Islam and Fatalism
by Maulana Mustafa Khan
The Light (Pakistan), 16th February 1922 Issue (Vol. 1, No. 5, pp. 3–4)
It is one of the fundamental principles of Islam to have faith in the Divine mission of all the prophets, whenever and wherever raised, whether in the person of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Confucius, or Muhammad. We hold they came from the same source, with the same light, for the regeneration of a fallen humanity.
Islam, which means nothing more nor less than willing submission to the laws of the Creator, was the common religion each one of the noble band followed and preached. Hence in denouncing the religion of the Church as unsuited to humanity, I must not be misunderstood to mean an insinuation at the religion of Jesus, which according to us was no other than Islam.
So far as the personality of Jesus is concerned, a Muslim is bound in faith to love and venerate him. The Holy Quran has cleared him at great length, in the most forcible terms, of all the Jewish calumnies heaped on his noble self and on his virtuous mother.
To begin with, a religion for man must obviously be in keeping with the nature of man, for otherwise it would fail to do him any good. Everything in the universe, in order to achieve its summum bonum [ultimate goal], has to obey a particular set of laws. The laws governing the growth and development of a plant, for instance, must be in due accord with the inherent potentialities of the plant, or it will wither and perish in no time. Man, too, who is part and parcel of the same universe, must have a code of laws in strict consonance with the requirements of his nature. Now, let us apply the test to Christianity to see if it comes up to this criterion.
- The conception of Godhead. Three equal to one and vice versa is jarring to the plainest arithmetical sense of man with an unsophisticated mind. It is moreover unscientific, the tendency of science being towards Unity, that is, reducing the diverse multiplicity of natural phenomena to one ultimate cause.
- The crucifixion of Jesus for the sins of others is irreconcilable to the human sense of justice. Is it not like the old adage of robbing Peter and paying Paul?
- The dogma of Atonement is a deathblow to all morality. The very idea that Jesus’ blood has washed off the sins of all who have faith in it is an impetus to the lower cravings of human nature to run riot — a license to self-indulgence. As a testimony, notice the distress of the recent Church Congress at the sex-immorality in Christendom.
- The doctrine of the Divinity of Jesus takes away his utility to man as a source of inspiration, which he can only derive from his fellowman. The swiftness of a deer, for instance, will not prompt him to emulate the animal. The mere thought that Jesus was not a man like me, but Divine by nature, is enough to damp all the aspirations of my heart to follow in his footsteps.
- Granting Jesus was human, even then we cannot take him for an exemplar, for what we know of him is too meagre and absolutely unreliable. It is through his deeds as met with in his authenticated life record that a guide can be of light and inspiration to us. But, unfortunately, in the case of Jesus, his very existence has been called into question.
- The Gospels are not a faithful record of what Jesus thought. It is believed only five verses, out of the whole lot, are Jesus’ own; all the rest being unreliable. They, therefore, fail to carry any conviction to man and hence lack the necessary driving force.
- The Gospel code of life, taking it for all it is worth, is lacking in the all-important element of practicability.