A messenger used to be a revolutionary personality and his revolution was both all-embracing as well as universal. Vested interest groups used to get upset at his fair and just holistic reform program because it challenged the entrenched elite systems and prevailing false ideologies. The Quran presents its claims based on rational evidence and logic and asks its opponents to provide proof of their claims as well:
هَاتُوا بُرْهَانَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
(2:111) – Produce evidence for what you are claiming if what you say is true!
Life’s realities are not decided by good feelings but by knowledge and reason. When a messenger says that:
قُلْ هَٰذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُو إِلَى اللَّهِ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِي وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
(12:108) – Say [O Prophet]: “This is my way: Resting upon conscious insight accessible to reason, I am calling [you all] unto God - I and they who follow me.” And [say:] “Limitless is God in His glory, and I am not one of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside Him!”
Allah’s call is based on firm conviction and reason –it is intended to refute all those ideologies that are the product of false views of metaphysics and to present correct ideologies there instead.
Myth vs. Truth
On the other side were the people of the book who used to present their books in support of their false ideologies. The Prophet ﷺ had to refute their claims that their books were the same that were given by their messengers. He had to prove that the books they had were not the same that were given by their Prophets; that they had been changed.
This was an important aspect and difficult task. Some didn’t claim to have books, but they were drowned in superstitious beliefs. Such beliefs and ideologies were also difficult to counter by rational reason and logic. It was also important to refute the wrong systems of life that have been prevalent for thousands of years.
History tells us that capitalism came when a man opened his eyes. This was to be executed as well. Then kingship and theocracy were entrenched at the time of our Prophet ﷺ. Priesthood was everywhere. All these were to be refuted as well and a positive system of life was to be presented to them.
Avoiding Responsibility: A Path of Misguidance Inspired by Iblis
Who was the first one who give this reply? It was of Iblis. Adam transgressed God’s order. Iblis did too. Adam was asked why. His reply:
رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَا أَنفُسَنَا
(7:24) – O Our Sustainer! I made a mistake. I accept my mistake. He was told by God, okay, since you realized that you made a mistake, there is a chance for your atonement. There will come guidance from your Sustainer and whoever will follow it:
فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
(2:38) – will suffer no fear nor sorrow.
There is a possibility of atonement for those who realize and accept their mistake. Iblis was asked why did you transgress? The Quran says that at this his attitude became defiant:
(2:34) – Iblis did not do so and chose to be rebellious.
And he retorted: Sir, nothing happens without Thy permission; that Thou are all powerful and I don’t have any power; that whatever I did it is because Thy wanted it; that I am not responsible for this transgression; that Thou made me do this; so, it is not my fault. I did not transgress. At this God said: you didn’t accept your responsibility; you didn’t accept the fact that you transgressed.
You commit transgression and blame it on others. One whose mentality becomes like this can never be reformed until the Day of Judgment. This is not just for Iblis. This is a type of mentality that one does not accept one’s mistake; that one does not accept one’s responsibility. Such a person could never be guided and reformed; and will forever remain despondent until the Day of Judgment.
The Consequences of Neglecting Responsibility
It was Iblis who said to God that everything happens with Thou Will. But, now, those who say this are considered to be closer to God! The Quran says:
وَقَالُوا لَوْ شَاءَ الرَّحْمَـٰنُ مَا عَبَدْنَاهُم
(43:20) – They say that if it wasn’t for God’s Will why would we have worshipped them? If God does not want us to worship them then why doesn’t He stop us? Everything happens with His Will? Therefore, all our sins, mistakes, and transgressions happen because of His Will. These kinds of their replies have been mentioned at many places in the Quran.
سَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا لَوْ شَاءَ اللَّـهُ مَا أَشْرَكْنَا وَلَا آبَاؤُنَا وَلَا حَرَّمْنَا مِن شَيْءٍ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ كَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ ذَاقُوا بَأْسَنَا ۗ قُلْ هَلْ
عِندَكُم مِّنْ عِلْمٍ فَتُخْرِجُوهُ لَنَا ۖ إِن تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ أَنتُمْ إِلَّا تَخْرُصُونَ
(6:148) – Those who are bent on ascribing divinity to aught beside God will say, “Had God so willed, we would not have ascribed divinity to aught but Him, nor would our forefathers have done so; and neither would we have declared as forbidden anything that He has allowed.” Even so did those who lived before them give the lie to the truth - until they came to taste Our punishment! Say: “Have you any certain knowledge which you could proffer to us? You follow but other people’s conjectures and you yourselves do nothing but guess.”
Capitalists’ reasoning and the Quran’s reply
This is important because capitalists have always used this argument in support of capitalism. The greatest representative or proponent of capitalism is our priesthood. It puts forth this argument in support of capitalism. The Quran exhorts well-to-do people to establish a system so that no one remains hungry; so that no one remains helpless; so that everyone’s basic needs could be met. At this, they present the following argument:
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ أَنفِقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقَكُمُ اللَّـهُ قَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنُطْعِمُ مَن لَّوْ يَشَاءُ اللَّـهُ أَطْعَمَهُ إِنْ أَنتُمْ إِلَّا فِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ
(36:47) – Thus, when they are told, “Spend on others out of what God has provided for you as sustenance,” those who are bent on denying the truth say unto those who believe, “Shall we feed anyone whom, if [your] God had so willed, He could have fed [Himself]? Clearly, you are but lost in error!”
Well, who should tell them that by saying so they are committing a big mistake? God establishes His system in human society by human hands only. The purpose is that human beings should use their ability to choose properly, so that their personalities could also develop. Otherwise it was not at all difficult for Allah to have made humankind devoid of free will, just like the other things in the Universe which are bound to exist by the Laws of God.
By saying that had God wanted so He should have done this Himself, man is denying himself the dignity of the freedom of choice and is trying to run away from his responsibility. This is his gross error of judgement.
Now when one finds this contradiction – that on the one hand it says that everything happens with Will of God; that if anyone who is poor and hungry then it is so because of the Will of God; but, on the other hand, when another verse says that you should create a system so that the basic needs of human beings could be met; so that no one remains hungry – then the proponents of status quo are caught up in a bind. But instead of admitting this problem in their thinking they come up with a solution which is worse than the problem.
Shifting Tides: When Ancestors Shape Belief, Logic Wanes
The answer that has been given for centuries, is that we are following our ancestors. The foundation of the entire superstructure is erected on this answer. When they do not have answer; when they cannot present any evidence based on knowledge and reason then:
بَلْ قَالُوا إِنَّا وَجَدْنَا آبَاءَنَا عَلَىٰ أُمَّةٍ وَإِنَّا عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِم مُّهْتَدُونَ
(43:22) – Nay, but they say, “Behold, We found our forefathers agreed on what to believe - and, verily, it is in their footsteps that we find our guidance!”
Their assertion that they have inherited it from their forefathers is very weak, unsound and false.
A Challenge to Quranic Values and Principles
Religionists emphasize nothing except what ancestors have said or written. Every so-called proof that is provided about Islam will have references only to ancestral sayings or writings. When the proponents of ancestor worship are asked: But please also tell us what does the Book of Allah say about an issue, about any problem, about any law discussed in those books?
Their sarcastic response starts with: Do you understand the Quran better or our great learned Imams and ancestors did? Well, then what about the prevailing wrong judgments, wrong ideologies, and false beliefs? Their curt response: It has been continuously coming from our ancestors; that it is the collective judgment of past scholars; that it is the judgment of past revered Imams. The Quran says that this is the “proof and evidence” that they present for their ancestral worship.
That is, not a single verse of the Quran is presented in defense of their practice. When one asks them to please bring a verse of the Quran to support their claim because the Quran says otherwise, then they start making fun of that person saying; Look at him, he does not accept the practice of our learned ancestors? What we are saying is not from us - it has been coming to us nonstop from our ancestors. What greater proof than this one needs? Whatever the Quran says, let it keep saying. The priority is given to ancestor worship rather than to Quran’s principles.