We all have heard the word "Outlook on Universe" which means a complete enunciation of life.
Some people who observe this Universe find it a meaningful creation which has come into existence through purposeful intention with a definite purpose, discipline and order. This is called "Divine Outlook on Universe".
Some people say that neither there is any pre-arranged plan for the existence of the Universe, nor is there any creator of it. Neither it has any aim nor has it any purpose. This school of thought belongs to "Materialistic Outlook on Universe". These are the two schools of thought which we shall discuss below.
Hence, our view-point about the Universe and life is the basis of the "Outlook on Universe".
Advantage of Discussion About the Outlook on Universe
There is no ambiguity on the benefits and results of the two angles of thought. If we think that this big house, that is the Universe, has someone as its owner or master and it has some aims and purposes, it will become incumbent upon us to mould ourselves with the purpose of receiving favour of the master of this house, the Lord and the Creator, to the path which He has set for us by His revelations through His Prophets. But if this Universe happened to come into existence without any aim and purpose, then obviously there will be no necessity of accepting any discipline or regulatory restrictions.
Nowadays, the term "the duties of a responsible person" is much talked about. We can be dutiful only when we are supposed to be responsible to somebody for our actions and become accountable to him for commission and omission of duties. Under such circumstances we can only be made to feel our responsibility through Divine Outlook on Universe.
But according to materialistic Outlook on Universe, the Universe is supposed to have come into existence without any pre-arranged plan and it has assumed its present form and shape with the passage of time only. All men are mortals. They have to die one day or the other, and death will wipe them out altogether. Therefore, the sole purpose of life is to make the best of it by indulging in luxuries and revelries. That is to say the very purpose of life is "eat, drink and be merry" and thereafter is mortality.
According to this line of thinking we can pose a question to ourselves as to why one should remain alive and why one should not commit suicide. That is after several years of hardships and difficulties why should one not come out of life's entanglement. Thus, if life has its purpose it can only be viewed through the Divine Outlook on Universe.
We do not open our doors when a person knocks it in the dead hours of night unless we know him fully well.
We cannot decide to take the kind of clothes to a place where we want to go unless we first determine what type of weather is prevailing there. We cannot decide to wear the kind of dress where we have been invited unless we know beforehand the gathering is for a marriage ceremony or it is a condolence meeting. Thus it is necessary that we should first recognize our duties and obligations. In other words, our dependence on the mode of thinking and recognition of facts becomes the basis of our "Outlook on Universe" or the outlook on life.
Selection of Outlook on Universe
We have said it before that there are two view-points with regard to Outlook on Universe and life, namely:
1. Divine Outlook according to which the Universe has its master, aim and purpose.
2. Materialistic Outlook which does not admit any master, aim and purpose for the Universe, that is, the Universe is without its master or controller, aim and purpose, and is retrogressive.
Man however, has to choose any of the two methods of approach as said earlier. The recognition of the best possible view-point is dependent on the following factors:
1. That method of approach which is related to intellect, reasoning and evidence.
2. That view-point and its elaboration which is compatible with our natural disposition.
3. That method of approach which makes man feel his responsibility and obligations, and which fills him with hope and happiness.
In the light of the foregoing, we ponder over it now.
Monotheism The First Principle of Divine Outlook on Universe
Intellect guides us that there is a cause of every effect and this thing is so crystal clear that if a new-born baby is subjected to a slight blow of breath on his body, he opens up his eyes and glances around him as he is conscious of the cause of that blow. In fact, the detection of the cause of an effect has been the major problem of our day-to-day life.
It is only by probing the causes and the indications that in the courts of law the advocates and the judges arrive at a decision of a case. As for example how can it be admitted that a picture of a cock or a peacock needs a photographer but the very existence of a cock or a peacock came into being without its creator? How can one convince or satisfy the human intellect that, while there is an inventor of the camera, there is no inventor or creator of the human eye, though the photography of the human eye is more intricate than that of the camera for as and when the camera takes a picture, the film is changed, but our eye keeps on taking pictures incessantly without any break?
The camera can take either a black and white or a color picture according to the type of the films loaded in it, but the human eye can take the pictures, plain and colored, as well and at a distance, or at a close range, or in shade or in sunlight.
Similarly, human intelligence admits that somebody constructed an oil refinery but how can it deny that there is also the Creator of the digestive system. Again when it is an admitted fact that the working system of the human body indicates the presence of a conscious mind, how can we say that there is no Supreme Being which controls the entire system of the Universe! How have the various components, which can neither see nor hear and which constitute the Universe, have set for themselves working principles and cycles that a researcher spends his entire life for detecting any of such laws governing it?
In short, if the principle of an "Outlook on Universe" is based on factors which human intellect accepts, then looking at its very delicate and minute system of operation, it confirms the existence of a perfect Being, and through this very intellect we will, by the Grace of Allah, provide answers to doubts and suspicions in this regard.
The study of this life which has such a strict discipline and impeccability leads us towards Divine Approach to Universe. This is the first basic indication of the correctness of the viewpoint and the line of thinking to the Divine Approach. The second indication of this approach is its compatibility with natural disposition.
Let us clarify the meaning of natural disposition because when we say that Divine cognition is a natural process then we should be able to profit by it.
What is Natural Disposition?
The term "Natural disposition" is akin to "instinct" and it gives the same meaning. In man any type of feeling which is independent of training, guidance, teacher or patron is inherent and permanent and it is present in all people of all times and places. This feeling is sometimes called a natural disposition or an instinct, though instinct is a broad-based feeling which is present equally in man and animals.
A certain natural tendency is a general characteristic or trait as for example the mother's love for her child. It is a kind of feeling or emotion which is inherent in mother and it is not imparted by any teacher, patron or preacher. It is universal. Wherever one goes, one will find this instinct at every time in every type of social group, though it may be possible that it is of lesser or greater degree in certain mothers. It is also possible that one instinct can overrun another one.
Let us admit that every man loves wealth as well as happiness and security, but this love is not found equally in all men. Some sacrifice wealth on life and some sacrifice life on wealth. Similarly at times for the sake of personal honor and dignity the father withdraws his love and affection from his daughter and buries her live, as daughters in Arabia before the advent of Islam were considered the cause of dishonor and disgrace. Therefore, anything which is inherent in man may not necessarily compel him to act accordingly, because one dominating urge suppresses another dominating feeling.
One of the signs of instinctive behaviors is the sense of pride. Anyone who acts according to his natural tendency feels within himself a sense of calmness. A mother who holds her child in her arms feels proud of it, rather she condemns the mother who ill-treats her child. That sense of pride and that disposition of criticism are instinctive things.
Let us now see whether recognition of Allah is inherent or not.
We ask from everyone belonging to every creed or faith at every place and every time as to what are his feelings regarding the Universe? Does he consider himself to be self-contented or does he feel dependent? There is no one who can claim to be self-contented as all of them have a sense of deprivation; and this feeling is satisfied by the following two ways:
1. True sense of feeling with true satisfaction.
2. True sense of feeling with false satisfaction.
Take an example of an infant who is hungry. This feeling of the infant gets satisfied when he is suckled. And sometimes this very feeling is satisfied by means of sucking a false soother. However, in man the sense of deprivation is inherent and a reality but the question is deprivation of what? Of Divine Power or of natural strength?
The nature itself is dependent on several conditions and therefore we should depend on that Power which itself is not dependent and subservient like us to any other power.
The function of the Prophets is to prevent man from receiving false satisfaction of his true feelings. In this regard we have before us the example of a mother who does not allow her child to take all types of food. A passing glance over the history tells us how without the guidance of the Prophets, people had to face untold miseries and hardships.
Is Obedience a Negation of Man's Freedom?
Sometimes it is thought that inviting people to the worship of Allah by the Prophets and Divine religions is to deprive man of his freedom. But one has to ponder over the fact that man has been so created that without love and affection, devotion, mutual cooperation and hoping for the best, he cannot continue his life. The feeling or urge of love and devotion is inherent in his nature. If through the intermediary of the Prophets, this tendency of man had not been properly bridled, he would have started worshipping idols, stars, heavenly bodies, heroes and despots. Therefore, man's obedience and devotion to Allah is not against his freedom but it is a means of satiating man's inherent devotion to Allah and consequently preventing him from going astray.
Crux of the Problem
Now we revert to the crux of the problem. The Divine Outlook on the Universe and the implicit faith in Allah have an instinctive base. That is to say the awareness of dependence on the Supreme Being is inherently present in man though at times he thinks whether this Supreme Being is Allah, the Creator or it is Nature itself.
However, the main problem is the man's awareness of his dependence. The Divine Approach to the Universe is compatible with man's disposition, for it considers the entire set-up of the Universe under the control of a super-natural power and this goes to prove the correct stand of the Divine Outlook by man.
The third important factor which supports the Divine Outlook is that man has been endowed with a feeling of love and hope as well as a sense of responsibility. If a student of a school realizes that his efforts would not go waste and that even the one hundredth part of the marks he has gained would be counted and his reasonable explanation would be considered, he would continue his studies with perfect zeal and enthusiasm.
In the Divine Outlook on Universe man believes that he is under the constant surveillance and guidance of Allah, that his explanation for his lapses is acceptable, that not even an iota of his good or bad deeds could be overlooked, that all his noble deeds are to be rewarded by Allah and that he would be compensated in Paradise for the sacrifice of his life and property. Thus on the one hand the invisible great support of Divine Power and on the other the prevention from doubts, suspicions, lapses, acts of commission or omission repose in man's heart an ever-glowing hope.
The Holy Qur'an has condemned the following forms of faith and inclinations:
Doubtful and Temporary Tendency
1. Whenever one finds himself in a grave danger and foresees annihilation, he starts remembering Allah by imploring: "O Allah!", and as soon as that danger is over, he forgets all about it, and starts associating Allah with others and thus falls in the ditch of polytheism. The Holy Qur'an says:
When they sail in a boat, they sincerely pray to Allah with pure faith. But when We bring them safely on land, they start considering things equal to Allah! (29:65)
2. Sometimes their faith which is adopted without any reasoning, or considering the Divine signs, they follow the faith of their ancestors just like idolaters who used to tell the Prophets that they had adopted their faith in obedience to their ancestors. The Holy Qur'an condemns their blind faith and says:
They said, we found our fathers doing so. (26:74)
3. Sometimes their faith is not true but is meant for outward show. The Holy Qur'an says:
The Bedouin Arabs say, 'We are Believers'. Tell them, 'you are not believers, but you should say that you are Muslims. In fact belief has not entered your hearts '. (49:14)
4. Sometimes their faith is without action and deeds. Although these sort of people believe but they are slack in their actions. The Holy Qur'an has condemned such people at several places.
Which Faith is True?
From the point of view of the Holy Qur'an only that faith which is based on reasoning and correct mode of thinking is true and commendable. The Holy Qur'an says:
Those who remember Allah while standing, sitting, or resting on their sides, and who think about the creation of the heavens and the earth and say, 'Lord, You have not created all this without reason' (3:191)
Signs of Faith in Allah
1. Hope and Feeling of Love: Anyone who knows that all his deeds are accounted for, and that his efforts do not go in waste, and also that Allah rewards him for his actions and deeds with Paradise, though He by His benign Mercy sometimes bestows upon him rewards for his good intentions too, he then leads his life with his love for Allah in a state of cheerful hopefulness.
2. Abstains from Corruption: Such a man abstains from treachery, meanness, and hypocrisy. Anyone who considers himself to be ever-present before Allah and considers Allah as Omniscient, can never practise deceit and hypocrisy.
3. Preserves His Self-respect: He, who has submitted himself to the Will of Allah and truthfully obeys His commands, can never bow down before anyone in authority, status and power. He considers everybody as he himself is.
4. He is Never in Loss: Since the man of faith benefits by his timely deed and receives an everlasting reward from Allah and pins his hopes only on Allah, he never sustains any loss at all.
5. Tranquillity: If we look into the following causes of fear and restlessness, we find that faith in Allah provides a complete peace, satisfaction and a state of tranquillity Causes of Fear and Worries
(a) Sometimes past lapses and bad deeds are the causes of one's fears and worries but the remembrance of Allah changes this state of mind into that of peace and tranquillity because Allah is Merciful and Benevolent and He forgives sins and accepts one's repentance.
(b) Sometimes loneliness and the very thought of helplessness leads to fears and worries but the faith that Allah is Omnipresent and Omniscient changes this state of mind into that of peace and tranquillity. The man believes that Allah is not only our Companion and Compassionate but He hears us, sees our deeds and bestows His blessings on us.
(c) Sometimes the aimless life and the sense of lethargy make one's mind restless but the faith in Allah removes all such fears and worries as Allah has created every thing in this world with a purpose by His Wisdom in a definite quantity and number within a specific sphere.
(d) Sometimes a man gets worried that he has not been able to please everybody, and he broods over the thought that he annoyed or provided the cause of displeasure to a particular person or a group of persons, but the faith in Allah that one should only try to please Allah as honour and disgrace only come from Him removes that state of restlessness. And it is confirmed by the Holy Qur'an which says:
Remembrance of Allah certainly brings comfort to all hearts. (13:28)
Signs of Dishonesty
He who does not have faith in the real cause of the Creation, that is Almighty and All-Wise Allah, is a person, who finds himself shaky, aimless and lonesome and concerns himself like animals and birds with the enjoyment of the comforts of worldly life only; who acts only under the pressure of the society; who considers death the last thing in life, and does not have the belief in the life after death as he does not believe in the immortality of soul; who surrenders his life to be dominated by external powers and his personal desires; who is beset with vague ideas and notions, deprivation, faults and lapses as his article of faith has not been guided by the infallible Prophets and Divine revelations, who is completely unaware of the very purpose of life. He does not know as to why he has come to this world and why he is departing from this world. His only line of thinking is as to how his life should be spent? He does not realize the very purpose of life. He is devoid of the Divine Approach to Universe and Islamic faith.
In short, one can detect faith from the face of those who have belief in Allah and of those who have no belief in Allah.
Baseless Reasoning Against Religion
Now when we have established intellect and instinct as the base of the Belief in Allah, intellect indicates that there must be someone who reveals the vast spectacle of the Universe as wherever we have seen a system of set principles it indicates its controller or regulator. Instinct tells us that every man finds within himself dependence to a being more powerful than himself. But despite this some people have completely ignored both the factors, that is intellect and instinct and have found a weak reason for the belief in Allah. Briefly, we discuss some of these false reasonings:
Defeat of Communistic Dogmas
As the life under communism passes by, day after day, its one or the other dogma becomes defeated. As for example the Islamic Revolution in Iran revealed upon the people the failure of all communistic dogmas and put it in disgrace.
Communism says that religion is a dope for the nations. Religion makes the people lethargic, apathetic, and subservient; but we see that in Iran, religion has enthused the people with action and has not made them lethargic.
Communism claims that if anyone is morally degraded it is due to his financial weakness. Hence, if a man commits theft, the reason is that he is forced to do so because of penury. But we have seen that in Iran the dishonest government was not pauper.
According to communism the cause of revolution lies in the restlessness of the downtrodden and the hungry people and their revolting against their exploitation by the people in power. But the revolution in Iran was brought about for the restoration of human freedom, stability and for enforcing the sovereignty of Allah and not for bread and butter or for high or low prices. If revolution had been due to the revolt of poverty-striken people, it would have started from Kurdistan and Sistan, because these areas were more deprived. But the revolution which starts from Qum—the centre of religious learning under the spiritual leadership of Imam Khumayni and with the shouts of "Allah O Akbar" (Allah is Great) reaches its peak on the Day of 'Ashura(the tenth of Muharram) to the fortieth day of the commemoration of the Martyrdom of Imam Husayn indicates the fact that the root cause of the revolution lies in the seat of religious learning and establishing Divine justice and not in the belly.
The preference of Divine laws over the laws of secular despots is not the result of deprivation of the poor and the needy. We do not ignore altogether the poverty factor but we ask as to what was the real cause of the revolution? Revolution for abolishing poverty or establishing Islam? What a great number of people were there who were enjoying all the comforts of life but they decided to give up their comforts for the success of the Islamic revolution.
The fourth disgraceful thing about the materialistic Outlook on Universe, which is the topic of our discussion, is the ineffective and ridiculous allegation of anomalies of religion and faith which Communism has expounded by saying that the capitalists through their vested interest and reactionary agents have lured the people to remain calm under the shield of religion, for they ask the deprived people to remain patient as Allah befriends the patient people. They say: "If some people have usurped your rights, you should keep quiet because the world itself is shortlived. The main thing is the life in the Hereafter". They ask the people not to rise in revolt but to wait for the Awaited Imam Mahdi because he himself would reform the society; or they ask the people to practise dissimulation (taqiyya) and not narrate what they see with their eyes. In short, the capitalists implants such things in the minds of people through their stooges in the name of religion and thus by such methods prevent the people from trying to struggle for their rights.
From the foregoing you can judge yourself that all such things are ridiculous and far from logical reasoning. We thank Allah that we are in such an age that our younger people have become mature enough in their thinking to disprove the false claims and dogmas of Communism because by quickly pondering over it the Muslim youngsters ask the communists: "If the capitalists have invented religion for calming down the people, why are there certain laws in religion which empty their purse by confiscating their wealth? Islam takes back from the capitalists everything, which they amass from wrongful means, that is exploitation, tyranny, bribery, black-marketing, high pricing, undercutting, usury, hoarding, adulteration etc. and through the sales of under-developed and deserted agricultural land. Would the capitalists invent the religion so that it could deprive them of their assets?"
Theirs is a fallacious argument because it is religion which gives a correct and effective interpretation to the various terms from which wrong conclusions are deduced and which they have changed altogether. As for instance waiting (intizar) for the appearance of the Imam of the Age does not mean that one should become silent. Waiting for the sun to rise does not mean that we should keep sitting in the stark darkness of the night and should not light a lamp. Waiting for the summer does not mean that we should not wear woolen clothes during winter or should not protect ourselves from the inclemency of weather. Similarly waiting for the Awaited Imam does not mean that we should give up our struggles and instead keep mum and bear hardships and cruelties.
The meaning of patience also does not mean that we should count hardships and cruelties but it means that we should remain steadfast in our struggle against the oppressors for the restoration of our rights, because Islam has ordained that anyone who gets himself killed in his struggle for the protection and restoration of his monetary rights is a martyr. That is to say for the preservation and restoration of one's rights one should be steadfast in attaining martyrdom. It is narrated in a tradition that like the oppressor the oppressed one will also be pushed into the Hell if he had not resisted the oppressor and instead accepted oppression.
Similarly, taking the world to be insignificant does not mean that we should abandon it altogether, but it means that the value and importance of man, who is the vicegerent of Allah, is more than the world itself and, therefore, the aim and purpose of man's life should not be attaining worldly gains only.
Dr Allama Iqbal has said: "You are not for the earth nor for the heavens; the world is for you, not that you are for the world".
In short in Islam patience, perseverance and expectation do not mean that one should remain passive against the exploiters. Apart from snatching the unlawful wealth of the capitalists Islam asks the deprived as follows:
1. It is forbidden to behave towards capitalists submissively, and anyone who bows down before a wealthy person loses one third of his faith.
2. Imam Ali Riza has said that anyone who gives a warm welcome to a rich person (because of his wealth) will face Allah's wrath on the Day of Resurrection.
3. One should not respect a person because of his wealth.
4. Never partake meals at a table where only the rich and affluent people are eating their food.
5. Imam Ali Riza himself used to sit beside his slaves at the same table-cloth. Prophet Sulayman despite his exalted position used to mix up with the poor people. The Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali used to sit with the poor on the ground, and the Prophets used to tend the cattle and put themselves to hard labour. The prayer and supplication of a jobless and workshirking man is never accepted and the Holy Imam has cursed that person who lives on another person like a parasite. Hence it can be deduced that Islam has neither been sponsored by the rich people nor by those who are lazy and vagrant. This is a brief comment on the baseless reasoning of communism regarding the birth of religion, and brings disgrace on it.
Another Groundless Reasoning
Some materialists, who have no conception of the Divine Approach to the Universe which originates from inherent tendency and intellect, and incidentally consider themselves as intellectuals, offer another groundless reason for the faith of the believers whose hearts are kindled with the Divine light. They say: "The basis of the belief in Allah is fear. Just as during infancy and childhood man is dependent on his parents in the same way he makes Allah his refuge when he grows up. People of the ancient times who were beset with dangerous happenings like earthquake, thunder-storm, and attacks by wild beasts etc. had invented for their mental satisfaction an imaginative shelter. Whenever they got frightened with such mishaps they used to put their restless soul at rest through such beliefs. Hence the belief in Allah was the outcome of fear".
Answer to Such a Reasoning
If the reason of the belief in Allah is fear the one who fears most should have more firm belief in Allah; hence those who were the first to have fears should be the first believers. But on occasions where man is not affected by fear he will naturally not be inclined towards Allah, though one can turn to Allah without any fear also. We do revert to Allah because of fear but it does not mean that fear is the only eause of the belief in Allah. Very often man does not have any fear at all but he does believe in Allah. His intellect sees through the signs which are very minute, delicate and immaculate and which lead him to an ultimate belief in Allah. He feels within himself to be attached with a great power and soon he realizes that as he was not created all by himself and if it had been so he would have most certainly made some improvement on himself in being more beautiful or would have made certain innovations and, besides, other beings also, like him, were not created without any set patterns Each and every individual cells and organs, which he is made of, have been fashioned with a set pattern. Therefore, there certainly is an All-Powerful Allah who has created him. On the basis of this line of thinking and method of deducing conclusion, man does not need to harbor any fear or undergo a state of uncertainty and restlessness. His intellect and natural instinct guides him to Allah. Thus, the theory that the belief in Allah rests on fear is baseless.
As a matter of fact such baseless reasonings remind us of a person who had found out the reason for the hot climate of Kashan when he said: "Do you want to know why the climate of Kashan is hot? In the word "Kashan" the letters"sh" are present and in the word "Shimr" these very letters are present. And the day when Shimr was in Karbala, its climate was hot and, therefore, the climate of Kashan is hot".
The psychological analysis of this reasoning of belief has been done by an expert psychologist. Indeed these so called experts can also commit errors. It is like that the higher a mountain is the deeper its tavern will be. We should, therefore, not be simply overawed by mere knowledge and if a scholar has some deep convictions in certain matters we should not blindly follow his views.
One among such scholars is Betrand Russell. He says: "Formerly I had a belief in one God but later on I thought over that when everything was created by God who created God? When I did not arrive at a definite conclusion I gave up my belief in God" To a question as to whom he believed in, he replied, "Now my belief is that the Creator of the Universe is not God but matter". At this point we can ask him to find out for himself, from where did matter come into being? He says that matter exists from the very beginning. Similarly we also say that Allah exists from the very beginning. Then the question arises as to why Russell did not accept the existence of the First Cause and the Omniscient Being who is Allah? Why did he believe in innumerable old and unconscious beings contained in matter?
The communists argue that unless something is perceived and comes under observation it cannot be accepted as being present, and as such Allah, angels, revelations and similar other things cannot be believed in because according to them they only recognize senses and observation as identifying media.
Now we ask as to why in historical analysis and explanation they say that several hundred thousand years ago men used to live together, hunt animals together and eat their flesh together when the foundation of government was not yet laid nor was there any sense of individual ownership. Thereafter, an era of slavery came and long afterwards the feudal system came into existence. To our question as to whether they can touch upon or analyse that period of centuries when people led a gregarious life, they say 'no', but by historical remains one can trace those periods. Similarly we tell them that as they can trace out the history of the past events through relics and ancient monuments in the same way we recognize Allah through His creation and signs. Thus if the principle of accepting a thing on the basis of signs and symbols is correct it will be immaterial if we trace the ancient history through historical ruins or relics or recognize the existence of Allah through signs. The question therefore arises whether our senses and our observations are the only means of confirming a certain thing or problem or can we trace the root of the problem through signs'? If we just ponder over it a bit carefully we shall notice that most of our recognitions and confirmations are based on signs or identifying factors.
Another Baseless Argument
Some people who do not admit intellect and instinct as means of the recognition of Allah have given a different meaning to belief and reality. They say that the basis of belief in Allah is ignorance and further that whenever man is unable to trace causes of his problems he has supposed a Supreme Being for himself so that whenever they are unable to give explanation to a certain problem they just attribute it an act of that Being and hence such problems have been associated with Allah. But the time for this is now the thing of the past, and in fact nobody ever gave any credence to it, because:
(a) If the belief in Allah was based on ignorance then it would become necessary that the one who is more ignorant should have more belief in Allah.
(b) If the belief in Allah was based on ignorance then Divine Books should have encouraged people towards ignorance.
(c) If the belief in Allah was based on ignorance then he, whose knowledge exceeds and whose ignorance is reduced, would be the most faithless person, and then as and when man would keep on making discoveries and knowing the causes of incidents would keep on losing his faith gradually. Is it possible that Abu Ali Sina, Galelio and Einstein who were discovers of many scientific phenomena and who had faith in Allah also, and their scientific expositions and discoveries would distract us from that Being, that is Allah, Who is the Creator of the laws of nature?
Suppose you have discovered a certain law governing a natural phenomenon, would it then prevent you from having a belief in the Creator of such law? If you have found a lost coin on the road-side should you not inquire about the owner of that coin? Or would it suffice that you have just found the coin?
Why Some People Ignore Allah and Religion?
The answer to this is as follows.
1. When we say that man can recognize Allah through the construction of a cell or an atom it is only meant for those who really want to believe in Allah but not for those who do not have the intention of doing so at all. To illustrate this point the following examples can be cited:
(i) Look at a man who roasts and broils meat on a gridiron and who cuts several livers in a day into slices for roasting but does not know the various veins and arteries embedded in it because he had nothing to do with knowing those blood vessels.
(ii) Look at a man who is busy from morning to evening in selling mirrors to his customers and who has dishevelled hair and who never cares to groom it despite looking at the mirror several times in the day as he is only concerned in selling the mirrors and not grooming his hair.
(iii) When a man is busy cleansing with his handkerchief the glass of his watch and we ask him the time, he sees his watch again, because he was busy cleansing the watch and had not noted the time.
(iv) Look at a carpenter who makes a ladder but never does he himself mount it but for the sake of demonstration he does so several times in order to satisfy his customers.
From the foregoing examples we can conclude only one result that unless man wishes to know a thing or to draw benefit from it, he would not know it nor would he draw any benefit from it. Similarly, people do see the signs of Allah closely and minutely yet they do not have belief in Allah, because just by merely looking at the signs their intention is not to recognize Allah .
2. We all know that when from the very beginning we are favored with a blessing we do not realize its true significance and hence it loses its freshness. Similarly, when we see the signs of Allah everywhere we do not care to think about it or to realize its import because from the very start we had become used to them and as such they seemed to have lost their novelty. Take an example of the thumb of your hand about which you have never been thankful to Allah because it has been there since your birth. But suppose this thumb is bandaged for a while or is completely detached from your body, you will see that without it you cannot even button your shirt! (You can yourself imagine it while reading this instance).
Since the continuity of bounties leads to the forgetfulness of Allah misfortunes come to us as a warning. The Holy Qur'an says that sometime Allah inflicts hardship upon man so that he may return to Allah and ask Him for His forgiveness. The Holy Qur'an repeatedly reminds mankind to remember Allah's blessings and bounties and we often find in the supplications of leaders of religion that they enumerate one by one Allah's bounties and benevolence, for example they say: ' It is You, O Allah Who has elevated us from lower position to a higher status, from ignorance to knowledge, from small quantity to a larger quantity, from poverty and indigence to richness and wealth and from illness to health".
3. People ignore religion because many innovations have been introduced into it by ignorant friends and wise enemies.
As for example if we offer a glass of water to a thirsty person and a fly falls down in it, that person instead of drinking water throws it away. Hence, just a man shuns water because of the fly, similarly he shuns religion because of the presence of a few unreasonable and irrational things in religion. Therefore, we should not be unmindful of those whose actions distract the people from religion.
4. Environmental Influence: The cause of man's deviation from religion and religious commands is the problem of the environmental influence. Man by his very nature and instinct dislikes the act of stealing and considers misappropriation as a bad thing, but when he is in an environment which is dominated by thieves and usurpers, he too adopts their habits.
5. Sometimes indifference to religion is due to shirking responsibility, because accepting religion means binding oneself to accept various religious restrictions and obligations. Hence some people shun religion since they want to be free from all restrictions. They do not realize that to be so free as to abstain from following Divine commands means that they have accepted all other restrictions and all sorts of servitude. He who does not accept to be the servant of Allah is a slave of everybody else, and he who does not obey His commands must obey the commands of everyone else. He who leaves Allah and turns to others is as if it were like one who falls from the sky to the earth. He becomes a prey to the vultures before whom he falls down.
6. Enmity: There is a certain group of people which harbors grudge and indulges in prejudice and selfishness. Such people oppose and criticize things for the sake of opposition and thereby disregard the Divine commands altogether.
7. Lack of Proper Preaching: It is also lack of proper preaching or preaching in a wrong way which makes people indifferent to religion .
8. Necessity of Religion: Man does not live without a code of conduct but the question is how he can achieve his object in life for his success, prosperity and progress? He has, therefore, three following alternatives before him:
(i) To chalk out his line of action according to his own inclination and adaptability.
(ii) To fashion his conduct in accordance with the wishes of the other people.
(iii) To submit himself to the obeisance of Allah and seek only from Him his code of life.
(iv) The first course of action is defective because human intelligence has its own limitations and man himself is well aware of his lapses and failings. The instinctive passion drags man towards disaster and calamity at every moment. Under such a situation will it be possible that man can still be guided by his defective thinking and limited knowledge which can one way or the other lead him to prosperity or misfortunes?
The second course of action like the first one is not less faulty because the wishes of other people are too many and they have a wide range of interests and inclinations. Apart from this, as there is a possibility of their committing errors and of becoming victim of forgetfulness and lapses, it is necessary that man should not give up his line of action and ignore his requirements and personal freedom and individuality and follow those who do not know him properly or appreciate his aspirations for long standing happiness and prosperity, and over and above when he does not know whether they are his well-wishers or not.
The third course of action is the only correct course because just as we hand over our automobile to a mechanic or ourselves to a physician we should submit our ways and means of life to Almighty Allah, our Creator Who knows everything better than we know.
The Function of Religion
In a nutshell we can define religion according to one of the scholars in the following way:
Just as we construct an automobile in the same way religion builds a man. To illustrate it with an example we have to perform the following things for the purpose of manufacturing a motor car:
(i) We find out the availability of iron ores from a mine.
(ii) We extract iron from its ores.
(iii) We make the parts of machine from iron.
(iv) We assemble these parts into a motor car.
(v) Then an expert who knows driving drives this car. These five things are also applicable to religion.
Man's Discovery: A man who forgets all about himself loses his aim of life, guidance and ultimate destination, and becomes like an animal as he considers that the sole purpose of his materialistic life is sensual gratification. By this he becomes just like a dead body as truth has no effect on him. He is wild like a wolf, cunning like a fox, thief like a mouse and stonehearted like a tyrant. It is, therefore, necessary that this type of lost man should try to discover his ownself and find out all about himself.
1. One of the functions of religion is to state what man is and what are his characteristics? When we study the Holy Qur'an we find how Islam defines man. It says:
When your Lord said to the angels, 'I am appointing someone as my deputy on earth'. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:30)
Haven't you seen that Allah has made all that is in the heavens and the earth, subservient to you? (Surah Luqman, 31:20)
We offered Our Trust (Our Deputation) to the heavens, to the earth and the mountains, but they could not bear this burden and were afraid to accept it. Man was able to accept this offer but he was unjust to himself and ignorant of the significance of this Trust. (Surah al-Ahzab, 33:72)
. . . and I have infused my spirit into it. (Surah al-Hijr, 15: 29)
We have honored the children of Adam, carried them on the land and the sea, given them pure sustenance and exalted them above most of My creatures. (Surah Bani Israil, 17:70)
The Holy Qur'an warns man lest he should forget himself and be a loser; damage his own interest; lose his profits in his dealings and be bought by false customers at a cheaper price. Then it cites examples of victorious and defeated people and determines their types and specimens, so that man can recognize his personality, capability and disposition. He then ponders over that if he has only been created to lead a material life and to. satisfy his animal instinct by enjoying the comforts and pleasures of life then why has he been endowed with superb intellect and knowledge and an urge to progress and development?
2. The second function of religion is to refine the discovered ores (of human character). Man should be purified of harmful thought of oppression, follies, ignorance and polytheism. The Holy Qur'an says:
Allah is the patron and supporter of those who have embraced the belief and He leads them from ignorance and waywardness to the path of guidance. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:25)
3. The third function of religion is to make an individual perfect in character. That is, to create in him the qualities of worship of Allah, and make him abstain from evils, so that he may possess perfect human attributes. The individual guidance and character building of people are the same which the Holy Prophet had done during the troubled days of his stay in Makkah. All those commands which do not have any social bearing come under this preview so as to reform man in all aspects with full attention.
4. The fourth function of religion is to organize the reformed individuals and to knit them into one complete pattern and to establish the universal Sovereignty of Allah in which clear-cut and perfect commands are followed This was the mission which the Holy Prophet accomplished in Madina and thereafter he deputed learned and capable people to organize various fields of activity, to acquire strength for the defense, and to make budget. Over and above this their aim was to establish a perfect socio-political system and to define the objectives of the Islamic State so as to distinguish it from non-Islamic societies.
5. The fifth function of religion is to hand over the affairs of the Islamic society in the hands of a capable and infallible leader. Strict warnings have been given in religion against encouraging oppression, despotism and ignorance and against patronizing oppressors, despots and tyrants or groups of such people. Therefore, the handing over of leadership and power of the whole nation to a non-infallible person amounts to tyrannizing the mankind.
This is what we call a complete lay-out of religion and a true reflection of its school of thought. If we wish to condense all what is said above into one single sentence, we would then say: "Religion is a social code of life which determines, according to Divine principles of a set standard, an ideology, efforts and conduct of life".