Second: The answer to the following question of the people of innovation: In Europe, revolutionists and philosophers made progress by making a revolution in Catholicism; is a religious revolution like that not possible in Islam?”
The people of innovation who have changed ‘the marks of Islam’ first of all sought fatwas from the ‘bad religious scholars.’ Before that, they had pointed out the fatwa we demonstrated was particular in five respects. Secondly, the people of innovation obtained the following inauspicious idea from the European reformists: being dissatisfied with the Catholic Church, foremost the revolutionaries, reformists, and philosophers, who were innovators according to the Catholic Church, favoured Protestantism, which was considered to Mu‘tazilite, and taking advantage of the French Revolution they partially destroyed the Catholic Church, and proclaimed Protestantism.
Then the pseudo-patriots here, who are accustomed to imitating blindly, say: “A revolution like that came about in the Christian religion. At first the revolutionaries were called apostates, then later they were again accepted as Christians. So why should there not be such a religious revolution in Islam?”
T h e A n s w e r : The difference here is even greater than in the false analogy in the First Sign. Because in the religion of Jesus, only the fundamentals of religion were taken from Jesus (Upon whom be peace). Most of the injunctions concerning social life and the secondary matters of the Law were formulated by the disciples and other spiritual leaders. The greater part were taken from former holy scriptures. Since Jesus (Upon whom be peace) was not a worldly ruler and sovereign, and since he was not the source of general social laws, the fundamentals of his religion were as though clothed with the garment of common laws and civil rules taken from outside, having been given a different form and called the Christian law. If this form is changed and the garment transformed, the fundamental religion of Jesus (Upon whom be peace) may persist. It does not infer denying or giving the lie to Jesus (Upon whom be peace).
However, the Glory of the World (Upon whom be blessings and peace), who was the owner of the religion and Shari‘a of Islam, was the sovereign of the two worlds, and the East and West and Andalusia and India were his seat of rule, he himself therefore both demonstrated the fundamentals of the religion of Islam, and brought the secondary matters and other injunctions of the religion, including even the most minor matters of conduct; he himself taught them; he commanded them. That is to say, the secondary matters of Islam are not like a garment capable of change, so that if they were changed, the essential religion would persist. They are rather a body to the fundamentals of religion, or at least a skin. They have blended and combined with it, so that they cannot be separated. To change them infers direct denial and contradiction of the owner of the Shari‘a.
As for the differences in the schools of law; this has arisen from differences in the way of understanding the theoretical principles shown by the Shari‘a’s owner. Principles called ‘the essentials of religion’ which are not open to interpretation, and those called ‘incontrovertible,’ cannot be changed in any way and may not be interpreted. One who does change them leaves the religion, being included under the rule: “They renounce religion as the arrow flies from the bow.”1
The people of innovation have found the following pretext for their irreligion and deviation from the straight path. They say: “The French Revolution was the cause of a sequence of events in the world of humanity; in it, the clergy and spiritual leaders and the Catholic Church, which was their Church, was attacked and destroyed. Later the Revolution was condoned by a lot of people, and the French also made greater progress. Is this not so?”
T h e A n s w e r : Like in the previous analogies, the differences in this one are clear. Because for a long time in France, the Christian religion and particularly the Catholic Church, had been a means of domination and despotism in the hands of the upper and ruling classes. It was by that means that the upper class perpetuated its influence over the ordinary people. And since it was the means of oppressing the patriots, who were those who were awakened among the common people and were called “Jacobins,” and was the means of oppressing the freedom-seeking thinkers, who attacked the despotism of the upper class tyrants, and since for nearly four hundred years it had been considered to be a cause, through revolutions in Europe, of overturning the stability of social life, the Catholic Church had been attacked, not in the name of irreligion, but by the other Christian sects. A feeling of indignation and enmity was engendered among the common people and philosophers due to which the above-mentioned historical event came about.
However, no oppressed person and no thinker has the right to complain about the religion of Muhammad (PBUH) and the Shari‘a of Islam. For it does not injure them, it protects them. Islamic history is there for all to see. Apart from one or two incidents, no internal wars of religion have occurred. Whereas the Catholic Church caused four hundred years of internal revolutions.
Furthermore, Islam has been the stronghold of the common people rather than of the upper classes. Through enjoining the payment of zakat and prohibiting usury and interest, it has made the upper classes not despots over the common people, but servants in a way! It says: “The master of a people is its servant.”2 And, “The best of people is the one most useful to people.”3 Also, through sacred phrases like,
So will they not think? * So will they not reflect on it? * So will they not reason?,
the All-Wise Qur’an calls on the intellect to testify; it warns, refers to the reason, it urges investigation. Through this, it gives scholars and the people of reason a position; it gives them importance. It does not dismiss the reason like the Catholic Church; it does not silence thinkers, or require blind imitation of them.
Since the fundamentals of, not true Christianity, but the present-day Christian religion and the fundamentals of Islam have parted on an important point, they go their separate ways in many respects like the above-mentioned differences. The important point is this:
Islam is the religion of the true affirmation of Divine Unity so that it dismisses intermediaries and causes. It breaks egotism and establishes sincere worship. It cuts every sort of false dominicality, starting from that of the soul, and rejects it. It is because of this that if a person of high position from among the upper class is going to be completely religious, he will have to give up his egotism. If he does not give up egotism, he will lose his strength of religion and to an extent give up his religion.
As for the Christian religion of the present day, since it has accepted the belief of Jesus (Upon whom be peace) being the Son of God, it ascribes a true effect to causes and intermediaries. It cannot break egotism in the name of religion. Rather, saying that it is a holy deputy of Jesus (Upon whom be peace), it attributes a sacredness to that egotism. For this reason, members of the Christian upper classes who occupy the highest worldly positions may be completely religious. In fact, there are many like the former American President, Wilson, and the former British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, who were as religious as bigoted priests. But those who rise to those positions among the Muslims rarely remain completely religious and firm in their religion, for they cannot give up their pride and egotism. And true taqwa cannot be combined with pride and egotism.
Yes, just as the religious bigotry of the Christian upper class and slackness in religion of the Muslim upper class demonstrate an important difference, so too, the fact that the philosophers who emerged from Christianity were indifferent towards religion or else opposed it, while the great majority of those who emerged from Islam constructed their philosophy on Islamic fundamentals, demonstrates yet another important difference.
Furthermore, generally, ordinary Christians who have fallen on hard times or are sent to prison cannot expect assistance from religion. Formerly, most of them became irreligious. In fact, the revolutionaries famous in history who instigated the French Revolution and were called “irreligious Jacobins,” were mostly those disaster-stricken common people. Whereas in Islam, the great majority of those who suffer disaster or imprisonment await succour from religion and they become religious. This situation too, demonstrates an important difference.
1. Bukhari, Anbiya' 6; Manaqib 25; Maghazi 61; Fada'il al-Qur'an 36; Adab 95; Tawhid 23, 57; Istitaba 95; Muslim, Zakat 142-4, 147, 148, 154, 159; Abu Da'ud, Sunna 28; Tirmidhi, Fitan 24; Nasa'i, Zakat 79; Tahrim 26; Ibn Maja, Muqaddima 12; Muwatta', Nass al-Qur'an 10; Musnad i, 88; iii, 5; iv, 145; v, 42.
2. al-Maghribi, Jami' al-Shaml i, 450, no: 1668; al-'Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa' ii, 463.
3. al-'Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa' ii, 463; al-Manawi, Fayd al-Qadir iii, 481, no: 4044.
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