Monday, January 21, 2013

Why Eid is being celebrated?

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

In Surah Yunus it is said:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

The Quran came and addressed him:

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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ILL Got legal or illegal Earnings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Speeches and statements of Iqbal--P.15)

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

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

(Ibid p.55)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personality is changelessness in change.

(Slavery and Freedom P-8)

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

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

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

(Lectures P-160)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


What is the distinctive feature of Islamic State?


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

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

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

(Speeches as governor-general, p-65)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prof. Hawtrey has said that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Speeches and writings of Jinnah, Vol. I, p-554).

The Ulema—Who Are They?

The Quran was revealed in the Arabic language, the expression of which is neither poetry nor prose, but has its own unique style and rhythm. It has rare beauty and grandeur; it is sublime. To translate such a language into another and retain its spirit, beauty, force, and depth is just not possible. An attempt can be made to translate a piece of literature, but when it comes to the Quran, which is a charter of human rights—a constitution—one has to be absolutely certain that the actual meaning is not lost during the course of translation. In addition, each language has its own phrases, idioms, and expressions that are specific for its culture and values. It is not possible to translate a concept that exists in one culture into a single word of another language that does not even recognize that concept. This can be illustrated by Persian and Urdu translations—they retain Arabic words like kafir, momin, mushrik, rahman, raheem, sabr, sawab, salat, zakat, etc. These words were in use before the advent of Islam and so the Arabs knew what they meant. It is of paramount importance for the reader to know the meanings of these words because they convey specific Quranic concepts and a simple English translation would either be in Biblical terms, or out rightly contradictory to the spirit of the message. Finally, because these words are used repeatedly in the Quran, we have provided a glossary to more efficiently explain the concepts in their original form.

This glossary is based on the following universally recognized dictionaries of the Arabic language at the time of the Prophet (PBUH):

Lane, Arabic—English lexicon




Raghib, Mufridat-al-Quran

DIN—this word has been used in various contexts, among them being ascendancy, sovereignty, management, conduct of affairs, ruling power, mastership, ownership, exercise of power, code of law, constitution, law of requital, an order. The Quran has described Islam as Ad-Din, which is generally translated as religion. However, in the light of the above meanings, it should be clear that this is not only incorrect, but distorts and negates the very meaning of din. Islam is not a religion (madhab), and it has never been described as one in the Quran. Islam is a way of life, a system, a code of law. In the external universe Islam signifies the Divine Order that governs life and the movement of the entire universe. The whole purpose of the Quran is to establish a universal order based on the Divinely ordained values of life. This is ad-din.

MADHAB—literally means way or course. This word does not appear in the Quran and in Islamic fiqh it stands for “school of thought”. It is usually translated as religion, and since Islam is described as a religion in English, the word madhab has come into use for it in Urdu as well. This is a fundamental fallacy—it goes against the very essence of Islam, which is a din, not a madhab.

HAQQ (and BAATIL)—usually translated as truth or right. According to Lane, its primary significance is the state of being just, righteous, truthful, real or factual; established or confirmed so as to be undeniable. These meanings make it clear that haqq does not fall into the domain of ideas or thoughts; rather, it stands for constructive results of beliefs which manifest themselves in tangible form and are in harmony with the changing needs of the times. No belief or theory relating to this world can be described as haqq unless its truth is established by a positive manifestation of its constructive potential. These results are permanent and unchanging.

The antithesis of haqq is batil. This does not merely stand for ideas or actions with destructive potential, but includes all thinking and conduct that do not lead to positive results. As haqq means something that is real and true, batil refers to something that may be imaginary and/or false.

EIMAN—to be convinced, to accept, to rely on, or to have confidence in something. This is usually translated as belief or faith, which implies acceptance without proof or argument, and without reference to reason, thought, knowledge, or insight. Faith is generally regarded as the negation of knowledge and reason. It has been said about Kant that, “he found it necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith.”

According to the Quran, however, Eiman is not just belief, it is, in fact, what Kant calls knowledge. Eiman is synonymous with conviction and it is based on reason and knowledge. The Quran does not recognize belief that involves blind acceptance. It is true that Islam does include acceptance of certain things that cannot be explained through sense perception, but there is no reason to assume that these things do not exist. In fact, our reason and thinking would compel us to recognize the existence of such things. Eiman, according to the Quran, signifies conviction based on full mental acceptance and intellectual satisfaction. It gives one a feeling of amn—inner contentment and peace (notice that these words have a common root). Thus, Eiman means to believe, admit, or accept something, to testify to its truthfulness, to have confidence in and to rely on that belief, and to bow in obedience.

There are five fundamental facts stated in the Quran that one must accept in order to be a Muslim: belief in 1) Allah, 2) the law of mukafat and the afterlife, 3) angels (malaika), 4) the revelations, and 5) the messengers. Belief in Allah means not only to profess obedience but also to show it through one’s actions. Belief in the law of mukafat means to have conviction that every action has an inescapable consequence or reward. Angels are not the winged creatures so popularly depicted, but heavenly forces that carry out the laws of Allah governing the universe. They figuratively bow to Allah since they follow His orders, and they “bow” to mankind because we are able to study, manipulate, and conquer them. Belief in the revelations and messengers implies not only believing in the historical details but also acknowledging that human intellect alone cannot safely reach the final destination of life; that guidance in the form of wahi delivered by the messengers is necessary to progress.

Therefore, a momin is one who has firm conviction and trust in the prevailing laws of the universe as well as the laws revealed through wahi. He/she accepts the truth in such a way that ensures his/her own peace and helps to safeguard the peace and security of humankind. Al-momin is indeed one of the characteristics of Allah.

KUFR—this is the negation of Eiman. It means to deny the truth, or to defy the laws of Allah. The root means to cover or conceal. Kufr means open denial, not hypocrisy. A kaafir has the decency to proclaim his/her beliefs, and so is not as damned as the hypocrite. The definition also includes concealing or withholding the means of subsistence that Allah has created for the good of all humankind, which are supposed to be freely available to everyone.

JAHANNAM—usually translated as hell, this word has been inadequately described in English terms. It is a Hebrew compound of the words ji and hinnum; meaning the valley of Hinnum. This was a famous valley situated in the south of Jerusalem where people were burned alive as a sacrifice to the idol Moloch. Jahannum, therefore, denotes a situation in which humanity is ruined. In Arabic, the word jaheem means to prevent; that is, its denotes a condition in which human evolution is prevented and life begins to stagnate instead of progressing. It is also a miser who prevents wealth from circulating. According to the Quran, life manifested itself in the human form after having gone through various stages of evolution. This is the final link in the evolution of life in this world. But life does not end with death; it continues beyond the dissolution of the physical body. The higher life that the developed personality is capable of living is called jannah. On the other hand, the not-so-developed personality thwarts its own future and lives in the infernal state of stagnation called jahannum.

Jannah and jahannum do not stand for places or localities; they denote different conditions of human life that have been described metaphorically. It should be clear that these conditions do not only relate to life in the hereafter—they have their beginnings in this world. A social order based upon Quranic foundations results in a heavenly situation: the necessities of life are available in excess and are secured in decent ways befitting human dignity. This brings true happiness and peace of mind. In contrast, a society based on laws other than Allah’s will invariably lead to misery and collapse as has been so abundantly illustrated throughout history.

RABB—usually translated in English as lord. This is actually opposite in meaning to the true essence of the word. Rabb means one who enables something to grow and develop, eventually fulfilling its potential; to bring something to perfection. Nothing in the universe starts out being perfect; everything is born with potential that, when actualized, enables that object to become what it was designed to be—including humans. We are endowed with manifold potentialities that enable us to rise to the highest point of human existence when fully developed. According to Arabic lexicons, Rabb means one who looks after something and beautifies it, keeps something in place, and continuously provides nourishment. The natural result of nourishment is greenery and growth; thus, evergreen trees (that maintain their greenery year round) are called al-ribbatu.

The process by which one fulfills his/her potential is called rububiyat. The Quran seeks to establish a social order under which the latent potential of every individual can be fully realized. This realization will include the sustenance and growth of one’s body as well as one’s mental and spiritual potential. This kind of social system is called the rububiyat order, and its establishment is the ultimate purpose of the deen of Islam.

TAQWA—the common English equivalent, piety, does not express the real meaning of the word. Deviation from the right path leads human beings to ruin; taqwa is the act of keeping them on the right path. Merely saving oneself from ruin is a negative virtue, and the Quran emphasizes the positive aspect of life. Therefore, taqwa means not only saving oneself from destructive forces, but also stabilizing one’s personality through preservation and enforcement of the laws of Allah—in other words, taking a step in the right direction. Waqa means to protect something from harm; in verse 2/24 Allah exhorts us to protect ourselves from the fire (fattaqun naar). A very illustrative example is of someone walking through a thorn bush. The thorns represent destructive forces that are ready to snag at the clothing of someone walking through. Those who have taqwa will save themselves from these thorns by gathering their clothes and walking carefully so that they do not get scratched by the thorns. Ittaqullah has been used numerous times in the Quran and means to follow and remain in harmony with the laws of Allah. In verse 5/2 it has been used as an antonym of udwan, or rebellion, disobedience.

Muttaqi (pl. muttaqeen) is a person who leads a life of taqwa, eschewing things that are injurious to their personalities and espousing the laws of Allah.


The capacity to acquire knowledge makes human beings the most superior of creations. But what is knowledge? Who is entitled to be called a knowledgeable person (ulema)? What is the Quranic point of view on this? Before dealing with these fundamental questions, let us look at the historical perspective.

In the world of knowledge, the ancient Greek philosophers enjoyed a highly distinguished position. In fact, the history of humanity traces the beginning of knowledge and wisdom to ancient Greece. Socrates and Plato are the most prominent among the philosophers, and Socrates is considered the grandfather of all Greek philosophers. Plato, besides being Socrates’ student, is the founder of an entirely new school of thought.

For Socrates, human beings were the only object of study while the universe was of no consequence. Plato went one step further and denied the very existence of the universe. For him, the real world was the “world of ideas” and the material world was only a shadow of the real world. Since the perceivable world was not real, any knowledge gained from its study would also be unreal, and thus unreliable. Plato believed in the abstract only, and denied the concrete.

The Greek view of knowledge was mostly subjective, i.e., it belonged to human consciousness or the perceiving ego, and there was no objective test of the truth. There is no doubt that the ancient world produced some great philosophies at a time when human beings were comparatively primitive and governed more or less by suggestion. But we must not forget that these theories were the work of abstract thought, which cannot go beyond the systemization of vague religious beliefs and traditions, and they give us no insight into concrete situations of life.


This Platonic philosophy ultimately became the basis of Greek mysticism. Later on, the same philosophy took the form of Vadantic Theory (Hindu mysticism) in India. According to this philosophy, the world is nothing but an illusion (“maya”), or a dream dreamt by the god Brahma, or a drama (“leela”) being played out by the god Ishwar. Everything is a stage show, artificial and unreal. There is actually one Hindu god by the name of Nat Rajan, or the actor king.

This philosophy created a negative mental attitude towards the material world that caused many religious people to start despising it. Later on, this same philosophy found its way into Muslim thought, via Persian mysticism. Under its effect, the forward looking and progressive Muslim nation was brought to a miserable standstill.

The attitude of people towards the world before the revelation of the Quran was that this universe is unreal, an illusion, and any knowledge concerning it is presumption.


The Quran challenged those speculative philosophies and demolished the very basis of Platonic theory:

“The creation of whatever is in the heights and depths of the universe and all that is in between is not without purpose. It is presumption on the part of Unbelievers who think the universe is not real. The result of denying such a great truth will be that all their efforts and achievements in life will end up in smoke.” (38:27)

The Quran uprooted the centuries old philosophy and brought to light the dehumanizing effects of this false concept. Here it is very important to note that those who believe the universe is not real and have a negative attitude towards it are referred to as Unbelievers by the Quran. It demarcates the Believers from the Unbelievers.

The Quran states that the negative attitude towards the material world brings hardship to human beings. Mysticism is the exemplar of such an attitude; instead of recognizing this world as a happy and vibrant place full of possibilities, mystics view it as a massive jailhouse in which inmates are serving time.

To reject the claim of those for whom the creation of the universe is merely a drama, the Quran says, “The creation of the heavens and the Earth and that which is between them is not a game.” (21/16) The creation is real. However, Allah does not expect these claims to be accepted without any scrutiny or investigation; on the contrary, these claims are based on reason and should be judged on the basis of discernment and insight. This is why “there are well explained facts for those who have knowledge.” (10/5)


Now the next logical question arises: what is knowledge? The Quran says, “Do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. The hearing and sight and the heart—all of them shall have to answer whether personal inquiry was made concerning the matter.” (17/36) The words hearing and seeing refer to human senses and the Arabic word heart is also used to mean the mind. The following example illustrates the point of this verse: you hear a gunshot. It is followed by a scream and moans of pain. When you go to see what happened you discover that your best friend has been shot and you are consumed with feelings of vengeance towards the shooter. In this situation your feelings are backed by your first hand knowledge of the events. On the other hand, if you do not hear a gunshot and you do not see your injured friend, but you are consumed with hate anyway for some person you think may have committed a crime, you are acting on hearsay and not knowledge because your senses and mind were not involved in arriving at the conclusion. Thus the Quran strikes at the Platonic philosophy once again. Plato said that knowledge gained through the senses is not reliable, whereas the Quran is saying that anything not verified by the senses and mind cannot be regarded as knowledge. This shows how valuable sense-perception is in Islam. The Quranic concept of knowledge is objective and the knowledge of the non-ego is superior to that of the ego. The revelation of the Quran marked the birth of inductive intellect. Inductive reason alone allows the human being to become master of his/her environment. Islam has created and fostered the spirit of critical observation of outer experience by divesting the forces of nature of that divine character with which the earlier culture had clothed them. The important thing to note is that the Quran, for purposes of knowledge, fixes its gaze on the concrete and finite. It is also abundantly clear that the birth of the method of observation and experimental science in Islam was due not to a compromise with Greek thought but to a prolonged intellectual warfare with it.


In view of the importance given to human senses and the mind, the Quran declares in the clearest terms that people who do not use their senses and their minds are not living their lives on a human level. They are in fact living on an animalistic level and are admonished: “Many among human beings have adopted a lifestyle that will lead them to hell. They have a mind but do not use it to think and reflect. They have eyes but do not see. They have ears but cannot hear. They are not human beings and are even worse than animals. They are neglectful.” (7/179) This verse also indicates that knowledge is only that which can be explained by the senses and the mind. Intangible, abstract matters have nothing to do with the senses. Observation of natural phenomena and the study of the universe, experimentation to discover the laws of creation, maintenance, and workings of the components of the universe are the applications of sense-perception. In modern terminology this is called scientific knowledge. As the Quran states, the pursuit of such knowledge is the duty of all believers (momineen).


The Quran emphasizes the observation and study of natural phenomena and the laws of the universe. “In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alteration of the night and day there are signs for people of understanding.” (3/189) These people are those who “whatever condition they are in, keep Allah’s laws in sight. They ponder the creation of the heavens and earth and after thorough observation and experiment, they declare on the basis of reason that O Sustainer! You did not create this universe in jest.” (3/190)

Here, as on other occasions, the Quran states something of paramount importance. It claims that nothing in the universe has been created without a purpose. There is nothing in the universe that is useless or that does not benefit mankind in some way. Lack of knowledge on the part of humans makes it seem as though there are pointless creations, and as a result of this ignorance all of mankind suffers. Thus, it is the duty of Muslims to substantiate this Quranic claim based on research and investigation. This is no easy task, and requires a vast network of laboratories and scientists and continuous research. However, people who make the effort will learn the laws that will enable them to conquer the forces of nature whereas those who do not will eventually lag behind and become weak and vulnerable.


As mentioned above, it is the duty of the Muslim ummah to understand the laws of nature and utilize them for the benefit of mankind.

“There are signs for the believers in the heavens and the earth. In creation, and all the animals that He scattered on the earth are portents for the believers; and in the alteration of night and day and the sustenance sent down by the sky that revives the earth after its death, and in the change of winds are hints for those who have sense. These are the revelations we have presented to you in truth. For those who will reject, what other truth can convince them?” (45/3-6)

Allah has stated in unambiguous terms that belief in Him comes through the study of nature and its laws. If studying natural law does not lead one to believe in Allah, then nothing else can. This astounding declaration illustrates the importance of studying natural phenomena. Real belief based on reason can only be achieved through this method.


Saying that Allah “reveals Himself” through natural phenomena is not a flight of fancy. The Quran explains this as well as the goal of human life and the purpose of following the laws of Allah. Everyone wants to “meet” or “find” Allah. The Quran says, “Allah is He who raised the heavens without any visible support, firmly in charge of the central control. He has subjected the sun and moon (to His laws), each one runs its course for an appointed time. He regulates all affairs, explaining things in detail, that you may believe with certainty in meeting your Rabb.” (13/2) The Quran describes the setup of the universe and follows by saying that meeting with Allah is possible. It indicates that if you want Allah to reveal himself to you then you have to study the universe, scrutinize every object in it, and through observation and experiment, discover the laws governing this system. Thus all the mysteries of Nature will be unlocked one by one and you will gain insight into how Allah is sustaining this universe. This is what meeting and “seeing” Allah means. As far as the entity of Allah is concerned, He is beyond the comprehension of human minds, let alone sense-perception. Seeing or meeting Him does not refer to the physical sense, it means gaining knowledge of how the universe functions and is regulated by Him. It is clear that according to the Quran, only those who observe natural phenomena can know how Allah runs the universe. It is a long, arduous process which sometimes requires scaling the highest peaks of the Himalayas, diving to the bottomless depths of the Atlantic, bearing the scorching heat of the Saharan dessert, and doing research in the bone chilling cold of the North Pole. This kind of research is only carried out by those who are not satisfied with what they know at present; those who look beyond the horizon and strive for more knowledge. The Quran says, “Verily, in the alteration of the night and day, and in all that Allah has created, in the heavens and the earth are signs for those who are devoted believers (muttaqeen).” (10/6)


The verse mentioned above describes the muttaqeen. It goes on to say, “Those who expect not the meeting with Us, but desire the life of this world and feel secure therein, and those who are neglectful of our revelations are doomed people because of their negligence.” (10/7) These verses offer a cause for the cyclical rise and fall of nations. Those who are satisfied with the status quo and do not strive for improvement and a better future are devoid of thought and action; they fall from grace and are left far behind in the struggle of life. In contrast, those nations that work hard to develop new inventions and make new discoveries surge far ahead. Because of their initiative and well directioned hard work, nature rewards them by revealing its hidden treasures.


“Those who disbelieve in Allah’s revelations and in their meeting with Him, such are deprived of the means of sustenance—an extreme penalty.” (29/23) In this verse, being deprived of the amenities of life is considered a great penalty. For example, rivers of petroleum flowed under the desserts of Arabia but the people were content with their meager existence. They did not have the will, desire, or the knowledge to find and utilize this hidden gift of nature. As a result they were dependant on others for even the most basic of necessities. Western nations made the effort to discover and start pumping the hidden petroleum, and as a result the people of the region benefited and became prosperous. Many countries have great potential, but their people are happy with the status quo and prefer whatever is easily available, so nothing motivates them to work harder. As a result they are always one step behind, and in many cases dependant on, other nations. On the other hand, there are European nations with very little land but with so much production capabilities that they not only provide for local needs but they even manage to export surplus food. This is due to the fact that they are perpetually laboring in accordance with the laws of nature in order to take advantage of its hidden treasures. It is a divine law that the livelihoods of those who eschew the laws of Allah continuously diminish (20/124). This law is universal and there are no exceptions. Muslims have been shunning this law for centuries; as if this were not enough, we also have not put our senses to proper use and have been thus divested of these faculties. We have fallen into the category of those people whose “hearts, ears, and eyes have become useless, and they do not take heed.” (16/108)

Some people think that “meeting Allah” means being accountable to Him for our deeds after our death. Though in the context of the above mentioned verses this meaning is not appropriate, the fact remains that in order to believe in a meeting with Allah, observation and study of natural phenomena is vital. Life after death and accountability for actions is an essential part of our belief.


In the above paragraphs the Quran has explained that:

i) Knowledge is only that which can be verified by the human senses and mind,

ii) Use of the senses means to observe natural phenomena, study the laws of nature, carry out consistent research, and experience the revelation of Allah’s laws that run the universe and provide systematic sustenance, growth, and development.

Such practice is the hallmark of believers in general and the duty of muttaqeen in particular. This is zikr-o-fikr i-khudawandi, or following the laws of Allah. This behavior brings to light the hidden secrets of the universe and on the basis of knowledge we can say to our Rabb, “You did not create anything in vain.”

This is not all that must be done. Allah has stated that there is testimony to the truth of Quranic claims in the form of signs provided by Him in the universe. “We will show them our signs in the farthest regions of the earth, and in their own minds until it becomes manifest that this is the Truth.” (41/53) As an aside, when the entanglements of truth in the intricacies of time can be sorted out through human knowledge and effort, only then will these claims become manifest. In this verse the word anfus (internal world) is mentioned along with afaq (external world), which shows that science is not confined to the laws of physics but encompasses all the social sciences as well, the latter of which have to be developed by practical research. History, psychology, and sociology are important in this distinction. With the passage of time the physical and social sciences will continue to reveal and confirm the claims made by the Quran. This is obvious since the Quran is the book of Allah and He sees everything all the time. “Is it not enough that Allah oversees all things.” (41/53) Whatever He reveals about the universe and objects within it is based on fact and is not a presumption. “Say, the Quran was revealed by Him who knows the secrets of the heavens and the earth.” (25/6)

It will be fitting to mention a book named The Great Design. A questionnaire was sent to a large number of scholars around the world asking whether each one felt that the universe was functioning according to a definite system, or whether it came into being accidentally and is being governed similarly. The answers were compiled into the above-mentioned book without any review or editing. All of the scholars reached the same conclusion based on their individual fields of research: that this universe is functioning in accordance with an established order designed by an all-knowing creator. They appreciate the order and discipline of the system but being oblivious of the Quran, cannot correctly identify the entity that is running such a harmonious and efficient system. However, they are observing His great system of sustenance (Rabubuiyat) personally. With such a foundation it would be easy for these kind of scholars to discover the truthfulness of the Quran if someone presented it to them.

Maurice Bucaille, in his book The Bible, the Quran and Science, discusses various Quranic claims that are verified by modern scientific research.

People who have been unaware of these signs in the universe have their doubts about seeing proof of Allah. In fact they would not have to go very far to do so; the study of any object in the universe can provide evidence for the workings of Allah’s laws. The rabubiyat order is not tied to any one thing but encompasses the whole of the universe: “Indeed, are they in doubt concerning the meeting with Allah? It is He who controls all things.” (41/54)


We have so far seen the Quranic definition of knowledge. By knowing this it is easy to figure out who, according to the Quran, is a knowledgeable person and what the term actually means. The Quran has even explained this fact so there is no confusion:

“Did you not ponder the rain that Allah caused to fall from the sky, with which we produce fruit of diverse colors; and among the mountains there are layers of red and white which differ in shade and type, some being dark in color. Similarly, humans and animals are of different colors and kinds. Among the followers of Allah and knowledgeable persons (ulema) are those who are awestruck by the greatness of Allah.” (35/27-28)

These two verses deal with different parts of the universe, different branches of nature, and different fields of science. Physics, botany, zoology, and the humanities are all touched upon. The knowledgeable persons are awestruck because their insight has convinced them of His power and Wisdom in controlling the universe perfectly. The Quran has referred to those people as ulema, and in modern terminology they are called scientists. These are the people who study nature and after observation and consistent experimentation, conquer the forces of nature. Allah has put the forces of nature under our control, but only those who know the laws can manipulate these forces. The only way to become one of the ulema is to acquire this knowledge.


After learning the Quranic definition of ulema, it is an interesting exercise to compare our current ulema with it. They do not know the fundamentals of natural sciences, and their knowledge is limited to theoretical discussions and verbal emendations. These discussions are mostly related to issues that have no bearing on the universe or the practical life of people. The curriculum of religious schools is spread over ten years during which students study logic, philosophy, rhetoric, grammar, literature, etc, most of which is outdated. They also learn about astronomy, geometry, and arithmetic, which are also outdated. It is curious to note that the study of the Quran is not included in the curriculum. A certain exegesis (Jilalain) is taught that consists of only synonyms of the Quranic words. In the last year of study an exegesis of the second chapter of the Quran is taught (Bazadi). This is the education upon completion of which they receive certification for becoming an aalim (knowledgeable person). Here is a case in point to illustrate just how much knowledge these people have:

When the use of loudspeakers was introduced in India before 1947, a fatwa was sought on their use for religious purposes. The president of the organization of ulema, Mufti Kafayat-ullah, wrote:

“The device, about which the opinion has been sought, has not been seen but it is heard that such a device, when it is placed in front of an orator and he speaks while facing it, the device absorbs the sound and then broadcasts it to such a distance that the sound would not reach even a quarter of the distance without the help of the device.” (Naqeeb, 10 Nov. 1941)

The Mufti then gave his verdict in favor of the use of loudspeakers. However, another aalim, Mufti Mohammad Shafee, a senior teacher in the religious academy of Deoband, published a verdict in a magazine in which the use of the devices for prayer was declared unlawful. He wrote that he did not know the nature of the device and how it worked. He sought information from the science teacher, Mr. Brij Nandan Lal of Alexander High School of Bhopal, and the teacher said, “Because of the use of electrical power I am hesitant to believe that the sound is original, and find it hard to deny it either because to prove otherwise is equally difficult.” After this “exhaustive research” and on the basis on conjecture from a non-Muslim, a Muslim aalim decided that it was the decree of Allah and His prophet to forbid the use of loudspeakers. This illustrates nicely how ignorant the ulema are in matters natural and modern science; it is ironic that they still retain the ability to issue verdicts (fatwas) on them, however. In Pakistan not only is the expression of personal opinions a target, but law making has fallen victim to the same ignorant judgments.


From the various explanations so far it is evident that, according to the Quran, the Mumineen, Muttaqeen, those who abide by and keep Allah’s laws in sight, and those who have faith and long to “meet” with Allah, are people who study the universe and perform practical research on the objects therein as well as the forces of nature. The experience thus gained is called knowledge, and the Quran calls those who have this knowledge ulema.

At this point it comes to mind that European and North American nations are not Mumin and Muttaqi in the true sense of the words. While it is very important to acquire scientific knowledge, it is wrong to assume that just by doing so one can become a Mumin or Muttaqi. The critical factor is whether one uses the information according to the laws of Allah. So, there are two conditions in becoming a Mumin: to gain knowledge from nature, and to use it according to the injunctions of Allah. The Quran demands that “its system be accepted in its totality.” (2/208) A nation that does not meet both of these criteria cannot be Mumin, and since Muslims fail regarding the first condition, we cannot claim to be Mumin. In addition, if we do not have knowledge of the forces of nature, we will not be able to use them as Allah has advised in the Quran. In contrast, Western nations do not fulfill the second criterion; thus, on a practical level, Muslims and western non-Muslims are in the same position.

In order to use the forces of nature in accordance with Allah’s laws it is absolutely necessary to study the Quran because these laws are contained within it. Those who are firmly grounded in knowledge conduct affairs of the state according to Allah’s injunctions because they know “if any fail to judge by the light what Allah has revealed, they are no better than the unbelievers.” (5/44) As a result of rejecting the Quran, human society, in spite of its prosperity, turns its environment into a living hell. This progressive demise is evident in western culture. Despite all their scientific prowess they cannot find the right solution to human problems. Their senses and mind are not helping them, and about these kinds of nations the Quran says, “And we had firmly established them in prosperity and power. And we endowed them with hearing, sight, a heart, and intellect. But of no avail to them were their faculties when they went on rejecting the commandments of Allah, and they were encircled by that which they used to mock.” (46/26)

If Western nations use the forces as well as the rewards of nature in Allah’s cause, the hell through which all of humanity is suffering would be transformed into a much sought after paradise. Those who are satisfied with the status quo and do not act according to Allah’s law of Rububiyat live a damned life. In contrast, people who have firm belief in the word of Allah and work constructively within Allah’s system are on the right path and enjoy gardens of lush verdure. They are concerned for each other’s well being and recognize that the universe has not been created in vain. Such a society will continue to expand until it encompasses the whole of humanity, and at that time everyone will acknowledge that Allah’s system of universal sustenance is superlative.


If we Muslims want to shape our society according to the Quran, then we must become competent researchers and scientists in every field of knowledge. Through observation and experiment in both the internal world (anfus) and external world (afaq), the forces of nature can be harnessed and then the rewards amassed can be used and distributed according to the laws given in the Quran. Only people with these characteristics are qualified to be called ulema. If we continue to hold our current distorted view of knowledge in Islam, not only will meeting with Allah be impossible, but we will not even be included in the category of living nations.

Is Islam a Failure?

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

· What is Islam.

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

· Struggle Between Right and Wrong.

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

· Slow Speed.

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

· Truth Prevails.

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

· Reiteration.

The ground covered so far might be reiterated briefly:-­

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

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

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

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

· Pace can be Accelerated.

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

· How Human Intellect Works.

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

· What Revelation Does.

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

· Four Questions.

The foregoing gives rise to four questions, namely:-

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

(2) Why did that thing not prove lasting?

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

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

· Rasoolullah’s Training.

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

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

· Difference in Training.

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

· Real Conversion.

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

Second Question

· Rasoolullah’ s Personality.

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

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

· What Rasoolullah did could be repeated.

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

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

· Why the Programme halted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

· Doubtful Strategy.

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

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

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

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

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

Third Question

· Why did human mind fail to assimilate Islamic truths.

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

· High Level of Quranic Revolution.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

· Sixth Century Thought.

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

· Rasoolullah’s Personality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

· Human Mind can Develop.

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

· Why Emergent Evolution.

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

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

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

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

Fourth Question

· Islam has been Advancing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

· Islam Continues to Advance.

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

· Recapitulation.

The ground already covered might be recapitulated: -

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

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

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

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

· Islam and Muslims.

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

· Islamic Truths.

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

· Evidence of Man’s History.

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

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

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

Or it is still seeking after his guidance.”

· Only Islam advances.

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

· Partial adoption of Islam.

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

· Decline of Muslims.

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

· Islamic way illustrated.

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

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

· Islamic Way and Gains Inter-linked.

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

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

· Evidence of Pakistan.

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

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

· Constitution and Sovereignty.

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

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

· Towards Destiny.

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

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

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

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