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Toward a sound awakening

Written by: by Yusuf al-Qaradawi :: (View All Articles by: Yusuf al-Qaradawi)

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FOREWORD

One of the distinct features of the current reality of the Muslim Ummah is the dynamic resurgence that it is experiencing, today, after crossing the dark eras of stagnation and loss, in which it was prey to the overriding forces of covetousness. Not only did these forces seek to blot out the Ummah's identity, but they also strove to undermine its faith and sow the seeds of despair in the hearts of Muslims, insidiously propagating the idea that modern life was in diametric contradiction to faith, and that to think about their conciliation was pure wishful thinking. An array of misconceptions were thus concocted and widely circulated through the cultural institutions of these evil forces. To this end, a powerful arsenal of means was harnessed, so much so that they virtually succeeded in turning fallacy into taken-for-granted fact, aided in this by the lack of an objective awareness about the Islamic truths and the failure to publicize the Islamic teachings.


 

Introduction

Plentiful, noble and blessed gratitude to Allah, enough gratitude to fill the heavens and the earth, and whatever else that is unattainable but that God Wills. His prayers and greetings on the best of his creations and the last of his messengers, Sayyiduna Mohammed, as well as his relatives and disciples and those who follow them in goodness until the day of reckoning.

These are papers and articles, which were written at different and distant times and were published in different journals (Among these, there are some which were written and published over thirty years ago and some which were published this year. 
Some of them were published in Cairo in the following journals Mimbar Al Islam, Nour Al Islam, Al Azhar. Some of them were published in Beirut in the joun1als,Al Mujtama' and Al Shihab. Others were published in Qatar in Al Doha, Al 'Ummah, Al Haqq. Finally, there are some others which were published in Al Ba?th Al Islamii, which is published by the Conference of Muslim Scholars.)

I still recollect that some of these articles were published immediately after I was released from the War Prison in 1956 in the Journal Mimbar Al Islam, which was published by the Section of Religious Affairs at the Wakf Ministry in Egypt.
I used to sign these articles under the name of Yusuf Abdullah for fear that the name Al Qardawi would raise the opposition of the investigating services, which purposely set up hindrances in the face of all public action that I wanted to undertake and address to the population at the time. This was the same situation in both the domains of education and religious and spiritual guidance, which were the only two domains open to me, and which correspond to my training and speciality.
It also happened that I applied for a teaching position at the Institutes of Al Azhar. My name was the first on the list of those who were admitted and the total of my marks was the highest of all the applicants from the three schools of Al Azhar: The School of the Foundations of Islam, The School of Jurisprudence, The School of the Arabic Language. When the names were submitted to the investigating services, my name was dropped.
That is why I used to use a name other than my real one to sign my articles, so that I would not be discovered by the spying agents.

The following is one among the anecdotes which I still recall in this respect. In the Section of Religious Affairs in the Wakf there was an administrator by the name of Yusuf Abdullah. When my first article entitled "A wish by Omar" was published under the name of Yusuf Abdullah, the administrator in question thought that one of the scholars, such as Professor Al Ghazali or Professor Sayed Sabiq wrote the article and signed it in his name, so that he can benefit from it and draw the special grant for this article for himself. He actually went immediately to claim the grant and was about to receive it when a colleague of his, who was aware of the secret, informed him of the actual author of the article. That is how I was about to lose the five pound grant, which was for me at the time a big fortune.

I am not quite sure why such thoughts have crossed my mind, as I am writing these lines. But this tale may have within its folds a lesson and a reminder to myself and to people in general. God Almighty has ordered us to recall the miseries of the past and to compare them to the benefits of the present, to mention the blessings of Allah and His Favours and to Thank Him for what He has Granted us.
This is how God Almighty reminded His Messenger, Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH), and all the Muslims who were with him in Al Madina of the way they were in Mecca, so He Said: (And remember, when ye were few and reckoned feeble in the land, and were in fear lest men should extirpate you, how He gave you refuge, and strengthened you with His help, and made provisions of good things for you, that haply ye might be thankful) (Surah 8, Verse 26)

The importance of this introduction resides in the fact that these words flow from the same source, that of Islam, in spite of the difference in the times, places and the conditions in which they were written. This religion which is whole but balanced, and which is strong but does not weaken the wishful person who does not despair. This religion is also that of the warrior who does not give up his arm. The source that we mentioned was erupted by the concerns of the Muslims, which become bigger, wider and deeper by the day. Be they new or old, they all flow in the same bed and aspire to the same aim: That of contributing to the achievement of a true and authentic Islamic awakening, which is characterised by rationality, maturity and enlightenment. This awakening should be that of intelligent minds, clean hearts and young resolutions. It should be well aware of its aims and means, its rights and responsibilities, and of who is its friend and who is its foe.

This awakening should aim at renovating the religion and promoting life. It should correct the misconceptions and should straighten the crooked paths, awaken the sleeping minds, stir the still lives, inject some soul in the still bodies and should re-instil in them, movement and development.
Nowadays, thanks to Allah Almighty, we see signs of this awakening that were not apparent to many in the past.
We also thank Allah Almighty for the fact that the contribution of the scholars, the sacrifice of the martyrs, the words of the advocates, the efforts of the reformers, the hard work of the renovators did not all go in vain. These efforts were not, as some thought, a cry in a valley or a blow in ashes. They gave their fruit at the right time, by the will of God.

Allah Almighty certainly spoke the truth when He said: (Seest though not how Allah coineth a similitude: A goodly saying, as a goodly tree, its root set firm, its branches reaching into heaven, giving its fruit at every season by permission of its Lord ? Allah coineth the similitudes for mankind in order that they may reflect)(Surah 14, Verses 24-25).

I ask Allah Almighty, the Generous, Whose Favours are Great, Who has made the present day of this awakening better than its yesterday, to make its tomorrow better than its today. May God accept and approve.

(Our Lord! Accept from us (this duty). Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Hearer, the Knower)(Surah 2,Verse 127).

Dr. Yusuf Al Qardawi


 

The renovation of religion in light of the Prophet's tradition

Abu Hurayrah, God Bless Him (GBH), relates that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: (Once every hundred years, Allah sends to this nation a man to renovate its religion.) (.This Hadith was quoted in Abu Dawud's Sunan under number 4270 in Al Haakim's Mustadrak, in Al Fitan (4: 522), in Al Bayhaqii's Ma'rifat Al Sunan wai 'Aathaar (p. 52) in Al Khatiib's TaarIikh Baghdad (2: 61). It was also quoted in Al 'Albaanii's collection A1 Sahilha (No. 599) and was also ascribed to Abu 'Amr Al Daani in Al Fitan [ and also in SahIih Al Jaami' Assaghiir, 1874, Second Edition, Al Maktab Al 'Islaamii.] It was also quoted in Al Harawi's Thamm 'al Kalaam, and in Sheikh Muhammad Zakariya Ben Yahya Al Kandahlawi's comment upon Badl Al Majhuud fii Hall Abi Dawud which attributed to Mawlana Abdulhay the claim that the Hadith was also quoted in Al Hasan Bin Sufyan's Musnad and in Al Bazzaz and Tabaraani's Awsat and in Abu Na'im's Al Hilya ... and also elsewhere). This Hadith was quoted by Abu Dawud at the beginning of The Book of Malaahim, in the chapter treating the issue of what is usually stated about the beginning of each century (He said in Badl Al Majhund V.17/ 201, " that is that one hundred years is a century during which events take place and at the end of which He Sends the renovator.)

The authentication of the Hadith is as follows: Suleyman Ben Dawud A1 Mahri informed us that Ibn Wahab said: "I was informed by Sa'id Ben Abi Ayyub on the basis of a quote by Sharahiil Ben Yazid A1 Ma'afiri quoting Abu 'Alqamah reporting that Abu Hurayrah, as far as my knowledge permits, said , that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said "Once every hundred years, the end of the Hadith".

Abu Dawud reports that Abdul Rahman Ben Shurayh A1 'Iskandaraani quoted the Hadith without going past Sharaahiil, i.e. he did not mention anybody beyond him.

In Mukhtasar Al Sunan (Number 4123), Al Mundarii states :"Abdul Rahman Bin Shariih A1 'Iskandaraani is trustful, Al Bukhari and Muslim agree on the authenticity of his Hadith in spite of the fact that he abridged it (Al Mundarii's Mukhtasar Al Sunan V.6/163, publication of the Maktaba Athariya in Lahore, Pakistan, based on the edition of Al Sunnah Al Muhammadia in Egypt, authenticated by Muhammad Haamid A1 Faqiih.); i.e. he dropped two of the referees from his authentication: Abu 'Alqamah and Abu Hurayrah. The problematic Hadith is the one whose authentication is missing two of the referees Hadith is the one whose authentication is missing two of the referees who are mentioned one after the other elsewhere.

The fact that Abu Dawud raises this point does not falsify the Hadith. Even if Abdul Rahman abridged it, we should also mention that Sa'id Bin Ayyub summarised it and authenticated it. This is further authentication as it is explicitly stated in the sources of the Hadiths.

The authentication of the Hadith is correct and the men who have authenticated it are trustworthy, they are Muslim's disciples. Many people have authenticated it, and even Al Suyuutii alluded to its authenticity in Al Jaami' Al Saghiir. It was confirmed by the scholar Al Manaawii (See Fayd 'Al Qadiir Sharh 'Al Jaami' Al Saghiir V.2/282), who commented and explained it and mentioned that Al Haakim corrected it (It is not in Al Mustadrak that he authenticated it, he actually overlooked it. Al Albaanii said: it may be that it was unintentionally omitted from the published version of Al Mustadrak, see the collection of articles Al Sahiiha, V.2 p. 15], article number 599, published by Al Nlaktab Al Islaamli, Beirut. ). He said, "Al Ziin Al 'Iraqi and others have said that its reference is correct and it was quoted in Sheikh Al Albaanii in his collection of authentic Hadiths (No. 559).

 

A further comment on the content of the Hadith

This noble Hadith is made up of a single declarative sentence, which contains one piece of information about the unseen, and given by the one who does not speak vainly. He knows of the unseen only what Allah Almighty taught him, as stated in the following Quranic verse: ((He is) the Knower of the Unseen and He Revealeth unto none His secret, save unto every messenger whom He Hath Chosen') (Surah 72, Verses 26-27)

Abu Dawud quoted it in the book of "Malaahim" in his Sunan. The Arabic word "malaahim" is the plural of "malhamah", which means: the battles which will occur in future between the Muslims and their enemies. This notion is taken from the close contact of the two opposing armies, as was the case in what was predicted by the Prophet (PBUH) in terms of the battles between Muslims and Turks, Romans, Jews and others.

Some of what was predicted by the Prophet (PBUH) has actually happened, the rest is still in the realm of the unseen. We are certain that it will take place at the moment when Allah wills it. Muhammad (PBUH) has never lied and was never mistrusted.

The topic of these fierce battles is usually mentioned in the context of two other topics: trials and the signs of the day of reckoning. It may include both of them as the two may be distinguished one from the other. But they all refer to the future and all the events that Allah may hold within it.

The truth is that such topics as the trials, fierce battles, signs of the day of reckoning are among the topics which the most enlightened scholars have to research more thoroughly. They should not leave them to hastier individuals who shy away from these topics by denying their existence totally, or to others who believe everything that is said about such topics without due consideration, or even to others who misinterpret them.

 

The aim of the Hadith

The aim of this Hadith is to fill the hearts of Muslims with the hope that their flame will never go out and that their religion will never die. It also ensures them that Allah Almighty provides them regularly, i.e. once a century, with the person who brings youth and life back to Islam.

Once a century does not mean precisely the hundredth year or the hundredth and one of the century, but the end of the century or the beginning of the following century. This is the actual meaning of "Once every hundred years, in the Hadith. In reality, we cannot decide when this is; whether it is one hundred years after the Prophet's Hijra, or death or resurrection as we will show below.

What is important is that Allah does not leave this Ummah without providing it with someone to awaken it from its sleep and to gather its dispersion.

We absolutely need to emphasise this meaning, in order to fight the wave of despair whose tide has risen. We need to fight the feeling that there is neither use nor hope, and that Islam is receding and that unbelief is on the rise. We also need to fight the feeling that the minor signs of the day of reckoning have already appeared, and that the situation will remain as such until the major signs are with us and the day of reckoning will arise on the people who do not say "Allah! Allah!" as stated in Al Sahiih (.This was cited in Muslim quoting Anas "Doomsday only comes when people on earth stop uttering Allah, Allah", Hadith number 234, authenticated by Muhammad Fu'ad Abdulbaqi.).

There are people who confirm this meaning by other Hadiths, which they construe differently from what the Hadiths mean. The following Hadith is one that has been used thusly : (Islam started in loneliness, and will end as it started in loneliness, blessed be the lonely) (Muslim quoted this from Abu Hurayra's Hadith number 232; Al Tirmidi quoted it from Ibn Mas'ud's Hadith number 2631 and said: "Good, correct, lonely". This Hadith is numbered 3986 by Ibn Maajah. Al Jaami' Al Saghlir refers to Ibn Majah on a quote of Anas and Al Tabaraani, themselves quoting Salmaan, Sahl Ibn Sa'd and Ibn 'Abbes. Al Bukhaari did not quote it, but Al Tarmidi states in Al'ilal that he asked Al Bukhari about it and he said: " It's a good Hadith (Al Fayd 2/223).).

These people seem to have omitted that the loneliness of Islam does not at all mean its weakness. The same applies to the loneliness of those who believe in it and who defend it. It does not mean their weaknesotheir insignificance. It means that they are uniquely distinguished and that their personality has not dissolved in others, actually they are the pride of their people.

In some versions of this Hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) described the lonely in the following manner: (those who repair what others have abused in my tradition) (. This was quoted by Al Tirmidi as number 2632 in the Hadith of Kuthair Ben Abdullah Ben 'Amr Bin 'Awf Al Huznii, but it is a weak one, in spite of the fact that Al Tarmidi claims that it is a good Hadith, he even sometimes authenticates it. In Al Masnad the Hadith of Abdullah Ben 'Amr: " Blessed be the lonely! Blessed be the lonely!" is traceable Then, it was said: " Who are the lonely, oh Messenger of Allah?" Then, he said: " Good people in the midst of people of evil, of whom there are more who disobey than those who give". (Hadith number 7072, of which Sheikh Shaker says: its reference is correct). These lonely people are neither desperate nor negative in their societies, but rather, they repair what others have abused in terms of the traditions of Islam, and revive its good behaviour and morality, which had declined.

There is nothing in the Hadith that indicates that the loneliness is general, comprehensive and lasting. As it was mentioned by Ibn Al Qayyim (See Madaarij Al Saalikiin by Ibn Al Qayyim, Vol. 3 p.l92, as by Mohammad Haamid Al Faqih), this may happen in one country but not the other, to one people but not the other, in one time but not the other. Then the conditions change, and the weak become strong and the defeated become victorious. In this respect, the following Hadith of Anas's cited in A1 Bukhari is often quoted: "The era you are living in is always better than the era that will follow'' (This Hadith was quoted by Al Bukhari in Kituab Al Fitan on the basis of a statement of A1 Zoubeir Ibn Addi. He said: "We went to Anas Ben Maalik's and we complained to him about how people were being mistreated by Al Hajjaj (i.e. Ai Hajjaj Ben Yussef Al Thaqafiy), so he said: "Be patient, because the era you are living in is always better than the era that will follow, until you meet your God. I heard this trom your Prophet (PBUH). "This is Hadith number 7068 in Al Bukhari's Al Fath, Vol. 3, pp. 19-20, published by Dar Al Salafia under the management of Al Sheikh Abulaziz Ben Baz, the numbering was done by Muhammad Fu'ad Abdul Baqi, and the edition was supervised by Mr. Muhibb Al Diin Al Khatlib.).

This Hadith should not be taken literally or in its absoluteness and generality. Some scholars have uncovered a positive interpretation of this Hadith, and this was mentioned by Hafidh Ibn Hajar in his interpretation. He said: "The Hadith refers to the Prophet's companions who heard it, in spite of the fact that Anas, God Bless him, understood that it was addressed to people in general'' (Al Fath, Vol. 13 p. 21 in which he said: "Ibn Hibban claimed in his Sahiih that Anas's Hadith is not the same, as it is the case in general, as the Hadiths quoted by Al Mahdi. It fills the earth with justice after it had been filled with injustice.). This means that the Prophet (PBUH) wanted this Hadith to advise the group of followers who heard it, in order for them to be prepared for the changes yet to come after the time of the Prophet. So neither should the conditions they will experience after him, nor the tremendous changes they will see afterwards discourage them or shake their belief in their religion and their path.

Without this understanding of the contradiction between the Hadith and reality, one would not understand why the time of Omar Ben Abdulaziz was better than the time of the Ummeyyads before him.

The same can be said about the time of Noor Al Diin Mahmuud "2">(His name is Mahmuud teen Zanki (Imaad Addiin) alias (the Just King): He was the King of Syria, the Arabic Peninsula and Egypt. He is the most just, noble and gentle king of his time. His biography is characterised by his justice, goodness and his endeavour to establish God's Law within the land, and to fight the enemies of Allah outside it. His behaviour was similar to that of the Rightly Guided Caliphs. He fought the crusaders, and was victorious in his battles. He built schools and mosques and caravanserais ori the roads. He was the first one to build a conference house. He liked scholarly work and scholars. He honored them and was generous with them. He stood to greet them and did not refuse their requests. He was knowledgeable of jurisprudence according to the rite of Abu Hanifa, without fanaticism. He attended lectures in Aleppo and Damascus. He died in 569 H. See Al Aa'lam by Azzarkalii, Vol. 8/46; Al Rawdatayn by Abu Shama; Ibn Al Athiir, Vol. 11/151, Al Biduaya wannihanya, Vol. 12/ 277-284, published in Beirut. See also Noor Addiin Mahmund: The Biography of a true fighter, published by Addar Assa'uudlya linnashr wa ttawzli', Jeddah 1404 H / 1984 AD.), the Martyr and Salaah Al Diin A1 Ayyubi (. His name is Abu Al Muthaffar Yusuf Ben Ayub Ben Shaadii Alias The Victorious King, he is one of the most famous Muslim kings, and the keenest on improving his country and on being just to the people. He defeated the crusaders, and it was through him that God Almighty liberated Jerusalem, after it had been occupied by them for more than ninety years. He also Made him victorious in the famous battle of Hittin. He governed Egypt and Syria and founded the Ayyubite dynasties. He saved for himself neither money nor realty, except for the schools and hospitals that he built. He died in 589 H. See Wafayaut Al 'A'yaan by Ibn Khillikaan, Vol. 2/376; Ibn Al Athiir, Vol. 12/37; Al Biduaya wa nnihaaya, Vol. 13/2 and following, as well as the end of Vol. 12. See also Shadharuat Adhdhahab, Vol. 2/298 and Al Aa'lam by Azzarkalli, Vol. 9/291-293.). It is on the hands of these two men that Allah liberated the land of Islam from the grasp of the crusaders, revived the Prophet's tradition and annihilated blasphemy. The time of these two men was better than that of those who lived before them.

In the same vein, if the Hadith had been taken at its face value, as many people understand it, it would be in contradiction with the Hadiths that referred to the emergence of Islam, and its appearance before the day of reckoning especially at the time of the appearance of that Caliph, or the righteous prince who fills the land with justice in place of the injustice and tyranny that it had been undergoing. This Caliph is the one who has come to be known as the Mahdi (.A number of Hadiths refering to this subject have been quoted in the Sunan, but no explicit mention of it was made in the two versions of the Sahih.). The same contradiction would apply also to the time when Jesus Christ, son of Mary, came to spread Islam, and not accept any other religion in its place (See Attasrlih bimaa tawaatara fii nuzunli Imasiih by the scholar Anouar Al Kashmiiri, and authenticated by Abdulfattah Abu Ghuddah.).

I do not know why such kinds of Hadiths do spread, while other Hadiths which bring hope and good news to the Muslims are concealed. This is the case of the following Hadith by Ahmed and Attirmidii: (The case of my Ummah is like that of rain, one knows not which is better, its beginning or its end) (. This Hadith was quoted by Attirmidi, who was quoting Anas, under number 2873, as he said: "This Hadith is good but is not known. In Al Jaami' Assaghilr Assuyuutii attributed it to Ahmed, who was also quoting Anas, to Ahmed, who was quoting 'Ammaar Bin Yaassir, to Abu Ya'laa on the basis of a reference to Ali, to Attabaraanii quoting Abdallah Bin 'Amr. In Al Fath Ibou Hajar said: " This is a good Hadith, there are ways which could make it closer to authenticity. Al Manaawii says:" Ibn Hibbaan authenticated it on the basis of 'Ammaar's Hadith (See Fayd Al Qadiir, Vol. 5/507).).

This is also the case of a Hadith quoted by Ahmed, Ibn Hibbaan and Al Haakim: (Announce this Ummah the good news of sublimity, piety, nobility, victory and control over the land.)... In Al Jaami' Al Saghilr he attributed it to Ahmed, to Ibn Hibbaan and to Al Haakim as we]l to Al Bayhaqi in Ashsha'b, quoting his father. A1 Manaawii mentions in Al Fayd (Vol. 3/ 201) that Al Haythamii said on the basis of an attribution by Ahmed: Its men are the men of authentic Hadiths, although Al Hakiim corrected it and Adhdhahbii agreed with him in one part of the correction and disagreed in another. And this is correct if we take two different references in consideration. On the basis of the reference cited by Al Haakim in Al Moustadrak (Vol. 4/31 ] ) Adhdhahbii agreed with the correction, but he commented on it in (4/318). See also our comment on Hadith number ]5 in our book entitled Al Mountaqaa Min Attarghiib wa ttarhiib. Al Mundhirii mentioned it in Attarghiib and he mentioned Al Haakim's correction of it and confirmed it. A] Albaanii also mentioned it in Sahilh Al Jaami'2825).

The same can also be said of the Hadith quoted by Ahmed and Ibn Hibbaan: (That this matter (meaning this religion) reaches what night and day have reached and that God Wil1 leave behind neither the house of Madar nor that of Wabar without introducing Islam to it be it with honour or with disgrace, the first honouring Islam, and the second disgracing unbelief)( It was quoted by Ibn Hibbaan in his Sahiih (1631, ]632). Al Albaanii also mentioned it in Al Sahiiha under number 3.).

As to the appearance of minor signs of the approaching of the day of reckoning, it does not mean that the page of Islam has been turned, and that the day of reckoning is coming tomorrow or the day after. The coming of the Prophet (PBUH) is a minor sign of the day of reckoning. In the Sahih the Prophet is quoted as saying: (I and the day of reckoning came together like these two)(. This was cited by Ahmed, Al Sheikhaan and Attirmidhii quoting Anas, Ahmed and Al Sheikhaan also attributed it to Sahl Ben Sa'd. It has also been attributed to Jaaber, Bureydah and others. Al Haafidh Assuyuutii said: " all these references concur " (Al Fayd,Vol. 3/202). See also Allu'lu' almarjaan fiimaa ttafaqa 'alaihi shsheykhaan by Mohammad Futaad 'abd Albaaqii, ed. By'Iissaa Alhalabii, Hadith number 1862, 1863. ) and he indicated his index and middle finger.

 

A Muslim is required to work always for both his religious and worldly matters.

The Muslim is required to work for his living and to be productive and creative, until the very end of his life. He should not procrastinate in the working of the land, and this is what Allah's Messenger (PBUH) taught us when he said: (If the world is about to end and one of you has a palm tree plant in his hand, he should plant it before he dies, if he can).

Why should he plant it if the world is about to end? Why should he plant it if he is not going to live till he can pick its fruit? There is not even somebody who is going to live after him so that he can say:" People before us planted so that we can eat, and we are planting to provide those after us with food," because when the world ends it ends for everybody. The idea here is to glorify work for the sake of work and to keep the Muslim productive and creative until the last moment of his life, and as long as he is able to work.

If this is required for man's worldly matters how could it be possible that the same would not be asked of his religious activity? How can religion be lower in priority than worldly matters?
The Muslim is required to observe the commands of his religion as much as he can. He should advise people to do good deeds and to be charitable and to avoid committing evil deeds. They should fight for the cause of Allah, and against evil and decadence. They should also collaborate with their brother Muslims in doing good and worshipping Allah. The texts which have come with all these commands have not been abolished, and are not specific to a particular time. They are permanent and will be there until Allah inherits the land and its inhabitants.

 

A further look at the Hadith

We have to show what is meant by renovate in the Hadith and who is the renovator, and what is a renovated religion, who it is renovated for, what is the meaning of renovation, what is its extent and what are all its aspects?

Who undertakes the renovation?
As to who undertakes the renovation and the revival, it is dependent upon the clarification of the sense of the word "who" in the Hadith. Many people have understood this to be in the singular and considered that the renovator is no more than one individual from amongst the geniuses and extraordinary people of the Ummah, who is sent by the care of Allah to renovate what has become old, to strengthen what has become weak and to mend what has become torn.

On the basis of this, they mentioned a number of individual renovators. Thus the renovator of the first century is the fifth of the guiding Caliphs Omar Ben Abdulaziz (d. 101 H). The renovator of the second century is Mohammad Ben Idriis Ashshaafi'ii (d. 204 H). There is disagreement over the renovator of the third century, as there were many outstanding people during that century. Amongst those who were mentioned, we have Abulhassan Al Ash'arii (d. 324 H), Abul'abbas Ben Surayj (d. 306 H), and Annasaa'ii the author of Assunan (d.303 H). For the fourth century, they mentioned Judge Abubakr Albaaqillaanii (d. 403 H) and Abuhaamid Al'isfaraayiinii (d. 406 H). For the fifth century they mentioned Abuhaamid Alghazaalii (d. 505 H), and for the sixth Alfakhr Arraazii (d. 606 H) as well as Arraafi'ii (d. 623 H). For the seventh century Ibn Daqiiq Al 'id (d. 703) was mentioned and for the eighth we have Al Haafidh Zinaddiin Al'iraaqii (d. 808 H) or Siraajaddiin Albulqainii (d. 805 H).

Al Haafidh Jalaaladdin Assayuutii (d. 891H) wrote a poem in relation to this and included in it the names of the renovators up to his time, and aspired to be nominated the renovator of the ninth century, as he claimed himself to be an absolute innovator, but his contemporaries denied him this honour.

This poem was quoted in Fayd Alqadiir by the scholar Al Manaawii as follows:

Thanks to God Almighty the Generous
The Provider favours to the followers of the Prophet's tradition
We request His Blessing and Peace
Upon a Prophet whose religion does not obliterate.
It was heralded in outstanding news
Which was reported by every valuable scholar
That at the beginning of each century
God Almighty sends gracefully to the religion of this Ummah
A creative scholar to renovate
The religion of the right path because he is a renovator
For the first century there was Omar,
The just Caliph by consensus and certainty
Ashshafi'ii was the renovator of the second century
As he was knowledgeable in the noble sciences
Ibn Surayj was the third leader
But Al Ash'arii was considered the third renovator by his followers.
Al Baaqillaanii was the fourth, or was it Sahl or
Al' Isfaraayiinii, a difference of opinion was related
And the fifth learned renovator is 'AI Ghazaali

Whose rank is unquestionable
The sixth man to be proud of is Imam'Arraazii
And 'Arraafi'ii is like him in ranking
And the seventh is he who rose to high standings
Ibn Daqiiq 'Al'id upon whom there is total agreement
The eighth learned man is 'Albalqiinii, or Zineddin, the preserver of the people,
But the condition is that the man should be alive amongst
His people as the century changes
He should be known for his knowledge
And he should defend the Prophet's tradition in his discourse
He should be versed in all fields of knowledge
And his science should spread to all his contemporaries
He should be saturated with the Hadiths
And should be one of the Prophet's people and should be strong
The renovator is known to be one
This was testified by the Hadith and all the scholars
The ninth century is now upon us
And the Right Guide
(meaning the Prophet.)
does not fail to keep his promises
And I have prayed to be the renovator of this century
And the favours of Allah are not denied
(Fayd Al QadiIr, Vol. 2 p. 282).

While Assuyuutii has considered that the renovator is an individual, who is famous amongst his people, 'Almanaawii has repeated what 'Alhaafidh Adhdhahbii had said: Who, stands here for the plural, not the singular. Thus we say for example that at the end of the third century there was Ibn Surayj in jurisprudence, 'Al'ash'arii in the foundations, and 'Annasaa'ii in Hadith. For instance, at the end of the sixth century there was 'Alfakhr Arraazii in theology, 'Alhaafidh Abdulghani in Hadith, etc.
Ibn Al Athiir said in Jaami' 'Al'usuul: Many have contributed to the interpretation of this Hadith, but each one has mentioned the leader who belongs in his own rite, and attributed the Hadith to him. The better interpretation is the one which is more general. Who may refer to the singular and the plural, and does not refer exclusively to the religious scholars. The welfare of the 'Ummah may come from its statesmen, the Hadith scholars, the Qur'an readers, the preachers, etc. But the messenger must be mentioned in all fields of knowledge.

Thus, at the end of the first century, the statesman was Omar Ben Abdulaziz, and among the scholars there were Muhammad 'Albaaqir, Alqaasim Ben Muhammad, Saalim Ben Abdullah, Alhassan, Ibn Siiriin and others; as to the readers there was Ibn Kathiir and for the Hadith there was Azzuhrii.
At the end of the second century, the statesman was Almaamuun; for the scholars there were Ashshaafi'ii and 'Allu'lu'ii from Abu Haniifa's rite, 'Ashhab from Maalik's. As to the readers there was 'Alhadramii, for the Hadith there was Ibn Ma'iin, and for the ascetics there was AL Karkhii.
At the end of the third century, the statesman was Almuqtadir. The scholars were Ibn Surayj Ashshaafi'ii, Attahaawii Alhanafii and Alkhallaal Alhanbalii, the theologian was Al Ash'arii and the Hadith scholar was Annassaa'ii.

At the end of the fourth century, the statesman was Alqaadir. The scholars were Al'isfaraayiinii from the Shaafi'i rite, Alkhawarizmii from the Hanafi's rite, Abulwahaab from the Maaliki's rite and Alhussayn from the hanbali's rite (. His full name is Albussayn Ben Khalaf Alfiraa'). The theologians were Albaaqillaani and Ibn Fowrk and the Hadith scholars were Alhaakim, the ascetic was Annuurii; and so forth for the rest of the centuries (. Ibn Athiir's Jaami' 'Al'usaul, vol. 11 pp. 320-324. It should be noted that Ibn Athiir mentioned a few people whom he considered as renovators, in spite of the fact that they haven't reached such a level as did the Abbassid statesmen, and many reproaches can be made to them. The purpose from reporting what he said is so that renovation does not become limited to a single individual).
Al Haafidh also has mentioned in Al Fath, what others had pointed out elsewhere, that it is not imperative that there be only one renovator at the end of each century. The situation is like the one which Annawawii mentioned in the Hadith :"There is still a group of people in my nation who defend the truth".

This means that it is possible that the group is composed of a variety of people from the Muslims, amongst whom there are the courageous people and war experts, a jurisprudence scholar, a Hadith scholar and interpreter, a statesman, a person who promotes good deeds and advises against evil deeds and an ascetic and a worshipper. It is not necessary for all of them to be in the same country, but it is possible for them to be in the same continent, or be located in several continents. They may also be located in the same country or that they be in some countries but not in others. It is also possible to evacuate the whole earth from some of them, one by one until there is only one group countries. When they all disappear the world ends.

Alhaafidh Ben Hajar said: "This is approved. The necessary set of features that need to be found in the renovator are not specific to a particular kind of good-deeds, and it is not necessary either that all characteristics of good-doing should gather in a single individual, except if that is attributed to Omar Ben Abdulaziz. He was considered the renovator in the first century because he was a statesman and had all the characteristics of a righteous man and excelled in that. It is on this basis that Ahmed said that the Hadith which refers to renovators initially coincided perfectly with him. As to the ones after Omar, there is Ashshaafi'ii. In spite of having all the good characteristics and the pure attributes, he was not the statement in charge of the Holy War (Jihaad) and the application of justice. Alhaafidh also said: "On the basis of all this, anyone who has some of the required characteristics at the end of the century is a renovator, be they one or many"(. Fayd Al Qadiir, Vol. I p. 11. See also Fath Albari Vol. 12, p. 295, as well as Annawawi's Sharh of Mllslim Vol. 4 pp. 583-584, published by Ashsha b, Cairo).

 

Discussion and Preponderance

What I will advance here is that which was concluded by Ibn Al'athiir and Adhdhahbi and others, that Who in the Hadith under discussion, may indicate the plural as well as the singular. The reason for that is that Who in its original use refers to both. This is true in the Glorious Qur'an: "And whoso doeth good works, whether of male and female, and he (or she) is a believer, such will enter paradise (. Surah 4, Verse 124, and there are many other verses which confirm this.). If we assume this, then the renovator can be one individual, whom Allah sends for the purpose of rebirth and renovation, as was the case of Omar Ben Abdulaziiz. It has been said in this context that a person of high rank will revive a whole nation! A poet has said:

There is nobody who can deny that Allah
Can gather the world in one person

Renovation and revival can be undertaken by a group, or a school or a cultural, educational or ideological movement whose members all advocate good deeds and patience and collaborate in good deeds and piety. The task of renovation may be undertaken by different individuals or groups, each from his own position and points of interest and speciality. There may be one in the fields of intellect and science, others in the fields of behaviour and education, others in the fields of social work, government and politics, others in the fields of defence and resistance. Each one of these covers one of the fronts of Islam with united aims and principles, in spite of differences of positions and methods.

At this point, I would like to draw the attention of those who work for the cause of Islam, be they individuals or groups, to a matter that they need to be aware of: That there are differing methods governing work for the cause of Islam or that there are numerous groups endeavouring to renovate it, is neither an unhealthy phenomenon nor one that is unacceptable to Allah or to the Muslim believers, as long as the difference is one of diversity and speciality, not one of opposition and contradiction. In other words, complementarily, compatibility and co-operation must be the basic ingredient shared by the tasks of this undertaking, in such a way that each complements and supports the other. At the same time, they should all have the same stands toward important issues and vital attitudes in order to confront common enemies and stand in their face as one rank and as a solid structure.

As to the situation when each one of these groups wants to establish itself and deny the others, or make the most important issue that of establishing oneself on the efforts of others; it leads to the weakening of all the Muslim potentials and their destruction from within. This would also open up a gap for the common enemy to strike everybody at its own ease and comfort.
The root 'ba'th' in the Hadith refers to: the securing of favourable motives, the arrangement of appropriate conditions, the creation of the appropriate climate for the emergence of the renovation of religion and the rebirth of the nation according to the unchanging traditions established by Allah Almighty.

Then the meaning of 'ba'th' is not an apparition of a renovator that is brought about by a universal miracle which suddenly descends from the sky, or ascends from the earth instantly in order to change the conditions of the people, if they have not been able to do it themselves.
This is what we have understood from this Hadith and which corresponds to the other Hadiths, which have linked the glorification of Islam during the recent times to a group of people, and not a single individual, who advocate righteousness, as in the well-known and authentic Hadith: "A group of our people who advocate the word of Allah, will keep doing so and not be disturbed by opposition, until the command of Allah reaches them ". This has been quoted by a number of the Prophet's companions in approximately similar words (. See the first issue of the journal called Al Markaz.).

The content of this Hadith is also similar to what we find in the following verse in which Allah Almighty says: "And of those whom We created there is a nation who guide with the Truth and establish justice therewith" (. Surah 7, Verse 181) It has also been stated that this verse is for "you", i.e. you the Muslims, and He Has Given people like you a similar verse (This was mentioned by Ibn Kathiir in his Tafsiir on the basis of a quote of Qutaadah, informing the Prophet (PBUH), Vol. 2 p. 269, printed by Al Halabi.). This refers to Allah Almighty's word in the same Surah: (And of Mosest folk there is a community who lead with truth and establish justice therewith') (. Surah 7, Verse 159...).

What the divine news have brought in these verses has been confirmed in this other Quranic verse: (And there may spring from you a nation who invite to goodness, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency. Such are they who are successful)( Surah 3, Verse 104). This is confirmed also in the following verse: "But help ye one another unto righteousness and pious duty"(33. Surah 5, Verse 2), and also in: "And exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance" (. Surah 103, Verse 3.) and also: "Lo! Allah loveth those who battle for his cause in ranks, as if they were a solid structure"' (Surah 61, Verse 4.). This is also taken up in the Prophet's (PBUH): "God's hand is with united people" ( This has been quoted by'Attirmidii from the Hadith of Ibn Abbas no. 2167 and the Hadith of Ibn Omar no. 2168 and they both were surprised. This was also quoted by Attabaraanii on the basis of trustworthy references, as was stated by 'Al Haithamii. Ibn Hajar said: he has many quotes out of which many are precise and authenticated. As a result of al1 this, Assuyuutii pointed to its authenticity in his Al Jaami' Assaghiir. See Fayd Alqadilr, Vol.6/459. It was also quoted by Al Albaanii in Sahlih Al Jaami' under no. 8065, second printing.).

The truth, however, is that whatever gifts the individual may have, and whatever his productivity may be, he remains limited in his energy and his abilities, so long as he does not have collaborators who provide him with support and strength. Man remains limited and weak as long as he remains alone but as soon as he is surrounded by his friends, they provide him with company and strength. It is for this reason that Moses, the strong and upright Prophet, PBUH, said when God sent him as a messenger, (Appoint for me a henchman from my folk, Aaron my brother. Confirm my strength with him and let him share my task, that we may glorify Thee much and much remember Thee. Lo! Thou art ever Seeing us) (Surah 20, Verses 229-35). Allah Almighty said in His response: (We will strengthen shine arm with thy brother, and We will Give unto you both power),( Surah 28, Verse 35)

This shows that however strong the individual may be he still needs the help of others in order to strengthen his defence. More eloquent and clearer what Allah Almighty said to His messenger (PBUH) "He it is Who supporteth thee with His help and with the believers, and (as for the believers) hath anuned their hearts' (Surah 8, Verses 62-63.).

God has favoured him by backing him with his glory and by surrounding him with believers whose hearts are all set in the same direction, that of a unified conviction. In other words, he has given him support that resides in the fact that the group surrounding him are all solidary believers.

If we construe the Hadith in such a way, we no longer need to expect an individual renovator who is sent to us from the heavens like a present that we did not have to make any effort for. We would also no longer need to imagine that for each century, we have to name one of the people as the renovator of that century, with some people accepting him and others not. This was the case of Al Jalaal Assuyuutii, (GBH), when he proclaimed himself the renovator of the ninth century and had many of his contemporaries refute that.
We also no longer need an individual or a group to support one person or the other to be the renovator for the tenth or the fourteenth century, and that there is nobody that can equal him, with the result that his followers accept him and the others reject him through sarcasm and ridicule.
We will not need that each group presents its candidate renovator, with the Hadith specialists presenting one from them and the theologians doing the same. We will not need either that the jurisprudence experts also present their own, with each presenting one from their rite, the shafiites presenting a shafii and the Hanbalis presenting a Hanbali Even the politicians used to promote a Caliph or a prince as a candidate, and the ones involved with the defence of Islam presenting an army chief as a candid.

With the kind of explanation we have githis Hadith, we involve the whole Ummah in the required renovation, and also in the selection, training and activity of the renovator. It also prepares the appropriate climate so that they can appear and be active. It also helps them achieve their aspirations, and remove the difficulties from their path. It supplies them with provisions and energy for their long journey towards what they hope to achieve. It is the nation which assigns each individual his task in the renovation program, so that he takes charge of it as it was said: you are guarding one of the fronts of Islam, so let no one cross it. In such a situation, the question that every Muslim will ask is: What is my role in the renovation program and what is my duty? Instead of wondering when the next renovator is going to appear.

 

When does renovation take place?

So when does renovation take place? The Hadith has set the time for renovation. It is the beginning of each hundred years, as the word 'ra's' in Arabic refers to the top of something and 'ra'su ssana' is the beginning of the year.

The interpreters have raised the issue of the beginning of the century. Al Manaawi said: "It refers to the Prophet's birthday, or the prophesy, the Hijra or death. He said: Even if it was said that it is the second, prophesy, which is closer to the meaning, this is possible. But, Assubkii and others state that it is the third (. Fayd Alqadiir, Vol. 1 p. 10), Hijra, that is the correct answer. Even in their discussion of the renovators they assumed the Hijra calendar as the basis, and that is reasonable. Because it is the calendar that Allah has inspired the Muslims to use since the time of Omar, and not any other. So they have not used the birth, or the resurrection or the death.

It is to be noted also that they have made it a rule that the death of the renovator may indicate the meaning of the beginning of the century, as is clarified by the death dates of those they had appointed as renovators. For example, Omar Ben Abdulaziz d. 101 H, Ashshaafi'ii d. 204 H, Ibn Surayj d.306 H, Albaakillaanii d. 403 H, A1 Ghazaalii d. 505 H, Arraazii d. 606 H, Ibn Daqiiq Al'id d.703 H and Al'iraaqii d. 808 H.

They have not mentioned such leaders as Ibn Taymiyya in spite of his great renovating movement in all aspects of the field of Islamic thought, because his death occurred much later than the beginning of the century, he died in 728 H.

The Hadith did not say that the renovator dies at the beginning of the century, but that Allah sends him at the beginning of the century. The meaning of this is that his duty starts at the beginning of the century, and not that it ends then. I have also noted that the scholar Almanaawii has drawn attention to this meaning when he wrote: "It should be realised that everybody who has interpreted the Hadith "God sends ..." and so forth to the end of the Hadith discusses this matter on the sole assumption that the renovator of a century is one who dies at the beginning of the century. And one should be aware that the meaning that should be drawn from the Hadith is that the appointment happens at the beginning of the century. The meaning of the appointment of the scholar refers to his competence to serve the people and his readiness to spread the wise thoughts. His death at the beginning of the century is a withdrawal not an appointment. Therefore, we should judge in fairness.

He continued: "And I know that Attayyibi said: "The selection of a renovator occurs when the century ends and there happens to be at the same time, a well-known and frequently-quoted scholar." Al Karmanii also said: "There used to be, before the end of a century, people who would start to preach and take charge of the matters of religious scholarship, but the meaning here is that of the scholar who is alive and well-known at the time the century ends". Almanaawii said: "There may be such a man during the century, who may even be better than the one who comes at the beginning of the century. The special mention of the beginning of the century is because it is usually a time of unsettlement for the scholars and that of the appearance of aberrations and the rise of charlatanism" (Fayd Alqadilr, Vol. 1 p. 12) This interpretation seems to be reasonable.

I think the Hadith actually refers to the idea that at the beginning of each century there is the beginning of a new era, new hope, and a rebirth.This allows the Muslim society to meet the new century with hearts that are full of hope for a bright future, and determination to achieve ideal actions and have truthful intentions to replace realities and make them coincide with what should be. One has to note here that what is expected of the Ummah is that at the beginning of each century it should take the time to account for what it has done and evaluate its achievements, so that it can learn from its past, improve its present, and look towards its future. It should supplicate its God that today be better for its people than yesterday and that tomorrow be better for them than today.

The Hadith did not deny the presence of renovators in the middle of centuries or at their end. As a matter of course, this is what happens quite usually if one reads the history of this Ummah. In this context, one should mention among other renovators: Ibn AljawzIi, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Alqayyim, Ashshantibii, Ibn Alwazlir, Ibn Hajar, Addahlawli, AshshawkaanIi and other eminent authorities.

 

Whom is the renovation for?

As for whom the renovation is intended, it is this Ummah, as the Hadith shows. It is for the followers of Mohammad, as Al Manaawii said. The original etymology of al Ummah is the group, grammatically singular but semantically plural. It may refer especially to the group to whom a Prophet was sent. On the basis of the fact that the Prophet emerged from them and that they invite people to Islam, they are called 'Ummat Adda'wah', 'the nation of Allah's message'. So if they, as a whole or only part of them, believe in what the Prophet brought to them, they are called the people who have responded, and that is the meaning here, the proof being in the fact that he mentions "its religion",- in the Hadith (Fayd Alqadiir, Vol. I p. 10).

The expression 'li haadhihi l'ummah' (for this nation) refers to the nation of Islam, the nation which has responded, along centuries and generations. As if the Prophet (PBUH) brings it in front of him and points to it when he says haadhihi l'ummah. This is the nation that is mentioned by God Almighty in His Glorious Qur'an: "Thus, We have appointed you a middle nation" (. Surah 2, Verse 143), "You are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind" . (Surah 3, Verse 110).

The Qur'an and the Prophet's Tradition mention no nation other than the Islamic nation, it is one whole nation in spite of differences in race colour and nationality. "Lo!, this your religion is one religion'"( Surah 21, Verse 92), " And Lo, this your religion is one religion and I am. your Lord, so keep your duty unto Me"( Surah 23, Verse 52.)

We are not allowed to say the "Muslim nations", because in Islam we do not have many nations, but one single nation, but we may say "Islamic peoples" within this nation.
The absolute and complete renovation is that which covers the whole nation, and affects it all, in the same way as the total renovation is what includes both knowledge and action together. We have noticed this in such instances as that of the influence of Omar Ben Abdulaziz, Ashshaafi'ii, Al Ghazzali and their likes who have influenced the whole Muslim Nation, even though their influence may have affected one or many aspects of Islamic life.
Renovation may also be partial, affecting only one of the aspects of life or one country of the Islamic nation, or one single group and so forth, as it may affect more than one aspect, or more than one group or more than one country.

 

What is the renovated religion?

The word "renovated" in the Hadith refers to the noun "religion". Then what does the word religion mean in the Hadith? The use of the word "religion", like that of the word "Islam", refers to one of two matters:
First, the Divine way by which Allah Almighty sends His Prophet (PBUH) and to reveal His Book, including the beliefs, the forms of worship and morality as well as the jurisdiction to regulate the relationship of man with his God, and the relationship linking men to each other. This is what the scholar Ibn Khaldun described as: "A divine situation which guides humanity to the choice of whatever is good for their life and their living." If we look at the origins and bases of this meaning we find that it is stable and does not undergo change or accept renovation as it is an external truth.

Second, the state in which man is in his relation with the first meaning intellectually and emotionally as well as in practice and behaviour. It is in this sense that one may be referred to as having a weak religion or having a strong religion, or one whose Islam is perfect or imperfect.

Religion in this situation is changing and mobile, it may increase or decrease, weaken or strengthen, become clear or troubled, straighten or deviate, according to man's understanding of it, his belief in it and his commitment to its instructions. This is the meaning that allows renovation. It is no small wonder that the word "religion" in the Hadith refers to the word "nation" and not God. Renovation refers to the religion of the nation and not to the religion of God Almighty.

 

The Meaning of Renovation

In this context, I feel that there is no motivation why some scholars should deny the use of the word "renovation" in religion, under the assumption that some deviant individuals might use it in situations that are unacceptable to Islam. We cannot be greater guardians than the one who was appointed by Allah to bring Islam to Humanity. He himself used the word 'renovation' and that has been confirmed by the scholars. Thus, there is no appropriate reason why some Muslim should be afraid to use it. The most important issue for him is to delimit its meaning so that it is not used by every individual or group in whatever way they wish. Thus, what is the meaning of renovation in this context?

In his explanation of Al Jaami' Assaghiir, Al'azizi, quoting Al'alqami explains that renovation is the revival of what may have receded as concerns the application of the instructions given by the Book and the Tradition and advice to apply such instructions (. Volume 1, page 411 of Assiraaj Almuniir by Al'aziizii). He thus makes renovation focus on religious action.

A1 Manaawii explains renovation as showing the difference between tradition and deviance, increasing the use of religious scholarship, glorifying religious scholars, and minimising the promoters of deviance (Fayd Alqadiir, Vol. 2 pp. 281-282.) He thus made renovation focus on scholarship.

In another context, he stated that it is renovation of what has been lost in terms of the laws of jurisprudence, what has disappeared from the significant traditions, and what is implicit in the concrete and abstract sciences .( Fayd AlqadiIr, Vol. I p. 10) This involves both scholarship and action, and indeed absolute renovation concerns both scholarship and action.

I would like to point out in this context a very important meaning of the word renovation. Renovation of something is not the attempt to take it back to its initial and original state, so that in spite of its old age, it appears as if it were new. This would be achieved through the strengthening of what has weakened in it, and the restoration of what has collapsed, and the sewing of what has been torn, so that it takes on again an image as close as possible to its original one. So renovation does not mean the change of the nature of what is old, or its substitution by something else that is newly created. Such is not renovation.

For an illustration, let us take an example from perceptions. If we want to renovate an ancient monument, such a renovation would mean the preservation of its essence, mark and characteristics and all aspects of its distinctive features. Restoration should involve all the effects of ageing. It also involves the improvement of its entrances, and the restoration of the paths and ways leading to it as well as its promotion, etc. Renovation does not mean destroying it and building an enormous and most modern building in its stead.

The same goes for religion, its renovation does not mean to issue a new version of it, but to take it back to its original state as it was during the time of the Prophet, his companions and those who have followed their line.

This return to the original version should not scare us, as it does some people. It is in reality a return to leniency and not to difficulty, a return to good news not bad news, a return to focusing on the important issues and not the details.

He who reads the comments of the Prophet's companions and those who have toed their line will find that they are the most knowledgeable of the spirit and aims of Islam. And these people did not take everything literally and were not unduly formal. They were wholly attached to Allah's laws and at the same time they interpreted these laws with a magnanimous spirit, to show people that Allah established His religion to their benefit. It also shows them that Allah wants them to live in ease and not in difficulty. Their method was like what Imam Ali (GBH) referred to as giving predominance to the middle pattern which can be reached by the one who follows and to which the one who precedes can return.

The key to the renovation of religion is awareness and understanding, and in essential Islamic terms it is jurisprudence. I do not mean by jurisprudence the well-known conventional meaning of the word, i.e. that which concerns knowledge of the minor laws dealing with ablutions, prayers, breastfeeding, marriage and divorce only. Although this is required and commendable, jurisprudence is taken here in the meaning it is given by the Quran and the Prophet as mentioned in Allah Almighty's verse: (We have dtailed Our revelations for a people who have understanding) (Surah 6, Verse 98) And that is exactly what Allah denied the idolaters and other enemies of Islam when He described them as (a folk without intelligence) (. Surah 8, Verse 65). He also described hell dwellers as: (having hearts wherewith they understand not) ( Surah 7, Verse 179). God Almighty also said: "Of every troop of them, a party only should go forth, that they (who are le.ft behind) may gain sound knowledge in religion, and that they may warn their folk when they return to them, so that they may heware" (Surah 9, Verse 122). The Prophet (PBUH) said: "He whom God wants to bless is made knowledgeable in jurisprudence" (Authenticated by the Hadith of Mu'aawiyya.).

Jurisprudence as it is known in the Qur'an and the Prophet's tradition covers two scholarly disciplines: knowledge of the universe and knowledge of religion. The first concerns knowledge of the creations of Allah and the second is knowledge of the laws of Allah.

Knowledge of the universe means knowledge of the blessings of Allah to minds and hearts of people, and of his laws which do not change wherever and whoever we are, as that is clear from the glorious verses.

Knowledge of religion refers to that which we acquire after a close study of Islam from its crystal clear sources, so that we have a sound understanding of it. An understanding which is free of all deviation and of the exaggerations of extremists and of all the oversights of the squanderers. In our understanding of Islam, we should be inspired by the guidance of the first generation which was the most understanding of the aims of Islam and the most committed to following and applying its commands. This generation was also aware of the distinctive features of Islam concerning comprehensiveness, moderation and leniency, and distinguishing between important issues and details, between essential and minor laws, between what is stable and permanent and what is flexible and changing. They also distinguished between the ranks and levels of actions in the eye of the law, be they good deeds or sinful ones. The pillars are not like the rest ofthe regulations. The regulations are nlike the obligations and the oblare not like the practices of the Prophet or the fixed voluntary acts of worship, and these latter are not like the commendable acts.

On the other hand, unbelief is not like sins, even if they are major ones, and major sins are not like minor offences. The offences that are considered minor are not like the ambiguous ones, which scholars disagree about. Forbidden acts are not like reprehensible ones, and forbidden reprehensible acts are not the same as unforbidden reprehensible acts. The latter are not necessarily the opposite of the former. These acts are ranked, and each rank has its assigned punishment.

The most foolish and dangerous attitude is to try to blur the differences between these ranks and acts, and to consider them all the same. Putting together what Allah has separated is like separating what Allah has put together. Both attitudes are sinful.

As we are at the dawn of the fifteenth century of the Hegira, we need a large scale intellectual and cultural renovation. A renovation which would bring back to creativity its life and renewed activity. We are referring here to creativity in both its facets: the plausible and selective and the artistic and creative. We need creativity that would find for present-day problems solutions from within Islamic law. It should prescribe medicines for the ills of our societies from the ones provided by Islam itself, not concoct ones from the fabrication of the secular West or from the atheistic East.

This makes it imperative for the scientific institutions which are in charge of these matters to help towards this end, and that it should be open-minded towards the innovative views. The Schools of Law should establish their curricula, books and methods of the study of jurisprudence, its origins and history, especially the study of the Qur'an and the Tradition in light of the scientific comparison, in such a way that they allow the shaping of an independent intellectual mentality, capable of creativity in the productive and selective domains. These schools should also enhance the capabilities of its brighter students and strengthen their commitment to pursue this path.

We should also have an innovation which would allow for Islam to be restated in the language of this epoch, and to address each people with its own language. This re-statement should show greater awareness of the characteristics of the modern world and those of Islam, as well as those of the people. It should also show that we have fathomed the deeper and wider meaning of Allah Almighty's verse "And We never sent a messenger save with the language of his folk, that he might make (the message) clear for them" (Surah 14, Verse 4.).

The meaning of the verse is not only that we speak English to the English, or Chinese to the Chinese, but also that we know how to access the hearts and minds of the English and the Chinese. The way of access that may be appropriate for one of them is not necessarily the appropriate one for the other. This means that we need to improve our means and methods of spreading the word of Allah as well as the capabilities of the men who undertake this mission. These improvements should meet the requirements of the modern world, those of Islam, and should be made according to the actions that are made necessary by the acts of others.

Talking to people who have reached the surface of the Moon, cannot be the same as that of people who have been living in caves. To each one of them is a way of speaking, and we have to know each, in order to be able to communicate with each one of them, and to understand them and explain to them.

We should undertake an innovation to revise the fields of the human and social sciences from within a genuine Islamic outlook, which is inspired from the universal philosophy of Islam. This revision should take into consideration the way Islam views religion, life, humanity, society and history and should benefit from all the established schools of thought and from the results of their research and analyses. Nevertheless, it should not be enslaved to a single one of its philosophies or to all of them.

All this means that our universities have to liberate themselves from the noose of imitation of the western thought, be it liberal or marxist. They also have to return to the roots and origins of our glorious heritage, borrowing from it and enriching it or altering it. This would allow the birth of generations of independent thought combining the authenticity of Islam and modern innovation.

This is the responsibility of all universities in the Arab and Islamic countries, but principally that of Islamic universities, such as Al Azhar University, the University of Imam Mohammad Ben Sa'uud, the Islamic World University of Islamabad and others, given their training, affiliation and the calibre of their staff .

Such an innovation would allow the Nation of Islam to achieve excellence in the fields of collective duty, in the cosmic and mathematical sciences and their technological applications in the civil and military fields. This would also allow the Nation of the Surah of Iron to be capable of industrialising iron, and of exploiting its hidden and apparent riches. As a result it will not be dependent upon other countries for food and weapons.

This calls for the revision of the methods, means, objectives and systems of education in accordance with the requirements of the modern world, of Islam and evolution.

If the officials in the United States of America call for the necessity to revise their educational system in order for their country to satisfy the requirements of the epoch, and advance that their nation will be in danger if it does not, then what should we do?

Innovation of Islam is not only intellectual, as it is understood by many when they discuss innovation. These people only think of the innovation of interpretation and the awakening of the Muslim mind to confront the evolution of life.

There is no doubt that intellectual innovation, the rebirth of innovation and the correction of the meanings of concepts come in the forefront of the awaited innovation. There is no doubt also that knowledge precedes action and ideas precede motion.

It is sufficient for us that God Almighty started His Revelation to His Messenger (PBUH) with His verse "Read!", and reading is the key to knowledge, intellect and meditation.

But man does not have a mind only, he has a mind and a heart, a body and a spirit. Thus innovation has to englobe the whole person. That is what Islam has glorified to the greatest extent, and has given to each its share.

The scholars who have undertaken the naming of the innovators in the history of Islam agree that Omar Ben 'AbdulAziz (d. 101 H) is the innovator of the first century in spite of the fact that his reign was short and lasted only thirty months.

The innovation that Omar has undertaken did not reside in the intellectual or scientific aspects, as in the case of the innovation of Ashaafi'i in the second century. It resided in the fields of action and justice, as he disallowed the traditions of injustice, and resuscitated those of justice, removed tyranny, restored rights to their people, denied the requests of the greedy amongst his people. He also spread the atmosphere of worshipping and fearing God, and aspiring to what he has. That is why he was considered the fifth of the guiding Caliphs.

He did all that without any pretension or appearances of boasting, instead he did it to invoke Allah in hope and fear, saying :" Oh, Allah Almighty, Omar does not deserve to receive your grace but your grace is so grand that it is bound to reach Omar".

Once, after one of his appreciated stands, a man said to him: " On behalf of Islam Allah will pay you generously oh Commander of the Faithful." He said, "So you mean, Allah will pay Islam back for its generosity to me."
So he gave people their rights and put matters in their places. It is Islam which made Omar, and not Omar who made Islam.

 

Innovation of faith

Faith refhere to Islamic faith, and its basis is the oneness of Allah, whhas three principal elements: That we accept nobody but Allah as our God, that we do not assume anybobut Allah as our protector, and that we take only Allah as our judge. This is the meaning of the creed that there is no God but Allah.

After the oneness of Allah comes the second facet of faith, that is belief in the message of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), "and that Mohammad is His messenger.He is neither a God, nor the son of a God, nor the Holy Spirit, nor an incarnation of God. He is only the servant of Allah and His messenger. God Revealed His Book to him and he passed on to the people what God Revealed to him. He neither betrayed, nor did he conceal the truth, nor did he speak vainly. "It is naught save an inspiration that is inspired" (Surah 53, Verse 4) .

Among the pillars of the faith that Mohammad (PBUH) received from his God, is belief in the Hereafter and in punishment, and that death is not an end in itself. There is an eternal life after our ephemerous life, when each person is given everything that he has earned and thanked by his good deeds. "And whoso doeth good an atom's weight will see it then, and whoso doeth ill an atom's weight will see it then" (Surah 99, Verses 7-8).

 

The importance of faith in our life

In the life of Muslims faith is not marginal. It is the essence of our existence, the secret of our living and the gist of our message. Without it there is no sense to our life and no reason for our being.
If each personality has a key to it, and if you discover it and use it, you will be able to discover its hidden contents and unfold the secrets of its capabilities. The key to man's personality in our religion is faith.
And as it is possible to set a car, a ship or an aeroplane in motion and to set it forward just by the touch of a key, or the push of a button and to use them to travel long distances, it is also possible with the effect of faith to move the emotions of this nation and to use it to make miracles and exploits of championships which can be related like legends.

Many have struck different strings in order to move this nation, but it has neither moved nor has it responded. They have struck the nationalist string, and the socialist string, the democracy string, but have achieved nothing other than crises and catastrophes.

But when you lead this nation with the Holy Qur'an, you hold it high and the same when you call "Allah is Great" and when you invoke the breeze of paradise. Then you will find that the people respond in millions and are ready to die for the sake of Allah.

This faith which is instilled in the innate character of the nation, and stored in its moral make-up is like a healthy seed in a healthy earth. We must take care of it, raise it, protect it and feed it. We should also covet it and preserve it from any poisonous substances or evil insects in order to allow it to grow, improve and mature so that it gives its fruit with the will of God.

 

Our need for a faith-based education

That is why we are in need of a sound faith-based education, which fills the hearts with authentic divine values: fear of Allah, hope in Allah, solace in Allah, love of Allah, acceptance of Allah, reliance on Allah, repentance, obedience of His commands, and submission to His judgement and that of His prophet. This is stated in the following verses of the Holy Qur'an: "But nay, by thy Lord, they will not believe (in truth) until they make thee judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of that which thou decides", and submit with full submission" (Surah 4, Verse 4) "The saying of (all true) believers when they appeal unto Allah and His messenger to judge between them is only that they say: We hear and we obey. And such are the successful" (Surah 24, Verse 51)

The elements of this education would be evocation of the meaning of the hereafter and all that concerns it: death, the tomb, resurrection, the day of reckoning, standing for the reckoning, the sheets, the balance, the path, paradise and hell.

In other words, we are in need of a kind of divine, positive and moderate mysticism, which is referred to by other scholars as truth with the Righteous and morality with the Creator and that is what is referred to in Allah Almighty's saying: "Lo! Allah is with those who keep their duty unto Him and those who are doers of good" (Surah 16, Verse 128).

This is the essence of the right faith: faith in Allah, and doing good for people. True mysticism is, before all, faith and morality.

Ibn 'Al Qayyim refers to some of the early sufiis in his Madaarij Al Saalikiin (Madaarij Al Saalikiin, Vol. 2 p.307) in his definition of sufism by stating that mysticism is behaviour, and whoever surpasses you in his morality will surpass you in his mysticism.

This is the mysticism that we need: mysticism concerning a Qur'an and Prophet's tradition-based education and behaviour: a mysticism which increases faith, makes for gentler hearts, moves feelings, strengthens will, refines the self, straightens behaviour in light of the Qur'an, the Prophet's tradition and the guidance of the righteous ancestors. That is what we try to preserve and what we advocate. That is also what plays the role of growth which is referred to in the characteristics of the Prophet's message: "He it is Who hath sent among the unlettered ones a messenger of their own, to recite unto them His revelations and to purify them", (Surah 62, Verse 2). That is also the "site of good-deeds" which is mentioned in the well-known Hadith of Gabriel and defined in the Prophet's (PBUH) saying: "Good-doing means that you worship God as if you could see Him, and while you don't see Him, He sees you."

If mysticism is taken negatively as it is by someone who said: " Leave creatures to the creator, and leave the reign to the king". This is the attitude of one who wants to annul the advice of good-doing and the reprobation of evil doing, and that is unacceptable. It is said that: "He advocated to the people what he wanted. These are words of truth, which are used to lead to falsehood."

If mysticism means the annihilation of the personality of the disciple before his teacher, as it is stated in what follows: "He who says to his teacher: Why?' cannot succeed" It is also said: "The disciple before the teacher is like the dead at the hand of the dead-cleansing man." This is also unacceptable.

If mysticism means a separation of reality and law, as in the saying of some: "He who looks at people from the point of view of law blames them, he who looks at them with the eye of reality excuses them. That is also unacceptable.

If mysticism is a prophecy and a money-making venture in the name of religion amongst the populace, who are led by legends, and for whom amulets are manufactured. That is also unacceptable and we are not responsible for it.

In conclusion, if mysticism is a concentration of anecdotes in the mind, and of partnership in faith, and deviance in worship, and weaknesses in behaviour, and negative attitudes in comportment, and delinquency in life; then we are the first to oppose it.

Then, the true renovation of religion resides in the call back to Islam as it was revealed in the Holy Qur'an and interpreted in the noble Tradition, and as it was understood by the companions and their followers in good deeds. That is, before it was mixed with external beliefs and weaknesses and with the philosophies of the East and the West. We advocate it in its pure form without any partnership, in its clean form without any external additions, complete without any division, balanced without any exaggeration or oversight, a straight path without deviance "And (He commandeth you, saying): This is my straight path, so follow it. Follow not other ways, lest ye be parted from His way. This hath He ordained for you that ye may ward off (evil) "(Surah 6, Verse 153).

Our last prayer is to praise Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.


Innovative Research and Renovation
In the midst of legislative orders and modern necessities

On the subject of interpretation and renovation the Qatari magazine 'Al Ummah' had the following interview with the author of this book:

Q: Interpretation (ijtihad) is part of religion and it is one of its foundations which proves the liveliness of Islam and its capacity to find the adequate solutions to the changing probleof life. What are the historical periods of the movement of 'ijtihad? Has its activity stopped as has been alleged by some at particular periods? Who is responsible for this situation? Is it correct that it is the Ottoman Empire as it has been said?

A: Ijtihad started since the time of the Prophet (PBUH), as it was stated in "the story of the 'Asr prayer in Bani Quraydhah " and in the Hadith of Mu'ad when the Prophet (PBUH) appointed him in Yemen, and asked him:"How do you judge amongst people when you are called upon to do so?". He said "I use the Book of Allah". "What if you cannot?", "Then, I use the Prophet's Tradition". The Prophet said :" What if you cannot?", he responded "Then I use my mind and I do not fail". Then he congratulated him and maintained him in his post. This is a famous Hadith whose authenticity has been recited by many religious leaders, among these are Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Al Qayyim, Al Dhahbii, and Ibnu Kathir. Many of the Prophet's companions have made independent judgement concerning different issues while they were not in the vicinity of the Prophet (PBUH), and when the Prophet learned about that, he either approved of their judgement or he corrected their errors.

After the Prophet's (PBUH) time, his companions (God Bless them) had to rely on interpretation and faced the changing problems of life in the communities of deep-rooted civilisations which they inherited. They reached Islamic solutions, which they adopted from Islamic texts or from Islam's general guidance. They found in Islam, a solution to every problem, and to each ill a cure.

The independent judgement of the Prophet's (PBUH) companions concerning the events of life and their knowledge of the solutions recommended by the religion of Allah to these events, represents the real and authentic knowledge of Islam, which is characterised by realism, leniency, the consideration of people's interests by Islamic law, without exaggeration in the interpretation of the texts.

When one looks at the knowledge of the guiding Caliphs, or that of Ibn Mas'uud, ibn 'Abbes, or 'Aishah and others (God Bless them all), one will confirm that it is crystal clear that the Prophet's Companions (PBUH) constitute the generation that is the most knowledgeable of the essence of Islam. One example that will best illustrate this is the attitude of Omar and his contemporary scholarly companions, such as Ali and Mu'aad, when he refused to divide Iraq upon the conquerors, considering its four fifths as their booty, as it is clearly stated in the holy verse: "And know that whatever ye take as spoils of war, Lo! A fith thereof is for Allah," ,,( . Surah 8, Verse 41) and decided that the land should remain to serve the interest of the following generations of Islam. He told those who opposed him: "Do you want the last of the people to come to find nothing left for them?" Then Ali and Mu' ad said to him: "Find a solution to suit both the first and the last to come". Upon this, he decided that solidarity between the different generations of the Islamic nation, as well as that of the different countries, is obligatory.

The same attitude is that of Othman(GBH) towards stray camels. In the Hadith it is commanded that any stray camels will be left alone, and he said to whoever asked him about them: "Leave them alone, they have their shoes and their water, they go to the water and feed on the trees, until their owner comes." Thus, during the reign of Abu Bakr and Omar, stray camels were left to themselves moving freely and reproducing, without anybody disturbing them, until their owner finds them. During the time of Othman, he found that people changed and started to catch stray camels, and it became difficult for some of them to return to their owners. Then he decided that for the interest of the people it was time to start to collect these stray animals. So he appointed a shepherd to collect them and identify them. When he does not find their owner, he sells them and keeps the money until the owner comes back.

During the era of Ali (GBH), he established a system that insures people's property when they leave it to a workman for repairs, holding the latter responsible in case the property is lost, in spite of the fact that workmen were generally trustworthy. He said: "That is the only way to correct people ", as he had noticed the change in people's behaviour.

Thus it is clear that the knowledge of the companions resided in the width of its horizons, its realism and leniency while it certainly never lost sight of the foundations.

The disciples and followers of the companions toed the same direction and attitude, especially those who established jurisprudence schools throughout the land, by teaching and advising in the case of novel situations and issues. They faced each event with a Hadith. Within these schools and universities which were established inside some of the important mosques, emerged the most famous Imams, leaders of the rites, each of whom had its followers, such as: Abu Hanifah, Maalik, Al Shaafi'ii, Ahmed, Al Thawrii, Al Awza'ii, Al Tabarii, and Dawuud Al Dhaahiri ...

In the first centuries of Islam, the number of interpreters was larger than could be counted. They had various ways and means of understanding and interpreting the laws, while they agreed that the basic source of Islamic law are the Book and the Tradition. The Book is the foundation and the Tradition is the explanation and the clarification. After that come the secondary sources, which follow suit, such as Al Istihsaan, Al Istislaah Wa Saddu Al Dharaa'i', Ri'aayatu Al'Urf, Shar'u Man Qablanaa, and others about which the scholars have disagreed. Some of them authenticated these sources, others denied them, while others expanded or restricted them.

The important fact is that jurisprudence grew and expanded. The number of real, expected and hypothetical issues became bigger; books were written and its rules were established. The ways of extracting these rules from the foundations of jurisprudence were established. Such a science was invented by Muslims, and nothing like it is found in any other nation. It is considered as one of the prides of the Islamic heritage.

Islamic jurisprudence remains the basis of justice and legal opinion in all the Islamic societies. This remained as such until colonisers invaded Islamic countries, and separated Islamic Law from justice and legislation, except in the narrow domain which they named 'Personal Statute'.

It is important to note that what is usually said, concerning the idea that Islam was impaired directly after the period of the guiding Caliphs, is not true. It is undoubtful that during twelve centuries, Muslims did not have any constitution or law which they followed except from Islamic law, in spite of what might have happened in terms of misunderstanding, or misapplication of its lenient rules.

The closing of the practice of innovative research
As to the notion of the closing of the chapter of interpretation, we think that the Ottoman Empire has become a rack, upon which all errors and slips in all areas are hung by many. In reality, the domination of tradition, and religious chauvinism, and the waning of expert interpretation, are issues which arose before the era of the Ottoman Empire. They have also spread to the different countries of the Arab World to different degrees, in spite of the fact that there was no period which had no interpreters. Then we find Imam Al Suyutii (d. 911 H) announcing that he reached the level of unbounded interpretation, hoping to be the renovator of the ninth century. He is well -known for his understanding of the Hadith stated in Al Tajdiid. He also wrote his book Al Raddu'alaa man 'akhlada ila L'ard wa Jahala 'anna l'ijtthauda fii kulli'ishriin fard.

In the twelfth century, there was the great innovator, the wise man of Islam, Ahmed Ben Abdul Rahiim, alias, Shah Wali Allah Al Dahlawi (d. 1176 H). He is the author of Hujjat Allah Al Baaligha, and other original books. In the thirteenth century, we find in Yemen the expert interpreter, Imam Muhammad Ben Ali Al Shuukaanii (d. 1250 H), and whose interpretation resides in the sections and chapters of his books Naylu L'awtaar, Al Saylu Ljarraar, and Al Daraarii Al Mudiitah, as well as his book of interpretation Al Durar Al Bahiyyah and Irshaad Al Fuhuul ilaa Tahqiiq Al Haqq min 'Ilm Al 'Usuul.

In order for us to be fair to reality and history, we have to state the following: The Ottoman Empire has given much importance to the Holy fighting, more than it did interpretation. Islamic leadership requires both: interpretation, in order to know the true path and the true religion which Allah sent through His Prophet (PBUH), and holy fighting in order to protect and preserve such religion. The scholar of Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah, said: "Religion requires both a guiding book, and winning iron", thus referring to Allah Almighty's holy words: "We verily sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance, that mankind ma y observe right measure; and He revealed iron, wherein is mighty power and many uses for mankind ..." (Surah 57, Verse 25).

QQ: During the Ottoman Empire, more importance was given to iron, i.e. they gave more importance to the military aspects of life than to the intellectual ones, until the overwhelming shock of confronting the rebirth of the west. Some scholars consider that renovation in the contemporary era was started by Jamal El Diin Al Afghaanii, except that his followers gradually started to rely simply on the text, and became closer to tradition, especially Muhammad Rashiid Redaa. So, "is it possible to put these efforts in the right perspective from the point of view of the renovation movement? "

A: This quote shows that its author did not have full awareness of the full meaning of renovation, its extent and its rules. Had he had such knowledge, he would have realised that the process was gradual, and did not relapse as it is claimed. It started with generalities, then continued with improvements, until it reached specialisation. It was not steady at the start, and then began to take control. Sheikh Muhammed Abduh was closer to control in the courts of justice, than his master Al Afghaanii, thanks to the profound culture he acquired in Al Azhar. Sir Muhammad Rashiid Redaa was close to control in the courts of justice, than his master Professor Al Imam, thanks to his wide knowledge of

the books of tradition and heritage. He was also well acquainted with the publications of the Salafi school which was represented by Imam Ibn Taymiyyah and his disciple Ibn Al Qayyim. It is he who started the strong campaigns against inertia and imitation in his valuable magazine Al Manar. He also wrote reformative articles and innovative scientific opinions, during a third of a century or more. The interpretations of Sheikh Rashiid and his innovative opinions spread throughout the Muslim World, and were met with greater acceptance than the innovations of his master, in spite of the fact that they were few. As to the interpretations of Sir Jamal El Diin, we hardly know any precise ones. His personality was that of the revolutionary leader, who awakened the minds, aroused the feelings and triggered ambition and commitment. He did not have the personality of the scholar who is consistently led by sources and rules. So each one follows the path that he was born for.

Some of the views of Sheikh Muhammed Abduh in the interpretation of Qur'an were adopted by others. Some of them are those concerning the story of Adam, his statements about the birds of Babel, and the like. His excuse was that the Western civilisation was in its heyday, and admiration thereof was at its highest. Thus, the rational bias was preponderant; and so were the attempts to bend the text until it fit the new concepts, and the adaptation of the commands of religion to the intellectuals who had a western culture. And all this was done even when it required affectation.

As to those who want to evaluate any person, and to qualify his thought and works, it seems only fair to put the latter in their special historical context, and not to compare his time and space to our own time and space. Some of the views that seem to us today to be clear and obvious, were not so in his time. God bless a man who is fairer to others, and who gives every worker what he deserves and is a fair witness for the sake of God.

Legal interpretation is a collective duty at times and an individual duty at other times. It has its meaning, its extent and its rules. Can these issues be clarified so that confusion does not set in and so that those who are not fit for interpretation, do not undertake it.

Innovation should be construed as making one's utmost effort and pouring one's widest knowledge in the extraction of the legal rules from its proofs through observation and thinking. It is a collective duty that applies to the whole nation. The nation becomes like an orphan if a number of its members do not satisfy its need in innovation. Thus it becomes an individual duty of anybody who feels that he is qualified and has the capability to undertake it, if he does not find anybody to undertake such responsibility in his place.

Innovation is needed in two situations:
First: The situation in which there is no legal text available, and where the legislator has deliberately left a gap, out of compassion and not out of forgetfulness. This allows the innovator to fill the gap in a way that satisfies the expectations of the people, according to the paths which are followed by such innovators as analogy, preference or adaptation to the situation, as well as other reasons.

It is to be noticed that in some areas of jurisprudence there is a proliferation of texts dealing with points of detail sometimes, for example: worship and family issues, which hardly change throughout the ages and places, while there is dire need for texts that forbid disputes, as long as it is possible. Besides, there are areas where the texts are to a large extent scarce, or too general and summarised, thus leaving to people the freedom to innovate by themselves - in light of the overall sources - according to the interests of their society, and the conditions of their era, instead of finding detailed texts that would tie them or restrict their movement. This is exactly the case in the issues of consultation, the ruling system, the proceedings at law, the legal steps, and the like.

Second: The area of hypothetical texts, whether they are hypothetical in their occurrence, and that is the case of most of the Prophet's Hadiths, or hypothetical in their meaning, and that is the case of most of the texts of Qur'an and the Tradition. The fact that a text exists does not prevpeople from interpreting it, as it might be imagined by some. Nine tenths of texts or more are amenable to interpretation and the extension of the number of views. The Holy Qur'an itself may allow different ways of interpreting. Even if we take a verse such as the one dealing with cleanliness, in the Surah of the Table Spread, and read all the interpretations of its rules, we will confirm what is being stated here.

Along these two areas which are open for innovation, there is an area in Islamic Law which is firmly closed to interpretation, and is not concerned by it: it is the area of absolute certainties in the Law. This is the case of the obligatoriness of the ordinances of Allah, such as the prayers' almsgiving, fasting and the forbidding of impermissible acts such as adultery, consumption of alcohol, lending interests. On the other hand, there are the principal absolute certainties, such as the rules of inheritance, which are clearly defined in the Qur'an. There are also the bounds and punishments, and the period of waiting for the divorced or widowed women, and the like of what has been stated in the texts that are factual in their occurrence and in their meaning.

These kinds of rules which are not available for interpretation are what constitute the intellectual and behavioural unity of the nation. So, there is no need to enter the battlefield of interpretation, and address questions such as the following:

Can we allow the drinking of alcohol for the sake of tourists?
Can we disallow fasting in order to increase production?
Can we suspend pilgrimage in order to save hard currency?
Can we suspend almsgiving and rely simply on state taxes?
Can we abandon the bounds and punishments in compassion with criminals, as if we were more compassionate than Allah towards his subjects! "Say, do ye know best, or cloth Allah ? "(Surah 2, Verse 140).

And that is what one should be watchful of: to innovate in areas where we should not, or to let one who is not well qualified or who does not satisfy the conditions to undertake innovation. This is what lead some scholars in the ancient times to call for the closing of the area of innovation and interpretation, in order to stop the impostors and pretenders. But the area of innovation will remain open, and no one can close it after it was opened by the Prophet (PBUH). No one or group of people, when faced with an event that they are presented with, can say: 'we don't have the right to innovate and interpret, because the scholars of the past said nothing about it'. It is obvious, though, that the law has to govern all the deeds of the officials and has to have a say concerning every event, and nobody disagrees with this.

Q: Q: It is imperative that anyone who undertakes innovation in the field of Islamic law should satisfy the required conditions. What are these conditions? Do they apply to all innovators, in general? Or, is there a difference between the ones who undertake total innovation and the ones who undertake partial innovation?

A: There is no special group in Islam that monopolises or inherits innovation. There is no priesthood or clergy in it. There are, though, scholars who are specialists in their fields, and who have the tools and instruments of innovation to satisfy the requirements thereof. It is the one who interprets all events and situations that are presented to him, and whereof he states his view in accordance with the results of his interpretation, be he right or wrong.

The conditions required for an innovator are stated and detailed in the books of the foundations of jurisprudence. Some of these conditions are scientific and others are cultural, such as knowledge of the Arabic language, knowledge of the Holy Book and the Tradition, knowledge of the issues of absolute consensus, knowledge of the foundations of jurisprudence, the ways of analogy and derivation, knowledge of the complete aims of Islamic Law and its rules. The last point is what Imam A1 Shaatibii concentrated upon and made the reason why we have to innovate. Besides all of this, he has to have the gift o f derivation, which improves with the exercise of jurisprudence and awareness of the differences between the scholars' interpretations. That is why they said:" He who does not know the difference between the scholars, has not had a whiff of jurisprudence".

Another condition which was pointed out by Imam Ahmed, and was, mentioned by Ibn Al Qayyim in I'laam al Muwaqqi'iin is: 'knowing people'.. This is an important issue. The innovator, who advises people, should not live. in an ivory tower or an isolated minaret and pronounce advice that is unrelated to the reality of the people. The same scholar should not issue judgements which are related to bygone times and ancient people and apply them to other peoples and times. This would mean that this scholar will have ignored the most important rule which says that counsel changes with the change of time, place, situation and usage, as was stated by the scholars.

This requires that the innovator be aware of the realities of his society, and master the general foundations of the culture of his era. This requirement avoids the situation whereby the scholar will be living in a world of his own, while his contemporaries are living in another. He is the man whom the people may ask about something whose background, original, philosophical, psychological or social bases he may not know about, with the result that he might stray in its contextualisation and its judgement. Because judging something is part of understanding it, as the scholars of logic confirm.

The real innovator is the one who looks at the texts and the evidence with one eye, and at the reality of his era with another, so that he may harmonise between obligation and reality, and give to each event the judgement that is appropriate to its place, time and situation.

Ibn Al Qayyim, the authenticator, said that his master, Sheikh Al Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, passed during his time by a group of Tatarian soldiers who had been drinking too much. Some of his companions rebuked them, but he said: let them to their drinking and their playing. Allah forbid the drinking of wine because it prevents people from invoking Him and from practising their prayers, but in this case it prevents them from the killing of people and the pouring of blood.
This goes hand in hand with an established rule, the gist of which is that it is better not to rebuke for a sin lest a bigger sin may be committed, so that it is the lighter damage that is caused and the lesser of two evils that is committed.

There is another requirement that the innovator must fill, it is a behavioural and religious requirement. He must be just and must have an acceptable morality. He must fear Allah in all what he does or says, and he should know that his advice must coincide with that of the Prophet (PBUH). He should not follow his whims, and should not give priority to worldly goods over religious matters, especially if those goods belong to somebody else.

If Allah has commanded that the prerequisite for people's witness to be accepted is that they themselves be just, then how should that not be the case for somebody who is a witness in the religion of Allah, and who discusses what Allah has allowed and what He has Forbidden, what He has Made compulsory and what He has Authorised.

The scientific conditions that we have mentioned are required of the total innovator, i.e. the one who interprets all the facets and aspects of jurisprudence. As to the partial innovator, it is enough that he be knowledgeable of the matters that relate to his area of specialisation, along with a general scientific qualification. All this assumes that the field of interpretation lends itself to compartmentalisation, and this is what many of the scholars assume.

The professor of Economics can undertake research in a specific matter in the domain of his speciality, if he is knowledgeable of all what has been written about it, and the kinds of innovations tit might have undergone. He also has to master the foundations of the evidence, the rules of argumentation and preponderance, amother matters.

Q: Q: Many discussions have taken place over the last few years concerning innovative research, which led to some deviant interpretations in this field. Since the situation is what it is, it has become imperative to establish some rules that must be respected in the field of contemporary legal research, so that Muslims may be aware of these flaws and may reject them. In your opinion, what should these rules be?

The rules that should be followed in modern research may be summarised in the following points:

A: One should not deal with certainties. Research should concern issues whose evidence is hypothetical in judgement, and we should not heed impostors who attempt to turn what is factual into what is hypothetical, and what is certain into what is doubtful. In this situation we will no longer have certainties that we can rely upon, or sources that we may refer to. In the same vein as we did not allow turning what is factual into what is hypothetical, we should not allow the opposite, either, as we should not pretend consensus where there is difference. Thus, we should not raise the sword of consensus in the face of every researcher, as did the contemporaries of Ibn Taymiyyah in his choices and his innovations. Al Imam Ahmed said: "Whoever pretends that there is consensus is a liar. Who knows ? People may have differed in their views and he is not aware of that".

What I fear most is psychological failure before the coming civilisation, and giving in to the present reality in our societies. This is a reality that has been produced neither by Islam, nor by the Muslims. It has been produced for them by the impudent colonialist who imposed it on them by force and tyranny. This intruding injustice took the place of the authentic justice during a spell of absent-mindedness of the Muslims.

This is why we should refuse that kind of innovation - if we may call it thus - which is that of making up motivation for the reality, especially if that aims at a satisfaction for the governing authorities. It may also be an imitation of the other, as in the innovation of those who try to forbid divorce and polygamy, and who fight private property, and allow lending at usurious interests, and so forth.

The innovator should free himself from fear in its different forms, fear from the authority of the governing tyrants, who request ready-made Fatwa for their acts to make them lawful. They should free themselves also from the fear of the rigid imitators among the scholars, who lead campaigns on any new idea. It is the likes of these who were the cause of the imprisonment of Ibn Taymiyyah, and the successive miseries that he underwent. His misery was caused by them not by the sultans. The scholar should also free himself from the fear of the power of the crowds and the populace who could be aroused by the imitators against any view that differed from anything that they are used to.

We have to open our hearts to scholarship, even if it opposes the views that we have been raised with, we should also expect errors from the innovator, and should not be disturbed by him. He is a fallible human being. It may also be that what we have considered an error the exactly correct view. There are views which one day are refused by the majority of the people, then afterwards they become the right and accepted ones. In Islam there is no papal authority, which dictates: "this view is the correct one for everybody and deserves to remain so, while that view is the wrong one and is thus erased from existence and receives capital judgement"( See the section entitled "The characteristics and rules of a modern and sound scholarship" in our book Scholarship in Islamic Law, published by Dar Al Qalam, Kuwait.).

Q: Q: There are contemporary issues which require Muslims to come up with an innovated jurisprudence in order to find solutions to their problems. What are these issues, and how do you view them within the framework of this innovative research activity?

A: In view of the changes that life has undergone in comparison to what they used to be, and the great evolution of today's societies in terms of ideas, morality and relations, our present time is in the direst need of innovation. All this after the 'biological revolution' and the 'technological revolution' which the world is witnessing. This revolution raised the most novel issues: tube babies, artificial insemination, banks of frozen genes, the control of the sex of the foetus, the implant of organs, blood transfusion, as well as the novel issues in international relations, financial and economic systems, which our predecessors have not witnessed, or knew about even partially and on a much smaller scale.

These issues and their like require new research, and that is what we may call innovative scholarship, i.e. in which scholars issue new judgements, even when they have not been advanced by earlier scholars or stated by anybody else. As an example of this, we may mention the almsgiving on blocks of flats, industrial plants, stocks, bonds, salaries, considering gold as the only basis for currency rates, the making of almsgiving on rented lands obligatory for both the landlord and the tenant: the tenant gives almsgiving on the crop or fruit after he subtracts the expenses of labour and the like, because that is something he owes, and the landlord gives almsgiving on the rent.

There is also what I call selective innovative research, that is to choose the most plausible views from our great scholarly heritage,( . See our book The Law of Islam, how do we select from our Islamic heritage?, p. 110,, published by the Islamic Bureau, Beirut) which seem to come close to coinciding with the aims of the law, the interests of the people, and the context of our era. The choice may come from within the four Islamic rites, as in the weighting of the Hanifi rite's view that almsgiving should be paid on all the crops of the land, and the weighting of the Shafi'i rite's in providing, the poor with enough to live on for life, and the weighting of the Maliki rite's in the maintaining of the bonds of those whose hearts have been reconciled.

The choice may come from outside the four Islamic rites. In spite of their majesty and favour, the four Islamic rite leaders are not the only scholars. There are those of their contemporaries who may have surpassed them, and there are those of their masters who preceded them, and the masters of their masters including the scholars who were companions of the Prophet (PBUH), and their followers, who have certainly undertaken greater actions.

There is no objection to adopting one of their rites if it seems the most reasonable in legal terms, and to follow, for example, the view of Omar (GBH) restricting marriage with the women of the Scripture, if there is fear of harm to the Muslim women and children, or if there is fear that the condition of virtue may not be observed with precision. This condition is mentioned in the following holy verse: "...and the virtuous women of those who received the Scripture"(. Surah 5, Verse 5) , i.e. those who behave virtuously. Other examples include the adoption ofthe idea of the obligation of mut'a for every divorced woman, or the idea of some of the predecessors who suggested that divorce should not take place when it is the result of great anger. That is how they explained the Hadith: "No divorce in the cases of anger or madness or drunkenness". Or the view of some of them who suggest that final divorce, uttered in one setting, should be taken as a cancelled divorce only once. That is what Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Al Qayyim and their like advised. Not to accept contrived divorce, i.e. divorce when the woman has her period. The same goes for divorce which is motivated by the forcing of someone to do something or not to do it. This kind of divorce is treated as swearing and is atoned for in the same way as swearing.

The same goes for the adoption of the view of some of the predecessors that legacy is obligatory for those of the relatives who cannot inherit. It is on the basis of this that arose in Egypt the law of the "obligatoriness of legacy" for the children if their fathers or mothers die while their grandparents are still alive. In this case they inherit the share of both their parents, with the condition that it is not more than the third of the legacy, not that of the inheritance.

It is on the basis of that that the scholar Sheikh Abdullah Ibn Zaid Aal Mahmuud, the President of Legal Courts and Islamic Affairs in the state of Qatar, favoured the view of Ataa' and Taawuus, in allowing the pelting of Satan during pilgrimage before the afternoon starts, in order to make it easier for people, and to remove the embarrassment and hardships which people have to incur in terms of crowding around the aim to the point of being walked over to death.

The innovative research which we need today is one undertaken by a group which could take the form of a world learned circle, which would include qualified world scholars, who would issue their judgement after study and examination, with courage and freedom, far from the pressure of governments and populace.

In spite of all this I would like to insist that there is no way around individual innovative research which lights the path for group innovative research, thanks to the careful and thorough studies it brings.

Q: Q: Some advocates of Islam are sometimes considered as proponents o f inertia and rigidity, and enmity towards any innovation. Does this coincide with any real situation or is it linked to some hidden cause?

A: Regarding innovation, people can be classified into three groups:
1) The enemies of innovation, who want every old idea to remain as it was; their famous wise adage is: "the first left nothing for the last, and their heralded motto is: it is impossible to be more creative than the past. "

Because of their inertia, they stand in the way of any innovation in science, thought, literature and life matters, let alone religion. The term innovation itself is considered heresy for these people.

In the area of religion, I found out that there are two groups whose attitude aims at making Islam rigid. I wrote about them in some of the articles I published in the magazine Al Ummah on the occasion of the celebration of the beginning of the Hegira fifteenth century. First: the fanatic imitators of the rites, who refuse to make any small deviation. They also deny any contemporary individual or group the right to search and innovate, except within the framework of what their rites alone dictate and what was written and advised by the scholars of that rite. So, it is unacceptable to them to deviate from the opinion that was pronounced within the rite, even to other sayings or opinions from within the rite itself.

The other group is what I named ' the new superficial scholars', I mean by these those who take texts strictly at their literal level and face value, and do not consider their deeper meanings. They do not understand the details in light of the general issues. It is no surprise to find that they start heated fights over marginal issues in the religion. While these and those are people who are faithful to Islam, they still are like the mother who caused the death of her infant because she locked him up in his room from fear of the heat of the sun, or the passing of the hot wind.

2) In opposition to these, we find those who overdo innovation. They want to annihilate all old ideas, even if these constitute the foundation of the essence of their society, its raison d'etre, the secret of its permanence; as if they wanted to delete yesterday from time, and the past tense from the language, and the science of history from human sciences.

The innovation undertaken by these is westernisation itself. What is old in the western world is new to them. They advocate imitating it in its bitter and sweet aspects. These are the ones that were laughed at by Raafi'i (God Save his soul) when he was in a dispute with them under the banner of the Qur'an and said: "They want to renovate religion, language, the Sun and the Moon".

The poet of Islam, Mohammad Iqbaal, replied to them by saying that "the Kaaba is not renovated by bringing to it a stone from Europe". Ahmed Shawqii, the king of poets, referred to them in his poem about Al Azhar:

Had they had their will, they would deny in public
Their parents whether they died or lived for a long period
Whoever is keen on the destruction of all past things,
When he has to build, fails

This group, and the one mentioned before it are the two that Prince Chakiib Arsalaan complained about, when he said in his book "why the Muslims lagged behind" that religion was lost between the rigid and the infidel. One alienates people by his inaction and the other by his unbelief.

3) Between these two groups emerges a mid-way group. It refuses the inaction of the first and the unbelief of the others. It looks for wisdom from any source. It also accepts innovation, even advocates it and calls for it, as long as it is an innovation which comes within the authenticity of Islam, and distinguishes between what is acceptable and what is not, and between what is adequate and what is not.

It advocates the adoption of material and technical science as much as it is necessary for the nation, under the condition that we understand technology and create it, not just buy it and remain foreign to it!

This is the point of view of the true preachers of Islam. Their motto is: the association of the useful old and the sound new. We have to be open to the world without melting in it, firm about our aims, and lenient about our means, firm about the foundations and lenient about the secondary issues.

Q: Q: There is a link between research and innovation as a contemporary issue. If Islam considers innovative research as an instrument of the understanding of the commands of the Qur'an and the Tradition, does it accept innovation as it accepts scholarship? Or, does it contradict the nature of the religion which came to control life with its beliefs, values, concepts and wisdom. Or does each one of them have a domain within which it acts?

A: I was surprised by the denial of a good scholar of the relationship between innovation and religion, in an interview with one of the journalists. This scholar assumes that religion is stable and does not evolve nor does it innovate. His reason for this, I believe, is his fear that people might understand that by pronouncing the expression 'the innovation of religion' people might understand the intervention of the hand of change to delete or add things. So, he firmly closed the door by absolutely denying innovation.

In reality, the noble Hadith of the Prophe(PBUH), has discussedthis issue in detail, as it has been mentioned by Abu Daawuud, Al Haakim, Al Bayhaqii and others, on the basis of a sound authentication: "Once every hundred years Allah sends to this nation a man who innovates its religion"( Authentic, see the Sahiih Al Jaami' Al Saghilr, no. 1873, second edition. )

And there is no saying after that of the Prophet, or no judgement after his.

Many loyal scholars deny established notions, because of misuse by some people. Thus, the former want to straighten a wrong deed by another wrong deed. The sound method is to confirm the established notions by providing the correct interpretation and refuting every wrong understanding, explanation, or unsound application.

The innovation of religion is confirmed by the texts, but it is not innovative research in itself. In spite of the fact that scholarship is part of it, and one of its aspects, scholarship is an innovation in the intellectual and scientific aspect, innovation concerns the intellectual, spiritual and scientific aspects. These are the aspects which are included in Islam: science, faith and action.

Our nation is today in the direst need of someone to innovate its religion, its qualities, the characteristics of its personality. Someone who will work towards the emergence of a Muslim generation which will achieve in today's world what the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) achieved in their time. That is what we called the 'Generation of the pursued victory'. This innovation was started by the people who undertook what they promised Allah to do. There are those of them who died, there are those who are waiting like Hassan A1 Bannaa, Abdelhamiid Ben Baadis and Abu 'All Al Mawduudii (God Bless them all). It is the duty of those who follow them to continue on the same path, and straighten it until Allah Completes His light.

The noble Hadith: "Once every hundred years, Allah sends to this nation a man who innovates its religion" gives significant importance to this issue. Does the word 'who' as it figured in the Hadith mean that the Muslims remain in a state of expectancy waiting for an innovator at the beginning and end of each century. In light of the Islamic understanding of the role of the community, it seems that the meaning of the Hadith makes every Muslim responsible for the duties and follow up on the activity of innovation of religion.

This Hadith, which was quoted by Abu Dawuud in his Al Sunan, by Al Haakim in Al Mustadrak, by Al Baihaqii in Ma'rifat Al Sunan wal 'Aathaar, by Al Tabaraanii in Al 'Awsat, gives the Muslim nation a strong ray of hope, and dissipates the obscurity of despair. It instils in it the spirit and hope that Allah is not leaving it to the fangs of weakness until it is devoured by them, or to the smoke of quietness until it suffocates in it, or to the claws of fragmentation until it is killed by them. In fact, He sends between one century and the next one who will gather it, resuscitate it, and awaken it. These are some of the meanings of innovation, so he innovates it by religion and innovates the religion by it.

Most of the interpreters of the Hadith, as it has been made clear by the discussion above, understood that the sense of 'who innovates its religion' includes one individual, upon whom God bestows scientific, moral and practical qualities that allow him to rejuvenate the religion, and brings back to it liveliness and strength, through a knowledge that is useful to all, an action that is sound, a struggle for the cause of a religion that is great. This is what made them endeavour to identify this innovator at the beginning of each century, so they sometimes agreed and did not at others. So they agreed that the innovator of the first century is the fifth Rightly Guided Caliph Omar Ben Abdulaziz, the innovator of the second century is Imam Muhammad Ben Idriss Ashshaafi'ii, the innovator of the fifth century is Abu Haamid Al Ghazali, the innovator of the sixth century is Ibn Daqiiq Al 'iid, and widely disagreed as regards the rest of the innovators.

I think the 'who' in the Hadith, and in the Arabic language in general refers to the plural as well as the singular. In this particular case, it refers to the plural as well. So innovating the religion in a particular century is not necessarily the responsibility of a single individual, but a group of people. These may be scholars, the rulers, or the senior officers, or the educators. They may be in one country or they may be in a number of countries. Each one of them may work in his own field, or they may collaborate with each other within the framework of a league or an association. The innovation of some of them may be in the field of preaching and culture, another or others in the field of jurisprudence, another group in the field of education and training, others in the field of social reform, another group in the field of economics and another in the field of politics. There is nothing wrong with the diversity of fields and the diversification of the forms of action and innovation. These differences have to reflect diversity and specialty, not a difference reflecting contradiction and enmity. What is meant here is that there should be complementarily, coordination and cooperation between these different kinds of action, so that they complete each other, and they support each other. They should not deny each other, or obstruct each other's work, which would lead to weakening all of them and strengthening their common enemy.

The linking of innovation with the name of a single uncommon individual, makes people live in the hope of his emergence, and all they do is wait until the ground opens for him to appear and innovate what they were incapable of doing. This is the secret of letting people expect the idea of the Messiah. I think that innovation should be linked with a group or a school or movement, within which each individual Muslim would do his share in the innovation process and would contribute in accordance with his capabilities in its effort. In this case, the question is no longer 'When is the innovator of religion going to appear?', but 'What can I do to innovate religion?

Q: Q: In the Muslim world innovation and innovators were linked with various trends and untrue allegations of secularity, or of latent atheism, in order to deprive Muslims from the reality of their religion. Is this true innovation? Are these true innovators?

A: Calling these innovators is an erroneous appellation. These are squanderers not innovators, because they have no real relationship with actual innovation. The innovation of something means taking it back to the way it was at its beginning and when it first appeared, and mending all the disorders it may, have undergone over time, while keeping its authentic character and its distinctive features. This is exactly what we do in a palace or an old monument which we want to renovate or restore. We do not allow anybody to change its nature, or change its essence, its form or its traits. In fact we endeavour to take it back to its original state. But, if we do destroy it and build in its place a skyscraper of the modern kind, this is not innovation at all.

Those you have mentioned in your question are the kind of people who want to destroy the old mosque to build in its place a new church, with al1 its components and characteristics, except that they put the name of a mosque on top of it.

Whoever called these people innovators is not other than colonialism, its disciples and its agents amongst orientalists. Their real name is 'the slaves of western thought'. They do not even rise to become the disciples of the western thought, because a real student argues with his teacher, and may even oppose him and reply to him. But the attitude of the ones you have mentioned towards western thought is an attitude of alignment and slavery, which leads them to think that whatever the west believes in is the right thing, and whatever it says is the truth, and whatever it does is beautiful. The same thing applies to the slaves of the right and the slaves of the left. They both come from the same source and they al1 constitute a bof the tree that is damned in the Q'an, the Old Testament and the Bible: that is the tree of wicked materialism, which deprives man of his soul, life of its faith and society of the guidance of Allah. The falsity of these impostors of innovation was uncovered by Dr. Mohammad Al Baahii, God Bless his Soul, in his valuable book Modern Islamic Thought and its Relation with Western Colonialism (. In order to read more about this topic refer to the chapter entitled 'Authenticity not regression, and innovation not westernisation' in our book entitled Certainties of the Islamic solutions and the uncertainties of the secular and the westernised Mu'assasat Arrisaala, Beirut.)

The real innovator is the one who innovates religion by religion and for religion. But he who wants to innovate religion from outside, i.e. with imported ideas and intrusive thoughts, and innovates to the advantages of the west or the east, is farthest from true innovation.


Islam and Evolution
Is evolution becoming Islamic or is Islam evolving?

Preface
The attitudes of people towards evolution
When does the Muslim society become exposed to danger
The slaves of evolution have no limit


Nobody disagrees with the fact that man's life upon this planet changes and evolves from one state to another. This evolution takes a wide range in some areas and takes a narrower range in others. The largest scale of evolution covers areas that man uses, such as food, clothing,transportation, lodging, arms, machines and so forth. We may take the area of transportation and communications as a clear illustration: Man used to walk to run his errands. After that he started to use such animals as camels, mules, and donkeys to ride and to carry goods on them. Then he started to manufacture ships that could run through the oceans by means of wind. He also made a cart that could be pulled by horses. Then he waited for thousands of years before he could manufacture a car that could run on steam and other kinds of energy. Then he invented the plane, which made parts of the world much closer to each other as if it all constituted one single village. Then the spaceship and the spacecraft, which allowed him to go all the way to the Moon.
The Qur'an has pointed to these means albeit briefly, but meaningfully and inspiredly, in the following verse: "And horses and mules and asses (hash he created) that ye may ride them, and for ornament. And He createth that which ye know not''(Surah 16, Verse 8.).
Beside this, there is evolution in the area of meanings and ideas, in habits and traditions, and in ideals and morality. Evolution in these areas may be praised as it may be condemned, as it is not always in the best interest of man. It may raise him to the point of approaching the horizon of angels, as it may lower him to the level of animals. The question that we would like to raise here is: "What is the stand of Islam towards evolution? Does it accept it and welcome it, or does it refuse it and fight against it?

Top

The attitudes of people towards evolution
In order to clarify the stand of Islam towards evolution, it is our duty to show that there are three attitudes that people have taken towards it.

The attitude of total refusal
The first attitude resides in the total refusal of any change or innovation in any aspect of life - be it scientific or practical, material or moral. It also means keeping all old things in their state, and resisting anything that is new, wherever it comes from, and under whatever aspect it is presented.

This is the attitude of the Catholic church in Europe in the Middle Ages. It adopted views and theories in the sciences of geography, astronomy, medicine, biology and so forth. It wrapped these views in enough sacredness which made them part of religion itself. This was also the case of the ideas and traditions it adopted and gave them a religious character. So, it no longer allowed anybody to oppose it or reach an opposing view through independent research. And damned was anyone who dared to oppose it.

In his book " Islam, Christianity, science and civilisation" Professor and Imam Mohammad Abdu mentioned attitudes of the church and its clergy which arouse one's surprise and perplexity.

De Romnes said: the rainbow is not a war bow that is in the hand of God which He uses to take revenge on His subjects whenever He wills. It is the reflection of sunlight in water drops' Then he was brought to Rome and was imprisoned until he died. Then his corpse and his books were judged and thrown in fire.

Plage has argued that death existed before Adam. That is, that animals were affected by death before Adam erred and ate from the tree. As a result of this statement of opinion a heated and loud discussion arose. The discussion lead to Iynching and that lead to the promulgation of an imperial order to execute anybody who held that kind of belief.

The notion of the earth being round led to a big disturbance in the world of Catholicism, at a time when Muslims were aware of this fact since the beginning of the Abbassid dynasty, and that did not cause the slightest disturbance. It was even quoted in the books of Interpretation and all others without any restriction.

Some Americans discovered that the use of anaesthesia on women during birth allowed them not to feel any pain. All the clergy arose and was all upset, because that amounted to freeing women from the eternal curse and punishment that was cast upon her by the Old Testament during the formative years. Therein it is said: 'and he said, that is God, to the woman, in order to punish you, I will increase the hardships of pregnancy, and with pain will you give birth to children.'

In Constantinople Muslims discovered a medical method of transfusion from under the skin, and a woman named Mary Monajo took it to Europe in . 1721. The clergy revolted and opposed its use. This kind of opposition increased at the time of the discovery of vaccination against smallpox.

An inspection court was created in Europe in order to oppose science and free thinking, when its emergence was feared, especially at the instigation of the disciples of Averroes and their disciples, and especially in the south of France and Italy. The man who ordered the creation of such a court is Tour Kamanda.

This strange court undertook its task in the best of ways. In 18 years (1481-1499), it sentenced 10,220 (ten thousand two hundred and twenty) people to be burnt alive, and so they were burnt. It also sentenced 61,860 people to be hanged after reviling them publicly, and so they were publicised and then they were hanged. It also sentenced 97,023 people to different sentences, which were executed and all Old Testaments written in Hebrew were burned.

This was the attitude of the church, but the movement of evolution was stronger, so that the spark which went from the Muslim East to the Christian r West, kept widening and heightening, until it became an enormous flame under which nothing could stand. So it is no surprise that the wild crowds revolted against the church which lined up with ignorance against knowledge, and with folklore against thought and with kings and nobles against the people, until the people spoke their minds and said: "Hang the last of the kings with the intestines of the last priest"

The attitude of total obedience to evolution
The second attitude, in opposition to the first, is that of total obedience and blind adaptation to all change and innovation. This obedience does not distinguish between what is allowed and what is not, and what should be and what should not. This is based on a western idea the gist of which is that what follows is better than what precedes, and that anything new is better than anything old, and that today's new born is better than yesterday's new born. They go much further than this and call for the reform of everything, and the change of all values, qualities, traditions and regulations. In other words, life must be turned upside down.
This attitude is represented in our societies by two groups of people. The first group is made up of people who tag and imitate the western camp, and are
in awe of the advance of western civilisation. They motivate everything that it brought, and are enthusiastic about it. They advocate it in the name of evolution and innovation, even if that leads to nakedness and decadence and atheism and permissiveness. This is at a time when westerners themselves have started to revise their attitudes, to criticise their civilisation and review their concepts in many matters.

These are the ones about whom the Arab and Muslim men of letters, the late Mustapha Sadiq Al Raafi'i commented sarcastically: they want to innovate the religion, the language, the Sun and the Moon! Shawqii, also, wrote the following lines about them:

      Do not follow the steps of the restless gang
      For whom everything old is indecent
      If they have a chance they would publicly deny
      Those of their parents who have died and those who lived to be very old
      And the steps of all those who look for what ; old and destroy it
      And when they are given a chance to build, they fail

The second group is constituted by the Marxists who believe in the necessity of evoluti, and who adthat whatever results from evolution is necessarily better than whused to be. They always talk about the evolutionary aspect of the life of man, and ignore its stable side.

No one can argue with the fact that human life is subject to much change and evolution, but most of this evolution revolves around the environment of the human being rather than the human being himself. The essence of man remains the same. For example, Adam was persuaded by Satan, through the instinct of the love of immortality and eternity, to eat from the tree. This instinct is still present in his children and still makes them commit other contraventions.

Another example would be that of the son of Adam who out of jealousy killed his brother with some such object as a stone. Then, he did not know what to do with the body, until a crow, which was searching in the ground, showed him what to do with the corpse of his brother. Thus remains man today, at a time when the instruments of death have varied and developed and become available to him. He still envies and kills his brother man, to the point that he can melt a corpse with all kinds of acid and chemical mixes and leave no sign of it whatsoever!!

The moral obstacle which made Adam regret and repent after his sin, saying: "Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If Thou forgive us not and have not mercy on us, surely we are of the lost!"(Surah 7, Verse 23) is the same one as that which is more clearly stated in what the nobler son of Adam said to his brother: "Even if thou stretched out thy hand against me to kill me, I shall not stretch out my hand against thee to kill thee, io! If earAllah, the Lord of the Worlds"(. Surah 5, Verse 28.). In some sense, this obstacle is represented in the regret of the killer after the burial of his brother. It is still present in the instinct of the humans in spite of the fact, that they have stepped on the surface of the moon, and in spite of the differences between them.

Instinctive motives have not changed in man, although the ways of satisfying them may have changed. Man used to eat his food raw, like animals and birds. Then he learned how to cook it on a fire that is fed by twigs, wood or coal. Afterwards he invented stoves that used oil and then electricity. But he still remains as human as he used to be, eating and drinking, he gets hungry and then gets full, he gets thirsty and then quenches his thirst. He still gets nervous or emotional when he gets hungry or thirsty, and feels rested and satisfied when he is no longer hungry or thirsty.

Authentic religious and moral values relating to the deeply-felt need for Allah, and the recourse to Him at times of distress and regret after committing a sin, love of truth, trust and virtue, dislike of vice, and Iying and betrayal, still have their weight and value in the life of human beings and their behaviour, even if they had sometimes been overcome by unconsciousness, or contaminated by rust.

So we should not exaggerate the level of evolution that man has reached, it is an evolution of the environment of man, not of his essence. It is an evolution of what man uses, not of his reality. It is true that man's knowledge of the universe and what it includes has changed and widened, but this has not changed the essence of man.

The moderate attitude is the attitude of Islam
The third attitude is the moderate attitude, it is the attitude of weighing, and moderation between the fanatics and the laxist, between those who want to freeze life and stand in the way of its progress and evolution and those who want to turn it into chaos. This attitude is neither governed by values or beliefs, and nor is it ruled by qualities or regulations. It is an attitude which faces evolution with wisdom, and guides it with truth. Then it leads towards useful evolution, invents it and feeds it.

Thus is the attitude of true Islam, which joins firmness and leniency in its judgements and recommendations. Firmness in its aims and goals and leniency in its ways and instruments; firmness in its foundations and general conceptions and leniency in its branches and details, firmness in behaviour and religious values and leniency in its materialistic and worldly matters.

We find this firmness in the authentic texts, whose authenticity is certain and based on evidence as we find leniency in the texts that are based on hypotheses in their authenticity and evidence. We also find leniency in the areas that the texts left open to the research of the scholars in compassion and ease for us.

This firmness is also found in the main beliefs, the basic obligations, and the virtues, the reasons of the forbidden acts and the general conceptions of the Islamic Law and so forth for all aspects of Islam which do not change with the change of time, contexts or states. We find leniency in the details of the branch judgements which do not allow more than one view, or more than one innovation, and where Allah has not made it difficult for his subjects. Whoever innovates in these areas and succeeds earns double reward, and whoever innovates and errs then he earns a single reward. This is the context in which our scholars have said: it is here that the formal legal opinion changes according to place, time, custom and state.

And we find greater leniency in worldly matters: the technical and artistic matters concerning ways and means. It is in this context that the Prophet (PBUH) said: "You are in a better position to know about worldly matters'"(. Quoted by Muslimin Sahlih Al Jaami', no. 1482, second edition, Al Maktab Al Is]aamii.)

Muslims have to master these matters and they need to excel in them, and there is no harm for them to adopt them from other people if they do not have them.
The Prophet (PBUH) used to lecture at the foot of a palm tree in Al Madina, when the number of Muslims grew and they settled, he called a nonMuslim carpenter, and asked him to manufacture a three step mimbar for him. He used it for his preaching and never said that it was manufactured by a nonMuslim and therefore he was not going to use it.
In the Ahzaab expedition, Salman suggested to the Prophet to dig a trench around Al Madina to protect it from infidel conquerors. He liked the suggestion and applied it, and never said that that was brought by a Magi so he was not going to listen to it.

The same can be said about his companions who governed after him. They established systems and actions that did not exist during His time, such as establishing the books, listing the estates, collecting the Qur'an in books and distributing them over the provinces. They also established the specialisation of judges in the justice area only, and the introduction of a postal system, along with other matters whose benefits are doubtless. These are also innovations which did not disturb Islam in the least, especially that they were established by the Rightly Guided caliphs whose tradition is considered as part of the religion, and is followed and clung to by all.

God Willed it that His last words to humanity be comprised in this religion, after it reached its maturity and deserved that He Sends to it the Whole and Eternal Message. It comes as no surprise that He Included within it ease and leniency that help to face evolution and fit every context, nation and generation. He also included within it values, ideas, moral, intellectual and legal foundations which lead to growth, action and progress. He also included within it what is sufficient to create a civilisation that is divine and human at the same time, where both religious and worldly matters are in harmony, and where science and faith, or civilisation and morality are also harmonious.

Islam neither reffises evolution which includes knowledge, wisdom, truth and goodness, nor does it accept evolution which includes in its process deviance, delinquency and failure. It confronts everything with the Book which Allah has Revealed with truth and justice. Allah has not neglected His subjects nor has He made them aimless, He Gave them a standard with which they can evaluate everything in life.

Islam advisagainst inertia adaction, a continuous and indefatigable action, which is meant to be wise and purposeful, not an excited and destructive action. Islam intends this action to be like that of the river that is flowing smoothly and safely in its bed, not that of the flow that has no bed, rules nor limits. The river and the torrential stream both flow with drinking water. But the river spreads life, greenness, and wealth wherever it flows, whereas the stream brings destruction and kills plants and crops.

Islam means for man to be active and to work, under the condition that his action be towards a goal fitting the humanism that is noble in the eyes of Allah, and that it be in a peaceful context that can neither destroy nor be destroyed. The martyr Sayyid Qotb said rightly: "Action must be within a framework that is steady and around a firm focus".

Islam accepts an evolution that is wise and sound, which is governed by the values of truth, goodness and virtue and is controlled by the requirements of the justice that Allah has included in His book and that He included in the message of His Prophet. But chaotic action is like stupid inertia. Both of them are unacceptable to Islam.

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When does the Muslim society become exposed to danger
Muslim society becomes exposed to danger and damage as a result of two situations:

First: When we freeze what would naturally be inclined to change, evolution and action, then life is contaminated by sterility, and becomes like stagnant and brackish water, whose stagnancy turns into a hotbed for germs and microbes. This is what happened in the times of decadence and deviance from the right path of true Islam. Then we saw how the avenue of research and innovation in religion was closed and, creativity in science stopped. The same affected authenticity in literature, discovery in industry and progress in war and so forth. Thus life was affected by stagnancy and imitation in everything to the point that the following adage became familiar: "The first one did not leave anything for the last one, and it is not possible to be more creative than what there was!" In the meantime the other stagnant nations - which for a long time were the students of the Islamic society - started to awaken, rise and evolve, grow and progress, conquer and colonise while the Muslims became forgetful and indifferent.

Second: When what is inclined to firmness, eternity and stability is subjected to change and evolution. An example of this is when in our modern era we see and hear that some of the sons of Muslims want to bare the nation of its religion, and separate it totally from its heritage in the name of evolution.
They want to open the door to atheism in our faith, and separation from legislation and virtue. All of that in the name of this new statue: evolution.

They want to change the religion in its essence, so that it fits the beliefs, ideas, values, standards, systems, traditions, ideals and codes of behaviour that they want to import from the east or the west. Allah has made the religion just so that it prevents humanity from decadence and collapse. That is why it was made obligatory that the religion be the firm standard that people use as a reference when they disagree, and consult it when they deviate. If religion submits to the disturbance of life and its conditions, and thus becomes straight if life is straight and wavering when life becomes wavering. That is exactly when religion loses its function in the life of man: i.e. Iife starts to guide and govern religion, instead of religion guiding and governing life, and submitting it to its ideals and guidance, instead of it submitting religion to its reality and decadence.

This is why we tell those who demand from Islam to evolve, why don't they demand from evolution to be Islamic. Islam governs and evolution is governed.

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The slaves of evolution have no limit
The slaves of evolution have no limit, they never make a concession without asking us for a second and a third and an endless series of concessions. Even when they accept Islam, they want one that is of the make of their own hands and ideas! They say: we do not accept the sayings of the imams, or scholars, or interpreters, because they are the opinions of people like us, we only accept the sacrosanct revelation.
If, supposedly, you agree with what they say: we accept some revelations, but not all of them. We accept the Qur'an, but we do not accept the tradition! In this tradition, there is what is weak, or invented, or unacceptable; or we accept the successive traditions and not accept the single traditions

And if you allow them that, they say in audacity and impudence: The Qur'an itself only addressed the limited conditions of the Arab context, and the affairs of the small rural society, thus it is necessary to take only what is appropriate to our evolution and leave what is otherwise.

When the Qur'an says: "He hath forbidden you only carrion, and blood, and swine flesh" (. Surah 2, Verse 173 or surah 16, Verse 115), and when swine flesh is called an infamy, they say: the Qur'an was referring to swine that were badly nourished, but today's swine are not so.

When the Qur'an is dealing with inheritance and says: "to the male the equivalent of the portion of two females' (Surah 4, Verse 11), they say: that that was before the woman started to work and assert herself in different domains of life. Whereas today, she has developed her personality and economic independence, so she must inherit like the man does, and there is no motivation any longer to distinguish between the sexes.

When the Qur'an says "Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan's handiwork. Leave it aside ...'(Surah 5, Verse 90.), they say: the Qur'an has forbidden that in the context of a hot climate. Had the Qur'an been revealed in a cold weather, it would have had a different attitude.

The meaning of all this, is that they impute to Allah Almighty ignorance of the situation of His subjects, and knowledge of what is real. They also consider that whatever the morrow conceals, and what the future hides, He does not know about and does not take it into account. Allah transcends by far what they say.

True reform is to understand clearly what aspects of life need to evolve and change, thus we would make our utmost to change it and improve it, with the logic of the courageous wise men, not the gullible imitators. Islam supports us in such undertaking with all the powers of intellect and action that it provided us with, and the innovation and militancy that it allowed us to undertake. The support of Islam also resides in the fact that it has made it an obligation upon us to seek wisdom wherever it can be found. So we must understand what must remain firm and stable in terms of the values, beliefs, concepts, morality, literature and laws, which remain even when high mountains may collapse.

It is thanks to this wise attitude that we can face and guide evolution: we live our time, we please our Lord, so that we earn the happy endings, and we gain the world without losing our religion, and we attain the blessings of Allah, and the amazement of the wise people.


The status of man in Islam

There is a book entitled The civilisation of Islam, written by Von Grau Neebaum, an orientalist of Austrian origin and translated by Professor Abdul Aziiz Tawfiiq Jaawiid, within the project of "The thousand books", which is sponsored by the Directorate of General Culture" in the Ministry of Education and Instruction.

In this book there are many errors about Islam, its beliefs, legislation, civilisation and history. This is a situation that cannot be avoided when a book about Islam is written by an orientalist whose religion is not Islam, and who does not believe in the revelation of the Qur'an, and in the Prophet Mohammed. It is certain that such an orientalist will explain Islam and its heritage in accordance with what would suit his preconceptions about it.

The professor, who translated the book, made a few comments about these errors. But, first, he did not understand the book fully; second, his comments were not adequate, and third, he separated the comments from the parts commented upon and inserted the former at the end of the book. At this point, our object is not to criticise the whole book, suffice it to quote an example of the deviation of the author from the truth that the translator did not comment upon. The author said in the section entitled "The Perfect Man", (p. 283): "Since its beginning, Islam gave man only little consideration, and the Qur'an tends to convince him with the weakness of his bodily origin, thus it describes the creation of the individual and his evolution in detail as follows: "Verily, We created man from a product of wet earth; then placed him as a drop (of seed) in a safe of lodging; then fashioned We the drop a clot, then fashioned We the clot a little lump, then fashioned We the little lump bones, then clothed the bones with flesh, and then produced it as another creation'(Surah 23, verses 12,13,14.) .

So, man does not have any pride since his beginning. Not only is he made of insignificant matter, but is also weak and lacks all feeling from the time he comes into life. Only the will of God preserves his existence that is surrounded by dangers. He is also the aim of ills and pains, and is subject to hunger and thirst whether he likes it or not. In spite of the fact that he likes knowledge, ignorance is his only share. He likes to remember but always forgets. He might make all kinds of plans for his safety but he never reaches the point of certainty over his life or his place.

Al Ghazzali says as he contemplates his situation: "His end is nothing but death, which leads him to the quiet feeling that accompanies his beginnings and which turns him into a smelly corpse.

Minimal contemplation of the foundations of Islam responds to the allegations of the author concerning the little consideration that Islam gives to man, and invalidates the evidence he brings about what he alleged.

In order to make this point, and as clearly stated in his references, the author purposely used words that were mentioned by Imam Al Ghazali in his book " Al Kibr" in " Al Ihya". Words like the ones mentioned by Al Ghazali are inadequate as basic evidence for an extremely important principle which concerns the status of man in Islam. He only mentioned them in the context of exposing ways of curing arrogance, and that of addressing the arrogants, and as it is said, there is to each context an appropriate discourse.

He wants to remind the arrogant of his days of weakness when he was a foetus in his mother's womb, or even when he was nothing to speak of and could absolutely not do without his God: "Hath there come upon man (ever) any period of time in which he was a thing unremembered ? Lo! We create man from a drop of thickened fluid to test him; so We make him hearing, knowing. Lo! We have shown him the way, whether he be grateful or disbelieving" (. Surah 76, verses 1, 2, 3.) .

After quoting these verses (. Page 309 of his book Kibr rub'u al muhlikat, published by Mustapha Al Baabii Al Halabii, 1346 H.), Al Ghazali said: "This means that he brought him to life after he had been a dead object, in the form of dirt, first, then as a drop. He made him hear after he had been deaf, and made him see after he had been blind and made him strong after he had been weak, and taught him after he had been ignorant. He also created limbs for him, including all their amazing gifts and after he had not had them. He also made him rich after he had been poor, and clothed him after he had been bare, and led him to the right path after he had gone astray. Then, look how he created and made him, and He led him to the right path. When it comes to tyranny he becomes an idolater and when it comes to ignorance, he excels. "Hath not man seen that We have created him from a drop of seed ? Yet lo! He is an open opponent'. (Surah 36, verse 77.) "And of His signs is this: He created you of dust, and behold you human beings, ranging widely!'.( Surah 30, verse 20.)

Consider also how the favours of Allah upon him raised him from insignificance, ridicule and dirt (the dirt of the earth and the dirt of the sperm) and raised him to this glorification and honour. So, he became a being after void and became alive after death, and was bestowed with speech after he had been dumb, and with sight after he had been blind. He became strong after he had been weak, and knowledgeable after he had been ignorant, and guided after being astray, and capable after having been unable, and rich after being poor. So, in himself he was nothing and there is nothing less than nothing, and then became something by the will of Allah.

This is what Al Ghazali mentioned about man arrogance and the arrogant as triggered by the context of curing arrogance and the arrogant and that does not come up with the result the quoting author reached. Had the author intended to be fair, he would have quoted Al Ghazali's comments on many other occasions, where he showed the status of man in the universe, and his value in the eyes of Allah, and his noble spiritual characteristics. Suffiee it to mention here, what he mentioned in the book of Love in the section on " The safeguarding elements" in his book of "Al Ihyaa' . So after he mentioned that amongst the reasons of love are affinity and resemblance; because resemblance and affinity attract one to the other. He said: "This reason also requires the love of Allah of a latent affinity, not referring to resemblance in looks and shapes, but to underlying meanings, some of which may be mentioned in books, while others are not allowed to be mentioned" (. p. 263, of the book of love, in the section of "The Safeguarding Elements".).

What may be mentioned is the nearness of the subject to his God Almighty in the divine qualities which He ordered man to imitate and acquire to the point of assuming the morality of divinity. This is why it said: "Assume the morality of Allah, by acquiring the good qualities which are the divine ones, and those of knowledge, good deeds, virtue, the pouring of bounty on humans, giving them advice, and guiding them to truth, and preventing them from committing injustice, among other aspects of the rules of Islamic law". All this makes us nearer to Allah Almighty, not in the sense of nearness in space, but in qualities.

What is disallowed from appearing in books, concerns the special affinity which is special to the human being' is what Allah Almighty alludes to in His verse: "They are asking thee concerning the spirit. Say: The spirit is by command of my Lord" (. Surah 17, verse 85.). So He Showed that it is divine matter that is beyond the bounds of the human mind. And, even clearer than that is His verse: "And when I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My spirit". (Surah 38, verse 72.). And that is why He made His angels prostrate to Him. This is also referred to in His verse: "Lo! We have set thee as a viceroy in the earth" (Surah 33, verse 26, concerning the prophet Daawuud (Peace upon him), the first form of this verse is from Surah 2, verse 30 which stated "Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth" and concerns the father of humanity Adam (Peace upon ), so he thought that is what Al Ghazalwas referring to. ). Meaning that Adam did not deserve being God's viceroy except on that affinity.

That is what the Prophet (PBUH) refers to in his saying: "God Created Adam on the basis of His Own image". Upon this, short-minded people thought that picture can only refer to the apparent picture that is perceived by the senses; so they made references to Allah's resemblance, in body and image. Allah is much greater than what the ignorant say.

That is the reference that we find in His saying to Moses (Peace upon him), "I was ill and you did not visit me. He said: "How is that my Lord ?" He said, "My subject so and so was ill and you did not pay him a visit. Had you visited him, you would havefound me there''(. See Sahiih Al Jaami' Al saghiir, 1916).

This affinity is created only thanks to perseverance on the supererogatory performance after insuring the obligations, as Allah Says - in the Hadith Qudsi -: "As long as my subject endeavours to be closer to me by observing the supererogatory performance I Keep loving him, when I Love him I become the hearing that he hears with, and the sight that he sees with... ", etc.

The verse used by the orientalist to make his point, and which shows the stages of the creation of man from a drop of sperm, into a clot, and then into a lump, etc..., does not aim at persuading man of the weakness of his bodily origin - as the author says - but like similar verses, it aims at replying to the people who denied the world of the hereafter, and the Day of Reckoning after death, and who have discarded as remote the possibility of man's resuscitation after death. These verses were revealed to draw the attention of the people who deny the resuscitation in the hereafter to the first creation, it also warns the sleepy minds to the power of Allah the Great, who Created man from a weak state, and turned that into strength as we can read in God Almighty's words: "And man saith: When I am dead, shall If orsooth be broughtforth alive ? Doth not man remember that We created him before, when he was naught" (Surah 19, verses 66,67) "Hath not man seen that We have created him from a drop of seed ? Yet lo! He is an open opponent. And he hath coined for Us a similitude, and hath forgotten the fact of his creation, saying: Who will revive these bones when they have rotted away? Say: He will revive them Who produced them at the first, for He is Knower of every creation " ( Surah 36, verses 77, 78,79).

So, how can a fair mind understand from the context of these verses that their object is to belittle man? And that Islam attributes to man little consideration. Islam has given man much consideration in scores of verses and in scores of surahs. It is sufficient to realise, that the first set of divine verses revealed on the heart of the Prophet (PBUH), which amount to five in number, did not ignore man and his relationship with his God: the relationship of the creation and being, the relationship of instruction and guidance to the right path. These verses selected the word God, as it gives the feeling of education, sponsorship, and promotion in the hierarchy of perfection: "Read: in the name of thy Lord Who createth, createth man from a clot. Read: And thy Lord is the Most Bounteous, Who teacheth by the pen, Teacheth man that which he knew not" (. Surah 96, verses 1, 2, 3, 4,5 )

The Qur'an has clarified the relationship between man and Allah in many verses. This relationship is that of close nearness, which destroyed the legend of the intermediaries, and mercenary agents dealing in religions :"We verily created man and We know what his soul wispereth to him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein" (Surah 50, verse 16). "And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh (Surah 2, verse ]86. ) "and whithersoever ye turn, there's Allah's countenance' .( Surah 2, verse 115) "and He is with you wheresoever ye may be " (Surah 57, verse 4).

The Qur'an also showed the status of man at the level of the highly spiritual signs, and that status has made the angels crane their necks to reach it, but could not. The status referred to here is that of Allah's viceroy in the earth. "They said: Wilt Thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we, we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee? He Said: Surely I know that which ye know not'" (Surah 2, verse 30). The status of he whom Allah has taught language, and commanded his angels to prostrate to him to greet and honour him: "When thy Lord said unto the angels: lo! I am about to create a mortal out of mire, and when I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My Spirit, then fall down before him prostrate, the angels fell down prostrate, every one, savinglblis" (. Surah 38, verses 71, 72, 73).

The fate of man's enemy, who rebelled against Allah's command of greeting and prostrating to His creations the curse and permanent exclusion from paradise. He Says: "Go forth from hence, for lo! thou art outcast, and lo! My curse is on thee till the Day of Judgement" ( Surah 38, verses 77, 78).

The Qur'an has also shown the position of man in the large and materialistic universe, it is the position of the Master to whom Allah made available all there is in the heavens and the earth: "Allah is He Who created the heavens and the earth, and causeth water to descend from the sky, thereby producing fruits as food for you, and maketh the ships to be of service unto you, that they may run upon the sea of His command, and hath made of service unto you the rivers; and maketh the Sun and the Moon, constant in their courses, to be of service unto you, and hath made of service unto you the night and the day. And He giveth you of all ye ask of Him" (. Surah 14, verses 32, 33, 34.).

What offered man this status in the universe - in spite of its huge galaxies? It is his readiness to carry the great trust, i.e. responsibility, which the Qur'an has described in such a great poetic manner: "Lo! We offered the trust unto the heavens and the earth and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man assumed it'' (.Surah 33, verse 72). A responsibility which puts the fate of every man in his own hands, leading himself either to heaven or to hell: "Oh, but man is a telling witness against himself " (Surah 75, verse 14) "Whosoever goeth right, it is only for (the good of) his own soul that he goeth right, and whosoever erreth, erreth only to its hurt '(Surah 17, verse 15).

This is part of what the Qur'an mentioned about the status of man, it is rich for those who want to look at it fairly, and the following two direct calls with the title of humanity are sufficient evidence: "O man! What hath made thee careless concerning thy Lord, the Bountiful, Who created thee, then fashioned, then proportioned thee? Into whatsoever form He will, He casteth thee" (. Surah 82, verses 6, 7, 8) "Thou, verily, O man, art working toward thy Lord a work which thou wilt meet (in His presence)" (Surah 84, verse 6.).


 

The need for a normative standard

I was talking with my friend about the need for us to return to Islamic faith, legislation, values, behaviour, culture and civilisation, so that we can be happy in our life on earth and so that we earn the hereafter. Upon that he spoke with frankness and said: "The truth my friend is that we experience hesitation and bewilderment in the face of the numerous and various calls and principles; some of which draw us to the right, others to the left, yet others to the east and others to the west. So, some advocate Islam, others advocate nationalism and yet others socialism.

Amongst those who advocate Islam, we find narrow-minded ones and we fmd more lenient ones. As to those who advocate nationalism there are those who are broad-minded and those who are narrow-minded. As to the ones who call for socialism, there are extremists and there are moderates.

Each one of these trends coats his ideas with the best attributes, and frees them of all flaws. Those who read or listen to all this are uncertain about all the books, theses and articles they read and all the lectures, presentations and discussions they hear. So tell me by God: what can man do in the face of these principles and ideas, and these right-wing and left-wing trends? "

I said: "What do people do when they disagree about the length of a piece of cloth, or about the weight of a piece of cake, or the volume of some quantity of wheat?" Then my friend replied: "They refer to a standard they have agreed upon, such as the meter for the measurement of distances and lengths, the kilogram or the pound in the evaluation of weights, the litre and the keddah in the weighing of grains etc. As a result the disagreement is dissipated and the quarrel is resolved.

Then, I said: "This is what we need to do also in what concerns moral matters; that is, we need a reference to agree upon and which we can refer to for our ideas, opinions and values. Only then can we claim to be together and for our view to be united. Then, my friend said: "The problem lies in who is going to design this magical standard which weighs sayings and ideologies, which measures beliefs, which helps distinguish maturity from temptation, and differentiates being on the straight path from being astray. Who can pretend to be able to set this standard? And who will accept him when he pretends that? "

I said: "As for us Muslims, we, in fact, have such a standard in hand. It has not been set up by humans. Human beings are incapable of setting such a standard. It is a standard that has been set by Allah, it has been sent from the Creator to the subject: "(This is) a Scripture the revelations whereof are perfected and then expounded. (It cometh) from One Wise, Informed" (Surah 11, Verse 1) "I have left you with that which if you cling to it you will never err: The Book of Allah and my Tradition". The basic responsibility of the Prophets is to set these standards for the humans, so that they can refer to them when they disagree, and to return to when they deviate. In the Glorious Qur'an, it is said: "Mankind were one community, and Allah sent (unto them) Prophets as bearers of good tidings and as warners, and revealed therewith the Scripture with the truth that it might judge between mankind concerning that wherein they differed" (. Surah 1, Verse 213) "We verily sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance, that mankind may observe right measure )'(Surah 27, Verse 25) Most surprisingly we do not refer to this heavenly norm, to the Islam which Allah Almighty has bestowed upon us, and has approved of as the appropriate religion for us. We discarded it, and we set out to seek formal advice and reference elsewhere, "Whoever wants guidance elsewhere (than the Qur'an), will be misled by Allah".

My friend said in surprise: "Do we have to refer to Islam and the Qur'an for all our ideas and opinions?" I said: "Yes, that is as soon as you become a Muslim and believe in Allah and his Prophet. This is the meaning of: "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is His Prophet'9. Therefore, as soon as you accept Allah as your God, and Mohammed as His Prophet, the Qur'an as your leader, then it is your duty to refer to Allah, His Prophet and Book in matters that are difficult for you to resolve, or in matters that people disagree with you about. No faith is accepted without this condition. "And it becometh not a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His messenger have decided an affair (for them), that they should (after that) claim any say in their affair" (. Surah 22, Verse 32), "But nay, by thy Lord, they will not believe (in truth) until they make ihee judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of that which thou decides", and submit with full submission" (. Surah 5, Verse 65.) .

Then, my friend said: "Does this mean that we have to refer to Allah's commands in all our matters, be they social, political or economic. It makes sense to refer to Allah's commands in religious matters, in faith, worship and morality. As to the changing and evolving life matters, why should we not use our human logic, or extract it from the experience of others". I said: "The division of what Allah commanded into what is religious and what is not religious, is an erroneous division, and is not founded on any sound basis. Do you want us to obey Allah, when He says, "establish worship" (. Surah 74, Verse 20), since prayers are matters of religious concern; and when He Says: "and pay the poor-due" (Surah 74, Verse 20), we then say "Pardon us God, but this is a money and worldly matter, so let us deal with it alone, without your guidance and your revelation, oh! God."

And when Allah says: "Lo, your God is one and the same, so be honest to Him and repent to Him", then we say "we have heard you and are obeying you". Then when He Says: "Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan's handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed" (Surah 5, Verse 90), we respond: "We have heard you and we are disobeying. Oh! God, the forbidding of the consumption of wine is dangerous for the tourist activity, and is a restriction on the freedom of the individual, so let us be free in drinking it."

When Allah says: "And guard yourselves against a day in which ye will be brought back to Allah" (Surah 2, Verse 281), we would say, what a piece of advice!. When He states two verses earlier than the previous one: "Observe your duty to Allah, and give up what remaineth (due to you) from usury, if ye are (in truth) believers. And if ye do not, then be warned of war (against you) from Allah and His messenger'' (.Surah2, Verse278, 279). Then we would say: "As to this one, no! Our era cannot do without usury, and the wheel of economics cannot turn without the usurious interests. And when God Says: "O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you" (.Surah 2, Verse 183 ), we say, "we have heard you and are obeying you"; and when He States in the same Surah and in the same context: "O ye who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered" (Surah 2, Verse 178), we say there is neither hearing nor obeying in this case, since the decision of punishment should remain of our prerogative and not yours, so let us decide in these situations according to our judgements and not yours, since we are more cognisant of our interests than you are.

No my friend! Everything that Allah has Decreed as religion must be followed, respected and executed. Ignoring part of it harms all of it. It is similar to the fine doctor's prescription to the patient, which is a complementary set of medicines. The omission of one of the medicines makes the harm of the rest of the medicines greater than their beneficial effect. So Allah has Warned against disregarding some of the commands and wisdom that we find in His Holy Book. As a result of the luring of the people of the Scripture, atheists and idolaters, Allah Almighty said: "So judge between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their , but beware of them lest they seduthee from some part of that which Allah hath revealed unto thee'' (Surah 5, Verse 49). So He Warned against seduction away from some of the commands that came from Allah. Allah Has Cursed the hypocrites who have backed down after they had become aware of the right path and Satan persuaded them and dictated to them, so He Said in the explanation of what happened to them: "That is because they say unto those who hate what Allah hath revealed: We will obey you in some matters; and Allah knoweth their secret talk" (.Surah 47, Verse 26).

My friend exclaimed: "What you are saying is correct, but not all people are Muslims, so that they can refer to the standards of Islam to resolve their disagreements".

I said, "As to the non-Muslims, there is a specific argument concerning them. I am now speaking about the people who have adopted Islam as their religion, and are still declaring that they are Muslims, but consider themselves above the commands of Islam. I am speaking to those who read and hear Allah's Message as it is stated: "And in whatsoever ye differ, the verdict therein belongeth to Allah" (. Surah 42, Verse 10). "And if ye have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to Allah and the Messenger if ye are (in truth) believers in Allah and the Last Day" (. Surah 4, Verse 59)

I am speaking to those who have read in the Glorious Qur'an: "Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are disbelievers'' (Surah 5, Verse 44.). "Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are wrong-doers " (.Surah 5, Verse 45) "Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are evil-livers'' (. Surah 5, Verse 47.)

I would like you to realise that these verses do not address themselves only to the governors and judges, but also to all those who have used in their thinking and their behaviour a faith other than Islam, a book other than the Qur'an, and a guide other than Mohammed (PBUH) as a standard. Such people will have to choose from one or all of the attributes mentioned in the three verses of the Qurtan to describe themselves: disbeliever, wrong-doer and evilliver:

      Had it been only one arrow I would have avoided it,
      But it is one arrow, and a second and a third.

Are these rites..., or new faiths and religions?!

My friend said: "We have accepted Islam as a standard for our thoughts and values, and the Qur'an as a reference in all our affairs, so what does Islam say about these new theories and ideologies, whose advocates have become quite active recently? Such theories wear the stamp of innovation, liberation, rebirth, progress, revolution and rebellion. Can Islam be open enough to tolerate these ideologies and sign with them a treaty of peaceful coexistence? Or will Islam refute and deny them, and refuse to coexist with them? Is it acceptable for the Muslim individual or group to adopt one of these ideologies, or use it as his guiding light and become an advocate for it? How can all these questions relate especially to an ideology such as the one known as 'Revolutionary Socialism'?

I said: "You have just asked about a very serious matter, towards which every Muslim has to define his personal stand, and every Muslim scholar has to clarify the judgement of Allah and His Prophet about it, without any ambiguity or flattery." I will not discuss now the content of these ideologies and calls, the ideas and theories, and the correct or wrong rules that it contains. The objective discussion of all ideas and ideologies has been undertaken elsewhere. Suffice it here to discuss the general form and essence of all these ideologies.

These theories and ideologies are essentially new religions, which discard the content of religion, but keep its shape. They ironise the unseen that has been mentioned by Islam, and the mentality of the Muslims and their overwhelmingly warm faith which make up the essence of Islam, and at the same time has all the characteristics of a religion.

What are the characteristics of Islam? They reside in Islam being a revolution over pre-Islamic ideals and values, whose aim is to rid humanity from them. They also reside in faith in a set of ideas whose validity cannot be subject to discussion and a set of values whose fairness cannot be subject to doubt. It is loyalty to an idea which does not accept a partnership, and an allegiance which does not accept competition, a pride which does not allow flattery, a sacrifice which does not accept restraint and firmness which does not accept backing down.

These are the main characteristics of the traditional religions, and what they require from their worshippers. This is also what the secular revolutionary ideologies require from their supporters.

They all consider that religion is ignorance that we must free ourselves from and that its ideas, ideals and values are nothing but reactionary and old matters that we must rebel against, and that we must weigh against the new ideas. Anything that agrees with the new ideas will be integrated as part of their ideology, and will be used to militate for its objectives, and anything that does not will be crossed with a red pen.

These ideologies do not accept to take one aspect of life or society and reform and improve it. They consider themselves comprehensive, absolute and universal, exactly like religion. So they call for a radical and revolutionary change, which destroys what is old, and changes the concepts and sets new values for people, as well as a new code of behaviour, new concepts and new systems.

One of the scholars and frank supporter of these ideologies says, after a detailed explanation: "Thus, when the revolutionary ideologies want to undertake a complete revolutionary movement, they find it necessary to turn the whole society into a crowd, i.e. individuals who no longer have roots or traditions. They also find it necessary to contradict the current social organisation, and encourage any destructive movement or attitude which contributes to the tearing apart of its values. These ideologies also have to support every change that may lead to uprooting all old traditions, systems and values. When they take up power and start to run the state, they use all political means, and all available technological and scientific means to achieve the complete destruction of all social structures, systems and relations. All this is done under the assumption that if the individual loses all his links with the old values and systems he becomes revolutionary" (The Revolutionary Ideology by Dr. Nadiim Baitar).

Some people have named these ideologies, 'secular religions', 'atheistic religions', or 'religious secularism'. It is in this context that Julian Huxley wrote his Religion without revelation.

The advocates of these theories and ideas were frank when they referred to them as faiths, thus they refer to the socialist faith, the communist faith, the nazi faith, the Ba'th faith, the nationalist faith. Faith is a lighter way of expressing the concept of religion. Had we wanted to achieve greater frankness we would have referred to 'the socialist religion', 'the Ba'th religion', 'the nationalist religion', etc.

There are authors who try to explain these convictions in such a way as to make them palatable to the religiously practising peoples. For instance, socialism has a mere economics ideology which it relates to a humanistic philosophy which requires the intervention of the state in order to organise the social and economic relations according to a particular system. The socialist writers who are objective did not accept this accommodation or shall we say falsification. They described it as a complete conviction, which organises all instinctive and practical human and life matters.

Dr. Munif Razzaz, who was elected as Secretary General of the Arab Socialist Ba'th Party for several years, states in his book Studies in Socialism, which was published in 1960: "It is wrong to construe Socialism as a mere economic system. Socialism provides economic solutions for various matters. These solutions are only one aspect of many of Socialism. So, to usocifrom this point of view only is an erroneous understanding which does not reach the depth the ideology, nor does it acquaint itself with the bases upon which socialism is founded, nor does it aspire to the distant hopes that Socialism aims at.

Socialism is a life ideology, not an economic ideology. It is an ideology which deals with economics, politics, upbringing, education, society, health, morality, literature, science, and history. It covers all aspects of life, big and small. To be a socialist means that you have a socialist understanding of all these matters, and that you are a socialist militant in all these aspects."

The author insists that this comprehensive view is not limited to socialism; it is the basis of the other social ideologies. The author motivates the comprehensive view of the social ideologies and the width of its extent, in the sense that it applies to all domains and has solutions to all problems, as follows: "... The reason behind this comprehensive view is that life itself is one whole matter and is a single current, which does not recognise the divisions that our minds create in order to make the understanding of the realities of life easier. While doing this, our minds forget afterwards that these divisions are of their doing and think that life was divided in such a way since infinity. Life does not know such a thing as economics which is isolated from such a thing as sociology, and such other thing as politics. Life is completely linked, but our incapable mind, which is infatuated with analysis and study, will not be able to undertake such analysis and study if it had to face life as one undivided entity. It has to divide life into aspects and states, and into kinds of relations, and calls part of it economics, another part politics, and other parts sociology, morality, religion, history and literature, science, and so forth to the end of this chain, if it does have an end... Life, is like a river, is one continuous and related entity. The same can be said about the life of any society, be it small or big, be it a nation or a family, be it a government or a political party. The attitude of a society towards political freedoms influences its attitude towards economics and economic systems. It will also influence its attitude towards political freedoms, and colonialism, and behaviour, education, literature, history and so forth to the end of this chain which never ends".

The author concludes by stressing this comprehensive characteristic of socialism and writes: "In this sense, the word 'socialism' becomes one that is not limited to reforming a particular economic situation only, but it conveys the notion of a complete outlook on life with all its aspects. In such case, socialism is not a particular economic situation, and does not only aim at a particular economic situation, but it is a socialist understanding of all aspects of life. Thus, when I say that I am socialist, I have stated my attitude not only towards the economic situation within which I am living, but also towards all aspects of life which affect me and which I affect."

It is this same line of thought that was followed in the book entitled The Socialist Call in Egypt during Nasser's period. They proclaimed it as a complete faith which organises all aspects of man's life, and guides his thoughts, behaviour, philosophy of existence and history.

We may take here the example of Kamal Ad Diin Rif at, the 'Secretary of Promotion and Thought' in the Arab Socialist Union, whose words were considered at that time, as the official view coming from the official leadership. He states in an article published by the Akhbar Newspaper of 18/31]962: "Socialism is not a fixed system, in other words, it is not a mere economic system, or a social system, or a political system. All these complete each other and make up the socialist thought or socialist system."

Dr. Jamal Sa'id, confirms this meaning in his book Arab Socialism and its Place in the Socialist Systems that "It, i.e. Arab socialism, is not characterised as an economic movement only, but as a human ideology and system, which aims at erecting a new society. It does not merely aim at the removal of the ownership of the means of production from the individuals to the state or the society as a whole. It is not merely control over the national economy and its orientation towards the interest of the overall population. It is not a mere social or economic reform, but it surpasses all of this to the extent of the theoretical and practical solutions to the problems of the individual and those of the society. It is the construction of a society in which all guarantees are insured, it is the society of self-sufficiency and justice, the society of work and equal opportunity, the society of productivity and services".

Some of the Arab authors explained what was meant by "Socialism as an ideology of life", and "a style of life" or "a philosophy which links all aspects of life"; so they said: "The meaning of this is that socialism deals with the life of the human in its totality, because it is a total philosophy as far as the issue of the universe and that of existence are concerned".

Another statement that was made in such context is as follows: " Arab socialism is a whole revolutionary theory, it does not only define the relationship of man with society, but it deals with his life as a whole. It constitutes a complete philosophy towards the issue of the universe and that of existence, assumes that man does not live on bread alone, is not satisfied by simply resolving the issue of his life with people, but aspires to the resolution of the issue of his existence and that of his fate. The socialist theory does not only constitute a solution to the problem of bread or that of freedom, but that of existence in general" ( This was quoted by Protessor Mohammed 'Usfuur A1 Muhaamii in an article which referred to Egyptian newspapers and magazines.)

Then my friend said: "Don't we often hear these people declaring that they respect religion or that they, at least, do not oppose it. So, how do we explain this when we see that they adopt another view or faith that pretends to include life in its totality, in the same way as religion does?"

I said: "The believers in these faiths and ideologies may say that they do not snub religion or deny it, but then, what is the religion that they do not snub? It is not a revelation from Allah that He has sent to command His subjects and to which they respond: "We have heard and we are obeying?" They never say that. It is referred to as 'the spiritual heritage', 'traditions', or 'the noble ideals' of the nation, or such shallow and flexible expressions which do not add anything to truth. The religion which is acknowledged by such people is one which obeys their theories, and toes their line, and whose advocates obey them, and which defends their faiths and ideas. That is how the hypocrisy of such people is uncovered, and how their strong enmity to religion appears clearly when religion opposes one of their principles or one of their beliefs. That is when they attack religion and declare war upon it and upon its advocates, by campaigns of false statements and disgraceful publicity sometimes, and by campaigns of assassinations, torture and separation. They want a religion that is tame, and one which plays the role of the obedient servant, not the obeyed commander. As to the true religion, they are as far from it as the sky is from earth.

The view of these people of existence is not similar to that of religion, their view of life is not that of religion, their view of man is not that of religion, and their high ideals are not those of religion. Their real god is matter, their heaven is luxury and their code of behaviour is selfishness.

As to what religion emphasises in terms of worshipping and fearing Allah, and relying upon Him and submissiveness to Him, and aspiring to His paradise, and tearing His punishment, are considered by these 'liberals' and 'revolutionaries' as 'reactionary' behaviour which should not be allowed to remain.

Theseideologies donot approve of the existence in their societies of those people who were described in the Qur'an as obedient: "Those who say: Our Lor! Lo! We believe. So forgive us our sins and guard us from the punishment of Fire; the steadfast, and the truthful, and the obedient, those who spend (and hoard not), those who pray for pardon in the watches of the night" (Surah 3, Verses 16-17 ) "And who spend the night before their Lord, prostrate and standing, and who say: Our Lord! Avert from us the doom of Hell; lo! The doom of hell; lo! The doom thereof is anguish, lo! It is wretched as abode and station" (Surah 25, Verses 64-66 ). Therefore do not be betrayed by what you hear and what you read about the faith of these people in religion and about their lack of enmity towards it. They only say that to flatter the religious crowds and win their hearts while awaiting for the opportunity that will allow them to break the neck of religion, following the adage which advises one to pretend that you are of your enemy's faith until you take hold of him.

This is the typical attitude of any revolutionary ideology towards any religion. It may be useful in this context to bring up the example of what happened in Germany and Italy between nazism and fascism and the catholic religion. This example will allow one to know what happens and what might happen in our country between Islam and the new revolutionary ideologies. In this case I am only quoting, and not deducing.

Nazism and fascism wanted to use religion in the service of revolutionary ideologies, and make it obedient of their commands. In each one of them, the ideology made a new claim, which overshadows everything and makes everything take a secondary role in comparison to it. All this is stated clearly in the writing of both ideologies, but especially in the writings of the Nazis.

An agreement was signed between the church and the Nassau government in 1933, after it had been impossible to link between the two, because the country, and any country for that matter, could not have two absolute faiths. So it was not easy for that agreement to draw the curtain on the fascist war between the two sides, in spite of the several attempts which both sides made to keep it discrete.

On the basis of the nazi propaganda, the young German generation used to grow believing in the absolute priority of the nation, and in the state being more important and greater than any religion, and that allegiance to the nation and the state takes priority over anything and any other religious allegiance (contemplate!).

Hitler used to be very careful of opposing or fighting against religion in an open fashion (contemplate carefully), but he gave the theoreticians of the party the freedom to express their opposition and their fight against religion.

Rosenburg, the nazi philosopher, drew a clear picture of the attitude towards religion of the new regime in his sayings: "When the national socialist puts on his shirt, and becomes one of the soldiers in Hitler's army, he discards his religion by his faith in his master". Knut also wrote: "Catholicism is one of the old remains of a decadent culture which time has excused".

The enmity of fascism and nazism towards religion was unclear at the beginning, because at the time they were fighting Communism, the open atheist. This is what misled many, and made many of the heads of the Catholic and Protestant church leaders stand in their side: because they saw in them a new meaning of religion. But the matter was the exact opposite of that. At the beginning they both followed a policy which was very far from the atheism of the Communist movement. Soon it became obvious to the observers that they only tolerated the existence of religion and the keeping of the churches as an instrument to serve the objectives of their new beliefs. Thus, we see that the fight arises between them and religion, when the latter tries to hold onto something which contradicts their faith.

Strategic political considerations may impose on the revolutionary movements - as it did on the fascists and the nazi - and to some extent on the communists - to make some settlements with the current religions. This strategy cannot, however, be compatible for a long period of time with their basic rule of opposition to religion. For these revolutions to take place, it is necessary for them to be opposed to religion, which itself claims comprehensiveness. There is no possible agreement between the two; and each agreement can only be temporary while waiting for the final battle, which must end in the absolute victory of one of them. The revolutionary ideology, is itself a new religion which competes with the other religions in the control of the souls of people. Thus, its life itself is linked with its final victory which it may be able to achieve over the religions (.Adapted from "The Revolutionary Ideology" by Dr. Nadim Al Baytar, pp. 742-746.)

Is it possible after all this for a religion which respects itself, to accept to coexist with these ideologies, or yet these new religions? How can this coexistence be if they do not accept to coexist with religion, and approve of its existence only as a servant, follower or instrument?

The original question is no longer valid if we discuss it in the following fashion: Is it possible for the Muslim individual or society to adopt a new religion such as socialism, or secular socialism. The answer is clear and known. Allah Almighty said: "Allah hath not assigned unto any man two hearts within his body" (. Surah 33, Verse 4.). "And seeketh as religion other than the surrender (to Allah) it will not be accepted from him, and he will be a loser in the Hereafter" (. Surah 3, Verse 85.).

 


The nationalist call in the view of Islam

My colleague asked me, "now that the attitude of the new ideologies and philosophies, which became religions without revelations, is clear to us, I would like to ask what is your opinion about nationalism?

I responded, what nationalism do you mean? Do you mean the Turkish Turanian nationalism, or the Syrian Phoenician nationalism, or the Egyptian Pharaonic nationalism, or the Iraqi Achouri nationalism, or the Moroccan Berber nationalism, or the Kurdish nationalism... ?

My friend interrupted me, "God Save me from those narrow national feelings which break the unity of the Arab nation, and split its entity, and create hurdles within it. There is only one nationalism for me, it is Arab nationalism."

I said: "You mean that there are kinds of nationalism, those which are allowed and those which are banned by religion. If it is the Syrian nation as that advocated by Anton Saada in Syria and Lebanon, Pharaonic as the one advocated by his likes in Egypt, Kurdish as the one advocated by some in Iraq, Berber like the one fabricated by the French colonialist in Morocco, all these are unacceptable. If nationalism is an Arab one as the one advocated by certain Khawaajat. or others this is a nationalism that is both allowed, clear, unambiguous and we have no objection to it.

We must first agree about the principle of nationalism and its legitimacy: Is it right or wrong, is it reasonable or unreasonable, can we accept it or reject it in whole or only in part?"
Then my friend said: "This is correct"
I said: "But before that, we must agree about the meaning of the word nationalism and its connotation. Pronouncing judgement on something before defining its meaning and its connotations with utmost precision, is hastiness and craziness that is not expected from reasonable people. In the past, men of logic used to say: judging something is part of its conception."

My friend said: "You are right again!"
I said: "The word qawmiyya (nationalism) is derived from qawm (folk), and the folk of a man are his kin, i.e. the people with whom he has blood and kinship relations, as is clear from the use of the Qur'an of the word in the context of the dispatching of the Prophets to their folk". Now kinship and genealogies have spread and separated in the land, to the point that there is no longer a nation this pure in its element, and pure in its genealogy. This is what perplexed the advocates of nationalism in their attempt to give it a precise definition, and in the definition of the basic components that make up the nation. Is it the land, ge, religion, language, history or interest? Or yet, is it just the will of a people to decide to live together? The advocates of nationalism in the Arab World have ignored religion in its function of the basis of national union. They are divided between those who rely upon the land relation as is the case of the advocates of Syrian nationalism, and those who rely upon the ethnic relation as is the case of the advocates of the Kurdish or Berber nationalism, and those who rely upon the linguistic link as is the case of the advocates of Arab nationalism.

No matter what the basis upon which nationalism is built, what does promoting it mean? If it means that man loves his folk, and that he works for their well-being, progress and rebirth, and that he does his best for their glory and honour, then it is a legitimate matter and is blessed and backed and defended by religion. If it means that the people unite, and that they stand hand in hand for the defence of their interests and they help each other in good deeds and faith, then blessed be such call for nationalism.

If it means unity against enemy strikes, and the attacks of the conquerors, then welcome and welcome. If it means freeing the country from occupation by its enemies, and the improvement of its welfare, then welcome and more. If it means ?

My friend said: "Can nationalism mean more than that?"

I said: "Yes, if the advocates of nationalism in our countries stopped at this point, the disagreement between us and the advocates of nationalism would be only verbal, and we would be with them on the basis of our religion. Religion considers these matters sacred obligations, which secure the freedom of the country and its development, the unity of the nation, firmness in the face of the enemies, etc... It also gives the family of the Muslim and his neighbours a right greater than that of the others over people, thanks to their kinship and proximity. But the truth is that, between us, the advocates of Islam, and the advocates of nationalism, as it is presented by its defenders today, a deep and wide gap, and the difference between us is real and radical. As a result of all this there is no possible intellectual agreement point between the two sides."

My friend, said: "What are the issues that you and the advocates of nationalism disagree about, I am referring here especially to the advocates of Arab nationalism?"

I said: "We disagree with the advocates of nationalism in many issues, which are crucial for them, but which Islam rejects. As it seems, their insistence upon such issues is an inevitable matter, because it is for them an ideological and theoretical necessity."

First: They consider nationalism a faith in which one must believe, and towards which one must declare allegiance, for which one must preach, and towards which one must be fanatic. They must also shun those who neither accept nor adopt it. It is a faith which requires allegiance, over and above any other allegiance, even if it is allegiance to Allah, His Prophet and His Book. Its love must be planted in the depths of our heart, and that should begin from the early age of a child, and that all feelings and emotions should be poured into it.

The system of government should be based within this national faith, and so must be the policy of the state, the methods of education and instruction, the means of culture and information. Their direction must be purely national, their one and only feature must be purely national, and they must rid themselves of all other features.

What we said earlier about nazi and fascist socialism and their like is what we are saying here. That is, they are new faiths and religions, which work towards controlling the hearts and minds of people and ridding them of old religion. What we are saying here is stated absolutely clearly in the writings of the advocates of nationalism today.

For instance, this is what a nationalist writer says:
"Arabic nationalist sentiment started to awaken in the hearts of Arab individuals at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century. The beginning of this movement was marked by the end of the foreign Turkish authority over Syria and the end of regionalism at the time. This movement was masterminded and led by some eminent Christians, who had no religious and faith linking them with the Turks or Muslim brotherhood. They had a European education which is based on the glorification of nationalism. Some of the first leaders of this movement were Dr. Faris Namr, Sheikh Ibrahim Al Yaziji and the Lebanese Professor Najib Al Azuri Al Lubnani.

In the mind of the Arab who is free, rational, noble, proper, good, and proud, the Arab question will only be an issue of faith in the nation for the sake of the nation, as is faith in Allah for the sake of Allah".

The writer defines Arabhood in a clear and explicit statement as follows: "Arabhood itself is a religion in the minds of Arab nationalists who are deeprooted Muslims and Christian believers, because it was founded before Islam and before Christianity. Arabhood advocates the noblest and divine feelings, morality, virtue and good deeds that can be found in heavenly religions."

The evidence, that Arab nationalism became in the minds of many of its advocates and those who believe in a religion and a faith that are equivalent to another religion and faith, lies in an article written by another nationalist author, which was published in the magazine Al Arabi of January 1959: "One of its first meanings is unity of all the best people of this land. Arab unity has to come from the hearts of all Arabs wherever they are and has to be like unity around Allah in the hearts of all believers."

In the same trend, the famous Egyptian literary author Mohammed Taymour writes: "If each era had its sacred prophecy, Arab nationalism would be considered the prophecy of this era in our Arab society. The message of this prophecy would be the gathering of strength, the strengthening of our front, and the release of human energy within the Arab society towards gaining the challenges of life".

The Arab authors have the responsibility to write about that prophecy, and support it with their writings, and strengthen it from the depths of their souls. They should make every effort in order to avail for it all the conditions of growth and progress.

Second: The unavoidable result of such nationalist faith is to find that the nationalists generally endeavour to preponderate the nationalist bond over the religious bond; thus one finds that the advocates of Arab nationalism prefer the non-Muslim Arab over the non-Arab Muslim. In fact, they reject the bond of faith, and they do not recognise its influence over relations and behaviour. This contradicts what the Glorious Qur'an states: "The believers are naught else than brothers" (Surah 49, Verse 10.) and what the Prophet's Tradition advocates: "Muslims are brothers of each other". The Qur'an orders us to step over any bond that opposes the faith of Islam and the bond of Islam. God Almighty states: "O ye who believe! Choose not your fathers nor your brethren for friends if they take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith. Whoso of you taketh them for friends, such are wrong-doers" (Surah 9, Verse 23) . He, Praised be the Lord, also states: "Thou wilt not find folk who believe in Allah and the Last Day loving those who oppose Allah and His messenger, even though they be their fathers or their sons or their brethren or their clan (Surah 59, Verse 22). Have you ever encountered a bond that is more endearing than the bond of the father with his son, or that of the son with his father. It is a bond that is blessed by religion, and whose ties it endeavours to strengthen. Islam gives due consideration to the noble feelings which flow from it, but it never allows it to become greater than the bond of faith, let alone oppose such , or stand in its way.

Cothe case of Noah who was rescued from the flood by Allah along with the believers. One of his sons refuses to believe in him and ride the safety boat with him. After that he tried to hold onto a rope in order not to drown, but he drowned anywayas there is no saviour from the wrath of Allah, except Allah. The feeling of fatherhood then overcame Noah (Be he blessed), and he wanted to intervene on his account with Allah: "And Noah cried unto his Lord and said: My Lord! Lo! My son is of my household! Surely Thy promise is the Truth and Thou art the Most Just of the Judges. He said: O Noah! Lo! He is not of thy household; lo! He is of evil conduct, so ask not of Me that whereof thou hast no knowledge. I admonish thee lest thou be among the ignorant. He said: My Lord! Lo! In Thee do I seek refuge (from the sin) that I should ask of Thee that whereof I have no knowledge. Unless Thou forgive me and have mercy on me, I shall be among the lost" (. Surah 11, Verses 45, 46, 47).
The divine response to Noah was firm and clear: "He is not of thy household; lo! He is of evil conduct". (Surah 11, Verse 46).

It is not enough to be beget by Noah in order to be his kin, but his people and allies are the virtuous believers. Therefore it is no surprise that Almighty Allah says about His bond with Abraham, the companion of Allah, after centuries of such bond and that only Allah Knows about: "And lo! Of his persuasion verily was Abraham, when he came unto his Lord with a whole heart" '(Surah 37, Verses 83, 84).

Abraham invites his father to the oneness of Allah with wisdom and good advice, and to give up worship of idols, which neither hear nor see or protect him from anything; and says at the end of his invocation in love and pity: "O my father! Lo! I fear lest a punishment from the Beneficent overtake thee so that thou become a comrade of the devil'(. Surah 19, Verse 45). So what does the father who was raised and grew in the context of paganism say? "He said: Rejectest thou my gods, O Abraham? If thou cease not, I shall surely stone thee. Departfrom me a long while! He said: Peace be unto thee! I shall ask forgiveness of my Lord for thee. Lo! He was ever gracious unto me" (Surah 19, Verses 46, 47). So Abraham fulfilled his promise and repented for his father: "And forgive my father. Lo! He is of those who err" .(Surah 26, Verse 86.)

But as soon as the stubboruness of the father and his insistence upon his unbelief became obvious to Abraham, the latter declared his opposition to his father for the sake of Allah. He also declared unequivocally his disdain to his father and his people in general, for the sake of Allah, and declared to Allah his innocence from the unbelief of his father and that of his people. This was registered for him in the book of eternity in explicit verses, "And when Abraham said unto his father amd his folk: Lo! I am imnocent of what ye worship. Save Him Who did create me, for He will surely guide me" ( Surah 43, Verses 26, 27.). "The prayer of Abraham for the forgiveness of his father was only because of a promise he had promised him, but when it had become clear unto him that he (his father) was an enemy to Allah he (Abraham) disowned him. Lo! Abraham was soft of heart, long-suffering". (Surah 9, Verse 114.).

Allah made from Abraham's attitude towards his father and his people a lesson for the believing generations from the start till doomsday when He said: "There is a goodly pattern for you in Abraham and those with him, when they told their folk: Lo! We are guiltless of you and all that ye worship beside Allah. We have done with you. And there hath arisen between us and you hostility and hate forever until ye believe in Allah only" (. Surah 60, Verse 60.).

Even if Abraham lost his bond with his father for the sake of Allah, in exchange, Allah has provided him with thousands who consider him as their spiritual father, and they pray several times every day for Abraham, and the folks of Abraham. Thus, the reason that severed the bond of Abraham with his unbelieving father is that which linked him with the believers and made them his sons after thousands of years. "Lo! Those of mankind who have the best claim to Abraham are those who followed him, and this Prophet and those who believe (with him), and Allah is the Protecting Guardian of the believers" (Surah 3, Verse 68). "The faith of yourfatherAbraham (is yours). He hath named you Muslims" (. Surah 22, Verse 78.).

If this is the stand of the Qur'an towards the bond between a father and a son when it is in contradiction with faith, then it should be stricter with bonds that are even less close and which are on other bases than faith and Islam? The Qur'an only recognises faith as a bond, and Muslim brotherhood as the bond between Muslims "The believers are naught else than brothers". As to the nationalists, they do not recognise religion as a gatherer or a separator of people.

The high ideal of nationalist advocates is clearly stated in the following verses composed by one of their poets:

      You should put your country ahead of all religions
      And only for its sake should you eat or fast,
      Accept a religion that leads Arabs to unity
      Carry my corpse over the religion of Abraham
      Greet unbelief which unites us
      And welcome be hellfire after that.

As to the Muslims and the believers in general, they consider such words explicit unbelief, opposing the basic elements of faith. They want us to equate Abu Lahab with Abu Bakr, and Abu Jahl with Omar Ibn Khattab, because they are equal according to the nationalist balance, but the Qur'an says: "Not equal are the owners of the Fire and the owners of the Garden" (. Surah 59, Verse 20.), "ls he who is a believer like unto him who is and evil-liver? They are not alike"(.Surah 32, Verse 18).

They want to deny us our interest in issues such as that of the Muslims of Kashmir, or that of the Muslims of Ethiopia, or that of the Muslims of The Soviet Union (20 million Muslims). At the same time, they themselves see nothing against their support for the Hindu Pagans against the Muslims. They also have no qualms about supporting the Greek Catholics in Cyprus against the Turkish Muslims, or supporting the Russian or Chinese Communists against the Muslim minorities whose numbers reach scores of millions (We have seen in the last few years that they have motivated the Russian conquest of Muslim Afghanistan, and stand in the front along with the conquerors against the heroic Muslim fighters who are defending their faith, land and honour.).

Third: We object to the nationalists' separation of religion from society and state. The nationalists call in general for a secular state and they confine religion to a narrow scope which does not go beyond the relationship of man to his God (this is only in the case when they recognise the existence of religion and its continuity). As to the role of religion in the guiding of the society, the regulation of the state, and the organisation of life, it is considered as a backwards situation, which is fought by all nationalists. One of them explains the function of Arab nationalism as follows:

"It fights ignorance, poverty, illness, tyranny and all forms of chauvinism except, national chauvinism. It separates religion from politics, and disallows men of religion from practising it. It also teaches the Arab, wherever he is, to be fanatic about two matters: his nationalism and righteousness."

What led them to that is that they have applied to Islam in the MiddleEast, what they have applied to Christianity in the West, and this is a fatal error. Islam is not like Christianity in its nature, history and its relation with society and life on earth. The Qur'an is not like the Bible, the mosque is not like the church and the scholars of Islam are not like the men of the church.

Christianity does not have a stated legislation of the state, or organisation of life. It is only a faith, a prayer and a code of individual behaviour. Its Bible is only a set of advice for the sake of instilling hope and fear in people.

All this did not prevent the church from interfering with the matters of goveand politics. It did not leave to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and

to Allah what belongs to Allah. It stuck its nose in everything. It backed kings, emperors and nobility against the lower social classes. So when the fires of revolutions broke out, they burnt the kings and the priests at the same time. The call of the revolutionaries was "Choke the last king with the guts of the last priest".

The interference of the church did not confine itself to the matters of government and politics, but reached even the fields of science and intellect. The church adopted every old theory, and fought everything that was new, and called for the assassination and corruption of the men of science and intellect.

The religion of the church (I am not saying the religion of Christ, because westerners did not know the religion of Christ at all) erected itself as an enemy of life, progress, science, freedom, justice and equality. So it became imperative for the westerners, as they were awakened by a whiff from the east through Andalusia and the crusades, to stand and fight for life, progress, science, freedom, brotherhood, justice and equality. They had to confront the enemies of all these qualities, who were unfortunately the representatives of the church there. It was natural and normal that this light which was spreading over that stagnant obscurity wins, and that people proclaim, after their victory, the removal of religion from daily life, and its separation from the government of the country and the guidance of the state.

So, can we allow this hateful dark period of history to be put over our heads, and that our religion bears the defects and mishandling of another religion in another country.

From its beginning, Islam was based on observation, thinking, the glorification of writing and reading, the distinction between those who work and those who do not, the denial of imitation and inertia and the following of thought, perseverance and passion. Throughout the history of Islam, there has never been any real conflict between religion and science, between imitation and rationalism or between legislation and wisdom.

This religion has never stood against life, light and progress, in fact it was the heart which provided the body with blood, the sun which provided society with light, and water which makes of every person a living being. The scholars of Islam themselves have never stood together to support a tyrant government or an unjust government. Instead, they were in general the leaders of the people in their big fights against invasion from outside and tyranny from within.

In summary my friend, the authentic nationalist -as described by these - is the one who discards religion from his reckoning, puts it on the shelf, or stores it in the storage of the wasteful consumer and, who does not benefit from it. The authentic nationalist does not commit himself in anyway towards religion, its values, beliefs and commandments. There is nothing that prevents him from borrowing from the materialists their way of explaining existence, from Epigorus his theory to explain morality, from Freud his theories to explain behaviour, from Marx his theory to explain history, from Durkheim his theory to explain social relations, from Sartre his ideology of literature and life. He never takes the time to ask himself whether these theories and ideas agree with Islam or not. It is obvious, that if they had known that these theories and ideas oppose Islam and Islam opposes them, they would have stuck to them tightly, and would have turned their backs on Islam.

Fourth: We oppose nationalists in their attempts to divide the Muslim nation, of which Allah wanted to make one single nation as stated in His Glorious Words: "And lo! This your religion is one religion" (Surah 23, Verse 52). "Ye are the best community that hath been raised up for humanity" (Surah 3, Verse 110).. "Thus We have appointed you a middle nation" (Surah 2, Verse 143) They wanted to divide this one nation into many, opposing each other and fighting over territorial borders. They also wanted to boast of ignorant fanaticism, and glorify brotherhood other than religious brotherhood, and other than Muslim brotherhood which Allah equated with faith in His Book. He even made of it His proof and token, and stated: "The believers are naught else than brothers" (Surah 49, Verse 10) and then He also said: "O ye who believe! yye obey a party of those who have received the Scripture, they will make you disbelievers after your belief"( Surah 3, Verse 100.). Meaning that after your brotherhood and your unity you will separate and fight, thus equating unity with faith and separation with unbelief, because it leads to it. In the authentic Hadith it is stated: "It is sinful for Muslims to insult each other, and unbelief to fight each other". "After my time, do not become unbelievers who cut each other's throat". These two Hadiths were quoted by Muslim. He also says: "If two Muslims meet with their swords, both killer and killed will go to hell" Then he was asked, "we understand the fate of the killer, but how about the killed?" "He had the intent to kill his opponent. " And this is agreed upon.

The logic of nationalism allows Muslims to fight each other. It also allows for them to spill each other's blood, because of the quarrels between the different groups, as we witnessed in the fight between Arabs and Turks in the First World War, under the manipulation undertaken by the English and even under their leadership. Even more surprising, we saw from close quarters the fight of the Arab nationalists with the Kurdish nationalists in Iraq.

If at the beginning of your comments you started by invoking the name of Allah, as an Arab, and by distancing yourself from the weak national minorities which tear the Arab nation apart, and weaken its entity, and erect obstacles between them, the same logic should dictate to you, as a Muslim, to invoke the name of Allah again and to distance yourself from narrow nationalism which tears apart the unity of the Islamic nation, and weakens its entity, be that nationalism Arab, Toranian, Persian or other.

Fifth: The notion of nationalism is a pre-Islamic and backward notion, which denies religion, and any religion, Islam or other, denies it.

That it is pre-Islamic, is because it revives chauvinism, which is one of the special features of the pre-Islamic period, and from which Islam and its Prophet distanced themselves completely as the Prophet (PBUH) said: "There is no one from us who advocated chauvinism, there is no one from us who fought for chauvinism, and there is no one from us who died for chauvinism " .

Revival of pre-Islamic chauvinism consists in the glorification of one's parents and pride in one's grandparents, even if they are viewed by Islam as the most unbelieving of the non-believers, the most sinful of the sinful, and the most deserving of the pains of hellfire, damned be such fate, like the ones who glorify Pharaohs such as Ramses, or Abu Jahl and his likes from the Arabs.

Al Tirmidii and Abu Dawud quoted Abu Hurayrah stating that the Prophet (PBUH) said: "Let those who boast of their dead parents to stop doing so, as their parents are the coals of hell, or in the eyes of Allah, Glory and Majesty to Him, they may be less than the scarabeus who pushedfaeces with his nose. Allah, Glory and Majesty to Him, has moved from you the insult of the pre-lslamic period, i.e. its boastfulness, and its pride in parents. Parents are either obeying believers, or wretched unbelievers and people are the sons of Adam, and Adam was born from dirt".

The scarabeus is an earthly creature and it pushes faeces with its nose. This is an example of insignificance and baseness, and in the eyes of Allah, being proud of one's unbelieving fathers who are no more than hell's coals and the fuel of fire is even lower than that.

A trustworthy man has related that one of the enthusiastic nationalists, called his son Lahab, so that people may call him Abu Lahab in order to revive the name of a pre-Islamic Arab leader: "The power of Abu Lahab will perish, and he will perish" ( Surah 111, Verse 1.). Tomorrow, we may hear that someone called his soJahl so that he may be called Abu Jahl; fohas its own ways.

And that it is backwards, is because it is an extension of tribal inclinations, and support for the fanaticism to the kinsfolk and calling for its support be it right or wrong. This is taking man extremely backwards, at a time when the only ties were those of the clan and when it alone guided and led the person according to its prejudices and traditions. After that the allegiance of man moved from the clan to the nation, then the divine religions took man to horizons that are higher and more convivial, and those are the horizons of universal humanness.

Emery River says in his book The Question of Islam, under the chapter 'The defamation of religion': "Worship of the nationalist state reached its peak in the fascist countries". But the misrepresentation of religion and its use for nationalist purposes were noticed in every nation.

The sacred and principled factor in Christianity is that it is universal and its principle is that people were born equal before God, and they submit to one God, and one law, which applies to all. This was a revolutionary idea in the history of humanity. The emergence of the nationalist state prevented this idea from having a principled influence.

At the time the new nations started to be established, the national feeling in the western world started to take priority over the Catholic feeling. The church had been divided and became even more divided into other sects, each of which supported the newly born high ideal of the nation.

It became recognised in every country that the nationalist policy is a Catholic policy, the Catholic churches became nationalist institutions, which backed the tribal instincts of the nationalist spirit. In thousands of churches, the Catholic priests and the Protestant preachers invoke God and ask him to glorify their country and to minimise others, even if this was in extreme contradiction with the highest ideals of religion that man had received.

The universal moral principle is neither moral nor universal, if it is only valid within groups that are isolated from other people. Therefore, the commandment 'though shalt not kill' cannot possibly mean that it is criminal to kill one of your compatriots, but that it is a virtue to kill a citizen of another country.

This kind of evolution can be witnessed in all three monotheistic religions. The unity that was preserved by the Qur'an for centuries amongst the Islamic peoples of different origins is now gone and the Muslim community is now divided into many small nationalities. Thus, the advocates of the Turkish League aim at the unification of specific Turkich ethnic groups, the advocates of the Arab League aim at the unification of the Arab peoples.

The Muslims in India say: "We are Hindu first, and then we are Muslims", and everybody has forgotten the universal feature that was the basis of the great religion of Islam. This situation is not confined to the Catholics and Muslims only, even the earliest unificators, the Jews, have forgotten the basic tenet of their religion, which is that it is universal. They want to worship with emotions which are characterised by their own nationalism, and their own national state.

No matter what kind of oppression or torture and no matter what extent thereof can one be subjected to, it cannot permit the rejection of a universal message defending nationalist feelings, which is another name for tribalism, which is the source of all their miseries.

It should be borne in mind that the greatest danger to the future of humanity is when it reaches the level of distortion which has blemished the universal faith of unity.

Without its influence, it would have been impossible for human freedom to establish itself in the democratic community, or that it remains, and there is no way to rescue the human community without universality. So, if the Christian churches do not return to their central principle, and consider it as such in all their dealings, then it will disappear before a new universal faith. This will emerge from within ruins and pains, which are caused by the appearance of nationalism which will no doubt emerge.

Sixth: The advocates of nationalism do not stop at the separation of religion and life. They stand in a position of enmity towards the Muslim faith, and opposition towards any strong Islamic movement, which works towards the return of an Islamic system, and calls for a return to its commandments, and principles, and unity under its flag. This enmity from nationalists towards Islam is logical for two reasons:

One: This enmity and opposition is a natural consequence of the introductions that we mentioned earlier in view of the fact that they are elements of a crisis of the nationalist movements or linked to them. Such a crisis resides in the prioritisation of the nationalist link over the relationship that is based upon religion, the minimisation of Islamic brotherhood, the call for a non-religious secular state, and opposition to Islamic unity, and the splitting of the Islamic nation into smaller nations and ethnic groups which oppose each other.

Two: These nationalist entities within our Islamic world are no more than seeds which have been planted, tended and grown by preachers and colonialists. The students who were recruited at the beginning to work for this cause were not Muslims and were used to bring down the Islamic Government in Turkey. Turkey had ridiculed the Christian West at one point in history, and then it knocked at the doors of Vienna in 1673. These students were also recruited in order to put a halt, through the creation of these new nationalist movements, to any aspiration to a future Islamic unity. It is no surprise, then, to see people like Antoine Saadah advocating a Syrian nation, Salama Muusa advocating an Egyptian nation, Michel Aflaq and George Habash advocating an Arab nation. It would be trying to make unnatural impositions if we demanded from these staunch Christian advocates allegiance to Islam, to the message of Islam and the brotherhood of Islam.

This danger started with the Toranian nationalist movement, which was adopted by the Party of Union and Progress, in Turkey, and ended by separating the Arabs from the State of Caliphate and by the break out of war between Muslim brothers, who were killing each other under the conception, leadership and guidance of unbelieving and crusading colonialists. The issue of the Arab revolution and the role of Lawrence within it is a living example.

The nationalist Turanian chauvinism bore fruit, so the Caliphate was cancelled, the great Islamic philosophy was destroyed, and the great Islamic nation was split into tiny nations and smaller entities which were related to many groups and nations, which cannot frighten anybody.

My friend said: But, weren't these ideas born within the Islamic nation, under the conception of the Muslim sons of the nation, and thus why do we link these ideas to foreign colonialists and make of these ideas the illegitimate daughters and not our legitimate daughters?

I responded: These ideas were effectively imported to our countries, and our enemies undertook with their own hands the planting of these ideas into our land, but were tended by their students and supporters and the slaves of their civilisation. So what we say is not of pure fabrication, but is recognised by these foreigners themselves and by the individual nationalists. This is also supported by history, reality and comparison between yesterday and today.

Professor Bernard Lewis, the chairman of the Department of History, at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London, states: "The Ottoman Empire was the last and longest lasting great world Islamic empires which governed the Middle-East since the time of the Rightly Guided caliphs. The basic allegiance of Muslim was to Islam, and to the state, which embodied the political reality of Islam, and to the Caliphate, which earned its legal character through allegiance throughout time, and which managed people's affairs. The opponents, rebels andrevolutionaries endeavoured to change ministers and governors and even the whole governing body, but attempted to change the basic allegiance to the state of Islam and the unity of its identity'' (. In the book The West and the Middle-East, pp. 108-109.).

When, he discusses the Arabs and their attitude within the Ottoman Caliphate he states: "They were aware of the fact that their language, culture, historical recollections of the Turks, but they never showed any serious interest to withdraw from the Ottoman state, never opposed the existence of a Turkish sultan. On the contrary, it is likely that they would have been estranged by the presence of some other person at the head of the Ottoman state. The idea of the establishment of the state on the basis of land and nationalist nation a strange and foreign idea to them to the point that the word 'aralua' does not have an equivalent in the Arabic language. Even the name Turkey was only invented recently by the Turks and it is of European origin. As to the Arabs, they have not invented a new expression, they only used the expression which refers to the Arabic Peninsula" (. The West and the Middle-East, pp. 109-110).

This is the way Muslims were, be they Turks or Arabs, before the ghost of National non-religious state haunted them. See how this wretched ghost infiltrated the ranks of Muslims? The same historian states: "Ethnic nationalism infiltrated the Muslim world from central and eastern Europe through various hands". Most of the first carriers were Dutch and Austrian refugees. When they first went to Turkey, after their revolution failed in the year 1848, a large proportion of them stayed there, and adopted Islam, and held important posts in the Ottoman state. One of them was Count Constantin Burzisky, who named himself later on Mustapha Jalal Eddin Pasha (!). In 1869 he published in Istanbul a book in French entitled The Turks Yesterday and Today. In the book there is a large section which consists of a report to the Sultan about the problems of the city in the Empire, and suggestions as to how to solve them. There is also a historical section which contains a study undertaken by European Orientalists about the ancient history of the Turkish people. This study confirms the positive and creative role of the Turks in history. Burzisky also made every effort to establish that the Turks are from the white race, like the other peoples of Europe, and they belong to what he called the Aryan Turanian race. He also worked toward the importation of a Polish-type nationalism and putting it in a Turkish mould. What helped him in such work is the exposition of the findings of European Orientalists who had undertaken research in Turkish affairs. These findings reached the Turkish society through different means, and had an important influence on the Turkish people, especially in the field of the evaluation of Ancient Turkish history, the belief in its distinguished identity and its deserved place in history. The Turks were more forgetful of their past history than were the Arabs and Europeans. The only identity they identified themselves with is Islam, but the Orientalists - deliberately or undeliberately - helped the Turks retrieve their lost national identity, and advocate a new Turkish movement" ( The West and the Middle-East, pp. 126-127.)

This attitude was initially not accepted by the Muslims when it first appeared, they denied it and fought it with great force and frankness.

When the Albanian nationalist movement started in 1912, it brought with it a protest campaign led by the poet Mohammed Akif, the Muslim nationalist who was an opponent of the movement of nationalist states. He was of Albanian origin. He said: Your religion is Islam, so what is this tribal nationalism? Are the Arabs better than the Turks or are the Ladh better than the Circassians and Kurds? Are the Persians better than the Chinese? What distinguishes them? What has preoccupied your minds? Are you dividing the Muslim world into smaller and numerous parts?

The Prophet himself discredited tribal chauvinism. The Turks cannot live without the Arabs, and whoever says other than this is foolish. The Turks are considered by the Arabs as their right eye, and their right hand. So let Albania be a warning to you. What is this insane politics, and what is this evil aim? Hear it from me, I am the Albanian. I will not say more than this. I am sorry about my afflicted country" ( op.cit. pp.l35-136.).

The Muslim Hindu poet and philosopher Mohammed Iqbal was in the same stand as Mohammed Akif. He realised very early the entry of this cancer in the Muslim body, and warned about its danger and bad influence. He said: "The idea of a nationalist state invaded us since the days when the notion of nationalist state was known neither in India or in the Arab world. Through my readings of the writings of European authors, I felt clearly since the beginning that the plans of the European colonialist aimed at advocating nationalist states in order to instil division within the ranks of people, because that is a lethal weapon, which they needed greatly. This need dictated the call for the principles of a nationalist state in Muslim countries, according to the European tenets. The aim was to destroy the existing religious unity among Muslims".

My friend said: If we call for Arab nationalist states, for example, we would solve a problem, that is more complicated than the tail of the bear. This is the problem of the non-Muslim Arab, who lives with us in our houses and on the same land, shares with us the happy and sad events, and shares with us our hopes and our pains. Within nationalist unity religious differences disappear, and the tribal knots are untied. So there would be no reason for anybody in the Arab world to say 'I am Muslim, or I am a Christian', everybody would just say: 'I am an Arab'.

I then said: That would be a real solution the day the Muslim sets his Islam aside, and the Christian sets his Christianity aside, and each one of them lives without religion. As long as the Muslim remains a Muslim, his religion will impose on him to have greater loyalty to it over any other loyalty, and faith in it over any other faith. He would also sacrifice for its sake every relationship and link that people hold onto. Suffice us as evidence for this Allah's Almighty verse: "Say: if your fathers, and your sons, and your brethren, and your wives, and your tribe, and the wealth ye have acquired, and merchandise for which ye fear that there will be no sale, and dwellings ye desire are dearer to you than Allah and His messenger and striving in His way: then wait till Allah bringeth His command to pass. Allah guided not wrongdoing folk" (. Surah 9, Verse 24.) and the Prophet's (PBUH) Hadith: "You become a believer only when you love me more than you love your father and your son and all other people." Anciently, the motto of the Muslim Arab was: "My father is Islam and I have no father but Islam; whenever they are proud of Qays and Tamim".

If the Christian remains a Christian, his religion also dictates to him that he makes his relationship with it stronger than any other relationship. In the book of Luke, it is said: "He who loves his father or his mother more than me does not deserve me, and whoever loves a son or a daughter of his more than he loves me, he does not deserve me either!" When Christ was told once: that his mother and brothers were outside waiting to talk to him; he said: My mother? Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? Then he pointed to his disciples and said: you are my mother, you are my brothers". Also, when one of his disciples asked to take leave in order to go and bury his father, he said to him: "Follow me and let the dead bury the dead."

Then, we can say that stating that the nationalist state issue has solved the problem of the differences between religions within the same nation is completely superficial and it is a case of political hypocrisy, which is interested solely in propaganda and information, not in the radical solution of problems.

My friend then said: "How do we solve the issue ofthe non-Muslim minorities in the Arab society." I replied, "In the same way as it has been solved over the last thirteen centuries or m. In other words, each person should stick to his own religion and its instructions, observe its rituals, under neither coercion, injustice nor hypocrisy. But the right of the majority of the people to be governed by the legislation of their choice should be maintained. This legislation should also coincide with its conscience and with its faith. Everyone from the minority and the majority - in this situation should be covered by the umbrella of the spirit of brotherhood, forgiveness, and fairness in rights and duties. This is not only political flattery, or social hypocrisy. It is a religion which does not allow the Muslim to violate it or ignore it, except if he is blinded by passion or delusion.

Islam, as far as the Muslim is concerned, is a religion, a faith and worship. As far as the non-Muslim is concerned, it is a culture and a civilisation. Thus, there are some famous Christians who called for the application of the legislation with more enthusiasm than that of some Muslims, such as the famous Syrian leader Faris Al Khuri, former Syrian Prime Minister (. Refer to the chapter entitled 'Islamic minorities and the Islamic solution' in our book The certainties of the Islamic solution and the ambiguities of the secularisation advocates).

This is our solution for the non-Muslim Arab, so tell the advocates of the nationalist state, how do you, nationalists, solve the issue of the non-Arab Muslim within the nation and outside?

You have called for nationalism for the sake of millions of non-Muslims within the Arab world, and you have forgotten that there are more millions of non-Arabs who live in this nation. Examples of these are the Kurds in Iraq and Berbers in North Africa. The only way to solve their problem is by a call for Islam and Islamic brotherhood. The example of the Kurds in Iraq is a tough lesson for the advocates of nationalism if they were knowledgeable.

And you have lost, for the sake of these few millions of non-Muslim Arabs, the allegiance of hundreds of millions non-Arab Muslims in Asia and Africa. These constitute the natural friends of Arabs, or even their full brothers in reality. This is because Islam is liable to impose on them the love of Arabs and their preference over themselves, since the Prophet who sent to them and to the rest of the world compassion is one of them. The Glorious Book came in their own language, and it is from them that the first protectors of Islam and its first leaders came. It is they who have brought them the light of Islam and the guidance of the Qur'an. It is in their land, that is the Arabs, that is located the Qaa'ba, the holy shrine, towards which every Muslim turns his face five times a day as an obligation from Allah, and he goes there at least once in his life, in response to Allah's order. It is also in the Arab land that we find the mosque of the Prophet (PBUH), and his noble shrine, and the Aqsa Mosque which Allah Blessed.

In the same way as the non-Arab Muslim is ordered by his religion to learn of the Arabic language what is necessary for him to make his worship authentic, and lead him to master it so that he can recite the Book of his God, and quote the Tradition of his Prophet. It is also necessary for a group of them to become experts in Arabic so that they may master their knowledge of religion, and enlighten their people.

The truth is that Islam Arabises the non-Arab Muslim, it Arabises his mind and his heart first, then it endeavours to Arabise his tongue and language. So if the African side includes today the great majority of Arabs - and they are from elsewhere than the Peninsula - that is only from the influence of Islam which entered that land - Egypt, Sudan and the region of the Arab Maghreb - and so, it moved them from their nationalities and their languages and old religions to a new religion and a new language - the religion of Islam and the language of the Qur'an.

We have seen in Pakistan, Somalia, Nigeria and other Islamic countries in Asia and Africa, that there are groups and organisations which undertake the teaching and spreading of Arabic for the sake of their love for Islam, and for the cause of the Qur'an. Those who have visited these countries (1 wrote this before I visited these countries and witnessed that myself) and mingled with its Muslim population told us that many of them wish to abandon their local language, and make Arabic the language of their daily communication and the official language of their country.

It is important to note here several lines from a valuable thesis on the problems of the teaching of Arabic in Nigeria, which was written by one of its loyal Muslim scholars. One of those who were blessed by God to have the opportunity to learn Arabic and also to be in charge of teaching it. His name is Professor Adam Abdullah Al Aluudii. He states in his thesis entitled 'The positive influence of Arallic on Islam': "Islam is distinguished over all other religions by the complete integration of the Arabic language into it. This situation accepts neither analysis nor disengagement. It is rare to find in the history of religions one that has contributed to the spreading of a language as is the case of Islam. The same distinction has allowed the Arabs the position of leadership, which is not disputed by any other nationality from the Muslim world no matter how strong is its faith, its understanding of the Qur'an, and faith in Islam. The Arabs stand for Islam - yesterday, today and tomorrow - in the same position as the soul does for the body, and the head for the arms. The following adage is absolutely correct: "If the Arabs are disgraced, Islam is disgraced, if the Arabs are glorified, Islam is glorified".

"The Arabic language spread with the spread of Islam, thus Arabic predominated Romance in Syria, and Farsi in Iraq, Copt in Egypt, Berber in Northern Africa. Islam has removed their native language from the cells of their tongues, and taught them Arabic, which they enjoyed, mastered and through it became Arabised as was Ismail, God's blessings upon him, the first Arabised Arab. As a result, Arabic coexisted hand in hand with the national languages in some countries like India, Turkey and Western Africa."

As to the theory advocating the separation of the Arabic language and Islam, it is the same as that which advocates the separation of religion and state. This first appeared in the Muslim world in a weak fashion, and soon became an important issue arousing many apprehensions, in the same way as an evil starts small and then becomes a blazing flame after the b'owing of the winds."

What made the African and Nigerian like the Arabs secularise his language? What made him prefer Arabs over his folks, and prefer their language over his? Why did he make of them the leaders in the Muslim world in the east and the west of the earth? It is Islam alone. It is surprising how we sacrifice our links with all the Muslim peoples in Asia and Africa, and we present their brotherhood and love to us as a sacrifice on the altar of nationalism.

I visited Turkey after the June 1967 Defeat, I found that the brotherly people of Turkey, especially its men of religion, was boiling with anger against the Jews and in support of the Arabs, in spite of the efforts that colonialism and Masonism and others made in order to tear apart the links between the Arabs and the Turks.

I was also told by some members of the delegation of Iraqi scholars, who were visiting the Islamic countries after the disaster of 1967, how they were greeted by thousands and tens of thousands of people who were advocating holy war, and demanding to be given the opportunity to contribute with their blood and participate in the saving of the first of the two kiblahs and the Third of the Sacred Mosques. This delegation was hardly able to free itself from the thickness of the enthusiastic and angry crowds.

It happened that one member of the delegation was lecturing in one of the celebrations in Pakistan about the brotherhood equality advocated by Islam, how it equated between the Arab and the non-Arab, and how it made them as equal to each other as are the teeth of a comb. One of their leaders stooand said, "As far as we are concerned, we say that the Arabs are our masters, our guides, those who brought Islam to us, and without them we would have been pagans."

Professor Liwaa' Mahmood Shayit Khitab relates that the Afghan Ambassador to Baghdad said to him after the June 1967 defeat "When Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan fell in the hands of the Afghan tribes which surrounded it from each side, its people were acclaiming "Our masters the Arab have been defeated, the Jews have occupied the Noble Quds, and that led us to the holy war. They arrested the Afghan Foreign Minister, and tried to slaughter him like they would slaughter a lamb".

The support for the Arab from the Muslims was not limited to the peoples only. It spread to the leaders and presidents who are not moved by nationalist or atheist biases. The Pakistani President Mohammad Ayyub Khan said, "We have two problems, the problem of Palestine and the problem of Kashmir, and we will not recognise Israel even if the Arabs did so. The late Nigerian leader and Prime Minister martyr Ahmed Oubellelou was asked by the editor of a newspaper, Would you accept to confront the Israeli Foreign Minister? He replied, "Yes, with one single condition, that I get to shoot him". Mr. Adan Abdullah, the President of the Republic of Somalia said, "Israel is our fiercest enemy, and we would not be satisfied with less than pushing it into the Ocean" ( These passages were quoted from newspapers by Liwaa' Khitaab in his book The way to victory in the battle of vengeance, p. 471.).

If the governments of some Islamic countries have ties with Israel, then that is the fruit of the tree of the nationalist secular ideology which is cursed in the Qur'an and the Tradition. The closer these governments got to Islam the closer they got to the Arabs and the farther they became from Israel.

It is certain that the attitude of all the Muslim peoples are with the Arabs in their heart and their mind, no matter what the attitude of their governments towards the Arabs or Israel is. So is it in our interest or is it reasonable that we lose the support and help of five hundred million Muslims in the Islamic world for the sake of a few million non-Muslims in the Arab World? The language of numbers says no and again no.

Then I said to my friend: "Do you want me to be frank with you?", He said, "As they say, ease is in being frank". Then I replied: "If you want me to be frank, I will say that most non-Muslims in the Arab world do not distinguish very much between Arabhood and Islam. Arabhood in their minds is confused with Islam, not distinguished from it. In these people's minds Islam is Arab and Arabhood is Islamic. The theoretical distinction between the two does not convince them. And the argumentative persuasion does not satisfy them. Those of them who are well-meaning towards Islam are also well-meaning towards Arabhood. Those who are ill-meaning towards Islam, are scared from it, or feel hatred towards it, have the same feeling towards Arabhood."

"Do you want me to give you an example?". My friend said: "Yes, examples explain abstract ideas, and dot the i's." I said: "You might remember Anton Saadah, the founder of the Syrian nationalist party, who is known for his frank enmity towards Arabhood and Arab nationalism. Do you know the underlying secret of this enmity? He has explicated it somewhat in some of his articles and statements, as when he said in one of his published articles in the twelfth volume in the series of social and national research the following:

As I stated earlier, I consider Islam to embrace also Christians and wise men; therefore Mohammedan partisanship, I mean Islamic Mohammedanism, is the new backwardness coating for Arab Nationalism, and I brought two basic pieces of evidence. The Arabic Language and the Mohammedan religion, which were spread by the Arab and Mohammedan conquest."

Relating Islam to Mohammad and considering Muslims to be Mohammedans is one of the ideas of Orientalists and preachers as it is wellknown.

In one of his lectures which was included in the Newsletter of Instructions and Explanations of the ideology, he states, that there is a world named the Arab World, and the reason for calling it thus is basically linguistic and religious. So there is a world that is of Arabic tongue and we can thus proceed and say, a world that is Arab by religion because it took much from the environment, needs and psychology of the Arabs. It is the most important factor that links between the nations of the World of the Arabic Language. p. 113.

One of the strangest psychological hang ups and its influence on this man is that he used to plead for the unification of Syria and Iraq under the name of the 'fertile crescent'. He adopted this name and used it for several years. And then in the last few years of his life, he felt like fighting this idea and its name with a heated article entitled: 'We are Syrian, not Fertile Crescentinians'. What is the reason for this? He remembered that the crescent is considered in Europe as a symbol of Islam. So, he figured that the advocates of the unification under the Fertile Crescent only leaned towards this idea under the influence of religious chauvinism and Mohammedan Partisanship.

This is how you can realise, dear friend, that neglecting Islam in order to please the non-Muslim minority in the Arab world has the following consequence: that the Muslims lose their Islam without gaining the nonMuslims, while the true Muslim is one who does not sell his religion even to own the east and the west. He does not buy the wrath of God even with the satisfaction of the entirety of the earth dwellers. So how can he sell his religion for an impression which has no reality, and with a mirage that the thirsty man sees as water until he gets to it and finds that it is nothing ?


Returning to Islam, between the hopeful and the despaired

My friend said: "I do not deny that advocating true Islam and returning to its commands, and its morality, as well as clinging to its faith and laws, is a call to something truly good and exhilarating. But it is beautiful and exhilarating only in a world of ideals and poetic imagination and transcendence. As to the world of truth and reality, it is a call without hope, it is also a call for a system without future, and whose application is hopeless. So why exert ourselves for something that is vain? Why sow, tend, water and labour without any hope of fruit or crop? Is it not better for us, if we are practical, to face reality and to adopt one of the more recent ideologies, and import one of the ready-made and current systems. We then build our life upon it and ride the advanced train of life and make our life and that of the others easier?"

I said: "Take it easy, my friend. If we are aspiring to a superficial and easily reachable rest, then the fastest way is looking for charity and asking the others. Such situation is led to in the case of weakness of determination, and of the self. The result of this is disapproval from Allah and from the people. So then what happens when we run out of the principles and methods that we begged from others as you are suggesting?

If we do that we incur the wrath of God, and waste our religion, deny our history, lose our authenticity and personality. We also become tags to others, we follow them but nobody follows us, we are led by others and lead nobody. In spite of all this, these imported principles will not be able to solve our problems, or achieve the balance that we aspire to, and the happiness we hope for our society. The reason is that such principles have not been able to secure happiness for the people who developed them, so how can they secure happiness for others. Whoever has lost something cannot give it.

Even if we accept that such principles have made their people happy, they will be incapable of achieving such happiness for our people, because they are like a garment that was manufactured for a body other than ours. It is a medicine that was mixed for ills other than ours, as a pain killer that only relieves momentarily but is followed by strong pains and chronic ills. So, how can we expect decisive cure from such medicine, when we have medicine that has made its proof, and provided definite cures. We even have a life and soul elixir, we have Islam!!"

My friend said, "I am not denying all the truth, virtue and goodness that Islam contains, but I see that in our age it is a hopeless matter as I said earlier. I see that it is a call without hope. To be frank, we the younger generations look for some ideology that would fill our hearts with hope, hope in victory, in the near future. And, hope is life, and despair is death. We as humans and young people fear death and love life".

I said to my friend, "What is it that has made Islam become without future, and return to it a hopeless matter? Taking such a decision in such a serious matter with such haste and such ease is a great negligence on the part of Muslims. It is also a hastiness in judgement which is acceptable by neither logic nor science, and is backed by neither reality nor history."

My friend said, "Logic, science, reality and history all back what I say, and I have proofs and evidence." I said, "Say what you have to say".

He said, "If we look at reality, we find in front of us several hurdles on the path of return to Islam. Some of these hurdles, are mental, others are practical, others local and yet others are external. I will discuss them one after the other.

The first hurdle: We are in an age when the whole world has freed itself from religion, a world which has given itself up to experimental and materialistic science. It has separated religion from state and from life, which has led it to achieving happiness and progress and realising miracles or near miracles. So, are we going to stand alone in the world, preach for religion and cling to it and receive from all sides continuous accusations of backwardness and stagnation? Or can we persuade modern man who has shattered the atom and conquered space to give up the acquisitions and victories which he has achieved under the banner of science, and let his boat be guided once more by religion, a religion which has stood before in the way of science and scholars?"

I said: "Have you finished your comments about this hurdle?" He said: "Yes". I said: "Do you mind if I replied to each hurdle directly as you finish your comments, so that we do not confuse them?" He said: "No". I said: "Before I explain my point of view, I would like to ask you the following question: Do you want to reach the truth? Or do you want your opinion to win and achieve victory?" He said: "I hope that reaching the truth is the goal of all of us, otherwise, there would be no good in our search". I said: "So listen and consider all that I say." He said: "I am all ears, mind and heart with you."

I said: "What you said about the world freeing itself completely from religion and accepting the materialistic civilisation is not correct. How can this be correct, when the origin of religion is an inherent instinct in the human soul? How can this be correct, when the need of the human soul to religion is like the need of the human body of food, water and air?

Materialistic civilisation has not fulfilled all the needs of the human soul, or satisfy its hopes and aspirations. It has not explained the essence of its life and the secret of its existence, nor has it quenched its thirst for eternity. All this does not constitute the function of materialistic civilisation nor that of materialistic philosophy, but it is the function of religion.

The reality is that people feel that their need for religion grows daily, and that their grudge towards the materialism of civilisation, its instruments and extremism grows at the same rate. So, they complain about the emptiness, boredom, futility and aimlessness of their hectic and tumultuous life!

Science has provided them with the means of life, but did not provide them with its aims. It embellished its superficial appearances, but did not take them to its depths and secrets. It has provided them with pleasure, but did not make them achieve tranquillity, which is the key to happiness. The most eloquent expression of that is what one of the Hindu thinkers said to a European thinker: "You have been able to fly in the air like birds, and to ride in the oceans like fish, but have not been able as yet to walk on earth like a human being!!" Tagore and Iqbal have expressed this idea in their poetry upon many occasions.

My friend said, "It may be said that these are oriental thinkers whose judgement upon a western civilisation cannot be accepted, since it may not suit their oriental taste and their Sufi spirit.

I said: "I will give you a judgement of one of theirs. Read the comments of the Austrian westerner Leopold Weiss, who became Muslim and called himself Mohammed Assad, in his book Islam in the cross-roads, and read the comments of the French philosopher Rene Genou, who also became Muslim and named himself Abdul Wahid Yahia, in his book The crisis of the modern world and its need of the message of Islam.

My friend said: "In spite of the fact that this opinion has come from Europeans, it is weakened by the fact that they have become part and parcel of the Muslim world".

I said: "They have adopted Islam after they have wiped their hands from the bankrupt western civilisation. Beside this, there are the judgements of many other Europeans and Americans who have not given up their religion and have not adopted Islam. Suffice it for you to refer to what Dr. Alexis Carrel has written in his book Man, that unknown creature, and Dr. Henry Link in his book The return to faith, and Colon Wilson in his book The fall of civilisation, and Ale Ben Johnson in his book Education for a baffled World, and Twinby in his book A search in history. Itwould also be sufficient to read what newspapers publifrom time to time about the defects of western civilisation to see that this civilisation is withdrawing and receding. The reason behind its regress and bankruptcy is its straying from the spirit of true religion and its squandering of all characteristics of man.

So, if the West confined religion within the walls of the church, and did not allow it to express itself more than a few hours every Sunday, an expression which is no more than an inauthentic, formal and official function, man in the West has started to feel the dire need for religion and feels that he needs a religion that would give him peace of mind and uprightness in life. He also feels that such a religion should not deprive him from his achievements in science, the discoveries of civilisation, and the power of the machine. He also wants a religion which does not inhibit his mind, and frustrate his feelings, hurt his instincts, deprive him from the pleasures of life!! The enmity of the West toward religion was an enmity toward the religion of the church, not toward the religion of Allah.

When the West separated religion from the state, as it is claimed, it separated the church and the clergy from government when they sided with the kings against the peoples, and with folklore against science. That is why the people rebelled shouting: 'choke the last of the kings with the guts of the last of the priests'. In spite of all this, the church continued to pull the strings in many aspects of politics. Many states and political organisations continued to feed colonialist preaching, at the same time, the church and its structures continued to support the preaching colonialist. We still find in Europe nowadays political parties which are called Christian parties as in Germany, Italy, Belgium and other countries. Some of these parties ran their countries more than once. The Conservative Party in Britain states that its aim is to establish a Christian civilisation.

So, why should the Muslims be the only ones to be afraid of being accused of clinging to religion or returning to it?" This is at a time when the status of religion in our countries is not the same as theirs, the history of our religious scholars is not the same as the history of the churchmen in Europe, and the attitude of our religion towards science is not the same as theirs. In our countries, no dispute ever arose between religion and science. We did not have any inspecting courts which called for the burning of scientists, and the ripping apart of their bodies with poles and nails and for the trial of their corpses after their deaths. When we call people to our religion, we do not ask them to give up their civilisational acquisitions and scientific achievements, and thus give up electric light for the oil lamp, or the airplane for the camel, the boat of the desert. We do not ask him to give up the plants of experimentation and observation and follow delusive imagination. For us, learning useful science is a must indeed, be it a science of religion or a science of worldly matters. Some of it is a collective duty and some of it is an individual duty. Also, a Muslim should not stop seeking knowledge wherever he goes. Muslims should not pay attention to where the science comes from, it is his aim and should acquire it wherever it is available. The only condition that Islam sets is that science be used to back truth, support virtue, oppose the spreading of injustice and evil, and the strengthening of decadent behaviour. It should also go against the destruction of man. When we invite people to adopt Islam, we do not invite them to folklore, incapacity or inertia. We do not call for a state of clergy or government of dervishes. When we call to Islam, we call for a true scientific method, sound logical thought, and useful humanistic work, noble humanistic creativity, and virtuous social solidarity, just world peace, and idealistic humanistic civilisation. A civilisation which integrates mind and matter, accommodates between spirit and heart and establishes fairness between the individual and society, and brotherhood between man and man. Before all this it should strengthen the link between Allah and man.

Religion in our life is neither a secondary matter, nor a matter that is on the margin of our existence. It is the first instructor of our ideas and feelings, and the first educator of our morality and traditions, and the first source of our faith and philosophy of life. It flows in us in the same way as blood flows in our veins, and flows in our life in the same way as sap flows in lively and healthy branches. Even if all nations decided to give up religion, we would never give it up because it is thanks to it that we exist and we cannot exist with anything else."

Then I turned to my friend and exclaimed, "I assume that what I have said has sufficiently shed light upon your first hurdle", he said "Yes, this is enough!" "So, let us move to the second hurdle", said I. My friend said "

The second hurdle: resides in 'the weakness of the Muslims today and their backwardness in many domains'. This has thrown on the shoulder of Islam itself the consequence of their real or untrue backwardness and weakness. This has put the advocates of Islam in a position that cannot be envied. Had the principle that they advocated been a source of wealth, happiness and strength, it would have been reflected on its people, but they rank at the tail of all nations. "

"You should say that not the slightest fraction of the weakness and underdevelopment of the Muslims today can be blamed on Islam at all. Islam could have been blamed if all Muslims today were clinging to their religion, following its morality, applying its laws, respecting its divine ordinance, be they governments or peoples. But there is a consensus about the opinion that Muslims are very far from true Islam. History also witnesses that when Muslims were true ones, they governed the world, conquered empires, subjugated tyrants, ate from above them and from under their feet, and they received the blessings and goods of the heavens and the earths.

Whoever follows the tides in the history of Islam will find that its high tides, victory and strength always coincide with periods when the Muslims are following the strict rules of Islam under the guidance of a religious imam or the influence of a leader, or commander, who renovates for the nation its religion, as clearly witnessed during the days of Omar Bin Abdulaziz, Salah Ed Din A1 Ayyubi, and their likes.

This leads us to the conclusion that the drastic cure for the weaknesses, splitting and decadence that Muslims suffer from today can only consist in their return to true Islam, as was advocated by the original renovators of Islam such as Jamal Ed Din, Al Kawakibi, Mohammed Abdouh, Rashid Reda, Iqbal, Hassan Al Banna, Sadiq Arrafii, Abbas Al 'Aqqad, and their likes of amongst thinkers and reform advocators.

The third hurdle: The enemies of Islam My friend said: "I accept what you said, but I will mention to you one of the strongest and most dangerous hurdles, and I am sure that you will agree with me about it." "I wish you'd hurry and tell me what this hurdle is," I said.

He said: "You believe, as I do, that the forces opposed to Islam, and who feel enmity towards it, inside and outside the country, are groups which are large and strong in both number and means. These forces would not allow Islam to return to its original strength in the same way as its advocates cannot resist to them, they are weak in number and means and have support from neither east or west. But we see that while these forces might disagree in many matters, they start to agree and unite when the enemy is Islam. As to the new ideologies which I suggested that we should import at the beginning of our discussion, each one has a number of countries which support it, and alliances which defend it and even feed its advocates thought and culture as well as planning and financing. They also provide them with support and apparent and latent protection. How are the advocates of Islam preparfor this? They are fought by parties and governments, and they are also fought by leftwing forces and ill-treated by right wingers. The modernists accuse them of narrow-mindedness and the narrow-minded accuse them of leniency in their interpretation of Islam. All the groups of different colors and inclinations of world Zionism, international communism and colonialist Christianity stand in their way. And thus, you see that as soon as they emerge from one hole they fall in one that is similar or even deeper. And they hardly dust the dirt from one catastrophe that they meet another one or one that is of greater obscurantism"

I said: "What you mentioned is 100% correct. But this should not prevent us from advocating for our religion or stop us from working for its cause. We all agree that these forces which oppose Islam and its call are vicious and unjust forces, which want no good for us, nor sovereignty for our nation. These are forces which are moved by their hatred, greed and ambition towards us and fear from our awakening and our union around Islam.

I disagree with you completely when you consider that the enmity of these forces to us is a hurdle which prevents us from action and makes us despair. I consider it as an incentive which makes us resist and endure. I also consider it as a whip which burns our backs and makes us continue and persist in fighting. The enmity of these vicious forces inside and outside the country makes us more intent and more insistent upon our call and more protecting towards it. These forces only oppose righteousness, fight goodness, and resist enlightenment. It is appropriate here to quote the Arab poet when he says:

My love for myself has increased on account of the fact that I am hated by unavailing people. I am miserable because of the evil ones And that makes of me a man of noble qualities". (Tarmah Ben Hakim, a genuine Islamic poet from Tayyi'. He was born and grew in Syria and died around 125 H.)

My friend said: "I agree with you that these forces are wrong, and that their opposition to the Islamic call is strong evidence that Islam is a call for righteousness, virtue, and enlightenment. What I say though is that this righteousness has a weak sting, inadequate protection and dented weapons, so how can we hope that it will rise and fight. These hellish forces set up against it every obstacle, and closes all paths for its advocates and sows on their way pricks and mines."

I said: "The basis of this logic is unacceptable to the advocates of righteousness and message carriers. They do not measure people by height and width, nor evaluate matters on the basis of quantity and size, nor weigh strength by number and means. How many a little company hath overcome a mightly host by Allah's leave, and how many a people overestimated their arms and their military strategy and " thought that they were shielded Jrom the wrath of Allah by their shields, but Allah reached them from a place whereof they recked not".

When man believes in the righteousness that he is advocating, and faith has settled in the depths of his heart, he no longer pays attention to the forces that are opposing him and that stand in his way. Righteousness is a force in itself, even if the whole world is against it. Its fate at the end is victory if its advocates insist upon it, and also if they resist and resist for its sake. Falsehood is shallow, short of breath and easy to discard, "Then, as for the foam, it passeth away as scum upon the banks, while, as for that which is of use to mankind, it remaineth in the earth" (. Surah 13, Verse 17).

Had the Messengers of Allah, and the advocates of reform paid attention to the forces opposing them, no message of righteousness or of goodness would have ever been able to claim victory. Unfortunately, the majority of humanity follow passion and are inclined to falsehood. This is what was decided by the God of humanity when He said that the majority of people knoweth naught, ... remembereth naught,.. believeth naught.."If though obeyedst most of those on earth they would mislead thee far from Allah's way" (Surah 6, Verse 116.).

When Mohammed, the Messenger of Allah, started to spread his word to all people in general and to the Arabs in particular, he started to advocate a religion that was not theirs, a view that was not theirs, a system other than the one they knew, and morality that was different from theirs. Did the fact that everybody was against his message and against the minority that believed in him and followed him and the fact that the Arabs threw arrows at them all, stop him from spreading his word? Is there any message that was successful and victorious that did not have to face opposing forces and adversary alliances? Consider how communism and other destructive ideologies were victorious, and they had only few people on their side and limited means.

So how can we demand from Islam alone in this era to appear among encouraging and supporting forces that would be patting its shoulder and applauding its advocates, and hailing its supporters with cries of: welcome, welcome?!! If we evaluate more seriously the weight of the forces that are with us and those that are against us, we will find that the scale of Islam is superior in weight, thanks to Allah.

a - Thanks to Islam, we have secured a great asset, which is impossible to be earned by another call. Behind Islam there is the strength of its considerably large population, which believes in its God, Qur'an and Mohammed, and which is looking forward to someone who will lead it in the name of Allah and put its hand in the hand of the Messenger of Allah. Then, they will give generously with acceptance and happiness, and give their soul willingly and with tranquillity. This nation is instinctively and historically religious. Religion is the key to its personality, the polisher of its talents and the maker of its heroism and the secret behind its great victories. It responds to religion and rallies around it more quickly than any intrusive call that is brought by a usurping colonialist, or sown by a malicious and greedy person.

b - We also master the strength of the system that we advocate, the strength of the great eternal principles of Islam. We also control the strength which lies in its clarity, comprehensiveness, depth, its balance and influence. Islam is a faith that addresses the mind, and a worship that blesses the soul, a morality that suits our instincts. It also consists of commandments that achieve fairness and justice, fight decadence, draw benefits, and give to each his rights.

Among the most salient characteristics of the strength of Islam is that it is not the creation of man, but it is a revelation of the God of all humans. The divine aspect of Islam has cleared it from exaggeration or negligence, and from deficiency and incompleteness which usually affects every system that humans create for themselves.

This distinction allows the general public to access it and be compliant with it more easily, because it is a guidance for a man by a God who has created and straightened him. He also provided him with his blessings, and covered him with His compassion. Man also aspires to His requital and fears his punishment.

This is the opposite of the conventional principles which man obeys only out of fear or greed and from whose imposition he tries to escape as far as he can.

Among the reasons for the strength of Islam is that it is a system which flows from the depths of the nation. It is neither an intrusion nor an imposition upon it which would need financial or moral pressure in order to understand or accept to swallow its message.

c - The strength which the principles of Islam contain is equalled only with the strengths which are inherent in the heart of the Muslim nation. Such strength is the one which erupted the day Muslims were weak, dispersed and disappointed. It is thus that it destroyed the crusaders in Hittin, and defeated the Tatars in Ain Jalout and imprisoned Louis IX in Dar Ben Loqman in Mansoura.

Allow me to mention to you a contemporary example about the inherent streof Islam. The example is that of Turkey, which Ataturk and his party wanted to disrobe from the cloth of Islam, its morality, traditions, legis, language and all that is related to it. He banned the head cover, and even the writing. He made the European hat a compulsory head cover, and imposed the Latin alphabet as the one to be used in writing. He forbid talk about religion even in private, he allowed the Muslim woman to marry the Jew or the Christian and even gave equal inheritance rights to man and woman. He made all the laws totally European, even the laws concerning personal statute. Islamic and Arabic cultures were banished, their people were fought, and even murdered. So people thought that the Sun of Islam had set for ever on Turkey, and that the shade of Islam over it had shrunk for good. After that scores of stagnant years went by, and they could have killed the feeling of Islam in peoples' hearts, and let rampant despair fill its place.

But, we still read and hear about the strength of the spread of Islam there, and the decrease of atheism and permissiveness and the diminution of their call day after day, in spite of the material and moral possibilities that they have, and the amount of internal and external help that its advocates receive.

The religious rebellion that was recently witnessed in Turkey has led to the downfall of the Kamal Party and the rise of the Justice Party, which has a clear Islamic inclination.

The greatest characteristic of this religion and its influence on its nation is that it becomes strongest, most powerful and becomes the most established and most prominent when catastrophes hit it, dangers surround it, dejection overcomes its people, its paths narrow, and help and support become scarce.

It is then that Islam realises its miracles and life emerges from Iying bodies. It is then that the blood of strength flows in the veins of its people, and the soldiers of truth erupt like a jinn from the bottle. Then, the sleeping ones awaken, and the drunks sober up, and the weaklings are encouraged, and the dispersed gather up. Then, the continuous and consequent drops from here and there turn into an overwhelming flow, which is stopped by neither hurdle nor dam. All this appeared clearly on the day of the apostasy at the dawn of Islam, after the death of the Prophet (PBUH), and the appearance of the liar and the impostor prophets, such as Musaylimah, Sajaah., Al Aswad, Tulayha, and their followers out of tribal feeling and not conviction. One of them even said, "By Allah, a liar from Rabiah is to us preferable to a truth teller from Mudar."

After the apostasy of these appeared another group of Arabs, who believe in the prophecy of Mohammed and the prayers but does not recognize almsgiving either as a worship or as an obligation to anyone after Mohammed. It is thus that Abu Bakr, the tearful, gentle and humble man, had to stand as a towering mountain and insist on fighting everybody until they returned to the true religion of Allah, at a time when most of the disciples were telling him, "O, successor of the Messenger of Allah, stay in your house, worship your god, until you receive certainty. We are unable to face war with all the Arabs." Among these there was Omar Farouk, in whose face Assiddiq roared as if he were a lion: "Does the giant of the pre-Islamic period become a weakling under Islam, Omar?", "How can you come with defeat, at a time when I am expecting your victory?? "

"By Allah, if they refuse to give in charity a cord that they used to give during the time of the Messenger of Allah I would fight them over it, and would not leave the sword in your hand."

And then there was what Assiddiq ordered when the militia of Allah went out to punish the rebels, and bring back the stray ones. They had to relinquish to the poor their right through the use of the sword from those who refuse to give such rights.

Apostasy was defeated, and so were its impostor Prophets. Enlightenment was victorious over obscurantism, and then the rebels returned to the house of Islam, and faith was even stronger, and their enthusiasm was tougher. They wanted to repent for their ill-doing, and they joined the conquering army, fighting the two toughest empires on land: the Persian and the Roman. Thus they ended up being the most courageous soldiers in the conquest battles, and the fastest to resist and respond.

You can say the same thing about when the Tatars conquered the lands of Islam, and their impressive crowds and savage styles entered such lands in the same way as a sterile wind blows, destroying anything it passes over. They destroyed cities, destroyed constructions, caused blood to flow like rivers, and caused the collapse of the Abbassid Dynasty in Baghdad. They also threw books in the Euphrates until its water turned black, from the amount of ink that ran from these books that were written by Muslim scholars. The civilisation of Islam, and by extension that of humanity as a whole, became threatened by such savage conquest, which harms anyone. What we are reminded of here is what we read in the description of Ajouj and Majouj - they may be part of them - and people thought that the banner of Islam was half-cast and would not fly anymore. They also thought that the people of conquest and victory has deserved defeat, and that it was far from returning to the limelight again.

Not many years passed until the miracle of Islam came true, and the tyrants who had attacked Islam were assaulted by Islam. Thus the shining sword of the conqueror falls under the influence of the unarmed Muslim faith and the victorious had to adopt the religion of the defeated!! All this in opposition to what usually occurs, but this is what Ibn Khaldun predicts. The defeated is always the one that endeavours to imitate the glorious and victorious.

d - Before all, we have faith in the backing of Allah to us, and trust in his support of us, and certainty in His Tradition to uphold righteousness, and to thwart falsehood, even if the criminals disapprove, and trust in the promise that He has made to the practising Muslims, "that He will surely make them to succeed (the present rulers) in the earth even as He caused those who were before them to succeed (others); and that He will surely establish for them their religion which he hath approved for them, and will give them in exchange safety after their fear" (. Surah 24, Verse 55.), "It is a promise of Allah. Allah faileth not his promise" (. Surah 30, Verse 6.), "To help believers is ever incumbent upon us" (Surah 30, Verse 47), "Lo! Allah defendeth those who are true" ( Surah 22, Verse 38).

The promise of Great Britain to the Jews, through its Foreign Minister Balfour, to create a national entity for them on the land of Palestine has encouraged them to resolve and act quickly, and multiply their efforts in order to achieve their ancient hopes. They have done this despite about one hundred million Muslims whereas the number of Jews in the world is no more than a few millions. Is not the promise of Allah to us in terms of company, victory, defence, support, provision, and representation in the land liable to strengthen our ambition, sharpen our determination and fill our hearts with faith in the future. This is faith that it is our turn to be victorious this time, that history is with us not with our enemy, and the followers of Allah are going to defeat the enemy.

Faith in victory is one of the greatest factors of strength. There is no doubt in the value of such factor. The human soul has underestimated faith, and has refused to recognize its right. Even the past and recent men of war have that the moral attitude has its tangible influence in the realisation of success and victory over the enemy even if he has more provisions and more people.

We achieve this victory thanks to our strong faith that Allah Almighty is capable to glorify his followers, the soldiers of His Religion, the advocates of His Book, and the followers of His Messenger. This happens through all the means He Wills, those that we are aware of and those that we are not, "Allah is not such thaught in the heavens or in the earth escapeth Him" ( Surah 35, Verse 44).

The book of Allah relates to us the stories of the messengers with their peoples, which fills us with trust that riwill certainly win, and that wrong-doing will certainly break. The one who follows righteousness cannot remain weak for ever, and the tyrant cannot always remain strong. Life is made up of ups and downs and war is a contest but the happy ending favours those who obey Allah. Haven't you read in the story of Moses: "Lo! Pharaoh exalted himself in the earth and made its people castes. A tribe among them he oppressed, killing their sons and sparing their women. Lo! He was of those who work corruption. And We desired to show favour unto those who were oppressed in the earth, and to make them examples and to make them the inheritors. And to establish them in the earth, and to show Pharanh and Haman and their hosts that which they feared from them" (Surah 28, Verses 4,5,6).

In execution of the divine will to liberate the defeated people, Allah sent the saviour of the oppressed, and thus collapsed the throne of said to the people: "I am your supreme God".

Pharaoh, who had Allah also Willed that such saviour be raised as an infant in the household of the tyrant himself, who had picked him up so that he becomes his enemy and grief. So the matter went on like that, and the Pharaoh's precautions failed, and Allah's Will was executed, "And the fair word of thy Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel because of their endurance, and we annihilated (all) that Pharaoh and his folk had done and that they had contrived" (. Surah 7, Verse 137)

The minority group was victorious over the majority, and the weak vanquished the strong, and Moses defeated Pharaoh, because Moses was not alone in the battle, he was with Allah, so Allah was with him. When Pharaoh and his army had followed him, in order to annihilate him and his army, and Moses and those who had believed with him looked, there was but the ocean in front of them and the enemy behind them. The attitude of Moses was as it is stated in the Qur'an: "And when the two hosts saw each other, those with Moses said: Lo! We are indeed caught. He said: nay verily! For lo! My Lord is with me. He will guide me" (. Surah 26, Verses 61-62)

"For lo! My Lord is with me. He will guide me" (. Surah 26, Verse 62) is an utterance of the believers, it was uttered by Moses, son of Imran. It resembles the words uttered by his brother the Prophet Mohammed Ben Abdallah (PBUH) when he was in a cave, and the idolators at its door, and his friend and companion Abu Bakr says in pity: "By Allah! If anybody had looked under his feet he would have seen us", and the Prophet says calmly: "Abu Bakr, What do you think of two whose companion is Allah, grieve not, Allah is with us".

And the company of Allah to Moses became clearer, so He saved him from the enemy of Allah and his enemy with means that he could not guess, and neither did his enemy: "Then We inspired Moses, saying: Smite the sea with thy staff. And it parted, and each part was as a mountain vast. Then brought We near the others to that place. And We saved Moses and those with Him, every one. And we drowned the others" .( Surah 26, Verses 63-66).

As the company of Allah to Mohammed in the cave became clearer, as he moved away from him the bad intention of the idolaters with one of his weakest armies, the eggs of pigeons and the web of a spider: "And lo! The frailest of all houses is the spider's house, if they but knew" ( Surah 29, Verse 41). Allah is Right when He Says, "If ye help him not, still Allah helped him when those who disbelieve drove him forth, the second of two; when they two were in the cave, when he said unto his comrade: Grieve not. Lo! Allah is with us. Then Allah caused His peace of reassurance to descend upon him and supported him with hosts ye cannot see, and made the word of those who disbelieved the nethermost, while Allah's Word it was that became the uppermost. Allah is Mighty, Wise" (Surah 9, Verse 40.)

The believer never experiences despair or loses hope even if he is overwhelmed by disasters and overcome by the powers of evil. He is confident in his God, in himself, in his future and in God's promise to him. The best evidence of that is the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) who went through the darkest crises but always believed in victory as if he could see it with his own eyes.

Al Bukhari quoted Khabab Ben Al Irt saying: I saw the Prophet (PBUH) Iying over a coat in the shade of the Kaabah, and attacks of the idolators had intensified, so I said, "Don't you invoke Allah?". He sat down and as his face had become red he said, "There were people in the past who had metal scratching their bodies, whose bones were covered by neither meat nor nerve, but that did not separate them from their religion. They could even have a saw put to their neck which started to cut into two, and that would not separate them from their religion, and Allah would care for this matter, until the rider goes from Sanua to Hadramaut and would only fear Allah and the wolf for his sheep" ,( Al Masnad, Vol. 5, p. 109)

e - The thread of hope never left the heart of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), and he was not infiltrated by the slightest amount of despair in the future of his message or its victory. He also had no doubt in the defeat of his enemies while he even was weak and weakened, and while his companions were tortured and chased, or as Allah described them 'few and reckoned feeble in the land, and were in fear lest men should extirpate you" .( Surah 8, Verse 26.). Thus how can we weaken, or disunite, or give in to despair, when we are in possession of reasons of strength that our enemies do not have, and will never have.

We are in possession of the strength of the peoples who believe in their religion, and who would not accept any alternative that is imported from the east or the west.

We are in possession of the strength of the system that we advocate, that of Islam which was created by the God of humanity for humanity, and which is devoid of all exaggeration or shortcoming, such as witnessed by the systems created by humans which are devoid of divine guidance.

This is a system for which our own dire need in particular and that of humanity in general is confirmed every day. We are also in possession of the strength of our struggle and resistance in the Muslim nation. These are stronger than ever during the periods of crisis and catastrophes. We are in possession of faith in the support of Allah Almighty. His support and His promise which never fail.

Are all these strengths which we possess not greater and stronger than the hurdles that you have mentioned? Is it fair to mention the difficulties that may hinder us but forget the helping factors. "So do you have any objections to what I have said my friend?"

I have neither objections nor arguments. In my depths there is something which I have stated earlier. That of the big crises that befall the advocates of Islam, and the hard blows that they receive from here and there. So, is there anybody who hopes that these oppressed, displaced and tortured people will ever recover, that they be victorious, that a system that they advocate or a message that they believe in be adopted by people while they are between the hammer and the anvil every day.

I told my friend that the miseries that you mention are not a sign of weakness or death of the advocates of Islam, but it is evidence of life, movement and strength. The still dead does not hit or hurt, but it takes a living and moving fighter to hit and hurt. Any idea whose advocates are neither mistreated nor hurt is a weak or dead idea, or its advocates, at least, are uninteresting or dead. These miseries and sufferings are evidence of the liveliness of the principle itself, the principle of Islam, which always offers martyrs in its battles, who water its tree with their blood, and build its glory with their corpses.

These miseries are the most eloquent and greatest monuments of those advocates, in their capacity as individuals whose souls improve with hardship, and whose hearts are purified with misery. There is a Hadith which states: "The case of the Muslim who is hit by a catastrophe is the same as that of the piece of iron which we put in the fire, it loses its evil attributes and keeps its noble ones".

For this group these miseries are opportunities to distinguish the good ones from the others, a filter for cleanliness, and a test of the faith, so that Allah can distinguish the evil from the noble ones. Because in the days of wealth and peace the number of advocates increases, and those who seek their own interests and those whose hearts are sick start to crowd around calls. These miseries come to neutralise their evil from the ranks of believers, as they neutralise evil from the hearts of individuals. This is when the truth sayer is distinguished from the liar, and the faithffil is distinguished from the hypocrite. "And among mankind is he who worshippeth Allah upon a narrow marge so that if good befalleth him he is content therewith, but if a trial befalleth him, he falleth away utterly. He loseth both the world and the Hereafter. That is the sheer loss" (. Surah 22, Verse 11)

"Of mankind is he who saith: We believe in Allah, but, if he be made to suffer for the sake of Allah, he mistaketh the persecution of mankind for Allah's punishment; and then, if victory cometh from thy Lord, will say: Lo! We were with you (all the while). Is not Allah Best Aware of what is in the bosoms of (His) creatures ? "(Surah 29, Verse 10.)

This class of people which worships Allah upon a narrow merge but which construes trials as a punishment from Allah - i.e. they fear that evil befalls them from people as they fear the flames of hellfire - is a class that is no good, and there is no interest in their being Muslims. They will only break the ranks, hold back the others and hinder those who work as Allah Said, "Had they gone forth among you they had added to you naught save trouble and had hurried to and fro among you, seeking to cause sedition among you; and among you there are some who would have listened to them. Allah is aware of evildoers" ( Surah 9, Verse 47.)

Among the positive effects of trials, when their fires spread, is that they burn this class, and turns it into ash until the other class matures and ripens. These trials improve it, and remove from it all cheating or defect, that it might have contracted in the days of plenty and peace.

Among the advantages of trials is that they strengthen the link between the believing advocates of Allah's message. These trials add to them a new element which gathers them and strengthens the ties between them. Thus if faith is the original focal tie, under whose banner they unite and strengthen each other like bricks in a construction, then a crisis is a helping factor which adds strengthand depth to this tie. The feeling of a single dan, confrontation with the individual enemy, and the occurrence of a single catastrophe, can remove any gap from among the ranks, and make everybody feel the wholesomeness of the unity and the completeness of the solidarity.

This is the reason why Jamal Eddin Al Afghani (God Bless his soul) said: "It is under pressure and oppression that the dispersed parts concatenate". Shawqi said: "Catastrophes gather the afflicted".

Allah tested the Muslims by their defeat at the Battle of Uhud, and killed seventy of their best including Hamza teen Abdulmuttalib, Mus'ab Ben Umair, Sa'ad Ben Arrabi', Anas Ben Annuddar, among other heroes of Islam. This catastrophe had a strong effect on the minds of the Muslims, and then Allah revealed about eighty verses of the Surah named The Family of Imran to provide Muslims with firmness, condolence and guidance.

Ibn Al Qayyim mentions many from among the morals of this trial and its secrets of which the following is but an excerpt: "The Wisdom of Allah and His Rule in His Messengers and their followers has been that they be victorious once and that they be defeated once, but they are the ones who benefit. Had they always been victorious, they would have been joined by Muslims and nonMuslims, and thus we would not be able to distinguish between the truthful and the non-truthful. Had they always been unvictorious, then the purpose of the call and the message would be defeated. Thus the divine wisdom Decided that it would provide it with both in order to distinguish between those who follow and obey them for the sake of Allah and His Message and those who follow them especially for the sake of appearances and victory'' (Zad Al Mu'aad, Vol. 2, p. 2499. Published by Assunnah Al Mohammadia, Egypt).

Allah Almighty said: "It is not (the purpose) of Allah to leave you in your present state till He shall separate the wicked from the good. And it is not (the purpose) of Allah to let you know the unseen. But Allah chooseth of His messengers whom He will, (to receive knowledge thereof)" ( Surah 3, Verse 179).

This means that Allah would not let believers continue to associate with hypocrites so that He distinguishes between the believers and the hypocrites in the same way as He distinguished between them through the trial of Uhud, "And it is not (the purpose) of Allah to let you know the unseen" (. Surah 3, Verse 179) which distinguishes between these and those. They are distinguished in His Knowledge and His Absence, but He (Praised be He) Wants to distinguish them in an explicit manner.

This distinction resides in Allah's revealing the slavery of His allies and His Party in good and bad days and in what they like and what they dislike, and in the case of their victory and in the case of the victory of their enemies. If they prove firmness in their obedience and worship both when they like and they dislike what is happening to them, so they are His true worshippers, and are not like those who worship Allah on the narrow mare of welfare, plenty and ease.

Part of the trial is that He (Praised be He) provided His believing subjects homes in the house of His Generosity, that they could not reach with their own worship, and they could not have reached save with his trial and the crisis that put them through. Thus He also provided them with enough means to reach it through his trial and test. He also made it easy for them to perform good deeds which is part of the means to reach it.

Another part of the trial is that the soul earns from permanent welfare, victory, wealth a sense of tyranny and confidence to ease, and that is an illness which hinders its effort in its way to Allah, and the Hereafter. If its God, King and owner wants to provide it with His Generosity, He gives it difficulties and trials that bring cure to the sickness that hinders its steady march to Him. Those difficulties and trial are like the doctor who feeds the sick bitter medicine, and cuts the hurting veins in order to extract from him the sicknesses. Had he been left alone he would have been killed by these sicknesses.

Another part of the trial is that since martyrdom is the highest rank of his allies, and martyrs are the closest of His subjects to Him, and martyrdom is the absolute next rank after truthfulness, and since He likes to have martyrs as His subjects, who pour their blood for the sake of Loving Him and the sake of His Approval and who prefer His Approval and piety over themselves, there is no way to reach this rank except through a thorough consideration of the means leading to it via an attack of the enemy.

Another part of the trial is that if He (Praised be He) wants to defeat His enemies and crush them, He provides them with the reasons to meet their defeat and their death. Among these reasons -after their unbelief - is their wickedness and tyranny, and their exaggeration in mistreating His good subjects, fighting and killing and harming them. That is the way He clears His good subjects from their sins and defects. It is also in this way that His enemies have more reason to be eradicated and killed, and Allah Almighty stated in the Qur'an, "Faint not nor grieve, for ye will overcome them if ye are (indeed) believers. If ye have received a blow, the (disbelieving) people have received a blow the like thereof These are only the vicissitudes which We cause to follow one another for mankind, to the end that Allah may know those who believe and may choose witnesses from among you, and Allah loveth not wrong-doers.. And that Allah may prove those who believe, and may blight the disbelievers" (. Surah 3, Verses 139-141).

In these verses He linked between encouraging them, strengthening their souls, resuscitating their determination and their ambition and the good consolation, and the mentioning of the outstanding wisdom which led to the victory of non-believers over them, thus He said: "If ye have received a blow, the (disbelieving) people have received a blow the like thereof'. So you have been made equal in receiving blows and pain, but are distinguished by your hope and reward, as He said :"lf ye are suffering, lo! They suffer even as ye suffer and ye hope from Allah that for which they cannot hope" ( Surah 4, Verse 104.). So, how can you become meek and weaken at times of sadness and pain when they experienced that for the sake of Satan and you experienced that for My sake and the pursuit of My Approval.

And He mentioned another wisdom concerning what they experienced on that day: that is the purification of those who believe, i.e. their cleansing and ridding of their sins and the defects of their souls.

He also cleansed and rid them of the hypocrites, and thus they could be distinguished from them. Thus, they achieved two purifications, one from themselves and one from those who at first seemed to be of them and then turned to be their enemies.

And He mentioned another wisdom: annihilating the unbelievers through their own tyranny and wickedness. He denied them the belief that they could enter paradise without fighting for His sake, and without enduring the harm of His enemies. This is prohibited since He denies it to whoever thinks it or relies upon it and thus He said: "Or deemed ye that ye would enter paradise while yet Allah knoweth not those of you who really strive, nor knoweth those (of you) who are steadfast?" ( Surah 3, Verse 142.).

In other words, when that comes from you and He Knows it, and it is the case that if it happens He knows it. Thus He would recompense you with paradise, and the recompense would be based upon known facts not simply upon absolute knowledge. Allah does not recompense His subjects only on the basis of His absolute knowledge of them without the occurrence of what He Knows.


This Nation Will Not Die

Al Ummah, the Arabic word for nation, is a word that is made definite with " AI" al'ahdiyya (known, familiar) as the scholars of Arabic say. It refers to something that is familiar to the mind, drawn in the mind and sculpted in the heart.

It is the nation that the Muslim knows no second to, he belongs to it, is proud of it and it is for the sake of its permanence and glory that he fights. This is the nation of Islam.

It is the only nation that believes in the Same and One God, He is Allah Almighty, it believes in one Book, it is the Glorious Qur'an, it believes in one Messenger, it is Mohammed (PBUH), and five times a day it faces the same direction, that of the Kaa'bah, the Holy Mosque of Allah.

It is made up of peoples and tribes in countries and regions and in spite of that it remains one single nation, is united by faith, and linked by Islamic law. Its inclination and tastes are united by Islamic values and literature. It has also lived a united history in its victories and crises and has shared the same present with its pains and hopes.

Thus we cannot say 'Islamic Nations' but we can say 'Islamic Peoples' of the same nation, whom Allah Almighty addressed in the following manner, "And lo! This your religion is one religion and I am your Lord, so keep your duty unto Me" ( Surah 23, Verse 52)

It is one nation in its purpose and direction.
It is one nation in its ideas and concepts.
It is one nation in feelings and sensitivities.

The Prophet (PBUH) described its unity with the image of the body, which if one of its members is ailing, in response the rest of the body suffers from insomnia and fever. It is a nation which is distinguished by its values and special characteristics. One of its characteristics is that it is a divine nation.

It did not emerge by accident. It was no accident that it was located in the same region, and related to a single race, as is the case of some nations. It did not arise by the simple wish of some individual, or the wish of a party, a social class, a revolutionary individual or an elected council. It is the creation of Allah for the purpose of spreading His message in the world as He (Praised be He) said: "Thus We have appointed you a middle nation", ( Surah 2, Verse 143)

It is Allah Who Made it in that way and for that purpose, so that it plays its role towards humanity.

Distinguished characteristics
Amongst its characteristics we find what the noble verse has referred to as 'middleness'. It is a 'middle' nation in everything, in its concepts and beliefs, in worship and piety, in its values and morals, in its acts and behaviour, in legislation and organisation, in politics and economics, in all its relations be they internal or external. It does not neglect matter for the sake of the soul and does not neglect the soul for the sake of the matter. It does not give so much importance to the individual that he predominates over society and does not give so much importance to the society so that it predominates over the individual. It gives each party its share, and requires from it its duty without coercion or loss, as Allah Almighty Stated, "That ye exceed not the measure, but observe the measure strictly, nor fall short thereof". (Surah 55, Verses 8-9).

It is a nation with a universal message, it is not a national or regional entity, it was put by Allah in a position of a tutor to the whole humanity, and guide for all people. That is the meaning of His word (Praised be He): "Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that ye may be witnesses against mankind" (Surah 2, Verse 143). and His Saying (Majesty to Him), "Ye are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind. Ye enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency; and ye believe in Allah" ( Surah 3, Verse 110.)

This nation did not grow on its own like a parasitic plant, as it is referred to by some people. But it was planted by a Planter, and it was created by a Creator, He is Allah (Glory to His Majesty). He did not Create it so that it remains on its own or within its borders, or for special materialistic interests, but created it "for people", all people, black and white, Arabs and non-Arabs, poor and rich. It is a nation that is sent for all world inhabitants, in the same way as its Book was revealed as a guide to all world dwellers, and its Prophet was sent as a blessing to all people. The mission of this nation is a mission of blessing and welfare not a mission of hardship and difficulty.

The Prophet (PBUH) addressed the nation saying, "You were sent to ease matters, not to make them difficult". The Companions seized this meaning, and understood that they were sent to guide the nations of the earth. One of these companions - Rab'i Ben 'Amer, in his confrontation with Rostom, the Persian Commander - expressed this notion and delimited the function of the nation very eloquently and concisely when he said: "Allah has sent us to draw people from the worship of people to the worship of Allah alone, and from the narrowness of the world to its spaciousness, and from the tyranny of religions to the justice of Islam".

An immortal nation
Among the characteristics of this nation, is that it is an immortal nation, by the immortality of its message and its Book, it will remain as long as there is night and day, it wil1 be as eternal as there is in the world a Qurian that is recited. If the Qur'an is preserved by the Wil1 of Allah, then the nation of the Qur'an will remain as long as the Qur'an remains.

Allah Almighty has promised His Noble Messenger that He will not annihilate his nation as he did earlier nations through divine punishments, and universal catastrophes such as floods, sinking into the ground, transformation, and cold winds.

He also promised the Prophet that He will not send to it an enemy apart from itself, to extirpate and unroot it, and that parts of it destroy other parts, and a part of them experiences the evil of the other part.

He also Promised the prophet that He will preserve his nation from the feeling of extirpation of its roots. He Promised him to preserve it from moral annihilation through gathering for the sake of ill-doing. In the Hadith it is said "Allah Will not Let my nation gather around for the sake of ill-doing".

The secret behind that is that it is the last of the nations, in the same way as its Prophet is the last Prophet, and its Book is the last Book. Thus, there is no messenger after Mohammed, and there is no book after the Qur'an, and there is no jurisprudence after Islam, and there is no other nation after the nation of Islam.

If any nation, before Islam, gathered around for the sake of ill-doing, there was no danger for humanity to result from that because these were limited nations in terms of time and space, in opposition to the nation of Islam. It is a nation which is characterised by universality and eternity, and that makes of it a nation which extends in terms of space covering the east and the west. It also extends in terms of time since it will last until Doomsday. So if it is all based on ill-doing, the whole humanity will be based on ill -doing, without any hope of change, since there is nobody in it or after it that will spread the guidance of Allah to it.

That is the purpose of the divine solicitude, that within this nation there will remain a group who will live and die for the sake of truth(fullness). Such a group is the same as the lifeboat of the army of liberation which maintains the balance, and keeps the construction together lest it would collapse. It is in this context that the Qur'an states, "And of those whom We created there is a nation who guide with the Truth and establish justice therewith" (Surah 7, Verse 181).

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said in the same context, "A group from my nation will remain guarding the truth without being disturbed by those who contradict them, until Allah's command comes to confirm them".

This group is the light of those who travel by night, the guide of the uncertain, and the strength of the weak. They are the ones who serve as proof to Allah, and preach for Allah , and spread the messages of Allah and fear Him and do not fear anybbut Allah.

They are the strangers, who remain sound when other people become evil, they also repair what other people have marred. They are "the safe group" within the mortals, they are the ones who find the right path when others stray from it. They are the ones who revive the values and principles of the Prophet and his Companions. Allah's Blessing for the people is that there is always among them such a chosen group which is mandated by Allah Almighty to teach those who do not: know, and guide those who err, and remind those who forget, since reminding is good for the believers, "But if these disbelieve therein, then indeed We shall entrust it to a people who will not be disbelievers therein " (Surah 6, Verse 89)

Allah Bless Ahmed Shawqi for saying:

      He Who Created Truth and made it bitter
      Did not Deny any of its generation the virtue of truth

One of the proofs of immortality for this nation is that catastrophes and crises do not annihilate it or kill it, but revive in it the spirit of resistance and challenge. So when the worst catastrophes befall it you see that it becomes at its strongest, and its twig becomes strongest, until people start to think things about it, and consider that it has become part of the dead. Then, in a short period it can overcome the factors of weakness that surround it, with the spirit of the strength that is inherent in it. As a result, those who are observing it from afar or from close up see a victory after a break down, and reunion after dispersion and a life and movement after inertia which resembles death.

1 - We have seen that at the dawn of Islam during the wars of apostasy and the fight against those who do not want to perform almsgiving.

2 - We have witnessed that at the time of the division of the Islamic Nation, during the fight against the savage invasions of the Tatars, who came from the east as if they were Yajouj and Majouj or the sterile wind "which lets nothing in its way but turns it into dust".

3 - In the fight against the crusades, during which Europe invaded the Muslim East with all its people, its trinity and its cross, and killed, burned, marred and destroyed all that any student of that period of history knows.

But the individual strength which is inherent in the Islamic nation soon appeared in conclusive historical events, and thus destroyed the dreams of the crusaders in Hittin, and Bayt Al Maqdis was conquered back after it had been hostage in the hands of the conquerors for over ninety years. Louis IX, the king of France was imprisoned in Dar Ibn Luqman in Al Mansurah, and thus the Tatars backed off as they were defeated in Ain Jaluut, after people had considered that they were "the force that could not be defeated", and the saying that spread amongst people was "If you hear that the Tatars got defeated, do no believe it".

In recent history we witnessed the heroic fighting against the colonialist invaders, in all the lands of Islam. As examples we can cite the fighting of Emir Abdelkader against the French, and Emir Abdelkrim Khattabi against the Spanish, and the hero Omar Al Mokhtar against the Italians, and Sheikh 'Iz Eddin Al Qassam against the English and the Jews, including the Algerian revolution against the French, and the battles of the Palestinians against the Zionists, and the Canal against the English.

The giant awakens
Today we see that the Muslim giant awakens after its lengthy sleep and inertia, and leads a heroic holy war in Afghanistan, and a fight in Eritrea and the Philippines, and a resistance fight in Palestine, and an awakening in Egypt, Syria and Turkey. We also find the educated youth in the East and West that joins Islam with strength and awareness, challenging the relics of the old and the glistening of the new, and sticking to the conviction of the strong and the strength of the believers.

All these proofs brought from here and there and everywhere reflect clearly the permanence, strength and authenticity of this nation, in spite of the signs that may be gleaned from its appearance.

The foreign orientalists and scholars of the nature of our nation, the characteristics of our religion, the stored energies of our peoples are the ones who realise the extent of our inherent strength, and who take it extremely seriously. They are even haunted by its fearsome eruption one of these days. Professor Gibb says in his book entitled The outlook of Islam

"Islamic movements usually evolve with overwhelming and surprising speed. They usually explode in a surprising manner before observers can notice their precursor signs. Islamic movements lack nothing but leadership and the innovative reform of religion"

The German traveller Paul Schmidt wrote a book that is dedicated to this topic entitled Islam, the power of tomorrow and published in 1936. Among the ptints that he mentions he includes the following: the characteristics of the forces in the Islamic East can be summarised in three elements:

1 - The strength of Islam as a religion and the belief in it, in its ideals, and in its fraternisation between the different sexes, races and cultures.

2 - The wealth of natural resources in the area of the Islamic East which extends from the Atlantic Ocean on the borders of Morocco westward to the

Pacific Ocean on the borders of Indonesia eastwards. And also in the fact that these different resources make up one sound and strong economic entity and a self-sufficiency. This fact puts the Arab world in absolutely no need to rely on Europe or any other country if the Muslim countries get closer and help each other.

3 - Finally, he mentioned the third factor which is that of the extreme fertility of Muslims, which makes their numerical strength grow bigger and bigger (Let the advocates of birth control in the Muslim world read this )

Then he said: "If these three factors are put together and the Muslims united around their conviction, and the oneness of Allah, and if their natural wealth fulfilled the need of their growing number, then the danger of Islam becomes real and a threat to annihilate Europe and gain world sovereignty over a region which is the center of the whole world".

Paul Schmidt advances these ideas after a detailed discussion of the three factors on the basis of official statistics. He also bases his analysis upon what he knows about the essence of the Muslim faith, as it is witnessed in the history of the Muslims, and the history of their relations and their defence to fight those who attack them. That the Christian West unites, including all its governments and its peoples, and undertakes over again the crusades in a new format that is appropriate to our present time, but in a style that is quick and efficient (. Translated by Dr. Mohammed Al Bahy in one of his lectures. The whole book was translated afterwards by Dr. Mohammed Abdelghani Shama, under the title of Islam, the world power of tomorrow, published by The Library of Wahba, Cairo.).

Robert Benn said in the introduction to his book that is entitled the Sacred Sword: "We have to study the Arabs and evaluate the depth of their thoughts, because they have governed the world in the past, and may come to govern it again. The flame that was ignited by Mohammed is still strongly lit. There are signs that lead to believing that the flame will remain permanently lit. This is the reason why I wrote this book so that the readers may discover the origin of the Arabs, and I called it with the name of the double-edged sword, which Mohammed won and kept in recollection of his victory at the battle of Badr, as the sword that become a symbol of his imperialistic claims" ( English edition of the book, p.l7. We have quoted this passage from the report of Dr. Isaac Musa Al Hussaini about this book.).

In spite of the attacks expressed in these words, and the boiling hatred that it includes, it shows us the extent of the strength of the Muslims in the opinion of the people who are foreign to them. It also confirms that big truth which is: that this nation may weaken, but it will ndie, because Allah mandated it with the message of eternity.


An Omar's wish or Our need for leaders

In one of the homes of the blessed Madina Omar was with a number of his companions and said to them: "have a wish." One of them said: "I wish this house were full of gold, and I would spend it for the sake of Allah", then Omar said to them: "Take a wish". Another man said: "I wish it had been full of pearls, chrysolite, and gems and I would spend that for the sake of Allah and in charity". Then Omar said again: "Take a wish", and so they replied: "We do not know what to say". Then Omar said: "But I wish that there were men like Abu Obeida Ibn Al Jarrah, Mu'ad Ben Jabal, Saalim the master of Abu Hudhaifa who would help me to glorify the word of Allah."

God Bless the soul of Omar, the man of inspiration, who was an expert of the bases of real civilisations, and of the grand messages, and of what makes inert nations alive. Nations and messages need underlying mines and minerals, and surface wealth. Prior to all this, they require thinking minds which they would exploit, and big hearts to protect them, and strong determinations to lead them, they need leaders.

Man is dearer than any precious mineral, and more expensive than any pearl. That is why his presence is dear to the world of people, to the point that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "People are like a herd of one hundred camels, within which you can hardly find a she-camel'' (. Authenticated as part of Ibn Omar's Hadith). The competent and good man is the elixir of life, and the soul of rebirths, and the pillar of messages and the pivot of reform.

Prepare what you want in terms of factories of arms and ammunition, and these arms will not kill without the fighting man. Write whatever number of laws and lists, and they will remain as ink upon paper if there is no man to execute them. You can also set up whatever number of education and teaching methods, such methods will not thrive unless there are the right men that will use them in their teaching. You can also appoint any number of committees and they will not establish one single project if they do not have the earnestly enthusiastic man. This is clear from actual experience.

Strength is not constituted so much by the sharpness of arms as it is constituted by the strength in the heart of the soldier. Justice is so much inherent in the text of the law as it is in the conscience of the judge. Education is not so much on the pages of the book as it is in the soul of knowledge. The realisation of projects does not lie so much in the constitution of committees as it is in the enthusiasm of those who execute them.

By Allah, there is nobody that is more precious than Omar when he did not value gold, silver, pearls, nor gems, but wished for men of the excellent type through whose hands the treasures of the earth and the gates of heaven open. One man may equal one hundred, and a man may equal one thousand, and one man may weigh as much as a whole nation; it was said before, "a man of determination will resuscitate a whole nation".

Khaled surrounded Al Hira and asked Abu Bakr for reinforcement, so he sent him only one man, Al Qa'qa' Ben Omar Al Tamimi and said, "never will an army including such a man get defeated". And he used to say, "The voice of Al Qa'qa' in an army is better than one thousand fighters!" When Amr Ben Al'As was in Egypt and asked for reinforcement, Omar Ben Al Khattab sent him four thousand soldiers led by four important men of Islam, each one of whom counted as a thousand.

But what kind of leader do we need? Is it any man whose moustache thickened and beard grew. In such a case, the number of leaders is very large!

Manhood does not consist of advanced age. How many a man has reached the age of seventy and whose heart is one of seven. He feels joy for the superfluous, cries over the ridiculous, aspires to what he will not have and holds onto what he has in his hand so strongly that no one can share it with him, he is a little boy... but with a beard and a moustache. How many a youth at the beginning of his life, in whom you see premature manhood in his speech, acts, thinking and behaviour.

Omar passed by a number of playing children, and they ran away, and a single boy remained in his place. It was Abdullah Ben Azzubair. Omar asked him, "Why did you not run away like your friends?", he said "Oh, commander of the faithful, I have not committed a sin so that I should fear you, and the path was not narrow, otherwise I would have made it wider for you!" An Arab youth went to an Ummeyyad Caliph to represent his people, so the Caliph said, "Let someone who is older than you talk on behalf of your people", so the youth said: " Oh, commander of the faithful had advanced age been the criterion there would be in the nation many who would govern before you". These are the young old, and in our world there are many old youth.

Manhood is not constituted by the volume of the body, or height or strength. Allah said about a group of hypocrites, "And when thou seest them, their figures please thee" (.Authenticated as part of Ibn Omar's Hadith) and in spite of that, "They are as though they were blocks of wood in striped cloaks. They deem every shout to be against them (Surah 63, Verse 4). In the authentic Hadith, "The big and fat man comes on the day of reckoning and does not weigh in the eye of Allah more than the weight of the wing of a mosquito", and read if you like Allah Almighty's word, "and on the Day of Resurrection We assign no weight to them" ( Surah 18, Verse 105.).

Abdallah Ben Mas'ud used to be weak and stringy. His shanks got uncovered one day, and they were thin and stringy, so some of the companions of the Prophet laughed, and he (PBUH) said, "are you laughing about the thinness of his shanks, by He who holds my soul between His Hands, those are heavier in Allah's scales than Mount Uhud".

Manhood is not constituted by age, build, money or rank; manhood is a moral strength which takes its owner to the heights of affairs, and takes him away from its nonsense. It is a strength that makes him mature, rich, and strong despite his youth, his poverty, and his weakness. This is the strength that makes him give before he takes, and perform his duty before he asks for his due: his duty towards himself, and his God, and his family and religion and society. In brief, manhood is the strength of the creation and creating the strength.

The best that a nation can do for its people, that an educational system can be based upon, that the means of guidance including press and radio, theatre and cinema, mosque and school can do is to contribute to the making of this manhood, and the upbringing of such types of man.

Lofty manhood, and upright men will only thrive under deep-rooted faiths, firm virtues, authentic values, protected traditions, and guaranteed rights. In the obscurantism of destructive doubt, unbelieving atheism, permissive decadence, and deadly depravation we will not find authentic manhood, in the same way as plants do not grow in the absence of water, air and light.

The world has never witnessed manhood at its best and in its fullest sense as it did in those noble models who were raised by Islam at the hand of its great Messenger. Those are men whose numbers grow at times of fear, and whose numbers become smaller at times of greed. They are neither flattered by promise nor frightened by threat. They are neither blinded by victory nor destroyed by defeat.

Among the men of light who stood up
As if they were made from living stars
Their moruls are their lights, whatever side
You rook' d at them, they glisten.

Today, the colonialist has spoilt the atmosphere of the Muslims with its poisoned and suffocating gases of atheism and permissiveness to the point that you now only meet pseudo-men, not men. I appreciated and was pained by reading a comment of a man who had studied the instructions of Islam, which stated, "What a religion, if it only had leaders"!

This religion which is suffering from the lack of leaders includes five hundred million men (This was the correct number of Muslims when this article wfirst written in 1956 AD. Now their number has gone beyond one .), who are relateto it and are part of it. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "Scum like the scum of a flood" (. This is part of a Hadith which was quoted by Ahmed and Abu Dawud quoting Thawban.), or as the poet said:

      They weigh on land with their number
      But they are of no help in momentous events.

How could Islam be strengthened by men who are engrossed by their personality, governed by their desires, and are led by their interests. These are men who believe that their peoples are but noughts who can only serve as followers, and live as tags. They have no confidence in themselves, nor do they rely on their god. These are men who are gathered by greed, and dispersed by fear. As it is said.l they are gathered by a flute and dispersed by a stick! Men who are as if th' y were made of glass, which neither covers one's privates nor survives a stone's throw.

Had Islam had one good man in a thousand men, one who had the qualities of manhood, that would have been better for it and more efficient than these swarming crowds who are feared by no enemy and whose presence does not glorify a friend.

I wish they had been people who, when they ride
They launch a raid as horsemen and riders,
And do not ask their brother when they mourn them
In catastrophes, about evidence for what he says.


The force which is never defeated

The student said to his teacher, "Tell me about the strongest force that humanity has known since the dawn of history. I am sure that you believe like me that it is the force of the space ship and the atomic bomb".

The teacher and master said: "Easy, young student, do not ask me and answer before I do", the student replied, "Pardon me my master, I want to hear your answer".

The master said: "Let me ask you another question, which one of the two is greater, the bomb and the spaceship, or he who manufactured the bomb and launched the spaceship?". "No doubt that the one who manufactured the bomb and launched the spaceship is stronger than both", said the boy. The teacher said: "Then, you agree with me that the strength of man is greater than any material force on earth". The student answered, "Yes, man is the one who moulds the matter to his own service, and guides it towards his needs". The professor replied, "If you found a force that guided man and pushed him forward, made him work constantly, and ejected him like a bomb or stronger, and launched him like a spaceship or tougher?" The student responded quickly, "It would certainly be the greatest force that man has witnessed on earth, what is this force? How real is it? You have triggered my curiosity by your talk about it." The teacher said: "It is the force of faith." The student inquired, "Faith in what? Some people make faith in any principle real faith."

The professor said: "I do not deny that absolute faith in any idea will give the one who has it strength and firmness, as that appears in the disputes between individuals and groups. The individual who has any conviction will win over the one who has none. The group whose life focuses on any faith - even if it has no understood bases- will in the end defeat the group which is devoid of faith. But the faith that I refer to is faith in Allah, the giver of life, and the creator of the universe and of man. Faith in recompense and life in an eternal world, wherein each person is recompensed for what he did, and it is not unjust. Faith in an unseen wide world, which is filled with the soldiers of Allah whose numbers cannot be counted, they are the favourite angels. Faith in the divine inspiration, which is the link between the earth and the heavens, and the sign of the guidance of the creator to the created. Faith in the ideal human models, i.e. the Prophets, who received Allah's revelation in order to lead people out of obscurity and into light, with the permission of Allah, to the path of the Mighty and the Praiseworthy.

Faith that the universe is not run haphazardly, and its events do not occur without guidance or consideration. Everything in it is led by fate and every small or big event is planned (ahead).

Faith in the dignity of man whom Allah had allowed to inherit the earth and to inhabit it. He gave him responsibility in this world, in order to make him close and promise him eternity in the Hereafter.

That, my son, is faith, which the Prophets and Messengers have advocated, and for which the companions, martyrs and upright men fought. It is the real meaning that we want to construe from the word faith. It is faith as it came in Islam". The teacher and master continued to explain, and the young student listened in suspense and impatience.."This faith, my son, is a forward pushing force that holds the weak so that he does not fall, and the strong lest he becomes unruly, and prevents the victorious from being defiant and the defeated from despairing and collapsing.

The young student said: "But, Professor, you have talked to us earlier about another force in man which is strongly presumptuous and the strength of the instincts, of staying alive, of lust, and of wrath and fighting."

The elderly professor said: "Yes, my son. I have not forgotten what I have said earlier, and I do not deny that human instincts have their presumption and their strength. In the presence of faith, these instincts lose their supremacy and their knot loosens. At the same time it bows obediently to the strength of faith. Thus, faith becomes the commanding and obeyed master and the instinct becomes the obedient servant which follows the orders of faith and acts only under its will. Do you want me to give you an example from history?" The student said, "Yes. We have learned that it is with examples that we can clarify our statements."

The professor said: "Have you heard of the story of our master Youssef, the righteous? You must have heard his story in the Surah of Youssef in the Qur'an. It is the story of a young pious man who has submitted his.instincts to his faith. Thus Allah eternalised his mention, and has recorded his story so that it is a light and a guide for the others.

Youssef was in the strength of his youth and the primacy of age. A good deal of strength and handsomeness were bestowed upon him. He was full of youth, beauty and activity. Allah's fate had it that he had to work in the house of the wife of the Governor of Egypt. But the woman in whose house he worked became infatuated with him because of his youth and beauty. Thus she forced him to go with her and she locked the doors and said, "come here!". It is certain that the situation was embarrassing. The trial that Youssef had to undergo is not the kind of trial that one forgets as soon as it passes. It is one that one is reminded of in the day and night and while going about his business. It was not an adventure with one of the ladies of the night, the ones who sell the use of their bodies. It was a trial with a woman of a high standing, who is endowed with beauty, belongings and capability. It is the head of a house and the wife of the Governor, and he was only a boy who was bought very cheaply, and whose home and parents were unknown. He was only a servant in her house, who was only supposed to obey orders. So what did the boy Youssef do before this temptation and this trial?"

The young student said to his teacher, "By Allah, this is a very embarrassing situation, and a solemn test to the faith of Youssef." The Professor said, "Yes, indeed, the test was difficult but it ended by the success of Youssef. The strong voice of the instinct was telling him to respond positively to what the woman was requesting him to do, but the voice of faith in his conscience was stronger. He reprimanded her by the following conscientious words when he said: "I seek refuge in Allah! Lo! He is my Lord, who hath treated me honourably. Lo! Wrong doers never prosper" (Surah 12, Verse 23.).

The woman tried to deceive him and to impose on him to satisfy her sinful desire in front of all her women saying, "I asked of him an evil act, but he proved continent, but if he does not my behest he verily shall be imprisoned, and verily shall be of those brought low" (. Surah 12, Verse 32).

Youssef was caught between two evils, either to be tested with regard to his religion and commit a monstrosity and an evident sin, or be tested with regard to his freedom in this world and be imprisoned and brought low."

The student said, showing some impatience: "So what did Youssef choose?" The teacher said, "He was led by the logic of faith to favour the peace of his religion over his safety in life. So, he invoked his God, as the Qur'an relates, "O my Lord! Prison is more dear than that unto which they urge me, and if Thou fend not off their wiles from me I shall incline unto them and become of the foolish" (. Surah 12, Verse 33) .

The student asked his teacher: "So, what happened to Youssef after that?" The teacher answered, "His God fulfilled his wish and fended off their wiles from him. Thus, his faith was secured but his life was not safe. They imprisoned him unjustly and remained thus for a few years. The obscurity of the prison did not turn off the light that was in his heart, and did not make him forget that he was a Muslim who was carrying a message. So he remained in prison advocating the oneness of Allah, and leading his companions away from paganism and its folklore. He was taking every opportunity to spread the message of Allah, as when he saidto the two young boys who asked him to interpret dream or explain a vision. So he informed them of what Allah taught him about the unseen and said, "This is of that which my Lord hath taught me. Lo! I have forsaken the religion of folk who believe not in Allah and arf disbelievers in the Hereafter. And I have followed the religion of my fathers Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob. It never was for us to attribute aught as partners to Allah. This is of the bounty of Allah unto us (the seed of Abraham) and unto mankind; but most men give not thanks. O my two fellow-prisoners! Are diverse lords better, or Allah the One, the Almighty? Those whom ye worship beside Him are but names which ye have named, ye and your fathers. Allah hath revealed no sanction for them. The decision rests with Allah only, Who hath commanded you that ye worship none save Him. This is the right religion, but most men know not (.Surah 12, Verses 37-40).

Then the student asked: "So what was the fate of this believing prisoner?" The teacher said: "The end, my son, is always in favour of the obeying believers. This is the Way of Allah, and you will never witness a change or an alteration of His Way. The people needed him like an ignorant needs a scholar, or like a sick man needs a doctor, or the stray sailor needs the leading star. So they found no way other than be humiliated and release him. He refused to leave prison until it was announced that he had been innocent all along. He left prison like a clean slate, with his head high, and his forehead shining, "And the king said: Bring him unto me that I may attach him to my person. And when he had talked with him he said: Lo! Thou art to-day in our presence established and trusted. He said: Set me over the storehouses of the land. Lo! I am a skilled custodian. Thus gave we power to Joseph in the land. He was the owner of it where he pleased We reach with Our mercy whom We will. We lose not the reward of the good" (Surah 12, Verses 54-56)

Thus the prisoner of Egypt of yesteryear became its Governor today, he became the comptroller of its riches and its provider during a period of crisis and famine, which spread through Egypt and its neighbouring countries. This position was another test for the faith of Youssef, as man is tested with good as he is tested with evil." The student said: "How can he be tested with good, when a test is only an affliction?" The teacher said, "Haven't you heard the saying of Allah, Glory and Majesty to Him, "and, We try you with evil and with good, for ordeal" (. Surah 21, Verse 35). Some people will control themselves during periods of crisis, and endure and be strong, and when they are tested with good they become impatient, haughty. But when Youssef became Governor, nothing changed in him, even when compared to the time when he was a prisoner.

He owned the world, but it did not own him. He controlled the treasuries of Egypt, but they did not control his heart. When food used to be served to him, he would eat a few bites to calm his hunger but not to become full. When he was asked about that he would say: I am afraid that if I am full I will forget the hunger of the poor.

There was another situation when the faith of Youssef, the righteous, became evident. This was when his brothers came under his control. They had wanted to kill him so that they receive more consideration from their father. They dropped Youssef in a well, sold him for a very low price and exposed him to ridicule and slavery. They came to Egypt from Palestine asking for help and food. Then Youssef was capable of revenge but he forgave them and said: "Have no fear this day! May Allah forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy" (Surah 12, Verse 92.)

After Youssef had become minister and chief, and his eyes were filled with the arrival of his father and his brothers, his ambitious soul aspired to what is greater than ministries and that last longer than kingdoms. He aspired to the approval of Allah, Be He Praised, and the happiness of meeting him in the house of eternity. So he invoked Allah with his famous call, "O my Lord! Thou hast given me (something) of sovereignty and hast taught me (something) of the interpretation of events - Creator of the heavens and the earth! Thou art my Protecting Guardian in the world and the Hereafter, Make me to die Muslim (unto Thee), and join me to the righteous" (.Surah 12, Verse 101.)

That is, my son one of the models of strong faith, it is an example for the youth, and an example for those who understand, and evidence for the nonbelievers and guidance and blessing for the people who believe.


Are we true believers ?

My friend, who is an educated Muslim and has an exhaustive religious knowledge, asked me, "Can the word of a reasonable man be contradicted by his acts?" I said: "No, as long as he is aware of what he says and acts purposely; but why do you ask such question?"

He said: "This question is a prologue to another question which has been haunting my mind for a while, and for which I have been trying to find an answer. Now I hope that you will be able to give me a satisfying answer", I said: "What is your question?" He said: "Isn't the Qur'an the word of Allah?" I said, "It is indeed", he asked, "Isn't what happens in this world of the doing of Allah?" I said: "Indeed, it is". He asked: "Why do we see that the reality of the world contradicts what is stated in the Book of Allah?" I said: "This cannot happen, explain to me what you are saying."

He said: "We read in the Qur'an, Allah Almighty's words, "To help believers is ever incumbent upon us" . (Surah 30, Verse 47). In the page of reality we read that the Muslims are weak and defeated. And then you read His Word, Glory and Majesty to Him, "might belongeth to Allah and to His messenger and to the believers'' (. Surah 63, Verse 8). and we see that in reality the Muslims are ridiculed and enslaved. We also read His statement, Majesty to Him, "and Allah will not give the disbelievers any way (of success) against the believers'' (Surah 4, Verse 141). When we look around us we see that the disbelievers have one thousand and one way over the Muslims.

And read other verses such as: "Lo! Allah defendeth those who are true" (Surah 22, Verse 38), "That is because Allah is patron of those who believe'' (. Surah 47, Verse 11), "that Allah is with the believers (in His Guidance)" (Surah 8, Verse 19.), and other verses. In spite of all this we find that all the strength, sovereignty and glory go to the disbelievers and atheists, and weakness, backwardness and insignificance go to the believers. Then, how do you explain this and what is its interpretation?"

I said: "The interpretation of these verses is most explicit. All the ideas of victory, glory, sovereignty and divine support are meant for the believers, and not for those who pretend to be believers and who take on names of those who are real Muslims. The focus is on the bearer, not just the names and the consideration is given to realities not pretence." My friend said: "I understand from all this that we are not real believers", I said: "If belief involves uttering the two testimonies, and observing some of the rites of Islam, we are Muslims. If belief is ascertaining that we have the characteristics of Muslims, which are mentioned in the Qur'an, then there are serious gaps between us and the faith of Qur'an.

The believers to whom Allah has promised victory, help and support -in the verses of His Book - have characteristics which were mentioned in the Qur'an, and which beautified their beliefs, acts and behaviour. It is thanks to these characteristics that they have deserved the glorification and support of Allah Almighty. It is unfair to mention what Allah has promised the believers in the Qur'an and then require that we explain the notion of the believer from outside the Qur'an."

My friend said: "Indeed, by Allah explain to me who are the real believers in the view of the Qur'an". I said, "Listen to these enlightening verses of the Book of our God: "They only are the (true) believers whose hearts feel fear when Allah is mentioned, andwhen His revelations are recited unto them they increase their faith, and who trust in theirLord; who establish worship and spend of that We have bestowed on them. Those are they who are in truth believers'' (Surah 8, Verses 2-4). "Successful are indeed the believers who are humble in their prayers ...", (. Surah 23, Verss 1-2) "And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends one of another, they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong " (. Surah 9, Verse 71) "The believers are naught else than brothers. Therefore make peace between your brethren?",,( Surah 49, Verse 10.) "The (true) believers are those only who believe in Allah and His messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Such are the sincere" (. Surah 49, Verse 15.). "The saying of (all true) believers when they appeal unto Allah and His messenger to judge between them is only that they say: We hear and we obey. And such are the successful" (. Surah 24, Verse 51.).

Listen to these verses and more - there are many others in the Qur'an. After that look in the reality of the hundreds of millions of those who pretend to be part of Islam, and what do you see? By your God, do you only see people who have not observed their prayers and who have pursued their desires, their minds are busied with matters other than Allah, and their link with Allah is broken, "Their adversity among themselves is very great. Ye think of them as a whole whereas their hearts are divers" (. Surah 59, Verse 14). It is clear that they are committing evil deeds and refraining from good ones. They have started to consider good deeds evil ones and vice-versa, some of them have even started to enjoin the wrong and forbid the right.

Then look again at these six hundred million, and you will find amongst them millions who have been spoiled by tribal chauvinism, and millions spoiled by partisan propaganda, and millions by political tyranny, and millions by mental invasion, and millions that have been isolated by communist colonialism, and other millions who were made ignorant by crusade colonialism, and other millions which are neither here nor there, and others who are negligent, heedless, exuberant and oarefree. "(They are) dead, not living. And they know not when they will be raised" (Surah 16, Verse 21.), After all this you can only repeat what the poet said in the past:( These two lines were written by Da'bal Al Khuza'i, see The Poetry of Da'bal Al Khuza'i, authenticated by Abdul Karim Al Ashtar.)

      There is a large number of people, or is it a small number,
      Allah is aware that I have not said a lie
      I open my eyes when I open them
      On many, but I do not see anyone!

My friend said: "All what you said is right, but are we not closer to the true believers than are the Jews? Why were they victorious and we were defeated?" (. This refers to 1948, this passage was written years before the 5th oJune 1967.)

I said: "The Jews were victorious because they followed the ways of Allah concerning human beings, and the consideration of the ways of Allah is an important part of faith. We have wasted that, and they have kept it. They have awoken and we have gone to sleep, they have learned and we have become ignorant, and they have toiled and we have become idle, they have helped each other and we haven't. They have got ready for tomorrow and we have forgotten today's duty. Other people have shed sweat and blood and we have only shed tears. So which of these two groups is closer in his attitude to the logic of the true faith?

The ways of Allah in promotion and demotion, and victory and defeat, are not unfair to anyone, and are not complacent to anyone. Whoever uses the conditions of victory will be victorious even if he is Jewish, and whoever takes the path of defeat will be defeated even if he is related to Islam. Do you want me to give you the example of Muslims in the battle of Uhud? They made an error that cost them seventy martyrs, including Hamza, the uncle of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), Mus'ab Ben Umair, Saad Ben Arrabii', Anas bnou Annadr along with other believing heroes. These could not be saved simply by the fact that the Messenger of Allah was their leader and that their enemies were pagans.

This was recorded against the Muslims in the Qur'an, the fair referee. The verse states: "What ! When a single disaster smites you, although you smote (your enemies) with one twice as great, Do ye say ? " Whence is this?!" Say ( to them): " It is from yourselves".

Then I said to my friend: "Do you want further clarification?, then read with me the following Noble verses: "O ye who believe! Take your precautions, then advance the proven ones, or advance all together" (. Surah 4, Verse 71). "Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah and your enemy" (Surah 8, Verse 60). "O ye who believe! When ye meet an army, hold firm and think of Allah much, that ye may be successful. And obey Allah and His messenger, and dispute not one with another lest ye falter and your strength depart from you; but be steadfast! Lo! Allah is with the steadfast". (Surah 8, Verses 45-46).

Did we follow the advice of these verses? We did not take heed, but instead, we were taken by surprise by the strategies of World Zionism facing us, while we were neglecting our matters. And we did not gather the necessary force, aside from rusty arms that we bought which turned their fire on the one who aims, before it reached its aim. We ignored our arms and our ammunitions and thus they let us down once and for all, as it was mentioned in the Glorious Qur'an (This is a reference to what Allah Almighty Said in "Those who disbelieve long for you to neglect your arms and your baggage and they may attack you once and for all." (Surah 4, Verse 102.)

When we met our enemy, we were not steadfast as Allah commanded those who believe and we did not invoke Allah very much, and not even very little, and we did not obey Allah and his messenger. Instead we went to amuse the army by obscene singing, and permissive dancing. We did not take heed of the warnings given by Allah concerning disputes, and thus we faltered and were defeated.

How can we then, after all this consider ourselves part of the believers referred to in the Qur'an? And how can we expect to benefit from what Allah promised while we have not fulfilled the conditions He stated.

It is impudent on our part to expect the support of Allah when we have not supported Him, or to demand the recompense of the believers while we do not demand from ourselves to have the characteristics of the believers? We have to be true to Allah so that Allah can be true to us. In other words, we have to be true Muslims, and to accept only Allah as our God, and Islam as our religion, and the Messenger as our guide, and the Qur'an as our leader. We should also free ourselves from any bondage to anybody but Allah in everything: in our faiths and thoughts, in our morals and behaviour, and in our legislation and systems of life.

It is only by faith that we can aspire to the happiness, victory and glory that Allah has predicted for us in this world, in addition to his approval and forgiving in the Hereafter."

My friend said: "By Allah, you are right, but are there not any true believers?" I said: "There are indeed, this nation will not gather around evil, but they are few. With their scarcity, they are spuriouly distributed like the scattered grains that are not maintained by a string. Many of them were taken over by despair about reform and thus they gave up their fight, and left the field open for the unbelieving decadent and malicious invasion of the mind. Some of them only sobbed, lamented and cried over ruins, and were absorbed in pronouncing "there is no power and no strength save in Allah". They did not present anything that is serious or a work that is positive. Some of them grew feeble because of what happened to them for the sake of Allah, and they became weak and quiet. Others and others

My friend said: "What is the solution then?" "The solution",I said "is in the hands of those true believers." The solution is for them to call for the return to true Islam in terms of faith, legislation, morals and to remind their folks of that; both by promising and by warning. It is by Islam alone that they can win and become masters. It is through Islam that they can express their unity and strength, and it is through it alone that we can achieve glory in this world and happiness in the hereafter. The true believers have also to gather their efforts to free their nation from the inertia of old times and the permissiveness of the present. They should also fight the lack of belief which is invading them, sometimes conspicuously and secretly at others. These believers have to be aware of the reality and the requirements of their time, as well as the condition of their society and the trends that tear it apart. They should be aware of the problems that face it and that it has to confront with the logic of the searching and specialised scholars, not with the mentality of the imitators and demagogues. They also have to arm themselves with patience and certainty to resist the preponderant materialistic wave, which has invaded the countries of Islam, and has conquered their minds and hearts in an overwhelming manner to the point that a major Muslim advocate (. This refers to Abu Al Hassan Ali Alhasani Annadawi, a scholar who is also an educator and an ascetic and a guiding example, May Allah make him live longer and work for Islam.) called it "apostasy which has no Abu Bakr".

They should endure the heat of the battle between them and untruth, and feel assured about the truth of the verses of Allah, and favour Allah, His Messenger and fight holy wars for His sake over what people usually endear, in terms of family and tribe and wealth and country. In such a situation, they deserve that Allah establish them as leaders, inheritors and make the wealth of the land available to them, as He, the Almighty, said: "And when they became steadfast and believed firmly in Our revelations, We appointed from among them leaders who guided by Our command" ( Surah 32, Verse 24).

My friend said: "What if these true believers failed to fulfil this duty, what is going to be our fate?"
I said: "It is a frightening fate, its characteristics have been determined by a verse of Allah's Book, but another verse left it mysterious and frightening, so that the mind can imagine it in any way it will. As to the first verse, Allah Almighty Says: "If ye go not forth He will afflict you with a painful doom, and will choose instead of you a folk other than you. Ye cannot harm Him at all. Allah is Able to do all things" (.Surah 9, Verse 39).

As to the second verse, Allah Almighty says: "Say: If your fathers, and your sons, and your brethren, and your wives, and your tribe, and the wealth ye have acquired, and merchandise for which ye fear that there will be no sale, and dwellings ye desire are dearer to you than Allah and His messenger and striving in His way: then wait till Allah bringeth His command to pass. Allah guided not wrongdoing folk" (.Surah 9, Verse 24)


The Only Path

As he became utterly desperate and angry, my friend said to me, "How come we stumble and drag our feet, and we are saved from a catastrophe only to fall into a similar or deeper one? I was about to start to consider that weakness, backwardness and decadence to be our distinctive characteristics, not just passing inconveniences. I almost do not believe what I read and heard about our glorious past, and our time-honored grandeur. Why are we like the bull in the canal who turns around and around and ends where he started?" I said, "Do you know what the reason behind that is? The reason is that we cure our chronic ills with provisional pain killers, not with the appropriate medicines. That is why we cure one ill by creating another and we close one door of evil to open two or more. We solve our economic problems at the expense of our moral problems and we favour materialistic progress over moral progress. We do everything to free ourselves from the western block in order to become prey to the eastern block. We try to align ourselves with the west, and thus take from it what is useful and what is harmful to us, what it likes and what it dislikes, and what is praiseworthy and what is blameworthy. We do not distinguish between what is useful to us and what is not, and what should be and what should not be. We forget that the west itself is suffering from deep internal sicknesses, which have almost led to its death. It is also suffering from human problems which have almost led its civilisation to collapse. Thus the rules that we take for our rebirth and reform lead us to be like the one who cures an illness with another one, or like the one who pays old debts with new ones. In the past, a poet said:

      If you pay one debt with another, it is as if you have
      not paid your debt but it is a loss upon a loss

Another poet said:

      If you cure yourself from an illness by another
      Then kill what has made you ill not what has cured you.

My friend said: "Then what is the solution in our situation?" I said: "The solution is that we find out about our own situation. We have to establish our identity and know who we are in this universe, what our message is and what we want to be. If we want to be Muslims, we have to treat ourselves and other people on this basis, and seek cures for our illnesses in the medicine and treatment of Islam. If we do not want to be Muslims, we should proclaim that frankly and define our stand with regard to ourselves and other people on this basis".

My friend said: "Do we have any possibility other than being Muslims? Islam is without doubt our religion, we were born Muslims, and have lived as Muslims and we will live as Muslims and die as Muslims, "And whoso seeketh as religion other than the surrender (to Allah) it will not be accepted from him " (. Surah 3, Verse 85.).

I said: "Our problem is that as individuals we pretend to be Muslims, and Islam is the official religion of some of our countries whose constitutions state that, but we do not want to be Muslims. We are Muslim by name, by our birth certificates, and through some rites which link some of us with our religion. We are officially and geographically Muslims on account of our being in the land of Islam. The reality is that our life is not Islamic, it is an incompatible mixture of Islam, materialism, paganism, and moral and emotional alignment."

My friend said: "What is it that is required for us to be true Muslims?" I said, "If we know what Islam actually is, we would know what we are lacking to be true Muslims. If it is necessary to classify the instructions of Islam, they can be divided into four elements:

1 - Faith: Including faith in Allah, His angels, books, messengers and the day of reckoning.

2 - Worship: Including prayers, fasting, almsgiving, pilgrimage, recitation of the Qur'an, invocation and repentance.

3 - Morals and values: Including virtue and integrity, justice and charity, kindness, compassion, truthfulness, loyalty, courage, generosity, reliability, shame, enjoining right conduct and forbidding indecency, patience, being generous with one's money to relatives, orphans, the poor, the homeless, and endurance in good and bad times and so forth from what the Qur'an and the Prophet's Tradition have listed including the morality of Islam, and all the aspects of faith and the ranks of good deeds.

4 - Regulations and legislation: upon which the Islamic jurisprudence was based, and the section on the legal relations among people as groups and as individuals, families and groups and countries.

Then, by your God, tell me, have we followed the instructions of Islam in these four elements and have we applied them and based our lives upon them?" My friend said, "We do some and we don't others", I said "What we don't apply is much larger than what we do. Most of the time we take the peels and leave the meat, and we take the image and discard the reality. For heavens' sake, what is left of our Islam if we import ideas and values, literature and traditions and regulations and laws to replace our own ideas, convictions literature and systems?"

My friend said: "But we always hear that Islam is doing wel1", I replied, "Yes, it is doing well indeed in the hearts of the overwhelming majority of the Muslim populations, because it is an authentic part of their mental, psychological and civilisational essence. They are convinced that they cannot stand without it, and that there is no glory for them with anything other than Islam. There is no happiness in this world or in the Hereafter for them if they do not hold onto its reliable tie and its ideal instructions."

My friend said: "So how did they stray from it, leave it aside and leave it behind them as if they did not know'?" I said, "The reality is that Islam was pushed outside the life of its people, and was prevented from guiding their society, without their will or choice. That was imposed on them as an intruding, malicious and wicked enemy." My friend said, "But this wicked enemy and colonialist has taken away its stick and moved away from the Islamic countries".

I said: "Only its armies and soldiers have moved away. Its intellectual, psychological, legal and social monuments and influences are still in use and still monitoring Muslims. They defy the religion and legislation of Islam. Its stepsons and disciples who have fed on the milks of its culture, ate from the dishes of its thought, and were raised within the confines of its schools, under the supervision of its advocates and missionaries, are still spread in our countries, and are in charge of intellectual, political and administrative leadership and guidance. This has led to a situation whereby religion is consulted only in matters that have to do with ablutions, prayers, breastfeeding, divorce and such matters. As to the policies of government, the social and economic systems, the methods of instruction and education, and constitutional and legal matters Islam is no longer given a say, except to approve, bless and wish the governors victory. More than that, the imported materialistic ideas do their best to chase the faith of 'There is no deity but Allah' away from the conscience of Muslims and to chase its influence from their lives."

My friend said, "So, what is the solution?", I replied, "Continuous work with objectivity and loyalty to take Muslims back to true Islam, and all Islam including its faith, legislation, morals, and total and distinctive civilisation. That is the way and there is no way other than that."


Islam: a call to knowledge and progress

In the Muslim world today there are calls which echo from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, and which advocate a return to Islam, an Islam which is free of all defects, devoid of all additives, far from all exaggeration and negligence. These calls advocate Islam alone, without partnership and a total Islam without any division: a faith whose essence is oneness, a worship whose essence is faithfulness, and morals whose essence is virtue, a legislation whose essence is justice and a civilisation whose essence is balance.

There are people who bangry when they hear such calls, and whose hearts exwith hatred because they do not like Islam to prevail, and its people to lead, and its glory to return. They are enemies of Islam who are hostile to its people. They do not like its nation to become strong after it had been weak, rise from a fall, or gather after dispersion.

For now we will not discuss such kind of people, because they will not be satisfied until Islam and its people are annihilated. Mu'awiyya was so right when he said, "I am able to win the approval of everybody except the jealous, because he is only satisfied when my blessing is taken away from me."

The poet was also right when he said:

      All enmities can be hoped to be solved
      Except the enmity of a jealous enemy.

Allah was also ever so right when he described such people as follows: "Neither those who disbelieve among the People of the Scripture nor the idolaters love that there should be sent down unto you any good thing from your Lord" (Surah 2, Verse 105)

There is another kind who are neither hostile to Islam nor hate its people, but they fear the return of Islam. Whenever they hear calls for a return to it, their hearts grow tense from fear, and their flesh trembles from apprehension, because they carry with them the wrong impression about Islam. Such an impression was made up by their ignorance, enlarged by imaginary thaughts, and embellished by passion. It is an idea that they have inherited from the times of retardation, and decadence. These made for them a picture of Islam as a coercive faith, a formal worship, negative morality, and inert thinking and life. With such an attitude it discourages scholarship and activity, hinders progress, denies innovation, kills creativity and drugs people!

Those who resent Islam
Some of these say frankly, "Do you want us to stop the wheel of evolution so that we freeze in our spot? Or stop the train of progress so that we regress?

Do you want us to return to negativism which lets matters take their normal course, and puts the burden of all deviance and defects on the shoulders of fate. Do you want us to return to the end of all resistance to tyranny and tyrants under the pretence of endurance and patience in the face of affliction? It also spreads amongst people expressions which cause them to be drugged and sleepy, expressions such as let the kingdom to the king, and leave creation to the creator, or Allah has made his subjects in the way he wanted them to be?!

Do you want to take us back to the times when the sultans were considered the shadow of Allah on earth? When they do well we thank them and when they do badly we have to endure them, and we have no right to say to them "why" or "no"?

Do you want us as we are approaching the twenty-first century to regress to the seventh century A .D.? In other words, do you want us to regress by fourteen centuries? Do you want us to leave the era of the atom, computers, space travel and Moon landing and return to the time of the camel as the boat of the desert?

No accusation without evidence
What is surprising is that these words are uttered by people who wear the cloth of science. In spite of this they allow themselves to use the styles of public address or of argumentative writing in narration within which no claim or accusation without proof can hold. Important matters can only be dealt with in terms of certainties. Impressions cannot lead anywhere because they do not serve the purpose of truth.

What no reasonable person can ignore is the fact that time, like space, is a container for events, i.e. for the work of man within it, be it good or bad, right or wrong. Time itself cannot be described in terms of good or evil except metaphorically, in the same way as when space is mentioned and its occupant is the aim, as the scholars of rhetoric state.

Thus, our interest should not lie in the comparison of a past time and present or future time. We should concentrate on what used to be in the past and what there is in the present, and what might be tomorrow.

I would like to confirm here a truth that is as obvious as the sun in the middle of the day, which is that Islam is not a past like the past of the Pharaohs in Egypt, or the Phoenicians in Syria, or the Babylonians in Iraq. Islam is the past and the present and the future. It is the eternal word of Allah, and his permanent path, His continuous enlightenment to humanity. It is a light like that of the Sun, it appears everyday as if it were new, but it is as old as time.

As to the understanding of Muslims of this Islam, which is old and new at the same time, and their application of it along the centuries, we accept parts of it and reject parts of it, in accordance with the objective set by the Book of Allah and the Tradition of His messenger. We take from this large and generous heritage the best it can offer and adapt from it what we need to guide our march. We leave aside what we think does not coincide with the truth, or has strayed from the path. We are not obligated to follow anybody other than the messenger of Allah (PBUH), who has been ensured infallibility by Allah in terms of what he reports from Him. Beyond that, we can take from anybody what we think is right and leave aside what we think is not.

Those who search for defects in the innocent
Thus, no reasonable and fair person can select from our heritage its worst parts and say, "do you want us to return to this?" One of them said to me one day: "Do you want us to return to the time of the prince who said: "whoever`. says to me obey Allah, I will cut his throat" ?" I replied: "We should return to the time of the Caliph who said: "there is no goodness in you if you don't say it and there is no goodness in us if we don't hear it!"

We want to return to the time of Omar who said on the Mimbar, "God Bless a man who shows me my own defects...." And he also said to other people, "whoever sees in me something uneven, he should straighten it." We should also return to the time of the caliph before him who said: "If I do good so help me, and if I do badly straighten me. Obey me as much as I obey Allah, and if I disobey Him then you don't have to obey me."

Another person said: "Do you want us to return to the time of Al Hajjaj who threatened his people with a whip that burns the backs, and with a sword that cuts throats. This is witnessed in his famous speech when he said, "By Allah I can beat you like the peculiar camels, I have seen that some heads have ripened and are ready to be picked, I will be the one to take (care of) them!"

I said: "Who from the advocates of the Islamic solution backs the tyranny of Al Hajjaj, or welcomes the return of his likes, when they have tasted affliction and bitterness only from the tyrants and oppressors of this era, these are like Al Hajjaj although he was nobler than these in his arguments and certainly in his behaviour!

Why don't we say, "We want to return to the time of Omar Ben Abdulaziz who said to his people when he took over power, "I am only one of you, with the difference that Allah has made my load heavier than yours!"

In reality, we have found that amongst the defenders of secularism and progress there are ones who set themselves up as advocates of the tyranny of Al Hajjaj, and poured the container of his anger over Omar Ben Abdulaziz, who was considered by the leaders of Islam as the fifth of the Rightly Guided Caliphs!

The Islamic solution calls for a scientific dialogue
We invite such perplexed people about the Islamic solution, who are apprehensive about the return to Islam to a purposeful, cool-headed and scientific dialogue. A dialogue between two parties each of which has the same right to express his views, and to defend them. This should not be a monologue, as the one suggested on the pages of one of the important newspapers, in some countries, about the application of the Islamic legislation. Thus they expressed what they wanted, without allowing the opposing view to be expressed, except within a limited context and to a specific readership. Then what can be the value of a fight whereby the odoes not have the right to enter the field? What is the value of a race, which has only one entrant.

We will not do as they did. We arcalling them with all our might to come and we both have an equal say and time. Let us do an objective and fair search of the truth, which would be far from chauvinism to the old and worship of the new. Let us sit and explore the content of the call to Islam: What is it? What is its gist? Does it consist of taking humanity backwards? Or is it a point of departure towards progress? Is it a cal1 to ignorance and backwardness, or a call to science and progress?

Anybody who knows what Islam is all about will know that it is a religion of science and progress. Whoever reads the Qur'an will realise that it is a discourse that is addressed to "those who understand", and verses to "people who have senses", and guidance to "people who remember" and that the Muslims are "those who have wisdom" and "those who know" and the disbelievers are people "who do not understand", "who do not have senses" and those who "are as the cattle, nay they are of a worse path."

There is no religion such as Islam, in which Allah has put such degree of ease and leniency, as well as the means of strength and elements of permanence that make our life a sound one. It is with the guidance of Islam that man will always progress in time and space wherever he is, in spite of the evolution of societies, and the alteration of situations and the changes in knowledge and thoughts.

It is because the Legislator of such religion is the Creator of man, so it is unimaginable that He Legislates a religion that will hinder man from action, liberation and progress. Such a situation is possible only if this Creator had been unaware of the laws that govern this universe, and what laws govern the instincts of man. The other case is that he would be knowledgeable of all this, but does not want man to achieve evolution, progress and well-being?Allah is superior to all this and that.

The True religion cannot stand against useful progress
True religion cannot stand against useful progress. If history has recorded on account of a few religions and their men their stand against progress, it is because they were not the true religion of Allah. They were deviated and changed, and lost their authenticity and superiority. They were instantaneous religions which Allah had not promised to preserve.

The best illustration of that is Christianity as it was in the west. There, the church used to back ignorance against science, folklore against intellect, the king against the people, and the strong against the weak. When the west perceived a shade of light, which originally came from the Muslim east, the angry populations rebelled against injustice and obscurity. It judged the men of the church in the same way as it judged the men of injustice and tyranny and thus they chanted, "choke the last of the kings with the guts of the last of the priests".

As to Islam, Allah Willed that if be the comprehensive and eternal message for all humanity after it attained full maturity, and deserved that this message be revealed to it. Thus it is no surprise that it was based from its beginning upon the respect of the mind and intellect, opposed to imitation and :inertia in favour of science and wisdom, and dependent on proof and evidence, and the glorification of the benefits of science and its people, the return to the .men of knowledge and expertise, and the incitement to work and action and dread of slackness and idleness.

It is also no surprise that we find that the eternal Book of Islam, the Book of Allah' tells us in the story of the father of Humankind (Adam) about science as the first requisite of representation of Allah on earth, and that it is thanks to it that Adam surpassed angels.

It also tells us in the story of Noah about the manufacture of boats, and the story of David about ironwork and the making of armoury, and in the story of Suleiman about the genie making for him anything that he wants. It also tells us about economic planning - over a period of fourteen years- in the story of Joseph. It also tells us in the story of Alexander the Great about the building of giant dams, it also tells us about the military and civilian uses of iron, in a special Surah named The Iron.

We also find the Messenger of Islam confirming the results of observation and experimentation in the matters of life even if it contradicted his own personal view, as in the case of the pollination of palm trees, that is when he said, "You are more knowledgeable in the matters of the world."

It is for that reason that he used to use statistics to assess precisely the human strength of Muslims that is on his side, it is a knowledge based on actual statistics not on approximation and impressionism, as was mentioned by Al Bukhari and Muslim.

He was also fighting illiteracy - and he himself was the illiterate Prophet to the point that he redeemed the non-Muslim prisoner of war who can write, on condition that he teaches ten Muslim children how to write.

He was also fighting against folklore stories and their spreaders and thus he would organise campaigns against magicians, charlatans and fortune tellers and against those who believe them and listen to them. And he would take medicines and advise people to take medicines and say, "Take medicines, oh subjects of Allah, because Allah has not created a sickness without creating a cure".

He also fought oppression and negativism in the solution of problems, advocating care in one's work, and the taking of precautions, "tie it and rely". When he was asked about motives, "Can you prevent something that is part of the will of Allah?" He said, "That is part of the will of Allah!"

It is also no surprise that under the umbrella of such religion that many states have established themselves and eventually inherited the two of the largest empires which the world has ever known. They were established by some of the followers of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) on the strongest bases and the sturdiest pillars, including a combination of religion and worldly matters. There grew under its sovereignty a civilisation of gigantic buildings and high pillars which benefited from the heritage of the past, refined it, improved upon it, and added to it its own contributions and creation. It did not find anything in Islam that would hinder its advancement, or delay its progress. In fact, it found in it encouragement which made it multiply its efforts and activities. It found in it also security that holds whether it remained or strayed from its path. It is no surprise that the French philosopher and poet Gustave Lebon wrote, "The Arabs are the first to have taught the world how the independence of thought agrees with the uprightness of religion!"

Do you think - after all this - that we need to ask, "What is the position of Islam regarding civilisation and evolution? Or Science and progress?


Combat illiteracy

It is sad and annoying that the rate of illiteracy in the Muslim nation approximates 80% and that the Islamic World as a whole is considered a part of the group of the developing countries, which is a nicer way of referring to undeveloped countries, or what is also called the third world. There may even be some countries who might go even lower and be considered on their own as a fourth world!

It is a great shame on the Muslims to remain in such a situation of illiteracy and backwardness, while their religion constitutes the greatest incitement to learning and progress. It even provides them with the material and social conditions as well as the psychological and intellectual context to allow them to extirpate themselves from ignorance into knowledge, from primitive life into civilisation and from obscurantism into enlightenment.

As far as we know, Islam was the first religion which initiated the war against ignorance and illiteracy, and called for education, and the valorisation of knowledge and its people. Suffice it to quote the Messenger 's (PBUH) saying, "Learning is an obligation of each Muslim'' (. This was related by Ibn Majah and others, quoting Anas. In the text of the Hadith there is no specific mention of female Muslims because what it means is every Muslim, be they male or female. This interpretation represents the consensus of the scholars as it was authenticated by the Al Hafidh As Suyuti and others, and by the scholar Albani in the Hadiths quoted in our book The Problem of poverty and how it is dealt with in Islam, published by Al Maktab Al Islami.).

Suffice it also to reiterate that the first verses to have been revealed to the heart of the Noble Prophet were a glorification of reading and writing, knowledge and the teaching of writing, "Read: In the name of thy Lord Who createth, createth man from a clot. Read: And thy Lord is the Most Bounteous, Who teacheth by the pen, teacheth man that which he knew not" (Surah 96, Verses 1-5.).

The second Surah in the history of the revelation of the Qur'an is the Surah of the Pen. This Surah was called so because in it Allah swore by the pen and the knowledge and wisdom that the writers use it to write. Allah Almighty said, "Nun. By the pen and that which they write (therewith)". The first Book that it is used to write is the Glorious Qurtan, which Allah has called the Book in reference to this meaning.

The way of Allah in the Qur'an is to swear by something, to draw the attention of people to its great usefulness. What is of greater use in our time than the pen, it spreads knowledge, and consolidates it, and carries from generation to generation. Isn't the print shop in our time but a pen which has evolved, and now fills the world with sciences and knowledge, and culture and civilisation. The glorification of the pen in the Qur'an and Allah's swearing by it is an encouragement of the Muslims to perfect their writing with it, and especially that Islam instructs the Muslims to write concerning many matters, among which is the recording in writing of debts "When ye contract a debt for a fixed term, record it in writing" (Surah 2, Verse 282).

There is also the written record of the will as in the Hadith, "It is a duty of every Muslim not to sleep without having written his will", as quoted in the Hadith of A1 Bukhari. The Prophet (PBUH) has also been quoted to have said, "The right of every son upon his father is that the latter teaches him writing, swimming and aiming" (.Quoted by Ibn Hibban quoting Aisha in The book of the poor.). It is also surprising that it is the illiterate Prophet who could not read a book, or write it with his right hand lest the liars be perplexed, who did not stop at the theoretical encouragement and the liking of learning to read and write, but he militated to provide the scientific means to spread education, and combat illiteracy as much as he could.

Among these means is his benefiting from the opportunity of the Muslims' capturing a number of prisoners of war from Quraish, who were participating in the Battle of Badr. These prisoners could write well, and did not have any money to redeem themselves, so the Prophet (PBUH) conditioned their redemption by teaching writing to ten Muslims.

In his Musnad, Imam Ahmed quotes Ibn 'Abbes (God Bless them both) saying, "Some of the prisoners did not have any money, so the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) conditioned their release by their teaching the sons of Ansars writing." That was the first project that a head of state organised to proclaim war against illiteracy in the history of this nation, and may be in the history of humanity as a whole. Among the sons of Ansars who benefited from this project, the genius boy named Zaid Ben Thabit, the recorder of the revelations, and the collector of the Qur'an afterwards, who was charged by the Noble Prophet to learn the language of the Jews, so that he can read their letters to him (PBUH), and write his letters to them.

When science spread amongst Muslims, the messenger imposed solidarity between Muslims in this area, as he had imposed it in the area of the daily living expenses. The knowledgeable man had as a duty to teach the ignorant and the literate had to enlighten the illiterate and help him.

Al Tabarani relates in Al Kabir, quoting Bakir Ben Ma'rouf quoting Alqamah Ben Said Ben Abdurrahman Ben Abzii quoting his father and grandfather, he said, "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) gave a speech once, and made good comments about some groups of Muslims and then he said, "How can some people not educate, teach, advise and admonish their neighbours, and how can some people not learn, not be enlightened or advised by their neighbours? By Allah, people should teach, enlighten, advise, enjoin and admonish their neighbours, and others should learn, be enlightened and be advised by their neighbours, otherwise I will speed up punishment to them".

So the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) descended and some people said, "Who do you think he meant by these people?" Somebody said: "Al Ash'ariyn are knowledgeable people, and they have neighbours who are useless, people of the water and from foreign lands". This reached the Ash'ariyn and they went to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), and said: "Messenger of Allah, you talked kindly about some people and you talked about us unkindly, what is wrong with us?" He said: "People should educate, advise, enjoin, and admonish their neighbours, and people should learn, be enlightened and advised by their neighbours, otherwise I will speed up punishment to them in this world". They said: "Should we understand people other than us?" He repeated his words to them and they repeated theirs to him " Should we understand people other than us?" He repeated his words again. Then, they said: "Give us one year", and he gave them one year to teach, educate and enlighten their neighbours. Then the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) read the following verse, "Those of the Children of Israel who went astray were cursed by the tongue of David, and of Jesus, son of Mary. That was because they rebelled and used to transgress. They restrained not one another from the wickedness they did. Verily evil was that they used to do!" (Surah 5, Verses 78-79. As to the reference of the Hadith, which we should mention, it is authenticated by Bakir Ben Ma'ruf more than its challenges. See our comment on the Hadith no. 82 in Al Muntaqa, from incitement to intimidation)

Dr. and Professor Mustapha Subai, May Allah have his soul, commented on this Hadith and said: "You read in this Hadith truths that should be pointed out,

1- The Messenger (PBUH) could not accept that people be ignorant when they are in the vicinity of knowledgeable people.

2- He considered the remaining of ignorant people in their state and the refusal of learned people to educate them a disobedience to the commands of Allah and His law.

3- He also considered that an aggression and a sin which require reprimand and punishment.

4- He declared war on the two parties and promised to punish them so that they hasten to learn (for some of them) and to teach (for the others).

5- He gave them a deadline of one year to erase all of ignorance amongst them.

6- Even if the incident referred to the Ash'ariyn scholars and their ignorant neighbours, the Messenger proclaimed the principle in a general manner, not concerning the Ash'aryin alone, with the proof that when the Ash'ariyin came to ask him about the reason why they were especially accused of this denial as the people construed it, he did not tell them that they were the ones that were meant by the Hadith. He repeated the general comment that had been repeated three times earlier without specifying it to the Ash'ariyin, in order to point out that the matter was one of general principle that is not specific to any particular group or period of time.

That is how the Messenger (PBUH) announced the battle against illiteracy fourteen centuries earlier than its proclamation by the modern countries in our time, and all this is surprising to come from an illiterate Prophet who lived in an illiterate environment, except that he was the Messenger of Allah.

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Addition Date:Added on Nov,22,04 :: Last modified Aug,23,05
Title:Toward a sound awakening  
Author's name:More Articles by Yusuf al-Qaradawi
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