The New World Order
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
Chapter 1: Foundations of the New World Order (Appendix 1: Summary of Islamic Teachings: One God, One Humanity)
Faith in God being the foundation of Islam, three kinds of arguments are advanced relating to the existence of God:
1. Evidence is drawn from the material universe that there must be a Creator and Controller of the universe. In the Holy Quran, this evidence centres round the word Rabb, the first attribute of the Divine Being to which Revelation draws attention—
“Read in the name of thy Rabb” (The Holy Quran, 90:1)
—and with which the Quran begins (The Holy Quran, 1:1), being also the oftest repeated attribute in the Holy Book. Rabb, usually translated as Lord for the sake of brevity, means the Fosterer of a thing in such a manner as to make it attain one condition after another until it reaches its goal of perfection. Everything created thus bears the impress of Divine creation in the characteristic of moving on from lower to higher stages until it reaches completion. Evolution, which has proved a stumbling block to other religions, is thus made in Islam the very basis of belief in God, and serves as an argument of purpose and wisdom in creation. The oneness of law prevailing in the universe, notwithstanding the immensity of its diversity (The Holy Quran, 67:3, 4), existence of the strictest control throughout Nature from the tiniest particle to the mightiest sphere (The Holy Quran, 36:38; 55:5, 6), and similar other arguments run through every page of the Holy Book.
2. The second class of arguments for the existence of God relates to the human soul in which is implanted, according to the Holy Quran, the consciousness of Divine existence. An appeal is again and again made to man’s inner self:
“Were they created for nothing?” “Are they creators of their own souls?”
“Did they create the heavens and earth?” (The Holy Quran, 52:35, 36).
“Am I not your Rabb?” (The Holy Quran, 7:172).
God-consciousness is thus shown to be a part and parcel of human nature. Sometimes the consciousness is mentioned in terms of the unimaginable nearness of the human spirit to the Divine spirit:
“We are nearer to man than his life-vein” (The Holy Quran, 50:16);
“We are nearer to your soul than you” (The Holy Quran, 56:85).
This is to show that the consciousness of the existence of God in the human soul is even clearer than the consciousness of its own existence. This consciousness undoubtedly differs in different natures according as the inner light of man is bright or dim.
This argument is further strengthened by showing that there is something more than mere consciousness of the existence of God. The spirit of God has been breathed into man (The Holy Quran, 15:29), and hence it is that the soul of man yearns after God; there is in it the instinct to serve God and to turn to Him for help (The Holy Quran, 1:4). Every man, even the polytheist, turns to God in affliction and distress, when the full strength of human nature asserts itself (The Holy Quran, 10:12, 22; 39:8). There is, further, implanted in man faith in God, by which he is guided through darkness and difficulty (The Holy Quran, 10:9); love of God, out of which selfless service is rendered to humanity (The Holy Quran, 2:177; 76:8); trust in God, which is an unfailing source of strength to man in times of failure (The Holy Quran, 14:12).
3. The surest and clearest evidence of the existence of God is, however, afforded by the spiritual—the higher—experience of humanity, by God revealing Himself to man. The evidence of wisdom and purpose in the universe only shows that there must be a God, and does not lead to the certain conviction that God is; the evidence of the inner self of man is also insufficient to lead to this certain conviction and give man access to the Divine Being; it is Divine revelation that not only establishes the greatest reality of this life that God is but also casts a flood of light on the Divine attributes, and sets man on the way by walking on which he feels His existence as a reality in his own life and which enables him to hold communion with Him. It is this realisation of the Divine Being that works a change in man’s life and gives him an irresistible spiritual force through which he can bring about a change even in others’ lives. God’s revealing Himself to man is, according to Islam, the universal experience of humanity, the experience of men in all nations, all countries and all ages. It is this universal spiritual experience of mankind that has proved a force of the first magnitude in lifting up humanity from the depths of degradation to the great heights of moral and even material advancement.
God is above all limitations, and He cannot be likened to anything known to man (The Holy Quran, 42:11). While God comprehends all vision, man’s vision cannot comprehend Him (The Holy Quran, 6:104). He is one; duality or trinity in Divine nature, or multiplicity of gods, is unthinkable (The Holy Quran, 2:163; 16:51; 4:171); nor does He hold the relation of fatherhood or sonship to anyone (The Holy Quran, 112:3; 19:90–93). Submission and service are due to Him alone (The Holy Quran, 16:48,49), and to Him alone must prayer be addressed (The Holy Quran, 1:4; 72:20). Blind obedience even to religious leaders and saints, which is the same as saint-worship, is condemned (The Holy Quran, 9:31). God is the Creator of all (The Holy Quran, 13:16), Nourisher of all unto perfection (The Holy Quran, 1:1), and the Controller of all (The Holy Quran, 4:85). He is a Loving and Merciful God (The Holy Quran, 11:90), His mercy embracing all things (The Holy Quran, 40:7); even the most extravagant should not despair of His mercy (The Holy Quran, 12:87; 39:50). He is Omniscient, knowing equally what man manifests and what he hides and even that which is in the subconscious mind (The Holy Quran, 20:7). He is Omnipotent (The Holy Quran, 16:48–50) and Omnipresent (The Holy Quran, 58:7), being nearer to man than his own self (The Holy Quran, 50:16; 56:85).
God has created man with the highest capabilities and made him a ruler in the earth (The Holy Quran, 2:30; 95:40). Everything has been made subservient to man, and he can conquer the forces of Nature (The Holy Quran, 14:32–34; 45:12, 13). Every man has been created in a state of purity—none is born sinful; it is by his own misdeeds that a man degrades himself (The Holy Quran, 30:30; 95:5). Everyone is by birth a Muslim, whether born of Jewish or Christian parents (The Holy Quran, 30:30; Sahih Bukhari, 32:79); and all those who die before the age of discretion, whether Muslims or non-Muslims, go to heaven (Sahih Bukhari, 91:48). Islam, or submission to Divine laws, is in fact the religion of Nature (The Holy Quran, 3:82), and also the natural religion of man (The Holy Quran, 30:30).
The basis of all religions is faith in Divine revelation, because God is known to man and the contact of human spirit is established with the Divine spirit only through revelation. Man can make all discoveries in the sphere of the finite, but it is only by revealing Himself that the Infinite God makes Himself known to man. Hence God has been revealing Himself to man through His chosen servants in every age and every country (The Holy Quran, 10:47; 35:24). Revelation is granted to man in three ways, the highest form of revelation—revelation through the Holy Spirit—is peculiar to prophets; in its lower forms, the infusion of an idea into the mind, a dream, a vision and ilham, revelation is granted to others as well, to men as well as to women (The Holy Quran, 42:51; 28:7; 5:111). Only mortals to whom God revealed His will were sent as reformers because none but a mortal could serve as a model for men (The Holy Quran, 17:95; 21:7, 8).
All men are a single nation (The Holy Quran, 2:213; 10:19; 23:52). Their division into tribes and families (The Holy Quran, 48:13) and the diversity of their tongues and colours (The Holy Quran, 30:22) have nothing to do with their superiority or inferiority. The most excellent people are those who pay the greatest regard to the duties which they owe to others (The Holy Quran, 48:13). Allah is the Lord of all nations (The Holy Quran, 1:1). He has given all, not only what they need for their physical sustenance but also what is needed for their spiritual advancement, and hence it is that He raised prophets or warners among all nations:
“There is not a people but a warner has gone among them” (The Holy Quran, 35:24);
“Every nation had a messenger” (The Holy Quran, 10:47);
“Every nation had a guide” (The Holy Quran, 13:7);
“We raised in every nation a messenger” (The Holy Quran, 16:36);
“To every nation We appointed acts of devotion” (The Holy Quran, 22:67);
“For every one of you We appointed a Law and a way” (The Holy Quran, 5:48).
The Holy Quran mentions by name prophets that find no mention in the Bible (The Holy Quran, 7:65, 73); it also speaks of an Ethiopian prophet (The Holy Quran, 31:13); of another who lived at the two Niles (The Holy Quran, 18:60); and generally, it says that there were prophets who have not been mentioned by name (The Holy Quran, 4:164; 40:78). A Muslim is one who believes in the prophets of all the nations:
“We believe in Allah and in that which has been revealed to us…and in that what was given to the prophets from their Lord” (The Holy Quran, 2:136);
“We do not make any distinction between any of His messengers” (The Holy Quran, 2:285).
But a prophet to every nation was only the primary stage; the universality of revelation found further development in the idea of the World-Prophet, a single prophet for all the nations of the world:
“O people! I am the Messenger of Allah to you all” (The Holy Quran, 7:158);
“A warner to all the nations” (The Holy Quran, 25:1);
“We have not sent thee but as a mercy for all the nations” (The Holy Quran, 21:107);
“It is naught but a reminder to all the nations” (The Holy Quran, 68:52).
The World-Prophet took the place of the national prophets, and the grand idea of unifying the whole human race was the grand object which revelation now aimed at. The humanitarian aspect of revelation thus does not consist only in making selfless service of humanity the object of life—
“To give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for emancipation of slaves” (The Holy Quran, 2:177);
it reaches perfection in bringing about, what cannot be done by any other means, the unification of humanity.
Islam thus aims at raising the human race to the highest level to which it can rise, and it is for this reason that it claims to be a perfect religion—
“This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed on you My blessing” (The Holy Quran, 5:3).
It sheds complete light on all essentials of religion, on the existence and attributes of the Divine being, on the nature of Divine revelation, on the requital of good and evil, on life after death, hence its claim to be the final religion of the world. But discontinuation of prophethood is not to be confused with discontinuation of revelation. Granting of revelation to those who are not prophets being an admitted fact, the door of revelation stands open for all time, though prophethood having reached perfection has come to an end. The Holy Quran speaks of it as bushra (good news) (The Holy Quran, 10:63, 64), Hadith giving it the name of mubashshirat (good visions) (Sahih Bukhari, 91:5). In one hadith, it is called a part of prophethood (Sahih Bukhari, 91:4); in another, the continuance of revelation is spoken of in the clearest words:
“There were among those who were before you persons who were spoken to by God, though they were not prophets; if there is such a one among my people, it is “Umar” (Sahih Bukhari, 62:6).
A man thus spoken to by God is called a muhaddath in the terminology of Islam. A Mujaddid is a reformer raised up by God to remove errors and shed new light on the great religious truths, and it is stated that one such person shall appear among Muslims in every century (Abu Dawood, 36:1).
Religion does not consist in hard religious exercises but in living a good life, in which due regard is paid to others’ rights (Sahih Bukhari, 2:29; 30:51). Good actions spring from a good heart, and hence the need of faith which rules the heart (Sahih Bukhari, 2:38). The man who has faith in God does not spare the doing of good even to a passerby,
“to keep the way clear of harmful things”
being a part of faith (Sahih Muslim, 1:58). There is no faith in a man who does not
“love for his brother what he loves for himself” (Sahih Bukhari, 2:6).
To be a Muslim one must live a life of perfect peace with others, not causing any injury to any man,
“either with his tongue or with his hand” (Sahih Bukhari, 2:3).
Causing injury to another even with one’s tongue is called an act of unbelief (Sahih Bukhari, 2:21).