What is Islam?

by James William Lovegrove (Habeeb-Ullah)

Reverence for Authority

Islam means submission to Allah, and consequently lays special stress on submission to authority. Home is the real moral nursery, and our reverence for our parents and old age, which is so emphatically taught and practised in Islam, inspires us to treat every person in authority in the same manner. According to a tradition of the Holy Prophet,

“even if a negro slave be in authority, he must be obeyed.”

Sedition and revolt, without just cause, are absolutely discouraged, in order to maintain peace in the government. At Friday prayers, ever since the days of the Prophet, the following verse has been read from the Quran:

“God orders you to be equitable, beneficent and to do to others as you do to the members of your own family and prohibits you from evils (affecting your individuality) and sins (affecting others than yourself) and sedition (wrong affecting the whole society).”

If on the one hand submission to authority has been obligatory, to a Muslim it has also been declared that he who respectfully points out the errors of the government to the persons in authority wages the holy war. Holy war does not necessarily mean the use of the sword. Every effort to prevent wrong is a holy war in Islam. Foreign rule is no hardship to a Muslim if it be consistent with justice and equality, and does not interfere with his faith. The Muslims under British rule have been the most loyal subjects among all subject races, and the recent trouble merely arose from the indiscreet policy pursued by certain of our statesmen, which appeared to Muslims as an interference with their faith. Faith with them is the first concern; religion has taught a Muslim to be loyal to his government, and religion again alienates him from it, when it does not respect the pledges made concerning the preservation of some of the Muslim institutes.