Tuesday, July 31, 2007

UNGS 2030 : Required reading - Worldviews

UNGS 2030

Topics outline
• Definition
• Different views towards the world
• Basic elements of worldview
• Three famous worldviews
• Characteristics of Islamic Worldview
• Characteristics of Western Worldview
• Basic differences between them
• Some Western approaches towards the world

• Islamic worldview deals with the basic fundamental questions of life, realities around us in the universe, man and others.

• It is the way one perceives the world around him, views his position in it.
• A comprehensive conception of the world from a particular standpoint.
• A set of attitudes on a wide range of fundamental matters.
• Weak Creature
• A Place of sufferings
• Place of enjoyment
• Life is a sin
• No freedom
• Totally Free
• Atheists, Agnostics and Humanists
• Islamic concept
Weak Creature
• Some groups viewed human being as a weak creature and is powerless in front of all other creatures.
• Therefore, he vows before all creatures.
A Place of sufferings
• It is a place full of sufferings. People get happy to become sad later. They enjoy life to face sufferings.
• Therefore, they abstained totally from the world and its activities and engaged in a life of asceticism.
Place of enjoyment
• Others view it as a place full of enjoyment and happiness for a very short span of time.
• He should keep himself away from the aspect of distress so that he could enjoy life fully and utilize it properly.
• Once he dies, everything finishes. There is no life after death or no retribution or accountability afterwards.
Life is a sin
• Human being is born full of sins. Life in the world is also full of sins.
• He who wants success in the Hereafter, should abstain from the enjoyments and luxuries of the world.
• If he engages in the worldly enjoyment, then there is no place for him in the Heavenly kingdom.
• Man’s sins are forgiven by the sacrifice of a noble man.
No freedom
• He does not have any freedom, and is totally bound by the natural laws.
• All are predetermined, and the humans are just acting like the “actors” in the plays and dramas to fulfill the Divine Will.
Totally Free
• Others view that he is totally free to do whatever he wants to. There is no law or force which controls his activities.
• He is the owner of the worldly affairs.
• He is not accountable to any power or authority beyond his own government or conscience.
Atheists, Agnostics and Humanists
• Atheists: reject God’s existence.
• Agnostics: do not know whether God exists, and they do not care.
• Humanists: Humans know better what is good or bad for them. They reject any laws claimed to have been from divine sources.
Islamic concept
• Islam views the world not as a place of full enjoyment, nor a place full of sufferings;
• Human being is not a weak creature, nor he is powerful than all the rest;
• Neither the life is full of sins, nor it is perfectly holy;

• nor he is totally free or totally chained by some other beings.
• Islam follows a middle course of action, upon which is based Islamic Worldview.
• a) Conception of life
• b) Purpose of life
• c) Fundamental creeds and beliefs
• d) Moral trainings for Individuals
• e) Social system
• A worldview should give a clear conception of life.
• What is the meaning of life?
• How does he look towards the world?
• What is his role in the world?
• What is the main purpose and objective of life?
• Why should he strive for? Was it to attain the luxuries, comforts, apartments and beautiful cars and wives?
• What are the fundamental beliefs that Islam wants its followers to adopt and build his character based on them?
• This aspect has a major role to play in shaping the character and personality of a person
• What a training given to its individuals?
• What kind of values should each and every individual adopt in their personal lives?
• What are the moral attributes, characters it wants to instill in the minds of the people?
• What are the responsibilities of each and every individual towards each other?
• What relations they should have towards each other?
• His relation towards his family, parents, brothers, friends and others.
• It is based on two things:
• Hypothesis, and ii) Experiment
• Scientist forms a hypothesis first, and then proceeds with experiment in the lab. If the experiment proves the hypothesis, it becomes a scientific phenomenon.

• Science is engaged in discovering Cause and Effect. Then it pursues the cause of that cause and the effect of that effect, as far as possible.
• Sun moves or static?
• Lately, the scientists found that ‘Sun’ together with all other planets are circling around the galaxy ‘Milky Way’, and the galaxy also rotates around an axis clockwise.

• وَالشَّمْسُ تَجْرِي لِمُسْتَقَرٍّ لَهَا ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ(38)وَالْقَمَرَ قَدَّرْنَاهُ مَنَازِلَ حَتَّى عَادَ كَالْعُرْجُونِ الْقَدِيمِ(39)لَا الشَّمْسُ يَنْبَغِي لَهَا أَنْ تُدْرِكَ الْقَمَرَ وَلَا اللَّيْلُ سَابِقُ النَّهَارِ وَكُلٌّ فِي فَلَكٍ يَسْبَحُونَ(40) يس.
• It is exact, precise and discriminating.
• It is able to give thousands of data about slight being.
• It acquaints man with special laws of every being, and to dominate that being.
• It brings about industry and technology.
• Experiment based,
• Partial information,
• Unstable,
• Unable to answer questions.

• Experiment:
• The compass of science is limited to experiment. But can one bring all of being in all its aspects within the confines of experiment?
• It goes ahead with cause and effect, but at one point it must say, “I don’t know”.
• Example: Science is like a powerful searchlight which does not know beyond its reach.

• Partial Information
• Scientific World-view is the knowledge of the part, not of the whole.
• From Scientific perspective, Universe is like an old book the first and last pages of it have been lost.

• Unstable
• It is unstable, changeable. For, the hypothesis and experiment change day to day.
• A world-view cannot be based on such a shaky and inconsistent scientific world-view.

• Unable to answer questions
• Unable to answer some basic cosmological questions that every ideology or world-view should answer.
• Science is bound to fail in answering such a question. For, they cannot be subjected to experiment.

• Philosophy is capable to give a world-view as the foundation of an ideology.
• It is stable - for it rests on a series of principles that are self-evident and undeniable to the mind, and are comprehensive and general in nature.
• It provides answers to the ideological questions raised by human mind.
• Scientific world-view contributes to action by giving men the power and capacity to “change” and to “control” nature.
• So, nature becomes subservient to his desires.

• Philosophical World-view provides reasons for certain actions and criteria for human choice based on purpose of their life.
• It is influential in creating a perception of life towards Being and Universe.
• It furnishes a meaningful life or draws him into emptiness.
• Religious World-view and Philosophical World-view have some similarities, as both are stable, eternal and comprehensive. Both give emphasis on rational approach to deal with the issues.
• The difference between them is that the religious world-view is based on Revelation and Reason, whereas Philosophical World-view is based on reason alone.
• Religious world-view is accorded with sanctification of its sources and values, which lacked in Philosophical World-view.

UNGS 2030 : Required reading - Positivism



Positivism, system of philosophy based on experience and empirical knowledge of natural phenomena, in which metaphysics and theology are regarded as inadequate and imperfect systems of knowledge.

Linguistically, it also refers to being positive, which means optimistic, hopeful, certain and a good attitude in one’s own behavior.
Being Positive is encouraged in Islam. Hopelessness is not tolerated in Islam.
Historical Background

The doctrine was first called positivism by the 19th-century French mathematician and philosopher Auguste Comte (1798–1857), but some of the positivist concepts may be traced to the British philosopher David Hume, the French philosopher Duc de Saint-Simon, and the German philosopher Immanuel Kant.

Comte chose the word positivism on the ground that it indicated the “reality” and “constructive tendency” that he claimed for the theoretical aspect of the doctrine.

He was, in the main, interested in a reorganization of social life for the good of humanity through scientific knowledge, and thus control of natural forces.

In its basic ideological stance, Positivism is thus worldly, secular, antitheological, and antimetaphysical.
Strict adherence to the testimony of observation and experience is the all-important imperative of the Positivists.

This attitude is reflected also in their contributions to ethics and moral philosophy, and most Positivists have been Utilitarians to the extent that something like “the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people” was their ethical maxim.

It is notable, in this connection, that Auguste Comte was the founder of a short-lived religion, in which the object of worship was not the deity of the monotheistic faiths but humanity.

He once said:
“Science has dismissed the Father of nature and the universe from his post, consigning him to oblivion, and while thanking him for his temporary services, it has escorted him back to the frontiers of his greatness.”

A number of Comte's disciples refused, however, to accept this religious development of his philosophy, because it seemed to contradict the original positivist philosophy.

Many of Comte's doctrines were later adapted and developed by the British social philosophers John Stuart Mill and Herbert Spencer and by the Austrian philosopher and physicist Ernst Mach.

In the Muslim world, it has been introduced and popularized by a Lebanese Egyptian Doctor and author Shibili Shumayyil (1860-1917).

In the 19th and 20th Century, a Muslim philosopher Zaki Nagib Mahmud, who has expounded logical positivism and linguistic analysis in a series of works.

Basic Differences with Islam

Does not believe in God
Belief in God is the foundation

God has resigned from running the affairs of the world.
God controls the affairs of the universe under His own Command.

Does not believe in the metaphysical world
Belief in Akhirah and Qiyamah is part and parcel of Islam.

Human being is better qualified to make laws of his own choice and control the nature
Humans are under the commands of Allah and the Nature follows the commands and the Laws of Allah as prescribed.

Knowledge is only based on experiment and observation
Not everything in the universe could be subjected to experiment and observation.

Humanity is the object of worship
Allah alone could be worshipped. No one should worship anyone beside/apart from Allah.

Natural Phenomena should be explained based on experiment and personal observation
The Nature is the creation of Allah, made it suitable, well-designed and wonderfully planned for His Creatures especially for humans.

UNGS 2050 - Standard - part 1


Definition: Literally: Derived from Greek ethos, means character.
The field of study that has morality as its subject matter. (Branch of science)

The values or rules of conduct held by an individual or a group = morality/ morals


According to Imam al-Ghazali, character is an established state (of the soul) from which actions proceed easily without any need for reflection or deliberation.
Major concerns of ethics

The nature of ultimate values = ethical principles.

The standards by which human actions can be judged as “right” or “wrong”, “good” or “bad”.
Fields of ethics Normative Metaethics Applied

Normative ethics:
- Seeks to set norms and standards for conduct
- General theories about what one ought to do.

Systematically studies the meanings of ethical terms and of judgments used in normative ethics.
Fields - continued

Applied ethics:
Application of normative theories to practical moral issues/ problems.


Ethics / ‘ilm al-Akhlāq/ al-Akhlāq
Ethics in Arabic is ‘ilm al-Akhlāq (science of morality), which is the branch of knowledge that studies akhlaq (morals).
al-Akhlāq (the plural of khuluq/ خُلُق) refers to morality, which means a nature, or an innate disposition or temper.
The proper signification of khuluq is the moral character; or the fashion of the inner man; his mind or soul and its peculiar qualities and attributes.


Morality/ ethics and law
Both law and morality are action-guiding.
Law provides a series of public statements (a legal code), or system of dos and don’ts – to guide humans in their behavior and to prevent them from doing harm to others and violating their rights.
Morality provides a similar system though might not be in written form.
In addition to that, morality provides reasons behind any significant laws governing human beings and their institutions.

Morality precedes law, whereas law sanctions morality; that is, law puts morality into a code or system that can then be enforced by punishment.

Scope: In general, the law is taken to be concerned with acts, rather than attitudes.

The mere fact of having certain intentions is not really the sort of thing about which you can have a law.

In morality, by contrast, bad intentions may sometimes amount to a moral wrong. On the other hand, good intentions are in themselves good values.

Morality is wider than law. What is moral in not necessarily enforced through law.
But there are some things which are governed by law (driving on the left or right side of road) which are presumably matters of indifference from a moral point of view.

Conformity between morality and law:
= In Islamic law:
- Law should be a reflection of Islamic morals.
- Laws, rules and regulations are not supposed to be against Islamic moral principles
= In secular law
The relationship between law and morality is not entirely reciprocal. What is moral is not necessarily legal and vice versa.
Many practices have been inscribed in the law, that are clearly immoral (e.g., homosexuality, same sex marriage, mercy killing, abortion, usury, changing munkar …).

Sanctions: If you break the law, you may be fined or imprisoned or executed. Various bureaucracies exist precisely to hand out legal sanctions.
If you do something that is morally wrong (but not also illegal), however, no similar bureaucracy is going to come after you.
In divine religions you suffer a punishment on the Day of Judgment.
In non-religious world views you may suffer the sense of guilt in your own conscience, or your reputation may suffer, or you may be exposed to the blame of other people
Morality and Etiquette
For the most part, “etiquette” pertains to norms that are of little ethical significance.
It concerns form and style rather than the essence of social existence.
Etiquette determines what is polite behavior rather than what is right behavior in a deeper sense. It represents society’s or religion’s decision about how we are to dress, greet one another, eat, celebrate festivals, express gratitude and appreciation etc.
The Importance of Ethics in Islam
Morality/ good moral character is:
- The spirit of Islam
- The validation and authentication of Iman

1- Morality as the spirit of Islam
What is Islam?
Good relationship among human beings = good morality.

Good relationship with Allah in its spiritual sense.

The main purpose of Islam

“I have been sent (as the Messenger of Allah) only for the purpose of perfecting good morals”. (hadith)

Who is a Muslim?
“A Muslim is the one who avoids harming Muslims with his tongue and hand” (hadith)

Even pure worship (‘ibadat) is for moral purposes
Salat: “…And establish regular prayer; for prayer restrains from indecency and evil” (29: 45)
Zakat: “…Take alms of their wealth, so that it may purify and sanctify them. (9: 103)
Fasting: “…Fasting was made compulsory for you, as it was made compulsory for those who preceded you, so that you may become righteous.” (2: 183)

“Allah has nothing to do with the fasting of those who did not avoid perjury, lying and false accusation and acting upon them.” (hadith)
Hajj: “…whoever determines the performance of the pilgrimage therein, there shall be no lewdness nor abuse nor angry conversation on the pilgrimage(2: 197).

Morality as validation of Iman

Definition of Iman:
“Iman has over sixty branches (parts): the highest of which is the belief that nothing deserves to be worshipped except Allah and the lowest of which is the removal from the way of that which might cause harm to anyone. And modesty (haya’ الحياء) is a branch of it.” (hadith)

Morality as validation of Iman

Conviction Foundation Roots

Profession Declaration

Practice Validation Nourishment
Morality as validation of Iman
“The man who has these three habits is a hypocrite even if he observes fast, offers prayers, performs ‘umra (pilgrimage), and claims to be a Muslim: when he talks he speaks untruth, when he makes a promise he does not keep it, and when he is given something in trust, he commits dishonesty.” (hadith)
Lack in good morals = Lacking in faith (iman)
“which Muslim has the perfect faith? “He who has the best moral character.” (hadith)
The level of faith (iman) is proportional to the level of morals

“He who believes in Allah and the Last Day of Judgment is forbidden to cause any harm to his neighbour, is to be kind to his guests – especially the strangers, and is to say the truth or else abstain.” (hadith)

“None of you will have faith (will be a true believer) till he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself.” (hadith)
Good morals are conditions of validity of Iman

وَالْعَصْرِ (1) إِنَّ الإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ (2) إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ(3)
“I swear by the time, Most surely man is in loss, Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.” (103: 1-3)

وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أُولَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ(البقررة: 82)
Those who have Faith and work righteousness. They are the ones who shall be rewarded with Jannah. therein they shall have an everlasting life. (2: 82)

Why we have to be moral people?

Spiritual benefits:

Good morals = voluntary worship
“A believer by virtue of his good morals may attain the status of one who fasts (voluntary fast) regularly and performs prayer at night”. (hadith)

The dearest one to Allah:
When the Prophet (saw) was asked: Whom Allah likes most amongst His subjects? He replied: “The one who possesses superior moral qualities”. (hadith)

Good morals eliminate sins – bad morals spoil virtues
“Courtesy and good morality melt the sins just like water melts the ice. And immorality spoils good deeds as vinegar spoils honey.” (hadith)
“A certain woman is famous for her voluntary prayers, fasting and charities, but she harms her neighbours. She is in Hell. Another woman does not do much by way of voluntary prayers and fasting and she gives pieces of cheese in charity but she does not harm her neighbours. She is of the Paradise.” (hadith)

Social benefits:

Stable, secure, and harmonious society
Directing civilization to a just end (civilization = to do what can be done. Ethics = what should be done, what should not be done)
Strong and peaceful family life
Good leadership
Building good reputation
Wining hearts of people
Commitment to values
“Fear Allah wherever and whenever you are (obey his obligations and avoid his prohibitions) and follow your sins with virtues so that it will eliminate it, and treat people with high morals.” (hadith)

“Do not follow others blindly and say: if people do good, we do good too, and if they do injustice, we do too. Rather, make up your minds for yourselves and if people do something good, do it too, but if they do something unjust, do not do it yourselves.” (hadith)
Refinement of character
Training (habituation)
Environment (peers, friends ..)

Refinement of character
1. Determination
- To judge one’s character in light of the Qur’an
- A trait of character may be reinforced as a result of acting frequently in accordance with it, and considering it to be fine and satisfactory.

إِنَّ الْمُؤْمِنَ يَرَى ذُنُوبَهُ كَأَنَّهُ قَاعِدٌ تَحْتَ جَبَلٍ يَخَافُ أَنْ يَقَعَ عَلَيْهِ وَإِنَّ الْفَاجِرَ يَرَى ذُنُوبَهُ كَذُبَابٍ مَرَّ عَلَى أَنْفِهِ فَقَالَ بِهِ هَكَذَا
“A believer sees his sins as if he were sitting under a mountain which, he is afraid, may fall on him; whereas the wicked person considers his sins as flies passing over his nose and he just drives them away like this.” (hadith)
Refinement - continued
2. Motivation
To remember rewards & punishments
Models & Ideals
Reciting the Qur’an
Reading Sirah
Reading the biographies of pious people
Refinement - continued
3. Training (habituation)

Morals can be instilled on the principle of habit formation
Habit: do it without thinking/ hard to stop it
Start repeat develop it to a habit

“Adopt truth, for truth leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Jannah. A person speaks the truth regularly and adopts truthful ways till he is recorded as a truthful person. And keep away from falsehood, for falsehood leads to wickedness, and wickedness leads to the Hell. A person tells lies regularly and attaches himself to falsehood till he is recorded as a liar.” (hadith)

Truth righteousness Jannah
Tell truth regularly truthful person

Falsehood wickedness Jahannam

Tell lies regularly liar

إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَنْ يُوقِعَ بَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ فِي الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ وَيَصُدَّكُمْ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَعَنِ الصَّلَاةِ فَهَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُنْتَهُونَ (المائدة: 91)
Satan's plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain? (5: 91)

The reward for a virtue is another virtue

The punishment for a sin is another sin

4. Environment (peers, friends ..)
“The similitude of a good company and that of a bad company is that of the owner of misk (perfume) and of the one blowing bellows (iron-smith). The owner of perfume would either offer you for free of charge or you would buy it from him or you would smell its pleasant odour. The one who blows bellows he would either burn your clothes or you shall have to smell its bad smell.” (hadith)


The Messenger of Allah used to say in any speech he gives: “The person who does not keep trust has no Iman (faith) and the person who does not respect his covenant (and promise) has no religion.” (hadith)

"The signs of a hypocrite are three: … (c) If he is entrusted, he does honour his trust (he proves to be dishonest)” (hadith)

"When would the Hour (Doomsday) take place?" … "When honesty is lost, then wait for the Hour (Doomsday)." (hadith)
"How will that be lost?" The Prophet said, "When the power or authority comes in the hands of unfit persons, then wait for the Hour (Doomsday.)” (hadith)

- Why the one who can’t be trusted has no iman?
- Why the one who cannot be trusted has no religion?
- Why loss of amanah is related to the Doomsday?
Doomsday = chaos = disorder

What is Amanah?

- To fulfill one’s responsibility towards his Lord as well as to that of humans.

- To be honest and sincere in doing things.

To keep deposits properly and use them according to the terms and conditions of the owner.
Antonym: Khianah (betrayal)

Aspects of Amanah

1. The amanah of taklif
– To inhabit this world
– to be vicegerants of Allah
– to fulfill the purpose of our creation
– to implement His laws on this earth

{إِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الأَمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَنْ يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا الإِنْسَانُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُومًا جَهُولاً (72)} (سورة الأحزاب).
“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. He was indeed tyrannous and ignorant.” (33: 72)

2. The amanah of family
To fulfill our responsibilities towards our family members and provide them with guidance and maintenance,
“Every one of you is a guardian and every one will be asked about his subjects... A man is the guardian of the persons in his household and he will be answerable about them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s house and she will be asked about her responsibility…” (hadith)

3. The amanah of returning deposits to their owners

{إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَنْ تُؤَدُّوا الأَمَانَاتِ إِلَى أَهْلِهَا.. (58)} (سورة النساء).
“Surely Allah commands you to render back trusts to their owners.” (4: 58)

4. The amanah of keeping secrets
maintaining secrecy and confidentiality of what is required to be confidential is a trust.
“What is said in meetings and meant to be confidential is a trust” (hadith)

5. The amanah of work & public office

The Prophet (saw) said: “Whomsoever we have given some post and he has concealed a needle or a thing smaller than that, then it will be a misappropriated thing with which he will have to appear on the Day of Judgment.” (hadith)

“When the administrator is given a job, he should receive his due and should pay the dues of others, then he is like a fighter in the cause of Allah till he returns home.” (hadith)

6. The amanah of wealth & abilities

"لا تَزُولُ قَدَمَا عَبْدٍ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ حَتَّى يُسْأَلَ عَنْ عُمُرِهِ فِيمَا أَفْنَاهُ وَعَنْ عِلْمِهِ فِيمَ فَعَلَ وَعَنْ مَالِهِ مِنْ أَيْنَ اكْتَسَبَهُ وَفِيمَ أَنْفَقَهُ وَعَنْ جِسْمِهِ فِيمَ أَبْلاهُ".
“Before the end of the Day of Judgement everyone will be questioned about the following:
- In what did he spend his life?
- What did he do with his knowledge?
- From where did he get his wealth and on what did he spend it?
- In what did he use his physical and mental faculties?” (hadith)

To place things in their rightful places
- The term “Justice” implies:
Giving people what they deserve;
Saying the truth;
Avoiding oppressing others,
Avoiding bias and prejudice;
Being balanced in one’s views and judgements.

Forms of expression in the Qur’an

- al-‘Adl (العدل) and its derivatives = 10
(2: 282/ twice), (4: 58), 16: 76, 90), (49:9), (5: 8), (6:152), (42: 15)

- al-Qist (القسط) and its derivatives = 18
(3: 18, 21), (4: 127, 135), (5: 8, 42), (6: 152), (7: 29), (10: 4, 47, 54), (11:85), (21: 47), (55: 9), (57:25), (5: 42), (49: 9), (60: 8).
- الميزان، القسقطاس (balance)

Forms of Justice

1. Justice to oneself
- To give ourselves their due rights (spiritual, material, intellectual).
- To avoid causing harm to oneself in this world and in the Hereafter.

2. Justice in judging between people/ Judicial justice
Judges, mediators, arbiters

To be impartial in judging between people

{إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَنْ تُؤَدُّوا الأَمَانَاتِ إِلَى أَهْلِهَا وَإِذَا حَكَمْتُمْ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ أَنْ تَحْكُمُوا بِالْعَدْلِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ نِعِمَّا يَعِظُكُمْ بِهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ سَمِيعًا بَصِيرًا(58)} (سورة النساء).
“Surely Allah commands you to render back trusts to their owners and that when you judge between people you judge with justice; surely Allah admonishes you with what is excellent; surely Allah is Seeing, Hearing.” (4: 58)

{سَمَّاعُونَ لِلْكَذِبِ أَكَّالُونَ لِلسُّحْتِ فَإِنْ جَاءُوكَ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ أَوْ أَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ وَإِنْ تُعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ فَلَنْ يَضُرُّوكَ شَيْئًا وَإِنْ حَكَمْتَ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِالْقِسْطِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ(42)} (سورة المائدة).
“Listeners for the sake of falsehood! Greedy for illicit gain! If then they have recourse unto you (Muhammad) judge between them or disclaim jurisdiction. and if you turn aside from them, they shall not harm you in any way. But if you judge, judge between them with equity; surely Allah loves those who judge equitably.” (5: 42)

3. Justice in sayings

To say the truth and bear witness with justice

- With enemies:

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُوا اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ(8)} (سورة المائدة).
“O you who believe! Be upright for Allah, bearers of witness with justice, and let not hatred of any people incite you not to act justly; deal justly, that is nearer to piety, and Observe your duty to Allah; surely Allah is Aware of what you do.” (5: 8)

- Against oneself & relatives
{وَإِذَا قُلْتُمْ فَاعْدِلُوا وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبَى … (152)} (سورة الأنعام).
“And when you speak, then be just though it be against a relative…” (6: 152)

يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاءَ لِلَّهِ وَلَوْ عَلَى أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوْ الْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ إِنْ يَكُنْ غَنِيًّا أَوْ فَقِيرًا فَاللَّهُ أَوْلَى بِهِمَا فَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا الْهَوَى أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا (135) (النساء)
O you who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you will be deviated from the right way… (4: 135)

4. Justice in treating people

(a) To avoid oppressing others and abusing their rights

b) Social and economic justice
- People should be given equal opportunities.
- People must be given the right to private ownership and freedom of economic pursuit.
- the wealth of the individuals should be fully protected.
- Redistribution of wealth/ Zakat + charity.

- Social welfare fund:
{مَا أَفَاءَ اللَّهُ عَلَى رَسُولِهِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْقُرَى فَلِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ وَلِذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ كَيْ لا يَكُونَ دُولَةً بَيْنَ الأَغْنِيَاءِ مِنْكُمْ وَمَا ءَاتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانْتَهُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ(7)} (الحشر)
That which Allah gives as spoil unto His messenger from the people of the townships, it is for Allah and His messenger and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, so that it may not become a commodity between the rich among you. And whatsoever the messenger gives you, take it. And whatsoever he forbids, abstain (from it). And keep your duty to Allah. Surely Allah is stern in reprisal. (59:7)

c) Political justice:
- Shurah: people have right to decide how to and who is to manage their affairs.
- Fair representation of different groups.

(d) Justice on the family level
- Justice between children
Nu'man b. Bashir reported: My father donated to me some of his property. My mother said: I shall not be pleased with this act until you make Allah's Messenger (saw) a witness to it.

My father went to Allah's Messenger (saw) in order to make him the witness of the donation given to me. Allah's Messenger (saw) said to him: Have you done the same with every son of yours? He said: No. The Prophet (saw) said: Fear Allah! And observe justice among your children. My father returned and got back the gift.” (hadith)

- Justice to wives/ husbands

{وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلاّ تُقْسِطُوا فِي الْيَتَامَى فَانكِحُوا مَا طَابَ لَكُمْ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ مَثْنَى وَثُلاثَ وَرُبَاعَ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُوا فَوَاحِدَةً أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَلاَّ تَعُولُوا(3)} (سورة النساء).
“And if you fear that you cannot act equitably towards orphans, then marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four; but if you fear that you will not do justice (between them), then (marry) only one or what your right hands possess; this is more proper, Thus it is more likely that you will not do injustice.” (4: 3)

وَلَنْ تَسْتَطِيعُوا أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا بَيْنَ النِّسَاءِ وَلَوْ حَرَصْتُمْ فَلَا تَمِيلُوا كُلَّ الْمَيْلِ فَتَذَرُوهَا كَالْمُعَلَّقَةِ وَإِنْ تُصْلِحُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا(129) (سورة النساء)
You will not be able to be completely just between wives, even if it is your ardent desire. But don’t turn altogether from one, leaving her as in suspense. If you do good and keep from evil, Allah is ever forgiving, merciful. 4: 129

(e) Justice in weighing & measuring

وَأَوْفُوا الْكَيْلَ إِذَا كِلْتُمْ وَزِنُوا بِالْقِسْطَاسِ الْمُسْتَقِيمِ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلا(35) (الإسراء)
And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with a right balance; this is fair and better in the end. (17: 35)

5. Justice as a state of mind/ way of thinking

To be moderate and balanced in our views, especially in making judgments on things and people.

This would be achieved through looking at both merits and demerits of things and persons, considering the consequences, weighing between benefits and harm, understanding the causes and reasons behind people’s actions, etc.

Cause of injustice vs. Requirements of justice

1. Cause of injustice

Hatred enemies + opponents
Love and favour relatives + cronies
Self-interest and greed
Hurry in making decisions

2. Requirements of justice

(a) On the individual level:
1. To keep in mind the dire consequences of injustice

{وَلا تَحْسَبَنَّ اللَّهَ غَافِلاً عَمَّا يَعْمَلُ الظَّالِمُونَ إِنَّمَا يُؤَخِّرُهُمْ لِيَوْمٍ تَشْخَصُ فِيهِ الأَبْصَارُ (42) مُهْطِعِينَ مُقْنِعِي رُءُوسِهِمْ لا يَرْتَدُّ إِلَيْهِمْ طَرْفُهُمْ وَأَفْئِدَتُهُمْ هَوَاءٌ(43)} (إبراهيم)

And do not think Allah is unaware of what the unjust do; He only respites them to a day on which the eyes will stare in terror. As they come hurrying on in fear their heads upraised, their gaze returning not to them, and their hearts vacant. (14: 42-43)

{وَلَمَنِ انْتَصَرَ بَعْدَ ظُلْمِهِ فَأُولَئِكَ مَا عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ سَبِيلٍ(41) إِنَّمَا السَّبِيلُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَظْلِمُونَ النَّاسَ وَيَبْغُونَ فِي الأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ أُولَئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ (42)} (الشورى)
And whoever defends himself after his being oppressed, there is no way of blame against them. The blame is only against those who oppress mankind, and act in defiance of right and justice (and wrongfully rebel in the earth) these shall have a painful punishment. (42: 41-42)

2- To distance oneself from oppressors

وَلا تَرْكَنُوا إِلَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا فَتَمَسَّكُمُ النَّارُ وَمَا لَكُمْ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ مِنْ أَوْلِيَاءَ ثُمَّ لا تُنْصَرُونَ (هود: 113)

And do not incline to those who are unjust, or the Fire will seize you, and you have no guardians besides Allah, then you shall not be helped. (11:113)

3- To examine whatever we hear before acting against people on mere suspicion

يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا إِنْ جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَأٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَنْ تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَى مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ. (الحجرات: 6)
“O you who believe! If an untrustworthy person comes to you with any news/ report, look carefully into it, lest you harm people in ignorance, then be sorry for what you have done. (49:6)

يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ (الحجرات: 12)
O you who believe! Avoid most of suspicion, for surely suspicion in some cases is a sin. (49:12)

(b) On societal level:

{لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَنْزَلْنَا مَعَهُمْ الْكِتَابَ وَالْمِيزَانَ لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ وَأَنْزَلْنَا الْحَدِيدَ فِيهِ بَأْسٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَلِيَعْلَمَ اللَّهُ مَنْ يَنْصُرُهُ وَرُسُلَهُ بِالْغَيْبِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ(25)} (سورة الحديد).
“We verily sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and sent down with them the Book and the balance that men may conduct themselves with equity; and We have made the iron, wherein is mighty power and (many) uses for mankind, and that Allah may know who supports Him and His messengers, though unseen; surely Allah is Strong, Almighty.” (57: 25)

1- The book: that refers to the just and perfect laws.

2- The balance: that refers to the knowledge and wisdom of the judge by which he can weigh contradicted pleas and evidences to come out with a just decision.

3- The iron: that refers to power and authority. Usually justice cannot be implemented willingly. It needs to be imposed on wrongdoers and tyrants.

Injustice/ Tyranny / Zulm

Placing something not at its proper place
To go beyond the limit of what is morally or legally acceptable
To exceed the limits of our rights/ power/ authority
To cause harm & injury to others.

بَلْ هُوَ ءَايَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ فِي صُدُورِ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ وَمَا يَجْحَدُ بِآيَاتِنَا إِلَّا الظَّالِمُونَ (العنكبوت: 49)
Nay, here are Signs self-evident in the hearts of those endowed with knowledge: and none but the unjust reject Our signs. (29:49)

Consequences of zulm

Injustice leads to bankruptcy:
When the Messenger of Allah asked: Who is a bankrupt. His companions answered that the bankrupt is one who has no money. He said: “in my Ummah, the bankrupt is that man who would appear on the day of judgment before Allah; he had offered prayer; he had paid Zakat; he had observed fast;

but he would have abused somebody, he would have falsely accused some one; he would have unlawfully taken some one else’s property; he would have murdered some one; he would have hit some body. All his virtues would be given to his victims. If his virtues are finished before his wicked deeds are finished, then the sins of the victims would be given to him and he would be thrown into the Hell”. (hadith)

The concept of Birr vs. Ithm
Al-birr (البر)= al-khayr (الخير) =
Virtue, righteousness, goodness, benevolence

Al-’ithm (الإثم) = al=Sharr (الشر)=
Vice, evil
…/… continued
A virtue, from an Islamic perspective, can be defined as: a belief, act or saying that is useful and beneficial to mankind and in compliance with the divine law.
Virtues, in Islam, can be classified under the following categories:
1- Observing the obligations enjoined by Allah (swt) and those acts recommended by Him to be performed.
2- Refraining from those acts and sayings that are prohibited by Allah (swt).
…/… continued
3- All acts which are helpful and beneficial to oneself, his family, relatives, human beings and animals.

Birr towards oneself
Birr towards family and relatives
Birr towards community members and humanity
Birr towards other creatures
Birr towards God the creator of this universe
…/… continued
A vice (sin) is any belief, act or saying that is harmful to mankind and against the principles of divine law. Vices/sins can be classified under the following categories:
1- Neglect of obligations and duties without legal justification.
2- Commission of prohibited acts and sayings.
…/… continued
3- Abusing the rights of others and causing undue harm (physical or psychological) to them (any kind of harm which is not in retaliation to another harm or which is necessary to remove evil, tyranny or a greater harm).
4- Taking the property of someone without his consent.
"كل المسلم على المسلم حرام: دمه وماله وعرضه".
“The blood, property and honour of a Muslim must be sacred (forbidden) to every other Muslim.” (hadith)
…/… continued

Ithm (sharr) towards oneself
Ithm (sharr) towards family & relatives
Ithm (sharr) towards community members & humanity
Ithm (sharr) towards other creatures
Ithm (sharr) towards God the creator of this universe

Some examples of birr (virtue)

1. Allah's Messenger (saw) said:
“A charity is due on every joint of a person, every day the sun rises:
Administering of justice between two men is a Charity;
And assisting a man to ride upon his beast (vehicle);
Helping him load his luggage upon it;
…/… Continued
And a good word is a charity;
Every step that you take towards Prayer is a charity;
Removing of harmful things from the pathway is a charity.” (hadith)

2. Allah's Messenger (saw) said:
“Never does a Muslim plant trees or cultivate land and birds or a man or a beast eat out of them but that is a charity on his behalf.” (hadith)
…/… Continued
روى مسلم عن أبي ذر أن ناسا من أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قالوا للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ثم يا رسول الله ذهب أهل الدثور بالأجور يصلون كما نصلي ويصومون كما نصوم ويتصدقون بفضول أموالهم قال أو ليس قد جعل الله لكم ما تصدقون! إن بكل تسبيحة صدقة وكل تكبيرة صدقة وكل تحميدة صدقة وكل تهليلة صدقة وأمر بالمعروف صدقة ونهي عن منكر صدقة وفي بضع أحدكم صدقة قالوا يا رسول الله أيأتي أحدنا شهوته ويكون له فيها أجر قال أرأيتم لو وضعها في حرام أكان عليه فيها وزر فكذلك إذا وضعها في الحلال كان له أجر"

Some examples of ithm (evil)
1. عن عبد الله بن مسعود رضي الله عنه قال كنا مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في سفر ومررنا بشجرة فيها فرخا حمرة فأخذناهما قال فجاءت الحمرة إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وهي تصيح فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم من فجع هذه بفرخيها قال فقلنا نحن قال فردوهما
We were with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) during a journey. He went to ease himself. We saw a bird with her two young ones and we captured her young ones. The bird came and began to spread its wings. The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) came and said: “Who grieved this for its young ones? Return its young ones to it.” (hadith)
…/… continued

2. عذبت امرأة في هرة سجنتها حتى ماتت فدخلت فيها النار لا هي أطعمتها وسقتها إذ حبستها ولا هي تركتها تأكل من خشاش الأرض

Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “A woman was punished because of a cat. She had neither provided her with food nor drink, nor set her free so that she might eat the insects of the earth, until it died.” (hadith)
…/… Continued
3. {لَيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَنْ تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَالْمَلائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ أُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمْ الْمُتَّقُونَ(177)} (سورة البقرة).
…/… Continued
“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces (in prayer) towards East or West…” (2:177)
1. Avoid superficial concepts and rituals, lifeless formalities and non-effective beliefs. Righteousness is not merely a matter of void utterances. It must be founded on strong Iman and constant practice.
…/… Continued
يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْأَهِلَّةِ قُلْ هِيَ مَوَاقِيتُ لِلنَّاسِ وَالْحَجِّ وَلَيْسَ الْبِرُّ بِأَنْ تَأْتُوا الْبُيُوتَ مِنْ ظُهُورِهَا وَلَكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنِ اتَّقَى وَأْتُوا الْبُيُوتَ مِنْ أَبْوَابِهَا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ(189)
“…It is no virtue if you enter your houses from the back: it is virtue if you fear Allah. Enter houses through the proper doors: and fear Allah: that you may prosper.
To avoid imposing hardship on oneself and innovating bid‘a.
“but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angeles and the Book, and the Messengers …” (2: 177)
2. One’s iman (faith) should be true and sincere.
…/… continued
“… to spend of your wealth – in spite of your love for it – for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves…” (2: 177)
{لَنْ تَنَالُوا الْبِرَّ حَتَّى تُنْفِقُوا مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ وَمَا تُنْفِقُوا مِنْ شَيْءٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ(92)} (آل عمران)
“By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give (freely) of that which you love; and whatever thing you spend, Allah is aware thereof.” (3: 92)
…/… continued
3. One must be prepared to show this iman (faith) in deeds of charity and kindness to their relatives and fellow man.

“… to be steadfast in prayer and practice regular charity;”
4. To fulfil religious obligations

“…to fulfill the contracts which you have made;”
5. Respect other’s rights and honour one’s words
…/… continued
“… and to be firm and patient, in pain and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic...” (2: 177)
6. One must be patient and unshakable in all circumstances.

Al-‘amru bil ma‘ruf & al-nahyu ‘an al-munkar
(enjoining virtues and forbidding evil)

{كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنْ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ (110)} (سورة آل عمران)

“You are the best of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men; you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah.” (3: 110)


Al-‘amru bil ma‘ruf

Al-‘amr: to invite to, to encourage, to promote, to spread, to command, to enforce.

Al-ma‘ruf: acceptable
Al-Birr, al-Khayr, virtue, goodness

Al-‘amru bil ma‘ruf
Inviting people to do goodness
Spreading & promoting virtues
Enforcing goodness
Al-‘amru bil ma‘ruf = Da’wah = advice

al-nahyu ‘an al-munkar

Al-nahy: to discourage, to advise not to do sth., to prevent, to prohibit
Al-munkar: disagreeable
evil, vice
al-nahyu ‘an al-munkar:
To discourage/ advise not to do
To prevent/ combat

Levels of
Al-‘amru bil ma‘ruf & al-nahyu ‘an al-munkar

Means & ways of
Al-‘amru bil ma‘ruf & al-nahyu ‘an al-munkar

Model = by being a model of Islamic morals & values
Verbal = words, advice
Writing = newspaper, magazine, books, novels, cartoons, etc.
Media = all programmes that promote virtues and goodness, and combat evil and indecency.

Changing Munkar

“He who amongst you sees something abominable should modify it with the help of his hand; and if he has not strength enough to do it, then he should do it with his tongue, and if he has not strength enough to do it, even then he should abhor it from his heart, and that is the least of faith.” (hadith)

Whose duty is?

{وَلْتَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ(104)} (آل عمران)
“And there may spring from you a nation who invite to goodness, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency. Such are the ones to attain felicity.” (3: 104)

Hisba = a task force for changing munkar, combating corruption, ensuring justice:
Communal duty

The Quranic sense of the concept = 3 levels
Individual responsibility

{كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنْ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ (110)} (سورة آل عمران)
“You are the best of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men; you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah.” (3: 110)

وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُولَئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللَّهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ(71(
The Believers, men and women, are protectors, one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His Mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise. (9: 71)

The role of
Al-‘amru bil ma‘ruf & al-nahyu ‘an al-munk

1- A constant reminder for Muslims
To help each other to follow the guidance of Allah, and keep on the right path.
{وَذَكِّرْ فَإِنَّ الذِّكْرَى تَنْفَعُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ(55)} (الذاريات)
“And continue to remind, for surely the reminder benefits the believers.” (51: 55)
{وَالْعَصْرِ (1) إِنَّ الإِنْسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ (2) إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ(3)}
“I swear by the time, most surely man is in loss, save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.” (103: 1-3)

2- To safeguard the society against corruption & evil

A way for:
- Social
- Moral change
- Political

Why should we care about the society?

To protect our selves & families

"The example of the people abiding by Allah's order and restrictions in comparison to those who violate them is like the example of those persons who drew lots for their seats in a boat. Some of them got seats in the upper part, and the others in the lower. When the latter needed water, they had to go up to bring water (and that troubled the others)…

so they said, 'Let us make a hole in our share of the ship (and get water) saving those who are above us from troubling them. So, if the people in the upper part left the others do what they had suggested, all the people of the ship would be destroyed, but if they prevented them, both parties would be safe.“(hadith)

3- To avoid Allah’s punishment

{وَاتَّقُوا فِتْنَةً لا تُصِيبَنَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْكُمْ خَاصَّةً وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ(25)} (الأنفال).

And guard yourselves against a punishment which cannot fall exclusively on those of you who are wrongdoers, and know that Allah is severe in punishment. (8: 25)

"By no means, I swear by Allah, you must enjoin what is good and prohibit what is evil, prevent the wrongdoer, bend him into conformity with what is right, and restrict him to what is right… Or Allah will mingle your hearts together and curse you as He cursed them.“(hadith)

Abu Bakar said:
You people recite this verse "You who believe, care for yourselves; he who goes astray cannot harm you when you are rightly-guided," (5: 10) and put it in its improper place.
I heard the Prophet (saw) saying: When people see a wrongdoer and do not prevent him, Allah will soon punish them all.”

4- Salvation of mankind

{كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنْ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ (110)} (سورة آل عمران)
“You are the best of the nations raised up for the benefit of mankind; you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah.” (3: 110)

What should we do
if people are not listening?

وَإِذْ قَالَتْ أُمَّةٌ مِنْهُمْ لِمَ تَعِظُونَ قَوْمًا اللَّهُ مُهْلِكُهُمْ أَوْ مُعَذِّبُهُمْ عَذَابًا شَدِيدًا قَالُوا مَعْذِرَةً إِلَى رَبِّكُمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ(164) (الأعراف)

“… a group of them said: Why do you preach to a people whom Allah will destroy or visit with a terrible punishment?" The preachers said : "To discharge our duty to our Lord, and perchance they may fear Him." (7: 164)

Is this concept against personal freedom?
Islam does allow interference in personal affairs of others.
What if “personal affairs” are violating the rights of:
Personal freedom is always limited

When you commit munkar alone, without violating the rights of other your personal affairs

When you violate - No more personal affairs
the rights of others - Injure their feeling
- Challenge their religious
Commit munkar/ & moral responsibility
indecency openly - Encourage people
to do evil

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحِبُّونَ أَنْ تَشِيعَ الْفَاحِشَةُ فِي الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتُمْ لا تَعْلَمُونَ(19) (النور)

Those who like to see scandals and indecency broadcast/ spread among the believers, will have a grievous penalty in this life and in the Hereafter. Allah knows, and you do not know. (24: 19)

How it should be practiced?

In an impressive & convincing manner
In a wise way, so that it may not:
- Make people feel offended
- Lead to a greater evil
ادْعُ إِلَى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلْهُمْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنْ ضَلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ(125) (النحل)
Invite to the way of the Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious; for the Lord knows best, who have strayed from His path, and who receive guidance. (16: 125)

To avoid words-deeds inconsistency

يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ(2)كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَنْ تَقُولُوا مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ(3) (الصف)
O ye who believe! Why say ye that which ye do not? Grievously odious is it in the sight of Allah that ye say that which ye do not. (61: 2-3)

Can one punish the offenders?

preventing an offence or evil from taking place,
stopping it,
and punishing the offender.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

UNGS 2030 : Standard Contents (part 1)

(UNGS 2030)


The Meaning of Worldview

• ‘Worldview’ is an English translation of the German term “Weltanschauung”.

• It is rendered in Arabic as

رؤية الإسلام للوجود

Worldview Defined:
• A set of attitudes on a wide range of fundamental matters.

• A comprehensive set of propositions about various aspects of the world.

• A unified and comprehensive view of the world around us and man’s place within it.

• Basic assumptions and images that provide a more or less coherent, though not necessarily accurate, way of thinking about the world.

• A worldview is a profile of the way the people within a specified culture live, act, think, work and relate. It is a “map” or culture’s social, religious, economic and political views and relationships

Worldview Structures & Development


• Helps to know peoples and cultures comprehensively

• Helps us to interact with nature, individuals, peoples, nations, cultures and civilizations

3. Helps us to correct our own values, perspectives, attitudes and behaviours

4. Helps us to formulate theories of politics, sociology, culture, etc.

• A worldview encapsulates answers regarding broad questions of "life understanding." These questions are lifetime concerns and sources of anxiety. They involve fundamental matters, expressed in the form of queries. Here are some examples of ongoing human concerns:

Fundamental Questions addressed by worldview
• How far out does the universe go? Did it have a beginning and will it have an end?
• How was it that we humans came about here on earth?
• Does life have a purpose? If it does, what can give meaning to my life?
• Does my daily conduct matter in the long run?
• What happens to me at my death?
• What is good and what is bad? How can I know the good and the bad?
• How should I be treating others?
• How can I know?

• Worldview influences all aspects of life

• Some worldviews such as Islam cover all aspects of life including the personal, social, economic, political, cultural, civilization besides dealing with spiritual, moral, and Aqidah issues.

• But there are other worldviews which focus only on spiritual, material, social, or economic aspects of human life.

• Any worldview should be able to answer the ultimate questions not necessary correct answers but at least consistent

The Definition of Islamic worldview
• “ a metaphysical survey of the visible as well as the invisible worlds including the perspective of life as a whole”. Al-Attas in “Islam and the Challenge of Modernity, p. 27.

• Islamic worldview encompasses the issues of universe, creator, prophethood, society, man, and hereafter.

• It is not a worldview that is formed merely by amalgamation or historical concoction of various cultural values. Rather, it is a well established framework derived from the revelation and interpreted by Muslim scholars throughout Islamic history

• This frame of reference provides us with correct and consistent answers to the ultimate questions pertinent to the issues of God, unseen, man, universe, and life. It also guides man as a vicegerent of Allah to the correct belief system, shari‘ah, and ethical values.

• The worldview of Islam encompasses both al-dunia ( الدنيا ) and al-akhirah ( الآخرة ) in which the dunia aspect must be inextricably linked to the akhirah aspect, and in which the akhirah aspect has ultimate and final significance.

The Main Elements of Islamic worldview
• The Conception:
• of God;
• of Revelation (i.e. the Qur’an);
• of God’s Creation;
• of man and the psychology of human soul;
• of knowledge;
• of religion
• of freedom;
• of values and virtues;
• And of happiness.
Al-Attas, . Ibid, 29

The Objectives of Islamic worldview

• To provide the Muslims with the true knowledge and explanation about the world seen and unseen as they are explained in the Qura'n.

• To teach people the way and method how to achieve the main values of Islam in human life.

• To establish the fundamental ethical precepts, such as justice, freedom, trust, and dignity of human life and existence.

Western Perception of Worldview

• Most of the western perceptions of worldview rely more on our existing reality, experience and life. They don’t give much consideration to the issues related to the unseen world and hereafter.

• Most of the western perceptions of worldview consider it as assumption, but this is not true from an Islamic perspective because in Islam, we consider it as a system and truth derived from revelation.

• Most of the western perceptions of worldview consider it as a product of culture and experience. According to them, religion itself is produced by people and culture.

• In the Muslim perspective, Islam or Islamic worldview is not a cultural product of Arab, Indian, or Malay. It is rather derived from the revealed word of God without corruption and change. This revelation is then understood by Muslims through their different cultural backgrounds and experiences.

• worldview of Islam comprises both al-dunya and al-Akhirah aspects, in which the dunya-aspect must be related profoundly to the Akhirah-aspect, and in which the Akhirah-aspect has ultimate and final significance.

• On the basis of this epistemological and anthological premise, Al-Attas defines the Islamic worldview as follows:

• worldview is: the vision of reality and truth that appears before our mind’s eye revealing what existence is all about; for it is the world of existence in its totality that Islam is projecting…The Islamic view of reality and truth, which is a: metaphysical survey of the visible and invisible worlds including the perspective of life as a whole, is not a worldview that is formed merely by the gathering together of various cultural objects, values and phenomena into artificial coherence

• Nor is it one that is formed gradually through a historical process of philosophical speculation and scientific discovery, which must of necessity be left vague and open-ended for future change and alteration in line with paradigms that change in correspondence with changing circumstances.

• It is not a worldview that undergoes a dialectical process of transformation repeated through the ages, from thesis to anti-thesis then synthesis

Classification of Worldview

Another classification

Religious worldview
• There is a universal spirit, god, deity or divine entity

• This divinity has established an eternal moral order that, in part at least, can be known to human beings

• People have the duty to follow eternal moral dictates

• This human conduct has long-term (beyond individual death) significance.

Characteristics of Religious Worldview

• The Religious worldview considers both the world of seen and unseen. It is comprehensive in its perception of the world. It does not undermine any dimension of reality and existence

• Its basis is on the scripture or ‘sacred’, revealed or non-revealed text.

• It is more stable than the scientific and philosophical worldview, in terms of having certain and unchangeable principles of belief system and ethical system.

• The Religious worldview in general imparts to our life the sense of responsibility, meaning, and purpose. This means that life and the existence has a meaning and a purpose. Therefore, it makes our life as a responsibility towards God, and towards other people.

Philosophical worldview

• It derives from philosophy and it means to deal with fundamental questions of life.

• It uses logical reasoning, deduction, induction , mathematic and speculation.

• The Philosophical worldview is more wider in its scope than the scientific worldview. It deals with issues of philosophical and metaphysical world.

• It attempts to give a meaning to creation and life. It does not have the exactness of sciences but it instills in ourselves a sense and meaning.

• Its results and findings are not precise and measurable like scientific worldview’s but they open new ways for human beings to think beyond their physical world.

Main Characteristic

• It is more comprehensive than the scientific worldview, because it deals with physical and metaphysical realties.

• If scientific worldview deals only with certain part of the universe, the Philosophical worldview deals with the entire existence and the universe.


• Materialism is a theory that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all beings and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter.

• Materialism excludes the existence of entities that are radically different from or superior to the matter of our ordinary experience.

• In materialistic worldview, only matter matters. Everything that is not physical and material is not accepted.

• It rejects, therefore, the existence of God or gods on whom the universe would depend for its existence or mode of operation; it denies the existence of angels or spirit; it questions the notion of a soul, if taken to be immaterial entity separable, in principle, from the human body.

• Its two main targets are therefore theism and dualistic views of human nature.

• It negates the existence of all that doesn’t fall within the framework of change and transformation and is not perceivable by sense organs

• All knowledge of the world and of society must be based on sense experience and ultimately on science.

• Like positivism, materialism lays stress on science as the only legitimate source of knowledge about the causalities of the world


• Belief that individuals are merely constructs of social forces, that there is no transcendent truth that can be known; a rejection of any one worldview or explanation of reality as well as a rejection of the reality of objective truth.

• A view which, for example, stresses the priority of the social to the individual; which rejects the universalizing tendencies of philosophy; which prizes irony over knowledge; and which gives the irrational equal footing with the rational in our decision procedures all fall under the postmodern umbrella.

• A cultural and intellectual trend of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries characterized by emphasis on the ideas of the decenteredness of meaning, the value and autonomy of the local and the particular, the infinite possibilities of the human existence, and the coexistence.

• Postmodernism claims to address the sense of despair and fragmentation of modernism through its efforts at reconfiguring the broken pieces of the modern world into a multiplicity of new social, political, and cultural arrangements

Seven principles and characteristics of postmodernism

 No absolute truth, truth is relative, contingency is everything. The ONLY ABSOLUTE TRUTH is that there are NO ABSOLUTE TRUTHS (Feyerabend)
 No reality: there is no ultimate reality behind things: we see largely what want to see, what our position in time and place allows us to see…
 Only Simulacrum: Imagination and speculation
 Meaningless and valueless.
 Total Doubt
 Multiplicities of truth, ethnicities, cultures …
 Equal representation for class gender sexual orientation


• The English word secular derives from the Latin word saeculum, meaning “this present age”, “this world” of change as opposed to the eternal “religious world”.

• It is defined as “the liberation of man from religious and metaphysical tutelage, the turning of his attention away from other worlds and towards this one.”

Components of secularization

• Disenchantment of nature
– freeing of nature from its religious overtones. Nature is not a divine entity.
– This provides an absolute condition for the development of natural science. However highly developed a culture’s powers of observation, however refined its equipment for measuring, no real scientific breakthrough is possible until man can face the natural world unafraid.

• Desacralization of politics

– No one rules by divine right.
– Significant political and social change is almost impossible in societies in which the ruling regime is directly legitimated by religious symbols.

• Deconsecration (relativization) of values

– The disappearance of securely grounded values
– There are no longer the direct expression of the divine will.
– They have ceased to be values and have become valuations

Scientific worldview
• It is based on the premises and findings of science,

• Science is the source of all explanations pertaining to the issues of creation, life, men, and other issues

• Based on 4 important foundations:
– Materialism, logical positivism, empiricism, skepticism

The main steps of scientific method
• Identify the problem or question through observation
• Propose hypotheses and assumptions that should explain the problem posed
• Collect data and information
• Test the hypotheses. If any of hypotheses are wrong  reject it, or modify it, or replace it until you get the correct one.

• If your hypotheses are correct. You accept and provide a full explanation of the problem. Repeat the test in similar situations and if the result is the same, then you may proceed to construct a scientific theory. The latter provides a consistent and rational explanation of the phenomenon or the problem. If this scientific theory stands and resists many tests, then it becomes scientific law.

• The fact usually remains intact for long period of time but they can be questioned with development of human understanding and the new data and tool of research. And once a fact is questioned the process of research takes the same course as mentioned above.

Positive and Negative Aspects of Scientific Method

• Because it is based on experiment and empirical research, its findings are more exact and authentic and they can be verified through using statistic, mathematics, and measurement.

• However, these exact results only apply to a certain part of our existence, the physical world. The scientific worldview cannot give us exact and authentic knowledge or interpretation of the metaphysical world.

• Therefore, the scientific worldview is not capable of providing comprehensive and consistent explanation of the entire world.

• The Scientific worldview is very important, because it allows human reason to exercise its ability and to produce knowledge in many fields.

• The Scientific worldview also allows man to discover many laws and pattern of God in the universe.

• However, the scientific worldview passes its limitation when it gives human senses and reason a role beyond their capacities. In scientific worldview, Aql and senses become the only source of knowledge that can be accepted; any other source including revelation cannot be accepted.

• Scientific worldview allowed the human mind to produce industries, sciences and technologies. It opened many ways for human mind to exploit nature and discover its laws.

• However, the scientific worldview failed to protect man and nature from destruction. One of the main reasons of this attitude of scientific worldview is because it undermines the moral, ethical, and religious factors.

• According to the scientific worldview, the only sources of knowledge are reason, experiment, nature, senses, and human experience. It does not consider revealed knowledge as a source of knowledge that can provide guidance to people and answer their questions. In this sense, the scientific worldview was unable to discover the sense and role of morality in human life.

The place of man in the mechanistic-materialistic view is clearly portrayed by Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) in the 1903:

The philosophy of nature is one thing, the philosophy of value is quite another….Undoubtedly we are part of nature, which has produced our desires, our hopes and fears, in accordance with laws which the physicist is beginning to discover. In this sense we are part of nature, we are subordinated to nature, the outcome of natural laws, and their victims in the long run… But in the philosophy of values the situation is reversed… We are ourselves the ultimate and irrefutable arbiters of values and in the world of value Nature is only a part…In this realm we are the kings, and we debase our kingship if we bow down to Nature. It is for us to determine the good life, not for nature – not even for Nature personified as God.

• Therefore, the scientific worldview failed to give meaning to life and existence. It only gives power of controlling nature, but it lacks the sense of meaning to our life. Therefore, the scientific worldview should adopt new approaches which involve values, moralities, and ethics in the process of scientific research.

General Overview of Islam and Its main Characteristics

• Islam: Salm or Silm, from which Islam derives its root, means submission, surrender, safety/protection and peace.

• As a religion, Islam stands for “complete submission and obedience to Allah”. It is the religion of Allah (S.W.T) which is revealed to mankind.

• It was so named by God. (Qur’an, المائدة: 3)

• Yet islam as a total submission has been the name of religions brought by early God’s messengers.

Four Meanings of Islam الإسلام

• There are four basic meanings for the word islam (as submission), moving from the broadest to the narrowest:
 The submission of the whole of creation to its Creator (3:83;
 The submission of human beings to the guidance of God as revealed through the prophets (3:85;
 The submission of human beings to the guidance of God as revealed through the prophet Muhammad (5:3;
 The submission of the followers of Prophet Muhammad to God’s practical instructions.

Only the third of these can properly be translated as Islam with an uppercase Islam

Islam also means ‘peace’ and this signifies that one can achieve real peace of body and of mind only through submission and obedience to Allah. Such life of obedience brings in peace of the heart and established real peace in the society at large.

• Every Muslim has to utter this word at least 5 times a day at the end of each of the five daily prayers.

• Always every Muslim salutes one another with: al-Salamu ‘alaykum, meaning ‘peace be unto you.

• Not only in this world would the Muslim exchange this salutation but also in the hereafter “and ‘Peace’ will be their greeting therein” (Qur’an, 10:10).

• Allah (swt) calls into the abode of Peace (Qur’an, 10:25).

• Paradise is nothing but the abode of peace “They shall not hear therein vain or sinful discourses. Only the saying: ‘Peace, Peace” (Qur’an, 56:25-26).

• Muslims are enjoined to enter into peace wholeheartedly (Qur’an, 2:208).

• In fact, the enjoinment of peace is not just within the Muslims but extended to non-Muslim communities (Qur’an, 8:61)

الإيمان: al-Iman

• Iman is the state of security and safety that a person enjoys when he is attached to his creator
• Technically:
• Iman is the belief in the main articles of the Islamic faith:
– Believe in God and his attributes and names بالله الإيمان
– Believe in angels بالملائكة
– Believe in books بالكتب
– Believe in prophethood بالرسل
– Believe in hereafter الأخر باليوم
– Believe in predestinationوالقدر بالقضاء

الإحسان al-Ihsan

• Everything we do should be put in Ihsan form, that is, in beautiful manner.
• In Had'ith : ( أُعبد الله كَأنّكَ تراهُ فإِنّ لم تَكُن تَراهُ فإِنهُ يَراكَ )
“Ihsan means to worship Allah as if you see Him, or if you don’t see Him, He is seeing you”.
• It also means: to do, or worship Allah in the manner He likes.
• To fear Allah and be certain that He is present, and watching every deed, and everything one does.

• Ihsan in the Qur’anic context\

• “ ذَلِكَ عَالِمُ الغَيبِ والشَّهَادَةِ العَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ لذَّي أَحسَنَ كُلَّ شَيءٍ خَلَقَهُ وَبَدَأَ خَلقَ الإِنسَانِ مِن طِين “ (32:6-7).
– In this verse, if God does what is beautiful through creating and making everything, including men, beautiful, then man has the obligation to do what is beautiful particularly in his relation with Allah and with other creature.

• Ihsan is everything in our life and in fact, when we become Muhsinin, we become protectorate servants of Allah (S.W.T).
• “ إِنَّ اللهَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوا وَّالَّذِينَ هُم مُّحسِنُون “ (16:128).
In this verse, Allah promises support to those who beautify their deeds.

• وَأَحسِنُوا إِنَّ اللهَ يُحِبُّ المُحسِنين (2:195).
This verse, Ihsan is related to Allah, to what we do in all our life.

• “ وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهدِيَنَّهُم سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللهَ لَمَعَ المُحسِنِين “ (29:69).

– In this verse, Allah makes Ihsan as a condition for providing guidance to us and showing us the right path, the right way and correct deed which will make us successful in Dunia (الدنيا ) and Akhirah ( الآخرة ).
• وَمَن أَحسَنُ دِيناً مِّمَّن أَسلَمَ وَجهَهُ للهِ وَهُوَ مُحسِنٌ وَاتَّبَعَ مِلَّةَ إِبرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفا “ (4:125).

– In this verse, Ihsan is linked with the perfect and correct religion the most perfect person in the religion is the one who is Muhsin, meaning he does things in very beautiful manner.

Hadith Jibril on Islam, Iman and Ihsan
On the authority of Omar, who said : One day while we were sitting with the messenger of Allah there appeared before us a man whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black; no signs of journeying were to be seen on him and none of us knew him. He walked up and sat down by the prophet. Resting his knees against his and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs, he said:"O Muhammed, tell me about Islam".

The messenger of Allah said: "Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and Muhammed is the messenger of Allah, to perform the prayers, to pay the zakat, to fast in Ramadhan, and to make the pilgrimage to the House if you are able to do so.“

• He said:"You have spoken rightly", and we were amazed at him asking him and saying that he had spoken rightly. He said: "Then tell me about iman.

• He said:"It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in divine destiny, both the good and the evil thereof.“

• He said:"You have spoken rightly". He said: " Then tell me about ihsan.“

• He said: "It is to worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, and while you see Him not yet truly He sees you".

• He said: "Then tell me about the Hour".

• He said: "The one questioned about it knows no better than the questioner.“

• He said: "Then tell me about its signs.“

• He said: "That the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress and that you will see the barefooted, naked, destitute herdsman competing in constructing lofty buildings.“

• Then he took himself off and I stayed for a time. Then he said: "O Omar, do you know who the questioner was?" I said: "Allah and His messenger know best". He said: "He was Jibril (Gabriel), who came to you to teach you your religion.” (Muslim)

Taqwa (تقوى)

• Taqwa is perhaps the most important single term in the Qur’an.
“And make provision for yourself; the best provision is taqwa". (Quran, 2:197).

• Taqwa is one of the many words in Islamic vocabularies whose exact equivalent cannot be found in English. It has been translated as "fear of Allah", "piety", "righteousness", "dutifulness" and "God-wariness",

• The word taqwa is derived from the Arabic root (waqa), whose verb signifies “to guard or protect against something.

• Taqwa has the sense of protecting oneself from moral peril, preserving one's virtue, and guarding oneself against the harmful or evil consequences of one’s conduct (and thus the displeasure of the Almighty).

• Taqwa is thus a kind of awareness or consciousness by means of which one protects oneself from sliding into evil.

• the Qur'an teaches that both the sinful tendency and taqwa are inspired into the soul of man by Allah. This is not to say that Allah inspires us to be sinful.

• One who has taqwa has wariness of associating others with Allah, wariness of sin and evil, and even wariness of that which is dubious.

• We learn from the Qur'an that the outward observance of ritual is not sufficient for taqwa.

• Taqwa thus seems to have practical social and political implications. It is not a meditative state which isolates one from the world, but a provision for finding one's way through the world, which in its social and political dimensions requires justice and fairness.

• Indeed, the historian, Marshall Hodgson. attributes the success of early Islamic civilization not to favorable economic conditions or military power. but to the Taqwa of the Muslims

• The command issued to the believers "Ittaquallah", is a command to be vigilant over oneself with awareness of the presence of Allah, a religious form of the admonition "Watch Yourself" directed to one whose misbehavior is imminent.

Main Characteristics of Islam

• Divine nature of Islam ربانية
• Comprehensiveness الشمول
• Universality العالمية
• Moderation/Balance التوازن

Divine nature of Islam ربانية
• Its origin is from God
• It is based on the concept of the unity of God
• It was so named by God
• It calls people to the unity of lordship ( ربوبية ) , unity of worship ( ألوهية ) , and unity of names and attributes (والصفات وحدانية الأسماء).

Comprehensiveness الشمول

• It covers all aspects of life

• It deals with spiritual and material aspects, dunia ( دنيا )and akhirah ( آخرة ), seen and unseen, social, economic, political, and cultural, aspects of human life

• Islam contains many legislations with regard to personal and social lives as well as national and international aspects of human life. It covers ‘Ibadah, transaction, relation between man and man, between man and God, between man and the universe

• Comprehensiveness in belief system, ‘ibadah system, and moral code.

Universality العالمية

• Islam is not meant only for a particular group of people or a particular period of time, but it is addressed to all mankind, regardless of their social strata, races, colors, languages, cultures, and civilizations.

• There is a unity of religion within a diversity of cultures and ways of implementing the teaching of Islam.

Giving things their due measures التوازن
• Human nature
• Human needs
• Belief system
• Ritual

• Islam is a religion that gives to each aspect of human life its due without any imbalance or exaggeration. The material, social, spiritual, cultural, and intellectual aspects of human life are treated in a balance manner.

• Islam never asks people to focus only on the spiritual dimension or on the material dimension of their life. But it puts each dimension in its right place and legislates the necessary instruction to fulfill and meet the need of that particular dimension of human life.

• وابتغ فيما أتاك الله الدار الآخرة ولا تنسى نصيبك من الدنيا
But seek, with the (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on thee, the Home of the Hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this world: but do thou good, as Allah has been good to thee, and seek not (occasions for) mischief in the land: for Allah loves not those who do mischief."

Michael Hart in The 100, A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons In History' New York, 1978
• My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the secular and religious level. ...It is probable that the relative influence of Muhammad on Islam has been larger than the combined influence of Jesus Christ and St. Paul on Christianity. ...It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history

UNGS 2050 : lecture

Things which nullify one’s Islam

Following are some beliefs and deeds that may nullify one’s Islam. Every Muslim should be aware of them and do his best to avoid them.

1. Associating partners with Allah (shirk). Allah (swt) says:
إِنَّهُ مَنْ يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدْ حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ الْجَنَّةَ وَمَأْوَاهُ النَّارُ وَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ أَنصَارٍ(72)

“Truly, whosoever sets up partners with Allah, them Allah has forbidden the Garden for him, and the fire will be his abode. And for the wrongdoers there are no helpers.” (5: 72)

Calling upon the dead, asking their help, or offering them gifts or sacrifices are all form of shirk.

2. Setting up intermediaries in this life between oneself and Allah, making supplication to them, asking their intercession with Allah, and placing ones trust in them is a kind of shirk.

3. Not considering the polytheists (mushrikeen) to be unbelievers, or feeling doubt concerning their unbelief, or considering their religions to be correct.

4. Believing that any guidance is more perfect than the revelation of Allah and the Sunnah of Prophet. This applies to those who prefer the rule of Evil (Taghout) to the Prophet’s rule. Some examples of this are:

(a) To believe that systems and laws made by human beings are better than the Shariah of Islam; for example:
- That the principles of Islamic jurisprudence / law are not suitable for modern life.
- That Islam is the cause of the backwardness of the Muslims.
- That Islam is a mere relationship between Allah and people; and it should not interfere in other aspects of life.

(b) To believe that something which was definitely prohibited by Islam is permissible, such as adultery, drinking alcohol or usury … etc.

(c) To believe that something which was definitely enjoined by Islam is not an obligation, such as Prayers, Fasting, hijab (Islamic dress for women) ….etc.

5. Anyone who hates any part what the Messenger of Allah (saw) has declared to be lawful has nullified his Islam, even though he may act in accordance with it. Allah (swt) says regarding hypocrites:
ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَرِهُوا مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأَحْبَطَ أَعْمَالَهُمْ(9)
“This is because they hate what Allah has sent down, so he has made their deed fruitless.” (47:9)

6. Anyone who ridicules any aspect of Islam, or any of its rewards or punishments, becomes an unbeliever. Allah (swt) says :
قُلْ أَبِاللَّهِ وَآيَاتِهِ وَرَسُولِهِ كُنتُمْ تَسْتَهْزِئُونَ(65)لَا تَعْتَذِرُوا قَدْ كَفَرْتُمْ بَعْدَ إِيمَانِكُمْ
Say: "Was it at Allah, and His Signs, and His Messenger, that ye were mocking?" . Make no excuses: you have rejected Faith after you had believed it.” (9: 65-66)

7. The practice of magic that is causing a rift between a husband and wife by turning his love for her into hatred, or tempting a person to do things he dislikes using black arts. One who engages in such a thing by practicing or seeking it is considered to be outside the fold of Islam. Allah (swt) says:
وَمَا يُعَلِّمَانِ مِنْ أَحَدٍ حَتَّى يَقُولَا إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ فِتْنَةٌ فَلَا تَكْفُرْ
“ But neither of these two (angels, Harut and Marut) taught anyone (magic) till they had said: "Indeed ,we are only a trial; then do not disbelieve." (2: 102)

عن أبى هريرة رضى الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: اجتنبوا الموبقات الشرك بالله والسحر" (البخارى)
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said: “Avoid the Mubiqat (gross sins), i.e shirk and witchcraft.”

In this tradition witchcraft id combined with shirk. This indicates that they may carry the same rule and consequences.

8. Supporting and aiding polytheist against the Muslims. Allah (swt) says:
يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالنَّصَارَى أَوْلِيَاءَ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ وَمَنْ يَتَوَلَّهُمْ مِنْكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ(51)
“Whoever among you takes them (Jews and Christians) as allies is surely one of them. Truly, Allah does not give guide the wrongdoers.” (5: 51)

9. Anyone who believes that some people are permitted to deviate from the shari’ah of Muhammad (saw) is an unbeliever by the word of Allah Most High:

وَمَنْ يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا فَلَنْ يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنْ الْخَاسِرِينَ(85)

“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted of him, and in the hereafter he will be from among the losers.” (3: 85)

10. To turn completely away from the religion of Allah neither learning its precepts nor acting upon it. Allah (swt) says:
وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ ذُكِّرَ بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِ ثُمَّ أَعْرَضَ عَنْهَا إِنَّا مِنْ الْمُجْرِمِينَ مُنتَقِمُونَ(22)

“ And who does greater wrong than he who is reminded of the revelations of his Lord and turns aside therefrom. Truly, We shall exact retribution from the guilty.” (32: 22)

It makes no difference whether such violations are committed as a joke or in seriousness except when they are done under compulsion. (i.e. from threat of loss of life). In this case, when it is done under compulsion, the doer will be forgiven.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

UNGS 2030 : Secularism - (Required Reading)


Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi

From 'Al-Hulul al Mustawradah wa Kayfa Jaat `alaa Ummatina'
("How the Imported Solutions Disastrously Affected Our Ummah"), pp 113-4
Secularism may be accepted in a Christian society but it can never enjoy a general acceptance in an Islamic society. Christianity is devoid of a shari`ah or a comprehensive system of life to which its adherents should be committed. The New Testament itself divides life into two parts: one for God, or religion, the other for Caesar, or the state: "Render unto Caesar things which belong to Caesar, and render unto God things which belong to God" (Matthew 22:21). As such, a Christian could accept secularism without any qualms of conscience. Furthermore, Westerners, especially Christians, have good reasons to prefer a secular regime to a religious one. Their experience with "religious regimes" - as they knew them - meant the rule of the clergy, the despotic authority of the Church, and the resulting decrees of excommunication and the deeds of forgiveness, i.e. letters of indulgence.
For Muslim societies, the acceptance of secularism means something totally different; i.e. as Islam is a comprehensive system of worship (`ibadah) and legislation (Shari`ah), the acceptance of secularism means abandonment of Shari`ah, a denial of the divine guidance and a rejection of Allah’s injunctions; It is indeed a false claim that Shariah is not proper to the requirements of the present age. The acceptance of a legislation formulated by humans means a preference of the humans’ limited knowledge and experiences to the divine guidance: "Say! Do you know better than Allah?" (2:140).
For this reason, the call for secularism among Muslims is atheism and a rejection of Islam. Its acceptance as a basis for rule in place of Shari`ah is downright riddah. The silence of the masses in the Muslim world about this deviation has been a major transgression and a clear-cut instance of disobedience which have produces a sense of guilt, remorse, and inward resentment, all of which have generated discontent, insecurity, and hatred among committed Muslims because such deviation lacks legality. Secularism is compatible with the Western concept of God which maintains that after God had created the world, He left it to look after itself. In this sense, God’s relationship with the world is like that of a watchmaker with a watch: he makes it then leaves it to function without any need for him. This concept is inherited from Greek philosophy, especially that of Aristotle who argued that God neither controls nor knows anything about this world. This is a helpless God as described by Will Durant. There is no wonder that such a God leaves people to look after their own affairs. How can He legislate for them when He is ignorant of their affairs? This concept is totally different from that of Muslims. We Muslims believe that Allah (SWT) is the sole Creator and Sustainer of the Worlds. One Who "…takes account of every single thing) (72:28); that He is omnipotent and omniscient; that His mercy and bounties encompasses everyone and suffice for all. In that capacity, Allah (SWT) revealed His divine guidance to humanity, made certain things permissible and others prohibited, commanded people observe His injunctions and to judge according to them. If they do not do so, then they commit kufr, aggression, and transgression."

Monday, July 16, 2007

UNGS 2030 : Topics for group presentation



1. Family
- Pre-marriage
- Partner selection
- Right and duties – husband, wife, parents and children.
- Pregnancy
- Divorce and talaq
- Inheritance
- Education

2. Social
- Neighbourhood
- Justice
- Khalifah @ Amanah
- Social welfare @ justice.
i. Compulsory act ; zakat, rikaz, fai`, jizyah, sadaqah, fitrah , kaffarah, nazar
ii. Recommended act ; waqaf, wasiat, gift, hibbah, sadaqah, ithar.

3. Economy
- Islamic economy – theoretical foundations
- Islamic banking – comparison / characteristics.
- Islamic financial
- Islamic investment
- Islamic terms in banking; mudharabah , wadiah, bai’ bi al-ijarah , etc
- Islamic takaful
- Islamic insurance
- Islamic transaction (mualamat) ; transactions, al-rahn, wikalah, kafalah, khiyar, etc
- Baitul mal
- Capitalism
- Etc

4. Politic
- syura
- criteria of imam (leader)
- ministry (wazir)
- constitution ( sahifah madinah)
- wala`
- systems of administration : democracy , autocracy, republic, pragmatic, etc.
5. Law
- Islamic law
- Criminal law
- Hudud
- Qisas
- Ta’zir
- Objective of syariah (maqasid syar’iyyah)
- International laws
- Hisbah

6. Islamic characteristics
- Rabbaniyyah
- Syumuliyah (comprehensiveness)
- Waqi’iyyah (realistics)
- ‘Alamiyyah (universal)
- Tawazun (balanced)
- Murunah (flexibility)
- Etc

7. Contemporary issues
- liberalism
- feminism
- extremism
- hedonism
- apostasy
- globalization
- etc

8. ideology
- secularism
- materialism
- pragmatism
- nationalism
- atheism
- Darwinism
- Etc

9. others
- Tawhid ans its division
- eschatology
- sunnatullah in Allah’s creations.
- Etc

UNGS 2030 : Required reading 1

The Causes Responsible for Materialist tendencies in the West I of IV [1]

Translated from the Persian by Mujahid Husayn
Martyr Murtadha Mutahhari
(Vol XII and XIII)
The topic of the present study are the causes that lie behind materialist tendencies. Before we proceed with the discussion it is necessary that we first define the word 'materialism,' as a term current in common usage, and specify its exact meaning for the purpose of the present discussion.
The word 'materialism' has various usages and all of them are not relevant to our study while studying the cause for materialist inclinations. For example, at times 'materialism' is used to refer to the school of thought which asserts the principiality of matter in the sense that matter is something fundamental (asil) and real in the realm of existence and not something imaginary and mental, an appearance and a product of the mind. In this sense it is opposed to 'idealism' which negates the real existence of matter and considers it a mental construct. In this sense of materialism, we would have to categorize all theists, both Muslims as well as non-Muslims, as 'materialists,' because all of them consider matter-as a reality existing in space and time and subject to change, transformation, and evolution, and which is also perceivable and tangible-as an objective reality existing externally and independently of the mind and having its own properties. Being a 'materialist' in this sense does not contradict with the concept of God or monotheism. Rather, the material world and nature as a product of creation constitute the best means for knowing God. The workings of Divine will and wisdom are discovered in the transformations which take place in matter, and the Holy Qur'an, too, refers to material phenomena as the 'signs' of God.
Sometimes this word is used to imply the negation of supra-material being, as an exclusivist school of thought which considers existence and the realm of being as confined to matter, confining being to the realm of the changeable and limiting it to space and time. It negates the existence of all that does not fall within the framework of change and transformation and is not perceivable by the sense organs.
Our present discussion centres around the causes for inclining towards this exclusivist school of thought, and the reasons why a group of people became protagonists of this exclusivist and negative theory, negating God and imagining anything outside the ambit of the material world as non-existent.
Is Man by Nature a Theist or a Materialist?
This manner of posing the issue, i.e with the question 'What are the causes for inclining towards materialism?,' suggests that we claim that man by nature would not incline towards materialism, and that materialism is an unnatural tendency opposed to human nature (fitrah). And since it goes against the rule, it is necessary to seek its cause and to investigate the reasons which have led to the violation of the rule.
To put it more simply, it implies that faith in God is equivalent to the state of health, and the materialist tendency is equivalent to disease. One never asks about the reasons of health, because it is in accordance with the general course of nature. But if we come across a person or a group which is sick, we ask as to why they are sick. What is the cause of their illness?
This viewpoint of ours is completely opposed to the view usually expressed in books on history of religion. The writers of these books generally tend to pursue the question, 'Why did man develop the religious tendency?'
In our opinion, the religious tendency does not need to be questioned, because it is natural; rather, the question that needs to be examined is why do human beings develop tendencies towards irreligion?
Presently we do not intend to pursue the argument whether being religious is something natural and the lack of religion unnatural, or if the converse is true, because we see no need for doing so from the point of view of the main topic of our discussion.
However, it is worth noting that we do not mean that, as the monotheistic tendency is natural and innate (fitrah), no questions arise when the issue is dealt with at the intellectual and philosophical level. This is certainly not meant. This matter is just like every other issue that naturally- and despite affirmation by natural instinct-gives rise to questions, objections and doubts in the mind of a beginner when posed at the rational level, and satisfying answers to them are also available at that level.
Therefore, we neither intend to disregard the doubts and ambiguities which do in fact arise for individuals, nor do we consider them consequences of an evil disposition or ill-naturedness. Not at all. The emergence of doubts and ambiguities in this context, when someone seeks to solve all the problems related to this issue, is something natural and usual, and it is these doubts that impel human beings towards further quest. Accordingly we consider such doubts which result in further search for truth as sacred, because they constitute a prelude to the acquisition of certitude, faith, and conviction. Doubt is bad where it becomes an obsession and completely absorbs one's attention, as with some people whom we find enjoying the fact that they are able to have doubt concerning certain issues and who consider doubt and uncertainty to be the zenith of their intellectual achievement. Such a state is very dangerous, contrary to the former state which is a prelude to perfection. Therefore, we have said repeatedly that doubt is a good and necessary passage, but an evil station and destination.
Our present discussion concerns the individuals or groups who have made doubt their abode and final destination. In our opinion, materialism, although it introduces itself as a dogmatic school of thought, is in fact one of the sceptic schools. The Qur'an also takes this view of the materialists, and according to it they are, at best, beset with a number of doubts and conjectures, but in practice they flaunt them as knowledge and conviction. [2]
The Historical Background:
This mode of thinking is not new or modern. It should not be imagined that this mode of thought is a consequence of modern scientific and industrial developments and has emerged for the first time during the last one or two centuries, like many other scientific theories which did not exist earlier and were later discovered by man. No, the materialist thinking among human beings is not a phenomenon of the last few centuries, but is one of the ancient modes of thought. We read in the history of philosophy that many ancient Greek philosophers who preceded Socrates and his philosophical movement, were materialists and denied the supra-material.
Among the Arabs of the Jahillyyah contemporaneous to the Prophet's ministry there was a group with a similar belief, and the Qur'an, while confronting them, quotes and criticizes their statements:
They say, 'There is nothing but our present life; we die, and we live, and nothing but time destroys us.' (45:24).
This statement, which the Qur'an ascribes to a group of people, involves both the negation of God as well as the Hereafter.
Materialism in Islamic History:
The word 'dahr' means time. Due to this verse and the term dahr occurring in it, those who negated the existence of God were called 'dahriyyah' during the Islamic period. We encounter such people in Islamic history who were dhari and materialists (maddi), especially during the reign of the Abbassids, when various cultural and philosophical trends entered the Islamic world.
Due to the freedom of thought which prevailed during that period with respect to scientific, philosophical and religious ideas (of course, to the extent that it did not contradict the policies of the Abbassids), some individuals were formally known as materialists and atheists. These individuals debated with Muslims, with the adherents of other religions, and with believers in the existence of God, and presented their arguments and raised objections concerning the arguments of the monotheists. Thus they did enter into dialogue and freely expressed their beliefs, and we find their accounts recorded in Islamic works.
During the lifetime of Imam Sadiq, may Peace be upon him, there were certain individuals who used to gather inside the Prophet's Mosque and express such views. The book al-Tawhid al-Mufaddal is a product one of such episodes.
A companion of Imam Sadiq ('a) named al-Mufaddal ibn 'Umar narrates: "Once I was in the Prophet's Mosque. After prayer I became engrossed in thought about the Prophet (S) and his greatness. Just then 'Abd al-Karim ibn Abi al 'Awja', who was an atheist (zindiq), came and sat down at some distance. Later another person holding similar views pined him, and both of them started uttering blasphemies. They denied the existence of God and referred to the Prophet (S) simply as a great thinker and a genius and not as a Divine emissary and apostle who received revelations from an Unseen source. They said that he was a genius who presented his ideas as revelation in order to influence the people; otherwise there was no God, nor any revelation or resurrection."
Mufaddal, who was greatly disturbed on hearing their talk, abused them. Then he went to Imam Sadiq, may Peace be upon him, and narrated the incident. The Imam comforted him and told him that he would furnish him with arguments with which he could confront them and refute their views. Thereafter Imam Sadiq ('a) instructed Mufaddal in the course of a few long sessions and Mufaddal wrote down the Imam's teachings. This was how the book al-Tawhid al-Mufaddal came to be compiled.
Materialism in the Modern Age:
As we know, during the 18th and 19th centuries materialism took the form of a school of thought which it did not have earlier. That which is ascribed to some schools of ancient Greece does not have a proper basis. Usually the writers of history of philosophy do not know philosophy, and when they come across certain statements of some philosophers concerning the pre-eternity of matter or some other opinions of the kind, they imagine that this amounts to the negation of God and the supra-natural. It has not been established for us that there existed a materialist school of thought before the modern age. Rather, what did exist earlier in Greece and elsewhere were individual tendencies towards materialism.
However, this is what has led many people to suppose that perhaps there is some direct relation between the emergence of materialism as a school of thought and science and scientific advancements.
Of course, the materialists themselves make a great effort to present the matter as such, and they try to convince others that the cause of the growth and prevalence of materialism during the 18th and 19th centuries was the emergence of scientific theories and that it was the spread of science which resulted in mankind being drawn towards it. This observation resembles a joke more than any noteworthy fact.
The inclination towards materialism in ancient times existed both among the educated as well as the illiterate classes. In the modern age, too, the case is similar. Materialists can be found in all classes, and likewise there are theistic, spiritual and metaphysical inclinations in all classes and sections, especially among the learned. If what the materialists claim were true, in the same proportion that advances are made in science and great scientists are born in the world, there should be an increase in the inclination towards materialism among the scholarly class, and individuals possessing more scholarship should be greater materialists, while in fact this is not the case.
Today, we see on the one hand some well well-known personalities like Russell, who, to a large extent, present themselves as materialists. He says, "Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms." [3] Thus Russell rejects the existence of a conscious and intelligent power ruling the universe, although at other places he avers to be a skeptic and an agnostic. [4]
On the other hand, we find Einstein, the twentieth century scientific genius, expressing an opinion opposed to that of Russell; he says "You will hardly find one among the profounder sort of scientific minds without a religious feeling of his own ... His religious feeling takes the form of rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection. This feeling is the guiding principle of his life and work, in so far as he succeeds in keeping himself from the shackles of selfish desire. It is beyond question closely akin to that which has possessed the religious geniuses of all ages." [5]
Can it be said that Russell is familiar with the concepts of modern science whereas Einstein is ignorant of them? Or that a certain philosopher of the 18th or l9th century was familiar with the scientific concepts of his age whereas the theist Pasteur was unaware and ignorant of them?!
Or can we say that William James, the monotheist or rather the mystic of his time, Bergson, Alexis Carrell and other such thinkers were ignorant of the scientific ideas of their time and their thinking was in tune with the ideas of a thousand years ago, while a certain Iranian youth who does not possess a tenth of their knowledge and does not believe in God is familiar with the scientific ideas of his age?!
At times one sees two mathematicians, one of whom believes in God and religion while the other is a materialist, or for that matter two physicists, two biologists, or two astronomers, one with a materialist and the other with a theistic bent of mind.
Therefore, it is not that simple to say that the advent of science has made metaphysical issues obsolete. That would be a childish observation.
We need to centre our discussion more on the question as to what were the factors that led to the emergence of materialism as a school of thought in Europe, attracting a large number of followers, even though the 20th century, in contrast to the 18th and 19th centuries, saw a decline in the advance of materialism and in it materialism even met with a kind of defeat?
This large-scale drift has a series of historical and social causes which require to be studied. I have come across some of these causes during the course of my study which I shall mention here. Perhaps those who have done a closer study of social issues, especially in the area of European history, would identify other reasons and factors. Here I only intend to discuss the results of my study.
Inadequacies in the Religious Ideas of the Church
The Church, whether from the viewpoint of the inadequacy of its theological ideas, or its inhuman attitude towards the masses, especially towards the scholars and freethinkers, is one of the main causes for the drifting of the Christian world, and indirectly the non-Christian world, towards materialism.
We will analyze this factor in two sections:
1. Inadequacies in the ideas of the Church relating to God and the metaphysical.
2. The violent conduct of the Church.
Section 1:
In the Middle Ages when the clerics became the sole arbiters of issues relating to divinities, there emerged amongst them certain childish and inadequate ideas concerning God which were in no way consonant with reality. Naturally, these not only did not satisfy intelligent and enlightened individuals, but created in them an aversion against theism and incited them against theist thought.
Anthropomorphic Conceptions of God:
The Church painted a human picture of God and presented Him to the people in an anthropomorphic form. Those who were brought up to conceive God with these human and physical features under the influence of the Church, later, with advances in science, came to find that these ideas were inconsistent with scientific, objective, and sound rational criteria.
On the other hand, the vast majority of people naturally do not possess such power of critical analysis as to reflect over the possibility that metaphysical ideas might have a rational basis and that the Church was wrongly presenting them.
Thus when they saw that the views of the Church did not conform to the criteria of science they rejected the issue outright.
There is a book titled The Evidence of God in an Expanding Universe, consisting of forty articles by forty scientists belonging to various fields of specialization, wherein each scholar has presented arguments proving the existence of God in accordance with has own specialized area of study. This book has been translated into Persian.
Among these scholars is Walter Oscar Lundberg, who presents a scientific argument for the existence of God. In the course of his study he examines why some people, including scholars, have developed a materialist tendency.
He mentions two causes of which one has been already mentioned by us, inadequate ideas taught on this subject to the people in the church or at home.
Our singling out the churches in this regard does not mean to imply that those who give instruction on religious issues from our pulpits (manabir) and mosques have always been informed and competent individuals who know what is to be taught and possess an in-depth knowledge of Islam. One reason why we mention only the church is that our discussion is about the causes behind materialist inclinations and these tendencies existed in the Christian world and not in the Islamic environments. Whatever materialism is found in Islamic societies has been, and is, the result of copying and imitating the West. Secondly, there existed in the Islamic milieu a school of thought at the level of philosophers and metaphysicians, which satisfied the intellectual needs of the researchers and saved the scholars from the fate of their counterpart in Europe, while there existed no such school within the Church.
In any case this is what Walter Oscar Lundberg says
There are various reasons for the attention of some scholars not being drawn towards comprehending the existence of God while undertaking scientific studies; we will mention just two of them here. The first (reason) is the general presence of oppressive political and social conditions or governmental structures which necessitate the negation of the existence of God. The second (reason) is that human thinking is always under the impact of some vague ideas and although the person himself may not undergo any mental and physical agony, even then his thinking is not totally free in choosing the right path. In Christian families the children in their early years generally believe in an anthropomorphic God, as if man has been created in the image of God. These persons, on entering a scientific environment and acquiring the knowledge of scientific issues, find that this weak and anthropomorphic view of God does not accord with scientific concepts. Consequently, after a period of time when the hope of any compromise is dashed, the concept of God is also totally discarded and vanishes from the mind. The major cause of doing so is that logical proofs and scientific definitions do not alter the past sentiments and beliefs of these persons, and it does not occur to them that a mistake had taken place in the earlier belief about God. Along with this, other psychic factors cause the person to become weary of the insufficiency of this concept and turn away from theology. [6]
Summarily, that which is observable in certain religious teachings-and regrettably is also found amongst ourselves, to a more or less extent-is that a characteristic concept is projected in the minds of children under the name and label of 'God.' When the child grows up and becomes a scholar, he finds that this concept is not rational and such a being cannot exist, whether it be God or something else.
The child on growing up, without reflecting or critically concluding that perhaps there might exist a valid conception, rejects the idea of divinity altogether. He imagines that the concept of God he is rejecting is the same as the one accepted by theists, and since he does not accept this creature of his own mind, which is the product of popular superstition, he does not believe in God. He does not notice that the concept of God which he is rejecting is also rejected by the theists, and that his rejection is not the rejection of God but is the rejection of something that ought to be rejected.
Flammarion in the book God and Nature observes: "The Church presented God in this manner: 'The distance between his right and left eye is 12000 leagues.' " It is obvious that persons with even a meagre knowledge of science cannot believe in such a being.
Auguste Comte's Conception of God:
Flammarion quotes a statement of Auguste Comte, the founder of positivism and what is known as scientism, which offers a good view of the way God was pictured by such scholars as Auguste Comte living in the Christian environment of that time. Flammarion says: Auguste Comte has said: "Science has dismissed the Father of nature and the universe from his post, consigning him to oblivion, and while thanking him for his temporary services, it has escorted him back to the frontiers of his greatness."
What he means is that earlier every event that took place in the world was explained by relating it to God as its cause. For example, if someone got a fever, the question why the fever had come about and from where it came had the answer that God had sent the fever. That which was commonly understood by this statement was not that it is God who governs the universe and that to say that He had caused the fever implied that He was the real and ultimate mover of the world. Rather, this statement meant that God, like a mysterious being, or a magician engaged in sorcery, had all of a sudden decided to cause fever without any preparatory cause, and so the fever came about. Later science discovered its cause and it was observed that fever was not brought about by God, but by a certain bacteria.
Here God retreated one step. Henceforth the theist was forced to say that we will shift our argument to the bacteria: Who created the bacteria?
Science also discovered the cause of bacteria by identifying the conditions in which they come to exist. Again God had to retreat one step, and the argument proceeded by asking the cause of that cause. God's retreat continued, and, at last, with the spread and expansion of science the causes of a large number of phenomena were discovered. Even those phenomena whose causes were not yet discovered were known for certain to possess causes belonging to the category of causes already known. Thereat man had to dismiss God for good with an apology, because there no longer remained any place and post for Him.
The state of God at this stage was that of an employee in an office in which he was initially given an important post, but with the recruitment of more competent individuals his responsibilities were gradually taken away, and eventually, when he was divested of all his earlier responsibilities, there remained no post and place left for him. At this time the manager of the office approaches him, thanks him for his past services, and with an excuse hands him the dismissal orders and bids him farewell once and for all.
Auguste Comte uses the term 'Father of nature' for God. His use of this term for God shows the influence of the Church in his thought. Although he was against the teachings of the Church, his own concept of God was derived from the Church's ideas, from which he was not able to free himself.
Taken together, the observations of Auguste Comte suggest that in his opinion God is something similar to a part and factor of this world, albeit mysterious and unknown, by the side of other factors. Moreover, there are two types of phenomena in the world, the known and the unknown. Every unknown phenomenon should be linked to that mysterious and unknown factor. Naturally, with the discovery of every phenomenon and its becoming known as a consequence of science, the domain of influence of the unknown factor is diminished.
This mode of thinking was not characteristic of him, but it was the thinking that prevailed in his environment and era.
The Station of Divinity:
Hence the main thing is that we ascertain the station of Divinity and comprehend the place, position and 'post' of God. Is the position of God and the Divine in the realm of being such that we may consider Him to be one of the beings in the world and a part of it? May we allot Him a certain function among the various functions that exist in the world, thereby affecting a division of labour, and then, for determining God's special function, examine the various effects whose causes are unknown to us, so that whenever we come across an unknown cause we have to attribute it to God? The consequence of such a mode of thinking is to search for God among things unknown to us. Naturally, with an increase in our knowledge, the area of our ignorance will continually diminish and the domain of our theism, too, will diminish to the point where if some day, supposedly, all the unknown things become known to mankind, there would remain no place for God or any theism.
In accordance with this line of reasoning, only some of the existing realities are signs of God and manifest and mirror His existence, and they are those whose causes are unknown. As to those things whose causes have been identified, they lie outside the realm of signs and indications of the Divine Being.
Hallowed be God! How wrong and misleading this kind of thinking is, and how ignorant it is of the station of the Divine! Here we should cite the words of the Qur'an, which observes in this regard:
They measured not God with His true measure. (6:91)
The ABC of theism is that He is the God of the entire universe and is equally related to all things. All things, without any exception, are manifestations of His Power, Knowledge, Wisdom, Will, and Design, and are the signs and marks of His Perfection, Beauty and Glory. There is no difference between phenomena whose causes are known and those whose causes are unknown in this regard. The universe, with all its systems and causes, is in toto sustained by His Being. He transcends both time and space. Time and time-bound entities, and similarly space and spatial objects, irrespective of their being finite or infinite-that is, whether they are temporally limited or extend from pre-eternity to eternity, and regardless of whether the universe is limited in its spatial dimensions or infinite, and, ultimately, whether the entire expanse of existents is finite or infinite in time and space-all these are posterior to His Being and Existence and are Considered among His emanations (fayd.)
Hence it is extreme ignorance to think in a Church like manner and to imagine, like Auguste Comte, that while looking for the cause of a certain phenomenon in some corner of the universe we would suddenly discover the existence of God, and then celebrate and rejoice that we have found God at a certain place. And if we do not succeed and are unable to so find Him, we should become pessimistic and deny God's existence altogether.
On the contrary, it is precisely in this sense that we must reject the existence of God, that is, a God who is like any other part of the world and is discoverable like any other phenomenon in the course of inquiry into the world's phenomena is certainly not God, and any belief in such a God is aptly rejected.
In more simple terms, we should say that this kind of quest for God in the universe is like the conduct of someone who when shown a clock and told that it has a maker wants to find its maker within the wheels and parts of the clock. He searches for a while and on finding nothing except its different parts, says: 'I did not find the maker of the clock and this proves that he does not exist.' Or it is like one who on being shown a beautifully stitched dress and told that this dress was stitched by a tailor, says, 'If I find the tailor in the pockets of this dress I will accept his existence, otherwise I won't.'
This kind of thinking is totally wrong from the Islamic point of view. From the viewpoint of Islamic teachings, God is not on a par with the natural causes so that the question should arise whether a certain external entity has been created by God or by a certain natural cause. This kind of dichotomy is both wrong and meaningless, because there cannot be a dichotomy or an intervening 'or' between God and natural causes for such a question to be posed. This form of thinking is anti-theist. Theism means that the whole of nature in its entirety is a unit of work and an act of God in its totality. Hence it is not correct to ask concerning a part of it whether it is a work of God or nature, and then to consider it to be a work of God on failing to identify its cause, and as related to nature and with no connection with God when its natural cause is known.
Auguste Comte's Three Stages of Human History:
Auguste Comte suggests a classification of the stages of the historical development of the human mind, which, most regrettably, has more or less been accepted, though from the point of view of those acquainted with Islamic philosophy it is mere childish talk. He says that mankind has passed through three stages:
1. The Theological Stage:
In this stage man explained phenomena by resorting to supernatural forces and considered God or gods to be the cause of every phenomenon. In this stage man discovered the principle of causality, but was not able to identify the causes of things in a detailed manner. Since he had grasped the principle of causality, he considered the cause of every event to lie within Nature. In this stage he postulated the existence of forces in Nature with the judgement that certain forces exist in Nature which are ultimately responsible for the occurrence of phenomena.
2. The Metaphysical Stage
In this stage, in view of the fact that man thought in metaphysical and philosophical terms, he could not go beyond the assertion that a certain event had a cause without having any answer to the question about the nature and character of the cause itself.
3. The Positive Stage:
In this stage man identified in detail the causes of things in Nature. During this stage, man turned away from thinking in general philosophical terms and adopted the experimental approach to the study of phenomena, discovering the causal links between them. It became completely evident to him that the phenomena are related to one another in a chain. Today science considers this approach to be correct, and, therefore, we call this stage 'the scientific stage.'
These three stages suggested by Auguste Comte could be possibly correct when viewed from the angle of the common people and the masses, in the sense that at one time the common people considered the cause of an event, such as a disease, to be some invisible being such as a demon or a jinn, and there are such persons and groups even today among educated Europeans. At a later stage they were able to recognize the order present in Nature and henceforth they attributed the cause of illness to the causes surrounding the sick person, believing that natural factors were responsible for it. Also, all those who have not studied medicine and have no medical knowledge but believe in the general order of nature have a similar kind of understanding.
During another stage the relationships between the various phenomena was discovered by the means of scientific experiments. This was not a new thing in itself and existed in the ancient period as well, although the eagerness to study natural phenomena and their causal relations is greater in the modern era.
However, this manner of classification of human thought is incorrect, because if we were to divide human thought into stages, our criterion should be the ideas of thinkers and not the thinking of the masses and common people. In other words, we should take into consideration the world view of outstanding individuals. Here it is that we find the classification of August Comte to be wrong through and through. Human thought, whose real representatives are the thinkers of every age, has certainly not passed
One of the eras or stages of thought is the stage of Islamic thought. From the standpoint of the Islamic method, all these ways of thinking can possibly be present simultaneously in a certain form of thought. That is, in the form of thought which we call 'Islamic,' all these three kinds of thought are capable of coexisting. In other words, a single person can at the same time have a mode of thought which is theological, philosophical, and scientific. From the point of view of a thinker cognizant with Islamic thought, the question does not arise as to whether the cause of an event is that which science tells us, or that which philosophy explains in the form of a force, or that which is named God. Hence, those like Auguste Comte need to be reminded that there exists a fourth mode of thought in the world of which they are unaware.
The Violence of the Church:
To this point we have pointed out the role of the Church in the process of inclination towards materialism from the point of view of the inadequacy of its theological concepts. Yet in another way, which was more effective than the inadequacy of its theological ideas, the Church has played an important part in driving people towards adopting an anti-God stance. This was its coercive policy of imposing its peculiar religious and scientific doctrines and views and depriving the people from every kind of freedom of belief in both these areas.
The Church, apart from its peculiar religious beliefs, had incorporated a set of scientific doctrines concerning the universe and man, which had mostly their philosophical roots in Greece and elsewhere and had gradually been adapted by major Christian scholars into its religious dogma. It not only considered any dissent in regard to the 'official sciences' impermissible, but also vehemently persecuted those who disagreed with these dogmas.
Presently, we are not concerned with the issue of freedom of religion and religious belief and that religious beliefs should inevitably be studied freely because otherwise that would go against the very spirit of religion, which is to guide to the truth. Islam supports the thesis that belief in religious doctrines ought to be based on research and not on conformity or compulsion, in contrast to Christianity which has declared religious dogma a prohibited zone for reason.
There were two other aspects in which the Church committed a major mistake. Firstly, it placed certain scientific notions inherited from the earlier philosophers and Christian theologians in the rank of its religious tenets, considering opposition to them to be heresy. Secondly, it did not stop at exposing the heretics and excommunicating those whose heresy had been proven and confirmed, but instead, like a violent police regime, it investigated the beliefs and convictions of persons by employing various tactics and tried to detect the faintest signs of dissent to religious beliefs in individuals and groups and persecuted them in an indescribably ruthless manner. As a result, scholars and scientists did not dare entertain any ideas opposed to what the Church considered as science; that is, they were constrained to think in accordance with the Church's thinking. This intense repression of ideas which was a common thing from the 12th to the 19th century in countries like France, England, Germany, Holland, Portugal, Poland and Spain, naturally resulted in the development of a general extremely negative reaction towards religion. The tribunals held by the Church and known as the Inquisition were initiated with an objective reflected in the very name given them. Will Durant says:
The Inquisition had a special procedure of inquiry and prosecution. Before the inquisition held its tribunal in a city, the summons of faith were communicated from the church pulpits. The people were asked to inform the inquisitors of any heretics or pagans that they knew of. They were encouraged to denounce and accuse their neighbours, friends and relatives. The informers were promised total secrecy. Anyone who knew a heretic and would not denounce him or hid him in his house faced denunciation and excommunication ... The methods of torture varied from time to time and from one place to another. Sometimes the accused was left to hang with his hands tied behind his back. Or he would be bound in say a way that he could not move, then water was poured into his throat so as to suffocate him. Or his arms and fists were so tightly bound with ropes that they cut into his flesh and reached the bones. [7]
He also says
The number of victims between the years 1480-1488, that is in eight years, exceeded 8800 burnt on stakes, and 96,494 condemned to severe punishments According to estimates, from the year 1480 to 1808 more than 31,912 were condemned to death by fire and 291,450 were condemned to severe penalties. [8]
George Sarton, the distinguished scholar and famous authority on history of science in his book Six Wings: Men of Science in the Renaissance, has a discussion under the caption 'witchcraft,' where he relates the crimes committed by the Church in the name of campaign against witchcraft:
Divines and religious scholars, consciously or otherwise, considered apostasy to be the same as witchcraft. Men quickly conclude that those who disagree with them are bad people. Magicians were men and women who had sold their souls to the Devil. On the assumption that heretics and irreligious persons also communed with the Devil, their persecution and torture were readily permitted and those who were orthodox in their faith could say to themselves: These trouble-making and disruptive people are magicians and they should be dealt with in this way, because they are neither capable of a straight faith nor eligible for pardon.
George Sarton refers to the book Hammer of the Magicians, which was written by two Dominican priests on the instructions of Pope Innocent VIII (r. 1484-1492) and which was, in fact, a practical manual on how to conduct the Inquisition of those accused of heresy and witchcraft. He says:
The book Hammer is a practical handbook for the Inquisitors and in it are found the details of the methods of detection, prosecution and punishment of magicians.... The fear of the magician was the real cause for killing them and these killings themselves became the reason for a heightened fear. In that period, a psychic epidemic had developed the like of which has not been seen until the present age of enlightenment. The proceedings of some trials of the Inquisition recorded in precise detail have survived. The Inquisitors were not bad people. They imagined themselves to be better at least than the ordinary people, because was it not that they were ceaselessly striving to uphold the word of truth and the name of God?! Nicolarmy, the inquisitor of Lourn was the cause of 900 magicians being burnt to death during a period of fifteen years (1575-1590). He was a conscientious man, and during the last years of his life he had a sense of guilt for having overlooked to kill some children. Has anyone the right to desist from killing the young of a viper? Bishop Tersepeter Binzfold issued verdicts for the death sentence of 6500 people.
He goes on to observe:
When the Inquisitors arrived in a new region, they used to announce that anyone suspecting someone of being a magician should provide information about it. Anyone concealing information was liable to exile and fine.
Providing information in this regard was considered a duty, and the names of those who provided information were not disclosed. The accused-among whom were possibly persons whose enemies had slandered them-were not informed of the crime they were accused of and were kept in the dark concerning the evidence of their culpability. It was assumed that these people were sinners and criminals, and the burden of proof lay upon them to prove their innocence. The judges adopted all kinds of mental and physical means for exacting a confession of sin and identifying collaborators. For encouraging the accused to confess, they were promised pardon or extenuation. But the judges imagined that honouring a promise given to magicians and heretics involved no moral obligation and the promise was kept for the short time which the accused took to say what had to be said. Every act falling outside the limits of honourable behaviour was committed against the accused and was justified as it was done for a holy cause. The more they tormented and tortured the people, the more they thought it necessary. What we have said can be easily confirmed by referring to the Hammer and other books and can also be pictured more vividly by studying the proceedings of the trials, of which there are plenty. [9]
After discussing this issue for three or four pages, George Sarton observes:
Belief in magic was truly a mental illness more dangerous than syphilis, and was the cause of the terrible death of thousands of innocent men and women. Apart from that, an attention to this matter reveals the dark side of the Renaissance, less appealing than other things which are usually said about this period, but knowing which is necessary for a correct understanding of the events of this age. Renaissance was the golden age of art and literature, but at the same time it was also a period of religious intolerance and cruelty. The inhuman character of this period is such that, excepting the present age, it has no parallel in history. [10]
Religion, which should have been a guide and a harbinger of love, acquired this kind of countenance in Europe. The very notion of religion and God came to be associated in everyone's mind with violence, repression, and tyranny. Obviously, the reaction of the people against such an approach could hardly be anything except the rejection of religion and the negation of that which constitutes its very basis, God. The severest blow is struck on religion and to the advantage of materialism whenever religious leaders, whom the people consider as the real representatives of religion, put on a leopard's skin and wear a tiger's teeth and resort to excommunication and accusations of heresy, especially when private motives take this form.

[1] That which appears here is a translation of 'Ilal e gerayesh beh maddigari, 8th edition (Qum: Intesharat e Sadra, 1375 H. Sh.) There is a long introduction, dated rajab 1, 1398 H by the author written for the 8th edition of the book titled 'Materialism in Iran', this will appear at the end of the serial.

[2] ... they follow only surmise, merely conjecturing. (6:116)

[3] Irving William Knobloch, The Evidence of God in an Expanding Universe, cf. Russell, Mysticism and Logic (Penguin Books 1953), "A Free Mans Worship"

[4] See Russell, Mysticism and Worship, (Penguin Books 1953), "A Free Mans Worship", pp.50-59

[5] As the original source of Einsteins statement quoted by the author was not accessible to the translator, a parallel statement of his has been cited here from Ideas and Opinions by Albert Einstein (Calcutta: Rup & Co, 1984, first published by Bonanza Books, New York), based on Mein Weltbild, edited by Carl Seerling, trans and revised by Sonja Bargmann, pp. 40 (Tr.)

[6] Irving William Knobloch, op. Cit, the article by Walter Oscar Lundberg

[7] Will Durrant, The Story of Civilization, Persian transl. Tarikhe Tamaddun, v18 p350

[8] Ibid., p360

[9] George Sarton, Six Wings: Men of Science in the Renaissance (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1957), Persian transl. Shish Bal, pp296-8

[10] Ibid, p303