Islam and Russia – 4

ISLAM AND RUSSIA (4) (Dr. Qazi Muhammad Barkatullah) PHILOSOPHY Philosophy has become a pastime for some people but it is a comprehensive word. The word philosophy comes from the Greek root, phileo-sophia; where philo means love and sophia means wisdom. Philosophy thus means love of wisdom. It also means convictions, beliefs, attitudes. It is study of causes of things through the use of reasoning. There are two methods of reasoning: Inductive or to generalise and deductive or to synthesise. A systematic way of reasoning is called Logic. Philosophy is to “Think, Think, Think”. A philosopher is a thinker. Plato classified a philosopher as a ruler of a land who has the wisdom to rule the society and has advance knowledge. Philosophy, thus, is pursuit of wisdom and permeates an individual’s entire life. The late Hazrat Khalifatul Masih 11 said: “Wisdom (so called) is blind unless illumined by revelation.” The Holy Quran says: “Eyes cannot reach Him but He reaches the eyes. And He is the Incomprehensible the All Aware.” (6:104). Comment: “This verse means that human reason alone, unaided by Divine reason, is incapable of comprehending God. He cannot be seen with physical eyes but reveals Himself to man through His prophets or through the working of His attributes. He is also perceived by spiritual eyes.” (English Commentary, Rabwah, F. N. 887). PHILOSOPHY OF ISLAM Islam is not a philosophy but a complete religion perfect in all respects for all mankind and for all the time to come. The Creator of the universe, heavens, earth and everything in between, is Allah who is One. Allah is Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient. Allah, in fact, is the Light of the ISLAM AND RUSSIA 39 heavens and earth. All mankind are created by Allah and true religion with Allah is Islam. And all mankind are created on the nature of Islam: “And follow the nature made by Allah, the nature according to which He has fashioned mankind.” (30:31). Comment: God is One and humanity is One. This is the Fitrat Allah or Dinal Fitrah – the religion which is rooted in the nature of man and to which he conforms and instinctively reacts. It is in this religion that a child is born but his environment, the ideas and beliefs of parents and the training he receives from them subsequently make him a Jew, a Magian or a Christian. ” (Bukhari). (F. Note No. 2284; ENG Commentary). In 1896, a religious Conference was held on December 26-29, in Lahore now in Pakistan. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah, penned a treatise entitled Islami Usool Ki Philosophy in urdu – The Philosophy or the Teaching of Islam – for the conference. The composition was read before a mammoth gathering by Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sialkoti. It was very well received by the public and press. The treatise has since been published many times in several languages. It deals with five basic questions and the answers are supported by the Holy Quran and examples set by the Holy Prophet of Islam. These questions are: 1. The Physical, Moral and Spiritual states of man. 2. The state of man after life on this earth. 3. The object of man’s life and the means of its attainment. 4. The effect of human actions in this life and the next. 5. The sources of Divine knowledge. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah, stated that valid religious teachings should be able to guide its followers to a living vision of God. Failure to do this would reveal the failure of the teaching. Now and again, over periods of time, there should be evidence of mankind’s. contact with God. This is what makes the Religious quest worthwhile and meaningful. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad tells us that he has attained and established contact with Almighty Allah by following and practising the principles and teachings of Islam: “I would be gUilty of an injustice were I to conceal the fact that I have been raised to this spiritual eminence. Almighty God has favored me with His certain Word and has chosen me that I may give sight to the blind, lead seekers after truth to the object of their search, and give to the 40 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS acceptors of truth the glad tidings of the pure fountain which is talked of by many but is discovered by few. (The Teachings of Islam, Rabwah, 1966, p. 163). Hazrat Ahmad again says: It is among Muslims that individuals have always been raised to this spiritual eminence. Islam is in fact the only religion in which God draws His servant to Him and speaks to him and through him He makes His habitation within his heart and draws him up to Heaven. (Ibid., p. 162). Islam presents a living way of life and offers means which establishes contact between an individual and God: “And when My servants ask thee about Me, say: ‘I am near.’ I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me that they may follow the right way.” (2:187). THE SOUL The Arabic word “Nafs” means self or person. Hazrat Ali is reported to have said “Mun Arafa Nafsahu faqud arafa Rabbahu:” That is, He who understood his Nafs, understood his God. Also, there is Hadees (Tradition): ‘He who knows himself, knows God his Lord thereby.” Commencing with the Holy Ouran, however, Nafs also means the soul. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah, says that the soul is not something which comes from outside. It is latent in the seed of man as fire is latent in the flint. The hidden soul appears in the body that it is being developed in the womb of the mother. Allah knows best what the soul is: “Say, the Soul has been created by the command of my Lord.” (17:86). The Holy Ouran signifies that after the completion of the physical development of the embryo in the womb, it develops a soul. Elsewhere in the Holy Ouran mention is made of the creation of the soul: “Verily, We created man from an extract of clay; Then We placed him as a drop of sperm in safe depository; Then we fashioned the sperm into a clot; then we fashioned the clot into a shapeless lump; then We fashioned bones out of this shapeless lump; then We clothed the bones with flesh; then we developed it into another creation. So blessed be Allah, the best of creators.” (23:13-15). ISLAM AND RUSSIA 41 Comment: “The words Then We developed it into another creation, show that the soul is not imported into the human body from outside but grows in the body as it develops in the womb. At first it has no separate existence from the body but the process through which the body passes during its development in the womb distils from the body a delicate essence which is called the soul. As soon as the relationship between the soul and the body becomes completely adjusted the heart begins to function. The soul then has a distinct existence of its own apart from the body which henceforth serves it as a shell. (English Commentary; F. N. 1985; pp. 736-737). As such, the soul is a light which brings life and sparkles the whole body. The soul springs up from the body which is being prepared in the womb of the mother. There is a mysterious relation between body and soul and the solution of that mystery appears to be beyond human comprehension. THREE STAGES Hazrat Ahmad, has elaborated in his book The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, three conditions or states which a person passes through in search of inner peace with Almighty God: PHYSICAL STATE This is a rudimentary stage in one’s life. The soul is prone to evil. A person is unable to control his passions and emotions. He wants and has a desire for all worldly things and is inclined toward evil. This state of man is called Nafs-e-Ammarah. It turns man away from the path that leads to perfection. The first state is very dangerous for the spiritual progress of mankind. In this condition, passions run wild and a person seeks to satisfy the desires of the flesh. The Holy Quran says: “Surely the soul is prone to join evil.” (12:54). MORAL STATE In this stage, a person frees himself from the control of animal passions and is guided by reason and knowledge. He puts a check on worldly desires and governs them instead of being governed by them. In the terminology of the Holy Quran, this is called Nafs-e-Iawwama or the self-accusing spirit (conscience) (75:3). At this stage a person gains the upper hand. Something from inside persuades a person not to do bad things. At this stage a person’s awakened conscience upbraids him for doing bad deeds and restrains his passions and appetites (English Commentary, F.N. 3177). It is the animus 42 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS that reproaches a person when he adopts evil ways. It is a self-accusing and reprimanding state of human beings. SPIRITUAL STATE The third spiritual state is called Nafs-e-Mutmainna. In this condition a person has attained contentment within and the world around him. The soul has now found rest in God. This is the stage in which the soul is purified from all its alloys and is so much fortified with spiritual strength that it clings to God and cannot live without Him. The Holy Quran says: Comment: 0, Thou soul at Peace! Return to thy Lord, Thou well-pleased with Him and He well-pleased with thee. So enter thou among My chosen servants. And enter thou My Garden (89:28-31). “This is the highest stage of spiritual development when man is well-pleased with his Lord and his Lord is well-pleased with him. At this stage which is called the heavenly stage, he becomes immune to all moral weaknesses and frailties and is braced with a peculiar strength. He is united with God and cannot exist without Him. It is in this life and not after death that this great spiritual transformation takes place in him and it is in this world and not elsewhere that access to paradise is granted to him.” (English Commentary, F.N. No. 3342). Thus there are three stages that a person passes through to attain high moral qualities and character. In the first stage a man is raised from a savage stage getting familiarised with the rules relating to ordinary daily actions and modes of social life. Next to improve upon the degree of morality a person’s actions and conducts are regulated to turn them into high moral qualities. And the final stage is of contentment where a person is completely engrossed in the love of God. A well known Persian Poet has said: “Repentence in the prime of youth is the mode of the prophets.” ISLAM AND RUSSIA 43 BODY AND SOUL It is pertinent to remark that the physical state of human beings is closely associated with the moral and spiritual state. There is natural relationship between body and soul. All physical acts such as eating, drinking, sleeping etc. necessarily produce a corresponding inner effect. The external purity of the body signifies internal purity and moral quality. Weeping saddens the heart and laughing makes it cheerful. Prostration of the body as in Islamic prescribed prayers induces humility and inclines the soul towards adoration of God. The movement of the soul depends upon the movement of the body. If the body is drawn in any direction the soul goes that way too. Thus the outward state of man needs to be reformed and regulated so as to have corresponding moral qualities in human life. Peaceful outward human conduct and actions such as, peaceful family life and social behaviour will create inner moral qualities. It is therefore clear that the inner self effects outward conduct. Outward human actions and reactions stem from inner moral qualities. Hazrat Ahmad, the Promised Messiah, points out that the kind of food a person eats also has an effect on character as well as the body. For example, eating no meat at all will cause some deficiencies while an excess of meat is likely to destroy the qualities of humility and weakness. Muslims are forbidden to eat Khinzeer (the flesh of the pig) for similar reasons. The very name of the animal contains an allusion to the reason for the prohibition of its flesh. The name is a combination of Khinz and ar, the first part means “very foul” and the second “I see”. That is, the word literally means “I see it very foul”. This animal lives on filth and is most shameless of all creatures. Taken as food, therefore, its foul flesh will have an injurious effect upon the body as well as the soul. OBJECI1VE OF LIFE A person is not born just to eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow he will have to leave the world. Many people set before themselves different material objectives generally limited to the gratification of low desires and the pleasures of the world. However, according to Hazrat Ahmad, the Promised Messiah, Almighty God has declared a much higher objective as the purpose of man’s existence. The Holy Quran says: “And I have not created the jinn and the men but that they may worship Me.” (51:57). This verse states that a person should fulfll obligations to God, and as such, to mankind as well. The real object of man’s existence is, therefore, a true knowledge and worship of God and total reliance on His Will. Whatever is said or done should be said or done for His sake only. Man is a creature and his 44 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Creator has brought him into existence. The Creator has bestowed upon him higher faculties than upon animals. The Holy Quran says: Comment: “Surely, We have created man in the best make; Then, if he does evil deeds, we degrade him as the lowest of the low.” (95:5-6). “Man is born with a pure and unsullied nature, with a natural tendency to do good, but he has also been given a large measure of freedom of will and action to mould himself as he chooses. He has been endowed with great natural powers and creative qualities to make unlimited moral progress and to rise spiritually so high as to become the mirror in which Divine attributes are reflected. But if he misuses God-given powers and attributes, he sinks lower than even beasts and becomes Devil incarnate. Briefly, he is blessed with great potentialities for doing good and evil.” (English Commentary, F.N. 3384). Thus a man mayor may not understand but the truth is that the grand aim of a person’s life consists in knowing and worshipping God and living for His sake. The external and internal endowments of human nature give us clearly to understand that the highest object of their creation is the love and worship of God. True happiness, which is generally admitted to be the goal of life, is not attainable through the diverse pursuits which men follow but only through God. Not all the joys of this world can afford relief from the gnawing grief which attends a man’s last moments upon this earth. The richest millionaire, the highest official, the most successful merchant, the greatest king, or the wisest philosopher does not possess peace of mind and departs from this world a prey to poignant regret. The perfection of man therefore consists in the excellence of his spirituality, in his union with God. The true object of his life in this world is that the window of his soul should be opened toward God. (Teachings of Islam, pp. 132-133). MARXISM Marxism is the system of views and teachings of Karl Marx. A large number of the people of the world, willingly or unwillingly, have been drawn into the orbit of Communism. Communism, therefore, must be studied, whether or not the philosophy is acceptable. The history of Communism begins with the Work of Karl Marx (b. May 5, 1818-d. 1883). His father was a lawyer who like this ancestors, was a Jew but became converted to Protestant Christianity in 1824. The family was well to do and cultured. Marx studied philosophy and earned a doctorate degree. ISLAM AND RUSSIA 45 During his college years, Karl Marx was influenced by the German philosopher Hegel. But Hegel’s dialectical idealism refers to his philosophy, which one way or other, is connected with God. One wonders how Marx’s theory evolved from Hegeliasm to Communism. With Hegel, the entire universe, is a unified whole, operating on the principles of rationality under God but Marx rejected the idea of God and the world as one. He evolved his own theory known as dialectical materialism a sort of, reversal of Hegel’s dialectical idealism. According to Marx, everything is material and that human beings create social life strictly in response to economic needs. Therefore all aspects of society are considered to reflect economic structure, and classes in society are determined by their relationship to their means of production. According to Marx, growth, change and development take place through a naturally occurring “struggle of opposites” , a process that individuals cannot influence. This is official philosophy of Communism and is also known as atheism. Marx and a German socialist leader Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) became close friends. Together they developed the Manifesto of the Communist Party. Marx went from Germany to Paris and studied the French Revolution. He was expelled from the city, spending some years in Brussels, came to London and spent the rest of his life here. Marx’s wife was from a well-to-do family. She died and also his young son. He spent his last days in poverty. Marx died at the age of 65 survived by a daughter in failing health. Marx explained that class struggle or class conflict was the major force behind movements in history. At this point he borrowed Hegel’s idea ofthe dialectic course of history that the events take place through action and reaction with history as a result of conflict. This was the thesis, antithesis and synthesis of Hegelian thought translated to material domain. That historical changes are motivated by material causes, a theory that may be termed as dialectical materialism. Marx said that the dialectic process involving change accepts no fixed realities, no truth by revelation and no exclusion from the dialectic movement. The real world is the material one, which has no place for religion or morals. Everything is in a constant process of change, developing new qualitative arrangements of social and economic order. History will culminate with the fall of capitalism and rise of communism when a classless society would emerge. Then there would no longer be any forces of change and no further epochs of human history would emerge. Marxism regards material existence as the true reality, and rules out God. Marx regards mind to be the product of the natural order developed from lower animal forms. The material order is characterised by certain elements that have to do with production. These include the skill of the workers plus the 46 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS tools and the raw material. Properly related these elements result in products which man needs to sustain his existence. The movement from slavery to Communism is motivated by economic factors. At every state preceding eventual Communism, the working man is exploited. The capitalist sells the products for more than the cost and retains the surplus value for himself. Since the capitalist is in conflict with the working class, Marx called him “bourgeois”, while the labourer was the “proletariat.” There would be an upheaval, according to Marx, which would result in the control of the means of production by the labouring class. Revolutionary groups only serve to hasten the coming of the eventual social order of Communism. As an overview of the Marxism it is obvious that the Communist view is atheistic and Darwinian. It advocates violent means to bring about economic and classless social order. Marx advocates to establish a tranquil society where all men are equal and free. But to achieve that purpose promotes a revolution consisting of the use of whatever force is necessary to achieve that purpose. However, it is unlikely that a society given training in violent techniques will all of a sudden become peaceful and adopt harmonious attitudes and practices. The Communists say that Church and State are separated under the law; but officially advocating and propagating atheism is in itself violation of human rights. Actually, in a Communist society, a working person is simply reduced to a tool to serve his masters, leaders and the State. As such, it is evident that the Marxist philosophy is simply unrealistic, full of inconsistencies and contradictions. COMMUNIST MANIFESTO The Manifesto was first published as the platform of the Communist League, a workingmen’s association, a secret society. At a Congress of the League, held in London in November 1847, Marx and Engels were commissioned to prepare for publication a complete theoretical and practical party programme. It was drawn up in German in January 1848. The first English translation appeared in London in 1850. It says, in part: (a) Socialism – is a middle-class movement, Communism a working- class movement. (p. 6) (b) The immediate aim of the Communists is the formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat. (p. 22) (c) The first step in the revolution by the working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class. (p. 30) (d) The proletariat organised as the ruling class will increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible. (p. 30) ISLAM AND RUSSIA 47 The Manifesto describes some of the objectives of the Communists as: 1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. 2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. 3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance. 4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. 5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly. 6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State. 7. Extension of factories and instrument of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands and the improvement of soil generally in accordance with a common plan. 8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture. 9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country. 10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of child factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc. 11. Abolition of family. (p. 26). Communists desire to introduce an openly legalised community of women. (p. 28) 12. In place of the old bourgeois sociey we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all. (p. 31) 13. The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. (p. 44) (The Communist Manifesto, International Publishers, New York, 1986). Islam – Perfect Religion Islam is the perfect religion, complete in all aspects for all mankind for all the time to come. The Communists simply talk about a segment of this world, eating, drinking and leaving the world. On the other hand Islam is very comprehensive and presents a conspicuous way of life for this world as well as the world to come. Unfortunately, at this time the Communists are under strenuous restraint and not exposed to the propagational activities of Islam. However, it is a matter of time. Allah says: 48 Comment: REVIEW OF RELIGIONS “And follow the nature made by Allah, the nature according to which He has fashioned mankind.” (30:31). God is One and humanity is one. This is Fitrat Allah or Din al Fitrah – the religion which is rooted in the nature of man and to which he conforms and instinctively reacts. It is in this religion that a child is born, but his environment, the ideas and beliefs of his parents and the training he receives from them, subsequently make him a Jew, a Magian or a Christian (Bukhari).” (English Commentary, F.N. 2284.) The following verse was revealed to Holy Prophet of Islam only eighty-two days before his demise: “This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favours upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion. ” (5:4). Comment: “The doctrines and commandments affecting the physical, moral, and spiritual development of man have been embodied in the Quran in their most perfect form. And nothing which was needed by man has been left out. There are commandments relating to the physical side of man or his external self and the commandments relating to the spiritual side or his inner self. The perfection and completion of God’s religion and favour have been mentioned side by side with law relating to edibles in order to point out that the use of lawful and good food forms one of the very important bases of good morals which in turn provide a pedestal for spiritual progress. (English Commentary F.N.721) What is Islam? Islam literally means Peace, surrender of one’s Will; and to be in amity and concord. The significance of the name Islam is the attainment of a life of perfect peace and eternal happiness through complete surrender to the Will of God. The Ouran – the Holy Book of the Muslims – interprets it to be the religion whose teachings are in consonance with human nature. Islam, as the Ouran has stated (5:4), is the completion of the religion inaugurated by God in the beginning of the world, on His sending the Ouran through the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be on him). As a child is taught his alphabet, so God taught the religion to the world gradually and little by little, by sending His prophets at different times and to different peoples. When the world reached that stage of understanding when it was ready for the final lesson, He sent the last and complete Book through the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be on him). This Book not only corrects the errors which had found their way into various religions, but preaches the truths which have not been preached before, on account of special circumstances of the society or the early stage of its development. At the same time it gathers together in itself the truths which were contained in any Divine revelation granted to any people for the guidance of men (The Ouran 98:4). Lastly, it meets all the spiritual and moral requirements of an ever advancing humanity. This is Islam which is wrongly called Muhammadanism. According to Islam, the object of man’s life is its complete unfoldment. Islam does not support the idea that man is born in sin. It teaches that everyone has within him the seed of perfect development and it rests solely with a person himself to make or mar his fortune. We created man in the best make says the Holy Ouran (95:5). The cardinal doctrine of Islam is the Unity of Godhead. There is none worthy of worship but the one and only God, and Muhammad is His Prophet. He is free from all defects, Holy and Transcendent. He is All Good, All Mercy and All Power. He has no partner. He neither begets nor is He begotten, because these are the traits of frail and weak humanity. Furthermore, Islam helps us to establish a permanent relationship with God and to realise Him during our earthly life as our Helper in all our affairs and undertakings. This unity of God is the first and foremost pillar of Islam and every other belief hangs upon it. Islam requires belief in all the prophets, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Confucious and Zoroaster. We regard them all (and many more not mentioned here) as heavenly teachers born to reform and regenerate man and lead him to God. Adherents of some other religions may consider it an act of piety to use disrespectful words and heap abuse on the prophets of other religions, but if a Muslim were to show the slightest disrespect towards the founder of any faith, he does so at the cost of his own faith. He has to utter the respectful benediction Alaihis-Salam (peace be on him) after mentioning the name of every prophet. Thus Islam establishes peace between all religions. The REVIEW of RELIGIONS The Review of Religions is the oldest magazine of its kind published in the English language in the Indo-Pakistan Sub-Continent. Its first issue was published in 1902 and it has been continuously published since. It bears the distinction that it was initiated under the direction of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah himself. During more than eighty-five years the message of Islam has been cOl1veyed through this magazine to hundreds of readers and many fortunate persons have recognised the truth of Islam and accepted it through studying it. The articles published in it deal not only with the doctrines and teachings of Islam but also set forth a comparative appreciation of the teachings of other faiths. One of its outstanding features is the refutations of the criticism of Islamic teachings by orientalists and non-muslim scholars. It also presents solutions in the light of Islamic teachings of the problems with which the Islamic world is from time to time confronted. A study of this magazine is indispensable for the appreciation of the doctrines of the Ahmadiyya Movement and the teachings of its holy Founder. Printed by The Eastern Press Ltd, London and Reading Published by The Review of Religions, The London Mosque, 16 Gressenhall Road, London, SW18SQL

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