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Part II: Philosophy

Reference : Dr. Javed Jamil

A Systematic Study of the Holy Qur’an-6

PART II: PHILOSOPHY - 
Faith (Iman) and Submission (Islam)

 

Part
II
Philosophy


In essence, the Qur’anic philosophy can be described as the philosophy of relationship: relationship between Creator and the Universe; between different components of the universe in general, between human beings and the rest of the universe and between humans and humans. The very first verse of the Qur’an, “Al-hamdu lillahi rabbil aalameen” (The Acknowledgment (by the Universe) is to God, the Lord of the Universe”) beautifully sums up the relationship between God and the Universe as a whole, which has been described as the First Law of Nature by this author. God supplies to the universe whatever it needs and in response the universe acknowledges and thanks Him in a special way through a specific kind of motion, motion being the most fundamental property of the created. It is this combination of Rabubiyyat (Lordship) and Hamd (Acknowledgment) that created the universe and sustains it. If one or both of them ceases, the universe would cease functioning, resulting in Qiyamah or Doomsday (literally meaning Stopping or Halting). It is on the basis of this verse that the author has argued that the universe has an existence as a whole as well, distinct from the role of its components, and Qur’an describes the universe as a Mulk (State), clearly implying that the universe functions as a state and is governed by a King through a system of laws and administrators. (Malak, usually translated as angel, is a derivative of the same root as makes malik or King) and should literally mean administrator.) Unlike the modern theories of Physics that do not subscribe any role to the universe as a whole and either does not accept the role of God at all or imparts a role to God only at the beginning of the creation, Qur’anic position is that God has a permanent role in the functioning of the universe as the unchallenged Sovereign and Governor General. God is the Ultimate source of supply not only of Physical materials, energy and laws; but is also the Ultimate Master of Knowledge, spiritual and social requirements and whatever else is there.
 

 

The system that God created for the universe is one of interdependence and relative existence, God being the Ultimate and Absolute Existence. The components of the universe exist relative to each other as well as relative to God who alone is absolute.  It is this interdependence on one another within the boundaries of the universal laws created by God that makes their existence, individual and collective, possible. Human beings too depend upon the laws of nature and the objects surrounding them; but God has given a very special status to human beings making it possible for them to use the energies coming from distant objects (like he Sun), atmosphere and material available to them on the earth for their own comforts. While all the objects of the universe follow the Laws of Nature created by God by inherent nature man has been endowed with consciousness; he obeys or disobeys God consciously using his own intelligence and judgment, rightly and wrongly, and this makes him the Final Product of the Creation. Being the Final Product, he is expected to work in the best possible way out of his free will; and it is on the basis of his conduct and motives he will be judged by God. The most important part of the human life is of course what kind of relationship he has with his fellow human beings. If these relationships are in accordance with the commands of God, mankind as a whole will benefit in this world and the individuals – they may or may not benefit in this world – will surely benefit in the Hereafter. Man being inferior to none but God is expected to worship none but God. If he worships his inferiors (objects of nature or other living beings) or equals (other human beings who can be respected for their qualities though), he is in grave error.
 

 

 

Iman and Islam


 

Iman means the highest state of satisfaction and contentment that can be achieved only by getting entirely convinced about the Oneness of God and His Message through Muhammad, the Last of His Messengers. Islam denotes peace at its best that can be achieved only through total submission to God. Iman is more of a personal asset while Islam is a   system having individual (including physical, mental, spiritual and social aspects), family and social components. Joining Islam means agreeing to the spiritual, social and moral system of Islam in accordance with the Qur’an and the example of the Prophet. Developing Iman implies getting thoroughly convinced in heart and mind (Yaqin or certitude) that there is none to submit but God; and none to imitate but his Messengers, the last being Prophet Muhammad (SAW).  The real Iman, as will be seen in the coming chapters manifests itself in action in all parts of life. It follows that Iman is an inward faith and conviction, and Islam is its outward expression at various levels.
 

 

The foremost duty in Islam, which is in effect the primary condition to enter the System, is faith. Faith has three essential components. First, one must be totally convinced in one’s heart, mind and soul that the Universe has been created and is governed by a Supreme Being, and that He has guided mankind through His Ambassadors and Scriptures. Second, one must be totally devoted to God and His system and must be ready to put one’s best into it. Third, one must be fully satisfied with whatever one gets out of that devotion. Faith is the foundation stone of the edifice of peace. Without it neither a good individual can emerge nor a good family or society. Faith is the fragrance that exhilarates the inside of the soul as well as its surroundings. Faith of an individual is sine qua non for his/her inner peace, and faith of the majority of the people constituting a nation or society is sine qua non for peace in the nation or society. At individual level, Iman has an unparalleled calming effect on mind and soul. A Momin (Devotee) is always cool. The vicissitudes of life do not trouble him, pains do not perturb him and losses do not disturb him. Sadness does not bereave him, except to a certain degree, and happiness does not corrupt him. Failure does not depress him, and success does not intoxicate him. If anything worries him it is not his personal aggrandisement in this life but his desire to please God. Despite being ever on the alert fearing His Displeasure, he is always hopeful that Kind God will surely accept His Devotion. If he is hopeful of gaining God’s pleasure it is not out of his belief that he has done enough to warrant approval but out of his unadulterated trust in God who, through His unequalled benevolence, will embrace him. Conceit and haughtiness do not afflict him; humility embellishes his existence. His presence on the earth is not the source of injury to anybody; he loves to take pains to keep others happy. Avarice is not his wont; others’ possessions howsoever precious do not generate envy or jealousy in his heart. If he envies anything it is good deeds of others; if he tries to influence others it is always for their betterment. Rather than finding fault in others he tends to disregard his own achievements; others are better in his eyes than himself. It is this combination of trust in God and selflessness that engenders solace in his heart and mind. A Momin is in a position to detach from all sorts of worries convinced that God will never fail to do what is best for him. If his desires are not fulfilled he regards it as the right decision of Wise God who knows better than him. He prays to Him, without ever showing even minimal signs of dissent if his prayers are not heard. He acquiesces to whatever God chooses for him, patience being his hallmark. In return, even if his wishes are not granted, what he is surely bestowed upon is peace—almost always in this world, and always in Hereafter. Patience and peace are inseparable, and patience is the supreme virtue of a Momin.
 

 

Every religion has similar designs as far as individual peace is concerned. All religions promote humility, patience and selflessness. What distinguishes Islam however from other religions is its extraordinary emphasis on Hereafter. Unlike Christianity, forgiveness for all sins is not ensured in Islam. He does not get a tacit license to commit sins. His sins against others will be punished in the world if detected by law and in Hereafter if he escapes the punishment here, unless forgiven by the person against whom the sin is committed. Mere belief in God or Muhammad (Peace be upon him!) will not save him. This does not mean one needs to despair if one has committed a sin; one must seek forgiveness from the person against whom the sin has been committed and from God. But sins even if forgiven would surely lower one’s status in Paradise . Nobody else, Jesus or Muhammad (Peace be upon him!) will take on themselves the burden of the sins of others; of course, they may recommend amnesty for anybody, due to their proximity to God.  Fear of disincentive in Hereafter for every sin and hope of an incentive for every virtue inculcates virtuousness that promotes peace at all levels. What further distinguishes Islam from other religions, as will be seen later, is its categorical distinction between ‘permissible’ and ‘forbidden’. Moreover a crystal clear relationship can be noted between forbidden acts and severe social problems on one hand, and the desirability of obligatory acts in the attainment of peace, on the other.
 

 

The clear distinction between the right and the wrong goes a long way in the attainment of the purification of soul (Tazkiyah-e-Nafs). In Islam, actions can be classified into five essential categories: Haram (Forbidden), Makruh (Undesirable but nor forbidden), Halal (Permissible), Fardh (Obligatory) and Mustahab (Desirable but not obligatory). This classification imparts tremendous flexibility to the whole system. An average follower has to refrain from forbidden practices and fulfil his obligations. He does not have to necessarily avoid the undesirable and do the desirable. One who longs to attain a higher status in the eyes of God must also give up the undesirable and pursue the desirable. This leads to the purification of soul that enhances understanding (Ma'rifah) and proximity (Qurb) to God. Tazkiyah, Ma'rifah and Qurb are important milestones in the path of peace.
 

 

There are people who argue that belief in God is not essential for peace. The truth however is that true peace of soul and mind can never be achieved without belief, trust and faith in God. This belief rescues a believer from impossible situations when one is at loss to find solution to one’s problems. Though belief in God is central in almost all the religions except perhaps Buddhism and Jainism, in Islam this again assumes a distinctive character, as no other religion can boast of absolute monotheism. Nothing in the creation can be like Him indeed; and therefore none else can be given a status that is only His unchallenged monopoly. Unlike Jesus, Buddha and Hindu Avatars like Ram and Krishna and Greek and Hindu gods and goddesses, In Islam none including Muhammad (Peace be upon him!) has any share in the Authority and Knowledge of God except what He delegates. There should therefore be no share for anybody in worship, which is His sole monopoly.
 

 

The belief in God and Hereafter also helps a man to overcome depression, which often sets in seeing huge injustices being perpetrated in the world, massive sufferings of the weak and the apparent successes of oppressors and exploiters. One often feels inclined to think if God is there why He allows these enormous sufferings and why oppressors go scot-free. Many atheists utilise this as an argument in favour of the non-existence of Supreme Being. The truth however is that the apparent sufferings of the weak, poor and innocent and the apparent successes of the strong, debauched and aggressors necessitates the presence of Supreme Being and Hereafter. If this alone is the whole life and there is no Hereafter and none to take cognisance of what is happening there is no way all these sufferings can be undone, honour of the sufferers can be restored and the perpetrators of crime can be brought to justice. If a person is murdered, there is no way he can be restored to life; no amount of compensation to the family of the deceased and no amount of punishment to the murderer can undo his death. If a father or mother loses their son, how can they get him back? Even if the killer is hanged this will not fill the vacuum created in their life; their son cannot get back his life and they cannot get their son back. Millions of people died at the hands of Hitler, Stalin and many other dictators. Hundreds of thousands lost lives in American bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki . All those killed were innocent. How can they get justice in this world? This is a world where one can be punished for one’s actions, but more often one escapes the punishment. Here people suffer for others’ faults. Qur’an clarifies that this world is a place of trial, not that of judgement. It makes clear that humans suffer here due to their own faults. This does not mean, as is erroneously interpreted sometimes, one suffers due to one’s faults in the past. On the contrary, it applies to mankind as a whole. Man suffers due to man’s faults, not necessarily one’s own but often somebody else’s. This necessitates Judgement Day where every single deed of an individual will be taken into account for arriving at the judgement. No act, good or bad, of no individual will remain unaccounted for. The judgement will be without blemish; everybody will feel satisfied for what he gets.
 

 

Faith in Hereafter strengthens the confidence of the good and the sufferers. Their sadness at not being able to get what they deserve is compensated by the hope of getting their due in Hereafter. Those who behave well here, without any benefit, and sacrifice their desires will get a wholesome reward in Hereafter, which will have an entirely different set of natural laws and social rules. Those who have avoided drinks in order to obey the commands of God will receive drinks in Hereafter that will exhilarate their spirits without causing any damage to them or others. They have been asked to avoid certain kinds of sex, and in return, they will enjoy a better companionship in Hereafter, which will be without any undesirable consequences. If on the other hand, they indulge in forbidden acts here not only they but also their contemporaries and their posterity can develop serious problems on account of their actions; they will face severe punishment in Hereafter themselves. Believers know that they can escape punishment in this world but cannot in the next world. Law may not have the eyes to see their deeds, but God can see even what they are doing away from all the eyes of the world. The expectation of incentives and the fear of disincentives combine to prevent them from undesirable actions and encourage them to conduct righteously. It is this right conduct that prevents individuals from a number of problems, and when people in society generally conduct well peace prevails.
 

 

While faith in God and Hereafter go a long way to ensure psychological and spiritual peace, when this combines with the faith in Muhammad (Peace be upon him!) as the Last Messenger of God and Qur’an as the last scripture, this paves way for physical, family and social peace. Qur’an and Muhammad (Peace be upon him!) explain what bad or good conduct is. It is they that discriminate between the right and the wrong. It is they that provide the constitution, the guidelines and the example. Normally, opinions on the desirability or undesirability of certain actions vary to a degree. Man wants to accept the desirability or undesirability of an action only by ascertaining its consequences himself. His methods are ridden with probabilities and it often takes enormous effort and time for arriving at the conclusive evidence. There are always elements in society having vested interests in the continuance of certain practices; they do everything in their grasp not to let the people form any definitive opinion. For a true follower of Islam it becomes an easy task to decide what to do or what not to do. Though his curiosity leads him to try to find out the consequences of different actions, he is always convinced that injunctions and principles enunciated in Qur’an and put into practice by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him!) are enough for him to have a wholesome life. He is satisfied in his heart that no man can know better than Muhammad (Peace be upon him!) and Qur’an because God Himself dispatched them. God is not dependent on the unfolding of events for knowing the effects of anything or action; He is omnipotent. When His omnipotence merges with His kindness, He will provide human beings with the best system: a system that will ensure a comprehensive and eternal peace and will take pre-emptive actions against chaos.
 
 
 

In the name of God, the Kind, the Merciful

 

 

‘IMAN’ AND ‘ISLAM’ IN THE QUR’AN

 
 

Conviction about God
 

 

Say: “Nay! but I am commanded to be the first of those who bow to God (in Islam), and be not thou of the company of those who join gods with God.” ( 6: 14 /A)
 

 

No partner hath He: this am I commanded, and I am the first of those who bow to His will. (6: 163/A)
 

 

Say: “Verily, I am commanded to serve God with sincere devotion; and I am commanded to be the first of those who bow to God in Islam.” (39: 11-12/A)
 

 

Is one whose heart God has opened to Islam, so that he has received Enlightenment from God, (no better than one hardhearted)? (39: 22/A)
 

 

 

Islam is God’s Favour
 

 

They impress on thee as a favour that they have embraced Islam. Say, “Count not your Islam as a   favour upon me: Nay, God has conferred a favour upon you that He has guided you to the faith, if ye be true and sincere. (49: 17/A)
 

 

Nay,- whoever submits His whole self to God and is a doer of good,- He will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.   (2: 112/A)
 

 

Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to God, does good, and follows the way of Abraham the true in Faith? For God did take Abraham for a friend. (4: 125/A)
 

 

And this was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons, and so did Jacob; “Oh my sons! God hath    chosen the Faith for you; then die not except in the Faith of Islam.” (2: 132/A)
 

 

Do they seek for other than the Religion of God.-while all creatures in the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His Will (accepted Islam), and to Him shall they all be brought back. (3: 83/A)
 

 

 

Islam (Peace) the only acceptable system
 

 

If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to God), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good). (3: 85/A)
 

 

Those whom God (in His plan) willeth to guide,- He openeth their breast to Islam; those whom He willeth to leave straying,- He maketh their breast close and constricted, as if they had to climb up to the skies: thus doth God (heap) the penalty on those who refuse to believe. (6: 125/A)
 

 

 

System Perfected
 

 

This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. (5: 3/A)
The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah - the which We have sent by inspiration to thee - and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein....(42: 13/A)

 

 
And remember Abraham and Isma’il raised the  foundations of the House (With this prayer): “Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: for Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-knowing. Our Lord! make of us Muslims, bowing to Thy (Will), and of our progeny a people Muslim, bowing to Thy (will). (2: 127-128/A)
 

 

It is He Who hath sent His Messenger with  guidance and the Religion of Truth, to proclaim it over all religions, even though the Pagans may detest (it).     ( 9: 33 /A)
 

O ye who believe! Enter into Islam wholeheartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the evil one; for he is to you an avowed enemy. (2: 208/A)

 
 

 

Islam Versus Iman
 

 

The desert Arabs say, “We believe.” Say, “Ye have no faith; but ye (only) say, ‘We have submitted our wills to God,’ For not yet has Faith entered your hearts……………..” (49: 14/A)

 


 

SERIES: A Systematic Study of the Holy Qur'an

 

CONTENTS

  

PART I: FAITH                                                 

 

 

 

PART II: PHILOSOPHY

 

 

PART III: CONSTITUTION

 

 

PART IV: THE SYSTEM

 

 

PART V: THE HISTORY OF CONFRONTATION

 

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Last Word: The Final Document of Peace

 


 

 

 

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