The Creation Plan of God

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God Oriented life,The path to paradise,The purpose of life,After death,Final destination,What is life,who am i ?,The purpose of life,The message of god,The message of quran,The truth of life,

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The Creation Plan of God

  1. 1. The Creation Plan of God Table of ContentsTABLE OF CONTENTSTable of Contents................................................................2The Creation Plan of God ..................................................3Discovery of Islam............................................................16 Why Islam alone ...........................................................19 Prophetic Perspective ...................................................22 Separation of Spirit and Form .....................................23 Communalization of the Religion ...............................26 The Veil of Interpretation.............................................28 The Obsession with Historical Glory..........................32 ~2~
  2. 2. The Creation Plan of God The Creation Plan of GodTHE CREATION PLAN OF GODThe Famous historian, Edward Gibbon, observed:“Human History is little more than a register of thecrimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind.” Otherhistorians have also arrived at similar conclusions,for the ideal existence envisioned by philosophers isnowhere reflected in human societies. Orientalistswho have made an in-depth study of human historyhave remarked that, as regards the human failure toachieve the ideal society, Islamic history is no greatexception.Orientalists hold that, although the history of thefirst phase of Islam—known as the golden age—nodoubt presents a better picture than that of otherperiods, it too fails to measure up to the ideal.During the life of the Prophet, owing to theantagonistic activities of the hypocrites internallyand the Jews and idolaters externally, Madinah, thecity of the Prophet, could never in any significantsense be converted into an area of peace. After theProphet’s demise, and shortly after the first Caliph,Abu Bakr, had been appointed to be the leader ofthe Muslims, most of the Arab tribes revolted. It ~3~
  3. 3. The Creation Plan of God The Creation Plan of Godwas only when force was used that they wereprevailed upon to re-enter the Islamic fold.Subsequently, in almost every period, unfavourabledevelopments repeatedly proved to be hindrancesto the formation of the ideal society. During thetimes of Umar, the second Caliph, a secret lobby inMadinah, working towards the extirpation of Islam,finally succeeded in having the Caliph assassinated.Afterwards the age of open opposition set in. Thethird Caliph, likewise, was publicly murdered. Thereign of Ali, the fourth Caliph, was marked by civilwar in which thousands of precious lives were lostand the Caliph himself was martyred.Given the state of affairs, thinkers and philosophershave always expressed pessimistic views abouthuman history, holding it to be an ongoing tragedy:events have shown that, in this world, the buildingof the ideal human society is well-nigh impossible.The reason for this pessimistic view of history doesnot lie in history itself, but in our flawed approachto the subject. Our criterion to study history is notthe correct one, for it has been formulated byhuman beings. The only valid criterion, in the light ~4~
  4. 4. The Creation Plan of God The Creation Plan of Godof which we should study human history, is thatlaid down by our Creator. The right way tounderstand this matter is, therefore, to discover thecreation plan of the creator and then attempt tostudy history within its framework.From a study of the Qur’an, we learn that for aproper understanding of human society the centralidea is not ideal society, but it is human freedom.Man has been granted full freedom of speech andaction in this life the reason being that he has beenplaced in this world by the Almighty for thepurpose of being tested. As a prerequisite for thistest, man is at liberty to deny God, to kill prophetsand to oppose the da‘is (messengers) of truth. Givensuch a state of affairs, human freedom would haveto be withdrawn altogether in order to bring anideal society into existence. And God, in accordancewith His plan of creation, would never under anycircumstances abrogate human freedom. Theparticular nature of human existence on earth hasbeen thus explained in the Qur’an: We offered Our trust to the heavens, to the earth and to the mountains, but they refused ~5~
  5. 5. The Creation Plan of God The Creation Plan of God to accept the burden. Man undertook to bear it, but he has proved foolish and unjust. God will surely punish the hypocrites, men and women, and the unbelievers, both men and women; but God pardons believing men and believing women. God is Forgiving and Merciful (33:72-73).‘Trust’ in the above verses refers to the freedom ofchoice with which man has been entrusted. Theearth and the heavens have neither such freedomnor any will-power of their own. They arecompelled to adhere to the laws of nature laid downby God for all eternity. But man has no suchcompulsion. He is totally free in word and deed.From other verses in the Qur’an, we learn that,according to the Creation plan of God, what is ofactual importance in this world is the building notof an ideal society but of ideal individuals (67:2).The ideal human society will, therefore, come intoexistence not in this world, but in the worldHereafter — referred to in the Qur’an as DarusSalam (the Home of Peace). The actual obstacle tothe building of the ideal society in this world is the ~6~
  6. 6. The Creation Plan of God The Creation Plan of Godpresence everywhere of rebellious and insolentpeople. In the heavenly society of the Hereafter, allsuch evil-doers will be separated from good people;the heavenly society will then be comprised only ofvirtuous souls. Only in heaven then will it bepossible to create an ideal society.The error in the thinking of secular philosophersderives from their desire to construct in this presentworld the ideal society — the society which,according to god’s scheme of things, is going tobecome a reality only in the world of the Hereafter.The most formidable obstacle to the emergence ofan ideal society is human freedom, but thanks to theexigencies of God’s trial of humanity, humanfreedom is not going to be taken away. The idealsociety will thus remain a distant dream.According to the Qur’an, the truth has been fully setforth in this world. Now it is up to man to put hisfaith in it or to deny it (18:29). At another point theQur’an says: It rests with God to show the right path. Some turn aside from it, but had He pleased, He ~7~
  7. 7. The Creation Plan of God The Creation Plan of God would have given right guidance to you all (16:9).The Qur’an further observes; Had your Lordpleased, He would have made mankind a singlenation. But only those to whom He has shownmercy will cease to differ. To this end He hascreated them. The word of your Lord shall befulfilled: ‘I will fill Hell with jinn and men alltogether’ (11:118,119).This freedom granted to man by his Creator is thereason why a society with uniformity in all itsaspects could never be produced in human history.If in a society there are virtuous people, there arewicked people as well. The unworthy have neverceased to create disturbance, even the societiesfounded by the prophets are no exception. That iswhy despite the existence of good individuals inthis world, a good society could never become apossibility.However, this is not a matter of evil, or even ofdeficiency. The truth is that the recurrence ofdisturbance and dissension in society is essential tothe realization of the Creation Plan itself, for good ~8~
  8. 8. The Creation Plan of God The Creation Plan of Godpeople of the highest calibre are produced inunfavourable rather than in favourable situations.We learn from the Qur’an that man was born to anexistence fraught with toil and strife (90:4). TheQur’an, addressing the human race, has this to say:‘Go hence, and may your descendants be enemies toeach other’ (7:24). In this world, man has no choicebut to lead a life which is marred by trial andtribulation, opposition and enmity till the coming ofDoomsday.This human condition has not come about byaccident. This is exactly in accordance with thedivine scheme of things. God has created this worldin order to select those individuals who are capableof inhabiting heaven. These worthy inhabitants ofparadise are invariably produced under abnormalrather than normal circumstances. Human beingsshould therefore will continue to face unfavourablecircumstances in order that desirable people will goon being produced for such a selection.The Qur’an states: Do men think that once they say:‘We are believers,’ they will be left alone and not betried? We tested those who have gone before them. ~9~
  9. 9. The Creation Plan of God The Creation Plan of GodGod knows those who are truthful and those whoare lying (29:1-3). In a similar vein the Qur’an says:Did you suppose that you would go to Paradiseuntouched by the suffering which was endured bythose before you? Affliction and adversity befellthem; and so battered were they that each apostle,and those who shared his faith, cried out: ‘Whenwill the help of God come?’ His help is ever near(2:214).There is another verse to this effect: Did yousuppose that you would enter Paradise before Godhas known the men who fought hard and thesteadfast? (3:142). Yet again the Qur’an addressesMuslims in these words: Did you imagine that youwould be abandoned before God has had time toknow those of you who have fought valiantly andserved none but Him and His Apostle and thefaithful? God is cognizant of all your actions (9.14).The truth is that in this world what is desirable toGod is not the Ideal Society but the Ideal man. Andas we learn from the Qur’an, such an individual isproduced in conditions of ‘severe affliction,’ ~ 10 ~
  10. 10. The Creation Plan of God The Creation Plan of God(Qur’an, 33:11) and not in normal, peacefulcircumstances.God looks with favour upon those human beingswho, finding themselves in the midst of a jungle oftheories and ideologies, are able to discern the truthand then to persevere in their adherence to it. Hegives His approval to those human beings whosefaith remains unshaken even in the face of severeproblems and dire adversity; whose hearts, evenwhen they are subjected to all manner ofpersecution, are untainted by negative sentiments;who when threatened with calamity, do not loseheart, but undergo such a process of brainstormingas will lead to their intellectual development; whoeven when faced with such untoward events as arelikely to divert them from the Straight Path, remainstaunch in their faith in God; who feel the greattumult of the awakening of spirituality in theirhearts, bringing them closer to God.The man most desirable to God is one worthy ofinhabiting the refined and ideal world of Paradise.Such a person, the rarest of rare phenomena, isgreater than all that is great in the Universe. Such a ~ 11 ~
  11. 11. The Creation Plan of God The Creation Plan of Godhuman being takes a new birth. He is born, not inpeaceful circumstances but in great strife andturmoil. He faces darkness in this world, so that hemay live in the eternal light of the Hereafter. Hetreads a thorny path in this life, so that he mayenjoy a flower-filled environment in the afterlife.Here he suffers loss, so that he may be blessed withthe joys of recovery in the Hereafter. He patientlybears the deprivation of the pleasures and comfortsof this world, so that he may be entitled to a place inthe eternal Paradise of heavenly bliss.Such a precious soul cannot come into being in avacuum. Nor can he develop in the normalatmosphere of society—no matter how closelyapproaching the ideal that society may be. It is onlyin the jungle of adversity that such a soul canemerge; there is no other possible breeding ground.What philosophers describe as social evil is atraining ground devised by the Creator to producehuman beings of great moral and spiritualcharacter. That is why, in every period of humanhistory, mankind has been faced with all manner ofconflict and dissension. The true believers, the ~ 12 ~
  12. 12. The Creation Plan of God The Creation Plan of Godvirtuous and, in particular, the prophets, haveinvariably found themselves in unpropitioussituations. There is a hadith to this effect: “WhenGod loves a people, He puts them to the test.”Unfavourable circumstances are not peculiar tonon-Muslim societies; in one way or another, theyhave always been a part of Muslim societies too. Inancient times, the prophets were born amongidolaters and deniers and were subjected to severepersecution by their contemporaries. We learn fromthe Qur’an that the Prophet Moses was likewisethreatened with mental torture and physical agony,even although he had been sent to the People of theBook, that is, to the Jews. (33:69)The Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him,established a properly organized state in Arabia,later known as the Khilafat-e-Rashida, and ruledsuccessively by the four rightly guided Caliphs. Buteven during this ideal period of Islam, the statecontinued to suffer from a variety of severeproblems. Indeed, there is no period of the IslamicState which can be pinpointed as one in which ~ 13 ~
  13. 13. The Creation Plan of God The Creation Plan of GodMuslims led their lives in a state of perfect peaceand normalcy.This is not due to any deficiency in the Islamic State,but rather to the exigencies of the “training course”established by God Himself for the moral disciplineof human beings. As mentioned above, it is not partof God’s plan that an ideal society should be formedin this world in which people will lead peacefullives. According to God’s scheme of things, what isof actual importance is the preparation andformation of individuals. This unavoidably takesplace in an atmosphere, not of peace andtranquility, but of turbulence and turmoil.In the present world, neither at the national orcommunal level, do we possess the moral andphysical resource which are essential to theconstruction of a high standard society. However,we do have the means to build the ideal character inindividuals, and this is an ongoing reality— as arequirement of God’s Creation plan, which isconcerned not with the building of a heavenlysociety, but the building of the heavenly individualwho is fit to dwell in the ideal society of paradise. ~ 14 ~
  14. 14. The Creation Plan of God The Creation Plan of GodLooked at in terms of the ideal society, the historyof Islam would appear to have its darker, negativeside. But if seen in terms of the development ofindividuals, this same history would appear to havea very positive, bright side. The ideal society or theideal state may not have come into being but,throughout Islamic history, there has never beenany dearth of individuals of great moral andspiritual calibre. Indeed, the annals of history mayhave little to show in terms of ideal societies, buttheir pages have been made resplendent with thethoughts, words and deeds of ideal individuals. ~ 15 ~
  15. 15. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of IslamDISCOVERY OF ISLAMOnce a Muslim scholar from the UK visited India togive a lecture on: ‘Islam and the West.’ During thequestion hour, an Indian Muslim asked: ‘You havegiven us so much information about Islam and theWest, now, would you please tell us what theMuslims should do, when in the minority, incountries such as India?’ The scholar remainedsilent for a while and then replied: “It is, indeed, adifficult question. In Islam we find a model for aposition of strength. But, there is no model in Islamfor the position of modesty.” This is not just a strayremark. In fact, it illustrates the way of thinkingprevalent almost all over the Muslim world today.It clearly shows the mindset of today’s Muslims.Consciously or unconsciously, they look to theirglorious history in order to understand their statusand role in the world. Their mentality is such thatwhen they find a prominent model of strength, theynaturally conclude that what Islam stands for isworldwide Muslim political dominance. It is thisattitude which prevents them from penetrating theveil of their glorious history to seek guidancedirectly from the Qur’an and Sunnah. Had they ~ 16 ~
  16. 16. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of Islamdone so, they would certainly, have succeeded infinding role models for all human positionsincluding that of modesty. They would further haverealized that it is not the political but the ideologicalspread of Islam through peaceful da‘wah work thatthe Muslim Ummah has to struggle for everywhereand under all circumstances.Contrary to the prevalent misconception that Islamfailed to provide its followers with any model of alow-key position, an unbiased study of theProphet’s biography will reveal that up till theconquest of Makkah in the 8th A.H., 20 of the 23years of his life as a Prophet, were spent in exactlywhat is nowadays termed a state of modesty. When,chronologically, more thanthree-quarters of the Prophetic mission portrays apicture of humility, what is it that makes oneremark that there is no Islamic model for Muslimminorities in India or elsewhere? The fact is thatsuch people are so overwhelmed by the politicalglory built up during the later period of Muslimhistory, that their eyes are totally blinded to theglory of the modesty in the life of the Prophet. ~ 17 ~
  17. 17. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of IslamThis shift in later history of drawing inspirationfrom political glory instead of from the Qur’an andSunnah, has, unfortunately, blurred the generalvision of present-day Muslims to such an extent,that the original Islam has turned for them into analien religion. They proudly claim that Islam is acomplete code of life and that their Prophet had seta perfect role model for all times to come, yet due totheir own misdirected approach, they are unable tofind any model for the position of modesty which iscomparatively much more important than themodel for a position of strength, as it is popularlycalled.This state of affairs is entirely in accordance withthe prophetic prediction: “Islam began as astranger. And, finally, it will again become astranger. Let, then, the strangers be blessed”(Muslim). It would be no exaggeration to say thatthe original version of Islam has literally becometotally unfamiliar to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Islam, has thus, to be rediscovered.And to rediscover Islam, we have first of all todiscover what the factors are that have made Islama stranger in the world today. In the following ~ 18 ~
  18. 18. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of Islampages, the reader will find a thorough analysis ofthe historical and political reasons for the tragicphenomenon of the alienation of Islam as predictedin the Hadith.WHY ISLAM ALONEWe seldom hear the adherents of other religionscomplaining about their faiths beingmisunderstood. For instance Hindus, Buddhists andChristians do not hold that their respective religionsare badly understood. One reason is that they donot mix their religions with communal politics, anddo not generally try to advance their own worldlyinterests in the name of their religions—as present-day Muslims are doing on a large scale.One who studies Islam, directly from its sacredscriptures, is astonished to find that the originalIslam is totally different from what it is nowgenerally held to be. Other religions are known topeople as they are, hence the need to rediscoverthem does not arise. The problem ofmisapprehension applies therefore exclusively toIslam. There is a great need to study Islam from ~ 19 ~
  19. 19. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of Islamits original scriptures in order to re-discover it inits original form. In modern times many bookshave been published with the aim of removingmisunderstandings about Islam. One title is asfollows: ‘Islam, the Most MisunderstoodReligion’.But titles such as these are not in accordance withthe actual state of affairs. These books start withthe premise that non-Muslims have mistakenlycome to regard Islam as a religion of intoleranceand violence and then they attempt to removethese misapprehensions. But the actual question tobe addressed is why there should ever have beensuch misunderstanding. It has to be conceded thatit is based not on some allegation but rather on thefact that the Muslims of today, in almost everycountry, repeatedly display violence andintolerance towards others. They have adoptedthis course of action in the name of Islamicmovements or Islamic Jihad. Were Muslims to doso in the name of their own communal interestand people attributed that to Islam, this wouldamount to misunderstanding based on anallegation. But when Muslims themselves ~ 20 ~
  20. 20. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of Islamattributed their activities to Islam, it becomes acase of proper understanding and not that ofmisunderstanding.Furthermore, the educated class of modern times isobsessed with the concept of anthropology, whichtreats religion as a social phenomenon instead of asa vehicle for revealed truth. Therefore, according totheir way of thinking, they naturally come to regardthe activities of Muslims to be Islam itself. And theirthinking is further confirmed when they find thatMuslims engage themselves in these activities in thevery name of Islam.Given this state of affairs, the real task to beperformed is to differentiate between Islam as suchand Muslims. It should be made clear that Islamand Muslims are not necessarily one and the samething, so that one must differentiate between Islamand Muslims. Islam is an ideology. One who adoptsthis ideology in full is a Muslim, otherwise he is nota Muslim. It is essential that Muslims be judged inthe light of Islamic ideals: Islam should not bejudged in the light of what Muslims do in the nameof Islam. ~ 21 ~
  21. 21. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of IslamPROPHETIC PERSPECTIVEIn a hadith the Prophet Muhammad, may peace beupon him, observed: My generation is the best one,then the second generation and then the thirdgeneration. (Sahih Muslim, 8/550)This means that Islamic virtue was at its peak in thefirst generation, and that there was a decline inrighteousness through the second and the thirdgenerations. This stage is known in the history ofIslam as the period of the Prophet’s companionsand the period of Prophet’s companions’companions.There is nothing mysterious about it.Degeneration, a law of nature which applies toevery group, set in after the first generationitself. By the third generation, the roots of Islamhad weakened and by the fourth generation thecharacteristics of the first generation had beenconsiderably diluted. This process went on untilafter a few centuries that period commencedwhen, we do find individuals in considerablenumber who had imbibed the true spirit of ~ 22 ~
  22. 22. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of IslamIslam, but society on the whole was founddrastically lacking in the features of the earlyIslam.This is what is meant by Islam becoming “astranger,” as in the above-quoted prediction of theProphet. In latter times this difference has becomeso marked that the Islam of the early days has cometo appear strange to the Muslims of today. Somebasic reasons for this transformation are outlinedbelow:SEPARATION OF SPIRIT AND FORMThe first reason for this difference lies in theseparation of the spirit from the form. In latergenerations the form remains intact but the spirit islost, rather like a fruit with its skin intact butaltogether devoid of pulp.For instance, in the first phase iman (faith) meantrealization of God, while in later times imanbecomes synonymous with the recitation of thecreed of Islam (kalimah). In the early phase ibadah(worship) meant khushu, (spiritual devotion) but inlater times it becomes synonymous with a set of ~ 23 ~
  23. 23. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of Islamrituals. In earlier times Akhlaq (good moralcharacter) meant unconditional good character, butin later times it becomes synonymous with the kindof character, whose goodness or badness dependsupon the good or bad conduct of others.If, in the early period of Islam, a position of trustwas identified with responsibility, in the laterperiod it becomes associated with honour andprestige. In the early phase, the ideology of Islamwas highlighted, while in the later phase thehistory of Islam replaced the ideology. In the firstphase, Islam was an issue of duty; in the secondphase, it became an issue of pride. In the firstphase, the Quran was a book of tadabbur, (deepcontemplation), whereas in the second phase, itbecame simply a book for recitation. In the firstphase, following in the footsteps of the Prophetwas given the utmost importance but in latertimes, the Prophet was glorified as a nationalhero, so that Muslims might assert their ownsuperiority over other nations. While the thinkingof the first generation was that they could earnparadise only on the basis of their personal deeds,the people of the later period came to hold that ~ 24 ~
  24. 24. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of Islammere association with the Ummah (community)was enough to secure them paradise. People of thefirst generation turned to the original texts aspreserved in the Qur’an and Sunnah to seekguidance in every matter; while people of the latergeneration referred to the commentaries andinterpretations produced afterwards. In the firstphase self-reckoning and criticism wereappreciated, but in later times criticism became ataboo as Muslims became reluctant to accept theirown faults, considering themselves above anyshortcoming.Due to these differences, the religion of the firstphase of Islam became an unknown religion forthe people of the later phase. Indeed, when theywere called to the religion of the first phase, theyfound it so unfamiliar to their thinking andpractices that they became dire opponents of sucha call. However, there is no doubt that one wholoses his popularity among the people as a resultof calling them to the original Islam will have agreat reward reserved for him by God in theHereafter. ~ 25 ~
  25. 25. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of IslamCOMMUNALIZATION OF THE RELIGIONAnother reason for public alienation from the realIslam is that the faithfulls fall from the highpedestal of principled religion to the level ofcommunal religion. Then, this communal agenda isIslamized, the ideals of Islam being replaced bycommunal aspirations. This is the result, in moderntimes, of Muslims being faced with many kinds ofcommunal problems, such as the usurpation of theirland, deprivation of political power, culturalinvasion, exploitation in terms of economicresources, etc. And there are many other similarcommunal problems from which present dayMuslims are suffering at the hands of theiropponents.All over the world, Muslims have launchedmovements on these scores. In some places theytake the form of protest and demands, while inothers they develop into armed conflicts. If suchactivities have any justification, it is purelycommunal. Muslims fight for their communalobjectives, but they call it Islamic jihad. Their leadersform political parties, they enter into violent conflict ~ 26 ~
  26. 26. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of Islamwith other rulers in order to gain power, but theycarry out all these activities in the name of Islam.Power play, pure and simple, is given the name ofIslamic politics. The so-called Islamic jihad is themost glaring example of engaging in non-Islamicactivities under the banner of Islam. In differentparts of the world, wherever Muslims are engagedin fighting for their own communal purposes theyinevitably call their activities Islamic jihad. Theharm done by such violent jihad has multipliedthousand fold due to the modern media’s selectivecoverage of news. Since hot news is more profitablethan soft news, examples of Muslim jihad are seizedupon by the media as grist to the mill. This hasdistorted the image of Islam to such an extent that,today, Islam and violence have becomesynonymous.A state of affairs has developed in which Muslimshave come to believe that the cause of Islam can beserved only through jihad activism, that is, armedstruggle. With this mindset, they are unable tounderstand the significance of peaceful struggle.Anyone who talks in terms of peace and tolerancefinds his integrity in question. Any attempt at ~ 27 ~
  27. 27. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of Islammaking them understand the importance ofpeaceful struggle is seen as a conspiracy to keepthem from performing jihad as a “religious duty.” Itis thus an extremely difficult task to call Muslims topeaceful Islam. Such a mission involves the risk ofbeing discredited among one’s own co-religionists.In consequence, the call, goes unheeded.THE VEIL OF INTERPRETATIONOne reason for original Islam becoming alien is thatas time went by self-styled interpretations of theQur’an and Sunnat gradually placed a veil over theoriginal content of these texts. A time came whenthe original Islam was completely obscured fromview. The wrong, man-made interpretations tookthe place of revealed guidance. In later times,people mistakenly took them to be the real Islam.In the early phase of Islam people derived theirreligion directly from the Qur’an and Sunnah,therefore, their association with the original Islamremained intact. But the interpretations andexplanations of later days served only to obscurethe original teachings. The natural beauty of Islam ~ 28 ~
  28. 28. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of Islamdisappeared. The Qur’an and Sunnah now turnedinto relics instead of being instruments of guidance.Thus the religion came to be based on latter-dayinterpretations and explanations instead of on theoriginal scriptures.How did this corruption set in in the literatureproduced by the later generations? The answer isthat certain people, having a command over thelanguage, were able to acquire a superficialknowledge of the scriptures but were unable tounderstand them in depth; for this realization(ma‘arifa) is required. When one finds religion at thelevel of realization, one is endowed by God with thewisdom (hikmat) to be able to understand thedeeper meaning of the words of the scriptures. Onthe other hand those who are not blessed with thisspecial gift of wisdom, have nothing by which tounderstand Islam, except their own preconceptions.They begin to interpret religion according to theirown mindset. The result is that, although they referto the Qur’an and Sunnah, their interpretations havelittle bearing on the original texts. Religiousdegeneration ensues in which they appear to follow ~ 29 ~
  29. 29. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of IslamIslam but actually stray far from its spirit. They failto differentiate between God-sent religion and man-made interpretation. At this point, one who callspeople to the original Islam becomes an alienamong his own people. He fails to gain popularityeven among those already in the Muslim fold.However, losing popularity in this world for thesake of God will earn him a greater reward in thelife Hereafter. For, when the image of Islam hadbeen distorted, it was he, who was ready to take allthe risks involved in the process of reviving itsoriginal form.One great loss created by these additions to theoriginal Islam was the shift in emphasis. Someimportant teachings of Islam were relegated to thebackground—for instance, concern for the largerhumanity, da’wah, patience, etc. Da‘wah is thegreatest mission of the Muslim Ummah, for,although prophethood came to an end withMuhammad, may peace be upon him, the missionof the Prophet has not yet come to an end. Themission continues through the Ummah, as a matterof religious duty. It would be no exaggeration to saythat without the performance of this duty, its very ~ 30 ~
  30. 30. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of Islamcredibility of being the Muslim Ummah wouldbecome doubtful. Strangely, indeed, da’wah foundno place in the literature of the centuries after theProphet. Neither has it been mentioned anywherein the Muslim agenda of today. The classicalcommentaries of the Qur’an (Tafsir) also fail to giveany prominence to da‘wah as a concept. In books ofhadith too, we find chapters on all subjects exceptda’wah. The same is true of fiqh (Islamicjurisprudence) in whose texts we do not find achapter on da‘wah.According to the Qur’an, the exercise of patience(sabr) is a deed which makes man eligible for thehighest reward (8:46); the patient man will berewarded “beyond measure” (39:10). But theinterpretation that gained popularity in later timeswas that the injunction of sabr, patience, had beenabrogated and replaced by jihad (in the sense ofqital, fighting). Thus, one who studies these books,gathers the impression, that consciously orunconsciously, patience might have been importantin the past, but that nowadays it has lost itsrelevance. Now jihad (in the sense of qital) and notsabr is of the foremost importance. ~ 31 ~
  31. 31. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of IslamIt follows that whenever a reformer calls Muslimsback to their duties concerning da’wah and sabr, theybecome antagonistic to such a call, because theyhave become conditioned to finding it alien to theirthinking.THE OBSESSION WITH HISTORICAL GLORYAs mentioned above, one of the major reasons forthe original Islam becoming an alien religion amongthe Muslims is that for latter day generations thebasis for the Islamic ethos became the later historyof Islam instead of the Qur’an and Sunnah. Muslimsfound their glorious history far more attractive thanthe Qur’an and Sunnat. For them they were just setsof words. Their history, on the contrary, gave theman immense sense of pride, as it was full of imperialgrandeur and conquests. Although they continuedto pay lip service to the Qur’an by reciting it, theywere, in fact, lost in the glories of Islamic history.Gradually they came to associate themselves andIslam with this grand history: instead of the Qur’anand Sunnah, history became their chief source ofinspiration. ~ 32 ~
  32. 32. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of IslamThis change of the source of inspiration wroughtimmense harm. When the Qur’an and Sunnah areone’s intellectual sources it is modesty that is bredin the mind, whereas if one takes history as one’sintellectual source, pride is bound to be generated.If the Qur’an and Sunnah are taken to be the truesources of knowledge of God’s will, all mankind, inthe words of a hadith, will be regarded by thebelievers as God’s family; the whole of humanitywill become their concern: whereas, when the mindis shaped by history, Muslims see themselves asrulers, and others as subjects. If they derive Islamfrom the Qur’an and Sunnah, then all God’screation—even a blade of grass—will appear tothem as God’s signs. Whereas when history is thesource of their Islam, the forts and palaces of theirkings become signs of grandeur and glory to them.This is exactly what has happened with the latterday Muslims. Almost all the activities of Muslims inpresent times bear testimony to this fact. Thespeeches of their leaders, the books of their writers,the poetry of their poets, seem to centre on theirglorious history. Their writers and speakers providethem food for thought about historical glory rather ~ 33 ~
  33. 33. The Creation Plan of God Discovery of Islamthan divine glory. This is the reason why in moderntimes a large number of books have been written bythe Muslims bent on the celebration of history,while perhaps not a single book has been producedon the majesty of God Almighty.Given this state of affairs, when a reformer arises tocall Muslims to the religion of the Qur’an andSunnah, his voice naturally appears strange to hishearers. For they feel that this person is calling themto a position of modesty, whereas their religion(that is, history) aims at placing them in a positionof strength. In such an atmosphere, the words of thereformer will impinge as worthless, alien andunacceptable. ~ 34 ~

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