This article is an analysis of the state of the rulers and governments of the world today.
Allah T’ala says in the Holy Quran,
إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللّهِ الإِسْلاَمُ وَمَا اخْتَلَفَ الَّذِينَ أُوْتُواْ الْكِتَابَ إِلاَّ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءهُمُ الْعِلْمُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ وَمَن
يَكْفُرْ بِآيَاتِ اللّهِ فَإِنَّ اللّهِ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ
3:19 The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His Will): Nor did the People of the Book dissent therefrom except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the Signs of Allah, Allah is swift in calling to account. Read more...
American economist Robert Samuelson recently made an interesting observation about the American society in his Newsweek column: "America's glories and evils are tightly fused together." Quoting sociologist Seymour Lipset, he asserts that America's economic vitality and progress come from the same source as do crime, family breakdown, inequality, and vulgarity. Freedom and individualism have fired economic advance, yet have also inhibited social control. But why the qualities that bring the best in a nation also should bring the worst in it? Is humanity doomed by having its vices and virtues so intricately mixed?
Samuelson does not probe the issue. Instead he seems to be happily resigned to it. "We are burdened as well as blessed by our beliefs," he says. Economics, we may be reminded, is the dismal science.
Actually the world is not doomed by design. Samuelson comes very close to the truth but he confuses approaches or tools with attributes. A tool that works great in one area is also being used in another for which it was never designed. The problem lies with the user who keeps on insisting on its use in the second area citing its success in the first. To put matters simply, it's the free use of reason and intellect that is behind most of America's (and West's in general) phenomenal scientific and material progress. It's the use of the same tool in moral, and religious life that has caused its equally phenomenal moral degeneration!
Every tool has a designated area of application. Outside, it will fail to work. A 4 bit computer is good for some elementary math involving whole numbers. It may multiply 2 by 20 and give the correct answer instantly. But burdened with complex calculations involving several decimal digits, it will give the WRONG answers. A weighing scale meant for gold will not work for iron and vice versa. Their resolution and capacity are inappropriate for those applications.
Same with the tools we use for learning about the world. Our senses and intellect are wonderful things. Science and technology are all about their use. Certainly it was free inquiry driven by reason that led to so many of the discoveries of science. It happened at an accelerated pace during the past four centuries and the results are everywhere around us to be seen.
But a tool that is so great in one area may be totally useless, even dangerous, in another. Pure Reason, uninformed by Divine Guidance, is a defective tool for deciding purpose of life or suggesting its values. What is Right and what is Wrong? These questions require knowledge beyond what we can acquire by using our senses and reasoned analysis. As a direct result, everyone's reasoning is different. That is why philosophers have never been able to agree upon what should be the goal of life. Happiness? Survival? Pleasure? Love? Self-fulfillment? You name it. In addition, it is impossible for us to separate our reasoning in these matters from our feelings. Pure or uninformed reason becomes just a tool to justify what we desire.
Today West's problem is that it has accepted the wrong tool for developing its moral compass. Probably the majority of its people abhor homosexuality. They may know that it is an abomination and evil. Yet today same-sex marriages are getting legal sanction in the West. And they are helpless in trying to stop its advances. Why? Because they cannot argue that it is wrong based on pure reason. It is easier to make a case against smoking in public places, then against the worst forms of immorality. Such is the result when pure reason becomes the accepted arbiter of right and wrong.
There is nothing modern about this either. Several centuries ago, Obaidullah Hasan Qirwani, a leader of the renegade batani cult declared it foolish for a brother to marry his beautiful sister to a total stranger, while trying to be content with a less qualified wife -- another stranger. She would be much more suited to be wife of her own brother, with whom she may be a lot more compatible, he argued. His argument is, no doubt, sickening. But is there a counter argument based on pure reason?
Certainly mankind needs a superior tool for determining the values and purpose of life. A source of guidance that is based on certain knowledge, not conjecture. One that can inform our desires rather than being subservient to them. This is what Prophets, Alayhim assalam, came with. They claimed to have access to the higher source of knowledge, the Divine Revelation. Those who accepted them used reason and observation to verify their authenticity and character. But they accepted Divine Revelation as a SUPERIOR source of knowledge! That is why a son can tell his father:
"O my father! To me has come knowledge that had not reached you. So follow me. I will guide you to a Way that is even and straight." (Maryam, 19:43).
All this is obvious, except in implications. We accept this is Right and that is Wrong because the Revelation TOLD us, not because it PROVED it to us. What is wrong with riba? Gambling? Pork? Alcohol? Revelation told us that they were wrong. Why is hijab necessary? Allah and His Prophet, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, ordered that. What are the rights of men and women? Those given to them by Allah and His Prophet, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. The attribute of the Muslims is that they "listened and followed" (Al-Baqarah, 2:285). It is not that they listened and questioned, and argued, and investigated and then if they felt like it, they followed. That is also THE message of Prophet Ibrahim, alayhi assalm's, sacrifice, a defining event for Islam. For the Qur'an describes the moment when the father and son were ready for the ultimate sacrifice by saying: "When they surrendered" (Al-Saffat, 37:103). Literally it can also be translated: "When they accepted Islam." For pure reason could have raised a million questions about the command for that sacrifice.
Normally it is difficult for us to say "I don't know." It is even more difficult for nations to admit a weakness in their celebrated tools of inquiry. That is the dilemma of the modern world, which sees so much wrong with itself but cannot bring itself to admitting the problem with its basic approach. But a Muslim is the person who has both the wisdom and the courage to surrender before the higher source of knowledge and guidance. For him Revelation informs his reason and his reason controls his emotions. Such is the person who is blessed, but not burdened, by his beliefs.
Reference url: http://www.albalagh.net/food_for_thought/reason.shtml
"Fear Allah in your treatment of animals." [Abu Dawood]A companion came to him with the young ones of a bird in his sheet and said that the mother bird had hovered over them all along. He was directed to replace her offspring in the same bush (Mishkat, Abu Dawood)
During a journey, somebody picked up some birds eggs. The bird's painful note and fluttering attracted the attention of the Prophet (pbuh), who asked the man to replace the eggs. [Sahih Bukhari]
As his army marched towards Makkah to conquer it, they passed a female dog with puppies. The Prophet (pbuh) not only gave orders that they should not be disturbed, but posted a man to see that this was done.
He stated, "Verily, there is heavenly reward for every act of kindness done to a living animal."Read more...
It has been narrated on the authority of Hadrat Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that eighty persons from the inhabitants of Makka swooped down upon Allah's Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) from the mountain of Tan'im. They were armed and wanted to attack the Holy Prophet (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) and his Companions unawares. He (the Holy Prophet) captured them but spared their lives. So, Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted) revealed the verse:
"And It is He Who restrained your hands from them and their hands from you in the valley of Makkah after He had given you a victory over them." (48:24)
You may be an atheist or an agnostic or you may belong to any of the religious denominations that exist in the world today. You may have been a Communist or a believer in democracy and freedom. No matter what you are, and no matter what your religious and political beliefs, personal and social habits happen to be— YOU STILL MUST KNOW THIS MAN!
He was by far the most remarkable man that ever set foot on this earth. He preached a religion, founded a state, built a nation, laid down a moral code, initiated numberless social and political reforms, established a dynamic and powerful society to practice and represent his teachings, and he revolutionized the worlds of human thought and human action for all time. His name was Muhammad (peace and blessings of Almighty Creator be upon him)—and he accomplished all these wonders in the unbelievably short span of twenty-three years.
Muhammad (pbuh) was born in Arabia in 570 CE, and when he died at the age of 63, the whole of the Arabian Peninsula had changed from paganism and idol worship to the worship of One God; from tribal quarrels and wars to national solidarity and cohesion; from drunkenness and debauchery to sobriety and piety; from lawlessness and anarchy to disciplined living; from utter moral bankruptcy to the highest standards of moral excellence. Human history has never known such a complete transformation of a people or a place before or since.
The Encyclopedia Britannica calls him "the most successful of all religious personalities of the world."
Bernard Shaw said, "if Muhammad (pbuh) were alive today, he would succeed in solving all those problems which threaten to destroy human civilization in our times."
Thomas Carlysle was amazed as to how one man, single-handedly, could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades.
Napoleon and Gandhi never tired of dreaming of a society along the lines established by this man in Arabia fourteen centuries ago.
Indeed no other human being ever accomplished so much, in such diverse fields of human thought and behavior, in so limited a space of time, as did Muhammad (pbuh). He was a religious teacher, a social reformer, a moral guide, a political thinker, a military genius, an administrative colossus, a faithful friend, a wonderful companion, a devoted husband, a loving father—all in one. No other man in history ever excelled or equaled him in any of these difficult departments of life.
The world has had its share of great personalities. But these were one-sided figures who distinguished themselves in but one or two fields, such as religious thought or military leadership. None of the other great leaders of the world ever combined within himself so many different qualities to such an amazing level of perfection as did Muhammad (pbuh). The lives and teachings of other great personalities of the world are shrouded in the mist of time. There is so much speculation about the time and the place of their birth, the mode and style of their life, the nature and detail of their teachings and the degree and measure of their success or failure that it is impossible for humanity today to reconstruct accurately and precisely the lives and teachings of those men. Not so this man Muhammad (pbuh). Not only was he born in the fullest blaze of recorded history, but every detail of his private and public life, of his actions and utterances, has been accurately documented and faithfully preserved to our day. The authenticity of the information so preserved is vouched for not only by faithful followers but also by unbiased critics and open-minded scholars.
At the level of ideas there is no system of thought and belief—secular or religious, social or political —which could surpass or equal ISLAM—the system which Muhammad (pbuh) propounded. In a fast-changing world, while other systems have undergone profound transformations, Islam alone has remained above all change and mutation, and retained its original form for the past 1400 years. What is more, the positive changes that are taking place in the world of human thought and behavior truly and consistently reflect the healthy influence of Islam in these areas. It is not given to the best of thinkers to put their ideas completely into practice, and to see the seeds of their labors grow and bear fruit in their own lifetime. Except of course, Muhammad (pbuh), who not only preached the most wonderful ideas but also successfully translated each one of them into practice. At the time of his death his teachings were not mere precepts and ideas straining for fulfillment. They had become the very core of the life of tens of thousands of perfectly trained individuals. At what other time or place and in relation to what other political, social, religious system, philosophy or ideology—did the world ever witness such a perfectly amazing phenomenon? Except of course, ISLAM, which was established as a complete way of life by Muhammad (pbuh)himself. History bears testimony to this fact and the greatest skeptics have no option but to concede this point.
In spite of the phenomenal success which crowned his efforts, he did not for a moment claim to be God or God's incarnation or Son —but only a human being who was chosen and ordained by the Creator to be a teacher of truth to mankind and a complete model and pattern for their actions. He was a man with a noble and exalted mission —and his unique mission was to unite humanity in the worship of the One and only God and to teach them the way to honest and upright living in accordance with the laws and commands of God. He always described himself as a Messenger and servant of God, as indeed every single action and movement of his proclaimed him to be. A world which has not hesitated to raise to Divinity individuals whose very lives and missions have been lost in legend and who, historically speaking, did not accomplish half as much—or even one tenth—as was accomplished by Muhammad (pbuh), should stop to take serious note of this remarkable man's claim to be God's messenger to mankind.
Today, after the lapse of some 1400 years, the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), have survived without the slightest loss, alteration or interpolation. Today they offer the same undying hope for treating mankind's many ills which they did when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was alive. This is our honest claim and this is the inescapable conclusion forced upon us by a critical and unbiased study of history.The least YOU should do as a thinking, sensitive, concerned human being is to stop for one brief moment and ask yourself: Could it be that these statements, extraordinary and revolutionary as they sound, are really true? Supposing they really are true, and you did not know this man Muhammad (pbuh) or hear about his teachings? Or did not know him well and intimately enough to be able to benefit from his guidance and example? Is it not time you responded to this tremendous challenge and made some effort to know him? It will not cost you anything but it may well prove to be the beginning of a completely new era in your life.
Come, let us make a new discovery, the life of this wonderful man Muhammad (pbuh), the like of whom never walked on this earth, and whose example and teachings can change YOUR life and OUR world for the better. May God shower His choicest blessings upon him!
Written by S. H. Pasha