistic and Quranic. The materialistic outlook of life treats man as any other animal, whose only function is to develop and enlarge his physical existence. It functions under physical laws and is disintegrated and gets extinct with death. It is subject to perpetual change: every moment millions and millions of cells, which constitute human body, are destroyed and replaced by fresh cells. This process of constant change continues till death overtakes him and he ceases to live. Since, according to this concept of life, there is nothing permanent in human life, it stands in need of no Permanent Values, no unchangeable principles, no immutable boundary lines, and therefore, no necessity for Divine Guidance.

According to Quranic concept of life, on the other hand, human body, no doubt develops, flourishes, and eventually disintegrates, under physical laws, but there is something else in man besides his body, that is, his Self or Personality, which is neither physical in its constitution nor is it subject to physical laws as such. It is endowed to every human child in like measure at his birth, but it is only in an undeveloped form. To develop it to its full maturity, and to give it a perfect and balanced shape is the goal of all human activities. Every act of his, performed in accordance with Permanent Values, contributes to its development, and whatever is done against these values, retards this process and weakens the Self. An act, it should be noted, includes thought, wish and desire, as well. The Self or Personality thus developed easily sustains the shock of death and survives the disintegration and dissolution of physical body, and goes on developing further, passing through more evolutionary stages, which we call the “Hereafter” or the life after death. The fact that, not only the actual deeds of a human being but his thoughts, wishes and desires as well, act upon human Personality is what is called the “Law of Retribution” which is as inexorable and immutable as the Laws of Nature.

It is the human personality, which takes decisions, but at the present level of existence, its decisions are implemented through physical body. For this purpose, it is essential that human body should also develop and be in a position to carry out the commands of the personality. For its development, the needs and requirements of human body will change from time to time, whereas human personality, while developing shall remain unchanged. The renowned Polish Thinker, Nicholas Bereave, has beautifully concentrated this in four words, by saying.

Personality is changelessness in change.

(Slavery and Freedom P-8)

The process of the development of human body and Personality can take place only in Islamic Social Order (Deen, as already explained). This order, generally called “Nizam-e-Rabubiyyah”, provides to each and every individual means for the development of both. It will be seen that this system differs basically from all other systems.

6. Reverting to the principle of law-making, Iqbal examined critically what had been going on in our past history, and said that

 The teaching of the Quran that life is a process of progressive creation necessitates that each generation, guided but unhampered by the work of its predecessors, should be permitted to solve its own problems.

(Lectures P-160)

It follows, therefore, that the general notion that the laws made by our earlier jurists and promulgated in the past are eternal and binding on all future generations is against the basic teachings of the Quran. This was thoroughly explained by Iqbal in his “Sixth lecture”, entitled — The principles of movement in the structure of Islam — in which he says;

The question which is likely to confront Muslim countries in the near future is whether the Law of Islam is capable of evolution — a question which will require great intellectual effort, and is sure to be answered in the affirmative; provided the world of Islam approaches it in the spirit of Omar — the first critical and independent in Islam who, at the last moments of the Prophet, had the moral courage to utter these remarkable words: “The Book of God is sufficient for us”. (P.154).

7. Iqbal accomplished his task and, handing over the torch to Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, passed away. The Quaid, during his struggle for the achievement of Pakistan, reiterated the main features of the proposed Islamic State, as enunciated by Iqbal. No doubt the British and the Hindus opposed tooth and nail the proposal for the establishment of a separate State for the Muslims, but its main opponents were the so-called “Nationalist Ulema” who were the custodians of Mazhab, as already explained. Plainly speaking, the struggle for Pakistan was, in reality; struggle between Deen and Mazhab. This struggle was started during the lifetime of Iqbal himself. For want of adequate space, it is not possible to quote extensively from the speeches and writings of Quaid-e-Azam, on the subject it would suffice if some of the more important points were cited.

It is generally said, that it was the narrow-mindedness of the Hindus and their maltreatment and fanatical prejudice toward the Muslims which compelled the latter to seek protection in a separate homeland, and thus the demand for Pakistan. This is not only distortion of history but also malicious propaganda. The genesis of Pakistan was explained by Iqbal in the Presidential Address at Allahabad in 1930. Pakistan Resolution was passed in the Annual Session of the All-India Muslim League, at Lahore, in 1940. Quaid-e-Azam said in his Presidential Address:

It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but are in fact, different and distinct social orders, and it is a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality, and this conception of one Indian nation has gone far beyond the limits and is the cause of most of your troubles and will lead India to destruction if we fail to revise our notions in time. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, Social customs, and literatures. The neither intermarries nor interdines together, and, indeed, they belong to two different civilisations, which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspects on life and of life are different.

(Speeches and writings of Mr. Jinnah, Vol. I, pp. 177-78).

In his speech at the Frontier Muslim League Conference on 21-11-1945 he said:

We have to fight a double-edged battle, one against the Hindu Congress and the other against British Imperialists, both of them being capitalists. The Muslims demand Pakistan where they could rule according to their own code of life and according to their own cultural growth, traditions, and Islamic Laws.

(Ibid. Vol. II, p.333).

In a message to N.W.F.P Muslim Students Federation, in April 1943, he said:

You have asked me to give you a message. What message can I give you? We have got the great message in the Quran for our guidance and enlightenment.

(Ibid.Vol. I, p.516).

In his Eid message to the nation in 1945, he said:

Every Musalman knows that the injections of the Quran are not confined to religious and moral duties. From the Atlantic to the Ganges”, says Gibbon, “the Quran is acknowledged as the fundamental code, not only of theology but of civil and criminal jurisprudence, and the laws which regulate the actions and the property of mankind are regulated by the immutable sanctions of the Will of Allah”. Everyone, except those who are ignorant, knows that the Quran is the general code of the Musalmans. A religious, social, civil, commercial, military, judicial, criminal penal code; it regulates everything from the ceremonies of religion to those of daily life; from the salvation of the soul to the health of the body; from morality to crime, from punishment here to that in he life to come and our Prophet (P.B.U.H.) has enjoined on us that every Musalman should possess a copy of the Quran and be his own priest. Therefore, Islam is not confined to the spiritual tenets and doctrines and rituals and ceremonies. It is a complete code regulating the whole Muslim Society in every department of life, collective and individually.

(Ibid, Vol. II, p.300).

In August 1941, Quaid-e-Azam went to Hyderabad (Deccan) and there gave and interview to the students of the Usmania University. The replies he gave to the questions asked by the students explain in a nutshell the genesis and the ideology of Pakistan in such a comprehensive way that, in my opinion, nothing further would be required to understand these basic foundations. Here are extracts from that interview:

Question:

What are the essential features of religion and a religious State?

Answer:

When I hear the word ‘religion’, my mind thinks at once, according to the English language and the British usage, of private relation between man and God. By I know fully well that according to Islam, the word is not restricted to the English connotation. I am neither a Maulvi nor a Mulla, nor do I claim knowledge of theology. But I have studied in my own way, the Holy Quran and Islamic tenets. This magnificent Book is full of guidance respecting all human life, whether spiritual or economic, political or social, leaving no aspect untouched.

Question:

What is the distinctive feature of Islamic State?

Answer:

There is a special feature of the Islamic State, which must not be overlooked. There, obedience is…. Due to God and God alone, which takes practical shape in the observance of the Quranic principles and commands. In Islam, obedience is due neither to a king, nor to a parliament, nor to any other organisation. It is the Quranic provisions, which determine the limits of our freedom and restrictions in political and social spheres. In other words, Islamic State is an agency for enforcement of Quranic principles and injunctions.

In a Broadcast talk to the people of the United States of America on Pakistan, recorded in February, 1948, i.e. in his capacity as Governor General of Pakistan, he said:

The Constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. I do not know what the ultimate shape of this constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principles of Islam. Today, they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1,300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fairplay to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framer of future constitution of Pakistan. In any case, Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission.

(Speeches as governor-general, p-65)

I have already explained what “democracy embodying the essential principles of Islam” means in practice: the ways and means for the implementation of the Quranic laws and principles to be framed by the Ummah by mutual consultation, within the immutable boundary lines determined by the Quran. This is what an Islamic State is permitted to do; beyond this it has no authority.

8. I have stated before that the Quran prescribes an socio-economic order, which is unique in its nature. I have so far dealt with its social aspect only. So far as its economic side is concerned, it is a vast subject and requires detailed discussion. It will not be doing justice to it if it is touched upon enpassant. I have written exhaustively on the subject and my self-contained book-Nizam-e-Rabubiyyat–discusses it in detail. Here, I will confine myself only to its basic principles.

The main object of an Islamic State is to provide the individual with full scope of self-development, which means development of his physical body as well as development of his personality. Its basic principles are that the individual is the focus of value and the society exists to enable the individual to develop and express himself to the full extent of his capacity. It lays primary stress on personal worth. A society based on these principles will be composed of free individuals, each enriching his life by working for the enrichment of all life, and each moving onwards by helping others to do the same. This society should be judged by the solutions it offers for the social and economic problems that confront all human groups.

According to the Quran, it is incumbent upon the Islamic society to provide for the basic necessities of each and all the members comprising it, and make suitable arrangements for the development of their human potentialities. Thereafter, it should extend the same facilities to other human beings and thus make this order universal. A society that fails in this responsibility does not deserve to be called Islamic, for, the society that is established in the name of Allah is bound to proclaim:

We will provide for you and your children (6/152).

It is paramountly clear from this that no society could discharge this responsibility unless, and until it has the various means of production under its control and the necessary resources at its disposal. It may be reiterated, and should in no case be lost sight of, that this society takes under its control means of production with a view to discharge its huge responsibility of providing necessities of life for all the members of the Society. If it fails to do so, it will have be a clear act of usurpation in that case.

So far as the members of this society are concerned, the principle underlying the growth and development of their personality is expressed thus: an individual should work hard, earn and produce as much as possible, keep what is basically and essentially necessary for his own upkeep, and hand over the rest to the Islamic State for meeting out the necessities of others in need, as is ordained in the Quran:

And they ask as what should they give (for the benefit of others)–Say:

“Whatever is surplus to your own requirements” (2/219)

And in this, their attitude should be such as to declare:

We desire from you neither reward any thanks. (76/9)

Here arises the question: What is the incentive motivated by which an individual should work, an continue to work, up to his full capacity, retain for himself only to the extent that fulfills his necessities, and hand over the rest to the society, for meeting out the necessities of others in need? Still further.

They prefer others before themselves although there be indigence among them (59/9).

Prof. Hawtrey has said that:

What differentiates economic systems from one another is the character of the motives they invoke to induce people to work.

(Quoted by E.H. Carr, in “The News Society” pp. 41-42)

The motives provided by the Quran are unique, i.e.

Human body develops by what the individual concerned takes, while his Personality develops by with he gives.

This constitutes the basic motive for the establishment of the Quranic Economic Order.

There will thus be no capitalism and no landlordism an Islamic State. Quaid-e-Azam made this abundantly clears during his struggle for the achievement of Pakistan. In his Presidential Address delivered at the Annual Session of the All-India Muslim League, Delhi, on April 24, 1943, he said:

Here, I should like to give a warning to the landlords and capitalists who have flourished at our expense by a system which is so vicious, which is so wicked and which makes them so selfish that it is difficult to reason with them. (Tremendous applause) The exploitation of the masses has gone into their blood. They have forgotten the lessons of Islam. Greed and Selfishness have made these people subordinate to the interests of others in order to fatten themselves. It is true we are not in power today. You go anywhere to the countryside. I have visited villages. There are millions and millions of our people who hardly get one meal a day. Is these civilisations this aim of Pakistan Cries of no, no) Do you visualise that millions have been exploited and cannot get one meal a day. If that is the Idea of Pakistan, I would not have it. (Cheers). If they are wise they will have to adjust themselves to the new modern conditions of life. If they won’t, God helps them: we shall not help them. (Hear, hear renewed cheers and applause.)

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The Basis of Legislation in an Islamic State – G A Parwez

INTRODUCTORY

Wherever he be, man likes to act as he pleases and have full freedom of action. Were he by himself, he could do so with equanimity. In society, however, individual freedom has to be circumscribed to avoid conflict with the freedom of action of others. Individuals have, therefore, to abide by certain voluntarily accepted restrictions, the formulation of which pertains to the sphere of legislative action.

Two questions arise at once, namely,

  • Who should formulate these restrictions ? and

  • Whether the restrictions once formulated will apply for all time to come, or they will be susceptible to change from age to age?

The first question falls within the domain of

“Constitution making” and is outside the scope of the present discussion. We are here concerned with the second question of law-making in a Constitutional State.

The foremost essential which a people must determine and define in law-making is the concept of life. As is the concept of life of a people so will be its law. Broadly speaking. two concepts of life, which have come down to us through history, are prevalent today, and have a direct bearing on the point under discussion.

One concept sees man only as a physical body, endowed somehow with consciousness, living according to certain chemico-physico-biological laws and then dying under the operation of these very laws. With his physical death man, like other animals, ceases to exist. This concept is known as the materialistic concept of life. Laws or rules of conduct framed under this concept of life are based on expediency and admit of no permanent or unchangeable values. Changes, abrogation’s, or amendments in the laws are also governed exclusively by expediency. Governmental machinery set up by people subscribing to the materialistic concept of life is called the “Secular” form of government, whether its pattern is democratic or dictatorial.

There is another concept of life which is propounded by the Holy Quran. Man, according to the Quranic concept, is a combination of a physical body, which is changing, changeable and liable to death, and a Personality which does not change, but develops and is capable of self-integration and becoming immortal. The aim of life, according to the Holy Quran, is the development of Personality. Human Personality is not static but is potentially capable of developing and expanding. Its development can, however, take place only in a social order called the Islamic State. The Islamic State provides the ways and means for the proper development and progress both of Body and Personality. Since man is according to this concept of life, an integrated composition of permanence and change, laws governing the social order wherein his development takes place, should also be a combination of permanence and change. This point has been elaborated beautifully by Iqbal in his sixth lecture in the series on the Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. He says:

“The ultimate spiritual basis of all life, as conceived by Islam, is eternal and reveals itself in variety and change. A society based on such a conception of Reality must reconcile, in its life, the categories of permanence and change. It must possess eternal principles to regulate its collective life; for the eternal gives us a foothold in the world of perpetual change. But eternal principles when they are understood to exclude all possibilities of change, which, according to the Quran, is one of the greatest “signs” of God, tend to immobilise what is essentially mobile in its nature”.

Man has been endowed with “Intellect” which gives him superiority to other animals. Human intellect functions, however, within the limits of Time and Space and is, consequently, capable of handling only that aspect of man’s life which is subject to “change”, i.e. the physical aspect of human life. It cannot peep over the boundaries of “change” into the supra-physical, or the realm of “permanence’ to which human Personality belongs. In that realm, things reveal themselves to human intellect (to Messengers of God) and are not discovered by it. Revelation is Divine, and Divine Guidance alone provides permanent values or unalterable fundamental principles, otherwise known as “Divine Precepts,” or the “way or Practice or Allah”. Law or rules devised by human intellect need change with the change in time and space; but permanent values admit of no such change. In the words of the Holy Quran, “There is no changing in the Words of Allah” (10/64) and “you will find no change in the way of Allah” (33/62)

Body and Personality cannot, however, be divided into two mutually exclusive compartments, nor also can the laws pertaining to the realms of permanence and change. A combination of permanence and change. A combination of “permanence and change” can be achieved if in framing laws, human intellect keeps itself within the boundaries of eternal values revealed by God. The laws so framed will be applicable to man as a whole and satisfy the requirement of both Personality and the physical body of man.

THE PRINCIPLE OF DIVINE GUIDANCE.

Man has been the recipient of the Divine Guidance ever since he began living a corporate life. In earliest stages the guidance concerned itself not only with permanent values but also with matters which could be determined by human intellect alone. For instance, about Noah the Holy Quran says. “Then we guided him, saying: Make the ship under our supervision and Guidance”. (23/27). This shows that in the age when Noah lived man depended on Revelation for learning processes like those of boat-making. As human intellect began to grow in maturity, the need for the Divine Guidance in respect of the changeable details diminished. The divine Guidance in its final and complete form has now been preserved for all time to come in the Holy Quran. It has been made clear that henceforth the subsidiary laws will be devised by men by mutual consultation among themselves in the light of the given permanent values. Rasoolullah (PBUH) was directed, “to consult the people in the conduct of affairs” (3/159) and after him the believers were also to determine their affairs by mutual consultation (42/38)

This brings out clearly the co-mingling of permanence with change in life and stresses the need for rules of conduct providing both for its permanent aspect as well as for its changeable subsidiary aspect. The basic problem in the matter of legislation in an Islamic State is the demarcation of the sphere of permanent provisions as distinct from the sphere of provisions liable to change according to changes in requirements. Before stating the Quranic position as I understand it, I feel I should explain briefly the views which various schools of thought in Pakistan hold.

One view is that all the laws that an Islamic State requires are already laid down in the corpus of Islamic “Fiqh” which is permanent and unalterable. It is, therefore, unnecessary to embark upon fresh legislation. When ever a fresh situation arises, all that the State has to do is to ascertain from the “Ulema-e-Fiqh” the conclusions already reached on the point at issue and then to enforce it. A representative of this school of thought offered this very view before the Punjab Disturbances Enquiry Commission, whose report (P.211) on the point reads as follow:-

“Since Islam is a perfect religion containing laws, express or derivable by Ijma or Ijtihad, governing the whole field of human activity, there is in it no sanction for what may, in the modern sense, be called legislation. Questioned on this point, Maulana Abul Hasanat, President, Jami’at- ul-Ulema-i-Pakistan, says:-

 

Q. Is the institution of legislature as distinguished from the institution of a person or body of persons entrusted with the interpretation of law, an integral part of an Islamic State?

 

A. No. Our law is complete and merely requires interpretation by those who are experts in it. According to my belief, no question can arise the law relating to which cannot be discovered from the Quran or the Hadith.

 

Q. Who were Sahib-ul-hall-i-wal-aqd? Who were Sahib-ul-hall-i-wal-aqd?

 

A. They were the distinguished Ulema of the time. These persons attained their status by reason of the knowledge of the law. They were not in any way analogous or similar to the legislature in modern democracy. They were the distinguished Ulema of the time. These persons attained their status by reason of the knowledge of the law. They were not in any way analogous or similar to the legislature in modern democracy.

“The same view was expressed by Amir-i-Shari’at, Sayyed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, in one of his speeches reported in the ‘Azad’ of 22nd April, 1947, in the course of which he said that our din is complete and perfect and that it amounts to Kufr to make more laws”.

This view is, however, not shared by all those who belong to the “Fiqh” school of thought, and an exponent has characterised it as “soulless religiosity” whereby “the Islamic jurisprudence has been reduced to a fossilised mass of ‘Shastras’. For centuries the door of Ijtihad has been securely shut, with the result that Islam, instead of being a live movement, has been relegated to the limbo of a movement in ancient history only”.

In regard to Ijtihad, his criticism is that “however erudite a mujtahid may be, he cannot transcend the time-spatial limitations, nor can he have the breadth of vision encompassing the broad canvas of all time and experience. Therefore, his Ijtihad cannot hold good for all ages and circumstances” (Abul Ala Maudoodi).

Iqbal has also commented at length in his sixth Lecture already referred to, on the view that “Fiqh”is unchangeable. Says he: “The theoretical possibility of this degree of Ijtihad is admitted by the Sunnis, but in practice it has always been denied ever since the establishment of the schools, inasmuch as the idea of complete Ijtihad is hedged round by conditions which are well-high impossible of realisation in a single individual. Such an attitude seems exceedingly strange in a system of law based mainly on the ground work provided by the Quran which embodies an essentially dynamic outlook on life”. He goes on to say: “Turning now to the ground work of legal principles in the Quran, it is perfectly clear that far from leaving no scope for human thought and legislative activity the intensive breadth of these principles virtually acts as an awakened of human thought. Our early doctors of law taking their clue mainly from this ground work evolved a number of legal systems: and the student of Muhammadan history knows very well that nearly half the triumphs of Islam as a social and political power were due to the legal acuteness of these doctors. `Next to the Roman’, says Von Kremer, `there is no other nation besides the Arabs which could call its own a system of law so carefully worked out’. But with all their comprehensiveness, these systems are after all individual interpretations, and as such cannot claim any finality. I know the Ulema of Islam claim finality for the popular schools of Muhammadan Law, though they never found it possible to deny the theoretical possibility of a complete Ijtihad. I have tried to explain the causes which in my opinion, determined this attitude of the Ulema: But since things have changed and the world of Islam is today confronted and affected by new forces set free by the extraordinary development of human thought in all its directions, I see no reason why this attitude should be maintained any longer. Did the founders of our schools ever claim finality for their reasoning and interpretations? Never. The claim of the present generation of Muslim liberals to reinterpret the foundational legal principles, in the light of their own experience and altered conditions of modern life is, in my opinion, perfectly justified. The teaching of the Quran that life is a process of progressive creation necessitates that each generation, guided but unhampered by the work of its predecessors, should be permitted to solve its own problems”.

TRADITIONALISTS

As against “Ahl-e-Fiqh”, there is another school of thought, commonly called the Traditionalists (Ahl-el-Hadith). They maintain that it is not “Fiqh” but the sayings of Rasoolullah (PBUH) which should be enforced as they are, since they contain fundamental and unchangeable law. The school holds that “after due scrutiny Hadith occupies the same position and authority as the Holy Quran does, and a denial of Hadith would affect one’s faith and honesty in the same manner as the denial of the Holy Quran itself will do. Notwithstanding differences in interpretation, the Holy Quran is the Word of Allah and an undisputed authority in Shara (Law). Likewise, Hadith, even though it is open to scrutiny, is Revelation from Allah and, next to the Holy Quran, of like authority in religion”. (Muhammad Ism’ail Al-Salafi).

The above excerpt acknowledges that the authority ascribed to Hadith is secondary to that of the Holy Quran, but what follows will show that the acceptances of the postulate is in principle only, since in practical application of the principle and in making deductions therefrom, it is held: in our view Hadith is revealed and whatever it says was conveyed to Rasoolullah (PBUH) in the same way as was the Holy Quran……the angel Gabriel came with the Holy Quran as well as the Sunnah and conveyed Sunnah to Rasoolullah(PBUH) in the manner he conveyed to him the Holy Quran. We do not approve of discrimination in Revelations and hold both the Holy Quran and Sunnah as concurrent authority” (Ibid).

In regard to the two anthologies of Hadith, namely Bukhari and Muslim, the school holds that:-

“By consensus of opinion, Muslims acknowledge that the agreed Ahadith in the two anthologies are valid and that their veracity is absolute”. (Ibid).

This view also is not shared by all those who consider Hadith as the basis of Shari’at Law, as would appear from the following comment:-

Ahadith have come down through a chain of narrators, one person passing the information verbally to another. In its very nature the process can at best be viewed as conveying probability and not certainty. It is unthinkable that Allah would leave believers in the matter of faith in a position in which they should determine their course of action on the basis of material passed on by word of mouth”. (Maudoodi)

He goes on to say:-

“The material may be useful as a help in ascertaining the practice of Rasoolullah(PBUH) and the doings of his Companions (God may be pleased with them) but it is not a thing which could claim complete reliance”.

Further on he says:-

“The claim that the text of all the Ahadith in Bukhari should be accepted as correct without critical appreciation is untenable”.

He adds:-

“Regarding Mandatory Laws, the Holy Quran generally mentions the basic principles only and in most matters leaves out the details. Rasoolullah (PBUH) applied the Quranic Laws to the practical affairs of life and provided the requisite details both by word and deed. Some of these details are too definite to admit of fresh interpretation and they must be accepted as they are, as for instance the commands pertaining to worship (Ibadat). There are other details the principles underlying which help in making further deductions, e.g. Civil Laws of the time of Rasoolullah (PBUH)“.

In accordance with the above excerpt, the doctrine propounded by the Traditionalist school of thought concedes to the present generation the right to determine subsidiary Civil Laws by Ijtihad in accordance with the principles deducible from the Civil Laws promulgated by Rasoolullah (PBUH).

To quote their own words:-

“It is an incontrovertible truth that for the observance of his directions the law-giver has, with infinite wisdom and knowledge, laid down mostly such conditions as would achieve the purpose in view in all times, all places and all circumstances. In spite of this there are numerous details in which changed circumstances demand corresponding changes. It is not necessary that conditions in every age and country should be what they were in Arabia and the Muslim world during the time ofRasoolullah(PBUH) and his Companions. Therefore, the enforcement, in all ages and in all situations, of the particular forms of observance of Islamic injunctions exactly as they were at their inception, that is, without modification, will be a sort of conventionalism which is completely alien to the spirit of Islam. It will be incorrect, therefore to follow strictly the very words of the original text without weighing them in the present context, much less their deductions or inferences. The rational method of tackling a problem is that one should keep before the mind’s eye the aim of the law-giver and affect changes to accord with changes in circumstances with due regard to his practice and the principles of his jurisprudence (Ibid).

The position advocated in the preceding extract is not an innovation. Imam Abu Hanifa and Shah Waliullah Muhaddith of Delhi held the same view. In the words of Iqbal:-

“For our present purposes, however, we must distinguish traditions of a purely legal import from those which are of a non legal character. With regard to the former, there arises a very important question as to how far they embody the pre-Islamic usage’s of Arabia which were in some cases left intact, and in others modified by the Prophet(PBUH). It is difficult to make this discovery, for our early writers do not always refer to pre-Islamic usage’s. Nor is it possible to discover that the usage’s, left intact by express or tacit approval of the Prophet (PBUH), were intended to be universal in their application. Shah Wali Ullah has a very illuminating discussion on the point. I reproduce here the substance of his view. The prophetic method of teaching, according to Shah Wali Ullah, is that, generally speaking, the law revealed by a prophet takes especial notice of the habits, ways, and peculiarities of the people to whom he is specifically sent. The prophet who aims at all-embracing principles, however, can neither reveal different principles for different peoples, nor leaves them to work out their own rules of conduct. His method is to train one particular people, and to use them as a nucleus for the building up of a universal Shari’at. In doing so he accentuates the principles underlying the social life of all mankind, and applies them to concrete cases in the light of the specific habits of the people immediately before him. The Shari’at values (Ahkam) resulting from this application (e.g. rules relating to penalties for crimes) are in a sense specific to that people; and since their observance is not an end in itself they cannot be strictly enforced in the case of future generations. It was perhaps in view of this that Abu Hanifa, who had a keen insight into the universal character of Islam, made practically no use of these traditions. The fact that he introduced the principle of Istihsan, i.e. juristic preference, which necessitates a careful study of actual conditions in legal thinking, throws further light on the motives which determined his attitude towards this source of Muhammadan Law. It is said that Abu Hanifa made no use of traditions because there were no regular collections in his days. In the first place, it is not true to say that there were no collections in his days, as the collections of Abdul Malik and Zuhri were made no less than thirty years before the death of Abu Hanifa. But even if we suppose that these collections never reached him, or that they did not contain traditions of a legal import, Abu Hanifa, like Malik and Ahmed Ibn-e-Hambal after him, could have easily made his own collection if he had deemed such a thing necessary. On the whole, then, the attitude of Abu Hanifa towards the traditions of a purely legal import is to my mind perfectly sound; and if modern Liberalism considers it safer not to make any indiscriminate use of them as a source of law, it will be only following one of the greatest exponents of Muhammadan Law in Sunni Islam”.

The foregoing will shoe that while there is a school of thought in Pakistan which holds that whatever has come down to us in the name of Fiqh or the Traditions, is unalterable and should be enforced as such, there is another school of thought also which considers that for meeting the requirements of the present time, we can formulate our own laws in the light of the permanent and the unalterable principles given by the Quran.

QURANIC ARGUMENTS

This view is supported abundantly by the Holy Quran. The Quranic arguments may be summarised below:-

1. In Islam obedience is essentially and basically due only to the Laws of Allah as embodied in the Holy Quran. “Shall I (Rasoolullah, PBUH) look for a judge other than Allah. He who has revealed to you a book defining things clearly”? (6/115).

2. He who does not adjudicate in accordance with the Holy Quran is not a Muslim (5/44).

3. Obedience to Divine Laws is not a thing belonging to the individual plane in the sense that one might, of his own, consult the Holy Quran, interpret it for himself and act according to his individual interpretation. The obedience has to be disciplined and ordered under an organised system (called State in the present day terminology) controlled by a central authority, the first central authority having been Allah’s Rasool. Obedience to the central authority is obedience to Allah. Says the Holy Quran: “One who obeys the Rasool obeys Allah” (4/80), the Rasool adjudging everything according to the Holy Book (5/48).

4. Barring a few exceptions, the Holy Quran enunciates generally fundamental principles without touching subsidiary law. About these principles or the basic provisions, the Holy Quran says: “TheKalema (basic principle) revealed by the Nourisher has been made complete in truth and justice. There is none who can change His principles (6/116).

5. The reason for leaving out subsidiary laws from the Holy Quran has been explained thus: “Ask not for things which if revealed would inconvenience you, and if you ask for them while the Quran is being revealed, they will be disclosed to you….Before you a people (the Israelites) did ask for them and then disbelieved (and defied) them”. (5/101-2). In elucidation of the above verses, a Hadithis cited which says: “Allah has placed on you certain obligations, do not violate them. Some things have been forbidden, do not go near them. Some limitations have been imposed, do not transgress them. Some things have been left unspoken of without being overlooked, do not probe into them”.

6. The question as to how details, which have deliberately been left undetermined in the Holy Quran, will be formulated in the light of the Quranic principles, is answered by the direction given in the Holy Quran to Rasoolullah (PBUH) to “consult them (the believers) in the affairs (of the Society)” (3/158).

There are numerous instances recorded in Traditions showing how Rasoolullah (PBUH) consulted his Companions in the day-today affairs. This process of consultation was not confined to any particular sphere but covered all matters in which details were not given in the Holy Quran. For instance the Holy Quran mentions the “Call for Salaat-ul-jum’a” (62/9), but does not prescribe the manner for making the call. The way this was decided upon has been recorded in Mishkat, as follows, in the chapter on Azaan:-

“Abdulleh b. Zaid b. Abd Rabb states that when Rasoolullah (PBUH) gave the orders for blowing the conch for calling the faithful to Sal’at I saw a man in a dream who had a conch in his hand. In my dream I enquired from this man whether he would sell the conch. He asked me what I would do with the conch. I answered that we would use it for calling people to Sal’at. He said, may I not tell you something which is even better? On my replying in the affirmative, he asked me to repeat Allah-o-Akbar, Allah-o-Akbar etc. and likewise he taught me Takbir. With the dawning of the morn I hastened to Rasoolullah (PBUH) and narrated my dream. Rasoolullah (PBUH) said, `Verily this dream is true and indicative of Divine’. There upon he ordered me to stand along-side Bilal and repeat to him what I had been told in my dream so that he (Bilal) may make the call(Azaan) since he is `loud-throated’. I did as commanded and Bilal called the Azaan. Abdullah further states that when Umar b. Khattab heard the Azaan at his place, he hurried out, dragging his covering, and said to Rasoolullah I swear by Him who has sent you with Truth, that I also have seen a dream similar to that of Abdullah’. Rasoolullah thereupon said, ` All praise is for Allah‘. (Abu Dawud, Darmi, Ibn-e-Maja).

7. While he lived, Rasoolullah determined subsidiary laws in consultation with the Ummat. The question is as to what was to be done after his demise. The Holy Quran answers the question by saying, “Muhammad is but a Rasool. there have been several Rasool before him. Will you turn back on your heels if he dies or is slain?” (3/143). It follows that the process of framing laws within the frame-work of the Quranic principles was not to discontinue after the death of Rasoolullah but was to go on as before. Therefore, after his demise, the first thing the Companions did was to elect a Successor so that he could carry on the process of determining subsidiary laws and enforcing Divine Principles as did Rasoolullah himself. “One who obeys the Rasool obeys Allah” now took the form of “One who obeys the Rasool’s successor obeys Allah“. Rasoolullah himself is reported to have said: “You have to follow my practice and the practice of my mature and rightly guided Successors”, (Mishkat chapter on adherence to Book and Sunnah). The Holy Quran directed Rasoolullah to “consult the believers in determining the affairs of the people” (3/158); it guided his successors by saying “and they determine their affairs by mutual consultation” (42/38). “Mutual consultation” within the ambit of the eternal and inviolable Laws given in the Holy Quran is the “way of the believers” (4/115) which should never be given up.

8. There is material available in the record of traditions of Rasoolullah and the doings of his Companions to show how subsidiary laws were formulated under the Khilafat-e-Rashida. The procedure followed was:

a) Where subsidiary law had not already been framed it was formulated by mutual consultation. For example no punishment was prescribed for drunkenness in the time ofRasoolullah. Hazrat Abu Bakr prescribed for it forty stripes, which Hazrat Umar later increased to eighty.

b) If a subsidiary law once enacted needed no amendment or change it was retained intact, just as any constitutional government would continue to enforce the laws of its predecessors until the need for a change arose.

c) Subsidiary enactment’s, which needed amendment in consequence of a change in circumstances, were duly modified. Since they were not prescribed initially by Revelation, it was not necessary that they should undergo changes through Revelation. Here are a few instances:

i) Rasoolullah had fixed the amount of ransom for prisoners of war at oneDeenar per head. Hazrat Umar fixed different amounts for different parts of the State.

ii) Rasoolullah (PBUH) did not prescribe rates of Zak’at for different varieties of produce of land. Hazrat Umar did so.

iii) For Taleef-i-Quloob, Rasoolullah used to give financial assistance from the State Exchequer. Hazrat Umar discontinued the practice.

iv) Rasoolullah distributed among the fighters the land acquired in certain conquered areas. Hazrat Umar abrogated this system.

v) Rasoolullah allowed maintenance allowance at uniform rate. Hazrat Abu Bakr continued the practice. But Hazrat Umar re-fixed the rates in proportion to the services rendered by recipients.

vi) Rasoolullah did not realise Zak’at on tradable horses and the produce of the sea. Hazrat Umar did it.

vii) Hazrat Umar decided that the scheduled punishment for offences should be made light for belligerents and that the punishment of manusection for theft should not be inflicted on the famine-stricken.

Instances of this kind can be multiplied if those measures are taken into account which Hazrat Umarintroduced initially. Their number, according to historians, ranges between forty and fifty. This number, however, is not the issue. The real issue is that the rightly guided Successors of Rasoolullahaccepted and worked according to the principle that the decisions taken during the time ofRasoolullah could be modified, if the changed circumstances so demanded. They extended the principle to the decisions taken among themselves, and a Successor felt no hesitation in amending the decisions of his predecessor.

IMAM ABU HANIFA

The verses of the Holy Quran coupled with the evidence provided by traditions and history, reproduced above, support fully the view that it is the fundamental law of the holy Quran which is unchangeable. In the case of subsidiary laws formulated under it, the Islamic state constituted on the pattern of that of Rasoolullah, can affect changes to suit its current requirements. In the excerpt from his Lectures noted above, Iqbal has pointedly mentioned Imam Abu Hanifa and Shah Waliullah, Muhaddith of Delhi, who also supported the above view. In volume 13, page 390, of his book on history, Khatib Baghdadi states on the strength of Yusuf b. Isbat that Abu Hanifa used to say that “had I been a contemporary of Rasoolullah, I am sanguine that he would have adopted many of my views, since Din (Allah’s way of Life) is, after all, but another name for good and sound reasoning”. The historian goes on to say that Abu Awana stated that “One day I was sitting by Abu Hanifa when the Sultan’s messenger called on him and said that his master would like to know how the case of a man who has stolen a honey-comb should be adjudged. Abu Hanifa replied promptly `if the value of the honey-comb be ten dirhams sever his hand’. After the messenger had departed I said to Abu Hanifa: “Are you not afraid of Allah? It has been reported to me by Yahya b. Said through Muhammad b. Haban and Rafi b. Khudaij, that Rasoolullah had said that for the theft of trifles like fruit and flowers, there can be no manusection. Hasten to help the man lest his hand be severed”. Abu Hanifa reiterated calmly that “the view then taken has since lost its force”. The thief suffered manusection.

SHAH WALI ULLAH

This incident illustrates the position of Imam-e-Azam. In his book Hujat-ullah-il-Baligha, chapter on types of Revealed Knowledge, Shah Waliullah has quoted a saying of Rasoolullah: “I am a human being. What I tell you about DIN adopt it; when I express my personal opinion, then, I am but a human being”. Shah Waliullah says that the matters to which Rasoolullah referred were those unconnected with the propagation of the revealed message, and adds that akin to this type of “matters” were those subsidiary directions which, though related to the Quranic principles, conformed directly to the conditions then prevailing and ceased to operate as and when those conditions changed. The Ummat was not bound to observe them as permanent injunctions. In the same category are included those decisions of Rasoolullah regarding home and social economics, politics, etc., which were couched in general terms and omitted to specify practical details.

In elucidating Shah Sahib’s view, Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi, who is acknowledged as an authority on Waliullah, wrote as follows:-

“It should be understood that the enforcement of the basic law is preceded by the formulation of introductory subsidiary laws bearing directly on the prevailing conditions of the people concerned.

The basic law is unchangeable but introductory laws change with the change in attending circumstances. The introductory laws which Rasoolullah and his three immediate Successors formulated in consultation with the Central Council of advisers , are termed “Sunnah”. The system whereby decisions were reached by consultation broke down, however, after Hazrat Othman. The “Sunnah” embraces, according to the Hanafi School of thought, the practice of both Rasoolullah and his rightly guided Successors, a view to which we also subscribe. But the practice of “Sunnah,” which the current terminology will call Bye-Laws, must follow the Holy Quran. The basic law, is unchangeable; bye-laws change with the changing circumstances. The old bye-laws undergo changes to suit present requirements and new ones have to be deduced to satisfy fresh developments. This process is called Fiqh“. (Al Furqan, Waliullah Number, page 264).

IQBAL

Discussing the Traditionalist and the Fiqh schools of thought, Iqbal observes in his Lectures on the Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, (page 169): “But contrary to the spirit of his own school the modern Hanafi legist has eternalised the interpretations of the founder or his immediate followers much in the same way as the early critics of Abu Hanifa eternalised the decisions given on concrete cases”.

My own position in this respect is that I subscribe to the views of the school of Imam Azam, Shah Waliullah, Maulana Sindhi and Iqbal, since their views are in accordance with the principles of Law-making in an Islamic State as enunciated by the Holy Quran.

OPPOSITION

Those who subscribe to views other than these are bound naturally to oppose these views. Iqbal anticipated this opposition and observed, on page 156 of his Lectures:

“And I have no doubt that a deeper study of the enormous legal literature of Islam is sure to rid the modern critic of the superficial opinion that the Law of Islam is stationary and incapable of development. Unfortunately, the conservative Muslim public of this country is not yet quite ready for a critical discussion of “Fiqh” which, if undertaken is likely to displease most people, and raise sectarian controversies; yet I venture to offer a few remarks on the point before us”.

The opposition from the orthodox section is understandable. But the tragic part of it is that a difference of opinion is allowed to generate violence in expression and to condemn the opponent as an apostate. Even Imam-e-Azam was not spared. In Vol. XIII of his book on history Khatib Baghdadi gives following details:-

“Imam Malik b. Anas says that the peril of Abu Hanifa to the ‘Ummah’ is no less than that of Satan (Iblees) both with regard to his doctrine of revocability of divorce and the rejection of Ahadith. Abd-al-Rahman b. Mahdi says that the peril of Abu-Hanifa is more dangerous than the peril of Dajjal. Salman b. Hassan Halbi says that he has often heard Imam Auzai complain that Abu Hanifa has destroyed one by one all the wings of Islam. Fazari relates that both Sufian and Auzai say that a more inauspicious person than Abu Hanifa was never born in Islam. Imam Shafi calls him the worst among the despicable. Abu Ubaid says I was once sitting in the Jami Mosque of Rusafa with Aswad b. Salam. In discussing something I mentioned the view of Abu Hanifa. Aswad reprimanded me severely for mentioning even the name of Abu-Hanifa in the mosque and for this lapse on my part he was so annoyed with me that he never spoke to me thereafter till his death'”.

Similar intolerance in opposing views continues unfortunately to plague our society to this day.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE NOW?

Let us return to our main theme. Historically, the position during Khilafat-Rashida was that whenever a change in circumstances needed a change in subsidiary laws the change was affected by mutual consultation. Had the institution of Khilafat on the pattern set by Rasoolullah continued, the process of legislation evolved by it would have continued to develop normally, making the law ofShari’at a happy blending of permanence and change. It is a pity that the processes came to a halt and with it ended the critical attitude with which subsidiary laws used to be formulated. It is true that for a time the various schools of Fiqh carried on the process, but theirs was an effort on the individual plane which very soon became rigid and fossilised. We need not go into the historical why and wherefore of the change, which Iqbal has already discussed at length in his Lectures. The all important question confronting us now is that since the Khilafat on the pattern of Rasoolullah has long ceased to exist, what lines an Islamic State should follow for legislation. The answer is fairly clear. Revive Khilafat on Rasoolullah’s pattern and adopt the system which he and his associates had established. But, is such a revival possible? Some say, No, since personalities like Hazrat Abu Bakrand Hazrat Umar are no longer available to do the job. This No is cry of frustration and is based on a serious misconception. If the cry were listened to, it would be tantamount to admitting that the Holy Quran offered a code of life for a particular period of history only. This would be preposterous. The Holy Book has been preserved so as to provide mankind with a code for practical living from age to age and from place to place. On the basis of the Quranic principles an organisation (Islamic State) was set up once. A similar organisation can be set up again now. The way to do it is this: The State should first take firm decision that it shall remodel the society on the basis of the inviolable principles preserved in the Holy Quran. Then it should take stock of the literature dealing with Islamic laws with a view to (a) adopting, in its original form, what would with due regard to the Quranic Principles, meet present requirements; (b) amending what needs a change; and (c) formulating new provisions to satisfy fresh situations, the whole thing being processed with the help of the representatives of the Ummat by mutual consultation. This is how an organisation based on the Quranic Fundamentals can be brought into being. But a change – over from the present to an ideal Islamic State cannot be brought about overnight. The organisation will, by stages, proceed towards its ultimate goal by the normal process of evolution, ridding itself of initial short comings at every step. This is the Sabil-ul-Momineen, the way of the Believers, which the Holy Quran has stressed. An important point to note is that until an Islamic State has been established, the Ummatshould continue its present course without any change, since the right to introduce changes belongs to the social order (the Islamic State) and not to individuals whatever their mental development may be.

ITS IMPORTANCE

The foregoing explains the broad principles and the basic way for the exercise of legislative effort in an Islamic State, the way to which Iqbal referred in his Lectures. He indicated the way in 1928, but the question had already swayed his imagination so much that in a letter written long before he said: “My conviction is that whoever undertakes a critical appreciation of modern jurisprudence in the light of the Quran and establishes the inviolability of its principles, will be the arch revivalist (Mujadid) in Islam, and the greatest benefactor of humanity….It is a pity that the contemporary doctors of Islamic jurisprudence should be either completely ignorant of modern trends or else be steeped in rack orthodoxy…….It seems to me that Islam is, as it were, being tested at the moment on the touchstone of Time, a situation which perhaps never before arose in the history of Islam”. (Iqbalnama-volume I, page,50).

Referring to what had happened in Turkey, Iqbal said in his Lectures (on page 154): “The question which confronts him (the Turk) to-day, and which is likely to confront other Muslim countries in the near future, is whether the law of Islam is capable of evolution, a question which will require great intellectual effort, and is sure to be answered in the affirmative; provided the world of Islam approaches it in the spirit of Omar, the first critical and independent mind in Islam who, at the last moments of the Prophet , had the moral courage to utter these remarkable words; “The Book of God is sufficient for us”. He concludes his Lectures with these words (pages 170):-

“In view of the basic idea of Islam that there can be no further revelation binding on man we ought to be spiritually one of the most emancipated peoples on earth. Early Muslims emerging out of the spiritual slavery of pre-Islamic Asia were not in a position to realise the true significance of this basic idea. Let the Muslim of to-day appreciate his position, reconstruct his social life in the light of ultimate principles, and evolve, out of the hitherto partially revealed purpose of Islam, that spiritual democracy which is the ultimate aim of Islam”.

If the Islamic world succeeds in re-establishing the Universal Democracy of Islam by recasting Islamic jurisprudence on the basis of the Quranic Fundamentals, the leadership of the world of political thought will be theirs. If, however, they fail in the discharge of this delicate but vital duty, the other nations will regard their failure as the failure of Islam and on the evidence of that failure would declare that Islam was successful only in a particular period of history but that thereafter it exhausted its dynamism and is no longer capable of keeping pace with the growing needs of the times. It should then be extremely painful for them to be adjudged guilty at the bar of humanity of a crime of such immense magnitude and severity.

CONCLUSION

It will follow from what has been said above that within the circumscribed limits of the permanent fundamental principles of the Holy Quran, the Islamic society is free to formulate its subsidiary laws in accordance with the need of times. While the subsidiary laws will be susceptible to change in accordance with the changing needs of times, the Quranic fundamentals shall remain unchangeable. This happy blending of permanence and change will enable the Millat to attain its ultimate destiny in life.

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What is the genuine End: The Individual or The State? – Ghulam Ahmad Parwez – Idara Tolue Islam

 

IMPORTANT NOTES

English-speaking readers may find the following explanation of terms used in this pamphlet useful:

Allah: It is the Arabic word for The One God. It is a misnomer as God has no names, only attributes.

Deity: A god/God or goddess, Divinity. From Middle English deite, from Old French, from Late Latin deitas (stem deitat-), from Latin deus, god.

Deen: It is a term with no exact English equivalent. It means “Way of Life”, and in the Islamic context, is a social system based on Qur’anic values.

Jagannath: It is also known as Jagannatha, Juggernaut, Juggernnath, and Juggernnatha. In Hinduism it is a title of the deity Krishna, a huge wagon on which an idol of the god Krishna is drawn in procession. [From Hindi Jagannath, from Sanskrit Jagannatha: Jagat-, world+nathas, lord.] In Hindu mythology the chariot of Jagannath is specifically a vehicle used in an annul procession in Puri Town, in the Indian State of Orissa and is a symbol used for the owner of the world.

Kaafir: Literally “unbeliever”. According to Sura 5, Verse 44, those who do not live by the Laws as revealed in the Qur’an are Kaafirs.

Muhammad: The name Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, is generally followed by the salutation “Peace Be Upon Him”. As this (“Peace Be Upon Him”) is not used in the Qur’an, and for the sake of brevity it is not used as such in this pamphlet; it has been indicated as PBUH or pbuh. However, it should be implicit that, as mentioned in Sura Al-Saaffaat 37, Verse 181, we do convey Peace Upon all the Messengers of Allah, and Praise be to Allah, the Originator and the Creator of the Universe.

Nubuwwah: It is the reception of the revelation of Divine Guidance by anbiya or rusul. It ended with Muhammad (PBUH). The Guidance revealed to him is preserved and enshrined fully and exactly in the Qur’an. But the function of risalah, or the delivery of the Divine Message to all mankind and the establishment of a social order in accordance with its principles, has devolved upon the nation or Ummah that believes in that Book, that is, the Qur’an.

Shirk: It is the only unforgivable sin in the Qur’an. It is the association of partners with Allah, whether it be the human world or the physical world or the obedience to laws in contradiction to those revealed in the Qur’an. This includes creating divisions within the Muslim community through sectarianism.


What is the Genuine End: The Individual or The State?

The history of mankind makes tragic reading. Down through the ages we come across a series of sequences of the rise, growth, decline and fall not only of nations but also of their civilizations and cultures. The basic but the most intriguing question of the general aspect of mankind has always been whether the Individual for the State or the State exists for the Individual. In other words, “What is the real aim and what are the means to achieve it?” Many renowned researchers and erudite thinkers have penned down their discourses on this subject. I a humble student of Qur’an, present here ‘what the Qur’an has said on the subject.

Man is a social being with the basic to live in the company of other men. He is gregarious by nature and, in the words of the renowned western thinker, Nietzsche, he can become human only when he is in the company of other men. Our experience also stands proof to this reality. If a human child soon after birth, is left in a jungle, without the supervision of any human, and some animals bring him up, he will remain animalistic in his behaviour for the rest of his life. He will never attain the posture and status of humanity, though he would be just like other humans in the pattern of his figure and form.

Look at another aspect of human life. Of all the punishments the human mind could devise, solitary confinement is the most severe, the most cynical, and the most ironical. The cruelest criminals of the strongest nerves, not afraid of the death sentence even, start crying when they are kept in solitary confinement, even though there be no physical suffering. Have you ever thought of the phenomenon that the concept of ‘chastisement in grave’ is more terrifying than that of the scene of the ‘resurrection day’? Its root cause is nothing but solitary confinement. In the grave the dead body is in a solitary state, whereas there are tens of thousands of men, lurking and hovering on the ‘resurrection day’. Supporting this contention, one of the sayings goes that “the crowd of the dead is nothing but rejoicing of a festivity”. Another old proverb says “man is the remedy of man”. The Urdu word for ‘society’ is ‘Mu’aashra’ which has the component ‘ashra’(the Arabic term for number 10) signifying the fact that it takes two digits to make number ten. The implication is that ‘society’ is formed by individuals coming together.

Tribal Life

Family was the stepping stone of collective life in the very early period of human life. Dependence on family satisfied the cultural and social needs of the individuals. When the family multiplied a bit, it took the form of a tribe. Tribal life was nomadic, wandering and traversing here and there, every day, every morning and every evening. Therefore, there was no question of any specific area reserved for tribes. When they first started keeping flock and then opted for agriculture economy, the question of specified and demarcated areas arose: this piece of land belongs to so and so a tribe, that meadow to such and such a clan. Thus developed the concept in the human mind that slowly and gradually took the form of a country or a land of birth. People started saying: “This is my country; that is our country.” Nature never demarcated such boundaries on the surface of the earth; these are man-made.

Prior to this demarcation of boundaries on the face of earth, self-preservation was the main urge of life; it was maximally extendable to the preservation of health, home and wealth. Now it has extended and has covered the safety and security of ‘land of birth’ or country. In other words, the question of preservation had not remained limited to safe guarding the individuals; nonetheless it has more intensely involved the safety and security of the country.  For deciding mutual disputes of individuals and for defending the country, the need of a collective full-fledged authority was a must. This produced the concept of governance or the idea of the State Authority. For a long time, the idea of politico-cultural life of the men remained restricted to country and its governance. Thereafter, Greek scholars, especially Plato (c. 428-347 BC) presented another idea, which is termed as State. If looked at generally (but nay, to me it is a fact that) State is but an establishment of governance in a country. But the political philosophy made such an addendum to it that it revolutionized its concept. Initially it was a simple issue: country meant a specific track of land, its defence meant the safety and security of the home and wealth of its inhabitants. This was achieved through a system, called rulership. When it was transformed into State, the questions arose:

  • What is the mutual relation of the State and the Individual?
  • Which of these two is the means and which one is the end?
  • And the like.

These questions generated various theories, such as:

  1. Monistic Theory, which means the individuals are the integral part of the State; they do not enjoy their own separate entity
  2. Monadistic Theory, through which it is accepted that State is nothing but a conglomeration of individuals
  3. Dualistic Theory, which means the individuals have their own separate distinct existence but they are dependent upon the State or Society for their betterment and welfare.

So far, so good. But later on another theory was put forth, which established the State as an end in itself. This theory is called Idealistic Theory or Absolute Theory. It is not my intention here to expose, elaborate and illustrate the Theory of State from the political science point of view. My concern in this discourse is the mutual relation of State with Individual, so I will not deliberate upon the details of the various theories of the State. After this brief introduction of the various theories, I want to move directly to my topic. Since the Idealistic Theory is basically related to the topic under discussion, a detailed description of it is necessary. Hobbes (1588-1679), an English political philosopher and thinker initiated the basic concept of this theory: individuals, in the real sense, are the slaves of the State. And Hegel, the German philosopher, provided a complement to this theory.

Hegel’s Theory of State

Hegel (1770-1831), a German philosopher, insists that “the State possesses an ‘organic’ unity, which ‘is dialectic’; a unity of contraries. It not only allows but requires the strongest tensions and oppositions.” It has its own separate entity and unique personality. Like every living and conscious being, it has its own aspirations, passions, and intentions. Its rights and obligations are finite. “There is no longer any moral obligation for the State. If there is any duty of the State it is to preserve itself.” If there is a clash between the individual and the State, the State will stand justified.

The State enjoys absolute rights. Cassirer, a renowned Americo-German thinker, has explained this theory of Hegel’s in the following words:

State is the self-certain absolute mind, which acknowledges no abstract rules of good and bad, shameful and mean, craft and deception. (Myth of the State, P. 264)

He also writes in the same book:

It is generally acknowledged and well known principle that the particular interest of the State is the most important consideration. The State is the spirit that dwells in the world and realizes itself in the world through consciousness, while in nature the spirit actualizes itself only as the other of itself, as dormant spirit. It is the course of God through the world that constitutes the State. When conceiving the State, not of particular institutions, but one must much rather contemplate the Idea, God as actual on earth, alone. (Myth of the State, P. 265)

Hegel propounded this theory in the 19th century (in 1801) and slowly it spread in the entire world. Rumelin, Chancellor of Tubingen University, wrote in 1875 that:

The State is autocratic. Self regard is its appointed duty; the maintenance and the development of its own power and well-being. Egoism – if you call this egoism – is the supreme principle of all politics. The State can only have regard to the interest of any other State so far as this can be identified with its own interest. Self devotion is the principle for the individual; self assertion for the State. The maintenance of the State justifies every sacrifice, and is superior to every moral rule. (R. H. Murray, The individual and the State, 216)

From the above-mentioned illustrations, it can be seen that, according to this theory, Divine Rights are given to the State. That is why this type of thought and this kind of procedure are known as Divinisation of State i.e., to make the State a god. In this way the State becomes a lord, and its individuals its worshipers. This has become a modern religion and has its own beliefs and code of conduct. In this religion, the State attains the status of god.

As has been said earlier, Hegel propounded this theory, which slowly and gradually spread in the world and now has attained the status of “religion” all over the world. The terms would be different, the words would also be variant, but politically the State, in the real sense, enjoys the same status every where. Every where the word State is talked of as if it is really a living personality, having the status of a deity, of a god or of a lord. It was the same concept of the present-day-fashioned deities about whom Dr. Muhammad Iqbal (1876-1938), the Muslim thinker, said that the concept of ‘country’ is the biggest deity of the modern day. The position of the Divinisation of State is that whenever it is said ‘it is the demand of the State’, no body dares object it or criticize it, not utter a single word against it. Compared to the superiority of its order or its demand, the individual’s interest, expediency, demand, aspiration, desire and passion carry no weight. The individuals come into being to be the slaves to the State, to be the means to accomplish its demands. Individuals hold no will. It is the State that enjoys universal will and supreme power. The individuals should be prepared to lay down their lives for it. Whenever the State should make a demand, it is the duty of the individual to accomplish it unhesitatingly. Whatsoever it demands, he should humbly present it to the State, even though it is life itself. Life is no exception.

For the last so many years, this position of the State has been so well propagandized that the thinking faculties of people appear to be paralyzed. Whenever it is said ‘it is the demand of the State ’or ‘it is the order of the State’, no one thinks or asks any one as to ‘where is that State which has issued this order? Where does it live? Where can it be found?’ Is there any possibility to meet it so that it could be asked whether it has issued this order? Neither any one asks, nor any one answers, but it is the State that continues implementing its orders. And it is the people that continue blindly following them. The Deity of the State and the concept of its absolute powers dwell sacredly in the hearts of the people. It is surprising that men demanding evidence for the existence of God unequivocally accept the ‘existence’ of the State. It is as if it is an established reality that they obey with no arguments, no reason or rhyme.

Reality of the State

If one calmly analyzes the elusive entity of State one has accepted without any reason or rhyme, one will come across the same phenomenon, which Sultan Mahmood of Ghazna, Afghanistan, found in the temple of Soumnat, a city on the western coast of India. When Mahmood conquered Soumnat in 12th century, varying supranatural fictions about the statue of Soumnat, were wide spread among the masses. The most amazing among them was ‘when people pray to it for their boons, it answers them and everyone can hear it answering’. Mahmood was a monotheist; he could not be trapped in such deceitful jugglery. He cast a deep eye at the form, structure of the temple and the statue. All of a sudden he perceived the reality and with one stroke he broke the back wall into pieces. He saw Hindu priests sitting there to answer prayers. Likewise when you remove the veil of the statue of the State, one finds a few authority-vested individuals sitting behind this curtain, holding the contract of the rulership as the legal basis of all civil power. Their orders are the orders of the State, their decisions and judgements are the decisions of the State, their interests are the interests of the State, and their demands become the demands of the State. These authority holders, in the name of Divinisation of the State, get themselves worshiped by individuals of society. With this kind of analysis i.e., removing the curtain of the State, you will find no separate existence of State in the world. It remains nothing but an abstract idea. The concrete reality is nothing except that it is a country and has a Governing body vested with power and authority. Look at it again and again and you will find these two solid things in this idol-temple of the State; there is no third thing in it. The fact of the matter is that when autocracy became notorious, the men’s lust of power and exploitation created another mode of governance and called it State, which had become notorious in the garb of dictatorship and monarchy. Under the imaginative piety robes, it was assigned the status of Divinisation of the State. Whatsoever be the system of governance, it will have the same character and essence of the will of monarchy. In the Dark Ages, the king used to issue orders in his name. And now in this age of modern civilization, the same orders are issued in the name of the State, which has no separate existence except the will of the ruling authority. The orders of those days were by the authority holders and the same prevails today. In both the systems the authority wielded the same status and position. The only difference is that when the orders were issued in the name of the king, he used to accept their responsibility and the subjects knew it well who was responsible for those orders. Now the orders that are passed in the name of the State, neither is there any one to accept their responsibility, nor can it be determined: who is responsible for them. In those days the king could have a bad name because of his wrong orders; now such orders do not defame any body because these are from the State, which is an abstract idea, has no external existence, and exists in the minds of people alone. In the dark ages, such a kind of elusive persona holding power was called deity or god, now it is called State. As neither can any one see these deities or gods, nor can any one criticize their orders, similarly neither can any one see the goddess of the State, nor can criticize its orders. The people, in those days, were crushed under the authority of the king, the chariot of Jagannath, and now are sacrificed on the altar of the goddess of the State. The objective is the same. It was the satisfaction of the blood-sucking passions of the priests of the goddesses, and now is the satisfaction of the State. The difference is of words and the terms used. Erich Fromm (1900-1980), a German born renowned American psychologist, in his book Escape From Freedom, has shed light on the effective use of language( words ) in modern times:

Never have words been more misused in order to conceal the truth than today. Betrayal of allies is called appeasement, military aggression is camouflaged as defense against attack, the conquest of small nations goes by the name of a pact of friendship, and the brutal suppression of the whole population is perpetrated in the name of National Socialism. (PP. 300-301)

We want to add to it that the monarchy of the ancient times now has been concealed in the term State. It has been made ambiguous to the extent that no clear conception of the State can come to mind. In spite of this fact, this deceitful doctrine has been made such a reality that individuals are unhesitatingly sacrificed for it. And it is all done on the basis that individuals exist for the State. The question is ‘what is the proof that individuals exist  for the State?’ Its answer lies in a simile of Aristotle’s.

Jugglery of Similes

Keep in mind that the wrong use of similes has wrought such a loss and harm to the world of humanity that no one can guess it. The wrong simile projects wrong as right. It can deceive even the most prudent of us. Since reality is abstract, it does not come perceptibly to mind. A simile is used with concrete examples, so it sticks quickly to mind. If it is right and relevant, it makes the abstract reality understandable but if it is deceitful, it makes right as wrong and wrong as right. The Qur’an calls the deceiving-idea-ridden similes as “poetry” and emphasizes not to use it. The concepts of mysticism are based on similes; hence “poetry” supports it. That is why Ali Hazeen, a Muslim Sufi (mystic), had said: “Mysticism is the best mode for poetry.” One or two examples will make it clear. One of the beliefs of mysticism is monotheism, which in simple and brief words means the things visible in the universe do not have their own existence; God alone has existence and is visible in various forms and patterns. These various names and patterns of things deceive us, otherwise reality is one and the same every where.

The root-cause of all intera-religious conflicts is the difference in terminology for the one and the same Reality (God), which stays the same in essence whether It is labeled Ram( Hindu) or Raheem( Muslim) or any other. It is evident that this idea or belief is  absolutely wrong. But look how beautifully does a wrong simile project such an open deception as reality! That simile is: “The ‘Ganges’ is one, but the ‘ferries’ are numerous; it is nothing but the confusion of the wits.” You see this simile outweighs tens of thousands of arguments. This simile sticks to mind and no reason works against it.

Or take another example. Mysticism has to pass on the concept that direct achievement of beneficence of God is impossible. When the refulgence and manifestation of Allah is achieved through the beneficence of the spiritual guide, it produces stimulating effect. In terms of a simile, it can be understood that if you ‘keep a cotton bud in the sun for the whole day, it will maximally become hot. But if the same rays of the sun pass through a converging lens, this flock of cotton will start burning within seconds.’ Similarly when the rays of Allah’s love pass through the converging lens of spiritual guide’s look, the heart of the disciple transforms within no time into a pirouetting flame and burns down every thing except Allah.

The Simile of Aristotle

This is what the wrong use of the similes does. Look, how the simile of Aristotle (384B.C. – 322B.C.), the Greek ethical, metaphysical, and political philosopher, presents pleasantly as reality the deception that the existence is only of the State and not of the individuals! He says as the State is to the individuals so is the human body to its organs. The human organs do not have their own separate existence. These are simply the integral parts of the body. Their life and death are tied to the life and death of the body. Their duty is to supply the provisions of life and means of health to the body. This garners the arrangements of their own life and health. No organ can survive without the existence of the body. The expediency of the body is the prudence of the organs. Hence the organs cannot have rules and regulations other than of the body’s. Nor do the organs become the integral parts of the body on their own wish and will. And likewise nor can they be separated from it on their own.

I shall speak of the weakness of this simile later on. You have seen here that on the basis of this body-organ relation, individuals have no separate existence. They become the means of establishment, solidarity, and promotion of the State. And the State becomes an end in itself. We have also understood that if the theory of the State is analyzed, it is nothing more than the body of a few members, who have authority. This is a deceiving veil, designed for concealing dictatorship and totalitarianism in its garb. As has been exposed earlier, Hegel (1770-1831) propounded this theory, Nietzche (1844-1900) made it grow, Hitler (1889-1945) provided it the mould of Nazism, and Mussolini (1883-1945) transformed it into fascism. And in the Social Republics, it was exposed as Dictatorship of Proletariat. The democratic countries proudly claim that they do not have dictatorship, they have democracy, the Government of the people, in their countries. But this is a deception too. These countries have the same concept of the State as do the dictator-ridden countries. Individuals have no importance there. Recently an American psychologist, Charles M. Fair, has published a sophisticated but myth-breaking book. Its very name, The Dying Self, brings forth its contents and the true picture of this unfortunate contemporary man. He has written a variety of tactics contemporary man has devised for crushing the ‘I-am-ness’ of the individual. He says leave aside the autocracy; even democracy is not less harmful. In support of his assertion, he has deduced much from DE – Tocqueville’s book: Democracy in America. A gist of one excerpt from his book is given below:

The shackles and the tyrants were the blunt tools, which the exploiters used to use in the past. It is as if the kings had physically actualized exploitation in those days but the democracy of the present time has made it out and out a mental problem. Now the master does not say: “Think in terms of what I think otherwise you will be killed.” Now he says: “You are free to have your own thinking. In spite of this disagreement your life, property, and the other possessions will all be safe. All that would happen is that you would be lonely in the society. You will live with the people, deprived of your human rights. Your fellows will hate you as a filthy thing is despised, even those who think you are innocent and faultless will sever relations with you, so that the people may not hate them.” The master says to them; “Go and be in peace; I have spared your life.” But this is the life, which is even worse than the death. (The Dying Self, P. 185.)

Such is the status of the individual in democracy. In this system snapping ties with the majority, the individual becomes wet paint; no one wants to develop relations with him. He remains lonely, deserted, dejected in the whole wide-world. What happens to the people left lonely in the living society can well be judged from the book “Lonely Crowd” published recently in America . With the help of the data and detailed observations of the individuals, the authors of the book  have presented the status of the American society. In such a society an individual lives along with other members of the society as the cogs of a machine. During the last two or three years, I have mostly been citing quotations from the various books of an American psychologist, Erich Fromm. In one of his books, Escape From Freedom, one reference from which I have already given, he writes on this topic:

The person who gives up his individual self and becomes an automation, identical with millions of other automations around him, need not feel alone and anxious any more. But the price he pays, however, is high; it is the loss of his self. (P. 209)

In another of his books, The Revolution of Hope, he writes ‘the society in which the man is dehumanized, his political freedom does remain no more freedom, but slavery’ (P. 91). The same author further writes that the obligation of society is to respect human life. The positive or the good act is the one that facilitates the development of the individual’s latent potentialities. The negative or evil act is one that strangulates the life and stagnates the human activities (P.93).

Ernst Cassirer, who has been mentioned earlier, is a world known philosopher. He died recently. His last book, The Myth of the State, is about the problem of State. Discussing on the rights of individual and State, he writes:

There is, at least, one right that cannot be ceded or abandoned: the right to personality . . . There is no pactum subjectionis, no act of submission by which man can give up the State of a free agent and enslave himself. For by such an act of renunciation he would give up that very character which constitutes his nature and essence: he would lose his humanity. (P. 175)

Discussing the rights and responsibilities of the individual and State, Professor I. MacIver, in his book The Modern State writes that the State governs to serve individuals. It controls the wealth of the country to repay the debt of individuals. It creates the rights, not to give charity as an upper hand on the basis of authority it enjoys, but as its agent. Keep it in mind that the individuals are the masters, not the slaves, of the State. It is clear the slave cannot enjoy a higher authority than the Master can. As are human rights determined and restricted in terms of their responsibilities, so ought to be the rights of the State (in relation to its responsibilities) (P. 480).

Right from here the weakness of Aristotle’s simile of body-and-organs relation becomes clear. It was this simile on the basis of which he called the State ‘the end’ and the individual  the means to that end’.

The Hollowness of Aristotle’s Simile

He said it is the body alone that has existence; the organs do not have their separate distinct entity. This assertion opposes reality. The existence, in fact, is of the limbs and the organs, and not of the body. The body is simply the collection of limbs and organs, mutually linked with co-ordination, co-operation, proportion, and regulation. You go on cutting separately the various organs of the body, the legs, the arms, the torso, the head etc., you will see these parts lying separately, but the body will disappear. The existence of the body is merely a mental and conceptual phenomenon. Intrinsically it does not exist outside. Health is a balanced proportion of the various limbs and organs. When any one or some organs lose this balanced proportion and fail to perform their operation, it is called disease. If any organ becomes deadly poisonous, it is generally said ‘in order to save the body, the essential thing is to cut it off’. This is said simply because of the general use of this word (body), otherwise, factually, it should be said ‘it is essential to cut it off for the sake of health and safety of other organs’. This makes it clear that the individuals have their own separate identity and existence. No State can come into being, if prior to it the individuals do not exist. If there is no existence of State as a distinct entity, there can still be individuals living. But if there are no individuals, the State can never be thought of. When the individuals determine to live with mutual agreement, discipline, co-operation, and balanced proportion; they also determine to gain power for their safety, and survival, then this way of life will be termed as society or State.

The simile of ‘individuals as organs and State as body’ was, in fact, coined for Plato’s theory of division. According to this theory slaves remain slaves forever, and the ruling class, he calls Guardians, always the ruling class and its example is like of organs of body. The foot always remains the foot and so is the head. The foot, by enhancing its potentialities, never replace the head and vice versa. Every organ has its own position determined by birth and there can be no change in it. Therefore, no organ should aspire to become another organ, and neither should it try it. Nor should the low-level organs rebel against their assigned duties only because these are of low level. With this simile, Plato said that the class division was by birth and was unchangeable. Aristotle, with this simile, made individuals the slaves of the State. It is clear how misuse of similes transforms the right into wrong and vice versa. Sir Mohammed Iqbal, the renowned Muslim thinker, interprets it as the magic spell of the ruling class.

Aristotle coined this simile; Hegel founded the entire edifice of politics on it. The result is that everywhere in the world there is autocracy, whatever name it is assigned. In this regard, there is no difference between dictatorship and western democracy.

This spell of the ruling class functions with the illusory concept of the State, which is an end in itself, and the individuals are the means to justify it. Erich Fromm makes this difference of dictatorship and true democracy clear in the following words:

Democracy is a system that creates the economic, political, and cultural conditions for the full development of the individual. Fascism is a system that, regardless under which name, makes the individual subordinate to extraneous purposes and weakens the development of genuine individuality. (Escape From Freedom, P. 301)

Bergson (1859-1941), a French philosopher, has explained this important point in the following words:

This will be sovereignty, not over men, but over things, precisely in order that man should no longer have so much sovereignty over men. (The Two Sources of Religion and Morality. P. 300)

Lust for Power

Cassirer says that this holistic, autocratic, comprehensive, and cruel concept of the State is the creation of people’s lust for love. About this lust, he writes:

Obviously we do not wish for the sake of wishing – we aim at a certain end and we try to attain this end. But the lust of power does not admit of any possible attainment. It is the very character and essence of the will of power that is inexhaustible. It can never come to a rest; it is a thirst that is unquenchable. Those who spent their lives in this passion are comparable to the Danaides: they strive to pour water into a leaking butt. The appetite for power is the clearest example of that fundamental vice that, in Plato’s language, is described as “pleonexia” – as the “hunger for more and more.” This craving for more and more exceeds all measure and destroys all measure – and since measure, right proportion, “geometrical equality” had been declared by Plato to be the standard of the health of private and public life, it follows that the will to power, if it prevails over all other impulses, necessarily leads to corruption. “Justice” and the “will to power” are the opposite poles of Plato’s ethical and political philosophy.

(The Myth of The State. PP. 74 – 75)

And when this lust for power is concealed in the sacred robe of “State Interest”, these lust hungry mongers lose the prick of their conscience, which often rises against the open tyranny. You make the other men means of consolation for satisfying your own passions of revenge, and torture them, then (even if your own conscience is dead) the other people will protest against it. But when this is said, “Doing it is in the interest of the State”, then in stead of opposing it, the people will generally extend support to it. You will be thought of as a patriot and well wisher of the State. Strangely no body will ask you whether doing this is really in the interest of the State. If any body raises a voice against it, he is told that the disclosure of this secret is not in the interest of the State. Nonetheless, as has been explained earlier, the existence of State is an imaginary concept. By eradicating this deceptive idea, if it is clarified in mundane terminology, then the end and standard of collective system of men will be the interest of the individuals. This is such a concrete standard where neither can any one be deceived, nor can any one deceive some one else. But the concept of State is an amazing show where the State is rich and the individuals are poor; where the State is strong and powerful and the individuals are weak, feeble, and frail. And where the wealth of the State increases and the individuals go on becoming poor to poorer to the poorest. (According to the erroneous simile of Aristotle) the organs become gaunt but the body is said to be growing strong and stout. The organs are crushed or cut off one by one, but it is understood that the body is being nourished. The development, prosperity, robustness, and energy are, in fact, of those with whom the authority is vested.

(As has been described) “State” is the name of these attributes; it does not have a separate distinct existence. If, anyhow, one has to acknowledge the existence of this “phoenix”, one must accept and make others accept the reality that the criteria of measuring the prosperity, the strength and the weakness of the State are the individuals of the State. If the individuals are prosperous, strong, stout, and dauntless, the State will also be rich and powerful. If the individuals are always prey to fear, pain, grief, and destitution, the State is dried-up and struck with poverty. That is why Mohammed Iqbal, the world reputed Muslim philosopher, has said, “Every individual is the glaring stroke of good fortune of the nation, of the State”.

From the aforementioned illustrations we have seen that by carving the non-existent idol of the State, how man’s lust for power has made wide pathways for tyranny! And how well it has justified them! How much blood of humanity has been sacrificed on the altar of the old hag, the black deity! How many sacrifices of man burnt on stakes are there, with which the sadistic nature of the tyrants is satisfied! The fact of the matter is that whatever the priests, in theocracy, do in the name of God, the same, in secularism, is done in the name of the State. Neither could any one ask God “Was whatever is done with us in Your Name really your demand”?. Nor can any one ask the goddess of the State “Are whatever sacrifices we are compelled to offer, really under your authority”? The God of theocracy was imaginary and conjectured; the deity of the State is also mental and imaginary. One was the deceitful idea conjectured by the Hindu priests, and the other is the spell-ridden concept knit by the Hindu bankers. The only difference between the two is: one was knitted at the looms of dark ages, so it was coarse and thread-bare; the other is made by the machines of modern civilization, hence is so fine and subtle that no eye is able to penetrate to the inherent deception it has.

Qur’an’s Truth-Revealing Message

The Qur’an was revealed. It exterminated all the man made idols from the mental horizon of humanity. The Qur’an brought the collective infrastructure of the man. But you will be taken aback to know that the word State is not found in it. It has given only two ingredients of this infrastructure: One is the country, a track of land and the other is man, the inhabitants of that country. It defines and determines the borders of the country for initiating its program. In other words, it starts its program from a track of land; it is the only possible and easy method, otherwise it has the entire globe of earth as its aim. It wants to spread this system in the entire world. It insists to protect this piece of land (which has to be the first lab of this program). It is because if it remains safe and secure, this experiment will be conducted peacefully. It also insists to make arrangements for protecting it from the earthly and heavenly calamities. It describes the events of the nations gone by and tells us that their abodes were destroyed by the floods, wind storms, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and the dilapidation of the dams. The purpose is to tell us to keep the country safe and secure from such calamities and catastrophes. It also emphasizes to protect the country from external dangers. In this regard, it says:

(8: 60)

Keep ready whatever force you can muster to meet your enemy together with strong cavalry with which you can strike terror in the hearts of those who are enemy to Allah and to you. And to those who are in your knowledge, and those besides them whom you do not know as yet. To do so, huge expenses are involved. For this purpose, whatever you expend in the cause of Allah shall be repaid to you justly. There will be no reduction in it -not even a bit.

The State was an imaginary concept. In contrast to it, country is the name of a track of land. When we say the country is in danger, its danger can be perceived, can be seen. No body can deny it. The magnitude and the nature of this danger can be judged on the basis of the information one acquires. But its relation pertains to the degree of perception; it is not imaginary like that of the State.

What is real End /aim?

Despite emphasizing the importance of guarding it, the Qur’an deems the State the means to an end not an end in itself.  A house merely serves as a residence for the people who live in it.  True that the condition of a house affects the welfare of its occupants but the real importance is for the residents not the residence.  To the Qur’an, Man is the real end of the existence of the country or the state or the entire Universe.  Everything has been created for Man’s benefit.  The concept is clearly stated in the following verse.

(2:29)

Whatsoever is there in this sphere of earth, God has created it for you. Not only in the earth but also:

(45: 13)

‘Whatsoever is there in the earth and the heavenly bodies, God has all harnessed for you’. In the words of Sir Muhammad Iqbal, the renowned Muslim philosopher:

You are neither for the earth, nor for the heavenly bodies

The entire universe is for you, and not you for it all

And further he adds:

With the warming activities of the man, is the entire tumultuous upheaval

Each and every body in the universe, the sun, the stars, is but spectators

This is the relation of Man with the Universe. But the topic under discussion pertains to the question of mutual relation of man with man. It is this mutual relation which gives birth to the concepts of civilization, culture, sociology, and politics; this generates various systems, rules and regulations. I have already mentioned that the Qur’an has not used the term ‘the State’; it has definitely given the idea of a country, and within this concept, it has also propounded the concept of governance. We have seen the flaw in the theory of the State which was, in fact, the flaw in the system of sovereignty. The Qur’an has termed the system of sovereignty as the governance, as the management of things. Now the question arises: what is the Qur’anic concept of sovereignty or of the system of governance? And what is the place and status of the individuals in it?

The Qur’anic Concept of System of Governance

Whatever the system of governance in vogue in the world, the authority of some men over others remains established in one way or another. The Qur’an considers this concept as humiliating to humanity. It does not allow some men to wield authority over other men. It calls it against the concept of equality of human beings and terms it opposite to the respect of manhood. It says that the governance of men over men is wrong because it deprives the individual of the freedom he gets as man.

No human society can be sustained without a system of governance.  So, what does the Qur’an suggest?  It says the sovereignty belongs to God alone not to any individual or group of individuals.  But, is it not theocracy/autocracy all over again, which vested sovereignty with some invisible forces beyond complaints or questions?  The Qur’an responds very reasonably to this very logical question.  Granting the existence of an invisible Sovereign in the Qur’anic system, there are laws which are real and visible.  God’s rule practically means following His Law, which is complete and unchangeable.  No one has the authority to make any changes in the Divine Code, not even the Messenger.  He addresses the Messenger

(5: 48)

‘Judge the matters of these people according to the Book of Allah’

And declare it openly that:

(10: 15)

It is not for me to make any changes therein according to my wishes.

What a great satisfaction have the individuals of the society (nay but the entire humanity) acquired that the governance over us will only be of this Book alone! Orders will only be of His to be executed. Other than Him, nobody will have the right to make us obey him. Even the one who makes us obey His Laws will himself first obey these Laws. From this point of view, there will neither be any ruler nor any ruled.

The End of Nubuwwah as Manifesto of Freedom

I have just said that the satisfaction (that no one among us will be able to exercise authority over others, the obedience will only be to this Book, the Qur’an) was not only restricted to the men of the time of the Messenger (pbuh). It will also be equally applicable to the last man on earth. It was because after the completion of Al-Qur’an, it was promulgated that the sequence of Nubuwwah has finally ended. Now nobody till the day of resurrection will be able to say that your Allah has ordered to obey him compulsorily. Whatever Allah had to say has finally said in this Book From now onwards neither will Allah say any thing else, nor will there be any change, amendment, and modification in it. It was our hard luck (and I will say it was the biggest controversy against Islam) that the End of Nubuwwah was made just a matter of belief. Otherwise, up to the day of resurrection, it was a manifesto of freedom, and the message of death for every kind of slavery, for manhood. Pause and reflect, what a great and magnificent promulgation it was that a man, a group of people, or a nation that intends to get freedom from the slavery of men may accept this Book, and understand it! Imposed on its freedom will only be those restrictions, which have been prescribed in this Book. Now, nobody will be able to say that not only him, but also Allah has imposed such and such additional restrictions on you or has made changes in these restrictions. This was the Universal Manifesto of Freedom, which the End of Nubuwwah has granted to the entire comity of human beings. In other words it was the surety that from now onward nobody, nor any group of people, will be vested with the authority to command obedience. Nor will any body or any group of people be vested with power to impose any restrictions that are not in this Book whether that is in the name of the State or in the name of God Himself. Could there be a bigger freedom than that ever conceptualized? Or can it be imagined?

The Purpose of These Restrictions

Now the question is what is the purpose of the limitations or the restrictions prescribed in the Book of Allah? The purpose of man-imposed restrictions on other men is either to decrease or to restrain the vested authority of those on whom these restrictions are imposed. In other words it targets to limit or to divest their freedom. But the Qur’an says that God-imposed limitations and restrictions never mean to limit or to divest human freedom. The aim is never to achieve that purpose.

On the contrary:

(2: 286)

‘The purpose of God-imposed restrictions is to further broaden the human personality.’

Enlarging and broadening the latent potentialities of the human personality is a psychological process, the discovery of which could have been possible (that too to a limited extent) with the development of the discipline of Psychology in the present times. Prior to this development, it was least understood. The psychologists say if the energy of the human personality that is operating for destruction is diverted to constructive pursuits, it multiplies two-fold for integration process. This process, in their terminology, is called sublimation. Fourteen hundred year ago, the Qur’an unfolded this reality. It says that the purpose of the restrictions imposed on the human personality is to broaden it by sublimation.

(2: 286)

By obeying the Divine Laws, the human personality is broadened. This may also mean that for the accomplishment of the task assigned, one should exert one’s capacities to the full. On the ordinary level, understand this phenomenon with the following example. When water in a canal starts flowing at a low ebb, a fall of stones is built in it. The purpose is not to impede the flow of water. When water bumps against it, its flow multiplies many folds. This is the purpose of imposing restrictions by the Book of Allah.

We have seen that it was said to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH): Establish system of governance according to the Book of Allah. One of its purposes was:

(7: 157)

‘To lift the burdens under which humanity groans it will make them free from the shackles, which bind them’. Humanity will be made free from the chains of slavery tied so long on  and this purpose in itself is great. But it is only the negative aspect. After shattering these shackles, and making humanity free from them, the Qur’an takes a positive step. For this purpose, the second aim of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) is told as:

(62: 2)

He (PBUH) works for the development of the personality of human beings. This responsibility was not restricted to the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). It had to move further, and it was the aim of the system that was established for the practical implementation of the Book of Allah. That is why it was said to the party of the people responsible for the establishment of this system:

(22:41)

“These are the people who will establish System of Salaat when they have the control of the country and ‘will give Zakaa”. I have no time to explain this aspect of the program of the Islamic system of governance that has so comprehensively been given in this brief verse. I will deliberate upon one aspect that is related to the topic under discussion i.e., the broadening of the individuality, the development of personality. In our system Zakaat generally means “at the end of a year, giving some amount of money from one’s wealth in the path of Allah”. ‘Giving some amount’ is not the end product of the Qur’an. The Qur’anic exposition of this term is much more broad. It has been said here that the responsibility of the Islamic System is Eetta-e-Zakaat, not “giving Zakaat” or “receiving Zakaat”. The word Zakaat means: “to grow, to develop, to bloom and blossom”. “Eetta-e-Zakaat” means providing the means of development to individuals. It includes physical as well as personality development as far as the physical development of humans is concerned, it pertains to the Qur’an’s system of economics. I have written quite extensively on this for the last 25 years. At this point of time I present the gist of this system through the saying of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH):

God’s responsibility of protecting a community ceases, where even  a single person goes to bed hungry,

It was the same responsibility that the 2nd caliph Hazrat Omar (RA) repeated in his well-known words:

If a dog dies of hunger by the Tigris (river in Iraq), I swear by God with Whom rests my life, Omar will be held responsible for it.

This very aspect of “Eetaa-e-Zakaat” is the obligation of the Islamic System that is related to satisfying the physical needs of individuals. As far as the development of the potentialities of the human personality is concerned, I may make it very clear that this is the ultimate end to be achieved by this system. The first article of this system is to create an atmosphere wherein is the state of

‘There is no fear and sorrow, no grief and anxiety, no agony and pain’. In other words the individuals of the society have neither any fear of external dangers, nor any grief and anxiety within their internal world. There is food for thought here.  This aspect of the (Qur’anic) system provides a solid foundation for realizing the human potential.  (2:38)

The system is obliged to carry out its responsibility, among others, of ( in reference to the Messenger)

Another obligation of this system with reference to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) is described in these words:

He (PBUH) makes arrangements to educate them in such a way that they may be able to understand the ‘why of law’ on one hand, and garnishes their intellect to enable them to grasp the depths of the mysteries of the universe on the other hand. He (pbuh) not only nourishes the human potentialities, but also makes them able to utilize these developed potentialities in consonance with Divine Value. It inculcates purity of character and beauty in conduct. It is called sublimation process of character and conduct.

The Ultimate End

It should be clear from these illustrations that the Qur’anic view of (a) providing the Divine System of Guidance, (b) sending the Messengers (Peace Be Upon Them), (c) revealing the code of Divine Laws, (d) prescribing restrictions, and (e) keeping the final Book of God perfect, unchangeable, and protected   -the logical consequence of which is the End of Messengerhood has an end to achieve. This end is the achievement of the following objectives:

  • To make all human beings free from the shackles of slavery
  • To develop the potentialities of humans
  • To utilize these developed potentialities in consonance with Divine Values.

This process is denoted as purity of character. But further thinking in the Qur’an makes this reality clear that individual’s growth and development is not the last stage of this process. Its next stage is to prepare a group of people, a nation whose end is the well being of human species. For such a kind of nation, it has been said that:

‘You are the integrated nation, equipped for the well being of the manhood. You are an Ummah raised for the good of all humanity’. (3: 109)

Judge the importance of this fact that the Qur’an has said of the individual:

If an individual desires to have a paradisiacal life, one has to join hands with other like –minded people ( 89:29-30)

Paradise is not created by retreating to the seclusion of monasticism and mysticism; it requires a social set up. In other words, individuals are an integral part of the group of people or of Ummah and the responsibility of the group or Ummah is the welfare and wellbeing of the universal humanity. For the welfare of humanity, the Qur’an does not use the unambiguous terms like “interest of the State” or public interest. It clearly says

(13: 17)

‘Always remember that which is beneficial for the humanity endures’; Everlastingness and permanence is only for the acts that are beneficial for mankind.

The Relation Between the Individual and the Party

I have presented the mutual relation between the individual and the State whatsoever I, with my own vision, have understood from the Qur’an. But we have a new terminology introduced in our times. It is Collectivism Theory. This theory is neither new, nor unique. It is, in fact, the changed name of Hegel’s Theory of the State. According to this theory: interest of the State is the most important consideration. . It possesses an “organic” unity. Existence is only of society or party, and not of the individual. With this exposition of Collectivism Theory in view, there is no need to add any thing to what has been said of the State Theory. The Qur’an lays stress on collective life. And the antagonists of Collectivism Theory, presenting it in support of their theory, term it exactly in accorddance with Islam. I thought it necessary to remove this confusion in a few words. Some of them have been heard saying that Iqbal, the great Muslim scholar, also held the same theory. It is ingeniousness of irony and undue criticism on Sir Mohammad Iqbal. Every one knows that Iqbal is a torchbearer of the philosophy of Self (I-am-ness). Self is another name of ‘individuality’. The sum total of Iqbal’s message is the development, preservation, and immortality of the individuality. He showers so much importance on the individuality of the human self that he does not allow this self to be absorbed in the Divine Self, let alone the State or the party s/he belongs to. He maintains its uniqueness. He wants to develop it so that it may emerge as an independent entity equipped with the facets of the Divine Self. He does not accept that it weakens, even at the cost of everlastingness of life. He says individuality cannot be strengthened in the solitude of mysticism; it develops and is strengthened while living in the company of people. That is why he lays stress on establishing link with the party, and not being absorbed in it; Ummah other than the individuals, to him, is nothing; it develops with the mutual link with each other. When these two synchronize with each other, it is called Ummah. ‘Individuals of the caravan’ and the ‘caravan’ itself is the most appropriate simile in his poetry. The caravan other than the individuals has no existence. The individuals with their mutual sync constitute it. But it is necessary that the individuals may remain with the caravan so that being in the state of protection, secure and safe from the dangers, they may reach the ultimate destiny. The Qur’an establishes this relation when it says:

O Jama’at-ul-Momineen, Allah’s Laws have reached you. Now you be steadfast yourself and cause others also to be steadfast, stand united and adhere to Allah’s Laws so that you may prosper. (3: 199)

This is the mutual relation of the individuals with the party. In other words, it means the mutual relation of the individuals among one another is the cause of their steadfastness and reinforcement. There is no annihilation of self like the one in mysticism where it is absorbed in water and ends its uniqueness. And nor is it the System of the State or the Collectivism Theory in which the State or Collectivism is the end and the individuals the means only. The life-giving message of the Qur’an roots out all these theories. It has comprehensively covered individuality in a few words so wonderfully. It says the collective life is so good and so fair but:

‘You will confront Us as individuals with your individuality and will be called to account for your thought and conduct as individuals’ (6: 94). This is the focal point of the Law of Requital. The individuals try to achieve the prescribed ends of Deen in an organized way. This organized structure of theirs is termed as party or Ummah. Its objective is nothing but:

the defeat of man-made system and the triumph of Allah’s system. The world has tried various systems of life and has failed to get consolation from any one of these systems. The Man is tired now and is in search of a system, he sees nowhere. But this system is in the process of being in his thoughts. (9: 40)

Erich Fromm sees its glimpse like the manner given below:

A society in which no man is a means towards another’s ends, but always and without exception an end in himself; hence, where nobody is used, nor uses himself, for purposes which are not those of the unfolding of his own human powers; when man is the center, and where all economic and political activities are subordinated to the aim of his growth. A sane society is one in which qualities like greed, exploitativeness, possessiveness, narcissism, has no chance to be used for greater material gain or for the enhancement of one’s personal prestige. Where acting according to one’s conscience is looked upon as a fundamental and necessary quality and where opportunism and lack of principles is deemed to be asocial; where the individual is concerned with social matters so that they become personal matters, where his relation to his fellow man is not separated from his relationship in the private sphere. A sane society, furthermore, is one which permits man to operate within manageable and observable dimensions, and to be an active and responsible participant in the life of society, as well as the master of his own life. It is one which furthers human solidarity and not only permits, but stimulates, its members to relate themselves to each other lovingly; a sane society furthers the productive activity of everybody in his work, stimulates the unfolding of reason and enables man to give expression to his inner needs in collective art and rituals. (241-42)

This thinker calls this type of society as The Sane Society. And this is the very name of that book from which the above reference has been given. Very broadly and intensively the Qur’an describes the characteristics of this society. It covers its ultimate end in a few words when it says:

‘Verily We have honoured every human being’. And protecting this honour is the end product of the society. If society or the system does not honour the prestige of the individual, it is a corrupt and cursed society, and is the root cause for deterring the accomplishment of the purpose of the creation of mankind. (17: 70)

The System, the State, the Society that deprives people of the individuality of a person, honour of mankind and allows grief-stricken life to pass has curse of Allah, of His Divine Forces, and of the Universal humanity. How alarmingly the Qur’an depicts such a life in the following verse:

(3: 87)

‘These people are deprived of Allah’s blessings as well as the support of the Divine Forces and the righteous persons’. In the course of ages, this idea slowly dawned on man and gradually crystallized that the world is not merely changing, but is developing towards perfection.

From the deliberations I have made about “State Or Individual”, it necessarily follows that the individual, and his personality is an end in itself. No man has the right to exploit another man or to use him as a means in furthering his personal interests. If society were organized on this basis, there would be neither rulers nor subjects. This is the second principle on which society in Islam is based. No man is permitted to compel others to obey him; Allah alone is to be obeyed through the Laws He revealed in the Qur’an.

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Why is Islam the Only True Deen – G A Parwez – Idara Tolue Isalm

(English Rendering by Prof. Dr. Manzoor-ul-Haque, Faculty of Education, University of Sind, Hyderabad)

The one significant issue, which rises in most of the minds and vexes the tender feelings of the heart, is that common moral values are identical in all the religions (especially in the widely accepted religions). All the religions assert not to tell a lie; not to steal; to be honest; not to deprive others of their rights etc. Islam. Also proclaims the same then what is that distinctive feature on the basis of which we assert:-

that Islam is the only true Deen;

that no other Deen is acceptable to God;

that salvation and auspiciousness is tied to Islam;

And therefore it is necessary that all followers of religions should accept Islam.

The Significant Question

If the specificity, on the basis of which Islam is entitled to make this claim, is the same values, then this privilege ought to be extended to every religion of the world. This would not be a reasonable attitude that the qualities on the basis of which we adjudge Islam as Deen-Ul-Haq (the right Deen), are ignored in case of claim of other religions.

Brahmo-Samaji Religion.

This is undoubtedly a difficult question. As mentioned above, this question springs up and causes confusion in the minds of the people at large. . This is the same question which emerged in the frontiers of knowledge at a time when the late Maulana Abu-ul-Kalam Azad wrote in his exegesis of Sura Fateha, “Universal truths are equally found in all the religions” therefore no one religion can claim superiority over others. This proclamation was, in fact, an echo of that Brahmo-Samaji Movement which had emerged earlier in Bengal. They summated the good points of the (so called) heavenly books, developed a system of education and projected it to the world with the contention that it comprises all the common truths found in all the religions. Therefore to bring consensus among all religions and to act in accordance with the truthfulness, the only mechanism would be that all followers of religions should believe in this system of education and make it the concept of their life. Such a common education comprised these very moral values long before this Brahmo-Samaji Movement. King Akber’s Deen-i-Ilahi was founded on this very concept; Its exponent was Dara Shikoah in whose mysticism there was no difference between Ram and Raheem; and the reflection of reality was equally found in the temple and the mosque. The same phenomenon, in the form of Bhajans (religious hymns) of Bhagat Kabeer and Kafees (Mustical Stanzas) of Shah Fareed and Sultan Bahu echoes in every nook and corner.

No Need of Religion even!

This brings forth another important question: if truth is the other name of theses moral values and acting in accordance with them is the purpose of human life, then why is any religion needed? Those, who are irreligious, and refute the very existence of God, also say the same i.e. telling lie is very bad; truth ought to be spoken; living ought to be honest; no one ought to be oppressed, so why to bring in the religion? It was this concept which gave birth to the movement of Humanism in Europe which projected itself with the assertion of “Religion without Revelation” in the world. If the ultimate aim and climax of religion is these moral values and the human life can reach its destiny through these values alone, then how can the claim of Humanism be rejected?

Have you realized how significant is this question and how imperative is it to give a satisfying answer to it? It is the importunity of this significance and need that it must be thought out seriously and understood with careful contemplation.

What Is Deen?

Basic misconception in this regard is that Deen is thought to be no more than an ethical code. Deen is not the collection of a few moral values; it is a comprehensive system of life covering all aspects of human life. The moral values become operative within this system, or in other words this system provides that sound base on which the edifice of these moral values is established.

Did you ever ponder over this phenomenon that the whole world says that telling a lie is bad; dishonesty is intensely opprobrious; deception is very contemptible misdemeanor but in spite of all this the whole world tell lies; corruption is rampant every where; cheating is in full swing. The question is why is this all happening? In spite of condemning and cursing all these things why has man taken to them? Considering these acts the most detestable and opprobrious why is he not refraining from them? Its reason is that either the people acknowledge these moral values just as of formality or they have their foundation on emotions alone. They know nothing as to why these values should be followed and why should they not be violated. You ask a person to satisfy you as to why you should not tell a lie. Going a little deeper than superficial talk, you would realize that he has no reasonable reply to this question. With all the reason and rhyme at his command, he would not be able to respond to the why of your question. He will not be able to explain to you rationally what would you loose by telling lies and which gain you would accrue by speaking the truth. And since man adopts only that which gives him gain and abandons that which causes him loss, therefore his acquiescence to this effect is either simply traditional or imitation or the product of emotional inclinations. He neither develops insight of these values nor rationally makes them the way of his life.

Deen provides those basic concepts, which conspicuously bring forth the purpose and ultimate aim of human life. The purpose of life defines the proper value of every thing and when these values are identified it can very easily be understood which one is profit bearing and which one is loss accruing; which one is higher and which one is lower on the continuum of values.

From Desire to Action.

Deen, along with these basic concepts, provides the practical system through which these theoretical values take the form of reality and then the man within their concrete results sees of his own, how gainful or harmful it is to act or not according to these values. Being affected by this, his emotions and feelings follow the proper channel for their own operation and since emotions are the impetus of actions, his life synchronizes with these higher values. This is called the exaltation of character and neatness of conduct.

Bear it in mind that human activities pass through three phases: – namely a desire takes birth in your heart; this desire awakes in the heart involuntarily, you have no reason, rhyme or rationale for it; it relates purely to the emotions; then you present it to the intellect. If your emotions are intense, your intellect thinks or the means to accomplish it and provide justified reasons for it. But if your intellect overpowers your emotions, it then makes comparison between gain and loss, and if it sees that the gain to be accrued is greater it decides to accomplish the desire. Now your desire transforms into your wish; then your will power comes in to play, and takes practical steps to actualize your desire. In this phase, your WISH takes the form of your WILL.

But the human intellect, even if not operating under the command of emotions can maximally decide the gain or loss of that person, it cannot decide whether the desire is fair or foul. In other words, the human intellect can only inform the person concerned as to which thing is profitable to him and which one will bring him loss. It can make no distinction between good and evil. This distinction can only be possible in the presence of values, and as narrated earlier, it is the concept of life that determines the values.

Impact Of the concept of Life

How does the concept of life (right or wrong) change the perspective of human vision and define the direction of his activities, we need not to go anywhere far to understand it. Every one complains today that falsehood; deception, cunningness, betrayal, corruption, bribery, injustice, oppression, extortion and exploitation are prevailing in the world. It looks as if, without any exception of zones or inhabitants, the germs of these diseases have spread all over the globe like an epidemic. Did you ever ponder over the cause thereof? Ills were also there in the days gone by, but these were not so general and comprehensive. With a little pondering, this reality will be established that its basic cause is the concept of life which, in the 19th century, emerged in the West and due to the general and global means of communication spread to ever nook and corner of the world. All these ills/miseries are the product of this concept. This concept of life was that the human life is only the physical life and laws governing the life and the death at the animal level apply to man also. Survival of the fittest is the immutable law of nature. According to this law, only the one wielding the maximal scepter of authority and power has the right to live. How was this authority and power acquired is no question. The poor and the weak and the powerless can be allowed to live only to become victual of the powerful. Every big fish devours the smaller one. Insects are born to be the food of the sparrows and the sparrows consequently breathe only to be the prey of the eagles. This is the law of nature, the constitution of life. It is according to this law that the decisions on the life and death of individuals as well as Nations are made. “Might is right” is the exigency of justice. Lion is the king of jungle, not the goat. If the lion eats the goat, the goat cannot make complain that it is the victim of oppression.

The animals live by instincts which, though many in number can generally be classified into three categories: Self-preservation, Self-assertion and Self-procreation. When the human life is not valued higher than that of the animal level, obviously every individual would work under these very instincts, and then there would be no room for the moral values.

Nationalism.

According to the civilization raised on this concept, national character would be regarded as highest character. Thinking deeply you would realize that the national character is, also, the product of animal instinct. Herd instinct is in the very nature of animals. Every animal finds its preservation in living with its herd. This is the only urge on which a nation comes into being and endures. Prosperity and well-being of one’s own nation becomes the highest values for the individual; the greatest patriot becomes the one who squeezes out the last drop of blood of other nations and decorates the magnificent edifice of one’s own nation with the gaudiness of this blood. For him, the question of being honest or dishonest or the question of falsehood and truth does never arise. The one who starts giving mind to these values cannot perform the affairs of the state. In the words of Walpole:

“No great country was ever saved by good men, because good men will not go to the length that may be necessary to save a nation.”

In this connection, what these patriots have to say, the reproduction of the words of the reputed Italian thinker, Cavour are sufficient. He says.

“If we did for ourselves what we do for our country, what rascals we should be.”

Did you observe how a change in the concept of life brings changes in the individual and collective life, and how does the concept of life influence every walk of life? The reason that the moral values are still being theoretically appreciated today is that the man has, up till now, not been able to erase his sub-conscience free from the binding effects of the past. If this concept pervaded any further into the next few generations, even the concept of these values will be wiped off from his mind and its verbal confession will also remain no more. Its signs and symptoms have started surfacing right from now. Our younger generation ridicules these values by calling them mere conservatism.

Islam provides such concepts on which the whole edifice of human life is raised and where every aspect of life is embodiment of higher values. These concepts are not found in any religion of the world leave aside atheism (religious ness). These are only the characteristics of Islam, which entitles it to become the system of life established on right lines and surety to human achievement and prosperity. These concepts fall into the following headings:-

Concept of God.

Relationship between God and Man.

Relationship between Man and Universe.

Relationship between Man and Man.

Relationship between Actions and their Consequences.

Concept of the ultimate object of life.

In the next pages, these concept will be discussed briefly and it will be explained as to what is the nature of these concepts in the well known religions (Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity) and what type of concepts the Holy Quran reflects; and what scenario of human life is established on these concepts. Be very clear that the comparative study of religions is not my aim at present; I’ll only narrate the fundamental tenets found on these concepts in these religions. This may also be clarified that our belief is that proper and true teachings were revealed to all the messengers of the Almighty God on their own turns but these teachings are now not found in their pristine form in the so-called heavenly books available among the followers of these religions. Whatever is described of these concepts will therefore be based on the existing documents of these religions and not on that pristine and real message which is not found now with any of them. The detail of this resume will be found in the first chapter of my book in Urdu Mairaj-e-Insaniat, in which, according to the researches of the followers of these religions, it has been dealt with at length, wherein it has been explained that according to researches of the followers of these religion the pristine message of those religions is not found among any one of them now; but since they lay down their existing message as the knowledge base of their religions, the current teachings about these concepts will be projected. Except this, there can be no other alternative left for us.

The Concept of God.

The Concept of God in Hinduism.

Among the three religions (Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity), Hinduism claims that it is the oldest religion in the world. The proof of its antiquity is provided by its existing religious books where each of its leaves bear testimony to the fact that these are the writings of that age when human mind was in its infancy. The infantile mind can never perceive the concept of an abstract reality in any shape other than its concrete form. How could the mind of that age have established the pristine concept of the personality of God? It transformed God on its own nature only with the difference that man (for example) has two hands, God was conceived to have eight, man has one head, God had ten; man can drink a cup of water, God can pour in the whole ocean. Three basic gods are accepted among Hindus: Brahmo, Shivji, and Vishnoo. They have their wives and children too; Shivji’s wife was Parbatti and son is Gnesh whose body is of man and head of elephant; Brahma’s daughter is Sarsooti. Earlier all these three were worshipped but now Brahma is not worshipped.. It is in the Para’ns that once Shivji saw Brahma intending to rape his daughter, there he stopped worship of Brahma.

(Hinduism by Govind Das,P:104).

About the creation of the universe, the following statement is found in the shivparana:

Shivji desired to create the world. He created Brahma. Brahma splashed a handful of water in the water; there raised a bubble; a man was horn out of this bubble. He said to Brahma: ‘O’ son! create the world.’ Brahma said: “I am not your son, You are my son” There was a quarrel between the two. Maha Dev (Shivji) thought that whom he had sent for creating the world were quarrelling between themselves, then a heavenly ling (male genital organ) was born out of the two; it ascended immediately into the sky Both were surprised to see it.

Listen to what happened later on:

Both started thinking that the beginning and end of ling should be found; the one who comes back first be the father and the one who comes later be the son. Vishnoo in tortoise-shape started going down. Brahma in swan-shape flew upward. Both continued their journey with lightning speed for two thousand years but could not search the utmost limits of the ling. Brahma thought: if wishnoo had com back with an inkling, l would have to be his son. He was just thinking of it when a cow and a tree of kaitkee descended. Brahma asked them: “Where do you live?” They said: “With the props of that ling we have been travelling since thousands of years” Brahma asked them whether or not ling had any extremity, they replied that it did not.

Brahma said: Come with me and stand witness that the cow used to pour strain of milk on the head of ling and that the tree used to shower flowers over it” They said: We’ll not bear false witness.” Then Brahma said angrily: “I’ll turn you into ashes if you do not stand witness.” Then both frighteningly said: “We’ll bear witness as you desire.” Then the three went downwards.

Brahma asked Vishnoo whether or not he had found out the utmost limits of ling. He replied in the negative. Brahma said:“ I have found our”; Vishnoo demanded: “Produce witness to this effect.” Then the cow and the tree bore false witness. Upon this the ling imprecated the Kaitkee: “You have told a lie. Your flower will never be used for offering either to me or to any other God. Whoever offers you will be terminated”; it imprecated the cow: “You will eat filth with the mouth through which you told a lie; no body will worship your mouth but your tail will be worshipped; cursed Brahma: “Since you have told a lie, you’ll never be worshipped” in the world”; it gave a blessing to Vishnoo “You have spoken the truth, so you’ll be worshipped every where”. Then both praised and eulogized the ling.

On hearing this appreciation and eulogy, there appeared a countenance with long matted hair from the ling and said: “I had sent you for generating creation, why did you indulge in wrangling?” Then Maha Dev took out a ball of ashes from the hair and said: “Go and germinate creation with it.”

(Ref: Satyareth Parkash-Sawami Daya Nand PP. 272-273)

The concept of God is the most sublime idea. It is now obvious that what would be the nature of the deeds of a nation which has this idea of God in its sight, Neither the mind of this nation can be free from the superstition, nor can their actions be based on knowledge and insight. God to whom they submit is never above the human countenance. Hence it is written in the Athur Veda that at the time of worshipping God, the following should be uttered:

“O’Swami Parmatma of the followers of Jain! obeisance be to thy mouth; obeisance is to thy eyes; obeisance is to thy skin; obeisance is to thy organs; pray is to thy belly; obeisance is to thy tongue; obeisance is to thy face; obeisance is to thy teeth; obeisance is to the stench of thy teeth.”

The Concept of God among the Jews.

After Hinduism, let us now turn to Judaism and see what kind of concept of God is found there. Probably it was Locke who had said: “If you tell me the kind of God any nation had proposed for its worship, I would let you know the nature of civilization and culture of that nation.” A critical appraisal of a Western researcher about the kind of concept that emerges about God through the study of the conventional Torah would be sufficient here. Joseph Whebs in his book “Is it God’s Words” writes that the God of Torah appears to be splashing around with the blood, shed by the numerous murderers. He is an assassin himself and a mischief monger, thief, perfidious, sanguinely revengeful, merciless, chastiser of the sinful and the innocent both, extremely dreadful and frightful, embodiment of oppression and prejudice, arrogant, braggart, promise-breaker, concoct, and a willful liar.

(Ref: M’airaj-e-Insaniyyat, P.22)

According to Torah, God created man on His own form. It is, now, evident that the God who has this kind of form, His created nation would also have the same form, But it is not the nature of God, it is the account of the conduct of that nation itself. After holding this type of concept about, the God, what would be the fate of moral values with that nation, does need no perspicuity and description of any kind.

Concept of God in Christianity

When we move on from Judaism to Christianity, the enigma of concept of God there cannot be comprehended. The following is the council of Trent’s theory of the basic belief of Christianity on the acceptance of which one becomes a Christian: We believe in (1) God, the powerful father who is the creator of the overt and the covert; and we believe in (2) Lord Jesus, the son of God, who is the only son of His father; who was born to the father i.e. the Lord before the whole of the universe and who is immanent and absolute deity. Father and His essence (the son) are one; it is through Him that all the things of the universe were created; his descendence and transmigration became our salvation. He descended as a human being, became victim to the sufferings, rose on the third day and ascended to the sky and, now, will again return to the world to maintain justice for the living and the dead.’

This was all about the belief of the Divinity of the Christ. About his revered mother, Mary, the tenet of the sacred church is that she is the most powerful near God; whatever she beseeches is bestowed to her. She is the main spring of good for us because she implores from God. Since she is the mother of God, He cannot reject her request, and since she is our mother too, she cannot refuse our intercession…. whatever, whatever benedictions we make for our salvation are accepted.

(Ref: Shoula-i-Mastoor, P.129, Catholic SchoolBook, and P.158)

As such very recently the Council of the Pope has decided that Mary be worshipped along with the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit.

Concept of the Holy Quran

After these concepts of God, now come to the Holy Quran. It first of all, refuted all these concepts by saying :-

“Allah is far above and free from all the concepts they attribute to Him from their own minds” (Al-Quran 23/92)

Then it said So far as the personality of God is concerned, you cannot conceive it, because you can only conceive the things, which are perceptible to senses, and the self of God is an exception to this phenomenon. Therefore. “Human eyes cannot perceive him, He can keep watch over the eyes. He is very subtle and All-knowing.” Al-Quran 6/104) His personality cannot be conceived with any example, because “He is analogous to none” (Al-Quran 42/11) “Neither He is himself the; son of any one, nor anyone else is His son” (Al-Quran 112/3) “Nor is any one else is equal in rank to Him. He is altogether unique, incomparable and unprecedented.” Al-Quran 112/4)

You cannot know anything about His personality; but a concept of God, more exalted, pure, dignified and elegant than the concept which appears forth from his attributes He has described of His own, is not possible.

Relationship of God and Man.

The question is: What is the advantage of believing in these attributes of God? One accepts that these are the attributes of God and the other rejects. What impact does this acceptance and rejection has on their lives? The Holy Quran answers this question. It says that every human is a carrier of “Divine energy” which is called the human personality. Every human personality is bestowed with the possibility of progressively actualising these attributes (within human limits). This is the hue of God beyond which no other hue is more elegant. (Al-Quran 2/138)

That is why these attributes are the objective standard for the nourishment of human personality it is this ideal to which man wants to mould himself. This is the standard, which he strives to come up to. Every moment, he measures his own self against this objective standard and evaluates rationally the extent to which his personality has developed and how far it still remain to be developed.

In addition to it, the Holy Quran also informs as to which attribute operates at what occasion so that the likewise facet may also operate in the like event on the part of the man. This also determines man’s reaction in the face of external events and occurrences. Remember, as is the upholding of the balanced attributes for the man a must, similarly the emergence of that attribute most appropriate to that occurrence is imperative. To let go with pity a merciless tyrant, who has no feeling of repentance or any desire for rectification in his heart, is the worst form of tyranny on the oppressed human beings; but to take revenge in a situation where remission and forgiveness bring pleasant consequences is also equivalent to tyranny. The bruise of muscles soothes slowly on massage but the fractured bones need tight binding in wooden splints. This is called Jabbariyat-holding things firmly together (The wooden splints which a surgeon uses are called Jaba’ir The Holy Quran expounds in full length the attributes of God and the eventful appearance and application their of, so that not only do these become objective standard for gauging the development of an individual but also the foreteller to the man for forming the type of reaction most appropriate to the kind of events.

The Law of God.

This brings forth-another significant reality. The concept of God in religion is that of an autocrat king and a dictator whose all decisions depend upon his own whims and where the law and rule have nothing to do; if pleased he bestows robe of honour to a criminal; if annoyed He sends the innocents to the gallows, Man can only save himself from His wrath by keeping his deity pleased with himself in any way that he can; he makes all possible efforts to seek His pleasure; makes offerings of gifts and oblations and seeks the mediation of His favourites. Obedience to law does not yield any gain to man, it only serves to attain pleasure of God. On the other side of it, is Christianity where the concept of God is that of a tenderhearted father; where rules and regulations have nothing to do; where the mercy of God is the only basis of salvation.

The Holy Quran refuted this concept and proclaimed that in spite of all His infinite powers and boundless authority, God has prescribed rules and regulations for all the matters and does every thing strictly in accordance with these laws. These laws are so immutable that no mutations can occur in them. (Al-Quran 35/43) The meaning of law is that every thing is tied to the chain of cause-and-effect’ i.e. if you do this, its consequence will be such; if you act against, it will draw to this end. It explained these laws to man; made him understand them fully, made it clear to him that obeying this law will bring him this gain and acting against will result in this loss. After narrating all this, left it to his choice whether to follow this prescribed right road or to make tracks of his own. “We have shown him the way; now who-so-ever wishes may accept it and who-so-ever wishes may reject it,” (Al-Quran 76/3) If he follows the right path, he will reap his own gain from it. We will not derive any benefit out of it. If he adopts a wrong path, he will suffer his own loss; it will not harm us in any way (Al-Quran 12/286) That is why God does not make any one acknowledge anything by compulsion and coercion. Whatever He says, is as a piece of advice. After He revealed the Holy Quran he asserted: “Say unto them, the truth has come from Your sustainer, now whoever wishes, may accept it, whoever wills may reject it.” (Al-Quran 18/29). It is evident that when accepting or not accepting of any thing, is left to the sweet-will of man, then if he is of sound mind, reason and intellect, he will make his decision discerningly. Therefore, according to the Holy Quran, belief is not a blind faith; it is the name of that mental and heart felt conviction which man acquires rationally. That is why it has attributed this conduct to the Momins. (believers) that: “They are the people to whom, even when the ‘verses’ of their Sustainer are presented they droop not down at them as if they were deaf and blind but accept them with intellect and insight”(Al-Quran 25/73) It too is crystal clear when the consequences of actions draw up in concurrence with rule and law, the question of being absolved from them either byway of paying ransom or intercession does not arise. If you put your finger in the fire and then you desire that the pain of burning may transfer to some one else in stead of you, though on payment of thousands of rupees, it will be impossible If you eat arsenic, you cannot, even on the recommendation of the highest echelon of the society, be protected from its ill effects. There is only one alternative and that is: You take a recourse to that law of God in concurrence to which relief in burning pain and protection against the harmful-effects of arsenic can be procured. Suffering and repose accrue to the man according to the law of God as a result of the natural consequences of his actions. “so that whoever is ruined is ruined according to the law and whoever remains alive does so according to the law (Al-Quran 8/42). Neither the innocent is chastised with the revenge and wrath of an authoritative dictator, nor the criminal gets off scot free, on ransom, atonement or intercession. That is why the humans have been told that “On the day of manifestation of consequences no one would be able to help anyone, nor shall any intercession be considered, nor shall any form of compensation be accepted, neither shall they be succoured.”(Al-Quran 2/44).

Did you seer how did the Holy Quran transform the religion to the discipline of Science by simply giving the concept of “Law- making-cum-law-abiding God”? What are the characteristics of Science?— In science (1) every cause has its own specific effect and no one can cause any kind of change and transformation in it, and (2) Science discovers the reality such that longings, wishes, purposes, gains and feelings of nobody have any impact on it. It is never influenced as such.

By virtue of the concept of God, the Holy Quran represents that the human actions bring forth the consequences in the like manner and the realities bear testimony to this effect in the same way: that is why God proclaimed that,” this message of Ours is not poetry.” Somewhere Coleridge has said: The Anti-thesis of Poetry is not prose but Science. The Holy Quran is no poetry but Science.

In connection with God and Man Relationship, the Holy Quran unravels another splendid reality. The laws of God, in the outer universe, are operative on their own. Accordingly every thing remains operative for the excellent performance of the duties assigned to it and the Universe, by evolution, is progressively moving forward in its evolution. In the human world, the laws of God are operative in the like manner with the exception that their cosmic speed is very slow whereas the human age demands that the result of actions may come to the forefront soon. If the human hands supports these laws and become helpful to accomplish them . their results may emerge according to the human count of time, place and circumstances. In this manner man becomes a companion to God in the complete accomplishment of His programme. This is the relation of God and Man of which not a glimpse is found in the religions of the world. (Since I’ve elicited much on this point, I need not make any more detailed discourse at present.)

Relationship of Man and The Universe.

After the deliberations on the relationship of God and the Man, there comes the question of the mutual relationship of the man and the Universe. When the human mind was at its infancy he was not able to comprehend the mystery of the forces of nature. He was afraid of them and could think of only one way to be safe from their rage and that was to implore humbly before them and appeal for their mercy. Hence the status of the man of that age was that he joined his hands in supplication, as soon as there was thunder of the clouds; he fell in prostration as there was lightning, he made obeisance to the sun as soon as it shone; he prostrated as soon as there was an earthquake; he called a ravaging river as his mother-goddess; he made the lion a God as soon as it roared. Hinduism is a compendium of these gods and goddess and proselytizes their worship.

Relationship in Hinduism:

It is found in Yajar veda, “obeisance be accepted by the snakes on the earth, even those which are either in the air or in the sky; our prostration to the snakes of the paddy fields; our bowing to those snakes also which are still in their burrows.” Our humble kneeling to them even.”These were, at the least, living forces. They even bowed to those inanimate things from which they apprehended any loss. Hence, there is also found in Yajar Veda that this stanza ought to be recited: “O’ye rezor, thou bringeth happiness and are made of good iron; our obeisance to ye be accepteth; please bring not trouble unto him the least”.

It is found written in the Ather Veda: “Our prostration to the winter fever, even to the summer fever I bow down. My prayer to the fever that comes daily, alternately and the third day.”

It is clear that in a religion where man accepts this type of status for himself, the question of human dignity and honour does never arise. There, if it is asserted “do not tell a lie; speak-the-truth” will this unravel the mysteries of the universe and solve the human problems ?

Relationship in Christianity:

Leaving this aside, now come to the other side where the material things, their adornment and comfort is thought to be most detestable and abominable; and where the mystery of human salvation is only through the renunciation of the world and its vanities— through the relinquishment of desires and the abandonment of pleasures. The farther one moves from the worldly affairs, the nearer one gets to the Deity. The teaching of asceticism and monasticism was the sine qua non of Christianity. Saint Benedict, transforming it into an organized institution, produced throngs of monks and nuns. As such in his Theological Dictionary, Bucks writes about the Monasticism in Egypt: “In a short span of time, the whole East was filled with groups of the slothful people who, setting aside the worldly affairs adopted a life of pain, distress, misery and anguish so as to be close to God and the Divine environs.”

It brought the same result as this type of life ought to bring. In this connection Buck writes: “But after some time their lasciviousness became proverbial. Besides, they started inciting riots and insurrections by exploiting the people at various places.”

A whole world was getting sick with these ascetics.

The clinging beggars were seen roaming in every street in the garb of hermits. All kind of vagrancy and cheating was their habit…. These people used to commit the incidences of havoc pillage under the veil of religious fanaticism.

(Progress of Religions Concepts. Vol. 3, P.240)

The people not committing such evil activities had strange mode of life as well. The condition of great saints among Christians was such that some swore not to take a bath in their whole life; some stood in marsh throughout their life; some saw the secret of spiritual development in fortifying in the enclosure of ordure; some lied down, life long, in a dark closet— This was all the result of self-abnegation and self-renunciation in Christianity.

According To the Holy Quran:

The Holy Quran was revealed and it made this very clear to man that your position in the universe is far above the forces of nature. We (God) have well strung this all in the chains of law so that you may put them to your use. “God is the one who has subordinated to you whatever is there in the heights of the heavens and the depths of the earth” (Al-Quran 45/13). It told the man that the position of man is that all the Malaika (forces of nature) be subservient to him and the position of a Momin is that he, by conquering these forces should utilize them for the benefits of the humanity. In the concrete universe, God alone enjoys the status over and above that of the man in concurrence of whose laws man ought to lead his life. Besides Him nothing is superior to man. All the articles of worldly adornment and comfort have been created for man; no one can declare these things abominable and forbidden for him. “Ask them who is he who can forbid the adornments and pleasant subsistence (rizq) which God has created for man?” (Al-Quran 7/32).

This status of the man and the relationship of the man with the universe—You will never find anywhere else in the domain of religions; there will either be bowing to or fleeing from the phenomena of nature. Conquering them for the benefit of the human being is only found in the Holy Quran.

Remember, when the Holy Quran ordains obedience to the laws of God, these (laws) include both the physical and the moral laws. Obeying the physical laws enables us to conquer the forces of nature (we obey nature to command it) and obeying the moral laws integrates our personality. In both these cases, obeying the laws promotes and augments our own power. Amassed from the compulsion is the choice.

Mutual Relationship of Man with Man.

In Hinduism:

After the relationship of man with the universe, we are faced with the question of relationship of man with man. Hinduism decided that the Brahmans were born from the head of Brahma, the khashataris from the arms, the vaish from his legs, and the shoodra from his feet. This is the eternal division which can neither be overthrown from the system of the world, nor can men’s own endeavours change it. The shoodra shall have to be untouchable all his life, his duty is to serve the Hindus, the highest class. The child born to the Brahman family enjoys the highest ranks and privileges from birth to death . The scope of his privileges (according to Rig-Veda and Athar Veda) is:

“If a woman has 10 non-brahman husbands before but if a Brahaman holds her hand, then he will be considered to be her husband alone because Brahaman is the proprietor and husband of the females not the Khashatari or the Vaish.

(Me’raj-e-Insaniyyat P.01)

This was the division of the humans inhabiting within India. The others residing out of India was not even considered human; they were simply taken to be insects. Please think of a religion which shackles its own followers with unbreakable fetters of such class division and labels those outside its fold as the most abominable and despicable; can the proselytization of ‘do not tell a lie and do not steal’ bring any moral reformation?

In Judaism:

Among the Jews, the religion was confined to the race of Bani-Israel. The one who is not born to the Bani Israel, can never be admitted to their Divine Religion. The Paradise was strictly particularized for Bani Israel; all the non-Bani Israel are the fuel of the Hell. They were fumed with the emotions of hatred and enmity against the people outside their race; and this was all the consequence of the teachings of the (conventional) Torah. They had one set of laws for the Jews and another for the non-Bani Israel.

In Christianity:

It is generally accepted about Christianity that it constitutes an eternal religion for the whole mankind. It makes no discrimination between man and man. This is not the teaching of Christianity, it is a later political expediency-oriented concept. That is why in the present day Bible (Which remains in the process of change off and on), it is still found written that when Jesus sent his followers for proselytization, he ordered them not to go to the other nations, not to enter into any of the cities of Samrees but go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

(Mathew, Cahpter 10, Verses 5-6)

Do not give the consecrated to the dogs; and do not lay your pearls before the pigs.

(Mathew, Chapter 7,verse 6)

The anathema of extreme nationalism that you find in Europe is unconsciously the end product of this teaching. They confined the religion to the four walls of the church but the effects of the teaching of their race-worship are still existent in their subconscious with the same intensity. They can never think of the concept of universal mankind. That is why the moral principles they hold for their own nation are different from those they hold for the other nations. It is just like the Romans whose law about stealing was: ‘Stealing from a Roman is a crime and stealing from a non-Roman is not!

According To the Holy Quran:

The Holy Quran on its revelation, smashed these man-made fetters and declared openly that the humans of the whole Universe are the branches of the same genealogy and the foliage of the same tree. By birth, there is no discrimination between man and man. “God has created all of you from a single life cell”. (Al-Quran 4/1) Therefore, the whole mankind constitutes a Universal brotherhood . “The whole mankind is one community”; (Al-Quran 10/19) and every human being is worthy of equal respect by birth. “We have created all human beings worthy of respect” (Al-Quran 17/70) There is no superiority of the black to the white; of the white to the black, of the Arab to the Non-Arab, of the Non-Arab to the Arab. In the world, there is neither any Brahmin, nor any shoodra; neither the superior, nor the inferior. So as are their ranks in the society, its measure of greatness is their personal virtue and meritorious deeds. “And to all will be (assigned) ranks according to their deeds.” (Al-Quran 46/19) and the most worthy of all will be the one whose conduct will be the most pure of all and whose character, the highest of all. “The God of the Holy Quran is equally the sustainer, the Authority and the Allah of the whole humanity” ( Al-Quran 49/13) and “ His book is a compendium of instructions for all” (Al-Quran 45/21); His Rasool equally the Messenger for the whole humanity “Say, O mankind, I am Allah’s Rasool sent to all of you.” (Al-Quran 7/158) The essence of its teaching is: “Only that action or theory, which is beneficial to the whole of humanity without any discrimination of colour race language country creed and nationality, shall endure in the land (Al-Quran 13/17)

As said earlier the Western concept of life gave the principle of “the survival of the fittest” i.e. only that which is the strongest can endure. On the contrary, the Holy Quran puts forth the principle, “the survival of the most beneficial” i.e. only that which is most beneficial to the humanity can survive. Did you consider how the various aspects of human life undergo transformation by just changing the concept of life and how life-inspiring and balance-augmenting changes occur in the world of humanity? This is the only concept of life by which man can understand fully the “Why” of his strivings for the well being of others. To gain immortality is the very desire of every human being, no one likes to die, and he wants to live forever. The Holy Quran says that if you want to live for ever, the only way is that you do the deeds which are most beneficial for the mankind; giving preference to others over your own self if their needs are more demanding than yours(Al-Quran 59/9) and doing all this without any thought of personal gain. It says: “When the Momineen perform the act of procuring supplies for the nourishment/development of others they make it very clear to them that: “We do not desire any reward from you, not even the gratitude instead thereof.” (Al-Quran 76/9)

Just think over it, with this concept of life in view how the moral values constitute an integral part of life!

The practical consequences of the concept of human equality is that it forms a society, wherein, leaving aside someone becoming slave to others, no one even becomes subservient to any one else—nor a dependent on any one else. This establishes a system in which all the people while remaining within the limits of the laws of God decide the affairs of their life by mutual consultation (Al-Quran 42/38)

The Quranic Order

This provides a guarantee to every individual that “We are responsible for (providing) your subsistence and the subsistence of your children.” (Al-Quran 6/152) Please, solicit! Is there any need of telling a lie or stealing or being corrupt in this order? The moral values automatically become operative in it. No one holds the Divine rights in this Order: neither the religious priest-hood, nor the autocrats, or the capitalists. There is absolutely no concept of any such system in any of the religions of the world.

Finality of Nabuwwat:

With the concept of ‘Order’, the Holy Quran has declared another sublime reality, which is the greatest revolution in the world of religions. It expounded that the unchangeable principles required for the guidance of the mankind have been given in the Holy Quran and the system of their safeguard has also been provided. Within the purview of these principles, the coming generations will solve their problems keeping themselves in line with the exigencies of their time, so there is no need of any more Nabi( the Divine Message). Hence the chapter of Nabuwwat is closed. Did you observe how the End of Nabuwwat was the announcement of a grand revolution in the world of religions! Along with it, this reality was also announced that having passed through its infantile period, the human mind has now attained maturity. The man is no more an infantile, it has grown up to be an adult, therefore, it needs no one to lap it up any more. He would have now, to get up and move forward and onward on his own. You must have seen how this creates self-confidence in man and how he becomes able to traverse his path with dignity in the world.

Every religion of the world is waiting for the arrival of some one who, on his coming, will make his religion prevail over others. Refuting this concept, the Holy Quran made it clear that the Order of life We have bestowed is capable of prevailing over all the systems of life.(Al-Quran 9/33) All you have to do is, practically implement this ‘Order’, it will overcome all the man-made systems of life; no other system will be able to stand against this Order.

The Holy Quran while laying stress upon the moral values enjoins strictly to establish this Order of life in which these values automatically prevail.

The Ultimate Goal of Human Life (Salvation)

After this, come to the question which is the last word in this deliberation: What is the purpose and climax of all the exertion and struggle of human life? This is a very significant and fundamental question and will automatically clear up a great number of relevant aspects.

In Hinduism:

Among all the religions of the world the climax of the trials and endeavours of human life can be stated in a single word: “Salvation.” What is the meaning of “Salvation? This warrants a thorough understanding. It is evident that when some one is entangled in a trouble and then gets rid of it, it is called salvation’ i.e. it is imperative for salvation that first of all a person is necessarily caught in a calamity. This is the very basic concept about man in the world of religion. Religious belief in Hinduism is that every living being (animates whether insects or animals and humans) comes in this world to complete one’s term of punishment of the deeds one committed in one’s previous life. For example, a person in his present birth is a human. If he did evil deeds, he will become a rat in his next life, knowing absolutely nothing of which crime it was made a rat. Now if the rat does good deeds —- the rat will do good deeds as if the animals, too, do good and bad deeds! —- it will perhaps be made a man in its next life; every human being is entangled in the whirlpool of transmigration. The name of getting rid of this circumambulation is “Salvation.” It looks obvious that this belief is either the produce of superstition and/or the creation of the astuteness of those people who captured the authority in the society by one way or the other and then desired this authority to remain within their own families and that the other people may not even think of acquiring this authority. Brahman and Khashatary were the ruling class and vaish and shoodra, their servants. It was thought to be possible that a vaish or a shoodra might think as to how could the children of Brahman or khshatary be good enough for acquiring the right to rule right from the inception of their birth and that they themselves befall in their servitude thenceforth. Therefore this belief was coined that those born in the family of a Brahman has done good deeds in their previous life and those born in the vaish and shoodra committed evil deeds likewise. Hence this division is effected in accordance with the nature of the deeds accomplished in the previous life and is not the product of any trickery; so they shall have to remain vaish and shoodra in this life; any how if they do good deeds (i.e. would continuously go on serving the higher breed} they would be transformed into Brahmans and Khashataries in their coming life. In this way these subordinate classes were made satisfied with this tenet that this was all the reward of their own doings. They were not oppressed, nor were they competent to change this division within the present life.

Whatever is the motive behind this tenet, how dreadful have been its human-inflaming result is crystal clear. Firstly, it makes the man a mere helpless being; whatever he may do, he cannot bring any change in his existing state and, thus, divides the society into such permanent classes, which cannot be eliminated, and then what eventually is the purpose of this exertion and struggle? — Only to get salvation from the whirling of Transmigration (the cycle of death and re-birth). How meaningless is the purpose of the creation of man and the cosmos?.

According to Hindu Mysticism:

According to Hindu mysticism the soul of man (Aatma) is a part of God (parmatma). It was separated from its source and got entrapped in the marsh of matter and is lamenting for its escape from it. The purpose of human life is that this soul, after getting salvation from the world of matter, be re-united with its source. The methods to achieve this are renunciation of the world. Did you reflect what is the end product of human exertion and struggle according to this tenet — the complete annihilation. It means God having separated man from Himself caused him to be entangled in the swamp of matter and told him. “Now, you go through the sufferings of hard labour and distress so that you may attain salvation from this quagmire.” Just think, according to this creed, what kind of concept about God Himself emerges and what becomes the incentive for obedience to the moral values.

In Judaism:

With a slight difference the concept of ‘Salvation’ is the end product of human life in Judaism also. As has been mentioned before, the basic belief of Jews is that the Bani Israel are the favourite children of God, hence the only heirs of paradise; a people not born to the family of Bani Israel have no entitlement for entry into paradise. At that time, the tradition of circumcision was in vogue exclusively in Bani Israeil, so their belief was that only the circumcised would enter paradise and the uncircumcised would go into the hell. According to Talmud:

Abraham would be sitting by the door of the Hell in the world hereafter and would never allow any circumcised of the Bani Israel to enter it. So far the dreadfully sinful of the Bani Israel are concerned, he would cut the fore skin of the children who had died uncircumcised and would stick this skin to the place of circumcision of those from Bani Israel and hence, making them uncircumcised ,would send them to Hell for a few days.

(Talmud , P.404 with Reference to Barqi-e-Toor, P.166)

But their entry into Hell would merely be the fulfillment of a formality. The blaze of the Hell would have no effect on them. (Ibid.P.405) The reason for it, as written in “Jewish Encyclopedia”, is:

The blaze of the Hell would not be able to touch the Israelite sinners because they would make confession of their sins by the door of the Hell and hence would return to the Lord.

(Volume- V , P. 583)

Not only for the ‘salvation’ in the hereafter, but also for the honour and exaltation in this world, the Jews hold this belief:

Some get honour by virtue of the good deeds of their forefathers and some by those of their coming generations.

(Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol VI, P.60)

According to the Encyclopedia of Britannica:

The centre of the aspirations of the Jews was the deeds of their forefathers, especially the creed that Abraham was their ancestral grandfather.

Similarly in the Encyclopedia of Religions and Ethics, it is written that.

In accordance with the belief of the Jews, all the deeds of their forefathers would be collected at one place and then divided among all the Bani Israel. In this way everyone will be entitled to salvation and auspiciousness.

(Vol.11,P.144)

Just reflect! Does any question of obedience to the moral values arise in the presence of these beliefs?

In Christianity:

The belief in Christianity is that every child is born bearing the burden of the sin of its first parents (Adam and Eve). Cleansing the ill effects of this sin from man is not possible in any way. For this purpose, the Lord had mercy on man and sent his only son (Jesus Christ) to the world to atone for this sin with his sacrifice on the crucifix. Those who believe in the atonement of Jesus Christ would get salvation, those who do not believe as such would enter Hell. For salvation there is no question of one’s deeds. Therefore in a letter to Ephesians, Saint Paul writes:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves; it is God’s gift. It is not by works…”

(Ephesians 2/8-9)

He also wrote to the Romans:

“ For we come to the conclusion that a man is justified by faith and not with the works of Law.”

Romans: (3/28).

In a letter to Galatians, this reality has been described in these words:

“Those who depend on the works of law live under the curse, for it is written “cursed is everyone who does not abide by all that is written in the book of law.” But that no one is made righteous in God’s presence through the Law is evident, for “He who is righteous through faith will live”. The law however does not rest on faith,…..Christ has ransomed us from the curse of the law in as much as He became a curse for us.

(Galatians- 3/10-14)

Just think, with this belief, are the moral actions left with any locus standi and contrarily the one who relies on the deeds is considered cursed. According to this belief of Christianity the distress the man gets entangled in is not the result of any of his crimes, but a chastisement of the sin of his first parents in which that poor fellow is implicated for no fault at all. The acquittal from this suffering is not attained as a recompense of any good action on his part, but the conviction on the belief on the atonement , which the Christ offered. So far as the belief of the “original sin” being fallacious is concerned, the scholars and researchers of Christianity are publicly declaring it to be a false belief, for example, R. F. Johsnon writes in his book “Confucianism and Modern China”,

The belief of the original sin, in fact, is the “original dilemma” for which we are displeased with every kind of good and are inclined to every type of evil.

For this belief, A.E.Taylor writes:

The belief is a refutation. I’ll welcome any scientific and God calling towards religion which may ward us off to believe in such a droll calumny of human nature.

(Mind- July 1912).

According to the Holy Quran:

This Scientific and inviting-to-God Religion is Islam which pronounced that neither any human comes to this world loaded with the sins of the previous birth, nor, is entangled in the contamination of the first parent’s faltering. Every child in the world is born with a clean slate and is worthy of respect. He has been bestowed with potentials as realizable possibilities for leading a life higher than that of the physical life at the animal level. The development of these potentialities is the goal of the human life. If man develops the potentialities of the physical life only, he gets the comforts and forces of the physical world but never does it come to his lot the higher life at the human level, which the Holy Quran denotes as the paradisiacal life.

“The one who seeks immediate gains of the physical life alone, according to Our Law, which we have formulated with Our Choice, We grant him with haste. But his (human) life is a life of crisis, which he leads with disgrace and ignominy. But the one who, along with the physical life develops the human life as well, he acquires the physical gains and his personality also keeps evolving”. (Al-Quran 17/18)

“And the one who desires the pleasantries of the future and puts forth efforts in proportion to what ought to be and believes in the truth of the prescribed higher-order values of God, his endeavours are recompensed in full.” (Al-Quran 17/19)

“We promote this group according to Our Law and also that group and shower our bounties in proportion to their efforts and actions. Always remembers, We have not built any dykes against our bounties for any one.”( Al-Quran 17/20)

This development of the human personality can take place in a system that is established on the foundations of PERMANENT VALUES. This development is the other name of ‘the natural consequences of actions.’ Good actions are those which promote stability and integration of the human SELF, the evil are those which cause it to grow weak and disintegrate. The result of each action draws up concomitantly on the human personality. This is its ROLL OF CONDUCT, which in the words of the Holy Quran, is hung around the neck of every one and opens up on the eve of manifestation of results. The human personality developed on a set criterion, will be able to pass through the next evolutionary stages of life…. This is called the paradisiacal life in the hereafter. That, which does not come up to that standard, will stop its development….. This is the life of Hell. The Holy Quran has interpreted it as measures ( of good deeds) being heavier or lighter

“so the one whose measure weighs heavy will have a pleasing life and the one whose measure weighs lighter, abyss will be his abode.” (Al-Quran101/6-9)

Have you observed that according to the Holy Quran the purpose of life is not liberation from any suffering but to achieve a higher position in life with proper development of the endowed potentialities and reach a higher and exalted stage of life as compared to the existing one. The Holy Quran has denoted it in terms of “achievement and success” and not salvation. You must have also observed from this that a satisfying and an elegant answer are obtained to the questions: ‘why should I abide by the moral values? What benefit does it accrue to me and what loss do I undergo by going against them. This is the only way on the basis of which man obeys these values rationally and follows them with complete satisfaction of the mind and the heart.

Ad-Deen:

You would have observed from the above explanations that the Holy Quran does not only specify a few moral values but also provides a comprehensive system of life raised on the basic concept of God-man-Universe-Law of Requital and purpose of life. The name of this comprehensive system is Ad-Deen and its practical implementation is called Al-Islam. The moral values only produce their results under this system and become rationally workable as well; besides, there is no other system through which the purpose of such type can be realized. That is why it is said:

“It is a fact that Ad-Deen (way of life) acceptable to God is only Islam.” Al-Quran 3/18)Therefore,

“If any body wants to adopt any system other than Islam, this system would not be accepted from him and he would eventually know how big a loss he has suffered.” (Al-Quran 3/04)

Ad-Deen will be adopted in totality:

The concept of the system brings forth this factor also that the results of its constituents can only be drawn up when it is adopted in its totality. The example of the system is like the doctor’s prescription. This prescription can only be effective if you use it wholesomely in accordance with the directions of the doctor. Taking one or two items of this prescription will not cure the ailment; but on the contrary partial use of this prescription may induce harmful effects. Hence the Holy Quran says :-

“Do you want to accept one part of this code of laws and refute the other? Whoever from amongst you do this, its result would be nothing except ignominy and disgrace in this world, and he will be returned to the most grievous suffering on the Day of Judgement.”(Al-Quran 2/85)

The constituent parts of this prescription are those characteristics of Allah which the Holy Quran terms as the “Balanced Attributes” Asm’aul Husna— Adopting some of these attributes and ignoring others can be of no avail. Always bear this fact in mined that Reality is an indivisible whole, it cannot be split up into its parts. The balanced Attributes of Allah are various facets of Absolute Reality. REALITY is the name of their sum-total. If some of these are separated, you cannot term these segregated constituents alone as the parts of that REALITY. For instance, if REALITY comprises one hundred aspects and you take up only ten, you cannot claim that you have adopted one-tenth of the REALITY, therefore you would be entitled to the proportional benefit. You cannot get one-tenth of healing by taking one out of ten medicines written in the prescription; so the Holy Quran says:

“And for Allah are all the Balance Attributes. (These are the various facets of that Absolute Reality) so call Him by all these facets and leave those people alone who deviate to one extreme in (emulating a few of) His Attributes.”(Al-Quran 7/180)

You would observe that with the people, who remain cut off from the Islamic System of life, the moral values on which emphasis is laid, are those values which pertain to the tender and delicate emotions of man, like sympathy; mercy; forgiveness; tolerance; humbleness; soft-speaking, to be silent even if some one abuses; to offer other side if some one gives a slap on one side of your check, to give over your waistcoat yourself if some one takes away your coat; to love even your enemy or go a bit further, feed the sparrows, the crows, to provide a drinking place for cattle etc. Justice, prevention of oppression and exploitation; preservation of universal human rights; a political system in which no one is subservient to anyone; a social set up which is based on respect for man; an economic order in which no one is dependent upon any one and every one’s necessities of life are guaranteed without any undue labour and ignominy; such a social contract in which every action progressively goes on producing its own rightful result— All these matters will have no moral significance with these people.

Result of the Teachings of Christianity:

About Christianity, which is the biggest upholder of the kind of moral values mentioned above,, go through the words of a well-renowned Spanish professor. Dr. Falta De Cracia quoted by Brifault in his renowned book “ The Making of Humanity.” He writes.

“The notion of justice,” says the famous Spanish Professor, “ is as entirely foreign to the spirit of Christianity as is that of intellectual honesty. It lies wholly out side the field of its ethical vision…. Christianity has offered comfort and consolation to men who suffered under injustice, but of that injustice itself it has remained absolutely incognizant. It has called upon the weary and heavy laden, upon the suffering and the afflicted, it has proclaimed to them the law of lover, the duty of mercy and forgiveness, the Fatherhood of God; but in that torrrent of religious and ethical emotion which has impressed men as the summit of the sublime, and been held to transcend all other ethical ideals, common justice, common honesty have no place. The ideal Christian, the saint, is seen descending like an angel from heaven amid the welter of human misery, among the victims of ruthless oppression and injustice, bringing to them the comfort and consolation of the Paraclete, of the Religion of Sorrow. But the cause of that misery lies wholly outside the range of his consciousness; no glimmer of any notion of right and wrong enters into his view of it. It is the established order of things, the divinely appointed government of the world, the trial laid upon sinners by divine ordinance. St. Vincent de Paul visits the living hell of the French galleys; he proclaims the message of love and calls sinners to repentance; but to the iniquity, which creates and maintains that hell, he remains absolutely indifferent. He is appointed Grand-Almoner to His Most Christian Majesty. The world might groan in misery under the despotism of oppressors, men’s lives and men’s mind might be enslaved, crushed and blighted; the spirit of Christianity would go forth and comfort them, but it would never occur to it to redress a single one of those wrongs. It has remained unconscious of them. To those wrongs, to men’s right to be delivered from them, it was by nature completely blind. In respect to justice, to right and wrong, the spirit of Christianity is not so much immoral as amoral. The notion was as alien to it as was the notion of truth. Included in its code was, it might be controversially alleged, an old formula,’ the golden rule.’ A commonplace of most literature, which was popular in the East from China to Asia Minor; but that isolated precept was never interpreted in the sense of justice. It meant forgiveness, forbearing, kindness, but never mere justice, common equity; those virtues were far too unemotional in aspect to appeal to the religious enthusiast. The renunciation of life and all its ‘ vanities,’ the casing overboard of all sordid cares for its maintenance, the suppression of desire, prodigal almsgiving the consecration of a life the value of which had disappeared in his eyes to charity and love, non-resistance, passive obedience, the turning of the other check to an enemy, the whole riot of those hyperbolic ethical emotions could fire the Christian consciousness, while it remained utterly unmoved by every form of wrong, iniquity and injustice.”

The Case of Irreligionists:

This, in a nutshell, is the wholesomeness of moral values upheld by the religionists. Now take the case of the people who do neither believe in God, nor in the continuance of human personality, nor in the revelation, nor in the life hereafter, but, on the contrary, stress upon the moral values. Ask any one of them: “ When you say that (for example) the poor should be helped; tell me, why should I help the poor?” You will observe that they give you strange answers: Some will say, “Helping the poor is a human obligation” ask them, “Sir, what do you mean by human obligation and who is he who has imposed this obligation on me? You’ll observe they would have no reasonable answer to these askings. Some will say that they ought to help the poor for if they become poor in the coming days, some one else may help them. Firstly, this reciprocity is of such a low caliber that you would never call it a character of any high order; then also keep this factor in mind, ‘ If the people become able to manage not to be in need of anyone at any time, how would you prevail upon them to help the poor?” You will observe they will out-rightly make an appeal to the human emotions; they will not be able to give you any reasonable answer based on arguments. If you think a bit deep, you would find that such feelings would be lying in their subconscious: that since the society values these matters, therefore these ought to be done for the sake of becoming respectable in the society; and/or some political motives would be operative behind this phenomenon, such as hospitals, schools and colleges of the missionaries or the non-violence of the Indian leader Mahatama Gandhi (late); or it would have been the result of traditional and inherited belief; and/or the weak nerves of the humans which have been termed as virtuous emotions. You will observe that none of these can work as the basis of the human character. So far as the question of national character is concerned, it has been discussed in the beginning of this discourse. By appealing to these emotions, you can get some one do good work provisionally but cannot make this work to be a routine of his life; you cannot produce permanence in it, while character is the very name of permanence and changlessness in behaviour. The surety of this permanence can be nothing but the belief in the true ‘concept of life.’ That is why the Holy Quran invites people who are already the followers of religions, as well as those who acknowledge any religion to profess Eiman, accept the concepts of life which are the very essence of its ‘ Order.’ It says about them that:

“If these people profess eiman as you have, then these people can follow the right path of life. If they repudiate, then make it a point that these people are opposing the truth and the rightful; they are not following that path.”( Al-Quran 2/137)

These are the very characteristics of Islam which are found neither in any of the religions of the world, nor in the world of thought and intellect. Therefore, there can be no true Deen (rightful way of life) other than Islam.

Warning to the Muslims:

I want to give necessary warning at this juncture. Our state of affairs at this stage is that we become very happy when we say: our Deen is superior to all the religions and then, sit back and believe that this makes us the best in the comity of nations and (that if we are no good in this world, it makes no difference, because this is only a transitory world and on its coming to an end) we will be the one to inherit the paradise in the world hereafter; the rest of the human beings will all enter the Hell.

Actions Make Life:

This is the biggest self-deception we are caught in. (The Holy Quran tells us this was exactly what the Jews used to say; this brought them to a state of life which is clear to the world today) Islam’s being superior can only be useful to us when we ourselves attain superiority by acting in accordance with it; leading a life of disgrace and objection, and remaining puffed up on the superiority of Islam is nothing but a stupidity. It is just like a person who consecutively propagates worldwide that he has a tested prescription — an elixir of life, a proved cure of all diseases — but for the cure of his own headache, he remains awfully busy searching for such a medicine from others. Please tell me: “What benefit can that prescription bring to such a person and his boasting of it can be of what use to him? This on the contrary, would make him a laughing stock in the world and no body would rightly admit his pretension. The foremost and basic proof of this prescription having been tested over times would be the very state of health of his family. Islam has presented the same proof of its truthfulness and preference when the Holy Prophet told the antagonists of this Deen that : (Al-Quran 6/136)

“You go on working according to your system; I shall keep working according to my own; very soon it would be known to whom does the success eventually belong. In this way my claim would come true that Zalimeen (Oppressors) can never prosper;”(Al-Quran 6/136)

and the sayer of such sayings, first of all, presented himself as a witness to the proof of the truthfulness of his claim. When his opponents asked him: “What proof of it you have that you are true in your claim: He answered in the words of Quran:

“I have dwelt amongst you all my life prior to it. Can’t you adjudge from it whether such a life is of the truthful or a liar?”(Al-Quran 10/10)

Remember, my respected and honoured comrades! Only that person can present Islam to the world as the rightful way of life (true Deen) who is, not only in the company of his friends but also in the big crowd of his foes, able to project his life in proof of his truthfulness and then no one has ever dared to oppose him. This is the only right mechanism for proselytization of Islam.

‘The Quran Affirms What You Hold’:

Now, at the end I deem it necessary to do away with one or two doubts which often emerge in the mind of the people in this regard. The first is that the Holy Quran tells the followers of other religions: ‘I affirm what you hold” i.e. the teachings you have, so the question is when the Holy Quran itself professes the teachings of these religions, how can it be asserted that the true teachings of God are found exclusively in the Holy Quran and not with other religions:

The objection indeed carries weight and merits necessary consideration. First of all see if it is the Holy Quran itself which demands the followers of other religions to pin their faith upon this claim, or do the Muslims present this assertion alone? The complete verse containing this affirmation reads as follows :

“Profess belief in this (Book) which I have (now) revealed (namely the Holy Quran) which affirms. What-thou-have’ and lead not in repudiating it.” (Al-Quran 2/41)

It is clear that the Holy Quran itself urges upon the followers of the religions to profess belief in it.

Secondly, there is explicit clarification in various places of the Holy Quran that the followers of these religions had made transpositions in their heavenly books; literal transposition ( Al-Quran 4/71) and additions in them on their own ( Al-Quran 2/79); and intermingling the truth with the falsehood ( Al-Quran 3/71); in this way numerous contradictions had crept in these books ( Al-Quran 11/110). The followers of these religions themselves stand in witness to these claim of the Holy Quran. Hence not a single non-Muslim today can make a claim based on reason that the book they present as heavenly is in its pristine and original form i.e. the same book which was revealed to their prophet. You will find the details of this resume in the first chapter of my book, ‘Mairaj-i-Insaniyyat’, in which the history of the so-called heavenly books of all the religions has been described. This makes it clear that:

“How can the Holy Quran stand witness to the truthfulness of these books, the followers of which themselves do not call them original and free from interpolation? And how, in spite of the interpolation and additions to such an extent, some moral values are still found in these books, the Holy Quran affirms these values but not the books in their totality. The fact is that the meanings of Mussadaq ( the affirmer) here are not the one that testifies the truthfulness,” its meanings are the one that proves the truth contained in them ” The Holy Quran says: “The moral values you hold are merely theoretical in nature. I give the system in which these values will emerge as the true realities and this is my special feature; for example, You also say the hungry should be fed and I too, you say this as a mere sermon and advise and insist on giving alms to the people; how is the hunger of the hungry cured with it, every one knows; I give such a practical economics system in which no individual can remain hungry; in this way I prove the truth of those moral values.”

The distinctive features of Islam are that with its practical system all these moral values are realized as truths. This is alone possible in Deen, not in “religion?” That is why Islam has been termed as Ad-Deen (the way of life)— and not religion, so its comparison should be made with other systems of life, not with other religions.

The second Doubt:

The second question that raised is that there are innumerable people to whom Islam has not reached yet; or (for example) a person is born to a Hindu family and obeys very honestly his religion thinking it to be truer, what is the fault of such a people due to which the avenues of prosperity (success) and achievement be closed to him? This questions confuses and perplexes many minds, therefore its thorough understanding is a must.

Had the matter of salvation and auspiciousness or reward and punishment been merely emotional, it would have been acceptable as to why a people who are not at fault be punished at all. But when reward and punishment pertain to law, and success and achievement be the name of the natural consequences of actions, the emotions cannot have any say in it, for example the children of the village with no school will remain illiterate and hence deprived of the benefits that the literate will get. This is the most severe punishment these children are inflicted to, though they are not at fault. How sympathetic you be to them, but the deficiency that has crept in by being illiterate is the one that cannot be made up even by your sympathies and subtle emotions. Here the question whose-fault-is-it does not arise. If a child does not go to school for one year complete due to illness, you do not promote him to the next class only on the pretext that he is not at fault. Only that child would be promoted to the next class who has developed ability. According to the Holy Quran, only that person would reach the next stage of life that has developed the potentiality to traverse these stages.

The same principle will also be applicable to those who, thinking their religions to be true, follow their religion all their life in good faith. Some one’s eating of arsenic as medicine in good faith, will not restrict its ill effects to him on the pretext that its eater had taken it honestly as medicine. The arsenic will produce its effects unequivocally whether some one has taken it advertantly or inadvertently. The nation that worships fire and water (Agni and Indar) cannot gain control over and run steam engines with this belief. It is clear that such a nation will remain deprived of all benefits liable to be attained with the power of steam. This deprivation of theirs is not a revengeful punishment inflicted on them by any one else. It is the natural consequences of the their ignorance; which no passion of sympathy can remove; it can only be possible if and when the nation recourses to the law of Allah, harnesses the forces of nature and then makes use of them for their benefit. According to the Holy Quran, this alone is the law prescribed for success and achievement. Neither any body’s aspiration has a play in it nor emotions. It has very clearly been proclaimed that

“The judgement will neither be made in accordance with your wishes, nor with the wishes of the “ people of Book”( judgements will be made according to Our Law)” (Al-Quran 4/123)

and that law is that whoever does wrong shall suffer the consequence thereof.

And the law ought to be as such. If the law starts following the wishes of the people, the system of the entire Universe would go into chaos :

“If the truth starts following whims and wishes (feelings) of the people, there would be chaos in the earth and the heavens and whatever is there in between,” (Al-Quran 23/70)

God can alone be the One who is over and above feelings. That is why the Holy Quran says about the nations which are ruined as the result of their crimes that:

“Their Rabb sent – the Road- Roller of the Law of Requital; which leveled them with the ground; and He feared not its consequences” Al-Quran 91/14-15)

He had no anxiety on their total annihilation. He did never throb and palpitate on it, so much so that :

“neither the sky wept on them nor the earth .” (Al-Quran 44/29)

But do not think that His Law has no provision for recantation and revival and if some one committed a crime any time, he became accursed forever. No, there is every opportunity of reforming after repentance:

“Tell them: O’ My men, those of you who have committed excess against themselves do not get disappointed from the blessings of God. He will protect you from the harmful effects of all your prevarication.” :(Al-Quran 39/35)

Its method is to do such good deeds, which put away the loss done to you with your faltering, because :

“The harmful effects of deeds creating unevenness can only be effaced by deeds creating beauty and consistency.”(Al-Quran 11/115)

Our Responsibility:

Now the last thing is that there are people who could not get the message of Islam. “Who is responsible for it? Obviously its responsibility lies on us, the claimants of the inheritance of the Book. If we are unable to shoulder our responsibility , the burden of wrong doings of those whom we did not convey the message of Islam lies on our shoulders. That is why the Holy Quran says that :

“They will carry their own burden as well as that of others.” :( Al-Quran 29/13)

Today in the absence of the system based on truth and righteousness, the nations of the world are committing inhuman crimes. A part of its chastisement lies on our own shoulders and our present condition is a clear proof of this phenomenon. God assigned to use the duty of superintendence of the comity of nations. Leaving the watchfulness of others aside, we are no longer capable of maintaining ours, therefore we today are paying (the penalty) for it. Whenever there is a theft any where, it is the sleepy guard that is always doomed forthwith, so we are suffering the chastisement of this negligence and our claim that Islam enjoy superiority over all other systems can not save us from this torment and will never save us till we prove ourselves worthy of its superiority by acting on it.

At the end, I deem it necessary to explain that whatever I have said in this treatise is neither desired to offend followers of any religion, nor intended to despise (God forbid us) any of the founders of these religions. So far as non-religious founders are concerned, according to the Holy Quran, we have Eiman (conviction) that God sent messengers to all the nations of the world. Out of them the Holy Quran has mentioned a few by their respectable names and the rest of them have not been mentioned by name. But whether the name of any one is given in the Holy Quran or not, we pay respect to these Messengers from the core of our heart, so much so that the confession of their Risalat (Divine Mission) is an integral part of our Eiman. The Holy Quran says that the truthful teachings of God were presented to them but later on these teachings were either reduced or added to; now these pristine and original teachings are only preserved in the Holy Quran. When we represent the reality that Islam is the only true Deen of God, then its teachings would have to be invariably compared with that of other religions and those found against the Holy Quran cannot be true from our point of view. Whatever I have described about the teachings of other religions is only in the perspective of this purpose. This reality should always be kept in view that Islam does not want to prove itself better by speaking ill of others; it represents its goodness rationally. and prevails upon others for its acceptance rationally. The Holy Quran enjoins us. “Do not call names to the idols of the polytheists”; it teaches to be respectful to the worthy – of – respect personalities of the whole world, but, of course, it shows the fallacy of teaching assigned to them. This should also be our mode of conduct.

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Islam is not a religion in the conventional sense. According to the Holy Quran it is a way of life—a Socio Economic System. A detailed paragraph explaining what is Deen follows.

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Is Islam a Failure? (G A Parwez) – Idara Tolue Islam

TRANSLATOR’S NOTE (Dr. Manzoor-ul-Haque)

Pause and reflect; there are numerous questions that start puzzling the human mind right from the moment a babe draws upon the dawn of consciousness – what are the material things, life, consciousness and the allied matters? What is the ‘destiny of man’? Is there any supra-sensuous source of knowledge for human counselling and directing? What is the political system of Quran that has been hurled into the trash can of history? How does it help mould the human life today?

In recent times, fresh problems changing the mores and cores of human life have cropped up. They are ‘historical interpretation of Islam’; its economic system – producing a mishmash of confusion; and human reason. These measures stymie ones ambitions offering bauble and trinkets to make unlawful lawful and its likes.

Finally there is a battle with our History; the History of Islam; the achievements made during the First Era of Islam, the conspiracies of the foreign alliance against Islam. Where will the romping with ‘Deen’ (the system of Islam), lead us to in the comity of nations? What will come out of the pestilence – pernicious, evil influence – looming large on this threatened planet? Why is Revelation the need of the West? What is its future going to be? And finally what do we as Muslims have to do?

Seen with this background, this translation work is the embodiment of an Urdu pamphlet written forty years ago by late Mr Ghulam Ahmad Parwez (1903-1985), founder of Tolu-e-Islam Movement, Pakistan. It was a rebuttal to Late Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the then Federal Minister of Education, India, who asserted in his book ‘India Wins Freedom that Islam was a spent force’. The sole aim of projecting the vision through this pamphlet is that the ultimate basis of all life is eternal and reveals itself in variety and change. A society based on such a concept of ‘reality’ must reconcile, in its life, the categories of permanence and change. It must possess absolute principles to regulate its collective life.

But absolute principles when they are understood to exclude all possibilities of change tend to immobilize what is essentially mobile in its nature. The failure of Europe in political and social sciences illustrates the former principle; the immobility of Islam during the last five hundred years illustrates the latter.

I have no hesitation to acknowledge that my translation is, in no way, a substitute of the original Urdu pamphlet. Any misconception, ambiguity in meaning due to translation is my responsibility. It does not reflect upon the genius scholarship of the great scholar and intellectual giant of the twentieth century.

I thank profusely Dr Syed Mustafa Ali, lecturer at Open University, Coventry, England who did the editing work meticulously and made it worth publishing. I did wish to shower commendations on his contributions but there is a deep feeling, which restrains me from doing so. He, being a lover of Qur’an and devotee of a noble mission of delivering its ‘message’ to humanity, would not like such publicity, and would at once say (We have done this) for the good will of Allah, and desire no reward from you nor thanks (70: 9).

His feeling deserves respect and should, therefore, have preference over that of mine.

Last but not the least; I acknowledge the fact that. Maqbool Mahmood Farhat was the main motive force behind this pursuit of knowledge and the London Bazm for sponsoring this publication.

Prof. Dr. Manzoor-ul-Haque
Hyderabad,
Pakistan.


IS ISLAM A FAILURE? (G A Parwez)
1. Introduction

This question should worry every student of the rise and fall of the Muslim people. At their dawn they rose high and reached the far ends of the then known world with a speed unknown in history. Equally steep has been their fall, too steep for a recovery. Hard facts of history lead a group of students to the conclusion that while Islam undoubtedly infused a new spirit among the Arabs, enabling them to overthrow the Persian and the Roman empires and become masters of the world, it did not have the capacity to keep pace with the times. Islam lagged behind and the steep rise of the Muslims took a precipitous downward trend for good. The experiment has failed and it would, according to late M. Abul-Kalam Azad, minister of education Indian government be stupid to give it another trial [see his book, India Wins Freedom (page 227)]. There is another group of students, which though not so outspoken, finds it hard to reconcile the fact that if Islam sponsors eternal truth and is capable of keeping abreast of the times, why it should have, after only a while, come to a dead stop. Scepticism born out of the irreconcilable shakes the very foundation of their faith in the eternal truth of Islam. The question is important and deserves to be seriously considered and satisfactorily answered.

2. What Is Islam?

Everything in this wonderful universe is, on the face of it, bound firstly by Allah’s (swt) permanent and inviolable laws. The laws of Nature have never failed, nor have they ever ceased to operate. They work non-stop without let or hindrance: “you will see no imperfection in Allah’s creation” (67:3). On the same pattern there are inviolable principles and permanent values for mankind, made known to man through Revelation, which enable him, individually as well as collectively, to grow and develop in life and taste all the good that can be afforded here and in the hereafter. Unlike things in Nature, however, which must observe God’s laws, man is free to adopt or reject them and to follow whatever his desires might dictate. But whereas observance of God’s laws assures a rich and fruitful life, adoption of manmade laws offers no such guarantee and might, on the other hand, lead life to decay and destruction.

3. Struggle Between Right and Wrong

The way of life revealed by God and called Ad-Deen or Al-Islam insists that whatever gifts this beautiful earth of ours has in store or can produce should be made available to the whole of mankind in an equitable manner. There is a section of people, however, who reject this view and would, on the basis of might, assume control of the means of production, so that they might withhold God’s gifts from His creatures and avail of them personally according to their will. This group, opposed as it is to God’s way of life (Al-Islam), places all sorts of hindrances in its establishment among mankind, bringing about, what The Qur’an describes as a struggle between Right and Wrong. Whereas Islam has unquestioned sway in nature, it has to contend with stiff opposition in human society. Consider the example of a seed sown in the earth. Given the requisite means of growth a healthy and vigorous seed will sprout, the shoot will rise high slowly and a day will come for the tiny little seed to swing as a full fledged and robust tree. The seed has the capacity to grow and attain its destiny. Likewise the eternal laws and the permanent values which, as already stated, constitute Al­Islam, have the capacity to overcome impediments in the way of their materialisation and to attain their goals. In the words of The Qur’an, the “healthy concept of life, Kalema-e-Tayyib, has the capacity to go up to Him” (35:10), that is, to attain the heights which God has destined for it. In other words, Right has the capacity and power to grapple with and overcome Wrong and pursue its own course. Happenings in human society, past and present seem, however, to belie this conclusion. There is untruth everywhere, having full sway and giving no quarter to truth. Tyranny, exploitation, dishonesty, fraud are rampant. Appearances may, however, be deceptive. Let us clear the misunderstanding underlying the confusion.

4. Slow Speed

According to The Qur’an, the concepts of life revealed by God have the capacity and inherent strength to clear impediments and prevail but they do so at a slow speed as judged by man’s reckoning. “He directs the affair from heaven to earth” (32:5), that is, at His will, He formulates a plan in the high heavens, but initiates it practically at the lowest level, even as the live seed is buried under the earth to become a hung tree later on, “then it goes up to Him in a day whose measure is a thousand years of your counting” (32:5). God’s plans, based always on truth, must materialise. Impediments cannot hold them up. But they progress at a speed too slow to be visible. Abstract truths apart, even in the case of material things, the pace of evolution remains imperceptible. Scientists say that, in organic evolution, the smallest change in a species takes thousands of years to take effect. During this long period the change goes on taking shape gradually but unnoticed and becomes visible only at the end of a millennium. This should give an idea of the speed at which God’s plans materialise, whose day measures a thousand or even fifty thousand years (70:4) of our counting. One might sit by a plant day and night, for weeks or months or even years, but although it will be growing all the time, he will not perceive the change as it is occurring slowly, very slowly. Or consider the example of a clock. When the minute-hand drops and the hour hand moves on from one hour-mark to the next, the movement remains invisible to the naked eye.

5. Truth Prevails

In its struggle with untruth, truth must prevail ultimately although it may take a long time to do so. The Qur’an states: “We hurl truth against untruth and it crushes its brain and untruth vanishes away” (21:18), leaving the way clear for truth to pursue its normal course. It would be incorrect to expect a result of the struggle within decades; it needs centuries to determine the outcome of the struggle. The fact, however, is that a conflict between a divine principle and a manmade system has always ended in the victory for the former and a rout of the latter. Some examples will be given a little later.

6. Reiteration

The ground covered so far might be reiterated briefly:

1. Islam is a collection of inviolable principles revealed by God for the guidance of man to enable him to attain his destiny in life.
2. Those who would exploit fellow men oppose the divine code and give rise to the struggle between Right and Wrong.
3. Right has an inherent capacity to overcome Wrong and pursue its own course.
4. The process is a slow one, so slow that one of its days equals a thousand years of man’s reckoning.

7. Pace Can Be Accelerated

The process can, however, be quickened. The verse (35:10) already quoted, viz. “healthy concept of life, Kalema-e­Tayyib, has the capacity to go up to Him”, goes on to say, “and healthy action (of man) gives it a push upward”. That is, divine laws left to themselves, operate at their normal slow speed, but if at times people adopt them in giving shape to their social structure, their speed is accelerated and the results that would have normally taken thousands of years to produce, are achieved within a few days. Normally divine laws operate by evolution; man’s co-operation makes them work by revolution or, to use the scientific term, by emergent evolution. The process of normal evolution affords the human mind time to develop gradually and appreciate divine laws. The onset of emergent evolution brought on by man’s co-operation is, however, too fast for the human mind to keep pace with. The co-operating community itself is undoubtedly equipped to appreciate divine laws and assimilate their spirit, but those outside it lack the mental development needed for the purpose, and in consequence experience difficulty in taking ownership of them. A student brought up and educated normally to the final stage of his or her study will tackle difficult problems with ease; but such problems will baffle one who is in the middle of the course. To enable the latter to grapple with them, his or her education must be improved and special arrangements made for quicker mental development.

8. How Human Intellect Works

The modus operandi of human intellect consists in the method of trial and error. It formulates a theory puts it into practice and takes decades or even centuries to discover its weaknesses. It then devises another theory and repeats the process. In this way, it might take hundreds of years to arrive at the correct solution. The solution thus reached is then welcome, since during the intervening centuries the requisite mental development has already taken place.

9. What Revelation Does

Divine Revelation does away with the method of trial and error. It gives outright solutions without waiting for the normal mental development of mankind to take place. Special effort has consequently to be made to familiarise man’s mind with the principles revealed much in advance of the times. The introduction among mankind of eternal divine laws (Al-Islam) proceeded at the normal pace apropos man’s mental development – man accepted what was within his ken and remained a stranger to the rest. All of a sudden, Rasoolullah (PBUH) appeared on the scene in Arabia with a complete code of the laws revealed to him by Allah. Portions of the code that happened to be beyond the mental capacity of his audience aroused opposition. By his inimitable teaching and practice Rasoolullah (PBUH) tried hard to explain to them how the code guaranteed human dignity and welfare. Some of those who shed their prejudices and cared to understand, appreciated Rasoolullah’s (PBUH) message and co-operated with him. He gathered around him a concourse of believers and their healthy deeds greatly accelerated the normal pace of divine laws and in a short while produced most surprising results unparalleled in history. There was nothing extraordinary and supernatural about the achievement. It followed the eternal divine law that “healthy concept of life has the capacity to go up to’ Him and healthy action (of man) gives it a push upward” (35:10). Their deeds accelerated the pace of divine laws and achieved in the matter of days what would normally have taken thousands of years to materialise. Had the co-operation between divine laws and human activity been maintained, quicker achievements under the laws would have also maintained their pace, and who can guess what heights man would have attained by now! The co-operation ceased, however, after a while and the laws resumed their original speed. The short span of time during which quicker results were achieved, according to man’s reckoning of time, is the period during which, in the view of thinkers and historians, Islam was a success and hereafter it proved a failure. The bare fact, however, is that while moving at its normal pace of a day equal to a thousand years, Islam got extra help from man which accelerated its speed, but that later on the extra help was withdrawn leaving Islam to get along at its original normal pace. The process has been very much like the running of a stream of water, which as a result of a fall on the way, flows faster for a while and then, on the exhaustion of the impetus provided by the fall, resumes flowing at its original speed. To say that the stream flowed only while the movement of currents was visible as a result of the fall’s impetus and then it turned into a standing pool would be very short sighted indeed.

10. Four Questions

The foregoing gives rise to four questions, namely:

1. What was it that created in that particular period a body of people whose healthy deeds gave such a momentum to the operation of divine laws?
2. Why did that thing not prove lasting?
3. If the thing disappeared, why did the divine truth escape man’s mind as it had developed at the time?
4. What proof is there that the divine laws resumed their normal speed and continue to operate at that speed? That is, does the stream of divine laws continue to flow and has not turned into a standing pool deprived of all chances of resuming its flow?

First Question

11. Rasoolullah’s (PBUH) Training

As regards the first question, the programme which, in the words of The Qur’an, Rasoolullah (PBUH) followed, was: “To recite His verses to them, to help their development and to teach them the Book and the why thereof”, (62:2). The programme was threefold.

Firstly, Rasoolullah (PBUH) presented to his listeners The Qur’an, pure and simple, without allowing it to be mixed with man’s own thoughts, concepts, theories or beliefs. He offered them pure what he received by Revelation. His appeal was based on reason: “I call to God with sure knowledge, I and whoever follows me” (12:108). The presentation of the Qur’anic message was rational and based on true knowledge; there was no compulsion involved, neither mental through miracles, nor physical by the sword.

Secondly, those who accepted the message after due thought and conviction and without mental reservation were initiated into mastering it as best as they could. Rasoolullah (PBUH) explained to them the provisions of divine laws together with the purpose underlying them. He taught them how they should, in the light of the inviolable principles of Al-Islam, think out a solution to the problems, which might confront them.

Thirdly, an atmosphere of true freedom was created in which human personality (nafs) might ‘grow’ and man’s inborn capacities of head and heart develop. The shackles of man-made restrictions and conventions gripping them broke one by one and they felt that they were neither another man’s dependent nor his slave. True freedom prevailing in the Qur’anic Social Order provides the base for the development of human Personality.

This was the simple and straight-forward programme which enabled Rasoolullah (PBUH) to create a community of people whose healthy deeds gave a miraculous acceleration to the pace of divine laws and established a social order in no time to bear witness to the glorious achievements of Islam.

12. Difference in Training

Those who embraced Islam during the lifetime of Rasoolullah (PBUH), technically called his companions, did not all of them have equal opportunity of benefiting from his training. There were the Bedouins, who became converts towards the end of Rasoolullah’s (PBUH) life after seeing the rising power and prowess of the Islamic State. About them The Qur’an says, “The Bedouins say: ‘we believe’, Say you do not believe, rather say: ‘we surrender (to the Islamic State)’ for belief has not yet entered your hearts.” (49:14). Then there were The Qur’aish, who joined the Islamic fold after the armistice of Hodaibiyya or the fall of Makkah. About them The Qur’an says, “Not equal is he among you who spent and fought before the victory; those are mightier in rank than they who spent and fought afterwards; although God has promised all of them the good that follows from Islam” (57:10). The ‘mightier in rank’ are the ‘true believers’: “and those who believed and have emigrated and struggled in the way of’ God, those who have given refuge (to the ‘emigrants’) and help (the establishment of the new order), those are the true believers. For them there is protection against impairment and respectful/ provision” (8:14). And the ones “who spent and fought afterwards” have been described as “they belong to you” (8:75). The former are pioneers who have been called as “those who are with Muhammad (as), the messenger of God”, (48:29), and whose astounding effort in establishing the Islamic Social Order has been praised in the verse so lavishly. The foregoing is not a negation of the great worth of the believers who, though rather late in the day, joined the pioneers all the same. The Qur’an says about them: “God will be well pleased with them and they are well-pleased with Him.” (9:100)

13. Real Conversion

The foregoing would show clearly that among the later adherents of Islam there were people whose conversion differed from that of the first pioneers and who had lesser opportunity of receiving training from Rasoolullah (PBUH). His first converts joined him after long and serious thought and after appreciating his message fully, at a time when conversion meant planting oneself against the concerted opposition of the whole of society and offering one to their unlimited torture and tyranny. Later on when the Islamic state got well established and extended its control far and wide, conversion became an easy affair and meant, to use the Qur’anic expression, just surrendering to the state. Besides this difference in the urge for conversion, the later adherents were also handicapped in the matter of receiving training directly from Rasoolullah (PBUH).

Second Question

14. Rasoolullah’s (PBUH) Personality

The second question is: Why was the programme adopted by Rasoolullah (PBUH) not pursued? An oft-repeated explanation is that it was the unique personality of Rasoolullah (PBUH) who brought about with his great ‘Spiritual’ power the tremendous revolution and it was not within the competence of ordinary mortals to carry on the great work he had initiated.

This explanation is based on a misunderstanding, which it is very necessary to remove. While it might provide an answer to the question, its logical and inescapable conclusion is that howsoever we might wish it we cannot revive the Islamic way of life. The answer leads to complete and continuous frustration leaving little hope for regeneration. The idea of a mujaddid (or ‘renewer’) coming after every century or of a mehdi (or ‘guided one’) appearing at the end of so many messengers following one after another is the direct product of this frustration. The concept that a revival is impossible without the guidance of a messenger is unwarranted and must be removed. There is no mention in The Qur’an of any promised one coming after Rasoolullah (PBUH).

15. What Rasoolullah (PBUH) Did Could Be Repeated

Rasoolullah (PBUH) was the last recipient of Revelation from God and in this respect he was unique among men. Revelation afforded him a ‘supernatural’ position. On the foundation of revealed guidance he raised the superstructure of the Islamic Social Order, not with the help of any supernatural power but as a man. The Qur’an makes no secret of the fact that apart from the Book he was not given any miracle. After his passing away, the process of Revelation stopped, but what he did as a mortal to give practical shape to the revealed message was carried on as before through the institution of Khilafat or succession, the sole purpose of which was to perpetuate his programme of advancing and extending the Islamic Social Order. The Qur’an states: “Muhammad is naught but a messenger; messengers have passed away before him. Why, if he should die or is slain, will you turn about on your heels (thinking that the message was for his lifetime only)?” (3:143). The programme did not end with his demise; it had to continue despite his demise and could be carried on without him. When he said: “I call to God with sure knowledge” (12:108), he added, “I do so and so also those who follow me”. The Qur’an says that “He (Rasoolullah) enforces the recognised (lawful) and forbids the unrecognised (unlawful)” and the same duty has been assigned to his followers: “You are a dynamic society brought forth for the good of humanity. You enforce the recognised (lawful) and forbid the unrecognised (unlawful)” (3:109). Hence, it is wrong to assume that the three fold programme of Rasoolullah (PBUH) of “reciting God’s verses to the people, helping their development and teaching them the Book and the why thereof’ was confined to him and was not to be pursued after him. It was, as a matter of fact, pursued and the fruits that the Islamic social Order had begun to bear during the lifetime of Rasoolullah (PBUH), continued to be harvested. Thereafter, the programme halted due to various reasons.

16. Why The Programme Halted

Rasoolullah (PBUH) began propagating his message among the Makkans and those around about them and subsequently among the people of Madina and its surroundings. Due to direct contact with Rasoolullah (PBUH), his immediate listeners understood and appreciated the divine message and Islamic conceptions gripped them and went deep into their hearts and souls. Later on, when the whole of Arabia became Muslim, the fresh converts to quote The Qur’an merely ‘surrendered’ to the Islamic State, without being subjected to any mental or moral change. The earlier Muslims were real converts, the later ones merely in name. The latter had little share of Rasoolullah’s (PBUH) personal contact and training because they were scattered far and wide, their number was very large, and Rasoolullah’s (PBUH) early demise had cut short the opportunity. After his passing away, during the khilafat (Caliphate) of Abu Bakr (ra) and Umar (ra), the Islamic State extended far and wide and covered an area of almost two and a half million square miles, embracing practically the whole of the Persian Empire and the greater part of the Roman Empire. The people inhabiting these vast areas could stick to their religion by making treaties with the Islamic State, but they preferred to become Muslims. As converts to a new social order, they were in an even less fortunate position than the Arabian converts referred to previously. The Arabian converts had the advantage of seeing Muslims round about them and of hearing about Islamic concepts and principles. The new converts had none of this facility. Their number was legion, the area they inhabited was immense, and the means of communication were extremely limited. All these factors made it well nigh impossible that their education and training in the new dispensation could be on lines approaching those on which the earliest adherents of Islam were brought up. The problem greatly worried Caliph Umar (ra) and he gave continued and very serious thought to it throughout his time in office. The situation answered very well the description in The Qur’an: “When the help of God and victory come and you see men joining His social order in throngs, let not complacency overcome you that your purpose has been achieved and your programme is over, but instead you should get determined to prosecute the programme with greater vigour and proclaim the praises of your Nourisher (by executing programme even more vigorously) and seek His protection for He turns to men (and brings them means of development)” (110:1-3). It was this feeling which, according to Ibn-Hazm(an historian), made Khalif Umar (ra) distribute a hundred thousand copies of The Qur’an throughout the length and breadth of the state. He had thought out further plans for the training of the new converts, but before he could execute them he was unexpectedly assassinated, leaving the ummah (community), as well as mankind at large, so much poorer and the new converts an uncouth mass of humanity. A mass conversion of the type that had occurred could be no more than political surrender to the new state, without any real mental change affecting old beliefs and conceptions. Education and training alone can bring about real change. Social influence might change external behaviour, but superficial change alone is a dangerous thing. The surrender of the masses was calm and quiet but it cut to the quick the wielders of authority and the intelligentsia. They were sore at defeat by the Arabs, whom they never took for more than wild brutes, which broke to pieces their extensive empire and destroyed their ancient culture and civilisation. No doubt, defeat forced them to surrender to the Islamic State, but they were never reconciled to it and feelings of revenge against the conquering Arabs raged furiously in their hearts.

The defeated elite took revenge, not on the battlefield, but through political intrigue and religious disruption. They realised that the secret of the overwhelming power of the Arabs lay in their adoption of the Islamic principles. When the Persian governor of the Eastern Provinces of Persia and military commander, Harmuzan, was brought in chains before Umar (ra), he asked him how is it that the Arabs who until recently dare not come near the Persian frontiers were now inflicting heavy defeat on them on all fronts? The answer Harmuzan gave was: “Before it was force pitched against force, of which we had more. Then God was neither with you nor with us. Now in our encounters there is God with you and no God with us”. Harmuzan’s answer repeats in other words what The Qur’an has stated: “That is because Allah is the protector of the believers and that the unbelievers have no protector” (47:11). The thinkers among the conquered knew full well that it was the eternal principles of Allah (swt) whose adoption had brought such a tremendous change among the Arabs and therefore they based their scheme of revenge on a plan designed to wean them from those principles. The plan consisted in introducing gradually in the body politic of Islam un-Islamic beliefs and concepts under an Islamic covering so that in the end the eternal divine principles would lose place to manmade laws and concepts. What we have now is, mostly composed of the ‘pseudo-Islam’ that was introduced under the ‘Ajami (alien) scheme of revenge. The Egyptian historian Muhammad Husain Haikal has described the situation aptly in his book, The Great ‘Umar. He has first quoted from the Historians’ History of the World and then made his own comments. The quotation is as follows:

“The reaction went still further, and the principles of political theology which had ruled ancient Persia returned to affirm their empire almost the day after the national ruin. According to Persian theory the power belonged to the King, the son of God, invested with divine glory by his super-terrestrial origin. Owing to political revolutions, Persia united on the head of Muhammad’s legitimate successor, the Arabian Ali, who had been excluded from the caliphate, all the splendour and sanctity of the old national royalty. The one she, had once called in her protocols, “the divine King, son of heaven”, and in her sacred books, the “lord and guide” – lord in the worldly sense, guide in an intellectual – she now called by the Arabic word Imam, “the Chief”. This was the simplest title imaginable and at the same time the most august, for in it was included all the sovereignty of the world and of the mind. In regard to the Caliphs, who were raised to power by the blind clamour of the masses, by crime and intrigues, she upheld the hereditary rights of the Imam Ali, the infallible and sacred of God.”

“At his death she gathered about his two sons, Hassan and Hussein, and afterwards about their descendants. Hussein had married a daughter of the last sassanid king, so that the imamate was fixed in his blood by a doubly divine right; and union of ancient Persia and Islam was sealed in the blood of Hussein on the plains of Karbala.”

“The revolution which overturned the Omayyad usurpers in favour of the Abbasides, nephews of the Prophet, was the Work of Persia. If she did not bring into power the favourite family for which she thought she was fighting, she at least caused her principle to triumph.” (pp.489-90, Vol. 24, 1907 edition).

Haikal then comments on the quotation as follows:

“The events recorded by the Historians’ History of the world, which are corroborated by all other historians, occurred after ‘Umar (ra). We have referred to them with a view to draw the attention of the reader to the fact that the Iranians never reconciled themselves to Arab domination and in fact resisted it from the very beginning. At first they revolted openly; but failure in the attempt turned their efforts to arrest power by other means. They succeeded here and obtained considerable power in the various spheres of life’s activities. They were so sore against Muslim domination that they decided to kill ‘Umar (ra). It has been said that the assassination of ‘Umar (ra) coming soon after the conquest of Khorasan was the result of Iranian conspiracy.” (p.420)

I hold no brief for Shias or Sunnis and am, therefore, unconcerned with sectarian beliefs. The criterion with me is that beliefs and conceptions opposed to The Qur’an can never be right and I am averse to looking at the point in issue from the sectarian angle. What I wish to stress is that the inhabitants of the conquered territories after becoming Muslim stuck to their old beliefs and after giving them an Islamic appearance, spread them in Islamic society, thereby weaning it gradually from Allah (swt) and His book, who helped Muslims in overcoming non-Muslims. Or, in the words of the Historians History of the world, “The Islam of Persia is not at all Islam; it is the old religion of Persia framed in Moslem formulas.” (p.489). It was the victory of mental swords over steel swords. The process got an unfortunate impetus from the fact that during the reign of the Abbasides, who had gained supremacy through alien (‘ajami) help, they could influence the whole of society. The Persians were a literary people and took good care to popularise the ‘New Islam’ through the written word. It is the books compiled during this period that today we teach in the name of religion. Islamic history, political as well as religious, is in fact the variegated story of alien (‘ajami) intrigue. The above facts explain clearly how the type of instruction and training begun by Rasoolullah (as) and followed during the earlier days of the Khilafat, not only came to a stop but gave place to the teaching of a ‘New Islam’.

17. Doubtful Strategy

Some say that had Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (ra) not fought these wars, Islam would have been saved the disfigurement which it had to suffer at the hands of the new converts. This opinion overlooks an important aspect of the situation, namely that the wars were fought not for grabbing land but in circumstances which might be summarised briefly as follows:

1. Islam is a way of life that can take practical shape only in a free Islamic State. This was the foundation on which Rasoolullah (as) built a state, the preservation of which became the sole object of the Khilafat.
2. The Persian and the Roman Empires did not, could not, accept the new Islamic State since it was a rival and a danger and had better be removed from the scene. It became incumbent that the Khilafat should take note of their evil designs and forestall them by advancing its armies for purposes of self-preservation. Their conquests would have produced no untoward results had the conquered territories entered into treaties with the conquerors and not become converts to Islam overnight. The situation was worsened by the untimely assassination of ‘Umar (ra) who would have undoubtedly taken steps for initiating the new converts into the Islamic social order on a sound and firm basis.
3. It is important to note that in addition to following a defensive strategy, an Islamic State has, at times, to adopt an offensive strategy also. If the subjects of a State are helpless against the tyranny and torture of their rulers it is the duty of an Islamic State to take whatever steps are feasible to succour them, even though they may be non-Muslims. At times armed intervention might become unavoidable in situations to meet which the U.N.O. is now being urged to have a force of its own which could move into territories when there is no other way to preserve law and order. Armed intervention by the Khilafat was in some cases resorted to with this motive. The foregoing would show the view that ‘the Khilafat should not have engaged in wars is ill informed.

Third Question

18. Why Did The Human Mind Fail To Assimilate Islamic Truths?

Now we come to the third question, namely that if the process of instruction and training introduced by Rasoolullah (PBUH) fell into disuse, why did human mind of its own, fail to adopt the Islamic truths which had been lucidly presented before it and instead adopt man-made laws? We have already seen that when eternal truths unfold themselves with their normal speed, the human mind gradually accepts them; however, the sudden appearance of such truths leaves the human mind perplexed unless by special training it is enabled to appreciate them. In other words, it is in the very nature of all revolutionary messages to arrive before their time. A ‘Revolutionary voice’ is an appeal to mankind to give practical shape to some eternal law of Allah (swt); it is ‘before-time’ in the sense that in its present stage of development, the human mind is unprepared to receive it. If it were so prepared, the voice would not be revolutionary, but would be product of the prevailing environment. A revolutionary voice seems always out of tune since its listeners have not yet developed the ear that could appreciate it. They find it hard to harmonise with it. To them the voice is strange and they oppose it. Leaving aside the appeal of a messenger of Allah (swt) which is always centuries ahead of time, the appeal of any genius falls on deaf ears and he passes away full of regret over the indifference of his audience. The nineteenth century Indian poet Ghalib (1797 – 1869) said “The world will appreciate my verse after me”. The Islamic philosopher Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877 – 1938) said “After me they will recite my verse, appreciate it and say a self-knowing soul gave a new shape to the world”. Ghalib and Iqbal are not solitary instances. All over the world and throughout history, the luminaries suffered the same fate at the hands of their respective people. They had nothing to support them in life and most of them had to spend their days behind bars and in misery. They lived unknown and died unwept and unsung. But when they were no more, later generations unearthed the remnants and rags in which they had passed a miserable existence, adored with them museums and galleries, wrote every word of theirs in gold and weighed it against jewels.

19. High Level Of Qur’anic Revolution

A casual assessment of the plane of thought and the social, economic and cultural level attained in the age in which the revolutionising message of The Qur’an came would show that the message was much beyond and ahead of the times.

1. Man and God. In an age in which the people from the thoughtful down to the common man were overwhelmed with superstition surrounding places of worship, sacrificial forums and monasteries, and their minds were helpless captives in the hands of hermits, priests and soothsayers, who were believed to be the sole and accredited agents for enforcing the driving purpose, the Qur’anic voice proclaiming that between man and his God no third power intervened must have been a cry in the wilderness.

2. Co-operation not Subjugation. In an age in which the whole world believed and worshipped Raja as an incarnation of God, Caesar as the possessor of Divine Rights, and king as God’s shadow on earth, the Qur’anic call that no one has the right to thrust his will on another and that human affairs should be settled by mutual consultation must have sounded very odd indeed.

3. Relative Superiority. In an age in which racial superiority determined respectability, family and tribal connections formed the basis for greatness, heredity was accepted as the standard for leadership and political ascendancy, and in which every individual, every, tribe and every country felt the greatest pride in preserving such distinctions, even though the process might involve wide spread destruction, the Qur’anic message that by birth all persons are alike and the criterion for respectability and greatness is one’s personal attainments and not hereditary connections must have appeared very unnatural.

4. Ideology. In an age in which geographical boundaries and racial characteristics assessed distinction and in which laying down of one’s life for country and nation was considered to be a sacred duty, for The Qur’an to say that nationality should he based not on country, colour, race, language, etc. but on common ideology must have been altogether incomprehensible.

5. Cause and Effect. In an age in which man had a separate god for every natural phenomenon whose pleasure or displeasure determined whether coming events would bring happiness or sorrow, how could one believe that things in nature are controlled by a fixed law, that there is a chain of cause and effect in all happenings, and that there is an unchanging procedure governing them which admits of no exception? The Qur’anic conception must have been an extremely strange one and an altogether unacceptable proposition.

6. All Men Are Equal. In an age marked with paucity of knowledge in which a villager who could count beyond ten was believed to be superhuman, how could the human mind concede that a messenger of Allah (swt), who was the repository of the highest knowledge, could be a man like any other man?

7. Miracles. In an age in which piety was associated with doing astonishing things, how could anyone accept that a messenger of Allah (swt) did not perform miracles and that the yardstick for judging truth or falsehood was the verdict of knowledge and its concrete results? The proposition could hardly appeal to the then prevailing intellect which would spurn the idea that a prophet could perform no miracle, that religion was based on reason and that religious actions should be judged by their results.

8. Serfdom. In an age in which capitalism, and even serfdom, were accepted as normal features of society, the clarion call of The Qur’an that no man has the right to usurp another’s earnings must have sounded sheer lunacy.

9. Private Ownership. Finally, in an age in which a Qaroon’s(Q’arun) wealth was appreciated as god’s bounty, land-lordship as natures gift, and in which the placing of any limits on personal belongings was viewed as anti-religious. The Qur’anic proclamation must have sounded very strange indeed, that hoarding of wealth is a serious crime, that sources of production cannot belong to any individual, that the means of sustenance should remain open to all in an equitable manner and that it is the basic duty of the State to see that every one is provided with the necessities of life and whatever is required for the development of one’s latent potentialities.

20. Sixth Century Thought

The level of human thought in the sixth century of the Christian era, had not yet attained the height required to assimilate the conceptions underlying the new dispensation and the way of life it advocated. The conceptions being of a revolutionary character were far ahead of the times and the world was still unprepared for receiving them. The sixth century belonged to what are called the ‘dark ages’; even the twentieth century, the age of science and reason and civilisation and culture, finds it difficult to catch up with Qur’anic conceptions. Their great height makes it impossible to hazard a guess about the time when human thought would approach them. Therefore, there should be nothing surprising about the fact that the Qur’anic Social Order did not last; the real surprise is how some people got together who could assimilate conceptions far ahead of their time and give them a practical shape.

21. Rasoolullah’s (PBUH) Personality

It sends my soul into ecstasy when I think of the wonderful training which the great personality of Rasoolullah (PBUH) imparted to produce in that age a people who could bring about the establishment of the Qur’anic Social Order. Rasoolullah’s (PBUH) greatest miracle, in my view, is that in circumstances in which any genius would pass away regretting an indifferent environment and calling himself the man of the Future, he – Rasoolullah (PBUH) – should proclaim his environment to be ‘the best of all’ since it gave practical shape to a social order far above the mental level of the times. Rasoolullah (PBUH) occupies a unique position among the revolutionary leaders of the world standing far ahead of, and much higher than, anyone else. His miraculous achievement consists in placing before and bringing home to his people, ideas that are not fully appreciated even after the lapse of thirteen centuries. A teacher possessing his breadth of vision and sympathy could alone give a rational exposition of Allah’s (swt) book and achieve an unimaginable development of man’s potentialities. It was this marvellous performance of Rasoolullah (PBUH) which made Allah (swt) and His constructive forces (‘angels’) acclaim him with cheers and applause (33:56). They acclaimed his associates also (33:47), who cut themselves off from the rest of the world and, rising poles high above their contemporaries, helped the establishment in Madina of a social order far beyond the imagination of the times in which:

1. The big sardars (leaders) of the Qur’aish, a plebeian from Persia (Salman), a labourer from Rome (Shoaib), and a slave from Abyssinia (Bilal) not only ate from the same table but had matrimonial relations also;

2. Even when such a personality as Rasoolullah (PBUH) asked a slave boy or a slave girl to do something, he or she had the courage to question him whether his suggestion was based on Revelation or on his personal opinion and if it was the latter, to ask his pardon and to be allowed to do as he or she thought fit;

3. Affairs of State were determined by mutual counsel and the view of the head of the State – Rasoolullah (PBUH) himself – was at times ruled out by the view of someone else;

4. At Rasoolullah’s (PBUH) demise, Abu Bakr (ra) proclaimed before a huge crowd that he who worshipped Muhammad (may we glorify and obey his call) should know that his god is dead, but he who served Allah (swt) should know that his God is Living and Everlasting, that Muhammad (as) was merely His messenger, who lived his time and then passed away, making little difference to the order he had established;

5. After Rasoolullah’s (PBUH) demise, people chose their head on merit, discarding completely tribal or ancestral considerations;

6. At his death bed Rasoolullah (PBUH) declared that he had not a cent at home and that whatever odds and ends he was leaving would pass on to the people and not to any individual relation;

7. Abu Bakr (ra), as head of State, fixed his remuneration at an equivalent of the daily wages of a labourer and returned to the Exchequer even that pittance, fearing he might not have done full work for the sum;

8. Caliph Umar (ra) told his wife that the jewels she received from Caesar’s wife were in return of her gift of perfumes she sent to Caesar’s wife. These jewels were given to her in capacity of the wife of the head of the state (Caliph) not in her personal capacity. Therefore she must hand over the jewels to the Bait-ul-Mal. (Central Exchequer).

9. ‘Umar (ra) decided that the conquered lands shall not be divided among the soldiers but shall remain under the joint control of the ummah (community), so that the present as well as the future generations should be able to avail of them;

10. An old hag could tell the head of the State that if he could not evolve machinery for keeping himself informed of what was happening to the individual citizens, he should abdicate on grounds of inefficiency; and

11. ‘Umar (ra) would eat wheat bread only if he was assured that it was available to every citizen of the state, otherwise he would continue eating oats.

The creation of a society in which decisions of the kind indicated above could he taken normally and without special effort, was, on the face of it, an event far in advance of the age. Even after the lapse of thirteen centuries, the human mind still finds it difficult to assimilate the principles propounded by The Qur’an.

22. Human Mind Can Develop

When I say that revolutionary messages are ahead of their times, it does not mean that the messages are beyond the reach of the human mind. It can follow and appreciate them but with effort. Unfortunately, effort is what the human mind shirks. Following blindly (taqleed) requires no thought – in fact, thought is forbidden in taqleed – is automatic, and hence, is a practice that is readily adopted. The early history of Islam gives, however, an idea of the great extent to which man’s effort can develop the human mind.

23. Why Emergent Evolution

What is the good of sudden revolutionary changes? What does mankind gain by accelerating the working of eternal laws for a time and securing their extraordinary results if after a while the human mind and those results are to revert to their old level? In a concrete form the question might be “what contribution did early Islam make to the betterment of mankind?” The true answer is “an immense contribution”. Firstly, Islam gave the world Allah’s (swt) eternal laws in the form of a book – The Qur’an – so that one who so wishes might give them practical shape and obtain their good results.

Secondly, Islam showed the world that the laws are workable, that they are not mere utopia but a practicable code of life which was given a trial in a particular period of history and produced positive results. Emergent evolutions help mankind to advance. As explained previously, human intellect works by experimentation. It evolves a plan, executes it and then finds after centuries that the plan was defective and hence, a failure. Then it begins experimenting with some other plan. If, however, it can have the benefit of seeing the results achieved by a revolution, the precedent will help it in assessing the results of its own planning. A comparative study of pre- and post-Islamic history will show at once that the progress man has made during post-Islamic period is unparalleled. The progress would appear much more marked had the history of early Islam been available in its unalloyed form. A revolution gives the ever-moving vehicle of time a push forward which accelerates its speed and enables it to cover a lot of distance with the momentum gained. It was the momentum generated by the short-lived Islamic Social Order that enabled the Muslims to maintain for centuries their world leadership in the arts and sciences. At least some Western thinkers and historians admit the truth of this statement. In his book The Making of Humanity, Robert Briffault has devoted a whole chapter to this theme under the caption ‘Dar Al-Hikmat” and says,

“It was under the influence of the Arabian and Moorish revival of culture, and not in the fifteenth century, that the real Renaissance took place. Spain, not Italy, was the cradle of the rebirth of Europe. After steadily sinking lower and lower into barbarism it had reached the darkest depths of ignorance and degradation when the cities of the Saracenic world – Baghdad, Cairo, Cordoba, Toledo – were growing centres of civilisation and intellectual activity. It was there that the new life arose which was to grow into a new phase of human evolution. From the time when the influence of their culture made itself felt, began the stirring of a new life.” (p.188-189).

“It is highly probable that, but for the Arabs, modern European civilisation would never have arisen at all; it is absolutely certain that, but for them, it would not have assumed that character which has enabled it to transcend all previous phases of evolution.” (p.190) Briffault, Robert (1928). The Making of Humanity, London: George Allen & Unwin LTD.

The above extracts sum up nicely the benefits that accrued to humanity from the push given by the Islamic revolution.

Fourth Question

24. Islam Has Been Advancing

We may now take up the fourth and final question, namely, how do we know that the eternal principles of Islam have indeed been functioning at their normal speed and have not come to a halt. It is a question of history, the history of the times when The Qur’an was revealed and the history of mankind during the subsequent thirteen centuries. The study will settle the point whether in these thirteen centuries man has, after due experimentation, been adopting Qur’anic concepts or reverting to pre-Qur’anic concepts.

1. In the pre-Qur’anic period, the institution of kingship was believed to be an institution most suited to human ‘nature’. The Qur’an rejected it and advanced the method of mutual consultation for settling affairs because no one had the right to thrust his will on another. The new concept had little appeal at the time, but since then, the trend has been in which direction, towards monarchy or towards Islam?

2. Slavery was then believed to be an essential feature of society, and one that was perfectly in accord with the ‘natural’ division of mankind into classes. The Qur’an declared that by birth all men are equally deserving of respect and that therefore no one has the right to enslave another. The Qur’anic concept was then unacceptable, but since then, which has prevailed, the old slavish concept or the new Islamic concept of human freedom?

3. Human mind then thought that personalities help nations to glory and believed in hero-worship as something very natural. The Qur’an declared that the idea was archaic and primitive and that henceforth, common ideology would cement nations which would progress on the strength and efficiency of their social order. No-one agreed with it then; but do not present trends favour entirely the Qur’anic principle?

4. Against the then prevailing belief that ownership of land, feudalism and, capitalism were natural institutions, The Qur’an proclaimed that it is the duty of every individual to help the development of all, therefore, the means and sources of production must not belong to individuals and that individual control over land produce and hoarding of gold and silver were the most heinous crimes before the Supreme Court of Humanity. The Qur’anic idea was spurned initially but what about now? Is the world not restlessly yearning to assimilate and own the idea originally rejected with contempt?

5. The human mind then recognised families, tribes and nations, but could not conceive a universal brotherhood of man. The Qur’an declared that humanity is one and that the oneness can be brought about by having one law for all. The idea of oneness of humanity was not appreciated then, but since then what has been the position? Has appreciation grown for a compact mankind or for its divisions into smaller groups? That the world has grown sick of nationalism is the theme of a chapter on politics in my book What Man Has Thought.

Western thinkers then passed on to internationalism, but felt very soon that it could not achieve human destiny. They are now for universalism and wish to establish one world government without knowing exactly the base on which to raise the superstructure. When will they realise that the true basis for establishing a world government is provided by the Permanent Values of The Qur’an?

25. Islam Continues To Advance

I have cited the foregoing instances by way of illustration, otherwise there is no walk of life in which man has not after unsuccessful experimentation, followed the path indicated by The Qur’an for the achievement of man’s destiny, or is still busy discovering it. Of the truths revealed by The Qur’an, the world has adopted some, is impatiently anxious to adopt others, and the rest appear to be beyond the reach of man with his present mental development. The Qur’an is the final and complete code of life for mankind. As man advances he will appreciate more and more of the provisions of the code that fits with the freshly evolving features of life.

Says The Qur’an, “We shall show them our signs in the (changing) horizons and in themselves until it is clear to them that it is the truth” (41:53). The world witnesses the signs in the changing horizons, appreciates the Qur’anic eternal truths and is thus gradually becoming a convert to Islam.

26. Recapitulation

The ground already covered might be recapitulated as follows:

1. Islam is a collection of eternal truths, inviolable laws and Permanent Values revealed from time to time for the guidance of man and finally preserved in The Qur’an.

2. ‘Islam’ forged its way into human society at its own evolutionary slow speed, very slow indeed by our reckoning, until Rasoolullah (PBUH) appeared on the scene.

3. By persistent effort over a number of years, Rasoolullah (PBUH) brought together a body of men whose practical programme helped Islam’s normal speed accelerate and produce results quickly, that is, by our own reckoning. This is the period in history that is recognised as the epoch of Islam’s glory.

4. After a time, the modus operandi of Rasoolullah (PBUH) – calling people to Allah rationally and instructing them in the revealed book – fell into disuse, resulting in the withdrawal of the acceleration induced by him and his associates and leaving Islam to proceed at its normal, slow speed.

27. Islam and Muslims

Superficial vision sees in the phenomenon short-lived success and subsequent failure of Islam, confusing Islam with Muslims although the two are quite distinct from each other. The state of Muslims, good, bad or indifferent is one thing and success or failure of Islam quite another. But to avoid confusion the position needs to be clarified.

28. Islamic Truths

The truths represented by the term Islam are as old as creation itself. They began forging their way ahead gradually and on their onward march different people at different periods of history owned them and reaped a happy and hefty harvest. When they gave up the truths, the gains disappeared and they became subject to sundry hardships. Fourteen hundred years ago a people in Arabia who adopted the truths attained the greatest heights of glory, but when they turned their backs on the truths, they went into decline. However, their decline did not halt Islam from proceeding ahead unscathed and unaffected. The picture of how Islam went on and on and how different people caught up to it at different stages is painted on the background, not of Muslim history, but of the history of mankind. A study of mankind’s history will show clearly how man-made social orders have had a short-lived success whereas Islamic principles have continued to thrive.

29. Evidence of Man’s History

In the streets of France, when cremated kingship gave birth to democracy, it was a link in Islam’s history. In America, when battles were fought and blood was shed to put an end to slavery, it was a glorious chapter in Islam’s history. In India, when the movement to call ‘untouchables’ by the name of Harijan (one bestowed with God’s energy) was launched, it was a manifestation of Islam’s eternal truth. And now, in America, the struggle to do away with the discrimination between white and black is similarly a step towards Islam. When the United Nations Organisation (UNO) decided that conflicts between nations should be resolved by mutual counsel, it was nothing but the adoption of an Islamic precept. The current turmoil in man’s mind somehow to banish armament from society, follows strictly the provision in the Islamic programme framed fourteen centuries ago that wars are allowed only for so long as they (wars) do not “lay down their burdens”, that is, the reasons for their being fought. In short, any movement launched anywhere during the past fourteen centuries for the liberation and advancement of humanity, was no more than a ray from Islam’s shining sun; and conversely, whenever and wherever man-made schemes have failed, the situation has provided fresh proof of the truth of Islamic fundamentals. The history of mankind coupled with its struggle and search for knowledge proclaim aloud, to quote the Islamic Philosopher Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877 – 1938):

“Wherever you come across a region full of colour and perfume,
Out of whose soil spring urges of ‘desire’, It owes its worth to the teaching of Muhammad,
Or it is still seeking after his guidance.”

30. Only Islam Advances

A study of human history from this angle should convince anyone that Islam did not fail at any stage, that systems that were not Islamic, without exception, did fail at one stage or another, and that after their failure, Islam always took their place. It was bare truth when The Qur’an stated, “He will make the Islamic way of life prevail over all other ways” (48:28). The Book tells us that man’s future is bright. In connection with the creation of man, the ‘angels’ (that is, the forces of nature) are said to have said to Allah (swt), “What, will you settle herein (on earth) one who will upset things and shed blood” (2:30), and received the reply, “Assuredly, I know what you know not” (2:31). This means that the ultimate destiny of man will be achieved when the stage of disruption and spilling of blood is over and when “there shall be no fear on them, neither shall they sorrow” (2:38). Islam is leading man to his destiny and will not rest until his destination is reached. it is a programme designed by The One who is the Nourisher of all being, and a Nourisher (Rabb) is one who takes care of a thing from its initial stage of coming into existence to its final stage of development. If a programme fails it could not have been designed by The Nourisher of all being.

31. Partial Adoption of Islam

The world has been adopting the Islamic system, bit by bit, but partial adoption cannot produce the promised result. A system is an indivisible unit and produces results only when adopted as a whole. It is very much like a medical prescription that will restore health only if it is carefully prepared with all its necessary ingredients. The people who adopt the Islamic System as a whole are called Momineen. They are the people who have “no fear on them, neither shall they sorrow”. Man has to reach that stage in any case. He may do so by the method of trial and error or by following revealed guidance. That guidance will help him traverse in seconds ground that experimentation might take centuries to cover.

32. Decline Of Muslims

A question arises as to why Muslims as a people should lag behind other nations? A detailed answer to this question has been furnished in my book ‘Asbaab-e-Zawal-e-Ummat’( Reasons for the decline of Muslims). Briefly, the reason for their lagging behind is that while the other nations have been adopting Qur’anic truths after due consideration of “signs in the changing horizons and in themselves”, the Muslims are clinging to an alien (‘ajami) pseudo-Islam which forbids thought and understanding outright. The day Muslims revive the programme of reading, understanding and adopting in life Qur’anic truths, they are bound to regain the leadership of the world. Goethe, the German poet, has likened Islam to a clear and transparent stream flowing smoothly towards its goal; nations that avail of its water for irrigating their fields will have a bumper crop. In an earlier epoch of history, the Arabs did it and “gathered a hundred grains for every one sowed”. But when they gave up drawing water from the stream their crops dried up. Did the stream dry up? No. It flows on and on and those who so wish may still avail of its water. “Each we succour, these and those, from your Sustainer’s gift and your Sustainer’s gift is not confined (to a particular people)” (17:20). The standing crop of the Muslims dried up because they would not water it from the ever-flowing heavenly stream. Allah’s (swt) ‘broadcasting station’ is busy and will remain so “till it is the rising of dawn”; if one’s radio set has become silent, the fault lies with the set itself.

33. Islamic Way Illustrated

The Qur’an has made use of an illustration for explaining the Islamic way of life. “Have you not seen how God has struck a similitude? A good word (healthy concept of life) is as a good tree whose roots are firm and whose branches are spread high all over” (14:24). The tree is fully capable of withstanding the worst storm and has its branches spread far and wide in all the four directions without being confined to any one country, “neither of the East nor of the West”, (2:43). “It gives its produce every season according to the laws of its Nourisher” (14:25). The Islamic way of life is confined neither by space nor by time. The same thing has been illustrated elsewhere by another example: “The likeness of paradise that is promised to those who guard against breaches of law, is that of a garden beneath which flow streams of water, whose produce is eternal and so is its shade” (13:35).

When Allah (swt) says that the tree of Islam will bear fruit forever, it would be wrong to suggest that the tree bore fruit at a particular period of history and then dried up. What actually happened at the time was that by their healthy tending of the tree, the believers helped it blossom quicker. This effort of Muhammad (as) – may we glorify and obey his call – the messenger of Allah (swt), assisted by his companions has been described by The Qur’an again in terms of a young sapling growing in a grain field, “as a seed that puts forth its shoot and strengthens it and it grows stout and rises straight upon its stalk, pleasing the farmers, that through them He may enrage the, unbelievers” (48:29). In other words, a tree which should have taken long to bear fruit was helped by this particular people to blossom earlier, but when their co-operation was withdrawn, they lost the fruit, although the tree continues to this day to grow, blossom and bear fruit in its normal sustained way.

34. Islamic Way and Gains Inter-Linked

The co-operating people gathered a rich harvest because of their attachment to the particular system. The moment they detached themselves from the system the gains simultaneously began to disappear. In continuation of the verse (14:25) already quoted, The Qur’an goes on to say that Allah (swt) confirms those who believe with the firm word, that is, with the firm way of life. So long as they follow it they remain firm; the moment they separate from it, they scatter and are reduced to a non-entity. Their glory and their fall are both determined by Allah’s (swt) Law, and not by anyone’s whim. It is the way that a people adopt which determines their fate. When they give it up, it is not the way (Islam) which fails; it is the people who fail. History shows that ways other than Islam have ultimately proved a failure. Chapter 103, Verses 1-3 of The Qur’an declare that history testifies to the fact that, by following ways of his own making, “man has surely been in the way of loss, save those who believe in Allah’s (swt) way of life and by their healthy deeds help the way” to produce its healthy results more quickly. But it is not an ad hoc programme such that you follow it and thereby ensure happiness and success for all time to come, even though the programme might have been deserted on the way. The programme requires that the process of “counselling each other unto its truth and to be steadfast” should continue ceaselessly. So long as Muslims followed the programme, they received all the good that accrues from following Allah’s (swt) Laws; when they gave up the programme, they deprived themselves of the fruit of those laws. The laws, however, continue operating as before.

Here ends my broadly stated answer to the question “Is Islam a failure?” After going through it the reader will, I hope, agree that Islam has never been a failure but that it has succeeded and will continue to succeed, evergreen in its pristine glory and ready to shower its blessing without discrimination on mankind, badly torn and tortured at its own hands.

Glossary of some Qurani terms
The reader may find the following explanations of Quranic terms useful:
Allah: Arabic/Quranic reference to the One God Who is the Lord God, the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe and everything that is in it. Allah is not an exclusive name for a tribal deity of Muslims as some Christians, Jews and other non-Muslims erroneously believe. It is wrong to consider Allah as a name for God as God has no name, only Attributes.
As ‘alayhi Salaam (On him be peace)
Deen: (or Din) A term with no exact English equivalent, a ‘Way of Life’, and in the Islamic context, a social, political system based on Quranic Values. Deen is generally translated incorrectly in English as religion.
Eiman: According to the Holy Quran, the conviction that results from full mental acceptance and intellectual satisfaction. This kind of conviction gives one a feeling of amn – peace, inner contentment. In addition, a Momin is one who accepts the truth and acts in such a way that it ensures his own peace and helps him to safeguard the security of the rest of mankind. Amn, Eiman and Momin have a common root.
Halal: Permissible by Allah. Halal is the antonym of Haram. While mentioning the word Halal, Quran also used the word Tayyab- which means pleasant, pure, wholesome and nourishing.
Haram: Unlawful, prohibited according to the Quran.
Ka’ba: Derived from the Arabic word Ka’ab, which literally means cube. It is a cube shaped stone built structure wrapped in black cloth. Into one corner of its wall the Hajr-e-Aswad (Black stone) is laid. It was built by Abraham (PBUH) and his son Ishmael (PBUH).
Kufr/Kafir: Kufr (v.) is to reject; Kafir (n.) is thus a rejecter, non-Muslim, or non-believer according to the Holy Quran.
Makkah: The holiest of the holy cities is situated in a depression surrounded by barren stark hills. It is the birthplace of the last Messenger Muhammad (PBUH) and abode of the descendents of Ishmael, son of Abraham (PBUH).
Momin: One who accepts the truth in such a way that it ensures his own peace and helps to safeguard the peace and security of the rest of mankind. Alm’omin is one of the Attributes of Allah Himself. See also Eiman.
Muhammad: (PBUH), the final Messenger of Allah.
PBUH: When Muslims take the name of a Messenger in writing, they usually add the salutation PBUH (Peace Be Upon Him). This salutation is not used in the Quran. It should be implicitly understood that, as mentioned in Sura As-Saaffaat (The Ranks) (37:181), we do convey Peace upon all the Messengers of Allah, and Praise be to Allah, Sustainer of the Universe.
Nafs: It has many meanings, including intellect, Personality, or Self, which may be termed as mind, or psyche. Quran uses this word for a specific thing called Human Personality, which in religious parlance is referred to as the soul.
Quran: Holy Scripture of Muslims revealed by God Almighty to Messenger Muhammad (PBUH). Its literal meaning is collection, recitation. The Holy Quran is the last of the Divine books.
ra radi Allahu anhu (May allah be pleased with him)
Rabb: It is usually translated into English as the Lord, which does not convey the real meaning and significance of the Arabic word. It means one who provides nourishment, to process a thing with new additions, alterations or changes so that it should reach its goal, to bring a thing gradually to perfection. One of God’s Attributes means Nourisher, Cherisher and Sustainer.
Rabubiyat: The process by which Allah provides nourishment or sustenance (derived from Rabb)
Rasool: A person chosen by Almighty who receives Divine guidance and delivers this message continuously, gently and softly to mankind without the slightest change or modification. In this pamphlet the use of this term has been restricted for Muhammad (PBUH).
Razzakiyat: The process by which Allah provides nourishment, subsistence (derived from Rizq).
Rizq: The physical necessities of life according to the Quran; subsistence.
Shariyat: Islamic Law, Way of Life. Shariyat is synonymous with Deen.
Shirk: The only unpardonable offence according to the Quran. It is the association of partners with Allah (i.e. polytheism), whether it is anyone or anything in the human or physical world, or the obedience of laws that contradict those revealed in the Quran. People who do so are called Mushrikeen. This includes creating divisions within the Muslim community through sectarianism.
Swt Subhaanahu wata’aala (May He be Glorified and Exalted)
Wahi: Al-Wahiyo is a suggestion by a sign that is extremely quick and fast. It also means to inform quickly, to whisper, and also to write. Wahi (Revelation) therefore is the law that Allah has given everything in the universe to follow. Whilst animals have no choice in following the law, humans can choose whether or not to follow it. However, whilst everything else in the universe receives the Wahi directly from Allah, in humans He has only communicated the Wahi directly to the Messengers (as Revelation).
Note: With reference to Quranic verses cited in this booklet: The Sura number is written first followed by the verse number. For example, (4:6) means Sura No 4, Verse 6.
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Why Do We Celebrate Eid? – G A Parwez – Bazm Tolue Islam London

Every tribe, people or race throughout the world celebrates a festival of one sort or another. Muslims also celebrate some festive occasions on some days of the year. But the festival of Eid is one that we are commanded to celebrate in festivity, joy and happiness by Allah Almighty Himself ! This in itself portrays its importance.

In Surah Yunus it is said:

“O mankind! There has come to you indeed an admonition from your Rabb and a healing for what is in the hearts; and a guidance and a mercy for the believers. Say: In the grace of Allah and in His mercy, in that they should rejoice. It is better than (all the worldly wealth) that they amass.” (10:57-58).

This is the occasion Muslims have been enjoined by Allah (SWT) Himself to celebrate with happiness and joy. This occasion is called JASHNE NUZOOLE QURAN, i.e. EID-UL-FITR DAY.

The Quran was first bestowed from on high in the month of Ramadaan as a guidance to man (2:185). Therefore the entire month of fasting is, in a way, a preparation for the celebration of this festival day called Eid. The question arises: what, after all, has Allah given us for which we are commanded to rejoice? The answer is given by the Quran itself that it (the Quran) makes man aware of his true status in this world. Allah says:

“Indeed there has come to you from Allah, a Light and a clear Book.” (5:15, 14:1).

Ponder for a moment what happens in the dark, and what happens to darkness when it is stabbed by light! In darkness, no object, article or a thing’s correct identity, position and location can be known; whereas in light every object’s true location and identity is before us. In darkness we mistakenly presume a rope to be a snake, and vice versa. But when light comes, we see the difference between a rope and a snake!

DARKNESS

Before the revelation of the Holy Quran, man was in utter darkness. He was ignorant of his exalted status in the universe, nor was he aware of the phenomena of nature. In short, he knew very little about the physical world and his own place in it. What kind of darkness was prevalent before the Divine revelation? It was the darkness of thought, of intellect, superstitions, and darkness of heart and mind. It was the darkness of being unacquainted with one’s own actual self. And the fact is that this darkness of being unaware of his own true position and dignity was the sum of all his darkness: it was the source and fountainhead of his darkness. Had man been aware of his own true self, then he would have eliminated all other darknesses. Thus the question arises as to what dignified position the Quran has given to man? If we seek a detailed answer to the question, then we have to go through the whole Quran. And this is not possible to accomplish within the confines of this short article. We shall touch briefly on a few aspects, but it will not be possible to understand them until it is not seen that before the revelation of the Quran, to what extent was man engulfed in darkness, and to what depth of degradation he had descended.

At the time of the revelation of the Quran, man had enslaved man. In some societies he was in abject bondage. The feudal lord was his god. Monasticism had completely stunted his intellect and senses. Capitalism was sucking the last drop of blood of the working classes like a leech. This was the state of “civilisation” at the time the Quran was revealed.

It declared that the mission of the Prophet Muhammad (S) was to destroy the chains in which mankind has been shackled (7:157). Of these chains, the very first was that of ignorance and superstition. Due to his lowly position, man was afraid of the natural forces. Menacingly dark clouds, eardrum and nerve-shattering thunder, lightning, and the roaring of mighty rivers instilled a terrible fear in his heart. Gale-force winds made him shudder. When he saw huge, sky-embracing mountains, he felt an unspeakable awe. He felt puny and helpless before these awesome powers of nature.

GODS OR GODDESSES

He came to realise that there is some inexplicable power behind each of these phenomena. In order to save and secure himself (in his own mind) from the wrath of such mighty powers, he could think of only one kind of escape: to take these forces as gods or goddesses and bow before them in worship. He would offer human sacrifices and other oblations to appease these angered deities. This is the position that man had established for himself against these physical forces.

The Quran came and addressed him:

“Seest thou not that Allah has made subservient to you all that is in the earth, and the ships gliding in the sea by His command? And He withholds the heaven from falling on the earth except with His permission. Surely Allah is Compassionate, Merciful to mankind.” (22:65, 45:12-13).

Everything is for man’s benefit. If you ponder for a moment, think and study the phenomena of nature, then your own standing vis-à-vis the universe will be made manifest to you. It will dawn upon you that you are not the subordinate, but the master of all things in the cosmos.

IMMUTABLE LAWS

These forces of nature are governed by predetermined laws made by Allah. These physical laws are unchangeable and permanent in their character and operation (33:62). There should thus be no doubt about the immutability of these laws. They can NEVER change suddenly and elude man’s control. Everything acts or happens according to these laws. Man has been given the faculty to understand and acquire the knowledge of these laws. The more he acquires the knowledge of these unchangeable laws of nature, the more they will unfold and continue to unfold as man progresses towards mastering them.

This was the mirror in which he was shown his true identity by Allah (SWT) through the Quran. Thus in one leap he became the Respected Master of all things that bowed down to him in submission. He gained ascendancy over the entire creation.

But the main, challenging obstacle in man’s forward march was the tyrannical subjugation of man by man. This cruel, pharaonic idea was so deeply ingrained in the human mind that he came to accept his serfdom as a natural norm and the right to be ruled by his dominating, enslaving masters – a sort of divine “birthright”! The Quran arrived and proclaimed that the right to exercise authority belongs only to Allah. He has enjoined that we should obey none but Him. Further the fundamental principle of Deen is that no human being – even though Allah may have given him a code of laws, a revelation (Nubuwwat), or the power to enforce it – has the right to say to others: “It is not meet for a mortal that Allah should give him the Book and the judgment and the prophethood, then he should say to men: Be my servants besides Allah’s; but (he would say): Be worshippers of the Lord because you teach the Book and because you study (it).” (3:78-79, 12:40).

It can thus be seen that by this one single declaration, the Quran has destroyed the shackles of all kinds of subjugation. It freed man from every mode and aspect of human slavery and entrenched him with Allah’s rule only.

SLAVERY OF MIND

The entire teaching of the Quran is the explanation of this one point alone. The obedience must be to the Laws of Allah only, and not of any man.; (12:40, 18:26). If he allows the rule of any other than Allah, it would be a negation of the very purpose of man’s creation.

The sadistic tyranny and domination by brute force could hold a man physically, but there was another kind of slavery that was far worse than the former. This was the slavery of mind and heart, controlled by the so-called “religious leaders”, priests, or “ulama”, the peers, saints and mystics who claimed to be intercessors between man and God. This class, vis-à-vis the pharaonic class, badly wanted to be loved, obeyed, revered and worshipped. They were in fact a god-head. The Holy Quran exposed their machinations and true colours to mankind: that in reality it is all an economic game these little tin gods play with the masses to hide the truth. They wish to live parasitically in luxury on the earnings of others and do nothing themselves. The fact is that the majority of them never earn an honest day’s living. (9:34, 43:23). They claim that they lead people to Allah’s path, but the truth is that they block people from treading the path of Allah. They themselves become gods and thus do not allow anyone to reach Allah, but stop them on the way. The reason is simple: if Muslims make Allah’s Quran their sole guide, then these pygmy tin gods would become redundant, irrelevant and non-existent!

The difference between secular and spiritual dominance is that the former disappears when a pharaoh, king or dictator dies, but the latter does not expire with the death of the dominance-seeker (wali, saint, sufi, etc.) Even from his grave he commands total obedience from the unthinking, gullible folk. In fact his stranglehold is powerful, his urge to dominate is overpowering. The living human is always in fear of the dead peer saheb’s “spiritual powers”. The peer’s brainwashing and magnetic “power” may be likened to the flame which proves irresistible to the moths who keep circling it until they burn themselves completely. Allah rebutted man’s fallacy and said to the living human:

            “And they take besides Him gods who create naught, while they are themselves created, and they control for themselves no harm nor profit, and they control not death, nor life, nor raising to life.” (25:3, 27:65, 46:4-5).

The question is: why are you afraid of them, and why do you pin your hopes and aspirations on them for worldly gains? This is extreme and abject humiliation for a man to be afraid of a corpse lying in the grave, and accept him as the granter and guarantor of all his needs.

SALAAT AND ZAKAAT

One effective way of making a man subordinate to another was to deprive him of the means of sustenance by sheer brute force, thus placing him in total servitude. The Quran declared in unequivocal terms:

“Say: Come! I will recite what your Lord has forbidden to you: associate naught with Him and do good to parents and slay not your children for (fear of) poverty – We provide for you and for them – and draw not nigh to indecencies, open or secret, and kill not the soul which Allah has made sacred except in the course of justice. This He enjoins upon you that you may understand.” (6:152, 11:6, 17:31).

Through the agency of the Mu’mineen a system of government (Salaat) should be established which ensures an economic system (Zakaat) wherein every soul is guaranteed the basic necessities of life. No one will depend on another for his survival and no one will rule over the other.

These are the Quranic concepts and doctrines that gave man an honoured status and superiority over other creations. (17:70). Allah reminds mankind that if it safeguards itself from the pitfalls of wrong paths and evils and watches imbalances in society, then there are glad tidings for it from Him of a blissful life Here, and in the Hereafter. No fear, no constant torment and insecurity will be suffered by them. (2:37-38, 7:35, 10:62-64).

In this Quranic society, everyone- irrespective of race, colour or creed-will be equal in the eyes of the law and have an equal opportunity to develop his or her latent potentialities. There would be no favouritism, no partisanship, no nepotism. Whoever wishes to progress in life by toil and endeavour, will achieve his aim; and whoever, owing to his own ineptitude and lethargy lags behind in this temporal life, then that will be to his own detriment. (46:19, 99:7-8).

In this just society there will be no distinction made between a child born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and a boy born in a poor family. In a Quranic society there will be no such thing that the former gets the best education and every luxury, whereas the latter cannot even get a rudimentary education because of poverty. This worldly hierarchical class division was created by Brahminism (priestcraft) that kept a section of society in its iron clutches. The Quran made mankind free from all this, and on this very basis proclaimed that:
“CELEBRATE AND REJOICE ON RECEIVING THIS CHARTER OF FREEDOM.”

 

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REASON AND EIMAN – Islam: A Challenge to Religion (G A Parwez)

  1. Reason and Its Limitations

The source of Revelation (Wahi) is transcendental Reality, which is beyond the ken of reason, but as Revelation is meant for human beings and serves the purpose of guiding them, it is, naturally, couched in a language which is intelligible to them. Reason, therefore, can apprehend the content of Revelation.

Reason has its own distinctive approach to Reality and apprehends it, albeit to a limited extent. The greatest achievement of reason is science. Science employs methods which are perfectly valid and yields true knowledge within its proper sphere. Reason certainly has its limitations but sceptics declare it to be absolutely unreliable. This is not true. The telescope enables us to see heavenly bodies which we cannot see with the naked eye. It would be unreasonable to reject its aid on the ground that it does not extend our vision to the outermost regions of the universe. Similarly, it is no doubt true that reason cannot give us absolute knowledge, nevertheless the knowledge it does achieve, however small, is useful and valuable. The old adage, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” is only partially true, as traditional maxims are. A little knowledge is only dangerous when we take it to be complete knowledge. Every fragment of knowledge is useful if we apply it with intelligence and with full awareness that it reveals only a fraction of reality. But if it is wrong to despise and reject human reason as an unreliable guide, or belittle its value it is equally wrong to exaggerate it and claim that the whole of reality is within its ken. Only a few aspects of reality are accessible to reason and about them it does supply true and useful knowledge. Reality, however, has an infinity of aspects, and all of them, as well as the very core of reality, reason will always find inaccessible. Reason can legitimately function within its own sphere and ceases to be reliable the moment it steps beyond it. Wisdom requires that we should form a correct estimate of the capacity of human reason as well as of its limitations. We can put it to the best use only when we know what it can do and what it cannot. Some scholars, dazzled by the spectacular and soaring success of modern science, believe that the time is not far off when science will have solved the riddle of the universe and will be able to answer any question that we care to ask regarding man and the world. The universe to them is a gigantic machine, which, though immensely complex, can yet be understood fully and exploited by human reason. This presumptuous attitude is hardly justified and, if not corrected soon, can do us great harm. Wise men, including great scientists, are aware that reason can never fathom reality. What Shakespeare wrote in the seventeenth century is still true when science has seemingly reached its meridian:

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

The same sentiment is echoed even by some scientists of today. Dr. Aitken, the Director of Lick Observatory, California, while discussing the formation of the universe frankly admitted: “Of the origin of the universe and its ultimate fate, we know practically nothing”(1) Besides, there is no finality about scientific theories. With the discovery of a new fact, even a well established theory may have to be modified or even set aside. We cannot, therefore, place absolute reliance on them nor can a philosophy of conduct valid for all human beings, be built upon the shifting sands of scientific theory. Dr. Crowther aptly remarks: “The last word of science on any topic may perhaps be left for the last man to utter”(2) It will be sheer folly then, if we were to depend on reason alone for acquiring a set of right principles of conduct. Reason has repeatedly failed to give right guidance in regulating social relations. Experimenting with social affairs has often led to disaster. Kingship was tried at first, then imperialism and finally democracy, and that too is on trial today. Man has paid a heavy price for experimenting with various forms of government – centuries of bloodshed, internecine wars, revolutions, class struggle, and economic and political unrest. Man is still yearning for justice, equality, freedom and peace. For two centuries men have pinned their faith on democracy but there are now unmistakable signs of disillusionment. Later on we will undertake a fuller discussion of democracy.

 

  1. The Function of Reason

 

Man is a finite being and the powers with which he is endowed are necessarily limited in scope. Human reason is no exception. On this ground, however, we are not justified in despising it and refusing to employ it in solving the problems of life. The guidance that reason gives is not the less valuable because it is not perfect. It is reason that has raised man far above the animal level; to repudiate reason is to sink to the animal level or even lower. Man cannot fall back on instinct which is the mainstay of animals. Man outgrew instinct when he developed reason. The glorious successes of reason however, led man to overestimate its capacity: he expected that reason would give him absolute knowledge. When this expectation was not fulfilled, he became disillusioned with reason and went to the other extreme in rejecting reason outright. Among religious people too, both the mystics and the dogmatists are in revolt against reason. The mystics seek guidance in mystical experience and the dogmatists strictly in the letter of the scriptures. They forget that both these things have to be interpreted by human reason if they are to be of any use to man.

They forget that reason is the distinctive attribute of man and to repudiate it is to repudiate the best in him. They forget that the Qur’an does not lend support to this deprecation of reason. Rather, it exhorts us to make full use of our rational power.

The Qur’anic view of reason and its place in human life deserves careful consideration. Briefly stated, this view is that the long evolutionary process culminated in the emergence of man, characterised by the Qur’an as a “new creation” (23:14). It was at this stage that “He breathed in him His Ruh” (32:9), and endowed him with the capacities of “seeing, hearing and apprehending” (32:9). Man was granted a mind (fuaad) which enabled him to think and, through the instrumentality of intellect, to build up a system of knowledge. Man will, indeed, be an ungrateful creature if he refuses to value and make use of the best of Divine gifts. Reason converts the raw grist collected by the senses into knowledge. The Qur’an rightly assigns to reason an important role in human life:

The worst of beasts in Allah’s sight are the deaf, the dumb, who do not use their intellect to understand (8:22).

This is a graphic description of the degradation of man when he does not press reason to his service. Such a man, the Qur’an tells us, not only lives a worthless and debased life in this world but also renders himself unfit to live in the higher plane on which he enters after death:

There are many a people, both among the civilized and the nomadic tribes, who lead such a life as makes it obvious that they are meant for hell (7:179).

It is so, because, as-the Qur’an puts it:

They have hearts with which they discern not, and they have eyes with which they see not, and they have ears with which they hear not; these are as the cattle-nay are worse; they are the heedless (7:179).

The point is again emphasized in the chapter entitled the Furqaan. The Rasool  is addressed in  the  following words:

Do you think that most of them hear or have sense ? They are but as the cattle nay but they are farther astray (25:44),

The denizens of Hell are consumed with remorse because they had possessed understanding but did not use it to any purpose:

Had we been wont to listen or have sense we had not been among the dwellers in flame (67:10).

In the chapter entitled Yaaseen, they are again reminded of their sinful negligence of their duty to use their understanding:

And yet Shaitaan has led astray of you a great multitude. Had ye then a sense. This is the Jahannam with which ye were threatened (if ye did not use your sense and follow him blindly) (36:62-63).

It is clear, therefore, that Islam is no enemy of reason and does not regard it as a hindrance to “spiritual” progress. It will be worthwhile to consider the role that the Qur’an assigns to reason both in the “secular” and the ” spiritual” spheres.

 

III.  Reason and Faith (Eiman)  – The Qur’anic View

 

In the Qur’an, human reason is repeatedly extolled. As already stated, the birth of reason in man is referred to as marking a “new creation.” It is clearly stated that even Divine Revelation is not to be accepted un-questioningly and uncritically. Man is exhorted to ponder and reflect over it and interpret it in the light of his reason. “Will they not ponder over the Qur’an?” (4:82). Men who find thinking irksome are described in these words:

These are they whom God’s Law of Retribution has deprived (as a result of their own doing) of the blessings of life and has made them deaf and has blinded their eyes. Will they not then meditate on the Qur’an or are there locks on their hearts? (47:23-24)

The Qur’an appeals to man’s reason and understanding. Its teaching is couched in a language which is lucid and intelligible. “Thus God makes plain to you His Revelations that haply you may reflect” (2:219). The great truth to be apprehended by man is that he is the architect of his fate so that what he is in this world and what he will be in the Hereafter depend solely on his own actions. Good acts necessarily elevate him and bad actions inevitably degrade him. His welfare and misery are the result of his own deeds. He cannot shift his responsibility to others.

The Qur’an insists that even success in war depends on the right use of reason. It is generally believed that an army which is inspired with courage and fired with zeal is sure to win. The Qur’an claims that victory falls to the lot of men who remain cool and collected in the presence of danger and whose thinking is not clouded by passion. A hundred such men, the believers, are said to be a match for a thousand unbelievers who are swayed by passion, because they are, as the Qur’an puts it, “a folk without understanding” (8:65).

It is clear that the Qur’an assigns an important role to reason in the life of man. The Nabi is enjoined not to demand blind obedience from men but to exhort them to think and ponder. The following verse leaves no room for doubt that the Qur’an encourages and approves of independent thinking:

Say, I exhort you unto one thing. And what is that one thing ? It is that “ye awake, for Allah’s sake by twos and singly. And then, reflect” (34:46).

The Qur’an expects man to think and use his power of understanding. If he does this, he will be sure to follow the right path. The point to bear in mind is that the path which leads to success, that is eligibility for a higher plane of existence, can be discovered and followed only with the combined help of reason and revelation. These sources of guidance are supplementary to each other. If they are kept within their proper spheres, there will be no conflict between them.  The Rasool, therefore, is bidden to say:

This is my way. My invitation to you to follow Allah’s path is based on reason and insight-mine as well as of those who follow me (12:108).

The Qur’an challenges the opponents of Islam to produce arguments in support of their contention:

Ask them, (O Rasool!) Bring your proofs if you are truthful (2:111).

They are admonished when they argue about things of which they have no knowledge:

Why, therefore, do you wrangle concerning that about which you have no knowledge? (3:66).

Arguing about things of which we have no knowledge leads nowhere. The Qur’an asks us to eschew such unprofitable disputes:

Do not pursue that whereof you have no knowledge. Verily, the hearing and sight, and the heart, each of these will be asked (17:36).

The Qur’an lays stress on the value of correct knowledge and advises us to accept it and act upon it. All else is dismissed as mere guesswork which is far from being a trustworthy guide to action. As the Qur’an says: “A guess can never take the place of truth” (53:28). As rational beings, it is our duty not to stop till we have achieved correct knowledge. To be content with a mere “guess” is to denounce or abdicate our rationality, and to act upon it is to risk self-fulfilment.

The Qur’an gives a sketch of the process of knowing, so far as it is germane to its purpose, which is both scientific and ethical. The process is begun by the activity of the senses, which furnish the raw material of knowledge. The next stage is that of attending when the mind addresses itself to the material reaching it. This is the stage of perceptual knowledge. The sense data are referred to external objects and events and their objective meaning is grasped. In the third stage, through the processes of analysis, synthesis, abstraction and generalisation, the material is converted into knowledge of varying degrees of generality. The final stage is that of comprehension in which the new knowledge is placed and viewed in the context of the whole of human knowledge and experience, and its meaning for human life is assessed. The Qur’an exhorts men to aim at this deeper understanding of the meaning of the Nabi’s words, whenever he speaks to them. It denounces those who fail to make this attempt and stop at the first or second stage, being content with imperfect knowledge:

And you may see them looking towards you, but they see not (7:198).

These were people who appeared to be looking intently at the Nabi and listening to him, but their mind was making no effort to grasp the sense of his words and relate it meaningfully to their lives. The Qur’an makes an important distinction between “nazar” and “basar.” Nazar refers to the fact of passively receiving certain visual stimuli. Basar is insight, the grasping of the essential meaning of the thing of which the visual stimuli are mere signs. The same distinction applies to other senses, such as hearing, etc:

And of them are some who hearken to thee but will thou make the deaf to hear although they have no senses (10:42).

What the Qur’an is driving at is that a man whose mind is clouded with prejudices and preconceptions, will not be able to apprehend the truth, even though it stares him in the face. To apprehend it, he must approach it with an open and unbiased mind, must concentrate his attention upon it and must strive to comprehend it in relation to his genuine knowledge and authentic experience. In effect, the Qur’an recommends them an a posteriori approach to Revelation. By implication, the a priori approach is not favoured. The Qur’an’s position on this question may be summarised in this way: rid your mind of all preconceived ill-founded notions. Give close and earnest attention to the Revelation and have full confidence (Eiman) in it. Relate the Revelation to the well-established facts of human experience. Project your findings into the future as far as your reason can take you along the high roads lit by Revelation. Enrich your experience by the experience you have yet to experience. And, in the new vistas and the widened horizons that open up before you, identify the stars of your destiny and address yourself to the problems of life at hand. If you approach Revelation in a proper frame of mind, making full use of the powers with which you are equipped – reason and Eiman, hope and clarity – you can apprehend the truth enshrined in it, and guided by it, can march forward to the glorious destiny that awaits you. But you must deliberately, and of your own free will, choose the path which is pointed out. God could have compelled you to be good if He had wanted. But such goodness would have had no value. Only goodness that you acquire through your own efforts has value. You are free to choose, and if you use your faculties aright, you will make a proper choice.

This, in brief, is the advice that the Qur’an offers to man. It is reiterated in numerous verses. When the Nabi grew worried that people did not pay attention to his words and did not try to understand them, he was admonished in this way:

If Allah willed, all who are on the earth would have believed (in Him). Would thou (Muhammad) compel men until they are believers? (10:99).

To understand the Qur’an or, for that matter, any other revealed book, it is not enough to have mastered its language. A man may be proficient in the Arabic language and yet the meaning of the Qur’an may elude him. He should approach the Book with a receptive mind free from preconceived ideas and notions, prejudice and bias. He should be serious about human life and the universe in which we live, and should have an intense consciousness of participation in a purposeful cosmic process. He should also be anxious to guard against pitfalls in the way of life and to steer clear of the obstacles which hinder his progress. These are, according to the Qur’an, the essential prerequisites for understanding the Book. To those who do not approach it in this way, it remains a sealed book. In the stories of the Anbiya – prophets recounted in the Qur’an – we are told how those who were not perceptive and alive were only bewildered when they listened to their (Anbiya’s) passionate exhortations. Some of them frankly confessed that they found their words unintelligible:

O Shu’aib! We understand not much what you say (11:91).

The Nabi Muhammad (PBUH) too, often came across people who were completely unresponsive to his words, while others were stirred, who believed and were prepared to listen. In dealing with the former, he occasionally grew impatient and felt frustrated. The Qur’an counsels him to be patient, forgiving and tolerant. It warns him against the temptation to impose his views on them

Haply you will kill yourself with grief – if they believe not in this message (18:6).

The Nabi is assured that if he has placed the true view, in simple terms, before the people, he has fulfilled his mission. More than this is not expected of him. It is not his duty to see that the view is accepted by the people. His duty is only to tell them which is the right path and which the wrong one and to acquaint them with the consequences of following the one or the other. They are free to choose for themselves. God does not want to force people to accept His guidance. He has endowed man with the powers of understanding, judgment and free choice. If man makes use of these powers he can understand the Revelation and can profit by the guidance offered therein. He must bear the consequences of his choice, whether they are pleasant or unpleasant.

To sum up, there is no conflict between Revelation and reason: rather they supplement each other. Eiman in Revelation and reason together enrich life and make it fruitful, provided each keeps to its own proper sphere. Eiman energises reason and reason orientates Eiman to concrete reality. Without either, life would be impoverished. Reason without Eiman is like a well-constructed machine which is not geared to a motor, while Eiman without reason is only blind force. The glorious periods in human history were characterised by a robust Eiman and an active reason. Prof. Whitehead has rightly remarked:

Ages of faith are the ages of rationalism.(3)

 

  1. Miracles

 

The subject of miracles bristles with difficulties and yet it challenges the attention of every student of religion. Such a student is called upon to define his attitude towards miracles and to explain his conception of the relation between religion and miracles. Here he faces a dilemma. On the one hand, modern man finds it well-nigh impossible to give credence to miraculous happenings. The only course open to him is to dismiss them as gross superstitions. For the scientist, nature is a closed system and any incursions of the supernatural into it are unthinkable. On the other hand, history testifies to the close association of religion with belief in miracles. The prophets of old were generally credited with the power of working miracles, so much so that a prophet was judged not by the value of his teaching but by the miraculousness of his deeds.

Whatever may be the case with religion, Islam, at least, lends no support to such superstitions. The Qur’an appeals to reason. Its professed  aim is to make men rational and clear-sighted, not to make them superstitious. The Qur’an directs man’s attention to the phenomena of nature and the facts of history, as they reveal the power of God and His wisdom.  Man is invited to look at and reflect upon the grandeur of the heavens, the beauty of the earth, the freshness of dawn, the glory of sunset and the terrifying force of the wind as it sweeps over the open spaces of the desert. Pointedly, it asks: “Are not these marvellous? What more do you want?” The phenomena of nature, at once beautiful and mysterious, can fully gratify man’s sense of wonder. However, the people with whom the Nabi of Islam had to deal were steeped in superstition. They were obsessed with the craving for the miraculous. They not only believed that the laws of nature could be violated but regarded such a violation as the only proof that could be offered for the truth of a statement. Instead of scrutinizing the rational grounds of the statement and accepting it if adequate evidence was adduced  in   its favour, they asked whether the man who made it could work wonders or not. It was not easy to deal with and win over people whose attitude to truth was so irrational. The Nabi did the best that he could in these difficult circumstances. With gentle persuasion he strove to turn their attention from figments of imagination to the concrete facts of life and history. He exhorted them to reflect upon nature and history and make a serious attempt to understand them both. With fervent earnestness he assured them that he did not claim the power to work miracles but that he rested his case on rational arguments and on the beneficial effects of his teaching. His opponents could not be expected to be satisfied with this simple explanation. They retorted that if he were a true Nabi he would surely have worked miracles; his inability to do so was proof that he had no valid claim to nubuwwah. The accusation was without foundation. If the Nabi had been an imposter, he could easily have worked on their superstitious minds. A single instance will suffice to prove his integrity of character. Soon after the death of his beloved son, there was a solar eclipse. People were frightened by the unusual darkness and they humbly suggested to the Nabi that nature seemed to be convulsed by the shock of his son’s death. Without the least hesitation, he assured them that this was a natural phenomenon  and had no bearing on his personal affairs. Nature goes on its course unconcerned with the calamities that may befall man. Only a man of his stature could have refused to seize an opportunity of convincing people absolutely that he was a miracle worker and, therefore, a true Nabi. The incident throws ample light on the essential honesty and integrity of the Nabi. No prospect of immediate gain could induce him to come to a compromise with the superstitious unbelievers.

The Nabi was consumed with the passion to reform the people and to induce them to accept the truth which he had placed before them. Their insistent demand that he should work miracles to convince them, made him despondent. On such occasions, the Qur’an counsels him to remain firm and not to give way to despair. Sometimes, he might have thought that if only he possessed the power to work miracles, he could quickly have persuaded the people to accept his teaching and follow the right path. The Qur’an did not leave even such a remote thought unanswered:

If their aversion (to the truth) is grievous to thee, then, if thou can, seek a way down into the earth or a ladder into the sky that thou may bring to them a portent (to convince them all). If Allah willed, He could have brought them all together to the guidance; so be not thou of the ignorant (6:35).

God wants men to see and accept the truth through understanding and not dogmatically and irrationally:

Those who do not use their intellect, the matter remains confused to them (10:100).

The Qur’an calls upon men to apply their minds to its teaching, to strive to grasp its meaning and rationale. If they remain unresponsive to the call, the Qur’an refuses to stoop to irrational methods of influencing their minds. It would rather leave them to follow the wrong path, if they have chosen it freely, than consent to any kind of compulsion, however well-intentioned, to lead them to the right path. Greatness may be thrust on some but goodness can be thrust on none. All that the Qur’an does is, it sounds the warning, time and again, that if the thought-provoking faculties are suppressed for long, they would ultimately lose their power to kindle the pulse of thought. It says:

Those who just go on rejecting the truth (without trying to understand it) it is all one for them whether you warn them (against the consequences of their actions) or not. They will not accept the truth. (As a result of their obstinacy, the law of Allah) has sealed their hearing and hearts and on their eyes is a covering. Theirs will be an awful doom (for they saw no reason) (2:6-7).

Those who possessed reason and did not use it to acquire true knowledge and to gain an understanding of the Revelation are denounced as the vilest of men and contempt is poured on them:

And We have struck out for men in this Qur’an all kinds of similitudes (to make the matter clear) but, notwithstanding all this, if you place before them a verse of the Qur’an, those who disbelieve will surely say: You are but given to vanity. Thus does Allah seal the hearts of those who do not try to understand (30:58-59).

Again:

And We send not Our messengers but as bearers of glad tidings and as warners (to those who tread the wrong path): but those who reject the truth dispute with vain words that they may refute the truth thereby, and they take My Revelation and what they are warned of as a jest. And who does a greater wrong than one who being reminded of the laws of Allah, turns aside from them and forgets what his hands have sent on before. (This is how Our Law of Retribution) places veils upon their hearts, so they understand not, and a heaviness is in their ears. (The result of their obstinacy is that) though thou call them to the right path, they will never adopt it (18:56-57).

Again and again, in support of itself, the Qur’an directs man’s attention to natural phenomena and historical events. It justifies its teachings on verifiable grounds and on historical evidence. The Qur’an assures man that his highest aspirations and ideals are attainable as he lives in a friendly and sympathetic universe, which is controlled by a wise and compassionate power. Miracles are repugnant to the consistently rational spirit of the Qur’an. Those who demand miracles are occasionally humoured but are more often reproved in plain terms.

The view advocated here may, however, be challenged on the ground that the Qur’an recounts many miracles which were wrought by the earlier Anbiya. There are several possible interpretations of these miracles. Some scholars have had recourse to allegorical interpretation. Others have had that the figurative language and vivid imagery served to drive home a general truth. Another plausible theory is that the Qur’an in describing people of an earlier age had to mention the unusual events which had psychological reality for them. However, it is a question which concerns the scholar who is interested in the mental development of man. It has no bearing on deen as such, We subscribe to the view that they have been narrated metaphorically and can be interpreted rationally.*

 

 

At this point we deem it our duty to put in a word of caution.    Events which have  been  reported  in  ancient books  as “miracles” need not all be dismissed as the unconscious fabrications of credulous people. The mind of man  may possess powers which are unsuspected by science. Some present day scientists are not so

sceptical as their predecessors were, A new science, parapsychology, has sprung  up and for the moment seems to be vigorously active, A few eminent psychologists are working in this field and have already collected evidence and discovered facts in the face of which dogmatic scepticism appears to be as absurd as the credulity of the ancients, Telepathy, clairvoyance, clairaudience and psycho-kinetic phenomena are being experimentally studied, All we can say at present is that the mind may well possess supernormal powers. We are learning the lesson that intellectual arrogance is an obstacle in the search for truth. Whatever may be the outcome of the investigations into the occult, the truly Qur’anic response to the universe will remain unchanged. The question of miracles may enlist the interest of the scientist but it has no vital relation to a quest which has any  connection  with deen. The Qur’an seeks to awaken in man the consciousness of his intimate relation to the universe. Its main emphasis is on reason and knowledge. Its purpose is to help to build up a free, self-reliant and rational personality, vivified with the sense of God’s working in the universe according to His unalterable laws. Therefore, miracles, if they mean freaks of nature or any alteration in the immutable laws of God, can have no place in that working.

We close this discussion with the following apt quotation from Iqbal which bears eloquent testimony to his deep insight into and perceptive appreciation of Islam:

The birth of Islam is the birth of inductive intellect. In Islam prophecy reaches its perfection in discovering the need of its own abolition. This involves the keen perception that life cannot forever be kept in leading strings; that in order to achieve full self-consciousness man must finally be thrown back on his own resources. The abolition of priesthood and hereditary kingship in Islam, the constant appeal to reason and experience in the Qur’an and the emphasis that it lays on Nature and History as sources of human knowledge, are all different aspects of the same idea of finality.(4)

 

  1. Approach to the Qur’an

 

Our first task is to understand the real meaning of the Qur’an with the help of all the intellectual faculties we possess. We can then proceed to assess the value of its teaching. How are we to test the truth and usefulness of the Qur’anic teaching? The Qur’an itself helps us to answer this question. It proposes three ways in which it may be tested and offers to abide by the results of these tests. It is significant that the tests proposed are all acceptable to reason. Nowhere is the supernatural invoked. The appeal is invariably to human reason and experience.

Before proceeding to consider the tests, let us recapitulate the teaching of the Qur’an. The Qur’an enjoins man to believe in God, to follow His laws, to believe in one’s own self, to love and serve his fellow beings, to act in a virtuous manner so as to develop and express the best in him, and finally to believe in and prepare for the Hereafter. All these we are invited to test in the light of reason. Is there anything in this teaching that is repugnant to reason? No doubt it is possible to doubt the existence of God and the reality of the Hereafter. But then, it is also possible to doubt the existence of the world. There is no conclusive proof of the existence of the objective world and some philosophers have argued, in all seriousness, that belief in such a world is unjustified. All that we can be sure of is the actual momentary sensation. In spite of philosophical arguments our belief in objective reality remains unshaken. Life pays little heed to the cobwebs of philosophers. The point to bear in mind is that suprarational realities are not less real because they cannot be proved by logical arguments. In applying the rational test it is permissible to ask whether there is anything in the teaching which runs counter to reason and to that part of human knowledge which commands universal acceptance. The question as to whether every element in it can be logically proved is inadmissible, because, the teaching, if it is to be true to its nature, cannot avoid reference to realities which transcend reason. In this case, the rational test will take the form of determining whether or not the teaching is in direct conflict with reason and whether it furthers the interests of humanity. It is needless to say that the Qur’an has stood the test of reason and proved itself to be in harmony with the best in man:

Say (O Muhammad (PBUH)! to the unbelievers): I say not unto you (that) I possess the treasures of Allah, nor that I have knowledge of the unseen, and I say not unto you: Lo I am malak. I follow only that which is revealed to me.

Say: are the blind man and the seer equal? Will ye not then take thought? (6:50; 11:24).

Secondly, the Qur’an invites people to judge it in the light of history. It asks them to ponder over the rise and fall of nations. It assures them that if they seek the causes of the downfall of a people, they will find that the people had contravened the principles of right conduct and permanent values which were communicated to them by the Nabi of their age. Right belief and right conduct enable a nation to rise to power, and wrong beliefs and actions lead to its downfall. Time and again the Qur’anic teaching, which confirms the teaching of earlier Anbiya, was put to the test and was found to be a trustworthy guide to the good life. People who rejected it and followed the wrong path inevitably fell into decay and were overtaken by a dreadful fate. The Qur’an advises men to pay attention to the facts of history in order to discover the difference between the ways of life of the nations which flourished and prospered and those which perished. It will be brought home to them that the latter cherished false and harmful beliefs and their conduct was not in harmony with the eternal laws of God:

But they deny the knowledge that they could not compass and whereof the final result had not come unto them. Even so did those before them deny. Then see what were the consequences for the wrong-doers (10:39).

Finally we come to the pragmatic test. The unbelievers are repeatedly urged to apply this test and satisfy themselves about the truth and value of the Qur’an. A tree is judged by the quality of its fruit and a creed by its effects on the life and conduct of men. The believers who had accepted the teaching and had regulated their lives in accordance with it, provided irrefutable evidence of its value to man. Their character had been transformed overnight. Formerly they were mean, selfish, quarrelsome, narrow-minded and self-centred caring only for petty gain. Afterwards, they were united in the pursuit of noble ends, were bound to each other by ties of love and affection, were kind and just to their enemies and lived up to the high ideals which they professed. The Qur’an had brought into existence a new type of man – self-respecting, self-reliant, conscious of his worth and desirous of enhancing it and fired with the ambition to set up a better social order in the world. These men by their lives and actions testified to the value of the Qur’an the spirit of which they had imbibed. The Nabi was fully justified in pointing to these men as a living testimony for the truth of the faith he preached. The astounding effect of the faith on the life of man was the strongest proof of its truth and values:

Say: O my people! work in your own way. I too am working. Thus ye will come to know for which of us will be the happy sequel, Lo! The wrong doers will not be successful (6:136).

Such are tests which the Qur’an desires to be applied. Even bitter critics will have to concede that the tests are crucial, practical and provocative.

Again and again the Qur’an exhorts man to think and think hard. The man who uses his reason is held up to admiration:

The blind man is not equal with the seeing, nor is darkness equal to light, nor is the shadow equal with the sun’s refulgence; nor are the living equal with the dead (35:19-22).

Those who think rightly can find the light of knowledge and can discover the path that leads to success:

Are those who know equal with those who know not? But only men of understanding will pay heed (39:9).

Again:

Surely those who strive for Us, We guide them to Our ways, and verily Allah is with those who lead a balanced life of goodness (29:69).

The Believers (Mo’minin), according to the Qur’an, are:

Those who, when the revelations of their Rabb are presented to them, do not  fall thereat deaf and blind (25:73).

This is Eiman! Not to accept even God’s Revelations deaf and blind.

 

References

 

  1. F. Mason, The Great Design, p. 35.
  2. Ibid, p. 52.
  3. Quoted by Iqbal in the Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p.2.
  4. M. Iqbal, Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, pp. 126.

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