by Nawab Sir Amin Jung Bahadur
Published by Sh. Ashraf Press Lahore Pakistan ©1922
The following Notes were enclosed by the author in his weekly letters to his brother and sons who were students in the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh and Birmingham. I persuaded him to allow me to have them printed, and I thought they were suggestive and useful. He has, however, desired me to say that they should not be regarded as anything but concise memoranda jotted down (at short intervals between the busy hours of his official life) as general answers to questions put to him. They contain some passages which are too concise or abstract, if not vague or enigmatic. But, the author says, he left them designedly so, in order to induce his readers to try to understand them or at least to seek explanation and illustration. Numerous footnotes have been added for the same purpose.
He frankly admits that his view of Islam is neither quite orthodox nor quite heterodox but something midway between the two. It was put forward in order to make his boys think for themselves and argue with him. The first three Notes may be 'skipped' at the first reading.
Sincere acknowledgments are due to Nawab Imad-ul-Mulk Bahadiir Bilgrami, C.S.I., Mr.J.C. Molony, I.C.S., Khan Bahadur Abdur Rahim, B. A., B.L., Mr. Syed Ross Masood, M.A., and others who very kindly read the proofs and favoured the author with valuable suggestions.
Khan Bahadur Hajee Khaja Muhammad Hussain
Praise be to Thee my God, Lord of the Worlds!
O guide us ever more on the straight path,
Love Humanity - Islamic Maxim
Work is Worship - Sanskrit Proverb
Grant that the knowledge I get may be the knowledge worth having - Thomas A. Kempis
All praise is due to Thee, O God
I firmly believe that Islam is the best (5) religion in the world - I mean, Islam rightly understood and interpreted and not the Muhammadanism(6) of some of our formularist Moulvies,(7) who say that a man goes to Hell or Heaven according as he wears his trousers lower or higher than his ankles! They have degraded our religion by paying undue attention to formulas and forms to the exclusion and neglect of its living spirit and reality.(8) The poet Hafiz rightly stigmatised their vain controversies when he said that since they did not see the fact, they ran after fiction."
I am more than ever convinced of two characteristics of Islam:
1st It is not inconsistent with true Christianity, or with any other true religion (9) of which the fundamental principle is [Tawheed] "One God" [wahdahu la sharika lahu] "the Peerless One."
2nd It conforms to modern scientific ideas better than any other religion.
I have already explained in some of my letters to you, why I believe that Islam is but a continuation and consummation of Christianity as taught by Jesus himself in his own speeches which are reported in the Synoptic Gospels of the New Testament. We have nothing to do, with the interpretation of his words by his Apostles and others after them. If we take the plain words and the plain meaning of those words reported to have proceeded from his own blessed mouth,(10) we clearly see that they teach the same sublime truths as our Prophet himself inculcated. Jesus did not live long to complete his mission, Muhammad completed it. Both were God's holy messengers [Rusul-u-llah]. Says the Qur'an: "This day I have completed your religion for you." [al youm akmaltu lakum deenukum].
I need not now go into details, or refer to other religions, to shew that the spirit of Islam is not inconsistent with their true spirit, if rightly conceived and interpreted in the light of modern science. I hope I shall be able some day to write down the result of my own thought and investigation in the matter. I content myself at present with drawing your attention to the first characteristic of Islam, and I propose to write a few notes to draw your special attention to its second characteristic which is the more remarkable - the characteristic that it is quite consistent with modern ideas of science.
No scientific idea influenced the thought of the last century more profoundly than the idea of progress or development embodied in what is called the 'Law of Evolution.' It is now widely accepted. You will be surprised to know that many an Islamic tenet is entirely in accord with it. Indeed Maulana Rumi outlined it poetically in his famous Masnavi in the 13th century, in the same manner as Lord Tennyson did in his Princess in the 19th [century]. I desire that you should try to understand it in its modern form. I strongly recommend that you should read an admirable book by Edward Clodd called The Story of Creation.(11) When I first read it some years ago, I felt it was as pleasant and interesting as a novel. Its introduction and Part II are quite easy to read. They will give you a very good idea of the great revolution which Darwin and Wallace, Huxley and Spencer have wrought in the thought of our own time.
"THE following is a translation of the "Opening Chapter" of our Holy Qur'an. I have analysed it by placing Roman and Arabic numerals, the first indicating verses [aayyaat] and the second indicating subdivisions of verses.
Opening Chapter [Sura Fateha]
In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful [Bismil-laahir-Rahmaa-nir-Raheem].
I. Praise be to God
[al hamdu lil-laahi].
III. the Path of those
The whole Sura divides itself into three parts and each part into three divisions thus:
Three principal attributes of God:
Man's duty to God lies in :
(1) Worship [Ibaadat]
(1) the Path of Grace (= path of those
who obtain Grace.)
(a) Each of the three duties in the second part corresponds with the three attributes mentioned in the first part.
(b) The third part, the Path of Grace, i.e., the straight path, is the mean between two extremes = the path of deliberate sinners on the one band and the path of unwitting stragglers on the other.
(c) The Islamic Prayer is simpler than
the Christian Prayer, we do not say the one is good and the other is bad.
No. Both are very good indeed; but the one seems simpler than the other.
Let us compare them.
If you will carefully compare the parts of each Prayer which I have written as separate paragraphs marked (a), (b) and (c), you will observe that there is difference only in the language, but no difference whatever in the real meaning. There is in both Prayers absolutely the same spirit of:
Both begin with the praise of the Lord to whom all praise is due. This is followed in both by an expression of our entire dependence on Him and submission to His will. Lastly, there is solicitation for guidance, positive and negative, viz, guidance towards right action and guidance for avoiding temptation.
The three parts (a), (b) and (c) of the Christian as well as of the Muslim Prayer are in perfect accord with the results of a comparative study of the religious systems of the world. They correspond to three essential elements in all religions viz:
(a) Belief in the existence of a
Supreme Power which is Infinite and Absolute,
You will thus see that both the Lord's Prayer in the Bible and the Opening Chapter of the Qur'an go to the roots of all religions ever professed by man. They are truly Universal Prayers. No man need hesitate to join in the solemn recitation of either.
We ought to view all monotheistic religions - religions which enjoin belief in one God - in the spirit in which St. Peter viewed them when he said (Acts, 10:34,5): "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that feareth Him and worketh righteousness is accepted with Him." The same is the spirit of the oft-repeated definition of 'Muslims' in the Qur'an: [al lazeena amanoo wa amalus-salihat] "those who believe and work righteousness." 'Trust in the Lord and do good," as the Psalms say.
I HAVE said that true Islam is the best religion in the world. I must prove my assertion. In order to do so I have to explain:
I. What do I mean by religion?
I. Religion, God and Nature.
Religion - No thinking man can help asking himself the questions: "Whence has this world come? Whither is it bound to go?" in other words "What was the origin [mabda] and what will be the end [ma'ad] of the world of men, animals, plants and things that I perceive ?" The answers which each man gives to these questions constitute his religion. A few earnest persons (poets, philosophers and theologians) try to answer these questions for themselves by patient study and earnest thought."(13) But a large majority of men and women merely take the answers taught them by their parents, teachers or priests. There may possibly be a small number of men who do not trouble themselves about questions. These are not "thinking men" and may, therefore, be left out of account.
Religion is a silent and subtle power that works in the heart of man and makes for righteousness. It is generated by his conviction as to the beginning and end of himself and the world in which he lives and moves.(14)
God - No intelligent and intelligible answers can be given to questions as to the origin and the end of the government of Nature(15) without assuming the existence of the One and only one God who is Infinite and Absolute, i.e.. One who hath neither beginning nor end and who is not conditioned or limited by anything whatever.(16) The Infinite and Absolute One has been called "by different names by different people at different times.(17) Yezdan, Ishwara, Jehovah, God and Allah are the names in different languages, of the same Infinite and Absolute God.
God of the Granite and the Rose
* Conception of God, His Attributes and His relation to Nature -These have been and will ever be many and various. But I summarise three principal conceptions under each head, for I believe that other ideas, nations or conceptions are but combinations of two or more of these.
I. Conceptions of
II. Notions of God's
III. Ideas of God's relation with Nature(20) (i.e., with the world of men, animals, plants and other objects, and their interrelations, of which men are aware):
1. All is from God - God is above
Nature which He created and governs (Theism).
The above is but a rough summary. I have neither [the] time nor [the] space to explain and illustrate it. I have ventured to give some hints - imperfect hints, I fear - in the footnotes. I may, however, state here that, of the above three conceptions, notions or ideas, Islam accepts the medium or the middle one which, as a little thought will show, includes the other two conceptions also. You need not at present try to understand the summary or the words given in brackets. My subsequent Notes will explain it to some extent. Please remember that there are many men and many minds, and that there are likely to be as many religions, as many conceptions of God, as many notions of His attributes, and as many ideas of the beginning or end of things, [mabda' wa ma'ad] as there are thinking minds.(22)
Let me conclude this Note with a short answer to the question [of] why religion is necessary to man.(23) No society is possible without religion, because of the dual nature of man. As our poet says, [Persian: ba bahaa'm bahra dari ba malaa'ik neez ham] and as all modern men of science (such as Sir Oliver Lodge and others) admit, there is a higher and a lower in every man's nature; the one lifts him up and the other pulls him down in the scale of animal and social existence. Religion is necessary in order that every man's higher nature may conquer his lower nature in order that he may become a social being who is virtuous and does good of his own accord, and may not remain a mere beast whom the whip alone prevents from doing mischief. It is religion that fosters high-thinking and hold-living, so necessary for the advancement' of the human race.
THE answer to this question is contained within the four corners, as it were, of the Opening Sura(24) [Sura Fateha] which is a general summary of the whole Qur'an. I have already analysed it and asked you to compare it with the Christian Prayer called the Lord's Prayer. I am sure you have noted and admired its simplicity and clearness and its almost scientific precision and comprehensiveness. I am only amplifying what I have already said when I say that the Sura teaches three cardinal and eternal truths:
1. There is but One God Who has created the worlds, maintains them, and rules them. In the inimitable words of the Sura of Purity [Sura Ikhlaas].
[Qul huwal laahu ahad] Say, God
is one. = One
2. (a) God being our Creator, we have to worship, adore and love Him and Him alone. This is the duty we owe to God. (b) Again, God being our merciful Preserver, we have to seek the protection of Him and Him alone. This is the duty we owe to ourselves. (c) Finally, God being our Judge or Ruler, we have to solicit guidance of Him and Him alone. This is the duty we owe to our fellow-creatures (including lower animals) in the world we live in.
You must not fall into the error of believing that God is Creator at one time or place, that He is Maintainer or Preserver at another time or place, and that He is Judge or Ruler at a third time or place. No, no. He, being the One and only God, is all the three together, Creator, Preserver and Ruler, at all times and in all places. It is we who, in order to understand Him properly and adore Him rightly, separate in our minds His three principal attributes, and think of Him as our Creator when we worship Him, think of Him as our Preserver when we seek His protection, and think of Him as our Ruler or Judge when we solicit His guidance. It is only we, finite and conditioned creatures, that are tied down to and limited by time, place and circumstances. To God there are none such. He is the One Infinite and Absolute, the One who is absolutely unlimited and unconditioned by time, place, circumstances, or anything else. This is the Islamic conception or idea of God.
3. What does the Sura
teach us as to the guidance which we have to ask of God in our dealings
with our fellow-creatures? It is guidance into the straight path. What
is the straight path? It is the path of righteousness or the path of Grace
which is between two extremes, the path of Sin and the path of Error. A
Muslim's right path, i.e. his right course of conduct, lies between two
extreme paths or courses of conduct, viz., on the one hand, the
path of those who sin, who knowingly and deliberately go against the will
of God, which is manifest in Nature, and on the other hand, the path of
those who unwittingly through ignorance, go against His will. The right
path lies thus:
You thus see that true Islam consists in a three-fold duty to God, to oneself, and to others. And this duty is to be discharged by simply adopting, under God's guidance, the mean between two extremes. As our Prophet has pithily expressed it [khair ul umoor-e ausatiha] "the best of things is the medium thing." This is the fundamental principle which underlies everything which is Islamic or Muslim.(26) Please remember it as also the three-fold Islamic Duty:
(a) Duty to God, which is Worship or Adoration implying, as it does, complete submission to His will [Islaam]
(b) Duty to yourself, which is self-preservation or self-perfection [Aslaam]
(c) Duty to others, which is peace and goodwill towards them [Islaam]
'Islam'(27) as a religion means nothing more nor less than those three duties. Islam is not Philosophy, much less is it Science. It is but a religion, an attitude of man's mind towards his environment - the attitude of self towards others and God. Both Philosophy and Science influence one's attitude of mind. To that extent Islam has to reckon with both. It is, therefore, that Sufis and other philosophic sects, have risen in Islam from time to time. The sphere of Islam is Faith manifesting itself and good work; and the spheres of Science and Philosophy are Knowledge and Reason. The latter often come into contact with the former, but can never be identified with it.
In my previous NOTE, I tried to sketch briefly what is true Islam. I now offer a few observations on, or illustrations of, what is not Islam. In order to know anything quite well, it is desirable not only to know what it is but also to know what it is not.
1. The religion taught by the Qur'an and the traditions [ahaadeeth] of our Prophet is Islam and not 'Muhammadanism,' as it is often named. Those who profess Islam are Muslims and not 'Muhammadans,' as they are called. The word 'Mussulman' is but a corruption of the Arabic plural [Muslimoon/Muslimeen] of the singular [Muslim]. We and our religion have been called after the name of Muhammad just as the terms 'Christians' and 'Christianity' have been derived from the name 'Christ.' But 'Muhammadanism' and 'Muhammadans" are not at all the correct names of 'Islam' and 'Muslims' as you will presently see.(28)
2. From the point of view of Islam, all religions may be divided thus:
Religions are either:
If they are True they
Observe that a pure religion, such as true Islam, comes in between false religions and mistaken or mixed religions, just as the Quranic path of Grace lies between the Path of Sin and the Path of Error. It is the mean between the two extremes.
3. It is not Islam to believe that there has been no true religion besides Islam.(29) Such an erroneous beliefs leads to intolerance, thereby begetting bigotry and fanaticism [taa'ssub]. It is contrary to the teaching of the Qur'an and the Prophet. The first verse of the second Sura Baqrah [=Alif laam meem] commands asked to believe in not only what was revealed to Muhammad, but also and what was revealed to those who went before him. It clearly indicates that there are, and will ever be, many true religions of which Islam is one. Almost the first saying of our Prophet reported in collections of his Traditions [ahaadeeth] is "whoever says 'there is no God but God,' will attain Salvation,"i.e. will obtain eternal bliss. This shows clearly that all religions which inculcate belief in one God are true religions - our right Paths of Grace which lead to eternal bliss. Observe that most Muhammadans (not Muslims) of today have forgotten this principle and have therefore become intolerant fanatics,(30) which accounts largely for the loss of political power of most Muhammadan governments of modern times.
4. Neither is it Islam to believe that all religions are true. Such an erroneous belief leads to indifference, thereby begetting caprice and impiety. It is obviously contrary to the teachings of the Qur'an and the Prophet, for they both denounce many a false religion. If everybody thinks that every religion is true, there will be no two men professing the same religion, and there will be no agreement between their thoughts and actions. Co-operation [ittifaaq wa ittihaad] among men (which is the root of Family, Society and State) would tend to become impossible. Note that it is the indifference to religion and the consequent impiety of some of the Muhammadans of today the accounts mostly for their lack of cooperation, and for their loss of political power in modern times. Degradation is the lot of faithless Muslims, for as the Qur'an says, "Ye will be exalted only if ye be faithful Muslims."
For what has been said, you can easily infer that we should not the mean between two extremes and must, therefore, believe that neither are all religions true, nor are they all false, but that some religions are true and that Islam is one of them. The characteristic mark of true religions is belief in one God; and this indeed is the reason why Muslims are permitted to eat and live with and even marry Jewesses, [as well as] Christians and others who believe in one God and possess sacred Scriptures.
5. I, for one, would not hesitate to call on monotheists (Jews, Christians and other Unitarian's [muwa hid deen]) Muslims, because they believe in one God; but I would not call them Momins, because they do not believe in one God in accordance with the teaching of our Prophet. You know that our creed [kalimah] consists of two parts:
(i) There is no God but God,
Those who believe in the first part are Muslims (Muslim = the peaceful)(31) and those who believe in the first as well as the second part of the Creed are Momins (the faithful). Both Muslims and Momins are believers in one God; the only difference between them is that Muslims may not (like Momins) except Muhammad as their guided in the belief. The Qur'an (3: 83) defines Islam thus:
" Say ye: We believe in God, and that which hath been sent down (revealed) to us, and that which hath been sent down to Abraham and Ismail and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes; and that which hath been given to Moses and to Jesus and that which was given to the prophets from their Lord. No difference do we make between them - and to God we are resigned (Muslims)."6. "There is no deity but God." since God is One, His Revelation to man cannot be other than one and the same for all time. There has, therefore, been and will ever be but one true religion. That religion is Islam, [innad deena indal llahil islaam] "Verily the (only) religion with God is Islam." [Qur'an 3: 17] all the prophets from Adam to Muhammad received but one and the same Revelation and therefore preached Islam and Islam only [zalik kad deen ul qayyim] "It was (and is) the standard religion." [Qur'an 12:41](32)
Whenever any people went astray and deserted Islam for idolatry, a Prophet arose among them to preach Islam and bring them back to righteousness.(33) Each Prophet or Messenger of God did nothing but try to restore their universal religion to its pristine simplicity and purity.
It was only in interpreting the Revelation and applying it to the practical needs of their age, that successive Prophets and their followers differed; and the differences gave rise to the so-called religions and religious system of the world.
"Islam" and "not Islam"
I must devote this Note also to my observations on "Islam" and "not Islam" in order to prepare you for a just appreciation of my contention that there are many good religions in the world, but Islam is the best of them.(34)
1. The Prophet Muhammad lived and died more than 1300 years ago. There are now on the face of the earth, no less than 250 million (= 25 crores) of human beings who profess his religion, [as of the year 2000 C.E., there are an estimated 1.2 billion] and to love and respect him just as his own immediate followers loved and respected him. These two simple facts are enough to prove:
(i) that there must be something real and
true in the religion professed by so many people, and
For common experience leads us to conclude (a) that nothing which is false or unreal can survive centuries of change and (b) that none who is not good and great can be loved and respected by millions of men. No Muslim or Momin need, therefore, believe in anything more than -
(i) that Islam is a real and true religion,
Thus, your belief in one God [la ilaaha illal laah] makes you a Muslim(36) (= peaceful), no matter by what other name you call yourself; and your belief in the goodness and greatness(37) of Mohammed [Muhammad rasool ul lah] makes you a Momin ( = faithful), no matter by what name others may call you. Let me quote here a passage from Sir Edwin Arnold's Preface to his beautiful poem "The Pearls of Faith: the Ninety-Nine Names of Allah:" [asma-e-husnaa]
"The soul of Islam is in its declaration of the unity of God: it's heart is the inculcation of an absolute resignation to His Will. Not more sublime, in religious history appears the figure of Paul the tent maker, proclaiming the Unknown God' at Athens, that than of the camel-driver Muhammad, son of Abdullah and Amina, abolishing all the idols of the Arabian Pantheon, except their chief - Allahu ta'Ala, God the Most High - and under that ancient and well received appellation, establishing the one-ness of the origin, government, and life of the Universe. Thereby that marvellous and gifted teacher created a vast empire of new belief and new civilisation, and prepared a sixth part of humanity for the developments and reconciliations which later times will bring. For Islam must be conciliated; it cannot be thrust scornfully inside or rooted out. It shares the task of the education of the world with its sister religions, and it will contribute its eventual portion to:
"That far off the divine eventThe italics are mine. I shall have to refer to them in my subsequent Notes. Observe, the cosmopolitan poet uses only the word "Islam" and not "Muhammadanism."
2. It is not Islam or Eman [Iman] to deify Muhammad or to represent him to be akin to God, as sometimes some Moulvies represent him and call him "the One [Ahad] in the guise of Ahmed."(38) Our Prophet himself never claimed that he was anything more than a mere man. Indeed he taught us all to say [ash-hadu al-laa ilaha, il-lal-laah, wa ash-hadu an-na muhammadan 'abduhu wa rasooluh] that he was but "a servant and messenger of God." The only thing he never claimed for himself was that God had chosen to him to be a messenger [rasool = payghambar] to convey His message to men. "That is an immense mass of fable and silly legend," says Rodwell, "has been built up upon the basis of the Qur'an, is beyond doubt; but for this, Muhammad is not answerable,(39) anymore then he is for the wild and blood-thirsty excesses of his followers in after ages."
3. God's messages which Muhammad delivered to men, were all collected soon after his death and are preserved intact in a remarkable book called the Qur'an - a book which has lived through no less than 13 centuries without undergoing the least alteration in a single word or even a dot! The difference in the message is contained in the Qur'an and the ordinary sayings of the Prophet reported in books on Hadis [hadeeth], is simply this: that when delivering God's message, Muhammad himself felt and those who were in his company witnessed, that he was inspired by some divine energy or power which impelled him to say what he said. Whereas at other times, when he was talking like an ordinary man, no signs of divine energy or inspiration were visible. It will carry me too far if I endeavour to explain here the real nature of "the divine inspiration" under which he delivered what he and others believed to be [the] " divine message." You will understand it if you read such books as Professor James Varieties of Religious Experience. Let us, like good Momins, take it as a fact, what our Prophet's intimate companions [sahaabah] vouched, that he appeared to be quite a different man when he uttered such messages. Their style or matter even to this day proves to all unbiased minds that they are no ordinary sayings of an ordinary man. There is something unique in them which we can only feel but cannot define or express in words. Even historians and biographers like Gibbon and Lane Poole are obliged, in spite of themselves, to admit and admire what some of them called the rugged grandeur and eloquence of the Qur'an. Even Sale says that some [of the] passages are really sublime.
4. We call the Qur'an the word of God, chiefly because it contains messages of high spiritual value delivered by an illiterate man like Mohammad. It is neither a history like some of the books of the Old Testament, nor a biography like the four Gospels of the Bible. It is only a collection of sermons, commands and instructions delivered and issued from time to time as occasions required. It contains, indeed, references to stories of older prophets and previous events well-known to the people of Arabia. But they are less by way of narration than by way of illustration. They are parables more or less [tilkal amsaalu nazri-buhu lin-naas].(40) Commentators like Zamakhshari [itafseer-e-kash-shaaf] and Imam Razi [tafseer-e-kabeer] whose learning and authority cannot be questioned, have clearly proved that there is nothing in the Qur'an which is improbable or cannot be rationally explained to be quite in accordance with the Laws of Nature [tafseer-e ahmadee]. If you read Sir Syed Ahmad's Commentary or his essays [khutbaat] you will find rational explanations of the ideas of Paradise and Hell, the Day of Judgment,(41) etc. I need not dwell on them here. I would however, draw your attention to what is called the role of "Parsimony in Thought" which is in vogue among the men of science. It is that if and when you can explain anything by what is well-known and understood by everyone, you should not believe in the existence of "superman" or assume the occurrence of supernatural events. When, for example, we can explain any action of Muhammad as an extraordinary action of a reasonable man, we should not assume or believe that he performed a miracle. If we can explain the defeat and discomfiture of Abraha's army by natural causes, such as an epidemic, we ought not to assume the occurrence of any supernatural event.(42)
5. The Qur'an does not favour any particular system of philosophy. It leaves Muslims free to adopt any system of law that commends itself to them, provided that it is not inconsistent with the [tawheed] idea of the one eternal and absolute God. Thus the Qur'an confines itself to the sphere of religion - the sphere where man is brought face to face with his God.
(a) What then, is the object or aim of the Qur'an?
To reveal a man unto itself [mun arafa nafsa hu arafa rabba hu] "He who has understood himself has understood his God."
(b) Why should a man be revealed unto himself?
In order that he might know his true relation with the rest of the world so that he might shape his conduct accordingly, i.e. be true to himself, true to others, and true to his God in thoughts, words and deeds.
(c) How does the Qur'an reveal a man unto himself?
By showing him:
In this sense the Qur'an is truly a revelation!
His sign[s are] in all thing[s] | fa fi kulli shaiyin lahu aayah naral anna hu waahid
Indicating that He is One.|
5. By the word 'best' I mean "the most suitable for both the spiritual and material needs of man." I do not wish to cast any reflection on any other religion. See Note 7
6. I make a difference between Islam and Mohammadanism. The latter is not pure Islam. It has forgotten the spirit of Islam and remembers only the letter of its law. "The dry bones of a religion are nothing; the spirit that quickens the bones is all." See Note 5
9. The teaching of Mohammad has been admirably summarized by a Christian writer as follows : "There is no deity but God. He created the Universe and rules it with love and mercy. He alone is to be worshipped; in Him confidence is to be placed in times of adversity. There must be no murmuring at His decrees; life - your own and others dearer than your own - must be placed in His hands in trust and love."
I do not believe that there is any monotheistic religion in the world which will dissent from this teaching. The writer (in the Harmsworth Encyclopaedia goes on to say :
"The faralism [paradigm] which has come to be regarded as part of the Moslem creed has no place in the system established by Muhammad who again and again distinctly and emphatically repudiated the idea. Muhammad taught reform not revolution." In these days of political unrest, I cannot impress on you too strongly the meaning of the last sentence in which I have italicised two words.
13. "It is strange," says Havelock Ellis, "men seek to be, or to seem, atheists, agnostics, cynics, pessimists; at the core of all these things lurks religion . . . The men who have most finely felt the pulse of the world and have, in their turn, most effectively stirred its pulse, are religions men,"- New Spirit, 228.
17. Prof. Scott Elliot at the end of his book, Prehistoric Man. p. 381, writes thus: "It seems true that almost every race of man is not only capable of believing in a Supreme God but, so far as the evidence goes, did reverence one God who was often also thought of as the Creator of the Sky or of the World...There is a very strong body of evidence showing that '... every race of mankind possessed quite early in its development a feeling of awe and reverence towards an Unknown God."
18. There are at present three missionary religions in the world - religions which were intended and designed by their respective founders to unite all men without any distinction into a Universal Brotherhood.
(1) Buddhism asserts that God is Law
But all these religions inculcate in fact one and the same Truth in its three aspects, as Muslim Sufis would say, I believe the gist of doctrines held by them is that God is Omnipotent Energy manifesting itself uniformly as Law and operating benevolently as Love.
Yon should try to solve the equation for yourself. You will not fail to understand it if you think hard.
Creator = Preserver = Adjuster.
God said unto Moses, I am that I am - Exodus, 3:14.
20. Some Sufis define Nature as Individual plus his Environment. By individual they mean anyone capable of thinking of himself as "I" or "Me" and everything else as "not I " or ' 'not Me" which is his environment.
21. It may be said that all the three ideas of God's relation with Nature (the three "isms" I have mentioned in brackets) are but different degrees of man's desire for communion with his God. Says Rumi in his celebrated Masnavi. "All religions are in substance one and the same." Book iii, story 12 (St. Daquqi).
23. "Religion places the human soul in the presence of its highest ideal (= God), it lifts it above the level of ordinary goodness, and produces at least a yearning after a higher and better life in the light of God." -Max Muller.
26. See Note 10.
27. The word 'Islam' means literally (1) resignation (2) preservation and (3) peace. Lord Tennyson has most admirably expressed the Islamic ideal of self-surrender to the will of God and has incidentally decided the vexing question of free-will in a single line: "Our wills art ours to make them Thine"
29. I use the word in the restricted sense of "Islam as taught by Muhammad" if you take Islam to mean belief in one God and virtuous conduct in life, you may say their that there has not been and will never be any true religion besides Islam. In this sense, Islam is the only true religion.
30. "A man must not do reverence to his own sect or disparage that of another man without reason. Deprecation should be for specific reasons only, because the sects of other people all deserve reverence for one reason or another. By thus acting a man exalts his own sect, and at the same time does service to the sects of other people. By acting contrariwise a man hurs his own sect and does disservice to the sects of other people." -King Asoka's Edict, XII).
"Every sect favourably regards him who is faithful to his precepts, and, in truth, he is to be commended," -Akbar (Ain Akbari, III)
32. See footnote 29.
"Whenever there is decay of righteousness,
O Bharata, and there is exaltation of unrighteousness, then I myself
"For the protection of the good, for the
destruction of evil doers, for the sake of firmly established righteousness,
I am born from age to age."
The italicised words suggest the Hindu doctrine of incarnation and metem psychosis. Orthodox Muslims do not believe in any such doctrine [hulool wa it-ti-had] but would substitute for the italics the words: I send a Messenger or reformer. See for example Qur'an 16:36
34. To students of Islam and its history, I cannot recommend better and more useful books than the Rt. Hon. Dr. Syed Ameer Ali's Spirit of Islam and History of the Saracens. New and revised editions have been recently published. They present a various the various aspects of Islam in their proper perspective. They are classics for English readers.
37. I mean "goodness and greatness" as a human being, for Muhammad never said or did anything to show that he was not a human being. The Qur'an commanded him, "Say I am a man like yourself."[qul anaa ba sha run mis la kum] He therefore insisted that man should attach greater importance to the nature of the message than to the character of the messenger himself "I am" said he "no more than a man: when I order you anything with respect to religion, receive it, and when I order you about the affairs of the world, then I am nothing more than a man."
41. [yow-mud-deen] = the day the faith = the time of dissolution predicted by Islam as well as by science. Sir Syed Ahmad fully explains the meaning of [qiya mat-e-kubraa] = universal distraction and of [qiya ma-e-sughraa] = individual distraction (i.e. death) from the viewpoint of modern science.
42. As regards miracles, the beliefs that are held do not matter so much as the spirit in which they are held. If the spirit is right and leads to virtuous conduct in life, any reasonable belief will quite do. Here comes in the Pragmatism of Islam. It does not object anything which has a practical value unless it is unreasonable, immoral, or inconsistent with the Islamic ideas of the Unity of God and the brotherhood of man.
[sa nuree him aayaaa tina fil aafa qi wa fi anfu si him hattaa tabay-yana la hum anna hul haqqu]
44. God's is the East and the West, therefore whichever side you turn, you will see the face (= presence) of God - [Qur'an 2:115] - [wa lil-la-hil mash riqi wal magh ribi fa ainama tuwal-lu fa tham-ma waj hul-la-hi]