Tag Archives: Dr. Sayed Abdul Wadud
Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi (1/1)
Allah Almighty proclaims that the revelation, of the verses that follow, is meant to display the attributes of His Rahmnaiyyat and Raheemiyyat.”
The usual translation of the words Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi is “In the name of Allah, ths most Gracious, the most merciful”. Howeverm a close study of the Holy Quran reveals that these words carry a different and much wider I mport. The words ‘Allah’, ‘Rehman’, and ‘Raheem’ shall be explaind in the verses of ‘ Sura-e-Fateha’ which follow immediately.
اسم The word اسم means ‘ Name’; but when used in relation to Allah, it means a divine attribute. As a matter of fact اسم is a ‘sign’ by means of which a certain thin can be recognised. As Allah can be recognised only by means of his attributes, these attributes are called اسماء . For instance in chapter 59 of the holy Quran, certain attributes of Allah are described first, followed by saying : lahu al-asmao alhusna
Thus it said:
Huwa Allahu alkhaliqu albari-o almusawwiru lahu al-asmao alhusna (59/24)
“ He is the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of forms and to Him belong the most proportionate attributes”.
Thus to proclaim the words Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi before we begin to do a certain thing, means that any thing said or done after this proclamation shall aim at the practical presentation of Allah’s attributes of being Rehman and Raheem. When these words preceed the Quran or any part of it, it means that Allah almighty himself proclaims that the revelation of the verses that follow, is meant to display the attributes of His ‘ Rahmaniyyat’ and ‘ Raheemiyyat’.
And when a believer says Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi, he proclaims that he makes a start of such and such a thing, in order to display the divine attributes of ‘ Rhmaniyyat’ and ‘Raheemiyyat’.
In other words Allah revealed the Quran, as to make his attributes of ‘ Rhmaniyyat’ and ‘Raheemiyyat’ prevail in the human world and that man may develop these attributes in his ownself and make it the basis of any programme he undertakes.
Alhamdu lillahi rabbi alAAalameena (1:2)
‘’ Pondering over the beauty, proportion and perfection of the living and non-living objects of nature, excites in man a spontaneous praise for the One who sustains every component of the universe, from its initial stage, to the stage of its final destination. ‘’
The usual translation of this verse is –
“ Praise be to Allah the cherisher and sustainer of the worlds”.
Non-Believers may raise an objection or criticise that these words indicate a self-praise by Allah. However, it is a misconception. As a matter of fact, these words are instructive. Allah instructs man to say so. The word قل “ Qul” is silent here. Thus it means actually that man should always keep in mind that all praise is due to Allah.
“Alhamd” The word ‘Hamd’ is usually translated as ‘praise ‘, but this does not represent the true sense of the word. There are other words for ‘ praise’ in Arabic language but these have not been used by Quran, which indicates that the word ‘Hamd’ has a special significance, and that it is essential to grasp the true meaning of it. The expression of intense feelings of apprication which arise in one’s mind on witnessing a beautiful, proportionate and rare object is what is called ‘Hamd’ in Arabic. But it has certain preconditions attached to it, which are as follows:-
- The object of ‘ Hamd ‘ or its traits must be visible to the one who praise, because an invisible object is not able to excite such feelings of appreciation.
- The act, committed by a certain person, who is the object ‘Hamd’ , must come into play by his own choice. A mechanical occurrence can-not become the object of ‘ Hamd ‘ so much so that the beauty of an object hestowed upon it by the Creator can-not by itself become the object of ‘ Hamd ‘. Thus while appreciating the beauty of a certain object the word حمد is not used for it. For example in the dance of a peacock, the peacock deserves مدح while the Creator of peacock deserves حمد ‘ Hamd ‘.
- The feeling of ‘ Hamd ‘ must arise spontaneously from within. A praise brought about by pressure is not ‘ Hamd ‘ such as a praise which is the result of show or hypocrisy.
- The feelings of ‘ Hamd ‘ must arise out of a thorough knowledge of the object, of ‘ Hamd ‘. A vague or undefined picture of a certain object, or a blind faith in its being, can not excite such feelings.
- The beauty and proportion of the object of ‘ Hamd ‘ must be perfect.
The one described above is the concept of the word حمد in Arabic and it has been used by the Holy Quran in that sense. When we say الحمد الله it means that ‘ Hamd ‘ is due to Allah alone. But Allah is not visible to us. As described earlier, the first precondition for ‘ Hamd ‘ is that one should feel the presence of the object of ‘ Hamd ‘. As a matter of fact, according to the Holy Quran you come to know Allah through his creation. Thus when we come across a beautiful and attractive object, we see it with our own eyes, our mind appreciates it and our tongue expresses the words of praise for the Creator. The Quran says:
Alhamdu lillahi allathee khalaqa alssamawati waal-arda wajaAAala alththulumati waalnnoora (6/1)
“ Hamd ‘ is due to Allah who created the heavens and the earth and made the darkness and the light ”.
The object of Allah’s creation that are lying scattered around us, in every nook and corner of the universe, are so beautiful, proportionate and attractive that they spontaneously create the feelings of praise for Him. Consequently it is incumbent upon man to explore nature and use the outcome of exploration for the benefit of humanity.
The Quran says :
Inna fee khalqi alssamawati waal-ardi waikhtilafi allayli waalnnahari laayatin li-olee al-albabi. Allatheena yathkuroona Allaha qiyaman waquAAoodan waAAala junoobihim wayatafakkaroona fee khalqi alssamawati waal-ardi rabbana ma khalaqta hatha batilan subhanaka faqina AAathaba alnnari (3/190-191)
“ In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the day and night, there are indeed signs for men who ponder over it, men who keep before themselves the divine law, standing, sitting and lying down on their sides and contemplate ( the wonders of ) creation in the heavens and the earth, (with the thought) our Rabb: Thou hast not created all this without purpose. Praise be to thee. Give us knowledge to discover the laws of nature to save ourselves from destruction”.
The Quran terms them علما ‘ Ulema ‘ , those who ponder over the phenomena of nature:-
Alam tara anna Allaha anzala mina alssama-i maan faakhrajna bihi thamaratin mukhtalifan alwanuha wamina aljibali judadun beedun wahumrun mukhtalifun alwanuha wagharabeebu soodun. Wamina alnnasi waalddawabbi waal-anAAami mukhtalifun alwanuhu kathalika innama yakhsha Allaha min AAibadihi alAAulamao inna Allaha AAazeezun ghafoorun… (35/27-28)
“ Do you not see that Allah send down rain from the sky? With it We then bring about produces of various colours. And in the mountains are newly created strata of rocks, white, red and various shades of colour, and intensely black. And so among men and crawling creatures and cattle are they of various colours. Those who possess the knowledge (of these sciences) really appreciate the mighty power of the laws of Allah and are afraid of going against them. They know that his laws are omnipotent and provide protection for those who abide by it ”.
There is yet another set of laws which are given to humanity for their guidance, which are as immutable as the physical laws, both arising from the common source. Those who ponder over these divine laws, given in the book of Allah, are also aroused by the mighty powers, beauty, proportion, utility and straight forwardness of these laws and spontaneously express the feelings of praise by saying:
Alhamdu lillahi allathee anzala AAala AAabdihi alkitaba walam yajAAal lahu AAiwajan (18/1)
“ Praise be to Allah who hath sent to his servant (P.B.U.H) the book and hath allowed therein no crookedness”.
Thus the Hamd of Allah can arise only after pondering over the laws that lie scattered in every nook and corner of this universe, as well as those given to mankind for its guidance through the messengers of Allah; those given to his last messenger (P.B.U.H) now lie safely inside the Quran.
The last Rasool of Allah (P.B.U.H) who made the ‘Hamd’ of Allah to prevail amongst mankind, thus came to be known as ‘ Ahmad ‘ i.e., the one who indulged in the ‘ Hamd ‘ of Allah to his utmost; and he himself thus became Muhammad which means the object of praise. That is why it was said:
…AAasa an yabAAathaka rabbuka maqaman mahmoodan (17/79)
“ And the hope that thy Rabb will send thee to the place of praise and glory”.
It was on account of his efforts that الدّين( the way of life prescribed by Allah) came : into : being; which was the praise of all those who witnessed it, from all over the world. It was on account of him that all those nations, who were committed to tyranny and high handedness, were washed off from the face of the earth.
FaqutiAAa dabiru alqawmi allatheena thalamoo waalhamdu lillahi rabbi alAAalameena (6/45)
“ Of the wrong-doors the last remnant was cut off. Praise to be to Allah, the cherisher of the worlds”.
With the elimination of tyrrann’s, the ‘Hamd’ of Allah came to be displayed all over the world.
The above said verse makes it clear that to bring about the revolution described above, the manifestation of the attribute of ‘ Power ‘ associated with Allah’s personality must come into play. It means that appreciation of the aesthetic aspect of Allah’s creation runs side by side with the display of Allah’s supreme power. That is why it is said:
…..lahu almulku walahu alhamdu…. (24/1)
“ To him belongs dominion and to him belongs praise ”.
The source of ‘ Hamd ‘ and Domination is Allah, and if the latter is not displayed along with the former the entire organisation of the universe shall disintegrate. On the other hand if the display of power is not associated with ‘ Hamd ‘ which is the result of the aesthetic aspect of creation, it assumes thworst from the tyrrany. That is why the Quran has said that Allah sent down ‘ Iron ‘ along with the book and the balance, (57 : 25). Without the power to establish الدين the teachings of the Quran remain only a sermon. The believers become حامدون by the reciprocal display of the force of the ‘ Iron ‘ and the Book’.
The above description has clarified the concept and the aim of the utterance, by a believer of the words الحمد الله .
It is not a mere utterance of words; it aims at bringing in to being the establishment of the way of life prescribed by the Creator, by exploring and gaining control of the forces of nautre and utilising them for the benefit of humanity, subject to divine guidance; and to eliminate all forces which form hurdles in its way.
In الحمد الله the word next to حمد is الله. It is a combination of letters ال and the word اله . لِ means ‘ for ‘. Thus the words الحمد الله means ‘ Hamd ‘ in its extreme and complete form is specifically due to Allah. The word الله is proper noun, used for Him alone. The root of the word اله is ا ل ه which bears the following concepts underlying it — (1) to seek protection in a state of anxiety (2) to become perplexed (3) to be out of sight and to have an exalted status (4) to accept subservience of some body or to admit sovereignty of some body.
Accordingly, the Quranic word, ‘ Allah ‘ means the Supreme Existence which is out of sight, whose extremely exalted position leaves the human intellect perplexed, whose sovereignty regins supreme in the universe and to Whom subservience is due by all components of His creation.
Allah is beyond human perception:
. La tudrikuhu al-absaru….. (6/103)
“ No vision can grasp Him “.
A finite thing cannot grasp an infinite object. However, we know Him through his attributes given in the Quran. Accordingly, belief in Allah means to accept the sovereignty of One Whose attributes are described in the Quran.
The concept of a supreme authority exists amongst people all over the world, even amongst the most primitive tribes; and all of them bow down to it, although the picture of that authority is different in the minds of people belonging to different tribes and different religions, ‘ Yahawa’ of Jews, ‘ Father of Christians, ‘ Ishwar’ or ‘ Paremeshwar’ of Hindus and ‘ Yazdan ‘ of Zoroastrians, all bear a different concept. On the other hand, Allah described in the Quran, is different from all of them. It appears that the ‘ Rasools ‘ who appeared on the earth, from time to time, for the guidance of mankind, introduced the same concept of the Supreme Authority as given in the Quran but that it was gradually adulterated by man-made ideas and baser human sentiments, and ultimately made to disappear. Thus the self oriented concept of God in one religion becomes different from that of the other. That is why the Quran has said:
…subhanahu wataAAala AAamma yasifoona (6/100)
“ Glory be to Him ( for He is ) above what they attribute to Him”.
Thus the real concept of Allah is the one that arises out of the manifestation of the attributes of Allah as laid down in the Quran. Since the concept of God amongst the non-Muslims is of their own making, their belief in God is not the same as prescribed by the Quran. Thus it is said :
Fa-in amanoo bimithli ma amantum bihi faqadi ihtadaw… (2/137)
“ So if they believe, as you believe, they are indeed on the right path”.
When the Quran says:
….laysa kamithlihi shay… (42/11)
“ There is nothing whatever like into Him ”
It means not only that you can not form an idea of Allah’s Personality by means of an example ( because an example after all shall be that of a perceptible object and Allah’s personality is infinite and imperceptible; it also means that gods to whom the non-believers bow down, none of them is like Allah whose concept is given by Allah himself. And that is why the word ‘ Allah ‘ cannot be translated in to any other language, because a translation of the word الله. In to any language shall present the specific concept of those who speak that language. For example, the word ‘ God ‘ shall present the concept that is prevalent amongst Christians and the word ‘ Ishwar ‘ that of Hindus.
The next question arises, why is it essential to believe in Allah? How does it affect the human life? One man accepts the Christian concept of ‘ God ‘, the other the Hindu Concept of ‘ Ishwar ‘ and still other the Quranic concept of ‘ Allah ‘. Does it make any difference in the practical lives of these different sets of people? The answer is yes. To believe and act according to the laws, prescribe in the Quran, for the guidance of mankind, changes the entire outlook on life. According to the holy Quran, man is composed of two different entities: Physical body and Personality or Self. The physical body is controlled by the physical laws, as is the case with other animals; the human personality on the other hand is controlled by the laws revealed to the Allah’s messengers. Physical body is destructible and undergoes constant metabolic changes, while human personality has got potentialities which, when actualised, make the developed personality indestructible and capable of further evolution. The development of human personality is controlled by human actions. This is a world of cause and effect. In other words every human action is rewarded. An act may be good or bad. A good act is one which is consistent with the divine laws; a bad act is one which is inconsistent with them. A good act produces a positive or constructive effect on human personality and a bad act has a negative or disintegrating effect. The act may be manifest or concealed, it makes no difference. In requires no outside policing. The reaction is automatic as in other phenomena of nature. The aim of human life is the development of man’s personality, because as said already, it becomes capable of passing on to the higher stage of evolution.
On the other hand, it is essential for a certain person to have knowledge of the fact that his personality is actually undergoing the process of development. Without it, one may be under self-deception regarding his own personality, as is the case with mystics. The personality in its perfect form is that of Allah Himself and the divine attributes described in the Quran are the different facets of that Supreme Personality. Leaving aside certain attributes which are specifically related to Allah’s personality, as for example, ‘ Being beyond the realm of time and space’, the rest of those described in the Quran are placed in the human personality in a potential or undeveloped form. As the human personality undergoes development, these potential attributes graudally assume a manifest form. Thus to check either the presence or absence of development of human personality, or to check the stage of its development, the attributes of Allah described in the Quran serve as an objective standard; and this acts as a deterrent to self-deception. On the other hand it serves as the basic aim, as well as the basic necessiety of belief in Allah. But as stated earlier, the development of human personality can take place only by leading a life consistent with the laws and Permanent Values which lie safely preserved in the pages of the Quran; which means to accept the sovereignty of Allah and to act accordingly. The entire creation of Allah is subservient to Him. The inanimate objects receive direct guidance through physical laws which are placed in their very substance. The animals receive direct guidance through instinct as well as physical laws. Man, however, is governed by two distinct sets of law; his physical body being controlled by the same physical laws and instincts as in the case of other animals but his personality is controlled indirectly by a set of laws received by through the messengers of Allah and which today lie safely inside the pages of the Quran. The entire organic and inorganic world, including the physical body of man are bound to obey the laws initiated by Allah for their existence.
But as regards human personality and the given to man for its development, man is bestowed with the faculty of freedom of choice. He can choose to follow that guidance or reject it. However, if he chooses to follow, it cause the development of his personality; and if he chooses to disobey, his personality disintegrates and remains undeveloped. The existence and development of human physical body can take place even if man is cut off from the society but the development of human personality can occur only through social living. That is why the Quran is against Monasticism:
…warahbaniyyatan ibtadaAAooha ma katabnaha AAalayhim… (57/27)
“ But the monasticism which they invented, we did not prescribe for them”.
The Quran ordains:
…wairkaAAoo maAAa alrrakiAAeena … (2/43)
“ Bow down before the divine laws, along with those who bow down”.
That is the programme prescribed by the Quran for the believers who are ordained further to live a life in company with the truthful:
…koonoo maAAa alssadiqeena (9/119)
“ Be with those who are true “.
According to the holy Quran, the condition laid down for admission in to ‘ Jannah’ ( a life of peace and plenty is to live in the company of those who are subservient to the divine laws:
Faodkhulee fee AAibadee Waodkhulee jannatee (89/29-30)
“And you enter the company of those who are subservient to me and you enter Jannah”.
Accordingly the Quran prescribes social laws for mankind. Those who believe in the concept of secularism say that the social laws should be framed by the human society itself. But the Quran says that such man-made laws are bound to create chaos and disruption amongst mankind and this is borne out by human history. The social laws, the Quran says, must arise from the same source from which the physical laws came into existence, the perfect order and beauty of which you can observe in the vast spaces of the universe. The social laws given to mankind now lie safely inside the Quran (15/9).
A section of the secularists admit that the physical world is the creation of God but they do not believe in the divine origin of social laws. Such people are described by the Quran as follows:
Qul limani al-ardu waman feeha in kuntum taAAlamoona. Sayaqooloona lillahi qul afala tathakkaroona. Qul man rabbu alssamawati alssabAAi warabbu alAAarshi alAAatheemi. Sayaqooloona lillahi qul afala tattaqoona. Qul man biyadihi malakootu kulli shay-in wahuwa yujeeru wala yujaru AAalayhi in kuntum taAAlamoona. Sayaqooloona lillahi qul faanna tusharoona (23/84-89)
“Say: ‘ To whom belongs the earth and all beings therein? (say) if you know’’. They will Say, ‘ To god, Say:’ Yet will you not receive admonition? Say: Who is the sustainer of the seven heavens and the Rabb with the supreme authority? They will say (‘They belong) to God’. Say: ‘ Then are you not afraid of going the wrong way? Say: ‘ Who it is in whose hands is the governance of all things—Who protects (all), but is not protected (of any)? (Say) if you know’ They will say, ‘it belongs to God’. Say: Then how are you deluded?”
The Quran emphasises again:
Wahuwa allathee fee alssama-i ilahun wafee al-ardi ilahun…( 43/84)
“ And it is He Who is the Sovereign in heaven and Sovereign on earth (to Whom subservience is due). I.e., in the physical world and in the human world”.
The belief in Allah means that one should submit to both set of laws, given by him to mankind, direct and indirect. If Allah is considered to be Sovereign in the physical world and not in the human affairs, it shall result in chaos all round. Thus it is said:
Law kana feehima alihatun illa Allahu lafasadata… (21/22)
“ If there were in the heavens and the earth other sovereigns besides Allah there would have been confusion and disruption in both”.
Not only that the Quran considers the application of man-made law, in human society, to be contrary to belief in allah, it goes a step further and says:
Afaraayta mani ittakhatha ilahahu hawahu waadallahu Allahu AAala AAilmin wakhatama AAala samAAihi waqalbihi wajaAAala AAala basarihi ghishawatan faman yahdeehi min baAAdi Allahi afala tathakkaroona (45/23)
“ Then you see such a one who takes as his sovereign his own vain desires? Allah has, knowing (him as such) left him astray and sealed his hearing and his understanding and laid cover over his sight. Who then will guide him after Allah has withdrawn guidance? Will you not then receive admonition?”.
Accordingly, such people who become subservient to their own vain desires, lose the capacity of using their faculties of seeing, hearing and thinking in the right direction. Thus inspite of their being knowledgeable people they lead themselves to a path of destruction, from which they cannot escape without coming back to the subservience of the divine laws.
Human sentiments — Before the revelation of the Quran to Muhammad (peace be upon him), Mysticism made deep inroads into the human society. Mystics believe that one can achieve the nearness of God after crushing his sentiments. This is against the teaching of the Quran. Human actions are based on emotions, without which man is like a piece of stone. The Quran ordains man to keep his sentiments under control of the divine guidance:
…waman adallu mimmani ittabaAAa hawahu bighayri hudan mina Allahi… (28/50)
“ And who is more astray than the one who follows his own lusts, devoid of guidance from Allah”.
At yet another place it is said:
Bali ittabaAAa allatheena thalamoo ahwaahum bighayri AAilmin faman yahdee man adalla Allahu wama lahum min nasireena (30/29)
“ Nay the wrong doers (merely) follow their own lusts. Being devoid of knowledge. But who will guide those whom Allah leaves astray? To them there will be no helpers.”
Thus the Quran does not prohibit the use of desires and sentiments. It rather advises man to make use of them but not without divine guidance and knowledge; because if they go astray they put themselves outside the pale of the knowledge of what is for their own good.
‘ RABB ‘
The next word in الحمد لله رب العالمين after الله is ربّ Rabubiyyat is one of the attributes or basic characteristics of Allah and it means – the provision of sustenance to an object from its initial stage to the stage of its final destination. One who provides this nourishment and sustenance to the inumerable creatures in the universe is called ‘ Rabb’ by the Quran.
Life on this earth evolved from unicellular organisms to multicellular organisms of complex nature. As soon as a new type evolves, it becomes a potential ancestor for many simultaneous descendent lines and each line becomes specially adapted in a particular way. The evolution thus forms the pattern of a branching tree. The Quran says:
WaAllahu anbatakum mina al-ardi nabatan (71/71)
“ Allah has raised you up in the form of a (Geneological) tree”.
It is said further that creatures in their evolutionary history have passed through different stages, each type of creatures remained temporarily in one particular stage and was then handed over to the next stage for further disposal and that Allah knows their nutritional needs at every stage which are met with according to his laws:
Wama min dabbatin fee al-ardi illa AAala Allahi rizquha wayaAAlamu mustaqarraha wamustawdaAAaha kullun fee kitabin mubeenin (11/6)
“ There is not a moving creature on the earth but its sustenance depends on Allah. He knows how long a creature shall stay temporarily in one stage and when it shall be handed over to the next stage ( and what type of nutrition they need at each particular stage). All this is in clear record.”
However, ‘ Rabubiyyat ‘ includes not only the provision or nourishment but also the provision of different patterns of development, safety and stability, along with the elimination of all that is surplus at different evolutionary stages of Allah’s creation, so as to bring about the realisation of their potentialities. Now let us quote here a few examples to illustrate the different patterns of nourishment amongst living organisms that evolved on the earth—
Life appeared on earth in the form of cells. The cells that exist today are composed of the same types of chemicals which constituted the first cells on the earth, billions of years ago i.e., water, minerals, adenosine phosphates, poly-saccharides, fats, proteins and nucleic acids. The early cells drew inorganic as well as organic matter directly from sea water, for their nourishment. This was a simple form of nutrition. There had been tremendous expansion of living mass from the first cells on the earth. It makes an interesting study from the Quranic point of view, how with the gradual disappearance of free molecular food from the oceans, the nutrition of a vast number of organisms that branched out from the first cells, could be maintained? This happened in the following ways:-
Parasitism—- With the disappearance of free molecular food from the oceans, organisms began to procure food from the bodies of living organisms. One cell could invade another cell for obtaining food. This type of procuring food is called parasitism. Even today viruses and bacteria get their food by parasitism.
Saprotrophism—— Here the organisms began to live on dead bodies of other organisms. Many types of bacteria adopted this method of obtaining food.
Holotrophism——It is the process of eating whole living cell. In parasitism the smaller cell eats the substance of the larger cell, while in holotrophism, the larger cell engulfs and eats the smaller cell.
It is evident from the above description that the above three methods of food gathering did not add anything to the total food stores on the earth. It was just one cell eating the other, dead or alive. Thus unless some new food sources had become available, life would have gradually ceased to exist on the earth such food sources did evolve within the cells and the cells started manufacturing foods themselves.
In early stages, the nutrients were produced by methane, ammonia and water, and energy was supplied by the sun and lightening in the clouds surrounding the early earth. This method of food production became inadequate at a later stage. As with the disappearance of the permanent clouds, lightening became rare and with the formation of CO2 screen in the earth’s atmosphere, high energy solar radiation became unavailable. Thus evolution of some new methods of manufacturing organic compounds became necessary. Water was still abundently available and in addition to methane and hydrogen cyanide, carbon dioxide was available directly within cells as source of carbon, this being the product of respiration. With water and carbon dioxide, cells could produce organic compounds provided a source of energy was available. ATP could spply such an energy, but this itself was an organic compound and its production depended on an external source of energy. This cells could continue to exist only if they had evolved methods of utilizing external sources of energy. This happened in two different ways:
Chemosynthesis – Early Monera and Protista especially certain types of bacteria started extracting energy from sulphur, iron and nitrogen compounds. They absorbed these compounds into their bodies and on account of certain reactions that took place, bonds were broken and bond energy became available for the synthesis of carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water. But the process had its limits as it depended on the availability of certain chemicals.
Photosynthesis—Another method in which materials and energy could be available in abundance came into existance. A huge store of energy was present in light rays of the sun. Only an energy – trapping substance was required within the cell. Such substance came to be evolved in the form the Chlorophyll. The process of manufacturing organic compounds by means of Chlorophyll and light rays came to be known as photosynthesis and is still used by the plant cells all over the world. It saved the living organisms from premature extinction.
We note that out of the five food procuring methods that came into existence, sooner or later, i.e. Parasitism, Saprotrophism, Holotrophism, Chemosynthesis and Photosynthesis, only the last two added to the total food supply on the earth. It appears that Monera adapted all methods of getting food except eating. Protista adapted photosynthesis as well as holotrophism (eating). Two different types of organisms evolved from Protista. One group specialized in photosynthesis and all the plants on earth evolved from this group. The other group specialised in holotrophism (eating) and at became animals.
The above discription of nutritional evolution illustrates a beautiful link in the chain of Allah’s Rabubiyat.
With the passage of time, cells became organized into complex multicellular organisms because at any level, a higher organization is functionally more efficient than the lower one. For instance non-aggregated cells require more energy and material for their individual survival than if the same number of cells were united to form a tissue. There are two reasons for it. Firstly because duplication of effort is avoided. For example a single cell is exposed to environments all round and thus has got to spend energy and materials to protect itself against the effects of environments from all sides. On the other hand, in the case of a compact aggregated tissue, only the cells at the periphery are in direct contact with the environments and they only take up protective functioning. Secondly in an aggregated tissue not only that a duplication of effort is avoided, there is also a continuity of effort. For example a unicellurlar organism has got to perform all the functions of respiration, digestion, excretion, locomotion and reproduction etc. The whole cell surface is involved, say in the case of feeding and locomotion. Thus it can perform only one function at a particular time, the others being temporarily suspended in the meantime. As reproduction is also the function of the same cell, it suspends both feeding and locomotion. In multicellular organisms, on the other hand, there is a division of labour. Every individual function is the responsibility of a particular group of cells. For example movement is the responsibility of the muscle cells, digestion is the function of the alimentary canal, secretion is the function of glands and so on. Thus each group of cells is specialized in a particular way and the provision of nutrition is taken up by the cells of the alimentary canal only.
In still higher forms of animals, there developed a division of labour so that the nutrition of some individuals became dependent on the others. A few individual organisms of the same kind make up a family. A number of families together make a herd or tribe. Next higher organization where the number organisms of same kind is very large and which occupy a given area is called a population. In some cases a population is a far more closely knit group. The unifying link being not only interbreeding but the individuals live together in an integrated manner so that each contributes in some special way to the welfare of all. Such special type of organization is called a Society. Societies are characteristics of animals, i.e insects and vertebrates. They are highly developed among termites and many ants, bees and wasps. Each member of an insect society is guided by an inherent instinct and is bound to follow the way shown by it. The Holy Quran calls it “ Wahi” (revelation). We may produce as an example the honey bee society. A honey bee society consists of three social ranks. Only one of them is a queen who is the mother of all the members of the colony; several hundreds are drones and the rest are all workers. The queen and the stingless drones are reproductive. The queen lays the eggs and the drones fertilize the new queens. The daily work and strife of the colony devolves upon the workers , who are sexually developed females in which reproductive system is vestigeal. They, therefore, do not lay eggs but spend their time carrying water, collecting nectar and pollen, secreting wax, building the combs, collecting food for all castes, attending the queen and rearing the young, and cleansing, airing and defending the hive. Thus division of labour have developed at this stage and the function of procurement of food and water devolves on one particular group but not all the individuals of the society.
Waawha rabbuka ila alnnahli ani ittakhithee mina aljibali buyootan wamina alshshajari wamimma yaAArishoona. Thumma kulee min kulli alththamarati faoslukee subula rabbiki thululan yakhruju min butooniha sharabun mukhtalifun alwanuhu feehi shifaon lilnnasi inna fee thalika laayatan liqawmin yatafakkaroona (16/68-69)
“ And thy ‘ Rubb ‘ placed in the bee His guidance to build its hives in hills and in trees and from where to control ( its operations). Then to eat of all kinds of fruits and obediently follow the path of thy Rabb. Then comes forth from their bellies a drink of varying hues, wherein is healing for mankind, Verily in this is a sign for those who think over it.
Let us describe here another remarkbale link in the chain of Allah’s Rabubiyyat. We know that fish and amphibia lay eggs inside the natural bodies of water. The eggs are in direct contact with water which is the source of their nourishment. There is no danger of drying up either. The eggs are thus without any protective shell. In reptiles and birds, on the other hand, the eggs needs protection against desiccation and physical shock. Hence it is protected by shell and amniotic fluid has developed as a shock absorber. As long as the embryo remains within a shell it is not capable of obtaining food from outside. Hence a big store of yolk withen the egg itself. The shell itself is a unique specimen of Allah’s creation. It allows air for respiration to pass through, yet the water is not allowed to evaporate. In mammals the egg become well protected inside the uterus. Thus the shell is eliminated. The nutrition and respiration are carried through the mother’s blood. Thus the quantity of yolk is insignificant, just to sustain the embryo during the period of its journey through the Fallopian tube and before it gets embedded in the uterine wall. At birth after the new born gets disconnected from the placenta, the milk food is ready in the mother’s breasts.
Of all the minerals of the planet earth, water is the most abundant one. Nearly three-fourth of the earth’s surface is covered with water and it is also contained in large amounts in the atmosphere and in the lithosphere. It is also the major component of living matter. The basic water cycle is quite familiar. Heat of the sun evaporates water which is thus transferred from hydrosphere to the atmosphere. The evaporated water cools and condenses when it reaches high altitudes. Clouds are formed and after precipitation as rain or snow, water is returned to the hydrosphere. This is the most massive process of any kind on the earth, consuming more energy and more material than any other. The rain water as we know comes into contact with gases and rocks and the process of erosion thus gradually turns fresh water into salt water. These two bodies of fresh water and salt water thus constantly move in a gigantic global cycle. They are free to intermingle and do intermingle and yet they are kept apart by the physical laws of heat and gravitation which serve as a barrier in between two types of water. This colossal phenomenon of the hydrological process and the barrier between two segments of hydrosphere is a glorious manifestation of Allah’s “ Rabubiyat “ but for this the life on the land could not exist. The Quran say:
Afaraaytumu almaa allathee tashraboona. Aantum anzaltumoohu mina almuzni am nahnu almunziloona Law nashao jaAAalnahu ojajan falawla tashkuroona.(56/68-70)
“ Do you not observe the water which you drink? Do you bring it down from the clouds or do we? If it were Our will, We could make it salty ( and bitter) then why do you not give thanks?”
It means that it was the divine plan not to allow salinity to accumulate in all parts of hydrosphere because in that case life on the land could not continue further.
When one ponders over the ways and means provided by Allah for the sustenance of His creation, he is bound to proclaim الحمد لله رب العالمين. That the manifestation of Allah’s attribute of ‘ Rabubiyyat’ is not confined to any one unit of animate or inanimate objects. It prevails all over the universe for which the word عالمين is used.
عالمـين — In الحمد لله رب العالمين, the word عالمين comes after the word ربّ The root of the word عالمين is ع ل م which mean ‘ to know’, to recognise. Thus عَاِلم means ‘ one who knows’: a knowledgeable person and عَاَلَم means a sign from which a certain thing could be know or recognised, as for instance a flag, or an insignia on the arm of a soldier which indicates that he belongs to so and so a unit. Allah’s personality is beyond human perception, but He can be recognised from His creation. The presence of the physical world indicate that there is a Creator behind it. The word عالمين is the plural of the word عَاَلَمThere are innumerable physical worlds but there is one Creator. Hence the word عالمين.
Allah’s creation did not stop at some particular point in the past. It continues increasingly. The Quran says:
…yazeedu fee alkhalqi ma yashao… (35/1)
“ He adds to creation according to the laws initiated by Him”.
That is why Allah is رب العلمين , the One Who sustain every componet of the innumerable physical worlds of His creation. The word عالمين might also mean ‘ the different nations of the world’. The Quran has also used this word in this sense. As for example, the Quran calls itself:
(12/1-4) ذكـر للعالمين “ message for all sections of humanity” or
(2/185) بصائر للناس “ clear evidence to mankind” or
Guide to mankind.
Similarly the Quran calls the Rasool (P.B.U.H): رحمت للعالمين “ The one who provided a pattern of living to mankind”.
Thus رب العالمين comes to mean the Cherisher and Sustainer of all the different types of creation in the universe and not of any one tribe, nation or species.
Alrrahmani alrraheemi (1/3)
“ His provision of sustenance to the universe is by process of slow, graudal and ascending evolution, interrupted off and on by spontaneous revolution
The root of the word رحمن ‘Rehman’ and رحيم ‘ Raheem ‘ is ر ح م. The word رحمت is also from the same root, and it stands for mean of nourishment manifest or hidden provided to a certain person or a thing , according to need. A mother’s uterus is called رحم مادر as it provides nourishment to a fetus. A fetus has got all the potentialities of a full fledged human being and its nourishment growth and development is provided free as a gift, in an atmosphere of perfect ease and harmony. This is an example of ‘ Rahmat’ provided by Allah. Thus Raheem means “ One who provides nourishment within a specified pattern”.
The question arises why two different words رحمن and رحيم have occurred in Quran? In most of the English translations, these two words have been translated as “ Merciful and Gracious”, but this does not signify the true import of these words. Arabic is scientific and methodical language. Arabic words arise from a root called ماده. The words that take origin from particular ماده belong to different groups formed on the basis of their vocal expression. Such groups are called اوزان ‘ Auzan ‘ ( singular وزن ‘ wazan’) , or ابواب ‘ Abwab’ (singular باب ‘ Bab, means door). Although the basic meaning of all the words that arise from a common root (ماده) is the same, yet the words that come under the heading of a particular ‘wazan’, have got a distinct characteristic which differs from the characteristic of the words which belong to the same root but to a different ‘wazan’. The words رحيم ‘ Raheem’ and رحمن ‘ Rahman’ arise from the same root ماده which is رح م but each of these two words belong to a separate ‘ wazan’. The word رحيم ‘ Raheem’ belongs to the ‘wazan’ فعيل and the word رحمن ‘ Rahman’ belongs to the ‘wazan’ فعلان. Any words that creates the sound or vocal expression of the word فعيل carries the concept of a happening which is slow and gradual. On the other hand any word which creates the vocal expression of the ‘wazan’فعلان carries the concept of a happening which is sudden and violent.
All the component parts of the universe have undergone evolution since its creation, which still continues. The Quran says:
Yudabbiru al-amra mina alssama-i ila al-ardi thumma yaAAruju ilayhi fee yawmin kana miqdaruhu alfa sanatin mimma taAAuddoona (32/5)
“ He plans His affairs from the highest seat of authority. When a plan is intended to be executed its starting point is made at the lowest level. Then it is raised up step by step to the highest level (passing through various evolutionary stages). It arises from one stage to another in a certain period which may be a thousand years of your reckoning’.
At still another place it is said fifty thousand years (70/4). As a matter of fact, the above figures ‘ one thousand’ or fifty thousands are not specific. They mean very long periods of time.
The evolution generally has been slow, smooth and gradual but off an on its course had been interrupted by sudden revolutions which gave it entirely a new shape, at each occasion. Keeping in view the above said phases of evolution, now let us elaborate by means of examples, the difference between the words رحيم ‘ Raheem’ and رحمن ‘Rahman’.
THE PROCESS OF EVOLUTION
Based on date obtained from radioactive and fossil clocks, geologists have constructed a geological table which indicates the age of successive earth layers and thus provides a calendar of the earth’s past history. The calendar consists of five successive main divisions known as Eras. The Quran, however, divides the evolutionary periods of earth, along with the heavenly bodies into سته ايام Six Eras. The Azoic Era ( i.e the Era before life began on the earth) is described by the Quran as يومين ‘ Two Eras ‘ which include the evolution of the earth as well as of heavenly bodies:
…..biallathee khalaqa al-arda fee yawmayni….. (41/9)
“ Who created the earth in two eras”
Faqadahunna sabAAa samawatin fee yawmayni… (41/12)
“ So He ‘ completed ’ them as a number of heavens in two eras.
Time Table of Evolution ِسِّتةِ اَيَّامـٍ
|Quranic Time Table||يَومَيِن||اَربَعَةِ اَيَّامـٍ|
|يوم الثالثة||يوم الرابعة||يوم الخامسة||يوم السادسة|
|Geologic Time Table||Azoic||Precam- brion||Paleozoic
|Periods of earth’s Evolution||3000
|1500 Million Years||300 Million Years||130 Million Years||75 Million Year.|
The point, that is being emphasised here, is that the plant and animal life that existed in each Era were entirely different from one another. After explaining the cause of difference between the pattern of life in each Era, we shall be able to explain the difference between رحيميت Raheemiyyat and رحمانيت Rahmaniyyat.
In يومين or the first Two Eras there was no life on earth.
In يوم الثالثة or Precambrion (Era III) only unicellular organisms existed.
In يوم الرابعة or Ancient life (Era IV) Muticellular organisms like green Algae, sponges, snail and jawless fish, appeared. Later very big trees like giant club moss and amongst animals bony fish, sharks, amphibia, insects, spiders etc. became evolved.
In يوم الخامسة or Middle life (Era V), flowering plants and huge big animals like pterosaurs, lcthyosaurs and Dynosaurs came in to being, some of them being 87½ feet in lenght and 35 tons in weight.
In يوم السادسة or Modern life (Era VI), entirely different types of animal and plants came in-to being such as birds, Mammals (including man) and all other species of plants and animals that we see around us today.
The pattern of life in the fourth fifth and sixth Eras are entirely different from one another, except a few species of insects etc. Those present in ancient life became extinct in Middle life; and those present in Middle life became extinct in Modern life. Why it so happened? Because the course of evolution has not been smooth an uniterrupted. Major disturbances in the earth’s crust, caused important changes in geography and climate which in turn affected or influenced evolution and distribution of plant life and consequently the animal life. These major disturbances separate the four Eras of geological history described above, which together are called اربعة ايام or (Four eras). The rocks formed as the result of these disturbances are grouped together in different systems. Thus the evidence deduced from rocks and fossils reveals not only the general pattern of evolution in plant and animal life but also the development of world’s oceans, continents, mountain ranges and rivers, and the consequent changes in climates. The transition from the Ancient life (Era IV) to Middle Life (Era V) dates the Appalachian revolution during which the mountain ranges of that period were built. By now these mountain are already reduced by erosion. Similarly the transition from Middle life (Era V) to Modern Life (Era VI) was marked by Larmide revolution which produced the high mountain ranges of today, the Himalayas, the Rockies, the Andes and the Alps.
These phenomena of the appearance of new mountain ranges resulting in changes of climates, and changes in the distribution of water and the conditions of landscape, caused the appearance of new plant and animal life which met their needs from the changed environments and assumed new shapes and forms. This has been beautifully explained by the Quran as follows:-
WajaAAala feeha rawasiya min fawqiha wabaraka feeha waqaddara feeha aqwataha fee arbaAAati ayyamin sawaan lilssa-ileena (41/10)
“ He set on the (earth) mountains standing firm, high above it and bestowed self-perpetuation (preservation stability, growth, development and manifestation) on the earth and measured therein all things to give them nourishment in due proportion,اربعة ايام four Eras, in accordance with the needs of those who seek sustenance.” *
The above description of the evolutionary process (which still continues) has simply clarified the point that the course of earth’s evolution which has been smooth.
* (a) The above phenomena are fully explained and well illustrated in my books “ Phenomena of nature and the Quran” and “ The Heavens, the Earth and the Quran”. The latter book also explains why the Azoic Era (Era without life) is called (Two Eras) by the Quran.
(b) A false notion exist amongst certain people that biological evolution in man has stopped and they question why? The fact is that biological evolution in man still continues. Human evolution has only been super added to it. Chemical evolution as we know continued for millions of years (and still continues) till such compounds came in to being in which the appearance of life became possible. the biological evolution thus became super-added to Chemical evolution. Similarly biological evolution continued for millions of years before human evolution (with the appearance of self or personality in man) became super-added to it. The biological evolution of man still continues as evidenced by the presence of vestigeal organs in human body.
from the last 4500 million years, became interrupted off and on by revolutions which made sudden changes, in the life created and sustained by ‘ Rabb ‘. The smooth evolution and provision of sustenance to the created objects by means, continuous and measured according to needs, is the manifestation of Allah’s ‘Reheemiyyat’; on the other hand sudden changes, off an on, in the pattern of life is the manifestation of Allah’s ‘ Rahmaniyyat’.
The creation of man is the manifestation of Allah’s Reheemiyat as well as Rahmaniyyat. The origin of man has been a topic of great interest for a long time. Primitive people had myths that implied human origin from non-living materials by acts of supernatural forces. But the structure and function of the human body, its embryonic development, and historic, prehistoric and fossil records, all indicate that modern man evolved through the operation of the same forces which produced all other organisms. Man belongs to Phylum Chordata, Subphylum Vertebrata, Class Mammalia, Order Primate, Super—family Hominoid, Family Hominid, Genus Homo, and Species Homo Sapians.
Man, however, became differentiated from the other animal by certain characteristic features which are of two types (1) Those that evolved gradually through the operation of the same forces, as stated above, which brought about the structure and functions of all other animals to their modern shape, (2) Those that appeared suddenly without any link with the early stages of his development.
The first type of the characteristic features in man are as follows:– Flatter and more vertical face; reduced eye brow ridges: hairs long and of continuous growth on the head, but sparce and short on body: hands more generalised with opposable thumb; legs 30% longer than the arms; buttocks well developed, resulting in erect posture; brain very much larger with far greater functional ability; highly developed cerebrum with memory, intellect and judgement far too advanced. He has a unique functional ability to make tools which enabled him to exploit and finally dominate nature. His range of emotions is great. These characteristic features of man developed gradually under the influence of Allah’s ‘ Raheemiyyat’.
The second type of characteristic feature of man appeared without any link with the early evolutionary stages and these are as follows:-
- The first one is the possession of ‘ Ruh ‘ or Divine Energy’:
Allathee ahsana kulla shay-in khalaqahu wabadaa khalqa al-insani min teenin. Thumma sawwahu wanafakha feehi min roohihi wajaAAala lakumu alssamAAa waal-absara waal-af-idata qaleelan ma tashkuroona (32/7-9)
“ It is He who has made all that is created in due proportion. And initiated the creation of man from the inorganic matter of the earth and made his progency from an extract of the nature of a despicable fluid. Then He fashioned him in due proportion and breathed in to him his ‘Ruh ‘ and gave you the faculties of hearing, sight and mind. But very few of you make the right use of these faculties.”
The first part of this verse refers to the pre-human stage of creation of life from inorganic matter, the second part refers to the pattern of reproduction in viviparous animals. These stages of evolution appeared under the influence of Allah’s ‘Raheemiyyat’. The appearance of ‘ Ruh ‘ at the human stage was, however, the result of Allah’s attribute of ‘ Rahamniyyat’.
In human individuals the ‘Ruh’ or divine energy appears in a specific form, known as ‘Nafs’ in the Quranic terminology. This is the other name for Human personality, described earlier. From this stage, man developed the faculty of freedom of choice which is absent in all other animals and thus entered a new phase of evolution. The first change over 2000 million years ago, super-added biological to chemical evolution and laid open a vast field of opportunity for matter to rearrange itself in so many different ways. On the other hand the present change over has supper–added human to biological evolution and has created new possibilities. At this stage of evolution man is described as خلقا آخر
….thumma ansha/nahu khalqan akhara…. (23/14)
“Then We brought Him forward as entirely a new and distinguished creation:”
- The other feature that distinguishes man from lower animals is the faculty of speech:
Khalaqa al-insana. AAallamahu albayana (55/3-4)
“He created man. He taught him speech.”
Speech is the use of symbols to express thoughts and receive thoughts of others. This faculty also appeared in man without any link with the prehuman evolution and is thus the manifestation of Allah’s attribute of ‘ Rahmaniyyat’. From here onwards human ideas began to flow from one man to the other, and from one generation to the other, thus causing the accumulation of knowledge through successive generations. The latter phenomenon taken place not through genes but through written speech. As human evolution required a much closer and broader link among men inhabiting different parts of the globe at one time and between men living in different periods of time, the link, between them became possible through the permanent records of speech, because the spoken words when uttered are gone for ever, like the breath which carries them. The Quran says:
Allathee AAallama bialqalami AAallama al-insana ma lam yaAAlam (96/4-5)
“He who taught (the use of ) pen. Taught man what he knew not.”
As the divine message was to spread, far and wide, through time and space and the message was not carried to human beings individually, written speech formed the nucleus for the spread of human knowledge.
GUIDANCE TO MANKIND
Allah is رب العالمين the nourisher and sustainer of the entire universe. He guides growth, development, and evolution of each individual component of the universe. The physical world or the inanimate objects get direct guidance through physical laws which are ingrained in their very substance. Animals also get direct guidance through physical laws as well as instincts, but a change occured in the case of man. His body gets direct guidance as in the case of other animals but his Self or personality get indirect guidance, by means of laws revealed to the messengers of Allah. This change, in the mode of guidance from Allah, occurred under the manifestation of Allah’s attribute of ‘Rahmaniyyat’. But why this sudden change at the human level? That is because human evolution took entirely a different turn. It is in fact the evolution of human Self. The development of human self takes place through the development in it, of divine attributes. This, in turn, can take place only through social living. The more you act for the benefit of humanity, within the pattern prescribed by the divine laws, the more you can acquire the attirbutes of Allah within your ‘ selves’. Thus the development and evolution of human Self’ being not an individual but an organisational affairs, required a central control, in order to achieve a coordinated functioning of the society. This role could only be taken up by the messengers of Allah. Hence a different way of providing guidance at the human level. This indicate how the manifestations of the attributes of ‘ Raheemiyyat’ and ‘Rahmaniyyat’ change alternatively under the divine plans, accroding to needs.
رحمت—The Quran itself is called رحمت ‘Rahmat’
Wanunazzilu mina alqur-ani ma huwa shifaon warahmatun lilmu/mineena… (17/82)
“ We sent down (stage by stage) in the Quran that which is a healing (to the injuries inflicted by man on his ‘ Self ‘ by his own misdeeds and a رحمت (provision of nourishment ) to those who believe”.
As stated already the nourishment of human ‘ Self’ takes place by obedience to the laws and Permanent Values provided by revelation. When it is said :
…kataba rabbukum AAala nafsihi alrrahmata …(6/54)
‘ Your Rabb has inscribed for Himself رحمة the provision of nourishment “.
‘ Rahmat’ includes both the nourishment of body as well as of hum ‘ self ’.
رحم ‘ Mercy’ – The attributes of ‘ Rahimiyyat’ in Allah’s Personality also carries the concept of ‘ mercy’. But the Quranic concept of mercy and the one prevalent in the world especially among Christians, are two widely different things. The Christian concept of ‘mercy’ spread amongst the Muslims through Mysticism.. Christian believe that every human child is born on this earth as a sinner, on account of the sins Committed by Adam and Eve. Consequently no human being is fit for entry in paradise. In order to save humanity from this punishment Allah sent His only son Jesus Christ on this earth, so as to enable his opponents to crucify him. The Christ’s blood thus became the compensation (Kaffarah ((كفارة ) for human sins. Thus according to the Christian belief, human salvation does not depend on human deeds, it rather depends on the ‘mercy’ of god; and only those people are fit for this mercy who believe in the (Kaffarah) or compensation of human sins by the Christ’s blood. Accordingly the Christian slogan is “ God is mercy”.
The Quranic concept of ‘mercy ‘ however is different. The entire edifice of Quranic teachings is based on the law of Requital, which means that this is a world of cause and effect. Every human action good or bad is repaid. A poison shall kill a man and not do otherwise. The shall burn an object exposed to it and not do otherwise. The fire shall burn an object exposed to it and not do otherwise. The law of Requital applies to all human actions, physical or social. It forms the basis of عدل or organization of justice in all spheres of life. On the other hand as we have said already, the word “’ Raheemiyyat ‘ also carries the concept of mercy. Let us explain these two incompatibilities by means of an example:- Supposing a man burns his finger resulting in acute pain. This the result of a cause and its effect, and is thus based on ‘ Justice ‘. Here mercy does not come into play. But, on the other hand, the One who initiated the law that fire shall burn, has also bestowed upon man the intellect to prepare medicines for wound healing and for the ameleoration of pain. This is the manifestation of رحم ‘Raham’ which accomodates both ‘mercy’ as well as ‘Justice’ or the rule of law.
In human life this concept is called توبه ‘ Tauba ’ in Quranic terminology. Let us clarify this by means of another exmple – A certain person proceeded on a journey, the object beign to reach the point A. On a cross road which is situated on the road to point A, he lost his way and took a turn to a wrong road. After he travelled for a certain distance, some body pointed out to him that he is on the wrong track. On realising his mistake he halts, turns back and again reaches the cross road where he took the wrong turn; and from then onwards proceeds on the right path leading to point A. This turning back to the cross road is called توبه ‘ Tauba ’ and further proceeding on the right track is call اعمـال صالحه ‘ good deeds’ ( or deeds consistent with the divine guidance). Thus توبه compensates for the misdeeds and the laws prescribed by Allah for the compensation of the human misdeeds, are by way of mercy from Allah. The concept of توبهdoes not exist amongst jews, Christian or Hindus etc.
The Quran say
Qul ya AAibadiya allatheena asrafoo AAala anfusihim la taqnatoo min rahmati Allahi inna Allaha yaghfiru alththunooba jameeAAan innahu huwa alghafooru alrraheemu. Waaneeboo ila rabbikum waaslimoo lahu min qabli an ya/tiyakumu alAAathabu thumma la tunsaroona (39/53-54)
“ Say: O my servants who have transgressed against their Selves, despair not of the رحمت of Allah, for the untoward consequences of the deeds inconsistence with the laws of Allah can be entirely erased by deeds consistent with His laws. An obedience to His laws makes good the loss produced by misdeeds, and it provides means of self construction, as well as protection against the forces of disruption. Thus you turn towards the laws of your ‘ Rabb ‘ and submit to them, before the period of respite is exhausted after which you shall not be helped”.
The details given above are described in a nutshell:
When it is said:
… inna alhasanati yuthhibna alssayyi-ati….
“ For, those things that are even remove those that are uneven”.
It means that all your constructive works remove the effects of those that are destructive. The more constructive work you do, the more the effects of misdeeds are erased. That is how the رحم mercy of Allah comes in to play and how it forms a part of Allah’s “Raheemiyyat’.
Maliki yawmi alddeeni (1/4)
“His law of requital controls the results of human deeds in this world and in the hereafter.”
مالك The word مالك root م ل ك (with all the three short vowels – Fatiha َI, Kasra Iِ and Dhamma ُI).
The basic concepts of this root are -(1) To dominate (2) Authority (3) A stout foundation on which a certain thing rests (4) Means to set right and bring to perfection, a certain thing or issue. A cementing force.
In the sense of sovereignty, when the word is used in the case of man, it means to put other people under the bond of slavery. But when the same word is used for Allah, the concept of high handedness and usurpation of other people’s rights does not come in, because inspite of being all powerful, Allah Himself is not oppressive. For example it is said :
Alam taAAlam anna Allaha lahu mulku alssamawati waal-ardi wama lakum min dooni Allahi min waliyyin wala naseerin (2/107)
“Know you not that to Allah belongs the dominion of the heaven and the earth? And besides Him you have neither patron nor helper.”
This verse, no doubt, refers to the sovereignty of Allah, but it also contains the concept of this sovereignty being a cementing force and a source of nourishment and development. Here it is said that if people disobey divine laws and do not follow the way of life prescribed by Allah, they can not find the remedy of their ailments elsewhere. Thus while interpreting the words with the root (م ل ك), We have got to keep in view the above said variations in their meaning. Hence the word مالك)) in the verse (1/4) (مالك يوم الدين) means Sovereign.
يوم – The word is often interpreted as ‘day’ (Consisting of 24 hours). Although the word is used in Arabic language in the above sense as well, yet it has got a much wider concept. It means an Era. An era starts with a particular event. For example, Christian Era. Started with the birth of Christ, or Muslim Era which started with the ‘Hijrat’ of Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) FROM Mecca, or Mezozoic Era which started with the Appalachian Revolution.
The Quran says:
… biallathee khalaqa al-arda fee yawmayni … (41/9)
“Who created the earth in يومين two eras.”
A yaum may be one thousand years of your reckoning (32/5) or it may be of fifty thousand years (70/40) which means that the word ‘yaum’ represents a very very long period of time.
الدين -It is a comprehensive term and is the essence of Quranic teachings. It is a center around which all the injunctions, laws, fundamental principles and permanent values revolve and bring in the prominence the ultimate objective. Its true concept brings in to focus the meaning of the world Islam.
The word ‘Din’ has very wide meaning. On the one hand, it means Sovereignty; reins of power; state; constitution; law and order; judgement sound result; reward and punishment; cause and its effect. On the other hand it means to be subservient; to obey; to bow down. When it attributed both to Allah and to man, it means the obedience to the laws of Allah. A number of Quranic verses can be quoted in support of the above said concepts. We quote here a comprehensive one.
The Quran says:
Afaghayra deeni Allahi yabghoona walahu aslama man fee alssamawati waal-ardi tawAAan wakarhan wa-ilayhi yurjaAAoona (3/83)
“Do they seek for other than the ‘Din’ of Allah while all creatures in the heavens and the earth bow down to his laws willingly or unwillingly and (ultimately) all come back to it”
It means that Allah is the Sovereign of the universe. The entire creation is bound by the splints of His laws. The inanimate objects submit to Him by means of the physical laws which are ingrained in their very substance. They thus submit to the divine command willingly. As regard animals they receive the divine guidance by means of instincts. They also can not deviate from the way of life given to them by the Creator and thus submit to the divine laws willingly. However, the case is different with man. Human physical body like all other creatures, is controlled by physical laws and instincts and thus submits to the divine command willingly. But human personality is controlled by another set of laws which were given to mankind through the messengers of Allah.
This is followed by saying:
Waman yabtaghi ghayra al-islami deenan falan yuqbala minhu wahuwa fee al-akhirati mina alkhasireena (3/85)
“If any one follows a way of life other than Islam (i.e. submission to the laws of Allah) never will it he accepted of him; (He may gain the pomp and glory of the present) but he shall be the loser in the end.”
Accordingly, ‘Din’ is the way of life consistent with the divine laws. But this can be achieved through an organisation where the central command becomes an instrument to enforce these laws. Such and organisation comes into being, as the result of belief in Allah and the deeds consistent with the laws revealed by Him in other words, the organisation of ‘Din’ can not be established without having an independent State. The Quran says:
WaAAada Allahu allatheena amanoo minkum waAAamiloo alssalihati layastakhlifannahum fee al-ardi kama istakhlafa allatheena min qablihim … (55/24).
“Allah has promised those amongst you who work deeds consistent with the divine laws that He will, of surety grant them in the land succession (of power) as He granted it to those before them.”
What is the object of this succession of power, has been explained in the later part of the same verse:
… walayumakkinanna lahum deenahumu allathee irtada lahum walayubaddilannahum min baAAdi khawfihim amnan … (24/55).
“That they will establish in authority their ‘Din’ the one which He has chosen for them: and that the will change (their state) after the fear in which they (lived) to one of security and peace.”
It means that the succession of power in the land is only the means to establish the organisation of Din, so that believers may be able to live a life of peace and security. This peace and security, on the other hand, is not an end by itself. Its objective is explained in the next part of the same verse
…yaAAbudoonanee la yushrikoona bee shay-an … (24/55)
“That they will bow down before My laws (only) and not associate aught with My Sovereignty”
Again this is followed by saying :
… waman kafara baAAda thalika faola-ika humu alfasiqoona (24/55)
“If any rejects it, after this they are rebellious (they break the pattern in which the organisation of Din flourishes).”
الدين -has two prominent aspects and those are (1) اقامت صلوة and (2) آيتاي زكوة thus the verse 24/55) described above is followed by saying:
Waaqeemoo alssalata waatoo alzzakata waateeAAoo alrrasoola laAAallakum turhamoona (24/56)
“So establish ‘Salat’ (the way of life consistent with the divine laws) and provide ‘Zakat’ (provision of nourishment to individual human beings) and obey the Rasool, so that you may undergo development, with the specified pattern.”
Thus the object of holding the reins of power is the establishment of the organisation of ‘Din,’ so that the believers may be able to give a practical shape to the institutions of ‘Salat’ and ‘Zakat’, as it was practiced by the Rasool (P.B.U.H.) was the first head of and Islamic State. The obedience to the central authority thus became the pivotal point in the establishment of ‘Din’ which in fact was the obedience to the divine laws. However, this organisation of Din was not meant to remain confined to the life time of the Rasool (P.B.U.H.) but to continue after his death. The Quran explains this point by saying
Wama muhammadun illa rasoolun qad khalat min qablihi alrrusulu afa-in mata aw qutila inqalabtum AAala aAAqabikum waman yanqalib AAala AAaqibayhi falan yadurra Allaha shay-an wasayajzee Allahu alshshakireena (3/144).
“Muhammad is no more than a messenger of Allah: many were the messengers that passed away before him: if he dies or is slain, will you then turn back on you heels? If any does turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah. But (Allah on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who keep steadfast on the way shown by divine guidance.”
At yet another place it is said:
Allatheena in makkannahum fee al-ardi aqamoo alssalata waatawoo alzzakata waamaroo bialmaAAroofi wanahaw AAani almunkari walillahi AAaqibatu al-omoori (22/41).
“They are those who if we establish them in the land, establish the way of life consistent with the divine laws, and provide nourishment to individuals, enjoin the right and forbid wrong: With Allah rests the end and decision of (all) affairs,”
It means that the social organisation of Din shall make the law of the country, to enjoin all acts consistent with the divine laws and to forbid all acts that go against them. This has amply clarified the point that in the organisation of Din, Allah is the Supreme Authority and that all affairs shall be finally decided under the laws revealed by Him. Thus it is said:
… ini alhukmu illa lillahi… (12/40)
“The command is for none else than Allah.”
It is further declared that those who do not decide their affairs according to the divine laws, are non-believers:
… waman lam yahkum bima anzala Allahu faola-ika humu alkafiroona (5/44)
“Those who do not judge according to the book of Allah, they are non believers
The Rasool (P.B.U.H.) himself was ordained.
… faohkum baynahum bima anzala Allahu … (5/48)
“O Rasool! So judge between them according to what Allah has revealed.”
What has been stated above has clarified the verse (1:4) (مالك يوم الدين) i.e., it is period of time, in which the organisation of Din shall be established, The Quran puts a question:
Wama adraka ma yawmu alddeeni (82/17)
“And what will explain to you, what is ‘Yaumid-Din’
After this Quran itself, explains the most prominent and basic feature of the period in which ‘Din’ gets established:
Yawma la tamliku nafsun linafsin shay-an waal-amru yawma-ithin lillahi (82/19)
“The period of time is which no human being shall have power over any other human being, for the command in that period shall be (wholly) with Allah.”
It means that all types of exploitation of man by man shall end during that period, whether political, intellectual or economic, because human affairs shall be subjected to divine laws. There shall be no subservience of one set of people to the other.
liyawmin la rayba feehi wawuffiyat kullu nafsin ma kasabat wahum la yuthlamoona (3/25)
“In this period of time in which there is no doubt, each person shall be paid out just what he has earned, without any injustice.”
At yet another place it is said:
… fala yakhafu thulman wala hadman (20/112)
“Will have no fear of harm, nor of any curtailment (of what is his due).”
Opposition to الدين or the rule of divine laws- As stated above, in the organisation of ‘Din’ there shall be no room for exploiters. The exploiters, who have opposed الدين brought about by the messengers of Allah in all ages, belong to three different categories, which are as follow:
- The Rulers whose rule may be of any type, i.e., kingship, dictatorship or modern democracy..
- The Capitalists, who keep the working classes subservient to themselves.
- Religious priests who exploit the sentiments of the people.
These there groups of exploiters have always, opposed the establishment of Din brought about by the messengers of Allah; and if at all it came in to existence somewhere, they tried to demolish it. These three groups have always been in league with each other. Falsehood can not prosper on its own merit, until it presents itself in the disguise of truth. Had these opponents openly opposed the ‘Din’ prescribed by divine guidance, no body would have followed the. Thus they skillfully adopted a different technique. They preserved the nomenculture of ‘Din’ but changed its concepts. They did not disturb the practical details and outward appearance of the basic pillars of Din but made them lifeless by extracting and destroying its essence. After doing so, the religious exploiters kept the religious affairs under their own control and made the political exploiters the custodians of worldly affairs, thus dividing the ‘Din’ prescribed by Allah in to two water-tight compartments of ‘Church’ and ‘State’. This happened not only with’ Din’ brought about successively by the previous messengers of Allah, but Islam also met the same fate. After the first four Caliphs, kingship made its appearance and simultaneously priesthood came into being, thus bifurcating the ‘Din’ established by Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) and practiced by the first four Caliphs. The part which came under the custody of priests came to be known as ‘religion’ instead of ‘Din’. Where ‘religion’ exists the state is always run on secular lines. This mutilated shape of Islam exists up to the present day, and out priests openly declare that you do not need an independent state for the establishment of Din, because Prayers in congregation, Fasting, Haj and Zakat are allowed to be practiced under the rule of any secular form of Government. Moreover, as they say, the sovereignty of Allah in human affairs concerns the lifer hereafter. Accordingly the words (مالك يوم الدين) are translated as “Ruler of the day of Judgement.” And as they say it has got nothing to doe with the present world.
This is how the ‘Din’ of Islam changed into ‘Religion’. At the time of the revelation of Quran, only ‘religions’ existed all over the world; ‘Din’ or the rule of divine laws existed now-where. The same state of affairs exists now in states ruled by Muslims. The difficulty with other religions is that neither of them, now possess the revealed books brought to them by the messengers of Allah, respectively. Thus it is not possible for them to again change their religions into ‘Din’. On the other hand, Muslims have got the Quran with them, lying safely in its original form. Thus is not impossible for them to come back to the ‘Din’ prescribed for them by their ‘Rabb’. Any Muslim state that decides to enforce the rule of Quranic laws can bring about the establishment of Din. However when we say (يوم الدين), it comprises not only that period of rule of the divine laws which relates to the present world but also that which is related to the life hereafter; because according to the holy Quran, life is a continuous process and the future of man takes shape on the basis of his deeds in the present world. Accordingly the divine rule prevails in this world as well as in the Hereafter.
As stated earlier, in ‘Religion’ the terms and outward appearance of ‘Din’ are preserved but its concepts are changed. The next chapter deals with its details.
Iyyaka naAAbudu wa-iyyaka nastaAAeenu (1/5)
“We bow down to your laws and seek your help in shaping our lives within your prescribed pattern.”
اياك نعبد (Iyyaka naAAbudu) A believer after he realises the true concepts of the words ‘Hamd’ ‘Rabb, Rahman’, ‘Rahim’ and ‘Malik’ spontaneously proclaims اياك نعبد “We bow down only before your laws.” The word نعبد encircles the entire organisation of ‘Din’. The words اياك نعبد are often translated as – “To thee we worship”. It is a wrong translation which changes the concept of ‘Din’ in to ‘Religion’ which is the other name for the private relationship between a worshipper and his object of worship.
عبادت root ع ب د It means slavery or subservience. When Pharaoh called Moses ungrateful and reproached his with all the favours which he had received from the Egyptians;
Moses said in reply what favours?:
Watilka niAAmatun tamunnuha AAalayya an AAabbadta banee isra-eela (26/22)
“And this is the favour which you reproach me that عبدت you have enslaved the children of Israel?”
When Moses and Aaron inspired by Allah’s authority invited Pharaoh and his chiefs to ‘belief in Allah?, he behaved insolently and said:
Faqaloo anu/minu libasharayni mithlina waqawmuhuma lana Aaabidoona (23/47)
“Shall we believe in two men like ourselves? And their people are عبدون subject to us.”
The above verses and so many other like them, clarify the meaning of the word عبديت ‘Abdiyyat’ i.e. subservience to Allah. In chapter 18 the words عبديت Abdiyyat and محكوميت’Mahkoomiyyat’ (slavery) have occurred as synonymous terms:
…wala yushriku fee hukmihi ahadan (18/26)
“Nor does He share his command with any person whatsoever.”
Again it is said:
… wala yushrik biAAibadati rabbihi ahadan (18/110)
“And in the subservience of Allah (بعبادته) admit no body as partner.”
Joseph the messenger of Allah said to his companions.
… ini alhukmu illa lillahi amara alla taAAbudoo illa iyyahu thalika alddeenu alqayyimu… (12/40)
“The command ( حكم ) is for none but Allah: He has commanded you that (تعبدو الااياه) that you become subservient to none but Him; That is ‘Din’ which is stable.”
It is thus amply clear that عبادت ‘Ibadat’ of Allah means subservience of Allah or obedience to His laws: and that is دين قيم the stable way of life on which you can stand upon for the provision all your necessities. In other words, the development of your potentialities within the pattern provided by the divine laws and make use of them for the benefit of mankind is ‘Din’.
However, there is another aspect of the word عبديت. In Arabic language, the تعبيد word means “to harness” a camel or a horse i.e. to train the animal in such a way that he may be able to use his strength and capabilities according to certain rules and regulations. Man is bestowed with so many capabilities. If he uses them freely subject to his own sentiments and without any bindings, rules or regulations, he is bound to create lawlessness and destruction. But if one uses the same capabilities within the boundary line laid down by the divine laws, it promotes not only the nourishment of humanity but also the nourishment of the personality of that individual himself. Let us recall the verse (24/55) quoted earlier: “Allah has promised to those amongst you who believe and work deeds consistent with the divine laws that He will of surety grant them in the land, inheritance (or power) as he granted it to those before them; that he will establish in authority their دين ‘Din’, the one which He has chosen for them and that He will change (lived) to one of security and peace.” This is followed by saying : يعبدونى ‘The will he subservient to me (alone) and not associate aught with me.”
This has made it abundantly clear that عبوديت or subservience to Allah can only be accomplished if the believers are in power and have an independent State of their own, where they can lead a life consistent with the divine laws. An independent State is not required for the purpose of worship which can be carried out even under the rule of non-believers. Before the Quran was revealed to Muhammad (P.B.U.H.); the concept and practice of ‘Din’ were no where to be seen in any part of the world, but ‘Religion’ prevailed every where. As explained already, there is concept of ‘worship’ which is common and not that of subservience to the laws of Allah. Thus the Arabic speaking non-believers began to translate the word (عبادت) into worship’. Therefore, in places where the word (عبادت) occurd in the Quran, in relation to non-believers, it shall mean ‘worship’ ad where it is used in relation to those who believe in the Quranic concept of Allah, it shall mean, ‘subservience to Allah by the believers and the Sovereignty of Allah.” The Quran has amply made it clear that it is in fitness with man’s creation not to bow down before anything except the divine laws:
Wama khalaqtu aljinna waal-insa illa liyaAAbudooni (51/56)
“I have created men, civilised and uncivilised, only to become subservient to Me.”
It is a grand proclamation of independence and freedom of man, a freedom from the subservience of all except Allah. But by subservience to the laws of Allah, you do not do anything for the benefit of Allah, in fact it is for your own benefit. ‘ Hurriyyat’ or freedom and ‘Istaghna’ or independence are the two attributes of Allah’s personality and thus the development of these attributes in man, means the growth and nourishment of his own personality. This is illustrated in the later part of the verse (1/4) اياك نستعين
اياك نستعين “Is usually translated as ” And thine aid we seek.”
There are so many other words in Arabic language which are equivalent to the word ‘aid’ in English, but the selection of words in the Quranic text is unique. It brings into focus, not only the meaning of the particular verse in which it is placed, but it also reflects the Quranic teachings as a whole. Now let us explain the word نستعين.
استعان Istaan, root ع و ن means as animal in the height of its youthfulness, with fully developed and well balanced capabilities. Thus استعان means, one’s whish for the full development and balancing of his personality and to seek some body’s help for this purpose. Allah Himself is called مستعان “one whose help should be sought”.
Accordingly اياك نعبد واياك نستعين means we use all our capabilities according to your laws and injunctions and we seek your help for the nourishment and balancing of our personalities, which purpose can be achieved by your guidance only. (We should neither be محكوم slave of any one, nor محتاج dependent).
On realising that Allah is our ‘Rabb’, He is ‘Raheem’ ‘Rahman’ and ‘Malik-e Yaumid- Din’ and also on realising our short comings and His all sufficient power, we at once bow down and pray for His help, because it is He only who can help us. Any human action is preceeded by an idea which strikes one’s mind. The more acute is the wish to do a certain thing, the more efforts we make for its achievement. Every wish of a believer must be in consonance with the laws and Permanent Values given by Allah. That is why it is said:
Wama tashaoona illa an yashaa Allahu … (76/30)
“But you should not wish except what Allah wishes.”
Allah wisdom comprehends the good of all.
However, it does not follow that as soon as a man prays before Allah, his needs must get fulfilled immediately. To achieve the result of his Prayers, one has got t o act according to the programme laid down by Him.
Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo istaAAeenoo bialssabri waalssalati inna Allaha maAAa alssabireena (2/153)
“O You who believe! Seek help with patient perseverence and ‘Salat’ for Allah is with those who patiently persevere.”
This is followed by saying; “Be sure We shall test you with some fear and hunger, some loss in goods and life, or the fruits (of your toil) but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere (2/155)
The words نعبد and نستعين are in plural form and so is the case with the prayers of the believers. It indicates that believers can achieve their objectives, laid down before them by divine guidance, only through collective efforts and mutual cooperation:
wataAAawanoo AAala albirri waalttaqwa wala taAAawanoo AAala al-ithmi waalAAudwani (5/2)
“You cooperate with one another in matters of broadmindedness and matters consistent with the divine laws, and do not cooperate in matters of sin and enmity.”
The word اثم is usually translated as ‘sin’, but it actually means acts which produce debility and prostration in your personality.
It can be concluded from the above that you cannot seek Allah’s help while sitting in seclusion, as the mystics do.
As stated earlier, a human action starts with the ides that strikes one’s mind. That is followed by making up him mind to do it practically. Supposing we make up our mind to reach a certain place. In order to reach the destination we must set our foot on the right track that leads to it. On the other hand, if we proceed on a wrong track, it shall be a waster of time and energy; and not only that we shall not reach the destined place, we shall be gradually drifting away from it. Thus when we seek the help of Allah to reach our destined place by proclaiming اياك نستعين, we wish that He may lead us to the right path. Our wish thus comes to our lips in the form of a prayer, askingاهدنا الصراط المستقيم
Ihdina alssirata almustaqeema (1/6)
“Guide us to the straight path which leads us to our destination in the hereafter.”
The first word in the verse (1/6) is اهدنا which means “We seek guidance.” As stated earlier, the word Rabubiyyat’ means the provision of sustenance to an object, from its initial stage to the stage of its final destination. Accordingly every individual object in nature has got to follow which that particular object cannot reach its final stage of development. That is what is meant by guidance from Allah which is open, manifest and conspicuous. During the course of evolution variations occur amongst individuals at each stage. Individuals having variatious unsuited to the particular conditions in nature, are eliminated, where as those whose variations are favourable to the environments, continues to exist and reproduce. The Quran says:
Sabbihi isma rabbika al-aAAla Allathee khalaqa fasawwa Waallathee qaddara fahada (87/1-3)
“Glorify the name of your ‘Rabb’, most High. He initiated the creation, and further (by eliminating all that is surplus) gave it order and proportion: who ordained measures and فهدى granted guidance.”
Thus it is our Rabb, who cherishes, guards from harm, sustains, grants all means and opportunities for the development of man. He endows us with forms and faculties exactly suited to what is expect of us and to the environments in which our life is cast, providing, to every thing, due order and proportion. Moreover, He has ordained laws and decreed by which we can develop and fit ourselves in his whole scheme of evolution prepared for all His creation. When Pharaoh asked Moses, who is your Rabb? Moses replied: our Rabb is He who gave to each (created) object its form and nature, ( ثم هدى) and gave it guidance.
Allahu nooru alssamawati waal-ardi … (24/35)
“Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth.”
The light of revelation prevails all over the universe. He guides the heavens:
…waawha fee kulli sama-in amraha… (41/12)
“The Rabb inspired in each heaven its mandate.”
He Guides the earth:
Bi-anna rabbaka awha laha (99/5)
“For that the Rabb inspired her the earth”.
And He guides the animal kingdom.
Waawha rabbuka ila alnnahli (16/68)
“Thy Rabb inspired the bee.”
His guidance to mankind was revealed to His ‘Rasools’ ; the last re vealed book being the Quran:
… qad jaakum mina Allahi noorun wakitabun mubeenun (5/15)
“There hath come to you light from Allah in the form of a perspicuous book.”
Thus Allah guides His creation in different ways: As stated earlier, the guidance to the physical world is direct, through physical laws initiated by Him, which are ingrained in the very substance of inanimate objects. For example, the fire burns, water flows from above downwards, objects expand on heating, the maximum density of water is at 4 ºC etc. The animals also receive guidance direct, by means of physical laws and instincts. Carnivorous animals like lion, tiger etc., eat meat and not vegetables. The herbivorous animals like sheep and goats eat vegetables, not meat. A swan floats on water, a dog walks on the ground. All the three forms of honey bee, queen, workers and drones have their specific functions to perform as guided by their Rabb. These are instance of guidance by instinct. In the case of man however, the guidance is direct as well as indirect. The human body is controlled by the same physical laws and instincts as in the case of other animals. For example, man’s digestion, respiration, reproduction etc are controlled by the same physical laws as in the case of other animals. A newly born baby begins to suck milk from the mother’s breast immediately after birth and that is by instinct. Human personality, on the other hand, is guided indirectly by means of laws given to mankind through the messengers of Allah.
Man is bestowed with a measure of free will and is expected to use it in such a way as to bring his whole being in harmony with the universal Will and Law. For this he will have to answer for the right use of his talents and opportunities. Thus it is said:
Inna AAalayna lalhuda Wa-inna lana lal-akhirata waal-oola (92/12-13)
“Verily we take upon Ourselves to guide (mankind) and verily unto Us (belong) the End and the Beginning.”
Abraham, the messenger of Allah, said to his father and his idol worshipper companions:
Allathee khalaqanee fahuwa yahdeeni (26/78)
“Who created me and it is He who guides me (to my destination).”
When Adam fell in to disgrace and got disappointed about his future, Allah assured him against disappointment by saying:
fa-imma ya/tiyannakum minnee hudan faman tabiAAa hudaya fala khawfun AAalayhim wala hum yahzanoona (2/38)
“And if, as is sure, there comes to you هدىً guidance from Me, whosoever follows My guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
It follows from the above verse that the Allah has taken upon Himself the responsibility for the guidance of mankind, although His messengers. A Nabi or messenger of Allah was the first to receive guidance and through him if was imparted to the rest of mankind. Thus in the case of Muhammad (P.B.U.H.), the last of His messengers it was said :
Wawajadaka dallan fahada (93/7)
“He found thee wandering (in search of reality) and He gave thee guidance.”
The guidance to a ‘Nabi’ is called ‘The Book’, which acts as a nucleus for the spread of divine laws. The guidance to the last Nabi (P.B.U.H.) is contained in the Quran:
Inna anzalna AAalayka alkitaba lilnnasi bialhaqqi famani ihtada falinafsihi waman dalla fa-innama yadillu AAalayha wama anta AAalayhim biwakeelin (39/41)
“Verily We have revealed the book to thee in truth for (instructing) mankind. He then, who receives guidance benefits his own ‘self’: but he that strays injures his own ‘self’. Nor are thou set over them to dispose of their affairs.”
It clarifies the point that the task of a ‘Nabi’ was to carry the guidance to humanity but not to force them to follow him against their will, because if they reject his teachings, the account of rejection is with the Allah’s law of requital. It was not the divine intention, to provide guidance to mankind forcibly, as it was the case with lower animals who are bound to obey:
Inna hadaynahu alssabeela imma shakiran wa-imma kafooran (76/3)
“We showed him the way, whether he gracefully accepts it or rejects it.”
That is because man is bestowed with the faculty of ‘freedom of choice’ which forms the basis of evolution of his ‘Self’. Moreover it was beyond the reach of a ‘Nabi’ to make every individual follow the divine guidance, howsoever much he desired.
“It is true that you will not be able to guide every one whom you love; but Allah guides those who act according to His laws and He knows best those who receive guidance.”
It means that guidance is meant for those who make up their mind to reach the destined place and not for those who do not make any attempt to move. It is said further:
Afaanta tusmiAAu alssumma aw tahdee alAAumya waman kana fee dalalin mubeenin (43/40)
“Can you then make the deaf to hear or give direction to the blind or to such who wander in manifest error.”
Thus the one who has no intention to hear or to open his eyes, shall sink deeper and deeper into error. Only those can receive guidance who make strenuous efforts to find the path which leads to the destined place:
Waallatheena jahadoo feena lanahdiyannahum subulana wa-inna Allaha lamaAAa almuhsineena (29/69)
“And those who strive in our (cause) we will certainly guide them to Our paths: for verily Allah is with those who do right.
Although the way of Allah is one straight path وصراط المستقيم man has often strayed from it in all directions. But those who make efforts to get to the right path, we lay open for them numerous ways or possibilities, so that they might come back to it.
Consequently true guidance one can get only from Allah:
… qul inna huda Allahi huwa alhuda … (2/120)
“Say, the guidance of Allah, that is indeed the (true) guidance.”
The caravan of humanity can not reach its destination without it, because the revelation unveils the ultimate human destination as well as the road that leads to it with its clearly visible sign-posts. On the other hand, one who daily recites the Quran, the only book of divine guidance, now available on the face of earth, but practically makes no effort to set his foot on the right path, is like the one who daily consults a railway Time Table but has neither any intention to go anywhere, not makes any attempt to move to the railway station. His consultation of t he Time able is a waste of time.
صراط المستقيم is usually translated as “straight path” As a matter of fact it is only the word صراط which means the ‘straight path’ مستقيمis an addition to it. The root of the word مستقيمis ق و مthe word قيام has also got the same root. قيام ‘Qayam’ means ‘to stand up’. It is apparent that only that person is able to stand who has got well balance nervous and muscular systems. If the control of nervous system over the muscular system is lost, that person shall not be able to stand up. By implication صراط المستقيم means, a well balance, Well-leveled and absolutely straight path. That brings in to focus a very important concept of life. The Quranic words present a peculiar combination of the promotion of positive concepts, along with the condemnation of negative and unreal concepts. The word صراط is a true example of it.
The ancient concept of life – Human intellect invented the idea of a cyclic order of life. Ancient Greeks, when they pondered over the heavenly bodies travelling inside their respective orbits, came to the conclusion that human life like heavenly bodies runs in a cyclic order. A circle, as we know start at a certain point and ends at exactly the same point. Pythagorus, a Greek philosopher and a renowed Geo-meter, born in the island of Samas near Greece, in 582 B.C., introduced the idea of ‘Transmigration of Soul’ which means that a man born in this world, gets himself polluted by his misdeeds and that this stigma can be wiped out only by leading a devoutly religious life, which happens to appear and re-appear in a cyclic order.
The doctrine of Salvation is based on the belief in the original sin. The followers of most religions are Obsessed with the idea of Sin and their chief aim is to lossen its hold on their souls. However, each religion has got its own distinct view, as regards the source of sin and the mans by which it can be eradicated. In Hinduism, Muktiy or salvation is conceived as liberation from ‘Awagawn’ or the cycle of ‘death and rebirth’. The doctrine of ‘Karma’, explains why one man is born in a well to do family; and the other in a poor family, doomed to a life of misery. That is so because in his previous life, the former had lived virtuously, while the latter committed sins which he had to expiate in the present life. In order to get rid of the pollution of sin, the human soul is sent back to this world, after his death, in the garb of a lower animal. Thus the soul has got to pass through different garbs not once, but millions of times, in order to achieve the same status of purification form which it started. These cycles go on and on. But it is important to realise that if its aim is to instill the lore of virtue and the hatred of evil, in the mind of man, how can it be accomplished through the cycle of alternative death and birth; because no memory of his former life exists in the mind of man.
Vedantic philosophy (Hindu mysticism) presents the same idea in a slightly different form. It is essentially a pantheistic creed – That the individual soul has its source in the cosmic soul. It was separated from its source because of some unknown cause. The soul is lonely and unhappy. And longs intensely of reunion with its source. That can be achieved only by running away from the world of matter and submitting one’s self to the rigorous discipline which is prescribed in vedas. Salvation for an individual soul lies in its merging again into the Infinite soul. This again is another version of the cyclic order of human soul.
Christianity – also inculcates in its followers the dogma of ‘original sin’. They say that Adam and Ewe were guilty o disobedience to God, and were punished by expulsion form heaven. Every man is born with his soul stained by the original sin. He can wipe out this stain only by ‘belief in the Christ’ and by living a life of asceticism and hard discipline. Salvation means, the regaining of the state of bliss which was forfeited by man through the original sin, not by daring adventure but by self – abnegation and refusal to take part in the affairs of the world. The aim is not self-fulfillment by self-renunciation. Such was the teaching of the church in medieval ages.
Thus the Vedantic concept of asceticism was borrowed successively by Jews, Christians and Muslim Soofis, which gave birth to so many distorted views about human life: the main theme of the cyclic order of human life being that its ultimate objective is to reach the point from where it started.
The Quranic concept of life is different. The holy Quran emphatically rejects the idea o cyclic order but impresses upon man that his life moves on a straight, forward and uprising path and that the aim of human life is not Salvation but Achievement. According to the holy Quran, a human Personality is not the part of Allah’s Personality. Every Personality is an indivisible entity which can not be divided into parts. A part of an object, separated from its whole, leaves that object incomplete and defective. By division a personality remains no more a Personality. Thus human Personality is not a part of Allah’s personality. Allah bestows upon each human individual an undeveloped Personality and the object of man is to provide development to his own Personality so as to enable it to pass through various evolutionary stages, leading to its final stage of destination which lies in the hereafter. Thus our prayer before Allah اهدنا الصراط المستقيم”Guide us to straight path”, not only repudiates the false concept of the ‘cyclic order’ of life, it also places before man a positive and constructive programme which brings forward and raises step by step the human Personality:
Latarkabunna tabaqan AAan tabaqin (84/19)
“Surely you are (and shall be) raised from one stage to another, step by step.”
The Quran says further:
… inna rabbee AAala siratin mustaqeemin (11/56)
The usual translation of the verse is ” Verily it is my ‘Rabb’ who is on the straight path.” But it actually means that “every component of the entire
universe moves forwards on a straight and uprising path in consonance with the laws initiated by Allah.
In the human world, the one who steps on the right path first is a ‘Rasool’, a messenger of Allah. That is why the last messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H.) is addressed by saying :
Faistamsik biallathee oohiya ilayka innaka AAala siratin mustaqeemin (43/43)
“So hold fast to the revelation sent down to thee” Verily thou art on the Straight Path.”
The concepts underlying the words اياك نعبد ” We are subservient to you”, followed by saying اهدنا الصراط المستقيم “Guide as to the path that is straight’ are combined together when it is said:
Inna Allaha rabbee warabbukum faoAAbudoohu hatha siratun mustaqeemun (3/50)
“(O Rasool ! say) it is Allah Who is our Sustainer. Then be subservient to Him. This is the path that is straight.”
The word in the سبلverse (5/18), that follows, needs further elucidation:
…qad jaakum mina Allahi noorun wakitabun mubeenun Yahdee bihi Allahu mani ittabaAAa ridwanahu subula alssalami wayukhrijuhum mina alththulumati ila alnnoori bi-ithnihi wayahdeehim ila siratin mustaqeemin (5/15-16)
“There has come to you from Allah a (new) light and perspicuous Book, wherewith Allah guides all who seek His good pleasure (سبل السلام) to ways of peace and safety and leads them out of darkness, by His command, unto the light and guides them to the path that is straight.”
The word سبل is the plural of the word سبيل which means a track, a path, or a line of travel or motion. The point that needs clarification is that straight path that leads to man’s destination is one, but in the above verse the word سبل has been used which is plural.
Explanation – Man, depending upon his intellect alone, without the divine guidance, is often surrounded by darkness, at every step of his life. But those who earnestly seek the light of divine guidance are not left alone unattended Allah guides them at every step and shown them the ways (سبل) which lead to the straight path which is one. That light, that guidance lies inside a perspicuous or clearly understood Book named the Quran.
Sirata allatheena anAAamta AAalayhim ghayri almaghdoobi AAalayhim wala alddalleena (1/7)
“The path of those who strived in consonance with your laws and won your favours, but not the path of those who disobeyed your laws and met slavery, hunger, humiliation and destruction: Nor the path of those who stray.”
After the above said description of the concept of the ‘path that is straight’, we now come to its objective and the consequences of travelling on that path, with a picture of those who already traveled on it. The verse 1/7 describes the path of انعمت عليهم those on whom Allah bestowed his favours. This gives as a vivid picture of the fruits of what is sown by those who put ‘Din in to practice; the fruits of which may appear in this world or in the hereafter. The results of putting ‘Din’ into practice, serve as a standard by which we can judge whether a certain people are actually bestowed by the favours of Allah, and whether our belief in Allah and Quran, as well as our deeds, are indeed in consonance with the divine guidance? And if this is not so, it is only a self-deception to think that we believe in Allah and do good deeds.
تنعيمة Means a plant that grows on water, and has got the characteristics of having soft, delicate and evergreen leaves. At the same time, the root ن ع م bears the concept of height and achievement. Thus a building situated on a hill top is called النعمة The word is also used for a land mark placed on a height. The above concepts of the root ن ع م make it clear that every aspect of human life, which is pleasant, expansive, soft and highly place, is the manifestation of نعمة . Those possessing these virtues are called منعم عليه ‘Munim Aleh.’
The holy Quran explains the word نعمة by means of explicit examples of the prizes or awards by Allah, in the verses that follow:-
- Freedom from the bondage of a tyrannical rule is a نعمة from Allah:
Ya banee isra-eela othkuroo niAAmatiya allatee anAAamtu AAalaykum waannee faddaltukum AAala alAAalameena (2/47)
” O children of Israel! Call to mind نعمتى the favour which I bestowed upon you and I preferred you to all others.”
Wa-ith najjaynakum min ali firAAawna yasoomoonakum soo-a alAAathabi yuthabbihoona abnaakum wayastahyoona nisaakum wafee thalikum balaon min rabbikum Aaatheemun (2/49)
“And remember we delivered you from the people of Pharaoh: They set for you hard tasks and punishments, slaughtered your sons and let your women folk live; therein was a tremendous trail from your Rabb”.
- Superiority over the contemporary nations of the world is a نعمة favour from Allah, as shown in the verse (2/47) above.
Again the followers of Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) are guided that they shall be rewarded with mastery over others, if they remained steadfast in their efforts and belief in the divine laws:
Wala tahinoo wala tahzanoo waantumu al-aAAlawna in kuntum mu/mineena (3/139)
“So lose not heart; nor fall in to despair, for you must gain mastery, if you are true in you belief (in Allah).”
Solomon was king bestowed by Allah with great power and wisdom. He prays before his Rabb:
… waqala rabbi awziAAnee an ashkura niAAmataka allatee anAAamta AAalayya waAAala walidayya … (27/19)
“O my Rabb! “So order me that I may be grateful for نعمتك the favours which thou has bestowed on me and on my father.
- The fulfillment of the necessities of life is نعمة from Allah.-
The permanent dwellings; homes of rest and quiet, the temporary dwellings (tents) during travel, the shade of the hills, the garments to protect you from hurt, are all (نعمة) favours bestowed by Allah upon mankind, during peace and war and during rest and travel and they direct man to be grateful to Allah by bowing down before His laws:
WaAllahu jaAAala lakum min buyootikum sakanan wajaAAala lakum min juloodi al-anAAami buyootan tastakhiffoonaha yawma thaAAnikum wayawma iqamatikum wamin aswafiha waawbariha waashAAariha athathan wamataAAan ila heenin. WaAllahu jaAAala lakum mimma khalaqa thilalan wajaAAala lakum mina aljibali aknanan wajaAAala lakum sarabeela taqeekumu alharra wasarabeela taqeekum ba/sakum kathalika yutimmu niAAmatahu AAalaykum laAAallakum tuslimoona (16/80-81)
“It is Allah who made your habitations, homes of rest and quiet for you; and made for you out of the skins of animals (tents for) dwellings, which you find so light (and handy) when you travel and when you stop (in your travels; and out of their wool and their soft fibbers and their hair, rich stuff and articles of convenience (to serve you) for a time. It is Allah Who made out the things He created, some things, to give shade; of the hills he made some for your shelter; He made for you garments to protect you from heat, and coats of mail to protect you from you (mutual) violence. Thus does He complete His favour نعمة on you that you may bow down to His laws.
- Allah’s bounties are manifest, as well as hidden -Allah has subjected to mankind all that is present in the heavens and on the earth, and thus Allah’s bounties work for man at all times. In things which we can apprehend with our senses we can see these bounties before us; but even then there are so many others which are beyond our knowledge and comprehension and which we can discover only by exploration of nature.
Alam taraw anna Allaha sakhkhara lakum ma fee alssamawati wama fee al-ardi waasbagha AAalaykum niAAamahu thahiratan wabatinatan … (31/20)
“Do you not see that Allah has subjected to you all things in the heavens and on the earth and has made نعمة His bounties flow to you in exceeding measure (both) seen and unseen.”
- Allah’s favours are innumerable – It is beyond the capacity of man to count all the favours bestowed upon him by Allah. In fact Allah has given man all that is required by him, in order to fulfill his needs. Yet man is ungrateful:
Allahu allathee khalaqa alssamawati waal-arda waanzala mina alssama-i maan faakhraja bihi mina alththamarati rizqan lakum wasakhkhara lakumu alfulka litajriya fee albahri bi-amrihi wasakhkhara lakumu al-anhara. Wasakhkhara lakumu alshshamsa waalqamara da-ibayni wasakhkhara lakumu allayla waalnnahara. Waatakum min kulli ma saaltumoohu wa-in taAAuddoo niAAmata Allahi la tuhsooha inna al-insana lathaloomun kaffarun (41/32-34)
“It is Allah Who has created the heavens and the earth and sends down rain from the sky and with it brings out fruits where-with to feed you: it is He Who has made the ships subjected to you, that you may sail through the sea by His command; and the rivers He has made subjected to you. And He has made subjected to you the sun and the moon, both diligently pursuing their courses; and He has made the night and the day subject to you. And He gives you all that you ask for. But if you count نعمة الله the favours of Allah, never will you be able to number them. Verily man is given up to in justice and ingratitude.”
- نبوت ‘Nabuwwat’ is also a نعمت favour from Allah. As stated earlier man comprises two distinct entities- His physical body and his Personality or Self. The Self id given to man in a potential from and its nourishment and development depends on following the laws given to him through the messengers of Allah. Thus whereas all the bounties for the nourishment of his body are bestowed upon man, direct by Allah, the bounty for the nourishment of his Self comes through ‘Nabies’ who receive and further transmit this bounty to mankind in their capacity of being ‘Rasools’ :
Ola-ika allatheena anAAama Allahu AAalayhim mina alnnabiyyeena … (19/58)
“Those were some of the ‘Nabies’ on Whom Allah did bestow His favour.”
However, it must be kept in mind that ‘Nabuwwar’ is a favour which is not earned by a ‘Nabi’, through his personal efforts. He is rather chosen for it by Allah on account of his being considered fit for discharging the huge responsibility entrusted to him :
This (نعمة) favour of Allah came to an end with His last messenger (P.B.U.H.) Thus it is said :
… alyawma akmaltu lakum deenakum waatmamtu AAalaykum niAAmatee… (5/4)
“This day I have perfected Your ‘Din’ for you and completed my favour upon you.
This (نعمة) from Allah now lies safely in the pages of the Quran and shall serve as a guidance to mankind for all times to come.
- Those who are the recipients of this favour brought to them by the last ‘Rasool (P.B.U.H.) can be recognised by one great symbol, i.e. they get united in-to one compact Ummat and never get divided amongst themselves:
WaiAAtasimoo bihabli Allahi jameeAAan wala tafarraqoo waothkuroo niAAmata Allahi AAalaykum ith kuntum aAAdaan faallafa bayna quloobikum faasbahtum biniAAmatihi ikhwanan wakuntum AAala shafa hufratin mina alnnari faanqathakum minha kathalika yubayyinu Allahu lakum ayatihi laAAallakum tahtadoona (3/102)
” And hold fast together by the cable of Allah (i.e., the way of life prescribed by the divine laws) and be not divided amongst yourselves. And remember with gratitude (نعمة الله) Allah’s favour on you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His grace (نعمة) you became brethren; and you were on the brink of the pit of fire and He saved you from it, Thus does He make His signs clear to you, that you may be guided (to the path that is straight).”
The bounties bestowed by Allah to mankind are the results of belief in Allah and the balanced deeds consistent with the divine laws:
…niAAma ajru alAAamileena (29/58)
“An excellent reward for the toilers.:
Succession of power on the earth is one such reward:
WaAAada Allahu allatheena amanoo minkum waAAamiloo alssalihati layastakhlifannahum fee al-ardi kama istakhlafa allatheena min qablihim … (29/58)
“Allah has promised to those among you who worked deeds consistent with the divine laws, that He will of surety grant them in the land inheritance (of power), as He granted it to t hose before them.”
Yet there are other gifts from Allah, Such as the provision of Sustenance to his creatures.
The other important issue is that the bounties bestowed by Allah are not the ultimate objective by themselves. The real objective is how to make use of them. If they are used in the right direction i.e., in consonance with the divine laws and Permanent Values prescribed by Allah, they become (شكر نعمت ) i.e. means of expression of thankfulness to Allah. On the other hand if they are made use of against the divine laws they become (كفران نعمت ) i.e., disbelief in Allah and His bounties. The Quran says that you shall be questioned as to how you have spent the bounties provided to you by Allah :
Thumma latus-alunna yawma-ithin AAani alnnaAAeemi (102/8)
“Then you shall be questioned about the bounties you enjoyed.”
If you make wrong use of the gifts and awards from Allah, the result is that you get deprived of them and thus the ultimate result is fear and hunger. The Quran illustrates if by means of an example:
Wadaraba Allahu mathalan qaryatan kanat aminatan mutma-innatan ya/teeha rizquha raghadan min kulli makanin fakafarat bi-anAAumi Allahi faathaqaha Allahu libasa aljooAAi waalkhawfi bima kanoo yasnaAAoona (16/102)
“Allah sends forth a parable: a city enjoying security and quiet, abundantly supplied with sustenance from every place ( فكفرت بانهم الله) yet was it ungrateful for the favours of Allah: So Allah made it taste of hunger and terror in extremes (closing in on it) like a garment, because of the (evil) which (its people) wrought.”
That evil was the result of their misdeeds.
Power should become the instrument of good. On the other hand those who are selfish leaders make it the instrument of evil:
Alam tara ila allatheena baddaloo niAAmata Allahi kufran waahalloo qawmahum dara albawari. Jahannama yaslawnaha wabi/sa alqararu (14/28-29)
“Have you not turned thy vision to those who have changed (نعمة الله) the favour of Allah in to blasphemy and caused their people to descend to the House of destruction – in the Hell. They will burn therein – an evil place to stay in.”
However, a nation is not doomed on account of the misdeeds of its leaders alone, the entire nation becomes responsible for it. The Quran has laid down the principle:
Thalika bi-anna Allaha lam yaku mughayyiran niAAmatan anAAamaha AAala qawmin hatta yughayyiroo ma bi-anfusihim waanna Allaha sameeAAun Aaaleemun (8/53)
“Because Allah will never change the favour which He has bestowed on a people, until they change what is in their (own) Selves. And verily Allah is He Whose powers of hearing and knowledge are boundless.”
Thus the deprivation of bounties, bestowed by Allah, do not come into play until a mental or psychological change grips a nation. It means that it is a change in the psychological condition of a nation which determines the grant or deprivation of a people, of Allah’s favours. If the change is in consonance with the divine guidance it takes up the form of ‘belief in Allah’. And if it is in the opposite direction, it becomes a ‘disbelief in Allah.”
When a believer says اياك نعبد ” We are subservient to you alone”, the response from Allah is :
waoshkuroo niAAmata Allahi in kuntum iyyahu taAAbudoona (16/114)
“And be grateful for the favours of Allah, if it is He to Whom you bow down.”
Thus to demonstrate practically, that we are grateful to Allah, is by spending the bounties provided by Him, in consonance with His laws. This process shall serve, not only to maintain Allah’s favours but also, to promote their expansion:
Wa-ith taaththana rabbukum la-in shakartum laazeedannakum wala-in kafartum inna (14/7)
” And remember! Your Rabb caused to be declared (publicly) ‘If you are grateful I shall add more (favours) unto you; but if you show ingratitude, truly My punishment is terrible indeed.”
But what is this punishment which is the result of disbelief in Allah? This shall be explained in the later part of the verse 1:7
ghayri almaghdoobi AAalayhim wala alddalleena (1/7)
In verse 1/6 and 1/7 it was said
Ihdina alssirata almustaqeema Sirata allatheena anAAamta AAalayhim ghayri almaghdoobi AAalayhim wala alddalleena (1/6-7)
” Guide us to the straight path of those past nations who strived in consonance with your laws and won your favours; but not the path of those who disobeyed your laws and met slavery, hunger and humiliation.”
It must be emphasised that it is wrong to conclude from the above that Allah guides either way; to the path of those whose portion is favour, or to the path of those whose portion is humiliation. As a matter of fact, it is man himself who takes the right or the wrong course, by either obedience or disobedience respectively, of the divine laws. Consequently the guidance is attributed to Allah.
The Quran also clarifies a subject, at different occasions, by bringing two opposites together ; for example (نور) light opposite of (ظلمت) darkness, (أعمى) blind opposite of (بصير) one possessing vision etc. Similarly the above verses show contrast. The meaning is clear – “Show us the path of those who won your favour and not your wrath.
غضب Root غ ض ب carries concept of intensity, ‘heat’, ‘domination’, ‘firm grip’ and ‘stability’.
When the word is used in relation to man, it mans wrath and aggressive feelings. On the other hand, Allah is free of sentiments. Thus the word غضب when used in relation to Allah, means ‘the firm grip of the Allah’s law of requital.’ A similar concept underlies the verses that follows :
Inna batsha rabbika lashadeedun (85/12)
” Truly strong is the grip of your Rabb.”
FaAAasa firAAawnu alrrasoola faakhathnahu akhthan wabeelan (73/16)
“The Pharaoh disobeyed the ‘Rasool’ and We seized him with a firm grip.”
The same is the concept of the غضب i.e. the destruction and disruption resulting from the disobedience to the divine laws based on the immutable law of requital. Thus the meaning of the words إنعام and غضب is clarified by bringing these two opposites together.
While describing the favours of Allah on the children of Israel, it was said :
…waannee faddaltukum AAala alAAalameena (2/47)
“And that I preferred you over all other nations.”
And after that when they left the path which brought preference to them, it was said:
waduribat AAalayhimu alththillatu waalmaskanatu wabaoo bighadabin mina Allahi (2/61)
“And they were covered with humiliation and misery: They drew on themselves the غضب Wrath of Allah.”
The same is called the shame in life.
… wathillatun fee alhayati alddunya … (7/152)
“And humiliation in the life of this world.”
This also shows that the shame and humiliation on account of treading on the wrong path appear in the present world.
The word ذلت (humiliation) (in 2/61) signifies dependence, weakness, slavery, disappointment and lowliness of all kinds. It is opposite to the word افضليت in (2/47). Both these words clarify the meaning of what isإنعام favour and what is غضب or Grip of Allah.
Life is the other name for heat and motion; constant struggle being the essence of life. The nations who make halt on the high way of life, lose heat. It results not only in their halt but also in their drift backwards, because the contemporary nations, in the meantime push forward. Thus مسكنت is the point where movement stops. As stated earlier, this stoppage of motion, amongst a certain peoples, is the result of a psychological change and the loss of Allah’s favours occurs only after this change. In other words, the stoppage of forward move on the highway of life is the result of mental stagnation. Such a nation no more ponders over the ever changing issues of life. They start ancestral worship and become blind followers of what they received from their ancestors. They stop, keeping their eyes open and desist from the use of their intellect. They become entrapped in the process of thinking themselves as fallible and their ancestors infallible. The Quran has rejected this mode of thinking and has explicitly explained that such people are bound to face the غضب Wrath of Allah. Hud, the messenger of Allah, addressed the Aad people and called upon them to become subservient to the laws of Allah; to which the replied:
Qaloo aji/tana linaAAbuda Allaha wahdahu wanathara ma kana yaAAbudu abaona fa/tina bima taAAiduna in kunta mina alssadiqeena (7/70)
“You have come to us that we become subservient to laws of Allah alone and give up the cult of our forefathers? Bring us what you threaten us with. If so be that you tell the truth.
Qala qad waqaAAa AAalaykum min rabbikum rijsun waghadabun atujadiloonanee fee asma-in sammaytumooha antum waabaokum ma nazzala Allahu biha min sultanin faintathiroo innee maAAakum mina almuntathireena (7/71)
“He said, ( رجس) punishment and (غضب) penalty have already come upon you from your Rabb. You dispute with me over names which you have devised, you and your forefathers, without authority from Allah? Then wait, I am amongst you, also waiting.”
In spite of the warning by Hud that their dispute over imaginary gods and their inventions of mind shall bring them disaster, they remained adament, whit the result :
waqataAAna dabira allatheena kaththaboo bi-ayatina wama kanoo mu/mineena (7/72)
“And we cut off the roots of those who rejected Our signs and did not believe,”
That is how the ancestral worshippers of the people of Aad, became washed off from the surface of the earth.
How beautiful the Quran has clarified the fate of the two sets of people respectively the (منعم عليه) ‘Munim Aleh’ (on whom Allah bestowed His favours) and the (مغضوب عليه) ‘Maghdub Aleh’ (on whom Allah has brought death and destruction).
A distinguishing feature of the people who are (منعم عليه) is that (as explained earlier) their hearts are joined together:
… faallafa bayna quloobikum … (3/103)
“And He joined Your hearts in love.”
But when a people get disunited, mutual slaughter and bloodshed begins and as a result the wrath of Allah falls upon them :
Waman yaqtul mu/minan mutaAAammidan fajazaohu jahannamu khalidan feeha waghadiba Allahu AAalayhi walaAAanahu waaAAadda lahu AAathaban Aaatheeman (4/93)
“If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is جهنم ‘Jahannum’ to abide therein (for ever), and (غضب) Wrath and curse of Allah are upon him and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him.”
جهنم is the place where the march forward of life stops.
سخط الله The word سخط occurs in the Quran and is more or less equivalent to the word (غضب). The place where this word has occurred need attention, as it involves the important issue of ‘duplicity’ – The way of life prescribed by Allah, is a complete whole which must be followed in its entirety. In other words it must be organised in such a way that any issue that arises, must be settled according to the code of laws prescribed by Allah. But it so happens that some people, decide certain issues under the code of divine laws and leave the rest to be decided by man-made laws. This Dualism results in degradation and humiliation:
… afatu/minoona bibaAAdi alkitabi watakfuroona bibaAAdin fama jazao man yafAAalu thalika minkum illa khizyun fee alhayati alddunya wayawma alqiyamati yuraddoona ila ashaddi alAAathabi … (2/85)
Then is it only a part of the Book that you believe in, and do you reject the rest? But what is the reward for those among you who behave like this? – but disgrace in this life and on the day of judgement they shall be reserved for the most server penalty.”
Such people are termed by the Quran as مغضوب عليه. At yet another place this has been further clarified by saying that there are people who, after the receipt of guidance from Allah, revert to their old way of life. This is termed as ارتداد – that is, in some matters they again begin to follow those who are averse tot he way of life prescribed by Allah. The result of this attitude is terrible:
Inna allatheena irtaddoo AAala adbarihim min baAAdi ma tabayyana lahumu alhuda alshshaytanu sawwala lahum waamla lahum Thalika bi-annahum qaloo lillatheena karihoo ma nazzala Allahu sanuteeAAukum fee baAAdi al-amri waAllahu yaAAlamu israrahum Fakayfa itha tawaffat-humu almala-ikatu yadriboona wujoohahum waadbarahum Thalika bi-annahumu ittabaAAoo ma askhata Allaha wakarihoo ridwanahu faahbata aAAmalahum (47/25-28)
“Those who turned back as apostates, after guidance was clearly shown to them, – the Evil One has instigated them and buoyed them up with false hopes. This, because they said to those who hate what Allah has revealed, ‘We will obey you in part of (this) matter’ but Allah know their (inner) secrets. But how (will it be) when the angels take their souls at death, and smite their faces and their backs? This because the followed that which called forth سخط الله the wrath of Allah’s (law of requital) and they hated Allah’s good pleasure; so He made their deeds of no effect.”
The people described above become too impervious to facts and truth, because without the courage to oppose Allah’s cause openly, they secretly intrigue with Allah’s enemies and say that they will follow them part of the way, and that by remaining partly in their camp they will be far more useful as spies than by going over altogether. But one can just imagine what they shall feel when they come to face death and see the dreadful results of their double dealing standing before them and that how all they did during their life-time have become wasted.
The last words of the above said verse 47/28 ” So He made their deeds of no effect,” are significant.
Those who practice Duplicity might think that they shall at least be rewarded for part of their deeds that are good. The Quran says that all their deed including the good ones shall go waste. If one gets a prescription from a competent doctor and mixes it up with an another prescription from a quack, it shall result in total waste, not partial. The organization of ‘Din’ requires all its true components, each lying at its proper place and exactly fitting one into the other. The laws and permanent values revealed to the messengers of Allah when mixed with man-made ideas becomeشرك which means the acceptance of dual sovereignty. One God, one and the final code of laws laid down by Him and given for the guidance of man through His last Rasool (P.B.U.H.), one united Ummat’ obedient to His laws, means ( توحيد) ‘Tauheed’. Any adulteration in the divine laws amounts to accepting the subservience of others than that of Allah and that is what is called ‘Shrik’. Islam is a Din or a way of life, not religion. In religion people profess a nominal belief in Allah, they corrupt it by their belief in others, as if they were Allah’s partners or had some share in the shaping of world’s destinies:
Wama yu/minu aktharuhum biAllahi illa wahum mushrikoona (12/106)
“And most of them believe not in Allah, without associating (others as partners) with Him.”
(Other references (39/45, 40/12, 17/47).
Such people remain ‘Mushrik’ even after their nominal belief in Allah.
The holy Quran has described the fate of مغضوب عليه at so many other places. However, there is one more point in this connection, which requires further elucidation. As described earlier in the verse (16/112), people who are ungrateful to the favours bestowed upon them by Allah, are bound to face hunger and terror. But, on the other hand it is said:
Wakam ahlakna min qaryatin batirat maAAeeshataha fatilka masakinuhum lam tuskan min baAAdihim illa qaleelan wakunna nahnu alwaritheena (28/58)
“And how many populations we destroyed, which exulted in their life (of ease and plenty), those habitations of theirs, after them are deserted – All but a miserable few! And we are their heirs.”
The question arises, if hunger is the sign of غضب wrath of Allah, how those people, who lived a life of ease and plenty, met destruction? It is quite clear that only that economic system can lead to development and prosperity, in which the distribution of wealth is balanced and proportionate. In a system in which this balance is disturbed, one section of the population becomes rich and wealthy and the rest of the people are doomed to misery and hunger. This results in the destruction of the entire nation both rich and poor. The Quran says:
Kuloo min tayyibati ma razaqnakum wala tatghaw feehi fayahilla AAalaykum ghadabee waman yahlil AAalayhi ghadabee faqad hawa (20/81)
“Eat of the good things we have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein, lest my غضب wrath should justly descend on you and those, on whom descends my wrath, do perish indeed.”
A balance exists in the organisation of the entire physical world, without which the structure of the universe would crumble. So is the case with the human society which surely meets destruction if it is unbalanced:
Alshshamsu waalqamaru bihusbanin Waalnnajmu waalshshajaru yasjudani Waalssamaa rafaAAaha wawadaAAa almeezana Alla tatghaw fee almeezani (55/5-8)
“The Sun and the moon follow courses exactly computed. The stars (in the heaven) and the trees (on the earth) are equally subjected to the divine laws. And the celestial bodies He raised high and put them (in space) perfectly balanced. That you may not trangress the limits (O mankind!) prescribed by the Creator for the maintenance of balance (in the human society).”
If man trangresses the limits laid down by the divine laws, the result is غضب and destruction. The Quran not only prohibits to follow the way of life that leads to غضب it also ordains not to develop friendly relations with those on whom the غضب of Allah descends:
Alam tara ila allatheena tawallaw qawman ghadiba Allahu AAalayhim ma hum minkum wala minhum (58/14)
“Have you not turned your attention to those who turn (in friendship) to such as have the غضب wrath of Allah upon them? They are neither of you, nor of them.
It means there is nothing common between the believers and such مغضوب عليه people.
At yet another place it is said :
Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo la tatawallaw qawman ghadiba Allahu Aaalayhim… (60/13)
O ye who believe! turn not (for friendship) to people on whom is the غضب of Allah.”
The Quran has thus amply clarified the path of those on whom the wrath of Allah descends.
The last part of the verse (1/7) is:
ولا الضالين”(Nor the path) of those who stray”
As stated earlier, the Quran, in order to clarify issues, brings opposite words for the sake of contrast. As has been said before, the word مغضوب عليه was in contrast to the word منعم عليه Here the word ضلالت (to go astray) has come in contrast to the word هدايت (guidance). Basically ضلالت root ض ل ل
Means ‘perplexion or confusion’, to wander about’. ‘to go astray’, ‘to become hidden or to disappear’, ‘the amalgamation of different things in such a way that it becomes difficult to separate them, such as milk mixed with water’. A Nabi, before revelation descends on him is dissatisfied with the prevalent wrong nations and wanders about in search of the truth. This state of ضلالت confusion remains till he receives guidance from Allah. About Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) the Quran says:
Wawajadaka dallan fahada (93/7)
“And He found thee wandering (in search of the truth) and He gave thee guidance.”
It may, however, be kept in mind, that the above verse only refers to the state of mind of a Nabi before revelation, as a Nabi does not get Nabuwwat by his own efforts: he is rather chosen for it by Allah.
Wandering in search of Truth – The case is, however, different with an ordinary man. Any body other that a Nabi also passes through a phase of confusion, when he is in search of a truth. The one who remains satisfied with the prevalent notions of his age and makes no efforts to the right path. According to White-Head, the well-known modern philosopher, it is idol-worship to keep one’s self stuck to the beliefs and concepts of his age without pondering over them. The Quran says that those who do not make use of their intellect, never come to the right path, they are destined to meet (a life of standstill and destruction):
Walaqad thara/na lijahannama katheeran mina aljinni waal-insi lahum quloobun la yafqahoona biha walahum aAAyunun la yubsiroona biha walahum athanun la yasmaAAoona biha ola-ika kaal-anAAami bal hum adallu ola-ika humu alghafiloona (7/179).
“Many are amongst the people (both) uncivilized and civilized, We have made for جهنم They have minds wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not and ears, wherewith they hear not, they are like cattle, بل هم اضل nay more confused, for they are heedless (of warning).”
These are the people about whom the Quran points out to the Nabi (P.B.U.H.) that they are like dead people and that you cannot make them hear :
Fa-innaka la tusmiAAu almawta wala tusmiAAu alssumma aldduAAaa itha wallaw mudbireena Wama anta bihadi alAAumyi AAan dalalatihim … (30/52-53
“So verily you can not make the dead to hear, not can you make the deaf to hear the call, when they show their backs and turn away. Nor can you lead back the blind from their عن ضللتهم straying.”
Those people who do not make use of their intellect are divided by the Quran in to two categories:-
- Those who when they reach a cross road of life, do not think it necessary to find out which way to go, or to ask some-body to guide them to the right path. They follow, without hesitation, the way a crowed is going. They believe in the way they have inherited from their forefathers. The Quran says that when they reach ‘Jahnnam’ after following thin path, they shall be questioned, as to why they took this path? Their answer shall be:
Waqaloo rabbana inna ataAAna sadatana wakubaraana faadalloona alssabeela (33/67)
“And they would say: ‘Our Rabb! We obeyed our chiefs and our great ones and they misled us as to the (right) path.
- The people in the other category are those who know what is right but their self-interests compel them not to follow the right path. They are overcome by their sentiments which make them blind, thus making them unable to use their intellect and knowledge. The Quran says:
Afaraayta mani ittakhatha ilahahu hawahu waadallahu Allahu AAala AAilmin wakhatama AAala samAAihi waqalbihi wajaAAala AAala basarihi ghishawatan faman yahdeehi min baAAdi Allahi afala tathakkaroona (45/23)
“Then you see not such a one who takes as his god, his own vain desires? واضله الله And Allah has knowing (him as such) left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart (understanding) and put a cover over his sight. Who then will guide him after Allah has withdrawn guidance? Will you not then receive admonition?”
Thus the only way for them to come to the right path is by forsaking their vain desires. But it may be emphasised that human desires and sentiments are not by themselves the object of contempt, it is only their wrong use which leads to destruction. If human sentiments are subjected to divine guidance, they bring about constructive results. Quran says:
Fa-in lam yastajeeboo laka faiAAlam annama yattabiAAoona ahwaahum waman adallu mimmani ittabaAAa hawahu bighayri hudan mina Allahi inna Allaha la yahdee alqawma alththalimeena (28/50)
“But if they harken not to thee, know that they follow their own lusts: ومن أضل and who is more astray than the one who follows his own lust, devoid of guidance from Allah. For Allah guides not people given to wrong doings.”
In modern times there is another aspect of (ضلالت) (going astray) which has assumed a wide-spread form and which id often considered a great achievement of this age; and that is Western Democracy which is based on the concept that a decision by majority is always right. The Quran rejects this concept and say:
Wa-in tutiAA akthara man fee al-ardi yudillooka AAan sabeeli Allahi in yattabiAAoona illa alththanna wa-in hum illa yakhrusoona (6/116)
“Were you to follow the common run of those on earth, they will lead thee away from the way of Allah. They follow nothing but conjecture, they do nothing but lie.”
On the other hand:
Inna rabbaka huwa aAAlamu man yadillu AAan sabeelihi wahuwa aAAlamu bialmuhtadeena (6/117)
“The Rabb know best (من يضل) who strays from His way. He knows best who they are who receive guidance.”
This guidance is further illustrated by saying:
… famani ittabaAAa hudaya fala yadillu wala yashqa (20/123)
“Whosoever follows My guidance (لايضل) will not lose his way (ولا يشقى) nor fall into hardships and misery (like the ones who are deprived of my favours)”
As described earlier, one concept of the root ض ل ل is that when two different things are mixed in such a way that they can not be separated form each other, it is called (ضلالت) . When (الدين) prescribed by Allah changes in to religion, it becomes a mixture of Truth and Falsehood, which become amalgamated to such an extent that it be comes difficult even to recognise either of the two constituents. Then, those indulged in religious business, sell the goods they have manufactured, like a milkman who sells a mixture of milk and water. The Quran says:
Wamina alnnasi man yashtaree lahwa alhadeethi liyudilla AAan sabeeli Allahi bighayri AAilmin wayattakhithaha huzuwan ola-ika lahum AAathabun muheenun (31/6)
“But there are among men who purchase idle tales (ليضل عن سبيل الله) to mislead men from the path of Allah, without having the knowledge (of it) and making it the object of ridicule: for such there will be a humiliating penalty.”
Here the Quran clarifies the point that there are people, who have no knowledge of (الدين) or the way of life prescribed by Allah. Yet they call themselves (علما) men of knowledge. They attract around them a large number of their followers whom they keep spellbound, by means of their glib tongue and fairy tails and makes such a fantastic show of their religious knowledge that people who mistake it as ‘Din’, begin to think the path of Allah a ridiculous affair,
A cursory look at the nations of the world, reveals that most backward people are those who are sunk deep in religion (as opposed to ‘Din’ or the way of life prescribed by Allah) and, consequently, are leading a life of hunger and humiliation. That is (عذاب مهين) the humiliating penalty or shameful doom described in the above verse.
There is yet another point; related to an unbalanced economic system which the Quran describes as a manifest error – when it is pointed our to men, who are wealthy as well as selfish, as to why do they not spend their wealth on those who are needy? Their reply is that it was God’s will to keep such people needy and poor. If it were His will, He himself could have provided them sufficient wealth. The Quran says that such people are in manifest error:
Wa-itha qeela lahum anfiqoo mimma razaqakumu Allahu qala allatheena kafaroo lillatheena amanoo anutAAimu man law yashao Allahu atAAamahu in antum illa fee dalalin mubeenin (36/47)
“And when they are told, ‘spend ye (of the means of sustenance) with which Allah has provided you’ the non-believers say to those who believe, ‘Shall we then feed those whom if Allah had so willed, He would have fed (Himself)? – (Allah’s reply is) you are in nothing by (ضلل مبين) manifest error”.
The error pointed out by Allah is that He does not distribute, means of sustenance, directly to individuals. It is through an economic system, organised by (منعم عليه) (those on whom Allah showers His bounties) that the equitable and balanced distribution of wealth is brought about amongst individuals.
The above references from the holy Quran have amply clarified the issue, as to who are the people who are (ضالين) (who stray from the path of Allah.) A believer repeats these words several times, during his every-day prayers, all day long, “Our Rabb! Guide us to the straight path, the path of those who followed your laws and won your favours. They were not the people who disobeyed your laws and met slavery, hunger, misery and humiliation, nor were they the people who were led astray by their base sentiments or by other self interested men”.
The Quran lays further stress on the point by saying:
…wala tattabiAAoo ahwaa qawmin qad dalloo min qablu waadalloo katheeran wadalloo AAan sawa-i alssabeeli (5/77)
“Nor follow the vain desires of people, who went wrong in times gone by, who (اضلو كثيرا) misled many and (ضلو) strayed (themselves) from the even path.”
However, when the Quran describes those people on whom falls the wrath of Allah (مغضوب عليه) and who stray from the straight path (ضالين), it does not mean any particular nation. It refers to all people past or present, who leave the path of Allah. An idea is prevalent amongst we Muslims that ( مغضوب عليه) are Jews and (ضالين) are Christians and we keep ourselves under the self deception that these words do not apply to us. As a matter of fact, we are in the habit of attributing, all that is bad, to other people and all that is good to ourselves; and think that our destiny is bound to be paradise and their destiny is bound to be hell. But self-deception does not change the reality, We can claim ourselves to be a منعم عليه nation, only after we put ourselves to a test, against the standard laid down by the holy Quran.
I conclude with the humble prayer:
…. rabbana la tu-akhithna in naseena aw akhta/na… (2/286)
“Our Rabb’ ! Take us not into account, if we forget or fall in to error.”
THE PURPORT IN NUTSHELL
Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi
Alhamdu lillahi rabbi alAAalameena Alrrahmani alrraheemi
Pondering over the beauty, proportion and perfection of the living and the non-living objects of nature, excites in man a voluntary praise of the One Who sustains every component of this universe, from its initial stage to the stage of its final destination: by processes of slow, gradual and ascending evolution, interrupted off and on by spontaneous revolutions.
Maliki yawmi alddeeni
The sustenance of human body is a gift from Allah: but the nourishment and development of his Personality is subject to the deeds he performs, the results of which are under complete control of Allah’s law of requital, in this world and in the hereafter.
Iyyaka naAAbudu wa-iyyaka nastaAAeenu
(Our Rabb!) we bow down to your laws for the development of our potentialities, by using our capabilities for the benefit of humanity, and we seek your help in shaping our lives within your prescribed patters.
Ihdina alssirata almustaqeema
Guide us to the straight path which leads to our destination in the hereafter.
Sirata allatheena anAAamta Aaalayhim…
“That is, the path of those past nations who strived in consonance with your laws and won your favours, on whom you bestowed power on the earth with all its pomp and glory, whom you relieved from the bonds of tyrannical rules, whom you gave superiority over contemporary nations of the world, and whose necessities of life you fulfilled, providing them a prosperous life of peace and plenty,
…ghayri almaghdoobi Aaalayhim…
They were not the people who had disobeyed your laws and consequently came into the grip of your law of Requital which gave them slavery, misery, hunger, humiliation and destruction.
Nor were they the people, who were lead astray by following their own baser sentiments or by following other self-interested and wrongful people, like their chiefs and ancestors, and thus fell into hardship and misery.
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Every book begins with a preface which is meant to introduce briefly the object as well as the subject matter of that book. The most appropriate preface is the one which is very brief and at the same time comprehensive. (سورة الفاتحة) the fist chapter of the Quran is known as (فاتحة الكتاب) which means that it is an introduction to the Quran. As a matter of fact it is an introduction to the Quran, very small in size, comprising only seven short verses, but it is so comprehensive that it contains in a nutshell all the basic teachings of the Quran and the purport of (الدين) or the way of life, prescribed by Allah Almighty for the guidance of mankind.
THE NEED FOR WRITING THIS EXEGESIS OF (سورة الفاتحة)
Numerous commentaries on the have appeared from time to time in Arabic, Urdu and English languages. Although they supply material which is fairly useful in understanding the Quran, yet they are replete with so many pitfalls which lead to distortion of the basic concepts of the book of Allah.
The main hurdles that come in the way are as follows :-
- The Quran is essentially untranslatable-
A literal translation of the Quranic text is not possible because equivalent words in other languages are not available. On the other hand the selection of words in the Quranic text is unique. Every word brings in to focus, not only the purport of the verse in which it is placed, but also reflects the Quranic teachings as a whole. Therefore in order to understand the true meanings of a word at a particular place, one has got to go back to the concepts hidden in its (ماده) root. Hence the explanation of a verse, reached after a methodical approach to its purport, is the right way to understand the Quran, rather than a literal translation into other languages. Moreover it is difficult to find even Arabic words equivalent to a certain word of the Quran, placed in its respective place in the text.
- The existing commentaries of the Quran –
The interpreters of the Quran, who have added interoperations to their own translations, have adopted an inappropriate method, to explain the Quranic text which is of their own making. They have depended mostly on speculations, manmade ideas, legends, Biblical stories and Jewish versions on such subjects as are common to the Quran and the old
Testament; thus compounding truth with falsehood and obstructing the visibility of the Quran by raising clouds of myths around it, although the Quran has openly declared:
“And follow not their vain desires, diverging from the truth that has come to you.” 5/51
On the other hand, new commentators go on following sheepishly, the commentaries produced by the earlier ones, without making an attempt to understand the holy book themselves. This mode of interpreting the Quran is UN-QURANIC. The Quran leads the way in every sphere of human activity and has thus provided guidance for its own interpretation by saying:
Thumma inna AAalayna bayanahu (75/19)
“After that it is for us to explain it”
Thus as guided by the Quran itself, a satisfactory explanation of the book of Allah, can be achieved by interpretation based on the Book itself. The Quran is self-explanatory and classifies itself by presenting a subject in various ways and in different contexts, so as to make things easily understandable:
Walaqad sarrafna fee hatha alqur-ani lilnnasi min kulli mathalin… (18/54)
“We have explained to mankind, by displaying different aspects of things in this Quran, with every kind of similitude.”
Thus the way to understand the Quran from the Quran itself, is the way shown by Allah Himself.
There is however, another aspect of this issue which is important and forms a part of the true approach to the understanding of the Quran. The Quran has made it incumbent on the believers to explore nature:
Wafee al-ardi ayatun lilmooqineena Wafee anfusikum afala tubsiroona (51/20-21)
” In the earth are clear signs for those who get convinced (after thorough investigation or research), and also within yourselves. Then will you not exercise you vision?”
The more we gain knowledge of the physical laws that operate in the physical world, the more we get convinced of the social laws revealed to the messengers of Allah for the guidance of mankind, as both sets of laws arose from a common source and are equally immutable. Thus, the more we explore nature, the more the meaning of those verses which are related to natural phenomena, becomes clear. At yet another place, the Quran makes an emphatic declaration:
Sanureehim ayatina fee al-afaqi wafee anfusihim hatta yatabayyana lahum annahu alhaqqu… (41/53).
” We shall show them Qur Signs in the universe and withen themselves, until it becomes manifest unto them that this (Quran) is the truth.”
But how can the signs of Allah become visible to us unless we explore them. Our orthodoxy is averse to exploration of nature. They have enclosed science and religion in two watertight compartments. Thus, on account of their lack of knowledge of natural phenomena, while interpreting the Quran, they either ignore the interpretation of such verses as are related to nature, or, if at all they make an attempt to do so, they produce explanations which are simply ridiculous, to say the least about it.
The point raised by me that the commentaries of the Quran based on myths and Biblical stories and produced without sufficient knowledge of the phenomena of nature, are most unsatisfactory, is not without foundation. Let me clarify this point by means of examples. Amongst the orthodoxy, Sayed Abul Aala Maudoodi is considered to be an eminent commentator. I therefore shall quote instance from his commentary on the Quran entitled (تفهيم القران) “Tafhimul-Quran”
- The creation of life on the earth forms a significant part of the Quranic descriptions but our commentators have missed certain important steps in this connection, on accountant of their lack of knowledge of natural phenomena in general and of the chemical evolution on the earth in particular which occurred for millions of years prior to the first cell formation and appearance of life. The words:
Huwa allathee khalaqakum min turabin…(40/67)
Wahuwa allathee khalaqa mina alma-i basharan… (25/54)
Huwa allathee khalaqakum min teenin…(6/2)
Walaqad khalaqna al-insana min sulalatin min teenin (23/12)
Khalaqa al-insana min salsalin kaalfakhkhari (55/14)
Walaqad khalaqna al-insana min salsalin min hama-in masnoonin (15/26)
Which lie scattered in different parts of the Quranic text, when read together, present a beautiful description of a continuous chemical evolution, on the earth step by step, as a precursor of life., Being ignorant of the basic fact that evolution is a continuous process which began millions of years before the creation of life, they make mistakes in describing even those steps in creation which are related to events after the appearance of life. Moreover the words of the Quran related to chemical evolution are wrongly interpreted. For example the words (حَمَاٍ مَسنُونٍ) is translated as (بد بو دار كارا) ” putrific mud”. It is an established fact that decay was unknown on the earth before the origin of bacteria which are living objects. Thus the words (حَمَاٍ مَسنُونٍ) mean old mud which with the passage of time had undergone physical and chemical changes, but not putrefaction which is a biological phenomenon.
According to the holy Quran, life was created from (سُللـةٍ مِن طِين) i.e. extracts of clay and not from clay itself. سُللـةٍ مِن طِين forms the basis of, not only an important but also an impressive and comprehensive chapter of chemical evolution on the earth. But our ‘learned men’ still believe in the creation of man from a model of clay as a whole. Perhaps they are under the impression that the words (سُللـةٍ مِن طِين) as they occur in the Quran, are a mere poetical expression.
- In verse (32:9) it is said
Allathee ahsana kulla shay-in khalaqahu wabadaa khalqa al-insani min teenin Thumma jaAAala naslahu min sulalatin min ma-in maheenin (32/7-8)
“It is He who has made every thing which He has created in an appropriate form and initiated the creation of man from the inorganic matter of the earth; and made his progeny from an extract of (what may seem to you) a despised fluid.”
The Quran here refers to the pre-human chemical evolution which later passed on gradually to the stage of sexual reproduction in plants and animals and ultimately in-to man. But our orthodoxy still believes in the theory of Special Creation which has been in vogue since t he time of old Testament. In Tafhimul Quran. (Volume-4, Page 40) after laying great stress on direct creation, it is said :
“If at all it is accepted that the first life cell was directly created, then where is the hitch in accepting that the first individual of every living species of animals came in to being by direct creation by the Creator and from then onwards its progeny proceeded by mean of procreation.”
This type of explanation is the result of ignorance about the chemical evolution which occurred prior to the appearance of life, as well as of ignorance about the stage at which sex appeared in living organisms. That is why, in the above said statement. Maudoodi starts with an improvised acceptance of first cell having been directly created and bases his further argument in favour of ‘Special Creation’ of other animals on a wrong assumption. As a matter a fact the creation of first cells was only a continuation of chemical evolution. Our orthodoxy has got a poor knowledge of Organic Evolution and still believes in the theory of ” Special Creation”, inspite of the fact that actual forces which brought about evolution were gradually discovered and are now thoroughly understood. That is why they still go on sticking to the idea that the first man created on the earth was Adam who was brought in to existence directly from a model of clay. In fact, the word Adam, as it occurs in the Quran means ‘human species and not any particular individual.
- The Quran says
Ma khalqukum wala baAAthukum illa kanafsin wahidatin (31/28)
” Your creation and recreation is in no other way but as a single life cell.”
It means every time a new life starts, from a single cell both in unicellular as well as multi-cellular organisms. In the later case this single cell is a Zygote which id the product of fertilization of a female by a male cell. A Zygote has got the potentiality of developing in to either a male or a female adult. The Quran says:
Khalaqakum min nafsin wahidatin thumma jaAAala minha zawjaha … (39/6)
“He created you from a single life cell and made from it its opposite sex.”
But our ‘learned men’ translate the word (نفسٍ واحدةٍ) as ‘Adam’ and having been influenced by Jewish literature produce a fantastic story of the creation of Adam and Ewe, the Adam having been created direct from a model of clay and the Ewe having been taken out of his body by means of bisection.
- The Quran says:
WaAllahu anbatakum mina al-ardi nabatan (71/17)
“The divine plan has raised you up from the earth in the form of a (geneological) tree.”
In Tafhimul Quran (Vol. Vi, p-102) this verse is translated as follows:
“And Allah raised you up from the earth in a strange way”. And it is further said, on page 103:
“Here the creation of man from the earthly materials is expressed as being similar to the growth of vegetation from the earth. As there was no vegetation on the earth before and then Allah created them.”
This explanation based on ignorance of evolutionary processes makes no sense. In fact, not only the theory of “special creation” but also the idea that evolution took place from a single cell to man in a ladder-like fashion, is now obsolete. Actually as soon as a new type evolves, it becomes a potential ancestor for many simultaneous descendent lines and each line becomes specially adapted in particular way. The evolution thus forms the pattern of a branching tree.
- The holy Quran lays emphasis on the point that human evolution started long before man actually assumed the form of a human being i.e., long before he became capable of wielding a position of such magnificent importance that ‘Malaika’ the forces of nature bowed down before him. In these pre-human stages of chemical and biological evolution, man was not a thing worth mentioning:
Hal ata AAala al-insani heenun mina alddahri lam yakun shay-an mathkooran (76/1)
“Had there not been upon man a period of time when he was not a thing worth mentioning?”
In Taghimul Quran volume vi P-186 the verse is explained as follows:-
” One part of it (man) in the form of a microscopic male cell in father and the other part in the form of a female ovum in mother. For a long time man did not know that he comes in to existence from these male and female cells, until it was detected by means of microscope.”
Thus, according to Maudoodi the word دهر (a period of indefinite continuous duration) means that period of man’s existence which occurred before the invention of microscope. What a poor an irrelevant explanation. Being ignorant of the stages of evolution he errs at one step after another.
- The Quran while describing human evolution, says:
Waqad khalaqakum atwaran (71/14)
“He it is who created you in different stages, forms, measures and environments”
In the Tahimul Quran (vol. 6, P-101) this verse is translated by saying: and the words (طرح طرح) are explained further as the different stages of man’s development inside the mothers uterus. But in fact the word (اطوار) fits exactly in to a variety of steps in evolution of man, pre-human, as well as human, and even into the evolution of the physical universe, prior to it.
- The Quran says:
Thumma khalaqna alnnutfata Aaalaqatan… (23/14)
“Then from نطفه (the reproductive unit) we created علقه ‘Alaqa’.”
The word علقه is translated by almost all commentators as congealed blood (جما هوا خون) although not blood is present in this early embryonic stage; it is just a tiny mass of undifferentiated cells. The word علق root ع ل ق means a hanging object attached to a fixed object situated higher up. In this early stage it is only the blastocyst which can be called علقه. The very first impression one gets on observing a blastocyst under the microscope is that it is indeed an ‘Alaqa’.
- The origin and significance of Sex amongst plants and animals, form an important and interesting chapter of the science of Biology. The Quran says:
… waanzalna mina alssama-i maan faanbatna feeha min kulli zawjin kareemin (31/10)
We send down rain from the sky and produce in it (the earth) every kind of growth in pairs.”
Here the word زوج is significant and needs detailed explanation. But Maudoodi translates the words (كل زوج كريم) as قسم قسم كى عمده اشياء (a variety of good things.) (Tafhim vol. Iv. P-12). He has not been able to realise the significance of the word زوج and thus explain what is means.
- The Quran lays great stress on exploration of nature and in order to prove the truth of its fundamental principles, brings in to evidence a variety of natural phenomena but to our ‘learned man’ these phenomena are of no significance. For example, the subject of ‘colours’ is important in physics, in geology, in chemical and biological evolution, and in genetics etc. The Quran says, “Do you not see that Allah sends down rains from above? With it We then bring out produces of various colours. And in mountains are newly created strata of rocks, white and red of various shades of colour and intensely black. And so amongst men and crawling creatures and cattle are they of various colours. Those who possess the knowledge of these sciences really appreciated the mighty powers of the laws of Allah and are afraid of going against them. They know that His law is omnipotent and provides protection for those who abide by it.” (35:27-28)
The above said passage deals entirely with natural sciences and those people who are acquainted with them (i.e. scientists) are termed by the Quran as علما ‘learned men;
In Tafhimul-Quran (vol: iv. P 232) said:
“In these verses ‘knowledge’ does not mean philosophy history or mathematics etc, but it means knowledge of the attributes of Allah” as regards the words مختلفاً الوانها Maudoodi says: هر طرف تنوع هى تنوع which means ‘variety of forms alround. It is apparent how reluctant our commentators are in touching the subjects underlying the Quranic verses,
which are related to natural phenomena and how undignified they feel in calling those people علما ‘learned men’ whom the Quran calls as such. According to Maudoodi, عالم is one who is afraid of Allah, without seeing him.
- Our self designated ‘Ulema’ have got a poor knowledge of the scientific research that is going on pertaining to the vast spaces of the universe. The scientists have observed that the universe is expanding. The galaxies are running out with a tremendous speed. It is marvellous that the Quran pointed towards this phenomenon 1400 years ago and said:
Waalssamaa banaynaha bi-aydin wa-inna lamoosiAAoona (51/47)
“With power and skill. We did construct the heaven. Verily we are expanding it.”
Strenuous efforts are being made to solve the questions from what the universe started expanding? – Where is the center? – And what causes the expansion? On the other hand, our commentators of the Quran make no effort to understand the meaning of the word موسعون Tafheemul Quran (vol. 5, P151) explains it by saying:
“We have not finished up the creation of this grand universe in one stroke. We are constantly making توسيعin it.” It is not clear what Maudoodi meant by the word توسيع apparently he means an addition to the substance of the universe. But the Quranic word موسعون means ‘expansion in space’, not in substance. The later phenomenon is dealt with in the Quran at a different place when it is said:
…yazeedu fee alkhalqi ma yashao… (35/1)
“He adds to his creation according to his laws.”
- It was formerly believed that interstellar and interplanatory space must be empty. Only recently astronomers have been able to discover the interplanatory gas and dust. The research in this field has well advanced since the year 1950. Yet the Quran repeatedly pointed towards it 1400 years ago. A number of descriptions related to السموات والارض ‘the heavens and earth” are accompanied by the words وما بنيهما for example in (83/85), (20/6), (25/59), (44/7), (15/85), (46/3) and (44/38). The subject is of great importance in understanding the basic process of the creation of the universe and the star formation, as well as the exchange of energy and matter in between the stars and in between the sun and the earth. It is interesting to note that, so far as the modern research goes, the interstellar matter appears to be different in nature and origin from the interplanatory material; and that the Quran has also differentiated between the two. Whereas, in all other verses of the Quran where the words وما بنيهما occur along with the السموات والارض words that is used is سموات which is plural and which points towards interstellar space; but in verse (21/16) the word سما is used which is singular and points towards the space between the sun and the planets.
However, our ‘learned men’ have not made the slightest effort to find out why the Quran frequently repeats the words وما بنيهما Maudoodi translates it as:
“Everything in between the heaven and the earth” The translation may be correct but it is ambiguous.
- There are certain passages in the holy Quran in which only adjective principles are described, without any noun having been used. As a matter of fact these passages refer to the ‘fundamental forms of energy’. But our commentators having no knowledge of the working of forces of nature, have made a horrible mess in explaining the verses (51/1-6, 77/1-7, 79/1-6 & 37/1-2) one can find its details in my book, the Heavens, the Earth and the Quran, (Chapter VI)
- The Quran says:
Fala oqsimu bialkhunnasi Aljawari alkunnasi (81/15-16)
“Nay! I call to witness (the heavenly bodies) that recede: That flow without hindrance and (still) go on hiding.”
In Tafhimul Quran the words (جوارالكنس) and (خنس) are left without any explanation. The only heavenly bodies that appear periodically and again disappear silently; moving constantly within their respective orbits without any hindrance and yet hiding themselves for many years continuously, are none others but comets. The usual translations of the words (خنس) and (جوارالكنس) as ‘rising and setting of stars’ as Maudoodi calls them (Tafhimul Quran vol., vi P-268) are far from their true import. No. stars behave in this manner, it is the comets that do so.
- The Quran pointed out 1400 years ago that man can not penetrate the regions of heavens and the earth unless he gets power to do so i.e. unless he gains sufficient knowledge of forces of nature. And so it happened; man explored nature gain sufficient knowledge of the laws of nature and after fulfilling the condition of (الابسلطان) as mentioned in verse (55/33), reached the moon and is now making efforts to reach other heavenly bodies and penetrate in to the wide expanse of space around us.
However Maudoodi categorically denies the human penetration into space (Tafhim vol. 5, P-263). He translates the verse (55/33) as follows:
As a matter of fact the misunderstood the word (الابسلطان) and put its explanation in to some other imaginary channels by saying:
“This verse means that you can not escape the grip of Allah. It is beyond your power to do so.”
- The Quran says:
Qul a-innakum latakfuroona biallathee khalaqa al-arda fee yawmayni … (41/9)
“Say: Is it that you deny Him who created the earth in “Two Eras’
Faqadahunna sabAAa samawatin fee yawmayni … (41/12)
” So He completed them as seven (or a number of) heavens in Two Eras.”
Thus, according to the Quran, the creation of the heavens and the earth took place in Two Eras. The word (يوم) usually translated as ‘day’, mean here a very very long period of time. The Quran says, it may be a thousand years of your reckoning (32/5) or it may be fifty thousand years (70/4). The figures one thousand or fifty thousands, however, are not specific’ it means very lengthy period, may be millions of years.
In scientific term, the period of creation of the material world is called ‘Azoic’ i.e., without life. The Quran however, divides this period into two and calls it يومين (Tow Eras).
I translate the word يوم as ‘Era’ because an Era starts with a specific event. Modern scientific research throws some light on the division of Azoic Era, by the Quran, in to two, which is as follows – To begin with the entire space was full of smoke. ” He comprehended in His design the heaven when it was smoke” (41/11). Smoke, as we know is a mixture of gases and solid particles. Areas of condensation appeared later in this gas and dust cloud resulting in to the formation of Prostars, which further developed in to stars. The stars further became divided in to planets and other smaller heavenly bodies. The division of one complete whole of دخان)) in to prostars is a great event. Thus we may call the period of time before the occurrence of division of the complete whole of دخان)) as يوم الاولى)) or Era -I of the creation of the universe; and the period of time after this division till the appearance of life as يوم الثانى)) or Era-II.
On the other hand our so called ‘learned men’ who are averse to science but are fond of copying the Biblical stories translate the word (يومين) as ‘Two days’ and from the work ‘day’ they mean “The time between two successive sunrises’. Thus Maudoodi translates the word (يومين) as ‘forty eight hours’. In Tafhimul Quran vol. Iv, P-446; it is said :
“As soon as it was ordered, the matter condensed and shrunk obediently according to its Mater plan and within forty eight hours, the entire universe, including the earth, came into being” What a fantastic explanation?
The Quran divides the time of creation after the appearance of life on the earth into four Eras (اربعة ايام).
(يومين) plus (اربعة ايام) make (ستة ايام) ‘Six Eras’ of evolution (32/4). Maudoodi leaves the words (اربعة ايام) and (ستة ايام) without explaining, as to what they are and how long they lasted. But it is apparent that from (ستة ايام) he means six days of a week, because the Bible says so. The Bible describes that the creation of the universe occurred in six days, followed by a day of rest, the ‘Sabath’. That is why the Jews take rest on Saturday.
- The Quran says:
… yaAAlamu ma yaliju fee al-ardi wama yakhruju minha wama yanzilu mina alssama-i wama yaAAruju feeha … (57/4)
“He knows what enters the earth and what comes out of it, what comes down from the heaven and what mounts up to it.”
It is a vast subject which deals with the exchange of the physical and chemical forces between the outer space and the earth which change every bit of the earth’s substance, inorganic as well as organic. The exchange of radiation between the heaven and the earth is a subject of great importance. All the seasonal climatic changes and the environmental cycles which occur on the earth depend on this exchange. Living matter is interposed between these cycles, and as the earth’s components circulate, some of them become raw materials for the use of living matter. Dependant on these cycles, inorganic matter and living matter give rise to each other in a cyclic order:
…yukhriju alhayya mina almayyiti wamukhriju almayyiti mina alhayyi… (6/96)
“It is the divine law that causes the living matter to spring from the non-living and the no-living to spring from the living one.”
In Tafhimul Quran this verse is explained as follows:
“A grain in the interior of the earth sprouts and rises upwards. Rain falls from the heaven; Water vapours ascend from the sea, to the heaven.” What a limited explanation of a subject of unlimited nature.
So far I have briefly produced just a few examples, in order to bring into focus, how lack of knowledge of natural phenomena, affects the exegesis of the Quran. It is beyond the scope of this work to deal with the subject in full detail because the verses related to the phenomena of nature, cover about one eight of the Quranic text. However, it is worthwhile, if I mention at least one more example, in order to explain, how the subjects other than those related to the natural phenomena, are dealt with by our commentators, and how instead of explaining the Quranic verses from the Quran itself, they take pleasure in the display of distorted views based on the most hateful man-made stories, present in the Jewish scriptures. For this, we refer to chapter 38 of the holy Quran. The Quran says: “Remember our servant David, the man of strength and who ever bowed down to out laws” (38/17). “We strengthened his kingdom and gave him wisdom in speech and decision.: (38/20). ” Has the story of disputants reached thee? Behold they climbed over the wall of the private chamber. When they entered the presence of David and he was terrified of them, they said : fear not, we are two disputants, one of whom wronged the other; decide now between us with truth and treat us not with injustice, but guide us to the even path – This man is my brother. He has ninety nine ewes and I have (but) one. Yet he says, commit her to my care, and moreover he overpowers me in speech., David Said, ‘He has undoubtedly wronged thee, in demanding the (single) ewe, to be added to his (flock) of ewes. Truly many are the partners (in business) who wrong each other, not so do those who believe and work deeds according to the divine laws, and how few are the? And David gathered We had tried him; he asked for forgiveness of his Rabb, fell down, bowing (in prostration) and turned to Allah in repentance.” (38/21-24)
The case described in the above-said verses was a simple case of economic injustice. One man had ninety nine ewes and the other had only one and still the former asked the latter to transfer his single ewe to ho flock. David decided in favour of the latter and said that the former had done wrong. Moreover he lamented this unjust attitude that was common amongst business partners except a few. After making this decision David felt that the case was in fact his own trial by Allah because a wrongful and unjust economic system prevailed in his kingdom where the rich were getting still richer and the poor were getting still poor. David felt that it was his responsibility to put right this wrongful economic system and he thus bowed down to Allah in repentance.
It is amply clear that the case was one of economic injustice and there was dearth of those people who actually believed and worked deeds according to the divine, laws, as the words of the Quran (قليل ما هو) (How few are they) indicate. But our commentators being influenced by shameful Jewish fairly tales, have produced fantastic explanations of th e above said verses, Regarding the point as to why David repented and asked for forgiveness by his Rabb, our commentators have attributed disgraceful accustion to a person who according to the holy Quran was a pious man and who always bowed down to the divine laws. The accusations, brought about against David by the Jews, was that he had raped a certain woman who was the wife of (اورياحتى) an army officer in his kingdom: not only that, he also planned to get that officer murdered and after words married his wife. This fictitious tale described by Jews in *Samuel-II Chapter 11-12, has been almost fully accepted by some of our commentators, as stated in (Tafhimul Quran vol. Iv. Page 329); and others accepted it partly and brought it under lengthy discussions. Instead of outright rejection of this accusation on the basis of Quranic text, they have taken pains to discuss it at length. Maudoodi has written Pages After pages to disprove the accusation of rape, yet he could not resist the temptation of sticking to this fanciful tale by trying to prove the David had only a strong inclination toward that woman which was not objectionable. He thus explains the verse (38/24) of the Quran by saying:
“From the narration given in the Quran it appears that David only expressed his desire to Uriah-the-Hittite, to divorce his wife who on account of the great personality of David felt himself compelled to divorce her.” (Tafhim at Part 2, P=96).
No body knows to which Quran Maudoodi refers to. There is no mention of this tale in the Quran revealed to Muhammad (P.B.U.H.). The Quran describes only a case of pure and simple economic injustice prevalent in David’s time, for which he repented and determined to put things right. But our commentators are so much impressed by this shameful though attractive tale, of which there is no mention in the Quran, that they fail to use their own intellect and take guidance from the Quranic text only. It is surprising how they dare to play with the Quran.
Let me conclude by pointing our that late Allama Ghulam Ahmad Parvez was the poiner in the field of interpreting the Quran by the Quran itself. He produced his commentary entitled Matalab-ul-Furqan in urdu language. However there are people, especially those living abroad, who are interested in the study of the Quranic interpretations in English. They have asked me off and on to make it possible for them to have a glimpse of this new approach to the Quranic studies. It is beyond my capacity as a professional man, advanced in age, to undertake this gigantic task. However inorder to meet their demand. I have ventured to produce herewith the exegesis limited to Surah-e-Fatiha only; in the hope that this Surah being an interested in the Quranic research. Although I have explained it in my own way, especially while touching the points related to the natural phenomena, yet I have followed the pattern laid down in the Matalab-ul-Furqan.
Let me also admit that all that is said or explained in the following pages in not final or irrevocable. The text of the Quran is always open to further explanation and research, with the advancement of human knowledge, through ages. On the other hand, if any body points out to me a genuine error in my understanding any particular points I shall gracefully accept it.
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The concept of ‘Jahad’ in Islam has been grossly misunderstood, rather distorted. In the West, where it has been presented as barbarism, as aggressive use of brute force. The term, ‘militant Islam’, which has been in vogue in the world Press recently, is a follow-up of this very approach to the fundamental concept of Islam and a continuation of the old Jehad’ phobia of the non-Muslims.
The after-affects of the Crusades, which badly affected the relations between the Muslims and the Christians, still linger on. European Christians are still smarting under that defeat. They have, therefore, tried all sorts of means to eliminate the spirit of Jehad from amongst the Muslims, as it was this spirit that reduced their designs to dust. Through malicious propaganda campaigns, distortion on the true concept of Jehad and labeling of Muslims as barbarous killers and usurpers, they have depicted a horribly ugly picture of Islam in the eyes of the world. The significance of Jehad must, therefore, be elucidates in the light of the Holy Quran.
‘Jehad’ means striving utmost to achieve an objective. The primary objective before the Muslims is establishment of a social order based on the Quranic fundamental principles. All efforts to that end fall with in the meaning of ‘Jehad’. Armed fight against formidable resistance by self-seeking people, which is called ‘Qatal’ is also Jehad and has been allowed by the Quran. Otherwise, Islam is a ‘din’ of peace and safety.
Three questions arise here: (1) Is Islam really a ‘din’ of peace, justice, and tolerance? (2) Does it allow discriminate fighting against the enemy, or has it laid down certain checks and rules for it? (3) Under what circumstances did the Muslims fight against non-Muslims?
So for as the first question is concerned, the Holy Quran says, “There has come to you from Allah a light in the form of a perspicuous book wherewith Allah guides all who seek His good pleasure to a path of peace and safety.” (5: 15-16). The very word ‘Islam’ means peace. Mischief is prohibited in Islam. Thus it is said, “Do no mischief on the earth after it has been set in order.” (7:56). The Quran refers to past nations who were destroyed for spreading mischief in the world (18:4-5). According to the Holy Quran, the very object of sending Muhammad (peace be upon him), the last messenger of God, was to eradicate mischief which had spread on account of human whims and wishes replacing the Divine laws brought by the previous messengers of God (30:41). Belief in God and mischief cannot go together. They are opposed to each other. (38:28).
A Muslim society cannot accommodate injustice. “O you who believe stand out firmly for justice as witnesses to God, even as against yourself, or your parents, or your kins, or whether it be (against) rich or poor for Allah can best protect both.” (4:135). To do justice in a favorable and neutral atmosphere is meritorious but the real test comes when you have to do justice to people who are your enemies. The Quran says: “O you who believe, stand out firmly for God as witnesses to fair dealing and let not the hatred of others make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice.” (5:8). The Holy Quran has strongly prohibited killing anyone unless one is a murderer, or one who spreads mischief in the land.” (5:35). The Quran strongly prohibits plunder and arson whether the offender or the victim & a Muslim or a non-Muslim (2:205). In code of ethics, how can one expect the followers of the Quran to be cruel and usurpers. The vigorous enemy propaganda that Islam spread by dint of sword springs from sheer prejudice. Compulsion in the matter of faith is contrary to the basic Quranic teachings. The objective before a Muslim is so to develop his personality in accordance with the Divine laws as to survive physical death and reach a higher evolutionary stage in the life hereafter.
Can an unwilling convert then fit in the Quranic society? The Quran says, “If it had been thy Lord’s will, they would all have believed, all who are on earth; will you then compel mankind to believe against their will? (10:99). Again it is said, “So the truth is from your Lord. Let him who will, believe, and let him, who will, reject it.” (18:29). The Holy Quran has forcefully declared: “Let there be no compulsion in ‘Din’; truth stands out clear from error.” (2:256).
The question then is, under what circumstances did Muslims fight against non-Muslims? Islam is a ‘din’ which relates to a social organization encompassing all aspects of human life. In a State based on ‘Din’, the sovereignty is that of Allah or of the fundamental and immutable laws that lie safely inside the Holy Quran. The central authority of the State is only an instrument for the enforcement of laws.
Law & power
An organized political community cannot exist without power. According to the Holy Quran, the Book (law), the balance (justice) and the iron (power) hold a society together. Thus the law its enforcement with justice and the power to protect the rule of law are the basic pillars of a State organization under Divine guidance. The Quran says: “We sent afore time our messengers with clear signs an sent down with them the Book and the balance that men may stand forth in justice; an we sent down iron which is a great strength (for protection) as well as many other benefits for mankind.” (57:25). A law becomes law in reality when it has been enforced which cannot be done without power. But power too should be used in accordance with law for otherwise it will reduce itself to barbarism.
QITAL: Qital is only a part of Jehad, which is constant struggle for the establishment and protection of ‘Din’. It was first permitted to Muslims in self-defence only when the Quraish attacked Madina. Where the former had migrated to escape persecution by the Meccans to work for Islam in a more favorable environment”. To those against whom war is made permission is given (to fight) because they are wronged: and verily Allah is more powerful for their aid. (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes for no truthful cause except that they say, ‘Our Sustainer is Allah.;”
The Quran enjoins upon believers to protect non-believers living in an Islamic State and allow them the freedom of worship and protection of their places of worship. Are they not then entitled to protect themselves? The concept of religious freedom amongst non-Muslims is the freedom of worship and freedom to observe their rituals. But in Islam it is the right to determine a way of life or organize a political community based on the Quranic fundamentals. Anybody who comes in the way of this freedom, or interferes with this way of existence shall be resisted by the Muslims. The believers cannot exist in an atmosphere of slavery, though it may be called peaceful from the worldly point of view. Generally, a peaceful reign means the one where all sorts of crimes are forcibly eliminated. This is a positive act, but the Quran leads further. According to the Holy Quran, a real peace can exist only where there is subservience to Allah and Allah alone. Such is the only constructive reign. Subservience of an established truth to human whims and wishes is ‘Fasad’ (disorder and confusion) in the Quranic terminology. (23:71). Accordingly, any conflict between State based on Divine fundamentals on the one hand and one based on man-made laws on the other is a conflict between truth and falsehood between order and confusion. (7: 46). Thus fighting is allowed against the forces of evil which interfere in the establishment of a social order based on truth. But believers are commanded only to raise arms in defense of ‘Din’ and are not allowed to transgress limits. (2:19)
Fighting is also allowed in the event of violation of international contracts. Fulfillment of contracts is one of the basic teachings of the Quran. (5:1, 17:34, 16:91). The Muslims are bound to honour them as long as the other party is faithful to them. But a contract can be openly, not deceitfully, terminated of treachery on the part of the enemy is feared.
As against this, the modern pattern of international relationship is based upon diplomacy, which is hailed as an art and a commendable act, though it is another name for deceit. Machiavellianism governs modern inter-State relations. Alliances are made only to be broken at will. But the Quran has laid down specific rules for breaking a treaty. It is ordained that a period of four months should be allowed by way of notice after denunciation of the treaty; that due protection be accorded in the intervening period; that the door to repentance and reunion with the people f God should always be left open; and that if all measures fail and war is bound to be undertaken, it must be pushed with the utmost vigour.
Defence of weak
The Quran also allows fighting for the help of the oppressed. “And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men, women and children whose cry is: ‘Our Lord’! Rescue us from this town where people are oppressors and raise for us from thee one who will help.” (4:75). Evil consorts evil The good have all the more reason for drawing together by not only living in mutual harmony, but also by being ready at all times to protect each other. Otherwise, the world would be given over to aggression by unscrupulous people and the good will fail in their duty to establish peace and strengthen the forces of truth and righteousness (8:73). To help the oppressed, wherever they are and whatever is their race, colour, language and faith, is the duty of the Muslims enjoined by Allah. Allah’s plan is universal. He provides protection to all his creature. To protect one, He may have to check another. “And did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, the world would indeed be full of mischief: but Allah is full of bounty to all the worlds.” (2:251).
Within the Islamic State itself, use of force is allowed, first, against those guilty of treason against the State (5:36); and, secondly against the hypocrites who, though given the privileges of association with goodness and piety, persist in wicked deeds. (66:9)
The Rasool (peace be upon him) and his immediate successors acted upon these principles. It was because of their having strictly observed _______ is ethics that the Muslim rule of law spread over vast areas of the globe within a short span of time. But when the subsequent Muslim generations turned their back upon the teachings of the Quran, they were bound to reap what they had sown.
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Democracy has been a terrible experience in Pakistan since its inception. The events that took place before the year 1958 i.e., before the first Martial Law in the country and those that took place after the year 1988 i.e., the end of the last Martial Law, have been so tragic and so disgraceful that sometimes it appears as if no government exits in the country. The failure of Western democracy is due to the fact that Pakistan came into existence as the outcome of Two Nation theory and the very survival of the country depends on the introduction, here, of an Islamic Social Order. On the other hand, the basic principles of an Islamic Social Order are incompatible with the basic principles of Democracy. The remedy for this ailment is to make a fresh start from the very beginning, by giving the Constitution of the state a new form consistent with the Quranic fundamental principles. That is the only way to make the state of Pakistan happy, prosperous and progressive.
We must realize that the government of an Islamic State is neither Aristocracy, in which the supremacy is that of privileged persons; nor Autocracy, in which the supremacy is that of a dictator or an absolute ruler, nor Bureaucracy, in which the officials reign supreme; nor Theocracy in which the priestly class is the dominant authority; nor Democracy, in which the sovereignty lies in the people. It is ‘Quranocracy’, in which the sovereignty lies in the injunctions, laws and permanent values given by the Quran, which is the only final, complete and unadulterated revealed Book now present on the face of the earth.
The contents of this book shall serve as a guide in order to put into practice an Islamic Social Order in the country, free from exploitation of all kinds. In the first chapter of this book, we have described the defects of a regime based on Western democracy and the incompatibilities of Western democracy with the Islamic Social Order. Further, our own experience of democracy in Pakistan has also been described in some detail.
In the second chapter of this book, it is stated that after centuries of unsuccessful experiments based on man-made laws, modern man is still in search of the kind of laws which are eternal and unchangable, applicable to all, at all times. These laws are available inside the Quran only, which is the last revealed book of Allah. A fairly detailed description of permanent values has been provided in this chapter.
In the third chapter, it is stated that the emergence of Nation-States in the world, has produced a disastrous effect on humanity and that all the political, economic, moral and social problems of the world are the result of the concept of Nationalism.
Nationalism has split up humanity into offensive groups, each being a formidable foe of the other. It has been described further that internationalism is not the remedy for eliminating the effects of nationalism. The remedy lies in universalism, which is the political goal prescribed by the Quran for humanity.
In the fourth chapter of the book, the basic principles of the Quranic Constitution for an Islamic State has been described, which is the ultimate objective of writing this book and which shall serve as a guide to the making of a fresh constitution, in the event that we are determined to make Pakistan a real Islamic State. This constitution based on the fundamental principles of the Quran, shall provide a way out of the present difficulties in which we are deeply entangled. The survival of the State of Pakistan depends on adopting the way of life prescribed by the Quran.
The fifth chapter of this book deals with the position of AHADIS and FIAQ laws in the Constitution of an Islamic State.
In the sixth chapter of this book, it has been said that the Quran does not prescribe the form of Government for an Islamic State. It has been left for the Muslim Ummah to make its own decision in this respect according to the demands of the time. However, the forms of governments prevalent in the modern world have been described in this chapter for the interest of the readers, and finally the views of the writer in this regard.
I earnestly request the intelligentsia of Pakistan, especially our learned lawyers to ponder over this work and to give their comments; because it is only after a combined effort that we can reach the goal of establishing an Islamic Social Order in Pakistan.
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The political objective In this world, as laid down by the Quran for humanity, Is Universalism which shall be achieved by adopting a common code of life, obtainable from the Quranic Injunctions, laws and permanent values.
Tribal instinct persisted in all forms of living, from families and tribes to the present national states. Each social group promotes friendship between its members and hostility towards other group, in order to maintain its own interests. Thus hostility to the outer groups is as characteristic of nations as it was of tribes. Every nation has feelings of ill-will and hatred towards its neighbor. Nationalism is a feeling which is born out of hatred and lives on enmity. It does not form merely a political grouping, it has developed in to a cult which arouses in the Individual passionate devotion to his nation and violent antipathy to other nations. Aldous Huxley says: “Nationalism leads to moral ruin. because it denies universality, denies the existence of a single God, denies the value of the human being as a human being: and because at the same time It affirms exclusiveness, encourages variety, pride and self satisfaction, stimulates hatred and proclaims the necessity and rightness of war.”
Cavour has said: “If we did for ourselves what we do for our country, what rascals we should be. 14
He said further that:
the creed of Nationalism has had three unfortunate results
- Humanity has been divided into a number of nation states with conflicting interests.
- A powerful nation has tempted to exploit the -weaker nations on the pretext of safeguarding its interests.
The absence of moral restraint turned the world “into an arena of beasts” as Wakeman rightly observed, with only one principle in view, that is, might is right” 15
Politicians who follow Michiavelli believe that moral rules are not binding on them. They reject moral considerations as Irrelevant to political affairs.
Emery Reves in his book “Anatomy of Peace” says: Nothing can distort the true picture of conditions and events in this world more than to regard one’s own country as the center of the universe, and to view all things solely In this relationship to this fixed point. It is inevitable that such a method of observation should create an entirely false perspective. Yet this is the only method admitted and used by all the national governments of our world, by our legislators and diplomats, by our press and radio. All the conclusions, principles and policies of the people are necessarily drawn from this warped picture of the world obtained by so primitive a method of observation.
Within such a contorted system of assumed fixed points it Is easy to demonstrate that the view taken from each point corresponds to reality. If we admit and apply this method, the viewpoint of every single nation appears indisputably correct and wholly justified. But we arrive at a hopelessly confused and grotesque overall picture of the world.”
Then in order to prove this assertion the author describes fully how the international events between the two world wars look from some of the major national vantage points. He produced a vivid picture of the disaster which resulted from the mutual conflict of the nation states between the two world wars and the disaster that lies ahead, after the production of Atomic Bomb.
What step the nations of the world have taken to avoid further disaster that hangs on the horizon, as a result of the concept of Nationalism? They have invented Internationalism. There is no going away from the fact that none of the dominant conception of political thought is more abused, more discredited, more prostituted than Internationalism. It has been given a trial in different fields, in its association with the Catholic Church. Socialism, big business, communism, Jewry, Cartels, Freemasonry, Fascism, Pacifism, armament Industry and other movements and organizations with complete failure. Also Internationalism is an utterly misleading term: from its inception it has retarded political and social progress by half a century. Rather early in the industrial age, people of various classes and professions, within the various nation states, began to feel restrained and hindered by their national barriers. Efforts were made to try to overcome these barriers, by establishing contacts and working out common programmes, common movements, common organisations between groups with similar interests in different countries. In a certain time these organisations no doubt strengthened the position and Influence of those who took part in them. But far from overcoming the difficulties which induced their creation, such International organisations stabilized and perpetuated the condition responsible for the difficulties.
Internationalism does not and never has opposed nationalism and the evil effects of nation-state structure. It merely tries to alleviate particular symptoms of our sick world without treating the disease itself. Paradox it may be – but nothing has added more to the strength of national Institutions, nothing has fanned nationalism more than internationalism.
As for instance, the founders of the modem socialism assumed that the working classes ruthlessly exploited as they believed, by the capitalist states, could feel no loyalty towards their particular nations. The interest of the labouring masses in every country were thought to be in opposing and combating capitalist states. Consequently the proletariat was organized on an International basis in the belief that the loyalty and allegiance of the workers would be the exclusive appanage of the internationally organized socialist party. But allegiance and loyalty to a nation state has little, if any thing to do with the economic and social position of the individuals in that state. They made no attempt to weaken or destroy the nation state as such. Their aim was to overthrow the capitalist class and transfer political power to the proletariat within each nation state. They thought that such independent, heterogeneous national resolutions taking place in many countries through coordinated action, either simultaneously, or following each other, would solve the social problem; abolish war between nations, create world peace.
It was soon obvious that these “International working class organizations changed nothing in the worldwide trend towards nationalism. The socialist workers in the various countries had to choose between loyalty to their comrades in the Internationally organized class warfare within nations, and loyalty to their compatriots in the nationally organized warfare between nations, they Invariably chose the latter. Never in any country did organized labour withdraw its support from the nation-state in waging war against another nation-state, even though the latter had a labouring class with the same resentments, the same ideals and the same alms as its own. This failure was the result of the contradiction that lay in the discrepancy between the socialist political Ideal of Internationalism and the socialist economic Ideal of nationalism’ of the means of production. The socialist and communist leaders never called the attention of their followers to the fact that nationalism of the land and of industries cannot be reconciled with the political ideal of Internationalism.
The greater the extent of nationalism, the more power is vested in the nation-state, the more impregnable becomes nationalism. The stronger the nation-states, the more inevitable and the more imminent is the danger of conflict between them. The consistence of a large number of sovereign nation-states with all economic power In the hands of each nation is unthinkable without frequent and violent conflicts. The socialist and communist parties must realise that through their programme of nationalization they have done more to strengthen and buttress the modern totalitarian nation states than have the aristocracy or any feudal or capitalist ruling class.
Internationalism among the Capitalist forces was exactly similar in its development. Industrialists, traders, bankers, also began to feel hampered by the business of nation-states and began to form originations reaching beyond national boundaries. By and large they succeeded in arriving at agreements which excluded competition in their respective domestic markets, in fixing minimum prices and in regulating competition in world market.
Most of these measures were detrimental to the consumers the world over. Their greatest drawback was that they failed to solve satisfactorily or for any length of time the problems they were supposed to solve. Far from leading to a reconciliation of divergent national Interests, such International financial and cartel agreements served only to intensify nationalism among industrialists and bankers, all anxious to strengthen their own positions as national units, against other national units.
The national contingents of these international producing and financing Corporation bodies completely identified with the Interests of their nation-states and in every country governments were backing them by economic policies designed to strengthen the national representative in these International organizations. The direct results of these attempts to Internationalize big business led to an acceleration of economic nationalism, higher tariffs, Irrational subsidies, currency manipulations, and all other devices of government control repugnant to the principles of free enterprise.
League of Nations-
After the ravages of the first world war, the representatives of the nation-states, the national governments themselves, felt that something had to be done to bridge the constantly widening abyss between nations and to prevent a repetition of such devastating wars between them.
From this necessity, the covenant of the League of nations was born. According to the covenant peace was supposed to be maintained through regular meetings and discussions of representatives of sovereign nations having equal rights in an assembly of all nations and In a council comprised of representatives of great powers, as permanent members, and a limited number of smaller powers elected as temporary members by the Assembly. No decision was possible over the veto of any nation. Any national government could withdraw from the League, the moment it did not like the atmosphere.
The League had some success in the non-political fields. It did some excellent research work, and even settled from minor political clashes between smaller nations. But never in its entire history was the League able to settle a conflict in which one of the major powers was involved. After a few short years the construction began to totter and crack. The historical fact remains that never on any occasion was the League of Nations capable of acting when action would have involved the use of force against any of the leading military powers. The League of Nations failed because it was based on the false notion of internationalism, on the Idea that peace between national units, between sovereign nation-states, can be maintained simply by bringing their representatives together to debate their differences, without making fundamental changes in their relations to each other. One of the main reasons for League’s failure was the international disequilibrium brought about by economic, political and social forces In the post war period.
The United Nations Organisation is no better either. U.N.O. Is a complete failure as far as the solution of political and economic problems of humanity are concerned. It is no more than a medium to perpetuate exploitation of one nation by the other. Take for instance, the forcible, treacherous and unlawful usurpation of Kashmir territory by India and the forcible occupation of Palestine by Jews. The Issues lie unsolved with the U.N.O. from the last over forty years. Yet the big powers are reluctant to solve them, on account of their own selfish motives.
There are old Jealousies and ideological differences between Big Five’ and this we witness every day in the proceedings of the Genera Assembly.
The world outlook expressed by the word Internationalism, embodies the greatest misconception and the greatest error of our time.
As already said. Nationalism is the herd instinct. It is one of many manifestations of that tribal Instinct which is one of the deepest am most constant characteristics of man as a social creature. It is collective inferiority complex, as Emery Reves describes, that give conforting reactions to individual fear, loneliness, weakness, inability insecurity, helplessness, seeking refuge in exaggerated consciousness and pride of belonging to a certain group of people. Internationalism, 0i the other hand encourages Nationalism; it implies that various nationalities can be bridged. Yet it recognizes as supreme the sovereign nation-states institutions and prevents integration of peoples in to super national society. Thus the only way of escape from the miserable plight of mankind is the elimination of nation states from the maps of the world.
The world has played enough with the toy of internationalism. The problem we are facing is not a problem between nationalisms. It is a problem of crisis of human society caused by Nationalism and which consequently nationalism or Internationalism can never solve. What I needed is Universalism; a creed and a movement, clearly proclaiming that its purpose is to create peace by a legal order between men beyond and above the existing nation-state structure. (Extracts from “Principle of Political Science” by A.C. Kapoor and “Anatomy of peace” by Emery Reves.)
The holy Quran and Universalism
The Quran Says:
“Mankind was one single nation, and Allah sent messengers with glad tidings and warnings and with them He sent the Book In Truth, to Judge between people in matters wherein they differed. But the people of the Book, after the clear signs came to them, did not differ among themselves, except through mutual contumacy. Allah (by His grace) guided the believers to the truth, concerning that wherein they differed. For Allah guides whom He wills, to a path that is straight.”
The above verse explains that to begin with mankind was one single nation, Differences amongst them arose later on. Messengers of God came to them in succession, giving them the glad tidings of following the right path of union and warning them of the wrong path of disunion, and thus resolved their differences by means of the divine message that was revealed to each of them successively. The object of this resolution of differences was a step towards making mankind again, a one united nation. After the death of each successive messenger of God, people polluted the divine message by their own whims and wishes, resulting in to the reappearance of differences amongst them. The differences arose because their religious leades fell in to schisms and mutual envy.
This process of alternate belief and unbelief in the divine message, with the resultant resolution and recurrence of differences amongst men, continued until Allah revealed a Book the message of which could not be altered. It was not possible to make any change in it. By this message the last messenger of God (p.b.u.h.) laid down the foundations of “One Single Nation.” It was beyond the power of religious leaders to alter the message. Thus they invented a new approach to achieve their heinous design. They Introduced the idea that the entire message revealed to Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) Is not contained inside the Quran. A large portion of it lies outside. Thus putting the Quran into the background they gave the status of revelation to that which is outside the Quran I.e. to Ahadis. This resulted into the appearance of religious sects. Now with the close of the process of Nabuwwat, no new messenger of God shall come to resolve the differences so created. On the other hand, the Quran Is present with us in its original and unadulterated form. The only way to abolish Sectarianism Is to accept the Quran as our guide and accept it as the only book which contains the message revealed to the last messenger (p.b.u.h.) of God.
All other differences which arose amongst mankind, with the passage of time, such as those of race, caste, colour, creed, language etc. can also be Illuminated by means of subservience to the final, complete and the only message of God now present on the face of earth.
One God, one and the final code of life laid down by Him shall result into the formation of one world government.
The concept of a nation-state and of Internationalism is incompatible with the concept of Quranic Social Order. The former concerns the people living within geographical boundaries, while the latter promotes Universalism.
The holy Quran clarifies this point further by saying:
“Mankind was but one single nation, but differed (later). Had it not been for a divine wisdom that went forth, from Thy Rabb, their differences would have been solved long ago.”
This verse makes it clear that mankind, to begin with, was one single nation with one creed. Later, differences arose on account of their self interests which divided them and made them enemies of one another. It was not difficult, for the Creator of mankind, to remove their differences and make them follow one way of life, as in the case of all other animal species. But Allah had bestowed upon man the faculty of “freedom of choice” and will’: and at the same time had provided them guidance by means of revelation; so that humanity may be able to choose the right path, without loosing its freedom of choice. The revelation provides the solution to differences, so as to make humanity a one single nation again. Self interested persons provide obstacles in the way of this divine programme, but they are ultimately bound to fail and surely the humanity shall emerge as a single nation with one code of life provided by the Quran.
The holy Quran, when It addresses the believers, uses the words () and when it addresses humanity, the words used are() In the last chapter of the holy Quran it is said: (114:1-3)
“Say I seek refuge. with the One Who provides nourishment to mankind from its Initial stage to the stage of its final destination; with the One Who Is the Ruler (Sovereign) of mankind and: with the One to Whom subservience is due by the entire mankind.”
But whereas Allah is ()Sustainer of humanity () Sovereign of humanity and () the One to Whom subservience Is due by the humanity, the Quran is () (45:20) a clear guidance to humanity, a guidance beyond the boundries of time and space. a light which makes things clear and makes the ultimate goal of humanity visible.
Thus the object of the final revealed message of Allah, the safety of which Allah has taken upon Himself, is to bring humanity again to live under a Universal Order.
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After giving a trial to democracy the trend of modem western thinkers is that it is wrong to accept the majority decision as right under all circumstances. We have no objective standard, they say, for judging human action. The Italian patriot Mizzini says, “The principle of universal suffrage was a good thing in as much as it provides a lawful method for a people for safeguarding against forces of destruction and continuing their own government. However, in a people who have no common beliefs, all that democracy can do is to safeguard the interest of the majority and keep the minority subdued. We can, he adds, be subject to God or to man, one man or more than one. If there be no superior authority over man, what is there to save us from the subjugation of powerful individuals? Unless we have some sacred or immutable law, which is not man made, we can have no standard for discriminating between right and wrong. A government based on laws other than the God’s will, produces the same results, whether it be despotic or revolutionary one. Without it whosoever be in authority will be a despot. Unless a government conforms to God’s law, It has no right to govern. The purpose of government is to enforce God’s will; If a government fails in its purpose, then it is your duty to try for and bring about a change.” 23.
After centuries of unsuccessful experiments, with man made laws, modern man is still in search of the kind of laws which are eternal, unchangeable, applicable to all and at all times. The source would have to be super human, i.e., the laws given by God Himself. The West had naturally to seek the help of religion to ascertain such laws. They tried Christianity but there was no response. Christianity has got no laws to give. It Is all other-worldliness.
In the words of Joad – “Christianity places man’s life not in this world but in the next. While the next world is wholly good, this world is conceived to be, at least to some extent, evil. While the next world is eternal, life on earth is transitory. For man’s life hereafter, this, his present existence, is to be regarded as a preparation and a training, and its excellence consists in the thoroughness and efficiency with which the training is carried out. Nothing on the earth is wholly and absolutely good. and such good deeds as earthly life contains, are good only as a means of greater goods which are promised hereafter.” 28
Now the question arises, what is that code of life and where to find it?
The man-made laws are limited In scope, conflicting and ever changing; and are thus too fragile to solve the problems of entire mankind. A universal code of life, that can bring peace, can only be found in the objective laws given to humanity through the messengers of God. As the divine codes of life given to humanity by the earlier messengers of God, who appeared successively, have been subjected to the onslaught of human whims and wishes, the only code of life that comprise immutable laws applicable for all the succeeding generations of mankind, through all ages, is the one that lies safely preserved in the pages of the holy Quran, unapproached by falsehood. The Quran lays great stress on the study of history of the foregone nations and advise us to see that they rose when they acted according to the revealed laws and fell from the pinnacle of their glory when they acted in the opposite way. The holy Quran comprises laws, injunctions and permanent values The laws and injunctions given In the Quran. themselves form a vast subject. However we shall describe here only the most prominent Permanent values. There are two beliefs which form the basis of all the permanent values. Let us describe them at the outset–
(1) Belief in One God – According to the holy Quran the belief in One God is neither an academic problem, nor a dogmatic creed. It has practical bearing on the day to day life of a man. Belief in God means the acceptance of the sovereignty of God, or in other words it means the submission of one’s action to the will of God. The word Allah in the Quran is a proper noun and is a combination of the words and The word contains the following underlying concepts:
(1) To seek protection in a state of anxiety. (2) To become perplexed. (3) To be out of sight and to have an exalted status. (4) To accept subservience of some body or to admit sovereignty of some body.
Accordingly the Quranic word Allah’ means the Supreme Existence which is out of sight; whose extremely exalted position leaves the human intellect perplexed; whose sovereignty reigns supreme in the universe and to whom subservience is due by all components of His creation. Allah is beyond human perception
“No vision can grasp Him”.
A finite thing can not grasp an infinite object. However we know Him through His attributes given in the Quran. Accordingly belief in Allah means to accept the sovereignty of One whose attributes are given in the Quran.
The sovereignty of Allah reigns supreme in the physical world as well as in the human affairs.
‘There is no sovereign except Allah”
‘The command is for none but Allah”
“Nor does He share His command with any one whatsoever.”
On the other hand one who believes in Allah is subservient to only One Command and that command is of Allah Himself
“In the subservience of Sustainer, let no body admit any one as partner.”
Allah does not deal with the human affairs directly. In the human world He exercises His command by means of revelation, to his messengers. Thus it is said:
“Say!, shall I seek for judge other than Allah, when it is He Who has sent unto you the detailed book.”
Thus the sovereignty of Allah means the sovereignty of the book of Allah. This in turn is exercised through an organization. The central command of the organization of believers is an instrument to enforce the law and it is not allowed to exercise its personal authority.
2) The other basic concept upon which rest all the permanent values provided by the Quran is the Belief in human personality. Man is composed of two things, physical body and human personality. The physical body is controlled by the physical laws and human personality is controlled by the laws revealed to the messengers of Allah. Physical body is destructible, on the other hand human personality has got potentialities, which when actualized make the developed personality indestructible.
The development of human personality is controlled by human actions. This being a world of cause and effect, every action has got its reaction. In other words, every human action is rewarded. An act may be good or bad. A good act is one which is consistent with the divine laws; bad act is one which is inconsistent with the divine laws. The holy Quran says that the entire machinery of the universe has been created in order that no act of any human being remains unrewarded:
“Allah has created the heavens and the earth for constructive purposes and that every one be repaid for what it has earned, and that they will not be wronged.”
A good act produces a positive or constructive effect on human personality and a bad act has a negative or disintegrating effect. The act may be manifest or concealed, it makes no difference. It requires no outside policing. The reaction is automatic. Even an idea that flashes across the mind, has its impact on the human personality:
(40:19) “He knows the traitor of the eye and that which the bosoms hide.”
“And he who does good (to the extent of) an atoms weight will see it then and he who does ill an atom’s weight will see it then.”
Thus the human body ends with the physical death, while the developed human personality passes on to its next evolutionary stage. This forms the basis of the belief in the Hereafter and thus the basis of all the permanent values provided by divine guidance.
The rest of the permanent values are as follows:-
(1) Respect for Humanity
“We have honored the humanity as a whole.”
It means that Allah has created, all human beings equal by birth worthy of respect. This proclamation was made by the Quran, for the first time in human history, and it is a fundamental human right.
(Note – Meaning of equality – Absolute equality is, in fact, an impossible ideal. Equality means that special privileges of all kinds should be abolished. All barriers of wealth, birth, race and color be removed, so that no one suffers from any kind of social and political disabilities. All should have the right to Equality which means the absence of legal discrimination against any individuals).
(2) Criterion of position in Society
After birth the ranks are according to how far one’s actions are consistent with the divine laws:
“And to all are (assigned) degrees according to their deeds.”
Thus, the measure of greatness of an individual, are his virtues. The more one acts according to the divine laws, the more worthy of respect he becomes:
“Verily the most honored of you, in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most subservient to the divine law.”
The Quran thus changed the old Criterion of respect for man. From then onwards the measure of respect for man became his virtues instead of relative ones. This single change in the measure for respect for man declared, all the old systems of kingship, priesthood and capitalism, as wrong and hateful. However, the old measures of respect, especially the possession of wealth, still persist in the modern societies; one who possesses big property, bungalows, cars and all other amenities of life is considered respectful, even if he is a smuggler or a trader in narcotics.
No man shall be a slave or a subject to his fellow beings. A man can only be subjective to divine laws and not to any person, however highly placed he may be, even as high as a messenger of Allah:
“It is not for any human being unto whom Allah had given the scripture and wisdom and the Divine Message, that he should afterwards have said unto mankind, “Be slaves of me instead of Allah. He should rather say, “Be faithful servants of your Rabb by virtue of the code of life that He has given you and which you teach one another and constantly study.”
This verse is the charter of human freedom. The extreme individual or collective desire of man, is his desire for freedom. Slavery is opposite of freedom. A look at the human history shows that although slavery appears in so many forms but basically there are two forces which make other people slaves; the authority to rule and the dignity of priest-hood. Authority to rule appears in a manifest form and its entangle the human body; but the authority of the self-made representatives of God appears in an invisible and imperceptible form and it controls the human mentality. Inspite of his best efforts humanity has not been able to release itself from the grip of these two enslaving powers. Their hold goes on changing itself but the strength of their grip remains unaffected.
The holy Quran brought forth this revolutionary proclamation that no man has got the right to enslave others. In this verse the Quran has clarified the above two enslaving powers, generally called the Temporal and Spiritual. In spiritual powers, the messengers of God are the highest in ranks. The Quran has emphatically declared that even the messengers of God have no right to make others subservient to their personal desires. It is apparent that if even the messengers of God are not given this right, the priests stand no where. The temporal power in past ages was the autocratic rule of the kings and now dictators have come into being. The political thinkers rejected the rule of autocrats and gave the power of law making to the people and this came to be known as Secular Democratic rule. The Quran on the other hand has declared that law makers may be individuals or groups of individuals, it makes no difference. They have no right to make others subservient to their self-made laws. That is all slavery and not freedom. The Quran thus broke the chains of both temporal and spiritual slavery in one stroke.
But on the other hand, if there is no ruling power and no restraint on freedom, it shall result into Anarchy. Thus it is said that although no individual or a group of individuals shall rule others but there shall be the rule of God over them.
On this the priestly class said that God does not rule people directly; we are His representatives and thus subservience to us shall be the subservience to God. The Quran rejected this claim of the priests and declared that no human being can be the representative of God. He has given a code of laws, subservience to this code means the subservience to God and that is the true of freedom. In the subservience of man to man, all the human potentialities are crushed, but in the subservience of the book of God, man is able to actualize his potentialities which is the aim of human life in this world and which makes him fit to pass on to the next evolutionary stage of man in the hereafter.
4) ADL (or Justice)
It means a condition where every individual in a human society gets what is due to him, not only economically but all the fundamental rights that belong to him by virtue of being a man. This provides equal opportunities to individuals for the physical development as well as the development of their personalities.
“Indeed Allah commands justice and proportion.”
It means to give to every body what is due to him.
Adl is a very comprehensive subject. However, let us describe here a few examples of the Quranic Adl:
(a) To do justice in a favorable or a natural atmosphere is meritorious enough, but the real test comes, when you have to do justice to people who hate you or who are your enemies. Thus it is said:
“Oh you who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing and let not the hatred of others make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just. That is nearer to Allah. Allah’s law of requital is well-acquainted with what you do.”
(b) About transactions involving future payment it is said:
“Oh you who believe! when you deal with one in transactions involving future obligations in a fixed period of time, reduce them to writing. Let a scribe write down faithfully as between the parties.”
As regard orphan’s property it is said:
“And come not near the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength: give measure and weight with (full justice).”
Adl while fighting against the enemy:
“Fight in the cause of Allah, those who fight you, but do not transgress limits for Allah loveth not the transgressors.”
It means that war is permissible in self defense. When undertaken it must be pushed with full vigor; not reluctantly but to restore peace freedom for the protection of the Quranic Social Order. Women and children, old and infirm men should not be molested: trees and prop not destroyed.
Another splendid example of Quranic Adl:
“Oh you who believe! when there come to you believing women refugees, examine them, Allah knows best as to their belief; if you ascertain that they are believers, then send them not back to the unbelievers; they are not lawful (wives) for the unbelievers, nor are the (unbelievers) lawful (husbands) for them. But pay the unbelievers what they have spent for them.’
(5) Law of Equality
“Oh you men of understanding! in the law of Equality there is the secret of collective life for you.”
QISAS – Life for life in the case of murder. But Qisas is not a personal act. It is the duty of the Government formed on the basis of divine laws to prescribe and give punishment. The punishment should be proportionate to the crime committed:
(10:27) “But those who have earned evil, will have a reward of like evil.”
But one who apologizes must be pardoned:
(42:40) “The recompense of an is an injury equal there to (in degree) but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah”.
“Allah command justice and proportion in society.”
The words Adl and Ehsan come together in the holy Quran. In the Quranic Social order Ehsan is the next higher stage after Adl. As described earlier, Adl provides equal opportunities to Individuals. On the other hand, Ehsan means a condition where an individual (Inspite of his best efforts) lags behind, his deficiency is made good by others to restore the disturbed proportion of the society. This is not by way of charity but as a matter of right.
(7) Justice in Courts of Law
- (a) Evidence-
The Quran warns that while giving evidence in a court of law one must not conceal the testimony.
“Conceal not evidence; for whosoever conceals it – his heart is tainted with sin. And Allah knows all that you do.”
The Quran says that the concealment of evidence has a serious effect on your own personality because it taints the every source higher life. Again it is said:
“Oh you who believe! Be you staunch injustice. Give evidence for Allah. even though it goes against yourself or (your) parents. or (your) kindred, whether (the case be) of a rich man or a poor man, for Allah is nearer to both (than you are). So follow not passion lest you lapse or fall away. For lo Allah is ever informed of what you do.”
Pleaders in the court of law, are warned as follows:
“So be not (used) as an advocate by those who betray their trust.”
One who deceives others thinks that he has gained something. In fact he has lost something, on account of the destructive effect on own personality. Actually he has deceived himself. To plead the cause such people is prohibited:
“Fight not the cause of those who betray their ownselves.”
Moses repented after he helped a wrong person and said:
“I shall never be a helper to those who sin.”
(8) Personal Responsibility
Each person is responsible for his own acts. The consequences one’s acts can not be transferred to another:
“Every personality draws the meed of its own acts on none but itself no bearers of burden can bear the burden of another.”
is opposite to justice. It means to put a thing in a place where it should not be’. The Quran not only prohibits wrong acts but also that you should not be wronged:
Wrong not and you shall not be wronged.”
If every Individual on his part avoids wrong acts, the wrong shall be eliminated from the society and all shall be protected against it. The verse also means that you should gain so much strength that no body may attempt to do wrong to you.
“Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged”.
(10) Enforcement of Law
It is the duty of the Quranic Social order to enforce what is lawful according to divine law and prohibit what is unlawful. In other words Do’s and Dont’s are not a matter of preaching. They are rather to be made the law of the country:
“You are the best community that has been raised up for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong.”
Islam is a Deen’ which is non-sectarian, non-racial and universal, it is just a submission to the will of Allah. This implies (a) Belief in One God (b) doing right, being an example to others to do right and having the power to see that the right prevails (c) eschewing wrong, being an example to others to eschew wrong and having the power to see that wrong and injustice are defeated. Islam therefore lives not for itself but for mankind.
(11) Lawlessness is prohibited
“Allah loveth not lawlessness.”
(12) Render back the Trust
“Verily Allah commands you to render back your trusts to whom they are due; and when you judge between man and man, that you judge with justice.”
The holy Quran lays great emphasis on rendering back the trusts to whom they are due. The trust may be an ordinary deposit. On the other hand, ‘the reigns of power’ being the biggest and most sacred trust that any human beings can entrust to their fellow human beings, it is imperative that those who are given power must be most trustworthy and most fit persons, those who are capable of deciding the human affairs with full justice and fulfil the responsibilities entrusted to them.
(13) Quranic Economic System-
(a) Subsistence – The serving of man’s physical needs, though not an end in itself, yet it is the grim reality to be faced. Only that person can attend to the higher ideals of life whose mind is not assailed with pangs of hunger. According to the holy Quran. nourishment of individuals is the responsibility of the state:
‘Those who. If We establish them in the land, establish a social order based on divine law and provide nourishment (to the individuals).
(b) Contract between an Islamic State and the believers – In a Quranic social order the state becomes a symbol of divine attributes, guaranteeing the fulfillment of Allah’s promises. Thus the life and property of the believers are at the disposal of the state; and in lieu of it, it is the responsibility of the state to provide peace and plenty to the individuals i.e., a heavenly life on the earth:
“Allah has purchased of the believers, their persons and their wealth, surely for them is a heavenly life (in return).”
This contract between the state and the believers is not merely an abstract idea; it ought to be put in to practice.
(c) Sources of production are for the humanity as a whole
“It is He Who has created all that Is In the earth, for your collective benefit.”
“It is He Who has given you the authority on the earth and provided you (humanity) therein the means of fulfillment of your life.”
(d) All that is surplus to the needs of an individual belong to the society
“They ask thee (0 Rasool?) how much to spend (for the benefit of others) say: what is surplus to your needs.”
This spending on others is not by way of charity but by way of their human right: Those who spend on others shall say:
“We provide you with the means of sustenance only because it is prescribed by the divine law. We do not intend to receive any personal benefit from you, nor any thanks.”
(e) Giving to others, promotes the nourishment and stability of your own personality:
“In the stability of their own personality.”
(f) The Quran disallows an economy based on interest Thus it is said:
“Allah has permitted trade and forbidden usury.”
The Quran condemns and prohibits usury in the strongest terms and differentiates between trade and usury. The Quran only allows a return in lieu of one’s labor. In trade one puts in both capital and labor while in usury only capital is spent. Thus interest on capital is disallowed, while genuine profit in trade is allowed. Every type of profiteering is usury.
Sexual relationship between a man and a woman, other than marriage are strictly forbidden.
“And come not near adultery. Lo, it is an abomination and an evil way.”
Marriage is a contract between two adults by mutual consent only. It is not allowed to compel some one for marriage.
“Oh you who believe! It is not lawful for you to become masters of women forcibly.”
(15) Universal Brotherhood
“Mankind were but one community, then they differed.”
To reorganize universal brotherhood, the holy Quran has prescribed one fundamental code of life for the humanity. In other words one world Government:
“Oh mankind! There has come to you a (common) code of life.”
(16) The survival of the constructive
The welfare work may be confined within parties, countries or nations. According to the holy Quran, that which is beneficial for the entire mankind, survives:
“All that is useful to humanity, remains on the earth.”
As a first step towards achieving this goal, the holy Quran directs mankind to cooperate with one another without distinction of race. color, country or nation; in those affairs which are constructive and based on permanent values: and not in those affairs which are destructive and unlawful:
‘You cooperate with one another in matters of broad mindedness and matters consistent with the divine laws, and do not cooperate in matters of sin and enmity.”
(17) Division of mankind
Distinction between man and man on the basis of caste, color, race and language is forbidden. According to the holy Quran, there is only one criterion for the division of mankind. That division is on the basis of ideology. Those who believe in the permanent values of the Quran belong to one group. Those who do not believe in them belong to another group:
“It is He who has created all of you, some of you are non-believers and some of you are believers.”
(18) Freedom of choice
There is no compulsion for belief in the Quranic Fundamentals. A decision that is not willful is not a decision. Thus non-believers are under no compulsion to join the ranks of believers:
‘There is no compulsion (to follow) the way of life based on Quranic Fundamentals. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error.”
Thus there is a freedom of choice whether one follows this way or that way:
“Say: (It is) the truth from the Rabb of you (all). Then whosoever will, let him believe and whosoever will let him disbelieve.”
In a social order based on Quranic fundamentals, it is not only that the non-believers are allowed to disbelieve but the holy Quran enjoins upon believers to protect the non-believers and their places of worship:
“Had not Allah checked one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques in which the name of God is commemorated in abundant measures.”
But it is important to note that when one willingly joins the Quranic social order then it remains no more optional to follow this law or that. Then he is bound to follow the Quranic law.
(19) Defense of the Social Order by raising Arms
Believers are commanded to raise arms for the defense of the Quranic social order:
“Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you. But do not transgress limits, for Allah loveth not the transgressors.”
It means that believers are prohibited not to fight for personal motives or material gains: nor against those who do not cause hindrance in the way of the Quranic Social order. Limits must not be transgressed and women, children, old and Infirm should not be molested.
- (20) Hijrat
According to the holy Quran it is the duty of a messenger of God, as well as a believer, to strive hard for the establishment of a social order based on the divine law. His first step would be to establish it at the place of his birth. But inspite of his best efforts, if the circumstances around him are not favorable, he leaves this place and migrates to another land where he finds suitable environments. His objective is to establish a social order and not to worship a particular locality. The choice lies between his wealth, property, relatives and place of birth on one hand: and the Quranic Social Order on the other. He chooses the latter and sacrifices the former. This type of migration is termed by the holy Quran as ‘Hijrat’. It is not a migration in search of food or wealth nor is it an escape from facing difficulties; it is rather a more feasible and practicable procedure and a part of his struggle to establish the Quranic Social order. That is why the words and often come together in the holy Quran.
‘Those who believed and those who emigrated and strove and struggled in the path of Allah, they have the hope of being nourished by Allah in His specified pattern.”
The above brief description represents the more prominent and main fundamental principles that one comes across during the study of the holy Quran. These principles were proclaimed to the world. 1400 years ago, by an unlettered orphan (p.b.u.h.) who belonged to a backward, uneducated, unskilled and undisciplined community of idol worshippers of Makkah. He was born at a time when the edifice of the world civilization, that was built through the past 4000 years, was razed to the ground: when despotism was the rule of the day: when superstition dominated the human thought: when every tribe was thirsty of other’s blood: when the way of life prescribed by the messengers of the past throughout the world, which was meant to produce peace and integration, was thrown over board and was replaced by chaos and disruption. In short that was the time when the forces of disintegration prevailed upon the entire human society Inhabiting the globe.
The principles described above are immutable and provide guidance for the development of human personality as well as the smooth running of the human society, as truly today as they did 1400 years ago: and they shall remain as such for all times to come. Anything constructive that we find in the human world today, is in consonance with these principles; and anything positive, constructive and lasting that man is in search of shall be available from this very source. Anything repugnant to this code of life, is bound to be negative, destructive and perishable. The more a nation follows the above-said principles, the more it pulsates with life; the more a nation forsakes them, the more it is full of misery and disappointment. Any unbiased observation and any pragmatic test can prove the truth of this assertion. In the words of Iqbal:
‘Where ever you find a world displaying life and beauty from the soil of which blossom sublime aspirations: it has either already received light from Muhammad (p.b.h.u.). or is still in search of that light.”
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The Evolution of Governmental Organization
The history of mankind is a story of unsuccessful experiments, trials and tribulations. Man produces a concept, gives it a trial and after centuries of dreadful conflicts, bloodshed and wars, comes to the conclusion that the concept he had produced was wrong. Then he brings forth a fresh concept, which is generally opposite to the previous one and thus begins fresh experiments on it. That also proves unsuccessful, after passing through the same unfortunate events. The life of man, political, social and economic, has reached the present stage after passing through a series of such vicious cycles. However, in the following lines,we shall deal only with its political aspect.
Man is a social animal. He cannot live without a society. In a society, struggle between individuals or groups of individuals, for selfish motives, is a must. On the other hand, the resolution of conflicts needs a third party to put things in order. To begin with, the head of a family took this position which further evolved into tribal organizations, the head of a tribe assuming a supreme personality whose decisions became incumbent upon the individuals of the tribe; and thus a primitive form of government originated.
Later on, in the primitive societies, the priests became the dominant power (and this condition still continues in some societies). The priests came to be considered as representatives of deities, with superhuman powers. They became awe-inspiring and nobody could think of disobeying them. This gave origin to theocracy or sovereign power of priests.
At other places, some powerful persons began to suppress the weaker ones by their brutal force and thus gave origin to Autocracy or Dictatorship and Kingship. Later on, the autocrats realized that it was rather difficult to keep people subjugated to their brutal force which they thought must be associated with an aspect of a sense of respect by the people for them. On the other hand, the priests realized that for them in order to maintain a respectful position is getting difficult without a force. Thus the Kings and the priests, by mutual understanding, divided the supremacy of power into two parts. The priests accepted the Kings as the “Shadow of God” and the Kings declared that they have assumed the supreme power, by means of the intermediary of the priests. Thus in practical life the priests became the supreme power in matters related to religion and the Kings a supreme power in the worldly affairs.
It is apparent for what has been described above that in this change in the form of governments, the concept which remained common to all throughout, was the concept of the rule of one individual or one group of individuals over another group of individuals. The history of the rule and exploitation by kings and priests makes a tragic reading in which the humanity became crushed by their brutal force in one way or the other.
Origin of Democracy
When the beastly practice of Autocratic and Theocratic ruling reached its zenith, some western thinkers originated the idea that in order to eliminate the misery of mankind, the system of government should be based on the mutual contract of the people. Thus the theory of “Social Contract” was introduced by Hobbes and Locke. But Rousseau (1712-1778) gave it the practical shape. He said that every man wants freedom, but that is an impossibility. Thus, let every individual person allow his/her “will” to get absorbed into the will of the society. In other words, make the general will of the society the ultimate source of authority. Theoretically, it appeared to be a good idea but the difficulty arose in putting the general will of the people into practice. It was not possible to determine the will of every individual in a society. It was thus decided to base the form of government on the representatives of the people; and if opinions differ, the decision of the majority be accepted. Thus democracy came to be based on the following suppositions –
1) In a democratic government, there remains no distinction between a ruler and the ruled
and the people form their own government.
2) The will of the people can be determined through their representatives.
3) In order to find out whether a certain decision is right or wrong, the standard laid down is the opinion of the majority of representatives.
4) The minority is bound to accept the decision of the majority and the people as a whole are bound to obey them.
Thus Democracy came to be considered as the Government of the people, by the people and for the people. It developed chiefly in the West but the people of Asia and Africa who had suffered tremendously on account of their being exploited by the Autocrats and the Theocrats with the resultant misery and degradation followed them and took democracy to be a gift from Heaven and a panacea for their ailments.
The basic concept, in which democracy rests, namely that nobody has the right to rule another, is ideal but, the point is whether it has achieved or is capable of achieving the aim it has laid down before itself. The West (west of Pakistan) has been the cradle of democracy. Let us see what the thinkers of the West have got to say about it.
Professor Alfred Cubban of London University says in his book “The Crisis of Civilization”:
“Considering politics in terms of actual facts and not abstract theories, it must be acknowledged that the identification of ruler and the ruled, assumed in the theory of the sovereignty of people, is a practical impossibility. The government is one set of people and the governed another. Once society has developed beyond the smallest and the most primitive communities, they never have been and never can be the same. The pretence that they are, can only lead to the worst excesses of power in the state. (pg.68)
Another thinker Rene Guenon says in his book “The crisis of the modern world”:
‘If the world democracy is defined as the government of the people by themselves, it expresses an absolute impossibility and cannot even have a de-facto existence in our time any more than in any other. It is contradictory to say that the same persons can be, at the same time, rulers and ruled, because to use the Aristotelian phraseology the same being cannot be ‘in act’ and ‘in potency’ at the same time and in the same circle of relations. The relationship of the ruler and the ruled necessitates the joint presence of two terms; there could be no ruled if there were not also rulers, if though those may be illegitimate and have no other title to power than their own pretensions; but the great ability of those who are in control in the modern world lies in making the people believe that they are governing themselves, and the people are the more inclined to believe this as they are flattered by it and as they are in any case, incapable of sufficient reflection to see it’s impossibility. It was to create this illusion that ‘universal suffrage’ was invented. The laws is supposed to be made by the opinion of the majority but what is overlooked is that this opinion is something that can very easily be guided or modified; it is always possible by means of suitable suggestions to arouse in it currents moving in this or that directions as desired.”
Arnold J. Toynbee writes in his book, “The Present Day Experiment in Western civilization 1962” – Democratic parliamentary government is a less efficient and therefore a most wasteful regime than oligarchic parliamentary government and even a parliamentary oligarchy is inefficient and more extravagant by comparison with a well managed authoritarian regime.” Pg.35.
Defects of Democracy in practice
Ideals of democracy are difficult to be realized in practical life. Democracy demands from the people, a high degree of civic capacity which involves intelligence, self control and devotion to a common cause, and capacity to subordinate to it private interests and desires.
It relies on the spirit of give and take. It also demands time to share in common activities, to study the issues involved. The common man is indolent in politics. He is neither politically intelligent, nor sufficiently educated. He does not posses the capacity to understand political problems and is incapable of intelligent action. Democracy is suited to a state in which the people who want to exercise power, are capable of sinking differences and cooperating for the general good, and have acquired knowledge and judgment enough to elect suitable representatives and to judge as to the propriety of general lines of policy.
Leeky, accordingly characterized democracy as the government of the poorest, the most ignorant, the most incapable who are necessarily the most numerous. The average citizen has not the time, inclination and ability to inform himself on the affairs of the state.
Lord Bryce, a fervent exponent of democracy points to the following defects, based on his personal observations of the major democracies in the world-
- 1) The power of money to pervert administration or legislation.
- 2) Tendency to make politics a gainful profession.
- 3) Extravagance in administration.
- 4) The abuse of the doctrine of equality and failure to appreciate the value of administrative skill.
- 5) The undue power of party organization.
- 6) The tendency of legislature and political officials to play for votes in the passing of laws and in tolerating breeches of order.
Our own experience of Democracy in Pakistan
The conclusion one draws from the writings of the above said thinkers and others, is that democratic parliamentary government is a deception and a most wasteful regime in which the achievement of a small group people is to make fools of a larger group of people in a society; because opinion is something that can easily be guided or modified.
We, in Pakistan, can easily verify this fact from our own experience in this country.
The experiment of a democratic parliamentary form of government in Pakistan is a dreadful experience, since this country came into being. It’s failure is due to two different causes – 1) The deception and wastefulness lies in the very nature of this regime, as said by the thinkers in the West. 2) The incompatibility of the democratic parliamentary form of government with an Islamic government.
Every election in Pakistan brings forward a good number of imbeciles, most of them having poor academic backgrounds. Their opinion can easily be purchased by anybody who possesses sufficient money. They get elected because of their wealth, with which they buy votes and after being elected they get this wealth spent by them, multiplied manifold, by unfair means. They can even be bribed to change parties and neither the buyers nor the bought feel ashamed of it. The term Horse-trading is prevalent for this disgraceful act of these people. They are so much absorbed in greed and selfishness that they have neither time, nor capacity, to perform the function of law-making ( )
‘A human idea cannot arise from the brains of two hundred donkeys’.
A majority of them have no political background and some of them are mere oratorical prostitutes who stir human sentiments not by display of body contours but by display of rosy words. Oratory is a precious human virtue but it becomes a sinful act when used for selfish ends. In a country like Pakistan, politics is an easily accessible vocation. A shrewd politician maneuvers to hold a firm grip on the mental outlook of the products of his oratory. The following are the prerequisites of his success:
He is capable of constantly arousing the passions of his followers without allowing them to use their own intellect. He can create a strong impression amongst them that his thinking is mature and far superior to anybody else’s. He can act as diplomat rather than a man of principles. He is well versed in the at of agitation and law breaking. He knows how to bring abasement to his opponents, no matter how many lies he has got to invent. He can feign strong resistance without accepting the truth offered by his opponents. He is capable of capable of depicting the darkest picture of the present regime and the brightest picture of the future which he assures to bring about. He is competent to kindle the light of impossible hopes in the minds of his followers and in order to keep this trick going, he never states anything definite, but presents his programs in the guise of attractive reforms. At every step, he can firmly assure his followers that they are on the threshold of success. He can keep his followers fully confident that it is only their party, which is on the right path, all others are vague and unsound. He can keep them constantly on the move, never giving them respite to pause and think.
These leaders try to keep their followers away from the divine fundamental principles. As a matter of fact, they themselves are not aware of them. They themselves assume the role of a final authority in making decisions. Some of them succeed in creating such an awe amongst their followers that they are always spellbound and consider all that is said by their leader as immutable. But the hold of political leaders on the imagination of their followers is often not as firm and lasting as those of religious leaders. This is another category which has appeared on the scene of western democracy in Pakistan. As a matter of fact, they are either idiots, or hypocrites. If they are not able to visualize the clear Quranic guidance that the sovereignty in an Islamic State is that of the Book of Allah, they are idiots; on the other hand, if despite their belief in the guidance of the Quran, they still stick to a form of government in which sovereignty is that of the people, they are hypocrites. The billionaires use their finances and the Mullahs use their glib tongue; and the poor masses follow these exploiters like a herd of sheep, being impressed by their false proclamations and petty monetary gains during the election campaigns, only to lead a life of misery and degradation later on.
Inspite of all the drawbacks of a democratic parliamentary form of government, the Western people stick to it because they have got no other alternative. Those people are skeptical of divine truths. But in a country like Pakistan, whose origin and stay is welded with the belief in the divine truths, Western democracy is and shall always remain a source of disorder.
Western Democracy and Quranocracy are the two Incompatibilities
The basic difference lies in the issue of Sovereignty.
In a democratic parliamentary form of government, the sovereignty lies, as they say, in the people but in an Islamic State the sovereignty lies in the injunctions, laws and the permanent values which are contained in the Quran for the guidance of mankind and the safety and protection of which Allah has taken upon himself –
(15:9) “We have without doubt sent down the message and We will assuredly guard it (against corruption).”
Unless the question of sovereignty is taken up seriously, the establishment of an Islamic Social Order shall always remain a dream.
As stated earlier, the government of an Islamic State is only a machinery to put into practice the Quranic laws, injunctions and permanent values. In order to escape from this responsibility, our Pakistani lawmakers have improvised the term “Delegation of Allah’s powers” which forms a part of the Pakistani constitution. This concept of delegation of Allah’s powers is absolutely false. It too it’s origin amongst the Christians and gave birth to Theocracy. The Christian kings modified this concept to give it the form of ‘divine rights of the kings’. The same idea came into vogue amongst the Muslims after Caliphate changed into Kingship and Muslim Kings began to call themselves – ()
“Shadow of God on the earth”. From then onwards, the Muslim Kings became sovereign in the worldly affairs and the Muslim priests in the religious affairs; and the ‘Deen’ became split up into ‘church and state’.
As said earlier, the concept of delegation of sovereignty of Allah is absolutely false from the Quranic point of view. Delegation of power from one person to another means that the later gains absolute control of power for a certain period and that the exercise of this power by the former becomes suspended in the meantime. Secondly, the occasion for the delegation of power by certain authority arises when that authority itself is not present at the place where the power is to be exercised. But Allah is omnipresent. The question of His being not present, at any time or anywhere, does not arise. Allah does not delegate His Sovereignty to anyone, not even to His own messengers who themselves are subservient to His laws.
Now let us see the argument produced by mullah in support of this false concept of delegation of Allah’s sovereignty. They consider man as () and erroneously translate it as vicegerent of Allah which means that he exercises delegated powers of Allah. As a matter of fact, there is not a single instance in the Holy Quran where man is described as () successor of Allah. He is rather described as ( )
When Allah addressed the Mal’aika and said:
2:30 “I will create a ‘khalifa’ on the earth”.
It pointed towards the creation of a successor to the preceding generations that lived on the earth before mankind.
Moreover, in order to clarify the point that man is not successor of Allah, we shall have to clarify the meaning of the word Khalifa. There are three basic concepts in the meaning of the words with root ()
- (a) to succeed (b) to follow and (c) to undergo change. The Holy Quran is self-explanatory. It says:
25:62 “And it is He who made the night and the day () to follow each other”.
Again it is said :
(2:164) “Day and night coming one after the other”.
‘B’ can become Khalifa of ‘A’ only in his absence. ‘A’ may be dead or alive but ‘B’ cannot take his place as Khalifa in his presence. The following verses of the Quran support it:
Before Moses went up on the mount for communication with Allah, he said to his brother Aaron:
(7:142) “You shall succeed me amongst my people (in my absence)”.
And yet another place it is said:
(10:14) “Then We made you successors in land after them, to see how you would behave”.
Hud said to his people:
11:57 “(if you turn away from the Divine Guidance) my Lord will make another people to succeed you”.
About the people of ‘Aad it is said:
(7:69) “In that He made you successors after the people of Noah”.
The Holy Quran has, thus, amply clarified that a Khalifa is a successor in the absence of or on the death of his predecessor. Hence the question of somebody being
() does not arise.
The concept of () is the invention of individuals with vested interests who wanted to exploit people in the garb of Allah’s vicegerency. After the death of Rasool, when somebody used the word () for Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddique (first caliph), he repudiated it by saying, “I am () (successor to the Rasool), not () (successor to Allah).
Hence the words () as they occur in the Holy Quran, mean to hold reins of power with the purpose of putting into practice the Divine Laws in human affairs. Allah is the lawmaker. His laws are immutable and cannot be changed.
6:34 “Nobody can change the laws of Allah”
Not even the messenger of Allah:
3:128 “(‘O messenger of Allah!) You are not given the authority to change the laws of Allah”.
Allah is () i.e., The Only Sovereign. There is no sovereign except Allah. He is the only authority to whose laws subservience of man is due. As said earlier, in an Islamic State the central command of believers is an instrument to enforce the Divine Laws and it’s jurisdiction in Law making is confined within specific limits: it does not hold absolute rights of Law making. The law making in a Quranic society is a blend of Permanence and Change. The fundamental principles given by the Quran are Permanent and Immutable. The legislature of an Islamic State is not authorized to exceed the limits laid down by these fundamentals; yet it can make by-laws or change the existing by-laws, according to the needs of the changing times, within the boundary line laid down by the Quranic fundamentals, by means of () ‘Consultation’ . Even the machinery for implementation of () Shura is changeable with the change of time and circumstances, but shura itself is a permanent injunction. Thus the concept of delegation of Allah’s sovereignty or the delegation of power of law making by Allah to the legislature of an Islamic State is an erroneous one. The acceptance of this false concept of delegation of power means that a legislature can make any law according to it’s whims and wishes and that is exactly what has been happening in Pakistan. This concept is not only erroneous but also a source of grave mischief.
Allah is () ‘al’-‘IL’AHA’ which means the only Sovereign. He alone possesses absolute Power and it is imperative for human beings to be subservient to His Laws. The Quran says:
16:51 “Allah has said: take not for subservience two gods (ILAHAIN). For He is just one God”.
The delegation of Allah’s Powers means to make more than one Sovereign.
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“And the things of various colours that He has created for you in the earth, in them is a Sign for those who keep the working of the Divine laws before them”.
As stated earlier, the first living bodies on earth were single cells. These gradually evolved into animals and plants that we see now. The world today thus consists of unicellular as well as multicellular organisms, the basic unit being a cell. Every cell differs from the other in certain respects. Moreover the chemical constituents of a cell are changing every moment. New materials enter a cell. Reactions within a cell change the incoming materials into new compounds, some of which are redistributed within the cell substance, others including the waste products leave the cell. These changes are continuous. But inspite of all the differences between cells and changes within cells, there are certain basic features which are common to all of them. Functions of a cell are based on the properties of its chemical constituents.
BASIC CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS OF A CELL
95 per cent of the weight of a cell consists of four elements; oxygen 62 per cent, carbon 20 per cent, hydrogen 10 per cent and nitrogen 3 per cent. The rest 5 per cent of the weight of a cell consists of thirty other elements, including calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, magnesium, iodine, phosphorus, chlorine and sulphur as the main ingredients. In addition trace elements are present in particular types of cells. All the elements described above are present in the oceans. The cells having originated in the oceans, their contents and composition are a reflection of the oceanic water.
Minerals. All minerals present in a cell are present in the form of solution, except calcium salts which are present in the form of crystals around individual bone forming cells. Another element namely silicon is also present in crystal form in the outer cells of certain grasses.
Organic Components. As noted already, these are Carbohydrates (which include sugars and polysaccharides) fats, proteins, nitrogen-bases drivatives which include adenoL’iie phosphates and nucleic acids. Like minerals, some of the organic substances form hard parts, for example wood, horn and chitin (the external covering of insects).
Carbohydrates. These, as we know, consist of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. A carbohydrate with five carbons (C5H10O5) is called pentose. Common example is ribose. That with six carbons (C6H12O6) is called Hexose. Common examples are glucose, fructose and galactose. Sugars such as Pentose or Hexose are called monosaccharides as each represents a single sugar unit. Two monosaccharides joined together form a Disaccharide, a double sugar. Example is cane-sugar which is a combination of glucose and fructose. Two or more disaccharide molecules combine to make a polysaccharide. Examples are cellulose, glycogen etc.
Fats. As seen already, fats are formed by combination of one glycerine molecule and three fatty acid molecules. Like coal or petrol in an engine, fats serve as fuel in cells. They also form boundary membrances of cells where they contribute to controlling the movements of materials into and out of cells*
Proteins. Are polymers of Amino acids. A protein may contain any type, any number and any sequence ofamino-acids. Proteins may be categorised as Fibrous and Globular. Fibrous Proteins are relatively insoluble in water and provide the building materials for the structural framework of cells. Fats, carbohydrates and other materials get secondarily deposited in it.
Protein formation being under the control of nucleic adds, every organism has got specific types of proteins. Thus if protein from one organism is transferred to the body of another organism, it acts as a foreign body and produces disease. For , example bacteria give rise to disease when they infect a host. Proteins of one animal when grafted into another, do not heal into place.
Nucleic acids. As we know, these are nudeotide polymers. Nucleotide is a phosphate of a nitrogen-base plus simple sugar pentose. Pentose may be either Ribose or Deoxyribose, the latter containing one oxygen atom less than ribose. On this basis we may distinguish between Ribose-nucleic-acids (RNA) and Deoxyribose-nudeic-adds (DNA). DNA forms genes and RNA functions as an intermediary between genes and the sites of protein synthesis in a cell.
* Formerly fat was considered to be metabolically inactive substance. (For example, in human body it was supposed to be a reservior from which the body could draw calories during starvation or similar conditions. Its main day to day function was one of insulation against temperature changes and mechanical protection of underlying structures against minor trauma. We were also familiar with the aesthetic aspects of fat But it was not considered as an organ in its own right It is nbw known that fat plays a unique and central role in the economy of energy, a fact of which we were ignorant several years ago. To use an analogy, just as the capital of a bank cannot be allowed to be idle, so resources stored in the fatly tissue are not to be regarded as inactive or inert To extend the analogy, although the amount of capital represented by fat may be constant, there is a continuous borrowing and lending of funds, with the result that, provided the weight remains constant, a zero balance is struck.
Other constituents of cell. In addition to fats, carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids and Adenosine-phosphates which form the bulk of living matter, a cell contains hundreds of other organic substances. These are present in minute quantities and yet they may be extremely important for the maintenance of life. One category of these substances is known as pigments. Besides their aesthetic aspect in the living world, pigments perform various extremely important roles.
Pigments. Three types are particularly significant-
One group includes pigments known as Tetrapyrrols. A pyrrol contains a skeleton of five atoms of carbon and nitrogen arranged in a ring. Four such rings joined together form a tetrapyrrol. Tetrapyrrols of this type include red, blue, green and other varieties of pigments found, for example, in algae, in the shells of robin and other bird eggs and in mammalian faeces and urine
Fig.24.-PIGMENTS. (Chemical Structure)
In other tetrapyrrols, the four pyrrol rings are joined to form a larger ring in turn and in the centre of this larger ring is usually present a single atom of metal. A major pigment of this type is green chlorophyll, the central metal atom here being of magnesium. This is present in photosynthetic organisms. In another important type of ring-like tetrapyrrol, the central atom is iron and such pigments are red; for example, haemoglobin, the red oxygen-transporting substance in the blood of many animals (man and vertebrates generally).
(b) A second large group of pigments in organisms comprises carotenoids. They produce red, orange, yellow and brown colours. They are long chains of carbon atoms, with carbon rings attached at both ends of the chain. Two subgroups of carotenoids are the Carotenes and the Xanthophylls. Carotenes have a general formula C40 H55 and Vitamin A is its derivative. Named after the carrot in which carotenes are abundant, the pigments also occur widely in all leaves and are reponsible for the red, yellow or cream white colours of, for example, tomatoes, pumpkins, egg yolk, butter, milk and other plant and animal products.
Xanthophylls contain oxygen in addition to carbon and hydrogen. They are also widely distributed. A common Xanthophyll of leaves is lutien (C40H56O2), which is responsible for the yellow colours in autumn foliage( ).
(c) A third major group of pigments comprises the Anthocyanins formed among plants but not animals. An anthocyanin molecule is composed of several rings of atoms, the ring being joined in complex ways. They produce the deep reds and blues of plants as in many flowers, fruits and roots (e.g., beet-root). They are also manufactured in autumn foliage where they account for red colouration. They are water soluble whereas carotenoids and chlorophylls are fat soluble.
Most conspicuous in animals but not in plants is Melanin. It is responsible for yellow-brown, brown and black animal colours. Thus it occurs abundantly in hair, skin, in the inner layers of eyes and also in the interior membrances of some animals. Melanin is a chemical derivative of the amino acid tyrosine. Specialised pigment cells produce melanin, which accumulates in granules within such cells. If only a few melanin granules are present, the cell appears to be yellowish or brownish in colour. A black colour is produced by dense masses of granules.
The Holy Quran says:
“And the things of various colours that He has created for you in the earth, in them is a Sign for those who keep the working of the Divine Laws before them”.
“Do you not see that Allah sends down rains from above and leads it through springs in the Earth? Then He causes to grow therewith produce of various colours. Then it withers and turns yellow. Then He makes it dry up and crumble away. Truly in this is a message to men of understanding”.
These are the wonderful ways of the working of Divine laws in the physical world. We note how the same Carbon, Nitrogen, Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms in a molecule with change in their number and arrangement pattern, produce a variety of pigments. How the inclusion of a single atom of magnesium in a formula produces green colour, and the inclusion of an atom of iron produces red colour. How the addition of oxygen to carbon and hydrogen atoms (C40H56O2) produces lutien, a yellow pigment of autumn foliage ( ) and so on.
Meaning of colour. It would be worthwhile in this connection to describe what we mean when we say that so an and so object has got so and so a colour. For example, we know that a plant is green because it contains a green pigment called chlorophyll. Why does chlorophyll look green?
For this let us recall the electromagnetic radiation, already described in Chapter IV. The constituents of electromagnetic spectrum which are of different wave-lengths extend from radio-waves to cosmic rays. The wave-length decreases from radio-waves, through infrared rays, light rays, ultraviolet rays, X-rays, gamma rays, to cosmic rays. Thus radio-waves are longest and least energetic and cosmic rays are shortest and most energetic. The light rays or the visible spectrum which is a part of the electro-magnetic spectrum described above is again composed of rays of different wavelengths. They range from violet, through indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, to red in increasing lengths. Thus violet is shortest and most energetic, and red is longest and least energetic.
Colour is not an inherent property of an object. It is a sensation produced by stimulation of optic nerves by particular light vibrations and its interpretation by brain cells. When light from a self-luminous source falls on a particular object the light rays may be absorbed, or transmitted, or reflected by it. The transmitted or reflected rays when they fall into our eyes, are carried by optic nerves to optic lobe area of brain which interprets these vibrations as colour. (Fig. 25).
Fig.25.-LIGHT RAYS. (Light rays reaching an object may be partly reflected, partly absorbed and partly transmitted.)
An object which absorbs all types of light rays (from violet to red) falling on it would be invisible. A black object approaches this theoretical condition very closely. An object which transmits all light rays, would be completely transparent and would thus be invisible. And an object which reflects all light would appear in the colour of light falling on it.
Thus the colour of an object depends on what type of light rays are absorbed, transmitted or reflected. Just as a radio-receiver is sensitive only to a portion of electromagnetic spectrum known as radio-waves, so the human eye is sensitive only to a portion known as visible spectrum or light rays. The optic lobe of the brain is so constructed that it interprets the shortest most energetic light waves as colour violet and the longest least energetic as colour red. Light waves of intermediate increasing wave-lengths are inerpreted as indigo, blue, green, yellow and orange respectively. Viewed together in a properly mixed beam such as sunlight the whole spectrum of visible waves is interpreted as white.
The subjective nature of colour is revealed in colour blind persons. These people can identify certain colours and not others. The defect here lies in the visual mechanism of the viewer and not in the object viewed.
We may conclude therefore that the light waves which chlorophyll reflects and transmits, and which make chlorophyll appear green to us, have intermediate length and energy content; and that the light waves which chlorophyll absorbs must be the other components of the visible spectrum, namely, the long red waves and the short blue-violet waves.
Similarly the colours of plants, animals, rocks, minerals and in fact of all the living and non-living objects around us varies with their respective chemical and physical structure and consequently upon the rays of solar spectrum that each of them reflects, transmits or absorbs. What a beautiful arrangement, for the display of beautiful colours in this beautiful world.
The scientists who explore nature and gain knowledge of natural phenomena are termed ‘Ulema’ by the Holy Quran:
“Do you not see that Allah sends down rains from above? With it We then bring out produces of various colours. And in the mountains are newly created strata of rocks, white and red of various shades of colour, and intensely black. And so amongst men and crawling creatures and cattle are they of various colours. Those who posses the knowledge of these sciences ( ) really appreciate the mighty powers of the laws of Allah. They know that His law is omnipotent and provides protection for those who abide by it”.
The word in the above verse is significant. Usually it is translated as “tracts”. But actually it means the newly created strata of the Earth’s crust.
means ‘new, or ‘newly created’.
Let us recall that most sedimentary rocks were formed by erosion of other rocks. The action of air and water causes exposed rocks to crumble and the rainwater gradually moves the pieces downhill. After movement has ceased, some substance in solution in water deposits a cementing material which holds the pieces together to form a rock. If the pieces are large, we call it Conglomerate. Pieces about the size of sand grains form a sandstone. When the mass is like a fine smooth powder, the rock becomes a shale. The normal succession of sedimentary rocks is conglomerate, sandstone, shale and limestone. The limestone which is made principally of the shells of marine animals is formed only in clear water, and indicates the presence of very sluggish streams preceding the rock formation that could not carry even small particles. The sedimentary rocks may be turned into metamorphic rocks under the influence of heat, pressure, water and motion. Thus shale became slate, granite became gneiss, limestone became marble and sandstone became quartz. The changes involve recrystallisation and the formation of new minerals. Rocks are made up of minerals, and minerals themselves are composed of one or more of the natural elements. The compounds of different elements, e.g., carbon, copper, iron, aluminium, calcium etc., produce different colours. The colours of rock strata are further influenced by other factors. For example, limestone is white in colour,
but when quite near the shores, mud may be mixed with it to give it a grey colour. Metamorphosis may change colours: for example, sedimentary coal is brown in colour, and when subjected to heat and pressure bituminous coals are formed which are dull-black in colour.
In the above-said verse (15:28), the display of various colours in the newly formed strata of the Earth’s crust is referred to. Moreover this is the only verse in the Holy Quran where the word is used, and here it is used for those who possess knowledge of natural phenomena.
OTHER CONSTITUENTS OF CELLS
In addition to the above constituents of cells there are other complex substances, such as derivatives of corbohydrates which form cells of animals and plants; and lipid derivatives, such as waxes which form covering films in plants; or cutin and sebrin which function as water-proofing and evaporation-resisting materials. Similarly, ralated to fats are the sterols, complex ring structures which form the molecular framework of a number of vitamins and of animal hormones which play major functional roles.
Weathering also affects the colouration of newly sedimentary rocks. Rocks exposed to weather for a long time assume a different colour. The chief agents responsible for weathering of rocks are (1) Air (2) water (3) Temperature changes and (4) plants and animals. The methods by which they cause changes are of two kinds;
mechanical and chemical. It is only chemicals which cause change of colour. Air alone has no -effect on rocks but air and water together are the chief agents of weathering. Oxygen and carbon dioxide are the gases of the air which with water cause important chemical changes in rocks of all kinds. Oxygen and water attack the iron found as a constituent of many dark coloured minerals, changing it to ferric oxide (rust). That accounts for the yellow, brown and red colours of most rocks and soils. The carbonaceous materias of plants also cause change in the colour of soils. The red colour is due to oxidised iron, produced by the chemical weathering of some rocks. There are two classes of iron compounds, ferric and ferrous. The ferric are red, yellow and brown in colour. Ferrous compounds are almost colourless. Hence a reduction of ferric to ferrous compounds by the carbonacous material of the humus, results in a change from red soils to colourless and finally black soils.
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“How do you disbelieve in Allah (when you see that) you were without life and He gave you life”?
BASIC PROPERTIES OF LIFE
The cells that exist today are composed of the same seven types of chemicals which constituted the first cells on the earth billions of years ago; i.e., water, minerals, Adenosine – phosphates, polysaccharides, fats, proteins and nucleic adds. The early cells drew inorganic as well as simple organic matter directly from sea water for their nourishment. This was a simple form of Nutrition. The raw materials thus used are called nutrients. The term food is used for complex organic nutrients.
As already noted, the decomposition reactions of organic materials such as fats and carbohydrates yielded energy which was captured by Adenosine-phosphates. These especially ATP served as a readily available source of energy for the chemical reactions within the cells. This process of trapping energy from one source, and transferring and packing it up in a different substance, we call Respiration. What is the significance of Respiration? The bonds between the Hydrogen, Oxygen and Carbon atoms of Carbohydrates and fats are low energy bonds, but for the complicated cellular reactions to take place very high energy source is required. This high energy source becomes available in ATP. Fuel molecules are smaller in number but high in energy contents. Thus ATP provides a readily available source of high energy within cells. We may call respiration a power generator which maintains life. Carbon dioxide is one of the products of respiration. As the respiring cells increased in number, the quantity of carbon dioxide consequently increased. Some of it dissolved in the sea water and the rest escaped into the atmosphere where it accumulated and formed a screen for high energy solar radiation, a portion of which could not reach the earth any longer.
With the availability of nutrients and ATP, a cell could duplicate nucleic acids. With increase in the number of nucleic acids more proteins could be manufactured. Proteins being enzymes could manufacture more fats and polysaccharides. Thus a cell could maintain itself by replacing the worn-out or damaged parts. This we call Self repair.
As the synthesized compounds got accumulated within cell, it became larger in size. Thus synthesis led to its Growth.
New types of compounds came into existence giving the cells new properties. This resulted in molecular Development.
As described before, nucleic acids became the ultimate controllers of cellular reactions. The cellular nucleic acids came to be known as Genes. Being gene-controlled cells became stable, so that the activities of cells such as nutrition, respiration, synthesis and growth could continue as before. That is why the cells still exist today and exhibit the same basic characteristics as the early cells.
The growth of a cell on account of synthesis and internal molecular reproduction could take place up to a certain limit, after which the cell became unstable. Thus the cell reproduced itself. By reproduction the cells not only became multiple but their generations continued in succession. Thus all cells that exist today are successors of the first cells on the earth. As the first cells increased in number, the nutrients in the sea water decreased. The cells had to compete for the supply of nutrients. Thus only those cells could continue their existence, which Adapted themselves to the new environments, i.e., either they could utilise the existing food more efficiently or more rapidly, or could find new methods of producing or procuring food.
Any change in the properties of cells could take place only if the genes had changed. This could occur by the occasional fusion of two cells. The fusion could be either partial or temporary, with resultant exchange of certain genes; or could be total and permanent, so that the genes of both cells became pooled together. With the change in genes the new cell properties became stable. This process of pooling or exchanging genes amongst two different cells came to be known as Sex. Genes could also change through Mutation which provided cells better chances of survival than sex. After mutation more cells and their offspring could get food in spite of competition.
The fusion of cells and gene change have always been at random. Any two cells may fuse by chance and any genes may get exchanged after fusion. This had two types of results. The new cells produced by pooling or exchange of genes had their competitive capacity increased or decreased according to the type of environments in which they were placed. The cells that adapted the new environments persisted in the succeeding generations. On the other hand, poorly adapted cells became extinct. Such changes, with the appearance of new types of cells with new characteristics, through successive generations, constituted Evolution.
Thus we may summarise that a living cell has got the following basic characteristics:-
(1) Nutrition (2) Respiration (3) Self repair or the maintenance of internal steady state (4) Synthesis resulting into growth and development (5) Reproduction and (6) Adaptation through sex and mutation. Collectively we may term these properties as life.
Nucleic acid probably lay freely suspended inside the first cells in the form of clumps as we can notice in the primitive cells today. It must have happened that after accidental rupture or after death of cells these clumps escaped into the sea water where they remained inactive. But if they happened to enter another cell, they again became active and began duplicating themselves by using the living apparatus of that cell. These clumps of gene forming nucleic acid may have been the ancestors of viruses because this is how the viruses behave today. For example in the case of smallpox virus, it becomes active when it enters the cells of human body, and it begins to duplicate and produce specific types of protein. As the new types of protein are not tolerated by the human cells, reaction occurs in the form of disease.
EARLY CELL TYPES
Two types of cells are important from the point of view of early evolution. As noted above, first cells had nucleic acids freely suspended in their interior. The nucleic acids together with certain proteins formed nucleoproteins. In some of the descendants of early cells loose clumps of nucleoproteins concentrated towards the centre, but lay scattered inside the cells in direct contact with the endoplasm. This type of cell came to be known as Monera. Bacteria and Blue-green Algae are the modern representative of Monera group.
Bacteria are literally found everywhere, floating with dust particles in the air, in salt and fresh waters, in the water of hot springs, frozen in ice, in the upper layers of soil and in the bodies of plants and animals. They are often called germs or microbes because they live on or within the human body as parasites and bring about disturbances chiefly chemical which we term disease. Besides these parasitic forms which are few in number, human life and life in general on the earth, as we shall see in later chapters, could not continue long without the services of bacteria. Their size varies from 1/1000 inch to 1/50,000 inch.
In another major type that descended the first cells, the gene containing nucleoproteins concentrated in the centre of each cell, forming a loose mass. A thin membrane formed round the mass, and the nucleoproteins no more remained in direct contact with the rest of the cell substance. This type of cells came to be known as Protista. The loose central mass of cell later evolved into compact nucleus. All the modern plants and animals have descended from protista.
NUTRITIONAL EVOLUTION ( )
There had been a tremendous expansion of living mass from the first cells on earth. It makes an interesting study from Quranic point of view how with the gradual disappearance of the free molecular food from the oceans, the nutrition of a vast number of organisms that branched out from the first cells, could be maintained. This happened in the following ways:-
(1) Parasitism. With the disappearance of free molecular food from the oceans certain organisms began to procure food from the bodies of living organisms. We noted above, how viruses entered living cells and became reactivated. Similarly a cell could invade another cell for obtaining food. This type of procuring food is called Parasitism. Even today viruses and bacteria get their food by Parasitism.
(2) Saprotrophism. Here the organisms began to live on dead bodies of other organisms. Many types of bacteria adopted this method of obtaining food. Decay in the dead bodies of organisms results from the invasion of nutrients-gathering saprotrophic bacteria.
The decay was unknown on the earth before saprotrophism, but these bacteria are so abundant today that anything exposed to air or water immediately begins to decay.
(3) Holotrophism. It is the process of eating whole living cell. In parasitism the smaller cell eats the substance of the larger cell, while in holotrophism the larger cell engulfs and eats the smaller cell.
It is evident from the above description that the above three methods of food gathering did not add anything to the total food stores on the earth. It was just one cell eating the other dead or alive. Thus unless some new food sources had become available, the life would have gradually ceased to exist on the earth. Such food sources did evolve and the cells themselves started manufacturing food within themselves. In early stages we noted that nutrients were produced by methane, ammonia and water, and energy was supplied by the sun and lightning in the clouds surrounding the earth. This method of food production became inadequate at a later stage, as with the disappearance of permanent clouds, lightning became rare; and with the formation of carbon dioxide screen in the earth’s atmosphere, high energy solar radiation became unavailable. Thus the evolution of some new methods of manufacturing organic compounds became necessary. Water was still abundantly available and in addition to methane and hydrogen cyanide, carbon dioxide was available directly within cells as a source of carbon, this being the product of respiration. With water and carbon dioxide, cells could produce organic compounds, provided a source of energy were available. ATP could supply such an energy but this itself was an organic compound and its production depended on an external source of energy. Thus cells could continue to exist only if they evolved methods of utilising external sources of energy. This happened in two different ways:-
Chemosynthesis. Early Monera and Protista, especially certain types of bacteria, started extracting energy from sulphur, iron and nitrogen compounds. They absorbed these compounds into their bodies and on account of certain reactions that took place bonds were broken, and bond energy became available for the synthesis of carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water. This process is called chemosynthesis and is still availed by certain bacteria. But the process had its limits, as it depended on the availability of certain chemicals.
Photosynthesis. Another method in which materials and energy could be available in abundance came into existence. A huge source of energy was present in the light rays of the sun, only an energy-trapping substance was required within the cell. Such substance came to be evolved in the form of Chlorophyll. The process of manufacturing organic compounds, by means of chlorophyll and light rays, came to be known as photosynthesis and is still used by the plant cells all over the world. It saved the living organisms from premature extinction.
We note that out of the five food procuring methods that came into existence sooner or later, i.e., Parasitism, Saprotrophism, Holotrophism, Chemosynthesis and Photosynthesis, only the last two added to the total food supply on the earth. It appears that Monera adapted all methods of getting food except eating. Protista adapted photosynthesis as well as holotrophism (eating). Two different types of organisms evolved from the protista. One group became specialised in photosynthesis and all the plants on earth evolved from this group. The other group specialised in holotrophism (eating) and became animals.
The above description of nutritional evolution illustrates a beautiful link in the chain of Allah’s ‘RABUBIYYAT’ which is one of the attributes or basic characteristics of God and means the provision of sustenance to an object from its initial stage to the stage of final destination. The Holy Quran begins with the verse ( )
“Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the universe”.
FREE OXYGEN MOLECULES REAPPEAR ON THE EARTH
As sated earlier, with the formation of first compounds, free molecules of oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon disappeared from the earth. With the appearance of photo-synthesis free molecular oxygen reappeared and continued gathering in the atmosphere. The photosynthesis reaction is as follows:-
Carbon dioxide + water = Carbohydrates + oxygen.
This brought about a slow oxygen revolution on the earth. Oxygen has the property of reacting readily with other substances. Thus it reacted with methane to produce carbon dioxide and water:-
CH4 +202= C02 + 2H2o
It reacted with ammonia to produce water and nitrogen molecules:-
4NH3 +302= 2N2 + 6H2O
It reacted with Hydrogen cyanide to produce carbon dioxide, water and nitrogen molecules:-
4HCN +502= 2N2 + 2H20 + 4C02
Thus the ancient atmosphere containing methane, ammonia and hydrogen cyandie transformed into a modern one, containing water vapour, carbon dioxide, nitrogen molecules and oxygen molecules. At high altitudes, under the influence of high energy radiation from space, oxygen molecules reacted with one another to produce Ozone. As noted earlier, several miles above the surface of the earth, Ozone forms a screen against the high energy radiation and this is one of the guards ( ) that protect life on the earth. Modern animals and plants are not adapted to high energy radiation and are killed by exposure to it. But the Monera and Protista which evolved before the formation of Ozone layer were adapted to high energy radiation and are still radiation resistant.
Free oxygen also reacted with the solid crust of the earth and converted pure metals and minerals into oxides which form the ores and rocks of the modern land. Moreover with free oxygen available in abundance a much more efficient form of respiration came into existence. The earliest cells had anaerobic (without air) form of respiration known as fermentation. It consisted of decomposition of food molecules without oxygen, which liberated energy that could be used in the formation of ATP. Free oxygen, on the other hand, could provide more energy, per food unit consumed, than in fermentation. Thus with free oxygen available, aerobic (with air) form of respiration came into existence.
Fig. 22.–EFFECTS OF REAPPEARANCE OF FREE OXYGEN MOLECULES ON THE EARTH.
Fig. 23.–SUMMARY OF EARTH’S EARLY EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY.
(In relation to the appearance of life)
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“He Who created you from inorganic matter”.
Composition of the Stars and Planets. A star is a globe of incandescent gas. It may be assumed that a star condenses out of interstellar material which is mainly hydrogen. As it contracts and the internal temperature rises, nuclear reactions begin. As stated earlier, the hydrogen nuclei fuse to form helium nuclei with a slight loss of mass and release of energy. The supply of hydrogen being not inexhaustible, drastic changes take place eventually. There are two distinct types of stellar population. Population I, consists pre-dominantly of very hot bluish or white stars, as well as interstellar gas and dust. Population II, the brightest stars are red giants with little interstellar material. Red stars are later stage of evolution. Here the interstellar material has been used up in the formation of fresh stars. It is suggested that with the passage of time, the sun will become a red star of larger diameter and greater luminosity than at present so that earth will become too hot to support life. At a still later stage this may be followed up by a rapid collapse of the sun into a very small dense star, radiating feebly because of continued gravitational contraction, like the companion of Sirius (double star).
Solar System. As already noted in Chapter II, several hypotheses concerning the origin of solar system have been proposed, such as Nebular hypothesis of Laplace, the Planetesimal hypothesis, the Tidal Disruption theory of Jeans and Jeffreys. The view now widely accepted is that the solar system is the result of excessive rotation of a gaseous ball which was made up of free atoms. Hydrogen atoms were probably more abundant and the other heavier types were present in lesser quantities. The sun was formed when most of the atomic gas, hence most of the hydrogen, gravitated towards the center of the ball. Even today the sun is composed mostly of hydrogen atoms. A swirling belt of gas remained outside. Eddies formed in this belt and in the course of time it broke up into a few smaller clouds. These spinning spheres of glowing gaseous clouds were probably the early planets.
THE STORY OF
Chemical Evolution on the Earth (in relation to the Appearance of Life).
Thus to begin with, the Earth was probably a glowing mass of free hydrogen and other types of atoms, which eventually became sorted out according to weight Heavy ones such as Iron and Nickel settled down in the center of the Earth where they are still present. lighter atoms such as Silicon and Aluminium formed a middle layer. The very lightest such as Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen an Carbon, collected , collected in the outermost layer (Fig. 13).
|fig. 13.—the eLEMENTS COMPOSING THE EARTH
The elements became sorted out according to weight. Heaviest ones sank into the centre, relatively light ones formed the middle shell and extremely light ones formed the outer shell.
Temperatures must have been too high in the beginning for atoms to become linked together in the form of stable compounds, as the bonds would have been broken as fast as they might have formed, but under the influence of the cold of cosmic space, the earth began to cool down gradually. With the passage of time as the temperature of the earth became low enough, relatively stable compounds came into existence. Compounds thus formed multiplied and free atoms disappeared.
As noted above, the outer layer of the gaseous ball that made the early earth consisted mainly of Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen and Carbon atoms. As it cooled down enough to allow the formation of compounds, these four types of atoms played an outstanding role. As a result, even today 95% or so of the substance of all living matter consists of just these 4 elements.
On the basis of their known chemical properties, these elements presumably became linked into some half a dozen compounds as below:
The first three of these compounds came into existence not only on the Earth but on the other planets as well. For example, enormous amounts of water, methane and ammonia of undoubtedly abiogenic origin, are present today on the surface of the planet Jupiter in the form of thick permanently frozen solids. Methane and ammonia are also present on Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Apparently these compounds must have been formed there as on Earth, but being too far away from the sun the surfaces of these planets probably froze before any further bonds could possibly occur. On the hot earth, however, the early compounds could interact further and give rise to new compounds later on.
Origin of First Mountain Ranges and Collection of First Compounds in Sea Water. As the hot gas ball of the Earth, gradually cooled down temperatures became low enough to allow some of the gases to liquefy and some of the liquids in turn to solidify. While passing from the liquid to the solid state, the very dense solids, like iron and nickel, sank into the liquid and as stated already, settled down in the center of the earth; while others floated like great icebergs, some sticking out of the liquid higher than the others, like cork and wood floating in the water because of the specific gravity being different in each case (Fig.l4a). We know that the earth’s crust is composed chiefly of two kinds of rocks, known as granite and basalt. The granite with a specific gravity of 2.7 and the basalt with a specific gravity of 3.0, both floated in the liquid earth mass whose specific gravity was 5.7. But granite stuck out further like cork in water while basalt floated like wood (Fig.l4b). Consequently, when the entire surface had cooled down to a solid, it must have been irregular, with
Fig.l46.”Masses of Canaanite and Basalt floating in liquid rock or Magma.
granite standing higher than the basalt. Thus the middle shell of lighter substances in the gas ball of the earth (Fig. 13) gradually solidified to become the earth’s crust, and the wrinkles and folds so formed gave rise to first mountain ranges. Surrounding this crust was the outer atmospheric covering which at temperatures then prevailing still remained gaseous. Up to this stage water was only present in the atmosphere in the form of clouds which surrounded the earth’s crust, for probably hundreds of miles above its surface. As the temperature of the solid earth underneath was too high, water could not stay there in liquid form. As soon as it touched the surface of the earth, it evaporated immediately. But as the earth’s crust became cool enough to allow liquid water to stay on, rains started. There was a continuous downpour for hundreds of years. Rivers flowed down from the heights of early mountains and water collected in the depressed areas to form the early seas (Fig. 14c). Atmospheric gases-methane, ammonia, carbon, dioxide and hydrogen cyanide-were washed down from the atmosphere into oceans. Salts and minerals also collected in the ocean water. These were obtained from three different sources, firstly from the land surfaces brought down by the rivers, secondly from the sea-shores, dissolved by the violent tides, thirdly from the Fig. 14c. “Early seas formed over basalt interior of the earth brought by
the molten lava bursting into the seas. This dissolving of gases and minerals into the ocean water was an important event with regard to the origin of life on the Earth.
ROLE OF FIRST COMPOUNDS IN THE ORIGIN OF LIFE
Role of Water. Life is not possible without water and water has always been the most important single component of living matter. It makes 60 to 90 per cent of the weight of living organisms, being more abundant in young cells or young organisms than the older ones, and in lower aquatic animals than in higher terrestrial types. Three-fourths of the earths surface today is covered with water and this is of great importance in the economy of living objects. It plays a fundamental role in life (a) in its being the best solvent for inorganic substances and for many organic compounds; (b) it favours the dissociation of electrolytes dissolved in it; (c) it has high surface tension; (d) it has got great fluidity; (e) it has a great capacity to absorb heat. It is thus an excellent medium for chemical reactions to take place. Moreover water was originally the only good source of hydrogen and oxygen. Both of these elements form the basis of building material of living bodies. But as noted already, free atoms of hydrogen and oxygen became unavailable soon after the origin of the earth. Water molecules then became the chief source of supply of these atoms. Even today water is the only usable source of hydrogen and one of the important sources of oxygen. Water thus took the role of a key which opened the door to life. The gases and minerals dissolved in the ocean water reacted with each other and with the water itself to form the early organic compounds and the subsequent chemical evolution led to the emergence of most complex organic compounds which became the precursors of the units of life. The point shall be amply illustrated in the following pages. After the life started on the earth, water still maintained its fundamental role in its control.
The Holy Quran says:-
“And We made from water everything living”.
“And He kept His control post (of life) on water”.
Role of carbon. The chief actor on the stage of life set by water was Carbon which is a versatile element, with convalence of four, i.e., it can link with four atoms of same or of different kinds. Apart from this, carbon atoms may link up directly to other carbon atoms to form chains of varying lengths. Such as: But these are not open chains, they form parts or fractions of whole molecules in which various other atoms or groups of atoms are attached to the carbon. For example if carbons of two or more methane molecules are joined into a chain, their hydrogen atoms will be bonded to carbon as follows:-
No other element approaches the self bonding capacity displayed by carbon.1” The compounds like methane in the early oceans must have reacted with other compounds present there, giving rise to a large variety of carbon containing compounds. This happened to be a very important event in the evolutionary history of living matter, because carbon compounds provided the basis for the synthesis of numerous molecules which constituted the structural framework of living bodies, the carbon compounds are thus known as Organic Compounds.
‘Silicon can do this but only up to a limited degree. It can, however, give huge structures when bonded through oxygen atoms as: But silicon is not found intensively in living organisms.
COMPOUNDS OF CARBON
Among the numerous organic molecules which came into existence in the early seas, five categories became especially significant from the point of view of later developments
These are (1) Sugars (2) Glycerines (3) Fatty acids (4) Amino acids and (5) Nitrogen bases. The structural make up of these compounds is shown in (Fig. 15). Note that in each case a carbon skeleton, either a chain or a ring, forms the basis of the compound and that various group patterns of hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen are linked to it.
- Sugar. — Sugars are short chains of carbon; 6 or 6 are common in organic matter. Other elements are H and 0. Sugars with five carbons are Pentose, those with 6 carbons are Hexose.
- Glycerines. – Glycerines are chains of three carbon atoms. Other elements are same as in sugars, i.e, H and 0.
- Fatty Acids. – Fatty acids are chains of carbon atoms 2-20, other atoms are H and 0. Carboxyl group COOH is at the end
- Amino Acids. – They also contain COOH group. In addition contain NH2 (amino group). Both groups are attached to carbon; also attached is a carbon skeleton (R) which varies in structure considerably.
- Nitrogen Bases. – There are two major sub-groups, PURINES and PYRIMTOINES. Both contain ring structures of C and N; ring being single in pyrimidines and double in purines.
Sugars. Here carbon skeleton is a short chain which has five or six carbon atoms and they are particularly common in living matter. C5 sugar is called Pentose, an important example is ribose (C5H10O5 ). C6 sugar is called Hexose, example is glucose (C5H10O5 ). In sugars as in other carbohydrates the only elements attached to carbon are hydrogen and oxygen.
Glycerines. Also contain the same elements as sugar i.e., Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen; but contain three carbon atoms in a chain.
Fatty acid. They also contain the same three elements as sugar and glycerine but carbon chain may vary from 2-20 or even more atoms. One end of a fatty acid molecule always terminates in COOH group called the carboxyl group which gives the molecule its acid properties.
Amino-Acids. Like other acids they also contain carboxyl group and in addition carry NH2 or amino group. Both the carboxyl and amino groups are bonded to a carbon atom. To this atom is also attached a chain or ring of carbon skeleton.
Nitrogen bases. Nitrogen is also invariably present in Nitrogen bases which include two major groups Pyrimidines and the Purines. In both of them the molecular skeleton is always a ring containing carbon as well as nitrogen atoms, the ring being single in Pyrimidines and double in Purines.
Under conditions that prevailed in the primitive earth and on the basis of structural configurations it is presumed that the above five categories of organic compounds might have been formed as follows:-
Presence of cyanide could have provided useful material for Carbon and Nitrogen Rings.
Oparin in his book, ‘The Origin of Life’ proposed that earth in its early stages had a reducing atmosphere of Methane, Ammonia, Water and Hydrogen, and that organic compounds might be formed under these conditions. The hypothesis was accepted and followed successively by famous scientists like Urey and Bernal, and in 1953 was submitted to rigid experimental control by Stanley L. Miller in the Chemical Laboratory of the University of Chicago in U.S.A. Miller constructed a special apparatus in which for a longest period of time (one week) was produced an electric discharge in an atmosphere constituted precisely by aqueous vapours, methane, and ammonia. The water circulated continuously in changing states, from the liquid state in the boiling flask to the gaseous state in correspondence to the electrodes, and then again for condensation in the liquid state in the flask. It was observed from the first day that the water was light yellow in colour and then turned decidedly to dark red at the end of a week. It was evident that the colour depended on some organic compounds formed during the experiments. These compounds were submitted to a very precise chemical analysis and were identified as Amino acids.
Source of activation energy and reaction energy for the above Reactions. Two different sources of energy were undoubtedly available on the primitive earth. One of these was the powerful electric discharge in lightning which must have occurred almost continuously in the early cloud-laden atmosphere. Secondly, although light rays could not pass through water vapours forming dense clouds around the earth for a long time, high energy radiations of the sun, such as Ultraviolet rays, X-rays and others could however pass through them. The energy from these two sources could have either acted directly on the gas molecules of the atmosphere and the resulting compounds could then have been washed down by rains into the seas. Or the reactions could have taken place in the waters of the oceans where methane and all other necessary ingredients were present in solution.
The early organic compounds described above, subsequently made possible the synthesis of macromolecules with unique chemical properties.
LATER ORGANIC COMPOUNDS
Presumably five major and several minor groups of new molecules emerged from the interactions of early organic compounds. Later, these came to have particular significance in the origin of life. The five major groups were:(l) Adenosine Phosphates (2) Polysaccharides (3) Fats (4)Proteins (5)and Nucleic acids.
Adenosine-Phosphates. These belong to a highly important class of compounds known as Nucleosides. A nucleoside molecule is a combination of a simple sugar and nitrogen base. For example:
Ribose (Pentose sugar) + Adenine (Pyrimidine)= Adenosine (Nucleoside)
Various kinds of sugars and Nitrogen bases in the early seas must have combined to form various nucleosides, including Adenosine. Plenty of phosphates could also be available in sea water which when combined with adenosine formed
Adenosine + 1 Phosphate = Adenosine Monophosphate(AMP)
Nucleotides- Nucleotides ( Adenosine + 2 Phosphates = Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP)
Adenosine + 3 Phosphates = Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)
Biologically occurring derivatives of phosphorus play a Key role in the energy transactions of living organisms. ATP is a ‘high energy compound’. The expression ‘high energy compound’ or ‘high energy bond’, as used in biochemistry, has a meaning quite different from the physio-chemical significance of high energy bond. As noted early, in physical chemistry a ‘high energy bond’ is one which requires large amount of thermochemical energy for dissociation. In biochemistry, on the other hand, the expression ‘high energy bond’ refers to the large free energy emissions associated with definite reactions of that bond such as hydrolysis or group transfer.
ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) has got one phosphate group more than ADP (Adenosine diphosphate). The addition of this third phosphate group to ADP requires a great deal of energy which may be provided by various energy yielding reactions, particularly decomposition reactions of organic material like sugars and fatty acids. The ATP so produced is a rich source of energy. If the bond between the second and third phosphate groups is broken, the energy released becomes available for the support of other chemical reactions. ATP thus serves as an intermediate product, it traps energy from one source and makes it available for a different reaction. This has got a great significance in the living matter today. For example the carbohydrates in the animal tissue cells, such as muscle cells, are utilised as a direct source of energy which is liberated when glycogen or glucose is broken down through a long series of phosphorylated intermediates and finally oxidised to carbon dioxide and water. Possibly, ATP has been the basic unit of energy transfer throughout the ages even before living matter existed. Solar energy continued to supply energy for reactions but AdenOsine phosphates provided an alternative to it as a readily usable chemical energy source which could produce reactions independent of solar energy. This phenomenon had an important role in the origin of life because reactions involving the synthesis of complex organic compounds in living bodies cannot avail energy from physical sources directly. They require chemical energy and this is supplied mainly by ATP.
Polysaccharides. These are combinations of a few or many monosaccharide molecules. Polysaccharides may be composed of a single kind of monosaccharides (simple sugars), as in the case of Glycogen which contains several thousands glucose units; or Cellulose in which 2000 units are contained: or they may be composed of two or more kinds of monosaccharides.
The chemical process in which molecular units of similar or identical types are synthesized into a single larger molecule is known as Polymerisation.
Properties of Polysaccharides. (1) Building materials. (2) Energy source.
Fats. These are combinations of glycerine and fatty acids.
1 Glycerine molecule + 3 Fatty acid molecules = 1 FAT molecule.
Properties of Fats. (1) Building material. (2) Energy source.
There are many varieties of Fats depending on the types of fatty acids taking part in their synthesis. Living matter could not have come into existence with fats, polysaccharides and ATP alone in the early seas. Its origin became possible as the result of formation of protein and nucleic acid macromolecules.
Proteins. These are polymers of amino-acids. Some two dozen different types of amino-acids exist and any or all of these may be present in a protein in any number and any sequence. In many proteins as many as 100,000 or more amino-acids may be present. At the cellular and subcellular levels proteins provided building block units of far grater diversity as compared to polysaccharides, fats, water and other inorganic materials. Just as a chain of several hundred links can be looped and twisted into innumerable three dimensional shapes, so may a chain of protein be looped, coiled and twisted into a very large number of molecular shapes. It was due to proteins that a most complex and well finished structure as that of a living organism became possible.
The structure of proteins enabled them to function as enzymes and thus increased the speed of biological reactions tremendously. Reactions which could have taken centuries before the origin of proteins, could now occur within minutes and seconds. Proteins not only enhanced the speed of reactions but they also controlled the types of reactions that could occur in living matter.
Nucleic acids. In the early phase of the molecular evolution only simple molecules were formed. Later, more complex molecules such as amino-acids and proteins came into existence. In the more advanced phases of this period, it is believed that there appeared a molecule with two entirely new properties-(l) The ability systematically to direct the formation of copies of itself from an array of simpler building blocks. (2) And the property of acquiring new chemical configurations without loss of ability to reproduce. These properties, self-duplication and mutation, are characteristics of all living systems and they may therefore be said to provide an objective basis for defining the living state. This molecule was Nucleic acid.
Nucleic acids are high polymers of nucleotides. (Nitrogen Base + Simple Sugar + Phosphates) n = Nucleic Acid, where ‘n’ indicates large number. Nucleic acid molecules are as large or even larger than the most complex proteins. There are innumerable structural varieties of Nucleic adds. Any number and any sequence of nucleotides may be present in its molecule.
We may explain further the properties of nucleic add described above:-(l) Nucleic acids are carriers of biological information in a structural code. The following shall illustrate-when a person speaks P-A-K-I-S-T-A-N, it gives us the information that he says Pakistan. But the above letters together make the word Pakistan only when they are spoken in the above sequence. Similarly the sequence of nudeotides in a given nucleic acid carries information or a set of instructions how to build proteins. The nucleotides sequence determines what kinds of amino-acids will make up a protein and in what order they will be linked together. Thus the specific configurations of differently structured proteins depend on the specific arrangement of the nucleotides in a nucleic acid molecule. (Fig. 16) shows information code and protein synthesis. If ‘1-2-3-4-5 represents a portion of a nucleic chain, the structural characteristics of the nucleotide segment 1-2 could be such that only amino acid ‘a’ could attach there. Similarly only amino acid ‘b’ might be able to attach to the nucleotide segment 2-3 and amino acid ‘c’ to the segment 3-4 etc. If then the amino acids become linked together and form a protein, the sequence of amino acids will have been determined by the coded information contained within the nucleic acid chain.
Thus in all living organisms today, proteins are synthesized according to building instructions contained in nucleic acids. This is of great importance because proteins provide the building blocks and
Fig. 16-Nucleic acid provides information code for building protein molecules.
also function as enzymes which control all reactions in living matter. In short all the life processes are ultimately controlled by Nucleic acids.
(2) Auto-reproduction-Depending on the above information carrying property is the unique property of Auto reproduction or duplication. The molecules of nucleic acids are able to synthesize new molecules perfectly identical to the model. The process is similar to the control of protein-synthesis by nucleic acid. In the building of proteins, the raw material was amino acids and here the raw material is nucleotides. Thus a nucleic acid molecule is able to reproduce itself without the aid of any other controlling agency. (Fig. 17) indicates the process of nucleic add reproduction, (A) A preexisting nucleic acid molecule (Shaded) surrounded by raw materials (i.e., nudeotides) needed for the construction of a nucleic acid duplicate.
- B) A nucleotide of a given type has affinity for a corresponding. component of a nucleic acid. The respective nucleotides therefore get attached in matching sequence to the pre-existing nucleic acid. (C) The nucleotides having taken up their positions link up with Another. (D) The new nucleic acid. molecule so created separates from the original model. Model and replicas are identical in composition.
The first nucleic acid probably came into existence through random polymerization of random nucleotides. But once the first nucleic acid appeared, it multiplied by the process of duplication. Thus reproductivity which is a peculiar characteristic of living beings, actually started at the molecular level, before the origin of first living units. The information code for the synthesis of particular proteins passed on from one generation of nucleic acid to the other, so that each generation could recreate the protein types of its ancestors.
(3) Mutation-Related to the property of Auto-reproduction is another unique property of nucleic acid which later became the characteristic of life. It is the property of acquiring new configuration without loss of ability to reproduce. Molecules of nucleic acids are most stable. They are not easily affected by the physical and chemical forces operating on the earth, as most compounds do. But occasionally certain chemical and physical agents such as ultraviolet rays succeed in producing minor changes in their structures. These changes may be (a) the alteration in structure of one of the component nucleotides, (Fig.l8a); (b) Or a short sequence of
nucleotide chain may be detached from the rest of the chain at one particulate place and reunite at a different place; or in an inverted position; or
Fig. 18a. -NUCLEIC ACID. MUTAION
the sequence may be correct, but during reproduction a wrong type of nucleotide gets attached at an otherwise correct position. (Fig. 18b).
Whereas metabolic errors or deviations in other compounds are constantly erased or repaired by the turnover process, the errors in nucleic acid synthesis become permanent. The altered nucleic acid becomes stable and later reproduces the changed condition which is transmitted from one generation to the other. Such stable alterations are called Mutations.
Fig. 186.-OTHER ERRORS IN MUTATION.
Thus nucleic acids on the early earth not only reproduced their own kind but some of the descendent molecules became different from their ancestors. These differences accumulated through successive generations, so that entirely different and varied types came into existence.
As the nucleic acid molecules changed with the passage of time, the protein molecules whose synthesis depended on nucleic acid, changed accordingly, giving rise to new and diverse types of proteins. And proteins being the building blocks, diverse types of organisms came into being.
Thus the chemistry of the earth took entirely a new turn with the origin of nucleic acids. They carried genetic information from one generation of molecules to the other and controlled the protein synthesis accordingly. Moreover nucleic acid maintained its stability despite acquiring new chemical configurations. Some of the chemical processes on the earth thus ceased to occur at random and became strictly controlled both as regards their permanence as well as change.
A summary of Later Organic Compounds is given below in (Fig. 19)
- Adenosine Phosphates
- Nucleic acids.
(1) Adenosine phosphates (Nuclcotides).
Ribose (Pentose sugar) + Adenine (Purine)= Adenosine (Nucleosidcs).
Adenosine + 1 Phosphate = Adenosine Monophosphate(AMP) Nucleotides
Adenosine + 2 Phosphates = Adenosine Diphosphate(ADP)
Adenosine + 3 Phosphates = Adenosine Triphosphate(ATP)
Properties-1. Energy Trappers and Energy Donors.
Source of Energy-Decomposition of sugars and fats.
(2) Fats-1 Glycerine molecule+3 fatty acid molecules = 1 fat molecule.
Properties-(1) Building materials. (2) Energy source.
There are many varieties depending on types of fatty acids.
(3) Polysaccharides-Polymers of sugar molecules. Energy source-ATP.
Example-Glycogen contains several thousand molecules of simple sugar. Properties-d) Building materials. (2) Energy source.
(4) Proteins-Polymers of amino acids.
100,000 or more amino acids may be present in a protein molecule. Some two dozen types of amino acids arc known. Any number, any type and any sequence may be present in a protein molecule. .Properties-(1) Building materials. (2) Enzymes.
(5) Nucleic Acids-Polymers of nucleotides. Some molecules are as large or even larger than protein.
Properties-W Information code. (2) Reproduction. (3) Mutation.
Fig. 19.-LATER ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (SUMMARY)
The events described so far constitute molecular evolution. To describe briefly seven types of chemicals originated gradually in due course of time and accumulated in the early oceans:-
Inorganic Substances-(1) Water (2) Minerals.
Organic Substances-(1) Adenosine phosphates (2) Carbohydrates (3) Fats (4) Proteins and (5) Nucleic acids.
The subsequent events may be described as Prebiological stage of chemical evolution i.e., the actual formation of first living units or cells from the above. compounds.
PREBIOLOGICAL PHASE OF CHEMICAL EVOLUTION.
(Birth pangs of life on the earth)
Cells are the basic living units. They are microscopic watery drops which contain many types of organic and inorganic compounds. With the origin of cells the chemical evolution still continued, molecules still continued to produce new molecules, but out of the organic molecules emerged entirely a different creation, with the properties of life. This happened to be a most important landmark in the evolutionary history of the earth.
It is estimated that the first cells appeared 200 million years ago. The details of origin of first cells is not clear. The following is a general outline of the sequence of events which led to cell formation, consistent with the laws of physics and chemistry known today.
Origin of Cells. The first cells may have been produced in the following ways:-
Somehow or other the organic compounds described above assembled into small cohesive drops and by virtue of the properties of the aggregated material, life began to appear in these drops. The first question arises as to how could the aggregation of these organic compounds occur. The sea water in which they were present was too dilute a medium in which they could keep proper concentrations. Moreover it was difficult for all the necessary ingredients to assemble all at a time and stay in that condition for a sufficiently long period, because after chance contact the mighty waves of the sea were sufficient to disperse them again. Therefore it is much more likely that the assemblage of various molecules occurred at the sea shore, where they could stick to appropriate surfaces on solid ground.
ADSORPTION or PROPERTY OF STICKINESS is a surface phenomenon in physical chemistry and molecules of sugars, fats and proteins get adsorbed to various surfaces. Nucleic acid molecules are also very much adsorbable. On the other hand, fine particles of sand and clay are excellent adsorbing materials and plenty of them must have been present along the sea shore. Most probably some of the molecules got adsorbed into clay at random, at different places. More molecules of the same or different types might have been added later. Thus there was ample chance for all the key molecules to assemble inside the tiny little spaces in clay where they could form adequate concentrations to react with each other. The reactions could have been accelerated in the tidal zones, by evaporation of water.
It is not necessary that all the complex organic compounds such as polysaccharides, fats, proteins and nucleic acids were first formed in the ocean water and then. aggregated into clay. Rather it is more likely that simple organic compounds such as sugars, fatty acids, amino-acids and nucleotides got adsorbed into day where the macromolecules of proteins and nucleic acids etc. got synthesized, because their synthesis required the close proximity of the necessary ingredients and the energy sources.
It has been experimentally demonstrated that if concentrated mixtures of amino acids are heated under NEAR DRY CONDITIONS, protein like compounds are formed. Similarly mixtures of other appropriate starting compounds heated under almost dry conditions can yield products having some of the characteristics of nucleic acids. The tiny pockets in clay therefore provided favourable environments for the concentration and mutual reactions between raw material molecules. Once the nucleic acids were formed, they must have been followed by protein synthesis and some of the proteins enzymes led to the formation of Polysaccharides and tats etc.
Mixtures containing fats and proteins have got the property of forming surface films. It is a common experience that if a cup of boiled milk or a plate of hot custard are allowed to cool, a thin film forms at the surface. Certain proteins have also got the property of forming precipitates out of solution which turn into granules or (threadlike structures). For example, during bleeding, fibrinogen in the blood plasma gets converted into fibrin (a threadlike structure) and a clot is formed. Polysaccharides, like cellulose (in plants), also can make films or fibrils. Thus some of the organic compounds in the tiny pockets in clay must have constructed external boundary membranes and internal network of fibrils in which the members of the assembly, i.e., water, minerals, ATP, Polysaccharides, fats, proteins and nucleic acids got enclosed. The individual units so formed came to be known as cells. Being protected by external membranes they could remain as separate individuals, even if they were washed into the sea later.
The first cells on earth must have come into existence in various parts of the world and their origin must have been preceded by numerous trials and errors. For a long time the right type of raw material molecules could not have aggregated together; or even after aggregation they may not have been in correct proportion; or if they fulfilled all the requirements for reactions to occur and proceed in the right direction, they could have been washed into the sea before the synthesis of end products could be completed. On the other hand the mixtures of raw materials, instead of remaining in the state of near dryness for an adequate period, could have dried up completely; or if all went well, up to the stage of cell formation, the cells themselves might have dried up and destroyed inside their places of birth by the heat of the sun. Yet after so many false starts and incomplete endings which continued for millions of years, some of the cells could leave the clay, to safely enter the sea water. With the conditions prevailing on the earth and the kind of materials that had accumulated in the early oceans, the origin of first cells was not a matter of chance but a matter of time.
It is not necessary that the above description corresponds in details to the actual events that took place in the remote past but such processes that could result in cell formation are plausible within the scientific domain of physics and chemistry.
The above description regarding the origin of life is based on the research work, by the world scientists during the last several decades. The evolutionary history beginning with unicellular organisms up to the appearance of Man shall be described later, but we must state at this juncture what the Holy Quran said fourteen hundred years ago, about this phase of chemical evolution passing on to biological and ultimately leading to the emergence of Man.
Let us point out at the outset that the Holy Quran is self explanatory and clarifies itself by presenting a subject in various ways and in different contexts, so as to make things easily understandable. Thus it is said:
“We have explained to mankind by displaying different aspects of things in this Quran, with every kind of similitude.”
It has been explained already in this chapter, the phase of chemical evolution leading to the emergence of life cells which form the initial stage of Biological evolution and which ultimately led to the appearance of man on the stage of life: As we have noticed life originated from the inorganic materials of the earth. The Quran says
“It is He who created you from dust (inorganic matter)”.
The role of the first compounds in the origin of life, of which water has been the most important single component have been explained. Water as said earlier, took the role of key which opened the door to life. The Quran says:
“And it is He who has created man from water”.
It means that the presence of two essential elements water and inorganic material of which the carbon was most important, took the basic role in the emergence of life. The Quran says:
“It is He who created you from clay”, i.e. the combination of water and other inorganic materials.
A wrong notion is prevalent that the Creator first prepared the mould of man out of clay, gave it life and named him Adam. Then He bisected the side of his body and got out of it his a female companion. From then onwards started the progeny of man. This is in fact a Biblical story which our commentators have monkeyishly copied, due to their ignorance of the scientific facts of chemical evolution followed by biological evolution, each one of which lasted for millions of years.
According to the Holy Quran, life came into existence not from a lumpsum of day but from the extracts of clay which gradually reached the stage of man. The Quran says:
“And We created man from the extracts of day”.
What is this extract of day? It is the compounds of carbon which eventually evolved in to the later organic compounds such as Adenosine phosphates, polysacharides, fats, proteins and Nucleic Acids in the company of minerals.
As stated earlier, the organic material in the sea water stuck to the clay present on sea shores and formed a preliminary step in the creation of life. This combination however could not occur without the property of adsorption present in the molecules of organic compounds. The clay on the sea-shore was the excellent adsorbing material; the same property being also present in the fats and proteins etc. The Quran says:
“Verily We created them out of sticky clay”.
As stated earlier, concentrated mixtures of Amino Acids when heated to near dryness, protein like compounds are formed. Similarity mixtures of other appropriate starting compounds, when heated under almost dry condition, can yield products having some of the characteristics of Nucleic Acids. This condition of near dryness could occur at such sea shores which were not affected by frequent tidal waves, for quite some time.
The Quran says:
“And verily We created man from old physically altered mud which after a lapse of time reached the stage of near dryness”.
“Most of the commentators have wrongly interpreted the word in verse (15:26) above as ‘putrified mud’. It is an established fact that decay was unknown on the earth before the orgin of bacteria which are living objects. The word actually means “old mud which with the passage of time had undergone physical and chemical changes; not putrifaction which is a biological phenomenon”.
“He created man from mud nearly as dry as pottery (the stage of near dryness).
Thus in the verses described above the Quran provided significant pointers to the origin of life, in its own particular way: from earth (or inorganic matter); from water; from clay (or wet earth); from sticky adsorbent clay; not clay as a whole but from extracts of clay i.e., its active principles which were the precursors of the units of life; from old mud subjected to physical and chemical changes; from mud which reached the stage of near dryness
The above was proclaimed in the 7th century A.D., by one who did not know how to read and write before revelation came to him. How beautifully the story of the creation of life was disclosed, at a time when human knowledge was extremely rudimentary. Even in the present age of advancement, how many people are there, other than the scientists, who know these facts?
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