Fifth Matter: Asian and European nations having different structures.

FIFTH MATTER

Embracing the idea of nationalism, the peoples awakening in Asia are imitating Europe precisely in every respect, and on the way sacrificing many of their sacred matters. However, every nation requires a dress suitable to its particular stature. Even if the material is the same, the style has to be different. A woman cannot be dressed in a gendarme’s uniform.

And like an elderly hoja cannot be clothed in the dress of a tango-dancer, blind imitation also very often makes people into laughing-stocks. This is so for the following reasons:

F i r s t l y : If Europe is a shop, a barracks, Asia is like an arable field and a mosque. A shopkeeper can go to the ball, but a peasant cannot. The situation of a barracks and that of a mosque cannot be the same.

Moreover, the appearance of most of the prophets in Asia, and the emergence of the majority of philosophers in Europe is a sign, an indication, of pre-eternal Divine Determining that what will arouse the Asian peoples and cause them to progress and to govern, are religion and the heart. As for philosophy, it should assist religion and the heart, not take its place.

S e c o n d l y : It is a grievous error to compare the religions of Islam and Christianity and to be indifferent towards religion like Europe. Firstly, Europe has its religion. The fact that European leaders like foremost Wilson, Lloyd George, and Venizelos, are bigoted in their religion like priests, testifies that Europe has its religion, and is even bigoted in one respect.

T h i r d l y : To compare Islam with Christianity is a false comparison and wrong. For when it has been bigoted in its religion, Europe has not been civilized; it has become civilized on giving up its bigotry.

Furthermore, religion caused three hundred years of war amongst them. And since it was the means of despotic tyrants crushing the common people, the poor, and thinkers who were in their power, they all felt a temporary disgust at religion. However, in Islam, history testifies that apart from one occasion, religion has not been the cause of internal war.

Also, whenever the people of Islam have adhered in earnest to their religion, they have advanced proportionately, achieving great progress. Witness to this is the greatest master of Europe, the Islamic state of Andalusia. And whenever the Islamic community has been slack in religion, it has sunk into wretchedness, and declined.

Furthermore, Islam has protected the poor and the common people with compassionate measures like enjoining the payment of zakat and prohibiting usury and interest; and in accordance with phrases like, So will they not think, * So will they not reason, * So will they not ponder on it, it has called on and encouraged reason and knowledge and protected scholars; Islam has therefore always been the stronghold and place of recourse of the poor and the people of learning. There is no reason to be vexed at Islam. The underlying reason and wisdom of Islam’s differing in various respects from Christianity and other religions is this:

The basis of Islam is the pure affirmation of Divine Unity; it attributes no actual effect to causes and intermediaries, affording them no value in regard to creation and position. Christianity, however, since it has accepted the idea of Jesus being the Son of God, it gives some value to causes and intermediaries; it cannot break egotism. It quite simply ascribes a manifestation of Divine dominicality to its saints and great ones, thus confirming the verse:

They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah.1

It is because of this that, together with maintaining their pride and egotism, those Christians who occupy the highest worldly ranks are religious and bigoted, like the former American president, Wilson. In Islam, the religion of pure Divine Unity, those in the highest worldly positions either give up their egotism and pride, or they give up their religion to an extent. For this reason, some are neglectful, or even irreligious.
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1. Qur’an, 9:31.

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