Seeking a Remedy By Others
The underdeveloped countries of the world that have thought of their progress and improvement in the last century, despite the fact that they have accepted a social government, but as they have disregarded the weaknesses of laws and have not benefited from the power of religion, they have led a gloomy life and their environment has become a model of savagery.
On the other hand, the progressive and intelligent people of the world who have discovered the weaknesses of laws have sought a remedy to save them from absolute failure and have thus taken another course of action.
These people organize the method of their education in such a way that individuals, willingly or not, will be brought up by a series of proper ethics, so that upon entrance into the field of activity, they will consider the laws sacred and inviolable. This kind of education results in the regular progress of laws and, as a result, guarantees the prosperity of the society to a considerable extent and saves the laws from failure.
It should be realized that there are two modes of thinking by which a society educates itself.
(1) Thoughts and beliefs such as philanthropy, benevolence, and compassion towards subordinates which are based upon realism and are undoubtedly adopted from divine religions. From antiquity, before progressive societies evolved, religion invited people towards this mode of thinking. Consequently, the prosperity and welfare experienced in progressive societies due to these thoughts are considered as the blessings of religion.
(2) Useless and unreal thoughts and beliefs that have no value except in the realm of superstition such as inculcating people with the belief that if they suffer or get killed to save their country, their names will be imprinted in history with golden words.
Although these superstitious thoughts render practical results and may influence an individual to make sacrifice in the battlefield and to destroy a large number of the enemies, their disadvantages overshadow their advantages. This way of thinking makes man superstitious and disrupts his instincts of realism, because for those who disbelieve in Allah and the Day of Judgement who consider death as inexistence and annihilation, the everlasting life and prosperity after death has no meaning whatsoever.
Due to his Allah-granted nature and temperament, man seeks a religion. This is because, in the course of life, he constantly struggles to provide prosperity for himself and uses all possible means to meet his requirements. He always seeks effective causes which are undefeatable. On the other hand, there are no causes in the world with permanent and undefeatable effects.
The fact that man, on the basis of his nature, demands an undefeatable cause and seeks an indestructible refuge to which he can connect his life and find peace of mind for his prosperity is demanded by religion. It is only the Almighty Allah whose will can never be overcome and subdued. Allah is free from pretext and shortcomings. The way of life that is connected to Allah is only the religion of Islam and nothing else.
Therefore, it can be said that man's instinctive yearning is one of the best reasons. that substantiate the threefold fundamentals of religion (i.e., Tawhid (monotheism), Nubuwwah (prophethood) and Ma'ad (resurrection), because man's instinctive perception which is an inherent part of his particular framework never makes a mistake. For example, man never mistakes the meaning of friendship for that of animosity. Nor does he mistake the feeling of thirst in his own natural perception for being quenched.
It is true that man sometimes desires to have feathers in order to fly as a bird or to be in the sky like a star, but he, wholeheartedly and earnestly, seeks a real support for his happiness, an absolute comfort, or a completely humanitarian life. As long as man lives, he will never give up this idea. If an undefeatable cause (Allah) did not exist in the world of existence, man would not have thought of it with his immaculate nature. If an absolute and unparalleled peace and tranquillity (which is the peace and tranquillity of the world Hereafter) did not exist and if the religious policy (sent to us through prophetic mission) was not legitimate, then this desire would not have been engraved on man's mind.
A Resume Of The History Of Religions
In conducting a brief investigation on the origination of religions, the most confident approach that can be depended upon from a religious point of view is the Holy Qur'an, because it is free from errors, mistakes, prejudice, and spitefulness. The Holy Qur'an states this briefly by saying: "Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam...(3:19)."
The divine religion, which is the very religion of Islam has accompanied man from the first day that he came into existence. As stipulated by the Holy Qur'an, the present generation of man originates from one man and one woman. In the Holy Qur'an, the man has been called Adam. He was a prophet to whom divine wahy (divine revelations) had been descended. Adam's religion was. very simple and included a few general regulations such as the people should remember Allah and should be kind to each other and specifically to their parents and should keep aloof from corruption, murder, and evil acts.
After Adam and his wife, their children spent their lives with extreme simplicity and without differences of opinion. As the number of people increased, they gradually gathered together and formed a community life. In this manner, they learned how to live and came closer to civilization. As the number of people proliferated little by little, they divided themselves into different tribes, in each of which there were noblemen whom the people respected.
Even after the demise of these nobles, the people made their statues and paid tribute to them. It was exactly at this time that idolatry became prevalent, and as it is cited by religious leaders, idolatry originated in this way. The history of idolatry confirms this matter as well. Little by little, as a result of the unjust behaviour of the mighty towards the weak, differences of opinion sprang up. These disagreements and accidental differences of opinion resulted in various forms of conflicts in life.
The generation of these conflicts that led to man's deviation from the path of prosperity towards misery and destruction was the reason that Compassionate Allah assigned prophets and sent a Divine Book that settled man's differences. As the Almighty Allah states:
"(All) people are a single nation; so Allah raised prophets as bearers of good news and as warners, and He revealed with them the Book with truth, that it might judge between people in that which they differed... (2:213)."
THE RELIGION OF ISLAM
The holy religion of Islam is the last divine religion, and for this reason it is the most perfect of them all. With the advent of this religion, the former religions were abolished, for by having a perfect religion, there is no need for an imperfect one.
The religion of Islam was sent down to man through our Honourable Prophet, Muhammad (SA). This door of salvation and prosperity was opened to mankind at a time when human societies had passed through the periods of immaturity and mental incapacity and had become prepared to gain their ideal perfection and acquired the capability to gain knowledge in divine and sublime matters along with their application.
Therefore, Islam has introduced facts and teachings suitable to the understanding of a realistic man as well as praiseworthy ethics that distinguish men, has provided instructions that reform individual and social aspects of man's life, and has also recommended the observance of these factors.
For this reason, the religion of Islam is a universal and eternal religion. It consists of a series of religious tenets and practical and moral provisions, the application of which, ensures man's welfare and happiness in this world and the Akhirah (the world Hereafter). The regulations of Islam are such as to bring about the best conditions of life and the most progressive human transcendency for individuals and societies observing them.
Islam grants its excellent advantages to all people and societies equally. Adults and children, the wise and the ignorant, men and women, the white and the black, easterners and westerners can, without exception, enjoy the benefits and advantages of this holy religion to attain their needs in the best and the most perfect manner possible. This is due to the fact that Islam has established its teachings and regulations on the basis of creation and has considered man's needs and tries to settle them.
The nature and structure of all men are identical even if they belong to different races and generations. It is evident that human society, from east to west, is regarded as a typical family, that is to say, the members of society are all human. The adults and children, men and women, the wise and the ignorant, the white and the black,... are members of this family. They all share the same principles and foundations of human characteristics. The needs of various individuals and different races are the same. Posterities are also descendants of this very family and will definitely inherit their requirements.
Consequently, Islam is the religion which fulfils the actual and natural needs of man. Islam is adequate for everyone and will survive for ever.
Thus, the Almighty Allah calls Islam a human nature-inspired religion and invites people to keep human nature alive. Theologians have stated that Islam is an easy religion which does not treat man with severity.
THE IMPORTANCE ISLAM ATTACHES TO MAN'S COMFORT
Just as religion possesses an excellent position in regard to other social policies, Islam, too, enjoys an excellent position among other religions. Thus, Islam is more advantageous than other policies for human societies. This fact is clarified by comparing Islam with other religions and social policies.
COMPARISON OF ISLAM WITH OTHER RELIGIONS
Among all religions, Islam is the only one that is entirely social. The teachings of Islam are not similar to those of the present-day Christianity which only takes into consideration people's happiness in the world Hereafter and ignores their worldly happiness. The teachings of Islam are neither like the present religion of Judaism that only endeavours to educate a particular nation. The teachings of Islam, unlike the instructions set forth by Magus and some other religions, have not focussed on only a few limited subjects relating to ethics and actions.
Islam has considered education and prosperity necessary for this world and the world Hereafter for everybody and for ever at any time and place. Evidently, except Islam, there is no other means for reforming societies and providing the people with happiness in this world and the world Hereafter.
First, since the global relations are getting closer and stronger day by day, the reformation of one society or nation from among all human societies will be fruitless and, in fact, it resembles the purification of a drop of water in a contaminated large pool or a river. Second, only the rectification of a particular society at the expense of neglecting other societies is contrary to the fact of seeking reformation. All ideas and thoughts about the creation of the world and man that may be reflected in man's mind, all ethics that can be implanted in the souls of people, and all actions and endeavours that may appear in man's environment have been examined in the teachings of Islam.
However, in Islam , realistic thoughts, on top of which is the Oneness of the Almighty Allah, have been selected and considered as the basis and foundation of religion.
In the ethics of Islam, that which is in fact approved by sound judgement has been chosen and based on the principle of monotheism. Then, on the basis and principle of ethics, a series of provisions and practical laws that examine the details of man's life have been explained and, as a result, individual and social duties of black and white, urban and nomadic, man and woman, young and old, servant and master, king and the subject, rich and poor, have been clarified under ordinary or exceptional circumstances.
"... Of a good word (being) like a good tree, the root of which is firm and the branches of which are in heaven (14:24)."
Anyone, who enquires into the basic principles of intuitive knowledge and ethical teachings of Islam and Islamic jurisprudence, will find them like a boundless sea which renders the wisdom helpless for comprehending and thought for reaching its depth. Nevertheless, every part of Islam is linked with other parts and all parts constitute an organized unit of theism and human fostering, revealed by the Almighty Allah to His honourable Prophet.
Comparison Of Islam With Other Social System
By careful examination of the policies of the developed societies of the world, we realize that although the scientific and industrial development of these societies has dazzled man's wisdom, even though their power and strength has reached the moon and Mars, and in spite of the fact that the illuminating institutions of their countries have astonished man, these advanced policies, with their praiseworthy progress, have opened up the gates of misery to the world of humanity. They have also devastated the world twice in less than a quarter of a century and have annihilated millions of innocent people. At present, too, the third world war, which carries the message of man's annihilation, threatens the inhabitants of the earth.
From the first day of their development, these very policies have put other nations under the yoke of servitude by the name of philanthropy and freedom. They have tied down the four huge continents of the world with colonization and have surrendered them unconditionally to Europe, thus providing the small minority of Europe with absolute ruling over the property, life, and dignity of millions of innocent people.
It cannot be denied that the advanced countries enjoy the material pleasures and blessings of their milieu and have attained most of their humanitarian goals such as social justice and cultural and industrial progress, but they have been entangled with misery and wretchedness, the most important of which are international conflicts and universal bloodshed. They also expose the world to more sinister and bitter calamities than before.
It is self-evident that all these are the bitter and sweet fruits of the tree of civilization and the direct results of the way of living of these nations and societies that are superficially on the path of progress.
But it must be realized that the sweet fruits, from which man and society have benefited, originated from a series of praiseworthy ethics such as truthfulness, honesty, conscientiousness, benevolence, and self-sacrifice of these nations and not of their laws only. This is because although the same laws exist in undeveloped nations of Asia and Africa, their misery and humility augments day by day.
The bitter fruits of this tree, however, which have unpleasantly given their acrid flavour to man and have caused misery and wretchedness and have led the advanced nations, like others, to total destruction, originate from indecent behaviours such as greed, injustice, atrocity, selfishness, vanity, and stubbornness.
If we consider the instructions of the holy religion of Islam, we come to the realization that Islam orders the performance of the first part of these attributes and prohibits the second part. As a whole, Islam has invited man to perform any righteous and correct act suitable to man's interests and has placed this policy as the basis of its education. On the other hand, Islam warns man of committing any unrighteous and incorrect act which disrupt man's tranquillity (although it may benefit a particular nation or people).
From what has been expressed, the following conclusion can be drawn:
(1) The policies set forth by Islam are more praiseworthy and beneficial for man than any other social policy.
"...That is the right religion, but most people do not know (30:30)."
(2) The clear points and sweet fruits of the present civilized world are entirely due to the blessings of the immaculate religion of Islam and the living examples of its holy principles and tenets and living signs that have fallen into the hands of westerners. Centuries before the signs of western civilization appeared, Islam had invited people to follow the same ethics by the application of which westerners outpaced us.
Before his martyrdom, the Leader of the Faithful, 'Ali (AS), stated to the people: "Do not act in such a way that others may outpace you in practising the decrees of the Qur'an."
(3) According to the instructions of Islam, ethics must be considered as man's essential objective and the cornerstone of laws. Disregarding decent ethics and establishing laws only to meet the materialistic interests of people will only focus their attention on materialism and will deprive them of spiritualism which is the only mark of distinction of man over animals. It will replace spiritualism with brutality, as in wolves and tigers, and with docility as in cows and sheep. Therefore, the Holy Prophet (SA) stated:
"My main objective is the moral education of people."