Here is another rejoinder sent to your friend Rajindersud, requesting him not read, not to contradict and refute, nor to believe and take it for granted, but to weigh and consider. I know he will not respond but Mujhe Hai Hukm-e-AzaN.
Muhammad Latif Chaudhey
Why Is Islam The Only True Deen?
translated by Dr. Manzoor-ul-Haque
The one significant issue, which rises in most of the minds and vexes the tender feelings of the heart, is that common moral values are identical in all the religions (especially in the widely accepted religions). All the religions assert not to tell a lie; not to steal; to be honest; not to deprive others of their rights etc. Islam. Also proclaims the same then what is that distinctive feature on the basis of which we assert: -
that Islam is the only true Deen;
that no other Deen is acceptable to God;
that salvation and auspiciousness is tied to Islam;
And therefore it is necessary that all followers of religions should accept Islam.
The Significant Question
If the specificity, on the basis of which Islam is entitled to make this claim, is the same values, then this privilege ought to be extended to every religion of the world. This would not be a reasonable attitude that the qualities on the basis of which we adjudge Islam as Deen-Ul-Haq (the right Deen), are ignored in case of claim of other religions.
This is undoubtedly a difficult question. As mentioned above, this question springs up and causes confusion in the minds of the people at large. . This is the same question which emerged in the frontiers of knowledge at a time when the late Maulana Abu-ul-Kalam Azad wrote in his exegesis of Sura Fateha, "Universal truths are equally found in all the religions" therefore no one religion can claim superiority over others. This proclamation was, in fact, an echo of that Brahmo-Samaji Movement which had emerged earlier in Bengal. They summated the good points of the (so called) heavenly books, developed a system of education and projected it to the world with the contention that it comprises all the common truths found in all the religions. Therefore to bring consensus among all religions and to act in accordance with the truthfulness, the only mechanism would be that all followers of religions should believe in this system of education and make it the concept of their life. Such a common education comprised these very moral values long before this Brahmo-Samaji Movement. King Akber’s Deen-i-Ilahi was founded on this very concept; Its exponent was Dara Shikoah in whose mysticism there was no difference between Ram and Raheem; and the reflection of reality was equally found in the temple and the mosque. The same phenomenon, in the form of Bhajans (religious hymns) of Bhagat Kabeer and Kafees (Mustical Stanzas) of Shah Fareed and Sultan Bahu echoes in every nook and corner.
No Need of Religion even!
This brings forth another important question: if truth is the other name of theses moral values and acting in accordance with them is the purpose of human life, then why is any religion needed? Those, who are irreligious, and refute the very existence of God, also say the same i.e. telling lie is very bad; truth ought to be spoken; living ought to be honest; no one ought to be oppressed, so why to bring in the religion? It was this concept which gave birth to the movement of Humanism in Europe which projected itself with the assertion of "Religion without Revelation" in the world. If the ultimate aim and climax of religion is these moral values and the human life can reach its destiny through these values alone, then how can the claim of Humanism be rejected?
Have you realized how significant is this question and how imperative is it to give a satisfying answer to it? It is the importunity of this significance and need that it must be thought out seriously and understood with careful contemplation.
What Is Deen?
Basic misconception in this regard is that Deen is thought to be no more than an ethical code. Deen is not the collection of a few moral values; it is a comprehensive system of life covering all aspects of human life. The moral values become operative within this system, or in other words this system provides that sound base on which the edifice of these moral values is established.
Did you ever ponder over this phenomenon that the whole world says that telling a lie is bad; dishonesty is intensely opprobrious; deception is very contemptible misdemeanor but in spite of all this the whole world tell lies; corruption is rampant every where; cheating is in full swing. The question is why is this all happening? In spite of condemning and cursing all these things why has man taken to them? Considering these acts the most detestable and opprobrious why is he not refraining from them? Its reason is that either the people acknowledge these moral values just as of formality or they have their foundation on emotions alone. They know nothing as to why these values should be followed and why should they not be violated. You ask a person to satisfy you as to why you should not tell a lie. Going a little deeper than superficial talk, you would realize that he has no reasonable reply to this question. With all the reason and rhyme at his command, he would not be able to respond to the why of your question. He will not be able to explain to you rationally what would you loose by telling lies and which gain you would accrue by speaking the truth. And since man adopts only that which gives him gain and abandons that which causes him loss, therefore his acquiescence to this effect is either simply traditional or imitation or the product of emotional inclinations. He neither develops insight of these values nor rationally makes them the way of his life.
Deen provides those basic concepts, which conspicuously bring forth the purpose and ultimate aim of human life. The purpose of life defines the proper value of every thing and when these values are identified it can very easily be understood which one is profit bearing and which one is loss accruing; which one is higher and which one is lower on the continuum of values.
From Desire to Action.
Deen, along with these basic concepts, provides the practical system through which these theoretical values take the form of reality and then the man within their concrete results sees of his own, how gainful or harmful it is to act or not according to these values. Being affected by this, his emotions and feelings follow the proper channel for their own operation and since emotions are the impetus of actions, his life synchronizes with these higher values. This is called the exaltation of character and neatness of conduct.
Bear it in mind that human activities pass through three phases: - namely a desire takes birth in your heart; this desire awakes in the heart involuntarily, you have no reason, rhyme or rationale for it; it relates purely to the emotions; then you present it to the intellect. If your emotions are intense, your intellect thinks or the means to accomplish it and provide justified reasons for it. But if your intellect overpowers your emotions, it then makes comparison between gain and loss, and if it sees that the gain to be accrued is greater it decides to accomplish the desire. Now your desire transforms into your wish; then your will power comes in to play, and takes practical steps to actualize your desire. In this phase, your WISH takes the form of your WILL.
But the human intellect, even if not operating under the command of emotions can maximally decide the gain or loss of that person, it cannot decide whether the desire is fair or foul. In other words, the human intellect can only inform the person concerned as to which thing is profitable to him and which one will bring him loss. It can make no distinction between good and evil. This distinction can only be possible in the presence of values, and as narrated earlier, it is the concept of life that determines the values.
Impact Of the concept of Life
How does the concept of life (right or wrong) change the perspective of human vision and define the direction of his activities, we need not to go anywhere far to understand it. Every one complains today that falsehood; deception, cunningness, betrayal, corruption, bribery, injustice, oppression, extortion and exploitation are prevailing in the world. It looks as if, without any exception of zones or inhabitants, the germs of these diseases have spread all over the globe like an epidemic. Did you ever ponder over the cause thereof? Ills were also there in the days gone by, but these were not so general and comprehensive. With a little pondering, this reality will be established that its basic cause is the concept of life which, in the 19th century, emerged in the West and due to the general and global means of communication spread to ever nook and corner of the world. All these ills/miseries are the product of this concept. This concept of life was that the human life is only the physical life and laws governing the life and the death at the animal level apply to man also. Survival of the fittest is the immutable law of nature. According to this law, only the one wielding the maximal scepter of authority and power has the right to live. How was this authority and power acquired is no question. The poor and the weak and the powerless can be allowed to live only to become victual of the powerful. Every big fish devours the smaller one. Insects are born to be the food of the sparrows and the sparrows consequently breathe only to be the prey of the eagles. This is the law of nature, the constitution of life. It is according to this law that the decisions on the life and death of individuals as well as Nations are made. " Might is right" is the exigency of justice. Lion is the king of jungle, not the goat. If the lion eats the goat, the goat cannot make complain that it is the victim of oppression.
The animals live by instincts which, though many in number can generally be classified into three categories: Self-preservation, Self-assertion and Self-procreation. When the human life is not valued higher than that of the animal level, obviously every individual would work under these very instincts, and then there would be no room for the moral values.
According to the civilization raised on this concept, national character would be regarded as highest character. Thinking deeply you would realize that the national character is, also, the product of animal instinct. Herd instinct is in the very nature of animals. Every animal finds its preservation in living with its herd. This is the only urge on which a nation comes into being and endures. Prosperity and well-being of one’s own nation becomes the highest values for the individual; the greatest patriot becomes the one who squeezes out the last drop of blood of other nations and decorates the magnificent edifice of one’s own nation with the gaudiness of this blood. For him, the question of being honest or dishonest or the question of falsehood and truth does never arise. The one who starts giving mind to these values cannot perform the affairs of the state. In the words of Walpole:
"No great country was ever saved by good men, because good men will not go to the length that may be necessary to save a nation."
In this connection, what these patriots have to say, the reproduction of the words of the reputed Italian thinker, Cavour are sufficient. He says.
"If we did for ourselves what we do for our country, what rascals we should be."
Did you observe how a change in the concept of life brings changes in the individual and collective life, and how does the concept of life influence every walk of life? The reason that the moral values are still being theoretically appreciated today is that the man has, up till now, not been able to erase his sub-conscience free from the binding effects of the past. If this concept pervaded any further into the next few generations, even the concept of these values will be wiped off from his mind and its verbal confession will also remain no more. Its signs and symptoms have started surfacing right from now. Our younger generation ridicules these values by calling them mere conservatism.
Islam provides such concepts on which the whole edifice of human life is raised and where every aspect of life is embodiment of higher values. These concepts are not found in any religion of the world leave aside atheism (religious ness). These are only the characteristics of Islam, which entitles it to become the system of life established on right lines and surety to human achievement and prosperity. These concepts fall into the following headings: -
Concept of God.
Relationship between God and Man.
Relationship between Man and Universe.
Relationship between Man and Man.
Relationship between Actions and their Consequences.
Concept of the ultimate object of life.
In the next pages, these concept will be discussed briefly and it will be explained as to what is the nature of these concepts in the well known religions (Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity) and what type of concepts the Holy Quran reflects; and what scenario of human life is established on these concepts. Be very clear that the comparative study of religions is not my aim at present; I’ll only narrate the fundamental tenets found on these concepts in these religions. This may also be clarified that our belief is that proper and true teachings were revealed to all the messengers of the Almighty God on their own turns but these teachings are now not found in their pristine form in the so-called heavenly books available among the followers of these religions. Whatever is described of these concepts will therefore be based on the existing documents of these religions and not on that pristine and real message which is not found now with any of them. The detail of this resume will be found in the first chapter of my book in Urdu Mairaj-e-Insaniat, in which, according to the researches of the followers of these religions, it has been dealt with at length, wherein it has been explained that according to researches of the followers of these religion the pristine message of those religions is not found among any one of them now; but since they lay down their existing message as the knowledge base of their religions, the current teachings about these concepts will be projected. Except this, there can be no other alternative left for us.
The Concept of God.
The Concept of God in Hinduism.
Among the three religions (Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity), Hinduism claims that it is the oldest religion in the world. The proof of its antiquity is provided by its existing religious books where each of its leaves bear testimony to the fact that these are the writings of that age when human mind was in its infancy. The infantile mind can never perceive the concept of an abstract reality in any shape other than its concrete form. How could the mind of that age have established the pristine concept of the personality of God? It transformed God on its own nature only with the difference that man (for example) has two hands, God was conceived to have eight, man has one head, God had ten; man can drink a cup of water, God can pour in the whole ocean. Three basic gods are accepted among Hindus: Brahmo, Shivji, and Vishnoo. They have their wives and children too; Shivji’s wife was Parbatti and son is Gnesh whose body is of man and head of elephant; Brahma’s daughter is Sarsooti. Earlier all these three were worshipped but now Brahma is not worshipped.. It is in the Para’ns that once Shivji saw Brahma intending to rape his daughter, there he stopped worship of Brahma (Hinduism by Govind Das,P:104).
About the creation of the universe, the following statement is found in the shivparana:
Shivji desired to create the world. He created Brahma. Brahma splashed a handful of water in the water; there raised a bubble; a man was horn out of this bubble. He said to Brahma: ‘O’ son! create the world.’ Brahma said: "I am not your son, You are my son" There was a quarrel between the two. Maha Dev (Shivji) thought that whom he had sent for creating the world were quarrelling between themselves, then a heavenly ling (male genital organ) was born out of the two; it ascended immediately into the sky Both were surprised to see it.
Listen to what happened later on:
Both started thinking that the beginning and end of ling should be found; the one who comes back first be the father and the one who comes later be the son. Vishnoo in tortoise-shape started going down. Brahma in swan-shape flew upward. Both continued their journey with lightning speed for two thousand years but could not search the utmost limits of the ling. Brahma thought: if wishnoo had com back with an inkling, l would have to be his son. He was just thinking of it when a cow and a tree of kaitkee descended. Brahma asked them: "Where do you live?" They said: "With the props of that ling we have been travelling since thousands of years" Brahma asked them whether or not ling had any extremity, they replied that it did not.
Brahma said: Come with me and stand witness that the cow used to pour strain of milk on the head of ling and that the tree used to shower flowers over it" They said: We’ll not bear false witness." Then Brahma said angrily: "I’ll turn you into ashes if you do not stand witness." Then both frighteningly said: "We’ll bear witness as you desire." Then the three went downwards.
Brahma asked Vishnoo whether or not he had found out the utmost limits of ling. He replied in the negative. Brahma said:" I have found our"; Vishnoo demanded: "Produce witness to this effect." Then the cow and the tree bore false witness. Upon this the ling imprecated the Kaitkee: "You have told a lie. Your flower will never be used for offering either to me or to any other God. Whoever offers you will be terminated"; it imprecated the cow: "You will eat filth with the mouth through which you told a lie; no body will worship your mouth but your tail will be worshipped; cursed Brahma: "Since you have told a lie, you’ll never be worshipped" in the world"; it gave a blessing to Vishnoo "You have spoken the truth, so you’ll be worshipped every where". Then both praised and eulogized the ling.
On hearing this appreciation and eulogy, there appeared a countenance with long matted hair from the ling and said: "I had sent you for generating creation, why did you indulge in wrangling?" Then Maha Dev took out a ball of ashes from the hair and said: "Go and germinate creation with it."
(Ref: Satyareth Parkash-Sawami Daya Nand PP. 272-273)
The concept of God is the most sublime idea. It is now obvious that what would be the nature of the deeds of a nation which has this idea of God in its sight,. Neither the mind of this nation can be free from the superstition, nor can their actions be based on knowledge and insight. God to whom they submit is never above the human countenance. Hence it is written in the Athur Veda that at the time of worshipping God, the following should be uttered:
"O’Swami Parmatma of the followers of Jain! obeisance be to thy mouth; obeisance is to thy eyes; obeisance is to thy skin; obeisance is to thy organs; pray is to thy belly; obeisance is to thy tongue; obeisance is to thy face; obeisance is to thy teeth; obeisance is to the stench of thy teeth."
The Concept of God among the Jews.
After Hinduism, let us now turn to Judaism and see what kind of concept of God is found there. Probably it was Locke who had said:"If you tell me the kind of God any nation had proposed for its worship, I would let you know the nature of civilization and culture of that nation." A critical appraisal of a Western researcher about the kind of concept that emerges about God through the study of the conventional Torah would be sufficient here. Joseph Whebs in his book "Is it God’s Words" writes that the God of Torah appears to be splashing around with the blood, shed by the numerous murderers. He is an assassin himself and a mischief monger, thief, perfidious, sanguinely revengeful, merciless, chastiser of the sinful and the innocent both, extremely dreadful and frightful, embodiment of oppression and prejudice, arrogant, braggart, promise-breaker, concoct, and a willful liar.
(Ref: M’airaj-e-Insaniyyat, P.22)
According to Torah, God created man on His own form. It is, now, evident that the God who has this kind of form, His created nation would also have the same form, But it is not the nature of God, it is the account of the conduct of that nation itself. After holding this type of concept about, the God, what would be the fate of moral values with that nation, does need no perspicuity and description of any kind.
Concept of God in Christianity
When we move on from Judaism to Christianity, the enigma of concept of God there cannot be comprehended. The following is the council of Trent’s theory of the basic belief of Christianity on the acceptance of which one becomes a Christian: We believe in (1) God, the powerful father who is the creator of the overt and the covert; and we believe in (2) Lord Jesus, the son of God, who is the only son of His father; who was born to the father i.e. the Lord before the whole of the universe and who is immanent and absolute deity. Father and His essence (the son) are one; it is through Him that all the things of the universe were created; his descendence and transmigration became our salvation. He descended as a human being, became victim to the sufferings, rose on the third day and ascended to the sky and, now, will again return to the world to maintain justice for the living and the dead.’
This was all about the belief of the Divinity of the Christ. About his revered mother, Mary, the tenet of the sacred church is that she is the most powerful near God; whatever she beseeches is bestowed to her. She is the main spring of good for us because she implores from God. Since she is the mother of God, He cannot reject her request, and since she is our mother too, she cannot refuse our intercession....whatever, whatever benedictions we make for our salvation are accepted.
(Ref: Shoula-i-Mastoor, P.129, Catholic SchoolBook, and P.158)
As such very recently the Council of the Pope has decided that Mary be worshipped along with the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit.
Concept of the Holy Quran
After these concepts of God, now come to the Holy Quran. It first of all, refuted all these concepts by saying :-
"Allah is far above and free from all the concepts they attribute to Him from their own minds" ( Al-Quran 23/92)
Then it said So far as the personality of God is concerned, you cannot conceive it, because you can only conceive the things, which are perceptible to senses, and the self of God is an exception to this phenomenon. Therefore."Human eyes cannot perceive him, He can keep watch over the eyes. He is very subtle and All-knowing." Al-Quran 6/104) His personality cannot be conceived with any example, because "He is analogous to none"(Al-Quran 42/11)" Neither He is himself the ;son of any one, nor anyone else is His son"(Al-Quran 112/3) "Nor is any one else is equal in rank to Him. He is altogether unique, incomparable and unprecedented." Al-Quran 112/4)
You cannot know anything about His personality; but a concept of God, more exalted, pure, dignified and elegant than the concept which appears forth from his attributes He has described of His own, is not possible.
Relationship of God and Man.
The question is: What is the advantage of believing in these attributes of God? One accepts that these are the attributes of God and the other rejects. What impact does this acceptance and rejection has on their lives? The Holy Quran answers this question. It says that every human is a carrier of "Divine energy" which is called the human personality. Every human personality is bestowed with the possibility of progressively actualizing these attributes (within human limits). This is the hue of God beyond which no other hue is more elegant. (Al-Quran 2/138)
That is why these attributes are the objective standard for the nourishment of human personality It is this ideal to which man wants to mould himself. This is the standard, which he strives to come up to . Every moment, he measures his own self against this objective standard and evaluates rationally the extent to which his personality has developed and how far it still remain to be developed.
In addition to it, the Holy Quran also informs as to which attribute operates at what occasion so that the likewise facet may also operate in the like event on the part of the man. This also determines man’s reaction in the face of external events and occurrences. Remember, as is the upholding of the balanced attributes for the man a must, similarly the emergence of that attribute most appropriate to that occurrence is imperative. To let go with pity a merciless tyrant, who has no feeling of repentance or any desire for rectification in his heart, is the worst form of tyranny on the oppressed human beings; but to take revenge in a situation where remission and forgiveness bring pleasant consequences is also equivalent to tyranny. The bruise of muscles soothes slowly on massage but the fractured bones need tight binding in wooden splints. This is called Jabbariyat-holding things firmly together (The wooden splints which a surgeon uses are called Jaba’ir The Holy Quran expounds in full length the attributes of God and the eventful appearance and application their of, so that not only do these become objective standard for gauging the development of an individual but also the foreteller to the man for forming the type of reaction most appropriate to the kind of events.
The Law of God.
This brings forth-another significant reality. The concept of God in religion is that of an autocrat king and a dictator whose all decisions depend upon his own whims and where the law and rule have nothing to do; if pleased he bestows robe of honour to a criminal; if annoyed He sends the innocents to the gallows, Man can only save himself from His wrath by keeping his deity pleased with himself in any way that he can; he makes all possible efforts to seek His pleasure; makes offerings of gifts and oblations and seeks the mediation of His favourites. Obedience to law does not yield any gain to man, it only serves to attain pleasure of God. On the other side of it, is Christianity where the concept of God is that of a tenderhearted father; where rules and regulations have nothing to do; where the mercy of God is the only basis of salvation.
The Holy Quran refuted this concept and proclaimed that in spite of all His infinite powers and boundless authority, God has prescribed rules and regulations for all the matters and does every thing strictly in accordance with these laws. These laws are so immutable that no mutations can occur in them.(Al-Quran 35/43) The meaning of law is that every thing is tied to the chain of cause-and-effect’ i.e. if you do this, its consequence will be such; if you act against, it will draw to this end. It explained these laws to man; made him understand them fully, made it clear to him that obeying this law will bring him this gain and acting against will result in this loss. After narrating all this, left it to his choice whether to follow this prescribed right road or to make tracks of his own. "We have shown him the way; now who-so-ever wishes may accept it and who-so-ever wishes may reject it," (Al-Quran 76/3) If he follows the right path, he will reap his own gain from it. We will not derive any benefit out of it. If he adopts a wrong path, he will suffer his own loss; it will not harm Us in any way(Al-Quran 12/286) That is why God does not make any one acknowledge anything by compulsion and coercion. Whatever He says, is as a piece of advice. After He revealed the Holy Quran he asserted:"Say unto them, the truth has come from Your sustainer, now whoever wishes, may accept it, whoever wills may reject it." (Al-Quran 18/29) . It is evident that when accepting or not accepting of any thing, is left to the sweet-will of man, then if he is of sound mind, reason and intellect, he will make his decision discerningly. Therefore, according to the Holy Quran, belief is not a blind faith; it is the name of that mental and heart felt conviction which man acquires rationally. That is why it has attributed this conduct to the Momins.(believers) that: "They are the people to whom, even when the ‘verses’ of their Sustainer are presented they droop not down at them as if they were deaf and blind but accept them with intellect and insight"(Al-Quran 25/73) It too is crystal clear when the consequences of actions draw up in concurrence with rule and law, the question of being absolved from them either byway of paying ransom or intercession does not arise. If you put your finger in the fire and then you desire that the pain of burning may transfer to some one else in stead of you, though on payment of thousands of rupees, it will be impossible If you eat arsenic, you cannot, even on the recommendation of the highest echelon of the society, be protected from its ill effects. There is only one alternative and that is: You take a recourse to that law of God in concurrence to which relief in burning pain and protection against the harmful-effects of arsenic can be procured. Suffering and repose accrue to the man according to the law of God as a result of the natural consequences of his actions."so that whoever is ruined is ruined according to the law and whoever remains alive does so according to the law (Al-Quran 8/42). Neither the innocent is chastised with the revenge and wrath of an authoritative dictator, nor the criminal gets off scot free, on ransom, atonement or intercession. That is why the humans have been told that "On the day of manifestation of consequences no one would be able to help anyone, nor shall any intercession be considered, nor shall any form of compensation be accepted , neither shall they be succoured."( Al-Quran 2/44).
Did you seer how did the Holy Quran transform the religion to the discipline of Science by simply giving the concept of "Law- making-cum-law-abiding God"? What are the characteristics of Science?---- In science (1) every cause has its own specific effect and no one can cause any kind of change and transformation in it, and (2) Science discovers the reality such that longings, wishes, purposes, gains and feelings of nobody have any impact on it. It is never influenced as such.
By virtue of the concept of God, the Holy Quran represents that the human actions bring forth the consequences in the like manner and the realities bear testimony to this effect in the same way: that is why God proclaimed that," this message of Ours is not poetry." Somewhere Coleridge has said: The Anti-thesis of Poetry is not prose but Science. The Holy Quran is no poetry but Science.
In connection with God and Man Relationship, the Holy Quran unravels another splendid reality. The laws of God, in the outer universe, are operative on their own. Accordingly every thing remains operative for the excellent performance of the duties assigned to it and the Universe, by evolution, is progressively moving forward in its evolution. In the human world, the laws of God are operative in the like manner with the exception that their cosmic speed is very slow whereas the human age demands that the result of actions may come to the forefront soon. If the human hands supports these laws and become helpful to accomplish them . their results may emerge according to the human count of time, place and circumstances. In this manner man becomes a companion to God in the complete accomplishment of His programme. This is the relation of God and Man of which not a glimpse is found in the religions of the world. (Since I’ve elicited much on this point, I need not make any more detailed discourse at present.)
Relationship of Man and The Universe.
After the deliberations on the relationship of God and the Man, there comes the question of the mutual relationship of the man and the Universe. When the human mind was at its infancy he was not able to comprehend the mystery of the forces of nature. He was afraid of them and could think of only one way to be safe from their rage and that was to implore humbly before them and appeal for their mercy. Hence the status of the man of that age was that he joined his hands in supplication, as soon as there was thunder of the clouds; he fell in prostration as as there was lightning, he made obeisance to the sun as soon as it shone; he prostrated as soon as there was an earthquake; he called a ravaging river as his mother-goddess; he made the lion a God as soon as it roared. Hinduism is a compendium of these gods and goddess and proselytizes their worship.
Relationship in Hinduism:
It is found in Yajar veda, "obeisance be accepted by the snakes on the earth, even those which are either in the air or in the sky; our prostration to the snakes of the paddy fields; our bowing to those snakes also which are still in their burrows." Our humble kneeling to them even."These were, at the least, living forces. They even bowed to those inanimate things from which they apprehended any loss. Hence, there is also found in Yajar Veda that this stanza ought to be recited: " O’ye rezor, thou bringeth happiness and are made of good iron; our obeisance to ye be accepteth; please bring not trouble unto him the least".
It is found written in the Ather Veda: "Our prostration to the winter fever, even to the summer fever I bow down. My prayer to the fever that comes daily, alternately and the third day."
It is clear that in a religion where man accepts this type of status for himself, the question of human dignity and honour does never arise. There, if it is asserted "do not tell a lie; speak-the-truth" will this unravel the mysteries of the universe and solve the human problems ?
Relationship in Christianity:
Leaving this aside, now come to the other side where the material things, their adornment and comfort is thought to be most detestable and abominable; and where the mystery of human salvation is only through the renunciation of the world and its vanities--- through the relinquishment of desires and the abandonment of pleasures. The farther one moves from the worldly affairs, the nearer one gets to the Deity. The teaching of asceticism and monasticism was the sine qua non of Christianity. Saint Benedict, transforming it into an organized institution, produced throngs of monks and nuns. As such in his Theological Dictionary, Bucks writes about the Monasticism in Egypt:" In a short span of time, the whole East was filled with groups of the slothful people who, setting aside the worldly affairs adopted a life of pain, distress, misery and anguish so as to be close to God and the Divine environs."
It brought the same result as this type of life ought to bring. In this connection Buck writes: "But after some time their lasciviousness became proverbial. Besides, they started inciting riots and insurrections by exploiting the people at various places."
A whole world was getting sick with these ascetics.
The clinging beggars were seen roaming in every street in the garb of hermits. All kind of vagrancy and cheating was their habit .... These people used to commit the incidences of havoc pillage under the veil of religious fanaticism.
(Progress of Religions Concepts. Vol. 3, P.240)
The people not committing such evil activities had strange mode of life as well. The condition of great saints among Christians was such that some swore not to take a bath in their whole life; some stood in marsh throughout their life; some saw the secret of spiritual development in fortifying in the enclosure of ordure; some lied down, life long, in a dark closet --- This was all the result of self-abnegation and self-renunciation in Christianity.
According To the Holy Quran:
The Holy Quran was revealed and it made this very clear to man that your position in the universe is far above the forces of nature. We (God) have well strung this all in the chains of law so that you may put them to your use. "God is the one who has subordinated to you whatever is there in the heights of the heavens and the depths of the earth" (Al-Quran 45/13). It told the manthat the position of man is that all the Malaika (forces of nature) be subservient to him and the position of a Momin is that he, by conquering these forces should utilize them for the benefits of the humanity. In the concrete universe, God alone enjoys the status over and above that of the man in concurrence of whose laws man ought to lead his life. Besides Him nothing is superior to man. All the articles of worldly adornment and comfort have been created for man; no one can declare these things abominable and forbidden for him. "Ask them who is he who can forbid the adornments and pleasant subsistence (rizq) which God has created for man?"(Al-Quran 7/32).
This status of the man and the relationship of the man with the universe---You will never find anywhere else in the domain of religions; there will either be bowing to or fleeing from the phenomena of nature. Conquering them for the benefit of the human being is only found in the Holy Quran.
Remember, when the Holy Quran ordains obedience to the laws of God, these (laws) include both the physical and the moral laws. Obeying the physical laws enables us to conquer the forces of nature (we obey nature to command it) and obeying the moral laws integrates our personality. In both these cases, obeying the laws promotes and augments our own power. Amassed from the compulsion is the choice.
Mutual Relationship of Man with Man.
After the relationship of man with the universe, we are faced with the question of relationship of man with man. Hinduism decided that the Brahmans were born from the head of Brahma, the khashataris from the arms, the vaish from his legs, and the shoodra from his feet. This is the eternal division which can neither be overthrown from the system of the world, nor can men’s own endeavours change it. The shoodra shall have to be untouchable all his life, his duty is to serve the Hindus, the highest class. The child born to the Brahman family enjoys the highest ranks and privileges from birth to death . The scope of his privileges (according to Rig-Veda and Athar Veda) is:
"If a woman has 10 non-brahman husbands before but if a Brahaman holds her hand, then he will be considered to be her husband alone because Brahaman is the proprietor and husband of the females not the Khashatari or the Vaish.
This was the division of the humans inhabiting within India. The others residing out of India was not even considered human; they were simply taken to be insects. Please think of a religion which shackles its own followers with unbreakable fetters of such class division and labels those outside its fold as the most abominable and despicable; can the proselytization of ‘do not tell a lie and do not steal’ bring any moral reformation?
Among the Jews, the religion was confined to the race of Bani-Israel. The one who is not born to the BaniIsrael, can never be admitted to their Divine Religion. The Paradise was strictly particularized for Bani Israel; all the non-Bani Israel are the fuel of the Hell. They were fumed with the emotions of hatred and enmity against the people outside their race; and this was all the consequence of the teachings of the (conventional) Torah. They had one set of laws for the Jews and another for the non-Bani Israel.
It is generally accepted about Christianity that it constitutes an eternal religion for the whole mankind. It makes no discrimination between man and man. This is not the teaching of Christianity, it is a later political expediency-oriented concept. That is why in the present day Bible (Which remains in the process of change off and on), it is still found written that when Jesus sent his followers for proselytization, he ordered them not to go to the other nations, not to enter into any of the cities of Samrees but go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
(Mathew, Cahpter 10, Verses 5-6)
Do not give the consecrated to the dogs; and do not lay your pearls before the pigs.
(Mathew, Chapter 7,verse 6)
The anathema of extreme nationalism that you find in Europe is unconsciously the end product of this teaching. They confined the religion to the four walls of the church but the effects of the teaching of their race-worship are still existent in their subconscious with the same intensity. They can never think of the concept of universal mankind. That is why the moral principles they hold for their own nation are different from those they hold for the other nations. It is just like the Romans whose law about stealing was: ‘Stealing from a Roman is a crime and stealing from a non-Roman is not !
According To the Holy Quran:
The Holy Quran on its revelation, smashed these man-made fetters and declared openly that the humans of the whole Universe are the branches of the same genealogy and the foliage of the same tree. By birth, there is no discrimination between man and man. "God has created all of you from a single life cell". .(Al-Quran 4/1) Therefore, the whole mankind constitutes a Universal brotherhood . "The whole mankind is one community"; (Al-Quran 10/19) and every human being is worthy of equal respect by birth. "We have created all human beings worthy of respect" (Al-Quran 17/70) There is no superiority of the black to the white; of the white to the black, of the Arab to the Non-Arab, of the Non-Arab to the Arab. In the world, there is neither any Brahmin, nor any shoodra; neither the superior, nor the inferior. So as are their ranks in the society, its measure of greatness is their personal virtue and meritorious deeds. "And to all will be (assigned) ranks according to their deeds." (Al-Quran 46/19) and the most worthy of all will be the one whose conduct will be the most pure of all and whose character, the highest of all. "The God of the Holy Quran is equally the sustainer, the Authority and the Allah of the whole humanity" ( Al-Quran 49/13) and " His book is a compendium of instructions for all" (Al-Quran 45/21); His Rasool equally the Messenger for the whole humanity "Say, O mankind, I am Allah’s Rasool sent to all of you." (Al-Quran 7/158) The essence of its teaching is: "Only that action or theory, which is beneficial to the whole of humanity without any discrimination of colour race language country creed and nationality, shall endure in the land (Al-Quran 13/17)
As said earlier the Western concept of life gave the principle of "the survival of the fittest" i.e. only that which is the strongest can endure. On the contrary, the Holy Quran puts forth the principle, "the survival of the most beneficial" i.e. only that which is most beneficial to the humanity can survive. Did you consider how the various aspects of human life undergo transformation by just changing the concept of life and how life-inspiring and balance-augmenting changes occur in the world of humanity? This is the only concept of life by which man can understand fully the "Why" of his strivings for the well being of others. To gain immortality is the very desire of every human being, no one likes to die, and he wants to live forever. The Holy Quran says that if you want to live for ever, the only way is that you do the deeds which are most beneficial for the mankind; giving preference to others over your own self if their needs are more demanding than yours(Al-Quran 59/9) and doing all this without any thought of personal gain. It says: "When the Momineen perform the act of procuring supplies for the nourishment/development of others they make it very clear to them that: "We do not desire any reward from you, not even the gratitude instead thereof." (Al-Quran 76/9)
Just think over it, with this concept of life in view how the moral values constitute an integral part of life!
The practical consequences of the concept of human equality is that it forms a society, wherein, leaving aside someone becoming slave to others, no one even becomes subservient to any one else---nor a dependent on any one else. This establishes a system in which all the people while remaining within the limits of the laws of God decide the affairs of their life by mutual consultation (Al-Quran 42/38)
The Quranic Order
This provides a guarantee to every individual that "We are responsible for (providing) your subsistence and the subsistence of your children." (Al-Quran 6/152) Please, solicit! Is there any need of telling a lie or stealing or being corrupt in this order? The moral values automatically become operative in it. No one holds the Divine rights in this Order: neither the religious priest-hood, nor the autocrats, or the capitalists. There is absolutely no concept of any such system in any of the religions of the world.
Finality of Nabuwwat:
With the concept of ‘Order’, the Holy Quran has declared another sublime reality, which is the greatest revolution in the world of religions. It expounded that the unchangeable principles required for the guidance of the mankind have been given in the Holy Quran and the system of their safeguard has also been provided. Within the purview of these principles, the coming generations will solve their problems keeping themselves in line with the exigencies of their time, so there is no need of any more Nabi( the Divine Message). Hence the chapter of Nabuwwat is closed. Did you observe how the End of Nabuwwat was the announcement of a grand revolution in the world of religions! Along with it, this reality was also announced that having passed through its infantile period, the human mind has now attained maturity. The man is no more an infantile, it has grown up to be an adult, therefore, it needs no one to lap it up any more. He would have now, to get up and move forward and onward on his own. You must have seen how this creates self-confidence in man and how he becomes able to traverse his path with dignity in the world.
Every religion of the world is waiting for the arrival of some one who, on his coming, will make his religion prevail over others. Refuting this concept, the Holy Quran made it clear that the Order of life We have bestowed is capable of prevailing over all the systems of life.(Al-Quran 9/33) All you have to do is, practically implement this ‘Order’, it will overcome all the man-made systems of life; no other system will be able to stand against this Order.
The Holy Quran while laying stress upon the moral values enjoins strictly to establish this Order of life in which these values automatically prevail.
The Ultimate Goal of Human Life (Salvation)
After this, come to the question which is the last word in this deliberation: What is the purpose and climax of all the exertion and struggle of human life? This is a very significant and fundamental question and will automatically clear up a great number of relevant aspects.
Among all the religions of the world the climax of the trials and endeavours of human life can be stated in a single word: "Salvation." What is the meaning of "Salvation? This warrants a thorough understanding. It is evident that when some one is entangled in a trouble and then gets rid of it, it is called salvation’ i.e. it is imperative for salvation that first of all a person is necessarily caught in a calamity. This is the very basic concept about man in the world of religion. Religious belief in Hinduism is that every living being (animates whether insects or animals and humans) comes in this world to complete one’s term of punishment of the deeds one committed in one’s previous life. For example, a person in his present birth is a human. If he did evil deeds, he will become a rat in his next life, knowing absolutely nothing of which crime it was made a rat. Now if the rat does good deeds ---- the rat will do good deeds as if the animals, too, do good and bad deeds! ---- it will perhaps be made a man in its next life; every human being is entangled in the whirlpool of transmigration. The name of getting rid of this circumambulation is "Salvation." It looks obvious that this belief is either the produce of superstition and/or the creation of the astuteness of those people who captured the authority in the society by one way or the other and then desired this authority to remain within their own families and that the other people may not even think of acquiring this authority. Brahman and Khashatary were the ruling class and vaish and shoodra, their servants. It was thought to be possible that a vaish or a shoodra might think as to how could the children of Brahman or khshatary be good enough for acquiring the right to rule right from the inception of their birth and that they themselves befall in their servitude thenceforth. Therefore this belief was coined that those born in the family of a Brahman has done good deeds in their previous life and those born in the vaish and shoodra committed evil deeds likewise. Hence this division is effected in accordance with the nature of the deeds accomplished in the previous life and is not the product of any trickery; so they shall have to remain vaish and shoodra in this life; any how if they do good deeds (i.e. would continuously go on serving the higher breed} they would be transformed into Brahmans and Khashataries in their coming life. In this way these subordinate classes were made satisfied with this tenet that this was all the reward of their own doings. They were not oppressed, nor were they competent to change this division within the present life.
Whatever is the motive behind this tenet, how dreadful have been its human-inflaming result is crystal clear. Firstly, it makes the man a mere helpless being; whatever he may do, he cannot bring any change in his existing state and, thus, divides the society into such permanent classes, which cannot be eliminated, and then what eventually is the purpose of this exertion and struggle? --- Only to get salvation from the whirling of Transmigration (the cycle of death and re-birth). How meaningless is the purpose of the creation of man and the cosmos?.
According to Hindu Mysticism:
According to Hindu mysticism the soul of man (Aatma) is a part of God (parmatma). It was separated from its source and got entrapped in the marsh of matter and is lamenting for its escape from it. The purpose of human life is that this soul, after getting salvation from the world of matter, be re-united with its source. The methods to achieve this are renunciation of the world. Did you reflect what is the end product of human exertion and struggle according to this tenet --- the complete annihilation. It means God having separated man from Himself caused him to be entangled in the swamp of matter and told him. "Now, you go through the sufferings of hard labour and distress so that you may attain salvation from this quagmire." Just think, according to this creed, what kind of concept about God Himself emerges and what becomes the incentive for obedience to the moral values.
With a slight difference the concept of ‘Salvation’ is the end product of human life in Judaism also. As has been mentioned before, the basic belief of Jews is that the Bani Israel are the favourite children of God, hence the only heirs of paradise; a people not born to the family of Bani Israel have no entitlement for entry into paradise. At that time, the tradition of circumcision was in vogue exclusively in Bani Israeil, so their belief was that only the circumcised would enter paradise and the uncircumcised would go into the hell. According to Talmud:
Abraham would be sitting by the door of the Hell in the world hereafter and would never allow any circumcised of the Bani Israel to enter it. So far the dreadfully sinful of the Bani Israel are concerned, he would cut the fore skin of the children who had died uncircumcised and would stick this skin to the place of circumcision of those from Bani Israel and hence, making them uncircumcised ,would send them to Hell for a few days.
(Talmud , P.404 with Reference to Barqi-e-Toor, P.166)
But their entry into Hell would merely be the fulfillment of a formality. The blaze of the Hell would have no effect on them. (Ibid.P.405) The reason for it, as written in "Jewish Encyclopedia", is:
The blaze of the Hell would not be able to touch the Israelite sinners because they would make confession of their sins by the door of the Hell and hence would return to the Lord.
(Volume- V , P. 583)
Not only for the ‘salvation’ in the hereafter, but also for the honour and exaltation in this world, the Jews hold this belief:
Some get honour by virtue of the good deeds of their forefathers and some by those of their coming generations.
(Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol VI, P.60)
According to the Encyclopedia of Britannica:
The centre of the aspirations of the Jews was the deeds of their forefathers, especially the creed that Abraham was their ancestral grandfather.
Similarly in the Encyclopedia of Religions and Ethics, it is written that.
In accordance with the belief of the Jews, all the deeds of their forefathers would be collected at one place and then divided among all the Bani Israel. In this way everyone will be entitled to salvation and auspiciousness.
Just reflect! Does any question of obedience to the moral values arise in the presence of these beliefs?
The belief in Christianity is that every child is born bearing the burden of the sin of its first parents (Adam and Eve). Cleansing the ill effects of this sin from man is not possible in any way. For this purpose, the Lord had mercy on man and sent his only son (Jesus Christ) to the world to atone for this sin with his sacrifice on the crucifix. Those who believe in the atonement of Jesus Christ would get salvation, those who do not believe as such would enter Hell. For salvation there is no question of one’s deeds. Therefore in a letter to Ephesians, Saint Paul writes:
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves; it is God’s gift. It is not by works…"
He also wrote to the Romans:
" For we come to the conclusion that a man is justified by faith and not with the works of Law."
In a letter to Galatians, this reality has been described in these words:
" Those who depend on the works of law live under the curse, for it is written "cursed is everyone who does not abide by all that is written in the book of law." But that no one is made righteous in God’s presence through the Law is evident, for "He who is righteous through faith will live". The law however does not rest on faith,…..Christ has ransomed us from the curse of the law in as much as He became a curse for us.
Just think, with this belief, are the moral actions left with any locus standi and contrarily the one who relies on the deeds is considered cursed. According to this belief of Christianity the distress the man gets entangled in is not the result of any of his crimes, but a chastisement of the sin of his first parents in which that poor fellow is implicated for no fault at all. The acquittal from this suffering is not attained as a recompense of any good action on his part, but the conviction on the belief on the atonement , which the Christ offered. So far as the belief of the "original sin" being fallacious is concerned, the scholars and researchers of Christianity are publicly declaring it to be a false belief, for example, R. F. Johsnon writes in his book "Confucianism and Modern China",
The belief of the original sin, in fact, is the "original dilemma" for which we are displeased with every kind of good and are inclined to every type of evil.
For this belief, A.E.Taylor writes:
The belief is a refutation. I’ll welcome any scientific and God calling towards religion which may ward us off to believe in such a droll calumny of human nature.
(Mind- July 1912).
According to the Holy Quran:
This Scientific and inviting-to-God Religion is Islam which pronounced that neither any human comes to this world loaded with the sins of the previous birth, nor, is entangled in the contamination of the first parent’s faltering. Every child in the world is born with a clean slate and is worthy of respect. He has been bestowed with potentials as realizable possibilities for leading a life higher than that of the physical life at the animal level. The development of these potentialities is the goal of the human life. If man develops the potentialities of the physical life only, he gets the comforts and forces of the physical world but never does it come to his lot the higher life at the human level, which the Holy Quran denotes as the paradisiacal life.
"The one who seeks immediate gains of the physical life alone, according to Our Law, which we have formulated with Our Choice, We grant him with haste. But his (human) life is a life of crisis, which he leads with disgrace and ignominy. But the one who, along with the physical life develops the human life as well, he acquires the physical gains and his personality also keeps evolving". (Al-Quran 17/18)
"And the one who desires the pleasantries of the future and puts forth efforts in proportion to what ought to be and believes in the truth of the prescribed higher-order values of God, his endeavours are recompensed in full." (Al-Quran 17/19)
"We promote this group according to Our Law and also that group and shower our bounties in proportion to their efforts and actions. Always remembers, We have not built any dykes against our bounties for any one."( Al-Quran 17/20)
This development of the human personality can take place in a system that is established on the foundations of PERMANENT VALUES. This development is the other name of ‘the natural consequences of actions.’ Good actions are those which promote stability and integration of the human SELF, the evil are those which cause it to grow weak and disintegrate. The result of each action draws up concomitantly on the human personality. This is its ROLL OF CONDUCT, which in the words of the Holy Quran, is hung around the neck of every one and opens up on the eve of manifestation of results. The human personality developed on a set criterion, will be able to pass through the next evolutionary stages of life.... This is called the paradisiacal life in the hereafter. That, which does not come up to that standard, will stop its development..... This is the life of Hell. The Holy Quran has interpreted it as measures ( of good deeds) being heavier or lighter
"so the one whose measure weighs heavy will have a pleasing life and the one whose measure weighs lighter, abyss will be his abode." (Al-Quran101/6-9)
Have you observed that according to the Holy Quran the purpose of life is not liberation from any suffering but to achieve a higher position in life with proper development of the endowed potentialities and reach a higher and exalted stage of life as compared to the existing one. The Holy Quran has denoted it in terms of "achievement and success" and not salvation. You must have also observed from this that a satisfying and an elegant answer are obtained to the questions: ‘why should I abide by the moral values? What benefit does it accrue to me and what loss do I undergo by going against them. This is the only way on the basis of which man obeys these values rationally and follows them with complete satisfaction of the mind and the heart.
You would have observed from the above explanations that the Holy Quran does not only specify a few moral values but also provides a comprehensive system of life raised on the basic concept of God-man-Universe-Law of Requital and purpose of life. The name of this comprehensive system is Ad-Deen and its practical implementation is called Al-Islam. The moral values only produce their results under this system and become rationally workable as well; besides, there is no other system through which the purpose of such type can be realized. That is why it is said:
" It is a fact that Ad-Deen (way of life) acceptable to God is only Islam." Al-Quran 3/18)Therefore,
"If any body wants to adopt any system other than Islam, this system would not be accepted from him and he would eventually know how big a loss he has suffered." (Al-Quran 3/04)
Ad-Deen will be adopted in totality:
The concept of the system brings forth this factor also that the results of its constituents can only be drawn up when it is adopted in its totality. The example of the system is like the doctor’s prescription. This prescription can only be effective if you use it wholesomely in accordance with the directions of the doctor. Taking one or two items of this prescription will not cure the ailment; but on the contrary partial use of this prescription may induce harmful effects. Hence the Holy Quran says :-
"Do you want to accept one part of this code of laws and refute the other? Whoever from amongst you do this, its result would be nothing except ignominy and disgrace in this world, and he will be returned to the most grievous suffering on the Day of Judgement."(Al-Quran 2/85)
The constituent parts of this prescription are those characteristics of Allah which the Holy Quran terms as the "Balanced Attributes" Asm’aul Husna--- Adopting some of these attributes and ignoring others can be of no avail. Always bear this fact in mined that Reality is an indivisible whole, it cannot be split up into its parts. The balanced Attributes of Allah are various facets of Absolute Reality. REALITY is the name of their sum-total. If some of these are separated, you cannot term these segregated constituents alone as the parts of that REALITY. For instance, if REALITY comprises one hundred aspects and you take up only ten, you cannot claim that you have adopted one-tenth of the REALITY, therefore you would be entitled to the proportional benefit. You cannot get one-tenth of healing by taking one out of ten medicines written in the prescription; so the Holy Quran says:
"And for Allah are all the Balance Attributes. (These are the various facets of that Absolute Reality) so call Him by all these facets and leave those people alone who deviate to one extreme in (emulating a few of) His Attributes."(Al-Quran 7/180)
You would observe that with the people, who remain cut off from the Islamic System of life, the moral values on which emphasis is laid, are those values which pertain to the tender and delicate emotions of man, like sympathy; mercy; forgiveness; tolerance; humbleness; soft-speaking, to be silent even if some one abuses; to offer other side if some one gives a slap on one side of your check, to give over your waistcoat yourself if some one takes away your coat; to love even your enemy or go a bit further, feed the sparrows, the crows, to provide a drinking place for cattle etc. Justice, prevention of oppression and exploitation; preservation of universal human rights; a political system in which no one is subservient to anyone; a social set up which is based on respect for man; an economic order in which no one is dependent upon any one and every one’s necessities of life are guaranteed without any undue labour and ignominy; such a social contract in which every action progressively goes on producing its own rightful result--- All these matters will have no moral significance with these people.
Result of the Teachings of Christianity:
About Christianity, which is the biggest upholder of the kind of moral values mentioned above,, go through the words of a well-renowned Spanish professor. Dr. Falta De Cracia quoted by Brifault in his renowned book " The Making of Humanity." He writes.
" The notion of justice," says the famous Spanish Professor, " is as entirely foreign to the spirit of Christianity as is that of intellectual honesty. It lies wholly out side the field of its ethical vision…. Christianity has offered comfort and consolation to men who suffered under injustice, but of that injustice itself it has remained absolutely incognizant. It has called upon the weary and heavy laden, upon the suffering and the afflicted, it has proclaimed to them the law of lover, the duty of mercy and forgiveness, the Fatherhood of God; but in that torrrent of religious and ethical emotion which has impressed men as the summit of the sublime, and been held to transcend all other ethical ideals, common justice, common honesty have no place. The ideal Christian, the saint, is seen descending like an angel from heaven amid the welter of human misery, among the victims of ruthless oppression and injustice, bringing to them the comfort and consolation of the Paraclete, of the Religion of Sorrow. But the cause of that misery lies wholly outside the range of his consciousness; no glimmer of any notion of right and wrong enters into his view of it. It is the established order of things, the divinely appointed government of the world, the trial laid upon sinners by divine ordinance. St. Vincent de Paul visits the living hell of the French galleys; he proclaims the message of love and calls sinners to repentance; but to the iniquity, which creates and maintains that hell, he remains absolutely indifferent. He is appointed Grand-Almoner to His Most Christian Majesty. The world might groan in misery under the despotism of oppressors, men’s lives and men’s mind might be enslaved, crushed and blighted; the spirit of Christianity would go forth and comfort them, but it would never occur to it to redress a single one of those wrongs. It has remained unconscious of them. To those wrongs, to men’s right to be delivered from them, it was by nature completely blind. In respect to justice, to right and wrong, the spirit of Christianity is not so much immoral as amoral. The notion was as alien to it as was the notion of truth. Included in its code was, it might be controversially alleged, an old formula,’ the golden rule.’ A commonplace of most literature, which was popular in the East from China to Asia Minor; but that isolated precept was never interpreted in the sense of justice. It meant forgiveness, forbearing, kindness, but never mere justice, common equity; those virtues were far too unemotional in aspect to appeal to the religious enthusiast. The renunciation of life and all its ‘ vanities,’ the casing overboard of all sordid cares for its maintenance, the suppression of desire, prodigal almsgiving the consecration of a life the value of which had disappeared in his eyes to charity and love, non-resistance, passive obedience, the turning of the other check to an enemy, the whole riot of those hyperbolic ethical emotions could fire the Christian consciousness, while it remained utterly unmoved by every form of wrong, iniquity and injustice."
The Case of Irreligionists:
This, in a nutshell, is the wholesomeness of moral values upheld by the religionists. Now take the case of the people who do neither believe in God, nor in the continuance of human personality, nor in the revelation, nor in the life hereafter, but, on the contrary, stress upon the moral values. Ask any one of them: " When you say that (for example) the poor should be helped; tell me, why should I help the poor?" You will observe that they give you strange answers: Some will say, "Helping the poor is a human obligation" ask them, "Sir, what do you mean by human obligation and who is he who has imposed this obligation on me? You’ll observe they would have no reasonable answer to these askings. Some will say that they ought to help the poor for if they become poor in the coming days, some one else may help them. Firstly, this reciprocity is of such a low caliber that you would never call it a character of any high order; then also keep this factor in mind, ‘ If the people become able to manage not to be in need of anyone at any time, how would you prevail upon them to help the poor?" You will observe they will out-rightly make an appeal to the human emotions; they will not be able to give you any reasonable answer based on arguments. If you think a bit deep, you would find that such feelings would be lying in their subconscious: that since the society values these matters, therefore these ought to be done for the sake of becoming respectable in the society; and/or some political motives would be operative behind this phenomenon, such as hospitals, schools and colleges of the missionaries or the non-violence of the Indian leader Mahatama Gandhi (late); or it would have been the result of traditional and inherited belief; and/or the weak nerves of the humans which have been termed as virtuous emotions. You will observe that none of these can work as the basis of the human character. So far as the question of national character is concerned, it has been discussed in the beginning of this discourse. By appealing to these emotions, you can get some one do good work provisionally but cannot make this work to be a routine of his life; you cannot produce permanence in it, while character is the very name of permanence and changlessness in behaviour. The surety of this permanence can be nothing but the belief in the true ‘concept of life.’ That is why the Holy Quran invites people who are already the followers of religions, as well as those who acknowledge any religion to profess Eiman, accept the concepts of life which are the very essence of its ‘ Order.’ It says about them that:
"If these people profess eiman as you have, then these people can follow the right path of life. If they repudiate, then make it a point that these people are opposing the truth and the rightful; they are not following that path."( Al-Quran 2/137)
These are the very characteristics of Islam which are found neither in any of the religions of the world, nor in the world of thought and intellect. Therefore, there can be no true Deen (rightful way of life) other than Islam.
Warning to the Muslims:
I want to give necessary warning at this juncture. Our state of affairs at this stage is that we become very happy when we say: our Deen is superior to all the religions and then, sit back and believe that this makes us the best in the comity of nations and (that if we are no good in this world, it makes no difference, because this is only a transitory world and on its coming to an end) we will be the one to inherit the paradise in the world hereafter; the rest of the human beings will all enter the Hell.
Actions Make Life:
This is the biggest self-deception we are caught in. (The Holy Quran tells us this was exactly what the Jews used to say; this brought them to a state of life which is clear to the world today) Islam’s being superior can only be useful to us when we ourselves attain superiority by acting in accordance with it; leading a life of disgrace and objection, and remaining puffed up on the superiority of Islam is nothing but a stupidity. It is just like a person who consecutively propagates worldwide that he has a tested prescription --- an elixir of life, a proved cure of all diseases --- but for the cure of his own headache, he remains awfully busy searching for such a medicine from others. Please tell me: "What benefit can that prescription bring to such a person and his boasting of it can be of what use to him? This on the contrary, would make him a laughing stock in the world and no body would rightly admit his pretension. The foremost and basic proof of this prescription having been tested over times would be the very state of health of his family. Islam has presented the same proof of its truthfulness and preference when the Holy Prophet told the antagonists of this Deen that : (Al-Quran 6/136)
"You go on working according to your system; I shall keep working according to my own; very soon it would be known to whom does the success eventually belong. In this way my claim would come true that Zalimeen (Oppressors) can never prosper;"(Al-Quran 6/136)
and the sayer of such sayings, first of all, presented himself as a witness to the proof of the truthfulness of his claim. When his opponents asked him: "What proof of it you have that you are true in your claim: He answered in the words of Quran:
"I have dwelt amongst you all my life prior to it. Can’t you adjudge from it whether such a life is of the truthful or a liar?"(Al-Quran 10/10)
Remember, my respected and honoured comrades! Only that person can present Islam to the world as the rightful way of life (true Deen) who is, not only in the company of his friends but also in the big crowd of his foes, able to project his life in proof of his truthfulness and then no one has ever dared to oppose him. This is the only right mechanism for proselytization of Islam.
‘The Quran Affirms What You Hold’:
Now, at the end I deem it necessary to do away with one or two doubts which often emerge in the mind of the people in this regard. The first is that the Holy Quran tells the followers of other religions: ‘I affirm what you hold" i.e. the teachings you have, so the question is when the Holy Quran itself professes the teachings of these religions, how can it be asserted that the true teachings of God are found exclusively in the Holy Quran and not with other religions:
The objection indeed carries weight and merits necessary consideration. First of all see if it is the Holy Quran itself which demands the followers of other religions to pin their faith upon this claim, or do the Muslims present this assertion alone? The complete verse containing this affirmation reads as follows :
"Profess belief in this (Book) which I have (now) revealed (namely the Holy Quran) which affirms. What-thou-have’ and lead not in repudiating it." (Al-Quran 2/41)
It is clear that the Holy Quran itself urges upon the followers of the religions to profess belief in it.
Secondly, there is explicit clarification in various places of the Holy Quran that the followers of these religions had made transpositions in their heavenly books; literal transposition ( Al-Quran 4/71) and additions in them on their own ( Al-Quran 2/79); and intermingling the truth with the falsehood ( Al-Quran 3/71); in this way numerous contradictions had crept in these books ( Al-Quran 11/110). The followers of these religions themselves stand in witness to these claim of the Holy Quran. Hence not a single non-Muslim today can make a claim based on reason that the book they present as heavenly is in its pristine and original form i.e. the same book which was revealed to their prophet. You will find the details of this resume in the first chapter of my book, ‘Mairaj-i-Insaniyyat’, in which the history of the so-called heavenly books of all the religions has been described. This makes it clear that:
"How can the Holy Quran stand witness to the truthfulness of these books, the followers of which themselves do not call them original and free from interpolation? And how, in spite of the interpolation and additions to such an extent, some moral values are still found in these books, the Holy Quran affirms these values but not the books in their totality. The fact is that the meanings of Mussadaq ( the affirmer) here are not the one that testifies the truthfulness," its meanings are the one that proves the truth contained in them " The Holy Quran says: "The moral values you hold are merely theoretical in nature. I give the system in which these values will emerge as the true realities and this is my special feature; for example, You also say the hungry should be fed and I too, you say this as a mere sermon and advise and insist on giving alms to the people; how is the hunger of the hungry cured with it, every one knows; I give such a practical economics system in which no individual can remain hungry; in this way I prove the truth of those moral values."
The distinctive features of Islam are that with its practical system all these moral values are realized as truths. This is alone possible in Deen, not in "religion?" That is why Islam has been termed as Ad-Deen (the way of life)--- and not religion, so its comparison should be made with other systems of life, not with other religions.
The second Doubt:
The second question that raised is that there are innumerable people to whom Islam has not reached yet; or (for example) a person is born to a Hindu family and obeys very honestly his religion thinking it to be truer, what is the fault of such a people due to which the avenues of prosperity (success) and achievement be closed to him? This questions confuses and perplexes many minds, therefore its thorough understanding is a must.
Had the matter of salvation and auspiciousness or reward and punishment been merely emotional, it would have been acceptable as to why a people who are not at fault be punished at all. But when reward and punishment pertain to law, and success and achievement be the name of the natural consequences of actions, the emotions cannot have any say in it, for example the children of the village with no school will remain illiterate and hence deprived of the benefits that the literate will get. This is the most severe punishment these children are inflicted to, though they are not at fault. How sympathetic you be to them, but the deficiency that has crept in by being illiterate is the one that cannot be made up even by your sympathies and subtle emotions. Here the question whose-fault-is-it does not arise. If a child does not go to school for one year complete due to illness, you do not promote him to the next class only on the pretext that he is not at fault. Only that child would be promoted to the next class who has developed ability. According to the Holy Quran, only that person would reach the next stage of life that has developed the potentiality to traverse these stages.
The same principle will also be applicable to those who, thinking their religions to be true, follow their religion all their life in good faith. Some one’s eating of arsenic as medicine in good faith, will not restrict its ill effects to him on the pretext that its eater had taken it honestly as medicine. The arsenic will produce its effects unequivocally whether some one has taken it advertantly or inadvertently. The nation that worships fire and water (Agni and Indar) cannot gain control over and run steam engines with this belief. It is clear that such a nation will remain deprived of all benefits liable to be attained with the power of steam. This deprivation of theirs is not a revengeful punishment inflicted on them by any one else. It is the natural consequences of the their ignorance; which no passion of sympathy can remove; it can only be possible if and when the nation recourses to the law of Allah, harnesses the forces of nature and then makes use of them for their benefit. According to the Holy Quran, this alone is the law prescribed for success and achievement. Neither any body’s aspiration has a play in it nor emotions. It has very clearly been proclaimed that
"The judgement will neither be made in accordance with your wishes, nor with the wishes of the " people of Book"( judgements will be made according to Our Law)" (Al-Quran 4/123)
and that law is that whoever does wrong shall suffer the consequence thereof.
And the law ought to be as such. If the law starts following the wishes of the people, the system of the entire Universe would go into chaos :
"If the truth starts following whims and wishes (feelings) of the people, there would be chaos in the earth and the heavens and whatever is there in between," (Al-Quran 23/70)
God can alone be the One who is over and above feelings. That is why the Holy Quran says about the nations which are ruined as the result of their crimes that:
"Their Rabb sent – the Road- Roller of the Law of Requital; which leveled them with the ground; and He feared not its consequences" Al-Quran 91/14-15)
He had no anxiety on their total annihilation. He did never throb and palpitate on it, so much so that :
"neither the sky wept on them nor the earth ." (Al-Quran 44/29)
But do not think that His Law has no provision for recantation and revival and if some one committed a crime any time, he became accursed forever. No, there is every opportunity of reforming after repentance:
"Tell them: O’ My men, those of you who have committed excess against themselves do not get disappointed from the blessings of God. He will protect you from the harmful effects of all your prevarication." :(Al-Quran 39/35)
Its method is to do such good deeds, which put away the loss done to you with your faltering, because :
"The harmful effects of deeds creating unevenness can only be effaced by deeds creating beauty and consistency."( Al-Quran 11/115)
Now the last thing is that there are people who could not get the message of Islam. "Who is responsible for it? Obviously its responsibility lies on us, the claimants of the inheritance of the Book. If we are unable to shoulder our responsibility , the burden of wrong doings of those whom we did not convey the message of Islam lies on our shoulders. That is why the Holy Quran says that :
"They will carry their own burden as well as that of others." :( Al-Quran 29/13)
Today in the absence of the system based on truth and righteousness, the nations of the world are committing inhuman crimes. A part of its chastisement lies on our own shoulders and our present condition is a clear proof of this phenomenon. God assigned to use the duty of superintendence of the comity of nations. Leaving the watchfulness of others aside, we are no longer capable of maintaining ours, therefore we today are paying (the penalty) for it. Whenever there is a theft any where, it is the sleepy guard that is always doomed forthwith, so we are suffering the chastisement of this negligence and our claim that Islam enjoy superiority over all other systems can not save us from this torment and will never save us till we prove ourselves worthy of its superiority by acting on it.
At the end, I deem it necessary to explain that whatever I have said in this treatise is neither desired to offend followers of any religion, nor intended to despise (God forbid us) any of the founders of these religions. So far as non-religious founders are concerned, according to the Holy Quran, we have Eiman (conviction) that God sent messengers to all the nations of the world. Out of them the Holy Quran has mentioned a few by their respectable names and the rest of them have not been mentioned by name. But whether the name of any one is given in the Holy Quran or not, we pay respect to these Messengers from the core of our heart, so much so that the confession of their Risalat (Divine Mission) is an integral part of our Eiman. The Holy Quran says that the truthful teachings of God were presented to them but later on these teachings were either reduced or added to; now these pristine and original teachings are only preserved in the Holy Quran. When we represent the reality that Islam is the only true Deen of God, then its teachings would have to be invariably compared with that of other religions and those found against the Holy Quran cannot be true from our point of view. Whatever I have described about the teachings of other religions is only in the perspective of this purpose. This reality should always be kept in view that Islam does not want to prove itself better by speaking ill of others; it represents its goodness rationally. and prevails upon others for its acceptance rationally. The Holy Quran enjoins us. "Do not call names to the idols of the polytheists"; it teaches to be respectful to the worthy - of - respect personalities of the whole world, but, of course, it shows the fallacy of teaching assigned to them. This should also be our mode of conduct.
" Please do not read to contradict and refute,
nor to believe and take it for granted,
but to weigh and consider."
Muhammad Latif Chaudhery
Student of Quran-