Feb 27, 2009, 5:04 AM
Islam means freedom from lust as well, including even the lust for life, as it is this very weakness of man which is exploited by tyrants and dictators intentionally or otherwise in enslaving their fellowmen. But for it no man would silently accept slavery to men like him or sit idle to watch tyranny strut abroad and dare not challenge it. It is a great blessing of Islam that it taught man to fight tyranny and oppression bravely rather than cringe before them in abject servitude. Says the Holy Quran: “Say: if it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred, the wealth that ye have gained, the commerce in which ye fear a decline, or the swellings in which ye delight-are dearer to you than God, or His Apostle, or the striving in His cause-then wait until God brings about His Decision: and God guides not the rebellious” (ix: 24).
Contrasting the blind passions and appetites with the love of God, that represents in life love, virtue and truth and striving hard in His way-in the way of all is good and lofty in life, Islam subjects the former to the latter. Unruly passions must be kept in check by the love of God: it must be the dominant and real directing force in man’s life as without this, no man can claim to be a true Muslims.
A man engrossed in sensual pleasures may form a mistaken outlook upon life and think that he enjoys life more than others do. But soon he realizes his mistake as not long after this he is reduced to a mere slave to his blind passions. He is doomed to a perpetual life of deprivation and restlessness, for animal desires once run rampant are never satisfied: they are rather sharpened all the more and degrade man to lower levels of animalism where all his efforts sensual pleasures in life? Such an attitude towards life is, however, not conducive to progress, material or spiritual, as humanity cannot soar in higher realms unless it is freed from the dominance of the blind animal appetites. Only then can it march ahead freely in the fields of science, arts or religion.
It is for this very reason that Islam attaches so great an importance to the freeing of man from his animal passions. For this purpose it neither favors monarchism, nor does it forbids its followers to partake freely of the good things of this life. Rather it aims at the attainment of a balance between these two extremes. Whatever things are here, are for man. They are to serve him, not to dominate or rule over him. He should not, therefore, allow himself to be made slave to them. He should rather use them as means to a higher end i.e. his spiritual perfection by disseminating the world of God amongst his fellowmen. Thus Islam has a twofold objective in regard: in the individual life, it aims at making a just and sufficient provision to each and every individual so as to enable him to lead a decent, clean life; and in the collective sphere, it arranges things in such a way that all the social forces of a community are directed towards the enhancement of progress and civilization in accordance with its basic outlook upon life that aims at striking a balance between the units and the whole, between individuals and the community.
Islam as also had the most liberalizing effect on human intellect as it is diametrically opposed to all sorts of superstition. Humanity has been in the coursed of history found to fall a prey to diverse absurdities of through as well as practice, some of which were the lively play of man’s fancy and were acknowledged as such, whereas others were referred to as originating with gods to whom human hands gave shape. Thus did the human intellect grope about it dark before the advent of Islam? With Islam it attained maturity and freedom form this hotchpotch of nonsense, symbolized in these so-call gods, in some other religions where once again brought back to the folds of True Faith and True God.
Islam uses a very simple terminology. Its teachings are very easy to understand, perceive and believe in. it invites man to make use of the faculties given to him and try to acquire the fullest possible understanding of life surrounding him. It does not as such admit of any inborn hostility between reason and religion or, for that matter, between science and religion. It does not force man to believe in silly stuff as a prior condition to his belief in God. Nor does it compel him to renounce his God so as to be able to admit of scientific facts. Not content with this, Islam impresses upon man in clear and unequivocal terms that it is God and God alone Who has in His immense mercy subjected all the things on this earth to man, and that all the facts that are discovered by scientific exploration or the material benefits that flow there from to man, are in fact a blessing of God, for which man should offer his thanks to God, and strive hard so as to become a worthy slave of so Merciful and Beneficent a Master. Thus Islam holds knowledge and science as a part of faith rather than regard these as an evil intrinsically opposed to genuine belief in God.
None of the above-mentioned problems staring mankind in the face have yet been resolved: the higher real human objectives are yet to realize. Mankind is still the victim of various imbecilities, it still groans under tyrants and dictators and is yet far from being free from the oppressive demands of animalism and sensual pleasures. Islam has still a great and glorious part to play.
One half of the inhabitants of the world of today remain idol worshippers as ever. The remaining half or thereabout dotes in still another type of deity that has exercised as great, nay a far worst, corrupting influence on men’s thoughts and feelings carrying them still further away from the right path. It is this very deity that is styled Modern Science.
Science is a powerful instrument to help us increase our knowledge of the things around us. As such it has an impressive record of achievements to its credit. All these brilliant achievements were, however, vitiated by one fatal mistake of others: they installed science as supreme God declaring that it alone had the right to claim the adoration and submission of man unto it. Thus they denied themselves all means of acquiring knowledge save that recognized by empirical science which let humanity wander father away rather than bring it nearer to its real objective or destination. Consequently the otherwise vastly immense range of human endeavor and progress was shrunk small with the limitations such as all empirical science entail. For, in some cases, it is just possible that the scope if empirical science, concerned as it is with mere matter, may be narrower as against the inherent capacities of man or it may not be able to soar higher than man is otherwise capable of with wings not of intellect alone but with those lent him by his spirit as well, bringing him nearer to his Creator and enabling him at the same time to obtain a far sounder and more correct understanding of the ultimate reality.
The protagonists of science also claim that science alone can introduce man to the secrets of this universe and life: hence, only while making such a stamen they overlook the fact that science with all its brilliant and impressive record is still in its infancy and ever hesitant to commit itself as regard the veracity of supposititiousness of many things for the simple reason that it cannot penetrate deep into the heart of reality beyond effecting a mere superfluous survey of it. But still its votaries clamor and tell us with a very authoritative air that there is no such thing as human soul in existence. They deny that man, confined as he is within the limitations of his sensory organs, can ever have any contact with the Unknown-nor get even a glimpse of it through telepathy or dreams. They repudiate all these not because they have proved them to be mere illusions but simply because the experimental science with it inadequate instrument has not yet been able to fathom their mystery, as it pleased God to reserve these as something above and beyond the field of human perception. That is belongs to a higher order of things not subject to man’s observation was, however, sufficient to make these gentlemen turn their backs on it, some of them hurrying forward to announce to the waiting world that there was no such thing as human soul in existence.
Such then is the “enlightened ignorance” man suffers from today, which shows how desperately he stands in need of Islam to blow away these “scientific” cobwebs of today as well as the imbecilities inherited from a remote past. Idol-worship was the older form wherein human folly found expression: the cult of science-worship is its latest version. To liberate human reason and spirit, both of these needs must be shaken off. It is in this perspective that Islam emerges as the only hope for humanity, for it alone can restore peace between religion and science, bring back once more the tranquility and concord to this distressed world of today that has lost them through the perverted attitude towards life of the dominant, forestalling an irreconcilable antagonism between his desire for knowledge and a craving for God.
To be continued.