The Qur'anic Foundations and Structure of Muslim Society provides that System of Guidance in an elaborate manner, substantiating throughly the Qur'anic claim that it enshrines the "exposition of everything (wherein humanity needs Divine Guidance)."
A comprehensive study of the Qur'an, and related disciplines of Islamic culture.
New material based on research in a systematic way in the different aspects of the moral teachings of the Qur'an.....a valuable study which places the ethical teachings of the Qur'an in a systematic manner at the disposal of the reader. It is certainly a work of value to which much research has been devoted.
It gives a comprehensive Philosophy and Code for the Individual and the Society.
Dr. Muhammad Fazl-ur-Rahman Ansari holds Doctorate in Philosophy, and is a Hafiz of the Qur'an, an Islamic theologian, a scholar of Muslim and Modem Philosophy and of Comparative Religion, Psychology and Social Sciences As art exponent of lslam, he has been the upholder of Dynamic Orthodoxy, as opposed to Conservatism and Modernism, with the slogan: "Back to the Qur'an, and back to Muhamrnad."
As a university Professor, he has taught Philosophy of Religion, Moral Philosophy, Comparative Religion and Islamics.
As an author, he has to his credit quite a large number of publications, ranging from theology, comparative religion, society, education, biography and socio-economic ideologies, to philosophy.
In the trail of his missionary labours has emerged the World Federation of Islamic Missions, of which he is the founder.
All in all : he is a multi- dimensional scholar, orator, missionary, teacher, author, spiritual leader and a very widely-travelled servant of humanity. As such, his place among the leading Islamic personalities of the world is unique, and his exposition of the Message of the Qur'an in the present book, which may rightfully be claimed to be a unique attempt of its type in the literary history of Islam, deserves serious response.
The modem man with his philosophies of criticism and scientific specialism finds himself in a strange predicament. His Naturalism has given him an unprecedented control over the forces of nature, but has robbed him of faith in his own future. It is strange how the same idea affects different cultures differently. The formulation of the theory of evolution in the world of Islam brought into being Rumi's tremendous enthusiasm for the biological future of man. No cultured Muslim can read such passages as the following without a thrill of joy:
On the other hand, the formulation of the same view of evolution with far greater precision in Europe has led to the belief that 'there now appears to be no scientific basis for the idea that the present rich complexity of human endowment will ever be materially exceeded. That is how the modern man's secret despair hides itself behind the screen of scientific terminology....
Thus, wholly overshadowed by the results of his intellectual activity, the modern man has ceased to live soulfully, i.e., from within. In the domain of thought he is living in open conflict with himself; and in the domain of economic and political life he is living in open conflict with others. He finds himself unable to control his ruthless egoism and his infinite gold-hunger which is gradually killing all higher striving in him and bringing him nothing but life-weariness. Absorbed in the 'fact', that is to say, the optically present source of sensation, he is entirely cut off from the unplumbed depths of his own being. In the wake of his systematic materialism has at last come that paralysis of energy which Huxley apprehended and deplored......Modern atheistic socialism, which possesses all the fervour of a new religion has a broader outlook; but having received its philosophical basis from the Hegelians of the left wing, it rises in revolt against the very source which could have given it strength and purpose. Both nationalism and atheistic socialism, at least in the present state of human adjustments, must draw upon the psychological forces of hate, suspicion, and resentment which tend to impoverish the soul of man and close up his hidden sources of spiritual energy. Neither the technique of medieval mysticism nor nationalism nor atheistic socialism can cure the ills of a despairing humanity. Surely the present moment is one of great crisis in the history of modern culture. The modern world stands in need of biological renewal. And religion, which in its higher manifestations, is neither dogma, nor priesthood, nor ritual, can alone ethically prepare the modern man for the burden of the great responsibility which the advancement of modern science necessarily involves, and restore to him that attitude of faith which makes him capable of winning a personality here and retaining it hereafter. It is only by rising to a fresh vision of his origin and future, his whence and whither, that man will eventually triumph over a society motivated by an inhuman competition, and a civilization which has lost its spiritual unity by its inner conflict of religious and political values.
The basic purpose and function of this book is to state the Philosophy and the Code of Life as given in the Qur'an. That Code has developed, however, with morality as the central theme. And that should have been so. Because, the value-system which the Holy Qur'an has given establishes spirituality as the root, morality as the trunk, and all other aspects of life: economic, political, etc., a~ off-shoots of morality; whereby it ensures the emergence of the integrated and progressive individual and the integrated and progressive social order.
The central importance for morality that has emerged thus should impress upon the Muslims the central importance of moral struggle.
Viewed in that perspective, the present book forms a basic contribution in respect of extricating Muslim society from the Crisis of Character which has overtaken all classes of Muslims, and which is the deadliest poison that has ever paralysed or killed any human community.
The method of exposition adopted is simple and direct. Moreover, personal comments have been kept at the barest minimum, so that the Qur'an has stayed in its august position free to explain itself. In the dynamic orthodoxy that has thus emerged lies, in the belief of the present writer, the salvation of Muslims and of humanity at large.
The author is conscious of the fact that, although he has availed the talent of the classical translators of the Holy Qur'an, there is scope for improvement in respect of the translation of a number of verses. That task is intended to be taken up in the second edition.
In his study of the Qur'an, the author had recourse to the classical Arabic Qur'anic commentaries and allied literature. But he has quoted mainly from the English commentaries by Abdul Majid Daryabadi and Abdullah Yusuf Ali, because they have projected the best-in fact, the very essence, of the knowledge enshrined in the Arabic classics. Moreover, these two orthodox scholars' commentaries are accessible to the average English-educated Muslim for further study.
The author leads a life wherein he has to perform duties of multifarious types, especially as the President of the World Federation of Islamic Missions, which has several projects to be looked after. Besides that, he has touring duties as an international worker for Islam. It is, therefore, impossible for him to accomplish literary work leisurely and with the concentration which the research-work of the type that has been undertaken in the present book demands. As such, the present task has been accomplished piece-meal by snatching time forcibly from other duties over a period of time, and in consequence there is a possibility of the occurrence of oversights and shortcomings,--even though utmost care has been exercised. The author, who regards himself only as a humble pursuer of Truth and student of lslam, will, therefore, appreciate all genuine criticism and advice from the world of scholarship. He requests his readers, however, not to introduce implications into his statements beyond what has been categorically and clearly said.
The enquiry in the present dissertation has been confined strictly to the Holy Qur'an, not because the present writer does not give to the Hadith literature its rightful place, but on the following grounds:
Firstly, it alone enjoys the status of being the Scripture of lslam:
Secondly, every word of its text is absolutely authentic as having been preserved to the very letter in the very words in which it was delivered by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be on him!).
Thirdly, its authority as the basic source-book of lslam has been universally accepted by all sections of Muslims in all ages.
Fourthly, it is the Book which should form the basis of struggle for the reform of human society, even as the Holy Prophet (Peace be on him!) has been commanded therein: " ... and strive against them (i.e., the opponents of the Islamic Way of Life) therewith (i.e., with the Guidance of the Qur'an) with utmost strenuousness."
Fifthly, it claims about itself that it is: "... an exposition (explicit and implicit) of everything ... "(XVI:89). Namely: It imparts complete and eternal guidance concerning all aspects of human life.
Sixthly, it is the only Book of Guidance compiled under the instruction of the Holy Prophet (Peace be on him!), authorised by him, and delivered by him to the Muslims as the abiding, the infallible and the unchallengeable document of his Teaching for all time,-with no compeer and no substitute. As such, it is the basic instrument of the unity of thought and action in respect of the Islamic Way of Life, standing in all its uniqueness as totally immune from contradictions and variations.
This characteristic of the Qur'an is of tremendous importance in respect of the Islamic System of Belief, on which rests primarily and basically the consolidation of Religious Unity and Uniformity among Muslims-a fundamental virtue the violation of which has been equated by the Holy Qur'an with nothing less than the greatest sin, i.e., Shirk.
Viewing the Hadith literature in the above perspective: All students of Islam are aware of the sectarian mischief raked up, purely in the name of Prophetic Traditions (Hadith), by certain groups in Muslim history, through the projection of certain allegedly divinely-inspired and divinely-sanctioned offices like those on an infallible Imam, a Mujaddid, a Mahdi, a Promised Messiah, or a Mahdi-cum-Messiah, without the slightest regard for the infallible principles: (i) that any doctrine which is included in the Belief System is ipso facto an inalienable part of the Islamic Creed; (iii) that it is not the function of the Hadith literature-however valuable its role otherwise, but only of the Qur'an, to lay down the constitutive factors of the Islamic Creed; and (iii) that making belief in the claimants to such offices a part of the Islamic Creed constitutes nothing less than a cruel attack on the very foundation of Iman, being directed to the destruction of the absoluteness and the indivisibility of a Muslim's allegiance and loyalty to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be on him!) as Guide, Teacher and Leader.
If the Traditions concerning such a personality as that of the Mahdi, for instance, are accepted as authentic, that does not make, and cannot make, the belief in the emergence of a great leader (Mahdi) at some period of Muslim history a guiding principle of Iman. It remains only a prophecy about a distinguished follower ofthe Holy Prophet (Peace be on him!).
Similarly, if the Traditions concerning the Second Advent of Jesus (Peace be on him!) are accepted as correct, they relate only to a prophecy about an event of future history, and have nothing to do with the Islamic Creed,-and, as such, have nothing to do with the Iman of a Muslim: neither in its affirmation nor in its denial. Moreover, to project the concept of a 'Promised Messiah' in the person of some x, y, z and to substitute it for the person of Jesus (Peace be on him! although it is his personality that has been projected unambiguously in the prophecy, and to build a sect on that basis, is to indulge in double violation of the Divine Guidance given in the Qur'an.
All in all, accepting the Qur'an alone as the fundamental basis for the knowledge of Islamic Guidance is not only the requirement of reason but also the only road to the salvation of Muslims.
Seventhly, the text of the Qur'an is grounded in a System of Meaning, through which it is possible to understand Islam fundamentally as a system of Philosophy and a Code of Practice, keeping the exercise of understanding confined to the Qur'an itself; and the present book is a plain demonstration of this fact. Of course, there are certain aspect of the Qur'anic Guidance where the projection is of an implicit nature. And it is here that recourse to the Hadith literature becomes necessary, but only for further clarification and not for adding further dimensions to the basic structure of Islam. Also, it is necessary to know as to how the Qur'anic Guidance was put into practice by the Holy Prophet Muhammad himself (On him be Peace!). In other words, it is necessary to know not only the Qur'an as a Book of Guidance but also the 'Qur'an in Action', viz., the Holy Prophet's Sunnah. For that, evidently the Hadith literature is the most indispensable instrument.
But here two important facts have to be kept in view: (i) The Qur'an is the basic instrument for understanding Islam. Hence, for the value-system of Islam and its entire fundamental structure, it is necessary to concentrate on the Qur'an alone. (ii) The knowledge thus obtained forms the fundamental instrument for obtaining further guidance on Islam from the Hadith literature.
It should be so, because: (i) it is the Qur'an which forms the Criterion of Judgment in respect of Islam-a status explicitly given to it by itself-and not the Hadith literature; and (ii) the Qur'an is absolutely authentic, while even the best Hadith literature is only relatively authentic -namely, authentic only in a qualified manner. And, of course, every student of Islam knows all the mischief in the field of Hadith perpetrated by the forces of counter-revolution in the very early period of Muslim history,-a mischief which emerged in the form of sects and schisms, and which forged the Traditions relating to certain aspects of Islamic life and history to an extent that the confusion created thereby has continued to plague the Muslim society upto the present day.
In fact, it is the function of the Qur'an to sit in judgment on the Hadith, and not vice versa; and, thus, a basic study of Islam in the perspective of the Qur'an emerges as the fundamental necessity.
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