SAYYID QUTB

 

 

MILESTONES

 

 

 

 

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

 

And therefore, then, call (all mankind to

faith), and pursue the right course

steadfastly, as you have been commanded; and

do not follow their vain desires.

 

(Al-Qur’an 42:15)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONTENTS

 

INTRODUCTION

5

Chapter One

11

 

THE UNIQUE QUR’ANIC GENERATION

 

Chapter Two

19

 

THE NATURE OF THE QUR’ANIC METHOD

 

Chapter Three

37

 

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ISLAMIC SOCIETY

AND THE CORRECT METHOD OF ITS FORMATION

 

Chapter Four

43

 

JIHAD IN THE CAUSE OF ALLAH

 

Chapter Five

63

 

“LA ILAHA ILLA ALLAH&#$148; — THE WAY OF LIFE OF ISLAM

 

Chapter Six

71

 

THE UNIVERSAL LAW

 

Chapter Seven

77

 

ISLAM IS THE REAL CIVILIZATION

 

Chapter Eight

89

 

THE ISLAMIC CONCEPT AND CULTURE

 

Chapter Nine

99

 

A MUSLIM’S NATIONALITY AND BELIEF

 

Chapter Ten

109

 

FAR-REACHING CHANGES

 

Chapter Eleven

119

 

THE FAITH TRIUMPHANT

 

Chapter Twelve

127

 

THIS IS THE WAY

 

[*5] 


 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

 

Mankind today is on the brink of a precipice, not because of the danger of complete annihilation which is hanging over its head — this being just a symptom and not the real disease — but because humanity is devoid of those vital values for its healthy development and real progress. Even Western scholars realize that their civilization is unable to present healthy values for the guidance of mankind and does not possess anything to satisfy its own conscience or justify its existence.

Democracy in the West has become sterile to such an extent that its intellectuals borrow from the systems of the Eastern bloc, especially in the economic sphere, under the name of socialism. It h the same with the Eastern bloc. Foremost among its social theories is Marxism, which in the beginning attracted a large number of people not only from the East but also from the West as a way of life based on a creed. But now Marxism stands intellectually defeated and it is not an exaggeration to say that in practice not a single nation in the world is truly Marxist.

Marxist theory conflicts with man’s nature and its needs; it prospers only in a degenerate society or in a society which is tyrannized over a period and becomes docile and cowed as a result of it. But now, even under these extreme circumstances, its materialistic economic system is failing, although this was the only foundation on which its structure was based. The Soviet Union which has been the leader of the Communist countries in Europe and the America’s, is itself suffering from shortages of food. During the times of the Tsars, Russia used to produce surplus food, but now it has to import food from abroad and has to sell its reserves of gold for this purpose. The main reason for this is the failure of the system of collective farming, or, one can say more basically, the failure of an entire system that is against human nature.

It is essential for mankind to have new leadership! The leadership  [*6]  of mankind by the West is now on the decline, not because Western culture has become poor materially or because Its economic and military power has become weak. The era of the Western system has come to an rod primarily because it bas lost those life-giving values that enabled it to be the leader of mankind.

It is necessary for the new leadership to preserve and develop the material fruits of the creative genius of Europe; and also to provide mankind with the high ideals and values previously unknown in the West, that can restore harmony with human nature, in a positive constructive, and practical way of life.

Islam is the only system that possesses these values and this way of life.

The era dominated by the resurgence of science has also come to an end. This period, which began with the Renaissance in the sixteenth century A.C. and reached its zenith in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, does not possess a spirit capable of reviving a dynamic civilization.

Ail the nationalistic and chauvinistic ideologies that have appeared in modern times, and all the movements and theories derived from them, have also lost their vitality. In short, all man-made theories, both individualistic and collectivist, have proved to be failures.

At this crucial and bewildering juncture, the time for Islam and the Muslim community has arrived because it has the needed values. Islam does not stand in the way of material progress or prohibit material inventions. Rather, it considers material prosperity and creativity to be an obligation given to man at the very beginning of time, when Allah granted him the viceregency on earth. Islam regards initiative in multiplying the bounties of Allah on earth with the proper intent as worship of Allah and one of the purposes of man’s creation.

And remember the time when your Sustainer said to the angels, “I will create a viceregent on earth.” I have only created jinns and men that they may serve Me.

Thus the turn of the Muslim community has come to fulfill its divinely appointed task for mankind.

 

You are the best community raised for mankind, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and you believe in Allah.[1]

And thus have We made of you a community justly balanced, that you may be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves.[2]  [*7]

 

Islam cannot fulfill its role except by taking a concrete form in a society, or more precisely, in a nation. Men do not listen, especially in this age, loan abstract theory which is not seen materialized in a living society. From this point of view, we can say that the Muslim community has been extinct for a few centuries, for this Muslim community does not denote the name of a land in which Islam resides, nor is it a people whose forefathers lived under the Islamic system at some earlier time. it is the name of a group of people whose manners, ideas and concepts, rules and regulations, values and criteria , are alt derived from the Islamic source, so that she Muslims’ way of life is an example to all mankind, just as the Messenger is an example to them: “And thus have We made of you a community justly balanced that you may be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves.”

Islam cannot fulfill its role except by providing the leadership for all of mankind, for which the Muslim community must he restored to its original form. That Muslim community is now buried under the debris of the man-made traditions of several generations and is crushed under the weight of those false laws and customs that are not even remotely related to the Islamic teachings. In spite of all this the modern Muslim world calls itself the “world of Islam.” I am aware that between the attempt at “revival” and the attainment of “leadership” there is a great distance, as the Muslim community has long ago vanished from existence and the leadership of mankind has long since passed to other ideologies and other nations, other concepts and other systems. This was the era during which Europe’s genius created its marvelous works in science, culture, law, and material production, due to which mankind has progressed to great heights of creativity and material comfort. It is not easy to find fault with the inventors of such marvelous things, especially since what we call the “world of Islam” is completely devoid of all this beauty.

But the growing bankruptcy of Western civilization makes it necessary to revive Islam. The distance between the revival of Islam and the attainment of world leadership maybe vast, and there maybe great difficulties on the way; but the first step must he taken towards this revival.

If we are to perform our task with insight and wisdom, we must first

clearly know the nature of the qualities on the basis of which the Muslim community can fulfill its obligation as the leader office world, This is essential so that we may not commit any blunders at the very first stage of its reconstruction and revival.

The Muslim community today is neither capable of nor is required to present before mankind great genius in material inventions, such  [*8]  as would make the world how its head before its supremacy and thus re-establish once more its world leadership. Europe’s creative mind is far ahead in this area, and for a few centuries to come we cannot expect to compete with Europe and attain supremacy Over it in these fields.

Hence we must have some other quality, a quality that modern civilization does out possess.

But this does not mean that we should neglect material progress. We should also give our full attention and effort in this direction, not because at this stage it is an essential requirement for attaining the leadership of mankind, but because it is an essential condition for our very existence. Islam elevates man to the position of viceregent of Allah on earth, and, under certain conditions, considers the responsibilities of this vicegerency as worship of Allah and the purpose of man’s creation. The responsibility of this vicegerency includes the material progress that comes from multiplying the bounties of Allah.

To attain the leadership of mankind, we must have something to offer besides material progress, and this other quality can only be a faith and a way of life that both promotes the benefits of modern science and technology and fulfills basic human needs. The same effort that has produced material comfort and leisure should be exerted to design and apply technology in meeting the minimum needs of the poor. And then this faith and way of life must take concrete form in a human society — in other words, in a Muslim society.

If we look at the sources and foundations of modern modes of living, it becomes clear that the whole world is steeped in jahiliyyah, and all the marvelous material comforts and advanced inventions do not diminish its ignorance. This jahiliyyah is based un rebellion against the sovereignty of Allah on earth. It attempts to transfer to man one of the greatest attributes of Allah, namely sovereignty, by making some men lords over others. It does so not in the simple and primitive ways of the ancient jahiliyyah, but in the more subtle form of claiming that the right to create values, so legislate rules of collective behavior, and to choose a way of life rests with men, without regard to what Allah has prescribed. The result of this rebellion against the authority of Allah is the oppression of His creatures. Thus the humiliation of the common man under the communist systems and the exploitation of individual and nations due to the greed for wealth and imperialism under capitalist systems are but a corollary of the rebellion against the authority of Allah and the denial of the dignity of man bestowed upon him by Allah.

In this respect, Islam’s way of life is unique, for in systems other than Islam, people worship others in one form or another. Only in the Islamic way of life do all men become free from the servitude  [*9]  of some men to others and devote themselves to the worship of Allah alone, deriving guidance from Him alone, and bowing before Him alone.

This dignity of man in submission to Allah is where the roads separate, and this is the new concept that we possess and can present to mankind. This concept and the way of life covering all the practical aspects of man’s life is the vital message that mankind lacks. We rail it the Islamic din. It is not a product of Western invention nor of European genius, whether of “socialism” or “capitalism.”

Without doubt, we are able to offer this din which is perfect to the highest degree, and which most of mankind still knows only dimly and is not capable of “producing.” But as we have stated before, the beauty of this new system cannot be appreciated unless it takes a concrete form, It is essential that a community arrange its affairs according to it and show it to the world. In order to bring this about, we need to initiate the movement of Islamic revival in some Muslim country. Only such a revivalist movement will eventually — sooner or later — attain world leadership.

How to initiate the revival of Islam? A vanguard must set out with this determination and then keep going, marching through the vast ocean of jahiliyyah which encompasses the entire world. During its course, this vanguard, while distancing itself somewhat aloof from this all-encompassing jahiliyyah should also retain contacts with it.

The Muslims in this vanguard must know the landmarks and the milestones on the road to this goal so that they would know the starting point as well as the nature, the responsibilities, and the ultimate purpose of this long journey. Not only this, hut they ought to be aware of their position vis-a-vis this jahiliyyah, which has struck its stakes throughout the earth. They must know when to cooperate with others and when to separate from them; what characteristics and qualities they should cultivate; and with what characteristics and qualities the jahiliyyah, immediately surrounding them, is armed; how to address the people of jahiliyyah in the language of Islam; what topics and problems to discuss with them; and where and how to obtain guidance in all these matters.

The milestones will necessarily he determined in the light of the first source of this faith — the Noble Qur’an — and from its basic teachings. The milestones will reflect the concept that the Qur’an created in the minds of the first generation of Muslims, those whom Allah raised to fulfill His will, those who did change the course of human history in the direction ordained by Allah.

I have written Milestones for this vanguard, which I consider to be a waiting reality about to be materialized. Four chapters are taken from my commentary, Fi ZilaI al-Qur’an, which I have changed here and  [*10]  there slightly to suit the topic. This introduction and the other chapters I wrote at various times. In writing these chapters I have set down the deep truths that I grasped during my meditation over the way of life presented in the Noble Qur’an. These thoughts may appear random and disconnected, but one thing is common in them. These thoughts are milestones on the road, and it is the nature of signs along the road to he disconnected. Taken together, these writings are the first installment of a series, and with Allah’s help I hope to write more on this topic And Allah alone grants guidance.  [*11]


 

 

Chapter I

 

THE UNIQUE QUR’ANIC GENERATION

 

 

The callers to Islam of every country and of every period should give thought to one particular aspect of the history of Islam, and they should ponder over it deeply. This is related to the method of inviting people to Islam and its ways of training.

At one time this Message created a generation without any parallel in the history of Islam, even in the entire history of man, the generation of the Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them). After this, no other generation of this calibre was ever again to be found. Il is true that we do find some individuals of this calibre here and there in history, but never again did a great number of such people exist in one region as was the case during the first period of Islam.

This is an obvious truth and a fact of history, and we ought to ponder over it deeply to fathom its innermost secret.

The Qur’an which enshrines this Message is still in our hands, and the hadith of the Messenger of Allah, peace be on him, his guidance in practical affairs, and the history of his sacred life are also in tart, as they were in the hands of the first Muslim community whose likes history could never again produce. The only difference is the absence of the Messenger of Allah, peace be on him; but is this the secret? Had the person of the Prophet, peace be on him, been absolutely essential for the establishment and fruition of this message. Allah would not have made Islam a universal message, ordained it as the religion for the whole of mankind, given it the status of the last Divine Message for humanity, and made it to be a guide for all the inhabitants of this planet in all their affairs until the end of time.

Allah hat taken the responsibility for preserving the Noble Qur’an on Himself because He knows that Islam can he established and can  [*12]  benefit mankind even after the time of the Prophet, peace be on him. Hence He called His Prophet, peace be on film, back to His mercy after twenty three years of messengership and declared this religion to be valid until the end of time. The absence of the Messenger of Allah, Pence he on him, is not the real cause or explanation of this Phenomenon

We must look, therefore, for some other reasons to explain the uniqueness of this first generation, and for this purpose we must look at that clear spring from which the first generation of Muslims their thirst. Perhaps something has been mixed with that clear spring. We should look at the manner in which they received their training. Perhaps some changes have found their way into it.

the spring from which the Companions of the Prophet, peace be On him, drank was the Noble Qur’an; only the Qur’an, since the hadith of the Prophet, Peace be on him, and his teachings were an offshoot of this fountainhead. When someone asked the Mother of the Faithful, ‘Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, about the character of the Prophet, peace he on him, she answered, “His character was the Qur’an.” The Noble Qur’an was the only source from which they quenched their thirst, and this was the only mold after which they modelled their lives. This was the only guidance for them, not because there was no civilization or culture or science or books or schools. Indeed, there was Roman culture, its civilization, its hooks and its laws, which even today art considered to be the foundation of European culture. There was the heritage of Greek culture — its logic, its Philosophy and its arts, which are still a source of inspiration for Western thought. There was the Persian civilization, its art, its poetry and its legends, and its religion and system of government. There were Malay other civilizations, near or far, such as the Indian and Chinese cultures. The Roman and Persian cultures were established to the north and to the south of the Arabian peninsula, while the Jews and Christians were settled in the heart of Arabia. Thos we believe that this generation did not place sole reliance on the book of Allah for the understanding of their religion because of any ignorance of civilization and culture, but it was all according to a well thought out plan and method. An example of this purpose is found in the displeasure expressed by the Messenger of Allah, peace he on him, when ‘Umar, may Allah he pleased with him, brought some pages from the Torah. The Messenger of Allah, peace he on him, said, “By Allah, even if Moses had been alive among you today, he would have no recourse except to follow me.” It is clear from this incident that the Messenger of Allah, peace be on him, deliberately limited the first generation of Muslims, which was undergoing the initial stages of training, to only one source of guidance. This was the Book of Allah. His intention was that this group should dedicate itself purely to the Book of Allah and arrange its lives solely according to its teachings. That is why the Messenger of Allah, peace be on him, was displeased when ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, turned to a source different from the Qur’an.

The Messenger of Allah, peace be on him, intended to prepare a generation pure in heart, pure in mind, and pure in understanding. Its training was to he based on the method prescribed by Allah Who gave the Noble Qur’an, which was pure from the influence of all other sources.

This generation drank solely from this spring and thus attained a unique distinction in history. In later times, other sources mingled with it. Other sources used by later generations included Greek philosophy and logic, ancient Persian legends and ideas, Jewish scriptures and traditions, Christian theology, and, in addition to these, fragments of other religions and civilizations. These mingled with the commentaries on the Qur’an and with scholastic theology, with jurisprudence and its principles. later generations after this generation were brought up and trained with this mixed source, and hence the like of this generation was never witnessed again.

Thus we may say without any reservation that the main reason fur the difference between the first unique and distinguished group of Muslims and later Muslims is the loss of purity of the first source of Islamic guidance that was mixed with various alien sources.

Another basic cause contributing to this vast difference between the early Muslims and their subsequent generations is their method of learning.

Those of the first generation did not approach the Qur’an for the propose of acquiring culture and information, net for the purpose of taste or enjoyment. None of them came to the Qur’an to increase his knowledge for the sake of knowledge itself or to solve some scientific or legal problems. or to improve his understanding. Rather he turned to the Qur’an to find out what the Almighty Creator has prescribed for him and for the group in which he lived, for his life, and for the life of the group. He approached it to act on what he heard immediately, as a soldier on the battlefield reads “Today’s Bulletin” so that he may know what is to he done. He did not read many verses of the Qur’an in one session, as he understood that this would lay an unbearable burden of duties and responsibilities on his shoulders. At most he would read ten verses, memorize them, and then act upon them. We know this from a tradition reported by Abdullah ibn Maa’ud.

This understanding — the understanding that instruction is for  [*14]  action — opened for them the clones to spiritual fulfillment and to knowledge. If they had read the Qur’an only for the sake of discussion, learning, and information, these doors would not have opened Moreover, action became easy, the weight of responsibilities became light, and the Qur’an became a part of their personalities, mingling with their lives and characters so that they became living examples of faith — a faith not hidden in intellects or books, but expressing itself in a dynamic movement which changed conditions and events and the course of life.

Indeed, this Qur’an does not open its treasures except to the one who accepts it with this spirit, i.e. the spirit of knowing with the intention of acting upon it. It was not revealed in order to be a hook of intellectual content, or a hook of literature, or to he considered as a hook of stories or history, although it has all these facets. It was revealed to become a way of life, a way dedicated to Allah. Thus, Allah the Exalted imparted it to the early Muslims in a gradual manner, to be read at intervals: “We have revealed this Qur’an little by little so that you may recite it to people at intervals, and We have revealed it gradually.”

The Qur’an did not appear all at once; rather it came down according to the needs of the Islamic society in facing new problems, according to the growth of ideas and concepts, according to the progress of the general social life, and according to new challenges fared by the Muslim community in its practical life. One verse or a few verses would be revealed according to the special circumstances and events, these verses would answer questions that arose in the minds of people, or explain the nature of a particular situation, and would prescribe a way of dealing with it. These verses would correct their mistakes, either of understanding or of practice, bring them closer to Allah, and would explain to them the wisdom of the various aspects of universe in the light of Allah’s attributes, Thus they clearly realized that every moment of their lives was under the continuous guidance and direction of the Almighty Creator and that they were traversing the path of life under the wings of Allah’s mercy. Because of this sense of constant relationship with Allah, their lives were molded in the sacred pattern that He himself had chosen for them.

Thus, instruction to be translated into action was the method of the first group of Muslims. The method of later generations was instruction for academic discussion and enjoyment. And without doubt this is the second major factor that made later generations different from the first unique generation of Islam.

A third cause is also evident in the history of Muslims.

When a person embraced Islam during the time of the Prophet,  [*15]  peace be on him, he would straightaway cut himself off from jahiliyyah. When he stepped into the circle of Islam, he would start a new life, separating himself off completely from his past life under ignorance of the Divine Law. He would look upon the deeds of his life of Ignorance with mistrust and fear, with a feeling that these were impure and could not be countenanced in Islam! With this feeling, he would turn toward Islam for new guidance; and if at any time temptations overpowered him, or the old habits attracted him, or if he were amiss in any way, he would not rest until he had made amends for it and purified himself. He always turned to the Qur’an for guidance, and to live by it.

Thus, there would be a complete break between the Muslim’s present Islam and his past jahiliyyah, and this after a well thought out decision, as a result of which all his relationships with jahiliyyah would he cut off and he would be joined completely to Islam, although there would he some give-and-take with the polytheists in commercial activity and daily business; yet relationships of understanding are one thing and daily business is something else.

This renunciation of the jahili environment, its customs and traditions, and its ideas and concepts, proceeded from the replacement of polytheism by the concept of the Oneness of Allah. The jahili view of life, and the world was replaced by the Islamic view. Ecce from jahiliyyah, the new Muslims were absorbed into the new Islamic community under a new leadership, to which all their loyalties and commitments were dedicated.

This was the patting of the ways and the starting of a new journey, free from pressures of the values, concepts, and traditions of the jahili society. The Muslim encountered nothing burdensome except the torture and oppression of those who rejected Islam. But he had already decided in the depth of his heart that he would face the future with equanimity. Therefore no pressure from the jahili society could have any effect on his firm resolve.

Today ton we are surrounded by jahiliyyah. Its nature is the same as during the first period of Islam, and h: is perhaps a little more deeply entrenched. Our whole environment, people’s beliefs and ideas, habits and art, rules and laws — is jahiliyyah, even to the extent that what we consider to be Islamic culture, Islamic sources, Islamic philosophy, and Islamic thought ace also constructs of jahiliyyah! This is why the true Islamic values never enter our hearts, why out minds are never illuminated by Islamic concepts, and why no group of people arises among us equal to she calibre of the first generation of Islam.

This is why in the early stages of our training and education for the  [*16]  Islamic movement we must remove ourselves from all the influences of the jahiliyyah in which we live and from which we derive benefits. We must return to that pure source from which the first generation derived its guidance, free from any mixing or pollution. Only from it can we reliably derive our concepts of the nature of the universe, the nature of human existence, and the relationship of these two with the Perfect, the Real Being, Allah Most High. From the Qur’an we must also derive our concepts of life, and our principles of government, politics, economics and all other aspects of life.

We must return to this source in order to learn obedience and gain inspiration for action, and not for academic discussion and enjoyment. Each one of us should return to it to find out what kind of person Allah asks us to be, and then we should become that person. During this process, we will also discover the artistic beauty in the Qur’an, the marvelous stories in the Qur’an, the scenes of the Day of Judgment, the intuitive logic of the Qur’an, and all the other such benefits that are sought in the Qur’an by academic and literary people. We will enjoy all these other aspects, but these are not the main Object of our study. Our primary purpose is to know what way of life is demanded of us by the Qur’an, the total view of the universe that the Qur’an wants us to have, the nature of Allah, taught tons by the Qur’an, the kind of morals and manners enjoined by it, and the kind of legal and constitutional system it asks us to establish in the world.

We must also free ourselves from the clutches of jahili society, jahili concepts, jahili traditions, and jahili leadership. Our mission is not to compromise with the practices of jahili society, nor can we he loyal to it. jahili society, because of its jahili characteristics, is not a worthy partner for compromise. Our aim is first to change ourselves so that we may later change the society.

Our foremost objective is to change the practices of this society. Our aim is to change the jahili system at its very roots — this system which is fundamentally at variance with Islam and which, with the help of force and oppression, is keeping us from living the sort of life demanded by our Creator.

Our first step will be to raise ourselves above the jahili society and all its values and concepts. We will never change our own values and concepts in the slightest in order to make a bargain with this jahili society! We and jahiliyah are on different roads, and if we take even one step in its company, we will lose our goal entirely and lose our way as well.

We know that in this we will have difficulties and trials, and we will have to make great sacrifices. But if we are to walk in the footsteps of the first generation of Muslims, through whom Allah established His [*17]  system and gave it victory over jahiliyyah, then Allah must be the master of our wills.

It is therefore desirable that we should be aware at all times of the nature of our course of action and the nature of Our Position. We should know the nature of the road that we must traverse to escape ignorance, as did the distinguished and unique generation of the Companions of the Prophet, peace be on him.  [*18]  [*19]

 


 

 

Chapter II

 

THE NATURE OF THE QUR’ANIC METHOD

 

 

The Makkan portion of the Qur’an, revealed to the Prophet, peace be on him, over a period of thirteen years, dealt with only one question. The nature of this question did not change, although the manner of its presentation varied according to the style of the Qur’an, which refers to this question in new ways, always as though it had been broached for the first time.

This was the primary question, the greatest question, the fundamental question of the Islamic din — a question of faith with two main aspects, the Divine and the human, and the relationship between them.

This question is addressed to “the human being” as a human being. From this perspective the Arab of one era and of any other, and the non-Arab, are equal, whether the non-Arab belongs to that time or to later times.

This issue of human life does not change, because this is the question of man’s existence in the universe, his ultimate goal, his position and relationship to the universe, and she relationship between him and the Creator of the universe. This aspect of man’s life cannot change, because it relates to his very being.

During the Makkan period, the Qur’an explained to man the secret of his existence and the secret of the universe surrounding him. It told him who he is, where he has come from, for what purpose he is here, and where he will go in the end; Who brought him from nonexistence into being, to Whom he will return, and what his final disposition will he. It also informed him as to the nature of things he can touch and see and the things he can sense and conceive but cannot see, Who created and administers this marvelous universe, Who alternates night and day, and, Who renews and brings variety into every aspect of   [*20]  existence. Similarly, it told him how to relate to the Creator, to the physical world, and to other human beings.

This secret of man’s identity and his relationship with the creator, and with creation, is the great question upon which man’s existence depends and will continue to depend until the end of time.

And thus the full thirteen years of the Makkan period were spent in explaining and expounding this fundamental question, from which all other questions and details pertaining to human life are derived.

The Qur’an made this question the only subject of its message during the Makkan period and never discussed other subsidiary and derivative matters. These subsidiary topics were not mentioned until the All-Knowing Allah decided that matters pertaining to faith had been explained fully and had entered into the hearts of that select group of people who were to establish Allah’s din and were to give it a practical form.

Those who invite others to this universal din of Allah and want to establish the way of life prescribed by it should ponder at length over the fact that for thirteen years in revealing the Qur’an, Allah expounded only this basic faith and did not deviate from this issue to describe the details of the system that was to be established on this faith or any laws for the organization of the Muslim society.

It was the wisdom Allah that made this fundamental question of faith and belief the central theme of the initial call of the Prophet, peace be on him, to his people. The first message that the Messenger of Allah, peace be on him, brought to his people urged them to bear witness that “there is no god except Allah,” and be devoted all his efforts to instructing people about their true Sustainer and admonishing them to worship Him alone.

Considering the limitations of human understanding, this does not seem to be the easiest way to reach the hearts of the Arabs, They knew their language well and knew the meaning of Illah (god), and they also knew the meaning of La ilaha illa Allah (There is no god except Allah). They knew that uluhiyah means “sovereignty,” and they also realized that ascribing sovereignty only to Allah meant that the authority would betaken away from the priests, the leaders of tribes, the wealthy, and the rulers, and would revert to Allah. It meant that only Allah’s authority would prevail in matters of heart and conscience, in matters pertaining to religious observances and in the affairs of life, such as business, the distribution of wealth, and the dispensation of justice — in short, in the souls and bodies of men. They knew very well that the proclamation, “There is no god except Allah,” was a challenge to the worldly authority that had usurped the great attribute of Allah namely, sovereignty. This call to Islam was a rebellion [¥21]  against all modes of behavior devised under this usurpation and was a declaration of war against every authority that legislates laws not permitted by Allah. Il was no secret to the Arabs who knew the real meaning of the message. La ilaha illa Allah — what its significance was in relation to their traditions, their rule, and their power. No wonder they greeted this call — this revolutionary message — with anger, and fought against it so vigorously.

Why did this call begin in this manner? And why did the Divine wisdom decide that this call be confronted in its initial stages with trials? At the time the Prophet, peace he on him, was called to Messengership the land and the wealth of the Arabs were not in the hands of the Arabs but in the hands of other people.

In the north, Syria was under the Romans, who appointed local Arab rulers. Similarly, in the south, Yemen was under the tutelage of the Persian Empire and was ruled by Arabs under its domination. Arabs were masters only of Hijaz, Tihama, and Najd, which were waterless deserts with a few oases, here and there.

It is also well-known that Muhammad, peace be on him, was called al-Amin as-Sadiq (the trustworthy and truthful) by his people. Fifteen years before his Messengership began, the leaders of the Quraish had made him their arbiter in the incident of the placing of the Black Stone and had been pleased with his decision. His lineage was from the Banu Hashim, the noblest branch of the Quraish. It can therefore he said that Muhammad, peace be on him, was capable of kindling among his compatriots the fire of Arab nationalism and could thus have united them. They would have responded gladly to ibis call, for they were weary of continual tribal warfare and blood feuds. He might then have been able to free the Arab lands from the domination of Roman and Persian imperialism and establish a united Arab government.

It can be said that if the Prophet, peace be on him, had called people in this way, instead of hearing tortures for thirteen years due to the opposition from people in authority in the land, the whole of Arabia would have responded to his call.

If Arabia had thus been united under his leadership and the authority had once passed into his hands, he could have used it in making them accept the belief in the Oneness of Allah, for which purpose he was sent. Thus he could have easily persuaded people to submit to their Sustainer once they had submitted to his own human authority.

But the All-Knowing and All-Wise Allah did not lead His Prophet, peace he on him, on this course. He led him to declare openly that there is no god but Allah, and to hear patiently, with his few Companions, whatever trials they encountered.

Why this? Obviously it was not for the sake of subjecting His   [*22]  Prophet, peace be on him, and the believers to oppression. Indeed, He knows that there is no other way. The purpose was not to free the earth from Roman and Persian tyranny in order to replace it with Arab tyranny. All tyranny is wicked! The earth belongs to Allah and should be purified for Allah, and it cannot be purified for Him unless the banner, “No god except Allah” is unfurled across the earth. Man is a slave to Allah alone, and he can remain so only if he is ready to declare, “No god except Allah,” La illaha illa Allah fully understanding the implications of such a declaration, as Arabs, the first audience of this call, understood it when they heard it in a language they knew so well, namely, no sovereignty except Allah’s, no law except from Allah, and no authority of one man over another, because all authority belongs to Allah alone. The “grouping” of men which Islam proclaims, that is umtnab, is based on this faith alone, the faith in which all peoples of every race and color — Arabs, Romans or Persians — are equal under the banner of Allah.

And ibis is the way, the strat al mustaqim. At the time the Prophet was called to Messengership, Arab society knew only extreme mal. distribution of wealth and was devoid of justice. A small group monopolized all wealth and commerce, and this concentration increased through usury. The great majority of the people were poor and hungry. The wealthy were regarded as noble and distinguished, and the common people were deprived not only of wealth but of dignity and honor.

It can be said that Muhammad, peace be on him, was capable of starting a social movement, declaring war against the class of nobles and the wealthy, and taking away their wealth and distributing it among the poor.

It can be said that had the Prophet, peace he on him, started such a movement, Arab society would have been divided into two classes, the great majority supporting the new movement because they were sick of the tyranny of wealth, nobility, and power and a small minority possessing these things. The Prophet would not have had to confront society with the Message of the Oneness of Allah, which remained beyond the reach of all except a few noble souls.

It can be said that after the majority had joined his movement and had given him the leadership, and after he had gained control over the minority of the rich, Muhammad, peace be on him, could then have used his position and power to impose the belief in the Oneness of Allah, for which task Allah had appointed him as His Prophet. Making human beings how first before his authority, he could have made them bow before the True God.  [*23] 

But the All-Knowing, the All-Wise Allah did not lead him to this course.

Allah knew that this was not the way. He knew that true social justice could come to a society only after all affairs had been submitted to the laws of Allah and the society as a whole was willing to accept the just division of wealth prescribed by Him. This justice was possible only when every individual of the society, whether a giver or a taker, firmly believed that this system had been legislated by Allah almighty, and that by obedience to this system hr would not only prosper in this world but would be rewarded in the neat. The society should not be in such a condition that some are driven by greed while others are burning with envy, so that all the affairs of the society are decided by the sword, the rod, fear and threats, and the hearts of the population are desolate and their spirits broken, as is the case under systems based on any authority other than Allah’s.

At the time of the Prophet’s call to Messengership, the moral level of Arabia was extremely low from every point of view. Only a few primitive tribal mores prevailed.

Oppression was the rule of the day, as the famous poet Zuhair ibn Abit Selma has described, One who does not defend oneself with weapons will perish; and one who does not oppress will he oppressed.

Another famous saying of the Days of Ignorance points to this; Help your brother, whether he is the oppressor or being oppressed.

Drinking and gambling were traditions of the society and people were proud of these habits. All the poetry of the Days of Ignorance revolves around the theme of wine and gambling. Turfah ibn al-Abed says: If there had not been three things for a young man’s enjoyment, Then I would not have cared for anything except some food.

One 0f them is my excelling others in the drinking of wine which is so potent that if you add water to it, it bubbles.

Drinking and entertainment and spending have been my life, and still are.

At last the time has come when the whole tribe has abandoned me. As if I were a camel with a terrible itch.

Fornication was rampant in various forms and was considered something to he proud of, as is the case among all jahili societies, old or new. ‘Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, describes the condition of society in the Days of Ignorance in the following words; There were four kinds of marriages during jahlliyah. One was as we have it today, that is, a man would ask a person for the hand of his daughter or his ward in marriage, would pay the marriage-gift, and would marry her. The second type was when a man would tell his wife, in between her menstrual periods, to call such and such man and become pregnant   [*24]  by him. He would stay away from her and would not touch her until the signs of pregnancy appeared, 1f he then wished, he would have intercourse with her. He adopted this method to obtain a son of high lineage.

A third form of marriage was polyandry, A group of men, less than ten, would come to a woman and have sexual intercourse with her.

If she became pregnant and then gave birth to a child, and a few nights passed after childbirth, she would call them. No one could refuse this call. When they all had gathered, she told them, ‘You know the result. I have given birth to a child,’ Then she would point to one of them and would say, ‘This is your child.’ The child would then be named after that person and would be considered his, and he could not deny this. A fourth form of marriage was when many men would go to a woman, and she was willing to accept any. Actually, these were prostitutes and would place a flag in front of their doors as a sign. Anyone who wished would go to them.

If such a woman became pregnant, after the delivery many people would gather by her and would call an expert in recognizing resemblances. Whoever would he designated as the child’s father would he considered as such and he could not refuse it. “It can be said that Muhammad, peace be on him ,was capable of starting a movement of moral reform for the establishment of moral standards, for the purification of the society, and for self-evaluation, As is the case with every reformer, he would have found some upright people who were also unhappy about the moral degeneration of their society. These people would certainly have come to him to join his reformist movement.

Thus one can say that if the Prophet, peace be 00 him, had chosen this course, he would have easily gathered a sizeable group. Because of their moral integrity and fortitude, this group of people, more than others, would have accepted the belief in the Oneness of Allah and would have carried the responsibilities pertaining to it. Thus the Prophet’s call, “There is no god except Allah,” would have been spared the strong opposition that it encountered.

But Allah Most High knew that this way is not the way. He knew that morality could only be built on faith, a faith that provides criteria, creates values, defines the authority from which these criteria and values are to he derived, and prescribes the reward of those who accept this authority and the punishment of those who deviate or oppose it. Without this belief or the concept of a higher authority, all values remain unstable, and so do the morals based on them — without accounting, without authority, without reward! When, after hard work, belief became firm and the authority to which this belief refers  [*25]  was acknowledged — when people recognized their Sustainer and worshipped Film alone, when they became independent not only of 01rrhuman beings but also of their own desires, and when La ilaha illa Allah became imprinted on their hearts — then Allah, through this faith and through the believers, provided everything needed. Allah’s earth became free of “Romans and Persians,” not so that the authority of “Arabs” might prevail, but only so that the authority of Allah might he established and the earth might be cleared of all the rebels against Him, whether they were Roman, Persian, or Arab.

The early Muslim society was freed from all oppression, and the Islamic system was established in which justice was Allah’s justice and weighing was by Allah’s balance. The banner of social justice was raised in the name of tawhid, the Oneness of Allah, and the name of the banner was Islam. No other name was added to it, and on it was written La ilaha illa Allah.

Morals were elevated, hearts and souls were purified, and with the exception of a very few cases, there was no need even to enforce the limits and punishments that Allah has prescribed, because now conscience was the law-enforcer and the pleasure of Allah, the hope of Divine reward, and the feat of Allah’s anger took the place of police and law enforcement agencies.

Mankind was uplifted in its social order, in its morals, in all of its life, to a zenith of perfection that had never been attained before and which cannot be attained afterwards except through Islam.

All this was possible because those who established this eternal din in the form of an Islamic polity, with an Islamic political system and laws and regulations, had first established it in their hearts and lives in the form of faith, character, worship, and human relationships.

They had been promised only one thing for the establishment of this religion — not victory or power, nor even that this religion would be established by their hands — one promise, not related to anything of this world, namely, the Paradise. This was the only promise given to

them for all their striving, for all the trials they had endured, and for their steadfastness in the fare of the opposition by the forces of jahiliyyah to that cult, “There is no god except Allah,” which is abhorrent to those who are in power in any age and place.

When Allah tried them and they proved steadfast, relinquishing their own personal desires, and when Allah Most High knew that they were not waiting for any reward in this world, nor were desirous to see the victory of this message and the establishment of the din on earth by their hands, when their hearts became free of pride and lineage, of nationality, of country, of tribe, and of household — in short, when Allah Most High saw them to be morally pure — then He granted  [*26]  them the great trust, the conscious assumption of the vicegerency of Allah on earth. They were pure in faith, because the sovereignty of Allah atone extended over their hearts and consciences in human relationships and morals, in their lives and possessions, and in their modes of living and manners. Allah Most High therefore knew that they would he true guardians of the political authority, which would be entrusted to them so that they would establish Divine law and Divine justice. He knew they would not use it to benefit their own selves or their families or tribe or nation, but would dedicate this authority purely to the service of His din and His laws, because they knew that the true source of authority is Allah alone and that they were only His trustees.

If the call of Islam had not started in this manner, discarding all banners other than “There is no god except Allah,” and if it had not taken the path that apparently was difficult and trying but which in reality was easy and blessed, then it would not have been possible to establish this blessed system with such a high standard.

Had this call come in its initial stages as s national call or a social movement or a reformist attempt, or had it attached other labels to the call of La ilaha illa Allah, then this blessed system would never have been for the sake of Allah alone.

The Makkan period of the Qur’an has this glorious attribute, namely, that it imprints, “There is no god except Allah” un the hearts and minds of all Muslims, and teaches Muslims to adopt this method and no other — and to persist in this method in spite of the fact that it appears difficult.

The early revelations from Allah concentrated on the question of faith alone, not mentioning the details of the system to be based on it or the laws that are to regulate its affairs. Everyone who invites others to this din ought to ponder over this.

Indeed, it is the nature of this eternal and universal Islamic “religion” — din — to require this particular method, because this din stands entirely on belief in the Oneness of Allah, and all its institutions and laws are derived from the great principle of tawhid which is expressed in the unity of the created universe. A simile for this din is a strong, tall tree whose shade spreads far and wide and whose branches reach toward the sky. Such s tree would naturally have its roots deep down into the earth and spread them over a wide area, in proportion to its size. The case of this din is similar. Its system extends into all aspects of life; it treats all minor or major affairs of mankind; it orders man’s life — not only in this world but also in the world to come; it gives information about the Unseen as well as about the visible world; it not only deals with material things but also purifies intentions and ideas. It is thus like a tall, strong, wide spreading tree; clearly its roots must go down deep and be in proportion to its size.

This aspect of the nature of Islam requires that it be founded and organized by implanting the belief and strengthening it so that it seeps from the depths of the human soul. This is essential for its correct development, because only by this method can s relationship be secured between the part of the tree that reaches upward and the roots which are in the depths of the earth.

When belief in La ilaha illa Allah penetrates into the deep recesses of the heart, it also penetrates through the whole system of life, which is a practical interpretation of this faith. By this means, those who believe arc already pleased with the system which this faith uniquely determines and therefore submit in principle to all the laws and injunctions and details even before they are promulgated. Indeed, the spirit of submission is the first requirement of this faith. Through this spirit of submission the believers learn the Islamic regulations and taws with eagerness and pleasure. As soon as a command is given, the heads ate bowed, and nothing more is required for its implementation except to hear it. In this manner, drinking was forbidden, usury was prohibited, and gambling was proscribed and all the habits of the Days of Ignorance were abolished — abolished by a few verses of the Qur’an or by a few words from the lips of the Prophet, peace be on him. Compare this with the efforts of secular governments. At every stage they have to rely on legislation, administrative institutions, police, military power, propaganda, and the press, and yet they can at the most control what is done publicly, and the society remains full of illegal and forbidden things.

Another aspect of this universal din ought to be considered. This is a practical “religion” and Allah has established it to order the practical affairs of life. Thus it faces the question of practical conditions and determines whether to keep them, modify them, or change them completely. Its legislation is therefore concerned only with the conditions that actually exist in a society that has already accepted the sovereignty of Allah.

Islam is not a “theory” based on “assumptions”, but is rather a “way of life” working with “actuality.” Thus, it is first necessary to create a Muslim community that believes “there is no god except Allah,” that commits itself to obey none but Allah, denying all other authority, and that challenges the legality of any law not based on this belief.

Only when such a society comes into being, faces various practical problems, and needs a system of law, does Islam initiate a legal constitution, injunctions, rules, and regulations. It addresses only   [*28]  those people who in principle have already submitted themselves to its authority and have repudiated all other rules and regulations.

The believers in this faith must be autonomous and have power in their own society, so that they are able to implement this system and enforce its laws. Moreover power is also needed to legislate laws according to the needs of the group as these arise in its day-to-day affairs.

In Makkah the Muslims were not autonomous nor did they have any influence in the society. Their practical life had not taken a permanent form so that they could have organised themselves according to the Divine Law (shari‘ah), Therefore regulations and laws were revealed to them by Allah, They were taught only the basic belief and the moral principles that follow from this belief after it penetrates the mind Later when an autonomous government came into existence in Madinah general laws were revealed and a system of government came into existence to satisfy the needs of the new Muslim community. Full power and support of the whole community was behind the implementation of the new Islamic order.

Allah Most High did not want to reveal all the laws and regulations during the Makkan period, so that Muslims might have a ready-made system to be applied as soon as they reached Madinah. This would be out of character, for Islam is more practical than this and has more foresight. It does not offer solutions to hypothetical problems. It first looks at the prevailing conditions, and if it finds a viable society that is in its form, conditions, or temperament, a Muslim community; bas submitted itself to the law of Allah and is weary of laws emanating from other sources, to such a community indeed Islam provides a method of legislation for its needs

The people who do not understand the character and nature of Islam demand that it provide theories and a completed constitution for its system, and that it provide laws, when they know that there is not a single society on earth that has rejected man-made systems, agreed to enforce the shari’ah, and has the political power to enforce it. They also do not understand the purpose for which Allah revealed its din,

These people want Islam to change its character, method, and history, and be reduced to the level of ordinary human theories and laws, They want a short-cut solution to satisfy their immediate desires, which are simply a product of their spiritually defeatist mentality in the face of valueless, man-made laws. They want Islam to become a mere collection of abstractions and theories, applicable in non-existent conditions, But the course prescribed by Allah for this din is the same as it was before, First, the hearts and consciences of a people must he committed to a belief system that forbids submission to anyone other than Allah and that rejects the derivation of laws from any other source. Then, when such a group of people is ready and also gains practical influence in the society, various laws will be legislated according to their practical needs.

This is what Allah has intended for the future of Islam. It cannot be other than what Allah intends, no matter what people desire.

The “callers to Islam” should understand that when they invite people toward the revival of this din, they should invite them to accept Islam’s fundamental belief, even though these people might call themselves Muslims or be registered as Muslims on their birth certificates. These people ought to know that Islam means to accept the creed La ilaha illa Allah in its deepest sense. They should know that every aspect of life should be under the sovereignty of Allah, and those who rebel against Allah’s sovereignty and usurp it for themselves should be opposed. This belief should be accepted by their hearts and minds and should he applied in their modes of living and in their practices.

When the revival of the universal din starts among a people, this deepest aspect of it must have first priority. The first call was based on it. Thirteen whole years. of the Makkan period of Revelation were devoted to this Message. When a community of people accepts this dirt in the true sense, only then can it he considered a true Muslim community or ummah. Only such a community has the capability of giving concrete form to the Islamic system in its social life, because of its willingness to follow Islam in its entirety and to obey Allah in all aspects of life.

Thus, when a society actually adopts basic teachings of Islam as its guiding principles, it proceeds to formulate laws and regulations for its needs in the light of these principles. This is the correct procedure to bring about a practical, realistic, and sagacious Islamic way of life. Some sincere people who do not understand the real character of this din arc in a hurry. They have not understood that this is the way prescribed by the All-Knowing and All-Wise Allah. They say that if people are taught Islam’s doctrinal beliefs and the Islamic laws, inviting people to Islam will then he easy and people will automatically become sympathetic to it.

This wishful thinking is due to their impatience. This is akin to the idea which could have been presented to the Prophet himself, peace be on him, and which we have described above, that is, if the Prophet, peace be on him, had started his call to Islam with nationalism, or economic revolution, or a reformist movement, his way would have become easier.  [*30] 

One’s heart must be devoted exclusively to Allah and one must accept His law with full submission and reject all other laws, and one must do this right in the beginning, even before the details are shown to attract him

The love of the Divine Law, shari’ah, should he a consequence of pure submission to Allah and of freedom from servitude to anyone else, and not because it is superior to other systems in any particular details.

No doubt the shari‘ah is the best, because it comes from Allah. The laws of His creatures can hardly be compared to the laws given by the Creator. But this point is not the basis of the genuine call to Islam. The basis of the Islamic message is that one should accept the shari’ah without any question and reject all other laws, whatever their shape or form. This is Islam. There is no other meaning of Islam. One who is attracted to this basic Islam has already resolved any perceived conflict. He will not need proof of its beauty and superiority. The superiority of what Allah has revealed is one of the realities of the faith.

We now turn to the Qur’anic approach of belief and faith during the thirteen years of Makkan life. Allah did not teach us through the form of a theory or a theology, nor in the style common to our scholastic writings on the subject of tawhid (the Oneness of Allah).

The Qur’an always appeals to human nature and draws our attention to the signs of Allah which are within man’s soul itself and all around him. It liberates human nature from superstitions, polishes man’s native intelligence to the utmost degree, and opens up windows to the world and makes man appreciate the intricate processes of the created universe.

This is the general approach. In particular, on the basis of this general belief, the Qur’an started a struggle in everyday life against the false ideas and traditions under which human nature lay helpless. To confront these special circumstances, it would not have been desirable to present Islam in the form of a theory. The Qur’anic approach took the form of direct confrontation, based on a determination to rend the curtains that had fallen on the hearts and minds of people and to smash alt the walls that stood between man and the truth. Similarly, intellectual argumentation, based on verbal logic, which was the hallmark of the scholastic theology of later times, was not a proper style for it In the Qur’an Allah was addressing the entire human environment. He was addressing the whole of humanity, which was drowned in the vast ocean of corruption. The style of theology would have been useless, because, although the Islamic faith is a system of belief, its main program relates to the practical life, unburdened by scholastic sophistry.

The Qur’an builds faith in the hearts of the Muslim community while attacking the surrounding jahiliyyah through this community, and at the same time struggling to remove all the jahili influences surviving in the ideas, practices, and morals within the Muslim community. The construction of the Islamic belief system occurred under these stormy conditions and not in the form of theology, theory or scholastic argument. Islam grew as an active, organic, and vital movement, a concrete reality represented by the dynamic Muslim community. The growth of the Muslim community, including its ideas, morals, education, and training, was the direct result of its system of belief. The entire evolution of this movement manifested in practice the evolution of its beliefs. This reflects the nature and spirit of Islam and also its true method.

The bearers of the Islamic message should keep in mind this dynamic method of Islam. They ought to know that the stage of building belief, which spread over the long period of Makkan life in this fashion, was not separate from the stage of practical organization, when an Islamic community actually came into existence. It was not a stage of teaching and learning “the theory”! It was a single stage in which the seed of faith was implanted and al the same time a community was organized, giving practical form to the Islamic teachings. In the future, every attempt to revive Islam should adopt this comprehensive method.

Thus the stage of building the faith should be long and gradual. Every step should be taken with firmness. This stage should not be spent in teaching the theory of beliefs but in translating the belief into a living reality. First it should be implanted in the hearts of men. It should materialize in a dynamic social system whose internal and external growth reflects the evolution of the belief. It must he a dynamic movement which challenges jahiliyyah both in theory and in practice, so that it becomes a living faith and grows through the struggle against the surrounding forces.

It t5 an error, and what an error, to think that Islam can evolve in the form of an abstract theory limited to intellectual learning and cultural knowledge. Beware of this danger, beware! The Qur’an was not revealed all at once but only over a period of thirteen years devoted to building and strengthening the structure of faith. Had Allah wanted, He would have revealed the entire Qur’lan at once and then left the Companions to learn it for a period of approximately thirteen years so that the believers could master the “Islamic theory.” — But Allah Most High did not choose this method. He wanted something else. He wanted to lay the foundations simultaneously of a community, a movement, and a belief. He wanted the community and the movement  [*32]  to be founded on the belief, and the faith to grow as part of the dynamic progress of the community, so that the practical life of the community would mirror the faith. Allah Most High knows that men and communities are not founded overnight, and that it takes as much time to build and develop a faith as it takes to organize a community, so that as the faith is completed, simultaneously a strong community also comes into existence as the true representation and practical interpretation of the faith.


This is the character of this Islamic din, and the Makkan period of the Qur’an testifies to it. We should always hear this in mind and never try to change it by being impatient or falling under the influence of a defeatist mentality in the presence of valueless, man-made theories. Through this particular quality of Islam, the first Muslim community came into existence, and in the future, whenever a Muslim community is to be created in the world, it will be created only by this method and always he characterized by this intrinsic Islamic quality.

Islam is intended to penetrate into the veins and arteries of a society and to form a concrete organized movement designed to transform it into a vibrant dynamic community. We should be aware therefore that any attempt to change the living faith of Islam, into purely theoretical teachings and academic discussions, is an attempt to show the superiority of the “Islamic theory” over the valueless and useless theories formulated by man. Such an attempt would be not only erroneous but also dangerous.

Islamic belief must take shape in living souls, in an active organization, and in a viable community, and it must take the form of a movement struggling against the jahili environment while also trying to remove the influences of jahili society in its followers. They were people of jahiliyyah, before the faith entered their souls, and the influence of jahiliyyah might have remained in their hearts and minds as well as in their lives. The Islamic belief has a much wider range of action than just academic discussions, because it appeals to hearts and minds and transforms practices and morals.

The Divine Attributes, the universe, life, and man are all included in the Islamic concept, which is not only very comprehensive and perfect but also realistic and constructive. Islam, because of its very nature, cannot he reduced to pure thought — this being against its nature and also against its ultimate aim — and can flourish only when personified in human beings, its living organization, and in a practical movement. Its method is to grow through the agency of living persons and through a dynamic movement and an active organization in such a way that its theory comes to fruition at the same time as its practical applications. It never remains an abstract theory but develops side-by-side with practice.

The idea that we should first perfect Islam as a theory, and bring it about later in the world of action, is an error and is dangerous, because this conflicts with the nature of Islam, its purpose, and its structural elements.

Allah Most High says: “We have revealed this Qur’an little by little so that you may recite it to people at intervals, and We have revealed it gradually.“[3]

Gradualness and teaching at intervals is desired, so that instead of a mere “theory of Islam” a “living community” based on its beliefs may come into existence.

The message-bearers of Islam should fully understand that this din is Divine and that its method, which is harmonious with its nature, is also based on Divine guidance. It is not possible to establish this religion without following its particular method.

One should also understand that this din has been revealed to change not only the beliefs and practices of people hut also the method of bringing about these changes in beliefs and practices. This din builds and strengthens belief while simultaneously forming a community. It develops its system of thought while focussing equally on enforcing its practical aspects. Thus the establishment of its particular system of thought, its particular beliefs, and its particular way of living does not require different methods, because all are fulfilled simultaneously within the framework of tawhid.

From the above explanation of the particular method of action inherent in this framework, we ought to know that the method of this din is eternal. It is not related to any particular stage of development or to any special conditions and environment peculiar to the first Muslim community. Indeed, this din cannot he established, at any time, except through this method.

Islam’s function is to change people’s beliefs and actions, as well as their outlook and way of thinking. Its method is Divinely-ordained and is entirely different from all the useless methods of short-sighted human beings.

We cannot receive Divine guidance or live according to it unless we adopt the Divinely-ordained method, the method which Allah intended for reforming human thought and action.

When we try turning Islam into a “theory” lobe studied, we remove the Divine method and Divine outlook from its character, and we reduce it to the level of man-made systems of thought, as if she Divine  [*34]  method were inferior to man’s methods, and as if we wanted to elevate” the system of thought and action ordained by Allah to the level of the systems of His creatures! This point of view is extremely dangerous, and this defeatism is ruinous.

The function of this Divine system which is given to us — we, who are the callers to Islam—is to provide a certain style of thinking or paradigm of thought, purified from alt the jahili styles and ways of thinking that are current in the world and have poisoned our culture by depriving us of our own mind. If we try to change this din in a way alien to its nature and borrowed from the ways of the predominant jahiliyyals, we will deprive it of its ordained function for humanity, and we will deprive ourselves of the opportunity to remove the yoke of the popular jahili ways that dominate our minds.

Such an attempt to degrade the din is full of danger. The resulting loss would he disastrous.

The methods of thought and action revealed in the founding of the

Islamic system are not less important or less necessary than the Islamic

belief and way of life, nor are they separate from each other. Although it may seem very attractive to us to keep expounding on the beauties of the Islamic beliefs and the Islamic system, we should not forget that through this approach Islam can never become a practical way of life or a dynamic movement. We should also realize that this way of presenting Islam does not benefit anyone except those who are working for the Islamic movement, and even this group can benefit from it only to the extent that this approach is adapted to a particular place and time.

If this is the correct method for the fundamentals of Islamic belief, it is even more correct with respect to the particulars of the organizational structure and its legalistic details.

The jahiliyyah has surrounded us and weighs heavily on the minds of some sincere workers of Islam who in their impatience would like to move through various stages of the Islamic system rapidly. The nature of this jahiliyyah poses a number of very delicate questions. What are the details of the system to which you are calling? How much research have you done? How many articles have you prepared and how many subjects have you written about? Have you tried to reconstitute the Islamic jurisprudence on new principles? — as if nothing were lacking for the enforcement of Islamic Law except research in the details of legal regulations (fiqh); as if everyone had agreed upon the sovereignty of Allah willing to submit to His laws; as if the only factor remaining were the non-existence of mujtahiddin to supply a modernized version of Islamic jurisprudence. This is a  [*35] vulgar joke on Islam, and every person who has any respect for this religion should rise above such a perversion of the truth.

By these tactics, jahiliyyah wants to find an excuse to reject the Divine system and to perpetuate the slavery of one man to another. It wants to divert the power of Muslims from the work of establishing the Divinely-ordained way of life so they will not go beyond the stage of belief to the stage of a dynamic movement. It wants to distort the very nature of this method — the method in which Islamic belief matures through the struggle of the Islamic movement to develop the details of the Islamic system through practical implementation and to promulgate laws designed to address practical problems and actual difficulties.

It is the duty of Muslims to expose these tactics. We must reject this ridiculous proposal of “reconstructing Islamic law” for a society unwilling to submit to the law of Allah and enamored only with laws emanating from every source other than Allah. Such talk is a way of diverting attention from real and earnest work, and is a method through which the workers for Islam can he made to waste their time building castles in the air It is their duty to expose these treacherous tactics.

Muslims are duty-bound to adopt the method for the Islamic movement that is harmonious with the Islamic din. This method is the dint source of power as well as a source of power for all Muslim activists.

Islam and the method of revival of Islam are both equally important. There is no difference between them. Another method, however attractive it may he, cannot bring about the establishment of Islam. Other methods can work for the establishment of man-made systems, but are incapable of establishing Islam. It is necessary to follow this particular method for the establishment of Islam as iris so obey the way of life it outlines and to believe in its articles of faith. “Indeed, this Qur’an guides to that which is most right.”[4] 

[*35]   [*36] 

 


 

Chapter III

 

 

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ISLAMIC COMMUNITY AND THE CORRECT METHOD OF ITS FORMATION

 

 

The message of Islam brought by the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, peace be on him, was the last link in the long chain of invitations to Allah by the noble Prophets, Peace be upon them all. Throughout history, this message has remained the same, namely, that human beings should recognize that their true Sustainer and Lord is One, that they should submit to Him alone, and that the lordship of man should he eliminated. Except for a few people here and there in history, mankind as a whole has never denied the existence of Allah and His sovereignty over the universe. Man has erred rather in comprehending the real attributes of Allah, or in taking other gods besides Allah as his associates. This association of false gods with Allah has been either in belief and worship or in accepting the sovereignty of others besides Allah. Both of these aspects area shirk[5] in the sense that they take human beings away from the religion of Allah brought by the Prophets. After each Prophet, there was a period during which people understood this religion, but then gradually later generations forgot it and returned to jahiliyyah. They started again on the way of shirk, sometimes in their belief and worship and sometimes in their submission to the authority of others, and sometimes in both.

Throughout every period of human history the call to Allah has been the same. His purpose is Islam, which means to bring human beings into submission to Allah, to free them from servitude to other human beings so that they may devote themselves to the service of the One True and ultimate Being, and to deliver them from the clutches of Shirk, (Arabic) means associating false gods with Allah  [*38]  human lordship and man-made laws, value systems, and traditions so that they will acknowledge the sovereignty and authority of Allah and follow His law in all spheres of life. The Islam of Muhammad, peace he on him, was revealed for this purpose, as were the messages of all the earlier Prophets, Peace be upon them all. The entire universe is under the authority of Allah, and man, being a small part of it, necessarily obeys the physical laws governing the universe. The same authority must he acknowledged as the law-giver for human life, Man should not cut himself off from this authority to develop a separate system and a separate scheme of life. The growth of a human being, his conditions of health and disease, and his life and death are governed by the system of natural laws that comes from Allah. Even in the consequences of his voluntary actions every person is helpless before the universal laws. Man cannot change the actions of Allah in designing and sustaining the laws prevailing in the universe. Therefore he should also follow Islam in those aspects of his life in which he is given a choice and should make the Divine Law the arbiter in all matters of life so that there mayhe harmony between man and the rest of the universe.

Jahiliyyah, on the other hand, is one man’s lordship over another in this respect it is against the system of the universe and brings the involuntary aspect of human life into conflict with its voluntary aspect. This was the jahiliyyah that confronted every Prophet of Allah including the last Prophet, peace he on him, in the call toward submission to One Divine Being. This jahiliyyah is not an abstract theory; in fact under certain circumstances it has no theory at all.

Jahiliyyah always takes the form of a living movement in a society and has its own leadership, its own concepts and values, and its own traditions, habits, and feelings. It is an organized society and there is a close cooperation and loyalty among its individuals, and it is always ready and alive to defend its existence consciously or unconsciously. It crushes all elements that seem to he dangerous to its personality.

When jahiliyyah takes the form not of a “theory” but of an active movement in this fashion, then any attempt to abolish it and to bring people buck to Allah would he useless if it presented Islam merely as a theory. Since jahiliyyah controls the practical world and has a living and active organization for its support, mere theoretical efforts to fight it cannot even he equal to it, much less superior. When the purpose is to abolish the existing system and to replace this controlling jahili system with a new system different from it in its character, principles, and all its general and particular aspects, then it stands to reason that this new system should also come into the battlefield as an organized movement. It should enter the battlefield with a determination that its strategy, social organization, and interpersonal relationships will be firmer and more powerful than the existing jahili system.

The theoretical foundation of Islam, in every period of history, has been to witness La ilaha illa Allah — “There is no god except Allah” — which means to bear witness that the only true God is Allah, that He is the Sustainer, the Ruler of the universe, and the real Sovereign; to believe in Him in the heart, to worship flint alone, and to put into practice His laws. Without this complete acceptance of La ilaha illa Allah, which differentiates the one who says he is a Muslim from a non-Muslim, there cannot he any practical significance to this utterance, nor will it have any weight according to Islamic law.

Theoretically, to establish this theoretical foundation means that people should devote their entice lives in submission to Allah and should not decide any affair on their own, but must refer to Allah’s injunctions concerning it and follow them. We know of Allah’s guidance through only one source, that is, through the Messenger of Allah, peace be on him. Thus, in the second part of the Islamic creed, we bear witness Wa ashbadu anna Muhammadan Rasulu-l-lab — “And I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” Islam’s theoretical foundation — the belief — therefore must he actualized in the form of an organized and active group from the very beginning. This group must separate itself from the jahili society and become independent and distinct from the active and organized jahili society, whose aim is to block Islam. The center of this new group should be a new leadership, the leadership which first came in the person of the Prophet himself, peace be on him, and after him was delegated to those who strove to bring people back to Allah’s sovereignty, authority, and laws. A person who hears witness that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger should cut off his relationship of loyalty to the jahili society, and to jahili leadership, whether it be in the guise of priests, magicians or astrologers, or in the form of political, social, or economic leaders, as was the case of the Quraish in the time of the Prophet, peace be on him. He will have his complete loyalty to the new Islamic movement and to the Muslim leadership.

This decisive step must be taken at the very moment a person says, La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadan Rasulu-illah with his tongue. The Muslim society cannot come into existence without this. It cannot come into existence simply as a creed in the hearts of individual Muslims, however numerous they may be, unless they become an active, harmonious, and cooperative group, distinct by itself, whose different elements, like the limbs of a human body, work together for  [*40]  its support, and expansion, and for its defense against all those elements that attack its system. This group moss work under a leadership that is independent of the jahiliyyah so it can organize its various efforts in support of one harmonious purpose, and strengthen and widen the Muslims' Islamic character in order to abolish the negative influences of jahili life.

Islam was founded in this manner. It was founded on a concise creed that included the whole of life. This creed immediately brought into action a lively and dynamic group of people who became independent and separate from the jahili society and immediately challenged it. Islam never was as an abstract theory devoid of practical existence, Similarly, in the future Islam can prosper only in this manner. There is no other way for the revival of Islam in the shade of jahiliyyah, in whatever age or country it appears, except to follow its natural character and to develop it into a movement and an organic system.

Islam’s ultimate aim is to awaken the “humanity of man,” and to develop the community in order to make it powerful and strong and to make it the dominant factor among all the aspects of man’s being. This aspect of Islam is reflected in all its teachings, rules, laws, and injunctions.

Some human characteristics are common with those of animals, and even with those of inorganic matter. This has misled the exponents of “scientific jahiliyyah” to consider man to be nothing more than an animal or even inorganic matter! But in spite of the characteristics that man shares with animals and inorganic matter, man possesses certain other characteristics that distinguish him and make him a unique creation. Even the exponents of “scientific ignorance” were forced to admit this, in the face of overwhelming evidence from observational facts, but even then, their admission of man’s uniqueness has been neither sincere nor unequivocal.

In this respect the service rendered by lslam’s pure way of life has produced concrete and valuable results. The Islamic community is based on the association of belief alone, instead of on the low associations of race and color, language and country, and regional and national interests. Instead of stressing traits common to both man and animal, Islam promoted man’s human qualities, nurtured them, and made them the dominant factor. Among the concrete and brilliant results of this attitude was the transformation of society into an open and all inclusive community in which people of various races,

nationalities, languages and colors were equal members. The rivers of higher talents and the various abilities of all the races of mankind flowed into this vast ocean and mixed in it. Their intermingling gave rise to a high level of civilization in a very short span of time, dazzling the whole world, and compounding the essences of all the human capabilities, ideas, and wisdom of that period, in spite of the fact that in those times travel was difficult and the means of communication were stow.

In this great Islamic society Arabs, Persians, Syrians, Egyptians, Moroccans, Turks, Chinese, Indians, Romans, Greeks, Indonesians, and Africans were gathered together — in short, peoples of all nations and all races. Their various characteristics were united, and with mutual cooperation, harmony, and unity they took pars in the construction of the Islamic community and Islamic culture. This marvelous civilization was not an Arabic civilization, even for a single day; it was purely an Islamic civilization. It was never a nationality but always a community of belief.

Thus they all came together on an equal footing in she relationship of love, with their minds set upon a single goal. Thus they used their best abilities, developed the qualities of their respective race to the fullest, and brought the essence of their personal, national, and historical experiences for the development of this one community, to which they all belonged on an equal footing and in which their common bond was their relationship to their Sustainer. In this community their humanity developed without any hindrance. These characteristics were never achieved by any other group of people in the entire history of mankind! The most distinguished and well-known society in ancient history is considered to he the Roman Empire. Peoples of various races, languages, and temperaments came together in this society, but all this was not based on the human relationship nor was any sublime faith the uniting factor among them. Rather their society was ordered on a class system, with a class of nobles and a class of slaves, throughout the Empire. Moreover, she Romans in general had the leadership and the other ethnic groups were considered their subjects. Hence this society could not teach the height achieved by the Islamic society and did not being the blessings it bestowed.

Various societies have also appeared in modern times. The British Empire, like the Roman society to which it is an heir, is based on national greed. The British nation has the leadership and exploits the colonies annexed by the Empire. The same is true of other European empires. The Spanish and Portuguese Empires in their times and the French Empire all rivalled with each other in oppression and exploitation. Communism also wanted to establish a new type of society, demolishing the walls of race, color, nation and geographical region, but it is based on a class system, not on human relationships. Thus the Communist society is tike the Roman society with a reversal of  [*42]  emphasis. There nobles had distinction, while here the “proletariat” enjoys this privilege. The underlying emotion of this “class” is hatred and envy of other classes. Such a selfish and vengeful society cannot but excite base emotions in its individuals. Its very basis lies in exciting animalistic rivalries and in developing and strengthening them. Thus, in its view, the most fundamental needs of a human being are those common to all animals, that is, food, shelter, and sex. From its point of view, the whole of human history is nothing but a struggle for food! Islam, then, is the only Divine way of life that brings out the noblest human characteristics, developing and using them for the construction of a human community. Islam has remained unique in this respect. Those who deviate from this system and want some other system, whether it be based on nationalism, color, race, class struggle, or similar corrupt theories, are truly enemies of mankind! They do not want man to develop the noble characteristics by which his Creator honored him, nor do they wish to see the human society benefit from the harmonious blending of all the capabilities, experiences, and characteristics that flourished among the various races of mankind.

Allah Most High says about such people, “Say Shall We tell you who will he the greatest losers in their deeds? Those whose effort goes astray in pursuing the present life, while they think that they are doing good deeds. It is they who disbelieve in the signs of their Lord and their destiny to meet Him. Their (good) works have failed, and on the Day of Resurrection We shall not assign to them any value. That is their recompense. — Hell — for having denied the truth and made My signs and My Messengers a target of their mockery.”[6]


 

 

Chapter IV

 

JIHAD IN THE CAUSE OF ALLAH

 

 

The great scholar lbn Qayyim, in his book Zad al-Ma’ad, has a chapter entitled “The Prophet’s Treatment of she Unbelievers and the Hypocrites from the Beginning of his Messengership Until his Death.” In this chapter, he sums up the nature of Islamic jihad.

“The first revelation from Allah that carne to the Prophet — peace be on him — was ‘Iqra, bism Rabbika ladhi Khalaqa.’ (“Read, in the name of they Sustainer, Who created”.).

This was the beginning of his Prophethood. Allah commanded the Prophet — peace be on him — to recite this in his heart. The commandment to preach had not yet come. Then Allah revealed ‘Ya ayyuha al-Muddathir qum fandhlr’ (“O you who are enwrapped in your mantle, arise and warn”). Thus, the revelation of “lqra” was his appointment to Prophethood, while ‘Ya ayyuiaa al-muddathir’ was his appointment to Messengership. Later Allah commanded the Prophet — peace be on him — to warn his near relatives, then his people, then the Arabs who were around them, then all of Arabia, and finally the whole world. Thus for thirteen years after the beginning of his Messengership, he called people to Allah through preaching, without fighting or jizyah, and was commanded to restrain himself and to practice patience and forbearance. Then he was commanded to migrate, and later permission was given to fight. Then he was commanded to fight those who fought him, and to restrain himself from those who did not make war against him. Later hr was commanded to fight the polytheists until Allah’s din was fully established. After the command for jihad came, the non-believers were divided into three categories: those with whom she Muslims had peace treaties; the people with whom the Muslims were at war; and the dhimmies. The Prophet was commanded that as long as the non-[*44]-believers with whom he had a peace treaty met their obligations, hr should fulfil the articles of the treaty, but if they broke the treaty, then they should be given notice that he considered the treaty broken. Until then, no war should he declared. If they persisted, then he should fight them. When the Surah Bara’ah was revealed, the details of treatment concerning these three categories of non-believers were described, It was also explained that war should be declared only against those from among the ‘People of the Book’ who declare open enmity, until they agree to pay jizyab or accept Islam. Concerning the polytheists and the hypocrites, it was commanded in this surah that jihad he declared against them and that they he treated sternly. The Prophet — peace be on him — carried on jihad against the polytheists by fighting and against the hypocrites by preaching and argument. In the same surah, it was commanded that the treaties with the polytheists be terminated at the end of their agreed term. In this respect, the people with whom there were treaties were divided into three categories; first, those who broke the treaty and failed to keep its terms. He was ordered to fight against them and was victorious. Then there were those with whom the treaty was made for a stated term, and who had neither violated this treaty nor helped anyone against the Prophet, peace he on him. Regarding them, Allah commanded that these treaties be completed to their full term. The third category consisted of those with whom there was no treaty but they were not at war against the Prophet, peace be on him, or those with whom he had a treaty without any stated term of expiration  concerning these, it was commanded that they be given four months’ notice, at the end of which they should be considered open enemies and engaged in combat. Thus, those who broke the treaty were fought against, and those who did not have any treaty or had an indeterminate period of expiration were given four months' period of grace, and terms were kept with those whose treaty was due to expire. Those in the last category embraced Islam even before the term expired, and the non-Muslims paid jizrah. Thus, after the revelation of the surah Bara’ah, the unbelievers were of three kinds; adversaries in war, people with treaties, and dhimmies. The people with treaties eventually became Muslims, so there were only two kinds left; people at war and dhimmies. The people at war were always afraid of him. Now the people of the whole world were of three kinds: the Muslims who believed in him; those with whom he had peace; and the opponents who kept fighting against him. As far as the hypocrites were concerned, Allah commanded the Prophet, peace he on him, to accept their appearances and leave their intentions to Allah, and carry on jihad against them by argument and persuasion. He was commanded  [*45]  not to pray at their funerals nor at their graves, nor to ask forgiveness of Allah for them, because their affair was with Allah. So this was the practice of the Prophet, peace be on him, concerning his enemies among the non believers and the hypocrites.

In this description we find a summary of the stages of Islamic jihad presented in an excellent manner, to it we also find all the distinctive characteristics of the dynamic movement of the true din or way of life. We should ponder over them seriously. Here, however, we will confine ourselves to a few explanatory remarks.

First, the method of this din is very practical. This Islamic movement treats people as they actually are and uses resources that are available in the best manner possible under the prevalent conditions. Since this movement comes into conflict with a jahiliyyah that prevails over ideas and beliefs, and which shapes and controls practically all life, and enjoys full support of political and economic powers, the Islamic movement had to come up with parallel means and resources to confront this jahiliyyah. This movement uses the methods of preaching and persuasion to reform ideas and beliefs. And it uses physical power and jihad to abolish the organizations and authorities of the jahili system which prevent people from reforming their ideas and beliefs, forces them to follow deviant ways, and make them serve other humans instead of their Almighty Lord. This movement does not confine itself to mere preaching to confront physical power, just as it also does not use compulsion to change the ideas of people. These two principles are equally important in the method of the Islamic din. Its purpose is to free those people who wish to be freed from enslavement to men so that they may serve Allah alone.

The second aspect of this din as a practical movement is its progression stage by stage, so that at every stage it provides resources to meet the practical needs of a particular situation while at the same time preparing the ground for the next one. It does not face practical problems with abstract theories, nor does it confront various stages with unchangeable means. Many who talk about jihad in Islam and quote Qur’anie verses do not take into account this aspect, nor do they understand the nature of the various stages through which this movement develops, or the relationship of the verses revealed at various occasions to each stage. Thus, when they speak about jihad, they may speak clumsily and mix up the various stages, distorting the whole concept of jihad in an effort to use the Qur’anic text to establish general principles and rules for which there exists no justification. This is because they regard every verse of the Qur’an as if it were the final principle of the din. This group of thinkers, which is a product of the sorry state of the present Muslim generation, has nothing but  [*46]  the label of Islam and has laid down its spiritual and rational arms in defeat They say, “Islam has Prescribed only defensive war” and think that they have done some good for their faith by divesting it of its method, which is to abolish all injustice from the earth, to being people to the worship of Allah alone, and to bring them out of servitude to servants into the service of the Lord of servants Islam does not force people to accept its belief, but it wants to provide a free environment in which they will have the choice to believe. What it wants to abolish it those oppressive political systems under which people are prevented from expressing their freedom to choose whatever beliefs they want, and after that it gives them complete freedom to decide whether to accept Islam or not.

A third aspect of this universal din is the compatibility of the new resources or methods which it used during its progressive movement with its fundamental principles and aims. From the very first day, whether the Prophet, peace be on him, addressed his near relatives, or the Quraish, or the Arabs, or the entire world, his call was one and the same, He called them to submit to One Lord and to reject the lordship of other men On this Principle there is no compromise net any flexibility. To attain this purpose proceeds according to a plan, which has certain stages, and every stage has its own resources, as we have just described.

A fourth aspect of the Islamic movement is the legal basis it provides for the relationship of the Muslim community with other groups, as is clear from the quotation from Zahd al-Ma’ad. This legal formulation is based on the principle that Islam: — that is, submission to Allah — is a universal Message which the whole of mankind should either accept or accommodate. No political system or material power should put obstacles in the way of preaching Islam. Every government and nation should leave every individual free to accept or reject it. If someone wants to accept Islam, no one should prevent him or fight him If someone does so, then it is the duty of Islam to fight him until he either is killed or declares his submission.

When writers with defeatist and apologetic mentalities write about “jihad in Islam,” and try to remove this ‘blot’ from Islam, they mix up two chine first, this din forbids the imposition of its belief by force, as is clear from the verse: “There is no compulsion in religion.” Secondly, it tries to annihilate all tlto5 Political and material powers that stand between people and Islam, which forces some people to bow before other people and prevent them from accepting the sovereignty of Allah. These two Principles are independent of each other, and there is no justificatiio0 for mixing them up These defeatists, however, mix the two aspects confining jihad to what today  [*47]  is called ‘defensive war’. The Islamic jihad has no relationship to modern warfare, either in its causes or in the way in which it Is conducted. The causes of Islamic jihad should be sought in the very nature of Islam and its role in the world, and in its high principles, assigned to it by Allah and for the implementation of which Allah sent the Prophet, peace be on him, as His Messenger and declared him to be the last of all Prophets and Messengers. This din is a universal declaration of the freedom of man from slavery to other men and to his own desires, which is also a form of human servitude. It is a declaration that the sovereignty belongs only to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. It challenges all such systems based on the concept of the sovereignty of man, i.e., where man attempts to usurp the attribute of Divine sovereignty. Any system in which the final decisions arc refereed to human beings, and in which the source of all authority are men, deifies human beings by designating others than Allah as lords over men. This declaration means the usurped authority of Allah be returned to Him and the usurpers thrown out — those who by themselves devise laws for others, elevating themselves to the status of lords and reducing others to the status of slaves. In short, to proclaim the authority and sovereignty of Allah means to eliminate all human kingships and to announce the rule of the Sustainer of the universe over the entire earth. In the words of the Qur’an:

 

He alone is God in heaven and on earth.[7]

The command belongs to Allah alone, He commands you not to worship anyone except Him, This is the right way of life.[8]

Say: O People of the Book come to what is common between us: that we will not worship anyone except Allah, and will not associate anything with Him, and will not take lords from among ourselves besides Allah; and if they turn away, then tell them to bear witness that we are those who have submitted to Allah.[9]

 

The way to establish the rule of Allah on earth is not to give some consecrated people — the priests — the authority to rule, as was the case with she rule of the Church, nor to appoint some spokesmen of Allah as rulers, as is the case in a 'theocracy'. To establish Allah’s rule means to enforce His laws so the final decision in all affairs be according to these laws. Preaching alone is not enough to establish the dominion of Allah on  [*48]  earth, to abolish the dominion of man, to take away sovereignty from the usurper and return it to Allah, and to bring about the enforcement of the Divine shari’ah and the abolition of man-made laws. Those who have usurped the authority of Allah and are oppressing Allah’s creatures are not going to give up their power merely through preaching, If it had been so, the task of establishing the din of Allah in the world would have been very easy for the Prophets of Allah! This is contrary to the evidence from the history of the Prophets and from the struggle of uncounted generations.

This universal declaration of the freedom of man on earth from every authority except that of Allah, and the declaration that sovereignty belongs to Allah alone and that He is the Lord of the universe, is not merely a theoretical, philosophical, and passive proclamation. It is a positive, practical, and dynamic message with a view to bringing about the implementation of the shari’ah of Allah and actually freeing people from their servitude to other men in order to bring them into the service of Allah, the one without rivals, This cannot be attained unless both “preaching” and “the movement” are used. This is so because appropriate means are needed to meet any and every practical situation.

Because this eternal din proclaims the freedom of man on earth from all authority except that of Allah, it confronts every period of human history — yesterday, today, and tomorrow — the obstacles of contrary beliefs and concepts, physical force, and political, social, economic, racial, and class structures. Another obstacle is corrupted beliefs and superstitions mixed with genuine Islamic principles coexisting with it and leaving a permanent mark on people’s beans and minds.

Preaching confronts beliefs and idem while the “movement” tackles material obstacles. Foremost among these is political power resting on a complex of interrelated ideological, racial, class, social, and economic structures. These two approaches — preaching and the movement — in unison confront ‘the human situation’ with all the necessary means to achieve their common goal. For the achievement of the freedom of man on earth — of all mankind throughout the earth — it is necessary that these two methods be employed simultaneously. This is a very important point and cannot be over-emphasized.

This din is not merely a declaration of the freedom of the Arabs, net a message confined to the Arabs, It addresses itself to the whole of mankind, and its sphere of operation is the whole world. Allah is the Sustainer not merely of the Arabs, and ills providence is not limited to those who believe in the faith of Islam. Allah is the Sustainer of the whole world. This din aims at bringing hack the entire human race to its Sustainer and to free it from servitude to anyone other than Allah.  [*49] 

In the sight of Islam, the teal servitude is obeying laws devised by man. Anyone who serves someone or something other than Allah in this sense is outside the din of Allah; although he or she may claim to profess Islam as a religion. The Prophet, peace be on him, clearly stated that, according to the shari’ah, “to obey” is “to worship.” It was in this background when the Jews and Christians elevated others as lords whom they obeyed and “disobeyed”, they were dubbed as those who “associate others with Allah.” Tirmidhi has reported on the authority of ‘Adi ibn Hatim that when the Prophet’s message reached him, he tan away to Syria (he had accepted Christianity before the Prophet’s time), but his sister and some of the people of his tribe became prisoners of war. The Prophet, peace he on him, treated his sister kindly and gave her some gifts. She went back to her brother and invited him to Islam, and advised him to visit the Prophet, peace he on him. ‘Adi agreed. When became into the presence of the Prophet, he was wearing a silver cross. The Prophet, peace be on him, recited the verse. “They (the People of the Rook) have taken their rabbis and priests as lords other than Allah.” At this, ‘Adi reports “I said, “They do not worship their priests.” Allah’s Messenger said, Isn’t it true that whatever their priests and rabbis declare permissible, they accept as permissible, and whatever they say is forbidden, they consider it forbidden. And thus they worship them.” This explanation of the above verse by the Prophet, peace be on him, makes it clear that obedience to human laws and judgments is a sort of worship, and anyone who does this is considered out of the din, because he or she is taking some men as lords over others, whereas the din seeks to annihilate such practices, declaring that all men and women should be free of servitude to anyone other than Allah.

When they have no such freedom, then it becomes incumbent upon Muslims to launch a struggle through individual preaching as well by initiating an activist movement to restore theft freedom, and to strike hard at all those political powers that force people to bow to their will and authority, defying the commandments of Allah, and denying people the freedom to listen to the message of Islam, and to accept it even when they wish to do so. After annihilating the tyrannical force, whether political or a racial tyranny, or domination of one class over the other within the same race, Islam establishes a new social, economic and political system, in which all men and women enjoy real freedom.

Islam does not force its beliefs on people, but Islam is not merely belief. “As we have pointed nut, Islam is a declaration of the freedom of every man or woman from servitude to other humans, It seeks to abolish all those systems and governments that are based on the rule of some men over others, or the servitude of some to others. When  [*50]  Islam liberates people from these external pressures and invites them to its spiritual message, it appeals to their reason, and gives them complete freedom to accept or reject it. This freedom, however, does not mean that they may elevate their desires into gods, or that they may willingly remain in the servitude of other human beings, some men lords over others. Whatever system is to be established in the world ought to be based on the authority of Allah, deriving its laws from Him alone. Then every individual is free, under the protection of this universal system, to adopt any belief he wishes to adopt. This is the only way in which din, which is a comprehensive way of lift, can be purified for Allah alone. The word din here includes more than belief; it means a complete way of life bated on Islamic belief, But in an Islamic system there is no room for people to follow their own divergent beliefs, while obeying the laws of the country based on the Divine authority.

Anyone who understands this particular character of the din will also understand the purpose of jihad bil saif (striving by the sword), which is to clear the way for freedom to strive through preaching in support of the Islamic movement. He will understand that Islam is not a “defensive movement” in today’s narrow technical sense of “defensive war.” This narrow meaning is ascribed to it by those who are puzzled under the pressure of circumstances and are confined by the wily attacks of the Orientalists, who distort the concept of Islamic jihad. It is a movement to wipe out tyranny and to introduce true freedom to mankind, using resources practically available in a given human situation, and it had definite stages, for each of which it utilized new methods.

If we insist on calling Islamic jihad a defensive movement, then we must change the meaning of the word “defense” and mean by it “the defense of man” against all those forces that limit his freedom. These forces may take the form of beliefs and concepts, as well of political systems based on economic, racial, or class distinctions. At the advent of Islam the world was full of such systems just as the present-day jahiliyyah abounds in various systems.

When we take this broad meaning of the word “defense,” we understand the true character of Islam, in that it proclaims the universal freedom of every person and community from servitude to any other individual or society, the end of man’s arrogance and selfishness, the establishment of the sovereignty of Allah and His Lordship throughout the world, and the rule of the Divine shari’ah in human affairs.

Those superficial thinkers who interpret Islamic jihad in the narrow sense of defensive war, claim that the battles fought in Islamic jihad were all for the defense of the homeland of Islam — some of them considering the homeland of Islam to be just the Arabian peninsula — [*51]  against the aggression of neighboring powers. These people fail to understand the nature of Islam and its primary aim.

Can anyone say that if Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, or ‘Uthman had been satisfied that the Roman and Persian powers were not going to attack the Arabian peninsula, they would not have striven to spread the message of Islam throughout the world? How could the message of Islam have spread in the face of such material obstacles, the political tyranny of an absolutist state, socio-economic system based on races and classes, and supported by the military might of tyrannical governments? It would be naive to assume that a call to free the whole of humankind throughout the world may he effected by preaching and exposition of the message alone. Indeed, because “there is no compulsion in religion,”[10] it strives through preaching and exposition when there is freedom of communication and when people are free from all extraneous pressures. But when the above-mentioned obstacles and practical difficulties are put in its way, it has no recourse but to remove them by force so when it is addressed to peoples’ hearts and minds, they are free so accept or reject it with open minds.

Since the objective of Islam is a decisive declaration of man’s freedom, not merely on the philosophical plane but also in the actual life, it must employ jihad. It is immaterial whether the homeland of Islam — in the true Islamic sense, dar al-Islam — is in a condition of peace or whether it is threatened by its neighbors. When Islam calls for peace, its objective is not a superficial peace requiring only that the part of the earth where the followers of Islam are residing remain secure. The peace of Islam means that din (i.e., the law of the society) be purified for Allah, that all people should obey Allah alone, and every system that permits some people to rule over others be abolished.

After the Prophet, peace be on him, only the final stages of the movement of jihad are to he followed; the initial or middle stages are not applicable. They have ended, and as Ibn Qayyim states; “Thus, after the revelation of the surah Bara’ab, the unbelievers were of three kinds; adversaries in war, people with treaties, and dhimmies.[11] The people with treaties eventually became Muslims, so there were only two kinds left; people at war and dhimmies. The people at war were always afraid of him. Now the people of the whole world were of three kinds; the Muslims who believed in him; those with whom he had peace; and the opponents who kept fighting against him.” These arc the logical positions consonant with the character and purpose of the universal din, and not what is understood by the people  [*52]  who are defeated by present difficult conditions and confused by the attacks of the wily Orientalists.

Allah held back Muslims from fighting in Makkah and in the early period of their migration to Madinah, and told them, “Restrain your hands, and establish regular prayers, and pay zakat.”[12] Next, they were permitted to fight when war was waged against them, because they were oppressed, and Allah was able to help them. These were the people who were expelled from their homes without cause. The next stage came when the Muslims were commanded to fight against those who fight against them: “Fight in the cause of Allah against those who fight you.”[13] And finally, war was declared against all the polytheists: “And fight against all the polytheists, because they all fight against you;” “Fight against those among the People of the Book who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day, who do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, and who do not consider the true religion as their religion, until they ace subdued and pay jizyah.”[14]

Thus, according to the explanation by Imam ihn Qayyim, the Muslims were first restrained from fighting; then they were permitted to fight; later un they were commanded to fight against the aggressors; and finally they were commanded to fight against alt the polytheists.

With these verses from the Qur’an and with many traditions of the Prophet, peace be on him, in praise of jihad, and with the entire history of Islam, which is full of jihad, the heart of every Muslim rejects the explanation of jihad invented by those people whose minds have accepted defeat under unfavorable conditions and under the attacks on Islamic jihad by the shrewd Orientalists.

What kind of a man is he who, after listening to the commandments of Allah and the traditions of the Prophet, peace be on him, and after reading the whole history of Islamic jihad, still thinks that it is a temporary injunction related to transient conditions and that it is concerned only with the defense of borders? In the verse permitting Muslims to fight, Allah informed them that He checks one group of people by another, a law laid down by Him, so that the world maybe cleansed of corruption.

“Permission to fight is given to those against whom war is made, because they are wronged, and verily, Allah is able to help them. These are the people who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right — (for no cause) except that they say, ‘Our Lord is Allah.’ Had Allah not checked one people by another, then surely synagogues and  [*53]  churches and mosques, in which the name of Allah is remembered often would have been pulled[15]. Thus, this struggle is not a temporary phase but an eternal state, because truth and falsehood cannot co-exist on this earth. Whenever Islam made the universal declaration that Allah’s Lordship be established over the entire earth and men be free from servitude to other men, the usurpers of Allah’s authority on earth have struck out against it fiercely; they never tolerated it. Islam was obligated to strike back and free man throughout the earth from the clutches of these usurpers. The eternal struggle for the freedom of man will continue until all religion is for Allah, and man is free to worship and obey his Sustainer.

The command to refrain from fighting during the Makkan period was a temporary phase in a long journey. The same reason was operative during the early days of hijra, but after these early phases, the reason for jihad was not merely to defend Madinah, Indeed, its defense was necessary, but this was not the ultimate aim. The aim was to protect the resources and the center of the movement — the movement to free mankind and demolish the obstacles that prevented mankind from attaining this freedom.

The reasons for refraining from fighting during the Makkan period can be easily understood. Initially, in Makkah preaching was permitted. The Messenger, peace be on him, was under the protection of the Banu Hashim and hence he had the opportunity to declare his message openly; he had the freedom to speak to individuals and to groups and to appeal to their hearts and minds. There was no organized political power that could prevent him from preaching or prevent people from listening to him. At this stage there was no need for the use of force. Besides this, there were other reasons as explained in my commentary, Fi Zilal al-Qur’an, in explanation of the verse, “Have you seen the people to whom it was said, ‘Restrain your hands, and establish regular prayers, and pay zakat?’”[16] It may be useful so reproduce parts of this explanation here:

 

A reason for prohibiting the use of force during the Makkan period may have been that this was a period of training and preparation in a particular environment, for a particular nation, and under particular conditions.

 

Under these circumstances, an important factor in training and preparation was to train the individual Arab to he patient under oppression to himself or those he loved, to conquer his pride and not to make personal revenge or revenge for one’s  [*54] dear ones the purpose of one’s life. Training was also needed so that he could learn control of his nerves, not lose his temper at the first provocation — as was his temperament — nor get excited at the first impulse, and so that he could develop dignity and composure in his temperament and in his actions, he was to he trained to follow the discipline of a community under the direction of a leader, and to refer to this leader in every matter, and to obey his injunctions, even though they might he against his habit or taste. The aim was to develop individuals of high character who would constitute the Muslim community, who would follow the directions of the leader, and who would be civilized and progressive free of wild habits and tribalism.

Another reason for prohibiting may have been that the Quraish were proud of their lineage and honor, and in such an environment only persuasion could he most appealing and effective. At this stage, fighting would have resulted in kindling the fires of revenge. There was already much tribal warfare based on blood feuds, such as the wars of Dains, Gabra and Basus, which continued for years and annihilated tribe after tribe. If blood feuds were to become associated in their minds with Islam, then this impression would never have been removed. Consequently, Islam, instead of beings call toward the true religion, would have become an unending sequence of tribal feuds and its basic teachings would have been forgotten at the very beginning. Another reason may have been the desire to avoid sowing the seed of discord and bloodshed in every household. At that time, there was no organized government torturing and persecuting the believers; the believer was persecuted, tortured, and “taught a lesson” by his own peers.

Under these circumstances, permission to fight would have meant that every house would have become a battlefield. The people would have said, “So, this is Islam!” In fact, this was said shout Islam, even though fighting was not permitted.

During the season when the people of Arabia came to Makkah for pilgrimage and commerce, the Quraish would have gone to them and would have said, “Muhammad is not only dividing his nation and his tribe; he is even dividing sons from fathers! What kind of a religion is this which incites the son to kill his father, the stave to kill his master, in every house and in every locality? One reason may have been that Allah knew that a great majority of those who persecuted and tortured the early Muslims would one day become the loyal soldiers of Islam, even its great leaders, Was not ‘Umar ibn  [*55]  al-Khattab one of them? Another reason may have been that the sense of honor of the Arabs, especially in a tribal framework, comes to the help of the person who is persecuted but does not concede defeat, especially if the persecuted are honored by the people. Several such incidents can be quoted to support this thesis. When Abu Bakr, who was an honorable man, left Makkah in order to migrate to some other place, lbn al-Daghna could not bear it and restrained him from leaving because he considered it a disgrace to the Arabs; he offered Abu Bakr his own protection. The best example of such an incident is the tracing up of the contract under which the Banu Hashim were confined to the Valley of Abu Talib and the period of their hunger and privation seemed unreasonably long. This chivalry was a peculiarity of the Arabs, white in ancient “civilisations,” which were accustomed to seeing people humiliated, those who suffered and were persecuted were laughed at, ridiculed, and treated with contempt, and the oppressor and the tyrant were respected.

Still another reason may have been that the Muslims were few in number and they lived only in Makkah, as the message of Islam had not reached other parts of Arabia or had reached them only as hearsay. Other tribes considered it a domestic quarrel of the Quraish. They were watching for the outcome of this struggle. Under these circumstances, if fighting had been allowed, this limited warfare would have resulted in the complete annihilation of the Muslims. Even if they had killed a great number of their opponents, they would still have been completely annihilated. Idolatry would have continued and the dawn of the Islamic system would never have arrived and would never have reached its zenith, so that Islam could be revealed as a practical way of life for all mankind.

Fighting was prohibited in the early Medinan period as well. The reason for this was that the Prophet, peace he on him, had signed a pact with the Jews of Madinah and with the unbelieving Arabs in and around Madinah, an action that was necessary at this stage for several reasons.

First, there was an open opportunity for preaching and persuasion. There was no political power to circumscribe this freedom. The whole population accepted the new Muslim polity and agreed upon the leadership of the Prophet, peace be on him, in all political matters. In the pact, it was agreed by all parties that no one would make peace or declare war or establish relations with any outsider without the express permission of   [*56]  the Prophet, peace he on him. Thus, the real power in Madinah was in the hands of Muslim leadership. The doors were also open for preaching Islam and there was freedom of belief.

Secondly, at this stage the Prophet, peace be on him, wanted to conserve all his efforts in order to combat the Quraish, whose relentless opposition was a great obstacle in spreading Islam to other tribes, which were waiting to see the final outcome of the struggle between the two groups of the Quraish. This is why the Prophet, peace be on him, hastened to send scouting parties in various directions. The first such party was commanded by Hamza ibn Ahdul Muttalib, and it went out during the month of Ramadan, only six months after the migration.

Other scouting parties were sent out. One during the ninth month after hijra, another in the thirteenth month, and yet another sixteen months after hijra. In the seventeenth month he sent a party under the leadership of Abdullah ibn Jahash.

This party encountered some resistance and some blood was shed. This occurred during the month of Rajah, which was considered a sacred mouth. The following verse of Surah al-Baqarah refers to it: “They ask you about fighting in the sacred months. Say: Fighting in them is a great sin, but to prevent people from the way of Allah, and to reject Allah, and to stop people from visiting the Sacred Mosque, and to expel people from their homes are a much greater sin, and oppression is worse than killing.”[17]

During Ramadan of the same year, the Battle of Bade took place which was reviewed in Surah al-Anfat.

If this stage of the Islamic movement is viewed in its proper perspective, then there is no justification for saying the basic aim of the Islamic movement was “defensive” in the narrow sense of this term. The guidance of the Qur’an on this point, however, is quite clear:

 

They ought to fight in the way of Allah who have sold the life of this world for the life of the hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of Allah and is killed or becomes victorious, to him shall We give a great reward. Why should you not fight in the way of Allah for those men, women, and children who have been oppressed because they are weak and who call, “Our Lord! Take us out of this place whose people are oppressors, and raise for us an ally, and send for us a helper.” Those who  [*57]  believe, fight in the cause of Allah, while those who do not believe, fight in the cause of tyranny. Then fight against the friends of Satan. Indeed, the strategy of Satan is weak.”

Say to those who deliberately deny the truth that if they desist, then whatever they have done before will be forgiven them; but if they turn back, then they know what happened to earlier nations. And fight against them until there is no oppression and all religion is wholly for Allah. But if they desist, then Allah is watching over their actions. But if they do not, then know that Allah is your Ally and He is your Helper.[18]

Fight against those among the People of the Book who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day, who do not forbid what Allah and His messenger have forbidden, and who do not consider the true religion to be their way of life, until they are subdued and pay fizyah.

The Jews say: “Ezra is the Son of Allah,” and the Christians say; “The Messiah is the Son of Allah.” These are mere sayings from their mouths, copied from those who preceded them and disbelieved. Woe to them; how they are perverted! They have taken their rabbis and priests as well as the Messiah, son of Mary as lords other than Allah, although they were commanded to worship none but Allah, the One. There is no god but He, glory be to Him above what they associate with Him! They desire to extinguish Allah’s light with their mouths, and Allah intends to perfect His light, although the unbelievers may be averse).[19]

 

The reasons for jihad described in the above verses are these; to establish Allah’s authority on earth; to arrange human affairs according to the true guidance provided by Allah; to abolish all the Satanic forces and Satanic systems of life; to end the lordship of some men over others, since all men are creatures of Allah and no one has the authority to make others his slaves or to make arbitrary laws for them. These reasons are sufficient for proclaiming jihad. One should always keep in mind, however, that there is no compulsion in religion; that is, once the people are free from the lordship of men, the law governing civil affairs will be purely that of Allah, while no one will be forced to change his beliefs and accept Islam.   [*58] 

 

The purpose of jihad in Islam is to secure complete freedom for every man throughout the world by releasing him from servitude to other human beings so that he may serve Allah, Who is One and who has no associates. This is what motivated the early Muslims to fight in the cause of Allah. If they had been asked, “Why are you fighting?” none would have answered, “My country is in danger; I am fighting for its defense,” or “The Persians and the Romans have attacked us,” or “We want to extend our dominion and want more spoils” They would have answered the same as Raba’i ibn ‘Amer, Huzaifa ibn Muhsin and Mughira ibn Sh’una answered when the Persian general Rustum asked them one by one during three successive days before the battle of Qadisiyyah: “For what purpose have you come? Their answer was the same: “Allah has sent us to bring anyone who wishes from servitude to men into the service of Allah alone, from the narrowness of this world into the vastness of the hereafter, and from the tyranny of religions into the justice of Islam, Allah raised a Messenger for this purpose to teach His creatures His way. If anyone accepts this way of life, we turn back and give his country back to him, and we fight with those who rebel until we are martyred or become victorious.” These are the reasons inherent in the very nature of the universal din. Similarly, its proclamation of universal freedom, its practical way of combating actual human conditions with appropriate methods, its development of new resources at various stages, has also been inherent in its message from the very beginning, and not because of any threat of aggression against Islamic lands or against the Muslims residing in them. The reason for jihad lies in the nature of its message and in the actual conditions it finds in human societies, and not merely in the necessity for defense, which may he temporary and of limited extent. A Muslim fights with his wealth and his person “in the way of Allah” for the sake of these values in which for him neither personal gain nor greed is a motive.

Before a Muslim steps into the battlefield, he has already fought a great battle within himself against Satan, against his own desires and ambitions, his personal interests and inclinations, the interests of his family and of his nation; against anything that is not from Islam; against every obstacle that comes into the way of worshipping Allah and implementing the Divine authority on earth by returning this authority to Allah and taking it away from the rebellious usurpers.

Those who say that Islamic jihad was merely for the defense  [*59]  of the “homeland of Islam” diminish the greatness of the  Islamic way of life and consider it less important than their “homeland.” This is not the Islamic point of view; it is a creation of the modern age and is completely alien to Islamic consciousness, The soil of the homeland has, in itself, no value or weight. From the Islamic point of view, any homeland has value only to the extent that on it the rule of Allah is established and His guidance is followed, so that the homeland becomes a fortress for Islamic belief, a homeland for its way of life, and a center for the movement for the total freedom of man, so that one’s homeland becomes a “homeland for Islam. “ In this case the defense of the “homeland of Islam” means the defense of Islamic beliefs, the Islamic way of life, and the Islamic community. This, however, is not the ultimate objective of the Islamic movement of jihad but b a means to establish the Divine authority within making it the headquarters for the movement of Islam, which is then to be carried throughout the world to the whole of mankind, because the object of this din is all humanity and its sphere of action is the whole earth.

As we have described earlier, there are many practical obstacles in establishing the rule of Allah on earth, such as the power of the secular state, elitist social systems and traditions, and, in general, the overall conditions prevalent in a society. Islam uses force only to remove these obstacles so that no barrier remains between Islam and individual human beings; Islam releases them from these material constraints and addresses their hearts and minds, while giving them freedom of choice to accept or reject its call.

We ought not to be deceived or embarrassed by the attacks of the Orientalists on the origin of jihad, not lose self-confidence under the pressure of present conditions and the weight of the great powers of the world to such an extent that we seek ostensible reasons for Islamic jihad contrary to the nature of this din by trying to show that it was just a defensive measure under temporary conditions. The need for jihad remains, and will continue to remain, whether these conditions exist or net! In pondering historical events, we should not neglect the relevance of elements inherent in the nature of the eternal din, especially its declaration of universal freedom and its practical approach. We ought not to confuse these with temporary needs of defense.

No doubt Islam must defend itself against aggressors. Islam’s very existence as a general declaration of the universal  [*60]  Lordship of Allah and of the freedom of man from servitude to any being other than Allah, its commitment to organize a movement with a new leadership after removing the present jahili leadership, and its effort to create a distinct and permanent community based on Divine authority and submission to the One God, Allah, are sufficient cause for the surrounding jahili society, which is based on human authority in some form or another, to rise against it in order to preserve itself by suppressing Islam. Clearly, under these conditions, the newly-organized Islamic community will have to prepare itself for defense. The question of Islam liking or disliking such a situation, is irrelevant for it is imposed upon Islam. This is quite natural for two systems that cannot co-exist for long. Islam has no choice but to defend itself against aggression.

 

But still there is another more important fact. By its very nature Islam liberates human beings everywhere from servitude to anyone other than Allah. It cannot be restricted within any geographic or racial confines, because this would leave mankind in evil, chaos and servitude to lords other than Allah.

Some enemies of Islam may consider it expedient not to take any action against Islam, if Islam leaves them alone in their geographical boundaries with some men lords over others and does not propagate its message of universal freedom within their domain. But Islam cannot agree to this unless they submit to its authority by paying jizyah, which will be a guarantee that they have opened their doors for Islam and will not put any obstacles in its propagation through the power of the state.

This is the character of this din and this is its function as a declaration of the lordship of Allah and the freedom of every man and every community from servitude to anyone other than Allah.

There is a great difference between this concept of Islam and the view that Islam is confined to geographical and racial boundaries and does not take any action except out of fear of aggression. In the latter case, alt its inherent dynamism is lust.

To understand the dynamism of Islam with clarity and depth, it is necessary to remember that Islam is a way of life for man prescribed by Allah. ft is not a man-made system, nor an ideology of a group of people, nor a way of life peculiar to a specific race. We cannot resort to external reasons to justify jihad unless we overlook this great truth and unless we forget that the basic point here is the sovereignty of Allah and the obedience of His creatures, it is impossible for a person to appreciate this cardinal truth and yet seek other reasons for Islamic jihad.

In the early stage of the Islamic movement one cannot appreciate the difference between the concept that war was forced upon Islam  [*61]  by jahiliyyah because its very nature demanded that jahili societies would attack it, and the concept that Islam must take the initiative and enter into this struggle. In the early stages of the Islamic movement it is difficult to discriminate between these two concepts, because in either case Islam will have to do battle. In the final stages, however, when the initial battles are won, distinguishing the two concepts makes a great difference in understanding the purpose and significance of the Islamic message. And herein lies the danger.

There is also a great difference between the idea that Islam is a Divinely-ordained way of life and the idea that it is a geographically-bounded system. According to the first idea, Islam came into this world to establish the rule of Allah on Allah’s earth, to invite all people toward the worship of Allah, and to make its message concrete in the form of a Muslim community where individuals are free from servitude to men and come together to serve Allah and follow the shari’ah This Islam has a tight to remove all obstacles in its path so it may address human reason and intuition without any interference or hindrance from political establishment. According to the second idea, Islam is merely a national system which has a right to take up arms only when its homeland comes under attack.

In the case of either concept, Islam has to strive and to struggle; but its objectives and its results are entirely different, both conceptually and practically.

Indeed, Islam has the right to take the initiative. Islam is not a heritage of any particular race or country. This is Allah’s din and it is for the whole world. It has the right to destroy all obstacles in the form of institutions and traditions that restrict man’s freedom of choice, It does not attack individuals nor does it force them to accept its beliefs. It attacks institutions and traditions in order to release human beings from their pernicious influence, which distorts human nature and curtails human freedom.

Islam has the obligation and the right to release mankind from servitude to human beings so that they may serve Allah atone, and so give practical meaning to its declaration that Allah is the true Lord of all and that all men are free under Him. According to the Islamic concept and in actuality, Allah’s rule on earth can be established only through the Islamic system, as it is the only system ordained by Allah for all human beings, whether they be rulers or ruled, black or white, poor or rich, ignorant or learned. It has the same law for alt, and all human brings are equally responsible within it. In all other systems, human beings obey other human beings and follow man-made laws. Legislation is a Divine attribute. Any person who concedes this right   [*62]  to any human claimant, whether he considers him Divine or not, in reality accepts him as Divine.

Islam organizes its followers in its own way which the hostile societies seldom tolerate; they seek to put obstructions in its path. This leaves no option for Islam but to fight against them in order to remove all obstacles from the path to universal human freedom. Only in this manner can life be wholly dedicated to Allah.

The Orientalists have painted a picture of Islam as a violent movement which imposes its belief upon people by the sword. These dishonest Orientalists know very well that this is not true, but by this method they try to distort the true objectives of Islamic jihad. When some of the Muslims scholars — these defeated people — search for the rationale of “defense” with which to refute this accusation, in their ignorance of the nature of Islam and its function, they ignore the fact that Islam has a right to take the initiative for human freedom.

These research scholars, with their defeated mentality, have adopted the Western concept of “religion,” which is merely a name for “belief” in the heart, having no relation to the practical affairs of life, and therefore they conceive of religious war as a war to impose a particular belief on other people by force.

But this is not the case with Islam, as Islam is the way of life ordained by Allah for all mankind, seeking to establish the Lordship of Allah alone — that is, the sovereignty of Allah — and directing practical life in all its daily details. Jihad in Islam is simply a name for striving to make this system of life prevail in the world.

Thus, wherever an Islamic community exists as a concrete example of the Divinely-ordained system of life, it has a Divinely-given right to step forward and establish political authority, so that it may establish the Divine system on earth, white leaving the matter of belief to individual conscience. When Allah restrained Muslims from jihad for a certain period, it was a question of strategy rather than of principle; this was a matter pertaining to the requirements of the movement and not of belief. Only in the light of this explanation can we nndcrstaod those verses of the Noble Qur’an which are concerned with the various stages of this movement. In reading these verses, we should always keep in mind that one of their meanings is related to the particular stages of the development of Islam, while there is another general meaning related to the unchangeable and eternal message of Islam, We should not confuse these two aspects.


 

 

Chapter V

LA ILAHA ILLA ALLAH — THE WAY OF LIFE OF ISLAM

 

 

La ilaha illa Allah — “There is no god except Allah” — is the first part of the Islamic declaration of faith, meaning that there is no one to lie worshipped except Allah; Muhammad al-Rasul Allah — “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” — is the second part, meaning that this worship is to be carried out according to the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him. A believer is one whose heart is completely satisfied and convinced with this declaration; all the remaining articles of faith and the pillars of Islam are derivatives of it. Thus, belief in angels and the Books and Messengers of Allah and the life hereafter and qadr as well as belief in and practice of the pillars, salah (regular prayers), siyam (fasting), zakat (poor-due) and hajj (pilgrimage), and the limits set by Allah of permissible and forbidden things, and indeed, all human affairs, laws, and Islamic moral teachings, are based on the foundation of belief in Allah, and the source of all these teachings is the person of the Prophet, peace he on him, through whom Allah has revealed them to us.

A Muslim community is a practical interpretation of the declaration of faith and all its corollaries; A society that does not translate into practice this faith and its corollaries, is not Islamic.

Thus the declaration of faith provides the foundation for a complete system of life for the Muslim community in all its details. This way of life cannot come into being without securing the foundation first. Similarly, if the system of life is constructed in some other foundation, or if other sources are mixed with this foundation, then that community cannot be considered Islamic. Allah says: “The  [*64]  command belongs to Allah alone. He commands you not to worship anyone except Him. This is the right way of life.”[20]

Whoever obeys the Prophet obeys Allah.

This concise and decisive declaration guides us in the basic questions of our religion and in its practical movement, First, it guides us to the nature of the Muslim community; second, it shows us the method of constructing such a community; third, it tells us how to confront jahili societies; and fourth, it determines the method by which Islam changes the conditions of human life. All these issues have always been and will remain of great importance in the various stages of the Islamic movement.

The distinctive feature of a Muslim community is that in all its affairs it is based on worship of Allah alone. The declaration of faith expresses this principle and determines its character both in beliefs and in devotional acts; and this declaration takes a concrete form in the principles of the shari’ah and its subsidiary rules and regulations.

A person who does not believe in the Oneness of Allah does not really worship Allah.

Allah has said: “Take not (for worship) two gods: For He is just One God: Then fear Me and Me (alone).” To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and on earth, And to Him is duty due always: Then will you feat other than Allah?[21]

Anyone who performs devotional acts before someone other than Allah — in addition to Him or exclusively — does not worship Allah.

 

Say: “Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds; no partner has He: this am I commanded, and I am the first of those who bow to His Will.[22];

 

Anyone who derives laws from a source other than Allah, or in a way other than what He taught us through His Prophet, peace be on him, does not worship Allah.

 

What! Have they partners (in godhead), who have established for them some religion without the permission of Allah?[23]

So take what the Messenger assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you.[24]

 

This is the Muslim community. In this community the beliefs and ideas  [*65]  of individual persons, and their devotional acts and religious observances, as well as their social system and their laws, are all based on submission to Allah alone. If this attitude is eliminated from any of these aspects, the whole of Islam is eliminated, because it would eliminate the first pillar of Islam that is, the declaration, “There is no god except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” Only through this attitude of complete submission to Allah can this group be a Muslim group and the community that it organizes becomes Islamic. Before adopting this purity of attitude no group can be a Muslim group, and until it organizes its system of life on this principle, no society can be Islamic The reason for this is that the first principle on which Islam is based, La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammada al-Rasul Allah, is not established in both of its parts. Before thinking of organizing a Muslim community, and establishing the Islamic social system one must purify the hearts of people from the worship of anyone or anything other than Allah as we have described above. Only those whose hearts are so purified will come

together, and only such a group of people, whose beliefs and concepts and devotional acts and laws are completely free of servitude to anyone other than Allah can build a Muslim community. Anyone who wants to live an Islamic life will automatically enter into this community, and his belief, his acts of worship, and the laws he follows, will also be purified for Allah alone. In other words, he will he an embodiment of La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad al-Rasul Allah.

In this manner the first Muslim group was formed and eventually developed into the first Islamic community. This is the only way to start any Muslim group if it is to become an Islamic community.

An Islamic community can come into existence only when individual persons and groups of people reject servitude to anyone except Allah, whether in addition to Him or exclusively and bow in submission to Allah, Who has no associates, and decide to organize their pattern of life on the basis of this submission. From this a new community is born, which emerges from within the old jahili society and 1nniediate1y confronts it with a new belief and a new way of life, and a concrete embodiment of the creed, “There is no god except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” The old jahili society may become submerged into the new Islamic society or it may not, and it may make peace with the Muslims or it may fight them. History tells us, however that the jahili society always chooses to fight and not to make peace. It normally attacks the vanguard of Islam at its very inception whether it be a few persons, or larger groups, or it may wait until this vanguard has become a well-established community. From Noah to Muhammad, peace be on them, without exception, this has been the response of jahili society to the call of Islam.  [*66] 

It is clear, then, that an Islamic community cannot he formed or continue to exist until it attains sufficient power to confront the existing jahili society. This power must be at all levels; that is to say, it must have the power of belief and concept, the power of training and moral character, the power to organize and sustain a community, and whatever physical power is necessary, if not to dominate, at least to sustain itself against the onslaught of the jahili society.

But what is the jahili society, and by what method does Islam confront it? The jahili society is any society other than the Islamic society; and if we want a more specific definition, we may say that any society is a jahili society if it does not dedicate itself to submission to Allah alone in its beliefs and ideas, in its observances of worship, and in its legal norms.

According to this definition, all the societies existing in the world today are jahili.

Included among these is the communist society first because it denies the existence of Allah Most High and believes that the universe was created by “matter” or by “nature,” while all man’s activities and his history have been created by “economies” or “the means of production”; second, because the way of life it adopts is based on submission to the Communist Party and not to Allah. A proof of this is that in all Communist countries the Communist Party bas full control and leadership. Furthermore, the practical consequence of this ideology is that the basic needs of human beings are considered identical with those of animals, that is, food and drink, clothing, shelter, and sex. It deprives people of their spiritual needs, which differentiate human beings from animals. Foremost among these is belief in Allah and the freedom to adopt and to proclaim ibis faith. Similarly, Communism deprives people of their freedom to express individuality, which is a very special human characteristic. The individuality of a person is expressed in various ways, such as private property, the choice of work, she attainment of specialization in work, and expression in various an forms; and it distinguishes him from animals and from machines. The Communist ideology and the Communist system reduce man to the level of an animal or a machine.

All idolatrous societies are also among the jahili societies. Such societies are found in India, Japan, the Philippines, and Africa. Their jaN11 character consists, first, of the fact that they believe in other gods besides Allah, in addition to Him or without Him; and, second, that they have constructed an elaborate system of devotional acts to propitiate these false gods. Similarly, the laws and regulations that they follow are derived from sources other than Allah and His shari‘ah, whether these sources be priests or astrologers or magicians, the elders of the nation, or the secular institutions that formulate laws. Such institutions attain absolute authority in the name of the nation or a party or on some other  [*67]  basis, whereas absolute authority belongs to Allah alone and only He must be obeyed as shown to us by the Prophets, peace be on them.

All Jewish and Christian societies today to some degree or other are also jahili societies. They have distorted the original beliefs and ascribe certain attributes of Allah to other beings. The Worship of God or the Trinity is one such example. Sometimes it is expressed in a concept of Allah which is remote from reality.

 

The Jews call ‘Uzayra son of God, and the Christians call Christ the son of God. That is a saying from their mouths, (its this) they but imitate what the Unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth.[25]

They do blaspheme who say Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One God. If they desist not from their word of (blasphemy), verily s grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them.[26]

The Jews say: “God’s hand is tied up.” Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for the (blasphemy) they utter. Nay, both His hands are widely outstretched: He gives and spends (of His bounty) as He pleases.[27]

(Both) the Jews and the Christians say; “We are sons of God, and his beloved.” Say: “Why then does He punish you for your sins? Nay, you ace but men-of the men he has created.”[28]

 

These societies are jahili also because their forms of worship and their customs and manners are derived from their false and distorted beliefs. They neither accept the rule of Allah nor do they consider Allah’s commandments as the only valid basis of all laws. On the contrary, they have established assemblies of men which have absolute power to legislate laws, thus usurping the right which belongs to Allah alone. At the time of Revelation, the Qur’an classified them along with those who associate others with Allah because they had given their priests and rabbis the authority to devise laws howsoever they pleased.

Little has changed since in this respect; among them even today this authority — that belongs to Allah alone — though not in the hands of priests and rabbis, it is still denied to Allah and rests with some people that they elect from among themselves.

Lastly, all the existing so-called “Muslim societies” are also jahili societies.

We classify them among jahili societies not because they believe in   [*68]  other gods besides Allah or because they worship anyone other than Him, but because their way of life is not based on submission to Allah alone. Although they believe in the Oneness of Allah, still they have relegated the legislative attribute of Allah to others and submit to this authority, and from this authority they derive their systems, their traditions and customs, their laws, their values and standards, and almost every practice of life. Allah Most High says concerning such rulers, “Those who do not judge according to what Allah has revealed are unbelievers.”[29]

 

Have you not seen those who declare that they believe in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you, but who desire to take their disputes to the evil one, though they were commanded to reject him. But Satan wants only to lead them astray far away (from the Right).[30]

But no, by your Lord, they can have no (real) faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and then find in their souls no resentment against your decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction.”[31]

 

The Qur’an, at one place, accuses the Jews and Christians of committing shirk (associating false gods with Allah), and of unbelief, and taking their priests and rabbis as lords besides Allah, because they had delegated certain rights and privileges to their priests and rabbis, which today some of the so called “Muslims” have delegated to some people from among themselves. This action of the Jews and Christians was placed by the Qur’an in the same category of shirk as the Christians’ making Jesus into the Son of God and worshipping him. The latter is a rebellion against Allah, while the former is a rebellion against His prescribed way of life and a denial of “there is no god except God.” Among Muslim societies, some openly declare their “secularism” and negate all their relationships with Islam. Some others pay respect to Islam only with their lips, but in their social life have completely abandoned it. They say that they do not believe in the “Unseen” and want to construct their social system on the basis of “science,” since science and the Unseen are contradictory! This claim of theirs is mere ignorance; only ignorant people can talk like this. Some other societies have given the authority of legislation to others besides Allah, making whatever laws they please, and then say, “This is the shari’ah of Allah.” All these societies are the same in one respect, namely, that none is based on submission to Allah alone.

After explaining these facts, the position of Islam in relation to all  [*69]  these jahili societies can be described in one sentence: it considers all these societies un-Islamic and illegal.

Islam does not look at the labels or titles that these societies have adopted.

They all have one thing in common. Their way of life is not based on complete submission to Allah alone. In this respect they share the same characteristic with a polytheistic society, the characteristic of jahiliyyah.

We have now come to the last of the points mentioned in the beginning of this chapter, and that point concerns the method that Islam adopts — today, tomorrow, or in the remote future — in confronting actual human conditions. This method has been described in our discussion on the nature of the Muslim community, which must base all its decisions on submission to Allah alone.

Islam is very clear and unambiguous on this point. The only valid basis for human life is the religion of Allah and the pattern of life it provides. Its absence demolishes the very first pillar of Islam: La ilaha illa Allah Muhammad al-Rasul Allah. Without a willing acceptance and unquestioningly abiding by what it dictates, complete submission to Allah, as taught by His Messenger, may Allah shower His blessings on him, cannot he fully realized.

 

So take what the Messenger assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you.[32]

 

Furthermore, when the QurӞan asks, “Do you know best or does Allah?” and then answers, “Allah knows and, you do not know,” and “You have been given only a little of the (true) knowtedge,” it underlines an important fact.

Allah Who knows everything, Who has created man, and Who is our Sustainer must also be the Ruler, and His eternal religion ought to he the only right way of life. Man should therefore turn to Him alone for guidance. Man-made theories and religions become outmoded and obsolete, based as they are on the limited knowledge of men — those who do not know, and to whom only a little of the true knowledge is given. The religion of Allah, on the other hand, is relevant to all times and places; it never can become outmoded or obsolete.

The din of Allah is not a maze, nor is its way of life fluid, because the second part of the declaration of faith, “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,” clearly specifies it. It is bounded by the principles that have come to us from the Messenger of Allah, peace be on him — if a clear text is available from the Qutr’an or from him, then it will be taken as derisive and it must he abided by all Muslims. in these cases there is no room for ijtihad (using one’s own judgement). However, in eases where no such clear text is available, we may have recourse  [*70] to ijtihad, according to well-defined principles laid down for this purpose, rather than merely following our own opinions or desires.

If you have a difference of opinion concerning something, refer it to Allah and His Messenger.[33]

The principles of ijtihad and deduction are clearly defined and well known; there is no vagueness or any element of uncertainty in them. No one is allowed to devise a law on his own and then claim that it accords with the Shari’ah unless Allah is accepted as the sole legislator and source of authority. rather than a nation, a party or an individual. For this purpose a sincere attempt must be made to know the will of Allah as revealed through His Book and the sunnah of His Messenger, peace be on him. This right cannot, however, he delegated to a person or a group desirous to establish their own authority in the name of Allah, as was the case in Europe under “the Church.” There is no “Church” in Islam; no one can speak in the name of Allah except His Messenger, peace be on him. There are clear injunctions that define the Divine Law, the Shari’ah.

Al-din lil-waq’i (“the din is for living”) is a statement that is sometimes misunderstood and is being used in a wrong sense. Certainty the din is for living, but for what kind of life? This din of Islam is for a life based on its principles, and developed according to its methods. This life is completely harmonious with human nature and satisfies all human needs, because both the din and human needs are determined by their Creator Who knows His creation well “Should He not know — He that created? And He is the one that understands the finest mysteries (and) is well-acquainted (with them).”[34]

It is not for Islam, the universal din, or for that matter, for any religion to provide justification for the kind of life someone wants to lead and to provide an authority to justify his or her actions. All religion is to provide a criterion, for approving what is good and discarding what is evil. If the whole system of life is against the religion, then its function is to abolish this system and to establish a new one. This is the meaning, according to Islam, of the saying “the din is for living.” The question may be asked, “Is not the good of mankind the criterion for solving practical problems?” But again we must ask ourselves the question that Islam asks, and which it answers, namely, “Do you know better, or Allah?” and “Allah knows, and you do not know.” The good of mankind is inherent in the Sbari’ah sent down by Allah to the Prophet, peace be on him. Those who think their  [*71]  good is in going against what Allah has willed and legislated for them, they are deluded in their thinking.

 

They follow but speculation and theft own desires, although guidance has come to them from their Sustainer. Or shall man have whatever he fancies? And to Allah belongs the first and the last.[35]

 

Such people are truly unbelievers. A person cannot openly declare that in his opinion his good ties in going against what Allah has prescribed, and yet at the same time claim to follow the din and even he considered an Islamic scholar, for this would be a contradiction in terms.  [*72]  [*73]


 

 

Chapter VI

 

THE UNIVERSAL LAW

 

 

Islam constructs its foundation of belief and action on the principle of total submission to Allah alone. Its beliefs, forms of worship, and rules of life are a Uniform expression of this submission, and a practical interpretation of the Principle that there is no god except Allah. The details of life are derived from the practice of the Messenger of Allah, peace be on him, and flow from the second principle: “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” Islam builds its entire structure in such a way that these two parts of the declaration determine its system and its characteristics. When Islam builds its structure in this manner, giving it a separate and unique position among all other systems known to man, it achieves harmony with the universal law, which is operative not only in human life but throughout the whole universe.

The whole universe has been created by Allah. It came into existence

when Allah willed it, and then He ordained certain natural laws according to which its various parts operate harmoniously:

 

When We wish to bring something into existence. We simply say to it, “Be”, and it is.[36]

And He created everything, and measured it in due proportion.[37]

 

Allah’s Will administers the universe, His power moves it, and His Law regulates it. He maintains a balance between she various parts of the universe and controls their motions; they neither collide with each other nor is there any disturbance in their functioning, nor do they randomly come to a sudden stop, nor are they thrown into chaos. This will continue as long as the Divine Will wishes it to continue. The  [*74]  entire universe is subservient to his Will, Power, and Dominion; it cannot function even for a single moment without obeying His Will and ordained law. This is what makes the whole creation function so harmoniously and smoothly, without any flaw or disturbance.

 

Indeed, your Sustainer is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six periods and then established Himself upon the throne of sovereignty. He causes the night to cover up the day and the day to follow the night. The sun and the moon and the stars are controlled by His command. The creation and the command are for Him alone. Glorious is Allah, the sustainer of the worlds.[38]

 

Man is a part of the universe; the laws that govern human nature are no different from the laws governing the universe. Allah, the Creator of the universe, is also the creator of man. Man’s body is made of earthly material, yet Allah has bestowed upon him certain characteristics that make him more than the earth from which he is made. Allah provides him according to a measure. In his bodily functions, man involuntarily follows the same laws of nature as other creatures.

His creation is the result of the Will of Allah rather than of his father and mother. The father and mother may come together; but they cannot transform a sperm into a human being. Mao is horn and nursed to maturity its accordance with the laws prescribed for him. He breathes air in the quantity and fashion determined by divine Wilt. His feelings, understanding, his experiences of pain, hunger and thirst, the way he eats and drinks — in short, in ail these he has to live according to the laws of Allah and he has little choice in the matter. In this respect there is no difference between him and other inanimate or animate things. All unconditionally submit to the Will of Allah and to the taws of His creation.

He Who has created the universe and man, and Who made man subservient to the laws that also govern the universe, bas also prescribed a shari‘ah for his voluntary actions. 1f man follows shari‘ah it results to a harmony between his life and his nature. From this point of view, the Shairi’ah is also a part of the same universal law that governs the entire universe, including the physical and biological aspects of man.

Each word of Allah, whether it is an injunction or a prohibition, a promise or an admonition, or a rule or guidance, is a part of the universal law and is as accurate and true as any of the laws known as the “laws of nature — the Divinely-ordained laws for the universe —  which we find to be operative every moment according to what Allah has prescribed for them from the dawn of creation.

Thus the Shari’ah given to man to organize his life, is also a universal law, because it is related to the general law of the universe and is harmonious with it. Thus obedience to the Shari’ah is necessary for human beings in order to bring their lives in harmony and in tune with the rest of the universe. Furthermore, the only way to such harmony between the physical laws that operate in the biological life of man and the moral laws that govern his voluntary actions, is possible only through obedience to the shari‘ah. Only in this way does man’s personality, internal and external, become integrated.

Mao cannot understand all the laws of the universe, net can he comprehend the unity of this system; he canner even understand the laws that govern his own person, from which he cannot deviate by even a hair’s breadth. He is incapable of making laws for a system of life that is already in complete harmony with the universe and brings harmony between his physical needs and his external behavior. The Creator of the universe and of men, Who alone controls the universe and human affairs, has the capability of formulating such uniform taws ensuring complete harmony in His creation.

Thus, obedience to the Shari‘ah of Allah is a necessary condition for harmony, even more necessary than the establishment of Islamic belief, as no individual or group of individuals can be truly Muslim until they wholly submit to Allah as taught by the Messenger of Allah, peace be on him, testifying by their actions that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger.

Total harmony between human life and the law of the universe is entirely beneficial for mankind, as the only guarantee against any discord in life. People can he at peace with themselves and at peace with the universe only when they are in the state of harmony that comes from living in accord with the laws of the universe and its movements, to the same way, they will have peace of mind, because their actions will then conform to the demands of their true selves without any conflict between the two. Indeed, the Shari’ah of Allah harmonizes the external behavior of man with his true nature in an easy way. When a man is at peace with himself, peace and cooperation among individuals follow automatically, because they all live together under the same system, which is a part of the general pattern of the universe.

This, in turn, brings blessings to mankind, helps him unravel the secrets of nature, harness its hidden forces, and treasures concealed in the vast expanse of the universe, for the benefit of all, under the   [*76]  guidance of the Shari’ah of Allah, without any conflict or competition.

In contrast to the Shari’h of Allah are men’s whims: 'Had the Truth followed their opinions, the heavens and the earth and whosoever is in them, would surely have been corrupted.”'

From this we know that the Truth is one and not many. It is the foundation of the universal din, the heavens and earth are based upon it, and all the affairs of this world and of the next are settled by it; man is accountable to Allah on the basis of it, those who deviate from the Truth are punished by it, and people will be judged by Allah according 10 it. Truth is indivisible for it is the same general law that God has ordained for all affairs; and everything in existence either follows it or suffers for defying it.

 

We have sent to you a Book in which is a message for you; will you, then, not understand? Many a town have We utterly destroyed because of their iniquities, and have replaced with other people. When they felt Our grasp, they started to run. (It was said to them), “Do not run; return to the luxury that you exulted in and to your homes; maybe you shall be questioned.” They said, “Woe to us! We have been evil-doers,” So they did not slop crying until We made them stubble, silent and still. We did not create the heavens and the earth and Whatsoever is between them as a sport. Had We desired to take to Us a diversion, We would have taken it to Its from Ourselves, had We done so. Nay, but We hurl the Truth against falsehood, and it knocks out its brain, and behold, falsehood does vanish away! Ah! woe to you for the (false) things you ascribe (to Us).

To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth, and those who are with Him are not too proud to serve Him; neither do they grow weary of glorifying Him by night and by day and never failing.[39]

 

Human nature in its depths has full cognizance of this truth. Man’s form and body, and the organization of the vast universr around him, reminds him that this universe is based on truth, and truth is its essence, and iris related to a central law that sustains it. Thus, there is no disturbance in it, no conflict between its parts; it does not move at random, nor does it depend on chance; it is nut without an overall plan, nor is it a sport al the mercy of human caprice. It runs smoothly on a precise, detailed and prescribed course. Conflict begins when  [*77]  man, swayed by his desires, deviates from the truth imbedded in the depths of his innate nature, and when be tries to follow laws of his own making, or follows his own opinion instead of Allah’s commandments, or instead of submitting to his Sustainer with the rest of the universe, he revotts against Him.

When this conflict between man and his own nature, and man and the universe, spreads to human society, nations, and races, then all the forces and resources of the universe are utilized for destruction and violence against others rather than for the benefit of mankind.

It becomes clear from the above discussion that the purpose of the establishment of Allah’s law on earth is not confined merely to the next world. This world and the next world are not two separate entities, but are rather complementary to each other. The law given by Allah not only harmonizes these two, but also harmonizes human life with the general law of the universe. When harmony between human life and the universe is achieved, its results are not delayed to the next world but are visible even in this very life, though they reach their perfection in the hereafter.

This, then, is the foundation of the Islamic concept of the universe and of human life as a part of this universe. by its very nature, this concept is different from all other concepts known to man. This is why this concept implies certain responsibilities and obligations that are not found in other concepts of life.

Obedience to the Shari’ah of Allah is imperative in order to harmonize human life with the law that is operative within man himself and in the rest of the universe. For this, the law governing the social affairs of society should be in full harmony with the general law of the universe. In other words, man must submit to Allah alone, as the rest of the universe does, and no man should lord over others.

A case in point is the conversation between Abraham, peace be on him, the father of the Muslim community, and Nimrod, a tyrant who claimed absolute sovereignty over his subjects, but hr did not extend his claim of sovereignty over the heavens, the planets, and stars. When the Prophet Abraham, peace he on him, said only God Who has

authority over the universe must also have authority over human beings, he became speechless:
 

Have you considered the ease of the man who argued with Abraham, concerning his Sustainer, because Allah had granted him power? When Abraham said, “My Lord is He Who gives life and death,” he replied, “I give life and death.” Abraham said, “Indeed, Allah brings out she sun from the Fast. Then do  [*78]  you cause it to rise from the west.” Thus was the unbeliever confounded, nor does Allah guide an unjust people,6 Do they seek a religion other than the religion of Allah while whatever is in the heavens and the earth submits to Him willingly or unwillingly, and will return to Him?[40]  [*79] 


 

 

Chapter VII

 

ISLAM IS THE REAL CIVILIZATION

 

 

Islam knows only two kinds of societies, the Islamic and the jahili.

The Islamic society is a community that follows Islam in belief and ways of worship, in law and organization, and in morals and manners. The jahili society does not follow Islam; it spurns the Islamic belief and concepts, Islamic values and standards, Islamic laws and regulations, and Islamic morals and manners.

A truly Islamic society is not one where people call themselves “Muslims,” but the Islamic law has no status, even if prayers, fasting and pilgrimage are practiced and observed. It is also not an Islamic society in which people follow their own version of Islam, contrary to what Allah and His Messenger, peace be on him, have prescribed and explained, and call it, for example, “progressive Islam.” Jahili society appears in various forms, all of them in defiance of Divine Guidance.

Sometimes it takes the form of a society in which belief in Allah is denied, human history is explained in terms of “dialectical materialism,” and “scientific socialism” becomes its system. Sometimes it appears in the form of a society in which existence of Allah is not denied, but His domain is restricted to the heavens and His rule on earth is suspended. Neither the Shari’ah nor the values prescribed by Allah and ordained by Him as eternal and invariable find any place in its scheme of life. In such a society, people are permitted to attend mosques, churches, and synagogues; yet it does not tolerate any demand by them that the Shari’ah of Allah be applied in their daily affairs. in such a society Allah’s sovereignty on earth, is openly denied or suspended, while the Qur’an says: It is He Who is sovereign in the heavens and Sovereign in the earth.

Because of this behavior, such a society can not he considered as  [*80]   following the religion of Allah as defined by Him: The (authority to) command belongs to Allah alone. He commands you not to worship anyone except Him. This is the right way of life.”[41]

Because of this, such a society is counted among jahili societies, although it may proclaim belief in Allah and permit people to worship in mosques, churches, and synagogues.

The Islamic society, as a community of moral persons by its very nature, is the only civilized society, and the jahili societies, in all their various forms, are backward societies, It is necessary to elucidate this important truth.

Once I announced the title of one of my forthcoming hooks as “The Civilized Society of Islam,” but in my next announcement I dropped the word “civilized” from it. As this change, an Algerian author (who writes in French) commented that the reason for this change is the psychological condition of a person white defending Islam. The author expressed regret at this expression of immaturity which was preventing me from facing reality! I excused this Algerian author because at one time I myself was of the same opinion. At that time my ideas were similar to his. I encountered the same difficulty then that he is encountering today, in appreciating the real meaning of the word “civilization.” Until then, I had not rid myself completely of the cultural influences that had affected my thinking in spite of my Islamic attitude and inclination. The source of these influences was foreign — alien to my Islamic consciousness — yet these influences had clouded my intuition and concepts, The Western concept of civilization was my criterion, and it prevented me from seeing clearly.

Later, however, I realized very clearly that the Islamic society is the only civilized society, therefore, the word “civilized” in the title of my book was redundant and did not add anything new. Rather it would have obscured the thinking of the reader in the same way as my own ideas had been obscured.

Anyhow, what is the meaning of “civilization?” A society in which sovereignty belongs exclusively to Allah and finds expression b its obedience to the Divine Law, and every person is set free from servitude to others, only then does he tasse true freedom. This alone is “human civilization,” because the basis of human civilization is the complete and true freedom of every person and the full dignity of every individual in the community. On she other band, in a society in which some people are lords who legislate and others are slaves who obey them, there is no freedom in the real sense, nor dignity for the individual.  [*81]  

It is necessary to understand the point that legislation is not limited only to legal matters, since some people do in fact assign this narrow meaning to the Shari’ah. The fact is that attitudes, the way of living, values, criteria, habits, and traditions are alt legislated and affect people. If a particular group of people forges all these chains to imprison others in them, it will not be a fret society. In such a society some people have the position of authority, while others are subservient to them. This society will he backward, and in Islamic terminology is called a “jahili” society.

An Islamic society is unique in so far as in it authority belongs to Allah alone, and man, freeing himself from servitude to other human beings, serves only Allah, attaining the real and complete freedom, the focus of human civilization, to this society, human dignity and honor ace sacrosanct in law prescribed by Allah. Man, as the vicegerent of Allah on earth, attains a position even higher than that of the angels.

In a society based on the concept, belief, and way of life, originating from Allah, man’s dignity is held inviolable to the highest degree: no one is a slave to another, as they are in societies in which the concepts, beliefs, and way of life originate from human sources. In the former society, man’s noblest characteristics — both spiritual and intellectual — find fullest expression, while in a society based on color, race, nationalism, or other similar bases, these degenerate into fetters for human thought and a means for suppressing nobler human attributes and qualities. Alt men are equal regardless of their color, race, or nation, but when they are deprived of spirit and reason they are also divested of their humanity. Man is able to change his beliefs, thinking, and attitude toward life, but he is incapable of changing his color and race, nor can he decide in what place or nation he is to be born. Thus it is clear that a society is civilized only to the extent that human associations are based on a community of free moral choice, and a society is backward in so far as the basis of association is something other than free choice. In Islamic terminology, it is a jahili society.

Only Islam has she distinction of basing the fundamental, binding relationship of the community in belief on the basis of this belief, black and white and red and yellow, Arabs and Greeks, Persians and Blacks; all the nations of earth become one community. In this community Allah is the Lord and only He is worshipped, the most honorable is the one who is noblest in character and all persons are equally subject to a law that is not man-made but made by their Creator.

A society that places the highest value on the “humanity” of man, and honors the noble “human” characteristics is truly civilized. If materialism, no matter what form, is the highest value, whether it be  [*82]  in the form of a theory,” such as in the Marxist interpretation of history, or in the form of material production, as is the case in the United States and European countries, and all other human values are sacrificed at its altar, then such a society is a backward one, or, in Islamic terminology, is a jahili society.

The civilized society, that is, the Islamic community, does not downgrade the material aspect, either in theory or in material production, because it considers the universe in which we live, by which we are influenced and which we influence, to be made of matter, and it considers material production to be of prime importance for man to truly function as the vicegerent of Allah on earth, In the Islamic community, however, material comforts are not elevated as the highest value, at the expense of “human” characteristics, e.g. freedom and honor, family and its obligations, and moral values, as is the case in jahili societies.

If a society is based on “human values” and “human morals” and these remain dominant in it, then that society will be a civilized community, Human values and human morals are not something mysterious and indefinable, net are they progressive and changeable, having no roots and stability, as is claimed by the exponents of the materialistic interpretation of history or of “scientific socialism.” Human values and morals develop the character of a human being, distinguish him from the animals emphasizing those aspects of his above the purely animal level.

Viewed in this manner the line separating man from animals becomes quite clear, and the incessant attempts of the progressives and the so-called scientific societies cannot obscure it. The fact is that these moral values are not determined by the environment and changing conditions; rather they are fixed criteria and supersede all differences in environments. We cannot label moral values as “agricultural” or “industrial,” some “capitalistic” or others “socialistic,” some “bourgeois” and others “proletarian.” Standards of morality are independent of the environment, economic status, and the stage of development of a society. These are nothing but superficial variables. Beyond all these, there are “human” values and morals or “animalistic” values and morals, this being one demarcation between the two sets of values, or, in Islamic terminology we may say there are “Islamic” values and morals and jahili values and morals,

Indeed, Islam establishes the values and morals that are “human,” i.e. which develop such characteristics in a human being distinguishing him from animals. In whatever society Islam is dominant, whether it is an agricultural or industrial society, nomadic and pastoral or urban and settled, poor or rich, it implants these human values and morals,  [*83]  and nurtures and strengthens them. it develops human characteristics and safeguards them against degeneration toward animalism. The line that separates human values from those of animal characteristics is vertical and moves upward; but if this direction is reversed, then no matter how developed materially, a civilization will still be  “retrogressive” and jahili! If the family is the basis of the society, with the division of labor between husband and wife, and the upbringing of children the most important function of the family, then such a society is indeed civilized. Under the Islamic scheme of life, the family provides the environment in which human values and morals flourish and are transmitted to the next generation. These values and morals cannot exist in the absence of the family unit.

If, on the other hand, permissive relationships and illegitimate children become the norm in society, and the relationship between men and women is based on pure lust, passion, and impulse, when there is no division of work or responsibility within a family according to the natural gifts of each partner, when a woman’s role is nothing more than being attractive, sexy, and flirtations, and she is freed from her primary responsibility of rearing the next generation, when of her own will or under social pressure she prefers to be a hostess or a stewardess in a hotel or ship or airline, to use her abilities to augment material productivity rather than “squander” them on rearing and educating children because material production is regarded as more important, more valuable and more honorable than the development of human character, then such a civilization is “backward” from the human point of view, or jahili in Islamic terminology.

The family system and the relationship between the sexes determine the whole character of a society and whether it is backward or civilized, jahili or Islamic Societies that give preeminence to physical desires and animalistic morals cannot be considered civilized, no matter how much progress they may make in industry or science This is the only measure by which true human progress can really be gauged.

In all modern jahili societies, the meaning of “morality” is limited to such an extent that whatever distinguishes man from the animal is considered beyond its sphere. In these societies, illegitimate sexual relationships, even homosexuality, are not considered immoral. The meaning of ethics is limited to economic affales or sometimes to political affairs, especially as these concern “government interests.” For example, the scandal of Christine Keeler and the British Minister Profumo was not considered serious in British society because of its sexual aspect. It was condemnable because Christine Keeler was also involved with a naval attache of the Russian Embassy. Her association  [*84]  with a cabinet minister thus was a danger to state secrets. On top of this, the minister lied before the British Parliament! Similar scandals come to light in the U.S. Senate. Englishmen and Americans who get involved in such spying scandals usually take refuge in Russia. These affairs arc not considered immoral because of sexual deviations, but because of the danger to state secrets! Among jahili societies, writers, journalists and editors advise both married and unmarried people that free sexual relationships are not immoral. But it is immoral if a boy uses his partner, or a girl uses her partner, for sex, while feeling no love in his or her heart. It is bad if a wife continues to live with her husband when she feels no love for him any more. In such a case it is advisable for her to find another lover Scores of stories are printed and circulated on this theme. Many newspaper editorials, articles, cartoons, and serious and light columns all invite the reader to this way of life.

From the point of view of “human” progress, all such societies are not civilized but are backward.

The tine of human progress goes upward from animal desires toward higher values. To control the animal desires, a progressive society lays down the foundation of a family system in which human desires find satisfaction, and the future generation is brought up in such a manner as to ensure continuance of human civilization, in which human characteristics flower and blossom to their full bloom. Obviously a society wanting to control the animal characteristics while providing full opportunities for the development and perfection of human characteristics requires strong safeguards for the peace and stability of the family, so that it may perform its basic function without distraction from the unruly desires. On the other hand, if in a society immoral teachings and pernicious suggestions are rampant, and sexual activity is considered outside the sphere of morality, the humanity of man can hardly find opportunities or a place to develop in such a society.

Only Islamic values and morals, and Islamic teachings and safeguards, are worthy of mankind. These provide a permanent and true measure of human progress. Islam is the real civilization and Islamic society a truly civilized community.

Lastly, when man establishes the vicegerency of Allah on earth in toto, by dedicating himself to His service and freeing himself from servitude to others; when he establishes the system of life ordained by Allah and rejects all other systems; when he organizes his life according to the Shari’ah of Allah, refusing to accept any other laws; when he fully conforms to the values and standards of morality that are pleasing to Allah and repudiates all other standards; and, then,  [*85]  when he examines the laws governing this life and universe and uses them for the benefit of all mankind, and explores the resources hidden away in the earth in fulfillment of the charge laid on him by Allah as His vicegerent unearth; when lie unearths the treasures and resources of fund and raw materials for industry, and uses his technical and professional knowledge for the development of various trades and industries, while being fully conscious of Allah and his obligation towards Him; when in brief, his whole attitude toward various material and moral aspects of life is infused with this spirit, only then does man become completely civilized, and only such a moral community can reach the pinnacle of civilization. In Islam, mere material inventions are no substitute for absence of civilization, since a jahili society can also have material prosperity. In many places in the Qur’an, Allah has described societies of this kind, which did enjoy material prosperity while remaining jahili.

 

(Hud said to his people): “What is the matter with you that you make a memorial at every high place and build palaces as if you are immortal? And when you lay hand (on others), you lay hand (on them) cruelly, without any restraint. Be, then, conscious of Allah, and obey me. Be conscious of Him Who provided you with all that you might think of. He provided you with flocks, and children, and gardens, and rivers, for, verily, I fear lest a suffering befall you on an awesome day.[42]

(Salih said to his people) “Do you think that you will be left secure (forever) here among these things — among gardens and fountains, farmland, and palm trees with juicy fruit? And that you will (always be able to) carve dwellings out of the mountains with the same great skill? Be, then, conscious of Allah, and obey me, and pay no heed to the counsel of those who are given to excesses — those who spread corruption on earth instead of setting things right.[43]

So when they forgot what they were reminded of, We threw open to them the gates of (all) good things, until — even as they were rejoicing in what they had been granted. We suddenly seized them, and behold they were greatly confounded. And (in the end) the last remnant of those bent on evildoing was wiped out, for all praise is due to Allah, the Sustainer of the Worlds.[44] 

When the earth has taken on its glitter and has decked itself fair, and its inhabitants think they have power over it, Our  [*86]  command comes upon it by night or by day, and We make it as stubble, as if yesterday it had not flourished.[45]

 

But as we have said earlier, Islam does not spurn material progress and material inventions In fact, it considers them, when used under the Divine system of life, as gifts of Allah. In the Qur’an, we find that Allah promises His bounty to people when they are obedient to Him.

 

(Noah said): “A:sk forgiveness from your Sustainer, indeed, He accepts repentance. He will send upon you rain from the sky continuously and will make you powerful through wealth and children, and He will bestow upon you gardens, and bestow upon you running waters.[46]

Had the people of those towns believed and feared Allah, We would have opened blessings upon them from the sky and the earth, but they rejected the truth; so for their evil deeds. We took them to account.[47]

 

But the important tilting is the foundation on which the industrial structure is built, and the values that hind a society and through which a society acquires the, characteristics of' 'human civilization.” Since the basis of the Islamic society and the nature of its growth, into a community, have a unique character, the theories used to explain the establishment and gro1 of jahili societies arc not applicable to it. The Islamic society is; born out of a movement, and this movement continues even within it. It determines the places and positions of individuals inside the community and then assigns them various roles and responsibilities.

The origin of this movement from which this community is born, lies outside the human sphere and beyond this world. Its source is a belief that has come from Allah to mankind, and gives them a particular concept of the “universe, of life, of human history, and of values and purposes, and defines for them a way of life reflecting this concept. The initial impetus for this movement does not come from any human mind, net 1from the physical world, but, as we have stated before, it comes from 0utside the earth and outside the human sphere. This is the first distinctive feature of the Islamic community and its organization.

The origin of this movement as an element from beyond she human sphere and physical World, comes into existence from the will of Allah, it is not the result of any human effort or thinking. In the beginning especially, no human endeavor enters into it. This Divine  [*87]   element sows the seed of the Islamic movement in human hearts and simultaneously prepares them for action and practical life. As soon as a single individual professes this faith, the potential Islamic community is born, for no believer would rest content with mere profession of faith, but rather actively strive to convey its message to others around him. This faith is very virile and dynamic. The power that enkindles the spark of faith In the believer’s heart knows that it will not remain dormant there for long, but will shine forth and soon spread to others.

When the number of believers is increased to three, this faith tells them: “Now you are a community, a distinct Islamic community, distinct from the jahili society that rejects this belief and its basic premises.” At this point the Islamic community actually comes Into existence.

Thereafter it steadily grows; three increase to ten, the ten to a hundred, a hundred to a thousand, and a thousand increase to twelve thousand and so on — and thus the Islamic community grows and is firmly established.

During the progress of this movement, a struggle would already have started within the jahili society. On the one side is this new emerging community, which in its belief, concepts, values, standards, and organization clearly stands apart from the surrounding jahili society against which it strives and from which it gets its new members. This movement, from the moment of its inception until the growth and permanent formation of its community, teats every individual and assigns him a position of responsibility according to his capacity, as measured by she Islamic criteria and standards. This community appreciates and recognizes any talent or merit possessed by its members; they do not have to go about blowing their own trumpets or offer themselves as candidates for various positions of responsibility. In fact, their Islamic belief and moral values would rather tend to make them hide away from public gaze, or from those in authority who would burden them with positions of trust and responsibility.

But the movement, which is a natural outgrowth of the Islamic belief and lies at the very core of the Islamic community, does not let any person to hide himself. Every person of this community must move! There should be a movement in his belief, a movement in his organic community and in its structure, and since the jahiliyyah is ail around him and its residual influences may still be there in his mind and in the minds of those around him, the struggle must go un and the jihad continue until the Last Day.

The ups and downs through which the movement passes determine  [*88]  the position and work of every person in the movement. The organic body of this community is completed through harmony between its Individuals and their activities,

This kind of beginning and this method of organization are two of the prominent characteristics of the Islamic community that distinguish it from other societies in respect of its existence and structure, its nature and its form, and its system and the method of regulating this system, and make it a unique and distinct entity. It cannot be understood by social theories alien to it, nor can it be taught by methods foreign to its temperament nor can it be brought into existence by ways borrowed from other systems.

According to our unvarying definition of civilization, the Islamic community is not just an entity of the past, to he studied in history, but is a demand of she present and a hope for the future. Mankind can he dignified, today or tomorrow, by striving toward this noble civilization, by pulling itself out of the abyss of jahiliyyah it stumbles into time and again. This is true not only of the industrially and economically developed nations but also the developing nations

The values to which we referred above as human values were never fully realized by mankind except under Islamic civilization. We also ought to remember that by the term “Islamic civilization” we mean the civilization in which these values flourish, and not a civilization in which progress is made in industry, economies, and science, but in which these values are suppressed.

These values ate not idealistic but are practical values that can be attained through human effort by faithfully following the teachings of Islam. These values can be realized in any social environment, whatever its level of industrial and scientific progress because there is no conflict between them and the material progress. In fact, material prosperity and scientific progress are encouraged by the teachings of Islam, because they pertain to man’s role as the vicegerent of Allah on earth.

In countries which are industrially and scientifically backward, these values teach people not to remain just silent spectators, but to strive for industrial and scientific progress. A civilization with these values can develop anywhere and in any environment, Its actual form, however, depends on the conditions existing in the society in which these values flourish.

The Islamic community, in its form and extent and way of living, is not a fixed historic entity; rather its existence and its civilization are based on values that are fixed by historical realities. The word “historical” used in this context means only that these values took concrete form in a particular period of human history. In fact, these  [*89]  values, by their nature, do not belong to any particular period. They are the truth that bas come to man from the Divine source — beyond the sphere of mankind and beyond the sphere of the physical universe.

The Islamic civilization can take various forms in its material and organizational structure, but the principles and values on which it is based are eternal and unchangeable. These are: to worship only Allah, belief in the Oneness of Allah as the foundation of human relationships, the preeminence of humanity over material benefits, the development of human values while restraining animalistic tendencies and desires, respect for the family, the fulfillment of vicegerency of Allah on earth as instructed by Him, and the supremacy of Shari’ah — the rule of Allah’s law — in all affairs of life.

The forms of the Islamic civilization constructed on these fixed principles depend on actual conditions and are influenced by or modified according to the level of industrial, economic, or scientific progress of a society. These forms are necessarily different and show that Islam possesses flexibility and can penetrate any system to modify it and use it for its own objectives. But this flexibility in the outward forms of Islamic civilization does not mean any flexibility in the basic Islamic belief, which is the fountainhead of this civilization, nor is it borrowed from others, for this flexibility is in the very nature of this din. This must not however, he confused with fluidity. There is a great difference between the two.

When Islam entered the central parts of Africa, it clothed naked human beings, civilized them, brought them out of the deep recesses of isolation, and taught them the joy of work in exploring material resources. It brought them out of the narrow circles of tribe and clan into the vast circle of the Islamic community, and out of the worship of pagan deities into the worship of the Creator of the worlds. If this is not civilization, then what is it? This civilization flourished in a specific environment and used whatever resources were available in it. If Islam operates in a different environment, the emerging civilization may take a somewhat different form, but invariably they all have core Islamic values at their heart, even though they might have utilized different resources available in various social environments.

The development of civilization according to the method and manner of Islam, does not depend on any particular level of industrial. economic, or scientific progress. Wherever this civilization takes root, it uses all the available resources, develops them, and where such resources are non-existent it supplies them and also provides the means for their growth and advancement. In all situations, however, the Islamic community will always guard and conserve its immutable and eternal principles. Wherever, such an Islamic community is  [*90]  formed, its peculiar character and movement will also emerge, emerge, and distinguish it from the jahili societies.

“Our life takes its hue from Allah! And who could give a better hue (to life) than Allah”[48]  [*91] 


 

 

Chapter VIII

 

THE ISLAMIC CONCEPT AND CULTURE

 

 

In the sixth chapter we saw that the first segment of the main pillar of Islam is the dedication of one’s life exclusively to Allah. This is the meaning of La ilaha illa Allah. The second segment means that the way of this dedication comes from the Prophet Muhammad, peace he on him. Muhammad al-Rasul Allah, underlines this very fact. Complete submission to Allah comes by submitting to Him through belief, practice, and observance of the law. No Muslim can believe that any other being can he a god, or that one can “worship” a creature of Allah or that it can be given a position of “sovereignty.” We have already explained the meaning of worship, belief, and sovereignty. In this chapter we will explain the true meaning of sovereignty and its relationship to culture.

In the Islamic concept, the sovereignty of Allah means not merely that one should derive ail legal injunctions from Allah and judge according to these injunctions. In Islam the meaning of the Shari’ah is not limited to mere legal injunctions but includes the principles of administration, its system, and its modes. The narrow meaning (i.e., that the Shari’ah is limited to legal injunctions) does not apply to the Islamic Shari’ah, nor does it agree with the Islamic concept. By the Shari’ah of Allah is meant everything legislated by Allah for ordering man’s life. It includes the principles of belief, principles of administration and justice, principles of morality and human relationships, and principles of knowledge.

The Shari’ah includes Islamic beliefs and concepts and their implications concerning the attributes of Allah, the nature of the universe, what is seen and what is unseen in it, the nature of life, what is apparent and what is hidden in it, the nature of man, and the interrelationships among these. Similarly, it includes political, social,  [*92]  and economic affairs and their principles. It also includes legal matters which is what today is usually referred to as the Shari’ah, while its true meaning in Islam is entirely different. It comprehends the morals, manners, values, and standards of the society, according to which persons, actions, and events are measured, It also touches on all aspects of knowledge and principles of art and science. In all these, guidance from Allah is needed, just as it is needed in relatively narrow sphere of legal matters.

We have discussed the sovereignty of Allah in relation to government and the legal system, and also in relation to matters of morals, human relationships, and values and standards prevalent in a society. The point to note is that the values, standards, the morals, and manners are all based on the beliefs and concepts of the Islamic community and are derived from the same Divine source from which beliefs are derived.

It may appear strange, both to the common man and to writers about Islam, that we turn to Islam and to the Divine source for guidance in spheres of science and art.

A recent book points out that all artistic efforts are but a reflection of a person’s concepts, beliefs, and intuitive perceptions. They reflect whatever picture of life and the world is found in his or her intuition. Not only are all these affairs governed by the Islamic concept, but, this concept provides motivation for a Muslim’s creativity. The Islamic concept of the universe defines man’s relationship to the rest of the universe and to his Creator. Its basic subject is the nature of man and his position in the universe, the purpose of his life, his function, and the true value of his life. These are all included in the Islamic concept, which is not merely an abstract idea, but is a living, active motivating force which influences man’s emotions and actions.

In short, the question of art and literary thought and its relationship to Divine guidance requires a detailed discussion, and, as we have stated before, this discussion may appear strange not only to Westernized people, but even to those Muslims who believe the sovereignty of Allah is limited to legal matters only.

A Muslim cannot look to any source other than Allah for guidance in matters of faith, in the concept of life, acts of worship, morals and human affairs, values and standards, principles of economics and political life, and interpretation of historical processes. Me must therefore learn the social sciences dealing with these matters from a Muslim whose piety and character, belief and conduct, are trustworthy and beyond reproach.

A Muslim may go to a Muslim or to a non-Muslim, however, to learn abstract sciences such as chemistry, physics, biology, astronomy,  [*93]  medicine, industry, agriculture, administration (limited to its technical aspects), technology, military arts, and similar other sciences and arts. The fundamental principle involved here is that when the Muslim community comes into existence it should be able to produce a sufficient number of experts in various fields. Learning these essential sciences and arts is a collective obligation, fard al-kifayah, of the Muslim community. It means that there ought to be a sufficient number of people who specialize in these sciences and arts to meet the needs of the community. If a proper atmosphere is not provided for these sciences and arts to develop in a Muslim society, the whole society will he negligent and sinful. Until such time when a Muslim community has a sufficient number of experts in various sciences, it is permissible for a Muslim to learn them from a Muslim or even a non-Muslim and to gain experience under his or her direction. It is this kind of affairs that are alluded to in the hadith. “You know best the affairs of your business.” These sciences are not related to the basic concepts of a Muslim about life, the universe, man, the purpose of his creation, his responsibilities, his relationship with the physical world and with the Creator. These are also not related to the principles of law, nor to the rules and precepts that regulate the lives of individuals and groups, nor are they related to the morals, manners, traditions, habits, values and standards of a society giving it its distinct character and form. There is no danger that a Muslim, by learning these sciences from a non-Muslim, will falsify his belief or return to jahiliyyah.

The interpretation of human endeavor, whether individual or collective, relates to theories of the nature of man and of historical processes. Similarly, the explanation of the origin of the universe, the origin of the life of man, ate part of metaphysics, and deal with matters that are beyond the confines of abstract sciences, such as chemistry, physics, astronomy or medicine, etc. Their position is similar to the jurisprudential principles and legal rules and regulations that regulate human life. These directly affect man’s beliefs. Therefore it is not permissible for a Muslim to learn them from anyone other than a Muslim who is pious, conscious of Allah in all aspects of his or her life, and who in all such matters looks to Allah for guidance. Every Muslim should know that all these affairs are related to his faith, and that to seek guidance from Allah in these matters is a logical result of belief in Allah and His messenger, Muhammad, peace be on him.

Nevertheless, a Muslim can study various opinions and thoughts of jahili writers, not in order to construct his beliefs and concepts, but to know the aberrations of jahiliyyah, with a view to replace them with the true Islamic belief and counter them with valid and sound Islamic principles.  [*94] 

Branches of knowledge like philosophy, historiography, the interpretation of history, psychology (except for those observations and data that is unaffected by personal opinions of the experimenters), ethics, theology and comparative religion, and sociology (excluding statistics and observations) all have a direction that in the past or the present may have been influenced by jahili beliefs and traditions. This is why all these disciplines, as developed in jahili societies, come into conflict, explicitly or implicitly, with the fundamentals of religion, and especially with Islam.

The situation concerning these areas of human thought and knowledge is not the same as with physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, medicine, etc., as long as these last-mentioned sciences limit themselves to practical experiments and their results, and do not go beyond their scope into speculative philosophy. For example, Darwinist biology goes beyond the scope of its observations, without any rhyme or reason, and only for the sake of expressing an opinion, in making the assumption that to explain the beginning of life and its evolution, there is no need to assume a power outside the physical world.

Concerning these matters, the true guidance from his Sustainer is sufficient for a Muslim. It is so superior to man’s speculative attempts in these fields that they appear utterly ridiculous and absurd.

The statement that “culture is the human heritage” and that it has no country, nationality or religion is correct only in relation to science and technology, so long as we do not jump the boundary of these sciences and delve into metaphysical interpretations, and start explaining the purpose of man and his historical role in secular philosophical terms, even explaining away art and literature and human intuition philosophically. Beyond this limited meaning this statement about culture is one of the tricks played by the secular movement in modern Judaism, whose purpose is to eliminate all limitations, especially the limitations imposed by faith and religion, so that the secular Jews may penetrate into the body politic of the whole world and then may be free to perpetuate their evil designs. At the top of the list of these activities is usury, the aim of which is to accumulate the wealth of mankind in the hands of Jewish financial institutions, which run on interest.

Islam considers that — excepting the abstract sciences and their practical applications — there are two kinds of culture: the Islamic culture, which is based on the Islamic concept, and the jahili culture, which manifests itself in various modes of living, all based on one thing, and that is giving human thought the status of a god so that its truth or falsity is not to he judged according to Allah’s guidance. The  [*95]  Islamic culture is concerned with all theoretical and practical affairs, and it contains principles, methods, and characteristics that guarantee the development and perpetuation of all cultural activities.

We ought to remember the fact that the experimental method, which is the dynamic spirit of modern Europe’s industrial culture, did not originate in Europe, but originated in the Islamic universities of Andalusia and of the East. The principle of the experimental method was an offshoot of the Islamic concept and its explanations of the physical world, its phenomena, its forces, and its secrets. Later, by adopting the experimental method, Europe entered into the age of scientific revival, which led it, step by step, to great scientific achievements. Meanwhile, the Muslim world gradually drifted away from Islam, as a consequence of which the scientific movement first became inert and later died completely. Some of the causes that led to this state of inertia were internal to the Muslim society and some were external, such as the invasions of the Muslim world by the Christians and Zionists. Europe removed the foundation of Islamic belief from the methodology of the empirical sciences, and finally, when Europe rebelled against the church, which in the name of God oppressed the common people, it deprived the empirical sciences of the Islamic paradigm of Divine guidance, on which the sciences were based.

Thus the entire basis of European thought became jahili and completely estranged from the Islamic concept or paradigm, and even became contradictory to it. A Muslim, therefore must return to the guidance of Allah in order to learn the Islamic concept of life. 11e may do this on his own, if possible, or otherwise seek knowledge from a Muslim who is conscious of Allah and whose piety and faith are reliable.

In Islam the saying, “Seek knowledge from the one who knows,” it is not acceptable with respect to those sciences that relate to faith, religion, morals and values, customs and habits, and all those matters that concern human relationships.

No doubt Islam permits a Muslim to learn chemistry, physics, astronomy, medicine, technology and agriculture, administration and similar technical sciences from a non-Muslim or from a Muslim who is not pious — but this under the condition that no pious and God fearing Muslim scientists arc available to teach these sciences. This is she situation that exists now, because Muslims have drifted away from their din and their way of life, and have forgotten that Islam appointed them vicegerents of Allah and made them responsible for learning all the sciences and developing various capabilities to fulfil the high position that Allah has granted them. But Islam does not permit Muslims to learn the principles of their faith, the implications of the  [*96]  Islamic paradigm, the interpretation of the Qur’an, and hadith, the life history of the Prophet, peace be on him, the philosophy of history, the traditions of their community, the constitution of their government, the form of their politics, and similar branches of knowledge from non-Islamic sources or from anyone other than a pious Muslim, whose faith and religious knowledge are known to be reliable.

The writer of these lines has spent forty years of his life with books and research on almost all aspects of human knowledge He specialized in some branches of knowledge and studied others due to personal interest. Then he turned to the fountainhead of his faith. He came to feet that whatever he had read was as nothing in comparison to what he found here. He does not regret spending forty years of his life in the pursuit of these sciences, because he came to know the nature of jahiliyyah, its deviations, its errors, and its ignorance, as well as its pomp and noise, and its arrogant and boastful claims. Finally, he was convinced that a Muslim cannot combine these two sources — the source of Divine guidance and the source of jahiliyyah — for his education.

Even then, this is not my personal opinion. This is a grave matter and is not to be decided merely by some person’s opinion. The question of depending on a Muslim’s opinion does not arise when the Divine criterion provides us a way to judge the matter. This is the decision of Allah and His Messenger, peace be on him, and we refer it to them. We refer it to them in the same manner as is befitting for a believer; as all controversial decisions ought to he referred to the judgement of Allah and His Prophet.

Allah Most High says in general terms concerning the ultimate aims of most Jews and Christians against Muslims:

 

Many among the People of the Book wish to turn you back from your faith toward unbelief, due to their envy, even after the Truth has been known to them; but forgive and excuse them until Allah brings about His decision, Indeed, Allah has power over everything.[49]

The Jews and Christians will not he pleased with you unless you follow their way. Say “Indeed, Allah’s guidance h the true guidance.” And if, after this knowledge has come to you, you follow their desires, then you will find no helper or friend against Allah.[50] 

O you who believe; If you follow a party of the People of  [*97]  the Book, they will return you to the state of unbelief after you have believed.[51]

 

As reported by Hafiz Abu Y’ala (from Hammad, from Sh‘ubi, from Jahir), the Messenger of Allah, peace be on him, said, “Do not ask the People of the Book about anything. They will not guide you. In fact, they are themselves misguided. If you listen to them, you might end up accepting some falsehood or denying some truth. By Allah, if Moses had been alive among you, he would not be permitted (by Allah) anything except to follow me.” After this warning to the Muslims from Allah concerning the ultimate designs of Jews and Christians, it would be extremely short-sighted of us to fall into the illusion that when the Jews and Christians discuss Islamic beliefs or Islamic history, or when they make proposals concerning Muslim society or Muslim politics or economics, they will be doing it with good intentions, or with the welfare of the Muslims at heart, or in order to seek guidance and light. People who still think this way, after this clear statement from Allah, are indeed deluded.

Similarly, the saying of Allah Most High, “Say ‘Indeed, Allah’s guidance is the true guidance,’” determines the unique source to which every Muslim should turn for guidance in all these affairs, because whatever is beyond Allah’s guidance is error and none other than He can guide, as h cleat from the emphasis in the verse, “Say ‘Indeed, Allah’s guidance is the true guidance.’”[52] There is no ambiguity in the meaning of this verse and no other interpretation is possible.

Similarly, there is a decisive injunction in avoid a person who turns away from the remembrance of Allah and whose only object is this world, It is explained that such a person follows mere speculation which a Muslim is forbidden to follow, and he knows only what is apparent in the life of this world and dues not possess true knowledge.

 

Avoid a person who has turned away from Our remembrance and does not desire anything beyond the life of this world, that is their sum-total of knowledge. Your Sustainer knows best who has gone astray from His path, and He knows best who is guided. They only know what is apparent in the life of this world, and are negligent of the Hereafter.[53]

 

A person who is negligent in remembering Allah and is completely occupied with the affairs of this life — and that is the ease with all the secular “scientists” of today — they know only what is apparent, and this is not the type of knowledge on which a Muslim can completely  [*98]  rely except for strictly technical knowledge. He should ignore their interpretations concerning psychology and conceptual matters. This is not the knowledge that is Praised repeatedly in the Qur’an, for example in the verse, “Are they equal — those who know and those who do not know?” Those who take such verses out of context and argue, are in error. The complete verse in which rhetorical question is posed is as follows: “Is one who worships devoutly during the hours of the night prostrating himself or standing (in adoration), who takes heed of the Hereafter, and who places his hope in the mercy of his Lord — (like one who does not)? Say: ‘Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?’ It is those, endued with understanding char receive admonition.”[54] Only such a person who, in the darkness of the night, worships Allah, standing or prostrating, who fears the Hereafter, and hopes for the mercy of his Sustainer, is truly knowledgeable, and it is his knowledge to which the above verse refers, that is the knowledge that guides toward Allah and the remembrance of Him, and not the knowledge that dist05 human nature and leads to the denial of Allah.

The sphere of knowledge is not, limited to articles of faith, religious obligations, or laws about what ii permissible and what is forbidden. Its sphere is very wide. It includes all these and also the knowledge of all the laws in nature and all matters concerning man’s vicegerency from Allah. But any knowledge, the foundation of which is not based on faith, is outside the definition of that knowledge referred to in the Qur’an and the possessors of which are considered praiseworthy. There is a strong relationship between faith and all those sciences that deal with the universe and natured laws, such as astronomy, biology, physics, chemistry, and geology. All these sciences lead man toward Allah, unless they are pervertedly, personal opinions and speculations and presented devoid of the concept of Allah. Such a regrettable situation actually occurred in Europe. In fact, there came a time in European history when very painful and hateful differences arose between scientists and the oppressive Church. Consequently the entire scientific movement In Europe started with Godlessness, This movement affected all aspects of life very deeply. In fact, it changed the entire character of European thought. The effect of this hostility of the scientific community toward the Church did not remain limited to the Church or to its beliefs, but was directed against all religion, so much so that all sciences turned against religion, whether metaphysics, philosophy, or technical and abstract sciences having nothing to do with religion or the matters that it speaks of.

The Western ways of thought 2tnd all the sciences developed in a  [*99]  highly charged and hostile atmosphere with a built in antagonism toward all religion and in particular toward Islam. This enmity toward Islam is especially pronounced and often is the result of a well-thought-out scheme, the object of which is first to shake the foundations of Islamic beliefs and then gradually demolish the structure of Muslim society.

If, in spite of knowing this, we rely on Western ways of thought, even in teaching the Islamic sciences, it will be an unforgivable blindness on our part. Indeed, it is incumbent on its, while pursuing purely scientific or technological subjects for which we have no other resources except Western ones, to remain on guard and not to mix up scientific facts with philosophical speculations as these philosophical speculations are generally baseless and against religion, especially against Islam. Even a slight influence from them can pollute the clear spring of Islam.  [*100]  [*101] 


 

 

Chapter IX

 

A MUSLIM’S NATIONALITY AND BELIEF

 

 

The day Islam gave a new concept of values and standards to mankind and showed the way to learn these values and standards, it also provided it with a new concept of human relationships. Islam came to return man to this Sustainer and to make His guidance the only source from which valises and standards should be obtained, because He is the Provider and Originator. All relationships ought to be shaped in the light of His guidance; we came into being through His will, and we shall, in the end, return to Him.

Islam came to establish only one relationship binding men together in the sight of Allah, and, if this relationship is firmly established, all other relationships based on blood or other considerations disappear.

 

You will not find the people who believe in Allah and the Hereafter taking as allies the enemies of Allah and His Prophet, whether they he their fathers or tons or brothers or fellow tribesmen.[55]

 

In the world there is only one party of Allah; all others are patties of Satan and rebellion.

 

Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the cause of evil. Then fight the allies of Satan; indeed, Satan’s strategy is weak.[56]

 

There is only one way to reach Allah; no other ways lead to Him.

 

This is My straight path. Then follow it, and do not follow other ways because they will scatter you from His path.[57]  [*102] 

 

For human life, there is only one true system, and that is Islam. All other systems arc jahiliyyah.

 

Do they want a judgement of the days of ignorance? Yes who is better in judgement than Allah, fora people having sore faith?[58]

 

Only one law ought to be followed, and that is the Shari’ah, from Allah. All else is mere caprice.

 

We have set you on a way ordained (by Allah); then follow it, and do not follow the desires of those who have no knowledge.[59]

Truth is one and indivisible. Anything different from it is error.

 

Is anything left besides error, beyond the truth? Then whither do you go?[60]

 

Only one place: on earth can be called the home of Islam (dar-al-Islam), and that is the place where the Islamic state is established and the Shari’ah, is enforced and Allah’s limits are observed and where all the Muslims administer the affairs of the community with mutual consultation. The rest of the world is the home of hostility (dar-al-harb). A Muslim can have only two possible relations with dar-al-harb: peace with a contractual agreement, or war. A country with which Muslims may have a treaty is not regarded as the home of Islam.

 

Those who believed, and migrated, and strove with their wealth and their persons in the cause of Allah, and those who gave them refuge and helped them, are the protectors of each other As to those who believed but did not emigrate, you have no responsibility for their protection until they emigrate; but if they ask your help in religion, it is your duty to help them, except against a people between whom and you there is a treaty; and Allah sees whatever you do. Those who disbelieve are the allies of each other. If you do not do this, there will be oppression in the world and a great disturbance. Those who believe, and migrate, and fight in the cause of Allah, and those who give them refuge and help them, are in troth believers. For them is forgiveness and generous provision, And those who accept faith afterwards and migrate and strive along with you, they are of you.[61]   [*103] 

 

Islam came with this total guidance and decisive teaching. It came to elevate man above, and release him from the earthly bonds, and those of lineage, race, nationality, soil and country. A Muslim has no country except that pan of the earth where the Shari’ah of Allah is established and human relationships are based on the foundation of the relationship with Him. A Muslim has no nationality except his belief, which makes him a member of the Muslim community in dar-al-Islam. A Muslim has no relatives except those who share the belief in Allah, and thus a bond is established between him and other believers through their relationship with Allah.

A Muslim has no relationship with his mother, father, brother, wife, and other family members except through their relationship with their Creator, and then they arc also joined through blood.

 

O mankind, remain conscious of your Sustainer, Who created you from one soul and created its mate out of its own kind, and from the two of them scattered a great many men and women. Remain conscious of Allah, from Whose authority you make demands, and reverence these ties of kinship.[62]

 

The Divine relationship does not prohibit a Muslim, however, from treating his parents with kindness and consideration, in spite of differences of belief, as long as they do not join the front lines of the enemies of Islam. If they openly declare their alliance with the enemies of Islam, then all the filial relationships of a Muslim are cut off and he is no longer required to be kind and considerate to them. Abdullah, son of Abdullah ibn Ubayy, has left for us a bright example in this respect.

Ibn Jarir, on the authority of ibn Ziad, has reported that the Prophet called Abdullah, son of Abdullah ibn Ubayy, and said, “Do you know what your father said?” Abdullah asked, “May my parents be a ransom for you; what did my father say?” The Prophet replied, “He said, ‘If we return to Madinah (from the battle), the one with honor will throw out the one who is despised’.” Ahdullah then said, “O Messenger of Allah, by Allah, he told the truth. You are the one with honor and he is the one who is despised. O Messenger of Allah, the people of Madinah know that before you came to Madinah, no one was more obedient to his father than I was. But now, if it is the pleasure of Allah and His Prophet that I cut off his head, then I shall do so.” The prophet replied, “No.” When the Muslims returned to Madinah, Abdullah stood in front of the gate with his sword drawn over his father’s head, telling him, “Did you say that if we return to Madinah then the one  [*104]   with honor will throw out the one who is despised? By Allah, now you will know whether you have honor, or Allah’s Messenger! By Allah, until Allah and His Messenger give permission, you cannot enter Madinah, nor will you have refuge from me!” ibn Ubayy cried aloud and said twice, “People of Khazraj, see how my son is preventing me from entering my home!” But his son Abdullah kept repeating that unless the Prophet gave permission, he would not let him enter Madinah. Hearing this noise, sonic people gathered around and started pleading with Ahdullah, but he stood his ground. Some people went to the Prophet and reported this incident. He told them, “Tell Abdullah to let his father enter.” When Ahdullah gut this message, he then told his father, “Since the Prophet has given permission, you can enter now.” When the relationship of the belief is bonded, whether there be any relationship of blood or not, the believers become like brothers. Allah Most High says, “Indeed, the believers are brothers,”[63] which is a limitation as well as a prescription. He also says; “Those who believed, and migrated, and strove with their wealth and their persons in the cause of Allah, and those who gave them refuge and helped them, are the protectors of each other.”[64] 

The protection referred to in this verse is not limited to a single generation, but encompasses future generations as well, thus linking the future generations with the past generations in a sacred and eternal bond of love, loyalty and kindness.

 

Those who lived (in Madinah) before the Emigrants, and believed, love the Emigrants and do not find in their hearts any grudge when you give the Emigrants something, but give them preference over themselves, even though they may be poor. Indeed, the ones who restrain themselves from greed achieve prosperity. Those who came after (the Emigrants) say, “Our Lord! Forgive us and our brothers who entered the Faith before us, and leave not in our hearts any grievance against those who believed. Our Lord! You are indeed Most Kind, Most merciful.”[65]

 

Allah Most High has related the stories of earlier Prophets in the Qur’an as an example for the believers, In various periods the Prophets of Allah lighted the flame of faith and guided the believers.

 

And Noah called upon his Lord and said, “O my Lord, surely my son is of my family, and your promise is true, and you are the Most just of Judges”. He said, “O Noah, he is not of your  [*105]  family, as his conduct is unrighteous; so do not ask of  me that of which you have no knowledge. I give you the counsel not to act like the ignorant. “Noah said. “O my Lord, I seek refuge with You lest I ask You for that of which I have no knowledge, and unless You forgive me and have mercy on me. I shall be lost.[66]

And when his Lord tried Abraham with certain commands which he fulfilled, He said, “It will make you a leader of nations.” He said, “And also those from among my offspring?” He answered, “My promise does not extend to the evildoers.”[67]

And when Abraham said, “My Lord! Make this a city of peace and !ced its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah an;d the Last flay.” He said, “And those who reject faith, I will grant them their pleasure for a while, but will eventually drive them to the chastisement of the Fire. What an evil destination![68]

 

When the Prophet Abraham saw his father and his people persistent in their error, the turned away from them and said; “I leave you and those upon whom you call besides Allah. I will call only upon my Sustainer, and hope that my Lord will not disappoint me.”[69]

In relating the story of Abraham and his people, Allah has highlighted those aspects that are to bean example for the believers.

There is for you an excellent example (to follow) in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people, “We are clear of you and of whatever you worship besides Allah; we have rejected you, and there has arisen, between us and you, enmity and hatred forever — unless you believe in Allah and  Him alone.”[70]

When those young and courageous friends who are known as the Companions 5sf the Cave found it impossible to live with their faith among their family and tribe, they left them all, migrated from their country, and Iran toward their Sustainer so that they could live as His servants.

 

They were youths who believed in their Lord, and We advanced them in guidance. We gave strength to their hearts, so that they stood up and said (to one another), ‘Our Lord is  [*104]  the Lord of the heavens and the earth. We shall not call upon any god apart from Him.

If we did, we should indeed have uttered an awful thing. These our people have taken for worship gods other than Him. Why do they not bring a clear proof for what they do? Who can be more wrong than such as invent a falsehood against Allah? So, when you turn away from them and the things they worship other than Allah, take refuge in the cave.

Your Lord will shower mercies on you and will dispose of your affair towards comfort and ease.[71]

 

The wife of Noah and the wife of Lot were separated from their husbands only because their beliefs were different.

 

Allah gives as an example for the unbelievers the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot, They were married to two of Our righteous servants; but they were false to their husbands, and they profited nothing before Allah on their account, but were told, 'Enter you both into the fire along with those who enter it.[72]

 

Then there is another kind of example in the wile of the Pharaoh.

 

And Allah gives as an example to those who believe the wife of Pharaoh. Behold, she said, “My Lord, build for me in nearness to you a mansion in heaven, and Save me from Pharaoh and his doings, and save me from those who do wrong.[73]

 

Similarly, the Qur’an describes examples of different kinds of relationships. In the story of Noah we have an example of the paternal relationship, in the story of Abraham, an example of son and country; and in the story of the Companions of the Cave, a comprehensive example of relatives, tribe, and home country. In the stories of Noah, Lot, and Pharaoh there is an example of marital relationships.

After a description of the lives of the great Prophets and their relationships, we now turn to the Middle Community, that is, that of the early Muslims. We find similar examples arid experiences in this community in great numbers. This community followed the Divine path that Allah has chosen for the believers. When the relationship of common belief was broken — in other words, when the very first relationship joining one man with another was broken —  [*107]  then persons of the same family or tribe were divided into different groups. Allah Most High says in praise of the believers,

 

You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day loving those Who fight Allah and His Messenger, even though they be their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. These are the people on whose hearts Allah has imprinted faith and strengthened them with a spirit from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein. Allah will be well-pleased with them and they with Him. They are the party of Allah; truly the party of Allah will prosper.[74]

 

We see that the blood relationships between the prophet Muhammad, peace be him, and his uncle, Abu Lahah, and his cousin, ’Amr ibn Hisham (Abu Jahl) were broken, and that the Emigrants from Makkah were fighting against their families and relatives and were in the front lines of Badr, while, on the other hand, their relations with the Helpers of Madinah became strengthened on the basis of a common faith. They became like brothers, even more than blood relatives. This relationship established a new brotherhood of Muslims in which were included Arabs and non-Arabs. Suhaib from Rome and Bilal from Abyssinia and Salman from Persia were all brothers. There was no tribal partisanship among them. The pride of lineage was ended, the voice of nationalism was silenced, and the Messenger of Allah addressed them, “Get rid of these feelings of partisanship; these are foul things” and “He is not one of us who calls toward partisanship, who fights for partisanship, and who dies for partisanship.”

Thus this partisanship — the partisanship of lineage — ended; and this slogan — the slogan of race — died; and this pride — the pride of nationality — vanished; and man’s spirit snared to higher horizons, freed from the bondage of flesh and blond and the pride of soil and country. From that day, the Muslim’s country has not been a piece of land, but the homeland of Islam (dar-al-Islam), the homeland where faith rules and the Shari’ah of Allah holds sway, the homeland in which he took refuge and which he defended, and in trying to extend it was martyred. This Islamic homeland is a refuge for any who accept the Islamic Shari’ah as the governing law, as is the case with the dhimmis. But any place where the Islamic Shari’ah is not enforced and where Islam is not dominant, becomes the home of hostility (dar-al-harb) for both the Muslims and the dhimmis. A Muslim will remain prepared to fight against it, whether it be his birthplace or a   [*108]  place where his relatives reside or where his property or any other material interests are located.

And thus the Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, fought against the city of Makkah, although it was his birthplace, and his relatives lived there, and he and his companions had houses and property there, which they had left when they migrated. Yet the soil of Makkah did not become dar-al-Islam for him and his followers until it surrendered to Islam and the Shari’ah became operative in it.

This, and only this, is Islam. Islam is not a few words pronounced by the tongue, or birth in a country called Islamic, or an inheritance from a Muslim father.

 

No, by thy Sustainer, they have not believed until they make you the arbiter of their disputes, and then do not find any grievance against your decision, but submit with full submission.[75]

 

Only this is Islam, and only this is dar-ul-Islam — not the soil, not the race, flat the lineage, not the tribe, and not the family.

Islam freed all humans from the ties of the earth so that they might soar toward the skies, and freed them from the chains of blood relationships — the biological chains — so that they might rise above the angels.

The homeland of the Muslim, in which he lives and which he defends, is not a piece of land. The nationality of the Muslim, by which he is identified, is not the nationality determined by a government. The family of the Muslim, in which he finds solace and which he defends, is sot blood relationships. The flag of the Muslim, which he honors and, under which he is martyred, is not the flag of a country. And the victory of the Muslim, which he celebrates and for which he is thankful to Allah, is not a military victory. It is what Allah has described; — “When Allah’s help and victory comes, and you see people entering intro the religion of Allah its multitudes, then celebrate she praises of your Lord and ask His forgiveness. Indeed. He is the Acceptor Off Repentance.”[76]

The victory is achieved under the banner of faith, and under no other banners. The striving is purely for the sake of Allah, for the success of His din and His law, and for the protection of dar-al-Islam, the particulars of which we have described above, and for no other purpose. It is not for spoils or fame, nor for the honor of the country or nation, nor for the mere protection of one’s family except when supporting them against religions persecution.

Abu Musa relates “The Prophet, peace be upon him, was asked whether one who fights for bravery, or another who fights for honor or fame, are fighting in the cause of Allah. The Prophet replied, “Only he fights in the cause of Allah who fights so that the word of Allah may remain supreme.” The honor of martyrdom is achieved only when one is fighting in the cause of Allah, and if one is killed for any other purpose, this honor will not be attained.

Any country that fights the Muslim because of his belief and prevents him from practicing his religion, and in which the Shari‘ah is suspended, is dar-ul-harb,  even though his family or his relatives or his people live in it, or his capital is invested and his trade or commerce is in that country. And any country where the Islamic faith is dominant and its ShariӞah is operative is dar-ul-Islam, even though the Muslim’s family or relatives or his people do not live there, and he does not have any commercial ties with it.

A Muslim’s fatherland is where the Islamic faith, the Islamic way of life, and the Shrari’ah of Allah are dominant. Only this meaning of  “fatherland” is worthy of the human beings. Similarly, “nationality” means belief and away of life, and only this concept is worthy of man’s dignity.

Grouping according to family and tribe and nation, or race and color and country, are residues of the primitive state of man. These false groupings are from a period when man’s spiritual values were at a low stage. The Prophet, peace he on him, has called them “dead things” against which man’s spirit reacts with abhorrence and disgust.

When the Jews claimed to be the chosen people of Allah, on the basis of their race and nationality, Allah Most High rejected their claim and declared that in every period, in every rare and in every nation, there is only one criterion, faith.

 

And they say; “Be Jews, or Christians; then you will be rightly guided.” Say; “Not so.

(Ours) is the way of Abraham, the pure in faith; and he was not among the polytheists.” Say; “We believe in Allah, and what has come down to us, and what came down to Abraham, Ishmaei and Isaac and Jacob and the Tribes (of Israelites). and what was given to Moses and Jesus and to other Prophets by their Sustainer. We do not make any distinction among them, and we have submitted to Him. If then they believe as you have believed, they are guided; but if they turn away, Iris they who are in schism, and Allah will protect you from them, for He is All-Hearing and All-Knowing. One religion and the nature and direction of our life are from Allah, and who can  [*110]  give a better orientation (color) than Allah and it is Me Whom we worship.[77]

 

The people who are really chosen by Allah form the Muslim community which has gathered under Allah’s banner without regard to differences of race, nation, color and country.

You are the best community raised for the good of mankind.

You enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, and you believe in Allah.[78]

 

This is the community in the first generation of which there were Abu Bakr from Arabia, Bilai from Abyssinia, Suhaib from Syria, Salman from Persia, and their brothers in faith. The generations that followed them were similar. Nationalism here is belief, homeland here is dar-al-Islam, the ruler here is Allah, and the constitution here is the Qur’an.

This noble conception of homeland, of nationality, and of relationship should become imprinted on the hearts of those who invite others to Allah. They should remove all the influences of jahiliyyah that make this concept impure and may have the slightest element of hidden shirk in relation to homeland, or in relation to race or nation, or in relation to lineage or material interests. All these have been mentioned by Allah Most High in one verse, in which He places them on one side of the balance and places belief and its responsibilities on the other side, and invites people to choose: Say: “If your fathers and your sons and your brothers and your spouses and your relatives, and the wealth you have acquired, and the commerce in which you feat decline, and the homes in which you take delight, are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and striving in His cause, then wait until Allah brings His judgment, for Allah does not guide rebellious people”[79]

Similarly, those who call others to Islam should not have any superficial doubts in their hearts about the nature of jahiliyyah and the nature of Islam, and about the characteristics of dar-al-harb and of dar-al-Islam, for through these doubts many are led to confusion. Indeed, there is no Islam in a land where Islam does not prevail and where its Shari’ah is not established; and there is no dar-al-Islam where Islam’s way of life and its laws are not practiced. There is nothing beyond faith except unbelief, nothing beyond Islam except jahiliyyah, and nothing beyond the truth except falsehood.  [*111] 


 

 

Chapter X

 

FAR-REACHING CHANGES

 

 

When we invite others to Islam, whether they are believers or non-believers, we should keep in mind one fact, a fact that is a characteristic of Islam itself and can be seen in its history. Islam is a comprehensive concept or paradigm of life and of the universe with its own unique characteristics. The concept of human life in all its derivative aspects and relationships is also a complete system with its own peculiar characteristics. The Islamic paradigm conflicts basically with all the new and old jahili paradigms. Although there might be some details in which there are similarities between Islam and various concepts of jahiliyya, the principles from which these particulars are derived differ in the Islamic concept from all other theories known to man.

To begin with Islam molds human life according to its own concept, giving it a practical form, and establishing a divinely ordained system in the world. For this very purpose, Allah has raised the Muslim nation to be a practical example for mankind. And He characterizes this community as follows:

 

Those who, if We establish them in the land, establish regular prayer and give regular charity, enjoin the right and forbid wrong.[80]

 

It is not for Islam to compromise with the concepts of jahiliyyah current in the world or to co-exist in the same land together with a jahili system. This was not the case when it first appeared in the world, nor will it be today or in the future. jahiliyyah, to whatever period it belongs, isjablliyyab, that is, it is deviation from the worship of One God and the divinely ordained way of life. It derives its system   [*112]   and laws, regulations and habits, standards and values from a source other than Allah. On the other hand, Islam is submission to Allah, and its function is to invite people away from jahiliyya toward Islam.

Jahiliyyah is the worship of some people by others, that is, some people become dominant and make laws for others, without caring about the use or misuse of their authority, and regardless of whether these laws arc against injunctions of Allah.

In Islam, on the other hand, people worship Allah alone, and derive concepts and beliefs, laws and regulations, and values from Him, freeing themselves from servitude to Allah’s servants. This is the very nature of Islam and the nature of its role in the world. This point should be emphasized to anyone we invite to Islam, whether he or she be Muslim or non-Muslim.

Islam cannot accept any compromise with jahiliyyah either in its concept or in the modes of living derived from this concept. Either Islam will remain, or jahilyyah; Islam cannot accept or agree to a situation which is half-Islam and half- jahiliyyah. In this respect Islam’s stand is very clear. It says that the truth is one and cannot be divided; if it is not the truth, then it must he falsehood. The mixing and co-existence of the truth and falsehood is impossible. Command belongs to Allah, or else to jahiliyyah. The Shari’ah of Allah will prevail, or else people’s desires.

 

And judge between them according to what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their desires, and beware of them lest they confuse you in matters that Allah has revealed to you.[81]

Then invite them to this, and remain steadfast to what you have been commanded, and do not follow their desires.[82]

And if they do not respond to you, then know that they are following their own lusts; and who is more misguided than one who follows his own lusts against the guidance of Allah? Indeed, Allah does not guide the wicked people.[83]

We have put you on the (right) way ordained (by Allah); so follow it, and follow not the desires of those who have no knowledge. They will be of no use to you in the sight Allah. Surely the evil-doers are friends of one another, and Allah is the Friend of the righteous.[84]

Do they want a judgment from the Days of Ignorance? Yet  [*113]  who is better in judgment than Allah, for a people having sure faith?[85]

 

These verses make is clear that there are only two ways, and not a third, either to submit to Allah and His Messenger, peace he on him, or else to follow jahiliyyah. If the law given by Allah is not dominant, then naturally deviation will prevail. After this clear and decisive injunction from Allah Most High, there is no room for any controversy or excuse on this issue.

The foremost function of Islam in this world is to remove jahiliyyah from the position of authority and to take the lead into its own hands in order to promulgate its own special way of life that is a permanent feature of its system. The purpose of this rightly guided leadership is the good and prosperity of mankind, the good that proceeds from returning to the Creator and the prosperity that flows from bring in harmony with the surrounding universe. The purpose is to raise human beings to the high position that Allah has chosen for them and to free them from the slavery of lusts and blind desires. Raha’i ibn ’Amer alluded to this noble objective when in reply to the Persian Commander-in-Chief, Rustum, he said “Allah has sent us to bring           anyone who wishes from servitude to men into the service of Allah alone, from the narrowness of this world into the vastness of this world and the Hereafter, from the tyranny of religions into the justice of Islam.” Islam has not come to support people’s whims and desires, which are expressed in their concepts, institutions, modes of living, habits, and traditions, prevalent at the advent of Islam or are the ones that are prevalent now, in the East or in the West. Islam does not sanction the rule of wild desires. It has come to abolish all such concepts, laws, customs, and traditions, and to replace them with a new concept of human life, to create a new world on the foundation of submission to the Creator. Sometimes it appears that some parts of Islam resemble some aspects of the life of people in jahiliyyah, but these aspects are not jahiliyyah are they from jahiliyyah. This apparent resemblance in some minor aspects is a mere coincidence because the roots of the two trees are entirely different. The tree of Islam has been planted and nurtured by the wisdom of Allah, while the tree of jahiliyyah is a product of the soil of self-centered human desires.

 

The fertile piece of land grows good vegetation with the permission of its Lord, while the bad land brings forth but little. [86]

 

Jahiliyyah is evil and corrupt, whether it be of the ancient or   [*114]  modem variety. Its outward manifestations may he different during different epochs, yet its foots are the same. Its foots are buried in blind human desires, which prevent people from coming out of their ignorance and self-conceit, or serve the material interests of some persons, classes, nations, or races, while sacrificing the demands of justice, truth, and goodness. The pure divine law of Allah, however, cuts through these obstacles and gives us a system of laws, free from human interference, beyond the reach of human desire, and above the interests of any particular group or class of people.

This is the basic difference between the concept of life taught by Allah and man-made theories, and hence it is impossible to put them together under one system. It is futile to try to construct a system of life, which is half-Islam and half-jahiliyyah. Allah does not forgive any association with His person, and likewise He does not accept any association with His revealed way of life. Both are equally shirk in the sight of Allah, because both are the product of the same mentality-

This truth ought to be firmly and clearly impressed on our minds, and when we present Islam to people our tongues should not hesitate to pronounce it, nor should we be ashamed, nor should we leave any doubt in people’s minds, or leave them until they are assured that if they follow Islam, their lives will be completely transformer]. Islam will transform their concept of life as well as their modes of behavior completely. As it uplifts them, it bestows on them blessings beyond imagination by elevating their thoughts and attitudes, improving their modes of behavior, and giving them the dignity worthy of humans. Nothing thereafter remains of the modes of jahiliyyah in which they were steeped, except some minor aspects which, by accident, appear similar to some aspects of Islam. Even these will not be the same as they join to the great root of Islam, which is clearly different from the root to which they had hero previously attached, the fruitless and evil root of jahiliyyah. During this process, it will not deprive them of any of the knowledge based on scientific observation. Indeed, it will provide an even greater impetus in this direction.

When we call people to Islam, it is our duty to make them under- stand that it is not one of the man-made religions or ideologies, nor is it a man-made system-with various names, banners, and paraphernalia. It is Islam, and nothing else. Islam has its own permanent personality, concept, and mode. Islam guarantees for mankind a blessing greater than all these man-made systems. Islam is noble, pure, just, and beautiful, given to mankind by their Creator, the Exalted, the Most Great, Allah.

When we understand the essence of Islam in this manner, this understanding in itself creates in us confidence and power, as well as  [*115]  compassion and sympathy, when presenting Islam to people. It provides the confidence of a man who knows that he is with the Truth, while the people he is addressing have falsehood. And it provides the compassion of a person who sees the suffering of mankind and knows how to bring them ease, and the sympathy of a person who sees she error of people and knows how glorious guidance is.

We need not rationalize Islam to them, nor appease their desires and distorted concepts. 'flit should be extremely outspoken in telling them: “The ignorance in which you are living makes you impure, and Allah wants to purify you; the customs you follow are defiling, and Allah wants to cleanse you; the life you are living is low, and Allah wants to uplift you; and the condition you are in, is troublesome, depressing, and hase, and Allah wants to give you ease, mercy, and goodness. Islam will change your concepts, your modes of living, and your values. It will raise you to another life so that you will look upon the life you are now living with disgust. It will show you modes of living so uplifting that you will look upon all other modes, whether Eastern or Western, with contempt, and it will introduce you to values so sublime that you will look upon all other values in the world with disdain. And if, because of the sorry state you are in, you cannot see the true picture of the Islamic life, since your enemies — the enemies of this universal din — are all practically united against the establishment of this way of life, then let us show it to you. And, thanks be to Allah, its picture is in our hearts, seen through the windows of our Qur’an, of our Shari’ah, of our history, and of our concept of the future, whose coming we do not doubtl” This is the way we ought to address people while presenting Islam to them. This is the 'froth, and this is how Islam was presented to people at the beginning. This was the form used, whether in the Arabian peninsula, in Persia, or in the Roman provinces, or in whatever other places it went.

Islam looked at alt people from a height, as this is its true position, and addressed them with extreme love and kindness, as this is its true temperament, and explained everything to them with complete clarity, without any ambiguity, as ibis h its method. It never said to them that it would not touch their modes of living, their concepts, and their values except perhaps slightly. It did not propose similarities with their system or manners to humor them, as some do today when they present Islam to the people under the names of “Islamic Democracy” or “Islamic Socialism,” or sometimes by saying that the current economic or political or legal systems in the world need not he changed except a little to be acceptable Islamically. The purpose of all this rationalization is to appease people’s desires! Indeed, the case is entirely different! The change from this jahiliyyah, which has  [*116]  encompassed the earth to Islam is vast and far-reaching, and the Islamic life is the opposite of all modes of jahili life, whether ancient or modern. The miserable state of mankind is not alleviated by a few minor changes in current systems and modes. Mankind will never come out of it without this vast and far-reaching change — the change from the ways of the created to the way of the Creator, from the systems of men to the system of the Lord of men, and from the commands of servants to the command of the Lord of servants,

This is a fact — a fact we proclaim, and proclaim loudly, without leaving any doubt or ambiguity in the minds of people.

In the beginning, people may dislike this method of giving the message, may run away from it, and may be afraid of it. But the people disliked it, eau away from it, and were afraid of it when Islam was presented to them for the first time. They hated it and were hurt when Muhammad, peace he on him, criticized their concepts, derided their deities, rejected their modes of behavior, turned away from their habits and customs, and adopted for himself and for the few believers, who were with him, modes of behavior, values and customs different from the modes, values, and customs of jahiliyyah.

Then what happened? They loved this very truth, which at first seemed strange to them, from which they ran away “as if they were startled donkeys fleeing before a lion,”[87] and against which they had fought with all their power and strategy, grievously torturing its adherents when they were weak in Makkah and fighting against them incessantly when they were strong in Madinah.

The conditions faced by those who called others to Islam in its first period were not more favorable or better than the conditions of today. It was an unknown phenomenon, rejected by jahiliyyah. It was confined to the Valley of Makkah, and hounded by the people in power and authority. And, at that time, it was a complete stranger to the whole world. The Islamic community was surrounded by mighty and proud empires which were against its basic teachings and purpose. In spite of all this, the call to Islam was powerful, as it is powerful today and will remain so tomorrow, The source of its real power is hidden in the very nature of this belief, which is why it can operate under the worst conditions and in the face of the most severe opposition. It derives its power from the simple and clear truth on which it stands. Islam’s balanced teachings are in accordance with human nature, which cannot tolerate any resistance for very long, and it has the power to lead mankind toward ever greater progress, no matter in what stage of economic, social, scientific, or intellectual backward-[*117]-ness or development it may be, Another secret of its power is that it challenges jahiliyyah and its physical power without agreeing to change even an iota of its principles. It does not compromise with jahili inclinations nor does it use rationalizations, il is in the nature of Islam to proclaim the truth boldly so that people may understand that it is good, and that it is a mercy and a blessing.

It is Allah Who created men and women and Who knows their nature and the passages to their hearts. He knows how they accept the Truth when it is proclaimed boldly, clearly, forcefully, and without hesitation and doubt! Indeed, the capacity exists in human nature to change completely from one way of life to another; and this is much easier for it than many partial changes. And if the complete change were to he from one system of life to another, which is higher, more perfect, and purer than the former, this complete change is agreeable to human psychology. But who would be agreeable to changing from a system of jahhf lyyab to the system of Islam, if the Islamic system were no more than a little change here and a little variation there? To continue with the former system is more logical. At least it is an established order, amenable to reform and change so why abandon it for an order not yet established or applied, when it resembles the old order in all its major characteristics? Similarly, we find some people who, when talking about Islam, present it to the people as if it were a culprit in need of defense against its accusers. Among their defenses, one goes like this: “It is said that modern systems have done such and such, white Islam did not do anything comparable. But listen! It did all this some fourteen hundred years before modern civilizations!” Woe to those who resort to such a defense! Shame on them! Indeed, Islam ducs not take its justifications from the jabtif system and its evil derivatives. And these “civilizations,” which have dazzled many and have broken their spirits, are nothing but a jahili system at heart, and this system is erroneous, hollow, and worthless in comparison with

Islam The argument that the people living under it are in a better condition than the people of a so-called Islamic country or “the Islamic world” has no weight. The people in these countries have reached this wretched stare by abandoning Islam, and not because they are Muslims. The argument that Islam presents to people is that Islam most certainly is better beyond imagination. It has come to change jafsiliyyab, not tu continue it, to elevate mankind from its depravity, and ont to bless its manifestations masked under the euphemism of “civilization.” We ought not to be defeated to such an extent that we start looking for similarities with Islam in the current systems or in current religions or current ideas. We reject these systems in the East as well as in the West. We reject them all, as indeed they are  [*118]  retrogressive and in opposition to the direction toward which Islam is leading mankind.

When we address people in this fashion and present to them the basic message of the comprehensive concept of Islam, the justification for changing from one concept to another, and from one mode of living to another, will come from the very depths of their being. But we will not address them with this ineffective argument, saying: “Come from a system which is currently established to a system not yet applied; it will make only a little change in the established order. You should have no objection. You can continue to do what you have been doing. It will net bother you except to ask for a few changes in your habits, manners, and inclinations, and will preserve for you whatever pleases you and affect it only very slightly.” On the surface, this method seems easy, but there is no attraction in it. Moreover, it is not based on the truth. The Truth is that Islam not only changes concepts and attitudes, but also the system, modes, laws, and customs since this change is so fundamental that no relationship can remain with the jahili way of life, the life that mankind is now living, It is sufficient to say that it brings them both in general and in particular from servitude to men into the service of Allah, Who is One.

Believe if one wishes or reject if one wishes.[88]

And if one rejects, then Allah is independent of His creation.[89]

The question in essence is whether one should choose unbelief or belief,jabm,y,anr Islam, and whether one should worship rivals to Allah and to the Oneness of Allah, This ought to be made clear Indeed, people see not Muslims, even if they proclaim to be, so long as they live the life of jabiIt)yah If someone loves to deceive himself or to deceive others by believing that Islam can be brought in line with this jahiliyyah, it is up ta him. But whether this deception misleads others or not, it cannot change anything of actual reality. This is not Islam, and the deceived ate not Muslims. Today a prime task of the Call to Islam is bringing these ignorant people back to Islam and make them into Muslims all over again.

We are not inviting people to Islam in order to obtain some reward from them. We do not desire anything at all for ourselves, nor are any people going to provide our accounting and reward. Indeed, we invite people to Islam because we love them and we wish them well, although they may torture us. This is the characteristic of those who call to Islam and this is their motivation. People are entitled to learn from us the nature of Islam and the nature of the obligations it imposes on them, as well as the great blessing that it bestows on them. They are also entitled to know that the nature of what they are doing is nothing butjabiilyyab, for it is indeed jahiliyyab, with nothing in it from Islam. It is mere selfish desire so long as it is not the Shari’ah; and it is error so long as it is not the truth, for what is beyond the truth but error! There is nothing in our Islam of which we are ashamed or anxious to defend. There is nothing in it to be smuggled to the people with deception, nor do we muffle the loud truth that it proclaims. This is the defeated mentality, of surrender to the East or West, and to any form of jahiliyyah. This mentality is found in some people, “Muslims,” who search for resemblances to Islam in man-made systems, or who find justification for the teachings, practices, and positions of Islam by comparing them to “equivalents” in jahili civilization.

A person who feels the need of defense, justification, and apology is not capable of presenting Islam to people. Indeed, he is a person who lives the life of jahiliyyah, hollow and full of contradictions, defects and evils, and in fact lives only to provide justification for the jahiliyyah of which he is a part. These are the offenders against Islam and they distract some sincere persons. They confuse Islam’s true nature by their defense, as if Islam were guilty of something, accused, standing at trial, and anxious for its own defense.

During my stay in the United States, there were some people of this kind who used to argue with us — with the few of us who were considered to be on the side of Islam. Some of them took the position of defense and justification. Instead, I took the position of attacking the Western jahiliyyah, its shaky religious beliefs, its social and economic modalities, and its immorality. “Look at these concepts of the Trinity, Original Sin, Sacrifice, and Redemption, which are agreeable neither to reason nor to conscience. Look at this capitalism with its monopolies. Its usury, and so many other injustices in it. Behold this individual freedom, devoid of human sympathy and responsibility for relatives except under the force of law; this materialistic attitude which deadens the spirit; this behavior, like animals, which you call “free mixing of the sexes”; this vulgarity which you call “emancipation of women”; these unfair and cumbersome laws of marriage and divorce, which see contrary to the demands of practical life; and this evil and fanatic racial discrimination. Then look at Islam, with its logic, beauty, humanity, and happiness, which reaches the horizons to which man strives but does not attain. It is a practical way of life and its solutions are based on the foundation of the wholesome nature of man.” These were the realities of Western life that we encountered. These facts, when seen in the light of Islam, made the American people blush. Yet there are people — exponents of Islam — who are defeated before this filth in which jahiliyyah is steeped, even  [*120]  to the extent that they search for resemblances to Islam among this rubbish heap of the West, and also among the evil and dirty materialism of the East.

After this, there is no need for me to remind you that we who present Islam to the people certainly are not the ones to go along with any of the concepts, modes, and traditions ofjahiliyya.h, however great its pressure on us may be.

Our first task is to replace this jahiliyyah, with Islamic ideas and traditions. This cannot he brought about by agreeing with jahillyyah and going along a few steps with it, as some of us think we ought to do, for this would simply mean that from the very beginning we have accepted defeat.

Of course the current ideas and views of secular society and its prevailing traditions apply great pressure, back-breaking pressure, especially in the ease of women. The Muslim woman is really under extreme pressure, but this is the situation and we have to face it. First we must be steadfast. Next we must invite everyone to Islam. Then we must show jahiliyyah the low state it is really in, compared to the lofty and bright horizons of Islamic life, which we wish to attain.

This cannot come about by going along even a few steps with jahiliyyah, nor by severing relations with it and removing ourselves to a separate corner; never. The correct procedure is to mix with discretion, give and take with dignity, speak the truth with love, and show the superiority of the Faith with humility. But we must always bear in mind that we live in the midst of jahiliyyah, that our way of life is nobler than that of jahiliyyah, and that the change from jahiliyyah to Islam is vast and far-reaching. The chasm between Islam and jahiliyyah is great, and a bridge is not to be built across it so that the people on the two sides may mix with each other, but only so that the people of jahiliyyah may come over to Islam, whether they reside in a so-called Islamic country and consider themselves Muslims or are outside the “Muslim world so they may come out of darkness into light, get rid of their miserable conditions, and enjoy the blessings that we have tasted-we who have understood Islam and live in its atmosphere. If they do not respond to our call, then we shall say to them what Allah commanded His Messenger, peace he on him, to say: “For you your way, for me mine.”  [*121] 


 

 

Chapter XI

 

THE FAITH TRIUMPHANT

 

 

Do not be dejected nor grieve. You shall be the uppermost if you are believers.[90]

 

The first thought that comes to mind on reading this verse is that it relates to the form of jihad, which is actual fighting. But the spirit of this message and its application, with its manifold implications, is greater and far wider than this particular aspect. Indeed, it describes the eternal state of mind that ought to permeate the believer’s consciousness and thoughts and his estimation of things, events, values, and persons.

It describes a triumphant state that should prevail in the believer’s heart in the face of every thing, every condition, every standard, and every person because of the superiority niche Faith and its value above all values derived from a source other than the source of the Faith.

It means to be above all the powers of the earth that have deviated from the way of the Faith, above all the values of the earth not derived from the source of the Faith, above all the customs of the earth not colored with the coloring of the Faith, shove all the laws of the earth not sanctioned by the Faith, and above all traditions not originating in the Faith.

It means to feel superior to others even when weak, few, and poor, as well as when strong, many, and rich.

It means the sense of supremacy that does not give in before any rebellious force, before any social custom and erroneous tradition, or before any behavior that maybe popular among people but is without authority in the Faith.

Steadfastness and strength on the battlefield are but one expression  [*122]  among many of the triumphant spirit of this statement of Almighty Allah.

Superiority through faith is not a mere single act of will nor a Passing euphoria net a momentary passion, but is a sense of superiority based on the permanent Truth centered in the very nature Çexistence, This eternal truth is above the logic of force, the concept of environment, the terminology of society, and the customs of people, as indeed comes from the Living God.

Every society has a governing logic and a common mode of being, and its pressure is strong and its weight heavy on anyone who is not protected by some powerful member of the society or who challenges it without a strong force. Accepted concepts and fashionable ideas have a climate of their own. It is difficult to get rid of them without a deep sense of truth, in the light of which all these concepts and ideas shrink to nothingness, and without the help of a source that is superior greater, and stronger than the source of these concepts and ideas.

The person who takes a stand against the direction of the society — its governing logic, its common mode, its values and standards, its ideas and concepts, and its error and deviations — will find himself a stranger, as well as helpless, unless his authority comes from a source that is more powerful than the people, more permanent than the earth and nobler than life.

Indeed, Allah does not leave the believer alone in the face of oppression to whimper under its weight, and to suffer dejection and grief, but relieves him of all this with the message; “Do not be dejected nor grieve; you shall he the uppermost if you are believers.”

This message relieves him from both dejection and grief, these two feelings being natural for a person in this situation. It relieves him of both, not merely through patience and steadfastness but also through a sense of superiority from whose heights the power of oppression, the dominant values, the current concepts, the standards and rules, the customs and habits, and the people steeped in error, all seem small and insignificant.

Indeed, the believer is uppermost — uppermost on the basis of the authority behind him and the source of guidance sustaining him. In contrast, how insignificant this earth, and its people and their values and standards are! The believer is superior in his conceptual understanding and of the nature of the world, because the belief in the One God, Allah, in the form of Islam, is the most perfect form of understanding, the greatest Truth. The picture of the world presented by this Faith is far above the welter of other concepts, beliefs and religions, and is not equalled by any great philosophers, ancient or modern, or attained by idolaters or by the followers of distorted  [*123]  scriptures, or of materialism. This picture is so bright, clear, beautiful, and harmonious that the glory of the Islamic belief shines forth as never before. Assuredly those who possess this knowledge are superior to all others.

The believer is superior in his values and standards, by means of which he measures life, events, things, and persons. The source of his belief is the knowledge of Allah and His attributes as described in Islam, and the signs and evidence of truth found not merely on this small earth, but everywhere in the universe at large. This belief provides the believer with values that are superior to and far more reliable than the faulty standards devised by men, who know nothing except what is in their immediate vicinity. They do not agree on the same standard within the same generation, and even the same person changes his criteria from moment to moment.

The believer is superior in his conscience and understanding, and in his morals and manners, because he believes in Allah Who has excellent names and attributes. This by itself creates in him a sense of dignity, purity and cleanliness, modesty and piety, and a desire to perform good deeds, and to be a rightly-guided vicegerent of Allah on earth. Furthermore, this belief gives him the assurance of the reward in the Hereafter, the reward before which the troubles of the world and all its sorrows seem insignificant. The heart of the believer is control with this reward, although he may pass through this life without apparent success.

And he is superior in his law and system of life. When the believer scans whatever man, ancient or modern, has known, and compares it with his own law and system, he realizes that their mechanisms of normative justice are like the playthings of children or the searchings of blind men in comparison with the perfect system and the complete law of Islam. When he looks from his height at erring mankind with compassion and sympathy, and at its helplessness and error, he finds nothing in his heart except a sense of triumph over error and folly.

This was the attitude of the early Muslims toward the hollow expressions of pomp and power and the traditions that had enslaved the people of the Days of Ignorance. Ignorance is not limited to any particular age, but is a condition that reappears whenever people deviate from the way of Islam, whether in the past, the present, or the future.

The response was the same of Al-Mughira ibn Sh’uba, when he encountered the forms, manners, standards, and expressions of jahiliyyah in the court of Rustum, the famous Persian general. Abu Uthman al-Nahdi reports; When Al-Mughira crossed the bridge and reached the Persian army, they seated him and asked Rustum’s permis-[*124]-sion for an audience. In spite of their defeat, they had not changed any of their show of pomp. Al-Mughira proceeded.

The people were all in their military uniforms, many wearing crowns, and clothed in gold-threaded garments. The floor was thickly carpeted (the carpet extending to three hundred or four hundred paces) and had to be traversed to reach the general. Al- Mughira proceeded, his hair braided in four braids, and climbed on the dais and sat beside Rustum. The attendants jumped on him and pulled him down. At this he said, “We had heard that you were a sensible people, but I see that you are the most foolish nation. Among Arabs, all are equal and no one is slave to another, except when one is captured no the battlefield, I imagined that you treated each other equally, as we do. It would have been better if you had informed me that some of you lord over others rather than treating me like this. This is not good manners, and we do not do it. I have come at your request and not on my own, I know now that your situation is weak and that you will he defeated. No kingdom with this character and mentality can survive.

A similar attitude was shown by Raba’i ibn ’Amer in front of Rustum and his courtiers before the battle of al-Qadisyyah. Ibn Kathir in his Al-Bidayrah wa ai-Nihayah says: Before the battle of al-Qadisyyah, S’ad ibn Waqqas sent Rab’i ibn ’Amer as a messenger to Rustum, the Commander of the Persian army and their ruler. He entered the tent, which was all carpeted and curtained with silk and velvet. Rustum sat on a golden throne, crowned and wearing precious stones and pearls. Raha’i, in tattered clothes, with a shield, sitting on a small horse, entered.

He did not alight from his horse for some distance; then he alighted and tied the horse to a large pillow. He proceeded armed and helmeted. They said to him: “Take off your arms.” He replied “I have not come on my own but on your request. If you do not like it, then I go back.” Rustum said: “Let him come.” He came forward leaning on his spear, making holes in the carpet. Rustum asked him: “For what purpose have you come?” He replied: “Allah has sent us to bring whoever wishes from servitude to men into the service of Allah alone, from the narrowness of this world into the vastness of this world and the Hereafter, and from the tyranny of religions into the justice of Islam.”

Conditions change. The Muslim loses his physical power and is conquered. Yet the consciousness does not depart from him that he is superior. If he remains a believer, he looks upon his conqueror from a superior position. He remains certain that this is a temporary condition that will pass away and that faith will turn the tide from which there is no escape. Even if death is his portion, he will never  [*125]  bow his head. Death comes to all, but for him there is martyrdom. He will proceed to the Garden, while his conquerors go to the Fire. What a difference! And he hears the voice of his Generous Lord:

 

Let it not deceive you that the unbelievers walk about in the land. A Little respire and their abode is Hell, and what an evil place! But for those who fear their Lord, are Gardens through which rivers flow, to abide therein — a hospitality from Allah; and that which is with Allah is best for the righteous.[91]

 

The society may be dominated by beliefs, concepts, values, and customs that are entirely opposite to his belief, his concept, his valor and his standards. Yet the consciousness does not depart from him that he h superior and that the rest are all in an inferior position. From his height he looks at them with dignity and honor, with compassion and sympathy at their condition, and with a desire to guide them to the good that he has and to lift them op to the horizon where he lives. Falsehood screams and roars, raises its voice and strokes its heard, and surrounds itself with such artificial halos at blind the sight and insight, so that others cannot see that beyond the halos it has an ugly face and a vicious mien. The believer from his height looks at falsehood in its splendor and at the people deceived, but belt not dejected net grieved, nor does he weaken in his insistence on the Truth, which he knows, or hit steadfastness in the way he follows, net does it dampen his desire to guide the misguided and the deceived.

The society may he drowned in lusts, steeped in low passions, rolling in filth and dirt, thinking that it has enjoyment and freedom from chains and restrictions. Such a society may become devoid of any clean enjoyment and even of lawful food, and nothing may remain except a nibhish heap, or dirt and mud. The believer frein his height looks at the people drowning in dirt and mud. He may be the only one; yet he is not dejected nor grieved, nor does his heart desire to take off his neat and immaculate garments and join the crowd. He remains the uppermost with the enjoyment of faith and the taste of belief. The believer holds on to his din like the holder of a precious stone in a society devoid of religion, of character, of high values, of noble manners, and of whatever is clean, pure, and beautiful. The others mock his tenacity, ridicule his ideas, and laugh at his values, but this does not make the believer weak of heart. He looks from his height at those who mock, ridicule and laugh, and he says, as did Noah, one of the great souls, who preceded him on the long and bright path of faith: “You ridicule us! Yet indeed we shall ridicule you as you ridicule.”[92]   [*126]

And he sees the end of this bright path, and also the end of the dark path in the words of Allah.

 

The criminals used to laugh at the believers, wink at them in passing, and joke about them when they returned to their families. When they saw them, they used to say: 'Certainly these people are astray.” Yet they were not sent as watchers over them. 'Ibday the believers laugh at the unbelievers, and watch them while sitting on couches. Did the unbelievers get their reward according to what they used to do?[93]

 

Before this, the Noble Qur’an told us what the unbelievers said to the believers: When Our clear verses are recited to them, the unbelievers say to the believers: “Which of the two parties is superior in station and better in assembly? Which of the two parties? The great men who do not believe in Muhammad, or the floor who assemble around him? Which of the two parties? Al-Nadr ibn al-Harith and ‘Amr ibn Hisham and al-Walid ibn al-Mughira and Abu Sufyan ibn Harb? Or BilaI and ‘Ammar and Khabbab? If the call of Muhammad had been better, would only such people have followed him who did not have any power or position among the Quraish, and who assembled in such a lowly place as the house of al-Arqam, while their opponents were the lords of al-Nadwah, the great and glorious assembly hail, and they possessed power, authority and grandeur? This is the logic of the world, and the logic of those of any age or any place who cannot see the higher horizons. It is by the wisdom of Allah that belief remains independent of the glitter and glamour of worldly allurements, such as closeness to the ruler, favor from the government, popularity among the people, or the satisfaction of desire, Belief is only striving, hard work, fighting, and martyrdom. Let him accept it who may accept, who has the certainty in his heart that this is purely for the sake of Allah and not for the sake of people or for the allurements and attractions so dear to people. Let him stay away from it who desires pleasures and benefits, who is greedy for pomp and show and for wealth and possession, and who gives weight to the considerations of men although these maybe light in the balance of Allah.

Indeed, the believer does not borrow his values, concepts and standards from people, so that he is not dependent on the estimation of people. He takes them from the Sustainer of the people, and that is sufficient for him. He does not follow the desires of men so that hr has to fluctuate with their changing desires. He depends on the firm balance of the truth which does not fluctuate or lean to one side. Indeed, his inspiration does not come from this passing and finite  [*127]  world. The inspiration to his soul comes from the fountainhead of the universe. Then bow can be find dejection in his soul or grief in his heart, while be is linked to the Sustainer of the people, and the balance of truth, and the fountainhead of the universe? Indeed, he is with the truth — and what is beyond the truth but error? Let error have power, let it have its drums and banners, and let it have its throngs and mobs. Ail this cannot change anything of the truth. Indeed, be is with the truth, and nothing is beyond the truth except error, and the believer cannot prefer error to the truth. He is a believer, whatever be the conditions and the situation, he cannot exchange error for the truth.

 

Our Sustainer! Let not our hearts waver after You have guided us, and bestow on us mercy from Yourself. Indeed You are the Bestower.

Our Sustainer! You will gather mankind on the Day about which there is no doubt. Indeed Allah does not fail in His promise.[94]  [*128]  [*129]


 

 

Chapter XII

 

THIS IS THE WAY

 

 

By the heavens with constellations; by the Promised Day; by the witness and the witnessed; doomed were the makers of the pit, abundantly supplied with fuel, as they sat by it and the believers (burnt alive). (Their torturers) were outraged with them only because they believed in Allah, the All-Powerful, the All-Praiseworthy, He to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is Witness over everything.

Indeed, for those who persecute the believing men and women, and later do not repent, is the penalty of Hell; for them is the penalty of burning. As for those who believe and do good deeds, theirs are Gardens through which river flow, and that is the great triumph.

Most certainty, strong is the grip of your Lord. It is He Who originates and repeats. And He is the Forgiving, the Loving, the Lord of the Throne, Performer of what He desires.[95]

 

The story of the Makers of the Pit as told in the Surah Al-Buruj (“The Constellations”) requires deep thought by those among the believers, to whatever time and place they belong, who invite people to Allah. The story, with its introduction, description, comments, and moral, as related in the Qur’an, points out some profound truths concerning the nature of the Call to Allah, the reaction of people to this Call, and the consequences possible in the vast scope of this Call, whose vastness encompasses the whole world, this life, and the life beyond it. The Qur’an, through this story, points out to the believers the road that lies before them and prepares them to accept with fortitude  [*130]  whatever comes their way, as yet unknown to them, with the permission of the All-Wise Allah.

This is the story of a group of people who believed in Allah and openly proclaimed their belief. They encountered tyrannical and oppressive enemies who were bent upon denying the right of a human being to believe in the All-Mighty, the All-Praiseworthy Allah. They intended to deprive man of the dignity that has been bestowed upon him by Allah and without which he is reduced to a mere plaything in the hands of tyrants, to he tortured and burnt alive providing entertainment to his tormentors with his cries in pain and agony.

But the faith in the hearts of the believers raised them above all persecution. Belief triumphed over life. The threat of torture did not shake them, they never recanted, and were burned to death.

Indeed, their hearts were liberated from the worship of this life. Neither the love of life nor the fear of an agonizing death could make them yield to accept dishonor. They freed themselves from this earth and all its attractions, triumphing over life through a sublime faith.

Against these believing, righteous, sublime, and honorable souls were pitted arrogant, mischievous, criminal, and degraded people. And these criminals sat by the pit of fire, watching how the believers suffered and writhed in pain. They sat there to enjoy the sight of fire consuming living beings and how the bodies of these noble souls were reduced to cinders and ashes. And when some young manor woman, and some child or old titan from among these righteous believers was thrown into the fire, their diabolical pleasure would reach a new height, and shouts of mad joy would escape their lips at the sight of blood and pieces of flesh.

This hair-raising incident shows that these rebellious people had sunk to such a level of depravity, seeking pleasure through torturing others, as is seldom witnessed among even the wildest of beasts. A wild beast kills its prey for food, never to derive pleasure from tormenting it.

The same incident also shows the height to which the spirit of a believer can soar, liberated and free, the attainment of which has been the highest honor in all generations and in all periods.

By earthly reckoning, tyranny triumphed over faith, and this faith, although it reached its zenith in the hearts of this righteous, noble, steadfast and sublime group, had no weight in the struggle between tyranny and faith.

The traditions relating to this incident, like the text of the Qur’an, say nothing conceming whether Allah punished these tyrants in this life for their crimes as He punished the people of Noah, the people of  [*131]  Hud, the people of Saleh, the people of Sh’uaib, and the people of Lot, or Pharaoh and his army in ali their splendor and power.

Thus from the earthly point of view, the end was pitiful and tragic.

But did this matter finish here? Did the group of believers, with all the sublimity of their faith, vanish in the pit of fire with their torments? And did the group of criminals, with all the depravity of their crime gounpunished? From the earthly point ofview, this tragic end troubles the heart! But the Qur’an teaches the believers something else, reveals to them another reality, shows them another scale with which to weigh all matters, and enlightens them concerning the scope of the struggle.

Life’s pleasures and pains, achievements and frustrations, do not have any great weight in the scale, and do not determine the profit or loss. Triumph is not limited to immediate victory, which is but one of the many forms of triumph.

In the scale of Allah, the true weight is the weight of failli. In Allah’s market the only commodity in demand is the commodity of faith. The highest form of triumph is the victory of soul over matter, the victory of belief over pain, and the victory of faith over persecution. In the incident described above, the souls of the believers were victorious over fear and pain, over the allurements of the earth and of life, and their victory over torture is an honor for all mankind for all times — and this is the true victory.

All mendie, of various causes. But not all gain such victory, nor reach such heights, nor taste such freedom, nor soar to such limits of the horizon. The group of people in the pit shared death with the rest of mankind, but Allah so singled them out from other people for honor — honor among the noblest angels, nay, even among all the generations of mankind since the dawn of creation.

Il was possible for these believers to save their lives by giving up their faith, but with how much loss to themselves, and with what a great loss to all mankind? They would have lost and would have denied the great troth. But life without belief is worthless, and life without freedom is degrading. If tyrants are allowed to dominate men’s souls as well as their bodies, then mankind is entirely depraved.

This was that noble truth, the great truth, that the believers realized while they were alive on earth. They saw this truth while the fire was licking them and burning their mortal frames. This noble truth triumphed over the torment of the fire.

The scope of this struggle is not limited to this earth or to this life. The observers of this struggle are not merely a generation of men. The angels are also participants in the happenings on earth. They observe them and are a witness to them, and they weigh them in a scale  [*132]  different from the scale of a single generation or even of all generations of men. The angels are noble souls who number many times more than the people on earth. Without question the praise and respect of the angels is far greater in this scale than the opinion and judgment of the people on earth.

And then there is the Hereafter. Life in heaven is not separate from life on earth, either in actuality or in the believer’s perception of this reality.

Thus the struggle does not end here, and the real decision cannot he reached here. Any judgment limited to life on earth is therefore incorrect, as this judgment will concern only a small and rather insignificant part of this continuum of struggle and victory.

The earthly perspective, and its philosophical paradigm, is limited and narrow, and is entertained only by a short-sighted and hasty man. The transcendent perspective is comprehensive and far-sighted, and is nurtured in a believer by the teachings of the Qur’an, which is the mirror of reality and the basis of correct belief,

Among the rewards that Allah has promised to the believers for their faith, obedience, steadfastness in the face of calamity, and victory over persecution is contentment of heart:

 

Say, “Truly Allah leaves to stray whom He will, but He guides to Himself those who turn to Him in repentance, those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in remembrance of Allah, for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find contentment, “[96]

 

And their rewards include the pleasure and love of the All-Merciful: Surely on those who believe and do good deeds, the All-Merciful shall bestow love.

And this includes remembrance on High: The Messenger of Allah, peace be on him, said “When someone’s child dies, Allah asks the angels: ‘Did you take away the soul of My servant’s child?’ They say ‘Yes’. Then He says: ‘Did you take away the apple of his eye?’ They say, ‘Yes.’ Then He says, ‘What did My servant say?’ They say: ‘He praised You and said, “Indeed, we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return.’ Then He says, ‘Build a house for My servant in the Garden and call it “The House of Praise,”’[97] He also said, Allah Most High says, ‘I am to My servant according to his thought concerning Me; when he remembers Me; I am with him; when he remembers Me to himself, I remember him to Myself; when he mentions Me among a group, I mention him in a better group. If he comes toward Me one span. I  [*133]  come toward him an arm’s length; if he comes toward Me one arm’s length, I come toward him one step; if he walks toward Me, I run toward him.’“[98]

 

Another reward is the keen interest of the angels in the affairs of the believers on earth:

 

The bearers of the Throne and those around it engage in their Lord’s praise, and they believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for the believers: “Our Lord! Your mercy and knowledge encompass everything. Then forgive those who repent and follow Your path, and save them from the torment of Hell,”[99] Qur’an 40:7

 

A reward for the martyrs is also life from Allah.

 

Do not consider those as dead who were killed in the way of Allah. They are living in the presence of their Lord and find sustenance from their Sustainer. They enjoy what Allah has given them from His bounty, and are glad that those who are left behind (on earth) and have not yet joined them shall have no fear nor shall they grieve. They rejoice in the glad tidings of Allah’s blessings and bounty, and (its the promise that Allah will not fail to reward the believers.[100]

 

As to rejecters of faith, the tyrants and the criminals, Allah has repeatedly promised that He will take them to task in she Hereafter, while giving them a limited respite on earth. Although Me punishes some of them in this world too, emphasis for the final punishment is on the Hereafter:

 

Let it not deceive you that the unbelievers walk about in the land; a limited respite, and then their abode is Hell, and what an evil place![101]

Do not think that Allah is unaware of the doings of the wicked people. He has deferred (judgment for) them to the Day when their eyes shall stare in horror, and they shall run to and fro with their heads upraised (in supplication) unable to look away from what they behold, their heart an abysmal void.[102]

Leave them to indulge in idle talk and play (with words) until she Day comes which they have been promised. On that Day, they will come out of the graves and run as if hastening  [*134]  toward a fixed goal — eyes downcast, faces degraded. It will be the day which they were promised?[103]

 

Thus the life of mankind is close to that of the angels; this life continues into the life Hereafter; and the field of struggle between good and evil, between truth and falsehood, and between faith and tyranny, is not limited to this earth. The matter does not finish here, nor is the decision made in this world, This life and all its pleasures and pains, and achievements and frustrations, do not weigh much in the scale.

The field of struggle is very broad in space and in time,. and in measure and scale. This realization enlarges the believer’s horizons and heightens his aspirations, so that this earth and whatever is in it, and this life and its attachments, shrink in his sight. The believer’s greatness increases in proportion to what he sees and understands of the scope and horizons of reality. To create such a broad, comprehensive, noble, and pure concept of faith, the story of the Makers of the Pit is a great example.

The history of the Call to Allah has witnessed various endings in this world in its struggle with other movements.

It has witnessed the annihilation of the people of Noah, the people of Hud, the people of Sh’uaib, and the people of Lot, and the escape — the bare escape — of a small group of believers. But the Qur’an does not stale what these escapees did in the world and in life after their escape. These examples tell us that sometimes Allah Most High gives the rebels and tyrants a taste of punishment in this world, while the full punishment still awaits them in the Hereafter.

This history of the Call to Allah witnessed the annihilation of Pharaoh and his army, and the escape of Moses and his people and the establishment of their authority in the land. The people of that time were the most righteous in all the Israelites’ history, although they did not attain complete steadfastness nor establish the din of Allah on earth in its entirety.

The history of the Call to Allah witnessed the annihilation of the polytheists who turned away from guidance and belief in Muhammad, peace be on him, and it witnessed the complete victory of the believers, with the amazing victory of belief in their hearts. And for the first time in the history of mankind, the way of Allah was established in such completeness as was not seen by man, either before or after.

And it witnessed, as we have seen, the example of the Makers of the pit.  [*135] 

It witnessed many other examples in earlier or later times with little mention in the history of faith. And even today it is witnessing such examples, which reach one or another of the possible endings recorded throughout centuries of history.

Among the various earlier or later examples, the example of the Makers of the Pit must not be forgotten. In this example the believers have no escape and the unbelievers are not punished! This is a warning for the believers, the callers toward Allah, to remain fully aware that they too can meet this extreme end in the way of Allah, and that they have no say in the matter. Their destiny and the matter of belief rests with Allah.

Their task is to proceed and fulfil their obligation. Their obligation is to choose Allah, prefer belief over life, raise themselves above persecution through faith, and to testify for Allah in deed as welt as intention. Then it is up to Allah to deal with them and with their enemies, and with His din and the Call to it, as He deems proper. He may choose for them any one of the endings known in history, or tome other ending which only He knows.

They are workers for Allah. Whenever, whatever, however He wants them to do their work, they should do it and take the known reward, To decide what will be the ending of their endeavor is neither in their power nor is it their responsibility. This is the responsibility of the One in authority, not of those who are mere workers.

They receive the first part of their reward in the form of contentment of heart, height of understanding, beauty of ideas, liberation from desires and attractions, and freedom from fear and sorrow in whatever circumstances they may find themselves.

They receive the second part of their reward in praise, remembrance and honor among the angels, as well as among the people of this earth.

Then they receive the greater and the last pan of their reward in the Hereafter, namely, an easy accounting and great favors.

With every kind of reward, they also receive the greatest of rewards: the pleasure of Allah. It is His purpose to choose them for ills purpose as an instrument of His power, in order to make use of them on this earth as He deems proper.

The Qur’anic training of the first noble generation of Muslims was of this character to the highest degree. They lost their self-serving personalities and identities in this matter, acting as workers for the One in authority, and were pleased with Allah in every decision and in every circumstance.

The training by the Prophet, peace be on him, went side by side with the Qur’anic teachings, turning their hearts and eyes toward the Garden; and toward patiently persevering in their assigned task until  [*136]  Allah ordains what He intends in this world as well as what is pleasing to Him in the Hereafter.

The Prophet, peace be on him, saw the intensity of tortures heaped upon ‘Ammar, and on his father and mother, may Allah be pleased with them, but he said nothing more than this: “Patience, family of Yasir! The Garden is promised for you.” And Khabbab ibn al-Arat, may Allah be pleased with him, reported: We complained to Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, (of the persecution inflicted 0n us by the infidels) while he was sitting in the shade of the Ka’aba, leaning over his burd (i.e. covering sheet). We said to him, “Would you seek help for us? Would you pray to Allah for us?” He said, “Among the nations before you a (believing) man would be put in a ditch that was dug for him, and a saw would be put over his head and he would be cut into two pieces; yet that (torture) would not make him give up his religion. His body would be combed with iron combs that would remove his flesh from the bones and nerves, yet that would not make him abandon his religion. By Allah, this din will prevail till a traveller from San’a (in Yemen) to Hadramaur will fear none but Allah, or a wolf as regards his sheep, but you (people) are hasty” (Bukhari).

The wisdom of Allah underlies every decision and every circumstance. He administers the entire universe, and He is informed of its beginning and its end, controlling its events and its interrelationships. He knows the wisdom, hidden form us behind the curtains of the Unseen, that in conjunction with His will, unfolds the long process of history.

Sometimes, after generations and centuries, Allah unveils to us the wisdom of an event not understood by the contemporary people, They might have wondered: “Why this? O Lord! Why did this happen?” — The question itself is due to ignorance, from which the believer can save himself. He already knows that behind every decision there is wisdom. A Muslim’s breadth of concept and his far-seeing vision in space and time, and in values and measurement, raises him above this unbelief, whose beginning is in such a question. He journeys along Allah’s ordained course with submission and contentment.

The Qur’an created hearts worthy of hearing the trust of the vicegerency of Allah on earth. These hearts had to he solid, strong and pure, leaving behind everything and bearing everything patiently, in order not to focus on this world, but to transcend it in a vision of the Hereafter, and in order to seek nothing but the pleasure of Allah and willingly to traverse the path of life until death in poverty, difficulty, frustration, torment, and sacrifice. They were not to seek any hasty reward on this earth, whether it was the reward of victory in their Call  [*137]  to Allah, the dominance of Islam, and the glory of the Muslims, or even the annihilation of the tyrants, as the Alt-Mighty, the All-Powerful had annihilated former generations of unbelievers. When hearts were found that had no expectations during the course of this life, because they knew the decision between the Truth and falsehood would be made in the Hereafter, Allah gave them victory so the earth and bestowed upon them the trust because He knew the sincerity of their intentions to carry out their pledge. This trust was not for their benefit, but so that they might establish the Divine plan.

They became the bearers of this trust when no promise was made to them of wnrtdly benefits, and they neither demanded nor sought such benefits. They were dedicated servants of Allah from the day they wanted no reward except His pleasure.

All the verses of the Qur’an in which victory is promised, or in which spoils are mentioned or it is told that the polytheists will he punished in this world by the hands of the believers, were revealed inMadsnatt. These were revealed only after all these matters were excluded from the believer’s scope olaction, expectationand desire. The help of Allah came on its own, when Allah intended this way of life to be actualized in the life of mankind, so that generations of people coutd see it in a practical and concrete form, and not as a reward for effort, hard work, sacrifice, and suffering. This was indeed a decision of Allah, the wisdom of which we are trying to fathom today.

This profound point deserves deep thought by all who call others to Allah, regardless of their country or generation. Such contemplation will help them see the milestones of the road clearly and without ambiguity, because this wisdom establishes the path for those who wish to traverse it to the end, whatever this end may be, recognizing that whatever Allah intends to do with their mission and with them is up to Him. Then they will not be anxious, to find help and victory, while traversing this road paved with skulls and limbs and blood and sweat, or be desirous that the decision between Trulli and falsehood he made in this world. But if Allah Himself intends to complete the mission to call all men and women to His universal and eternal din through their efforts, He will bring shout His Will, but not as a reward for their sufferings and sacrifices. Indeed, this world is not a place of reward.

Another fact to ponder here is a comment of the Qur’an no the story of the Makers of the Pit where Allah, Most High, says: And they were angered with the believers, only because they believed in Allah, the All-Powerful, the All-Praiseworthy.

The callers to Allah, of any period or generation, ought to ponder this profound truth. The struggle between the believers and their  [*138]  enemies is in essence entirely a struggle of belief. The enemies are angered only because of the believers' faith, enraged only because of their belief.

This was not a political or an economic or a racial struggle. Had it been any of these, its settlement would have been easy, and the solution of its difficulties would have been simple. But essentially it was a struggle between beliefs, either unbelief or faith, either jahiliyyah or the eternal and universal din of Islam.

This is why the polytheist leaders of Makkah offered the Messenger of Allah, peace he on him, wealth, kingship and worldly things for only one thing: namely, to induce him to give up the struggle of belief and instead compromise with them and their jahiliyyah. Had he accepted what they asked him, may Allah forgive us for even mentioning such s thing, no difference whatsoever would have remained between them and him.

Indeed, this was a question of belief and a battle of belief. The believers ought to be certain of this, whatever be the declaration and ostensible purpose of their enemies. They are their enemies only because of the believers’ belief, — “ only because they believe in Allah, the All-Powerful, the All-Praiseworthy,” — and because they reserve their obedience and purify their submission for Him alone.

The enemies of the believers may wish to change this struggle into an economic or political or racial struggle, so that the believers become confused concerning its true nature and the flame of belief in their hearts goes out. The believers must not be deceived and must understand that this is a trick. The enemy, by changing the nature of the struggle, intends to deprive them of their weapons for true victory. This victory can take any form, be it freedom of spirit as in the story of the Makers of the Pit, or dominance in the world, as a consequence of this freedom of spirit, as Allah granted to the first generation of Muslims.

We see an example of this today in the attempts to deceive us by distorting history and saying that the Crusades were a form of imperialism. The truth of the matter is that the latter-day imperialism is but a mask for the crusading spirit, since it is not possible for it to appear in its true form, as in the Middle Ages. The unveiled crusading spirit was smashed against the rock of the faith of Muslim leadership, which came from various elements, including Salahudddin the Kurd and Turan Shah the Mamluk, who forgot their differences of nationality, remembered only their belief, and were victorious under the banner of Islam.

They were angered with the believers only because they believed in Allah, the All- Powerful, the All-Praiseworthy.

 


 

 



[1] Quran 3:110

[2] Qur’an 2:143

[3] Qur’an 17:106

[4] Qur’an 17:9

[5] Shirk, (Arabic) means associating false gods with Allah.

[6] Qur’an 18:103-106

[7] Qur’an 43:84

[8] Qur’an 12:40

[9] Qur’an 3:64

[10] Quur’an 2:256

[11] Dhimmies (Arabic) non-Muslim subjects of an Islamic state living under its dhimmah (protection).

[12] Qur’an 4:77

[13] Qur’an 2:190

[14] Qur’an 9:29

[15] Qur’an 22:39

[16] Qur’an 4:77

[17] Qur’an 2:217

[18] Qur’an 8:38-40

[19] Qur’an 9:29-32

[20] Qur’an 12:40

[21] Qur’an 16:51-52

[22] Qur’an 6:162-163

[23] Qur’an 42:21

[24] Qur’an 59:7

[25] Qur’an 9:30

[26] Qur’an 5:73

[27] Qur’an 5:64

[28] Qur’an 5:18

[29] Qur’an 5:44

[30] Qur’an 4:60

[31] Qur’an 4:65

[32] Qur’an 59:7

[33] Qur’an 67:14

[34] Qur’an 67:14

[35] Qur’an 53:23-25

[36] Qur’an 16:40

[37] Qur’an 25:2

[38] Qur’an 7:54

[39] Qur’an 21:10-18

[40] Qur’an 3:83

[41] Qur’an 12:40

[42] Qur’an 26:128-135

[43] Qur’an 26:146-152

[44] Qur’an 6:44-45

[45] Qur’an 10:24

[46] Qur’an 71:10-12

[47] Qur’an 7:96

[48] Qur’an 2:137

[49] Qur’an 2:109

[50] Qur’an 2:120

[51] Qur’an 3:100

[52] Qur’an 2:120

[53] Qur’an 53:29-30

[54] Qur’an 39:9

[55] Qur’an 58:22

[56] Qur’an 4:76

[57] Qur’an 6:153

[58] Qur’an 5:50

[59] Qur’an 45:18

[60] Qur’an 10:32

[61] Qur’an 72-75

[62] Qur’an 4:1

[63] Qur’an 49:10

[64] Qur’an 8:72

[65] Qur’an 59:9-10

[66] Qur’an 11:45-47

[67] Qur’an 2:124

[68] Qur’an 2:126

[69] Qur’an 9:48

[70] Qur’an 60:4

[71] Qur’an 18:13-16

[72] Qur’an 66:10

[73] Qur’an 66:11

[74] Qur’an 48:22

[75] Qur’an 4:65

[76] Qur’an 110:1-3

[77] Qur’an 2:135-138

[78] Qur’an 3:110

[79] Qur’an 9:24

[80] Qur’an 22:41

[81] Qur’an 5:49

[82] Qur’an 42:15

[83] Qur’an 28:50

[84] Qur’an 45:18-19

[85] Qur’an 5:50

[86] Qur’an 7:58

[87] Qur’an 74:50

[88] Qur’an 18:29

[89] Qur’an 3:97

[90] Qur’an 3:139

[91] Qur’an 3:196-197

[92] Qur’an 11:38

[93] Qur’an 83:29-36

[94] Qur’an 3:8-9

[95] Qur’an 85:1-16

[96] Qur’an 13:28

[97] Tirmidhi

[98] Bukhari & Muslim

[99] Qur’an 40:7

[100] Qur’an 3:169-171

[101] Qur’an 3:196-197

[102] Qur’an 14:42-43

[103] Qur’an 70:42-44