A PERFECT RELIGION – 1
There is a growing class of people, all the world over, and particularly in Europe and America, who are anxious to understand Major Religions with an open mind, so as to form their own opinion in the matter. To them Religion is no longer a spent-force, but a force which can help us out of the present world crisis. They hope that a Balanced Religion, Realistic, as well as Idealistic, Comprehensive, taking account of Human nature and Needs, in Beliefs and Deeds, can be utilized, in the light of experience gained, to vitalize Humanism, so as to save Mankind from the menace of Heartless Self Destruction, in private and public life. And in Truth, there is also the more vital Problem of Life after Death, a problem which is the keystone of Religion.
Of the few Basic Books of Major Religions, let the Holy Qur’aan give here an outline of its Message, ISLAM, which would include the Supreme Being (GOD), HIS attributes and Manifestations, the Prophets and their extreme-human and divine, the Man, his position and progress and his associations with all, the Creatures and their purpose, the Universe and its Reality. But Man is the keystone of the whole system, and clue to the whole Universe.
Islam claims to be in accord with Human Nature, for it proclaims:-
“Then set your face straight for Religion (Islam) in the right direction,-the Nature (framed) of Allah, on (the Principles of) which, He has created men (as well). There is no altering (the laws) of Allah’s creation. That is the right religion, but most people do not know (this).” (Verse-30, Sura-30) (Qur‘aan).
Islam is positively a System. A true Religion must reflect Nature. It possesses a natural grace. In principle, the Message of any Religion must needs come from its Basic Book, to carry Authority. The introductory notes are short without comments, carrying their Qur’aanic references with them for those who want further clarification on the points so as to let the readers think, feel and realize the truth for themselves.
I. HOLY QUR’AAN
The Holy Qur’aan cannot be translated. The result of any translation is not the Glorious Qur’aan, that inimitable symphony the very sound of which moves men to tears and ecstasy. (83:5). It is divided into 30 Parts, 114 Suuras (chapters), 558 sections, and 6236 verses.
As to the Holy Qur’aan’s translations in general, to be frank, they often fail to convey the real sense, spirit and delicacy of the original, mainly because English terms are more or less inadequate to express the basic concepts of Holy Qur’aan, such as ‘Abd’ and ‘Rab’, ‘Rahmaan’ and ‘Raheem’, ‘Ahad’ and ‘Samad’, and several others.
Islam is the Message of Holy Qur’aan. It is a Perfect and a Practical Religion of Equality, Liberty and Fraternity. Islam, as defined by Holy Qur’aan, means Submission to the Supreme Being, and compliance with His Laws, which constitute Nature, including Man himself. Vide82 : 3, 30 : 30 “Surely the true Religion with Allah is Islam” 18 : 3 Islam also insists upon the fundamental unity of all revealed religions of origin, includes them all collectively in itself, and enjoins all Muslims to acknowledge them.” Vide 83 : 3, 285 : 2. “And whoever desires religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter he shall be one of the losers.” Vide 84 ; 31
1. Islam is thus based on knowledge and action, to know the Supreme Being and His Laws, and to obey them to attain the goal on the path of progress. Again, knowledge is graded from the highest ‘and purest source, namely ‘Wah-yi’ or Revelation, down to ‘Fikr’ (selfthinking), ‘Khawz’ (vain discourse), and ‘Zan’ (conjecture), in their natural descending order. Intuition and Inspiration, which come, more or less within the experience of all, at the odd moments of their life, might just give an idea of Revelation, as a faint ray may represent the bright sun. But Revelation, as such is extremely spontaneous, natural, brilliant, sure and supreme, far above the effort of mind. Says the Holy Qur’aan: “ And it is not for any man that Allah should speak to him, except by Revelation or from behind a veil, or by sending a messenger, revealing by His permission what He pleases; surely He is High, Wise.’ Vide 51:42, 164:4, 65:18, 163:4, and 113:4.
2. Next to “Wah-yi” comes ‘Fikr’ or selfthinking, which is highly commended, even urged by the Holy Qur’aan. But the sphere of thinking is distinctly confined to Nature and its working the basis of all our sciences.
“Do they not think within themselves that Allah did not create the heavens and the earth and what is between them but with Truth (to serve a serious purpose), and for a fixed term? But most people believe nit in the meeting of their Lord.” Vide 8:30, 20:38, 13:45. “Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and (in) the alternation of the night and the day there are signs for men of understanding-those who remember Allah standing and sitting, and lying their sides, and think about the creation of the heavens and the earth (till they admit_-Our Lord! Thou hast not created (all) this in vain. Glory be to Thee! Preserve us from the doom of Fire.” 189:3.
It would appear from this passage that religion mentality is not at all averse to a scientific outlook; in fact the latter follows the former as a natural sequence. Ignorance is the source of all pain and misery amounting to Fire.
3. So Revelation and thinking are recognized as the two reliable sources of knowledge in their respective spheres. But when thought sets out to explore the remote regions of revelation, it loses its moorings, and wanders off to ‘Khawz’ or vain discourse which in the language of the Qur’aan is no better than mere play. Vide 68: 6, 83: 43, 7: 52.
4. Lastly ‘Zan’ is a mere guess or conjecture, right or wrong as the case may be. It is a very common tendency of human mind, and a great source of misjudgement, So it has been expressly deprecated in the Qur’aan.
“And most of those (unbelievers) do not follow (any truth) but conjecture; surely conjecture will not avail them aught against the Truth; surely Allah knoweth what they do.” 117: 6
5. Revelation, which is the purest form of knowledge, can be assimilated through ‘liman’ or Belief by other people. In fact belief is the shortest and surest way to attain revealed knowledge. Belief is equally necessary for our acquired knowledge. Our individual personal knowledge, even of the daily life is almost insignificant, as compared with the sum total of human knowledge. Every advance of science and civilization tends to multiply our beliefs in the knowledge and action of others. Therefore belief is by no means confined to the spiritual sphere; it pervades the whole of our temporal life as well. 258:2.
6. The knowledge received through revelation, and through the accompanying belief, is by no means a blind acceptance, rather it carries its own light which is limitless and ever fresh and it is termed, ‘Sharhe-Sadr’ or expansion of breast, a special gift for prophets and their followers vide 25 : 20, 1 : 94, 22 : 39, 27 : 31, 109 : 18, 114 : 20. According to Qur’aan, knowledge is Light and Life; ignorance is Darkness and Death. It is not a mere simile but a scientific truth. Vide 1 : 14, 9 : 57, 22 : 35, 24 : 8. Hikmat or Wisdom, which is the cream of knowledge, is the source of all good, and a great gift of Allah, specially awarded to prophets and their followers. Vide 269 : 2, 163 : 3.
Copied from the HOLY QUR’AN transliteration in roman script with English translation by Marmaduke Pickthal, Published by Paak Company, 17-Urdu Bazar LahorePakistan