QURAN: The best guide for mankind
By: Tousif Raza
Islam is not only the discovery of the purpose of life: it is the materialization of this purpose. It is not mere publicity but is the actualization of publicity. Islam is not logical and philosophical hairsplitting and rationalization; it is the generation of consequences and achievements through practical struggle. Therefore, the thought is not meant for opium addicts and lotus eaters. It is meant for people who relish action and like to lead an active and meaningful life. All these things are taught to the followers through Quran as a guidance and this is the point where Quranic Knowledge supersedes all other forms of knowledge on account of its emphasis on the practical and utilitarian aspects of human life.
The word Siraat (path, way) used in Quran is the practical example as it is especially used in surah Al-Fatiyah to highlight the specific direction and orientation for the Quranic guidance and instructions. It means the object of Quranic message is not mere speculative and intellectual illumination; its object is practical instruction and enlightenment. Its aim is to involve people in a decisive struggle to realize the purpose of their existence after identifying the parameters of this purpose.
There is a great difference between Quranic Knowledge and philosophical concepts but the difference shall be explained at some appropriate occasion. Here we are mainly concerned with the purposive sense of life. Therefore, we will examine Quran and other philosophical disciplines from this angle only. From an explanation of Ihdi nas-siraat almustaqerm’(show us the straight path) makes it clear that Quranic guidance is not just theoretical it has it’s practical aspects as well and greater emphasis is placed on its active dimension. The verse indicates not only the identification of the target and recognition of the purpose but also furnishes a practical course of action to realize the purpose, and practical course is a guaranteed course which results in the actual achievement of the purpose.
For instance, modern ethics deal with the nature of morals and morality, it’s value and standards. It tries to discover the logical basis of the validity of moral criteria and standards and also tries to justify its excellence as a moral discipline. On the other hand Quranic knowledge formulates definitive answer to all those questions and discusses the relationship between moral standards of excellence and the practical mode of existence.
If concepts are not translated into reality, they remain only concepts and are divorced from practicality. Islam stresses the practical implications of this relationship and applies the moral criteria of excellence to the practical work to the life of ordinary human beings. Islam is the only philosophical system that tackles the problem directly. It handles the correlation between moral issues and their human repercussion without the least sense of evasion. This shows the aggressive posture of Islam as compared to other moral and ethical disciplines. The aggression is backed by an unshakable confidence in the visibility of its own moral system, a system that achieves an ideal synthesis between man’s theoretical tendencies and his practical compulsions.
Similarly, Sociology deals with the nature of society, its origin and factors that contribute to social cohesion or social disruption. But Quranic knowledge recognizes all these social concepts and discusses their practical aspects. It introduces the element of convergence into the divergent chaos of social concepts and unifies their centrifugal diversity into one all embracing concept which not only discusses their inherent irrelevance but offers a comprehensive practical solution to bind their sprawling vagueness into an effective and dynamic unity.
Political science deals with the nature and evolution of the state. It examines the formulation of various political systems and how they function within specific geographical territory. Sometimes it occupies itself with a comparison of the different political structures and enumerates their merits and demerits, but it does provide any positive guarantees for the smooth and tension free functioning of any political system or it fails to provide constant fundamentals that are not twisted and distorted by the capricious tumbles and some result of human whims and moods consequently.
The most viable political system sometimes reveals chinks and cracks under pressure and often completely collapse when it cannot resist the pressure of external forces. All these political systems are like glass houses whose fragile shells can be cracked with a pebble. But Quranic knowledge is far superior to the knowledge that has formed the structure of other political systems.
It not only sorts out between the ruler and the ruled, it not only believes in a steady egalitarian interaction between the people in authority and their subjects and it not only ensures political justice to the people by eliminating the distinction between the off scorings of humanity and those who are born with a silver spoon, between the scum of state and the elite of the country, between the blue blood of the distinguished persons and white sweat of the ordinary working people, but it also recognizes the import of the national ideal which can transform the entire worrying and bickering society into a community which is free from external fears and internal worries.
This is achieved through certain invariable elements in Islam which are not subject to the fluctuations of human mood, and also through flexible elements which give reasonable latitude of human limitations. This ideal mixture of inflexibility and flexibility forms the basis of Islamic concept of social justice. While other systems waver and flicker in the unpleasant winds of hostile criticism, Islam has stood the test of time, and as a result of its steadfast message, it is being prescribed as the universal panacea throughout the world.
Similarly, Economics deals with the economic nature and development of society. It is concerned with the distribution of wealth and the process of its expenditure. It also discusses the mutual balance and equilibrium between labour and capital. But Quranic knowledge not only makes but implements specific suggestions for equitable distribution of wealth.
Unlike the spurious development of other economies, Islamic economic system is based on the concept of genuine economic growth which eliminates the monopoly of certain individuals and groups of the economic sources of a society and ensures maximum freedom to both individual and Society so that these two basic pillars of economic system may work in harmony with one another.
In this setup the society functions independently in sincere pursuance of it’s objectives and is not unnecessarily hampered or restrained by the wayward and mercurial behavior of it’s individuals. The individual, in his turn gives free vent to his creative faculties and does not feel hamstrung by irrational economic pressure. Quran therefore guarantees a kind of harmony in which the power people do not suffer from a sense of deprivation and the rich do not experience euphoria that makes them a class apart. Their independence as well as interdependence generates an ideal economic system which caters to the balanced growth of the society and the individual who are it’s members.
All this discussion makes it clear that all intellectual and philosophical disciplines follow a unilateral conceptual course. They are mainly concerned with the diagnosis and identification of the problem but hesitate to give any solution. But Quranic knowledge as a complete discipline concerns itself with both aspects of the problem: it’s definition as well as it’s solution. After isolating the problem Quran spells out suggestions and prescriptions to solve the problem. Its procedure is both indicative and definitive.
(The author hails from Tangmarg and can be reached at email@example.com)