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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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



Bazm Tulu-e-Islam(London)

76 Park Rd

Ilford Essex



July 2000




























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

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


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


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


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


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


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




Ayaz Hussain Ansari

Chairman: Idara Tulu-e-Islam












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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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



(Editor: AL-BALAAGH)

P.O.BOX 1925


(South Africa)

Rabee-ul-Aakhir 1421

July 2000

 A letter to Saleem (Written in September 1956)






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


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





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





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


“Not in vain did We create heaven and earth and

what is between them. That is the opinion of the

Unbelievers! So woe to the Unbelievers on

account of the Fire.”  (38: 27)


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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





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


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

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


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


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


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


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





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


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


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


“Verily the hearing, the sight, the heart:

All of these shall be questioned.”

(17: 36)


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


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


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





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


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

They have hearts wherewith they understand not,

eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith

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

even more misguided, for they are

heedless (of warnings).” (7: 179)


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


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


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


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

and in the alternation of night and day, there

are indeed signs for men of understanding.”

(3: 190)


And who are the men of understanding?


“Men who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying

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


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



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

Glory be to Thee! Give us salvation from

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





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


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


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


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


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


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

You indeed bring disgrace. And there will be no

Helpers for the wrongdoers.” (3: 191)


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






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


Verily in the heavens and the earth, there are

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


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


“And in the creation of yourselves and the fact that

animals are scattered (throughout the earth),

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


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


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

sends down sustenance from the sky and revives therewith

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

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


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


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

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

Allah and His Signs?” (45: 6)


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


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

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





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

In Surah Ra’d we read:


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

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

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

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

regulates the affair, explaining the Signs in detail

that you may be certain of the MEETING WITH

YOUR LORD.” (13: 2)


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


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


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


“No vision can grasp Him….” (6: 104)


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


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


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

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

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

(10: 6)




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


Those who rest not their hope on meeting Us,

but are pleased with the life of this world and

are satisfied with it, and those who heed not

our Signs, their abode is the Fire, because of

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


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


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






“Those who reject the Signs of Allah and the meeting

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

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

chastisement.” (29: 23)


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




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

so Allah made it taste a pall of hunger and

fear because of what they wrought.”

(16: 112)


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


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


“And whoever turns away from My Reminder,

verily for him is a life narrowed down, and We

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

(20: 124)


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


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



Those are they whose hearts, ears and eyes Allah

has sealed, and they are the heedless ones.”

(16: 108)


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


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


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


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


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


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







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


“Soon Will we show them Our Signs in the furthest

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

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

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

( 41: 53 )


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


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


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


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


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


The ( Quran ) was sent down by Him Who knows

the secrets of the heavens and the earth.”

( 25: 6 )


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


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


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


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

( 41: 53-54 )


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


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


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

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






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


“Seest thou not that Allah sends down rain from the

sky, then We bring forth therewith fruits of various

hues? And in the mountains are streaks, white and

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

( 35: 27 )


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


“And so amongst men and beasts and cattle,

are there various colours….” (35: 28)


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


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

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

(32: 28)


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


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *



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





“Seest thou not that Allah sends down water from

the clouds, then We bring forth therewith fruits of

various hues? And in the mountains are streaks white

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

And of men and beasts and cattle there are various

colours likewise. Those of His servants ONLY WHO


fear Allah. Surely Allah is Mighty, Forgiving.”

( 35: 27-28 )


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



“In the creation of the Heavens and earth and the

alternation of the night and the day, THERE ARE


Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and (lying)



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


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



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

the moon a light, and ORDAINED FOR IT STAGES


OF YEARS AND RECKONING; Allah created not this

but with truth. He makes the sign manifest for

 A PEOPLE WHO KNOW.” ( 10: 5 )


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


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



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

 first creation, then Allah creates the later creation.

Surely Allah is the Possessor of power over all

things.” (29: 20)


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



“And the changing of the winds and the clouds

made subservient between heavens and earth;

there are surely signs for A PEOPLE WHO

UNDERSTAND…..” (2: 164)


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




“And of His Signs is the creation of the heavens

and the earth and the diversity of your tongues

and colours. Surely there are signs in this FOR

THE LEARNED .” (30: 22)


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



“Have they not travelled in the earth and seen

what was the end of those before them? They

were stronger than these in prowess and dug up

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

(30: 9)


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


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



“And the sun moves to its destination… And

the moon, We have ordained for it stages…

Neither is it for the sun to overtake the moon,

Nor can the night outstrip the day. And all

FLOAT on in an orbit.” (36:  38-40)


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


             “…Surely there are signs in this for A PEOPLE


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



“And of His Signs is the creation of the heavens

and the earth and what He has spread forth in

both of them of LIVING BEINGS. And He is

All-Powerful to gather them together when He

will,” (42: 29)


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

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




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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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





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


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


(1)        harnessing nature, and


  • utilising the resulting benefit from such harnessing




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


“O ye who believe! Enter into Islam

wholeheartedly (in its totality….).”

(2: 208)


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


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


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


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

(3: 6)


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


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

are the unbelievers (Kaafiroon.)”

(5: 44)


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


And certainly We had firmly established them in power

in matters in which We have not empowered you…

(46: 26)



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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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


After this the Quran says:


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

their  faith; rivers will flow beneath them in Gardens of

bliss.” (10: 9)


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


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

and their greeting, Peace! “ (10: 10)


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


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

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






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


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


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


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


“How can you search for God when you

have not (even) reached man(kind).”









ALLAH : Arabic/Quranic reference to the ONE God Who is the Lord God, the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe and everything that is in it. “Allah” is NOT an exclusive name for a tribal deity of Muslims as some Christians, Jews and other Non-Muslims erroneously believe. It is wrong to consider “Allah” as a name for God as God has no name, only Attributes



an identifying name or title




to make aware; inform




an attempt




involving intelligence, rather than emotions or instinct




people with informed appreciation of a particular field; connoisseurs




something very large




shinning; sparkling; brilliant




deserving credit, honour; praiseworthy




faith; way and code of life as practised by Muslims




remove poison from




a formal written or oral examination of a subject




distribution; diffusion




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




commentator of scripture




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




uprooting; removing or destroying completely






Foolish nonsense




antiquated or inflexible




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




extremely urgent or important




irresistible; hard to escape from




extremely numerous




the educated or intellectual people in a society or community




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




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




infidel; a non-Muslim; non-believer




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




(of sound and utterances) smooth or honeyed; sweet




of many kinds




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




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




reproach or censure




of the greatest importance or significance; pre-eminent




beyond comparison




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




by or in itself; intrinsically




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




acute perception or discernment




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




A person of great and varied learning




Original; pure; uncorrupted








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




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




God’s Attributes of Nourisher, Cherisher and Sustainer




relating to, or characteristic of, priests




Composure; self-possession; calmness




A man of great learning; sage




revealed law




astounding; wonderful



Play; fun; entertainment

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




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

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

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

[3] This is now practically happening (1981)


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