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Islam its Meaning 
and Message 

Edited by 
Khurshid Ahmad 

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ISLAM “a4 
Its Meaning and Message 

Edited by 

Director General 
The Islamic Foundation 

Foreword by 

Secretary General | 
Islamic Council of Europe 

The Islamic Fo undation» 

€ The Islamic Foundation 

First Edition 1975 

Second Edition 1976 

Reprinted 1980, 1983. 1988 and 1992 
Third Edition 1999 

ISBN 0 86037.287 | (Paperback) | 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, 
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any 
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or 
otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. 

Published by* 

The Islamic Foundation 
223, London Road 

on bchalf of 

Islamic Council of Europe 

16 Grosvenor Crescent 
London SW! 7EP 

Printed and bound in Great Britain by 
Dotesios (Printers) Limited, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire 


Foreword Salem Azzam 

Preface to the Second Edition 

, Acknowledgements | 



Part I 

Islam: The Essentials ' 

Islam: Basic Principles and Characteristics 
Khurshid Ahmad zi 
The Spirit of Islam 

Muhammad A sad 

Part II 


The Life of the Prophet Muhammad 

‘Abd al- Rahman ‘Azzam 

The Qur'àn and Its Impact on Human History 
Allahbukhsh K. Brohi 






Part III 


6. Islam and Social Responsibility 

T. B. Irving 

7.  Thelslamic Concept of Worship 
Mustafa Ahmad al-Zarga 

8. Islamic Approach to Social Justice 
Syed Qutb 

9. Womanin Islam 

Gamal A. Badawi 

10. Political Theory of Islam 
Abul A ‘la Mawdüdi 

11. Objectives of the Islamic Economic Order 
Muhammad Umar Chapra 

Part IV 


12. | What Islam Gave to Humanity 

Abdul Hamid Siddiqui 

13. | The Western World and Its Challenges to Islam 
Seyyed Hossein Nasr 

14. Islam and the Crisis of the Modern World 
Muhammad Qutb 

A Short Bibliography on Islam 





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ISLAM today is the second largest religion in Europe. There are be- 
tween seven and eight million Muslims in Western Europe and over 25 
million in the whole of Europe, including European Russia. There are 
Mosques, Islamic Centres, institutions for the education of Muslim 
youth aiid other organizations engaged in a multitude of Islamic 
activities. The realization of an Islamic presence in Europe is increas- 
ing; so also is the need on the one hand, to have greater co-operation 
and co-ordination between the activities of Islamic organizations and 
centres and on the other hand, to develop a better understanding of 
Islam as a religion and culture amongst all the people of Europe, 
Muslim and non-Muslim alike. 

Islam literally means commitment and obediehce — asa religion, it 
stands for belief in one God and in all the prophets of God, the last of 
whom was Mubammad (peace be upon him), and for complete sub- 
mission to the Divine Will as revealed through His prophets. A Muslim 
believes in the prophethood of Abraham, Moses and Jesus, holding 
that all of them conveyed to mankind the same message from God. The 
final revelation came through Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon 
him) and is known as Islam — the religion of all prophets, not 
‘Mohammadenism’. This revelation is preserved in che Qur’an, in the 
form in which it was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be 
upon him). 

Islam is a complete way of life. It integrates man with God, awakens 
in him a new moral consciousness and invites him to deal with all the 
problems of life — individual and social, economic and political, 
national and international — in accord with his commitment to God. 

Islam does not divide life into domains of the spiritual and the secular. 
It spiritualizes the entire existence of man and produces a social 
movement to reconstruct human life in the light of principles revealed 
by God. Prayer and worship in Islam are means to prepare man to fulfil 
this mission. Islam aims at changing life and producing a new man and 
a new society, both committed to God and to the welfare of mankind. 
That is why Islam is not a religion in the limited sense of the word; 
rather it is a complete code of life and a culturc-producing factor. 
Muslim culture profits from all available sources, local and interna- 
tional, but its unique characteristic is that it grows from the founda- 

tions of the Qur'àn and Sunnah. Hence the distinctiveness of Muslim . 

culture and life in Europe and elsewhere. 

‘The need for a better and more sympathetic understanding of Islam 
in the West was never as great as it is today. The presence of significant 
Muslim populations in every country of Europe, in almost every city 
and region, has made it necessary for the local communities to under- 
stand the beliefs and life-patterns of their Muslim neighbours. The 
western world is coming into close contact economically, politically 
and culturally with the world of Islam. As the world shrinks under the 
impact of technology, the interdependence of nations, cultures and 
economies is increasing. This development demands greater mutual 
understanding of ideas, values and life-styles of the different peoples of 
the world. The Muslims in the West are not only in need of obtaining a 
better understanding of the values, ideals and practices of Western 
culture but also of refreshing their understanding of their own religion 
and culture so that they may continue to strengthen their roots in the 
Islamic tradition. In view of all these considerations, the Islamic 
Council of Europe proposes to produce, in English and other Euro- 
pean languages, a number of books on different aspects of Islam. First 
in the series is the present book, Islam: Its Meaning and Message, edited by 
Professor Khurshid Ahmad, Director General, The Islamic Founda- 
tion, England. This book has been specially compiled to serve the 
needs we have mentioned above and is drawn from the writings of 
leading Islamic scholars of our age. It not only provides a comprehen- 
sive introduction to Islamic religion and ideology, it also captures the 
essential spirit of Muslim thought in the second half of the twentieth 
century. For many a reader, this book will act as a window on the 
contemporary Muslim mind. 

Now a word about the Islamic Council of Europe. 


The Islamic Council of Europe was founded in May, 1973, by the 
Yonference of Islamic Cultural Centres and Organizations of Europe, 
held in London at the initiative of the Islamic Secretariat, Jeddah, 
in response to the resolutions adopted by the Conferences of the 
Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Muslim States held at Jeddah and 
Benghazi. It is an independent organization and acts as a co- 
ordinating body for the promotion of Islamic activities in Europe. The 
Council tries to work in co-opcration with lcading International Isla- 
mic organizations like the Islamic Secretariat, the Rabita al-‘Alam 
al-Islami and others, and the governments of all the Muslim states for 
serving the cause of da ‘wah al-Islàmiyyah. It has its headquarters in 
London and constituents in almost every country of Europe. The 
Council sponsors a number of religious, educational and cultural 
activities directly and through its constituents. Although the Council 
is still in its early phases of development, it has successfully evolved an 

infrastructure for the co-ordination and promotion of Islamic activi- 
* ties in Europe. This it has been able to achieve with the co-operation 

and assistance of a large number of Islamic Centres and Organizations 
of Europe, and of thc lcaders of the Muslim community. The 
encouragement it has réceived from His Majesty King Faisal bin 
‘Abdul ‘Aziz, the Khadim al-Haramayn nceds special mention and Í 
would like to take this opportunity to sincere:y and warmly thank His 
Majesty for taking a keen interest in the problems of Islamic Da ‘wah in 
Europe and for graciously extending moral and material support and 
encouragement to the Islamic Council of Europe in all its activities. 

The Council is devoted to developing a better understanding of 
Islam and Muslim culture in the West. It is in pursuance of this objec- 
tive that we are sponsoring the publication of the present book. We 
hope this will be read with interest by Muslims and non-Muslims alike 
and will be helpful in projecting the image of Islam in its true 

Before I conclude, I would like to thank Professor Khurshid Ahmad 
for compiling this book for us, and Dr. Muhammad Manazir Ahsan 
and Mr. Ashraf Abu Turab of the Islamic Foundation for assisting the 
editor. I am also grateful to His Excellency Mahmood Suleiman 
Maghribi, the Libyan Ambassador to the Court of St. James, whose 
encouragement and financial co-operation have enabled us to over- 
come some of the difficulties in the publication of this book. Weare also 
thankful to all the authors who have kindly permitted us to include 

their writings in this book. The Islamic Council of Europe records its 
deep gratitude to all these brétherstin-faith for their unstinted co- 
operation in the pursuit of a hoble cause! cx 

Salem Azzam 

c ^ 

Ist Ramadan 1394 - 
18th September 1974 



tne — 

Preface to the Second Edition 

MAN has conquered the seas and the skies; man has harnessed the 

forces of nature to his servicc; man has created vast and complex 
institutions and organizations to administer his affairs: man secms to 
have reached the pinnacle of material progress! 

Man also claims to have dceply reflected upon his position in the 
universe. He has begun to interpret reality with the sole use of his 
reason and the knowledge yielded by his senses. With a new-found 
confidence in his own reasoning power and in the powers of science and 
technology, he has jettisoned his link with tradition, with revealed 
truth, indeed with every form of guidance from beyond himself. 

From this elevated position he seeks to mould the world according to 
his whims and fancies. But the ‘Brave New World’ he has created 
drives an ordinary human being into profound disillusionment. In 
spite of unprecedented technological advancement and overall ma- 
terial development the condition of man remains highly unsettled. He 
sees the powerful subjugating the weak, the rich dominating the poor, 
the ‘have-nots’ arrayed against the ‘haves’; he sees the injustice and 
exploitation at national and international levels; he sces disintegration 
of the family, alienation of individual from society and its institutions, 
even from himself; and he sees the abusc of trust and authority in all 
spheres. Although he has shown his ability to fly in the air like the 
birds, and to swim in the occans like the fishes, he has failed to show his 
ability to live on the earth as a good human being. His failure here 
brings into doubt his capability to conduct his affairs in society 
without clear-cut guidelines for human action. 

Man finds himself caught in a dilemma. He believes that he has 

reached the apex of civilization. But on reaching the apex he faces a 
new and greater void. He finds himself and the civilization hc has built 
thrcatened with forces of his own crcation. He frantically scarches for 
remedies to rid his lifc of those portents of destruction which threaten 
to deprive him of his cherished drcam of ultimate bliss. He finds that 
his world-view lacks definitive criteria to help him judge between right 
and wrong; he finds that his learning and expertise fail to give him 
universal criteria to distinguish between good and bad; he finds that 
change and the pace of change have swept him off his feet—nothing 
tangible and lasting remains. Increasingly man becomes dubious 
about the direction he is heading for. Inability to conceive a way out of 
this dilemma leads him to despair and gloom. Man becomes in- 
creasingly selfish and unmindful of humanity’s collective needs. Man 
becomes aware of a choice - either he relinquishes all pretences to be 
anything other than an animal and sadly pronounce himself as the 
‘naked ape’ or strive further to regain and retain his sanity. 

His search leads him to the awareness that the fruits of his reason are 
not in themselves sufficient for comprehending the reality around him. 
He turns to meditation, to mysticism, to occult practices, to pseudo- 
spiritualism for gaining further insight and inspiration. His thirst 
remains unquenched; he fails to find a comprehensive doctrine based 
on reality and capable of universal application. 

At this stage, man needs to discover the Word of God. It informs him 
of his Creator, informs him of the purpose of his creation, informs him 
of his place as the ‘best of creation’, provides him with guidance to lead 
a fulfilling and rewarding life, tells him of the hereafter, teaches him 
the value of his fellow beings, makes everything else subservient to the 
criterion of truth — in short, enables him to be at peace with himself, 
with the whole of creation and with the Creator. 

The religion of Islam embodies the final and most complete Word of 
God. It is the embodiment of the code of life which God, the Creator 
and the Lord of the Universe, has revealed for the guidance of man- 
kind. Islam intergrates man with God and His Creation in such a way 
that man moves in co-operation with all that exists. Neglect of this 
dimension has impoverished human life and has made most of man's 
material conquests meaningless. Over-secularization has deprived 
human life of its spiritual significancc. But spiritual greatness cannot 
be achieved by a simple swing of thc pendulum to the other extreme. 
Harmony and equilibrium can be attained only by the intergration of 

ae E 

the material with the spiritual. This is the approach that Islam brings 
to bear: it makes the whole of the domain of existence spiritual and 
religious. It stands for the harmonization of the human will with the 
Divine Will - this is how peace is achieved in human life. It is through 
peace with God that man attains peace in the human order as also 
peace with nature, outside as well as within him. 

This is the essential message of Islam. But an average reader in the 
West finds it difficult to reach the truc spirit of Islam. Whatever be the 
contributions of western scholarship in different fields of Islamic stu- 
dies, the fact remains that very little is available that presents with 
precision and authenticity the meaning and message of Islam as the 
Muslims understand it. No effort worth the name would seem to have 
been made to understand Islam in the way Muslims believe and prac- 
tise it. Our endeavour is to make a humble contribution in this 
neglected area. 

Islam: Its Meaning and Message is primarily a book of readings on 
Islam. But it isa new book in the sense that all the material it contains 

_ was scattered and buried in a number of journals and books, some of 

them not easily accessible to a Western reader. Moreover, the scope 
and variety of topics covered in depth in the present collection is 
unusually broad. We have tried to select some of the best writings of 
contemporary Muslim scholars and have compiled them into a 
systematic study of Islam as an ideology and way of life. We hope the 
reader will find a freshness in the book's content and approach. 

The book is divided into four parts, each focusing attention on an 
important aspect of Islam. There are three rcadings in the first part, 
clucidating the Islamic outlook on life. The second part is devoted to a 
study of the two sources of Islam: The Qur'àn and the Prophet 
Muhammad (peace be upon him), the guidance and the guide, the 
revelation and the man to whom the book was revealed and who 
practised it in such a way as to create a living model of the Islamic 
personality and of the Islamic social order. In part three there are six 
readings which throw light on different aspects of the Islamic system of 
life, social, cultural, spiritual, political and economic. The last part 
deals with the impact of Islam on human history and culture and with 
some of the problems that confront present-day Muslims as an idcolo- 
gical community. In all, there are fourteen selections in this book, nine 
of which were originally written in English, four in Arabic and one in 
Urdu. We are giving English translations of articles written in Arabic 

and Urdu. Among the authors, five originally come from Pakistan, one 
from India, four from Egypt, and one each from Syria, Iran, Austria 
and Canada. The editor has also added a short annotated Biblio- 
graphy on Islam. Those who want to pursuc further studies on the 
themes covered in this book will, we hope, find it useful. In view of the . 
constraints of space and the demands of the scheme of the book, the 
editor had to abridge certain portions of the original essays. I am very 
grateful to the authors for consenting to unavoidable excerpting of 
their writings. Some modifications had to be made in language, parti- 
cularly in the articles that are translations from Urdu and Arabic. An 
effort has been made to introduce some degree of uniformity in the 
translation of different verses of the Qur'àn. Similarly differences in 
the method and style of referencing have also been reduced to a mini- 
mum. This, we hope, will impart a certain degree gf uniformity to the 
book. $a t 

I am grateful to Mr. Salem Azzam for inviting me to compile this 
book. He has also kindly contributed a foreword to it. My grateful 
thanks are due to my colleagues in The Islamic Foundation, Dr. M. M. 
Ahsan and Mr. Ashraf Abu Turab for assisting me in editing the book, 
to Mrs. K. Hollingworth for typing the manuscript, to Mr. Youssef 
Omar for reading the proofs and to Mr. Ajmal Ahmad for preparing 
the index. aA 

In this second edition, we have tried to improve the quality of this 
. book by trying to correct some of the mistakes which had inadvertently 
crept into the earlier edition. We are also grateful to King Abdul Aziz 
University, Jeddah, for helping us in producing the present edition. 
And finally to my wife Azra and my brother Anis, who silently and 
cheerfully bore with the strain of the work and willingly allowed me to 
neglect many of their rights and demands, I would like to whisper my 
realization that a burden shared is affection deepencd. 

Khurshid Ahmad 

The Islamic Foundation 

10 Rabi< al- Thàni, 1396 
9 April, 1976 


- The editor records his grateful acknowledgement to the following 

. "publishers for permitting him to include material in this book: Arafat 
': Publications, Lahore (The Spirit of Islam); Islamic Publications, Lahore 

(Islam: Basic Principles and Characteristics and Political Theory of Islam), 
The Devin-Adair Company, New York (The Life of the Prophet Muham- 

. mad); Impact International, London (Islam and Social Responsibility); Crite- 
rion, Karachi (/slamic Approach to Social Justice and What Islam Gave to 
Humanity); MSA, Gary, U.S.A. (Woman in Islam); Bureau of Publica- 
tions, University of Karachi (Objectives of the Islamic Economic Order); The 
Islamic Quarterly, London (The Western World and its Challenge to Islam); 
and Darul Bayan, Kuwait (Islam and the Crisis of the Modern World). 

K. A. 



Director-General, Islamic Foundation, U.K., and Asst. Professor of Econo- 
mics, University of Karachi, Pakistan. Holds Masters in Economics and 
Islamic Studies, first degree in Law, and is engaged in research at the Univer- 
sity of Leicester. Published work: /slamic Ideology (Urdu), University of 
Karachi, 1973; Socialism or Islam (Urdu), Karachi, 1969; /slam and the West, 
Lahore, 1970; Studies in thé Family Law of Islam, Karachi, 1960; Principles of 
Islamic Education, Lahore, 1970, etc. 


An Austrian convert to Islam and a scholar of international repute. Published 
work: /slam al the Crossroads, Lahore, 1969; Sahth Bukhari, English Translation 
and Commentary (Incomplete), Srinagar and Lahore, 1938; The Road to 
Mecca, London and New York, 1954; The Message of the Qur'an, (Incomplete), 
Mecca: Muslim World League, 1964. 

Scholar and statesman, ‘Abd al-Rahman ‘Azzam was the first Secretary- 

General of the Arab League (1945-1952). Published work: The Eternal Message 
of Muhanimad, New York: Mentor Books, 1964. 


A leading scholar, lawyer and statesman and a former Minister of Law, 
Government of Pakistan. Published work: Adventures in Sel/-Expression, 
Karachi, 1953; Fundamental Law of Pakistan, Karachi, PH Islam and the Modern 
World, Karachi, 1968. 

T. B. IRVING (U.S.A.) 

A Canadian convert to Islam and a leading sakonei in Spanish language and 
históry. Holds Ph.D. from Princeton and is Professor of Romance Languages 
and Islamic Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Published 
work: Falcon of Spain, Lahore, 1958; The Noble Reading, Cedar Rapids, lowa, 
1971. Presently engaged in a new English translation of the Qur’an. 


A lead.^g authority on Islamic Law. Holds Ph.D. in Islamic Law and is 
Professor of Islamic Law in the University of Jordan. A former Minister of 
Justice, Government of Syria. Published work: over one dozen books in Arabic 
on Islamic law. 

SYED QUTB (Egypt) 
One of the greatest Islamic scholars of the twentieth century and a martyr to 

the Islamic cause. A former educational adviser to the Government of Egypt 
and a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Syed Qutb Shahid served a long 


SIT Ge. ee eee 

sentence in prison for his Islamic and political opinions and was sentenced to 
death in Nasser's Egypt in 1966. Published work: Social Justice in Islam, 
Washington, 1953; 7 Religum af Islam, Beirut, 1970; and over two dozen 
books in Arabic on Islam. His grcatest work is an eight volume Tafsir (Exege- 
sis) of the Qur'an Fi zilàl al- Quran. 


A Ph.D. in Business Management, Dr. Badawi is Associate Professor in the 
School of Management, Halifax, Canada. He has contributed a number of 
articles to different journals. 

ABU'L-A'LÀ MAWDUDI (Pakistan) 

One of the greatest thinkers of the Contemporary Muslim world. Editor, 
Varjuman al-Qur 'àn, Lahore, and founder of the JamAt-i-Islami, Pakistan. 
Mawdüdi is a member of the Foundation Committee of the Muslim World 
League, a member of its Islamic Law Academy and a member of the Govern- 
ing Body of the Islamic University, Madina. Hc has written over two hundred 
books and pamphlets on Islam. Most important of his works being a six 
volume 7 afidir (Exegesis) of the Qur'an — 7 afhim al-Qur an. He writes in Urdu 
but his works have been translated into English, Arabic, Turkish, Persian, 
' French, German, Swahili, Hindi and a number of other languages of the 
world. Selected published work in English: Towards Understanding Islam, 
Karachi, Beirut, Nairobi, 1973; Islamic Law and Constitution, Lahore, 1968; 
Islamic Way of Life, Lahore, 1970; Birth Control, Lahore, 1968; Ethical V tewpoint 
of Islam, Lahore, 1967; The Meaning of the Qur àn (4 parts), Lahore, 1974, etc. 


Ph.D. in Economics from Minnesota, Dr.'Umar( 'hapra is Economic Adviser 
to the Saudi Monetary Agency. He has also served as Assistant Professor in an 
American University, as Senior Economist, Pakistan Institute of Develop- 
ment Économics and as Associate Professor, Institute of Islamic Research, 
Pakistan. Published work: Economic System of Islam, London and Karachi, 1970, 
and a number of papers in different scholar ly journals. 


Fellow, Islamic Rescarch Academv, Karachi, and Associate Editor, 7'arjuman 
al- Qur an, Lahore. Mr. Siddiqui holds a masters degree in Economics and has 
served as Professor of Economics at Islamic College, Gujranwalah. Published 
work? The Life of Muhammad, Lahore, 1969; Sahih Muslim (Translation and 
editing), Lahore, 1974; Philosophical Interpretation of History, Lahore, 1969; 
Prayers of the Prophet, Lahore, 1968; Prophethood in Islam, Lahore, 1968. 


Chancellor, Arya-Mcehr University of Technology, Tehran, Professor Nasr, a 
Ph.D. from Harvard, is a specialist in Physics, History of Science and Islamic 
Philosophy. During 1964-65, he was the first holder of the Ava Khan Chair of 
Islamic Studies at the American University of Beirut. Published work: /deals 
and Realities of Islam, London, 1966; Three Muslim Sages: Avicenna, Suhrwady, Ibn 

‘Arabi, Cambridge, Mass , 1964; The Encounter of Man and Nature: The Spivitial s 
Crisis of Modern Man, London, 1971; Sufi Essays, London, 1972. 

MUHAMMAD QUTB (Saudi Arabia) 

Professor of Islamic Studies, King Abdul Aziz University, Makka, a renowned 
Islamic scholar and a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt. Professor 
Qutb is the author of over one dozen books on Islam, some of them have been 
translated into a number of languages, including English, French, German, 
Urdu and Persian. One of his well known books is /slam: the Misunderstood 
Religion, Kuwait, 1969. . . 


The Islamic Outlook On Life 

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Islam: The Essentials* 

‘ISLAM’ isan Arabic word. 1t means the act of resignation to God. The 
root word is SLM, pronounced ‘salm’ which means peace from which 
comes the word ‘as/ama’ which means he submitted, he resigned him- 
_ self. Al-Islam or Islam is the religion which brings peace to mankind 
when man commits himself to God and submits himself to His will. 
According to the Holy Book revealed to Muhammad (peace and bles- 
sings of God be on him), this is the only true religion professed by all 
Prophets from Adam to Muhammed, the Last Prophet. A ‘Muslim’ is 
one who resigns himself to God and thereby professes the faith of 
al-Islam. A Muslim therefore believes in all the Prophets and makes no 
distinction between one and the other. He also believes that God has 
sent His prophets to all corners of the earth to preach the same religion, 
that His message stopped coming after the last revelations received by 
the last Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be on him), 
and that the message received by the last Prophet is the most compre- 
hensive and the final form of God’s message to Man. 

In order to be a true ‘Muslim’ three things are necessary: Faith, Action 
according to that faith and the realization of one’s relation to God asa 
result of action and obedience. | 

Faith which is described in the Qur'àn, the Holy Book of Islam, as 
Iman consists in believing that Allah (God) alone is worthy of worship 

* This introductory statement on the Essentials of Islam has been prepared 
under the auspices of the Islamic Foundation, England. ` 


and that Muhammad (peace be on him) is the Messenger of Allah, and. . 
in bearing witness to the above statement. This implies: 

(1) True existence is that of Allah alone; Man and the entire 
creation exist only because Allah wills them to exist. 

(2) As there cannot be two sources of creation, as Allah alone is the 
creator, everything comes from Him and goes back to Him; hence 
the entire creation including Man is the manifestation of Allah’s 
power and glory and hence of His qualities or attributes. - 

(3) The relation between Man and Allah is that of a servant and the 
Master. As Man owes his very existence to Allah, to worship any- 
thing else is to commit the gravest of sins. 

(4) The above three aspects of Faith in Allah are realized by Man 
only when he responds to the Message of Allah and this is possible 
when Man believes in Muhammad (peace be on him) as the mes- 
senger of Allah. 

(5) Asa messenger he is the last and the greatest, about whom all the 
early messengers have predicted and who thus completes the pro- 
cess of revelation. 

(6) He is therefore the Perfect Ideal for Mankind, the perfect ser- 
vant of Allah and hence the most complete and the ideally balanced 
manifestation of the attributes of Allah. 

(7) To believe in him is to believe in all the other prophets of Allah. 
(8) To believe in him is also to believe that the Qur'àn contains all . 
the revelations sent to mankind through him, that these revelations 
provide guidance to us and that we should worship Allah by fol- 
lowing these revelations according to the method prescribed for us 
by Muhammad (peace be on him) and hence in accordance with his 
sayings and practice, known as Hadith or Sunnah. | 
(9) To believe in him is also to believe in the carriers of this message, 
the angels, who are described in the Qur'àn as functionaries. 

Action, described in Arabic by the word ‘amai, is the manifestation in 
actuality how far we are true servants of God. As action needs rules and 
regulations according to which we organise our individual and social 
behaviour, the revelations and the actual physical embodiment of 
these revelations in the action ofthe Prophet (peace beon him) provide 
both the basis and the structure of the Law of human conduct, known 
as Shari‘ah, Besides Jman (faith) which provides the central pillar that 
sustains the whole structure, the four other pillars in the four corners 
are: Prayer (salat); Fasting (sawm ); Charity (zakàt ); Pilgrimage (Hajj). 


A Muslim has to pray five times a day, before sunrise, between 
mid-day and afternoon, in the afternoon, immediately after sunset 
and between the time when the twilight is over and just before dawn. It 
means he cannot be forgetful of his dependence of Allah and derives 
sustenance and new initiatives and strength through this remem- 

He fasts for one lunar month in a year, every day from dawn till 
sunset, the month of Ramadan. Physically he does not eat, drink or 
smoke or have sexual intercourse. Spiritually he abstains from all evil 
thoughts, actions and sayings. In other words he tries to realize his true 
self by striving to realize within himself some aspects of the divine 

Charity (Zakat) implies that everything that he seems to possess 
belongs to Allah and therefore anyone in need has a share in it and he 
should willingly and gladly help individuals and society when they are 

. In need. As mankind has never been free from some kind of need, an 

annual amount is prescribed out of one's income and savings. 

Pilgrimage to Makka implies Man's temporary suspension of all 
worldly activities and his realization of himself as a naked soul in front 
of Allan alone. This also symbolises the unity of the Muslim Ummah 
and the oneness of Mankind. 

All these four are intimately tied up with all other aspects of man’s 
individual and social behaviour. By following them and thereby living 
a life of complete dedication to the Will of Allah, a man becomes a true 
Muslim. 7 

A Muslim is one whose outlook on life is permeated with this con- 
sciousness. He is committed to the values of life given by the Qur'àn 
and the Sunnah. He tries to live according to the guidance given by God 
and His Prophet and he strives to promote the message of Islam 
through his word and actions. This striving is known as Jihad which. 
means a striving and a struggle in the path of God. It consists in exert- 
ing one'sself to the utmost in order to personally follow the teachings of 
Islam and to work for their establishment in society. Jihad has been 
described in the Qur'àn and the Sunnah as the natural corollary of these 
pillars of faith. Commitment to God involves commitment to sacrifice 
one's time, energy and wealth to promote the right cause. It may be 
necessary at times to give one's life in order to preserve Truth. Jihad 
implies readiness to give whatever onc has, acia dig his life, for the 
sake of Allah. 

This striving in the path of Allah with /maz (faith) as the guiding 


light and the scheme of ‘amal (action) as the system and structure has 
the following implications: 

(1) Man is accountable to Allah for all that he does. Allah will judge 
him on the Last Day of Judgement and send him either to Heaven, 
a stage of existence which leads to further blessings, or to Hell, a 
stage of suffering and punishment. 

(2) This implies that Man’s life does not end with his death in this 
world. He has life after death. 

(3) Therefore all human action :hould be organised in such a man- 
ner that he may not suffer in life after death. 

(4) This organization of action in this world implies the organiza- 
tion of all facets of human existence, individual and collective, 
hence educational, economic, political and social. Shari ‘ah provides 
the guidelines, the rules of external conduct. 

(5) This means Man is free in his will, choice and action. 

Realization of man's relation to Allah is a spiritual aspect known in 
Arabic as 'ilsan which Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) ex- 
plained in the following way: ‘You should worship Allah as if you are 
seeing Him, for He sees you though you do not see him’ (Bukhari and 
Muslim). It means that all action should be performed with Allah in 
your vision. If that is not possible always you must realize that Allah is 
seeing you. This realization is regarded as the basis of true devotion. Ít 
signifies that man has identified his will with the Will of God and has 
brought it, at least as far as he is concerned, completely in tune with the 
Divine Will. Consequently, he begins to like what is liked by his Lord 
and to abhor what is disapproved by Him. Man, then, not only avoids 
evils which God does not like to be spread on the earth, but uses all his 
energy to wipe them off the surface of the earth. Similarly he is not 
content merely with adorning himself with the virtues which God 
likes, but also engages himself in an unccasing struggle to propagate 
and establish them in the world. Man comes nearest to God by excel- 
ling in this process of identification of man's will with the Divine Will. 
This enables him to develop the divine spark within him and to illu- 
minate his entire being with that. The most complete example of the 
realization is that of the Prophet (peace be on him). Through constant 
remembrance of Allah, through Man's Love of God and the Prophet, 
through obedience to the commandments of Allah and His Prophet 
(peace be on him), and through constant struggle to promote good and 
forbid evil Man may attain nearness to Allah. Contact with and guid- 

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ance from those who attain this nearness help the rest of mankind to 
attain this nearness or to be alivc in spirit and hence to perform indi- 
vidual and collective action not mechanically but with whole-hearted 
devotion and for the sake of Allah alone. This realization is the basis of 
piety. This piety is the source of righteousness which is regarded by Islam 
as the core of just action. Persons who, through màn, ‘amal and ihsán 
become living symbols of truth represent the reform movement csta- 
blished by the Prophet (peace be upon him) to reconstruct human life 
and bring it in accord with Divine Guidance. Such persons constantly 
remind the rest of Mankind of the true significance of Man's submis- 
sion to the Will of Allah. And a society which realises these values in its 
collective lifc would be the ideal society which Islam wants to establish 
for the ultimate welfare (Falah) of Man. 


According to Islam, when faith, action and realization are in perfect 
harmony, Man manifests the fact that he is the vicegerent of God on 
Earth. Though Man derives everything from Allah, he is the most 
complete manifestation of the attributes of Allah and as such he is 
Allah’s representative on Earth. The entire creation is potentially 
under his dominion. Therefore Islam does not set any limit to Man’s 
knowledge, authority and power except the fundamental limit that 
they are all derived and hence Man is not self-sufficient. Allah may 
take away his power whenever He wishes. Islam, therefore, teaches the 
sanctity of human personality, confers equal rights on all without any 
distinction of colour, sex or language and subjects the highest and the 
humblest, the richest and the poorest, the king and the commoner to 
the sovereignty of Allah and at the same time gives Man the highest 
imaginable initiative to proceed in the path of self-realization, hence 
the wielding of God’s authority on the Creation. 


Islam therefore enjoins Man to: 

(1) believe that God is One, Omniscient and Omnipresent; He 
begetteth not, nor is He begotten; l 

(2) believe further that Man is the vicegerent of God on Earth and 
has freedom of choice; 

(3) believe also that as he has freedom of choice he may go astray 
and therefore needs guidance from time to time so that he may 



know how to realize his own true greatness and that is why God sent 

His messengers from Adam to Muhammad (peace be on them) and 
completed this process during the life of Muhammad (peace be on 

(4) 2 on this message which is preserved in purity without any 
adulteration in the Qur’an which asks Man to follow the Prophet 
(peace be on him) as his supreme ideal; 

(5) know and act upon that ideal preserved in collection of sayings 

of the Prophet (peace be on him) and the reports of his actions - —the 

- Sunnah or the traditions of the Prophet. 


Islam does not deny Truth to other religions but says that later fol- 
lowers adulterated that Truth by their own inventions and that was 
why God sent Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) to purify God's 
religion. Each religion manifests some aspect of the same Truth, but 
the emphasis may differ according to the need of Man of that period or 
age or race. Islam is the religion for all and as it is the most compre- 
hensive manifestation of that Truth, it provides a complete way and a 
perfect equilibrium. : 

The second fact about this relationship with other religions is the 
chronology stated in the Qur'àn. Islam is in the line of all religions 
whose Prophets belonged to the family of Abraham. The Judaic tra- 
dition that started with Abraham’s son Ishaq (Isaac) came to an end 
with Jesus who was the last Prophet in that family tree. Muhammad 
(peace be on him) was the descendant of the other son of Ibrahim 
(Abraham), Ism4a‘il (Ishmael), Prophets in other lines among the 
descendants of Adam have been hinted at but not referred to except 
Nüh (Noah) as examples in the Qur'àn. But, as the Qur'àn clearly 
states that there is not a single human habitation on the face of this 
earth where a Prophet has not emerged and where God has not sent 
His messenger to guide people, a Muslim cannot deny Truth to reli- 
gions not belonging to this tradition. All that he can point out is the 
adulteration of that Truth, the mixing up of the Word of God and the 
word of man, its non-preservation in its original form. 

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Islam: Basic Principles and 

Khurshid Ahmad 

. * ISLAM is the religion of truth. It is the embodiment of the code of life 

which God, the Creator and the Lord of the universe, has revealed for 
the guidance of mankind. 

For the proper development of human life man needs two kinds of 
things, viz.: (a) resources to maintain life and fulfil the material needs 
of the individual and society, and (b) knowledge of the principles of 
individual and social behaviour to enable man to have sclf-fulfilment 
and to maintain justice and tranquility in human life. The Lord of the 
universe has provided for both of these in full measure. To cater for the 
material needs of man He has provided nature with all kinds of re- 
sources, which lie at the disposal of man. To provide for his spiritual, 
social and cultural needs He raised His prophets from among men and 
revealed to them the code of life which can guide man's steps to the 
Right Path. This code of life is known as Islam, the religion preached 
by all the prophets of God. — 

Allah said: ‘Say, we believe in God, and in the revelation given to us, 
and to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes. We believe in 
the revelation that was sent to Moses, Jesus and all other Prophets 
from their Lord. We make no distinction between them, and unto Him 
we surrender.’ (al-Qur'àn, 3: 83. See also 2: 136). 

* This is a revised version of an earlier pamphlet published by the Islamic 
Publications Ltd., Lahore, Pakistan. 

1. The Qur'àn says: ‘He has ordained for you (O Muhammad) that faith which 
He commended to Noah, and that which We commended to Abraham, Moses 
and Jesus, saying: “Establish the Faith, and be not divided therein.” ' (al- 
Qur'àn, 42: 13). 


Also: “He has revealed to you (O Muhammad) the scripture with 
truth, confirming that which was revealed before it even as He reveal- 
ed the Torah and the Gospel, before as a guide to mankind and has 
revealed the Criterion (of judging between right and wrong). (al- 
Qur'àn, 3: 3-4). | 

All of the prophets called humanity to the way of the Lord, the way 
of submission to Allah. All of them gave the same message; all of them 
stood for the same cause, Islam. : 


Islam is an Arabic word and denotes submission, surrender and obe- 
dience. As a religion, Islam stands for complete submission and obe- 
dience to Allah — that is why it is called /slam. The other literal 
meaning of the word Islam is ‘peace’ and this signifies that one can 
achieve real peace of body and of mind only through submission and 
obedience to Allah.’ Such a life of obedience brings peace of the heart 
and establishes real peace in society at large. 

"Those who believe and whose hearts find rest in the remem- 
brance of Allah — indeed it is in the thought of Allah alone that the 
heart of man really finds rest — those who believe and act 
righteously, joy is for them, and a blissful home to return to.' (al- 
Qur'àn, 13: 28-29). 

This message was preached by all the prophets of God, who guided 
man to the right path. But man not only veered away from the right 
path again and again, but also lost or distorted the code of guidance 
which the prophets had bequeathed. That was why other prophets 
were sent to re-state the original message and guide man to the right 
path. The last of these prophets was Muhammad (peace be upon him), 

2. The word Islam is from the root SLM (pronounced silm) which means (a) to 
surrender, to submit, to yield, to give one's self over, thus aslama amrahii ila 
Allah, means ‘he committed his cause to God’ or ‘he resigned himself to the will 
of God’. Aslama alone would be ‘he committed himself to the will of God’, or ‘he 
became a Muslim’. The other major shade of meaning in the root is (b) ‘to 
become reconciled with one another’, ‘to make peace’. Salm means peace. So 
does silm, which also means ‘the religion of Islam’. Sge Hans Wehr, A Dictionary 
of Modern Written Arabic, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1971, p. 424-425. 
Imam Raghib says in a/-Mufridàt fi Gharib al Qur ‘an: ‘Islam in law is of two 
kinds; one is a simple coníession with the tongue . . . the other that along with 
confession, there is belief in the heart and a fulfilment in practice, and resig- 
nation to God in whatever He brings to pass or decree’. Raghib further says: 
Islam means entering into salm, arnd salm and silm both signify peace.’ 

ON OA Se d 


- who presented God’s guidance in its final form and arranged to pre- 

serve it for all time. It is this guidance which is now known as al-Islam 
and is enshrined in the Qur’an and the life-example of the Prophet. 

The basic Islamic concept is that the entire universe was created by 
God, whom Islam calls Allah and who is the Lord and the Sovereign of 
the Universe. He is the Lord of the universe which He alone sustains. 
He created man and appointed for each human being a fixed period of 
life which he is to spend upon the earth. Allah has prescribed a certain 
code of life as the correct one for him, but has at the’same time confer- 
red on man freedom of choice as to whether or not he adopts this code 
as the actual basis of his life. One who chooses to follow the code re- 
vealed by God becomes a Muslim (believer) and one who refuses to 
follow it becomes a Kafir (non-bcliever). 

A man joins the fold of Islam by honestly believing in and professing 
faith in the unity of God and the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace 
be upon him). Both these beliefs are epitomised in the Ka/ima: 

Là ilaha illallahu Muhammad ur- Rasülullah. 
(‘There is no God except Allah; Muhammad is His Prophet.) 

The first part of this Kalima presents the concept of Tawhid (unity of 
God) and its second part affirms the Prophethood of Muhammad 
(peace be upon him). 



Tawhid is a revolutionary concept and constitutes the essence of the 
teachings of Islam. It means that there is only One Supreme Lord of : 
the universe. He is Omnipotent, Omnipresent and the Sustainer of the 
world and of mankind. 

How can one observe the inexhaustible creativity of nature, its 
purposefulness, its preservation of that which is morally useful and 
destruction of that which is socially injurious, and yet fail to draw the 
conclusion that behind nature there is an All-Pervading Mind of 
whose incessant creative activity the processes of nature are but an 
outward manifestation? The stars scattered through the almost 
infinite space, the vast panorama of nature with its charm and beauty, 
the planned waxing and waning of the moon, the astonishing har- 
mony of thc seasons — all point towards one fact: there is a God, the 
Creator, the Governor. We witness a superb, flawless plan in the uni- 
verse — can it be without a Planner? We sec great enchanting beauty 
and harmony in its working — can they be without a Creator? We 


observe wonderful design in nature — can it be without a Designer? 
We feel a lofty purpose in physical and human existence — can it be 
without a Will working behind it? We find that the universe is like a 
superbly written fascinating novel — can it be without an Author? 
Truly, Allah said: 

O, Mankind: worship your Lord, who created you and those 
before you, so that you may ward off evil. Who has appointed the 
earth a resting place for you, the sky a canopy? and who causes 
water to pour down from the heavens, thereby producing fruits as 
food for you? So, do not set up rivals to Allah, when you know 
better.’ (al-Qur'àn, 2: 21-22). 

This is the basic tenet to which Muhammad (peace be upon him) 
asked humanity to adhere. 

It is an important metaphysical concept and answers the riddles of 
the universe. It points to the supremacy of the law in the cosmos, the all 
pervading unity behind the manifest diversity. 

It presents a unified view of the world and offers the vision of an 
integrated universe. It is a mighty contrast to the piecemeal views of 
the scientists and the philosophers and unveils the truth before the 
human eye. After centuries of groping in the dark, man is now coming 
to realise the truth of this concept and modern scientific thought is 
moving in this direction.” | | 

But it is not merely a metaphysical concept. It is a dynamic belief 
and a revolutionary doctrine. It means that all men are the creatures of 
one God — they are all equal. Discrimination based on colour, class, 
race or territory is unfounded and illusory. It isa remnant of the days of 
ignorance which chained men down to servitude. Humanity is one 
single family of God and there can be no sanction for those barriers. 
Men are one — and not bourgeois or proletarian, white or black, 
Aryan or non-Aryan, Westerner or Easterner. Islam gives a revolu- 
tionary concept of the unity of mankind. The Prophet came to unite 
humanity on the word of God and make the dead live again. Allah 

‘Hold tight to the rope of God, altogether and never let go again. 
Remember God's gifts and blessings unto you dll, when you were 
enemies; remember how He forged your hearts together in love, and 
by His grace, you became brethren.’ (al-Qur'àn, 3: 103). 

3. See Francis Mason (Ed.) The Great Design, London: Duckworth. 

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This concept also defines the true position of man in the universe. It. 
says that God is the Creator, the Sovereign; and that man is His vice- 
gerent on the earth.* This exalts man to the noble and dignified posi- 
tion of being God's deputy on earth and endows his life with a lofty 
purpose; to fulfil the Will of God on earth. This will solve all the per- 
plexing problems of human society and establish a new order 
wherein equity and justice and peace and prosperity will reign 

The starting point of Islam is this belief in the Unity of God 


The second part of the Kalima, on the other hand, signifies that God has 
not left man without any guidance for the conduct of his life. He has 

'. revealed His Guidance through His prophets and Muhammad (peace 

be upon him) was the last Prophet. And to believe in a prophet means 
to believe in his message, to accept the Law which he gave and to follow 
the Code of Conduct which he taught. 

Thus the second basic postulate of Islam is to believe in the Prophet- 
hood of Muhammad (peace be upon him), to accept the religion which 
he presented and to follow his commands. 

Every prophet of God, according to the Qur'àn, strove to build 
man's relationship with God on the principle of God's sovereignty and 
the acknowledgement of the authority of the prophet as source of 
divine guidance. Every one of them said: 'I am to you God's apostle, 
worthy of all trust. So be committed to God, fear Him, and obey me.’ ? 

The Guidance is revealed through the prophets. It isa part of their 
mission to translate that into practice, in their own lives and in the 
society they try to reform. All the prophets are representatives of God, 
but they are human beings and their lives are models for mankind. 
Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the last prophet and as such the 
final model for mankind. To:believe in him means to accept his 
authority as representative of the Supreme Ruler and to follow his 
example in thought and behaviour. The code of behaviour, the law 
which is to decide the rightness or otherwise (ha/a/ and haram) of things, 
is given by God through the prophet and is known as the Shari ‘ah. Belief 
in the prophet involves acceptance of the Shari‘ah, the Path, he has 

4. al-Qur'àn, 2: 30-39. 
5. al-Qur'àn, 26: 107-108; 110; 125-126; 131; 143-144; 150; 162-163; 178-179. 


conveyed and to implement that in all walks of life. This is how the 
Will of God is fulfilled on the carth.® The Qur'àn said: | 

*Every Messenger who was sent by Us was sent for the purpose 
that he should be obeycd under the sanction of Allah.’ (al-Qur'àn, | 
4: 69). 

And about the last prophet it is explicitly stated that: 

‘Nay, O Muhammad: by your Lord, they will not be believers 
until they accept you as the final arbiter in all their disputes and 
submit to your decision whole-heartedly without any heartache.' 

(al-Qur’an, 4: 65). 

The test of acceptance of God and His prophet lies in conducting all 
human affairs in accord with the Law revealed by them. 

‘And those who do not make their decisions in accordance with 
that revealed by Allah, they (in fact) are the disbelievers.' 
(al-Qur'àn, 5: 44). 

Thus, belief in God and His prophet means commitment to obey . 
them and to fashion individual and collective life in the light of the 
Law and Guidance provided by them. 

This automatically raises the question: Would those who follow the 
law and those who refuse to accept it or abide by it be at the same level 
of existence? Are they going to be treated in the same way or 
differently? What would be the consequences of differing attitudes and 

This brings us to the third basic postulate of Islam: belief in the 

The world, according to Islam, is a place of trial and man is being. 
judged in it. He will have to give account of all that he does herein. Life 
on the earth will, one day, come to an end, and after that a new world 
will be resurrected. It will be in this Life-after-death that man will be 
rewarded or punished for his deeds and misdeeds. ‘Those who live in 
the present world a life of obedience to the Lord will enjoy eternal bliss 
in the hereafter and those who disobey His commands will have to 
garner the bitter fruits of their disobedience. According to the Qur'an; 

‘And every man’s deeds have We fastened around his neck, and 
6. Jesus, like other prophets, presented the same message. This is what he aims 
at when he says: ‘Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done in earth, as it is in 
heaven.’ New Testament, St. Matthew, 6: 10. 


on the day of Resurrection will We bring forth a book which shall be 
proffered to him wide open: “Read your record: there 
need be none but yourself to make out an account against you.” ’ 
(al-Our'àn, 17: 13-14). 

"Whosoever will come with a good deed, for him there shall be the 
like of it tenfold, while whosoever will come with an ill-deed, he 
shall be requited with only one like it, and they shall not be treated 
unjustly.’ (al-Qur'àn, 6: 160). 

Thus the basic articles of Islamic faith are three, viz.: 

(a) Belief in the Unity of God; 

(b) Belief in the Prophethood of Mubammad (peace be upon him) 
and in the guidance which he bequeathed; and 

(c) , Belief in the Life-after-death and in man's accountability be- 
fore God on the Day of Judgement. 

| Whoever professes these beliefs is a Muslim. And all these concepts 
are epitomised in the Kalima: ‘There is no God but Allah; Muhammad 
is His Prophet.’ 

Some Basic Characteristics of Islamic Ideology 
George Bernard Shaw is reported to have said: 

‘I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estima- 
tion because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which 
appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing 
phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have 
studied him — the wonderful man — and in my opinion far from 
being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Saviour of Humanity. I 
believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the 
modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way 
that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have 
prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be accept- 
able to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to 
the Europe of today." 

The question is what are those characteristics of Islam which have 

7. G. B. Shaw, The Genuine Islam, Singapore, Vol. I, No. 8, 1936. 


won millions of followers to the faith in the past and which make it so 
appealing to the modern age? Some of the major characteristics of 
Islam are given in the following pages. | 

1. Simplicity, Rationalism and Practicalism 

Islam isa religion without any mythology. Its teachings arc simple and 
intelligible. It is free from superstitions and irrational beliefs. The 
unity of God, the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) 
and the concept of life-after-death are the basic articles of its faith. 
They are based on reason and sound logic. All the tcachings of Islam 
follow {rom those basic beliefs and are simple and straightforward. 
There is no hierarchy of priests, no far-fetched abstractions, no com- 
plicated rites and rituals. Everybody may approach the Book of God 
directly and translate its dictates into practice. 

Islam awakens in man the faculty of reason and exhorts him to use 
his intellect. It enjoins him to see things in the light of reality. The 
Qur'àn advised man to pray: ‘O, my Lord! Advance me in knowledge’ 
(20: 114). It asserts that those who have no knowledge are not equal to 
those who have (39: 9); that those who do not observe and understand 
are worse than cattle (7:P179); that the meanings of revelation become 
manifest to those ‘who have knowledge’ (6: 97) and ‘who have under- 
standing’ (6: 98); that ‘whosoever has been given knowledge indeed 
has been given an abundant good’ (2: 269); that basic qualifications 
for leadership are, among other things, knowledge and physical 
strength (2: 247) and that of all things it is by virtue of knowledge that 
man is superior to angels and has been made vicegerent of God on 
earth (2: 30). The Prophet of Islam said: 

‘He who leaves his home in search of knowledge walks in the path 
of God.’ 

‘To seek knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.’ 

‘Acquire knowledge, because he who acquires it in the way of the 
Lord performs an act of piety; he who disseminates it bestows alms 
and he who imparts it to others performs an act of devotion to 

This is how Islam brings man out of the world of superstition and 
darkness and initiates him into that of knowledge and light. 

Then, Islam is a practical religion and does not indulge in empty 
and futile theorisings. It says that faith is not a mere profession of 
beliefs; it is the very mainspring of life. Righteous conduct must follow 



belief in Allah. Religion is something to be lived, and not an object of 
mere lip-service. The Qur'àn says: 

"Those who believe and act righteously, joy is for them, and a 
blissful home to return to.' (al Qur'àn, 13: 29). | 

And the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: 

‘God does not accept belief, if it is not expressed in deeds, and does 
not accept deeds, if they do not conform to belief.’ 

Thus, Islam is a simple, rational and practical religion. 

2. Unity of Matter and Spirit 

A unique feature of Islam is that it does not divide life into water-tight 
compartments of matter and spirit. It stands not for life-denial, but for 
life-fulfilment. Islam does not believe in asceticism. It does not ask man 
to avoid things material. It holds that spiritual elevation is to be 
achieved by living piously in the rough and iumble of life and not by 
renouncing the world. The Qur'àn advises us to pray as follows: 

‘Our Lord! Give us the good in this world and the good in the 
hereafter.’ (al-Qur’an, 2: 201). 

Allah strongly censures those who refuse to benefit from His bles- 
sings. The Qur'àn says: | 

‘Say (to them): By whose order have you denied yourself those 

amenities which God has created for His people and those good 

things to eat and use (which He has made for you)?' (al-Qur'àn, 7: 

Islam's injunction is: *Eat and drink, but do not exceed (the limits of 
moderation and decency)’ (al-Qur'àn, 7: 31). 
The Holy Prophet said: 

'A Muslim who lives in the midst of society and bears with 
patience the afflictions that come to him is better than the one who 
shuns society and cannot bear any wrong done to him.’ 

He said: 

‘Keep fast and break it (at the proper time) and stand in prayer 
and devotion (in the night) and have sleep — for your body has its 
rights over you, and your cyes rights over you, and your wife has a 
claim upon you, and the person who pays a visit to you has a claim 
upon you.’ 

On another occasion he said: 

‘These three things also are enjoined upon the faithful: 

(a) to help others, even when one is economically hard-pressed; 
(b) to pray ardently for the peace of all mankind; and 

(c) toadminister justice to one’s own self.’ 

Thus Islam does not admit any separation between ‘material’ and 
‘moral’, ‘mundane’ and ‘spiritual’ life and enjoins man to devote all his 
energies to the reconstruction of life on healthy moral foundations. It 
teaches him that moral and material powers must be welded together 
and spiritual salvation can be achieved by using material resources for 
the good of man in the service of just ends, and not by living a life of 
asceticism or by running away from the challenges of life. 

The world has suffered at the hands of the ‘brilliant’ one-sidedness of 
many a religion and ideology. Some have laid emphasis on the spiri- 
tual side of life but have ignored its material and mundane aspects. 
They have looked upon the world as an illusion, a deception and a trap. 

On the other hand materialistic ideologies have totally ignored the 
spiritual and moral side of life and have dismissed it as fictitious and 
imaginary. Both thesc attitudes havc spelt disaster. They have robbed 
mankind of peace, contentment and tranquility. Even today the im- 
balance is manifest in one or the other direction. Dr. De Brogbi, a 
French scientist, rightly says: 

"The danger inherent in too intense a material civilization is to 
that civilization itself; it is the disequilibrium which would result if 
a parallel development of the spiritual life were to fail to provide the 
needed balance.’ 

Christianity erred on one extreme; the Modern Western Civiliza- 
tion, in both of its variants of secular capitalistic democracy and Mar- 
xist socialism, has erred on the other. According to Lord Snell: 

‘We have built a nobly proportioned outer structure, but we have 
neglected the essential requirement of an inner order; we have care- 
fully designed, decorated and made clean the outside of the cup; but 
the inside was full of extortion and excess; we used our increased 
knowledge and power to administer to the comforts of the body, but we 
left the spirit impoverished.” | 

Islam aims at establishing an equilibrium between these two aspects 
of life — the material and the spiritual. It says that everything in the 
8. Lord Snell, The New World, London: Watts & Co., 1947, p. 11. 


world is for man — but man himself is for the service of a higher pur- 
pose: the establishment of a moral and just order so as to fulfil the Will 
of God. Its teachings cater for the spiritual as well as the temporal 
needs of man. Islam enjoins man to purify his soul and also to reform 
his daily life — both individual and collective — and to establish the 
supremacy of right over might and of virtue over vice. Thus Islam 
stands for the middle path and the goal of producing a moral man in 
the service of a just society. 

3. AComplete Way of Life 

Islam is not a religion in the common, distorted meaning of the 
word, confining its scope to the private life of man. It isa complete way 
of life, catering for all the fields of human existence. Islam provides 
guidance for all walks of life — individual and social, material and 

‘moral, economic and political, legal and cultural, national and inter- 

national. The Our'àn enjoins man to enter the fold of Islam without 
any reservation and to follow God's guidance in all fields of life.? 

In fact it was an unfortunate day when the scope of rcligion was 
confined to the private life of man and its social and cultural role was 
reduced to naught. No other factor has, perhaps, been morc important 
in causing the decline of religion in the modern age than its retreat into 
the realm of the private life. In the words of a modern philosopher: 

'Religion asks us to separate things of God from those of Caesar 
Such a judicial separation between the two means the degrading of 
both the secular and the sacred. ... That religion is worth little, if the 
conscience of its followers is not disturbed when war clouds are 
hanging over us all and industrial conflicts are threatening social 
peace. Religion has weakened man's social conscience and moral 
sensitivity by separating the things of God from those of Caesar.' 

Islam totally denounces this concept of religion and clearly states 
that its objectives are purification of the soul and the reform and the 
reconstruction of the society. Says the Qur'àn: 

"We verily sent Our messengers with clear proofs and revealed 
with them the Scripture and the Balance (i.e. the authority to esta- 
blish justicc), that mankind may observe justice and the right 
measure; and He revealed iron (i.e. coercive power) wherein is 
mighty power and many uses for mankind and that Allah may see 

9. al-Qur'àn, 2: 208. 


who helps Him and His Messenger through unseen.’ (al-Qur’an, 
‘The command is for none but Allah; He has commanded that 
you obey none but Him; that is the right path.’ (al-Qur’an, 12: 40). 
‘(Muslims are) those who if We give them power in the land, 
establish (the system of) Salat (prayers and worship) and Zakat (poor 
due) and enjoin virtue and forbid vice and evil.’ (al-Qur'àn, 22: 41). 

The Holy Prophet said: 

‘Everyone of you is a keeper ora shepherd and will be questioned 
about the well-being of his fold. So, the Head of the State will be 
questioned about the well-being of the people of the State. Every 
man is a shepherd to his family and will be answerable about every 
member of it. Every woman is a shepherd to the family of her hus- 
band and will be accountabie for every member of it. And every 
servant is a shepherd to his master and will be questioned about the 
property of his master.’ 

Thus even a cursory study of the teachings of Islam shows that it isan 
all-embracing way of life and does not leave out any field of human 
existence to become a playground for satanic forces." 

4. Balance between the Individual and Society 

Another unique feature of Islam is that it establishes a balance 
between individualism and collectivism. It believes in the individual 
personality of man and holds everyone personally accountable to God. 
It guarantees the fundamental rights of the individual and does not 
permit any one to tamper with them, It makes the proper development 
of the personality of man one of the prime objectives of its educational- 
policy. It does not subscribe to the view that man must lose his indivi- 
duality in society or in the state. 

According to the Qur’an: 

‘Man shall have nothing but what he strives for.’ (al-Qur'àn, 53: 

10. Fora more thorough study of different aspects of the Islamic way of life see: 
Mawdudi, Abul A'la, Islamic Law and Constitition (Lahore: Islamic Publica- 
tions Ltd., 1960); Mawdudi, Islamic Way of Life, Lahore, 1967; Khurshid 
Ahmad (editor), Studies in the Family Law of Islam, Karachi, 1960; Khurshid 
Ahmad, Family Life in Islam, Leicester: Islamic Foundation, 1974; Siddiqui, M. 
N., Some Aspects of the Islamic Economy, Lahore, 1970; Chapra, M. U., Economic 
System of Islam, Karachi: University of Karachi, 1971. 


‘And whatever suffering ye suffer, it is what your hands have 
“ wrought.’ (al-Qur’an, 42: 30). 
‘God does not change the condition of a people unless they first 
change that which is in their hearts.’ (al-Qur'àn, 13: 11). 
‘For each is that which he has earned and against each is only that 
which he has deserved.’ (al-Qur’an, 2: 286). 
‘For us are our deeds and for you are yours.’ (al-Qur'àn, 28: 55). 

On the other hand, it also awakens a sense of social responsibility in 
man, organises human beings in a society and a state and enjoins the 
individual to subscribe to the social good. Prayer, in Islam, isoffered in 
congregation which inculcates social discipline among the Muslims. 
Every one is enjoined to pay Zakat and it has been laid down in the 
Qur'an that: "The alm-secker and the destitute have their due rights in 
their wealth.’ (al-Qur'àn, 51: 19). 

Jihad has been made obligatory, which means that the individual 
should, when the occasion arises, offer even his life for the defence and 
protection of Islam and the Islamic state. The Holy Prophet said: 

‘All mankind is a fold every member of which shall be a keeper or 
shepherd unto every other, and he accountable for the entire fold.’ 

‘Live together, do not turn against each other, make things easy 
for others and do not put obstacles in cach other’s way.’ 

‘He is not a believer who takes his fill while his neighbour starves.' 

"The believer in God is he who is not a danger to the life and 
property of any other.’ | 

In short, Islam neither neglects the individual nor society — it esta- 
blishes a harmony and a balance between the two and assigns to each 
its proper due. P | 

11. It might be worthwhile to recall here what the late Professor H. A. R. Gibb 
said some time ago: 

"Within the Western world Islam still maintains the balance between 
exaggerated opposites. Opposed equally to the anarchy of European 
nationalism and the regimentation of Russian communism, it has not yet 
succumbed to that obsession with the economic side of life which is character- 
istic of present-day Europe and present-day Russia alike. Its social ethic has 
been admirably summed up by Professor Massignon: “Islam has the merit of 
standing for a very equalitarian conception of the contribution of each citizen 
by the tithe to the resources of the community; it is hostile to unrestricted 
exchange, to banking capital, to state loans, to indirect taxes on objects of 
prime necessity, but it holds to the rights of the father and the husband, to 
private property, and to commercial capital. Here again it occupies an inter- 


5. Universality and Humanism | 

The message of Islam is for the entire human race. God, in Islam, is the 
God of all the world (al-Qur'àn, 1: 1) and the Prophet is a Messenger 
for the whole of mankind. In the words of the Qur'àn: 

‘O people! I am the Messenger of God to you all.’ (al-Qur’an, 7: 
158). ! 
‘One who comes as a warning to all the nations.’ (al-Qur’an, 25: 
J) and ‘We have not sent thee but as a (source of ) mercy for all the 
nations’ (al-Qur'àn, 21: 107). 

In Islam all men are equal, whatever be their colour, language, race 
or nationality. Islam addresses itself to the conscience of humanity and 
banishes all false barriers of race, status and wealth. There can be no 
denying the fact that such barriers have always existed, and do exist 
even today in this so-called enlightened age. Islam removes all these 
impediments and proclaims the idea of the whole of humanity being 
one family of God. 

The Holy Prophet said: 

‘All creatures of God form the family of God and he is the best 
loved of God who loveth best His creatures.’ | 

‘O Lord! Lord of my life and of everything in the universe! I 
affirm that all human beings are brothers to one another.' 

‘Respect God and be affectionate to the family of God.’ 

Islam is international in its outlook and apprdach and does not 
admit barriers and distinctions based on colour, clan, blood or terri- 


mediate position between the doctrines of bourgeois capitalism and Bolshevist 
communism.” . 

‘Bur Islam has a still further service to render to the cause of humanity. It 
stands after all nearer to the real East than Europe does, and it possesses a 
magnificent tradition of inter-racial understanding and co-operation. No 
other society has such a record of success in uniting in an-equality of status, of - 
opportunity, and of endeavour so many and so various races of mankind . . . 
Islam has still the power to reconcile apparently irreconcilable elements of 
race and tradition. If ever the opposition of the great societies of East and West 
is to be replaced by co-operation, the mediation of Islam is an indispensable 
condition. In its hands lies very largeiy the solution of the problem with which 
Europe is faced in its relation with the East. If they unite, the hope ofa peaceful 
issue is immeasurably enhanced. But if Europe, by rejecting the co-operation 
of Islam, throws it into the arms of its rivals, the issue can only be disastrous for 
both." ' H. A. R. Gibb, Whether Islam, London. 1932, p. 379. 


tory such as were prevalent before the advent of Muhammad (peace be 
upon him) and which are rampant in different forms even in this 
modern age. It wants to unite the entire human race under one banner. 
Toa world torn by national rivalries and feuds, it presents a message of 
life and hope and of a glorious future. 

- Historian Toynbec has some interesting observations to make in this 
respect. In Civilization on Trial he writes: * 

‘Two conspicuous sources of danger — one psychological and the 
other material — in the present relations of this cosmopolitan prole- 
tariat (i.e. westernised humanity) with the dominant element in our 
modern Western society are race consciousness and alcohol; and in the 
_ struggle with each of these evils the Islamic spirit has a service to render 
which might prove, if it were accepted, to be of high moral and social 

veu "The extinction of race consciousness as between Muslims is one of 

the outstanding moral achievements of Islam, and in the contempo- 
rary world there is, as it happens, a crying need for the propagation of 
this Islamic virtue. . . It is conceivable that the spirit of Islam might be 
the timely reinforcement which would decide this issue in favour of 
tolerance and peace. 
`- *As for the evil of alcohol, it is at its worst among primitive popula- 
tions in tropical regions which have been “opened up” by Western 
enterprise . . . the fact remains that even the most statesmanlike pre- 
ventive measures imposed by external authority are incapable of 
liberating a community from a social vice unless a desire for liberation 
and a will to carry this desire into voluntary action on its own part are 
awakened in the hearts of the people concerned. Now Western admi- 
nistrators, at any rate those of *Anglo-Saxon" origin, are spiritually 
isolated from their native" wards by the physical “colour bar” which 
their race-consciousness sets up; the conversion of the natives’ souls is a 
task to which their competence can hardly be expected to extend; and 
it is at this point that Islam may have a part to play. 
‘In these recently and rapidly “opened up” tropical territories, the 

Western civilization has produced an economic and political plenum 
and, in the same breath, a social and spiritual void . . . 

‘Here, then in the foreground of the future, we can remark two 
valuable influences which Islam may exert upon the cosmopolitan 
proletariat of a Western society that has cast its net around the world 
and embraced the whole of mankind; while in the more distant future 


we may speculate on the possible contributions of Islam to some new 

manifestation of religion. ”"? 

6. Permanence and Change 

The elements of permanence and change co-exist in human society 
and culture and are bound to remain so. Different ideologies and 
cultural systems have erred in leaning heavily towards any one of these 
ends of the equation. Too much emphasis on permanence makes the 
system rigid and robs it of flexibility and progress; while lack of per- 
manent values and unchanging elements generate moral relativism, 
shapelessness and anarchy. What is needed is a balance between the 
two — a system that could simultaneously cater for the demands of 

permanence and change. An American judge Mr. Justice Cardozo: 

rightly says: *that the greatest need of our time is a philosophy that will 
mediate between conflicting claims of stability and progress and 
supply a principle of growth." Islam presents an ideology which 
satisfies the demands of stability as well as of change. 

Deeper reflection reveals that life has within it elements of perman- 
ence and change — neither is it so rigid and inflexible that it cannot 
admit of any change even in matters of detail nor is it so flexible and 
fluid that even its distinctive traits have no permanent character of 
their own. This becomes clear from observing the process of physiolo- 
gical change in the human body: every tissue of the body changes a 
number of times in one's life-time, but the person remains the same. 
Leaves, flowers, and fruits of a tree change, but the character of the tree 
remains unchangcd. It is a law of life that elements of permanence and 
change must co-exist in a harmonious equation. Only that system of 
life can cater for all the cravings of human nature and all the needs of 
society which can provide for both these elements. The basic problems 
of life remain the same in all ages and climes, but the ways and means 
to solve them and the techniques of handling the phenomenon un- 
dergo change with the passage of time. Islam brings to focus a new 
perspective on this problem and tries to solve it in a realistic way. 

The Qur'an and the Sunnah contain the eternal guidance given by 
the Lord of the universe. This guidance comes from God Who is free 
from the limitations of ‘ space' and 'time' and as such the principles of 

12. Arnold J. Toynbee, Cwilization on Trial, London, 1957, pp. 205-299 (See 
also pp. 87-88). 

13. Justice Cardozo, 37, Harvard Law Review, p. 279. 

M 7; 


individual and social behaviour revealed by Him are based on reality 
and are eternal. But God has revealed only broad principles and has 
endowed man with the freedom to apply them in every age in the way 
suited to the spirit and conditions of that age. It is through the Ijtihád 
that people of every age try to implement and apply divine guidance to 
the problems of their times. Thus the basic guidance is of a permanent 
nature, while the method of its application can change in accordance 
with the peculiar needs of every age. That is why Islam always remains 
as fresh and modern as tomofrow's morn. 

7. Complete Record of Teachings Preserved 

Last, but not least, is the fact that the teachings of Islam have been 
preserved in their original form and God’s Guidance is available 
without adulteration of any kind. The Qur'àn is the revealed book of 
. God which has been in existence for the last fourteen hundred years 
and the Word of God is available in its original form. Detailed 
accounts of the life of the Prophet of Islam and his teachings are avail- 
able in their pristine purity. There has not been an iota of change in 
this unique historic record. The sayings and the entire record of the life 
of the Holy Prophet have been handed down to us with unprecedented 
precision and authenticity in works of the Hadith and the Sirah. Evena 
number of non-Muslim critics admit this eloquent fact. Professor 
Reynold A. Nicholson in his Literary History of the Arabs says: 

‘The Koran is an exceedingly human do¢ument, reflecting every 
phase of Muhammad's relationship to the outward events of his 
life; so that there we have materials of unique and incontestable 
authority for tracing the origin and early development of Islam 
such materials as do not exist in the case of Buddhism or Christ- 
ianity or any other ancient religion.""* 

These are some of the unique features of Islam and establish its 
credentials as the religion of man — the religion of today and the 
rcligion of tomorrow. These aspects have appealed to hundreds of 
thousands of people in the past and the present and have made them 
affirm that Islam is the religion of truth and the right path for man- 
kind; and this will continue to appeal to them in the future. Men with 
pure hearts and sincere longing for truth will always continue to say: 

14. Nicholson, R. A., Literary History of the Arabs, Cambridge, p. 143. 


‘I affirm that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, tha? 
He is One, sharing His authority with no one; and I affirm that 
Muhammad is His servant and His Prophet.’ 

The Spirit of Islam’ 

Muhammad Asad 

ONE of the slogans most characteristic of the present age is ‘the con- 
quest of space.’ Means of communication have been developed which 
are far beyond the dreams of former generations; and these new means 
have set in motion a far more rapid and extensive transfer of goods 
than ever before within the history of mankind. The result of this 
development is an economic inter-dependence of nations. No single 
nation or group can today afford to remain aloof from the rest of the 
world. Economic development has ceased to be local. Its character has 
become world-wide. It ignores, at least in its tendency, political boun- 
daries and geographical distances. It carries with itself — and possibly 
this is even more important than the purely material side of the pro- 
blem — the ever-increasing necessity of a transfer not only of mer- 
chandise but also of thoughts and cultural values. But while those two 
forces, the economic and the cultural, often go hand in hand, there is a 

` difference in their dynamic rules. The elementary laws of economics 

require that the exchange of goods between nations be mutual; this 
means that no nation can act as buyer only while another nation is 
always seller in the long run, each of them must play both parts 
simultaneously, giving to, and taking from, each other, be it directly or 
through the medium of other actors in the play of economic forces. But 
in the cultural field this iron rule of exchange is not a necessity, at least 
not always a visible one, that is to say, the transfer of ideas and cultural 
influences is not necessarily based on the principle of give and take. It 

* This chapter is taken from Muhammad Asad’s Islam at the Crossroads, Lahore: 
Arafat Publications, 1969, pp. 7-31. 


lics in human nature that nations and civilizations, which are politi- 
cally and cconomically more virile, exert a strong fascination on the 
weaker or less active communities and influence them in the intellec- 
tual and social spheres without being influenced themselves. 

Such is the situation today with regard to the relations between the 
Western and the Muslim worlds. 

From the viewpoint of the historical observer the strong, one-sided 
influence which Western civilization at present exerts on the Muslim 
world is not at all surprising, because it is the outcome ofa long historic 
process for which there are severa! analogies elsewhere. But while the 
historian may bc satisfied, for us the problem remains unsettled. For us 
who are not mere interested spectators, but very real actors in this 
drama; for us who regard ourselves as the followers of Prophet 
Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) the problem in reality 
begins here. We believe that Islam, unlike other religions, is not only a 
spiritual attitude of mind, adjustable to different cultural settings, but 
a self-sufficing orbit of culture and a social system of clearly defined 
features. When, as is the case today, a foreign civilization extends its 
radiations into our midst and causes certain changes in our own cul- 
tural organism, we are bound to make it clear to ourselves whether that 
foreign influence runs in the direction of our own cultural possibilities 
or against them; whether it acts as an invigorating serum in the body of 
Islamic culture, or as a poison. 

An answer to this question can be found through analysis only. We 
have to discover the motive forces of both civilizations — the Islamic 
and that of the modern West — and then to investigate how far a 
co-opcration is possible between them. And as Islamic civilization is 
essentially a religious one, we must, first of all, try to define the general 
role of religion in human life. 

Religion and Human Life 

What we call the ‘religious attitude’ is the natural outcome of man's 
intellectual and biological constitution. Man is unable to explain to 
himself the mystery of life, the mystery of birth and death, the mystery 
of infinity and eternity. His reasoning stops before impregnable walls. 
He can, therefore, do two things only. The one is, to give up all 
attempts at understanding life as a totality. In this case, man will rely 
upon the evidence of external experiences alone and will limit his 
conclusions to their sphere. Thus he will be able to understand single 
fragments of life, which may increase in number and clarity as rapidly 


or as slowly as human knowledge of Nature increases, but will, none- 
theless, always remain only fragments — the grasp of the totality itself _ 
remaining beyond the methodical equipment of human reason. This is 
the way the natural sciences go. The other possibility — which may . 
well exist side by side with the scientific one — is the way of religion. It 
leads man, by means of an inner, mostly intuitive, experience, to the 
acceptance of a unitary explanation of life, generally on the as- 
sumption that there exists a supreme Creative Power which governs 
the Universe according to some pre-conceived plan above and beyond 
human understanding. As has just been said, this conception does not 
necessarily preclude man from an investigation of such facts and 
_ fragments of life as offer themselves for external observation; there is 
no inherent antagonism between the external (scientific) and internal 
(religious) perception. But thc latter is, in fact, the only speculative 
, possibility to conceive all life as a unity of essence and motive power; in 
short, as a well-balanced, harmonious totality. The term ‘harmo- 
nious’, though so terribly misused, is very important in this connec- 
tion, because it implies a corresponding attitude in man himself. The 
religious man knows that whatever happens to him and within him 
can never be the result of a blind play of forces without consciousness 
and purpose; he believes it to be the outcome of God’s conscious will 
alone, and, therefore, organically integrated with a universal plan. In 
this way man is enabled to solve the bitter antagonism between the 
human Self and the objective world of facts and appearances which is 
called Nature. The human being, with all the intricate mechanism of 
his soul, with all his desires and fears, his feelings and his speculative 
uncertainties, sees himself faced by a Nature in which bounty and 
cruelty, danger and security are mixed in a wondrous, inexplicable 
way and apparently work on lines entirely different from the methods 
and the structure of the human mind. Never has purely intellectual 
philosophy or experimental science been able to solve this conflict. 
This exactly is the point where religion steps in. 

In the light of religious perception and experience, the human, 
sclf-conscious Self and the mute, seemingly irresponsible Nature are 
brought into a relation of spiritual harmony; because both, the indi- 

i vidual consciousness of man and the Nature that surrounds him and is 
| within him, are nothing but co-ordinate, if different, manifestations of 
onc and the same Creative Will. The immensc benefit which religion 
| thus confers upon man is the realisation that he is, and never can cease 
to be, a well-planned unit in the eternal movement of Creation: a 


definite part in the infinite organism of universal destiny. The psy- 
chological consequence of this conception is a deep feeling of spiritual 
security — that balance between hopes and fears which distinguishes 
the positively religious man, whatever his religion, from the irreligious. 

The Islamic Approach | 

This fundamental position is common to all great religions, whatever 
their specific doctrines be; and equally common to all of them is the 
moral appeal to man to surrender himself to the manifest Will of God. 
But Islam, and Islam alone, goes beyond this theoretical explanation 
- and exhortation. It not only teaches us that all life is essentially a unity 
— because it proceeds from the Divine Oneness — but it shows us also 
the practical way how everyone of us can reproduce, within the limits 
of his individual, earthly life, the unity of Idca and Action both in his 
existence and in his consciousness. To attain that supreme goal of life, 
man is, in Islam, not compelled to renounce the world; no austerities 
are required to open a secret door to spiritual purification; no pressure 
is exerted upon the mind to believe incomprehensible dogmas in order 
that salvation be secured. Such things are utterly foreign to Islam: for 
it is neither a mystical doctrine nor a philosophy. It is simply a pro- 
gramme of life according to the rules of Nature which God has decreed 
upon His creation; and its supreme achievement is the complete co- 
ordination of the spiritual and the material aspects of human life. In 
the teachings of Islam, both these aspects are not only ‘reconciled’ to 
each other in the sense of leaving no inherent conflict between the 
bodily and the moral existence of man, but the fact of their co- 
existence and actual inseparability is insisted upon as the natural basis 
of life. 

This, I think, is the reason for the peculiar form of the Islamic prayer 
in which spiritual concentration and certain bodily movements are 
co-ordinated with each other. Inimical critics of Islam often select this 
way of praying as a proof of their allegation that Islam is a religion of 
formalism and outwardness. And, in fact, people of other religions, 
who are accustomed to neatly separate the ‘spiritual’ from the *bodily' 
almost in the same way as the dairyman separates the cream from the 
milk, cannot easily understand that in the unskimmed milk of Islam 
both these ingredients, though distinct in their respective constitu- 
tions, harmoniously live and express themselves together. In other 
words, the Islarnic prayer consists of mental concentration and bodily 
movements because human life itself is of such a composition, and 

StS it 

7 MEM e S inde suas oe 



because we are supposed to approach God through the sci of all 
thc faculties He has bestowed upon us. 

A further illustration of this attitude can be seen in the institution of 
the tawaf, the ceremony of walking round the Ka bah in Makka.! As it is 
an indispensable obligation for everyone who enters the Holy City to 
go seven times round the Kabah, and as the observance of this in- 
junction is one of the three most essential points of the pilgrimage, we 
have the right to ask ourselves: What is the meaning of this? Is it 
necessary to express devotion in such a formal way? 

The answer is quite obvious. If we move in a circle around some 
object we thereby establish that object as the central point of our 
action. The Ka ‘bah, towards which every Muslim turns his face in 
prayer, symbolises the Oneness of God. The bodily movement of the 
pilgrims in the tawaf symbolises the activity of human life. Conse- 
quently, the tawaf implies that not only our dévotional thoughts but 
also our practical life, our actions and endeavours, must have the idea 
of God and His Oneness for their centre — in accordance with the 
words of the Holy Qur’an 

‘I have not created Jinn and Man but that they should worship 
Me’ (al-Qur’an, 51: 56). 

Thus, the conception of ‘worship’ in Islam is different from that in 
any other religion. Here it is not restricted to the purely devotional 
practices, for example, prayers or fasting, but extends over the whole of 
man's practical life as well. If the object of our life as a whole is to be the 
worship of God, we necessarily must regard this life, in the totality of all 
its aspects, as one complex moral responsibility. Thus, all our actions 
cven the seemingly trivial ones, must be performed as acts of worship; 
that is, performed consciously as constituting a part of God's universal 
plan. Such a state of things is, for the man of average capability, a 
distant ideal; but is it not the purpose of religion to bring ideals into 
real existence? 

The position of Islam in this respect is unmistakable. It teaches us, 
firstly, that the permanent worship of God in all the manifold actions 
of human life is the very meaning of this life; and, secondly, that the 
achievement of this purpose remains impossible so long as we divide 
our life into two parts, the spiritual and the material: they must be 
bound together, in our consciousness and our action, into one harmo- 

1. Makka is usually written as Mecca. In this book, the word has been spelled 
uniformly as Makka.—Editor. — 


nious entity. Our notion of God's Oneness must be reflected in our own 
striving towards a co-ordination and unification of the various aspects 
of our life. 

A logical consequence of thisattitude is a further difference between 
Islam and all other known religious systems. It is to be found in the fact 
that Islam, as a teaching, undertakes to define not only the metaphy- 
sical relations between man and his Creator but also — and with 
scarcely less insistence — the earthly relations between the individual 
and his social surroundings. The worldly life is not regarded as a mere 
empty shell, as a meaningless shadow of the Hereafter that is-to Come, 
but asa self-contained, positive entity. God Himself is a Unity not only 
in essence but also in purpose; and therefore, His creation is a s 
possibly in essence, but certainly in purpose. 

Perfection: The Islamic Ideal 

Worship of God in the wide sense just explained constitutes, according 
to Islam, the meaning of human life. And it is this conception alone 
that shows us the possibility of man's reaching perfection within his 
individual, earthly life. Of all religious systems, Islam alone declares 
that individual perfection is possible in our earthly existence. Islam 
does not postpone this fulfilment until after a suppression of the so- 
called ‘bodily’ desires, as the Christian teaching does; nor does Islam 
promise a continuous chain of rebirths on'a progressively higher plane, 
as is the case with Hinduism; nor does Islam agree with Buddhism, 
according to which perfection and salvation can only be obtained 
through an annihilation of the individual Self and its emotional links 
with the world. NO: Islam is emphatic in the assertion that man can 
reach perfection in the earthly, individual life and by making full use 
of all the worldly possibilities of his life. 

To avoid misunderstandings, the term ‘perfection’ will have to be 
defined in the sense it is used here. As long as we have to do with 
human, biologically limited beings, we cannot possibly consider the 
idea of ‘absolute’ perfection, because everything absolute belongs to 
the realm of Divine attributes alone. Human perfection, in its true 
psychological and moral sense, must necessarily have a relative and 
purely individual bearing. It does not imply the possession of ali 
imaginable good qualities, nor even the progressive acquisition of new 
qualities from outside, but solely the development of the already 

EHE | 



existing, positive qualities of the individual in such a way as to rouse his 
innate but otherwise dormant powers. Owing to the natural variety of 
the life-phenomena, the inborn qualities of man differ in each indivi- 
dual case. It would be absurd, therefore, to suppose that all human 
bcings should, or even could, strive towards one and the same ‘type’ of 
perfection — just as it would be absurd to expect a perfect race-horse 
and a perfect heavy draught horse to possess exactly the same qualities. 
Both may be individually perfect and satisfactory, but they will be 
different, because their original characters are different. With human 
beings the case is similar. If perfection were to be standardised in a 
certain ‘type’ — as Christianity does in the type of the ascetic saint — 
men would have to give up, or change, or suppress, their individual 
differentiation. But this would clearly violate the divine law of indivi- 
dual variety which dominates all life on this earth. Therefore Islam, 

' which is not a religion of repression, allows to man a very wide margin 

in his personal and social existence, so that the various qualities, tem- 
peraments and psychological inclinations of different individuals 
should find their way to positive development according to their indi- 
vidual predisposition. Thus a man may be an ascetic, or he may enjoy 
the full measure of his sensual possibilities within the lawful limits; he 
may be a nomad roaming through the deserts, without food for 
tomorrow, or a rich merchant surrounded by his goods. As long as he 
sincerely and consciously submits to the laws decreed by God, he is free 
to shape his personal life to whatever form his nature dirtcts him. His 
duty is to make the best of himself so that he might honour the life-gift 
which His Creator has bestowed upori him; and to help his fellow- 
beings, by means of his own development, in their spiritual, social and 
material endeavours. But the form of his individual life is in no way 
fixcd by a standard. He is free to make his choice from among all the 
limitless lawful possibilities open to him. 

The basis of this ‘liberalism’ in Islam, is to be found in the conception 
that man's original nature is essentially good. Contrary to the 
Christian idea that man is born sinful, or the teachings of Hinduism, 
that he is originally low and impure and must painfully stagger 
through a long chain of transmigrations towards the ultimate goal of 
Perfection, the Islamic teaching contends that man is born pure and — 

in the sense explained above — potentially perfect. It is said in the 
Holy Qur'àn: 

‘Surely We created man in the best structure.’ 

But in the same breath the verse continues: 

X. and afterwards We reduced him to the lowest of low: with the 
exception of those who have faith and do good works.’ (al-Qur'àn, - 
95: 4,5). 

In this verse is expressed the doctrine that man isoriginally good and 
pure; and, furthermore, that disbelief in God and lack of good actions 
may destroy his original perfection. On the other hand, man may 
retain, or regain, that original, individual perfection if he consciously 
realises God's Oneness and submits to His laws. Thus, according to 
Islam, evil is never essential or even original; it is an acquisition of 
man’s later life, and is due to a misuse of the innate, positive qualities 
with which God has endowed every human being. Those qualities are, 
as has been said before, different in every individual, but always 
potentially perfect in themselves; and their full development is pos- 
sible within the period of man’s individual life on earth. We take it for 
granted that the life after death, owing to its entirely changed condi- 
tions of feeling and perception, will confer upon us other, quite new, 
qualities and faculties which will make a still further progress of the 
human soul possible; but this concerns our future life alone. In this 
earthly life also, the Islamic teaching definitely asserts, we—every-one 
of us — can reach a full measure of perfection by developing the posi- 
tive, already existing traits of which our individualities are composed. 

Of all religions, Islam alone makes it possible for man to enjoy the 
full range of his earthly life without for a moment losing its spiritual 
orientation. How entirely different is this from the Christian 
conception! According to the Christian dogma, mankind stumbles 
under a hereditary sin committed by Adam and Eve, and conse- 
quently the whole life is looked upon — in dogmatic theory at least — 
as a gloomy vale of sorrows. It is the battlefield of two opposing forces: 
the evil, represented by Satan, and the good, represented by Jesus 
Christ. Satan tries, by means of bodily temptations, to bar the progress 
of the human soul towards the light eternal; the soul belongs to Christ, 
while the body is the playground of satanic influences. One could 
express it differently: the world of Matter is essentially satanic, while 
the world of Spirit is divine and good. Everything in human nature 
that is material, or ‘carnal’, as Christian theology prefers to call it, isa 
direct result of Adam’s succumbing to the advice of the hellish Prince 
of Darkness and Matter. Therefore, to obtain salvation, man must 
turn his heart away from this world of the flesh towards the future, 


spiritual world, where the ‘sin of mankind’ is redeemed by the sacrifice 
of Christ on the cross. | 

Even if this dogma is not — and never was — obeyed in practice, the 
very existence of such a teaching tends to produce a permanent feeling 
of bad conscience in the religiously inclined man. He is tossed about 
between the peremptory call to neglect the world and the natural urge 
of his heart to live and to enjoy this life. The very idea of an unavoid- 
able, because inherited, sin, and of its mystical — to the average intel- 
lect incomprehensible — redemption through the suffering of Jesus on 
the cross, erects a barrier between man's spiritual longing and his 
legitimate desire to live. 

In Islam, we know nothing of Original Sin; we regard it as incon- 
gruent with the idea of God's justice; God does not make the child 
responsible for the doings of his father: and how could He have made 
all those numberless generations of mankind responsible for a sin of 

. * disobedience committed by a remote ancestor? It is no doubt possible 

to construct philosophical explanations of this strange assumption, 
but for the unsophisticated. intellect it will always remain as artificial 
and as unsatisfactory as the conception of Trinity itself. And as there is 
no hereditary sin, there is also no universal redemption of mankind in 
the teachings of Islam. Redemption and damnation are individual. 
Every Muslim is his own redeemer; he bears all possibilities of spiritual 
success and failure within his heart. It is said in the Qur'àn of the 

human personality: | 

‘In its favour is that which it has earned and against it is that 
which it has become guilty of.’ (al-Qur'àn, 2: 286). 

Another verse says: 

‘Nothing shall be reckoned to man but that which he has striven 
for ' (al-Qur’an, 53: 39). 

The Middle Way 

But if Islam does not share the gloomy aspect of life as expressed in 
Christianity, it teaches us, nonetheless, not to attribute to earthly life 
that exaggerated value which modern Western civilisation attributes 
to it. While the Christian outlook implies that earthly life is a bad 
business, the modern West — as distinct from Christianity — adores 
life in exactly the same way as the glutton adores his food: he devours 
it, but has no respect for it. Islam on the other hand, looks upon earthly 


life with calm and rcspect. It does not worship it, but regards it as an 
organic stage on our way to a higher existence. But just because it is a 
stage and a necessary stage, too, man has no right to despise or even to 
underrate the value of his carthly life. Our travel through this world is 
a necessary positive part in God's plan. Human life, therefore, is of 
tremendous value; but we must never forget that it is a purely instru- 
mental value. In Islam there is no room for the materialistic optimism 
of of the modern West which says: ‘My Kingdom is of this world alone.’ 
— nor for the life-contempt of the Christian saying: 'My Kingdom is 

not of this world.’ Islam goes the middle way. The Qur'àn teachesusto | 


‘Our Lord, give us the good in this world and the good in the 
Hereafter.’ (al-Qur’an, 2: 201). 

Thus, the full appreciation of this world and its goods is in no way a 
handicap for our spiritual endeavours. Material prosperity is desir- 
able, though not a goal in itself. The goal of all our practical activities 
always ought to be the creation and the maintenance of such persona! 
and social conditions as might be helpful for the development of moral 
stamina in men. In accordance with this principle, Islam leads man 
towards a consciousness of moral responsibility in everything he does, 
whether great or small. The well-known injunction of the Gospels: 
‘Give Caesar that which belongs to Caesar, and give God that which 
belongs to God’ — has no room in the theological structure of Islam, 

because Islam does not admit the existence of a conflict between the. 

moral and the socio-economic requirements of our existence. In 
everything there can be only one choice: the choice between Right and 
Wrong — and nothing in-between. Hence the intense.insistence on 
action as an indispensable element of morality. 

Every individual Muslim has to regard himself as personally res- 
ponsible for all happenings around him, and to strive for the esta- 
blishment of Right and the abolition of Wrong at every time and in 
- every direction. A sanction for this attitude is to be found in the verse of 
the Qur’an: 

‘You are the best community that has been sent forth to man- 
kind: You enjoin the Right and forbid the Wrong; and you have 
faith in God.’ (al-Qur'àn, 3: 110). 

This is the moral justification of the healthy activism of Islam, a 

-justification of the early Islamic conquests. It has meant, as it means - 

E sd 



today, the construction of a worldly frame for the best possible spiri- 
tual devclopment of man. For, according to the teachings of Islam, 
moral knowledge automatically forces moral responsibility upon man. 
A merc Platonic discernment between Right and Wrong, without the 
urge to promote Right and to destroy Wrong, is a gross immorality in 
itself. In Islam, morality lives and dies with the human endeavour to 
establish its victory upon earth. 



The Prophet and the Qur'an 


T oar ake pu Ts 

s PE 

id E 
. E 





M ert Toute OE TRUE E T Ro EUR 



The Life of the Prophet 

‘Abd-al-Rahman ‘Azzam 

Lo! My worship and my prayers and my life and my death are for 

. Allah, Lord of the worlds. He hath no partner. This Iam commanded, 

and I am thc first of the Muslims (those who surrender (unto Him)). 
(al-Qur'àn, 6: 163-164). 

THE Muslims form a nation over thirteen centuries old, and comprise 
at present more than six hundred million human beings in all parts of 
the world. The Prophet Muhammad was the first citizen of this nation, 
its teacher and its guide. He lived and died in the full memory of 
history. The evolution of his personality, religion, and nation assumed 
the force of a human drama of the greatest magnitude, witnessed not 
only by his contemporaries but also by the rest of the world in subse- 
quent times. 

The hero of this drama did not die until his Message was delivered 
and a Muslim nation established in the Arabian peninsula. Says Ber- 
nard Lewis, ‘In an essay on Muhammad and the origin of Islam Ernest 
Renan remarks that, unlike other religions which were cradled in 
mystery, Islam was born in the full light of history. “Its roots are at 
surface level, the life of its founder is as well known to us as those of the 
Reformers of the sixteenth century" ’' 

* This chapter is reproduced from Abd-al-Rahman Azzam's book The Eternal 

Message of Muhammad, London: The New English Library, 1964. Translated 
from Arabic by Caesar E. Farah. 

1. Bernard Lewis, ‘The Arabs in History’ (2nd ed., reprinted; New York: Harper 
& Brothers, 1960), p. 36. 


During the half-century following the death of the Prophet (in A.D. 
632), his Message was carried forth by five of his Companions,” who 
adhered closely to the precedents which he had established for ruling 
his nation. Four of them? were intimate, reliable friends and students 
who had followed him from the earliest days of his call, through per- 
secution and ultimate triumph. The fifth Caliph* was Mu‘awiyah, son 
of Abü-Sufyàn, the formidable leader of the opposition to Muham- 
mad. Mu‘awiyah’s career as Caliph was longer than that of his prede- 
cessors. He presided over the affairs of the Islamic community for forty 
years as governor of Syria, then caliph. 

Yet in spite of the wealth of historical facts available to us, perhaps 
no prophet and religion are so little known or understood by the 
Western world as Muhammad and Islam. The West, which has main- 
tained now for several centuries a tradition of freedom of thought, a 
high grade of literacy, and boundless knowledge in all spheres of 
human learning, knows far less about Muhammad — both as a pro- 
phet and as a leader of men who exercised a direct influence on the 
course of human events — than about Alexander or Caesar, whose 
influences have been less than those of Muhammad and Islam.” 

What is the cause of such indifference in a world so eager to learn 
and to understand? Two explanations merit consideration. The first is 
from the pen of a distinguished Swedish scholar, who writes: 

The cause . . . may perhaps be best expressed by the proverb: Rela- 
tives understand each other least of all. A Christian sees much in Islam 

which reminds him of his own religion, but he sees it in an extremely 
distorted form. He finds ideas and statements of belief clearly related 
to those of his own religion, but which, nevertheless, turn off into 
strangely different paths. Islam is so familiar to us that we pass it by 
2. The principal Companions of the Prophet, called the Sahabah (singular: 
Sahib) might be compared to the apostles and disciples of Jesus. 

3. Abü-Bakr, ‘Umar, 'Uthmàn and ‘Ali — the ‘Orthodox Caliphs’ (A.D. 
632-661). In the Arabic, the word orthodox in this phrase actually means 
mature, well-guided, correct; the usage in this book follows that of Western 
scholars, who have long written of the ‘Orthodox Caliphs’. The reason these 
four Caliphs are considered thus by Muslims is that, having known the Pro- 
phet personally and lived so closely according to his principles, they are looked 
to as great authorities and their decisions are considered precedents. 

4. From the Arabic Khalifah, successor. 

5. Indeed, it would seem that a conspiracy of silence has replaced the old 
cnmity in the West concerning the Message, which is diametrically opposed to 
so many injustices perpetrated in the name of God and an enlightened pro- 



with the careless indifference with which we ignore that which we 
know and know only too well. And yet it is not familiar enough to us to 
enable us really to understand its uniqueness, and the spirit by which it 
has won its own place in the sphere of religion, a place which is still 
rightly occupies by virtue of its very existence. We find it much easier to 
understand religions that are completely new and strange to us — as, 
for example, the religions of India and China. A greater degree of 
insight and of spiritual freedom is required of him who would under- 
stand the Arabian Prophet and his book.^ 

A second explanation is presented by another scholar: 

History has been such that the West's relations with the Islamic 
world have from the first been radically different from those with any 
other civilization . . . Europe has known Islam thirteen centuries, 
mostly as an enemy and a threat. It is no wonder that Muhammad 
more than any other of the world's religious leaders has had a ‘poor 
press' in the West, and that Islam is the least appreciated there of any of 
the world's other faiths. Until Karl Marx and the rise of communism, 
the Prophet had organised and launched the only serious challenge to 
Western civilization that it has faced in the whole course of its history 
... The attack was direct, both military and ideological. And it was 
very powerful.’ 

The Prophet was born in Makka. The exact date of his birth is dis- 
puted, but it is agreed to be around A.D. 570. This uncertainty is usual 
in Arabia, ‘the country of illiterate people,’ as the Qur'àn called it. 
Even today it is difficult to establish the exact birthdates of other 
famous men; for instance, it is hard to date the birth of the famous 
‘Abd-al-‘Aziz ibn-Su'üd (or ibn-Sa'üd), the conqueror and unifier of 
Arabia, a man who ruled for more than fifty years (he died in 1953), 
and whose personality, conduct and biography are known in great 
e undisputed source for Muhammad's life is the Qur’an; there are 
also many siyar (singular: sirah) or biographical studies of the Prophet, 
written from the accounts of those who knew him personally or to 
whom his memory was quite vivid. 

6. Tor Andrac, Mohammed: The Man and His Faith, tr. Theophil Menzel (Lon- 
don: George Allen Unwin Ltd., 1936), p. 11 (reprinted: New York: Barnes and 
Noble, 1957). It will surprise Western readers to learn that the Muslim world 
always has been far more familiar with Christianity and Judaism than the 
West with Islam. Muslims have always regarded Christian and Judaic tenets 
and beliefs with the greatest respect and interest. 

7. Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Islam in Modern History (New York: The New 
American Library, 1957), p. 109: 


Both his parents died young, his father, 'Abd-Allàh, first and his 
mother, Àminah, shortly after. It is said that he was about six years of 
age at the time of his mother's death. His grandfather ‘Abd-al- 
Muttaiib, a prominent leader in Makka, then took charge of him. It is 
related that ‘Abd-al-Muttalib loved the boy dearly and often kept him 
close beside him, even in meetings where important affairs were 
discussed, usually in the shade of the Ka'bah.* When his uncles would 
try to remove the child, the grandfather would prevent them, saying, 
‘Let him be; my child will be leader of his people.’ 

Upon the death of his grandfather, Muhammad's guardianship 
passed to his uncle Abu-Talib, a no less devoted patron, whose love for 
and protection of Muhammad persisted long after the Prophet pro- 
claimed his mission and the new faith. Even though Abü-Tàlib was 
never converted to the new religion, he continued to show love and 
protection for his nephew, despite extreme hardships and dangers, 
until his death, when Muhammad was fifty years old. 

Makka was the traditional centre of Arabia in both religion and 
trade; it was the crossroad of commercial transit between east and 
west, north and south. Abü-Tàlib's clan, the Banü ‘Abd Manáf, the 
most influential in all Arabia, was a part of the great Quraysh tribe,” 
and formed an important element in the oligarchy that ruled Makka 
and its surrounding tribes. The Prophet’s youth was that of the normal 
young Qurayshi — he fought the battles, joined the peace nego- 
tiations, and shared in the duties and rights of his society? — except 

8. The Ka'bah is a simple cube-like structure towards which Muslims all over 
the world face in their prayers. It is the first place of worship man had built on 
the earth. The present building was erected by the Prophets Abraham and 

9. Muhammad’s immediate family on his father’s side were the Banü-Háshim 
or Hashimites, so named for Muhammad's great-grandfather Hashim. (Bana 
means son of, and is the plural of ibn.) One of Hashim's brothers, al-Muttalib, 
gave his name to the Banü-Muttalibites, and the son, Umayyah, of another 
founded the Umayyads. These three families, which will figure prominently in 
this chapter, were in turn subgroups within the Quraysh of the clan Banü- 
'Abd-ManAft. To clarify relationships further, note that ‘Abd-al-Muttalib was 
the son of Hashim (and hence a Hashimite, not a Muttalibite) and the father 
of Abü-Tàlib and of Muhammad 's father, ‘Abd-Allah. 

I0. Of these obligations, one remained extremely dear to him, even after his 
prophetic call, when he severed all his ties with his tribe. This was his mem- 
bership in the league called Hilf al-Fudül, which originated to protect thc 
defenceless and guarantee the safety of strangers in Makka. The league came 
about because a stranger from the Yemen sold goods in Makka to an influen- 

Oe eT a cuc 

a eT oes 


that he manifested from early years a revulsion to the worship of idols. 
Once when he was besought to act in the name of the gods al-Lat and 
al-Uzza, he replied with the startling answer, ‘Do not ask me anything 
for the sake of these idols. I have never hated anything more.’ 

But such strong expressions of disbelief in the gods or idols of his 
tribe did not alienate his kinsmen and friends from him or close him - 
out from their friendly society, for he was loved by all for his noble 
character and great kindness and honesty. It was only at the age of 
forty, when his duty to the one God compelled him to preach against 
idol worship, that his people began to persecute him. 

Muhammad, like the rest of the young men in Abi-Talib’s family, 
had to work and help preserve the dignity of a generation of Hashi- 
mites who, though they werc less prosperous than their predecessors, 
still remained proud and powerful. He acted asa shepherd, and later, 
„while participating in business, his relations with his people gained 
“him the name of al-Amin (trustworthy). 

At the age of twenty-five, he married a lady of forty, his first wife, 
Khadijah, a relative and a rich widow. They lived twenty-five years 
together in prosperity and happiness, and had four daughters and two 
sons, but of the daughters who lived and married, only Fatimah had 
descendants. '' Muhammad was a devoted, loving father, and was kind 
to children in general. In his twenty-five years of life with Khadijah, he 
was the ideal husband. When she died, he remained several years 
without a wife, and even after he married — for a number of reasons — 
several wives, he always remembered Khadijah. ‘When I was poor, she 
enriched me; when they called mea liar, she alone remained true.’ It is 
an undisputed fact that Khadijah was the first to believe in Muham- 
mad’s mission. 

11. Fatimah was the mother of Hasan and Husain. Her husband ‘Ali was a 
cousin and the fourth Caliph. 

tial member of a powerful local clan who subsequently refused either to pay 
the price or to return the goods, whereupon the aggrieved seller stood up in the 
vicinity of the Ka'bah and implored aid for himself as a stranger in the city. 
Several members of the Quraysh aristocracy rallied to his assistance and 
secured the return of his goods. Meeting next in the house of ‘Abd-Allah 
ibn-Jud'àn, they pledged henceforth to combat oppressive acts and uphold 
justice. Muhammad, then only twenty-five years old, was present at this 
gathering, and was so impressed with the merits of the pledge that when he 
comménced his mission, he legalised it in Islam. As the years went by, even 
after his mission had become a success, the Prophet continued to express both 
his high regard for the league and his willingness to abide by its provisions. 


When he received his first revelation while on a retreat in the coun- 
tryside, he returned home frightened and shivering. Khadijah receiv- 
ed him with the comforting words, ‘No, you have nothing to fear. God 
will never let you down; you are kind to your relatives, you are astute 
and patient, you give to the needy, you are generous to guests, and you 
never fail to relieve people from distress.”'” 

So was Muhammad described by the one who knew him best before 
the call and the prophetic revelation. Let us now follow his role in the 
great drama that was destined to transform his land, his people and the 

Muhammad, at the age of forty, was inclined to worship in solitude 
in a cave on Mount Hira outside the city. It was while praying, during 
the sacred month of his people, that he heard a voice command him, 
‘Read.’ ‘I cannot read,’ he replied. But the voice again commanded 
him, ‘Read: in the name of the Lord Who creates . . . man from a clot. 
Read: And your Lord is the Most Bounteous. Who teaches (writing) 
by the pen, teaches man that which he knew not.’ 

Trembling, Muhammad rushed home to Khadijah and told her of 
his experience. She comforted him and encouraged him. After a short 
interlude, he again heard the voice calling to him: *You are the rnes- 
senger of God, and I am Gabriel.’ Rushing back to Khadijah in a state 
of complete exhaustion, he asked that she cover him with a cloak. Then 
he heard the cail: *O you enveloped in your cloak, arise and warn! your 
Lord magnify, your raiment purify, pollution shun! And show not 
favour, seeking worldly gain! For the sake of the Lord, be patient!'!* 

It was then Muhammad realised what his mission to his people was 
to be, and that was how it began. It is this mission which forms the 
subject of this book — this mission which conquered the hearts of men, 
and continues to do so with soaring vitality over thirteen centuries 
later. |. 

. Muhammad's sincerity was never doubted by those who knew him 
well — his wife, his attendant-secretary, and his young cousin ‘Ali who 
lived with him; these were his first converts. Andthough to his grief he 
could not convert his uncle Abü-Tilib, the ofd man never ceased to 
show faith in the sincerity of his nephew: when ‘Ali, his son, converted, 
he told him, ‘Go, my son: he will never call you but to what is good.’ 

12. A. R. ‘Azzam, Batal al-Abtal Muhammad (2nd ed. Cairo: The House of 
Arabic Books, 1954), p. 16. 

13. al-Qur’an, 96: 1-5. 

14. Ibid., 74: 1-7. 


Was Muhammad’s inspiration genuine? ‘Did he speak in entirely 
good faith? The Muslims, of course, had no doubt; but this was also the 
attitude of knowledgeable men and serious scholars. Such men were 
and stil! are convinced of Muhammad’s earnestness, faithfulness and 

Some thirty years ago, I asked Sir Denison Ross, then dean of the 
London School of Oriental Studies, if hc believed that Muhammad 
had been sincere and faithful. He answered, ‘Iam sure of that; he never 
lied or deceived; he was sincere and truthful.’ I asked further, ‘Do you 
believe ihat he was the Prophet of God?’ To this he replied, ‘That is 
another matter.’ Modern scholars no longer qucstion his truthfulness. 

According to Tor Andrae: 

Formerly, men thought that his character revealed a certain 
premeditation, a calculating cleverness. . .That Muhammad acted 
in good faith can hardly be disputed by anyone who knows the 
psychology of inspiration. That the message which he proclaimed 
did not come from himself nor from his own ideas and opinion, is 
not only a tenet of his faith, but also an experience whose reality he 
never questioned. Possibly he was in doubt at first as to the identity 
of the hidden voice — as to whether it really came from the 
heavenly messenger whom he had seen in the mountains of Mecca 
or from an ordinary jinni . . .? 

Muhammad quietly preached his faith in One God for some time. 
He won a few converts: his best friend, Abü-Bakr, a wise, respected and 
rich merchant; later ‘Uthman and Talhah, equally important and 
well-to-do Makkan Qurayshis; and a number of poor citizens and 
slaves. Then he received the command to preach in public: “Thus We 
send you (O Muhammad) toa nation, before whom other nations have 
passed away, that you may recite to them that which We have inspired 
in you... Thus have We revealed it, a decisive utterance (Qur'àn) in 
Arabic . . .''* 

With this command from God, the Prophet went forward to warn 
his people against idol worship and to tell them to expect a resurrection . 
and a day of judgement. 

He stood for the first time on the Hill of Safa opposite the Ka‘bah, 
where the Makkan idols were glorified, and said to the people: "Sup- 
posing I now told you that just behind the slopes of this hill there was 

15. Andrae, op. cit., p. 47. 
16. al-Qur'àn, 13: 30, 37. = 


an encmy cavalry force charging on you. Would you believe?’ 

‘We never knew that you lied,’ they replied. 

Then he said, ‘I warn you I have a Message from God, and I have 
come to you as a warner and as the forerunner of a dreadful - 
punishment. I cannot protect you in this world, nor can I promise you 
anything in the next life, unless you declare that there is no God but the 
one God.” 

They mocked him and went away. Thus began his ten-year career of 
active struggle and persecution in Makka. He did not desist from 
preaching to his people of a punishment that would come upon the 
unbelieving city. He told them, in the fiery language of the early 
Sirahs,'* how God had punished the old tribes of the Arabs who would 
not believe in His messengers — how the flood had swallowed up the 
people who would not harken to Noah. 

He swore unto them — oy the wonderful sights of nature, by-the 
noonday brightness, by the night when it spreads its view, by the day 
when it appears in glory — that a like destruction would assuredly 
come upon them if they did not turn away from their idols and serve 
God alone. He fired his Message with every resource of language and 
metaphor until it seared the ears of his people. And then he told them 
of the last day when a just reckoning would be made of the deeds they 
had done, and he spoke of Paradise and Hell with all the glow of 
Eastern imagery. The people were moved and terrified; conversions 
increased. | | 

It was time for the Qurayshis to take action. If the idols were des- 
troyed, what would become of them, the keepers of the idols, and their 
renown throughout the land? How would they retain the allegiance of 
thc neighbouring tribes who came to worship their several divinities at 
the Ka‘bah? That a few should follow the ravings of a mad man or 
magician who preferred one God above the beautiful deities of Makka 
was of small concern; but that some leading men of the city should join 
the sect, and that the magician should terrify the peoplc in broad 
daylight with his denunciation of the worship which they- superin- 
tendcd, was intolerable. 

The chiefs were seriously alarmed, and resolved on a more active 
policy. Hitherto they had merely ridiculed the preacher of this new 
faith; now they would take stronger measures. Muhammad they dared 
not touch directly, for he belonged to a noble family which, though 

17. 'Azzàm, op. cit., p. 16. 
18. Surah means chapter of the Qur'àn. 


reduced and impoverished, deserved well of the city and which, 
moreover, was now headed by a man who was revered throughout 
Makka and was none other than the adoptive father and protector of 
Muhammad himself. Nor was it safe to attack the other chief men 
among the Muslims, for blood revenge was no light risk. ' They were 
thus compelled to content themselves with the invidious satisfaction of 
torturing the black slaves who had joined the ‘obnoxious faction". 
The struggle grew in intensity. The Makkan oligarchy was seriously 
disturbed. Muhammad was in earnest: he was the Messenger of God, 
and was under His orders. The idols of Makka were not gods or partn- 
ers with the Almighty; they were helpless and useless, and there was no 
god but Allah. This purest form of monotheism, which is the essence of 
Muhammad's faith, was an impossible doctrine for the Qurayshis to 
accept. The polytheism of Makka had been established from time 
immemorial. It was not only the religion of their ancestors but the 

.* source of their distinction in all Arabia. If it went, with it would go 

their honour, power and wealth. Muhammad was the descendant of 
‘Abd-Manaf, Hashim, and ‘Abd al-Muttalib, who, generation after 
generation, had been the leading men of the Quraysh and had had its 
interest at heart; so why not try to settle with him, on whatever might 
satisfy his dream of power and ambition? 

A prominent leader of the Makkan oligarchy, ‘Utbah ibn-Rabi ‘ah, 
was authorized to negotiate with Muhammad. ‘Utbah called 
Muhammad to the Ka‘bah and there stated his proposals: ʻO son of 
my brother, you know your place among us Qurayshis. Your ancestors 
are high in our pedigree, and your clan is foremost and strong. You 
have shocked and disturbed your people. You have broken their unity; 

- you have ridiculed their wisdom; you have insulted their gods; you 

have degraded their religion; and you have even denied piety and pure 
faith to their ancestors.’ 

Muhammad then said, ‘I am listening.’ 

‘Utbah continued, saying, ‘If you want wealth, we will all contribute 
to make you the richest of us all. If your object is honour and power, we 
will make you our leader and promise to decide nothing without you. 
If, even, you think of royalty, we will elect you our king. If that which 
you experience and see’ — meaning the revelation and the visitation of 
Gabriel — ‘is beyond your control and you cannot defend yourself 

; $ 
19. Stanley Lane-Poole, The Speeches and Table- Talk of the Prophet Mohammad, 
(London: Macmillan & Co., 1882), p. xxxiii. 


against it, we shall help cure you by spending money for medical care. - 
It is possible for a man to be eyorenne by the force of an unseen power 
until he finds a way to a cure.’ 

Muhammad’s answer was frustrating to the great representative of 
the Makkan leaders. He said, with respect, ‘Abi al-Walid, listen to me, 
please,’ whereupon he began to recite from the Qur’an the basic tenets 
of his new creed.” 

The negotiation was broken; a compromise was impossible. 

Muhammad wanted nothing less than a complete submission to the _ 

new faith. He himself was only a Messenger, and he had to carty out his 
orders from God and fulfill His mission faithfully. 

The situation became more serious. The Makkan oligarchy resorted 
to violence against the growing humble element of the new congrega- 
tion. They appealed to Muhammad’s dignity and to his aristocratic 
blood, rebuking him for being the leader of the slaves and the un- 
worthy in the city: “You are followed only by the contemptible and 
degraded people who do not think.” 

But Muhammad was not sent to the aristocrats alone; he was a 
Messenger to all people. He was preaching what God ordered: ‘O 
Mankind! Lo! We... have made you nations and tribes that ye may 
know one another (and be friends). Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight 
of Allah, is the best in conduct.'? 

The persecution of those who listened to the Apostle of God conti- 
nued. At last the Makkan leaders appealed to Muhammad's sense of 
tribal solidarity. They explained the danger to which the Quraysh and 
the city were exposed by the humiliation of their idols and the disso- 
lution of Arab religious tradition. They said, ‘If we were to follow the 
right path with you, we would be torn out of our land (and 
dispersed).'? They meant that they would be no different from the 
nomads of Arabia and would not be secure in their homes. 

For Muhammad that danger did not exist. God Who commanded 
him would provide for the defense of the faithful and the victory of 
those who abided by His Law. They should know and recognize the 
truth that the idols were helpless stones, and that there was no God but 
the Almighty Allah, the Creator of all, who had no partners. They 

20. ‘Azzam, op. cit. p. 16. He called ‘Utbah by the name Abà al-Walid, Father 
of Walid, who was his son; this was a customary sign of respect. 
21. al- Qur’ ān, 11: 27. This was also said to Noah by his people. 
22. lbid., 49: 13. 
23. Ibid., 28: 57. 

=e nasi 


should recognize that there would be a resurrection and a day of jud- - 

gement in which nothing would avail but devotion to God. 

But they hated that menace of a judgement, and did not believe in a 

resurrection. A prominent leader, Umayyah ibn-Khalaf, took a de- 
cayed human bone from its grave and brought it to the Prophet, ask- 
ing, ‘You say that this will come to life again?’ 

‘He Who has created it in the first instance can make it return, the 
Prophet replied. 

The arguments and disputes went on, accompanied by an intensive 
persecution of the Prophet's followers. Muhammad then advised them 
to migrate to thc opposite side of the Red Sea, to Christian Abyssinia 

, (Ethiopia). They were received there by the Negus (emperor), whose 
protection they asked. According to tradition, they appealed to him in 
these words: ‘O King, we lived in ignorance, idolatry and impurity; the 

|, “strong oppressed the weak; we spoke untruths; we violated the duties 
of hospitality. Then a Prophet arose, one whom we knew from our 
youth, whose decent conduct, good faith, and morality is well known 
to all of us. Hc told us to worship one God, to speak the truth, to keep 
good faith, to assist our relations, to fulfill the duties of hospitality, and 
to abstain from all things impure and unrighteous; and he ordered us 
to offer prayers, to give alms, and to fast. We believed in him, and we 
followed him. But our countrymen persecuted us, tortured us, and 
tried to cause us to forsake our religion. And now we throw ourselves 
upon your protection. Will you not protect us?’ 

The Muslim refugees recited parts of the Qur’an which praise Jesus 
and the Virgin Mary. It is said that the Negus and bishops thought 
their belief to be derived from the same sources as those of Christianity. 
Meanwhile, the Makkans did not remain idle. They sent emissaries 
with presents to the Abyssinians and petitioned them for the surrender 
of their escaped slaves and the other emigrants; but they were refused. 

In Makka, the Prophet and a few of his converts, who through tribal 
customs and clan usages could protect themselves, remained as ada- 
mant and as devoted as ever in preaching the faith and in praying 
publicly at the Ka‘bah against its gods. 

The leaders of the Quraysh had already tried to negotiate 
with Muhammad's kinsmen, the Banü-Haàshim, for the Prophet's 
death, offering payment of blood money in return, but the tribe had 
rcfuscd the offer. Finally, the Makkan oligarchy decided in despera- 
tion to take steps against Abü-Taàlib. In their opinion, he was the real 
protector of the blasphemy, although still a revered upholder of Mak- 


kan institutions and unconverted to Muhammad's faith. They agreed 

to send him an ultimatum. When he received their warning, the old 
man was disturbed. He called in his nephew and told him that he had 
been warned by his tribe. 'I am afraid that the masses of Arabs will 
rally against me. Save yourself and me, and burden me not beyond the 

Muhammad wept, and answered, ‘May God be my witness, if they 
were to place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, I would 
not renounce my Message but would rather perish instead.' Then he 
departed, but his uncle called him back and said, ‘Go, my son. Say 
what you believe; I shall never, under any circumstance, let you down.' 

This stand taken by the uncle, who was never converted to the new 
faith and who remained a leader in Makka with its pagan traditions 
and codes of honour, constitutes a remarkable episode in history. 
Abü-Talib, though strictly a traditionalist and unwilling to part with 
his ancestors’ religion, had found it just as important or even more 
important not to surrender to growing pressures or persecute his prot- 
égé, of whose sincerity and righteousness he had no doubt. 

The Makkan leaders were perplexed. Abü-Taàlib's refusal to act 
meant war. The Arabs were used to feuds and wars, but they could not 
accept this challenge, for it would have involved fratricidal slaughter 
in which Muhammad's followers would be negligible. The stanch 
traditionalists like themselves, including a majority of the Hashimites, 
Muttalibites, and others, would fight for the Prophet's cause for family 
reasons while sharing the Makkans' religion; and those who shared his 
faith (Abü-Bakr, ‘Uthman, Talhah, ‘Umar, and others) would be on 
the other side against their kinsmen. The leaders backed down, wait- 
ing for Muhammad to realize the dangerous situation toward which 
he was leading his clan, its supporters and those who believed in him. 

Muhammad was not to seek any conciliation. He was in the hands of 
God. He was sure that another, higher will was directing his destiny, 
and tnat the only way out was for the Quraysh to sec, despite all its 
pride and vested interests, that its shame lay in worshipping useless 
idols that could not direct men to piety and righteousness in this world 
or save them in the next on the great day of judgement. He was sent 
through the mercy of God to make the Arabs a worthy people dedi- 
catcd to tlie cause of serving mankind and their Crcator. 

The Quraysh and its mass supporters heaped ridicule and contempt 
upon the Prophet and his mission, and threw dirt on him wherever he 
went, but to no avail. He siill preached publicly, and went to the 

See pata bla NS WE T * * 




Ka'bah to pray in his own way. Ultimately, they decided to take ex- 
treme measures against his family, the Hashimites: they refused to 
have any contact with them, to marry with them, or even to trade with 
them. They pledged themselves to that end ina proclamation which 
they placed in the sacred Ka‘bah. 

Abü-Tàlib wisely and quietly took stock of the situation, and decid- 
ed to withdraw to à valley on the eastern outskirts of Makka, where he 
and thc loyal Hashimites entrenched themselves. He wanted to avoid 
bloodshed, and all Hashimite supporters, except Abü-Lahab, felt the 
same way. The Muttalib clan, cousins of the Háshimites, followed suit, 
and also entrenched themselves in the shi‘b (a short, closed valley). 
Deprived of everything for more than two years, the Hashimites and 
their supporters endured extreme hardships. Food was scarce; there 
was not enough to meet their needs. Some of the merciful people of the 

. city would now and then smuggle a camel-load of food and supplies to 


Hardly any new converts were made during this period. Most of 
those converts who remained outside the shi b took refuge in Abyssinia. 
Nevertheless, the Prophet's determination and courage never 
weakened. He continued to go to the Ka‘bah and to pray pu blicly. He 
used every opportunity to preach to outsiders who visited Makka for 
business or on pilgrimage during the sacred months. He never doubted 
God’s ultimate victory. 

In the third year of boycott and siege, many Quraysh leaders began 
to fecl guilty about isolating their kinsmen to perish in the shi. After 
all, the majority of those boycotted and besieged were not even con- 
verts; they were idol worshippers, like themselves, but they were going 
through these trials just the same, in keeping with their code of honour, 
for the protection of a kinsman who had always been a truthful and 
honest person. 

The moderates found an excuse in that the proclamation suspended 
in the Ka‘bah under the watchful eyes of the idol gods was eaten by 
worms. The merciful party thus took courage; their leaders put on 
their arms and went to the shi‘, where the exiles had been suffering, 
and extricated them. 

And so, in the eighth year of the Prophet's mission, the converts, his 
uncle Abū Talib, and the clan that had honoured its tribal tradition in 
giving protection to a faithful son went back to their homes. 

'That was not the end of the bad times and suflering. Muhammad 
soon lost his uncle, the veteran Sheik of Banu-Hashim. Abū Tlàlib was 


soon followed by the faithful Khadijah, the first convert of the Pro- 
phet, his beloved wife, adviser and comforter. Hearing of the respite 
from sicge and boycott, many of theemigrants to Abyssinia came back, 
but they soon met an intensified persecution and were subjected to 
endless suffering. 

To preach in Makka seemed hopeless, and to provoke the Qurayshis 
was not the best of wisdom. The Prophet then turned his hopes away 
from his tribe and city to other cities and tribes. The nearest and 
strongest competitor of Makka was the city of al-'Tà'if, fifty miles 
southeast of Makka. With his servant Zayd the Prophet walked up the 
rugged mountains to that city. He visited the tribal leaders, and 
quietly asked their help. He was refused and badly treated. Dismissed, 
and followed by vagabonds and street urchins who drove him on and 
would not allow him to rest, he became exhausted. His feet bleeding, 
he sat and appealed to the Almighty for His mercy. The prayer that 
ensued has become one of the cherished legacies of the faithful 
appealing to God in desperate circumstances. 

He gathered strength and continued on his way back to Makka, 
reaching it three days later. Zayd was concerned, and asked the Pro- 
phet whether he did not fear thrusting himself into the hands of the 
Qurayshis, who continued to plot against the powerless in the city. 
‘God will protect His religion and His Prophet,’ was the reply. The 
Makkans had lcarned of the Prophet's reverses at al-Ta’if and were 

preparing a degrading reception for him. None of the Makkan chief- ` 

tains from whom Muhammad requested protection for safe entry into 
the city would extend him help; but a good-hearted pagan chief, 
al-Mut‘im ibn-‘Adi, took him under his protection and brought him 
home. ‘Thus did Muhammad re-enter Makka — guarded by a poly- 
theist, scoffed at by his fellow citizens, and pitied for his lot by his 
helpless followers. 

In that sad year of recurring calamities and gloom, when tragedy 
seemed about to engulf Muhammad's mission, a gleam of hope came 
to sustain him. During the pilgrimage season and the sacred months, 
when the traditional laws forbade violence, the Prophet had by happy 
cnance converted a few people from Yathrib, who swore ailegiance to 
him. They returried to ‘Aqabah in the spring of A.C. 621 with the good 
news that his faith was being accepted by many in Yathrib. They were 
accompanied by twelve representatives of the two principal tribes, 
Aws and Knazraj, who in Muslim history later became known as Ansar 
(helpers). The Yathribite delegation told the Prophet that their people 


it ae el we etal NS a ee te 


were willing to accept Islam and pledged, ‘We will not worship save 
one God; we will not steal nor commit adultery nor kill our children; 
we will in no wise slander, nor will we disobey the Prophet in anything 
that is right.’ This pledge was later called the first Bay ‘at al- 'Aqabah 
(Pledge of Al-‘Aqabah). The second came a year later, following the 
pilgrims’ season, when seventy of the Yathribites came again to ‘Aqa- 
bah, and secretly pledged themselves and their people to defend the 
Prophet as they would defend their own wives and children. 

Makka was no longer a safe place for the Muslims to reside in. The 
Prophet then directed those who had returned from Abyssinia and 
other converts to emigrate and head for Yathrib. Quietly they started 
to move out. In a few months, more than a hundred families left their 

» homes and migrated to Yathrib. The Qurayshis were on their guard. 

The migration of the Prophet to a rival city was harmful to them and 
they were determined to prevent it at all costs. They decided to kill 

|, “him, but collectively — representatives of all clans would plunge their 

swords into him — so that the Hashimites, faced with this joint res- 
ponsibility, would be prevented from taking vengeance on a single 

The Trusted Abü-Bakr and ‘Ali stayed behind in Makka with the 
Prophet. 'Ali sought to deceive the spies of the oligarchy by occupying 
the Prophet's bed, while the Prophet and Abu-Bakr went to hide out in 
a neglected cave a few miles south of Makka, on Mount Thawr. When 
the Makkans discovered that the Prophet had eluded them, they im- 
mediately instigated a search, but they failed to catch him, and after 
concealing himself in the cave for three days, Muhammad rode off to 
Yathrib.?* With his arrival, a new era dawned. Conscious of this fact, 
the Muslims dated their new era from this year of the migration com- 
monly called the Hijrah (or Hegira). It began on June 16, A.C. 622.” 

When the Prophet entered Yathrib in the summer of that year, 
many leading Ansar and a few hundred others were already converted. 
There were also the Muhajiriin (the Makkan Muslim emigrants), who 
greeted him on the outskirts of the city. The pagans and Jews gave him 
a good reception as well, each for a different reason. The Arab Jews 
were monotheists — they constituted three tribes, living as neighbours 
of the Arab pagan tribes who had originally come from the Yemen and 

24. This city was later called Madinat al-Rasül (the City of the Prophet), or 
simply al-Madinah (the City); it is modern Medina. 

25. Hijrah means literally emigration. The Muslim calendar dates from the 
Hijrah; that is A.C. 622 is 1 Anno Hegirae (A.H.). 



had gradually gained supremacy in Yathrib. The Jews hoped that 
Muhammad, as a monotheist, might become their ally against the 
pagan Arabs and even against the Christians in northern Arabia. As 
for the pagans, their reason for receiving Muhammad was not religion 
but rather the competition between Makka and Yathrib. Further- 
morc, the Prophet was related to them on his maternal side — his 
great-grandmother was a member of "serat, the most important 
tribe in Yathrib — and ‘the enemy of my enemy’ was as good a reason 
as any! 

Members of each group tried to direct Muhammad's camel toward 
their quarters so that he would become their guest. Hc asked them to 
let the animal go freely and stop where it would be best for everybody. 
Where it stopped, he chose his abode. Today, it is the famous shrine 
where the Prophet's tomb stands, and it is visited yearly by thousands 
of Muslim pilgrims. 

On that spot he lived, directed the affairs of the new nation and built 
the first masjid or mosque of Islam; and on that spot he died. 

After thirteen years of intensive struggle to survive, the Prophet had 
at last found a friendly city where he could defend himself and base his 
future opcration. | 

The Qurayshis in Makka were disturbed. They were powerful as 
owners of interests in all parts of Arabia, as guardians of polytheism 
and the idol gods of the tribes, and as leaders of the Arabian pilgri- 
mage. Their city was a centre both of Arabian trade and of a banking 
system whose money-lenders granted usurious loans to the various 
tribes. Muhammad, their rebellious kinsman, had now taken refuge in 
a rival town, and had created a rival base astride their important trade 
routes to Syria and the north. Morcover, many of their sons and 
daughters had migrated with him to the enemy camp. They knew that 
Muhammad would never compromise in his religion, and that peace 
would be impossible with him. 

Muhammad, however, was not to seek refuge for safety. He was the 
Messenger of God in the world, and idol worship in his tribe and 
homeland must come to an end. His new nation would have to divorce 
itself from idolatry, usury, immorality, alcoholism and vain and san- 
guine pride in tribalism, and above all it would have to become mus- 
lim, that is, submissive to God, the almighty One, Who has no 
partners, and to Whom al! will return to be judged for whatever they 
have been. 

His first concern in Yathrib was to build his simple place of worship, - 


the masjid, where the faithful could also meet to discuss the affairs of 
their world. We must remember that Islam, unlike other great reli- 
gions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, subscribes to a 
political and social order which is to be carefully established and 
observed in the here and now as a road to the afterworld: The 
Kingdom of God in Heaven is achieved through piety and through a 
system of social and political order, namely, a Kingdom of God on 

The life of the Prophet in Makka had been primarily concerned with 
the fundamentals of his faith: the unity of God, resurrection, the day of 
judgement, worship and the purification of the soul. This concern 
continued in Yathrib, where the ummah — congregation or nation — 
could be organized as an independent entity. A constitution anda 
system of defense were needed. The new society had to engendera 
' social order and a state. The Prophet, guided by revelation, was able to 
implement the political and social structure of the new ummah, despite 
exposure to a war of annihilation. 

In meeting this challenge, the Prophet, with the guidance of God 
and his own personal aptitude, fused the Muslim congregation of 
various clans into a solid nation with one loyalty, Islam, and one 
brotherhood transcending tribal customs. The second task was an 
alliance with the neighbouring Jews and pagan Arabs for a common 
defense and for security and peace in Yathrib. This was accomplished 
through treaty. This was the famous Covenant of Yathrib, resembling 
in certain aspects that of the League of Nations or of the United 
Nations, which aimed at the maintenance of peace and security 
among the various tribes and the creation of a common system of 
security as a consequence of common responsibility. 

'The next problem was what kind of defense to erect, a mobile or 
static one. In nomadic Arabia, static defense was but the final resort in 
extreme necessity, as it mcant isolation accompanied by hardships. 
More important, it would also mean a halt in the expansion of the new 
faith and in the growth of the new ummah. Muhammad was essentially 
the Prophet of God to mankind and the chosen instrument of the 
propagation of Islam, and whether in Makka or Yathrib, the faith was 
his fundamental objective; therefore, he decided against static de- 

In the second year of the Hijrah, the Prophet initiated mobile de- 
fense, which led in the third year to the famous Battle of Badr, located 
southwest of Yathrib. His forces were some three hundred infantry- 



men and three cavalrymen, with no armour but swords and limited 
supplies. His enemy, Quraysh, had three times his infantry, a hundred 
cavalrymen and a large supply caravan. The Prophet’s force never- 
theless defeated them. The causes of the victory lay in their superior 
discipline and leadership and the high morale which resulted from 
their great faith in God and the promise of afterlife. 

The Battle of Badr was a great victory, especially because it esta- 
Elished the Muslim community as a separate political and social as 
well as religious entity and confirmed the power of the Prophet, but it 
was not decisive. Muhammad treated his Quraysh prisoners in a chi- 
valrous and humane way. His prestige in the eyes of the pagan 
bedouins” around Yathrib rose considerably. During the Battle of 
Badr, these nomads waited like poised vultures, ready to sweep down 
on the defeated and carry off the loot. As the Qurayshis were well 
established in Arabia, they would have been afraid to exploit them in 
adversity; however, the Prophet’s party still lacked roots firm enough 
to survive misfortune and the Arab nomad’s greed for plunder. But 
God saved His followers, who never boasted of their victory — it was 
God’s victory, they all agreed: even the angels were reinforcing them 
against the pagans. 

The first Muslim army came back to Yathrib with Makkan prison- 
ers who were mostly of the same tribe as the Prophet, who treated them 
with mercy and sent them home. | 

In the third year of the Hijrah, while the Prophet was as usual 
absorbed in his worship and in his preaching, he consolidated the 
position of his ummah and looked after the defense of his city. Neither 
were his enemies idle. One year later they were ready, and again 
marched on Yathrib with a force three times as large as the one de- 
feated at Badr. The Prophet moved to engage them, and they met on 
the slopes uf Mount Uhud. The fierce battle ended with the retreat of 
the Muslim forces and the wounding of the Prophet; but through his 
endurance and his resourceful and courageous leadership, he manag- 
ed to save his small army. Abū Sufyàn, who was leading the Makkans, 
called from the top of the hill, saying, ‘Uhud for Badr; we call it even. 
We will meet again next year.’ Both forces retired to their original 
bases. But that was not the end; Uhud, like Badr, was not decisive. 

Two years later, Quraysh built up a much larger force, allied itself to 
many tribes, and was able to mobilize an army of ten thousand men. It 

26. The English word comes from the Arabic badaw (singular: badd), meaning 
nomads, as distinguished from settled population. 


was well armed and equipped, and thus far greater than any force that 
the Prophet could muster. The attackers laid siege on Yathrib, and for 
two weeks pressed to break through; but they failed. The Prophet had 
introduced new defense tactics — digging trenches and raising barri- 
cades, at which he himself laboured with the men day and night. The 
Prophet’s faith in God and the great zeal of his followers, particularly 
the Muhajirün and Ansar, balanced the enemy’s superiority in arms and 
numbers. A severe wind blew, accompanied by a dust storm. The 
morale of the AAzàb?' faltered with the evening; they argued among 
themselves, and ultimately broke camp and retired. The Muslims 
followed them a certain distance. That was the last Quraysh attempt 
to destroy its enemy’s base in Yathrib. 

A year later, that is, in the sixth year of the Hijrah, the Prophet 
moved in force toward his home city, Makka. He wanted to make his 
lesser pilgrimage (umrah) to the Ka‘bah, which, although it housed 

, * pagan idols, was still regarded by Muslims as sacred, because in the 

view of the Prophet the Ka'bah had been built by the Patriarch 
Abraham for the worship of God. It was in the vicinity of the Ka'bah, 
near the well of Zamzam, that Abraham had settled his Egyptian wife 
Hagar with her son Ishmael. The Qurayshis and other northern Arab 
tribes were the descendants of Abraham through his son Ishmael. The 
Muslims therefore believed that they had the right to perform the 
pilgrimage initiated by their great father, Abraham, the first Arab to 
worship Allah, the only God. 

But the Makkans mecca with them, and na to bar their 
entry. Finally, a ten-year truce” was concluded with Quraysh whereby 
the Prophet agreed, among other things, to papae his pilgrimage to 
the following season. 

The march on Makka and the truce that relied therefrom consti- 
tute a turning point in Muslim history: for the first time, the right of 
every person to preach and practice his faith freely was recognized by a 
formal treaty. A year after the conclusion of the truce, the Prophet and 
two thousand men entered Makka, which, according to previous 
agreement, was evacuated temporarily of its inhabitants. The Mus- 
lims completed their pilgrimage in an admirable manner, and im- 
pressed the Makkans to such an extent that conversions to Islam in- 
27. Literally, leagues, that is, a group banded in a general alliance against the 
Prophet and his men. 

28. Known as the Truce of al-Hudaybiyah (a place near Makka). The date was 
A.D. 628. 


creased by leaps and bounds. Delegations were sent by Arabian tribes 
from the four corners of the peninsula to pledge their loyalty to 
Muhammad in Yathrib. 

When two years later the Qurayshis violated their treaty obligations 
and attacked the Khuza‘ah tribe, which was allied with the Muslims, 
the Prophet led a march on Makka on Wednesday, the tenth of 
Ramadan (in the eighth year of the Hijrah — A.D. 630), with ten 
thousand men. On that memorable day, the Prophet asked the Mak- 
kans, "What do you think I will do to you?’ They answered, ‘You are a 
generous brother and the son of a generous brother.’ ‘Go,’ the Prophet 
rejoined, ‘you are freed.’ 

Lane-Poole writes: 

... The day of Muhammad’s greatest triumph over his enemies was 
also the day of the grandest victory over himself. He freely forgave 
Quraysh all the years of sorrow and cruel scorn with which they had 
afflicted him, and gave an amnesty to the whole population of Mecca. 
Four criminals whom Justice condemned made up Muhammad’s 
proscription list, when as a conqueror he entered the city of his bitterest 
enemies. The army followed in his example, and entered quietly and 
peaceably; no house was robbed, no woman insulted. One thing alone 
suffered destruction. Going to the Ka‘bah, Muhammad stood before 
each of the three hundred and sixty idols, and pointed to them with his 
staff saying, "Truth is come, and falsehood is fled away!’ and at these 
words his attendants hewed them down and all the idols and house- 
hold gods of Mecca and round about were destroyed.’ 

After the conquest of Makka, Muhammad had to march on another 
stubborn enemy, al-Ta’if, the important dwelling place of the much- 
exalted idol god Hubal. It was the city to which the Prophet had 

journeyed in his worst days of persecution, seeking refuge but receivin g 
humiliation instead. Ten years had elapsed since then, and now he 
believed that the victory in Makka might persuade the inhabitants of 
al-Ta'if to sue for peace. On the contrary, they mobilized the great 
Hawazin confederacy of tribes against him, and rallied the city people 
for a decisive day with the enemy of their god. The two forces met at 
Hunayn. The Muslims were then commanding the largest force in 
their history to date, but they were being routed and were rctreating 
when the Prophet rallied the old Ansar and Muhapirin veterans. Fight- 
ing courageously, though Muhammad was wounded, they won the 
day. The Prophet was so generous and forgiving to his old enemies and 
29. Lanc-Poole, op. cit. p. xlvii. | 

Sc Lace uu ieu 


persecutors that some of his followers among the Ansar objected. But 
the Prophet soothed them with wise and fair exhortations, and played 
upon their sympathies until they wept. 

Upon returning to Yathrib, Muhammad encountered delegations 
sent by tribes and settled peoples of Arabia. They came to pay homage 
to him and to profess the faith of Islam, Thus was Arabia won over to 

But what about the rest of the world? Muhammad always conceived 
of his mission as being directed to all people. Already he had sent his 
emissaries to Arabia’s neighbouring emperors, the Persian and Roman 
(Byzantine), who ignored his Message or humiliated the messengers. 
The only courteous response was from the Coptic leader of Egypt. 

In southern Syria (modern Jordan), certain of his emissaries were 
brutally murdered, which occasioned the battle at Mu’tah later.” For 
some years after their army’s defeat at Mu’tah, the Muslims were ina 
state of war with the Byzantine emperor, Heraclius, who was said to be 
gathering together a large force in Syria to deal with the new Arab 
menace on his southern frontier and to liquidate the new Arab ruler 
who entertained such serious pretensions. 

For this and other reasons, the Prophet decided to prepare a large 
army and march north. This was the last military expedition he was to 
plan. He had pointed out the direction. A short time after his death, his 
Companions marched north and four years later, they conquered both 
mighty empires, the East Roman and the Persian. 

In the tenth year of the Hijrah, the Prophet made his last pilgrimage 
to Makka, and delivered his Farewell Speech at Mina to a congrega- 
tion of forty thousand Muslims. He commenced, ‘O people, listen to 
me; I may not ever meet you again here after this year.’ Then, ina great 
sermon, he expressed his fears that they might lose the way of God and 
return to a lawless society and to tribal feuds. He ended a great law- 

giving speech by asking them if they thought that he had faithfully 

delivered his message. They answered with one voice, ‘Yes!’ He then 
said, ‘God, You are my witness,’ and descended from his camel. 

The Muslims called that sermon the Farewell Speech and that pil- 
grimage the Farewell Pilgrimage. Since the Prophet’s first call by the 
angel Gabriel twenty-three years earlier, revelation after revelation 
had continued. He had learned them by heart and inscribed them, and 
so had his friends. They formed together the glorious Book of Islam, the 
Qur'àn. At the end of this sermon, and as a final word, he recited in the 

30. Sce pp. 159-160. 


name of God this revelation: ‘This day 1 (Allah) have perfected your 
religion for you and completed My favour unto you, and have chosen 
for you as religion AL-ISLAM.” : 

His dear friends then wept. They felt that his end was near, that the 
Prophet had fulfilled his mission; and it was so. 

The Prophet died of fever in Yathrib, which thereafter was called 
al-Madinah. His life, suffering, and triumph will remain for Muslims 
and non-Muslims alike a symbol of modesty, faithful devotion, and 
dedicated service to God, a high example of manhood. 

31. al-Qur'àn, 5: 3. 

I he Qur'an and Its Impact on 
Human History 

Allahbukhsh. K. Brohi 

,* THE Holy Qur'àn claims to be a Book of Hidayah, i.e. Guidance, for 

man. It is a Book that is available to whole mankind — indeed it 
addresses itself, by and large, to the totality of mankind. Its message is 
relevant to different peoples living in different parts of the world. 

Further, its message is valid for all times to come — in other words, it is | 

not a Book that will ever be out of date. Such a claim, in principle at 
least, as can be appreciated, should be capable of being substantiated 
by appeal to historical evidence. If the Qur'án is at all a Book of Uni- 
versal Guidance in the sensc that its message is relevant to all peeples in 
all ages and climes, it must have had, in the course of these fourteen 
hundred years of its existence, a decisive-impact on human history — 
in particular, it must have had a liberating and transforming influence 
on the lives of those who may have come under its spell. I submit that 
clear historical evidence in support of the claim of the Holy Qur'àn 
exists and I shall endeavour to offer a broad survey of it in these pages. 

But before I do that, it is necessary to point out that over and above 
the test of historical evidence to which appeal could be made, there are 
within the Divinc Book itself numerous indications which ought to 
enable a discerning and perceptive student to appreciate the truth of 
the claim of the Qur’an, namely, that it presents a message of universal 
significance. These ‘intrinsic’ tests, it must be admitted, are valid 

within the framework of religious beliefs and practices sanctioned by 

Islam and are, therefore, available only to the faithful — that is to say, 

* Taken from an address delivered on the occasion of the fourteen hundredth 
anniversary cclebrations of the revclation of the Qur'àn. 

c So 

= c 

Lit rr mon ame 


they are valid only for those who believe in the Divine Word and hold 
that it has beeh authentically revealed to the Prophet of Islam and has 
been preserved down the ages without any alteration having been 
effected in its text. The ‘extrinsic’ test of history, however, which I 

propose to apply in an endeavour to outline the extent of the impact ` 

which the Holy Qur’an has made upon human history, is a sui juris one, 
and, in my submission, if properly appreciated, it is bound to appeal 
cven to those who, not being themselves believers, are nevertheless 
open to conviction upon the premiscs of an argument based on the 
unimpeachable historical evidence that is furnished to us when we 
examine impartially and contemplate objectively the remarkable 
revolution that has been wrought in human history by the message 
that is contained in the Holy Book. 

From this perspective, I submit the whole post-Muhammadan era 
of human history would appear to be a commentary on the claim of the 
Qur'àn that it isa Book of Guidance for the whole of mankind and that 
its teaching is relevant for all time to come. After all, God is, according 
to the Holy Qur'an, God both of the East and of the West and the 
Truth revealed by Him has percolated dcep into the warp and woof of 
the thought-life of all the peoples of the world — be they the inhabi- 
tants of the eastern or the western regions. And the Qur'àn assures us 
that where the truth appears the lie disappears — for, verily it is in the 
nature of lie that, in its confrontation with truth, it disappears. 


The birthplace of the Prophet and, therefore, the rise of Islam, is stra- 
tegically placed in the ‘geographical’ middle of the then prevailing 
civilisations of the times — the Graeco-Roman civilisation of the West 
and the Egyptian, Babylonian, Phoenician and Persian civilizations of 
the Near East and the Indian and Chinese civilizations of the Far East. 
The emergence of Islam from the landscape of Arabia in the larger 
vista of history is to be likened to the radiant light emanating from a 
brilliantly lit lamp placed in the middle of a world that had sunk into 
thick and impenetrable darkness. The Prophet of Islam, no wonder, is 
described in the Qur'àn asa shining lamp and in that image is befittingly 
addressed as ‘Mercy’ to all the peoples. Mankind cannot be grateful 
enough to him for what he had done for it. 

The greatest Divine favour to man is that he has been taught the 
Qur'àn: indeed, the claim that God is Merciful is attested by no other 
credential than the one which says that He has taught the Qur'an to 

yt tnde ino gm tV Fn 

e DETTE SI mmn me aer 


man (see al-Qur'àn, 55: 1 and 2). The whole Book, regarded from that 
point of view, is to be construed asa sort of Instruments of Instructions 
which has been issued to man in his capacity as God’s vicegerent on 
earth toenable him to conduct his life's operations here below in such a 
manner that he is able to obtain success in this world and the reward of 
eternal bliss in the Hereafter, 

The distinctive feature of the Qur’an as a religious scripture lies in 
the undeniable fact that it affirms and completes the total process of revelation 
which has come from the Divine for the guidance of the human race. God says to 
the Prophet in the well-known Sirah al-Ma idah, a Sürah which is one of 
the very last to be revealed to the Prophet: ‘This day We have perfected 
_ yourrcligion and completed My favour’ (al-Qur'àn, 5: 3). Similarly, in 

Surah al-A ‘la (87: 14-19), the Qur'àn declares that the truth mentioned 
by it was also contained in the earlier scriptures — even as in the 
Scriptures of Abraham and Moses. The process of revelation has begun 
sincc times immemorial and has been brought to mankind through the 
Prophets of universal religions by, as it were, a process of periodic 
installments, to stimulate its growth and development. 

The necessity for revelation is attested by the facts of life: the very 
condition of finitude, in which we find ourselves, calls for Divine help. 
In the short span of life that is ours, having regard to the limited range 
of our capabilities and powers of perception, it would be impossible for 
us without assistance from the Divine to understand our role here 
below and to plan wise and intelligent action with a view to servicing 
the essential needs of our being. In order to be'meaningfully aware of 
the necessity for revelation, one has merely to think of the obvious facts 
of man's dependence on the outer environment in which his lot is cast. 
Indeed, the very possibility of man's survival depends upon food and 
shelter which he has to provide to himself from the resources that are 
available to him from the world outside. If earth did not produce for 
him the food on which he lives, how can man at all hope to survive? 
Similarly, man finds himself in a universe which he knows has been 
there over millions of years before he himself arrived and, what is more, 
he is fully cognizant of the fact that it will continue being there after his 
own little ‘day will have been done’ and he will have ‘vanished into the 
night’ leaving things pretty much thesame as they have always been. It 
is clear then that the universe is necessary for his survival but he is not 
necessary for the life of the universe! What is the meaning of the drama 
in which man is called upon to play his part. In particular, is he ex- 
pected to play any part at all — and if so, is his role significant or is it 


something that is inconsequential? To questions such as these man | 
must find the answers, if he is at all going to fruitfully employ the 

opportunity and time that is at his disposal while his life lasts. Before - 
the end overtakes him, he must learn to regard his moment as a servi- 
ceable means for the fulfilment of the purpose for which he has been 
created — that, of course, provided if there be any for which he has 
been created. Reflection shows that even the most trained philoso- 
phers, despite considerable bulk of time they have devoted in finding 
answers to these questions, have found it difficult to return convincing 
answers. And yet while solution: to these problems are being sought, 
the river of life of man is continually moving relentlessly on and every - 
moment that elapses for the son of man scems to hurl him on to ever 
new vistas of experience and opportunity. A tragedy of life is that every 
moment that passes is gone, never to return. What must man do in 
order to fulfil the law of his being? Without knowing what that law is, 

what can he do? Such is the state of helplessness in which man finds 
himself that from all sides and quarters difficult questions crop up — 
questions to which there are no satisfactory answers available. The 
Qur'an refers to this very situation of man when it says: ‘Verily, We 
have created man in difficulty.’ Hence the need of ‘revelation’. Reli- 
gion provides answers to these questions oí life on the authority of the 
Prophets of universal religion. Man has been guided by the Lord 
himself — even as Merciful Sustainer of the Universe He has guided 
the whole of creation. ' 

The Qur'àn as a Book of Guidance has itself commented upon the 
full implications of the concept of Hidayah. Hidayah literally means ‘to 
guide’ and ‘to show the way’. In Sürah al-A ‘la of the Qur'àn reference is 
made to all the relevant aspects of the process of development through 
which all created beings pass. ‘Praise the name of the Lord, the Most 
High, who has created and then equiliberated all things, Who has 
appointed their destinies and Who has guided them' (al-Qur'àn 87: 1-2). 
This Hidayah in its wider sense, may be regarded as a principle of 
internal development of the species. To the lower animals have been 
given instincts and senses through which they are led on to balance or 
equiliberate themselves. And it is through seeing, hearing, feeling and 
smelling that they adapt themselves to their environment — and thus 
to sustain themselves and to procreate their species. With man, addi- 
tionally, Hidáyah takes the form of conferment by God of the gift of 
Reason upon him, — a sort of a capacity which controls and limits the 
expression of instinctive life of the animal in him. It is by means of this 


control which reason enables man to impose over his lower nature that 
he is elevated to a higher status. Great as this gift of reason is, by itself it 
does not and cannot suffice — for reason only operates within the 
framework of instinctive life conditioned as it is by the sensory appa- 
ratus. It has, therefore, its own limits, and beyond those limits it is 
dangerous for it to go. Thus the Prophets have brought Hidayah to man 
from the Divine in yet one more form. And this form has reference to 
the message concerning those injunctions, the disregard of which 
would involve man in wasteful friction with the universe, nay, ina 
veritable war against his own potentialities. Armed by this Hidayah 
man is capable of being liberated from the narrower precincts in which 
, his reason operates. He is able, thanks to this guidance, to contemplate 
his total destiny and regulate his individual conduct and the conduct 
of his fellow beings in the light of the revealed truth which has been 
brought to him by the Prophets of universal religions. It would appear 
that cach succeeding phase of guidance is intended to limit the earlier 
one: thus senses correct the instincts, reason corrects the sense, and the 
revealed truth corrects the operation of reason itself, The prophetic 
consciousness mirrors for man the higher truth which it is incapable of 
being attained by the operations of unguided reason. Man is informed 
of the limits within the circle of which he must move if he is to be saved. 
He is thus educated and initiated into the scheme of things in which he 
is to strive for the fruition of his appointed destiny. The Qur'àn, no 
wonder, says: “Truly, it is for Us to show the way to man and truly Ours 
is the future and truly the past’ (al-Qur'àn, 2:12: 13). Similarly, it goes 
on to assert: “Whoso makes effort to follow in Our ways, We will guide 
them; for God is assuredly with those who do righteous deeds’ (al- 
Qur’an, 29: 69). Far more explicit than these references to man’s de- 
pendence on Divine guidance are the following: 

Say, verily guidance is from God. That is the true guidance; and we are 
indeed to surrender ourselves to the Lord of all beings. (al-Qur’an, 

Then, again: 

But until you follow their religion, neither the Jews nor the Christ- 
ians will be satisfied with you. Say, verily guidance is from God — 
_that is the guidance. (al-Qur'àn, 2: 120) 

The irreducible minimum requirements for the successful discovery of 
the solution of life’s problems thus would appear to be two. First of all 


there is to be a question in the soul, a craving to find answers to the pro- 
blems of life, a prayer at the altar of the Divine for the way being shown. 
And it is this that imparts to Sirah al-Fatihah the importance that has 
been assigned to it by those who have thought deeply about the stra- 
tegy of the Qur’an: each time man has to pray: he asks: ‘Show us the 
way’ — in other words ‘Grant us the guidance’. If a man with a pure 
soul, with a feeling heart, asks for guidance and proceeds to read that 
portion of the Qur’an that is bound to issue forth from the Book he will 
get an answer to his question. And, secondly, one has to have the will to 
walk on the way that is revealed. For not the whole path would be 
shown to man if he would not even walk on that part of the way which 
is being shown to him: capacity to receive truth ultimately depends 
upon man’s efforts to implement the truth that comes to him. He who sees the 
way, but would not negotiate it, will stay where he is — indeed, such is 
the law, the rest of the way will never be shown to him. | 

The strategy of religion precisely consists in this is that it enables 
man to find his way to the goal that counts. Man by the flickering light 
of his feeble powers — which is all that is furnished to him by his 
meagre resources — cannot be expected to discover the way on his 
own, much less have the energy and the inclination to follow the way. It is 
his faith in the revealed truth that has come to him from the Prophets 
of universal religion that is capable of coming to his rescue in this 
regard and this is so because the natural reach of his own personality is 
such that in respect of the essential questions of life it cannot, by itself, 
find any valid answers. 

The process of revelation, as remarked earlier, has been consum- 
mated in the message that has been brought by the Prophet of Islam to 
mankind. So much is this true that it may be said that Islam itself 
provides for the education of the human race. Man has evolved and 
has been a witness to various phases of his own evolution. Different 
Prophets have brought different messages for their people, if only 
because, having regard to the different conditions in which humanity 
has found itself, the message in question could only be addressed to 
particular pcople in certain well-defined epochs of human history. 
Only byso such teaching was it possible to secure man’s further 
developme In Islam religion has been perfected. That is another 
way of saying that with Islam the age of new revelation has come to a 
close, and that the age of realization of the principles of revealed 
religion has been inaugurated. That is why in all the earlier scriptures 
references are to be found to the advent of the Prophet of Islam: Stu- 



dents of Bible, for instance, know that Jesus had said: ‘I have yet 

many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. . . He will 
guide you unto all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but of 
whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak’ (John 16: 12-13). 

Further, the New Testament bears testimony to this very truth: 
‘Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all 
things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets 
since the world began (Acts, 3: 21). The Holy Qur'àn itself affirms this 
reference in chapter 61, verse 6, when it says: ‘And that Jesus, son of 
Mary, said: “O children of Israel, surely I am the messenger of Allah to 
you verifying that which is before me of Torah and giving the good 
news of a Messenger who will come after me, his name being 
Ahmad." ' 

That then is the meaning of the fundamental tenet of Islam which 
, enjoins that the Prophet of Islam is the last Prophet. The Holy Qur’an 
thus embodies the final-most communication from the Divine. After 
the Prophet of Islam came to mankind the need for continuing the 
process of Divine communication itself has come to an end. For Islam 
signifies in the history of mankind that phase of human development 
which corresponds to the period of majority in the life of the indivi- 
dual. A few words by way of explanation of this distinctive feature of 
the Holy Book which consists in its address being directed to fully 
grown-up individuals are called for — and are offered in all humility as 
an aid to those who would like to understand the grand strategy of the 
Qur'àn for bringing about the moral and mental regeneration of 
mankind on earth. 

The very fact that the Qur'àn claims itself to be a Book of Guidance 
assumes that it is not a book of Ten Commandments as is, for instance, 
the Old Testament. The Prophet was called upon to purify the people, 
to teach them the Book, that is their destiny and to make them wisc 
(al-Qur’an, 2: 129 and 151; also 3: 163.). He was to warn and to guide. 
The Qur'àn ininietüksbly places the burden of making a choice be- 
tween good and evil fully and squarely on the shoulders of man. It say s: 
‘Have We not shown to you the two ways’ - - the easy way and the 
difficult way. The Qur'àn further declares that nothing belongs to man 
except his effort: that he is going to be judged by what he does here and 
now. Does this not suggest that the Qur'àn assumes man to have 
reached a level where he is regarded as being capable of choosing 
between the right and the wrong. The Qur'an is also called a/-Furgün — 
which merely means it is the book which helps one to discriminate — 


between the scale of values, pointing out which acts are good, better, 
and best and which ones are bad, worse, and worst. All this shows that 
the Qur’an addresses itself to people who can choose! 

| (2) 

One way of demonstrating the indispensibility of the message con- 
tained in the Qur'àn to the modern world is to take up, one by one, the 
present-day standards of excellence — that is, values and ideals which 
are accepted and :. ^held by enlightened sections of contemporary 
humanity and to ask the į »estion: What is the genesis of those values 
and ideals? Whence have they come? And, in particular, one must ask 
whether those values and ideals were at all commended or enjoined by 
pre-Islamic religious teaching. If we were to reach the conclusion that 
the present-day set of ideals and values which is considered worthy by 
a civilized man to adopt and accept was revealed for the first time by 
Islam, then the fact that even after fourteen hundred years that mes- 
sage continues, at least in priciple, to bto be followed still, would be 
proof positive of the claim that what the Qur'àn proclaims to the world 
is even loday the acceptable gospel. 

Negatively, if it could be shown that what the Qur'àn enjoins is out 
of date today so far as the practice of civilized people is in issue, or that 
some new values and ideals have gained currency in modern times 
which are not stressed by the Qur'àn, we will have to say that Qur'àn 
was an ephemeral book and its message is out of date today. 

If I were asked to state what are the values which the enlightened 
consensus of mankind upholds in the mid-twentieth century, I would 
put them in the following order: 

(1) Equality, dignity and brotherhood of man. 

(2) Value of universal education with emphasis on spirit of free 
enquiry and the importance of scientific knowledge. 

(3) Practice of religious tolerance. à; 

(4) Liberation ofthe woman and her spiritual equality with man. 

(5) Freedom from slavery and exploitation of all kinds. 

(6) Dignity of manual labour. 

(7) Integration of mankind in a feeling of oneness irrespective of 
their differences qua race and colour (that is, the programme of 
securing integration of mankind on the basis of moral and 
spiritual principles). 

af als 

Sa ee BY, 

ee ila, 1 

ES ae 


(8) ©The devaluation of arrogance and pride based on superiority of 
race, colour, wealth, etc., and thc founding of society on the 
principle of justice. | 

(9) Rejection of the philosophy of asceticism. 

Each one of these items on the agenda of modern man's heroic and 
noble endeavour, I submit, is fully and adequately supported by 
various injunctions of the Qur'àn and ably illustrated by the kind of 
life that the Prophet of Islam lived himself. 

The Prophet of Islam is exemplary precisely because he is a man- 
prophet. The Qur'àn emphasises again and again that he is a man like 
any other man except to the extent that the Wahi, that is the Holy 
‘Angel, brings revelation to him. He is the one Prophet who is not only 
not interested in performing miracles, but makes the non-performance 
of miracles as his passport to main distinction. He does not claim any 

_ "Divine origin. For himself he is content to be just an ordinary human 

being. He lives a life of honest and carnest endeavour throughout his 
life. To the very end he preserves a high sense of moral rectitude and 
conducts the enterprises of life with a great human dignity. He is an 
able warrior, an excellent soldier, a loving husband, a reliable friend, a 
wise ruler. He sanctifies life in all its aspects, omitting nothing from tls embrace. 
He treats the whole earth asa prayer carpet, denies that the Arabs have 
any superiority over the non-Arabs. He makes one and only one deci- 
sive test about the grandeur, the loftiness, and greatness of the human 
soul — which consists in its capacity to control itself so as to be able to 
practise righteousness. And even when he becomes the ruler of the 
whole of Arabia he never discards his old way of simple life and inces- 
santly enjoins upon himself and upon his followers the supreme 
necessity of giving away of the good things of life to their fellow men 
who might need them. ‘So give,’ says he, ‘that your left hand may not 
see what your right has given.' He forbids his followers from renounc- 
ing the world. Indeed, God is everywhere and His earth is very wide 
and man is to serve Him wherever hc likes. 

Adverting to the importance the Qur'an attaches to the educational 
process, the matter is too obvious to need any elaboration. The Book 
itself begins with an imperative to rezd: 'Read in the name of your 
Lord Who created man from a blood-clot’ (al-Qur'àn, 96: 1, 2). ‘Read 
and your Lord is most generous who taught man by the pen’ (al- 
Qur'àn, 96: 3 and 4). It emphasises the value of the ink and the pen and 
what they write (al-Qur'àn, 68: 1). The Qur'an is full with repeated 

Ur qu —— (gS P Qn9 —— M — Pa À 


emphasis on the value of thinking, of pondering, of rationalization, of | 

discrimination. In a way, it would not be an exaggeration to say that 
the whole of the Book is concerned with outlining the methodology 
and techniaue by which man is to read the Book of Nature and to 
witness within himself the Signs of the Divine. All universe is one and 
man is called upon to look at it and to learn from it. How many times 
docs not the Qur'àn call upon us to look at the various phenomena in 
nature — and challenges us to throw our glance at the creation of the 
Lord and to say if wc find any flaw therein. Not content with asking us 
to throw our first glance at the universe, we are invited to throw a 
second glance at the universe. We are told that: Verily our vision will 
return weary upon us and that we shall not be able to see any flaw in 
the Master's creation (see al-Qur'àn, 67: 3 and 4). Then we are called 
upon to sce the Signs of the Lord in the rhythm of change that is 
discoverable in nature — between the night and the day, as though one 
is chasing the other. We are asked to notice the way in which the dead 
earth is brought to life by the rainfall. We are asked to consider the 
motions of the seasons, the sun and the moon, each one running its 
course. The Qur'an enjoins that there are signs in nature for people 
who reflect (al-Qur'àn, 13: 3-4). In the magical words of the Qur'àn: 
‘And He it is who spread the earth, made in it firm mountains and 
rivers. And of all fruits, He has made it in pairs, two (of every kind). He 
makes the night cover the day. Surely there are signs in this for people 
whoreflect. And in the earth are tracts side by side and gardens of vines 
and corn and palm trees growing from one root and distinct roots — 
thcy are watered with one water and we make some of them excel 
others in fruit. Surely there are signs in these for people who under- 
stand.’ | 

It was this constant call to see nature and to understand the secret of 
its operations which enabled the earlier Arabs to become pioneers of 
science and scientific methods. Nowadays, of course, everything is 
attempted to be explained by the historians of human culture as 
though Arabian science did not so much as exist. Everything i is sup- 
posed to have been found for us by the Greeks! 

The moral and intellectual flewering of the European culture and 
civilization has had a source other than the one that is generally in- 
voked by scholar. European civilization itself is a ‘post-Protestantism’ 
product. Of course, every school-boy in Europe is today taught to 
believe that Reformation was the result of Renaissance which in its 
(urn is supposed to have been ushered in, thanks to the revival of 

ae aS AD a Mani Bice Aoi. 




learning that took place after the fall of Constantinople. Somehow, the 
dark ages of Europe suddenly ceased and the light of Renaissance 
camc to be. 

Thatisall taught in the universities of civilized Europe and America 
in the name of liberal education; and as to the origin of this ‘Renais- 
sance’ itself all kinds of false explanations exist and continue to be 
concocted — but an honest attempt at historical analysis will in the 
wise words of Robert Briffault, show that: 

It was under the influence of the Arabian and Moorish revivial of 
culture, and 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 depth of ignorance and degradation when the cities of the 
Saracenic world, Baghdad, Cairo, Cordova, 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 Evolu- 
tion. From the time when the influence of their culture made itself felt, 
began the stirring of a new life. 

It is highly probable that but for the Arabs modern European civi- 
lization could 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. For although there is 
not a single aspect of European growth in which decisive influence of 
Islam is not traceable, nowhere is it so clear abd momentous as in the 
genesis of that power which constitutes the paramount distinctive 
force of the Modern World and the Supreme Source of its Victory — 
Natural Science and the Scientific Spirit. ( The Making of Humanity, pp. 

Not merely in the direction of intellectual evolution of Modern 
Europe alone is the influence of Islam to be acknowledged.and under- 
stood. ‘To the intellectual culture of Islam’, says the same author, 
‘which has been fraught with consequences of such moment, corres- 
ponded an ethical development not less notable in the influence which 
it has exercised. The fierce intolerance of Christian Europe was indeed 
more cnraged than humiliated by the spectacle of the broad tolerance 
which made no distinction of creed and bestowed honour and position 
of Christian and Jew alike, and whose principles are symbolized in the 
well-known apologue of the Three Rings popularized bv Boccacio and 
Lessing. It was, however, not without far-reaching influence on the 



more thoughtful minds of those who came in contact with Moorish 
civilization. But barbaric Europe confessed itself impressed and was 
stung to emulation by the lofty magnanimity and the ideals of chiv- 
alrous honour presented to it by the knights of Spain, by gentlemen 
like the fierce soldier, Al-Mansür, who claimed that, though he had 
slain many enemies in battle, he had never offered an insult to any — 
an ideal of knightly demeanour and dignity which twentieth-century 
England might with profit perpend. The ruffiantly crusaders were 
shamed by the grandeur of conduct and generosity of Saladin and his 
chivalry. The ideal of knightly virtue was adopted, the tradition of 
Noblesse Oblige was established. Poetry and Romances deeply tinged 
with Arabian ideas formed the only secular literature which circulated 
and appealed to the popular imagination; and a new conception of the 
place and dignity of women passed into Europe through the Courts of 
Provence from the Moorish world, where she shared the intellectual 
interests and pleasures of man . . . Thus, shocking as the paradox may 
be to our traditional notions, it would probably be only strict truth to 
say that Mohammadan culture has contributed at least as largely as to 
the actual practical, concrete morality of Europe as many as more 
sublimated ethical doctrine’ (see ibid., pp. 307-9). 

Similarly, the position of the woman in the pre-Islamic era was so 
pathetic that it is impossible to get the modern man to rcalise how 
much of advance has Islam made in enjoining upon humanity the 
necessity of respecting and honouring the woman. The Arabs found it 
difficult to let daughters grow up in their house. This was supposed to 
be something derogatory to their status. They used to bury them alive. 
With Islam all this was prohibited. The daughter was admitted to be a 
sharer with her brother in the law relating to inheritance. Thisisrather 
significant considering that in as civilized a country as England, not 
until 1922, was a married woman entitled to own property. Islam gave 
to the woman not only the right to inherit property but to own it even 
against her husband, so much so that if a husband is guilty of mis- 
appropriating her property she isentitled to obtain a divorce from him 
on that account alone. As a widow she gets a share in her husband's 
property. The rights of wives are to be acknowledged by her husband 
and are clearly mentioned (see al-Qur'àn, 2: 228; 4: 34; and 2: 229). 
She was given a right to claim a divorce fourteen hundred years ago 
whereas under the Ecclesiastical law sanctioned by the Church of 
Christ it is impossible for her to obtain a divorce even now. The 
modern secular legislation which recognizes divorce in Christian 


countries is an indirect acceptance of the wisdom of the Qur'àn on this 

There was a time when of woman, it was said: 'He for God and she 
for God in him.' But now with Islam woman has been declared an 
independent personality as she has been made directly accountable to 
God. The Qur'àn has honoured woman so much that there isa chapter 
in it entitled 'Woman' and numerous references to her status and 
dignity are to be found therein. This was a radical departure from the 
position of pre-Islamic woman — and, indeed, if only a comparative 
study upon that subject were made it would seem that her position in 
the framework of Qur’anic.teaching is much above even the present 
status of woman anywhere in the world. Such trium phs as the cause of 
the liberation of woman has made in the annals of human history, I 
submit, are directly traceable to the impact of the Qur'àn. 

Similarly, Islam came to terminate the age of slavery. Indeed, the 
freeing of the slave is the highest point of honour to which the Qur'àn 
invites man (al-Qur’an, 90: 13). The Qur'àn deals with the question of 
the emancipation of man so very comprehensively that it can be called 
the Testament of Human Liberty. Man is declared free and he is brought in 
such a direct relationship with God that even ‘priesthood’ has been 
thrown overboard. How can man worship God freely unless he be free 
from political, economic, social and religious exploitation? God says: 
He is nearer to us than the veins of our necks . . . how can anyone 
intervene to interpret His will to us. Man is to be made free to be able 
freely to worship the Lord! 

The whole world today believes in reli gious tolerance, and whatever 
be the extent of its conformity to the ideal postulated by religious and 
intellectual tolerance, all civilized countries the world over subscribe 
to man's inherent right to pursue, in the light of his own feeble powers 
and resources, the goal which he has kept before himself. Indeed, the 
Qur’an is the only religious Book, I know, which:has, on the one hand, 
commanded the followers of Islam to spread their faith by resort to the 
use of beautiful words of persuasion and, on the other hand, prohibited 
them against the vice of being intolerant of other people’s religious 
beliefs and practices. It candidly says that there is no compulsion in 
religion. Further, it enjoins the Prophet say: ‘Your God and my God is 
one God’; still further, when all arguments fail and the detractor of 
Islam refuses to listen to reason, the Muslim is admonished to say, even 
as the Prophet said to his detractors: ‘You have your own religion and 
I have my religion.’ Indeed, the Qur'àn has gone farthest in this direc- 



tion when it declares: 'Revile not those whom they call on besides God, 
lest they, in their ignorance, despitefully revile Him. We have so 
fashioned the nature of man that they like the deeds they do. After all 
they shall return to their Lord and He will declare to them what their 
actions have been’ (al-Qur'àn, 6: 109). This sort of religious tolerance 
preached by Islam and practised by Muslims stems from, and is the 
consequence of, a larger truth — the truth that the Din, that is, the way 
of life commanded by God to be revealed by the Prophets to mankind has been in 
essential aspect one and the same. “To each amongst you,’ declares the 
Qur’an, ‘Have We prescribed the law and an open way. If God had 
willed He would have made you all of one pattern; but He would test 
you by what He has given to each. Be emulous then in good deeds’ 
(al-Qur'àn, 5: 48). Similarly, the Holy Qur'àn points out the grcat 
truth, namely, “To every people We have appointed observances 
which they deserve. Therefore let them not dispute this matter with 
you; but bid them to their Lord for you are on the right way' (al- 
Qur'àn, 22: 67). 

To various peoples in different climes various Prophets have been 
sent, all of whom have revealed the same Din (the way of life) to them, 
although the observances sanctioned for the realization of the Din in 
their own time have been different. "There has not been people who 
have not been visited by the warners,’ says the Qur'àn (al-Qur'àn, 35: 
24). “And, indeed, the Prophet of Islam himself is nothing more than a 
warner and a guide.’ (al-Qur’an, 13: 7). ‘Several of these Prophets the 
Lord has sent amongst the people as of old' (al-Qur'àn, 63: 6). Some of 
these Prophets have been mentioned by name in the Qur'àn and of 
others, says the Lord to the Prophet, ‘We have told thee nothing’ 
(al-Qur'àn, 40: 78). 

Indeed, the tolerance preached by Islam reaches its high water- 
mark when the Qur'àn declares 'Verily, those who believe (that is 
Muslims) and they who follow the Jewish religion, Christians and the 
Sabians. . . whosoever believes in God and the Last Day and does that 
which is right shall have their reward with the Lord. Fear shall not 
come upon them, nor shall they grieve.’ (al-Qur’an, 2: 62). Could spirit 
. ofreligious toleration go any further? 

The greatest contribution which the Qur'àn has made to human 
history, in my submission, concerns the clarification it has offered of 
the only foundational principle on which mankind as a whole can be 
brought to live together in peace and harmony. The Qur'àn has 
emphasised over and over again the supreme necessity of mankind 

‘erecting’ 7. 

ze e Wo 77 


getting together, for after all ‘Have We not,’ says the Lord, ‘created 
mankind as though it were one self.’ The internecine warfares that 
have gone on between groups and groups, communities and commu- 
nities, nations and nations, and sects and sects appear to stem from 

| man’s inveterate desire to uphold not what is Right, but merely to 

decide who is Right. The Qur’an invites all of us to adhere to the Law of 
God with a happy and apt metaphor, of sticking to one and the same 
rope of the Lord. The Qur’an admonishes us against forming cliques 
and being privies to schisms and developing spirit of partisanship. 
Indeed, the Qur’an mercilessly denounces those who form sects and 
Sponsor group formations and as to those who split up their religion and 
become parties to the founding of sects, it tells the Prophet: ‘You have 

' nothing to do with them. Their affair is with God. Hereafter shall We 


tell them what they have been’ (al-Qur'àn, 6: 160). It goes on to enjoin 
in another place: ‘But men have rent their great concern (the one 
religion which was made for all mankind), one among another, into 
sects and every party rejoicing in that which is their own’ (al-Qur'àn, 
23: 53). | 

These internal divisions and schisms which have disrupted the 
peace of the world result from mankind disregarding the supreme fact 
of its own constitution, namely, that all of us are from God and to God 
is our return. Similarly, the racial pride is discounted by the Qur'án 
when it proclaims that all mankind is from Adam and Adam is made from dust. 
Satan is exhibited as an accursed one precisely because he argues, for 
the superiority of his high origin as contrasted from what he believes in 
the lowly origin of man. ‘Man, after all,’ says he, ‘was created of dust 
whereas I am created of a fire.’ This sort of sense of exclusivism which 
also comes to a people purely out of a desire to claim superior and high 
quality of blood in their being has been denounced by the Qur'àn in no 
unmistakable terms and no matter what the detractors of the Prophet 
might say, the supreme fact of post-Islamic history is that Islam alone 
of all possible creeds has successfully devalued the importance of race, 
colour and privilege. It has admonished its followers not to organize 
mankind into groups based on principles of blood or geographical 
contiguity or particular privilege which they might claim for them- 
selves. According to Islam, he alone is exalted who is a muttagi —that is, 
one who isa self-controlled individual, one who lets the law of God rule 
him. All other trimmings and trappings of individual life are false 
credentials and mean nothing. 

Today in a world, divided by all manner of groupings, and accursed 


as it is, by the worship of a false God called ‘nationalism’, the realiza- 

tion has come to mankind that the brotherhood of man is capable of 
being founded only upon a spiritual principle — not on the basis of 
colour, race, privilege. That spiritual principle highlights the im port- 

ance of organizing the brotherhood of man upon the only basis that he 

is a man — not because of what he has but because of who he is. Those 

who believe in the superiority of race are being roundly condemned 

everywhere: those who believe that greatness of a nation is measured 

by its economic and industrial potential are being hated everywhere 

and, what is worse, they are not even at peace with themselves. The 

institution of pilgrimage sanctioned by Islam is the only illustration I 

know of the operation of the spiritual principle for securing integration 

of mankind; gathering of Muslims in Makka every year is the only 

model upon which a move towards a supra-national synthesis of 
mankind can be stimulated. 

^ The spiritual principle upon which mankind can be grouped, 

according to Islam, takes the form of devotion to the ideal of justice. 

There are innumerable references in the Qur'àn to the supreme neces- 

sity of establishing a Just society, à just order. We, the individual men 

and women, are invited to be just, to hold scales of justice evenly, and 

are forbidden from employing false measures in weighing things or 

artificially tilting the balance in our favour. We are called upon to 

advance the cause of justice by offering testimony should the need to 
do so arise, even against our own kith and kin, our own near ones and 

dear ones. There was a time when the highest ideal for man was to 
extend hope and offer comfort to persons who were suffering because of 
the iniquitous and unjust conditions to which they were subject. The 
religious duty was merely to comfort the victims of injustice with the 
assurance that God is with the lowly and humble and that because of 
their suffering they will be rewarded in the Hereafter. The Qur’an 
would not accept any organizational synthesis of mankind which is not 
based on the ideal of justice — which consists in giving to each nation 

or community what is its due. The Christian society in the conception 
of its present professions could only be founded by upholding the value 
of meekness, or rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God 
what isof God — of charity, of compassion — not upon the foundation 
of justice which consists in the enforcement of just laws by just people. 
Islam enjoins upon its votaries to inflict duly sanctioned punishments 
on the transgressors of the law and admonishes us to call upon the . 
perpetrators of the wrong to compensate those who have been wrong- 


ed by the unjust exercise of their power. It says all power is God’s and 
anyone who has it must exercise it not for his personal aggrandizement but 
in His holy name for the advancement of His purpose. 


The Qur’an manifesto is thus there for all to see. Willy-nilly, it has been 
accepted in principle by the whole world. The world swears by its 
ideals and in fact cherishes the values sponsored by it. It is true that 
here, as elsewhere, there is a great deal of discord between our ‘profes- 
sions’ and ‘performance’. It is also true that in the sphere of practice; 
the teaching of the Qur'àn is least followed by those who call them- 
selves Muslims. No book in the world down the ages has been adored 
more than the Holy Qur'àn has been by the Muslims. The respect they 
show for the Book, however, is not the only response that is demanded 
_ by the Book. Far more important is the claim of the Qur'àn that the 
guidance furnished by it should be understood and applied to the details 
of our daily conduct. 

If the Qur'án is a Book of Hidayah is it not obligatory for all of us to 
know what is contained in it, and what it has enjoined upon us. And 
how can we, I ask, know what it hasenjoined upon us unless we are able 
to understand what it says. This is not the place to indicate in any 
measure of details what are the pre-conditions which have to be fulfil- 
led before the Qur'an can have appeal to the heart of man. A great deal 
of discipline in the nature of internal purity and a great deal of devo- 
tion to the Lord Who has revealed it to mankind is required before 
mere knowledge of Arabic can be serviceable. It is true that knowledge 
of Arabic is necessary and the more we know Arabic the better will it be 
— but then, knowledge of Arabic is not to be confused with a close 
study of its syntax, of its grammar, and of its lexicographical superfine 

distinctions. The Arabic of the Qur'àn is simple — therefore such is its - 

miracle that it cannot be understood easily by the sophisticated ones! 

The Qur’an is the best evidence that there is for all of us to believe 
that God exists, that Muhammad is His Prophet. It is also a Book of 
Hope in the sense that it presents to us the image of our Maker Who 
forgives us and protects us against our own follies. 

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Islam and Social Responsibility" 

T. B. Irving 


ONE of the serious facts of this present age is that the old norms have 
failed to convince and hold our youth, and we are facing a new time of 
Ignorance, a fresh Jahiliyya, as the Arabs or Muslims would state it. 
Whether this is because Western values are basically false or that some 
form of dry rot has infected our communications media, the fact re- 
mains that we are facing a real crisis throughout the Western world. 

This process is the opposite of the great eighteenth-century move- 
ment which was called the Enlightenment, when Western Europe and 
North America seemed to be shaking off their age-old prejudices. For 
Muslims, it also forms a contrast to the startling period when the 
Prophet Muhammad led his arid peninsula out of chaos, both political 
and social, into the leadership of the then known world. In fact, 
wherever Islam entered during its earliest youth, the middle ages, 
especially as Western Europe knew this dark period in human history, 
simply ceased to exist. 

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) established religion, 

and then, Islamic state or commonwealth developed slowly, somewhat 
challengingly, during the decade from the year 622 or the Hijra as it is 
called, the Zero year in the Islamic calendar, until his death in 632, 
only ten years later. By that time, instead of being a peninsula of 

* This is based on a paper presented by the author to a Muslim-Baptist 
Dialogue Conference held at Toledo, Ohio, U.S.A., and published in Jmpact 
International, August, 1974. 


mutually raiding tribes, Arabia had become a commonwealth which 
raised new standards for the world to adopt. All this occurred within 
the ten years after the Hijra or ‘Transfer’ of the Prophet and his Muslim 
community from trying circumstances in Makkah to its new capital of 
Yathrib, or Madina as this city came to be called, two hundred miles to 
the north in an oasis on the ancient caravan route to Syria. 

The life of the Prophet thus lasted from around the year 570 of the 
Christian era, when he was born, until 632. He was called an-Nabi 
al-Ummi or ‘the Unlettered Prophet’ in the Qur’an (7: 157-158). What 
does this term mean? It means simply that Muhammad (peace be 
upon him) was not college trained, as we might expect him to be today; 
nevertheless he led his people formally and sincerely to a better way of 
life. He was the most cultured and concerned individual yet he had 
never been to school, only trained to speak good Arabic by living as an 
infant out on the desert, where they spoke the best Arabic in that day. 
Or even since. 

Almost immediately following his death, Islam burst upon the Near - 

Eastern and the world scene, to take over the whole Sassanid empire of 
Persia plus the southern tier of the Byzantine empire as far West as 
Spain and Morocco on the Atlantic. This covered less than one cen- 
tury: by the year 711, or only eighty years after the Prophet’s death, 
Muslims were on the borders of France in the far West, and they were 
entering India to the East . . . Islam was termed the ‘middling nation’ 
(al-Qur’an, 2: 143), the community which was to follow the Happy 

Medium in all matters, that aim of both Greek and Islamic society, and 

of any moderate one on earth. 


The Muslim's basic purpose in life is to worship God in His Oneness, 
bi-at- Tawhid, and not through the trinity of the Christians, nor the 
duality and idolatry of other religions. The Muslim works through the 
power of God's transcendence; in the words of King Arthur, as this 
Celtic leader was preparing to enter the next world, he admonished his 
Knights of the Round Table: 

For what are men better than sheep or goats, that nourish a blind 
life within the brain, if, knowing God, they lift not hands in prayer 
both for themselves and those that call them friend? 

God is thus Transcendent, a/-Ghaní as the Qur'àn teaches us; while 
mere man is only ‘rich’ or ‘wealthy’ when this same ad jective is applied 



to him. Divine service or worship means giving ‘worth’ or value to what 
we respect and revere. We Muslims know God; we meet Him five times 
a day at least, and while we are on our knees before Him. 

Today our New World is helping to lift the dead hand which 
opposed these concepts, and to spread the universal message of Islam. 
If we all are willing to listen, then we may clear up some of the 
misunderstanding which has hindered Western appreciation of 
Middle Eastern ethics and values, especially since Islam itself is now 
pushing into the cities of North America, Great Britain and 
continental Europe. - 


‘Read!’ our Prophet was told at the beginning of Chapter 96 (a/- ‘A laq), 
which bears this simple title and thus sets an early standard for Islamic 
; Society. Islam demanded from its very inception a fully literate 
tradition. Human records must be preserved if civilization is to 
function satisfactorily. We call this need statistics, which form the 
basis for economics and sociology, and especially for taxation and 
planning. Our great preoccupation as Muslims has thus always been 
with the matter or substance of civilized living, so that we can attain 
both spiritual and intellectual values, and thereby function usefully 
within our society. 

What is civilization? At first Islam seemed to have started in a 
cultural backwater, almost a vacuum; but immediately, within the 
first decade of the Prophet's passing, it became a focus for cultural 
energy within the civilized world. 

The Islamic way of viewing these values or standards is different. In 
the first place, it is based upon a clear vision of the world and the Deity 
which is Responsible for its creation and existence. The Arabic word 
for ‘religion’ is din, which means something we ‘owe’ to God, much like 
the Latin concept of religio meaning something ‘binding (us) back’ to 
God. Similarly the word for ‘standard’ is furgan which gives the title to 
Chapter 25 (A/-Furgàn) in the Qur’an. Our three capital or mortal sins 
are designed to ensure the pure worship of God Alone; these are: 

1. Kufr, which means ‘disbelief’ as well as ‘ingratitude’; whilea kafir, 
which is the present participle of the same root, is the ungrateful 
pagan or atheist who refuses to concede that God has any role 
within His creation; 

2. Shirk or ‘association’, which means giving God a partner of any 

OT I ee 



sort, so that we no longer trust in Him Alone. Christian translators ^ 

of the Qur'àn often call this ‘polytheism’ or ‘idolatry’, hoping 
thereby to divert criticism from themselves, although the trinity 

can be considered a variation on this theme, as can the dualism of 

the ancient Persians, or the cruder forms of paganism; 

3. Tughyan or ‘arrogation’, which is the sin of refusing to trust in God 
implicitly, and acting in a tyrannous or bullying manner. When 
water, for instance, is arrogant, it overflows and floods us out, as 
happened in the case of Noah (al-Qur'àn, 69: 11). 

The Muslim's reaction to these concepts must be reinforced with 
practice, with the liturgy or ritual that develops with any religion. In 
Islam we call this underpinning of our faith the Five Pillars, which are: 
(1) Our belief or creed; (2) Prayer, which sustains daily practice; (3) 
Fasting; (4) the Welfare Tax which redistributes wealth within 
society; and finally (5) the Pilgrimage to Makka, when we have the 
means to do so, and not leave our families in want. These practices are 
summed up in the great hymn to Light in the chapter of that same 
name; note the eloquence of the Qur'àn which has convinced millions 
of Muslims through fourteen glorious centuries: 

God is the Light of Heaven and Earth! ] 
His light may be compared to a niche in which there is a lamp; the 
lamp is in a glass; the glass is just as if it were a glittering star kindled 
from a blessed olive tree (which is) neither Eastern nor Western, 
whose oil will almost glow though fire has never touched it. Light 
upon light, God guides anyone He wishes to His light. 
God sets up parables for mankind; 
God is Aware of everything! 
There are houses God has permitted to be built where His name is 
mentioned; in them He is glorified morning and evening by men 
whom neither business nor trading distract from remembering 
God, keeping up prayer, and paying the welfare tax. They feara day 
when their hearts and eyesight will feel overcome unless God 
rewards them for the finest things they may have done, and gives 
_ them even more out of His bounty. 
God provides for anyone He wishes without any reckoning! Those 
who disbelieve (will find) their deeds are like a mirage on a desert: 
the thirsty man will reckon it is water till as he comes up to it, he 
finds it is nothing. Yet he finds God (stands) beside him and he must 
render Him his.account; God is Prompt in reckoning! 

Jena RT ee pe ag Se ee ae ce 


Or like darkness on the unfathomed sea; 
one wave covers up another wave over which (hang) clouds; 
layers of darkness, one above the other! 
_ When he stretches out his hand he cai scarcely see it. 
Anyone to whom God docs not grant light will have no light! 
(al-Qur'àn, 24: 35-40). 

Thus Islam sets up its value system plainly concerning our necessity 
to think clearly about the Deity, and to worship Him sincerely. Only 
after we accomplish this, and establish His purc worship, do we 
consider the other sins or crimes which might be committed against 
society or our fellow men, such as murder, theft, lying, slander, 
' adultery, etc. Of the big three disbeliefs, association and arrogation are 
much more serious, since they strike directly at basic belief and one's 
clear vision of God Alone. 


Thus we are faced with social responsibility. Everyane has obligations 
to his own family, and we also have them towards society. Individual 
responsibility here becomes clear, since the commanding presence of 
God Alone makes each one of us acutely awarc of his duty throughout 
the world. The welfare tax redistributes wealth among the poor and 
needy so that society can function in a just manner. Muhammad 
(peace be upon him) was an orphan, and so he knew from his 
childhood how necessary some form of public charity was, and is. 
Parenthood is a serious obligation and must be assumed ina 
responsible manner too. Sections on moral behaviour are traced out in 
like manner. Good manners in both private and'public are likewise 
considered to be important. However no duty is overwhelming: ‘God 
only assigns a soul something it can cope with; it is credited with 
whatever it has carned, while it is debited with whatever it has brought 
upon itself.’ (al-Qur’an, 2: 286). What one might call our Major 

Commandments or our responsibilities are well set forth: 

SAY: ‘Come close, I will list what your Lord has forbidden you: 

I Do not associate anything with Him: 

II And (show) kindness towards both (your) parents. 

III Do not kill your children because of poverty; We shall provide 
for you as well as for them. 

. IV Donot indulge in shocking acts which you may practise openly 

or keep secret. 


V . Donotkill any person whom God has forbidden except through 
(due process of) law. He has instructed you with this so that you 
may use your reason. 

VI Do not approach an orphan's estate before he comes of age 
except toimproveit. _ 

VII Give full measure and weight in all fairness. We do not assign 
any person to do more than he can cope with. 

VIII Whenever you speak, be just even though it concerns a close 

IX Fulfil God's agreement. Thus has He instructed you so that y» 
may bear it in mind. 

X This is My Straight Road, so follow it and do not follow paths 
which will separate you from: His path. Thus has He instructed 
you so that you may heed. 

(al-Qur'àn, 6: 151-153). 

Economic life must likewise be taken care of in an ethical fashion, 
especially matters like usury or taking interest, which has always led to 
abuse. The law and the state must thus be able to function on a basis of 
justice for everyone. The ancient nation of Thamüd was warned that 
even a thirsty camel has its drinking rights (al-Qur’an, 54: 23-30). Each 
nation is responsible for what it does (al-Qur'àn, 2: 134); the matter of 
collective responsibility is stated in the verse: ‘God is no one toalterany 
favour He has granted any folk until they alter what they themselves 
have.’ (al-Qur’an, 8: 53 & 13: 11). The principle of collective defence 
has been bewildering to those people who have attacked an Islamic 
community: Islam does not preach the idealistic doctrine of the Other 
Check, but instead prefers self-defence tempered with compassion and 
an attempt at reconciliation, as we learn in the following passage: 

Who is finer in speech than someone who appeals to God, acts 
honourably and says: ‘Iam a Muslim.’? 

A good deed and an evil deed are not alike: repay (evil) with 
something that is finer, and notice how someone who is separated 
from you by enmity will become a bosom friend! 

Yet only those who discipline themselves will attain it; only the 
very luckiest will achieve it! 

Nevertheless if some impulse from Satan should prompt you, 
seck refuge with God: He is the Alert, Aware! (al-Qur'àn, 41: 


On an individual level, responsible action is encouraged: positive 
behaviour is preferred over negative or destructive conduct; we are 
promised: ‘Anyone who comes with a fine deed will have ten more like 
it, while anyone who comes with an evil deed will only be rewarded 
with its like; they will not be harmed.’ (al-Qur’an, 6: 161). Thus we are 
encouraged to be constructive in our conduct; with our close relatives 
first of all, with women, children and especially orphans, and with the 
poor and feebleminded, and the wayfarer, all of whom need care and 
compassion. The hospitality of Muslim countries has become 
proverbial: ‘They offer food to the needy, the orphan and the captive 
out of love for Him: “We are only feeding you for God's sake. We want 
no reward from you nor any thanks." ' (al-Qur'àn, 76: 8-9). 

Much of this attitude was worked out in its details by following the 

i example of Prophetic practice or Sunnah as it is called in Arabic. The 

science of Hadith or ‘Traditions’ was established for this purpose, and 
jts rigorous application is one of the glories of historical method which 

' was developed in a painstaking fashion by Muslim scholars aiming at 

ascertaining the truth of past events and statements. Through all of 
this the personality of the Prophet can be seen working with the intense 
sincerity which forms the basis for our Hadith or Islamic traditions. 

Ours is a proud tradition which has bound the middle belt of 
countries that stretch from Morocco through Africa and southern Asia 
into Indonesia together into a cultural whole. Despite the inroads of 
the West, the Islamic world is once more arising to assert itself as the 
‘Middling Community’ on the present world scene. Its ethics and its 
expression in art and society have given it a dignity which even the 
French were unable to destroy in North Africa, although the Spanish 
did this in Granada and Valencia. Here however is the message which 
the religion of Islam brings to the present century as the Western world 
gropes for its values, and seeks once more for what man should worship 
or give worth to. Islam steps forward with clear values to guide us to 
renewed social responsibility. 

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The Islamic Concept of Worship’ 

Mustafa Ahmad al-Zarqà 

_ WORSHIP, according to Islam, is a means for the purification of 
man’s soul and his practical life. 

The basis of ‘tbadah (worship) is the fact that human beings are 
creatures and thus bond-servants of God, their Creator and their Lord, 
to Whom they are destined to return. Thus Man’s turning towards 
God, in intimate communion, reverence, and in the spirit of devotion 
and humble submission, is termed ‘%badah. 

Worship is an indispensable part of all religions, including the 
idolatrous ones. It is motivated, however, in each religion by different 
objectives, assumes different forms and is performed under a different 
set of rules. 

In some religions worship is a means to develop in man the attitude 
of asceticism and isolation from life. In these religions it seeks to 
develop a mentality which anathematizes the enjoyment of the 
plcasures of this world. 

Then, there are other religions which consecrate certain places for 
the sake of worship and prohibit its performance at any other place. 
There arc also religions which are of the view that worship can be 
performed only under the leadership of a particular class of people — 
the ordained priests. People may, therefore, perform worship under 
the leadership of priests and only at the places consecrated for it. Thus 
the nature as well as the forms of worship differ from one religion to the 

* This article was originally published in a/- Muslimün, Beirut. Translated from 
Arabic by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari. 


As for Islam, its conception of worship is related to its fundamental 

view that the true foundations of a good life are soundness of belief and 
thinking, purity of soul, and righteousness of action. 

Through belief in the unity of God, Who is invested with all the 
attributes of'perfection, Islam seeks to purge human intellect of the 
filth of idolatry and superstitious fancies. In fact, polytheism and 
idolatry which are opposed by Islam degrade man to a level which is 
incompatible with his dignity. Islam fights against idolatry and 
polytheism in whichever forms and to whatever extent they might be 
found. In its concern to eradicate idolatry Islam takes notice even of 
the imperceptible forms of idolatry. It takes notice even of those beliefs 
and practices which do not appear to their adherents as tainted with 
idolatry. One of the manifestations of this concern is that Islam does 
not permit the performance of ritual prayer (salat) in front of a tomb, 
nor does it permit man to swear in the name of anyone except God. All 
this is owing to the uncompromising hostility of Islam to idolatry 
When Caliph ‘Umar saw that people had begun to sanctify the tree 
beneath which the Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon 
him) had.pledged to lay down tlieir lives in the way of God on the 
occasion of Hudaybiyah, he feared that its sanctification might 
corrupt the beliefs of the people. He, therefore, had it cut down. By 
destroying everything which might blur the distinction between the 
creature and the Creator, Islam brought man out of the darkness of 
superstition and ignorance to the full daylight of realities. 

Coming back to *worship' in Islam, it serves as a means to purge 
man's soul and his practical life of sin and wickedness. It has been so 
regulated as to suffice for the purpose of this purification, provided it is 
performed in earnest and if sufficient cere is taken to preserve its true 


The characteristic features of worship as propounded by Islam may be 
stated as the following: 
(a) Freedom from Intermediaries. 

First of all, Islam has liberated ‘worship’ from the bondage of 
intermediaries between man and his Creator. Islam seeks to create a 
direct link between man and his Lord, thus rendering the intercession 
of intermediaries unnecessary. 

Religious scholars in Islam, it may be pointed out, are neither 
intermediaries between man and God nor are they considered to be 

Ma as gn a ec 


entitled to accept or reject acts of worship on behalf of God. Instead, 
they are equal to ordinary human beings in the sight of God. Rather, 
they have been burdened with the additional duty of imparting 
knowledge to those who lack knowledge. They will be deemed guilty if 
they hold it back from the seekers after knowledge. In other words, the 
Islamic Shari‘ah does not impose the domination of religious scholars: 
on the rest of the people. The function of these scholars is merely to 
guide people in the right direction. This is amply borne out by what 
Allah said to the Holy Prophet: 

*Remind them, for you are but a remembrancer; you are not at all 
a warder over them.’ (al-Qur’an, 88: 21-22). 

The Prophet (peace be on him) also addressed the following words 
to his own daughter Fatimah, which show that all human beings stand 
.on a footing of complete equality before God: 

*O Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad: 
I shall be of no help to you before Allah.’ 

(b) Not Confined to Specific Places. 

Secondly, Islam has not only liberated man's 'ibadah from the 
bondage of intermediaries; it has also liberated it from confinement to 
specific places. Islam regards every place — whether it isone's dwelling 
place, the back of an animal, the board of a vessel on the surface of the 
sea, or a mosque specifically built for worship — as pure enough for the 
performance of worship. Wherever a man might be, he can turn 
towards his Lord and enter into communion with Him. The Holy 
Prophet has expressed this idea beautifully: 

"The (whole of the) earth has been 

rendered for me a mosque: pure and clean.’ 

(c) All- Embracing View. 

Thirdly, Islam has also considerably widened the scope of worship. 
In Islam, worship is not confined to specified prayers and litanies 
which are to be performed on particular occasions. Rather, Islam 
considers every virtuous action which has been sincerely performed 
and with the view to carry out the commandments of God and in order 
to seek His Pleasure, an act of worship for which man will be rewarded. 
The fact is that even eating, drinking, sleeping and enjoyment of 
innocent recreation, even those worldly actions which satisfy man's 
physical needs and even yield sensuous pleasures, become acts of 


worship provided they are performed with true religious motives. Yes, - 

even those acts become acts of worship if the intention underlying 
them is to comply with the will of God: that is, if one tries to Satisfy 
one’s needs within legitimate means so as to keep oneself in check 
against indulging in things which are prohibited. It is also an act of 
worship to try to strengthen one’s body by providing it with its due of 
nourishment and sleep; by making it undertake exertion as well as 
giving it rest and recreation so as to enable it to shoulder the 
responsibilities which have been placed on man by God. In fact, if one 
does all that with the above-mentioned intention, one’s action would 
be in harmony with the following saying of the Holy Prophet (peace be 
upon him): ‘A believer who is possessed of strength is better and dearer 
to God than a believer who is weak.’ In short, it is simply by 
purification of motives that the actions which are part of worldly life 
become acts of devotion and worship. 

Thus, it is possible that a man should advance spiritually even while 
he is fully enjoying the pleasures of worldly life. The reason is that 
during all this enjoyment his heart will be in communion with God by 
virtue of the purity of his intentions, and owing to his having yoked 
himself completely to the service of God. It will enable him to remain 
perpetually in the state of submission, obedience and devotion to God 
— even during his working pursuits — and this is the very essence of 
worship. E | 

For Islam, unlike other religions, does not anathematize 
gratification of man's instinctive bodily appetites. 

Islam does not even consider abstention from the satisfaction of 
these desires to be in any way an act of greater piety and virtue than 
satisfying them. Islam wants man to enjoy the pleasures and good 
things of life provided he does not transgress the limits of legitimacy or 
the rights of others, nor trample upon moral excellence, nor injure the 
larger interests of society. 

There is a profound wisdom and an important reason for this 
extension of the scope of worship. The reason is that Islam wants man's 
heart to remain in perpetual communion with his Lord. Islam also 
wants that man should observe ceaseless vigilance over his desires so 
that his life may become a source of his welfare in the life to come as the 
Qur'àn says: ‘Seek the abode of the hereafter in that which Allah has 
given to you and neglect not your portion of the world.’ (al-Qur'àn, 28: 
77). Now, whena person knows that even his enjoyments and pleasures 
can become acts of worship merely by virtue of purity of intention and 


AU. B. Ll. A 14 |S ab. 


motive, it becomes easy for him to render obedience to God 
continually and to direct all his attention in seeking Divine pleasure. 
For he knows well that this devotion to God does not necessarily mean 
abandonment of worldly life, and misery and wretchedness. 

What does good intention lead to? It will prevent man from 
forgetting God because of excessive self-indulgence. The Holy Prophet 
has said that (even) when a person affectionately puts a piece of food in 
the mouth of his wife in order to strengthen bonds of matrimonial love, 
he is rewarded for it. This is understandable for he is trying to fulfil the 
purpose of living together with love and affection, the purpose which, 
as the Qur'àn says is the raison d'etre of family life. 

‘And of His signs is this: He created for you your partners that you 
might find rest in them and He ordained between you love and 
mercy.’ (al-Qur'àn, 30: 21). 


It is because of this basis that Muslim jurists and scholars have 
proclaimed that good intention changes acts of habit ( adaA) into acts 
of worship (‘tbadah). Good intention creates a world of difference in 
human life. It is owing to the absence of purity of intention that there 
are people who eat and drink and satisfy their animal desires and while 
so doing they simply live on the same plane as the animáls do. The 
reason for this is that their actions are actuated by no other motive 
than the gratification of animal desires. On the contrary there are also 
people who are, apparently, similar to the aforementioned people in so 
far as they also satisfy their desires and enjoy the pleasures of life. 
Nevertheless, thanks to the noble intention which motivates their 
actions, even their physical self-fulfilment becomes an act of worship 
for which they merit reward. The reason is that the motive behind all 
their actions is to live in compliance with the Will of God. Their 
sublimity of motive becomes manifest in their conduct in day-to-day 
life in so far as it reflects the fact that they distinguish between good 
and evil. 

On the contrary, those whose lives are shorn of good intentions are 
liable to be overwhelmed by their lusts and are likely to slide into a life 
of sin and moral decadence. On the contrary, the purity of intention 
and high thinking are likely, with regard to people of the second 
category, to stand in the way of their slipping into degradation. And 
thanks to the positive attitude of Islam towards life, all this is ensured 


without depriving man of a wholesome enjoyment of life. The real 
basis of this difference lies in the fact that while the one is always 
. mindful of God and remembers Him, the other is altogether negligent. 
It is this that makes the former a pious, worshipful being, and the latter 
a heedless, self-indulgent animal. It is for the people of this kind that 
the Holy Qur'àn has said: ‘. .. Those who disbelieve, take their 
comfort in this life and eat even as the cattle eat, and the Fire is their 
habitation.’ (al-Qur’an, 47: 12). 

. Then, what a great loss indeed do people suffer hy not rectifying 
their orientation of life and purifying their intentions. For it is this 
alone which transforms even their pursuits of pleasure and enjoyment 
into acts of worship. What a tragedy that people spoil the prospects of 
their eternal life although they could have been attained so easily, 
without necessarily losing their share in this world. 

This is the Islamic philosophy of worship. Without saying ‘no’ toany 
of his legitimate physical needs and desires, Islam seeks to elevate 
humanity toa place which befits its dignity and status. 


The wide jurisdiction of worship — i.e. its incorporation of all acts 
which are performed with the intention of complying with the Will of 
God, including fulfilment of legitimate pleasures, is sometimes utilized 
asa pretext to support the erroneous view that the obligatory rituals of 
worship such as prayers, fasting, zakat and pilgrimage can be dis- 
pensed with; or that they are not very important. The truth, how- 
ever, is quite contrary to this. In Islam, they are the chief means for 
strengthening man's attachment with God. Thus absolutely 
misconceived is the view of those who are given to laxity in religious 
matters with regard to the obligatory acts of worship, and imagine that 
true faith does not consist of salat (prayers) and sawm (fasting); that the 
basis of true faith is merely purity of heart, goodness of intention and 
soundness of conduct. This constitutes misrepresentation of Islamic 
teachings. | 
So fàr as the intention to live a life of righteousness is concerned, it 
does not lend itself to external observation. Hence the intention to do 
good alone does not mark off the true men of faith from the rest. 
Religion, after all, has an external aspect in the same way as it has an 
internal aspect. 
This attitude of deliberate disregard of ritual obligations is 
destructive of the very foundations of religion. For, were that 

Lame le eas E 


viewpoint to be adopted, everyone, even those who are in fact opposed 
to religion, could claim to be the devoutest of all worshippers! The 
prayers and all other prescribed forms of worship for that matter, serve 
to distinguish the ones who do really have faith and wish sincerely to 
serve God from those who are content with lip-service. So important 
indeed is prayer that the Prophet has said: ‘Sa/at (prayer) is the pillar of 
the Islamic religion and whosoever abandons it, demolishes the very 
pillar of religion.’ 


The real purpose of Islam in declaring that ‘ibadah embraces the total 
life of man is to make religious faith play a practical and effective role 
in reforming human life, in developing in man an attitude of dignified 
patience and fortitude in the face of hardships and difficulties and in 
creating in him the urge to strive for the prevalence of good and 

, * extirpation of evil. 

All this makes it amply evident that Islam, the standard-bearer of 
the above-stated concepts and ideals, is opposed to those defeatist and 
isolationist philosophies which scholars have termed as asceticism. 
This is that erroneous kind of asceticism which is based on 
world-renunciation, on resignation from the resources of life, on 
withdrawal from the life of action and struggle, on sheer stagnation 
and decadence. These things have nothing to do with Islam. Rather, 
they are the symbols of defeatism and escape from the struggle of life. 
For life requires strength, material resources and active habits. The 
role of Islam in the struggle of life is a positive one. It is through this 
attitude that Islam ensures the channelization of man’s powers and 
resources in such a manner as to lead eventually to general good. The 
Islamic system of worship is a means to ensure this soundness of 
orientation. UE 

An event may be narrated here to illustrate the Islamic attitude to 
the question under discussion, and to disabuse minds of wrong notions 
of spiritual life. It is reported that ‘A’ishah, the mother of the faithful, 
once saw a person walking with his body stooped down and his back 
bent with weakness, appearing as if he were not fully alive, attracting 
thereby the glances of those around him. She inquired about him and 
was informed that he was a saintly person. ‘A’ishah denounced this 
kind of saintliness and said: ‘ ‘Umar son of Khattab, was the saintliest 
of people. But when he said something, he made himself heard; when 
he walked, he walked fast; and when he beat, his beating caused pain.’ 



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Islamic Approach to Social 
by Syed Qutb 

WE cannot comprehend the nature of social justice in Islam until we 
+ have first studied the Islamic concept of Divinity, the universe, life and 
humanity. For, social justice is only a branch of that great principle on 
which all Islamic teachings are based. 

Now the faith of Islam which undertakes the organization of the 
whole of human life does not treat the different aspects of that life at 
random, nor does it consider them as unrelated parts. That is to say 
Islam has a perfect, comprehensive concept of Divinity, of the uni- 
verse, of life and humanity — a concept on which are based all the 
myriad details; and from which are drawn the basis of its laws and 
juridical thought, its modes of worship and patterns for social beha- 
viour. All these matters are based on this fundamental and all- 
embracing concept, so that for every situation we need not falter in the 
darkness to seek its solution, nor is every problem required to be dealt 
with in isolation from all other problems. The scheme of life cnvisaged 
by Islam isa complete whole that revolves round the central concept of 
Divinity, i.e. Tawhid. 

A knowledge of this universal Islamic concept will enable the stu- 
dent to understand the principles and laws of Islam and to relate the 
* This article is taken from the author's al-‘Adalah al-ijtima ‘yah fi 'l-Islam 
(seventh edition). This is a new translation by Mi'ràj Muhammad, published 
in The Criterion, vol. 3, No. 4, July-August, 1968. The translator has not 
modified the style of the original which represents one of the finest literary 
stylesof the Arabic language. Some of the Western readers may not be familiar 
with this style. We would request them to concentrate more on the substance 
of the argument. Editor. 


particulars to the fundamental rules, This will also help him study its 
icatures and directions with interest and with depth of perception. He 
will thus be able to see that this concept is both coherent and compre- 
nensive, and that it is a whole which cannot be divided. He will also 
observe that its application to human life cannot bear fruit unless it is 
applied as a whole and not in pieces. 

So the best method of studying Islam is to start by understanding its 
ail-embracing concept of Divinity, the universe, life and humanity 
zefore going on to study its views on politics or economics or the rela- 
iionship between society and man. For such questions as these are in 
‘act based on that comprehensive concept and they cannot be truly 
and deeply understood except in its light. 

Now the true Islamic concept is not to be sought in Ibn Sina (Avi- 
-enna)or Ibn Rushd (Averroes) or al-Farabi or the like who are known 
«s ‘the philosophers of Islam’; for their philosophy is no more than a 
:nadow of the Greek philosophy which is in its essence foreign to the 

pirit of Islam. The faith of Islam has its own native, perfect concept 
sich is to be sought in its own authentic sources: The Qur'àn and the 
 raditions, and in the life of its Prophet (upon whom be the blessings 
'd the peace of God). These sources are sufficient for every student 
ho wants to obtain a deep understanding of the universal Islamic 
mcept on which are based all the teachings and the laws of Islam. 


.:m as a faith has dealt with the nature of the relation between the 
."vaior and His creation, the nature of man's relation to the universe 
«ort to life in general in this world, and of man's relation to his own self. 
ii has also discussed the nature of the relationship of individual to 
society and to state, and of the relation between different human 
societies, and of the relation between one nation and another. Islam 
has based all these relations on the one universal, comprehensive 
concept which is always kept in view in the formulation of all the 
particular rules. | 

The detailed study of this concept is beyond the scope of this 
treatise; it rather forms the subject of another work of the author, ‘The 
Characteristics of the Islamic Concept and its Fundamentals! So here 
we shall merely indicate the main outlines of the general scheme, in 
order to facilitate our study of social justice in Jslam. 

1. See Muhammad Qutb.Khasa’ is al- Tasawwur al-Islami wa Muqawwimatuh, 
Cairo, 1965. 

SS, ee ee 


Humanity remained for long ages devoid of a comprehensive con- 

cept of the Creator and His creation, or of the universe, life and man- 

Whenever a messenger brought a certain form (of religion) from 
God to mankind a few of them accepted it, and a great majority of 
them turned away from it. Then humanity as a whole abandoned the 
true religion and returned to misleading, distorted concepts of Ignor- 
ance. Then came Islam with the most perfect concept and the most 
comprehensive Shari'ah (legal system) both of which were connected 
with each other. Islam established a realistic way of life in which the 
concept and the Shari ah both are represented in a practical form. 

The relation between the Creator and His creation (i.e. the universe, 
life and mankind) is to be found in the power of the Word, the Active 
Will from which all creation came: 

‘His command, when He desires a thing, is to say to it “Be”, and it 

is.’ (al-Qur'àn, 36: 82). 

So there is no intermediary in the form of power or matter between 
the Creator and His creation. It is from His absolute will that all 
existing things directly proceed; and it is by that absolute Will that all 
things are sustained, organized and conducted: 

‘He conducts the affairs, He distinguishes the signs . . .' (al- 
Qur'àn, 13: 2). | 

‘It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor does the night 
outstrip the day. They float each in an orbit.’ (al-Qur’an, 36: 40). 

‘Blessed be He in whose hand is the Kingdom, and He is powerful . 

over everything.’ (al-Qur’an, 67: 1). 

So all creation, issuing as it does from one absolute Will, forms a 
perfect unity in which each individual part is in harmonious order 
. with the remainder. And thus, too, every form of existence is based on a 
wisdom which agrees with this perfect order: 

*., . And He created everything, then He ordained for it a 
measure.’ (al-Qur'àn, 25: 2). 

‘Surely We have created everything in measure.’ (al-Qur’an, 54: 
49). : 

*.. , Who created seven heavens in harmony. You do not see in 
the creation of the Beneficient any incongruity. Return your gaze; 
do you see any rifts? Then return your gaze again, and again your 


gaze will come back to you dazzled, aweary.' (al-Qur’an, 67: 34). 

‘God is He who sends the winds, that stir up clouds, and He 
spreads them in tbe sky how He will, and shatters them; then you 
see the rain coming forth from them, and when He makes it to fall 
on whomsoever of His servants He will, lo, they rejoice . , .' (al- 
Qur'àn, 30: 48). 

All these Qur’anic verses make it obvious that every existing being is 
based on a wisdom which is in perfect harmony with the Purpose of 
creation; and that the Will from which all creation first proceeds, and 

by which it is then continually sustained and directed, makés every 
existing being harmonious with and universally advantageous to all 
creation. , 

Having directly proceeded from a single, absolute, perfect Will, all 
creation is a unity which is perfect in all its parts, and harmonious in its 
nature, its organization and its directions. Because of these characte- 
ristics the whole creation is suitable for, helpful in, and conducive to, 
the existence of life in general, and to the existence of man, the highest 
form of life, in particular. So the universe cannot be hostile to life, or to 
man: nor can 'Nature' be held to be antagonistic to man, opposed to 
him, or striving against him. Being a creation of God, she is rather a 
friend whose aims are one with those of life and mankind. Nor is ita 
function of living beings to contend with N ature, for they have grown 
up in her bosom, and she and they together form a part of the universe 
which has proceeded from the single Will. Thus, basically man lives in 
a purely friendly environment; among the powers of a friendly uni- 
verse. So God, when He created the earth, 'sct therein firm mountains 
over it, and He blessed it, and He ordained therein its diverse susten- 
ance.’ * ‘And He cast on the earth firm mountains, that it shake not 
with you . . ° ‘And the earth, He has set it down for all beings.’ * ‘It is 
He who made the earth submissive to you, so walk in its tracts, and eat 
of His provision.’ *It is He who created for you all that is in the earth.' 
? Moreover, the heaven with its stars is a part of the universe which is 
perfect with all its parts, and everything that is in the heaven ard in the 
carth is friendly, co-operative and harmonious with all the remaining 
parts. God says: 

2. al-Qur’an, 41: 10. 

3. ibid., 16: 15. 
4. ibid., 55: 10. 
9. ibid., 67: 15. 

6. ihid., 2: 29, 



‘Have We not made the earth a flat expanse and the mountains as 
pegs? And We have created you in pairs, and have appointed your 
sleep fora rest; and We have appointed the night fora garment, and 
have appointed the day for a livelihood. And We have built above 
you seven strong ones, and We have appointed a blazing lamp and 
have sent down out of the rain-clouds water cascading that We may 
bring forth thereby grain and vegetation, and gardens luxuriant.' 
(al-Qur’an, 78: 6-16). 

The creed of Islam has thus established that God, the Nourisher of 
man, has created all these forces as friends and helpers of man. In order 
to gain the friendship of these forces it is necessary for man to study 
them, to make himself acquainted with them, and to co-operate with 

‚them. If any of these forces harms man, it is because he has not 

approached it properly and is ignorant of the law that governs it. : 
The Creator has, however, not left living beings and men to the 
, friendly universe without giving them His direct attention and con- 
stant care, for His direct Will is constant throughout all the universe, 
constant, too, over its every individual existing being at all times. (God 

says: ) 

‘God holds the heavens and the earth, lest they remove; and if 
they were to remove there is not one that could hold them after 
him.’ (al-Qur’an, 35: 41). 

‘No creature is there crawling on the earth, but its provision rests 
on God; He knows its habitation and its repository.’ (al-Qur’an, 11: 

‘We indeed created man; and We know what his soul whispers 
within him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.’ 
(al-Qur’an, 50: 16). 

‘Your Lord has said, “Call upon Me and I will answer you.”’ 
(al we, 40: 60). 

. and slay not your children "m of poverty; We provide 
E you and for them . . .' (al-Qur’an, 6: 152). 

Now, since the unified universe has emanated from a single Will; 
because man is himself a part of the Universe, co-operative with and 
harmonious to all the other parts; and because individuals are as 
atoms, co-operative with and harmonious to the world; therefore all of 
these are bound to be co-operative with and harmonious to one 
another. Hence the Islamic concept that humanity is an essential 



unity; its parts separate only to join in, they vary from one another only : 

to create a harmony and they adopt different ways merely to help one 
another in the end. For thus and only thus can man be able to co- 
operate with the unified creation: *O mankind, We have created you 
male and female, and have made you races and tribes, that you may 
know one another.’ (al-Qur’an, 49: 13). 

There càn be no sound system in human life until this co-operation 
and harmony have taken place in the manner that God has ordained. 
Its realization is necessary for the welfare of all humanity, so that 
forceful efforts may be made to bring back those who have deviated 
from the right path: ‘The only reward of those who wage war against 
God and His Messenger, and strive after corruption in the land, is that 
they shall be killed, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall alterna- 
tely be cut off, or they shall be banished from the land." ‘If two parties 
of the Believers fight, make peace between them; then, if one of them 
oppresses the other, fight the oppressing onc till it returns to God’s 
commandment. Ifit returns, make peace between them equitably, and 
be just." ‘And if God had not repelled some men by others, the earth 
would have been corrupted.” » 

Accordingly, the fundamental thing is this co-operation, mutual 
understanding, acquaintance and harmony on the lines set by the 
Divine law, and whoever deviates from this principle must be brought 
back to it. For the Divine law is worthier to be followed than the desires 
of individuals and of societies. Such mutual responsibility among all is 
in keeping with the purpose of the unified univetse and the aims of its 

Now when we come to consider man asa race and as an individual, 
we fiwd him a perfect unity; man’s faculties which are so diverse in 
appearance are essentially one in purpose. In this respect man is com- 
parable to the universe in its entirety, since its power too is a unity, 
though diverse in appearance. 

Man lived for ages without arriving at any comprehensive concept 
of human and universal powers. He continued to differentiate between 
spiritual and material powers, he denied one of these in order to esta- 
blish the other, or he admitted the existence of both in a state of oppo- 
sition and antagonism. He based all his sciences on the presumption 

7, al-Qur'àn, 5: 33. 
8. Ibid, 48: 9. 
9. ibid., 2: 251. 



that there was a basic conflict between these two types of power, and 
that the superiority of one depended on belittling the other. He held 
that such superiority on the one side and inferiority on the other was 
inevitable, because in his opinion such conflict was inherent in the 
nature of the universe and man. 

Christianity — the form which the Church and the Holy Synods 
gave to it — isone of the clearest examples of this conflict in man. And 
in this respect it some extent with Hinduism and Buddhism, 
though the latter two religions differ from each other on a number of 
essentials. For, according to them, the salvation of the soul is to be 
gained by humiliating the body, by tormenting it, or even by annihi- 

lating it, or at the least by neglecting it and abstaining from its 

In the distorted (creed of) Christianity and in other similar faiths 
this is the cardinal principle on which are based their doctrines on life 

, and its enjoyment, on the duties of the individual on the one hand and 

of society on the other, and on man and the different powers and 
abilities which exist in his nature. 

Thus the conflict between the two types of power continued, and. 

man remained torn by it. He continued to be perplexed, and failed to 
arrive at a decision. Then came Islam which brought with it a perfect, 
coherent theory in which there was neither any crookedness nor any 
confusion, neither any contradiction nor any conflict. Islam came to 
unify all powers and abilities, to fuse together spiritual aspirations and 
bodily desires, and to harmonize their directions, and thus to create a 
comprehensive unity in the universe, life and man. Its aim was to unite 
earth and Heaven in the system of this world, to join the present world 
and the Hereafter in the doctrines of the faith; to link spirit and body in 
the person of man; to correlate worship and work in the system of life. 
It sought to bring all these into one path — the path which led to God. 
It aimed at subjecting all these to one authority — the authority of 
God. | 

The universe is, therefore, a unity, composed of things which are 
visible and can be perceived, and of things which are invisible and 
imperceptible. Life is, likewise, a unity, consisting of material abilities 
and spiritual powers which can never be separated from each other as 
this will result in disorder and confusion. Similarly man is a unity 
composed of spiritual aspirations soaring towards Heaven, and of 

(material) desires which cling to the earth. No separation can be made - 

between these two aspects of human nature, because there is no disu- 


nity between Heaven and earth, or between things perceptible and 
things imperceptible in the universe, and because in this religion (of 
Islam) there is no isolation between this world and that to come, or 
between daily life and worship, or between the creed and the law. 

Beyond all this, there does exist one eternal, everlasting power, 
which has no beginning that can be known and no end that can be 
attributed to it. This power ultimately bears sway over the Whole 
universe, life and mankind. It is the power of God. 

As for the mortal human individual, he is capable of having himself 
connected with this eternal, everlasting Power which guides him in 
life, and from which he seeks help in his misfortunes. He can get in 
touch with this power when he is abroad in the world, busy in earning 
his livelihood, just as he comes in contact with it when he is in the 
mosque at prayer. 

Similarly, the human individual can strive for the Hereafter, not 
only when he fasts and denies himself all kinds of pleasurable things, 
but also when he breaks his fast and enjoys all the good things of life — 
so long as he does either of these two things with his heart firmly 
directed towards God. E 

And thus the life of this world, with all its prayer and its work, all its 
enjoyments and its deprivations, is the only way to the next world, with 
its Heaven and its Hell, its punishment and its reward. 

This is the true unity between various parts of the universe and its 
powers, between all the diverse potentialities of life, between man and 
his soul, between his actualities and his dreams. This is the unity which 
 canestablish a lasting harmony between the universe and life, between 
life and living beings, between society and the individuals, between 
man’s spiritual aspirations and his bodily desires, and finally between 
the world and the faith, between the temporal and the spiritual. 

This harmony is not established at the expense of the physical side of 
man, nor yet at the expense of the spiritual side, rather it gives freedom 
of action to both of them in order to unify their activities and direct 
them towards welfare, goodness and growth. Similarly this harmony is 
not established at the expense of the individual, or of society; nor to the 
advantage of one group and to the disadvantage of the other, nor in 
favour of one people over another. But each of these is held to have its 
own rights and its own responsibilities according to the principle of 
justice and equality. For the individual and society, the party and the 
community, the people and all other peoples — all are bound by one 
law which has but one aim: namely, that the freedom of action should 

1$ SEE QOS (SD roe be 


be given to both the individual and society without any mutual 
conflict; and that the people, one and all, should work together for the 
growth and progress of human life, and for its orientation towards the 
Creator of life. 

Islam, then, is a faith of the unity of all the powers of the universe; 
and beyond doubt it is a faith which stands for unity — the unity of 
God, the unity of all religions in the Divine Faith, and the unity of all 
the prophets in their preaching of this onc Faith since the dawn of 
time: ‘Surely this community of yours is one community, in I am 
your Lord; so serve Me.”"' ! 

So also Islam stands for the unity of worship and social intercourse, 
of creed and law, of spiritual and material realities, of economic and 
spiritual values, of the present world and the world to come, of earth 
and Heaven. On this all-embracing unity are based all the laws and 
duties prescribed in Islam, all its instructions and restrictions, as well as 
its precepts for administering political and financial matters, and its 
teachings of the distribution of profits and liabilities, and on rights and 
responsibilities. In short, this fundamental principle of unity embraces 
all the details and particular rules of life. 

When we have studied this comprehensiveness which is inherent in 
the nature of the Islamic theory of Divinity, the universe, life and 
humanity, we can easily understand the fundamental features and 
outlines of social justice in Islam. 


For one thing, it isa comprehensive human justice embracing all sides 
and basic factors of human life. It is not merely a limited economic 
justice. It, therefore, deals with all aspects of life and its activities, even 
as it is concerned with the mind and attitude, with heart and con- 
science. The values with which this justice deals are not only economic 
values, nor are they merely material values in general; rather they area 
mixture of these values and moral and spiritual values together. 

The distorted version of Christianity looks at man only from the 
stand-point of his spiritual aspirations, and attempts to crush his 
bodily desires in order to give the reins to his aspirations. On the other 
hand, Communism looks at man only from the stand-point of his 

10. See the chapter on a/-qissah fi'l-Qur'an (History in the Qur'àn) in the 
al- Taswir al-Fanni fi'l- Qur'an (Literary Artistry of the Qur'àn) by the present 
writer (Cairo, Dar al-Ma‘arif, n.d., pp. 111-164). 

11. al-Qur’an, 21: 92). 


material needs; it looks not only at humanity — but also at the whole 

creation and the universe — from a purely material point of view. But 
Islam looks at man as forming a unity whose spiritual aspirations 
cannot be separated from his bodily desires, and whose spiritual needs 
cannot be divorced from his material needs. 1t looks at the universe and. 
at life with this all-embracing view which permits no separation or 
division. This is the point where the ways of Communism, Christianity 
and Islam diverge. This divergence is due to the fact that Islam is 
purely a divine religion, whereas in Christianity human distortions 
have crept in and Communism is purely a product of man's fantasy. 

Secondly, in the Islamic view, life consists of established, well- 
defined forms of mutual love and respect, co-operation and mutual 
responsibility between Muslims in particular, and between all human 
beings in general. The same view of life is held by Christianity, but 
there these forms are not based on codified, well-defined, explicit laws, 
nor on the realities and facts of life. On the other hand in the Commu- 
nist view, life is a continual strife and struggle between classes, a 
struggle which must end in one class overcoming the other; at which 
point the Communist dream is realized. This makes manifest that 
Christianity is the dream of an abstract world of ideas and imagina- 
tion, a dream which is to be realized only in the Kingdom of Heaven; 
and that Islam is the perpetual dream of humanity, embodied in a 
reality which exists on earth; and that Communism is hatred of man- 
kind harboured by a people. j 

These are, then, two main features — the absolute, just, and cohe- 
rent unity, and the general, mutual responsibility of individuals and 
societies — by which is marked the concept of social justice in Islam 
which takes into consideration the basic elements of human nature, 

and does not, at the same time, disregard human abilities. 

.— TheGlorious Qur'àn says of man that 'surely he is violent in his love 
for benefit:’'” his love for benefit for himself and for his belongings. It 
says, also, describing that greed which is in the nature of man that 
‘souls are prone to avarice," so it is always present in their minds. So 
also there occurs in the Qur'án a wonderfully artistic description of this 
remarkable human trait: ‘Say: “If you possessed the treasures of the 
Lord's mercy, yet would you hold them back for fear of expending; and 
man is ever niggardly.” ’'* On the other hand the Qur'àn affirms that 
12. al-Qur'àn, 100: 8. 
13. ibid., 4: 128. 
14. ibid., 17: 100. 

4... Bt Maa TRUM 


the mercy of God (is so vast that it) embraces all things." So by indi- 
cating the vastness of Divine mercy and that of human stinginess the 
Qur'àn shows the extent of avarice in the nature of man if he is left 
without discipline or instructions. 

Accordingly, when Islam comes to lay down its rules and laws, its 
exhortations and instructions, it does not disregard that natural love 
for self-interest, nor does it neglect that deep natural avarice; it rather 
cures this sordid selfishness and avarice by instructions and laws, and 
charges man only to his capacity. At the same time Islam does not 
ignore the needs and the welfare of society, nor does it overlook the 
high ideals of life both in individuals and society in every age and 
among different peoples. 

Islam affirms that, just as encroachments upon society by the cupi- 
dity and ambition of the individual are a kind of social oppression 
_which is inconsistent with justice, similarly encroachments upon the 

nature and ability of the individual by society are also a kind of inju- 
stice. It is an injustice, not to the individual alone, but to the society 
also. For the evil effects of suppressing the activity of the individual by 
crushing his (natural) trends and propensities do not only result in the 
deprivation of that one individual of his duc; but also results in pre- 
cluding the whole society from availing itself of his maximum abilities. 
When the social system vouches for the rights of the community in the 
efforts and abilities of the individual, and lays down curbs and limita- 
tions on the freedom, the desires, and the ambitions of the individual, 
it should not, therefore, ignore the right of the individual concerning 
the freedom of action within the limits which safeguard the welfare of 
the community and of the individual himself, and which prevent his 
actions from coming in conflict with the high objectives of life. As such 
life is a matter of co-operation and mutual responsibility according to 
Islam, and not a constant warfare to be lived in a spirit of struggle and 
hostility. Likewise, it stands for the freedom of individual and collec- 
tive abilities, and not for repression, deprivation and imprisonment. 
According to it, everything that is not legally forbidden is perfectly 
permissible; and a man is rewarded for his salutary deeds which he 
performed observing the boundaries set by the Divine law, ànd for 
seeking the pleasure of God alone, and which are conducive to the 
achievement of the high ideals of life that God approves of. __ 

This breadth of vision in the Islamic view of life, together with the 
fact that it goes beyond merely economic values to those other values 

15. ibid., 7: 156. 

— M ums € t ——À Áo t 


on which life depends — these things render the Islamic faith more 
capable of striking balance and equity in society, and of establishing 
justice in the whole of the human sphere. It also relieves Islam from the 
narrow interpretation of justice as understood by Communism. For 
justice, according to the Communist theory, is an equality in wages, in 
order to prevent economic disparity; but when this theory was faced 
with practical application, Communism found itself unable to esta- 
blish this mechanical, arbitrary equality. On the other hand, justice in 
Isiam is a human equality envisaging the adjustment of all values, of 
which the economic forms a part. To be precise, justice in Islam means 
equality in opportunity and freedom of talents which work within the 
limits that do not come into conflict with the high ideals of life. 

Since values, talents and resources are manifold and inter-blended, 
and it is only in the light of the varied context that justice can be 
established, Islam does not want to impose a compulsory economic 
equality in the narrow literal sense of the term. This kind of equality is 
against nature, and is opposed to the basic fact that individuals are 
endowed with differing talents. This type of equality arrests the deve- 
lopment of outstanding ability, and makes it equal to lesser ability; it 
prevents talented people from using their talents to their own advan- 
tage and to that of the community. Consequently, the community as 
well as entire humanity is deprived of the fruits of these talents. 

It is of no avail to stick to the fallacy that the natural endowments 
are equal. For we may distort this fact in respect of mental and spiritual 
endowments (though there is no possibility of distorting this fact when 
practical life takes its course), but we cannot falsify the fact that some 
individuals are born with different natural endowments of health, 
perfection and potentiality. In fact, there is no possibility of establish- . 
ing equality in respect of all abilities and endowments until a machine 
is not invented for casting them into one mould after the fashion of 
standardized products. | 

It is, therefore, foolish and useless to deny the existence of outstand- 
ing endowments of personality, intellect and spirit. This hardly needsa 
discussion. As such we must reckon with all these endowments, and to 
all of them we must give the opportunity to produce their maximum 
results. Then we should try to take from these resu!ts that which 
appears to be necessary for the welfare and benefit of society. On no 
account must we close the outlet for such endowments, ór discourage 
them by making them equal with regard to lesser abilities. In no res- 
pect should we shackle such gifts, or hinder them from free action, 


thereby frittering them away and depriving of their fruits the com- 
munity and the human race. 

Islam does, of course, recognize the principle of eat in oppor- 
tunity, and the principle of justice among all: It leaves the door open 
for achievement of pre-eminence through hard work. Then it esta- 
blishes in the Muslim society values other than the economic. (God 

‘Surely the noblest among you in the sight of God is the most 

gera of you.’ (al-Qur'àn, 49: 13). 

God raiscs up in rank those of you who believe and have been 

given knowledge.' (al-Qur'àn, 58: 11). 

‘Wealth and children are an ornament of life of the world; but the 
abiding things, the deeds of righteousness, are better in thy Lord's 

sight for reward, and better in hope.' (al-Qur'àn, 18: 46). 

From this it is apparent that there are values other than the merely 
economic on which Islam counts, and regards them as the real values. 
It is through these values that Islam aims at establishing balance in 
society despite the disparity in the financial resources of the indivi- 
duals which is due to the reasonable differences in their struggle and 
endowments, and is not a result of adopting the means and methods 
prohibited in Islam. 

Islam, then, does not prescribe a literal equality of wealth, because 
the acquisition of wealth depends on men's abilities, which are not 
uniform. Hence absolute justice demands that men's incomes and 
rewards should also vary, and that some have more than others — so 
long as human justice is upheld by the provision of equal opportunity 
for all. Thus status or upbringing, origin or race, or any kind of res- 
triction which stifles enterprise should not stand in the way of any 
individual. Justice must also be upheld by the inclusion of other real 
values in the reckoning, and by the freeing of the human mind com- 
pletely from the pressure of the purely economic values, and by the 
relegation of these to their true and reasonable place. Economic values 
must not be given an intrinsically high standing, such as they enjoy in 
those human societies which lack the perception of religious values, or 
which minimize their importance and assign supreme and funda- 
mental value to wealth alone. 

- Islam refuses to give this value to wealth. It disdains to consider life 
in terms of a mouthful of bread, carnal desires, or a handful of money. 
Yet at the same time it prescribes a competence for every individual, 

rss tt ttt ttt i Het M HM M Á1 MÀ HÀ MB — 


and at times more than a competence. It prefers to provide this com- 
petence by means of individual property and through such enterprises 
as are conducive to that kind of economic system which recognizes 
private ownership, in order to remove the fear of destitution on the one 
hand, and to eliminate the tyranny of the authority which appro- 
priates the sources of income on the other. At the same time Islam 
forbids that unbridled luxury which gives the reins to a scramble for 
lucre and carnal desires, and which results in creating gross disparity in 
the standards of living. Islam recognizes the claims of the poor upon 
the wealth of the rich, according to their needs, and to the same extent 
as is suitable for society; and thus guarantees its equivalence, balance 
and growth. As such Islam does not neglect any of the various aspects 
of life, material, intellectual, religious and worldly. It rather organizes 
them all, that they may be related together and thus furnish an all- 
embracing unity in which it will be difficult to neglect any one of its 
various harmonious, integral parts; and that this unity may harmonize 
with the unity of the great universe, and with that of life, and of all 

La Padi E mc P, e aA ee a 

MNS oc fa deat i 


Woman in Islam’ 

Gamal A. Badawi 

. THE status of women in society is neither a new issue nor is it a fully 

settled one. The position of Islam on this issuc has been among the 
subjects presented to the Western reader witb the least objectivity. 
This paper is intended to provide a brief and authentic exposition of 
what Islam stands for in this regard. The teachings of Islam are based 
essentially on the Qur'àn (God's revelation) and Hadith (elaborations 
by Prophet Muhammad). The Qur'án and Hadith, properly and un- 
biasedly understood, provide the basic source of authentication for 
any position or view which is attributed to Islam. 

The paper starts with a brief survey of the status of women in the 
pre-Islamic era. It then focuses on these major questions: 

What is the position of Islam regarding the status of woman in 
society? How similar or different is that position from ‘the spirit of the 
time’, which was dominant when Islam was revealed? How would this 
compare with the ‘rights’ which were finally gained by woman in 
recent decades? 

One major objective of this paper is to provide a fair evaluation of 
what Islam contributed towards the restoration of woman’s dignity 
and rights. In order to achieve this objective, it may be useful to review 
briefly how women were treated in general in previous civilizations 
and religions, especially those which preceded Islam (Pre-610 C.E.) l 
Part of the information provided here, however, describes that status 

* This chapter is taken from the author’s booklet published by the Muslim 
Students’ Association of the United States and Canada, Gary, Indiana, U.S.A. 
1. ‘C.E. throughout the paper stands for Christian Era (A.D.). 

i MM rt UÜn— nM tt CE MÀ 
— —— 


of woman as late as the nineteenth century, more than twelve centuries 
after Islam. 


Describing the status of a Hindu woman, an authority on the subject 

In India, subjection was a cardinal principle. Day and night must 
women be held by their protectors in a state of dependence, says 
Mani. The rule of inheritance was agnatic, that is descent traced 
through males to the exclusion of females. ° 

In Hindu scriptures, the description of a good wife is as follows: ‘a 
woman whose mind, speech and body are kept in subjection, acquires 
high renown in this world, and, in the next, the same abode with her 

In Athens, women were not better off than either the Indian or the 
Roman women. 

‘Athenian women were always minors, subject to some male — to 
their father, to their brother, or to some of their male kin. * 

Her consent in marriage was not gencrally thought to be necessary 
and ‘she was obliged to submit to the wishes of her parents, and receive 
from them her husband and her lord, even though he were stranger to 

A Roman wife was described by an historian as : ‘a babe, a minor, a 
ward, a person incapable of doing or acting anything according to her 
own individual taste, a person continually.under the tutelage and 
guardianship of her husband.’ ê m 

In the Encyclopaedia Britannica, we find a summary of the legal status 
of women in the Roman civilization: ' 

In Roman Law a woman was even in historic times completely 
dependent. If married she and her property passed into the power of 
her husband ... the wife was the purchased property of her hus- 
band and like a slave acquired only for his benefit. A woman could 

2. The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed., 1911, Vol. 28, p. 782. 

3. In Mace, David and Vera, Marriage Fast and West, Dolphin Books, Double- 
day and Co., Inc., N.Y., 1960. 

4. Alien, E.A., History of Civilization, Vol. 3, p. 444. 

5. Ibid., p. 443. 

6. Ibid., p. 550. 

7. The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th id. 1911, op. cit., Vol. 28, p. 782. 


not exercise any civil or public office . . . could not bea witness, . 
surety, tutor, or curator; she could not adopt or be adopted, or make 
will or contract. 

Among the Scandinavian races women were: 

under the perpetual tutelage, whether married or unmarried. As 
late as the Code of Christian V, at the end of the 17th Century, it 
was enacted that if a woman married without the consent of her 
tutor he might have, if he wished, administration and usufruct of 
her goods during her life." 

According to the English Common Law: 

...all real property which a wife held at the time of a marriage 
became a possession of her husband. He was entitled to the rent 
from the land and to any profit which might be made from operat- 
ing the estate during the joint life of the spouses. As time passed, the 

English courts devised means to forbid a husband's transferring real 
property without the consent of his wife, but he still rctained the 
right to manage it and to receive the moncy which it produced. As 
to a wife's personal property, the husband's power was complete. 
He had the right to spend it as he saw fit." 

Only by the late nineteenth century did the situation start to 
improve. ‘By a series of acts starting with the Married Women’s Pro- 
perty Act in 1870, amended in 1882 and 1887, married women 
achieved the right toown property and to enter contracts on a par with 
spinsters, widows, and divorcees.’ '° As late as the nineteenth century 
an authority in ancient law, Sir Henry Maine, wrote: ‘No society 
which preserves any tincture of Christian institutions is likely to restore 
to married women the personal liberty conferred on them by the 
Middle Roman Law.’ "' 

In his essay The Subjection of Women, John Stuart Mill wrote: 

We are continually told that civilization and Christianity have 
restored to the woman her just rights. Meanwhile the wife is the 
actual bondservant of her husband; no less so, as far as the legal 
obligation goes, than slaves commonly so called. M 

8. Ibid., p. 783. 
9. The Encyclopaedia Americana (International Edition), Vol. 29, p. 108. 
10. The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1968, Vol. 23, p. 624. 

11. Quoted in Mace, Marriage: East and West, op. cit., p. 81. 
12. Ibid., pp. 82-83. 


Before moving on to the Qur’anic decrees concerning the status of 
woman, a few Biblical decrees may shed more light on the subject, thus 
providing a better basis for an impartial evaluation. In the Mosaic 
Law, the wife was betrothed. Explaining this concept, the Encyclopaedia 
Biblica states: “To betroth a wife to oneself meant simply to acquire 
possession of her by payment of the purchase money; the betrothed is a 
girl for whom the purchase money has been paid.’ From the legal 
point of view, the consent of the girl was not necessary for the valida- 
tion of her marriage. “The girl’s consent is unnecessary and the need for 
it is nowhere suggested in the Law.' ^ 

As to the right of divorce, we read in the Encyclopaedia Biblica: ‘The 
woman being man’s property, his right to divorce her follows as a 
matter of course.’ ? The right to divorce was held only by man. ‘In the 
Mosaic Law divorce was a privilege of the husband only  . .'!5 

The position of the Christian Church until recent centuries seems to 
have been influenced by both the Mosaic Law and by the streams of 
thought that were dominant in its contemporary cultures. In their 
book, Marriage: East and West, David and Vera Mace wrote: 

Let no one suppose, cither, that our Christian heritage is free of 

such slighting judgements. It would be hard to find anywhere a 

collection of more degrading references to the female sex than the 

early Church Fathers provide. Lecky, the famous historian, speaks 
of ‘These fierce incentives which form so conspicuous and so gro- 
tesque a portion of the writing of the Fathers . . . woman was repre- 
sented as the door of hell, as the mother of all hunan ills. She should 
be ashamed at the very thought that she is a woman. She should live 
in continual penance on account of the curses she has brought upon 
the world. She should be ashamed of her dress, for it is the memorial 
of her fall. She should be especially ashamed of her beauty, for it is 
the most potent instrument of the devil.’ One of the most scathing of 
these attacks on woman is that of Tertullian: ‘Do you know that you 
are each an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this 
age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil’s gateway: 

13. Encyclopaedia Biblica, 1902, Vol. 3, p. 2942. 

14. Ibid., p. 2942. 

15. Ibid., p. 2947. 

16. The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1 th ed., op. cit., p. 782. It should be noted here 
that such interpretations by religious institutions do not necessarily con- 
form to what thc Muslim belicves to be thc original version of all revealed 

religions, which is believed to be essentially the same throughout history. 
17. D. and V. Mace, Marriage Fast and West, op. cit., pp. 80-81. 


you are the unsealer of that forbidden tree; you are the first deserters 
of the divine law; you are she who persuades him whom the devil 
was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's 
image, man. On account of your desert — that is death — even the 
Son of God had to die.' Not only did the church affirm the inferior 
status of woman, it deprived her of legal rights she had previously 


In the midst of the darkness that engulfed the world, the divine reve- 
lation echoed in the wide desert of Arabia with a fresh, noble and 
universal message to humanity": ‘ʻO Mankind, keep your duty to your 
Lord who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate (of 
same kind) and from them twain has spread a multitude of men and 
women.’ (al-Qur'àn, 4: 1).? 

A scholar who pondered about this verse states: ‘It is believed that 
there is no text, old or new, that deals with the humanity of the woman 
from all aspects in such an amazing brevity, eloquence, depth and 
originality as this divine decree.’ ^? 

Stressing this noble and natural conception, the Qur'an states: 

He (God) it is who did create you from a single soul and therefrom 
did create his mate, that he might dwell with her (in love) . . . (al- 
Qur'àn, 7: 189). 

The Creator of heavens and earth: He has made for you pairs 
from among yourselves. (al-Qur’an, 42: 11). 

And God has given you mates of your own nature, and has given 
you from your mates, children and grandchildren, and has made 
provision of good things for you. Is it then in vanity that they believe 
and in the grace of God that they disbelieve? (al-Qur’an, 16: 72). 

. The rest of this paper outlines the position of Islam regarding the 
status of woman in society from its various aspects — spiritually, 
socially, economically and politically 
18. Al-Siba‘i, M., Al-Mar ah Bayna'l-Figh Wa'l-Qanin, 2rd ed., 1966, 0. 20. 

19. ‘From it’ here refers to the kind, i.e. ‘from the same kind, or of like nature, 
God created its mate.’ There is no trace in the Qur'àn to a parallel of the 
Biblical concept that Eve was crcatec from one of Adam's ribs.’ See Yüsuf'Ali, 
The Holy Qur 'àn, note No. 504. 

20. Al-Khüli, Al-Bahi, Min Usüs Qadiyyah al-Mar ah, Al-Wa'iy Al- Islami 
Ministry of Wakf, Kuwait, Vol. 3, No. 27, June 9, 1967, p. 17. 1 ranslated by 
the writer. 


The Qur’an provides clear-cut evidence that woman is completely 
equated with man in the sight of God in terms of her rights and res- 
ponsibilities. The Qur'àn states: 


Every soul will be (held) in pledge for its deeds. (al-Qur’an, 74: 

It also states: 

. So their Lord accepted their prayers, (saying): I will not 
suffer to be lost the work of any of you whether male or female. You 
proceed one from another. . ? (al-Qur'àn, 3: 195). 

Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has faith, 
verily to him We give a new life that is good and pure, and We will 
bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions. 
(al-Qur'àn, 16: 97. see also 4: 124). 

Woman according to the Qur'àn is not blamed for Adam's first 
mistake. Both were jointly wrong in their disobedience to God, both 
repented, and both were forgiven. (al-Qur’an, 2: 36-37; 7: 20-24). In 
one verse in fact (al-Qur’an, 20: 121), Adam specifically, was blamed. 

In terms of religious obligations, such as the Daily Prayers, Fasting, 
Poor-due and Pilgrimage, woman is no different from man. In some 
cases, indeed, woman has certain advantages over man. For example, 
the woman is exempted from the daily prayers and from fasting during 
her menstrual periods and forty days after childbirth. She is also 
exempted of fasting during her pregnancy and when she is nursing her 
baby if there is any threat to her health or her baby's. If the missed 
fasting is obligatory (during the month of Ramadan), she čan make up 

for the missed days whenever she can. She does not have to make up for 

the missed prayers because of one of the above reasons. Women used to 
go to the mosque during the days of the Prophet and thereafter 
attendance at the Friday congregational prayers is optional for them 
while it is mandatory for men (on Friday): 

This is clearly a tender touch of the Islamic teachings for they are 
considerate of the fact that a woman may be nursing her baby orcaring 
for him, and thus may be unable to go out to the mosque at the time of 
the prayers. They also take into account the physiological and psy- 
chological changes associated with her natural female functions. 

otis Seth eA e eror. Lins eee Se ons 

Win T e NECI di 


(a) As a child and an adolescent. 

Despite the social acceptance of female infanticide among some 
Arabian tribes, the Qur'àn forbade this custom, and considered it a 
crime like any other murder. 

*And when the female (infant) buried alive — is questioned, for 
what crime she was killed.’ (al-Qur’an, 81: 8-9). 

Critcizing the attitudes of such parents who reject their female 
children, the Qur'àn states: | 

‘When news is brought to one of them, of (the Birth of) a female 
(child), his face darkens and he is filled with inward grief! With 
shame does he hide himself from his people because of the bad news 
he has had! Shall he retain her on (sufferance) and contempt, or 
bury her in the dust? Ah! What an evil (choice) they decide on?’ 
(al-Qur’an, 16: 58-59). 

Far from saving the girl’s life so that she may later suffer injustice 
and inequality, Islam requires kind and just treatment for her. Among 
the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in this regard 
are the following: 

Whosoever has a daughter and he does not bury her alive, does 
not insult her, and does not favour his son over her, God will enter 
him into Paradise. (Ibn Hanbal, No. 1957). ` 

Whosoever supports two daughters till they mature, he and I will 

come in the day of judgement as this (and he pointed with his two 


A similar Hadith deals in like manner with one who supports two 
sisters. (Ibn Hanbal, No. 2104). 

The right of females to seek knowledge is not different from that of 
males. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: ‘Seeking 
knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim.’ (Al-Bayhaqi). Muslim as 
used here including both males and females.” 

(b) As a wife. 

The Qur'àn clearly indicates that marriage is sharing between the 

21. Some less authentic versions add ‘male and female’. The meaning, 
however, is sound etymologically even as it is consistent with the over-all 
nature of Islamic duties in applying equally to males and females unless 
speciai exemptions are specified. 


two halves of the society, and that its objectives, beside perpetuating . 
human life, are emotional wellbeing and spiritual harmony. Its bases 
are love and mercy. 

Among the most impressive verses in the Qur’an about marriage is 
the following: 

‘And among His signs is this: That He created mates for you from 
yourselves that you may find rest, peace of mind in them, and He 
ordained between you love and mercy. Lo, herein indeed are signs for 
. people who reflect.’ (al-Qur'àn, 30: 21). 

According to Islamic Law, women cannot be forced to marry 
anyone without their consent. 

Ibn ‘Abbas reported that a girl came to the Messenger of God, 
Muhammad (peace be upon him), and she reported that her father 
had forced her to marry without her consent. The Messenger of God 
gave her the choice (between accepting the marriage or invalidating 
it). (Ibn Hanbal No. 2469). In another version, the girl said: ‘Actually 
I accept this marriage but I wanted to let women know that parents 
have no right (to force a husband on them).' (Ibn Màjah, No. 1873). 

Besides all other provisions for her protection at the time of mar- 
riage, it was specifically decreed that woman has the full right to her 
Mahr, a marriage gift, which is presented to her by her husband and is 
included in the nuptial contract, and that such ownership does not 
transfer to her father or husband. The concept of Mahr in Islam is 
neither an actual or symbolic price for the woman, as was the case in 
certain cultures, but rather it is a gift symbolizing love and affection. 

The rules for married life in Islam are clear and in harmony with 
upright human nature. In consideration of the physiological and 
psychological make-up of man and woman, both have equal rights 
and claims on one another, except for one responsibility, that of 
leadership. This is a matter which is natural in any collective life and 
which is consistent with the nature of man. 

The Qur'àn thus states: 

‘And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over 
them, and men are a degree above them.’ (al-Qur'àn, 2: 228). 

Such degree is Qiwama (maintenance and protection). This refers to 
that natural difference between the sexes which entitles the weaker sex 
to protection. It implies no superiority or advantage before the law. 
Yet, man's role of leadership in relation to his family does not mean the 
husband's dictatorship over his wife. Islam emphasizes the importance 




. of taking counsel and mutual agreement in family decisions. The 

Qur'àn gives us an example: 

^... If they (husband wife) desire to wean the child by mutual 
consent and (after) consultation, there is no blame on them . . e 
(al-Qur'àn, 2: 233). 

Over and above her basic rights as a wife comes the right which is 
emphasized by the Qur'àn and is strongly recommended by the Pro- 
phet (P); kind treatment and companionship. 

The Qur’an states: 

*.. , But consort with them in kindness, for if you hate them it 
may happen that you hate a thing wherein God has placed much 
good.’ (al-Qur'àn, 4: 19). 

Prophet Muhammad (P) said: 

The best of you is the best to his family and I am the best among 
you to my family. : | 

The most perfect believers are the best in conduct and the best of 
you are those who are best to their wives. (Ibn Hanbal No. 7396). 

Behold, many women came to Muhammad's wives complaining 
against their husbands (because they beat them) ... those (hus- 
bands) are not the best of you. 

As thc woman's right to decide about her marriage is recognized, so 
also her right to seck an end for an unsuccessf ul marriage is recognized. 
To provide for the stability of the family, however, and in order to 
protect it from hasty decision under temporary emotional stress, cer- 
tain steps and waiting periods should be observed by men and women 
seeking divorce. Considering the relatively more emotional nature of 
women, a good reason for asking for divorce should be brought before 
the judge. Like the man, however, the woman can divorce her husband 
without resorting to the court, if the nuptial contract allows that. 

More specifically, some aspects of Islamic Law concerning marriage 

and divorce are interesting and are worthy of separate treatment.” 
22. It is sufficient to say here that polygamy existed in almost all nations and 
was even sanctioned by Judaism and Christianity until recent centuries. The 
Qur'àn is the only revealed scripture that explicitly limited polygamy and 
discouraged its practice by various stringent conditions. One reason for not 
catcgorically forbidding polygamy is that in different places at diffcrent times, 
there may exist individual or social exigencies which make polygamy a better 
solution than either divorce or a hypocritical pretence of morality. - 


When the continuation of the marriage relationship is impossible 
for any reason, men are still taught to seek a gracious end for it. 
The Qur'àn states about such cases: 

When you divorce women, and they reach their prescribed term, 
then retain them in kindness and retain them not for injury so that 
you transgress (the limits). (al-Qur'àn, 2: 231). (See also al-Qur'àn, 
2: 229, and 33: 49). 


(c) As a mother: 
Islam considered kindness to parents next to the worship of God. 
‘Your Lord has decreed that you worship none save Him, and 
that you be kind to your parents. . .’ (al-Qur’an, 17: 23). 
Moreover, the Qur’an has a special recommendation for the good. 
treatment of mothers: 
‘And we have enjoined upon man (to be good) to his parents: His 
mother bears him in weakness upon weakness . . .' (al-Qur'àn, 
31: 14). (See also al-Qur'àn, 46: 15; 29: 8). | 

A man came to Muhammad (P) asking, ‘O Messenger of God, 
who among the people is the most worthy of my good company?’ 
The Prophet said, ‘Your mother.’ The man said, “Then who else?’ 
The Prophet (P) said, ‘Your mother.’ The man said, "Then who 
else?’ The Prophet (P) said, “Your mother.’ The man said, “Then 
who else?’ Only then did the Prophet &) say, ‘Your father.’ (Al- 
Bukhari and Muslim). 

A famous saying of the Prophet is ‘Paradise is at the feet of mothers.’ 
(In Al-Nisa’i, Ibn-Majah, Ibn Hanbal). 

‘It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the 
wicked who insults them.’ 


Islam decreed a right of which woman was deprived both before Islam 
and after if (even as late as this century), the right of independent 

23. For example, it was not until 1938 that the French Law was amended so as 
to recognize the eligibility of women to contract. A married woman, however, 
was still required to secure her husband’s permission before she could dispense 
with her private property. See for example Al-Sibà'i, op. cit., pp. 31-37. 

yt - Sr een OOS A TI A 

Pee + Se cm Cc PÉKZON Du in cnt i lA tci LT - - 


ownership. According to Islamic Law, woman's right to her money, 
real estate, or other properties is fully acknowledged. This right un- 
dergoes no change whether she is single or married. She retains her full 
rights to buy, sell, mortgage or léase any or all her properties. It is 
nowhere suggested in the Law that a woman is a minor simply because 
she is a female. It is also noteworthy that such right applies to her 
properties before marriage as well as to whatever she acquires 

With regard to the woman's right to seek employment, it should be 
stated first that Islam regards her role in society as a mother and a wife 
as the most sacred and essential one. Neither maids nor babysitters can 
possibly take the mother's place as the educator of an upright, 
complex-free, and carefully-reared child. Such a noble and.vital role, 
which largely shapes the future of nations, cannot be regarded as 

However, there is no decree in Islam which forbids woman from 
seeking employment whenever there is a necessity for it, especially in 
positions which fit her nature and in which society needs her most. 
Examples of these professions are nursing, teaching (especially for 
children), and medicine. Moreover, there is no restriction on benefit- 
ting from woman’s exceptional talent in any field. Even for the posi- 
tion of a judge, there may be a tendency to doubt the woman’s fitness 
for the post due to her more emotional nature, we find early Muslim 
scholars such as Abü-Hanifa and al-Tabari holding there is nothing 
wrong with it. In addition, Islam restored to woman the right of inhe- 
ritance in some cultures. Her share is completely hers and no one can 
make any claim on it, including her father and her husband. 

‘To men (of the family) belongs a share of that which parents and 
near kindred leave, and to women a share of that which parents and 
near kindred leave, whether it be a little or much — a determinate 
share.' (al-Qur'àn, 4: 7). 

Her share in most cases is one-half of the man's share, with no im- 
plication that she is worth half a man! It would seem grossly incon- 
sistent after the overwhelming evidence of woman’s equitable treat- 
ment in Islam, which was discussed in the preceding pages, to make 
such an inference. This variation in inheritance rights is only consi- 
stent with the variations in financial responsibilities of man and 
woman according to the Islamic Law. Man in Islam is fully responsible 
for the maintenance of his wife, his children, and in some cases of his 
needy relatives, especially the females. This responsibility is neither 


waived nor reduced because of his wife’s wealth or because of her 
access to any personal income gained from work, rent, profit, or an 
other legal means. | 

Woman, on the other hand, is far more secure financially and is far 
less burdened with any claims on her possessions. Her possessions 
before marriage do not transfer to her husband and she even keeps her 
maiden name. She has no obligation to spend on her family out of such 
properties or out of her income after marriage. She is entitled to the 
Mahr which she takes from her husband at the time of marriage. If she 
is divorced, she may get an alimony from her ex-husband. 

An examination of the inheritance law within the overall frame- 
work of the Islamic Law reveals, not only justice, but also an abund- 
ance of compassion for woman.” 


Any fair investigation of the teachings of Islam or into the history of 
Islamic civilization will surely find a clear evidence of woman's 
equality with man in what we call today ‘political rights’. | 

This includes the right of election as well as the nomination to poli- 
tical offices. It also includes woman's right to participate in public 
affairs. Both in the Qur'àn and in Islamic history we find examples of 
women who participated in serious discussions and argued even with 
the Prophet (P) himself (see al-Qur’an, 58: 1; and 60: 10-12). 

During the Caliphate of ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab, a woman argued 
with him in the mosque, proved her point, and caused him to declare in 
the presence of people: ‘A woman is right and ‘Umar is wrong.’ 

Although not mentioned in the Qur’an, one Hadith of the Prophet is 
interpreted to make woman ineligible for the position of head of state. 
The Hadith referred to is roughly translated: ‘A people will not prosper 
if they let a woman be their leader.’ This limitation, however, has 
nothing to do with the dignity of woman or with her rights. It is rather, 
related to the natural differences in the biological and psychological 
make-up of men and women. 

According to Islam, the head of the state is no mere figure-head. He 
leads people in the prayers, especially on Fridays and festivities; he is 
continuously engaged in the process of decision making pertaining to 

24. For a good discussion of this point, also of the acceptance of women's 
witness according to Islamic Law, see ‘Abd al-Ati , Hammüdah, Islam in Focus, 
pp. 117-118, and Al-Siba‘i, Mustafa, A/-Mar'ah Bayn al-Fiqh wa’l-Qaniin (in 


_ the security and well-being of his people. This demanding position, or 

any similar one, such as the Commander of the Army, is generally 
inconsistent with the physiological and psychological make-up of 
woman in general. It is a medical fact that during their monthly 
periods and during their pregnancies, women undergo various phy- 
siological and psychological changes. Such changes may occur during 
an emergency situation, thus affecting her decision. The excessive 
strain during these periods has other effects as well. Moreover, some 
decisions require a maximum of rationality and a minimum of emo- 
tionality — a requirement which may not coincide with the instinctive 

nature of women. 
Even in modern times, and in the most developed countries, it is rare 

to find a woman in the position of a head of state acting as more than a 
figurehead, a woman commander of the armed services, or even a 
proportionate number of women representatives in parliaments, or 

" similar bodies. One can not possibly ascribe this to backwardness of 

various nations or to any constitutional limitation on woman's right to 
be in such a position as a head of state or as a member of the par- 
liament. It is more logical to explain the present situation in terms of 
the natural and indisputable differences between man and woman, a 
difference which does not imply any ‘supremacy’ of one over the other. 
The difference implies rather the ‘complementary’ roles of both the 
sexes in life. 


The first part of this paper deals briefly with the position of various 
religions and cultures on the issue under investigation. Part of this 
exposition extends to cover the general trend as late as the nineteenth 
century, nearly 1300 years after the Qur'àn set forth the Islamic tea- 

In the second part of the paper, the status of women in Islam is 
briefly discussed. Emphasis in this part is placed on the original and 
authentic sources of Islam. This represents the standard according to 
which degree of adherence of Muslims can be judged. It is also a fact 
that during some of our moments of decline, such teachings were not 
strictly adhered to by many people who professed to be Muslims. 

Such deviations were unfairly exaggerated by some writers, and the 
worst of these were superficially taken to represent the teachings of 
Islam to the Western reader without taking the trouble to make any 


: V 


original and unbiased study of the authentic sources of these teachings. 
Even with such deviations three facts are worth mentioning: 

1. The history of Muslims is rich with women of great achievements 
in all walks of life from as early as the seventh century (C.E.).” 

2. It is impossible for anyone to justify any mistreatment of woman 
by any. decree of rule embodied in the Islamic Law, nor could 
anyone dare to cancel, reduce or distort the clearcut legal rights of 
women given in Islamic Law. 

3. Throughout history, the reputation, chastity and maternal role of 
Muslim women were objects of admiration by impartial observers. 

It is also worthwhile to state that the status which women reached 
during the present era was not achieved due to the kindness of men or 
due to natural progress. It was rather achieved through a long struggle 
and sacrifice on woman's part and only when society needed her con- 
tribution and work, more especially during the two world wars, and 
due to the escalation of technological change. 

In the case of Islam such compassionate and dignified status was 
decreed, not because it reflects the environment of the seventh century, 
nor under the threat or pressure of women and their organization, but 
rather because of its intrinsic truthfulness. 

If this indicates anything, it would demonstrate the divine origin of 
the Qur'àn and the truthfulness of the message of Islam, which, unlike 
human philosophies and ideologies, was far from proceeding from its 
human environment, a message which established such humane prin- 
ciples as neither grew obsolete during the course of time and after these 
many centuries, nor can become obsolete in the future. After all, this is 
the message of the All-Wise and All-Knowing God whose wisdom and 
knowledge are far beyond the ultimate in human thought and pro- 


25. See, for example, Nadvi, A. Sulaiman, Heroic Deeds of Muslim Women, 
Islamic Publications Ltd., Lahore, Pakistan. Siddiqui, Women in Islam, Insti- 
tute of Islamic Culture, Lahore, Pakistan, 1959. i 



The Holy Qur’an: Translation of verses is heavily based on A. Yisuf ‘Ali’s 
translation, The Holy Qur'an Text, Translation and Commentary, The American 
International Printing Company, Washington, D.C., 1946. 

‘Abd Al-‘Ati, Hammüdah, /s/am in Focus, The Canadian Islamic Center, 
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 1963. 

Allen, E. A., History of Civilization, General Publishing House, Cincinnati, 
Ohio, 1889, Vol. 3. 

Al-Sibà'i, Mustafa, A/-Mar ah Baynal-Fiqh Wa'l-Qànün (in Arabic), 2nd ed., 
Al-Maktabah al-'Arabiyyah, Halab, Syria, 1966. 

Al-Khuli, Al-Bahi Min Usus Qadiyyah Al-Mar'ah' (in Arabic), Al-Wa'i Al- 
Islàmi, Ministry of Wakf, Kuwait, Vol. 3 (No. 27) June 9, 1967. 

Encyclopaedia Americana (International Edition), American Corp. N.Y., 1969, 
Vol. 29. 

Encyclopaedia Biblica (Rev. T. K. Cheynebe and J. S. Black, editors), The 
Macmillan Co., London, England, 1902, Vol. 3. 

The Encyclopaedia Britannica {11th cd.), University Press, Cambridge, England, 
1911, Vol. 28. 

The Encyclopaedia Britannica, The Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., Chicago, Ill., 
1968, Vol. 23. 

Hadith. Most of the quoted ahadith were translated by the writer. They are 
quoted in various Arabic sources. Some of them, however, werc translated 
directly from the original sources. Among the sources checked are Musnad of 
Ahmad Ibn. Hanbal, Dar Al-Ma‘arif, Cairo, U.A.R., 1950 and 1955, Vol. 4. 
and 3, Sunan of Ibn-Majah, Dar Ih yà' al-Kutub al-‘Arabiyyah, Cairo, 
U.A.R., 1952, Vol. 1, Sunan of al-Tirmidhi, Vol. 3. 

Mace, David and Vera, Marriage: East and West, Mopani Books, Doubleday 
and Col, Inc., N.Y., 1960. 

Mawdidi, Abūl ʻAlā, Purdah and the Status of Woman i in Islam, Islamic Publica- 
tions Ltd., Lahore, 1973. 



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Political Theory of Islam’ 

Abüu'l Ala Mawdidi 

.': WITH certain people it has become a sort of fashion to somehow 
identify Islam with one or the other system of life in vogue at the time. 
So at this time also there are people who say that Islam is a democracy, 
and by this they mean to imply that there is no difference between 
Islam and the democracy as in vogue in the West. Some others suggest 
that Communism is but the latest and revised version of Islam and it is 
in the fitness of things that Muslims imitate the Communist experi- 
ment of.Soviet Russia. Still some others whisper that Islam has the 
elements of dictatorship in it and we should revive the cult of ‘obe- 
dience to the Amir’ (the leader). All these people, in their misinformed 
and misguided zeal to serve what they hold to be the cause of Islam, are 
always at great pains to prove that Islam contains within itself the 
elements of all types of contemporary social and political thought and 
action. Most of the people who indulge in this prattle have no clear 
idea of the Islamic way of life. They have never made nor try to make a 
systematic study of the Islamic political order — the place and nature 
of democracy, social justice, and equality in it. Instead they behave like 
the proverbial blind men who gave altogether contradictory descrip- 
tions of an elephant because one had been able to touch only its tail, 
the other its legs, the third its belly and the fourth its ears only. Or 
perhaps they look upon Islam as an orphan whose sole hope for survi- 

, val lies in winning the patronage and the sheltering care of some 

* This chapter is taken from the author's /slamic Law and Constitution. It was 
originally presented as a paper before a gathering of graduate and undergra- 
duate students of the Punjab University, Lahore, in October, 1939 — Editor. 


dominant creed. That is why some people have begun to present apo- | 
logies on Islam's behalf. As a matter of fact, this attitude emerges from 
an inferiority complex, from the belief that we as Muslims can earn no | 
honouror respect unless we are able to show that our religion resembles 
the modern creeds and it is in agreement with most of the contempo- 
rary ideologies. These people have done a great disservice to Islam; 
thcy have reduced the political theory of Islam to a puzzle, a hotch- 
potch. They have turned Islam into a jugz!er's bag out of which can be 
produced anything that holds a demand! Such is the intellectual 
plight in which we are engulfed. Perhaps it is a result of this sorry state 
of affairs that some people have even begun to say that Islam has no 
political or economic system of its own and anything can fit into its 

In these circumstances it has become essential that a careful study of 
the political theory of Islam should be made in a scientific way, with a 
view to grasp its real meaning, nature, purpose and significance. Such 
a systematic study alone can put an end to this confusion of thought 
and silence those who out of ignorance proclaim that there is nothing 
like Islamic political theory, Islamic social order and Islamic culture. I 
hope it will also bring to the world groping in darkness the light that it 
urgently needs, although it is not yet completely conscious of such a 


It should be clearly understood in the very beginning that Islam is not 
a jumble of unrelated ideas and incoherent modes of conduct. It is 
rather a well-ordered system, a consistent whole, resting on a definite 
set of clear-cut postulates. Its major tenets as well as detailed rules of 
conduct are all derived from and logically connected with its basic 
principles. All the rules and regulations that Islam has laid down for 
the different spheres of human life are in their essence and spirit a 
reflexion, an extension and corollary of its first principles. The various - 
phases of Islamic life and activity flow from these fundamental postu- 
lates exactly as the plant sprouts forth from its seed. And just as even 
though the tree may spread in all directions, all its leaves and branches 
remain firmly attached to the roots and derive sustenance from them 
and it is always the seed and the root which determine the nature and 
form of the tree, similar is the case with Islam. Its entire scheme of life 

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also flows from its basic postulates. Therefore whatever aspect of the 
Islamic ideology one may like to study, he must, first of all, go to the 
roots and look to the fundamental principles. Then and then alone he 
can have a really correct and satisfactory understanding of the 
ideology and its specific injunctions and a real appreciation ofi its spirit 
and nature. 


The mission of a prophet is to propagate Islam, disseminate the teach- 
ings of Allah and establish the divine guidance in this world of flesh 
and bones. This was the mission of all the divinely inspired Prophets 
who appeared in succession ever since man's habitation on earth up to 
the advent of Muhammad (peace be upon him). In fact the mission of 
all the prophets was one and the same — the preaching of Islam. And 
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the last of their line. 
With him prophethood came to an end and to him was revealed the 
final code of human guidance in all its completeness. All the prophets 
conveyed to mankind the guidance which was revealed to them and 
asked it to acknowledge the absolute sovereignty of God and to render 
unalloyed obedience to Him. This was the mission which each one of 
the prophets was assigned to perform. 

At first sight this mission appears to be very simple and innocuous. 
But if you probe a little deeper and examine the full significance and 
the logical and practical implications of Divine Sovercignty and the 
concept of Tawhid (the Unity of Godhead), you will soon realize that 
the matter is not so simple as it appears on the surface, and that there 
must be something revolutionary in a doctrine which roused such 
bitter opposition and sustained hostility on the part of the non- 
believers. What strikes us most in the long history of the prophets is 
that whenever these servants of God proclaimed that ‘There is no i/ah 
(object of worship) except Allah', all the forces of evil made common 
cause to challenge them. If it were merely to call to bow down in the 
places of worship before one God with perfect freedom outside these 
sacred precincts to owe allegiance to and carry out the will of the 
powers that be, it would have been the height of folly on the part of the 
ruling classes to suppress the religious liberties of its loyal subjects for a 
minor matter which had no bearing on their attitude towards the 
established government. Let us therefore try toexplore the real point of 

dispute between thc Prophets and their opponents. 

There are many verses of the Qur'àn which make it absolutely clear 


that the non-believers and polytheists too, who opposed the Prophets, 
did not deny the existence of God, nor that He was the sole Creator of 
heavens and earth and man, nor that the whole mechanism of nature 
operated in accordance with His commands, nor that it is He who 
pours down the rain, drives the winds and controls the sun, the moon, 
the earth, and everything else. Says the Qur’an: 

‘Say to whom (belongs) the earth and whoso is in it, if you have 
knowledge? They will say, to Allah. Say: Will you not then re- 
membér? Say: Who is Lord of the seven heavens, and Lord of the 
tremendous Throne? They will say, to Allah (all that belongs). Say: 
Will you not then keep duty (to Him)? Say: In whose hands is the 
dominion over all things and He protects, while against Him there 
is no protection, if you have knowledge? They will say: to Allah (all 
that belongs). Say: How then are you bewitched?” ‘And if you were 
to ask them: Who created thc heavens and the carth, and cons- 
trained the sun and the moon (to their appointed task)? They would 
say: Allah. How then are they turned away? . . . And if you were to 
ask them: who causes water to come down from the sky, and there- 
with revives the earth after its death? They verily would say: 

‘And if you asked them who created them, they will surely say: 
Allah. How then are they turned away." 

These verses make it abundantly clear that the dispute was not 
about the existence of God or His being the Creator and Lord of 
heavens and earth. All men acknowledged these truths. Hence there 
was no question of there being any dispute on what was already 
admitted on all hands. The question arises, then what was it that gave 
rise to the tremendous opposition that every prophet without any 
exception had to face when he made this call? The Qur'àn states that 
the whole dispute centred round the uncompromising demand of the 
prophets that the non-believers should recognize as their rabb (Lord) 
and i/ah (Master and Law-giver) also the very Being whom they 
acknowledged as their Creator and that they should assign this posi- 
tion to none else. But the people were not prepared to accept this 
demand of the prophets. 

Let us now try to find out the real cause of this refusal and what the 
I. al-Qur'àn, 23: 84-89. 

2. Ibid., 29: 61, 63. 
3. Ibid., 43: 87, 


terms i/àh and rabb mean. Furthermore, why did the prophets insist 
that Allah alonc should be recognized and acknowledged as ilah and 
rabb and why did the whole world range itself against them upon this 
apparently simple demand? 

The Arabic word ilāh stands for ma ‘būd (i.e. the object of worship) 
which in itself is derived from the word ‘abd, meaning a servant or slave. 
The relationship which exists between man and God is that of *wor- 
shipper’ and ‘the worshipped’. Man is to offer thadah to God and is to 
live like His 'abd. 

And 'ibádah does not merely mean ritual or any specific form of 
prayer. It means a life of continuous service and unremitting obe- 
dience like the life of a slave in relation to his Lord. To wait upon a 
person in service, to bow down one's head in acknowledgement of his 
elevated position, to exert oneself in obedience to his commands, to 

,. carry out his orders and cheerfully submit to all the toil and discipline 

involved therein, to humble oneself in the presence of the master, to 
offer what he demands, to obey what he commands, to set one's face 
steadily against the causes of his displeasure, and to sacrifice even one's 
life when such is his pleasure — these are the real implications of the 
term "ibadah (worship or service) and a man's true Ma ‘iid (Object of 
worship) is he whom he worships in this manner. 

And what is the meaning of the word rabb? In Arabic it literally 
means ‘one who nourishes and sustains and regulates and perfects’. 
Since the moral consciousness of man requires that one who nourishes, 
sustains, and provides for us has a superior claim on our allegiance, the 
word rabb is also used in the sense of master or owner. For this reason the 
Arabic equivalent for the owner of property is rabb al-màl and for the 
owner of a house, rabb al-dar. A person's rabb is one whom he looks upon 
as his nourisher and patron; from whom he expects favour and obli- 
gations; to whom he looks for honour, advancement and peace; whose 
displeasure he considers to be prejudicial to his life and happiness; 
whom he declares to be his Lord and master; and lastly, whom he 
follows and obeys.* 

Keeping in view the real meaning of these two words i/ah and rabb it 
can be easily found who is it that may rightfully claim to be man's //ah 
and Rabb and who can, therefore, demand that he should be served, 
obeyed and worshipped. Trees, stones, rivers, animals, the sun, the 

4. for a detailed discussion over the meaning and concept of i/aA and rabb sce: 
Abūl A‘la Maudüdi, Qur'an Ki Char Bunyàdi Istilahen. (Four basic terms of the 
Qur'àn). Lahore. 


moon and the stars, none of them can venture to lay claim tó this 
position in relation to man. It is only man who can, and does, claim 
godhood in relation to his fellow-beings. The desire for godhood can 
take root only in man's mind. It is only man's excessive lust for power . 
and desire for exploitation that prompts him to project himself on 
other people as a god and extract their obedience; force them to:bow 
down before him in reverential awe, and make them instruments of his 
self-aggrandisement. The pleasure of posing as a god is more enchant- 
ing and appealing than anything else that man has yet been able to 
discover. Whoever possesses power cr wealth or cleverness or any other 
superior faculty, develops a strong inclination to outstep his natural 
and proper limits, to extend his area of influence and thrust his god- 
hood upon such of his fellow men as are comparatively feeble, poor, 
weak-minded or deficient in any manner. 

Such aspirants to godhood are of two kinds and accordingly they 
adopt two different lines of action. There is a type of people who are 
comparatively bold or who possess adequate means of forcing their 
claim on those over whom they wield power and who consequently 
make a direct claim to godhood. For instance, there was Pharaoh who 
was so intoxicated with power and so proud of his empire that he 
proclaimed to the inhabitants of Egypt: ‘Ana rabbukum al-a‘la’ (Tam - 
your highest Lord) and Mā 'alimtu lakum min ilahin ghayri ' (I do not 
know of any other i/ah for you but myself). When Prophet Moses 
approached him with a demand for the liberation of his people and 
told him that he too should surrender himself to the Lord of the Uni- 
verse, Pharoah replied that since he had the power to cast him into the 
prison, Moses should rather acknowledge him as i/àA. ? Similarly, there 
was another king who had an argument with Prophet Abraham. 
Ponder carefully over the words in which the Qur'àn has narrated this 
episode. It says: 

‘Are you not aware of that king who had an argument with 
Abraham about his Lord because Allah had given him the 
kingdom? When Abraham said: My Lord is He who gives life and 
death, he answered: I give life and cause death. Abranam said: 
Allah causes the sun to rise in the East; cause it, then, to rise in the 
West. Then was thc disbeliever confounded.'* 

5. al-Qur'àn, 26: 29; 28: 38; 79: 24. 
6. Ibid., 2: 253. 

i i Oi eee ee a eae 


Why was the unbelicving king confounded? Not because he denied 
the existence of God. He did believe that God was the ruler of the 
universe and that He alone made the sun rise and set. The question at 
issue was not the dominion over thesun and the moon and the universe 
but that of the allegiance of the people; not that who should be regarded as- 
controlling the forces of nature, but that who should have the right to claim 
the obedience of men. He did not put forth the claim that he was Allah; 
what he actually demanded was that no objection should be cast over 
the absoluteness of his authority over his subjects. His authority as the 
ruler should not be challenged. This claim was based on the fact that 
he held the reins ofgovernment: he could do whatever he liked with the 
property or the lives of his people: he had absolute power to punish his 

subjects with death or to spare them. He, therefore, demanded from 

Abraham that the latter should recognize him as his master, serve him 

and do his bidding. But when Abraham declared that be would obey, 

serve and accept no one but the Lord of the Universe, the king was 
bewildered and shocked and did not know how to bring such a person 
under his control. 

This claim to godhood which Pharaoh and Nimrod had put forth 
was by no means peculiar to them. Rulers all over the world in ages 
past and present have advanced such claims. In Iran the words Khuda 
(Master) and Khudawand (Lord) were commonly employed in relation 
to the king, and all the ceremonies indicative of servility were per- 
formed before him, in spite of the fact that no Iranian looked upon the 
king as the lord of the universe, that is to say God, nor did the king 
represent himself as such. Similarly, the ruling dynasties in India 
claimed descent from the gods; the solar and lunar dynasties are well 
known down to this day. The raja was called an-data (the provider of 
sustenance) and people prostrated themselves before him although 
never recognized him as such. Much the same was, and still is, the state 
of affairs in all other countries. 

Words synonymous with i/ah and rabb are still used in direct refer- 
ence to rulers of many places. Even where this is not customary, the 
attitude of the people towards their rulers is similar to what is implied 
by these two words. It is not necessary for a man who claims godhood 
that he shou!d openly declare himself to be an ilàh or rabb. All persons 

who exercize unqualified dominion over a group of men, who impose 

their will upon others, who make them their instruments and seek to 
control their destinies in the same manner as Pharaoh and Nimrod did 
in the hey-day of their power, are essentially claimants to godhood, 


though the claim may be tacit, veiled and unexpressed. And those who 
serve and obey them, admit their godhood cven if they do not say so by 
word of mouth. 4 ; | 

In contrast to these people who directly seek recognition of their 
godhood there is another type of men who do not possess the necessary 
means or strength to get themselves accepted as lah or rabb. But they 
are resourceful and cunning enough to cast a spell over the minds and 
hearts of the common people. By the use of sinister methods, they 
invest some spirit, god, idol, tomb, plant, or tree with the character of 
tlah and dupe the common people successfully into believing that these 
objects are capable of doing thern harm and bringing them good; that 
they can provide for their needs, answer their prayers and afford them 
shelter and protection from evils which besct them all around. They 
tell them in effect: ‘If you do not seek their pleasure and approval, they 
will involve you in famines, epidemics and afflictions. But if you 
approach them in the proper way and solicit their help they will come 
to your aid. We know the methods by which ihey can be propitiated 
and their pleasure can be secured, We alone can show you the means of 
access to these deities. Therefore, acknowledge our superiority, seek 
our pleasure and entrust to our charge your life, wealth and honour.’ 
Many stupid persons are caught in this trap and thus, under cover of 
false gods, is established the godhood and supremacy of priests and 
shrine-keepers. | 

There are some others belonging to the same category who employ 
the arts of soothsaying, astrology, fortune-telling, charms, incanta- 
tions, etc. There are yet others who, while owing allegiance to God, also 
assert that one cannot gain direct access to God. They claim that they 
are the intermediaries through whom one should approach his thre- 
shold; that all ceremonials should be performed through their 
mediation; and that all religious rites from one’s birth to death can be 
performed only at their hands. There are still others who proclaim 
themselves to be the bearers of the Book of God and yet they delibera- 
tely keep the common people ignorant of its meaning and contents, 
Constituting themselves into mouthpieces of God, they start dictating 
to others what is lawful (halal) aud what is unlawful ‘haram). In this 
way their word becomes law and they force people to obey their own 
commands instead of those of God. This is the source of Brahmanism 
and Papacy which has appeared under various names and in diverse 
forms in all parts of the world from times immemorial down to the 
present day, and in consequence of which certain families, races and 


classes have imposed their will and authority over large masses of men 
and women. . : 

If you were to look at the matter from this angle, you will find that 
the root-cause of all evil and mischiefin the world is the domination of man 
over man, be it direct or indirect. This was the origin of all the troubles of 
mankind and even to this day it remains the main cause of all the 
misfortunes and vices which have brought untold misery on the teem- 
ing humanity. God, of coursc, knows all the secrets of human nature. 
But the truth of this observation has also been confirmed and brought 
home to humanity by the experiences of thousands of years that man 
cannot help setting up someone or other as his ‘god’, ilāh and rabb, and 
looking up to him for help and guidance in the complex and baffling 
affairs of his life and obeying his commands. This fact has been esta- 
blished beyond question by the historical experience of mankind that 
if you do not believe in God, some artificial god will take His place in 
_ your thinking and behaviour. It is even possible that instead of one real 
God, a number of false gods, ilàAs and rabbs may impose themselves 
upon you. 

Even today man isenchained in the slavery of many a false god. May 
he be in Russia or America, Italy or Yugoslavia, England or China, he 
is generally under the spell of some party, some ruler, some leader or 
group, some money-magnate or the like in such a manner that man's 
control over man, man's worship of man, man's surveillance of man 
continue unabated. Modern man has discarded nature-worship, but 
man-worship he still does. In fine, wherever you turn your eyes, you 
will find that one nation dominates another, one class holds another in 
subjection, or a political party having gained complete ascendancy, 
constitutes itself as the arbiter of men’s destiny, or again in some places 
a dictator concentrates in his hands all power and influence setting 
himself up as the lord and master of the people. Nowhere has man been 
able to do without an i/aA! 

What are the consequences of this domination of man by man, of 
this attempt by man to play the role of divinity? The same that would 
follow from a mean and incompetent person being appointed a police 
commissioner or some ignorant and narrow-minded politician being 
exalted to the rank of a prime minister. For one thing, the effect of 
godhood is so intoxicating that one who tastes this powerful drink can 
never keep himself under control. Even assuming that such self-control 
is possible, the vast knowledge, the keen insight, the unquestioned 
impartiality and perfect disinterestedness which are required for 


carrying out the duties of godhood, will always remain out of the reach 4 
of man. That is why tyranny, despotism, intemperance, unlawful 
exploitation, and inequality reign supreme, whenever man’s over- 
lordship and domination (i/ahtyyah and rabübiyyah) over man are esta- 
blished. The human soul is inevitably deprived of its natural freedom; 
and man's mind and heart and his inborn faculties and aptitudes are 
subjected to such vexatious restrictions that the proper growth and 
development of his personality is arrested. How truly did the Holy 
Prophct observe: 

‘God, the Almighty, says: “l created men with a pliable nature; 
then the devils came and contrived to lead them astray fróm their 
faith and prohibited for them what I had made lawful for them." ”’ 

As I have indicated above, this is the sole cause of all the miseries and 
conflicts from which man has suffered during the long course of human 
history. This is the real impediment to his progress. This is the canker 
which has eaten into the vitals of his moral, intellectual, political and 
economic life, destroying all the values which alone make him human 
and mark him off from animals. So it was in the remote past and so it is 
today. The only remedy for this dreadful malady lies in the repu- - 
diation and renunciation by man of all masters and in the explicit 
recognition by him of God Almighty as his sole master and lord (tah 
and rabb). There is no way to his salvation except this; for even if he 
were to become an atheist and heretic he would not be able to shake 
himself free of all these masters (i/ahs and rabbs). 

This was the radical reformation effected from time to time by the 
Prophets in the life of humanity. They aimed at the demolition of 
man's supremacy over man. Their real mission was to deliver man 
from this injustice, this slavery of false gods, this tyranny of man over 
man, and this exploitation of the weak by the strong. Their object was 
to thrust back into their proper limits those who had over-stepped 
them and to raise to the proper level those who had been forced down 
from it. They endeavoured to evolve a social organization based on 
human equality in which man should be neither the slave nor the 
master of his fellow-beings and in which all men should become the 
servants of one real Lord. The message of all the Prophets that came 
into the world was the same, namely: 

7. Hadith Qudsi. 


ʻO my people, worship Allah. There is no ilàh whatever for you 
except He.’ 

This was precisely what Noah said; this is exactly what Hüd 
declared; Salih affirmed the same truth; Shu‘ayb gave the same mes- 
sage, and the same doctrine was repeated and confirmed by Moses, 
jesus and by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them all). The last 
of the Prophets, Muhammad (God's blessing and peace be upon him) 

‘I am only a warner, and there is no God save Allah, the One, the 
Absolute Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between 
them.'? | 

‘Your Lord is Allah who created the heavens and the earth in six 
days, then sat Himself upon the Throne. He covers the night with 
the day, which is in haste to follow and has made the sun and the 

. moon and the stars subservient by His command. His is all creation 
and (His is the) command.’ "° 

'Such is Allah, your Lord. There is no God save Him, the Creator 
of all things, so worship Him. And He takes care of all things." 

‘And they are not enjoined anything except that they should 
serve Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience." ” 

‘Come to a word common between us and between you, that we 
shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partner 
to Him and that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah.’ ? 

This was the proclamation that released the human soul from its 
fetters and set man’s intellectual and material powers free from the 
bonds of slavery that held them in subjection. It relieved them of the 
burden that weighed heavily upon them and was breaking their backs. 
It gave them a real charter of liberty and freedom. The Holy Qur’an 
refers to this marvellous achievement of the Prophet of Islam when it 

‘And he (the Prophet) relieves them of their burden and chains 
that were around them.’ "* 

8. al-Qur'ian 7: 59, 65, 73, 86; also 11: 50, 61, 84. 
9. ibid., 38: 65-66. 

10. ibid., 7: 54. 

11. ibid., 6: 102. 

12. ibid., 98: 5. 

13. ibid., 3: 64. 

14. ibid., 7: 157. 



The belief in the Unity and the sovereignty of Allah is the foundation 
of the social and moral system propounded by the Prophets. It is the 
very starting-point of the Islamic political philosophy. The basic 
principle of Islam is that human beings must, individually and collec- 
tively, surrender all rights of overlordship, legislation and exercizing of 
authority over others. No one should be allowed to pass orders or make 
commands in his own right and no one ought to accept the obligation to 
carry out such commands and obey such orders. None is entitled to 
make laws on his own authority and none is obliged to abide by them. 
This right vests in Allah alone: 

"The Authority rests with none but Allah. He commands you not 
to surrender to any onc save Him. This is the right way (of life). '5 

"They ask: “have we also got some authority?” Say: "all authority 
belongs to God alone". '® | 

‘Do not say wrongly with your tongues that this is lawful and that 
is unlawful." " 

"Whoso does not establish and decide by that which Allah has | 
revealed, such are disbelievers.’ ' 

According to this theory; sovereignty belongs to Allah. He alone is 
the law-giver. No man, even if he be a Prophet, has the right to order 
others in his own right to do or not to do certain things. The Prophet 
himself is subject to God's commands: 

‘Ido not follow anything except what is revealed to me. 

Other people are required to obey the Prophet because he enun- 
ciates not his own but God's commands: 

‘We sent no messenger save that he should be obeyed by Allah's 
command." ? 

15. al-Qur’an, 12: 40. 
16. ibid., 3: 154. 

17. ibid., 16: 116. 

18. ibid., 5: 44. 

19. ibid., 6: 50. 

20. ibid., 4: 64. 


‘They are the people to whom We gave the Scripture and Com- 
mand and Prophethood.’”' ! 

‘It is not (possible) for any human being to whom Allah has given: 
the Scripture and the Wisdom and the Prophethood that he should 
say to people: Obey me instead of Allah. Such a one (could only 
say): be solely devoted to the Lord.” 

Thus the main characteristics of an Islamic state that can be de- 
duced from these express statements of the Holy Qur’an are as 
follows: — 

(1) No person, class or group, not even the entire population of the 
state as a whole, can lay claim to sovereignty. God alone is the real 
sovereign; all others are merely His subjects; 

(2) God is the real law-giver and the authority of absolute legisla- 
tion vests in Him. The believers cannot resort to totally independent 
legislation nor can they modify any law which God has laid down, even 
if the desire to effect such legislation or change in Divine laws is una- 
nimous; " and 

(3) An Islamic state must, in all respects, be founded upon the law 
. laid down by God through His Prophet. The government which runs 
such a state will be entitled to obedience in its capacity as a political 
agency set up to enforce the laws of God and only in so far as it acts in 
that capacity. If it disregards the law revealed by God, its commands 
will not be binding on the believers. ! 


The preceding discussion makes it quite clear that Islam, speaking 
from the view-point of political philosophy, is the very antithesis of 
secular Western democracy. The philosophical foundation of Western 

21. ibid., 6: 90. 

22. ibid., 3: 79. 

23. Here the absolute right of legislation is being discussed. In the Islamic political 
theory this right vests in Allah alone. As to the scope and extent of human 
legislation provided by the SAari "ah itself please sce Mawdüdi, A.A., Islamic 
Law and Constitution, Chapter II: ‘Legislation and Ijtihad in Islam’ and Chapter 
VI: ‘First Principles of Islamic State.’ — Editor. 


democracy is the sovereignty of the people. In it, this type of absolute 
powers of legislation — of the determination of values and of the norms 
of behaviour — rest in the hands of the people. Law-making is their 
prerogative and legislation must correspond to the mood and temper 
of their opinion. If a particular piece of legislation is desired by the 
masses, howsoever ill-conceived, it may be from religious and moral 
viewpoint, steps have to be taken to place it on the statute book; if the 
people dislike any law and démand its abrogation, howsoever just and 
rightful, it might be, it has to be expunged forthwith. This is not the 
case in Islam. On this count, Islam has no trace of Western democracy. 
Islam, as already explained, altogether repudiates the philosophy of 
popular sovereignty and rears its polity on the foundations of the 
sovereignty of God and the vicegerency (Khilafah) of man.” 

A more apt name for the Islamic polity would be the ‘kingdom of 
God’ which is described in English as a ‘theocracy’. But Islamic theo- 
cracy is something altogether different from the theocracy of which 
Europe has had a bitter experience wherein a priestly class, sharply 
marked off from the rest of the population, exercises unchecked domi- 
nation and enforces laws of its own making in the name of God, thus 
virtually imposing its own divinity and godhood upon the common 
people.” Such a system of government is satanic rather than divine. 
Contrary to this, the theocracy built up by Islam is not ruled by any 
particular religious class but by the whole community of Muslims 
including the rank and file. The entire Muslim population runs the 
state in accordance with the Book of God and the practice of His 
Prophet. If I were permitted to coin a new term, I would describe this 
system of government as a ‘theo-democracy’, that is to say a divine 
democratic government, because under it the Muslims have been 
given a limited popular sovereignty under the suzerainty of God. The 

24. Here it must be clearly understood that democracy as a ‘philosophy’ and 
democracy as a ‘form of organization’ are not the same thing. In the form of 
organization, Islam has its own system of democracy as is explained in the 
following pages. But as a philosophy, the two, i.e. Islam and Western demo- 
cracy, are basically different, rather opposed to each other. — Editor. 

25. "Theocracy: a form of government in which God (or a deity) is recognized 
as the king or immediate ruler, and his laws are taken as the statute book of 
Kingdom, these laws being usually administered by a priestly order as his 
ministers and agents; hence (loosely) a system of government by a sacerdotal 
order claiming a divine commission. The Shorter Oxford Dictionary, Vol. II, 
Oxford, 1956, S.V. T'heocracy. 



executive under this system of government is constituted by the gene- 
ral will of the Muslims who have also the right to depose it. All admi- 
nistrative matters and all questions about which no explicit injunction 
is to be found in the shari ‘ah are settled by the consensus of opinion 
among the Muslims. Every Muslim who is capable and qualified to 
give a sound opinion on matters of Islamic law, is entitled to interpret 
the law of God when such interpretation becomes necessary. In this 
sense the Islamic polity is a democracy. But, as has been explained 
above, it isa theocracy in the sense that where an explicit command of 
God or His Prophet already exists, no Muslim leader or legislature, or 
any religious scholar can form an independent judgement, not even all 
the Muslims of the world put together havc any right to make the least 
alteration in it. 

Before proceeding further, I feel that I should put in a word of ex- 
planation as to why these limitations and restrictions have been placed 
upon popular sovercignty in Islam, and what is the nature of these 
limitations and restrictions. It may be said that God bas, in this man- 
ner, taken away the liberty of human mind and intellect instead of 
safeguarding it as I was trying to prove. My reply is that God has 
retained the right of legislation in His own hand not in order to deprive 
man of his natural freedom but to safeguard that very freedom. His 
purpose is to save man from going astray and inviting his own ruin. 

One can easily understand this point by attempting a little analysis 
of the so-called Western secular democracy. It is claimed that this 
democracy is founded on popular sovercignty. But everybody knows 
that the people who constitute a state do not all of them take part either 
in legislation or in its administration. They have to delegate their 
sovereignty to their elected representatives so that the latter may make 
and enforce laws on their behalf. For this purpose, an electoral system 
is set up. But as a divorce has been effected between politics and reli- 
gion, and asa result of this secularization, the society and particularly 
its politically active elements have ceased to attach much or any im- 
portance to morality and ethics. And this is also a fact that only those 
persons gencrally come to the top who can dupe the masses by their 
wealth, power, and deceptive propaganda. Although these represen- 
tatives come into power by the votes of the common pcople, they soon 
set themselves up as an independent authority and assume the position 
of overlords (ilahs). They often make laws not in the best interest of the 
people who raised them to power but to further t heir own sectional and 
class interests. They impose their will on the people by virtue of the 

T V. 


authority delegated to them by those over whom they rule. This is the - 
situation which besets pcople in England, America and in all those 
countries which claim to be the haven of secular democracy. 

Even if we overlook this aspect of the matter and admit that in these 
countries laws are made according to the wishes of the common people, 
it has been established by experience that the great mass of the com- 
mon people are incapable of perceiving their own true interests. It is 
the natural weakness of man that in most of the affairs concerning his 
life he takes into consideration only some one aspect of reality and loses 
sight of other aspects. His judgements are usually one-sided and he is . 
swayed by emotions and desires to such an extent that rarely, if ever, 
can he judge important matters with the impartiality and objectivity 
of scientific reason. Quite often he rejects the plea of reason simply 
because it conflicts with his passions and desires. I can cite many inst- 
ances in support of this contention but to avoid prolixity I shall content 
myself with giving only one example: the Prohibition Law of America, 
It has been iationally and logically established that drinking is inju- 
rious to health, produces deleterious effects on mental and intellectual 
faculties and leads to disorder in human society. The American public 
accepted these facts and agreed to the enactment of the Prohibition 
Law. Accordingly the law was passed by the majority vote. But when it 
was put into effect, the very same people by whose vote it had been 
passed, revolted against it. The worst kinds of wine were illicitly 
manufactured and consumed, and their use and consumption became 
more widespread than before. Crimes increased in number. And 
eventually drinking was legalized by the vote of the same people who 
had previously voted for its prohibition. This sudden change in public 
opinion was not the result of any fresh scientific discovery or the reve- 
lation of new facts providing evidence against the advantages of pro- 
hibition, but because the people had been completely enslaved by 
their habit and could not forgo the pleasures of self-indulgence. They 
delegated their own sovereignty to the evil spirit in them and set up 
their own desires and passions as their i/ahs (gods) at whose call they all 
went in for the repeal of the very law they had passed after having been 
convinced of its rationality and correctness. There are many other 
similar instances which 80 to prove that man is not competent to 
become an absolute legislator. Even if he secures deliverance from the 
service of other ilahs, he becomes a slave to his own petty passions and 
exalts the devil in him to the position of a supreme Lord. Limitations 
on human freedom, provided they are appropriate and do not deprive 

ee es T Ae eee pe ee ÉL 


him of all initiative are absolutely necessary in the interest of man 

That is why God has laid down those limits which, in Islamic phra- 
seology, are termed ‘divine limits’ (Hudüd-A llàh). These limits consist of 
certain principles, checks and balances and specific injunctions in 
different spheres of life and activity, and they have been prescribed in 
order that man may be trained to lead a balanced and moderate life. 
They are intended to lay down the broad framework within which 
man is free to legislate, decide his own affairs and frame subsidiary 
laws and regulations for his conduct. These limits he is not permitted to 
overstep and if he does so, the whole scheme of his life will go awry. 

Take for example man’s economic life. In this sphere God has placed 
certain restrictions on human freedom. The right to private property 
has been recognized, but it is qualified by the obligation to pay Zakah 
(poor dues) and the prohibition of interest, gambling and speculation. 
A specific law of inheritance for the distribution of property among the 
largest number of surviving relations on the death of its owner has been 
laid down and certain forms of acquiring, accumulating and spending 
wealth have been declared unlawful. If people observe these just limits 
and regulate their affairs within these boundary walls, on the one hand 
their personal liberty is adequately safeguarded and, on the other, the 
possibility of class war and domination of one class over another, 
which begins with capitalist oppression and ends in working-class 
dictatorship, is safely and conveniently elintinated. 

Similarly in the sphere of family life, God has prohibited the unres- 
tricted intermingling of the sexes and has prescribed Pardah, recogniz- 
ed man’s guardianship of woman, and clearly defined the rights and 
duties of husband, wife and children. The laws of divorce and separa- 
tion have been clearly set forth, conditional polygamy has been per- 
mitted and penalties for fornication and false accusations of adultery 
have been prescribed. He has thus laid down limits which, if observed 
by man, would stabilize his family life and make it a haven of peace 
and happiness. There would remain neither that tyranny of male over 
female which makes family life an inferno of cruelty and oppression, 

26. The question however is: Who is to impose these restrictions? According to 
the Islamic view it is only Allah, the Creator, the Nourisher, the All-Knowing 
Who is entitled to impose restrictions on human freedom and not any man. No 
man is entitled to do so. If any man arbitrarily imposes restrictions on human 
freedom, that is despotism pure and simple. In Islam there i is no place for such 
despotism. — Editor. 


nor that satanic flood of female liberty and licence which threatens to 
destroy human civilization in the West. 

In like manner, for the preservation of human culture and society 
God has, by formulating the law of Qisas (Retaliation) commanding to 
cut off the hands for theft, prohibiting wine-drinking, placing limita- 
tions on uncovering of one's private parts and by laying down a few 
similar permanent rules and regulations, closed the door of social 
disorder for ever. I have no time to present to you a complete list of all 
the divine limits and show in detail how essential each one of them is 
for maintaining equilibrium and poise in life. What I want to bring 
home to you here is that through these injunctions God has provided a 
permanent and immutable code of behaviour for man, and that it does 
not deprive him of any essential liberty nor does it dull the edge of his 
mental faculties. On the contrary, it sets a straight and clear path 
before him, so that he may not, owing to his ignorance and weaknesses 
which he inherently posscsses, lose himself in the maze of destruction 
and instead of wasting his faculties in the pursuit of wrong ends, he 
may follow the road that leads to success and progress in this world and 
the hereafter. If you have ever happened to visit a mountainous region, 
you must have noticed that in the winding mountain paths which are 
bounded by deep caves on the one side and lofty rocks on the other, the 
border of the road is barricaded and protected in such a way as to 
prevent travellers from straying towards the abyss by mistake. Are 
these barricades intended to deprive the wayfarer of his liberty? No, as 
a matter of fact, they are meant to protect him from destruction; to 
warn him at every bend of the dangers ahead and to show him the path 
leading to his destination. That precisely is the purposc of the restric- 
tions (hudiid) which God has laid down in His revealed Code. These 
limits determine what direction man should take in life's journey and 
they guide him at every turn and pass and point out to him the path of 
safety which he should steadfastly follow. 

As I have already stated, this code, enacted as it is by God, is un- 
changeable. You can, if you like, rebel against it, as some Muslim 
countries have done. But you cannot alter it. It will continue to be 
unalterable till the last day. It has its own avenues of growth and 
evolution, but no human being has any right to tamper with it. Whe- 
never an Islamic State comes into existence, this code would form its 
fundamental law and will constitute the mainspring of all its legisla- 
tion. Everyone who desires to remain a Muslim is under an obligation 


to follow the Qur'àn and the Sunnah which must constitute the basic 
law of an Islamic State. 


The purpose of the state that may be formed on the basis of the Qur'án 
and the Sunnah has also been laid down by God. The Qur'àn says: 

‘We verily sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and revealed 
with them the Scripture and the Balance, that mankind may 
observe right measure; and We revealed iron, wherein is mighty 
power and (many) uses for mankind.” 

In this verse stecl symbolizes political power and the verse also 
makes it clear that the mission of the Prophets is to create conditions in 
which the mass of people will be assured of social justice in accordance 
with the standards enunciated by God in His Book which gives explicit 
instructions for a well-disciplined mode of life. In another place God 
has said: 

‘(Muslims are) those who, if We give them power in the land, 
establish the system of Salah (worship) and Zakah (poor dues) and 
enjoin virtue and forbid evil and inequity.” 

‘You are the best community sent forth to mankind; you enjoin 
the Right conduct and forbid the wrong; and you believe in 
Allah.’ ” 

It will readily become manifest to anyone who reflects upon these 
verses that the purpose of the state visualized by the Holy Qur'an is not 
negative but positive. The object of the state is not merely to prevent 
people from exploiting each other, to safeguard their liberty and to 
protect its subjects from foreign invasion. It also aims at evolving and 
developing that well-balanced system of social justice which has been 
set forth by God in His Holy Book. Its object is to eradicate all forms of 
evil and to encourage all types of virtue and excellenc? expressly men- 
tioned by God in the Holy Qur’an. For this purpose political power 
will be made use of as and when the occasion demands; all means of 
propaganda and peaceful persuasion will be employed; the moral 
education of the pcople will also be undertaken; and social influence as 
well as the force of public opinion will be harnessed to the task. 

27. al-Qur'án, 57: 25. 
28. ibid., 22: 41. 
29. ibid., 3: 110. 



A state of this sort cannot evidently restrict the scope of its activities. Its 
approach is universal and all-embracing. Its sphere of activity is coex- 
tensive with the whole of human life. It seeks to mould every aspect of 
life and activity in consonance with its moral norms and programme of 
social reform. In such a state no one can regard any field of his affairs as 
personal and private. Considered from this aspect the Islamic state 
bears a kind of resemblance to the Fascist and Communist states. But 
you will find later on that, despite its all-inclusiveness, it is something 
vastly and basically different from the modern totalitarián and 
authoritarian states. Individual liberty is not suppressed under it nor is 
there any trace of dictatorship in it. It presents the middle course and 
embodies the best that the human society has ever evolved. The excel- 
lent balance and moderation that characterize the Islamic system of 
government and the precise distinctions made in it between right and 
wrong — elicit from all men of honesty and intelligence the admira- 
tion and the admission that such a balanced system could not have 
been framed by anyone but the Omniscient and All-Wise God. 


Another characteristic of the Islamic State is that it is an ideological 
state. It is clear from a careful consideration of the Qur'àn and the 
Sunnah that the state in Islam is based on an ideology and its objective is 
to establish that ideology. The state is an instrument of reform and 
must act likewise. It is a dictate of this very nature of the Islamic State 
that such a state should be run only by those who believe in the - 
ideology on which it is based and in the Divine Law which it is assigned 
to administer. The administrators of the Islamic state must be those 
whose-whole life is devoted to the observance and énforcement of this 
Law, who not only agree with its reformatory programme and fully 
believe in it but thoroughly comprehend its spirit and are acquainted 
with its details. Islam does not recognize any geographical, linguistic 
or colour bars in this respect. It puts forward its code of guidance and 
the scheme of its reform before all men. Whoever accepts this pro- 
gramme, no matter to what race, nation or country he may belong, can 
join the community that runs the Islamic state. But those who do not 
accept it are not entitled to have any hand in shapin g the fundamental 
policy of the state. They can live within the confines of the State as 
non-Muslim citizens (Dhimm:s). Specific rights and privileges have 
been accorded to them in the Islamic Law. A Dhimmi’s life, property 



and honour will be fully protected, and if he is capable of any service, 
his services will alsa be made use of. He will not, however, be allowed to 
influence the basic policy of this ideological state. The Islamic state is 
based on a particular ideology and it is the community which believes 
in the Islamic ideology which pilots it. Here again, we notice some sort 
of resemblance between the Islamic and the Communist states. But the 
treatment meted out by the Communist states to persons holdings 
creeds and ideologies other than its own bears no comparison with the 
attitude of the Islamic state. Unlike the Communist state, Islam does 
not impose its social principles on others by force, nor does it confiscate 
their properties or unleash a reign of terror by mass executions of the 
people and their transportation to the slave camps of Siberia. Islam 
does not want to eliminate its minorities, it wants to protect them and 
gives them the freedom to live according to their own culture. The 
generous and just treatment which Islam has accorded to non- 

‘Muslims in an Islamic State and the fine distinction drawn by it be- 

tween justice and injustice and good and evil will convince all those 
who are not prejudiced against it, that the prophets sent by God 

. accomplish their task in an altogether different manner — something 


radically different and diametrically opposed to the way of the false 
reformers who strut about here and there on the stage of history.” 


30. This paper was written in 1939 and in it the author has dealt with the 
theoretical aspect of the problem only. In his later articles he has discussed the 
practical aspect as well. In his article on the ‘Rights of Non-Muslims in Islamic 
State’ (see Islamic Law and Constitution, Chapter VIII, pp. 316-317). He writes: 

‘However, in regard to a parliament or a legislature of the modern 
conception, which is considerably different from Shüra in its traditional 
sense, this rule could be relaxed to allow non-Muslims to become its 
members provided that it has been fully ensured in the Constitution that: 
(i) It would be ultra vires of the parliament or the legislature to enact any 
law which is repugnant to the Qur'án and the Sunnah. 

(ii) The Qur'àn and the Sunnah would be the chief source of the public law 
of the land. 

(ii) The head of the state or the assenting authority would necessarily be 
a Muslim. With these provisions ensured, the sphere of influence of non- 
Muslims would be limited to matters relating to the general problems of 
the country or to the interests of minorities concerned and their participa- 
tion would not damage the fundamental requirements of Islam.’ 

The non-Muslims cannot occupy key-posts — posts from where the ideologi 
cal policy of the state can be influenced — but they can occupy general admi- 
nistrative posts and can act in the services of the state. Editor. 



I will now try to give a brief exposition of the composition and struc- 
ture of the Islamic state. I have already stated that in Islam, God alone 
is the real sovereign. Keeping this cardinal principle in mind, if we 
consider the position of those persons who set out to en force God's law 
on earth, it is but natural to say that they should be regarded as repre- 
sentatives of the Supreme Ruler. Islam has assigned precisely this very 
position to them. Accordingly the Holy Qur'àn says: 

‘Allah has promised to those among you who believe and do 
righteous deeds that He will assuredly make them to sutceed (the 
present rulers) and grant them vicegerency in the land just as He 
made those before them to succeed (others).' : | 

The verse illustrates very clearly the Islamic theory of state. Two 
fundamental points emerge from it. E | 

1. The first point is that Islam uses the term ‘vicegerency’ (Khila- 
fah) instead of sovereignty. Since, according to Islam, sovereignty 
belongs to God alone, anyone who holds power and rules in accord- 
ance with the laws of God would undoubtedly be the vicegerent of the 
Supreme Ruler and would not be authorised to exercise any powers 
other than those delegated to him. ces i 

2. Thesecond point stated in the verse is that the power torule over 
the earth has been promised to the whole community of believers; it has not 
been stated that any particular person or class among them will be 
raised to that position. From this it follows that all believers are repo- 
sitories of the Caliphate. The Caliphate granted by God to the faithful 
is the popular vicegerency and not a limited one. There is no reserva- 
tion in favour of any family, class or race. Every believer is a Caliph of 
God in his individual capacity. By virtue of this position he is indivi- 
dually responsible to God. The Holy Prophet has said: ‘Everyone of 
you is a ruler and everyone is answerable for his subjects.’ Thus one 
Caliph is in no way inferior to another. 

This is the real foundation of democracy in Islam. The following 
points emerge from an analysis of this conception of popular vicege- 

(a) A society in which everyone is a caliph of God and an equal 
participant in this caliphate, cannot tolerate any class divisions based 

ee we ^ 

Sr ee 


on distinctions of birth and social position. All men enjoy equal status 
and position in such a society. The only criterion of superiority in this 
social order is personal ability and character. This is what has been 
repeatedly and explicitly asserted by the Holy Prophet: 

‘No one is superior to another except in point of faith and piety. 
All men are descended from Adam and Adam was made of clay.’ 

‘An Arab has nosupcriority over a non-Arab nora non-Arab over 
an Arab; neither does a white man possess any superiority over a 
black man nor a black man over a white one, except in point of 
piety.’ | 

After the conquest of Mekka, when the whole of Arabia came under 
the dominion of the Islamic state, the Holy Prophet addressing the 
members of his own clan, who in the days before Islam enjoyed the 
same status in Arabia as the Brahmins did in ancient India, said: 

*O people of Quraysh! Allah has rooted out your haughtiness of 
the daysofignorance and thc pride of ancestry. O men, all of you are 
descended from Adam and Adam was made of clay. There is no 
pride whatever in ancestry; there is no merit in an Arab as against a 
non-Arab nor in a non-Arab agdinst an Arab. Verily the most 
meritorious among you in the eyes of God is he who is the most 

(b) In such a society no individual or group of individuals will suffer 
any disability on account of birth, social status, or profession that may 
in any way impede the growth of his faculties or hamper the develop- 
ment of his personality. 

Every one would enjoy equal opportunities of progress. The way 
would be left open for him to make as much progress as possible 
according to his inborn capacity and personal merits without preju- 
dice to similar rights of other people. Thus, unrestricted scope for 
personal achievement has always been the hallmark of Islamic society. 
Slaves and their descendants were appointed as military officers and 
governors of provinces, and noblemen belonging to the highest fami- 
lies did not feel ashamed to serve under them. Those who used to stitch 
and mend shoes rose in the social scale and became leaders of highest 
order (imams); Weavers and cloth-sellers became judges (muftis) and 
jurists and to this day they are reckoned as the heroes of Islam. The 
Holy Prophet has said: 

31. al-Qur’an, 24: 55. 


‘Listen and obey even if a negro is appointed as a ruler over you.’ 
(c) There is no room in such a society for the dictatorship of any 
person or group of persons since everyone is a caliph of God herein. No 
person or group of persons is entitled to become an absolute ruler by 
depriving thé rank and file of their inherent right of caliphate. The 
position of a man who is selected to conduct the affairs of the state is no 
more than this; that all Muslims (or, technically speaking, all caliphs 
of God) delegate their caliphate to him for administrative purposes. He 
is answerable to God on the one hand and on the other to his fellow ‘caliphs’ who 
have delegated their authority to him. Now, if he raises himself to the position 
of an irresponsible absolute ruler, that is to Say a dictator, he assumes 
the character of a usurper rather than a Caliph, because dictatorship is 
the negation of popular vicegerency. No doubt the Islamic state is an 
all-embracing state and comprises within its sphere all departments of 
life, but this all-inclusiveness and universality are based upon the 
universality of Divine Law which an Islamic ruler has to observe and 
enforce. The guidance given by God about every aspect of life will 
certainly be enforced in its entirety. But an Islamic rulercannot depart 
from these instructions and adopt a policy of regimentation on his 
own. He cannot force people to follow or not to follow a particular 
profession; to learn or not to learn a special art; to use or not to use a 
certain script; to wear or not to wear a certain dress and to educate or 
not to educate their children in a certain manner. The powers which 
the dictators of Russia, Germany and Italy have appropriated or 
which Ataturk has exercized in Turkey have not been granted by Islam 
to its Amir (leader). Besides this, another important point is that in 
Islam every individual is held personally answerable to God. This personal 
responsibility cannot be shared by anyone else. Hence, an individual 
enjoys full liberty to choose whichever path he likes and to develop his 
faculties in any direction that suits his natural gifts. If the leader 
obstructs him or obstructs the growth of his personality, he will himself 
be punished by God for this tyranny. That is precisely the reason why 
there is not the slightest trace of regimentation in the rule of the Holy 
Prophet and of his Rightly-Guided Caliphs; and 
(d) In such a society every sane and adult Muslim, male or female, is 
entitled to express his or her opinion, for cach one of them is the repo- 
sitory of the caliphate. God has made this caliphate conditional, not 
upon any particular standard of wealth or competence but only upon 
faith and good conduct. Therefore all Muslims have equal freedom to 
express their opinions. 


Islam seeks to set up, on the one hand, this AR a democracy and 
on the other it has put an end to that individualism which militates 
against the health of the body politic. The relations between the indi- 
vidual and the society have been regulated in such a manner that 
neither the personality of the individual suffers any diminution, or 
corrosion as it does in the Communist and Fascist social system, nor is 
the individual allowed to exceed his bounds to such an extent as to 
become harmful to the community, as happens in the Western demo- 
cracies. In Islam, the purpose of an individual’s life is the same as that 
of the life of the community, namely, the execution and enforcement of 
Divine Law and the acquisition of God’s pleasure. Moreover, Islam 
has, after safeguarding the rights of the individual, imposed upon him 
certain duties towards the community. In this way requirements of 
individualism and collectivism have been so well harmonized that the 
' individual is afforded the fullest opportunity to develop his poten- 
tialities and is thus enabled to employ his developed faculties in the 
service of the community at large. 

These are, briefly, the basic principles and essential features of the 
Islamic political theory. 





Objectives of the Islamic. 
Economic Order 
Muhammad Umar Chapra 

JSLAM is not an ascetic religion! and does not aim at depriving Mus- 
'. lims of the ‘good things that God has provided’ (al-Qur'àn, 7: 32). It 
takes a positive view of life considering man not as a born sinner 
eternally condemned for his original sin, but as the vicegerent of God 
(al-Qur'àn, 2: 30) for whom has been created everything or earth 
(al-Qur'àn, 2: 29). Virtue therefore lies not in shunning the bounties of 
God, but in enjoying them within the fraraework of the values for 
‘righteous living’ through which Islam seeks to promote human wel- 
The values for righteous living that Islam ptopagates permeate all 

* This chapter is taken from Dr. Chapra's book Economic System of Islam, Uni- 
versity of Karachi, 1971. 

1. The Qur'àn says: ‘And the monasticism which they have innovated, We did 
not prescribe it for them’ (al-Qur’an, 57: 27). Once after the Prophet had given 
a lecture on the certainty of the Day of Judgment and the accountability 
before God, a few of his Companions gathered in the house of ‘Uthman bin 
Maz'ün and resolved to fast everyday, to pray every night, not to sleep on beds, 
not to cat meat or fat, not to have anything to do with women or perfume, to 
wear coarse clothes, and in general to rejec} the world. The Prophet heard of 
this and told them: | 

‘I have not been directed by God to live in lhis manner. Your body certainly 
has rights over you; so fast but also abstain from fasting, and pray at night but 
also sleep. Look at mc, J pray at night but T also slecp; I fast but I also abstain 
from fasting, I cat meat as well as fat, and I also marry. So whoever turns away 
from my way is not from me.’ (See the commentary of verse 87 of sürah 5 in 
al-Kashshàf, Beirut, 1947, v. 1, p. 67; and Ibn Kathir Tafsir al-Qur an al- ‘Azim, 
Cairo, n.d., v. 2, pp. 87-8. See also Bukhari, Cairo, n.d. v. 3, pp. 49-50; Muslim, 
Jairo, 1955 v. 2, pp. 812-18; and Darimi, Damascus, 1349 A.D., v. 2, p. 133). 


sectors of human activity. There is no strictly mundane sector of life 
according to Islam. Action in every field of human activity, including 
the economic, is spiritual provided it is in harmony with the goals and 
values of Islam. It is really these goals and values that determine the 
nature of the economic system of Islam. A proper understanding of 
these is therefore essential for a better perspective of the economic 

system of Islam. These goals and values are: 

(a) Economic well-being within the framework.of the misia norms 
of Islam; 

(b) Universal brotherhood and justice; 

(c) Equitable distribution of income; and 

(d) Freedom of the individual within the context of social welfare. 

This list of goals is by no means complete but should provide a 
sufficient framework for discussing and elaborating the Islamic eco- 
nomic system and highlighting those characteristics which distinguish 
the Islamic system from the two prevent systems, capitalism and 

(a) Economic well-being and the moral norms of Islam. 
Eat and drink of that which God has provided and act not cor- 
ptly, making mischief in the world (al-Qur'àn 2: 60). 
lo mankind! Eat of what js lawful and good on earth and foliow 
not the footsteps of the devil (al-Our'àn 2: 168). 
O you who believe! Forbid not the good things which God has 
made lawful for you and exceed not the limits. Surely, God loves not 
- those who exceed the limits. And eat of the lawful and good that 
God has given you, and keep your duty to God in whom you believe 
(al-Qur'àn, 5: 87-88). 

These verses of the Qur'àn, and there are many others like these,? 
strike the keynote of the Qur'ánic message in the economic field, Islam. 
urges Muslims to enjoy the bounties provided by God and sets no 
quantitative limits to the extent of material growth. of Muslim society) 
It even equates the struggle for material 

When the prayer is ended, then disperse in the land and seek of: 

God's bounty .. . (al-Qur’an, 62: 10). 

If God provides anyone of you with an opportunity for earning 

2. See, al'Our'àn, 2: 172; 6: 142; 7: 31 and 160; 16: 114; 20: 81; 23: 51; 34: 15; 
and 67: 15. 


livelihood, let him not leave it unexploited until it is exhausted or 
becomes disagreeable to him.’ 

Any Muslim who plants a tree or cultivates a field ata 
bird, or a human being, or an animal cats from it,.this act.will-be 
counted ity.* 
~ He who seeks the world lawfully to refrain from begging, to cater 
to his family, and to be kind to his neighbour, will meet God with his 
face shining like the full moon.’ 

Islam goes even further than thislft urges Muslims to gain mastery 
over nature because, according to the Qur'àn, all resources in the 
heavens and the earth have been created for the service of mankin 
and because, as the Prophet said, ‘there is no malady for which God has 
not created a cure’,’ From this, one cannot but infer that the goal of 
attaining a suitably high rate ofeconomic growth should be among the 
economic goals of a Muslim society because this would be the manife- 

' station of a continious effort to use, through research and improve- 

ments in technology, the resources provided by God for the service and _ 
betterment of mankind, thus helping in the fulfilment of the very 
object of their creation. 

Islam has prohibited begging and urged Muslims to earn their 
livelihood.’ From this premise one may infer that one of the economic 
goals of a Muslim society should be to create such an economic envi- 
ronment that those who are willing to and looking for work are able to 
find gainful employment in accordance with their abilities. If this is 
not accomplished then Muslim society cànnot succeed even in its 
spiritual aims, because those unemployed would be subjected to a life 
of extreme hardship unless they depend on the dole, or resort to beg- 

3. Ibn Majah Cairo, 1952, v. 2, p. 727: 2148. 

4. Bukhari, v. 3, p. 128; Muslim, v. 3, p. 1189: 12; and Tirmidhi, v. 3, p. 
666: 1382. 

5. Cited on the authority of Bayhaqi's Shu'b al-iman in Mishkat Damascus, 
1381, A.D., v. 2, p. 658: 5207. 

6. Says the Qur'àn: ‘God has made subservient to you whatever is in the 
heavens and whatever is in the earth and granted you his bounties both 
manifest and hidden’ (31: 20). There are several verses of this meaning in the 
Qur’an, for example, 14: 32-33; 16: 12-14; 22: 65 and 45: 12. 

7. Bukhari, v. 7, p. 158; and Ibn Majah v. 2. p. 1138: 3439. 

8. “Beg not anything from the people’ (Aba Dawid Cairo, 1952 v. 1, p. 382); 
"The hand that is above is better than the hand that is below? (Bukhari, v. 2, p. 
133 and Nisa'i, v. 5, p. 45-46); and ‘A man has not earned better income than 
that which is from his own labour’ (Ibn Májah, v. 2, p. 723: 2138; and Nisà'i, 
Cairo, 1964, v. 7, p. 212). 


l r 
rin ty 

^ 1 


[o through unfair means, exploiting others, subjecting them to wrong 

fey vic hd . 
; and injustice, and by not promoting the good of others from what he 

at x 

| A 

Fn 1 
` t'e 
fE 4 


ging or immoral practices, all of which, particularly the last two, would 
be repugnant to the spirit of Islam. , | 

This stress of Islam on economic well-being springs from the very 
nature of its message. Islam is designed to serve as a ‘blessing’ for 
mankind, and aims at making life richer and worth the living and not 
poorer, full of hardships. Says the Qur'àn: 

We sent you not but as a blessing for all mankind (al-Qur'àn, 21: 

O mankind! There has come to you indeed an admonition from 
your Lord, and a healing for what is in your hearts, and for those 
who believe a guidance and a blessing (al-Qur'àn, 10: 57); 

God desires ease for you and desires not hardship for you 
(al'Our'àn, 2: 185); 

God desires to alleviate your burdens, for man is created weak 
(al-Qur'àn, 4: 28); and 

God desires not to place a burden on you but He wishes to purify 

you and to complete His favour on you so that yov may be grateful 
(al-Qur’an, 5: 6). 

On the basis of these verses of the Qur’4n Muslim Jurists have una- 
nimously held that catering for the interests of the people and relieving 
them of hardships is the basic objective of the Shari 'a4.? Ghazali, a 
great philosopher-reformer-süfi contended that the very objective of 

the Shari ‘ah is to promote the welfare of the people which lies in safe- 

guarding their faith, their life; their intellect, their posterity and their 
yal and that therefore whatever ensures the safeguard of these 
five serves public interest and is desirable." Ibn Qayyim emphasized 
that ‘the basis of the Shari ‘ah is wisdom and the welfare of the people in 
this world as well as the Hereafter. This welfare lics in complete justice, 
mercy, welfare and wisdom; anything that departs from justice to 
oppression, from mercy to harshness, from welfare to misery, and from 
wisdom to folly, has nothing to do with the Shari ‘ah. "' 

In this pursuit of an economically fuller and prosperous life it is 
possible for a\Muslim to go to the extreme and to make matcrial wel- 
fare an end in itself by ignoring spiritual values, acquiring wealth 

9. See Abü Zahrah Usiil al-Figh, Damascus, 1957, p. 355. 

//5 10. M. Ghazi al-Mustasfa Cairo, 1937, v. 1, pp. 139-40. 

11. Ibn Qayyim J ‘lam al-Muwag@i in, Cairo, 1955. 


has earned or accumulated. Hence, since Islam also seeks to ‘purify’ 
life, the Qur'àn clearly warns Muslims against this danger: ‘When the. 

prayer is ended of God's bounty-but 

remember God much so.that-you-may-be-successful (al-Qur'àn, 62: 
10). It is generally understood by Muslim religious scholars that 're- 
membering God much' does not imply spending most of one's time in 
saying prayers or reciting the rosary, but-that-it-implies living a mor- 
ally responsible life in accordance with the norms of lam, Yearning. 
only by the right methods and abandoning all the wrong ? and is 
considering wealth as a stewardship for which account is to be render- 
ed by God (al-Qur’an, 57: 7). 

In this context it may be easier to understand those Qur'ànic verses 
and ahadith that emphasize the trifling nature of this world and its 
possessions." These arc trifling not in any absolute sense, but in rela- 
tion to spiritual values. If the worldly possessions can be acquired 

,* without sacrificing spiritual ideals, then there is no virtue in forsaking 

them, as the Prophet said: ‘There is nothing wrong in wealth for him 
who fears God'."[But'if there is a conflict then, one must be contented 
with whatever can be acquired rightfully even though it may be little, 
as the Qur'àn explains: 'Say the bad and the good are not equal, 
though the abundance of the bad may fascinate you; so keep your duty 
to God, O men of understanding, that you may succeed’ (al-Qur'àn, 5: 
100). One who cares more for the eternal values of Islam than for the 
worldly pleasures would not hesitate to make this sacrifice for he un- 

12. Ibn Kathir, while interpreting this verse, says: Remember God much' 
means that ‘While selling or buying and taking or giving, you must remember 
God much so that these worldly pursuits do not cause you to lose sight of what 
benefits you in the Hereafter’ T'afsir v. 4, p. 367. i 

13. The Prophet exhorted: ‘Fear God and be moderate in your pursuit of 
wealth; take only that which is allowed and leave that which is forbidden.’ Ibn 
Majah, v. 2, p. 725, 2144. 

14. 'Say: The wordly possessions are but trifling, it is the Hereafter which is 
better for those who fear God’ (al-Qur'àn, 4: 77; see also 29: 64 and 57: 20-21.) 
‘Live in this world as though you are a stranger or a wayfarer, and consider 
yourself among those in the grave’ (Ibn Majah, v. 2, p. 1378: 4114). 

‘What is this world compared to the Hereafter? Thrust your finger in the ocean 
and see what you get‘ (Mrshkat, v. 2, p. 648: 5156, on the authority of Muslim). 
‘Be detached from the world and God will love you, be detached from what the 
people have and they will love you’ (Ibid., v. 2, p. 654: 5187, on the authority of 
Tirmidhiand Ibn Màjah). 

15. Bukhari, p. 113: 301. 


derstands and appreciates what the Prophet meant by saying that 
"The love of this world is the source of all evil’'®, and that ‘He who loves 
the world prejudices his Hereafter and he who loves the Hereafter 
receives a setback in the world; so prefer that which is eternal to that 
which is mortal’. " 

. This explains the manner in which Islam creates a harmony be- 
tween the material and the moral by urging Muslims to strive for 
material welfare but stressing simultaneously that thev place this 
material effort on a moral foundation thus providing a spiriival 
orientation to material effort: p9 

And seek to attain by means of what God has given you the abode 
of the Hereafter, but neglect not your share in this world, and do 
good to others as God has done good to you, and seek not to make 
mischief in the world. Surely God loves not the mischief-makers 
(al'Our'àn, 28: 77). 

The best of Musiims is he who is concerned about the affairs of 
this world as well as the affairs of the Hercafter.'? 

He is not the best of you who renounces this world for the 
Hereafter nor is he who neglects the Hereafter for this world; the 
best of you is he who takes from this world as well as the Hereafter.'? 

This simultaneus stress on both the material and the spiritual as- 
pects of life is a unique characteristic of the Islamic economic system. 
The spiritual and the material have been so firmly dovetailed with 
each other that they may serve as a source of mutual strength and 
together contribute to real human welfare. The neglect of any one of 
these two aspects of life cannot lead mankind to true welfare. If only | 
material well-being is catered for and there are accompanying moral 
and cultural maladjustments, there would be increased manifestation 
of the symptoms of anomae, such as frustration, crime, alcoholism, 
extra-marital relations, divorce, mental illness and suicide, all indi- 
cating lack of inner happiness in the life of individuals. If only the 
spiritual need of life is catered for, the mass of the people would find it 
impractible and unrealistic, thus generating a dichotomy and conflict 

16. Cited on the authority of Bayhaqi's Shu ‘ab al-imàn in Mishkat v. 2, p. 659: 

17. Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, cited in ibid., v. 2, p. 652: 5179. 

18. Ibn Majah, v. 2, p. 725: 2143. l 

19. Hadith reported by Māiwardi, p. 117; also cited on the authority of Ibn 
‘Asakir, but with slightly different wording, by Suyüti in al- Jami‘ al-Saghir, v. 
2, p. 135) | 


between material and spiritual values which may threaten to destroy 
all values in human society. | 

This synthesis of the material and the spiritual is what is missing in 
the other two systems, capitalism and socialism, as they are both - 
basically secular and either amoral or morally neutral. No one can 
deny the achievements of the capitalist system in efficiency of the 
productive machinery and standards of living, nor can anyone deny 
the achievements of the socialist system in rates of economic growth. 
But both the capitalist and the socialist systems have neglected the 
spiritual needs of the human personality. 

(b) Universal brotherhood and justice. 
O mankind! We created you from a male and a female and made 
you into nations and tribes that you may know each other. Verily, 
the most honoured of you before God is the most righteous of you; 
surely God is Knowing, Aware (al-Qur'àn, 49: 13); 
Your God is one, you are from Adam and Adam was from dust; 
an Arab has no mipecalsy over a non-Arab nor a white over a black 
except by righteousness.” 
Mankind is from Adam and Eve and all of you are alike in your 
descent from them. On the Day of Judgement, God will not ask you 
about your noble descent or your lineage; rather the most honoured 
of you before God on that Day will be the most righteous of you?! 
Islam aims at establishing a social order where all individuals are 
united by bonds of brotherhood and affection like members of one 
single family created by One God from one couple. This brotherhood is 
universal and not parochial. It is not bound by any.gcographical 
boundaries and encompasses the whole of mankind and not any one 
familial group or tribe or race. The Qur'àn asserts, ‘Say: O mankind! 
Surely I am a messenger of God to you all’ (al-Qur'àn, 7: 158); and the 
Prophet stressed: ‘I have been sent to all alike, the white or the black’.” 

A natural corollary of this concept of universal brotherhood is 
mutual co-operation and help, particularly among Muslims who, 
beside being united to each other as to the rest of mankind by a com- 
mon origin, are further united by bonds of common ideology, and have 
been characterized by the Qur'àn as ‘brothers-in-faith’ (al-Qur'àn, 9: 

20. Prophet Muhammad quoted on the authority of al-Tabaràni in Majma“ 
al-Zawa’ id, v. 8, p. 84; the quotation is the combination of two hadiths. 

21. Ibn Kathir, Tafsir, v. 4, p. 218, see the commentary of verse 13 of sürah 49. 
22. Shàtibi al-Muwafiqat fi Usil al-Shari ‘ah, Cairo, n.d., v. 2, p. 244, on the 
authority of Bukhari, Muslim and Nisà'i. 



11)” and ‘merciful among themselves’ (al-Qur’an, 48: 29). The Pro- . 
phet stressed: ba 

Mankind is the family of God and the most beloved of them before 
Him is one who is the best of His Family.” 

Be kind p^ those on earth and Hc who is in the Favan will be 
kind to you.” 

In mutual compassion, love, and kindness you will find the 
faithfuls like a body, so that if one pan feels pain, the whole body 
responds with wakefulness and fever.?* | 

A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim; he neither wrongs 
him, nor leaves him without help, nor humiliates him.? 

Closely linked to, and inseparable from, this concept of brotherhood 
is the emphasis of Islam on justice, the establishment of which on earth 
is unequivocally declared by the Qur'àn to be one of the principal 
objectives of the tcachings of all the prophets of God including 
Muhammad (al-Qur'àn, 57: 25). Faith that is mingled with injustice 
will not really be recognized by God as the Qur'àn proclaims: ‘Those 
who have faith and mix not their faith with injustice, for them is peace 
and they are the ones rightly guided' (al-Qur'àn, 6: 83). Muslims are 
therefore not merely exhorted but persistently urged by the Qur'àn to 
establish justice: ‘God commands justice and the doing of good’ (al- 
Qur’an, 16: 90), and ‘when you judge between people, judge with 
justice’ (al-Qur’an, 3: 58). 

Justice commands a place of such paramount importance in Islam 
that being just is considered to be a necessary condition for being pious 
and God-fearing, the basic characteristics of a Muslim. Sayer the 


O you who believe! Be upright for God, bearers of witness with 
justice, and let not the hatred of others make you swerve from 
justice. Be just, thisis nearerto piety, and fear God, for God is Aware 
of what you do (al-Qur’an, 5: 8). 

23. See also al-Qur'àn, 33: 5; and 49: 10. 

24. Mishkat v. 2, p. 613: 4998, the authority of Bayhaqi's Shu ‘ab al-imàn. 
25. Ibid., 608: 4969, on the authority of Abü Dàwüd and Tirmidhi. 

26. Bukhari, v. 8, p. 12; and Muslim, v. 4, p. 1999: 66, see also hadith numbers 
65 and 67. 

27. Muslim, v. 4, p. 1986: 32. 


Moreover, the course of justice is to be followed even if this hurts 
one’s own interest or the interests of one’s near-ones. ‘And when you 
speak, speak justly, even though it be (against) a relative’ (al-Qur'àn, 
6: 152), and ‘Be the establishers of justice and witnesses to God, even if 
this be against yourselves, or your parents or your near-ones whether 
they be rich or poor, for God can best protect both. So follow not your 
low desires, lest you deviate. And if you swerve or decline to do justice 
then remember that God is aware of what you do’ (al-Qur'àn, 4: 135). 

The implications of justice in Islam would be clearer when discussed 
in the following sections on social and economic justice. 


Since Islam considers mankind as one family, all members of this 
family are alike in the eyes of God and before the Law revealed by 
Him. There is no difference between the rich and the poor, between the 
high and the low, or between the white and the black. There is to be no 
discrimination due to race or colour or position. The only criterion of a 
man’s worth is character, ability and service to humanity. Said the 
‘Holy Prophet: 

Certainly God looks not at your faces or your wealth; instead He 
looks at your heart and your deeds; 
The noblest of you are the best in character.” 

To be even more emphatic the Prophet warned of the disastrous 
consequences of discrimination and inequality before Law for an 
individual or a nation: | 

Communities before you strayed because when the high com- 
mitted theft they were set free, but when the low committed theft 
the Law was enforced on them. By God, even if Fatimah, daughter 
oí Muhammad, committed theft, Muhammad would certainly cut 
her hand.” : | 

Whoever humiliates or despises a Muslim, male or female for his 
poverty or paucity of resources, will be disgraced by God on the Day 
of Judgement.?' ij 

‘Umar the second Caliph, wrote to Aba Misa al-Ash'ari, one of his 
governers, asking him to 'treat every-one before you alike in respect so 

28. Muslim, v. 4, p. 1987: 34. 

29. Bukhari, v. 8, p. 15. 

30. Ibid., p. 199; and Nisàá'i, v. 8, p. 65. 

31. Musnad Imam Ali al-Rida, Beirut, 1966, p. 474. 



that the weak does not despair of justice from you and that the high - 
does not crave for an undue advantage’.” This spirit of social justice 
thoroughly permeated Muslim society during the period of thie first 
four Caliphs and even in the later period though a little subdued, did 
not fail to find its full manifestation on several occasions. It may be 
pertinent to quote what the renowned jurist Abū Yüsuf wrote in a 
letter addressed to the Caliph Harün al-Rashid: ‘treat alike all indivi- 
duals irrespective of whether they are near you or remote from you’ 
and that ‘the welfare of your subjects depends on establishing the 
Divine Law and eliminating injustice’.” ^ 


The concept of brotherhood and equal treatment of all individuals in 
society and before the Law is not meaningful unless accompanied by 
economic justice such that everyone gets his due for his coritribution to 
society or to the social product and that there is no exploitation of one 
individual by another. The Qur'àn urges Muslims to ‘Withold not 
things justly due to others’ (al-Qur'àn, 26: 183), implying thereby 
that every individual must get what is really due to him, and not by 
depriving others of their share. The Prophet aptly warned: ‘Beware of 
injustice for injustice will be equivalent to darkness on the Day of 
Judgement.'? This warning against injustice and exploitation is de- 
signed to protect the rights of all individuals in society (whether con- 
sumers or producers and distributors, and whether employers or 
employees) and to promote general welfare, the ultimate goal of Islam. 
Of special significance here is the relationship between the employer 
and the employee which Islam places in a proper setting and specifies 
norms for the mutual treatment of both so as to establish justice be- 
tween them. An employee is intitled to a ‘just‘ wage for his contribu- 
tion to output and it is unlawful for a Muslim employer to exploit his 
employee’. The Prophet declared that three persons who will certainly 
face God's displeasure on the Day of Judgement are: one who dies 
without fulfiling his commitment to God; one who sells a free person 

32. Abū Yüsuf, Kitab al-Kharaj, Cairo, 1367 A.H. 

33. Abt Yusuf, pp. 4 and 6. 

34. See also al-Qur'àn 83: 1-3, (“Woe to the cheaters; who when they take the 
measure (of their dues) from men, take it fully. And when they measure out to 
others or weigh out for them, they give less than is due’). 

35. Reported on the authority of Musnad of Ahmad and Bayhaqi's Shu‘ab 
al-iman by Suyüti, v. 1, p. 8. 


DIMERS ST a TSS Sol Sea eae 




and enjoys the price; and one who engages a labourer, receives due 
work from him but does not pay him his wage.” This hadith, by placing 
the exploitation of labour and the enslaving of a free person on an 
equal footing, suggests how averse Islam is to exploitation of labour. 

What a ‘just’ wage is and what constitutes ‘exploitation’ of labour 
needs to be determined in the light of the teachings of the Qur'àn and 
the Sunnah.? Islam does not recognize the contribution to output made 
by factors of production other than labour and therefore the concept of 
exploitation of labour in Islam would have no relation with the con- 
cept of surplus value as propounded by Marx. It could be argued 
theoretically that ‘just’ wage should be equal to the value of the con- 
tribution to output made by the labourer. But this is difficult to deter- 
mine and would have little practical value in regulating wages. There 
are however a number of ahàdith from which may be inferred qualita- 
tively the level of ‘minimum’ and ‘ideal’ wages. According to the 
Prophet, ‘an employee (male or female) is entitled to at least modera- 
tely good food and clothing and to not being butdened with labour 
except what he (or she) can bear'.?? From this hadith it may be inferred 
that ‘minimum’ wage should be such that it resembles an employee to 
get a sufficient quantity of reasonably good food and clothing for 
himself and his family without overburdening himself. This was con- 
sidered by the Prophet's Companions to be the minimum even to 
maintain the spiritual standard of Muslim society. ‘Uthman, the third 
Caliph, is reported to have said: | 

Do not overburden your unskilled female employee in her pursuit 
of a living, because if you do so, she may resort to immorality; and 
do not overburden a male subordinate, for if you do so, he may 
resort to stealing. Be considerate with your employees and God will 
be considerate with you. It is incumbent upon you to provide them 
good and lawful food.” 

The ‘ideal’ wage may likewise be inferred from the following hadith 
to be a wage that would enable the employee to eat food and wear 
clothing just like the employer is himself capable of:- | 
36. Bukhari, v. 3, p. 112. 

37. Some of the quotations (hadith or otherwise) used in the discussion, relate 
to slaves, but the term ‘employees’ is used in the translation. If a humane and 
just treatment is expected to be meted out to slaves, then employees are 
certainly entitled to an ever better treatment. 

38. Malik Muwattà Cairo, 1951, Malik, v. 2: p. 980: 40. 

39. Malik, Afuwattà, v. 2, p. 9B1: 42. 


Your employees are your brothers whom God had made your ` 

subordinates. So he who has his brother under him, let him feed 
with what he feeds himself and clothe him with what he clothes 
himself. . .*° 

The ‘just’ wage cannot therefore be below the ‘minumum’ wage. Its 
desirable level would of course be closer to the ‘ideal’ wage so as to 
minimize the inequalities of income and to bridge the gulf between the 
living conditions of the employers and the employees which tends to 
create two distinct classes of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’, thus 
weakening the bonds of brotherhood which constitutes an essential 
feature of a truly Muslim society. Between the two limits, the actual 
level would be determined by the interaction of supply and demand, 
the extent of economic growth, the level of moral consciousness in 
Muslim society, and the extent to which the state plays its legitimate 
role. . 

Besides being paid at least ‘minimum’ wages and preferably ‘ideal’ 
wages, Islam requires that labourers should not be made to work so 
hard or in such miseralsle conditions that their health deteriorates or 
their ability to enjoy income or participate in family life gets 
impaired.*' If they are made to perform a task which is beyond their 
capacity they should be provided with sufficient help to enable them to 
do the job without undue hardship. In the hadith quoted above in 
which the prophet admonishes employers to consider the employecs as 
their brothers, he said further: j 

.. . and do not burden them with what overpowers them. If you 
do so, then help them. " 

From this Hadith it may be inferred that fixation of maximum hours 
of work, creation of proper working conditions, and enforcement of 
precautionary measures against industrial hazards, would be fully in 
conformity with the spirit of Islamic teachings. 

While this is the treatment expected of an employer for his 
employees, Islam, because of its commitment to justice, protects the 
employer by placing certain moral obligations on the employee as 

40. Bukhari, p. 15, and v. 3, p. 185; and Muslim, v. 3, p. 1283: 38. - 

41. ‘I wish not to be hard on you. God willing you will find me among the 
righteous’. (al-Dur'an, 28: 27). This statement of Shu‘ayb while hiring Moses 
is an exhortat'on in the Qur'àn for all employers. 

42. Bukhari, v. 1, p. 16, and v. 3, p. 185; and Muslim, v. 3, p. 1283: 38 and 40. 

PSS Y. -v 

PIL EC a a TS Comp PTI I Mtt cr m 


well. The first obligation is to do the job conscientiously and diligently 
with maximum possible degree of care and skill. The Prophet ex- 
horted: ‘God has made beneficence obligatory upon you'? and that 
‘God loves that when any one of you does a job, he does it perfectly.” 
There can be no question that social and economic justice, which Islam 
stresses unambiguously, requires the efficient performance of the 
function for which one has been employed. On another occasion the 
Prophet said: 

An employee who excels in his devotion to God and also renders to 
his master what is due to him of duty, sincerity and. obedience, for 
him there is double rewards (with God).” 

A second obligation on the employec is to be honest and trustworthy. 
The Qur'àn says that the best person anyone can hire is the strong 
. (able) and the honest(28: 26), and the Prophet has said: 

He whom we have appointed for a job and have provided with 
livelihood, then whatever he appropriates beyond this is ill- 

Thus if [slam has placed a number of obligations on the employer, 
the employee is also expected to do the job conscientiously and dili- 
gently, and be honest and trustworthy. The goal is justice to both 
employers and employees in all economic relationships. It is only by 
such a harmonious regulation of mutual Dus wipes emphasizing 
co-operation and conscientious fulfilment of one's obligations, in an 
environment of brotherhood, justice, and supremacy of moral values, 
that there can be hope of eliminating labour-employer conflict and 
friction and establishing industrial peace. 

(c) Equitable distribution of income 

With the intense and unique commitment of Islam to human bro- 
therhood and to social and economic justice, gross inequalities of 
income and wealth could not but be repugnant to its spirit. Such 
inequalities could only destroy rather than foster the feelings of bro- 
therhood that Islam wishes to create. Besides, since all resources are, 
according to the Qur’an, ‘gifts of God to all human beings’ (2: 29), 
there is no reason why they should remain concentrated in a few hands. 

43. Muslim, v. 3, p. 1548: 57. 

44. Cited on the authority of Bayhaqi’s SAu'ab al-iman by Suyüti, v.1, p. 75. 
45. Bukhari, v. 3, p. 186. .- 

46. Abü Dawwiid, v. 2, p. 121. 


Hence islam emphasizes distributive justice and incorporates in its - 

system a programme for redistri Ith so that 
every individual is guaranteed a standard of living that is humane and 

e Ha 



‘Umar, the second Caliph, explaining the redistributive justice in 
Islam, emphasized in one of his public addresses that everyone had an 
equal right in the wealth of the community, that no one, not even he 
himself, enjoyed a greater right in it than any one else, and that if he 
were to live longer, he would see to it that even a shepherd on the 
Mount San‘a’ received his share from his wealth.” The Caliph ‘ANT is 
reported to have stressed that ‘God has made it obligatory on the rich 
to provide the poor with what is adequately for them; if the poor are 
hungry or naked or troubled it is because the rich have deprived them 
(of their right), and it will be proper for God to account them for it and 
to punish them.” The jurists have almost unanimously held the posi- 
tion that it is the duty of the whole Muslim society in general and of its 
rich in particular to take care of the basic needs of the poor and if the 
well-to-do do not fulfil this responsibility in spite of their ability to do 
so the state can and should compel them, to assume their 
responsibility.” | 

The Islamic programme for redistribution consists of three parts. 
One, as discussed earlier, Islamic teachings imply the rendering of 
assistance in finding gainful employment to those unemployed and 
those looking for work and a ‘just’ remuneration for those working; 
two, it emphasizes the payment of zakat for redistributing income from 
the rich to the poor”' who, because of personal disability or handicaps 

47. Bukhari, p. 52: 112. 

48. Haykal, al-Fariig ‘Umar, Cairo, 1964, v. 2, p. 233. 

49. Abu ‘Ubayd Kitab al-Amwál, Cairo, 1353 A. Ð., p. 595: 1909; for slightly 
different wording, see Nahj al- Balàghah Cairo n.d.. v. 3, p. 231. 

50. For some relevant details, scc Siddiqi, /s/àm ka Nazartyya-e Milkiyat, Lahore, 
1968, pp. 272-79. 

31. The Prophet, while appointing Mu‘adh as Governer of the Yemen, enu- 
merated to him a list of duties, one of which was ‘to educate people that God 
had made it obligatory upon them to pay tbe zakál which is to be collected 


(physical or mental or conditions external to them e.g. unem- 
ployment), are unable to attain a respectable standard of living by 
their own effort, ‘so that’, in the words of the Qur'àn; ‘wealth does not 
Simulare only among your rich. (75 7); and three divisions of the estate 
of a deceased person, in accordance with a given formula, among a 
number of individuals so as to intensify and accelerate the distribution 
of wealth in society. 

his Islamic concept of equity in the distribution of income and 
wealth and its concept of economic justice,does not. howeyer require 

— n n A r 

that rewarded equally, irrespective.of his 

society. Islam tolerates some inequalities of income because all men are 

not equal in their character, ability and service to society (al-Qur'àn, 6: 

165; 16: 71 and 43: 32). Therefore, distributive. justice in Islamic. - 

society, after guaranteeing.a humane standardeo(]i ! 
through the. institution-of-zakát, allows such differentials in 

are in keeping with the differences in the value.of.the.contributions.or- 
services rendered, each individual receiving an income corresponding 
to the social value of the services he contributes to society) 2... - 

The Islamic stresses on distributive justice is so emphatic that there 
had been some Muslims who have been led to believe in absolute 
equality of wealth. Abi Dhar, a Companion of the Prophet, was of the 
opinion that it is unlawful for a Muslim to possess wealth beyond the 
essential needs of his family. However, most of the Prophet’s Compa- 
nions did not agree with him in this extreme view and tried to prevail 
upon him to change his position.” But even Abia Dhar was not a pro- 
tagonist of equality of flows (income). He was in favour of equality of 
stocks (wealth accumulations). This, he asserted, could be attained if 
the entire surplus of income over ‘genuine’ expenses (al-‘afw) was 
spent by the individual in improving the lot of his less fortunate bro- 
thers. The concensus of Muslim scholars, in spite of being intensely in 
favour of distributive justice, has however always been thet if a Mus- 
lim earns by rightful means and from his own income and wealth fulfils 
his obligations toward the welfare of his society by paying zakat and 
other required contributions, there is nothing wrong in his possessing 
more wealth than other fellow-Muslims.? In reality, however, if the 
52. See the comments on verse 34 of sürah 9 of the Qur'àn in the commentaries 

of Ibn Kathir, v. 2, p. 352, and Jassas, Ahkam al-Qur’an, Cairo, 1957. v. 3, p. 130. 
53. See the commentary of Ibn Kathir, v. 2, pp. 350-53. 

Ree ee eee 
from their rich and distributed to their poor’ (Bukhari, v. 2, p. 124; Tirmidhi, 
v. 3, p. 21: 625, and Nisa'i, v. 5, pp. 3 and 41). 


Islamic teachings of //a/al and Haram in the earning of wealth are - 
followed, the norm of justice to employees and consumers is applied, 
provisions for redistribution of income and wealth arc implemented 
and the Islamic law of inheritance is enforced, there cannot be any 
gross inequalities of income and wealth in Muslim society. 

(d) Freedom of the individual within the context of social welfare 

The most important pillar of Muslim faith is the belief that man has 
been created by God and is subservient to none but Him (al’Qur’an, 
13: 36 and 31: 22). This provides the essence of the Islamic charter of 
frecdom from all bondage. Hence the Qur'àn says that one of the 
primary objectives of Muhammad's Prophetic mission was to ff 
them (mankind) from the burdens and chains upon them’ (7: 15 
this spirit of freedom which prompted ‘Umar, the : cond Caliph, to 
declare: ‘Since when have you enslaved people although their mothers 
had borne them free’.** Shafi, the founder of the Shaf*; school of 
Muslim jurisprudence, expressed the same spirit when he said: ‘God 
has created you free and therefore be nothing but free." 

( Because man is born free, no one, not even the state, has the right to 
abrogate this freedom and to subject his life to regimentation. There is 
a consensus among Muslim jurists that restrictions cannot be imposed 
on a free, maturc, and sane person. Abü Hanifah, the founder of the 
Hanafi school of Muslim jurisprudence, gocs further and feels that 
restrictions may not be imposed on a free, mature, and sane person 
even if he hurts his own interest by, to quote his own example, ‘spend- 
ing money aimlessly without any benefit.’ The reason he gives for this is 
that depriving him of the freedom of choice is ‘like degrading his 
humanity and treating him like an animal. The injury done by this 
would be greater than the injury done by his extravagance. A greater 
loss should not be inflicted to avoid a smaller loss,’ 

This difference of opinion, however, exists only if an individual 
hurts his own interest, without, of course, over-stepping the moral 
bonds of Islam. But if the individual hurts the interests of others, then 
there is no differerice of opinion that restrictions can and should be 
imposed on him\ All jurists allow.restrictions to be imposed if this | 

54. ‘Alf al- Tantawi and Naji al- Tantawi, Akhbar ‘Umar, Damascus, 1959, P. 

55. Quoted without reference to the original source, by Yásufuddin Js/am ke 
Ma ‘ashi Nazariyye, H yderabad, India, v. l, p. 140. 

26. al-Hidayah, Cairo, 1965, v. 3, p. 281; see also Jaziri, Kitab al-Figh ‘ala al- 
Madhahib al-Arba ‘ah, Cairo, 1938, v. 2, p. 349. 

Suwon ^ 

^ UT et CR On GL 



prevents injury to others or safeguards public interest, as in Abu 
: ateless judge, 
or a bankrupt employer, because such controls remove a greater harm 
by inflicting a smaller harm.” Social welfare has a place of absolute 
importance in Islam and individual freedom, though of primary 
significance, is not independent of its social implications. ,. 

To set into a proper perspective the rights of the individual vis-à-vis 
other individuals and society, the jurists have agreed upon the follow- 
ing basic principles:^ | 

(1) The larger interest of society takes precedence over the interest of 

the individual. 

(2) Although ‘relieving hardship’ and ‘promoting benefit’ are both 

among the prime objectives of the Shari'ah, the former takes pre- 

cedence over the latter. 3 

(3) A bigger loss cannot be inflicted to relieve a smaller loss or a 

bigger benefit cannot be sacrificed for a smaller onc. Conversely, a 

smaller harm can be inflicted to avoid a bigger harm or a smaller 

nefit can be sacrificed for a larger benefit. 

Individual freedom, within the ethical limits of Islam, is therefore 

red only as long as it does not conflict with the larger social interest }.., 
orastongas the individual docs gt transeress the rights of others. 



The discussion of the goals of the Islamic economic system shows 
that material well-being based on the unshakable foundation of spiri- 
tual values constitutes an indispensable plank of the economic philo- 
sophy of Islam. The very foundation of the Islamic system being 
different from that of capitalism and socialism, which are both earth- 
bound and not oriented to spiritual values, the superstructure must 
necessarily be different. Any attempt to show the similarity of Islam 
with either capitalism or socialism can only demonstrate a lack of 
understanding of the basic characteristics of the three systems. 

The Islamic system is, besides, unflinchingly dedicated to human 
57. Al-Hidayah, v. 3, p. 281; and Jaziri, v. 2, p. 349. 

58. For a discussion of this subject, see Shàtibi, v. 2, pp. 348-64; Abū Zahrah, 
pp. 350-64; and Dawalibi, a/-AMadkhal ila ‘Hm U'süul al-Fiqh, Beirut, 1965, 
pp. 447-49. 


brotherhood accompanied by social and economic justice and equit- . 
able distribution of income, and to individual freedom within the 
context of social welfare. This dedication is, it must be stressed, spiri- 
tually oriented and finely interwoven into the whole fabric of its social 
and cconomic norms. In contrast with this, the orientation of modern 
capitalism to social and economic justice and to equitable distribution 
of income is only partial resulting from group pressures, is not the 
outcome of a spiritual goal to cstablish human brotherhood, and does 
not constitute an integral part of its overall philosophy; while the 
orientation of socialism, though claimed to be the product of its basic 
philosophy, is not really meaningful because of, on the one hand, the 
absence of a dedication to human brotherhood and of spiritually- 
based fair and impartial criteria for justice and equity, and on the 
other hand, the loss of individual dignity and identity resulting from 
the negation of thc basic human need for freedom. 

The commitment of Islam to individual freedom distinguishes it 
sharply from socialism or any system which abolishes individual 
freedom. Free mutual consent of the buyer and the seller is, according 
to all schools of Muslim jurisprudence, a necessary condition for any 
business transaction.” This condition springs from the verse of the 
Qur'an: ‘O you who have faith! Devour not the property of anyone of 
you wrongfully, except that it be trading by your mutual consent’ (4: 
29). The Prophet is also reported to have said: ‘Leave people alone for 
God gives them provision through each other." The only system that ` 
would conform to this spirit of freedom in the Islamic way of life is one 
where the conduct of a large part of the production and distribution of 
goods and services is left to individuals or voluntarily constituted 
groups, and where each individual is permitted to sell to or buy from 
whom he wants at a price agreeable to both the buyer and the seller. 
Freedom of enterprise, in contrast with socialism, offers such a possi- 
bility and it had been recognized by Islam along with its constituent 
elements, the institution of private property. 

The Qur’an, the Sunnah and the figh literature have discussed in 
significant detail the norms related to acquisition and disposal of 
private and business property, and the purchase and sale of merchan- 
dise, as also the institutions of zakat and inheritance, which would not 
have been done in such detail if the institution of private ownership of 
most productive resources had not been recognized by Islam. Besides, 

59. Jaziri, v. 2. pp. 153-168. 
60. Cited by Ibn Rushd in Bidayat al- Mujtahid, Cairo, 1960, v. 2, p. 167. 


through-out the Muslim history, this principle has been universally 
upheld by Muslims with rare exceptions, and these exceptions have 
not been recognized to be within the mainstream of Islamic thought. A 
negation of this right of private ownership could not, therefore, be 
considered to be in conformity with the teachings of Islam: 

The market mechanism may also be considered to be an integral 
part of the Islamic economic system because, on the one hand, the 
institution of private property is not workable without it; and, on the 
other, it oflers the consumers a chance to express their desires for the 
production of goods of their liking by their willingness to pay the price, 
and also gives resource-owners an opportunity to sell their resources in 
accordance with their free will. | 

, . Profit motive, which is essential for the successful operation of any 
system incorporating freedom of enterprisc, has also been recognized 
by Islam. Jaziri, in his well-known work on the fiqh position of the four 

, " Sunnite schools of jurisprudence says: 

Buying and selling are allowed by the Shari ‘ah so that people may 
profit mutually. There is no doubt that this can also be a source of 
injustice, because both the buyer and the seller desire more profit 
and the Lawgiver has not prohibited profit nor has He set limits to 
it. He has, however, prohibited fraud and cheating and ascribing to 
a commodity attributes it does not possess."' 

This is because profit provides the necessary incentive for efficiency 
in the use of resources which God has given to mankind. This efficiency 
in the allocation of resources is a necessary clement in the life of any 
sane and vigorous society. But since it is possible to convert profit from 
an instrument into a primary goal thus leading to many social and 
economic ills, Islam places certain moral restraints on this motive so 
that it fosters individual self-interest within a social context and does 
not violate the Islamic goals of social and economic justice and equit- 
able distribution of income and wealth. 
| Recognition by Islam of the freedom of enterprise along with the 
i institution of private property and the profit motive, does not make the 

Islamic system akin to capitalism which is based on freedom of enter- 
prise. The difference is significant and is due to two important reasons. 
Firstly, in the Islamic system, even though property is allowed to be 
privately owned it is to be considered as a trust from God, because 
everything in the heavens and carth really belongs to God and, man 
61. Jaziri, v. 2, pp. 283-84. 


being the vicegerent of God, enjoys the right of ownership only asa - 
trust. Says the Our'àn: 

To God belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the 
earth (2: 284); 

Say: To whom belong the earth and whoever is therein, if you 
know? They will say: To God. Say: Will you not then mind? (23: 
84-5).; | 

And give them of the wealth of God which He has given you 
(24: 33). "og 

Secondly, because man is the vicegerent of God and the wealth he 
owns is a trust from Him, he is therefore bound by the conditions of the 
trust, or more specifically, the moral values of Islam, particularly the 
values of halal and haram, brother-hood, social and economic justice, 
equitable distribution of inconie and wealth, and fostering the com- 
mon good. The wealth he owns should be acquired in accordance with 
the teachings of Islam and should be used for the objectives for which it 
has been created. Said the Holy Prophet: ‘This wealth is certainly 
green and sweet (enticing); but he who acquires it rightfully, for him it 
is an excellent assistant, while he who acquires it without his right, is 
like one who eats but never satiates.'9? 

What difference do the two factors — holding property asa trust from 
God, and the commitment to spiritual values — make, will become 
apparent if some of the limitations of the market system, in the capi- 
talist frame of reference, are discussed. 

First, the market system represents a plebiscite where each unit of 
currency spent by an individual represents a ballot and where national 
resources get automatically allocated among different wants on the 
basis of total ballots cast by all individuals. If more money is being 
spent on liquor than on milk, it is because the desire for liquor is more 
urgent and so more of the national resources get allocated to the pro- 
duction of liquor. This, according to the price system, brings about an 
optimum allocation of national resources. The market system is the- 
refore a judge who is morally neutral and makes decisions only on the 
basis of the results of this plebiscite. However, the Islamic economic 
system cannot be morally neutral. In Islam, the allocation of resources 
is optimum if it is first in conformity with the norms of Islam and then 
in accordance with consumers’ preferences. In a truly Islamic society 
there is no likelihood of any divergence between the two. But, if there is 
62. Muslim, v. 2, p. 728: 122. 


any divergence, then the state cannot be a passive observer. It must 
educate public opinion in accordance with the teachings of Islam and 
guide and regulate the machinery of production and distribution so as 
to bring about an allocation of resources which is in conformity with 
the goals of Islam. There arises the question of who will decide whether 
the allocation of resources is or is not in conformity with the teachings 
of Islam. This would not be done by the hierarchy of any organized 
church, which Islam has not established, but by the democratic pro- 
cess of decision making inherent in the political teachings of Islam. 

Second the market system assumes that the wants of different indi- 
viduals can be compared with respect to their urgency by the use of 
prices because each unit of currency represents a ballot. The wil- 
lingness on the part of two individuals to spend an equal amount of 
money is assumed to indicate wants of equal urgency. Even if such an 
inter-personal comparison of the urgency of wants is possible, the 
| frec-play of the market forces for a desired allocation of resources 
would require that there exist an equitable distribution of income in 
the economy. In the absence of such an equitable distribution of in- 
come in the economy, allocation of resources produced by the market 
system may not be in comformity with the wishes of the majority of 
consumers. It would allow the upper strata of income groups, getting a 
share of national income significantly more than in proportion to their 
numerical size, to divert scarce national resources, by the sheer weight 
of their votes, into products considered socially less desirable. There- 
fore, the resultant allocation of resources would also be socially less 
desirable. Of itself the price system is not concerned with how many 
votes an individual has; it is concerned with the aggregate of votes in 
favour of any one good or service relative to some other good or service. 
Therefore, an equitable distribution of income, which is one of the 
goals of the Islamic system is a prerequisite to the attainment of a 
desirable allocation of resources through the functioning of the price 

Third, there may be imperfections in the efficient operation of the 
market forces introduced by monopolies or monopsonies, or condi- 
tions in which prices may not reflect real costs or benefits. Not only that 
prices of goods or services may be far aboye opportunity costs or that 
payments to resource owners may be far above or below the value of 
their contribution to real output, but also because social costs and 
benefits may be disregarded by individuals in their accounting 
although these costs or benefits may be very important from the point 


of view of social welfare which carries a significant weight in the Isla- 
mic system. The self-correcting tendencies in the price system which - 
tends to eliminate the divergence between private and social interests 

may take an intolerable long time because of the imperfections usually 

found in the operation of the market, and the limited horizon of indi- 

viduals and firms. In the face of such imperfections, the market system 

alone, without some guidance, regulation, and control from a welfare- 

oriented government, may not be able to achieve an optimum alloca- 

tion of resources. 

Fourth, in the capitalist market system, since the individual is the 
primary owner of his own goods, he may do what he pleases with them. 
Hence there is no moral sanction against destruction of output by, say 
burning or dumping into the ocean, in order to raise prices or to 
maintain them at a higher level. But in the Islamic system, since all 
wealth is a trust from God, it would be a grave moral crime to do so. 
Destroying both life and property has been declared by the Qur'àn to 
be equivalent to spreading mischief and corruption in the worid (2: 
205). It was this teaching of the Qur’an, which prompted Abū Bakr, 
the first Caliph, to instruct his general, Yazid ibn Abi Sufyàn, going on 
a war assignment, not to kill indiscriminately, or to destroy vegetable 
or animal life even in enemy territory.*? If this is not allowed in war, 
there is no question of its being allowed in peace, and that too for 
raising prices! The social cost of such an act is much too high and the 
Islamic state just cannot allow it. Fifth, by itself the market system, 
even under conditions of healthy competition which is a prerequisite 
for its efficient operation, has manifested no inherent tendency to solve 
the economic problems of unemployment, cconomic fluctuations and 
stagnation, or to bring about an equitable distribution of the social 
product. There has, therefore, to be some direction and regulation by a 
goal-oriented government. 

Sixth, success in the competitive struggle may be possible through 
means which are morally questionable, and which conflict with the 
goals of social and economic justice and cquitable disiribution of 
income. Therefore, unless there are moral checks on individuals 
accompanied by effective regulations by a morally-oriented 
government, compctition may not necessarily eliminate the 
inefficient, reward socially useful behaviour, enforce social and eco- 
nomic justice and foster an equitable distribution of income. 

63. (p. 26) Malik Muwattā, v. 2, p. 448: 10. See also Mawardi al-Ahkam al- 
Sultaniyah, Cairo, 1960, p.34 


Therefore, although the market system has been recognised by 
Islam because of the freedom it offers to individuals it is not to be 
considered sacred and inalterable. It is the goals of Muslim society 
which are more important. The market system is only one of the means 
to attain these goals, particularly the goal of individual feeedom. The 
market system must therefore be modified as necessary to make it 
conform to the ideals of Islam as much as possible. An active role of the 
government has been recognized by Islam for the purpose of achieving 
the desired modifications in the operation of the market. But go- 
vernment intervention alone cannot create a healthy market economy 
oriented to justice and social welfare even though it can remove some 
of the limitations of the market system. Other shortcomings of the 
market system can be removed only by the emergence of social health 
at a deeper level to be attained by dovetailing the economic system 
with a moral philosophy that also incorporates norms of social and 
economic justice, equitable distribution of income and wealth and 
social welfare. Hence the sharp distinction between Islam and capita- 
lism which, in spite of its present recognition of the role of the 
government in the economy, is nevertheless essentially secular and 
lacks a morally-based philosophy for social and economic justice and 
public welfare. 

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PartIV | 
Islam and the World 

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What Islam Gave to Humanity 

Abdul Hamid Siddiqui 

ISLAM, as it has been declared by the Holy Qur'àn, is the perfect 

_+ religion and in fact the completion of thc Lord's favour upon man so 

far as the regulation of his life is concerned. 

"This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My 
favours upon you and have chosen for you Al-Islām as your religion. 
(al-Qur'àn, 5 : 4). 

This verse eloquently speaks of the fact that the favours of Allah in 
the form of Din (Code of life) have been perfected in 4/-/slam and 
nothing that is not rooted in it, whether in the form of belief or in the 
form of individual and social behaviour, is acceptable to Allah. A 
religion as self-contained and realistic as Islam is, must provide answ- 
ers to all spiritual and secular questions and should offer to humanity 
not only a new metaphysical outlook, but a comprchensive pro- 
gramme of revolution in human life — both in its individual and social 

Let usstart with the very basic concept of religion. To a non-Muslim 
nurtured on a traditional concept of religion, it is only a private rela- 
tionship between man and his Creator. But for a Muslim religion 
comprchends the whole of life — its pattern of thought and behaviour. 
It posits the ideal of a life in which, from the cradle to the grave, not a 
single moment is spent out of tune with or merely unprovided for by a 

* This article was published in The Criterion, Journal of the Islamic Research 
Academy, Karachi, Vol. 3, No. 3, May-June, 1968. Reproduced with the 
permission of the editor. 


religious ruling. No sphere is left in which the thoughts and deeds of a 
Muslim — both in his personal and public life — are inconsequential 
for his fate in the hereafter. In short in Islam, one cannot find a no 
man’s land to which religion does not lay a claim. That is the reason 
why Allah exhorts people to accept Islam in its entirety: 

‘O you who believe! come all of you ` 
into submission (to Him); 

follow not the footsteps of the devil. 

He is an open enemy for you.’ (al-Qur'àn, 2: 208). 

Islam is the only religion of the world which knows no distinction 
betwen the religious and secular, but views in one sweep the entire life 
of man. The philosophy of ethics, law and morals, manners and mores, 
arts and sciences, forms of social, political and economic organization 
— including the nature of family and marriage — side by side with the 
problems of worship and theology — have their legitimate place in the 
all-inclusive system of Islam. The Qur'àn calls upon Muslims to say: 

‘Verily my prayers and my sacrifices and my life and death are all 
for Allah.' (al-Qur'an, 6: 163). 

It means that the whole life of man in all its spheres should be an 
expression of complete submission to Allah, thc Creator of this Uni- 
verse and the Rightful Master. 

The word Tbādah does not signify worship only. It stands for sub- 
mission and prayer, and worship is only a symbol of submission. 

‘Follow that which is sent down towards you from your Lord; and 
follow not any patrons beside Him.' (al-Qur'àn, 7: 3). 

It implies that only by obeying the commands of Allah vouchsafed 
to humanity through the Holy Prophet, one proves one's fidelity and 
loyalty to God. 

Then the Qur'àn also explains that Allah out of His boundiem 
favours and infinite mercy has revealed everything that a man needs in 
following the path of righteousness. 

‘Shall I then seek a judge other than Allah when He it is who has 
sent down to you the Book fully explained.' (al-Qur'àn, 6: 115). 

The people who cast aside the teachings of Allah and those of the 
Apostle and follow the other paths deviating from the one shown by 
God Almighty are in fact the wrongdoers: 



‘Or have they associates who have prescribed for them any reli- 
gion that Allah does not sanction? And were it not, for the word of 
judgement, it would have been decided between them. And surely 
for the wrongdoers is a painful chastisement.’ (al-Qur'àn, 42: 21). 
The Qur'àn emphatically asserts that only Islam is to be followed in 

every sphere of life and thosc who take a course of action other than the 
one sanctioned by Allah are wrongdoers since they, besides God, look 
to some other deities for help and guidance. 

The basic concept of religion in Islam is that it is as vital a necessity 
as the sunshine and air. Just as the Sustainer and the Nourisher of the 
world has made provision of all those things which a man needs for his 
physical development, in the same way, He has vouchsafed to him the 
Divine knowledge not only for the satisfaction of his religious year- 
nings, but for the fullest growth of his spiritual and moral self. 

‘His is the creation and the Command.’ (al-Qur'àn, 7: 54). 

The Lord who has created this world and all that exists in it and has 
created resources to maintain it and lead it to perfection, has also given 
al-Islàm, a Code of life by following which man can find peace and 
happiness in this world and the world to come. The man who does not 
follow it in letter and spirit and takes man-made laws for guidance is 
described by the Qur'àn as onc who has taken others as his Lords in 
derogation of Allah. 

"They take their priests and their anchorites to be their Lords in 
derogation of Allah.’ (ai-Qur’an, 9: 31). 

Most of the commentators agree that it does not mean they took 
them actually for gods and worshipped them; the meaning is that they 
looked upon them as the main source of guidance and showed uncon- 
ditional obedience to them. They did whatever they were commanded 
to do by their priests and did not see whether these commands were 
based on the Holy Book. It is related in a Hadith that when this verse 
was revealed, ‘Adi Ibn Hatim, a convert from Christianity, asked the 
Holy Prophet as to the significance of this verse, for he said, ‘We did not 
worship our priests and monks.’ The Holy Prophet’s reply was: ‘Was it 
not that the people considered lawful what their priests declared to be 
lawful, though it was forbidden by God.’ Hatim replied in the 
affirmative, what the Prophet said, was what the verse meant.? 

The exposition of the Holy Prophet is clearly indicative of the fact 

2. Tirmidhi Sahih: Kitab Tafsir al-Qur 'àn. Delhi, 1353 H. p. 117. 



that if a man takes the findings of any person or institution which are 
not substantiated by the revelations, as final and accepts them as 
gospel truths he is committing the grave offence of associating other 
gods with Allah. The Lordship of Allah is unrivalled and it necessitates 
the complete submission of man to Him in all walks and spheres of life 
and the rejection of everything which is not supported by the Shariah. 

The Islamic concept of religion asa complete Code of Life has in fact 
spiritualized all aspects of human existence. It was hitherto thought 
that the spirit and matter are entities essentially opposed to each other. 
Religion is concerned only with the soul and has nothing to do with the. 
mundane activities of human life which are nothing but cvil. The 
highest good, in the eyes of non-Muslim theologians, was therefore to 
spurn the worldly affairs of man and spend one's life in a convent or 
cave, seeking one's redemption by freeing one's spirit from the entan- 
glements of matter and restoring it to its ideal state from which it has 
lapsed by an incomprehensible act of perversity called the ‘Original 
Sin’, It was due to this notion that self-torture remained for some 
centuries the chief measure of human excellence in Medieval Europe 
and tens of thousands of the most devoted men fled to the wilderness to 
induce godliness by laceration. All human relations were rent asunder 
and the religious man took his abode in the ghostly gloom of the 
sepulchre, amid mouldering corpses, when the desert wind sobbed 
round his lonely cell, and the cries of wild beasts were borne upon his 

A new concept of piety based on self-denial came into being. The 
depravity of human nature, especially the supposed essential evil of 
the body, led to the absolute suppression of the whole sensual side of 
man. The chief form of virtue which entitled man to salvation, was a 
perpetual struggle against all carnal impulses. Religion thus assumed 
a very sombre hue in which there was no hope, no joy. The pious man 
dissatisfied with the world and its glory felt himself a stranger on the 
earth and led his life on the belief that he was dreadfully fettered by his 
body and saw in it a wretched prison and grave. The thought of the 
ancient orphic play on the Greek word for ‘body’ (Soma-Seima) body 
prison, which Plato appropriated, runs through the religious literature 
ofall Christian countries. The fettered soul, it was believed, must yearn 
for freedom from the bounds of physical organism in order to soar to 
heavenly heights. This could be achieved only if a man tore himself 
forcibly from all the ensnaring charms of the outer world and in fact 
the whole world of senscs, including all types of human relations. 


The idea of a religious man was that of an extremely individualistic, 
. un-social being. To flee from the social order, and take up the solitary 
life is the presupposition of salvation. It is in absolute loneliness, iso- 
lated from all other human bcings that the religious and pious man 
stands face to face with himself and with God. The urges of the flesh 
and the human relations obstruct the elevation of the soul. Lecky 

"To break by ingratitude the heart of the mother who had borne 
him, to persuade the wife who adored him that it was her duty to 
separate from him for ever, to abandon his children, uncared for 
and beggars to the mercies of the world, was regarded by the true 
hermit as the most acceptable offering he could make to his God." 

This type of religious concept implies religion, as an esoteric life fit 
only for a few gifted persons who journey to God aside from the broad 
. high-way on solitary paths of their own. They have no concern with 
society. Their business is only to save their own souls. The severity of 
their devotion should in no way be impaired by the discharge of the 
simpler duties to humanity. The exhortation of a Kempis' ‘imitation of 
Jesus’ is ‘This is sovereign wisdom to strive after the kingdom of 
Heaven by dispensing with the world.’ 

We may conclude that the fundamental psychic experience in all 
other religions except Islam is that of denial of the impulse of life, a 
denial born out of the weariness of life. The case of Islam is however 
different. It teaches man to live with assertion and will. This religion in 
contrast to the passive, quietest, resigned attitude towards everything 
that is going on in the world, exhorts a man to be an active participant 
in the struggle of life. Here the world of matter or that of the senses is 
not to be despised or hated, but shaped according to the will of the 
Lord. The world according to Islam is not a torture cell where an 
clementally wicked humanity is to live for the purgation of its soul. 
This world with all its resources is a sacred trust from the Lord by 
means of which man can show his true worth. It must not therefore be — 
spurned, but properly used. This body is not a prison but an effective 
instrument for the spirit toachieve its goal. Islam stands in striking 
contrast to most rcligions of the world in this aspect. In other religions 
piety is synonymous with the denial of life, on the contrary according 
to Islam piety stands for belief in life and its assertion and throwing 
oneself joyfully and resolutely in its arms. On the one hand there is an 

A. Lecky, History of European Morals, Longman, 1910, Vol. II, p. 125. 


uncompromising denial, on the other there incomparable hope 
and will. s 

The first thing that Islam impresses on the minds of the people is that 
this world and all that exists in it have been created not for mere trifling 
but.have been brought into existence with definite aims and purposes. 

‘And we created not the heaven and the earth and what is be- 
tween them for sport. Had we wished to take a pastime, we would 
have it from before Ourselves, but by no means would we do (so). 
(al-Qur’an, 21: 16. 17). 

Then in the Sürah al Dukhan, the Holy Qur'àn emphatically says that 
this world is created with a Divine purpose. 

‘We created not the heavens, the earth and all between them 
merely in (idle sport). We created them not except for just ends; but 
most of them do not understand.’ (al-Qur’an, 44: 38, 39). 

Then addressing the human beings the Holy Qur’an observes: 

‘Do you then think that We have created you in vain?’ (al- 
Qur’an, 23: 115). 

Everything that has been created by the Lord has not only a divine 
purpose to serve, but it has been shaped into perfect form. There is no 
flaw or defect in it. The wonderful beauty of creation from the tiny 
atom to the brilliant star in the realm of matter, and from the smallest 
and to the most developed form of life all speak to the Lord’s perfect 
wisdom. | 

"Such is the Knower of the unseen and the secn, the Mighty, 
Merciful, who made beautiful everything that He created.’ (al- 
Qur'àn, 32: 6, 7). 

All these verses clearly speak of the fact that there is nothing evil in 
the creation of the world and that of man. It is beautiful, in proper 
proportion and adapted for the functions it has to perform. 

Man, according to Islam, is made of the goodliest fabric,! he whom 
even the Mala’ik (angels) were made to offer obeisance, and for whom 
whatsoever is in the earth is made to do service.? 

According to Islam there is no stigma attached to any individual 
and he shall not suffer for any sin committed by any of his ancestors. 

4. al-Qur'àn, 95; 4. | 
5. Ibid., 2: 29, 34. i 


‘Every soul earns only to its own account: no bearer of burdens 
can bear the burden of another.’ (al-Qur'àn, 6: 164). 

Elsewhere we have: 

"That no bearer of burdens heaves the burden of another, and 
that man shall have nothing but what he strives for.’ (al-Qur’an, 53: 
38, 39). 

These verses categorically repudiate the Christian doctrine of 
atonement and the inborn indignity of earthly life. Man is responsible 
for his own actions and his status in piety is determined by his own 
deeds and misdeeds. He is neither born sinful according to Christian 
idea nor is he originally low and impure and has painfully to stagger 
| through a long chain of incarnations towards the ultimate goal of 

.*' There is no conflict between the body and soul of man in Islam. 

Physical urgesare an integral part of man's nature: not the result of the 
original sin, and therefore they are positive, God-given forces to be 
accepted and sensibly used for the spiritual growth of man. Piety in 
Islam does not consist in suppressing the demands of the body, it aims 
at co-ordinating them with the demands of the spirit in such a way that 
life might become full and righteous. The Muslims have been asked 
not to forbid themselves the use of the bounties of the Lord. 

‘Say: Who has forbidden the beautiful gifts of God, which he has 
brought forth for His servants? And the things, clean and pure, 
which He has provided for sustenance. My Lord forbids only inde- 
cencies such of them as are apparent and such as are conccaled and 
sin and highhandedness without justice, and that ye associate with 
Allah that for which He has not sent down any authority and that 
you say of Allah what you know not.' (al-Qur'àn, 7: 32, 33). 

It means that demands of the body are the integral parts of human 
personality and man's spiritual growth is intimately linked up with all 
other aspects of his nature, including urges of the flesh. The denial of 
the bounties of the Lord in the form of the material world is no virtue in 
Islam, but the real virtue lies in avoiding and rejecting everything that 
the Lord has forbidden. Islam does not condemn outright the appetites 
of man; it justifies them to the extent where a man can put a restraint 
upon them and control them according to the moral consciousness and 
thus use them for spiritual development. 


'O you apostles! Eat of things that are good and do what is right; 
of your good things I am cognizant.’ (al-Qur’an, 23: 51). 

A Muslim has been asked to beg from his Lord the good of thís world 
and the world to come? because his salvation depends upon his right 
and proper behaviour in this material world and the way in which he 
exploits the material resources for the advancement of his spiritual self. 
The attitude of Islam towards the physical needs of a man can be well 
judged from the following Hadith. It is narrated on the authority of 
‘Abd Allah b. ‘Amr b. al-‘As that he was once asked by the Holy Pro- 
phet whether it was correct that he observed fasts during the days and 
spend nights standing in prayer. ‘Abd Allah affirmed that. The Holy 
Prophet observed: ‘Don’t do that. Keep fast at times and break it at 
times, offer prayer and go te bed also. Your body has a right upon 


É This Hadith speaks in unequivocal terms of the fact that Islam is - 
emphatically opposed to those pseudo-mystics, other worldly idealists 
and self-centred ascetics who completely ignore the urges of the flesh. It 
boldly says ‘yes’ to the world of matter and accepts it with all its limi- 
tations and risks, but it teaches us, nonetheless, not to attribute to 
earthly life that exaggerated value which modern civilization attri- 
butes to it. 

‘Monasticism’, the cult of retirement from the world into solitude, 
only to lead a life of prayer and meditation, is alien to the spirit of 

‘But the monasticism which they innovated for themselves, We 
did not prescribe for them. (We commanded) only the seeking for 
the pleasure of God, but that they did not foster, as they should have 
done.’ (al-Qur'àn, 57: 27). 

God certainly says that man should renounce the idle pleasures of 
life and keep his urges and impulses under full control. But that docs 
not mean gloomy life, nor perpetual and formal prayers in isolation. 
God's service is done through pure lives in the turmoil of this world. 
‘No rahbaniyya in Islam’ is the oft quoted saying of the Holy Prophet. It 
is narrated on the authority of Sa‘d bin Abr Waqqas that when the 
wife of 'Uthmàn bin Maz'ün complained of being neglected by her 
husband, Muhammad (peace be upon him) advised him, saying, 
‘Monasticism was not prescribed to us. Do you detest the norm given to 
6. al-Our'àn, 2: 201. 

7. Bukhari, Sahih: Kitab al-Sawm. 


you by me.’ He replied in the negative. Upon this the Holy Prophet 
remarked: ‘My practice is that I offer prayer and enjoy sleep, I observe 
fast and relish food, I marry and divorce; he who deviates from the path 
shown by me has nothing todo with me. O, "Uthmán, your family has 
a right upon you. Your own self has a right upon you." 

The very chapter from which the above mentioned Hadith is quoted 
stresses the point that the Holy Prophet forbade people to retire from 
the world and devote themselves exclusively to prayer and meditation 
and to deny all worldly pleasures for themselves. 

Islam is not a religion of self-denial, but that of self-assertion up to 
the limit prescribed by Allah. It inspires confidence in man and per- 
suades him to lead his life in a creative manner, and thus strengthen his 
individuality through active contact with his material and cultural 
environment. This strong, active personality is however to be dedicat- 
ed to the service of the Lord. 

"While the Christian outlook,’ says Muhammad Asad, ‘implies that 
earthly life is a bad business, the modern West — as distinct from 
Christianity — adores life in exactly the same way as the glutton 
adores his food: he devours it, but has no respect for it. Islam, on the 
other hand, looks upon earthly life with respect. It does not worship it, 
but regards it as an organic stage on our way to a higher existence. But 
just because it is a stage, and a necessary stage, man has no right to 
despise or even to underrate the value of his earthly life. Our travel 
through this world is a necessary, positive part in God's plan. Human 
life, therefore, is of tremendous value; but we must never forget that it 
is purely of instrumental value. In Islam there is no room for the 
material optimism of the modern West which says: ‘My Kingdom is of 
this world alone,’ nor for the life contempt of the Christian saying, ‘My 
Kingdom is not of this world.’ Islam goes the middle way. The Qur'an 
teaches us to pray: 

"Our Lord, give us the good in this World and the good in the. 
Hereafter.' (al-Qur'àn, 2: 201). 

An ideal prayer, favourite of the Holy Prophet, succintly sums up 
the ideal ofa Muslim. The blessings of this world and those of the world 
to come are begged for. 

It should, however, be noted that the object desired and sought for is 
not the ‘world’ at all but ‘good’ and good only wheresoever it may be 
found — whether in this world or in the next. 

8. Darimi, Sunnan, Kitab-un-Nikah. 


This removes the puzzling paradox that most of the hostile critics of 
Islam find in it. As to recognizing, using and enjoying this world, Islam - 
is a most practical religion. But on its doctrine of salvation it is abso- 
lutely and entirely other-worldly.? To a non-Muslim it is indeed 
strange that both material benefits and spiritual salvation should be 
desired in one breath, The fact is that for a Muslim ‘good’ is the main. 
objective of his life and it is achieved by performing righteous deeds in 
the material world. The aim before a Muslim is spiritual through and 
through but according to Islam, it is not by bidding goodbye to the 
world of matter, but by using it in accordance with the Divine Com- 
mands that one can attain spiritual heights. Thus this world and its 
pleasures are not an end in themselves but these provide opportunities 
to the people to train thcir moral consciousness and thus resist the 
well-nigh irresistible temptations of the flesh in face of the Lord’s 
commands. The material world should not therefore be despised and 
condemned but must be used as a training ground for higher ends. 

Surely wc have made whatsoever is on the carth as an adornment 
for it, that we may test them which of them is best in conduct. 
(al-Qur’an, 18: 7). | 

And strain not your eyes towards that with which We have pro- 
vided different classes of them (of) the splendour of this world's life, 
that We may thereby try them. But the provision of your Lord is 
better and more enduring. (al-Qur’an, 20: 131). 

Thus adornment and the splendour of this worldly life — worldly 
riches, glory, power, wealth, position and all that the worshippers of 
the world scramble for — are not an end in themselves for the Muslims. 
The possession or want of them does not betoken a man's real value or 
position in the spiritual world, the world which is to endurc. Yet they 
have their uses. They measure the true worth of man. He who makes 
use of them according to the commands of Allah and does not become 
a slave to them is successful in the eyes of Allah and he who yields 
before these worldly allurements miserably fails in this test. This is how 
Islam harmonizes the conflicting demands of matter and spirit and 
makes the entire life of a man a spiritual whole. It is indeed one of the 
marvellous contributions of Islam that it has spiritualized all the 
sectors of human life and has thus brought harmony and coherence 
amongst the apparently conflicting spheres of life. Islam inculcates an 

9. Vide Duncan Black Macdonald: The Religious Attitude and Life in Islam, 
Khayyat, Beirut, 1965, p. 43. 


intense good consciousness, not by the renunciation of external forces 
but by a proper adjustment of man’s relations to these forces in view of 
the light received by them from Islam. Here the spirituality is not 
something divorced from social responsibilities but it rests on man’s 
undertaking them properly. ‘Islam,’ observes Wilf red Cantwell Smith; 
‘is by tradition and by central genius a practical] religion of ethics 
including social ethics, and organized, legalized ethics. The practical 
and the social aspect of Islam can be well realized from the prayer 
which is the most effective means to develop God consciousness.’ 

Unlike other religions, Islam has not confined its prayef only to 
inner meditation, It has enjoined along with meditation the move- 
ments of the body and that too under the Command of an Imam in the 
company of his fellow-brothers. The point that Islam stresses is that 
when God has created both soul and body together, both should sub- 
mit before Him in unison for their salvation. 

Secondly, it is in social environment and not in a convent or a cave 
that one can attain true piety. Islam not only determines the relation 
with God, but on the basis of this relation it determines man's relation 
with man and man's relation with the universe. 

‘The main pufpose of the Qur'àn, is to awaken in man the higher 
consciousness of his manifold relations with God and the universe. It is 
in view of this essential aspect of Qur'ànic tcaching that Goethe, while 
making a general review of Islam as an educational force, said to 
Eckerman: ‘You see this teaching never fails; with all its system, we 
cannot go, and generally speaking no man cin go, further than that. 
The problem of Islam was really suggcsted by the mutual conflict, and 
at the same time mutual attraction, presented by two forces of religion 
and civilization. The same problem confronted early Christianity. The 
great power in Christianity is the search for an independent content for 
spiritual life, which according to the insight of its founder, could be 
elevated, not by the forces of a world external to the soul of man, but by 
the revelation of a new world within his soul. Islam fully agrees with 
this insight and supplements it by the further insight that the illumi- 
nation of the new world thus revealed is not something foreign to the 
world of matter but permeates it through and through." 

God consciousness in Islam does not develop in a total breach with 
the real life and its diverse problems, but is animated and intensified 
by grappling with that in the way in which God has directed his men to 
do. It is in this manner that the organic whole of human life has been 
10. Wilfred C. Smith, Pakistan as an Islamic State, Lahore, p. 24. 


eminently preserved by the Muslims. ‘The whole of thisearth has been - 
made a mosque for me’ is a well-known sayin g of the Holy Prophet and 
it gives us an idea of sanctity that is attached both to the physical world 
and the social relations. Mosque is a sacred place of worship where all 
Muslims without any distinction of caste, creed and colour meet and 
bow together before their Lord. It means that all temporal activities 
Which are carried on in this world have the sanctity of worship if these 
are pursued in this spirit. 

Islam, like all other religions, affirms Reality, not divorced from the 
external world, but by active and intimate contact with thát. The 
Muslim is exhorted by the Qur'àn to sec the signs of Reality in the 
physical world, in the process of history and in his own inner self be- 
cause it is the same Reality which is articulated in all these spheres. 
God reveals His signs in the inner (Anfus) and outer (Afaq) experience 
and we should try to understand the will of that Greater Reality which 
is reflected in all these phenomena. 

‘Verily in the creation of the heavens and of the carth, and in the 
succession of the night and of the day, are signs for men of under- 
standing, who, standing and sitting and reclining, bear God in 
mind and reflect on the creation ofthe heavensand of the earth; and 
say: O Our Lord! Thou hast not created this in vain.’ (al-Qur’an, 3: 
190-191). : 

Here the Muslim has been asked to see the magnificent signs of 
Reality in nature and not to pass by them as if he is deaf and blind and 
affirm the truth that the whole of nature as revcaled to the sense per- 
ception of man isa challenging testimony of the Mighty Lord Who has 
created this universc. The Muslims have, therefore, conferred on 
science, something of the sanctity of worship. No wonder that many of 
the outstanding theologians, whose names are now household words 
all over the world, were at the same time the great pioneers of scientific 
knowledge and they worked in their laboratories with the same zeal 
and fervour as in the religious centres. Rom Landau, author of the 
well-known book, Islam and the A rabs, while discussing the mainsprings 
of the Arab's scientific achievements, observes, "They might be sum- 
marized as the ardent desire to gain a deeper understanding of the 
world as created by Allah; an acceptance of the physical universe, as 
not inferior to the spiritual but co-valid with it; a strong realism that 
faithfully reflects the unsentimental nature of the Arab mind; and 
finally their insatiable curiosity. Everything that was in the universe 

—— un(e PPM t Pni€— i st r——— 


was Allah's, from the mystic ecstasy and a mother's love to the flight of 
arrows, the plague that destroys an entire country and the sting of a 
mosquito. Each one of these manifests the power of God and thus each 
is worthy of study. In Islam religion and science do not go their sepa- 
rate ways. [n fact the former provided one of the main incentives for 
the latter.’ 

"The Muslim history thus furnishes no instance of the persecution of 
scientists. We, on the other hand, find as many men of genius in the 
middle ages as now. The list is too long to be presented in this article. It 
will suffice here to evoke a few glorious names without contemporary 
equivalents in the West: Jàbir Ibn Hayyan, al-Kindi, al-Khawarizmi, 
al-Farghani, al-Razi, Thabit Ibn Qurra, al-Battani, Hunayn Ibn 
Ishaq, al-Farabi, Ibrahim Ibn Sinan, al-Mas'üdi, al-Tabari, Abü'l- 
Wafa’, ‘Ali Ibn ‘Abbas, Abü'l-Qàsim, Ibn al-Jazzar, al-Birüni, Ibn 
Sinà, Ibn Yünus, Al-Karkhi, Ibn al-Haytham, ‘Ali Ibn ‘Isa, al- 
Ghazzali, al-Zarqab, ‘Umar Khayyam! A magnificent array of names 
which it would not be difficult to extend.’ '' But this does not come 
within the scope of my subject. Iam concerned only with the fact that 
Islam is not opposed to science; it rather inculcates in its followers the 
greatest respect for learning and learning includes every type of 
knowledge provided it is acquired with sincerity and devotion and for 
the service and welfare of humanity. It is therefore quite natural that 
the progress of Muslims in the realm of science was not lop-sided, as is 
the case in the West today. Since a Muslim is concerned with achieving 
a complete view of Reality, he cannot remain content with the partial 
one-sided, intellectualistic approach which gives only a snapshot of 
force in Reality and misses its kindness and spirituality. The Muslims 
controlled science by cthical principles of Islam and it did not prove to 
be a sheer drive for power. Science was subordinated to Law in order to 
ensure that the tremendous power which it is capable of releasing is 
used for human and constructive purposes. To put it differently, it can 
be said that the Muslims humanized science and the spirit of God was 
breathed into it, to use the phrase of the Qur'an. 

This all-inclusive and synthetic attitude of Islam, towards life and 
its problems was also articulated in a political system fundamentally 
different from both that of theocracy and Western Democracy. The 
state in Islam is not a condemnable organization and its founding is 
not the service of the devil. Islam isa single unanalyzable Reality 

11. George Sarton: Jntroduction to the H istory of Science, Washington, 1950, Vol. 1, 
p. 17. See also pp. 165-66. 


which loses much of its force and beauty when it is fragmented into - 
water-tight compartments. Thus in Islam it is the same Reality which 
appears as the Church, looked at from one point of view and the state 
from another’... The state from the Islamic standpoint, is an 
endeavour to transform those ideal principles into space-time forces, 
an inspiration to realize them in a definite human organization.’ 

It is admitted that the primary or immediate concern of Islam is to 
develop the personality of the individual as a God fearing man and 
equip him with the talent to live in peace with himself and peace with 
the external world of relations. Jesus rightly said: ‘The kingdom of 
heaven is within you.’ The idea is perfectly correct and Islam fully 
subscribes to this view, since no just kingdom can be founded on the 
earth by unjust men, who have not first created the kingdom of heaven 
in the realm of their heart. But Islam says, “This is not enough; the 
kingdom of heaven must be externalized so that the healthy political 
and social structure may help men and women to develop their perso- . 
nalities according to Islam. The State is an agency whereby the ethical 
and spiritual values of Islam find expression in corporate life. The Holy 
Qur'àn says: 

"Those who, if we establish them in the land, will keep up prayer 
and pay the poor-rate and enjoin good and forbid evil. And Allah's 
is the end of affairs.’ (al-Qur’an, 22: 41). 

This verse clearly speaks of the fact that the state is not the creation 
of the devil's mind. It has some very noble function to perform; the 
organizing of a community on such moral and spiritual bases that 
piety and goodliness thrive and wickedness in all its forms is weeded 

This attempt to externalize the goodliness and piety is very 
significant in Islam. It means that the religious piety serves its true end 
when it is calculated to transform the human world. To flee from the 
social order, and take up the solitary life is not virtue in Islam. To be 
sure a Muslim stands in the presence of God as an individual, but he is 
never isolated from other men. The distress which vexes is not his own 
only; it is that of his brethren as well; the salvation for which he longs 
can be attained when he paves the way for the salvation of his fellow 
believers, nay, that of entire humanity; the values, standards, and 
tasks which he, in nis religious devotion, learns to recognize as an 
inescapable necessity, are seen to be duties not for him only but for all 
12. Iqbal: Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p. 154. | 


men. Hence the self consciousness of the Muslim has an active and 
social quality. This means that whatever a Muslim does in life has its 
value in history and its worth can be judged from the type of manhood 
that it has created and the good that it has brought to the maximum 
number of people. 

This is the reason why so much stress has been laid to reflect on the 
past and present experience of mankind and to see for themselves the 
moral and social outlook which led to their rise and the ethical disin- 
tegration which brought about their ruin. 

Already before your time have precedents been made. Traverse 
the earth then, and sec what has been the end of those who falsify 
the signs of God. (al-Qur'àn, 3: 136). 
See they not how many a generation we destroyed before them, 
whom we had established on the earth in strength such as we have 
not given to you — for whom we poured out rain from the skies in 
abundance, and gave streams flowing beneath their feet, yet for 
their sins we destroyed them, and raised in their wake fresh genera- 
tions (to succeed them). (al-Qur'àn, 6: 6). 

. And how many a generation have we destroyed before them, who 
had better possession and appearance; say as for him who is in error, 
the Beneficient will prolong his length of day, until they see what 
they were threatened with, either the punishment or the Hour. 
Then thev will know who is worse in position and weaker in force. 

(al-Qur'àn, 19: 74, 75). 

These verses make clear the role of observation and reasoning in 
Islam. It is through observation that we can see the forces which are 
working in elevating and degrading the different human groups in 

But mere observation is not enough. That which is great and vital, 
the drama of the human soul is completely hidden from direct obser- 
vation. The Muslim's task in Islam is not to see the outward manife- 
stations of the different events of human life but to study the inner life 
of the actors in events and give an account of their motives and aims. It 
implies that knowledge of history, unlike that of nature and her laws is 
not a biological necessity; it is a psychological and, above all, a 
sociological need. í 

The historical references and the accounts of the past are given in 
the Qur’an not so much to fill in the many gaps in our factual know- 
ledge as to make sense out of the vast deal that we do know. For a 


historical fact is not an isclated phenomenon. It has so many causal 
relationships that their significance can be determined. 

The Holy Qur'an treats the events of the past not only to revive them 
in our memory, but to make them meaningful for us. It selects the 
significant events, interprets them in the light of moral law and then 
evaluates them according to ethical judgements and in the whole 
process of selecting, interpreting, and evaluating the facts it answers 
the unavoidable questions, how, why and what of it and this reveals 
the nature of man and the world, his possible or proper destiny. 

This attitudé of Islam towards historical knowledge is of great 
significance in human understanding. The Muslim historians not only 
kept the high ideal of objectivity and exactitude in surveying the whole 
course of human development but sought to determine its origin, 
course.and goal. 

Thiscan be illustrated from the fact that the famous world history of 
Ibn Khaldün is entitled Kitab-al- Ibar. The word ‘br here stands as a 
prominent key word which reveals the underlying idea for which the 
history was studied by the Muslims. | 

Tbar is the plural of "/brah, a noun derived from the root $-b-r which 
means to travel, to cross, to go beyond the borders of the city or a larid. 
It also means to pass from the outside to the inside of a thing. Arabic 
dictionaries elaborate extensively on the idea of expressing, explaining 
and interpreting the meaning of something; and of wondering about, 
enquiring into, contemplating and penetrating to the innermost 
significance of an object. | 

Imam Raghib in his famous book Mu/radat says it is the state under 
which a man on the basis of concrete facts deduces unseen conclusions. 
It also means to learn a lesson, to take warning or to take an example. 

The Holy Qur’an and the Hadith on various occasions have urged us 
to view past events, both reported and experienced, as indications that 
should awaken in us moral sense and enhance its ability to act accord- 
ing to the demands of God: to penetrate behind the apparently 
meaningless succession of events and discern the ever-present design of 
the Creator. o 

According to the Qur’an God does not unfold Himself in history, as 
Hegel believed, but there is no denying the fact that it is not without a 
purpose that the Lord gives dominance to certain peoples at one time 
and deprives them of this privileged position at another occasion. This 

ebb and rise of the fortune or misfortune of peoples has a divine pur- 
pose to serve. The Holy Qur’an observes: 

t Vid uat 

Amr uud 1i 


If a wound has afflicted you, a wound like it has also afflicted the 
(disbelieving) people. And we bring these days to men by turn, that 
Allah may know those who believe and take witnesses from among 
you. And Allah loves not the wrong-doers. (al-Qur'àn, 3: 139). 

The use of historical events as a warning against certain patterns of 
action, and cxhortation to adopt a certain course of life, is not an 
absolutely new concept. All the revealed books have clear indications 
of this. There is enough in the historical narratives and literature of the 
pre-Islamic period which embody this trend, but the way in which 
along with the objectivity and exactitude of events the moral aspect is 
deepened is a purely post-Islamic development. | 

» It were the Muslims only who taught the world to preserve the 
historical events with perfect accuracy and then to study them for 
‘brah, i.e. for spiritual training and preparation for the final account- 

| , "ing. The famous history of Ibn Khaldün isa testimony of this attitude. 

He not only narrated facts, but linked them in-the chain of cause and 
effect, interpreted them and formulated general laws that lay behind 
them. His famous Muqaddimah is an illuminating discussion of his 
interpretations of historical narratives. 

The foregoing discussion makes it abundantly clear that the interest 
of the Holy Qur'àn and the Sunnah in history, regarded as a source of 
Human knowledge, extends further than mere indication of historical 
facts. This has manifested itself in various aspects of human culture. It 
has given us one of the most fundamental princi ples of historical criti- 
cism. Since accuracy in recording facts which constitute material of 
history is an indispensable condition of history as a science and an 
accurate knowledge of facts ultimately depends on those who report 
them, the very first principle of historical criticism is that the reporters' 

personal character is an important factor, in judging his testimony. 

'O believers! if any bad man comes to you with a report, verify it? 
(al-Qur’an, 49: 6). | 

It was the application of the principle embodied in this verse to 
reporters of the Prophet's traditions out of which were gradually 
evolved the canons of historical criticism. 

This is one aspect of the achievements of Muslims in history. The 
second aspect, i.e. the treatment of historical knowledge as an ‘ibrah in 
which the events crossed from historical events to their nature and 
causes and an effort to grasp the unseen reality of which these events 


were mere manifestations, is far more important. This is an area in 
which the Muslims made unique contributions. They interpreted 
facts, comprehended the forces that worked behind them and inter- 
preted them and thus made them meaningful and purposive. | 
The growth of the historical sense in Islam is a fascinating subject 
and it leads to an important point: the role and place of intellect in 
Islam. The observation of the signs of God in nature and history and 
on the bases of these observations the perception of ultimate Reality 
requires along with seeing (nazr), the reasoning and understanding 

(fahm). . ' 

Have you not seen how God makes the clouds move gently, then 
joins them together, then makes them into a heap? then you see the 
rain pouring forth from their midst. And He sends down from 
heaven mountain masses (of clouds) wherein is hail. He strikes with 
it whom He pleases and turns it away from whom He pleases and 
the vivid flash of His lightning wellnigh blinds the sight. It is God 
who alternates the night and the day. Surely in these things is an 
instructive example for those who have vision. (al-Qur'àn, 24: 43, 


"The Western World and its 
Challenges to Islam’ 

Seyyed Hossein Nasr 

NOWADAYS it is in the nature of things that if one wishes to discuss 
the challenges presented to Islam by the West and, in fact, by modern 
civilization in general, one must begin by using the sword of discrimi- 
nation and by embarking on a kind of ‘intellectual iconoclasm’. 
Modern civilization takes pride in having developed the critical mind 
and the power of objective criticism, whereas in reality it is in funda- 
mental sense the least critical of all known civilizations for it does not 
possess the objective criteria to judge and criticize its own activitics. It 
is a civilization which fails in every kind of basic reform because it 
cannot begin with the reform of itself. In fact, one of the characteristic 
features of the modern world is the singular lack of intellectual 
discernment and of the sharp edge of criticism in its true sense. : 

There is a traditional saying according to which Satan hates sharp 
points and edges. This old adage is a most profound truth which 
applies directly to the present-day situation. Being everywhere, the 
Devil manifests his influence by dulling all sharp points and edges 
which are accessible to him so that sharp distinctions disappear. The 
edges of clearly defined doctrines undergo a corrosive process and their 
sharpness of definition gradually fades. Truth and error become ever 
more intermingled, and even sacred rites and doctrines which are the 

* This essay is based on a lecture delivered to a predominantly Muslim 
audience in the Islamic Cultural Centre, London, during the first Festival of 
Islam held in that city in November, 1971. The text wasoriginally published in 
The Muslim, London, and later in a revised form in The Islamic Quarterly, 
London, (Vol. XVII, Nos. | and 2, January to June, 1973.) 


most precious of God’s gifts to man, become hazy and indefinite as a 
result of this corrosive influence which makes everything wishy-washy . 
and ambiguous. To discuss the challenge of the modern world to Islam 
requires, therefore, a rigorous application of intellectual discernment 
based ultimately upon the shahadah, the first letter of which, when 
written in Arabic, is in fact in the form of a sword. This sword must be 
used to break the false idols of the new age of ignorance Gahiliyyah ), 
idols which so many Muslims accept without even troubling to que- 
stion their nature. It must be used to cut away and remove all the false 
ideas and ‘isms’ that clutter the mind of modernized Muslims. It must 
help to chisel the soul of the contemporary Muslim from an amorph- 
ous mass into a sharp crystal that glows in the Divine Light. It must 
never be forgotten that a crystal glows precisely because of its sharply 
defined edges. | 
One must always remember that in the present situation any form of 
criticism of the modern world based upon metaphysical and réligious 
principles is a form of charity and in accordance with the most central 
virtucs of Islam. Also, one should never forget that the Prophet of Islam 
- upon whom be peace - not only possessed adab in its most perfect 
.form, but also asserted the truth in the most frank and straightforward 
manner. There were moments of his life when he was extremely cate- 
gorical, and he never sacrificed the truth for the sake of adab. Islam has 
never taught that one should accept that two and two is five in order to 
display adab. In fact adab has always been the complement to the per- 
ception and assertion of the truth in every situation and circumstance. 
Once an eminent spiritual authority from North Africa said, ‘Do you 
know what adah is? It is to sharpen your sword so that when you have to 
cut a limb it does not hurt.’ It is this type of attitude that is needed by 
Muslims in their discussion of the West and its challenges to Islam. The 
truth not only has a right to our lives and our bcings; it also has the 
prerogative of asking us to make sense to others and to express and 
expound it whenever and wherever possible. Today' we need to be 
critical even to the degree of stringency, precisely because such an 
attitude is so rare and so much in demand. | 
What is lacking in the Islamic world today is a thorough examina- 
| tion and careful criticism of all thet is happening in the modern world. 
Without such criticism nothing scrious can ever be done in the business 
of confronting the West. All statements of modernized Muslims which 
begin with the assertion, ‘The way to harmonize Islam . . .' and con- 
cluded with whatever follows the ‘and’, are bound to end in failure 



unless what follows is another divinely revealed and inspired world- 
view. Attempts to harmonize Islam and Western socialism or Marxism 
or existentialism or evolution or anything else of the kind are doomed 
from the start simply becausc they begin without exposing the system 
or 'ism' in question to a thorough criticism in the light of Islamic 
criteria, and also because thcy consider Islam asa partial view of things 
to be complemented by some form of modern ideology rather than a 
complete system and perspective in itself whose very totality excludes 
the possibility of its becoming a mere adjective to modify some other 
noun which is taken almost unconsciously as central in place of Islam. 

The rapid change in fashions of the day which make Islamic socialism 
popular one day and liberalism or some other Western ‘ism’ the next is 
itself proof of the absurdity and shallowness of such an approach. He 
who understands the structure of Islam in its totality knows that Islam 
can never allow itself to be reduced to the status of a mere modifier, or 
contingency, vis-à-vis a system of thought which remains independent 

‘of it. 

The defensive and apologetic attitude adopted by so many moder- 
nized Muslims towards various fashionable modes of thought that 
issuc from the West almost with the rapidity of seasonal changes is 
closely allied to their lack of a critical sense and a discerning spirit. 
Usually, obvious shortcomings and what is easy to criticize are criti- 
cized, but few have the courage to stand up and criticize the basic 
fallacies of our times. It is easy to point out that the life of students in 
traditional madrasahs is not hygienic, but it is much more difficult to 
take a firm stand and assert the fact that much of what is taught in the 
modern educational institutions is far more deadly for the soul of the 
students than the physically unhealthy surroundings of some of the old 
madrasah buildings. There are too few people in the Islamic world today 
who can confront the West, criticize, and, with the sword of the intel- 
lect and the spirit, answer at its very foundations the challenge with 
which the West confronts Islam. Such is the case today; but it does not 
have to be so. There is no logical reason why a new intellectual élite 
could not develop in the Islamic world with the capacity to provide an 
objective criticism of the modern world from the point of view of the 
eternal verities contained within the message of the Islamic revelation. 

Today in the Islamic world there are essentially two main classes of 
people concerned with religious, intellectual, and philosophical que- 
stions: the ‘x/ama’ and other religious authorities in general (including 
the Sufis) and the modernists. It isonly recently that a third group has 


gradually begun to emerge, namely, a group which, like the ‘ulama’ is 
traditional, but which knows the modern world. But the number of 
this third class is still very small indeed. As far as the ‘ulama’ and other 
traditional spiritual authorities are concerned, they usually do not 
possess a profound knowledge of the modern world and its problems 
and complexities. But they are the custodians of the Islamic tradition 
and its protectors, without whom the very continuity of the tradition 
would be endangered. They are usually criticized by the modernists 
for not knowing European philosophy and science or the intricacies of 
modern economics and the like. But this criticism, which is again of the 
facile kind so easily levelled by the modernists, is for the most part 
misplaced. Those who possessed the financial and political power in 
the Islamic world during the past century rarely allowed the madrasahs 
to develop in a direction which would permit them to give the ‘ulama’ 
class the opportunity of gaining a better knowledge of the modern 
world without becoming corrupted by it. In the few places where 
attempts were made to modify the madrasah curriculum the hidden 
intention was more often to do away with the traditional educational 
system by deforming it beyond hope of redemption than to extend its 
programme in any real sense to embrace courses which would 
acquaint the students with the modern world as seen in the light of 
Islamic teachings. Furthermore, few attempts have ever been made to 
create institutions which would provide a bridge between the tradi- 
tional madrasahs and modern educational institutions. At all events, 
the modernists have no right to criticize the ‘ulama’ for a lack of know- 
ledge of things for the mastery: of which they never received the op- 

In the second of our three classes we have the product of either 
Western universities or universities in the Islamic world which more or 
less ape the West. Now, the universities in the Islamic world are them- 
selves in a'state of crisis — a crisis of identity, for an educational system 
is organically related to the culture within whose matrix it functions. A 
jet plane can be made to land in the airport of any country in Asia or 
Africa, no matter where it may be, and be identified as part of that 
country. But an educational system simply imported, and 
the fact that modern universities are facing a crisis in the Islamic world 
ofa different nature from that which is found in the West is itself proof 
of this assertion. The crisis could not but exist, because the indigenous 
Islamic culture is still alive. Moreover, this crisis affects deeply those 
who are educated in these universities and who are usually called *the 

y roce 


intelligentsia’. This expression, like the term ‘intellectual’ is one that is 
most unfortunate in that those to whom it is applied are often the 
furthest removed from the domain of the intellect in its true sense. But 
by whatever name they are called, most members of this class, who are 
products of Western-oriented universities, have for the most part one 
feature in common, and that is the predilection for all things Western 
and a sense of alienation vis-à-vis things Islamic. This inferiority com- 
plex vis-à-vis the West among so many modernized Muslims — a 
complex which is, moreover, shared by modernized Hindus, 
Buddhists, and other Orientals who are affected by the psychosis of 
modern forms of idolatry — is the greatest malady facing the Islamic 
world, and it afflicts the very group which one would expect to face the 
challenge of the West. The encounter of Islam with the West cannot 
therefore be discussed without taking into consideration the type of 

. mentality which is often the product of modern university education’ 

and which, during the past century, has produced most of the apolo- 
getic Islamic writings which try to concern themselves with the 
encounter of Islam and the West. "* 

This apologetic, modernized type of approach has attempted to 
answer the challenge of the West by bending backwards in a servile 
attitude to show in one way or another that this or that element of 
Islam is just what is fashionable in the West today while other ele- 
ments, for which there could not be found a Western equivalence by 
even the greatest stretch of the imagination, have been simply brushed 
aside as unimportant or even extraneous later 'accretions'.^ Endless 
arguments have been presented for the hygienic nature of the Islamic 
rites of the ‘egalitarian’ character of the message of Islam, not because 

1. It must be said, however, that because of the very rapid decadence into 
which Western society has lapsed during the past two decades, some of the 
younger Muslims who have experienced the Western world on an *intellec- 
tual' level are far less infatuated with it than before and have in fact.begun to 
criticize it. But of these, the number that think within the Islamic framework 
are very limited. The various works of Maryam Jameelah contain many 
thoughtful pages both on this theme and the whole gencral problem of the 
confrontation between Islam and Western civilization. See especially her 
Islam versus the West, Lahore, 1968. 

la. A few of the modernized ‘u/ama’ must also be placed in thiscategory. See W. 
C. Smith, Islam in Modern History (P.U.P., 1957), where the style and approach 
of such an apologetic attitude as it concerns Egypt is analysed. 

2. It is here that ‘fundamentalist’ puritanical movements such as that of the 
Salafiyya and the modernist trends meet. 


such things are true if seen in the larger context of the total Islamic 
message, but because hygiene and egalitarianism are the currently 
accepted ideas in the West or at least they were before the ‘hippie’ 
movement. By affirming such obvious and too easily defended cha- 
racteristics, the apologists have evaded the whole challenge of the 
West, which threatens the heart of Islam and which no amount of 
attempts to placate the enemy can avert. When surgery is needed there 
must be a knife with which to remove the infected zone. Also when 
error threatens religious truth nothing can replace the sword of criti- 
cism and discernment. One cannot remove the negative effect of error 
by making peace with it and pretending to be its friend. 

The apologetic attitude is even more pathetic when it concerns itself 
with philosophical and intellectual questions. When one reads some 
items in this category of apologetic literature, which issued mostly 
from Egypt and the Indian sub-continent at the beginning of this 
century and which tried to cmulate already very stale and defunct 
debates that went on between theology and science in Victorian 
England or France of the same period, the weakness of such works, 
which were supposed to answer the challenge of the West, becomes 
most apparent, and even more so against the background of the de- 
cades that have since gone by. Of course, at that time one could hear 
the strong voice of the traditional authorities, who, basing themselves 
on the immutable principles of the Islamic revelation, tried to answer 
these challenges on a religious level, even if they were not aware of the 
more abstruse and hidden philosophical and sciéntific ideas that were 
involved, But this type of voice gradually diminished, without, of 
course, ceasing to exist altogether, while the other, that of the moder- 
nists, became ever more audible and invasive. 

This phenomenon has led to the rather odd situation today in 
which, among the educated, practically the most ardent defenders of 
Western civilization in the world are Westernized Orientals. The most 
intelligent students at Oxford or Harvard have far less confidence in 
the West than those modernized Orientals who for some time have 
sacrificed everything on the altar of modernism and are now suddenly 
faced with the possibility of the total decomposition of this idol. The- 
refore, they try all the more desperately to cling to it. For the moder- 
nized Muslims, especially the more extreme among them, the ‘true 
meaning’ of Islam has been for some time now what the West has 
dictated. If evolution has been in vogue ‘true Islam’ is evolutionary. If 
it is socialism that is the fashion of the day, the ‘real teachings’ of Islam 


are based on socialism. Those acquainted with this type of mentality 
and the works it has produced are most aware of its docile, servile and 
passive nature. Even in the field of law how often have completely 
non-Islamic and even un-Islamic tenets been adopted with a bismillah 
added at the beginning and a hihi nasta‘in at the end? 

Now suddenly this group, which was willing to sell its soul to emu- 
late the West, sees before its eyes the unbelievable sign of the floun- 
dering of Western civilization itself. How painful a sight it must be for 
such men! Therefore they try in the face of all evidence to defend the 
Western ‘valuc system’ and become ferociously angry with those 
Westerners who have themselves begun to criticize the modern world. 
Probably, if the obvious decomposition of modern civilization, which 
became gradually evident after the Second World War, had become 
manifest after the First World War when the traditions of Asia were 
much more intact, a great deal more of these traditional civilizations 
could have been saved. But the hands of destiny had chartered another 
course for mankind. Nevertheless, even in the present situation there is 
a great deal that can be done, for as the Persian proverb says, ‘As long 
as the root of the plant is in the water there is still hope.’ On the plane of 
true activity according to traditional principles the possibility of doing 
something positive always exists, including the most obvious and 
central act of stating the truth, and acting accordingly. Despair has no 
meaning where there is faith (màn). Even today if in the Islamic world 
there comes to be formed a true intelligentsia at once traditional and 
fully conversant with the modern world, the challenge of the West can 
be answered and the core of the Islamic tradition preserved from the 
paralysis which now threatens its limbs and body. 

To realize exactly how much can still be saved in the Islamic world it 
is sufficient to remember that for the vast majority of Muslims Islamic 
culture is still a living reality in which they live, breathe and die. From 
Indonesia to Morocco for the overwhelming majority, Islamic culture 
must be referred to in the present tense and not as something of the 
past. Those who refer to it the past tense belong to that very small but 
vocal minority which has ceased to live within the world of tradition 
and which mistakes its own loss of centre for the dislocation of the 
whole of Islamic society. 

The tragedy of the situation resides, however, in the fact that it is 
precisely such a view of Islam as a thing of the past that is held by most 

3. See F. Schoun, ‘No activity without Truth’, Studies in Comparative Religion, iii 
(1969), 194-203. i 


of those who contro) the mass media in the Islamic world and who 
therefore exercise an influence upon the minds and souls of men far 
beyond what their number would justify. In most places those who 
hold in their hands such means as radio, television, and magazines live 
in a world in which Islamic culture appears as a thing of the past 
precisely because they are so infatuated with the West that no other 
way of seeing things seems to have any reality for them even if the other 
way be a still living reality existing at their very doorsteps. 

Strangely enough, this Westernized minority in the Islamic world 
has gained a position of ascendancy at the very moment when the West 
has lost its own mooring completely and does know what it is doing or 
where it is going. If a simple Persian or Arab peasant were to be 
brought to one of the big Middle Eastern airports and asked to obse:;ve 
. the Europeansentering the country, the contrast in nothing more than 
the dress, which varies from that of a nun to near nudity, would be 
sufficient to impress upon hissimple mind the lack of homogeneity and ' 
harmony of the products of Western civilization. But even this ele- 
mentary observation usually escapes the thoroughly Westernized 
Muslim who, though well-wishing, if nothing else, does not want to 
face the overt contradictions in the civilization he is trying to emulate 
so avidly. 

Of course the situation has changed somewhat during the past three 
decades. Muslims who went to Europe between the two world wars 
thought of the trees along the Seine or the Thames rivers practically as 
Shajaràát al-tuba and these rivers as the streams of paradise. Whether 
consciously or unconsciously, most members of this generation of 
modernized Muslims almost completely transferred their image of 
paradise and its perfections to Western civilization but today this 
homogeneity of reaction and blind acceptance of the West as an idol is 
no longer to be observed. The inner contradictions of the West that 
have become even more manifest during the past three decades no 
longer permit such an attitude. The present-day generation of moder- 
nized Muslims are much less confident about the absolute value of 
Western civilization than their fathers and uncles who went to the 
West before them. This in itself can be a positive tendency if it becomes 
the prelude to a positive and objective evaluation of módernism. But so 
far it has only sown additional confusion in the ranks of modernized 
Muslims, and only here and there has it resulted in the appearance ofa 
handful of Muslim scholars who have awakened to the reality of the 
situation and have ceased to emulate the West blindly. But alas! The 

in tà] 


main problem, which is the lack of a profound knowledge based upon 
the criteria of Islamic culture, still remains. There are still too few 
‘occidentalists’ in the Islamic world who could perform the positive 
aspect of the function ‘orientalists’ have been performing for the West 
since the eighteenth century.‘ 

Despite the weakening of confidence in the West on the part of 
modernized Muslims, Muslims are still on the receiving-end of the 
realm of both ideas and material objects. Lacking confidence in their 
own intellectual tradition, most modernized Muslims are, like a tabula 
rasa, waiting to receive some kind of impression from the West. 
Morcover, cach part of the Islamic world receives a package of ideas 
that differs in kind according to the part of the Western world to which 
it has become closely attached. For example, in the domain of 
sociology and philosophy the Subcontinent has for the past century 
closely followed English schools and Persia French.? But everywhere 

. the modernized circles are sitting and waiting to adopt whatever 

comes along. One day it is positivism and the next structuralism. 
Rarely does anyone bother to adopt a truly Islamic intellectual atti- 
tude which would operate in an active sense and function with 
discernment towards all that the wind blows our way. It is almost the 
same as in the field of fashion where in many Islamic lands women 
remain completely passive as obedient consumers and emulate blindly 
whatever a few Western fashion makers decide for them. In dress 
fashion as in philosophical and artistic fashion modernized Muslims . 
have no role to play at the source where decisions are made. 

It is of course true that even Western people themselves are hardly 
aware of the deeper roots of the movements that sweep the West one 
after another and that twenty years ago no one foresaw that such an 
extensive movement as that of the hippies would become widespread 
in the West. But modernized Muslims are even further removed from 
the current in that they are unaware not only of the roots but even of 
the stages of incubation and growth of such movements and wait until 
4. We do not mean that Muslim 'occidentalists' should emulate the prejudices 
and limitations of the orientalists but that they should know the West as much 
as possible from the Islamic point of view in the same way that the best among 
the orientalists have sought to know the East well albeit within the frame of 
reference of the West. Of course, because the anti-traditional nature of the 
modern West, such a frame of reference has not been adequate when dealing 
with the religious and metaphysical teachings of Oriental traditions, but that 

is another question which does not enter our present discussion. 
5. Sec S. H. Nasr, Islamic Studies, (Beirut 1967) ch. viii. 


they occupy the centre of the stage, at which time they then react cither 
with surprise or again ina state of blind surrender. The ecological crisis 
is a per = example of this state of affairs. The Muslims have waited 
until the crisis has become the central concern of a vast number of 
Western peoples before even becoming aware of the existence of the 
problem. And even now, how many people in the Islamic world are 
thinking of this crucial problem in the light of the extremely rich 
tradition of Islam concerning nature which in fact could provide a key 
for the possible solution of this major crisis were men to accept to use 
this key? ê 

To study in a more concrete fashion the challenges of the West to 
Islam, it is necessary to take as example some of the ‘isms’ which are 
fashionable in the modern world today and which have affected the 
cultural and even religious life of the Islamic world. Let us start with 
Marxism or, more generally speaking, socialism.’ Today in many parts 
of the Islamic world there is a great deal of talk about Marxism which, 
although not concerned with religion directly, has an important indi- 
rect effect upon religious life, not to speak of economic and social 
activity. Many who speak of Marxism or socialism in general in the 
Islamic world do so with certain existing. problems of society in mind 
for which they are seeking solutions. But very few of them actually 
know Marxism or theoretical socialism in a serious sense. When one 
hears numerous young Muslim students speaking about Marxism in so 
many university circles, one wonders how many have actually read 
Das Kapital or even important secondary sources, or would defend the 
Marxist position seriously on a purely rational plane. The Marxist fad 
has become an excuse for many young Muslims to refuse to think 
seriously about the problems of Islamic society from the Islamic point 
of view: to accept the label of the black-box with its unknown interior is 
all that is required to inflate the ego and inveigle the mind into enter- 
taining the illusion that one has become an ‘intellectual’ or a member 
of the liberated ‘intelligentsia’ and that by following the already esta- 
blished Marxist solutions to all kinds of problems as thought out in a 
completely different socio-cultural context in other lands, one no 
longer has any responsibility to think in a fresh manner about the 

6. See S. H. Nasr, The Encounter of Man and Nature (London, 1968), pp. 93 ff. 

7. As regards socialism, which is at this very time enjoying great popularity in 
the form of ‘Islamic socialism’, Arab socialism etc., the term is usually a 
misnomer for social justice and is adopted i in many circles without an analysis 
of its real meaning for political expediency or simply to appear modern or 


problems of Islamic society as an Islamic society. It is precisely this 
blind adherence to Marxism as a package whose content is never 
analysed or as an aspirin to soothe every kind of pain that prepares the 
ground for the worst kind of demagogy. Instead of discussing problems 
in a reasonable and meaningful manner, those who have fallen under 
the influence of what is loosely called Marxism develop a blind and 
unintelligent obedience to it, which leads to a senseless confrontation 
and finally a mental sclerosis resulting in untold harm to the youth of 
Islamic society, to say nothing of its obvious harm to the life of faith. 
Unfortunately, the response given by Islamic authorities to the 
challenge of dialectical materialism has for the most part hitherto 
consisted in the presentation of arguments drawn from the transmit- 
ted (nagli ) or religious sciences rather than from the rich intellectual 
tradition of Islam contained in the traditional intellectual (‘aqli ) 

- sciences. Now, religious arguments can be presented only to those who 

already possess faith. Of what use is it to citea particular chapter of the 
Qur'àn to refute an idea held by someone who docs not accept the 
authority of the Qur’an to start with? Many of the works written by the 
‘ulama’ in this field can be criticized precisely because they address 
themselves to deaf ears and present arguments that arc of no efficacy in 
the context in question. This is especially saddening when we consider 
that the Islamic tradition possesses such a richness and depth that it is 
perfectly capable of answering, on the intellectual level, any argu- 
ments drawn from the modern European philosophy. What, in reality, 
is all modern philosophy before traditional wisdom but a noise that 
would seek, in its self-delusion, to conquer the heavens? So many of the 
so-called problems of today are based on ill-posed questions and on 
ignorance of truths which traditional wisdom alone can cure, a tradi- 
tional wisdom found from ancient Babylonia to medieval China in one 
of its most universal and certainly most diversified forms in Islam and 
the vast intellectual tradition which Islam has brought into being 
during its fourteen centuries of historical existence. 

The danger of Marxism for Islam has recently become all the more 
serious with the appearance, in certain countries, ofa Marxism with an 
8. A major exception to this is the five-volume Usiil’ifalsafa of ‘Allama Sayyid 
Muhammad Husayn Tabataba’i, one of the most venerable masters of tradi- 
tional Islamic philosophy in Persia today, with the commentary of Murtada 
Mutahhari (Qum, 1392 (A. H. solar)). As far as we know, this is the only work 
of an Islamic character which has tried to answer dialectical materialism from 
a philosophical point of view drawing from traditional Islamic philosophy, 
especially the school of Mulla Sadra. 



Islamic vencer, crcating a most tempting trap for some simple souls. : 
This insidious use of religion, often with direct political aims in mind, 
is in fact more dangerous than thc anti-religious and at least ‘honest’ 
Marxism and corresponds to the thought and attitude of that class of | 
persons whom the Qur’an calls the Munafiqun (hypocrites). In this case 
there is no way of giving an Islamic response except by answering such 
pseudo-syntheses intellectually and by clearly demonstrating that 
Islam is not any thing that might come along prefaced with à bismil- 
lah, but, rather, a total vision of reality which cannot compromise.with 
any half-truths whatsoever. 

Another 'ism' of greater danger to Islam with a longer history of 
protrusion into the Islamic world than Marxism is Darwinism or 
evolutionism in general, whose effect is particularly perceptible 
among the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent, obviously because of 
the strong influence of British education there. There is not time here - 
to point out the arguments presented by many outstanding European 
biologists against evolution’ or to marshall all the proofs brought forth 
by contemporary anthropologists to show that whatever may have 
occurred before, man himself has not evolved one iota since he set foot 
upon the stage of terrestrial history. | 

Alas, practically no contemporary Muslim thinker has taken note of 
these sources and made use of their arguments to support the tradi- 
tional Islamic view of man. For a notable segment of modernized 
Muslims cvolution remains practically like a religious article of faith 
whose overt contradiction of the teachings of the Qur'àn they fail to 

In fact, the Darwinian theory of evolution, which is meta-physically 
impossible and logically absurd, has been subtly woven in certain 
quarters into some aspects of Islam to produce a most unfortunate and 
sometimes dangerous blend. We do not mean only the shallow 

9. See-Nasr, Encounter of Man and Nature, pp. 124 ff., where these arguments as 
well as references to works on biology in which they have been set forth are 
presented. See also G. Berthault, L'évolution, fruit d'une illusion scientifique, Paris, 
10. See, for example, Leroi'Gourhan, Le Geste et la parole, 2 vols. (Paris 1964-5); 
J. Servier, L'homme et l'invisible (Paris, 1964); E. Zolla (ed.) Eternitá e storia. I 
valori permanenti nel divenire storico (Florence 1970); and G. Durand, *Defigura- 
tion philosophique ct figure traditionelle de l'homme en Occident’, Eranos- 
Jahrbuch (xxxviii (1969), Zurich 1971), pp. 45-93. Even an academic authority 
like Levi-Strauss, the founder of structuralism, has said, ‘les hommes ont 
toujours pense aussi bien’, 

ee N O 



Qur'ànic commentators around the turn of the century, but even a 
thinker of the stature of Iqbal, who was influenced by both the Victo- 
rian concept of evolution and thc idea of the superman of Nietzsche. 
Iqbal is an important contemporary figure of Islam, but with all due 
respect to him he should be studied in the light of the ijtihād which he 
himself preached so often and not be put on a pedestal. If we analyse 
his thought carefully we sce that he had an ambivalent love-hate 
relationship vis-à-vis Sufism. He admired Rümi yet expressed dislike 
for a figure like Hafiz. This is due to the fact that he was drawn, on the 
one hand, by the Sufi and, more generally speaking, Islamic idea of the 
perfect man (al-insan al-kàmil) and, on the other, by the Nictzschian 
idea of the superman which arc in fact at the very antipodes of each 
other. Iqbal made the great mistake of seeking to identify the two. He 
made this fatal error, despite his deep understanding of many aspects 

Of Islam, he had come to take the prevalent idea of evolution too 

seriously. He demonstrates on a more literate and explicit level a 

tendency to be found among many modern Muslim writers who in- 
stead of answering the fallacies of evolution have tried to bend over 
backwards in an apologetic manner to accept it and even to interpret 
Islamic teachings according to it." 

The general tendency among Muslims affected by the evolutionist 
mentality is to forget the whole Islamic conception of the march of 
time.'? The Qur'ànic chapters about eschatological events and the 
latter days are forgotten. All the hadiths pertaining to the last days and 
the appearance of the Mahdi are laid aside or misconstrued, either 
through ignorance or malevolence. Just one hadith of the Prophet 
asserting that the best generation of Muslims were those who were the 
contemporaries of the Prophet, then the generation after, then the 
following generation until the end of time is sufficient to nullify, from 
the Islamic point of view, the idea of linear evolution and progress in 
history. Those who think they are rendering a service to Islam by 
incorporating evolutionary ideas into Islamic thought are in fact 

11. It must be said, however, that fortunately in Islam there have not as yet 
appeared any figures representing ‘evolutionary religion’ possessing the same 
degree of influence as can be seen in Hinduism and Christianity where such 
men as Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin have rallied numerous sup- 
poters around themselves. The metaphysical teachings of Islam based upon 
the immutibility of the Divine Principle has until now been too powerful to 
permit the widespread influence of any such deviation. 

12. See Abu Bakr Siraj-ua-Din, ‘The Islamic and Christian Conceptions of the 
March of Time’, The Islamic Quarterly, i (1954), 229-35. 


falling into a most dangerous pit and are surrendering Islam to one of 
the most insidious pseudo-dogmas of modern man, created in the 
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to enable men to forget God. 

Moreover, the acceptance of the evolutionary thesis brings into 
being overt paradoxes in daily life which cannot be easily removed. If 
things are going to evolve for the better, then why bother to expend 
one’s efforts on betterment? Things will improve by themselves any- 
way. The very dynamism preached by modernists is against the 
usually accepted idea of evolution. Or, seen from another view, it can 
be argued that if the effort, work, movement and so on that are 
preached in the modern world are effective, then man can influence his 
future and destiny. And if he can affect his future, then he can also 
affect 1f for the worse, and there is no guarantee of an automatic pro- 
gress and evolution. All of these and many other paradoxes are brush- 
ed aside in certain quarters because of the enfeebled intellectual atti- 
tude which has as yet to produce a serious and also widely known 
Islamic response of a metaphysical and intellectual nature to the 
hypothesis of evolution. The challenge of evolutionary thought has 
been answered in contemporary Islam in almost the same way as has 
the case of Marxism. There have been some religious replies based 
upon the Holy Book but not an intellectual response which could also 
persuade the young Muslims whose faith in the Qur'an itself has been 
in part shaken by the very arguments of the evolutionary school. 
Meanwhile, works of evolutionary writers of even the nineteenth 
century such as Spencer, who are no longer taught as living philoso- 
phical influences in their homeland, continue to be taught in univer- 
sities far and wide in the Islamic world, especially in the Sub- 
continent, as if they represented the latest proven scientific knowledge 
or the latest philosophical school of the West. Few bothereven to study 
the recent anti-evolutionary developments in biology itself as well as 
the reassertion of the pre-evolutionary conception of man - move- 
ments which are gaining even greater adherence in many circles in the 
West today. And what is worse, there are too few efforts on the part of 
the Muslim Intellectual élite to formulate from Islamic sources the 
genuine doctrine of man and his relation to the universe which would 
act as a criterion for the judgement of any would-be theory of man and 
the cosmos, evolutionary or otherwise, and which would also provide 
the light necessary to distinguish scientific facts from mere hypotheses 
and scientific evidence from crass philosophical materialism parading 
in the garb of a pseudo-religious belief." 


Another important 'philosophical' challenge to the Islamic world is 
connected with the Freudian and Jungian interpretation of the 
psyche. The modern psychological and psychoanalytical approach 
tries to reduce all the higher elements of man’s being to the level of the 
psyche and, moreover, to reduce the psyche itself to nothing more than 
that which can be studied through modern psychological and psy- 
choanalytical methods. Until now, this way of thinking has not 
affected the Islamic world as directly as has evolutionism, and I do not 
know of any important Muslim writers who are Freudian or Jungian; 
but its effect is certain to increase soon. It must therefore be remem- 
bered that Freudianism as well as other modern Western schools of 
psychology and psychotherapy are the by-products of a particular 
society very different from the Islamic. It needs to be recalled also that 
Freud was a Viennese Jew who unfortunately turned away from 

, Orthodox Judaism. Few people know that he was connected to a mes- 

sianic movement which was opposed by the Orthodox Jewish com- 
munity of central Europe itself and that therefore he was opposed to 
the main-stream of Jewish life, not to speak of Christianity. Many 
study Freudianism, but few delve into its deeper origins which reveal 
its real nature." 

Recently one of the outstanding figures of Sufism from the East 
wrote a series of articles on Sufism and psychoanalysis in French, 
making a comparison between the two. With all due respect to him it 
must be said that he has been too polite and lenient towards psy- 
choanalysis, which is truly a parody of the initiatóry methods of 
Sufism. Fortunately for Muslims, until now the influence of psy- 
choanalysis has not penetrated deeply among them, and they have not 
felt the need for it. This is due most of all to the continuation of the 
practice of religious rites such as the daily prayers and pilgrimage. The 

13. See Lord Northbourne, Looking Back on Progress (London, 1971); M. Lings, 
Ancient Beliefs and Modern Superstitions (London, 1955); and F. Schuon, Light on 
the Ancient Worlds, trans. Lord Northbourne (London, 1965). 

14. See W. N. Perry, "The Revolt against Moses’, Studies in Comparative Religion, 
i (1967), 103-19; F. Schuon, ‘The Psychological Imposture’, ibid., pp. 98-10s; 
and R. Guenon, ‘The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times’, trans. Lord 
Northbourne (Baltimore 1972), chs. xxiv ff. As far as Jung is concerned, his 
influence can be even more dangerous than that of Freud precisely because he 
deals more with traditional symbols but from a psychological rather than 
spiritual point of view. Sce Burckhardt, ‘Cosmology and Modern'Seience IIT, 
Tomorrow, xiii (1965), 19-31; id., Scienza mordernae saggezza tradizionale, (Torino, 

1968), ch. iv. 


supreme centre for pilgrimage in Islam is, of course, Makka, but there 
are other sacred localities throughout the Muslim world which are 
reflections on this centre. The supplications, ‘discourses’, and forms of 
pleading that are carried out in such centres by men, women and 
children open their souls to the influx of divine grace and are a most 
powerful means of curing the ailments, and untying the knots, of the 
soul. They achieve a goal which the psychoanalyst seeks to accomplish 
without success but often with dangerous results because he lacks the 
pow^: which comes from the Spirit and which alone can dominate and 
control the sow!. 

But psychoanalytical thought, which is agnostic or even in certain 
cases demonic, is bound to penetrate gradually into the Islamic world, 
mostly perhaps through the translation of Western literature into 
Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu and other Islamic languages. The 
cffect of such translations will be to bring into being, and in fact it is 
already bringing into being, a so-called ‘psychological literature’ 
opposed to the very nature and genius of Islam. Islam isa religion 
which stands opposed to individualistic subjectivism. The most intel- 
gible material symbol of Islam, the mosque, is a building with a space 
in which all elements of subjectivism have been eliminated. It is an 
objective determination of the Truth, a crystal through which the light 
of the Spirit radiates. The spiritual ideal of Islam itself is to transform 
the soul of the Muslim, like a mosque, into a crystal reflecting the 
Divine Light. 

Truly Islamic literature is very different from the kind of subjectivi- 
stic literature we find in the writings of Franz Kafka or àt best in 
Dostoevsky. These and similar figures are of course among the most 
important in modern Western literature, but they, along with most 
other Western literary figures, nevertheless present a point of view that 
is very different from, and often totally opposed to, that of Islam. 
Among older Western literary figures who are close to the Islamic 
perspective one might mention first of all Dante and Goethe who, 
although profoundly Christian, are in many ways like Muslim writers. 
In modern times one could mention, but on another level, of course, T. 
S. Eliot who, unlike most modern writers, was a devout Christian and 
possessed, for this very reason, a vision of the world not completely 
removed from that of Islam. 

In contrast to the works of such men, however, the psychological 
novcl, through its very form and its attempt to penetrate into thc 
psyche of men without a criterion for Truth asan objective reality, is an 

ee eee 


element that is foreign to Islam. Marcel Proust was without doubt a . 

master of the French language and his ‘In Scarch of Time Past’ is pt ^ 
much interest to those devoted to modern French literature, but this 
type or writing cannot become the model for a genuinely Muslim 
literature, Yet it is this very type of psychological literature that is now 
beginning to serve as a ‘source of inspiration’ for a number of writers in 
Arabic and Persian. It is of interest to note that the most famous 
modern literary figure of Persia, Sadeq Hedayat, who was deeply 
influenced by Kafka, committed suicide from psychological despair 
and that, although certainly a person of great literary talent, he was 
divorced from the Islamic current of life and is today opposed by 
Islamic elements within Persian society. Nevertheless, such writers, 
who often deal with psychological problems found in Western society, 
problems which the Muslims have not experienced until now, are 
becoming popular among the Muslim youth who thereby become 
acquainted and even afflicted by these new maladies. 

One of the worst tragedies today is that there has appeared recently 
in the Muslim world a new type of person who tries consciously to 
imitate the obvious maladies of the West. Such people are not, for 
example, really in a state of depression but try to put themsleves into 
such in order to look modern. They compose poetry that is supposed to 
issue from a tormented and depressed soul whereas they are not de- 
pressed at all. There is nothing worse than a state of nihilism except the 
imitation of the state of nihilism by someone who is not nihilistic but 
tries to produce nihilistic literature or art only to imitate the decadence 
of Western art. The influence of psychology and psychoanalysis com- 
bined with an atheistic and nihilistic point of view and disseminated 
within the Islamic world through literature and art presents a major 
challenge to Islam which can be answered only through recourse to 
traditional Islamic psychology and psychotherapy contained mostly 
within Sufism and also through the creation of Islamic - in the true 
sense of the term - literary criticism which would be able to provide an 
objective evaluation of so much that passes for literature today. 

The degree of penetration of anti-Islamic psychological and also 
philosophical Western ideas through literature can be best gauged by 
just walking through the streets near universities in different Middle 
Eastern cities. Among the books spread on the ground or on stands 
everywhere one still observes traditional religious books, and especial- 
ly, of course the Qur'àn. But one observes also the presence of a large 
number of works in Islamic languages dealing with subjects ranging all 


the way from Marxism and existentialism to pornography presented 
most often as ‘literature’. Naturally, there are rebuttals and answers as 
well, for Islam and its spirituality are still alive, but the very presence of 
all this type of writing itself reveals the dimension of the challenge 

As far as nihilism is concerned, the Islamic answer is particularly 
strong, and the Muslims, even modernized ones, have not experienced 
nihilism in the same way as have Westerners. The main reason for this 
is that in Christianity the Spirit has been almost always presented in a 
positive form, as an affirmation, as the sacred art of Christianity re- 
veals so clearly. The void or the ‘nihil’ has not usually been given a 
spiritual significance in Christian art such as we observe, for example, 
in Islamic and also Far Eastern art." Therefore, as a result of the 
rebellion against Christianity, modern man has experienced the nihil 
only in its negative and terrifying aspect while some have been 
attracted to Oriental doctrines especially because of the latter’s 
emphasis upon the void. 

In contrast to Christianity where the manifestation of the Spirit is 
always identified with an affirmation and a positive form, Islamic art 
makes use of the ‘negative’ or the ‘void’ itself ina spiritual and positive 
sense in the same way that metaphysically the first part of the Shahada 
begins with a negation to affirm the vacuity of the things vis-à-vis 
Allah. The space of Islamic architecturc and city-planning is not the 
space around an object or determined by that object. Rather, it is the 
negative space cut out from material forms as, for example, in tradi- 
tional bazaars. When one walks through a bazaar one walks through a 
continuous space determined by the inner surface of the wall sur- 
rounding it and not by some object in the middle of it. That is why 
what is now happening architecturally in many Middle Eastern-cities 
such as the building of some huge monument in the middle of a square 
to emulate its counterpart in the West is the negation of the very 
principles of Islamic art and is based on a lack of understanding of the 
positive role of negative space and the ‘nihil’ is Islamic architecture. 
The void or negative space has always possessed a positive spiritual role 
in Islam and its art, and it is precisely this positive aspect of the void in 

15. On the significance of the void in Islamic art see T. Burckhardt, "The Void 
in Islamic Art’, Studies in Comparative Religion, iv ( 1970), 96-9; S. H. Nasr, ‘The 

Significance of the Void in the Art and Architecture of Islamic Persia', Journal 
of the Regional Cultural Institute (Tehran), v. (1972), 128-8; id., "The Significance 
of the Void in the Art and Architecture of Islam’, The Islamic Quarterly, xvi 

(1972), 115-20, 


Islamic spirituality that has prevented Muslims from experiencing 
nihilism and nothingness in their purely negative sense and in the 
manner that nihilism has manifested itself as practically the central 
experience of modern man. . 

To return to the question of psychology and psychoanalysis, it must 
be added that the presence of this perspective in so much art criticism 
in the West has permitted this type of thought to seep into the mind of 
a small but significant portion of Islamic socicty through art - 
significant because it wields influence and often forms the taste of the 
psychologically passive masses of traditional Muslims. Traditional 
Islamic literary criticism and literary tastes are thereby being 
influenced by the completely anti-traditional ideas emanating from 
Jungian and Freudian circles and threatening one of the most central 
and accessible channels of Islamic norms and values. It might, fur- 
thermore, be added that Jungian psychology is more dangerous than 

. the Freudian in this respect, in that it seems to be dealing with the 

sacred and the noumenal world whereas in reality it is deforming the 
image of the sacred by confusing the spiritual and psychological 
domains and subversively relegating the luminous and transcendent 
source of archetypes to a collective unconscious, which is no more than 
the dumping-ground for the collective psyche of various peoples and 
their cultures. Islamic metaphysics, as all true metaphysics, stands 
totally opposed to this blasphemous subversion as well as to the 
methods of profane psychoanalysis which are, as already stated, no 
morc than a parody of Sufi techniques. But how many*contemporary 
Muslims are willing to stand up and assert their basic differences 
rather than trying to glide over them in order to placate the modern 
world with all its essential errors and subsequent evils? 

Another challenge to Islam, which has come to the fore only since the 
Second World War, is the whole series of movements of thought and 
attitudes looscly bound togcther under the title of existentialism, 
which is the latest wave of Western thought to reach the Muslims 
following various forms of positivism. There are, of course, many 
branches of existentialism, ranging from the Existenz Philosophie of the 
German philosophers to the theistic philosophy of Gabriel Marcel and 
finally to the agnostic and atheistic ideas of Sartre and his followers. 
This type of philosophy, which developed on the European continent 
carly in this century, still holds the centre of the stage in many conti- 
nental countries. Although it has not as yet had a serious effect upon 


the Muslim world, during the past few years its influence, which can 
certainly be characterized as negative, is beginning to make itself felt 
again through art and more directly through Properly so called philo- 
sophical works, which are starting to influence some of those Muslims 
who are concerned with philosophy and the intellectual life. Because 
of the anti-mctaphysical attitude of much of what is taught in this 
school and its forgetting of the meaning of being in its traditional sense, 
which lies at the heart of all Islamic philosophy, the spread of existen- 
tialism especially in its agnostic vein is a most insidious danger for the 
future of Islamic intellectual life. - 4 

Furthermore, there is the tendency in certain quarters to interpret 
Islamic philosophy itself in the light of Western modes of thought, the 
latest being the existential school. Muslim ‘intellectuals’ are directly to 
blame for this dangerous innovation (bid'ah), which strangely enough 
is also the most blind and unintelligent type of imitation (taqlid ).'5 If 
this type of interpretation continues, it will cost the new generation of 
Muslims very dearly. Today one sees cverywhere in different Muslim 
countries Muslims lcarning about their own intellectual and philoso- 
phical past from: Western sources, many of which may contain useful 
information and be of value from the point of view of scholarship, but 
all of which are of necessity from a non-Muslim point of view. 

In the field of thought and philosophy in the widest sense the coun- 
tries that have suffered most are those which use English or French as 
the medium of instruction in their universities — countries such as 
Pakistan, the Muslim sectors of India, Malaysia and Nigeria, or, in the 
Maghrib, countries such as Morocco and Tunisia. It is high time, with 
all their talk of anti-colonialism, for Muslims to overcome the worst 
possible type of colonialism, namely colonialism of the mind, and to 
seek to view and study their own cul ture, especially its intellectual and 
spiritual heart, from their own point of view. Even if, God forbid, there 
are certain Muslims who want to reject some aspect of their intellec- 
tual heritage, they would first of all need to know that heritage. Both 
acceptance. and rejection must be based upon knowledge, and there is 
no excuse for ignorance, no matter what direction one wishes to follow. 
One cannot reject what one does not know any more than one can 
accept something in depth without true knowledge. Nor can one throw 
away what one does not possess. This is a very simple truth, but one 
that is too often forgotten today. 

16. See S. H. Nasr, Islamic Studies, chs. viii, ix. 


This point recalls an incident that occurred some years ago when a 
famous,Zen master visited a leading Western university. After his 
lecture on Zen a graduate student asked, ‘Don’t the Zen masters be- 
lieve that one should burn the Buddhist scrolls and throw away the 
Buddha images?’ The master smiled and answered, ‘Yes, but you can 
only burn a scroll which you possess and throw away an image which 
you have.’ This was a most profound answer. The master meant that 
you can only transcend the exoteric dimension of religion if you prac- 
tise that exotcricism and subsequently penetrate into its inner mean- 
ing and transcend its forms. Hc who does not practice exotericism 
cannot ever hope to go beyond it; he merely falls below it and mistakes 
this fall fora transcending of forms. The same applies on another level 
to man's traditional intellectual heritage. One cannot go 'beyond' the 
formulations of the sages of old when one does not even understand 
them. He who tries to do so mistakes his pitiful ignorance and 'expan- 

 Sion' and apparent ‘freedom’ from traditional norms of thought — an 

ignorance which is in reality the worst kind of imprisonment by the 
limitations of onc's own nature - for the true freedom which comes 
from thc illimitable horizons of the world of the Spirit alone and which 
can be reached only through the vehicle provided by religion and its 
sapiential doctrines. 

Contemporary Muslims should be realists enough to understand 
that they must begin their journey, in whatever direction they wish to 
go, from where they are. A famous Chinesé proverb asserts that 'the 
journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step . Now this first 
step must of necessity be from one's location, and that is as much true 
culturally and spiritually as it is physically. Wherever the Islamic 
world wants to go, it must begin from the reality of the Islamic tradi- 
tion and from its own real and not imagined situation. Those who lose 
sight of this fact actually do not travel effectively at all. They just 
imagine that they are journcying. A Pakistani or a Persian or an Arab 
‘intellectual’ who wants to be a leader of thought for the Muslim 
people must remember who he is if he wishes to be effective and not be 
cut off from the rest of Islamic society. No matter how hard he tries to 
make a corner of Lahore or Tehran or Cairo belong to the setting of 
Oxford or the Sorbonne, he will not succeed. The so-called Muslim 
intellectuals of the Westernized kind who complain that they are not 
understood and appreciated by Islamic society forget that it is they 
who have refused to appreciate and understand their own culture and 
society and are therefore subsequently rejected by their own commu- 


nity. This rejection is in fact a sign of life, an indication that Islamic | 

culture still possesses life. | 

As far as philosophy is concerned, the countries where Muslim 
languages arc used for university instruction arc in a somewhat better 
position, especially in Persia, where Islamic philosophy still continues 
as a living tradition and where it is not easy tasay no matter what in the 
name of philosophy without bcing seriously challenged by the tradi- 
tional intellectual elite. Of course, even this part of the Muslim world 
has not been completely sparcd from condescending and apologetic 
studies of Islamic thought from the point of view of Western philo- 
sophy, but, relatively speaking, there is less of a Western philosophic 
influence because of the two reasons alluded to above: namely the 
language barrier and a still living tradition of Islamic philosophy. The 
effect of Iqbal's two philosophical works in English, The Development of 
Metaphysics in Persia and The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, in 
Pakistan, and of their fairly recent translations into Persian in Persia 
presents an interesting case worthy of study. 

Yet, even in lands using Muslim languages, books do appear in such 
languages as Persian, and particularly Arabic, on philosophy froma 
perspective totally alien to that of Islam and bearing such titles as 
Falsafatuna (Our Philosophy), as if philosophy as a vision of the truth or 
quest after wisdom or sophia could ever be ‘mine’ or ‘ours’. No Arab or 
Persian traditional philosopher ever used such an expression. For 
Muslims who cullivated Islamic philosophy, philosophy was always 
al-falsafah or al-hikmah, ‘the philosophy’, a vision of the truth tran- 
scending the individualistic order and derived from the Truth (al- 
Haqq ) itself. The very appearance of such concepts and terms as ‘our 
philosophy’ or ‘my thought’ in the Muslim languages itself reveals the 
degrec of departure from the Islamic norm. It is against such errors 
that the weapon of the traditional doctrines contained in the vast 
treasury of Islamic thought must be used and answers drawn from 
these sources be provided before any further erosion of Islamic intel- 
lectual life takes place. 

Returning to the question of existentialism and traditional Islamic 
philosophy in Persia, it must be mentioned that because of the type of 

traditional philosophy surviving there, based on the principality of 

being (asalat al-wujüd ) and itself called Jalsafat al-wujüd (which some 
have mistakenly translated as existentialism), existentialism of the 
European kind has encountered strong resistance from traditional 
circles. Actually, anyone who has studied traditional Islamic philo- 



sophy from Ibn Sina and Suhrawardi to the great exponent of the 
metaphysics of being, Sadr al-Din Shirazi (Mulla Sadra), will readily 
understand the profound chasm which separates traditional Islamic 
‘philosophy’ of being from modern existentialism, which even in its 
apparently most profound aspects can only reach, in a fragmentary 
fashion, some of the rudimentary teachings contained in their fullness 
in traditional metaphysics. Henry Corbin, the only Western scholar 
who bas expounded to any extent this later phase of Islamic philo- 
sophy in the West, has shown thc divergence of views between Islamic 
philosophy and cxistentialism as well as the correctives which the 
former provides for the latter in the long French introduction to his 
edition and translation of Sadr al-Din Shirazi’s Kitab al-Masha ‘ir 
(rendered into French as Le Livre des pénétrations métaphysiques ).'’ It is, 
incidentally, interesting to note that it was through Corbin’s transla- . 
tion of Heidegger's Sein und Zeit that Sartre was first attracted to exi- 
_ stentialism, while Corbin himself completely turned away from this 
form of thought to the ocean of the ‘Orient of Light’ of Suhrawardi 
and the luminous philosophy of being of Sadr al- Din Shirazi. 

To conclude this discussion, one last basic point must be mentioned, 
and that is the ecological crisis which was brought into being by 
modern civilization but which is now a challenge to the very life of men 
everywhere, including, of course, Muslims in the Islamic world. 
Anyone who is aware of what is going on today knows that the most 
immediate problem, at least of a material order, which faces the world 
is the ecological crisis, the destruction or the loss of equilibrium be- 
tween man and his natural environment. Islam and its sciences have a 
particularly urgent and timely message which, as mentioned above, 
can help to solve, to the extent possible, this major challenge to the 
world as a whole. However, this message unfortunately received the 
least amount of attention from modernized Muslims themselves. 

We know that Muslims cultivated the different sciences of nature 
such as astronomy, physics and medicine avidly and made great con- 
tributions to them without losing their equilibrium and harmony with 
nature. Their sciences of nature were always cultivated within the 
matrix ofa ‘philosophy of nature’ which was in harmony with the total 

17. See Mulla Sadra, Kitab al-Masha‘r (Le livres des penetrations metaphysiques) 
(Tehran-Paris 1964), ch. iv of the introduction; see also T. Izutsu, The Concept 
and Reality of Existence (Tokyo 1971), where a profound analysis of Islamic 
ontology is to be found, even if in chapter ii certain comparisons are made with 
Western existentialism which appear to us difficult to accept. 


structure of thc universe as secen from the Islamic perspective. There | 

‘lies in the background of Islamic science a true philosophy of naturc 

which if brought to light and presented in a contemporary language 

can be substituted for the present false natural philosophy, which, 

combined with a lack of true metaphysical understanding of first 

principles, is largely responsible for the present crisis in man's relation 

with nature. '® 

Unfortunately, the Islamic scientific heritage has only too rarely 
been studied by Muslims themselves, and, if such a study is made, it is 
usually based on an inferiority complex which tries to prove that 
Muslims preceded the West in scientific discoveries and therefore are 
not below the West in their cultural attainment. Rarely is this precious 
Muslim scientific heritage seen as an alternative path toascience of the 
natural order which could and did avoid the catastrophic impasse 
modern science and its applications through technology have created 
for men. Muslims with vision should be only too happy that it was not 
.they who brought about the seventeenth-century scientific revolution 
whose logical outcome we observe today. Muslim scholars and think- 
ers must be trained with the goal of revitalizing the philosophy of 
nature contained in the Islamic sciences and of studying these sciences 

The end thus proposed is very different from the goal espoused by so 
many modernized Muslims who pride themselves that Islam paved 
the way for the Renaissance. Thcy reason that since the Renaissance 
was a great event in history and since Islamic culture helped create the 
Renaissance, therefore Islamic culture must be of valuc. This is an 
absurd way of reasoning which remains completely unaware of the 
fact that what the modern world suffers from today is the result of steps 
taken by the West mostly during the Renaissance when Western man 
rebelled to a large extent against his God-given religion. Muslims 
should be grateful that they did not rebel against heaven and had no 
share in that anti-spiritual humanism which has now resulted in an 
infra-human world. What Islam in fact did was to prevent the indivi- 
dualistic rebellion against heaven, the Promethean and Titanesque 
spirit which is so clearly shown in much of Renaissance art and which 
stands diamctrically opposed to the spirit of Islam based on submission 
to God. It is true that Islamic science and culture were a factor in the 
rise of the Renaissance in the West but Islamic elements were 

18. Sec S. H. Nasr, Science and Civilization in Islam (Cambridge, 1968); and S. H. 
Nasr, An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines (Cambridge, 1964). 


employed only after they were divorced from their Islamic character 
and torn away from the total order in which alone they possess their 
full meaning and significance. j 

Muslims should cultivate the study of the Islamic sciences, firstly to 
show young Muslims (so many of whom have the tendency to stop 
praying upon learning the first formulas of algebra) that for many 
centuries Muslims cultivated the sciences, including most of the 
matħematics taught in secondary schools today, and yet remained 
devout Muslims; and, secondly, to bring out the underlying harmony 
of the Islamic sciences with Islamic philosophy, theology and meta- 
physics, a harmony that is closely related to the philosophy of nature 
alluded to above. The great masterpieces of Islamic science such as the 
: works of Ibn Sind, al-Biruni, Khayyam, and Nasir al-Din Tüsi can all 
be employed with both ends in view. 

Finally, it must be asserted categorically once again that to preserve 
‘Islam and Islamic civilization, a conscious and intellectual defence 
must be made of the Islamic tradition. Moreover, a thorough intellec- 
tual criticism must be made of the modern world and its shortcomings. 
Muslims cannot hope to follow the same path as the West without 
reaching the same, or even worse, impasse because of the rapidity of 
the tempo of change today. The Muslim intelligentsia must face all 
the challenges here mentioned and many others with confidence in 
themselves. They must cease to live in the state of a psychological and 
cultural inferiority complex. They must close ranks among themselves 
and also join forces with the other great traditions of Asia not only to 
cease to be on the defensive but also to take the offensive and provide 
from their God-given treasury of wisdom the medicine which alone 
can cure the modern world of its most dangerous malady, provided of 
course the patient is willing to undcrgo the cure. But even if we take the 
dimmest point of view with a consideration of the present-day 
situation and realize that all cannot be saved, the assertion of the truth 
itself is the most valuable of all acts, and its effect goes far beyond what 
can usually be envisaged. The truth must therefore be asserted and the 
intellectual defence of Islam made on every front in which it is chal- 
lenged. The result is in God's Hands. As the Qur'àn asserts, "Truth 
hath come and falsehood hath vanished away. Lo! falsehood is ever 
bound to vanish' (XVII, 81, Pickthall translation). 


Islam and the Crisis of the 
Modern World* 

Muhammad Qutb 

DAZZLED by the achievements of science during the 18th and 19th 
centuries, many westerners thought that religion had exhausted all its 
usefulness and surrendered to science once for all. Almost all the emi- 
nent western psychologists and sociologists expressed themselves in 
similar terms. Freud, the renowned psychologist, for instance, while 
demonstrating the futility of religion in modern times, says that the 
human life passes through three distinct psychological phases: super- 
stitution, religion and science. This being the era of science, so all 
religion was pronounced out of date. 

There is no denying that there were certain causes which led the men 
of scierice in Europe to adopt a view of life antagonistic to religion. It 
was mainly due to the great controversy, that raged between men of 
science and the Christian church, which made them think — quite 
justifiably of course —- that whatever the church stood for was reac- 
tionary, retrogressive, backward and superstitious, and that therefore 
it must vacate its seat for science so as to enable humanity to move 
ahead on the path of civilization. 


Without appreciating the difference between the peculiar conditions 
of life obtaining in Europe at the time of this unhappy conflict and 

* This chapter is excerpted from the author's book Islam: The Misunderstood , 
. Religion, Kuwait: Darul Bayan Bookshop which is an English translation of his 
Shubuhat Hawl al-Islam. The translation has been thoroughly revised by the 


those in the Islamic world, a section of people has.been demanding the © 
renunciation of religion and of the sacred traditions that have come to 
us from our earlier generations. This move has been strengthened by 
the puerile imitation of the West that is gaining currency in the Mus- 
lim lands. Many a naive people fancy that the only way to progress is 
to follow the dominant nations of Europe, intellectually and cultural- 
ly. To achieve this they have to discard their religion just as Europe had 
done failing which they fear they would be trapped in an abyss of 
reactionism, backwardness‘and humbug. 

But such people overlook the fact that even in the West, not all the 
outstanding scholars were antagonistic towards religion; nor do their 
works exhibit anything of this sort. On the other hand we find some of © 

these eminent intellectuals who were never under the spell of Europe's 
Godless matcrialism and who affirmed that religion is a psychological 
as well as an intellectual necessity for mankind. à 

The most noted figurc ainong them is the astronomer Sir James 
Jeans, who started his intellectual career as a Godless sceptic but was 
led finally by his scientific explorations to the conclusion that the 
greatest problems of science could not be resolved without believing in 
God. The famous sociologist Jeans Bridge went so far as to cuiogize 
Islam for achieving a successful amalgam of the temporal with the 
spiritual into a harmonious system of thought blended with a practical 
code of life. The well-known English writer Somerset Maugham epi- 
tomized the whole attitude of modern Europe towards religion when 
he remarked that Europe had in the present era discovered a new god 
— Science, in place of the old one. | 

The god of science has, however, turned out to be extremely fickle, 
everchanging and constantly shifting positions, upholding one thing 
as a fact and reality today and rejecting it the other day as false and 
spurious. Consequently its *worshippers' are doomed to a perpetual 
state of restlessness and anxiety, for how can they find rest and peace of 
mind under such a capricious god? That the modern west is afflicted 
with this uncertainty and restlessness is borne out by the large number 
of psychological and nervous disorders that are so common in modern 
society today. 

Yet another result of this deification of modern science is that the 
world we live in had become devoid of all meaning and purpose with 
no higher order or power to guide it. Tension and conflict between 
different forces have become the order of the day. As a result every- 
thing in this world suffers change: economic and political systems 


change; relations between states and individuals alter; even scientific 
‘facts’ change. What can man expect save misery and perpetual 

‘restlessness in a world with such a sombre setting where no Higher 

Power exists whom he should turn to for support, strength and comfort 
in this ruthless struggle of life. 

It is religion and religion alone that can bring peace and tranquillity 
to the world. It instils in man love for goodness and the courage to 
stand up to the forces of evil and tyranny was a necessary condition of 
obtaining God’s pleasure and to make His will predominant on this 
earth awaiting with patience for his reward in the Hereafter. Doesn't 
mankind really need peace, tranquillity and comfort, in a word, reli- 


' What will become of man if his life is devoid of belief in an eternal life 

in the hereafter? Belief in the continuity of life in the next world is a 
revolutionary concept. Under its impact, man's life upon earth as- 

sumes new dimensions opening higher horizons of progress before him, 

in the absence of which he is inevitably oppressed by a torturous sense 
of nothingness, as it means a virtual cuttirg short of man's total life- 
span, making him a mere plaything in the hands of his whims and 
caprices which teach him nothing but to derive the maximum possible 
amount of plcasure during this short sojourn upon thc earth. Mutual 
rivalries, savage battles and conflicts over the possession of material 
gains follow, as there is no Higher Power to control and restrain one's 
desires. Blinded by greed and lust, man tries to gain whatever he can in 
the shortest span of time. His total perspective of life and its mission is 
lost altogether. This degrades man to lower planes of feelings and 
thought. His imagination sinks low and so do his ideals and the means 
to achieve them. Mankind is doomed to a perpetual life of hideous 
internecine wars that scarcely permit it to pursue higher and nobler 
ends in life. In such a world there is hardly any room for love or sym- 
pathy, as men are obsessed with carnal pleasures, and spurred by 
uncontroiled passions. In such a context, how can they strive for lofty 
aspirations or even appreciate genuine human feelings? 

In such a world men do gain some material profits. But of what use 
are these when their fellowmen are constantly wrangling over them, 
each ready to cut his brother's throat only to enhance his own material 
welfare? Materialism so spoils life that even man's material achieve- 
ments are rendered useless and senseless. Men are enslaved by greed, 



lust and avarice. Blind appetites gain control over them. They lose 
their grip on them and become their slaves, This results in the dehu- 
manization of man. | 

The predicament of the nations is not different. They, for similar 
reasons, get entangled in devastating wars which spoil all harmony in 
life. And science, with all its dreadful weapons, is employed for the 
extermination of the human race rather than to contribute towards 
man’s well-being and his moral advancement. | 

Viewed in this context religion means broadening the mental hori- 
zon of mankind, for life is not confined to this world alone but conti- 
nues even beyond it — towards eternity. This inspires hope in man's 
. heart, encourages him to live and strive for the achievement of higher 
ideals and to remain steadfast against evil and oppression. Religion 
teaches love, sympathy and universal brotherhood andis thus theonly 
way to peacc, prosperity and progress. It equips man in the best pos- 
sible way for the hard struggle of life. | 

Furthermore it is faith and faith alone that can inspire man to rise 
above his self and suffer for noble and lofty ideals. Deprived of faith, he 
is left with nothing else to look up to outside his own self. He is torn 
away from the total reality of the creation and is rendered into an 
isolated being. This reduces him to an unsocial animal, a brute. 

Many a man fell fighting in the noble cause of truth spending the 
whole of their lives in the struggle yet achieving nothing in the 
materialistic sense of the word. What inspired these noble souls to 
engage in a battle that brought them no material rewards, that caused 
them the loss of whatever little they happened to possess? This has been 
one of the products of faith. Such behaviour can never be produced in 
pursuit of selfish motives. Avarice, greed, lust, etc., can never make a 
man achieve anything really good and noble. That is why the material 
triumphs won by selfish avarice are self-centred, short-lived and tem- 
porary. The incentive of immediate gain cannot equip a man with a 
noble character, nor can it give him the courage to stand fast suffering - 
patiently for long for a lofty ideal. | 

There are some so-called reformers who seek inspiration from hatred 
rather than love, The hatred may be personal in character or it may be 
based on class, or region or nation. Such rancour-inspired people may 
realize some of their objectives, may even muster courage to sacrifice 
for such ends, but a doctrine based on malevolence and hatred can 
never lead humanity to anything good. They may remove certain evils 
and put anend tothe existing state of injustice but would generate new 


evils and injustices and fail to remedy the ailments of mankind. 

On the other hand a creed that does not aim at the immediate gains 
of this world, nor derives inspiration from malevolence but fosters in 
men noble passions of love, fraternity and the determination to lay 
down their lives serving their fellowmen can heal the festering sores of 
humanity and pave the way for future progress and prosperity. The 
essence of such a creed is faith in God and His love. This produces a 
virtuous mode of living that helps man get nearer to his Creator, and 
become a true servant of humanity. Beliefin the Hereafter gives mana 
firm sense of security, banishing from his heart the fear of extinction 
with his physical death and promising him an eternal life. This in other 
words means that his efforts shall not be wasted but shall be crowned 

' with fullest reward in the life to come, even if he is unable to achieve 
anything in this world. This is a natural corollary of belief in God and 
- „the Hereafter. It is true of religion as such. But as far as Islam is con- 
' cerned it does not stop here, it goes a long way ahead: it has a far more 
fascinating story to tell. 


Those who may imagine that Islam has become outmoded and is no 
longer needed, do not know as to what it stands for, nor do they seem to 
understand its real mission in human life. The image of Islam that 
emerges from books on Islam and Islamic history written mostly by 
Western orientalists and their disciples and taught ever since the 
colonial period is something like this: Islam was revealed merely to put 
an end to idolatry and guide man to the worship of God alone; that the 

- Arabs were torn into antagonistic tribes, Islam came and united them 
and made thema strong and unified nation; that they were addicted to 
drinking and gambling and led depraved lives; Islam stopped them 
from these depravities and abolished other evil customs prevalent 
among them such as burying alive their daughters and wasting away 
their strength in acts of revenge; and that Islam called upon Muslims 
to disseminate its message, which they did, this in turn leading to the 
battles that ultimately determined the boundaries of the Islamiz world 
as we know it today. This, according to these people, was the sole 
purpose of Islam in human life! This being its historical mission, it has 
long since been fulfilled: there is no idol-worship in the Islamic world; 
the once antagonistic tribes have been more or less subject to a process 
of absorption losing their identity in the larger nationalities or com- 
munities. As far as gambling and drinking are concerned let us bear in 


mind that human civilization has advanced to such an extent now that 
it is useless to declare such pastimes unlawful as we sce that despite all 
religious taboos they still persist. It isno usc insisting on their abolition. 
Thus they conclude that Islam has served its purpose in this world: it 
has had its day but is no longer needed. It has nothing new to offer. We 
must, therefore, turn towards the modern civilization pro- 
gress through it. | 

One listens to this prattle from all quarters. Even some educated and 
otherwise enlightened persons repeat these assertions like a parrot. 
This case against Islam is, however, a product of sheer ignorance and 
prejudice. We must not judge Islam on hearsay. Let us try to under- 
stand what Islam is and what it stands for. 

Islam, in a word, means liberation from all sorts of slavery such as 
may inhibit the progress of humanity or may not allow it to follow the 
path of virtue and goodness. It means man's freedom from dictators 
who enslave him by force or fear, make him do what is wrong and 
deprive him of his dignity, honour, property or life. Islam liberates 
man from such tyranny by telling him that-all authority vests in God 
and God alone; He alone is the Real Sovereign. All men are His 
subjects and as such He alone controls their destinies, none of them 
having the power to cause any benefit or avert any distress from his 
ownself independent of the Divine Will. All men shall be presented 
before Him on the Day of Judgement to account for their performance 
in this life. Thus Islam brings to man freedom from fear or oppression 
inflicted on him by men like himself and who, ih reality, arc as helpless 
as he is and whoare no less subject to the Will of God Almighty than he 
himself is. 

Islam also means freedom from lust, including the lust for life, as it is 
this very weakness of man which is exploited by tyrants and dictators 
intentionally or otherwise in enslaving their fellowmen. But for it no 
man would silently accept subservience to men like himself or sit idle to 
watch tyranny on the rampage and dare not challenge it. It is a great 
blessing of Islam that it taught man to fight tyranny and oppression 
bravely rather than cringe before them in abject servitude. Says the 
Qur'àn: 'Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your 
mates, or your kindred, the wealth that vou have gained, the com- 
merce in which yov fear a decline, or the dwellings in which you de- 
light — are dearer to you than God, or His Apostle, or the striving in 
His cause — then wait until God brings about His Decision: and God 
guides not the rebellious.’ (al-Qur'àn, 9: 24). 


As against blind passions and appetites, the love of God generates in 
life the values of love, virtue, truth, and striving hard in His way, the 
way of all that is good and lofty in life. Islam subjects human passions 
in the service of these noble goals of life. The love of God becomes the 
dominant and real directing force in man’s life. Without this no man 
can claim to be a true Muslim. 

A man steeped in sensual pleasures may entertain the mistaken 
belief that he enjoys life more than others do. But soon he has to realize 
his mistake, for he is gradually reduced to a mere slave to his blind 
passions. He is doomed to a perpetual life of deprivation and 
restlessness, for animal désires once run rampant become insatiable: 
the appetite increases with every effort to satisfy it. The result is a craze 
for the maximization of sensual pleasure. Such an attitude towards life 
is not conducive to progress, material or spiritual. Humanity cannot 
approach higher realms of nobility unless it is freed from the domin- 
ance of the blind animal appetites. It is only through control of the 
animal self that man is freed to make progress — in the fields of science, 
arts or religion. 

It is for this very reason that Islam attaches such a great importance 
to the freeing of man from his animal passions. For this purpose it 
neither favours monasticism nor gives man unbridled freedom to serve 
the demands of the flesh. It aims at the attainment of a balance be- 
tween these two extremes. Whatever is there in the world is for man. It 
is there to serve him and not to dominate or rule over him. He should 
not allow himself to be made a slave to these, rather he should use them 
as means to a higher end, i.e. his spiritual perfection by disseminating | 
the word of God amongst his fellowmen. Thus Islam has a twofold 
objective in view: 

(a) in the individual life it aims at providing to each and every 
individual a just and adequate share so as to enable him to lead a 
decent and clean life; and 

(b) in the collective sphere it arranges things in such a way that all 
the social forces of a society are directed towards the enhancement 
of progress and civilization in accordance with its basic outlook 
upon life and in such a way that the balance between the consti- 
tuent units and the whole, between the individuals and the com- 
munity, is established. 

Islam has had a most liberalizing effect on human intellect as it is. 
diametrically opposed to all sorts of superstition. Humanity has, in the 

1 ° e 

course of history, fell a prey to a number of absurdities, in theory and 
practice. Some of these were even described to have some divine origin. 
All these acted as shackles for the human minds, which groped about 
in the dark before the advent of Islam. With Islam it attained maturity 
and freedom from this hotch-potch of nonsense, symbolized in the 
so-called gods, distorted Jewish traditions, and the imbecilities of the 
Christian Church. Islam freed man from all superstitions and brought 
him back to God and established direct relation between man and his 

Islam uses a very simple terminology. Its teachings are very.easy to 
understand, perceive and believe in. It invites man to make use of the 
` faculties given to him and to seek the fullest possible understanding of 
the world around him. It does not admit of any inborn hostility be- 
tween reason and religion or for that matter between science and 
religion. Islam impresses upon man in clear and unequivocal terms 
that it is God and God alone who has in His immense mercy subjected 
all the things on this earth to man, and that all the facts that are 
discovered by scientific investigation and the material benefits that 
flow from that to man, are in fact blessings from God, for which man 
should offer his thanks to God, and strive hard so as to become a worthy 
servant of so Merciful and Beneficient a Master. Thus Islam holds 
knowledge and science as a part of faith rather than regard them as an 
evil intrinsically opposed to genuine belief in God. 

What is the state of the world today. Has man freed himself from all 
superstition, imbecilities and absurd beliefs? Has he discovered the 
man within himself? Has he liberalized himself from the yoke of | 
worldly tyrants indulging in the exploitation of man by man? If such a 
millenium has not been achieved despite all developments in science 
and technology, then Islam has still a great and glorious part to play. 


Half of the inhabitants of the world today remain idol-worshippers. 
India, China, Japan and a great many other parts of the world are 
instances in view. The other half is engaged in the worship of a new 
found deity whose corrupting influence on man's thoughts and feel- 
ings is no less significant. This dcity is styled as Modern Science. 
Science is a powerful instrument to help us increase our knowledge 
of the world around us. As such it basan impressive record of achieve- 
ments to its credit. All these brilliant achievements were, however, 
vitiated by one fatal mistake of the westerners: they installed science as 


supreme God, declaring that it alone had the right to claim the adora- 
tion and submission of man to it. Thus they denied themselves all 
means of acquiring knowledge save that recognized by empirical 
science which let humanity wander further away rather than bring it 
nearer to its real destination. Consequently the otherwise vastly im- 
mense range of human endeavour and progress was shrunk and made 
co-extensive with the limitations of empirical sciences. The total 
dimensions of the human situation are not taken care of within the 
scope of science whose domain is limited. It is of immense help in 
discovering the knowledge of the means of life, but fails to guide us in 
the realm of objectives of life, its values and norms, and the nature of 
the ultimate reality. | 
Some protagonists of science claim that science alone can introduce 
man to the secrets of this universe and life, and conclude that only that 
which is upheld by science is true; the rest is all trash! But while making 
such a statement they overlook the fact that science with all its brilliant 
^ and impressive record is still in its infancy and ever hesitant to commit 
itself as regards the veracity or otherwise of many things, for the simple 
reason that it cannot penetrate deep into the heart of reality beyond 
attempting a mere superfluous survey of it. Yet its votaries assert in the 
authoritative way that there is no such thing as human soul. They deny 
that man, confined as he is within the limitations of his sensory organs, 
can ever have any contact with the Unknown — not even a glimpse of 
it through telepathy! or dreams. They repudiate all these not because 
they have proved them to be mere illusions but simply because the 
experimental science with its inadequate instruments has not yet been 
able to fathom their mystery. That they belong to a higher order of 
things not subject to man's observation was however sufficient to make 
these gentlemen turn their backs on them and pronounce their non- 
existence. Non-existence is one thing, non-susceptible to one instru- 

I. Telepathy is defined as the communication of impressions from one mind to 
another without the aid of the senses. The most notable example of this is the 
incident when the Caliph ‘Umar called out to Sariyah, a Muslim commander, 
saying: ‘Sariyah! To the Mountain! To the mountain!’ Sariyah heard this 
warning coming from hundreds of miles away. So he led his contingent to the 
mountain, escaped the enemy lying in ambush and won a victory over them. 
Although telepathy is now recognized as a scientific fact yet the modern 
scientist is so biased that its having anything to do wit! ‘soul’ is denied 
outright. It isexplained as a manifestation ofa sixth but yet not fuily explained 
faculty of the human mind. 

ah T rat at o attt P 


ment of investigation a very different matter. But they fail to see the 
difference between the two. | | 
Such then is the ‘enlightened ignorance’ man suffers from today, 
which shows how desperately he stands in need of Islam to blow away 
these allegedly scientific cobwebs of knowledge. Idol-worship was the 
older form wherein human folly found expression; the cult of science- 
worship is its latest version. To liberate human reason and spirit, both 
of these yokes must be shaken off. It is in this perspective that Islam 
emerges as the only hope for humanity, for it alone can restore peace 
between religion and science, bring back once more the tranquillity 
and concord to our distressed world and enable man to satisfy his both 
cravings, the desire for knowledge and the search for truth, the need to 
control the forces of nature, and to integrate with the Ultimate: God. 


Islam establishes not only peace and harmony but also rids mankind of 
tyranny and oppression. The contemporary world presents in this 
respect no better view than it did fourteen hundred years ago, when 
Islam freed it from all false gods. Tyranny still on the rampage in the 
guise of haughty kings, insolent demagogues and heartless capitalists 
who are busy in sucking the blood of the millions, subjugating them 
and making capital out of their helplessness and misery. There is still 
another class of dictators who rule with sword, usurp peoples’ liberties 
and claim that they are merely instruments in — the people'sor 
the proletariat's will. 

Islam brings to an end man's rule over man. It makes the rulers as 
much subject to the Divine Law as are all other men and women. Islam 
does not allow any man to subjugate others or impose upon them his 
will. Only God's commands are to be obeyed and only the Prophet's 
examples are to be followed. The ruler, in such a community, shall, as a 
part of his obligations towards men and God, be required to enforce 
Divine Law failing which he may no longer have any lawful claim to 
the people's obedience. They may in such a situation quite lawfully 
disregard his orders. This was explicitly stated by the first Caliph Abü 
Bakr (May God be pleased with him) when he said that 'Obey me only 
- so long as I obey God with respect to you; and if I should happen to 
deviate from God's obedience, then in that case my obedience shall no 
longer be incumbent upon you.' As such the ruler in Islam has no 
priviliged right to use the Public Exchequer or to formulate state 


legislation in defiance of the Shari ‘ah. Moreover, it is only the trust- 
worthy people who have any right to rule, who are elected to a post of 
authority through a free, just and impartial election with no checks on 
voters save those of justice, virtue and decency. | 

Such an Islamic State will not only liberate its citizens from all 
tyrants at home but shall safeguard their freedom against any outside 
aggression as well. This is so because Islam itself is a religion of glory 
and power and as such it cannot tolerate that men should degrade 
themselves by prostrating at the feet of the false god of imperialism. 
Islam prescribes a very simple code of life for man. It exhorts him to 
strive hard to gain the pleasure of his Creator, surrender his will to that 
of his Lord, follow His commandments and come forward with all the 
sources at his disposal to fight against the spectre of imperialism and 
tyranny. | 

Let Man therefore turn towards Islam for this is the time for all 

human beings to flock together under its banner so as to wipe out from 

the face of the earth all the vestiges of imperialism and exploitation of 
man by man. Here is the way to real freedom, one which allows no 
serfdom, promises all men freedom in thought, action, property and 
religion, jealously safeguarding their integrity as well as honour. For 
only thus can we become Muslims worthy of our God, the object of our 
adoratiori — in Whose path we tread, the path He chose for us: “This 
day I have perfected for you religion and completed my favour on you 
and chosen for you Islam as religion.’ (al-Qur'àn, 5: 3). | 

Such a radical reformation effected by islam is by no means a paro- 
chial one confined to the Muslim community alone, but is, on the other 
hand, by its very nature universal in character. It is nothing less than a 
blessing for the world of today afflicted as it is with internecine wars, 
with a still another and far more terrible world war looming large on 
the horizon. 

Islam is the only future hope of humanity; and its victorious emerg- 
ence out of the present ideological warfare is the only guarantee of 
man’s salvation. But important as the triumph of Islam is for the future 
of mankind, its realization is not easy to come by. It can be effected 
only if the people who are already in its folds and profess loyalty to it 
should pledge themselves for its glory and triumph. Islam freed man- 
kind from the tyranny of animal appetites fourteen hundred years ago; 
now it can once again shake off the shackles of lust and free man to 
direct all his faculties to reach a higher spiritual plane and establish 
virtue and goodness in life. 


The revival of Islam is a practical and realizable undertaking. The 

history of Islam proves beyond any doubt that it is quite capable of 
raising man above a purely animal level. What was possible in the past 

is quite possible in the present and what is possible in the case of indi- 

viduals is equally realizable in the case of nations. Mankind has not 

undergone any temperamental change ever since. The human society 

in thesixth century was at as low a level and was as much taken up with 

sensual pleasures as it is today. There is no difference in the nature of 
the basic human ailment, although some of the symptoms, the 

outwardly forms or names of the vices indulged in, are dissimilar. 

: Ancient Rome was no less rotten morally than its modern counter- 
parts. Similarly in ancient Persia, moral anarchy was as widespread as 
is in the present day world. Dictators of today are not very different 
from the dictators of the past. It was in this historical perspective that 
Islam was revealed to the world. It brought about a complete change, 
lifted mankind from the abyss of moral degradation, gave human life a 
lofty purpose, dynamism, movement and infused into it a spirit to 
strive hard in the way of truth and goodness. Humanity under Islam 
flourished, prospered and there was set afoot a dynamic intellectual 
and spiritual movement that encompassed the East as well as the West. 
The world of Islam became the mainspring of light, excellence and 
progress in the world fora long time to come. During this long period of 
its dominance never did the Islamic world find itself lagging behind 
materially, intellectually or spiritually. Its followers were looked upon 
as symbols of goodness and excellence in all spheres of human activity 
till they ceased to reflect in their lives the noble and exalted ideals of 
Islam and became mere slaves to their whims and animal desires. It 
was then that all their glory and power came to an end in accordance 
_ with the immutable law of God. 

The modern Islamic movement that is still gathering momentum 
derives its strength from the past and makes use of all the modern 
available resources with its gaze fixed on the future. It has great 
potentialities and as such has a bright future ahead, for it is fully 
capable of performing that great miracle which has once changed the 
face of history. 

This does not, however, mean that Islam is a mere spiritual creed, or 
a plea for morality, or just a scheme of intellectual research in the 
kingdom of heavens and earth. It is a practical code of life that fully 
embraces worldly affairs. Nothin g escapes its penetrating eyes. It takes 

muse —À A ETÀ 

nmn———————————————— TI E 


notice of all the diverse patterns of relationships binding men together 
irrespective of the fact that such relationships fall under the economic, 
political and social categories. It regulates them by prescribing suit- 
able iaws and norms of behaviour and enforces them in human life. Its 
most outstanding characteristic is that it establishes a unique harmony 
between the individual and society, between reason and intuition, 
between work and worship, between this world and the Hereafter. 


We have tried to examine briefly the threats that confront man today 
and to show how relevant in fact how necessary Islam is to mankind in 
our own times. Let us conclude by summing up some of the distinct 
features of Islam which make it all the more necessary for the modern 
man to seek his salvation through this ideology. 

Firstly, it must be well understood that Islam is not a mere ideologi- 
cal vision. It is a practical system of life that fully appreciates all the 
genuine needs of mankind and tries to realize them. 

Secondly, in trying to meet the genuine requirements of man Islam 
effects a perfect balance between all areas of life and activity. It starts 
with the individual maintaining a balance between his requirements 
of body and soul, reason and spirit and in no case allows one side to 
predominate the other. It does not suppress the animal instincts in 
order to make the soul ascend the higher planes, nor does it allow man, 
in his efforts to fulfil his bodily desires, to stoop down to the low level of 
animalism and hedonism. On the contrary, it makes them both meet 
on a single higher plane doing away with all the internal psychological 
conflicts that threaten the human soul or set a part of it against the 
other parts. In the social spherc, it proceeds to achieve an equilibrium 
between the needs of the individual and those of the community. It 
does not ailow an individual to transgress against other individuals, or 
against the community. Nor does it allow the community to commit 
transgression against the individual. It also does not approve of one 
class or group of peopic to enslave another class or group of people. 
Islam exercizes a beneficient constraint on all these mutually opposed 
forces, prevents them from coming into collision with one another, and 
harnesses them all to co-operate for the general good of mankind as a 

Thus Islam strikes a balance between different sectors of society and 
between different aspects of existence, spiritual as well as material. 
Unlike communism, it does not believe that economic factors, i.e. the 


material aspect alone, dominate the human existence. Nor does it 
contribute to what the pure spiritualists or idealists say claiming that 
spiritual factors or high ideals alone are sufficient to organize human 
life. Islam rather holds that all these diverse elements put together 
form what is called human society; and that the best code of life is that 
which takes note of all these, making full allowance for body as well as 
reason and spirit and arranging them all in the framework of a har- 
monious whole. Thirdly, it must always be kept in mind that Islam has 
an altogether independent existence of its own as a social philosophy as 
well as an economic system. Some of its outward manifestatioris may 
on the surface appear to resemble those of capitalism or socialism, but 
in fact it is far from being the one or the other. It retains all the good 
characteristics of these systems, yet is free from their shortcomings and 
perversions. It does not extol individualism to that loathful e«tent 
which is the characteristic of the modern West. It was from this germ 
that modern capitalism sprang and institutionalized that concept of 
individual's freedom where man is allowed to exploit other individuals 
and the community only to serve his personal gain. Islam guarantees 
personal freedom and provides opportunities for individual enterprise 
but not at the cost of society or ideals of social justice. The reaction to 
capitalism has appeared in the form of socialism. It idolizes the social 
basis to an extent that the individual is reduced to an insignificant cog 
of the social machine, with no existence whatever of its own outside 
and independent of the herd. Therefore, the community alone enjoys 
freedom as well as power; the individual has nó right to question its 
authority or demand his rights. The tragedy of socialism and its 
variants is that they assign to the state absolute powers to shape the 
lives of the individuals. 

Islam strikes a balance between the two extremes of capitalism and 
socialism. Being appreciative of their role Islam harmonizes the indi- 
vidual and the state in such a way that individuals have the freedom 
necessary to develop their potentialities and not to encroach upon the 
rights of their fellowmen. It also gives the community and the state 
adequate powers to regulate and control the socio-economic relation- 
ships so as to guard and maintain this harmony in human life. The 
basis of this whole structure as envisaged by Islam is the reciprocity of 
love between individuals and groups; it is not erected on the basis of 
hatred and class conflict as is the case with socialism. 

It may also be pointed out here that this unique system of life as 
envisaged by Islam, did not originate as a result of any economic 

Se IL tae Jta aa MEA C 




pressure, nor was it an outcome of some mutually conflicting interests 
of antagonistic groups of people. NO. It was revealed to the world as 
the ordained system of life at a time when men attached no particular 
importance to the economic factors, nor did they know anythin g about 
social justice in the sense we know it in modern times. Both socialism 
and capitalism are much later developments. Islam presented its 
scheme of social reform much before any of the social movements of 
our times. It guaranteed the basic needs of man — food, housing, and 
sexual satisfaction — more than thirteen hundred years ago. The Holy 
Prophet (peace be upon him) said that: *Whosoever acts as a public 
officer for us (i.e. the Islamic State) and has no wife, he shall have a 
wife; if he has no house, he shall be given a house to live in; if he has no 
servant, he shall have one; and if he has no animal (a conveyance), he 
shall be provided with one.’ This historical announcement of funda- 

' mental human rights not only contains those rights voiced by many a 

revolutionary in our times, it adds to them some more as well, without, 
however, necessitating any inter-class hatred, bloody revolutions, and 
without of course rejecting all those human elements in life that do not 
fall under the above three heads: food, housing and family. 

These are some of the salient features of the Islamic code of life. They 
are sufficient to show that a religion with such laws and principles, and 
so comprehensive as to include the whole of the human existence, 
emotions, thoughts, actions, worship, economic dealings, social rela- 
tionships, instructive urges and spiritual aspirations — all arranged in 
the framework of a single harmonious but unique system of life, can 
ncver lose its usefulness for mankind. Nor can such a religion ever 
become obsolete, as its objectives are the same as those of life itself and 
therefore destined to live on so long as there is life on this planet. 

Considering the existing state of affairs in the contemporary world, 
mankind cannot reasonably afford to turn its back upon Islam orreject 
its system of life. Mankind is still afflicted with the most savage and 
odious forms of racial prejudices. America and South Africa may offer 
a case in point in this respect. Surely the twentieth century world has 
yet a great deal to learn from Islam. Long ago Islam freed humanity 
from all racial prejudices. It did nct content iself with the presentation 
of a beautiful vision of equality alone but it achieved in practice an 
unprecedented state of equality between all people, black, white or 
yellow, declaring that none enjoyed any superiority over the others 
except in virtue and piety. It not only freed the black from slavery but 
also fully recognized their rights to aspire even to the highest seat of 



authority in the Islamic State. They could become the heads of the 
Islamic State. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him)said: "Listen and 
obey even if a negro slave be appointed as your superior so long as he 
should enforce amongst you the Law of God.’ 

How can also the world of today ignore the message of Islam stricken 
as it is with the evils of im perialism and tyranny with all their barbai. 
ous attributes, for Islam alone can help mankind shake off these chains. 
It is opposed to imperialism and all forms of exploitation. The way 
Islam treated the peoples of the countriesit conquered wasso generous, 
just and sublime that the eyes of the ‘Civilized’ Europe can hardly 
penetrate those heights. We may in this regardcite the famous decision 
of the Caliph ‘Umar to whip the son of ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, the victorious 
general and honoured governor of Egypt as he had beaten an Egyptian 
Copt without any legal justification, while the renowned father him- 
self had a very narrow escape from the whip of the Caliph. This shows 
what social liberty and human rights were enjoyed by the subjects of 
the Islamic State. 

Then there is the evil of capitalism that has poisoned all life. Its 
abolition and the need to rid humanity of its evil consequences again 
calls for Islam. For, Islam prohibits usury and hoarding which taken 
together form the mainstay of the capitalist economy. This in other 
words means that Islam alone can effectively check the evils of capita- 
lism as it did check them fourteen hundred years ago. 

Similarly the world dominated by the materialistic, godless com- 
munism stands in need of Islam, which achieves and maintains social 
justice of the highest order without destroying the spiritual main- 
springs of human life. Nor does it confine man’s afforts to the narrow 
world of the senses. Above all, it neither endeavours nor aims at the 
imposition of its own creed on mankind forcibly with the iron rod of a 
proletarian dictatorship, for, ‘There is no compulsion in religion; 
indeed the righteousness has been differentiated from the wickedness.’ 
(al-Qur’an, 2: 256). 

Finally, the world with the shadows of war still hanging over it 
cannot but turn towards Islam — the only way to establish and main- 
tain real peace on this earth. 

The era of Islam has in a way just started, not ended; it is not a 
spent force, but a living dynamic force. Its future is as bright as its 
grcat historical past is glorious when it illumined the face of earth at 
the time when Europe was still groping its way in the dark recesses of 

| 259 


Hamidullah, M., Introduction to Islam, Paris: Centre Cultural Islamique, 1959, 

A simple and gencrally authentic introduction to Islam: Its beliefs, doc- 
trines and practices. Good for beginners. The book also contains essential 
information about prayers, direction of the Qibla from different parts of the 
world and a thumb-nail sketch of the Islamic history. 

Mawdidi, Abi’l-A‘la, Towards Understanding Islam. Translated and edited by 
Khurshid Ahmad, Lahore: Islamic Publications Ltd., 1963. 

A clear, concise and authoritative introduction to Islam, expounding its 
beliefs and doctrines and their rationale. The book provides a comprehensive 
and all-embracing view of Islam asa way of life and constitutes a standard 
text-book on Islam. This book has been translated in twenty-five languages of 
the world. 

or á ‘Azzam, Abdur-Rahman, The Eternal Message of Muhammad, New York: Devin 
Adsir Co., 1964. Also in Mentor Books, London and New York, The New 
English Library, 1964. 

An introduction to the life and message of the Prophet Muhammad focus- 
ing attention on thcir practical and spiritual significancc and their impact on 
human history in general and thc Islamic history in particular. 

Jamàli, Mohammad Fadhil, Letters on Islam, London: Oxford University 
Press, 1965. 

Written in the form of letters of a father to his tcenage son, the book ex- 
pounds the essential beliefs and practices of Islam. 

Qutb, Muhammad, /slam: the Misunderstood Religion, Kuwait: Darul Bayan: 
Books, 1967. 

Àn exposition of the basic concepts of Islam and a forthright unapologetic 
defence of thc Islamic values and principles. The book deals with most of the 
misunderstandings which have been systematically implanted in the minds of 
the modern educated people, Muslims and others. 

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, /deals and Realities of Islam, London: Allen & Unwin, 

A balanced and intellectually sophisticated exposition of the basic teach- 
ings of Islam. The book tackles with clarity and conviction a number of 
questions on which orientalists and modernist writings try to create confusion 
in the mind of the common reader. The author also exposes the fallacy of 
super-imposing the secular western model over Muslim society and demons- 
trates how the Shari ‘ah is capable of leading the Muslims toa more respectable 

. Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, Encounter of Man and Nature, London: Allen & Unwin, 

A thought-provoking study of the intellectual crisis of the modern man. The 
author examines and contrasts the materialistic and the Islamic approaches to 


life and reality, and shows how the Islamic approach alone achieves harmony 
between man and nature. The Darwinian theory of evolution also comes up 
for critical examination. - 

Asad, Muhammad, /slam at the Crossroads, Lahore: Arafat Publications, 1969 
(first edition 1934). 

A thought-provoking treatise emphasizing the original revolutionary spirit 
of Islam and challenging the intellectual spell of the contemporary west. The 
discussion on the place and role of the Sunnah is particularly useful. 

Pickthall, Muhammad Marmaduke, Cultural Side of Islam, Lahore: Shaikh 
Muhammad Ashraf, 1927. ) 

A systematic exposition of some major social values of Islam and their 
actualization in history. Issues dealt with include relation between the sexes, 
the position of non-Muslims in the Islamic state, tolerance and Muslim 
contribution to the arts and sciences. 

Jameclah, Maryam, /s/am in Theory and Practice, Lahore, 1967. 
A collection of thirty essays on different aspects of Islamic religion and 
culture and on the revivalist trends in the world of Islam. 


Pickthall, Muhammad Marmaduke, The Meaning of the Glorious Qur’an, New 
York: New American Library, 1953 (with Arabic text, Karachi: Taj Com- 

One of the best English translations of the Qur'àn available today. 
‘Ali, Abdullah Yüsuf, The Holy Qur'an, Lahore: Shaikh Muhammad Ashraf, 
1934; Beirut: Darul Arabia, 1973. 

A gencrally good and dependable translation although the same cannot be 
said about explanatory notes. Very useful index. i 

Mawdidi, Abū’! A‘la, The Meaning of the Qur'an, ‘Translated by C. M. Akbar, 
Lahore: Islamic Publications Ltd., Vol. I, 1967; Vol. II, 1971; Vol. III, 1972; 
Vol. IV, 1973. 

This is an English rendering of Mawdüdi's Magnum opus: Tafhim al- Qur'an. 
These four parts contain the tafsir of the first nine SüraAs of the Qur'àn. It is 
unfortunate that the translation of such a great work is rather weak and faulty 
and fails to capture the clarity, lucidity and elegance of the original. 

Irving, T. B., The Noble Reading, Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Unity Publishing Co., 

An anthology of selections from the Qur'àn presenting the Islamic beliefs 
and practices translated into modern English. 

Sahih Muslim, translated by A. H. Siddiqui, Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 
1972 (3 volumes). 

A careful and dependable translation of al- Jami ‘as-Sahih of Imam Muslim, 
one of the two most authentic collections of the Aadith. Although the Arabic 
text has not been given, the translation is good and explanatory notes are 


Hamidullah, M., Sahifah Hammam ibn Munabbih, Paris: Centre Cultural Isla- 
mique, 1961. | 

Text and transtation of one of the earliest collections of the hadith with a 
scholarly introduction on the history of hadith — collection and compilation. 

Siddiqui, A. H., Prayers of the Prophet, Lahore: Sh. M. Ashraf, 1968. 
A collection of some of the prayers of thc Prophet with their English 
translation. The collection truly captures the spirit of the Islamic prayer. 

Siddiqui, A. H., The Life of Muhammad, Lahore: Islarnic Publications Ltd., 

One of the best available biographies of the Prophet. The author also 
examines most of the points raised by the orientalist and Christian missionary 
critiques of the Prophet. 

. Ismail, Vehbi, Muhammad, the last Prophet, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1962. 
Vehbi Ismail is an Albanian American and he has written this short bio- 
graphy of the Prophet for American-born Muslim children. Useful but some- 
|., “what apologetic. 

Waheeduddin, Faqir, The Benefactor, Karachi: Lions Press, 1967, Washington: 
Crescent Publications, 1973. 

This short and beautifully produced study on the life of the Prophet and his 
four Rightly-Guided Caliphs presents the essential spirit and message of the 
sirah. Very useful for students, beginners and non-Muslims. 

Siddiqui, Naeem, Muhammad: the Benefactor of Humanity, translated and 
abridged by R. A. Hashmi, Delhi: Board of Islamic Publications, 1972. 

This life of the Prophet is unique in the sense that it presents the Prophet in 
his role as a Da ‘iyah (caller towards Islam) and also shows how, under his 
leadership, the Islamic movement evolved in his life-time. The English 
translation is unfortunately poor and defective. 


Mawdüdi, Aba'l A‘la, /slamic Way of Life. Translated and edited by Khurshid 
Ahmad, Lahore: Islamic Publications Ltd., 1965. 

A brief and to-the-point introduction to the Islamic social order. After 
introducing the Islamic concept of life, the author presents brief discourses on 
the moral, spiritual, social, economic and political systems of Islam. 

Mawdüdi, A. A., /slamic Law and Constitution, translated and edited by Khur- 
shid Ahmad, Lahore: Islamic Publications, 1960. 

A collection of Mawdüdi's writings dealing with the nature and scope of 
Islamic law and the principles of state and government in Islam. A path- 
breaking study which has influenced the course of constitution-making and 
law-reform in Pakistan and a number of other Muslim countries.. 

Mawdüdi, A. A., Purdah and the Status of Woman in Islam, translated by al- 
Asha'ari, Lahore: Islamic Publications Ltd., 1972. È s 


A Muslim critique of the contemporary western concept of woman's © 
emancipation and an exposition of the Islamic social order with emphasis on 
relations between the sexes, at personal and institutional levels. 

Mawdidi, A. A., Birth Control. Translated and edited by Khurshid Ahmad 
and Misbahul Islam Faruqi, Lahore: Islamic Publications, 1968. 

A thorough examination of the moral, social, political and economic aspects 
of birth control as a national policy and their impact on society and history. 

Asad, Muhammad, The Principles of State and Government in Islam, Berkeley: 
University of California Press, 1962. 

A brief introduction to the nature of the Islamic state and its principles of 
state policy. The essentials of an Islamic constitution can be derived from this 

Pasha, Prince Said Halim, The Reform of Muslim Society, translated by M. M. 
Pickthall, Lahore, 1947. 

A'thought-provoking essay on the necessity of Islamic state and the need for 
the re-establishment of the Shari ‘ah. 

Hamidullah, Dr. M., The Muslim Conduct of State, Lahore: Sh. M. Ashraf, 

A scholarly study of the origins and development of Islamic international 


Siddiqui, M. Mazharuddin, Women in Islam, Lahore: Institute of Islamic 
Culture, 1952. ; * 

An inquiry into the role of woman in Muslim society and in what respects 
this is different from the western model. The author's approach is generally 
balanced but unfortunately becomes somewhat apologetic on issues like 
polygamy and birth control. 

Ahmad, Khurshid (Ed.), Studies in the Family Law of Islam, Karachi: Chiraghe 
Rah Publications, 1961. | 

A collection of studies presenting an exposition of the Family Law of Islam 
and a critique of the modernist attempts to déform it. 

Ramadhan, Dr. Said, Islamic Law: Its Scope and Equity, London: Macmillan, 
1970. | 

An introduction to the nature of Islamic Law, its basic values and princi- 
ples, its relevance in contemporary times and an examination of the rights of 
non-Muslims in an Islamic State. 
Qureshi, Dr. Anwar Iqbal, Islam and the Theory of Interest, Lahore: Sh. M. 
Ashraf, 1961. 

An exposition of the Islamic concept of Riba, the rationale for its prohibition, 
the role of interest in a modern economy and some aspects of the modus operandi 
of an interest-free economy. 

Chapra, Dr. M. ‘Umar, Economic System of Islam, London: Islamic Cultural 
Centre, 1970; Karachi: University of Karachi, 1971. 

A clear and lucid statement of the socio-economic objectives of Islam and 
how they wouid affect the working of a modern economy. The integration of 


the material and moral aspects and the role of the state in an Islamic economy 
are more thoroughly discussed. 

Siddiqui, Dr. M.N ijatullah, Some A spects of the Islamic Economy, Lahore: Islamic 
Publications, 1972. 

A collection of papers dealing with the nature and scope of the Islamic 
economy. The book also throws some light on the differences between the 
Islamic and the contemporary economic models. 

Siddiqui, Dr. M. Nijatullah, Banking without Interest, Lahore: Isiamic Publica- 
tions, 1973. 

An important work on the concept and workings of an interest-free banking 

Qutb, Syed, Social Justice in Islam, Washington: American Council of Learned 
Societies, 1953. | 
This is an English translation of an earlier edition of tne author's ‘Ad/ 
al-Ijtima 'tyyah fi al-Islam. A competent and thought-provoking study of the 
Islamic approach to social problems and of the principles of social justice in 
. Islam. The author, however, revised and enlarged thc book in later editions 
and a new translation of the last edition is still needed. 

M.S.A., Contemporary Aspects of Economic and Social Thinking in Islam. The Muslim 
Students Association of the United States and Canada, 1973. 

Proceedings of a conference organized by the M.S.A. in 1968. The book 
contains eight papers on different aspects of the economics of Islam. 

Ansari, Dr. M. Fazlur Rahman, The Quranic Foundations and Structure of Muslim 
Society, Karachi: Islamic Centre, 1973 (2 volumes). 

An exposition of the Qur'ánic philosophy and code of behaviour for the 
individual and the institutions of society. 


Asad, Muhammad, The Road to Mecca. London: Max Rheinhardt, 1954. 
Second edition: Tangier, Dar al-Andalus, 1974. 

An absorbing story of the author's intellectual and emotional pilgrimage of 
Islam. The book contains a thought-provoking critique of Judaism, Chri- 
stianity and contemporary western civilization and brings to focus the mes- 
sage of Islam to the twentieth century. 

The Autobiography of Malcolm-X (Al-Haj Malik Shahbaz), with the assistance of 
Alex. Halcy, New York: Grove Press Inc., 1965. 

The story ofa black man, in affluent racc-ridden America: his deprivations, 
his frustrations, his violent reactions, and his final discovery of Islam as the 
religion of human brotherhood. The last sections dealing with his experiences 
of the Hajj arc not only beautiful in their own right but also present the 
prospects that Islam holds for the afflicted humanity, black and otherwise. 

Brohi, A. K., /slam in the Modern World, Karachi: Chiragh e-rah Publications, 


A collection of papers and speeches of a former law minister of Pakistan 
dealing with Islam in the context of a number of issues and ideologies of the 
contemporary world: materialism, humanism, socialism and communism. 

Nadwi, Abi’! Hassan ‘Ali, Western Civilization: Islam and Muslims, Lucknow: 
Academy of Islamic Research and Publication, 1969. 

A study of the contemporary conflict between Islam and the western Civi- 
lization and its consequences. 

Khan, Muhammad Abdur Rahman, A Brief Survey of Muslim Contribution to 
Science and Culture, Lahore: Sh. M. Ashraf. 

A bird's eye view of the illustrious career of Islam as a culture-producing 
factor. Muslim contribution to different ficlds of learning and their impact on 
world civilization is essayed. 

Jameelah, Maryam, /slam and Modernism, Lahore, 1968. 

A collection of twenty-four essays dealing with the impact of the western 
thought and culture on the world of Islam. A powerful critique of Muslim 
modernism from an American convert to Islam. 

Mawdüdi, A. A., A Short History of the Revivalist Movement in Islam. Translated by 
al-Asha 'ari, Lahore: Islamic Publications, 1963. 

An Islamic critique of Muslim history and an introduction to its major 
revivalist movements. 

Rafiuddin, Dr. Muhammad, Ideology of the Future, Lahore: Sh. M. Ashraf, 1970. 

A well documented refutation of the major western philosophies of life. The 
author presents Islam as the ideology of the future. Discussion on the theory of 
evolution is, however, somewhat confused. 

Sharif, M. M. (ed.), A History of Muslim Philosophy, Wiesbaden: Otto Harasso- 
witz, Vol. I, 1963; Vol. II, 1966. 

A major work of Muslim and western scholarship containing sufvey articles 
on the basic teachings of Islam, the life and works of leading thinkers of Islam, 
the Muslim contribution to different fields of learning and some aspects of the 
modern renaissance in the Muslim lands. The work, however, lacks uniformity 
or cven near-uniformity of approach and standard. 



‘Abd-Allah, 62 
‘Abd Allah b. ‘Amr b. al-‘As, 206 
*Abd-al-Muttalib, 62, 67 

Abraham, 26, 27, 62fn., 77,82, 152, 153 ; 

family of, 26 
Abi Bakr 60fn., 65, 70, 73, 194, 252 
Abū Dawid, 175fn, 185fn. 
Aba Dhar, 187 
Abü-Hanifa, 141, 188, 189 
Abü-Lahab, 71 

' Abū Misa al-Ash'ari, 181 

Aba Sufyan, 76 

Aba-Talib, 62, 64, 69, 70, 71 

Aba Yasuf, 182 

Accountability, 24, 38, 39, 93, 173fn. 

Action (deeds), 22, 35, 48, 94, 110, 112. 
113, 128, 136, 174, 205, 253, 257 

Adab, 218 

‘Adi Ibn Hatim, 201 

Adam, 21, 26, 52, 95, 135fn., 136, 169, 

Adornment, 208 
Adulteration, 43 
Adultery, 73, 163 
Afaq, 210 
Africa, 107, 220 
Aggression, 253 
Ahadith, 177, 183 
Ah:ab, 77 
Ailments, 232 
‘A’ishah, 115 
Alcohol, 41 
Alcoholism, 74, 178 
' Ali, 60fn., 64, 73, 186 
‘Ali al-Tantawi, 188 

Allah, 22, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, 32, 37, 38, 44, 
57, 67, 68, 80, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 
157, 158, 159, 163fn., 165, 168, 169, 
199, 200, 201, 292, 205, 207, 208, 210, 

211, 212, 214, 234 

‘Amal, 22 

America, 91, 155, 162, 257 ; prohibition 
law of, 162 

al-Amin, 63 

Amina, 62 

Amir, 147, 170 

Amoral, 179 

Amr ibn al-‘As, 258 

Anarchy, 42, 254 

Ancestors, 204 

Ancient Rome, 254 

An-data, 153 

Anfus, 210 

Anacls, 22, 204 

Animal, 175, 188, 194 

Animalism, 255 

Ansar, 72, 73, 77, 78, 79 

Anthropologists, 228 

Anti-colonialism, 236 

Anti-religious, 228 

Apologetic, 221, 222, 229 

Apologetic literature, 222 

Apologists, 222 

Apostle(s), 200, 206, 248 

‘Aqli, 227 

Arab(s), Arabia, 43, 62,67, 68. 70, 73, 74, 
75, 76, 79, 82, 89, 90, 91, 93, 101, 102, 
135, 169, 179, 210, 224, 237, 238, 247 

Arab socialism, 226fn. 

Arabic, 97, 102, 103, 107, 1 17fn., 151 
214, 218, 232, 233, 238 

Arrogation, 104, 105 

Art(s), 200, 235, 236, 249 

Articles of faith, 33, 34 

Ascetics, 206 

Asceticism, 115 

Asia, 220, 223, 241 

Association, 103, 105 

Astronomy, 239 

Ataturk, 170 

Athcist, 103, 156, 233 

Atlantic, 102 

Atonement, 205 

Attributes of God, 29, 53, 82, 84, 93, 102, 
127, 144 

Authority, 158, 159, 161, 162, 167fn., 
170, 205, 227, 248, 253, 256, 258 ; 
Islamic, 227 ; Traditional, 222 


Averroes, 118 
Avicenna, 118 
Aws, 72 

Babylonia, 227 

Baghdad, 91 

Balance, 165, 166 

Bani 'Abd Manáf, 32, 67 

Barbarism, 91 

Basic law, 165 

Basic needs, 186, 190, 257 

Battle of Badr, 75, 76 

Bay'at al-‘Agabah, 73 

Begging, 175, 176 

Behaviour, 164, 255 

. Belief, 25-26, 27, 30, 34, 35, 104, 105, 
110, 148, 199, 202, 203, 245, 247, 249, 
250 ; meaning of, 32 

Beneficient, 250 

Bid'ah, 236 

Bible/ Biblical, 87, 134, 135fn. 

Biologists, 228 

Bird, 175 

Al-Birünr, 241 

Bismillah, 223, 228 

Black (People), 179, 181, 257 ; see also 


Black box, 226 

Blood, 95 

Body and Soul, 205, 209, 255, 256 

(The) Book (of God), 160, 165, 200, 215 

Brahmin(s), 169 

Brahmanism, 154 

Brotherhood, 88, 96, 174, 179, 180, 182, 
184, 185, 190, 246 ; Universal, 246 

Buddha, 237 

Buddhism, 43, 50, 75, 123 

Buddhists, 221, 237 

Bukhari, 164fn., 173fn., 175fn., 177fn., 
179fn., 180fn., 181fn., 183fn., 185fn. 

Buyer, 190, 191 

Byzantine, 79, 102 

Caesar, 37, 54, 60, 96 

Cairo, 91, 237 

Caliph, 60, 168, 170, 181, 182, 183, 186, 
194, 258 

Caliphate, 168, 170 

Capitalism, 174, 179, 189, 190, 191, 195, 
256, 257, 258 ; Evils of, 258 

Capitalist, 163, 179, 192, 194, 252 

Capitalist System, 179, 194 

Captive, 107 


Caste, 216 

Cave, 202, 209 

Character, 181 

Charity, 96, 105, 175,218 

Cheating, 191 

China, 155 

Child /Children, 105, 107, 121, 135, 139, 
141, 163, 170, 203, 232 

China, 227, 250 ; Medieval, 227 

Chinese, 237 

Christ, See Jesus 

Christian(s), 74, 85, 91, 92, 94, 96, 102, 
104, 133, 134, 202, 205, 207, 232, 234 

Christian Church, sec Church 

Christian era, 102, 129 

Christianity, 36, 43, 50,51,52,53, 54,60, 
61fn., 69, 75, 123, 125, 126, 132, 201, 
207, 209, 229fn., 231, 234 

Church /Christian Church, 92, 1 23, 134, 
135, 193, 212. 243, 250 

Citizens, 253 

Civilization, 36, 41 » 46, 61,82, 90, 91, 92, 
103, 131, 132, 164, 209, 224, 243, 248 ; 
Babylonian, 82 ; Chinese, 82; 
Graeco-Roman, 82 ; Modern, 206, 
217, 223, 239, 248 ; Persian, 82 ; Tra- 
ditional, 223 ; Western, 46, 53, 61, 
152, 164, 221fn., 222, 223, 224 

Clan, 169 

Class(es), 184, 246, 255 

Class conflict, 256 

Clay, 169 

Clothing, 183 

Clouds, 216 - 

Code of behaviour, 164 

Code of conduct, 31 ,36 

Code of life, 199, 201, 244, 253, 254, 256, 
257 ; Islamic, 257 

Collective defence, 106 

Collectivism, 170 

Colonialism, 236 

Colour, 25, 40, 41, 89, 96, 166, 181,210 

Command(s), 158, 159, 161, 201 

Commonwealth, 101, 102 

Communism, 125, 126, 128, 147, 255, 
258 ; Characteristics of, 258 

Community/communities, 165, 168, 
171, 181, 186, 237, 247, 249, 252, 255, 

Competition, 194 

Concept of Islam, 29 

Consensus, 161, 187, 188 

Constantinople, 91 

— ua PI 

dau m TRAE 

INDEX 267 

Constitution, 167fn. 

Consumers, 182, 188, 191, 192, 193 

Copt, 258 

Corruption, 194 

Cosmos, 230 

Costs and benefits, 193 

Cradle, 199 

Creator, 29, 31, 110, 118, 119, 121, 122, 
125, 135, 150, 157, 199, 200, 214, 247, 
250, 253 

Creed, 95, 104, 121, 123, 125, 148, 167, 
210, 247, 254, 258 

Crime(s), 105, 162, 178, 194 ; moral, 194 

Crises, 101, 220, 226, 239, 240, 243 ; 
ecological, 239 

Criticism, 217, 218, 219, 220, 222, 235, 
24] ; intellectual, 241 ; objective, 217, 

Cruelty, 163 

Crusade/s (ers), 92 

Culture, 90, 91, 92, 134, 138, 141, 143, 

` 164, 220, 235, 236, 237 ; Mohamma- 

dan, 92 

Currency, 192 

Dante, 232 

Dark ages, 91 

Darkness, 105, 110, 117, 135, 148, 182 
Darwinism, 228 

Das Kapital, 226 

Day of Judgement, 33, 75, 173fn., 179, | 

181, 182, 248 

Death, 200 

Decency, 253 

Deed(s), 94, 106, 107, 129, 136, 168, 181, 
200, 205, 208, See also Action 

(The) Deity/Deities, 103, 105, 125, 154, 
200, 250 

Demand, 184 

Democracy, 147, 159, 160, 161, 162, 168, 
171, 193, 211 ; nature of, 168, 193 ; 
Theo-demecracy, 160, 161 ; Western 
secular, [61 

Desire(s), 162, 181, 254 

Despotism, 156 

Destination, 164 

Destitute, 39 

Destruction, 164 

Deviation, 181, 229fn. 

Devil, 134, 135, 156, 162, 174, 200, 211, 

Dhimmi, 166 

Dhimmis, 166 ; rights of, 166ff 

Dialectical materialism, 227 

Dictator(s), 170, 248, 252, 254 

Dictatorship, 147, 163, 166, 170, 258 ; 
prolctarian, 258 ; working-class, 163 

Dignity, 88, 89, 92, 107, 110, 114, 142, 
186, 190, 248 

Din, 94, 103, 199 

Disbelief, 103, 105 

Disbelievers, 32, 158 

Discrimination, 30, 90, 181, 217; 
colour, 25, 40, 41, 89, 96, 166, 181 ; 
geographical, 166 ; linguistic, 166 ; 
racial, 26, 40, 41, 89, 95, 96, 122, 129, 
154, 181 

Distortions in religion, 28 

Distribution, 190, 193, 194 ; equitable, 

Distributors, 182 

Divine attributes, 50 

Divine commands, 208 

Divine grace, 232 

Divine knowledge, 200 

Divine law, 122, 127, 135, 159, 166, 170, 
171, 182, 252 

Divine light, 218, 232 

Divine limits, 163, 164 

Divine purpose, 204, 214 

Divine service, 102 

Divine sovereignty, 149 

Divine will (Will of God), 24, 48, 119, 

Divinity, 117, 125, 160 

Divorce, 92, 134, 139, 140, 142, 161, 163, 
178, 207 ; laws of, 163 ; right of, 134, 

Dogmas, 48, 52 

Domination, 160, 163 

Dostoevsky, 232 

Dream, 251 

Dress, 170, 225 

Drinking, 162, 164, 246 ; effect of, 162 
Dualism, 102, 104 

Earth, 104, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 
135, 150, 157, 180, 191, 192, 202, 204, 
210, 212, 245, 250, 253, 254, 258 

East, 82, 152, 225fn., 231, 254 

Ecclesiastical, 92 

Economic(s), 118, 125, 127, 128, 129, 
156, 163, 220, 255 

Economic fluctuation, 194 

Economic growth, 175, 179, 184 

268 INDEX 

Economic justice, 181,182, 185, 187, 
190, 191, 192, 194, 195 

Economic philosophy of Islam, 189 

Economic pressure, 256, 257 

Economic system, 130, 148, 195, 244, 

Economic system of Islam, 174, 189, 
256 ; goals of, 174, 175, 189, 193 A 
nature of, 189ff. ; values of, 174 

Economic well being, 174, 176 

Economy, 193, 195 ; capitalist, 258 

Education, 86, 88, 89, 91, 165, 219 ; Bri- 
tish, 228 ; liberal, 91 ; modern Uni- 
versity. 221 ; moral, 165 ; traditional, 

Educational system, 220 

Egalitarian, 221 

Egypt, 152, 221fn., 222, 258 

Egyptian Copt., 258 

Election, 253 

Electoral system, 161 

Eliot, T. S., 232 

Elite, 219, 230 

Emancipation, 93 

Emigrants, 73 

Emissaries, 79 

Employee(s), 182, 183, 184, 185, 188 ; 
moral obligations of, 184, 185 

Employer(s), 182, 183, 184, 185, 189 

Employment, 175 ; gainful, 175, 186 

Enemy, 194, 200 

England, 92, 155, 162, 222 

English, 236, 238, 244 

Enlightenment, 101 

Enterprise, 190; freedom of, 190, 191 

Equality, 40, 88, 111, 128, 129, 147, 156, 
186, 187 

Equilibrium, 164 

Equity, 187, 190, 257 

Error(s), 217, 222, 229, 235. 238 

Eternal, 178 

Eternal bliss, 32 

Eternal life, 247 

Eternity, 246 

Ethics, 102, 107, 161; Eastern, 102; 
legal, 209; social, 209; Philosophy of, 
200 ye 

Europe, 33, 90, 92,93, 102, 160, 224, 243, 
244, 258; Central, 231, civilized, 258; 
Medieval, 202; Modern, 244; 
Western, 101 

European(s), 90, 91, 224, 228, 235, 238 

European philosophy, 227 

Eve, 134, 179 

Evil(s), 38, 41, 52, 87, 106, 107, 115, 127, 
149, 154, 155, 165, 178, 202, 204, 212, 
235, 245, 246, 247, 250, 258 

Evolution, 86, 87, 91,164, 219, 222, 228, 
229, 230 

Evolutionism, 228 

Existentialism, 219, 231, 234, 235, 236, 
238, 239; European, 238; Western, 

Exploitation, 89, 93, 152, 156, 176, 182, 
183, 250, 253, 258 

Extravagance, 188 

Faith, 21,22, 23, 33, 34, 62, 65, 66, 67,68, 
69, 70, 75, 76, 77, 79, 86, 93, 104, 114, 
115, 117, 118, 123, 124, 125, 128, 136, 
169, 170, 176, 180, 188, 190, 223, 227, 
230, 246, 247, 250; brothers in, 179; 
life of, 227 

Faithful(s), 180 

Fallacy /ies, 219 

al-Falsafah, 238 

Falsafat al- Wujüd, 238 

False gods, 252, 253 

Falschood, 241 

Family /ies, 40, 104, 105, 113, 138, 139, 
142, 154, 168, 175, 179, 180, 181, 187, 

Family life, 163, 184 

al-Farabi, 118 

Fasting, 23, 35, 49, 104, 114, 136, 173fn. 
Fate, 200 ` 

Fātimah, 63, 111,181 

Female, 179, 181, 183 

Fidelity, 200 

Finality of Prophet Muhammad, 32 

Figh, 190, 191 

Fire, 95 

Fluctuations (economic), 194 

Food, 183, 257 

Forbidden tree, 135 

Fornication, 163 

France, 102, 107, 222 

Franz Kafka, 232, 233 

Fraternity, 247 

Fraud, 191 

Free will, 191 

Freedom, 52, 89, 93, 110, 124, 127, 128, 
149, 156, 157, 161, 162, 163, 170, 174, 
188, 190, 191, 195. 202, 237, 248, 249, 
250, 253, 256 ; Islamic charter of, 188 

French (language), 233, 236, 239 

INDEX 269 

French literature, 233 

Freud, 231, 243 

Freudian, 231, 235 
Freudianism, 231 

Frustration, 178 

Fundamental human rights, 257 
Fundamentalist, 221 fn. 
Fundamental rights, 38 
al-Furgan, 87 

Gabriel, 67, 69 
Gabriel Marcel, 235 
Gambling, 163, 247 
Germany, 170 
Ghazali, 176 
Glory, 208 P 
God, 64, 70, 72, 73, 74, 76, 77, 79, 80, 82, 
87, 89, 93, 94, 95, 96, 102, 103, 104, 
105, 106, 107, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 
114, 115, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 127, 
129, 134, 135, 136, 139, 149, 150, 151, 
153,154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 
161, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 173, 
174, 175, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 
183, 184, 185, 186, 188, 191, 192, 200, 
201, 203, 205, 206, 209, 210, 211, 212, 
213, 214, 216, 218, 230, 236, 240, 241, 
244, 245, 247, 248, 250, 252, 253,254 ; 
attributes of, 29, 53, 82, 84, 93, 102, 
127, 144, 166, 170, 179, 180, 181, 200, 
- 204; fear of, 177, 180, 212; love of, 249 
Godhood, 160 
Goethe, 232 
Good, 180, 182, 202, 206, 207, 208, 212, 
. 213, 246, 249 
Good and bad, 177 
Good and evil, 24-25, 87, 106, 113, 115, 
Gospel, 28, 54, 90, 202 
Government, 159, 160, 161, 194, 195 ; 
goal oriented, 194 ; Islamic system of, 
166 ; welfare oriented, 194 
Granada, 107 
Grave, 177fn., 199, 202 
Great Britain, 103 
Greed, 246 
Greek(s), 90, 102, 202 
Greck philosophy, 118 
Guidance, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 149, 155, 
170, 176, 194, 201 ; Divine, 85 

Hadith, 43, 107, 131, 137,142, 179fn., 
180fn., 183, 184, 201, 206, 207, 214, 

Hafiz, 229 
Hagar, 77 
Halal, 154, 188, 192 
Half-truth, 228 
Handicap(s), 186 
Happiness, 163, 178, 201 
al-Haqq, 238 
Haram, 154, 188, 192 
Hariin al-Rashid, 182 
Harvard, 222 
Hashimites, 70, 71, 73 
Hàtim,201 : 
Hatred, 246, 256, 257 ; inter-class, 257 
Heart(s), 181 
Hcaven, 24, 66, 75, 104, 120, 121, 123, 
124, 125, 126, 135, 150, 157, 162, 180, 
203, 204, 212, 216, 227, 240 
Heavens, 175, 191, 192, 204, 210, 227, 
Hegel, 214 
Hegira, scc Hijrah 
Hell, 24, 66, 124, 134 
Help, 201 
Henry Corbin, 239 
Heraclius, 79 
Hereafter, 83, 95, 97, 112, 123, 124, 164, 
167, 177fn., 178, 200, 207, 245, 247, 
255 i 
Hermit, 203 
Hidayah, 81, 84, 85, 97 
Hijrah, 73, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 101, 102 
al- Hikma, 238 
Hinduism, 50, 51, 75, 123, 229fn. 
Hindus, 221 
Hippie movement, 222, 225 
History, 167, 210, 213, 214, 215, 216, 
228, 229, 240, 250, 254 
Hoarding, 258 
Holy Book, 21, 165, 201, 230 
Holy Qur'àn, see Qur'án 
Holy Prophet, 168, 169, 170, 181, 192, 
200, 201, 206, 207, 210, 257, 258 
Holy Synod(s), 123 
Honour, 248, 253 
Hospitality, 107 
Hostility, 250 
Housing, 257 

* Hubal, 78 

Hüd, 157 

Hudaybiyah, 110 

Hudid-Allah, 163, 164, see also Divine 

Human activity, 174 

270 | INDEX 

Human beings, 158, 159, 164, 175, 203, 
204, 253 

Human civilization, 248 

Human culture, 164, 215 

Human freedom, 162, 163 

Human intellect, 249 

Human knowledge, 215 

Human life, 27, 46, 48, 50, 54, 117, 118, 
122, 125, 138, 148, 156, 166, 199, 202, 
207, 208, 209, 243, 247, 254, 255, 256, 

Human mind, 250 

Human nature, 202 

Human needs (Material), 27, 111, 114, 

Human personality, 205 

Human race, 246 

Human reason, 252 

Human relation(s), 202, 203 

Human rights, 257, 258 ; fundamental, 

Human society, 162, 166, 179, 254, 256 

Human soul, 251, 255 

Human spirit, 252 

Human welfare, 173, 178 

Humanism, 40 ; anti-spiritual, 240 

Humanity, 92, 114, 117, 118, 119, 121, 
122, 125, 126, 128, 135, 155, 181, 188, 
199, 203, 211, 212, 243, 246, 247, 248, 
249, 251, 252, 253, 254, 257, 258 

Husband, 163 

Hypocrites, 228 

Tbadah, 109, 111, 115, 151, 200 

Ibn Kathir, 1 73fn., 177fn., 1 79fn., 

Ibn Khaldün, 214, 215 

Ibn Majah, 175fn., 177fn. 

Ibn Rushd, 115 

Ibn Sinà, 118, 239, 246 

Ideal(s), 246, 254, 255, 256 

Idealist(s), 256 

Idealistic doctrine, 106 

Ideal society, 25 

Ideological state, 166ff., 167 

Ideological warfare, 253 

Ideology, 26, 42, 61, 148, 166, 167, 179, 
219, 255 

Idol(s), 63, 65, 66, 67, 68, 70. 74, 77, 78, 
88, 92, 93, 96, 97, 154, 218, 222, 224 

Idol-worship, 247, 252 

Idol-worshippers, 250 

Idolatry, 74, 102, 104, 110, 220, 247 

Ignorance, 101, 110, 119, 148, 164, 169, 
218, 227, 229, 236, 237, 248: 
enlightened, 252 

Thsan, 25 

[jtihad, 43, 229 

Hah, 149, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 
157, 161, 162 

Imàm(s), 169, 209 

Imam Raghib, 214 

Iman, 21, 22, 23, 25, 223 

Immorality, 74, 183 

Imperialism, 253, 258 ; evils of, 258 

Incarnation, 205 

Income, 185, 186, 187, 190, 191, 192 ; 
equitable distribution of, 185, 190, 
191, 193, 194, 195 ; redistribution of, 
188 i 

India, Indian, 102, 132, 153, 169, 188fn., 
236, 250 

Indian sub-continent, 222, 228 

Individual(s), 51, 52, 122, 124, 126, 127, 
129, 171, 178, 179, 181, 182, 188, 190, 
193, 194, 195, 199, 204, 211, 212, 245, 
249, 254, 255. 256 ; behaviour, 199 : 
freedom, 174, 188, 189, 190, 195, 256 

Individual difference, 51, 52, 128 

Individual perfection, 51 

Individual responsibility, 53,54, 55, 105 

Individual and society, 38, 39, 54, 55, 
118, 122, 124, 126 

Individualism, 171,256 

Individuality, 207 ` 

Indonesia, 107, 223 

Industrial hazards, 184 

Industrial peace, 185 

Inequality, 156, 181, 184, 186, 188 

Inequity, 165 

Inferiority complex, 148, 240, 241 

Inheritance, 92, 141, 142, 163, 188, 190; 
law of, 163 

Injustice(s), 127, 156, 167, 176, 180, 182, 
191, 246, 247 

Intellectual heritage, 236, 237 

Intellectual research, 254 

Intelligentsia, 221, 223, 226 

Intention(s), 113, 114; good, 113, 114; 
purity of, 113 

Interest(s), 163, 181, 189 

Intuition, 255 

Iqbal, 229, 238 

Iron, 165 

Iran, 153 

al-Islam, 29, 80, 199, 201 

INDEX 271 

Islam, 21, 25, 26, 27, 36, 37, 41, 42, 43, 46, 
4B, 50, 52, 53, 60, 61, 73, 75, 79, 82, 86, 
87, 88, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 101, 102, 
103, 104, 105, 107, 109, 110, 111, 112, 
113, 114, 115, 117, 118, 119, 121, 123, 
124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 
132, 135, 137, 141, 142, 143, 144, 147, 
148, 149, 159, 160, 161, 163, 166, 167, 
168, 169, 170, 171, 173, 174, 175, 176, 
177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 
185, 186, 187, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 
195, 199, 200, 201, 203, 204, 205, 206, 
207, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 
216, 217, 218, 219, 221, 222, 223, 226, 
227, 228, 229, 230, 232, 233, 234, 235, 
238, 239, 240, 241, 243, 244, 245, 248, 
250, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 257; basic 
principles and characteristics, 27, 46, 

_ 75,158; and other religions, 26, 52,57, 
60, 75, 112; characteristics of, 33, 34, 
37, 39, 41, 42, 46, 48, 52, 60, 75, 86, 93, 
96, 118, 137, 248, 255, 258; as code of 
life, 27,29, 75, 147, 149, 202; complete 
way of life, 37, 38, 147; history of, 254; 
meaning of Islam, 21, 28, 46, 125; 
norms of, 192; as peace, 21; social 
ethics of, 39-40fn., 96, 137; spiritual 
ideal of, 232; woman in, 131, 135-145; 
world of, 254 

Islamic architecture, 234 

Islamic art, 234 

Islamic calendar, 101 

Islamic character, 241 

Islamic civilization, 46, 103, 142, 143, 

Islamic commonwealth, see Common- 

Islamic culture, 46, 91, 148, 220, 223, 
224, 225, 238, 240 

Islamic economic order, 173 

Islamic economic system, 174, 178, 191; 
characteristic of, 178, 193 

Islamic element, 240 

Islamic era, 101 

Islamic ideal, perfection of, 50, 115, 195 

Islamic ideology, 33, 149 

Islamic history, 247 

Islamic intellectual life, 236, 238 

Islamic land, 225 

Islamic languages, 232, 233 

Islamic law, 138, 139, 141, 142, 144, 161, 

Islamic literary criticism, 233, 235 

Islamic literature, 232 

Islamic metaphysics, 235, 241 

Islamic movement, 254 

Islamic norms, 235, 238 

Islamic philosophy, 236, 238, 239, 241; 
traditional, 238, 239 

Islamic political order, 147 

Islamic political theory, 158, 159fn., 171 

Islamic polity, 160, 161 

Islamic psychology, 233 

Islamic psychotherapy, 233 

Islamic revival, 254fn. 

Islamic ruler, 170 

Islamic science(s), 240, 241 

Islamic scientific heritage, 240 

Islamic social order, 143, 148 

Islamic socialism, 219, 226fn. 

Islamic society, 102, 103, 169, 187, 192, 
223, 226, 227, 235, 237 

Islamic sources, 230 

Islamic state, 39, 159, 164, 165, 166, 167, 
168, 169, 170, 194, 253, 257, 258; cha- 
racteristics of, 159ff., 166ff., 168ff.; 
heads of, 258; purpose of, 165; theory 
of, 168 

Islamic system, 191, 193, 194 

Islamic theology, 241 

Islamic thought, 191, 229, 238; apolo- 
getic studies of, 238 

Islamic tradition (tradition of Islam), 
220, 223, 227, 237, 241 

Islamic world, 218, 219, 22u, 221, 223, 
224, 225, 226, 228, 230, 231, 232, 233, 
237, 239, 244, 247 

Ishaq, 26, 27 

Ishmael, see Ismà'i 

Isma‘il, 26, 27, 62fn., 77 

italy, 91, 155, 170 

Jacob, 27 

Jáhiliyyah, 101, 218 

James Jeans, 244 

Japan, 250 

Jeans Bridge, 244 

Jesus, 26, 27, 52, 60, 69, 87, 157, 203, 212 
Jew(s), 73, 74, 75, 85, 91, 231 
Jewish, 94 

Jewish tradition, 250 

Jthad, 23, 39 

Jinn, 49, 65 

Job, 185 

Judaism, 61 fn., 231 

Judge, 189, 200 

272 INDEX 

Judgement(s), 162, 201 

Jungian, 231, 235 

Jungian psychology, 235 

Jurisprudence, 191 

Jurists, 169, 176, 186, 188, 189 

Just society, 96, 105 

Justice, 128, 129, 142, 167, 174, 176, 179, 
180, 181, 182, 184, 185, 186, 188, 190, 
195, 205, 253; distributive, 186, 187; 
economic, 181, 182, 185, 187, 190, 
191, 192, 194, 195; social, 117,118, 
125, 126, 147, 165, 181, 182, 185, 190, 
191, 192, 194, 195 

Ka ‘bah, 49, 62, 65, 66, 67,69, 71, 77, 78 

. Kàfir, 29, 103 

Kalima, 29, 31, 33 

Khadija, 63, 64, 72 

Khayyam, 241 

Khazraj, 72, 74 

Khilafah, 160, 168 

Khuda, 153 

Kindness, 105, 139, 140, 144, 180, 211 

King Arthur, 102 

Kingdom of God, 160 

Knowledge, 34, 47, 88, 97, 11 1, 129, 137, 
150, 155, 211, 214, 215, 220, 225, 236, 
250, 251, 252 

Kufr, 103 

Labour, 183; exploitation of, 183 

Labourer, 183 

Lahore, 237 

Last day, 94 

Law(s), 121, 124, 125, 126, 134, 141, 154, 
158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 166, 
168, 170, 171, 181, 182, 201, 215, 223, 
255, 257; basic, 165; Divine, 122, 127, 
135, 159, 166, 170, 171; fundamental, 
164; moral, 214; philosophy of, 200 

Law(s) of God, 161, 168, 181, 258 

Law of human conduct, 22 

Lawful, 154, 156, 158, 174, 183, 201, 252 

Lawfully, 175, 252 

Law(s) of Islam, 117, 118, 127 

Lawgiver, 158, 159, 191 

Law-making, 160 

Leader, 147, 170 

League of Nations, 75 

Learning, 90 

Legal system, 119 

Legislation, 92, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 

Legislature, 161, 167fn. 

Liberalism, 51, 219 

Liberation, 111, 152, 248 

Liberty, 157, 161, 164, 165, 166, 170, 
252; individual, 166, 170; social, 258 

Life, 117, 118, 120, 123, 125, 127, 128, 
129, 130, 136, 151, 158, 163, 165, 166, 
170, 173, 174, 175, 176, 178, 194, 199, 
200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 
208, 209, 211, 212, 213, 214, 218, 219, 
226, 230, 238, 239, 243, 245, 247, 248, 
249, 251, 253, 255, 257; cternal, 245; 
family, 163; intellectual, 236; objec- 
tives of, 251; personal, 200; public, 
200; system of, 257; values of, 251 

Life after death, 31, 32, 33, 50, 52 

Life and life hereaf ter, 24, 32, 35, 50, 83, 

Light, 104, 118, 148 

Livelihood, 175, 185 

Lord, 24, 27, 29, 34, 64, 84, 89, 90, 94, 95, 
97, 105, 109, 110, 121, 125, 126, 129, 
135, 136, 150, 152, 153, 156, 157, 159, 
162, 176, 199, 200, 201, 203, 204, 205, 
206, 207, 208, 210, 214, 253 

Lordship, 202 i; 

Love, 112, 126, 129, 178, 180, 245, 246, 
247; values of, 249 

Ma ‘bid, 15 

al-Madinah, 80, 102 

Madrasahs, 219, 220 

Magazines, 224 

Maghrib, 236 

Mahdi, 229 

Mahr, 138, 142 

Maladjustment, 178; cultural, 178; 
moral, 178 

Mala ik, 204 

Makka, 49fn., 61, 62, 63, 65, 66, 67, 69, 
70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 79, 96, 
102, 104, 169, 232 

Malaysia, 236 

Male, 179, 181, 183 

Malik, Muwatta, 183fn., 194 fn. 

Man, Men, 22, 25, 30, 51, 85, 86, 87, 96, 
97, 109, 111, 112, 118, 120, 121, 122, 
123, 124, 125, 126, 129, 135, 136, 139, 
140, 141, 150, 152, 153, 155, 156, 160, 
162, 163, 164, 166, 169, 170, 173, 176, 
177, 181, 186, 188, 191, 192, 199, 200, 
201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 
209, 210, 212, 213, 214, 215, 218, 223, 

INDEX 273 

224, 228, 230, 232, 235, 239, 240, 243, 
245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 
253, 254, 255, 257; accountability of, 
24, 38, 39; black, 169; dehumaniza- 
tion of, 246; perfection of, 50-51; re- 
lation to Allah (God), 22, 24, 111,114, 
152, 209; social responsibility of, 35, 
38, 39, 85, 105; white, 169 

Man and society, 118, 122, 126 

Mankind, 81, 82, 83, 86, 87, 8B, 94, 95, 
96, 104, 119, 120, 122, 124, 126, 130, 
135, 155, 165, 174, 175, 176, 178, 179, 
180, 181, 188, 191, 213, 223, 244, 245, 
246, 247, 252, 253, 254, 255, 257, 258 

Manners, ^00 

al-Mansür, 92 

Marcel Proust, 233 

Market forces, 193 

Market system, 192, 193, 194, 195 

Marriage, 132, 134, 137, 138, 139, 140, 
141,142, 200 

Marriage gift, 138 

Marx, 183 

Marxism, 219, 226, 227, 228, 230, 234 

Marxist, 226 

Masjid, 74, 15 

Mass media, 224 

Master, 151, 153, 155, 156, 185; 
Rightful, 200 

Material v. Moral, 178 

Material v. Spiritual, 178, 179, 208, 249 

Materialism, 244, 245 

Mathematics, 241 

Mawdadi, A. A., 159fn. 

Mecca, 78, sce also Makka 

Medicine, 239, 240 

Medievalism, 258 

Meditation, 207, 209 

Mental illness, 178 

Merchandise, 190 

Merciful, 204, 250 

Mercy, 176, 200, 203, 250 

Messenger(s), 158, 165, 179 

Metaphysical, 199, 230, 234, 236, 241 

Metaphysics, 30, 50, 235, 239; Islamic, 
235, 241 

Middle Ages, 101 

Middle/ing Nation/community, 102, 

Middle Eastern, 224, 233, 234 

(The) Middle Way, 53, 54, 166 

Migration, 73 

Mina, 79 

Mind. 224 

Minorities, 167; freedom, 167; rights of, 
167; westernized, 224 

Miracles, 89, 97, 254 

Mischicf, 178, 194; makers, 178 

Misdeeds, 205 

Misery, 176, 184, 245, 252 

Mishkàt, 177fn., 180fn. 

Mission of the Prophet, 149 

Moderation, 166 

Modernism, 222, 224 

Modernists, 219, 220, 222, 230 

Modern civilization, 206, 217, 223, 239, 

Modern science, 244, 250 

Modern society, 45, 244 

Modern west, 256 

Modern world, 91, 217, 218, 219, 220, 
223, 225, 226, 230, 235. 240, 241, 243; 
characteristics of, 217 

Monasticism, 173fn., 206, 249 

Monk, 201 

Monopoly /ies, 193 

Monotheism, 67 

Monotheist(s), 73, 74 

Money, 192, 193 

Moon, 175 

Moor's (ish), 91, 92 

Moral (Morality), 54, 55, 76, 87, 89, 90, 
92, 103, 105, 112, 125, 156, 158, 161, 
165, 166, 174, 178, 179, 184, 185, 188, 
191, 194, 201, 205, 208, 213, 214, 215, 
254; philosophy of, 200 

Moral norms, 174 

Moral philosophy, 195 

Moral values, 184, 185, 188, 191, 192 

Moral responsibility, 54, 55, 105 

Mores, 200 

Morocco, 102, 107, 223, 236 

Mortal, 178 

Mosaic law, 134 

Moses, 27,83, 152, 157 

Mosque, 74, 111, 124, 136, 142, 210, 232 

Mount Hira, 64 

Mount Sana, 186 

Mount Thawr, 73 

Mount Uhud, 76 

Muftis, 169 

Mu'àwiyah, 60 

Muhajirin, 73, 77, 78 

Muhammad (p.b.u.h.), 21, 22, 26, 29, 
30, 31, 33, 35, 41, 43, 44, 46, 57, 60,61, 
62, 63, 64, 65, 66,67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 

274 INDEX 

73, 74, 76, 78, 79, 97,401, 102, 105, 
137, 138, 139, 140, 149, 157,.179fn., 
180, 181, 188, 206; character of, 63, 
89; farewell speech of, 79; finality of 
Prophet, 32 

Muhammad Asad, 207 

Mulla Sadra, 239 

Munafigin, 228 

Muslim, 175fn., 177fn., 179fn., 180fn., 
181fn., 184fn., 185fn. 

Muslim(s), 21, 29, 33, 38, 49, 53, 54, 57, 
62ff., 65, 67, 73, 74, 77, 78, 79, 80, 93, 
94, 96, 97, 101, 102, 103, 104, 106, 107, 
126, 144, 147, 148, 160, 161, 164, 165, 
167fn., 170, 173, 174, 175, 177, 178, 
179, 180, 182, 186, 187, 188, 191, 199, 
200, 205, 206, 207, 208, 210, 212, 213, 
214, 215, 216, 218, 224, 225, 226, 228, 
229, 230, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237, 
238, 239, 240, 241, 247, 253; moder- 
nized, 218, 219, 221, 222, 224, 225, 
228, 229, 234, 239, 240; responsibili- 
ties of, 105, 106, 107; social boycott of, 
71; traditional, 235; true, 249; 
westernized, 224 

Muslim commander, 251 fn. 

Muslim community, 76, 102, 129, 253 

Muslim countries, 236 

Muslim faith, 188 

Muslim historian(s), 214 

Muslim history, 191, 211 

Muslim intellectual(s), 236, 237; intel- 
lectual élite, 230; intellectual heri- 
tage, 236; intelligentsia, 241 

Muslim jurisprudence, 188, 190 

Muslim jurists, 176, 182, 108 

Muslim lands, 244 

Muslim languages, 238 

Muslim literature, 233 

Muslim scholars, 187, 224, 240 

Muslim scientific heritage, 240; scien- 
tists, 211; names of, 211 

Muslim society, 174, 175, 182, 183, 184, 
186, 188, 195 

Muslim thinker(s), 228, 240 

Muslim Ummah, 23, 75, 76 

Muslim world, 46, 232, 233, 236, 238 
Muslim writers, 229, 231, 232 
al-Mut'im ibn-'Adi, 72 

Muttagi, 95 

Mystery, 251 

Mythology, 34 

an- Nabi al- Ummi, 102 

Naqli, 227 

Nasir al-Din Tusi, 241 

Nation(s), 40, 57, 96, 141, 155, 179, 181, 
246, 247, 254 

National resources, 193; scarce, 193 

Nationalism, 96 

Nature, 29, 90, 94, 120, 126, 128, 150, 
153, 175, 210, 237, 240, 252 

Nature of man, 51,52, 126 

Ncar East, 102 

Necd(s), 111, 112, 113, 114, 126, 127, 
130, 148, 154, 186, 187, 190, 206, 213, 
255: physical, 206 

Needy, 105, 107, 141 

Negro, 170, 258 

Negus, 69 

Neighbour, 175, 186 

New Testament, 87 

Nigeria, 236 

Nihilism, 233, 234, 235 l 

Nimrod, 153 

Visā T, 179fn. 

Noah, 104, 157 

Non-Arabs, 89, 169,179 " 

Non-believers, 149, 150 

Non-Islamic, 223 

Non-Muslim(s), 80, 166, 167, 199, 202, 
208, 236; rights of, 167fn. 

Norms, 101, 160, 166, 174, 182, 190, 192, 
195, 206, 255 

North Africa, 107, 218 

North America, 101, 103 

Nudity, 224 

Nun, 224 

Obedience, 112, 149, 151, 152, 153, 159, 
185, 201, 204, 227,252 

Obligation(s), 105, 136, 142, 158, 164, 
184, 185 

Occidentalists, 225 

Old Testament, 87 

Oppression, 163, 176, 246, 248, 252 

Order(s), 158 

Organization, 200, 212 

Orientals, 221; modernized, 222; 
westernized, 222 

Orientalists, 225, 247; western, 247 

Original sin, 52, 53, 173, 202, 205 

Orphan, 105, 106, 107 

Orthodox, meaning of, 60fn. 

Output, 182, 183, 193, 194 


Overlords, 161 
Overlordship, 158 
Oxford, 22, 237 

Pagan, 70, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 103 

Paganism, 104 

Pakistan, 236, 238 

Pakistani, 237 

Papacy, 154 

Paradise, 140, 224 

Paradoxes, 230 

Parents, 181 

Parliament, 167fn. 

Parochial, 179, 253 

Paucity, 181 

Peace, 21, 33, 36, 41, 75, 78, 94, 95, 122, 
151, 180, 185, 194, 201, 212, 222, 244, 
245, 246, 252, 258 

Perception, 52, 83, 118, 129; scientific, 
47; religious, 47, 131 

Persecution, 63, 66, 68, 69, 70, 72, 78, 

Persia, 238, 254 

Persian, 79, 103, 223, 224, 232, 233, 237, 

Personal, 166; character, 215 

Pharaoh, 152, 153 

Philosophers of Islam, 118 

Philosophy, 220, 225, 236, 238, 239; falsc 
natural, 240; of nature, 239, 240, 241; 
traditional, 238; European, 220; 
social, 256; Western, 238 

Physics, 239 

Piety, 25, 34, 112, 169, 180, 202, 203, 
205, 209, 212, 257 

Pilgrim(s), 74 

Pilgrimage, 23, 72, 73, 74, 77, 79, 96, 103, 
114, 136, 231, 232 

Pillars of Islam, 1-3, 22-23, 115 

Planning, 103 

Plato, 202 

Politics, Political, 118, 125, 142, 147, 
155, 156, 161, 228, 255 

Political philosophy, 159 

Political power, 165, 220 

Political rights, 142 

Political system, 211 4 

Political theory of Islam, 147, 148, 158, 
171 G 

Polygamy, 163 

Polytheism, 67, 74, 104, 110 

Polytheist, 72, 150 

Poor, 105, 107, 130, 152, 186 


Poor-due(s), 136, 163, 165, 181 

Poor-rate, 212 

Pornography, 234 

Positivism, 225, 235 

Postulates of Islam, 31, 32, 148, 149 

Poverty, 105, 121, 181 

Power, 208, 253 

Prayer(s), 23, 35, 38, 39, 48, 49, 57, 62fn., 
72, 86, 104, 110, 111,114, 115, 124, 
136, 142, 151, 154, 177, 200, 206, 207, 
209, 212,231 

Prejudice(s), 101, 151, 167, 169, 225fn., 
248, 257; racial, 257 

Price(s), 183, 191, 193, 194; Price level, 

Price system, 193, 194 

Priests, 34, 109, 154, 201 

Priestly class, 160 

Prison, 202, 203 

Prisoners, 76 

Privatc, 166 

Private ownership, 190, 191 

Producers, 182 

Production, 183, 190, 191, 193; factors 
of, 183 

Progress, 246, 247, 248, 249, 251, 254 

Proletariat, 41 

Property, 194, 248, 253 

Prophet(s), 158, 159, 160, 161, 165, 167, 

. 168, 170, 173fn., 175, 177, 178, 179, 
180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 190, 
192, 201, 215, 218, 229, 252; mission 
of, 149 

Prophethood, 25, 29, 31, 33, 34, 149, 159 

Prosperity, 246, 247 

Psychoanalysis, 231, 233, 235 

Psychoanalytical thought, 232 

Psychological disorder, 244 _ 

Psychological literature, 232, 233 

Psychologists, 243 

Psychology, 231, 233, 235; Western 
schools of, 231 

Public Exchequer, 252 

Public law, 167fn. 

Public officer, 257 

Public opinion, 165, 193 

Public welfare, 195 

Purdah, 163 

Purity, 97, 110, 112, 113, 114 

Qisis 164 
Qur'àn, 21, 23, 25, 26, 31, 34, * 
49, 51,53, 59, 61, 65, 68, 79, ' 

276 INDEX 

84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 93, 94, 96, 97, 
102, 104, 105, 106, 107, 111, 112, 113, 

114, 118, 119, 126, 127, 129, 131, 135, 
136, 137, 138, 139, 142, 143, 144, 149, 
150, 152, 157, 159, 165, 166, 167fn., 
168, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 179, 180, 
181, 182, 183, 184fn., 186, 187, 188, 
190, 194, 199, 200, 201, 204, 205, 207, 
209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 
227, 228, 230, 233, 241, 248, 253, 258; 

unchanged preservation of, 43 

Quraysh, 62, 67,68, 69, 70, 75, 76, 77, 78, . 


Rabb, 150, 151, 153, 154, 155, 156 

Race, 26, 40, 41, 89, 95, 96, 122, 129, 154, 
166, 168, 179, 181, See also Black 
(People), White (People), Yellow 

Racial prejudices, 257 

Radio, 224 

Rahbaniyya, 206 

Rationalism, 34 

Rationalization, 90 

Reality, 210, 211, 212, 216, 246, 251; 
ultimate, 251 

Reason, 250, 255 

Reason and Spirit, 255, 256 

. Redemption, 53, 202, 220 

Reform, 166 

Reformation, 90 

Religion(s), 26, 35, 37, 43, 47, 49, 60, 61, 
67, 68, 72, 74, 78, 83, 84, 85, 86, 93, 95, 
101, 102, 103, 104, 109, 114, 115, 119, 
124, 125, 126, 129, 131, 143, 148, 161, 
173, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 207, 208, 
209, 210, 211, 226, 228, 237, 243, 244, 
245, 246, 247, 249, 250, 252, 253, 257, 
258; basic concept of, 201; compul- 
sion in, 258; distortions in, 28; equili- 
brium in, 26, 120; God-given, 240; 
Islamic concept of, 202; of truth, 26, 

Religious, 200, 201, 203, 212, 219, 222, 
243, 248 

Religious cor.cept, 203 

Religious life, 226 

Religious tolerance, 88, 93, 94 

Religious truth, 222: 

Renaissance, 90, 91, 240 

Resources, 192, 203, 206, 254: allocation 
of, 192, 193; material, 206; optimum 
allocation cf, 194 

Resurrection, 33, 69, 75 

Retaliation, 164 

Revelation, 22, 27, 64, 75, 79, 80, 83, 84, 
86, 89, 135, 202, 209, 219, 222 

Revolution/Revolutionary, 82, 149, 
199: bloody, 257 

Rich, 130, 181, 186, 187 

Right, 54, 55, 87, 95, 158, 159fn., 161, 
163, 164, 165, 166, 170, 186, 188, 192, 
206, 207, 218, 253, 256 

Right path, 68 

Rights, 131, 133, 136, 138, 139, 163, 169, 
171, 173fn., 182, 189, 256, 257; fun- 
damental human, 257 

Rights and duties, 163, 171 

Right and wrong, 166 

Right path, 122, 158 

Righteousness, 25, 34, 35, 70, 85, 89, 110, 
114, 129, 136, 173, 179, 200, 208, 258 

Rights and responsibilities, 125, 138 
Rituals, 114, 151 

Roman, 79, 132 

Roman civilization, 132 

Roman law, 132, 133 

Ruler(s), 168, 170 

Rumi, 229 

Russia, 155, 170 

Sabians, 94 

Sacrifice(s), 200 

Sa'd bin Abi Waqgqas, 206 

Sadeq Hedayat, 233 

Sadr al-Din Shirazi, 239 

Safa, 65 

Sahabah, 60fn. 

Saint/Saintliness, 115 

Saladin, 92 

Salah, 110, 165 

Salat, 114, 115 

Salih, 157 

Salvation, 48, 50, 52, 123, 156, 202, 203, 
206, 208, 209, 212, 253, 255 

Sariyah, 251 fn. 

Sartre, 235 

Sassanid Empire (of Persia), 102 

Satan, 52, 95, 106, 217 

Sawm, 114 

Schism, 95 

Science(s), 90, 2007210, 211, 215, 220, 
222, 227, 239, 240, 241, 243, 244, 246, 
249, 250, 251, 252; empirical, 251; 
goa of, 244, 251 

Scientific facts, 245 

n————— ——— 

INDEX 277 

Scientific revolution, 240 

Scientist(s), 211 

Scripture(s), 28, 37, 83, 86, 159, 165 

Secular, 92, 162, 179, 195, 199, 200 

Secularization, 161 

Secularism, 36, 37 

Security, 247 

Self-assertion, 207 

Self-denial, 35, 50, 202, 20 

Sensual pleasurc, 249, 254 

Separation, 163 

Serfdom, 253 

Sex(es), 138, 163 

Sexual satisfaction, 257 

Shahadah, 218, 234 

Shafi, 188 

Shari ‘ah, 22, 24,31, 111, 119,-159fn., 161, 
176, 189, 191, 202, 253 

Shaw, George Bernard, 33 

Shepherd, 186 

Shirk, 103 

| Shu'ayb, 157 

Shüra, 167fn. 

Siberia, 167 

Sin, 52, 53, 103, 104, 105, 173, 204, 205; 
hereditary sin, 52,53 

Sinful, 205 

Sirah, 43 

Slave(s), 68,.132, 151, 162, 167,.169, 
183fn., 208, 246, 249, 254,258 

Slave camps, 167 

Slavery, 88, 93, 155, 156, 157, 248, 257 

Social behaviour, 117, 199 

Social change and Islam, 42, 43, 46; 
principles of, 106 

Social costs, 193, 194 

Social disorder, 164 

Social health, 195 

Social justice, 117, 118, 125, 126, 147, 
165, 181, 182, 185, 190, 191, 192, 194, 
195, 226fn., 256, 257, 258 

Social machine, 256 

Social movement(s), 257 

Social order, 169, 179, 203, 212 

Social reform, 166, 257 

Sccial relationships, 257 

Social responsibility, 101, 105, 106, 107, 

Social system, 127, 158; communist, 
170; Fascist, 171 

Social welfare, 174, 188, 189, 194, 195 

Socialism, 36, 174, 179, 189, 190, 219, 
222, 223, 226, 256, 257 


Socialist system, 179 

Socicty, 104, 105, 107, 112, 118, 124, 
125, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 141, 144, 
161, 164, 169, 170, 171, 182,186, 188, 
191, 203, 226, 249, 255, 256; Persian, 

Sociologists, 243, 244 

Somerset Maugham, 244 

Sorbonne, 237 

Soul(s), 47, 52, 75, 86, 89, 109, 110, 121, 
123, 124, 126, 135, 136, 156, 157, 202, 
203, 205, 209, 213, 219, 223, 224, 228, 
232, 233, 246, 251, 255 

South Africa, 257 

Southern Asia, 107 

Sovercignty, 160, 161, 162, 168 

Sovereign, 248; Real, 248 

Sovereignty of God, 31, 149, 158, 159, 

Soviet Russia, 147 

Spain, 91, 92, 102 

Speculation, 163 

Spencer, 230 

Spirit of Islam, 41, 45 

Spirit/Spiritual, 48, 122, 177, 178, 183, 
190, 199, 201, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 
215, 218, 219, 220, 232, 234, 235, 236, 
244, 249, 253, 254, 258; world of spirit, 

Spiritual ideal(s), 177; need, 178, 179 

Spiritual aspirations, 257 

Spiritual security, 48, 122 

Spiritual and material, 35-36, 48, 122, 
123, 124, 125, 126, 175, 176, 178, 179, 
202, 244, 255 

Spiritual values, 176, 177, 189, 192, 212 

Spiritualist(s), 256 

Spirituality, 211 

Sport, 204 

Stagnation, 194 

State, 159, 164, 165, 166, 186, 188, 193, 
211, 212, 245, 256; authoritarian, 
166; communist, 166, 167; Fascist, 
166; ideological, 166ff., 167; Islamic, 
39, 159, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 
170, 194; policy of, 166; totalitarian, 

Stealing, 183 

Straight path, 164 

Structuralism, 225, 228fn. 

Student(s), 219; Muslim, 226 

Subjectivism, 232 

278 i 

Submission, 28, 48, 68, 112, 200, 202, 

Safi(s), 219, 229, 235 

Sufism, 229, 231, 233 

Suhrawardi, 239 

Suicide, 178 

Sunnah, 22, 23, 25, 26, 42, 107, 1 65, 166, 
167fn., 183, 190,215 

Superstition, 34, | 10, 143, 249, 250 

Supply, 184 

Surplus, 183, 187 

Surrender, 28, 48, 85, 1 

Survival, 83 

Sustainer, 200 

Sword, 217, 218, 219, 222, 252 

Syria, 74, 79, 102 - 

52, 158, 226, 253 

al-Ta'if, 72, 78 

Taboos, 248 

Talhah, 65, 70 

Taqlid, 236 

Tawàf, 49 

Tawhid, 29, 31, 33, 34, 49, 50, 52, 65, 
66, 75, 102, 119, 151 

Technology, 250 

Tehran, 237 

Telepathy, 251 

Television, 224 

Thamüd, 106 

The day of Judgement, see Day of 

Theft, 164, 181 

Theo-democracy, 160 

Theocracy, 160, 161,211; Islamic, 160 

Theologians, 202, 210; non-Muslim, 

Theology, 200, 222. 241 

Thought, 200, 236, 237, 253, 257; norms 
of, 23 

Tirmidhi, 175fn., 177fn., 201fn. 

Tolerance, 41, 91, 93, 94 

Torah, 28 

Toynbee, 41 

Tradition, 107, 118, 227, 244; intellec- 
tual, 225, 237; world of, 223 f 

Traditional intellectual elite, 238 . ` 

Transgression, 255 

Tribe(s), 122, 179, 247 

Trinity, 53, 102, 204 pa 

Truth, 26, 43, 68, 78, 81, 82, 85, 86, 
94, 107, 114, 150, 202, 210, 217, 218, 
222, 223, 227, 232, 236, 238, <41, 246, 
249, 252, 254 


A S v y . 90 

[ 4 ^ Nv Aa d mion, 
w SS 

-Wase(s), 182, 183; ideal, 183, 
s 183 


Tughyan, 104 : 

Tunisia, 236 

Turkey, 170 

Turkish, 232 

Tyranny, 156, 163, 170,:245, 248, 252. 
253,258 ` 

Tyrants, 248, 250, 253 

‘Ulama’, 219, 220, 221, 227 

‘Umar, 60fn., 70, 110, 115, 142, 181, 186, 
188, 251fn., 258 

Umayyah, 62fn. 

Umayyah ibn Khalaf, 69 

‘Umrah, 77 

Unconscious, 235 

Unemployment, 187, 194 

Un-Islamic, 223 

United Nations, 75 

Unity of God, 33, 75, 102, 110, 149, 158 

Universal, 227,253 

Universe, 85, 90, 11 2. 
124, 125, 126, 153, 
240, 251 | 

University(ies), 91, 220, 226, 230, 233, 
236, 238; in Islamic world, 220; 
Modern, 220, 221; Western, 220, 237; 
Western oriented, 221 

Unknown, 251 

Unlawful, 154, 158, 163, 182, 187, 248 

Unsocial, 246 

Urdu, 232 

Usury, 74, 260 

‘Utbah ibn Rábigh,67 - 

‘Uthman, 60fn., 65, 70,183 

‘Uthman bin Maz‘in, 173fn., 206 

118, 121, 122, 123, 
200, 209, 210, 230, 

Value(s), 103, 107, 125, 127, 128, 129, 
156, 160, 173, 174, 179, 183, 185, 187, 
207, 212, 213, 235. 240; economic, 
129; real, 129; value system, 105, 223; 
western, 101 
Vicegerent of God, 25, 
186, 192 
PF Vicegerency, 160, 168, 170 
ee" ue, 165, 173, 174, 177, 202, 205, 212. 
. 48, 248, 249, 253, 257 

31, 83, 168, 173, 

les - 

184; just, 
, 184; ninimum, 183, 184 
^ Wahi, 89 

Wants, 192, 193 

War(s), 194, 246, 253, 258 


Warner, 94 

Way of life, 37 

Wayfarer, 107, 164, 177fn. 

Wealth, 129, 152, 176, 177, 181, 185, 
186, 187, 188, 191, 192, 194, 195, 208, 

248; accumulations of, 187; redistri- 

bution of, 186, 188, 191 
Weapon, 246 
Welfare, 122, 127, 128, 176, 178, 182, 
Welfare tax, 104, 105, 187 
Well-being, 174, 176, 178,189 
West and Western Society, 41, 60, 61, 
82, 102, 107, 131, 147, 164, 207, 211, 
217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 
225, 226, 230, 233, 234, 235, 239, 240, 
241, 244, 254, 256; art, 233; demo- 
cracy, 159, 160; literature, 232; man, 
240; scholar, 239; sources, 236; 
thought, 235, 236; value system, 223; 
world, 101, 107, 217,225 
_ Westerners, 223, 234, 243, 250 
"Western civilization, 46, 53, 61, 152, 
164, 221fn., 222, 223, 224 
Westernism, 219 
White (people), 179, 181, 257; see also 
Wickedness, 258 
Wine, 162, 164 
Wisdom, 159, 176, 203, 204, 241; tradi- 
tional, 227 
Witness(es), 181 
Woman /women, 89, 92, 93, 96, 109, 
131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 138, 139, 
140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 155, 163, 212, 
225, 232, 252; legal status of, 132, 134, 
135, 144; liberation of, 89, 93, 133; as 
mother, 140; as property, 132, 133, 
134; right(s) of, 139, 140, 141, 142, 
143, 144; status of in Islam, 89, 93, 

INDEX 279 

131, 134, 135, 143; status of in other 
civilizations, 132, 133, 134, 135; sub- 
jection of, 132, 133, 134; as wife, 137 

Word of God, 26, 249 

Work, 255 

World, 176, 178, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 
205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 212, 214, 
215, 222, 223, 224, 230, 232, 239, 244, 
245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 252, 253, 
254, 255, 257, 258; aims and purposes 
of, 204; infra-human, 240 

World history, 214 

World war(s), 223, 224, 235, 253 

Worship, 22, 30, 38, 44, 49, 50, 54, 57, 
62ff., 63, 64, 66, 70, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 
97, 102, 103, 105, 107, 109, 110, 111, 
112, 113, 114, 115, 117, 123, 125, 140, 
149, 151, 155, 157, 165, 200, 201, 207, 
210, 247, 250, 255, 257; all-em bracing 
view of, 111-113, 114; man, 154, 155; 
nature worship, 155; obligatory, 114; 
science, 252 

Wrong, 54, 55, 87, 97, 136, 141, 165, 166, 
176, 177, 248 

Wrongdoers, 200, 201, 215 

Yathrib, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 
102; covenant of, 75 

Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan, 194 

Yellow (People), 257; See also Race 

Youth, 101 

Yugoslavia, 155 

Zakah, Zakai, 23, 38, 39, | 14, 163, 165, 
186, 187, 190 

Zayd, 72 

Zamzam, 77 

Zen, 237 


NM ORO E IU a ks 

— Rn 

mei ent or 

da ont ee 

isy E. > Bee eh yt t - 

Professor Khurshid Ahmad, Chairman, Islamic Foundation, U.K. and 
Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad, Pakistan, holds Masters in Economics 
and Islamic Studies, first degree in Law, and Hon. Ph.D. in Education from 
the University of Malaysia. Taught at the University of Karachi (1980-94) and 
International Institute of Islamic Economics, International Islamic. 
University, Islamabad (1983-87). Served as Federal Minister for Planning : 
Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Pakistan (1978-79), as a mem 

of the Senate of Pakistan [1985-97] and Chairman, Senate Standi 
Committee on Finance and: Economy (1992-97). Prof. Khurshid received t 
prestigious King Faisal Award for Service to Islam, 1990, the Islan 
Development Bank Award for his contribution to Islamic Economiics, 1989, 
and the Islamic Finance Award sponsored by the Islamic Finance House, 
U.S.A., 1998. 

Other works include: Islamic Ideology (Urdu), University of Karachi, 1973; 
Socialism or Islam (Urdu), Karachi, 1969; Islam and the West, Lahore, 1970; 
Studies in the Family Law of Islam, Karachi, 1960; Principles of Islamic 
Education, Lahore, 1970; Economic Development in an Islamic Framework, 
Leicester, 1979; Elimination of Riba from the Economy, Islamabad, 1995; 
Islamic Resurgence, Tampa, Florida, 1993, and Islamabad, 1995. 

ISLAM: ITS MEANING AND MESSAGE provides a window on the world of | 
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of Islamic ideology and culture. The authors come from all parts of the 
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