Translation of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s essay
By: Abbas Ali
“Even good words used with bad intentions turn out to be wrong. With the speaker’s intention, “you are a great scholar” becomes “you are a great ignorant.” But why should we declare anyone’s intention as bad? We are surprised that those who do not follow the path of the four Imams, why do they consider it abuse if they are called non-followers or non-religionists. (Molvi Mohammad Hussain (Batalvi) in RisalaIshat-u- Sunnah has written that those who practiseHadees consider it abuse if they are called non-followers and non-religionists). Neither do they follow the four Imams nor practise their Religion. Then why do they get annoyed with the truth, and why do they condemn the intentions of the others. Those people and their younger ones and elders call us “Naturalists.” We do not take ill of them, nor do we doubt their intentions. Instead, we take it as their favor that they talk the truth and associate us with the Religion Allah has called His Religion. Allah says in surah Rome Ayat 30, “(O Prophet and his followers), turn your visage single-mindedly to the true Faith and abide by the true Nature on which Allah has created human beings. The mold fashioned by Allah cannot be altered. Although most people do not know, that is the True, Straight Faith, although most people do not know.” Shah Wali-ul-lah and the commentator Ibni Abbas has translated Allah’s Nature as the Religion of Allah. Therefore, the Religion which our Allah has is our Religion. Allah is neither a Hindu, a Muslim, a follower, a non-religionist, a Jew, nor a Christian. He is an evident Naturalist. He calls himself a Naturalist. Then if we, too, are the Naturalists, we cannot pride more upon this. QaziBayzavi has interpreted لَاتَبۡدِيۡلَلِخَـلۡقِاللّٰهِ that no one has the power to change it.
Therefore, this Religion of Allah shall spread. Neither will it stop by my stopping, nor will it by you. Neither can the writings of Noor-ul-Afaq rub it off, nor can the writings of Ishat-u-Suna destroy it. And the 13th century, too, can not harm it. Nature is the Religion of Allah, which is from eternity up to eternity. Islam had come to break the restrictions people had imposed upon Nature. It had not come to impose any new restrictions on the Religion of Allah. It broke the prisoners’ chains and did not cuff them with any new chains. It provided full right of freedom to the people according to Nature and called it their Religion rather the Religion of Allah. Therefore, let the superficial restrictions break, and let the pure Religion of Islam, the Nature, the Religion of Allah brighten. It will brighten and not be covered by those who wish it to be hidden.
Nobody has understood Allah in any other way. If someone has understood, it has been understood through Nature. What did Musa (AS) hear in answer to Rab-i-Arni (Lord show me), LanTarani (you will not see me), what was on the mountain? That Nature, the sign of the divine Law. Even Allah did not call himself anything, and what He said, He said to Nature. He said, “One who made the earth carpet for you, made the heavens as your abode, showered water from the heavens, and grew different fruits to eat, He is the Allah.” He said, “For sensible people, there are signs in creating the sky and the earth. There is a distinction between the night and the day, sailing of a boat on the surface of the river, showering of the rains from the sky, resurrection from the earth after the death, the walkers, and movers on the earth, traveling of the winds from hither to thither, and the floating clouds in the sky. “When asked who you are? He does not answer that but let His Divine Power tell and say that one who transforms a day into a night, brings out dead from the alive and alive from the dead. He is the One that gave life to you from one entity made a pair for you, and multiplied men and women from them. Who is Allah? One who breaks the seeds and grows a big branch out of them. He is the one who brings out day from the night, makes the night for taking rest teaches us to calculate with the help of the moon, and the sun shows the way in the dark forest and rivers with the stars.
And He is the One who showers rains from the sky and grows green grass and everything grows crops with ears filled with grains, grow trees burdened with dates hanging towards the earth, grows orchards of grapes, olive, and pomegranate. When they ripen, they are worth watching. That is Allah who cannot be seen with eyes. Allah brings a cold breeze before the rain shower, which is the precursor of the rains. When it prods the troupes of clouds and showers upon the dead earth, all types of fruits come out of it. Do not you see His power, kingdom, and magnificence in the sky, the earth, and everything that Allah has created? After it, what else is thereupon which you will accept Faith? Who sends livelihood from the sky grows crops from the earth and owns the eyes and the ears? Who brings out alive from the dead and dead from the alive? Who keeps all these works organized? You, too, will shout out: Allah! He is Allah who has erected skies upon the unseen pillars and kept the sun under His subordination. Allah spread the earth, created mountains upon it, let the canals flow grew all types of fruits on the earth covered the day with the night, and created different parts of the earth. Somewhere there are orchards of grapes, somewhere there are fields of dates, there are dense branches, somewhere it is sparse, they taste better than one another, and these are signs of Allah for sensible people.
He is Allah who frightens with the blaze of the lightning and allures with the rains. By and by raises the clouds, makes us say rosery with the thunders, strikes the lightening upon whosoever he wishes, and you fight in the name of Allah. He created the sky and the earth in the perfect form, created man with the sperm, created the animals for you; you benefit from them, wear their leather, and eat their flesh. They are your glory and grandeur when they go for grazing in the morning and return in the evening. From one city to another, they carry your loads. Horses, mules, and donkeys are for your ride.
Sky showers the rains, and you drink, use it to water trees, fields, olive, dates, and all types of fruits are grown. The moon, the sun, and the stars are at your service. Things of different types are grown from the earth. He is Allah who provided tasty flesh of fish and priceless pearls for jewelry from the river. You see how boats sail on the surface of the rivers. To keep the earth fastened at the center of gravity, He created the mountains, and for your travel, He created canals and roads. He created signs of stars to assist you while you walk.
Ponder on buffaloes and cows what else is in their tummies; expect blood and dung, but they provide the delicious milk. You fill your stomach with dates and grapes and prepare intoxicating wines.
Allah has taught the bees to make homes in mountains, trees, and tall houses. Then they suck all types of fruits and bring out colorful honey from their bellies. And Allah has created you, will kill you and make some of you older.
Allah has given birth to you from the wombs of your mothers, given ears, eyes, and the heart so that you will express gratitude. Don’t you see birds flying in the sky? Who is making them fly except Allah? Therein are the signs for the faithful. Allah has created homes for you, the leather of animals, their wool, different things from their hair, protection from heat, make armors as protection against wounds in a battle. Still then, if they turn face from you, then oh! The Messenger of Allah (Nature) is your job to deliver the messages.
Allah raises the clouds from the bubbles, assembles them, freezes them layer over layer, then makes them drip droplets. Out of heavenly black mountains come down the white hailstones, lightning dazzles the eyes, only Allah converts the night into the day. Within these phenomena is the advice for the wise. The sign of Allah is that. He created you from the clay; then you become a moving human being. Furthermore, the sign of Allah is that among you, He created pairs for you and developed love for each other. The sign of Allah is that He created the sky, your dialects, and created your different colors. The sign of Allah is that during the night, you sleep, and during the day, you go in search of livelihood. Allah showered rain from the sky and grew fruits of different colors. Out of the mountains brought out pieces of stones of different colors like white, red, multicolored, black, and brown. Similarly, different colors of men and animals.
Pharaoh asked Musa (AS) who is Allah? Musa (AS) explained through Nature: that the skies, the earth, and whatever is within them their Allah. Pharaoh told his do you hear what he was saying? Musa (AS) said your Allah, your father’s, and grandfather’s Allah. Pharaoh said that this Messenger who has been sent to me is crazy. It does not stop at Musa (AS); all the sent messengers were Naturalists. Allah himself is a Naturalist. When people disobeyed the laws of Nature, he sent the messengers. What did the Messenger do who arrived? The Messenger guided people to the path of Nature, the extent to which they had distorted, and finally remodeled to that level. When Musa (AS), the Naturalists were called to be crazy by the people; where do we stand? Let them call us whatever they wish. Allah has enchained our life, mindset, guess, heart & mind, and tiny hairs. On all our sides is spread the Nature and only Nature. We see Nature; we understand Nature; we recognize Allah with Nature. Then if we are not Naturalists, who else are we? Let others be whatever type of Muslim they are, but we are undoubtedly Naturalist Muslims. Even our ancestors did not embrace Faith after witnessing any miracle; they were also Naturalist Muslims.
It was our grandfather; when he heartfelt the heat of Natural Faith, he was frightened and went in search of Nature, the Religion of Allah. Allah showed him the heavens. What were those heavens? They were of the exact Nature, the Religion of Allah. In the dark of night, a bright star was the spark of Nature. He thought it to be Allah, took the moon as a piece of light, and guessed it to be Allah. He noticed the sun as the brightest of all and thought it to be Allah. However, when he saw that all of them disappeared at the proper time, he cried out and said I accept the Faith of one who created the Nature, and became a staunch Naturalist Muslim.
Therefore, when our grandfather, Ibrahim (AS), was a Naturalist, then we are not his disloyal grandchildren who will not be Naturalists. Nature is the Honor of our Allah and our ancestors. We are the Naturalist; our Allah is a Naturalist, and our ancestors are Naturalists. If someone uses a good word with bad intension, he is answerable before his Faith. He does not say it to us only but to all: Allah, the Messenger, and Ibrahim (AS). Then let the people say whatever they wish. We should keep good intension regarding them. Let them tread their path. Let us walk on our path, our Allah’s path, our ancestor’s path, on the path of the messengers, on the path of prophets, on the path of the Azar’s son Ibrahim (AS).
You and Touba and us and the stature of my friend
Everyone’s thoughts are worth the effort.”
(Anwar Sidiqi’sIntikhabMazameen Sir Syed (pg. 126-133))
The translator is a Sr. Lecturer in Economics. [email protected]
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