The New World Order

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 1: Foundations of the New World Order

Humanity is today face to face with the biggest catastrophe and the severest crisis that it has ever seen. The devastations of the First World War were yet fresh in the minds of the present generation when, within the short space of twenty years, we find a veritable hell raging on this earth from one end to the other in the form of the Second World War. And while there is yet not the slightest indication of the subsiding of the present conflagration, there are already whispers of a Third World War; and who knows if a fourth or a fifth visitation, each more horrible than the one that precedes it, is yet in store for this world!

Are these the travails through which humanity is going to give birth to a better world order? Such is the hope of everyone who has faith in the wisdom of God; even a man who does not believe in God can see in these horrible calamities the harbinger of a mighty revolution. But, as a matter of fact, all this is happening, as will be shown later, according to a set Divine plan calculated to take humanity by gradual steps to its destined goal of perfection.

The cry of a New World Order is universal, especially in the Western world which was hitherto under the impression that by its unprecedented material advancement and unthought-of conquests of Nature it has reached the acme of perfection. That impression has received a rude shock by the happenings of the past thirty years. The material advancement, which was believed to be the source of increased happiness for the human race, has brought instead untold misery and vast destruction. The world is almost in a chaotic condition, every weak nation being the victim of the tyranny of its more powerful and more advanced neighbour. The sense of right and wrong in international relations has entirely disappeared before the passion for national aggrandizement, and this mentality rules the world from end to end. Might is as much right today as it was in the savage state. Instead of finding itself at the height of perfection by its great material strides, the world finds itself at the lowest depth of degradation, at the very place from which it started thousands of years ago, at the kill-and-destroy stage.

Selfishness, disregard of other’s rights, indifference to moral responsibilities, tyrannising over the weak, are as rampant—perhaps more—at the height of civilization as they were in the savage state; they have only donned a different garment. Selfishness is denounced so long as it is a disease affecting one or more individuals, but when it becomes a plague and affects a whole nation, it is lauded as a great national achievement. Individuals may be secure within certain territorial limits, but whole countries are insecure and may at any time be run over by a nation which has developed a more powerful war machinery. Tyranny may not be allowed within the limits of a State, but there is nothing to check the tyranny of a nation against a nation. A certain social system may have been successful in curbing the greed of individuals, but there is nothing to curb the greed of a nation except the greater greed of a more powerful nation. Evil is taken for a virtue if it wears the cloak of nationalism. Humanity has been divided into races and nations which hate one another; in their march for advancement and their passion for more and more of material comforts and worldly pelf and power, they seek to destroy one another, not being bound by any moral code. The material civilization of the West which has made the acquisition of wealth the highest purpose of life is wholly responsible for the anarchical state of things which prevails there.

It is evident that materialism which fans the fire of human greed will bring in its trail only ruin and misery, just as it has brought in the two world wars, if there is no force to unite the human race. Such a force could only be a spiritual force. In the materially advanced Western world, the seismic centre of the convulsions which are shaking the entire world, such a moral force does not exist. Christianity which supplied such a force for centuries retreated before the advancing forces of materialism; ultimately it has been utterly routed. Its hold on Russia is now too weak to withstand the advancing tide of atheism; in Germany, too, Nazism does not owe allegiance to Christianity. In most other European countries where it still lives, it lives in name only, not as a vital force. Religion is recognised only as man’s private concern, and people feel ashamed of speaking of it in society. The name of God is on the lips, and the politicians, instead of serving him, requisition His services in some great national calamity or for victory in a war. God is needed more to further material gains and to serve political ends than to bring contentment of mind—as the slave of materialism, not as a spiritual force, to check the evil tendencies of materialism which are proving so ruinous for the world. Europe has practically banished God from the soil of its mind, and God has banished peace and order from the soil of Europe.

It will be said that Europe is still bent upon converting the world to Christianity; it sends out missions to and spends enormous sums of money in Asia and Africa and other parts of the world with this purpose. Does it show that Europe believes in the spiritual force of Christianity? It does not. If Europe had any faith in the spiritual value of Christianity, it should have tried to save Russia first. Europe only believes in the materialistic value of Christianity, and therefore the message of Christianity is deemed fit only for the materially backward people of the East, for the untouchables of India, for the savage Negro [Black] tribes or for the backward Chinese masses. It is thus materialism that goes about in the East wearing the cloak of Christianity. There is no sense in preaching to the East a religion which has proved spiritually an entire failure in the West itself. Christianity has not saved Europe which is now in the grip of materialism and is burning like hell from one end to the other; it is absurd to suppose that it will turn Asia into a heaven. Failure is writ large on the forehead of Christianity; its retreating forces are trying their luck in the East with the message of economic uplift, unaccompanied by any spiritual benefit.

If Christianity has any spiritual force left in it after its defeat at the hands of materialism, why does it not make an attempt to convert atheistic Russia, whose poison of godlessness is affecting the whole world, instead of sending missions to the East where belief in God still exists in greater vitality than it does in Europe and America? Europe defends itself against Russian Communism, but that too because it affects its material interests and because it is a menace to Europe’s Capitalism which is the foundation-stone of European Imperialism. If Bolshevic emissaries were out only to preach godlessness and did not touch Capitalism and Imperialism of Europe, it would not move its little finger against them.

The failure of Christianity to keep the fire of faith burning in human hearts against the tide of materialism is due to two reasons. In the first place, the Christian religion—not the simple faith of Jesus Christ but as represented by the Church—was based on a dogma which was repugnant to human reason. So long as Europe was sunk low in ignorance, it remained satisfied with the authoritative Church declaration—Believe and do not question! With the advance of scientific knowledge in all branches of life, it was evident that the hold of a religion whose basic doctrines defied reason should loosen. Christianity’s first clash was in fact with science. Every new discovery in the domain of science was looked upon by the Church as a heresy, because its spirit was more in consonance with ignorance than learning. It was not because of Christianity, but in spite of Christianity, that scientific research gained ground in Europe. The Church tried to suppress every scientific discovery with all the force at its command but suffered defeat every time. Then came a stage at which, contrary to all previous traditions of Christianity, reason began to be applied to Church doctrines; all basic doctrines—the Divinity of Jesus, the crucifixion, the atonement of sins, the Eucharist—when brought under the searchlight of reason, were found to have been based on the myths of ancient idolatrous nations. Christianity was the only religion known to Europe, and Jesus Christ the only God, and if these failed to satisfy the advanced mind, religion and God were bound to go along with them.

The other reason for the failure of Christianity was that it was only a creed that concerned itself with salvation in the next life. It was not a system or an order dealing with this life; all the interest that it took was in ultra-mundane questions. But with the advance of science there was a general progressive outlook of life, to which the very spirit of Christianity was opposed. The two great problems of this life, the problems of wealth and sex, as accepted by generations of Christianity, did not satisfy the advanced mind. Not only did Christianity not offer any solution to the new questions that arose in the march of civilization, it opposed all reform on these matters, and therefore men’s minds were turned in disgust from it. The hold of religion on the minds of men having thus loosened, materialism remained the sole master in the field.

The cementing force of religion has thus for the time being disappeared from Europe, and the one-sided development of its civilization, the unchecked growth of materialism, has let loose the forces of selfishness, jealousy, hatred and grabbing political power, which have brought ruin and destruction upon humanity. The first requisite of the New World Order, therefore, is that it must be based on spiritual force which religion alone can supply. If the foundations are not deep and reliable, the superstructure of the New Order would go to pieces. This is what happened twenty years ago. The First World War raged for over four years, visiting ruin and desolation on populous cities and towns, changing fertile lands into barren wastes, killing hundreds of thousands of the healthiest youth, maiming even greater numbers for their lives, destroying the happiness of millions of homes, and plunging vast sections of humanity into misery and affliction. The end of the war seemed to justify all these sacrifices. The aggressor was defeated, and the democracies won a complete victory. There were summoned together the best brains from the winning nations and a great international conference was convened so as to lay the foundations of a New World Order. The map of Europe was redrawn. New territorial bounds were demarcated. The vanquished aggressors were so cut up into pieces that never again should they regain the strength to raise their heads. The League of Nations was created to give this Order a moral support. This was New World Order No. 1.

Where is that Order today? It went to pieces within ten years of its creation, and another ten plunged the world into a conflagration more horrible than the first. All the travail that humanity had to go through ended in smoke. Why? Because the New Order had no moral foundations. The worthy people that assembled at the conference gave no thought to the real ills of humanity. They thought that vanquishment of one nation by another was a remedy for future aggression. It was not, and it shall never be. They did nothing to eliminate the mutual hatred of the warring factions. They did nothing to bring about a change of heart, either in the conquerors or in the conquered. They did not pay the least attention to the fact that in their peace proposals they were only giving impetus to the very human greed which had brought about the great disaster. They talked of everything excepting how to weld humanity into one nation, and how to lay a moral foundation for the superstructure of their New Order. The proposed moral support of the League of Nations was nothing but a farce; it was rightly called a League of Thieves by Iqbal, because each one of them had but one desire in his heart of hearts: how to steal away material advantages for his own nation; and not one of them was inspired by the noble idea: how to weld the different nations into one humanity.

Now we are in the midst of the Second World War and the vanquishment of the aggressors is again in sight. All kinds of questions are being discussed as to what World Order No. 2 should be, but one question is again conspicuous by its absence: how are the different nations to be welded into one humanity? If this question is not tackled seriously, this new offering at the altar of the god of war in the shape of untold human woe and misery and the devastation of civilisation will go in vain, and World Order No. 2 will go the way of World Order No. 1. It will only pave the way for another and perhaps more terrific world cataclysm. No conference of materialistic people, no league of greedy nations, can bring salvation to Europe. The solution of a thousand materialistic questions will not bring peace unless the moral foundation for welding different nations into one humanity, and for a change of greedy mentality, is discovered first. The way the politicians are going is not the way of the Kingdom of God, and peace will only come to humanity when the Kingdom of God is established on earth. World Order No. 2, if based on the same materialistic foundations of how to divide the booty, will surely lead to World War No. 3 as World Order No. 1 has led to World War No. 2.

It is the greatest misfortune of humanity that religion which alone can furnish the moral foundations on which a true World Order can be established has been put under taboo, and the very panacea is deemed to be a poison. Hatred of religion has become the fashion among the materially advanced people, without giving a thought to the incontrovertible fact that religion has been the supreme force in the development of mankind to its present condition. As a matter of fact, human civilisation as we have it today, is based on religion. Religion has made possible a state of civilisation which has again and again saved human society from disruption. Trace back the history of human civilisation among all nations, and it will be seen that whenever it has begun to totter, a new religious impulse has always been at hand to save it from utter destruction. It is not only that civilisation, with any pretence to endurance, can rest only on a moral basis, and that true and lofty morals are inspired only by faith in God, even the unity and cohesion of jarring human elements, without which it is impossible for any human civilisation to stand for a day, is best brought about by the unifying force of religion.

It is often said that religion is responsible for much of the hatred and bloodshed in the world, but a cursory glance at the history of religion will show this to be a monstrous misconception. Love, concord, sympathy, kindness to one’s fellow-men, has been the message of every religion, and every nation has learnt these essential lessons in their true purity only through the spirit of selflessness and service which faith in God has inspired. If there have been selfishness and hatred and bloodshed among religious people, they have been there in spite of religion, not as a consequence of the message of love which religion has brought. They have been there because human nature is too prone to these things; and their presence only shows that a still greater religious awakening is required, that a truer faith in God is yet a crying need of humanity. That men shall sometimes turn to low and unworthy things does not show that the nobler sentiments are worthless; it only shows that their development has become all the more an urgent need.

If unification be the true basis of human civilisation, by which phrase I mean the civilisation, not of one nation or of one country, but of humanity as a whole, then Islam is undoubtedly the greatest civilising force the world has ever known or is likely to know. Thirteen hundred years ago, it was Islam that saved it from crushing into an abyss of savagery, that came to the help of a civilisation whose very foundations had collapsed, and that set about laying new foundations and rearing an entirely new edifice of culture and ethics. A new idea of the unity of the human race as a whole, not of the unity of this or that nation, was introduced into the world; an idea so mighty that it welded together nations which had warred with and hated one another since the world began. It was not only in Arabia, among the ever-fighting tribes of a single peninsula, that this great miracle, as an English writer calls it, was wrought, a miracle before the magnitude of which everything dwindles into insignificance:

A more disunited people it would be hard to find till suddenly the miracle took place. A man arose who, by his personality and by his claim to direct Divine guidance, actually brought about the impossible—namely the union of all these warring factions1.”

It not only cemented together the warring tribes of one country but it established a brotherhood of all the nations of the world, joining together even those which had nothing in common except their common humanity. It obliterated differences of colour, race, language, geographical boundaries and even differences of culture. It united man with man as such, and the hearts of those in the far east began to beat in unison with the hearts of those in the farthest west. Indeed, it proved to be not only the greatest but the only force uniting humanity, because whereas other religions had succeeded merely in unifying the different elements of a single race or a single nation, Islam actually achieved the unification of different races and nations, and harmonised the jarring and discordant elements of humanity.

Islam not only made the different human races a single race but united different nations into a single human nation. Upon this basis, the surest basis of civilisation, it brought back to man his lost civilisation. Thus writes J.H. Denison in Emotion as the Basis of Civilization:

“In the fifth and sixth centuries, the civilized world stood on the verge of chaos. The old emotional cultures that had made civilization possible, since they had given to men a sense of unity and of reverence for their rulers, had broken down, and nothing had been found adequate to take their place….

“It seemed then the great civilization which it had taken four thousand years to construct was on the verge of disintegration, and that mankind was likely to return to that condition of barbarism where every tribe and sect was against the next, and law and order were unknown…. The old tribal sanctions had lost their power…. The new sanctions created by Christianity were working division and destruction instead of unity and order…. Civilization like a gigantic tree whose foliage had overreached the world…stood tottering…rotted to the core…. Was there any emotional culture that could be brought in to gather mankind once more into unity and to save civilization?”

And then speaking of Arabia:

“It was among these people that the man was born who was to unite the whole known world of the east and south.”

Civilisation is once more faced with disintegration and destruction owing to a condition similar to that prevailing in the sixth century. Nation has risen against nation, seeking to destroy one another. Some force is needed—and that is the first need of humanity today—which should unite the different nations into one humanity. This force which should bring about a change of mentality so as to eliminate mutual jealousies and hatred can only be a moral force, and a moral force can be supplied only by religion. Islam supplied such a force in the seventh century beginning with Arabia. In those days, Arabia presented a scene of internecine warfare exactly similar to that which Europe presents today. Tribes and clans that inhabited that desert-land were in the grip of unending feuds. The smallest thing served as a matchstick to set ablaze the flames of war which lasted for years. All the tribes would plunge themselves into the conflagration, some ranging themselves on one side, some on the other. There was wholesale bloodshed and destruction. After exhausting themselves they would conclude peace. Hardly would the ink of the treaty dry up when old grudges which kept smouldering would burst up and once more the country would find itself in the flames of war. Thus, went on things for long generations from sire to son and from son to grandson. The whole people were on the verge of being consumed to ashes by these flames of warfare, when, lo! God in His mercy poured down from above the cooling waters which once for all extinguished the last embers of those age-long enmities and grudges, replacing them by mutual sympathy and affection.

Strange as it might appear, the brotherhood of which the basis was laid in Arabia in the seventh century was not limited to that peninsula. Within a century, vast territories beyond the boundaries of Arabia received the light of learning and civilisation which was established in that little-known peninsula. The unification of humanity which was the foundation-stone of this new culture was unique, and the world had not seen the like of it before. No other reformer or religion had ever dreamed of such a brotherhood of man—a brotherhood which knew no bounds of colour, race, country, language or even of rank; a unity of the human race beyond which conception cannot go. It not only recognizes the equality of the civil and political rights of men, but also that of their spiritual rights.

“Mankind is a single nation” (The Holy Quran, 2:213)

is its fundamental doctrine, and for that reason every nation is recognised having received the spiritual gift of revelation, which up to this time had only been conceived as a gift to this or that favoured nation.

“And there is not a people but a warner has gone among them” (The Holy Quran, 35:24).

The conception of humanity as one nation, notwithstanding the diversity of races and colours and languages and outstepping all geographical boundaries, is Islam’s unique contribution to human civilisation. It is the only panacea for the poison of national jealousies and hatred which has brought humanity, along with its civilisation, to the verge of destruction. Christianity is, like Islam, an international religion in the sense that it embraces various nations in its fold, but, in the real sense of the word, in bringing all nations to one level and in bringing about harmony among these nations, Islam is the only international religion. In this respect, Christianity has been a signal failure. Christians of white colour to this day hate Christians of black colour though living in the same country, as in the case of America, the most advanced Christian country and the home of democracy, where, in spite of the pious wishes of Mr. Roosevelt, the Negro [Black] and the white man cannot gather together under one roof. Christians of the West still consider themselves superior to Christians of the East, who cannot worship God in the same church with them. Christian converts from among the low castes in India are still untouchables in the eyes of converts to Christianity from among the high-caste Hindus. Christianity has hopelessly failed in bringing about unification of humanity. Islam, on the other hand, has given birth to a World Order of universal brotherhood in which the Western and Eastern, the white and the black, the Aryan and the Semitic, the Indian and the Negro [Black], stand on the same level. The moment a Negro [Black] or an untouchable enters the fold of Islam, he assumes a position of equality in all respects with the white or the high-caste convert to Islam, with every member of the Muslim brotherhood, in fact. He can not only worship in the same mosque but can stand shoulder to shoulder with the noblest of his brethren, and can dine sitting on the same table with him. Islam’s levelling and harmonising influence is not known to any other religion or society or order in the world.

The real world-democracy, which signifies an equality of status for all human beings as such, can be attained only through Islam. It possesses such a mighty spiritual influence that as soon as a man joins this Order, he feels himself raised to a high level where all distinctions of race, colour, caste and rank disappear as if by a magic wand. That Islam possesses this spiritual power even to­day, notwithstanding the loss of its temporal power, is admitted by both, friend and foe. Here is the concluding para of Gibb’s Whither Islam (p. 379):

“But Islam has yet a further service to render to the cause of humanity…. No other society has such a record of success in uniting in an equality of status, of opportunity, and of endeavour so many and so various races of mankind. The great Muslim communities of Africa, India and Indonesia, perhaps also the small Muslim communities in China and the still smaller community in Japan, show that Islam has still the power to reconcile apparently irreconcilable elements of race and tradition. If ever the opposition of the great societies of the East and West is to be replaced by co-operation, the mediation of Islam is an indispensable condition.”

What is the secret of Islam’s success in establishing a world brotherhood and in bringing about unification of different nations? In the first place, the basic teaching of Islam is that the whole human race is a single family, with God as its creator, and its division into different branches and tribes is only meant to make people know each other better:

“O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other. Surely the noblest of you with Allah is most dutiful of you” (The Holy Quran, 49:13).

And just as in individuals, so among nations. The superior nation is not that which reduces others to slavery and tramples their rights under its feet; morally such a nation is on the lower plane of a savage nation. The superior nation—the one honourable with God—is that which honours the rights of others. A Muslim’s conception of humanity, therefore, is that it is but one family, whatever differences there may be in colours and languages and cultures, with God as the Lord or, in Christian terminology, the Father of all. Members of one family may quarrel with one another now and then, but they cannot hate one another forever. In fact, this broad conception of humanity is the only safeguard against national, racial or colour prejudices, and only on this basis can peace be established on this earth.

Secondly, the basic idea of the equality and fraternity of all men is worked into practice in a Muslim’s life by the institution of prayer. All Muslims gather together daily in mosques to offer prayers, where they all stand before their Maker shoulder to shoulder, the king along with his poorest subject, the rich arrayed in gorgeous robes with the beggar clad in rags, the white man with the black. Differences of rank, wealth and colour vanish inside the mosque, and quite a new atmosphere, an atmosphere of brotherhood, equality and love, differing totally from the outside world, prevails within the holy precincts. To be able to breathe five times daily in an atmosphere of perfect peace in a world of strife and struggle, of equality where inequality is the order of the day, and of love amid the petty jealousies and enmities of daily life, is a great blessing. Man has to work in his daily life amidst inequalities, amidst strife and struggle, amidst scenes of hatred and enmity; he is drawn out of these five times a day, and made to realise that equality, fraternity and love are the real sources of human happiness. Even if we do not take into account the great advantage which a man gains by feeling himself in the Divine presence in the mosque, the time spent in prayer is not wasted from the point of view of active humanitarianism. On the contrary, the best use of it is made in learning those great lessons which make life worth living. And these lessons of fraternity, equality and love, when put into practice in daily life, serve as foundations for the unification of the human race and of the lasting civilisation of mankind. In fact, the five daily congregational prayers are meant, among other things, to carry into practice the theoretical lessons of equality and fraternity for which Islam stands; and however, much Islam may have preached in words the equality of man and the fraternity of the community of Islam, all this would have remained a dead letter, had it not been translated into the everyday life of man through the institution of the daily congregational prayers.

At the same time prayer serves another great end. The object of religion is not merely to preach the doctrine of the existence of God as a theory; it goes far beyond that. Religion seeks to instil the conviction that God is a living force in the life of man, and prayer is the means by which it is sought to achieve this great end. The real conviction that God is comes to man, not by the belief that there is a God in the outer world, but by the realisation of the Divine within himself, and this realisation is attained through prayer. The universal experience of humanity bears out the truth of this. In every age and among every nation there have been men who, through prayer, have realised the great truth of Divine existence within their hearts, and have laid down their lives for the good of humanity. In their case, belief in the existence of God was a moral force which not only worked an entire change in their own lives, but also enabled them to transform the entire lives of nations for centuries and changed the histories of peoples and countries. Their selflessness and truthfulness were beyond reproach, and their testimony, which is the testimony of all nations in all ages, establishes the one fact that belief in the existence of God becomes a moral force of the first magnitude when once it is realised in the heart of man through prayer to the Divine Being. So great a moral force it is, indeed, that even the most powerful material forces give way before it. Is not the experience of these great personalities a beacon light for others, showing them that they also can make God a moral force in their lives? The powers and faculties that are given to one man are also given to another, and through their proper use one man can do what another before him has done.

In fact, civilisation does not rest on the material comforts which man has gained through conquest of Nature. Its real foundations are the noble sentiments which faith in God inspires. A cursory glance at the history of human civilization will show that faith in God has been the supreme force in the development of mankind to its present condition. That all that is noble and good in man is not due to man’s conquest of Nature but to his conquest of self, inspired by faith in God, is a truth which no one can deny. It is men like Abraham, Moses, Christ, Buddha, Krishna, Confucius and Muhammad who have changed the history of the human race, and raised it from the depths of degradation to moral heights. It is through the teachings and example of this or that prophet that man has been able to conquer his lower nature, and to set before himself the noble ideals of selflessness and service of humanity. Study the noble sentiments that inspire man today and you will find their origin in the teachings and example of some great sage who had a deep faith in God, and through whom was sown the seed of faith in other human hearts. The moral and ethical development of man to his present state, which alone in a real sense can be called the civilisation of man—the material gains are only a secondary thing—is due to faith. To all appearance, the reign of materialism must needs entail the rule of selfishness. A cut-and-dried scheme for the equal division of wealth will never inspire the noble sentiments which are today the pride of man. Godlessness will make the masses sink back, gradually of course, into the state of barbarism.

In fact, a stable human civilisation can stand only on two pillars: faith in God and unity of man. The materialism which is today prevailing in Europe has pulled down both these pillars, and unless they are restored again, Europe, with all its material comforts, can never have access to true happiness of the heart or to peace among the nations. And just as Islam is the only order known to this world that has been successful in establishing a world brotherhood and in welding the different nations into one nation, it is the only religion which has succeeded in keeping the spirit of man in contact with the Divine spirit, withstanding the forces of materialism. It is a fact that Muslims as a nation have more vital faith in God than the followers of any other religion. It is this faith in God that accounts for the early Muslim conquests which are unparalleled in the history of the world. So far as material resources were concerned, Persia and Rome had abundance of them and the Arabs were poor in this respect. The war machinery of the former was far more powerful; in numbers too, the Arabs could not bear any comparison with the fighting forces of these two empires. Yet when these mighty empires came into clash with Muslim Arabia—and they were the aggressors—they were swept away like a straw before the mighty spiritual force of Islam, the Muslim’s faith in God and in the justness of his cause. It was this same faith in God that enabled Muslims to hold their own against the onslaughts of Christian Europe during the Crusades. It is this same faith in God again that enables Muslims today to carry on the contest with Christianity for the mastery of the world, in spite of the fact that all material forces in this contest—wealth, power and organisation—are on the side of Christianity. The Islamic institution of prayer which keeps the spirit of the Muslim in touch with the divine spirit is without doubt the basis on which this strong faith in God rests, and the value of prayer in the formation of this noble trait in the Muslim national character is incalculable. As every Muslim feels himself in the august Divine presence five times a day, faith in God sways his mentality even in his outlook on the material world, and thus becomes a living force in his life.

Islam can thus supply to Europe the two great moral forces—a living faith in God and an order based on the oneness of humanity—which can restore peace to it. Unless European society is willing to receive these two heavenly gifts from Islam, its disasters will not end. Let Europe diagnose its disease with a cool mind and apply the remedy with a brave heart. Let it not repeat the mistake of earlier days and look upon its real friend as its foe. Europe sought to destroy Islam with the sword in the Crusades, but it failed. The opposition after this has taken a subtler turn. Not only did the European soldier go back to his home filled with the false conviction that Islam was Europe’s enemy, and a frightful one, because he met him only on the battlefield, and that conviction was left as an inheritance from sire to son, but also Europe’s leaders in political and religious thought—past masters in the art of propaganda—augmented this hatred by drawing a picture of Islam which was the very opposite of reality. Islam was, in the truest sense of the word, a message of peace for the whole world, the most tolerant religion which had ever been preached, but it was misrepresented as the most tyrannical and intolerant faith. Islam not only recognised in the clearest words the Divine origin of all the great religious systems of the world, laying it down that there was not a single nation on the face of this earth to which a warner or a guide had not been sent to draw it closer to God2; it went further and required everyone who entered the fold of Islam to believe in the prophets of all other nations, just as he believed in the Prophet of Islam.3 But the political and religious leaders of Europe actually drew a picture of the Prophet Muhammad as going about with the sword in one hand and the Quran in the other. And notwithstanding the clear light that has been thrown on these topics recently, European writers still represent Islam to be the religion of the sword.4

Under a most unfortunate misconception Europe sought to destroy Islam by weakening it politically on the one hand, and carrying on, on the other, false and abusive propaganda against it in the religious field. If there was anything on which the whole of Europe was agreed, it was that Islam was Europe’s greatest enemy and that it must be destroyed or weakened, by fair means or foul. The politician and the missionary, to whatever nation they belonged, worked conjointly to this end. Almighty God, in His wisdom, had, however, ordained otherwise. Islam was a blessing for humanity and it had to be spared. The European nations, among which real harmony had never existed, became jealous of each other, and this jealousy ultimately developed, as it was bound to do, into the severest hatred and enmity, and the urge to destroy each other has taken the place of the urge to destroy Islam. Christendom’s sin of seeking to destroy its real friend had been visited with a corresponding punishment: the destruction of mutual friendly relations and the desire to destroy each other. This is in accordance with the Divine plan announced thirteen hundred years ago:

“And with those who say, We are Christians, We made a covenant, but they neglected a portion of that they were reminded; so We stirred up enmity and hatred among them to the day of Resurrection. And Allah will soon inform them of what they did. O People of the Book, indeed, Our Messenger has come to you, making clear to you much of that which you concealed of the Book and passing over much. Indeed, there has come to you from Allah, a light and a clear Book, whereby Allah guides such as follow His pleasure into the ways of peace, and brings them out of darkness into light by His will, and guides them to the right path…. O people of the Book, indeed Our Messenger has come to you explaining to you after a cessation of the messengers, lest you say: There came not to us a bearer of good news nor a warner. So indeed, a bearer of good news and a warner has come to you” (The Holy Quran, 5:14–19).

The covenant spoken of in the first verse quoted above is in reference to the prophecies of the advent of the Holy Prophet Muhammad to be met with in the Gospels, and Jesus Christ’s order to his followers to accept the great Prophet with whose advent a perfect World Order will be revealed to humanity.5 We are further told, in the verses quoted above, that real peace would come to Christendom only when it accepts the World Order established by Islam.

That the great civilisation of Europe should work its own destruction because of its one-sided growth is also a part of the Divine plan revealed through the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the materialism of Europe finding express mention in the Holy Quran:

“Say, Shall We inform you who are the greatest losers in the respect of deeds? Those whose effort goes astray in this world’s life, and they think that they are making good manufactures. Those are they who disbelieve in the messages of their Lord and meeting with Him, so their works are vain. Nor shall we set up a balance for them on the day of Resurrection. That is their reward—hell, because they disbelieved and held My messages and My messengers in mockery” (The Holy Quran, 18:103–106).

Here is an exact description of the civilisation of the West, of the pride of Christendom: all effort lost in this worlds life—manufacture being its great speciality—and utter loss of God-vision. So far as worldly gains are concerned, its star is in the ascendance, and looks the brightest; as regards matters spiritual, its eye is closed.6 The portrait of modern civilisation attains to most vivid clearness in the above verses.7 Manufacture is the one speciality and pride of the West; but, we are told, these people would be so engrossed in the race of manufacturing goods that they would have no thought of God left in their minds. They would therefore lose that peace of mind which God-vision alone can give. They would have too thick scales on their eyes to see beyond their little manufactures and have a glimpse of the blissful glory of God. The passion for production and possession would so seize upon them that it would make them oblivious of all higher values of life. Production and more production, possession and more possession—this would be the be-all and the end-all of life with them. Whole nations would be engrossed in these pursuits, and in these they would strive to outstrip one another. At long last, however, these very manufactures of theirs would prove their undoing. Their hearts would prove their undoing. Their hearts would get filled with mutual hatred, and they would be out, day and night, planning and counter planning, to encompass the destruction of one another.

This destruction of the materialistic civilisation of the West is still more explicitly mentioned in the beginning of the 18th Chapter—The Cave—which deals with the history of Christianity, the verses quoted above occurring towards the end of it:

“And to warn those who say: Allah has taken a son. They have no knowledge of it, nor had their fathers. Grievous is the word that comes out of their mouths…. Then may be thou wilt kill thyself with grief, sorrowing after them, if they believe not in this announcement. Surely, We have made whatever is on the earth an embellishment for it, so that We may try which of them is best in works. And We will surely make what is on it dust, without herbage” (The Holy Quran, 18:4–8).8

The first verse shows that it is the Christian nations that are being spoken of here; the last two show that these nations will beautify the earth with their conquest of Nature, but that all this, because of their own misdeeds, will come to ruin, and the beautiful cities raised on it will be razed to the ground and great gardens turned into waste­land.

Elsewhere it is stated that this devastation of civilisation will be so wide as to cover the whole earth, not a town will remain that will not have a taste of this ruin:

“And there is not a town but We will destroy it before the day of Resurrection or chastise it with a severe chastisement. That is written in the Book” (The Holy Quran, 17:58).

We are further told that the sentence of punishment which will be brought down on these nations as a consequence of their great sin in rejecting the peace which Islam offers, nay in seeking to destroy this Divine Message of Peace, will be executed through these nations themselves. Europe will be the instrument through which Europe’s ruin will be worked. Providence sometimes appoints one people to punish another. The Jews were punished for their transgressions at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. The Muslims were visited with Divine punishment at the hands of Hulagu [Khan], when Baghdad, the centre of Muslim civilisation, was razed to the ground. Europe was too powerful to be punished by another people; she is made to suffer torture for her evil deeds at her own hands. This part of the Divine scheme is also made clear in the Holy Quran, where European nations are spoken of under the name of Gog and Magog9:

“When Gog and Magog are made to overcome the world and they shall break forth from every elevated place” (The Holy Quran, 21:96).

In Hadith, Gog and Magog are described as powerful nations which would overcome the world, and with whom

“no people of the world will have the power to fight” (Muslim).

In the case of these nations, transgression was therefore to be punished by making some of them rise against others. Here again the Holy Quran is clear:

“And on that day, We shall let some of them surge against others” (The Holy Quran, 18:99).

And again:

“And We shall bring forth hell, exposed to view, on that day before the disbelievers” (The Holy Quran, 18:100).

This is what we actually find. European people first fell upon foreign lands and subjugated the weaker nations. No nation of the world had the might to withstand them. After having overcome almost the whole world, they rushed at and fell in deadly grips with one another. They have themselves become the instruments of ruining what they built with their own hands. The hell that is spoken of in the above verses as being the result of their mutual conflict is raging today, not only in Europe but more or less throughout the world. God deals justly by His creatures, and this hell in this world has been made Manifest because men would not mind God’s Reminder, would not even lend their ears to any such talk:

“These are the people whose eyes were under a cover from My Reminder, and they could not bear to hear” (The Holy Quran, 18:101).

According to the Holy Quran, however, all chastisement is corrective:

“And We sent (messengers) to nations before thee, then We seized them with distress and affliction that they might humble themselves” (The Holy Quran, 6:42).

The travails of the world are not in vain. Out of affliction comes real happiness. Evolution is working not only physically but also spiritually.

In the very first verse of the Holy Quran, the one most repeated, God is spoken of as Rabb al-’alamin. The word Rabb means fostering of a thing in such a manner as to make it attain one condition after another until it reaches its goal of completion, and ’alamin means worlds or nations. Hence God, according to Islam, is Nourisher unto perfection of mankind, of all the nations. The world is moving on towards advancement by steps and stages. And the present worldwide disaster, the heaviest ruin that has ever visited this earth, may move the world on by the largest stride. Speaking of the great conflict of European nations, the Holy Quran says:

“And the trumpet will be blown, then We shall gather them all together” (The Holy Quran, 18:99).

The blowing of the trumpet indicates the coming of a mighty revolution. The unification of the fighting nations into one nation is a broad enough hint at the nation of Islam; for there is but one faith, Islam, which has been able to weld different nations into one homogeneous whole; and this, therefore, is the New World Order on which depends the advancement of man towards a higher goal.

As already shown, Islam was successful in bringing about a unification of the dissentient elements of humanity through Divine service, i.e., by deepening the roots of God-consciousness in human heart. And though faith in God and faith in the oneness of humanity must remain the two foundations of any World Order that could subsist and save humanity from disaster and restore to it peace of mind, yet even the oneness of humanity is only a corollary of vital faith in God, and therefore faith in God is the real foundation. The torch of this faith is kept burning by the God-consciousness which is awakened in the human heart by the Islamic institution of prayer. Islam does not allow that God-consciousness which is implanted in the very nature of man, should lie dormant for six days in the week and the receive a stirring up on the seventh. It is a fire which can be kept live only if stirred every now and then.

Prayer is, therefore, a part of the everyday affairs of man. There is a prayer in the morning when rising from the bed—man’s first daily work—and a prayer in the night when going to bed—his last daily work; and in the midst of these there are other prayers during hours of business or recreation. This is the Islamic arrangement: to call back a man when he is in the midst of his worldly engagements and to usher him into the Divine presence; to awaken in him, in the midst of all his turmoils and agitations which are likely to lead away his mind from God, the consciousness that there is a Higher Presence to Whom he is really responsible for every act; to remind him in the hour of triumph that he is nothing but a weak and humble creature of God, and in the hour of his failure and disappointment that he has still a support to fall back upon, and that there is nothing to despair of. Prayer thus not only awakens God-consciousness in man; it adds a new zeal to his work, to which he goes back with a fresh mind.

What is the prayer which Islam teaches? It gives the individual full freedom to ask from God for anything that he needs and to give vent to his feelings in the presence of his Maker as He likes, but at the same time it directs him to seek in the first place guidance from the All-Knowing, All-Powerful God. The Muslim’s most important prayer is that contained in the Opening Chapter of the Holy Quran, a prayer which he generally offers five times a day:

“Thee do we serve, (O our Nourisher unto perfection!) and Thee do we ask for help, Guide us on the right path. The path of those on whom Thou hast bestowed favours” (The Holy Quran, 1:4–6).

In the first place, this prayer creates in man the mentality to “serve God,” to obey the Divine commandments even when they are opposed to his own wishes, or to the requirements of his environment, or to the usages and traditions of the people among whom he lives. Secondly, it creates the mental attitude not to despair in the greatest difficulties and to seek strength, when all means have failed, from the Source of all strength. The man who depends on the help of God knows no despair, and has the strength to withstand the hardest trials.

The most important part of this prayer, however, is that in which man is taught to seek guidance from God in all his affairs. The Muslim’s God does not live on his lips; He lives in the deepest depths of his heart. He seeks help from Him hourly, and he seeks guidance from him in whatever he undertakes. If one does not believe in a guiding God, one does not believe in Him at all. Are we not in the midst of difficulties every now and then? Is there not darkness around us momently? Who can show us light in the midst of darkness? It is only God. The man is morally armed who seeks guidance from God in all his affairs, and this is what prayer in Islam means.

Prayer is an expression of the soul’s inmost desire, and the desire that Islam seeks to create in the human heart is to be guided in the right path, to be led on and on to the great goal of life. It makes the soul aspire to the highest eminence. The Muslim’s attitude towards the world is not one of inaction or listlessness; it is one of continuous struggle to be led on and on until he attains to perfection. He gives praise to God at every step, cries out al-hamdu-lillah (all praise is due to God), and the mentality thus created is to live in perfect peace with his environment. Yet he is not in a stationary condition. Nor is he the slave of his environment; he struggles and strives throughout his life to master it. He does not stand for peace without progress, nor yet for progress without peace, but for peace and progress combined. The mentality thus created in the individual ultimately becomes a national characteristic, for individuals make a nation; and when the same mentality is created in all the individuals of a nation, it becomes the nation’s mentality. If one wants to see what change Islam can bring about, one should only study the all-round progress that the earlier Muslim generations made in the world.

Prayer, however, is not the only means through which Islam keeps faith alive in the heart of man, and thus makes religion a vital force in his life. There is also the Divine arrangement which is peculiar to Islam that there appear in it from time to time men of a higher God-consciousness who draw their fellow-beings closer to God and revive faith in Him. The followers of all religions believe that God spoke to some great sage or sages of the past; but Islam alone, of all the religions of the world, teaches that God speaks to the elect even now as He spoke in the past. The question naturally arises: if God listens to prayers as He listened in the past, how is it that He does not speak now as He spoke in the past? Therefore, though revelation was made perfect and prophethood came to a close in the person of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, it does not mean that God has ceased to speak after that. He speaks to the elect even now, because speaking is one of His attributes, and Divine attributes never cease to function. Prophets are not raised now because the Law was made perfect with the advent of the Holy Prophet Muhammad; but revelation and prophethood are two different things, and it is an error to confuse the discontinuance of prophethood with the discontinuance of revelation. Revelation in its lower forms is common to both prophets and those that are not prophets; it is only the highest form of revelation which is peculiar to the prophets.

This is, in fact, the reason why faith in God has ceased to be a vital force except in Islam. That God revealed Himself and spoke to a man thousands of years ago, and that is not the universal experience of humanity, deprives faith in God of all vitality. In fact, God and religion are thus dismissed as things of the past, and Revelation becomes a story with no living force. Islam universalises revelation and establishes it on a scientific basis. Revelation, in the first place, according to the Holy Quran, is not the solitary experience of this or that nation but the universal experience of humanity. The elect to whom God spoke and revealed Himself appeared among all nations and in all ages, and revelation is thus the experience of the whole human race. And, secondly, Islam teaches that revelation is still a fact and God still speaks to His elect. Such elect are even now needed to impart vitality to faith in God; but they are not called prophets because they do not bring a new law, nor do they make any changes in the existing law.

In fact, the finality of prophethood was a need without which the unification of humanity was impossible. Every nation had its prophet; and thus, though prophethood was in one sense a universal fact, prophets appearing in every nation, it was more or less a national institution, the scope of the teachings of every prophet being limited to his own nation. National prophethood cemented the bonds of national unity; but the time was fast approaching when international unity or world unity would be needed, and this could be effected only by sending a world-prophet, or one prophet to all the nations of the world. Only thus could the grand idea of unifying the whole human race be brought to perfection. The Holy Prophet Muhammad’s mission is thus described in the Holy Quran:

“Blessed is He Who sent down the Discrimination upon His servant that he might be a warner to the nations” (The Holy Quran, 25:1):

“Say: O mankind, surely I am the Messenger of Allah to you all, of Him, Whose is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth” (The Holy Quran, 7:158).

“And We have not sent thee but as a bearer of good news and as warner to all mankind” (The Holy Quran, 34:28).

“And We have not sent thee but as a mercy to the nations” (The Holy Quran, 21:107).

The Prophet Muhammad was a prophet of God like any other prophet, but his advent marked a revolution in the history of prophethood. The day of the national prophet came to an end, and a new day dawned upon the world with the world-prophet who was to combine the different nations into one nation. The grand idea of unifying the whole human race, and gathering it together under one banner, was thus brought to perfection. All geographical limitations were swept away as were all bars of colour and race, and the basis of the unity of the human race was laid upon the grand principle that the whole human race was one, and that all men, wherever they may be found, were a single nation. Such unity could not be accomplished unless the finality of prophethood was established; for, if prophets continued to appear after the world-prophet, they would undoubtedly demand the allegiance of this or that section, and shatter the very foundations of unity at which Islam aimed by giving a single prophet to the whole world.

To revert to the original subject that God even now speaks to the elect, there is a clear saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad:

“Surely there were among those before you people to whom God spoke but they were not prophets; if there be such a one among my people, it is ’Umar” (Sahih Bukhari, 62:6).

This shows that, though there would be no prophets after the Holy Prophet Muhammad, yet God will speak to the elect among the Muslims. Not only because speaking is an attribute of the Divine Being just as hearing and seeing are His attributes, but also because it is through His word that real conviction comes to the heart that God exists, and it is through the elect that a vital faith in God is restored. They are the renewers of the faith of the masses. Such elect are specially spoken of as rising at the commencement of every century:

“Surely Allah will raise up for this community (of Muslims) at the commencement of every century one who will renew their religion” (Abu Dawood, 36:1).

Such a person is called a mujaddid, or a reviver, in the terminology of Islam, and he not only revives faith in God but also removes errors which have crept up among Muslims, and sheds new light on the great religious truths of Islam in the new circumstances which the Muslim community is called upon to face. The Mujaddid of the fourteenth century of the Hijrah was Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement—the latest revivalistic movement in Islam—who appeared at the commencement of this 14th century A.H., i.e., about the year 1882 C.E.



  1. The Ins and Outs of Mesopotamia, p. 99.
  2. “And there is not a people but a warner has gone among them” (The Holy Quran, 35:24). “And for every nation there is a messenger” (The Holy Quran, 10:47). “And every people had a guide” (The Holy Quran, 13:7).
  3. “And who believe in that which has been revealed to thee and that which was revealed before thee” (The Holy Quran, 2:4).
  4. “The spread of Islam by arms is a religious duty upon Muslims in general” (D.B. Macdonald, Encyclopaedia of Islam, Article, “Djihad”).
  5. In this connection, I may quote only one prophecy here:
    “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: … He shall glorify me” (John 16:12–14). Jesus Christ was sent only as a reformer for the Israelites and he denounced only their crying evils. But the Spirit of Truth—the advent of the Holy Prophet is spoken of as the coming of the Truth in the Holy Quran (The Holy Quran, 17:81)—was to guide men into all truth, showing that the Order to be revealed to him would be perfect. There is no other Law in the world except Islam which claims perfection: “This day have I perfected for you your religion” (The Holy Quran, 5:3). The Prophet Muhammad did glorify Jesus inasmuch as it was he who cleared him and his mother of all those charges which his own people, the Israelites, preferred against him, and also because it was he who established his true position as a man-prophet.
  6. The vision of Christ, after whom Christianity goes in name only—in spirit it is the negation of what he taught—was entirely different. He cared not for things of this life and cared only to bring God-vision to this world. So far as the spirit is concerned, present Christianity is Antichrist. In one of the sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad the Antichrist is described as having the right—the spiritual-eye quite closed, and the left—the material-eye shining like a bright star. This is a most beautiful figurative description of the Western civilisation.
  7. These verses are, according to Hadith, an antidote for the Antichrist.
  8. According to Hadith, these verses furnish the key as to what the tribulation of the Antichrist is.
  9. Gog and Magog are spoken of as taking a servant of God for God (The Holy Quran, 18:99–104) which is the Quranic description of the Christians. On another occasion, too, the mention of Gog and Magog follows the mention of Jesus (The Holy Quran, 21:91–96). The Bible speaks of Gog and Magog as residing to the north of Caucasus: “Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him. And say, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince Meshech and Tubal” (Ezekiel 38:2–3). “And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 39:6). Gog is here spoken of as the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and north of the Caucasus we still find two rivers bearing names corresponding to these Biblical names, i.e., Moskoa and Tubal, on the former of which is situated the ancient city of Moscow and on the latter the more recent town of Tobolsk. The prophecies of the Bible thus point to Europe as the threatened land. In the Urdu, Arabic and Persian versions, translated from Hebrew, the words of Ezekiel 38:2 are: “the chief prince of Rus, Meshech and Tubal,” Rus being the Arabic and Persian name for Russia. The presence of the effigies of Gog and Magog in Guildhall, London, from very early times is also a point worth considering.