Category Archives: English Pamphlets – Parwez

Why Do We Celebrate Eid? by G A Parwez

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 Lord 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 JASHN-E-NUZOOL-E-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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HOW CAN THE SECTS BE DISSOLVED? by Ghulam Ahmad Parwez

(Translated by Dr. Manzoor-ul-Haque)

The Quran completed Deen and told the Muslims: You hold fast all together this code of Allah and be not divided among factions. (3:103)

This is the very fountain spring of Deen and implies the secret of your life, wherein lies the durability, the establishment, and the stability of the Deen itself. (It means it is the code of life prescribed for you). Ponder over the various words of this illustrious verse, the reality will automatically unfold itself to you. The first and the foremost entity is that “the rope of Allah” is one  – and never more than one at all. The code of life is the Quran, and is the same (2:256), the fortified support, which can never crumble down. It is the most trust-worthy handhold, which can never let you down and is the only single most complete code of life for the entire humanity for all time to come.

The man-made systems of life are too fragile to withstand the onslaught of changing times but the one given to you by Allah is beyond the bounds of time and space, and far above the discrimination of any limitations or restrictions. Its principles are those Everlasting and Permanent Values, which can never undergo any change, any alteration or any transformation (10: 64).

DEEN IS A COLLECTIVE PHENOMENON

(2) The plural form of the word (you all) and the significance of the word in  3:103 make this reality self-exposed that Deen is not the name of any personal relation between the man and Allah by means of which every one, on one’s own “Religious discourse”, remains absorbed in meditation with God. And in this way seeks one’s (salvation) mukuti (i.e., deliverance of the soul from the body and exemption from further transmigration). Deen is the collective social order in which all individuals live as an indivisible whole and follow the same single prescribed way. The common denominator of Deen is the main spring of their collectivity and oneness. It is only this cohesion and harmony, which makes them one Ummat. (2:143)

“Thus we have made of you a justly balanced Ummat”

(3) The word  also made this reality evident that life can only be lived according to Deen, if the entire Ummah follows the same one way of life. But when different sects bog down into it, and each sect follows its own different way of life, the Deen can bolster no longer then. The injunction has made this reality further clear. And the other phenomenon is that imperative mood (order) has been used in the verse (3: 103) as: It means, “Do it”. And there is “Don’t do it” in the words (that is “Do not do like this”.) And it is evident that whatsoever is expressly encompassed within “Dos and Don’ts”, or within the “affirmative and negative” boundary lines, shreds no speck of any doubt in its certainty; and nor of any further emphasis or corroboration.

 

(3: 103) is a comprehensive principle of life and carries absolutely no disagreement or exception of any import.

 

IT’S NO NEW PRINCIPLE

 

(4) The Quran has also clarified that this is no more a new principle of life given to you the first time. It is the same principle showered to from the first day to date through every Nabi.

 

“Allah has opened to you the same way of Deen (System of life) He has enjoined on Noah. The same Deen is being revealed to you. The same was commanded to Abraham, Moses and Jesus.”

 

What was this Order? It was (42:13)

“You all establish the same Deen and never make any division of any import therein”. It was the same oneness of Deen and the avoidance of factionalism, which (irrespective of the diversity of time, space, and circumstances) made all the messengers of Allah, members of one single Ummat.

(23:52) “O ye, the group of Anbiya! This party of yours is one single Ummah. The main spring of your collectivity is that I am the Nourisher of you all”.

ONE SINGLE UMMAT

 

Hence you all obey My Laws alone. Here it has been made it abundantly clear that oneness of Ummat depends upon the oneness of the system of life and of the Laws of life. So far the Deen remains one, Ummat will remain one single entity. Or so far Ummat is one, its Deen will remain the same one single whole. When Ummat gets divided, Deen will also get divided, scattered and asunder. And since Deen is an indivisible whole, so the meaning of the divided, scattered, and asunder in “Deen” is that the real and the genuine Deen is no where extant today.

 

(5) How great and grave crime is the creation of any sectarianism in the rank and file of a Ummat (nation, group) can be judged from the incidence God has stated in Sura Taha. Hazrat Moses goes out for a few days and leaves Bani Israel under the surveillance of Aaron. When he (Moses) comes back, he notices that his followers have indulged in the worship of a cow. Whatever impact of this incidence could be on the temperament of Hazrat Moses is clear. He becomes upset, furious, and enraged. And asks his brother:

(20:92)

 

“(O Aaron) when you saw: “they are going astray”, what kept you back that you did not forbid them (from this way).”

Now listen to what Aaron responded to. But it must be remembered that Hazrat Aaron was also the Messenger of Allah. In response to it, he says: “Truly I feared that thou should say: “You have caused a division among the children of Israel and you did not wait for my word”. (20:94)

EVEN GREATER THAN ANATHEMA (SHIRK)

 

My brothers, did you pay heed to it as to what was there behind this matter? Hazrat Aaron said, “These people had started worshipping cow for some time on account of their ignorance; to me it was not such a great crime as was to create division and discord amongst them”. This answer is being given by a Nabi, and the second Nabi, on this answer, gets satisfied. As will be made clear in a few pages ahead, that the Quran has itself testified sectarianism (discord) as anathema. It is evident now that cow-worship was also anathema (Shirk) and the factionalism was equally too. But the anathema of sectarianism was such a heinous and dangerous crime that in order to get saved from it, the anathema of cow-worship could temporarily be assimilated. Hence the Quran stands witness to it that Tauba put away the crime of cow-worship

But when they created divisions amongst themselves and thereby got divided into different sects and factions (7:168)

they were trapped in the chastisement of destruction and devastation, disgrace and abjectness, deprivation and indigence, which remained them chasing every time like their own shadow.

(6) As has been told above, every Rasool had the message: “Establish Deen and never be divided amongst themselves.” In the light of this message, he used to form a party in the form of an Ummat. His Ummat remained united for some time but with the lapse of time, sectarianism and factionalism started emerging in it. Why did this happen?

 

The Quran says its cause is (42:14) i.e., after being provided with AL-ilm (Wahee) for the purpose of vaporizing all the divisions and differences, there remains no question of any sectarianism amongst themselves. But the inheritors of this Wahee used to form various sects within their rank and file with selfish envy for surpassing passion and bickering desire to have power over one another.

THE IMPETUS OF SECTARIANISM

The cause of this sectarianism and factionalism was not the phenomenon that they were mistaken in understanding the reality of Deen, nor was the fact that any item remained doubtful, obscurant and ambiguous to them. Doubt, suspicion, and ambiguity have nothing to do with the knowledge, God has revealed.

 

This sectarianism used to balk for satisfying the lust of power and authority. Those who had intense desire to emerge as leaders used to create their own individual sects. And then every sect wanted to surpass and dominate over the others. This used to start mutual conflicts leading to bickering and wrangling and thus the Ummat used to get divided into sects and factions. And then this made the Deen become shrouded in the mist of chaos and distraction.

 

This brought this reality to our forefront that appearance of sects does not come into existence on the basis of any knowledge and vision, nor on any arguments and reasoning. It is based on sentiments. It is a separate phenomenon that the followers of every sect look to be arguing in favour of their own faction. And which one is the sentimental decision for the support of which the deceitful intellect remains mired in the myth of projecting its argumentation?

 

PURPOSE OF THE REVELATION OF THE QURAN

 

(7) There was exactly the same situation prevalent in the world of religions when the Quran was revealed. (Be it known that Deen remains the same entity; but when it is fragmented into sectarianism, it metamorphoses into religion.) The Quran has narrated the aim of its revelation: “It will establish the Deen of Allah by vaporizing all the differences. And will transform all factional and sectional-ridden men into one single Ummat”.

 

“(O! Rasool) this Book has been sent to you for the express purpose that you may make clear to them, those things in which they differ”.  And there after, those who acknowledge the veracity of this one single Deen, this Book, will guide them to the right path of life and thus will become the main spring of Rahmat, the means of nourishment. (16:64)

“It means the exposition of reality would be uniformly equal to all, but the guidance and the means of nourishment  – Rahmat – would exclusively be for those who have conviction in its truthfulness.”

 

This made this reality crystal clear that the primary object of the Quran is the establishment of the oneness of Ummat by wiping out all divisions; and the eradication of division is the ‘Rehmat’ of Allah. At another place, the Quran has made this point clear when said:

“Had it been willed that the entire humanity be made to follow the same mode by compulsion, it would have never been difficult for God to do so”.  Like the way He has created the other animals that the member of every species leads its life within the fold of its own species and group and does never cause any dissension with it. (For example all the sheep lead the life on the same one pattern and all the loins follow the same mode of conduct.) (11:118)

 

ONENESS ON THE BREATH OF VISION

 

Likewise He would have instinctively compelled the entire mankind to follow the same conduct of life. But He has not done so. He has showered freedom of thought and action to the mankind. It means “if they wish, they may live the life of harmony and unity; and if they desire otherwise, they may create chaos and distraction.” But they were made this fact clear that the life of chaos and distraction is the life of chastisement and that of leading the life of one single Ummat is the life of Rahmat and auspicious prosperity. But this oneness can only be obtained and sustained if you make the Book of Allah the code of your life on the breath of your vision and from the deepest recesses of your heart and mind. If you do so, you clinch the goal of your life. That is why the next part of the above mentioned verse is

Except the people, who lead their life at par with the Revelation and thereby make themselves the true potential users of the results of the Revelation, the others will continuously go on indulging in division and disharmony though they were created to be one single Ummat (from within the recesses of their heart and mind). (11:119)

 

Thus, this Verse brought to bear upon this reality that:

 

  1. The object of man’s creation is to develop one single Ummat (universal brotherhood) amongst mankind and that they must not create divisions and factions amongst themselves;
  2. That the divisions and differences amongst mankind can be eliminated by following the Divine Revelation alone; and those who do that, theirs shall be the life of ‘Rahmat’;
  3. That those who do not lead their life in accordance with the Divine Revelation shall not be able to eliminate their divisions and differences and thus theirs shall be the life of misery and destruction.

 

NOT TO CREATE SECTARIANISM

 

(8) After making these points clear, the Muslims were told:

“But be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving clear signs.” (3:104)

“The people who divide into factions and start disagreeing with one another, for them is a dreadful penalty”. In the other two verses coming after this verse, the Quran has made it explicitly clear that “the life of disharmony and of sectarianism after conviction is the life of kufr and leads to misery and destruction. On the contrary, the life of harmony, familiarity and integration showers exoneration, success, triumph, victory, and Allah’s Rahmat”. (3:106-107)

 

It is evident from these verses that the life of division and mutual disharmony is the life of curse and chastisement. And Allah’ Rahmat showers on those who live as one compact Ummat and avoid disharmony and discord.

By the way, it may also be remembered: the Quran tells that the end product of disunity, discord, and disharmony is the greatest and the gravest chastisement. The Table of the Conjugations of the Arabic Verbs in which the word has occurred connotes the implied aspect of “permanence” and “uninterruptedness” in its process. It means the “chastisement” will neither be for the time being, nor be on emergency basis; but it will be of permanence and perpetuity in its scope and nature. This chastisement will continuously chase them till they keep sectarianism bolstering amongst themselves.

SECTARIANISM IS ANATHEMA (SHIRK)

 

(9) Going even a step further, the Quran told the Muslims: “Hark! Do not be anathematized (Mushrik) after believing the unity of God (Tauheed).” (30:31)

 

How wonder struck and  (ostensibly) incomprehensible was the phenomenon: “How can the Muslims become anathematized (Mushrik) again after believing in one God? Will they start worshipping the idols?” The Quran says, “No, anathema is not the worshipping of the idols alone.” As we have seen in the incidence of cow-worship in the Sura Bani Israel that idol-worship is “Shirk-e-Khafi” (i.e., an anathema of a lesser degree), “Shirk-e-Jali” is something else. While giving its illustration, it was told that becoming Mushrik (anathematized) means

(30:31-32)

 

“Be not among those who caused factionalism in their Deen and became factions.” For this factionalism, the Quran told:

 

(30:32) “Every sect remains absorbed in the frenzy that it is the only sect, which is on the right, and the others are fallacious and fictitious.” This is such a psychology of sectarianism, the phenomenon of which we can observe every time. Keep especially the words of this verse in mind because these words unveil an important but significant reality, which will be mentioned in the coming pages.

 

THE RASOOL (PBUH) HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SECTARIAN-MONGERS

 

Anyhow, the Quran openly made it clear to the “one unified Ummat”: ‘if you created factions in Deen, it would be anathema (Shirk). It would never be a belief in one God (Tauheed); and no one would become unaccountable simply by verbalizing that it is the only one that stands on the foothold of original and genuine Islam, while the other factions are fallacious and fictitious’. It was on the basis of this fact that Rasoolullah was told:

(6:159)

 

“Those who create difference in Deen and divide themselves into sects (O! Rasool) you have got nothing to do with them.” It means God has nothing to do with the sectarian-mongers (because they remain no more the believers in one God; they become anathematized), nor does the Rasool of Allah(PBUH) has any association with them. It is because the Rasoolullah(PBUH) established one-single Deen and one-single Ummat and they transformed it into varying segments and hence became the carriers of a parallel Deen (the system of life) in real sense; so what relation do they have with the Rasoolullah(PBUH)?

 

It is here at this point that an objection is raised: ‘The Rasoolullah(PBUH) formed an Ummat, which stood firm on the true Deen. A sect emerged out of it as a separate entity. It is evident that this new faction is anathema crime commuter and fallacious-monger.  Then adjudicating as a separate sect, how can the remaining Ummat, which stands firm on its way, be justified as the commuter of the same crime?’ This is an important objection. But its answer or more precisely the solution of this problem will come a bit later.

 

SALAT: THE FOUTAIN SPRING OF TOGETHERNESS

 

(10) In Surah Ar-rum (30:31), just before the words
there are the following words:
“Establish Salat and be never amongst the anathematized (Mushrekeem).” It means ‘be not amongst those who created sects in Deen’. It is clear that the system of Salat in Deen is the basic reality. As long as it follows the course, sects can not be created in Deen. That is why the Quran says; “When their Ummat gets divided into sects after the Anbiya, it undermines the purpose of Salat, and follows its own lust.” (19:59)

 

Our own position is its living evidence. Our state of affairs is that the Salat, which the Quran termed as the strong means of the oneness of Ummat, has become the symbol of discrimination and dissention amongst the different sects today. Hence, if you have to see “which sect such and such a person belongs to”, then see to it as to how does that person offer his prayer? (That is why when the antagonists launched a campaign of opposition against Tolu-e-Islam that it is a new sect, they had to coin the accusation in support of their contention that these people offer prayers of three times and that they think one prostration (Sajdah) in one Rak’et is necessary.) It was in this manner that they wanted to prove that their prayer is different from that of other factions’, so it is a new sect. But it was all slander-mongering and false accusing. Neither does Tolu-e-Islam propose any separate prayer, nor does it create any separate faction. (To whom formation of factions is anathema, how can it become a sect in itself?)

 

MASJID-E-ZARRAR

 

Anyway, it was a parenthetical sentence. We were saying that the Quran had adjudged Salat as symbol of unity and integrity for the united Ummat. It was because of this reason that during the time of the Rasoolullah(PBUH) himself, some faction-mongers constructed a new mosque. The intensity with which the Quran opposed this construction can be gauged from the relevant verses of the Sura Taubah. Pause and reflect for what the Quran says in this matter.

(9:107)

 

“Those who put up the mosque with this intention that loss be incurred to the Millat-e-Islamia and the Deen itself.”        “and kufr be favoured or the path of kufr be hiked.”                               (9:107) “ i.e., with the purpose that dissention be created in the Muslims.”  Do you think of it as a mosque?  No, it is not a mosque.

 

(9:107)                                                                            “It is

that ambush from which those who were the enemy of Allah and His Rasool (i.e., The Divine System) shall attack the Millat.” It means this is not a mosque; this is the fort where the enemies of Allah and His Rasool will lie in ambush to demolish the structure of Deen.
“They will indeed swear that their intention by constructing this mosque is nothing but good. We do never desire destruction of the Deen.”                                                              “Do not be taken in. God stands witness to this stark fact that they are out and out liars.” (9:108)

 

“O Rasool! Never take a single step into this mosque.” This mosque, so as to say, is just on the verge of hell. Whoso have constructed it or whosoever entered into it this will let all crumble down into the abyss of hell (9: 107-109). Hence history stands witness to this fact that Rasoolullah(PBUH) demolished this mosque through his associates.

 

Imagine from this incidence how heinous and horrendous the crime of sectarianism in Islam is! Even if the construction of a mosque casts any speck of factionalism, the demolishing of such mosque becomes imperative. Mosque can be demolished but the foundation of sectarianism can never be laid. It is because factionalism, in express terms, is anathema (Shirk), and is anathema of a conspicuous nature.

 

THE ORGANIZATION OF ONE COMPACT UMMAT

 

(11) These were the broad guidelines imparted to the Muslims for the organization of one compact Ummat. In the light of these guidelines, the Rasoolullah(PBUH) developed a united Ummat. This organization had a single code of life and a single objective: one Deen, a straight path to be followed with no division into sects. It was this class of the people about whom the Quran says:

 

(3:102) “Allah joined your hearts in love, and by means of Deen made you brethren to one another”. (9:100)

 

 

But what happened afterwards? This is a narration, tormenting and a story, stoke firing; so without going into its detail, just reflect over the following words of the Quran: (42:14)
Like the previous nations, ‘which after getting Revelation created factions in Deen on the basis of their passions wrought with mutual obstinacy and rebelliousness’, they too were divided into factions. In spite of the Quran’s clear, cogent, and outright injunctions, guidelines, warnings and emphatics, the division of Ummat into different factions is definitely an astonishing event. But this reality can not be refuted that the Ummat was divided into sects and that these sects are extant even today. The question arises repeatedly: “What justificatory reason to this mode of conduct would those-divided-into-factions eventually put forth?” Yes, they do put, and the justification for it is Ikhtelaaf-e-Ummatee Rahmah.

(DIFFERENCE AMONGST MY UMMAT IS A RAHMAT)

Now listen attentively to the justificatory reason they gush forth. They say that the Rasoolullah(PBUH) has said: “Dissention in my Ummat is Rahmat”. Did you think as to what the crux of the matter comes to? It means the dissension about which the Quran had explicitly said: “It is Allah’s chastisement; it is a cause of Kufr and a source of anathema (Shirk)”, now about this same dissension it is said that the Messenger of Allah (God forbid) has denoted it as a blessing of Allah, a fountain of His Rahmat. Whosoever has even a bit of know-how of the teaching of the Quran will unhesitatingly say that this sentence of the Arabic language cannot be the quote of the Messenger of Allah. The Messenger(PBUH) would have never told as such. How is it possible that Allah may call a thing as a chastisement and His Messenger may term it as His blessing, His Rahmat! You may go on arguing like this, but the sectarians would insist to it: “No, the Rasoolullah(PBUH) has told as such and had definitely told”. It is only because if this sentence is not termed as the Hadith of Rasoolullah(PBUH), there remains no implicit justification for sectarianism. But the Quran says those who do not accept the reality willingly, the reality makes them accept it unwilingly. We have an example before us as a proof to this effect. Sometimes back an allegation was levied against the Qadianees, that by creating a new sect, they had gushed forth the element of dissension in the Ummat. In response to it, they had said: “If any dissension has popped up in Ummat due to any of our actions, the Ummat should have acknowledged our thanks for this purpose   -without the least speck of any plaint-mongering. It is because the Messenger (pbuh) has said:

This new sect of ours is the additional Rahmat, showered on the Ummat”.

THIS IS NOT A HADITH

 

Now just pause and reflect: “What can be the reply to their answer-they-replied-to-the-question?” In response to this answer, the organ “Al-E’etasaam” of Jami’et Ahle Hadis had to say that’ “Dissension-is-a-blessing-in-my-Ummat” is no Hadith at all, so it can not be presented for the justification. But now what is the use of not adjudicating this sentence as the Hadith? Whatever flagrant devastation it had to wreck, it wrought in one thousand years. It hacked the Ummat to pieces. Dividing into outfits and sects, it paved way to the means of persistent, consistent and permanent killing and chilling in the Ummat. It destroyed their kingdoms, wrecked their grandeur and splendour; it devastated their world and the hereafter (future) both. After such large scale perdition and devastation, if this reality is acknowledged that ‘this is not the saying of the Rasool’ what compensation will it provide to those losses? Such are the spurious Ahadith for which Tolu-e-Islam says: These are the result of the conspiracies of the Persian thought hatched against Islam. And this is its crime for which it is declared as rebellion and maligned’.

 

The strange phenomenon ‘however’ is that in spite of adjudging this Hadith to be spurious, it is continuously and conspicuously being presented for the justification of sectarianism.

73 SECTS

 

Anyhow, it was a parenthetical sentence. I was telling that (“Dissension-is-a-blessing-in-my-Ummat”) was presented in justification to the sectarianism. But inherent defect in it is that all the sects are then judged to be Rahmat-inspiring and are hence acknowledged to be on truth. But sectarianism per se can not brook that every sect be understood to be true, and true in right earnest. Thus in order to cover it up, another Hadith was coined in which it was said that the Rasool(PBUH) had told: “There shall be seventy three sects in my Ummat and out of them only one shall be “Naji” (Salvationist) and all the rest shall be “Jahannumi” (infernal).” Did you ponder over it? How did it make all the outfits satisfied by making one exception; that it is on the right and all others are on the wrong. The Quran, about the sects, had said: (23:53)
Every sect is in this wrong presumption that it is on the right. In other words it means the Quran, with the words of              (all outfits), had closed all the back doors that pave way to the wrong satisfaction of sectarianism. But this spurious Hadith, with the exception of “one sect”, made this back door wide open. Now our history spread over almost 1000 years is a witness to the stark fact that in the garb of this exception, every sect is busy in the “Grand Jehad” (striving in the cause) of adjudging itself as ‘“Naji” and others as “Jahannumi”. And is considering the blood drops (shedding out in the bickering, wrangling, and brawling with other sects) as the fountain spring of its own success.

 

The prolonged practice of indicting fatwa (pronouncement of) kufr (apostasy) against one another is continues ad infinitum right from the first day. The news of the outburst of sectarianism are, daily, a constant source of vexation. The cause of these riots is mainly the “division” of the mosques. When the mutual bickering and brawling prolong, the police lock the mosques; the case goes to the court of law. And during all this tumult, riot and disturbance, every sect adjudicates itself as “Naji” and the opposite sect as the wooden block of “Jahannum” (Hell). The irony is that both the parties adjudge themselves as the followers of Islam, that Islam which adjudicated sectarianism as anathema (Shirk).

 

WHAT IS THE REMEDY?

 

(12) The question is: what to do in present situation? Sects are extant and no one amongst them is prepared to get itself dissolved. For the purpose of dissolving the sects, every sect gives the proposal that all the other sects may dissolve themselves into it. And it is evident that no one is prepared for it. The question is: “What is the solution of this issue?” This is a question, very important and very sensitive, hence warrants thorough and dispassionate thinking:

 

  1. The Quran claims that it has come to dissolve all the differences.
  2. We have belief in it.
  3. The Quran is present before us in its original form.

 

Now just think: if we still say ‘our differences can not be resolved and the outfits can not be dissolved’ to what loss does it lead us to suffer? It would mean that (God forbid) the Quran has, now, no potence left to resolve the dissension. I ask: “Can any one amongst you dare to say so?” But if we say ‘our sects can not be abrogated’, then its meanings are nothing except that ‘we practically confess that the Quran’s claim of dissolving the factions is not correct.’ If we are convinced about the truth of the Quran, we would have to empty our mind of the idea that ‘sects can not be eradicated in the presence of the Quran.’ Bear it in mind that every assertion of the Quran is true and it has the potential to vaporize the dissension. Then the only question that remains to be answered is: “What is the process by which the Quran can dissolve the differences?”

 

SECT OF AHL-E-QURAN

 

Some times back, (in Punjab) a group emerged which claimed that it would act upon the Quran alone and thus would bury the so-created differences and divisions among the Muslims. It was undoubtedly an innocent and praise-worthy objective. But the practical result which came to light was, however, quite contrary to the claim. Not to speak of dissolving the previous factions, it added one more sect -Ahl-e-Quran -to what we already had. Its reason was that it omitted the method and mechanism the Quran had suggested for eradicating the various sects. Hence its efforts not only ended in smoke, but also caused a great harm to the mission of the Quran itself. Now its consequence is that “whenever it is said that according to the Quran, our mutual differences and divisions can be wiped out,” it is said with a cold taunt: “This too has been tried out and has ended in failure”. It means the failure of the proponents of this idea, created an impression, that the Quran has no potential (God forbid) to curb the sects and fractions among the Ummat.

 

MECHANISM TO DISSOLVE THE DIFFERENCES

 

(13) Now the question is: “What method and mechanism does the Quran evolve to wash out these differences?” First of all make this a point that the Quran says:

“In whatever matter you have difference, its decision must be from Allah”. Here the word is worth consideration. It signifies that it is not an individual affair, where, if any difference erupts elating to any matter between two men, they may sit to get the decision from the Quran by themselves. Disputed matters are always decided and ordered by a third person, who is called                or Saalis (arbitrator). It was for this purpose that the Quran told the Rasoolullah(PBUH)”. (4:65)

 

“Your Rabb is witness to this reality that they can have no (real) belief, unless they make thee judge (Hukam: the one who gives decision) in all disputes between them and so they not feel heavy-hearted by your decisions but accept them with the deepest recesses of their heart.”

 

It means that decision from the Quran shall not be taken individually but this would require a living and concrete Saalis and Haakim (authority) to give decisions. This decision-making authority has been interpreted with a comprehensive term of “Allah and Rasool” in the Quran. Thus, a few verses before this verse, it is said:

 

 

O! you who believe, obey ‘Allah and  Rasool’ and obey those charged with authority (on behalf of ‘Allah and Rasool’) amongst you.” (4:59)

A  LIVING  AUTHORITY

 

 

“If there is dissension on any matter amongst you, (do not try to dissolve it on your own, but) refer it to ‘Allah and Rasool’, if you do not do so, it would be understood that you do not believe in Allah and the Last Day.”

 

Thus it clearly means that leaving aside the differences between two individuals but even if a party is aggrieved with the decision of sub-ordinate officers the matter has to be referred to the central authority of the Quranic System (‘Allah and Rasool’). This is the condition of conviction. If it were not acted upon in the similar manner, it would be kufr.

 

It has been stated earlier that the Quran has attributed the division and the dissension to “Kufr” (paganism). The practical way for protection against this Kufr was prescribed that there should be the Quran extant with the Ummat and the presence of Rasool(PBUH) as the decision-maker in the light of the Quran. The Quran, in Sura Al-imran, says:

 

 

(3:101)

 

“How could you practice “Kufr”? When the state of affairs is that:

 

  1. Allah’s Book is extant with you
  2. And along with it, His Rasool is present among you.”

 

It means so long the Quran and the Rasool (pbuh) are extant in the Ummat, factions can not be created.

 

This brought another issue to us: all these verses of the Quran indicated that during the presence (life) of the Rasool (pbuh), the Ummat had to remain scared of the outfits, but after he passed away, there was no way of being scared of the factions. It was because the presence of both ‘the Quran and the Rasool (pbuh)’ was necessary for warding off the factionalism. And when one of its parts, (the Rasool) did remain no more present, there remained no possibility of protection from sectarianism.

THE MEANING OF

 

The Quran says you did not understand the matter correctly. You are of the opinion that the presence of the Rasool(PBUH) means, so far as Muhammadur Rasoolullah(PBUH) is present among you, this system will remain operative. When he dies, the “Rasool(PBUH)” will remain no more present. This idea is incorrect. This operational mode is not conditioned with the physical life of the Rasool(PBUH). It will continue after him. That is why it was specified in Surah Al-imran in these words:

 

 

(3:144)

 

“Muhammad is no more than a Rasool of Allah; previously many were the Rasools who passed away (after shouldering their responsibility of disseminating the message). So if he (by tomorrow) dies or is killed, will you then (by thinking that this system was extended only to his life) turn back to your previous way of life?

 

“Whosoever (on the death of the Rasool) turn back to the previous way of life, not the least harm will he do to Allah (will render loss to himself alone).”

 

This made the matter absolutely clear. In other words it means that does not mean the physical life of Rasoolullah(PBUH). Even after his death, this arrangement could continuously be in force.

 

AFTER THE LIFETIME OF THE RASOOLULLAH (PBUH)

 

When the Rasoolullah(PBUH) died, there was lamentation and dismay all around in the Ummat. During the tumultuous surges of passions, an idea hued in the mind of some people that the system the Rasoolullah(PBUH) established has now come to an end.

 

was a condition for this system. For removing this misunderstanding, Hazrat Abu Bakar SiddiqueR came up to the pulpit and made the people understand the Quranic exposition of in such a way that there could be no better effective way of exposition than this. He said:

 

 

“O people! Those who had adored the servitude of Muhammad(PBUH) ought to know that their M’ebood (god) is dead. But those who had maintained the subservience to God, their M’ebood (God) is alive and will remain ever alive.” After this, he recited the above said verse (3:144) i.e.,   This made the reality pristine clear. The audience understood as to how this system would remain established after the death of Rasoolullah(PBUH). Thus immediately afterwards they stood up and elected Khaleefa tur Rasool (i.e., the successor to the Rasoolullah(PBUH) and so filled up the vacuum caused by his death of the Rasoolullah(PBUH). Thus it is evident that some one’s succession tantamount to his presence. In this way the Quranic system established by Rasool(PBUH) i.e. “Quran and Rasool(PBUH)” continuously remained in existence in Ummat.

 

THE STATUS OF KHALEEFA TUR RASOOL

 

However, it must be made clear that the responsibility of shouldering the duty to establish Islamic System lied on the entire Ummat. It is because the Quran had made it abundantly clear that (i) the entire Ummat is the inheritor of the Book of Allah, it is not any single individual that inherits it. In Surah Faatir, the Quran says:

 

 

“Allah is the one who, to you (O Rasool) revealed this Book, which is the one that makes the realities in front of you come true.” (35:31-32)

 

“After that He has selected amongst His men (this Ummat) for the inheritance of this Book.” It means the first is that the entire Ummat is the heir to the Quran. Now proceed further.

 

(ii) The responsibility of the Rasoolullah(PBUH) was:

(7:157)

 

He ordered for the recognized (just) and forbade for the unrecognized (evil). Now this same responsibility was shifted to the Ummat. That is why in Surah Al-imran, the Quran says:

 

“You are the best Ummat, created for the welfare of the humanity. Your responsibility is to command for the recognized (just) and forbid for the unrecognized (evil).”

 

REPRESENTATIVE OF UMMAT

 

Thus these facts make it clear that the entire Ummat is the successor of the RasoolullahPBUH. For the sake of convenience of practical management of its affairs, Ummat can choose the best person amongst it as representative of the entire ‘Umma’ for continuance of the established system/arrangement. In this way, “Quran and Rasool” continuously remain operative in the Ummat. In their presence, the possibility of the genesis of the dissension and the growth of the various sects and factions in the Ummat is not possible. The history stands witness to the fact that during the period of Khilafat, the caliphate, neither did any disunity spring up, nor did any faction come into existence. It is because there is not a single instance found during this period in which the individuals of the Ummat might have sprung up on their own for the decision of their disputed matters. The central authority was referred for the disputed matters and all had to obey its judgement. This same authority is called “KHILAFAT ALA MINHAJE NABUWWAT”.

 

ANSWER TO THE UTMOST IMPORTANT QUESTION

 

Right from here we also get the answer to the question I had pointed in the beginning. The issue is that the Ummat is established on a way of life; some people creating difference with this procedure make a separate sect. In this case, this makes the Ummat divided into two sects. Those who created a separate sect are definitely guilty. But the rest of the people who, remained stick to the first procedure can not be adjudged to be criminal. Quite right, this is the very argument, projected by every outfit with the words that “we keep our footing on the real Islam, and others have created the other factions.” But on such a saying, this reality is ignored that as long as the condition of is maintained, such a situation cannot arise. If such a situation occurs, where a group creates dissension with the Ummat, the Successor of the Rasool (pbuh) shall declare on the basis of:

(6:159)

“Those who create difference in Deen and break up into sects, (O! Rasool) you have got nothing to do with them”, that is, the Successor of the Rasool (pbuh) shall declare that the Ummat has nothing to do with this new sect. Henceforth that will never be called the sect of the Ummat; it shall have nothing to do with the Muslims; it shall stand out of the fold of Islam. Therefore, the Ummat will remain as one compact Ummat alone. In other words it means no outfit shall ever be created in the “KHILAFAT ALA MINHAJE NABUWWAT”.

 

Anyway, this was the practical arrangement of the unity of the Ummat the Quran had prescribed after the death of the Rasoolullah, and that was what was practiced after his death. But after some time, this state of affairs did no more remain in force. Kingship replaced Khilafat. The Kings for their own selfish ends separated Religion from Politics. According to this absolutely un-Quranic bifurcation, the Kings themselves used to decide the matters related to the politics. So far was the Shariat, there remained no other forum available and hence the people made decisions individually. In this regard, another difficulty popped up. The Quran had commanded to follow “Allah and Rasool”. And now there remained no room for the exposition of the concept of “Allah and Rasool” the Quran had prescribed. It was because this very system had become non-existent, so a new exposition of the concept of following “Allah and Rasool” became imperative.

 

For the obedience to Allah, it was considered that it meant the obedience to the Book of Allah. But, how to obey the Rasool (pbuh), was a difficult question. For the solution of this difficulty, there was no way except to turn towards Ahadith of the Rasool (pbuh). Because, the concept of “Allah and Rasool” practically existed during the days of Khilafat, need for the collection and compilation of Ahadith did not arise. But now, it became a necessity; so collections of Ahadith were compiled. Now the method for following “Allah and Rasool” was decided in this way: that the disputed matters be individually decided according to ‘the Quran and Hadith’. Dissension and discord in these individual decisions was a must. Thus the decisions of “the Quran and Ahadith” became different with different sects. For dissolving these differences verbal disputes and mudslinging against each other became a common and unending practice. The results, these could bring, are before us today. The more the disease was cured, the more it spread. Now the situation is that there are scores of sects that exist today, and every one of them poses to be the champion of the obedience to “Allah and Rasool” and the claimant of complying with the real Islam. And since there is no living authority for washing off the differences    -the condition of                                   is non-existent, no one can decide as to” who says right and who says wrong”.

Now I think we have reached a place where we may automatically get the answer to the question:” What is the way out for gaining unity of the Ummat?” The only way for it is that the same arrangement be re-established for the disappearance of which the sects had surfaced. The first step for it is, to make this thought public, that the presence of sects and the Islamic way of life are two different things, diametrically opposite to each other. Under no circumstances can they be brought together under the same umbrella. And the only method of generating Islamic way of life by vaporizing the outfits is the establishment of Quranic System (Khilafat-ala minhaj-e-Nabu-wwat). Tolu-e-Islam has this sole objective before it and is striving for its accomplishment.

 

But if some body is under the impression that there is no likelihood of bringing back the Quranic way of life, he must not keep himself under the false deception that our present way of life is Islamic in nature and scope. Or it can become Islamic in the presence of the sects. I am conscious of the fact that you will not be ready to accept this reality easily. You will never like to accept it that Islamic life can not be lived in the presence of the factions. The acceptable way to you would be that out of all the factions, only one is on the right. It gives you this satisfaction that the faction you belong to is on the right, hence living life according to this faction is Islamic. The concept that devours this satisfaction from you can not be acceptable to you. You will be furious against this concept. But this furor of yours should be against the Quran, which adjudicates sectarianism as anathema (shirk), and not against the one who presents this teaching of the Quran to you. Either you say that this is not the teaching of the Quran, and if you can not refute it, your being in a fit of passion does not change the reality of the Quran.

 

Always remember as long as you do not accept this harsh reality in unambiguous terms that the life of sectarianism is absolutely un-Islamic in its very nature, you can never come to the straight path the Quran has prescribed. According to the Quran, the straight path is one and one alone. When the Ummat starts following different ways and means, then that straight path of life does not remain in front of any one. In Surah In’am, this reality has been stated in these words in the Quran:

 

 

(6:153)

 

“Remember, this is the only straight path of Mine. So you all follow it; accept it, do not follow other paths, they will scatter you about from His path. Allah has commanded you so that you may be afraid of going the wrong way.”

 

We may summarize what has been said above:

 

  1. Only following the Islamic way of life can eliminate sects.
  2. The Islamic way of life means the establishment of the State which is governed under the Principles enshrined in the Quran and encompass the boundaries laid down by the Quran itself.
  3. The laws enforced by this State shall be equally applicable to all individuals of the State; there shall be the existence of neither any sect, nor of any separate Fiqh of any sect. It shall only be the Quranic code, which shall be applicable to all.

 

The circumstances are unleashing the fact that the establishment of such a Quranic State shall not be agreeable to the present day Muslims. It is because they all are divided into various sects, and none of the sects looks to be ready to abandon its Fiqh. This will definitely lead you to the conclusion: “Neither can such a system be established amongst us (the present day Muslims), nor can the sects be dissolved.”

 

Its pragmatic exposition is that the Islamic system of life shall be established only amongst those people who come into the fold of Islam by accepting the above mentioned principles,    -whether such people be the present day Muslims, or those who come into the fold of Islam later. Whatsoever has the Quran commanded the Muslims to believe is nothing but:

 

(4:136)

 

“O ye Muslims! you who believe, believe in Allah and His Rasool and the Book which He had sent to His Rasool.”

 

This renovation of belief anew, in fact signifies conviction in the belief that Islam is opposed to sectarian way of life as a first step towards the establishment of the Quranic system of life. This stage looks to be flagrantly hard, violent, and critical. But the revival of Islam is not possible without it. If we keep deceiving ourselves by calling our present day un-Islamic life as Islamic, it shall by no means become Islamic. For an Islamic way of life, the basic condition is the existence of one compact Ummat, (with no trace of Sectarianism) and this is possible only in the QURANIC STATE.

This is how the various sects can be dissolved today.

 

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As-Salaat (Gist) – What Quran Says – Parwez

Introduction

The place and importance of as-salaa (obligatory prayer) – or, namaaz, as it is known in Persian – in the Muslim scheme of things cannot be overstated. It has been said that, on the Day of Judgement, the very first inquiry made by the Almighty of a Muslim is going to be about prayer; a Persian saying states: awwalleen pursish e namaaz bood. To offer prayer regularly and punctually is considered to be the first and foremost duty of every Muslim man and woman; it is illustrated in Prophetic Tradition (Hadith) by the incident when Ali ibn Abu Taalib missed his ‘asr (late afternoon) prayer and the Prophet miraculously instructed the Sun to roll back Time a little – which it duly did – so that Ali could perform his prayer at the right time. Also, great emphasis is laid upon performing and ‘acting out’ one’s prayer meticulously. In this regard, a number of points are discussed ranging from the geographical accuracy of qiblah (direction) to the precise gap between one’s feet while in qiyaam (standing position).

Despite all that, we are faced with the undeniable fact that the Quran, the Muslim Scripture, does not contain detailed, categorical instructions about this ritual of primary importance. At best, one finds somewhat vague information on the timing and certain body movements. There is certainly nothing to be found about the number of daily prayers neither is there any guidance about the changes this ritual may go through while a Muslim is travelling in space, living on planets other than Earth, or even certain regions of Earth itself, such as the Poles. To compound matters further, the term as-salaa has been used in the Quran for expressions and meanings which are very clearly other than the ritual obligatory prayer.

This state of affairs gives rise to a number of intriguing and nagging questions. Is as-salaa the equivalent of namaaz? Why is the Quran vague on this popularly the most important ritual? Is it a ritual, anyway? Or, is it an institution with a much wider context than being one of the personal rituals? What broader picture emerges if one considers various linguistic applications of as-salaa? In short, what is the Quranic concept of it as compared to the Islamic? These, among others, are the questions which have been dealt with in this translation of an excerpt from Lughaat al Qur’aan (‘Language od the Quran’), pp. 1034-46, the monumental Urdu work on the lexicon of the Muslim Scripture by the late Mr G A Parwez, the founder of the Tolu-e-Islam Movement, published in January, 1961, by Idara Tolu-e-Islam, Lahore, Pakistan.

Khalid Mahmood Sayyed


As-Salaat (Gist)

Salaat is one of the fundamental principles of Islam. In the Qur’an the word Salaat and its numerous forms, derived from verbal roots Sa’d lam waw and Sa’d, lam ya, have been profusely used. Al-musalli is horse, which occupies the second spot in a race but runs so close that its ears brush the rear portion of the winning horse-(the one in front). The basic meaning of this root is to follow a leader closely and constantly in every walk of life. So Salaat means:

  • To remain attached to the Laws of Allah, to remain within the parameters of the Laws of Allah and to remain devoted to the Book of Allah. As such, tasleah means to walk behind a person without overtaking him, but so closely that there remains hardly any gap between the two, and also to follow him by remaining devoted to him. On the basis of this, Raghib says, “The verse of the Qur’an lam naku minal-Musalliin (74:43) – we were not Musalliin -means that we were not the followers of the Ambia ( Messengers).”
  • To tread a balanced and straight path. This happens to be a du’a (entreaty), the Qur’an teaches us in its very first Surah (Al-Fatiha). A Muslim always desires to be on the straight and balanced path because he has to uncompromisingly follow Allah, Who continuously stays on a straight and balanced path – Sir’at-al-Mustaqeem(11:56). To follow Allah is to adhere willingly to His laws as enshrined in the Qur’an and to imbibe in one’s personality Allah’s most balanced attributes (called Asmaul Husna), of course, as closely as humanly possible.
  • The method to carry out the duties. In Surah Noor (24:41) Allah poses a question: “Have you not pondered over the fact that whatever is there in the universe, including the birds with wings outspread, is continuously accomplishing its assignments with utmost sincerity because it is well aware of its duties (tasbih) and the method (Salaat) to carry them out.” This obviously means that by instinctive drive everything and every being in the universe knows as to what its tasbih and Salaat are; the course it has to take and where it is destined for, and the cycle of struggle it has to undergo. This is called its tasbih and Salaat (For tasbih see siin ba ha – Lughat- ul-Quran vol. 2, p. 834). But Man has not been endowed with this instinctive know-how. He has been told of his duties and methods through wahi ( revelation). As far as man’s physical needs are concerned, he can gain knowledge about them through thought, consciousness, deliberation, intellect, experience and observation. But for the development of his personality and his needs of ‘humanity’ he has to rely on wahi. As such, for a man to know as to what his tasbih and Salaat are he has to know and to have faith in wahi. And in order to fulfil this objective it becomes essential to act as per the programme of wahi. This is, according to Quran, iqamat-e- Salaat– establishing the system of Salaat. To follow the Laws of the Quran is wa yuqiimuunas-Salaat (2:3). Surah Alaq (96:9-10) says, “When an obedient follower of Allah tries to discharge his obligatory duties then he (his enemy) puts obstacles in his way.” The scope of these obligatory duties is quite wide and they encompass all aspects of life. In Surah Hud (11:87) it is stated: “ The people of Shu’aib asked him: ‘Does your Salaat command you that we should forsake that which our fathers (used to) worship, or that we (should leave off) doing what we like with our own property?’’’ In other words they did not fully comprehend the structure of Salaat which encompasses even economic matters.
  • To establish a system in accordance with the Laws of the Quran. It is not possible for a person to individually act per the programme of the wahi (iqamat-e-Salaat). This can only be done collectively within a system. .That explains the Quran’s use of plurals in this context. Hence, it is the responsibility of an Islamic state to establish this order. The Quran says: “They are the ones who, when given power in the land, establish (the system of) Salaat and Zakat (see zay kaf waw Lugat-ul- Quran vol. 2 p 808-811). And they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong.” (22:41). Also (9:12) Elsewhere the people engaged in establishing the Divine Order are defined as people who do Rukoo (bow down) and Sajda ( prostrate or fully surrender before the Laws of Allah). (For rukoo see ra kaf ayn and for sajda see siin jiim daal, Lugat-ul-Quran p. 778 and 844-851). It is for this reason that at another place (42:38) iqamat-e-Salaat and mutual consultation for the State’s political affairs are discussed together: “They establish Salaat and (then) resolve their affairs through mutual consultation.” And since all the affairs of the Muslim community are resolved in the light of the Laws of Allah (Book of Allah) therefore in Sura Araaf (7:170) yummassikuu-na bil Kitaabi and aqaa-mus-Salaah are placed together. As such, iqamat-e- Salaat means to establish a system in which all participating persons are consistent in following the laws of the Quran, and in this way remain in harmony with the Quran. In order to highlight this objective the Quran has used the word tawallaa as an antonym of sallaa (75:31-32). Tawallaa means to deny and flout the correct path, to find ways of digression, to turn back, to refuse to acknowledge. Therefore, sullaa would mean to keep moving on the correct path in accordance with the Divine Laws, and to fulfil the duties determined or fixed by the Divine System. It is on this basis that Allama Hamiduddin Farahi in his ‘Mufrad-tul- Quran’ says that one of the meanings of Salaat is to turn towards someone, to look up to him, to be attentive, and to turn one’s face (towards someone) in attention.
  • To surrender completely before the Laws of Allah and not to follow one’s own desires. This meaning has been beautifully elucidated in Surah Maryam (19:59) where iqamat-e-Salaat and following one’s own vain desires have been placed as antonym of one another, “Such unworthy generations succeeded (the Messengers) that they ruined the system Salaat) and followed their own emotions and desires.” It means that to follow one’s own desire is to distort Salaat and to follow the laws of Allah is to establish and keep intact Salaat. In Surah Anam (6:93) it is stated that the guardians of Salaat (system) are no different from those who have Eiman (conviction) in the Hereafter and the Book of Allah. Ibn-e-Qutaiba (Al-Qurtain vol.1, p.13) says that indeed Salaat means ad-Diin and iqaamat-e-salaat means iqamat-ud-Diin.(economic and socio-political system) Moheet and Aqrab-ul-Mwadir).
  • To overcome one’s defects and shortcomings. The author of ‘Al- Minar’ asserts that Salaat is recognition of the fact, both verbally and practically, that in order to eradicate one’s imperfection one needs the Guidance of the Superior Authority, who is Perfect and without any deficiency. Owing to this Qurtabi says that Salaat, in fact, means to obediently follow Allah.
  • To tame, to subjugate, and to arrest someone’s attention. In this reference the exposition of Salaat would be to subdue and tame the forces of the Universe and make them obedient to Man. (Moheet-ul-Moheet).
  • Reverence and admiration. In other words As-Salaat means to demonstrate the Greatness of the Sustainer of this Universe with your realistic programmes, like establishing a socio-economic system. This shows that iqamat-e-Salaat and itaa-e-Zakat are correlated, i.e. to chalk out a programme in accordance with the Divine Laws, follow it practically and sincerely so as to give every person a chance to develop his personality and also provide means of nourishment.
  • To offer Namaz. The varying meanings of Salaat mentioned above clearly suggest that when an obedient Muslim follows the Laws of Allah in any sphere of life to discharge his obligatory duties he, in fact, is performing Salaat only. And for this no time, place or form is necessary. But in the Quran at certain places the word Salaat has been used for a particular act or ritual, commonly called Namaz (A Pehalvi language word not used in the Quran). For instance: verse 5:6 outlines the method of ablution, which is to be performed when you rise up for Salaat. Verse 4:43 prohibits a Muslim from attending a Salaat congregation when in a state of Sukr (inebriation or drowsiness). And neither recite your Salaat aloud nor recite it in an inaudible tone, but seek a middle course (17:110). So the purpose of Salaat is served only when one understands what one is saying. However, it should be noted that for a Muslim the use of all types of intoxicants is prohibited (5:90-91) According to verse $;101 0ne can curtail Salaat if one fears an enemy attack. Verse 4:102 gives the method of shortening of Salaat. And Surah Juma-ah (62:9-10) says, When the call is proclaimed for Salaat on Friday (or at the time of congregation), hasten earnestly to the Zikr of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): that is better for you if you did but know. And when Salaat is over, you may disperse through the land and seek of bounty of Allah: and involve yourself in ‘Zikr of Allah’ frequently so that you may be successful.
  • At this juncture a significant point needs a short explanation. The superstitious instincts of Man concocted stories of the auspicious and the ominous. Similarly, for doing, and also for not doing, specific work he outlined certain hours of day and night with the belief that they were auspicious. The Quran, while eradicating other superstitions about time, also clarified that there is nothing auspicious or ominous about day and night and hours. As such, in Islam the very idea that things should be started at an auspicious hour is irrelevant. So even for Salaat the Quran says; “You can establish Salaat from early morning till late night” (17:78) This means that in order to establish ad-Diin (economic and socio-political system) the efforts of Muslims are not limited to any specific time or place. For example see Surah 3:190, 20:130, 50:39, etc. The whole life of a Muslim—his days and nights, his mornings and evening—is devoted in implementing the Laws of Allah. But in these efforts Salaat congregations also play a significant and essential role. The Quran calls them kitaabam-mawquutaa (4:103). One meaning of these words is: a specially prescribed duty. Another interpretation is a duty that has to be perfected on time. Thus the importance of adherence to time in congregation is obvious. The Quran specially mentions Salaat-ul-Ishaa. From this it is evident that during Rasoolallah’s (messenger) days at least these hours were fixed for the Salaat congregations.
  • To become subservient to Allah. This is an expanded interpretation of the word ibadat which is commonly but wrongly translated in English as worship. A close reading of the Quran unambiguously makes it clear that ‘ibadat of Allah’ is not worship or Pooja as the followers of different religions perform. According to the Quran ‘ibadat’ (see ain bad dal, page 1120 vol 3, Lughat-ul-Quran) means to follow the laws of Allah, or to become subservient to Him.’ Obviously this subservience has to be accepted willingly at every step in life and in every department of worldly affairs. Its practical form is a system of State, which is established in accordance with the Quranic values. About the supporters of this system the Quran says: “They are the ones who respond to their Sustainer, and establish (the Quranic system) Salaat, who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultations; who keep open ( for the welfare of the humanity) that We (Allah) bestow on them for sustenance.” (42:38). In these verses the point to be noted is correlation between obedience to Allah, establishment of a system (iqamat-e-Salaat) and conducting affairs of the State by mutual consultations. Obviously, in order to implement the laws of Allah mutual consultations are necessary to arrive at workable decisions on essential affairs. Thus for consultations assemblies become imperative. If seen in a broad spectrum these assemblies would be part of an establishment and sustaining a system, (iqamat-e-Salat). But in these assemblies one more fact has also been taken into consideration – man’s nature of expressing his feelings through his limbs and other parts of the body (see ra kaf ain and siin jiim daal. Lughaat-ul-Quran page 778 and 844). In reverence one bows one’s head involuntarily. In submission ‘the head surrenders’. Although, the Quran keeps in view the spirit behind action and facts, and does not give weight to mere formalism, but when form is required to represent an emotion or reality, it does not prohibit formalism, provided the form is not considered an end in itself. In the context of Salaat or (Namaz) the practical aspects of sajda and qiyam etc, that have come before us are for this objective. It is essential that when these emotions are practically expressed in collective form they should be in rhythmic harmony, otherwise there would be a total chaos in the congregation. To maintain discipline, harmony and unity in expressing intense respect, veneration, submission and compliance is in itself a big exercise for the development of the human personality.

The above discussion makes it amply clear that in the Quran aqeemu-as- Salaat has been used both for Salaat or Namaz congregations and for aqamat-e-Diin (the establishment and stability of the whole system in accordance with the laws of Allah, willingly following the Laws and orders of Allah and accomplishing those obligatory duties, which an obedient momin is expected to perform). To find out this distinction one has to consider the whole verse and the context in which it is revealed to see what exactly is meant by aqamat-e-Salaat. Similarly, one has to see in what context the word musalleen has been used, for it has been used for jamat-e-momineen (as a whole) or for those participating in the Salaat congregation. The Quran also tells about those musalleen who are at the pinnacle of human excellence (70:22-35) and about those for whom there is perdition (107:4-7)

  • To respect, to bless, to encourage, to develop, to nourish, not to let decay or chaos to crop up. These are meanings that Raghib has given of Salle alaihe. By keeping them in mind one can easily understand the verses of the Quran in which this root occurs with ‘ala. For instance, “ Allah and His malaaika (forces of nature) encourage you; provide you with necessary means of growth, development and nourishment, and make your efforts bear fruits.” (33:43). This verse is about those momineen who when faced with difficulties in the enforcement and establishment of Diin do not waver or get disheartened, but instead remain steadfast and bravely fight against all odds.  Therefore, they become entitled to all the plaudits and encouragement from Allah (2:157) And with especial reference to Rasool-allah(PBUH) the Quran says: “Allah and all the forces of nature help and encourage the Rasool in the fulfilment of his programme. O jamaat-ul-Momineen: You should also help your Rasool in making his programme a success.  Support him so that his efforts bear fruits.(33:56). And the practical method to help him is to submit before him and follow him (48:9)”. Momineen are, (7:157) it is said at another place: “Those who corroborate and respect him, and help him (in such a manner that) they follow the Light (Quran) which is sent down with him (7:157).” So this is the method by which a Momin fulfills his duty of Salaat alaihe.

This, then, is the Salaat of Allah and His Malaaika on jamat-ul-Momineen and on Rasool-allah. And this is Salaat and Salaam of jamaat-ul-Momineen on Rasool-allah. Notice that the order of salluu alayhi wa sal-limuu tasliimaa (33:56) demands a great action-orientated programme. This means that by following the laws of Allah the Diin brought by Rasool-allah will prevail over all religions and philosophies of the world. On the other hand, it was said to the Rasool that when the members of jamaat-e-Momineen bring their earnings to donate in the way of Allah, he should accept them. And encourage them because encouragement and appreciation from you (Rasool) is an assuagement for them (9:103). They think that spending their earnings in the way of Allah is a means to be near to Allah and getting encouragement and appreciation from Rasool (9:99). (For the meaning of Qurb-e-Allah or to be near to Allah see the heading Qaf ra ba).

  • Jewish temples. According to the Hebrew dictionary Salawat (plural of Salaat) is synagogue or praying place of Jews. In verse 22: 40 this word has been used in this context or meaning.

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Who Are The Ulama? Ghulam Ahmad Parwez (Idara Tolu-e-Islam)

I N T R O DU T I O N

The treatise, “ULAMA KAUN HAI’N?” is taken from a book, “SALEEM KAY NAAM KHUTOOT” (Vol. 3, Letter No. 30 to Saleem).

“Saleem” is an imaginary young man who represents all the young people of present times who are groping in the dark for the Truth – a truth that has been concealed from them by the “know-alls” who purport to be the sole custodians of the Deen of Islam. Not having any scientific knowledge, or the knowledge of sociology, history, philosophy, psychology or the natural sciences, they have been steamrollering everybody, particularly the youth of Islam, into believing that they alone hold the key to the vast arsenal of knowledge, and the whole Ummah of Rasoolullah (S) must turn to them and them alone for guidance and information; they alone wield the power of issuing passports to Jannat (Paradise) and serving deportation papers to Jahannam! (Hell). Every Muslim must depend on them UNQUESTIONINGLY for any and all matters relating to religion. They have been feeding the Muslims with fairy tales of such macabre proportion as to put Grimm and Aesop to shame!

The young people of today, trained in colleges and universities, imbibing physics, chemistry, psychology, history of religions, astronomy, anthropology and the humanities, have been – and still are – in a state of perplexity as to how could one reconcile the scientific understanding of the concepts of life to what the “ulama” dish out regularly on Fridays from the pulpit, and their other lectures.

 

ALLAMAH GHULAM AHMAD PARWEZ sensed this confusion of the youth and gave it paramount importance. He attempted in all his works to bring logic and sound reason to the inquiring minds of the youth – seeing that they were getting no joy from the “maulanas” on all the aspects of Islam. In the theology of the Maulawi Saheb, the use of the intellect is forbidden. It is the consensus of opinion of the mullah fraternity – for many centuries – that sense (’aql) must NEVER interfere in Deen. And they unceasingly remind us of this!

 

Parwez adopted the name “Saleem” to represent the Muslim Youth all over the world. Saleem has a very inquiring mind, and refuses to bow down in obeisance to the “maulanas”, and detests accepting anything illogical and based on unreason. Saleem is thus a rebel – but WITH a cause!

 

Parwez’s address to the youth, as represented by “Saleem” (for the young MEN) and “Tahirah” (for the young WOMEN), is a life-giving message that dispels frustration brought about by the “ulama’s” stereotyped, antiquated, outmoded, anaemic, malodorous teachings. The present-day youth may be Muslim at heart, but his mind revolts against what passes off as “Islam”. It is thoroughly unpalatable to him.  He feels helpless, and just cannot see light at the end of the tunnel, and no one can explain the basics and essence of Islam to him simply, logically and rationally. The religious leaders cannot appreciate the youth’s doubts and difficulties: they lack the breath of vision and the mental and educational equipment necessary to effect conviction in the young people’s mind!

 

Saleem, however, is such a youth who has had the chance of expressing himself freely, fearlessly and boldly – even on the most delicate problems. The explanations he receives, emanate directly from the Quran. They are sympathetic to his questioning mind, are comprehensive and encapsulate within them the whole sweep of religio-scientific terrain. The language used is simple, straight, soothing, in homely style, light, and refreshing. Saleem feels absolutely convinced and satisfied, and is completely rid of his chronic frustration.

 

Members of Bazm-e-Tulu-e-Islam, London believe that, this treatise will open the window to further enlightenment of the youth, in Islamic thought.

 

Members

Bazm Tulu-e-Islam(London)

76 Park Rd

Ilford Essex

IG1 1SF

UK

July 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

F O R E W O R D

 

 

 

 

The Quranic philosopher and scholar of the century, and founder of the

Tulu-e-Islam Movement, ALLAMAH GHULAM AHMAD PARWEZ, wrote this treatise “ULAMA KAUN HAI’N?” in Urdu in the 1960s. It was very well received by the intelligentsia, but it also proved a bitter pill to the Muslim clergy!

 

The importance of the subject necessitated the rendering of this highly academic essay into English.

 

At the request of Bazm-e-Tulu-e-Islam London, Ali Sarfaraz Khan Joommal, an exponent of the Quran and editor of the quarterly journal “AL-BALAAGH” based in South Africa, in spite of his failing health, undertook to translate it into English.

 

I do not find appropriate words with which to thank Mr. A.S.K. Joommal for his sincere, selfless service to Islam. I feel that due to this translation, the message of the Quran will reach a wider readership including those who do not know Urdu language or its script.

 

I am also indebted to Br. Paigham Mustafa of Signature Publications, Glasgow, Scotland, and appreciate his assistance profoundly for preparing the copy for printing.

 

Last, but not least, my sincere thanks and deep gratitude to all the members of Bazm-e-Tulu-e-Islam London who wish to remain anonymous, but continue propagating the Quranic message.

 

 

 

Ayaz Hussain Ansari

Chairman: Idara Tulu-e-Islam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


TRANSLATOR’S PREFACE

 

ALLAMAH GHULAM AHMAD PARWEZ (d. 1985), was a savant, religious philosopher, and a polymath nonpareil. He was eulogized by the intelligentsia of Pakistan as “the Shah Waliallah of this age”. His grasp of Islam, his perspicacity in its simplicities as well as his profound insight into the intricacies introduced in it by the priestly polemicists, reached Himalayan heights!

 

When an eagle soars to giddy heights, it is obvious that the tiny wagtail (“mamola”, in the words of Allamah Iqbal), would feel frustrated and conspicuously insignificant, not being able to compete with it in height and flight. If that puny creature could express itself, it would twitter its invectives in its own passerine fashion! This is what happened with that intellectual colossus, Allamah Parwez, when the cerebral pygmies, otherwise known as “ulama” of Pakistan – ONE THOUSAND OF THEM! – denounced him, branding him with the appellation of “Kaafir”!

 

This scholar and exegete of the Quran, did not bat an eyelid at the sacerdotal opprobrium heaped upon him, but continued with sang-froid and fixity of purpose, awakening Muslims, particularly the youth, to the verities of our Deen. His entire life was devoted to opening the windows of musty minds, allowing the fresh air of reason and logic to permeate them. He was an iconoclast par excellence whose endeavours were aimed at extirpating the fossilized thinking of the Muslim masses. His expositions on the multifarious aspects of Islam pack a powerful punch, are challenging and ineluctable

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

This tract, “ULAMA KAUN HAI?” (“Who Are The Ulama?”) is one from among scores of treatise covering an extensive area of thought and topics.

 

Allamah Parwez’s dogged determination and sole objective was the dissemination of the Quranic ideology per se. Towards this end he dedicated himself exclusively, wholly and totally, writing voluminous tomes, innumerous articles, tracts, pamphlets, discourses and booklets.

 

All of the Allamah’s works, excepting one – “ISLAM: A CHALLENGE TO RELIGION” – were written in Urdu. The young Muslims of today living in countries where only English is spoken, are thus deprived of the coruscating gems that are the Allamah’s huge output. The necessity of translating his literature into English is greater now than ever before – in fact it is imperative!

 

The youth HAS to be apprised of true Islam in its pristine purity. The minds of the Ummah of Rasoolullah (s) HAS to be detoxified from all poisonous impurities, from the falderals (foolish nonsense), and from the fairy tales implanted in them by the so-called “maulanas”. And, to my mind, no one has done more creditable, masterly and stupendous job than Allamah Parwez.

 

The dire need, the pressing and paramount importance of translating ALL his work into English – and possibly into other languages – can thus be hardly over-emphasized.

 

In this disquisition, the Allamah has expatiated on the concept of the word “ulama”, placing it in its correct Quranic perspective. The Quran refers to the SCIENTISTS as the “ulama” – and NOT (repeat NOT) to the pugreed, jubbah-ed gentlemen we have become accustomed to respecting as “maulanas”! The Allamah has thus demolished the fondly cherished notion of centuries that only those who profess to know the Shariah, the Deen, are the “ulama”.

 

I trust that my humble assay towards rendering the Allamah’s mellifluous, highly academic Urdu into English would be acceptable to the discerning readers and other cognoscenti.

 

A.S.K. JOOMMAL

(Editor: AL-BALAAGH)

P.O.BOX 1925

LENASIA 1820

(South Africa)

Rabee-ul-Aakhir 1421

July 2000


 A letter to Saleem (Written in September 1956)

 

 

WHO ARE THE ULAMA? (LEARNED (Parwez)

 

 

Saleem!  There is no doubt that knowledge is the dignity and honour of humanity. But the question is:  What is knowledge and who are the learned?  The answer to this question is very clearly explained in the Quran.  But before analysing that, few words of introduction are necessary. Listen to them carefully.

 

In the world of knowledge, the philosophers of Greece attained a high position, as you know. The fact is that the history as we know from the beginning, commences from the school of Greece. In them, Socrates is the patriarch, and Plato is the founder and commentator of the academy of thoughts. But Socrates thinks that only nature – and not man – is worth studying, and Plato draws a cancelling line on the existence of the physical world. He thinks that this universe which appears so concrete, has no existence. The real world is the world of ideas, and this visible universe is a reflection of the real world. Therefore whatever knowledge we obtain through our senses, that is perceptual knowledge, is not credible. True knowledge is that which is obtained through visualization – and not through the senses.

 

 

MYSTICISM:

 

The edifice of Greek mysticism is constructed on this philosophy of Plato. The same mysticism reached India in the form of Vedantism. According to Hindu philosophy, the material world is an illusion. This is the dream of Brahma (God). This is the performance of God. This is like a play in the theatre in which nothing is real, but an imitation of the real. Neither the king is the king, nor the slave a slave; neither a mountain is a mountain, nor the sea is sea. This is all an optical illusion. Thus in Hindu philosophy, God is called “Nut-Raajan”, that is, the king of the actors/players. In this way they create a negative attitude in the minds of people about the creation of God. This, negative way of thinking created hatred for the world, in the mind of God-worshipping people. This was the same philosophy that came to Muslims through Iranian mysticism, affecting and poisoning every aspect of their lives. The entire edifice of mysticism is structured on this foundation.

 

 

THE CHALLENGE OF THE QURAN:

 

Anyway, I was saying that before the Quran was revealed the theory was that creation did not exist in reality, but it was only a deception of imagination, an illusion, a mirage, a shadow. When the creation is doubtful, then the knowledge about it is no knowledge but mere conjecture. The Quran came and broke the spell of Plato, just as it exposed every other absurd idea. It proclaimed to mankind, that was involved and confused in the deception of mysticism and Vedantism:

 

“Not in vain did We create heaven and earth and

what is between them. That is the opinion of the

Unbelievers! So woe to the Unbelievers on

account of the Fire.”  (38: 27)

 

And those who reject such a great reality (stating the world to be false and hateful) then the result of this rejection can only be this, that all their endeavours and actions will come to naught.

 

Do you realise, Saleem, how the Quran rooted out the wrong concepts of centuries in one verse and unveiled its destructive consequences! Think also what the Quran says to the people who harboured negative thoughts about the universe being created without purpose. They are called “Kaafir” – Unbelievers! Did you realise how far are the limits of belief and unbelief?, and what are the distinguishing features of a believer and unbeliever? It stated a great historical reality when it said that this type of negative viewpoint produces a scorched earth existence. The negative point of view regarding the world is a manifestation of the monastic order. This is called Vedantism and Tasawwuf (mysticism).

 

You must ponder on the history of this institution and see how people went through heartbreaking afflictions and patient religious exercises. What was the result of this? It was that the green branches of the human tree were burnt to ashes.

 

This was a declaration of war against the people who said that the universe was created without purpose. After this the Quran says positively:

 

“…….Allah created the heavens and the earth in truth……” (29: 44)

 

In all of Allah’s creation, not only is there evidence of intelligent purpose, fitting all parts together with wisdom, but also of Supreme Goodness and Cherishing Care, by which all needs are satisfied and all the highest and truest aspirations fulfilled. These are like beckoning signals to guide those, who pray and search in Faith. The fact is that Allah has created the cosmos as a truth. This creation is for constructive results, and not for destructive ends.

 

“……Verily in that is a Sign for those who believe.” (29: 44)

 

In this revelation of the Quran there is a big sign of knowledge and an awareness for those people who believe. Look Saleem, in the previous verse the people who said that this universe was created without purpose were called Unbelievers. In this verse those believe that the universe was created for a purpose are called believers. Do you see how the Quran clarifies its own purports!

 

 

 

 

Those who aver that the Creation is a sport of God, the Quran refutes them by saying:

 

“Not for (idle) sport did We create the heavens and

the earth and all that is between them.” 21: 16)

 

The Hindu doctrine of Leela, that all things were created for sport, is confuted here. The creation of the world is part of a serious (Divine) programme. It is not a play or tamasha. It has been created in truth.

 

Now the question arises: Does the Quran want you to accept this explanation about the creation of the universe arbitrarily, or does it invite (people) to assess it with knowledge and proof? The Quran presents every claim on the basis of knowledge and proofs, and enjoins strictly to accept it with reflection and insight. Accordingly, in this context, it is clearly said:

 

“…..He explains His Signs in detail, for those who know.” (10: 5)

 

These realities are explained very clearly for those who possess knowledge.

 

 

THE QURANIC DEFINITION OF KNOWLEDGE:

 

From here, the question confronts us: WHAT is knowledge? Listen to what the Quran says in this connection:

 

“And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge…..” (17: 36)

 

Even this portion of the verse is enough to reveal the truth and give us insight. But the Quran goes further and gives the definition of knowledge which demonstrate everything.”

 

“Verily the hearing, the sight, the heart:

All of these shall be questioned.”

(17: 36)

 

It is a fact that our hearing, sight, and feelings in the heart: all have responsibilities for which they are liable. Did you under­stand what is implied here? What does it mean? We shall be called to account for the exercise of every faculty that has been given to us. The hearing and seeing are the senses according to the Quran, and the feelings in the heart is called ‘mind’.

 

The senses gather the data and deliver it to the mind, and the mind deduces the results therefrom. When you hear the noise of a gunshot, you at once deduce that someone has fired a gun. After that you hear somebody screaming, so you infer that someone has been shot. Then you go outside and discover that the one who got shot is your friend. The fire of revenge kindles in you and you burst forth in­flamed. In this whole incident your senses and mind are witnesses. This is knowledge. If you didn’t hear the noise of gunshot, someone screaming, or did not see your friend getting hurt, or somebody firing, but you hear the account from someone else, then, if you want to pur­sue that person, this act will not be based on knowledge because in this case there is no testimony of your senses.

 

Do you realise how much importance the Quran gives to sense per­ception? This is the second blow against Plato’s theory and it shat­ters it. Plato had said that knowledge gathered by the senses is not reliable; the Quran says that anything obtained without the testimony of the senses is not based on knowledge ‑ not only the senses, but also the mind.

 

 

THOSE WHO DO NOT USE THEIR SENSES:

 

In view of the importance of the senses and the mind, the Quran says very clearly that those who do not use their senses and mind, they do not live their lives on the human plane; they live like animals. Not only this, but the Quran says that they are the denizens of Hell. In Surah A’raaf we read:

 

Many are the Jinns and men We have made for Hell.

They have hearts wherewith they understand not,

eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith

they hear not. They are like the cattle ‑ nay,

even more misguided, for they are

heedless (of warnings).” (7: 179)

 

Although they have, apparently, all the faculties of reason and perceptions, they have so deadened them that the faculties do not work, and they go headlong into Hell. They are, as it were, made for Hell.

 

From this it is evident that true knowledge is only that knowledge that enjoys the testimony of senses and the mind. It is obvious that this kind of knowledge cannot be about theoretical debates and abstractions, because in these affairs senses do not participate. The connection of senses is with the study of natural phenomena and observation of the universe ‑ that is, to examine every aspect of the world with grave reflection; to observe every bit of this magnificent and astonishing universe.

 

Then, with different experiments, one must see which law and scheme is administered in the mechanism and nurturing of these bits of the universe. In modern terminology this is called scientific knowledge. And this is the same knowledge which the Quran says is the sign of a believer. Now just reflect on this Saleem: How clearly and beautifully the Quran explains this in Surah Aal‑Imraan:

 

Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth,

and in the alternation of night and day, there

are indeed signs for men of understanding.”

(3: 190)

 

And who are the men of understanding?

 

“Men who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying

on their sides and contemplate the (wonders of) creation….” (3: 191)

 

That is, they keep contemplating the creation of the heavens and the earth, and after their observations and experiments, arrive at the rational conclusion that:

 

 

“…..Our Lord! Thou hast not created (all) this in vain.

Glory be to Thee! Give us salvation from

the chastisement of the Fire.” (3: 191)

 

 

THE PEOPLE WHO REMEMBER ALLAH:

 

Did you reflect on how great a thing the Quran has revealed? The Quran claims that nothing in the creation is purposeless and useless, nor has it been created for destructive purposes. Everything has a fixed purpose, and in some way or another, it is profitable to human beings. But the aim of the Holy Quran is not that we must just accept its claims without question. The Quran says that it is our duty to reflect on every aspect of the universe, and by sustained observations and repeated experiments, prove this verse of the Quran, that:

 

“….Our Lord! Thou hast not created all this in vain.” (3:190)

 

Think, Saleem! How big is this programme which the Quran has placed before the believers! How grave is this responsibility that has devolved on them. It is the duty of the people who believe in the Quran, to prove practically for which benefit everything has been created. Just think how profound, intense and intellectually deep, scientific research is needed for this. How many large laboratories are needed for this? Do you remember, in the olden days Javed used to ask you: Daddy! Why did Allah Paak create the wasps? They sting everybody and make a person’s face swell up. There is no benefit from them. (Neither you nor anyone else could explain the benefit of wasp).  But in the past it was known in South America that there is a kind of worm that destroys valuable plants. They could not find a cure for this. At last, after continuous experiments, it was discovered that these wasps eat those worms. Now they have collected the wasps from different tropical countries and have started to propagate them in South America. These are the people who can say with definite in­sight that: “Our Lord! Thou hast not created (all) this in vain.”

 

O Sustainer of the universe! You did not create even wasps for destructive purposes. They also do constructive work in the develop­ment and growth of the universe. Glory be to Thee!( It is against your very nature to create something for destructive purposes). This is against Your Quality of being the Preserver. It is our lack of know­ledge and scarcity of scientific research that makes us unaware of their profit‑yielding aspects, and thus get affected by, and struggle against its venom. It is our desire that O Allah! grant us the gui­dance to do all these researches so that we would remain protected from this kind of severe punishment. Give us salvation from the chastisement of the Fire.

 

Thus, those nations that are negligent of these kinds of re­searches, remain unaware of the profit‑producing facets of nature. They cannot subjugate nature. Therefore they live the life of igno­miny and distress in this world. The Quran says:

 

Our Lord! Whosoever enter the Fire (according to your Laws)upon him

You indeed bring disgrace. And there will be no

Helpers for the wrongdoers.” (3: 191)

 

Do you see, Saleem, how clearly the Quran has explained the great realities here!

 

 

 

THE SIGNS OF ALLAH IN THE UNIVERSE:

 

Anyhow, we were discussing the fact that according to the Holy Quran it is the duty of every believer to ob­serve the creation carefully and with continued experiments they must go on unveiling their profitable side. This is what the Holy Quran explains as following the laws of nature and pondering upon them. This was the method and manner of the Believers. For Believers in every corner of the universe, there are verses of the Quran spread about.

 

Verily in the heavens and the earth, there are

signs  for those who believe.” (45: 3)

 

From this and other verses, human beings realize and obtain affirmation of God. The Quran says further:

 

“And in the creation of yourselves and the fact that

animals are scattered (throughout the earth),

are signs for those of assured faith.” (45: 4)

 

These signs in our own nature and in the animals we meet with every day, we have certainty within human limits; these are “for those of assured faith”.

 

“And in the alternation of night and day and the fact that Allah

sends down sustenance from the sky and revives therewith

the earth after its death, and in the change of the winds,

are signs for those that are wise.” (45: 5)

 

After teaching us all these facts, the Holy Quran explains a truth which is both amazing and insightful.

 

Such are the Signs of Allah, which We recite to thee in truth.

In what (other) exposition will they, then, believe after

Allah and His Signs?” (45: 6)

 

If there are any to whom the signs from nature, from within their own heart and conscience, and from the voice of Revelation, are not enough to convince them, then what other possible kind of exposition will they accept? That is, Allah (SWT) has shown in clear terms that in order to have faith in Allah, it is necessary to observe the phenomena of nature and study the universal, immutable laws governing them.

 

Did you see, Saleem, how much the Quran emphasizes on the observation and study of nature. The true and rational faith is in these things. From these God unveils Himself. I said “God unveils Him­self”. This is not mere poetry; this is a translation of the verse of the Quran. It is said in the Quran many times, not just once.

Listen carefully and think how in few words the Quran has assem­bled such a great reality!

 

 

SEEING THE SUSTAINER:

 

What is the climax of .the human life? What can be the most fervent wish or desire of a God‑worshipper? What is the ultimate aim of adhering to Divine Commands? The answer to all these questions is only one: that everyone wishes to see and meet his Creator. Now you see Saleem! Look at the way the Quran makes this clear to us.

In Surah Ra’d we read:

 

Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that you

can see, and He is established on the Throne of Power, and

He made the sun and the moon subservient (to you).

Each one runs (its course) for an appointed term. He

regulates the affair, explaining the Signs in detail

that you may be certain of the MEETING WITH

YOUR LORD.” (13: 2)

 

 Where the Laws of Nature are fixed, and everything runs according to its appointed course, the control and regulation behind it belongs to Allah. The ultimate source of man’s faculties is Allah Who cares for His creation.

 

Did you see Saleem, what the Quran says here? All these details are described clearly to you so that your faith should be confirmed and strengthened that you WILL meet your Creator. Your Creator can come in front of you. The meaning is clear that if you wish to see Him, you must reflect on all His creation and concentrate on every single aspect thereof; with different experiments we must disclose the reality that the Laws of Nature are fixed and everything runs according to immutable laws. In this way one by one everything that is hidden from us will be unveiled. You will see, rationally, how everything develops under Divine Laws. In this way you will see your Sustainer before you.

 

At this stage we have to understand that we cannot see Allah with our physical eyes: it is beyond the conception of human imagination. The Quran says:

 

“No vision can grasp Him….” (6: 104)

 

But He comprehends all vision; and He is Subtile, the Aware. Allah is fine and subtle; He is not visible to the physical eye. He is imperceptible to the senses. Therefore it is not meant by lifting the curtain that we will be able to see Allah with our physical eyes. What is meant is that by witnessing His quality of being a Preserver, Nourisher and Cherisher, we can appreciate how He sustains and provides for the universe.

 

Anyway, it is clear that according to the Quran those who believe and witness the workings of nature, will trust in the Signs of Allah. But sustained, indefatigable efforts and intensive actions are needed for this: sometimes we have to climb the highest mountain of Himalaya, sometimes we have to go to the depth of the Atlantic Ocean, and sometimes we have to traverse the burning deserts of Africa. Sometimes we have to bear the pain of snakebite; sometimes, researching one leaf, we have to spend months; and sometimes we have to freeze in the snow of the North Pole, or place a hand in the lion’s mouth. Sometimes we have to spend years in the analysis of one bacterium. It is obvious that all these can be done only by those nations who do not sit back and are contented with their present condition, but ponder about the future and involve themselves in solving the puzzles of the universe. See, Saleem! How clearly the Quran explains this:

 

“Verily, in the alternation of the night and the day, and

in that what Allah has created in the heavens and the earth,

are Signs for a people who are conscious of Him.”

(10: 6)

 

WHO IS GOD‑CONSCIOUS?:

 

By the way, did you ponder on, what is the sign of God-conscious people Allah has shown? After this He says:

 

Those who rest not their hope on meeting Us,

but are pleased with the life of this world and

are satisfied with it, and those who heed not

our Signs, their abode is the Fire, because of

the (evil) they have earned.” ( 10: 7-8)

 

First think on this matter, Saleem. By saying “pleased with the life of this world” and “satisfied with it”, how the Quran has indicated a great truth. What is the fundamental secret of the adversity and misfortune, and exaltation and prosperity of nations? Is it not that some nations are satisfied and contented with their present condition which is available to them easily? Having deprived themselves of the miracles of ACTION, they fall into the deep hole of disgrace, thus lagging far behind the active, progressive nations of the world.

 

On the contrary, the nations that are not contented with the present, but continuously strive for new inventions and disclosures (of nature), create a new and modern world for themselves and forge ahead in the battlefield of life. These are the nations who remain steadfast and eager to unveil the miracles of nature. The result of this is that heaven opens up its doors of blessings and strength to them. The earth hands over its hidden treasures to them. The nations who do not do this, remain deprived of the Devine bounties.

 

 

 

DEPRIVED OF ALLAH’S PROVIDENCE:

 

“Those who reject the Signs of Allah and the meeting

with Him (in the Hereafter), it is they who will despair

of My Mercy; it is they who will (suffer) a most grievous

chastisement.” (29: 23)

 

The emphasis is on “they”, that is, only those people who ignore or reject Allah’s Signs and reject the Hereafter, who will find themselves in despair and suffering. Allah’s Mercy is available to all, but those who reject His Mercy, will most certainly suffer. Did you see Saleem, what the Quran says about those who deprive themselves of the Mercy of Allah and reject His Signs: they will suffer the most grievous punishment. In Surah Aal-Imraan (3:191) and Surah Yunus (10:8) the same punishment is spoken of as the Fire of Hell. These verses were given previously. Just think: in the barren deserts of Makkah, the liquid gold, that is petrol, was running for centuries, but because those people were satisfied with their prevailing condition, therefore they were deprived of the advantages of this precious blessing of Allah. The result was that they were in need of others for their daily bread. This was a terrible punishment from Allah on them. The Quran has labelled hunger as a punishment from God.

 

 

 

Allah sets forth a parable: “A town safe and secure, to which its means ofsubsistence came in abundance from everyquarter; but it disbelieved in Allah’s favours,

so Allah made it taste a pall of hunger and

fear because of what they wrought.”

(16: 112)

 

After this the perceptive eyes of the West discovered the seas of this liquid gold, and with their continuous efforts, going down into the deep recesses of the earth with their superior technology, they pumped out the oil. This changed the map of Hijaaz. In our own land of Pakistan, nature has hidden a world of potentialities. But because we are satisfied with our present condition, and we are contented with whatever is available to us without any hard work, we are therefore dependent on others for our daily bread.

 

Some nations of Europe have a small piece of land. But they work hard and grow so much in it, that after fulfilling their own needs, they export a quantity from it to other countries as well. This is because they are ceaselessly engaged in unveiling nature’s hidden treasures. For centuries we have turned away from the Divine Law, and therefore our livelihood is becoming constricted for us.

 

“And whoever turns away from My Reminder,

verily for him is a life narrowed down, and We

shall raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment.”

(20: 124)

 

Allah’s Judgment is very open and clear and it will not change for anyone.

 

For centuries we have not been using our faculties, and the result of this is that our capabilities have become paralysed, and we are counted among such people about whom the Quran says:

 

 

Those are they whose hearts, ears and eyes Allah

has sealed, and they are the heedless ones.”

(16: 108)

 

Some people think that “seeing Allah” means that after death we shall be brought before Him “face to face” to receive our punishment or reward. Although in view of the said context this understanding is not quite proper, then, too, the fact remains that from the Quranic viewpoint, for a trust and certainty in “seeing Allah”, it is necessary to observe and study the Signs of Allah in the world. Life after death and punishment and reward is part of our faith.

 

Did you see Saleem, in how many different ways the Quran clarifies the truth that:

 

  1. knowledge is that knowledge in which human beings use their senses;

 

  1. making use of senses means that man must unveil the mysteries and secrets of the universe. He must make a wide study of the things in nature. He must study deeply the laws of nature, and with continuous and unceasing exertion, he must keep unveiling and seeing the arrangements and systems of nature;

 

  1. this is the manner of the believers. This is the duty of God-conscious people. This is the remembrance and praise of Allah. With this the hidden truths reveal themselves, and man can thus say about everything in the universe that:

 

“…Our Lord! Thou hast not created (all) this in vain….”(3: 191)

 

 

 

 

THE TESTIMONY TO QURANIC TRUTH:

 

Not only this, but Allah tells us that these very cosmic verses testify to the truth of the Holy Quran.

 

“Soon Will we show them Our Signs in the furthest

regions ( of the earth ) and in their own souls, until it

becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it

not enough that thy Lord is a Witness over all things?”

( 41: 53 )

 

The truths which are wrapped up in the mysteries of the world will become clear to human beings as their knowledge and research advances. The truth of the Quranic claims will be proven one by one. As the world progresses with research and scientific knowledge, the Quranic truths will reveal themselves.

 

In the above verse, the Quran includes human spirit and soul with the external world and manifests that science is not only concerned with physics, but is also related to human life which comes within its ( physics’ ) ambit. But regarding this knowledge, not only speculative theories are required, but also it would be done by means of practical observations and experiments. In this context, sociology and practical psychology enjoy special importance.

 

From the point of view of physical science and the science related to human life, as the facts reveal themselves, the proofs of the Quranic verities become apparent to us. This is because:

 

“….It is not enough that thy Lord doth witness all things?” ( 41: 53 )

 

The Quran is the Book of Allah from Whose eyes NOTHING is hidden. He observes EVERYTHING all the time. This, then, is proof enough that whatever He will say about these things, will be correct. His declaration will be based on knowledge and facts – not on supposition and conjecture, because:

 

The ( Quran ) was sent down by Him Who knows

the secrets of the heavens and the earth.”

( 25: 6 )

 

But those who are unaware of the signs in the cosmos, cannot be convinced of “Seeing Allah”

 

Now surely they are in doubt about meeting with their Lord…..”( 41: 54 )

 

They do not have to go far for this. They can start researching anything, and they will find the spark of Divine Law in creation, because Allah says:

 

“….Ah indeed! It is He that doth encompass all things.”

( 41: 53-54 )

 

Allah’s Divine Laws encompasses all things; it is not attached to one single thing. Therefore ‘the eyes should be opened to all colours’.

 

You may remember, Saleem, I once mentioned to you an excellent book entitled “THE GREAT DESIGN”. The plan of this book was that a questionnaire was sent to leading scholars of different disciplines, asking them the following questions: “After conducting researches in your particular branch of knowledge, have you arrived at the conclusion that cosmic system is operating according to an orderly arrangement, or has it come into existence accidentally, and is continuing aimlessly and by chance?”

 

The answers received from these great scientists were recorded without review or criticism in this book. The extent of these answers is very wide. You can gauge this by the title of the treatise one botanist sent in: “A GREEN LEAF”. An astronomer submitted an answer with the heading: “THE PASSAGE OF THE STARS”. All scholars reached the conclusion that in every atom in the universe, the immutable and orderly Hand of a Knower and Contriver is manifest. It is these orderly arrangements in the Cosmic Order before which, at every step, the acknowledging eyes of the leaders in research world, are downcast.*[1]

Since they have not got the Quran they cannot correctly evaluate which Being is governing the universe so beautifully. Nevertheless, they are observing this orderly organisation with their own eyes. (It is not difficult for them to reach the Quran from here, provided that someone presents the Quran to them.)

 

 

 

WHO ARE THE ULAMA (LEARNED) ?

 

You have up to now seen what the definition of knowledge is from the Quranic viewpoint. After all this clarification, the need does not arise at all to explain further who the aalim (learned) is and who are meant by the term “ulama”. But see the miracle of the Quran that it has itself explained this fact so that no doubt or uncertainty should linger in the mind. It commences like this:

 

“Seest thou not that Allah sends down rain from the

sky, then We bring forth therewith fruits of various

hues? And in the mountains are streaks, white and

red, of various hues, and (others) intensely black.”

( 35: 27 )

 

These wonderful shades and colours are to be found not only in vegetations but in rocks and mineral products.

 

“And so amongst men and beasts and cattle,

are there various colours….” (35: 28)

 

Did you see Saleem! What matters are discussed in these verses: different aspects of the world, the multifarious branches of knowledge in the wide expanse of nature; different sciences, physics, botany, geology, zoology, and all sections of humanities come into it. After mentioning all these different branches of knowledge, the Quran says:

 

“….Those of His servants only who are possessed of knowledge

(ulama) fear Allah. Surely Allah is Mighty, Forgiving.”

(32: 28)

 

In fact amongst Allah’s Servants are those learned people (ulama) who truly appreciate the mechanism of the world, and whose hearts are filled with His Greatness; they observe how Exalted and Mighty He is, and how He saves everything from destruction and lets it develop and progress. Did you realise for whom the Quran has used the word “ulama”? For those to whom we refer to as SCIENTISTS today; those who continuously experiment, observe and study, and thus subjugate the forces of nature. It is a fact that Allah has granted us the capability to conquer and harness all the powers of nature for our benefit. But only those people can control them who are acquainted with the laws of nature – laws that govern these forces. These can only be known by the study of nature and by continuously experimenting and observing the laws that Allah has laid down for the control of nature. The people who do all this, the Quran calls them “ULAMA” – the SCIENTISTS.

 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

 

 

The term “ulama” in the Quran refers to SCIENTISTS (and NOT, we repeat NOT, to the Moulvis ) as we shall see from the following verses which we quote in full:

 

 

 

(1)

“Seest thou not that Allah sends down water from

the clouds, then We bring forth therewith fruits of

various hues? And in the mountains are streaks white

and red, of various hues and ( others ) intense black.

And of men and beasts and cattle there are various

colours likewise. Those of His servants ONLY WHO

ARE POSSESSED OF KNOWLEDGE ( the ulama )

fear Allah. Surely Allah is Mighty, Forgiving.”

( 35: 27-28 )

 

Here Allah says that the Ulama are those who are versed in BOTANY, ( “Fruits of various hues” ); GEOLOGY (“streaks white and red…” ); BIOLOGY, ANTHROPOLOGY and ZOOLOGY ( And of men and beasts and cattle… ). No reference at all is made to the Moulvis who do not know even the ABC of science!

 

(2)

“In the creation of the Heavens and earth and the

alternation of the night and the day, THERE ARE

SURELY SIGNS  FOR MEN OF UNDERSTANDING.

Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and (lying)

on their sides, AND REFLECT ON THE CREATION OF

THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH: Our Lord, Thou hast

Not created this in vain.” ( 3: 190-191 )

 

The above verse is a clear reference to GEOGRAPHERS and to those who study the SCIENCE OF THE UNIVERSE, namely , the COSMOLOGISTS. Breathes there a Moulvi so learned who can tell us all about cosmology?

 

(3)

“He it is Who made the sun a shining brightness, and

the moon a light, and ORDAINED FOR IT STAGES

THAT YOU MIGHT KNOW THE COMPUTATION

OF YEARS AND RECKONING; Allah created not this

but with truth. He makes the sign manifest for

 A PEOPLE WHO KNOW.” ( 10: 5 )

 

These words of the Quran point to the study of ASTRONOMY and ASTRONOMICAL CALCULATIONS. Our “ulama” are ignorant of this science. Not only ignorant but they FORBID its study. It is written in the Fataawa Aalamgiri, a book of religious decrees, that: “To study astronomy to extent of knowing the Qiblah and times of prayer is enough. To study astronomy further than this is HARAAM.” (Vol. 9, p. 126)

 

Imam Aboo Hanifah (RA) who is one of the greatest Imams, is revered for his Ijtihaad in jurisprudence, but not for the book on astronomy which he wrote with his own hands. It was purely a scientific work describing the interplanetary distances under mathematical principles. This book is to be found in the Paris library!

 

(4)

“Say: Travel in the earth then see how He makes the

 first creation, then Allah creates the later creation.

Surely Allah is the Possessor of power over all

things.” (29: 20)

 

Our “ulama” will not understand the above verse because they are ignorant of palaeontology (study of extinct organized beings) and also of the Palaeozoic science from which we learn the ancient forms of life of the first geological period.

 

(5)

“And the changing of the winds and the clouds

made subservient between heavens and earth;

there are surely signs for A PEOPLE WHO

UNDERSTAND…..” (2: 164)

 

Our “ulama” will not understand the import of the above verse because they have not studied atmospheric phenomena they are ignorant of the sciences of METEOROLOGY and NEPHOLOGY.

 

 

(6)

“And of His Signs is the creation of the heavens

and the earth and the diversity of your tongues

and colours. Surely there are signs in this FOR

THE LEARNED .” (30: 22)

 

According to this verse, our “ulama” are NOT learned, because they do not know  PHILOLOGY and ETHNOLOGY.

 

(7)

“Have they not travelled in the earth and seen

what was the end of those before them? They

were stronger than these in prowess and dug up

the earth, and built on it more than these have built…..”

(30: 9)

 

Here Allah refers to the study of the history of ancient civilizations. Which of our “ulama” can give us a learned dissertation on Egyptology or the history of cultures that became effete a long time ago?

 

Ibn Khaldun is regarded in the academic world as the Farther of History. His writings influenced the entire world. But he was ignored by the “ulama” and until recently his “Muqaddamah” was banned by the Sheikhs of the greatest Muslim University, Al-Azhar. They said that the Muqaddamah was profane and might undermine faith!

 

(8)

“And the sun moves to its destination… And

the moon, We have ordained for it stages…

Neither is it for the sun to overtake the moon,

Nor can the night outstrip the day. And all

FLOAT on in an orbit.” (36:  38-40)

 

Reference is made here to heavenly bodies FLOATING IN THEIR ORBITS. In another place, referring to heavenly bodies Allah says:

 

             “…Surely there are signs in this for A PEOPLE

WHO UNDERSTAND.” (16: 12)

Today it is common knowledge that planets, planetoids and asteroids “float” around in space in a fixed orbit. The word “float” as used in the Quran is the exact word used by scientists today to describe the movement of the heavenly bodies. Our “ulama” cannot comprehend this verse of the Quran because the study of HEAVENLY BODIES and SPACE SCIENCE is totally foreign to them.

 

(9)

“And of His Signs is the creation of the heavens

and the earth and what He has spread forth in

both of them of LIVING BEINGS. And He is

All-Powerful to gather them together when He

will,” (42: 29)

 

This verse clearly points to the fact that there are LIVING BEINGS on other planets. Our “ulama” cannot give us any information on this scientific truth for which we have to turn to Godless Russia and other western countries who are now probing the secrets of space.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

OUR “ULAMA”:

 

After the above Quranic definition of Ulama, you must think, Saleem, how much scientific knowledge our “ulama” possess! They are not acquainted with even the elementary knowledge of the natural sciences. Their learning does not go beyond useless debates and time-wasting logomachies, that is, arguments about words or the meaning of words. Their debates have no relevance to the world we live in, nor to the activities of human life.

 

The syllabus of our madrasahs is spread over ten years. These ten years are spent in studying logic, philosophy, semantics, public speaking, literature and grammar. And the logic and philosophy is also that which has become antiquated, obsolete. This syllabus includes a few books on astronomy, geometry and accounting. But even from these books only that section is taught that is of no use in daily life. Moreover, and you, will be astonished to know, that in their syllabus the Holy Quran is not included at all! For Tafseer (commentary), they teach Jalaalain, in which only the synonyms of Quranic words are given. In the final year the students are taught the commentary of surah Baqarah from the Tafseer of Baidawi. This is their syllabus, after the completion of which they receive their certificate of having qualified as “aalim”

 

The extent of their knowledge regarding the phenomena of nature, may be gauged from this example: With the advent of the loudspeaker in India, people asked for fatwas about it from the “eminent ulama” – whether it is lawful (Jaa’iz) or unlawful (Naa-Jaa’iz) (from the Shariah point of view).

 

In his reply to this request, the president of the Jamiatul Ulama, the late Mufti Kifaayatullah, wrote: “We have not yet seen the instrument about which the question is asked, but we have heard about it that it is an instrument placed in front of a speaker or Qari. Facing it he recites or delivers his lecture. The instrument absorbs the sound and broadcasts it four times over the distance, without which it would be difficult to disseminate the sound of the voice.” (Reference: “NAQEEB”, 10 November, 1941)

 

After this the Mufti Saheb gave his fatwa that it was permissible to use the loudspeaker.

 

But later, a great Mufti of the Daarul Uloom (Deoband), Mufti Muhammad Shafi Saheb (who had afterwards emigrated to Pakistan), published his own fatwa, OVERTURNING the fatwa of Mufti Kifaayatullah. In this fatwa he said that it is FORBIDDEN (Haraam) to use this instrument for the “intended prayers”[2] In this magazine (the name of which was Al-Badaa-i’ Al-Mufeedah Fee Hukmud Daa-i-ul Jadeedah) he wrote that he did not know the nature of this instrument and how it works. Therefore he enquired from Master Brij Nandan Laal who was the science teacher at the Alexandera High School in Bhopal. Mr Laal said: “Because of the electrical power, I hesitate to believe, that it is the original voice. I cannot even deny this, because I have no proof of this denial.”

 

After this wonderful research, the Mufti Saheb decided that the loudspeaker is Haraam (forbidden) for the purpose of prayers. It means that on the basis of Mr Brij Nandan Laal, the Mufti Saheb decided that in this matter, THIS is the Command of Allah and His Messenger (S). Do you see what the position of these people is regarding research into the natural phenomena and modern technology! Their knowledge about these things is clearly deplorable, yet they keep on issuing fatwas after fatwas whether they are Halaal or Haraam! And now in Pakistan this matter has progressed beyond the fatwa stage into legislation.

 

For example, if this matter comes before the government, that is it permissible or impermissiible to use the loudspeakers for the khutbahs, and if there is any need to legislate on this matter, then these very ulama gentlemen will demand that only they are qualified to draw up the law.[3] That is, these gentlemen will first find out from some Master Brij Nandan Laal what this loudspeaker thing is all about, and on the basis of the findings provided by him, they will decide whether, according to the Quran and Sunnah, it is lawful or not. And their decision will be promulgated as a law in the country!

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

From these explanations you must have seen, Saleem, that according to the Quran, the Believers and God-conscious people are those who remember Allah, those who have faith in and desire to meet Him; the God-fearing servants of Allah are those who ponder on the system found in the world, and conduct research unceasingly on the forces of nature. This from the Quranic viewpoint, is called KNOWLEDGE (‘Ilm), and the bearers of such knowledge are called ULAMA by Allah (SWT).

 

 

THE REMOVAL OF DOUBT:

 

At this stage you must no doubt be thinking that on the basis of what is said above, the Western nations are the true believers, and are God-fearing. But this line of thinking is not correct. It is extremely necessary for the believing and God-conscious people to acquire the knowledge of nature, but it is wrong to assume that every nation that acquires this knowledge, (automatically) becomes believers and God-fearing. Apart from being very important, this difference is also subtle. It is therefore necessary to comprehend it properly.

 

Believers and God-fearing people are those who, after harnessing and harmonising nature, utilize her forces according to the laws of God as enunciated in the Holy Quran. To be a Believer (Mu’min) and Muttaqee (God-conscious), both these conditions are indispensable, viz.:-

 

(1)        harnessing nature, and

 

  • utilising the resulting benefit from such harnessing

 

ACCORDING TO THE LAWS OF ALLAH!

 

If any nation evinces a lack of either of these conditions, then it cannot be referred to as believers and God-conscious. The Quran comments:

 

“O ye who believe! Enter into Islam

wholeheartedly (in its totality….).”

(2: 208)

 

That is, it enjoins us to imbue ourselves with, and immerse totally, in the Quranic Order. We are not believers and God-conscious because we lack the first condition (harnessing of nature). And when we fulfil only the first condition (i.e. harnessing nature), then question of the second condition (that of utilizing the power of nature according to the laws of Allah) does not arise at all.

 

The Western nations are not believers and God-fearing because they lack the second condition. Therefore, on the practical level of belief and God-consciousness, they and we, are both on an equal footing. But those nations are better than us because, by capturing the forces of nature, they have made their material life very pleasant. And WE are dependent on THEM for our very sustenance (bread).

 

In order to utilize the powers of nature according to the laws of Allah, one must have knowledge of the Quran, because these Divine laws are to be found within its pages. These are the people:

 

        “…..who are firmly grounded in knowledge….”

(3: 6)

 

and who base their faith rationally on the Quran, conducting all their affairs according to it.

 

        “… .Those who do not judge according to the Quran,

are the unbelievers (Kaafiroon.)”

(5: 44)

 

The result of this unbelief (Kufr) is that human society becomes a living hell in spite of the abundance of wealth and provisions (as it is now happening in Europe). They have such a vast knowledge of science, yet they cannot find the true solution to the problems besetting human life. In other words, in this matter their senses and their minds are not assisting them. The Quran says about such nations:

 

And certainly We had firmly established them in power

in matters in which We have not empowered you…

(46: 26)

 

 

With this, the senses and the mind were also granted to them, but:

 

“… and We had given them ears and eyes and hearts,

but neither their ears, nor their eyes, nor their hearts

availed them aught, since they denied the message of Allah.” (46: 26)

 

If the Western nations spend the forces of the universe and the gifts of nature according to the Laws of Allah, then the hell in which the world is presently embroiled, can be transformed into heaven, in search of which mankind is wandering about.

 

See, Saleem, how beautifully the Quran states this. Read again these verses of Sura Yunus (10: 8) in which it is said:

 

“Those who expect not the meeting with Us, and are pleased

 with this world’s life and are satisfied with it, and those who

 are heedless of Our communications – these (are the people)

whose abode is the Fire because of what they earned.” (10: 7-8)

 

After this the Quran says:

 

Those who believe and do good, their Lord guides them by

their  faith; rivers will flow beneath them in Gardens of

bliss.” (10: 9)

 

The result is that they live in exquisite gardens which stay green forever – no lessening will take place in their verdure. Seeing the heavenly society, they will spontaneously utter that Yaa Allah! Truly it was indeed against Your nature to have created the cosmos in vain.

 

Their cry therein will be, Glory be to Thee, O Allah!

and their greeting, Peace! “ (10: 10)

 

In this society their desires for one another are greatly vitalizing, and engendering peace and security. Those who have established this society, they will continue to extend its boundaries further and further through their sustained strivings and unceasing efforts and actions until, finally, encompassing all mankind. At that time every observer will exclaim that how profoundly worthy of all praise and exceeding eulogy is Allah’s Devine Cosmic Order.

 

“…..And the last of their call will be: Praise be to

Allah, the Lord of the worlds.”(10: 10)

 

 

 

EPILOUGE:

 

From these explanations, the truth must be clear to you, Saleem, that if we wish to envisage society along the lines of Quranic teachings, then it would be necessary for us to create such research scholars and scientists who would, through their experimentations with, and observations of, the laws of nature, subjugate the cosmic forces – with their studies extending to every aspect of the world, encompassing all organic and inorganic beings.

 

Together with this they must promulgate the Divine Laws that are enshrined in the Quran in such a way that it would become evident that there is no difficulty whatsoever in harnessing and distributing these forces according to the laws of Allah.

 

These are the people who would be called ULAMA in the words of the Quran.

 

As long as our present conception regarding Knowledge and the Learned (“Ilm and Ulama”) does not change, we just cannot count ourselves among the living nations – let alone reaching God!

 

“How can you search for God when you

have not (even) reached man(kind).”

 


 

 

 

 

ANOTATED GLOSSARY

 

 

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
 

APPELLATION :

 

an identifying name or title

 

APPRISE :

 

to make aware; inform

 

ASSAY :

 

an attempt

 

CEREBRAL :

 

involving intelligence, rather than emotions or instinct

 

COGNOSCENTI :

 

people with informed appreciation of a particular field; connoisseurs

 

COLOSSUS :

 

something very large

 

CORUSCATING :

 

shinning; sparkling; brilliant

 

CREDITABLE :

 

deserving credit, honour; praiseworthy

 

DEEN :

 

faith; way and code of life as practised by Muslims

 

DETOXIFY :

 

remove poison from

 

DISQUISITION :

 

a formal written or oral examination of a subject

 

DISEMINATION :

 

distribution; diffusion

 

EULOGIZE ;

 

to praise (a person or thing) highly in speech or writing

 

EXEGETE :

 

commentator of scripture

 

EXPATIATE :

 

to enlarge (on a theme, topic, etc.) at length or in detail; elaborate (on)

 

EXTIRPATION :

 

uprooting; removing or destroying completely

 

 

FALDERAL :

 

 

Foolish nonsense

 

FOSSILIZED :

 

antiquated or inflexible

 

ICONOCLAST :

 

a person who attacks established or traditional concepts, principles, laws, etc.

 

IMPERATIVE :

 

extremely urgent or important

 

INELUCTABLE :

 

irresistible; hard to escape from

 

INNUMEROUS :

 

extremely numerous

 

INTELLIGENTSIA :

 

the educated or intellectual people in a society or community

 

INVECTIVE :

 

vehement accusation or denunciation, especially of a bitterly abusive or sarcastic kind

 

IQBAL :

 

Allamah Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1876-1938), the greatest thinker, philosopher, sage and poet of this century produced by the Indo-Pak sub-continent. He envisaged a Muslim state, later designated as PAKISTAN, where Muslims could practise their Deen of Islam freely and unhindered by inimical forces. He advised and encouraged Allamah Parwez to write a Tafseer (commentary) of the Holy Quran.

 

KAAFIR :

 

infidel; a non-Muslim; non-believer

 

MAULANA :

 

used as a title by Muslim religious priests and clergy in India and Pakistan only. No other Muslim country uses this title

 

MELLIFLUOUS :

 

(of sound and utterances) smooth or honeyed; sweet

 

MULTIFARIOUS :

 

of many kinds

 

MUTTAQEE :

 

a person who keeps away from things that are harmful to his personality and character, by adhering to the laws of Allah, thus rejecting a negative approach to life and accepting positive virtues; virtuous; God-conscious

 

NONPAREIL :

 

a person or thing that is unsurpassed or unmatched; peerless example

 

OPPROBRIUM :

 

reproach or censure

 

PARAMOUNT :

 

of the greatest importance or significance; pre-eminent

 

PAR EXCELLENCE:

 

beyond comparison

 

PASSERINE :

 

of, relating to, or belonging to the PASSERIFORMES, an order of birds characterised by the perching habit: includes the lark, finches, crows, thrushes, starlings, etc.

 

PER SE :

 

by or in itself; intrinsically

 

PERSPECTIVE :

 

the proper or accurate point of view or the ability to see it

 

PERSPICACITY :

 

acute perception or discernment

 

POLEMICIST :

 

one who practises the art of disputation or argumentation, as in attacking or defending a doctrine or belief

 

POLYMATH :

 

A person of great and varied learning

 

PRISTINE :

 

Original; pure; uncorrupted

 

PUGREED :

 

turbaned

 

QURAN :

 

holy scripture of Muslims revealed by God Almighty to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be on him)

 

QURANIC REFERENCES:

 

where a Quranic reference is quoted, e.g. 4:135, this means Sura (chapter) no. 4, verse no. 135

 

RABB :

 

God’s Attributes of Nourisher, Cherisher and Sustainer

 

SACERDOTAL :

 

relating to, or characteristic of, priests

 

SANG-FROID :

 

Composure; self-possession; calmness

 

SAVANT :

 

A man of great learning; sage

 

SHARIAH :

 

revealed law

 

STUPENDOUS :

 

astounding; wonderful

TAMASHA :

ULAMA :

Play; fun; entertainment

plural of ‘aalim’ – the learned; those possessing knowledge

 

VEDANTISM :

 

one of the six main philosophical school of Hinduism, expounding the monism regarded as implicit in the Veda in accordance with the doctrines of the Upanishads. It teaches that only Brahma has reality, while the whole phenomenal world is the outcome of illusion (maya)

[1] *This is now published in the momentous book, “THE BIBLE, THE QURAN AND SCIENCE”, of Maurice Bucaille. In this book most of the Quranic verities are now shedding their light like the shining stars. (1981)

[2] Now these very “eminent ulama” use loudspeaker without the slightest hesitation in their khutbahs and salaat!

[3] This is now practically happening (1981)


 

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Why Do We Lack Character? (Ghulam Ahmad Parwez) – Idara Tolu-e-Islam

Widespread Impression

“Our people have no character” is acknowledged universally, at home and abroad, in business and government circles, and in every sphere of administrative activity. Lack of character produces social imbalance and leads ultimately to national decline and disintegration. The malady has been eating up the vitals of our social life too fast to withstand an unexpected shock.

Meaning of Character

The outward signs of a weak character are commonly believed to be bribery, corruption and exploitation but they do not bring out the true significance of the word. It belongs to the realm of ethics, which defines character in terms not easily intelligible to the common man. Here are a few definitions given by Western writers on ethics.

“Morality is character. Character is that which is engraved. Character is really inwardness. Immorality as energy is also character, but to be neither moral nor immoral is merely ambiguous”.

(Soren Kierkegarard in “The Present Age”, page 15).

“Character is the manifestation of Truth, and Truth is the conformation of Appearance to Reality”.

(Professor Whitehead in “Adventures of Ideas”, page 309).

“Character is adopting ‘Good’ and good is the movement in the direction of home, ‘evil’ is the aimless whirl of human potentialities without which nothing can be achieved and by which, if they take no direction but remain trapped in themselves, everything goes away”.

(Martin Bubar in “Between Man and Man”, page 78).

“Character is the possession of power over oneself; it is the victory over slavery to oneself”.

(Berdyaev in “Slavery and Freedom”, page 47).

“Each person should in his acts, and behind them in his thoughts and his emotions, exercise that control which is necessary in order to assure not only harmony in his own personality but also social harmony”.

(Alexander Loveday in “The Only Way”).

“Character in the most general sense is a man’s attitude towards his human surroundings which is expressed in his actions”. (Kerschensteiner’s essay on “The Concept and Education of Character” quoted by

(Martin Bubar in “Between Man and Man”, page 108).

Let us attempt a definition on a layman’s level.

An Illustrative Proverb.

The proverb says “Sacrifice wealth to save life and sacrifice life to save honour”. The first half of the proverb is clear. Wealth and life have their respective values and if only one of them can be saved then wealth should be sacrificed to save life. One who sacrifices wealth for life or vice versa is, however, neither credited with character nor condemned. A miser once fell ill and his son called in an eminent doctor, not for helping the patient, but for saving his face against the charge of indifference towards his ailing father. The doctor examined the patient, diagnosed the disease and wrote out a prescription. As the son was leaving for buying the medicines, the father told him to do so only after first ascertaining from the undertaker the cost of his funeral, that is, he should adopt the less costly course. The advice will excite laughter, not because it exhibits lack of character but on account of its absurdity. Preservation of self is an urge which every living being follows instinctively. How hard does a tiny little ant struggle against obstacles endangering its life! Man is no exception. If he sacrifices wealth for life, he follows a natural instinct and not any moral value. Doing the opposite would be devoid of sense. Harming oneself is lunacy.

The second half of the proverb suggests that life and honour have both a value but that if there is a tie between them and only one can be saved, then it is honour which should be preferred. He who sacrifices life for safeguarding honour is universally applauded as a man of character; he who sacrifices honour to save life is unreservedly condemned.

Character Defined.

            Preservation of life is an animal instinct; not so is the preservation of honour. The concept of honour is unknown to the animal world. In fact it forms the line of demarcation between the Animal and the Man. Honour is a specific human value. Preservation of human values elevates the level of life, from the animal to the human. Character may, therefore, be defined as who so preserves human values against animal instincts is a man of character.

Assessment of Human Values.

Human values might have different meanings. Take the word honour. “God has saved my honour,” means that I have not been disgraced before my friends. “She gave her life to save her honour”—here honour signifies chastity. But the meaning of chastity itself might differ from people to people. In the East if some one casts an evil glance at a veiled lady, her father or brother would not hesitate to shoot him. In the West, however, if a girl flirts publicly, her father or brother, instead of having any qualms, would feel proud of her as a popular society girl! Again one society might attach the greatest importance to a particular value which in the estimation of another society might not be a value at all. We respect and honour our parents, but there have been tribes with whom eating them up constituted a sacred duty. The Puritans saw nothing wrong in stealing Negro children and shooting the Irishmen. The Jews thought it bad, even criminal, to levy interest among themselves but permitted it in the case of non-Jews. In an island of the Pacific there is a tribe with whom dishonesty is the best moral conduct and among whom the cleverest cheat is held in the highest esteem. Thugs felt proud of killing poor wayfarers. Nationalism is recognized the world over as a political and social creed and one who helps the well being of his nation by exploiting the other nations, is regarded a patriot worthy of being immortalized in metal and marble.

In the words of Rumelin.

“Self regard is its (State’s) appointed duty; the maintenance and development of its own power and well-being 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. The maintenance of the State justified every sacrifice and is superior to every moral rule”

(Quoted by Robert H. Murray in his,

“The Individual and the State”, page 216)

Universal Standard of Character.

Since human values vary with different societies should character mean harmonizing oneself to the values which a society might stress for the time being? In days gone by Spartans viewed theft a virtue and held the smartest thief in the high-test esteem; today theft is a crime and a thief a criminal. With us conception of a virgin is a disgrace for the family, in the West sexual intercourse between a willing couple is neither an evil nor a criminal offense: even homosexuality between willing parties is condoned there. Is there then no universal standard of character?

Quranic Concept of Character.

People inhabiting different countries might follow different ways of life but, according to the Holy Quran, human values are the same anywhere and unchangeable too. It is not given, however, to human intellect to determine such values. Human intellect is essentially individualistic in character. It can seek preservation of the particular self to which it belongs individually or collectively, but not that of the other selves. For the well-being and preservation of mankind as a whole, however, what is needed is not an individualistic intellect, which cannot see beyond its nose, but a comprehensive and all pervading intellect, namely God and Revelation. It is Revelation alone which gives abiding universal values. The revealed values are preserved in the Holy Quran, the code of life for mankind in all climes and ages. Quranic values are Permanent Values of life and provide a universal standard of character or, to use Quranic terminology, Taqwa.

Rational thought fully endorses Quranic concept of character. The famous writer Hastings Rashdall says:

“That there is one absolute standard of values, which is the same for all rational beings, is just what Morality means.”

(The Theory of Good and Evil, Vol. II, page 286)

On page 211 of the book he agrees that these values cannot be devised by human intellect but have been revealed to man and says:

“Certainly it (moral law) is to be found, wholly and completely, in no individual human consciousness. Men actually think differently about moral questions, and there is no empirical reason for supposing that they will ever do otherwise”.

Human Level of Life.

Permanent values pertain to human as distinct from animal level of life. The Quranic term for the animal level of life is “Hayat-ud-dunya”, or a level of life in which man’s vision is restricted to immediate gains. (The word dunya means nearer). Satisfaction of physical urges is accompanied by pleasure which the Holy Quran would not discard. Great discretion has to be exercised, however, when there is a tie between a physical urge promising pleasure and a human value. One who sacrifices the latter for the former is not a man of character; if he does the opposite, his behaviour would be acclaimed as laudable character.

A Quranic Illustration.

The Holy Quran expects witnesses to be men of character. Says it

“O believers, be you securers of justice. If you are summoned as a witness, be a witness for God regardless of your relationship with the parties, whether your evidence culminates yourself or goes against your parents and kinsmen and whether the party affected is rich or poor. God’s Law is the best protector for the rich and the poor. God stands closest to either and claims that you be true to Him in preference to every one else. Let not caprice, personal gain, demands of relationship or regard for riches swerve you from the path of justice. Also in tendering evidence, neither twist your statement nor avoid any, remembering always that God is aware of the things you do”, (4/135).

Evidence might often involve an acute struggle between material gains and justice. Victory of the former is a sign of “low” character. The Holy Quran calls it “following hawa” and the word “hawa”, in its basic meaning, has the idea of carrying towards a low level. Victory of the latter (Justice) is evidence of true character. Struggle between material gains and human values appears at all cross-roads in life and the test of character is the choice one makes.

Why should Material Gains be sacrificed for Human Values?

This is an important question. Riches, a life of comfort, a good name, high office and status, the charm of authority are all full of attraction. Should one give them up for the sake of preserving human values? Self-interest is ingrained in man. He cannot be weaned from it. He would not sacrifice self-interest unless and until he is convinced that in doing so he stands to gain more. He will preserve human values only if there is a reasonable prospect of greater gain.

Example of Hungry Man.

Think of a person who has had no food for several days, and, due to hunger, is unable to sit up. If a dish full of steaming pulao[1] is brought, won’t he sit up, advance impatiently towards the dish, pick up a morsel and carry it towards his mouth? While in the process if he hears some one say that although the dish is a dainty, arsenic instead of salt has been added to it by mistake, would he put the morsel into his mouth or would he throw it back into the dish and bang the dish on the ground? He would undoubtedly do the latter since eating the stuff means certain death. He would prefer pangs of hunger rather than risk life. Now suppose the report said that the dish, instead of having arsenic, has been prepared from ill-gotten money. How will the hungry person react to the modified report? Ten to one he would snatch the dish and begin swallowing the contents. There will be available to him a thousand excuses against the plea of ill-gotten money, because he sees the gain in eating the dish, but none in rejecting it. Were he convinced that the dish was as deadly as the one with arsenic, he would most certainly throw it away. The truth is that in case of a tie between a physical urge or a material gain and a human value if a person is convinced that he stands to gain more by safeguarding the value he will without doubt sacrifice the physical urge. How is the conviction to come? The question is a challenge to ethics, “religion” and rationalism.

“Religious” View.

A group amongst the believers in human values is the “religious” or the God fearing group. (Islam is a social order and not a “religion” and hence it is excluded from this group). The group views human values as so many divine injunctions. Their observance pleases God and their violation incurs His wrath leading the recalcitrant into Hades after death. Man should therefore fear God’s displeasure and chastisement and never disobey His commandments. The “religious” view might be acceptable to the primitive mind but it cannot satisfy the advanced twentieth century mind. One can threaten a child into obedience, but not a grown up person. He may obey under duress, but his inner self will revolt all the time and watch for an opportunity to break away. Moreover, there is no nobility of character in actions performed under duress. “Religious” view, therefore provides neither an explanation for safeguarding human values nor a guiding force for human actions.

View of Western Thinkers.

Many Western thinkers can be cited, but for brevity’s sake one or two quotations should suffice. According to Kant, who enjoys a unique position amongst Western thinkers, the whole edifice of ethics is founded on Man’s goodwill. Says he

“It is impossible to conceive anything in the world, or even out of it, which can be taken as good without limitation, save only a “good will.”

(Quoted by H.J. Patton in his

“The Categorical Imperative”, page 34).

Kant defines “good will” as “a will which acts for the sake of duty.” (Ibid, page 45). That is, doing duty for the sake of duty is “good will” provided it is free from gainful expectation. Good action, however good it may be, ceases to be good the moment it is associated with expectation of return or reward. The return for a good action is the principle which prompts it. Kant divides principles into two categories. Those which prompt a person to action for gaining some purpose (material maxims) and those which urge him to action without any purpose (a priori maxims). These latter, a priori maxims, give rise in man to a sense of duty. An a priori maxim is, in Kant’s words, “categorical imperative”. Says he

“The categorical imperative would be that which represented an action as necessary of itself without reference to another end, i.e. as objectively necessary.”

(Critique of Practical Reason, page 31).

The position of Kant stated simply is that human values are duties which man should perform for the sake of duty and not for achieving some purpose. They are duties a priori needing neither any argument for their proof nor any expectation for return or reward.

Urge for Human Action.

Kant’s theory might be viewed an achievement in the realm of thought, but there is nothing in it which could sparkle man’s urge to sacrifice material gains and pleasures in favour of human values. The sacrifice needs a powerful stimulus, too strong for demands of self-interest. As a rational and conscious being he will attempt nothing which does not assure self-interest. Neither the high sounding theories of philosophers nor the forceful sermons of the mystics have succeeded in persuading man to forego self-interest for the preservation of human values. Their success, if any, has been restricted to a few devotees only. Their expositions lack the capacity of becoming universal life-principles.

Material Concept of Life.

According to the Holy Quran there are two concepts of life. One concept is that man is only an animal of a some-what improved order, who lives subject to physical laws and when under their operation his bodily machine stops, he dies and with death comes his final end. This concept views man as an embodiment of physical urges at the animal level to the complete exclusion of human values. Man is a social being and since collective living leads to clashes of interest, society frames laws and regulations to keep the clashes at the minimum. One who observes the social laws is a peaceful citizen; their violation leads to punishment by courts or brings on social stigma. Under this concept of life–

(i)                 Society needs no permanent principles or values but frames laws and regulations at will and modifies, annuls or adds to them as expedient;

(ii)               The urge for respecting social laws arises from fear of legal punishment or social stigma;

(iii)             The need for respecting the laws disappears the moment one can manage to escape the grip of law or to avoid social stigma; and

(iv)             The sole criterion of character is that a person does not place self-interest over national interest. Anti-national activities are not only a penal crime but a social stigma also. But if the legal machinery of a court weakens and self-interest becomes the order of the day, as is common in all poor third world countries including Pakistan, there is no check which would stop unrestricted grabbing nor is there any inner urge which could awaken a sense of character in the people.

This concept, the material concept, of life has made this earth of ours a veritable hell. Countries alive to national interest have become a terror for the other nations; those who have ceased to be mindful of national interest, are a curse for themselves and an object of hate for the rest of the world. There is in this concept no room for character as defined above. It is self-interest only which the concept breeds in individuals as well as groups. Placing of national over personal interest is practical wisdom and not character.

Quranic Concept of Life.

The other concept of life, according to the Holy Quran, is that man is not his body only, but that he has also a Self or Personality or to use Quranic terminology, Divine Energy, whose development is the real purpose of life. Development of Personality requires the frame-work of body and, therefore, along with the development of Personality, the development of body is also necessary. Development of body is, however, only a means for the development of Personality and not an end in itself.

Man Wishes to Live on.

A desire lurking in the deepest recesses of man’s heart is to live on and never die. Self-preservation is man’s instinct and his intellect helps provide all the means required for the purpose. Self-preservation is the basic theme of the story of Adam narrated allegorically in the Holy Quran. Iblis took note of this human feeling, advanced towards Adam and offered affectionately a suggestion that would secure him immortality coupled with power which knows no waning. The offer touched Adam’s tender most feelings and he beseeched Iblis impatiently to tell him the secret. Said Iblis “you can live after death through progeny which will perpetuate your name generation after generation.” The effect was magical, intense and abiding. There is no limit to the anxiety of an issueless individual advancing in age for having a son. Bemoaning and bewailing he can never reconcile himself to dying sonless because then his abode would become dark, his name would be forgotten, his lineage would come to a dead end and his family would cease to be for all time to come. But Iblis’s suggestion, said God to man, was a deception and a delusion born of the material concept of life. A father has a separate and independent existence from the son. If the son lives on it cannot make the father immortal. The way to achieve immortality lies elsewhere, namely through adequate development of Personality. A developed Personality is unaffected by physical death; it continues to live after death and live forever. That is the way to achieve immortality, the deepest and the strongest yearning of man. God told man further that in the present state of his existence development of Personality is possible through his body and that therefore protection of body and satisfaction of bodily urges is an unavoidable necessity. Consider an egg, the hidden life germ in which can, with due care and attention become a chicken provided the eggshell remains firm and is adequately protected. The shell is, however, a means for developing the inner potential chicken and not an end in itself. Similarly man’s body is a means for developing his Personality, not an end in itself. God also said to man that as there are laws for the development of his body, so there are laws for the development of his Personality. The latter laws cannot be discovered but have been revealed and are preserved in the Holy Quran. They are Human or Permanent Values of life and in their application they are as universal as the physical laws governing man’s body.

Difference Between the Two Concepts:–

Life lived under the Quranic concept differs vastly from life lived under the materialistic concept. According to the materialistic concept man’s physical life and bodily urges are an end in themselves and are not subject to any higher law. But according to the Quranic concept

(i)                 Man’s body and its physical urges are not an end in themselves but are a means for the achievement of a higher purpose, namely integration of his Personality.

(ii)               It is very necessary that bodily urges shall be satisfied. In our example the hungry man threw away the poisoned dish because the stuff which was a means for saving life had turned into a source of destruction. But when there is a conflict between a physical urge and a permanent value, the former must be sacrificed for the latter with the full cognizance and consent of intellect, the vigilant and uncompromising guardian of self-interest.

(iii)             A believer in the Quranic concept of life takes care of permanent values, not in obedience to some body’s order nor as a matter of duty, but after making a deliberate and calculated choice. The satisfaction of the physical urge offers him physical pleasure or temporary gain, and regard for the permanent value promises him honourable and abiding life. He decides solely on the basis of reason that he should give up the lesser gain for the sake of a bigger gain. Allama Iqbal[2] draws a distinction between two phases of intellect. When it cares only for the satisfaction of physical urges intellect is Aql-e-Khud Been (self-seeing intellect) and when it cares for the satisfaction of urges both of body and Personality, intellect is aql-e-jahan been (all seeing intellect). The Holy Quran calls gains of body Hayat-ud-dunya (nearer or present gains), gains of Personality Aakherat (gains of the future) and Momeneen (believers) olul albab, that is those possessing intellect of a superior order.

(iv)             Care of permanent values under the Quranic concept, is a rational affair. Intellect works for self-interest and when it is face to face with two gains, it chooses the bigger gain. Human intellect at the animal level is low but rises higher and higher as it attains Momin’s level of life. A Momin is intellectually always a superior being.

(v)               Anything done at the instance of “self-seeing” intellect would, as commonly under-stood, be an act of wisdom. But what is done in pursuance of “all-seeing” intellect would be wisdom, cum character. “Al-seeing” intellect of a Momin never conflicts with his faith.

Basis of Character.

Character and human dignity are closely connected with a firm belief in the following:–

(a)                that man is not merely his body, but has also a Personality whose integration is life’s real purpose;

(b)               that as there are laws for the development of Body, so there are laws for the integration of Personality, called permanent values;

(c)                that permanent values cannot be discovered by human intellect but have been revealed by God; and

(d)               that every action leaves an indelible impression on the doer’s Personality.

In regard to permanent values of life Hastings Rashdall, who has been quoted before, holds in his book “The Theory of Good and Evil”, pages 200-220, that for a belief in permanent values the following pre-requisites are essential:–

(1)               That the universe has been created with a purpose, the purpose being provision of means for helping human self achieve its destiny.

(2)               That human self is a permanent reality; that the reality is spiritual in so far as it has a permanent life of its own not identical with the changes of the material organism with which it is (in whatever way) connected; and that the acts of the man really proceed from and express the nature or character of the self.

(3)               That man’s present actions affect his future, i.e. his tomorrow would be identical with what he does today or, in other words, there is continuity in life. One who sees nothing beyond present life, will be after present gains and will attach no importance to permanent values, because their importance, as means for forming character, can be realized only when one believes life to be permanent and continuous. If he believes that character comes to an end with the last breath of life, why should he worry about formation of character.

(4)               That there must be belief in God because “an absolute Moral Law or moral ideal cannot exist in material things, it can exist only in a Mind from which all Reality is derived”.

According to the Holy Quran Faith (Eaman) and Character are inseparable; the Holy Book never misses to precede “amelu as salehat” (do good deeds) with “al lazeena amanu” (those who have faith).

Choice Between Gains.

No one will be prepared to do anything which does not do him any good. Take the example of two persons working in a Government office. They are there in self-interest, working for a pay. If a business-man comes along asking for some concession against the rules in return for a handsome bribe, the official to whom human Personality is a non-entity, will accept the amount provided he is assured of non-apprehension by the police, because the bribe brings him monetary gain. The other official, however, who has faith in human Personality will not accept the bribe, because he values more the gain in being honest. He realizes that acceptance of bribe will bring him physical gain but will harm his Personality and that rejection of bribe will mean a physical loss but a gain for his Personality. He will balance the gains and, since Personality is in any case more valuable, he will welcome Personality’s gain and reject what will satisfy only a physical urge. In making the decision he does nothing against self-interest. He only goes in for a greater gain. His choice is not in obedience to any order nor in fulfillment of any duty but because it brings him substantial benefit. The choice avoids harm to Personality in the same manner in which harm to life made the hungry man reject the poisoned dish. The basis of the Quranic Law of Retribution is that every action is linked inextricably with whatever impression it produces and leaves behind on Personality. Faith in Personality prompts man continuously to do healthy deeds and exhibit nobility of character. A “momin” works for the good it brings and measures his reward not according to physical or material standards but according to the standard applicable to Personality. The verse

“I ask you not for any return; I get my return from God” (10/72),

conveys the same meaning. There is no action but has a return, the assessment of return varying according to the measure adopted. Working in consonance with permanent values does not deprive one of physical gains. In a social order constituted on the basis of permanent values an individual has physical gains along with the means of development of Personality vide the verse

“Our Nourisher give to us in the present good and good in the future” (2/210).

Law of Development.

One of the laws governing development of Personality is that development proceeds in proportion to what one makes available from his earnings for the development of others. One who believes in human Personality works his best for earning a living, utilizes as much of it as would furnish basic needs of life and makes the rest available for the development of fellow beings. Judged by physical standards the process brings nothing but loss. If one knows that what is left after meeting his needs would pass to others, why should he work for the surplus. He should normally work for procuring his needs only and then relax. The reasoning is logical and a satisfactory answer to the argument is not easy to produce. Russia faced the self-made problem and in the absence of an adequate answer had no alternative to hanging an iron curtain along its borders. Quranic concept, however, provides an answer and by doing so establishes the superiority of the Quranic Social Order over the other social orders evolved by man. The establishment of the Quranic Social Order is the work of a group of “Mom-e-neen”, that is people who are rationally convinced:

(i)                 That the purpose of life is the development of human Personality, and

(ii)               That the development of Personality comes about through working hard and making available for others what is, out of such earnings, surplus to needs.

Why Do Momins Do So.

It is rather difficult to appreciate the keenness with which momins work for the purpose. Consider a mother suckling her baby. She must produce the maximum amount of milk for the baby’s proper nourishment. The food she takes is intended primarily for her own nourishment. But she would never wish that it should all be assimilated for her body’s growth and no portion converted into the baby’s milk. In fact if the milk shows signs of drying up, she would at once consult her doctor and do everything to restore the supply. She is anxious for the baby’s care and nourishment. Identical is the mental attitude of those who believe that by providing nourishment for others they help integration of their own Personality. They work to the maximum of their capacity, utilize only as much of their earnings as would provide them basic needs, and make the rest available for others’ nourishment. At times they would go even further and prefer others over themselves even though poverty be their portion (59/9). A loving and caring mother would rather remain hungry herself but must feed her children. She would gladly inconvenience her own sleep so that the child might sleep comfortably. In doing so she has not the slightest expectation of any return or reward. In the same way Momins tell those helped

“we desire no recompense from you, no thankfulness” (76/9).

But there is a difference. Whatever the mother does for the child is done under the stress of a natural instinct common to all animals, but what a Momin does is the outcome of thoughtful deliberation and free will. The distinction is vital and forms the foundation of the Quranic Social Order. It is a sure guarantee for the sustained elevation of character.

The Quranic Way.

The Holy Quran, on the one hand, makes the State responsible to see that every citizen is provided with the basic needs of life and the means for the development of latent capabilities. Weaknesses of character arising directly from want and poverty are thus eliminated. On the other hand, the Holy Book creates in every citizen, on the basis of reason, the conviction that his Personality will get integrated in proportion to what he makes available out of his earnings, after meeting his own needs, for the nourishment of others. There is no regimentation but conviction is brought home rationally by imparting education and training from early childhood. Quranic Social Order is made up in fact of persons with whom the conviction is an article of faith. The conviction eradicates all evils connected with hoarding and inflation since in the Quranic Social Order surplus wealth is not allowed to remain with the individual nor the urge of self-interest is permitted to tarnish human character. Communism also claims that it will not allow surplus wealth to remain with individuals and will thereby put an end to the evils of capitalism. But the communistic social order and the Quranic Social Order are entirely different.

Basic Weakness of Communism.

Communism has for its basis the materialistic concept of life and, therefore, can provide no urge for a worker to work the hardest and to part with willingly what may be, out of his earnings, surplus to needs. The absence of the urge constitutes a basic weakness foreboding its failure as a social order. It can subsist only with the help of external force and an order based on force cannot obviously last long, as the world has already witnessed the disintegration of Socialist Russia and Collapse of Communism in all Eastern European Countries. A social order will endure and advance only if it has the willing co-operation of the people, and such co-operation is impossible except with the Quranic concept of life. As already explained, the materialistic concept of life on which Communism is based, pertains to the animal level of life in which there is no room for the idea of character, because it can think of nothing higher than physical gain. The most the materialistic concept can do is to arouse the feeling of Nationalism and lead people from individual to collective effort for national good. But according to the Western concept of democracy Nationalism thrives on mutual hatred among nations. Every nation fears that if it becomes weak more powerful nations will swallow it up. Therefore Nationalism is at best the product of the urge of self-preservation and has nothing to do with human values vis a vis physical urges. Nationalism makes self-preservation a collective instead of an individual affair. This does not mean decrying Nationalism, that is the urge for protecting one’s country. Self-preservation is a must and unless a country is fully protected that ‘must’ will become impossible. What the foregoing is intended to convey is that work for self-preservation, whether individual or collective, does not signify positive character but reveals sound practical wisdom. Similarly indifference to self-preservation is un-wisdom and not a negation of character. A man sailing in a boat if he begins boring a hole in its bottom, will be called a lunatic and not one lacking character. Similarly if a citizen works for the country’s disintegration he will be termed a lunatic. If the national urge makes him sacrifice personal gain for national good he would be credited with sound sense like the man in the boat who uses his valuable handkerchief for stuffing the hole in its bottom. Character comes in where one having faith in permanent values hazards a plunge to save a drowning person. There might be instances of people taking a plunge who have absolutely no idea of permanent values, but their psychological analysis is likely to show that either they were aware unconsciously of the relevant permanent value or they did it with some ulterior motive. Display of true character takes place where one is confronted with two values and he sacrifices deliberately and consciously the lower for the higher value. Faith in Quranic permanent values does it; Communism and all other isms are helpless in the matter.

Momin’s Patriotism.

Believers in Quranic values sacrifice self interest for country’s sake not because the sacrifice would safeguard their personal interest, but because they wish their country to become a model for the world for enforcing permanent values. Their preference for a permanent value over personal gain is a sign of their elevated character.

The difference between the patriotism of a believer in materialistic concept of life and of a Momin is clear. For the former his country is an end in itself because “who dies if England lives”, but for the latter his country is not an end in itself but only a means for enforcing permanent values. Momin’s patriotism protects undoubtedly his personal interest as well as of his family, but this is by way of by-product. In Quranic Social Order there is integration of human Personality along with development of body. The entire activity of a Momin, whether for the development of body or Personality, merges into ad produces a balanced amalgan of character.

Resume:–

(1)               In a conflict between two values concerning man’s physical life if the lesser value is sacrificed for the greater value, it is an act of wisdom.

(2)               In a conflict between a value concerning physical or animal level of life and a value concerning human level of life, if the latter is given preference over the former, character is demonstrated.

(3)               Display of character presupposes faith in human values and human Personality. Character is wisdom too because it sacrifices lesser value for the bigger value. Momeneen according to the Holy Quran, are “olul albab” or master of intellect and wisdom. They are the true intellectuals although unbelievers in human Personality call them lunatics.

(4)               Intellect by itself cannot discover human values; they are revealed. Faith in Revelation and belief in human values go hand in hand. Faith and healthy deeds are, according to the Holy Quran, inseparable.

(5)               Off-and-on one comes across people who have no faith in revelation but honour human values and are prepared to make the biggest sacrifice for their sake. An analysis of their mind will show one of two things. Either they were brought up in an environment where human values were respected and stressed traditionally and were reposed carefully in their sub-conscious mind or their sacrifice was prompted by some motive like reputation, popularity, or the like. Sacrifice in their case is not a manifestation of character; character seeks strength of Personality and not satisfaction of physical urges.

(6)               Development of human Personality proceeds from faith in the Quranic values and through safeguarding them in practical life. They have to be honoured en masse. Ignoring some and respecting others would not achieve full development.

(7)               Development of human Personality is possible, not in seclusion, but in a society called Islamic State, whose edifice rises on a faith in Quranic permanent values. The duty of Islamic State consists in safeguarding of human values and popularising them throughout mankind. Quranic Social Order guarantees every citizen means for development of Personality and all that is pleasant and dignified in the world.

Mysticism and Character.

Finally a word about the impact of mysticism on character. Mysticism claims purification of self or spiritual advancement through various practices performed in seclusion. There is in mysticism no incentive for man to work for a social order or a State. The subject has been discussed at great length in my book “Saleem ke Nam Khatoot” (Vol: III). Briefly stated the essential features of mysticism are:–

(1)               It is misleading to say that Mysticism aims at the development and integration of human Personality. In fact it holds human Personality or Self to be the root cause of all misery which can be shed only by effacement of human Self. Mysticism believes that human Self is a part of Divine Self which on detachment therefrom has got stuck in the morass of matter, that the purpose of life is to pull out human Self from matter’s marsh and rejoin it to its Principal and that the object is achievable through discarding society, relations and desires. Mysticism aims at annihilation and not integration of Self.

(2)               In mysticism society, state, social organization, are matters for the worldly and an essential pre-requisite for self-purification is that they must all be discarded. Man’s salvation or salvage of soul from matter’s mud is an individual affair and can be achieved through meditation and exercises of a strenuous nature.

(3)               Mysticism credits negative virtues, namely humility, modesty, weakness, etc. These virtues are appropriate to a negative life which works for annihilation of Self. In consequence mysticism has been described as “an alien growth in the land of Islam”, because, contrary to mysticism Islam advocates a positive life and expects man to master nature, establish justice, and attain his destiny by integrating human Personality. And it is the many shining facets of a developed Personality which go to make up character.

Why Do We Lack Character?

In the light of the foregoing the straight answer to this question is that we lack character because we do not distinguish the human level of life from the animal level; because we do not appreciate the Divine Energy in us, that is, our Personality, the deciding, determining and dynamic agent in Man; and because we do not care for Permanent values in life as taught by the Holy Quran. The answer also helps to show the way to develop character, namely, that we should, in all seriousness, take up the education of our people, particularly in Quranic fundamentals, and life’s permanent Values. Dissemination of Quranic teachings should be at the top of our educational programme. Lughat-ul-Quran brought out in four volumes by Tolu-e-Islam Trust (Regd.) Lahore, which explains with the help of authentic Lexicons, the meaning of Quranic words, idioms, phrases, special terms and new concepts, should prove helpful in an intelligent study of the Holy Book, Al-Quran.

(G A Parwez)


 

IMPORTANT NOTES

            The English vocabulary does not offer words and phrases that convey precisely the exact sense of the relevant Quranic terms. English language has no exact equivalent words. The same exactly is the reason why it is practically impossible to translate the Quran faithfully into another language. In the words of the well known British Orientalist Professor H.A.R Gibb the Quran is essentially untranslatable, in the same way that the great poetry is untranslatable. In this glossary, we have tried to explain the real meaning and true import of the following relevant terms and phrases based upon authoritative and universally recognized lexicons of Arabic language. These interpretations are also supported by the context in which they have been used in the respective Quranic verses.

Allah—Quran uses the Arabic word for the One God. It is a misnomer to consider it a name for God as God has no names, only attributes. The Quran describes various attributes of Allah which are collectively known as “al-asma-ul-husna”, that is attributes that are blended in a single Being, in proper equilibrium. The Quran further calls upon man to develop in himself the Divine Attributes, of course, within human limits, with the same balance and proportion.

Quran has presented a concept of God entirely at variance with the one advanced by the various religions of the world. The distinguishing feature of Quranic concept lies in the belief that Allah did not merely create the universe, but has also laid down definite laws to regulate the scope and functions of the various objects comprising it. The “Law of Cause and Effect” and the “Law of Uniformity in Nature” among others being of basic importance; and they deal with external nature of Universe. He has besides, prescribed definite laws regulating human life and its activities.

The knowledge of the Divine Laws relating to the external universe is derived from a close observation of nature, scientific experiments and discoveries, but not so in the case of law relating to human life and regulation of its conduct which are communicated only through Revelation to the ‘Rasul’ (Messenger) who faithfully delivers the Message to mankind without slightest change or modification. The reception of revelation of Divine Guidance by ‘Anbiya’ or Rusul, ended with Muhammad (P). The Guidance revealed to him is preserved and enshrined fully and exactly in the Quran.

According to Holy Quran inspite of Allah’s infinite powers and boundless authority, He does every thing strictly in accordance with the laws prescribed by Him. The laws are so immutable that no mutation can occur in them (Al-Quran 35/43). The laws have been explained to man that obeying these laws will bring him such and such gain and acting against will result in loss. After narrating all this, it has been left to the choice whether to follow the prescribed right road or to make tracks of his own (76/3) Suffering and repose accrue to the man according to the law of Allah (2/44).

Islam—Islam is not a religion in the ordinary sense of the word. Religion is the English equivalent for the Arabic word ‘Mazhab’, which does not occur even once in the Quran. Islam is a system. The Quran has used the word “Addeen” for Islam which means a particular way of life, code of life, a social system (3/18) (5/3), which one gets from Allah. This is the Deen which Muhammad Rasoolullah (peace be upon him) brought (9/33) and would triumph over all other ways of life.

Taqwa—The common English equivalent, namely, piety, does not properly express the real meaning of the word. Deviation from the path of right conduct leads man to ruin; taqwa helps to keep him on the right path and thus save him from ruin. But merely saving oneself from ruin is a negative virtue, whereas the Qur’an regards the positive aspect of life as of fundamental importance. In the context of the Qur’an, therefore, taqwa involves not only saving oneself from the forces of destruction but also stablising one’s personality through the preservation and enforcement of the Laws of God. To be more concrete, it means the faithful and efficient performance of all the duties that God has enjoined upon man through Revealed Guidance. This meaning is wide enough to include loftiness of character and purity of conduct. One who leads a life of taqwa is called Muttaqi.

Hayat-ud-Dunya—temporal life, present earthly life, immediate gains. It is used as antonym of Akherat, that means later, future or life after death.

Iblis—or Iblees-Satan. In the allegorical story of Adam narrated in the Holy Quran, Iblis is not the name of an angel or person. Iblis is the name or term used for a specific personality trait. It is an embodiment of disobedience, rebellious feelings and emotions. Iblis and Satan are the two faces of the same coin.

Akherat—later, last, future, life after death.

Momeneen—plural of Momin—one who stands guarantee for peace, upon whom one can depend, peace of mind, balanced personality in every aspect. A living model for any one who wants to avoid the pitfalls of life.

Olul-albab—intellectuals, men of letters, thinkers, who are endowed with rational selfless thinking and wisdom.

Quranic references: wherever the Quranic reference is quoted i.e. 4/135, this means Sura number 4, verse number 135.

****************

 

Why Do We Lack Character?

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

No.                                              Author        Title

  1. Soren Kierkegarard            The Present Age
  2. Bubar Martin                     Between Man and Man
  3. Berdyeau Bubar                 Slavery and Freedom
  4. Whitehead. A.N.                Adventures of Ideas
  5. Loveday Alexander           The Only Way
  6. Murray. Robert.H              The Individual and the State
  7. Rashdall – Hastings           The Theory of Good and Evil
  8. Panton.H.J                         The Categorical Imperative Critique of Practical Reason Both by Kant (1724 – 1804)
  9. Iqbal – Dr. Sir Mohammad            Israr-e-Khudi (1915)
  10. Parwez, Allama G.A        1-           Saleem-Kay-Naam Khatoot 3 volumes

2-          Mafhoom-ul-Quran

3 volumes

3-          Lughaat-ul-Quran

(lexicon) 4 volumes

 

[1] A delicious rice dish cooked with meat.

[2] Dr. Sir, Mohammad Iqbal, Poet, Philosopher of Pakistan (1877-1938)

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Are All Religions Alike? by Ghulam Ahmad Parwez & Translated by Dr. Manzoor-ul-Haque

IMPORTANT NOTES

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

Ahl-e-Kitab: These are the people of the Book i.e., Jews, Christians, and Sabaeans). These are the people, who along with their conviction (Īmān) in Allah, have faith in all the Messengers coming before Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and in some of the Books before the Qur’ān was revealed.

Ahimsa: It is an Indian doctrine of nonviolence, expressing belief in the sacredness of all living creatures and the possibility of reincarnation, strictly practiced by the Jains and subscribed to by Buddhists and Hindus.

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

Brahma-Samāj: It is a Hindus’ School of Thought, founded in 1830 by Raja Ram Mohan Roy in Bengal and flourished as a Movement in India.

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 is a “Way of Life”, and in the Islamic context, is a social system based on Qur’ānic values.

Īmān: Literally it is ‘to be convinced, to accept, to verify something, to rely upon, or have confidence in.’ It is synonymous with conviction and is based upon reason and knowledge. The Qur’ān does not recognize as Īmān any belief that is divorced from reason and involves the blind acceptance of any postulate. It signifies the conviction that results from full mental acceptance and intellectual satisfaction, inner contentment and peace.

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

Mu’min: It is the one who accepts the truth in such a way that it ensures his own peace and helps him to safeguard the peace and security of the rest of mankind. Al-Mu’min is one of the attributes of God Himself.

Muhammad: The name Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, – the last of the series of Rusul – is generally followed by the salutation “Peace Be Upon Him”. As this (“Peace Be Upon Him”) is not used in the Qur’ān, 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 implicitly understood 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.

Muttaqi: It is a derivative of the Arabic word Taqwa. Deviation from the path of right conduct leads man to ruin; Taqwa helps to keep him on the right path and thus save him from ruin. In the context of the Qur’ān, Taqwa involves not only saving oneself from the forces of destruction but also stabilizing one’s personality through the preservation and enforcement of the Laws of Allah. To be more concrete, it means the faithful and efficient performance of all the duties that Allah has enjoined upon man through Revealed Guidance. This meaning is wide enough to include loftiness of character and purity of conduct. One who leads a life of Taqwa is called Muttaqi. Its plural is Muttaqeen.

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’ān.  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’ān.

Pundit: It is the one who is well-versed in Hindu religious lore.

Rusul: It is the long succession of Divine Messengers of God. And Rasūl is the each one of this long succession of Divine Messengers of God, who came from time to time to mankind with a Code of Divine Guidance, and established a socio-economic order based on the permanent values embodied in that Code.

Shar’a and Minhaj: It is the outward form of observance idealized.

Shirk: It is the only unforgivable sin in the Qur’ān.  It is the association of partners with Allah, whether it is the human world or the physical world or the obedience to laws in contradiction to those revealed in the Qur’ān. Those who do so are called mushrikeen. This includes creating divisions within the Muslim community through sectarianism.

Are All Religions Alike?

Background of This Discourse

Movements such as “Are all religions one and the same?” have, off and on, been rising on the soil of undivided India. The sole aim of these movements had been to popularize the thoughts that “Universal values are equally found in all religions; so Islam, as religion, merits no credence, no supremacy, no hegemony, and no pre-eminence over and above any of the other religions of the world.”

Among the leaders of “United India”, (Maulana) Abul Kalam Azad (deceased), with Congress at his back, was such a leader who initiated this Movement in the Indo-Pak Subcontinent. Its ultimate aim was to prove that:

  1. Islam, as a religion, does not merit any peculiar characteristic of its own
  2. Universal values are one and the same in all religions of the world
  3. If the followers of all these religions act upon the teachings of the founders of these religions, Islam says: ‘My purpose is achieved.’

Contrary to this concept, the Pakistan Movement was launched on the premise that the entire Muslim population of India is a separate nation and enjoys a distinct system of life. They need a separate homeland, where they could run this System as a free independent state.

On the basis of the arguments drawn from the teachings of the Qur’ān and the vigour of conviction (Īman), his Movement was countered then and there. He was rebutted with a crushing reply and was proved to be wrong in his mode of argumentation and way of expression. The Pakistan Movement succeeded and Pakistan, on the fine morning of 14th of August 1947, emerged as a new independent state on the map of the world. Its specific purpose was to establish God-given System of life (demarcated in the Qur’ān) as a Law. Consequently, excepting the circle of the leaders of Congress, (Maulana) Azad turned out to be no more an influential figure in the Indo-Pak Subcontinent.

Since some time, it has been observed that the followers of (Maulana) Abul Kalam Azad are projecting, in a queer manner, the various aspects of his writings, particularly his teachings, beliefs, and his ideas of the two-nation theory. The purpose of their writing is to prove that the so-called wrong ideas he propagated, on being a disciple of Gandhi, in the last days of his life, were not wrong in the real sense. According to them these ideas looked to be wrong because these were presented in a wrong way.

We thought it necessary that “these diabolical efforts of theirs be remedied”. And “this stark fact be firmly built in the minds of our young rising generation that there were persons, who had recently written the exegesis of the Qur’ān and the people were still reminiscent of their writings. The Hindu, in the words of Naseem Hijazi, (a renowned Pakistani Novelist), selected those persons to implement their schemes.” And hence they included (Maulana) Abul Kalam Azad in this list.

In this connection, we are reproducing a paper of G. A. Parwez (R. A.) that was written in August 1941. Its title is “Are All Religions Alike?”

(Tolu-e-Islam Magazine, Lahore, December, 1987)

Prolegomena

Since some time, a kind of tradition has popped up to hold Inter Religions Conferences from time to time. The representatives of various religions narrate the merits of their religion in these conferences. The general aim of these gatherings is to impart a body of knowledge of the various religions amongst one another. And thereby remove the misunderstandings that have found way for lack of religions knowledge. The excellence of this aim and the utility of these ceremonies can not be refuted. But whenever I studied the proceedings of these ceremonies, I felt that (at least) Islam, in the real sense, is little presented properly in its true tone and tenor. It is an undeniable fact that Islam is a harbinger of peace and a source of nourishment for mankind. That is why it contains the teachings of tolerance, virtuous dealings, and broadness of visions for both the irreligious and the religious followers. But this is also a stark fact that Islam is a strong supporter of a peculiar excellence over the edge of other religions. It proclaims that God’s message, in its pristine purity, is present in the Qur’ān alone; it’s the last message of God and is a complete and perfect code of life. It contains all the means of guidance for every branch of human life and perpetuates to the last syllable of the recorded time on this earth. Its broadness of vision, its openness, its tolerance, and its virtuous dealings are publicly trumpeted. But its excellence, completeness, supremacy, and exaltation over and above the other religions are never talked of. It is because it is usually understood that doing so would tantamount to generate heart-breaking of the other religionists; thus they would term the representative of Islam as “prejudice and narrow-minded.” Influenced with this misconception of tolerance and broad-mindedness, Islam’s representatives find no courage to interpret Islam in its true and pristine perspective. Thus, they attend these ceremonies with the sense of getting finished, boggled, demurred, and bashed.

With this concept in mind, such conferences, at least for Islam, never bring any better results. On the contrary, I am feeling since long that this is causing more harm than good in its true perspective. Whether or not this is the purpose of conducting these gatherings, but their results are definitely producing the impact that   -with the neglect of its distinctive characteristic   -Islam is slowly being brought at the level of other religions. Consequently the events are gradually casting the shadow that this is not a fancied fear. Nor is it an apprehension of any speculative imagination.

In the beginning of June 1941, such a type of “Conference on All Religions” was held at Shoolapur (in undivided India). Pundit Sunderlalji, a famous Hindu activist, was the president of this Conference. The detail of whatever-the-representative-of-Islam delivered in this Conference could not be known. But in his presidential address, the president focused his deliberations on the point that Islam accepts itself that the mores and cores of salvation and progress are one and the same in every religion. No religion enjoys superiority to any other religion. The spirit of religion is God- worshipping and righteous living. And that this is the same in every religion. The difference is only in Shar’a and Minhaj (in bylaws). And that this difference carries no significance at all.

The Exegesis of Azad

To prove his assertion, Pundit Sunderlalji said nothing of his own. From the beginning of his address to the end, he referred detailed quotations   -supporting his assertions word by word   -from Abul Kalam Azad’s exegesis of Surah-Al-Fatiha (Tarjuman-Al-Qur’ān, Vol.1). Probably you would know that the Hindus published the Hindi rendering of this exegesis and Pundit Sunderlalji made frequent references from it in his presidential address. I have nothing to do with the prose and cons of the factors that provided impetus to the writing of this exegesis, nor to the objectives that led to its Hindi rendering and general publicity. As a student of the Qur’ān, I have to see the feasibility of these ideas from the Qur’ān’s point of view. Prior to it, I have exhaustively written on this topic. But the need of the day is that it be described in detail so that those propagating these ideas should remain no more duped, defrauded, and swindled in the perception that Islam itself is a supporter of this type of teaching. The need of this detailed elaboration becomes more intense, all the more, when it is felt: what impact does this teaching imbibe in the personality fiber of our young generation?

This teaching brings out the following concepts:

  • All religions are one and the same
  • All religions have the same universal truth in them
  • God-worshipping and righteous living are the sure test of salvation and good fortune
  • Divine guidance is the blessing of God; it can not be the monopoly of any one-group etc.

These ideas are so fantastic, so elusive, and so alluring that the superfluous minds and brains are easily and briskly trapped in the orgasm of the charm. And when the support of the Qur’ān’s exegete like Azad is blended with this trivial charming attraction, then nothing could dispense with the charm of this spell.

Akbar’s Deen-e-Illāh

The first glimpse of this deceptive concept of the exposition of tolerance and the broadened view of this mirage-oriented exegesis is found in the Deen-e-Illāhi of Akbar, the great. As the passions and the objectives operating behind the motives of this movement are not hidden from the eyes of the historians, so are the noble efforts in their eyes that were showered to falsify and uproot this Islam-rending theory.

The movement of Brahma-Samaj faction has also been founded on the same lines. Since this movement did not come from the Muslims, so it is beyond the scope of our criticism in this discourse.

After this movement, it was this very theory that was projected against the Muslims during the running surge of the political morass, conflict, and upheaval. The exegesis of Azad became the root cause for the propagation of this theory and hence spread as Deen among the Muslims. Azad, as a scholar of Deen and exegete of the Qur’ān, had a distinct position among the Muslims. He had a deep impact of his speech and writing on the heart and mind of the Muslims. His exegesis of the Qur’ān was awaited since the past many years. When it was published, it was welcomed and was sold like hot cakes. The people treated it with great reverence and respect. And raised slogans of its appreciation and felicitation from every walk of life.

There is no doubt that Azad’s translation has a specific characteristic; not to appreciate this aspect would be miserliness and stinginess. But the discussion is about the very idea that has been mentioned above. Amid the crowd of exceeding excitement, fondness, and fervid devotion, no body thought of it during the time of its circulation. Not as a self-praise, but as the expression of the factual position, during this multitude of appreciation and eulogy, God blessed the writer with divine help to pinpoint to the discerning and the sagacious persons his basic mistake that was to be disseminated with his exegesis. Hence my article criticizing this part of his exegesis was published in the Mu’ārif periodical publication of January 1933. This article was much appreciated among the erudite. Some where from the circle, the voices were raised against this idea of Azad. Eight or nine years have passed since the publication of this paper. Since those critical papers published against this theory passed temporarily through the eyes of the people, so they were lost in the memory of the people.

The miscellaneous papers have only temporary effect. And since this exegesis is in the form of a permanent book, so it remained fresh every time. Whenever this theory got a lot of general publicity, I had, however, been writing some thing against it. Since the last three years, this issue was talked of in Tolu-e-Islam magazine now and then. But despite all that, the temporary efforts   -till carried on in a sequence of some continuity   -cannot prove effective as compared to the status of a permanent book. Especially it becomes even more difficult when the people of the other religions struggle hard for making this idea popular and wide-spread among the masses. To me this very idea is the biggest danger to Islam. It is because when you once accept that Islam has no distinct feature over the other religions, it loses all the efforts carried out for fondness, prestige, and honour of Islamic system of life. And even the political efforts held so high in its importance become meaningless.

(The Pakistan Movement was founded on the assertion that a separate free State is needed if the Muslims desire to lead life according to Islam.) The secret of nations’ life is conditioned with their belief (the aim of life). The higher is the goal of life (belief) of a nation and the more love its individuals shower on it, the more prosperous of the wealth of life that nation will be. Even a slight mistake in theory of life (belief) makes a nation worthless. When the railway train changes its track, there is an imperceptible distance, hardly of an inch, between the two line-points. If there is a slight mistake in getting the railway track changed, the railway train not only will go many miles away from its destination within no time, but will also be liable to destruction and ruination at every step. To me, Azad’s theory is such a devastating mistake, which, if allowed to pervade, God knows, what havoc would it wreak. This is the very feeling that prevails upon me of and on and becomes the root cause to write on it.

It is said that the followers of other religions are accepting that their own religion is not the only one that is the most dignified and elevated. They admit that the status of their own religion is like that of the others’. It has automatically brought a change in the unnecessary discussions and dialogues used to be launched against other religions for establishing superiority of their own religion. This is the conduct of the other religionists. And what is the state of affairs among the Muslims?

Taunting of Narrow-mindedness

The Muslims are again being persuaded to accept that all religions are one and the same; Islam enjoys no superiority over other religions. There is no denying the fact that unjustified discussion, bickering and wrangling do never bring any conducive results. And I always avoid it. But let the fault-finders just think over what they say. And let them ponder over the nature and scope of other religionists’ broad-mindedness and narrow-mindedness in this regard? For understanding the phenomenon take the example of Zaid. He has a child, most stupid and ignorant. In contrast to him, Omer’s child is sharp and acute. Zaid says everywhere: “I do never say that my child enjoys any specific superiority. To me, Omer’s child and mine are absolutely the one and the same; there is no difference among the two; it is nothing but the self-praise of Omer that he does not consider any one else’s child at par with his own chap. ”

Pause and reflect! Does this principle reflect Zaid’s broad vision and Omer’s narrow-mindedness? Or does it show of any reality in the real sense? The present day necessities of life have brought this to bear upon the fact that all religions (except Islam as a system) are facing difficulty to harbour their beliefs on the anvil of knowledge and reason. Nor are their conduct and code coincide with man’s growing urges and varying climes of the day. They have thus to borrow principles and laws from here and there for satisfying their day to day practical needs. Hence these religions are totally incompetent to keep pace with the day’s accelerating developments of the man. Slowly and gradually, the followers of these religions are becoming incapacitated to rest with their beliefs. Nor are they adherent to their religion. They are disgusted with their religion. In some cases, their disgust is transforming into revolt and insurgency.

The secret of the life of a nation depends upon its adherence to the belief system; so the followers of these religions face a danger of gradually disintegrating the very fabric of their religion. On the contrary, they are seeing how the Qur’ān is meeting the growing needs of the man. In view of these circumstances, they fear lest the wise class of the followers of their religion should divert to the teachings of Islam. Under these paradigms, they understand it well how fruitless and meaningless is their saying to their religious-bitten youth that their religion enjoys superiority over and above all the religions of the world. In order to avoid this danger, they have devised the same technique, which Zaid had invented for his child. They have started to bring down Islam to the level of their own religion if their religion can not be at par with Islam. And likewise this idea is made mature in the minds of their religious-bitten youth that all religions are uniformly one and the same; so they should not be fed up with their own religion. And this idea is embedded in their mind that there does not exist in the world a religion that is better than their own. They say that the religion is confined to worship and prayer alone. From this point of view all religions are one and the same.

So far the system of life, they say that it is a separate entity and has nothing to do with the religion. It is the collectivity of the nation that gives shape to it. In this way, it is the nationality that is the very focal point to which the secret of life is tied up tightly. This shrewd class of the people has thus saved their nation from the coming danger. In other words, they concealed the weakness of their religion in the veil of “oneness of religiousness ” and found another front (i.e., nationality) for the collectivity of the nation.

These are the hard cores and mores under which this movement of ”uniformity of religions” emerged on the surface of the religions of the world. You are at liberty to give it any name you like. But just think of the conditions of the heart of a person who accepts that the time had to come when the followers of all the religions would be bound to confess the inherent defects in their religions. In other words it can be said that the advancing needs and urges of the time would compel them to confess the fact that their religions could not be compatible to the growing needs of the day. It is the right time when the assertion of Islam as the real system of life could be presented on reason and vision to the world forum and thus its superiority and comprehensiveness could be got established. These were the circumstances when this assertion of the Qur’ān had to emerge as a living reality:

Allah has sent His Rasūl with Code of Life and Divine Order so that it prevails over all human orders, how much it is to the dislike of the Mushrikeen, the Polytheists (9:33).

Whoever believes in this grand reality of the Qur’ān – say the truth – when he sees that the followers of Islam are themselves projecting the idea that “All religions are one and the same”, how can he accept and disseminate this notion as true service to the cause of Islam?

It is said: if you will make this assertion that our religion is the best and the most superior of all the religions – and salvation and good fortune do not exist anywhere beyond it – the others will also start making the same assertion for their own religions. And then the same question of ‘comparing and contrasting’ the religions will be created; it will generate hullabaloo. First of all, the question of this comparison does not arise; now gone are the days when such discussions on sheer theoretical issues used to be conducted. Now the situation is that the entire world is fed up with its own theories of life and is searching for an ideology under which the man is able to live a safe and secure life. The nations that propounded nationalism as the sole guarantee of peace and satisfaction are willingly or unwillingly accommodating with it. Under these circumstances the question of any type of competition does not arise.

Now the need of the day is to show up the true concept of Islam; the thirsty world searching for this concept will automatically gather round this fountain of life. But even if the question of competition is accepted, no one is afraid of this comparison. For Omer, this challenge is a happy augury: that his and Zaid’s son be made to appear in the competitive examination. If the world wants to ask for it, it may ask with pleasure. We would tell it: where and why its theories failed and which Code of life – pristine clear of its multitude of weaknesses, infirmities, and defects – Islam brings forth against it. But at present my address is not to the followers of the other religions. I now want to address those who call themselves Muslims and have conviction that all religions are one and the same.

The sole purpose of this conspicuity of my address is to evaluate this ideology against the set criterion of the teachings of the Qur’ān. The mode of addressing the followers of the other religions is different. To them the Qur’ān is no authority. Hence my address is confined to those who accept the Qur’ān as the sole authority. The perfection of the human prestige, the achievement of exaltation and elevation – in the present and the future – and every kind of well being, welfare, salvation, and progress can be clinched with this system of life. The Qur’ān is the true exponent of this system and Muhammad (PBUH), the Messenger of Allah is the living model of pragmatism. If this all is proved from the Qur’ān, then how much the world may link these qualities to the narrow-mindedness, you should sacrifice (according to the value judgement of others) the numerous forms of broadness of mind and openness of heart to “this sort of narrow-mindedness”. If you are ready for it, you have room in the bounteous showers of Allah. If you (God forbid) term it narrow-mindedness and short-sightedness, then search for the broadness and vastness of vision:

  1. Where calling liars as brazenfaced is thought to be narrow-mindedness
  2. Where terming defective as deficient is thought to be against tolerance
  3. Where the righteous is avoided because he makes the liar broken-hearted
  4. Where the realities are concealed because their unveiling over-shadows the brightness of the artificiality.

In Islam, truth has to be called truth and the untruth to be the untruth: how much it is to the dislike of the Mushrikeen, the Polytheists (9: 33). This is the established truth that there does not exist God-sent – pristine, original, and complete – message except the one enshrined in the Qur’ān under the canopy of this firmament. Then hesitation to declare this truth – only because the others would taunt you that you are narrow-minded – is nothing but a pragmatic shirk i.e., polytheism. It is nothing but a practical tactic of appeasing others by leaving God. Says the Qur’ān:

Those who conceal the matters, which We have revealed with Truth and Divine Guidance  – in spite of the fact that We explained them exclusively and unambiguously in the Book i.e., the Qur’ān for the people – are the people whom Allah curses and all the cursers curse them (2: 159).

The Beliefs of Maulana Azad

The above mentioned Qur’ānic exegesis of Azad is spread over nearly 175 pages and contains a summary of the lengthy discussions in a few pages at the end. This is the very gist of discussion that Sunderlalji has quoted in support of his assertion. For the convenience of the readers, these quotations are reproduced below. Maulana Azad writes:

“But the Qur’ān came forward to re-present to the world at large the universal truth sponsored by every religion.

a.       “It (The Qur’ān) not only stated that there is truth in every religion but it also made it clear that all religions are true. He said Deen is God’s beneficence, so it is not possible that it might be bestowed upon any one nation or group and the others may have no share in it.

d. “The Qur’ān came to distinguish religion from its outward observance. The former is called Deen and the latter Shar’a and Minhaj. Deen was but one and the same everywhere and at all times and was vouchsafed to one and all without discrimination. In respect of the outward observance of Deen, there was variation and this was inevitable. It varied from time to time and from people to people, as seemed pertinent to every situation. Variations of this nature could not alter the character of Deen of the basis of religion. That was the truth, which the Qur’ān aimed to emphasize. Its complaint was that Deen had been neglected and the variation in Shar’a and Minhaj or the outward form of observance idealized and made the basis of mutual differences among mankind.

e. “It stated that groupism would not lead to progress or bring salvation to man. These group formations were all man-made. The Deen prescribed by God was but one. And what was this Deen but the way of devotion to one common God and of righteous living – the law of life, which one was not to stray.

f.  “It announced in very clear terms that its call was but to proclaim that all religions were true and that their followers had disregarded the truth, which they embodied. Should they return to this forgotten truth, the task of the Qur’ān was fulfilled. The act will be regarded as indeed the acceptance of the Qur’ān. The truth common to all of them was but what it calls Al-Deen and Al-Islam.”

{Tarjuman al-Qur’ān Vol. 1, pp. 162-163; (1947 Edition, pp. 213-214)}

{This translation is taken from: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad: Tarjuman al-Qur’an. Dr. Syed Abdul Latif (edited and rendered into English), Vol. 1, Surah-Al-Fatiha, Kazi Publications, Lahore, pp. 181-182}

At another place, Maulana Azad writes on the differences of Shar’a and Minhaj as:

“The Qur’ān points out that neither are the conduct, ceremonials and rituals the pristine reality, nor are their differences, the difference of right and wrong. These are but the outward manifestations of religion. The spirit and reality are above these manifestations. This is the real Deen. And what is the real Deen? It is but worship of one God and righteous living. It does not solely belong to any one group, which had not been bestowed to any one other than it. It is one and the same in all religions.”

{Tarjuman al-Qur’ān, 1947 Edition, p. 189}

{This translation is taken from: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad: Tarjuman al-Qur’an. Dr. Syed Abdul Latif (edited and rendered into English), Vol. 1, Surah-Al-Fatiha, Kazi Publications, Lahore, P. 158}

He has repeated the same thoughts in so many other places. (It would be better if you study this exegesis and, combining the reference and context together, examine closely the nature and scope of Azad’s thoughts on this count.) Then judge:

  • Whether, according to the teachings of the Qur’ān alone, (a) only God-worshipping (i.e., accepting God) and leading righteous living is needed for salvation and progress
  • Or, along with (a), having conviction (Īmān) in the Messengerhood of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) is also needed (which makes conviction (Īmān) in the Qur’ān imperative. The meaning of having conviction (Īmān) in the Messengerhood of Muhammad (PBUH) and the Qur’ān both is to lead life in harmony with the Qur’ānic Jurisprudence. It is nothing but the other name of  “righteous living”).

In other words, it means, the focal point of this entire discussion is whether or not the conviction (Īmān) in the Messengerhood of Muhammad (PBUH) and the Qur’ānic Jurisprudence is also essential for salvation and progress. With the mention of infidels and the polytheists, the Qur’ān has also talked of Ahl-e-Kitab (people of the book i.e., Jews, Christians, and Sabians). These were the people who, in addition to their conviction (Īmān) in Allah, had faith in some of the Messengers that came before Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and also in some of the books before the Qur’ān was revealed. If the discussion is made a bit briefer, it will concentrate on:

  1. Whether – according to the Qur’ān – it is essential for people of the book to believe in the Messengerhood of Muhammad (PBUH) as well as to follow the Qur’ān.
  2. Or it is enough for them to act perfectly upon the teachings of their own religions.

If the Qur’ān demands from people of the book to also have conviction (Īmān) in the Messengerhood of Muhammad (PBUH) and obeisance to the Qur’ān. And tells them that there is no other alternative for any salvation and progress, it will make this matter crystal clear. It is because if people of the book were demanded to have such a conviction (Īmān), then the same demand would also become terse and intensified for the people of the non-book.

What is the Meaning of Deen?

First of all, consult the meaning of Deen or Islam, the Qur’ān represents through its teaching. The exposition of the Qur’ānic education is that Divine messages continued showering from God through the agency of numerous Messengers of God. These messages were for the guidance of the humans of the various tribes, clans, and nations at different intervals of time. The fountain spring of these messages remained constantly the same in nature. It was solely the obedience to the one unique Allah   -not any other deity worthy to be obeyed. But to act upon this fountain spring for transforming it onto a practical system, there were variations to suit the urges, demands, and paradigms of the time, place, and circumstances. These messages were continuously revealed and remained intact in their pristine form for some time. In the course of successive editions many passages were excided and many were interpolated. In other words, they were either wasted with storms, thunderbolt, earthquakes, and other cataclysms of nature, or were abrogated, abandoned, or adulterated by the men themselves. Sometimes these were totally forgotten; so after some time, these were renewed; similar to these, messages (i.e., Verses of Allah) were revealed again.

Simultaneously the humanity was also passing through the various stages of its evolution, so its urges, exigencies, needs, mores and cores, were also in flux. To suit the growing needs at every age, the factors for structuring the Divine System were also passing through the corresponding evolutionary stages. At the time of every Messenger (PBUH), some renewal of the previous Messengers’ (PBUH) forgotten or wasted messages was made, some value added messages were given and also annulment and/or modification of the previous injunctions was incorporated. But this modification and/or annulment always used to lead towards higher stages of evolution   -not towards decline and downfall of man. The following sacred verse of the Qur’ān has pointed towards this reality:

(Our Law is that) (a) Injunctions given in earlier revelations, which were meant only for a particular time, are replaced by other injunctions, and (b) Injunctions, which were to remain in force permanently but were abandoned, forgotten or adulterated by the followers of the previous Anbiya, are given again in their original form (2: 106).

In other words, it means that a better injunction (i.e., verse of Allah) was given in lieu of the repealed injunction and similar to the forgotten messages (i.e., Verses of Allah) were revealed. That is why the Qur’ān has mentioned explanations of the abrogation, adulteration, and modification of the previous Divine Books at various places. At one place, the Qur’ān says:

And We gave Moses the Book, so differences were created in it (11: 110)

At another place says the Qur’ān:

They tampered with the phraseology of Divine revelation and even set aside a portion of their commandments (5: 13).

And still at another place says the Qur’ān:

Woe be to those who write the Book with their own hands and then say: “This is from Allah.” (2: 79)

At numerous places in the Qur’ān, there are explanations of replacement, abandonment, forgetfulness, abrogation, interpolation, adulteration, and willful modification made in the Divine Books revealed to the previous Anbiya. The entire world stands witness to this evident reality. There is no religion in the world today that could prove with reasoned arguments that the book they claim to be Divine is word by word the same that was revealed to their Messenger (PBUH). On the contrary, there are many historical evidences to establish the stark fact that there is no trace of the original documents of these Books anywhere in the world. (For detailed description of these matters, please refer the first chapter of my book: Me’rāj-e-Insāniyyat – Ascension of Humanity.) Anyhow, this successive long series of Divine Guidance continued till the (human) world, on the scale of evolution, passing through its childhood reached its adulthood period. Now, according to the Divine Plan, the time had come to give all the truth in its complete original form in a comprehensive way, in lieu of the Divine Books given through the agency of the previous Anbiya (Peace Be Upon Them). These were either destroyed completely, or there had been abrogation, abandonment, adulteration, and/or modification in them. Then – in place of all these injunctions, which were given for the time being – the commandments were to be given that could remain sufficient to meet the human needs till the Day of Resurrection. Thus, the collections of all these Truths, Injunctions, Principles, and Commandments suited to the genesis of the genius were given to the world in a safe and secure way. And God Himself took the responsibility of its security and preservation till the Day of Judgment. The name of this latest collection and final edition of Realities and Divine Code is the Qur’ān.

It was, then, announced to the entire world: “All Our Bounties have been perfected and completed”. The human code of life was given the final touches. It encompassed the entire previous body of Truth. Now this code of life (i.e., the Qur’ān) is the only pragmatic criterion for salvation, achievement and progress. Other than that, whatsoever is there – anywhere in the world – stands abrogated. Today this is the only Deen, the only Islam in the entire world. And conviction (Īman) per se is only in this Islam. Other than that, there is nothing like this sort of Deen, Islam, Shar’a, or Minhaj under the firmament of this world. It is the proclamation of God, Who sent these messages that remained in practice previously. He sent the one Himself instead of the other. He Himself concentrated all these into One Collection and hence adjudicated this one as His Code of Laws in lieu of all the previous Scriptures. He ordained to have conviction (Īman) that Allah had commissioned all the Anbiya, who came previously. All the messages they delivered were God-revealed. As their status of being Anbiya, there is absolutely no difference among them. Nor was there any difference in these messages from the vantage ground of Divine Messages. Concurring with it, the same God had said: “Now obeisance and obedience is only to this Collection of Laws, the Qur’ān.” This is the Al-Deen and this is the Al-Islam. Every one is required to follow it. The salvation and progress is attributed to it. It is right to say that the entire body of Truth “was” equally “present” in all the religions on their own time. But to say that ‘originality-of-Deen-is-one-and-the-same-in-all-the-religions’ is absolutely against the reality and the teachings of the Qur’ān.

There is much difference between “was present” and “is present”. And this is the very difference on which depends the modern theory of right and wrong. Understanding of this reality makes the entire matter crystal clear.

Exposition of Conviction (Īmān)

Now study a detailed account of this point. The Qur’ān’s basic demand is of conviction (Īmān). But the question is: “Does conviction (Īmān) mean faith in Allah or any thing else –anything more than that?” The Qur’ān has given five elements of conviction (Īmān):

But the good belongs to him who has conviction in Allah, in the life hereafter, in Malā’ikah, in the Books, and Anbiya (2:177).

And the refusal of these very elements of conviction (Īmān) is out and out infidelity and absolutely “going astray”. In this regard says the Qur’ān:

He who denies Allah, His Malā’ikah, His Books, His Rusul (Messengers), and the Life Hereafter has surely gone far astray (4: 136).

But the style of the Qur’ān is that somewhere it explains these elements in detail and at some other places it epitomizes these elements in stead of giving the illustrative elaboration. With reference to the context and the subject matter area, it merely describes that element, which needs to be emphasized. For example, at one place it mentions conviction (Īmān) in Allah alone:

Surely those who accepted that our Rabb is Allah and then remain steadfast to it, the angels will descend upon them (41:30).

At many other places it mentions the conviction (Īmān) in Allah and the life hereafter alone:

Whoever has conviction in Allah and the last day (the life hereafter) and does right, will be duly compensated (2: 62).

And still at other places, it mentions of conviction (Īmān) in Allah and His Rusul (Messengers):

Have conviction in Allah and His Rusul (3: 179).

Yet at other place it, along with other elements of conviction (Īmān), talks of the conviction in the Book:

So have conviction in Allah, His Rusul, and in His light (the Book, the Qur’ān) that We have revealed (64: 8).

In short, it describes different elements of conviction (Īmān) at different places but it does not mean that these elements can be segregated and having conviction (Īmān) in one or two such elements alone is enough for becoming a Momin. The demand for all the elements of conviction (Īmān) is a common denominator. Refusal even to any one of them is infidelity; it is the first article.

The Meaning of Conviction (Īmān) in Allah

Now, come to the second article. The question is: “What is the meaning of having conviction (Īmān) in Allah, Rusul, and Books?” The study of the Qur’ān makes this reality clear that the purpose of conviction (Īmān) is to obey, to follow, to submit from the core of ones heart. The meaning of having conviction (Īmān) in Allah is to obey His orders from within. (Atee Ullah). Simply accepting the existence of Allah cannot be termed conviction (Īmān) in Him. Barring a few atheists in the world, there is no body who does not admit the existence of Allah. There will be difference in the name, difference in determining His attributes, but the admittance of His Self will be found everywhere. If conviction (Īmān) meant simply the admittance of the Self of Allah, then why had the Qur’ān termed those people infidel (Kāfir) who acknowledge the existence of Allah? At numerous places, the Qur’ān has clarified it: if you ask these people “Who is the creator of the earth and the sky? Who does shower the rain? Who does make the air blow?” they will answer, “It is Allah.” But thereafter the Qur’ān says, ‘amazed it is then, in spite of their admittance, these people do not have conviction (Īmān) in Allah (29: 61-63).’ It makes the Qur’ān’s meaning of conviction (Īmān) clear. It is the acknowledgement of the Self of Allah along with all the descriptions revealed in the Qur’ān (23: 84-90). And simultaneously, it is the obedience to all His injunctions. This is the Qur’ānic meaning of the conviction (Īmān) in Allah. Since Allah’s injunctions are revealed through the agency of the Anbiya, and are preserved in the revelation of Allah, so it has been said: “Have conviction (Īmān) in Anbiya, and His Books along with the conviction (Īmān) in Allah.” It has the same meaning   -that the Divine Injunctions be obeyed. Even about the Qur’ān, it has been said:

(O Jama’at-ul-Momineen) follow only that which has been revealed to you by your Rabb and do not follow any other ally (7:3).

Deen depends upon sheer obeisance: pristine and free from even the least tinge of any ulterior motive. There was obeisance to the teachings of the Books on their own time (when these were not distorted) before the Qur’ān was revealed. Those Books were destroyed, abrogated, interpolated or were adjudicated to be kept in abeyance, so their obedience was also suspended. And when the Book itself did not remain operational in its original form, the time of the Messenger of that Book ended too. After the long succession of Divine Messengers, the last of the series of Rusul came. His revealed Book (the Qur’ān), present in its original form, is enforceable up to the Day of Judgement, the last syllable of the time on this earth. Thus, conviction (Īmān) in Allah and His Messenger (PBUH) implies acting upon the teachings of the Qur’ān.

Now the conviction (Īmān) in the Messengers prior to the last Messenger, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), and in the Divine Books before the Qur’ān was revealed, means that they were the true Messengers of Allah on their own time and their messages were the true Orders of Allah. Now all these Orders have been included in the shrines of the Qur’ān.

In this regard, the Qur’ān is explicit. It says:

We have sent you a Book based on truth. It validates and subsumes the true teachings of the earlier Books (5: 48).

Hence after this new Book, the obedience to the old Books carries no weight. Every new edition of the code of law contains new additions in addition to all the matters of the previous editions that are essential to keep enforced. Therefore, the enforceable law is understood to be the one that is given in the latest edition. More over, after the Qur’ān was revealed, leading life of the various religionists (Ahl-e-Kitab) according to the dictates of their religions (given in their religious Scriptures) is wrong in principle. Now the “Truths” (of their religions, and of those, which the humans need) are enshrined in the Qur’ān. Since, as has been described above, after the coming of every new Messenger (PBUH) and his new Book, obeisance to his Divine teachings, and his Divine Book was necessary. Hence every Messenger (PBUH) was told to inform his Ummah when the last of this series of Divine Guidance reaches    – after whom no other Messenger or any other Divine Book will come    -you will all have to obey this last of the Messengers. In Sura Ae’rāf of the Qur’ān, Hazrat Moses (AS) lifts up his hands in prayer:

“O my Nourisher, since You have bestowed Your blessings on this nation, the Banī Isrā’īl, keep them showering continuously.” He was told: “Surely Our blessings are boundless, and encompass each and every thing, but according to Our System of Guidance only those will share them who have conviction (Īmān) in Our Last Nabi and the Last Book.” In other words, it means only those, who follow the last of this series of the Messengerhood of the Divine Guidance, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and the last Book, the Qur’ān, will get these blessings.

My Rehmat embraces all things but it is bestowed upon those who adhere to My Laws, provide zak’at, and, in short, have conviction (Īmān) in the truth of My revelation. This was said to Moses, but now Allah’s Rehmat will be bestowed upon those who follow the “Ummi Nabi”(29: 48) whom they find mentioned in the Torah and the Injeel that is with them; who will enjoin what is wrong according to the Qur’ān and declare halāl (lawful) all good things and harām (unlawful) all other things (6: 146; 5: 3-4); who will lift the burdens under which the humanity groans and free them from the shackles, which bind them. Those who will have conviction in this Rasūl (Messenger), support him against his opponents, help him in his mission and follow the light of the Qur’ān, which has been revealed to him   -these are the ones who will be successful and prosperous (7:156-157).

Pause and reflect: what are the condition that the Qur’ān has made compulsory for betterment and auspiciousness? These are: have conviction in the Last Messenger (PBUH) and follow the Qur’ān. The very name of carrying out this process is Islam. Here, in the above-mentioned verse, the same has been said to Moses (AS). At another place the same has been said to all the other Anbiya:

The guidance, which is being given to you, now, is nothing new. It has been given to earlier Anbiya, with whom Allah has made a covenant. This covenant was that when the last Nabi who will validate the claims and promises made in their scriptures, comes, they would accept him and also aid him.

Allah has asked them: “Are you aware that you are accepting the covenant on these terms?” They had answered: “We are”, thereupon Allah said: “Be witness to this and I will also be a witness along with you.” Allah had made it clear that those who would backslide would be those who had abandoned the right path.

This is that Deen, which is ordained by Allah. Do they desire to follow a Deen other than this, when they can see that every thing in the universe submits to Allah’s Laws by choice or by constraint and follows the way, which leads to the goal set for them by Allah.

Therefore, O Jama’at-ul-Momibeen, say: “We have conviction (Īmān) in Allah and in that, which He has revealed to us; and in that, which was revealed to Abraham, Ishma’el, Isa’ac, and Jacob and their descendants; and that, which was given to Moses, Jesus, and the other Anbiya” by their Rabb. No distinction do we make amongst them and we surrender to the Laws of Allah.

This is Islam: any one who adopts a way other than this will not be accepted and at the end he would be the loser (3: 81-85).

Taking covenant from Anbiya means taking covenant from their Ummah through their agency. It is due to this fact that the scattered parts of the Divine Books found today indicate that the earlier Anbiya used to persuade the people to have conviction (Īmān) in the last of the longest series of the Divine Guidance (i.e., the last Nabi, Hazrat Muhammad PBUH). It was because this was the demand of the Divine System. Therefore, after the coming over of the Last Messenger (PBUH), there is no way for any salvation and progress except having conviction (Īmān) in him. That is why the Qur’ān asserts that making any distinction amongst the Anbiya is definitely confirmed infidelity (4: 150).

Therefore, the second article makes it clear that:

  1. Having conviction (Īmān) in Rusul and the Divine Books do not mean to accept them only; it is to follow them in letter and spirit
  2. Making any distinction amongst Rusul is infidelity. It means all the Rusul on their time had been bringing Divine Guidance from Allah, their obedience at their time was compulsory
  3. Having conviction (Īmān) in the last Messenger, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) has the same meaning – that the Qur’ān be followed. Since no Messenger will come after Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), obeisance to the Qur’ān is to the Day of Judgement and is for the entire humanity
  4. Now whoever has conviction (Īmān) in Allah, His Rusul, and Divine Books in the manner the Qur’ān has prescribed, will be understood to be on the Divine Guidance.

In this regard the Qur’ān says:

If these people have conviction (Īmān) in it like the manner you have, then they will also be following the right path. If they repudiate it, this will be tantamount to an abandonment of the path followed by the Anbiya (2: 137).

Exposition of Conviction (Īmān) in Messengerhood

It is said those who (a) consider all the religions one and the same, and (b) also profess the truthfulness of Muhammad (PBUH), the Messenger of Allah, so it is no more making any distinction amongst the Rusul. In other words, it means they accept Muhammad (PBUH) as the true Messenger of Allah. Even Maulana Azad has written in his exegesis that accepting the Messengerhood – honour and obedience of Muhammad (PBUH), along with the Oneness of Allah is essential for embracing Islam (P. 119). In other words, the pivotal point according to Maulana Azad is that:

  1. Like other Anbiya, having conviction (Īmān) in Muhammad (PBUH) is a must.
  2. BUT for salvation, auspiciousness, and progress, acting upon the teachings of one’s own religion is enough alone.

In other words, it means that the Muslims believe in Moses, Jesus, and the other Anbiya as the messengers of Allah   -but they obey only the Book, which was revealed to Muhammad (PBUH), the Rasūl of Allah. If the Christians and the Jews, exactly like the Muslims, profess that Muhammad (PBUH) is the Rasūl of Allah but continue following their own religion, then according to Maulana Azad, the purpose of Islam is fulfilled.

This misunderstanding is based on the premise that the meanings of the conviction (Īmān) in Muhammad (PBUH), to these fellows, is simply to accept that he (PBUH) was a Messenger from Allah and nothing else. It does not accomplish the condition mentioned in article two above. With categorical Qur’ānic injunctions this condition has clarified that, when the word conviction (Īmān) is used about the earlier Anbiya and the last Messenger (PBUH)   -(or the previous Divine Books or the Qur’ān)  – there would be a basic difference in its Qur’ānic meanings. In other words it means that after coming over of a new Messenger (PBUH), or a new Divine Book, the meaning of having conviction (Īmān) in the previous Anbiya and the previous Divine Books would simply be that the previous Nabi or the previous Divine Book was from Allah. And having conviction (Īmān) in the new Nabi and the new Divine Book would be to accept that this new Nabi and the new Divine Book are from Allah and be followed in letter and spirit. It is just like the coming of a new Vice Roy that his predecessor was simply accepted as a king, his successor at his own time, but obeisance would definitely be of the orders given through this new Vice Roy. Therefore, when the Muslims say they have conviction (Īmān) in all the previous Anbiya, it means that they accept this reality that they (Peace be upon them) were the torch-bearers of the Divine message on their own time and were hence worthy of being followed potentially. But after the coming over of the last Messenger (PBUH), obeisance remained simply to the Qur’ān alone. That is why all the Truths of the previous Divine Books were included in it and some new injunctions commensurate with the needs of the time have also been added to it. Therefore, the meanings of making distinction amongst the various Rusul does not connote to acknowledge verbally that the previous Anbiya inclusive of the last Messenger (PBUH) were the Messengers of Allah. On the contrary, its meanings are that the obeisance is only and only to the Last Divine Book along with the admittance of the Messengerhood of all the previous Anbiya. If the acknowledgement of the Messengerhood of the last Nabi is verbal and obeisance is to one’s own religions individually, then it is not the Qur’ānic conviction (Īmān) in the real sense. It is infidelity. On this count the Qur’ān says:

O mankind! Now that a Rusūl (Messenger) has come to you bearing truth from your Rabb, have conviction (Īmān) in him; it will be good for you. But if you do not have conviction (Īmān), mark that no harm will be done to Allah. The entire universe is busy in carrying out Allah’s plan, which is based on knowledge and wisdom (4: 170).

Just pause and reflect over this reality that a person accepts that Muhammad (PBUH), the last Messenger, was a righteous and truth-speaking man. He (PBUH) was the true Messenger from Allah. But he acts according to the matters that are being inherited from his forefathers and are attributed to some previous Rusul, then stand for a while and just think: what is the meaning of his verbal acknowledgement and conviction (Īmān)? In other words he accepts that the Qur’ān was revealed to Muhammad (PBUH), the last Messenger, and that this is written in the Qur’ān that Divine Guidance and Direction can be obtained by following the Qur’ān but he seeks other ways and means for obeisance and obedience. Its logical conclusion is that he does not accept Muhammad (PBUH) as the last Messenger and the Qur’ān as the Divine Book of Allah. Had he accepted it as such, why had he not followed it?

Brahma-social (Brahma-Samāji) Conduct

Those who talk of such type of “tolerance” and “broad-mindedness” are either soaked with self-deception or deceive others. And those Muslims who assure them that, from the Qur’ānic point of view, there is possibility that Muhammad (PBUH) be accepted as the true Messenger of Allah, but obeisance be made to some other religion. This confirms their deception. A Brahma-social sect is extant in India. Its beliefs are:

  1. Only one and one God be worshipped; no incarnate of God be accepted; idol-worshipping be opposed
  2. Nature be accepted as the basic principle of the religious beliefs
  3. Ones religious beliefs be not based on any conspicuous book, but the veracity and truthfulness of every Divine Book be accepted
  4. The true principles of every religion be accepted as the belief-principles
  5. Belief be not based on rituals, traditions, and conventions; the true purpose be for the cleanliness of the heart

(Consult Encyclopedia of Britannica and Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics)

These beliefs make it clear that all the aspects of “tolerance” and “broad-mindedness” have been included in this teaching. But who can deny this truth that in spite of it, all the followers of this Brahma-social sect are nothing but Hindu and Hindu alone. We need not to have doubt on their intention. All that is to be said is that to these believers, the meaning of accepting “the truthfulness and veracity” of any Divine Book is only to acknowledge it verbally that “it is a true Book”; obeisance is not included in their conviction (Īmān). From the Qur’ānic point of view, they are committing an open mistake. Since they have no teaching of the Qur’ān before them, therefore, this belief of theirs is not much worthy of any attention. But what would be said of him, who claims to have the teachings of the Qur’ān before him, yet corroborates this belief? The Qur’ān openly says that:

(O Muhammad) Say: O mankind, I am Allah’s Rasūl sent to all of you – the Rasūl of that Allah whose dominion encompasses the entire universe, which is under His sole authority. Allah gives life and causes death according to His Law of Muk’afāt (i.e., the Law of Requital). Therefore, have conviction (Īmān) in Him and in His Rasūl   – the Ummi Nabi, who also has conviction (Īmān) in Allah and His revelation. Follow him so that you may be guided aright (7: 156).

Hence no one can be true of one’s claim that one accepts Muhammad (PBUH) as the true Messenger of Allah and the Qur’ān as the true Divine Book unless and until one follows the Qur’ān.  And this address is to the entire humanity   -not to any specific sect or group of people.

Now come to the article three i.e., is the following of the injunctions of the Divine Book necessary? Or is simply “God-worshipping and righteous living” on ones own whims and wishes necessary for salvation and progress? To answer these questions, just recast your view on the theory of Maulana Azad. He writes:

“d. The Qur’ān came to distinguish religion from its outward observance. The former is called Deen and the latter Shar’a and Minhaj. Deen was but one and the same everywhere and at all times and was vouchsafed to one and all without discrimination. In respect of the outward observance of Deen, there was variation and this was inevitable. It varied from time to time and from people to people, as seemed pertinent to every situation. Variations of this nature could not alter the character of Deen of the basis of religion. That was the truth, which the Qur’ān aimed to emphasize. Its complaint was that Deen had been neglected and the variation in Shar’a and Minhaj or the outward form of observance idealized and made the basis of mutual differences among mankind.

“e. It stated that groupism would not lead to progress or bring salvation to man . . ..”

{Tarjuman al-Qur’ān Vol. 1, pp. 162-163 (1947 Edition, pp. 213-214)}

{This translation is taken from: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad: Tarjuman al-Qur’an. Dr. Syed Abdul Latif (edited and rendered into English), Vol. 1, Surah-Al-Fatiha, Kazi Publications, Lahore, P. 52}

Along with these excerpts, consult his following explanatory note of Sura Baqara’s verse 172 given in his exegesis:

5. This proclamation of the grand fountain spring of the true Deen   -that the salvation and progress does not lie in any characteristic form of pray or any particular restriction in any of the edible things or any other such form   -is achievable through true God-worship and righteous living.

(Page 229: for detail, please, consult the original exegesis)

These were the very quotations, which Pundit Sunderlalji had given in his presidential address. And had proved that a Hindu, who is punctual in the Sharia of his own religion, on his own ways and methods, is entitled to salvation as is a Muslim on the basis of following the Qur’ānic jurisprudence. It is because the emphasis on God-worship and righteous living is equally extant in all the religions and that is the real Deen.

Before looking to the importance the Qur’ān attaches to Shar’a and Minhaj or the outward form of observance idealized, it is necessary to evaluate the theory of Maulana Azad with which he has inflicted a fatal blow to the very roots of Islam. Acceptance to his theory uproots the very essence of the tree of Islam. According to the teachings of the Qur’ān, before the coming over of the last Messenger, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), all the earlier Anbiya were sent to some one or the other particular nation, and their message remained enforced for a particular interval of time. In other words, the circle of their Messengerhood remained limited to a particular span of time and space, so the injunctions enforced through them were given to a particular nation they were sent to for a particular time. The coming over of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) changed the entire system.

The Qur’ān is Universal

The annunciation of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) was not confined to any specific nation, country, tribe, clan, or time. His message was universal in nature and was addressed to the entire humanity. The entire teachings of the Qur’ān stand witness to this stark fact. The circle of influence of his Messengerhood was not restricted to any specified area of space or interval of time. It was for all the times to come, for all the countries of the world, for all the people to the last syllable of the recorded time, the Day of Judgment. His Messengerhood was equally for all the people of the entire world. That is why all the jurisprudential injunctions enshrined in the Qur’ān have not been devised for any particular nation under particular conditions; these are universal in nature and scope. If it is accepted that all these Jurisprudential Injunctions of the Qur’ān were enforceable in the particular conditions and circumstances of the people of Arabia, Islam’s claim of universality automatically drops to falsehood. In this state of affairs the Injunctions of Islam can neither remain enforced on all times, nor can any nation be compelled to act upon them. Therefore to lay emphasis on these Qur’ānic Jurisprudential Injunctions, simply because it was necessary to prescribe the Injunctions and functions that suit the genesis of the changing conditions of every nation on every time, is an open rebuttal to the Islam’s assertion of its universality.  Islam is the Deen of the entire humanity and its Laws and Principles have not been devised to suit any particular nation for any specific time.

We accept that mechanical performance of the religious outward forms idealized is not the following of the injunctions from within. These outward forms of observance are just like the body that compulsorily requires the presence of soul in it. But it does not mean that the Qur’ānic Injunctions were executed only to suit the circumstances of life, during the period of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), and these injunctions merit no significance today, have no role to play for the salvation and progress of any nation. Had there been some ignorant, we would have made him understand the factual position. We are wonder struck how a prudent like Maulana Azad be prevailed upon to understand that Islam is a system and a part of it influences the entire system! The Qur’ānic Injunctions are the integral part of this Islamic system. No man of the world has any right to make any kind of change in it. Or along with the claim of Islam, no man is able to declare it lawful that “salvation and progress” can also be achieved with other means and way than those actions and injunctions enshrined in the Qur’ān. “Salvation and progress” is the natural consequence of Islamic system. Bring changes, even in minor details of this system, this result would automatically run a change. When the Qur’ān says that no Deen other than Islam is acceptable to Allah, it means Islamic system and not the ambiguous and undefined words of “God-worship and righteous living”. Consult the Qur’ān and find how much importance has been assigned to “the boundaries” of these injunctions.

Obeisance of the Revelation
As has been written in the previous paragraphs that the Ahl-e-Kitab used to accept God and perform good deeds. Even then, the Muslims (under special circumstances) were ordered to wage war against infidels and polytheists (mushrikeen). At the time of this order a charge sheet was levied against the Ahl-e-Kitab. Examine closely and critically the way this order was given to the Muslims in the Qur’ān:

In addition to polytheists (mushrikeen), there are Ahl-e-Kitab, who oppose the Divine Order in like manner. They do not truly have conviction (Īmān) in Allah and the life hereafter. Nor do they consider Harām (unlawful) the things that Allah and the Messenger (PBUH) term Harām (unlawful). They live within the boundaries of the Islamic system as non-Muslims and enjoy full human rights but do not adhere to the laws, which apply to them. There is, therefore, no alternative but to fight with them until they surrender and agree to pay “a compensation for the protection afforded” (Jizya) with a willing hand after having been subdued in the war (9: 29).

This grand verse of the Qur’ān makes the following matters clear:

  1. Whereas the Ahl-e-Kitab claimed (and are still claiming) to believe in God and the life hereafter, but the Qur’ān does not term this belief as having the conviction (Īmān), so  – as has been written in Article one above – “according to the Qur’ān the true belief is the one that corroborates the way the Qur’ān has given”;
  2. The result of having conviction (Īmān) of the Ahl-e-Kitab, in such a way, is that they do not take into consideration the limits the Qur’ān has imposed on Halāl (lawful) and Harām (unlawful). This makes it clear that Islam (by self-conjecturing) is not merely the name of “God-worshipping and righteous living”; on the contrary, acting upon the Qur’ānic Jurisprudential Injunctions is also compulsory;
  3. In the third part of the verse mentioned above (i.e., they do not adhere to the laws of the true Deen, the Divine Order), this matter has been described clearly that their “God-worshipping” on their own ways and means carries no meaning at all. Accepting Deen, the Divine Order, is absolutely compulsory for them. The Deen-ul-Haqq, the Divine Order, is the name of the System, which was sent to the world through the agency of the last Messenger, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). Wherever these words (i.e., Deen-ul-Haqq) have been used in the Qur’ān, have been used for this Deen alone. (For this purpose, please consult these verses of the Qur’ān   – 9: 29; 48: 28; 61: 9).

The meaning of the aforementioned verse is quite clear. Since this reality was against his concept, Maulana Azad inserted an addition (within brackets) in his translation of the same verse and thus changed its sense all together. His translation of this verse is:

Amongst the Ahl-e-Kitab are the people whose condition is that neither do they have (true) belief in God, nor in the life hereafter. Nor do they consider the things Harām (unlawful), which Allah and His Rasūl   -(in their book)   -has called Harām (unlawful), and nor do they act upon the true Deen …  (Tarjman-ul- Qur’ān, P.82)

Just think: by the addition of a few words (within brackets) in his translation, what a twist had been given to the matter. This is what the Qur’ān says: “These people do not consider the things Harām (unlawful), which Allah and His Rasūl has termed Harām (unlawful).” In other words, the things, which are termed Harām (unlawful) in the Qur’ān, these people do not consider them Harām (unlawful). But Maulana Azad has said: “The things, which Allah and His Rasūl   -(in their book)   -has called Harām (unlawful).” In this way he has tried to prove that the Qur’ān wants to make the people understand that the people may consider the things Harām (unlawful), which have been termed Harām (unlawful) in their books. Just imagine what a great addition has been made in the teachings of the Qur’ān! And what a dauntless daring is it in this addition? This is the technique of the exegesis through which these fellows make an unsuccessful trial to prove their ideas as the ideas of the Qur’ān. And are never afraid how bold is their daring!

The gist of whatever has been written in the aforementioned pages is that:

  1. According to the Qur’ān, there are five elements of having conviction (Īmān). There is either a mention of any one element or more than one in some place or places in the Qur’ān. But the Qur’ān means all these five elements. Refusal of even any one of these elements is infidelity (Kufr).
  2. Out of these five elements of conviction (Īmān), the conviction (Īmān) in the Messengerhood of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and also in the Qur’ān revealed from Allah is an integral part.
  3. Having conviction (Īmān) does not mean simply accepting; but along with it, it is also the following of these elements.
  4. The obeisance to every Rasūl and every Divine Book was compulsory at their own time but after the annunciation of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), the obeisance would be to the last Book of Allah, the Qur’ān, and not of the previous Books.

The Jurisprudential Injunctions of the Qur’ān are the compulsory parts of Islamic system and the following of these Injunctions is a must.

Now, keeping these illustrations in view, understand the meaning of this verse, which is the strong hold of the supporters of this new idea (that ‘All religions are one and the same’). The Qur’ān says:

Those from amongst the Jews, Christians, Sabaeans, and those who have conviction (Īmān) in Allah without formally adopting any particular religion; and those who are Muslims only by virtue of being born in a Muslim family: who have conviction in Allah’s law of Mukafât (Requital), as revealed to you O Rasūl and leads his life accordingly, will be duly compensated. Such a person will lead a life of heavenly bliss, free of fear, grief, and anxiety (2: 62).

A Significant Verse

The conclusion drawn from this verse is that the Jews, Christians and Sabaeans are claimed to have conviction (Īmān) in Allah and the life hereafter only. There is no claim of having conviction (Īmān) in the Qur’ān.

Whatever we have written up till now, will create no difficulty in understanding this verse. The first thing is that “to have conviction (Īmān) in Allah and the life hereafter” is not the end in itself. It includes all the five elements of conviction (Īmān). Wherever having conviction (Īmān) is reiterated in the Qur’ān, it is for the complete conviction (Īmān)   -not for a part or parts. The Qur’ān is very much explicit for this complete conviction (Īmān) and says:

If these people have conviction (Īmān) in it like the manner you have, then they will also be following the right path (2: 137).

The second thing is that, if the claim is merely of the conviction (Īmān) in Allah and the life hereafter, this verse also mentions of Jews and Christians in addition to the mention of the Muslims themselves. The question is: “Have the Muslims been given the same claim that they too have to have conviction (Īmān) in Allah and the life hereafter?” If they have to have this same claim, then it is not understandable as to whom the claim is for having conviction in the Qur’ān.

The meaning of this verse is self-explanatory. Before the advent of Islam, the people had confined religion within the folds of (races and nations). For example, Torah is for the nation of Banī Isrā’īl (for Jews) and Christianity too. It was because, in Injīl (New Testament), this saying is attributed to Jesus (AS) that “I have come to the lost sheep of Banī Isrā’īl; the bread of the sons can not be thrown to the dogs.” The division of men in Hinduism is based on “races by birth”. And the condition of “races by birth” is that neither the Hindu of a lower race can move up to be the Hindu of a higher race, nor is there any way open to reach the proximity (nearness) of God. This was also included in the religious beliefs that a person born in the clan of Jews deserves for salvation, being one of the sons of Allah. Hazrat Jesus (AS) becomes responsible for the salvation of the child born in the family of a Christian. In other words, there was a belief in the religions of the world that:

  1. One gets salvation on the basis of one’s birth, within the fold of a sect of a specific family, and
  2. All the doors of salvation are closed to the men born in other sects, because one can not join that sect (The entry into the sects is by birth, not by choice). (Be it known that there is no concept of any preaching in Hindus and Jews; even the concept of preaching came late in Christians.)

When the Qur’ān came, it boldly refuted these concepts. It openly declared that salvation and progress has nothing to do with birth. Wherever one is born (whether in Jews, Christians, or Sabaeans etc.) can openly join the fold of Islam by having conviction (Īmān) and can deserve to have paradisal life with good deeds. The Qur’ān says that:

Whosoever have conviction (Īmān) in Allah and His Rasūl {i.e., Allah’s law of Mukafāt (Requital), as revealed to you O Rasūl} and lead their life accordingly, will be duly compensated. Such persons will lead a life of heavenly bliss, free of fear, grief, and anxiety (2: 62).

So far are the Muslims, they should, too, not remain brewed in the false conceit that they will have their entitlement for salvation only because they are born in the Muslim family. Proving their conviction (Īmān) through their good deeds, they will have to be eligible for a life of heavenly bliss. This claim of having conviction (Īmān) from the Muslims is not specifically at this place, there are other verses where this claim has also been reiterated. For example, in Sura An-Nisa, the Qur’ān says that:

O you who profess to have conviction (Īmān) hold fast unto your conviction (Īmān) in Allah, His Rasūl, the Book, which He sent to this Rasūl and those, which He had sent earlier. (4: 136)

In Sura At-Tauba, this reality of having conviction (Īmān) has also been made explicitly clear. There were people amongst the Muslims whose conviction (Īmān) was merely verbal in nature and scope; its fountain spring never sprang from the core of their hearts. And nor were their good deeds worthy to prove it. (They have been called hypocrites i.e., munafiqeen). In the other spheres of life, this veiled attitude and conduct of life could be lived by one way or the other. The field of fighting in the way of Allah (Jihad) was the greatest pragmatic test of their conviction (Īmān). These people used to try to escape from such occasions with their hither-and-thither type of lame excuses. It is evident that these people were Muslims, just in the terminological jargon. In comparison to those who used to prove their conviction (Īmān) in the most difficult vicissitudes of life, their professing of the conviction (Īmān) was just verbal in nature and scope. For each of these two groups of the people, the Qur’ān has said:

The truth is that those who truly have conviction (Īmān) in Allah and in the life hereafter will never ask to be exempted from fighting with their possessions and live in the cause of Allah. Allah knows well about the muttaqeen. Exemption is sought only by those who do not truly have conviction (Īmān) in Allah and the life hereafter, whose hearts are filled with doubt, which makes them hesitant to act  (9: 44-45).

This verse of the Qur’ān has made the following matters clear to the mind:

  1. It is evident that those-holding-fast-the conviction (i.e., the true Muslims), who used to participate in fighting with their possessions, had conviction (Īmān) in Malā’ikah (the forces of nature), the Divine Books, and the Rusul in addition to their conviction (Īmān) in Allah and the life hereafter. But here, in this verse of the Qur’ān, the mention of their conviction (Īmān) in Allah and the life hereafter has only been thought to be enough.
  2. The hypocrites (i.e., munafiqeen) were those people who verbally professed all the elements of conviction (Īmān), were called Muslims, and lived their social life with them. The Qur’ān does not accept their conviction (Īmān) and makes proclamation in unambiguous terms that these are the people who had no conviction (Īmān) in Allah and the life hereafter.
  3. Therefore, when the Muslims will be told to have conviction (Īmān) in Allah and the life hereafter, and do the good deeds, it would mean that their being a Muslim by birth or merely professing the conviction (Īmān) verbally is not enough. Conviction (Īmān) ought to be from the core of one’s heart and the actions of life should authenticate it. According to the Qur’ān, the true mu’mineen are:

The mu’mineen are those who have conviction (Īmān) in Allah and His Rasūl, then they have no speck of any doubt (in this conviction (Īmān)); in the cause of Allah, they fight with their possessions: the goods and the breath of life. These are the people who are the true (Muslims) (49: 15).

These illustrations make it clear that there are trying conditions for a Muslim to clinch “salvation and progress”. He should have conviction (Īmān) of the measure, the Qur’ān has prescribed. He should seek decision from the same measure “enshrine in the Qur’ān ” in every walk of life and then continue accepting these decisions from the core of his heart. He should impose restrictions of Halāl (lawful) and Harām (unlawful) on himself, and then should keep his utmost dear possessions, like his goods and breath of life, ready to lay down in the cause of Allah. In other words he should, at every time, imagine himself in the field of martyrdom. It is then that he should expect “salvation and progress”.

Contrary to it, the only compulsory thing for a non-Muslim (such as a Hindu) is to get up in the morning, do “service to God” according to the conventional methods in vogue, and give charity at times. The examples of such “services to God” are to feed grain to the sparrows, to buy fodder for the bull, to pour flour on the abode of the insects. Just-an-advance-ahead-to-it, are the examples of ‘getting the free wayside stall or tub for drinking water built some where, if capable, got the well dug, inn or hospital constructed’. Such-and-the-like are the forms of charity. Other than these forms, there was no need of imposing any conspicuous restrictions on oneself. Neither were the difficult stages of Islamic Injunctions necessary to be traversed, or the troubles of migration to be imperatively overcome, nor the head to be sacrificed in the cause of Allah.

(On the contrary, the concept of fighting in the cause of Allah – Jihad – is a sin in Hinduism, it is against ahimsa i.e., non-violence movement.) On the other hand, it is necessary for a Muslim to lead life according to the dictates of System that Allah has prescribed in the Qur’ān, whereas a non-Muslim is completely free to devise a system he likes for him and lead the life in the system he desires. There is no binding of any Divine System and man-made system for him. All he has to do is what has been mentioned above. He will be entitled for salvation.

Now just pause and think! When the end of all the struggles and strides of human life is nothing but the achievement of salvation, then who will be the “normal” person that will accept this utmost tremendous way of living, where he has to pass through trying circumstance at every breath? Why should he not go for adopting such an easy mode of living in stead of running for surmounting the baneful and trying stages of life to clamp the achievement of salvation? Had the achievement of salvation been clamped as such, what was the need of providing detailed guidance and injunctions in the Qur’ān? All that was necessary for this purpose was: “O people, accept the existence of God, and continuously go on doing righteous deeds on the pattern of your own ways and means; salvation for you is definite.” Had such a mode of “total reconciliation” of “tolerance and broad-mindedness” been practiced, there would have been no confrontation from anywhere, nor had there been any hue and cry against it. Nor had the last Messenger, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and his followers been tramped in such trouble and trepidation, nor had they to migrate to Madina from Mecca for living the life of such a series of wars against infidels (Kāfirs). The entire world would have mired in happiness and the men had the easiest way of achieving salvation and progress. And then the continuous confrontation between the truth and the falsehood had ended forever. The total world (except some atheists, who refuse the existence of God) would have been mu’min. There would have been no bickering, wrangling, and fighting between Islam and infidelity, and truth and falsehood.

God-worshipping and Righteous Living

Hearts, pay attention to the use of ambiguous words of “God-worshipping and Righteous Living” once again. The salient questions are:

What is called this ‘God-worshipping’?

What is ‘Righteous Living’?

Is the answer to these two questions this that it is the way of worshipping God in the manner one likes? And Right Living adopting a way one desires good and abstaining from the mode one considers bad on one’s own?

It is a fact that some words (or religious terms) are in use among the Muslims. These words and terms do not depict the Islamic meanings for which they were opted in the beginning. Not only this that these words do not reflect the true teachings of Islam, but some time they project such meanings that are, in real sense, diametrically opposite to the true spirit of Islam. “Worship” is one of the categories of such a band of words. In other religions, the relation of man and God is represented with “adoration and worship”, but in Islam, the word used for it is “aboodiyat” (obeisance), which is different from worship in meanings. Ignoring this very difference generates the entire body of misunderstandings that leads to the concept of “uniformity of religions”.

The concept of supreme body has incessantly been coming down since the beginning of man on this earth. When the humanity was at its infantile period, the man had individual pattern of living. He was weak and defenseless against the powerful beasts that roamed about him. He used to live in jungles, ravines and caves. Fruit and prey were the main sources of his living. No man had any individual relation with any other man. In this mode of living, the relation of “God” with man was no more than the man’s prostrating before Him at the eve of any affliction, calamity, disaster, misfortune, or trouble and of dancing at the moments of mirth and happiness as if it is festivity rejoicing. “God” was either in the garb of deity, gods, goddesses, or in the form of idols. The utmost endeavour of man was to keep these deities happy. The name of the outward manifestation of this struggle was “worship”. During this period, whenever the light of the Divine Revelation came, it shredded away the wrong veils of the man-made concepts, and gave the true concept of God. When this light was lost, the same darkness of ignorance prevailed upon the human universe.

Slowly but gradually the humanity passed through some higher evolutionary stages of life. He could survive only through some form of group life. A band of men could survive under conditions in which a single individual had no chance, so early men naturally lived in groups. Some form of social organization is necessary for group life Thus he laid the foundation of gregarious life. The first social ties came from blood relationship. Now the tendency diverted from individual mode of living to tribal form of life. The men started establishing succour and co-operation among one another. The various forms of participatory actions started burgeoning. This stemmed the issues of mutual rights and their preservation. For prescribing correct dimensions to the issues of mutual rights and their preservation, Divine Injunctions also started coming through the agency of Messengerhood. It is evident that whatever were the mores and cores of human life, injunctions of the like manner were ordained. The time marched ahead. The urges of life passed through the process of progress and change. The Divine series of the injunctions also continued a forward march to commensurate the process of permanence and change in life. According to these Divine orders, the relation of the head and the subordinate and of the ruler and the ruled surfaced between God and man. Since the Divine Guidance did not remain preserved with the man for a longer period, the essence of the Divine Injunctions was mutilated. The concept of the ruler and the ruled about God was also lost and then the same old concept of worship used to prevail. This state of affairs continued as such till the men started collective life in stead of living individually and, thereafter, the end of their total efforts transformed into the formulation of collectivity in life.

Now was the time that they could be given a perfect Code of life, comprising constitutional paradigms and laws for the most complete form of the collective system of life. This Code was finally given to the humanity. This Code made it clear that all the man-made constitutional rules and regulations for this collective system of life will hamper the process of development of the humanity. It also made it crystal clear that the human development can only take place with this Code of life that God has showered for this purpose. This Code of life is called the Qur’ān.

This Code if life told clearly that the duty of every one having conviction (Īmān) in Allah is to try to implement God-gifted System instead of executing man-made systems of life, whether this man-made system is made of a single individual or of a group of people. In other words it means that the rule is of God instead of men. And thus the man is not a servant of any one else except that of Allah. This is the right relation between man and God. In other words this is the relation of subordinate with the head, and of the ruled with the ruler. This is covered with the concept of “Aboodiyat” (obeisance), which means “to put forth one’s all-efforts in accord with the needs of the Divine Order.”

By now you would have seen that the word “worship” does not absolutely convey the Qur’ānic meanings of the relation between God and man. Not only this that it does not communicate these meanings, it generates all together those different meanings, which were the product of the infantile period of the humanity and depict a memorable period of his individual mode of living. Within the umbrella of these meanings, the concept of “God-worship” is uniformly similar in every religion. But God’s “aboodiyat” (obeisance) can only be accomplished when one lives within the parameters of Islam. Therefore, the Divine Code under which God’s rule can be established is never found anywhere else than the shrines of the Qur’ān. The demand of Islam is to establish Divine System   -and not the worship of God.

The Right Meanings of Conviction (Īman)

Hence, the meanings of having conviction (Īman) in Allah are: “I solemnly declare that I do not follow the Sovereignty of any one else except that of Allah’s.” The remaining four integral parts of conviction (Īman) are the branches of this fountain spring. In other words it means that:

1. Solemn declaration of following the Sovereignty of God:

Conviction in Allah

2. This Sovereignty can be exercised through the Code that is God-revealed and is enshrined in the Qur’ān in its last and final form:

Conviction in Books

3, 4. These Codes were revealed to Anbiya through Malā’ikah, and the last and final of this continuity is Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH):

Conviction in Malā’ikah and Rusul

5. The natural consequence of this mode of life is exaltation in this world and eminence in the life hereafter:

Conviction in the Life Hereafter

This is what the Qur’ānic meanings are. Whether mention is made of all of these integral parts of conviction (Īman) or of any one, the purpose encompasses the entire System.

Now is the concept of “righteous living”. After understanding the essence of Islam, its definition is no more difficult. Every step that is taken for establishing Divine Order in the world is a good step and the one taken against it is bad. To the man in his initial stages of life, the meaning of conviction (Īmān) in Allah was simply the worship of God; similarly his concept of ‘good’ was also at the low ebb of its initial stage. The mode of living was individual at that time, so ‘good’ and ‘bad’ was the name of individual actions. For example, if he saw a man showing sympathy with the men running fever, helping the old, loving the animal etc. he thought him a pious man. And it is a fact that such can be ‘the good actions’ in individual life. But in the collective life, the standard of the concept of good and bad becomes higher than that. At this point what is to be seen is:

  • What are the basics of the culture and civilization of a nation?
  • What type of system of life does the nation suggest for its men?
  • What are the effects of that culture and civilization on the world?

If its implications are humanity bruising, the personal ‘good’ of the individuals of that nation (such as charity etc.) weigh nothing in the scale of humanity. So far as the people of that system remain supporting, helping, favouring, and co-operating with it, no action of theirs will be a virtuous action. Applying leeches to some one’s jugular vein for sucking even the last drop of blood in him and then finding that he has fits of weakness, supply syrup to his throat for cure, can only be a virtuous action to the superfluous mind alone. The Qur’ān imparts education for the establishment of the system of justice, which means the preservation of the benefit of the entire humanity. The name of this system is the Rule of God.

A person is a philanthropist; he participates in virtuous works, helps the poor and has very fine conduct and disposition but does not accept the government of his time, or remains busy to establish some other government in its stead. This is such a severe crime in the eyes of the government that his “personal virtues” carry no weight for the government. And if this crime is proved against him, he will be given the most rigorous punishment.

The name of leading life under the rule of God is conviction (Īman) and the life opposed to it is infidelity (Kufr). Please judge yourself “What weight can the personal virtues have in the Divine Scale?” These are the people for whom the Qur’ān has explicitly clear verdict:

These are the people whose actions are rendered waste (2:217).

In other words it means that the action they think virtuous on their own whims, are not virtuous in the real sense; hence have no result. Go on taking pieces of chalk with the understanding that it is quinine, malaria will never be cured. In this regard, the Qur’ān says:

The deeds of those who reject the guidance of this Divine Light, are like a mirage in a desert; whereby a man parched with thirst mistakes it for water and on reaching there finds that it was nothing but a visual delusion. At that point one does find one thing at least: that Allah’s Law of Mukafāt is (always) present with him and that it settles all scores forthwith; for Allah is swift in reckoning.

(In contrast to the Divine Light) The similitude of their deeds is the depth of darkness in a vast and deep ocean that is further darkened by waves billowing over waves and the dark clouds above. These will be such depths of darkness, layer upon layer, that one can even hardly see his outstretched hand; for how can he get any light from anywhere else when Allah’s Light (of Revelation) is not available? (24: 39-40)

Therefore, these people consider system of life quite different from the actions of life and forget that only those actions bear fruit that are carried out within the boundary walls of a right system. Extra systematic individual actions carry no weight. Please study third Rūkoo of Sura At-Tauba of the Qur’ān. In what a fascinating way this reality has been made clear! Making this idea clear, it was said:

It is true that the mushrikeen (hypocrite) used to provide drink to the pilgrims and maintain the sacred Mosque (Ka’ba) but can they be placed equal to those who have conviction (Īman) in Allah and the life hereafter (Divine Order)? They can not be regarded as equal in the estimation of Allah. The z’alimeen can in no way be considered as following the right path (9:19).

At various places, the illustrations of these matters are extant in the Qur’ān. This would have made it clear to you as to what the righteous living is in the scale of the Qur’ān.

Keep these illustrations in view. And then pause and reflect that this theory    -that there is no need of any conspicuous system of life for salvation and progress, and that “God-worshipping and righteous living” are equally in extant in every religion in principle   -is enough for salvation.” How much against the teaching of the Qur’ān this theory is! Be it known that this assertion   -that Islam enjoys superiority and preference over the religions of the world   -can not become the root cause for creating enmity against any religion. Islam does not teach enmity just over the difference in religions. It is the messenger of peace and solidarity. The proclamation of this assertion and its preaching is the well being and the sympathy of the humans. It is as if you say to a patient: “My brother, your disease will not be cured with irregular treatments; consult so and so a doctor for it; he is the only expert of these diseases and he is the only one to give you the right prescription.” This suggestion is no enmity to the patient. On the contrary, it is based on love. The enmity will be from the side who says: “No, brother, it is not.  All the medical clinics are one and the same. Get the prescription for treatment from anywhere you like and buy the medicine.” Though the proprietor of the medical clinics had announced: “Now the right prescriptions will be available from such and such medical clinics. (The other clinics cheat on our name.) ” Now telling that every medical clinic is one and the same is falsification of this announcement and an open enmity to the patient. That is why it has been said in the Qur’ān:

In these also there are signs for those who use their reason (16: 12).

Islam is a Deen

In this discourse, the word religion has been used for Islam. As has been written earlier, Islam in real sense is not religion; it is Deen. Therefore, comparing and contrasting of Islam with religions of the world is wrong. When it is not a religion, how valid is the comparison with the religions? It is Deen and the meaning of Deen is the system of life; so if Islam is to be compared, it should be with the other life systems of the world.

The basic mistake of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and others following him is that they also understand Islam to be a religion. When it is understood to be a religion, then definitely there remains no difference between Islam and other religions. In this case, the effort of proving Islam’s superiority over other religions is useless. When the end is worshipping alone, then it be in the temple or the mosque, it makes no difference. When the purpose is pilgrimage to Hindu shrine, then it be to Hindu god or to Mecca is of the same caliber. When the end product is charity, then giving alms to some one is no different to giving zakat. With this concept, “God-worshipping and righteous living” remains almost the same everywhere.

On the contrary, the-condition-of-“God-worshipping”-for-it is also meaningless. The code of ethics (for example speak the truth; do not tell a lie; do no steal; do not eat unlawful; do not rape) is one and the same everywhere; even the atheists understand that these ethical rules are good in nature. In this regard, even the “God-worshipping” does remain no more necessary. The name of these ethical regulations is adjudicated to be “true Deen”. Since this belief is running long among the Muslims that Islam is also a true religion, they also hold the relation of worship with God. And the righteous living is the name of the few ethical regulations: some beliefs, some fundamental forms of pray and the ethical mores and cores that are equally found everywhere. Only this collection is termed as Islam and nothing else.

There is no difference between this form of Islam and the other religions. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad held the same concept of Islam, so his deduction per se   -that there is no difference between Islam and other religions   – is also right. The only difference between him and the other Maulvis is that he announced it openly whereas the others had no such daring; otherwise every Maulvi holds the same belief, whether he is vocal or not. Or you may say that this is the necessary result of the belief, which Maulana Abul Kalam Azad has announced.

But when it is understood that Islam is not a religion, it is a system of life, then the edifice raised on this foundation is different from the one that Maulana Abul Kalam Azad represents. It is evident that every system of life has its own specific exigencies. Till the minds are prepared for it, such a system can not be established. Conviction (Īman) is that conspicuous mentality on the basis of which the edifice of that system is raised. According to the Qur’ān: “Only one and the one alone is the system of life for all the human beings.” Hence one and the one alone is the mode of conviction (Īman). According to this Qur’ānic concept of Islam there is no such question that this system is one and the same for every nation and every religion. This system is no where except in the Qur’ān, so the question of its comparison does never arise.

This is the very basic mistake, which raised the entire edifice of Brahma-social exegesis of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.


 

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Rise and Fall of Nations (Parwez)

Rise and Fall of Nations
The Immutable Law of the Rise and Fall of Nations

 

 Translator’s Note

Allama G. A. Parwez says in the Introduction to the book “Saleem Ke Nam” (Letters to Saleem): Destinies of nations are not decided in political arenas or on battlefields. They are decided in their schools and places of training. A nation is not defeated by its enemy; rather it is defeated by the wrong education and corruption of its youth. This is the reason Allama Parwez made Muslim youth the focus of attention in this book.

Today’s Muslim youth are curious to learn about Islam but are frustrated with the explanations given by traditional Islamic scholars. Saleem symbolizes such youth and through him, Allama Parwez addresses all Muslims. The book uses a logical and rational approach throughout and covers a wide range of topics.

Allama G.A. Parwez not only had a deep knowledge of the Quran, but he also had an ability to communicate it in a way that is probably unmatched in the annals of Urdu literature. His style was unique and his delivery finely tuned and highly resonant. Therefore, a literal translation of his Urdu is impossible. The Urdu words have connotations whose resonances are rarely caught with lexicon equivalents, and many Urdu idioms would be unintelligible if translated literally.

Translations of the Quranic verses appearing in the original Urdu and given in this rendition (of letter no. 37 dated January 1957 in Saleem Ke Nam) are taken from Allama Parwez’s Exposition of the Holy Quran, Volume 1, and with minor adaptation from the Tolu-e-lslam website: www.tolueislam.com. The Quranic references are given as Surah number followed by the verse number: e.g. (4:123) means Surah 4 verse 123. Allama Iqbal’s poems appearing in the original Urdu letter have been done by me.

I have striven for the most accurate possible English rendition of the Urdu. In spite of the wide gulf between modem English and classical Urdu, this humble effort on my part offers a reliable translation that can be studied by non-Urdu readers. If you think I have been successful in this aim then it is due to the Grace of Allah. If not, then I implore the reader to consider this as my limitation. Also, any discrepancy in this rendering of the original Urdu text is my responsibility.

Finally, I am thankful to my son, Suhail, for editing this translation and to my wife, Sajida, for her constant encouragement in my Quranic journey.

Mansoor Alam, Toledo, Ohio
malam55@yahoo.com


 Rise and Fall of Nations

Dear Saleem! History is not merely a record of past events and facts. It holds a much broader and deeper meaning than that; it is about why some nations succeed and thrive while others fail and vanish. In other words, studying history, apart from telling us the details of past events and facts, tells us the underlying causes of the success or failure of nations. This is called the science or the philosophy of history.

Science of history

My dear Saleem! You may be surprised to know that it was the Quran, that for the first time, presented history as a science or philosophy. The Quran states that it is not an accident of chance or a random event that nations live or die, rather their fate is subject to precise laws and rational principles.

It is true that sometimes a certain nation or a society may temporarily acquire power and wealth while ignorant of these laws and principles, but this is like a flash fire of weeds that quickly burns into a pile of ash. What we are considering as the rise or fall of nations goes beyond short-term events. Rather we are considering the long-term process that slowly works its way towards a nation’s ultimate rise or fall. Studying history allows us to see that this occurs according to a set pattern or law.

One should understand at this point that when we say that a certain nation dies, it does not mean that the people belonging to that nation disappear from the face of the earth (though sometimes this happens as well). Rather, what we mean by the death of a nation is that, although the people remain alive physically and even maintain their future generations, they lose their power and glory, and do not count for much in the world.

It is true that every nation has a certain ideology and a particular concept of life. This is known as Kalima in Quranic terminology or “culture” in modem terminology. But what do we mean by life or death of nations?

 Death of nations

Every nation has its own culture that it tries to preserve and promulgate through time. When it cannot, it suffers a cultural death. If a nation is going through a decline then it means:

  1. Either it is not able to withstand the challenge of its time, and thus is overtaken by another culture, or …
  2. It left its culture (thinking it would not be able to withstand the challenge) and voluntarily adopted a new culture that was on the rise.

In short, a culture experiencing downfall did not withstand the test of time.

This implies that an unending clash goes on between cultures and the demands of time. A culture that is able to withstand and overcome the demands of time remains alive, while a culture that is not is left behind and is overtaken by another culture. In the terminology of the Quran, this is called the law of substitution and succession of nations.

It is obvious that, like an individual, a nation does not want to die. It wants to live and prosper, and wants to be powerful. But, just as an individual cannot live merely on wishes, a nation likewise cannot live merely on the basis of lofty wishes. It must follow the above law if it wants to live and prosper. So much so that in the early period of Islam, when Muslims faced opposition from those (whom the Quran calls Ahl·ul·Kitab, the people of the Book) who professed a culture that had lost its ability for forward movement against the forces of the time, the Quran stated in clear terms that though every party wishes to succeed or prevail, one must remember that success is not based on the mere wishes of one over that of the other. It is based on the immutable law, that if a society or nation practices injustice, sooner or later, it is bound to face the destructive consequences of its actions.

Mark it that paradise-like life cannot be achieved through wishful thinking – be it yours or that of Ahl-ul-Kitab. Whoever does wrong shall reap the consequence thereof and shall not find anyone to protect and help him except Allah. (4:123)

Rule of Law

A culture based on exploitation and usurpation is bound to fail and nothing can save it from this destruction except the shield provided by the immutable law of Allah. This is so because there is no lawlessness in this Universe. In other words, the decision regarding a nation’s life or death happens rationally, according to set pattern or law. Those that succeed and survive do so according to the logical and rational application of this law, and those which fail and vanish do so while in violation of this law.

This was necessary in order that it might become manifest that those who have the capacity to live should survive, whilst those who lack this capacity may perish after clear demonstration, Allah is the Hearer and the Knowing (8:42)

In the dominion of this law, therefore, neither does anyone receive undeserved favors the way kings bestow on their admirers, nor is anyone punished simply because of a sudden burst of royal anger. Here, everything happens according to the unbiased, eternal and universal rule of law without exception.

The philosophy of Hegel

Dear Saleem! Let us proceed further after this rather long introduction. Hegel has presented a philosophy of history according to which, first a certain idea is born; then it grows, develops, and matures. Then from within it an opposite idea takes root that slowly develops and matures and overwhelms the previous one which ultimately dies. According to Hegel this process repeats itself in an endless cycle.

The philosophy of Marx

After Hegel came Marx who followed essentially the same line of reasoning except he said that this struggle is not between ideas but between systems. A period may be dominated by a certain system (say Capitalism) but after some time from within, it emerges another system which is the opposite of the previous one, and takes its place. Once again, this continues in an endless cycle according to Marx.

The above philosophy of Hegel or Marx, is called dialectical progression.

But whether this perpetual clash is between ideas or between systems, one thing is common between both. According to this philosophy an idea or a system is neither good nor bad in itself, nor is one idea or system objectively superior to another. Also, according to this philosophy, an idea or a system does not have the ability to stay forever nor does it have the ability to dominate its opposite for long; every idea or system contains within itself the elements of its own destruction. Both Hegel and Marx think that this is the way the rise or fall of nations occurs. They feel it is a cyclic process by which cultures come and go, irrespective of its merits or ills. A culture cannot remain alive forever nor can another remain dead forever. In other words, this philosophy says that every culture has a final day that cannot be changed by any means.

The philosophy of the Quran

Saleem! The Quran also gives a philosophy of the rise and fall of nations or cultures. It says though it is true that a clash occurs between contradicting ideas, it is not true that all ideas are equal in this clash. According to the Quran, certain ideas have the inherent ability to dominate and prosper as opposed to others. The Quran terms the former Haq or Truth, and the latter Batil or Falsehood. The Quran says that Haq strikes at Baatil and this struggle continues until Haq overwhelms Baatil, which is eventually defeated.

We have made it such that there is constant clash between Truth and Falsehood. The (constructive force of) Truth continues to overcome the (negative and destructive force of) Falsehood until such time that the latter has been crushed and withers away. (21:18)

This is so because Falsehood has the elements of its destruction within its very foundation.

O Messenger! Announce to the world that Truth has manifested itself and that Falsehood has vanished; for Falsehood by its very nature must perish eventually. (17:81)

Therefore, a nation which professes a culture based on Truth will dominate a nation whose culture is based on Falsehood, and the former will continue to do so as long as its culture remains based on Truth. It would never be the case that a nation based on Falsehood (i.e., nation of unbelievers in the Quranic sense) could ever dominate a nation based on Truth (i.e., nation of true believers in the Quranic sense).

Never will Allah allow the unbelievers an upper hand over the believers. (4:141)

So, what is the Significance and meaning of the Quranic term Haq or Baatil?

Haq is the name of the ideology that represents universal permanent values of humankind. It is based on reality and therefore its results are constructive. Whatever is against this ideology is called Baatil. With Haq as its ideology a culture is bound to develop, and grow, and reach higher and higher levels. On the other hand, a culture based on Baatil produces destructive results and is bound to fail eventually even though there may be some short term gains.

Saleem! Did you notice how the philosophy presented by the Quran regarding the clash of ideas, systems, or cultures is different from the philosophy of Hegel and Marx? It is according to this Quranic philosophy that fate of nations is really decided. It is this objective standard or law by which the survival or death of a nation occurs. The history the Quran has presented of past nations is not mere storytelling; it is to demonstrate the working of this immutable law with actual and concrete examples.

Therefore, we should not simply move forward after reading the stories of the rise and fall of past nations but reflect on its deeper aspects to figure why they rose in power and achieved greatness only to then vanish into the bowels of history. Our own collective life or death is also governed by the same immutable law of the Quran that applied to them. It is only from this deeper perspective that we will be able to figure out why our own Islamic culture suffered its downfall and how we can escape from this abyss.

Life at The Animal Level

The Quran says that cultures keeping human life at the animal level will never last because they are based on Falsehood. According to the Quran, the difference between humans and animals is not just that humans are more advanced beings, but that when life reached the human level, it acquired a unique and distinct characteristic that is not present at the animal level. It is this distinct characteristic that defines human qualities, and it is the development of these human qualities that is the real goal of human existence. The ideology that says that human life is only an extension of animal life in higher form is referred to as the materialistic concept of life. The Quran says that nations professing this concept of life, no matter how much wealth and power they might accumulate, will never succeed nor prosper in the long-term. It says in Sura Muhammad about these people:
Have not they seen the result of nations which passed before them? (47:10)

Have you seen Saleem, how the Quran emphasizes the study of history? How it presents history of past nations as evidence of Allah’s immutable laws? It demonstrates that it was Allah’s immutable laws that destroyed those nations.

Haven’t these people travelled the earth and seen the results of nations which came before them? The law of Allah destroyed them utterly. And any nation which will follow in their footsteps will meet the same end. (47:10)

Allah is the Protector of those who follow His Laws. His Laws support and back them up. Those who reject His laws shall have no such support and backing. (47: 11)

Those who have unwavering conviction in the laws of Allah and do righteous deeds, Allah will grant them a blissful paradise-like life the synergy of which will never fade. However, as for those who deny these laws and lead life only at the physical level in which the aim of life is limited to eating, drinking, and material enjoyment, there is no difference between their lives and that of animals. The result of this kind of life is nothing but death and destruction. (47:12)

There were many such nations which We destroyed; and no power in the world could save them from destruction. (O Messenger) They were far stronger than those who have driven you out from your home. (So if they were destroyed then how can these people who deny the laws of Allah and who have driven you out of your home remain?) (47: 13)

We should not therefore take the history of past nations as mere stories that are being rehearsed to us in the pages of the Quran and assume that these have nothing to do with us. Rather, we should take them as data in support of the Quranic claim that behind these stories is an underlying principle that applied to past nations and caused their destruction when they embarked on a path of Falsehood, and that the very same principle will apply now to any nation that embarks on a similar path, and it will produce the same result. There is no favoritism in this universe. Saleem! A society that follows the laws laid down by Allah has their backing, and the one which does not, well, nothing can save it. The universal principles that governed the past will continue to govern the success of today and the future. This law operates over all places and all ages without exception.

By examining the pages of history, we know that a concept of life or culture in which the aims are limited to satisfaction of only material needs without other higher aims cannot hope to last long. People living in a society established on such lines can never lead a life of peace and tranquility. They can only achieve that by creating a society that is based on living in accordance with the ultimate permanent values established by its creator. Because these values actually bring success in all its forms, their realization becomes those peoples’ lifelong goal. In fact, these are the values which enable human beings to achieve immortality.

Enjoying life without working

Let us proceed further. The second principle which the Quran has mentioned is that a society in which people at its lower wrung do all the hard work while the people at the top enjoy and indulge at their expense will never succeed. In a society based on truth, this will never happen. In Surah Anbia the Quran says that many past nations were destroyed because of their indulgences and extravagant life styles, and other nations took their places that were not like them.

The Quran also says that when these nations saw their forthcoming destruction, they tried to flee. You may wonder why those people did not recognize the ill effects of their policies and change their ways. The important point here is that though the destruction had started much earlier, it basically remained invisible to them. Though every action starts taking shape the moment the action is done, it may have distant effects that remain latent, giving human beings a false impression that their bad actions are not producing bad consequences. They realize the truth only when the results become perceptible to them, when it is too late.

Thus there is a period between the act and the appearance of its consequence in concrete form which the Quran calls Ajal or respite. Nations pursuing a false system of life live their intellect and their political acumen to plug any holes in their system through which they think destruction could come. When a destruction does not come their way for a while they feel satisfied that all their defenses are fortified and all their plans foolproof. But Allah’s law of requital (or the law of sowing and reaping) keeps working. Although imperceptible but nevertheless always present, it slowly moves towards their ultimate destruction because of their wrong actions, and becomes visible to them suddenly through ways they could not have perceived:

Those who discard Allah’s laws, chastisement do not come upon them immediately, but they are led towards it gradually through ways which they do not perceive. This is the respite given to them; otherwise the grip of Our law of requital is inescapable. (17:182-183)

People will be questioned

This, then, is the meaning of the earlier Quranic statement: they started to flee when they saw the forthcoming destruction. But the above law tenaciously follows them saying: Do not flee. Stop. Return to the place where you had amassed your wealth and built your palaces (using the blood, sweat, and tears of the poor) so that you may be questioned.

Have you ever pondered why do these people at the top think that no one can question them no matter what they do? First they think that they are beyond the reach of the law. They keep manipulating the system so that they could avoid being caught. If that is not possible then they enact such laws “which make whatever they want to do legal:
These people are those who try to keep as much as possible for themselves. They bid others to do likewise and try to keep hidden whatever bounty Allah has given them. For such ungrateful people Allah has prepared a humiliating life. (4:37)

This is what happens in a capitalistic system. The people at the top enact laws that allow unlimited private ownership over the means of production. Often, they co-opt the services of the priesthood which gives sanctity to such laws by passing fatwa (religious edict) against anyone who advocates limits on such ownership charging him with interfering in matters of religion. Thus these laws gain the legal as well as the religious stamp of approval, which no one is allowed to question. But the Quran says that these usurpers of religious and temporal powers cannot escape the law of requital with such machinations and deceptions. This law is beyond these ploys and will hold these people accountable to what they have been doing. Finally, they will see Hell with their own eyes and they will be asked about their wealth and power as to how did they acquire them and where did they spend?

Now, after the Quran called on these people to stop and told them not to flee the scene of the forthcoming destruction, it goes on to mention that they accepted their responsibility by, saying: Yes! We did manipulate and exploit others and usurped their rights, and this destruction in which we are engulfed did indeed come about precisely because of that. But the Quran says that they would gain nothing from this late acknowledgement. They would be the losers, Following verses (21:11-15) sketch this picture:
(If you shape your lifestyle in accordance with this code, you will attain heights of dignity, elegance and greatness). But if you turn away you too will be destroyed like nations We destroyed (before you) because of their iniquities. Thereafter we raised other nations in their stead. (21-11)

(The effects of their wrong behavior were being recorded without them realizing it). Although they were warned, they did not pay any heed to this warning. Thus the imperceptible effects accumulated slowly and finally confronted them. Then they tried to flee. (21-12)

(But at that time they could not escape. Our Law of Requital called them and said) “Where can you run away now? Do not try to flee. Return to all that which gave you so much intoxicating pleasure. Come back to your palaces (where you considered yourselves to be so safe) so that you may be asked to account for the labor that made all this about, and also to question you as to what fight you had over it” (21-13)

At that time they could not but accept that they were wrongdoers. They were sorry and ashamed of themselves. (21:15)

(But then feeling sorry is of no use). When one is confronted with the outcome of one’s deeds, it can never be reversed) Thus they continued crying, lamented the wrongs they had done, and were extremely ashamed. However, Our Law of Requital turned them into a mowed-down field in which nothing could grow (like an extinguished flame devoid of any life). (21-15)

After this the Quran says something that contains an entire universe of thought in its scope. It says that this type of destruction does not happen on an emergency basis but that it happens according to Allah’s law of requital, and that the entire universe is ceaselessly working to make it happen. Allah says:
(They thought that) We have created this heaven and earth and all that is in between (i.e., the universe) just for fun: an idle play. No, not at all! We have created all this for a great purpose. And the purpose is that no action should remain without result, whether it involves a person or a nation. All actions produce results. (21:16)

This universe is working so that in the struggle between Truth and Falsehood the Truth overpowers the Falsehood and nothing can stop it.

We have made it such that there is constant clash between forces of truth (Haqq) and forces of Falsehood (Baatil). The constructive forces or Truth continue overcoming the negative and destructive forces of Falsehood, until such lime that the later has been crushed and it withers away. (21: 18)

Capitalists

Did you notice something important here? The second principle the Quran has given for the destruction of nations is that a nation in which one group rides in luxury on the hack of the hard labor of another group will never last. This is precisely the reason a capitalist system can never last. As Allama Iqbal says:
Intellectual deception can’t sustain for long the culture whose basis is capitalism.

In this system one group controls the means of production and the resources of the Earth and blocks it from the reach of the rest of the humanity. The Quran calls this Bukhl (usually translated as niggardliness). The Quran says that a nation practicing Bukhl is doomed and a new nation takes over:
These people are those who try to keep as much as possible for themselves. They bid others to do likewise and try to keep hidden whatever bounty Allah has given them. For such ungrateful people Allah has prepared a humiliating life. (4:37)

These people are those who try to keep as much as possible for themselves. They should know that the one who behaves like this harms none but himself, because Allah is indeed free of all wants (Allah does not need anything from you.) It is you who is in need. If you should turn back from your commitment, He will replace you with another nation which will not be like you.

Did you see how the Quran has brought out a very important point in the last part of the above verse: that substitution of one nation for another nation does not happen according to Marx or Hegel’s dialectical progression but according to Allah’s law of requital and the struggle between Truth and Falsehood?

Those engaged only in talk

At this time let us bring out another point. A program has two phases which are planning and execution. In the first phase, thinking and pondering, comparing the pros and cons of the plan, making different blueprints for its execution etc. are carried out. It is clear that though this phase consists only of words and charts, it is, nevertheless, extremely important. When this phase is complete, the next phase should begin. But if a nation only keeps planning and talking and does not take steps to implement those plans, it is bound to fail no matter how lofty its thinking may be. In other words, nations cannot survive by mere ideas alone. This is akin to a traveler having a torch in his hand but not walking. In nations devoid of action, philosophers engage in discussing metaphysical problems and leaders busy themselves in designing grand schemes and giving speeches, and both think they are doing great work. But their thoughts and words can hardly save these nations. A nation that turns away from the real problems of the world and only remains engaged in abstract and theoretical discussions is bound to taste death. The Quran has termed this behavior as Khoud which means being engaged in fruitless (abstract or meaningless) discussions.

Entertainment

Now let us take the other side of this coin. We know that most problems concerning human life have utilitarian value, but apart from this, human beings also have psychological and emotional needs. Fine arts and entertainment are developed to attend to those needs, but they have their own place on human scale if they are to be useful. If a nation ignores proper action, and instead becomes absorbed in the development and promotion of entertainment, then it will never be able to compete with other nations. The Quran has a term for this kind of behavior as well. It calls it La’ab, which means play and fun.

The Quran states that a nation engaged in Khaudh and La’ab is not going to last very long and will be replaced by another nation, and no one can stop this from happening.

The system of Divine Nourishment that is spread from east to west, testifies to the fact that We are fully capable of replacing those engaged in idle talks and only interested in fun and play with better nations. They cannot escape Our laws, nor can they thwart Our schemes. Therefore do not worry. Leave them to indulge in their useless planning, unnecessary discussions and amusements until such time that they would be confronted the Day of Judgment (i.e., the forthcoming revolution that is sure to come and) about which they have been amply warned. They consider life to be a joke, and humanity to be without any goal. What else but destruction can be the result of such a mentality (70:40·42)

Of this we have the glaring example of the Greek civilization from the pages of history. They had reached such heights of wisdom and philosophy that until today they are considered among the topmost philosophers of the world. Along with that they also had reached such heights in the fine arts (painting, sculpture, music, and poetry) that, overall, we do not find any such example anywhere in history. In spite of all this, their practical and utilitarian aspects of life were such that they could not manufacture even simple things. The result was that the Greek civilization fell in such a manner that it never rose again. Their highly advanced philosophy and their exceptional fine arts could not save them. They were replaced by nations that were better than them. This is yet another law that the Quran has presented concerning substitution and succession of nations.

Shying away from struggle

But among all of its laws of substitution and succession of nations, the Quran has presented one that could be considered as the apex of all, and which, surprisingly, can be described in just one word: struggle. The Quran says that life means struggle, persistent struggle, continuous exertion, perpetual action, ceaseless trial and endurance, untiring effort. This is life. According to Poet and Philosopher Iqbal:

Persistent struggle gives maturity to the elixir of life

O ignorant ones! This is the secret of immortal life

We should know that a nation’s doom starts the moment it shies away from struggle. A nation’s death, in reality, is its desertion from struggle.

It is but death when laziness prevents one tasting struggle.

Because the hunter always waylays where the wings fold.

The Quran has vividly demonstrated that a nation that shies away from struggle is ultimately destroyed. It says:
O Believers! Sometimes it happens that when you are asked to march forth in the cause of Allah some weak-minded amongst you act as though they are stuck to the earth. They prefer worldly gains to the blessings of the life of the Hereafter although the gains offered by the life of this world are insignificant compared to that offered by the life of the Hereafter. Remember: If you do not march forth, Allah will certainly inflict you with a serious chastisement and that He will replace you by another people (47:38, 70:41)

You can do no harm to Allah since He has control over everything (21:10)

From the discussion we have had so far it is clearly obvious that the Quran has given many laws and principles in whose light there is no difficulty for anyone to see why nations’ rise and fall or how they go through life and death, The Quran  exhorts us to think deeply into human history and see for ourselves how every nation’s history offers the evidence of the truth of these laws, And then it asks us a simple question: If that was the fate of those nations then how could we avoid the same fate if we behave the same way as they did?

Human abilities-a precondition for success

The Quran says that real inheritance of the land cannot come from ancestors or as a free gift but that there is an immutable law for this to happen. Only those people inherit the land who possess the necessary abilities for this:
We had laid down in every revealed Book and in the historical details of past nations this basic and fundamental law: the rightful heirs of the earth (the state, its governance and resources) shall only be those nations who possess the required abilities and who live it according to Our Laws. This basic law of life is absolute and universal and any nation that wants to live according to Our Laws will hear witness to its far reaching reality. (This reality is that the inheritance in the earth is conditional on the development of required abilities as well as obedience to the Divine Law. Without these two qualities a nation may attain temporary superiority but will not have it as a rightful inheritance.) (21:105-106)

Even Muslims were told that they are not an exception to the above golden rule. They have to acquire their place in through their abilities. In other words, they have to earn it.

God-given inheritance in earth

Allah has promised authority in this world only to those who have conviction in the truthfulness of the Divine Laws and who do the righteous deeds (33:27) (in accordance with these laws). He will establish them in the land, they in turn will tum their land into Paradise (39:74).

This is Our Eternal Law according to which caused previous generations to establish their authority on this earth (28:6). As a result of their conviction in this law and due to their righteous deeds, We will grant them authority over the land and strengthen the system of life which We have chosen for them. The result will be that it will replace their erstwhile state of fear by one of security and peace so that they may obey Our Laws (do Our ibadah) in peace and harmony. Also, there will be no pressure on them to obey anyone else; thus they will he free of becoming guilty of Shirk. (No worldly power or authority will force them to obey man-made or other laws instead of those given by Allah.) (24:55)

From the above verse it is also clear that Ibaadah means obedience and not worship as it is usually translated. If by Ibaadah we mean the fulfillment of religious rituals such as prayer and fast then we do not need our own established authority in the land to do that. This can be done anywhere under any circumstances, even under slavery. The above verse continues:
(But keep in mind that the above Order will last as long as they continue obeying Our Laws.) After this system has been established, if they do not work according to it (and instead, start enforcing their own laws), then this will amount to going astray and abandoning the straight path which, in tum, will take them away from the right destination. (24:55)

They will thus be deprived of the bounties of a blissful life which are the result of conviction in Allah’s law and doing righteous deeds. When the Allah-prescribed foundation is ignored how could it produce its promised results?
O Messenger! Convey Our message to them. Only those who go astray from the right path will perish. Those who don’t will not face destruction. Therefore if they want to save themselves they should follow the path suggested by Allah. (46:35)

It is clear from the Quran then that there exists an immutable law for life and death of nations. Those nations that lead their lives according to this law ride the life affirming waves resulting in their overall rise in prestige and acclaim. Those who go against this law suffer indignation and eventual death. Allah has established this law and has given freedom of will to human beings to either accept it or reject it.

Could there be any better explanation than what the Quran has given above about the rise and fall of nations. You may be surprised to know that the nation that is supposed to be the bearer of this Quranic message has far drifted away from it. The Muslim nation now believes that the question of freedom of will does not arise in this matter; that human fate is already predetermined by Allah; that the time of death of nations is fixed just like individuals and there will be no change in it even for one second; and that no nation can extend its life by doing righteous deeds, or for that matter, shorten it by sinful behavior. How ironic and amazing then that the authority for this non-Quranic belief is presented from the Quran itself by those who follow this non-Quranic ideology? No wonder, many go astray and many receive guidance from the same Quran! According to Iqbal:
In this same Quran now, the message is found to renounce the world.
That once made believers the masters of the moons, stars and the world.
Their life today has been made passive by the belief in predestined human Will.
When once they used to be deeply moved to act and shape their life by God’s Will.
What was once good and virtuous has now become non-virtuous.
This is because slavery degrades a nation’s heart and conscience

 Every nation has its Ajal-a period of respite

To support their claim that there is a predetermined fixed time for death, whether of individuals or of nations, its proponents present the verse (7:34) of the Quran and translate the word Ajar in this verse as “fixed time”. As we have mentioned before, between every action appearance of its result there is a period, and the length or age of that period is called Ajal. However, before appearance of the result i.e. before its Ajal, if a nation changes its course then it would be possible for it to avert the destructive consequences of its prior wrong course.

But, if that period has reached a stage where the results of its bad actions have started to appear, then no one can change it. This Ajal, however, is different for different actions. (For example, the period between planting the seeds and appearance of the fruits is different for different seeds. Or, for example, a small amount of a poison takes long time to cause death whereas a large amount will bring about death in a short time. Although the result actually starts taking shape much earlier but its appearance occurs at a particular time which is called Ajal.)

This, then, is the law for Ajal and different actions have different Ajal. The Quran has beautifully explained this Ajal. It says: “Li kulli ummatin Ajalun” (7:34). There is Ajal for every nation. And “Li kulli Ajalin kitabaah” (13:38): For every Ajal there is a law (Kitaab in Arabic means book but it also means law.)

“Yamhullahu maa yashaa-u wa yusbity” (13:39): This is Allah’s law (mashiyya) according to which nations’ fates is decided, i.e. whether they should stay or disappear. This is Allah’s universal law, the essence of which is with Allah Himself. “Wa indahu ummal kitaab” (13:39): Therefore, no one can change it. This is beyond the reach of humans. What is that according to which the rise and fall of nations is decided? It is “Yamhullahul baatila wa yuhiqqul haqqa bikalimaatihi” (42:24): Allah with His law wipes out Baatil and establishes Haqq, i.e. a culture that is based on Falsehood (evil) disappears and the one based on Truth (good) remains.

Fundamental principle of survival

By now, we have seen which cultures have the ability to survive and which have the potential to disappear; and we have seen which fundamental principles determine the fates

of those nations. The Quran has also provided concrete examples so that there is no difficulty in understanding them, and that no doubt remains as to their working in real life. See how Surah 13 verse 17 illustrates this principle with a concrete example:

(Some may argue that if Allah has created everything why is it that there is evil along with good. The conflict between evil and good is necessary for the evolution of the universe. This may be understood by means of the following examples) Allah sends down rain from the heavens and this causes streams to flow and the deluge which follows sweeps away all the dirt in the soil (leaving clear soil behind). Similarly, when metals are used for making ornaments or other articles of use, they are purified by being put into the fire which separates the impurities (and the pure remains). As a result of the conflict between truth and falsehood, the negative forces pass away like scum, but that which is beneficial for the humanity endures This is how Allah explains His laws by means of analogies. (13: 17)

Did you notice the unmistakable nature of this principle? A culture or system has the ability to stay only if its existence benefits humanity, and not any particular group, party, organization, or nation. I think that this principle should be written in golden letters everywhere in the world.

Is our revival possible?

Saleem! Now comes the important question: Is our revival possible? Is it possible for us to pull ourselves out of this humiliating life that we have been leading for centuries? Or, are we doomed forever? The Quran says that there is no need to feel hopeless. Indeed, it is possible for us to come out of our abyss, and it is possible for us to rise to the glory which we once had. But you will have to wait a while. Right now, we need to provide some backdrop for that. You have seen that the resulting clash of different cultures means a nation’s ultimate life or death. The Quran has divided different cultures into two different categories:

  • Cultures in which a nation follows the laws of Allah, and which the Quran has described by the comprehensive term
  • Cultures in which human beings follow their own aims and ambitions.

The Quran says that the Messenger (pbuh) and those who followed in his footsteps were bearers of the culture of Salaah, the result of which was sublime happiness and success. But their descendants turned out to be ungrateful and left that culture (of Salaah) and adopted another culture (based on their own desires). And so, they were destroyed. In Surah Maryam while describing the exalted life stories of different Messenger the Quran says:

They were exalted people on whom Allah had bestowed all kinds of comfort and happiness, but after them came their unworthy descendants who destroyed the system of Salaah, and instead went after their own desires. Those who do so ultimately face the result of their transgression. (19:59)

It is dear from this the result of establishment of the system of Salaah is the achievement of life’s bounties and eminence and its desertion results in being deprived of them.

After enunciating this principle let us come back to the Muslims now. In Surah Faatir it is stated that Allah gave His Book to the Messenger (pbuh). After the Messenger (pbuh), his nation was to be the inheritor of this Book and the system that the Messenger (pbuh) had established. This nation in its early period remained in the forefront to continue to establish this system. But after that, it became less enthusiastic about its establishment. Then, after that, it went out of its original track completely.

(All that Was important or necessary, has been revealed and preserved in this Quran, because after this, the institution of Revelations is closed. The only thing required now is to establish a system according to these Laws, and for human society to follow this guidance.) For this purpose a nation (an Ummah) is required. This Ummah has been chosen (2:143, 3:109), and the Book has been entrusted to it, but the condition of this Ummah will be such that some of its members will commit transgression by abandoning it; some will stay on the fence; and some will be foremost in establishing a system according to the Divine Laws. They will be the ones who deserve high ranks. (35:32)

We are in the category that abandoned the chosen path and went awry. This has been explained in clearer terms in Surah 3 of the Quran. We are told first what the path of Islam and how all the previous Messengers adopted it, and then the proclamation of the truth that this is the path to attain success and well-being is made:

If a people have professed Ei’maan (conviction) and their Nabi (Messenger) has established the Divine System which testifies to its truth, and thereafter they tum away towards Kurf (non-belief), who is there who can guide them? And Allah’s Law is that the transgressors cannot be the recipients of His Guidance. These people will be deprived of Allah’s Blessings as well as the support of Malaika (forces of nature) and righteous persons. They will remain in this state without respite unless they give up the wrong path and amend their actions. And if they do so then certainly Allah will protect them and provide them with the sources of nourishment. If they continue to follow the wrong path and their repentance is merely verbal, they will not reach the right goal. (3:85-89)

So, Saleem! There you have it. There is definitely a way to get out of our abyss, but we have to return to the point from where we took the wrong tum, and then after reaching there we will have to take the path to which the Quran guides us. Only then will Allah’s law lift us from our current abyss and protect us from any disasters while providing us necessary nourishment for our development. This is the only process by which we can start our revival.

Dear Saleem! The Quran has told us in very clear terms that the glory that was initially achieved by this Ummah was the result of following the laws of Allah enshrined in His Book, the Quran. But when this Ummah left the Quran they were deprived of that glory. There is only one way to rescue ourselves from our present abyss; establish our system of life according to the Quran. There is no other way for our renaissance no matter what we may try.

My dear Saleem! I hope you now understand what the immutable law of the rise and fall of nations is and why some nations live, prosper and rise to great heights while others die and disappear into history, and what a nation can do to avoid death.

Fi Amaanillah! Wassalaam

Parwez

January (1957)

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