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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tribal Life

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

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

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

These questions generated various theories, such as:

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

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

Hegel’s Theory of State

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

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

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

He also writes in the same book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reality of the State

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

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

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

Jugglery of Similes

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

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

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

The Simile of Aristotle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hollowness of Aristotle’s Simile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lust for Power

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

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

(The Myth of The State. PP. 74 – 75)

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

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

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

Qur’an’s Truth-Revealing Message

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

(8: 60)

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

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

What is real End /aim?

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


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

(45: 13)

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

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

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

And further he adds:

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

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

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

The Qur’anic Concept of System of Governance

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

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

(5: 48)

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

And declare it openly that:

(10: 15)

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

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

The End of Nubuwwah as Manifesto of Freedom

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

The Purpose of These Restrictions

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

On the contrary:

(2: 286)

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

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

(2: 286)

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

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

(7: 157)

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

(62: 2)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ultimate End

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(13: 17)

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

The Relation Between the Individual and the Party

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

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

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

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

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

Erich Fromm sees its glimpse like the manner given below:

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

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

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

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

(3: 87)

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

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


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